Monday, August 21, 2017

The abandoned Cleveland subway and the now-closed streetcar deck of the Detroit-Superior Bridge here in Cleveland, Ohio.

Cleveland once had one of the nation's largest streetcar systems. The city has long had a problem creating enough bridges over the Cuyahoga River, however. In 1915, the city began work on constructing a new, all-steel bridge alongside the existing stone and concrete Superior Viaduct. The Detroit-Superior Bridge's upper automobile deck opened on Thanksgiving Day in 1917, and the lower streetcar-only deck opened on Christmas Day 1917.

On the west side of the river, streetcars accessed the lower deck via tunnels on Detroit Road and W. 25th Street. In the east, streetcars entered a tunnel on Superior Avenue east of Public Square. There were six underground subway stations and four public restrooms in these tunnels. Stairs and tunnels beneath the tracks allowed pedestrians to move from one side of the subway to the other.

The subway closed when the city streetcar system closed in 1954. The lower deck was deemed unsuitable for conversion to automobile traffic, and also closed.

The lower deck has been opened to the public once a year since the 1980s. It's been rented out as a temporary nightclub, dance venue, site for press conferences, and even an art installation. It closed in 2013 when the Detroit-Superior Bridge underwent a four-year repair and upgrade. This was the first time it opened in four years, and 10,000 people showed up!


* * * * * * * * *


I say "Cleveland subway", but it wasn't really a subway.

Cleveland's considered a subway in the past. The idea was first raised in 1905 by Progressive mayor Tom L. Johnson (probably Cleveland's greatest mayor of all time). But Johnson had just gotten the city's 15 streetcar systems top merge into a single company, and had fought a massive fare-war that left him without political capital. His idea went nowhere.

In 1953, Cuyahoga County voters approved a $35 million bond issue to build a downtown circulator subway. The route was never settled on, but one of the most popular suggestions was a line that ran in a loop from Terminal Tower down Superior Avenue to East 9th Street, then south to Euclid Avenue, over to East 13th Street, and then down to Huron Road and back to Terminal Tower.

County engineer Albert S. Porter -- an evil, evil man -- persuaded the county commissioners to abandon the plan in 1957 in favor of endless freeways. We're living with that disaster now. Porter's freeway system destroyed neighborhoods, led to excessive air pollution, and created such urban sprawl that it destroyed the city of Cleveland. Moreover, the spread-out suburban areas now mean that not a single place has enough population density to support retail any more, and the poor (who lack access to public transit) are trapped in shit-paying jobs they can reach only on foot or by bus.

In 1959, downtown merchants tried to restart the subway program as a means of drawing customers back to the city center. The City Planning Commission even included a subway into the city's 25-year master plan. Porter ridiculed the subway idea, claiming it would cause buildings to collapse, and that people would be "packed like sardines" into subway cars. Moreover, apparently the highway construction industry paid some massive bribes to the commissioners, and they voted to cancel the subway a second time.

In the 1980s, Cleveland considered building an underground streetcar from Public Square to University Circle. Costs put the kibosh on that plan, but 20 years later the city established the Healthline rapid-bus which accomplished some of the same goals.

beneath the bridge 01 - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel 01 - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel 02 - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel walls - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel walls 02 - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel drippings - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel exit - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel rails to nowhere - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel rails - Detroit Superior Bridge

subway tunnel labyrinth - Detroit Superior Bridge

streetcar rails beneath - Detroit Superior Bridge

vast crowds - Detroit Superior Bridge

toward Superior - Detroit Superior Bridge

pedestrian walk - Detroit Superior Bridge

down through the girders 03 - Detroit Superior Bridge

down through the girders 02 - Detroit Superior Bridge
I got up Sunday morning, and was just pooped. All day, taking tours and photos and walkinga round.

I considered how to make the best use of my time. And I determined that the most productive use of it was spent sitting in a chair in the back yard, reading and watching the butterflies sip from the last of the summer flowers. I napped for a little bit, and went back to reading. Then I came inside, and watched the sun cast long rays onto the trees and bushes.


I knew there was a reason I liked baseball. And big bats.

Goddamn, he's amazing.


Sunday, August 20, 2017

sign  - Cleveland Heights High School


The new Cleveland Heights High School. I took the two-hour tour on Saturday morning, which was guided by the architects and some city staff. It was awesome.

The 1930, 1950, 1958, 1974, and 2015 additions were all torn down, and replaced with new structures. Although the high school lost 100,000 square feet, all of its 385,000 square feet is useable -- whereas most of the lost footage was dead space.

The renovations cost $103.25 million, instead of the $90.5 million predicted. (Design costs were $11.5 million, and construction costs were $79 million.) School board members claim that architects and contractors "talked them into" putting the project out to bid with only 50 percent of the architectural drawings completed. The school district agreed, so that construction would be completed in time for the 2017-2018 school year to begin. (Design costs rose another $3 million, and construction costs another $6 million once drawings were complete.)

Both design flaws (which the school district did not catch before authorizing construction), unanticipated costs, and design changes have caused cost overruns. Among them are:
  • A design flaw that put the lockers too close together. They had to be ripped up, moved, and more lockers put into the school elsewhere.
  • A design flaw which did not give every student a locker. More lockers had to be ordered, and alterations made to find space for them.
  • A design flaw that left a three-foot gap between the original building and the new science wing. It's been corrected.
  • A change order to remove or redistribute soil on the site. Soil testing failed to detect that some of the soil should not be built on; this had to be removed. Other soil had to be redistributed to accommodate the lost soil. Cost: $850,000.
  • A change order to remove asbestos. More asbestos than anticipated was discovered. Cost: $400,000.
  • A change order to remove old foundations, underground storage tanks, and old utilities. These had not been documented during the school's history. All had to be removed. Cost: $100,000.
  • A change order to patch unforeseen holes in the walls, floors, and the exterior. These had not been documented during the school's history, but had to be fixed. Cost: $275,000.
  • Change orders caused by instructions from the City of Cleveland Heights architectural review board and a tardy review of city building codes. Cost: $700,000.
  • A design flaw that required additional internal steel to reinforce the 1926 structure. Cost: $450,000.
  • Unforeseen costs and design flaws due to problems connecting the plumbing and HVAC in the old building to the new building. Cost: $650,000.
  • Unforeseen costs in technology, career tech equipment, security cameras (they forgot to budget for the CPU to record the footage captured), and improved wireless access. Cost: $260,000.
  • Hundreds of unforeseen small expenses totaling $423,000.

clock  - Cleveland Heights High School

library - Cleveland Heights High School

science room to cafeteria - Cleveland Heights High School

new classroom - Cleveland Heights High School

stadium - Cleveland Heights High School

pool - Cleveland Heights High School

competition gym - Cleveland Heights High School

band room - Cleveland Heights High School

social area - Cleveland Heights High School

clock mechanism text - Cleveland Heights High School

auditorium 03  - Cleveland Heights High School

stage  - Cleveland Heights High School
11 days until September.

C'monnnnnn Fall!


Friday, August 18, 2017

An open hearth furnace in Cleveland, Ohio, pouring steel in the 1950s.

When iron first began to be made, this was the kind of furnace used. A brick-lined pit ("hearth") would be filled ("charged") with iron, limestone, and coke (coal baked until all the impure gases are gone). Around the hearth was a fire, whose heat would bounce ("reverberate") off the roof of the furnace and down into the hearth. Slowly, the iron would melt; as it combined with the limestone and coke, impurities in the iron would burn off in the form of gas; other impurities would float on the surface as slag. The hearth was then pierced from below, and the pure iron ("pig iron") drawn off.

Although steel could be made, it was incredibly difficult and time-consuming, and it often came out very brittle.

In 1856, English inventor Henry Bessemer discovered that by forcing air (oxygen, really) through the molten pig iron, much of the carbon and silicon impurities would ignite. This made the iron even hotter, igniting more impurities. This made the iron even hotter... This feedback loop eventually raised the temperature so much, and eliminated so many impurities, that steel formed easily. Within two years, other inventors had discovered how to manipulate the carbon and manganese content of steel to ensure it remained malleable and did not become too brittle.

Bessemer even went further, and created a "Bessemer furnace" to utilize in his steel-making process. It looked like a big barrel on a frame, which could be tipped onto its side. When upright, liquid pig iron is poured into the converter. Lime, manganese, and other elements are dumped into the top. Small nozzles in the base of the converted ("tuyeres") are opened, and the air pumped in. This creates the "blast" -- a vast fountain of fire, smoke, fumes, and particles from the open mouth of the converter. The feedback loop starts. As the blast ends (no more impurities to burn), trace amounts of carbon (usually pig iron) are reintroduced to get the steel to the right percentage of carbon. The converter is then tipped over and the steel poured into ladles or directly into molds.

The Bessemer converter made it hard to sample the steel and judge its composition.

By 1865, German-English inventor Carl Wilhelm Siemens and French engineer Pierre-Émile Martin had invented the Siemens-Martin process. This process used the old open hearth, which heated the iron more slowly and thus allowed it to be sampled more frequently and the steel's content regulated much more closely. Although it took a lot longer (10 hours to create a batch, rather than one or two), the quality of steel was much higher. The Siemens-Martin process didn't allow the heat from the blast to go up the chimeny. Instead, the blast was funneled through bricks -- which got superhot from the smoke and fumes. As air was forced into the molten pig iron/steel, it was passed through these bricks. This "regenerative heating" saved on fuel (up to 70 percent over other the Bessemer process). As the blast continued over 10 hours, additional "regenerative furnaces" would have the blast forced through them, heating them up so that a constant supply of superhearted brick was always available.

By the 1880s, Cleveland engineer Samuel T. Wellman had found a way to put the open hearth furnace on water-cooled rockers, which allowed it to tip forward (like the Bessemer converter) and pour the steel into ladles or molds.

The open hearth and Bessemer process were both replaced by the "basic oxygen" method of steelmaking. Invented in 1948 by Swiss engineer Robert Durrer, it is the form of steelmaking used today.
How do you keep him calm? I'd suggest fellating him while he hangs on. He can't push you away...


Frederick Douglass on education.


Oh god... Yes, this made me laugh.


That combination of boyish face and powerful shoulders and pecs is just something winds my rubber-band airplane.


Wednesday, August 16, 2017

When you're feeling down, remember: There used to be a company here in Cleveland that would come to your house and pick up any dead cows or horses.

Because animals dropping dead on your front lawn used to be a thing here.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him. I'd love to experience a night with someone like this. Just once.


Confederate Monument - S face - Arlington National Cemetery - 2011


Pro-slavery/pro-treason Confederate memorials are often similar to government-sanctioned displays of religion. There's a reason why we don't permit government to favor one religion over another. It implies government's approval and sanction.

Similarly, when public space is turned over to revisionist monuments or those which glorify treason and laud the fight for slavery, the implication is that government approves of these things.

American governments no longer approve of this. The monuments should come down.

Monuments to the suffering of slaves, monuments to those who opposed slavery, and monuments to those who WON the Civil War should be erected, if we want a Civil War monument.

If one wanted to continue to display the pro-slavery memorials somewhere, I suppose we could do that -- with the appropriate signs and documentation, pointing out how sick, warped, and twisted these memorials were. How they were erected by governments colluding with pro-slavery elements intent on warping our view of history. How they ignored the wishes of freed slaves -- citizens -- by lauding those who fought for slavery.

These statues were erected by pro-slavery white supremacists after the Civil War. No black citizen had a say in whether they should be erected. In many cases, city councils colluded with private white supremacist organizations to erect these statues and give them land and funding, without public input. These statues fetishize the treason and slavery-defending actions of the Confederacy and its supporters. Many of these statues depict a revisionist history of the causes of the Civil War, and teach that it was a noble, acceptable, and worth cause.

Similarly, the statues are now coming down because our society is more inclusive, we as a society no longer believe (or, most of us) in the fetishization of the causes those statues represent, and we as a society want to use the space for better and more constructive purposes. People in ex-communist states removed statues of Lenin and Stalin for similar reasons.

Let us also be clear about another point: Statues are removed all the time. Space in urban areas is at a premium, and statues wear out, or the causes which they represent are no longer timely, or the history which they purport to capture is misrepresented by the statue, or (in retrospect) it turns out the event/person the statue commemoriates wasn't very historical after all.
John Scalish headstone - Calvary Cemetery


Headstone of Mafia boss John T. Scalish in Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, in the United States.

Scalish was born in Cleveland in 1912 and raised in the Italian American enclave that centered around the intersection of E. 110th Street and Kinsman Avenue. He was involved with the mob as a teenager, and at the age of 18 held up his first bank. Convicted in 1934 of the robbery of a bottling plant, he served only a few months in prison. Ohio Governor George White commuted his sentence only minutes before White's term of office ended. (The rumor is that White was bribed to do it.)

Scalish was close friends with Maishe (Milton) Rockman, a local Jewish mobster. Rockman married Scalish's sister, and Scalish married Rockman's sister. Angelo Lonardo, whose father Joseph "Big Joe" Lonardo was made mob boss in 1920 and was murdered in 1927, married Scalish's other sister.

Scalish worked his way up from small-time heists to become a clerk in casinos owned by the Cleveland mob. In time, he became a lieutenant to Alfred "The Owl" Polizzi. When Cleveland mob boss Frank "Ciccio" Milano fled the United States for Mexico, Polizzi took over. Scalish found himself the underboss of the Cleveland crime family. Polizzi was arrested in 1944, avoided conviction, and retired from the Mafia in 1945. With a fortune of about $100 million, he moved to Florida, investing in real estate and construction companies.

Scalish became the new boss. His were the "golden years" for the Cleveland mob, which built an empire of casinos, pinball machines, and loan sharking. The Cleveland mob was so wealthy, it co-funded the construction of Las Vegas casinos, which provided a steady stream of income. Although Ohio banned gambling in the 1950s, Scalish got into the vending machine business with Rockman and muscled out the competition. He was a decisive leader, and dispensed punishment and rewards with equal swiftness. He allowed subordinates to engage in their own criminal activities and make money, which earned him loyalty.

Scalish moved from Cleveland to Gates Mills Boulevard in Pepper Pike. Many of the Cleveland mob's top leadership followed him, turning Gates Mills Boulevard between SOM Center and Brainard roads into a kind of "embassy row" for organized crime. Scalish lived quietly and conservatively, and was little known outside the underworld. In 1957, he attended the "Apalachin Conference" with 50 other Mafia leaders at a farmhouse near Apalachin, New York. The police busted the conference, making Scalish a nationally known figure. A U.S. Senate committee investigating mob influence in labor unions subpoenaed him to testify before Congress, and he invoked the Fifth Amendment 35 times.

During the 1960s, several top- and mid-level Mafia leaders in Cleveland died or retired. Many of the up-and-coming low-level "made men" were killed. Not wishing to attract attention after the Senate investigation, Scalish let the "middle management" of the Cleveland crime family atrophy and grow smaller.

Scalish had been in increasingly ill health since the late 1940s. Bladder cancer forced him to undergo a colostomy. He suffered from high blood pressure and high cholesterol, two diseases which had no treatments until the late 1960s. By 1975, he not only had advanced heart disease but was also suffering from cancer. Scalish underwent heart bypass surgery at the Cleveland Clinic on May 26, 1976. He died a few hours later in the recovery room.

Scalish had refused to name a successor. Capo James T. Licavoli emerged as the new boss. Licavoli not only didn't want the job, he was a weak leader. Irish mob boss Danny Greene attempted to take over the Cleveland crime family, and a mob war broke out. Greene was finally assassinated by a car bomb on October 6, 1977. FBI informant Jimmy Fratianno eventually ratted out Licavoli, and he was convicted of various racketerring charges in 1982. Licavoli died in prison in 1985. The mob war broke the back of the Cleveland mafia, which never recovered.

Scalish headstone and memorial - Calvary Cemetery

Scalish family memorial - Calvary Cemetery
Nazis. I hate these guys.


I dunno who he is, but I get a painfully hard erection just looking at him.


Sunday, August 13, 2017

I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... prominent Taft political family member and respected Ohio judge Frederick L. Taft took possesion of a new office at his law firm on December 1, 1870, and died within the hour?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

That's a skillset I would love to have in a partner.


Wow, that is some sort of handsome face. I'm not normally one of the beautiful, square-jawed, chiseled set, but... I could look at that for a lifetime.


Friday, August 11, 2017

Sundae, a Korean dish.

Pronounced "soon-die", this is blood sausage. The main ingredient in the sausage is actually cellophane noodles and barley, cooked with blood and spices. It's served with a side of mineral salt for dipping. DEEEE-lish!


sundae - Korean sausage
I refuse to post these to the front page of Wikipedia any more. But I will post them here. The article I wrote or assisted with is in bold.
Did You Know ... that Patrick Calhoun, great-grandson of American statesman John C. Calhoun, made a fortune organizing railroads, went bankrupt building Euclid Heights, Ohio, made a fortune in streetcars in San Francisco, and went bankrupt again after being convicted of stock fraud?