New Day LXXXV: The Day my Sister Selflessly Saved my Life

April 4th, 2015

New Day LXXXV: The Day my Sister Selflessly Saved my Life

I am the youngest of 4, with 3 older sisters – lotta damage, lotta therapy, let me tell ya. Family legend has it that when I was born, after 3 girls, my dad jumped up and down on the bed. If you know my dad, you know that kinda display of emotion is very rare.

One hot summer day, we were all at a pool store; I fell in. My oldest sister Noreen bravely dived in after me. It was desire meeting opportunity – she had wanted to go swimming, but knew that it would be frowned upon by this establishment. Wet and well cooled off, she never thanked me for allowing her to save my life!

Mom & Dad

Mom & Dad

Life moved on, I survived. From two immigrant parents, the six of us became 26, as my sisters married and had 17 kids. Now a niece and a nephew are engaged, so we are 28. I used to bury myself in books and cheese sandwiches, not being able to hear conversations. My sister’s bedrooms were upstairs; they buried themselves in laughter. I did not know rheumatoid and the broken back were coming, but He did, so the books served me well; still addicted to cheese tho!

The OB's, at break right after mass at the 30th Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

The OB’s, at break right after mass at the 30th Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

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Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it.

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.
You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
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New Day LXXXIV: Happy Happy Easter

April 3rd, 2015

New Day LXXXIV: Happy Happy Easter

I don’t want to write today. Therapeutic effects aside, I strive to lift, not whine. I am burned out physically, and mentally tired of giving so much of my energy, my strength, my day and my life to fighting this pain. I am in my 6th week of Orencia shots, my 10th of Leuflunomide. I can use my left wrist again, can sleep more than 3 hours a night. I am hopeful I have left the valley. In survival mode, I have developed a deep love for the little things in life that I can do: walk when it is warm, improve as a photographer, work with friends to drive all the new things and new excitement coming to Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival, start and sustain Irish Language Cleveland classes, work a full time job at the Sheriff’s, a near full time as Publisher and Editor of the Ohio Irish American News. 9 years ago, I couldn’t work at all. Then the Sheriff’s job and the Ohio Irish American News launched at the same time. I will remain positive and cognizant of all the enriching things I do have, including you, appreciate how blessed I am despite a life redirected … and write another day.

I am a practicing Catholic. It is the only thing that has kept me alive. At Good Friday service, they handed out rusty nails to everyone, and then at Offertory, we walked up and put them in a basket, symbolizing giving all our failures to God. We then left th sanctuary in silence. Come, let us find mercy in His love. I wish you and yours a very Happy Easter; may you be blessed as you see the births and rebirths of love, life and faith in the lessons of this season.

100th Anniversary 1916 Easter Rising

100th Anniversary 1916 Easter Rising

John

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it.

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.
You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
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www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

Editor’s Corner – 100 Issues, 100th Anniversary of Cleveland’s Boxing World Champion

April 1st, 2015

Editor’s Corner

Post St. Patrick’s Day is a lot like post Christmas – a little sense of letdown, or anticlimax after the show is over.  The blessings of (relatively) good weather this year only amplified the sense of celebration the holiday and the onset of spring brings to our family, through our faith. We made it thru the winters of our discontent. Now it is time for the survivor’s party of another year of perseverance, procession and progress.

This is our 100th issue.  I am excited because I know we have only just begun.  Better economic times had translated to more ads, 8 years has translated to trust that we are partners, not vendors in sharing our culture, our business and our values, with our community.

 

Issue #100

Issue #100

That trust dances with the better times, to guide business owners to advertise with us, and fostered the expansion we have undergone, from 16 pages, to 20 to 24, and last month, 32 pages.  If you are not advertising with us, join us, or have a cup of coffee or a beer with me, and help us to be the partner you want to do business with.  Good Stewardship requires we balance all the great content available, with paying the bills; it’s the elephant in the room.

Did you ever hear about Cindy? The elephant in Ireland that wandered into a pub?  Check inside for that story.  This month is the 99th Anniversary of the Easter Rising, the most seminal moment in Irish history.  Celebrations and Commemorations are being held throughout the world. It is another elephant is the Irish issues discussion. Ohio is no less able and shines as brightly in our Commemorations.

We will be highlighting those events over the next year, starting with the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians Commemoration of the Women of the Rising, at Pride of Erin on Lorain Road in Cleveland on April 24th. Don’t Miss this.

In this issue is also related history: the Forever Seven column on Joseph Plunkett and Mike Finn’s Illuminations column on Why was Dev Spared from the 1916 executions of 15 rebels.  Cathal Liam reflects  and Niamh O’Sullivan, former archivist at Kilmainham Gaol, in her Ireland Past & present column: Unhappy the land that has no heroes,” the first states.  The second replies: “Unhappy the land that needs heroes.

Humor, history, book reviews and reflections from Sue Mangan, Katherine Boyd and Lisa O’Rourke are found within, as well as all the live music you can handle.  Being Irish 365, we get to enjoy that music all year long, not just on the High Holy Day, now a season.  Out & About Ohio on pages xx detail a fantastic array of local and national talent coming our way this month.

I am so looking forward to seeing Leo & Anto of the Saw Doctors at Pj McIntyre’s on April 25th. I saw them there on their last tour and the show goes down in my concert history as one of the best shows I have ever attended. One show was scheduled at 7, it sold out, so a 2nd show has been added at 9pm.

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Remember – if we don’t attend shows when magnificent talent comes to town;  magnificent talent will not come to town.  No regrets, No more words; get up, show up. Verbal support and spreading of the news is great and necessary; but showing up is vital.

Slán,

John

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know;

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***

Milestones:

Congratulations to Eileen Sammon and Pete Leneghan of Stone Mad Pub, Restaurant and Bocce, awarded the 2014 Sean Kilbane Award for their significant Investment in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood. Editors Corner Stone MadMilestone Award

Congratulations to Cindy Barber and Mark Leddy, celebrating 15 years of unwavering commitment to independent Rock, hosting live music all year round at Beachland Ballroom. Cleveland, and all live music, is forever indebted to your vision and active support.

Congratulations to Karen O’Malley & the amazing gang at The Harp, once again named to GAYOT’s list of the Top 10 Irish Pubs in the U.S.

http://www.gayot.com/restaurants/top-10-irish-pubs/harp-cleveland-oh.html

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New Day LXXXI: I Got Rocked; I got Reeled in. Best of the 39th Cleveland International Film Festival

March 31st, 2015

New Day LXXIX:  I Got Rocked; I got Reeled in.
Best of the 39th Cleveland International Film Festival

On Sunday March 22, at the Capital Theatre, I spoke on behalf of the Ohio Irish American News as a Media sponsor for Cleveland International Film Festival, our third year as a Media Sponsor.  This year we also sponsored Kilbanetown Comeback, which premiered that night. I am the Publisher and Editor of the OhIAN.

Two days before, I sent our April issue to print.  It is our 100th issue of the Ohio Irish American News.  One of the things I have been thinking about lately, with St. Pat’s and the 100th Anniversary of Johnny Kilbane’s reign as World Boxing Champion, amidst all the celebrations, commemorations and films is, 100 years later, we are sharing his story. It is the story of our parents, our grandparents, great-grandparents, any generation’s immigrant journey; why they left, why they came here, and what they did when they got here. It is not to live in the past, but to shine a light, a way out of the darkness, for those who may be looking for meaning, roots, connection.

We have been there; we know the way out.

Kibanetown Comeback is Des Bishop’s documentary on the process of locating, designing and building the Johnny Kilbane Statue at Battery Park in Cleveland.  It was dedicated on September 11th, 2014.  We love the arts, it is our oxygen, and are grateful for the opportunity to actively support it, not just in print, but in person.

Johnny grew up in Cleveland, his father from the Achill area. Johnny lived a horrendously cruel and triumphant life.  He was World Champion from 1912 to 1923 – the longest reigning champion in boxing history.  Mike Tyson cites Johnny as one of the top 10 boxers in history, one that he learned from.

During his reign, Johnny lived on Herman Avenue, around West 73rd Street, 2 streets south of Battery Park, where the triumph of his life is highlighted in a 3-figure sculptor by internationally renowned Dublin, Ireland artist Rowan Gillespie. The sculpture shows Johnny as boy, as a boxing champion and as a State Senator and Clerk of Courts.

He had a legendary temper, but perseverance is the tape to which he was measured. Like Tyson, when you pissed him off, he unleashed.

There is much to celebrate; much to learn from; much to share, in both our Irish and our American histories.  We are forged of the same fire; we are of the same mind.  In Newsmagazines like the Ohio Irish American News, books, and films, our past, our present AND our future are before us, live and in living color.

But before Kilbanetown Comeback, I went early, and saw Move On, the story of the impact of Near West Theatre on the actors, directors and support staffs who have taken part in productions for the last 30 years. It was a retrospect of leaving Near West, located in St. Patrick’s, Bridge Avenue, Hall, as they move to their new home in Gordon Square.  Besides providing entertainment for theatre goers, they are a massive therapy session for each other.

The 39th Cleveland International Film Festival was another spectacular Cleveland International Film Festival. Highly recommended: Teacher of the Year- hilarious; Who Am I – No One is Safe – fantastic thriller; Frailer – will tear your heart out; This Isn’t Funny – is!; Frame by Frame – educational and intriguing look at photography in Afghanistan; Hello Hello – very insightful look at relationships.

Frailer – this film was very hard to watch.  We Irish are way too familiar with cancer, and the havoc it wreaks on the ill, and those who love them.  Frailer is 4 friends, one fighting the battle against cancer, and the journey till her death did them part.  Each is pledged to their friend, struggles to find meaningful contribution and succeeds, and fails, in their own way.  For every chemo treatment, all four wear their own of the exact same dress; solidarity.  It is graphic in showing the physical and mental trials of the ill, and the relentless journey to what ever is next.  It is touching; it is the first time I have cried in 15 years.

Frame by Frame is the story of 4 photographers who live in and work out of Afghanistan.  For a period of 5 or 6 years, photography was outlawed.  It is still a dangerous profession, not just for the violence in the country, but a risky career if you piss off the wrong official.  I am a novice photographer, struggling to learn to be a good one.  So there were many other points of interest for me in Frame by Frame as well.  Imagine if going to prison was the penalty for taking a picture.

Hello Hello - was quietly very funny, and sad. A divorced nursing assistance is drifting through life, unsure where she went wrong.  She is good at her job, and after a battle of wills, gets a patient to speak.  She helps her in many ways, mostly in adding dignity to her life, and her death.  The nurse learnsthat respectful, most times, aggressiveness, makes the her world a better place. It not only opens new horizons, but new relationships, better relationships, spring upon her, as she learns to take chances.

This Isn’t Funny­ – was.  Hilarious interaction between a funny, introspective comedian not afraid to go on stage and share her life, and a well-educated, wealthy, lost juice shop manager. Love, and breakup, and the realization that together, love is more; life is a journey; baggage is worth carrying.

Who Am I – No System is Safe – Fantastic thriller on a hacker, or hackers, you are never quite sure, and the underworld that cheers, supports and tears them apart. Four guys, possibly, want to rise to the top of the hacker world, and take on progressively bigger challenges, to earn the notice of the best to them all. They succeed, get double crossed, double cross, win and lose, in a dizzying array.  The action is non-stop, surprising at times, and the climax is out of this world.

Teacher of the Year – I thought this was a remake of the movie about the inner city principal whose unorthodox methods turned a school and lives, around.  Wrong movie.  Teacher of the Year was a comedy of insight, documentary style, but laced with humor and laugh out loud moments. Self –perception is never accurate; we err on either side, often. The insight and struggle for the Teacher of the Year, is funny and well written, but the message is delivered on the effect we have on each other, intentionally, or not.

I saw a few others, but these were the best. This was our 3rd year sponsoring.  Experience adds to the experience, but I enjoyed this CIFF the most of all I have been too.   The 1,000 volunteers get it, and are as chatty as you want them to be.  With strangers in the seat next to you or the line for the next great story, everyone shares films they like, love or wish they had missed.

Casual conversations are everywhere, but no talking during a film. Tower City was not built to host a film festival, but the tight space was made the best of, as everyone cooperated with good will, humor and a sense of purpose; to having fun for themselves, and taking part in presenting one of the nations best Film Festivals, here in Cleveland.  A cult like camaraderie held no creepiness, tho characters on screen and in the aisles were fun.

The 39th Cleveland International Film Festival announced they had their biggest year in Festival history: 100,204 attendees; 1,000 volunteers; $138,427 raised; 196 feature films, 234 short films; films from 60 countries; at 12 locations over 12 days; 500+ screenings.

We’ll see you at the #CIFF40 March 23 thru April 3, 2016!

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer.  I greatly appreciate any help in that.  Please share if you think I have earned it
I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

“Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites

www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/
http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

 

 

The Growth of Youth Rugby: A Story from this month’s issue of the Ohio Irish American News

March 31st, 2015

Owens Sports
by Mark Owens

The Growth of Youth Rugby: Many of you know of my involvement in Gaelic Football over the years, be it through my articles here or through simple word of mouth. I have been involved in many aspects; club management, fundraising and event planning, to name a few. As a club we were pretty good at these things; an area where we struggled was recruiting new blood, primarily at the high school level. We always knew in order to get people playing Gaelic Football from an early age that targeting them at the high school age was vital.

So we went about calling the schools where we had connections (alumni etc.). Each time we came up against the same barrier: RUGBY. They had beaten us to it, got in ahead of us and where well on their way to creating successful sustainable programs. Credit where credit is due, those involved with the various rugby programs in the Cleveland area nailed it when getting local high schools involved – well done to all of them!!

Black River Pirates:
It seems that every year a new rugby program takes flight in this region: Westside, Eastside; Medina County, it goes on. One such program that is now entering its second full season is that of the Black River Pirates, a community focused program in the Rocky River area.
PirateRugbyLogo3
PirateRugbyLogo3 I had a chance to sit down with my friend and fellow Ulsterman John McKenna, club president, to learn more about the program. Although there are many similarities with the local high school in team colors and nickname, they are in fact independent of the school system and pull kids in from the surrounding communities: Rocky River, Fairview Park, Bay Village, Westlake, Lakewood and West Park.

The program was the brainchild of local Irish-American John Zuercher, a software developer from Rocky River. He started with a focus on high school aged boys, grades 9 through 12, in late 2013. Zuercher brought on another local, Eamon Curry, as head coach and things started to move along.

This age group plays the full rules, including 15-a-side with tackling. Along with McKenna, the program enlisted the help of coaches Nick Gallo, Tommy Krecic and Rob Annen. Local business owner Sean Gormley came on board early as a sponsor with his Irish Barber business, also located in Rocky River.

Rookie System:
The flourishing program is growing fast. Along with the high school aged program, they now also cater for boys in grade 5 through 8 with their ‘Rookie Rugby’ program. Grades 5 and 6 play flag rugby, teaching them the basic introduction to the game and the rules that go along with it.

Grades 7 and 8 is when they start to actually tackle, although all 4 grades (5-8) are currently run as 7-a-side programs. The ‘Rookies’ currently practice at either Elmwood Park or Impett Park, with games on Sundays played at St Ignatius’ Wasmer Field in Ohio City – which is apparently always a treat for the young kids.
There are other similar rookie programs in Brunswick, Parma, West Park, St Angela’s and Westlake, who all often provide the opposition. The long term goal is for the Rookie program to become a feeder team for the Black Pirates, although at this time it more simply to cater for the initial interest from this age group. There are currently approximately 30 boys playing in the Rookies teams.

High School Aged Program:
The high school aged boys are off to a flyer in terms of competing. 2014 was their first full competitive season; they played teams from Avon, Avon Lake, St Ignatius, St Edward’s, Shaker Heights, Lakewood, Lake Catholic and Brunswick. The Black Pirates finished the regular season 8-0, which including 4 shut outs. They lost in the 2nd round of the playoffs to the more established St Edward’s High School. John McKenna was extremely proud of their achievements, saying, “It was a quite amazing inaugural year given that a lot of our boys had only started playing the game in the past year and picked it up quite well. We have a very dedicated coaching team and good leadership in place to continue the progress.”

Whilst not officially associated with Rocky River High School, McKenna did say that from time to time they are allowed to use the local high school field for games, typically on days where the field is not being used by any of the high school programs. When starting the program, the Black Pirates leadership kept high school officials in the loop in terms of their plans, including use of the ‘Pirates’ nickname and an adapted version of the logo, a logo which was previously used by Rocky River High School until a recent change.

The club primary focus is becoming a community team and they are on their way; the Black Pirates program is already between 25-30 kids strong, and that number is sure to rise as they become more organized and through word of mouth.

Getting involved:
In talking with John, it is clear he has a passion for the sport, having played it growing up in Co. Monaghan, Ireland. When I asked him about difficulties they have experienced since its inception, the topic of ‘misconceptions’ of rugby injuries. When he talks with the parents of prospective new recruits there normally is a fear of kids getting hurt or suffering concussions, all common fears to have. But John is proud to point out that last year in the high school aged program who play full tackle – in ten games using on average twenty-four players per game, only one concussion was reported the entire season.

For those looking to get involved in the Black Pirate program, their season starts March 29, when Avon visit the Black Pirates at Rocky River High School, 5pm start time, and runs through May. John McKenna can be reached at jjmckenna@mac.com and John Zuercher at zuerch@cox.net . The club Facebook page is www.facebook.com/blackpiraterugby; Twitter:  twitter.com/blackpiraterfc. We wish them all the best as they move into their second full season.

Congratulations Ali DeCrane, Cleveland: Speaking of good wishes, a special work of congratulations on behalf of everyone at the Ohio Irish American News to Cleveland native Ali DeCrane on her selection to the first ever USA Rugby Girls High School All-American (GHSAA) team! The 2015 GHSAA roster is made up of twenty-four players from across the United States, representing California (9), Colorado (2), Hawaii, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah (2), Virginia, and Washington. Well done to Ali and best of luck to her and her family, especially your rugby family at St Joseph’s Academy in West Park.

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Trivia:
Last month’s question: Ireland currently play their home rugby games at the newly renovated Aviva Stadium in Dublin – what was the stadium more commonly known as prior to the naming rights being sold:  Lansdowne Road, located in the Ballsbridge area of Dublin. The old stadium was demolished in 2007 to make way for the Aviva Stadium, which officially opened in 2010.
This month’s question: Ireland will play in the 2015 Rugby World Cup later this year, held in England, although a few games will be held in Wales – who will be their 1st opponents in the group stages?
*Mark Owens is originally from Derry City, Ireland and has resided in the Cleveland area since 2001. Mark is the Director of Marketing for Skylight Financial Group in Cleveland. Send questions, comments or suggestions for future articles to Mark at: markfromderry@gmail.com.

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Living with Lardie: A Story from this month’s issue of your Ohio Irish American News

March 30th, 2015

Living with Lardie: THE AUDITION

“What are you a comedian?” The director of music said as 100 sets of eyes turned to look at me. I can’t remember a time when I felt more self-conscious. All 100 people in that room had just gotten up to sing and now they were waiting for me to do the same. Oh crap, another fine mess I had gotten myself into.
A little background here to see how our hero had put himself in this position:

In late 1974 my brother-in-law Tom Joyce had convinced me to be an entertainer at his corporate Christmas party. I put together a set of jokes and did the deed. It went OK but I thought I would have felt better had I written original material rather than tell jokes. I didn’t like it if I saw someone nodding, because they knew the joke I was telling. Tom thought that was a great idea, but I better get busy because I had a gig at a place called The Silver Garter in February. “You’ll do fine.” He said. Then he laughed as only Tom Joyce could laugh.

I got busy and wrote 40 minutes of what I thought was funny. On the way to the Silver Garter I did the whole act for my best audience, Kay Joyce Lardie. She didn’t even crack a smile. Oh crap, another fine mess I had gotten myself into.

It went well. I actually killed it. (That’s good). When I was done I was exhausted, but felt good. “Well that’s that” I said. Tom looked at me and said,” probably not.” He handed me a cassette tape of the whole 40 minutes. “You should pursue this comedy stuff.”

Now, in 1975 there were zero comedians working in Cleveland. There were no comedy clubs here at the time. I thought that would be the end of it.

Three weeks later I was at my office and I saw the cassette tape in the drawer and thought what the heck. I opened the Yellow Pages. (For you younger people that was a book that had phone numbers for various businesses. There was no Google.).

I looked up talent agents, and saw one that was near my office on Chagrin Blvd. I called, talking my way past the receptionist, and was put thru to an agent. I told him I thought I was a comedian. “Don’t we all,” he said, almost as if he couldn’t be bothered. “What makes you think that?”

“Well, I did this routine and people laughed a lot.” I stammered. “Yeah I’ll bet they did.” Now he was almost sarcastic.

“I have a tape of it,” says I.

His attitude changed immediately. “You have a tape of your routine at a club? Can you bring it in so I can hear it?”

“Sure, when?”

“This afternoon?” says he. He was only four blocks away so I told him I would be there in an hour. I hung up and had that feeling again. What am I getting myself into?

I stepped into his office with trepidation. He was sitting behind a desk three times the size of my own. Pictures of well-known entertainers and famous people adorned his walls and credenza. I was invited to sit and he asked for the tape.

No how are you? How do you do? Just give me the tape. I handed it over. He put it in a tape player and hit the start button. I heard my voice shouting out at me, with sporadic laughter, from the crowd, that was on the tape.
He sat back in his big chair and stared at me. He didn’t crack a smile, he didn’t laugh. He didn’t talk. He just listened to my funniest stuff for ten minutes while he stared at me.

He then turned off the tape. I was going to tell him there was 25 minutes more hilarity to follow. He just stared at me. I thought that was the shortest comedy career anyone ever had. He stared some more. Then he said something amazing.

“Can you start work on Friday?” He asked.

“Doing what?” I asked.

“How about we go with standup comedy,” says he?

“Sure I can start on Friday”.

He turned around, picked up the phone (For you young people, the phone had a cord attaching it to the wall. That’s why he had to turn around), called someone and said I have your guy for the downstairs room.

“ Can you work the next 6 weeks, Friday and Saturday nights?”

“Sure “

Well I worked the next ten weeks and mentioned to my agent how sometimes I was funnier than other times. He said I didn’t understand audiences. He suggested I get in a play and see how the material stays the same but it is received differently by different audiences.”I’ll arrange an audition.”

I showed up and there were 100 people waiting to audition for Sweet Charity. My agent made me join the union so I could show my card. I was sure I was auditioning for some comedic part in the play.

We all had to do a reading of the same part. One after another, thirty-five men and sixty-five women, all doing the same thing over and over. I was about number thirty and I did manage to give a twist to the reading that got everybody laughing. I felt better about that.

The readings were done and the choreographer got four people up at a time and showed them a series of dance steps. They practiced it two or three times and then were asked to do it to the music. The choreographer then asked if everyone danced. I looked around to see if anyone else was going to audition for a dancing part.

Living w Lardie Our hero with three of the cast members from Sweet Charity waiting to go on
This pretty curly blond sitting next to me raised her hand and when called upon told him, “This guy didn’t dance”, pointing at me. “Come on up and dance”.

“I don’t dance”.

“We all dance”

So I got up and danced.

Then everyone got up and sang. Most had brought their own music. I watched until they were all done. They asked if everyone sang. You guessed it. Curly blond points at me and says “ He didn’t”

“I don’t sing.” I stuttered.

“What are you a comedian?”

I sang. I got the part.

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New Day LXXX: Cuyahoga County Suffers

March 30th, 2015

New Day LXXX: Cuyahoga County Suffers

I used to get so angry, at the multiple jabs that came with the transfusions, the blood work before and after, the medicines to combat the medicines to combat the disease. Symbols at the futile battle to live a life worth living glistened at the end of a needle, even as the nurse’s eyes lit up at my nice plump veins. Their efforts despite my flinches, taught me how much they cared, and I changed my flinch, to give back that care in thanks.

People in many of the Safety Forces that I interact with daily care, they care deeply, despite the needles they must administer and the anger lashed by those they serve. Today I went to the funeral of Sgt. Dave Rutt, Director of Crime Stoppers, Cuyahoga County. Dave was a 33 year veteran of the Cleveland Police, a decorated and compassionate soul that led efforts to deter future crimes by bringing to justice those that commit crimes today.

I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community
and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can.
I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live.
- George Bernard Shaw

Dave was a channel. I have worked with him many times, soliciting and facilitating tips, navigating waters, keeping the public informed as we shield with anonymity tipsters, and encourage more tipsters.

Dave and Therese have 5 kids. At the wake, I spoke with one of them about drawing strength from the packed room, of being aware of the love and support their dad inspired in people, a bottomless well that they should freely draw from, now, and forever. In his sermon at the funeral, the priest acknowledged the question we always ask: “Why did he die?” So young, so giving; so much still to come.

black rose

That is unanswerable. We may know it someday, in another world, but I doubt it will be important then. A better question may be, “Why did he live?” Did we create the ripples, ride the ripples, or obstruct them, in the quality of the lives we interact with?

Being aware of the ripples, helping those they hurt, and taking an uncompromising pledge to go after the ones who caused the hurt and the harm, were Sgt Rutt trademarks. I admired his calm humor, his unwavering support of doing what was right, and his counsel. Cuyahoga County suffers this tragic accident; this terrible loss.

Make me a channel of Your peace.

***

Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it.

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
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Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites
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New Day LXXXVII: No One Left to Speak for Me

March 27th, 2015

New Day LXXXVII: No One Left to Speak for Me

“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”
- Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984), first made popular in the 1950s

In my life:
They came for the Irish, they came for the African American, they came for the gay, the immigrant, the woman, the laborer, the religious;
I am left; I speak out

A nation of immigrants, speaking against immigrants; a “Christian” sub-community, speaking against Christians, bereft of Christ; built on the back of labor, they came for the laborers. Why are the lessons of the well-sharpened blades of man’s cruelty to man, lost on man?

Any word can be sectioned off, to ill begat intention, losing the letter and the spirit of the letter, or the law. The bible evolved with Christ, Old to New testaments of a life plan all-inclusive, in community and with the key to the gates of heaven.

“I gave you only 10 Commandments, and only asked you to read one book; what took you so long,” He said.

***

Profound
Comments on the blog itself, Likes and especially comments on Facebook, retweets and Favs on Twitter, all help share my writing and bring me to rippling audiences awareness. Reaching audience is the lifeblood of any writer. I greatly appreciate any help in that. Please share if you think I have earned it

I write about things that matter to me, I’ve learned, or simply wish to pass on; Be Happy, it is one way of being wise. Please share your story with me; thank you for allowing me to share mine with you.

You can read all my blogs at: http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed/

Follow me where I go, what I do and who I know:

O’Bent Enterprises includes:
Ohio Irish American News
Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival
Songs & Stories, my author web and SM sites
www.songsandstories.net
www.ianohio.com
www.clevelandirish.org
www.twitter.com/jobjr
www.twitter.com/365Irish
www.twitter.com/cleveland_irish
www.facebook.com/OhioIrishAmericanNews
www.facebook.com/Cleveland-Irish
www.linkedin.com/in/jobjr/

http://songsandstories.net/myblog/feed

Dance Like No One is Watching: Things To DO This Weekend

March 27th, 2015

FUN things to do this weekend Out & About Ohio
from your Ohio Irish American News

Out & About Ohio March 2015

Flanagan’s Wake is Back!
The Hilarious Interactive Irish Wake is Every Friday & Saturday at 8pm and Kennedy’s Theatre at Playhouse Square; Downtown Cleveland. 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353 www.playhousesquare.org

Brooklyn – Hooley House!
10310 Cascade Crossing, Brooklyn 216-362-7700. 1FunPub.com

Cincinnati – Irish Heritage Center
Irish Teas/Library/Genealogy Detective/ all by appointment.  Irish Heritage Center 3905 Eastern Avenue 513.533.0100. www.irishcenterofcincinnati.com.

ALL under Cleveland;

The Harp
27th – Kristine Jackson, 28th- Chris Allen. 4408 Detroit Road, 44113 www.the-harp.com

Stone Mad
29th  – Chris Allen. Happy Hour Monday-Friday 4 to 7. 1306 West 65th Street Cleveland 44102 216-281-6500

Flat Iron Café
27th – Fish Fry  Craic Brothers. 1114 Center St.  Cleveland 44113-2406 216.696.6968.  www.flatironcafe.com

Treehouse
29th – Becky Boyd. 820 College Avenue, Cleveland, 44113 www.treehousecleveland.com

PJ McIntyre’s
27th – Colin Dussalt, 28th – Disco Inferno. Coming April 25th – LEO & ANTO FROM THE SAWDOCTORS. T-Shirt Tues: wear any PJs T-Shirt get 15% off bill! Whiskey Wed:  ½ off every whiskey in the house. Thurs – Craft Beer $2.50. NEW CRAFT BEER REFRIGERATOR. PJ McIntyre’s is a Local 10 Union establishment. Home of the Celtic Supporter’s Club and the GAA. Book all your parties & Events in our Bridgie Ned’s Irish Parlor Party Room. 17119 Lorain Road, 44111. www.pjmcintyres.com 216-941-9311.

Flannery’s Pub
27th – The Bar Flies, 28th – Brent Kirby. 323 East Prospect, Cleveland 44115 216.781.7782 www.flannerys.com

***

Avon Lake

Ahern Banquet Center
Ahern Banquet Center is booking weddings and special events.  Call Tony Ahern / Lucy Balser @ 440-933-9500.  726 Avon Belden Rd, Avon Lake  44012.  www.aherncatering.com

Euclid Irish American Club East Side
27th – Fish Fry Craic Brothers. PUB: 7:30 – 10:30. IACES 22770 Lake Shore Blvd. Euclid, 44123. 216.731.4003 www.eastsideirish.org

Findlay Logan’s Irish Pub
Trad Sessiún 3rd Wednesday. 414 South Main Street, Findlay 45840 419.420.3602 www.logansirishpubfindlay.com

 Hiram College SEAN MOORE IRISH MUSIC SESSIONs
29th – Learn tunes: 2:00 Open session: 3:00. Potluck refreshments—All welcome. Frohring Music Hall Room 102 (recital hall) 11746 Dean St., Hiram Village

Lakewood  Beck Center for the Arts
28th -29th The Fairy Doll Ballet. 17801 Detroit Avenue Lakewood 44107 (216) 521-2540 www.beckcenter.org

Plank Road Tavern
Open Sessiún Every Thursday 7 – 10.  $3 Guinness and Jamieson. 16719 Detroit Avenue, 44107

Medina / Montrose
Sully’s
27th  - One a U2 Tribute Band, 28th – Smug Saints. 117 West Liberty Medina, 44256 www.sullysmedina.com

Hooley House Montrose
145 Montrose West Avenue Copley, Oh 44321 www.1funpub.com

Mentor Hooley House
Every Tuesday – Open Mic w Nick Zuber, Every Wednesday – Trivia Night.  7861 Reynolds Rd Mentor www.1funpub.com (440) 942-6611.

The Twisted Paddy
7079 Lakeshore Boulevard, Mentor, OH 44060 (440) 525-5565. https://www.facebook.com/thetwistedpaddy

Olmsted Twp
West Side Irish American Club
28th – Steak Shoot, 29th - Easter Bunny Breakfast (res required). Fish Fry every Friday in Lent 2/20 – 4/3. Great live music every Friday.  WSIA Club 8559 Jennings Rd. 44138 www.wsia-club.org. 440-235-5868.

Westlake Hooley House
24940 Sperry Dr Westlake 44145. 
1FunPub.com
(440) 835-2890

Willoughby The Wild Goose
4144 Erie St, Willoughby, OH 44094. (440) 951-6644 www.wildgoosewilloughby.com

Croagh Patrick’s Pub
4857 Robinhood Dr, Willoughby, OH 44094. (440) 946-8250 www.croaghpatrickspub.com.

Mullarkey’s
27th 107.9 Band, 28th – Mossy Moran. Wed: Karaoke, Thurs: Ladies Night w/ D.J. 4110 Erie Street www.mullarkeys.com 

Columbus Shamrock Club Events
27th – Fish Fry; 28th  – The Sirens; 29th  – General Membership Mtg. Happy Hour every Friday 5-7pm! 60 W. Castle Rd. Columbus 43207 614-491-4449 www.shamrockclubofcolumbus.com

Tara Hall
Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. No Cover. Tara Hall 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949.

Traditional Social Dance for Adults: All are welcome to learn and have fun

  • Set Dance Lessons: Tues: 8-10 pm, St. Clarence Church, N. Olmsted / Wed: 7-9 pm, Irish American Club – East Side
  • Ceili Lessons: 3/5, 12 & 26: 7-9 pm, West Side Irish American Club.
  • Traditional Ceili:  13th – St. Clarence Church, Terrace Room, 8PM, $10.

    Contact CeiliClubCleveland@gmail.com

Ongoing Traditional Irish Sessiúns - Bring your instruments and play along!

  • Akron Hibernian’s Ceili Band Sessions, Wednesdays 7:30 pm. Mark Heffernan  Div 2 Hall 2000 Brown St, Akron 330-724-2083. Beginner to intermediate
  • Croagh Patrick’s – 2nd Tuesday of every month 8 – 10pm
  • Bardic Circle @The Shamrock Club of Columbus Beginner – friendly, intermediate level Irish session meeting every other Thursdays 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm
  • Plank Road – Every Thursday 7 – 10. All ages and experience welcome. 16719 Detroit  Road, Lakewood, 44107
  • The Harp – 1st Friday of every month, 9pm
  • Logan’s Irish Pub – 3rd Wednesday of the month, 414 S. Main St., Findlay, 7:30 pm
  • Oberlin’s Traditional Irish Session – 2nd Monday of the month 7 – 9 Slow Train Café, 55 East College St., Oberlin. Informal all experience welcome: www.oberlin.net/~irishsession
  • Claddagh Irish Pub – Sundays 6:00pm-9:00pm. All experience levels welcome
  • 585 S. Front St. Columbus, Ohio 43215
    • Tara Hall -Traditional Irish music w General Guinness Band & Friends 2nd Friday 8:00 – 11:00pm. 274 E. Innis Ave. Columbus, 43207 614.444.5949

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Jane Campbell: Lean on Me; A Story from this Month’s Issue of the Ohio Irish American News

March 26th, 2015

Inner View: Jane Campbell: Lean on Me; a Lifetime of Helping Hands
by John O’Brien, Jr.

Jane Campbell served as the 56th and first female mayor of Cleveland, Ohio from 2002 to 2006. Community development, advocacy, equal rights and most of all, helping those that, for whatever reason, Inner View Jane Campbellaren’t getting the same benefits and opportunities available to others has been her credo and legacy since she first stepped into the forefront of leadership, now spanning more than thirty years.

Jane was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1984 and reelected five times, serving as the majority whip and later the assistant minority leader. She was also appointed to work with the Clinton administration intergovernmental group of governors, mayors, county officials and state legislators on the Welfare Reform effort of the mid-90s.
“It came out of ‘The War on Poverty,’” Campbell recounted. “We were trying to find ways to bring capital into underserved communities: housing, job opportunities, redevelopment, investment, the public/private partnership that is so much a part of Cleveland.

“The Public Policy side is to make sure that government is very aware of needs. Sherrod Brown is a great champion. The importance of maintaining credit on new bonds – tax credits fuel investment.”

In 1996 Campbell was elected Cuyahoga County commissioner and reelected in 2000. Throughout her years as County Commissioner, Campbell efforts for urban development and redevelopment projects changed the face, and vibrant esteem of Cleveland. Overnight success usually takes about fifteen years. Steelyard Commons, Gordon Square Arts District, Battery Park, The Avenue District, East 4th Street redevelopment and the Euclid Avenue transit corridor all found foundation under Campbell’s interagency collaboration efforts. In 2004, Cleveland became the first city to host the International Children’s Games.

In 2009, Campbell became Chief of Staff to Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu, then joined National Development Council in 2014 as Director and Head of National Development Council’s Washington office of Public Policy and Advocacy. NDC is a national non-profit with a mission to increase the flow of capital for investment, jobs and community development to under-served urban and rural areas across the United States. Campbell directs NDC’s advocacy campaign, NDC Advocating for Communities Together, or NDC ACT. With NDC ACT as a platform, Campbell works to raise awareness of the impact of state and federal job creation and community economic development programs, leading its efforts to preserve capital for job creation and community revitalization.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jane as Director of NDC Public Policy and Advocacy,” said Robert W. Davenport, President of National Development Council in a December 3rd, 2014 press release announcing Campbell’s hire. “Throughout her career, Jane has been an outspoken advocate of federal housing and economic development programs, and her knowledge and experience will help us continue to make a difference in Washington.” (www.prweb.com/releases/2014/12/prweb12370034.htm)

Full participation of everyone in economic opportunities in our community is a Campbell ethos. “My mom’s forebear was an Irish Presbyterian Minister. He felt Ireland should be free; this was just before the American Revolution. The Queen put a price on his head, so he left for America. He joined up in the Revolution.

“The Irish community is very active in Cuyahoga County. I had the privilege of serving in the General Assembly when discussions on peace in Northern Ireland in discussions on how to bring Apartheid down took place.”

When Campbell was mayor of Cleveland, she led a delegation for the Twinning of Achill, Mayo and Cleveland. “It was a highlight for me. More than 70 people came from Cleveland to Achill to witness it. Steve Mulloy was the passion behind it. He had wanted to do it for years. He got my support as Mayor. I remember Steve singing Danny Boy. I have a great picture of all of us on the shore of Achill island.
“You look around, see all the glass windows, rescue squad plaques that say donated by family and friends in Cleveland, Ohio. There are more people in Cleveland from Achill than are people in Achill.”
Steve will be inducted into the International Hall of Fame in February; Jane is coming to Cleveland for the ceremony.

“Growing up, I was aware of being Irish. It wasn’t a daily highlight, but rather more a part of a faith-based upbringing. Cleveland was such a destination for the Irish. The history of Cleveland, we welcomed the Irish with open arms. Discrimination was why they left. We look at what the Irish have meant to the community, enhanced the community, in the way that new immigrants are enhancing it now.
“My mom and dad, my brother are here. Whenever we gather for holidays, events, we gather in Cleveland; it will always be Home. My company has an office in Cleveland as well, so that’s great!

“We invest in commercial and housing development, which benefits the people in that neighborhood on a day to day basis. Building businesses forms a foundation for development – like we did around East 4th – Bowling (Corner Alley), House of Blues, comedy, ancillary development. It sets the stage for Cleveland. I am so pleased that the economic renaissance is slowly beginning to happen. People thought we were touched in the head, that we thought we could get people to come downtown. Now, the Heinen’s; I really think it is a great opportunity for Cleveland.

“I watch my kids and nieces and nephews; they are excited. As they get married and have kids of their own, amenities, parks, education, sports. We were right to believe in Cleveland. It makes me so happy.”
The vision, perseverance and heart necessary to do what is right for the long term betterment of mankind, and willingness to take the bruises along the way dished out by those looking for the short term score, has given our community more than a one street success. Campbell’s lifetime of service, dedicated to giving equal footing and opening doors has served Campbell’s legacy, and all of our community, well.

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