Monthly Archives: November 2009

Don’t Box Me In

Thanksgiving is over and the next holiday will be Christmas. It is really not my holiday, as I decided a few years back that I was no longer going to be a Christian. Yes, I believe Christ was an important prophet and teacher. I also believe that Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, Confucius, Gandhi, George Fox,  Zoroaster and others were important prophets and all have something to teach us. I try to be opened minded, respectful and tolerant of all religions. That is if  said religions are being used to do good in the world. We have all seen too many crusades and jihads doing evil in the name of religion.

That being said my family is made up of mostly Christians and will be celebrating Christmas. To me that means I will have to suffer with a phobia I have. You see, I am allergic to boxes. Not just in a physical way, but in a mental way also. To me they represent things like packing up and moving. Moving to me represents change, and I can be slow to accept change. I note every time I have ever moved to a new residence has always been on the hottest day of the year or the coldest with the most snow fall of the year.

At Christmas time, I will be crawling into my attic, dragging out heavy boxes of Christmas ornaments and the artificial Christmas tree. It means spending time helping decorate the tree and house. It seems like a waste of time when I’ll be packing it all back up after a few weeks. It’s not that I’m lazy (OK maybe a little) but it seems like time wasted that could have been better spent. All the time decorating and shopping in the Christmas season would be better spent volunteering to help those less fortunate. Wouldn’t that really be more in keeping with the spirit of the holiday? The first Noel seems to have been replaced by the first one through Wal-Mart’s door on Black Friday gets the Xbox 360.

Here is a poem I wrote a few years back about my box phobia:

I Like My Beer In a Mug…Don’t Box Me In

It’s hot today I comment,

as I open my lunch box

looking for a cool drink

like a thermos of iced tea

but the only thing I see

is a small box of cereal.

Why would my wife pack this?

I refuse to pour milk into a box of cereal.

Cardboard makes a terrible bowl

but it’s not really cereal

it’s actually orange juice.

Orange juice in a box??

I imagine paper cuts

and very bloody lips.

At home I open the fridge

still looking for a cool drink.

It’s stacked with boxes of Kool Aid.

I like my Kool Aid in a pitcher,

any old pitcher will do.

It need not have a smiley face

but it surely shouldn’t be in a box.

For Christmas, I got a box of wine.

Ask any self-respecting wino and

he’ll say wine in a paper bag yes,

wine in a box—sacrilegious.

Imagine a couple in love

sitting at a Paris Café

at an intimate table,

on it sits a box of wine—on ice.

I ask your opinion,

is that a romantic picture?

Well Christmas is over,

its time to put away

what must surely be

the great invention

of the 20th century

the artificial Christmas tree.

My wife says we need

a new box to store it in.

I ask her, “Where do we find such a large box?”

She takes me to a box store.

They sell nothing but boxes,

little boxes, big boxes, white and brown boxes.

It’s actually a franchise.

I’d sooner own a hat blocking business.

Insurance costs on employees

must be out of sight,

what with the danger of paper cuts.

My wife recycles boxes

so more boxes can be made.

It’s a vicious circle,

a plot against me.

Scientists now study

the power of pyramids.

Future archeologist will study

the mystery of the box.

They will find

civilization fell

the day a tavern owner

started serving draught beer in a box.

The Youngstown tramps: “Eddie Loves Debbie”

“Just Give it Away”

I celebrated Thanksgiving in an old-fashioned way. I invited everyone in my neighborhood to my house, we had an enormous feast, and then I killed them and took their land. ~ John Stewart

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EX-Mayors, Ex-Bishops, Excellent Pizza and Fish

Today November 22, 2009 Mr. & Mrs. Elecpencil attended the Artists of the Mahoning Commons Holiday Open Studio and Art Sale.  It was held at, the Ward Bakery Building (across from U-Haul), 1024 Mahoning Avenue, Youngstown, Ohio. We attend every year and this year Mrs. Elecpencil bought two pieces of jewelry from two different artists. The pieces are handmade and very reasonably priced. You will also find great paintings, sculpture, photography and furniture. Our area truly has some talented artists and quite a number have studios at the former Ward Bakery. Check it out next Sunday (Nov. 29) from noon to 5pm.

Mr. & Mrs. Elecpencil also enjoyed fish dinners Friday at the Fireplace Restaurant & Lounge at, 2075 East Western Reserve Road, Poland OH. We had  generous size pieces of fish and it was as good as I’ve ever eaten. Great service, beautiful atmosphere and they have Labbats on draft. What’s not to like?

I picked up a pizza last week from Cornersburg Pizza at 3518 Canfield Rd in the Cornersburg area. They are also located in Austintown and Boardman. Their pizza had ample cheese, good sauce and a crispy crust. The two young men working were very courteous despite being very busy. In a valley of great pizza I’d say this is one of the best pies you’ll find. Drop me a comment and tell me what area pizza is your favorite!

I heard former Y-town Mayor McKelvey filling in for WKBN radio talk show host, Ron Verb one day last week. Every time the former mayor hosts he talks about the war being waged on the public about political correctness. Your rhetoric is getting old and boring McKelvey. He concocted stupid what if scenarios about being PC.  Sadly, the callers who chimed in sounded as pathetically dumb as the former mayor. Mayor, being PC just means having some manners and using a little common sense. After hearing McKelvey I realized what a great city Youngstown is.  That’s because they had to be a strong city to survive McKelvey’s years as a mayor.

And now a politically un-correct (as McKelvey would say) word about a man I am glad is no longer an area resident. I’m talking about our former Youngstown area Catholic Bishop Tobin. When he was our bishop he eventually suppressed the free speech of  mine and other  local Catholic left-wing voices. He did this by rejecting letters written to the Catholic Exponent by people who opposed the war in Iraq. It seems Tobin supported the war even though the pope did not.

Tobin and other right-wing Catholic Orwellians  drove  me to decide to leave the Catholic Church after fifty years. Now that Tobin is bishop in Providence, Rhode Island he is busy driving parishioners from the church in that diocese.  Read about it here:  Tobin at it again.

Tobin and some other bishops have decided they are going to deny  lawmakers and parishioners who are pro-choice the sacrament of communion. They say it is because these Catholics do not believe in the core Catholic teachings about being pro-life. The death penalty is also a pro-life issue but Tobin has not denied communion to lawmakers or parishioners who are pro-death penalty.

Is the Catholic Church  going to deny communion or even ex-communicate all members who don’t believe in the core Catholic teachings? If they enforce these core teachings on liberal members who are pro-choice, use birth control, and believe in gay rights and conservative members who use birth control, are pro-war, pro-death penalty, and pro-pollution of our planet by corporations,  I think you’re going to find the pews pretty empty.

That being said, I dare conservative bishops like Tobin to state ALL of the core Catholic teachings and throw out anyone who doesn’t agree with them. I also believe that churches that want to get involved in politics should lose their tax exempt status.

The one section of the Catholic faith I have always respected is the Catholic Worker Movement. I have always admired its founders Dorothy Day and Peter Maurin. Maurin’s, “Easy Essays” are my favorite poems.  I am excited to welcome to the Youngstown area a Catholic Worker home located at 620 Belmont Ave. Youngstown OH. I think they will be very successful as I think they are very much-needed in our valley.

Area Band: Jones for Revival

More Jones for Revival

I firmly believe that our salvation depends on the poor. ~ Dorthy Day


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You Got the Wrong Number

A week ago I got a phone call from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  I am not nor will ever be a member so the call surprised me. A woman asked me to listen to a recorded message from Wayne LaPierre, Vice President of the NRA.  Mr. LaPierre was ranting about how there is a behind-the scenes, closed-door effort by the United Nations (UN) to make a law that would confiscate weapons from gun owners worldwide. The truth is, the UN has been trying to pass a law to try and stop the illegal trade of weapons, to organized criminals and terrorists  for about a decade. The NRA has twisted that into a disinformation campaign to raise money.

My first thought was that the NRA and gun stores must not have made enough money painting Pres. Obama as a socialist who was going to confiscate guns. Another boogeyman was needed to fill the NRA coffers so they dragged out the UN because opposing them has worked in the past. After all the UN is evil because of agendas they have like world peace. Where is the profit for the gun lobby in ideas like that.

After the spiel by LaPierre a man came on the line identifying himself as an NRA member. He said, “Do you want third-world dictators  and Hillary Clinton to dictate our gun rights?” I then realized the name Hillary Clinton must also be a big fund-raising trigger word. I responded, “Does LaPierre’s lying bull shit actually raise money or gain NRA members?” I continued, “If people are actually dumb enough to believe that crap they are too stupid to be allowed to own a gun.”

He countered with, “NRA members know it’s the truth about the UN.” I envisioned bus loads of armed men in camouflage on their way to NYC to attack the UN. Surely if they believed the UN wanted their guns they would descend on NYC. Not unlike like the nutbags who thought the government was setting up death panels in a health care bill descended on D.C.

The NRA telemarketer again said, ” So you must think third-world dictators and Hillary Clinton should dictate our gun rights?” I replied, ” Why hasn’t the NRA ever opposed the, School of the Assassins at Fort Benning Georgia that trains death squads for third-world dictators?” I added, “Why does the NRA back right-wing candidates like Ronald Reagan who supported third-world dictators who killed over 100,000 citizens throughout Latin America? Those numbers including nuns, priests and union organizers.”

The telemarketer responded, ” I don’t know anything about Fort Benning or any of the other nonsense you are saying.” I replied, “Read some history books instead of, the NRA’s  National Rifleman magazine.” I then had the phone slammed in my ear. I think people really need to learn more about our countries history with dictators.

I am left thinking I don’t have a problem with people owning guns I just have a problem with an organization that must be involved in the illegal gun trade if they oppose UN measures to stop terrorists from getting guns. I think Homeland Security needs to check into that. I’d also ask NRA members if the want to join an organization with a leader named, LaPierre. That sounds kinda like a Frenchie furriners name so I’d check to see if he had an American birth certificate.

The NRA has drafted up a hate list see here:

Area band the Bedspins: A Beautiful Day

Pulp Free

“Every gun that’s made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and not clothed.This world in arms …is spending the genius of its scientists, the sweat of its laborers.” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower


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The Oakland Theater Cured My Phobia

Last night Mr. & Mrs. Elecpencil went with friends to see, “The Rocky Horror Show” at the Oakland Center for the Arts in downtown Youngstown. Before I get into a review of the Oakland’s play I want to talk about the movie. I have seen the movie several times since it came out in 1975.

The last time I saw the movie was several years ago in Cleveland, at the Cedar Lee Theatre. It has been playing at the Cedar Lee one Saturday a month at midnight for 20 years. After that viewing of the “Rocky Horror Picture Show”  I decided I could never see the film again. That was because of the disease I am afflicted with that I have talked about before. It is the illness I have known as, “asshole magnetism.” I experienced it big time at that Cleveland showing  from the three assholes that surrounded me. It is a long and humorous story I won’t talk about now because it would take away from the nice experience I enjoyed at the Oakland last night. If you see me out and about ask me about my asshole experience at the Cedar Lee and I will share it with you.

Last night, the cast at the Oakland ended the phobia I have had with “Rocky” since that bad Cleveland experience. I was healed and am now able to dance the “Time Warp” again. Director and singer extraordinaire, Robert Dennick Joki did a galactic job of playing, Dr. Fran N’ Furter.  He brought a John Water’s Divine look and  attitude to the part. He also designed the costumes which gave the show some fresh camp. Shawn Lockaton did an excellent job playing, Riff Raff. This is the third play I have seen him in and he always delivers. I expressed that to his number one fan, his mother after the show. She is very proud of him as she should be.  I loved the idea of a mistress other than a criminologist narrating the story. Nicole Zayas dominated in the part (pun intended).

Brad and Janet were played with exuberance by Eric McCrea and Alyssa Connelly. The rest of the cast was top-notch, as was Debbie Pesce’s choreography.  A huge pair of red lips to all involved. You need to go see this play because as Dr. Frank N’ Furter says in it, “A mental mind fuck can be nice.” It is playing tonight Nov. 7  and Nov. 13 and 14 at 8:00. There will also be a special midnight  show Nov. 14. Call: 330-746-0404 for reservations.

Before we went to the Oakland, we ate at the Rosetta Stone Cafe in downtown Youngstown. Our friend Patty and Mrs. Elecpencil got hamburgers which they both enjoyed. Our friend John got a fried haddock dinner he liked with what he said was the best coleslaw he’s ever eaten. I had a Cajun chicken salad that was spicy and delicious. The waiter made a few mistakes, but all in all I’d recommend you give it a try and I think you’ll be glad you did.

Realtime Digimob playing outside the Oakland.

Digimob at Cedars

Don’t dream it, Be it
-Frank N Furter

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