Friday, December 10, 2010

On Walt, coasters and kids

I have to start with the roller coasters.

Coasters are quietly cerebral. Apart from the screaming teens and speed, they have to be visually artistic and daunting from ten miles away as well as ten feet away--it's all part of a coaster's thrill. I imagine those factors are a huge challenge in every coaster's design, as well as all the other obvious components of physics, safety concerns and aesthetics.

Enter Disney World.

The coasters and thrill rides at Disney are mostly inside buildings. I cannot tell you how that struck me. That the Disney "imagineers" cut through so many of the exterior design challenges by simply covering the business end of the rides? I thought it was as brilliant a thing as I'd ever seen--transcendent, if you will.

I felt that same sort of awe as I compiled this story on NewBridge, Cleveland's newest alternative center of arts and technology.

Read the feature and you'll see what I mean. Disney's coasters may be a far sight away from the at-risk students of NewBridge, but the glittering impetus of approaching an old challenge in a new way tethers them in some strange way for me.

I hope with all my heart that this new Cleveland venture succeeds.

* * *


Bill said...

I wish Newbridge well. Mr Johnson will need lots of help. You, Erin, have done a great job reporting the good news about Newbridge. Let's hope the community gets on board and stays there when the going gets tough. Mr Johnson's Kryptonite would be apathy from the community.

The Writer Currently Known as Rory said...

For a near-orgasmic experience (outside of the obvious), I rely on "Ninja" at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, CA (near where I live, in the same Santa Clarita Valley). With such sharp turns and drops, I ended up twice asking aloud at the end, "Does anyone have a cigarette?" And I don't even smoke. However, during one of those times, I did hear a knowing laugh.

(Not related at all to your post, but because of my passion for rollercoasters, and because you mentioned it right in the title, I had to chime in with this.)

Vince said...

I cannot ever got over the feeling that this type of thing is more about middle class wants and not unemployed/working class needs. Who
mostly could do with classes quarter of the size and for a full nine hour day.
And truly delightful it is for the ten out of a thousand that will use those places I don't believe it's effective use of scarce cash.

Hugs Erin me girl

Erin O'Brien said...

Good morning gentlemen,

Vince, I respect your opinion, but I don't dare join your conjecture. I do know that anyone who's teaching people who are down on their luck the skills needed to work in a medical lab on Euclid Avenue in Cleveland* has a damn smart idea.

*This stretch of road houses more international health facilities than (perhaps) any other in the world.

And NewBridge is running on private funding only. With the Elephants lumbering in Columbus, that's not going to change anytime soon.

Big Mark 243 said...

Erin, having been born and raised in a (once) large metro and urban area, I kind of echo Vince sentiments. What I have seen happen in cases such as these is that instead of creating a situation where you have a new attitude towards helping and giving back to the community, what does happen is the creation of a new elite within the group receiving the aid.

Whether or not Vince is correct with his math, I see the issue as one where the profite motive outweighs the will to maintain the continuity within the community of programs such as these. The reason that folks are 'waiting for Superman' is because they don't have the will to do the work themselves. Not that they don't want to do something or that they can't, but like anything that takes time to build, it is wearying work. There is little motivation as there is so much uncertainty as to whether or not programs such as these are making any difference.

Claire L Hallam said...

I'd echo Bill, and wish this project well. I don't have any problems with creating new elites, my guess is that they might be a little more sympathetic than the old elites.

Anonymous said...

Nice piece.

You play to a tough crowd here E'O.

I must admit when I noticed catch phrases like "at risk kids" and "living wage" I began to think swine would be along shortly but others beat him here. (Not that that's a bad thing, swine and others provide valuable commentary.)

My 2 cents. Creative Education should be the norm not the exception. It's a reflection of the sorry state of our educational system that these projects get attention.

ALL kids are at risk. Their healthy development should be a primary cultural concern. But again, I am a liberal. I believe in the children. Maybe I should go shoot a caribou.


Bill said...

education vouchers that cannot be traded for cigarettes and liquor. that's the ticket.

Erin O'Brien said...

Someone else take Bill, please. I'm tired.

Vince said...

Right back atcha with the respect.
I was not denying the validity of such a programme only that it should be the cream at the top. And never in lieu of a decent education in the basics. That's my point about the nine hours in school and the small classes. As it stands at the moment the only hope for vast tracts of population is in winning the lotto, winning Yanks-with-Talent -insert own- and a lifetime delivering Pizza for some multinational chain. A life where the only medication is prescribed by Johnny and delivered in fractions of an ounce. Johnny also being the only entrepreneur that anyone knows. Oh yes there is Hakim, formally from Jammu, who works behind bullet-proof glass and wishes for the peace of home where the Indian army sends a few shells over now and then. This is true from the Urals through Poland Germany Belgium France UK and the Rust belt in the States. These are areas that have lost their Heart and no amount of politically driven hardball will change the situation.
What happened this cohort of people that lived in New Orleans. After the hurricane they moved to other cities and moved into the same type of areas.

Bill said...

Why do you find it necessary to talk about groups of people as though they need YOU to feel sorry for them? I'm tired of guilt ridden libs talking about how crappy things are but, instead of doing something, they try to coerce someone else to give or someone esle to do. Get up off your ass and do something. Do something like Mr. Johnson did. I know poor people. They don't need you to speak for them or pity them. I'm sure that some of the cohort from New Orleans moved into similar situations but some of them probably moved on and up, realizing that the government is not going to be their savior.

Vince said...

It's not a question of Right or Left. It's a question of surplus to requirements as defined by the history of a place. Nor is it a question of pity,it's a question of Fact.
Now to your point about the Government. In case you missed it but it is the Government that makes the cash in your pocket money. So why would you decide that you are deserving of the Governments largesse and someone else isn't. Why would you hold that you are entitled to the public peace, entitled to have a contract honoured, entitled to protection under the Law.
I don't feel sorry for the people that live in Butte Montana. A city FYI that marks the the obliteration of Industry in other cities and has all the problems. Not least a dwindling income from local Tax sources leaving a top heavy civil service. Further there is a bleeding of those that have exportable job qualifications, marked mostly by the higher trades and those with higher education.
All this leading to cities with nothing more than municipal workers and a huge group of unemployed.
Oh when I mentioned earlier about a Heart and it being absent. What I should have said was Dead. For all these cities are doing at the moment is sucking in vast resources.
Even here in Ireland we've seen the Michigan cities where people are knocking down houses in wealthy areas rather than pay the Tax on worthless property.
Again to the Government, for the most part these Cities are under a yoke of legislation from the last 100 years. These designed to Prevent any local entrepreneurialism.

Bill said...

No government can't stop one person from helping another.

Erin O'Brien said...

Let's everybody act like Christmas is two weeks away because, well, it is.


Bill said...

Amen Jefa. Have yourself a merry little Christmas.

Anonymous said...

"No government can't stop one person from helping another."

The Commenter called "Bill"

"At least 19 people were killed and dozens injured when troops intercepted the convoy of ships dubbed the Freedom Flotilla early on Monday, Israeli radio reported.

The flotilla was attacked in international waters, 65km off the Gaza coast.

Avital Leibovich, an Israeli military spokeswoman, confirmed that the attack took place in international waters, saying: "This happened in waters outside of Israeli territory, but we have the right to defend ourselves."

Footage from the flotilla's lead vessel, the Mavi Marmara, showed armed Israeli soldiers boarding the ship and helicopters flying overhead."

Aljazeera English. May 31, 2010.


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah.



Bill said...

I was thinking more along the lines of Mother Theresa or Mr. Johnson. Not like, what can we, as a group, do to help a band of terrorists. But hey! You try to help your way and I'll try to help my way.

Anonymous said...

Your staement is unequivical.

Here's your band of terrorists.

Gaza Strip Population
1,604,238 (July 2010 est.)

Age structure
0-14 years: 44.4% (male 353,489/female 334,770)
15-64 years: 53% (male 420,618/female 402,297)
65 years and over: 2.6% (male 16,483/female 24,202) (2010 est.)

Median age
total: 17.5 years
male: 17.4 years
female: 17.7 years (2010 est.)

Keep spinning the quicksand will suck you under much faster.


Bill said...

RJ: you are so far off base on this. Check out Erin's post about a hopeful project to help people, headed up by an unselfish, generous, Mr. Johnson. Not a lot of politics involved. It's a stretch for you to use the politically charged flotilla to make your point. Charity begins at home dude and normally doesn't include arms and ammunition.

Anonymous said...

Bill said:

"No government can't stop one person from helping another."

I was responding to the inanity of your axiom. Are there now rules of reply of which I'm unaware? All comments must be on topic?

But while you continue to blabber perhaps you could also explain the values reflected in this statement to your beloved elected representatives:

"Charity begins at home dude and normally doesn't include arms and ammunition."

Iraq. gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.

Afghanistan. gurgle, gurgle, gurgle.


Bill said...

jesus christ man! I'm talking about neighbors helping neighbors. I'm not talking about politics. Oh well. God bless us everyone. Good night John Boy.

DogsDontPurr said...

Oh dear. Erin, I thought that was a beautifully written piece about a great project. I was moved.

I am shocked that it attracted such vitriol in the comments. Oy!

Erin O'Brien said...


I am just thankful that I've finally garnered a comment from a reader of the feminine persuasion--and a kind one at that.

Anonymous said...

DDP I'm sorry if you were troubled by my vitriol but I'm under contract and I've gotta make my quota by the end of the year.

Hence a last question. Are the values that govern our behavior not "neighborly" even if the person we endeavor to help is in another time zone or hemisphere?



Bill said...

I don't know if your values are governed or not. Mine aren't. Check with your local government and thanks for making my point.