Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A Cleveland Carol

Three short acts featuring the Ghost of Cleveland Present

Hey man, you ever see a Toynbee tile? Come on, take a hold of my sleeve and we'll fly. Don't worry, you can do it. It's easy. Just grab a hold.

See? It's not so bad, like gliding in a dream. Okay, here we are--West 3rd and Prospect. Time to land.

There are Toynbee tiles all over creation, but no one knows what they mean. You're talking your real-life mystery here. No one knows who put them there or quite how they did it. You want to believe that vapors might seep out of the Toynbee tile that you could sniff up like the Oracle of Delphi and have visions. And if you don't get any vapors and visions, maybe the thing will emit mysterious rays that'll fly you up to space where you'll learn important space alien secrets.

Well, maybe not.

But hey--it's still a Toynbee tile and it's right next to the Ritz Carlton, where you have your Ritz doorman with his long stiff coat and furry hat. Although he looks sort of like one of the guards patrolling in front of the Wicked Witch's castle (sans evil spear), he's totally cool. Instead of being all I'm-the-Ritz-Doorman-who-the-hell-are-you, he's utterly righteous and even asks people diggin' on the Toynbee tile (like us) what they think the crazy thing is all about.

Who needs vapors and space rays? You're talking to the Ritz Carlton's front man. You're seeing that Toynbee tile.

You are so down.

Hey man, you hungry? Come on. Let me take you over to the Slavic Village Deli.

Brother, you see those empty lots down there like missing teeth lining the streets? Every one of 'em used to have a house that's since been torn down on account of that being a better option than leaving it vacant. But sometimes this town's heart beats strongest where the fabric is worn thinnest, and while this neighborhood may be torn and frayed, the heartbeat at the Slavic Village Deli will not be denied.

Now up front you've got your deli. You're talking your homemade Polish sausages and bakery--old school from the bottom up. And the pretty girl with the Polish accent and the apron hanging around her hips in a way that makes boys swoon will wrap up all your stuff in white paper so perfectly, you'll practically weep. Now follow me. The dining room is in back.

Slow-cooked kielbasa and sauerkraut? We've got that. Cabbage and noodles? Check. Homemade mashed potato and stuffed cabbage? No problem.

Now, I'm not trying to freak you out or anything, but sometimes when you eat a slice of the poppy seed pound cake, your eyes will get all goo-goo and your heart will grow three sizes too big like that green ol' Doc Seuss dude. No, no--don't worry. It doesn't hurt a bit.

Hey man, you ever see a blimp house? Come on. Grab the sleeve--you know the drill by now. Let me take you over to the blimp house.

Wow. would you dig that.

I know. You're wondering about the blimp activities going on inside the blimp house. Of course the blimps may be out blimping, but even so, you want to yell: Hey man! What's going on inside that blimp house?

Don't worry. It's perfectly normal to become excited while visiting the blimp house. It happens to most everyone.

Wouldn't it be great if the blimp house magically opened up and released a whole bunch of blimps like so many giant balloons? They'd all come floating out of that blimp house and go up up up in the air and blimp around the sky.

And if none of that cool stuff happens, you can still be happy that you are visiting the blimp house. You can smile. You can wink. You can inhale. You can exhale.

You can dance madly backwards until the world disappears.

*  *  *


Jon Moore said...

Well I'll be blimped.
Here ya' go Vince, here's part of the answer to your question posed in an earlier post. Cleveland doesn't have any one big particular draw, it's all the little stuff that makes Cleveland attractive. Even if non-natives can't grasp this.

Erin O'Brien said...

Jon! I knew you'd dig this one.

Cleveland is a magical kingdom and I should know because I am a good witch. I float around in a bubble with a sparkly wand that I use to turn toads into cupcakes.

Okay, who wants to eff with me?

Anonymous said...

I would (will) come to Cleveland if only for the Thinker and the Toynbee Tile. However I never got any feedback(as I recall) about whether you knew outsider artist Rev. Albert Wagner. If not cue up that netflix acct and view "One Bad Cat: The Rev. Albert Wagner Story" then get back to me.


B.E. Earl said...

Since you are queuing up that Netflix account anyways, check out "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles". Actually not sure if it's on Netflix. I watched it from one of those services a few months ago. Fascinating stuff.

Matt Grabski said...

I have read that it can rain inside of the blimp hangar; it's so big that moisture can collect near the ceiling.

DogsDontPurr said...

@Matt Grabski: Yes...I'm pretty sure it can rain inside there. I've experienced the indoor rain phenomenon with a building I own. My building was built in 1910 with super thick concrete walls, 15 foot ceilings and large open spaces. When the weather changes quickly and there is a dramatic temperature shift, I can get actual fog inside, and the walls will weep with dew. It feels sort of like one of those light rain days when you might say it was "misting."

Fortunately, this doesn't happen very often. The weather conditions have to be just right. But it is fascinating when it happens.

I can also get heavy rain inside sometimes, too. But that usually means it's time to patch the roof again!

Erin O'Brien said...

RJ and BEE: "Bad Cat" and "Resurrect Dead" have both been duly added to the Netflix queue.

Mat and DDP: I love that here at the Owner's Manual, commenters can deliver the raining heavens to the interiors of our humble constructs. HELL YEAH.

Anonymous said...

TruDat on the weather phenomena in the zeppelin barn. On a historical note, technically the building was designed for construction and maitenance on zeppelins, not blimps, which is why it's so freakin' big. The Navy experimented with them in the period between the World Wars but after two disasterous accidents in the 1930s the military lost interest in the rigid-framed zeppelins and concentrated on the dirigibles or blimps, which were much smaller and had no fixed frame. The USS Akron was even fitted with the capability to launch small fighter aircraft specially designed and built for the purpose.

Sorry to ramble on. I've been down by the building many times. My brother, who holds a private pilot's license, and my late father, who was taking flying lessons at the adjacent airport spent a lot of time down there.


PS-It is 1:17A on 12/21/12 and apparently the world has not come to an end. Congrats to all on surviving.

Erin O'Brien said...

Ramble all you want, MR. I love the insight.