Thursday, March 17, 2011

Rant: Toledo, Ohio

P.J. O'Rourke from Newsweek magazine was born and raised in Toledo, Ohio and goes on a tear which was published in Newsweek - The City: Toledo. O'Rourke states that:
Downtown, the department stores are closed, as are most of the shops, theaters, restaurants, and bars. The city’s center looks plucked. Half the buildings have been razed. Toledo is a failure.
In an effort to establish credibility by association, Newsweek also published a typically fascist piece about gun control, explaining that if we don't act now we may all wake up dead tomorrow. You can read about it here if you have the stomach. Pardon me while I check on Betsy and see if she got loose again...

Skipping a diatribe concerning Newsweek, gun control and the idiocy of Moonbats, I'll get right to the point of this contribution to the worldly knowledge of mankind. Some years ago I wrote about Toledo and was subsequently published. The publisher is long gone, so I thought I might clean up the article and publish it again. Here it is:

Toledo, Ohio by Mad Jack

Famous for: “Saturday Night in Toledo, Ohio” by John Denver, Jamie “Corporal Klinger” Farr, Tony Packo’s, Toledo Mud Hens, Basset Nut Company, Jeep, Carty Finkbeiner

Overview: Founded in 1833 when two small towns that no one has ever heard of, Port Lawrence and Vistula, snatched up land next to a proposed canal that was going to bypass some rapids on the Maumee river.  The two rival towns managed to bury the hatchet long enough to get Toledo started.

Michigan and Ohio fought a war over Toledo, called the Toledo War (1835-1836).  This family feud ended abruptly when governmental leaders in Michigan realized what they were fighting over.  Michigan was the first to surrender, simultaneously providing the great state of Ohio with the city of Toledo and its only victory.  Ever.

Around 1936 the first building with glass walls was built in Toledo for Owens-Illinois.  This led to a new appreciation of the old saw about glass houses and stones as well as the famous International Style of architecture (see below), sometimes criticized as stark and dehumanizing.  Think: Huge cement box with floor to ceiling windows.

In 1943 Jeep began producing… Jeeps.  This is a spike both economically and culturally.  When Jeep threatened to relocate its massive factory to a different city some years later, Mayor Carlton Finkbeiner offered them the keys to the city tax coffers if they would only stay.  Private property was confiscated by the abuse of eminent domain and Jeep stayed.  Carty is no longer Mayor.

Toledo is located, more or less, at 41°39'56" North, 83°34'31" West (41.665682, -83.575337).  You can find Toledo on Ohio Interstate Route 75 just before you get to the Michigan border, on your way to Detroit.  Toledo is split into unequal parts, both geographically and economically, by the Maumee River.  The city is North of what used to be the Great Black Swamp, which gave rise to another nickname for Toledo; Frog Town.  Oak Openings park, or Mosquito Town, is slightly West of Toledo.  The population of Toledo pegged at around 310,000 in 2002 and has been declining ever since as college graduates migrated elsewhere to find a decent career.

When the populace of Toledo can afford a collar, it’s blue.  There are many quaint, ethnic neighborhoods in Toledo, but don’t go there unless you are fluent in native language and custom.  This is particularly true of the East Side and the Old North End.  The New and Improved North End isn’t much better.

Famous Quotes: “Move the deaf people next to the airport.” C.  Finkbeiner.  This is paraphrased, but unless you know the lyrics to the John Denver song, it’s the only quote worth remembering.

Books About: Banksters, Bosses, and Smart Money: A Social History of the Great Toledo Bank Crash of 1931 by Timothy Messer-Kruse; High Drama in Fabulous Toledo by Lily James; Great Lakes dredging and the environment: Hearing before the Committee on Governmental Affairs, United States Senate, One Hundred Second Congress, first session, July 29, 1991, Toledo, OH (S.  hrg) by United States

Architecture: International Style (see above).

Attractions in Toledo: Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo Zoo, Raceway Park (rumored to be closing and/or moving)

Attractions close to Toledo: Put-In Bay (an island in Lake Erie), Kelly’s Island (largest island in Lake Erie), Cedar Point Amusement Park (Sandusky, OH), Lakeside, Ohio (small town), The Butterfly House (Whitehouse, OH), Wolcott House (Maumee, OH)

Food: All kinds.  Fifi's Restaurant, 1423 Bernath Parkway.  Really expensive, really pretentious, really crappy service, really weird food.; Mancy’s Italian, 5453 Monroe St., Second only to Fifi’s.  Expensive and pretentious.  Good service once you get seated, which can take a few hours unless you are a regular customer, in which case you’ll get in ahead of everyone else.  Mancy’s does this on purpose.; Tony Packo’s Café, 1902 Front Street, Casual, noisy, spicy food.  Good place to get loaded.; Seafood, 5504 Alexis Rd, Good food, good prices.

Music: Murphy’s Place, 151 Water St Live jazz, good booze.  Great place.; Frankie’s Inner City, 308 Main St, Check it out.  If you don’t like it, leave.; Mickey Finn’s Pub, 602 Lagrange St, Live music, good place.  Not far from the famous Lagrange Street Pool Hall.  Carry your pistol with you.

Movie Showtimes: Pick up a copy of the Toledo Blade.

Prostitutes: One of these days somebody will actually go to an oriental massage parlor and want a massage.  Check the sports page of the Toledo Blade for entertainment coupons (Under new management! All new girls!).

Little Known Gem: J&G Pizza, 5692 Main St, Sylvania, OH.  The place is always packed.  Get pizza or a gyro dinner.  Toledo Art Museum.  One of the best museums in the entire United States.

Secret That Everybody Knows: Ann Arbor, Michigan is only 45 minutes North on US 23.

Secret That Few Know: Village Inn, 4984 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Sylvania, Ohio.  Corner of N. Holland Sylvania and Brint Rd.  If you are just regular folks and like beer, rock and roll, good chili and hearty parties then this is the place for you.  There are no BWM’s in the parking lot, but you’ll find a few bikes, trucks and regular guy type cars.  There is an outdoor patio and during the summer the party spills out into the large parking lot.  There are no fights or ass hat drunks.

Getting There and Away: If you stay in Toledo for any length of time, you'll want to leave. Put your car under you and take I-75 either North (to Ann Arbor - see above) or South and keep going.  If you want to head East or West use I-280. The Toledo Express Airport is still open, but at the time of this writing service from any major airline is unreliable. Moreover, be aware that these days the TSA security personnel are more obnoxious than usual.  If you don’t feel like flying, take the train.  Amtrak station is at 415 Emerald Ave.

Public Transport: Toledo Area Regional Transport Authority (TARTA) bus lines. Do not screw around with the drivers.

Taxi! Phone: 419-244-7206 or 419-255-9000 or 419-241-1234.  After about eighty years, someone will show up.

If You Get Busted: If you mess up and do something incredibly stupid and get busted for it, call attorney at law John “Johnny the Hammer” Coble at Albrechta & Coble, 4334 W Central Ave # 224 in Toledo, phone (419) 841-8584; Johnny the Hammer will improve your situation, especially if you have money.

Things to Avoid: Carty Finkbeiner.

Local Twitches: Outlying areas such as Ottawa Hills, Sylvania, Perrysburg, and especially Bowling Green are not a part of Toledo.  The locals are sensitive to this.  Sylvania isn’t Toledo, get me? It's also worth mentioning that Sylvania Township is not the city of Sylvania. The police forces are different, as is the form of government.

Some people claim that O'Rourke's article about Toledo was too harsh and one sided. I maintain that O'Rourke's article bears more resemblance to Toledo than the gun control article bears to safety and common sense.

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