Monday, November 02, 2020

Fun with Maps - The Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan

 In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Watch this episode.

 About 71% of the earth is covered in water but it’s mostly salt water. The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, and second-largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume. 

Great Lakes from space

Great Lakes from space

Map of Michigan - Lower and Upper Peninsulas

The Yoopers sense of humor

The Yoopers sense of humor

The Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan is bounded by 3 of the Great Lakes – Superior, Michigan and Huron.  

The 5 mile Mackinac Bridge connects the lower part of Michigan with the UP.  The UP contains 29% of the land area of Michigan but just 3% of its total population.  

The Yoopers who live there have a large Finnish population. 

It’s a fascinating area and host Dan Hanson had a lot of fun with this map. He also quotes the great Plain Dealer sportswriter Terry Pluto who is a regular visitor.

See more Fun with Maps episodes

Friday, October 16, 2020

Fun with Maps – Easter Island (Rapa Nui)

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the remote Polynesian island of Rapa Nui or Easter Island.

Though part of Chile, Easter Island has a fascinating culture and history. Dan focuses on the island’s remoteness, the Rapa Nui people and of course the amazing mo’ai, the Easter Island “head” statues.   

Tell me this mo'ai doesn't look like Bart Simpson!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Fun with Maps - Chile

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the long country of Chile. Chile is bordered by the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean and the map has played a big part in its history.

Painting of The Zamacueca by Manuel Antonio Caro. Oil on canvas, collection of the Presidency of the Republic of Chile.

In this episode Dan looks at the Straits of Magellan, the Drake Passage, the huasos, the Mapuche people, Santiago, the largest mountain and volcano in the Americas, the rescue of the miners, interesting Chilean people and more.

Click the arrow to watch the video.

See more Fun with Maps episodes

Sunday, August 23, 2020

St Stephen Church Cornerstone Dedication

 Cleveland's newest Hungarian monument to St. Stephen, the first King of Hungary, is a cornerstone saved from the recently demolished St. Stephen Hungarian Church in McKeesport, Pennsylvania (1900-2020). The cornerstone was brought to the historic St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church at 9016 Buckeye Road in Cleveland Ohio which was established on June 4, 1893.

Welcome to St. Elizabeth Church

The Church and the United Hungarian Societies (UHS) of Cleveland hosted an outdoor dedication of the monument in the Church's courtyard.

The theme of the dedication ceremony was "Honoring our past by remembering St. Stephen's Catholic Church of McKeesport."

America's first Hungarian Roman Catholic churches in order of cornerstone-laying date:

  • St. Elizabeth's Church - Cleveland, OH. June 4, 1893
  • St Mary's Church - Throop, PA. July 21, 1895
  • St. Stephen's Church - East Toledo, OH. Dedication August 20, 1899
  • St. Stephen's Church - Bridgeport, CT. November 30, 1899
  • St. Stephen's Church - McKeesport, PA. September 8, 1900

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Fun with Maps - Lebanon

 In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson looks at the historic country of Lebanon.  Though small in size the influence of Lebanon and its people is huge. 

Tragically, the capital of Beirut was devastated by explosions in August 2020. 

Vigil in Lebanese Cultural Garden in Cleveland for Beirut

Pierre Bejjani, Ms. Blanche Salwan and Mr. Faris Alameh

 In this episode of Fun with Maps, Dan looks at the major cities, culture, geography, the cedar tree, famous Lebanese people and some fascinating history from the Phoenicians to the present. 

More Fun with Maps episodes

Lebanese in Cleveland

Monday, July 27, 2020

Fun with Maps - New Zealand and Zealandia

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson looks at New Zealand and the Lost Continent of Zealandia in Oceania. New Zealand is home to the Maori people, terrific rugby like the All Blacks team, the haka dance, the beautiful scenery as the setting of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies, Milford Sound and much more.  Modern technology is allowing us to see more of the huge lost continent of Zealandia underneath New Zealand, 94% submerged under the ocean.

See more Fun with Maps episodes

More on New Zealanders in Cleveland

Here's a great video of a Haka before a game.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Captive Nations Week 2020

Captive Nations Week was first recognized in 1959 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the urging of future Cleveland Mayor Ralph Perk Sr. and Congressmen Charles Vanik and US Senator Frank Lausche. Captive Nations Week has been supported each 3rd week in July by every US president since.

Judge Ralph Perk Jr. is the current (and only the third) president of the American Nationalities Movement. The first president was his father, the late Mayor Ralph Perk. He was followed by Irene Morrow. All three have been inducted into the Cleveland International Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the region's ethnic diversity and heritage.

Judge Ralph Perk Jr.

The American Nationalities Movement was formed for the purpose of uniting all the nationalities in the United States in the goal to educate, advocate and represent their interests of all the diverse ethnic groups to the public and mostly to the political leaders of the United States. This pursuit of our common interest to achieve an understanding of the complex issues that confront each group individually and collectively and that without our united efforts all of us will be endanger.
Judge Perk gave some opening remarks and then read the current proclamation from President Donald Trump.

Czech Cultural Garden in Cleveland
Joseph Meissner
The annual Captive Nations week dinner event could not be held because of the Coviv19 pandemic so Judge Perk and a few community leaders gathered (socially distant) in the Czech Cultural Garden in Cleveland.

Michael Patterson, Joe Meissner, Pierre Bejjani, Ralph Perk and Paul Burik

Photos and videos of Captive Nations Week in Cleveland

Thursday, July 09, 2020

Fun with Maps – Estuaries and the Hudson River

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson looks at estuaries and then drills down on the Hudson River in New York State in the US.

The Hudson River forms the west border of New York City’s Manhattan Island.

 He also looks at the battles of Saratoga which took place along the Hudson River Valley in the Revolutionary War.

See more Fun with Maps

Sunday, June 21, 2020

I’m in a Nike commercial!

Well, not me but my video.

4 years ago I was with a million plus of my friends at the Cavs Championship parade.  As usual I had my video camera and posted footage. 

The ad agency for Nike bought the rights to a few seconds of one of the videos featuring LeBron James riding down 9th street (I was about at Superior).

 It’s being used in a TV commercial called The Comeback.  WooHoo! 

My part is at the 36 second mark   Don't Blink

Fun with Maps - Feedback and Foldable Maps

In this episode of Fun with Maps host Dan Hanson considers some viewer feedback and answers their questions. He explains what the dots on the maps mean and shows the world map on the stage of the new plaza in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.

Then he gives a demo of the classic old school foldable paper map that has been around forever.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Fun with Maps - Budapest

In this episode of Fun with Maps, host Dan Hanson shows map of a city that is really 2 cities, Buda and Pest, split by the famous Danube River but joined together as Budapest, Hungary.

Budapest is one of the most visited cities in the world and is a hub of music, culture, architecture, education and so on. It's history - Turkish occupation, Austria-Hungary, Lajos Kossuth, Revolution of 1956 - all were influenced by the map.

From the spas and baths to the bridges, the musical influence (Liszt, Bartok, etc.) to other notable citizens (Houdini, Rubik, etc.) Budapest is a fascinating city.

Friday, May 08, 2020

Fun With Maps- Indonesia

In this episode of Fun with Maps,I show the map of the largest archipelago nation in the world – Indonesia. Archipelagos are often volcanic and as you will see, this certainly applies to Indonesia. 

It consists of more than seventeen thousand islands. You may have heard of Sumatra, Java, New Guinea (Papua), Bali, Borneo and so on. 

Here's a link to the first part of the Fun with Maps- Indonesia

The second part of Fun with Maps - Indonesia shows the Ring of Fire, the biodiversity and looks at some of the bigger islands.

You can see all the Fun with Maps series here

Friday, May 01, 2020

Ukrainian Cultural Garden in Bloom

The Ukrainian Cultural Garden in Cleveland was in bloom when we visited on April 28, 2020. The beautiful flowering trees framed the statue of Lesya Ukrainka.

Lesya Ukrainka statue

More photos of Ukrainian Cultural Garden

Russian Cultural Garden Springtime

Flowers were in bloom in the Russian Cultural Garden in Cleveland when we visited on April 28, 2020. The tulips by the sign were a welcome addition to the bust of Yuri Gagarin, the ring of honor and other features of the Garden.

Russian Garden photos

Cleveland Cultural Gardens Centennial Peace Plaza progress

The first of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens was established in 1916 making the Gardens over 100 years old. The Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation (CCGF) is the non-profit volunteer-led group that governs the Gardens. They decided to honor the centennial by making a gift to the community in the form of the Centennial Peace Plaza.

The motto of the CCGF is "Peace through Mutual Understanding" and the Plaza is designed to be a gathering place for the community to share music, dance, art, education, camaraderie and share ethnic heritages.

The multi-ton medallion is just a few feet away from the much-traveled MLK Boulevard so will be a focal point of the Plaza.

Video tour and photos of the Plaza

Monday, April 27, 2020

Fun with Maps - Wuhan China

If all you know about Wuhan is what you've heard the last few months about the covid-19 virus, you should watch this episode of Fun with Maps.

When we look at the map and the transportation options starting with the Yangtze River we see why many have called Wuhan the "Chicago of China." Learn more about this city of 11 million people than what you may see on the news.

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Fun with Maps

Like millions of others I am a fan of the Big Bang Theory and especially Sheldon Cooper. I even liked his Fun with Flags videos. Seriously. I wished they would continue.

My name is Dan Hanson and I have also been a longtime fan of maps and the role they play in a region's history, commerce, politics, culture and so on. So I started a new video podcast series called Fun with Maps.

Running which features the 120 or so different ethnic groups that are represented in the area, I've noticed how the geography of a place has played a role in its culture and history.
For example:,
  • When you see how close the Horn of Africa is to the Arabian Peninsula you will understand how important the Suez Canal , Red Sea and Gulf of Aden are.

  • Or what does it mean for Ethiopia to be landlocked?

  • Or for Somalia to have that huge coastline?

  • How did a little piece of Russia get to the West of Lithuania?

  • Which river is longer - The Nile or the Amazon?

  • Why can you see the Aurora Borealis so often in Lapland? And what famous figure comes from Lapland?

We won't just look at countries and large regions. We'll look at how cities split by a river (Chicago, Cleveland, Budapest, etc.) have been influenced by their geography.

There's so much more.

Don't expect cinematic artistry. I don't have the ability and that's not the intention. I just want to share my interest in Maps with others.

So Sheldon Cooper had Fun with Flags and I'm now hoping you will join me in having Fun with Maps.

Watch the introductory video of Fun with Maps. 

Currently there are 3 episodes posted (in addition to the intro video)

The Horn of Africa, Finland and the Nile River.

See Fun with Maps

Thursday, February 06, 2020

Orchid Mania 2020 at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden celebrates one of the world’s most exotic and beautiful flowers at their annual flower show, Orchid Mania. From the moment you enter, you will see colorful displays of orchids everywhere.

Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden

See photos and videos from Orchid Mania

Dan's first novel published - ​Murder in the Cultural Gardens

"It just didn’t seem right to DJ.  A body found bludgeoned in a place known for “Peace through Mutual Understanding.”  But there she was, crumpled behind a bust of composer Franz Liszt in the Hungarian Cultural Garden.   He pulled out his cell phone and dialed 911.  “What is the nature of your emergency?” the dispatcher queried.  With a suddenly very dry mouth DJ managed to get out, “There’s been a murder in the Cultural Gardens.” 

That's the opening paragraph in my novel.  It's a whodunit that takes place in the Cleveland Cultural Gardens.  

I have a quick webpage set up - Murder in the Cultural Gardens
and the book is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon 

Let me know what you think!

Do you know what this is?

We post a lot of content on our family of webpages and we never know which pages will be popular.  Sometimes it is surprising.

For example, we get lots of views from all over the world on a page for an object like this:

Believe it or not it is a bedpan!  The picture was sent in by a site visitor.

The page about collecting bedpans is extremely popular!  Who Knew?

Street named for Cleveland Chinese leader Stanley Eng

Ward 7 Councilman Basheer Jones spearheaded a posthumous honor for Mr. Stanley Eng, a community leader, with the addition of an honorary street name to E. 30th Street in Cleveland, Ohio. The Ceremony took place Saturday, December 7, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Asia Plaza.

Mr. Stanley Eng (1926-2004) was selected for this honor by many leaders in the AsiaTown community. He founded and led several organizations including the Cleveland Chinese Senior Citizens Association, which still exists today, and he was best known for his work on behalf of the poor and elderly residents of Cleveland’s Chinatown (now known as AsiaTown). He spearheaded efforts to provide much-needed housing for elderly Chinese Americans that resulted in the Asian Evergreen Apartments on Payne Avenue, launched a meal program serving over 50 seniors per day at Li Wah, and led English language classes at the Cleveland Chinese Christian Church.

Photos and videos of the Stanley Eng ceremony

Mexican Cultural Garden Committee approved

On January 20, 2020 the newly formed Comite Mexicano de Cleveland presented their plans for a Mexican Cultural Garden to the Board of Directors of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation.

See more from the Mexican Cultural Garden group

Mexican Cultural Garden Committee

Cultural Gardens Plaza Progress

Jose Casanova with Lakeland Construction gave Dan Hanson an update on the construction of the Centennial Peace Plaza project of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens Federation. Architect Berj Shakarian is seen at the end. Look for the ribbon cutting in May 2020.

Vietnamese Theme of Orchid Mania at Cleveland Botanical Garden

Cleveland Botanical Garden celebrates one of the world’s most exotic and beautiful flowers at their annual flower show, Orchid Mania.

The theme of the 2020 Orchid Mania is Vibrant Vietnam.

This year Orchid Mania celebrates the natural beauty of Vietnam, and the Vietnamese culture that cherishes nature and plants. From the warm tropical forests and expansive coastline to rolling hills and mountains, plant diversity thrives throughout Vietnam. Orchids grown in the region are diverse and celebrated throughout the year. Orchid Mania explores four highlights of plant culture in Vietnam – natural areas, agriculture, food, and flowers.

Ms. Gia Hoa Ryan, a leader of the local Vietnamese community and Vietnam Cultural Garden, assisted with the design and items in the presentation such as food items, bicycles, musical instruments and more.

Photos and videos of Vibrant Vietnam at Orchid Mania 2020

Vibrant Vietnam at Orchid Mania

Vibrant Vietnam at Orchid Mania

Vietnamese instrument at Vibrant Vietnam at Orchid Mania

Dance performances at India Republic Day

Before dinner at the sold our India Republic Day event several talented dance groups performed a variety of Indian dance. Here is a video medley of some of the performances.

See more pictures of dances at India Republic Day

India Republic Day performers

India Republic Day performers

India Republic Day performers

India Republic Day

Federation of India Community Associations is an organization dedicated to serving the needs of the Asian Indian Community in Northeast Ohio. From its humble beginnings as a student association in 1962, it has grown to be the voice of a diaspora of over 20,000 and on the increase. FICA helps Asian Indian families assimilate into the mosaic of greater Cleveland. Each year they host several events including a celebration of Republic Day.

According to Wikipedia, Republic Day honors the date on which the Constitution of India came into effect on January 26, 1950 replacing the Government of India Act as the governing document of India. The Constitution was adopted by the Indian Constituent Assembly on 26 November 1949, and came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system, completing the country's transition towards becoming an independent republic. 26 January was chosen as the Republic day because it was on this day in 1929 when Declaration of Indian Independence was proclaimed by the Indian National Congress as opposed to the Dominion status offered by the British Regime.

A sell out crowd of 450 attended FICA's Republic Day event on Saturday February 1, 2020. The evening began with the singing of the national anthems of the United States and India.

India Republic Day guests

India Republic Day guests

India Republic Day guests

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Annual Magnum Party

Each year we like to gather an eclectic group of friends and business associates for a holiday lunch. No, it's not just techies. Media, non-profits, politicians, business, cultural - they were all represented. The food and atmosphere at Bo Loong at 38th and St. Clair is always terrific and our 75 guests maxed out the party room.

Dan Hanson and Cleveland Fire Chief Angelo Calvillo

Councilwoman Dona Brady, Qaisra Haider, Nate Curry, Basil Russo, Mayor Georgine Welo
Judge Dan Polster and Kevin Goodman
Mayor Ron Falconi and Deborah Yue

The attendees are involved in one or more of the projects that we are involved in such as:
  • Computers Assisting People (CAP) Inc. which has refurbished and donated almost 20,000 PCs to over 500 schools and non-profits in Cleveland.

  • where we celebrate the 100+ ethnic groups in the area and make it a more attractive destination for immigrant talent as well as showing what a cool and diverse city we live in.

  • which has grown, by popular demand, from a section on GreatLakesGeek to its own website with some great speakers and topics.

  • which was intended to give visiting reporters some interesting stories during the RNC and Cavs championship run but has evolved into a collection of great Cleveland stories, firsts and landmarks.

  • which is for foodies, chefs and wannabe chefs as we celebrate how Cleveland has become a foodie town with great chefs and restaurants.

  • Cleveland Food Adventurers a group that visits local ethnic restaurants and learns about the food and culture while enjoying camaraderie and a great meal.

  • for the 50 and over crowd and those who care for and about them.

  • ClevelandWomen.Com for girls and women of all ages in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio

  • Cleveland International Hall of Fame which recognizes lifetimes of important and enduring contributions to Cleveland's multi cultural communities.

  • The business, science and technology information on is becoming more essential as many of our longtime favorite print publications have disappeared or cut back.

  • Magnum Computers Inc. where we try and earn some $ so we can volunteer more for CAP and support our other projects. (grin)

  • ClevelandPets.Com for the four-legged (and other) members of our families.
  • And some more projects we are working on
When asked what the diverse group of guests had in common, some reflection made it clear that they, like us, love Cleveland. Most have had many opportunities to work and live in other cities. But we have all chosen to be here because we believe in the city.

As attendees introduced themselves, this became evident and all were impressed by the positive outlooks expressed.

And though the techies naturally gravitated to their own area, as did the media, international, political and other types of guests the fun was when seemingly unconnected people discovered a thread that connected them to someone else in the room.

Want to be invited next year? Let's do some positive things together next year.
Let's talk.

Sunday, January 05, 2020

Some English words that come from Irish Gaelige

According to, "The Irish language, known as Gaelige in Irish, is a Celtic language. Records of Irish, the ancient and historic language of the Irish people, date back to the fifth century. Today, it's estimated that there are nearly 75,000 daily Irish speakers in Ireland, with over 1.5 million learning it as a second language. It is an official language in Ireland, and if you have ever visited the country, you will see the language on road signs and government documents.

While you may not know any Irish yourself outside of fáilte ("welcome") or sláinte ("cheers"), some of the English vocabulary and slang you use comes from or is influenced by the Irish language. Irish people have immigrated to English-speaking countries, particularly England and the US, for centuries."

Here are a few examples.

Wednesday, January 01, 2020

A Christmas Story house in Cleveland

The movie A Christmas Story is a holiday classic. It seemingly airs around the clock for weeks during the Christmas season and an annual Christmas Eve marathon showing attracts tens of millions of viewers. Many parts of the film are now iconic: the leg lamp, the tongue sticking to the flagpole, the bunny suit, the official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle and so on.

A Christmas Story house sign

Much of the movie was filmed in Cleveland - at the Higbee's department store and at what has become A Christmas Story House in the Tremont neighborhood of Cleveland.

A Christmas Story house in Cleveland

The A Christmas Story House has been restored to the movie condition and has become a popular tourist destination year round, not just during the holidays.

Visitors can even book overnight stays in the house to relive their favorite parts of the movie. It is located at 3159 W. 11th St., Cleveland, OH 44109 in the Tremont neighborhood. Just five minutes from downtown Cleveland.

Right across the street is A Christmas Story Museum, which features original props, costumes and memorabilia from the film, as well as hundreds of rare behind-the-scenes photos. Among the props and costumes are the toys from the Higbee's window, Randy's snowsuit, the chalkboard from Miss Shields' classroom and the family car.

1939 Ford Fire Truck at A Christmas Story Museum

The Christmas Story House is open year round, 7 days a week from 10am to 5pm with extended hours during Christmas time. Tours run every hour starting at 10:15 am. There are two free parking lots and free street parking.

Next to Ralphie's house is the Bumpus House which was the home to Ralphie's hillbilly neighbors, the Bumpuses, and their 785 smelly hound dogs. The Bumpus Hounds are famous for harassing Ralphie's Old Man and stealing the Christmas turkey. Visitors can book a night in the Bumpus House too.

Ralphie in bunny suit at Bumpus House

More from A Christmas Story house in Cleveland