Saturday, May 31, 2008
Where else in the city can you sit in your bay window and blog about a running race while watching the finishing immediate below your window? This year's event is a brilliant success with a great crowd, fun atmosphere, hard working organizers and volunteers and beer booth! It isn't Cincinnati without a Christian Moerlein at 10:30 AM!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Or maybe I'm just a big dummy who gets lost every time he's up there for no apparent reason.
1. My brief feelings of nostalgia for when Taste was on Central Parkway ended as I walked the block of the festivities between Sycamore and Broadway. Like Central Parkway, that area is wide open--and almost completely shade-free. The shade of the tall buildings that surround Taste between Race and Sycamore really does help to keep the temperature comfortable.
2. Julie led a discussion here (and at her solo blog) a little while ago about national chain restaurants winning "Best of Taste" awards. I agreed with her that it seems a little off-putting for those restaurants to win awards in a "Taste of Cincinnati" competition. But maybe I'm being hypocritical. Is it really chains that we don't want to see win, or was it the type of chain that won this year that's upsetting? Carrabba's is just so corporate suburban. Red Lobster may as well have a booth. But I don't remember any opprobrium when Hamburger Mary's was winning for best dessert. It, too, is a national chain, but maybe not so off-putting because it's not so cookie-cutter.
3. I wish there were a little more participation from downtown restaurants. I'm also always intrigued by the placement of the booths. For instance, who decided to put Taz next to Andy's? I kept hoping some sort of shish kabob street brawl would break out.
4. Finally, is it just me, or are strollers becoming the size of SUV's? And why do mothers seem to need to use them as battering rams to cut a path through the crowd? Maybe that's just the selfish, single guy in me speaking, but there's a special place in Hell for women who bruise your shin with their fortified stroller.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Two volunteers braved the throng of suburbanites at the Taste of Cincinnati yesterday to help promote the 2008 Cincinnati Fringe, which starts Tuesday night. They are even sporting this year's spiffy volunteer T-shirt. If you want to volunteer, it is not to late. Click here for more!
For full Fringe coverage, please head over to
The Conveyor where we'll be blogging from the bowels of the Fringe festival headquarters on a daily basis.
Saturday, May 24, 2008
This blog isn't ending. I don't want to scare anyone that I'm going to quit, though some may want that! I've been posting less lately, and that I don't think that will change. Adding new writers I think has really made this blog a much better place to come for opinion. I'd even consider adding someone else new if there are any other takers out there, email me!
I think much has changed in 6 years, in the city and in the world in terms of attitudes. I think my attitude has changed a lot. I don't know that I've changed my ways much, but looking back on what I was writing about the first day, I think perspective and a little more age has moved me along. I care more now, than I did then, but I care enough not to say as much now. So, we'll see how things change over the next 6 years. In the mean time, check out the www.theconveyor.com for some non-political writing with the second year coverage of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, kicking off on Tuesday.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Johairo Munoz was sent to prison today for seven years after he admitted to placing a 3-year-old boy in a cold shower as punishment after the child soiled himself.
Seven years? For exposing a kid to a little cold water? Maybe not approved by the Parenting 101 textbook, but still, that seems tough. Seems like a cold shower might even be preferable to a swat on the behind. But, well, whoops, it turns out there's more:
Munoz became outraged with the child soiled himself, prosecutors said. He beat the child with his hands and belt and then held the child under a cold shower for up to 30 minutes. When the child was taken to the hospital, his body temperature was 92 degrees, six degrees below normal.
Umm, he wasn't sent away for seven years for giving the kid "a cold shower." He was sent for beating the crap out of the child, and then leaving him in a shower that was way too cold for far too much time. Sounds like the boy could have suffered hypothermia. Seven years might even be a lenient sentence.
I generally like Kimball Perry's courthouse reporting, but this time his opening line might have been a little too succinct.
Adonica Jones-Parks, addressing the school's "chaos" publicly for the first time, said teachers, staff and outside agencies are trying hard to curtail student violence and other misbehavior. But parents too often don't follow through on discipline, she said.
Let's see, elementary school kids are what --- first grade through, maybe, sixth or eighth grades? So ages 6 to 14 or so, right? Presumably Hays-Porter Elementary School is run by adults and the parents of these children brought them into the world, so have assumed the responsibilities of adults even if they themselves are children. Yet, "chaos" apparently reigns? How can that be? Why should "chaos" be tolerated by adults charged with supervising children? Why should an elementary school simply be allowed to become a training ground for the penal system?
Is education critically important for the lives of these children? Do their parents believe that? Do we believe that? If we all, including the parents of these children, can agree that education is critical to the future of these children, then how can we tolerate "chaos"? How can we as a society not intervene into an environment that allows such "chaos" to occur? What would that intervention look like?
I think about how my late mother handled those moments of "chaos" involving me and my brother and our friends. More often than not it was simply THE LOOK that instilled fear and calmed the chaos, in that we had learned from experience that THE LOOK was to be respected. Embodied in THE LOOK were years of learning boundaries and discipline and respect for those who had authority in the world by virtue of their status --- Now, it seems that such respect has all but disappeared in much of our culture. How do we teach respect in a world where respect is not valued?
Are we to simply write this situation off to poverty or racism? Is that a legitimate response in the face of the world in which these children will become adults --- a world where a black man with a foreign sounding name, raised by a single white mother, is poised to become President of the United States. Are we to simply say to another generation of children in our cities, "we don't know what to do with you, don't really care much about you because your own communities seemingly care little for you, and therefore, we will do nothing about the chaos you create and live in --- other than partition it"? This is not enough. As Senator Obama has said:
"A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family contributed to the erosion of black families — a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods — parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pickup, building code enforcement — all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continues to haunt us.
For all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it — those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations — those young men and, increasingly, young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future."
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Folks, this is why the civil justice system exists. As much as "tort reformers" like to vent about the infamous McDonald's suit (which itself was meritorious when one considers all of the facts, not just those commonly cited), far more often plaintiffs who win following a jury trial are like the poor Grows in this case--traumatically injured because of someone else's tortious conduct. Such people deserve to be compensated for their injuries.
The plaintiffs were represented by Patrick Beirne of the Lawrence Firm, a boutique shop best known for its work in medical malpractice cases.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The river's running pretty high right now. Parts of Yeatman's Cove are underwater. What now looks like a real cove, normally is a large concrete platform.
I went on a stroll early this morning and took a few pictures. The weekend mornings downtown and especially along the river are so beautiful on days like today. There are a few metal benches that line the upper plaza along Yeatman's Cove and I sat there for a while this morning with my IPod and coffee and was amazed by both the calmness and fury of the river. It would have been a sight to see this area when the river was the driver of Cincinnati economy. I only saw parked boats this morning. I didn't wouldn't have expected to see many out at 8:30 on a Sunday morning. I think the high waters makes it more of a concern for boaters, so it doesn't surprise me the waters were sans vessels. I really enjoy walking on weekend mornings and going down to the Cove will likely be a regular destination for me this spring and summer. Greenspace and a waterway make a great front lawn for the city.
While I understand that the work had to be completed, I was somewhat surprised when it was scheduled for the two weeks immediately prior to the Taste. Why not do it either a) two weeks earlier, to make sure it's done before the Taste begins, or b) two weeks later, after the Taste?
Hopefully the asphalt will be completely sealed by Saturday, and Taste-goers won't have to relive the sticky-street debacle of 2005.
The seven-games series follows the "2-3-2" format. Games 1 and 2 will be in Cincinnati next Saturday and Sunday, respectively, at 7:30. Games 3, 4, and 5 are in Vegas. Games 6 and 7, if necessary, will be back at US Bank Arena on Thursday, June 5, and Saturday, June 7, also at 7:30.
It appears that tickets are now on sale for Games 1 and 2, at the wallet-friendly prices of $10.00 and $22.50 for seats. Next weekend should be a great weekend: folks can come downtown for Taste of Cincinnati, and then stick around for either the May Festival or the 'Clones game.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
This is a major victory for those of us who believe that marriage is a fundamental individual right protected by our constitutions, and that implicit in that fundamental individual right is the right to choose who one will marry. It pays to remember that there was a time not so very long ago when the government told whites and blacks that they could not, as a matter of law, marry across their racial lines.
Reactionary religious forces were quick to react. Matt Barber, the Policy Director for Cultural Issues for Concerned Women for America (stands to reason that their Policy Director would be male) said:
"So-called 'same-sex marriage' is a ridiculous and oxymoronic notion that has been forced into popular lexicon by homosexual activists and their extremist left-wing allies. If people who engage in homosexual behavior want to dress up and play house, that's their prerogative, but we shouldn't destroy the institutions of legitimate marriage and family in order to help facilitate a counterfeit."
There will no doubt be efforts made to put this issue on the ballot in California in the fall with an effort to amend the California Constitution.
From a political standpoint, this creates a real problem for the Democratic presidential candidates, particularly Senator Obama, the presumptive nominee. Democrats have been fundamentally dishonest on the issue of same-sex marriage for some time now, trying to hold the center by favoring some form of "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions" for same-sex couples, while preserving the religiously infused and normative category of "marriage" for opposite-sex couples. GLBT persons have let them get away with this because of some bizarre belief that these politicians really didn't believe what they were saying about marriage and that, in the dark of night, they really, really, really were on our side (President Clinton's deplorable and disgraceful signing of the federal Defense of Marriage Act apparently notwithstanding). Now Senator Obama will have to tell us whether he believes the California Supreme Court is correct when it holds that anything less than full marriage rights, including the nomenclature, relegates same-sex couples to some second class status that should not be tolerated in Senator Obama's new paradigm for American politics.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger responded to the decision in this manner, "I respect the Court’s decision and as Governor, I will uphold its ruling. Also, as I have said in the past, I will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling."
Let's see who the Straight Talkers (pun very much intended) are now . . . . . .
As for me, I am grabbing my man, picking out a gown, and heading for San Francisco.
It was one of those everyday scenes that remind us why we love the city [Cincinnati]. Such as:
From the Kentucky side of the river, the skyline rises in white stone, steel and glass. The river sparkles blue and green. Colorful bridges, dusty blue, purple and yellow, frame the view of towering buildings that are almost mythical in the sunshine.
And it's all just a short walk from the Ohio side. Newport on the Levee is right across the Purple People Bridge, which is crowded by office workers jogging or walking to lunch. Where else can you have lunch in another state and be back by 1 p.m.?
On a Saturday night, the new restaurants on Fountain Square are packed. Crowds mill about enjoying the light show that covers an entire building on the north side of the square.
A balcony at the new Via Vite restaurant overlooks the fountain as it catches lights and colors and splashes like a waterfall in captivity. A man at a keyboard plays soft jazz. The water dances. Conversations ebb and flow.
Who knew there were such islands of serenity downtown? Who knew the stuffy old Queen City goes out on Saturday nights?
So who is this new lover of downtown Cincinnati? Peter Bronson.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
First, Marc Dann (finally!) resigned.
And CNN (along with several other media outlets) reports that John Edwards is about to endorse Barack Obama.
Two nails in two separate coffins, all in the span of about two hours.
Start your week with a hot latin-inspired concert!
Join innovative chamber ensemble CONCERT:NOVA and visual artist Anya Gerasimchuk for an evening of music, art and Monday night bites at Twist! A collaboration featuring hot tango and flamenco influences, concert:nova throws traditional performance practice out the window and ushers in an eclectic selection of modern and classical work for you to dance your way into the work week at Jean-Robert de Cavel's hot new downtown lounge. Afterward, please hang out and listen to DJ Ben spin some more saucy sounds.
Admission: $10 at the door/$8 students and ETA members
Venue: Twist Lounge at Pigall's
Twist is located at 127 W. Fourth St. 45202 in downtown Cincinnati, 513.721.1345 by phone. Full bar and delicious Petit Bites Menu. Click here for a description. Street and garage parking available.Valet parking available for Pigall's dinner guests.
Please forward this event to your friends!
Find out more about the program at www.concertnova.com and Anya's work at www.AnyaGerasimchuk.com.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
New Stage Collective has announced their 2008-2009 season and to celebrate they are having a party only Mr. Big could love: New Stage in the City/Sex and the City Party
Season Subscription Kickoff Party
Friday, May 16 8-11pm at Below Zero Lounge
Celebrate NSC’s new season with a swanky party worthy of Carrie Bradshaw! Below Zero Lounge (12th & Walnut St., downtown) hosts the celebration on Friday, May 16 from 8-11pm, featuring a raffle of New Stage in the City subscriptions, Sex and the City Movie swag, Sarah Jessica Parker fragrance gifts, and much more!
Also on tap is an incredible evening of music with Terry LaBolt at the piano, and featuring a slew of special guests, including performances by Richard Oberacker, Amy Warner, Charlie Clark, Taylore Mahogany Scott, Sherman Fracher, Steven Milloy, Alan Patrick Kenny, Sherry McCamley, cast members of NSC’s upcoming Jerry Springer: The Opera, and more. Hosted by Cincinnati legend Penny Tration!"
Best of Taste: Burbank’s Real Barbeque - Southern Smoked Chicken Tenders
Award of Excellence: Buffalo Southwest Express – Wings & Egg Rolls
Award of Merit: Bangkok Bistro – Crab Rangoon
Soup & Salad
Best of Taste: Indigo Casual Gourmet Café – Black & Blue Tuna Salad
Award of Excellence: Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Mama Mandola Sicilian Chicken Soup
Award of Merit: Market Street Grille – Potato Soup
Best of Taste: Carrabba’s Italian Grill– Chicken Bryan
Award of Excellence: Taz Restaurant – Chicken Kabob Sandwich
Award of Merit: Pit to Plate BBQ – Hickory Smoked Pulled Pork
Best of Taste: Shanghai Mama’s – Seafood Shanghai Noodles
Award of Excellence: Carrabba’s Italian Grill – Grilled Salmon
Award of Merit: La Petite France – Crabmeat Crepe
Best of Taste: Arloi Dee – Vegetable Pad Thai
Award of Excellence: Balboa’s Philly Steaks & Pizza – Slice of Cheese Pizza
Award of Merit: Bella Luna – Grande Ravioli
Best of Taste: Buca di Beppo – Tiramisu
Award of Excellence: Bella Luna – Dark Chocolate Bread Pudding
Award of Merit: La Petite France – Chocolate Berries & Fruit Crepe
Best Damn Dish: Chicken Bryan
I'm sorry. I really am, but non-Cincinnati based restaurants shouldn't be able to win "Best Damn Dish" at The Taste of Cincinnati. I know, I know, they say it's "Best of Taste"-- but I'd prefer La Rosa's or Skyline to win over Carrabba's. I know that logistically, it would be hard for a restaurant to do taste if it is fairly small (though Bella Luna and La Petite France seem to do well), but I'm thinking Jeff Ruby's could do a booth (potatoes Anna, anyone?), and Jean-Robert Group does The Flower Show every year. I don't mind if national chains are present, but they shouldn't be able to win awards.
Sunday, May 11, 2008
I'm now horrified by what Dann has done in the Office of the Attorney General. Everyone around him agrees that it's time for him to go. (Ironic, isn't it, that Dann's campaign blog was called "Coins for Change: Returning Trust to Ohio"?) Whether Dann should resign seems beyond debate. Instead, I'm more interested in the answers to two other questions:
1. Why won't Dann go? Could the reason be financial? I don't know what Dann's personal or family wealth is. As an attorney, he'd been in practice at a relatively small Youngstown law firm. A comfortable living, no doubt, but not Stan Chesley dollars by any means. Could Dann be worried about what he'll do to earn a living if he resigns?
2. What impact does this have on Ted Strickland's chances of becoming the Democrats' candidate for Vice-President? There's been lots of discussion that HRC might ask him to join her on the ticket if she won (though we now know she's lost). Today, some of the Sunday morning talking heads suggested that Obama could also tap him as his running-mate, on the theory that Obama should choose a Clinton-supporter as a means of extending an olive branch to those who voted for her during the primary season. Is there fear that Strickland could be tied to Dann? And will Dann hurt Ohio Democrats in down-ticket races? Remember, we won on a wave of anti-Republican-corruption sentiment. Now the Republicans can remind voters of Philanderer General Dann's obstinate refusal to leave his office.
As long as I'm polluting Griff's blog with sports news that has nothing to do with Miami (OH)*, congratulations to the Cincinnati Cyclones, who yesterday scored four goals in the third period to force overtime against the South Carolina Stingrays and then scored again, thus taking a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven conference finals. If the Cyclones win the series, they will face the winner of the Las Vegas Wranglers-Utah Grizzlies series for the league championship and the Kelly Cup. If the Stingrays manage to rally, the next contest in Cincinnati would be Game 6 on Monday, May 19.
* Yes, I know the parenthetical strikes anger and resentment in the hearts of Miami (OH) fans everywhere. Muhahaha.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
A few years later, though, his glory days as a player clearly over, he started wearing a Washington uniform (I don't recall if they were the Bullets or the Wizards then). He was still MJ. You couldn't root against him. But it was tough to see him, playing in games that his team would certainly lose. He remained a professional. He stayed committed to winning. You just knew he wasn't going to get there. He could have had lots of other roles in the game at which he'd excel: as a coach, a general manager, even, with his millions, an owner. But he shouldn't have been out on the floor dunking anymore.
Today, I feel the same way about Hillary Clinton. I came of political age when the Clintons were in their glory years. I cheered when she was elected to the US Senate. I think she'll ultimately be one of the most brilliant Senate majority leaders in history.
But now she's leading a team that can't win. She still Hillary Clinton. I can't root against her or her husband even as I root for Obama). But as I watch her, I wonder why she doesn't realize her role in the game has changed. She's no longer destined to reside in the White House. It's time to play out the rest of her career in the Senate. But the presidential game has passed her by.
Hillary: you're starting to resemble the heavyweight boxer who kept fighting for too long. Time to pass the torch. But Barack: you'd better be more ready to carry that torch than you've appeared these past few weeks.
At one point, Flack suggests that few people stay downtown after attending a Reds game. To support this, he approaches a twenty-something-looking couple with a baby (who appeared to be six to nine months-old at most), coming out of GABP. Flack reports the time to be about 10:00. The couple says they're headed home. For Flack, that's good enough, quod erat demonstrandum.
What? At 10:00 at night, a couple with a small baby isn't going to stay downtown? They're not going to the Cadillac Ranch to set the little tyke on the bull for a ride? If downtown isn't the place for six-month-olds to hang out until the wee hours of the morning, then there's no hope at all for the future of the Queen City. (I've never really understood parents that take children that young to night games, anyhow, but that's for another post.)
Finally, why didn't Flack's piece show pictures of places where people are? On a temperate evening, for instance, on the patio of the Cadillac Ranch? Lined up to get into Bang on Fourth Street (in fairness, I think one of his shots showed the valet line at the end of the night)? On Fountain Square?
WLWT is apparently taking its "fair and balanced" cues from Fox News.
UPDATE: Just to be clear, this post discusses the Flack-attack that was on the 11:00 news. I hadn't yet seen the piece archived on WLWT's website (which apparently aired somewhere in the 5:00-6:30 local news marathon). While the linked piece is a little more balanced than what aired at 11:00, it's still laughable that Flack seems astonished that there's not much police presence at 2:00 am in a stretch of downtown that a) isn't residential and b) doesn't have any businesses that are open in the evening (that section, in fact, is mostly law offices, with a few eateries that cater to the courthouse crowd, notably absent at three in the morning).
This week I've been silent while Sweeps weeks hype is put on television and attitudes of suburban city-haters is blasted on tri-state airwaves, pushing forward the most ignorant views on something I've heard in a long time.
Joy rains in Cincinnati, however, because the positive thinkers prevailed! 5chw4r7z had a great post showing a nice promotion video for the city that I think would be totally educational to everyone living in Warren County, not to mention most of the staff at WLW and WLWT.
The 'Nati Life hit back the hardest with this post.
Mayor Mallory found the simple underlying fact about the average suburbanite who is afraid of Downtown, they haven't been her in a long, long time.
Great blogging from
Sunday, May 04, 2008
- First, to anyone who completed the Flying Pig Marathon or any of its associated races this weekend. You should truly be proud of yourselves. I considered participating in the Flying Pig several years ago, but then realized it had nothing to do with eating sausage while traveling by airplane, so I withdrew. Maybe next year. Those who ran the full marathon actually ran an extra quarter-mile this year. More than 22,000 athletes participated in the various weekend races. There's rumors that next year, Channel Five might even include showing the race as part of its three-hour "coverage" of the marathon.
- Second, to those who completed a different kind of marathon: Ohio's newest lawyers. On Friday, the Ohio Supreme Court released the names of 283 individuals who passed the February 2008 bar exam. Particular kudos to my alma mater, the University of Cincinnati College of Law, as all six of its graduates taking the bar exam for the first time in February passed the three-day-long examination. The new lawyers will be sworn in on May 12th in Columbus (although any new attorney can choose to skip the trip and ask a local judge to swear him or her in). For those who don't know, the bar exam is administered twice annually, in July and February. The February exam is by far the smaller (with respect to number of applicants) of the two, but the passage rate for first-time takers is the same for the two exams (so February test-takers have no easier a row to hoe than their more traditional July counterparts!). Welcome to the bar, guys! As a reward, please promptly submit your biannual registration fee to the Supreme Court.
Go read Bronson's column for yourself. I'll not put myself at the center of a flamewar by again expressing my ambivalence about streetcars. But I'm bothered by the argument that Borgman is repeating today: that increased American ethanol production and consumption is somehow responsible for global famine.
The basic argument goes like this: around the world, there are places where people don't have enough to eat. Corn is a global staple. Americans have more food than they can eat (despite our growing waistlines). But instead of shipping our corn to Third World and developing nations, we instead convert it to ethanol. It's really just a slightly more sophisticated form of reasoning than your mom used to employ when you were a kid and you didn't eat all your vegetables; she'd tell you that you should, since there were children in [fill-in-the-blank] starving.
As far as I can tell, the argument is flawed on many levels. First, so far as I know, we're not importing corn for the purpose of making ethanol. If we're only using American-grown corn, it's not clear that we're causing shortages in the world-wide market.
Next, if the corn weren't being used for ethanol, why are ethanol opponents sure it would be produced at all? Our agricultural policy (as opposed to our manufacturing policies) has always been protectionist in the extreme. Remember, in the 1980's, we were paying farmers not to grow certain crops at all so as to keep prices artificially high. It's one thing to have to import most of our consumer goods; it'd be another thing entirely if we were dependent on foreign countries for our food supply, and our government won't ever allow that.
Finally, we saw in the late 80's and early 90's that famine was not always so much a problem of supply as it was distribution. A combination of civil wars, under-developed infrastructures, and government corruption always seemed to contribute significantly to famine in Third World and developing nations. I suspect the same is true today.
I think well-meaning people (like Borgman) are falling prey to arguments being crafted by those with an agenda of their own (at least one website I found perpetuating the "ethanol famine" vitriol seems to be funded by a group advocating hydrogen-based engines). So let's be careful when we blame ethanol for world-wide hunger.