Category Archives: Cincinnati

Cincinnati Prejudice

The image below is a sign found in front of Salem Hardware, 6401 Salem Road in Cincinnati.

No room for prejudice and hatred

No room for prejudice and hatred

Racism, hatred, and religious prejudice are not American values and do not belong in the American democratic process.  Our nation was founded in part by people running from religious prejudice, yet years later many in America fail to recall those core values.

When contacted, Salem Hardware espouses their right to “freedom of speech” in maintaining this sign in the front of their store. If you live in Cincinnati and find yourself offended by what is implied in the display of this sign, consider whether you wish to do business with such a company.  Additionally, exercise your own “freedom of speech” to let others know your opinion of Salem Hardware and their sign.

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We Got Power

You may have read my previous post about how Hurricane Ike visited the Cincinnati area, with winds of hurricane velocity.  That was last Sunday, September 14.  By that Sunday evening, 90% of the Duke Energy customers in this region were without power.

Fast forward to today, Saturday, September 20, 2008.  At about 4pm this afternoon, the crew from Duke, reset the fuse on the pole at the end of our street, bringing electricity back to our neighborhood.  I was there when they did that, watching hopefully.  After the crew cleared the wires from tree limbs and reset them on the pole on our street, they had to go up to the beginning of the circuit, up by Sherwood Elementary school, where my children spent their first 6 years in school.  Sherwood is a block from our house, but several miles because you have to drive out of our neighborhood into another.  The wonders of suburban living.

Anyhow, after the power crews completed their work on our street, they followed me over to the school to reset their fuses and fire up our circuit.  They were unfamiliar with the neighborhood, of course, and I was more than glad to speed things up. These guys were from Sumter, South Carolina, had been on their way to Texas, and were sent to Cincinnati instead.  Having been on the road for a week they were ready to get on home, but weren’t leaving just yet.

For me, it’s been a long week without electricity at home.  Thanks to our neighbors, we did have a working refrigerator with cold milk, food, and beer.  We had hot water, and didn’t need heat nor air conditioning for the week.  No TV, no internet, no light to get dressed for school on the dark mornings.  No electricity to run our pool filter to clean up our green swimming pool.

A Visit From Ike

On Sunday afternoon, Hurricane Ike paid the Cincinnati area a surprise visit on his way toward the northeast. Although decidedly not the Ike that devastated parts of Texas, this boy still had legs when he reached Ohio.  The region saw winds in excess of 75 miles per hour, meaning that Ike was still a Category 1 hurricane.  The winds were surprising strong and destructive, whipping trees and power lines for about three hours.

By 9pm Sunday evening, 1.2 million customers in the Cincinnati metro area were without power.  According to Duke Energy, that was 90% of their customers in this region.

Around 3pm, I watched the electric and phone lines behind my house suddenly bounce and swing rapidly.  Three houses up, a limb had fallen directly on the lines, pulling them to the ground, along with the electric service wires to my neighbors’ homes.  Needless to say, that did us in also.

The limb remains fallen on the lines at this hour, as the crews have been unable work on it just yet. My home, like many still in the Cincinnati area are without power.  Repair is not expected for several days yet.  All is not lost, however.  Our good fortune is that our neighbor on the south side has electricity.  With a heavy duty 100 foot extension cord, my family has a working fridge and a single light in the kitchen.  Thank you Amy and TR!!

It seems like a long time without power, but my praise goes out to the hard working men and women on line crews out there 16 hours a day, sleeping 8, and then doing it again.  There are hundreds of thousands of people waiting, and they’ll get here as best they can.  The task has to be daunting.

You can read more from The Cincinnati Enquirer.  (You’ll have to make up your age, gender, and zip though.)  Here’s a page from a local TV station, WCPO.

And now, I’m leaving my electrified office for the electric-free residence.

It’s A New World

Back in July 2008, about 100 of us singers in the community joined together to create the video below.  The song, It’s a New World, was written by two guys incarcerated in Warren Correctional Institute near Lebanon, Ohio.

The video, which is a little over 9 minutes in length, features a diverse group of Cincinnati singers; children and adults, from various ethnic backgrounds, lifestyles, and beliefs.  We came together to make beautiful music to help bring needed change in this country.  The video contains words from Barack Obama, but regardless of your political choices, enjoy the music.

Oh, by the way, you can find me in some of the footage from 2:10 to 3:12.  That’s me, wearing a black t-shirt with Voices of Freedom (my choir) singing away and clapping my hands.

It’s a new world!

Opening Day

Opening Day, that rite of spring whereupon the first baseball game was played, is a holiday in the Cincinnati area. Since the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team, Major League baseball used to commemorate that tradition by having the now Cincinnati Reds play the first baseball game of the season. Until they sold out to television, which decided it preferable to play the first game during prime time on Sunday night before the “official” Opening Day. Cincinnati commemorates the day with a parade from Findlay Market, a party on Fountain Square, marching bands, and a baseball game that gets sold out in minutes to the scalpers, I mean, ticket resellers.

I don’t enjoy baseball much anymore. It’s not because my favorite teams, the aforementioned Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are so darn lousy. Baseball was always so rich in tradition with strong appeal and connection to the fans. Much of that has been lost on me for quite some time now. Escalating ticket prices, poor pitching, spoiled players, as well as prevalence of performance-altering chemicals cause me to look elsewhere for my entertainment.

However, it is Opening Day of a new season. It’s spring and “hope springs eternal” (Alexander Pope). Winter is over, the smell of spring is in the air! The Reds will get some pitching this year. The team won’t be out of the division race by June.

At the time of posting of this article, the score was Diamondbacks 4 – Reds 4.  Middle of the 7th.

The Touchdown Jesus Church

My blog gets a lot of page views of the pictures of Touchdown Jesus, the statue behind the Solid Rock Church just off I-75 in Monroe, Ohio.

Two members of my church, Heritage Universalist Unitarian Church, Bradley and Erica, have written an excellent blog about their search for a church that made sense to them. That blog, Church Hopping, chronicles their journey. One of their visits was to the Solid Rock Church, and in their blog they reviewed that visit. You might want to read their article to learn more about this church.

Singing for Change

Each year, on Martin Luther King Day, Cincinnati marks the occasion with a day of events. This year, the activities included a march, a service at Music Hall, several high school basketball games, and a community-wide celebration of the works of a man who acted for freedom and justice in this country of ours.

I sing (baritone) with a chorus called Voices of Freedom, who, on this day, lifted our 100+ voices as a major part of that service at Music Hall. Our songs are of community, peace, and freedom, many of the sources for our music being spirituals and other songs of joy and freedom. The music reaches somewhere deep inside me, inspiring me to celebrate my humanness and my connection with all those around me. I sing these songs with passion, love, and joy.

After the concert today, several of us went out for lunch, enjoying the opportunity to spend time together and enjoy good conversation. As you might imagine on this day, the talk moved towards social change, peace, and so forth. At some point, maybe it was after that first glass of wine and halfway through the soup, we talked about the peace movement, the Year 1968–when Dr. King was assassinated along with Bobby Kennedy, our communities were rioting, the Tet Offensive took place, and I graduated high school. I mentioned that in subsequent years I was actively involved with the peace movement in Cincinnati as a committee member on several anti-war planning teams, a marshal on many peace marches through the streets of The Queen City, and actively involved in peace-oriented groups on the University of Cincinnati campus.

It took little transition, well, at least with this group, to get from the Movement during the Vietnam War times to speaking out against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. What was I doing now? How was I involved?

I am not involved in the same way as I was almost 40 years ago. My beliefs are quite similar, but my actions quite different.

My comment, on this Martin Luther King Day was that I believe that what I can do is sing for change. That by bringing music of peace, commitment, and change to this community, I could do my part. As I mentioned, I’ve done my share of marching.

Through music and the passion it inspires, we can reach others. Motivating and encouraging them to transcend the day-to-day. With song, we can reach inside our own hearts and touch the hearts of those around us, moving them to do the right thing.

What do you think? Does music resonate within you and inspire you? Am I full of truth or full of baloney? Or somewhere in between? Is singing for change, as I characterize it, a valid method for bringing change to this nation so desperately in need of healing?