30 September 2008

University of Cincinnati Famous Alumni

UC put up a list of famous alumni here.

My favorite is the Governor of North Mariana Islands, which is a commonwealth of the US (who knew).

Carly Simon and Bill Clinton

1993 wife swap on Martha's Vineyard, Bill and Hillary with Carly and her husband Jim Hart. Photo from the book Girls Like Us, by Sheila Weller.

29 September 2008

Do People Really Like Modern Architecture?

"[O]ur plutocrats, bureaucrats, board chairmen, CEOs, commissioners and college presidents . . . are willing to accept that glass of ice water in the face, that bracing slap across the mouth, that reprimand for the fat on one's bourgeois soul, known as modern architecture. And why? They can't tell you. They look up at the barefaced buildings they have bought, those great hulking structures they hate so thoroughly, and they can't figure it out themselves. It makes their heads hurt."
Tom Wolfe, From Bauhaus to Our House, 1981


28 September 2008

Schwartz Point Jazz Returns

Great news:
...Ed is back and happy to announce the reopening of the "The Jazz Club at the Point" beginning Tuesday, October 7. It's been a year in the making, but Ed has obtained a liquor license and buffed up the club, which will now be open 4 days a week.
The Autumn lineup will be:
-Tuesdays: Schwartz Point's very own 8 piece "Society Jazz Orchestra"
-Wednesdays: Jazz Vocal Cabaret Night -- All singers welcome
-Thursdays: Closed (but will be open for private parties and special events)
-Fridays & Saturdays: The East Coast Rhythm Section with Zac Kruez from Philly on drums, Dave Laracca of Woody Herman fame on drums, and Pam Ross on vocals

[where: 1901 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]
(at Vine and McMicken in the cobblestone building. The doors have green lanterns)
Hours: Music starts 8:30 p.m. (Tues, Weds); 9:00 pm (Friday and Saturday)
Cocktail Hours from 6 to 8 pm (Tues, Wed, Fri, Sat)

27 September 2008

Soccer in Washington Park

While kicking the soccer ball in the park, a group of kids surrounded us and played. One kid (not shown) made quick attatchment to me. He said "do you play with your son a lot?" Me: "yeah" Him: "I wish you were my dad." That was heavy.


26 September 2008

Sid Bass Album

Sid Bass worked for Muzak, and recorded on RCA's budget label "Vik". This album circa 1956:
Music reminds me of a 50's TV show.

Media Notices Form Based Codes

Councilmember Roxanne Qualls has been quietly building support and organizing neighborhoods to adopt Form Based Codes (FBCs). I first noticed and blogged about it in January, when she was only newly returned to her council seat.

Today, the Business Courier has a great article explaining elaborating on Quall's effort. I especially like this quote "This is not some esoteric, theoretical concept. It's being implemented profitably in cities similar to Cincinnati". The neighborhoods that are showing the most interest so far are: Madisonville, Westwood, Pleasant Ridge and Westwood.

Also see this article recently in Soapbox.

DT Tour of Living Tomorrow

Downtown Tour of Living Saturday, 12-5pm. Hope to be selling lemonade...

Note; this wind-damaged building is not part of the tour:
[where 1132 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

12 Minutes about Vice Presidents

After McCain jumped the shark, and after seeing clips of Palin's interview with Katie Couric, I think the election is as good as over. So hopefully readers of this blog will be spared political posts the next 40 days. I was so embarrassed for Palin when she claimed international experience because Putin flew through Alaska airspace... it was like watching George Costanza pretending he is an "importer and an exporter".

But I did see this interesting summary of all the past Vice Presidents. It is 12 minutes long, so only click here if you have the time.

25 September 2008

Protest Planned Against Bailout

I am not part of this event, but I think I am against the bailout, so among the dozens of events this weekend, maybe join a protest:


The United States faces a financial crisis and President Bush and Treasury Secretary Paulson are trying to stampede us into giving them a blank check to bail out the banks. Our future, our children’s future, and America’s future is being threatened. Congress is deciding next week. We must act now.

Join us to stop Bush’s financial fast track to disaster.
Join us to put America on the right track.
Protest, Demonstrate, Speak Out!

Saturday, September 27, 2008, 12 Noon, Fountain Square

We don’t need a fast track. We need an immediate plan that saves Americans’ homes, and jobs. We need a long term plan that creates a financial system that will provide health care, education, a new national infrastructure, and sustainable development that enhances the environment. We demand:

  • No fast track financial fix.

  • No blank check to the banks.

  • Congressional representatives must hold town hall meetings to hear constituents’ views.

  • Any deal must have Congressional oversight and the creation of a representative citizen council to oversee the financial arrangement.

  • The American government and people must have ownership (preferred stock) and control over institutions they bail out.

  • Protect American homeowners from foreclosure.

  • Any deal must include a broader program of national investment and reconstruction to rebuild America and create jobs.

  • No seven figure salaries, no bonuses, and no golden parachutes for those involved in the financial plan.

  • Prosecute financial swindlers and bar them from future dealings.

  • -Cincinnati Progressive Action (CPA)contact: DanLaBotz at gmail dot com

    Marble Fest

    There are a million things to do this weekend locally so it is unlikely you'll make the 4.5 hour trek to the Marble Festival. A few years ago, I found some ancient marbles while rehabbing. Since then I have had some interest in them.

    Sistersville WV is across the river from Fly, OH kinda between Marietta and Wheeling on the river. Map here

    Marble Festival celebrates the marble making industry that once thrived in this area. At one time, there were over 20 marble factories within a 60-mile radius of Sistersville.

    Today, only two remain: Jabo Vitro marble factory located 25 miles south of Sistersville in Lower Newport, Ohio and Marble King located in Paden City.

    During the long weekend, children will be instructed on how to play marbles and afforded the opportunity to participate in a youth marble tournament Saturday morning.

    A fan favorite are the marble makers themselves. Amateurs and professionals alike will line the streets, shoulder to shoulder plying their trade and hobby for the gathered visitors.

    Old postcard of Sistersville:
    Unfortunately we just missed the Oil and Gas Festival

    1513 Vine Still Falling Down

    I've always kinda liked this old building with the pointed dormers and center chimney. It is a background building, basic and unassuming.
    The owner, who lives in a modest home in Sycamore Township paid $24k for it in 1994 but hasn't made one improvement (except maybe that half-assed attempt at painting it white 15 years ago). I am wondering why he continues to hold onto it and pay property taxes. He applied for a VBML in 1999 and 2004, but it obviously doesn't meet the standards since the rear is partially collapsed and it is doubtful that he has paid the ever increasing License Fee. I'm sure buyers have approached him. Maybe there is some legal problem, or maybe he is just stubborn. Either way, it has been a blight on the neighborhood for too long.
    [where 1513 and 1515 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

    24 September 2008

    Shaker Village at Pleasant Hill KY

    Pleasant Hill, KY is less than a 2 hour drive from Cincinnati, and is an exquisitely preserved collection of Shaker buildings and artifacts. If you have never been, I highly recommend a visit. Fall and winter are especially beautiful there, and it is worth paying to spend a night so you can see it at night when the crowds are gone, it is quiet and the stars are out. They also have many special events such as Civil War re-enactors and seasonal events which are fun.

    A visit always gets us pondering different aspects of intentional communities, how people live in harmony, how that is reflected in their homes etc...

    Stair hall of Central Family Dwelling with dining room beyond

    Water tank building. Flag at top indicates tank is full

    Meeting Room (sanctuary):

    Minister's quarter's above the meeting room:

    This is our favorite room, intimate with lots of natural light. This was the minister's dining room:

    There is a restaurant on site, which serves salsify casserole with all evening meals:

    Kentucky River Gorge, High RR bridge:

    23 September 2008

    Taft Demolition

    Taft High School is coming down fast. Classes are at Heinhold for this year and next, while it gets rebuilt:

    Future image of this site:
    pic via Building Cincinnati

    Where Can Offenders Stay?



    22 September 2008

    Presidential Politics Quotes

    “Oil and coal? Of course, it’s a fungible commodity and they don’t flag, you know, the molecules, where it’s going and where it’s not. But in the sense of the Congress today, they know that there are very, very hungry domestic markets that need that oil first,” Palin said. “So, I believe that what Congress is going to do, also, is not to allow the export bans to such a degree that it’s Americans that get stuck to holding the bag without the energy source that is produced here, pumped here. It’s got to flow into our domestic markets first.”-Energy Expert Palin

    "Yesterday, John McCain actually said that if he's president that he'll take on, and I quote, 'the old boys network in Washington.' Now I'm not making this up. This is somebody who's been in Congress for twenty-six years, who put seven of the most powerful Washington lobbyists in charge of his campaign. And now he tells us that he's the one who's gonna' to take on the old boys network. The old boys network? In the McCain campaign that's called a staff meeting. Come, on!" - Barack Obama

    "He is not somebody I could endorse, ever." - Ron Paul on McCain

    "Opening up the health insurance market to more vigorous nationwide competition, as we have done over the last decade in banking, would provide more choices of innovative products less burdened by the worst excesses of state-based regulation." - John McCain

    "I suppose the McCain campaign's hope is that when there's a big crisis, people will go for age and experience... The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and un-flustered? It wasn't John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said 'let's fire somebody.' And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate. John McCain showed his personality this week, and made some of us fearful." - Conservative writer George Will

    Kids at Oktoberfest

    rids racing on lawn

    a security guard cleared kids off the grass every so often:

    playing duck duck goose:

    kids dancing:

    Cincinnati Public School Sign Up Info

    Tomorrow, Sept 23rd, there is open house at Cincinnati Public School neighborhood schools. Then, Thursday, Sept 25th, the Magnet Schools have open house. Interested parents should visit the school they are interested in for a tour and to meet some teachers. I think all the open houses are 6-8 pm.

    The sign-up procedure has been posted on their website. Tuesday, Novemeber 18th is the waiting in line date for kids without sibling priority.

    21 September 2008

    Poor Beating the Poorer

    Saw 7 kids taunting and throwing things at homeless men in the park last night. I heard a crash which turned out to be one man's shopping cart full of aluminum cans, that they tipped over. They were running through the park looking for people sleeping to kick or tease. so cruel.

    It gave me a flashback to an afterschool TV show that aired in the 70's about a boy in the ghetto who adopts a stray cat. There was a terrible scene in the show where some older boys tease the cat and throw it by its tail.

    UPDATE: I found the TV show I was remembering "J.T." It is apparent from the comments that many other people vividly remember this one-hour episode. Paperback book of the story here.

    UPDATE: I changed the header because my initial title of this post was dumb and bothered me. Does anyone else remember seeing that show JT?

    20 September 2008

    Popeye Spinach at Bangs

    Similar shot here to the salsify. I noticed at Bang's that they have these dust-covered cans of spinach right up front by the door. Seems like they are trying to say, "Hey, we sell stuff other than MD20/20 and hot cheetos."
    [where: 1401 Race Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202]

    Saengerfest Returns to OTR via Memorial Hall

    Memorial Hall Saengerfest Returns to OTR Sunday, October 12th, 2008
    Revival of Traditional Cincinnati Festival Highlights :
    A new generation of Greater Cincinnatians will have the opportunity to participate in a traditional German-American Saengerfest when Memorial Hall celebrates its centennial on October 12.

    German immigrants originally introduced the Saengerfest, a traditional German choral and music festival, to Cincinnati in the mid-19th century. The Saengerfest continued to be a regular part of Cincinnati cultural life for more than 100 years, and eventually gave rise to popular musical events such as the Cincinnati May Festival. Over-the-Rhine in general and Memorial Hall in particular served as centers of the Saengerfest until the hall fell on hard times after World War II. The revived Saengerfest will serve as the climax of day-long events to mark the 100th Anniversary of Memorial Hall's dedication this October.

    Activities begin at 11:00 a.m. and include:

    * Musical presentations in the Washington Park Gazebo

    * Civil War Re-enactors in Washington Park

    * Informational presentations in the Memorial Hall Theater and lobby

    * Saengerfest and Rededication presented by Queen City Concert Band at 4:00 p.m.

    * 1940s-era USO Dance presented by Green Hills American Legion Band 5:30-7:30 p.m.

    All activities are free and open to the public except a $10 “cover charge” for the USO-style dance. Souvenir programs also will be available for $5.

    Memorial Hall is Hamilton County’s monument to the service and sacrifice of its war veterans. The hall, at 1225 Elm Street just south of Music Hall, is a building of national significance for its architecture and its cultural heritage. Designed by Samuel Hannaford & Sons, the military statues below the pediment were created by Clement Barnhorn. The spectacular mural in the auditorium was executed by Francis Pedretti.

    19 September 2008


    We had this vegetable for the first time last weekend in Shaker Village, KY. It was good in a casserole:
    It is similar to parsnips.

    UPDATE: here, More about salsify. It did kinda have an oyster/artichoke flavor. It is apparently easy to grow, and it might be an interesting addition to the garden. Also called goatsbeard.

    18 September 2008

    Economy Fundamentally Strong

    "Our economy is fundamentally strong..." That was McCain two days ago. Now as Wall Street tailspins I'm listening to financial experts on the radio saying that we haven't had such failure of financial institutions since the Great Depression.

    Who does this sound like?:
    ....backed immigration restriction and a cut in the capital-gains tax. He quarreled with the unemployment figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. None of it worked, and yet (he) insisted on the soundness of fundamentals, blaming the continuing crisis on whiners: “The income of a large part of our people is not reduced by the depression,” he said, “but is affected by unnecessary fears and pessimism.” He urged his fellow countrymen to count on “the magnificent working of the Federal Reserve system and the inherently sound condition of the banks.”

    Unstructured Recess Disappearing

    Last year, I reported that recess was being eliminated at many local schools.

    Now the Washington Post reports that local schools have hired a non-profit group to organize play on the playground. And this group has plans to expand across the country promoting structured play during recess:

    ...Traditionally the one period of the school day when children are free of adult-imposed structure, recess is increasingly regarded by educators as a trouble spot. They say that in the Xbox- and Internet-dominated world of many students, the culture of healthy group play has eroded, turning recess into a chaotic and sometimes violent period where strife from the schoolyard can spill over into afternoon classes

    ... designated areas, marked ...with small orange pylons or chalk lines on the asphalt. There was "snowball alley" (a dialed-back version of dodge ball), jump rope, three-on-three basketball and foursquare. Disputes are resolved by rock-paper-scissors.

    ... she started to observe schoolyards, it struck her that games fell apart quickly and that slights easily escalated into serious conflicts.

    "Knowing how to play in a healthy way is not an innate skill. It's learned,"

    17 September 2008

    Who Am I?

    There is a lot of stuff named after this guy. Anyone know who he was and how he made his fortune?

    Otto Armleder was a 19th century and early-20th century businessman and philanthropist who was raised in Over-the-Rhine by parents who were German immigrants. Born in the Queen City in 1862, he founded the Otto Armleder Carriage Company which later became the Armleder Motor Truck Company at 12th and Plum streets.

    Armleder died in 1935 and in his will he stipulated that his wealth benefit Catholic and non-secterain institutions in Hamilton County with particular attention to children in Over-the-Rhine where he grew up.

    Cincinnati Model Homes 1903 to 1919

    Queen City Survey mentioned the Schmidlapp Trust in a post a while back, and it reminded me of the Model Homes Company that I had heard about. This Company was an example of private corporate philanthropy, before the time of public housing.

    The purpose of the company was to provide rental housing for both white and African American occupancy at the lowest possible price. While other landlords took from one-fourth to one-third of a worker's wages for rent, Schmidlapp's formula was one day's wages for one week's rent. The company also provided a 5% return for its investors. In addition to renting, an alternative plan was offered where one could purchase, over a ten year period, a two family house on terms comparable to the usual rent payments. By 1953 there were 118 building complexes with 453 apartment units. Most of the housing was concentrated in Oakley, Norwood, Walnut Hills and Avondale, with separate complexes for white and African American renters.
    The company operated a co-operative grocery store on Kerper Avenue in Walnut Hills in the Washington Terrace complex. The store's profits were paid back to the housing tenants in the form of dividends.

    Schmidlapp also built the Gordon Hotel in 1916 for the "self-respecting Negro stranger, who has no friends to recommend him to a private family." The hotel was located at Chapel and Ashland Avenues in Walnut Hills.
    You can see some of these buildings on the west side of I-71, just north of MLK and just opposite of that annoying LED Billboard. Here is the site:

    View Larger Map

    Typical, very simple and affordable Floor Plan:
    Description accompanying the drawing:
    Each building is designed for four families in flats each containing four rooms and baths, and separate stairs. Cost $4,101. Size 48' x 30'. Rent, 50¢ per room per week. II and III. Building designed for four families in flats each containing three rooms and bath. Cost $3,142; size 40' x 30'. (Note: grading, water and gas mains not included in these costs.) (Source: Schmidlapp: "Low Priced Housing for Wage Earners.

    Cincinnati Model Home Company built 402 new dwellings between 1914 and 1919. Schmidlapp died in 1919. After WWI, they lost momentum, and had difficulty making the numbers work because construction costs were much higher. These units at Washington Terrace rented for $11 per month in 1915. After the War, new 4-room units cost $35/month, which was more than most black citizens could afford. They then tried rehabbing some existing buildings on Carr Street in "the bottoms" of the West End, but these buildings had many vacancies because people that wanted to improve themselves wanted a better neighborhood. As a result of this learning experiment, Cincinnati philanthropists began promoting housing in new developments outside of the basin, similar to this Washington Terrace example. (Source: Race and the City: Work, Community, and Protest in Cincinnati, 1820-1970
    By Henry Louis Taylor, page 198)

    [where: 3066 Kerper Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45219]
    [where: 19 Lincoln Terrace, Cincinnati, OH 45219]