29 May 2011

For Memorial Day: About the National Anthem

The Ugliest Building in Downtown Cincinnati

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a wider view puts this building in context, just south of the Courthouse!

25 May 2011

Substitute Teachers

Do CPS teachers take more sick days than the average teacher?

It seems to me that a teacher should schedule elective surgery for the summer months, not miss the last 10 days of school! Decades ago, when I was in elementary school, a substitute teacher was an extremely rare event. My kid's teachers miss more school than any students!

17 May 2011

5th Annual OTR 5K This Saturday

The 5th Annual OTR 5K runs this Saturday, May 21st at 10:00 am. You have until midnight tonight (May 17th) to register online. Winners in a number of categories will receive a medal designed by Rookwood Pottery. Unfortunately since they have no Clydesdale, or Super-Clydesdale class there is no hope for me to score a medal. Who am I kidding, even with those classifications I would likely be out of luck.

The fun starts at 12th and Vine and includes runs down parts of Main, Liberty, Central Parkway and other OTR streets. You can check the map on Runkeeper.

I'm not sure where music will be set up, but they promise:
  • Cincy Brass
  • The Hiders
  • Faux Frenchmen
  • Comet Bluegrass Allstars
  • The Cliftones
There will also be more than 30 vendors and artists including the following food vendors:
  • Dojo GelatoGelato!!
  • Sweet Peace Bakery – Vegan Baked Goods
  • Cafe de Wheels – Burgers, Fries, & Cubans
  • Joe’s Diner on Sycamore – Smoothies, White Chicken Chili, Burgers
  • Enzo’s OTRPanini Sandwiches, tea, lemonade, baked goods
  • Chili Rocks Spicy Delights – Geotta Coneys, BMT Coneys, Coneys and Chilies
  • Mr. Gene’s Dog House – Hotdogs, fries, onion rings, wings, hot met
  • Taco Azul - Tacos from a truck! Authentic Mexican street food
  • Christian Moerlein Beer
Should be a blast. I am "running" (my running nickname would be Molasses... I run slow all the time, and not at all when it is cold) and look forward to the event.

Be sure to check out the details on the GoOTR.org site.

16 May 2011

77% of Parents Happy with Public Education

"Memo to suburban voucher opponents who ‘support public education’: you’re already sending your kid to private school. You’re just confused because your tuition fees came bundled with granite countertops and hardwood floors."
- E. D. Kain
After this snark, he goes on to say that school choice and vouchers are not really the way to improve poor school districts.

13 May 2011

Blogger Down

Blogger has been down for 24 hours and posts from the past 2 days have been erased. I will try to repost soon.

12 May 2011

Little Things Matter

"In one study, we were watching newlyweds, and what often happened with the couples who ended up in divorce is that when one partner would ask for credit, the other spouse wouldn't give it. And with the happier couples, the spouse would hear it and say, 'You're right'. That stood out. When you nod and say 'uh-huh' or 'yeah', you are doing that as a sign of support.."
From the book Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, page 25

Why 3CDC Roof Blew Off

As I watch 3CDC repair the damage to their building on Race Street I have been pondering why the damage was so extreme. And then, while looking at the picture below, the cause became apparent. Here is a picture from the Washington Park construction website from April 7th. The roof that blew off is circled in red.  
Now the most obvious thing in the photo is the huge excavation in the foreground. I was at my windows watching the gusts of wind as they came in after midnight April 19-20th. The gusts came from the West, gained speed in the hole, and blew upward across Race Street, where it blew off the roof of 1400 Race and blew slates off of Nast Trinity church, and blew down a street tree.

This hole was previously covered with 3-4 story buildings, and later a school. All of the clustered buildings in OTR collectively buffer the winds and protect each other. It is clear that the removal of this buffer allowed the winds to damage buildings that had previously been buffered by buildings and park trees.

10 May 2011

Mayor Mallory Will Not Run For President

...and he does not have a dog...

Auto Imprisonment

Americans work two hours every day to pay for their cars.

09 May 2011

So True

This happens to me all the time. Loved this essay:

...thinking about the clock of my life ticking away every day while I’m sitting there, just waiting to be somewhere else, I feel the gulf between my body (where I am) and brain (where I want to be) widening. The two growing further apart, until I’m only aware of the distance between them. Some mornings in the shower I hear voices left over from my dreams, and they seem to have strongly held opinions, but I have no idea what they’re saying. Sometimes at night when I am reading a book to my kids, I realize that we are halfway through the book, and my mouth has been saying the words, but I haven’t been paying attention to them whatsoever, and have in fact been thinking about something completely unrelated. I lose that time, even though I’m right there....

417 Hopkins

While riding bikes with my son Sunday, I noticed this building in the West End that I had never noticed before. It caught my eye, because it is a very nice stone building that is obviously divided between two owners. It is in the Betts Longworth area, in a strange cul-de-sac that was created long ago when the streets were re-configured during some urban renewal program.

Curious, I looked up the ownership, and found that the building is actually made up of two 16 foot wide lots. That is a pretty skinny lot. The right side has a long history of solid ownership and slowly rising value, and that the left side has passed from one absentee owner to another for years.

That might be the end of the story, except that I did notice one funny blip in the ownership history. In September 2001, Jackie Shropshire sold this vacant half to Jeffrey D. Blovits for $98,000! A few years later is was sold for $5,000 and then later for $1,000! Googling Shropshire, I came up with the fact that she was part of the Black United Front, which was a political organization prominent during the 2001 riots. Then I googled Blovits and found this (tragic / comedic) description of himself written before the mortgage meltdown:
Jeff Blovits is the branch manager of the Westerville Franklin Bank, a mortgage franchise location of the publically traded ssb out of Texas. Jeff has been in the financial services industry for 12 years as bank manager, underwriter, and mortgage lender. His innovative mortgage planning concepts are paving the way for countless clients to improve their financial lives.
I wonder who wrote the appraisal for that $98,000 loan.

An Excellent School System with No Testing

...I finished the film feeling a bit angry – angry that for all the talk of school-choice in our current education debate, the choices available to me and to my children (not to mention the countless people far less fortunate than myself) are really false choices. No matter whether you attend a public school or a charter, you are really bound to the modern testing regime....

The problem, I think, with the current conception of charter schools is that they create even more losers and winners than the status quo. In Finland there is a certain base-level of quality that every school is require to meet. Teachers are treated as professionals and teaching is an exclusive, competitive field. All students have free transportation and free meals.
- E. D. Kain
I really want to see this film.

05 May 2011

Birds and Bees

Instead of waiting and dreading the birds and bees discussion, We're trying to foster some open discussion early, so that sex and reproduction is not seen as such a taboo subject. So I heard about this book on a Dan Savage podcast, we bought it and have read it several times. The drawings are great and there are two characters that carry the story and keep it light hearted. Highly recommended:
It's So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families
Robie H. Harris (Author), Michael Emberley (Illustrator)

1608 Hoffner

Saw this building being demolished yesterday in Northside.  

Liberals Who Support School Choice

I like to see open minded people on the right and the left support policies that are not doctrinaire. There are many conservatives for example who support rail and better transit options. Here see see some on the left support more school choice:
...American liberals have been reluctant to embrace school choice, fearing it will drain resources from government-operated schools. Yet isn't it even worse to support a system that rewards concentration of the rich in exclusive suburbs segregated from the poor? -John Norquist in the Wall Street Journal

04 May 2011

Maurice Sendak Still Kicking

"I take kids seriously, they have a lot of things wrong. They protect their parents. Children are brave little creatures."

(about his new book Bumble-Ardy) "... both his parents die on the first page, don't ask me what I was thinking."

"I have to lie down, have lunch, go get a haircut, make believe we have a purpose to living, I'm still living. I can still listen to an opera."
-Maurice Sendak

02 May 2011

High School Student Art at Library

Some great art by local high school students on display currently in the Main Public Library lobby:
- Maddie Sabatelli, American Hipster

-Dan Riemen, A Grizzly's Chortle

This one is fantastic
-Jack Wirth, Big Book of Seek and Find