Sunday, June 22, 2008

CityBeat's Community Values

There's always something happening on the River. So goes the words of an old song.

In Cincinnati it's a fray between the Citizens for Community Values and CityBeat, a newspaper that is distributed for free to anyone curious about the liberal slant in the city.

First here is a little history. The Citizens for Community Values is an organization started and run by a fellow named Phil Burress.

He is a former union negotiator for trucking companies and is now working full time in his crusade to save Cincinnati from porno, pandering and strip clubs. He has been quite successful in his venture. He has also developed a reputation as a bully by doing whatever it takes to get the job done. Phil acknowledges that he was a former porn addict and by turning away from that lifestyle he saved his life.

CityBeat can be found in dispensers around the city for free. It is published on a weekly basis and it a nice source of what is going on around the greater Cincinnati area. The news and editorial content of the paper are extreme left wing and in my opinion sometimes border on being ridiculous. But then there are some columns that are very enjoyable to read. By the fact that I am aware of the papers content demonstrates that I look at it on a regular basis.

So why the fray? In it's back pages CityBeat includes many adult services advertisements. Adult services are code words for prostituion, but I suppose you cannot say what you are really selling and still maintain an air of legality. Some of the advertisements are fairly large and others are 3 line classified ads.

A month ago there was a major prostituion raid in Cincinnati, southern Indiana and northern Kentucky that shut down a number of Asian massage parlors. These establishments were well advertised in CityBeat.

The owners of the parlors/brothels were all of Asian descent. It was determined by law enforcement the owners had brought young women into the country for the sole purpose of prostitution. In an effort to give the appearance of legality the owners stated they were merely receiving 100% of the money the ladies obtained for the legitimate massage and any profiting by the women was up to those women. They further admitted that was the only way the ladies were paid.

The CCV held a press conference to announce it's plans to require CityBeat to stop running ads for adult services. The organization had signatures of prominent Cincinnati officials on it's petition. CityBeat was not invited to attend the conference. CityBeat later unleased an editorial and held it's own press conference on Fountain Square. Their reply was they would do what they damn well pleased and would the CCV mind it's own business.

In my opinion, people that are looking for prostitution are going to find it. As the world's oldest profession it is sadly not going away. It is a sad, sad business that is morally, physically and spiritually degrading to both parties. I have to agree with the Citizens Committee when they said that CityBeat's continuation of the ads is all about money. Those ads pay the rent. 

On the other hand, CityBeat points out that other publications, such as the phone directory also carry those advertisements.

What really bothers me is what touched off this debate. One of the indicted owners of the Asian massage parlors admitted to the police that she had driven 40,000 miles this past year delivering girls to massage parlors throughout the country. To get this same lady out of jail, her bail was set at $50,000 cash. Her husband posted the bail by reaching in his pocket for a large roll of bills and pulled out $50K, handed it to the baliff and stuffed the rest in his slacks.

These people are making a very large amount of money by dealing in human trafficking aka slavery. If CityBeat continues to run ads promoting this type of business, they are turning a blind eye to a shameful problem. And that is wrong!

150 years ago in this same part of the country were printing firms that produced newspapers and posted advertisements for slave auctions. The Toni Morrison book, movie and opera about Margaret Garner, the escaped slave that killed her daughter, to prevent her child from being returned to slavery actually occurred not far from where I now sit.

I would think that CityBeat, a liberal publication that prides itself on sharing the views of the downtrodden and promotes freedom and free thought, would abhor slavery. Yet they are vehement in their right to publish advertisements for businesses that promote human trafficking.

Why would they want to stand toe to toe with those printers and publishers that in years gone by printed posters announcing sales of slaves? Were not those same enteprenuers as culpable in the slave trade as the slave owners?

I'll tell you the reason. Money!

Saturday, June 21, 2008


First I have heart problems. And now my torso is covered with an itchy, bumpy rash.

I mowed the lawn a couple of weeks ago. I'm very allergic to poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac and other nasty weeds, so I'm very good about taking a shower after mowing to get any fluid from the weeds off of my skin. However shortly after this I noticed a patch of what looked like contact dermatitis on my right side. I tried using over the counter remedies such as cortizone and calamine lotion but didn't have any good results.

This week it started spreading across my upper torso and around my neck so I went to the doctor to have it looked at. By golly I have Shingles.

It's itchy and nasty and the prognosis is that when the rash goes away I will be in pain. Lucky me. Lucky, lucky me!

I feel that I should put on a hood, ring a bell and scream "unclean! unclean" whenever I come in contact with people. This is the pits.

If you are not aware, Shingles is caused by a herpes zoster virus that lays dormant in the nerve roots of anyone who has ever contacted Chicken Pox aka vericella zoster virus. So as you get older and fondly remember those wonderful ol' days of your youth and long to relive your childhood, your body says to you, "OK Bub. You wanna' remember your childhood? How about when you had the chicken pox? That oughta' teach you."

Shingles is contagious until the blisters scab over, which is factual, but totally disgusting. If you had chicken pox as a child, then shingles is not contagious to you. If you are a child or an adult who has never been immunized or not contacted chicken pox, then exposure to someone with shingles will result in chicken pox.

Be careful of what you wish for.

End of lesson.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Old vs New - It looks like same ol' same ol' to me.

The Silly Season is upon us in a big way.

The Dems have finally made a choice. Barack Obama, the candidate for change, is their nominee.

The Republicans have named, John McCain, the candidate with experience, as their candidate.

Obama is new and shiny and ethnic. McCain is old and seasoned and extremely white.

Obama represents immediate change, while McCain represents caution in policy change.

We have already been barraged with Obama-ites and Clinton-ites firing off lies about one another. Recently we have heard more of the same regarding Obama's affiliations and McCain's senility.

Our past two Presidents both served eight years and left the country in worse shape than when they started. I blame this on the same factor we are seeing today. Both parties couldn't come up with anything better than what was currently on the menu.

President Clinton will be remembered for his morally despicable behavior, but let us not forget that the Dow Jones Average under his watch was in the 8,000's. The bond market was over-inflated and stocks were seriously tanking. Today the Dow hovers around 12,000 and the bond market was good until the real estate market's flaws were detected. Clinton's crowning achievement was getting Israel and Palestine to agree upon peace. Ten years later Israel has given Palestine a piece of Israel, called Gaza, but Palestine wants more than a piece.

September 11th, 2001 occurred under the current President Bush. We are engaged in the Iraq war and the Afghanistan war. Both have become unpopular as American's question the motives.

Even Ronald Reagan, who was a very popular and strong President, signed the NAFTA legislation which opened the doors for free trade and sent many American jobs to other countries.

The United States existed through some seriously flawed Presidential administrations. We have carried on despite their failures of these men.

James Buchanan's refusal to budge on slavery helped lead us into the Civil War.

Warren Harding was ineffective and his cronies plundered the US Treasury. Andrew Johnson's opposition of reconstruction after the Civil War kept the rift open for decades.

Franklin Pierce was instrumental in pushing the Country westward, but also adding slave states, thus dividing the Country.

Millard Filmore approved the Compromise of 1850 which set up the western slave states.

John Tyler (was he even President?) abandoned his party once elected and ignored the platform he was elected upon.

Grant was a war hero in the North, but could not control the graft and corruption under his nose. Male children are no longer named Ulysses.

Herbert Hoover had little or no control over the Depression, subsequently no one names their son Herbert anymore.

Richard Nixon was overtly concerned about his own image, thus became associated with the Watergate scandal and resignation. Very few male babies are given the name Dick these days. Do we see a trend?

Zachary Taylor was another war hero, but was a completely inexperienced president and accomplished little.

Both Wilson and FDR became ill during the later part of their administrations which was concealed from the public, while the Country was run by their advisors and wives.

Carter's inexperience in Washington, lead the country into it's worst inflationary period since the Depression. The United States lost credibility due to the Iranian hostage situation under his administration.

I have no idea who is going to win the upcoming election. In my opinion both candidates are not the best choices. I fear a repeat of the Carter adminstration under Obama. Likewise McCain may be comparable to Bush.

Given our history, we will survive despite who is elected.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

We Have Officially Entered the Modern Age - Wooden Airplanes

One of my fond childhood memories is asking Mom for 25 cents so I could by a balsa wood airplane. They came packaged in a plastic bag. Once you were the proud owner, you emptied the contents on the ground and readied yourself to assemble your flying machine.

The body was fairly firm, but the wings were quite delicate. They were machine pressed into the balsa. You prayed that you didn't split the wings while breaking off the excess wood.

The next crucial step was inserting the wings into the plastic clip that slid onto the fuselage Some models merely had a slit in the body. Inserting the tail was an equally delicate procedure for an 8 year old.

Voila! You are finally done and ready to toss your plane into the air and see how far it will go. After a few flights of 10 or 12 feet each, the plane eventually crashes into a tree and because it is balsa, the plane is demolished.

The more expensive planes came with a propeller that was operated by a rubber band and some came with landing gear. My neighborhood was lacking in appropriate runways and the wheeled craft needed a very smooth surface for take-off, but the propeller driven craft were...neat!

We used to say neat a lot. The motor was a rubber band that was attached to the rear-end of the plane. You would wind it as tight as possible. Instead of tossing your plane in the air, you merely held it overhead and let loose of the rubber band and watched it fly away. Of course it too hit a tree, crashed and the balsa was broken beyond repair.

At 56 years old I think my days of flying model planes are behind me, however this past weekend I went to pick up my wife who was shopping at Hobby Lobby.

As I wandered the isles looking for my sweet lady, I spied the invention that assured me we have truly entered the 21st Century. As GE's motto used to say, "Better Living Through Science". Yes modern man has created the Balsa wood Airplane Electric Rubber band Propeller Winder with Counter." Incredible! I mean Neat!

No longer does a boy have to wile away his young life turning the plane's rubber band propeller by use of his finger. All he needs is this device and 2 AA batteries.

Life is grand!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Life In A Fantasy World - Dennis the Menace

As a child,Hank Ketchum was so fascinated by one of his father's friends that was an illustrator, he began taking lessons from this gentleman at an early age. As an adult, his talent developed and he landed a job working for Walter Lantz Studios, the company that produced several different popular cartoons, the most famous being Woody Woodpecker. Later Ketchum was hired as an illustrator for Disney and worked on several of their many animated features.

After a stint in the US Naval Reserve in WWII, he married a lady named Alice Mahar and in 1951 started work on a comic strip about his 4 year old son, Dennis.

His wife provided the inspiration for the cartoon when one day she burst into her husband's studio complaining that his son had wrecked his bedroom instead of taking a nap and loudly proclaimed "Your son is a menace." Dennis the Menace still graces the pages of the local newspaper as a syndicated comic strip even though Ketchum died in 2001. It continues through the work of his assistants Marcus Hamilton and Ronald Ferdinand.

What is sad is the real Dennis Ketchum did not lead the storybook life portrayed in the comic strip, the TV show or the movies. His mother, Alice Ketchum was an alcoholic. Hank Ketchum was too busy to deal with a young son and Dennis had learning difficulties. The parents divorced and Dennis was sent to a boarding school in Switzerland. His mother died of an accidental drug overdose at age 41. Hank Ketchum had remarried but did not raise the boy. Because of difficulty at the Swiss boarding school, Ketchum placed Dennis in a boarding school in the United States.

Dennis Ketchum joined the Marine Corp after graduating from high school and fought in Viet Nam. Upon his return from combat he went through a series of low paying jobs. He was married, divorced and as became estranged from his own daughter.

Yet since 1951 the mischievous four year old has never gotten older, nor has his mother, Alice or his father Henry (Hank). They still live in a white frame house surrounded by a picket fence with the lovable family dog, Ruff. Dennis' parents are very much in love. In fact the pages of the comic are examples of Americana circa 1950.

Through his comic strip fantasy, Hank Ketchum became a millionaire and started a new family, all the while ignoring reality.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Heart Attack?

My family doctor, thinks I had a heart attack last week. My cardiologist stated that I was in Atrial Fibrillation, but didn't use the words heart attack. So I don't know. I generally equate a heart attack with myocardial infarction.

I do know that I am feeling much better. My heart still skips a beat periodically, but my pulse is steady and my blood pressure is right around 110/60. I am losing some weight, but I need to lose more. My blood glucose has been from 150 to 93. I am trying.

My family doc stated that atrial fibrillation is caused by 1. a heart attack 2. an old heart. I am becoming a fossil, but I'm not ready for Shady Acres just yet. Besides Shady Acres smells like poo and lotion.

Atrial Fibrillation involves the upper two chambers of the heart that pump in blood. They are beating arrhymically and way too fast, so not enough blood is capable of being pumped throughout the system.

One of the big concerns if the condition persists is clotting of the blood that can lead to stroke. Something occurs with the SA node (sinoatrial node) that causes the electricity generated by the heart to become disorganized due to impulses from the atrium and the pulmonary veins. This condition can become chronic and may need to be treated through catheterization or surgical based therapies if medication does not work. One method to correct cardiac rhythm is through electoshock therapy. The other method would be administering drugs introveneously.

The follow up is done through echocardiography to check for thrombosis. Then rate therapy is done orally through several different drugs.

I have been monitoring my vital signs and all appears well.