Sunday, February 27, 2011

Cincinnati's Cleopatra

With the Cleopatra exhibit at the Museum Center, it seems like a good time to talk about smokin' hot silent film babes. Ohio did ok in this field. While Springfield offered up Lillian Gish, Cincinnati came up with Theda Bara.
Born Theodosia Goodman in Cincinnati in 1885, she grew up in far off & exotic Avondale with her father, a tailor, attended Walnut Hills High School and attended the University of Cincinnati. One of the homes she lived in is now an Honors House at Xavier University. She moved away before Cincinnati chili arrived on the scene. This was, of course, all ignored when she commenced her movie career and they promoted her as being born in Egypt with an Italian sculptor for a father and got her acting start in Paris. It wasn't a far stretch. They referred to her as the "Serpent of the Nile" and encouraged her to discuss mysticism and the occult, which was very popular at the time, in interviews. This exotic persona didn't prevent her from promoting war bond sales during WWI, however, as she raised hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of sales.

Bara was one of the first movie sex symbols and the word "vamp" was reputedly coined after her sultry performances. This is fitting when you consider the wildly popular Vamps movies originated in Porkopolis.
It made her famous. She made over 40 films & was one of the highest paid actresses at the time raking in about $4,000 a week. Her other claim to fame is being an actress with some of the most lost film in history. In 1937 Fox' storage vaults suffered a fire that destroyed tons of work & most of Bara's.

Archiving 101. Back up your stuff in multiple locations. The media dumbasses get all freaked out when they release their products, movies, music, etc, into the wild because they are terrified they will lose control of their assets. These assets in turn become part of our culture. Are these media clowns the ones we want to steward out culture? Even now, they are deprecating CDs &DVDs in favor of streaming. But if we have to depend on them and their bean counters, what will become of rare old obscure stuff that they don't want to bother to stream? If there's copies out there floating around there's a chance the work will survive somehow even if it's hard to find.

But I digress.....

One of Bara's crowning achievements was her 1917 production of Cleopatra. It was wildly popular & all but about 40 seconds is lost. The production stills show opulent sets and lavish costumes that would later be banned by Hollywood censors.

Egyptian stuff was still really popular in the early 20th century. "Egyptomania" was sparked at the end of the 18th century and lasted all through the 19th as European archaeologists plundered the artifacts of the ancient country. In the second half of the 20th century, better travel & communications has robbed Egypt, and most everywhere else, of much mystery. Still the influence on European & American culture from art and architecture to philosophy is undeniable.

Isis ?

Theda didn't return to Cincinnati after her death in 1955. Her remains are in the columbarium in Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Theda Bara on IMDB
Fishwrap story here.
Theda Bara worship site.
While Bara made her name in the silent film era, you can hear her (but not see her) here

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Virtual Self Flagellation ?

Are the God Hates Fags guys hacking themselves now? I can't get enough victimization....(Sing it, Mick!)
El Reg story here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls

My newest favoritest movie is Meredith Lucas' 1988 Blood Orgy of the Leather Girls - a story about a gang of teenage punk schoolgirls who take no shit & spend their time in violent mischief making. When one of their members is victimized, their violence becomes more focused & revenge is had with .45s, shotguns, LSD, straight razors, power drills and meat cleavers.
"Man, I'm stoked on murder"

Lucas' first movie is crude & awkward as one might imagine but is also primal, visceral, passionate and strangely poetic. Unfortunately it was also her last. Despondent over debt & the inability to find a distributor for the film, she eventually committed suicide. source
Eventually her brother got the movie released on VHS tape. Amazon hosts 2 copies for just under $80 here. I downloaded a bit torrent here.
In this blogpost, however Michael Lucas comments that he will still send duplicate tapes for $12 (in the comments section).
This saturated noir movie, dedicated to Susan B. Anthony, is a must see for all hard core, weird grade Z movie fans.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Collective Bargaining

The State of Ohio is looking at doing some union busting. Governor John Kasich has made it a priority & Senator Shannon Jones has introduced legislation to the same end. They want to end collective bargaining for some unionized employees (teachers) & binding arbitration for others (police).
Approximately 36% of public jobs are unionized while only 7% of private jobs are unionized. Why? First off I would guess that private companies usually employ fewer people and, with under 25 employees in a business, why bother with organizing the labor? Simply looking at employees v businesses, the average comes out to only 16 employees/employer. With a small number of employees a manager or business owner can be somewhat intimate with his workforce & labor / management can have a fairly open dialogue.
With governments, you are dealing with levels of bureaucratic administration an a much higher number of employees. The police force of Cincinnati consists of over 1,000 employees. Getting a dialogue going between labor & management pretty much requires using proxy type representatives.
So who's to blame for the contract agreements that cannot be paid for?
In this most recent case, good bit of blame could fall on "Wall Street", but that's a whole 'nother story.
Wild and lavish contracts are awarded to unions with no respect to reality. Is that the fault of the unions asking? Cincinnati recently awarded the fire fighters a contract & within months, asked for concessions. Seems to me the people to blame are the administration's negotiators. granted, the union leaders should poke their heads up once in awhile & take a look at the real world.....
A lot of the union busting going on right now appears to be neo-conservative reactionist vindictiveness. Their brunt of their assault on teachers & lower paid workers v. their relative slack on police & fire is telling. Shannon Jones' bill is scattershot, and unfocussed. Her introduction of the bill can be found here. Her shrill & defensive explanation on Newsmakers on 2/13 can be found here. (Her segment is the 2nd one & I don't know how to link to it directly - sorry)
Is killing collective bargaining guaranteed to save us? David Pepper cites states that don't allow collective bargaining, Arizona, Nevada & North Carolina, have worse deficits than Ohio. Again, the administrations have to be held accountable.
Cincinnati's contracts with the police unions allows for massive numbers of sick days but doesn't provide short term disability. These guys have dangerous jobs and are prone to injury. We absolutely should take care of them when they are hurt. The way this is set up, tho, promotes the officers to tough out injuries and save their sick days which can accrue over their entire career and be cashed in upon retirement in a lump payout. Not only is this possibly bad for the officers health, he an save sick days from his first year on the job & cash them out on retirement at a much higher rate of pay. With his pension guaranteed for life & the possible debilitating health problems caused by not properly treating injuries over the years, the city is on the hook for millions of dollars and huge one time payments that screw up the city's cash flow. Fishwrap source
Who agrees to these contracts? I can't believe I had to applaud the city for not giving the unions their requested free pet insurance.
Todd Portune blames city and county woes on unfunded mandates by state & federal governments. Of course, Hamilton County is on the hook for a stadium deal made with an under-achiever.
The problem is not exactly with the unions, even tho their requests are frequently childish and unrealistic. The elected officials & their administrations need to show leadership - not throw temper tantrums.

More from the Noose Son here.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Battle of Pickawey

A Plan 9 Video

In 1780 the largest battle of the American Revolution west of the Alleghenies was fought in SW Ohio just outside of what is now Springfield. The battlefield is now George Rogers Clark Park, named after the revolutionary general who commanded the colonists in the battle.
In 1980 re-enactors re-enacted the battle. With a play by play announcer.....
Revolutionary soldiers & conscripts marched up from the Kentucky settlement area & crossed the Ohio river near the Licking river to do battle 90 miles north with British allies, the Shawnee. I think it is safe to assume that marching through SW Ohio woods in August was probably no more pleasant 230 years ago than it would be today. Picking a fight at the end of the trail would have just been the icing on the cake. Hats off to the revolutionary war soldiers.
And a hats off to Jeff Hansell of Plan 9 TV & Film.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Atlantis Located in Dayton?

$14M is targeted to maybe get the space shuttle Atlantis to the Air Force Museum in Dayton after it gets retired.
That's cool and all, but 14 million bucks for space junk?

Noose Son story here.
UPDATE: No wait! It's $28M!
Noose Son story here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


County Commissioner, Chris Monzel, who campaigned on promises of cutting waste, spending & finding efficiencies, suspects there might be some extra cash floating around & has decided to spend it to create a new county job - thus increasing spending and, more importantly, adding a brand new layer of bureaucracy to county government.
The position? A red tape cutter.
I am sure Monzel's florist will decorate this person's office beautifully.

WVXU story here.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Talking With Machines

Friday night, while I was watching the tube, some people & some machines had an interesting conversation.
I know nothing of texting. I found all the different voices really weird. The Cinti Bell voice & my answering machine voice are very pleasant but the person texting me, I think a girl, is probably pretty anxious. The translation of what I am guessing is "OMG" is hilarious. The really weird thing is that she appears to believe she is having a conversation.
I thought about calling back with a "Sorry, wrong number", but what the hell.....
Visions for High Speed Rail

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Schuler's on the March

It's sort of interesting how, in bad financial times, people choke up on big ticket items but tend to spend more on little ticket items like doughnuts.
Trent Schuker, CEO of Schuler's Bakery said, "We can’t make the product fast enough".
Schuler's will be moving it's production from it's Main St location of 64 years to an old Aldi on S Limestone near the Taco Bell that burned down some years ago. The Main St location will still serve as a retail outlet. Hopefully they will expand the sales area as lines frequently spill out onto the street.
"But wait, Quimbob, isn't that S. Limestone location the site of the grocery store that got fire bombed a long time ago ?"
That would be an affirmative, dear reader. The hated A&P, target of the ire of the infamous Ricky Arson, was indeed mysteriously torched back in '79. Although he claims to have been elsewhere when the fire started, anybody who could confirm his whereabouts was stoned. I guess we will never really be sure.

Noose Son article here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A downtown area with densely built multi purpose buildings can uniquely benefit from the unique infrastructure of a modern streetcar. Most other neighborhoods with separated business and residential areas and single family homes spread apart with large yards would see no benefit at all from such a conveyance. It is not a one size fits all solution and we do not live in a one size fits all world.
The modern streetcar is not a bus on rails. It is designed to get people traveling relatively short distances on and off quickly. It is a people mover. It is designed to promote spontaneity in the rider to stop and go that a bus or car cannot duplicate. It will make a downtown area that is dang near car hostile a more livable area. It will make it more attractive to new tax paying residents and businesses in an area where a car frequently becomes an albatross around the neck.
The streetcar is expected to have a ROI of 3 to 1.
The streetcar is expected to have an economic impact of 15 to 1.
The streetcar is expected to cost 2-3 million a year to operate and funding is being targeted from casino revenue in addition to the user fees.
Ohio's TRAC gives the development it's highest rating. link
The goal of the streetcar is to enable the private sector to create new jobs, new business, new residents, an improved tax base and a better quality of life.
The Cincinnati streetcar connects 3 very different areas in the heart of Cincinnati on a 4.5 mile loop, the Central Business District, the developing riverfront Banks & the fairly abandoned northern area called Over the Rhine. The three areas offer different business and residential opportunities. The Banks will likely be more oriented to big box businesses moving into the city. The CBD hosts larger more Fortune 500 type businesses, government and law practices as well as upscale retail and services. The northern area should offer a lower rent area which will make it more attractive for investment by local middle class entrepreneurs.
The three areas will offer residential opportunities to new and existing upper, lower and middle class residents.
In addition to raising the tax base of the city, repopulating the northern end will reduce the frequent need for fire and police services by putting eyes on the street and responsible residents in restored buildings. Currently, it is a prime haven for squatters and vice activity. This results in violence and frequent fires. Aside from the drag on the community in public service spending, citizens are also hit on their insurance bills.
I lived in OTR for 7 years and worked there for 25. I have visited friends and patronized the businesses there. I have declined the products and services of pushers and prostitutes. I have traveled through the area using cars, bicycles and buses. I have studied the history of Cincinnati and it's downtown.
Many of the opponents of this development do not have this first hand experience with the area or of the strengths & weaknesses of buses v streetcars on any kind of ongoing basis.
Again, streetcars everywhere is as absurd as suburbia everywhere. We need to make maximum use of our resources and offer new residents and businesses the choices of different safe and vibrant neighborhoods and communities to create jobs.
Support this investment in the people of Cincinnati and Ohio.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Filling Voids

For Christmas, my nephew gave me the Weapon Brown comics. Weapon Brown is a satire pitting Peanuts characters against themselves & other comic strip characters in a dark, bleak post apocalyptic world. Picture Dilbert's boss garroting Mr Dithers, Peppermint Patty running a brothel & Charlie Brown, doomed to failure as a bitter cyborg bounty hunter.....
I don't read comics much anymore. Gave up on newspaper strips long long ago. When I moved from Springfield the Cincinnati papers didn't carry the strips I had followed my whole life & it was just too late to get into Rex Morgan & that hag, Mary Worth when I craved Dick Tracy & Bringing Up Father.
When I was a fully functioning human being with massive disposable income I was an avid comic book fan. Comic books are soap operas usually told on a monthly basis. Comic books are released on a weekly basis. I usually bought 10 - 15 comics a week. This meant that I had, at any given time, 40 - 50 long term plot lines banging around my head. When finding comics and poring over them got too difficult, I gave up.
I watch a bit of serialized TV. Supernatural is about the only current soap opera type series I watch. After that, I get series on DVD from mail order subscription service (Schlockbluster).
There's not as many storylines to be had & corporate TV, created by committees and accountants don't come near the creativity of the more monarchial comic book creators.
There are real live cartoon characters with their own ongoing soap operas to follow like Tom Luken, Chris Smitherman, Michelle Bachman, Alex Jones & Barry O. It's kind of scary that they are in real life and that some people actually consider them inspiring but people followed the Star Wars "force" and, if mainstream America saw the dedication of some of the fans of Grendel, they would be very very afraid.
So, thanks, Ted, for making me all depressed & nostalgic on a cold dreary winter day...

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

ZOMG! I think I might have just seen COA T's next aneurysm.....
Where's Paul Newman when you need him?

Monday, February 07, 2011

Building on our Strengths

Cincinnati's relationship with surrounding counties and communities has never been real good. While the surrounding areas are populated by good Christian people, Cincinnati has always been a hotbed of sin and depravity.
Frances Trollope contrasts life in Mowhawk to the revivals in Indiana in the 1830s. When religionists introduced the poison of Prohibition, surrounding counties succumbed while Cincinnati, with more saloons than Carrie Nation could shake an axe at, went down last.
This trend continues to this day. To the north lies Solid Rock Church with it's soon to be replaced Touchdown Jesus. To our south, the wildly successful Creation Museum soon to be joined by a Noah's Ark theme park. And Cincinnati? It's building a casino. More vice, more depravity.
Over at the sensationalist Building Cincinnati website we are told that design issues will be discussed Tuesday, 2/8/11. We won't be getting a Caesar's but I think it would still be a good idea to capitalize on our ancient Roman ties and work on this ancient world & biblical kinda theme.

A nice Roman arch leading to the casino would be awesome. Replicating Constantine's arch would also send the clear message that the good people from out of town will not be persecuted during their visit.
For the actual casino we could go to that colony of Rome and a nest of vice and intrigue, Alexandria.

What better inspiration than a wonder of the ancient world? Along with the glamour & sexiness of Roman emperors carrying on with Egyptian queens the lighthouse would tie in with Cincinnati's maritime history as well as help motorists on the highway find the place. The Alexandria theme would also tie in nicely with our revered library.
And we know casino visitors are going to make a beeline for the library.....
Unfortunately, preliminary renderings look like the casino will look like an extension of a mall.

Well, don't come crying to me when this thing falls flat.
Delenda est Carthago.....

Sunday, February 06, 2011

NYC 1968

Jefferson Airplane performing The Ballad of You & Me & Pooneil on a Manhattan rooftop November 1968 as filmed by Jean-Luc Gaddard.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Cincinnati lost a long time political leader this week. Everett DeJager was a long time member of the Libertarian Party & was involved virtually since it's inception in 1971. He served as a state chairman for awhile and a local organizer for decades. You didn't see him on TV much, but he wrote letters to the editor at the Cincinnati Enquirer over the years - about 400. He posted in & edited the regional newsletter as well.
Mr DeJager was a polite, cordial & honestly friendly man. His presence in the damn near WWE type world of local politics will be missed.

Enquirer obituary here.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Straight Out of Oxford

The Lemon Pipers were #1 Feb 3 1968 with Green Tambourine.
Add Ann Miller.....
Ouroboric Vitriol

In a recent hit piece on outgoing Cincinnati Councilman Jeff Berding, über-liberal City Bleat's Kevin Osborne, who I have repeatedly voted for as "Best Journalist" in his paper's Best of Cincinnati thingie, condemns Berding for filing a complaint with Cincinnati Police, alleging local activist, Mary Kuhl, had threatened a public official after it was reported (by Osborne) that she had stated she’d like to "stick a shiv in Jeff Berding".
Osborne reports on the angry, bombastic rhetoric she uses in public which he and the folks at the über-liberal Bacon have condemned in the past. Apparently Kuhl perceives it as just "schtick".
In local political campaigns, the vocabulary has become increasingly lurid as the burner under desperate FUD has been turned up higher & higher.
Osborne describes Berding's actions as being "the last petty, vindictive and mean-spirited act of a petty, vindictive and mean-spirited man".
Is Berding wrong? Osborne's own summary sounds like it could apply to himself in this case. Even Alex Jones has tired of the barrage of threats of violence made against him.
Another local who used such a "shtick" was a fella locally known as Kabakka Oba (SP?). He died outside City Hall in a hail of gunfire. Perhaps Berding's complaint could serve as the splash of cold water in the face that might ultimately save some lives.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

ok, I'll bite. WTF does the FAA have to do with healthcare reform ?
Why would non-violent rape not be rape?
And the party of constitutional government is supporting extending the constitution crunching Patriot Act ?
What happened to JOBS, JOBS, JOBS ?