Monday, December 31, 2007

Over the holidays I found myself visiting family in Springfield and Urbana.
One of the things Springfield was long proud of was having a home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Unfortunately, it had been broken up into apartments & had fallen into disrepair.
The Westcott house was really more of an eyesore than anything to be proud of. Several years ago it was purchased and restored to it's original condition. ok, mostly. The organization in charge now offers tours & has the typical gift shop to boot.
I took the tour and, being a Wright fan, enjoyed myself immensely. It is hard, looking at the place, to realize it is 100 years old. The living room looks more like something from the 50s or 60s. Other rooms harken back to the 30s. Guy was definitely ahead of his time.
Another nice thing about Springfield's E High St. area is that some of the other, more traditional, homes are being restored as well.
Anyway, you, too, can visit the Westcott house in Springfield. Fun if you can't wrangle an invite out of somebody who actually lives in a Wright home. They have regularly scheduled tours.

Unfortunately, as I was about to post this, I saw this in the Spfld Noose Son:

Westcott House sprayed with graffiti

Unknown suspects spray-painted graffiti on the north and south sides of the Westcott House, 1340 E. High St., according to a police report.

The vandalism occurred some time between 5 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. Sunday, according to the report.

Could the CCV be wrong ?
I have often wondered if the leadership of the CCV, given their penchant for hanging about golf courses, could just be braindamaged due to getting hit in the head by too many errant golf balls.
Our all-knowing social guardians at the CCV have told us that strip clubs breed crime, drug abuse, prostitution, violence and blah blah.
This colla[se of civilisation was predicted in Sparta, KY, too.
It didn't happen. Law enforcement says the strip clubs are no worse and maybe even a little better than any other bar or nightclub.
Fortunately, in Ohio, we have the CCV - stalwart oppressors of liberty masquerading as soldiers of God ramrodding state wide legislation down our throats based on lies and terror.

Ladies and gentleman

By Kevin Eigelbach

An expected increase in crime has not materialized since Racers Gentlemen's Club opened in Sparta near Kentucky Speedway.

In 2000, a strip club opened its doors in tiny Sparta, population 230. Drawn by the new Kentucky Speedway there, which can pack in 70,000 fans of auto racing, the club featured topless women doing pole dances and lap dances.

Reaction to the plan was swift. Residents by and large opposed it. "Sin is sin and there is no way to cover it up,'' one caller to a Post hotline said. "It'll give Sparta a bad name.''

Pastors spoke out against it.

In a county that still banned Sunday liquor sales, lewd, topless dancing was unthinkable.

Behind much of the argument was the belief that a strip club would bring more crime, particularly drugs and prostitution, to the small town.

It's the same debate that other counties, currently Boone County, are having as they ponder new regulations on sexually oriented businesses.

Many said at the time that the crime would increase in Sparta and surrounding Gallatin County. In part citing an expected increase in crime, the Boone County Planning Commission recently approved strict limitations on where such businesses can locate. The measure still needs final approval.

One reason communities can regulate such businesses is their purported secondary effects, such as an increase in crime. But that's not what Gallatin County's experienced with Racers, say law enforcement and court officials.

The Kentucky State Police get called to Racers about as often as they do to other bars, said Trooper 1st Class Chip Perry, the spokesman for post No. 5, which covers Gallatin County.

The club has its own security, something most bars don't have, Perry said. Most of the calls for service the state police receive come from the security staff, he said.

"Hopefully, the security staff is a set of sober eyes that can assist us until we get there," he said.

The state police received three calls for service from Racers in 2005, the most recent year statistics were available, all of them from the security staff calling about drunks posing a problem.

In one case, a security officer needed help trying to prevent a drunk from driving. In another, three drunks escorted out of the club were causing trouble at the gas station next door. In the third, the staff was concerned about an intoxicated man walking alone down the highway.

As one of the county's chief prosecutors, Gallatin County Attorney Spike Wright sees firsthand where crimes happen and who commits them.

He initially thought that Racers might be contributing to an increase in crime, so he started to keep a list of reports. That soon convinced him that it wasn't any worse than any other establishment with lots of customers.

"It's just a business," he said. "There are a lot of people in and out of there."

He does see some alcohol-related cases, such as drunken driving, but those come from any establishment that serves drinks, he said.

"I've never seen a prostitution arrest from Racers," Wright said.

The club had some problems in the past with conflicts between employees escalating into fights, he said. Also, some patrons were complaining at how the club cut them off when they'd had too many drinks.

"I suggested they (management) needed to be a little less enthusiastic," Wright said. "They might have been a little rough when they threw people out. I've not had a complaint since."

Statistics from the state police show that crime is actually down in Gallatin County since Racers.

In 2006, Gallatin County had 86 of what the FBI calls "Part One" crimes. These include major crimes such as murder, rape, robbery and assault. In 1999, the year before Racers opened, the county had 96 Part One crimes.

In 2006, the county had no arrests for forcible rape. In 1999, there were two.

In 2006, the county had three arrests for sex offenses other than rape or prostitution. In 1999, it had eight.

In 2006, the county had no arrests for aggravated assault. In 1999, it had 13.

In 2006, the county had 97 arrests for driving under the influence. In 1999, it had 192.

However, arrests on narcotic drug law charges increased from 70 in 1999 to 109 in 2006. But they fell to 63 in 2001, the year after Racers opened.

D. Scott Lindsay, who manages the club as part of Lindsay Management Services, says that strip clubs have enough of a reputation without causing problems with crime. That's why his company works hard to keep the club problem-free, with programs like random drug tests of the staff, including himself, and searches of the dancers' lockers for drugs.

The company has a two-strikes-and-you're out policy on drug use, he said, with treatment mandatory after the first strike.

Surveillance cameras cover the building's interior, he said, so that the staff has a record of exactly what goes on.

If Gallatin County had the same ordinance that Boone County is contemplating, Racers might be in compliance with the requirement that sexually oriented businesses locate at least 1,000 feet from sensitive sites such as churches, homes and schools, Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said.

The club sits on a bluff above Interstate 71, its only neighbors being the restaurant in the other half of its building, a motel and a gas station. The rest of Sparta lies nearly two miles south on Ky. 35.

The fact that one sexually oriented business might not have negatively affected local crime wouldn't deter Boone County officials from trying to regulate them, County Administrator Jeff Earlywine said.

Courts across the country have recognized studies that show negative impacts, he said. "I don't know that any study would say that in every case there are effect," he said.

"But when you look at the industry as a whole, by and large, you do have negative secondary effects."

Many who opposed the club when it moved in have now moved on. There are still those who oppose it, such as the Rev. Thomas Calloway of the Ten Mile Baptist Church.

"I don't support it or anybody that goes there," Calloway said. "We have had crime in Gallatin County, but I don't really know if it's having an effect."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

NO PLACE LIKE HOME: A History Of Domestic Architecture In Springfield And Clark County, Ohio
by George H. Berkhofer

I was given this book for Christmas by a relative. It is one helluva coffee table book about Springfield.
It is decribed as:
No Place Like Home is a book which tries to capture the essential spirit of Springfield, Ohio, as expressed by its architecture over the last two hundred years.

It is 12x9 in and illustrated with beautiful drawing, photography and the author has dug up some great older illustrations as well s examples of "original" architectural styles.
ok, I really know nothing about architecture, so I'm just taking the author's word for it.
It is a visually beautiful piece printed in light brown and black. It would have been nice to have some color but, I'll live.
The only problem I had with the book is that the interior design, under the direction of John Baskin, is almost impossible.
Inserts describing the pictures follow no perceptible pattern. Instead of using a top to bottom, left to right or even just a clockwise pattern, the descriptions seem to be tossed in as a last minute afterthought.
The use of the light brown is ok but in some places type and halftones are printed solely in the light brown and are effectively "ghosted" and almost impossible to see. A heavier color used with screening would have been much better.
Further, the number of pictures caught in the spine, that probably looked great in proofs, are incredibly disfigured printed across the pages.
Note: This book is about houses - not commercial arhitecture or even apartment buildings. It would be great to see the author take on these topics in more books in the future.
The book is easily worth the price and should be on the coffee table of every home in Clark county if not SW Ohio.

orange Frazer Press

Sunday, December 23, 2007

ok, this is just cool

'Miracle choir' ready for encore
Philippus church brought voices together
OVER-THE-RHINE - Five voices. No more. No less.

That was all organist Terrie Benjamin thought she had to work with last year for the 11 p.m. Christmas Eve service at candle-lit Philippus United Church of Christ.

Overnight, those five voices turned into 42.

They soared through "O Come, All Ye Faithful." They brought a blessed hush to "Silent Night," singing the carol in German and in English. No wonder those in attendance dubbed the singers, "the miracle choir."

The choir reunites Monday night. Same time. Same place, an Over-the-Rhine landmark for 116 years.

Five singers would not have filled the chancel choir loft, built for 40, in the 19th-century church capable of holding 812 worshippers.

Benjamin, the church's music director and organist, put out a call for carolers. An Enquirer article spread the word.

"We certainly needed some angels last year," Benjamin said. "And we got them. That choir sounded as if it had been together for ages."

The group had all of the inspiration of another Cincinnati ensemble - Nick Lachey's "Clash of the Choirs" champs - but none of the preparation.

Members of the church's impromptu choir came from across town and across state lines.

Locals gathered from Green and Anderson townships. They hailed from Mason to Maysville, from Cleves to New Richmond. Out-of-towners, home for the holidays, came from Houston, Nashville and Denver.

One by one they decided to spend Christmas Eve in a church most had never visited in a part of town where many fear to tread on one of the most sacred nights of the year.

"This was a spontaneous coming together of like-minded souls who had nothing in common other than giving back," said Lynne Aronson, a music teacher turned baker from Anderson Township.

"Why not give to those in need? That's what Christmas is all about."

Ella Jean Davis, a singing retired legal secretary from New Richmond, remembered walking into "the choir's rehearsal room thinking I'd see eight people.

"Instead, I saw 41. It was a Christmas miracle."

It was also a miracle so many suburbanites got up the courage to venture into an inner-city neighborhood that regularly makes the news for all the wrong reasons.

Kelly Kalb recruited two carloads of singers. Some came from Maysville. Some from Mason. More than a few felt uneasy about going to Over-the-Rhine.

Kalb, a corporate trainer from Mason, calmed their fears.

"Of all nights," he told his recruits, "God will take care of us on Christmas Eve."

The choir rehearsed for just 40 minutes.

"Every singer was very professional," Benjamin said. "No talking. No visiting. I would venture to say 90 percent of them came from a structured choral background."

There were doctors and lawyers, teachers and psychologists, office workers and even a Duke.

Stacy Todd performs as "Duke" in the homegrown, nationally known oldies rock revue, the Van-Dells. At Philippus, on Christmas Eve 2006, however, he played the part of the dutiful son-in-law.

"My father-in-law was confirmed at Philippus," said Todd of Cleves. "My mother-in-law told us about the choir's problem and asked us to go down and help out."

He brought his sons, Kyle and Kasey, and niece, Lyndsey Campbell. They walked in the procession from the rehearsal room, down a hallway, through a door and into the sanctuary.

"The singers just kept coming and coming out the door next to the choir loft," Todd said. "It was very, very emotional."

Gasps echoed across the congregation over the choir's size. The brilliant sound produced by 42 voices caused tears to fall.

The group included six singers from Philippus' choir and 36 from afar.

"There were 40 Christians and two Jews," Aronson said. The baker and her husband, Mark, made up the latter.

"What else would we do on Christmas Eve?" she joked.

Turning serious, she explained why they came to the church in Over-the-Rhine.

"It's a mitzvah, a good thing," she said, "to give to others."

Answering the call to sing in the miracle choir became a gift that keeps on giving.

"When we sang at the church last year, we thought, 'Let's do this again,' " said Steve DeHoff.

The plastics consultant brought six members of his family from Sharonville, Southgate and Houston. He plans to do the same this Christmas Eve.

DeHoff should be joined by at least 20 of the voices he blended with in the choir.

"I have to come back this year," said Peggy Schmidt, a Blue Ash music teacher. "There was a magical glow about the whole evening."

As they made their way to Over-the-Rhine last Christmas Eve, the wise men and women in the choir followed a hand.

A gilded 6-foot-tall left hand tops the church's steeple. The hand's gleaming index finger points the way to heaven.

Inside, the church that is on the National Register of Historic places is a wonder of late-19th-century architecture, artistry and craftsmanship. The sanctuary features splendid stained glass windows, Rookwood drinking fountains, ornately crafted oak woodwork and a glorious pipe organ, donated by the Midwest's 19th-century beer baron, Christian Moerlein.

"Seeing all that bathed in candlelight was so warming and comforting," Schmidt said.

She sang in the choir to honor her mother, Carolyn Schmidt, a member of Philippus' 1936 confirmation class.

"The service and the church reminded me of Christmases past," Schmidt said.

The teacher recalled Christmas Eves from long ago "when families came to church together to sing carols. That night brought back many sweet memories of Christmases past."

Memories are all the singers have of that magical night. No one took photos or made a recording.

"That," said singer Ella Jean Davis, "makes the night all the more magical."

Monday, December 17, 2007

Congratulations to Ron Paul for collecting 6+ million dollars on Sunday, the 234th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party.
To learn more about Dr Paul check out The Ron Paul Library:
or his 2008 campaign website:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

ok, it took me awhile (& 2 re installs of the system) but, apparently, wireless & Fedora just don't mix. I tried NDISWrapper & Mad WiFi. I learned a lot about my system & got pretty comfy with the terminal but to no avail.
SO, Linuxland has moved back to the basement where it's easier to run an ethernet cable through the heat ducts (the cable running outside from window to window was tacky even in my book).
If anybody tells you Linux is ready for the consumer desktop, they are lying.
Now to commence torturing myself with PHP/MySQL again.....
I should really just find a dominatrix.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

In Ohio, we outlaw vice. That is drugs, alcohol, prostitution, gambling, etc....
This keeps the police busy chasing down and arresting people who are involved in things that might only hurt themselves and subsequently lands them in overcrowded jails. Police records then haunt these people, they wind up not getting jobs, student loans, housing. Their lives, which may have been ok, are sent into a downward spiral by the society that claims to want to save them from ruining their lives.
In Chile, however, at least prostitution is legal.
This gives the prostitutes an opportunity to give back to society by using their talents and skills.

Maria Carolina has auctioned off 27 hours of her services for charity. Sounds kinda gross but from the article, it sounds like one guy paid for the whole time.

Anyway, this seems a lot cheaper as well as more humane and, really, more in line with the purpose of The United States, to allow people to achieve their potential and use it for the good of society.