13 October 2013

Police Order

12 September 2013

I Salute JobsOhio for Yet Another Great Decision

JobsOhio, one the greatest examples of John Kasich's bold, visionary leadership, did the right thing in rejecting tax credits for Pure Romance, a "relationship enhancement" (i.e. satanic fornication) products company. I, for one, am very pleased that Cincinnati will not have its money supply tainted by the foul-fleshed fingers of fornicating female fluffers.

I have seen these women and I assure you, my friends, that they have no respect for the traditions and customs that made this country great. As my gentlemen colleagues will surely attest, many a fortnight may pass without notice of EVEN ONE properly petticoated young lady! While many may find today's "modern" woman to be fetching, even alluring, I must warn that succumbing to the charms of such women comes at a price, and that price is taking them seriously when it comes to other stuff.

I am proud that Governor John Kasich and JobsOhio are wise enough to understand that America already has both of the relationship enhancement products it needs: the Bible and Constitution. Sadly, America has abandoned the principles it was founded on and now seeks to replace God and Country with Lotion and Dildo. We would be wise to revisit the time when husbands and wives honored traditional family values by reading their favorite biblical and constitutional passages before quiet, efficient copulation intended for procreation. Fortunately, John Kasich and JobsOhio are doing everything they can to help us revisit that time, and I salute them with my biblio-constitutional erection.

15 May 2013

John Cranley's Own Words Show He Has Lost His Way

This is a cup from Cranley's 2000 congressional run. I couldn't help but notice how far he has wandered from his erstwhile slogan, "Faith in People." In whom does he have faith now?

Not the city's residents who have repeatedly supported things he opposes;

Not the city's business owners who support economic stimulus and infrastructure investment;

Not the city's business organizations who also support economic development;

Not the city's property owners who want residential and commercial development;

Not the City Hall staffers that make our city work;

Not the city's poor and minority children who depend on Health Department services;

Does John Cranley have faith in anything besides himself?

24 April 2013

Metropole at Night

06 March 2013

Charlie Winburn's Metaphysics

"Why is there something instead of nothing?" is the question generally regarded as the starting point for Heidegger's metaphysics.  For the rarified few who have slogged through several hundred pages of Being and Time only to arrive at the realization that little will be understood without reading it again (probably in the original German) and then realizing that this will never happen, it will surely imbue us with awe and pride that a member of our city council attempted to solve our budget challenges by subsuming Heideggerian metaphysics within the Hegelian dialectic. Check it out:

As I glanced at Winburn's "Plan C" budget proposal with the barely conscious minimal scrutiny I glance at all things Winburn, I noted the similarity with Heideggerian metaphysics. Just as Heidegger began his quest with "Why is there something instead of nothing," so too did Winburn begin his budget with "Why is there some budget instead of no budget?"

And with a nod to Hegel, Winburn then drafted his "Plan C" antithesis to City Manager Dohoney's thetical (I guess that has to be a word, right?) budget. Replacing sense and sensibility with pride and prejudice and parks and police, Winburn's proposal is a true gem of nothingness, a donut hole in the pastry shop of municipal government, an ill-conceived sideshow exorcism of a possessed's unschizophrenic cousin.

As November approaches we can expect more Winburn junkets to the Squeaky Wheel Islands and I'm sure 1230AM radio will provide us regular dispatches. And who knows, maybe an arts issue will come up and give us the chance to discover Winburnian aesthetics. I have no doubt it would be as profound as his metaphysics.

19 February 2013

The Best Thing about Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill Might Actually Be the Food

“Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill.” Certainly I was not alone in the hope that this ridiculous name would be the worst thing about the place. As it turns out, not only is it not the worst thing but there doesn’t seem to be even one good thing about this place at all.

After reading the Business Courier’s news briefing about TKILTBG’s eviction notice due to rent non-payment, I surfed the web for more info. What I found suggests that this may be the worst managed restaurant operation of all time.

First, the diner reviews. I checked the TKILTBG landscape on local social media and for the most part it was a dirt field with a lot of manure and a few green spots. The general consensus is average food and mediocre service. What struck me is that this was the consensus ever since opening; it never changed. I’ll come back to that. Now, let’s read some quotable excerpts:


So a thick Juicy medium rare California burger was ordered with a big ole slice of guacamole and cheese. What came to the table was a dry over cooked burger...

Sam Adams seasonal is the best beer they have on tap. Started with an order of fried pickles. My gold standard for fried pickles comes from Paxton's in Loveland. In comparison, the pickles at TK's were disgusting.

Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill is more like "I'd Love Some Service".

All told, I thought it would suck but it was a fine place to grab a face full of beer.

...you have to pay to park, pay to eat mediocre food, and it's all on the hype of being Toby Keith's bar... For this Country Fan... I'll pass on Mr. Keith, I don't really love this bar...

...so really the name of the place should be, "Toby Keith's I Guess It Was OK Bar & Grill,”

...so for the country lovin, sports watching, beer drinking, game goin guy and gal...y'all just may "love this bar";)

All 50 TV's were on the same exact station... not sure why anyone would think that's a good idea...

It seems this service staff needs MAJOR training, I will not return and dissuade my friends and family from returning!!!

I've been a few times before... The one thing I will say is guaranteed is horrible bar service. This time was no exception. However, this time I had a bartender literally pick a fight with me. SERIOUSLY. 

The only way I would go back here would be if Toby Keith personally served me a local brew out of his red solo cup...

The bathroom was clean and had my favorite hand dryers (Xlerators).

I love Toby Keith. I like him. I like his songs. All that good will he'd built up? Shot to hell.


Toby needs to check out what he is putting his name on.

Food was over cooked, management was confrontational and defensive, horrible experience.

He received zero tip, which is exactly what he deserved...

I was surprised to see what I consider to be a poor selection of beers...

Second weekend open and they were out of salmon, turkey, and our first and second choices for a glass of wine.

Good luck keeping that place open with horrific service like that!

ThaddandMilan.com blog comment:

...when I asked her if it was Cadillac Ranch 2.0 she didn't hesitate in saying yes.

The reviews were clear; this is a place to drink piss beer (not that I'm above that) and listen to country music (it depends), and nothing else. After reading diner reviews, I checked the Health Department’s online restaurant inspections which indicate the kitchen and equipment got dirty soon after opening and stayed that way through 2012. Inspection records can be misleading, but when taken into account with diners’ reports of untrained front staff, it’s not a stretch to figure the back staff is also untrained beyond how to put stuff on a plate.

Everything I read so far suggested bad management. So I surfed for information about TKILTBG’s owner, and that’s when things started to get a little fucked up.

I found this anti-TKILTBG site which, among other things, claims that TKILTBG’s owner, Frank Capri of Phoenix, has been sued 40 times for non-payments. This would make the Cincy lawsuit the 41st. And let’s not forget that Capri has irked someone so badly they made a website dedicated to ruining him.

Turns out that someone is the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 in Las Vegas. In fact, the union sent a letter about TKILTBG & Capri’s financial track record to Councilwoman Qualls last July, which she submitted to the whole Council, which referred it to the Budget & Finance Committee (on which all 9 sit anyway), which did not pursue any action.

This union seems to play hardball and get its hands dirty. In addition to going after TKILTBG, it’s trying to unionize the workers at a group of Vegas hotel/casinos and mounted another attack website against the UFC, the hugely popular mixed martial arts competition, which happens to be owned by the casino owners, the billionaire Fertitta brothers.

I didn’t find any connection between the Fertittas and Capri, other than the fact that they are both targets of the same union. One obvious difference: the Fertittas manage well-run, successful businesses whereas Capri does not.

To be honest, everything I came across suggests that Frank Capri is a scam artist, and I am at a loss for how he consistently made big deals with so many people in so many places. He doesn’t pay his bills. He gets sued. He loses in court. The restaurant sucks. He opens a new one some-where else. Repeat cycle. Apparently, Cincinnati is the most recent stopover for this train of honkytonk hoodwinkery.

Will the City lose money here? Not necessarily. The City loaned $5.5m to the Banks, not to TKILTBG. So the City’s repayment comes from the Banks partnership, which has already stated its intent to fully repay the loan regardless of the TKILTBG outcome.

The ultimate question in all this is why no one saw any red flags. The Banks/TKILTBG press release announcing the restaurant is dated January 5, 2011. The anti-TKILTBG website lists 27 of the 40 (now 41) lawsuits, and 13 of those 27 were filed prior to 2011.

We’ll see how this situation plays out but if TKILTBG sticks around, one has to wonder “What next?” The best outcome is probably for The Banks to get its rent and evict TKILTBG (after whatever happens next) and get a better restaurant. It’s hard to imagine NOT getting a better restaurant at this point but given the limited imagination and apparent screw-ups of The Banks team so far, who knows?

That January 5, 2011 press release quoted The Banks’ project executive Trent Germano saying “Toby Keith’s will help make The Banks a unique and fun place where it’s always happening.” Comically perfunctory, I know, and as it turns out, wrong on all counts.

Contrast that with the Urbanspoon comment that it’s “a disappointment to all the people who look to the banks to represent the kindness and hospitality of true cincinnatians.” Ouch. At this point one has to ask, is TKILTBG taking away more value from The Banks than it is adding?

09 February 2013

What Would Happen if Everyone Had a Gun Has Been Happening for At Least 138 Years

138 years ago, the June 23, 1874 Tri-Weekly Maysville Eagle newspaper (Maysville, KY) carried this report:

Clark County Democrat: “A friend of ours had quite an adventure with the fire-fiend a few days ago. He awoke about midnight, impressed with the notion that somebody was in the backyard. Getting his pistol, which lay loaded in the drawer, he cautiously reconnoitered through the window, and discovered what he took to be a man stooping over a coal of fire in the effort to produce a blaze, which he did not doubt was intended to be used in setting fire to his dwelling house.

Taking careful aim, he discharged his pistol and saw the fire fly, which was a fair shot on a dark night. Still the man kept his position. He tried another barrel, with the same result. Just as he was getting ready to shoot again his wife, who had heard the reports of the pistol, came running and asked what was the matter.

When he explained she looked out and laughed heartily. She had been having some soap made the day before, and the plucky incendiary, who had never moved, was the black kettle, which had not been put away. This it was, and nothing more.”

21 January 2013

Losing Avtar Gill Is Like Losing a Skyline Chili Ingredient

This morning, I searched through old photos on my computer, looking for an early photo of Avtar but I couldn’t find any. Surprised at first, I then realized that when I first saw Avtar-- probably 13 or 14 years ago-- I used a film camera and I don’t have anything remotely that old on my computer.

Downtown & OTR was “pre-renascence,” back then so there were no frequent public events like we have now all over downtown. Fountain Square had one restaurant. Washington Park was a pathetic remembrance of Cincy past. The Reds still played in Riverfront Stadium. Mike Brown was the NFL’s worst owner (that part is still the same).

Back then, Avtar was a rarer sight because there were fewer people and fewer events. Perhaps it was this circumstance that gave him more time “between gigs,” time he used to make his own caps. In those days, Avtar actually sewed his own caps and sewed the words into the front face. Given the relative permanence of sewn words compared to his later 'markered-up marquee' style, his early hat messages were more broad in scope than his later timely, topical messages but in every case always positive and unifying, never negative or divisive.

The first time we talked might have been in November 2000, when the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue was meeting downtown at the Omni Netherland (now Hilton). The TABD was basically an international version of the Koch brothers, at least that’s how I and a few thousand other irritated citizens viewed its closed-door meetings between industry and government.

Avtar was among those thousands and at one point we found ourselves standing next to each other. We talked briefly and exchanged names. He told me he was from Sri Lanka. I think he said he used to work for the Metro but I’m not sure, I might be mixing up memories.

As the years passed, Avtar was a regular figure at just about every public event downtown. I remember watching him alternate between being exotic bait for snack-hungry suburbanite cameras one minute, and friendly familiar face of the common man the next minute.

Avtar wasn’t big, or loud, or rich, or powerful. He probably never even set foot in any of the bars, clubs, galleries, theaters, or restaurants that we’re told need to exist for people to want to be downtown. On the face of it, there is really no conceivable reason at all why a dude with odd hats would make a lasting impression or be missed by those of us who felt part of the same community.

But there he was, month after month, year after year, in every park, square,  street, and lawn, sharing his love for his city and its people in his own unique voice. It was a little thing, but it was a little thing that was always there and always sincere. And as I look back, it makes more sense than ever that Avtar never ventured into the bars, restaurants, etc. that make downtown’s social scene. Those are important parts of downtown, but they’re still parts. They’re manufactured. They come, they go, they change. But public spaces, street festivals, rallies, protests... that’s where the people are, that’s where the energy is and that’s where a city’s vibe is borne. I think that’s where Avtar wanted to be.

In the end, the man who first struck us as a downtown oddity, a sort of human sidekick to flying pig statues, had become a downtown icon, an endearingly human sidekick to chili spaghetti and everything else Cincinnati. If the flying pig statues disappear tomorrow we won’t miss them; they are ersatz icons. We will notice their absence, but we won’t miss them. But next time a crowd gathers somewhere in downtown or OTR, people will notice that Avtar isn’t there and yes, we will miss him and his simple, sincere love for his city and its people.

19 January 2013

All You Need to Know About the Afghan War in Two Articles

First is the Telegraph's excerpt from William Dalrymple's upcoming book in which he spends time embedded with Afghans and explores their perspectives on their own history and conflicts:

"...some American officers called us to a hotel in Jalalabad for a meeting. One of them asked me, 'Why do you hate us?’ I replied, 'Because you blow down our doors, enter our houses, pull our women by the hair and kick our children. We cannot accept this. We will fight back, and we will break your teeth, and when your teeth are broken you will leave, just as the British left before you. It is just a matter of time.'"

In truth, all the Americans here know their game is over. It is just their politicians who deny this.”

Second is this news item from the Lexington Herald-Leader:

Sen. Mitch McConnell... expressed optimism about an 11-year war that now stands as the longest in American history, and the prospect of Afghans assuming a lead role in the fighting.

"I think there's a widely held view among the American military leaders there... that this has a very great potential for a happy ending..."

14 January 2013