12 November 2012

Here Are Some of Enquirer Reporter Lafcadio Hearn's Articles from the 1870s

I've mentioned Lafcadio Hearn before, in this crazy post. Here are the titles of some more of his popular columns:

The Last of the Horse: How he is turned into soap, fertilizer, and Prussian Blue, a flying visit to the Horse-Frying works at Delhi

Within the Bars: How prisoners look, live, and conduct themselves, some glimpses of life in the County Jail

The Aesthetics of Hanging

Dug up. Doctors at work on the body of Bellevile. Post Mortem examination at Spring Grove cemetery

A Naughty Widow

Dame Sidney Augustine: An abortion for twenty-five dollars and the price worked out. Fortune telling and dead babies

A Dish of Soup: How a carpenter falls in love with cookery and then the cook

Free Love in Cincinnati History

Greeks, Jews, and Cannibals

19 October 2012

Great American Irony

10 October 2012

06 October 2012

Here's a Camel Ad from Exactly 52 Years Ago

Maris, the Yankees "home run hitting right fielder," hit 39 homers in 1960, good enough to win the HR title and beat Mickey Mantle for the AL MVP.

It was the NEXT year, 1961, that Maris hit 61 homers, a stat that would turn out to be the first of several home run records with an asterisk next to it. He beat out Mickey Mantle again for the MVP award.

So a half-century before steroids we had tobacco. And a half century before that, athletes actually used things like nitroglycerine, strychnine, brandy, coffee, and even opium.

I would agree that PEDs are a problem, but considering the next generation will have to figure out what to do with a cyberkinetic athlete who pole vaults 35 feet, I'm not too concerned right now.

30 September 2012

19 September 2012

Check Out This 1960 UC Student Newspaper Ad

Gosh frosh!

How'd you catch on so quick? Catch on to the fact that Coca-Cola is the hep drink on campus, I mean. Always drink it, you say? Well-- how about dropping over to the dorm and downing a sparkling Coke or two with the boys. The man who's for Coke is the man for us.

16 September 2012

From the Dept of Questionable Behavior...

...comes this Fountain Square visitor, whose visage I am mercifully showing from the back. Let's just say her front-- which was prominently showcased-- would readily elicit pop culture references about a certain desert-dwelling ungulate's phalanges.

That's not all. She had a friend. Her friend wore a white shirt with the words "WORKING CLASS HO" in bold black letters. And the two of them had a young girl with them, about 9 or 10 years old.

I have no idea what these two were thinking when they decided an afternoon of children's events on Fountain Square would be a good time for crotch flaunting and trashy fashion with child in tow, but nothing really surprises me anymore.

03 September 2012

Golden Gate Bridge Designed by UC Grad

I discovered this interesting factoid while skimming 50-yr old issues of UC's student newspaper, the News Record. Transcription below.

Thanks to the "Parent's Letter," the NR has learned that San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge, the world's longest single-span bridge, contains a singular honor for UC.

The bridge was built by UC honor graduate Joseph B. Strauss. As an undergraduate, Strauss tried unsuccessfully to get on the football team. Handicapped by his five foot, 100 pound build, the future engineer was forced to forsake the single wing for the single span.

And, within twelve years of his graduation from UC, Strauss became internationally famous for his development of the trunion bascule bridge. 

Later, when he was chosen to construct the Golden Gate Bridge, he asked for and received a brick from the original building* of UC. He placed it on one of the anchorages of the structure. 

Now, somewhere along the four-fifths of a mile of steel and concrete is a small portion of UC. A tribute to a school from one of its distinguished alumni.

*According to Wikipedia, the "original building" was the demolished McMicken Hall, a brick of which Strauss put in the south anchorage of the bridge before concrete was poured.

Wikipedia also notes that Strauss prioritized worker protection and installed a safety net which saved 19 lives. Strauss died a year after the bridge was finished.

22 August 2012


12 August 2012

03 August 2012

29 June 2012

Touch o' Class

15 June 2012

In the Old Days, Beer Came with Verse

The Christian Moerlein Brewery was a burgeoning business in the late 19th century. One of its bottled beers was "National Export" which had this poem on the label:

The Moerlein "National Export" Beer,
Parexcellence Stands Without A Peer,
From Native Shores To Foreign Lands,
It Heads the List of Beverage Brands,
The Convalescent, Sick and Well,
The Gay Dundine, The Natty Swell,
The Scions of Nobility,
The Peasant and the King,
Its Songs of Praise to Sing,
From Greenland's Icy Mountains,
To India's Burning Strand,
The Native and The Travelers,
Drink "National Export" Brand,
A Congress of All Nations,
Mid Round and Lusty Cheers,
Has Crowned The "National Export,"

The "Queen of Table Beers."

As I read this, I remembered a college writing assignment to re-write Hemingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" in the voice of a contemporary couple. If I was a marketing professor I might give students a similar assignment with this beer verse. And who knows, maybe there's a brewer out there with a sense of history and humor who will once again bring us beer with corny verse. It made America great once before and it can do so again.

10 June 2012

Downtown is a Dirty, Dangerous Place so Please Ignore this Article

The Harvard Business Review's recent article Planting Entrepreneurial Innovation in Inner Cities really got me steamed. Just look at the some of the lies & misinformation it tries to pass off:

Remember just a decade ago when the term "inner city" basically meant "dead city...?" Scholars... are showing that although increasing problems accompany increasing density, urban access to the good things of life increases even faster.

We definitely have increasing problems. Sure, the downtowners want us to believe that the synergy of citizen support, government support, and private investment has led to the transformation of Washington Park, Gateway Quarter, Broadway Commons, Backstage Entertainment District, and so on. But what about the fact that I get drunk and sweat a lot when I have to wait two hours for a restaurant seat? Local Democrats aren't doing anything about that.

...the influx of ambitious, highly educated, opportunity-seeking entrepreneurs may risk creating social divisiveness. This can be countered with a strong message to entrepreneurs that they need to play a role in community building.

Sadly, it may be too late for this. Practically every OTR business and creative endeavor is involved in community events. I can't believe how many tents I see at OTR street festivals (which I hate and only go for recon purposes) One crazy chick started a damn kickball league with a specific intent to include neighborhood children alongside young (and not-so-young) professionals. What is this, the fucking holodeck? And if that isn't bad enough, the kickball league spawned an LLC which is going to organize even more OTR recreation opportunities. This is getting out of hand very fast and I hope our local heroes (gods, really) Smitherman, Winburn, Finney, Luken, Westwood Concern, & the FOP will be able to put the kibosh on all this before people start dying from all the gunfire. We need more police, not community building.

...in cities, you need to provide a broad platform to support the inclusive vision, encouraging restaurateurs, designers, neighborhood groups, schools and universities, real estate developers, law firms and architects, chambers of commerce and other government agencies to interact with each other in innovative ways.

Okay, we might be too late for that one, too.

Make your city an amazing place for the most talented entrepreneurs, innovators, and creative people to come to seek their futures, to live, work and play in. The coffee shops, environmental art, evening bars, museums, bicycle lanes and rent-a-bikes, all build the buzz. In every city I work with, I start by asking entrepreneurs where they really want to be — and the unfailing consensus is uncanny: entrepreneurs need to crowd around these urban watering holes.

Don't buy the hype, people. I rode my bike (at great personal risk) to ask the patrons at Senate, Pho Lang Thang, Mayberry, A Tavola, Bakersfield, Taste of Belgium, Coffee Emporium, Abigail Street, Neon's, Iris Book Cafe, Skirtz & Johnston, MIXX, MOTR, 1215 Wine Bar, Venice on Vine, Enzo's, Pizza Bomba, Lackman, Streetpops, Park & Vine, Lavomatic, Lucy Blue, Queen City Cookies, Cafe de Wheels, Turophilia, Taco Azul, Japps, and Schwartz's Point but they were all empty because nobody lives in, plays, or visits downtown.

30 May 2012

13 May 2012

03 May 2012

Staring Contest

24 April 2012


14 April 2012


04 April 2012

Driving Miss Crazy (aka Why I Have a Prius Hubcap in My Trunk)

I was on my way home, just a few blocks from my house at a stoplight waiting to turn right. The Prius in front of me wouldn't turn right on red so I gave a quick beep of the horn. Nothing. Another quick beep... nothing. Ok, fine, whatever. The light changed and the Prius turned right, scraping against the curb and losing a hubcap. The driver drove on obliviously. I figured I'd be a nice guy and at least let him/her know so I drove past my street and pulled aside at the next stoplight and motioned to roll down the passenger window.

She could not figure out how to roll down the window. After about 20 seconds she finally got a window open but it was her driver's side window. After several more seconds she finally got the passenger window open and I saw that she was an attractive blonde woman, probably about 40yrs old (i.e. not an 85-yr old woman who could barely see over the dashboard). I told her she left a hubcap back where she turned right.

I turned to go home but then I thought maybe I should just go back and meet her at the intersection and put on the hubcap myself. This woman can't even turn right or open a window so who knows what kind of insurmountable dilemma she would have with a hubcap.

I got the hubcap and stood at the intersection, waiting for her. After a couple minutes I spotted her car coming towards me. I got ready. She approached the intersection, turned south, and drove in the completely opposite direction from me. I had no idea what she was doing.

I waited again. She came around again. This time, I waved my arms and the hubcap and, since the light was red, walked into the crosswalk and made eye contact with her, waving the hubcap. She nodded her head. I crossed the street to the south side of the intersection and motioned to a parking spot and waved her to turn south (again) but pull into the spot (instead of driving away). She would not turn right on red. I gestured my fingers in a "come on!" motion. Nothing. Finally the light turned green and she went... EAST, again driving away from me.

She drove one block, pulled into a parking lot, and got out of her car. She stood and looked around for a minute (not checking her wheels, just looking around) and then got back in the car. She drove back towards the intersection (where I was still standing with a hubcap over my head). She turned north and drove away from me again.

If anyone needs a Prius hubcap I have one in my trunk.

02 April 2012

Freeman Ave Then & Now

Freeman Ave 1953:

Freeman Ave 2012:

In the 2012 photo you can see a white building on the right and the taller building right behind it. If you look closely you can see these two buildings in the 1953 photo also. In fact, as I was standing in the middle of the street to take the current photo, a man came up and talked with me for a few minutes. Coincidentally enough, he actually lives in the white building and is a local history buff himself.

We had a nice, nerdy conversation about Brighton/West End history and I learned, among other things, that the alley in front of the white building, Clearwater Alley, used to be "Clearwater Stream," an ironic name considering the stream was red & filthy because of dumping by adjacent pork slaughterhouses. Eventually it got too disgusting and the City filled it in.

Also visible in the distant left-of-center in both photos is the Mockbee building and its two smokestacks.

25 March 2012

I Can't Believe it's not Better...

...the post title, I mean. Anyway, here is one of a series of humorously sarcastic celebrity portraits that you can see at the Carnegie Arts Center in Covington.

19 March 2012

Spring Fashion Tips!

Here are some good fashion/presentation tips for all the ladies out there looking to make a splash at your next ball, dance, or other social event of the season:

15 March 2012

Another Sign of March Madness

11 March 2012

A Brief History of the Lunkenheimer Valve Company

In 1845 19-year old Frederick Lunkenheimer left Germany and emigrated to the U.S. This was a bit unusual since he was a skilled and well-trained metal worker and would have easily found good employment in Germany. After coming the the U.S., he worked in NYC for a while, including some work on Samuel Morse's telegraph. In 1851 he headed west down the Ohio River, first to St. Louis and then New Orleans. Things did not work out in New Orleans so he headed back up the river to NYC. 

Unfortunately, things got worse and someone robbed him and took all his money & belongings. He got off at Evansville and worked there for a few months and then came up to Cincinnati, where he began work at the Greenwood Works foundry. He worked there for several years, got married, had children, and in 1862 he started his own company which he called Cincinnati Brass Works. He manufactured parts for steamboats and military equipment (the Civil War was good for the metalwork business).

Lunkenheimer ran a profitable business that continued to grow and hire more employees. The company made a series of moves into bigger spaces and Lunkenheimer made parallel moves into bigger homes. His son, Edmund, got into the family business (which at some point was renamed "Lunkenheimer Valve Company") and as president of the company he really took it to the next level. He acquired many patents and was a forward-thinking businessman. He is the one who bought a parcel of land in Fairmount where the company eventually built the big factory in the photo above (reputedly the first one in Cincinnati made from reinforced concrete rather than brick).

The company continued to grow & profit thanks to the burgeoning automobile industry and later, the airplane industry. World War I brought record profits. After the war, however, the company lost major contracts and had to tighten up and restructure. It started a window-manufacturing division which provided the windows for Vernon Manor.

By 1921 Edmund's son Eshelby was now president of the company, which had expanded again to Carthage. Eshelby had an interest in flying and had a pilot's license. When Charles Lindbergh made his transatlantic flight in 1927, the company promoted the fact that it made parts for Lindbergh's plane. 

Eshelby's enthusiasm for flying rubbed off on his father, who bought a parcel of land in Turkey Bottoms to use as a flying field. In 1927 he donated the land to the city which bought several hundred more acres to establish a proper airport. By this time the family had shortened its name to "Lunken" and that is how Lunken Airport got its name.

Over the next few decades the company struggled but remained profitable. WWII was good for business but having Eshelby at the helm was not the same as having Edmund at the helm. Family members were company officers and members of the board but over the years they retired and younger family members did not enter the business. In 1963 Eshelby's sons Homer and Edmund P., the last remaining Lunkenheimers in the company, left the company 101 years after their great-grandfather founded it.

The Lunkenheimer Valve Company officially came to an end in June 1968 when Condec bought out its shareholders in a hostile takeover.

07 March 2012

Cincinnati History Moment: "A Great Fuss"

"Cincinnati gentlemen were a bit slow about providing entertainment for the ladies during the long winter months. In 1804 and 1805, the ladies put fictitious dialogues in the Western Spy to spur the gentlemen into action. They threatened to organize balls and entertainments themselves. In the dialogue of 1805, one Susan, in approving the scheme to manage a series of assemblies, declared, "Indeed, we will then be able to boast of amusements, that no other little town like this, can." The ladies fully expected to shock the gentlemen into taking them to dances and to the theater all winter. The stratagem of the females created 'a great fuss.'"

-- Ophia D. Smith, The Early Theater of Cincinnati

06 March 2012


02 March 2012

Red, Whitish, and Blue

Love the holiday lights.

25 February 2012


In addition to the positive youth message (which we all hope will curtail many a beef start), I noticed the word "Oxalis" on the door header. According to the internet, there are two oxalises on earth; one is a plant genus and the other is Oxalis Atindriyaratri Suwaryono, an Indonesian woman.

According to the official website of the Oxalis plant, it is "the largest genus in the wood sorrel family, Oxalidaceae. The name is derived from the Greek word, OXYS, or sour and refers to the acidic taste of the foliage."

This did not clear up anything. Fortunately, I am a proud member of the Cincinnati Museum Center so I checked the Cincinnati History Library where I found Joseph James' "Catalogue of the Flowering Plants, Ferns and Fungi Growing in the Vicinity of Cincinnati" in the April 1879 Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History in which he catalogs the yellow and violet wood sorrels. In 1904 Walter Aiken also submitted an article mentioning the same two.

It still doesn't clear up much, but my guess is that this building is named "Oxalis" because that's what used to grow there before it was uprooted to put up the building. It's the same system land developers apply to their developments (Sycamore Glen, Cherry Grove, etc.). I was surprised that the system has been in place for so long (this building was built in 1909).

23 February 2012

Van Hoardin'

17 February 2012

Streetcar Groundbreaking: It's Official Now

My crowd estimation ability is not that great but I do have a system: I visualize the crowd as a rectangle and estimate how many people are across and along. Based on this, the estimate would be around 600. That seems like a lot but "a few hundred to several hundred" should cover it. The Enquirer's system is the same as mine except they include the extra step of dividing by 10.

And there was 1 protester. COAST would have been there also but Chris Funney is busy drafting a reparations lawsuit against a Council member for wiping OUT OF CITY dirt from her shoes onto a city-owned doormat.

Part of the crowd waiting on Memorial Hall steps

Man wasting his breath on lone protester

Hundreds of supporters; one protester. Of course WCPO engages the fringe