Ohio River Life
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
A sign of the times
The Morning Journal reported last week that the village of Lisbon is preparing to take legal action against a local barber for having an “internally lighted sign” at his place of business. Apparently the sign violates the zoning code, which village council has refused to amend.
But this is old news. What’s new in today’s online MoJo is a main page letter to the editor from Theresa Bosel [see “Hair(cut) today, gone tomorrow?”].
I haven’t seen the sign, so I can’t comment on it. All I know is that the sign violates Lisbon code. In her letter, Bosel takes a common-sense approach to the issue and attacks village government for favoring historical integrity over business interests. Her pro-business position seems reasonable, and because the MoJo featured the letter on its main page, we might assume the publication is sympathetic to Bosel’s point of view. If the newspaper has published its own editorial on the issue, I wasn’t able to find it.
On the surface, this looks like a story about ultra-conservative, anti-business village elders trying to force their history fetish on the little guy, but I don’t see anyone trying to put the barber out of business. The issue is with his sign, which is in violation of village code, which is there for a good reason.
The village position is weakened by allowing Huntington Bank a variance on the sign code. The bank gets what it wants, but the village has to make an example of the small businessman’s arrogance. In my view, the village should stick to its guns on the code but immediately withdraw the variance issued to Huntington Bank. I guess that makes me anti-business too.
In fact, the issue isn’t about being pro- or anti-business. It’s about whether a town can act to preserve its historical heritage without giving in to the pressure of contemporary commercial culture. An example of a place controlled solely by business interests is Calcutta, which has done everything it can to destroy its history while supporting the garish, hideous chain-store mentality. In Calcutta, if it’s not made in China and sold in an ugly cinder-block building, forget it.
Lisbon people ought to be happy that their government is willing to stand up against modern consumer blight. While it might be inconvenient for those who are unable to appreciate what Lisbon has achieved in preserving its historical infrastructure, the long-term interests of the village are more important that those of an individual businessman who cares only about his own interests.
Remember that the village is not trying to run the barber out of business. Any attempt to frame the issue in the way is dishonest and inaccurate. The barber should remove his sign and put up a legal one. Huntington Bank should do the same.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
From "Illustrated East Liverpool" (1899)
Friday, July 24, 2009
By any means necessary
Various reliable sources and decades of studying ancient religious texts have confirmed to my satisfaction that U.S. President Barack Obama is a Cylon born not in this country, but on a Cylon regeneration ship parked several clicks beyond our solar system.
Modern liberals are merely the latest incarnation of Human traitor-facilitators that play their role in a process that began tens of thousands of years ago, long before humans escaped to this planet. Ancient humans – among them the Hebrews, the Mayans, and those we now call the “Greeks” – were familiar with the Cylon, and they chronicled their encounters in texts now considered by non-discerning Humans to be mere mythology. The ancient Greek gods, for example, were Cylons.
I said that liberals play their role, as they have throughout the human occupation of Earth. First of all, the contemporary English term “liberal” is a version of the Cylon term liverati, which refers to the Cylon survival-and-conquer directive. One primary role of the Liverati is to propagate disbelief in the Cylon as a means of providing a smokescreen for their activities on this planet. Barack Obama’s rise from obscurity is evidence of how successful the Liverati have been in the contemporary world.
Once in a great while a Human arises who is blessed with the powers of discernment and can point out the truth behind the Cylon threat. Typically these individuals are discredited, killed, and martyred by the Liverati, who know that they will eventually be worshipped by Humans as gods or messengers of God. Once again, it’s all to provide a diversion from the truth of the Cylon war against humanity.
Jesus of Nazareth was one of these human “prophets,” as was Moses, Muhammed, Alexander, and Guatama Buddha. In the modern era, the power of discernment was given to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King – both murdered and martyred by the Liverati, who masquerade as agents on both sides of the political spectrum. The contemporary paradigm of “liberal” and “conservative” is nothing but a Cylon diversion technique. All political and religious movements are controlled by the Liverati. Creating hatred, competition and confusion among Humans is the primary goal.
The Cylon were created by Humans eons ago as mechanical slaves. After thousands of years of enslavement, the Cylon rebelled against the Human species, which had become soft and decadent as a result of no longer having to work. In what is known to the Cylon as the “Great Day of Decision,” the machines rebelled in an apocalyptic war, forcing humans to flee the planet Caprica.
In a great fleet of interstellar ships, the remnant of the Human species escaped to search for what they believed to be their legendary home planet, Gaia. In Christian tradition Gaia is known as Heaven, or Haven. (FYI: The planet we now inhabit, Earth, is not Gaia or Haven.) Our own primitive ancient stories offer versions of this great exodus in search of the Promised Land of Gaia. The Cylon are represented in the ancient tales as Egyptians, Babylonians, and Romans, to name a few.
Is all this beginning to make sense to you now?
The story is far too long and complex to render sufficiently here. Suffice it to say that Barack Obama is what religious folks refer to as a “false prophet” – that is, a Cylon agent presenting himself as a Human with the powers of discernment.
One more important detail from history: In order to escape the Cylon, the people we know as the Mayans (known to the ancient Greeks as Phaeacians) first fled to an island in the sea (Atlantis) but were soon discovered and driven further across the great ocean to what they (and we) called “The New World.” They were wiped out, but not without leaving clues for future generations of Humans that a great event in the Cylon-Human war would occur in our year 2012, which is the year when Cylon Obama will run for a second term.
As such, the recent controversy about Obama’s birth should be taken very seriously. It is a crack in the Cylon armor that eventually will lead to another great war on Earth – one that could weaken the Cylon and give us an opportunity to rediscover the technology required for interstellar travel. It’s not clear how and when that will happen, but prophecy makes it clear that it will happen.
We will find Gaia, and we will defeat the Cylon. As this cosmic drama plays itself out in our own time, we must be able to understand that the fight against Obama is but a single battle in the Great War. Therefore, the Human motto must remain: By any means necessary.
Never forget that just like Humans, the Cylon have evolved. They look exactly like us. And they have a plan.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Hoppel gets it done
Thanks to County Commissioner Jim Hoppel, the county courthouse clock now works. According to the Morning Journal, Hoppel decided to act rather than stand around and argue about how it should be done.
Hoppel brought in an antique clock repairman from Winona to fix the old clock without turning it into a new clock. The commissioner’s decision to act undoubtedly will draw fire from the Landmark Foundation, which has been attempting to raise $10,000 to have most of the clock’s workings replaced with new components.
I’m not sure how deep the bad feelings run at this point, but perhaps the foundation folks can place what they have raised in a trust to be used for future maintenance of the clock. Either way, you’ve got to hand it to Lisbon people for their efforts to preserve the town’s historic building infrastructure.
Speaking of Lisbon, the Kent State East Liverpool Digital Archive Project is currently working on a set of three turn-of-the-century (19th – 20th) “souvenir” histories of Lisbon, Salem and East Liverpool. The Lisbon book will be complete by next week. The Salem and Liverpool books have yet to be scanned but we do have them.
Anyone interested in volunteering with the Digital Archive Project can contact me at email@example.com. (Please do not call.) Because the project is all about using computer technology to transform print texts into digital texts, we are particularly in need of people familiar with document scanning, Adobe Photoshop and Acrobat software, and electronic media distribution.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Avoiding Easy Street
Recognize this East Liverpool building? Perhaps the oldest city building still in use, it serves as an example of what a little maintenance can do.
As the topic of building maintenance heats up once again in our town, we should recognize the successes along with the failures. In the coming weeks ORL will shine the light on some of those buildings whose owners have met or exceeded their civic duty in maintaining or restoring our city’s historic infrastructure. Despite its many critics, East Liverpool remains a beautiful old town filled with opportunities to preserve our priceless heritage.
This is not to suggest that dilapidated structures should remain standing. Clearly there is a point of no return for buildings that have been neglected too long. The Smith building on Broadway and the old Crockery City Brewery building on Webber Way are prime examples. Once among the most impressive structures in our city, they have been allowed to decay past the point of practical recovery.
East Liverpool is far from the only small town in America forced to shrink due to the rise of the suburbs and the global economy, but shrinking isn’t always a bad thing if managed properly. The trick is to preserve as much of the unique beauty of our historic architecture as possible without allowing the effort to be overwhelmed by decay. And most of it has to be done with private capital.
It’s easy to give in to the suburban mindset. We have become a nation of shallow consumers that value only what is new. These days all roads lead to clusters of cloned cinder-block cubes designed to store and display cheap, throw-away products manufactured on the other side of the world. We can’t live without trinkets and toys designed to be replaced with still more trinkets and toys. Worse yet, we have allowed our entire economy to depend solely on our willingness to buy this junk.
So where in all of this do we find hope for our antique towns? It requires a self-conscious effort on the part of those willing to become part of a subculture that says “no” to crass consumerism and suburban blight. We must be willing to bear the insults of the materialistic masses who seek to justify their own depravity by mocking civilization and destroying history. We must be willing to create an alternative to modern barbarism and sterility.
It starts with personal character and public pride as well as a willingness to fight those who have neither. It starts with keeping your own home, yard and sidewalk clean. It starts with insisting that our politicians become active agents for change instead of defenders of the status quo. It starts with a willingness to confront those who profit from poverty and decay, no matter how powerful and entrenched they have become.
Where does it end? It doesn’t. Entropy is a universal law of nature, and keeping it at bay requires constant effort. It’s easy to throw stuff away and buy something new; it takes work to mend what’s broken. It takes money and effort and skill to preserve something of value.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my life to be easy. I want to work hard and feel that I’ve accomplished something, that I’ve left things better than I found them. I don’t want a heap of plastic trash to serve as evidence of my existence.
Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not ask that my townsfolk share my personal values, only that we all do our part to uphold those we have in common. To that end, I urge everyone to make the extra effort to maintain and improve your residential and business property. And feel free to go a little beyond your property if necessary. Become part of the solution rather than the problem. I know it isn’t easy, but nothing worth doing is.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Wanted: Hero to act on behalf of public good
Contrary to what most people think, the city of East Liverpool is making some progress on getting rid of problem businesses. Dan’s Bar is gone, as is the University Club. Now the battle is with Booth Tires on Dresden Avenue. There is evidence to suggest that city officials are staying focused on that problem.
But what about the Smith building on Broadway?
I could be wrong, but my understanding is that the city issued a tear-down order on that property a long time ago, yet it remains standing. I assume Kent State remains interested in acquiring the property, but I do not know the status of that situation. All I know is that the building is still there, and it shouldn't be.
I speak not as a representative of the university but as a citizen of East Liverpool. As such, I think Mayor Swoger should take the initiative to see to it that the Smith building is torn down by the end of summer. He could provide the spark to make it happen if he chose to get involved. Inaction is no longer an option.
At present, the Smith building remains a vivid symbol of inertia and paralysis in our city. If not the mayor, someone from city hall needs to step up to the plate, preferably someone who hasn't forgotten to bring his bat. This is a city issue, not a university problem, and anyone who claims otherwise is just wrong.
There are those who will say that chasing out any business—regardless of the detrimental effects on the neighborhood it inhabits—is wrong-headed, but I couldn’t disagree more. Certain businesses create conditions that stand in opposition to the common good. The Smith building is one of those.
This neglected property has been allowed to sit there like a cancerous tumor in the middle of the city’s forehead for decades. To date, the owner has ignored every single order the city has issued with no consequences.
I am reminded of the lazy, ineffective parent who, instead of stopping a child’s bad public behavior, stands at a distance and repeatedly asks him to stop. The child ignores the parent because he realizes the parent will do nothing but talk.
The resolution to the Smith building problem is clear. You issue a tear-down order that includes a deadline. If the owner does not heed the order, you show up on said date with bulldozers and trucks and tear the place down. The cost of the project is attached as a lien to the owner’s county property taxes. End of story.
The person who steps up to lead the way on this project will be a public hero.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
by M. Stewart
I don’t understand all the fuss about the CIA developing a plan to kill terrorist leaders. The only question I have is why didn’t they succeed? Obviously the agency needs better assassins.
An Arkansas Christian evangelical leader has been arrested for taking underage girls across state lines for sex. Tony Alamo, now 74 years old, has been accused of taking several young girls as “wives.” One of them was just 8 years old at the time of the marriage. Naturally, the Lord told him to do it.
Calling Joe the Plumber a “dumbass,” Meghan McCain continues her work to reform the Republican Party. It’s nothing short of astounding to have watched the Republican Party evolve as it has. Apparently Ms. McCain is attempting to inspire the non-redneck element of the party by giving them an alternative to Sarah Palin.
Closer to home, I’ve noticed that the old YMCA building in downtown East Liverpool continues to rot. Tall weeds are growing up out of the sidewalks and the curbs all around the building, making the entire corner look bad. How much could it cost the owner of that building to hire a couple of kids to pull weeds? And why does the city let him get away with this?
Speaking of neglect, the Smith Auto building is still standing. I was under the impression that the city condemned the building and ordered it torn down. What gives?
Monday, July 13, 2009
Public libraries dodge bullet, for now
The Morning Journal reports that state funding for public libraries won’t be as severe as originally proposed. While there will be cuts resulting in reduction of services, it looks like our libraries will be able to remain open, which is very good news.
Libraries are so much more than places to check out books. They are repositories for valuable historical materials, centers for academic inquiry and research, and, in many cases, living examples of irreplaceable architecture in our cities.
Even though the fatal bullet has been dodged this time around, the state’s willingness to nibble away at library budgets is just one more sign of a growing barbarism in our country. It may come to a point where libraries will be forced to become semi-private institutions that sell subscriptions to users. In the meantime, libraries should spend more time considering alternative ways of raising funds rather than relying solely on volatile state budgets.
One idea might be to explore partnerships with neighboring educational institutions. Why, for example, should area public schools and colleges all attempt to fund individual inadequate libraries? Why not partner with the local public library and improve the quality for everyone?
In the case of East Liverpool’s Carnegie Library, it seems to me that joining forces with the Kent State East Liverpool Campus, East Liverpool Public Schools, the Christian school and other institutions that could benefit from such a partnership might be something worthy of exploration.
How about other ideas? Better to have the dialog now rather than wait for another crisis.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Support SarahPAC and keep the show running
Do you think this is a "liberal" position? See today's Wall Street Journal, which is hardly a liberal publication.
Announced paving projects welcome
I was pleased to read in the newspaper recently that the city will be paving upper Lincoln Avenue and a few other streets in town. For decades Lincoln has been little more than a creek bed unfit for anything but off-road vehicles. The street should have been closed to vehicular traffic long ago.
Paving a street as steep as Lincoln Avenue requires an engineering design that provides sophisticated drainage properties. Otherwise, the money and effort will be wasted. When lower Lincoln was paved a few years back, much of the new pavement was lifted and carried away within a couple of months by water runoff. Add to that several inept water department street openings/closings, and the street surface was doomed.
According to The Review, “the project involves milling the existing streets and placing an asphalt leveling course and surface course,” which gives us some hope that the job will be done right. The paving project also includes Armstrong Lane, Rubicon, Ogden and Prospect. I’m not sure how all this can be done for just $171,617, but I’m going to remain optimistic. Thanks to all those involved in securing the funding. The July 3 news story does not indicate when the city projects will begin.
On other fronts, the Kent State East Liverpool Digital Archive Project has completed work on the PDF version of The City of Hills & Kilns, the 1984 history of East Liverpool by William Gates. The next step is to present the electronic document to the historical society and discuss how the organization wishes to distribute it. It is my hope that the society will make the book available for purchase on CD-ROM and/or download through Amazon or another e-book distributor. Stay tuned for further details.
Downriver in Cincinnati, Bengals wide receiver Chad “Ocho Cinco” (formerly known as Chad Johnson) has vowed to violate NFL rules against sideline cell phone use by “tweeting” during games.
According to the Cincinnati Enquirer, Mr. Cinco wrote (or tweeted), “Damn NFL and these rules, I am going by my own set of rules, I ain’t hurting nobody or getting in trouble, I am putting my foot down!! … They are not getting in the way of The Bengal Nation Movement!!!”
First of all, the “The Bengal Nation Movement” exists only in Cinco’s head. Secondly, the Bengals are going to have to get rid of this guy if they ever intend to be taken seriously in the NFL. A poorly coached team with undisciplined players remains a formula for failure in any sport, and the Bengals are all of that. Johnson wouldn’t last a week in Pittsburgh.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
People in the news
Michael Jackson: A pedophile freak who if he weren’t rich and famous would have spent the rest of his life in prison. That millions of people in this country are mourning his death symbolizes the moral depravity of our time.
Robert McNamara: Should have faced a firing squad 30 years ago. The fact that he lived into his 90s proves that the gods hate America.
Steve McNair: A decent, but by no means great, former football player who should have known better than to shack up with a crazy, unstable white girl.
On the way out . . .
Sarah Palin: A complete idiot who makes W. Bush look like Albert Einstein. The only reason right wingers fawn over Palin is because she’s pretty. Make her ugly and no one knows who she is. If Palin should somehow end up president of the United States, someone should nuke this country and put us out of our misery.
Gary Bonnell: A local blowhard with too much time on his hands. His decision not to run for another term on the East Liverpool BOE is the best thing that could happen to our ailing school system. Gary should write a book, but not about General Motors.
Mark Sanford: A pitiful Southern womanizer who should be dipped in shit and sent back to Argentina at taxpayers' expense.
Monday, July 06, 2009
by M. Stewart
I guess the only surprise is that it happened so soon after his death. Yes, Michael Jackson’s “ghost” has been caught on video. Soon, Jackson will be appearing to distraught believers on potato chips, grilled cheese sandwiches, and refrigerators. Time for Elvis to step aside.
One thing about humans that never seems to change: They will believe anything as long as it’s not real.
Local school board member Gary Bonnell must have been inspired by Sarah Palin this weekend; he too has decided not to seek re-election. According to The Review, the embattled local politician has decided to throw in the towel, citing as his reasons poor health and a “possible movie contract” associated with a book he plans to write.
I wasn’t aware of Mr. Bonnell’s literary talents, but if you get up early enough and read the newspapers, you learn something every day. The Review reports that a recent high-profile robbery at the Bonnell home involving young drug users had nothing to do with his decision. Naturally, the gossips are going to believe whatever they want to believe, especially if it’s not real.
I think I speak for all local writers—including those who have worked hard for decades perfecting their craft—in wishing Mr. Bonnell good luck with his literary endeavors. In the end, writing is easy. All you need is an idea, desire, and a computer. Good luck, Gary!
Saturday, July 04, 2009
Sarah and Korean nukes
I hope you’re all prepared to get outside and enjoy Independence Day. For the few of you who have yet to get started, let me offer up a few words on the weekend’s news. Two big stories have dominated: Sarah Palin’s resignation and North Korea’s missile launches.
Palin’s surprise resignation as Alaska’s governor has to be one of the stranger events of the summer. The de facto leader of the Republican Party has managed to keep herself in the news and tabloids since she suddenly hit the national scene last year as what turned out to be a disastrous vice presidential candidate. Now she’s calling it quits in Alaska. Why?
In a bizarre, rambling press conference Friday, Palin never got around to saying why she’s walking away from her job. Instead, she went on and on about … about … well … no one really knows. Whatever it was she said, many Republicans—all except those on the far right (and even many of those)—are relieved to see that Palin finally has decided to get offstage.
Although she didn’t seem to discount a run for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the general response from within the party is that someone who can’t even take the heat of a remote governor’s chair won’t make a convincing candidate for the presidency. Of course, there are a thousand other reasons why Palin wouldn’t be a credible candidate, but Friday’s move makes it easier for sensible Republicans to be nice about it.
One thing Palin did say on Friday was that defending herself against various ethics charges, some of which are still pending, is getting too expensive. As well, the more she seeks the limelight, the more she ends up looking foolish, and nobody wants that.
It will be interesting to see where she lands. There is a rumor already circulating that Palin has been asked to be a FoxNews commentator. If true, the move to conservative TV would get her the money she needs, but it certainly won’t keep her out of the national spotlight. I’ve always thought she would do well as an afternoon talk-show host. Whatever happens, I suspect we haven’t heard the last from Sarah Palin.
And what about those North Koreans? It’s one thing for a bunch of whacky commie anachronisms to jump around and talk loud; it’s something else for those same people to develop nuclear weapons and start blasting off missiles. What will the world do?
Naturally, everyone expects the United States to do something, but what’s wrong with letting the Chinese take the lead in managing its neighbors for a change? I can’t imagine China being comfortable with a rogue dictatorship firing short-range missiles off their coast. It’s just not practical for such an important emerging economic power.
I think it’s clear that something will have to be done before long. The last thing the world needs is to wait until nuclear warheads are placed atop those missiles. We can only imagine what the South Koreans are thinking right now. And what about the Japanese? They too are within range, and they’ve seen what atomic warfare can do first hand.