Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Will my fellow Americans please grow up?

Since election night last Tuesday, I've read articles, watched news coverage, and saw comments online that lead me to the conclusion that too many Americans are acting like a bunch of children. There are the paranoid people on the Republican and right-wing side who are afraid that an Obama administration will create a Gestapo-like force, seize their guns, confiscate retirement accounts, and put an end to free elections in this nation. There are the sore winners on the Democratic screaming about the need to punish Senator Joe Lieberman for supporting John McCain, the need to exercise the "nuclear option" to eliminate filibusters in the Senate, and a small handful who have threatened violence against Republican senators who would attempt to filibuster legislation.

Wake up, people! Our country has withstood a lot. There have been good presidents and bad presidents, good Congresses and bad, wise policies and foolhardiness, but our nation has endured for 221 years under the Constitution. I don't see how that's likely to be change. Let's all just try to act in a mature and civil manner. Thank you. That's all I have to say about that, for now.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sampling Intellectual and Cultural Life in Cincinnati

Lately, I've been attending various events of a cultural or intellectual here in Greater Cincinnati, either alone or with friends. These events have ranged from orchestra performances and science lectures to a book festival. They provide a clean break from thoughts of work, a chance to meet new people, and the opportunity to stretch my mind in different directions. In the past two months, I've been to one play (Tartuffe), three performances of classical music (mostly Tchaikovsky), one performance of contemporary instrumental music, two science lectures (on dinosaur evolution and the role of Big Bone Lick in the development of vertebrate paleontology), and the Books By The Banks book festival.

I'm not mentioning all this to brag or boast, but instead to mention that each of these experiences has been positive. I wish more people would go out and participate in such events. There is life beyond work, sports, and reality TV. I think our nation would be better if more people would stretch their minds a little like I've been doing. It's fun! And educational, too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

And the winner is....

Yes, we all know Barack Obama has been elected President. He is an intelligent and charismatic man who I think will make a dynamic leader for this nation, and improve our image throughout the world. I just happen to disagree with most of his platform. I'm interested to see what happens in the years to come, but I remain a cynic on politics (notice the name of the blog?).

Monday, November 3, 2008

Elections tomorrow

Tomorrow is Election Day. As happens every four years, we American citizens get to vote for electors to the electoral college (those few Americans who really get to vote for the President and Vice President), to directly vote for other offices at the federal, state and local levels, and to vote on a variety of issues at the state and local level. Its at the ballot box that we citizens can best make our voices hears. I encourage any American who might actually be reading this blog to go out and vote tomorrow.

Thank you, and good night.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reading for pleasure

Reading for pleasure is an activity I often engage in. Lately, I've been working my way through random volumes of Terry Pratchett's Discworld universe that I picked up second hand, the Sherlock Holmes stories, and a history of the French Revolution, among other things. It is all interesting and entertaining material, but it is recreational. There are other books and on-line materials I read sometimes, for professional reasons. Without that material, I wouldn't be able to do my job.

Either way, for fun or money, reading is important to me. But its not just important to me.
Literacy is a cornerstone of modern society. Some elements in American society denigrate reading nand education, but that's just wrong. It's not being able to read that isn't cool.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

In my last post, I spoke about embracing life in Cincinnati more fully. I did some of that today. I went to the Books by the Banks festival, took a walk in the park, and went to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It was wonderful. About life, I remain an optimist.

Friday, October 31, 2008


I was originally planning to write about 9/11 and its aftermath and its impact on my optimism, but I'll post on that some other time. Instead, I'm writing about Cincinnati, Ohio.

Cincinnati has been my hometown these past ten years, after moving from New Jersey in my late teens. I have a love/hate relationship with Greater Cincinnati. It's where I went on my first date, made a go at college, made new friends, first ate Indian food, and began a productive career that has sent me to distant lands. Presently, most of my friends but none of my family call it home.

I've learned about its history, about its people, and about its culture, but in some ways I've always remained an outsider, an alien. The East versus West mentality means nothing to me. I care nothing for the Bengals or the Reds. Church festivals hold little attraction to me. The chili has sweet stuff in it! Getting a good pizza involves considerable driving time. And I find the city to be much more socially conservative than I.

As I thought about it one day while far away on business, there are many positives. There is the Cincinnati Museum Center and its free lectures on science and history, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Zoo, and the aquarium just across the Ohio River. There are theaters and performance places. The parks of Cincinnati and Hamilton County are impressive, and our friends across the river in Kentucky have some nice ones, two. The public library system is top-notch, with a staggering collection. The University of Cincinnati offers numerous free and low-cost events, artistic and intellectual. There are symphonies and artsy theaters. The Cincinnati area really does have a lot going for it, but you have to go out looking for it.

I'm not going to try to fit in by going to church festivals and Bengal games, but there's a lot more to Cincinnati than that. It's not New York, Chicago, or even Philadelphia, but it does have its own cultural and intellectual life, and I plan to embrace that life more fully. Maybe I'll find some way to make my own contribution to it, eventually.