One of the many reasons that I loved living in Chicago was that a car was truly a luxury rather than a necessity. I could get anywhere I wanted without having to jump into a vehicle, unless it was public transportation. The buses and trains ran 24/7, 365. I could walk out my door, step to the curb and throw my hand up to signal any of the several taxis passing by. Three large grocery stores were within three blocks, and they delivered. I would walk to the store, choose my food, pay for it, and then tell the cashier where I lived. My groceries arrived within the hour with the eggs not broken.

There were breakfast places for brunch, lunch places, dinner places, bars to drink and watch sports, dance clubs, work out clubs, all within walking distance. And I mean walking distance without breaking sweat or getting leg cramps from over exertion. Since I lived on Lakeshore Drive, I had 22 miles of park, including a golf course right across the street. Wrigley Field was four blocks west. I could open my windows and hear the late Harry Carey sing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” during the seventh inning stretch. The only reason I drove was to visit my sister who lived in the burbs. When I needed to fly, which was weekly, I took the train to O’HARE.

All of these memories came flooding back with the news that a gallon of gasoline is $3.49 at my neighborhood gas station today. I no longer live in Chicago. I now live in Cincinnati Ohio, and I'm old enough to remember a gasoline price war between stations in Mt Healthy, where a gallon cost 28-cents. Cincinnati is a city where a car is a must have, even at today's prices.

Urban sprawl is a nice term for it. Usually good restaurants, good theaters and marvelous clubs inhabit the heart of the city. Now, the best places to eat are right across the river, in Kentucky or out in the burbs of West Chester. The purple people bridge is pedestrian friendly, for those wanting to cross the river, but you need a car to get to the bridge. Here, going clubbing usually means driving to Columbus or Indianapolis. As for getting your groceries delivered intact, well good luck. I consider myself lucky if there is a bagger at the checkout.

Since I grew up in Cincinnati, I was well aware of its cultural limitations for the over 25 set of young adults, both gay and straight. If I want to shop, eat or go to the park, I drive. Everyone has a car. Many people have two or three in case one breaks down. Boycotting rising gas prices will not happen here because Cincinnati, like many other former industrial cities of the Midwest, is not people or user friendly. The Midwest is held hostage by the whims of OPEC.

If you don’t have a car, you better have a friend who has one. The wait between buses is about an hour. Getting a bus late at night is pretty impossible. Looking for a taxi? Don’t go to the curb. Dig out your cell phone and call, it’ll be there in about 20 minutes. Elevated trains? Forget about it!

I’ve been looking at Vespas lately as a means of going green. There is a dealership right around the corner. I like the little European scooters. I wouldn’t think twice about buying one, if I still lived in Europe. But here in Cincinnati, I hesitate because I figure the first time I try to ride it, I’ll be run over by somebody in a big ass SUV hurrying to a radio sponsored gasoline sale.


The Buck Doesn’t Stop Here

I guess Harry Truman is doing flip flops in his grave over this administration. The straight talking, straight shooting, honest man from Missouri, would never have allowed the White House to be swallowed up by the cloud of mendacity that seeps from every crack of that building these days.

We have a president who “doesn’t recall, can’t remember, blames congress and the democrats, and anybody else he can think of for the current morass.” Now he has appointed a War Czar to handle the quagmire in the middle east.

I thought the president was always the “war czar.” Dubya was the boss in the run up to the war after 9/11. He was the head of state when it came to “mission accomplished” on the flight deck in front of the troops. Why step away now. Why doesn’t the buck stop at Dubya’s desk as it has with every other president we’ve had to this point?

I guess it’s like everything else about this president..paint a big picture, pose for the photo op, and let everyone else fill in the details, no matter how fuzzy or unethical.


Question......Does AG Gonzales ever pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth? He’s got his tongue so far up Dubya’s butt, it’s a wonder if he will ever come clean. Talk about loyalty to the family, and I’m not talking Sopranos here. Maybe the feds need to pay closer attention to what goes on inside la familia in Maine.


OMG! Paris is traumatized about going to jail. Well, join the club sista girl, me too! I don’t think anyone likes being locked up. But MOST of us do the right thing and stay away from jail and police officers with badges and guns. We po folk don’t call em pigs for nothing. We don’t have millions of dollars, a glitzy name or high priced attorneys to protect us. We have to do the right thing or pay the price. Because we know that if there is anything the police like better than beating up poor people...it’s locking up rich people who think they’re above the law. Buy a vowel and get a clue, girlfriend, and please, please, go sit down and pretend to be invisible.


Yolanda King, eldest daughter of Martin Luther King, has passed away. Gone too soon. Rest in peace.


The Reverend Jerry Falwell has passed on too. To quote the late great Moms Mabley...”don’t say nothin’ about the dead, unless you can say somethin’ good.....he’s dead....good!”


The Ballad of Jeff and OJ

Big bad restauranteur Jeff Ruby sidled up to big bad former football player OJ Simpson and told him to get out of his restaurant. It happened in Louisville this past derby weekend. Sounds like a scene out of the movie HIGH NOON. Ruby in the white hat confronted the accused-murderer-judged-not guilty, black hat wearing Simpson and reportedly said, “I’m not going to serve you!” And as the story goes, OJ meekly gathered his party of twelve, tucked his tail between his legs and left the premises amid a standing ovation for the bravado of the seemingly heroic Jeff Ruby.

Today we hear from Simpson’s attorney that the eviction was for racial reasons only and that OJ may sue. Ruby’s retort is that he was merely seeking some justice for Ron Goldman’s family.

I have mixed feelings about this alleged incident. Jeff Ruby owns many restaurants in and around my city. In the black community his rep is a bit tarnished. Seems every time there is a “black” event downtown, like the Jazz festival or black family reunion, Mr Ruby is known for closing his restaurants to take “inventory” or “vacation.” He has even been picketed for such actions in past years. He always denies the allegations, because “some of his best friends are.......” He does know a lot of black athletes and in other times, Ruby and Simpson would be photo op buddies, with Simpson gifted with tab at all Ruby establishments.

But if the closing incidents had happened only once, I would say, well, maybe coincidence, bad timing on the part of the restaurant. After all, what businessman closes his doors to making money? But it keeps happening and he is not the only one downtown who reacts like that. But they say, they’re not racist, just, well...I don’t know how they alibi themselves. I don’t patronize people who obviously don’t want my money.

Anyway, back to OJ. I am totally convinced he killed his ex-wife. He is reprehensible. I don’t understand how he could even have an entourage of twelve people who want to have dinner with him. I wouldn’t want him in my restaurant either. But I would serve him if he showed up. He was found not guilty. He is protected by double jeopardy laws.

Ruby was grandstanding. He saw a chance to grab the spotlight and took it. He got lots of free publicity for his restaurants. At Simpson’s expense, he ends up looking like a good guy, his feet of clay quietly hidden under the table.


Ten Men Talking

Well, the first GOP “debate” is over and it went well:

If you deny evolution,
if you think Ronny Ray-gun was the best president, ever, and refuse to criticize Bush, or other members of his evil cabal,
think gays and lesbians are abomination,
think stem cell research is murder,
don’t think women have enough brains to make good decisions when it comes to their own bodies,
Think Alito and Roberts will do great things from the Supreme Court bench,
think congress has a right to mess in private lives like what happened with Terri Shiavo,
continue to equate the Iraq quagmire with a war on terror,
are willing to go to war with Iran tomorrow, despite the messes in Iraq and Afghanistan,
and feel this administration is doing a good job..

They all hate Hillary and one of them (sorry, they all look alike) told Joe Scarborough that every man on stage would make a better president than Hillary Clinton. The answer also shows that she is the one they fear the most. They all ranted against Hillary health care, circa early 90's. They all took pot shots at Bill and most of them voted to impeach him. They all accused Democrats of being soft on defense.

If Hillary gets the nomination, I’m willing to bet that it will be a very negative campaign. Men turn into "mean girls" and get bitchy, when challenged by women, we all know that.

Did anyone stand out.....Mitt Romney looked presidential...but it was that idealized, calculated look of what a president should look like. Listening to him....he’s got the Joe Biden slime factor going on.

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy....got buried in the shuffle. He didn’t stand out or have a chance to stand out. He was trying to be everything to everyone. It’s not working. He doesn’t seem really interested in the job. I think he likes campaigning as long as it holds his interest, nothing more.

And if the GOP hands Rudy the nomination it will illustrate just how hypocritical republicans are when it comes to making moral judgements. Rudy’s so tainted, he should be a democrat.

John McCain....tried too hard. I think the parade has passed him by and he can’t catch up.

As for the rest of them, well, we needed some comic relief....I found myself wishing for Newt or Fred or even Arnold to jump on stage..