I'm outraged at the proposed installation of public urination cameras. This is not a safety issue and will not reduce the number of public urination incidents. In fact, as the article states, it will only raise the number of dangerous "getting caught in the barn door" zipper accidents. This is purely a political and revenue move for the city. When will they learn?

The Banks Lite

The Banks decade-plus-long struggle to get off the ground is well-documented. But what gets less press is the almost-decade-long struggle to build something - anything - at the northwest corner of 5th & Race downtown a.k.a. "The Banks Lite."

Photo from http://www.cincinnati-transit.net/downtown.html

Today is yet another deadline for Eagle Realty Group to make progress on the site. They have held development rights on the site for almost a decade, and have nothing to show for it but a lot of renderings. Ideas ranging from a condominium tower to a movie theater to a new home for Playhouse in the Park have been put forward, with nothing to show for it but PowerPoint slides.

CityBeat summed up the situation nicely in a blog post last November, which I'll quote one passage from:
"Later, the city spent more than $1 million to fill in the parcel and use it as a parking lot until another project was found. Including $10 million spent to raze the site and move several businesses and another $3.7 million to help settle a lawsuit involving Eagle’s relocating a Walgreen’s across the street, the city has spent about $15 million on the canceled projects during the past seven years."
It's time to piss or get off the pot.

But I don't blame Eagle Realty so much for this mess. I blame the city, which has given them extension after extension. I understand that the city is busy, and will give the benefit of the doubt to developers like this, but - especially considering the momentum created by Fountain Square in the blocks north of it - this area one block west of Fountain Square is as important as ever and needs to move forward.

What A Real Owner Thinks

So I've been watching a lot more cable TV lately. On CNBC, they're running a show called "Touchdown: The Patriots and the Business of Winning," about the New England Patriots and their owner, Bob Kraft.

Kraft bought the team in 1994, a year after they went 5-11 and had just lost something like 34 out of their last 50 games (IIRC). Three years later, they were in the Super Bowl, losing to the Green Bay Packers. Sometime around 2000, he hired Bill Belichick away from Cleveland, and drafted Michigan quarterback Tom Brady. And they haven't looked back since.

There's a video clip from the show on the site, where Kraft says:

"If you're in the sports business, to me, making money isn't the first thing. It's about winning. Your customers don't wanna hear that it's not about winning. And if you're not passionate about winning, get out of the business. There's easier ways to make money."
There's another part in the show, where Tom Brady says that Kraft takes care of everything non-football related for the players and coaches, so they can focus on football, but I couldn't find the video of that online.

State Of The Bengals = Crap

So the Enquirer wrapped up a pretty interesting feature Sunday with the results of its inaugural State Of Our Sports survey. For some reason, I couldn't find the link to the raw results online anymore, but fortunately I was able to find it in my history.

I only want to comment on the Bengals' report, who have a, whether real or perceived, serious image problem on their hands. John Erardi writes about the Bengals:

"Given the expectation that the Bengals would mount a lengthy playoff run - instead of not even starting one - a nearly irrefutable case can be made that the recently completed season is the most disappointing in team history."
The survey results reveal a lot of anger and frustration - most graphs looked like this one.

In all but one question's results, the most negative or pessimistic choice was picked the most.

The open comments at the end were pretty funny. I liked these two the best, and couldn't agree more.
"What is your opinion on the state of the franchise? What is the most important issue facing the franchise? What is the biggest obstacle to success? (Limit 250 words)

- I don't need 250, all I need is two: Mike Brown.

- The franchise is like it was 17 seasons ago...a failure. The most important issue facing and biggest obstacle is the Brown Family. In 17 years, players have come and gone, coaches come and go and its the same result. 0 playoff wins in 17 years. 1 winning season in 17 years (everybody catches lightning in a bottle every once in a while). Marvin was successful in Baltimore, Chuck B. was successful in Oakland, Leslie Frazier has been successful in Indy & Minnesota. The ONLY constant in 17 seasons is the Brown Family. The only variable that hasn't changed is "how the ORGANIZATION is run from the top." Until they sell the team, this will NEVER change as Mike Brown proved in the papers last week. I am only 30, so I was hoping to outlive the Browns, but I don't think it will happen."

Price Hill Girls

I may be a little late on this one, but I need to post it for posterity. The original was taken down, and then this one reposted.

Favorite line: "Yeah, where they at? On Glenway, baby fo' sho', that's where they roll."

Deters - WTF?

By now you may have seen excerpts from the rant by Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters in this month's Cincinnati Magazine. I am almost afraid to link to his excerpts for fear of boosting its score on Google - so I'll try the Google bombing method instead: stupid asinine ignorant dumb dumb dumb brainless dense imbecilic dipshit inane irresponsible naive short-sighted absurd simple-minded.

I will have to buy the issue to read the whole thing, but the excepts alone just made me mad. Then I started reading the comments and they made me madder. If Deters and the like had their way, there would be a giant jail the size of a stadium sitting just outside of downtown, incarcerating half of the county population. The other half would never leave their homes.

I won't rebut line by line, as others have done that far more effectively already. I will say two things: as the top law enforcement officer in the county, I understand his bias, but he should have more interest and more responsibility in thinking forwardly about the area in which we live than in making sweeping comments that prop up his buddies and reinforce the fallacies that keep people out of the city and in their homes. Two, I love/hate Cincinnati's conservative label. I don't think conservatism is necessarily a bad thing and has many appeals, but when the same old conservative names spout off the same old rhetoric, they're just giving the I-want-to-be-in-Cincinnati-when-the-world-ends outsiders more cannon fodder.

More blogs about Deters' effluvia:

Notre Dame 91, UC 74

Well, we weren't going to win 'em all anyway. The Bearcats played well in the first half, getting lots of good shots in the post, and good shots out of the offense, and took a 7-point lead into halftime.

Then the Notre Dame offense woke up, making everything they threw up there. I dare say the refs gave them a little help, especially right at the beginning of the second half when UC got whistled for like four fouls right in a row. Telling stat: Notre Dame, 34-42 on free throws; UC, 8-11 on free throws.

Steve Jobs Macworld 2008 Keynote in 60 Seconds

UC 69, Villanova 66

By defeating #16 Villanova, UC moves to 3-1 in the Big East! The hell?!

Does Villanova still start four guards? I seem to remember something about that last year, but I'm not sure if that's still the case. They might want to re-think that lineup. UC didn't score pretty, but a lot of offensive rebounds (holding 'Nova to one, I think) led to a lot of free throws and weird jump shots. In any case, I'll take it.

Remember McClain, Bishop, Mitchell, and Davis are all freshman. Vaughn is a sophomore. Next year, Yancy Gates and another blue chip I can't recall at the moment arrive. Nick Aldridge transfers in next year from Western Carolina. He's a pure scorer - let's hope he's a team player.

Speaking of Gates, did anyone catch the high school matchup between Withrow HS and Canal HS on ESPNU following the Bearcats game? In 8 minutes, I saw Gates bust a post move with a little jumper, knock down a three-pointer, and then follow his own miss with a two-handed dunk. The future is bright.

Next game is @ Notre Dame, Tues. Jan 15, 7:00 pm.

UC 74, Syracuse 66

Their offense played just well enough and got hot at the right time to sink the Orangemen of Syracuse. But what really won the game was their defense, holding Syracuse well below their season average. And I like what I'm seeing from the 7 ft. freshman McClain.

The UC mens basketball team is now 7-8 overall, but 2-1 in Big East conference play! They've really been playing well lately. With the exception of the St. John's game, their last few losses to Memphis (at home), NC State (on the road), and Xavier (on the road) were competitive. Could we be turning the ship around?

Go Bearcats!

Twist on 4th St.

Hit up Jean-Robert's Twist Lounge the other day. My overall impression is positive. There were lots of comfortable areas to sit and converse. Drinks were good and priced what you may expect. My only piece of advice: don't go there if you're hungry.

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Biggest Main St. News Yet

I was encouraged when I first started reading this article about OTR's "new plan" for Main St. This quote from the third paragraph is in line with what I have said previously.

"...The vision now is for Main Street to become a real neighborhood with people living, working, shopping and sleeping there."
But reading on, instead of retail and neighborhood restaurants, I saw only plans for more bars and clubs. So I'm not sure what exactly the "new plan" is.

I guess there is some mention of involvement in the arts scene, and re-opening of Harry's Pizza.

But anyway, the real news in the story - it made me sit up straight - is tucked away in the sidebar:
"The owners of Martino’s on Vine in Corryville will open a second location in the former Cooper’s on Main, at 1345 Main St. "
Martino's! Footlong hoagies! The Italian Stallion! The Underboss! This may be the best thing to ever happen in OTR. If you've never been to Martino's yet, you should go and get a preview before the Main St. location opens. The pastas and pizzas are good, but stick to the sandwiches.

First Homicide Of 2008

You may have heard about the first homicide of 2008, at Ocho Rios in OTR. Dude was shot inside the club on the dance floor. Think about all the times you've been on a crowded dance floor. Incredible. What's more incredible? That in a crowded dance club filled with a thousand people, there were no witnesses.

Teachers Have It Easy

Every educator and politician in America should read this book.

From the back cover:

Teachers Have It Easy is a landmark work examining how bad policy makes the teaching profession unsustainable. Interweaving teachers' voices from across the country with hard-hitting facts and figures, the book presents a clear-eyed view of the harsh realities of public school teaching.

With a look at the problems of recruitment and retention, the myths of short workdays and endless summer vacations, the realities of the work week, and shocking examples of how society views America's teachers, Teachers Have It Easy explores some of the best ways to improve public education. Case studies demonstrate how current salary reforms are transforming schools, the lives of our teachers, and the educational experiences of our children.

Who. Dey.

I think most people underestimate the role of injuries in the Bengals season that recently came to a close. Enough has been said already of the small army of linebackers the Bengals went through. But the linebacker corps is just the start of it. If you believe what they say, 2nd-year DB J-Joseph came on strong at the end of the year, as if the stress fracture in his foot was a real problem earlier in the year.

And that's just defense. On offense, it seemed like there wasn't a week when you could guess who was starting at left or right tackle. The constant instability of the O-line was a problem. When the O-line is not productive, the running game will suffer. Not to mention that their top three backs (Kenny Irons, Rudi Johnson, and Chris Perry) have either never played a full season or had lingering injuries. When there's no running game, defenses can sit on the pass. No wonder that T.J. set a record for receptions and Carson Palmer set a record for completions this year - there was no running game! With more attempts and defenses sitting on the pass, Carson threw for a career high in INT's.

Does this mean that the Bengals stand pat? Hardly. Get rid of the players that can't stay on the field. Get rid of players who have put in their time but maybe have now lost a step. Get rid of coaches who have never shown any ability to adjust (how come we can never cover tight ends? Or pass to our own tight ends?)

And above all - if there is only one change to make this offseason - hire a GM!!! Look at Holmgren in Seattle. He went 31-33 in four years without a GM. Then they hired a GM, and Seattle went to the Super Bowl (losing to Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XL).