Thursday, October 2, 2014

Think Pink Cincinnati It's Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Pink Cincinnati
Photo Courtesy of Cameraman Greg Reese
It's that time of year when businesses dip their brushes into the pink paintbox, or crayon box, or however they do it. October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Cincy really gets into it.

You'll see pink everywhere. University Medical Center is sporting a big pink ribbon. Kroger usually decks out their Downtown headquarters in pink ribbons and banners. They even illuminate the building with pink lights each night. It's pretty cool.

Race for the Cure 2013
Photo courtesy of Greg Cameraman Reese

There are pink races, pink events, and even pink-trimmed food at the grocery store. When you buy certain pink adorned products the grocer and manufacturer chip in a donation. The donations are small, but they add up. 

Look for other pink ways to contribute to Breast Cancer Awareness. You can even make a direct donation at

Kroger lights up their headquarters with pink
Photo Greg Cameraman Reese
Download Pink Cincinnati

If you like the photo at the top of this post, Cameraman Greg Reese
wants you to have a copy. Feel free to save a copy and use it as your Facebook cover photo, your web page, or wherever you choose.

Just give the Cameraman credit and if you've got a minute, like his page on Facebook.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Pick a Perfect Pumpkin at a Cincinnati Area Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins!

Pumpkins by M Doege: Wikimedia Commons
GMU Free Documentation Licens
The best way to get a fresh, local pumpkin is to pick it yourself at a nearby farm. Several farms in the greater Cincinnati area make the task even more enjoyable with an offering of festival activities from hayrides to dancing. Here are a few farms that can make your pumpkin picking experience an adventure for the entire family.
9669 State Route 48, Loveland, Ohio
Blooms and Berries Farm Market is located in Loveland, Ohio, a community nestled among Warren, Hamilton and Clermont counties. It's an easy drive from Cincinnati and nearby cities. 
"Fall on the Farm" festival takes place from September 20 through October 31. Your family can take a hayride, play pumpkin paintball, travel through the corn maze, and more before choosing your pumpkin from the pumpkin patch.
Pumpkin Garden Photo by: Frenchtowner
Wikimedia Creative Commons License Share Alike 3.0
You can also enjoy freshly pressed apple cider, food and lots of fun family activities. Admission: Weekdays - 7$, Friday and Saturday- $10, Children under 2 free.
Open Mon - Sat - 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Sunday 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
1737 State Route 131, Milford, Ohio
Shaw Farms is located just east of Cincinnati in Milford, Ohio. They hold their "Fall Festival" from the third week in September (hours 9 am to 6 pm) through October (hours 9 am to 7 pm.) 
Choose a tractor or horse-drawn hayride through the scenic 160 acre farm. Children will enjoy picking out their very own pumpkin. They'll also have fun playing with farm animals, wandering the corn maze, and participating in interactive activities. Admission to the farm is free. Activity prices vary:
  • Corn Maze - $5.
  • Hayride: Tractor - $3. Horse - $4.  
  • Little Blue Train - $2.

6922 Four Mile Road, Camp Springs, Kentucky
Kentucky is just a river and a bridge away from Greater Cincinnati. Once you reach the Bluegrass state, Neltner's Farm & Greenhouses is just 15 miles away on the AA Highway. The farm has been a Kentucky tradition since 1892. 
If you visit during October, you can pick your own pumpkin and participate in their annual fall festivities. Your family can ride in a horse drawn wagon, ride the new Barrel Train, and enjoy live entertainment, a petting zoo, home cooked food, crafters and much more.
Weekends, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. admission, age 3 and up, $5.
Weekdays, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.
103 Gibson Lane, Wilder KY

Sunrock Farms is an educational farm that offers Pumpkin Patch Tours each October. Your family can travel by hay wagon to the pumpkin patch to pick their very own pumpkin. Afterwards your children can milk a goat, gather eggs, hold bunnies or visit an alpaca or an emu. Tour: 2 hours, $10; 1 hour, $7; Infants under 1 year, free. Hours vary, see for information.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Flashback: The 2012 World Choir Games Brings the World to Cincinnati

The 2012 World Choir Games Brings the World to Cincinnati

Cincinnati, Ohio July 4, 2012:
Cincinnatians welcomed the Fourth of July with fireworks, near 100 degree heat and an international party. After years of preparation, the 2012 World Choir Games made it's Cincinnati debut with a procession of choirs in colorful costumes. The Opening Ceremony was a grand musical celebration featuring a welcome letter from President Barack Obama, music by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra and May Festival Chorus and a song by Grammy Award winning gospel singer, Kirk Franklin.
The 2012 World Choir Games Brought
International Excitement to Cincinnati
This is the seventh biennial event for the World Choir Games and its non profit producer, INTERKULTUR, but it's the first time the choral competition has been held in the United States. The Games are a coup for the city. It's no wonder Jerry Springer, Nick Lachey, Drew Lachey, Grammy Award Winner/Music Hall of Famer Bootsy Collins, the Naked Cowboy and other local celebrities created the cheesy promo, "Cincinnati Singing.
Choirs from Australia to Zimbabwe began arriving in the city earlier this week. On July 4th, they assembled as a group for the first time at Great American Ball Park. Each choir wore costumes and carried signs and flags showing their country of origin.
A procession with an international flair
At 5:00 the choirs gathered inside the ball park's main entrance to begin a brief procession to the U.S. Bank Arena next door. They endured the heat without complaint. Some sang as they walked. Some marched silently, carrying large and small flags from their countries of origin, and some smiled and waved for the cameras. 
Other choirs, like the singers from Puerto Rico, offered a more entertaining display. Their walk was more of a dance with rhythmic drumming, laughter and a lively song about "Puerto Rico." Russian choirs sang out "Rus-si'-a, Rus-si'-a" and a choir from Iowa chanted, "I-o-wa, I-o-wa." Another American group called out "U-S-A, U-S-A..." Outside the stadium a crowd snapped pictures, waved flags and cheered as the procession passed. 
The Opening Ceremonies
Local news anchors Clyde Gray and Carol Williams hosted the opening ceremony. Choirs, visitors and dignitaries filled the arena with joyful noise, and the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra provided background music for a processional of international flags. Young color bearers lined the stage carrying flags representative of the choirs' countries of origin. The Cincinnati Police Color Guard presented the American Flag as the audience sang the National Anthem.
Cincinnati Mayor, Mark Mallory; Ohio U. S. Senator Rob Portman; Gunter Titsch, INTERKULTUR president and Werner Geissler, Vice Chairman of Procter & Gamble Global Operations, gathered on a spotlighted platform to offer greetings to the crowd. Together they rang the 2012 World Choir Games Peace Bell, signaling the official opening of the event. The bell was cast especially for the event by the historic local Verdin Bell Company.
Kirk Franklin sang "I Can"
While dignitaries offered official greetings, the large One In Song choir entered the arena and stood quietly on stage. The group was Kirk Franklin's local, multi-choir back up for his performance of "I Can," the theme song he composed for the 2012 World Choir Games. The event continued into the evening with White Oak Singers' Native American Drumming, a tribute to the late Pops director, Erich Kunzel, music and song and a pyrotechnic display.
The Russian choir took a moment for a photo op
 in Washington Park
The Opening Ceremony was only the beginning. The Choirs will be in Cincinnati until July 14. They will sing in competitions in Downtown area venues and perform a selection of free Friendship Concerts in locations throughout the city. See for a complete schedule of events

Originally published on Yahoo Voices

Monday, April 21, 2014

Do You Read?

Did you notice the title? Yes, I'm asking a genuine question. Do you read?

I'm not talking about any of the sacred holy tomes that you read to figure out how to save yourself from a fiery eternity. I'm not thinking about reading posts on Facebook, tweets on twitter, online urban legends, or breaking blurbs on questionable news sites cooked up to scare you into hating Democrats.

I'm talking about sweet novels, scary sci-fi dramas, or convoluted mysteries that you read just for entertainment, or pleasure, or to pass the time... or for no reason at all.

That's me picking up my books from Emily at  
Booksellers on Fountain Square

World Book Night U. S. 2014

Wow! I lost my train of thought, so I'll get to the point. April 23, 2014 (William Shakespeare's birthday) is World Book Night U.S. Over 25,000 volunteer Book Givers (like me) will be "Spreading the love of reading, person to person."

In a single day, we'll give away half a million books in 6,000 cities across the country. And that's just in America. The World Book Night idea of giving away books to encourage reading originated in the U.K.
They'll be passing out books there too.

If you are a light to non-reader, there's a slim possibility that a local volunteer will walk up to, ask you how often you read, and offer you a free book from the WBN 2014 book list.

I'm giving away copies of
 "Waiting to Exhale" 
Why only a slim possibility?

There are 25,000 Book Givers across the USA, but only 15 in Cincinnati. Each volunteer received a box of 20 books chosen from a list of 30 specially printed World Book Night 2014 editions by 30 different authors.

When we applied to be Book Givers, we had to tell them what book we wanted, who we planned to give them to, and why we wanted to give away books in the first place.

I chose "Waiting to Exhale" by Terry McMillan. I plan to give them away at Sarah Center, a women's ministry in Over The Rhine. I wanted to participate as a Giver because I love reading and wanted to share my passion with others. I'd like to give a book to every person I meet on the street that day, but I just can't.

Be a Book Giver in 2015

It's too late to be World Book Night 2014 volunteer, but the application process will start all over again this fall. Just visit and add your email address to the World Book Night 2015 newsletter distribution list. They will notify you when the application process opens up again.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Dance, Cincinnati Reds Fans, Dance!

Dance fans, dance!

I believe in the power of positive dancing. It's kind of like the power of positive thinking but mostly with your body instead of your brain. 

I believe that if die-hard Cincinnati Reds fans dance, if they feel the win from the tops of their heads to the bottoms of their red-shoed toes, they'll dance the spirit of winning deep down into their hearts, and the Reds will take it all the way in 2014. 

I know this sounds like some sort of a new age baseball fairy tale, but what else have you got? 

The power of #Redsfandancing

I'm sharing the two dancing guys in red to invoke the spirit of winning. They did their thing for the crowd when Cincinnati celebrated the 2010 Division Championship. If you were there, you no doubt remember these two. I know that celebration was a few years ago, but wasn't it magical? 

I honestly believe if we all generate that same kind of winning energy from day one of the season, the Cincinnati Reds will make it to the top in September. 

I'll be Dancing Too!

You wouldn't want to see me dance, so I'll keep my moves at home where nobody can see; but believe me, I'll be dancing on Opening Day. 

I usually make it downtown to the Reds Opening Day Celebration. It's a not-to-be-missed local holiday. I tote a camera or two, snap hundreds of photos and shoot hours of video. Sometimes I post them or share them with friends and family, but mostly they just sit in my camera until I upload them to the cloud and forget I ever took them. 
The Cincinnati Hat Man
  2010 Reds Rally
Fountain Square

I'm not doing that this year. Instead of being crushed by the home crowd, I think I'll just stay at home and get in the right mood by watching the two Reds fans dance. 

I'll dance along, of course, and I'll call up that Reds power of positive thinking I get whenever I watch their winning energy. 
Wherever you are on Opening Day, take a moment to dance for the Reds. I bet if we all dance for the win, the Reds will start the season off big and keep moving on up from there. After all, baseball is a fairy tale, and winning is magical. 

Go Reds!!   

Thursday, March 6, 2014

You Know There's a Big Problem in Cincinnati When Greenpeace Comes to Town

You don't need to see any more photos of those Greenpeace banners dangling from the Dolly Parton Towers, but do check out the video above. It's an informative, easy to understand animation about the connection between palm oil, deforestation, and endangered animals. It's the big deal story behind those banners.  

Then lets talk about Greenpeace, the 40 year old organization that's been bugging the world to green up. They do that by relying on bold and peaceful demonstrations. Their recent actions in Cincinnati would make their Quaker/Hippie/Pacifist/Ecologist/Journalist founders proud.

Bold Acts 
For Greenpeace, a bold and peaceful act could be just about anything: climbing aboard a Russian rig to draw attention to oil pollution in the Artic, sailing a boat to the Aleutions to stop nuclear testing, or evacuating and resettling residents from the radioactively contaminated Rongelap Atoll.

They have confronted Pacific whaling ships by standing between harpooners and their intended targets. In Newfoundland, they protected baby seals from slaughter by blocking sealing ships with their own bodies. In Cincinnati, bold action involved a well organized campaign using zip lines, helicopters, banners, and daredevil stunts. It's mild by comparison. 

Greenpeace takes on the big boys
You know you've been bad when Greenpeace comes to town. They take on big issues that have an impact on the world. They take on whole countries and industries. They do whatever they think is necessary, and they keep pushing their campaign of bold protests until something gives. Here are a few of their success stories.

  • They convinced  Adidas, Nike, and Puma to at least agree to stop discharging hazardous chemicals. 
  • It took 10 years of effort, but they got Europe to ban trade in illegal timber.
  • They worked for seven years but finally worked out an agreement with Canada to end logging industry destruction of the country's Boreal Forest. 
  • It took 2&1/2 years to expose corruption in Japan's whaling industry.
  • It took 10 years, but they convinced Edison International to shut down the Fisk and Crawford coal plants that were polluting the air in Illinois.

Be good for goodness sake
You know the old Santa Clause song that parents use to bribe their kids into being good at Christmas time, "You better watch better be good, I'm telling you why..." Just consider the Greenpeace guys as the Santa Clauses of saving the planet. 

So P&G, be good for goodness sake. Greenpeace keeps up on all the bad stuff industries do to make their billions. Once you're in their sites they just don't stop. Which means they'll probably be back in Cincinnati sometime soon.

Greenpeace Links
Check out the slideshow of photos taken while Greenpeace got busy at the P & G World Headquarters in Cincinnati.

Read the report, "A Little Story About Monsters in Your Closet," the Greenpeace study about toxins found in children's clothing.

See "Greenpeace Chronicles," a colorful history of the organization.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Did Your Dog Stink Up the Metro Bus?

Riding the Metro is usually a pleasant experience, as far as bus rides go. But sometimes it stinks. I’m not talking about the bus running late, or having to stand up all the way into town. I’m talking fresh-dog-doo-tracked-down-the-aisle stink.

Odd smells and edgy odors

Bus passengers come and go, and some of them leave odd smells behind. Sometimes it's just spicy food or lingering cigarette smoke. Other times it's an odor so edgy it can make you slip out of the plot of your novel and wonder what the…hmm. This time it was coming from the man who’d just stepped onto the bus, or perhaps his little boy.

The odor slapped me in the face as the two of them fed the fare-box. It assaulted me in waves as they passed my seat and walked down the aisle. I heard fabric rustle, purses snap, and psst, psst, as a few ladies spritzed cologne into the air. I dabbed hand sanitizer under my nose. It was all that I had.

The guy really didn't know

A few stops later the man called out, “I’m sorry,” to everyone on the bus. The boy was deep into a giggling fit by then, but the man really did look sorry. “I stepped in some dog s___,"  he said. "I didn't know...," he muttered as he wiped and wiped. "I was just trying to catch the bus.”

The man stood up and I got a good look at the soft brown lumps on the top of his shoe and the flattened brown blobs on the bottom. “How in the world did it get on the top of your shoe?” someone asked. I wondered that myself, but the guy couldn't explain it.

Doggie doo and perfume

A woman offered tissues. A man pointed out the smelly brown foot prints along the aisle. As the guy cleaned his shoe, a few ladies sprayed more cologne, the boy continued his giggling, and I kept thinking how the bus smelled like that because somebody didn't clean up after his dog.

Despite the wiping and the spraying, the smell stood its ground. The driver called for a new bus, and when he pulled to the curb to make the switch, we rushed to exit quickly. The lady in front of me hadn't a clue what happened until I told her. “I was wondering why the bus smelled like perfume and s___,” she said.

Nuff said. Just clean up after your dogs!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Beatles Memories Never Fade Away

Photo February 7, 1964: Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain 

February 2014 is the 50th anniversary of America's love affair with the Beatles. If you don't make me tell you how old I am, I'll admit that I was old enough to remember it well.

I wasn't one of those screaming preteen girls who fell in love with the Beatles at first sight. I never jumped up and down and cried, and I didn't work my pony tail into a sweat over those soup-bowl haircuts. I was actually pretty calm about the whole British Invasion; but even as a young girl I realized that the Beatles had something pretty special going on. That special something has never faded away.

Ed Sullivan was the man
It was 1964. Television was black and white with only three channels --NBC, ABC, CBS. They had no place to put "colored" entertainment, so it just didn't get a lot of air time. But when stars like Richard Pryor, Louis Armstrong, or Jackie Wilson made it to television, it was usually on Ed Sullivan's "really big shewwww." I loved the Ed Sullivan Show, which is probably why I tuned in on February 9 when the Beatles sang "She Loves You" for the first time on American TV.

I still recall that cold Sunday when the Beatles made their first appearance. I remember hearing all of those moaning, sighing, crying teens in the audience and thinking that a bunch of black girls could never get away with all that commotion. It was 1964. The police would have no problem snatching us up and carting us away for rioting. Like my dad used to say, they would have put us under the jail.

Dad was a Beatles fan
Speaking of my dad, in 1964 he was handsome and young-looking enough to be one of the kids. He was a die-hard blues man, so I remember how surprised I was the day he brought home our family's first and only Beatles record.

We were entertaining friends and there was something soulful playing on the stereo --probably the Temptations. We were dancing when daddy walked in, lifted the needle, removed the record and replaced it with "I Wanna Hold Your Hand."

Dad was the head of the house, and he paid for the stereo. We knew he could do whatever he wanted; so while he played his Beatles song, we smiled and watched him snap his fingers and do a little dance move. After his cool Beatles moment, he walked away with a smile on his face.

50 Years of Beatles' songs
I never really got into the Beatles --I was more a Motown Sound girl. But I have to admit, John, Paul, George, and Ringo were talented composers and lyricists. I've enjoyed 50 years of other artists doing covers of their greatest tunes and lyrics.

Jazz guitarist George Benson's "Here Comes the Sun" was a totally different sound for him. He redid the whole Beatles "Abbey Road" album as "The Other Side of Abbey Rd," and it was fabulously mellow. Michael Jackson, who purchased the entire catalog of Beatles songs in 1985, performs a harder, cooler version of "Come Together."

Beatlemania will never end. 
The Beatles broke up a long time ago, but America never let go of the fantasy. Their songs have never stopped selling. New generations know the lyrics to top Beatles hits, and if they don't they will eventually.

On February 9, CBS will reignite America's Beatles love affair with "A Grammy Salute to the Beatles, The Night That Changed America." Stars like Stevie Wonder, Katy Perry, John Mayer, the Eurythmics, Keith Urban, Alicia Keys, John Legend, and Peter Frampton will salute the fab 4.

Of course, I'll probably boycott the show that night. I'd really rather watch "The Good Wife."