Puttin' Out the Bone

Thanks for the Bengals, for Bush and Other Mixed Blessings

I have so much to be thankful for. I mean, for a Thanksgiving edition, a writer should just look around himself and give it up for what's good. Forget the usual cynicism, the smart-mouth analysis. Be a damned optimistic American and thank some deserving people, Jene.

OK. Let's go. For starters, thank you, people here at CityBeat, for allowing me to write these monthly screeds. My therapist says she's been able to cut my medication by a third since I'm able to whine to thousands of readers and not just her. My wife feels the same way, but she's gotten used to it over the years.

Thank you, Juleana Frierson, Victoria Straughn, Pastor Damon Lynch III, Iris Rollie and other African-American activists in Cincinnati. Thanks for being out there when others won't, for facing lingering racial prejudice with courage and tenacity.

I joined these folks recently during a demonstration in Pierce Township, which hired Robert Blaine Jorg in the shadow of the Roger Owensby Jr. death. A white guy pulls up in a panel truck as the group was making a statement to the media near the police station door and yells race-hate profanities reminiscent of the Southern wars of the 1960s (see "Closed Doors, Open wounds," issue of Nov. 14-20). The spokesmen and women for the protesters stayed focused on the message of the day and merely allowed the taunts to be the backdrop of their valid points. I was proud to be standing with them on that day.

I get tired of hearing so many people in this town speak of Kabaka Abba, Nikki X, Damon Lynch and others as if they're evil. I've even heard some politicians put names like theirs in proximity with red-hot words like "thug" and "criminal." Oh, they're careful not to call, say, a Pastor Lynch a criminal, but they hope you'll draw implications. I heard Phil Heimlich do it many times during the recent county commissioner race.

So I'm happy to get my time here to do just the opposite, to say thank you to these disciplined activists. Your cause is right. Keep on.

Thanks to Jerry Springer. No, I'm serious. Oh, not because of his wild-ass show. I think it's fake. C'mon. I saw one a couple of weeks ago where this woman learned her boyfriend was sleeping with her dad, or something like that. She started to cry — not just scream and prance. She was sobbing. The problem was there were no tears, no wetness under either eye; and they had close-up shots of her for about five minutes. I confronted Springer when he was here recently to jazz the vote turnout. He got all lawyerlike.

"Maybe she had some tear-duct problem," he says, all defensive.

"Oh, sure. Like in both eyes?" I shoot back. "Your show is fake!"

No, I'm here to publicly thank Springer for becoming one of the primary funding sources for progressive candidates in Cincinnati. Seriously, he has given hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund good political and social causes since he's become rich. Thank you, Jerry. Now quit that damn fake show and reenter a life of public policy yourself.

Thank you, George W. Bush. Because of you, I've learned firsthand the volatility of the stock market. My wife and I stood stupidly on the sidelines for the eight Clinton years, while everyone around us became more affluent investing in the stock market. So a couple of years ago, we put some bucks in play just in time for you, Bush, to make half of it disappear quicker than a Bengal lead. On top if it, you'll lead us into war. Gag me with a big wooden spoon. 2004 can't get here soon enough for me.

Thank you, David West, for staying for your senior year at Xavier University. I'm only thinking of you when I say that, because you'll join the proud list of Xavier players who graduate, like all of them since the Gillen era. Plus — and this is a small point ­—you'll make sure we get the spotlight over the Bearcats this year, and that's sweet.

Thank you, Anderson High School Principal Mike Hall for having the wisdom to form a committee to analyze whether the school mascot, Redskins, is racist and therefore inappropriate. While it's hard to imagine that enough members of the committee at such a conservative school would actually propose the obviously needed change, at least they're talking.

A few years back, Bob Suess, principal at Hughes High School, took some people through a similar process there, and their Native American mascot was dropped. If only Hughes' inner-city wisdom could waft east to the people of suburban Anderson Township.

A special thanks goes out to all the NFL teams that are taking the time to beat the Cincinnati Bengals this year. We badly need your help in shaming Mike Brown into turning the team, which we house, over to a real football person. This is the first year that most Cincinnatians spend Sunday afternoons rooting for the opposing team.

Last, thank you, Catholic Church, for finally deciding to protect your own. Last summer you all lost your heads for about a week and nearly sided with the victim children of some of your priests. But once the big boys got involved from Italy, you got your minds right and made it so that "the rights" of your child molester priests got top priority. You made sure my faith in the institutional Catholic Church remained where it has been for so many years.

There. I feel good. I've thanked. Man, I almost forgot the most important people ... you guys who read me each month. I need to suck up to you real hard. So here goes. Thanks. No, really. Hey, I'm not kidding.

Damn, you people are a tough audience.



PUTTIN' OUT THE BONE appears monthly.

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