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Living Out Loud
 

Listening to the Birds Sing

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Simple but wonderful morning discoveries make me happy, make me glad I didn't give up on myself. Only a year ago, in fact last spring, I was fighting something in my mind that was getting the better of me, taking me over. There were no birds singing and there was nothing in the sky I wanted to watch or witness.   

Dead Dogs and Circuit City

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Call it a bad omen. As I traveled along I-71, I saw it, creeping out of the horizon in a butterscotch mass of grizzled fur: a cocker spaniel in its final resting place along the side of the highway. The family dog probably. Surrounded by medians, he must have fallen out of a car. That doesn’t happen in normal times, I thought, eyes wide. In normal times, you watch him just a little bit closer.  

Hump Day

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 25, 2009
I think of my friends John, Amber and Anna. I also think of that man who wanted bus fare at the bus stop, the guy who tried to bully me for cigarette money and the woman who wanted to buy milk for her babies. Trying to put myself in all of their shoes, trying to understand why some people can find jobs even in bad times while others have to ask or beg for money and live off the streets, I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around it all.  

Don't Blame 'The Man'

2 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I was watching some TV news channel or the other last week, and they were talking about what desperate straits were in as far as unemployment. Theres no question the shit has hit the fan and many people are in a dire position that no one could have contemplated only a few months ago.  

Greed, Suites and Bailouts

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 11, 2009
I haven’t been using my ATM card lately to withdraw money from my checking account. With this financial crisis, I’m afraid that one of these days the receipt coming out of the machine is going to read, “Sorry, you’re a day late. We had to spend your money yesterday to pay our utility bill.”   

Horse Drawn Downtown

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 4, 2009
It was damp and cold and my coat was thin, so I hurriedly scurried through Fountain Square. But when I saw the horse and carriage, I halted. My ears perked up. I'd never been on a carriage ride. Whenever I saw those horses, I thought about how they braved the Cincinnati streets, the concrete fields, no matter the season. I thought about leather harnesses rubbing against their coats. And the hard pavement, the steel bits. I thought about hooves cracking.   

Mandolin Rain

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 25, 2009
As I started to unpack the box, my stomach was in knots. I knew what was inside, and I didn't want it. It occurred to me to simply throw the box and its contents in the trash. When a friend said he was going to ship the mandolin to me, I said, "Please don't."   

My Ear Is Gasping for Breath

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 18, 2009
I have hearing loss. My right ear serves only for purposes of ornamentation. In 2005 I went into the Atlantic Ocean and came out with only my left ear working. I'm not alone in this condition. A colleague, a very able reporter in town, likewise went into the Atlantic off the coast of Florida and lost the use of his right ear.  

New Friends and Shoe Tires

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 11, 2009
When my new friend Julie called me Wednesday night to see if we were still on for lunch the next afternoon, I wasn't sure. This was the week of the big snow, then ice, then more snow. I hadn't been out of my living space in days. I wasn't sure if I could walk on the stuff.  

Cornbread Nation

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 4, 2009
On a recent Sunday night episode of 'Music from the Hills of Home,' the radio show I host with Wayne Clyburn on WNKU (89.7 FM), a listener brought up an interesting and timely question: 'How do you season an iron skillet?'  

Stones in the Road

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I'll be meeting my son for lunch next week, and my daughter wants me to see her new place on Sunday. They never seem interested in leaving Cincinnati. I always am. But while I've threatened to leave many times, so far I've stayed right here. I've moved around a lot, but I always stay local. My road doesn't really go anywhere else.   

It's Not the Hopeless Coalition

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2009
The Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, where I work, likes to say it's an advocacy organization, distinguishing itself from agencies that provide direct service to clients. The distinction is valid, except for the fact that the Homeless Coalition offers some very important services: a place for homeless people to receive mail, to use a telephone, to have a cup of coffee or a drink of cold water. A place for homeless people to sit down for a few minutes in air conditioning or heat.   

Midnight in France

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 14, 2009
When she walked into Buddakhan bar and restaurant downtown on New Year’s Eve afternoon, I wasn’t paying attention. Sitting at the far end of the bar, I was busy sulking while drinking a vodka and cranberry. I was thinking of my therapist, who tells me I shouldn’t let other people’s negative energy or behavior affect my mood.  

A Stroke of Luck

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2009
I didn't comprehend a word. 'What did you say?' I asked, except the words that came out of my mouth were completely slurred. What I actually said was, 'Laht di thoo thay?' I thought to myself, 'That's weird, I sound just like Dick Clark.' Then it hit me: 'Holy shit, I'm having a stroke!'  

Living It in 2008

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 30, 2008
For better or for worse, I usually end up writing most of the columns in this Living Out Loud space — and that was no different in 2008. Sometimes I think I’ll run out of things to write about, but something always happens. That something is life. If you’re living with your eyes open — or out loud — the well never really runs dry.