Julius Caesar at CSC

I again had the joy of attending a production with the lovely Robin and Aaron and Nina at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company on Race Street in downtown Cincinnati.

Opening night at the CSC is always exciting and rewarding, and this evening offered Julius Caesar like it's never been done before. The male and female roles were reversed. Julius Caesar was a woman. So was Brutus. Also Cassius. Also Mark Antony. And so on. And vice versa.

The whole cast (as always) performed ably, with Kelly Mengelkoch as Cassius and Sherman Fracher as Brutus leading the way. Sara Clark's delivery of Mark Antony's funeral oration hit the play's high notes beautifully. It was extremely interesting to see the play's meaty roles performed by women--although so much of Julius Caesar relies on powerful speech, it suffered a bit simply from the physiological limitations of the female voices. Still, it was for me a fun evening, and very likely an unforgettable performance.

Seven Ways to Save Money for Travel this Summer

Everything seems to cost more these days, making it tough to make travel plans. But my latest article (here) on Examiner.com offers seven ways you can scrounge for some travel this summer.

10 (Nearby) Places to See Before You Die

My latest article on Examiner.com, posted this morning, was a FUN article to brainstorm, research, and write.

What would be on YOUR list of 10 nearby (within a day's drive, say) places to see before you die?

Top Ten Reasons to Use a Good Tour Company

My latest article on Examiner.com lists ten reasons to use a tour company when traveling overseas (here). The lovely Robin and I have personally proven the validity of each of these ten reasons. Ignore this sage advice at your peril.

Art Deco Masterpieces in Cincinnati

With the Union Terminal building, Cincinnati possesses one of the fifty most architecturally significant buildings in the United States (according to the American Institute of Architects). More than that, the Queen City is a fine place to take a walking tour of some of the most beautiful Art Deco masterpieces (including the Union Terminal) in the nation.

What would such a walking tour look like?

I'm so glad you asked (check my latest Examiner.com article here).

Rabbit Hash and More

One of my recent Examiner.com articles (if you haven't read them all, what's the matter with you?) maps out a route for a scenic ride (or drive) through some lovely country with a stop in beautiful downtown Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.

Check it out here.

Great Place to Walk, Picnic, Hike, etc.

With the weather warming and Spring just a couple days away, it's a good time to post about some great places to walk and picnic, etc.

So I did.

Check out my latest Examiner.com post here.

YOU Can Help a Poor Writer Out. YES YOU CAN!

I posted today another "Scenic Tour" idea for a motorcycle ride (which will also work on four wheels, especially if it's a convertible or a car with a sunroof) that includes the memorable town of Rabbit Hash, Kentucky (pictured above....not the whole town, just a portion). Check it out in greater detail here on Examiner.com.

And for all you folks who are wise enough and tasteful enough to like me and want to do me a favor, I'll take a minute to explain the payment structure of Examiner.com:

I can't.

It's mysterious. I think it's kept under lock and key in some vault guarded by blinded mummies or something like that. But this much I do know: it has to do with the following things, things you can help with:

1. Subscriptions. Any time you go to one of my Examiner articles, you'll see a "Subscribe" link by my photo. If you subscribe to my articles, I will be your friend forever. Or at least five years.

2. Traffic. The more people who visit one of my articles, the more I get paid. So you can help not only by clicking on those links, you can help also by "tweeting" an article link, "liking" it on Facebook (using the "like" button on the article page), and emailing the link to friends to invite them to read the article(s), too. The links above and below the article title make that super easy.

3. Comments. At the very bottom of an article page is a space for comments, which can also be automatically posted to your Facebook page. The more comments, the merrier. Comment, comment, comment.

4. Session length. Somehow (I think the blind mummies have stop watches), a visitor to one of my articles who stays for two minutes benefits me more than someone who visits for ten seconds. I think because the idea is for people to actually read my articles. I know, I know, that's a heavy price to pay. But do it for the children.

5. Ads. If you see an ad on one of my article pages that appeals to you, by all means, click it! It might just put a penny in my pocket, a percentage of which I'll share with you.

6. Sponsorship. Examiner.com offers the option for businesses (or just very nice people, for that matter) to sponsor me for a month or more via the "Sponsor an Examiner" link near my photo on my Examiner page and on each of my articles. When you do that, your ad will appear prominently to everyone who views my articles. Which will make you rich. And your business, too. Oh, and I would be your friend then for at least the rest of my life, maybe more.

So any of you who want to help a struggling writer out, feel free to do one or all of the above. And help me spread the word, so others can do it, too. And I promise, when I win a Nobel Prize for my Examiner.com writing, I will invite you to the ceremony. You'll have to pay your own way, of course, because it's in Stockholm. I mean, I'm not made of money. Yet.

A Blast in the Past

A couple summers ago, the lovely Robin and I were on a return trip from a wonderful vacation in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, when we decided to stop at a place we had seen advertised on billboards, but had never checked out. I'm so glad we did.

It's the Museum of Appalachia, in Clinton, Tennessee (20 miles north of Knoxville), and it's a memorable place to spend a few hours--or a whole day. Check out my article about it on Examiner.com here.

Ravenwood Redux

I wrote recently on this blog (here) about a favorite destination of our family, Ravenwood Castle, in Vinton County, Ohio. At the time, I didn't know I'd be writing travel pieces for Examiner.com, and posting a related and well-illustrated piece there.

It's a great place to stay, a wonderful place to eat, and a fantastic place...to play "pretend." No matter how old you are.

Scenic tours: Cincinnati to Madison IN ride affords great views

Good economy or bad, an economical and enjoyable way to travel well without breaking the bank is a scenic motorcycle ride, and the Cincinnati area has plenty of them (and they can also enjoyed by those traveling on four wheels).

John Johnson, of Hamilton, Ohio, recommends....

Continue reading here on Examiner.com.

Take a European vacation without leaving Ohio

London. Berlin. Lisbon. Versailles. Dublin. Oxford.

The names evoke images of Old World splendor and European sophistication. But such names do not belong only to Europe; they also identify Ohio cities and towns with a splendor and sophistication that is all their own. Each would make a fine day-trip or weekend from Cincinnati, and an ambitious driver could visit them all in a loop of just under two hundred miles, starting in Cincinnati.

To read the rest of the article, go here. And, while you're there, please do me a favor by commenting, "liking," sharing, or subscribing.

Maple Syrup, Bob Evans News...Kinda Go Together

I posted two new Examiner articles this morning, both kinda related to food. Go figure.

"Maple Syrup Festival at Hueston Woods is a sweet spot for cheap fun"

"Bob Evans Farm is cooking up some major improvements"

It would be a blessing and help to me if you would click on each article and (on the Examiner site) "Like" it, "share" it (see button at the bottom of the page), and even Follow or Subscribe to my Examiner posts (I post 2-3 times a week).


(Photo courtesy of Ohio Department of Natural Resources)

The Ultimate Dating Guide for Anyone in Love (and Cheap...or Poor)

My newest post on Examiner.com is entitled, "Twenty free dates in and around Cincinnati/" It's the ultimate for anyone who is both cheap (or poor) and in love!

And if you're REALLY my friend, you'll "Like" it, comment on it, and/or email it to someone.

The Ohio Theater

About a million years ago (okay, really only thirty-five, but that's ALMOST a million), I played the Ohio Theater, the National Historic Landmark built in 1928 and saved from demolition in 1969. It was built across State St. from the Ohio Statehouse on the former site of the Columbus City Hall. Today it's called the "Official Theater of the State of Ohio."

I took these photos on a recent afternoon in Columbus, after opening the Ohio House of Representatives' session in prayer.

Even the ticket office is elegant and distinctive. I tried to get inside, just for a few minutes, but the ladies washing the windows told me I looked too sketchy. Okay, actually, they apologized and said a rehearsal was in progress. But take my word for it, the interior is absolutely stunning.

The Ohio Theater is the home of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, BalletMet, the Broadway Series, Opera Columbus, and the CAPA Summer Movie Series. In just a week or two, Les Miserables (my favorite stage musical) will be showing there.

Oh, and if you want to know why and how I played the Ohio Theater...it wasn't just me, but in 1973 a hundred or so teens from Ohio and Kentucky in a Salvation Army production of the Gowans/Larrson musical, "Jesus Folk." I played one of the main roles: "Third Folk on the Stage Left Side." Or something like that.

Three years later, I returned to the Ohio Theater stage, triumphant, and this time in the company of Evie Tornquist (of "Clean Before My Lord" and "Praise the Lord, He Never Changes" fame). She sang. I wore a costume...and stole the show, I think. Felt bad for Evie. Hope she's gotten over it.

Rising gas prices don’t have to spoil 2011 travel plans

Read my Examiner.com article, "Rising gas prices don’t have to spoil 2011 travel plans." Please visit. You can also "like" the article, sponsor me, subscribe to my articles, and more! You want to. You know you do.

A Prayer in "The People's House"

I had the honor of praying at the Ohio General Assembly in the Statehouse in Columbus today. I said "hey" to President McKinley (one of eight presidents to hail from Ohio) on my way past to park in the garage under the statehouse.

Once there I was greeted by Nicole, an aide to my friend and state rep Tim Derickson. She guided me to the House Chamber...or I would never have found my way. Well, okay, maybe I would have. I was early, so only a few people were there. The room is absolutely gorgeous, and each representative's desk has a cute little PC laptop on it. They looked like toys.

These are the steps leading to the speaker's dais, where Abraham Lincoln once stood. In March 1861 (150 years ago this month), on his way to Washington to be inaugurated as the sixteenth president, the Great Emancipator stopped in Columbus and spoke to a joint session of the Ohio Legislature in the House Chamber. They told me, however, that the carpet has been changed since then.

The picture above was taken before the chamber started to fill with people, using the latest photo technology (I handed a kind gentleman my iPhone and he took the photo).

The session opened with Rep. Derickson introducing me. I prayed (the prayer will be posted on my prayer blog tomorrow), and then the pledge of allegiance followed. I was honored to shake Speaker Batchelder's hand as he thanked me warmly. Rep. Derickson then showed me the door (literally!) and while he went to the work of being an important state representative, I took a quick self-guided tour. I took the above pic from the balcony soon after the session began.

I made my way to the rotunda, where a large projection screen was set up with a live feed from the Senate chambers. An overflow crowd was there today because the Senate was debating the controversial bill to limit collective-bargaining rights for public employees (the bill narrowly passed the Senate later in the day and so will move to the house).

I took the above photo from outside the Senate chamber, which was packed...as was the vestibule outside the chamber, which had been furnished with chairs and video screens.

The Ohio Statehouse--often called "The People's House"--celebrates its sesquicentennial this year (the building began to be used in 1857, but the rotunda and Capitol Square were not completed until 1861).