Historic Schoenbrunn Village

My First Trip

Heck, I was just a kid at the time; so I didn’t know any better. All the other family trips were decided on by my parents—and we didn’t travel much even then. Up until the mid 1960s, the farthest I ever went with them was Detroit and Pontiac, Michigan, to the west and Niagara Falls to the east. Then, one day they listened to me. I suggested that we visit Schoenbrunn Village near New Philadelphia, Ohio. We had just learned in school that it was the first white settlement in Ohio, founded in 1772 by Moravian missionaries intending to convert the Delaware Indians.

What we found was a Disneyfied patch of log cabins that looked so badly chinked that they probably had to plug the leaks every year. There was the obligatory souvenir stand on the premises and (although I do not specifically remember it) a snack bar. Of the souvenir stand I am sure, because my folks bought a rubber-tipped spear for my little brother. The return trip was hard on him so he detonated by the time we neared Akron.

It was not particularly a fun trip. Once the fact settled in that it was the first settlement in Ohio, the rest was primarily just visiting all the cabins and nodding sagely. Interestingly, Los Angeles was first settled nine years later than Schoenbrunn Village, and some of the original buildings are still around, such as the Avila Adobe on Olvera Street and scattered Spanish missions and adobes scattered around town. I guess log cabins of that design don’t last long.

Fortunately, all my subsequent trips were much better than that ill-fated day trip some 60 plus years ago.


I Wipe the Dust of Ohio from My Feet

I Get Pretty Tired of All My Political Contributions Being Spent in Ohio

Unless you live in one of the swing states, such as Ohio, Florida, and Iowa, you’re vote just doesn’t count as much. Now California is the most populous State in the Union. All fifty-five of our electoral college votes for President will go to Obama. That’s almost a dead certain guarantee, however badly the ranchers in the San Joaquin Valley and the Republican troglodytes of Orange County feel about it.

But where is all the effort in the last few weeks of political campaigning going? You guessed it: Ohio, Florida, Iowa, and a handful of other swing states.

Why is it that these are swing states? The answer is simple: Because they are divided approximately fifty-fifty between Democrats and Republicans. Take Ohio. I’m from Cleveland originally, which, like most of Northeastern Ohio, leans to the Democrats. South of Lake Erie is where most of the trogs, recidivists, and Red-State racists live. As a Clevelander, I never visited Columbus, Dayton, or Cincinnati: We also considered the southern half of the State to be south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Over the decades since I’ve left Ohio, the State has drifted farther and farther to the right. So far, in fact, that I repudiate my origins, at least insofar as the State is concerned. (I still have some feelings for Cleveland, “The Mistake on the Lake.”)

It’s not that I want to see more political advertising in California. I hate political advertising. It’s one of the reasons I don’t watch television at all. But I have donated several hundred dollars to the Obama campaign; and I am mightily pissed that most of that money is probably going to television stations in parts of Ohio that I would just as soon see swamped by a tsunami.

There is a funny short piece on Raw.Com entitled F*ck You Ohio for hogging presidential race. Among the points it brings up is that all kinds of concessions must be made to Southern Ohio regarding the use of coal for energy:

For example, [Andy] Cobb [of Second City] notes that vying for Ohio means that candidates feel the need to promote “clean coal” technologies, “something the rest of the country knows is bullshit.”

“Ohio made them do that,” he observes. “Clean coal doesn’t exist. Coal is dirt. So, clean coal is like clean dog shit.”

Why should we kowtow to Ohio for being so deeply divided? The answer lies in our country’s dysfunctional electoral college voting system, which should be scrapped in favor of direct elections. But that is another matter entirely. It is probably the most glaring weak point of our Constitution and should be scrapped.

I suspect, however, that it will drag on for several more decades, doing incalculable harm to our political process.

Addendum (10/26/12): This cartoon from David Horsey that appeared in today’s Los Angeles Times:

A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words