Sunday, August 08, 1999

If you can't take the heat, leave town




BY PETER BRONSON
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        I'm told Cincinnati was pretty hot at the end of July. So hot that Cinergy ordered rotating brownouts of City Council members to save energy and reduce the hot-air mass.

        So hot that the soup du jour at Greater's was French Vanilla.

        So hot that firefighters were called to put out Gov. Bob Taft after he came to town and saw the price sticker on the new Bengals Stadium.

        So hot that the bronze lady on Fountain Square got tired of waiting for the city to turn her water back on and got busted for skinny dipping in the Ohio River.

        So hot that Cincinnati was named Most Liveable City by Lucifer's Almanac.

        So hot that the penguins at the Zoo asked for a transfer to someplace cooler — such as Phoenix.

        So hot that the temperature on the field at a Reds game rose higher than my IQ.

        So hot that several judges at the courthouse actually stayed in their air-conditioned offices all day — and were reported missing when they failed to show up for their regular weekday tee-times.

        So hot that the horses made the jockeys carry them for a change at Turfway.

        So hot that grandiose plans for regional cooperation were canceled until consultants come up with a plan for regional air conditioning.

        So hot that Larry Flynt went to a G-rated movie just to get out of the heat.

        So hot that Cincinnati was named as the host site for the 2008 Olympics competition — for the sweating and whining events.

        So hot that I couldn't take the heat and got outta town to sit beside a cool lake.

        You could say I missed all the misery. But that would not be exactly accurate. I didn't miss it a bit. The Miserable Unbearable Wilting Insufferable Scorching Cincinnati Heat Wave of 1999 was among many things I was glad to ignore. Such as:

        • The Reform Party convention, which spawned more bad wrestling cliches than a Hulk Hogan Film Festival.

        The Reform Party is beginning to look like one of those brainless but good-intentioned experiments of the '60s — like the time hippies took over the People's Republic of Berkeley and repealed the oppressive leash laws so dogs could run free.

        What they soon had on their hands — and shoes — was a pack of feral dogs that had to be shot with tranquilizer darts. I think that's what we can expect now that Big Dog Jesse Ventura has snatched the Reform Party bone from Chihuahua Ross Perot.

        If the Reform Party robs votes from Republicans, the media will call it a populist, grass-roots crusade to attract alienated voters. If it starts nipping at the heels of Al Gore, it will be a parliament of propeller-heads and alien-abducted cranks.

        Get out the tranquilizer darts.

        • Jerry Springer for Senator.

        Apparently, some Ohio residents were appalled that the state's top Democrats would contemplate running Jerry against Republican Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Boring.

        I like Mike, but I think it's a great idea.

        The King of Tacky TV has popular appeal. He has issues that can't even be discussed in public except on television. He was at least as mediocre as any other mayor of Cincinnati. And his talking points could be more fun than a skinhead convention in Singapore.

        Just mix one from column A (lesbians, hookers, transsexual gym teachers) with column B (abused by, who love, who hate) and column C (primates, crackheads, tattoos), and Senate debates will be more exciting than watching Strom Thurmond breathe or Ted Kennedy bloat.

        Jerry Springer is perfect to represent the modern Democratic Party motto: “It's Only About Sex!” Why settle for a Springeresque president (Sexual Predators Abused by Grandmothers) when we could have the real thing?

        • And finally, I was glad to miss the maudlin TV marathon of vultures picking over the bones of JFK Jr.

        He seemed more mature and smarter than the average Kennedy, but he was not technically an “American Prince,” just an ordinary mortal who was not technically entitled to burial at sea by the U.S. Navy.

        Judging by the way he avoided the press, JFK Jr. would have loathed the spectacle of all those carrion birds swooping in to peck and claw at tattered scraps of a myth called “Camelot.”

        I missed all that, but the heat is back. And I'm hoping this weekend will be so hot that even half-baked columns like this will look well done.

        Peter Bronson is editorial page editor of The Enquirer. If you have questions or comments, call 768-8301, or write to 312 Elm Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202.

BRONSON ARCHIVE