Thursday, June 27, 1996
Frank talks with spirits from our past

BY LAURA PULFER
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Big deal. So Hillary Clinton talks to important dead people. Who doesn't? By the time Elizabeth Dole goes through the campaign wringer, she'll be speaking in tongues. To anybody who will listen, living or dead.

In fact, I've had my share of conversations - actually ''intellectual exercises'' - on the spiritual Internet. Eleanor Roosevelt was in another chat room, but I was able to contact several others. They were all sincerely shocked about the sad state of family values and are hoping that Sonny and Cher will reunite soon.

Everyone more or less unanimously refused to brainstorm about my book. They had other things on their minds.

Della, Lizzie and Adolf

Lizzie Borden, who complained bitterly about the accommodations - ''Is it hot down here or is it me?'' - wants to make sure the people at the Marysville prison take good care of Della Dante Sutorius.

''She scares me,'' Lizzie said. ''By the way, Adolf says he heard some people in Cincinnati think he was OK - at first.''

He heard wrong.

''He'll be miserable.''

Goody. That's why it's called hell, I said, making my way north, psychically speaking. The air is cooler, there's muffled harp music and some lovely murals. Hey, wait a minute. Aren't you Michaelangelo?

''Yes. How did you know?''

I've seen your work before. There are statues of your David all over Kmart.

''What?''

Forget it. I mean the Sistine Chapel.

''A back-breaker. But I wouldn't mind coming back to spruce up some other churches, maybe in the New World.''

Well, Mike, I'm sorry to tell you this, but you wouldn't be welcome in all of them. Some of them don't want your kind.

''You mean Italian?''

No, gay.

''Uh-oh, I hope the Big Guy doesn't find out about this. He's very strict, and he thinks we're all his children. There will be hell to pay. Hey, somebody here wants to ask you something.''

Charlie Taft, a councilman during the building of Riverfront Stadium, wants to know why we're tearing it down. ''It's only 26 years old,'' he said. ''What's wrong with it? Golly, you guys don't take care of anything.''

Well, sir, I told him, we think we need two stadiums, one for the Reds and one for the Bengals.

''Whew. Cincinnati must be one booming town. Hope all those baseball and football fans don't trample the ladies shopping at Mabley's and Pogue's and Shillito's and Herschede's and Giddings.''

Mr. Taft, traffic jams have not been a recurring problem downtown. And a lot of ladies are working during the day.

''Good, that's good,'' he said. ''Maybe I'll get some peace from Monica Nolan.''

I wouldn't bet on it, Mr. Taft, although you might tell her she really paved the way here. Now female stockbrokers are a dime a dozen, and the Commercial Club just took three female members. The big decisions are still made by white guys, but we do have a woman who's mayor.

''Bobbie?''

Nope. Her name is Roxanne. And you'd like her. She and Bobbie are great friends.

What's in a name?

''You know,'' he said, ''Bobbie tried to get them to name that stadium after me.''

Yes, sir, I know. Maybe they thought they would reserve the honor of your name for something more important.

''More important? Like what?''

For instance, they named an alley after Ruth Lyons. By the way, do you ever run into her?

''Sure, she's here right now.''

Ruth? Is that you? Have you got all the angels up there wearing white gloves? No wonder the harp music is muffled. Anyway, I just want you to know everybody here still loves you, and your Christmas fund has funneled millions of dollars to area hospitals for toys, televisions and therapy equipment for kids.

As I told Mr. Taft, a lot of things have changed but nobody has forgotten you.

''Say,'' Charlie Taft's voice rumbles again, ''what ever happened to that nice, young politician Jerry Springer?''

Mr. Taft, you really don't want to know.

Laura Pulfer's column appears in The Enquirer Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Call 768-8393 or fax at 768-8340. She can be heard Monday mornings on WVXU radio (91.7 FM) and as a regular commentator on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.