Friday, April 28, 2006


While discussing plans for the Spring Fling last night, it was brought to my attention that not everyone knows what the title of my blog means.

Was I expecting people to just KNOW?

As said in my profile, I have resided in Cincinnati for the past several years. Even though I grew up just across the Ohio River in a city called Covington, KY (place where Margaret Garner of the movie Beloved crossed the Ohio River), I think of Cincinnati as my home.

That's why Cincinnati is in the title of my blog.

Now for the NAMjA part.

Don't get it confused with the word ninja. The closest thing to martial arts that I know is what I attempt to do when I am trying to ward off the unwanted attacks of an un-known dog.

Namja is the Korean word for "man".

And how do I know Korean?

About 9 years ago, while I was studying Biology at the University of Cincinnati, I tripped somewhere along my path to becoming a physician and fell into the US. Army.

Yes, this Covington boy was working for the man!

Anyway, as some of you may know, when you enter the military, you must pick a specialty, or a job. My job in the military was that of a voice interceptor, specializing in intercepting Korean voice transmissions. So after 2 months of being yelled at and slopping through the trenches of Ft. Leonardwood, MO (also known as basic training), I was shipped of to the beaches of California for two years to learn how to read, write and speak Korean.

No, California is not the American Mecca for Korean people. Monterey, California is home to the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center where the military trains all of it's linguists, interrogators, and voice interceptions.

So now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Busy Day

Today was the culmination of the busiest week I have had all year! For the most part I am a chill guy and don't let many things get to me, but this week was a test if not the final exam. We have already talked about the KABHE Conference, then I worked tirelessly on my thesis presentation (just a rehearsal which I gave just hours ago). It went off without a hitch, but the whole preparation part of it is the worst thing to get over.

Leaving directly from school, I had planned to attended the InkTank Writer's salon where we were scheduled critique two pieces of work and have an exercise in historical fictional writing. It's great to learn about other people's writing process and see what comes out of it. This is a fairly new group and I was foolish enough to have one of my earlier pieces placed on the chopping block a few weeks ago. Let's just say that I learned a lot that day.

OK...Back to when I just left school...

I had about 45min before the workshop so I decided to get a quick run in at the Central Parkway YMCA. My planned 10min, half mile run turned into a 30min 3 mile run. I just couldn't stop.

Where have I heard that before?

Needless to say that I will have to catch the writing group on the flipside. I am now killing time before I meet a former neighbor of mine to talk about this year's Spring Fling. I have been asked to help organize it again this year and I have some big plans for it!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Now Presenting...(Take 2)

I can't believe I did it!

Today, I gave a presentation at the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education. I spoke about how African American college students can capitalize on the changes occurring in academic libraries. I was a bit intimidated, presenting to a group that was so educated. My fears were not calmed any when I found at the the mayor of Lexington, KY and Kentucky's recently retired Head Librarian was in attendance.

My presentation was at 2pm this afternoon so I wasn't expecting that big of a turnout because it was the first session after lunch. Even so, I decided to get check the room out about 30min before the start, just to make sure that everything was connected.

There was no internet connection in the conference room! problem, I thought. I got over that fairly quickly. But then we couldn't get the projector to work. After 30 minutes of blood sweat and tears, everything started working fine. Un-flustered I dove right into the presentation. The nervousness dissipated and I just went into what I knew.

About 10 min into the presentation, my mother, who teaches at Brown Macke College, walked in the door! That helped to ease my stage fright.

Hopefully I can do more of this.

Time to Take Out the Trash

Saturday was a great day! The sun was shining, the weather was perfect hundreds of volunteers all over the city of Cincinnati came out and helped clean up their neighborhoods for the Great American Cleanup. Each neighbor hood designated their own personal goals, but the neighborhood were coordinated by my friend Dave (the one who owns the landscape company). Even though I do not reside in Over-the-Rhine (technically), that is where I volunteered. There were several sectors of OTR that were organized and I worked witht he Main St. crew who were responsible for Main St to Liberty to Vine to Central Parkway ad every thing in between. With only eight volunteers, we still picked up a fair share of trash.

It was a bit discouraging when you were busy picking up trash on the street and someone comes and throws trash on the ground, but there were many more people who thanked us for doing this.

After the cleanup, there was a press conference and pizza party at the OTR Recreation center. Not the easiest place to find, but after consulting a few downtown residents, I was able to find it. The Cincinnati Bucket Boys and their dancers were there and put on an awesome show.

Here are some more pics from the day:

Thursday, April 20, 2006


The Dock is one of those clubs that ever city has. It's seedy appearance and location has long attracted everyone from the everyday twink wanting to experience his first taste of gay life to the crusty old man who has yet to tell his wife and 2.3 children that he has an affinity for same gender play.

After having a cocktails with a few friends at the Dubliner, and getting over dashed hopes of catching a glimpse of Nick Lacey, I ventured down by the riverside and took in a few drinks at one of the city's oldest gay establishments.

When I decide to drive to The Dock, it usually happens on a weekend night, for two reasons. It's a weekend night, and there are a number of interesting people to watch.

But every few months I dispel the stigma of going out on a weeknight and head to The Dock for Hip-Hop night. It's the only gay club in Cincinnati that offers popular hip hop music. Too bad it only occurs on a Wednesday night.

Presumingly because of the type of clientele that Hip-Hop music may attract, there were noticeable changes to the usual Dock experience. Instead of simply showing my ID and paying the cover charge for entrance, an additional step of being wanded down by three different people, all with blacks shirts and the word SECURITY whited across the front and backs of their shirts. I felt as if I was about to board a flight or walk into the Federal Courthouse.

There were also a number of African-American bartenders that I have never seen there before. I guess they feel that Black people feel a bit safer if one of our own is pouring our drinks. After being frisked and wishing that the security personnel were a bit more attractive, I walked to the back bar to get a drink and found that the go-go bois who were usually perched atop of two speakers were replaced with two carbon copies of the people who had just accosted me at the front door.

I guess I shouldn't complain. No where else can I go to hear the music I like, but if the owners of The Dock are so afraid of Black people, why have Hip-Hop night?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

It's Hump Day

I was going to write about how depressed and lonly I was last night, but everyone has nights like that.

Last night was one of the most uneventful nights I have had in a very long time, but I tied to make this best of it. I kept myself occupied by watching a few Tyler Perry plays, reading the latest updates to the series of Blogs that I follow, taking a swim at the YMCA and making an incredible chicken salad topped with Kalamata olives and cheese. Sounds like a blast, I know.

I'm just glad that I didn't overdose on the amount of glee and joy that I was experiencing.

As the title of this post reads, today is hump day (the song Humpin' Around is swimming through my mind), I am glad that this week will be over soon and I am looking forward to the events this weekend.

Saturday, I will be team leader at the Great American Cleanup in our neighborhood. This should be fun. Hopefully the weather will be nice enough for some men to go shirtless.

Sunday I leave for Lexington, KY for the Kentucky Association of Blacks in Higher Education Annual Conference, where I will be giving a presentation about African Americans and Academic Libraries. Again, I know that you are cheking ebay for tickets to this event, but it will be exciting to check out the nightlife in another city for a change. I don't get out of Cincinnati too often. That may be the casue of my sucky night last evening.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I Can Breathe Again

This past Saturday was another great day to work outdoors. Therefore, I took advantage of it and worked with my friend who owns his own landscaping company. Due to the size of this company (only one full time employee), I help him out when the weather is pleasant. He usually employs able-bodied men from one of the labor ready companies located downtown Cincinnati. It turns out that one of the two men that he had employed for the last two weeks, both virtually homeless with a number of run ins with the law among them, were stealing money from him. Saturday, both of those men worked with us and I witnessed the confrontation on Saturday as I was about to finish the half day of work. The sad part was that one of the two men was innocent of stealing the money, but my friend had to fire both of them on the spot because there was not a sure way of telling who was telling the truth.

Have you ever had a time in your life where everything starts to make since?

I took the day off from work on Friday causing me to have a three-day weekend along with this altercation between the seemingly haves and have-nots, helped to free my mind to answer a few questions that has been weighing me down for several months. This, coupled with a leisurely Saturday evening dinner on the patio of Don Pablo’s in Hyde Park (wearing sandals, which I never do), which lead to a weekend finalized with a double dose of church worship and family togetherness, following a night debauchery with a one of my friends and my ex.

Do I dare say I am breathing more freely?


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Out In Right Field

Today's look at the View
It seems like only yesterday, Katie Couric's energetic smile replaced Jane Pauley on the Today Show as Bryant Gumbel's co-anchor. I don't remember when Matt Lauer replaced Gumbel, but I guess it wasn't that dramatic. Anyway, I am glad to see that she is not going to wither away in retirement, but get a more prestigious position as anchor of CBS Evening News (for less money than if she stayed on the Today Show, I may add). I am more excited that Meredith Vieira of The View and Millionaire will be taking here place. Katie was funny, but Meredith will definitely get your day started with more of a kick.

Overnight Smack-Down

Last night was the first night that the Cincinnati Police Department conducted sweep of downtown, making arrests and serving warrants. It was the first night of a month long strategic plan to rid Over-the-Rhine (OTR) of crime, in hopes not to have a repeat of the four homicides that occurred in the span of seven days. After 30 days, the Cincinnati Police Department will evaluate this task force and measure its effectiveness, to see if it is worth continuing.

At 5:45 am this morning, I watched a live shot as a news reporter heralded the fact that she did not feel threatened as she walked down the dark street of Over-the-Rhine. I wonder how safe she would have felt if she did not have a camera crew following her.

My little brother is going to College!

My brother is going to college! I wasn't sure if he would make it or not (sad in this day and age), but he did it! He will graduate from my al ma mater this June and has plans to go away to college!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Now Presenting....

I am sooo excited! And I just can't hide it.
25 cool points to the one who can name the group who originally performed those lyrics.

I know that this may not mean too much to you, nor does it have anything to do with Cincinnati, but I just found out that I will be presenting a lecture at the KABHE's (Kentucky Association for Blacks in Higher Education) 2006 Annual Conference in Lexington KY!

I submitted my paper over a month ago. Since I had not heard from the organization, I assumed that my topic was looked over. This was until I checked my email and found the message:
Congratulations Kareem! Your proposal has been accepted to
present at the 23rd Annual KABHE Conference. Please get back with me
as soon as possible to let me know if you will need any special equipment for
your presentation. You will be hearing back from me in the near future
concerning the time of your presentation.

Again Congratulations and
we are very excited about your session!

Stacy Webster-Little
Conference Co-Chair

You must be wondering what I could possibly be giving a lecture about. The paper that I proposed is titled, "Information Access: African American Students Capitalizing on the Changes Occurring in Academic Libraries". Four years of working at the reference desk and being a computer learning center program director at an inner-city public library, coupled with a couple of years experience working at an academic library, should give me enough footing to pull this off.

I'll keep you updated.

Friday, April 07, 2006

5 Years Down

For one week, downtown Cincinnati was enveloped with the Civil Unrest of 2001 ignited with the shooting death of Timothy Thomas by the hands of a Cincinnati police officer. This week marks the fifth anniversary of this event which placed Cincinnati in the national news, spurring the boycott of the Cincinnati by a number of prominent African-American performers and entertainers, to include Bill Cosby. African-Americans, along with other concerned residents of Cincinnati, were tired of the confines of institutional racism (the Man), and ventilated their frustration in the form of this unrest.

On this and every anniversary, a number of people continue to complain that we have not learned from the Civil Unrest of 2001. I dis agree. Cincinnati has elected a mayor that seems to be opening dialogue between racial, economic and geographic lines. Cincinnati has also started a number of unconventional attractions that, in theory, should attract more people to the downtown area to include Markets on Main, increasing the operation hours of Findley Market and the first Downtown Hop Around, which is tomorrow night.

It would be easy for us to blame the Cincinnati Police Department for the racial profiling, or the Cincinnati Public Schools for turning their backs on the students who are most in need, but that will not change anything nor help those in most need of a hand out.

To those who believe that Cincinnati has not progressed in the past five years:

If you are complaining that there aren't any lending institutions that will lend to you, find out why and take steps to correct the problem. I have applied for 3 different credit cards in the past 4 years and have been turned down for each one. After the final rejection letter, I decided to obtain my free annual credit report and find out why they were denying me. After initiating a savings plan, which started on Jan 17, 2006, I now have the most money I have ever possessed in my life. That's not saying too much right now, but it's easier to save money when you have a goal.

If you want your child to go to Yale, Tuskeegee or the Virginia Military Institute, don't leave their education in the hands of the Cincinnati Public Schools District (CPS). Even though, I think that CPS is trying their best to educate the children of Cincinnati, their techniques are far from the best. A child's education ultimately falls under the responsibility of the parents/guardian. It is the parent/guardian's obligation to educate their children, it is only CPS's job to do so.

If you do not want to get arrested, don't break the law. It is annoying for me not to simply drive through that traffic light that has just turned red when I am in a hurry. But if I do not want to give a police officer any reason at all to hold me for more than a second, I will wait for the light to go green.

Let's stop complaining about the way that the Man is holding us back. This is a fact that has been well established.

How are we going to change your life so that the Man's hands are less likely to keep us shackled?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

This Is Dedicated To The Wine I Love

Over the past few years I have enjoyed the experience of drinking wine. At family gatherings, Final Friday on Main St. and delightful conversations with friends are all great reasons to break open a bottle of wine. I'm much more interested in socializing than in Wine Advocate ratings.

All of us want to at least act like we know the difference between Bordeaux and Burgundies, but most of us do not. The good thing is that you do not have to be a complete expert to tell the difference. By knowing a few basics of wine consumption, it will help you to enjoy the next high-end bash without sticking your foot in your mouth.

1. Don’t Fake It
As children we all played make pretend at one time or another. Let’s leave that to the children. A true mark of sophistication and maturity comes from not being afraid to ask questions of people who actually know what they are talking about. Always ask for suggestions. This can save time from basing decisions on how cool the bottle looks or the price range.

2. Taste IT Before You Buy It
When a server brings you a wine glass with just a sip of the Chardonney that you are about to order, he is not asking you to judge the quality of the wine, but just to make sure that it has not gone bad. Place your fingers at the base of your glass and swirl the wine a little bit (this "opens up" its flavors), lift the glass to your nose and mouth, enjoy its bouquet and then sip, holding the wine in your mouth for a moment before swallowing. If it tastes all right, simply say "Thank you" to the server.

3. Order
Because we are all trying to aspire to that level of greatness, we know that when hosting a party, you serve yourself last. This is no different when serving wine. The person that is being honored, or the closest person to you, should be served first.

4. To Chill Or Not To Chill
This is real cut and dry. You chill white wine and you serve red wine at room temperature. The flavor of red wine is often improved by exposure to oxygen, or by "letting it breathe". With white wines, you want to drink them as soon as the are poured, but there are a few white wines can also be improved by "decanting" -- that is, pouring wine from its original bottle into a container with a wider opening, or into a glass.

5. Size Does Matter
In most of our lives, the shape and size of one’s tool does not necessarily correlate to your enjoyment level. This is not the case with wine glasses. For the most part, oversized goblets don’t have to be reserved for the big wine drinkers. They are meant for the wines that will make your palate think it were in Italy or California. This particular type of glass should not be filled more than halfway and not wine glass should be filled more the three quarters of the way. Glasses shaped like tulips should be used for white wines.

Ofcourse there are many more things that you will need to know and understand about wines before you take that position as a somblier, but by following these five steps, you can atleast act like you know what you are talking about.

Great Places Downtown

The Wine Cellar
Located in the heart of Mt. Adams, The Wine Cellar features a large selection of unique wines. The Wine Cellar is also a full service bar, featuring over 50 wines by the glass.
The Wine Cellar offers weekly wine tastings.

Nicola's Ristorante Italiano
Eight years new, and has become one of the most beautiful fine dining restaurants in the city. Nicola's offers valet service for your convenience, Thursday through Saturday evenings, and you can always feel comfortable coming in dressy casual attire. If you are dining with a large party on a Monday through Thursday night, ask to organize your own personal tasting menu for your party, with wine pairings to complement your selections.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Ain't That A Kick In The Pants

On the heels of the Opening Day festivities, another shooting occurred in Over-the-Rhine.

I was going to write about this shootings but thought better of it. Although this is a part of most major metropolitan city, Over-the-Rhine gets enough time in the press due to crime. There are exponentially more people who live, work and play in Over-the-Rhine and other dowtown neighborhoods than those who initiate negative press for it.

Check out OTR Chamber of Commerce and iRhine to see what I am talking about.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day

Even though the Cincinnati's baseball team has failed to produce a winning National League baseball team since 1990, the Cincinnati Reds' Opening Day celebration is a very big "to do" here in the Queen City. Today was the day when downtown Cincinnati filled to the hilt with Reds fans along with corporate movers and shakers who want nothing more than to capitalize on the Reds' frenzy. Among the crowd you may even find a confused United States President hob knobbing with his former business partner.

Yup, that's right, President Bush was knighted to throw the ceremonial "first pitch" at the Red's Opener this afternoon. He is the only sitting President of the United States to ever do this at a Cincinnati Reds Opening Day game. Do you think that the fact that the Reds' new owner, Bob Castellini, used to be co-owners of the Texas Rangers with the Prez?

The only other sitting President ever to attend a Reds Opening Day game was Cincinnati native William Howard Taft in 1912.

Opening Day festivities are not exclusively located at the Great American Ball Park. All over downtown people were celebrating the first day of the Reds 2006 season. One of the most popular and highly publicized of these events is Opening Day Parade. Sponsored by Findley Market, this is the eighty seventh year of the traditional parade. Due to a number of morning meetings, I was not able to attend, but with the magic or webcasting, that even Harry Potter would be impressed with, I was able to catch a few minutes of the parade in between my appoitments.

I was happy to see that Project Lily Pad was represented. Give Back Cincinnati and METRO have partnered to provide "wi-fi" access in and around their buildings. A former neighbor of mine, Jim Tarbell was in good spirits, specked out in a black tuxedo suit and top hat, commemorating the memory of Peanut Jim.

Congresswoman Jean Schmidt was also in attendance. When being interviews by the reporter as she passed, he was not able to get a question out because of her loud and shameless decree of "I can't wait to see the President!" (I was a bit frightening actually)

The excitement of Opening Day was not enough to carry the Reds to a victory today. They fell to the Chicago Cubs 16 to 7.

Maybe it would have helped if this guy was pitching.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

What's In A Name

Since I have not completely jumped into the digital age and purchased the over priced service of cable TV, Channel 9 is the only channel that I am able to get in my apartment. My reception problems may also be due to the fact that my television is quite possible as old as I am. Because of my lack of channels,last week, I visited my friend and her fiance to watch the premiere of Prison Break.

They live in the Gaslight District so I stopped at Keller's IGA to grab some beverages and a snack. I love shopping at the particular IGA. I don't shop there as much as I would like because their prices are a bit high.

I purchased a flat of sushi and the following type of beer:

and it went down as smooth as the name suggests...LOL