McClain High School Celebrates 100 Years over Labor Day

Labor Day Weekend in Greenfield will be extra special in 2015 as the crown jewel of the Highland County community — Edward Lee McClain High School — observes its centennial. McClain High School is an impressive brick edifice on a campus that resembles a small college. Inside this unique public school, visitors marvel at the paintings, sculptures, friezes, ornate tile and other works of art that have inspired generations of students and established the McClain family’s legacy of paying forward.

minervaMcClain High School was a gift to the community, designed to do “the most good for the greatest number for the longest time” in the words of Edward Lee McClain, an industrialist who made a fortune in the late 19th and early 20th centuries manufacturing horse collar pads and building an impressive business empire.

McClain added to his success by purchasing other companies and demonstrating a real talent for bringing products to market that were needed by a growing nation. McClain and his wife Lulu decided to give Greenfield the beautiful art-filled high school that continues to inspire students, faculty and visitors alike. The new school was dedicated during Labor Day Weekend of 1915 with many dignitaries present for the ceremony.

For more than a year, a committee of school officials and many community members has been planning the centennial celebration that will take place Friday through Sunday, September 4-6. “The result should be an enjoyable and meaningful weekend as local graduates and visitors reflect on the generosity of the McClain family while considering how each of us might be able to ‘pay forward’ for the enrichment of future generations,” said Greenfield City Manager Ron Coffey, a proud McClain alumnus.

Time capsule!
An added bonus to the festivities is the belief that the cornerstone of McClain High School contains a time capsule. Superintendent of Schools Joe Wills announced Monday that plans are in motion to remove the 1914 cornerstone of McClain High School and extract the time capsule that was placed there 101 years ago. Plans are to open the capsule prior to Saturday’s Centennial Dinner (scheduled at 5 p.m.) and examine the contents. A new time capsule will be placed in the cornerstone, to be opened in the year 2115.

Complete details along with a schedule of events is available at

Dar He!

emmett tillSixty years ago this past weekend an event took place in Money, Mississippi that helped unleash a pent-up anger that resulted in the modern civil rights movement. A couple of degenerate racist white men, in the name of preserving Southern tradition, tortured and beat to death an innocent black child whose only crime was speaking to a white woman in a direct manner. This “boy” didn’t realize heritage required he lower his head and look away when addressing “white folk.”

The victim, Emmett Till, was a fifteen year old boy from Chicago who was spending the summer with his grandfather, Mose Wright, in Mississippi. He and friends had been playing across the road from a white owned country grocery store and Till entered the store and said something to the owner’s wife in a way that violated the codes that held blacks to be subservient to whites.

Later that evening the woman’s husband and another man arrived at Mose Wrights’s home and drove off with Till in their car. Several days later Till’s beaten and mutilated remains were discovered floating in the Tallahatchie River with a bullet hole in his head.

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Ten Years Ago on a Cold Dark Night, Came Katrina

Hard to believe but it’s been ten years since America witnessed one of the nation’s greatest natural disasters. At least it began as a natural disaster but unfortunately it quickly became a man-made fiasco.

New-Orleans-AerialI’m a big fan of New Orleans, having been there on many occasions. The first visit was somewhat an accident. We took a trip to the Mississippi coast and decided to visit the Cajun country in rural Louisiana. Driving along the coastal road we suddenly found ourselves on Rampart Street with the French Quarter in full view. I had just read a story about NOLA being the nation’s murder capital and had meant to avoid it during our trip. Nevertheless, here we were so we decided to park the van and check it out a little. We ended up getting a hotel on Rue Bienville in the heart of the Quarter. We only spent the night but had a great time and  left with a new perspective.

Continue reading Ten Years Ago on a Cold Dark Night, Came Katrina

Greenfield’s Pioneer Cemetery Coming Back to Life

cemeteryFor several years now the Greenfield Historical Society has put time and money into restoring, as best possible the town’s original cemetery that lies along McArthur Way adjacent to the society’s Travellers Rest.

Besides enclosing a portion of the frontage with a stone wall the group has also been attempting to repair and clean the weather worn grave markers.

Here is a link to a story about the effort that includes a collection of photographs. Click HERE.

Just another way of saying ni**er!

ken burnsThe following article appeared on TPM’s website on August 24, 2015 and came from a CBS interview of documentary filmmaker, Ken Burns. It is especially germane given that birtherism and birthright citizenship have become such a central issue in the GOP’s presidential platform. More so since Donald Trump has become the leading GOP candidate in the race for the White House. Here the article as written by Caitlan Cruz followed by the video interview with Burns.

“Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns said on CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday that the birther movement, popularized by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, is a essentially a “more sophisticated” way of using the N-word.

“The birther movement — of which Donald Trump is one of the author’s of — is another politer way of saying the N-word. It’s just more sophisticated and a little bit more clever,” Burns told CBS. “He’s other, he’s different. What’s other and different about him? It turns out it’s the same old thing: It’s the color of his skin.”

America is not a post-racial society because of President Barack Obama’s election, he said.

“All of these tensions have been in place since the very beginning, even before the beginning, but we also notice that race is always there,” Burns said. “We pretend with the election of Barack Obama that we’re in some post-racial society. And of course, you know, we’re not.”

Burns also set the record straight on what started the Civil War, pushing back against the notion that it was about “state’s rights.” He pointed to South Carolina’s Articles of Secession. (South Carolina was the first state to secede.)

“It’s no wonder that Americans have permitted themselves to be sold a bill of goods about what happened. ‘Oh, it’s about state’s rights, it’s about nullification, it’s about differences between cultural and political and economic forces that shape the north and the south,’ ” Burns said. “It is much more complicated than that, but essentially, the reason why we murdered each other … was over essentially the issue of slavery.”

Burns’ documentary “The Civil War” is set to air in ultra-high definition for five nights on PBS starting Sept. 7.

Zombie in Jail – New from Delbarjo

DELBARJO ZOMBIEJust like going to the mailbox used to have certain elements of surprise, mystery, and excitement I get the same each morning when I log into Facebook. I never know what’s waiting for me and this morning it was, to my great pleasure, a new song from my favorite French sleazy bluesman, Delbarjo. He’s playing one of the coolest looking and sounding three string box guitar on the planet. Merci mon ami.

Taxing Religions – Video & Poll

John oliverJohn Oliver recently did an investigative report on the lack of financial transparency that exist with religion in America. The 1st Amendment religious freedom protections have allowed religious organizations a number of exemptions from both reporting income and how that income is used. For many years there have been those who feel churches should not be exempted from disclosure and taxes. Watch Oliver’s presentation and if you wish, take part in the simple poll that follows. NOTE: Click HERE to see the followup article regarding what happened during the week following Oliver’s creation of his own church, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption.

Should religions be exempt from income taxes?

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Just when I thought I was out, I got BP’d

refineryHere’s what pisses me off. Oil prices are at a six and a half-year low while we in the Mid-West are experiencing rapid increases in gasoline prices. The claimed cause is a major Indiana refinery being on the fritz.

But that’s not what’s pissed me off. What’s pissed me off is that refinery being owned by BP with whom I’ve had a major beef going back to the 1980s.  For the better part of thirty-five years I have boycotted BP in every possible way. My dislike of them was only heightened by their negligence leading up to the environmental rape of the Gulf of Mexico.

During the first decades of my BP boycott I never purchased their products but I would occasionally stop by one of their stations to pee on toilet seat in the men’s room and on the way out stop by the women’s room and leave the seat up. Following the Gulf rape I don’t even do that. I just wanted to forget they even existed. To erase my memory.

Just when I had reached that blissful world of BPlessness, BAM, the bastards are back in my life! Reminds me of that line in the Godfather, “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”

Ohioans, How Will You Vote?


It was just announced that the AG of Ohio has certified a petition to force onto the November ballot the issue of both medical and recreational marijuana consumption. The question is, how will Ohioans vote? How will you vote?

Please take part in the following straw poll:

Marijuana, How Will You Vote?

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Sister Rosetta…The Mother of Rock ‘n Roll

Every wonder where today’s rock and roll guitar licks originated. Well, there are those who say nobody contributed to the genre more than Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She came on the scene in the early 1940s and left her mark all over rock. Just pay attention to the licks she plays in this old Gospel song.

A Yellowstone Tale

My friend Justin Johnson and his faithful sidekick Nikki are currently touring Yellowstone National Park. Looking at some of their posted photos on Facebook brought back memories of the trip we took back in the early 1990s.

justin & nikki at falls
Justin & Nikki

Yellowstone being such a special place we decided to invest in a small video camera to record the experience. So, on the way we stopped at Circuit City in Cincinnati and spent close to $1000 on a camera and a couple of spare tapes. Our son sat in the back of our van and  learned the art of video photography as we plowed our way west.

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The King of Few Notes – BB @ ACL 1983

bb king at ACLWhen blues fans gather and the chatter turns to BB King the one thing most share is the opinion that King’s 1964 album, Live at the Regal, was his best. I own the CD and I really can’t disagree, the man was at the top of his game that evening.

Today I watched a video of BB’s 1983 appearance on PBS’s Austin City Limits and came away convinced his game hadn’t lessened over the intervening twenty years.

Continue reading The King of Few Notes – BB @ ACL 1983

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