I can be anything

I was going to title this post "Heaven Just Got a Little More Reading Rainbow," because I read too much Videogum, but then I decided people might think LeVar Burton had died or something. (And then I went to Videogum and discovered they posted this story under the title "Heaven Just Got a Little More Reading Rainbow," and a few commenters were like, "Whew, I thought LeVar Burton died!" So, I win? I guess?)

Of course, what actually happened was that yesterday marked the last new episode of Reading Rainbow. It's been on the air for 26 years, which means that my sister, who is just two years younger than me, has never lived in a world without Reading Rainbow. (It also means that Burton hosted the show all throughout his Star Trek: The Next Generation days - do you think he ever showed up at the RR studio all out of breath, still wearing his visor and his Starfleet uniform? Because that would be awesome.)

Anyway, even though I don't think I ever actually read any of the books recommended on the show, I have fond memories of it because it was all about great it is to read. Reading really is the best, you guys! Don't tell me you never wanted to turn into a cartoon astronaut like the girl in the opening credits:

(My guess is that while almost nobody remembers a specific episode of the show, everybody remembers the opening credits. Maybe they could just play that clip for half an hour a day.)

I was probably not Reading Rainbow's target audience, because I always knew that reading was amazing. So maybe I'm overstating things when I say that yesterday, we lost a powerful tool in the quest to teach children to use their imaginations. (I hope I'm overstating things, anyway.)

But still, it's nice to keep this in mind: We can go anywhere. We can be anything.


Cincinnati: More exciting than NYC

The city skyline sparkles below the top deck at the Mount Adams Pavilion, where the Milford High School class of 1999 is having its 10-year reunion. The lovely sight causes a sudden wave of emotion to wash over me. (Maybe the $2 Miller Lites had something to do with it, too.)

I turn to my old classmate Janet, who moved away for college and never came back. "You know - it's exciting living here."

"Yeah?" she says. Janet lives in New Jersey, probably no more than a half-hour train ride from one of the most incredible cities in the world. I'm not sure I can really convey to her the type of excitement Cincinnati offers. Especially not with those Miller Lites stunting my vocabulary. But I try.

"It's like ... it's like we're constantly on the verge of something really great. It's amazing seeing it happen." Janet smiles, and I decide that's enough boosterism for one night.

But seriously, guys. Think of how much this city has grown and changed in the past five or six years. When I started working downtown on an evening shift in 2003, the streets and Fountain Square were empty. I often got dinner from the vending machine just to avoid the ghost-town feel outside. The Main Street bar district was still the primary reason to visit Over-the-Rhine.

(And the other interns and I met every Tuesday at Inn The Wood for 50-cent draft night. And then Inn The Wood was razed. So there is that.)

And I know that a certain local issue is leading to a lot of talk right now (and not just in Cincinnati) about how resistant to change we still are - and those people have a point. But from my (admittedly very limited) perspective, we've come a long way in a shockingly short time.

What will this city look like when MHS '99 has its 20th reunion? I don't know, but finding out is going to be really exciting.