A brief and ‘alt-video’ tour of being way-out in Ohio

‘Still Life with American Gas.’ | On the way to Port Clinton, Ohio | april2023 | thestoryisthething.substack.com photography

By Douglas John Imbrogno | april13.2023 | thestoryisthething.com

Sometimes, in order to self-soothe, I make short, odd videos. Or ‘alt-videos,’ as I describe this one below in the end credits. It is sort of like the uncle who builds strange little balsa wood ships inside bottles out in the garage. When the news is just one too many despair cycles in a row, or my small stock of emotional quarters for giving-a-damn has been spent that day, I gather up B-roll video from my daily life. Seek out a soundtrack. And begin knitting a video. A few hours later, it’s ready to hand up the chain to Youtubeville and to share to Facebookistan and this website’s newsletter TheStoryIsTheThing.substack.com (to which you really should free subscribe for more alt-content.)


I christen this video above, “Way-out in Ohio,” as the kick-off to a new, occasional series called ‘DrivebyVideos,’ The series features footage shot out the window of a moving conveyance, set to a soundtrack. Or some time-lapse footage of something—maybe me—in motion. What you’ll see in this one is what follows.

The video begins with a drive-by of a somewhat mesmerizing, if not daunting, view of the Davis Bessie Nuclear Power Plant in Ottawa County, in northern Ohio. In one of my other side-gigs, as a climate crisis communicator and editor of ChangingClimateTimes newsletter, I have been following the contentious debate about whether to revive a smaller, leaner nuclear power industry. This would feature allegedly safer, smaller plants, so as to create more pathways to ditching the carbon-fired economy that is carbon-frying the Earth. (Here’s a Scientific American article that throws cold water on that scenario, and a Washington Post piece that takes a look at the new pro-nuclear movement in the United States.) Whatever the case, a drive-by close encounter with a nuclear power plant certainly stir the eye to attention.

Coming back from a visit to Ann Arbor, Michigan, this past weekend, I dipped eastward, so that I might say hello to Lake Erie. This was a Great Lake of my youth, during twice-yearly trips to visit the extended family there, which were the only vacations our eight-member family could afford, then. Alongside Lake Erie’s shores, my Italian immigrant father’s family first settled and the lakeside town of Lorain is where my parents grew up, met and married. I stopped for a bit beside the lake at Port Clinton, time-lapse strolling out to a jetty, capped by a green ‘No. 1’ Coast Guard navigation icon. It was the closest I had been to Canada since my wife and I took our kidlets to Niagara Falls, back when my head had far more active, luxurious follicles. The kids are large adults now and my wife has accused me of combovers to hide my monk’s tonsure. Time happens.

‘Number 1, Baby.’ | I hereby offer this photo to lovers and friends everywhere, as a way to quickly communicate: ‘You are numero uno in the abacus of my life …’ | Lake Erie jetty, Port Clinton, Ohio | april2023 | thestoryisthething.substack.com photo

Finally, somewhere out in the frying-pan flatlands of mid-Ohio, I dashed cross-country on what the Google Maps lady assured me was a shortcut homeward. Instead, all forward motion ceased as I encountered one long train, moving v-e-r-y slowly, stretched long-wise across the road ahead like a great, sleepy python. I shot some B-roll for my ‘B-roll of Life Library.’ Then, I flipped the car around and told Google Lady (who I think I will now call ‘Angelina‘) to get me home in some other low-Earth orbit, satellite-determined fashion.

I should note that I launch new, occasional series all the time and then move on to other new, occasional series, forgetting the old new occasional series. So, we will see if this is the first, last, and only ‘DrivebyVideo.’ It all depends on whether Angelina steers me straight, revealing things worth adding to my ‘B-roll of Life Library.’

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Errol+Hess says:

Wonder if Lorraine still has its Easter basket down by the lake. This was our vacation spot in the 50s.

Douglas Imbrogno says:

Very cool to hear. Somewhere in my family’s archives my brothers and sisters and I are posed in front of that lakeside Easter basket!

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