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Jan. 12-18: Worst Week Ever!

By Danny Cross · January 19th, 2011 · Worst Week Ever!


Many Cincinnatians were excited to learn last week that The Enquirer hired a new executive editor, hoping that future coverage might shy away from hilarious arrest stories and toward thoughtful investigation of social issues and government abuse (or maybe the new editor notices a talented young writer for the local alt-weekly who would be a great, highly paid feature reporter). Unfortunately it isn't meant to be, as new editor Carolyn Washburn's opening column today demonstrated no such plans, only a cheerful disposition and pride for getting her parents' names in the paper. Washburn, who has experience making business reporters get their work fact-checked by local businesses worked for Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan in Idaho, also wrote that The Banks development has a lot of potential and that streetcar supporters are cute for thinking it will actually get built.


Most people familiar with the southeastern quadrant of downtown Cincinnati know it to be a great place to go for a leisurely walk along the river next to a wall shaped like a snake (except on a windy day; too annoying). A development group also sees promise in the area and would like to create a new mixed-use neighborhood around Lytle Park, except for another annoyance: a shelter for formerly homeless, low-income women. Representatives for Eagle Realty Group say the Anna Louise Inn is an ideal place to build high-end condos and suggested the organization help people from a new, less dynamic location on Gilbert Avenue. A spokesman for the Inn says it has refused Eagle's most recent offers for the property and warned that if it tries to force them out they'll launch new programs to help whichever type of addicts new urbanites are most afraid of.


You know how sometimes you're finishing off a bottle of gin and it seems like it didn't last as long as usual, but there was no existential crisis that week to explain an increase in consumption? According to USA Today, such situations could be arising all across America, but instead of drunken rants about roommates, guests and the goddam government there's a reasonable explanation: the quantity of product you purchased was smaller than usual.

Rising commodity prices are forcing the makers of such indispensable products as salty snacks, mayonnaise and paper towels to reduce the size of their offerings while keeping the price the same. New products guru Lynn Dornblaser found in a recent survey of 100 products that about 10 percent had shrunk in content, but said people who don't notice smaller packages largely don't care or they'd purchase the store brand that's already cheaper.


It's not often that Enquirer reporters get to really surround a story of government conspiracy, use their unidentified sources and break a story with significant relevance to the community (momslikeme.com is cool though). The newsroom last week received a jolt of inspiration when word spread of Mayor Mark Mallory's secret participation in CBS's reality TV show Undercover Boss. The resultant investigation uncovered instances of Mallory being followed by a camera crew, thick black paper covering the council chamber doors and an attempt by TV producers to make council aides sign confidentiality agreements. One aide, who refused to be identified due to fear of backlash by reality show fans/his boss Jeff Berding, said he saw one scene that involved Mallory wearing a Bengals uniform and actually playing in the game against the San Diego Chargers.


We at WWE! have never found beauty pageants to be all that interesting — who wants to watch a bunch of models talk about changing the world when you can see real people eating donkey balls on three stations at any given time? Such competition didn't stop the Miss America pageant from crowning a winner for the 90th straight year, this time choosing the youngest contestant in the field: 17-year-old Teresa Scanlan of Nebraska. Scanlan, who it was noted does not have a boyfriend (hear that, high school seniors?), said she feared the judges would think the job was too big for her but was confident the swimsuit competition would make them forget she's still a minor.


Most people agree that times are tough these days. That's why a Kentucky state representative believes that now is a good time to make getting government aid more difficult for poor people (why should they have it easier than the rest of us?). A new bill filed today by Rep. Lonnie Napier (R-Hazzard County) would require anyone receiving food stamps or Medicaid to participate in random drug testing, with the opportunity to get the aid back by passing a drug test at a later date for those who avoid starvation. Napier said once the bill ends poverty in the state he's going to use the leftover welfare money to catch those doggone Duke boys once and for all. 


A new Forbes list of America's most affordable cities listed Cincinnati No. 5 out of the nation's 50 largest metropolitan areas, citing the area's many real-estate deals available at low price points. The report noted that Cincinnati's wide disparity in income-to-living costs could potentially be broken into two metropolitan areas: the East Side, which would qualify as entirely unaffordable, and the rest of Cincinnati, which would rank alongside Detroit in real-estate value and chances of short-term gain. 

FOR LESS INFORMATION: dcross@citybeat.com



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