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The Morning After
 
by Brian Baker 06.14.2013
Posted In: LGBT, Life, Commentary, BABIES at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Happy Me Day

The basic, rewarding, maddening and beautiful simplicity in being — and having — a father

I¹ve been celebrating Father's Day for well over 50 years now. In its earliest incarnations, I'm sure gifts and cards were bought on my behalf, but eventually it was time to take the reins and handle the responsibility myself.

For a long stretch, my go-to present for my father was the lastest Bill Cosby record, partly because he truly enjoyed Cosby's work, but mostly because I wanted to hear it, too. Some might look at that as a selfish act, but I prefer to look at it this way; it was something that we were able to bond over, and at least it wasn't an ugly tie he¹d pretend to like and never wear.

My relationship with my father has always been complicated. I'm sure he loved me, although it was many years before he actually voiced the sentiment. The problem was that my mother, who likely would have been the perfect bridge between us, died when I was not quite 4 years old. My father's grief and depression were all-consuming and because he was afraid his emotional state would degrade my own, he left me with my grandparents (my recently deceased mother's parents, which, considering their own overwhelming grief, was an interesting paradigm of its own) and moved 30 miles north, removing himself from everything that would remind him of her.

Thus began our 12-year routine. He would arrive on Saturday afternoon, pick me up, take me back up to his apartment for the night, then we'd hang out until Sunday evening, when he would return me to my grandparents. It never really mattered what we did, I just enjoyed being in his company. He had a sense of humor that ranged from cuttingly dry to wildly inappropriate, largely dependent on the amount of scotch in his system, but he was always good for a laugh. Until he wasn't, of course, but that's another story.

The defining characteristic of our relationship was its short term nature. He was my actual, hands-on father less than two days a week; sometimes our weekend consisted of going to his friends' parties and me hanging out with his friends' kids all night, then watching TV for a good part of Sunday while he nursed the next in a series of monolithic hangovers. But there were lots of movies and restaurants and plays and a couple of girlfriends and a couple of stepmothers and extended families.

Sundays in summer were mostly spent on golf courses as he tried to teach me the game. Sundays in winter were for watching football, sometimes skiing or ice skating. Fun is where you find it and we found it everywhere. My grandparents were of sturdy Methodist stock and involved me in church as much as possible, while my father was a card-carrying hedonist.

When I was 5 or 6, after we'd been doing the weekend trip for some time, my grandmother was concerned that I wasn't attending church on Sundays and asked Dad if he could find a church and start taking me. My father took a long drag on his unfiltered Camel, exhaled slowly and said, "Molly, if he can't find Jesus in five days with you, he's not going to find him in two days with me." That unassailable logic ended the church discussion.

I was maybe 12 or 13 before my father really talked about my mother to me. To this day, he finds it generally impossible. I've asked if I could tape him telling stories about her so that I'll have some concrete memories to draw on, as I don't remember a single thing about her, but it is beyond his capacity to bring it all out. Occasionally, he'll get expansive and let things go, but at this point I only see him twice a year so the information comes in fits and starts.

As long distance relationships go, my father and I had a pretty good one. And as it turned out, it was something of a blueprint for my relationship with my own son. Just before his second birthday, my troubled marriage finally crumbled and my wife informed me one night when she got home from work that she was moving and I was not. She moved into her new apartment with our son, and I moved back in with my grandparents for three weeks before I made the decision to move to Cincinnati to look for work. The relative stupidity of moving from Michigan, the state with the highest unemployment rate, to Ohio, which had the second highest unemployment rate, was not lost on me, but I didn't want to be impossibly far from my son. I wanted to be a presence in his life.

I found work within a couple of months and went home for my son's second birthday in April. I hadn't seen him since January, but I talked to him constantly, at least as much as you can communicate with a toddler on the phone. He was asleep at my grandparents' house when I rolled into town, and I wound up going out with friends that night, coming home at maybe 3 a.m.

When Josh woke up the next morning, my grandmother went to get him while I waited in the living room. She brought him downstairs and sat across the room with him on her lap. He rubbed his eyes and clung to her, looking at me like I was a stranger. She kept saying, "That's your daddy, that's your daddy," and he kept hiding his face in her neck.

I've never been shot in the chest, but I'm fairly certain I know how it feels.

After the longest four minutes of my life, his face slowly lit with recognition, his eyes brightened, he shouted, "Daddy!" and then climbed off my grandmother's lap and launched himself at me. I can still feel that endless, exuberant hug to this day.

The distance between us was 10 times greater than the 30 miles that separated my me and my father, so my trips were once a month, rather than once a week, but they were regular, and we both came to depend on them. I was determined to remain a father figure, not the once a month sugar daddy who shows up for an anything-goes weekend, and that was clearly the right strategy, given our excellent relationship both then and now.

We had a few bumpy patches along the way, including a stretch when he was 8 where he got a bit bored with the weekend trips; although my feelings were slightly bruised, I cut back to every other month for a couple of months until he realized how much he missed our regular time together. We maintained the monthly schedule until he was a teenager, when he started having an actual life with parties and school events and things he needed to work around. By then, I had my own issues; a full time design job, part time writing gigs and my first shot at being an honest-to-God full-time father with the arrival of my daughter, Isabelle.

Josh was absolutely ecstatic about his new sister (he actually snapped at his mother when she correctly but thoughtlessly used the term "half-sister"), and although their time together was fleeting, he was a doting big brother.

In 1998, Josh left to attend Reed College in Portland, Ore.; given his tenuous relationship with his mother, my favorite joke at the time was that he had gotten as far from her as he could without swimming. We talked by phone quite a lot those first few weeks and kept up a regular email exchange as well. It was one of those messages that forced me to question the state of our own relationship.

It was about two months into his first semester. Josh had emailed me with a rather non-descript account of his days — classes, roommates, school environment — but as I scrolled to the bottom of his message, there was this brief sign-off: "Oh, and there's this guy in one of my classes that I¹m interested in, and I think I might be bi."

It wasn't a complete surprise; Josh had two girlfriends in high school, but both were damaged in fairly significant ways (OK, one was batshit crazy), and I had wondered if maybe he was having trouble with his relationship radar. Turns out he was picking from the wrong gender pool, so it made sense.

The timing of his announcement was odd, though; a good friend had just died unexpectedly at the horrifyingly young age of 36, my boss had informed me that I was in danger of losing my position and my wife had mentioned casually that she wasn't sure if she wanted to be married anymore.

Josh's coming out was the best news I'd had all week.

My problem was with the way he chose to tell me. Not in a phone call where we could talk about what he was going through, and not in an email with an appropriately portentious subject line like, "I have something serious to discuss with you." His rather life-altering news was tacked onto a laundry list of activities like a pork barrel project attached to an unrelated bill.

I was a bit skinned that he had resorted to this kind of subterfuge to enlighten me about his sexuality. And then there was the issue of tentatively identifying himself as "bi." I was sure he had used that terminology in an effort to cushion any potential shock with a switch hitter gambit, giving him a fallback position in case I reacted badly. It reminded me of the episode of Friends when Phoebe lost her singing gig at the coffeeshop and wound up playing to kids at a local library. She started off trying to sing children's songs but she ran out of material quickly and started making up songs about life in general, and in typical Phoebe fashion, the songs were brutally honest, relatively inappropriate and, of course, exactly what kids should probably hear.

The one song that I remembered from that episode had some relevance in this situation: "Sometimes men love women. Sometimes men love men, And then there are bisexuals. Though some just say they're kidding themselves."

I didn't respond to Josh's email, partly because I was slightly hurt and partly because I was busy. The weekend after his message, he called and we talked about fairly innocuous subjects for an inordinate amount of time. I waited for him to broach the subject, because I felt as though he should, but he never brought it up.

He finally noted with a sigh that it was getting late and I knew he was ready to wrap up the call without addressing his news, so I decided it was up to me. Being my father's son, I chose the inappropriately direct method (my particular genetic curse is that I rarely require alcohol to be inappropriately direct and lack a distinct filter to avoid it).

"Oh, by the way," I said casually, "I understand you're sucking cock."

There was an extremely long pause and finally Josh said, "So you did get the message."

I gave him a loving earful about our close relationship and the trust and love and responsibility that came with that bond, and gently upbraided him for the rather cloaked method he had chosen to come out to me.

He stammered in complete agreement, saying, "I was afraid of how you would take it."

"Joshua, there are plenty of things in the world to be afraid of and I am not one of them," I said. "I may not agree with the things you do, but I will always love the boy doing them. In this case, this is who you are. It's not a choice you've made, it's a discovery. It's bloody hard to find love in this world, and you've taken a first step toward finding it for yourself. That's fantastic. My only advice to you is the same, straight or gay; be careful. Sex these days can kill you. Wherever you poke it, wrap it up.

"I just had to bury a friend," I continued. "If you make me bury a son, I swear to God I'll dig you up and kill you again."

He laughed a most relieved laugh and that was that. He was out. He pursued a couple of different relationships with guys at Reed which didn't pan out. After two and a half years, he returned to Michigan to enroll in the forensic psychology program at Michigan State, where he met Sean. They've been together for over 10 years now. We love him like a son-in-law because, even though they can't make it official, that is what he is to us.

These memories and God knows how many more come around each Father's Day, a good many including my grandfather, who was as much, if not more, of a father than my own father. I'll get a wonderfully skewed card from my sons and dinner and a card and something sweet from my wife and daughter. I'll send a funny card and a golf-related book to my dad and call him on Sunday, just before I get a call myself.

Life may be complicated sometimes, and God knows the complexities of family relationships can be like putting together a jigsaw puzzle of the White Album cover, and yet there's a fairly basic — and rewarding and maddening and beautiful — simplicity in being a father and having a father.

 
 
by Brandon Barb 03.27.2012
Posted In: Commentary, Culture, Life, Travel at 02:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Tales From the Airport: What Travelers Don't See

A former baggage handler's account of the job

The Cincinnati airport is located in another state — I’ll let you decide on how backwards that makes the city. The Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, CVG, was a major hub for Delta Airlines but in the last few years the number of daily flights and employees has dropped. In 2009 the airport laid off close to 900 employees, and I was one of them. I was a baggage handler for two years, and boy do I have some stories which will be gotten to a little later. But first, there is some good news for CVG.

On March 15, DHL announced that $47 million would be invested in a new facility at its CVG hub. This new sorting facility will help meet international customer demands and add close to 300 jobs over the next 12 months. The date given for the facility to be operational is Nov. 2012.

DHL has been thriving compared to the downward spiral that is Delta. DHL has gone from 1,600 jobs to 2,000 in the span of three years and has invested around $105 million in the Cincinnati location since it was established in 2009. Not everything that happens at CVG is bad.

During my two years as a baggage handler I experienced a little bit of everything. From holding on to the wing of a plane to keep in from tipping during a wind storm, to seeing a drunk little person getting taken off a plane in handcuffs, to destroying a few bags. There is more to an airport than what passengers see in the concourses. Have you ever wondered where that guy in the orange vest was going when he disappeared behind a door? Ever thought about how your bag was being handled? Well, hopefully with a few of these stories those questions and more can be answered.

The Weird

During my time as a baggage handler, I saw some incredible things. At the same time, there were weird events that took place. These would occur like lightning; they happened quickly and would never strike the same place twice.

One of those events is about a worker stealing. He wasn’t stealing from the company, but stealing from passengers’ bags, more specifically, female passengers’ bags. As baggage handlers, we would load the bags up into the cargo bins of aircraft. These bins were only big enough for one person, and at times that one person would be in the bin for extended periods of time. Normal workers would write random sayings on the bin walls, or play a game on their phone, but this guy did something different.

When he was up in the cargo bin, he would go through the bags until he found women’s panties — clean or dirty. To show the high caliber of intelligence some of the people at the airport had, he kept all the underwear in his locker at work. There was no attempt to hide anything in his car or house; the underwear was in a bag in the break room. I’m not one to call someone stupid, but he deserves it for this one.

Did he get caught? Hell yes, he got caught. When our supervisors went through his locker, sure enough, there was the underwear. His explanation of it is comical on its own. “It’s for my girlfriend.” His girlfriend, if he had one, fluctuated in weight a lot because the underwear was different sizes. This doesn’t reflect on every baggage handler but it shows there are some strange people touching your bags.

The Disgusting

The job of a baggage handler is a dirty one. I came in contact with bags full of unwashed clothes, shook hands with people who don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom and cleaned out the restrooms. Ever wondered who cleans out the lavatory on an aircraft? Well, at CVG, that job falls to the baggage handlers. This task is worthy enough for Mike Rowe and then some.

When an aircraft needed to have its bathroom dumped, a handler would drive up next to the plane in the "lav cart." Imagine a blue electric cart that has never been washed, excrement has been spilled on it, it has a tank full of shit and the sun has been cooking its contents all day. I felt like I should have been wearing a Hazmat suit whenever I was around the damn thing. It made me throw up a little every time I was in the driver’s seat.

When a baggage handler dumps a lav, he or she drives the cart up to the aircraft, hooks up the foulest smelling hose to the aircraft and pulls a lever. What comes out, I’ll leave for the imagination. Once all the lovely contents are inside the cart, the “blue juice” is added, which is the liquid solution that you see when flushing an aircraft toilet.

Some handlers would dump a lav, not wash their hands and then go straight to loading bags. A person fresh from coming in close contact with human goodness would go right on touching, quite possibly, your possessions.

The Embarrassing

In the movie Fight Club the narrator tells of a policy about holding a passenger’s bag if it is vibrating. At CVG I never once saw a bag being taken because it was vibrating. What we did do was either slam the bag on the ground in hopes of shutting off the razor or toothbrush — not the smartest idea if it really was an explosive. Another way we handled a vibrating bag was to call the passenger down to the ramp where we would proceed to open it to find the cause of the vibration. If you have seen Fight Club you know what is coming next. Sometimes the bag would belong to a female passenger. When her bag would be opened a certain product would be rattling around on the inside. That happened to me once and while the passenger was red-faced, I had to walk away before I began to laugh in her face. Movies can teach you something every now and then.

There is a side to an airport that most people don’t know about. Sure, there are those zoo-like windows in the concourses that allow passengers to see outside, but that is just a glimpse. Does everyone want to know about what goes on behind those doors? Probably not. I’m not trying to scare people away from flying. In a way, an airport is similar to a restaurant. Taken at face value everything is great and everyone has a smile on their face, but behind closed doors disgusting, depraved and weird things are going on.

 
 
by Kelsey Kennedy 02.12.2014
Posted In: Commentary, Culture at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (11)
 
 
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How to Become a Cincinnatian, for Non-Natives

They say you move to Cincinnati and put on a pair of goggles — the longer you stay, the harder it is to take them off. And why would you want to? I’ve lived here for five years and still manage to fall deeper in love with this city every day. For all you newcomers, here are some necessary guidelines for your initiation into the greatest city in the Midwest.

1. Pick a chili, not a side. The East side/West side rivalry is deeply rooted in competitive turf wars and stubborn rationalizations. When brought up in conversation, it’s usually best to remain indifferent and let your eyes glaze over until the fighting stops.

2. Become a regular at (at least) one bar in Over-the-Rhine. Find your favorite bartender at Neon’s and dance to the ‘8os music at Japp’s on a Saturday night. Discover new music at MOTR or wind down with some jazz at 1215 Wine Bar.

3. Understand that high schools — and the culture surrounding them — are really important here. “Are you from around here?” is almost always followed by, “So what high school did you go to?” Cincinnatians stick to their alma maters like glitter on glue, and everyone has a reputation.

4. See The Cincy Brass play at Mr. Pitiful’s before you die (or move). Request the song “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool. Gyrate on everyone.

5. Get to know Kentucky. Bounce around the Levee and Mainstrasse. End your night with a cheesy goetta omelet at the Anchor Grill. Trust me on this one.

6. Cincinnati has the second largest Oktoberfest in the world (The WORLD!) second only to Munich. Dress like a German, drink like a German, eat like a German.

7. Develop a severe case of road rage while driving on I-75. Perfect the ability to stare someone down after cutting you off.

8. Vote. Get involved with this city’s politics. Picket City Hall or write a letter to an editor. Cincinnati had a record-breaking low voter turnout in the 2013 mayoral election — make your voice heard.

9. Give back to your neighborhood. Volunteer at the Freestore Foodbank or tutor kids at Wordplay Cincy. Teach an art class or buy someone an umbrella on a rainy day. Start a collaborative effort to make this city the best it can be.

10. Master the Metro and make friends with the drivers. Sit up front and strike up a conversation with a stranger. Try not to fall when the metro slides down one of Cincinnati’s many 90-degree angles.

11. Appreciate Cincinnati sports. Tailgate at a Bengal’s game, cheer on the Cyclones and pledge your allegiance to Brandon Phillips’ smile.

12. EAT ALL THE GOETTA. And LaRosa’s. And Graeter’s. Now start training for the Flying Pig.

13. Find your favorite city park with your favorite view of the skyline against Kentucky. Feel safe tucked away in the hills. Ponder about the meaning of life.

14. Roll your windows down and go 10 miles over the speed limit on the Roebling Bridge. Listen to the whirring sound. Just do it.

15. Develop a deep love for all things Cincinnati and defend your city when people talk shit. Recognize that you are a part of something larger than yourself — that Cincinnati isn’t just the Queen City — it’s a community and a network and a lineage of diverse Midwesterners who all contribute to making this place a force to be reckoned with.

Oh, and read CityBeat.

 
 
by 01.15.2015
Posted In: Commentary at 10:38 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

Good late morning readers! Let's jump right into Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (But first, you know I have to say it: Pick up a copy! We feature Cincinnati's Best New Bands of 2015. It's a great way to discover new groups and pretend that you're hip.)

Alright, best word of the issue is zeitgeist, found in Reyan Ali's piece on Motion City Soundtrack. It's a word that reminds me of Rhinegeist brewery, in Over-the-Rhine.

zeitgeist: the spirit of the time; the taste and outlook characteristic of a period or generation (n.)

OH MAN, connection.  Rhinegeist: probably derived from the word zeitgeist. According to the Rhinegeist webpage, the name translates to "ghost of the Rhine". (So THAT'S why their logo is a skull.)  I've never understood the meaning of their funky name or logo until now.

I'm really not with it, am I.

In this issue: "It’s a short but telling story that isn’t so much a criticism of Motion City as it is a reflection on contemporary culture — lives have been lived, fans have moved on from onetime passions (or at least not kept up their sites) and certain scenes don’t stimulate the zeitgeist as they once did."

Moving on. Next best word is shoehorning, found in Sound Advice. (It's always the music writers, isn't it?) OK, this may be an obvious word, but honestly, I've never heard of it.

shoehorn: to force or squeeze into a narrow space (v.); an implement of metal, horn, plastic, etc. with a troughlike blade, inserted at the back of a shoe to aid in slipping the heel in (n.)

In this issue, used as a verb: "Adam Schatz and his merry band of Rock provocateurs kick up a sonic maelstrom that operates under the broad umbrella of Art Rock, with subtle hints of Afrobeat, Funk, Jazz, Reggae, Doo Wop, New Wave and anything else the musicians feel like shoehorning into the proceedings as long as it effectively serves the song at hand."

I've never used a shorhorn to put on shoes in my life. If you've gotten to that point, put the shoes down. They're too uncomfortable.

Last word is amalgam, found in Brian Baker's piece on Punk/Pop trio Leggy. It's a word I probably learned many moons ago, in a high school chemistry class, but have since forgotten.

amlgam: a combination or mixture; blend; any alloy of mercury with another metal or other metals: silver amalgam is used as a dental filling (n.)

In this issue: "Leggy’s sound — as evidenced in its live presentation, on Cavity Castle, its digital/physical cassette release, and on its latest digital track, “Grrls Like Us” — is an amalgam of Allaer’s seminal love of the Vines’/Strokes’ simple power chord/garage reverb equation, Bladh and Allaer’s early affection for Joanna Newsom’s Avant Psych Folk and their mutual love of Lana Del Rey and St. Vincent." 

Whew. If you're like me and know nothing about local music (or, just, music in general), that sentence makes little to no sense.

Enjoy the weekend, readers!












 
 
by Samantha Gellin 02.13.2015
Posted In: Commentary at 11:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the Feb. 11 issue of CityBeat

Good morning readers! I'm a day late, but let's review the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue — which, by the way, has to be one of my favorites to date. It's The Beer Issue, if you haven't already noticed, and we did so much reporting on local beer and Beer Week festivities that we created an entirely new webpage for it. It's a great place to start if you're looking for a calendar of events, want to learn more about Cincinnati's rich brewing history or what today's local breweries are all about. 

But let's get started. Two high-brow words that caught my eye are in Steven Rosen's piece on the Cincinnati Art Museum's forgotten Japanese art collection. The first is cloisonné, a French word pronounced KLOIS-ZE-NAY. (I found the actual phonetic spelling of it, kli-zə-ˈnā, a bit confusing.)

cloisonné: of, relating to, or being a style of enamel decoration in which the enamel is applied and fired in raised cells (as of soldered wires) on a usually metal background (n.)

Here's an example of a beauteous Chinese cloisonné incense burner, via the Google:

In the issue: "Those objects include paintings, screens, prints, ceramics, lacquer and metal wares, ivory carvings, arms and armor, cloisonné, dolls, masks, costumes and textiles."

The next word is accessioned. It looks like a word I ought to know, like an SAT word, but nope.

accession: to record the addition of (a new item) to a library, museum, or other collection (v.)

In this issue: “I didn’t even know we had a Japanese art collection because most of it had never been published or displayed or organized, and some were not even accessioned,” she says.

Tippling, another obscure word, is found in Garin Pirnia's piece on lesser-known taprooms and breweries that are brand-spanking new or slated to open in the Tristate area in the next few months.

tipple: to drink (alcoholic liquor) or engage in such drinking, especially habitually or to excess (v.)

What a great word. I should start using that all of the time and really confuse people. "Hey! I'm out tippling!"

In this issue: "Needless to say, now would not be a good time to curtail your tippling."  

Moving on. Perhaps my favorite word of the entire issue is found in Worst Week Everhoosegow. It's bizarre and antiquated and contains no hint whatsoever of its meaning.

hoosegow: slang for jail (n.) 

Fun fact: According to thefreedictionary.com, the term was born from a mixture of Spanish and English spoken in the Western part of the United States at the beginning of the 20th century. In other words, it's Old West slang. 

It comes from the Spanish word juzgado, meaning "court of justice, tribunal." If that's confusing, here's an explanation:

"In many varieties of Spanish, the ending ado is usually pronounced as ao in everybody speech, with no d at all or only a very lightly articulated one. The spelling hoosegow thus is a pretty good representation of the American Spanish pronunciation of the word juzgado as it might sound to the ears of an English-speaking American, even though hoosegow looks nothing like the actual written form of juzgado."

In this issue: "Remus’s life story is a fascinating and complicated one, which culminated in him killing his wife in Eden Park for betraying him while he was in the hoosegow."

Have a great weekend, readers!

 
 
by Amber Hemmerle 03.07.2014
Posted In: Commentary, Culture at 02:07 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Trending Topics

Cincinnati's most buzzworthy tweets of the week

Each week our intern Amber will be exploring what Cincinnatians are interested in by scouring the local Twitter trends and reporting on what she’s found. From serious tweets to goofy hashtags, she’ll highlight what Cincy’s been buzzing about. So get to tweeting, folks.

#RAW
This is a wrestling reference hashtag. I’m sorry, but how was this trending and not Bates Motel? I am ashamed of you, Cincinnati. I know they are both scripted, but at least Bates has good acting and an awesome plot. FYI: Norma Bates did start trending though, thank god. In this week’s episode, Norman visits Ms. Watson’s grave way too much, Norma makes a scene at a city hall meeting and Bradley blasts some guy’s head off and ends up in Norman’s bedroom asking for his help. Poor Norman, surrounded by all these crazy bitches. All you WWE fans better get hip to Bates Motel.

Xavier
Muskie fans were blowing up their newsfeeds expressing their frustration after Monday night’s game when they lost to Seton Hall 71-62. Monday’s upset left many fans complaining about wasting their last Hopslam and chugging too much wine. On top of all the frustration, Matt Stainbrook went down with a knee injury and left the locker room on crutches. Better luck next year? Maybe.

#PLL
I actually watched some of this show, Pretty Little Liars, for once. Awkward used to be my Tuesday night show (don’t judge me), but since Jenna and the crew are AWOL until next season, I figured I’d give this show a shot since I was apparently the only female in Cincy not watching it. I am a few seasons behind, so I don’t really get all the drama and who I should love/hate yet, but not a bad show from what I’ve seen so far. The season finale is Tuesday, March 18 at 8 p.m. on ABC Family.

#19HSHysteria
If this just isn’t confirmation that Cincinnatians are obsessed with their alma maters, then I don’t know what else is. Fox 19 set up a March Madness style bracket of all the high schools in the area and launched a Twitter competition. I’m reppin’ the Newport Wildcats, who already lost in the first round to Simon Kenton. Voting for the North bracket is going on now until midnight tonight.

Ukraine
I saved this one for last for a reason. Ukraine was trending all week. I haven’t been keeping this blog for very long, but nothing has ever stayed trending for an entire week before, as long as I’ve been keeping track. I also saved it for last because honestly, I don’t know what to say about the crisis in Ukraine. I guess it’s good that people are taking to social media for such a serious matter, but most of the people tweeting about it seem more clueless than me. I do know that most Americans want our government to mind their own damn business and do something about those crazy fucking Russians.

Also trending: Oscars, World Cup, #LiesToldByFemales, WCW (can this one just die already,) Taco Bell, #Scandal and The Lakers.

 
 
by Jac Kern 04.30.2012
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, The Worst, Movies, Fun, Comedy, Commentary at 12:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's favorite recent pop culture and Internet findings

The White House Correspondents’ Dinner was Saturday, and while CityBeat’s invitation must have gotten lost in the mail, the event brought journalists, celebrities and famewhores from across the country to Washington, D.C. What began in the 1920s as an opportunity to recognize journalists is now more of a “Washington goes Hollywood” event, usually hosted by comedians and attended by celebs who have little (if anything) to do with politics or reporting. Although the event gets criticism for becoming a schmooze-fest, I’m a fan of what has become a Washington roast, where politicians stop taking themselves too seriously, at least for one night.

President Obama kicked off the night with a dig at his recent “hot mic” incident, and continued by poking fun at other politicians, odd celebrity guests and other current events.



The evening was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, who took the stage like a true equal opportunity offender:



Speaking of diminishing journalistic integrity, how ‘bout the rise and (immediate) fall Gawker’s Fox News mole? Earlier this month, Gawker announced a new column by a Fox News employee, who was prepared to share the deepest, darkest secrets from everyone’s favorite conservative channel — or something. Two days later, the “mole” (revealed as O’Reilly Factor associate producer Joe Muto) was found out by the network and subsequently fired. So that’s the end of that, right? Not quite. Muto was served with a search warrant early Wednesday morning. New York’s District Attorney’s office seized Muto’s laptop, cell phone and some notebooks as part of an open investigation. Fox News is accusing Muto of conspiracy and grand larceny, according to this warrant. The best/worst part of the whole debacle is that Muto only managed four Gawker posts, which included juicy Fox dirt like a photo of a bathroom Bill O’Reilly uses and a clip of Mitt Romney talking about his horses to Sean Hannity. Yawn. UPDATE: Muto apparently grew up in Cincinnati. Represent!

From Pizza Hut’s new pies with cheeseburgers instead of crusts to the Heart Attack Grill living up to its name, junk food on ‘roids is all the rage right now! Las Vegas’ Heart Attack Grill is known for its over-the-top diner grub, including a “Quadruple Bypass Burger,” so should anyone be surprised that eating there could potentially be harmful to one’s health? For the second time this year, a guest collapsed at the restaurant, which boasts the Guinness World Record for highest calorie hamburger (9,983 — about five times the calories recommended for one day). People go to Vegas for the thrill of a gamble — the Heart Attack Grill just offers a unique spin!

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, Pizza Hut is finally solving that boring pizza crust problem (what are we supposed to do — just eat plain dough?!) by swapping it for cheeseburgers and chicken sliders. This came just weeks after we were introduced to The Hut’s hot dog-stuffed crust, which is now available in the U.K. The most shocking part about these pizza monstrosities? They aren’t served in the States (yet)! Are we becoming a healthier nation or is our fatness just rubbing off on other countries?

In movie news, a 2007 viral comedy short is now becoming a star-studded smorgasbord. Jay and Seth vs. The Apocalypse starred Jay Baruchel and Seth Rogan as friends confined to an apartment during the end of the world. Filmed in just four days immediately following production on Knocked Up, the short is only available as a trailer on YouTube:



After the success of Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and other Rogen comedies, the crew is remaking the short into a feature film, currently titled The End of The World. In the film, James Franco (playing himself) hosts a party at his apartment when the world begins…to end. Party-goers will include Jonah Hill, Danny McBride and Aziz Ansari, in addition to Rogen and Baruchel. It’s an Apatowpocalypse!

While these dudes are taking something scary (the apocalypse) and turning it into something funny, this bitch is turning something from my youth (dolls) into the stuff of nightmares. Meet Valeria Lukyanov, “human” Barbie!


Also, this Craigslist ad:


 
 
by Jac Kern 10.10.2012
Posted In: Movies, Music, TV/Celebrity, The Worst, Commentary at 11:15 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

Even the most plugged-in, pop culture-obsessed Facebook addicts miss out on Internet crazes every once in a while; thus, Koren performer Psy’s viral music video for “Gangnam Style” somehow escaped me. I’d seen the term mentioned on blogs and even watched a (ridiculously high quality) wedding video based on confusing sensation before I was able to find a reference the original video. (Isn’t it funny how that happens?) I found myself Googling “What the hell is Gangnam Style?!” not knowing if it was a dance craze or song or fashion trend. The song actually mocks the lifestyle of rich residents of the Seoul suburb, though most attention surrounds Psy, a middle aged man singing angrily whilst doing a PG version of “the pony.” I guess some of the humor is lost on me because I’m secretly bitter I didn’t discover it early on.

Gangnam’s latest incarnation? Mitt Romney Style!

Who’s down for a rousing game of “Steak House or Gay Bar?

Twitter poet and Kardashian-humper Kanye West stripped us all of our daily affirmation source by deleting all of his previous tweets last week. He has since returned to Twitter, but just to mourn the one-year since Steve Jobs’ death. Riveting stuff.

Vomiting onstage is the new black. Lately, high-profile performers across the globe have proverbially sniffed the milk carton, shrugged and took a sip anyway, all ending up tossing their cookies on stage. Now, if you’re like music editor Mike Breen, watching people experience a retaliating digestive system is disturbing and you'd rather not see that shit. Otherwise, here’s Lady Gaga and Justin Beiber barfing at their recent respective gigs. Thank goodness for HuffPo, who compiled a gallery of “Stars Who’ve Puked During Concerts.”

When Heidi Klum and Seal broke up, I was crushed (mostly because it meant no I’d really never be invited to one of their epic Halloween parties or themed vow renewals). When Amy Poehler and Will Arnett split, I was angry and confused. (Can’t they just laugh it off?!) Well, now I know there’s no such thing as love because after more than 30 years together, Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman have separated. Maybe people grow apart after decades together. Perhaps DeVito’s role as Frank on Always Sunny began rubbing off on him. I don’t care — Matilda’s parents were supposed to stay together forever.


Thankfully, Amber Tamblyn and David Cross got hitched this week, giving us all a final shred of hope for humanity. Check out Questlove’s Instagram (the coolest way to peep wedding pics, ever) for photos of the Esty-fied Tommy Hilfiger ad starring Joan of Arcadia and Tobias Fünke.

 
 
by 01.08.2015
Posted In: Commentary at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
from the copy editor

From the Copy Desk

In case you need a dictionary with the Jan. 7 issue of CityBeat

Afternoon, readers!

So, there weren't many Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. Our writers must not have been feeling so pretentious. Honestly, I found two, and one word was defined by the author IN the article. But it's just too great of a word to pass up in, so I'm going to expand upon it a bit in our vocab lesson.

Flibbertigibbet. Yes, this is a real word; it even has its own Wikipedia page. It's found in the headline and in the text of this week's Spill It.

flibbertigibbet (pronounced flibber-TEE-gibbit): a silly, scatterbrained, or garrulous person (n.)

It's a Middle English word, meaning it's from the dialect of the Middle Ages, the 12th to 15th century. Today it's mostly used as a slang term in Yorkshire. (The English use all sorts of fabulous words, don't they?)

Fun flibbertigibbet facts, according to the Google: The word has also been historically used as a name for a devil, spirit or fiend. In the book Charlotte's Web, the Goose says, "I am no Flibberty-ibberty-gibbet." Flibbertigibbet is also is the password used in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban to access Gryffindor's dormitory.

In this issue: "Late last year, veteran multi-instrumentalist/singer/songwriter Chris Arduser released the latest addition to his stellar discography, a new solo album titled Flibbertigibbet (yes, it’s a real word, meaning 'a flighty or excessively talkative person')."

OK, the next and last word on my list is churlish. Again, this is a word I see a lot, but I don't actually know what it means. It's found in TT Stern-Enzi's piece: "The Future Is Now: A Sneak Peek at the Year".

churlish: a rude, selfish or mean person (n.); boorish or vulgar (adj.)

In this issue: "It would be churlish to focus on their misfires (Van Sant’s shot-for-shot remake of Hitchcock’s Psycho and Malick’s far-too-interior fever dream To the Wonder), even when such efforts, while frustrating, prove to be more inspired and riskier bets than the working hacks could ever imagine in a thousand years with all the riches of the world at their disposal."

That's all I've got, readers. Try and stay warm this weekend (although when it's 0 degrees out, literally ZERO, this may be futile).

 
 
by Jac Kern 01.31.2013
Posted In: TV/Celebrity, Humor, Fun, Music, Movies, Comedy, Commentary at 02:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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I Just Can't Get Enough

Jac's roundup of pop culture news and Internet findings

The Screen Actors Guild Awards were Sunday and I didn’t watch that low-budge mess, but here are the winners if you care. America’s girl crush, Jennifer Lawrence, nabbed an SAGy (?) for her role in Silver Linings Playbook (I know I’m late on this, but that movie is just great. Go see it.) After a non-wardrobe malfunction, JLaw accepted by citing the first job that got her the ubiquitous SAG card: an MTV My Super Sweet 16 promo.

Via Dlisted:


Local drag queen Penny Tration (government name: Tony Cody) was selected to be on the fifth season of RuPaul’s Drag Race via a Facebook fan vote. The season premiered Monday on Logo and, sadly, our girl was the first to sashay away. Now, call me biased (because I am), but Penny deserved at least another week. Having spent time in The SweatShoppe, Penny’s HQ and studio, I know she’s one of the hardest working queens in the biz. She makes her own clothing and wigs, does some outstanding makeup work and looked more like a real curvalicious lady than Serena ChaCha, the other queen up for elimination this week. When the two were instructed to lip sync for their lives, it was clear Ms. ChaCha was the winner (damn her splits!). Unfortunately, Penny did not know the lyrics to “Party in the USA,” so I think we can all just blame Miley for this tragedy. Penny, we still love ya! Keep doing yo thang.

Adrian Grenier (Vincent Chase to most but forever the Drive Me Crazy dude to me) tweeted big news for Entourage fans this week: the movie spinoff has been greenlit! Mind you, Entourage may follow in its sister Sex and the City’s footsteps by glossing over anything cool about the series and pooping out a 2-hour douchey bromance, but fans will certainly still flock to theaters to check it out.

Adapting TV shows for the big screen is nothing new — just look at Star Trek. In Entourage’s case, a successful show on HBO for eight seasons, a movie will provide one last chance for fans to see Vince and his buddies...and one last chance to squeeze any last profitability from the series. But what about adapting shows that weren’t necessarily successful on TV in the long term? Party Down was an excellent Starz comedy from 2009-2010. Adam Scott, Lizzy Caplan, Ken Marino and a bunch of other hilarious familiar faces from TV comedy portrayed a crew of kooky caterers, each episode following them to a different catered event. It got a lot of late-in-show life love from Netflix viewers (because who watches Starz?!) but was cancelled after two seasons. Ever since, there have been hopes and rumors of a film version from fans and cast members alike. While the crossover is still unconfirmed, here’s an awesome faux trailer, made from clips from the series, with a horror twist:

And because everyone loves Mrs. Doubtfire, check out a creepily realistic look at what the family film would look like if it had taken a dark turn.

If you’re like most theater kids or women between the ages of 10 and 110, then you can quote Mean Girls and Les Mis like a champ and you will love this.

Tonight is a night that myself and Lizbeans everywhere have been dreading for some time — the series finale of 30 Rock. You can read my full eulogy here, but I have to say while I’m happy the show is going out while it’s still good (Tina Fey and Alec Bladwin both snagged aforementioned SAG awards for their performances in the show), I’m really going to miss my weekly dose of Ms. Bossypants. From the beginning, 30 Rock has been a writer’s comedy and I will cherish every quote that has been ingrained in my brain over the past seven seasons (ex. "Live every week like it's Shark Week." - Tracy Jordan). On this momentous evening, I leave you with these life lessons from Liz Lemon.

My feelings are best described by this Claire Danes supercut:

 
 

 

 

 
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