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by Mike Breen 08.07.2013
Posted In: Comedy, Is this for real?, Fun, Life, Cinfolk at 03:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
buzzfeed

Epitomizing Cincinnati?

BuzzFeed and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's recent attempts to encapsulate Cincinnati get clever responses

Cincinnatians don't like their city to be pigeonholed. At least not in a manner they perceive to be off target.That's so Cincinnati.

BuzzFeed's "BuzzFeed Community" site helps the list-empire target specific cities and regions, resulting in one of the more shared links of the week, at least locally — "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati."

At first, many seemed to celebrate more attention for our fair city. Then they read the list. It has proven to be far more controversial than BuzzFeed's "11 Cincinnati Foods That Are Better Than Yours" from earlier this year, likely because that list actually reflected contemporary Cincinnati. As far as I know, all those "Cincinnati foods" still exist.

It was clear to many that the "community contributor" who wrote the piece either hadn't been to Cincinnati for a while or was simply parroting one of the Enquirer's old "Cincinnati is so crazy and distinct — we say 'Pop' and 'Please' " articles from the past.

As commenters immediately pointed out, BuzzFeed's list was great … for anyone taking a time machine back to Cincinnati circa 2001 or earlier. While the list was mildly accurate, it reinforced some old stereotypes, like "You will die if you step foot in Over-the-Rhine" and how we can't shut up about George Clooney's Cincinnati roots (he's not from Cincinnati, he's from Kentucky). Elsewhere, items like "You hung in there with Reds’ pitcher 'Cool Hand Leake' even after he was booked for shoplifting" suggest the writer found an old sports page from 2011. That was hardly a big deal when it happened; I would wager most but the die-hardest of Reds fans have forgotten it even occurred. And things like Cincinnatians saying "Please" instead of "What did you say?" or calling Coke and Pepsi "pop" are local quirks that seem to be dying a little more with each more-widely-connected-to-the-world generation.

But what does it matter what Cincinnatians think? BuzzFeed got their big hits surge from Cincy residents and ex-pats. All for something that appeared to take about 10 minutes to put together. "List bait" works.

Yesterday, the folks at the site Cincy Whimsy responded with an "answer list" (oh, if only rap feuds were solved this way). Their "31 Ways to Tell You're From Cincinnati List: An Improved Version" list rang a lot more true to a lot people. The first item set the tone, calling out BuzzFeed for not correctly spelling Servatii and Procter & Gamble. Check it out here.

Last week, the local web buzz was all about the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber's "hip" ad for "Cincinnati USA," featuring a dude in capri pants and sandals talking about how Cincinnatians "do what we love." Unlike people from Pittsburgh, who strictly do things that they hate?

The video was also widely shared and, though well-intentioned, widely mocked.



Enter local comedienne Kristen Lundberg (aka Mammyspanx), whose equally-giddy response video is pretty pitch perfect.

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 02.28.2013
Posted In: Cinfolk , Culture, Fun, Interviews at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
silhouettes of people

Cinfolk: Sara Bornick

In “Cinfolk,” I ask interesting Cincinnati people doing interesting Cincinnati things questions I’d never get to ask for a traditional news story; the more interviews I do as a writer, the more I find myself daydreaming about what makes these people tick, aside from what I'd usually get to share in a traditional news story. For the inaugural Cinfolk blog featuring German Lopez, click here.
 

If you don't have cabin fever by this time of the year, you probably moved here from Siberia, the Arctic Tundra or  Wisconsin, in which case you're used to mind- and body-numbing misery and cold weather year-round. We're glad you escaped. For the rest of us, it's getting really old coming into work with frozen strands of hair, never having a good reason to drink a margarita, wear a sundress, roll down the windows or eat a popsicle. That's about all I'm thinking about these days, in fact, which is why I got in touch with Sara Bornick, founder and owner of streetpops, freelance graphic designer and proud owner of her very own EasyBake oven.
 
Anyone who's ever been lucky enough to have their teeth stained or a shirt dribbled on by one of Sara Bornick's gourmet, quirky and preservative-free ice pops understands that the transition from winter to spring just can't be complete until every Cincinnatian has the chance to buy the daintily packaged treats from her modest, funky little retro streetpops storefront in Over-the-Rhine.


According to Bornick, who’s been busy preparing for a new streetpops season, she and her cart-
toting team will be selling pops again on Final Friday, March 29. Look out for new pop flavors (like cookies and cream, butter pecan and maybe a chocolate olive oil pop crafted from imported Italian olive oil).


Hannah Mc
Cartney: What was your favorite toy when you were a little kid?

Sara Bornick:
For years I asked for an Easy-Bake oven, but never actually got one ... until I was about 25, as a joke. I was really into LEGOs as a kid, and anything outdoors.

H
M: Dog person or cat person? Why?
SB: Dog! Especially my Boston Terrier, Parker (aka Parker Pantalones).

HM: Did you have a nickname when you were a kid/in college/now? What was its significance?
SB: When I was a kid I was nicknamed "Bugs" because I had to have a lot of teeth pulled before I had braces on, so for a good year or so I only had my two front teeth.

HM: Have you ever met a celebrity? If not, who would you want to meet?
SB: I met chef-celebrity Richard Blais when he was in town on the Top Chef tour. It was right before we launched streetpops in 2011. We talked about a pop place in Atlanta that he loves
and using liquid nitrogen to make pops.

HM: Tell me one guilty pleasure artist on your music player.
SB:
Eighties hair bands/rock ballads — Def Leppard, Guns N' Roses.


 
 
by Hannah McCartney 02.21.2013
Posted In: Cinfolk , Interviews, Culture at 12:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
silhouettes of people

Cinfolk: German Lopez

When journalists interview people, it's more often than not about something very specific. When we interview the governor, his press person would definitely give us a dirty look if we threw in questions like, "What's your favorite '90s boy band?" or, "Did OJ do it?" We're there to discuss something specific, and straying too far outside that topic is viewed as either a waste of the interviewee's time or an invasion of privacy.

The reality is that there are more facets to the people we interview than we'll ever know. What was Senate Chef Daniel Wright's favorite toy when he was a kid? What does CityBeat editor-in-chief Danny Cross order at Taco Bell?

The answers to questions like these don't define a person, but neither do their jobs, possessions, political leanings, philanthropic efforts or social status. It's a little bit of everything. In this blog series, I'll be picking random Cincinnatians who are doing something interesting, call them on the phone/harass them on the street and ask five or six weird questions and hope I don't get yelled at. Feel free to comment if there's someone you'd like to suggest.

As a practice go, I'm first interviewing my cubicle mate and reporter extraordinaire, German Lopez. If you don’t recognize the name German Lopez, it’s because you probably never read CityBeat, so shame on you. Around the office, he's known for his dry sense of humor, really liking donuts, ditching all of our happy hours and one time writing almost an entire issue by himself. He's the one we all go to when we need him to explain in plebeian language the meaning of complicated political and economic data.

Hannah McCartney: What's your favorite most recent viral video?

German Lopez: The video of Eddie, the geriatric sea otter with arthritis who can dunk a basketball, definitely tops my list right now. I think CityBeat should run a cover story just profiling Eddie. It's probably more important than the governor's budget proposals.

HM: When you sit down to write an article, what's the process like? Describe your work style.
GL: Before I start writing an article, I complete most of my research, interviews and an outline. Once that's all together, I sit down and write the entire article, whether it's 500 or 4,000 words, all at once. The first draft is usually a disaster, but I do extensive copy editing to fix up the structure and wording after that. The editing probably takes me longer than the writing process because I have to fact check every line and make sure it's all written in an easily digestible manner.

HM: What was the last meal you cooked for yourself?
GL: Chicken cutlets with mashed potatoes and corn. It was freaking delicious. But I rarely cook for myself. One of the upsides to having a stay-at-home husband is I usually get home to a delicious cooked meal. The only downside is I have to make all the money.

HM: Where's your favorite place to sit down and read a book in Cincinnati?
GL: On the couch at home while surrounded by my ferrets, cat and husband. But I usually read political blogs, newspapers and e-books on my iPad instead of actual print.

HM: What website can you not go a day without checking? Why?
GL: There are a bunch of answers to this, but the top choice is probably Wonkblog, the domestic policy blog at The Washington Post. It has all the studies and graphs I need to form an educated opinion on major political issues. And CityBeat.com, of course.
 
 

 

 

 
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