A few weeks ago when I was heading to the CityBeat office I encountered a woman who changed my perspective on many things. It was one of those "Everything happens for a reason, even if you don't know the reason yet" moments.
I parked in the Elm Street lot, paid the machine my $3.50 and walked towards Race Street as usual. It was cold outside and my hands were full with coffee, a notebook, my lunch and purse.
I was running late — also as usual — when a woman approached me. Looking back now, I can’t even recall how she sounded or what she looked like.
Our conversation went something like this:
"Would you help someone in need if you could?" she asked.
"I'm selling my poems for $2 so I can have extra money to pay for my son's birthday."
"I don't even know if I have $2, hold on. I'm kind of in a hurry...Oh, wait…Here, I do have it."
I had three single dollar bills in my wallet and I handed her two of them.
"Thank you, God bless you," she said. We made our transaction and parted ways. Her poems were typed, printed and covered by a clear paper protector. She continued up Elm toward Vine Street as I turned the corner.
As I waited for the elevator, I began reading her poems. That's spelled wrong, I thought. That needs an apostrophe. It’s "to," not "too." I picked out a laundry list of grammatical and technical errors and immediately dismissed her work. I looked at her poems, but I didn't actually read them.
A few days later one of the ice and snowstorms hit the Tri-state area again. I wondered if anyone was out in this weather because I was certainly not leaving the comfort of my bed for any reason.
I don’t know why, but I began thinking about the woman who approached me on the street earlier in the week. I wondered if she was out there, in that terrible weather, selling her poems. Had she needed the $2 that badly? Did she ever get to have her son’s birthday party?
All of these thoughts washed over me. I pictured her, the image I had created of her, sitting at the library typing up the poems she had written while her son was at school.
I pictured her taking her last few dollars to buy the transparent paper protectors at the dollar store and preparing them for the next day when she would hit the streets to sell them.
A feeling of shame had overcome me. How could I dismiss what she had written because of a few errors that had no real effect on the message of her poems?
This woman had already probably sold more of her writing than me, and that’s what I am paying thousands of dollars in tuition for: to sell my words.
One of her poems is titled Determination, which is what she has and I was too blind to see that at the time we met.
I might have some of the editing experience now, but when I first started writing those were skills I didn’t possess or even care about.
I didn’t care if I needed a comma here or there, I didn’t care if I used the wrong form of “to” or ended a sentence with a preposition. I simply wanted to write.
I lost the passion behind my own words because I’ve been so worried about being technically correct all the time. And trust me, I never even end up being technically correct all the time.
That woman, whoever or wherever she is now, showed me that you don’t need a college degree to have determination. You don’t need to have the perfect sentence or know every grammar rule to express how you feel.
We, as humans, judge people all the time whether we want to admit it or not. We judge people by appearances, by the way they talk, or the way they write in this case.
She signed her name at the end of the poems, a signature that I can’t make out very well, but I want to thank her for showing me what real determination is.
Cincinnati prides itself on the local artists, musicians and writers that are bred here. We celebrate them and award them for their talent. I don’t know where this woman is now, but she, and the others just like her who might not be at the open mic nights or in galleries, deserve recognition as well.
To her I say: That was the best $2 I ever spent.
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.
Either you love it or you hate this zombie show — but if you hate it, just keep your stinking mouth shut. Seriously, though, now that football is over, it seems like Sundays are devoted to TWD in Cincinnati. New characters and old ones constantly dying off either give viewers something to look forward to or break their hearts each week. I think everyone can come to a consensus that Lizzie is a little, um, psycho. Plus, three new characters, from the comic, were introduced last week. What are you looking forward to in the next episode?
Tuesday, Feb. 18 was National Drink Wine Day. According to NationalWineDay.org the purpose of the day is to spread the love and health benefits of wine, so I’ll drink to that. If you celebrate wine every day, like me, check out these local wine events:
WineStation Wednesdays: Free, every Wednesday from 4-7 p.m.
at The Wine Merchant.
Wine Tasting: Free, every Friday from 4-8 p.m. at DEPS Fine Wines.
Saturday Afternoon Tastings with David: $10 monthly through July 2014, Noon-5 p.m. at Water Tower Fine Wines.
Cincinnati International Wine Festival: $40, 5:30-6:30 p.m. March 8 at Duke Energy Convention Center.
Trending, not necessarily because of his performance, but because of the emotional post-race interview he had with Christin Cooper. Miller’s brother, also a skier, passed away in 2012. Cooper pressed him with questions about his win and his brother, even after he shed tears. Where do you draw the line and become a person again instead of fishing for that next great quote? There were people arguing both sides; some say she was doing her job and others believe she went too far. As someone studying in this field, I think she was doing her job. See the interview here and decide for yourself. Miller, however, did not blame Cooper, tweeting:
Lorde won International Female Artist, Bruno Mars won International Male Artist and David Bowie won British Solo Male Artist. There might not have been any Miley moments, but they did have some fabulous fashionistas in attendance from the States. Queen Bey made that green gown her bitch and Katy Perry glowed, literally, during her performance of Dark Horse. The one thing that the Brit Awards does have on us: Awesome English accents. Cheerio!
Jimmy Fallon started this brilliant hashtag. You’ve done it too: Thought a song said something, belted it out and got funny looks from all of your friends. Trends like this are just fun:
“Dirty deeds, Dunder
“Got me feeling so fried like a cheese stick…”
“Excuse me while I kiss this guy...”
The entire Kidzbop version of “Thrift Shop”
Votto was in the running to be the Face of MLB Competition, but was eliminated by Felix Hernandez of the Mariners by a margin of just .8 percent. Votto was the reigning champ from the 2013 in the Twitter competition, but fell short this year. Although Votto might have lost, Reds fans can rejoice in the fact that Opening Day is now less than two months away. Voting continues on Twitter if you are interested, click here for the bracket.
Other trending topics: MVP, True Detective, Tornado Watch, #GhettoJeopardy, UNC, #USAvsCanada and Winter Jam.
Hey, readers. We’ve got some catching up to do.
As CityBeat’s new Web & Copy Editor, I’ll be taking over our weekly vocab blog, in which I’ll point out, define (and sometimes snicker at) the high-minded choice of words by some of our writers. These are obtuse words, or at least words that aren’t used in everyday language, like seraphic or anthemic. (Full disclosure: I have a master’s degree and I still reach for the dictionary at least once or twice a day.)
My goal is to define so you don’t have to, and to (hopefully) enhance your mental catalog of impressive and/or strange-sounding words.
Here’s the list this week:
Seraphic: of, like, or befitting a seraph (adj.) OK, great, what the hell is a seraph? A seraph, according to dictionary.com, is “a member of the highest order to angels, often represented as a child’s head with wings above, below, and on each side.” (n.) Thus, we can deduce seraphic means angelic, heavenly or cherubic.
In the issue: Actually, seraphic appears in the band lineup of our MPMF guide here. Garin Pirnia says we’ll like the MPMF band Mutual Benefit (who?) if we like “ ‘Post-lunar Buddha turds,’ seraphic glockenspiel music mixed with unpredictable soundscapes, cats chasing butterflies.” (Another disclosure: I don’t know any of the bands kids these days are listening to, nor do I have any idea what Buddha turds are.)
Anthemic: pertaining to music that has the qualities of an anthem, such as a serious tone and strong tune; also, regarded as an anthem (adj.) This seemed obvious after I read it. STILL, Microsoft Word doesn’t recognize anthemic as a real word.
In the issue: “Extracted from a dream, Holiday fashions an anthemic fistpumper that nods to Muse, Bruce Springsteen, and U2…” in Brian Baker's review of Caged Heat. Does the name Caged Heat conjure up unpleasant images for anybody else?
Arcane: known or understood by very few; mysterious; secret (adj.)
In this issue: “Tonya Beckman brings up a studied
tongue-in-cheek, choreographed delivery to the role of “Club Secretary,”
the sexy-tuxedoed character who guides club members through their
arcane selection process,” in Rick Pender’s latest Curtain Call column.
Good morning readers! I can hardly believe it's October. This week's issue of CityBeat is full of wonderful, esoteric words. (It also has the information you need to enjoy FotoFocus 2014, the month-long celebration of photography and lens-based art throughout Greater Cincinnati. Pick one up!)
Best word in this week's issue: besmirched, in Kathy Y. Wilson's "The Semantics of Weed" (This is probably the only article anywhere in which the words "ISIS air strike" and "weed" are used in the same sentence).
besmirched: To besmirch is to dirty or spoil something or to damage someone's reputation (v.)
In this issue: "Winburn drops Thomas’ name like an ISIS air strike, incessantly blaming Thomas for the original 2006 weed ordinance that besmirched the records of weed offenders charged with minor misdemeanors who now have problems securing jobs, housing, etc."
Or, as Carrie Nation (a radical member of the 19th century temperance movement) once said:
“Men are nicotine-soaked,
beer-besmirched, whiskey-greased, red-eyed devils.”
Next best word: titular, in the preview of the movie Annabelle.
tiltular: of, or having the nature of, a title; titled (adj.) Not to be confused with the word titillating, which has a much different meaning, but try saying titillating titular three times fast.
In this issue: "In a world filled with sequels, prequels and spin-offs developed off the flimsiest of premises, Annabelle arrives with solidly built awareness thanks to the presence of the titular doll in last year’s horror release The Conjuring from James Wan (Saw)"
Panoply: beautiful and striking set up, magnificent decor or clothing, or a protective covering. (n.)
In this issue: It actually appears in the headline "Bind Dancers Present a Panoply of Authentic Indian Dance", a piece by Katy Valin on Articulate Ability.
And lastly, moniker, in Mike Breen's Spill It. I guessed that moniker meant monkeys, or had something to do with monkeys, or maybe money, but no.
moniker: a name or nickname.
In this issue: "Despite moving from the state park and changing the moniker, the fest will continue to spotlight some of the region’s finest Bluegrass and Roots music practitioners."
Afternoon, readers! Thanksgiving is almost here, which means an absurd amount of delicious, fattening food and stampedes of greedy consumerists who will overtake the Walmarts and Macys and the Best Buys in the days and weeks following the holiday where you're supposed to be thankful for everything you've already got.
It also means three days of work next week and an early issue. Look for it on stands Tuesday!
(As a side note, if you're like me and will do anything to avoid the hollowed-eyed throngs of shoppers in the days before and after Thanksgiving but still need to get a head start on holiday shopping, check out our gift guide. You're welcome.)
Let's get to the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this weeks issue. Best word of the issue is loquacious, which I think sounds like salacious? Not sure. It's in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on Bill Cosby and his recent string of no good very bad sexual assault accusations by various women.
loquacious: very talkative; fond of talking (adj.)
In this issue: "NPR is the nexus of Cosby’s identity in America as the loquacious raconteur (reality) and the benign All-American Dad (television)."
Loquacious raconteur. I have no idea what a raconteur is either; but it sounds French, so I keep thinking loquacious raconteur with a French accent in my head.
raconteur: a person who tells stories or anecdotes in an amusing and clever way (n.)
Next word is vagaries in this week's Sound Advice.
vagaries: odd or unexpected changes in behavior or actions (n.)
In this issue: "Written and recorded in the winter months after solidifying Spencer and Pressley’s partnership (which came to include the vital input of percussionist/philosopher Ryan Clancy), Wormfood was a song cycle on the vagaries of love and the songs that detail those particular woes."
Last is hamlet, also in Sound Advice.
hamlet: a small village, or a dramatic play written by Shakespeare in the 1600s (n.)
I had no idea hamlet ever meant anything other than Shakespeare's play. CityBeat's pretentious writers have been teaching me so much!
In this issue: "Delavan is a farm country hamlet of less than 2,000 people located about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis."
Enjoy the holidays, readers.
Good afternoon readers! I've spent my day wrestling with terribly out of date software and silently cursing in my sad, grey cube. How's your day been?
If you haven't already noticed, this week marks CityBeat's 20th anniversary. (Hooray!) Our enormous anniversary paper recaps coverage of the issues Cincinnati has grappled with over the last 20 years. Plus, it has a head shot of me from 1994 wearing a purple turtle neck. Pick it up! Or, at the very least, join the staff at the anniversary party tomorrow for delicious food, drinks, and CAKE.
Moving onto the subject at hand...vocab. It was slim pickins' in this week's issue for Words Nobody Uses or Knows. Either that or my knowledge of pretentious words is actually expanding. (Doubt it.)
Best word of the issue is vitriolic, found in our anniversary issue; in the hilarious bit about Mike Breen pissing off all of Cincinnati's Jimmy Buffet fans. (You can read the digital version of our anniversary issue here.)
vitriolic: extremely biting or caustic; sharp and bitter: vitriolic talk (adj.)
In this issue: "This resulted in hundreds of hate emails from Buffett fans from across the country, most of which were nastily vitriolic, some even violently so (one writer said he hoped Breen's children were raped by drug dealers in Over-the-Rhine and given AIDS), a far cry from those smooth tropical vibes Buffit emits from stage."
People are the worst, aren't they?
Next best word is ethnomusicologist, which sounds like the best made up job ever. It's in this weeks Sound Advice.
ethnomusicology: the study of folk or native music, esp. of non-Western cultures, and its relationship to the society to which it belongs (n.)
Imagine introducing yourself to people with that title, and the reactions you'd get. People would be simultaneously confused, amazed and envious.
In this issue: "Huun Huur Tu got the attention of the West when American ethnomusicologist Ted Levin made the trek to Central Asia in the 1980s and brought the group to the U.S"
Next word is missive, also found in our anniversary issue. I feel like most people probably already know this one. It's in the other hilarious bit about that time everybody thought CityBeat was full of sexual deviants for selling adult-themed ads.
missive: a letter or written message (n.)
In this issue: "The missive called on CityBeat to exercise 'integrity as a corporate citizen' and asked that we 'eliminate the adult services category, and refuse to accept ads elsewhere for sexual services, in both your print and online editions.'"
If there's anything I've learned about the altweekly business in the three months I've worked here, it's that if you're being sued, you're doing something right.
Morning, readers. I haven't had my coffee yet so ... let's skip the intro and jump right into the list of "Words Nobody Uses or Knows" found in this weeks issue.
Best word of this issue is gustatory, found in Rick Pender's warm review of I Loved, I Lost, I made Spaghetti, the current one-woman show at the Playhouse.
gustatory: of or having to do with tasting or the sense of taste (adj.)
In this issue: "Cooking is the thread that runs through her
story, and while she recounts her gustatory encounters — portraying
Giulia’s lovers vividly using her physical and vocal talents — LaVecchia
simultaneously prepares and serves a meal of antipasti, salad and
spaghetti Bolognese (with fresh pasta she’s made as she talks) to four
couples, seated right in front of her kitchen counter." Sounds delightful. I'd attend this gustatory show with gusto. (See what I do there?)
Next best word is demarcate, found in Garin Pirnia's review of Fireside Pizza, a food truck-turned-brick and-mortar restaurant. (Another pizza place in Cincinnati!? Great! There aren't enough of those!)
demarcate: to set or mark the limits; delimit; to mark the difference between, distinguish (v.)
In this issue: "After making a selection and ordering at the bar, guests receive a record sleeve to demarcate their table."
beleaguered: beset by trouble or difficulty (adj.) We have a beleaguered office building. Like, really beleaguered. In the span of just a week and a half our elevator broke, bits of ceiling fell to the floor, a fluorescent light fixture fell (and is now hanging haphazardly form the ceiling) and the heat, well, it's on and off.
But you know. We here at CityBeat like to live on the edge. Heat?! That's for LOSERS.
Another one that caught my eye is ectrodactyly, which I think is a great-sounding word (I'm not even sure I can pronounce it) with a not-so-great meaning. It's in Jac Kern's weekly TV roundup.
ectrodactyly: the deficiency or absence of one or more central digits of the hand or foot (n.)
In this issue: "Evan Peters as a man with ectrodactyly (giving him lobster
Good late morning readers! After an absence last week it's good to be back. I found plenty of Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. (If you're feeling as hopeless about the midterm election results as I am maybe some vocab will cheer you up? Eh. Not likely, but we can try!)
Best word in this weeks issue is proscenium, found in Garin Pirnia's piece about a super cool new music venue in OTR. On its own, proscenium sounds like a name of a body part (but I never trust my gut on these things; it's usually wrong).
proscenium: the stage of an ancient Greek or Roman theater; the plane separating the stage proper from the audience and including the arch and the curtain within it (n.)
In this issue: "They’ve since gutted the place, leaving the plaster proscenium with light-bulb rosettes as the only original intact interior memorabilia."
Next best word is lascivious, which sounds to me simultaneously sexy and creepy. It's in Rick Pender's review of Into the Woods, the fairytale mash-up at the Covedale Center that earned a Critic's Pick.
lascivious: characterized by or expressing lust or lewdness; wanton; tending to excite lustful desires (adj.)
In this issue: "Alessi also plays the lascivious Wolf." (Pender is referring to the Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood here.) Hmm. The use of this word suddenly seems wrong, very wrong. It's insinuating all sorts of nasty....moving on.)
Ply is the next word that caught my eye. It's in "Battling Barriers," this week's cover story abut sex work in Cincinnati. But seriously, read this.
I momentarily mistook ply for pry, but both words have similar meanings.
ply (as a noun): a layer of fabric, wood or a strand of fiber.
ply (as a verb): to make multiple layers, to work at, to keep supplying or to keep asking questions.
In this issue: "They also point out that not all sex work happens on the streets and claim that the Internet has made it safer and more liberating for those who wish to ply the trade."
Next word is progenitors, in the Sound Advice column for Carcass, a Grindcore and Death Metal band. Whatever that is.
progenitor: a forefather; ancestor in direct line; a source from which something develops; originator or precursor (n.)
In this issue: "Any discussion on the origins of Grindcore and Death Metal absolutely has to include Carcass on the shortlist of the genres’ progenitors."
Diametrically is the last word. I feel that most people already know this one. I do, but four words doesn't seem enough today, so I'll throw it in here.
diametrically: along a diameter; designating an opposite, a contrary, a difference, etc. that is wholly so; complete: diametrical opposites (adj.)
Afternoon readers! Now that Thanksgiving is over, it's back to the normal grind, at least until Christmas. I hope everyone was able to stuff themselves with turkey and spend time with loved ones.
Let's get to Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue, which, by the way, includes a lovely piece on Ohio's historical markers.
Best word of the issue: cineastes, which appears in TT Stern-Enzi's art piece about MUBI, an innovative new film-streaming service for the "cinematic-minded."
cineastes: plural of cineaste; a film or movie enthusiast, a person involved in filmmaking (n.)
It's an obvious definition, but one I had never heard before.
In this issue: "Since signing up, I have embarked on an old-school word of mouth campaign in support of MUBI, whispering in the ears of cineastes in my inner circle, teasing them with hints about its possibilities."
Next best word is Gramaphone, capital G, found in Stacy Sim's review of Failure: A Love Story. Ancestor to the megaphone? A phone your grandma owns?
Neither. According to Wikipedia, the Gramaphone is a phonograph, the first device for recording and replaying sound (n.)
In this issue: "There are three lovely Graces (Sophia Dewald, Megan Urz, Molly Watson) who narrate rapid-fire the events of the play, a strong Ensemble (Gabby Francis, Colin Kissel, Sarah Allen Shull and Andrew Wiemann) of clocks, birds, a dog, snake and various others, plus a smooth jazz onstage band with vocals to contribute the Gramophone soundtrack."
Mathcore was the next word that caught my eye. Sounds like a really, really unpleasant type of math course. (But I find all types of math unpleasant.) It's in Sound Advice.
Mathcore: a rhythmically complex and dissonant style of metalcore. It has its roots in bands such as Converge, Coalesce, Botch and The Dillinger Escape Plan. The term mathcore is suggested by analogy with math rock. (n.)
Looking up the definition of a music genre is a bit like jumping into a rabbit hole. Each one one is derived from or related to another genre of music that I've never heard of. (If I'm being honest, most of the music genres I've learned feel like a joke.) What is math rock? What is metalcore?
It's obvious that I'm no music expert (hell, when I started to work here I thought there was, like, 10 genres tops) but I can't be the only one who has never heard of mathcore.
In this issue: "Beyond their Spinal Tappish propensity to blow up bassists, Every Time I Die has earned a solid reputation as a scorching live outfit and a stylistically diverse band that has attracted Metal fans of every conceivable sub-stripe, as well as Mathcore and Punk aficionados."
Moving on. Next on the list is commensurate, in Kathy Y. Wilson's thought-provoking piece "On Being White."
commensurate: equal in measure of size; coextensive. corresponding in extent or degree; proportionate. (adj.)
In this issue: "Four: It doesn’t take a sociologist or
statistician to know that white officers just do not shoot and kill
white kids at commensurate rates that they shoot black kids."
Not exactly an uplifting note to end our vocab lesson on, but if you want something to chew on for awhile, read Kathy's piece.
Have a good weekend, readers.