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by Maija Zummo 07.16.2013
Posted In: Life, Interviews, BABIES, Commentary, Culture at 11:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Turns Out Kids Aren't Racist Assholes

Children watch interracial Cheerios commercial; can't understand why people are still racist

The Fine Brothers are "filmmakers and new media pioneers" who have created a pretty successful web series called "Kids React," where they film kids reacting to stuff. 

The latest in their child-watching oeuvre is a video about the now infamous interracial Cheerios ad. Infamous because Cheerios literally had to disable the video's YouTube comments section because of the amount of incredibly hateful, racist commentary.

In the Kids React video, children are shown the controversial ad and asked a series of questions, including why they think it upset people. The kids, it turns out, are stumped; they didn't even register anything unusual about the parents or the family. (Because there isn't.)

The Fine Brothers preface the video by saying "This episode of Kids React will discuss the sensitive subject of racism and its impact on individuals, families and the world at large. The opinions of children about these issues can give incredibly valuable insight into where our society really is and where we are headed as a people."

If these kids' reactions are any indicator, we're on the right path. That being said, the Fine Brothers are from New York and they film in L.A., a reality that the children address in the video mentioning that people in other parts of the country might still be "behind the times."

Video:
  

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 06.24.2013
Posted In: Culture, Life at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Last Chance for The Answers Issue

We start answering tomorrow!

You have one more chance to submit us a question for CityBeat's first-ever Answers Issue — after today, we're closing the polls, sorting through all the questions and divvying them up amongst our reporting team. We'll spend the next few weeks hunting down the answers to your questions as best we can and bringing back all the info in a special themed issue sometime in July.

Ask us questions a
bout life in the Queen City you want answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food, sports, neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, Cincinnati's lizard history, what an inmate eats for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on your mind.

Go here to submit us the best questions you've got.
 
 
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 Hannah McCartney 06.13.2013
Posted In: Life, Culture at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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The Answers Issue Needs You!

Soliciting lots more questions on everything and anything about life in Cincinnati

Hopefully, you've heard about CityBeat's first Answers Issue by now, and hopefully, by now you've submitted plentiful golden, glowing and totally insightful questions you want us to answer.

If you haven't, however, there's still time to rack your brain for the most stump-worthy questions about life in Cincinnati so we, CityBeat's faithful editorial staff, can do some sleuthing, drink some Red Bull, make some calls, read some files, spend a few hours on Google, hit up the library, talk to some fortune-tellers — whatever we can to get your questions answered.

Ask us questions about life in the Queen City you want answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food, sports, neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, what an inmate eats for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on your mind.

You submit your question (check out the Answers Issue page here), and our dutiful reporting team will pick the ones we like best, divide them up and bring you back the answers in an issue sourced directly from you guys. Your questions will be anonymous when we print them.

We could use a lot more questions, you inquiring minds. Here's the question submissions form.

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 05.31.2013
Posted In: Humor, Culture, Life at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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The Answers Issue: Asking You to Ask Us

Soliciting questions about anything and everything Cincinnati

You might have heard about CityBeat's first Answers Issue, but in case you haven't, here's a quick and dirty rundown: You submit us questions about life in the Queen City you want answered, but can't solve with the help of Wikipedia, Siri or your mom. That means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food, sports, neighborhoods, dog-friendly restaurants, Clifton's suspicious monopoly on Indian cuisine, why McMicken Avenue is consistently scary at all hours of the day, why Cincinnati doesn't have its own font, or if any episodes of The Wire cross-reference any IRL events in Cincinnati.

Then we'll do some sleuthing, drink some Redbull, make some calls, read some files, spend a few hours on Google, hit up the library, talk to some fortune-tellers — whatever we can to get your questions answered.

You submit your question (check out the Answers Issue page here), and our dutiful reporting team will pick the ones we like best, divide them up and bring you back the answers in an issue sourced directly from you guys. Don't worry, we can see your names when you submit, but otherwise, your questions will be anonymous.

Here's a taste of what we've gotten so far:

Q: What would win in a fight, an Over-the-Rhine rat, or a Fountain Square pigeon? Each would be able to choose one non-projectile weapon of its choice.

Q: Where can you find poutine on a menu in Cincy?

Q: What would be the economic and environmental effects of making hunting illegal in the Greater Cincinnati region?

Q: Why is it that Madison Road through O'Bryonville can get backed up to DeSales Corner on some days during rush hour, but be completely open on others?

Q: Is it safe to jump in the Genius of Water Fountain?

Q: Why isn't Hudephol brewed in Cincinnati?

Some, clearly, are taking it more seriously than others, but that's okay. Be real, we all need to know who'd win that fight (Disclaimer: No animals will be injured in the making of The Answers Issue).

We could use a lot more questions, you inquiring minds. Here's the question submissions form.


 
 
by Hannah McCartney 05.15.2013
Posted In: Life, Culture, Humor at 01:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 
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Ohioans Fucking Swear a Lot

We're No. 1 ... in profanity

Did you know there's such a thing as National Etiquette Week? And that it's happening right fucking now?

Of course there is. This is America, motherfuckers.

Well, while the rest of the country is practicing their table manners and shit, we in Ohio apparently don't give a damn, according to a recent study conducted by Seattle-based Marchex Institute.

The bitches at Marchex apparently listened in on 600,000 calls placed from consumers to businesses across 30 different industries, and found that out of all 50 states, Ohioans are most likely to go AWOL on the phone.

Washington state was the least likely to curse. They swore about every 300 conversations; we dropped expletives about every 150 exchanges.

According to the findings, Washingtonians were also 800 times more likely to be afraid of caterpillars and use only anti-bacterial soap, while Ohioans were 46 times more likely to crush beer cans with their hands or eat store-bought apples before they even washed them.

We're guessing Washingtonians probably say things like, "Bejabbers!" or "Criminy!" when shit goes wrong. And that's just fuckin' lame. 

Oh, and guys, don't forget — tomorrow is National Sea Monkey Day.

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 03.29.2013
Posted In: Food, Eats, Culture, Life at 02:24 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Eight Local Eating Challenges

Eat a lot of food to find glory, fame, heartburn

If you're looking for your own 15 minutes of fame but find your skill sets are generally limited to things that are superfluous  — or, in this case, possibly self-destructive — your best bet might be to take up one of these local eating challenges (these are the ones we know of — we bet there's a lot more of 'em) so you can achieve glory, superstar status and indigestion — right after you unbuckle your pants.

Everybody knows Cincinnati is obsessed with food, probably because there's a lot of it around here. Good food, that is. Whether you want to show off, naturally induce hibernation, experience a lifetime's worth of a particular dish in one sitting or just want a good story to tell, there are plenty of opportunities to make it happen with eating challenges around the city.

We’ve only added the ones we were able to confirm with the restaurant, but if you're dead-set on checking one of these out, it's probably a good idea to call ahead and make sure it's not a periodical offering. Be sure to let us know where we missed in the comments!

1) Ramundo's Pizza  (Mount Lookout)
Two people split a 26-inch pizza with extra cheese and two toppings, with 10 minutes to devour the whole thing. It's an investment — the pizza costs $35 — but you get it (and heartburn) for free if you finish.

2) Blue Ash Chili (Blue Ash) – "No Freakin' Way Challenge": One person + 2.5 lbs. spaghetti + 2.5 lbs. chili. + 2.5 lbs. cheese + 1 lb. jalapenos + 60 minutes + $40 = the most extravagant and gut-busting possible way to prove your obsession with our city's trademark dish, Cincinnati chili. If you finish, it's free and you'll get a spot on the Hall of Fame plus a T-shirt. Losers go on the Hall of Shame, but you'll still get a tee for free.

3) Raniero’s Pizza  (Cold Springs, Ky.) – Two people have 10 minutes to devour a 24-inch pizza, and each is allowed one 20 oz. cup of water. Beat the clock and get the pizza for free; beat the record and get a T-shirt, too.

4) Mecklenburg Gardens (Corryville) – The “Uber Terminator Challenge”: One person has an hour to put down a 3-foot long spicy mettwurst sausage on a hoagie bun, covered with peppers and sauerkraut. It’s $25, and free if you make it. You get a free T-shirt either way.

5) Padrino’s  (Milford)– Four pounds of spaghetti and meatballs + you + 45 minutes. If you make it, it’s free; if not, $30.

6) Izzy’s (multiple locations)
“110 Reuben Challenge”:  Of course, made famous a la Man v. Food: a super-sized potato pancake, more than 1 lb. of corned beef, a heap of sauerkraut, dressing and cheese, all inside a big loaf of poppyseed bread. You have 30 minutes to eat this monstrosity — it’s $19.99 — and if you make it, you’ll get it fo’ free plus a T-shirt and a photo on the Izzy’s wall of shame fame.

7) Guiseppe’s Pizza (Covington)  “Legend of the Drunken Fireman”: Just you and a 20-inch, 20-topping, 7-lb. pizza plus 59 minutes. If you lose, it’ll set you back $50; if you make it, you’ll get it free plus a T-shirt.

8) Bard’s Burgers  (Covington) – Two different challenges here: Go big with the Bardzilla — a burger with 10 1/3-lb. beef patties, 10 pieces of cheese, 2 lbs. of French fries and a 16 oz. milkshake (close to 7 lbs. of food). Free if you make it through in 45 minutes or less, $30 if not. Or, for the more timid, there’s the “Little Zilla” — beat the customer record to chow down one of two triple-stacked specialty burgers — the Kitchen Sink or the Widow Maker (eek) — plus an order of large fries and a milkshake, for a free meal
 
 
by Hannah McCartney 03.28.2013
Posted In: The Worst, Culture, Fashion, Life at 12:42 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Are the Swedes Leading the Mannequin Revolution?

You know when you’re at the store and they’ve run out of your size in a shirt you really, really wanted? And you look at the one hanging on the mannequin hoping and praying it’s a medium so you can derobe her and leave with that peplum top?

We all know that’s a lost cause, because she’s always, without fail, wearing a damn extra small, because anything larger would engulf the porcelain, size 2 life-size Barbie, which would make the clothes terrible and nobody would want to buy them.

One department store in Sweden — surprisingly, the stereotypical exporters of blonde, Scandinavian ice queens — has finally launched a "f&*# you" campaign against the mannequin industry standard, which apparently values female mannequins that are often designed to be six inches taller and six inches smaller than the average woman, according to the Chicago Tribune. Basically, clothes made only for this Ukrainian woman, who went through an insane amount of plastic surgery to become the first "real-life Barbie" (click on her photo to read more)





The store only has two of the normal mannequins right now, who are sporting some classy lingerie. Photos of the mannequins have gone viral, and to absolutely nobody's surprise, women across the world have become pretty smitten with the concept of seeing models in clothes that don't look radically different from themselves.

It's actually pretty genius, from a marketing standpoint: Aside from making a super-powerful social statement, it seems likely their sales will probably skyrocket — how many times, after all, have you seen something looking fabulous on a mannequin and tried it on yourself, only to look in the mirror with horror and disgust?

Let's compare. On the left, two Victoria's Secret mannequins. On the right, the lady from the Swedish department store