That's right folks, the Cinciditarod. It's a sporting event that cleverly combines the words "Cincinnati" and "Iditarod," as well as the meanings of both. The Cinciditarod is sort of like the grueling 1,100-mile Alaskan dog-sled race, except that it's held in Cincinnati, without dogs, with shopping carts instead of sleds and the course is only five miles. No big.
Thatâ€™s right, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cincinnati is the 21st best city in the United States.
The news wire cites Cincinnatiâ€™s picturesque downtown, Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati Pops orchestra and the presence of corporate giant Procter & Gamble as reasons why the city was included in its list of â€śAmericaâ€™s 50 Best Cities.â€ť
It also doesnâ€™t hurt that have 105 bars, 600 restaurants, 18 museums, 35 libraries and two professional sports teams.
The rankings were based on leisure attributes (such as bars, restaurants and parks), educational attributes, economic factors, crime and air quality. Bloomberg Businessweek said the greatest weighting was placed on leisure amenities, (because having tons of bars to go to is way more important than a good public school system).
San Francisco topped the list of best cities, followed by hipster haven Seattle, Washington D.C. and Boston.
Cleveland barely made it onto the rankings at 46 and Columbus beat us out by one, ranking No. 20.
The Queen City (we at CityBeat are refusing to adopt the moniker â€śThe City That Singsâ€ť) beat out such major metropolises as Los Angeles, St. Louis, Reno, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Chicago and Houston.
Here are some words by CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen about Willieâ€™s life and legendary status, which he says transcends music. (â€śNelson isn't a Country music icon â€” he's an American music icon.â€ť)
So itâ€™s kind of weird sometimes to think about Willie Nelson being tight with people like Toby Keith â€” a decidedly uncool guy who writes songs about the U.S. military putting a boot in anyoneâ€™s ass who messes with America and opens cheesy Country music-themed restaurants around the country.
But for every terrorist that Keith convinced via threat of violence not to attack America, there are many people who have enjoyed a song that Keith co-wrote about participating in Willie Nelsonâ€™s favorite pastime: smoking the weedus.
It turns out that Toby
Keith can be self-depreciating and kind of likable (if you can
somehow keep the image of this goatee out of your mind while you
listen to the song). So here it is, in honor
of Willieâ€™s 79th, â€śIâ€™ll Never Smoke Weed With Willie Againâ€ť
by Toby Keith and Scott Emerick.
Itâ€™s 6:30 a.m. Friday morning. I find myself staring into my reflection at the Econo Lodgeâ€™s employees-only lobby bathroom watching blood pour from my nose and drip all over the sink, diffusing into the water and I ask myself, â€śHow did I get here?â€ť Looking to the floor I admire still more of my blood, peppered across the white tile. I feel scandalous.
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 â€” tomorrow is National Sea Monkey Day.
My friend Charlie texted me this morning to ask if I had baseball pants and a jersey (a wooden bat would be great too, he said). Assuming he was throwing together a Halloween costume, I replied: "Of course i do. u can get it tonite. :)"
Charlie said thanks and that he'd come by during the evening. And then he said this: "Write something good about Cincinnati today!"
I laughed to myself because that's not really my thing. I talk mass shit about Cincinnati all the time. I am nearly impossible to hang out with at a Reds game because I spend the entire time I'm not in the $7 beer line complaining about advertisements, stadium architecture, Fort Washington Way, The Banks Project, Cincinnati's misguided re-urbanization techniques, the weather, the Reds' front office and my dad. I'm no fun.
But then I started wondering, "Why does Charlie have such a good attitude? What does that fucker have going on these days that's making him feel content enough to appreciate Cincinnati?"
Charlie and I have known each other since high school, when our JV soccer team kicked the asses of most surrounding schools' young backup players. We've spent a lot of time at college parties and local bars, with recreational sporting events mixed in on the weekends. We were both injured during the past year because we're starting to become old and frail. One time we were going to kiss each other for $40, and Charlie said he'd have done it for $20.
Some time during the day (I think it was right after Jason Gargano, Kevin Osborne and I cornered Maija Zummo just to make her feel uncomfortable), I began to realize why Charlie has such a good attitude: He just spent half a year in South Korea. And this isn't to knock the "Land of the Morning Calm," it's more of a recognition that when people leave Cincinnati they totally miss it.
I've been back in Cincinnati for two years after spending two years in Oregon (where the micro brews flow like the Willamette River). Oregon is great, and people there are intrigued by people from weird places like Cincinnati. But when I returned home after finishing graduate school - broke with no job and twice the student loan debt I left with - I was happy. All the jackasses that I grew up with and met during college were here doing the same stuff we did before I left. They had new jobs and had finished their degrees and changed their facial hair, but they were here and we enjoyed things just like we always had.
Many of us feel stuck here at times, and if our financial or professional situations don't allow us to get the hell out for a minute and observe a better functioning society, we start to hate Cincinnati and ourselves for setting up shop here. There will never be bike lanes throughout the city or functional public transit or efficient recycling or expanded social services. At least not until the Baby Boomer population thins out and our children grow up and help us change things.
But until then Cincinnati is what it is, and leaving for a while allows you to see only the good, and in some ways you even start to forgive the bad. Charlie was in South Korea, presumably drinking on the streets, singing karaoke, dressing funny and enjoying the intricacies of another culture. And in doing so he was also taking the Cincinnati show on the road, offering a glimpse into the persona of someone who grew up in a strange place but knew there was more out there than what his parents had or his hometown offered.
But until Charlie or
you or I break into or rise up through a creative industry (or the
stock market goes back to relying on goods being sold rather than how
likely goods are to be sold), we're going to be living in Cincinnati, and it's
not really that bad. It's actually kind of good.
I opted out of typing music listings and attending sociology class Friday in favor of checking out the conference taking place on the University of Cincinnati’s campus: Pop Praxis: Social Justice & the Media. With discussion topics like, “Disco Stick: Lady Gaga and the Phallus” and a keynote speech from Bitch Magazine’s own Andi Zeisler, I was stoked for an enlightening day of stimulating pop culture discussion.
The conference was the result of a collection of papers, presentations and workshops submitted by speakers ranging from undergrads to professors to alumni from a number of universities. Submissions were required to regard "pop culture as it relates to feminism, race, disability or queer theory, class, consumption, and all forms of political activism or cultural production."
It was an honor for the university to welcome Andi Zeisler, co-founder and editorial/creative director of Bitch: Feminist Response to Pop Culture. She wasted no time launching into a pointed discussion about the importance of feminism today, despite the general public’s tendency to assume that the movement is past and irrelevant.
“Any media needs to make money,” Zeisler pointed out, “and the quickest and surest way to do that is to sell out women.”
In short, while addressing the frustrating roadblocks today’s feminist advocates face, Zeisler commended technology and blogging as new ways to comment on the media and bring important issues to public attention, keeping intelligent discussion going that might not have been able to take place before.
Zeisler said Bitch’s goal is to help people think about pop culture in a more critical way, so it makes sense that the speakers in the sessions that followed did exactly that.
While the main event was arguably Zeisler's speech, the presentations and workshops were fun and eye opening.
During the first session, Sarah Mitchell called out Winnie of The Wonder Years for her textbooks that attempt to make math “sexy” for middle school girls in “Postfeminist Math Barbie: Danica McKellar’s Provocative Education Advocacy.” Lee Serbin also pointed out the shaky, back-and-forth stance Tina Fey’s character holds between feminism and postfeminism in 30 Rock during her discussion, “30 Rock and Feminism in Flux.”
Some women in the media, however, aren’t so bad to look up to. One presenter discussed how Lady Gaga rocked the phallus on the cover of Q Magazine as a response to the public’s accusation that she’s packing a package. While still technically enforcing the belief that a penis equates power, her gender-bending humor puts sexists in their place.
A strong argument was also made for Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Admittedly, she was skinny and blonde, but more importantly, she overcame that image to kick vampire ass. The slayer was decidedly deemed a pretty solid female role model for something popularized by mainstream television.
Feminism wasn’t the only topic of the day, however. One student discussed Batman as an extreme representation of hypermasculinity who tends to equate violence with being a man. That, and maybe steroid use after all the bulk the superhero’s acquired over the years.
During the same session, another speaker addressed the somewhat androgynous image of the emo kid. This speaker deserves props for researching something so fickle in the world of teenage cliques. She concluded that, while the emo subculture allows for somewhat of a break from that Batman-inspired masculinity, only the white boys of suburbia seem to make up this social group.
While it was impossible for me to make it to each presentation, at the end of the day, the message was clear: People need to be careful about what they consume.
There are no clear answers. Watching a Lady Gaga video over 30 Rock isn’t necessarily going to be more empowering, and children who prefer Batman to Chris Carrabba aren’t doomed to a life of violence. The important thing Pop Praxis stressed is that the discussion remains open and that we, as responsible consumers of popular culture, keep a critical eye on it.
Donâ€™t have a date for Valentineâ€™s Day? Pissed off about all the publicity that corporate media give Sarah Palin? Mad that shows like Extreme Makeover: Home Edition still are on TV? Just bored?
No matter the reason for your frustration, you can release some of that energy by attending â€śCincinnatiâ€™s Largest Snowball Fight!,â€ť planned for Sunday afternoon, Feb. 14.
Stop waiting for a streetcar to pick you up! Get on your fixed-gear and go get yourself a "poop as you go" TOTO Biogas Bike. This Japanese invention runs completely on human waste and the company calls poop the "new coal."
TOTO is predominately a toilet maker but thought they'd try their hand at making motorcycles that not only run on poop, but use â€śresidual light imagery to write messages in the air as it zooms by." Not to mention, it â€ścan also play music to entertain spectators.â€ť Finally, the toilet actually talks, a feature with which TOTO has been equipping many of its toilets.