CityBeat Blogs - Commentary <![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers! After a long dark haul, it's finally, finally spring. Well, actually, it's not. Spring technically doesn't start until March 20. But with the sun shining and the temps hitting 60 degrees, it certainly feels like it. And I'll take whatever I can get.

Let's jump right into Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. I found three in Rick Pender's critique of August: Osage County, which is running at the Clifton Performance Theatre until March 14. (Three? What's he trying to do?!)

My favorite word of the issue is donnybrook — it sounds a bit made up, doesn't it?

donnybrook: a scene of uproar and disorder; a heated argument (n.)

Fun fact: The word originates from the historical Donnybrook Fair in Donnybrook, a district of Dublin, Ireland. The Fair, according to The Google, began in 1204 (whoa ... it always blows my mind a bit when I realize how much more history other countries have) and ran annually until 1866. Apparently the "fun fair" was infamous for its drunken brawls. Hence, the use of the word donnybrook.

In this issue: "The ultimate result is a family donnybrook, with Barbara forcing her mother into rehab."

Next best word in Pender's piece is miasma.

miasma: a vaporous exhalation formerly believed to cause disease; an influence or atmosphere that tends to deplete or corrupt (n.)

Appropriate, I think, because there was something about the word that reminded me of disease before I even looked up the definition. It's from the Greek word miainein, which literally means "to pollute."

In this issue: "Ivy has been the dutiful daughter, keeping her life on hold for years while tending to her battling parents and their ills and idiosyncrasies and being badgered for not marrying; she’s sick of the miasma of bad behavior and more than eager to escape."

The third (but not last) word from Pender is vituperative, pronounced "vahy-too-per-uh-tiv."

vituperative: bitter and abusive (adj.)

In this issue: "Hodges captures Violet’s vituperative nature, but allows a few cracks in her cantankerous façade to reveal the once vulnerable woman inside."

Of course, our lesson wouldn't be complete without an unusual word from Kathy Y. Wilson's piece "Mother and Child Reunion." It's actually one of my favorite stories in this week's issue. (Which I hope you've picked up already.) The word is mellifluous. It's a from the late Latin word mellifluus (15th century), where mel translates to "honey" and fluere translates to "flow".

mellifluous: (of a voice or words) sweet or musical; pleasant to hear (adj.)

Makes sense, right?

In this issue: "The very first time I heard the plaintive and mellifluous baritone of Luther Vandross I was riding with my mom through a cold rain through the intersection of Kemper Road and Springfield Pike in Springdale coming from the old Thriftway grocery store."

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers. I hope you're all surviving the bleak, cold, dark days of February better than I am. I can't stop myself from browsing the "Getaways" section of Groupon — five night, all-inclusive stay in Punta Cana? Sign me up! I'll go anywhere the sun is shining and the heat is brimming.

Someday, right? For now, though, I've got my coffee and a list of Words Nobody Uses or Knows from this week's issue. Let's get started.

My favorite word of the issue (or phrase, really) is in toto. It's found in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on the Oscars, a night, as Neil Patrick Harris so accurately said, where "we celebrate Hollywood’s best and whitest, sorry… brightest."

In toto: a Latin phrase meaning in the whole; as a whole (adv.)

In the issue: "Secondly, the voter finessed the fact that most members are white men — which is, in fact, the larger problem plaguing Hollywood in toto and it is the direct genealogical link to the white-out of this year’s Oscars and what’s fraught past racist Oscar races."

Though whenever I say in toto, I can't help but think of Toto, Dorthory's dog in Wizard of Oz.

Anyway, next up is the French word outré, pronounced OO-TREY.  (French words are the best, aren't they?)

outré: highly unconventional; eccentric or bizarre (adj.)

In this issue: "Later, during an interview for this story, Katkin explained his affinity for that band, which released several outré albums in the late 1980s and early 1990s."

Environs, another word of French origin, caught my eye too.

environs: a surrounding area, especially of a city; surroundings; environment (plural n.)

My mind is a little blown by this one. It's essentially just another word for environment and yet I've never heard of it.

In this issue: "It’s bitter wisdom that easily translates to certain local music environs where bands are neither nurtured nor respected."

The last word I have jotted down is rubes, but I can't seem to find it anywhere in the issue. It may have been edited out (or else I'm reading things that aren't there). I'm going to include it anyway. The more you know, the more you grow, right?

I love this word because Rubes is one of the many, MANY nicknames I have for my cat Ruby. She is also sometimes called Ruben, Princess Pastry Puff, Doot, Street Rat ... OK I'll stop there.

rubes: an unsophisticated country person; nickname of Reuben (n.)

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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, 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!

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers! Let's get right to it: I rounded up four words in this week's issue of Words Nobody Uses or Knows.  (Side Note: If you haven't already, check out this year's Love List. We've profiled 12 of Cincinnati's hottest locals, and each one offers bits of wisdom on love, work and passion, just in time for Valentine's Day.)

But moving on. My favorite word of the issue is vittles, found in Garin Pirnia's review of Marid Gras on Madison, a new Creole cafe in East Walnut Hills. 

vittles: food; edible provisions (n.)  

The singular version of vittles, vittle, is archaic, and for whatever reason it's no longer used in today's vernacular. In fact, Microsoft Word doesn't even recognize vittle as a real word unless you add an S to it.

In the issue: "In January, Latoya “Toya” Foster of New Orleans to Go food truck fame opened a brick-and-mortar version of her Cajun/Creole vittles called Mardi Gras on Madison in East Walnut Hills."

The next two words, halcyon and zelig, are found in this week's Sound Advice on Dave Mason, a dude in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame that I've never heard of. (But, let's be real, I've never heard of anybody in Sound Advice. I am not anyone's version of cool.)

Halcyon can be used as an adjective or a noun and it has two different (though similar) meanings.

an idealized, idyllic or peaceful time (adj.)
OR a legendary bird, identified with the kingfisher, which is supposed to have a peaceful, calming influence on the sea at the time of the winter solstice (n.) 

If you type halcyon into Google Images, as I just did, you'll not only get a picture of a naked woman on chaise lounge (?) but this:

 An awesome sketch of the halcyon, the legendary ostrich/hawk/dinosaur hybrid that controls the seas.

In this issue: "Life is a circle and it’s come back around full force for Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason, who began his legendary career nearly 50 years ago as co-founder of Traffic and now revisits those halcyon days with his latest touring concept/project, Traffic Jam. "

The second word, zelig, is an odd one. Sounds very star-trek, or something.

zelig: One who unconsciously mimics the traits or appearances of those with whom he or she associates.

In this issue: "
In the latter part of the ’60s and the dawn of the ’70s, Mason was like Rock’s Zelig, constantly finding himself at historical crossroads."

Alright, last word that Nobody Uses or Knows is filchers, found (where else?) in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial on how those of us silly enough to pursue journalism as a career are all poor, so very poor.  But rich in spirit and lax work schedules?

filchers: one who filches; a thief (n.)

In this issue: "My 2014 1099s are like that photo album your mom’s been keeping from the photo filchers in the family; she has been saving it to share with just you."

Enjoy the weekend readers!

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers! After a break last week, I'm back at it. I know you've all been waiting anxiously for your next vocabulary lesson. (And by that I mean not at all.)

This week, Kathy Wilson's editorial on the infamous letter the mayor of Norwood penned to Norwood's police department is full of Words Nobody Uses or Knows. Well, just four, but that's a lot for one article. I'll start with my favorite: bon mot.  In French, bon mot literally translates to good word. (Woo! All my years of French classes finally paid off!) 

In the states, though, bon mot is defined as an apt, clever, or witty remark (n.)

In this issue: "In a letter dated Dec. 22 that has now come to light, Norwood Mayor Thomas F. Williams penned a bon mot to the Norwood Police Department slamming black civil rights leaders and do-nothing politicians, warning officers — like a roll call from a long-ago episode of Hill Street Blues — to 'be careful out there,' ending that he, for one, will always have their backs."

Next best word in Kathy's piece is flummoxed, which is  pronounced flum-eks. (I kept thinking it was pronounced flu-mox.)

flummox: to confuse or perplex someone (trans. verb)

In this issue: "People are talking about you in these streets and they’re mainly flummoxed by your letter and how it and you can go unnoticed."

The third word in Kathy's editorial that caught my eye is kowtowing.

kowtow: to be submissive or subservient to someone, or to kneel and touch the ground with your forehead as an act of worship (trans. verb)

In this issue: "Clearly, Mayor Williams can say Ferguson, Long Island and Cleveland. Further, he must be watching endless pundits on, probably, Fox News espouse how this country has been run off the rails by gutless politicians kowtowing to bullying black thugs running and rioting in the streets."

And, finally, the last word in Kathy's piece (but not in our lesson) is meted.  I have a feeling this isn't an unusual or pretentious word at all, but I've never heard of it.

to allot; distribute; apportion: usually with out (trans. verb)

In this issue: "
The KKK was also formed as a fraternity of like-minded, fed-up brethren who sidestepped the law and meted out their own form of justice, all while stitching their rebel flags with the threads of “us versus them.”

The other pretentious word in this week's issue, polymath, was found in Anne Arenstein's piece on Opera Fusion.  It sounds very much like an algebra word (anybody remember polynomials? *shudder*) but it means a person of great and diversified learning (n.) Poly is Greek is for multiple or more than one. Makes sense!

That's all I've got, readers, enjoy the weekend!

<![CDATA[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!

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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).

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers! I hope ya'll had a very happy New Year. It feels very futuristic to say that it's 2015, doesn't it? Maybe that's because 2015 is the year the awesome movie Back to the Future II was set in, and it predicted that we'd have all sorts of crazy things (like flying cars and hoverboards) by now. Alas, we're not even close to flying cars, but we ARE close to hoverboards:  I can only dream that one day hoverboards will replace cars.

Anyway, our latest issue looked back on the best movies, TV shows and music of 2014; a lot of it is compiled into easy-to-read Top 10 lists. So no excuse, pick it up!

Now onto Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue. Best word of the issue was obstreperous, found in Kathy Y. Wilson's editorial. (I'm noticing a trend here.)

obstreperous: noisy, boisterous, or unruly, esp. in resisting or opposing (adj.)

In this issue: "I’d love to amass all the obstreperous black drug dealers I know, converge on Hyde Park Square, blast Gucci Mane after midnight, spark blunts and then leave in a blaze of profane glory."

Brilliant. I can only imagine the horrified reactions of Hyde Park folks to this scenario.

Next best word of the issue was conviviality, in the piece "Dubbing the New Year" on electronic artist Ott.

conviviality: having to do with a feast or festive activity; fond of eating, drinking, and good company; sociable; jovial (n.)

January and February are the worst months of the year, I think.  Short days, slow, cold months, and holiday conviviality is over.

In this issue: " 'Loud music, positive energy, polite, friendly, welcoming people, bright clothes, good art, conviviality,' he says, 'and the occasional telltale smell of mothballs.' "

Moving on. Malfeasance, which reminds me so much of the sub par Disney movie Maleficent, is next. It's in Brian Baker's piece on Jade (the random local '70s band, not the ornamental rock).

malfeasance: wrongdoing or misconduct, esp. by a public official; commission of an act that is positively unlawful (n.)

In this issue: "Their strongest connection is Jade, a Cincinnati band from the early ’70s with great potential but which had its big break undermined by bad luck and malfeasance."

Next is a word that I see all over the place, but I don't actually know what it means and I've never bothered to look it up. When I saw quixotic it in this week's issue, I figured I should learn it, even if most of you already know it. It's found in our super handy list of the Top 10 Films of 2014.

quixotic: extravagantly chivalrous or foolishly idealistic; visionary; impractical or impracticable (adj.)

In this issue: "One of two films on this list I caught at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival (see Ida below), I was over the moon when this tale about cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky’s quixotic attempt to bring Dune to life reached area screens."

OK, that's all I've got. Take your arsenal of new words out into the world and have a happy weekend, readers.

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good late morning readers! It's time to take another look at the Words Nobody Uses or Knows in this week's issue and the general absurdities of the English language.

I once spent a lot of time in Columbus teaching largely illiterate adults how to read and write English. (Most were recent immigrants from India.) And let me tell you, trying to explain a sentence like: "Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present" to a person with little or no English skills is tough. Or how about "The bandage was wound around the wound" or "She was close to the door so she closed it."

It's a complicated language, riddled with nuances and mysterious rules. The adults I taught, many of whom had never taken a formal English course in their lives, astounded me with their sheer enthusiasm to take it on.

It's hard, ya'll. Even I mess it up on a daily basis, and reading and writing is, like, my job. Reading CityBeat has expanded my arsenal of adult words, though, and it will expand yours, too. Pick up this week's issue! Read it! Learn!

OK, onto the best word in this week's issue: bifurcated, in Kathy Y. Wilson's fatigued editorial regarding the criminal justice system.

bifurcated: having two branches or peaks; forked (adj.)

In this issue: "In those hands, blackness morphs into rage, disappointment, property damage, protests, shame, splintered loyalties and proof, once and for all, that we are indeed living in Two Americas, a bifurcated landscape where, after all these generations together, we steadfastly still refuse to accept and/or respect the complexities of race."

Next best word is nadir, found in our cover story, a really interesting and well written piece on the litany of issues facing the county morgue and crime lab.

nadir: that point of the celestial sphere directly opposite to the zenith and directly below the observer; the lowest point (adj.)

In this issue: "Sales tax receipts in the county have grown $9 million since their recession nadir in 2009."

Next word is idyll. I can't figure out where this word actually appeared in the issue, but I know it's in there somewhere. I'll give you the definition anyway, because two words just isn't enough:

idyll (can always be spelled idyl): a short poem or prose work describing a simple, peaceful scene of rural or pastoral life; a scene or incident suitable for such a work (n.)

And here's a random sentence with it, via the Almighty Google: "But the appearance of a pastoral idyll conceals a poverty trap."

Happy holidays, readers.

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

Good morning readers.

Well, we're in the thick of the holiday season. There's Christmas decor and Christmas music in every store and the expectation to attend holiday office parties, secret Santa games and family get-togethers. For those of you who find this terrifying, exhausting or nerve wracking, check out our latest issue: "In Defense of Everything You Think You Hate About the Holidays." It'll remind you that not everything this special time of year is awful. That scaring children into good behavior for toys has its benefits. That mother-in-laws aren't all pestering shrews, and eggnog, when made just right, is fluffy and delicious. Pick one up!

Now onto the matter at hand: vocab. There were plenty of Words Nobody Knows of Uses in this week's issue. Three of them were found in the review of The Mercer OTR, by Anne Mitchell. The first pretentious word (though not the issue's best) is scenester, which sounds very close to sinister.

scenester: one who associates with a prominent, usually fashionable, group of people (n.)

I can safely say that I am not a scenester.

In this issue: "Many of the newest places appeal to a scenester crowd, happy to hang out and wait for a table in the crunch of friends."

Next up is allay.

allay: to lessen, relieve, or alleviate pain, grief, etc. (transitive v.) For those of you who haven't had a grammar lesson in years and don't remember what transitive means (like myself), a transitive verb with is an action verb with a direct object. The more you know the more you grow.

In this issue: "They were perfectly seared with brown butter and served over parsnip puree flavored with shiitake mushrooms — one of those dishes where you have to close your eyes when you take a bite to allay the sensory overload."  She's talking about scallops here. The entire article did a damn good job at making me hungry well before lunch.

If you're a decent cook you may already know this third word: lardons. Alas, my cooking skills are limited to basic chicken dishes and soup, so I had no idea.

lardons: also called lardoon, larding needle or larding, is a small strip or cube of pork fat (usually subcutaneous fat) used in a wide variety of cuisines to flavor savory foods and salads (n.)

In this issue:  "My friend loved her mix of wild bitter greens ($9) with crispy lardons and a poached egg — 'the breakfast salad,' we were advised."


Last on the list of Words Nobody Knows or Uses is hibernal, found in Maija Zummo's delightful essay, "In Defense of Scaring Children into Good Behavior."

hibernal: of, relating to, or occurring in winter

In this issue: "The afterlife mythos that guides the moral compass of adults doesn’t apply to children, only the hibernal horror of a costumed and obese adult male waiting on the roof for them to close their eyes scares them into the black-and-white behavior model of being 'good.' "

Enjoy the weekend, readers!

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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.

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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.

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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.

<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]>

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.)

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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 claw-like hands)..."

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]>

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 meaningbut 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."

<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]> Good afternoon, readers. I’ve got my coffee and a plethora of smart-sounding words from this week’s issue, which, by the way, showcases fabulous interviews with the most anticipated acts of MidPoint Music Fest this weekend. If you haven’t already, pick up the paper, and for all you die-hard festival fans, check out our entire page dedicated to all things MPMF.

But onto the matter at hand: vocab. My favorite word from this weeks issue is nefarious, which appears in Staff Picks.

Nefarious: very wicked; villainous; iniquitous (adj.) Someone on Urban Dictionary defined nefarious as “When a person grabs a dead seagull and squeezes a fart out of it.” Yea, don’t try that.

In this issue: “Once the sun starts to drop, Kings Island becomes dangerously full of nefarious clowns, bloodied doctors and howling wearwolves.” Nope. I can think of a thousand better ways to spend an evening than pee-my-pants scared at Kings Island.

The next best word is daguerreotype, from Ben Kaufman’s "On Second Thought"; a word you’ll most likely never use in conversation, ever.

Daguerreotype: a photograph made by an early method on a plate of chemically treated metal (n.)

In the issue: "It’s a 21st century color version of a 19th century daguerreotype keepsake of a dead child." (The rest of the article isn't that grim, I promise.) Daguerreotype was apparently a really unsafe photographic process in the 1840s and '50s, one that exposed people to mercury vapors and had long exposure times. Maybe that's why no one is ever smiling in antique photos?

Indelible: that cannot be erased, blotted out, eliminated, etc.; permanent; lasting (adj.)

In this issue: "Marlon Brando’s brutish Stanley Kowalski and Jessica Tandy’s (later Vivien Leigh’s) broken Southern belle Blanche DuBois are historic, indelible and seminal performances." in Stacy Sim's review of A Streetcar Named Desire

The last word is consternation, which appears in Sound Advice.

Consternation: a state of great alarm, agitation, or dismay (n.) Yes, I tend to feel consternation watching local TV news, or when I find grammatical errors on the back of cereal boxes.

In this issue: "He did so because he found that he had problems with certain aspects of conservative Jewish orthodoxy, bringing forth the expected consternation.

<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]>

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, 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.

Samantha Gellin writes "From the Copy Desk" weekly from her desk as CityBeat's copy editor. Her job is to find and correct everybody else's mistakes, occasionally referencing a dictionary to check one of our more pretentious educated writers' choices of words. She rounds up and recaps the best ones here on Thursdays when there's not too much editing to do.

<![CDATA[Trending Topics]]>

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

"Umm, depends...Why?"

"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.