CityBeat Blogs - Life http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33-48.html <![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]> The well of vocab was no longer dry this week thanks to our cover story "America's Best Worst Politicians," a supplement from the Association of Alternative Newspapers. You’ve got to read it to believe it, folks. And yes, I copy edited the entire, 15-page piece (Oxford commas and all) and I inserted every single mean mug into the online version. Thanks to AAN reporters from across the country, you not only get to read about the horn dogs, user boozers and sleazeball politicians, but you also get to see some creative vocabulary up close. In addition to the locally grown content, of course.

Strangely enough, all of the regular content eye-catching words start with the letter “P.”

 

paucity: smallness of quantity, n.

“Few reporters note that rockets fired from Gaza are aimed at Israeli civilians, although they note the comparative paucity of Israeli victims,” in Ben L. Kaufman’s Curmudgeon Notes. Yet again, another week of worthy comments on the shortcomings of journalistic coverage. His comments on the reporting of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are important albeit hard to understand.

 

portend: to foreshadow, v. (used with an object)

“What does this all portend for the live presence of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah?” in Brian Baker’s Sound Advice for the CYHSY show. Actually, that’s a great question, considering the band used to have four members and at least three of them have left the group since 2011. I’m curious how this resolves itself on Fountain Square this Friday night.

 

prescient: to have knowledge of something before it exists, adj.

“An example of how prescient the Alvins believe Broonzy to have been …” in Steven Rosen’s Bond of Brothers, describing the relationship two really old guys have with a record done by an even older guy that they listened to in their childhood.
 

 

America’s Best Worst Politicians Vocabulary

 

apprised: to  inform or tell someone, v.

“Dayton explained he had been credibly, confidently apprised that the Capitol itself would be shortly laid waste by terrorists,” in Neal Karlen’s description of Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. Who apprised him of that?

Also, who knew that someone who gave his own tenure in the Senate an “F” could be elected governor on a pity vote? I didn’t know it was so easy but then again, I don’t have $4 million to finance my own campaign.

 

moribund: in a dying state, near death, adj.

“A defrocked demagogue, she still pretends her Tea Party is a reactionary revolution, not a moribund refuge for the Republicans’ traditional bloc of bat-shit crazy far-right-wingers,” in Karlen’s bit on Minnesota U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann.

I hope Karlen’s use of moribund in relation to the Tea Party is accurate, but considering Bachmann’s talk of another presidential run in 2016, it may be wishful thinking. Karlen (if you ever read this), brace yourself because I’m sure you’ll have to cover that.

Shout-out to Karlen, by the way, for using one of my personal favorite phrases, “bat-shit crazy.” I keep trying to convince my mother it’s a thing because obviously, it’s a thing. 

 

opprobrium: harsh criticism or censure, n.

“… Jan Brewer affixed her signature to the infamous, immigrant-bashing Senate Bill 1070 and rode a wave of xenophobia to electoral triumph… and liberal opprobrium,” in Stephen Lemons description of Arizona Governor Jan Brewer. It wasn’t just “liberal opprobrium,” considering the U.S. Supreme Court threw out a lot of the law as unconstitutional. Take that, Jan Brewer.

When I was learning how to insert the photos, our design editor specifically said, “Use the photo where she’s laughing like the devil.”

 

troglodyte: a prehistoric cave-dweller, a person of degraded character or a person unacquainted with affairs of the world, n.

“DeMint backed Todd ‘Legitimate Rape’ Akin, Richard ‘God Wants Rape Babies’ Mourdock and a host of other troglodyte true-believers,” in Chris Haire’s bit on South Carolina former U.S. Senator Jim DeMint. Troglodyte is the word of the week, hands down. Pick whatever definition you want, they all apply. Props to Haire for his ability to find the perfect word for such people. DeMint was one of my personal favorites on the list, for his views that gays and unwed heterosexual women having sex shouldn’t be allowed to teach in public schools. I’d love to hear his plans for unwed heterosexual men and how he would like to enforce these ideas.

 

Unfortunately, state schools in Indiana (or at least Ball State) start school really early (like August 18) so I’m heading back to Muncie and you lovely people only have one more week until you probably won’t notice the fabulous words in CityBeat anymore. Please return next week for my going away Fiesta Edition. I just made that up.



Rachel Podnar writes "From the Copy Desk" weekly from her desk as CityBeat's intern 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.
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<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]> The idea of using enough self control to pack a delicious meal, find a blanket and change locations without eating said lunch sounds futile to me, but this week’s cover story Pick a Picnic is about as inspiring it gets in the line of picnic inspiration. So pick up your copy and choose your own adventure, but first — here’s your dictionary for the issue.

Maybe the summer heat is stifling the writers’ vocab, (or they were out having too much fun this weekend at Bunbury) but there weren’t very many vocab words this week. That being said, that’s no excuse to let your vocabulary get stagnant, we’ll go with what we have …  

 

requisite: a thing necessary for the achievement of a specific end, n.

My college education hasn’t thus far outright taught me this word, but now I see I knew it all along. I know perfectly well “prerequisite” means “course you need to take before you take you’re smart enough to take the one you really want.” So a requisite is also something that is necessary. It seems that requisite and prerequisite are synonyms (so Google tells me), why are they both needed? 

In the issue: “Don’t forget the requisite potato pancake on the side,” referring to Rascals’ NY Deli in the Doggie Day in Amberley Village picnic option. I agree, potato products are a requisite for happiness — a good picnic, I mean. Is it lunchtime yet?

 

sycophantic: using flattery to win favor from those with influence, adj.

Without reading the definition, finish this sentence: If a journalist can be described as sycophantic, that journalist is also … ? Got nothing? Me either. Let’s get straight to the context clues.

In the paper: “Part of the problem, Sullivan said, is the failure of sycophantic Times writers and editors to ‘challenge and vet the views of these government sources,’ ”  in this week’s edition of Ben L. Kaufman’s Curmudgeon Notes. In the past three weeks, we’ve heard about mislabeled sources, shield laws and jingoistic editorials — anybody else miss Worst Week Ever?

 

Bonus Round: The bonus round is just as long as the regular round, folks.

nascent: a process or organization coming into existence and displaying signs of future potential, adj. Like when you read blog the first week you thought, “the nascent copy editing blog.” Scavenger Hunt! Maybe I’m crazy but I can’t seem to find this word in the issue …

 

Exclusive cultural lesson for the week!

So there’s a movie out now called And So It Goes, with Michael Douglas and Diane Keaton. TT-stern-enzi (in a preview that was cut for space) described Keaton’s role in the film world right now as the woman that gets the lothario male character to settle down a la As Good As It Gets with Jack Nicholson. I’m not a movie previewer but maybe the preview will get posted online today (I don’t know, I’m not the web editor or anything).

So Lothario is the name of the male character in The Impertinent Curiosity, a metastory in Don Quixote. Lothario is a seducer of woman, giving his name use as a noun meaning, “a man who behaves selfishly and irresponsibly in his sexual relationships with women.”

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<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]> Welcome to another edition of your weekly array of vocab words.

This blog is only on CityBeat's website, but I would strongly recommend you pick up the paper this week for our Double Down cover package of back-to-back festivals Bunbury and Buckle Up. I'll be at Bunbury all three days. If you want to say hi, I'll be the 1,000th girl in a flower crown.

dulcet warble: a melody that is pleasing to the ear, n.

This one’s a two-for-one — two new, funky-sounding words that combine into one phrase. If you have any knowledge of Spanish desserts, you probably inferred that dulcet meant sweet, as dulce describes something as sweet en Español. No phonetic/origin hints I'm aware of for warble, though.

In the paper: Brian Baker describes Buckle Up performer Ashley Monroe as, “It wasn’t difficult to hear Dolly Parton in Monroe’s dulcet warble.” In her dulcet warble? What’s a dulcet warble? Do I have one? Unfortunately upon reading the definition I realized I do not have a dulcet warble, probably one of the reasons I’m not performing in the Buckle Up festival.

 

purveyor: a supplier of goods and provisions, n.

This stood out because it sounds antiquated. Who counts as a purveyor in 2014? Rachel Podnar, purveyor of vocabulary…

In the paper: Baker’s Top Ten Buckle Up Acts gets two nods for vocab with “Arlo McKinley and the band of Country purveyors he’s dubbed the Lonesome Sound.” If only Bunbury’s Alternative Pop/Rock/Country inspired the same illustrious vocabulary as Buckle Up’s Country does, then then the vocab distribution in the two articles would be even (but who's counting?). 

 

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies: Latin, who shall keep watch over the guardian? Phrase.

Here’s a phrase I’ve never heard before and I’m sure I’ll never say in conversation.

In the paper: OK, maybe when you read this in Ben L. Kaufman’s column “Who Guards the Guardians?” questioning the Obama administration's seemingly limited understanding of how a free press works. The phrase just popped up out of nowhere, but it was followed by “Who guards the guardians? Obama? Holder?” and you probably thought, ‘Gee, I bet that Latin means who guards the guardians.’ I personally didn’t put that together but now I know better.

 

visceral: either characterized by instinct rather than intellect or characterized by coarse or base emotions, adj.

Visceral is the kind of word you’re familiar with but not familiar enough to use it in conversation so now that you’re clear on the definition, get out there and start describing all the visceral things in your life.

In the paper: Brian Baker used it in his Sound Advice describing “Lee Bains III & The Glory Fires,” (aka one of the most confusing band names for a copy editor) when he said “visceral Garage Rock sugar helps the medicine of re-examining sins and scars of Southern suppression go down.” What a sentence. I think visceral Garage Rock might make remembering suppression worse but that’s just me.

 

summarily: in a prompt or direct manner, or without notice adv.

Summarily isn’t a “big word” but it doesn’t mean what you think it would mean. Given its similarity to “summary” I thought “summarily” meant an adverb form of  “a short description of all of its parts,” but I can’t think of how that could function as an adverb and I’m sure no one else could either so they threw a new definition at it.

In the paper: Summarily is the weekly word from Kathy Y. Wilson, this time in her strongly-worded argument against Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper program, which “summarily dismisses that while black and Latino boys are suffering, black and Latino women are suffering more than anyone else.” Looks like Obama caught some flack from both of our columnists this week.

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<![CDATA[From The Copy Desk]]> All right guys, you know the drill. I found nine words this week to choose from, the most I’ve noticed so far. Maybe the writers are doing it on purpose?

Be sure to check out the issue (and subsequently this blog) before the Fourth of July food coma and drunken stupor sets in. That doesn't give you much time so you'd better get started ...


Autodidactic: like a self-taught person, adj.

I could have figured this out without wordreference.com if I would have just thought about it a little bit — auto, meaning self and dictact, meaning teaching. It makes sense; it’s just that people use this word even less than they learn things for themselves.


In the paper: “I just wanted to write because, autodidactic as I am, I had the sense to know that writers write,” in Kathy Y. Wilson’s “No. 104.” Can I make a joke about Kathy’s autodidactic deduction? Yes, writers write, but as opposed to what, exactly? 

 

Cogent: appealing to the mind or reason, adj.

I can’t think of a cogent reason why I like this word, but I do. FYI, it’s pronounced COjent.


In the paper: Looks like Kathy Y. Wilson pulled a double-vocab-hitter this week, “He [Danny Cross] said cogent things to me about my voice, my skill set and my value to this city” in “No. 104,” describing how our editor got her to start writing this column two years ago. I can’t really imagine Danny saying anything cogent (jokes, jokes) but whatever he said must have worked if she’s been back for 104 weeks of columns (much more impressive than my short tenure as copy editor/blogger).

 

Epocha: the beginning of a distinctive period in the history of anything, n.

Please turn to Epoch in your dictionary, because even the 1913 Webster’s Dictionary said so. Epocha is the Latin version of epoch because John Adams just had to be that formal.


In the paper: Although it appeared in Isaac Thorn’s “The Fourth of July and Me” sidebar, the credit for this one goes to John Adams. Apparently he screwed up pretty big time when he thought what we celebrate as the Fourth of July was supposed to the Second of July. “The Second Day of July 1776 will be the most memorable Epocha in the History of American,” Adams said.

 

Je ne sais quoi: French phrase, meaning a quality that cannot be described or expressed, n.

Expressions borrowed from other languages that we are supposed to understand when used in an English sentence are hard. I know what déjà vu and pièce de résistance mean, but come on, isn't this the Fourth of July issue?


In the paper: Shout out to “Beygency Officer” Jac Kern aka Arts and Culture Editor for mixing in some French with her English this week. Also for changing the masthead to say “Beygency Officer,” I’m guessing because she had the privilege of attending Beyoncé and Jay Z’s On the Run show this past weekend. I personally have never seen the ‘90s lifetime movie The Face on the Milk Carton so I can’t give you a hint as to what Jac meant when she wrote "[The new MTV series Finding Carter] could be watchable, but will surely lack that '90's lifetime movie je ne sais quoi," in her TV roundup. I did, however, try and read the eponymous book when I was in fifth grade, but I was 11 years old and I distinctly remember being uncomfortable with the teenage sexual tension between the main character and her neighbor.


I give Jac *Pick of the Week* this week because the Beygency Officer thing was so funny and I haven’t thought about The Face on the Milk Carton since 2005 and she taught us all some French.

 

Pilsner: a tall slender footed glass for beer, n.

When I read this in the paper, I thought "Wow I wonder what a pilsner is," and I was extremely disappointed when Google Images just showed what I would describe as a “beer glass but not a stein.” Maybe you all knew what a pilsner was (it is also a type of beer) and I’m just showing my age (20) or lack of class. 


In the paper: “These boys know how to have fun and get a laugh, whether it’s drinking wine out of a pilsner glass…” in Nick Grever’s “Kings of Power” about the comically named Martin Luther and the Kings band. Now that I now what a pilsner glass is, I can appreciate the quantities of wine they drink during rehearsal.

 

Bonus round: This is more grammar than vocab, but which is correct, upward or upwards? It’s always upward, regardless of what you may say in conversation. Upward as in “The car cost upward of $30,000,” according to my handy dandy 2012 Associated Press Stylebook.

 

Also, if you’re studying for a spelling bee and dying to know what words didn’t make the cut, you can click for caliphate, contrived and histrionics yourself.

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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]> Welcome to week two of the vocab blog. I got a teaser on page 7 of the issue this week so you could say things are getting pretty serious. In case you weren’t here last week, this is where I showcase the wackiest words from this week's issue of CityBeat. I’m paying close attention while I copy edit (I guess that’s what copy editing is, paying close attention) to find the most interesting words so you can add some snazz to your vocabulary.

Aegis: used in the idiom “under the aegis of,” meaning sponsored or supported by, n.

I’m sure we’ve all read this word, using context clues for the correct definition, but I wonder how often it gets thrown around in conversation. Does anyone know how to pronounce aegis? I’m thinking AGEis, aGIS. After hitting up Merriam-Webster for a robot audio pronunciation, it’s Egis. Your next challenge is finding a way to casually incorporate it in conversation, pronouncing it correctly. 

In the paper: “under LCT’s aegis” in Rick Pender’s "Curtain Call" column for the week on the League of Cincinnati Theatres Award.

Ephemera: a class of collectable items not originally intended to last more than a short time, n.

*Pick of the Week* I like this because it’s a niche word. It can only be used to describe stuff like trading cards and tickets, which is awesome. I wonder which was used first, the adjective ephemeral, which can be used to describe anything fleeting, or the more selective noun?

In the paper: “there is little fortune in ephemera like the card,” shout-out to Maria Seda-Reeder for using ephemera correctly, describing the 1940s business card of a creepy, self-appointed “dealer of love” in “Another Man’s Treasure.” Also, if I may say, I smiled at the title because I thought "No, not one man’s trash — that’s another man’s come-up." Come-up, if you don’t know, means something like “cool stuff found in a thrift store” and Macklemore's “Thrift Shop” brought it into colloquial use.

Irascible: irritable, adj.

This is one of those words where I can feel what it’s supposed to bring to the sentence just by the way it looks and is pronounced, but I couldn’t come up with a single synonym because I really have no idea and the “feel” of a word is something I just made up.

In the paper: “a portrait of irascible President Lyndon Johnson.” Rick Pender pulled a double vocab hitter in “Curtain Call,” as you know he also gave us this week’s “aegis.” Should he get “Vocab Master” of the week? Fun fact, I learned from Ben L. Kaufman’s “On Second Thought” that theater-writer Pender is a former CityBeat arts editor. Maybe you already were aware. Perhaps some of the current editors will follow Pender’s lead and include some more daring vocabulary in their issue contributions.

Incursion: hostile invasion of territory, n.

This is basically just a fancy version of “invasion,” which I’m guessing is more widely understood. I’d like to note incursion is the opposite of excursion, which we all know is an outing.

In the paper: “The Avengers repelled an alien incursion of planet Earth,” in tt stern-enzi’s cover story on summer movies. He used “incursion” because “invasion” was just too mundane.

Relegate: to send something to a lower ranking, v.

Relegate is extremely obvious from context clues and this probably isn’t a new vocab word for anyone. But as a copy editor, I had to ask ‘Why didn’t she just use “delegate” instead? Technically, delegate would work because it also means to elect something to represent something else, but Kathy Y. Wilson was trying to convey a demotion of sort, hence relegate was the precise verb for the job. Bravo.

In the paper: “pitbulls have been relegated to outcast status,” in Kathy Y. Wilson’s “Wagging the Dog.”


Rachel Podnar writes "From the Copy Desk" weekly from her desk as CityBeat's intern 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.


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<![CDATA[From the Copy Desk]]> Did you know that it's someone's job to read the entire newspaper searching for everybody else's mistakes? Well it is, and this common method of editorial quality control is my job for the summer — I read every issue of CityBeat (yes, every single page, even the Eats: "Classes and Events," which is painful) and look for typos, misspellings, incorrect facts, AP style or grammar slip ups. I'm trying to catch all of it so the copy you read is clean and you aren't thinking "What the hell was CityBeat on this week?"

It's not just leisure reading. Sometimes the band names are so obscure I can't find them online to fact-check. Can I stop pretending I've heard of any of these groups?

If my enrollment in college means I read at a college level, then some of CityBeat's writers must have doctoral degrees because they're throwing out some pretty ostentatious vocabulary. I keep noticing crazy words I've never heard of and I can’t be the only one. I am, however, the only one who has to check (*cough, editors*). I Google them, just hoping the writer used it incorrectly and I can smirk as I mark it with my red pen. So far, no dice.

Anyways, here’s a roundup of the words that gave me a double take this week. I’ll grab the dictionary so you don’t have to (you probably weren’t planning on it anyway).

Adroit: skillful, adj.

OK, congratulations if you already knew this one, I felt the need to double-check. Turns out I’m not so adroit at vocab, ha.

In the paper: “the sisters are adroit in doing makeup for film production,” in “Style Sisters” about makeup maven duo Andrea and Ashley Lauren. Sounds like the pair is adroit in business savvy as well, they were the first in the Midwest to open up a blowout bar.

Cognoscenti: someone with an informed appreciation, n.

*Pick of the week* Maybe I just like it because of its Italian origin; cognoscenti rolls off the tongue. I’d never heard it before, but now I’ll be sure to tell everyone what a shopping cognoscenti I am.

In the paper: “the soccer cognoscenti” in this week's cover story, “Ballin’ in Brazil.” You can pretty much get the definition from context clues, but using the French version of the word, synonym "connoisseur," wouldn’t have been the same because, to me, it evokes food. Bonus tidbit: Both cognoscenti and connoisseur are derivatives of the Latin cognōscere, which means, “to know.”

Diaspora: the dispersion of a group from the same culture, n.  

I think diaspora may be experiencing a moment lately. I’ve run into it a few times lately, once in reference to the relationship between Russia and the Ukraine.

In the paper: “my family’s diaspora” in Kathy Wilson’s “A Day in the Life.” Wilson uses it to describe the splintering of her immediate family over the years in a piece about randomly running into her brother and a thoughtful longtime reader. 

Eponymous: work named after its creator or central character, adj.

I’m surprised this word isn’t used more often, considering all the situations in which it could be applied. I’m thinking, Spongebob, Forrest Gump and *NSYNC’s self-titled album, all eponymous.

In the issue: “Those Darlins eponymous debut album,” in Sound Advice. Spoiler alert, the album is called “Those Darlins.”

Incisive: keen, acute, adj.

From seeing incisive in the subhead, I assumed metal band Agalloch's music could also be described as “biting.” From reading about the band’s woodsmoke, wrought iron and moss-informed music sensibility, however, I had to check and see if there was another definition. Turns out incisive also means “keen,” which more closely describes the band’s discipline and vision.

In the issue: “incisive metal outfit” in the subhead for music lead story on Agalloch, “The Devil is in the Details.”

Bonus… my favorite word from last week: Amalgam

No, I don’t remember the story it was used in a week ago, but it’s just a noun for a blend or combination. Like, “I enjoy an amalgam of iced decaf from Lookout Joe, Coffemate creamer and Splenda.”

Check back next week, too. I’ll be documenting the growing body of words known to me here on the blog until August.


Rachel Podnar writes "From the Copy Desk" weekly from her desk as CityBeat's intern 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.

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<![CDATA[Thanks, Cleveland Press Club!]]> We thought it was a little weird when the Cleveland Press Club told us it “highly recommended” we attend its awards ceremony on June 6, largely because its representative put the words "highly recommend" in quotation marks and we couldn’t tell if she was being sarcastic — maybe someone just wanted to see us drive 250 miles to pick up a bunch of “last-place” trophies. That sort of thing can be funny under the right circumstances.

It turns out we did pretty well, though, winning first-place in six non-daily categories, including the Best in Ohio: Alternatives contest. Our staff photographer Jesse Fox earned second-place for Best in Ohio: Photographer, a high honor as she was up against all the big papers and magazines in the state.


Here's a full list of winners and finalists in the statewide competition. CityBeat's work that earned recognition is listed below. Congrats to all, including our former colleagues who now work for the Cincinnati Business Courier and Vox Media. (Missu guys!)


Reviews/Criticism

FIRST PLACE: “Spill It” by 
Mike Breen


Features: General

FIRST PLACE: “The Linguistics of Legislation: Reviewing the outdated, overly conservative and just plain funny laws still on the books” by Hannah McCartney and Maija Zummo


Public Service

FIRST PLACE: "From the Inside: Inmates told CityBeat about violence, staff ineptitude and unsanitary conditions inside Ohio's private prison. Then came the surprise inspections." by German Lopez


Arts & Entertainment

FIRST PLACE: "Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross


Community / Local Coverage

FIRST PLACE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez


Best in Ohio: Alternatives

FIRST PLACE: Cincinnati CityBeat Staff


Best in Ohio: Photographer

SECOND PLACE: "Body of Work" by Jesse Fox (See images below.)



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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Ranked No. 3 U.S. Staycation Destination]]> Cincinnati has finally been released from its icy prison, and the citizens have thawed out and are ready to start rebuilding their relationship with the sun. Time to buy a plane ticket for California, right? Nope. Time to explore our own beautiful city. 

A study done by WalletHub, an online personal finance resource, compared the 100 largest U.S. cities using 20 key metrics based on cost expenses and public attractions to find the best place to have a “staycation.” (A staycation is a break from working, but not traveling outside of your city.) Cincinnati was ranked third, officially winning the battle of Ohio for best city; Cleveland was ranked 13th and Columbus can be found on the latter half of the list — specifically at No. 66. 

Here are just a few of the ratings that went toward our third place win (as computed by the site): 
  • 1st: Public golf courses per capita 
  • 2nd: Swimming pools per capita 
  • 5th: Tennis courts per capita 
  • 14th: Museums per capita 
  • 19th: Spas per capita 
  • 63rd: Cost of a movie ticket 
  • 53rd: Cost of a maid service 
  • 1st: Number of parks per capita 
Can’t argue with the facts, especially the fact that Cincinnati has the most public golf courses per capita in the nation. We’ve got public golf courses by airports — Reeves golf course at the Lunken Airport Playfield, where you can play 18 for less than $40 — and we even have golf courses in our amusement parks — The Golf Center at Kings Island, where $41 gets you 18 holes and a cart. 

If golf isn’t your thing — after all, Cincinnati’s summers are hot and damp (Wallethub ranked Cincinnati weather at 33rd) — not to fret, Cincinnati is second in the nation for swimming pools per capita, so staycationers should pack a bathing suit. (Cleveland received the No. 1 rank for swimming pools, a small victory … but also one that opens up a world of jokes involving the Browns and pools.)

It is not a joke, however, to say Cincinnati has myriad beautiful parks, and now we have the statistics to prove it: We’re No. 1. Ault Park, Eden Park, Bellevue Park, Washington Park, Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove, Burnet Woods — wherever you are in Cincinnati there’s a park. Sit on a bench and enjoy them. 

This study serves as an embodiment of what most Cincy natives say about the city: it’s up and coming. People that don’t even live here are telling us how good we have it. Put in a time request at work today and start planning a Cincinnati staycation. 

See the results for yourself here.
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<![CDATA[CityBeat Wins Mad Awards 2014]]> Last year, CityBeat won several local and statewide awards for journalism produced in 2012, which we celebrated by drinking a lot and breaking a couple easily replaceable objects. (Someone also stole some coasters from a law office, but we’re not as proud of that.)

This year we did pretty OK again, receiving six first-place and 13 runner-up awards from the Cincinnati chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists for work produced in 2013. Six pieces are also finalists in the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards, which will be announced June 6.

CityBeat photographer Jesse Fox won the Cincinnati SPJ’s “Best Feature Photography” award for a collection of work that is also a finalist in the Cleveland contest. Arts & Culture Editor Jac Kern’s “I Just Can’t Get Enough” column won the local “Lifestyle Reporting” visual communication category, and Contributing Arts Editor Steven Rosen won the Cincy SPJ’s “Arts/Entertainment Critique” award for a collection of his "The Big Picture" columns. Editor Danny Cross won first in the “Editorial” category for an angry essay titled “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent,” and CityBeat’s “The Answers Issue” took first for “Lifestyle Feature.” CityBeat also won “Best Weekly Newspaper” in Cincinnati and is a finalist for “Best Non-Daily Newspaper in Ohio: Alternatives."

Other finalists for the Cleveland Press Club’s statewide awards were “The Linguistics of Legislation,” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill in the “Features: General” category, and German Lopez’s collection of streetcar coverage in “Community/Local Coverage.” Lopez’s investigation into Ohio’s dysfunctional private prison, “From the Inside,” is a finalist for the “Public Service” award, as is Cross’ look into the controversial firing of Loveland High School’s drama instructor, “Legally Banned,” for “Arts and Entertainment” reporting. CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen was again recognized for music writing, as he is a finalist for the Press Club’s “Reviews/Criticism” award.

The following is a complete list of work recognized by the Cincinnati Society of Professional Journalists and Cleveland Press Club:

Cincinnati SPJ: First Place Awards

EDITORIAL: “Cincinnati’s 1 Percent” by Danny Cross

LIFESTYLE FEATURE: “The Answers Issue” by CityBeat Staff

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT CRITIQUE: “The Big Picture” by Steven Rosen

BEST WEEKLY NEWSPAPER: CityBeat

LIEFESTYLE REPORTING: “I Just Can’t Get Enough” by Jac Kern

FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY: Jesse Fox

Cincinnati SPJ: Finalists

GENERAL ASSIGNMENT NEWS STORY: “Restricted Responsibility: Lawsuit argues Miami University should have dismissed alleged rapist for previous violations” by Hannah McCartney; “Testing Faith: Catholic Church fires Purcell Marian assistant principal over support of gay marriage" by Danny Cross

INVESTIGATIVE/ENTERPRISE/DATABASE REPORTING: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor" by Danny Cross

CONTINUING COVERAGE OR SERIES: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez

NEWS COLUMN: Kathy Y. Wilson; German Lopez

BUSINESS NEWS: “Cleaning House: Janitors strike against New York City-based company contracted by local Fortune 500 companies to clean their buildings” by Hannah McCartney

SPORTS NEWS: “All Part of the Game: Ruling against former Bengals players illustrates the next step in NFL concussion saga” by Bill Sloat and C. Trent Rosecrans

SPORTS FEATURE/ANALYSIS: “A League of Their Own: The Delhi Skirt Game's uniquely flamboyant, 36-year tradition of helping community members in need” by Hannah McCartney

COMMUNITY ISSUES: “Home Invasion?: Planned supportive housing facility has some Avondale residents concerned about its effects on an already plagued neighborhood” by Hannah McCartney

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross

ARTS/ENTERTAINMENT CRITIQUE: "Curtain Call" by Rick Pender; "Spill It" by Mike Breen   

Cleveland Press Club Best in Ohio Finalists:

FEATURES: GENERAL: “The Linguistics of Legislation” by Hannah McCartney, Maija Zummo and Julie Hill

PUBLIC SERVICE: “From the Inside: Inmates told CityBeat about violence, staff ineptitude and unsanitary conditions inside Ohio's private prison. Then came the surprise inspections.” by German Lopez

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT: “Legally Banned: The secret complaints and controversial characters behind the firing of Loveland High School's drama instructor” by Danny Cross

COMMUNITY/LOCAL COVERAGE: “Streetcar Coverage” by German Lopez

BEST NON-DAILY NEWSPAPER IN OHIO: ALTERNATIVES: CityBeat

BEST IN OHIO: PHOTOGRAPHER: Jesse Fox 

REVIEWS/CRITICISM: “Spill It” by Mike Breen

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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Featured in National Geographic Traveler]]>

"As much of America decamped for the suburbs or the coasts, artists, craftspeople, and entrepreneurs rebuilt entire Cincinnati neighborhoods alongside impassioned longtimers," reads an article from the April 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveler.

Cincinnati is more and more getting recognition for our renaissance attitude in national media, and this article touches on everything from our breweries to the 21c and the city's vast collection of every-era architecture and food and nightlife.

Read the full article here.

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<![CDATA[Atomic Number Ten Closing]]> Over-the-Rhine vintage shop Atomic Number Ten is closing, or as owner Katie Garber puts it on the shop's twitter page, hopefully moving on to bigger and better things.

The shop, which specializes in finds for him, her and home from the '50s to the '90s, opened in fall of 2009. And with only a couple of weeks left on its Main Street lease (1306 Main St., OTR, facebook.com/AtomicNumberTen), Garber is having a crazy sale — a "last hurrah" sale. All clothing is $20 or less (some items are even selling for $1), housewares are $10 or less and everything else is discounted at 50 percent off. The store will be keeping normal hours through Jan. 18: noon-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; noon-4 p.m. Sunday.

Says Garber of her customers in a blog post, "We really hope you can make it in to say goodbye. You've been so supportive and we can't thank you enough!  It's been a great ride!"

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<![CDATA[Cincinnati Named Best Place to Retire]]>

 Livability.com — an online resource that explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit — has ranked Cincinnati as the No. 1 place to retire. 


Using data collected from their list of the Top 100 Best Places to Live (Cincy ranked 73), the editors concluded that due to our highly ranked hospitals, affordable housing and vast collection of parks and cultural amenities, the Queen City is the BEST. Yes. The best. Beating out cities like Pittsburgh and St. Louis.


According to a press release, “If the only factor in your retirement planning is playing golf on a daily basis, your choices are pretty clear,” Matt Carmichael, livability.com editor, says. “But for everyone else, we wanted to put together a list of great cities that have more to offer than green grass and easy tee times. Not everyone moves when they retire, but for those who do, here are 10 cities and towns to consider.”


And the piece extolls the benefits of local gems like Krohn Conservatory, the continuing education program at the University of Cincinnati, the Reds, the Bengals, our minor league teams, the Cincinnati Museum Center, Horseshoe Casino and more. 


Read the entire story here.  

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<![CDATA[Penis Sighting at Nippert Stadium ]]> UPDATED 3:29 P.M. "This definitely puts Nippert Stadium in a hard place."
"He just wanted to stick it to the man."
"Hopefully the dean doesn't blow up in his face." — Staff writer German Lopez

UPDATED 3:28 P.M. "If that prankster doesn't keep it up, he might just get off with a warning." — Hannah McCartney

UPDATED 3:22 P.M. "You didn't say anything about this guy potentially getting caught and getting the shaft
." — Staff writer Ge
rman Lopez

Snow angels are for rookies. And snow penises, evidently, are for University of Cincinnati students.

Somehow the folks at Hypervocal and Uproxx caught wind of this before us because we spent all morning trying to fix our blogging system, but someone took advantage of Monday night's snowfall in a non-traditional way, if by non-traditional you mean drawing a humongous awkwardly and disproportionately-shaped penis on the field at University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium.

According to the Hypervocal and Uproxx stories, a UC student took a photo of the public work of art and Tweeted the image, but deleted it later because she felt guilty about it . Of course, by then it was too late, and now it will live down in penis-themed viral web content forever.

I want to make a lot of jokes about this, but Hypervocal and Uproxx have already had a BALL doing that themselves.

Jizz Angle



No word yet if the student has been PENalized.
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<![CDATA[Spring Grove Removes Murder Victim's SpongBob Headstone]]>
Twenty-eight-year-old army sergeant and Ohio native Kimberly Walker was found dead in a Colorado hotel room earlier this year, allegedly murdered by her boyfriend, a soldier, on Valentine's Day. Walker loved SpongeBob SquarePants, so her family had Walker's headstone carved to resemble the bepantsed sponge. She was buried at Spring Grove cemetery with plans to have her grave marked by an almost 7-foot headstone. Spring Grove initially let the family place the stone sponge, but then changed their mind and removed it citing that the piece didn't fit with cemetery guidelines.

Here's a WLWT video on the situation presented without comment because the story is weird, sad, sort of funny in a dark way and both sides have pretty valid points:


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<![CDATA[CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen Wins Another Award]]> CityBeat Music Editor Mike Breen for the second straight year has won the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists statewide contest for Best Rock and Roll Commentary. The Central Ohio SPJ chapter this week recognized work from all across Ohio, with CityBeat’s entries falling into the "Less than 75,000 Circulation" category.

Breen also won first place this year for his music writing entered into the local SPJ chapter’s annual awards.

CityBeat also won first place for Best Website and placed second in the Best Weekly Newspaper category. CityBeat eagerly anticipates finding out what [expletive] publication won first place and intends to mail its leaders a sarcastic token of congratulations once we figure out who they are.

Breen’s body of work included an essay on the Afghan Whigs’ relevance to his life during struggles with drugs and alcohol (My Dark Passenger,” issue of Oct. 17), a review of the Music of Change exhibit at the Freedom Center ("Power of Music Celebrated in 'Music of Change'," issue of Aug. 8) and a review of local band Foxy Shazam’s new album and release show (“Foxy Goes to 'Church',” issue of Jan. 18).

CityBeat’s Best of Cincinnati Issue (issue of March 28) won second in the Best Special Section category, and two investigative stories were also recognized.

Staff Writer German Lopez’s investigation into the failures of Ohio’s prison privatization plan (“Liberty for Sale,” issue of Sept. 19) won second place for Best Criminal Justice Reporting, and CityBeat Editor Danny Cross was runner up in the Best Investigative Reporting category for his uncovering of how Western & Southern Financial Group could have purchased the Anna Louise Inn long before entering into a dirty legal battle that ultimately forced the nonprofit to give up its building ("Surrounded by Skycrapers," issue of Aug. 15).

The awards will be presented at the annual Ohio SPJ ceremony at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium on Oct. 5.

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<![CDATA[Epitomizing Cincinnati? ]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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<![CDATA[Turns Out Kids Aren't Racist Assholes]]> 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:
  

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<![CDATA[Last Chance for The Answers Issue]]> 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.
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<![CDATA[Happy Me Day]]>

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.

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<![CDATA[The Answers Issue Needs You!]]>

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.

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