CityBeat Blogs - Life http://www.citybeat.com/cincinnati/blogs-1-1-1-33-48.html <![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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<![CDATA[The Answers Issue: Asking You to Ask Us]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Q: Why isn't Hudephol brewed in Cincinnati?

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

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


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<![CDATA[Ohioans Fucking Swear a Lot ]]>

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

Of course there is. This is America, motherfuckers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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<![CDATA[Eight Local Eating Challenges ]]>

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8) Bard’s Burgers  (Covington) – Two different challenges here: Go big with the Bardzilla — a burger with 10 1/3-lb. beef patties, 10 pieces of cheese, 2 lbs. of French fries and a 16 oz. milkshake (close to 7 lbs. of food). Free if you make it through in 45 minutes or less, $30 if not. Or, for the more timid, there’s the “Little Zilla” — beat the customer record to chow down one of two triple-stacked specialty burgers — the Kitchen Sink or the Widow Maker (eek) — plus an order of large fries and a milkshake, for a free meal
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<![CDATA[Are the Swedes Leading the Mannequin Revolution? ]]> You know when you’re at the store and they’ve run out of your size in a shirt you really, really wanted? And you look at the one hanging on the mannequin hoping and praying it’s a medium so you can derobe her and leave with that peplum top?

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

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





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

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

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

 


The photo of the healthy-looking models was apparently taken in 2010, but it didn't go viral until recently, when Women's Rights News posted on March 12 the image to its Facebook account with the caption, "
Store mannequins in Sweden. They look like real women. The US should invest in some of these." The post has earned nearly 20,000 shares and more than 64,000 likes.  

In the past, you'd probably usually find non-Barbie-fied mannequins strictly at "plus-sized" ladies' stores, which, to me, sort of gives off the impression that there are two types of women in this world who need clothes: white runway lingerie models and white overweight women. Of course, this is not the case, and it's probably time retailers stop deluding themselves and listening to what shoppers want. It's much easier — and less painful — to make smart shopping decisions, which makes for happier shoppers.

And it goes without saying that advertising — particularly in the clothing and beauty industries — plays a huge role in how young girls and women (and men) develop self-image. According to the National Eating Disorders Foundation, 20 million women and 10 million men suffer from eating disorders sometime during their lives, and 40 to 60 percent of elementary school girls (ages 6-12) have expressed concern about their weight or becoming "too fat."

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<![CDATA[Did I Just See a Gay Kindle Commercial?]]>

Last night around 9:30 I was just minding my own business, watching some harmless comedy shows on demand when a commercial came on that piqued my interest via a typically dumb interaction between a dude talking to a babe in a bikini. I was waiting for some type of cliché to end the interaction between the two — something like a beer-commercial crotch shot or the woman doing something weird like licking an ice cube — when the story took a most-surprising turn: the dude in the scene was gay. 

The woman sits down on a beach chair next to the guy, who is squinting into his iPad-looking device like a dork. She starts reading her Kindle like the sun is no big deal and he says: "That's a Kindle, right?"

Woman: "Yeah, it's the new Kindle Paperwhite."

Man: "I love to read at the beach, but..."

Woman: "This is perfect at the beach. And, with the built in light, I can read anywhere anytime."

Man: "Done."

Woman: "With your book?"

Man: Nope. "I just bought a Kindle Paperwhite." *Leans toward her.* "We should celebrate."

Woman: "My husband's bringing me a drink right now."

Man: "So is mine."

Husbands waive from the bar.

I watched it again this morning (the email I sent myself on the subject after having several beers and talking about sports all evening only says: “Gay kindle commercial. What does that commercial mean?”), and it’s actually pretty genius. Gay-rights groups have pointed out that this type of media is following steps taken by shows like Ellen and Modern Family, which depict gay couples as pretty much ordinary anymore. 

Check it out here: 

Naturally, some people on the Internet think it’s way icky. 

And organizations like One Million Moms (a weird, conservative Christian group that should be named something more like “One Million Mean Moms.” Ha.) took exception to it. OMMMs wrote this: “We have Amazon's Kindle Paperwhite commercial that promotes gay marriage. Instead of Amazon remaining neutral in the culture war while showcasing how their product has no glare even at the beach, they chose to promote sin.”

People flagged the ad as inappropriate enough times on YouTube that it was briefly taken down for review, but it was posted back on the site later. 

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<![CDATA[We're Better Than Cleveland!]]>

We’re 21.

That’s right, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cincinnati is the 21st best city in the United States.

The news wire cites Cincinnati’s picturesque downtown,  Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati Pops orchestra and the presence of corporate giant Procter & Gamble as reasons why the city was included in its list of “America’s 50 Best Cities.”

It also doesn’t hurt that have 105 bars, 600 restaurants, 18 museums, 35 libraries and two professional sports teams.

The rankings were based on leisure attributes (such as bars, restaurants and parks), educational attributes, economic factors, crime and air quality. Bloomberg Businessweek said the greatest weighting was placed on leisure amenities, (because having tons of bars to go to is way more important than a good public school system).

San Francisco topped the list of best cities, followed by hipster haven Seattle, Washington D.C. and Boston. 

Cleveland barely made it onto the rankings at 46 and Columbus beat us out by one, ranking No. 20.

The Queen City (we at CityBeat are refusing to adopt the moniker “The City That Sings”) beat out such major metropolises as Los Angeles, St. Louis, Reno, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Antonio, Chicago and Houston.

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<![CDATA[Bill Cunningham: Where's Our [Expletive] Photo?!?]]>

Front page news at The Enquirer('s website):

“Bill Cunningham and his TV show producers want you to like him… on Facebook."

Media reporter John Kiesewetter today encouraged his readers to check out the new Facebook page of Bill Cunningham's TV show. Kiesewetter posted an awesome autographed photo that was sent to him.

Here's what the giddy Kiesewetter wrote: "The Bill Cunningham Show wants you to get his Facebook page updates on the show, as it ramps up social media efforts for its national launch Sept. 17 on the CW Network (Channel 12.2). They wanted me to like him so much that his producers sent me this autographed photo.”

Upon receiving a staff email titled "WHY IS THIS A BLOG" "HOW COOL IS THIS?", CityBeat editors and reporters hurried to our mailboxes to see who might have scored the promo of all promos.

We were disappointed. And because we didn't get the photo we will not be “like”ing your page, Bill, and then hiding it from our timeline so our friends don’t find out.

Maybe we'll go like the FB page of one of the people who sent these items we recently received and tossed into a large pile of shit we don't want:

The Essential Games of the Chicago Cubs (four-disk set seems like overkill)

Armywives episode 619

Syfy’s Boogeyman (a Syfy original movie)

Fatal Honeymoon (premieres Saturday, Aug. 25 at 8 p.m.)

Budz House starting the guy from the Miller High Life commercials

Jodi Picoult collection (Salem Falls, Plain Truth and The Pact)

Lifetime’s Surviving High School

Kathy Griffin double feature called “Pants off and Tired Hooker”

Barack Obama: From his childhood to the presidency

Four IFC Blu-rays: ATM (“No warning. No control. No escape.”); Brake (“The only way out is to give in”); Kill List; and 4:44 Last Day on Earth. 

A FaceOff makeup kit

Twenty-three episodes of the 1937-74 series The Rookies

Bob Dylan book called Forget About Today

Two copies of The History of Us, a novel

 


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<![CDATA[Hop 'Til You Drop ]]> Today is a damn good holiday. 


It’s IPA Day. Or, in the world of Twitterati and Instagrammers, #IPADay.


IPA Day started last year as a grassroots social media movement meant to rally beer nerds worldwide in a grand, joyful and bottle-filled celebration of a craft beer rich with history, hops and happiness.  

According to the event’s website, “IPA Day is not the brainchild of a corporate marketing machine, nor is it meant to serve any particular beer brand. IPA Day is opportunity for all breweries, bloggers, businesses and consumers to connect and share their love of craft beer.”

Last year, enough drinkers got excited about the concept to get the hashtag trending on Twitter with around 10,000 tweets, and now some bars and restaurants are even holding events to celebrate. If you can't find an official event around you, you can at least be a good Samaritan by visiting your favorite watering hole and convincing someone to swap out their normal watered-down brew for something far more satisfying.


The origin of the traditional India Pale Ale is a contentious subject: Popular legend has it that the brew gained popularity in the late 1700s and early 1800s when some genius British guy decided that extra hops needed to be added to the beer Brit soldiers and sailors took on their long voyages to India.

Other beer nerds say the idea of adding hops to beer dates back as far as the 1760s, when there was a general consensus that it was “absolutely necessary” to add hops to beer intended to be consumed in hot climates.

And while Americans may have totally fucked up the taco and every Asian chicken dish (I swear General Tso's chicken is just a bunch of McNuggets doused in bastardized barbeque sauce), we kind of hit it head (pun) on with our Americanization of the IPA, which has enveloped into a beautiful beer subculture rich with variations like double and triple IPAs and crazy flavor profiles, adding fruit and herb undertones and dark, smoky accents.

While some certain brands and styles of beer like mainstream pilsners and lagers might be more ubiquitous in the American drinking landscape, the IPA represents, truly, a craft beer art form that continues to be innovated and explored.

If you're not sure where to start, check out alehead.com's list of some of the best IPAs available today before you head to the store. Bell's Two Hearted Ale will forever have my heart, but I think we might have to see other people today.

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<![CDATA[Coy Bike Polo Court Opens Today ]]> Klutzes beware — today marks the opening of the Coy Bike Polo Court in Clifton. If you've never heard of bike polo, it's when people ride around on bikes using mallets to push a ball across a court into a goal.

Scared yet? Don't be. It just takes some practice. Bike polo is one of the world's up-and-coming sports, already highly popular in India and across Europe. According to the League of Bike Polo, U.S. bike polo was born in Seattle in the '90s, when a group of bike messengers were playing with a ball and some homemade mallets.

“This bike polo court is one the few official bike polo courts in the country,” says Steve Pacella, Cincinnati Recreation Commission superintendent, according to a press release. Several other cities across the U.S., including San Francisco, are scheduled to open official bike polo courts later this year.

Aside from the rise in U.S. cycling culture, its popularity is attributed, in part, to its flexibility — courts can be parking lots, roofs or grassy areas, meaning it's easy for urban-dwellers to find spots to pay.

The new bike polo court is located at the end of Joselin Avenue off Clifton Avenue, near the University of Cincinnati, and will be opened and dedicated today at 3 p.m. Councilman Chris Seelbach will be present to celebrate the court's opening, and the ceremony will also feature a bike polo demonstration for those unfamiliar with the game.

Watch a game of bike polo and learn the rules:


The opening of the bike court comes during Bike Month, a country-wide celebration of all things bike. Click here for a comprehensive list of Cincinnati bike happenings.

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