CityBeat’s Living Out Loud – Cincinnati Blog

{November 30, 2006}   The Kids We Ignored

lonely-child.jpgI got to thinking recently about those kids in grade school that everyone ignored. You know the ones…at recess, they sat alone in an imaginary world, as if it wasn’t bothering them to be alone. And maybe it wasn’t. One of these people, Cindy (name changed), was part albino. Her eyes were so sensitive to light that she always squinted. Nearly blind, she had to study in class with an overhead projector. Her eyes were so see-through blue, they looked like water. Her hair and skin was so white that it blended together. At recess, Cindy would slowly peel an orange, acting like she was busy, always staring at the ground.

A few years ago, I went to an animal hospital in Amelia to purchase a kitten. I was in the waiting room with my new animal, when the vet tech came in. It was Cindy, with long, white-blonde hair, flawless skin, and her sight was fine. Perhaps, she’d had laser treatment, but no projector, no glasses, nothing. She was beaming with rosy cheeks and gorgeous enough to model. She had beauty, a good job, and a large ring on her left hand. We hugged, catching up.

Another one was Henry (name changed). I went to a Methodist church growing up, even though I wasn’t Methodist (long story). Anyway, in bible study, Henry was such a distraction that he always got in trouble, often kicked out. Sometimes, he’d just leave and run away. Everyone complained about him, and parents called him a nuisance. All the girls thought he was “gross.”

When I was about 20, I ran into Henry at Perkins. He was built like a movie star, and so incredibly handsome, most girls couldn’t even look him in the eye. His jaw was chiseled and cut, more attractive than any actor I’d seen. We went out once, and everywhere around, when he smiled, girls smiled and giggled. It was so obvious it was funny. Then we stopped at White Castle, and Henry stacked the boxes on the dash in a pyramid like a 12 year old, and I started thinking, now there’s the Henry I know.

My point is…one never knows how people might turn out, and if I could go back, I’d say hey, Cindy, what’s up, in the middle of recess, and have a chat with her, and maybe peel the orange for her. It was so hard for her back then, literally. Here’s to those forgotten ones, the nerds and loners and rebels, or the shy ones who got overlooked (I fall into that category somewhere). And here’s to Henry and Cindy. If I forgot to tell you back then, I’m glad to know you.

C.A. MacConnell


{November 29, 2006}   The Most Wonderful Time of The Year

christmas-shopping.jpgI can hear some of you grumps already who visit this blog but I’m going to tell you anyway.

I love to shop.

Yep, I was one of those people up early this past “black Friday,” you know the day after Thanksgiving when you find all the bargains.

I hit Best Buy around five and stood in line for the doors to open. After that, I went over to Northgate Mall and did more Christmas shopping, then headed to Tri-County and after that went to Kenwood.

While it’s exhausting, I also find it exciting to be out with other shoppers looking for holiday bargains. To me, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Teri Archer

{November 28, 2006}   I Remember




Give me some space, because I’m old and a little slow – but


I remember. . .


Life before paper towels.


When a bottle of Coke was a nickel.




Having a McDonald’s in downtown Cincinnati.


I remember. . .


When going to church was what you did on Sunday.


Getting married before having sex.


Bic pens that cost 19 cents.


I remember. . .




Feeling safe in Over-the-Rhine.


Life before disposable razors.


I remember. . .


When downtown Cincinnati had movie theatres.


The live television shows that aired here.


I remember. . .


The sidewalks being crowded downtown.


A river that was clean.


Newberry’s and their lunch counter.


I remember. . .


Cheap cigarettes.


When the Cincinnati Enquirer was a decent newspaper


The Bay Horse Café.


I remember. . .


Liking Kramer on Seinfeld.


The great rock shows at the Ludlow Garage.

Honest Cincinnati cops.


I remember. . .


The pride I took in living in Cincinnati.

The Old Man

{November 27, 2006}   Ghost Town

ghost-town.jpgI’m not really a shopper but I’ve always heard that the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. Maybe that’s the case with all the malls outside of Cincinnati, but downtown was a ghost town.

When I got on the bus to head downtown to work a few hours at Elgin Office Equipment, it was me and the bus driver. That’s it. No other passengers.

I walked around downtown for a bit. Restaurants were closed. Businesses were closed. Stores were closed. Welcome to downtown Cincinnati. How bad can it get here?

Larry Gross

Update: a very lively exchange here today which has generated another record views – now close to 800. If I wasn’t so busy looking at the comments on this post and deleting comments on LOL Girl’s I’d be smiling.

{November 27, 2006}   597

lol-girl-_1.jpgLarry wanted me to pass along to you that the Living Out Loud blog had it’s best day ever – 597 views – and the day isn’t over yet. Larry seems happy but that number seems low to me. I would think millions and millions of people would want to read my wonderful words and see my beautiful self.

I can’t take all the credit. Marilyn’s last post is still getting a lot of hits and so is that WKRP video clip. Figure that one out.
That’s all for now. As for me, I’ll be back sometime before Christmas. Feel free to ring my bells.

LOL Girl

{November 26, 2006}   Pole Dancing

lol-girl-_9.jpgCall it a fantasy of mine. Call it whatever you like.

Sometimes I’ll go over to Covington and visit some of the strip clubs. I always go by myself and always have a good time watching the girls dance on those stages around the old pole peeling their clothes off, stripping down to pasties that cover up the nipples on their breasts. I think pasties are ugly. Nipples are beautiful.

I don’t get hung up on the pasties. What I like are the women disrobing on the stage and the dancing – the sexy dancing.

My fantasy is to do it – to get up on that stage and strip, not down to pasties and g-strings but to take it all off and let the horny men stare at my body.

A beautiful body I have – better than a lot of the women I see on the stages of Covington. I think I could make a killing.

Let’s call it a fantasy. At least for now.

LOL Girl

signed.jpgNot since Raymond Carver has anyone cast a more unsparing eye on American mores than Larry Gross does in this very accessible collection of short fiction.

His characters smoke too much, drink too much, have meaningless sex, and stumble into blunders that are sometimes atrocious. And the reader keeps turning the pages, riveted to these stories like they are wrecks on the highway.

Gross, who writes for CityBeat, sets most of these stories in and around Cincinnati and has the ability to set a scene with a minimum of brush strokes. When his narrator sits in a seedy bar in Covington, Kentucky, recalling the time his wife caught him in a cheap motel with an over-the-hill stripper; Gross doesn’t waste any wordage describing the humiliation. “I put out my cigarette forcefully, hoping that would also crush out the memory…”

Enough said.

A young writer could learn loads from these stories. Things like economy and how less is often much, much more. Gross has the courage to let his narrators be not only deeply flawed but even despicable at times. And he has the mature insight to know when to allow the reader to fill in the artfully positioned void.

These stories are smart, not only for the words that are there, but for the words that aren’t.

D.B. Wells

D.B. Wells is the author of Your Lolita, a collection of short stories. Her first novel, The Terrestrial Paradise will be released this spring.

{November 24, 2006}   Yesterday

solitude-_2.jpgYesterday is a little bit difficult for me to explain. I had plenty of Thanksgiving “invites,” plenty of places I could have gone for the holiday to fill my stomach up with turkey, dressing and a bunch of other stuff I shouldn’t eat (I’m a diabetic don’t you know), but I didn’t go anywhere. My big plan for the holiday, the one I was looking forward to, was simple to stay home.

In thinking back to last Thanksgiving, after having dinner with my son, I started that novel that I took notes on all spring and summer. Yesterday, I worked on it some more. A year later, “The Hurricane Café,” is still very much a work-in-progress but I’m pleased with what I’ve done so far and still like most of the words I’ve written. I’m giving myself three years to get this thing done and I’m ahead of schedule.

This year’s Thanksgiving dinner consisted of a salad with some crab meat tossed on top. I had a turkey sandwich for lunch on Wednesday.

After my salad, I took a walk down Ludlow Avenue. Keller’s was open and I went in and picked up some cat food and a can of peas. When I got my back home, I took a nap.

I worked on the novel some more in the afternoon, did a little reading and talked to my son after he got back home from his mother’s. That’s about all the talking I had to do yesterday and it felt just fine.

All this week, I’ve been out of sorts – people in my face wanting me to listen to what they have to say – whether it was listening to their problems, their ideas, their questions, or just talk. Yesterday, I didn’t want to talk. Yesterday was my day of solitude – a little Thanksgiving Day gift to myself.

It was a damn fine day.

Larry Gross

{November 23, 2006}   Happy Thanksgiving from WKRP

Here’s about 10 minutes from the classic “turkey drop” show.

Larry Gross

{November 22, 2006}   Good Eats!

gold-star-logo.jpgForget turkey for me this Thanksgiving. I know where I’m gonna be heading.

Picture this for a Thanksgiving meal.

• a quarter beef patty
• covered with Gold Star Chili
• add onions and cheddar cheese
• all served on a garlic bread bun
• and for a dollar more, you can supersize it, get a double beef patty!

Now that’s living, folks.

Maybe it’s a heart attack waiting to happen but the chili burger is back at Gold Star. I just pray they’re open tomorrow so I can eat half a dozen.

Oh yeah, have a good Thanksgiving.

Larry Gross

et cetera