Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill this week became The Banks’ newest tenant, opening its red, white and blue doors and offering “family friendly” lunch and dinner, ongoing live performances and a guitar-shaped bar where patrons can drink beer out of Mason jars.
The official website says its family friendliness makes it “the perfect spot for everyone,” though it is assumed to have instituted some kind of protocol for children who accidentally view one of the “Whiskey Girls” the restaurant prides itself on offering (“Don’t close your eyes, Billy! It’s just the American way!”).
currently aren’t many online reviews of the restaurant, but at least one proud American has braved the giant, Country music-themed
complex and come away with an experience worth mentioning on
Metromix’s online listing.
User “couintrymusiccincy” (sic) was
disappointed by his experience, describing a waitress that had a bad
attitude and thought she was so cute she should be Miss Universe.
“Couintrymusiccincy” advised the restaurant to fire her, and
noted that he would return if managers hire “pretty and legitimate
waitresses” like the Las Vegas and Tulsa, Ok., locations do.
In addition to the Whiskey Girls, who apparently are allegedly “more worried about their reflection than about getting an order right” (classic Couintrymusiccincy complaint), the bar/grill/stage/conference plaza offers American and Southern cuisine such as friend bologna sandwiches and pan-fried ribs. Burger names include the “American Soldier” (Toby’s classic burger with cheese), “She’s a Hottie Burger” (melted pepperjack cheese, Hatch Valley Chiles and crispy onion straws) and “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” (Bacon, cheddar and Toby’s BBQ sauce topped with crispy onion rings). Dessert offerings include deep-fried Twinkies, “All American Apple Pie” and "Saddam's Head Pudding" (just kidding).
The décor relies heavily on a “Country cliché” aesthetic to ensure that guests don’t forget they’re in a bar owned by the guy whose artistic response to the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2011 was to write a song titled “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American),” which called upon the wrath of Uncle Sam, a personified Statue of Liberty and an eagle (flying, of course) to serve justice to goddam terrorists across the globe. The chorus is enough to make even the most cowardly among us raise a Mason jar in defiance.
“Ohhh Justice will be served, and the battle will rage/This big dog will fight, when you rattle his cage/And you'll be sorry that you messed with the U.S. of A./'Cause we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American Way.”
It’s enough to bring a tear to one’s eye and cause a man to mistake his fellow American brother with one of the Whiskey Girls and tie on a big, patriotic hug (“Sorry man, I ain’t gay I just love this song and my country and when Middle Eastern people get killed." *Sniffs*).
For those interested in more information or to see the many other creative names TKILB&G has come up with for typical bar food, the official website is www.countrybaroh.com. For scary homemade videos set to “Angry American” just search YouTube.
Deciding which route to take in disciplining children is surely a tough decision. The closest thing I have to spawn is a gang of pets, and they don't know "sit" from "shut the hell up," so I guess training a little human would be even harder.
Today, it seems two extreme concepts of discipline stand out (usually while I'm shopping at a seedy Kroger location): the pulling-the-kid-by-the-arm-while-yelling-at-and-occasionally-spanking-them-onlooking-shoppers-be-damned or the children-deserve-freedom-and-isn't-he-adorable-shit-momma-needs-a-break. Surely, there's a happy medium between publicly berating your 4-year-old and falling into a dopey gaze as you let the kid scale shelves in aisle 6B. Thankfully, that's where Potty Mouth Soap comes in!
Made locally in Maineville, Ohio, creators of Potty Mouth Soap promise effective use of their product will help "nip the lip." The press release, sent to myself at CityBeat's office, is quite well-written, featuring enough alliteration to make Carrie Bradshaw squeal:
"Sick of the sass? Tired of the talking back?…Potty Mouth Soap is an all-natural, safe way to help discipline your kids. What's more, it's fun and effective." Fun? Just tell that to Ralphie.
It was...soap POISONING!
Not sure if it's effective, but hilariously (?) enough, there is a link to this video on Potty Mouth Soap's homepage:
The release continues:
"It's made with all-natural, non-toxic ingredients including coconut oil, palm oil and purified water. So when your little darling dares to sass you can feel completely safe when placing Potty Mouth Soap at the edge of their mouth. And that yucky taste will help nip the lip that you're so fed up with."
I know what you're thinking. "My kids are the worst when we're in public, but how can I keep a bar of soap in my purse?" Potty Mouth Soap gotchu.
Enter Potty Mouth Spray. This portable "Cinnamint" mouth spray if perfect for Krogering. The website warns, "Don't leave home without it!"
On the "How to Use Potty Mouth Soap" tab are four YouTube videos above the text that's printed on the press release. One would think these would be how-to videos on soaping your kids, or examples of children who need to be soaped. The videos include one of a baby "biting" (but really placing her toothless mouth upon) a dog, the infamous "David After the Dentist" and "Charlie Bit Me."
Now in Auto-Tune form
Now, it kind of seems like the soap method might just teach kids to shove gross things in people's mouths when they say something they don't like, but I'm no parent. I guess I've come across some 9-year-olds who might deserve to get soaped, but a freaking baby? They don't even know how to make words yet! And seriously, no person should ever be accountable for what they say when high, after the dentist or otherwise.
"Gotta teach 'em young," you say? "This is probably better than the belt method." Well, bars and spray are $3-$5 a pop and include a sticker reward chart for positive behavior.
No gold star for you!
I like to think of myself as a pretty normal person, perfectly capable of interacting with a variety of other humans. I watch bad television and sometimes shop at Wal-Mart, yet I enjoy ethnic food and DIY projects. MFin' renaissance woman. But sometimes, despite a breadth of interests and activities, I cannot deal with people. Enter the Cincinnati Zoo.
This Sunday, instead of burying my head under a pillow until 1 p.m., the boyfriend and I decided to pay a visit to the yearly Zoo Babies attraction. The weather was sunny and warm, and neither of us were hungover - a perfect and rare opportunity to look at little animals.
Nearly anyone can enjoy a trip to the zoo, but I know very well that this type of attraction is particularly appealing to little humans - children. And sometimes children don't know how to walk yet or their biological walking timers shut off and they need assistance, i.e. strollers. I know they're necessary, but some of these devices are more comparable to a slightly smaller Prius. Of course, you have to let kids cut in front of your or you're a total bitch. But, god damnit, I paid $14 to be here and I want to see the manatees, too.
So what are you supposed to do? Wait patiently for the throng of toddlers to peep new baby giraffe, Zuri and then try your damnedest to see past their gooey fingerprints smudging the glass window once it's your turn.
Strollers suck (though they're much more obtrusive at packed festivals - watch out for those bad boys this weekend at The Taste!), but Sunday I found a worse alternative that I thought only existed as a joke in the '90s - baby leashes. I witnessed countless seemingly behaved youngsters strapped in a fuzzy, cuddly, stuffed-animal themed LEASH. How lazy of a parent do you have to be to think the best way to prevent your kid from jumping into the polar bear cave is to attach them to a harness?
However, it's another issue if you're hypoglycemic and hyperactive. A hyper-hypo.
You better believe I gave a big old side-eye to each of these parents. For the love of god, go back to the tricked out, view-obstructing, toe-crushing stroller! Anything is better than a child leash.
Thankfully, dedicated individuals have devoted their time to stop this injustice.
Of course, there's another group of humans that left me mimicking the gorillas:
The I-don't-give-a-fuck crew.
So we're in the Jungle Trails, a peaceful, shaded area with plenty of space and lots of cool creatures. I'm just trying to get a good view of a zebra when I hear a stern, "Excuse me. There is no smoking anywhere in the zoo." Now, this dude was kind of dickish, gettin' up in somebody's bidness while wiping his kid from head to toe with sanitizer. But, holy shit, some bitch was actually smoking a cig by the animals! She quickly extinguished her smoke (possibly into the animal sanctuary - I was trying not to stare) with a raspy "Sah-ree." With that, it was time to escape to the air-conditioned nocturnal animal space.
It was pretty dark and kind of hard to see these critters (hello, nocturnal!) and one particularly grimy child next to me began smacking the window next to me.
"Wake up! Where is it?" he shouted, as a little partner in crime joined him in glass-banging. Half-concerned for the adorable lemur on the other side, half-worried someone might mistake these shit heads as my own offspring, I used my best waitress voice and said, "Hey guys, we shouldn't tap on the glass, OK?" and pointed to the dozens of signs suggesting the same. They continued.
We made our way back outside, to see my most anticipated animals, the bonobos. These apes share 98.7% of DNA with humans and are completely capable of learning many people things, like understanding English and using American Sign Language. (Side note: I'm half-way through Water for Elephants author's latest novel Ape House, in which bonobos play a huge role. It's a great read.) They're sweet.
Once again, I found myself behind a bunch of kids who probably can't pronounce bonobo and probably won't remember seeing them, but I kept my patient pants on. Until grimy kid #1 resurfaced…on the other side of a rope barrier, pounding on the gate. Sure enough, the brat belonged to cig lady who, at this point was enjoying (her fifth?) draft beer.
"C'mon, stop it. You're not supposed to be there," she yawned.
"I wanna see if he'll attack me! I wanna see if he'll attack me!"
This continued for a few minutes. I felt my mouth drop and I turned around to see I wasn't the only one in awe. Anyone who makes me feel like I'd be a competent mother has some serious issues. Maybe child leashes are appropriate in certain situations.
I guess I didn't really learn how to better cope with people, but I did discover this: animals are way cooler than humans, and their babies are cuter.
Still kicking yourself over missing all the Twilight action during July's Comic-Con International in San Diego?
Well fear not, fanpires, because the Official Twilight Convention is coming to Cincinnati!
Whether you're Team Edward or Team Jacob (Spoiler Alert: neither of them will be there), The Hyatt Regency Downtown is the spot to be Saturday and Sunday for all hardcore Twilight fans. The weekend will include contests, web panels, auctions, music, parties and costumes on mannequins.
IT'S LIKE THEY'RE REALLY HERE!
Of course, a film saga convention would be nothing without celebrity appearances. Twilight stars making a stop in Cincy include Tinsel Korey (Emily), Boo Boo Stewart (werewolf Seth Clearwater), Kiowa Gordon (werewolf Embry Call), Charlie Bewley (vamp Demetri) and Peter Facinelli (Dr. Carlisle Cullen).
Wait a minute…Mike Dexter is Edward's dad?
He's come a long way since idolizing Trip McNeely.
OK, honestly, I've never seen more than a preview for Twilight, so I'm not going to rage about how bad it sucks (see what I did there?) and how cray-cray the fans are. But I must say, the fan photos aren't making a good case for Twi-hards.
But, seriously, I guess it's cool that these actors will stand around
rabidly crazy fans barreling full-speed toward puberty us normal people for a weekend. Apparently these stars will even allow fans to hug:
and make complete asses of them:
The convention runs all day and night Saturday and Sunday starting around 11 a.m. Day passes are $20 and weekend packages run from $39-$219. Autographs, photos, breathing the same air as Peter Facinelli, etc. all are an additional cost. Go here to get the full schedule and ticket info for the convention. And full disclosure, if this was a True Blood convention with supporting characters from the show, I'd be frothing at the mouth like the rest of these crazy bitches.
They say you only roast the ones you love, but what can be said about someone with few redeemable qualities, who's essentially spent the past year roasting himself in the media? Quite a bit, apparently.
Duchess Kate was hospitalized last week for Hyperemesis Gravidarum, which is pretty much a fancy way of saying “bad baby morning barfs.” My professional opinion is that her tiny 12-year-old boy body has gone into shock now that it requires more than its usual daily dose of three saltines and a grapefruit. Will and Kate’s baby is approximately the size of a pea at this point and people are already putting Kate’s nonexistent stomach under a microscope, asking absurd questions like "Could it be twins?" And, ever the bastion of journalism, US Weekly has a timeline of the duchess’ body changes over the past 10 years here. See Kate’s shape transform from fettuccine to spaghetti to spaghetti a la fetus before your eyes!
I’m rarely one to say “poor princess” and I love a good celebrity pregnancy as much as the next sad fool, but Kate's gone through more than a year of royal pressure to get knocked up, and now she is, but not even at the standard pregnancy announcement 3-month mark yet. Let up on her womb, yo!
If Kate was like us lowly commoners, she’d likely be Instagramming her tiny bump and tweeting from inside the hospital (Nuthin 2 worry bout, just tummy troubles #preggers). Call it over-sharing, but most people announce their monumental life moments on social media. So, thankfully, if you were trying to recall the major events you experienced this past year, Facebook has gone ahead and just done it for ya. Just go to your page, click See your 2012 Year in Review or go to facebook.com/yearinreview/[your Facebook url]. A slideshow of photos you’ve been tagged in rotates above a list of friends you’ve added and pages you’ve liked in the past 12 months. Scrolling further down, Facebook has generated what it believes to be the 20 “biggest moments” from your year, including status updates, photos and links. I’m assuming those who’ve posted about starting a new job, getting engaged/married, moving to a new city or having a baby — royal or otherwise — would see those types of announcements highlighted, but for losers like me that just incessantly post pointless crap, this feature is pretty damn funny.
3/20 "biggest moments" of my year include fictional characters and alcohol.
Social media is more than just a place to show off how great your life is to all your lame high school friends #thankful. It’s also a platform to reach out to public figures and celebrities. And while a member of Smash Mouth probably doesn’t fall into either category in the year 2012, Jon Hedren became determined to get a response from the band once Smash Mouth got a verified Twitter account in 2011.
Now, for those who don’t remember, Smash Mouth was a San Jose-based Pop/Rock band that provided songs for every major movie trailer and/or film credits in the late ‘90s-early ‘00s (Mystery Men, Shrek, Rat Race, Inspector Gadget — and that’s just “All Star”). They also mastered the art of the pencil-thin chin strap.
Holy shit, it’s Dane Cook…
Jon tweeted multiple silly messages to the band, but the one stood out:
After hundreds of retweets, the dumb challenge turned into a pledge to raise money for charity — all if lead singer Steve Harwell would eat a giant plate of eggs. Weeks later, a San Jose music venue promoter reached out to Jon after talking the challenge over with Harwell. More than $100,000 was raised for St. Jude’s and the Smash Mouth dude agreed to scarf some eggs at the nearby opening of a Guy Feiri restaurant. Best team-up ever, right? As Jon describes in his Vice story, “Guy and Steve were supposedly old friends and not actually the same man, despite the exact same fashion sense and divorced dad aura.”
Go here to read the full first-hand account of how this guy got the Smash Mouth guy to accept an eating challenge.
Everyone knows a good way for an actor to clinch an Oscar nom is by dropping or gaining a ton of weight. By those standards, the stars of Dallas Buyer’s Club, due in theaters in 2013, should be racking up the awards next year because they’re giving a new name to manorexia. Matthew McConaughey, who plays Ron Woodruff — a Texan who contracted HIV in the ‘80s — has been photographed in various stages of emaciation over the past few months (a stark contrast to his recent beefy Magic Mike look). And Jared Leto, portraying a transgendered woman with AIDS, recently posed for photographer Terry Richardson’s camera. I mean, way to commit to your craft but dude is cartoon skinny — like, he disappears when he turns to the side.
In Beyonce news, which should always be its own category, Mrs. Jay-Z is set to perform the halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII, she just signed a major deal with Pepsi and has directed, produced and starred in her own documentary, premiering on HBO Feb. 16. Sounds like 2013 will be the year of the Bey.
And if you attempted multiple times to pause exactly on the shot of what appears to be Beyonce’s pregnant belly (not that I did…), it looks like she’s finally putting those fake baby bump conspiracy theories to rest.
Finally, in case you missed the biggest news story of the week, a very fashionable monkey was found in a Toronto Ikea, becoming an instant Internet celebrity. Darwin is a domesticated macaque and has since been taken by animal control. His owner Yasmin Nakhuda is currently trying to get little Darwin back.
Construction crews working to restore historic apartments in Louisville’s Whiskey Row discovered an underground sex dungeon two floors underground. The Associated Press reports that the dungeon had mural reproductions of paintings by the likes of Salvador Dali, Edvar Munch and Fancisco Goya and contained what appears to be a medieval stretching rack complete with winch and rusty chain.
The artist who painted the murals tells the AP that he did the work at the request of friends, and the room was meant to attract people who were into sadism and masochism.
The artist says the room was only used for one night in the 1990s, but he couldn’t remember the year.
However, digging deeper into the story, CityBeat learned not to Google “Louisville sex dungeon” on an office computer WHAS-TV spoke with the founders of the club, who said that it was in operation from the mid to late '90s and had close to 1,000 dues-paying members.
In stories with pithy titles like "50 Shades of Louisville" (more like "50 Shades of Y'all Need Jesus) the station spoke with one of the dungeon's founders, who said the dungeon included dozens of other bondage and “torture” implements, including a large rope “spider web” with manacles, in addition to the torture rack.
Some of the plumbing had “DO NOT HANG” stenciled on it, but the founder said some people were still hung from their ankles.
He was quick to disclaim that there was “never, ever any nudity or sex acts.”
While much of the dungeon has rotted away, Whiskey Row’s owners plan on preserving the paintings and torture rack as a link to history.
When he was released last May, Little Joe weighed 1,515 pounds. He was plump and primed for life in the Sunshine State. The zoo followed his progress in Florida on its blog.
A year ago, when the last sighting was reported, Little Joe was hanging out with six other manatees and feeding on hydrilla — manna to manatees. The species — sometimes called seacows — are endangered and the Cincinnati Zoo is a partner in a federal program aimed at preserving and protecting manatees. The zoo says some rescued animals need long-term rehabilitation and are sent to special facilities for care, including the Cincinnati Zoo. The zoo says its been home to nine manatees, and the majority have been released back into the wild. “While a manatee is with us, it periodically undergoes a medical exam to assess its progress and condition. Once it's healthy, it is prepared for release back into the wild. Accompanied by zookeeper staff, the manatee is transported back to the Florida facility where it gets used to eating natural vegetation and living in saltwater again,” according to the zoo’s 2011 manatee rescue web page.
Slip and Little Joe in happier days at the Manatee Springs tank at the Cincinnati Zoo.
Here at CityBeat, I never get mail. So to make me feel better about myself, sometimes people stick mail they don’t want or things addressed to former employees in my box to make me feel better.
Imagine my delight when there was a 2013 cow-centric calendar from chicken-slinger Chick-fil-A.
Perhaps hoping for some positive press after a summer controversy where the company’s leader told a Christian news organization that the Southern-fried chicken sandwich shop supports “the Biblical definition of the family unit,” Chick-fil-A sent CityBeat’s former food editor a calendar. It included a bribe “gift” card that awards one free specified menu item a month.
The calendar features Chick-fil-A’s signature cow mascots costumed as famous monarchs from throughout history, with cutesy names such as Queen Elizabrisket, King Tutancattle and Queen Heiferhomophobe.
The calendar also reminds you of important holidays, like Administrative Professionals Day, Cow Appreciation Day and Patriot Day.
It also included a warm personal note to Anne Mitchell from the Chick-Fil-A Public Relations Department.The calendars, complete with “gift” card, are available at all Chick-fil-A locations for $6.
Something fucking awesome happened in Cincinnati on July's Final Friday. A dude with a card table, some DJ stuff and a microphone (two turntables and a microphone, even) incited a random dance party with over 100 people around 1212 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Music was pumping, and people flocked to it. I have never witnessed such an amassing of complete strangers and intimate friends. Plaid-clad hipsters were cutting loose with older, baggy-shirted locals. Drunk people who had tumbled out of bars were sweating out all the alcohol they had just paid for to Kool and the Gang. Everyone was incredibly, stupidly happy.
There was no reason for it. No social networking was involved. Nobody knew about it through a text or because they were Tweeted at or received a Facebook invite. It wasn’t sponsored by Final Friday, and it wasn’t even planned. DJ Alcatone, the awesome instigator, shrugged his shoulders when I asked him (over the Funk blaring out from two speakers), why he was playing music on a street corner in OTR. He said he just was. And people were just dancing.
There were three guys dancing in the middle of the damn street, stopping cars to gyrate in front of them. One was dancing intensely, and then he paused and directed traffic around other dancers. An SUV pulled up and four dudes sat on the edge of the car windows, took their shirts off, and held their arms in the air.
An entire two-block span of Main Street was filled with sweaty, writhing people. DJ Alcatone started a soul train in the middle of the crowd. There was a break-dancing competition, and seriously, who knew old people could get down like that? One guy did that thing where he contorted his whole body in the air, resting solely on his hand on the ground. (Yoga has not prepared me to attempt this.)
Cell phones crowded in the air, everyone snapping pictures of the “something” that was happening right in front of them. Cops drove by and didn’t stop. The opposite side of the street was crowded with overflow dancers. A girl with an “I’m the bachelorette!” sash across her torso sashayed in front of cars, darting back and forth between the two sides. There was even a man with a broken leg in a wheelchair. Seriously. He was spinning on his wheels, grooving to the music.
It was like someone had pressed pause on every social, racial and economic stricture and preconception, and hit “play” for uninhibited, good-spirited, uplifting interaction. It was so simple, and no one stopped to think about it. No one stopped to consider “what it meant,” or why it was happening, or how it could be better. Honestly, it couldn’t have been better.
The police were called about two hours in, and were actually smiling when they told everyone the party had to end. That was probably the best time to have the party end — before everyone remembered themselves, the faces we all put on for the everyday world, the way we conduct ourselves around people we want to impress. No one was trying to impress anyone. Even the bad dancers (there were a few) were applauded. It was the fact that everyone involved stepped outside of themselves, without any catalyst or promise of reward, and for two hours, we just were.