Friday, July 31, 2009

Grand Opening of the Righteous Room

I'm having cocktails at the latest, hot bar to open in Downtown Cincinnati.

I'm at the Righteous Room on Walnut Street and waiting for a great Dark and Stormy (so says the server).

Let you know more later.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Love and Marriage... and the Divorce

You probably saw this video make the circuit on the network morning shows. If you haven't seen it, give it a look, it's quite clever.

No doubt, this was a fun wedding to attend - start to finish. Someday, I hope I'm lucky enough to have just as fun a shindig.

But sometimes, a marriage isn't meant to last.

Here's the divorce version (actually, a parody).

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Swedish Danish

Chicago made me fat.

Okay, that's not really true - but the long weekend certainly stretched my stomach's capacity where ingestion is concerned.

Sunday was not an exception to the rule.

My BlogHer pal, Red Kat Blonde, had called up an old colleague who relocated to Chicago to see if we could catch a ride with her and crash until our 10 pm bus rolled out of town, bound for Cincinnati.

Digi was kind enough to spin by the Sheraton, toss our massive, swag filled bags into her uber quiet Prius, and whisk us off to Andersonville. This little, Swedish themed village is just north of Downtown Chicago, accessible by the Red Line, bus and Metra.

We made it to Digi's apartment, dropped off the bags, and decided to take a stroll to the heart of the village - Destination: Anywhere (that served coffee).

Our trio ended up stepping into Ann Sather's.

I was stuffed to the gills after Red Kat and I enjoyed our daily, massive breakfast at the hotel, so I was only hoping for a strong cup of coffee at the yellow and blue painted restaurant (5207 N. Clark St., Andersonville). Digi derailed those plans when she told me about Ann Sather's reputation involving cinnamon rolls.

Apparently Ann Sather made a deal with the devil.

Maybe she sold her soul, maybe she gave away her first born. Whatever the case, Ann must have dished out some hard ball when negotiating with Lucifer, because those rolls were sinful.

Not only was the roll bathed in cinnamon, the confection practically swam in a sea of buttery icing - an icing so sweet I was compelled to practically lap up every drop with a swath of roll. The cinnamon rolls, by the way, were fresh, warm and everything you'd expect from a roll made earlier that morning.

The coffee was strong, hot, and a perfect jolt to my otherwise exhausted system.

Save for a bite of Red Kat's Limpa Rye bread (a salted rye bread that I liked, even though I'm not really a Rye kind of girl), I didn't get to try anything else at Anna Sather.

Like I said, I couldn't find any more room in my stomach - it was a first for the weekend.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What The Hell is a Cheechako??

The words are Sarah Palin's, but the performance is that of one of my favorite Lexington, KY area neighbors - William Shatner.

(ed note: Cheechakos apparently have nothing to do with bread, as I originally thought).

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I am really, pretty non-committal.

The thought of getting a pet freaks me out, what with all the tied down-ness and years of obligatory feeding, bathing and medical care.

So it goes without saying, I could never, ever go under the needle and get a tat*.

Thankfully, the universe has blessed us pussies wimps with henna art.

I scored a henna tattoo, or mehndi, on my hand last Thursday at the Social Luxe party/BlogHer '09 kickoff.

What? you say. Last Thursday? And it's still ON???

Before you jump to any conclusions about my grooming habits or ability to repel germs without soap and water - YES, I am still routinely washing my hands after trips to the restroom. YES, I am still routinely bathing with body wash, shampoo and conditioner.

I'm not in need of a flea dip or anything, people.

The henna artist told me the tattoo would last for a week or so with special care (no rubbing or exfoliating the area) and extra moisturizing - so, that's exactly what I'm doing.

I think it looks so cool that I am trying to find a local henna artist who can give me a mehndi fix on a regularish basis.

Any ideas?

*I'd consider getting a Celtic tattoo in honor of my niece, but that's pretty much the only circumstance worthy of subjecting myself to poking and prodding with needles full of ink.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Make It Work

I wanna make it work.

The catch phrase of Bravo TV's Project Runway star Tim Gunn, I was excited to meet the fashionisto (is that a word??) at BlogHer '09 and get a little nugget that would help me pull off a look and put my best foot forward.

Lisa of Whammy Juice, Tim, Monika of Such a Red Kat Blonde and KtG

My encounter with Tim would be my first opportunity to check in with a fashion expert/celebrity, share my physical insecurities and learn a trick or tip to make it all better.

Our 30 second chat would be the next best thing to him kissing my boo-boos, putting on a Band-Aid and sending me on my way.

On second thought, I don't really think he'd be down with kissing my boo-boos, and I don't know that I would be okay with that, either.


There we were, one-on-one, he signing a 8-by-10 glossy and me smiling and overly eager.

Here's how the conversation transpired:

Kate: Hi there, Tim. It's such a pleasure to meet you. I have a question for you - I'm a curvy lady, and I'm really searching for the right thing to make it work.

Tim: Well, I must tell you, I love curvy ladies (visualize with me: this was said in a dead pan flat expression that would have been perfectly punctuated with a finger snap.)

Kate: Well, I love that you love curvy ladies (ed. note: I know he doesn't really "love" curvy ladies. I'm guessing he doesn't even really love bears).

Tim: What you need to do is, well, you have a gorgeous face (said face begins blushing). You need to open it up here gesturing to the decolletage and play off that hour glass figure. Belts would be...

Kate: I should "cinch" it (thoughts of David Spade and Chris Farley a la Gap Girls enter my mind)...

Tim: Oh yes. And..

Kate: Maybe a wrap dress?

Tim: Absolutely. You should stick to wrap dresses. You could totally make it work.

Anxiously waiting for my one-on-one with Mr. Gunn

After our brief chat, I thanked the man, shook his hand and posed for a photo with some of my Cincinnati blogging gal pals.

It was one of my better brushes with fame. And at least this time I got some good advice.

Oh, snap.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Eat Your Heart Out...

... and top it off with a stick of butter, a bacon strip and a cup of mayo.

I had a private moment with Paula Deen.

And I got to meet Tim Gunn, too!

Stories from my personal encounters with the celebrity set ahead!

Party Girl

Boa. Crown. Glow ring. Rye. This is all working for me at BlogHer '09.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, July 24, 2009

BlogHer '09 - The Estro Fest

This place is desperate for men.

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The Bitch Is Back

Miss me?

Just because I left the Eastern Time Zone, it doesn't mean you have to live without me.

I scored a new toy while hanging out at BlogHer '09 in Chicago.

Check out my video and tell me what you think.

PS: Flip Minos suck, and the Kodak Zi6 totally rocks. Don't you agree?
More videos to come from BlogHer in the days ahead.

Until then, it's bedtime for Bonzo.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I Am Chair Dancing To This Right Now

Because sometimes you just got to give it up.

I am a Marvin Gaye freak... and this tune makes me really groove.

I'm not kidding, the office security cameras are probably catching me break it down in my cube. right. now.

Thank God y'all can't see...

What makes you get up and dance?

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BlogHer or Bust, Baby

Tomorrow night, I sleep in Chicago.

I'm heading to the Windy City with some of my favorite gal pals - my Cincinnati Women Blogger friends. Red Kat Blonde and I hit the road tomorrow morning, bound for the annual, two-day BlogHer '09 conference. Once we get to Chicago, we'll catch up with Amy In OHio, Mommy Bits, Wine Me Dine Me, Wine Girl and the high priestess of Hoperatives, Radio Carla - name a few.


BlogHer is a conference that aims to foster networking and discussion with the intent of educating women bloggers and improving their network on the internets.

Know what it's like when a few women get together for a party? Imagine that, but with 1,500 women.

You can now commence your collective squeals.

I was the lucky chick who won a free ticket ($300 face value) to BlogHer, thanks to Cincinnati Women Bloggers. I aim to take advantage of the opportunity by sitting in a few sessions on travel and food blogging, as well as discussions for folks who write personal blogs and those who are not interested in monetizing their blog.

The conference isn't all-work-and-no-play, thank God.

The generous sponsors of BlogHer '09 are throwing a series of glamorous cocktail parties on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. These events are complete with fantastic food, delicious cocktails and swag a plenty.

Did someone say swag?

I've never been to BlogHer, but everything I've read and heard indicates this conference is motherload of free stuff. The blogs, tweets and websites all say attendees should pack an extra suitcase for all the swag.

Woo hoo!

Oh, and I forgot to mention the celebrities. I've been told Food Network Diva Paula Deen, Carson Kressley of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy fame and Tim Gunn from Project Runway will all be in attendance...

My brother-in-law wants me to ask why Paula wears her (massive) rings when she makes fried chicken.

I'll keep you posted on BlogHer from my Chicago outpost.

In the meantime, y'all behave...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Hot Stuff

Thank you, iPod, for reminding me how much I loved this movie moment.

Who doesn't like a little Full Monty from time to time?

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All Flash, No Substance

They were riding in a shiny, black Mercedes.

I could tell from my rear view mirror that they were both in their mid to late 50s. Both in sunglasses, he with salt-and-pepper hair, she with a stark, blonde, perfectly strait coif.

If I didn't know any better, I would have thought she was Cincinnati's local makeup artist to the stars.

The couple trailed behind me for about four minutes up Reading Road. For several of those minutes we were stopped behind a red light, and I took the opportunity to stare.

Shielded by the discretion of my sunglasses and rear view mirror, they had no idea I was watching. For minutes, they both sat there, silent, still, disengaged. As I observed, I hoped for a brief, flickering moment of warmth - something that confirmed their years together were worth it.

Sadly, nothing transpired.

Granted, my conclusions were based on a variety of assumptions. 1) They were actually "together." 2) They've spent many years together. 3) They knew love together in the first place.

But for the sake of argument, let's assume all those variables are in place. If that's the case, what a sad state of existence.

I can't imagine spending my life in a relationship void of conversation.

I can't imagine spending my life in a relationship without any commonality.

I can't imagine spending my life in a relationship without laughter.

Perhaps it's easy for some people to become so quickly enamored with other, unfulfilling characteristics.

Me? I'd take alone and happy any day over together and miserable.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Bachelorette parties are serious business.

At least, they are when KtG joins forces with one of the most connected young women in Greater Cincinnati.

Bluegrass Brit is getting hitched in September, and our dear friend Candace and I are planning a full scale attack for our debauchery in Chicago. It's a trip that involves eight women (half of whom are flying over from the UK for the festivities), two nights and one of the nation's greatest cities.

I am responsible for planning some of our nightlife activities, and am looking for suggestions from the peanut gallery.

If I know my readers (and I think I do), you all are well traveled, fun, fabulous people, and I'm hoping you have a few ideas up your sleeve.

Waiting with bated breath...

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Bud Bending

I like to press the envelope.

Next to pressing buttons, it's a great way to test boundaries and explore the dynamics of any scenario.

I especially like testing boundaries in the kitchen. There's something about throwing on an apron, surveying a cupboard full of spices and savory ingredients and just playing around in the sandbox.

This weekend offered up a unique opportunity to really play around.

A Dork and His Pork, fellow local blogger, die-hard foodie and all around nice guy, invited me to a cool ice cream making event at Ault Park this weekend.

The premise is this: With three ingredients, two Ziploc bags, and some ice and salt, ANYONE can shake their way to greatness.

Or at least make something cold, creamy and the height of cool.

Jeff amped up the competition, challenging his guests to bring the most unusual or unique ingredients to add to the ice cream.

The moment I heard that, it was game on.

No one was going to outdo my creative culinary creation.

I opted to go with a "Deconstructed Pesto" ice cream. The flavor base in the ice cream involved six shredded, fresh basil leaves and less than a thimble full of minced, jarred garlic in olive oil.

My initial inclination was to go with roasted garlic, but time was tight between Saturday's hair appointment and the afternoon ice cream event, so I was faced with the prospect of the fresh or jarred variety. I thought the jarred version that included the olive oil further added to the idea of "deconstructed pesto".

After 25 minutes of shaking icy Ziploc bags, I was delighted to discover my bizarro ice cream flavor actually worked.


I hurriedly spooned the ice cream out of the bag and into a little cup, topping it with the requisite pine nuts and carefully placed parmesan shavings (just two or three - all in effort to stay true to this pesto thing).

When it was all said and done, this is what it looked like:

Photo credit: West Ender of Clark Street Blog.

The basil and hint of garlic complimented the sweetness and creamy consistency of the ice cream. My taste buds were awash in freshness and just a hint of garlic and it's innate zip.

The pine nuts perfectly punctuated the ice cream, offering up a buttery flavor I've savored in many a pasta dish. The parmesan? I intentionally avoided a heavy handed sprinkle, topping the ice cream with but two or three shavings. It was an oddball flavor pairing with the ice cream and nuts, but its salty edge added a dynamic that cemented the whole pesto thing.

In all, it worked.

And I wasn't the only person who thought so.

I am now anxious and bubbling with anticipation for the next time I can make this Deconstructed Pesto ice cream.

Maybe next time I'll serve it after enjoying a dinner of Rocky Road pasta.

Maybe not.


Ziploc Ice Cream
(that's not it's official name, but that's what I call it. Read the directions, and you'll agree it's appropriate).

1 quart sized freezer bag
1 gallon sized freezer bag
Duct tape
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup cream
1/3 cup sugar
1 cup kosher salt
Flavor ingredients of your choosing
  • Pour milk, cream and sugar in the smaller freezer bag. Add any flavored ingredients of your choosing. Remove all air from bag before sealing Ziploc seal.
  • Take four pieces of duct tape, and place one piece on each edge of the bag, ensuring every edge is reinforced by tape.
  • Fill the larger bag half way with ice, a cup of kosher salt.
  • Place smaller bag inside larger, ice filled bag and seal.
  • Shake bag for about 25 minutes, or until ice cream concoction is firm.

Note: You may want to wear gloves or oven mitts while shaking the icy bag. Trust me.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thing of Beauty (?)

It's my much anticipated moment in the stylist's chair.

Opted for more highlights (and a whiter blonder blonde at that) over a cut.

The final product coming up...
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

4:30 p.m. Update...

Here's the new 'do in all its splendor.

I think it works...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Crazy Minnesotan

I know a thing or two about Crazy Minnesotans.

Half of my genetic code belongs to Minnesota, and the other half to Ohio. My mom is a native Minnesoooootan (5chw4r7z says even I say this word like a native), and my 89-year-old grandma still toughs it out through the brutal winters of Duluth.

Like I said, I know a thing or two about Crazy Minnesotans.

They're a little bit quirky and a whole lotta stubborn - but sometimes that's a good thing.

Crazy Minnesotans get on their soapbox and take action. Crazy Minnesotans are passionate about what they perceive to be right and wrong.

Crazy Minnesotans are enamored with their 10,000 plus lakes, and as such, are green freaks.

When I was five, I was a Crazy Minnesotan, toting around Minneapolis a blue, metal Holly Hobby lunchbox covered in a Stop Acid Rain sticker.

Crazy Minnesotan, just like the dude in this clip.

If I was there and knew the guy, I'd totally help him out.

Hat tip to @wlwt for tweeting this video.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Welcome Home

Welcome Home: A Play in One Act
by Kate

Kate, a curvy, blonde 30-something
The Man, a middle-aged Indian gentleman

Kate has just parked her car on her Cincinnati neighborhood street. The man is sitting on his front stoop, several doors down from Kate's apartment, watching the cars come and go.

Narrator: It was a long day, and Kate's feet were aching. Dressed in her little black dress and stiletto peep toes, she'd spent the day in meeting after meeting, and was grateful for a quick change before the night's obligations.

Just a few doors over, Kate has caught the eye of a neighbor she's never spoken to, a neighbor who was motivated to get up from his step and engage the young woman in their first conversation.

(Kate gathers her purse and several tote bags out of the front passenger seat of her car. The man begins to approach her).

The Man: Hello, pretty lady.

Kate: Hi there.

The Man: Do you live here?

Kate: At this apartment building? Yes, right over there (Kate nods her head in the direction of her door).

The Man: Ahhh. Apartment 1234? Do you live alone?

Kate: (taking a few steps away from the car and toward her apartment). Welllll, yeah, I do.

The Man: And do you have a husband?

Kate: Uhhh, no I don't.

The Man: Do you have a fiance? (The man's smile grows. Kate begins to ascend a few sidewalk steps toward her apartment).

Kate: Nope.

The Man (giving her a once over as his smile practically radiates): And do you have a boyfriend?

Kate: Yes.

The Man: You do?

Kate: Yes, I do.

The Man: Is it permanent?

Kate: I'm sorry?

The Man: Is it permanent?

Kate (head confidently nodding as she looks down at the man standing a few steps below): Yeah, I'm pretty sure it's permanent.

The Man: Okay, good bye. Very pretty. Very pretty.

Kate abruptly walks away from the gentleman, without saying goodbye, and quickly opens her door, locking the deadbolt behind her, alone in her apartment.


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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On The Road Again

Just can't wait to get on the road again...

I am behind the wheel again - I won't even tell you how much it cost because you'll have a coronary.

Just know that I made it through life's latest hiccup, and the only things I'm out are money and a bit of convenience.

Life rolls along, and now I am, too.


PS: This pic was taken moments after I got my car out of hawk. Don't know if the smile/smirk was borne out of relief or resignation.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cool Summer

It's a cruel ... cruel ... cruel summer
Leaving me here on my own
It's a cruel ... it's a cruel ... cruel summer
Now you've gone

Hold up, Bananarama.

We haven't gone anywhere.

As it turns out, all of the cool kids will be at Over-the-Rhine's Below Zero Lounge this Friday as Cincinnati Women Bloggers and the Queen City's GLBTQ community join forces to support the city's Ronald McDonald House.

Kate's Random Musings is proud to join other local bloggers including Queer Cincinnati and Wine Me, Dine Me as sponsors of Cool Summer: Our House to Yours.

From 7 to 10 pm, we will sip and celebrate the amazing work happening to help children and families coping with a variety of illnesses at Ronald McDonald House.

We're asking guests to make a $10 donation at the door, as well as enter to win a variety of really fabulous raffle prizes.

Why should you come to Cool Summer: Our House to Yours?

Cincinnati’s Ronald McDonald House offers a supportive “home away from home” environment to families and their children receiving medical treatment at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. The facility has just undergone a 30-room expansion project and now serves 78 families each day as they travel to Cincinnati seeking medical attention for their critically ill children.

As the number of families served has increased, so too have the needs for funding, goods and volunteers.

We're trying to meet some of those needs, and are appealing to the community for support.

Beat the dog days of summer at Below Zero Lounge this Friday evening and hang out with some of the coolest people around Cincinnati.

Check out the event's Facebook page to learn more information and RSVP.

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Ding! Ding! Ding! We Have A Winner...

Well, actually two...

In the earlier post, Your Best Guess, I asked what this photo was of:

Alex said, "I'd call it the cables on a bridge."

Correct statement, but the spot-on guess and bragging rights goes to Laura and her guess, "Golden gate bridge?"

Laura, I'll have to think of a fun prize for you...

Here's the full picture - I snapped this one in San Francisco on December 30, 2008. It's one of my favorite photos of those I've taken.

I have a thing for bridges, and only just now realize I need to take some shots of Roebling Bridge.

Hmm... this weekend might be the perfect opportunity.

Bonne Bastille

Viva la Revolucion!

Many, many moons ago, I had the unfortunate experience of missing the Fourth of July in the United States. I was in Paris, riding on a Bateau Mouches boat down the Seine. Though I enjoyed seeing many Americans sprinkled across several bridges spanning the river, waving sparklers and hand drawn posters, my heart longed for a cookout, illegal fireworks and John Philip Sousa.

Less than ten days later, I was back home, missing the fanfare of a real, French Bastille Day holiday.

Many Americans will go through today's tasks and obligations, not realizing today marks the day when the French people launched an uprising, laying the groundwork to disolve the monarchy and establish a citizen-run government.

The people stormed the Bastille, a fortress that imprisoned people on the basis of arbitrary royal order, on July 14, 1789. The initial intention was not to free the political prisoners, but gain access to the large cache of gunpowder and weaponry kept at the prison.

The revolt is considered the turning point in the French Revolution and a symbol of France's rebirth as a modern nation.

A Champagne Cocktail is a perfect way to toast to our French friends across the pond.

The classic Champagne Cocktail requires a sugar cube, a few splashes of Angostura bitters and your favorite bubbly. If you like your cocktail a bit stronger, you can float cognac or Campari on top for a little kick.

Another concoction, the Kir Royale, involves a quick pour of either Creme de Cassis or Chambord in the bottom of a flute glass, topped with champagne. This simple cocktail is on the sweet side, so you might want to steer clear if you like your drinks a little more full bodied.

Another perfect drink for the day:

French Revolution
In a mixing glass with ice combine:
1 1/2 oz. Brandy
1/2 oz. Framboise
strain into a chilled champagne flute.
Top with champagne.

Raise a glass to independence. Raise a glass to freedom.

Raise a glass to the French.

I won't even tell if you use your favorite American sparkler...

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Your Best Guess

What in the Sam Hill is this?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rude, Crude and Unlovely

Stinky French.

Right or wrong, it's a stereotype some Americans come away with when traveling abroad. Francofiles may disagree, but many other global adventurers have commented on how France's native sons and daughters stink, both in odor and disposition.

I weathered my own unpleasant experience with a Frenchman, an unfortunate encounter that played out no less than half an hour after I made it out of Orly. I had just set out for a two week jaunt through Europe, and a jaded and dejected vagrant made an impression that changed my opinion of France forever.

I am hoping the future offers another opportunity for me to change that perspective on France.

As it turns out, the French are making their own impressions when traveling the globe.

A recent study asked 4,500 hotels around the world to rank international tourists based on their behavior.

The result? French tourists are considered the worst in the world, and thought of as penny-pinching, rude and terrible at foreign languages.

Confession: I was pretty delighted to read this nugget, especially considering much of the globe gives American travelers a hard time for the stereotype that we're ignorant, isolationist, rude and poorly mannered.

Over the past few years, I've had some interesting conversations with foreigners while traveling abroad. They mistakenly took me for a GWB supporter, "Surely you like the guy because he's your president, right? You MUST have voted for him, and must love his practices, right?"

I also heard criticism about how Americans fail to champion a global perspective because they fail to leave their own country and interact with people of other nationalities and beliefs.

Funny how that conversation transpired between a native Indian and myself while. I. was. traveling. London.

Americans get a little vindication in this study, sponsored by Expedia. Travelers from my corner of the world check in at No. 9 in the top ten list of the world's best tourists.

Travelers from the U.S. got high marks for generosity, as the biggest spenders and tippers in the world. My fellow American tourists fell short where tidiness was concerned, and we were also regarded as the loudest, the worst complainers and the worst dressed.

Since when is fashion a benchmark for good tourists?

I guess ever since Americans started wearing jeans, fanny packs and tennis shoes to Notre Dame, Westminster Abbey and The Vatican.

The title of Best Tourists goes to the Japanese. They're thought of as tidy, polite, quiet and uncomplaining. The Japanese have had a lock on the No. 1 spot for three years and counting.

The French excelled in areas of elegance, discretion and cleanliness, but were the least likely to try a new language. The study indicates American tourists were the most likely to tough it out and muddle through a foreign language while ordering their dinner.

Parlay voo Fronsay?, Indeed.

Mme. Hodge would be so proud of Katrine.

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Friday, July 10, 2009

Let's Have Some Fun, This Beat is Sick

I can't get this song out of my head.

The lyrics couldn't be more blatant, but the beat is pretty tight.

Why do I feel like GaGa is channeling Traci Lords in this (very provocative) video? (ed. note: Did GaGa intentionally choose the control top pantyhose?)

This clip isn't so much about the video as it is the value of the mashup.

I think GaGa just might have a little bit of Ms. Lennox in her...

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Growing Pains

I wanted to be a journalist ever since second grade.

The interest started with poetry I wrote in Mrs. Sadler's class at Maple Dale Elementary. Can't remember the subject of my prose, but I have a feeling it had something to do with fossils or Mothers Day. Just a guess.

That's when I discovered some people in this world make a living stringing words together. Sure, some folks balance ledgers or mend broken bones. Others litigate in courtrooms or drive buses.

My little eight-year-old self dreamed of putting pen to paper and telling stories - be they mine or someone else's.

Through the years, I meandered through school papers, eventually snagging a columnist gig at the University of Kentucky. I loved seeing my words and thoughts in print (I must admit, the byline was pretty cool, too). I also dabbled in college radio, digitally splicing bits of audio, writing scripts and voicing in a nearly soundproof room, my lips just inches away from a massive, fuzzy microphone cover.

Radio wasn't my bag, baby, and though I got such a high from writing for print, my heart coveted another vocation.


Flash forward a couple years. I was producing the 6 P.M. news in Lexington, KY, listening to police scanners, reading wires and developing breakouts to flesh out the lead story. It was flashy journalism, writing to moving pictures and soundbites, but I was still getting to tell a story.

Even if they were in 25 second fragments.

I started noticing changes six years ago.

We revamped the station website, and suddenly producers became responsible for not only managing newscasts, but posting stories online. AP wire copy or internally generated pieces, we were instructed to get content on the web as often as possible. The sense of urgency regarding the internet wasn't there yet in my shop (hell, some folks in the newsroom outright refused to post their stories online), but we knew it was something we ought to stick with to see where it went.

There were no web content producers in Lexington, KY as far back as six years ago.

A couple years later, I made my way to a Cincinnati TV station. The newsroom had web content producers and began streaming newscasts live online. All the while, stations across the country started losing revenue to the great unknown - online news.

It wasn't enough to compete against the shop across the street, or the 100 other stations on cable/satellite, we were now vying for viewers who had the chance catch all of their news from a computer.

Over time, some newsrooms started struggling with the growing behemoth of online news. Losing advertising revenue (this was years before the current economic crisis), many newsrooms started downsizing. There was talk of some stations cancelling newscasts.

It was like a womb painfully stretching to accommodate the evolution and growth of its progeny.

Sometimes progress hurts in the short term, but it forces us to adapt and develop the tools needed to face the future.

I don't know if the same analogy applies to the massive layoffs that unfolded at the Cincinnati Enquirer yesterday and today, but I am really trying to find the glass-half-full in all of this.

The city's biggest news operation lost some good journalists this week, people who wanted to tell stories for a living.

From one journalist to another, I hope they continue telling stories.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Let the Memorials Continue All Week Long

Hitler finds out Michael Jackson is dead.

This is pretty hilarious.

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Raw Deal -or- Procrastination

Folks, Cincinnati cops are running plates (ed. note: turns out they are).

That's the only explanation I have for what happened tonight.

What I'm about to share with you is a bit revealing, and perhaps a bit of insight into my personality. And I'm okay with that - because I pride myself on being self deprecating, if not genuine and real.

Shit happens, and I do my best to take my lumps in stride. Life is one big learning experience, and also perhaps a test of wits and will, and with every moment I am trying to learn something, discover gratitude and move on to greener pastures.

Tonight is one of those moments.

I enjoyed a lovely evening with a friend of mine - cocktails, opera, wine - when my friend pulled on to my street and we discovered flashing lights worthy of a triple homicide.

We approached the red and blue flickering glow when my stomach sunk a little bit.

Surely not - right? Surely they weren't after me?

Folks, it doesn't matter how much volunteer work you do, and you get no brownie points for choosing a career with more noble intentions and less lucrative awards.

We all have to play by the rules - and that means paying your parking tickets.

Yes, I said parking tickets.

I racked up a few parking tickets and made the unfortunate decision to take someone's advice. This individual explained that I could wait to pay the individual tickets (each ticket amount doubles after seven days), and instead pay a collective fee on the City's amnesty day. On this day, the City allows residents to pay fines reduced to the collective face value, instead of the doubled amount due for each late ticket.

You've heard of Amnesty Day at the library - this person insisted the City of Cincinnati offered amnesty day for tickets, too. This individual generally knows what he or she is talking about, so I decided to take the advice and wait for the day when the city offered it's citizens a break.

In this rough economic time (Have you heard? The City of Cincinnati is operating on a $20 million deficit for 2009, and is expecting a $40 million deficit next year), I imagine the City is striving to boost it's revenue any way it can. That means encouraging people to spend more money downtown - and it also means collecting as much money as it's owed.

The city ain't got no money - so it's scrounging through the cushions to find what jingle it can.

Enter Kate the (not so?) Great.

I approached the cruiser with the flashing lights with a, "Hello! I think you might be towing my car." It was a polite greeting - I didn't think they were towing my car - I knew they were towing my car because the tow truck already had it's chains on the tires of my 9-3.

The police were polite - and for that I'm grateful. There's no reason to treat anyone with less than courtesy, unless you face a disgruntled attitude - and despite the unpleasantness of the situation, I offered manners and even a smile or two. I am impressed the police did the same - it not only goes against the stereotype, but contradicts other experiences I've had with men who carry guns.


There I was, watching the only asset to my name (you should see my 403-B and my IRA... the car is likely depreciating more slowly than they are) get wheeled away on a flat bed truck to a fenced-in parking lot on Spring Grove Avenue.

For some reason - I don't know why - I am okay with this. I will chalk it up to my Pollyanna attitude.

The police officer ran down my expected charges. Once I pay out the parking tickets, the towing fee and an $8-a-day impound charge, I'll be able to retrieve my car. The police officer said this would likely be in the neighborhood of 600 bucks.

Because there's nothing more I'd rather spend $600 on than our fine City of Cincinnati.

That tidy sum is about half of the take-home pay for a decent City job, and I guess it's my fair share of what's needed to keep Cincinnati afloat.

I guess I'm just a little disappointed that I got nabbed.

Some people only say they're sorry when they get caught doing something wrong. I'm not necessarily sorry, I'm just surprised they picked *me*. In my former life as a news producer, I used to run stories about people who ran into trouble with the law because they had something like 45 outstanding tickets.

Not six.

I've done the math and have figured out when I can get my car out of "hawk."

It looks like I'll be riding the bus for about a week or so, and that's fine with me. The ride will be a great time to reflect on life and all the gifts I've been given.

Besides, I have a great book I'm reading, and I never have time to indulge in a page or two.

See you on the bus!

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

We Remember The Time

Monday, July 06, 2009

Summer Sisters

I could eat mashed potatoes every day of my life.

I have no idea if my affinity for the starchy pomme de terre is ingrained in my genetic code – what with my Irish and German ancestry – or if I am just a fan of any concoction that involves butter (never margarine), salt and a little cream.

Whatever the case may be, mashed potatoes are my deserted island food of choice.

Tomatoes just might fall behind as a close second.

At the height of season, there is no better vegetable (okay, okay, it’s a fruit) to serve as the symbol of summer. Tomatoes, in all their juicy, red glory, soak up the sun and pay it forward with fresh flavor and fleshy substance.

Tomatoes can taste clean, sweet, salty and savory depending on the variety, making this beauty the belle of the backyard garden ball.

Perhaps the best part about tomatoes is their versatility. Stew them down and you’re well on your way to a homemade red sauce. Pull them off the vine a little early and fry them up green and firm (I like to put a little seasoning in my cornmeal and fry them up in bacon fat – it’s the next best thing to being south of the Mason Dixon line). Slice up a beefsteak and place it atop Dad’s Famous Burgers, or serve up round medallions of your favorite Heirloom with fresh mozzarella.

Just like potatoes – a tomato’s possibilities are endless.

One of my favorite, no-fuss dishes for summer celebrates the tomato and it’s other Summer Sisters. Try it out and tell me what you think.

Summer Sister Pasta

1 lb box of rigatoni pasta
4 large tomatoes, diced
2 medium zucchini
½ Vidalia onion, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh basil, hand shredded
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ cup and 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Parmesan reggiano, shredded to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
  • Slice zucchini lengthwise into strips
  • Pour 1 tablespoon evoo in sauté pan and cook zucchini until tender. Season with salt and pepper if you prefer. Be sure not to overcook, as zucchini will become limp and mushy
  • Remove zucchini strips from pan and chop into smaller pieces
  • In a large mixing bowl, add chunky diced fresh tomatoes, zucchini bits, onion, basil and diced garlic. Toss thoroughly and place to side
  • Prepare pasta according to directions on box. Drain, keeping pasta in pot
  • Add veggie mix to pasta pot, toss with remaining olive oil and shredded parmesan. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve


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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Miss Independent

America and I have a lot in common.

We're both 30-something, independent chicks celebrating a life bursting with freedom and ambition.

Granted, she's got 200 years on me, but I imagine that America and I are quite similar, being that I'm a Bicentennial Baby and nearing my own 33rd birthday.

We both get into disagreements from time to time, but maneuver through such sticky situations with utmost diplomacy. Push us to the edge, though, and we'll drop the hammer.

America and I are driven and seeking success in a variety of ventures. This focus can sometimes make life lonely. Like me, America doesn't really have a worthy partner-in-crime.

Sure, Great Britain tries, but for all his class and English refinement, he's a bit on the shrimpy side and sometimes insists America would be nothing without him.

And we all know that's balls.

Some news out just yesterday gives pause to happenin' chicks like America and me. A new study shows people who have a partner or spouse during their middle ages are more resistant to developing dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Apparently people scored better when they were married at midlife (around 50, according to this study) than if they were solo.

The way America and I are going... we could be in for a future of lost memories and cognitive decline.

But today, that worry takes a back seat to celebration.

America and I will celebrate our Independence Day with parades, cookouts and sparklers. I intend on soaking up my corner of America on the seat of a scooter, cruising around the Queen City (another great, independent lady) and scouting out some of my favorite neighborhoods.

Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

I dig it.
*** *** *** *** *** ***
You can celebrate the 4th of July with some of the coolest people around at this year's parade in Northside, a funky-hip neighborhood just north of Downtown Cincinnati. The eclectic crowd will sail down Hamilton Avenue beginning at noon.

Hope to see you there!

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Kate's Random Musings by Kate the Great is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.