Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Puppets As News?

Should newsrooms resort to Kermit's cousins to deliver news when they can't get access to a courtroom?

It's an interesting idea.

One of my former tv colleagues called himself a "meat puppet" because he sat at an anchor desk and delivered stories I wrote and others shot and edited.

Ours was a Cyrano-style relationship, and he delivered the headlines I crafted.

A Cleveland tv station is turning to "Puppet's Court" to report news about a corruption trial playing out in a courtroom where tv cameras are verboten.

According to the WSJ, the the TV station's 11 pm ratings (one of the most revenue-valuable dayparts on local news) are up over 55 percent - a near miracle in today's world of omnipresent news sources.

Another tv colleague of mine from my Lexington days used to wince when producers would refer to their "show." He'd gruffly respond, "I do news. I don't do entertainment. I don't sing and dance. I report on stories in a newscast."

Unfortunately, viewership of local news is at an all time low, and many newsrooms are employing creative ways to inform - and entertain - the audience as a way to keep them on the hook.

And while felt and styrofoam aren't as serious as some of the stoic faces I see on any anchor desk, I suppose they could be just as factual.

Credibility? That's an entirely different ball of wax.

Hat tip to @chrisgraves for the heads up on this infotaining story.

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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.

Friday, February 24, 2012

And The Oscar Goes To...

What do a gold statue, a bottle of whiskey, and a fancy dress have in common?

The answer wasn't obvious to me, either, as I stared at the unusual press kit with the caramel golden bottle.

I've signed on to serve as a Social Media Correspondent for the People Working Cooperatively official Oscars party, and I was tickled by the clever bag with fun trinkets related to Sunday's event.

More about that in a moment.

But first... People Working Cooperatively. I am all for throwing a fancy party to support a good cause (hat tip to CinSation on March 10), and PWC is definitely one of those community treasures that deserves a hand from all of us.

I first learned about PWC through work at my previous employer, United Way of Greater Cincinnati. PWC is an agency partner that helps make home maintenance and repair projects for thousands of low-income, elderly and disabled homeowners across Greater Cincinnati.

These critical home repairs, energy conservation and weatherization improvements help homeowners safely stay in their homes.

It's a vital service to so many in our community, and PWC's Oscar Night America is the organization's primary fundraiser.

The Oscars are kind of particular about who can throw a party to honor their golden guy, and PWC's fete is lucky to be the only Oscar-authorized party in the city.

This year's theme is the Wild, Wild, West, and that means the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland will be taken over by cowboys and cowgirls (dressed to the nines in fancy frocks, of course), a calf roping station, a jailhouse, and other themed theatrics.

Sunday night, I'll be live tweeting about the evening, talking up some of the attendees, what they're wearing (I can only hope to live up to Joan Rivers' sarcasm), and some of the awesome things PWC does to help our community.

You can still get in on the action and attend Sunday's celebration. Call 513-351-7921 if you're interested in buying a ticket ($150 per person) and enjoying the star-studded celebration.

I can't promise I'll be wearing the bandanna or swilling the bourbon in my media press kit, but I will definitely be dressed for Oscar.

Fancy dress and all.

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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Social Graces

Emily Post's world, this is not.

Long gone are the days of calling cards and white gloves. In many cases, this is a great blessing.

So much of yesteryear's formality was overwrought with social classism and a severe disparity of wealth that got in the way of much of what America truly values - hard work, ingenuity, tenacity.

The thing is, social graces were designed with the idea of showing respect for another, and that's not an entirely bad thing.

Previous generations went out of their way to show deference to their elders. Today, people rarely give those with senior status a passing thought. Whatever happened to the grace that inspired others to lend a hand to a grandmother crossing the street? Whatever happened to the kindness of courtesy?

In the not-so-new millennium, we're so quick to think of ourselves - and yet we sometimes forget to bestow kindness to those around us.

Today, men and women alike can hold doors for each other. It's not a genteel move borne out of chauvinism. It's a gesture that shows polite respect.

The world needs more of that.

Ditto for how we treat our servers, our bartenders, and the many other people we meet daily who are tasked with the charge of offering a service with hospitality. These people make their livelihood by taking care of us, and they deserve respect and appreciation in return.

To take advantage of their position or to shortchange their livelihood for personal financial advantage is tacky and in poor taste. People working in this industry have reasonable expectations about their income, and we treat them unfairly when we diminish the value of their service.

Speaking of poor taste, I am swift to admit I am not infallible. While I place great thought in the gestures I make and the words I say, I make gaffes large and small. Tons of them.

When my words and acts are measured and well thought out, it doesn't leave much for interpretation. It's when I say things that are off the cuff that I get into trouble, and I suppose that goes for all of us.


Social graces aren't about high class, low class and everyone in between. They're about treating people - all people - with fairness. In so many instances, this genteel deference has gone out the window.

Society is quick to judge, swift to be selfish, and short on paying respect to perspective.

We're all guilty of it. Myself included. Every single day.

But damn it all, I am working really hard on it.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love, By Example

Where there is love, there is hope.

And where there's hope, there's love.

I think about the former, and I am reminded by my parents. Next month, they'll celebrate 37 years of marriage. That's a monumental number when I recall how they have overcome medical calamities, the upheaval of moving (at least six times, by my count), financial scrapes and differences of personal perspective.

Not to mention raising yours truly (and my two lovely sisters).

The thing about my parents is that they love with laughter.

Both intelligent in their own right (my dad has an incredible mind for business and marketing; my mom is solid on matters of depth and cerebral culture), they've long learned how to make fun of the littlest things. It's those inside jokes and moments of silliness that have helped them weather the darkest depths of their relationship.

With their love, they've always held on to hope for tomorrow.

I think about my own life, and how hopeful I am. Hopeful to find love, hopeful to share my life with someone, hopeful for all of humanity's blessings.

As I hold on to my own hope, I know my heart is ready to blossom. I'm ready to celebrate the good times - and weather the rough ones - with someone who matters to me.

On Valentine's Day, as many others write words of love to their sweetheart, I write words of love to myself.

And I also think about how much my parents love each other, and hold tight to the hope I'll find my own Funny Valentine.

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Rise From The Ashes

Life has a way of healing itself.

That was one of the messages I garnered from a national speaker I had the pleasure of enjoying last weekend at a volunteers' retreat.

The astute woman first started by describing a broken arm. When you break your arm in a tumble, there's actually very little doctors can do to make it heal.

Sure, they set it and have it wrapped in a plaster cast, but the true power of healing lies within your own body. Over time, your bone begins to grow back together, and the broken part ends up being stronger than it was before.

When we deal with a heartbreak, a personal challenge, or other sensitive obstacle, life forces us to work hard and overcome.

One way or another, we manage to grow beyond the emotional scars and turn into something bigger, better, faster or stronger.

We do more than survive. We thrive.

The speaker shared another analogy that reminded me of things I observe in my own reviving neighborhood. When a tree dies, it does not leave behind a barren patch that fails to evolve for all eternity. No, the ashen wood falls and the earth refortifies.

Beauty grows in the place of death.

Life moves on. And we are blessed with new opportunities and changed perspective.

And that is one of the greatest gifts we can count on.

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Saturday, February 11, 2012


It's time to pop some bottles in Over-the-Rhine.

1215 Wine Bar and Coffee Lab is giving things a test run with some private soft openings this weekend. We stepped in to try a couple wines and peruse their lean but tasty menu.

We both had a lot to celebrate so we started with a flight of their sparkling offerings.

1215 offers up a smart list of flatbreads, a tasty plate of Italian meats, and a cheese plate with several choices to ponder.

We chose the Sarveccio Parmesan, billed the best parmesan in the United States; the Bellavitano Merlot Encrusted, a cheddar-meets-parm milk cow cheese from Wisconsin; and the Pont l'eveque Petit - a soft and pungent cheese from Normandy, France.

We also tried a couple desserts - the Nutella bread pudding, and a creamy chocolate offering dusted with salt. I forgot the name of the latter, but trust me - it's delicious. All menu items are the creation of multimedia cooking darling, Cooking With Caitlin, who popped in for the soft opening.

When you order a flight at 1215, your glasses will be marked to remind you which pour you're tasting.

The crowd at Friday night's soft opening was made of close friends of owners Bob Bonder (Tazza Mia) and Joanna Argus. Familiar faces included Greater Cincinnati Foundation's Kathy Merchant, Eve Center founder Cinny Roy, local venture capitalist Jack Wyant, and Fetish boutique owner Ashley Maguire.

The space features a nicely sized wine bar as well as a few tables for larger groups. 1215 offers a variety of gourmet coffee concoctions; we were so enthralled with the wine that we didn't even consider a cuppa.

We enjoyed a table beside the window - it was a perfect nook for sipping bubbles, watching snowflakes, and savoring a long overdue catch-up.

I can't wait to go back.

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Thursday, February 09, 2012

Triumph in Over-the-Rhine

"Many hands make light work."

It's a saying I whisper to myself sometimes when I'm working on a challenging task. Sometimes it's a laborious work project, other times it's an effort on behalf of a volunteer organization. Long ago I discovered the burden of any chore can be made better when you work with others.

The mantra should be an unofficial tagline for the work happening in my neighborhood. Over-the-Rhine is a community thick in the middle of rebirth. Dilapidated architectural treasures stand beside bright, shiny startups.

The neighborhood includes both residents striving for financial stability, and those who are on a trajectory toward wealth.

And dozens of community organizations are working to make the neighborhood north of Central Parkway better for everyone.

The Emanuel Community Center is one of those places.

Emanuel works to connect all residents of Over-the-Rhine by providing a place for education, collaboration and shared experience.

The Race Street non-profit offers the Early Learning Center, Ohio's oldest continually licensed daycare. The Center offers a curriculum that enhances each child's social, emotional, physical and intellectual development.

Emanuel provides a wealth of additional programming that brings together all OtR residents - white, black, underprivileged, financially secure, homeless and those who enjoy home ownership.

The Emanuel Community Center is hosting its annual fundraiser, the Triumph Awards at the Madison Event Center in Covington on Wednesday, February 15 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $75 a person.

The dinner gala recognizes three prominent leaders for their contributions in the community:

  • Edwin Rigaud, president and CEO, Enova Premier, and director of Taft Business Consulting LLC
  • Victoria Morgan, artistic director and CEO, Cincinnati Ballet
  • Yvonne Gray Washington, executive vice president and COO, United Way of Greater Cincinnati

By attending this event, you can help support some great work happening in Over-the-Rhine, as well as recognize three highly respected people who are leading by example.

Lend a hand and make the work a little lighter.

To learn more about the event and to purchase tickets, click here.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2012

It's Easy Being Green (A Special Offer)

I'm white knuckling it as I hold on to my 2012 resolution.

Truth be told, I didn't make any resolutions. I just grew resolved to stick to my circa June 2011 running plan and healthier diet. In addition to my two or three-times a week running habit, I long made a conscious effort to enjoy more fruits and veggies.

By noshing on baby carrots, grapes, bananas and the like, I can eat more, feel full more, and lose more weight.

I've learned a diet made of all carbs and calcium can do a body not-so-good. The scale takes a solid hit when I've gone days without ODing on produce, and that's an unwelcome development when I spend so much free time crawling running on pavement to burn calories.

Enter Green Bean Delivery.

As it turns out, pizza and pho are not the only things you can get delivered to your doorstep. If you have a hankering for organic bosc pears or fresh mint leaves, you can have that dropped off, too.

Green Bean Delivery connects food producers with local customers via a year-round delivery service. When available, Green Bean will provide you with local or organic produce and deliver it right to your home or office (depending on location).

The produce is delivered in what looks like a green recycle bin, complete with a reusable dry ice package. It keeps everything cold and fresh while it eagerly waits for you to come home.


A $35 bin of produce comes with free delivery, and you can customize your order based on your likes and dislikes. Green Bean's public relations rep graciously provided me with a sample bin that I had delivered to my office (thank you, Megan!).

I cracked open the lid and found several varieties of organic pears, beautiful ruby red grapefruit, two large heads of broccoli, a few baking potatoes, several apples, and a bunch of other healthy treats.

I liked having the box delivered to my office because I could parcel out the produce and leave some fruit behind at my desk. I toted home the vegetables and they lasted me several days of dinner prep.

I've since become a regular customer and look forward to my delivery. I'm eagerly awaiting today's bin, which should include several kiwi fruit, a bunch of broccolette (this recipe looks amazing), and some yummy snow peas.

I know some of you are dying for a dinner invite, aren't you?

If you are trying to stay on the weight loss wagon, I highly suggest giving Green Bean Delivery a try. I don't think there's a way to make healthy eating any easier... well, maybe if you had Oprah's chef living inside your home.

This is the next best thing, and it sure as hell is more affordable.

Green Bean Delivery is offering my readers a chance to enjoy 50 percent off their first bin. Just use the special promo code KRMapc when you check out. The 50 percent discount does not apply to any grocery items you may add to your bin, and the discount expires one week from today (Tuesday). Finally, the discount is only good for new members and reactivations only.


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Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Red. Hot. Contest.

I've always had a love-hate relationship with red lipstick.

The fiery, passionate hue has long been favored by Hollywood. Rita Hayworth, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe all loved red. Hayworth loved a real red, Taylor made candy apple red her signature shade, and Monroe's pout featured a rosy-pink red.

Lipstick's origins date back 5,000 years to Mesopotamian women who crushed semi-precious stones to adorn their mouth and eyes. A few years later, Cleopatra drove men crazy with lips featuring a red hue extracted from crushed beetles and ants.

Sexy, huh?

I love the classic, romantic origins of red lipstick. Sadly, I hate the way it looks on my face. A smear of red on Scarlett Johansson makes her look seductive. A smear of red on me makes me look like I'm related to Bozo the Clown.

Thankfully, I discovered a great shade of rouge as part of Cincy Chic's sold-out Lady in Red event, a fundraiser for the American Heart Association on National Wear Red Day.

Nancy Dawson and the team at The Bridal Studio in Covington showed me the best shade to compliment my fair skin, blue eyes and blonde hair. These talented ladies said Lancome's Absolute Rouge matte perfect red ($29.50) was the best shade to make teeth look white and creamy skin pop.

What do you think?

I've always favored a deep, bluish-red - something that straddles the classic look of Coco Chanel and more vamp references, but was excited to branch out and try something different.

Do you have a favorite shade of red? Now is your chance to show it off, and in return, you could win a pair of tickets to the sold-out Lady in Red event this Friday night (at a secret location to soon to be revealed!).

All you have to do is "Go Red" on Facebook - post a photo of you wearing your favorite red lip to Cincy Chic's wall. You'll be entered to win twice if you make that photo your profile pic, too.

One participant will be selected to win two sold-out swag bag tickets, a $50 gift certificate to Stone Creek Dining Company, and a personalized FACEing makeup class gift certificate with BRIDEface.

Photo must be posted on Cincy Chic's Facebook page by 5 pm EST Thursday, February 2, and the profile photo must remain participant's featured profile photo until 5 pm EST February 2.

Good luck!


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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.