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I’ll come up with a snappy title eventually

[Puddin’s note: Anyone who’s a regular Puddintopia visitor or loves 3-Way Chili probably already knows our final guest blogger for the week.  Tom and his wife, Carla, have been bringin’ it when it comes to news about better beer around here on their blog, Hoperatives (full disclosure: yes, of course, I ramble about beer over there, too). He was my first thought to bat clean up on guest week, and I’m glad he agreed to do it. Of course, I had to bribe him with beer and first peeks at revised novels.  I’m not sure he knows what he’s gotten himself into.  Anyway, here’s Tom to close out the week, in true Puddintopia form.]

So now we’re at the end of The Week Without a Puddin. To be honest, I’m not sure it’ll ever become an annual classic like The Year Without a Santa Claus. Then again, The Year Without a Santa Claus really can’t hold a candle to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Santa Claus is Coming to Town in the pantheon of Rankin-Bass Christmas specials. I think it comes in ahead of The Little Drummer Boy. And don’t speak to me of the Frosty the Snowman sequel. That was just sad.

Anyhow it’s probably OK I don’t expect The Week Without a Puddin to become a runaway hit in the competitive world of week-long annual observances. How can it compete with things like Shark Week? Or Restaurant Week? Or even Take a Prostate to Work Week?

What? You never heard of that last one? You need to get out more.

I’m reasonably confident I was asked to go last this week so it’ll be that much more of a relief when Puddin starts posting again. And that doesn’t bother me. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on that novel he’s writing so I can laugh at the funny parts and cry at the sad ones. I’m just praying I’m able to figure out which is which excited about it. Glad to help, buddy.

I was told that the theme for the week was guest bloggers who are somehow the opposite of Puddin. He mentioned it might be a bit tough because we’re a lot alike. We both love beer. We both have beards. We can both write more than 260 words and not really have a recognizable point. Heck, we’re both just warming up anywhere under 500. But it turns out there are a couple of differences between us. My wife and I have no kids. And I’m not from ’round here.

I was going to talk about the no kids thing since so much of what Puddin writes revolves around his. He makes a good argument for kids in general, and his in particular. When I began writing, though, it started getting serious and who wants that on a weekend? So for the remainder of this sermon, I’ll be reading from the book of “You do know that’s just a Cincinnati thing and not everywhere, right?”

I’m going to leave out the obvious things like being able to talk to your date about three-ways and cornhole without getting slapped, and the use of the word “please?” when what you really mean is “huh?” The former has been done to death and the latter is actually charming. I’ll even forego pointing out that the location of “The Cut in the Hill” is not implanted in all human consciousness at birth and once in a while it would be courteous to point out to newcomers that it’s that big hill on I-71/75 in Kentucky just across the river from downtown Cincinnati. And I get bored even thinking about how much your identity is tied to where you went to high school around here.

The funny thing is, I don’t think high school sports are as big a deal here as other places I’ve lived. What struck me when I moved here was how small the football stadiums were. I know they get a bit bigger as you head to northern Ohio, but I’ve seen stadiums in Texas for 6-man football bigger than some of the ones around here. I’m not saying this is bad, by the way. Sports are fun, but reading, writing and math are forever..

It’s hilarious to me that the Ohio River is such a psychological dividing line. People north of the river routinely call folks who live south of the river “rednecks,” “hillbilly’s,” or worse. People south of the river talk about going into downtown Cincinnati or, heaven forbid, Over-the-Rhine like they were going into Beirut circa 1982 via Dresden and Coventry in 1943. True story: when I was interviewing for a job in Cincinnati — at UC — my prospective department head warned me gravely that UC was an urban campus. I lived in Philly at the time, and taught at Temple. There were three armed robberies in the building where I taught my last year. Ted Koppel did four nights of Nightline called “Living in the Badlands” about neighborhoods where cops were afraid to go. They shot it three blocks north of my office. So when I saw UC and downtown and OTR for the first time my only reaction was, “Yeah, those places could use some paint.”

I love how people in Cincinnati freak out over the fact that the major airport is in Kentucky. I’ll concede that it’s weird that the Kenton County Airport Board governs the airport even though it’s in Boone County. I also love how someone who lives in Springdale and works downtown thinks it’s weird to drive in all the way from Crestview Hills.

I admire how the city makes such a big deal about the Red’s Opening Day. I’m astonished that anyone follows the Bengals. The Anderson Ferry is cool. It’s remarkable how many people outside the area know about the Florence Y’all water tower.

Puddin, being an observer of the human condition, has probably noticed a lot of these things. He’s also had the good sense not to bring most of them up. That’s why he can write a blog that’s about everything and I have to stick to beer in order not to ramble too much. With any luck I’ve managed to help you kill the amount of time you were looking to kill without it being too painful.

Fear not, gentle reader, he’ll be back Monday.

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4 comments on “I’ll come up with a snappy title eventually

  1. Tom, I have a unique take on the differences between Cincinnati and Northern KY. I was born in NKY and moved to Middletown when I was 3. We moved back at the end of my Freshman year at Fenwick High School. So I am always a little conflicted about the North and South of the river thing. What I hated the most about NKY at 15 was the big lack of Catholic co-ed high schools in NKY. Not that I was Miss Popular or anything (didn’t really date til I graduated from high school, which ended up being NDA, where my mother and her two sisters went). Won’t go into how I felt about that…. I really hate that downtown Cincy is so dead now, when I was a teenager here it was a bustling place to go and we referred to it as “Going over the River” I used to take the bus to Dixie Terminal and walk to the Cincy Public Library at 8th and Vine and was never afraid to do so. I loved the Reds from both sides of the river. I didn’t go to college and probably would have been conflicted if I had because of the Middletown/NKY thing. Now my family bleeds Wildcat Blue, but I remember Jerry Lucas and how neat it was to have someone from “home” become a “name”. Now, I guess it is George Clooney! :-). I guess the point of all this rambling (now you know where Puddin gets it!) is that there are good things on BOTH sides of the river! When my Dad turned 70 (which at the time seemed OLD (not so much, now!) I wrote him a letter thanking him for moving us to Middletown because when I think of home and growing up — thats Middletown — but I also thanked him for bringing me back because Al (that would be Dad Puddin) was here and not there! (I can’t proofread this comment like I can on Facebook so I hope that after I post it I haven’t embarrassed myself or Puddin). Do you think he will give me a prize for the longest comment ever submitted on Puddintopia? 🙂

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  2. Oh, one more quirky thing — I read a novel (which will remain nameless) that was supposed to take place in Cincinnati and the author referred to the corner of Vine and Fourth! She didn’t do her homework. On both sides of the river street corners in Cincinnati are ALWAYS referred to with the numbered street FIRST!

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  3. If I keep this up you will never volunteer to guest here again! One more observation… I was impressed that you knew about the Kenton Co. Airport Board! I did not think many people outside of airport personnel knew about that. I know because after I graduated from NDA I worked for the CPA who did the annual audits for the Kenton Co. Airport Board. We would chuckle about that at the office every year. You HAVE done your homework!! 🙂

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  4. I think I picked up on the Airport Board thing first out of newspaper stories, but later I was fortunate enough to know Ted Bushelman. Hanging out with him was hanging with an encyclopedia of Cincinnati and Northern KY. I really miss him.

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