Category Archives: Cincinnati

Rascals 4, Freedom 2

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That would be the River City Rascals (Missouri) and the Florence Freedom (Kentucky), members of the Frontier League. I extended my journey across the middle of the country an extra night in order to attend a minor league ballgame in an open air suite, courtesy of Dave Zitt’s boss. For the first time in over two years, I didn’t score the game. Well, not the entire game — I did score the last three innings in someone else’s scorebook while she borrowed my special “Upstairs Guest” bracelet and took advantage of our catered ribs. However, I did get a free shirt (thanks, Evan) and the opportunity to participate in the “Diamond Dig.”
What really makes minor league games fun is all of the crazy promotional stuff that goes on beyond the game itself — and last night was no exception. Three diamond necklaces were hidden somewhere in the infield dirt and the first 500 women over the age of 16 who attended last Friday’s game were given little plastic shovels and the opportunity to literally dig for diamonds — but then it rained on Friday and the three necklaces were left buried in the field. (Okay, rumor has it that the necklaces weren’t actually buried, only the velvet boxes and a little slip of paper that guaranteed you a necklace.)
Just our luck, the dig was rescheduled for last night, the last game of the Frontier League season. Instead of giving shirts and shovels to the first 500 women, shirts were randomly thrown into the stand and any woman wearing a shirt was allowed to dig after the game. I’d like to say that I made some sort of heroic catch to get my shirt, but by the end, they had so many leftover shirts that they were walking up and down the aisles looking for women to pass them to and Evan was paying attention, and thus secured two shirts for me and Martine.
The dig itself wasn’t all that exciting. They herded us around the infield like cattle, lining us up along the grass and then yelled go. Five hundred women dropped to their knees and just began digging like little kids in a sandbox while strains of the Bangles “Manic Monday” played over the loudspeaker — only the sand in a sand box isn’t rock hard and impossible to dig into. My strategy quickly became to search for a patch of softer dirt and search for the diamond that way. I have no idea if that was the correct strategy, because three women found necklaces before I could figure it out.
Oh well… at least I got a free shirt and plastic shovel out of the deal.

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“Philly Cheesy Chili Dip”

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I just saw a Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercial for this recipe. They forgot to mention that the key ingredient to this — key — is that the chili be Skyline. (And upon checking the website, there is a Skyline restaurant within an hour of me!) Now, if only the Ann Arbor Kroger would start carrying the cans… luckily, I still have some from the last time I went to Cincinnati. So I think I’m going to make some “Philly Cheesy Chili Dip” and make it right.

Worth Following…

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When I was in Cincinnati last week, I met (for the second time) Will Hawkins, a high school friend of Dave and Martine’s who’s now a computer science graduate student at UIUC. Because he has the time, Will has started volunteering down in the Houston area, setting up computers to be used to help Katrina victims. And he’s blogging about it. I’d highly recommend checking it out. It almost makes me feel guilty for sitting in class and studying Turing Machines while he’s down there putting his computer knowledge to good use.

Living the high life

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This weekend was the annual Cincinnati fireworks and I decided to be in town to view them — and what a view! Dave, Martine’s very own Pilot of Love, is the personal pilot for a very wealthy man who owns three houses, one of which is on Watch Hill in Newport, KY, just across the Ohio River from Kentucky. (He also owns a bunch of McDonald’s, hence the wealth.) As Dave and Martine’s guest, I was invited along to the VIP party at the old Kentucky home.
One of the prominent features of the four story house is the roof deck, complete with hot tub. Although the hot tub wasn’t in use, the party was there, complete with catered ribs, mini-quiches, an open bar, a fabulous dessert tray, and an excellent view of the Ohio River and Cincinnati skyline. Prior to the fireworks display, Pilot David gave us a tour of the rest of the house. My first observation was all of the cool little things that were tucked in corners that no one would ever see. In particular, a moving clock with little brass men that rocked back and forth as the seconds ticked was nearly hidden on a bookshelf in a cozy little reading nook off of one of the living rooms.
Martine and I stopped in the basement to play a bit of Taxi Driver Pinball on the pinball machine next to the big screen TV, 6 lounge chairs, pool table, and popcorn machine. We didn’t stay down there for long — there was schmoozing to be done on the roof deck. The highlight of the schmoozing was probably Dave’s boss’s mother-in-law telling Martine that she was the luckiest woman in the world, and that if she was a few years younger, she’d try to steal him.
But the highlight of the evening was the fireworks display. Similar to the Boston 4th of July celebration, the fireworks are shot off of barges in the Ohio River. One of the trademarks of the Cincinnati display that I haven’t seen elsewhere is the “waterfall” effect created by fireworks being dumped over the two bridges that block in the barges. I didn’t bring my camera, but I managed to find this picture of the effect. Two other features of the display were worth noting; the choreography with the music, highlighted by an extended symphonic version of the theme from The Simpsons, and the special fireworks that spelled out the letters “W-E-B-N” (the radio station sponsoring the event). I had never seen fireworks spell words before. (Okay, fine, WEBN isn’t a word.)
I’m not sure that this tops watching fireworks from the Couchamaran, but it ranks a close (well, not that close) second.

Young’s Jersey Dairy

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Because airlines are strange, we returned Josh to Boston by dropping him off at the Dayton airport this evening. He then proceded to beat Martine and I back to Cincinnati, from where his second flight left for Boston. But because we had to go out to Dayton anyway, we spent the day hanging out at the National Museum of the United States Air Force and Young’s Jersey Dairy Farm.
Besides having really good ice cream and milkshakes (nearly as good as the Minnesota State Fair Dairy Barn, in fact), Young’s Dairy also has “Udders and Putters,” a miniature golf course next to some batting cages. So after feeding some goats, petting some cows, and eating some food, we played some games. While I did kick butt at mini-golf (48 compared to Josh’s 59 and Martine’s 62), Martine has requested that I mention that I cannot hit baseballs and she can (although the strike zone appeared to be calibrated to small children, which is to Martine’s height advantage). And while I can consistently hit softballs, Josh can consistently hit them farther than I can. So we were all winners today. And our prize was some delicious midwestern milkshakes, straight from the cows we visited earlier. Yum!

In Ohio…

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I’m at Martine and Dave’s house in Cincinnati with Josh on my way to my new home in Ann Arbor, MI. We just ate at the Skyline Chili restaurant. Mmm… delicious. Better than the cans that Martine usually keeps me well stocked in.
Sadly, somewhere in my packing, I either misplaced, lost entirely, or left behind my scorebook. Martine, Dave, and I are going to a Reds game Tuesday night — Martine is trying to work her connections to get us good seats. So, if I want to score the game, I’ll have to use the poor interface that comes in the program or buy another book beforehand. But sadly, I think the scoresheet for the Red Sox victory over the Orioles is lost.