Sunday, January 30, 2000

Town makes 'Odd' sequel




BY JIM KNIPPENBERG
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Mercy, for somebody who lives in the wee tiny town of Nevada, Mo., Neil Swanson knows a heck of a lot about Cincinnati. Not to mention Toledo and Columbus.

        Swanson, see, is a retired minister, college professor and author of Odd & Peculiar, a book about cities with odd names and how they got them. Not least of which is Odd, W.Va., and Peculiar, Mo.

        Now comes the sequel: More Odd & Peculiar (Wainsley Press; $8.50). It is 128 pages full of info on how 154 cities got their names.

        “I had to do a sequel, because the first one sold so well, and I got so many suggestions from readers about other towns. There are a lot of them out there,” Swanson says.

        Such as Cincinnati: “I found that fascinating — how Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus was the ultimate Roman patriot and how the Society of Cincinnati took its name from him and the city got it from them.”

        The Society of Cincinnati, for those who weren't around in 1790, was a group of retired Revolutionary War generals who probably wanted a pension fund but got Cincinnati named after them instead.

        “The irony, and something I didn't put in the book because I found it too negative,” Swanson said, “is the society is made up of 14 chapters — one for each colony and one for France. That means the state with the city that's named after the society can't even have a chapter.”

        Other cities featured in the book are Toledo (“It's named after the Spanish city of Toledo, but no one knows why”) and Columbus (“That was an easy one, even though his name was Christoforo Colombo in Italian and Cristobal Colon in Spanish”).

        The book's available from Wainsley, 417-667-4703.

        KAZOO REVISITED: Look who's popping up on VH1. You, your kazoo and 30,000 of your nearest and dearest.

        That from producer Bill Brand at cable's VH1. Turns out the music channel has a new show called Rock & Roll Record Breakers, a series about milestones in the music industry. Including, don't you know, 1999's Oktoberfest, where Weird Al Yankovic led 30,000 beer-soaked party goers in the World's Largest Kazoo Band.

        So what Brand is asking is that you share your video footage. Though the show already has some, it needs more, but only of people playing kazoo. What they don't want is people chicken dancing, beer drinking or kraut snarfing.

        Interested? Send a copy (no originals; they won't be returned) to VH1, 1633 Broadway, Attn: Nell Cross, New York, N.Y., 10019. Include name, address and phone number.

        It will air in late February or early March.

        DRESS THE BEST: And this for anyone keeping count: Former Cincinnati designer Christina Perrin (the one who ran Christina Perrin Boutique in Hyde Park until 1995) dressed five, count 'em five, plenty glamorous women for last week's Golden Globes.

        She already has dressed a stable of celebrity clothes horses, including Tyra Banks, Julia Roberts, LeAnn Rimes and Mary J. Blige.

        Now, she's added Ally McBeal's Portia De Rossi, who turned up in a tight blue gown with spaghetti straps (which she's allowed to do, because she doesn't have arm waddle.)

        Not to mention Lee Lee Sobieski (Joan of Arc) in a leather gown with a slit that showed bright pink lining and sequined fish; Mariska Hargitay (Law and Order Special Victims Unit) in waaaay low-cut black chiffon; Marin Hinkle (Once and Again) in black lace; and Jenny McCarthy (Diamonds) in a flouncy lace skirt.

        Knip's Eye View appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Have an item to report? Call Jim Knippenberg at 768-8513; fax: 768-8330.