Sunday, January 07, 2001

Here's your chance to whine


Join in the third annual Cincinnati Whine Festival

        It's time for our 3rd Annual Cincinnati Whine Festival, a contest inspired by the complaints our readers tend to send in during the post-holiday blahs of January. WhineFest has quickly become a tradition, with readers submitting hundreds of groans, moans, grouses and assorted complaints.

        So get a gripe, folks. E-mail yours to letters@enquirer.com. Or mail to Whine Festival, Enquirer Editorial Page, 312 Elm St., Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 (fax 513-768-8610), Include your name, address, neighborhood and daytime phone.

        We'll print the really vintage gripes in a coming issue. The author of the finest whine will receive a bottle of fine wine.

        To put you in the mood, we're reprinting some of the past two years' whiners — er, winners.

        I get so mad when I see a beautiful covering of tranquil white snow marred by those ugly yellow pee holes made by neighborhood pets. Is it too much to ask that they hold it until the snow melts? - — Fred Tivin, Finneytown (1999)

        I pay $140 for a pair of shoes. Seventy dollars for one shoe, and it's not even laced up. I have to lace it myself. - — J.W. Rettig, Madeira (2000)

        Do you ever wonder why there are signs that say “Wildlife management area”? What is it with that? When we take our walks at Miami Whitewater Park, we see these signs. If it is wildlife, how can it be managed? It wouldn't be called wildlife. Wouldn't they have to call it “Managed life management area”?

        Why do we think we can control nature and the environment? Next they will be coming up with “Tornado management area” or “Hurricane management area.” They really ought to have “Oil spill management area” or “Bill Clinton Management area” or even a “Jim Borgman management area.” While we're at it, I guess we all really live in a “Government management area.”

        Where can I find just a “Wildlife area”? Oh yeah, I just remembered — my children's rooms! — Tim Cannon, Colerain Township (2000)

        I hate when I go to a restaurant for dinner, shake the ketchup and it stays in the bottle. Why? - — Allix Hillebrand, age 7, Wyoming (2000)

        I'm fed up with those do-it-yourself home repair and remodeling shows. The purveyors of this stuff make it all seem so inviting, so alluring, so satisfying. They play on our egos, they seduce us with pictures of uncluttered closets and bright, spacious kitchens, until we hear ourselves saying, “Hey, even I could do that.”

        The TV handy-folk make it all look so easy, almost fun. And they are always smiling, like maybe they wait in a closed room with an open can of paint thinner in between camera shots.

        Like many men, I possess all of the home repair aptitude of a guppy. But few of us would admit it, so we dive into as many home projects as we can to prove our manhood.

        And professionals know this. Carpenters, electricians and plumbers all get together and hold This Old House parties. They snack on smoked salmon and brie as they watch the host whip through, say, a complete sun room and garden-bath addition. And when the TV handyman tells viewers that, with a little patience and planning, they can complete the same project in their own homes, the professionals laugh so hard they shoot imported beer out their noses.

        Because they know when Mr. Even-I-can-do-that is sitting in the middle of the floor sobbing, staring at the huge hole he tore in the outside wall, his wife and kids begging him to please turn the water back on, he's going to break down and call the pros. - — Pete Rightmire, Edgewood (1999)

        Mercy me. I've just finished watching the TV weather report, and my heart is pounding in my chest. Everyone in town needs to be aware that a TV station right here in Cincinnati is actually equipped with — are you sitting down? — Live Doppler 5000. It's true, yes, I heard the weatherman say it with my own ears. Six times, in fact, I heard him say it. Let there be no mistake: When he needed to refer to Live Doppler 5000, he said Live Doppler 5000. No humble pronoun was up to the task of standing in for something as big and obviously important as Live Doppler 5000.

        How I love that kind of talk. Some folks, ungenerous souls, might maintain that it's ponderous to repeat a phrase like that over and over. Some might even call it ridiculous and provincial. And some (scarcely the kind of people we need to concern ourselves with) might even wonder aloud how a grown weatherman could bear to look at himself in a monitor after repeating Live Doppler 5000, six times in four minutes. Not me. Heavens, with every thrilling repetition of Live Doppler 5000, I felt my excitement level climb a little more.

        As my life has grown less and less interesting, I've come to rely more and more on TV, especially the news and the weather forecast, I mean futurecast. Kudos to those good folks at Channel 5 who understand this, and who are so gifted at turning the mundane into the shocking, the inconvenient into the life-threatening. Despite any snide comments others might make, I for one am grateful to the people at Channel 5 for giving us Live Doppler 5000 and will be watching breathlessly. - — Dale Ehrlich, North Avondale (1999)

       



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