Hamilton drive-in open on Christmas day

One of the coolest things about living in California for two plus years was the abundance of great drive-in movie theaters open year round. The climate supported being outside watching movies next your car listening to the audio through the radio 365 days a year (aside from rainy days, which were few).

But in southwestern Ohio? Apparently the new owners of the Holiday Auto Theatre – a place I love to go in warmer months – will be open throughout the winter, including Christmas day.

Families seeking entertainment on Christmas night can pile in their car — and stay there.

The Holiday Auto Theatre on Old Oxford Road in Hamilton will show a triple feature Thursday, Dec. 25. Movies slated to air include Disney’s “Bedtime Stories” (PG), Disney’s “Bolt” (PG) and “The Day the Earth Stood Still” (PG-13).

Beginning Dec. 26 and running through Jan. 1 will be “Twilight” (PG-13) as the third feature to follow “Bedtime Stories” and “Bolt.”

Holiday Auto Theatre opens at 6:30 p.m. nightly with shots beginning at 7:15 p.m. Admission includes all three films and is $8 for adults, $5 for children ages 4 to 11 and free for children ages 3 and younger. The refreshment center now offers apple juice and Hawaiian Punch.

For more information go online to

via Holiday Auto Theatre to show films on Christmas.


Lonely man jumps into polar bear’s cage in Berlin

As a kid I always thought the bears at the zoo were quite cute. But I never felt compelled to jump into their cage. Heck, I have even felt lonely before, but it never struck me that the caged animals – the ones that can rip me into shreds and eat me half-alive – were lonely, too.

That apparently was not the case for a German man who did just that and for that reason.

BERLIN — A man jumped into the Berlin zoo enclosure of famed polar bear Knut on Monday, but officials were able to keep the animal away from the intruder by distracting him with a leg of beef, police said. The 37-year-old man jumped over a fence into a water-filled ditch at the edge of the bear’s enclosure Monday morning, police said in a statement.

Zoo keepers, who had just let Knut into his outdoor enclosure, were able to lure the bear back into his cage by producing a leg of beef.

Police said the man, a German, was less cooperative, initially ignoring instructions to leave the enclosure. He was led away unharmed but, although he was soaked and cold, he refused to undergo a medical checkup.

Police said that, before being let go, the man told them that he felt lonely and the bear appeared lonely, too.

Knut, now age 2, was hand-raised after his mother rejected him at birth. He rose to stardom early last year as a cute white ball of fluff, but has since grown rapidly into a hulking 440-pound 200-kilogram predator.

via Lonely man jumps into polar bear’s cage in Berlin.


“Chef” is dead, children

Another one bites the dust. “Chef,” voiced by Isaac Hayes through 2006 on TV’s South Park, was found dead Sunday. All these people dying, getting in car accidents… What happened to immortality?

Isaac Hayes — a legendary soul singer, songwriter, musician and producer whose career spanned four decades and who achieved unexpected fame later in life as the voice of “South Park” character Chef — died Sunday afternoon (August 10), a spokesperson for the Shelby County, Tennesee, sheriff’s department told WMC-TV in Memphis.

Isaac Hayes Dead At 65 – News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News


Cincinnati’s hires guy to defend itself

New city solicitor, John Curp

That “guy to defend itself” is typically referred to as the city solicitor, a citified version of a county prosecutor. And just moments ago, City Manager Milton Dohoney announced who the guy is… so, without further adieu…drum roll… a portion of a press release from Meg Olberding, city spokeswoman:

“John P. Curp, Esq. as the new City Solicitor, the highest ranking lawyer for the City of Cincinnati. Curp currently is a partner with the law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP in Columbus in the Business and Finance Department. His practice areas have provided him with experience including business incentives, land use, property tax issues, construction and public works projects, and employment law. Curp will begin working for the city on September 2.

“John’s extensive business and financing background will be a great boon to our efforts to attract and retain companies and jobs in the city,” said Dohoney. “He is well versed in public law and his integrity and leadership will serve the city organization and the people of Cincinnati well.”

This is the guy you want to talk to next time you want to sue the city of Cincinnati, or if you, say, get sued by the city of Cincinnati. Or get a traffic ticket from a city cop or get arrested in the city. He can throw the book at you. Or, say, you’re a City Council member and want to know, say, if it’s OK legally to build a fence around Over-the-Rhine. He will tell the city’s elected and non-elected employees what they can get away with legally – and hopefully not get sued. It’s nothing personal. Just his job.


CityBeat column: Poor WAIF-FM

This week’s CityBeat column tackles an old, but still somewhat existent (though I’m just so tired from all the corruption), concern of mine, WAIF-FM.

I quite literally fell in love with the place in 2005, when a friend asked me if I wanted to apply for a summer program. The Brian and Joe Radio Show, full of local talk and news, aired for 10 glorious weeks. It won an award for best summer show and confirmed a dream I’d had since childhood to host my own radio show. It was a blast.

City Beat: Wessels: Keeping the Dream Burning: Wessels: Columns.

I tried my darndest with the place, but got nowhere fast.

City Living Community News

The Kaldi’s dilemma

In this week’s CityBeat column, I break news about Over-the-Rhine’s Kaldi’s Coffeehouse being asked to vacate the premises for six weeks so an elevator can be installed through their kitchen.

When finished, it would make preparing food in the tiny kitchen a real challenge, but a nice addition for delivering large quanities of food quickly and efficiently to the building’s upper floors. Some chefs dream of a dumbwaiter like this, I’m told. They just want it when and where they want it, if you catch my drift. In the meantime, owner Jeremy Thompson wants to know where all the groovies are going to get their drink on.

Read it about it here.

City Living Community Journalism News Politics Thoughts & Observations

Being more eco-friendly in the transpo department-o

In my column in this week’s CityBeat, I comment on an issue that has been buggin’ the heck out of me (and quite a few others) for some time. That’s the lack of alternate transportation options – bike, scooter or just ease of walking (especially when you live in the urban center) – available to folks living in this region.

To learn more, check out the column.

News Uncategorized

Interview with earthquake expert

Below is a recording of an uncut phone interview recorded around 6:45 a.m. today (4/18/2008) with University of Cincinnati Civil and Environmental Engineering Professor Bahram Shahrooz, PhD. Shahrooz is an expert on earthquake building design and earthquakes. I caught him at home about an hour after the earthquake that was felt in Cincinnati.

I apologize, but the audio is not perfect. I recorded it with my handheld digital recorder, which is mono and has fairly low quality.

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We were in the 1-minute travel-time zone

Earthquake zones

I got this map here.

That means we felt the earthquake pretty much (or within one minute) of it actually happening. That puts us pretty close and probably felt pretty close to a 5.4 magnitude here, just a little less.


5.4 magnitude earthquake hits Midwest (felt in Cincy)

At 5:396 a.m. this morning the USGS is reporting an earthquake was epicentered in Illinois… Back in 2000 I wrote a piece for The Cincinnati Enquirer about earthquakes hitting in Cincinnati. But basically, the New Madrid seismic zone was responsible for an earthquake so big that it rung church bells in Boston, Mass Charleston, S.C.

Why? Unlike the earthquakes in California (where I lived for the better part of three years and never felt one earthquake ever and was told they happen – small ones – everyday), the plates here are very, very large and cover thousands of miles. So, when the earth’s crust slips in Illinois we feel it here – or in Boston.

This morning’s trembler came in two waves. The first one woke me up and I looked around to see the exposed ventilation swinging from the ceiling. I could hear pots clinging together. Then it stopped. About 30 seconds later , a smaller, less intense quake shook everything again.

It was a little unsettling. From my West Coast friends I have heard about how scary they can be – and now I can agree, from experience. I live in a building that is more than 150 years old and the first thing I thought was it might coming tumbling down.