A magazine is a huffing, puffing beast of a thing. It takes a lot of time and effort on the part of a small crew of editors, writers, designers, and photographers to assemble it each month and every issue has its own particular challenges. Here’s a small sample of the hurdles we ran into as we put this one together: A source disappeared in the middle of the fact-checking process; one writer filed his feature two days before the entire magazine had to ship; one editor announced he was leaving to take a job in St. Louis (he will be missed); William Smith, one of the main subjects in our story on the Second District congressional race, was only available to speak or be photographed on Saturdays, requiring a good deal of logistical jujitsu on our end. At this very moment, as I write these words, our server is giving us fits, freezing up every 10 minutes, causing a massive slowdown as we try to push the last few proofs through the editing process and send them off to the printer. There’s a chance I may not even be able to fini—bwooorrrrrrrrrr…OK, I’m back. That was the sound of my brain shutting down, not the server. It’s still running.
So: not an easy month. Still, I’m feeling pretty bullish about this issue. It is chock-full of great stuff. It starts with “Forks in the Road,” which takes you by the hand and leads you to some of the tastiest destinations within a day’s drive of Cincinnati. The Middle Eastern bakeries and cafés of Dearborn, Michigan. The “smokehouse trail” of southwestern Kentucky. The cocktail laboratories and hot dog emporiums of Chicago. (It makes me hungry just to type that. I desperately want an Old Fashioned, a platter of Newsom ham, and a slice of baklava right now.) From there we move on to William Powell’s report on the curious candidacies of Brad Wenstrup and William “Butch” Smith, a piece that proves the maxim “All politics is loco.” And to Jason Cohen’s essay on why the reunion of the Afghan Whigs, one of the best bands to ever come from Cincinnati, presents a conundrum for aging rock fans. And finally to Amy Brownlee’s painstakingly reported story on a macabre murder in Covington, a hard journey into one young woman’s heart of darkness.
Of course there’s more. Katie Laur sings the praises of home-cooked holiday meals. Donna Covrett experiences tandoori bliss at Mantra on the Hill. Dr. Know reveals the truth about Tiny Town. Holly Coletta creates an actual chart out of pie (with a little help from the art department). And Bob Woodiwiss introduces the John-O’-Lantern, a “decorative ceramic pumpkin ‘carved’ with the super-spooky image of House Speaker John Boehner.”
Like I said, a huffing, puffing beast of a thing. Just in time for Halloween.