Monday, February 13, 2012

A Whitney Houston Inspired Story

We had an annual talent and fashion show that was a fundraiser for the speech team. Those of us actually on the speech team had little or nothing to do with it. At least, I had nothing to do with it -- probably because I wasn't viewed by the speech coach as being either talented or fashionable. This, from a guy who clearly didn't wear undershirts and used lime deodorant.

The fashion portion of the show was second -- and it was loud. Not just the music, but the fashion itself. Everyone on stage dressed like they were extras for "Purple Rain."

The talent portion was first. And, as was true of every school talent show I ever attended, the conventionally talented -- kids who played piano -- opened the show, while the obnoxious -- kids who dressed off the rack from Merry Go Round and sang along to distorted tapes -- closed.

The very first act was a young black girl. I forget her name, and I might never have known it. She was hunched over a piano, and started plunking out, decently, a hit of the day -- Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You."

And the crowd was anxious and nasty. Ruthless. Rude. But simmering. They were here to see balloon pants, pointy shoes, and dancing. The pot was ready to boil over.

The only stage light were the spots on the piano and the earnest pianist. And then there was this voice -- powerful, equally earnest -- joining in halfway through.

And tonight,

I looked to the stage. Was someone singing in the dark?

is the night,

Yes, someone was. But not on stage. In the house. Toward the front row.

That I'm feelin' alright,

I saw him. It was Rufus!

We'll be making love the whole night thruuuuuu

Rufus could sing! Who knew! A spot was now rushed on him. One hand on his chest, the other hand thrust out. He was not up on that stage but -- he should have been!

'Cause I'm saving all my dick for yuuuuuuu

The pot boiled over. The earnest pianist stopped and slammed her hands on the keys. The crowd roared.

The laughter and the howling were louder than the piano amp.

I was laughing too, but I gained my shame as I watched her run off stage. This was not part of the act. That poor girl. And Rufus!

Later that day, the girl's boyfriend found Rufus outside. The boyfriend, and his brass knuckles.

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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Nine Years

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." -- Thomas Jefferson, 1776.

Today, we remember those who were lost nine years ago. The terrorists took these towers and these lives, but they did not and cannot take our liberty. They cannot change what it means to be an American. Only we can do that. We are far better able than any terrorist to limit, bind and suppress ourselves and our ideals. Exercise your freedom. Follow your dreams. Seek and enjoy the benefits of wealth, education and opportunity that are found and made in this great nation -- a nation founded not on ethnicity or religion but on Jefferson's bold statement of self evident truths. Remember today those that were lost, and remember that the greatest statement we can make as Americans is to carry on, and to seek excellence and achieve greatness as Americans uniquely do and historically have. Our ideas are bigger and better than theirs.

(picture taken on the Statue of Liberty ferry, March 1988)

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Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Tuesday Talkback DIY didn't put up Monday Moaning until THIS morning:

I usually write it Monday night -- I don't have time this morning to write it.

Looks like you have to do it yourself today.

It'll be easy -- it looks like more movie ad complaints, more tax and city services complaints, more foreign versus domestic car nonsense, and someone moaning about Tiger Woods' apology.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

Just a quick talkback at those dreadful Monday Moaners:

"A giant moan should go to Time-Warner Cable, which managed to lose the entire three-hour live feed from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show on Tuesday."
-- Hinckley

Roll up a newspaper and swat Time-Warner on the nose.  Or go to a PUCO meeting (see below).

"I renewed my driver's license. I paid $18 for the exam, $2.75 for the visual, $1.50 for lamination and a $3.50 deputy fee for a grand total of $25.75. Why aren't these other costs included in the cost of the license? They sure know how to stick it to the people."
-- Seven Hills

I bet if the price of the license was simply $25.75, you (or someone like you) would moan about how there is no explanation as to where all this money is going, and boy it would be nice to have some sort of breakdown of the fee.

"Drive through any street in any city around Cuyahoga County and you will see nothing but holes -- potholes, cracks and ruts. I guess the only ones who have any money around here are the taxpayers."
-- Seven Hills

It is called WINTER.  The snow / salt / freeze / rain process.  You new to town?

"I heard on the news that the cost for an EMS to pick someone up for a life-or-death emergency will be $400. Between water and sewer, and all other utilities, how do they expect elderly people who are barely getting along to afford all that?"
-- Cleveland

This is the sort of service that you either need and use, or don't need and don't use.  No one decides, hey, it would be fun to take an ambulance ride today.  So the question is: should the service be priced at what it costs, or should it be priced at less than what it costs in the name of affordability.  I am going to assume that $400 is what it costs to provide this service.  Maybe it isn't -- but assuming it is, then who is supposed to pay for it, if not the person needing the service?

"I read about all these people on Thankful Thursday who buy meals for people at restaurants. Why don't they donate their money to a local food bank for people who can't afford to eat out at restaurants to have a good meal? It's always irritating to see people who are already at a restaurant having a meal bought for them by somebody else who is eating at the restaurant."
-- No city

Why don't YOU donate your money to a local food bank?  Love it how some people always seem to have better ways to spend other people's money.

"I am being deprived of the joy of watching those wonderful, dedicated and talented Olympians because of the constant commentaries by the media motor mouths. The spotlight belongs on the athletes."
-- Olmsted Falls

My TV is super fancy -- it has this feature on it that TURNS DOWN THE SOUND.  Maybe you should get one like that?

"I think the current members of the PUCO should resign and run with their tails between their legs. They are truly not fit to serve."
-- Berea

For some reason, this seems like a request that should be taken literally.  I don't know why.  Except that for some reason, it seems appropriate that the current members of PUCO would have tails.  I can't say why.

"Regal Theatres have eliminated newspaper movie listings. So many of us prefer to use the newspaper for this information. Couldn't Regal just use the massive profits from their refreshment stands to subsidize this bit of service to the consumers."
-- Olmsted Falls

Again -- with moaners spending other people's money.  The refreshment stand IS where movie houses make their money.  They are counting on you to buy a $5 soft drink.  

"The flower show at the I-X Center was a rip-off and they owe me money. I went to the show on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and paid full price for four tickets plus $8 parking. We walked into the show and found out that one-third of the vendors and exhibitors left at 3 p.m. in anticipation of a snowstorm. By 8 p.m. half of the booths were closed. The show was supposed to be open until 9 p.m."
-- No city

So with a snowstorm coming, you decided to go to the IX Center, and you are surprised that other people weren't as foolish as you, and because of that, you want your money back?  I think you got exactly what you deserved.

"Commercial drivers are required to get fingerprinted in order to renew their hazardous material endorsements. Why are there fingerprinting facilities in Columbus and Cincinnati, but not Cleveland? Clevelanders must travel to Cuyahoga Falls or Geneva-on-the-Lake."
-- Brooklyn

Woohoo!  Geneva-on-the-Lake!  Usually when someone says something about going to Geneva-on-the-Lake and getting fingerprinted, there are a few steps they've skipped -- the winery, the bar, the fight in the street with the biker, the arrest, AND THEN the fingerprinting.  Oh, and Eddie's Grill.

"After years of inconvenience, mess and millions of tax dollars spent, the recently resurfaced West 117th Street is crumbling away. Did we not get some kind of warranty?"
-- No city

Look in your wallet for the receipt.

"Because half of the local theater chains are no longer advertising show times in The Plain Dealer, we are stuck going through a maze simply trying to find out what is playing where and when it is playing. Phone messages are front-loaded with advertisements and it takes about five minutes to hear the information we need. This might produce the tipping point on deciding on whether or not to take the trouble to attend a new movie."
-- Cleveland Heights

Wow - the show times complaints -- is this an orchestrated effort or what?

"I went to the sportsman show on Sunday. What a disappointment. It had the atmosphere of a cheap carnival. If I needed a Shamwow or a new belt I could have gone to Wal-Mart for free. There were almost no major distributors showing their products."
-- Lyndhurst

More IX complaining.  You know what I'd like to see at the IX Center in the future?  A runway.  

"To all of you who come to the I-X Center and then complain to the ticket sellers about the price of parking and admission: If you were going to the theater or a concert, wouldn't you check out prices beforehand? Why wait until you get to your destination and then complain."
-- Cleveland

I'm sorry, but I disagree.  Paying to park at the IX is asinine.  There is no reason to park at the IX except to go to the IX, and it isn't like the thing is in the middle of downtown.  And some events, like the Auto Show, have (or at least had) free parking -- so if you charge to park just some of the time, it seems even more arbitrary.  Further, is there really any other way to get to the IX but by car?  You wouldn't walk to it.  I don't recall seeing buses there - though I just may not have noticed them.

Now, if you build that runway, I could see paying to park there, just like the rest of the airport.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

"One of our meteorologists stands out in the cold, shivers like crazy from the wind and the snow and refuses to wear a hat. It's really annoying. We all know we should wear a hat. Does he care that much about his hair?"
-- Avon

Funny thing about vanity -- strange that he might care what the likes of you might think about his hair.

"Again, leaders of the county transition team are meeting behind closed doors. Seems as though the more things change, the more they stay the same. Or is it business as usual?"
-- Middleburg Heights

Or meet the new boss, same as the old boss? Six of one, half dozen of the other? Pithy sayings and cliches instead of actual original statements and thoughts?

"Why don't the credit card companies stop sending all the advertising, blank checks and such in the mail? If they would stop wasting paper, and the ink to print, maybe our interest rates would go down. That would be saving a lot of money."
-- Cleveland Heights

If the credit card companies stopped marketing, your interest rates would not go down. Why don't you worry about saving your own money, instead of giving the credit card companies unsolicited advice on how to save their money? They seem to be doing quite alright.

"On the morning drive show on WMJI, why do they call it 'Lanigan and Malone' when Lanigan is never there? I've never seen anybody with that much vacation time in my life, so they shouldn't give him top billing on the show."
-- Brooklyn

People still listen to Lanigan? I guess not, if he is "never there."

"I thought Dan Gilbert was an OK guy before he took out the water fountains from The Q to sell us $4 bottles of Aquafina. Now he's in the same class with Dolan and Shapiro. I can't wait to see what his casinos have in store for us."
-- Bay Village

Gilbert has a long way to go to be the kind of cheap bastard that puts him in a class with Dolan.

"Why aren't the FBI and the attorney general cracking down on the corruption in Cuyahoga County? Why are they leaving the criminals in office and not doing anything about it? Are they waiting for them to retire and move to Arizona?"
-- Brecksville

Damn good question. What are they waiting for? And why doesn't this story get any national attention?

"My first thought that it wasn't such a bad idea that Tom Ganley was running for Senate. But after thinking it over, I don't think I want someone representing me who makes his living by selling foreign cars."
-- Middleburg Heights

Dis redd bluded 'merkin onlee voatz 4 teh 'merkin cah sellin polytish'ns. Hey, Middleburg, your local election is being held on Wednesday this year.

"I want the people who run the movie theaters to know that if it's too much trouble to advertise, I'll wait for the DVDs to come out and watch the movies at home."
-- Cleveland

Another person who can't be bothered to look up the movie times online. DVDs? What is this, 1999?

"To the gentleman who risked me T-boning him in the parking lot of Baker's Square in North Olmsted in order to beat me to a parking spot and then proceeded to cuss me out: Nice way to talk in front of your wife and two young children. Furthermore, how would you feel if someone talked to your daughter the way you talked to me? Karma, my friend. Karma."
-- Fairview Park

Did you go inside and smear pie in his face? Set his car on fire? OK, I can't recommend that you actually do that. But did you even say one word back to him? No, you called Monday Moaning. Instead of waiting for karma, you take care of it next time.

"There are no civil liberties being violated by traffic cameras. The only civil liberties that are being violated are by the drivers who run red lights, drive over the lawful speed limit and tailgate so that collisions occur when the vehicle in front follows the lawful traffic safety signs. My civil liberties are being violated every time a driver passes me going 15 to 20 miles an hour over the speed limit that I am driving. The ones I really hate are the ones that I see in my mirrors practically pushing me when I am already over the speed limit and in the right lane."
-- Richmond Heights

Another fine discourse by what certainly must be a Buick driver. Government monitoring is not a civil liberties issue, but you passing my pokey ass is.

"I'd like to thank the Ohio EPA for closing all of the E-check stations Saturday due to the weather. We got two to three inches of snow, not feet. It's winter in Cleveland, duh."
-- Lakewood

I'm flummoxed. If we're going to have the GD things, they ought not close them for much of anything.

"Regal Theaters by not advertising in PD have decided to discount the convenience and simplicity of publishing their programming. They have ignored the general public for money. We won't see their savings at the box office."
-- Olmsted Falls

I'm starting to think its the PD's ads dept that is moaning this week! See, look, the people are moaning, because you stopped buying ad space in our paper...

"RTA extends Euclid Avenue health line to University Circle. In other words, to where it serves people going to University Hospitals (and Case Western Reserve), not just the Cleveland Clinic and its parking lots, and will connect with two bus lines that end there, i.e., the way it used to be."
-- Tremont

Is this even a complete thought? Half a moan? A grunt? A digestive gurgle?

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

Here are yesterday's moans.  Talk back at them yourself.  I've got a pain in my neck this morning far worse than any of these bozos.

But allow me to take a moment to agree with this guy:

"I have two words for the new Ohio license plate: God awful. I'll keep my old one before I put that plate on my car."
-- Garfield Heights

I appreciate what the designers were going for with the so called "Beautiful Ohio" license plate -- that Ohio is both an urban place and rural place.  

Up close, it is kinda nice.

But that is completely lost once you mount the plate on the back of a car. 

When I drive by one of these new plates on the street, it looks like someone used a blue and white dish towel to sop up a coffee spill.  

I don't see the generic city skyline or the bucolic barn -- I see a dirty dishrag.  No city, no barn, no Wright Brothers plane flying much higher in the sky than the real thing ever did -- just a swirl of blue, white, and faded gold.

And the sun rays (or the "coffee" part) also sort of looks like a rust spot -- not up close, but just riding by.  I guess no one learned anything from those "pre-rusted" plates a few years back. Remember those?

Who who, who who!  I really wanna knowwww!

And, if you didn't notice, we're still hanging onto that "Birthplace of Aviation" canard.  Only one of the Wright Brothers was born in Ohio, and the plane itself flew in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

When Ohio wanted the US Mint to put that canard on the Ohio coin, it didn't pass the mint's sniff test.  

The mint modified it to "Birthplace of Aviation Pioneers" -- which is far closer to legitimate --especially when you add the astronaut figure, seeing as Neil Armstrong was born in Wapakoneta and John Glenn in Cambridge.

You know what else is missing from the "Beautiful Ohio" plates?  Ohio is cities, yes, and Ohio is farms, yes, but Ohio is also ... INDUSTRY!  Woohoo!  Where are the smokestacks on that plate? Oh, I suppose we don't want to celebrate that.  But if you need a reminder, here is a list of Ohio's superfund sites.  Yeah, guess that doesn't fit the "Beautiful" motif.

For now, I'm going to see how long I can avoid getting a Beautiful Ohio dirty dishtowel for my car.  Maybe only until the real rust on my old plate looks worse than the simulated rust on the new plate.  A rusty license plate to remind us all of the epithet that we live in the "rust belt" -- an epithet Governor Strickland specifically attacked in his State of the State address.  Too bad he didn't attack it before the state approved the new license plate design. 

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

Moan, talkback, repeat.

"Government can't solve our problems, since government is the problem. The most terrifying words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help. These words surely describe the far-left liberal President Barack Obama. Those prophetic words are from Ronald Reagan."
-- No city

How cute, someone has a Reagan fetish.  If those are the most terrifying words you've heard in English, you need to get out of the bunker a little more often.  

But as long as you have crowned Reagan your prophet, and deemed his words to be prophetic, here is Reagan on another subject, in 1988:

The United States participated actively and effectively in the negotiation of the Convention . It marks a significant step in the development during this century of international measures against torture and other inhuman treatment or punishment. Ratification of the Convention by the United States will clearly express United States opposition to torture, an abhorrent practice unfortunately still prevalent in the world today.

The core provisions of the Convention establish a regime for international cooperation in the criminal prosecution of torturers relying on so-called "universal jurisdiction." Each State Party is required either to prosecute torturers who are found in its territory or to extradite them to other countries for prosecution.

As is evident from his signing statement, Reagan was not only against torture, but was against inhumane treatment or punishment -- he didn't want the word "torture" nuanced and twisted to have no meaning.  If you mistreat people in captivity, torture or anything like it, you are to be prosecuted.  So.  When are the Reagan-acolytes going to demand that our so-called far left president prosecute the criminals in the Bush-Cheney administration for their so-called enhanced interrogation programs, or in the alternative, demand their extradition to a country that will prosecute them?      

"To the person who stole my son's iPod Touch while he was wrestling in a championship finals: Thank you. You just ruined a champion's heart. You must really be a loser."
-- Brook Park

Who brings an iPod Touch to a wrestling championship?  Especially if you are a participant?  I don't condone theft, but that's stupid.

"To all you people who thought Toyota was such high-off-the-hog cars: They have been buffaloing you for years. It's just another foreign car."
-- Medina

Just another foreign car... Like Hyundai -- who's kicking ass now.  Whoops!  

"I guess some cities like Cleveland and Cleveland Heights are grasping at any way they can to rip people off. You can only put the garbage out at a certain time. Now if you put the garbage a little early you will be fined. I usually put mine out around 4 p.m. I suffer with fibromyalgia and to put it out at night or in the early morning, I'm not at my best physically."
-- Cleveland Heights

That's nothing new.  I lived in the Cleveland Heights for awhile, and someone dropped an old air conditioner on my tree lawn in the middle of the afternoon before garbage day and I got a warning letter from the city that if I did that again, I'd get a fine.  My point is: this has been goig on for awhile.  And if there weren't such a problem with people acting like pigs, tossing their trash everywhere, they wouldn't need to do this.  So, call your member of council, and then hire the neighbor kid to take out your trash and shovel your snow. 

"Parking tickets on Sunday at the churches along East 105th Street? Surely the police of Cleveland could find some better work to do than doing that to people who want to worship."
-- Cleveland

So, just because you are going to church, you don't have to follow the law?  No wonder so many criminals find Jesus in prison.

"$100 million to an island and I can't get my income tax check or answers from the IRS?"
-- Bedford

I got a call for you.  Your check is waiting for you in Haiti.  All you need to do is swing by Port-au-Prince and pick it up.  

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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Porcupine Tree Tour Forum

Announcing! The new Porcupine Tree Tour Forum:

Brought to you by the same fine folks who brought you the forum.

Check it out!

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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

These moaners have a fever, and the only prescription is more talkback.

"This would be a better world if Noah would have left only one Republican for the ark."
-- Willoughby

This would be a better world -- without dissent.  Nice.  Without the party of Lincoln.  Fantastic.  Without the party of Strom Thurmond.  Oh, well both parties would be gone then.  Without Glenn Beck.  Oh, well, um... got me there.  

"Isn't it about time the politicians do what's right for the country and not their party? The way it's going now one party could have a cure for cancer and the other party would veto it."
-- Cleveland

Somehow America became the greatest country in the world having, throughout most of its history, a two party political system.  And let's be fair here -- if one party did have the cure for cancer, the other wouldn't veto it -- instead they'd just spend a lot of money and effort convincing people that having cancer is an essential part of freedom.  The Founding Fathers didn't have a cure for cancer, after all. 

"Everybody is trying to pass laws about people using cell phones and texting. Yet at the auto show for 2010 you can get computers in your dashboard. I don't get it."
-- No city

For the same reason we have speed limits and make cars that exceed them -- the auto manufacturers are giving us what we want.

"More red lights should be blinking after 11 p.m. We could save a lot of gas not sitting at some of these lights."
-- Cleveland

I don't know how much gas you'll save -- if you are going to come to a complete stop before proceeding. But being a sitting target on an empty street late at night in a bad part of town seems like a better reason.  And also just to save time.  Of course, blinking red lights would probably cut into the revenue for the city -- so we can't have that.

"I was disgusted to read The Plan Dealer article regarding Prashant Chopra's probation for failing to register as a sexual predator. Frankie Goldberg is right: 'No one is above the law.' Judge Stuart Friedman likens his failure to register as sexual predator to 'forgetting to send a relative a birthday card.' Friedman's decision to let Chopra remain free was 'based on fairness, not special treatment.' I don't think so. As a mother of four children, this article really hit me hard. Why do judges such as Friedman refuse to protect our children?"
-- Westlake

Here is the article.  Are judges obligated to child-proof the world?  This guy was convicted as a result of a sting operation.  No actual child was hurt.  According to the article, this guy moved from Cleveland Heights to the Warehouse District downtown -- and nowhere near Westlake.  If this guy were coming for your kids in Westlake, what is registering his present address downtown going to change?  The law, such as it is, should be followed -- but think, Westlake moaner. 

"Regarding the article about Bill Mason and his 'former' employee: So, Bill Mason sees no ethical problem with an ex-employee receiving over $1 million in no-bid contracts? Just how is anyone to believe that this wasn't more of the pay-to-play corruption that has stymied this county? This, coupled with the article a few months back where Bill Mason's current employees have 'contributed' over $100,000 to his campaign, smells of corruption [and] back-door politics."
-- Cleveland Heights

I'm not going to tell you I know something more or something better than what has already been publicly released.  But I will say this: there is a saying that friends come and go, but enemies accumulate.  When you are in public office, especially a high profile office, and especially an office whose very role is to go after crime and corruption, anything that tarnishes your image, especially something that is self-inflicted, that too will accumulate.  It stains you and you wear that stain till the electorate turns to someone fresh and new.   

"Why is the United States Marine Corps sponsoring NBA games on television? Could the money be better spent to help veterans and their families?"
-- Bay Village

No.  It is called marketing.  They need fresh blood. 

"With a 6-to-1 ratio of unemployed vs. jobs available, why is anybody (Sen. George Voinovich and others) talking once again about raising the age you can collect Social Security? Talk about being between a rock and a hard place. The young begrudge us our jobs. The government begrudges us our Social Security. All wrapped up in a recession that forces early retirement and financial ruin."
-- Euclid

Want to rethink those death panels, anyone?  Just for this moaner?

Social security was never a retirement plan.  It was only supposed to keep the oldest among us, those whose long lives exceeded the typical life span yet were physically unable to labor, from being completely destitute.   

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Talkback

A later edition, but still talking back to those Monday Moaners.

"I want to moan about the most powerful radio station we have in the Cleveland area where a talk show host just decided yesterday that we should not contribute to the Haiti disaster. He thinks we should contribute to local funds. At a time like this when we are seeing all the tragic things in Haiti, it is a time when we should all do what we can to help those people, and be thankful for what we have."
-- Avon

Triv needs to hang it up. I wrote an extensive comment about that on WTAM's message board, and it has received little response. But there doesn't seem to be much traffic over there -- mostly just Gary the Numbers Guy flaming everyone who disagrees with him and his numerology. More on the sad state of local radio below.

"I am so tired of neighbors who are so selfish that they can't extend some help for elderly people removing their snow."
-- Middleburg Heights

Shoveling your elderly neighbor's snow is a fine thing to do. Your elderly neighbor getting an uppity feeling of entitlement over getting his or her snow shoveled by you is not so fine. Grandpa Grouch here scared off his grandkids, and now wants his neighbors to shovel his snow -- but if you do, you better stay off his lawn.

"I wish a few TV meteorologists would learn how to dress professionally. The men do a terrific job, with shirt, tie and jackets. There are a few women who like to wear miniskirts, and how can we concentrate on the forecast when that's what they are wearing?"
-- Avon

There is a storm brewing. In this guy's pants. And did you feel that? It was a low, coming from this blog.

"I wish charities would stop sending me the return address labels and other items. When I donate to a charity, I don't expect something in return to me. This is a waste on their part. The other day I got four solicitations in my mail. I can't contribute to everyone who sends me things."
-- Seven Hills

Yet if these charities send out nothing to market themselves, they get forgotten. They do it because it works.

"Why can't the cemeteries in the Greater Cleveland area and in Northeast Ohio have a computer like the Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery in Rittman has? You just put in the person's name and it tells you the lot number and the section. It's so easy and so convenient."
-- Seven Hills

Why stop there? How about webcams, so we can safely watch the zombies?

"Pat Robertson is an idiot for saying that the Haitian earthquake disaster was caused by a deal between the devil with the Haitian people."
-- North Olmsted

Pat Robertson is an idiot for many other reasons besides that, and he is followed by idiots who throw money at him every time he spouts off.

"I'm just wondering what exactly are Republicans in Congress doing? Other than wringing their hands and lamenting their 2008 losses instead of rolling up their sleeves and working toward solving the U.S. financial and real estate problems, the majority of which were caused by the actions or the lack of action by the previous Republican administration."
-- Strongsville

I guess we'll see today whether stonewalling is a better strategy than governing. And by governing, I mean infighting amongst yourselves about how to go about taking up a cause that, in principle, most people generally agree with working on, but fucking it up to such the nth degree that no one can be happy with the end result. It may turn out that the ultimate death panel will convene after today's special election, flanked by a newly elected Senator Brown, to euthanize this generation's efforts at health care reform. And don't be too quick to gloat, Republicans -- remember how Clinton made it work for him.

"It's outrageous enough that the Northeast Sewer District charges us double for the same water when our usage goes over 1.000 MCF's -- $24.78 per .1MCF. Now, they want to charge us for the free stuff that falls from the sky. When will the gouging stop? Whose pockets are these millions of dollars going into?"
-- Cleveland

It seems like the Water and Sewer district will charge whatever they need to charge to meet their budgetary goals, regardless of usage. Conservation is rewarded with higher charges, usage is reward with higher charges. Invest in a rain barrel and a crate of Febreze.

"I would like to send a message to every tall person who blocks my view at a concert and movie theater and uses their cell cameras to constantly take pictures instead of enjoying the live performance. Get a life: Turn off your camera, and look behind you to see if there is something you can do not to block the view of us little people."
-- Olmsted Township

All you tall people, slouch! All you short people, stretch! As part of the vertically advantaged, what can I say, but ...grow? *sigh* that is one of the problems with General Admission, unless you are tall.

"To the two young ladies sitting behind my wife and me at the Cleveland Orchestra concert on Saturday night: Please show respect for your fellow concertgoers and remain silent while the orchestra is performing. If you absolutely must continue to talk during a concert, even in a whisper, show some courtesy to those around you and remain in the lobby until you're ready to sit quietly and listen. Or, better yet, just stay home and talk."
-- Lyndhurst

I hope this person actually DID something about it rather than sit there through the whole show and be miserable. The wife and I had words on Christmas Day with a young lady and her mother at the movie theater as the young lady kept playing with her cell phone, despite the specific announcements in the theater that all phones were to be off. The mother's response was "It's Christmas!" and "you can move if you have a problem with her phone." My response was to get the usher. "It's Christmas!" Really. She said that. It's Christmas, so my undisciplined devil spawn can be rude and break the theater's rules. The usher made it clear that if I had to get him again, they were out. Merry Christmas.

"The weather has been bad the last several days -- cloudy, snowy with low visibility. I never cease to be amazed at how many folks are driving without headlights. Headlights need to be on, not only to see, but to be seen."
-- Brunswick

If you can't see them, how did you see that they couldn't be seen...? OK, ok, this person has a point. Thanks, Safety Dog.

"In response to a gripe regarding the two men shredding Christmas trees along Pearl Road in Strongsville on Dec. 23. I happen to be one of those gentlemen that was working there that day, regrettably doing a job that I was hired to do, even though I didn't agree with what was taking place. I, too, wished the owner would have drastically reduced his prices or better yet donated the remaining trees to a charity. I'm sure a lot of hard-working families wished that they could have enjoyed one of those trees that were so selfishly destroyed. That guy better watch out next Christmas, for that karma bus will be traveling through Strongsville."
-- Strongsville

You just can't get good help these days. You hire some chump to clean up, they moan about it in the paper. Love it.

"Whatever happened to integrity in local support? A number of local Cleveland bands earned the right to go to a competition in Nashville, Tenn. These bands had to hold fund-raising drives through the clubs where they play, which means the patrons who support them on a regular basis (cover charges, buying the bands' CDs, album releases, etc.) again have to come to the rescue. What happened to local commercial radio? The local commercial radio stations have done nothing to support these bands -- no contributions to help defray the travel costs, no airplay of their music, no mention of where to go see the bands -- with the exception of Cleveland college radio. Cleveland likes to still call itself the rock 'n' roll capital of the world. Based on the mentality of local commercial radio, it's a wonder they have any rating at all. You all should get your act together and support locally"
-- Euclid

And that's what makes college radio great.

"What some people don't realize is that Simon Cowell is uniquely qualified to judge on 'American Idol.' While his comments may be harsh, they are right on. The net result was Cowell made talented contestants work harder. The psychology of the challenge to do better works. Let's hope 'Idol' finds someone of Cowell's ilk. Otherwise (with the exception of Randy Jackson), it could be boring."
-- Cleveland

Is this world really so short of catty, bitchy, Englishmen? I'm quite confident there is a robust supply.

"I am completely amazed when I read the paper and see negative stories, editorials and comments regarding the pay, benefits and pensions of teachers, police and firefighters. These hard-working people are criticized for being a drain on the taxpayers and having inflated perks and pay for what they do. Yet, no one ever comments about the sports figures who work maybe four months a year, receive enormous salaries for playing a game and play those games in taxpayer-subsidized palaces. These so-called role models can take drugs, steal, assault people, etc., and they are placed on a pedestal by society. Something is seriously wrong in America when this is what we place value upon."
-- Aurora

I generally agree with the overall point, but I have to burst this one bubble. There are plenty of teachers, cops, and firefighters who take drugs, steal, and assault people. You don't have to play a child's game with a ball to be a reprobate.

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