Monday, October 30, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

Sorry, Talkback fans, but no Talkback this week. Just too busy.

If you want to read the Monday Moaning, read them HERE.

One week till election day -- don't we have enought to complain about already???

If you really want to talk back, go out and vote. If you really, really want to talkback, go stand outside the polls, or work a phone bank, or make a last minute cash donation to a candidate in a tight race.

And if you are looking for some additional insight, may I recommend the Daily Dish?



Weekend Fun

1. Melt Bar & Grilled in Lakewood has not only a fine selection of grilled cheese sandwiches, but also a fine selection of beers, including Dogfishhead 60 Minute IPA on tap. Brian had his first Stone Arrogant Bastard. I had the grilled cheese with bacon, egg and sundried tomato pesto. De-lish. The lavender mojito, while good, was no better than an ordinary mojito -- I have come to the conclusion that efforts to improve the mojito are largely wasted, as a well made mojito requires no improvement.

2. Meeting up at Anne's for going to a Haunted House turned into the destination itself when the weather turned so wet and nasty. We watched Rocky Horror Picture Show and then Saw. Watching Saw after Rocky Horror led to much talking back at the screen during Saw, which I think enhanced the experience. I thought it was a good flick, though. No one threw toast or potstickers at the TV.

3. Gina and I tried having breakfast at that diner over on Lee by Zagara's. We ended up walking out. I do not think it is too much to ask that within 7 or 8 minutes of being seated in a diner that you be offered coffee or water or something. In the meantime, the couple seated after us got their order taken and everything. And after one more minute went by, we got up and left -- and discovered the joy that is the breakfast panini over at Phoenix Coffeehouse.

4. I seem to have adopted two adult kitties that needed a new home. Kyle and Lola are still rather unsettled, so we'll see how this works out.

5. The Browns won, at home. And looked halfway decent doing it, even if they got very conservative in the playcalling at the end. I thought it was too conservative, but hey, scoreboard. They won. And if anyone had said two months ago that 8 weeks into the season the Browns and the Steelers would be tied, I would have thought they were crazy, and then asked, what on earth do you think will happen to the Steelers -- which leads me to the question, what on earth has happened to the Steelers? If they can't beat Oakland when even we can, I'll tell you, I am looking forward to the Steelers matchup in two weeks. From Super Bowl to Toilet Bowl.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Absentee Fun

I requested an absentee ballot for this election.  I received it last week. 
Aside from the whole issue of whether or not the new machines at the polling places are going to work -- I love the fact that I've been able to peruse my ballot at my leisure, as opposed to having to read it while standing there at the polling site.
That said, after much consternation, I have finally filled out my ballot.  Just need to deliver the thing to the BOE (or drop it in the mail).
Strickland and Brown turned out to be easy choices.  Brunner and Cordray were also pretty easy.
The judges: you know I voted for Kathleen Ann Sutula.  And Joan Synenburg over the stunningly unqualified Christine Russo.
The tough choices were the issues...
Issue 2 -- Would increase Ohio's minimum wage by way of constitutional amendment, and then tie regular adjustments to the wage to keep up with inflation.  I agree that there is no reason why Ohio's minimum wage couldn't be higher than the federal minimum wage.  But I don't like the idea of amending the constitution to do it.  I also don't like the idea of setting an automatic process in motion where it is regularly adjusted for inflation.  That sounds dangerous to me -- especially since it would be a part of Ohio's constitution, and thus impossible to otherwise adjust without a vote of the people.  I voted NO.
Issue 3 -- Would allow certain forms of gambling at a few select sites -- all owned by the wealthy proponents of Issue 3.  I think we ought to open up Ohio to gambling, but this proposal is a total turd.  I liked how the Youngstown Vindicator put it...
Imagine a movement to legalize marijuana that took the form of a constitutional amendment. And imagine the amendment specified that marijuana could only be sold in seven of the state's most exclusive nightclubs and two sites in Cleveland owned by backers of the amendment. Oh, and if the voters in Cuyahoga County approve, those sites could start selling harder drugs in a few years.

People would clearly see that amending the Ohio Constitution so that a select group of investors could profit through the sale of possibly addictive substances would constitute a flawed social contract. Pushing addictive behavior in the name of subsidizing college tuition should get no more respect…

Now, I don't agree with keeping gambling illegal in Ohio.  But if we're going to do it, let's open it up, let the market dicate who will run casinos and where, rather than line the pockets of a couple of politically connected Ohio families.  The allure of subsidized college tuition sounds very flimsy -- and we can do better than this.  I voted NO.
(I still think the key to bringing a new convention center to Cleveland is casino gambling... Tell the casinos they can come, but that they must build and maintain a new top-notch convention center.  And a grand convention center, if it is truly a draw for tourism and bringing people to Cleveland, will fill the casinos with money from outside the state, as opposed to shaking down our locals for their food money.) 
Issues 4 and 5 -- both are supposedly anti-smoking issues.  Issue 4 is a constitutional amendment -- supported by RJ Reynolds -- that would actually overturn a lot of local smoking bans around the state.  Issue 5 is the "true" anti-smoking issue -- in that it is supported by the "true" anti-smoking groups.  The vote against 4 was easy.  Issue 5 -- after much consideration, I voted yes. 
And speaking of smoking ... locally we have Issue 18.  Which has its signs that proudly proclaim " is not a property tax!"  It strikes me as disingenuous to run on what it isn't, as opposed to what it is.  Which is a tax on cigarettes by 50 cents a pack -- to give the money to the arts.
I don't smoke, and I support the arts. But I am troubled by this tax. The tax is not rationally related to its purpose. We would again hit this one segment of the population — the addicted — in order to fund something that has nothing to do with improving the public health. Moreover, it is cynical. We agree smoking cigarettes is bad, and normally when you tax something you create a disincentive to that activity — but again, we are talking about an addictive substance. Some people will quit, yes — but some can't. Indeed, with Issue 18 we are counting on people to remain addicted in order to fund the arts. 
We ought to raise cigarette taxes by 50 cents a pack to fund clinics to help people stop smoking, to pay for medications and therapy, whatever is needed.  That would make sense, and the tax increase would be rationally related to its purpose. 
Instead, we've twisted it.  Just like there are people who actually think they are helping the schools when the buy lottery tickets, there will be people who feel like they are a patron of the arts by virtues of their smokes.  The message is all wrong.
And despite all that, I voted for it.  I wasn't going to, but I did.  I think the 50 cents will deter some smoking.  And if it goes to the arts, it is more than the arts were getting without it.  I hope as time goes on, the arts get less and less -- but only because less ciggies are being sold.  Somehow though, the arts may rue the day they got this.  It may hurt their ability to otherwise fundraise ... we pay 50 cents a pack, why should I donate to the arts?  Kinda what you hear about the lottery every time there's a school levy on the ballot.
And very locally, I voted for the city tax increase in University Heights.  I won't actually pay more taxes, since it includes a credit of the same amount for people who work outside the city and pay city tax elsewhere (like me).  It will increase the taxes on people who work in University Heights, which is a real pisser in a way.  Because the city gave away tax abatements to these businesses to come in and rebuild the retail areas.  So, if I understand it correctly, the city handed out a tax abatement to bring in Target, but to help make up for it, we're going to increase the taxes on the people who work at Target.  I think that's pretty fucked up.  But I want my garbage picked up, so that's that.   

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thanks for Calling

My cell phone rings.  It is an earnest but slow sounding fellow, seeking a job "delivering papers."
I inform him that he seems to have reached the wrong number. 
He says, "well wait" -- and suddenly, there is an earnest but not quite as slow (but still slow) sounding woman, who informs me that she spoke with my receptionist at the front desk and based upon what she told her, I am seeking someone to make some deliveries... and she continues on yammering about some nonsense.
And while I thought about messing with her, I interrupt her and tell her, "as I was just telling the gentleman, you seem to have reached a wrong number."
She says, really?  I just spoke with your front desk.
And I said, well, you've reached my cell phone, and I don't have anything that needs delivered at the moment (which actually isn't correct, but somehow, enlisting the assistance of this pair would make me confident that my package would ever reach its appropriate destination). 
I finally ask, "what number are you trying to reach?"  And when it becomes apparent that she misdialed, by several digits I might add, I tell her so. 
As I disconnect, I hear her explaining sheepishly to bright boy that she must have dialed the wrong number...
On a meaner day, I might have suggested that she meet me at the front desk in an hour.  No, I guess I wouldn't have done that.  After all, she does have my number -- whether she realizes it or not.

Them Buicks

I have long complained about Buicks and the people who drive them.  Most Buicks have a soft and squishy ride, and people drive them in a soft and squishy manner -- and cause a lot of traffic jams while doing so.
Buick has come out with two new models.  The LaCrosse, which replaces the Regal and Century, and the Lucerne, which replaces the LeSabre and Park Avenue.  The LaCrosse, and the Lucerne in particular, are powerful cars.  The top of the line Lucerne comes with 4.6 liter 8-cyl engine.  Now, my first question is, what are the bluehairs going to do with all of that power?  And secondly, maybe these cars will actually be driven -- as opposed to sailed down our nation's highways.
Buick is really pushing the Lucerne lately, and there's been a lot of advertisement for it on AM radio.  I'm starting to see them more and more on the road.  So far, the people that drive them seem to be driving them.  I have not found myself stuck behind a Lucerne ...yet.
But it will only be a matter of time that oldsters start trading in their LeSabres and Park Avenues for Lucernes.  And all of those gloriously huge engines will probably go grossly under-utilized.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hey, I KNOW Her!

Here is a link to SmokeFreeOhio's ads in favor of Issue 5 and against Issue 4.

Tracy Sabetta is in the bottom of the two ads.

I knew Tracy Sabetta (Bish) all the way back in high school... She is Harbor, Class of '89.

I first met Tracy when we both assigned to the same security council simulation at the Northcoast Model UN Conference at Kent-Ashtabula. We both went on to do staff at the MUN, and we also both did a couple of plays together at the Straw Hat Theater at the Ashtabula Arts Center.

Tracy's husband, Dean, went to Edgewood and was once the SG at the MUN conference. Granted, that was almost 10 years ago now -- the 1996-97 conference year. She and Dean got married not too long after that, and I kinda lost touch.

I knew Tracy had been working the anti-smoking cause. I've heard soundbites of her on the radio over the years whenever there was an anti-smoking story. But seeing her in the ad, that takes me back.

More Correspondence from Senator Dewine

I just got this new form email from Senator DeWine.  Are we in Bizzaro-world?  Are we even talking about the same bill that was passed and signed into law? 
Writing and distributing rubbish like this doesn't change what the bill actually states.
Watch out for platitudes offered in place of actual analysis: "consistent with our traditions, our values," and "full, fair, and consistent with American values," etc. 

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: <>
Date: Oct 25, 2006 9:17 AM
Subject: Correspondence from Senator Dewine

October 25, 2006

Dear [Audient]:

Thank you for contacting me regarding the treatment of detainees in U.S.
custody.  I appreciate knowing your views on this important issue.

  As you know, on June 29, 2006, the Supreme Court held in Hamdan v.
Rumsfeld that the military commissions established by the Department of
Defense to try prisoners held at the Guantanamo Bay facility are in
violation of U.S. law and the Geneva Conventions.  Since that decision,
the government has applied the Geneva Conventions to all terrorist
suspects in U.S. custody.

Recently, the United States Senate considered the Military Commissions
Act of 2006 (S.3930).  I believe that this bill will allow us to question
and try detainees in a way that is consistent with our traditions, our
values, and our place in the world as a free, fair, and democratic nation.

The Military Commissions Act of 2006 does two significant things.  First,
it provides clarity and certainty to our CIA officials so that they can
continue a program of questioning high-level terrorism suspects, within
well-defined legal parameters.  Second, it outlaws torture and cruel and
inhuman treatment, and it calls for the prosecution of those individuals
who engage in such conduct.

Second, this bill establishes a process to try suspected terrorists and
bring them to justice.  The process that we have set up in this
legislation is full, fair, and consistent with American values.  This act
will help ensure that individuals are not detained indefinitely without
charges by setting up a process so that the President can begin to charge
individuals who are being detained.  Detainees at Guantanamo Bay who are
not American citizens currently receive the Combatant Status Review
Tribunal process.  This process allows them to hear the evidence against
them and to contest it.  The detainee then has a right to appeal their
detention to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of
Columbia.  Once a detainee is charged with a crime, he does have a right
to counsel, a right to see the evidence against him, and the right to call
witnesses and question his accusers.  With this bill, we will show the
world that we can bring our enemy to justice through a process that is

S. 3930 passed the Senate by a vote of 65-34 on September 28, 2006 and was
signed into law by the President on October 17, 2006.

Again, thank you for contacting me.  If you need additional assistance,
please feel free to contact me anytime.

Very respectfully yours,

United States Senator


Disclaimer:  The email account that this message originated from does not
accept inbound messages, therefore please send all electronic
correspondence through our webform located at:

Olberman oct 23rd 2006 special commentary

If you haven't been watching Keith Olberman, start today.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Tuesday Talkback

They don't stop moaning -- I just keep on talking back.

"Shame on you for taking my husband's London Fog jacket while we were at the Westlake Senior Center getting our flu shots." - Westlake

Who, me? But the problem with the ubiquitous London Fog jacket is how they all look alike. Someone probably put it on and left, thinking it was their coat. They are practically interchangeable. Next time, just pick one off the rack that approximates the coat you came in with -- and make sure you don't keep the keys to your Buick in the pocket.

"Why is it when I go to a certain major electronic store, I walk around and get harassed by people asking me if they can help me, and then when I go to Customer Service, I'm waiting for a half an hour because they've got only one person working there?" - Parma

Maybe you scowling at them on the floor scared them all off. Next time, when someone asks if they can help you, treat them like your personal shopper. Ask them where you can find X, then ask them questions, then get them to carry it around for you -- all the way up to the check out line.

"I'm calling about these very rude, inconsiderate people in grocery stores who park their cart right in the middle of an aisle, move down a few feet to take a look at the merchandise and just leave their cart sitting there and you can't get around it. Or the ones who see a friend or neighbor and start chatting in the middle of an aisle and no one can get around them. Why don't they realize that they're not in their living rooms and they should MOVE?" - Cleveland

The grocery store is a great place to meet people who wouldn't just wander into your living room. This is especially true if you hang out in the aisle where the "family planning" items are stocked. Next time, just push their cart out of your way -- if they are really so oblivious, they won't even notice. Or add stuff to their carts. Or join into the conversation. And insist on being a part of it until they hurry away.

"My moan is to the person who stole the flowers out of the funeral home in Lakewood after my mother's funeral. My mother always saw the good in everybody. I wonder what she would say to this." - Lakewood

She would say, oh they probably needed those flowers more than I did. It is hard to know exactly how someone might need a floral arrangement. Except that it was just Sweetest Day. Nothing says Happy Sweetest Day like a hot funeral floral arrangement. Next time, I suggest your mother avoid dying so soon to a holiday that is celebrated in part by exchanging flowers. For similar reasons, I also urge avoiding dying around Halloween.

"Why do credit card companies send me things in the mail that I have absolutely no use for? They sent me something that says I have earned 7,200 tokens to buy magazines and jewelry. I don't need magazines and jewelry. I need my interest rates lowered." - Mayfield Heights

They send you things that you have absolutely no use for because you buy things that you have absolutely no use for. Next time, Mr. Mayfield, don't use your credit card to buy Virgin Mary lawn ornaments or the three month subscription to And if you want your interest rates lowered, call them up and demand it, or take your business elsewhere.

"Montel Williams, we hear you. The drug companies gave away $5 billion worth of drugs to people who needed them. That's their retail price. Their actual cost to make them, etc., was probably under a million dollars. Be truthful now." - Parma

So, I understand that Montel is the spokesman of a patient assistance clearinghouse that has helped 1.2 million Americans get prescription drugs. I see he is also a proponent of medical marijuana. Next time, why don't you moan that Montel has not given you an ounce of prevention, because he's too busy pushing a pound of cure?

"I'm sick of all the young punks who damage property, steal, hurt and kill people. The police and the courts are too lenient. I think they should put them in the military and ship them to Iraq. Then, we'll see how cool they are." - Garfield Heights

The military doesn't want young punks. They aren't a reformatory. They only want people who want to be there. Shaking down an old lady hoping she has a little package from Montel is not the recipe for a good soldier. Next time you want to get even with young punks, join the military or CIA yourself, and get yourself assigned to an interrogation unit.

"Shame on the Toys R Us employee who was asked by my 22-year-old disabled daughter to count her money, then kept $10! I'm scared for the next person who trusts you." - Shaker Heights

Instead of getting this employee's manager involved, instead of getting the police involved -- you call Monday Moaning? Is that what you would do if your daughter had consumed some poison? Forget 911, just call the paper and moan about how easy it was to open the jar? Next time, try doing something that will make a difference to advance the interests of your daughter.

"Parma has placed a 'No Right On Red' turn sign at State and Pleasant Valley roads. After many years of complaints and a police scandal, the sign was removed. The school that was there closed many years ago. Is this how they attempt to supplement their police funding because they can't pass a police issue because of their previous scandalous activities?" - Parma

So there was a sign, then there wasn't a sign, now there is a sign again? Perhaps the sign disappeared at the hands of young punks from Garfield Heights? Perhaps a Toys R Us employee took it? Perhaps it was Montel? Or the guy who took the jacket and the flowers? Next time, just wait for the light to turn green before turning.

"People were force to stand in long lines for almost two hours to get their flu shots at the Kaiser HMO in Parma on a cold and windy morning before reaching shelter. Some were with canes, walkers and in wheelchairs. What were they thinking when they limited flu shots to only three hours?" - Parma Heights

They were thinking, you old bastards have nothing better to do but wait in line out in the cold for your precious flu shot. And you thought the weather was cold! Next time, get there early, and steal a London Fog jacket beforehand so you can stay nice and warm.


Monday, October 23, 2006

Brownies, half-baked

We bailed out of our seats during the third quarter. Yes, we gave up before the Browns scored their one TD. That TD happened just as we were riding the escalator down.

Instead of leaving just yet, we went to the Gridiron Grille to warm up.

Better to be inside where it was warm. If the game has to suck, no reason to suffer more than necessary.

Better selection of booze too, though we did not partake. Just watched the rest of the pathetic exercise that passes off as "Browns Football" from inside a warm, smokey bar.

Gina spotted this dude with the shades holding court. We didn't recognize him. People kept coming by to talk with him and take his picture. Gina observed that whoever he was, he was sitting behind a table full of garbage.

I saw something that remind me of the Bachman. You're not missing anything by not being here in person, Jamie. Posted by Picasa


Gina and I went to the Browns game.

It was cold. Whoever decided 4:00 would be a better kickoff time than 1:00 doesn't have a lot of experience sitting outside in the cold.

The Browns were awful, again. It is one thing to lose. It is something else entirely to not even show up for the game. To not execute. To not have a coherent game plan. To have to take timeouts because you don't have your play in. It also sucks if the seat in front of you is empty and various beer vendors keep standing there to sell beer. Not that there was anything to see here anyway.

Not a whole lot to be happy about on the field. Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 20, 2006

My Reply to "Correspondence from Senator Dewine"

No need.  You waited too long to respond, then you sent me a form email.  You lie about your opponent in your ads -- the TV stations quit running them because they are objectively false. 
I voted for you last time.  Not this time. 
I have some extra boxes in my garage if you'd like them -- you're going to need them to pack.

On 10/16/06, <> wrote:

Dear Friend,

       Thank you for visiting my website and sending me your message. It's great
to hear from you! I will do my best to send a more detailed follow-up
email soon with a more specific response to your inquiry.

Very respectfully yours,

Mike DeWine
United States Senator

How Often Do You See This Happen?

One Ohio newspaper withdrew its endorsement of Ken Blackwell for governor after his disgusting behavior at the last debate.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Conservative Soul

I have started reading Andrew Sullivan's new book. I was so moved by the opening of Chapter One that I was ready to retype it myself. Happily, he quoted himself on his blog today, so with a little cut-and-paste, I can share some of his words here...

"All conservatism begins with loss.

If we never knew loss, we would never feel the need to conserve, which is the essence of any conservatism. Our lives, a series of unconnected moments of experience, would simply move effortlessly on, leaving the past behind with barely a look back. But being human, being self-conscious, having memory, forces us to confront what has gone and what might have been. And in those moments of confrontation with time, we are all conservatives...

The regret you feel in your life at the kindness not done, the person unthanked, the opportunity missed, the custom unobserved, is a form of conservatism. The same goes for the lost love or the missed opportunity: these experiences teach us the fragility of the moment, and that fragility is what, in part, defines us...

Human beings live by narrative; and we get saddened when a familiar character disappears from a soap opera; or an acquaintance moves; or an institution becomes unrecognizable from what it once was. These little griefs are what build a conservative temperament. They interrupt our story; and our story is what makes sense of our lives. So we resist the interruption; and when we resist it, we are conservatives."

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Wok Eggs

I have taken to cooking eggs in my wok.  It is fun and easy, and they cook up quickly.  I heat the wok to medium and melt a little real butter in it.  Then I pour in the eggs, already beaten, with a little bit of cheese.  Then I scramble it all together.   

400 million

An interesting op-ed from the WSJ. Futurist Joel Kotkin takes this opportunity, as the USA's population breaks 300 million, to reflect on the prospect of hitting 400 million. While I tend to agree with many of the observations generally, I do take issue with some of the characterizations.

Aside: would you rather be called feckless or inept?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Desperate Ken Blackwell Melts Down

Yesterday's final gubernatorial debate featured Ken Blackwell making desperate attacks on Ted Strickland, including levying a charge (long ago disproved in a previous campaign) that Strickland covered up that a former staffer of his preyed on children.

Keeping up with that theme, Blackwell here charges that Strickland got a "standing ovation" from none other than the North American Man/Boy Love Association.


A desperate move by a desperate candidate. And he thinks this will win him votes somehow? He sounds like such a fool. And I know that there will be those who think that Blackwell has the election in the bag, despite the polls, because he'll find a way to steal it. Well let me tell you something -- if I were running for governor and felt like I could steal the election, I wouldn't make an ass of myself spouting off this kind of nonesense. Because even stealing the election is more dignfied than this.

Tuesday Talkback

This week marks the one year anniversary of Tuesday Talkback.

Yesterday, I opened it up to you to talkback to those insufferable Moaners.

"It's Sunday morning, and my moan today is, somebody stole my Plain Dealer this morning. Whoever did it, I hope they're on their way to church." - Cleveland

Very generous thought - I'm impressed with your Christian forgiveness - but it doesn't work. I've tried it: You can hide the paper behind the pew, but turning the page makes too much noise unless there's singing. And there isn't enough singing to make the whole thing worth your while. I suggest leaving your iPod unattended next time. Those little earbuds are the Business. -- Evil John

"Tops has a right to sell their stores if they want to, but do they have to close them during the holidays? Bah humbug! Why couldn't they wait till January? And why is it going to take five to six months to reopen these stores?" - Cleveland

Since when do companies actually care about the customer. Come on, "customer service" is only for the share holders! -- Mel

"My moan is to service stations that will not accept anything larger than $20 bills. I cannot remember the last time I filled my gas tank for under $20." - Avon

It's a sad thought, that in Avon everyone's driving around with no more than three-quarters of a tank of gas. In the rest of the country you can pay for things with mutliple $20 bills. Personally, I find it convenient and really not very confusing at all. -- Evil John

"Why can't the Cleveland State Recreational Center set aside a time for the public to use their facilities - gym, swimming pool, weights, etc.?" - East Cleveland

You live in East Cleveland. I would think running away from muggers and ducking whenever a car backfires would keep you in shape. Why would you need to go to a gym? -- Anne

"For those who answer telephones, 'hang on' or 'wait' are not professional or courteous comments. A simple 'one moment, please' will get you more respect." - Warrensville Heights

Hang on a sec… -- Anne

In my opinion "wait." is perfectly acceptable. Short, to the point, and that's another 1.5 seconds for me to forget why I called. So everybody wins. But then, my self image doesn't depend on exactly how nameless functionaries answer my calls. YMMV. Little known fact: In Honduras the common response when answering a phone is "Waste my time and I'll grind you to salsa. Including your hair!" Every culture offers something worth learning. -- Evil John

"What's up, Plain Dealer? Notre Dame loses, it's front page news. When they win, it's hard to even find anything about it. We love Ohio State, but c'mon! A whole lot of Notre Dame fans live in Ohio, too. Let's be fair." - Rocky River

There's just no pleasing some people. The headline proves how much we really, really hate Notre Dame and all it's alumni. And active hate is better then contemptuous silence, right? -- Evil John

"You know, when the good Lord said, 'forgive them for they know not what they do,' he must've been thinkin' about the election board." - Middleburg Heights

I'd have thought He was thinking about the big hole in His side, the nails through His limbs, the agony of the crucifixion, and the whole"Eternal Damnation or Eternal Life through Forgiveness" thing. But, lacking the authority of being a citizen of the former Onion Capital of the World, maybe I should rethink it. -- Evil John

"You think your next-door neighbor is your friend until you find she's put rat poison under your bird feeder. - Fairview Park

Don’t worry. Your neighbor is still your friend because you have to keep in mind that the rat poison was most likely meant for you. Consider yourself lucky that your neighbor didn’t have the guts to put it in your coffee or in that cake she brought over the other day. At the last minute, she remembered the good times you used to have…hey, how did you know it was rat poison? -- Brian

"I'm complaining about people parking in handicap parking spots who really aren't handicapped. They get out of the car; they walk pretty damn fast! People abuse it." - No city

Think of it as an invitation to turn them into honest folk. If you're still in your car it should be simple... and fun! -- Evil John

"Whoever came up with this new game for the lottery should be fired. It's totally wrong." - Cleveland

If a lottery were really a game, that'd be a persuasive and well articulated argument rather a simple waste of time. In Bizarro world everyone must be happy. -- Evil John

"I am so angry about the news of the elderly woman who was robbed in the elevator and later had a heart attack and died. Only evil people prey on the elderly and young children. May they burn in hell!" - Westlake

Evil people have been around since Cain and Abel, and have used the same trick in the book since that time. This is not news. Just another day in paradise. -- Mel

"I'm very upset with the GOP and the oil companies for letting the gasoline prices tumble just when I'd gotten used to choosing between food and gas and losing 35 pounds." - Avon

That's nearly witty. The people of Avon, lacking in math skills, arecompensated in other ways. It's almost worth it. -- Evil John

"Shame on WTAM AM/1100 for running advertisements every single weekday morning for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation! Ohio, specifically the Cleveland area, gets no support, and yet a Cleveland-based radio station is promoting Michigan? I can't believe it!" - Medina

What is the rate? Per word? Stupid Comment? Too much sports on TV now..Rangers, Mets, and then the BEARS....gotta go. Priorities!! -- Haves

If WTAM AM/110 were in Avon they'd have to take payments in bills of$20 or less, which would rule out most out-of-state advertising. Talk to your city council about changing the laws. -- Evil John

"If all the Metroparks have a bike path, then why are the cyclists riding in the street causing traffic jams and practically getting themselves killed? Isn't that why they call it a 'bike path!' " - Cleveland

Are they getting killed? Or just practically getting killed? Because really, if you are practically driving on the road, and practically following the driving laws, then you should not practically kill a cyclist who has just as much right to be on the road as you. -- Anne

"North Korea has gone nuclear. South Korea and China supply them with food and money. The fools in this country buy anything of China and South Korea manufacture. So we not only support communist China, but we also support nuclear North Korea." - Strongsville

If only we could trust China and SK to allow ongoing humanitarian disasters to proceed unhindered, the world would be a better place. But I digress: The US also contributed about 200,000 tons of food to NK over the previous three years. Along with failing to disrupt our economy by banning business with two of our biggest trading partners, that puts us firmly on the wrong side of the GWOT. I see that now. The answer, clearly, is to invade ourselves... Sanctions would be too inhumane. Start the invasion with John Hopkins university - our casualties should be a military secret. -- Evil John

Thank you, everyone! -- Audient


Monday, October 16, 2006

Accepting Submissions for This Week's Tuesday Talkback

This week marks the one year anniversary of Tuesday Talkback.

I'd like to open it up to all of you...

Here is today's Monday Moaning.

Write your own talkbacks to any or all of todays moans, and email them to me at by 10pm tonight.

I will select and include the best ones tomorrow.

Be sure to let me know how you want your name to appear when I credit you.

Friday, October 13, 2006

TPB S1,E2 - F*** Community College...

"why don't you teach how to get drunk, get fired from the police force, become a lousy trailer park supervisor that sucks, hangs around a fuckin idiot who doesn't wear a shirt, looks like a dick but he thinks he looks good... 101"

Thursday, October 12, 2006

TPB 1- Take your gun and get out of my Trailer Park

Season One, Episode One -- this introduces all of the main characters.
Trailer Park Boys - Smoking and Swearing

"If I can't smoke and swear, I'm fucked!"
The Big Dirty Band - I Fought the Law

From the Soundtrack to TPB Movie...


Glorious, glorious meatcake.

Tip of the hat to J.B.Nimble for finding this.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Battle of the Album Covers

Clever, but a bit disturbing.

NOT Playing at a Theater Near You

Last weekend's 11th highest grossing film in North America, and the #1 film in Canada:
No release date for the US.
Roadtrip, anyone?

The Swedish Solution

I continue to deliberate on the issue of replacing my tires.  Both of my cars have these wonderful, miserable, V-rated tires.  If I really drove at speeds approaching 150mph, that might make sense.  And if the cars are designed to have such tires, then replacing them with like kind makes sense.  I love the way the cars handle, and the "winter car" does handle wonderfully in the snow with these tires. 
Also, to anyone who has seen my driveway, I MUST have good tires, or I will be stuck at the bottom of the hill.
The Beebs have provided some good information (thanks!), and I've done some research.  I tend to think I could get away with an H-rated tire -- spend less, get more.  But if it sacrifices the handling of the car, it isn't worth the money saved.  
Finally, the thing I don't like about the original tires is that they don't last.  Only about 30,000 miles!
Then I remembered... The Swedish Solution
I do live in the Heights, after all.  And where else but the Heights would you find a repair shop that specializes and limits iteself to Volvo, Saab (and VW - not Swedish, but still.)  Surely they'd have some insight.  And I called them up, had a lengthy and detailed conversation with them.  We went over all of my concerns, the pros and cons, and I've made an appointment to put on some H-rated tires (as Sharon did on her Saab) -- but I am going with the Bridgestone LST.  He has had a lot of success with them, he said, and they come with road hazard and are rated for 50,000 miles, they are good in the snow, and they cost somewhat less than the original Michelin MXV4 Plus tires -- and will last considerably longer.  We discussed some Goodyears too, but I think the Bridgestone is what I'll go with.
Time will tell if I got sold or not.  But I made clear up front that I have two Swedish cars and live in the neighborhood, and I don't think they'd do me wrong if only because they'd ruin any hope for future business from me.  It is still a little more than I wanted to pay, but I feel like I'm making a good choice, buying value and not just the cheapest price I can find.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Topping Out, Part Two

The article also says:

A statement on the sale says Tops "will be finalizing additional agreements by the end of the year."

Giant Eagle is picking up 18 of the 46 area Tops store. That leaves up to 28 to be sold to... whom?

I'd love to see another grocer make a play for this region. I like Heinen's, and I have warmed up to Giant Eagle after loathing them for years. But I am not a loyal shopper. Bring in another player and let the sales begin!

Topping Out

Tops at Severance in Cleveland Heights, and in Lakewood on Detroit to become Giant Eagles, among others.
Here is the article and list of stores. 
Giant Eagle didn't buy all of the local Tops stores, and not all of them are becoming Giant Eagles.  Some will become Dave's.
And there is no mention of the fate of Tops at University Square -- which is the Tops closest to me.  Perhaps it is yet to be determined.
I am not going to miss Tops.  Not one bit.  I drive right by the one in my neighborhood to go to Heinen's and Giant Eagle.

Tuesday Talkback

The moaners keep moaning, and I keep talking back.

"An advertisement in the daily paper from a Wheeling Island racetrack stating that we can win free Steelers' season tickets. Does this company realize that they are advertising in a Cleveland, Ohio, newspaper?" - Euclid

And do you realize where this racetrack is? In WEST VIRGINIA -- Steelers Country.

"The police chief of Lorain said his men do not get any respect in their jobs. Well, maybe he forgot that sometimes you have to give respect in order to get respect." - Cleveland

Interesting that this is a moaner calling in from Cleveland. I tried to find the article he was moaning about, and the only article I could find was Three Lorain Police Officers in Trouble Several Times, which contained a list of "incidents" including this one:

December 1999: Marerro responded to a woman's suicide call. He returned several times to console her, and they developed a sexual relationship. The woman said she had sexual encounters with Marrero at her home, a park and a police substation. Marrero claimed she was the aggressor and he had sex so she would go away.

All I can say is ... when has having sex with a needy person EVER resulted in making that person go away? There are lots of things I might feel for someone who tries that, but "respect" is not one of them.

"Second-hand smoke can slowly kill; second-hand drink can kill instantly." - Brecksville

How about second-hand dimestore wisdom? Dull and deadly.

"How can Giant Eagle Get Go service stations possibly charge $2.89 for a quart of oil when you can get a gallon of gas for only $2.09?" - North Olmsted

ONLY $2.09? Amazing what we get used to. Nevermind that these are two different petroleum products -- would this fool be happier if gas were close to $12/gallon just so the price of a quart of oil made more sense to him? Here is better question: does the price of a quart of oil swing 15 cents every three days just like the gas? Huh? Yeah, I didn't think so.

"The morally-righteous, God-fearing Republican hierarchy had a known pedophile among their ranks and looked the other way. Sure gives the war on terror a whole new meaning." - Cleveland

Seriously, instead of having a real discussion and debate about the serious failures of this administration in the competent execution of the "war on terror, " one creepy congressman later, the debate is reduced to meaningless comments like this. The funny thing is, this incident might fuel some voter outrage, but really, voters who weren't outraged before this simply weren't paying attention.

"To the crybabies moaning about the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. The UAW doesn't want voting in the Toyota place. The Jewish people don't want it in the Christian church. They don't have to take part in any service, and the Toyota people, well, too bad. Grow up, people." - No city

Oh, like the votes are going to count either way!

"Why are all the weather people in this area wrong most of the time with their reports?" - Parma

Complaining about the weather forecast is as boring and tired as complaining about politicians! Oops...

"I've had it with politicians who mail out ads but don't state which party they are affiliated with." - Brecksville

Does party affiliation mean that much to you? If so, contact the party for whom you are a mindless drone and get their slate card.

"Solon wants to raise their sewer rates again. We have lived here for more than 40 years, and they have never benefited our home. Our basement is flooded every year, every time it rains, and it's just a waste of money. Our sewers now serve no purpose." - Solon

Sewers...have never benefited your home? Is this house occupied by a family of cats? Drainage is something else -- but are you telling me you haven't flushed in forty years?

"Are the gas prices going to go up after the elections are over?" - Concord

Yes. It will also snow.

"What's the difference if I put a dollar in a slot machine or buy a dollar lottery ticket? Are they not both gambling?" - No city

Look at where the money goes.

"The Catholic church leaders are such hypocrites. They speak out against casinos, but they have bingo, festivals, nights at the races and any other way to make money." - Brook Park

Right -- these are fundraisers. Not profit centers for private investors. Whether or not you support slot machines or casinos, you have to admit that these fundraisers will lose some of their appeal.

"I don't understand why the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections gave into the Orthodox Jews as to where they could vote. It's just going to open up a Pandora's Box to everyone else who is going to want their own personal place to vote." - Parma

Well, if you read the article, there was actually a question as to whether the Board of Elections followed the law, and they changed the polling place to a place that would bring the Board into legal compliance. So, if you think following the law opens some kind of Pandora's Box, might I suggest a job with the Bush Administration?


Monday, October 09, 2006

...Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

Sometimes I re-watch an old movie and find new meaning. And that is one of the things I did this weekend when I watched Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Gina had never seen it, so it was all new to her. For me it was a familiar walk down and old path.

One of the striking things we both noticed and talked about is how the rhetorical references to the communists and their subhuman ways sound strangely familiar -- as these are the ways we talk today about al-Qaida. "Oh, but it is not the same thing!" Perhaps not, but we speak of them the same way, their treachery and their lack of respect for human life. There is a tendency to dehumanize the enemy, regardless of the degree of justification for such dehumanization.

It also strikes me how this movie was made in 1964 and how relatively recent Nazi Germany was back then. It is strange to imagine Hitler and WWII being as recent as the Reagan years are now. (NO, I am NOT comparing Reagan with Hitler -- I'm just speaking in terms of time.)

I remembered thinking before I rewatched this movie that the president in this movie was terribly ineffective and poorly spoken. But through the lenses of recent events, even Pres. Merkin Muffley seems no worse than some recent presidents that will go unnamed at this moment.

Peter Sellers is still brilliant. Stanley Kubrick is still brilliant. And James Earl Jones looks far too young to have the voice!

And, as it turned out, how prescient to have happened to have watched this movie this weekend.

WMD Found

Mr. Bush, the WMD were in the FAR East not the Middle East. D'oh!

Watch, by mid-morning the Bushies will be blaming Clinton for this too. As if Bush hasn't been president for the last six years and as if the elective war in Iraq wasn't some kind of distraction.

Add this to the list of reasons why the present administration, its officials, and its allies in Congress are not competent to protect our interests.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Porcupine Tree - Boston Review 10/5/06 (SPOILERS)

Thanks to Bardan from Rushtour for passing along this report he found on the PT list.

Here is a report of last night from the PT list.

Great evening of PTree music in Boston:

In Store: Accoustic set with Wes:
"Even Less" Cool
"Buying New Soul" Very nice
"The Sky Moves Sideway" Wonderful Surprise, Nice lead by Wes.
"Lazarus" Beautiful, great dramatic vocals by both at end of song.

Signing by Steve and Wes: Bracious and very talkative, spent a few minutes with everyone who went up to table. Long line outside of Newbury Comics before the doors opened. People on the street were wondering what was going on. Most never heard of them.


New Stuff: First Set: Very intense: Some songs are immediately catchy, others will be when polished for the new album. Liked them all. Some very heavy, "Goth" type stuff in there but also the melodic hooks abound in other songs. The band was very tight on the new stuff.

Second Set: only songs from "In Abstentia" and "Deadwing". "Arriving..." amazing as always. Nice set. Steve lost voice at end during "Halo" but was a trooper. Band was great. Very large, enthusiatic crowd. Biggest I have seen in Boston ever. They are developing a big following around these parts.

I understand James will be at tonight's show in New York City.  I gave more thought this morning to taking the day off and driving to the city. 

But the Federation didn't even have currency, did it?

Star Trek memorabilia auction fetches huge bids.  Article HERE .
Says something about the fans.  They are devoted, and successful enough in life to dump this kind of cash.

Chicken! Fight Like a Robot!

Yesterday evening I went to Costco to replenish my supply of Goose Island Root Beer, which I must say is very delicious. 
Walking through the store I encountered something that would distract me for the better part of the evening. 
It was an arcade style standup video game machine -- roughly the dimensions of a classic Pac-Man type machine, but it was loaded with a couple hundred classic video games.  Including some of my favorites.
I played Qix, Jungle Hunt, Crystal Castles, Tempest, Elevator Action, Venture, Berzerk and a bunch of others.  I noticed but skipped over Missile Command, Defender, Asteroids, Space Invaders, Burgertime, Joust, Centipede, etc.  The only notable games missing were Pac-Man and the Nintendo games (Super Mario, Donkey Kong etc.)  The machine was equipped with spinning joysticks, multiple fire buttons, and a trak ball.  I think I played that stupid machine for over an hour. 
The machine costs a cool two grand.  It would be so sweet in my rec room.  No, I am not going to buy it.  But I find myself thinking about it again this morning.
In the meantime, I need tires for my car.  Costco quoted me $600!  Damn V-rated performance tires.  I could put lesser tires on the car, but it wouldn't handle as nice.  I'm going to keep shopping around.

This Is the 21st Century

A wise man once said
A flower is only
A sexual organ
Beauty is cruelty
And evolution
A wise man once said
that everything could be explained with mathematics
He had denied
His feminine side
Now where is the wisdom in that?

I came just as fast as I could
Through the dirty air
Of your neighbourhood
Your name on a grain of rice
Hangin' around my neck
And a head like lead

This is the 21st century
I heard everything they said
The Universe demystified
Chemicals for God
This is the 21st century
I heard everything they said

A wise man once wrote
That love is only
An ancient instinct
For reproduction
Natural selection
A wise man once said
That everything could be explained
And it's all in the brain

We lay on a velvet rug
by the open fire
She blew air on my eyelids
I cried "What's it all about?"
As she kissed my hair
She said "There, there.."

"This is the 21st century
I heard everything you said
The universe demystified
Astronomy instead
This is the 21st century
Can't you get it through your head
This ain't the way it was meant to be
Magic isn't dead
Come to bed
Come to bed

And rest your heavy head my love.."
And slowly, from above,
She showed the answer's something that can't be written down

This is the 21st century
Flash to crash and burn
Nobody's gonna give you anything
For nothing in return
There's a man up in a mirrored building
And he just bought the world

Would you want
To have kids
Growing up
Into what's left of this?

She shook her head,
She said "Can't you see?
The world is you
The world is me."
-- Steve Hogarth

Smart Car

It has been almost a year since I saw the Smart Car on display in New York City. DaimlerChrysler has reported that the successor of the "ForTwo" model (shown here) will be introduced in the US in 2008.

So ugly, it is cute.

For those of us who think the Mini Cooper is too large, I suppose!

I did crawl into one, I was able to shut the door and everything.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Buried by Taxes in Ohio

Check out this article on taxes in Ohio.

As a percentage of income, Ohio trails only Maine, New York and the District of Columbia in having the highest tax burden in the country -- at 12%.
Funny that, given the GOP's exclusive control over Ohio's executive and legislative branches since the early 1990s.
Remember "Taxachusetts"?  It is 28th on the list.

Caption this Picture

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Arrested for Disagreeing

As set forth in this article, even before the passage of the Military Commissions Act, which allows the President the discretion to declare anyone including American citizens to be an enemy combatant and detain them indefinitely, Dick Cheney apparently had someone arrested for "assault" and/or "harrassment" for walking up and telling him that he did not approve of the administration's policies regarding Iraq.

This man was arrested and charged, and then local authorities dropped the charges three weeks later.

But now that the law allows the President to declare someone like this man to be an enemy combatant, if this were to happen now, he could be detained for this conduct, not charged, and held indefinitely.

And while you might say, "Oh, well they wouldn't do that!" Well, apparently they did have this guy arrested, just for exercising his First Amendment Rights. It is chilling that telling the vice president that you disapprove of administration policy would cause you to be arrested, taken to jail, and charged -- even if the charges are later dropped. And it is breathtaking that under the new law, you could be arrested, taken to jail-- without being charged, without a hearing -- and left to rot.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Watching a Train Wreck in Slow Motion

Congressman Foley IMs during House Vote.  Story here, with IM excerpts.  
The raciest ones have been withheld ... where both Foley and the teen depict "sexual orgasms" (as if there is any other kind.)  
That BJ in the Oval ten years ago is seeming a tad tame today. 

The Great Sound of Saving Money

I've been wanting to pick up new speakers for awhile.  Over a year ago, the woofers on my old speakers crumbled.  They had served me well for over 15 years.  In a fit of madness, I threw them to the curb, where they disappeared in about half an hour.  This was foolish, as the cases were in great shape and I could have had them rebuilt.  I regret that much like I regret unloading my old Marantz receiver.
Last Friday I was trolling around on craigslist and I discovered BIC speakers.  BIC's national repair center is in Highland Heights.  Anything of theirs that is scratch and dent, or otherwise returned, ends up in Highland Heights.  They were unloading some speakers -- specifically some of their RTR speakers, which is BIC's value line.
Now, I would rather have a nice pair of KEFs, everything else being equal.  But it isn't equal: dropping a couple grand on speakers is difficult.
I went to BIC's distribution center over on Alpha Drive.  It is just a loading dock and a work area.  Not a retail site by any means.  The RTR 1530s look impressive, and sound pretty good for a value speaker.  They weren't perfect, the cases each had a couple of small dings, but nothing I can't live with in the rec room.  Especially not at $80 for a pair.  And at that price, they sound great!  I hooked them up, cleaned off a few LPs, and soaked it all in.  The wall of sound they create is formidable.  And leaving the little Bose speakers hooked up rounds out the high end.  I must say I am rather pleased with my acquisition.

Tuesday Talkback

That moaning isn't coming from a torture chamber -- its coming from page 2 of The Plain Dealer -- and I'm talking back to it.

"Why do service stations/stores put roofs over the pumps, but not from the pumps to the store, where you can drown in the rain?" - Mayfield Heights

Drown from the rain at the gas station? Drown? Seriously. Are you made of sugar? Afraid you'll melt? Stay dry and pay at the pump, moaner.

"Since the metric system didn't work, why do they keep putting it on bottles and jars? Come on. This is America." - Brook Park

The metric system works just fine; it is your brain that doesn't work. Besides, you should like liters, because a liter of Ezra Brooks is a little bigger than a quart.

"People who leave their dirty Kleenexes on tables so waitresses have to pick them up." - Parma Heights

I leave my filthy old snot rags only at finer establishments, where bussers have to pick them up, and not the waitstaff. You see, outside of Parma Heights, bussers are not just people who ride the bus.

"Now that English is the official language of the United States, the word 'plaza' should be removed from buildings and malls. Plaza is Spanish for 'public square.' " - Cleveland

Um, no. English is not the official language of the United States. Not sure where you got that from. Maybe down at the bodega?

"Where is New Orleans' priorities? Over $180 million to get that Super Dome rebuilt so the tailgaters can party and get drunk, yet just a few miles away there are bodies to be found and homes to build." - Middleburg Heights

It wouldn't be New Orleans if it wasn't for the party. Bodies? Naw, they're just sleeping it off. Live a little!

"If cities want to charge for police and fire services, why don't they start charging for false alarms and, if they already have the ordinance on the record, why don't they start using it?"- Rocky River

Um, they already do charge for their services. It is called taxes.

"The banks are real happy to take your money, but you have to jump through hoops to get it back." - Shaker Heights

Hoops? You mean like show your ID? So they don't give your money to just anybody? Hoops.

"I'm moaning about Cuyahoga Heights wanting to change the date of Halloween to keep outsiders out." - Cuyahoga Heights

Who exactly is sneaking into Cuyahoga Heights? That's what I want to know!

"It's very hard to find a toothbrush to fit into the old built-in wall toothbrush holders." - Mayfield Heights

You know what else is hard to find in Mayfield Heights? A house that doesn't look like it was placed there by a crane off a flatbed truck.

"Why do the State Highway Patrol in Ohio wear such silly hats compared to the other law enforcement officers?" - Parma

It is a ploy to get you to smirk at them, so they can adjust your attitude with a nightstick. Seriously, I think it would be really cool if the OHP started wearing German-style spiked infantry helmets -- especially the motorcycle cops.

"Why are the state inspectors letting the contractors put asphalt down when it's raining?" - Parma

So that girly-men from Mayfield Heights don't step in the mud while they go pay for their gas.

"Why do kids have to be dropped off from the buses in front of their houses? I followed a school bus and every five houses he's stopping. Don't they have a central location? Today's youth is too pampered. They need to learn to walk to the corner." - Parma

Here is a dude who follows schools busses, complains that the kids don't get left alone on the street, and would rather see children on the streetcorner. Dude, you need help. I suggest you call the House Republican leadership. Your secret will be safe with them.

"No longer do I have a flower garden, so a sincere thank you to a condo neighboring friend who allows her many colored petunias to overrun their borders and come out on the side of the fence facing my patio doors." - Mentor

Petunias overruning the border? Perhaps you need to build a wall.

"To the elderly couple leaving Cahoon Park when I rode my bike around your car and fell about 10 feet from your vehicle: 'Why didn't you ask me if I was OK? I pray that when you take a tumble, someone more caring is nearby." - Bay Village

Maybe they didn't ask because it was obvious that no, you are not ok. You are a whiney and petulent little person, and you're also clumsy.