Friday, April 27, 2007

Gender Genie

Today I learned something about myself.  According to the Gender Genie, I blog like a man, but write fiction like a woman.
 
The blog entry I chose was my recent post about the weekend.
 
The fiction entry I chose was the story about Randall and Ryan.
 
Try it and have fun.
 
 

Browns Draft Day on Saturday

The Browns just sent out this email newsletter.
 
It contains articles featuring draft prospects QB Brady Quinn and RB Adrian Peterson.
 
Is it disinformation?  Or are they tipping their hand for tomorrow's draft?

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Obama's Foreign Policy

Barack Obama addressed the Chicago Council on Global Affairs yesterday.

Here is a the prepared text of this speech.

The common rap against Obama is that he sounds good but doesn't stand for anything. The speech reveals that he not only sounds good, but that he does stand for something.

Obama outlines the five ways America will lead the world again, if he is elected President. And he provides details on each point.

He affirmed the commitment to unilateral action when necessary, while stressing the importance of coalition building, citing to Bush 41's coalition building in the first Gulf War.

He eschewed isolationism. He embraced a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. He identified the need to reform the UN and other international institutions. America must lead in environmental initatives, including the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases.

He has committed to rebuilding the military. And committed to America leading by example, ending the torture and dishonor brought by the present administration. He covers Russia, he covers North Korea, he covers foreign aid. And much much more.

I hope you'll take a few minutes and give it a read. The more I read, the more I see, the more I sense this guy is for real. There are those who say we'll never elect a candidate like this, someone of his background, of his ethnicity, someone who is not a WASPy Bush/Cheney type. But Bush/Cheney is not who we are, not who America is. And I believe that Obama might be the right one, at a moment in history where the sins and excesses and incompetence of the present administration could provide the critical mass for a complete electoral repudiation of Bush/Cheney. And what could be a greater repudiation of these last few years than the election of Barack Obama as president?

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Tuesday Talkback, I Guess

I looked at yesterday's collection of Monday Moaning, and I don't find it inspiring. Part of the reason I write Tuesday Talkback is to make fun of these people. They phone in their petty grievances and I make fun of them for their futile whining. Often times my response is to ridicule them for complaining instead of actually doing something about their complaints. Then we have this moaner:

"With the large volume of moans that you receive each week, why don't you start a 'Whining Wednesday' column? I know that a lot of people comment on the negativity of Monday Moaning, but I always feel better when one of my calls gets published - it helps to get things off of my chest!" - No city

Is that all Monday Moaning is? A vehicle to help people get things of their chests? And to what end, to what benefit? So you can feel better even though you have actually accomplished nothing? That is not a good thing.

Once upon a time, I believed in the power of a well written letter to the editor. I've written a couple in my day. But since then, I look at most letters to the editor with the same sort of disdain that I tend to look at Monday Moaning. Usually they are so much tired braying, no new arguments advanced, little logic or flawed logic, emotionally infantile, or mildly sociopathic. Once in awhile, someone might write something refreshing or insightful, but you have to sift through a lot of sludge to find these little nuggets. And in campaign season, I generally assume letters to the editor regarding issues and candidates are plants, because campaigns do plant letters.

Monday Moaning shares the worst attributes of the letters to the editor page with none of the virtues. I've been ripping on these moaners for about a year and a half now, and sitting here this morning, I can't think of anything insightful and refreshing any of these idiots have had to say. Maybe once a week I agree with one of them, but that is hardly the same as that moaner having phoned something in that ever changed my thinking or feelings on a subject. Take this moaner:

"The real culprit in the Virginia Tech massacre is the persons who equate the 'arms' in the Second Amendment with guns. According to my dictionary 'arms' are weapons of offense and defense (of the country). In the 18th century the high-tech weapons of the day were muskets and cannons. A couple of centuries earlier they were longbows and lances (Agincourt and all that). Today the high-tech weapons are cruise missiles and atomic bombs. The Virginia Tech shooter should never have been able to buy the weapons he had." - Lorain

I can hardly think of anything more dreary than to respond to this. And anyone who wants drivel like this published really should be made to put their name next to it, like a letter to the editor, so when we see this fool at the grocery store, we can quietly speak about him as he sifts through the produce bin, and hold our children closer to us, lest they osmotically grow stupid by standing too close to him in the checkout line. There are real scholarly articles about the history of the Second Amendment and the framers intent, articles that reach both similar and opposite conclusions to what can only be generously called a conclusion above. But instead, any meaningful discussion on the topic is reduced to this little bit of nonsense.

One of the worst feelings one can have is powerlessness. To be at the mercy of something you do not control, or cannot even have an effect on. Becoming empowered, causing improvements and changes in ones life and in the world around you, these are great feelings. Sometimes I complain about it along the way, but actually being able to make a difference is so meaningful. This is what is wrong about Monday Moaning. It isn't about making a difference. It is about being powerless, complaining in a meaningless way, and then nothing changing. How many of these moaners would be better served if, instead of phoning in, they went to a city council meeting and addressed their elected officials in open forum? But do they do that? There is no evidence of that here. Instead, we have these moans this week:

"As a Cuyahoga Heights resident, I am tired of getting mean and nasty mail from our council person(s) about the town's mayor. This individual should show some class, dignity and morals and find something positive to say, not demeaning. Isn't there enough going on in the world that we don't need more hate?" - Cuyahoga Heights

For the cash-strapped city to solely pay $78,000 for another police levy vote (the last three failed) on May 8 versus getting a free ride in November is typical of this failed administration. Another example of this group trying to spend Parma monies like a drunk sailor and then crying when they lose again." - Parma

Assuming these moans aren't merely plants from a more organized campaign, the Cuyahoga Heights moaner ought to be at the next city council meeting confronting the councilperson at issue. Likewise for the Parma moaner. If you really believe in this, stand up for it. And make a difference. Phoning it in and then going about your day is not going to change things.

As for the future of Tuesday Talkback, that is undetermined. I sometimes enjoy making fun of these people, but maybe the gag has gotten old. Instead of mocking them, perhaps they should be pitied. It is far better form to make fun of the powerful instead of the powerless. And the people who phone into Monday Moaning seem to be generally powerless. Maybe I will just leave them alone to wallow in their futility.

Osmotically is not in the spellchecker? But it is in MY dictionary!

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Monday, April 23, 2007

Tales of Steaks, Yard Work, Bach, Brubeck, Open Cars, and the Like.

Friday.
 
After work I went to Whole Foods and bought steaks for steak salad.  I picked up two dry aged ribeyes (they were out of dry aged strip).  I took it home and realized I'd purchased way too much meat, so we cooked one and saved the other.  Then we went to the Fairmount Martini Bar or whatever it is called and met up with Kornells and Ray and Kristen to celebrate Brian's admission to grad school.  I had a couple of nice Manhattans -- don't remember the last time I'd had one, but it just sounded right.  Fairmount was interesting, but the crowd looked just a little annoying to me -- that is, very few of the people I saw in there looked like anyone I'd ever want to talk to in real life.  And that's ok.  The drinks were great, and the immediate company even better. 
 
Saturday.
 
After a breakfast of steel-cut oatmeal and turkey bacon, Gina and I cleaned up the yard.  We raked up the last of the dead leaves from the flower beds and the back yard, and I mowed the back yard.  
 
We then went to the BW Bach Festival.  Gina's younger sister, Ginevra, was playing in it.  We went to Severance Hall and enjoyed Bach's Mass in B Minor.  I've seen many shows at Severance over the years, but it was extra special to look at the stage and see Ginevra right there with the other cellists.  I enjoyed the show very much, more than you might expect when sitting through two plus hours of baroque music. 
 
Before the show, we drove to Berea to pick up Gina's youngest sister, Giovanna.  Note to travellers: avoid 480 and 77!  From the house, we could have just as easily gone to Berea by driving downtown and catching the Inner Belt, as opposed to driving down Warrensville Center to 480.  But with all the construction at the 480-77 interchange, we were panicked about getting to Berea and then back to University Circle in time.  Happily, we left ourselves more than enough buffer to get to the concert in time.
 
Afterwards, we loaded up Meatball with four passengers and a cello, then drove to Parma to pick up yet another cello (Ginevra's was being repaired and she borrowed one for the concert), and somehow managed to squeeze a second cello into the car and drive to Berea (and happily, not Buffalo.)  Once in Berea, and having not eaten since breakfast, the four of us went to Bucci's, and demolished plates of calamari, pasta and prime rib, two baskets of bread, a bottle of Castle Rock pinot noir, and creme brulee.  All very good.
 
Sunday.
 
More yardwork, this time the front.  Dad and Marcy stopped by with Dad's new toy: a Mazda MX-5, 6 speed manual with Highland Green exterior and saddle leather interior, Bose stereo system, tan ragtop.  He let me take it for a drive around the block.  It drives like a go-kart.  The little thing is hotter than hell, and reminds me of how I almost bought one last spring.  He will NOT be driving it in the winter -- and that's the thing to do.  They handle like crap in the snow, and keeping it out of the salt will keep it nice.
 
I then gave the Saabcar a good washing, and apparently showed off plumber's crack to the whole neighborhood.  No matter, it was a beautiful day for a ride in an open car, and with no cellos to haul around, we could enjoy the weather on our ride...
 
...back to the Bach Fest.  This time at BW, we saw ... The Dave Brubeck Quartet!  Brubeck may be 86 years old, but his playing is as alive and vibrant as it was in any recording I've heard from the last 50 years.  Yes, they played Take Five, but they also played selections from more recent albums -- and by more recent, I mean as recently as 2005.  And while I could go on and on, and may yet still, I will sum it up like this.  As long as Dave Brubeck is still with us, I don't think anyone else can more rightly be called a living legend.  This was one of the best concerts I've ever been to.  Brubeck moved around slowly getting on and off the stage, but once he was seated at the piano, the years melted away.  I don't believe he would have sounded any better if I'd been alive to hear him play in the 50s or 60s.  Paul Desmond died back in the 70s, but Bobby Militello was so good on the alto sax, it made me want to dust mine off and play again.  And the drumming Randy Jones did on a five piece kit rivaled any drumming I've heard anywhere by anybody, Neil Peart and Gavin Harrison included.  I sneaked in my camera and took a few pics... maybe I post them later.  More likely I don't get around to it.
 
We went home.  I cleaned up the grill to put the new door on it (one of the doors broke on it and Charmlight sent me a replacement), only to learn that... they sent me the wrong door.  Happily you don't need a front door over the propane tank to actually operate the grill.  We cooked the other steak and had steak salads again.  Gina thoughtfully picked up fat free mango sorbet for me for dessert.     
 
I picked a new paint color for the woodwork for the master bedroom.  I played with Tito a bit.  I did a little laundry.  It was a full weekend, yes.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Landlord

On the lighter side of things... The Landlord.

Liviu Librescu

Virginia Tech mechanical engineering professor Liviu Librescu survived Hitler's camps and Ceausescu's dictatorship (he had to flee Romania when he refused to swear allegiance to its communist dictator), only to be gunned down by Cho.

That is so fucked up.

He is reported to have barricaded the door to allow his students the extra seconds to jump out the window. Cho killed him in the doorway.

If he had died in the camps, or had been purged, he wouldn't have been there on Monday to give his life there instead.

A man who had faced certain death before, who could have been snuffed out ruthlessly and efficiently as a young man, finally dies by a ruthless and efficient act all the same.

A better story than Richard McBeef or Mr. Brownstone.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Porcupine Tree FoaBP Video down, due to Virginia Tech

 
Statement: In view of the events yesterday in Virginia, the video clip for Fear of a Blank Planet has been withdrawn until further notice.
 
Having seen the video, I think it was the decent thing to do.
 
I watched the video of teens playing video games, popping pills, smashing things and setting things on fire, running around with guns and aiming them at each other, aiming guns at themselves and at the camera  ... and then learned about Virginia Tech about 10 minutes later.  It was a little eerie. 
 
I hope they'll have it back up in due time.  But for now, I think it was the right move.
 
 

Tuesday Talkback

Moan, talk back, repeat.

"Why in the world are there reserved close up parking spots for expectant mothers?" - No city

Marketing. Pandering. Whatever you want to call it. I'd like to see parking for exporant mothers -- mothers so mad they spit.

"Seems as though there is too much 'breaking news' on the programs. Why, if we are to get a few inches of snow, is it breaking news?" - Avon

News people justifying their own existence. Tis all it is.

"I just read in Saturday's PD that 'gas prices went up on Friday even though commodity markets were closed for Good Friday.' Imagine that. They always say that the prices go up because the cost of oil raised or refineries are not running, but that did not happen, did it? Maybe, just maybe, the prices went up because it is the weekend, when the price always goes up. Can someone say conspiracy?" - Granger Township

Prices going up when demand goes up is not a conspiracy. It is called the law of supply and demand. I think I learned it in second grade.

"Ever wonder why yours and my water and sewer rates go up and up and up? If so, answer this: How many Water Department workers are needed to repair a line? Apparently two to three times as many as that needed if a private contractor does the job! Of course, if one works, another two or three supervise on site and two or more sit in the truck. One can understand how three turn into six with three times the charges. Pathetic." - Parma

I assume the workers are paid every day, regardless of whether a repair is needed. I would also not be surprised if regulations require that additional workers by on standby at the scene in case of an emergency. If the repair goes wrong and your neighborhood floods while additional workers are being trucked in (or better yet, while they go put it out for private bid), I can't imagine what you'd have to say, except that it wouldn't be just about the dollar amount the water.

"To the woman that's been running the lost-cat ad since Thanksgiving: Maybe you haven't noticed, but a gray-striped cat looks like every other gray-striped cat on the planet." - Streetsboro

You probably think all Chinese people look alike too.

"Terry Jordan said that AP 'teachers rarely received extra planning breaks or other perks.' Oh, the two weeks at Christmas, the week at Easter and the approximately 12 weeks in the summer weren't enough? I could plan the hell out of a class with that much time." - No city

Instead of talking about it, why don't you do it? You missed the point. All teachers get that.

"Why doesn't the I-X Center or Brook Park put better signs on the freeway before the traffic light at Eastland and Cargo road so attendees know there are two lanes into the I-X Center?" - No city

So that fools like you can sit in the slow lane, while the enlightened can zip up in the second lane and get right in.

"Jeers to the person who was driving north on Green Road, a two-lane section with orange line between South Woodland and Fairmount Boulevard last Thursday around 3:15 p.m. You are rude and an idiot to think that you could go around two cars, a County MR/DD school bus with its lights flashing waiting for the individual who is wheelchair-bound to be lowered by the driver, and the roads were wet and slippery. You are mental!" - Cleveland Heights

Sad that you would reference the short bus and who it is for, then namecall someone as mental.

"My Monday moaning is directed to the many drivers who do not use their auto lights when driving in weather conditions, such as we are currently having, or in rain." - Westlake

How about the drivers you hear coming instead?

"No thanks to the idiot ordering corrosive salt be spread onto the Jacobs seats. Salt will trickle, and like on all steel items, shorten structure life to a third of expected. Duh!" - Parma

And what do you suppose the life on the Jake is anyway? It opened in 1994. With the weather we've had, I'm surprised we haven't already heard quiet talk that we need to plan to build a new retractable roof facility. Wait till the Jake reaches about 20 years old or so, and the talk that it is a tired and obsolete facility will begin. And the guy pouring the salt is helping make that a reality sooner, you watch.

"Has it ever occurred to any of the global-warming zealots that if it hadn't been for global warming, the Great Lakes and Canada would still be under two miles of ice? Global warming ended the Ice Age 10,000 years ago, and there wasn't a single car or factory around to blame it on." - Strongsville

The Earth has undergone climate change throughout its history, but the evidence strongly suggests that the increase of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere from combustion and industrial sources is directly affecting the climate. Instead of conjecturing, look at the evidence. Just the other day, two people I know argued at length over the capital gains tax -- specifically, when can the tax be avoided. But instead of looking it up, they argued over it for an hour, as if argument would somehow yield the truth -- when looking at the IRS code and regulations would have actually led to the answers they were looking for. Pointing out the lack of any cars or factories at the time of the last ice age is not helpful or conclusive, and does nothing to prove or disprove whether cars or factories today are a factor in climate change. Yet this is what passes off as "critical thinking" these days.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Yikes -- that's going to shock a few people...

... the Fear of a Blank Planet Video.  I don't think we'll be seeing THAT on MTV.  There's plenty there to shock and possibly offend -- for me, its that Saabcar they smash up and set on fire.  Pop all the pills and play with guns all you want, but destroy a fine automobile, now that's pushing the envelope.
 
Here is a preview of the video for use for the live show... on the screen behind the band.
 
Oh, this show is going to be so sweet.

 

Fear of a Blank Planet -- Video

Video to the new Porcupine Tree title track ... HERE.

sing it like a baby ...

 
maybe I should make a tape...?

Life in the City

Report from the neighborhood.
 
At the corner of Fenwick and Washington there are four squad cars, a police helicopter, a SWAT van and what appears to be a drug dog.  Some sort of standoff.  Unclear at this time which house it is.
 
UPDATE:
It is now 12 squad cars, plus police in riot gear going door to door.
 
 
Somehow I just know Tito is behind this.  I knew I should not have purchased that diet cat food.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gorgeous Tiny Chicken Machine Show

If you haven't seen Episode One yet, do so without delay.

I have it on good word that Mediocre Films has another episode in the works.

The End of the Suck?

Sam Fulwood DEMOTED
 
It only took 7 years to figure out how insipid his column was.

My Buppa Had a Car just Like This...

1969 Saab

For Mr. Bacher

All your base are belong to us.

Bah.

That's twice I've tried to post this morning and I twice blogger lost it. Bah.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

When PD readers moan, I talk back.

"To the young mother who left her car running with the win dows rolled down with a crying infant in the back seat while she was in the convenience store on Lorain Road. You are an idiot! I was parked right next to you! Again, you are an idiot!" - Fairview Park

I would like to thank that young mother for not bringing the crying infant into the store where it would disturb everybody, and commend her for remembering not to leave the windows up so that the little brat would not bake inside the car.

"What gives restaurants the right to add a tip to credit card purchases after you leave a cash tip for the server? Tired of getting my money back!" - Olmsted Township

When I leave a cash tip, I write "cash" on the tip line. I've never had a problem.

"Has anyone else noticed that week after week the Monday Moaning column is longer than the Thankful Thursday column? We've all got our problems, and some of them are serious. But most of the time life is pretty good, isn't it? Let's see if more of us can't remember to share our moments of gratitude. I'll do my part by submitting something to Thankful Thursday at least monthly. Care to join me?" - Shaker Heights

Not really. If you want to try doing something to better the community, try shoveling a little snow.

"So now the U.S. Supreme Court is the omnipotent scientific end-all. Maybe next they'll hold a meteor or comet in contempt of court." - Streetsboro

No, the court's decision last week stated that a government agency cannot refuse to follow a clear statutory command from Congress -- specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency cannot ignore the Clean Air Act and sit on its hands on global warming. It either has to take steps to fight global warming, or make a determination that greenhouse gases do not contribute to global warming. It can't just do nothing, which is what they've been doing since 2001. Because really, what's the point of having an EPA otherwise?

"What a nice surprise in our water bill. They now have a customer service charge. For what? To read our meter and the cost is $7. Hey, PUCO, what gives? Let us read it, and we will e-mail you the reading, then send you our bill." - Parma

They're reading out in Parma now. And they have Internets.

"If Mike Tyson is supposed to be so bad and thinks he is so tough, why does he have bodyguards?" - Parma

To protect you from him.

"Instead of increasing postal rates again, why not deliver only Monday, Wednesday and Friday? This would increase service at the local post office, cut gas consumption in half, reduce wear and tear on vehicles by one half and decrease pollution. This common-sense approach might result in a post office rate reduction." - North Ridgeville

BAD IDEA, unless you are looking to wreck commerce. Lots of businesses rely on mail during the business week. FedEx, UPS and the other private services deliver five days a week because there is a market for it. Likewise, they don't deliver on Saturday, or only with an additional charge. And there is your answer. The post office should end Saturday delivery, which will require an act of Congress, as Congress mandated delivery six days a week long ago. Eliminating Saturday delivery would mean a less overtime hours for mail carriers. Postal employees generally rotate a day off midweek while another employee is brought in just to cover deliveries on that off day. That floating employee comes in and delivers a different route every day while the regular carrier for that route is off. Eliminate Saturday delivery, and carriers can just take Saturday off, and no one has to be hired to cover the route.

"Bring back the smokers and ban cell phones. These people are the rudest, the most obnoxious people on the planet." - Parma

You know, if you start jabbering at them while they are on the phone, they will run away. Try it. It's fun!

"Wake up, America. Pet food companies buy cheap ingredients in China, then turn around and have us pay through the nose for pet supplies." - Brooklyn

It's called making a profit. Can you imagine how cheap and nasty that wheat must be if it is cheaper to import it than to use our own?

"Don't complain that Hoover is sending all those jobs to another place to have stuff done. You brought it upon yourself, you workers, by just demanding too much money, too many benefits, so the company couldn't make a profit. Don't ask for more than they can pay." - Parma

And the acquisition and reacquisiton of Hoover among global players had nothing to do with it, nor the acquisition of Hoover by a company that already owned Dirt Devil.

"To the Cleveland Hopkins Airport employee who mocked my daughter's flowing tears as she wished her husband farewell on his way to Iraq." - Pierpont

Is that what she told you? I understand they were gawking as she gave him his last BJ while waiting in line at TSA. Not that I'm judging -- it's for the troops!

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Lawless South Side of Youngstown

Here is a Vindy article from last week, telling the tales of woe of a Florida Avenue resident on Youngstown's South Side. Her house is just a few blocks west of my old home at the corner of Rush and Florida.
 
Sounds like things on her part of the street are as bad as I suspected.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

White Easter

Christmas was downright balmy -- no snow, no worries.

For Easter, it is snow that has risen ...er... fallen.

Some photos from shortly after sunrise, Easter morning.

Here is Gina's car, the Silver Bullet...


A view of the neighborhood from the living room window ... the front steps and bushes completely covered in snow.

The neighbor's SUV, parked at the foot of the driveway, presumably because he can't negotiate it up the hill.

... (what's the point of having one if you can't get it up the hill?) ...


A view from the second floor bathroom of the backyard screen porch.

Fortunately, we won't be trying to exit the house through that door.


The plan today was to ride out to Jefferson for dinner. We may still do that...

I'm going to call Dad shortly and see how it looks out there. Dad had originally hoped to cook dinner on the grill!

We weren't planning on being there till this afternoon, but the forecast does call for some more snow.

And we were going to ride out to Berea first to pick up GiGi...

We'll see..

Happy Easter!

Here comes Peter Cottontail, sliding down the bunny trail...
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Saturday, April 07, 2007

Gina at 30 Rock




February 23, 2007, Rockefeller Center, NYC

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Friday, April 06, 2007

More YouTube Fun

What'chu gonna do with all that junk?
 
Insipid but catchy:
 
 
And you have to watch their to appreciate the parody:
 

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A Rabbit Takes Manhattan

Bunny got back.
 


 

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Tuesday Talkback

They moan to the Plain Dealer, I talk back, and as a bonus, be sure to check out my rant about Browns PSLs after I sent the Browns this email offering my PSLs back to them.

"There are too many so-called 'reality' shows on TV. Let's have more intelligent, creative and imaginative programs. I have sufficient reality in my daily life, thank you!" - No city

"More intelligent, creative, imaginative programs" -- then they'd have to hire writers and stuff. Reality TV is cheap to make. And unlike the news (which is true reality TV) they don't have to follow journalistic standards or anything. They will keep making this cheap and nasty TV as long as anyone will watch it. In the meantime, perhaps you should seek out "intelligent, creative, imaginative" pursuits in your daily life. Or on my blog.

"Is it any wonder that the so-called Republican Party in Cuyahoga County is brain dead? One only needs to look at how well their leaders have and continue to serve the residents on the Board of Elections. Resign now!" - Parma

Bob Bennett, the lone holdout fighting in court to keep his seat on the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections after Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner demanded that all board members resign, is not the chairman of the county GOP but the state GOP -- and except for this last election, he's got a pretty remarkable track record as chairman. Ohio's Republican party has swept most of the statewide elections this decade and last decade, except for the last election. Scoreboard.

The Board of Elections in this county was a royal mess long before Bob Bennett ever got on it. As state GOP chairman, I doubted that Bob would just agree to resign like the others, and he hasn't. Can any face saving move that allows him a graceful exit, or compromise that allows him to stay on? Here's my proposal -- he and Brunner strike a deal whereby Bennett stays on to provide continuity, and he agrees to step down from the board of elections after the Fall 2008 elections. It makes sense: a clean sweep of the board would mean the clean sweep of any institutional memory.

"Congratulations to Gov. Strickland on approving Sunday lottery sales in order to keep up with the surrounding states. Too bad he doesn't feel the same about having casino gambling in our state. At least that would create more jobs, and our hotels would be booked. I guess when it comes to the lottery, he isn't worried about people becoming addicted." - Lakewood

Others have said it and it bears repeating: the lottery is a tax on people who don't understand math or statistics. The last casino gambling proposal in this state was toxic because it would have rewritten our constitution to essentially give a monopoly to and line the pockets of a few private interests. I'd be fine with casinos in Ohio, but can we stop the nonsense that it is an economic elixir?

"It seems that every time a teenager is shot by the police, the TV people appear with cameras and microphones to interview the family and be told what wonderful people they were. I do not believe that wonderful people are driving around in stolen cars full of stolen merchandise." - Cleveland Heights

I don't either. And do the reporters ask those sorts of questions in follow up? No, because they are tough to ask, and the point of seeking out the families to show their suffering on the camera, not to get in their face about what shitty parenting must have gone on to lead to this outcome.

"So the woman got sprung from the slammer. Seven kids, two boyfriends, one husband. I finally learned what multitasking means." - No city

Only if she was servicing them all at the same time.

"Sometime Saturday evening, the 17th, someone dropped off a brand-new phone book for us in the mud at the foot of our curbside mailbox. I found it the next morning. It was hanging out of its plastic bag, and it was soaked. So were all the others on my street. I'm sure all these new phone books went straight into the garbage. What a waste." - Strongsville

Same thing happens to me -- they toss the phonebook by my front door, which I rarely ever open, and the phone book sits on the step soaking up rain till I happen to see it.

"To all those neighbors who insist on letting their dogs bark continuously without any regard for anyone else. Welcome to spring." - Brook Park

Sounds like the dog next door, Killer. I live next door to an undetermined number of people whose names I can't ever remember, and their dog, Killer, who has barked every waking minute of his life since he was a puppy.

"Paying at the pump only to be directed into the service station to get a receipt. If I wanted to go into the service station, I wouldn't have paid at the pump to start with!" - Reminderville

Sometimes the pumps run out of paper. It happens, and it probably isn't obvious until people start coming in asking for receipts. What is really annoying are the stations that don't keep the bug-buckets full of window wash with plenty of squeegies to wash the windows while you pump. And the ones that don't have the hold open latches on the pumps so you can wash your windows while you pump. Those are the stations that suck.

"There's an old saying about federal workers that you can't get them to work and you can't fire them. They must have had post office employees in mind to come up with that truism." - Lyndhurst

Most post office employees work very hard at what they do. They have to get up early and be at the post office when the truck arrives with 50 to 100 pound bags of mail, then they have to "case" (sort) the mail for the various routes, and get it all out, while avoiding unleashed dogs and assholes like you. And the post office is open 6 days a week.

"For years I have enjoyed watching WEWS Channel 5 and considered the news announcers some of the best. However, the news is no longer the star feature since becoming the weather channel. The chief meteorologist has become star entertainer. And yes, I no longer watch him." - North Royalton

Good for you. Hope you feel good next time you get caught out without your jacket or umbrella.

"If there is a mass exodus of people leaving Cleveland, like I'm always hearing about, then why is it that I'm standing in line everywhere I go?" - Garfield Heights

Because cashiers leave too.

"People who are not handicapped or whose handicap status has improved, should not use handicapped spaces to park in. This would include people who have a handicapped person in the family, but they are not with them. . . . For you, it is a nice chance to park near the door. For me, if there are no spaces, I can't go in. I need the space next to the car for my mobility device, as do many others. Without that space, I can't get out of the car. Which is also the reason why people shouldn't use the striped area to park. These people seem to think that they don't even need a legal permit to park here. Please, count your blessings, and use regular parking spots. Keep in mind the saying, 'Don't tempt God.' " - Lakewood

We shouldn't park in the designated spots unless they are for us and we actually need them. I'm with you on that. But we shouldn't park in the designated spots, because if we do, an angry god will throw a lightning blot and take our legs? Just goes to show that handicapped people can be assholes too.

"I'm sick of the bigwigs in the companies laying people off because of sagging profits and then you read that they are giving themselves a hefty raise later on." - Beachwood

I'm sick of the Browns fielding a crap team every year, and that they have us season ticket holders over a barrel because they sold us a bunch of worthless PSLs that more or less guarantee that we'll keep buying the tickets no matter what crap they put on the field. Read more about my email to the Browns and their response.

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Monday, April 02, 2007

The Browns Respond, Losers

Well, I got my response from the Browns to my email...

Unfortunately, we do not buy PSLs back, nor can we assist in getting a buyer for you. I can give you some hints on how you might go about finding someone...

  • contact any guests who may have used your tickets to see if they have any interest
  • if you know any ticket holders in your area, contact them to see if they have any families or friends trying to get seats nearby
  • place an ad in the classifieds of the paper
  • some people have placed them in online auctions
  • see if any of the places you frequent will allow you to post a notice, places that are trafficked such as work, restaurants, bars, banks, health clubs, barber shops, stores, etc...
  • Also keep in mind you may be able to find someone to just buy the tickets for this year, while you maintain the PSLs.

    If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me.

    Mike

    Mike Patton

    Senior Manager, Season Ticketing

    Cleveland Browns

    I have not responded to this email. I do take exception to the phrase "nor can we assist in getting a buyer for you." The correct word here is "will," not "can." Every Browns PSL ever sold was sold at least once by the Browns. People who fail to renew their season tickets forfeit their PSLs to the Browns, and then the Browns resell them. So, the Browns do sell PSLs -- they just choose to stick it to the season ticket holder.

    The Browns really ought to take some responsibility. I would have no trouble selling these PSLs if the Browns fielded a competitive team. Since 1999, the Browns have made just one playoff appearance and had just one season over .500:

    1999: 2-14
    2000: 3-13
    2001: 7-9
    2002: 9-7 (plus 0-1 in the playoffs)
    2003: 5-11
    2004: 4-12
    2005: 6-10
    2006: 4-12

    Total: 40-88 in the regular season, or .455, since 1999.

    The Browns are 19-45, or .422, since their last playoff appearance.

    By the way, that last playoff appearance ... the Browns went 3-5 at home that year, and backed into the playoffs when the Jets knocked out the Pats.

    It bears repeating: the Browns have not fielded a competitive team. And if they did, I wouldn't have any trouble selling these PSLs.

    And while I may sound like a Monday Moaner when I say the Browns should take some responsibility, allow me to offer my own Tuesday Talkback: why should they take responsibility? They've managed to sell a stadium full of PSLs (most, but not all seats have PSLs), and by their rules, if we fail to renew our tickets, we lose our PSLs and get nothing in return. So why should they do anything? What incentive do they have to improve the team when they've rigged it so we have to buy the tickets or lose our investment? It is all well and good to say that we can sell the PSLs privately -- as long as someone wants them.

    But the fact is, this team is not the Browns of Paul Brown, or even the Browns we grew up with in the 80s. This is a bunch of losers wearing the colors of a team that hasn't won the championship since five years before man landed on the moon, since the year Barry Goldwater ran for president, since the year the Beatles first appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. And if you disagree and dare tell me this team doesn't suck, then write me a check for $1000 and buy my PSLs.

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    Dear Browns, about my PSLs...

    I sent this email to the Cleveland Browns on 3/28, after the highest bid on ebay for my PSLs was $355 (and didn't meet my reserve.)

    Dear Browns,

    Do the Cleveland Browns buy back PSLs? Due to personal family commitments, I cannot go to the games this Fall or for the foreseeable future (the next three years). Also, I am not able to find anyone willing to buy my PSLs from me. People keep telling me, they've been to playoffs just once since 1999, and they don't look like they'll be back any time soon. I try to tell them to keep the faith, but the team's record since 1999 speaks for itself.

    My PSLs are in Section 537, Row 19, Seat 25 and 26. I paid $1000 for them privately from a guy who used to go to games with his dad, but his dad took ill and couldn't make it down to the stadium anymore. I understand that these PSLs sell for $1500 now from the Browns. All I am looking for is the $1k I have tied up in them. Are the Browns interested in buying them back? Please let me know. Thanks.



    I am still waiting for a response.

    UPDATE: And HERE it is.

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    Happy Birthday, Gina!

    Today is Gina's birthday!


    Happy Birthday to Gina!

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