Friday, September 28, 2007

Being Random

Thanks to friend Stacey in D.C. for giving me a swift e-kick to get posting. The e-dust is still settling on my e-butt with her e-footprint firmly e-planted.

I'm still wondering just what happened with this week' s ruling that 200+ citizens in the County of Summit saw their votes hijacked because their absentee ballots weren't delivered on time. Judge Tom Teodosio was right to rule state law says the County Board of Elections couldn't just count the new-found ballots on their own but part of his reasoning was that Mayor Plusquellic and the City didn't have standing to file suit. Why wasn't anyone among the Silent 200 included since they had an obvious standing? Eric Mansfield's point that the votes should have been counted anyway (loved the reference to TV reality shows as an example...) makes a good point: there shouldn't be any harm in providing citizens a glimpse into what needs to be fixed about a system that says voters can play by the rules to make their voice heard but when the ballots don't get delivered they're out of luck.

Craig Simpson has a pretty extensive report on AkronNewsNow on what may be an intense battle brewing right here in Akron, and all the components are there for the kind of poster-case Eminent Domain critics dream of. The Dead Poets neighborhood has some crummy houses but there are also plenty of homes that counter the "blighted" tag City Hall attaches to the land they hope will keep Goodyear here. This could wind up being one of those cases used to make national "soup" with all the ingredients: big government (City of Akron) wants to help big business (Goodyear) and the little guy (Poet Streets homeowners who won't sell) gets knocked aside. Some homeowners are happy to sell their homes and get on with their lives; others may be holding out for higher prices (hell, isn't that the American way?) while others will plant their feet firmly in the dirt within the shadow of Goodyear and say home is home and they aren't moving -- effectively dismantling the City and State's efforts to keep Goodyear in Akron.

I'm a capitalist: those homeowners should be able to get maximum cash for making way. The City and State (Don and Ted's Most Excellent Adventure) should make every effort to keep Goodyear in Akron. Despite the wine-and-cheese sniffers who want to pretend Akron isn't the world's Rubber City anymore it is our history and Goodyear is not only a representation of the past but also a picture of the future on what Akron should strive to become: a center for something, and why not polymers and plastics and rubber?

That said, the spectre of Big Brother exemplified by the City's clumsy repainting of the neighborhood as blighted shouldn't come without debate and plenty of pain on the part of the politicians. Taking a home, no matter how modest, should be something requiring more hoops than a couple of public meetings and a hasty vote no matter how grand the benefit. At the very least the critics both local and national will keep the process honest and centered on what should remain a core issue: that government shouldn't take the power to condemn and destroy as its birthright.

Now after all this aren't you angry at Stacey for reminding me to post?

Monday, September 24, 2007

Politically Incorrect Football

Some observations on Saturday's University of Akron-Kent State University football game at the Rubber Bowl:

  • It truly was wonderful to see such an outpouring of humanity for the game; it helps prep the taste buds for what crowds could be like once there's a stadium facility the entire region can be proud of;

  • Unfortunately those watching at home got a real taste of what kind of disrespect the MAC and even the #2 and #3 schools in northeast Ohio suffer at the hands of the media. Poor WEWS-TV likely had little choice but to toss game coverage at 3:30 to the #1 northeast Ohio football program -- Columbus-based Ohio State University -- with more than a minute left in the Golden Flashes-Zips game;

  • Poor Sue Ann on Channel 5 was left with the task of playing "Heidi" (that's a reference to the stain left by broadcast switching away from a great comeback for a movie profiling the Pixie of the Alps before the NFL figured out how to buy the networks) and telling us since Akron had it in the bag they were switching to the OSU-Northwestern game. KSU could have mounted a last-minute drive if there had been a turnover -- which is the point of the Heidi reference;

  • Maybe it is just me but would it be possible for the Zips to abandon the shooting of the cannon with every score against Kent State? I know it's been 37 years but hey -- give us a little love on this one, will ya? I think having the ROTC do push ups for each point might be reconsidered as well...

There is some great news coming out of the MAC and Zips programs; Zippy busted Virginia Tech's "Hokie Bird" in the battle of the mascots. Zippy is undefeated...hope for our future.

By the way, for those of you who say I show poor editing skills: you won't believe the restraint I showed in choosing Shirley Temple for Heidi rather than supermodel Heidi Klum. Sometimes the choices journalists must make in the pursuit of truth...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Cleveland + Minus Akron & Canton

So much for regionalism; what I'm sure was an off-handed remark to a couple hundred Cleveland big shots reflects more of the real thinking along the lakefront when it comes to regionalism and just how far folks will go in turning "Cleveland, Akron, Canton Youngstown" into Northeast Ohio.

Kudos to Tom Beres of WKYC Channel 3 news for even including the comments from Continental President Jeff Smisek in a "plea" (Beres' description) during a meeting to discuss Burke Lakefront Airport. "Don't fly Akron Canton", Smisek is quoted as saying, in a bid to pump up the volume at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE). There wasn't exactly an outpouring, according to the Beres story, of folks downplaying airport wars.

So much for raising Northeast Ohio by bringing everyone up.

To be fair it is perfectly understandable why Smisek is pushing CLE over CAK; they have a HUGE investment in their Cleveland hub (just as they do at Newark and Houston, their other major hubs) and more traffic equals bigger expansion leads to more profits and more jobs in Northeast Ohio. Granted as well CAK has been a pesky competitor to CLE, what with easier parking, less hassles in the terminal and even getting those massaging lounge chairs for long waits before Hopkins. Also note AirTran just loves CAK over CLE and the smaller airport takes their own shots at "that other airport" in their ad campaigns to the point where Cleveland's TV and radio ads now spend valuable time talking up just how highly Hopkins ranks in passenger satisfaction ratings.

But this is more about political leadership. I've said for years Cleveland always talks regionalism unless Cleveland has to give something up; TBC (The Big City) primped and fluffed when the Plain Dealer built their new production facility off I-480. There was substantial grumbling behind the scenes when radio giant Clear Channel moved to Independence; I've got to believe the Cleveland Mayor's office wasn't happy with the Cavaliers building their new practice facility in Independence, even after Cleveland stole back the team from Richfield after Nick Mileti bought the promises of extending rail lines and commuter service into Summit County when he built the Coliseum. Those promises were worth about 20 years of regionalism and Cleveland drivers learning how to go south of the Turnpike; now Cleveland holds the cards again, northern Summit County is still a drive, not a rail commute, and the Coliseum is home to trees and birds, not the NBA and future Larry Birds.

Both Cleveland and Akron have their regional water systems but both cities still run the departments, not regional boards; the sewer system at least is regional in Cleveland but in Akron the City still sets rates for non-city customers who don't have a voice in the management of the system. Mayor Jackson says Cleveland would be foolish to give up the Hopkins plum to a regional group.

Seems like local governments talk a good game about regionalism so long as it comes to taking money out of our pockets, but it is a different matter when it comes to representation and actual control of these institutions. Cleveland Plus is still more about marketing, a canard to convince northeast Ohioans we all get along and we're all in it together -- until the time comes to actually pony up. At least with Akron's JEDD agreements participants have a voice; note Copley's foot-dragging that cost time and effort to find a new home for InfoCision. Copley's loss eventually became Bath Township and Akron's gain, and while the decision may have been short-sighted by Copley at least they had some control over their own destiny rather than being swallowed up by Akron.

Then it becomes Cleveland Minus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Air O.J.?

A nice debate this morning in our newsroom as we kicked around the story everyone says they don't want to hear -- but perk up when it comes on anyway.

What to do about O.J.? He's being arraigned in about an hour (11:00 a.m. eastern, first thing Vegas time) on a host of charges including kidnapping for that Palace Station robbery.

Was it at gunpoint? Was the stuff really his? Should he go to jail because he used bad language in the supposed heist? How the heck did someone get away with recording the whole thing anyway? Do you really care -- or more importantly, will you really ignore it?

These discussions are going on in newsrooms all over the nation now, especially radio and TV stations with plenty of live coverage available. We will be carrying ABC Radio's coverage, expected to last about 10 minutes max, on 1590 WAKR and will also have streaming video on AkronNewsNow. Most of the folks here in our newsroom were conflicted, some downright disgusted over breaking into our regular music program for the live coverage.

In fact, the person with the strongest "no" is Marcy Pappafava -- ironically the one who will be anchoring the 11:00 news on WAKR, now with the added duty of monitoring the network and joining the coverage during her newscast. Just what qualifies a story for breaking into program, she opines? If Bill Clinton were taking his posse to a casino to get political memorabilia it would be a story worth coverage because he was elected, she felt, and a former President. O.J.'s just a dumb criminal, she says (not alot of disagreement on that point) and this doesn't meet the standard we've set with breaking news on wars, political upheaval, AMBER Alerts, major traffic problems and severe weather. Chuck Collins weighed in earlier and feels it isn't worth the live coverage.

Flip side came from Ray Horner, who admits it's not world-changing but this is something everyone is following even if they won't say it. Isn't it our responsibility to report what people are interested in keeping track of, regardless of our personal feelings? Larry States and Tina Kaufmann held similar conflicts; Tina notes that if people wanted to know that bad they'd watch it on TV.

Oddly enough that's the point I considered the tipping point. Have to make a decision one way or the other, I favor bringing the coverage to listeners who aren't able to watch it on TV -- it is a breaking story with great interest.

Most of the time it is the media's job to judge what stories and how much will fit into limited time and space. Newspapers, for example, haven't had to worry about live coverage but they do now with websites; broadcasters have 60-seconds in 60-minute intervals for each 24-hour period. Even on the web there's only so much space on the home page or section front to direct your attention. We strive to make sure it is the important stories you need to see that rise "above the fold" or "in the A block" but sometimes it isn't for us to judge whether a story is deserving.

Ultimately you are the judge of what you hear, see and read -- even if the O.J. saga leaves us feeling a tad bit dirtier for the viewing.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Count The Vote!

There pretty much seems to be unanimous agreement that the sacks of undelivered absentee ballots uncounted in last Tuesday's primary election should be part of the process.

I talked with Joe Finley this morning and he was glad to see the movement from City Hall as well as others to make sure those 200+ ballots left on the sidelines aren't just totally blown off. Council President Marco Sommerville and Mayor Don Plusquellic made the call last night in the closing minutes of Council's regular meeting; Law Director Max Rothal made it official this morning.

When is the last time you heard agreement from Finley, Sommerville and Plusquellic? State Representative Stephen Dyer was quick to move on the issue, as noted in AkronNewsNow coverage here where Dyer explains why those votes should count. I'm also told that the Board of Elections was sympathetic but couldn't because of the spanking they would take for reaching into the think-for-themselves-common-sense political cookie jar if they just went ahead and did it. Want to get the votes counted? We can't do it but go ahead and take us to court and get Judge Tommy to order us -- we're good with that.

This one is really a no-brainer and even the Board knows it, but they are handcuffed by state law (I'm translating from SCBOE Director Bryan Williams, who always notes it is the Ohio Revised Code -- state law for guys like me) that forces the Board to ignore ballots that aren't in their hands by 7:30 p.m. when the polls close on Election Day. This year's snafu came when the Post Office didn't have ballots to pick up Tuesday but instead delivered them Wednesday.

Why do we have these conflicts in the law? Thanks to lawmakers pushing the Helping Americans Vote Act to upgrade early voting in the aftermath of the 2000 Bush-Gore battle and not making sure the due diligence extended all the way down the rest of the line. Helping people vote early by using mail-in votes (Oregon's done it for years) saves time and effort and helps avoid longer lines at the polls, but it also places you at the mercy of the postal system.

"Dave" notes in a comment on my earlier posting the USPS doesn't promise delivery on-time unless you pay extra; there's nothing in the law mandating an earlier deadline, say two days before the election, or even guaranteed delivery options. The law simply says get it in the mail, and a postmark should do the trick especially since official results aren't really official for a week to ten days later.

Back to Finley & Plusquellic: the City paid the $250 filing fee to get the lawsuit before Judge Tom Teodosio and asking for an order that the BOE count the votes, but Finley's on board on the principal of the issue. Those 200 or so votes, even if he gets every one of 'em, won't help shrink that thousand-vote deficit but it may have huge impact on the Ward 4 race Deandre Forney won over incumbent Renee Greene (four votes at last count) and the Ward 6 race where incumbent Terry Albanese squeaked by Wayne Kartler by a dozen picks. We really won't know until the forms are actually fed into those scanners and the votes are counted.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has a visit planned to share time with the local Elections board in the next two weeks; expect this kind of thing to be on the agenda.

Note: Forney spelling corrected 9/23, thanks for catching...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Akron's Uncounted

Now the Secretary of State's office has weighed in; spokesman Jeff Ortega (formerly the statehouse bureau reporter for Dix Newspapers; his column was a regular feature in local suburban newspapers printed by the Record Courier as well as the Wooster daily) tells the Akron Beacon Journal the local board of elections can't count the 200+ ballots delivered days late after the 9/11 primary.

No real surprise; the state law is pretty clear on this. What was striking was USPS's Dave Van Allen's comment to the Beacon's Rick Armon, that the postal customers themselves bear some responsibility for waiting until the last minute to drop something so important in the mail.

Uh, Dave, that's what we do. Before e-filing remember the lines outside the Main Post Office on Wolf Ledges every April 15th at 11:50 p.m.? Let's take a shot at the dumb voters now for trusting the post office to do what it says it'll do, which is: deliver the mail on time.

I'm not one to scream for government intervention but this one cries out for the folks at the Statehouse to take another hard look at voting in this day and age. Ohio moved forward when they finally scrapped the antiquated "must swear you are out of town" absentee rules and allowed for early voting; it was a no-brainer, allowed citizens to cast ballots at more convenient times and even helped lighten the load for heavy-interest 2004.

The next giant leap is e-voting. You can order risque underwear, dirty movies, booze, diet pills and music (sex, drugs, and rock & roll for those of you keeping count) over the net but actually participating in democracy can't be done? If you are paranoid enough about web hacking how about simply allowing absentee ballots to be counted based on postmark filing up to the final official canvas, say seven days following the election? It would honk off us media and other political types who want final results five minutes after the polls close but what's more important, satisfying the urge for a quick decision or a decision done right?

Friday, September 14, 2007

You Damn Meat Terrorists!

Forget going after the bad guys in caves; the real terrorists are walking the streets of Akron even as you read this!

Thank God animals aren't armed.

I just love people with passion; not necessarily their views but listening and watching them do their thing with such fervor sure is entertaining.

AkronNewsNow reporter Craig Simpson covered Akron's favorite non-conforming daughter Chrissie Hynde, giving PETA a nice plug in their bid to get people to swear off eating other live creatures. Chrissie is very passionate about this and veggie-mouth is.

Craig's account of the interview is itself pretty funny; she didn't want to talk with him, then gave in a little bit with one word answers, then answered some questions and in the process called us meat-eaters terrorists. Take that, you Beef bin-laden!

Crissie in all of her glory: AkronNewsNow coverage ahead of all the hand-clapping as Chrissie opens her Akron restaurant VegiTerranean this weekend, including audio.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Who IS Playing Saturday Night?

Confession: I am so not a music person.

Unlike my radio pals Sue Wilson, Chuck Collins and T.K. O'Grady I really couldn't tell you who last won a Grammy for Best Record, Best Artist, or Best Performance of a Rising Star who cut through the clutter of Ed's brain.

Of course, I really don't look to them to fill me in on the breakdown of the Plusquellic-Finley race.

So maybe it is fitting that the politics and media geek blogs about music and Akron.

Chrissie Hynde has a show this weekend; she opens her new restaurant, then has a sold-out gig at the Akron Civic Theater with some friends that we know include Jerry Lee Lewis and maybe P....uh...former B....uh, never mind, not allowed to reveal.

Here's what I do know: the real stars Saturday are here because of non-meat eaters. PETA (not to be confused with pita, the snackable chips) is a big draw for the Hollywood and music celeb set. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is the big beneficiary of Chrissie's Vegiterranean; she's sworn off meat and they're living veggie-large, too, and hoping to convert those of us who like our food moo-ving.

That raises some interesting issues for us rubes here in Akron: are the police ready for the hordes of the beautiful and the bigger crowds of Akronites vying for a glimpse of their favorite stars?

Thank the stars Chrissie's benefit show to help bailout the floundering Civic Theater didn't happen before the City primary: if it had we'd have Plusquellic saying it was his idea and Finley saying it cost too much.

Hey, I got politics in anyway!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Donald Wins -- Again

I'm not sure this was ever in doubt but Finley was game. Don Plusquellic wins by over a thousand votes, the closest the race was came at the very beginning when the vote count started and Finley was within seven votes. Of course, that was two minutes after the first ballots were received at the Board of Elections on Grant Street. About three minutes later it was Plusquellic on a pony off to the races.

We were cranking out updates not only for broadcast but also online; our wrap-up coverage on AkronNewsNow includes updates to posted stories, so the time stamps will be somewhat confusing but suffice it to say the Mayor's race was over fairly early. We called the Mayor's race at about 8:47pm during the Indians game on WAKR, and about a minute later on ANN.

Finley wouldn't concede despite the clear numbers, saying the screw-up by some poll workers in turning GOP voters away who wanted to cross over in the primary (legal in Ohio, by the way) were told no and given conflicting information. This is serious stuff and kind of "shoe on the other foot" in more ways than one. Maybe the Democrats actually learned a lesson or two in 2000 and 2004 and instead of whining about losing figured out they could convince people not to vote hiding behind confusing laws, too. Either way it won't make up a thousand-vote deficit and I'm disappointed; Joe seemed like a better man to take his ball home with him from the $1 beer night at the Crowne Plaza without walking upright and admitting defeat.

No real challenges to established Akron with the exception of the two council races in Ward Four and Ward Six; in Renee Greene's case she's four down from Deandre Fourney, who ran a hell of a grassroots campaign. Greene won't give it up with about 80 provisional ballots she's counting on; Terry Albanese holds on to a 12 vote margin, and both will see mandatory automatic recounts.

November will have another set of political ying-yang: CSB and ADM levies, schools, Norton's Mayor's race, Green, the Falls Muni Court Clerk (my personal pick for microcosm of Summit County politics) but it won't have Plusquellic kicking around pundits. Too bad -- I got the sense this year he finally figured out the gruff bully act might actually be a liability at times and a bit more seasoning might prep him better for life after Akron, even if that is in 24 more years* by his reckoning.

*in his postgame comments he noted at the rate he's losing margin he could serve for more than 40 years.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

When Do We Stop Remembering?

It seems the biggest question coming out of this morning's coverage of 9/11 ceremonies in New York, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania wasn't the status of the war on terror, or even just where Osama bin Laden is hiding out: it was why we still do it.

"It" being the ringing of the bells; the moments of silence; the reading of the names. New York's been abuzz for the past week over WABC 7's call to skip the hours-long name reading and become the only local TV station to air regular programming (Regis and Kelly, no less) instead of marching in lock-step with every other local television station broadcasting the name reading.

WABC reversed course quickly after station officials got an earful -- an email box-full -- of comments from families of those killed in the World Trade Center attack and other citizens who feel blowing off the defining moment of American History so far this 21st century was improper.

Have we as a society become ADD America, suffering so much from Attention Deficit Disorder that we have to have something new on the plate at all times? Reflection isn't a bad thing, whether it is the fifth anniversary, the tenth or as in this year the sixth year since the worst single attack on U.S. soil ever.

It bears noting that the generation so preoccupied with itself that Easy Rider Dennis Hopper is now a pitchman for retirement financial services, the same folks who still wrap themselves up in tie-dye to commemorate the Summer of Love, the aging baby boomers who still argue whether Yoko really broke up the boys, can so easily think it is time to move on from an event that still scars Manhattan with a giant, gaping hole.

Thousands of American men and women -- and tens of thousands of Iraqi and Afghan civilians --continue to pay a price as public policy pushes the War on Terror, regardless of liberal/conservative or Democrat/Republican. That price is with their blood, their "normalcy", their sacrifice in wars fought far enough from home that we watch them now on the same screens that just hours earlier displayed soap operas and laugh-a-minute gabfests designed to take our attention away from real life.

You don't have to hate bin Laden to remember the event that put us on the path we now tread. You don't have to hate war to remember those lost in the opening salvo. What's left is what's right: some things don't deserve that loss of attention. Remember September 11, 2001 with some time on television and radio on one day out of 365?
Hell, yes.
Update: read WKYC's Directors Cut with Frank Macek for his perspective on that day; it is a great window into what television stations and newsrooms were dealing with that sunny day.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thank God For No Big Ten TV

WAKR's Ray Horner and I had a great time at the OSU-Akron game Saturday and it was at least two periods of fun watching the Zips faithful (it seemed like just a handful among the 102,000 seat Ohio Stadium) living large with a 2-0 lead for much of the first half.

On the way down we caught some of the pregame on WTVN-AM, Clear Channel's "Big One" version in Columbus; typical fare, with lots of homer humor sticking it to those of us rubes up in Akron and the message that we should just be glad they were letting us set foot on campus.

OK, nice thoughts; that clanging sound in the first half wasn't the Ohio State Chimes, it was the sound of 101,000 gasps (I'm being charitable here in finding another bodily function) as the Zips zapped the Bucs with an early safety and then held the OSU offense to just a field goal by the time the Best Damn Band in the Land took the field. Akron went on to eke out just 69 total yards offense on their own and lost 20-2 but it wasn't the blowout the OSU faithful figured on and it was nice to see Akron get a little respect (even though the grumbling wasn't how good the Zips defense was but aimed more at how OSU couldn't get started.)

Great time to watch in person; fun to listen to on the radio but worth extra money to watch?

Big Ten TV network is in a fight with local cable, including Akron-Canton-Cleveland's Time Warner Cable. The big issue isn't whether you'll be forced to pay for it; there's really no doubt at all the extra $1.10 a month Big Ten TV wants per subscriber will be passed along to cable viewers. That's a gimme; the fight is over where local cable puts the channel.

TWC and other operators say the non-digital tier (those channels 2-99) are not only prime real estate but also off-limits thanks to must-carry channels, including local access. Big Ten says bull and doesn't want to be clustered in the digital tier where the number of subscribers may be lower, depending on whether cable watchers shell out extra already for channels 100 and up.

Based on Saturday's game I'm betting most of us can live without Big Ten TV's greedy grab to pressure us into doing their dirty work and shaming the local cable companies (no strangers to greedy grabs themselves) to bring these games to the tube. Just so long as OSU and Michigan are still on TV those games won't play when our wallets are choosing the channel.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Broadcast Day For The Boys

Mornings were made for kvetching -- whether you are the challenger or the incumbent.

Just about all you can stand here at the AkronNewsNow link with full video and audio of Joe Finley and Mayor Plusquellic from their appearances this morning on WAKR's Ray Horner Show. If you haven't made up your mind yet -- or just have a hankering to here the subtle digs each other throws at the other -- this one's for you, bud.

Top points:
  1. Both agree Akron hired more police but both disagree on the actual number. Reality: both are right because Plusquellic notes he hired 25 new officers and Finley is using his math to note the net result because of attrition on the force.
  2. Local government should do more to help with predatory lending and mortgage woes. Reality: Finley says the City should hand out free advice to folks with problems and Plusquellic says they already do that in partnership with the County.
  3. We Love Akron. Reality: both do.

Really not much new to all of this; Finley says we're broke, Plusquellic says debt is moderate and manageable. Joe says downtown gets too much and the neighborhoods suffer for it, Don says downtown needs to be healthy to anchor successful neighborhoods. Both says seniors deserve more help and are important. Both want economic development although Joe's alot more vague than Don. Finley doesn't have a long record of government leadership (four years in council) but he also doesn't have a rep for being a bully. Plusquellic as a long and enviable record of government leadership in this very job but as for the last part...uh, see below.

This election comes down not to the issues glossed over (above) or even those reported on ad nauseum by us and others. My NewsNight Akron comrades discuss tonight the real decision awaiting voters: do you vote against Plusquellic because he may go off on a tear now and then and get a parking lot attendant fired or call reporters and fellow politicians a-holes? Then you are voting against a guy who also gets the job done -- albeit sometimes like a herd of buffalo tramping through the dining room. Do you vote for Finley because you think Plusquellic's act has grown tired and you want to take a chance on a nice guy with an unproven record -- a big gamble if, as Finley says, the City is broke?

Folks from both sides tell me they're out in force this weekend but Akron's already decided and the only job left to do now is get out the vote. Plusquellic Democrats wouldn't mind seeing their business GOP pals cross over in the primary next Tuesday and keep The Don on the throne; Finley Democrats think there's a sign their reformist GOP pals will cross over, too and make a regular Joe the boss.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Gettin' High With Chrissie

There's been plenty of coverage (AkronNewsNow with video and audio) on Chrissie Hynde's return to Akron with her new restaurant, sans Pretenders, and kudos to our favorite daughter to putting her money where her mouth is.

The meeting with no meat was expected from the PETA supporter and vocal vegetarian (don't expect a beef or bison burger at her Northside eatery) but among the great sidebars that didn't make the cut in the coverage you saw, an absolutely hilarious exchange from the Rock Hall of Famer where she congratulated the City for working to restore the historic Glendale steps. Chrissie's all in favor of it because those steps, WAKR's Larry States told me, are where she used to hide to catch a buzz in her teen years. Translation for the buzz-impaired: that's getting high by smoking marijuana, aka weed, dope, smoke, ganja, etc. Too bad the Doobie Brothers aren't the opening act.

Larry says the Mayor and police on hand at North Main looked a bit uncomfortable when Chrissie joked she'd like to revisit the steps and relive some personal history. Just jokin' about tokin', Don! Don't worry, it won't be a campaign issue just five days before Primary Day.

Speaking of the Mayor's race, both Plusquellic and Finley are on WAKR's Ray Horner show Friday morning; Finley 7:10a-7:58a with Plusquellic getting a dozen minutes of separation and holding court 8:10a-8:58a. Ray tells me he tried for both at the same time but one debate was apparently enough (guess which side demurred?) for what is likely the final major broadcast availability before the September 11th Primary.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nature Girl Deals With Death

What a story, and in my own backyard.

Nature Girl was happy; she'd spent the Labor Day weekend laboring under the golden rays of the sun removing overgrowth and reshaping the kidney-shaped bed, restoring the glory of the butterfly bushes flanking the fountain. Flowers, greenery and water elements once again were in balance. She even found a few new buddies. "Praying mantis, how exciting," she exclaimed!

"What a wonderful garden paradise I have!" In the cool morning she would amble over to the garden, looking for her new stick-like friends living in harmony with bees, monarch butterfly and assorted other bugs besides the burbling fountain. "Hello, babies," she would coo to her new mantis friends. Even when she found one of the new babies on the block sucking life out of a moth's face. "It's OK, it's nature, and it's wonderful," she said.

First a bumble bee buzzed Nature Girl's foot and left a stinging reminder; then the Praying Mantis showed their true colors: green really stood for PREY-ing Mantis, as the once-tranquil solace of serenity turned to into a garden of death. The floor of what had been a home for hospitality was now littered with the corpses of mighty monarchs, wings cast aside by the unfeeling cruelty of Mantis finding the backyard buffet is always open for breakfast.

Look at the joy of my new green buddy
with eyes so wide and skin so green.
Who could imagine coming to the garden
would leave the paradise a place wiped clean?

What a wonderful creature the Mantis is,
chomping on a friend.
Smiling and praying over every meal
from start to untimely end.

Now Nature Girl is moving the babies off the block, eyeing greenery in the verdant forest behind the garden. The Palace of Patience must now be closely managed under the newly-watchful eye of Nature Girl.