But with moralists fighting so many wars on so many fronts, they're running a tad short on soldiers. Nuns Against Porn, for example, has yet to enlist any actual nuns to its cause.
"We did contact a few nuns about it," says organizer J.R. Mahon, who runs a Christian advertising company. "It's not that nuns are shying away from it, but a lot of nuns aren't on board with it yet."
That could be because they're not particularly comfortable around cross-dressers. Without any real sisters, Mahon has resorted to donning full convent gear to spread the word himself.
He'll take his show on the road to events throughout the country, starting with an adult-entertainment expo in Vegas next month. "Technically, will there be real nuns in Vegas?" Mahon asks. "Probably not."
A teachable moment
William Neal didn't want to return to his cockroach-infested Youngstown apartment. After all, far superior accommodations awaited him at the Mahoning County Jail, where the cuisine is rumored to be roach-free and the rent is priced to move.
So Neal tried to woo police into busting him by breaking a window. He quickly confessed when the cops arrived. But when told he might only receive a ticket, he raised his fist, the international symbol that he was prepared to punch the cops.
Now you're catching on, William.
Last Monday, he pleaded with Judge Robert Milich to give him the mandatory sentence for criminal damage and resisting arrest. The judge gave him 90 days.
Alas, this story doesn't have a happy ending. Because the jail is full, Neal was released on furlough. "I should have hit you," he told the cops.
Prudence, the Betty way
When it comes to blowing money, state Republican leaders have behaved like hookers at a 50 Percent Off All Edible Panties Sale at Victoria's Secret. So the party's gubernatorial candidates are now tripping all over themselves to show they're more frugal than their records suggest.
Each has come up with a new plan for "fiscal responsibility." And each plan is more shameless than the last.
State Auditor Betty Montgomery is the latest to enter the sloganeering arms race with her Prove It initiative, which would require state agencies to do "results-based" audits and budgeting, and search for cost savings. It's not exactly revolutionary. In fact, one wonders why the state auditor, of all people, didn't pursue such fundamental accounting all along.
But unfortunately for Montgomery, the idea isn't even hers.
It used to be known as House Bill 132, a measure authored by Representative Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton), which has languished in committee for three years. In 2003, he even met with Montgomery's staff in hopes of winning her support. He didn't get it until two weeks ago -- when she repackaged the idea as her own. Says House Democratic aide John Kohlstrand: "I think he got his pocket picked."
Strahorn doesn't mind being ripped off, so long as the plan is instituted. But he's not sure that Montgomery even understands the idea, so he's urging her to explain it in more detail.
"If she can't do that," he says, "she's just sitting around the table with spinmasters, asking: 'What do I have to do to get elected?'"
Punch tried to get Montgomery to explain it to us, but she's apparently too modest to toot her own horn.
The scum always rises
In politics, it's called "opposition research," a polite phrase for digging up anything you can to smear your opponent. Plain Dealer columnist Connie Schultz never knew how slimy it could be until she married Congressman Sherrod Brown.
Schultz recently moved from Shaker Heights to Avon so that the couple could live in hubby's congressional district. Then Brown announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate. Strange things began to happen.
Schultz looked out the window one day to see two men in suits and a white van taking away her garbage. "I just thought they had upscale garbage pickup," she jokes of her new hometown. But when she confronted the well-dressed sanitation workers, they quickly fled.
Then she noticed a guy taking pictures of her house. The man said he was an appraiser. When she asked for identification, he bolted too.
When it comes to hawking your product, nothing builds hype like humiliating your target audience. That's why Universal Home Entertainment promoted its DVD release of The 40-Year-Old Virgin with a "Hairiest Chest-Waxing Contest" at Legacy Village's Ladies & Gentlemen Salon last week. It's a takeoff on the scene from the movie in which Steve Carell submits to the painful procedure.
The rules for participation: 1) Be hairy, and 2) be willing to endure a moment of excruciating pain at 6:30 a.m. on a Tuesday. Five hundred bucks were earmarked for the winner.
In the pre-daylight hours, a groggy chest-wax technician stood at the ready, along with a Universal PR flack and a Fox 8 News crew. In somewhat lesser supply were contestants, of which there were none. After more than an hour, the chest-waxer's boyfriend came down to collect the winnings unopposed.
Not a drop to drink
When Legends Sports Pub in Plain Township opened on November 16, its walls were festooned with framed pictures of classic sports moments, and its 27 televisions projected all manner of recreational pursuits. But the drink of choice was frosty mugs of nothing, served with a side of optimism.
Legends, alas, made the mistake of opening in a dry precinct. The blunder is the result of a mutual oversight between the bar's owners and the state liquor-control board. After waiting more than two months for approval, Legends learned of its predicament only a day before opening.
"I felt like a little kid that woke up for Christmas and the tree was gone," says general manager Al Lopez.
The bar must now seek an exemption on the May ballot. Lopez is encouraged by support from local politicians, who make for reliable allies when the cause is liquor. "Everybody's behind us. It's just a case of a formality we have to go through."
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