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Illegal Use Of The Hams 

Mixing The Browns And Law & Order Cast Members

A friend of mine has been pushing the "District Attorney" nickname for Derek Anderson ever since the Oregonian took over starting duties for the Browns last year. Sometimes shortened to just "The D.A.," Browns talk usually comes out in couched legal terms these days: "The D.A. just made his opening statement." "The grand jury just approved the D.A.'s motion." "The prosecution just brought out a surprise witness." And so on. It got me thinking: How would the 2008 Browns' roster look if players were characters from the original Law & Order?

"In the Cleveland Browns 2008 season, fans are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the offense, which puts points on the scoreboard, and the defense, which is charged with stopping the opponent. These are their stories. Dun dun!"

Rod Chudzinski: Law & Order's faceless, nameless narrator. Behind the scenes but essential.

Phil Savage: Law & Order creator Dick Wolf. The mastermind.

Romeo Crennel: District Attorney Arthur Branch (played by Fred Thompson). Smarter than he sounds - or at least that's what everyone around him wants and needs to believe.

Derek Anderson: Executive Assistant District Attorney Ben Stone (Michael Moriarty). Stone was the first major character in the franchise. Working on unfamiliar ground, he had to establish both himself and the show as contenders.

Joe Thomas: Executive Assistant District Attorney Jack McCoy (Sam Waterston). The highly touted prospect who's just as good as he's billed.

Eric Steinbach: District Attorney Adam Schiff (Adam Hill). The vet, the teacher and the mentor.

Jamal Lewis: Assistant District Attorney Paul Robinette (Richard Brooks). Naturally tough and a workhorse (and no, not because he's black, wiseguy; see below).

Kellen Winslow: Assistant District Attorney Claire Kincaid (Jill Hennessey). Spunky, selectively combative and fantastic at the job.

Braylon Edwards: Assistant District Attorney Abbie Carmichael (Angie Harmon). Brilliant and captivating - half the time; drops the ball the other half.

Ken Dorsey: District Attorney Nora Lewin (Diane Wiest). Understands concepts on paper; utterly incompetent in actual execution.

Shaun Rogers: Lieutenant Anita Van Buren (S. Epatha Merkerson). Actually pretty good, despite what you might hear.

Brandon Pool: Captain Donald Cragen (Dann Florek). Comes back, no matter how many times he's knocked down.

Andra Davis: Detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach). Goodhearted, long-lasting and consistent.

Kamerion Wimbley: Detective Mike Logon (Chris Noth). Frustratingly complex; could be the best.

Antwan Peek: Detective Sergeant Max Greevey (George Dzundza). One season and outta there.

Brandon McDonald: Detective Joe Fontana (Dennis Farina). Incredibly incompetent.

- Vince Grzegorek (Read Vince's review of the new book on Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler in Freestyle, page 71)

JUST BETWEEN US …

Psst. Don't open your trap, don't draw a crowd. You take this to the water cooler and post it for your idiot co-workers and you're an ass. Just read. You really shouldn't be privy to the information contained within these paragraphs. We don't know if we can trust you to do what's best. But as Proponents of Democracy, we felt it best to let you make your own mistakes.

Again.

Ralph Nader is running for president. He's got some Matt Gonzalez guy as his running mate, the only Green Party candidate to ever become the president of San Francisco's Board of Supervisors in 2003. A real fighter like Uncle Ralphie. You didn't know any of this? You didn't read it on the front page?

The consumer rights hero and corporate nemesis - who wanted truer progressives in the White House than Gore and Lieberman and so preceded to wrest from them just enough votes to give George Jr. a ticket off the kiddie table - is circulating petitions around Ohio to get on the November ballot for his fifth foray into third-party spoiler-dom. He's expected to be on the ballot in 45 states.

You don't agree with the characterization? Gore lost by 537 votes, unless of course you count all those votes that we didn't count. Nader got nearly 100,000 that year. You do the math.

The worst part: He's still as lucid and reasonable as he always was. On labor, foreign policy, reform. Yep, he's everything a progressive capitalist should be. Shit.

Last year, he explained his still-rebellious spirit to Politico.com: "You know the two parties are still converging - they don't even debate the military budget anymore. I really think there needs to be more competition from outside the two parties."

So true, as usual. But unless a constitutional amendment is also on the ballot this November to switch to a three-party system that could give Nader a fighting chance, his candidacy is as unwelcome here as Sen. John McBush's. Sign that petition, and we'll personally come and spoil your next four years. Or maybe eight.

Now go. Quietly. - Dan Harkins

BOOSTER SHOT

About a year ago, Cleveland-based food writer Michael Ruhlman began a blog post with the following: "I have an ongoing battle with my long-suffering wife which usually comes down to her saying, 'Again, remind me. Why are we living in Cleveland?'"

Ruhlman's response: "The Velvet Tango Room." He went on to explain why he loves this local institution: the passionate owners and staff, the unique drink offerings, the "funky" setting. He concluded: "Is the Velvet Tango Room the best bar in the world? Endlessly debatable. Unless you're lucky enough to live in Cleveland."

For this year's Best of Cleveland issue, we want to follow Ruhlman's example and celebrate some of the lesser-known elements that make Cleveland special. And we're asking for your help.

Write about a person, place or thing that makes you glad you live here. Maybe it's a local artist or activist whose work inspires you. Maybe it's the quirky bar or restaurant to which you always take visiting friends. Maybe it's some grand old building or statue or bridge. As long as it's uniquely Cleveland, we want to hear about it and share it with readers. Guidelines: We're looking for 100-250 words on whatever you choose to feature. Please don't write something that could be seen as self-promoting - about your own business, for example. Be imaginative - try to choose something that not everyone knows about. And don't be afraid to make it personal, to explain why you love it.

After the issue is published (October 8), we will donate all blurbs to Positively Cleveland, the regional visitors' bureau, for use in printed and online materials promoting Cleveland as a place to visit and live. So by participating, you will not only be contributing to Scene, but to ongoing efforts to revitalize Northeast Ohio.

Send contributions to flewis@clevescene.com no later than September 24. Include your full name, phone number and the city in which you live. BAD NEWS, AND WORSE NEWS

CrainsCleveland.com, September 15: "Barely two years after opening its City View Center Wal-Mart in Garfield Heights, the retail giant has closed the store, citing a litany of safety concerns.

"'Structural shifts, foundation issues, electrical issues, methane gas level issues, sewage backup,'" said Wal-Mart spokeswoman Tara Stewart, listing the reasons behind the closure. "It all added together to a volatile mix of potential safety hazards, and we weren't confident they could be fixed.'

"Ms. Stewart said the indefinite closure was spurred by the report of an independent contractor hired by Wal-Mart to evaluate the site. City View is built on a former landfill, and concerns over issues including methane levels aren't new to the site: From the start, generators were installed to vent methane, and in December 2006, Wal-Mart briefly closed due to high levels of the gas."

Scene, January 2007: "Developer John McGill … sold City View. It went for $100 million to New York grocer Thomas Klein. McGill claimed he was fed up with Ohio EPA's red tape. But it's a miracle of incompetence that he was ever allowed to build [City View] in the first place. Klein, however, can rest assured his investment is safe: Because he didn't create the mess, if a leak were to occur, 'he will not be a liable party,' says his lawyer …"

scene@clevescene.com

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