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The Year Of The 'bron 

The King Is Everywhere

To say you will be inundated with LeBron coverage in the media during January is an understatement akin to saying the King is moderately talented at basketball and has a few dollars in the bank.

Let's start with the viral marketing campaign for an as-yet-unknown company. The spot shows the back of LeBron's head as he stands in front of a press conference and says, "First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming out here today. After a long discussion with friends and family, I've decided to follow my first love." Then "1.18.09" flashes across the screen, followed by the message "Brace yourself."

What's this all about?

Well, it might have something to do with some photos recently leaked on the LeBron2010.com blog. The shots show LeBron in full Browns uniform - no other context. Is his "first love" football? Is he pulling a Bo Jackson? Well, it's a commercial, so no, even though every Browns fan would drool at the thought of finally having a decent athlete suit up for the team.

My guess: I think it's a Vitamin Water spot. It's probably not Nike since the Reebok logo is all over the Browns uniforms. If Vitamin Water can make the King into a great lawyer, why can't it make him a superstar in the NFL? Up next, GQ, whose glossy cover for next month is adorned by none other than the L-Train himself. Some writers got the chance to play 3-on-3 with LeBron (spoiler alert: His team wins). Check it out online for the full Q&A, which includes a nice shout out to Prosperity Social Club.

Need something to listen to while you watch and read everything else? Buckethead, erstwhile Guns N' Roses shredder and full-time chicken-headwear enthusiast, is apparently a huge LeBron fan. He wrote two new instrumental songs to celebrate the King's 24th birthday, which you can find on his site, bucketheadland.com/home_for_hemorrage.html. Even if you don't dig the songs, at least appreciate that if the Cavs face the Wizards in the playoffs again, and another Jay-Z/Soulja Boy/LeBron/Deshawn Stevenson situation boils over, the Cavs' superstar can now call on Buckethead to be on his side. Sure, metalhead can't do much in terms of dissing the Wiz in words, but I suppose he can bash Stevenson over the head with his guitar, then slam a KFC hat on his head.

And finally, if you prefer your No. 23 songs with, you know, actual words, check out Bootsy Collins' LeBron and Cavs ode, which I hereby nominate as the song the Cavs should play before every game. Best song since "Come On Cavs." Easily found through Google searching. - Vince Grzegorek

WHERE DO ALL THE BOTTLES GO?

A former New Englander who recently moved to Cleveland copied us on a letter to Beachland Ballroom owner Cindy Barber, in which he praised her "world-class music venue" but tsk-tsked the "shameful" lack of glass recycling. "It broke my heart to see the stacks of bottles, jammed into a garbage bag, bound for a landfill," he wrote.

We realized we've seen the same thing at many bars around town. Why not recycle them, like most homeowners do? Turns out it's not that easy. As NPR reported recently, the tanking economy has greatly reduced the demand for recyclable goods, making them virtually worthless. In layman's terms, you can't give the shit away.

Barber, who wrote back to the concerned patron, says that the Beachland has been recycling aluminum and cardboard, thanks largely to the efforts of employee Dave Petrovich.

"But glass is not worth anything in this state and it's heavy and a problem I have not solved yet," she continues. "I don't own a pickup truck to transport the big bags instead of leaking into someone's truck or van, nor can I afford to pay extra to move the bottles when we have a flat rate for waste no matter how full the dumpster is. We have asked the city for recycling bins but they don't have enough so we're on a waiting list. It's really a problem for everyone who does what we do. I'm so busy just trying to keep the doors open.

"I keep thinking there should be a way for someone to create a business, to find a way for bottles to be of more value than being put in a landfill. But making salt and pepper shakers out of Rolling Rock bottles hasn't caught on, I guess." - Frank Lewis

SOMETHING ENVIABLE? HERE?

Great Lakes Brewing Company isn't just one of the coolest brewpubs in Northeast Ohio. According to readers of ale journal BeerAdvocate, it's the 10th coolest All-Time Top Brewery on Planet Earth (seriously, that's how they characterize the honor). BeerAdvocate brew connoisseurs also voted GLBC's Dortmunder Gold Lager as its No. 3 Top Session Lager, below Prima Pils from Pennsylvania's Victory Brewing Company and above Germany's Brauerei's Heller-Trum Rauchbier. Great Lakes describes Dortmunder as "balanced," which is talk for "doesn't taste weird, so it's a good one to start with and wash down some grilled chicken." It's the brewery's best-seller and flagship beer in Northeast Ohio. According to magazine, "tens of thousands" of drinkers cast votes via BeerAdvocate.com.

"It's a reader's poll, so it means that it's that much better," says Kami Dolney, Great Lakes' marketing manager. "If you look at the list, it's pretty impressive to be in the company of breweries like Dogfish [Head Craft Brewery, Delaware] and Abbaye [Notre-Dame de Scourmont, Belgium]. And to see the number of German beers, it's impressive to be in there with the craft brewers who have been doing this for so many years." - D.X. Ferris

scene@clevescene.com

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