This team has been re-built more than Joan Rivers' face and I for one don't have the patience to see how this present "surgery" on the team turns out. I'm tired of waiting for the bandages to come off.
I realize the trading deadline has expired, but I can still exercise my option. I am declaring myself a Free Agent Fan. I want a new team to support. The team that I choose (or chooses me) should be competitive, fun and, above all, dedicated.
The White Sox come to mind. You gotta love Ozzie. Detroit? Why not? From worst to first -- plus, if they win the Series, it's conceivable the fans will burn Detroit to the ground. Maybe the Reds -- enough of the DH. Junior has the purest swing in the game. Maybe even the Yankees. I'd like to see if Joe Tore can smile if they win.
Anyone out there willing to take me up on my offer? I'm dying to get back in the game.
Open Letter to the Kiwanis
I am writing to ask why the Kiwanis in Cleveland are trying to steal our Oktoberfest from the German community. As a long-standing member of numerous German groups here in Cleveland, I am appalled that the Kiwanis is usurping and exploiting the name "Oktoberfest" when the German community is being excluded from participating in any meaningful way. The fact that the Stadtverband, the umbrella organization for all of the many Cleveland-area German groups, was told it could have "an exhibit table for free" is an intolerable insult to all German-speaking people here in Cleveland.
Oktoberfest is our community's primary source of generating revenue and helps us throughout the year in terms of financial viability. If the Kiwanis steal this, where does that leave us? I ask you, would it be proper for the German community to take over the Hungarian Festival, or if the Polish took over the Irish Festival? The answer is an emphatic NO!
Taking the next step in our inductive logic, why is it acceptable to have the Kiwanis assume control over an obviously German-oriented annual event? Two of the ideals of the Kiwanis -- to encourage the Golden Rule in all human relationships and to promote higher social, business, and professional standards -- are certainly not being pursued in this instance.
While I definitely support the Kiwanis' goal of increasing righteousness, justice, patriotism, and goodwill as a sound means of building strong communities, I fail to see where the theft of a major event from the German community is increasing justice or righteousness. In fact, it only serves to weaken our community. Is this the goal of the Cleveland Kiwanis?
Were it not for the leadership of Germans during the Revolutionary War and the contribution of German immigrants throughout our nation's history, we most likely would not even be a nation. You, this country, and I owe a lot to the sacrifices made by the German-speaking peoples.
Let's be honest: You and I know that the Germans have been victimized for many decades and continue to be misrepresented and exploited. Is this the reason why the Kiwanis have no compunction against exploiting the Germans again for the financial gain of your own group? You should be ashamed of yourselves.
Dino's Plea: Why aren't the hair bands coming to Cleveland?
I recently found out that there are a lot of '80s hair/rock bands and artists of today playing in Burgettstown, PA. All the way until December! Korn, George Thorogood, Aerosmith with Motley Crue, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Twisted Sister, Roger Waters and many others. Many of these artists are not coming to Cleveland. Why not? Why don't the concert venues go out and get these artists to play here? We are the rock and roll capital still, right?
They're Still Pissed: The victims of Blaine Zahand keep rolling in.
When I first talked to Raia ["Stripped Off," May 31], it was through one of her "Con Artist" MySpace pages. I hadn't talked to Blaine in months since moving out of Ohio and was happy to hear from who I thought was him. I accepted the invitation for "him" to be my friend and left a comment about how it was awesome to hear from him. Shortly thereafter, I got a reply asking me if I had read the page and if I knew what kind of person Blaine was. After I read what was on the MySpace page, all the weird actions and events that I had experienced with Blaine finally made sense.
I initially started talking to him in late July or early August of 2005. I met him online and just chatted. Eventually I gave him my number and we would talk briefly or text each other. He told me he worked for the Playhouse and coached soccer. He said he really liked kids and was a single guy trying to find a girl who would actually treat him right.
He always seemed to know what to say to make any person, really, fall for him. And in another situation I might have. But I have gotten very picky when it comes to guys and not very patient. He also gave me this weird vibe that I couldn't explain and wouldn't let me get close to him.
He wouldn't return my calls right away. He was either really responsive or really neglectful. He would call me obsessively and want to see me all the time, then would fall off the face of the earth and start to back out of plans or "get too busy" and forget to show up. I just didn't allow myself to get that into him.
He told me one day that his "sister" Seana needed a job. I told him that I could probably help her get one at the bank I worked at. He e-mailed me Seana's resume, but I told him that she had to go online to fill out an application before they would see her. He got really weird when I asked him to have her do that. He kept asking me for an employee ID and other personal information. I really just didn't feel comfortable giving him much more than my last name. I checked in every few days with HR, but Seana never applied.
In mid-October, it was my birthday and I invited him to come to the Tradesman Tavern to hang out with me and some of my friends. He called the next day and told me that he was up there but couldn't find me. He had bought me a card and a present and wanted to give it to me. I wasn't keeping my eye out for him, but I never saw him either way.
Two days later I got a text from his phone saying that it was his sister Seana. Blaine was in jail, she said, and needed bail money. After all the broken plans and barely knowing him as much more than an acquaintance, I said only that I was sorry to hear it and wished her good luck.
It makes me relieved that my guts led me in the right way with this person. I just feel completely horrible that other people were not as lucky.
I think what he and his wife do is disgusting. In a perfect world, they will get what they deserve times ten. I am very proud of Raia for doing what she is and will help her achieve the justice she and the other girls deserve.
She's Out Five Grand
I'm another one of Blaine's girls - another one who got used and then dumped by the wayside ["Stripped Off," May 31]. I'm one of those girls from MySpace. I'm not a stripper. I've never been an exotic dancer. I'm 24 and a student at Cleveland State.
I was used for probably close to $5,000. Most of that is on one of my credit cards. So not only am I in debt because of him, my credit is going down the drain. I currently work two jobs, barely making payments on my bills, barely affording school because of what he did to me. I even found out he used most of the money I gave him to buy himself a brand new TV.
I was also duped by the whole "my sister Seana, who is actually my wife." I found out through his ex-girlfriend Cindy (also the mother of one of his how many children) after I had been used that Seana and he were actually married. He even gave me a ring that I was told had been his dad's wedding band. I found out through Cindy that it was more likely to be his original wedding band to Seana. Lucky me.
His brother wrote that he probably believes his own lies. I want to argue that statement and ask: if he believes his own lies, how did he get both his wife and his friends to help him rob girls of their hard-earned money? Because not only did Seana call me or instant-message me telling me they needed bail money, but his friend Kevin called, too, asking me when I was showing up to give Seana the money.
This guy has ruined my life. My credit is steadily declining, I'm barely keeping my head above water. I'm a college student, not a millionaire. I continually question just what I'm going to do to rescue myself from this horror for which I blame myself. I've been trying to pick up the pieces for almost a year now and failing miserably.
I would truly like to see Blaine behind bars so he doesn't ruin any more innocent, naive girls' lives, like he did mine.
My Money's Not Dirty
Sometimes I wish people like Mat Cocktosten [Letters, June 21] would actually ask me personally the questions he may have. Unlike Blaine Zahand, I wasn't afraid to talk and tell the truth.
Yes - I admit I made a mistake. I trusted someone I thought I knew. As far as what I used to do to take care of my child without the help of welfare is no one's business. I did not do this story for just myself. I did it for all the girls that I spent countless hours with on the phone or on the Internet while they poured their confused feelings out about the whole ordeal. Not all these girls were dancers. Actually most of them were not.
And if anyone knows who Blaine is, they would know what a sweet, caring person he seemed to be. In all honesty I thought I owed this guy, who was not a customer at the club but someone that I spent hours bonding with and who did a number of great things for me. We had what some people may call a "relationship."
Of course, I did not want to give his so called sister any money. She seemed just as sweet as he was. I thought I knew Blaine enough, after four months, to help him. After all, he was not the kind of person I could see doing anything bad enough to actually get arrested. No way - not Blaine. But anyone who cares for someone who they think they trust would give that kind of money. And it's sick how his wife is in on this whole scam. She has been introduced as his sister many times. So what kind of woman is she?
And as far as my money being dirty, well, that's funny. Because if you ask anyone who I am, they will tell you exactly how it is. I don't hustle. Bottom line: I provide for my daughter. I am trying to get into school and have been for the past few years, but anyone who is a single mom, knows the struggles with work, school and child care all at the same time.
And in my mind, I feel Blaine already got what he deserved. He no longer can deny what he and his wife did to these poor girls. Females that they targeted were ones who would do anything for anybody. Just kind-hearted people. If anyone really knew the whole story, it would blow their mind.
I guess I will stop there for now. But to anyone else, all I have to say is maybe you should ask questions before you assume certain things. I now know that you cannot judge anyone until you are in that predicament. Thanks to everyone that supported me and the other girls that helped me through all of this.
Boycott the Tribe
Once again what was supposedly passes as major-league baseball has come to and is rapidly leaving Cleveland, Ohio for yet another year. It seems like the simple truth is that this year Indians fans won't even be able to watch break-even baseball. There are a lot of different opinions as to why we're in the mess we're currently in.
Some people blame Manager Eric Wedge for not getting the most out of the players he has to work with. Others blame General Manager Mark Shapiro for not giving Wedge the proper players to work with. Still others, I'm sure, are going to blame the players themselves. But until we can all agree on point nothing will ever change here.
Until Larry and Paul Dolan are run out of town the City of Cleveland will never again have anything approaching what it once had in baseball. To just call Dolan a cheapskate is like calling Osama bin Laden a naughty boy. The Dolans are a cancer that has to be cut out if Cleveland baseball has any hope of surviving.
A fan boycott of all remaining Cleveland Indians games for 2006 seems to be the only way to send the Dolans a message -- get out!
Until this terrorist of Cleveland baseball is financially bled dry and forced to sell the team, expect more of the same. Osama bin Dolan: in the name of God, go.
A Biker's Beef: A reader warns people in North Ridgeville to watch out for the cops.
It was suggested that I write a letter to your magazine about the police harassment in a town called North Ridgeville, Ohio, located in Lorain County.
The police are mostly young guys that have no ties to the city and seem to want to make a name for themselves. They are all arrogant little pups.
If it is dark or after hours and you are driving in the town you will most likely get pulled over. You don't have to be speeding or swerving or anything you just have to be driving late at night. On Friday June 16th, my husband and I were driving home late at night after a nice day out on the motorcycle. There had been no drinking or anything that day but spending time together. On our way home we were driving down Center Ridge road and a police cruiser passed us going the opposite direction. They turned around and followed us all the way home, slowing down by our house and watching to see what we were doing. This was because we were out at night.
When driving down Chestnut Ridge West toward Rt. 83 we were passed by a police cruiser. The cruiser was driving very fast and after passing us he turned around to follow behind us. We stopped at the light at RT 83 and turned left onto 83. The police cruiser pulled up behind us and turned on his lights. We stopped and pulled over in front of the church parking lot.
My husband and his friend Tim W. stepped off their motorcycles. The officer came up to my husband and my husband put out his hand to shake the officer's and asked him how he was doing. The officer told him to put down his hand and asked if we knew we were doing 55 in a 35. My husband told him no and asked him how he could clock us when he was driving in the opposite direction and moving fast. He said that's what radar is for. (When I first seen the officer passing us I looked at the speedometer to make sure we weren't speeding and it was between 35-40.)
He proceeded to ask where we were coming from and my husband told him from his friend's girlfriend's in Berea and that we only lived around the corner. I told him they were taking me home because I was sick. The officer then asked my husband if we had been drinking and Tim told him at least 2 hours ago and I had not been drinking. The cop kept asking questions and my husband told him that we didn't do anything wrong and that he was tired of being fucking harassed in this town. The officer then said are you saying I'm fucking harassing you. At that time Tim walked over to his bike and said I am only going home. I told him not to say anything else because you could tell the officer was now pissed off. The officer then came over to the bike and told my husband to put his hands behind his back so he could cuff him. Tim turned around and looked at the officer and told him that this was Bull Shit and the officer started spraying him with pepper spray telling him to get to the ground.
My husband was getting very upset, wiping his eyes and kept saying he couldn't see so he wouldn't go down. Another officer arrived on the scene and then both officers knocked Tim to the ground while continuing to spray him with pepper spray. While on the ground Tim kept telling them he couldn't breath and while the officer continued spraying they handcuffed Tim. They kicked him in the right side ribs and he has several marks on his back. His face was scratched up from being pressed into gravel with the officer's knee on his neck. This whole time Tim kept saying I'm done, you got me, I can't breath. I was yelling at the officer to stop spraying. Someone from across the street yelled for them to stop and let him up but they didn't. After this they put Tim in the cruiser.
His friend Tim W. then said Sir Can I ask you a question. The 2nd officer said I heard enough so you need to shut your fucking mouth. Tim then walked over to sit on his bike. The 1st officer then came up to Tim and arrested him also.
The 2nd officer then asked the 1st one if there were any charges against me because I would have to be transported and he said he didn't know yet. I was then placed into the 2nd cruiser. While they were waiting for the tow trucks for the bikes, the officer in my car proceeded to run my SSN# to make sure I had no priors or warrants, which I did not so he was taking me home. While driving down Rt. 83 with me in the back of the car a vehicle passed us and did not appear to be speeding or anything. The officer made a quick turn around speeding after this car with me still in the back seat. We turned east on Chestnut Ridge where he pulled this car over and gave the female a sobriety test. She passed; he let her go and then proceeded to take me home. The police seemed to be stopping any car driving at night.
My husband smelled so bad of the pepper spray that it burned my throat. We went home so he could bathe which made it worse. I had to call the Emergency room to see how to deactivate this stuff because Tim's skin was bright red and his eyes were red and burning.
There was an older officer at the police station that stated he couldn't believe they used a whole can of pepper spray on him. They wanted to have Tim take a breath test but he refused because he couldn't see or breath good. His friend Tim W. blew a .09 and the officer stated he has never had it so low that normally everyone blows a .12 or higher.
We got a friend with a motorcycle endorsement to come over and drive the bikes home. We went to the impound lot and was told that we could not get my husbands bike because of a court hold. But we were able to get his friend's bike released. His friend's brand new bike had some damage. It looked like someone peeled off the metal stickers and tried to pry the dash off. My husband's bike is covered with pepper spray. The impound lot attendant stated that they are always busy in North Ridgeville because the cops are constantly pulling people over and trying to get them for DUI. The Elyria court docket for N. Ridgeville cases are all DUI offenses.
A friend of ours was at a bar on Center Ridge Rd. in N. Ridgeville. Since he lived across the street and about 5 houses down he decided to walk home because he had been drinking. The police stopped him in the parking lot and told him he could not walk home and arrested him for Public intoxication. He did the right thing and was still harassed. We have had other friends move here from Cleveland to get a better life but have left and gone back due to these kinds of harassment. The best thing for people in N. Ridgeville is Don't go out at night.