Thursday, December 28, 2006

Akron: The Height of Literature?

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 6:00 PM

David Evanier
Akron isn't usually synonymous with high brow literati types. But that hasn't stopped Chris White. He launched Rager Media this fall with a star-powered roster of nationally-acclaimed authors, including NY Times bestseller David Evanier, whose The Great Kisser, a coming-of-age tale of teenage infatuation set in Queens, is based on Evanier's life experiences. Evanier is a former Times critic who was also picked by George Plimpton to be fiction editor of the famed literary magazine, The Paris Review. Evanier's latest release on Rager Media has pushed Akron into the intelligensia spotlight, from a New York Post Page Six item to a feature in the November issue of the uber-intellectual Commentary. White says part of Rager's success in drafting such venerable writers is the book world's general shift to smaller presses. "The fact is that quite a few authors are now opting to publish with small presses like Rager," White says. "Stephen King's latest book is perhaps the most conspicuous example." — Denise Grollmus
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A Present for Sherwin-Williams

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 5:52 PM

Merry Christmas, Sherwin-Williams. Canton and Cincinnati have now joined four other Ohio cities in suing our hometown company for poisoning kids. The suits allege what many historians have already proven: that Sherwin-Williams knew its lead paint was harming kids for decades before it stopped selling it ["The Poison Kids," August 16). Now the cities --including Toledo, East Cleveland, Lancaster and Columbus — want paintmakers to fund a clean-up of their lead-laden homes. A state proposal, pushed through in the waning days of the Republican Reign of Error, that would ban such "public nuisance" lawsuits. But that's not stopping cities from from trying. Governor Taft, in his blissful ignorance, has yet to sign off on the proposal. Meanwhile, The Plain Dealer reports that our fair city is still "considering its options." Naturally, the city with one of the highest rates of lead poisoning in the country should be the last to take action. Say it again, now: Believe in Cleveland. — Lisa Rab
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The Spanking DeWine Aide

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 3:57 PM

Jessica Cutler: Can't a girl just rat out her spanking fettish lovers these days?
When last we saw Jessica Cutler, the former aide to U.S. Senator Mike DeWine had written a tell-all blog about her sexcapades on Capitol Hill, and had just finished a "fictional" book about her experiences. She'd also managed to piss off quite a few people. One of them was Robert Steinbuch, DeWine's former counsel on the Judiciary Committee and Cutler main squeeze, who, among other things, enjoyed long walks in the park, a fine glass of wine, romantic evenings replete with handcuffs and spanking. What he didn't like, however, was publicity about these things. So he sued Cutler for $20 million in damages. When coming up with that number, Steinbuch, who now teaches at the University of Arkansas Law School, explained in court papers that he had to deal with the humiliation of his students Googling Cutler's diary on the web. "It's not funny and it's damaging," Steinbuch's lawyer told a judge. "It's horrible, absolutely horrible." Cutler's lawyer, in turn requested copies of Steinbuch's student evaluations. And a judge is expected to rule soon that the whole episode was, in fact, really funny. But the case is not all about petty gossip and retribution. The tale has so inspired Marc Rotenberg, director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, that he may teach a course on the case at Georgetown Law School. Better sign up now. We're betting it will be a popular one. — Rebecca Meiser
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Investigating Santa

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 3:44 PM

Ace reporter Cris Glaser goes undercover as a random drunk to investigate Santa Claus
Nothing motivates revelers into the holiday spirit faster than free booze for hundreds of your closest customers. This John Katsaros understands. Last week, the owner of Twist (11633 Clifton Boulevard; 216-221-2333) mailed 500 invitations to his seventh-annual holiday party on Wednesday night. We weren't going to turn up our noses at the promise of an open bar from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Chugging our fourth Miller Lite in a record-breaking 45 minutes, we scanned the room for someone familiar. We'd met the one sales rep from The Plain Dealer before, but we couldn't remember his name; a wave across the bar had to do. We also recognized the gal wearing the sweater with a reindeer decal, but she was too busy in a lip-lock with this biker dude for us to simply butt in and say "Merry Christmas." Then we turned to our right. Aha! A familiar face! Santa Claus was patiently waiting for someone to sit on his lap by the Christmas tree. With Miller Lite #5 in hand and only 22 minutes left of the open bar, we took the bait. Turns out Ol' Saint Nick was Gold Coast gadabout Gerry Keating (a.k.a. "Big Daddy," the host of Twist's monthly game-show nights). Naturally, Keating, er, Santa, asked us what we wanted for Christmas. I believe we mentioned something about a 6th bottle of beer, but the record becomes hazy at this point. — Cris Glaser
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Cupid Scorned

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 3:28 PM

Just in time for Hanukkah, this rag was honored in the august pages of the Cleveland Jewish News. The weekly tabloid dedicated a full-page column, written by esteemed editor Cynthia Dettelbach, to our recent expose on the Jewish dating scene ["Cupid's Crisis," December 13]. At first, we were overjoyed. Look! There's even a picture! But our happiness quickly turned to horror. Dettelbach, it turns out, accused us of adopting a mocking tone. She said the article was "snarky," "often sarcastic," and "rife with Jewish stereotypes," while admitting that it was "sometimes laugh-out-loud funny" and, actually, kind of accurate. But it still hurts to be drilled by a lady in a Nancy Reagan hairdo. We're now contemplating taking umbrage, but we're too lazy to look "umbrage" up in the dictionary to make sure we're doing it right. — Lisa Rab
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The New Rain Dance

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2006 at 3:17 PM

Forget umbrellas. The newest way to fight Mother Nature's wrath is with cannons. Very, very loud cannons. A small group of farmers in Ohio and across the country are convinced that they've found a way to thwart the weather. They say that recently developed hail cannons, machines that emit loud, thunderous, electronic blasts, can break up hail in the air, causing it to fall to the ground as rain. Farmers call it miraculous. Scientists call it "bullshit," which is apparently scientific talk for "naah." There'd have to be "something pretty major to upset hail,'' Charles Knight, a senior scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research, a Boulder, Colo.-based nonprofit told The New York Times. ''If you exploded an atomic bomb in a cloud, that might do something." Nonetheless, Ohio farmers remain loyal to the $70,000 machines. And the hail cannons are not nearly as weird as some other recent agricultural inventions, like water beds that are supposed to boost a cow's milk production, and rockets that let loose a storm cloud of iodine crystals, in an effort to induce rain. — Rebecca Meiser
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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Slayer Fans: The Photo Gallery

Posted By on Wed, Dec 27, 2006 at 3:02 PM

Slayer Fans: If only your daughter would bring home nice guys like this.
Nothing quite speaks to sentimental holiday tidings like Slayer. From the band's soothing, melodic stylings, to its message of love and hope, Walter Novak: Action Rock Photographer offers this commemorative photo gallery of Slayer fans from the band's 2004 show at the Agora.
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