Fulwood Watch

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Sam Fulwood Strikes Back

Posted By on Wed, Apr 18, 2007 at 1:13 PM

For the first time since he was hired as a Plain Dealer Metro columnist seven years ago, Sam Fulwood III has expressed a coherent opinion: Editor Doug Clifton is mean. Clifton did his best last week to make Fulwood's "reassignment" to the Arts & Life section not seem like what it was. "Sam's rich background as a reporter and his familiarity with pop culture will serve us well in his new job," Clifton was quoted as saying in a PD story last Friday. Translation: "We can't fire him, so let's at least put him somewhere he can't write about regionalism, his car, or his e-mail box." But Sammy wasn't about to go quietly. In a telephone interview with Channel 5 last week, he dished the dirt on what had really happened between him and Clifton. It provided a glimpse into an extremely awkward meeting, in which Clifton tried to delicately break it to Fulwood that, well, his column wasn't even worth using as TP. It had no relevance, no point, and frankly made you want to shoot somebody. (To experience this for yourself, visit C-Notes' complete Fulwood Watch archive.) "I don't agree with that," Sammy told Channel 5, from his native North Carolina. (It's not clear whether he traveled there after his demotion or if he never actually lived in Cleveland.) "I think my columns were fine. I got great community response." By "great," he likely meant that it was great how he could write one column, then copy and paste all the hate mail from it into two more columns. Stay tuned for Sammy's first feature story in the Arts & Life section, expected to be a stinging essay on how his television screen makes everyone's face on American Idol look purple. -- Jared Klaus

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

PD dumps Sam Fulwood's column. Cleveland weeps.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 11, 2007 at 3:47 PM

C-Notes is pleased to report — and yet somehow deeply saddened — that Sam Fulwood III, The Laziest Man in Journalism� and the newspaper industry's career leader in irrelevance, has been stripped of his duties as a Plain Dealer Metro columnist. Folks at The PD say Fulwood will stay with the paper but will no longer occupy his prime B-1 real estate. The buzz in the newsroom is that Sam was about to go on a shooting spree after hearing the news -- until he realized it interfered with his afternoon nap. The other buzz is that Op-Ed columnist Phil Morris will move to the high-profile Metro spot, writing about stuff on the days Regina Brett can't find any drunk-drivers to nail. Morris wouldn't say whether that was true, but his email smelled like champagne and money, so I'm pretty sure it is. As for Sam, it's unclear what he'll do next. Shockingly, after all we've done for them, neither Sam nor PD Editor Doug Clifton immediately returned my calls or emails. If Sam is given the freedom to choose his next gig, expect a three-part series on his new stain-resistant khakis, penned by Legacy Village Bureau Chief Sam Fulwood III. If the paper picks his next job, expect to see Fulwood driving around in a topaz Elantra, weakly tossing papers toward your porch before taking a six-week leave for his bursitis. Even more uncertain is the future of Fulwood Watch. For months, C-Notes' has chronicled the adventures of Sam and his trusted intern, Cheryl. The feature is apparently a fan favorite in The PD newsroom. I'm sure Sam saved every edition for his scrapbook. Scene executives are planned high-level meetings to discuss the feature's future. They also have commissioned a focus group in order to gather valuable community input. His name is Tim. He's a roofer, and he drinks tequila with a straw. — Joe P. Tone

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sammy searches for a metaphor in the snow

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2007 at 3:18 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To Headline: Snow uncovers regional needs Date: April 10, 2007 Topic: After his 1,328th column on regionalism last week, you probably figured Sammy would return to his roots — perhaps a heart-warming tale of an NBA player who wears shoes from Value City. But just to keep things interesting, Sammy decided to switch it up on us . . . by writing yet another article about regionalism. Originality: 0/10. The April snowstorm might have gone unpredicted. But the fact that Sammy would be the first to jump on it as the peg for another crappy column was as sure as the sunrise. Difficulty: 2/10. Sammy conducts an "informal survey" of mayors from around the county. Sample size: two. Both say the storm caught their service departments off guard, and that regional cooperation could have helped. Conclusion: 100 percent of mayors surveyed support regionalism. Margin of error: about 98 percent, a two-percent improvement over Sammy's average. Sam Gets Poetic: "After all, the springtime snow didn't stop at any one city's border. It buried us all." Translation: I can't put the top down on my Mustang, and the delivery guy from Papa John's says he can't get out of his driveway. This snow is unseasonably bogus!" The Master Has Spoken: "That final blast (hopefully) of winter serves as an ominous reminder that Greater Cleveland must unite against shared challenges." Translation: But if Old Man Winter should come howling again, look for my next column: "Snow: It couldn't stop (Insert name of troubled hoodlum turned youth mentor here) from fulfilling his dream." What Sam Reveals About Sam: He spends a lot of time staring out the window, waiting for a higher power to write his column for him. Once in a while, it actually works. CliffsNotes Version: Sam: "Snow, snow, snow. Think, Cheryl, think! How can I use the snow in my column for tomorrow?" Cheryl: "Gee, I don't know, Sam. I mean, it's just snow. Why don't you look in the newspaper for some ideas?" Sam: "Goddamnit, Cheryl! I refuse to read this piece of garbage. I mean, look at this clown they put on the front page." Cheryl: "Sam, that's you." Sam: "Oh. So how about that snow? Wake me up when you've got it. Snoooorrreeeeee."

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Sammy's take on regionalism is a nail-biter!

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2007 at 12:09 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To Headline: Tough talk that's worth repeating Date: April 3, 2007 Topic: Last Thursday PD reporter Joe Guillen covered a speech by Forest City honcho Sam Miller, during which the rich old codger touted "regionalism" as the only way to save Northeast Ohio. Miller called us all "confused" and "apathetic" for paralyzing the region by not working together. Never mind that Miller, a man who's pillaged the city for the last 50 years, is one of the main reasons suburbs will never share with the city. (Think of the career bank robber complaining about National City's security.) But he does by a lot of full-page PD ads to loudly demonstrate his beneficence! And this is one of those big picture ideas that Sam can yammer on about for an entire column without presenting an original thought! Originality: 0/10. Just what the fans were asking for: Another generic column on regionalism, with the same arguments you heard two years ago, repackaged for your reading pleasure! Difficulty: 0/10. Sam does a great job cribbing the story (Guillen's name is never mentioned). As you know, the best cut-rate columnists are measured by their ability to blather -- without clarifying the subject or offering any new ideas — and here Sam proves he has no earthly peer. Sam Gets Poetic: "Confusion comes easily when an unworkable definition of regionalism is the coin of the realm. The common distortion seems to be that regionalism must be a form of uni-government, the merging of city halls from Sandusky to Akron into a single behemoth." This from the guy who probably caused half the "distortion" after proposing last year that Cleveland merge with East Cleveland. The Master Has Spoken: "Whenever I've written about this topic, the angry calls and letters flood in from people who live both inside and outside Cleveland. They howl in protest that I dared to put the r-word in a family newspaper." Translation: Christ, please send me lots of angry letters so I can use 'em to fill my next column. This one took a lot out of me. I need a rest. What Sam Reveals About Sam: He's on the front lines of contemporary public policy -- and did he mention he could really use your angry letters? CliffsNotes Version: Cheryl, check the list. Who hasn't paid yet? Baird — check. Vinella — last week. Dissell — damn. And then some. Guillen! Joey G, whattya got for me? Nothin', huh? How 'bout if I just re-arrange some of the stuff on your desk? Still nothin'? Damn, it's a shame that cup of coffee has to spill down the back of your monitor! You got one last chance, punk, before this whole muthafuckin' shelf comes down! Oh, lookee what we got here — a speech by Sam Miller! And the old dog's talkin' that dirty r-word! That'll get the phones smokin'! See you next month, bitch!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sammy III: Our hero finds a new colleague to steal from!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 29, 2007 at 6:05 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To... Headline: A wake-up shout for a troubled city Date: March 29, 2007 Topic: As reported two days earlier by City Hall reporter Susan Vinella, Sam writes that black members of Cleveland's City Council are tired of being blamed for everything. He then rattles off all of Cleveland's problems, because nothing fills up 500 words faster. Originality: 2/10. Shockingly, this was entirely new ground for Sam. A review of previous Fulwood Watch entries reveals that he's never before ripped off Susan Vinella. He's branching out, people! Difficulty: 5/10. Sam painfully recreates Councilwoman Sabra Scott Pierce's outburst at Monday's meeting, giving the distinct impression that he had left his house to attend the meeting. Fulwood Watch was about to draft a press release to announce this groundbreaking discovery — "Local metro columnist leaves house for something other than Stuffed Crust Pizza�" — but then a real reporter pointed out that the meetings are televised. Still, when measured in Standard Fulwood Energy Units, changing the channel from How I Met Your Mother is akin to a regular reporter infiltrating a Baghdad prison. Five points to Sammy! Sam Gets Poetic: "The normally reserved Cleveland city councilwoman suddenly pushed back from the table and stood up to maker herself larger. Her eyes blazed. Her fingers waggled in the air. Her voice trembled with rage. ... Suddenly, that handsome blond fellow who used to play Doogie Howser entered the bar, hit on a pretty white woman, and had a drink thrown in his face. The studio audience roared. Wait? Did I change it back to How I Met Your Mother again? Damn it!" The Master Has Spoken: "You can hear it, too, if you care enough to listen to what so many of those living in Cleveland's black communities are saying." Really. You can. Just go to Tower City or something. Sam, for one, will be in Shaker Heights where it's safe. What Sam Reveals About Sam: Somebody taught him how to dial out. CliffsNotes Version: Hmm. Interesting. Says here that the black folks on the city council are all upset about something. Too bad this newspaper doesn't have a black columnist to rip off this girl's reporting and eek out a shitty column interpreting these angry black people for all the ignorant honkies out there. Wonder why that Phil Morris isn't on this one? Wait a second! Aren't I ... [Running to mirror] ... I am! I'm black! And aren't I ... [Googling himself] ... I am! I'm a columnist! A black columnist! But wait. I can't just copy and paste this woman's story into a column. Last time I did that the bosses liked it so much they tried to give me a raise. I don't need that kind of pressure. What if I just ... [Googling "everything that sucks about Cleveland"] ... yes! That's it! I can just paste everything that's wrong with Cleveland into a column, sprinkle in some quotes from the councilwoman, add a dash of excessive adjectives, and Voila! A ready-made column! No wonder that Morris kid is still writing for Opinion. He's got no hustle, I swear.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Fulwood Watch: Tales of Sam's TV

Posted By on Tue, Mar 20, 2007 at 1:06 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To Headline: Old TV triumphs in Madness month Date: March 20, 2007 Topic: After Sam's last column, in which he took a county judge to task for acquitting a racist cop, PD editors were concerned. They feared Sam was dangerously close to becoming relevant. That's Connie Schultz's job. So Sam got a week off to recharge his ego, and the result is spectacular: The story of how a nice old repairman named Joe Sopko fixed Sam's three-year-old TV so he could watch basketball. Originality: 0/10. If only Sopko could have fixed Sam's writing, too. Difficulty: 1/10. This, Cleveland, is the story Best Buy doesn't want you to read. Thank God Sam had the courage to break it, using only his narcissism and the Yellow Pages. Sam Gets Poetic: "It's so ancient, a large piece of furniture must support its heavy tube. Oh, yes, that's a tube jutting out back like the Hottentot Venus' callipygian booty." Sam compares his TV to a 19th-century European circus attraction, something maybe four people at Oberlin will understand — and they'll think it's, like, totally exploitive and sexist. (You can learn about the Venus — and about how smart Sam really is — here.) The Master Has Spoken: "For the rest of March, I'll be on the edge of my couch and cheering my old television on as the Madness runs its course." Expect Sam next to tackle a multi-part series on comfortable reclining positions, helped along by long passages describing the contents of his refrigerator. What Sam Reveals About Sam: That although occasionally he needs some prodding, Sam will always deliver on the mantra PD editors had stenciled on his bedroom stucco: ALL PLAY AND NO WORK KEEPS SAM A VERY DULL BOY. CliffsNotes Version: Bust out your bracket, Cheryl — it's time for Sammy to teach you the ultimate lesson in prognosticationalizing pain! Get me a Yoo-Hoo first, will ya? Aw, turds — my TV doesn't work! Gotta get 'er fixed. Man, this thing is heavy. Look at it. It's got a big butt! Okay, Cheryl, you carry the TV while I drive to the repair shop! I'll keep it in second gear, so you don't fall too far behind. What, Joe? You want fifty bucks? What about an autograph? Okay, okay... lemme see what's in my wallet: business card, notes cribbed from Mark Naymik, notes cribbed from Mike Tobin, Pulitzer speech... aw, forget it! Let's play one-on-one for your lousy scratch! Double-or-nothing! Got my Chuck Taylors right here! Whattya say? Sammy Three in da howwwwwzzzzzzzzz!!!

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Sammy Gets Totally Street!

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2007 at 2:18 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To Headline: Justice denied interracial couple Date: March 8, 2007 Topic: Sammy writes about the acquittal of Cleveland cop William Forrest — a.k.a. Notorious White Guy -- who was charged with inciting a 2005 fight with Aric Jackson — Unnotorious Black Computer Geek — at the Castlebar, a West Park cop joint ["Love and Hate," February 1, 2006]. It seems Forrest, fellow cop Pete Turner, and the bar's owner weren't happy that Jackson showed up with his white girlfriend and her cousin. (In case you're scoring at home, that's 1 black guy and 2 white chicks, a double felony.) Forrest and Turner proceeded to start a fight. Though badly outnumbered, Jackson proceeded to kick their ass. The judges gave Jackson a 10. The cops were sent to remedial Golden Gloves classes. They can know hold their own against 5th graders from Chardon. Originality: 0/10. Having fey little Sammy write about bar fights is like hiring the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency to coach the Browns' defense. You know this is gonna go bad. Difficulty: 5/10. Sam had to kick it into overdrive to come off as a Realistic Gritty Urban Columnist. Behold this bad boy: "If courtroom justice had been served, Forrest would be wearing an orange jumpsuit and riding the short bus to the hoosegow." Now that's totally "street!" Sam Gets Poetic: "So while I didn't like the verdict, I'll cut Corrigan a slim sliver of slack because hope remains that Forrest will be punished." Ladies and gentlemen, we haven't seen that kind of alliteration since the storied Lincoln Elementary writing contest of '82. The Master Has Spoken: "In this case, the brawlers were cops spoiling to fight a black man cheeky enough to escort a white woman into a well-known police hangout." C'mon, Sam, the guy just kicked the shit outta two cops, and all you're gonna give him is "cheeky"? Is that even a compliment? Give the man his props! What Sam Reveals About Sam: "I expected a different outcome and the obvious facts in this case justified it:" Apparently Sam is the last guy in town to believe the Cuyahoga County court system actually renders something akin to justice. Here's a tip: The judge's name was Corrigan. Does this mean: A) We elected him because we thought he was the next Thurgood Marshall or B) We'd even elect a dead guy named Corrigan, knowing the dead guy would do twice the work.

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