Fulwood Watch

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Fulwood Discovers Research

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2007 at 5:55 PM

We Read Sam So You Don't Have To Headline: Newfound brother asks, "Who am I?" Date: March 6, 2007 Topic: Sam marvels at the cunning and ingenious research techniques of Anita Poindexter, who was trying to track down her biological brother. The techniques, all foreign to Sam, include searching the Internet, using the telephone, and knocking on doors. Originality: 0/10. The Metro Columnist Discovers The Magic of the Internet: Here's a topic that was fresh in 1996, stale in 2002, moldy in 2004. In 2007, it's just making people sick. Difficulty: 2/10. Looks like Sam had to pick up the phone for this one. Our research shows he hasn't done this since he ordered Chinese food back in December. Memo to HR: be on the look out for that overtime request. Sam Gets Poetic: "She zapped a blizzard of e-mails, dialed blind phone calls and knocked on doors to every likely Williams household she found on the Internet or in the phone book." This girl's got hustle! I wonder if the bosses would let me have two interns? The Master Has Spoken: After Anita heard from her brother, "She screamed and cried and thanked God for his call," sort of like how way Sam screamed and cried when Anita hand-delivered him a two-part column. What Sam Reveals About Sam: We always thought Sam would be utterly useless if readers and colleagues didn't spoon-feed him material. Turns out, we were wrong. He's useless either way: "Anita even wrote me. I intended to tell her I couldn't help," he writes, because how would a newspaperman know how to do research? He goes on: "But I forgot to make the call and tossed her handwritten letter in the trash." CliffsNotes Version: I can't believe I threw that note out! That was a tailor made column. Hell, she practically wrote it for me. Hey, maybe ... [Sam picks up phone, dials intern Cheryl]: Hey Cheryl, you know that dumpster out back? You think you could rummage through that for a note I threw out? It's really, really important. And while you're in there, see if there's any Domino's coupons. Sammy F is starving. [Hangs up] [Sam, clutching the crumpled note]: Yes! This is tailor made. Just look at all this research she did. Phone calls. Internet. This woman should be a reporter. Anyway, column: blah, blah, blah, heartwarming tale, perseverance, sibling bond, blah, blah, blah. File to copy. Now where the hell are those Dominos coupons? Do I have to do everything around here?
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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sam Discovers Friendship!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 20, 2007 at 6:21 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To... This week's episode: Sam learns that some humans share a bond that's deeper than any he's ever known. Incredibly, people actually spend time together, he finds, because they like each other. Headline: Police heap praise on a good friend Date: February 20, 2007 Topic: In the wake of his triumphant series exonerating Frank Jackson from any part in the city's larcenous Kinsman land deal — well, at least as far as he and an 84-year-old with a bad ticker are concerned — you'd think Sam would be exhausted. But corruption doesn't take a day off, and so neither can he. Sam thunders right into the next mystery that's been baffling his readers: Why some Bratenahl police officers are such good friends with the third-shift clerk at a nearby gas station. Originality: 7/10. Sad, but this might actually be the most exciting story ever to come out of the Bratenahl Police Department in Bratenahl, which has stayed busy for years by lobbying for new laws covering crimes against fashion. Difficulty: 3/10. The clerk, Shelly Haralson, is a reluctant source. She dodges Sam. But by shaking down "friends," "admirers," and the plaque Shelly gave the Bratenahl cops, Sam skillfully reconstructs this epic of unbreakable friendship. Sam Gets Poetic: "The job was risky, given the sort of people who might stumble through in the dark hours of the day. But Shelly endured the dangers of the night to pay her bills and provide for her daughter, Emily." A tenner says Sam cribbed that first sentence from himself. Editors confirm it's the line he feeds them when they complain how rarely he comes to work. The Master Has Spoken: "They've volunteered so much glowing praise about Shelly that I'm convinced she's a fine person. Others should know her inspiring story. I won't keep it a secret any longer." Here Sam offers a glimpse of the incredible moral strain he overcame to script this, his first unauthorized biography. What Sam Reveals About Sam: That he's pushing editors for space on Sundays. It's getting harder and harder to limit this kind of brilliance to the workweek. Take this gas-station friendship racket, for instance -- so much was left untold. With a little more time, Sam easily could have exposed how hard Shelly works to keep the coffee fresh. CliffsNotes Version: What? I should talk to your friend Shelly? She's down with five-o? Free coffee... broke some rules... yeah, gotta blow the lid off this mother! Works late, too, huh? How late — past eight-thirty? Aw, man, third shift? Jesus, you want me to work after 11 just to talk to her? Are you outta your mind? Let's just skip the interview. She's only the central character. Just email me what you wanna say and I'll get one of the interns to write it.
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Friday, February 16, 2007

Fulwood Defends His Hero

Posted By on Fri, Feb 16, 2007 at 3:36 PM

We Read America's Worst Columnist, Sam Fulwood III, So You Don't Have To... This week's episode: Sam refuses to believe that one of his role models isn't such a role model after all. Headline: Hizzoner wouldn't lie, would he? Date: February 13, 2007 Topic: Sammy finds a creative new angle on the shady Kinbess-CMHA deal, in which then-Councilman Frank Jackson helped a developer secure public money for an industrial park, then switched course and allowed it to be bought by the county for a wildly inflated price — a deal Jackson now claims he simply forgot about. Sure it looks bad, says Sammy, but he has inside sources who tell a different story. The mop boy and the security guard at City Hall say Jackson's a straight up dude. Take that, Sandra Livingston! Originality: 4/10. Give Sammy credit for standing up for the values he believes in: incompetency, phoning it in, and that you're innocent until proven a complete moron. Difficulty: 6/10. Standing beside a friend in times of trouble isn't always easy. Especially if that friend happens to be the mayor, he happens to be involved in major corruption scandal, and you happen to be the metro columnist for the local newspaper. Sam Gets Poetic: "If it were anyone other than Mayor Frank Jackson involved in this CMHA scandal, I'd swear he was lying." Translation: One time Jackson put his hand on my shoulder and called me "man." Something happened at that moment that I can't describe. Call it reporter's intuition. The Master Has Spoken: "But it's good ol' Frank. And everyone respects the mayor as an honest dude." Translation: I went through my entire rolodex on this one, which consists of, let me see, Dominoes, the guy in the cube down the hall who fixes my computer, and . . . oh, here he is, Frank Jackson. What Sam Reveals About Sam: Sam's willing to trust his gut, even if it brings him into disagreement with his own paper. Call it courage, call it reckless, call it not reading his own paper. CliffsNotes Version: You know, Cheryl, I don't take a stand on many issues. But I'm throwing down the white glove today. A man has been defamed — and he's black, goddamnit. Wait, he is black, isn't he, Cheryl? Are we at least 80 percent sure on that? OK, hand me the phone. I'm calling . . . Dominoes. You got five bucks?
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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Sam Discovers Role Models!

Posted By on Tue, Feb 6, 2007 at 3:57 PM

Headline: Actor proved equality is possible Date: February 6, 2007 Topic: Long before Sam learned to crib from his peers, he was memorizing television dialogue. This incredible power of imitation wowed teachers, who somehow never suspected he was turning in other students' homework. Today, Sam just can't squeeze a fifth straight column from Rachel Dissell's feature on juvenile justice, but it's okay — his nose for scandal senses a major scoop at the Cleveland Play House. While digging hard through the cast notes of a new play, he discovers the daughter of his favorite childhood TV actor, Greg Morris of Mission: Impossible. Bingo! He asks her to dinner, hoping that in between courses she'll dictate a column on her dad's pioneering impact. Sadly, she was only 6 when the show debuted. That Sam to spend most of the column covering his favorite subject: Sam. It's all conveniently wrapped around lecture No. 982,928 on the paucity of black actors on TV in the 1960s. Though he's only 40 years late getting to the subject, editors are pleased that he at least spelled everything properly. Originality: 2/10. After the Dissell debacle, Sam's been barred from contact with the PD's Metro staff, but his sticky fingers still manage to sneak a gem from the fax machine by the arts desk. Sorry, Mark Dawidziak. Difficulty: 2/10. Iona Morris called her father "Dad?" She loved him even before he was a big TV star? Stop the presses! Sam Gets Poetic: "Barney — played to perfection by Cleveland native Greg Morris — was different. His face was the color of dark chocolate, just like mine. Maybe the import of that is hard to imagine today. But when I was a child, it was radical." Historians contend this was the precise moment Sam discovered blackness. The Master Has Spoken: "Finding Barney, a proud black man who wasn't killed off before the second act, was one of those Aha! moments in my childhood development." Forget Sidney Poitier. For a chance to use his expense account, Sam'll take the gadgets geek from Mission: Impossible. What Sam Reveals About Sam: When you've echoed relevance for two weeks, it's okay to take a day off. CliffNotes Version: Overhaul the system... who cares about teens... don't fault the parents... inaction equals nightmare ... Think, damnit! Can't she argue anything else for me? ... Guess I'm in my own, at least until I swing by the arts desk. (Tiptoes. Sound of paper rustling.) "Cuttin' Up" at the Play House! That might work. Let's go through Dawidziak's mail for the promos! Maybe the cast notes? No....no...no. Iona Morris. That sounds familiar. Hey, wait a sec... it says here her dad was Greg Morris! Hey, man, that's Barney from Mission Impossible! Waaaaaazzzz uuuup, girl? Let's gruuuuuuubbbb!
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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Sam Sets New Low for Originality!

Posted By on Thu, Jan 25, 2007 at 2:48 PM

We Read Fulwood So You Don't Have To... Headline: Who really cares about black teens? Date: January 25, 2007 Topic: Someone at The Plain Dealer did some actual work this week, and it wasn't Sam. Luckily for Fulwood, he's shameless when it comes to ripping off his colleagues. This time, it's Rachell Dissell's Sunday stories about juvenile justice. Originality: -17/10 Sam has never been one to shy away from stealing ideas from his colleagues, but this is a new low. After stealing Dissell's reporting for his Tuesday column, Fulwood returns to the scene of the crime to scavenge what's left for his Thursday column. Difficulty: -34/10 This column was about as difficult as compiling the blooper reel for a DVD extra: just gather up the shit that wasn't good enough the first time around and shovel it at the audience. Sam Gets Poetic: "And, once children are plugged into the system, all hope for recovery and rehabilitation seems to fall away, as my colleague Rachel Dissell's stories pointed out Sunday." And with this sentence, Sam has written the "Leaves of Grass" of newspaper plagiarism. The Master Has Spoken: "Yeah, I'm all for that. But I've read such calls for action before, and nobody seems to care." As a matter of fact, I read such calls two days ago in this very space, when I made this exact same argument in slightly different words. And before that, I seem to recall seeing it in the Plain Dealer on Sunday, written by some lady ... what was her name again? What Sam Reveals About Sam: He suspects that too few people value the lives and futures of black kids. Or at least that was the impression he got from Rachell's story the other day. CliffsNotes Version: Fuuuuuuuuuuck. Cheryl the intern just got promoted! What the hell am I gonna do now? It was all I could do on Tuesday to eke out another column about racial unfairness in juvenile justice. Let's see, now where'd I get that scoop? Think, Fulwood, think! OK, retrace your steps ... you got up on Sunday, ate a few Krispy Kremes, looked over The Plain Dealer, started reading that story by Rachell Dissell about racial unfairness in juvenile justice ... wait, that's it! OK, now all I have to do is see what Rachell wrote yesterday ... Drat! Foiled! She didn't write yesterday! Now what am I gonna do? Well, I guess could always steal from the same article again. Hell, nobody's gonna notice ...
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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Sammy Discovers Juvenile Crime!

Posted By on Tue, Jan 23, 2007 at 3:44 PM

We Read Sam Fulwood III So You Don't Have To... Headline: Juvenile justice needs an overhaul Date: January 23, 2007 Topic: Echoing the paper's lead Sunday story, Sam writes that Ohio's juvenile justice system needs an overhaul. He's not sure how to do that, but he thinks it should involve marching on the state capitol with torches, because how cool would that be? Originality: 1/10. A point to Sam for not copying and pasting the contents of his email inbox into a column. He's done it so often lately, we actually were longing for that other Sammy standard: recycling one of his colleague's stories as a column. Now that we've read it, we're longing to get hit by a city bus. Difficulty: 2/10. No, retreadding your colleague's work ain't like building a deck or nothing. But give Sam credit: This is the Sunday paper he's cribbing from, and his assistant has Sundays off. Plus, have you lifted the Sunday paper? It's pretty heavy. Sam Gets Poetic: "I can't understand why folks aren't marching on the state Capitol with pitchforks and torches." Well Sam, you see ... it's just that ... in 2007 ... umm ... Oh, fuck it. This is brilliant. Onward, to Columbus! The Master Has Spoken: The "do-nothing citizens of Ohio have the power to demand that officials make the needed changes. If we fail, then we are responsible for the self-destructive cycle that traps our children." In summary, get on that people! And let Sam know how it turns out, preferably in an email of about 500 words with a few quotes from public officials. Add a catchy headline and Sam will send you an autographed business card. What Sam Reveals About Sam: "I've sat in on the proceedings at the Juvenile Court on East 22nd Street. I've walked through Public Square and overheard the endless stream of profane chatter spilling out of the mouths of babies." And I've thought to myself, Thank God I live in Shaker! This is scary! CliffsNotes Version: Ahh, nuts. Is it Sunday already? Did I sleep through Saturday again? Must have. And now there's only one day to write a "column" for those "bosses" at the "paper." This is really getting old. Maybe I should get my real estate license. The guys on the For Sale signs always look so cheerful. They must not have to get up in the morning. Is there some kind of test for that? I'll have to have Cheryl look that up. Anyway, a column. Hmm. Do I still subscribe to that newspaper? [Looking hopefully out the window]. Guess I do. If I could only train you to bring that in for me, little Sammy! That would make you a much more useful pup! Yes it would! Hmm, what's this? Some kind of big story about kids and jails or something? Reminds me of the time I got lost downtown and all those crazy youngens started swearing at me. I could write about that. That was frightening! I wonder if realtors ever have to go downtown?
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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Guest Columnist: Martin Luther King!

Posted By on Wed, Jan 17, 2007 at 10:17 AM

FULWOOD WATCH: We Read Sam So You Don't Have To Headline: Dr. King confronts the cynicism of '07 Date: January 16, 2007 Topic: Martin Luther King Day means a day off for many Americans, and that rankles Sam. He's rankled that we spend the day honoring the fallen civil-rights leader and rankled that it happens just once a year. He's extra rankled that racial inequality still persists. But mostly he's rankled 'cause he still had to crank out a column. So what better way to honor Marty Jr. than to let the ol' guy do the work. Sam cribs hefty portions of a King speech, then rips us all for ignoring its wisdom, especially the parts that were only relevant 40 years ago. Originality: 0/10. Paragraphs by Dr. King: 10. Paragraphs by Sam: 9. The King Estate deserves a kickback. Difficulty: 2/10. The judges award a point for not copy-pasting King's entire speech, another for Sammy's deft use of italics. Sam Gets Poetic: "Dr. King wasn't a one-day wonder. His life and message resonate from an Atlanta crypt, even at this late, dark hour of our nation's history." (This was also Sammy's defense for taking Tuesday off too.) The Master Has Spoken: "Hold on! Put down the telephone! Hear me out before you call to scream about how a black man -- a self-sacrificing legacy -- dares utter such heresy." Tune in Thursday, when Sam begins an eye-gouging series on his indestructible blackness. What Sam Reveals About Sam: That he'll shank anybody's legacy for the chance to talk down some more. CliffNotes Version: Where is everybody? God Sam it, we've got a column to wing today! Wait a sec -- yeah, today's Martin Luther King Day! No wonder there aren't any voicemails! No prob, then -- if they won't write it, ol' MLK will! Ha- ha! Thanks, dawg! Copy. Paste. Take that, ranklers! Damn, that paragraph is fresh. Like a marble bust I sculpturized myself. Speaking of bust: man, that muffin was rich. Better hurry this up. Copy. Paste. Take that, too, ranklers! Copy. Paste. And that! Send! Nap time!
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