The House of Cards

Letters published Novemer 20, 2002

Back when American Greetings was cool:

As a former writer and artist for American Greetings (1960-1990), I was sorry to read more about the company's financial troubles ["How to Succeed in Business," October 16]. One line mentioned former talented employees Tom Wilson and Robert Crumb, and said Crumb didn't fit in. I was in the Hi Brows department in the 1960s, when Wilson was head of that department and Crumb was a staff artist. Crumb may be a misfit in corporate America, but in the 1960s, Crumb fit in just fine at American Greetings, where the Hi Brows department included many strange and talented people. Don Imus once visited the department, looked at the artists and the weird decorations, and said, "You guys are crazier than hell!"

The 1960s was a wonderful time to be a writer or artist in greeting cards, when companies published such popular cartoon cards. I hope AG can find the magic to make their card lines so popular and profitable again.

Dean Norman

American Greetings -- things ain't so bad:

Your cheap shot at American Greetings was undeserved. The executives of this company are some of the hardest working and most generous people in our city. Their efforts to build and expand the business deserve your respect, not ridicule. Cleveland's economy has fallen on difficult times, and major employers are fleeing or just disappearing. American Greetings has been a stalwart of our economy for 95 years. If their executives were well paid last year, at least it can be said that the company is doing a lot better than the local newspapers.

Ari H. Jaffe
University Heights

Try tuning in to Detroit:

It was truly excellent to read your "Battle of the Blowhards" [September 11] and the resulting reader letters identifying Mike Trivisonno as the moron that he is. Actually, the programming on the so-called "Big One" from after the morning drive-time segment until 6 p.m. really sucks, especially Laura "the Witch" Schlesinger and Rush "the Blowhard" Limbaugh, followed by Mike "the Moron" Trivisonno.

May I suggest some alternatives -- namely, anything on public radio WCPN and the evening drive show of Mitch Albom on WJR-AM 760 out of Detroit (3 to 6 p.m.), which is easily picked up in our area. Albom is a nationally known journalist and author whose show features many intelligent interviews and features, and a minimum of idle drive-time chitchat.

Bruce Taggart

Danger at the discount store:

Enough already about Wal-Mart ["The Wal-Mart Menace," September 4]. I had no idea they were the Great Satan, running a close third behind Hitler and Pol Pot, until your article enlightened me. The only thing Wal-Mart is guilty of is being successful and having lots of money, which in turn makes it a prime target for slimy lawyers.

Twenty-six thousand injuries from falling merchandise? Wow! Next time I'll wear a helmet and Kevlar vest before I go shopping. Those aisles sound worse than an Afghan minefield. Who needs to watch Fear Factor? Let's have customers just try and walk down the Aisle of Death. Quick, call NBC! We've got a pilot on our hands.

Do you suppose their products spontaneously launch themselves at unsuspecting customers? Or could it be that the fat slobs in our society (as Derf loves to point out to us weekly) lack the strength or coordination to actually lift a box without it falling on them? Naw, that would be accepting responsibility for our actions. And what lawyer would ever want you to do that? Remember, you're a victim!

Ron Strah

The lost temple is sorely missed:

I really enjoyed Laura Putre's article ["Wall of Voodoo," October 23] on the Temple of Lost Love. I have enjoyed going down there many nights just to look at the artwork and enjoy the view of downtown. What a shame it is that the city covered it up. Eleven years of work, all turned to gray. I was shocked when I went down there last week and saw it was all gone. Anyway, thank you for giving this place the recognition that it deserved; I look forward to seeing it come back once again.

Christina Tyburski

Good luck with the union drive:

I just read the story you did on the cleaners who are organizing ["Clean Sweep," October 16] and how it changed their lives. Unfortunately, there has been a war against workers who try to win a collective voice -- one that is not usually covered in the media. Thanks for providing coverage of the brave folks who try to improve their standards through unionization, regardless of the attack they must suffer behind closed doors. Your exposure will help them have a fairer playing field.

John W. Ryan, Executive Secretary
Cleveland AFL-CIO

Kotz, always a safe bet:

Mr. Kotz, like most readers, I usually write letters to bitch about an issue or to express disagreement with another's obviously incorrect opinion -- while asserting my own superior perspective. But not today. If your editors or your mom hasn't told you what a great writer you are, allow me. I have no interest in sports or gambling, but your writing about it ["Vice Is Good," October 23] and drawing the correlation of the larger issue of addiction, and the convenience of moral code as defined by government, was absolutely outstanding. If you can give Mike the bookie a call to arrange a Dell kid/Holyfield wager, put me down for $50 on Mr. H. From my decidedly unadventurous life in the cubicle farm . . .

Lisa Radloff

Buckeye played no role in Pleasant Meadows discrimination:

I read with interest "Unpleasant Meadows" [October 30]. While the article evidenced much research and insight, there was also a serious misrepresentation, for which I must share some responsibility.

I thought I made it clear in my interview with your reporter that Buckeye Community Hope Foundation was completely uninvolved with the complaints that have been filed by some residents of Pleasant Meadows Apartments. I'd better explain.

Buckeye served as the developer of Pleasant Meadows Apartments. Upon completion of construction, all of Buckeye's responsibilities ended. Operation of the apartments has been the responsibility of the limited partnership that owns the property, in which Buckeye owns but a 1 percent interest through its investment in Cuyahoga Housing Partners Inc., general partner of the limited partnership. The partnership hired a property management company with an outstanding reputation. If any of the claims of discrimination made by some residents against the property management company have validity -- and we won't know that until the legal reviews are completed -- Buckeye had nothing whatsoever to do with them. If and when the claims are found to be valid, Buckeye, acting through its interest in Cuyahoga Housing Partners Inc., will take whatever steps it can to remedy any injustices that may have occurred.

Unfortunately, your article made it appear that Buckeye was part and parcel of the discrimination alleged by some of the residents. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Gil Barno, Executive Director
Buckeye Community Hope Foundation
Gahanna, OH

Pick up the pieces first:

I have friends who work for Scene and worked for the Free Times. Both papers had their strengths. The Free Times’ was its arts and entertainment coverage; Scene’s is its news and features. At the end, however, the Free Times was a shell of what it once was. David Eden's pathetic sniping and unveiled vendettas were simply embarrassing. Roldo once may have been an ace investigator, but his columns near the end were sheer inside baseball, of no interest to anyone but his sources. Its other attempts at hard-hitting stories also fell flat -- witness the recent breathless Special Report! on Hopkins security. Now Scene's the only one left. Pick up the pieces, check to see you're doing a good job, and kick butt in the right directions.

Dan Shortridge