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Own A Little Piece Of The Bush Legacy


What word comes to your mind when the puckered visage of W. flashes like a nightmare before your eyes? Us too. You've said "bullshit!" more times in the past eight years than you did during your entire childhood full of embarrassments, and you have no one but Cheerleader-in-Chief Bush to thank. So say goodbye in the most apt way this holiday season: the Farewell to Bush Bullshit Sculpture Ornament.

It may not be the most nuanced of art produced to fight the modern Republican experiment, but there are few better stocking-stuffers for the Bush-hater in your life. The idea came to 51-year-old artist Loren Naji, a CIA grad who lives in Kirtland but keeps a studio in Cleveland, as the date fast approached for a sizeable anti-Bush show earlier this year at Tremont's Asterisk gallery.

"I remember panicking, like, what am I going to do for this show about Bush?" recalls Naji. "It was getting close and I had no ideas, sort of a blank, and then I was lying in bed one night, thinking, Bush is full of bullshit! I first thought to take a pile of bullshit and cover it with photos of him, of the war, [things that signified] the economy. All over it. That grew into the thought, why not make a sculpture of him out of bullshit? I woke up very excited about the project. I went right out to the farms for the materials."

And Kirtland is rich with bullshit - enough to allow Naji to turn his little idea into a potential cash cow in a joint project with Tim Russo of BloggerInterrupted.com. As Naji describes his little inch-and-a-half-high ornaments on lorennaji.com: "Perfect for the Christmas tree, HanukkahÊ'bush' or the wall over your toilet!" The affordable turd dangles ($10) don't smell either, promises Naji, since they're mixed with a little cement and sanitizer.

Lies have never been this cheap or easy to buy. - Dan Harkins


Geez, Councilman Martin J. Sweeney, what a year, huh? Eleven months ago, the city paid Emily Lipovan $60,000 to shut up about the sexual-harassment claims she was about to make against you. Ever since, it's like you can't buy good press in this town anymore.

First we learn that your name is linked to the ongoing FBI probe into corruption in local government. Then the woman you tried to squeeze into Ward 7 lost the election (if only Fannie Lewis' family had shut up about the fact that Lewis didn't actually pick her replacement on her deathbed like you said, right?). Then we find out that Doan Pyramid, which was raided by the FBI, did some work on your house right before lucrative contracts were handed down. Now, when asked to step up, only six council members signed a letter supporting your leadership. Ouch. And right before the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

But, hey, it's not all bad. If you end up sharing a cell with Frank Russo, you'll have the swankiest pad in the pod. And nobody's gonna mess with you when Jimmy Dimora is sitting at your table. Besides, no one has been indicted yet. Maybe they'll let you retire to Newcomerstown and open an alpaca farm. If Pat O'Malley can get a slap on the wrist for kiddie porn, no one's really gonna care much about some electric work you may or may not have paid for. Relax. Don't be such a sourpuss.

Worst-case scenario: you lose you job, dignity and freedom. That doesn't mean your legacy is over. You can always be a Sewer District board member or union "consultant" upon your return. - James Renner


We should have known that a recession was going to hit when Mattel announced the creation of Barbie Hot Tube Party Bus, Barbie Beach Fun Dolls, flashing lights, songs and accessories. Once again, Barbie is getting naked, getting down and presumably getting laid, at least if they have finally given Ken full anatomical parts. Barbie's presumed sex life and certainly her lifestyle have been predictors of the economy. Times were flush when Barbie was introduced a half-century ago as the ultimate teen. Her focus was clothing and shopping, but she managed to get several degrees, enabling her to become an astronaut, a fire fighter and a pilot, among other professions. Her clothing was frequently for formal affairs, a bit shallow yet still sophisticated. Except when things went bad.

Every time there was an international crisis affecting the economy - the Vietnam War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the early days of outsourcing manufacturing - Barbie got down. We had Barbie buying an A-frame house where her friends could party through their troubles. We had Barbie in full surfer gear. We had Rocker Barbie. She was frivolous, sensual and aggressive. The slogan for the economic indicators of the 1980 recession, at the time the worst the nation had endured since World War II, might have been Barbie, Not as Clueless as the Treasury.

The economy improved. Stocks soared. Everyone was making money with investments they didn't understand but which they were certain were making them rich. The good times would be forever - until Barbie quietly retired to her Hot Tub Party Bus, her friends and the familiar safety of her sexuality. The product existed months before it went on sale at Target. Any economist attending one of the regional, national or international toy-industry conventions would have seen it. Undoubtedly, it was at one such introduction that Target was prescient enough to stock it. But did anyone take heed?

The current crisis will end. Barbie will return to being a police officer or a biotech engineer or whatever new career interests her. It will be easy to ignore her as just another innocuous doll about town. However, she is far from that. When Target or K-Mart, Wal-Mart or any other big-box retailer starts talking about the next fun-loving, scantily clad, narcissistic version of Barbie, take your money out of the bank and hide it under the mattress where it will be safe. - Ted Schwarz

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