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Hothead Homers in Pundit Debut

Former Tribe head case Albert Belle can't hit a dog in the ass this year (.270), but he's selling newspapers at a mighty clip. Belle's June 25 debut column in the fledgling Baltimore Press sold out the issue, according to Publisher and Editor Mark Adams. "Our circulation is 8,000, and we printed and sold out extras that day, too," enthuses Adams, who recruited Belle through a letter and discussions with his brother Terry, and is delighted with the results. "It was the equivalent of buying about $15,000 worth of radio time." The column itself bemoaned the dearth of good teachers, with Belle posing the burning question, "If I were not a professional athlete, would I work full-time as a teacher?"—then answering with an emphatic "NO." Belle complained that an average teacher's salary is just $25,735, neglecting to mention that he earns more in two at bats. The column was short, unedited, and in need of grammar help, but another one is "forthcoming," according to Adams, presaging a career change flagged by Belle's ID line: "Albert Belle is a freelance writer who plays for the Baltimore Orioles."

To the Bastille! National Homeless Independence Day will be celebrated in Cleveland next Tuesday with a march on The Plain Dealer, wherein arch right-wing columnist Beth Barber recently whined about homeless people ³violating the community&supl;s right to minimally hygienic sidewalks.² Unlike Marie Antoinette, the distraught daily will be ready. Brian Davis, executive director of the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, recently got a call from a nervous PD security honcho. ³He wanted to know what our purpose was, if we planned to storm the building like Native American supporters did during an earlier protest,² relates Davis. ³I told him, ¨You have the most secure building in the city. It would take the National Guard to get in.&supl;²

It&supl;s a gang tackle, now that the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee in Washington, D.C., is supporting Hicham El-Mashtoub, the offensive lineman suing the Browns. El-Mashtoub filed a discrimination suit after he was cut, alleging his dismissal was due to ethnic prejudice, evident in fellow players and other Browns employees calling him ³Sheik,² ³Bin-Laden,² ³Camel Jockey,² and worse. ³He had very well-documented high evaluations from his coach. Then all of a sudden, amid this barrage of ethnic harassment, he&supl;s suddenly singled out and dismissed without explanation,² charges Committee Communications Director Hussein Ibish. ³We wouldn&supl;t have expressed this level of interest if we didn&supl;t feel he had a very strong case.² If the case is that strong, maybe El-Mashtoub should get a new lawyer. He&supl;s suing for a grand total of $25,000.

School&supl;s in at Second City, which opens two sessions of acting classes in Cleveland next weekboth already sold out. The Chicago-based comedy troupe won&supl;t debut here until next spring, in a space at 811 Prospect, originally designed to house a Hilarities comedy club. But we&supl;re already laughing, according to Second City Executive Producer Kelly Leonard. ³Cleveland&supl;s a great market for us,² he says. ³Our web site&supl;s Cleveland link receives more hits than any other city.² Comedic wannabes will have a chance this fall to try out for the resident company, slated to include six actors and a music and stage director. As for material, Leonard says Cleveland sports and politics are ³fertile ground² for satiric sketches and improv routines. Tell us about it.

Sick jokes and hot tips to edge@clevescene.com.

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