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Hall of Wimps 

An outbreak of dainty garbage men in Canton.

Canton recently banned garbage cans bigger than 32 gallons, claiming trash collectors were straining backs and pulling muscles. Technically, they've been illegal for 25 years, but the city never bothered to enforce the rule. So last month it notified residents of the change.

Greg Cox never saw the notice. One day he went to the curb to bring his garbage in and found they'd skipped his house. When Cox called the city, he was told his oversize can had been banned years ago.

"Years ago my butt," says the angry Cox. "All of a sudden they want to be wimps."

He wasn't the only one with a beef. City Hall was flooded with calls from outraged citizens.

Yet Law Director Joe Martuccio says Canton is merely trying to cut down on workers' comp claims. "In the course of a day, they probably visit 400 to 450 homes, so you can imagine how many cans they pick up and how much they're actually lifting. They're not sissies by any stretch of the imagination."

Then again, having a lawyer defend your masculinity is kind of like having a ballerina as your bodyguard. So Canton is now giving residents until February 26 to buy smaller cans.

In the meantime, if you hear someone on the sidewalk singing show tunes and discussing coed volleyball, you'll know it's garbage day.

What did Gezus write?
A recent front-page story in the Call & Post -- headlined "Hey, LeBron, you forgot about us!" -- has dealt a major blow to the paper's reputation as The New York Times of East 93rd Street.

The story, penned by staffer Gezus Zaire, complained that Cleveland's largest black newspaper was "frozen out" of LeBron's recent celebrity roast. The PD was given an all-access pass, Zaire wrote. The Post didn't even get an invite.

"Jim Brown would've never had a celebrity fund-raising event without the Call & Post there to cover it," wrote Zaire, who was hoping to score dieting tips from Cedric the Entertainer. "In fact, the Call & Post should have been involved in the planning stages of your event."

(Editor's note: If any shitty rag should have planned the roast, it's this shitty rag. Free "massages" for everyone.)

But as it turns out, LeBron's people did send the paper an e-mail invite. Editor Connie Harper admits that it never arrived due to computer problems. "We're having problems with our e-mail," she tells Punch. "We're changing our server."

Sphincterrific, Part II
The wife of Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-France) is fighting back after a journalist called her husband both "lazy" and a "clown" on public radio.

The comment came last week on a WCPN show hosted by Dan Moulthrop, who had the misfortune of inviting two former Scene writers, Chris Maag and Erick Trickey, and Plain Dealer minister of merriment Mike McIntyre to appear as panelists. (Apparently it was Special Ed Day at the station.)

Toward the end of the show, Moulthrop asked the group what it thought of Kucinich's Department of Peace idea, which entails stopping everything from terrorism to elder abuse by simply creating another really large federal bureaucracy.

Maag, who now freelances for The New York Times and Time magazine, noted that Kucinich's growing ego, which is kept in a Rocky River storage facility, has rendered him useless as a lawmaker.

"He's a clown," said Maag. "He's lazy. And he doesn't do his job . . . Has he actually done anything for his district? . . . Let's take care of the business of your district first, then maybe you can go talking about creating cabinet-level positions."

That's when Elizabeth Kucinich, who can easily take her husband in arm wrestling, fired back by e-mailing all three of Kucinich's supporters, urging them to complain to the "PUBLIC radio station" that "lambasted Congressman Kucinich and his proposed Department of Peace without fully gathering the facts."

After the show, a repentant Maag clarified his remarks, saying that he doesn't believe the congressman is an actual clown, but merely has "clown-like features."

Hammered for justice
The legal eagles in the Ashtabula County prosecutor's office like to party -- just a little too much.

Last month, a state trooper found Assistant Prosecutor Frank Pierce and a friend parked along I-90, drunk and fighting just after 2 a.m. Pierce was charged with driving while hammered, and 37-year-old Robert Barnes of Cleveland was charged with assault.

(Teachable moment: Remember, boys and girls, never drink and brawl on the freeway. That's why God invented parking lots.)

Pierce, sadly, was fired that day. Now town gossips are wondering why local lawmen can't hold their liquor. Three years ago, Assistant Prosecutor David Foster was fired after his second DWI.

If this were a reputable paper, here is where we'd launch into the obligatory lecture on the importance of serving as good role models blah, blah, blah. But we'd be happy to skip that in exchange for an invite to the prosecutor's next office party.

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