As part of their continuing plan to kill every last business in the state, Ohio lawmakers are creeping dangerously close to passing a bill that would outlaw lap dances, ban all contact between dancers and customers, and force strip clubs to close at 11 p.m., basically crippling the state's $160 million adult-entertainment industry ["Save Our Strippers!", June 15].
Republicans have tried to pass the bill for years, only to see it die when congressmen realized they were legislating away their own Tuesday nights. But this year's "Stripper Bill" has found a staunch ally in Senator Jim Jordan (R-Urbana), who's pushing for a floor vote "as quickly as possible."
"I would prefer to shut 'em down," Jordan tells Punch. "It'd be tough legally to do that."
The bill passed the House 92-5 in April. If it reaches the Senate floor, strip-joint owners know it will pass in a romp. "We have much more pressing issues than a strip-club bill," says Angelina Spencer, who runs a national trade group for the clubs. "Why are you gonna put 20,000 people out of work?"
Scientists believe the new law will send a flood of jobless hot women to neighboring states like West Virginia, which would knock the earth off its rotation.
The Lord's day just got a lot hotter. Churches across the country recently united to talk frankly with their congregations about porn. The program was called Porn Sunday, the brainchild of XXXchurch.com, a Christian website that addresses the problems associated with porn. Which would be . . . ?
"What's portrayed in pornography these days is not real," says Pastor Craig Gross, who cofounded XXXchurch.com, based in California. "It's not what sex is all about. It's distorting people's view of sex."
(Nothing personal, Reverend, but we hope you're not advocating watching middle-aged guys have sex with their wives.)
Several churches in Northeast Ohio took part in the discussion, including the Church of the Open Door in Elyria. Pastor Frank Stretar says that porn leads to infidelity and ruins lives.
"It kind of distorts the real perspective we should be having in healthy relationships," he says. "Sex was made for two people, not just for one."
For those who feel they may be addicted to porn, Gross' website offers tools for recovery, such as software that records all the dirty sites you visit and sends them to an "accountability partner," who then berates you for your lack of willpower, while secretly saving the links for himself.
Thanks to basketball-star-turned-producer Reggie Miller, Cleveland is finally getting the recognition it deserves. The film Beautiful Ohio, starring Hilary Swank and William Hurt, follows the plight of a family in Shaker Heights in the early '70s. The eastern suburb provides a perfect backdrop for the film, with its lush, tree-lined boulevards, sprawling Tudor manors, and radiant fall colors.
But apparently Ohio isn't all that beautiful. The film starts production in the Big Apple this month.
Wine lovers have a new friend in Wine Savant, a Medina magazine billed as "Your Great Lakes Regional Guide to Travel & Sophisticated Living." Among the handy articles in the September-October debut: "Hosting a Wine Tasting Party," "Taste the Riedel Difference," and "Merlot Takes a Hit From Sideways."
The only problem? The stories are backwash -- swiped from other papers with no acknowledgement they've been stolen.
"I think it's sort of sad that somebody doesn't do the legwork themselves," says Sandra Silfven, longtime wine columnist for The Detroit News. Wine Savant ran her review of the movie Mondovino online, disguised between passages of original prose. Other stories have been ripped from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Wine X magazine. Some are word-for-word copies.
"We pride ourselves on the fact that we have no professional writers; they're all wine people," says co-editor John Ney. He dismisses the notion of plagiarism, since he's actually thieving, which is way different.
Jew, Muslim -- friends!
The Akron Beacon Journal has revealed that people with different religions can actually be friends.
This startling news was uncovered by religion reporter Colette Jenkins, who found that, even though Jews and Muslims are supposed to hate each other, some don't! "At Kent State University," Jenkins writes, "a Muslim and a Jew are cultivating a friendship."
The revelation is part of the Beacon's ongoing series entitled "We Don't Get Out Much." Upcoming installments include "Jock, Nerd Find Camaraderie," and "Black and White: Sometimes They Eat Lunch Together."
You dirty rat!
Here in Cleveland, the Giant Inflatable Rat serves as a friendly warning that scumbags are near, as well as delightful sidewalk art for the preschool crowd. Can the rat come over and play, Mom? Pleeeease.
But last week, a New York judge ruled that the rat constitutes an unlawful picket, meaning that this hallowed symbol of labor unrest could soon be exterminated.
The ruling was met with outcry from social-welfare activists, who claimed the rat would have difficulty finding new work, since most employers of inflatables, such as car dealerships, are prejudiced against rodents -- unless they're like a really cute mouse or something.
One should never underestimate the ability of politicians to look stupid.
Take Representative John Hagan (R-Alliance), who wants to drill for natural gas under Lake Erie. This is America, he reasons. What better way to exploit natural beauty than to pad the pockets of gas companies?
"We can safely extract natural gas and oil in areas like Lake Erie without damaging the environment," says Hagan, who draws his conclusions from a vast scientific background, since he's a heating and plumbing contractor.
But Hagan's idea pissed off Senator Robert Hagan (D-Youngstown), who's not amused that dumb ideas are being flown under the Hagan name. So the second Hagan -- who's not related to the first -- turned the whole thing into a bizarre non-family feud.
"He's no kin of mine" blares a press release from Robert Hagan. "Our family has long been advocates for protecting green spaces, parks and recreation areas. I'd be curious to know where his DNA came from."
John Hagan laughs at the attack. "I would guess my DNA came from Mom and Dad," he says, proving once again his mastery of science.