E-mail your pick for the Worst Columnist in Northeast Ohio to [email protected]. Whoever comes up with the best reasoning not only pushes their favorite columnist to the tournament title, but wins a $50 gift certificate from Don's Lighthouse.
The best responses will be printed in an upcoming issue.
Tom Feran, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: A bad stand-up comedian tackles current events. Taking a Stand: Wrote an entire column about how to pick a good melon at the supermarket. Concluded that it's pretty difficult to pick a bad one. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Rewrote an article from Forbes ranking the fortunes of fictional characters. (Batman is worth $6.3 billion in Monopoly money.) Stunning Epiphany: Why am I cleaning the gutters when I could be watching televised sporting events instead? It is a profound question, and it is one that many of us encounter. Moment of Greatness: If there's one thing you can be sure of, it's this: Saddam Hussein has his hands on some tiny nuts. The question is what he intends to do with them. Handicappers Call: Would do better as the dopey mascot who leaps off a trampoline for a jaw-dropping dunk.
Dick Feagler, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: Him and his buddies squawking about how today sucks and the old days didnt suck. Taking a Stand: Used his inability to perform at the self-checkout line at Kmart to argue that machines shouldnt put people out of work. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Pretends to drive to coffee shop to talk to imaginary friends. Stunning Epiphany: So many people have cell phones now that the pay telephone soon will be obsolete. Moment of Greatness: It's got to be tough being a believing, committed atheist in America . . . For example, what does he do when he stubs his toe? Handicappers Call: Stuck in a 1956 offense and refuses to shoot the three. Thinks its a newfangled gimmick.
Jewell Cardwell, Akron Beacon Journal
Typical Column: Hopeful tale of ordinary citizen doing good. Taking a Stand: A program showing students the obstacles handicapped people face ought to be required learning in all schools. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Only columnist in Northeast Ohio who had courage to expose the Great Pierogi Cook-In as a pocketful of memories. Stunning Epiphany: Went to two schools to ask students about Presidents Day. Her startling revelations: It is when we celebrate all of the Presidents of the United States. But mostly it's for the two old ones -- Abe Lincoln and George Washington -- who died. Moment of Greatness: Folks fortunate enough to be invited to several homes in the Greater Doylestown area will be feasting big time on sauerkraut balls. Handicappers Call: Cardwell is too busy checking up on the areas good folks to make any big plays.
Michael Heaton, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: Think of your grandpa growing a ponytail and writing about hip stuff. Taking a Stand: The Rolling Stones may be old, but they can still rock the house! Wearing Out Shoeleather: Known for working his sources on the street: Last Sunday morning I was sitting on the couch with Miss Thing and Peaches channel surfing when we came across a movie on American Movie Classics . . . Stunning Epiphany: Recognized that a balding old fart could have a sweet gig masquerading as the Minister of Culture. Moment of Greatness: Figured out his job description after driving to New York to write about September 11: I was only required to record the emotions of others. And make my deadlines. I talked to a lot of people. It wasn't hard to do. Handicappers Call: The perfect 12th man. Prefers to ride pine rather than play, just so those checks keep coming.
Pete Kotz, Scene
Typical Column: A whiskey-induced rant on the virtues of manliness and the evils of yuppiedom. This from a guy who drives a minivan. Taking a Stand: Crowned a backup soccer goalie Best Man in Cleveland. Wearing Out Shoeleather: For article on the evils of the Free Times, interviewed former Free Times writers -- the same ones he hired to work at Scene. Stunning Epiphany: Told LeBron James that if he bought a Cadillac, hed have women coming like a herd of moose. Moment of Greatness: Proved hes down with the homos in column called Calling All Queers. Handicappers Call: Plenty offensive, but refuses to play man-to-man defense. Thinks its too fruity.
Roldo Bartimole, CityNews
Typical Column: How the Axis of Evil (Dick Jacobs, the Ratners, and The Plain Dealer) use the Gateway lease to soak the poor and line their own pockets. Taking a Stand: Calls out corporate fat cats for plundering city, and The Plain Dealer for failing to notice. In every column. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Plods to doorstep to pick up The Plain Dealer for ideas. Stunning Epiphany: The vultures are circling and The Plain Dealer is directing the traffic. Moment of Greatness: Interrupted Plain Dealer-bashing for one week to bestow a compliment on newspaper. Next week called compliment a rare mistake, then resumed bashing. Handicappers Call: May forfeit because he suspects referees are being paid off by The Plain Dealer.
Richard Osborne, Lorain Morning Journal
Typical Column: The Ned Flanders of Lorain delivers his thoughts on life. Taking a Stand: Colds stink, he once wrote in a bold attack against being sick. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Recently discovered the networks are programming a lot of reality TV. Stunning Epiphany: People are getting meaner. Have you noticed? Moment of Greatness: In a recent column marveling at the call-waiting phenomenon, he posed that most pressing question, What happened to the busy signal? Handicappers Call: Seems to think sports arent about winning or losing, but about having fun. Which is what losers say.
Sam Fulwood III, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: Rewrites a story that appeared in The Plain Dealer two days earlier. Taking a Stand: Came out of closet on Krispy Kremes. Ill admit to being crazy for those little pillows of sweetness. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Gets most of his material from Shaker Heights dinner parties and speaking engagements. Stunning Epiphany: The U.S. currency is only half green. The front is printed with black ink. Moment of Greatness: I have spent all of my adult life rushing toward strangers, waving a press pass like a magic shield and a notebook like a sword, as if the tools of my craft could protect me from every danger. Handicappers Call: All dribbling. No shooting. Has yet to have an opinion that wasnt first expressed in 1983.
Mansfield B. Frazier, CityNews
Typical Column: Here a racist. There a racist. Everywhere a racist. Taking a Stand: Remains ever-vigilant, even on vacation. Lambasted The Outer Banks of North Carolina Travel Guide for failing to include photographs of black families. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Did prison time. Is black. Writes about prison and being black. Stunning Epiphany: Realized his column afforded him a weekly chance to advertise his book. With more about prison. And racism. See page A4 for ordering details. Moment of Greatness: After Browns game ended in bottle-tossing, pointed out that white people riot, too. Handicappers Call: Only seems motivated when playing against white guys.
Connie Schultz, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: I am woman. Hear me bitch. Taking a Stand: Pronounced Joe Millionaire about as much fun as a bikini wax. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Boldly ventured into rural Pennsylvania. Got lost. Inspired column headline Just Dont Call Me Miss Direction. Stunning Epiphany: Short hair would make me look like deposed columnist Bob Greene in his midlength toupee. Moment of Greatness: Sought to cheer up female readership by reminding them that, while beautiful, Sports Illustrated swimsuit models are quite stupid. Handicappers Call: Thinks basketball shorts are a plot to objectify her.
Regina Brett, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: An earnest screed followed by three installments of reader reaction. Taking a Stand: Spent several columns arguing about that most divisive issue, hate. For the record, shes against hate. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Wrote entire column about being trapped in her house because snow-plow guy didnt show. Stunning Epiphany: You rarely see anything about vaginas in the media . . . Moment of Greatness: Used a high school debate to try to decide whether to support war with Iraq. Handicappers Call: Well get back to you when we hear what the high school guys have to say.
Brian Tucker, Crain's Cleveland Business
Typical Column: Clevelands slumping economy can soar again! Just listen to these ideas I stole from other people! Taking a Stand: As the self-anointed spokesman for the Cleveland business community, declared that a convention center would rejuvenate the economy. Forgot to explain how. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Effectively solved the crisis in the Middle East by musing, There will be no peace until both sides are willing to compromise. Stunning Epiphany: Jane Campbell is like the dog that caught the car bumper. Moment of Greatness: Began a column by admitting that 2001 brought terrorist attacks, war in the Middle East, the decay of LTV, and one fat-ass recession. Yet still manages to end on a positive note: My wife made more Christmas cookies than ever before. Can it get any better than that? Handicappers Call: Better suited for the cheerleading squad.
Joanna Connors, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: Its all about Joanna, all the time. Taking a Stand: Could you come over to my house, just for a second? I really, really need some advice. It's this color thing. I'm stuck. We're finally doing the kitchen. They're painting the walls tomorrow, and I have to choose a color today. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Celebrated the changing of the showerheads at the high school gym where she swims. Stunning Epiphany: Christened herself J.Co, Diva of Domesticity, then admitted her friend is a better homemaker. Moment of Greatness: After half of her column was lost in a printing error, she basked in her fan bases fury: You called. You wrote. The general tone of the messages was: My day is ruined! Possibly even my week! Handicappers Call: Not a team player. Its always Me Me Me.
Mary Jane Skala, Sun Newspapers
Typical Column: Small talk from a Chagrin Falls soccer mom just back from vacation. Taking a Stand: Urged mass protests against al-Qaeda. Suicide bombers RSVP. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Someone forgot to turn on the oven. It ruined Thanksgiving, but made for one kneeslapper of a column! Stunning Epiphany: Too many restaurants write ice tea when they mean iced tea. Moment of Greatness: Horsefeathers! As the mother of a Chagrin Falls High School senior, I hope the Pumpkin Roll will never die. Handicappers Call: A little trash talk sends her weeping to the bench.
David Giffels, Akron Beacon Journal
Typical Column: Finding a moral lesson from talking to an ordinary American. Taking a Stand: Anyone can interview a veteran, and everyone should. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Wrote a column featuring two jokes about cold weather. It was a follow-up to a Pulitzer-worthy piece arguing that there are no funny jokes about cold weather. Stunning Epiphany: End-of-the-year desk cleaning is a humbling experience. Moment of Greatness: Wrote an entire column based on a one-minute phone call from a reality TV talent scout. Headline: Reality TV is so unreal sometimes. Handicappers Call: Throws up too many airballs to compete with league powers.
Roger Brown, Plain Dealer
Typical Column: Deep thoughts about the announcers of the game he watched last night. Taking a Stand: Doesnt actually take his own stands. All stands are attributed to inside sources. Wearing Out Shoeleather: Traveled to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine. His scoop? Butch Davis dined in a sushi restaurant with the Browns defensive backs coach. Stunning Epiphany: Don't invite WKNR management to the same party as former station personality Vegas Vic. Moment of Greatness: Identified each of Ricky Daviss split personalities, including the one where he acts like such a ball hog on the court you'd swear there's a curly tail attached to his backside. Handicappers Call: Doesnt have much of an inside game. Would rather hang out with the announcers than get on the court.