Unlicensed Hatred

If T-shirts speak for a city, we're one mean-ass town.

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Cleveland's legendary negativity is on full display with the street vendors outside Browns Stadium.
Cleveland's legendary negativity is on full display with the street vendors outside Browns Stadium.

Before the Tribe's vintage-Cleveland collapse, Major League Baseball was urging Indians fans to be on the lookout for knock-off team merchandise, because Major League Baseball firmly believes that only Major League Baseball is allowed to price-gouge. So to protect its monopoly of the Overpriced Dyed Cotton market, the league issued tips on how to avoid unlicensed merchandise. After all, wearing T-shirts without the proper paperwork is not recommended in the finer neighborhoods of Pepper Pike.

But Punch has an easier guide to ensuring that your new Kelly Shoppach shirt is the real deal: If it's disparaging another city and mentions nothing at all about Cleveland, the Indians, or even baseball, it's probably not MLB licensed.

We developed our theory after a recent Browns game, when we strolled past street vendor after street vendor. If their wares reveal anything about this city's character — as the laws of economics would suggest — then we're one negative bunch.

The shirts almost exclusively pointed out how much other teams, cities, and people suck. New York sucks. Boston sucks. Michigan definitely sucks. Pittsburgh and Cincy way suck, as does Detroit. Derek Jeter — by all accounts a pretty nice dude — gets his own shirt, which suggests that he too sucks. Art Modell, if you're interested, swallows. But that — along with an occasional "Fuck Such-and-Such" change-up — is the extent of the creativity.

Sadly, not everyone wants to plop down $15 for a fine blend of cotton hatred. Walking out after the game, a woman who appeared to be a Browns fan noticed a "Fuck Pittsburgh" shirt.

"Fuck you," she told the vendor. "How 'bout that?"

"Fuck you," he artfully responded.

Further up the street, a passerby told another vendor, "You hate every city."

His response said it all: "I hate this city too."

But at least one hawker appeared to have the true spirit of Cleveland in mind. His shirt: "Beer We Go, Brownies, Beer We Go."

Kent Massacre, Part II
Every year, Kent State coeds look forward to the school's infamous Halloween bash, where doing keg stands in a latex nurse costume isn't just acceptable; it's a requirement toward graduation. Yet widespread rumors of a Halloween massacre may put the kibosh on this year's Day of Debauchery.

On October 13, The Record Courier reported that psychic Sylvia Browne, in a recent appearance on Montel, predicted a mass murder at KSU this Halloween.

Totally terrifying. Yet totally untrue.

Turns out the tale is nothing more than an age-old urban legend. Snopes.com, a website dedicated to debunking myths, notes that the legend first surfaced in 1968, inspired by the true story of Richard Speck's murderous attack on nine student nurses at a Chicago dormitory. Since then, a psychic has supposedly predicted a campus slaughter on a TV talk show every few years.

In 1998, Michigan State's newspaper reported that a psychic appearing on Oprah predicted that 20 people would be murdered at an MSU dorm. Oprah's publicists denied that such a segment ever aired. And no one was killed. Still, as one student put it: "I don't care if it's true or not. I'm not waiting around to find out."

Browne's people denied that she ever made the Kent prediction on Montel. And we probably shouldn't be listening to her anyway. She does stand by her prediction that aliens will teach us how to use anti-gravity devices in 2010.

Stockbroker's revenge
Last year wasn't the best for Lou Telerico. For decades, the 63-year-old Merrill Lynch employee was the stockbroker in Cleveland, pulling down about $7 million a year. He owned a $35 million estate and a $150,000 Mercedes. His license plate, quite naturally: "XSESIVE."

But at some point, Telerico fell on the wrong side of fate. His new manager at Merrill Lynch told him it might be time to retire. His wife wanted a divorce. And her lawyer, Vince Stafford — a man who makes normal lawyers seem like blessed nuns — was getting under his skin.

So he did what most men would do: He went nuts. He began telling friends that he wanted to "blow [Stafford's] fucking head off." Suddenly, he was on trial for menacing ["Revenge of the Husband," January 24]. That's when his beloved Merrill Lynch let him go for "conduct unbecoming."

But through it all, Telerico swore he'd rise again. And last week he did.

The criminal case was eventually dismissed, since wanting to kill Vince Stafford is a pervasive desire in Cleveland's legal community and likely sanctioned by the Heavens. Moreover, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission ruled that Telerico was a victim of age discrimination at Merrill Lynch. When he heard the decision, "I'm telling you, Lou fell into my arms," says his lawyer, Avery Friedman.

Today, Telerico sports a new face-lift and is back on the prowl. Ladies, if you can ignore that whole blowing-off-people's-head thing, we imagine he's a pretty good catch.

Help Wanted

Schools security chief
Salary range: $95,000 to $115,000
Start date: Immediately.
Description of duties: Successful candidate must have experience in both education and law enforcement, and know how to work those X-ray machines like they have at the airport. Some training in kung fu would be cool too — but really, we'll take anyone.

You may have heard we're desperate. A kid just shot up one of our supposedly "good" schools after we refused to supply it with metal detectors. Now we've got a lot of angry parents, so we have to show 'em we mean business by hiring a new guy with credentials and everything. (Okay, we were lying about that last part. We both know we'll end up hiring the mayor's nephew, who has three credits in law enforcement from Tri-C.)

See, before the shooting, we had 35 elementary schools without any security officers at all. We only had 12 metal detectors. Now we have to act like we're fixing all this.

Whoever takes this job will have to report to Nick Jackson, the mayor's brother, who doesn't have any security experience either. He was basically dumped on us after he screwed up every other patronage job he was given. We'd love to get rid of him, but he's welded himself to his office chair and refuses to leave.

We're hoping to find a fall guy to take the blame whenever Nick screws up again. Benefits: This is the Cleveland school district; you'll never actually have to work. But we may have to fire you at some point if the mayor deems it politically necessary.

Please write soon. We really, really look forward to hearing from you.

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