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The little city that could

According to Wikipedia, the city pictured above is the 7th most dangerous city in the world. Sports teams in Cleveland haven’t won a championship in 44 years. The economy in Cleveland is bad and getting worse. Politicians in Cleveland are corrupt, power-hungry and greedy. Lake effect snow is just a weird breeze away.

On that note, I’d like to make a statement to the national media.


It seems like every day I’ll flip on ESPN, CNN or one of the cable news networks and something is said along these lines:

  • “…Cleveland’s economy is just terrible. Poor Clevelanders.”
  • “…not a single championship in 44 years. Can you imagine that?”
  • “It’s amazing that there are still people left in the wasteland that is Cleveland.”
  • “Cleveland is one of the most devestated economies in the U.S….and it’s all George Bush’s fault.”

Anyone else sick of hearing this?

Let’s think about it for a moment. Cleveland’s economy, while a tad slow, still has a ton of room for growth. Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport is one of the main hubs of Continental Airlines, seemingly the only airline that is not being affected by rising fuel costs. The lakefront is primed for development (now if only those stupid politicians could do something about it…). Cleveland’s cost of living is among the best in the nation.

In sports, we haven’t had a championship in 44 years, but on the other hand, none of our teams perenially bad, either. The Indians had an off year but still had some memorable moments and are poised to contend next year. Even though the Cavs struggled with injuries and rebuilt their entire team in the middle of the season, they took the best team in the league down to the final few minutes of Game 7 of the conference semi-finals. The Browns had an improbable 10-6 season last year and just missed the playoffs. If you’re not in the mood for the conventional sports, what about a Lake Erie Monsters game, or a Cleveland Gladiators AFL game?

And if you want culture, Cleveland’s got that too. Little Italy is full of mom-and-pop shops and restaurants that makes Cleveland Heights (maddeningly) like the streets of Rome. The Chicago Tribune has called Cleveland the hot new dining scene. Playhouse Square is probably the best theater district between New York and Chicago.

It’s easy to focus on Cleveland’s shortcomings. But if you focus on the good, you find that Cleveland is a pretty nice city to live in. And the media feeling bad for us works against us in two ways: 1) it scares new people and talent away from the city, and 2) it’s against most true Clevelanders’ nature.

Instead of complaining about the weather when it’s bad, Clevelanders notice when it’s good and enjoy it. Instead of being fair-weather (pun intended) fans of the Browns, Indians and Cavs, Cleveland fans support the teams when they’re bad or good (particularly the Browns). Instead of wistfully dreaming of the Pacific coast or Atlantic coast, Clevelanders drive up to the tenth largest lake in the world and enjoy a day at the beach.

Don’t let the media attack or victimize our city. Living in Cleveland is a lot better than its made out to be, because, like anywhere else in America, with some hard work and a little bit of luck, anyone can excel.

I’m proud to live in Cleveland, and like Fausto Carmona, I’ll defend it.

I’ve seen a million faces…

Hello from the first floor of Kelvin Smith Library in the “heart of campus” of Case Western Reserve University! It’s sunny, about 40 degrees, and baseball season is less than 36 hours away from getting underway!

  • On that note, I was watching the Indians play their final exhibition game of the spring thanks to a free preview of MLB.tv (don’t get me started…):

    It was raining in Atlanta (actually, thunderstorming, which was kind of cool) so rather than risk injury to players they put the game on rain delay. Now, for those of you who don’t know, MLB.tv basically rebroadcasts the local network’s broadcast over the Internet, so I was watching the PeachtreeTV (I don’t know either, I guess Atlanta is like that) broadcast, and they switched into the rain delay programming…which was a rerun of Cheers. That’s right: for a minute (until MLB.tv realized what was happening) I was watching a rerun of Cheers on MLB.tv. The irony is amazing.

  • In other sports news, the latest “Cinderella Story” Davidson destroyed Wisconsin last night. I watched most of that game (from a random bar in Parma) – it’d be pretty tough to beat a team that was raining down threes like Davidson was. They play UCLA next, so that story is probably over.
  • And now a message to the voters that will be deciding our next president: you’re not voting for the candidate’s pastor, you’re voting for that candidate. Look, what Jeremiah Wright said (and perhaps what he believes) is wrong, but that doesn’t mean a) that Barack Obama believes the same thing by extension, and b) that the guy doesn’t have other good qualities that makes him a guy Obama would have hung around with all those years. Obama’s been defending himself since those videos surfaced – and he’s not even in them!
  • From the Clinton campaign, Chelsea Clinton defended herself the other day against a Monica Lewinsky question. Basically, it was a fair question, but in Chelsea’s defense (she’s not as evil as her parents yet, it’s easier to defend her) it was a fair answer. I don’t know that Hillary has ever answered that question, but it’s certainly not Chelsea’s responsibility.
  • While the Democrats are bickering about seemingly everything, John McCain is, all of the sudden, becoming less annoying. The fact is that he shouldn’t even be close in this race – he supports a war that most Americans do not support and on the number one issue (apparently) to most Americans, the economy, he “doesn’t know that much”. But the longer the Democrats fight this out, the better he does.

    That’s NOT to say that I agree with Howard Dean (YEAHHHHHHHH!), that we should end the “fight” before the convention. Even worse, there is speculation within this piece that if the Democrats don’t resolve this that Al Gore will be at the top of the ticket with Obama or Clinton as the Vice President. First, how does that solve anything? Then they both are still fighting about who gets to be the VP. Secondly…are you kidding? What’s the point of a primary if we can just choose a new candidate at the convention? It’s like Al Gore is the father figure of the Democratic party (I don’t really know why, he hasn’t held public office in eight years) and he’d be saying, “well, you kids can’t settle this yourself so I’m going to settle it for you.”

  • Saw this article on the front of CNN.com the other day. Now, yes, you feel sorry for the woman in the article, but notice a couple things. First, she somehow can afford all of that nice furniture and lamps in the background but not food for her family? And how is it possible that you go from $70000 a year to, “weeks later”, having no money for food? This is the point of having savings accounts and not racking up debt! As we enter these hard times with the economy, make sure you know what you’re reading, what the angle of the reporter is, and think about it a bit before jumping to any conclusions.
  • Finally, the quote of the day:
    MICHAEL: We can no longer be friends and when we talk about things here we must only discuss,ah, work associated things, and uh, we can consider this my retirement from comedy and in the future if I want to say something funny or witty or do an impression I will no longer, EVER, do any of those things.
    JIM: Does that include “That’s what she said?”
    MICHAEL: Mmm-hmm…yes.
    JIM: Wow that is really hard…you really think you can go all day long?…well, you always left me satisfied and smiling, so…
    MICHAEL: That’s what she said!

Hope everyone has a happy Saturday and a nice weekend!