It was a University Heights tradition: Every year on John Carroll's graduation day, neighborhood kids set up lemonade stands around the school for visiting parents.
Obviously, this was bad. It had to be stopped.
This year, Pat Rhoa's sons, ages 9 and 11, were engaged in junior commerce when they were approached by John Carroll's chief of police, Dan Clark. He told the boys they were in direct competition with the university's concession stand, and if they wanted to sell on school property, they needed permission.
"We had our own contracted food service people . . .," Clark says. "I explained to the father that you're taking business away from them."
Besides, as a good Catholic school, the Pope's teachings on crushing the aspirations of children are very clear.
Rhoa asked the chief whether his boys could at least sell their five remaining cups of lemonade, to which the officer responded with a definitive "no." Rhoa says Clark then stood over the boys, arms folded, as they dumped the offending cups in the grass. "Don't worry," Rhoa told the officer. "We're leaving."
But the chief didn't budge. "We gotta make sure you leave," he said, then escorted the trio off campus.
One can never be too firm with traffickers in illegal lemonade.
Fortunately, the Rhoa boys learned valuable lessons about commerce and power. "They learned how to be nice to people, a little bit about change and money," says Dad. "But they also learned that you can't get away from The Man. Big Brother is always there."
The greatest irony: The boys were trying to raise money to attend a John Carroll sports camp.
When good pranks go bad
Speaking of graduation, 'tis the time of year when the future leaders of this great country engage in mirthful pranks to close out the school year. And at Solon High, the class of 2005 will forever recall the tale of the naked Campbell brothers.
Someone -- whose identity remains closely guarded -- took it upon himself to distribute computer-generated fliers featuring the faces of two popular athletes -- Mark and Marty Campbell -- affixed to the bodies of gay adult-film stars.
Unfortunately, the old these-guys-are-homos joke was last considered funny in 1972, and the judges weren't giving major points for originality. "It was really lame," says Mark Campbell. "All they did was put our faces on a gay poster."
The beef apparently emanates from a confrontation the Campbells had with the prankster at a football game. "Basically, he was talking mad shit, and we beat up his boys," says Mark.
But, alas, Mrs. Campbell isn't scoring any points for originality either. Instead of throwing her head back and exclaiming merrily, "Boys will be boys!" she called police and is considering suing the prankster, says Mark.
Meanwhile, the fliers have become must-have memorabilia at Solon High, exchanged anywhere outside the reach of Vice Principal Pat Ciccantelli.
He can't say Noe
If you want to know why state leaders took so long to investigate their botched $55 million investment in Beanie Babies and George W. Bush autographed baseballs, it's all in the sugar.
By donating a staggering $185,372 to Republican leaders, Toledo coin dealer Tom Noe not only bought himself seats on the Ohio Board of Regents and the Turnpike Commission, but access to the state treasury so he could invest in his favorite flea-market collectibles. This, boys and girls, is how you go from obscure loser to pillar of state politics.
A look at Noe's shopping list:
· George W. Bush, former cheerleader, current president: $7,000
· Ken Blackwell, secretary of state, known sociopath: $3,650
· Betty Montgomery, attorney general, gubernatorial candidate: $6,100
· Jim Petro, state auditor, gubernatorial candidate: $6,100
· Bob Taft, worst governor in America, huge moron: $20,090
· Ohio Supreme Court (total given to seven of the nine sitting judges): $24,360
Good night at Verba's
Though the Browns appear to be giving tackle Ross Verba the Heisman in his quest for a new contract, Strongsville police are much more accommodating. According to Sergeant Lee Colegrove, the department won't bring charges in the case of a woman who believed she was drugged and raped at Verba's home.
On December 30, the woman told police she woke up at Verba's house naked. She believed she'd been assaulted while unconscious. The allegation followed a similar claim made two weeks earlier, in which a woman claimed she was drugged and raped by Average Joe star Fredo LaPonza and Browns rookie Sterling Harris. Verba wasn't implicated in either case ["One Night at Verba's," March 16].
Police filed no charges in the first incident. Witnesses said the woman had consensual sex, then concocted the rape allegation to appease her boyfriend. But Strongsville police refused for months to talk about the second case, claiming that they were awaiting test results from the Bureau of Criminal Identification.
However, when Bob Beasley, spokesman for the attorney general's office, told Punch that Strongsville PD has known of the results since April 14, Colegrove finally 'fessed up. "We are preparing to close the case," he says. The ruling: insufficient evidence.
The fake rebellion
When WTOU-AM 1350 started experiencing interruptions to its broadcasts, rumor spread that a pirate-radio operation was at work. People listening to the Jim Rome show heard a young man break into the program and tell listeners to go to a website called radiofreeohio.org.
The website appeared to be the work of revolutionaries, complete with none-too-creative denouncements of their oppressors, which are essential to any good rebellion.
"Radio in Ohio sucks," the website proclaimed.
"WHLO (640 AM) is obviously operated by communists [and] consists of nothing more than right wing rhetoric dispensed at toxic levels."
"WTOU (1350 AM), another one to add to the 'nobody has listened in 20 years file.'"
"WNIR (100.1 FM) is clearly the worst talk station in the history of the spoken word."
The website promised that the revolution against corporate radio would begin May 31. When Punch e-mailed the site, an anonymous rebel claimed to be operating out of an abandoned rubber factory in Akron. "We bust in whenever we feel like it on whatever frequency we'd like," wrote the would-be Che.
But Brian Stroud, the sales and marketing coordinator for Columbus-based WWCD-FM, sensed a disturbance in the force. He traced radiofreeohio's IP address. The owner: Clear Channel, the Dark Lord of Corporate Radio.
WTOU program director Keith Kennedy admits that the interruptions were a ruse to promote the station's switch from conservative to left-wing talk. "We sat around a table at a Mexican restaurant and cooked up the plan there," he says. "We wanted to make it sound like crazy teenagers were taking over our station."
But loyal listener Fred Hunt isn't amused. He was hoping for a real revolution. "I'm disappointed, because it's still corporate," says Hunt. "It's still not local talk."
Get motivated, you loser
Want to feel bad about your life? Then don't miss "Get Motivated," a daylong seminar at Gund Arena June 21. The touring event brings in the country's leading experts on making you feel inferior, like Zig Ziglar, "the Master of Motivation."
Ziglar will teach you the fine art of making "radical changes in small steps." Because if you're sucker enough to pay $225 for a motivational seminar, you're obviously not capable of big steps.
After Ziglar gets you pumped, alleged actress Dyan Cannon will teach you "how to make your own lucky breaks." These consist of paying hundreds of thousands of dollars for plastic surgery, so you can still charge $225 a head after your acting career washes up.
Ohio: vacation paradise
OhioTraveler.com understands that you're poor and likely unemployed. These, after all, are the only reasons for vacationing in Ohio. So the site offers a handy list of the cheapest day trips this side of Indiana that don't involve fireworks or corn liquor.
Imagine, for a moment, the smile on your kids' faces when you take them to the Trap Shooting Hall of Fame in Vandalia. And why pay $40 to wait in line at Cedar Point when you could go to the Buckeye Telephone Museum in Marion?
But if you really want to bust loose, the Museum of Postal History in Delphos is where the serious action is. Make sure you set aside the whole day. Aside from 7,000 square feet of stamps, letters, and postmarks, the museum also features films on the exciting history of mail.
OhioTraveler.com was created by Frank Satullo, who found inspiration after being laid off a year and a half ago. "With two small kids, I was just looking basically to have some fun and do something with the kids, but not spend too much money," he says. "I learned that Ohio has more free things to do than any of the surrounding states or most states in the country."
Punch, however, was disappointed to learn that the complimentary cheese cubes at Giant Eagle did not make the list.
Revenge of Omar
When the Indians head to San Francisco this weekend, they may wish to bring some duct tape and a Cadillac with a very large trunk -- the essential ingredients for the kidnapping of Omar Vizquel.
Vizquel's advanced age -- or was it his advanced skill? -- made him expendable to the Tribe last winter, so they let him head west. But 50 games into the season, Omar's play by the Bay is looking downright Ruthian when compared to the dainty-hitting Tribe.
As of last weekend, Omar was leading the Giants in doubles and triples, and hitting .284. The old man also has 11 steals -- more than any Indian. And he has positively wowed San Francisco crowds -- who only get excited for 20-percent-off-brie sales -- with his acrobatic play at short.
Conversely, Vizquel's replacement in Cleveland, supposed phenom Jhonny Peralta, is hitting around .260 and playing short as if he's auditioning for a job as a matador.