Jailhouse Rock! The Elvis graffiti cited by Imperial Mayor Mike White as evidence of racism in the police department has turned out to be a joke literally. The whole business started with a cop in the Sixth District who is so obsessed with the King that he has an Elvis tattoo covering most of his back. A few years ago, some of his buddies in blue held a mock seance, trying to conjure up the King with peanut butter and banana sandwiches. The joke went over so well that an Elvis seance has been held every year since and has become legendary throughout the department. Granted, it's redneck white-guy humor. But spinning it as evidence of racism turned the joke on White, who is now regarded in the Sixth, anyway as completely clueless on racial issues. Or maybe the cops were just invoking the wrong King.
Also climbing the mountain of racial harmony these days are the publishers of the Cleveland Tab and City News, who are discussing a merger. Talk about kissin' cousins! The monthly Tab dishes its sledgehammer liberal opinions to a largely white audience, while the biweekly News is targeted to a black news readership. If Tab publisher Jim Carney and News hound James Crosby can strike the proper mix, they plan to launch their urban hybrid in January, starting as a weekly and growing to an ambitious three times a week. The format remains fuzzy, as does the name, with City News and Tab under discussion. "We've got to keep the strengths of both publications," says Carney. Does that include his loopy political rants?
Another august journal, The Homeless Grapevine, is taking an appropriate Cleveland swipe at "richest people" lists by scouring city streets the next few weeks for the poorest people in Northeast Ohio. "We're looking for people with no property who, even if they were to win the lottery, would still be deep in debt," says Editor Brian Davis. The idea is to show that World Poverty (Grapevine's October theme) hits close to home, though Davis acknowledges that the people who best know impoverished candidates are unlikely to nominate them. "We have a tough job," he admits. No prizes for the winners, other than "the recognition and a pat on the back the same thing you'd get from Forbes or Money magazine." Minus the glossy finish.
Scenes from the Sunday Night Massacre: A cop at the north end of the West Third Street bridge letting Browns fans cross the street indiscriminately, but making steaming Steelers fans wait for the "Walk" sign . . . A plethora of "Modell Swallows" T-shirts, outnumbered only by depictions of our mascot pissing on their mascot . . . Drew Carey at the ESPN party before the game, checking his mic by saying, "Testing, testing, Pittsburgh sucks, Pittsburgh sucks." Pause. "But Baltimore sucks more." Meanwhile, the new twist on security, which has been remarkably tolerant of inebriated fans, involves a letter and phone call from Lew Merletti, the head of stadium security. After a first offense, Merletti personally calls miscreants to caution them that, if they're escorted out of the stadium again, the Browns can refuse to renew their season tickets next year. And retiree Chris Spielman has resurfaced in Columbus, where he is helping coach Ohio State linebackers. Apparently the wacko persona is no act. One athlete reports that Spielman is so intense, he scares the players. Dwight Clark, are you listening?
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