The Cleveland Museum of Art is internationally heralded for its diverse collections and great depth of Asian, pre-Columbian, and medieval works. Now the museum's chief executive is rolling in the accolades as well.
Katharine Lee Reid, who most recently nurtured goodwill in the form of widespread layoffs and pay cuts, has been named Asshole of the Week by the website geocities.com/impeachreid/.
The honor presumably reflects Reid's whacking of 37 employees in July. Among those ousted were five curatorial workers, including one with more than 20 years of service. Despite the museum's budget woes, Reid insists that the museum is sticking with plans for major renovation and expansion.
"Do you really think the staff can't see right through you?" the website asks the executive, who's affectionately nicknamed "Mrs. Doubtfire." "It's all about you getting your name on the wall of a new building . . . Do the museum and the public some good and quit."
The employment link on the museum's home page lists no opportunities for website designers at this time.
Cintron pulls his pants
Cleveland Councilman Nelson Cintron Jr. demonstrated at the Puerto Rican Cultural Festival just how far he'll go to help constituents. Cintron, who was born in Puerto Rico, attempted some Spanish to wow the crowd. What he meant to say, onlookers believe, is "I put on my pants every day and go to work for you at City Hall." In Spanish, that would begin "Me amarro los carsones todos los dias." But what Cintron said instead was "Me quito los carsones" -- "I pull down my pants."
There was no shortage of snickering. "Especially with some of his women problems," our source reports. "You had to wonder if he meant it." (Cintron married his wife for the second time in 2001; he also fathered a child out of wedlock. Both women accused him of hitting them.)
The slip wasn't the first for Cintron, who's quickly becoming the West Side's George W. Bush. At a ceremony unveiling the new Cesar Chavez stamp, he praised the merits of "Julio Cesar Chavez."
Buying grease in bulk
Pity poor Parsons. The California engineering and design firm recently lost out on a $680 million federal contract to begin rebuilding Iraq. So it's cleaning up Cleveland instead.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers put Parsons in charge of collecting soil and air samples from the old Cleveland Plant site at East 131st and Taft. During World War I, the plant produced the chemical agent mustard gas, and the Corps is worried that poisonous liquid may have been buried under what is now a vacant parking lot ("Is It Safe?" November 22, 2001).
The mustard gas gig is a lousy consolation prize for a company that hoped to win the Baghdad Is Burning Sweepstakes. Parsons, which previously profited from war by helping rebuild Bosnia and Kosovo, vied for the first -- and certainly not the last -- contract to mop up Iraq. But in April, the feds forked the pork to Bechtel.
The company has only itself to blame. It donated a paltry $250,000 to elected officials from 1999 to 2002, according to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Bechtel, by contrast, slathered on $1.3 million in palm grease.
Woe to the Courvoisier
Weatherman David Rogers seems to be tipping the Courvoisier too high, and the tab's come due. Rogers, formerly of Channel 3, is alleged to have mowed down two construction workers on I-480, then scraped his Land Rover along the median for a mile before coming to a stop. The talking head, now working at New York's WCSB, was in Cleveland on holiday.
Punch remembers Rogers as a well-known barfly; during his days on the North Coast, he was often seen cocktailing before and after weather reports, attired in his natty suits, drink in hand, lady by his side. Forecast: Look for mild media flurries and thunderstorms, followed by chronic unemployment, with a 90 percent chance of settlement. Back to you, Ramona.
The road to stardom
Native son James Renner, former member of the Last Call comedy troupe, has ridden the roller coaster of hits and heartbreaks on his road to stardom. His most recent obsession: winning HBO's Project Greenlight, in which an amateur wins a fat studio budget to produce his first film.
Hit: He somehow persuaded the actress who played Winnie Cooper on The Wonder Years to star in the three-minute movie short he submitted to HBO. Judges told Renner that his entry was among the top 250 they received and was in running for the grand prize.
Heartbreak: Renner's film didn't make the top 50. Winnie wasted her time, which is precious.
Hit: Finagled transportation to Park City, Utah, for the Sundance Film Festival, then forged a piece of HBO letterhead declaring that he, James Renner, was one of the three Project Greenlight finalists. He used it to get past the bouncer at a party announcing the winner.
Heartbreak: When Renner was introduced to a Greenlight producer as a finalist, the man said, "Get him out of here. He's crashing."
Hit: The contest winner turned out to be The Battle of Shaker Heights (opening in Cleveland August 29). Renner called to volunteer his work on the movie, which he guessed would be shooting in the eastern 'burbs.
Heartbreak: Filmmakers decided to shoot the movie in Los Angeles, which is like filming NYPD Blue in Anchorage.
Hit: Renner volunteered to work on the set anyway, leading to another trip to L.A. -- the first was to woo Winnie -- and a job fetching water for the film's stars. The behind-the-scenes special, airing Sundays, showed Renner working -- behind the scenes.
Heartbreak: When Renner came back to Ohio, he resumed his work waiting tables. The credit-card bill makes a rotten souvenir.
New Jack city?
Jack Hourigan, the mainstay of Cleveland's Second City comedy troupe, will be the new co-host of How to Boil Water, a beginner's cooking show on the Food Network.
"They're sort of revamping the show around me to be more about single working moms," says Hourigan, who got the deal after being deemed "not conservative enough" at an audition for an HGTV show. "I'll be the anti-Martha Stewart." Hourigan's co-host is a French chef, whose name she cannot pronounce, but which begins with something like "Frederic."