The Akron Beacon Journal has a tradition of being especially tone deaf when it comes to under-40 culture. But the paper rose to new heights last week by reporting that -- gasp! -- college students now prefer iPods to beer. "Listening to music on iPods has temporarily overtaken beer drinking as the most in' thing on college campuses," the Beacon sagely announced.
The story, based on a Student Monitor survey, alleged that iPods are now 2 percent more popular than beer. Unfortunately, the survey's margin of error was 2.3 percent. But since a headline reading "Beer and iPods both popular with college students!" would have been too obvious for even the Beacon, the paper went for the bolder declaration.
To back its thesis, the Beacon interviewed recent University of Akron grad Maria Verderico, who noted: "I listen to my iPod every day, but I don't drink beer every day."
Surely that settles it.
But Punch decided to conduct its own survey, just to ensure that Northeast Ohio readers are receiving thorough science. What we discovered will shock you!
Based on an exclusive interview with Erin Carracher -- conducted at the Noisy Oyster a half-hour before last call on a school night -- it appears the Beacon's thesis is no longer true.
"I drink beer every day, and I don't even own a fucking iPod," says the Ohio U. junior. "Thanks to tuition costs, I can't afford one. But I can always find $2.50 for a beer, of course."
Look for the full story in the Beacon next week, when it launches its three-part series, "How College Students Always Seem to Have at Least $2.50."
Bad pub and pangs of guilt
When we last left Molly Fiedler, she had filed a sexual harassment complaint with the Ohio Civil Rights Commission against her boss, Charles Tuttle, who runs subscription booths for The Plain Dealer ["A Worker Scorned," July 12, 2006]. Fiedler was hawking The PD for less than a week before Tuttle began acting like a perv and asking if he could take nude photos of the preggy 28-year-old, she wrote in her complaint. He also refused to pay her.
But when she complained to PD officials, they said there was nothing they could do, since Tuttle was an independent contractor.
Unfortunately, you don't look like the best of corporate citizens when you allow your contractors to perv out on pregnant ladies. Less than two weeks later, the bad publicity forced The PD to do an about face. It's agreed to give Fiedler back pay and "a bit more" in exchange for her dropping the civil rights complaint, though the paper won't comment on whether Tuttle is still a contractor.
"Beggers can't be choosers, you know?" says Fiedler. "I just hope they do fire that asshole."
The Biggest Loser
Add rapper Ice-T to the growing list of people with a reason to kick indie filmmaker Bob Gray's ass. An e-mail circulated by a crew member of Gray's most recent project, Bigfoot, claims that Gray beat out Ice-T for the best supporting actor award at this year's Long Island International Film Expo. But a spokeswoman for the awards says Ice-T wasn't even nominated.
Ice-T, however, will have to get in line behind Gray's ex-wife, Diane, whom he owes $68,000 in back child support for their teenage son, Alex, whom Gray deserted when he was only a year old [First Punch, June 21]. Gray recently pleaded guilty to being a deadbeat in a Stark County court and is awaiting sentencing.
At least he was spared Diane's judgment at the film expo. "I thought Bob's acting was horrible," she says. "This is all his ego needs."
Ice-T could not be reached for comment.
Some higher education
Poor Notre Dame College. The tiny East Side school has not had a good year.
In June, former student Carl Wolfe was indicted on 21 felony accounts for allegedly sexually assaulting at least five students on campus. Then former Dean of Students Patty O'Toole was indicted on two felony counts for not reporting the assaults to police ["Hush," May 17].
Now comes word that the collegiate watchdog group Security on Campus has filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, contending that administrators failed to warn students of a predator on campus, as required by federal law. The group called it "one of the most serious potential violations . . . that we have ever seen."
Notre Dame could face fines and loss of its federal funding.
Lawyers behaving badly
Squire Sanders & Dempsey, the firm of some 800 attorneys headquartered in downtown Cleveland, is paying a "substantial" sum to settle accusations of fraud.
It appears that former Squire Sanders lawyer Donald Longwell Jr. set up a $14 million loan for the redevelopment of a Kansas City hotel. But he made the deal with Ohio mortgage banker H&A Capital, which Longwell allegedly knew didn't have the money to back the deal, according to a lawsuit. President Hotel, the party screwed in this affair, contends that Longwell negotiated the loan simply to collect his $10,000 fee.
Squire Sanders' insurance carrier had offered President a $27 million settlement, but the company rejected the offer. Though no one's saying how much "substantial" is, with the over-under at $27 mil, the smart money is betting the over.