Monday, June 27, 2011

Ontario Street Cafe

2053 Ontario St
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 861-6446

by Beau Cadiyo

The TSA recently revised its methods of patting down children at airports. The practice has lots of critics; after all, how many five-year-olds are going to kick down the door of a cockpit, fire bullets into the heads of the pilots and commandeer the plane for terrorist activity? The answer: very, very few (I've learned recently that anything, really, is possible, and not to underestimate children.)

This video starts out with John Pistole, the head of the TSA, proving that he deserves to spend eternity in a special hell of being molested by TSA agents armed with metal-detecting tridents and rubber gloves slathered in hot sauce. Then Rand Paul, Ron Paul's son and current US Senator from Kentucky, has a nice little monologue where he accuses the TSA chief of "not getting it" and "missing the boat" in targeting TSA searches.

For the most part he's right, but his justifications are absurd. He indicates that the children aren't going to be the terrorists and, of course, he's right. What he somehow misses altogether, and what Pistole corrects him on, is that these children can make effective weapons when deployed by adults. In addition, they are usually traveling with adults, all of whom might be capable of carrying out a terrorist attack as ably as the Saudis of 9/11 and can use the children as mules for everything from weapons to drugs; the adults traveling with those children might be the ones that the TSA actually has their eyes on.

Then he goes on to say, "I think you ought to get rid of the random patdowns. The American public is unhappy with 'em; they're unhappy with the invasiveness of 'em; the internet is full of jokes about the invasiveness of your patdown searches; and we ought to just consider is this what we're willing to do." I guess this goes to the heart of democracy; what is the role of the government? Is it to do what is right or to perform the will of the people? If it was to do the will of the people, some might say that government should stop whatever it is doing and serve ice cream to everyone if the temperature hits 90 degrees. If it is to do what is right, though, then the justification of "people are joking about this on the internet; get rid of it" is ludicrous. I suppose it must be somewhere in between, where politicians perform the will of the people to the extent that they feel it is beneficial.

These things need to be discussed and hashed out every few years by the new generation of leaders, preferably in dingy bars with intimate booths that lend themselves to conversation, random friendly strangers stopping by to contribute to the conversation and, most important of all, good food and cheap drinks to stimulate and lubricate the flow of ideas. The Ontario Street Cafe fits that bill perfectly. When I first walked in it was loud - VERY loud. Beyonce was on the jukebox and all of the ten or fifteen women sitting around the bar or shuffling drinks to patrons was singing and dancing; the men were sitting back laughing. Frank Meuti and I - wide-eyed and somewhat disoriented by the onslaught of visual and auditory information - found a booth in the back corner and sat down; the music was loud, but they had somehow found the volume level that matched Jordan Baker's requirements for parties: it was loud enough that you could have a private conversation.

The Dos Equis lagers we ordered were brought within thirty seconds; the hot corned beef sandwich was brought within three minutes. I am usually not impressed by quality when I am impressed by speed, so it was with some amount of trepidation that I bit into the first half of my sandwich. It was, like Slyman's, packed high; unlike Slyman's, they gave me the choice of various sauces, of which I chose the mayo/horseradish.

If there is any sauce that should be consumed with a corned beef sandwich, this is the sauce. It was creamy and moist and spicy, adding to what was already incredibly tender corned beef that I suspected one might be able to gum to edibility. The bread was standard white bread; some Swiss cheese was melted perfectly on top. I forced Frank to eat some, at which he took half of the other half, devouring it in between observations on developments in Cleveland he either was a wholehearted supporter of or was deeply skeptical about. We were approached, at various times, by people who were very sorry to interrupt our conversation but wanted our opinions on something; rather than get annoyed, the fact that we were fish out of water made us open and accepting, which made them the same way. Then, we went back to discussing the role of creativity in economic development, intelligent city planning versus unintelligent city planning, the Medical Mart and the Cuyahoga County Democrats. A few Dos Equis bottles later, we got up from the table and headed out the door. Frank pointed out the price chart on the wall: $3.25 for top shelf drinks, and much less for well. I scanned the shelves; Dewar's, Black Velvet and Jack all had representative bottles, and I made a mental note that I'd be getting those next time instead of the flash $3 bottles.

The key statement that Senator Paul makes toward the end of his monologue is that "no one's thinking." With the TSA and the state of government in our city, county, state and nation, he hits the hammer right on the head; with the future of our democracy, though, I think there's a younger class rising up who will prove him wrong.

Ontario Street Cafe on Urbanspoon


Sometimes we get interesting search alerts via Feedjit. I just noticed this one:

Birmingham, Alabama arrived from on "The Cleveland Sandwich Board" by searching for: sex "j steward johnson".

Birmingham, Alabama - I am not sure what you're looking for, but I sincerely hope you find it.


Deagan's Kitchen & Bar

14810 Detroit Ave
Lakewood, OH 44107
(216) 767-5775

by Beau Cadiyo

Des Ayuno brought up a good point in her criticism of Just Like Mom's: why is Florida only proposing to test welfare recipients for drugs and not other recipients of government largesse - bankers, say, or farmers, or anyone whose lifestyle has been partially or wholly subsidized by taxpayers - i.e., politicians themselves? The logic follows the same patterns as it would for welfare recipients:


1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Bailout money was money given to banks approaching bankruptcy so that they could afford to stay open, not only supporting the economy but also providing necessities to millions of Americans.
6) If bankers people did not have the bailouts, they would not be able to afford food.
7) If banks had money, they would not need bailouts.
8) If banks had money, they should spend it supporting the economy and the government which saved them and not on salaries which would go to drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If banks had money, then the bailouts freed up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If banks had money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on the economy/government, so that’s money they should be spending on the economy/government and the government is supplementing the bankers' drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Farm subsidy money is money that is given to farmers people so that they can afford to run their farms "profitably."
6) If farmers did not have subsidies, they would not be able to afford food or other necessities.
7) If farmers had money, they would not need subsidies.
8) If farmers had money, they should spend it on food and other necessities and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If farmers had money, then subsidies free up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If farmers had money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on necessities, so that’s money they should be spending on food and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Political salaries are moneys given to politicians so that they can afford food.
6) If politicians did not have salaries, they might not be able to afford food.
7) If politicians had money, they would not need salaries.
8) If politicians had money, they should spend it on necessities and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If politicians had money, then salaries free up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If politicians have money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on necessities or their public service, so it is money they should be spending on necessities and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

Indeed, if anyone should be tested for drugs it should be politicians, who propose to set the laws of the land that the rest of us are supposed to follow. The voters of Florida should be amending the statutes so that politicians are held to higher standards than anyone else as regards drug use and policy and obeying the laws.

Having said that, if I was a politician, farmer or banker, I would take my government funds and go to Deagan's. We had a table for ten on Sunday afternoon and hit their brunch menu; three of us ordered burgers and the rest ordered a variety of breakfasty or healthy items. Frank Todoroff got the chicken salad plate, an amalgam of chicken salad (light on the mayo and heavy on flavor), fruit (berries, grapes and melon slices) and crackers (the wheat kind). My Ohio Beef Burger was barely overcooked and thoroughly juicy; the bacon maintained an incredible level of crispiness throughout, and the fries, while warm and soggy rather than hot and crisp, were ok with the ketchup served in a little tin cup. Babies were held aloft around many of the tables; one little kid had learned to flip his shirt up in order to get beaded necklaces, and he tried to get the others at his table to join in. We sucked down mimosas and coffees and food and left full and content for Sunday evening shenanigans. All in all, it wasn't the best burger in Cleveland - as some amateurs have alleged - but it was reasonably good, and came with a great atmosphere. Bravo, Deagan's - you deserve our welfare, bailout, subsidy and salary cash more than most of the actual recipients.

Deagan's Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

5 Star Subs

27575 Euclid Ave
Euclid, OH 44132
(216) 732-7750

by Kingtycoon Methuslah

So yesterday I didn't want to wake up. Man I didn't. I came to just up on five and discovered that my head and shoulders had found the sweet spot in the bed after probably all night of searching and they did not want to surrender. I did though because I'm fairly responsible, eventually. This did mean though that I missed out on having enough coffee. Having enough coffee is a real concern for me in the mornings because I'm out too early to stop and get some anyplace and on the two hours of bus I take every morning - there's not a lot of useful stops anyway - so it's on me to be properly supplied for my odyssey.

Which got me to seriously thinking. What if I was my grandfather? There's a story in our family. Long ago, when the British still ruled Egypt my Great Grandfather Methuselah would go to the city to work on the docks for ten piasters a day. Then when my grandfather was big enough - like ten? He came too. He unloaded a boat for his ten piasters and then went and bought fruit with it - the next day he sold the fruit to all the longshoremen and came away with twenty piasters and on and on. In this story I guess it's important to remember that the piaster is some fraction of a penny.

But I was standing around at the stop on 276th and Tungsten thinking about it - I could, when I get a paycheck - I could just go and buy a jug of coffee... I could buy a carton of self-made cigarettes and box them up - I could take donuts - I could merchant it up - be a merchant - maybe after a while work my way up to getting a food truck - like the roach-coach... Go from bus stop to bus stop in the early hours? I was thinking and imagining this. And counting up the people at each stop. Could I get a dollar out of each? Average a dollar? How much money do they have anyway? Taking the bus? Is this a sensible business?

I finally figured it's probably not as much as I make doing my data entry job. I don't know - maybe I'll still buy a jug of coffee one morning and some cups - give it a shot. It's not like I can't just drink all the excess.

On the second leg of my three legged trip I just read my book about the Crimean War - which is very, very good. It was an alright trip I guess? The driver looks at me with some kind of wary suspicion - she wanted everyone to fill out a survey about her the day before but I declined because I'd never ridden with her before - so who knows what I think - I believe she lost her competition about this survey because she seems ill - well not ill - because she's plenty friendly - but I guess indifferently disposed toward those of us who thwarted her efforts.

On the one hand I'm not protestant enough to respect people who value their work performance. Mainly because - you're still working for someone else - for crumbs from the big table. On the other hand - I can see that there's a lot of functioning that happens in the world based on that dynamic so I guess I value it, as a consumer. Could I keep the coffee warm enough? Would people care if I mentioned in passing about General Raglan's performance at the battle of the Alma? Could I, would I sell people the donuts?

Leg three - the kids everyone knows by name don't ride today which means - silence - relatively anyhow. Sometimes there's singing. Nobody remembers any part of "Three Blind Mice" besides those three words - so those three words are chanted forever in a way that loses its endearment quickly. So in silence. I have a good idea and am writing and scribbling, fast as I can, racing the bus to get it all down, or most of it - I'm writing a book you know - on the bus - it's alright - 10,000 words in week #1 - which is an alright pace.

Work is... work. I like it fine - there are many malingerers, malcontents and I'd say - Malefactors. Really this is a job I could do from home - I could do it as a contractor - say. In week #1 I've knocked out a thousand records - the old man who sits dexter is up to 200, the young man who sits sinister is up to 400. We all started on the same day. I'm thinking - I don't have to be here to do this - I should do it at home, heck, I should get another job and just do this on the side - at night when I'm bored anyway and just watch old tv shows - that's how it should be. They could make a deal with me to do a certain amount in exchange for a certain amount that's how it should be.

Talking to the man in charge afterward while waiting on my bus he says that in the spring that was sort of how it was - but that these complaining malefactors - they'd abused the system to the point that exists now - where breaktimes are enforced with draconian alacrity, and clocking in and out and mandatory hours of operation are strictly enforced. That's the way of things you know. This is the pattern of complaint: "We aren't treated in the way that we want to be treated humbug!" And to me... Waiting on the bus I decide that this is the x-y axis. You have dignity and you have comfort - you sacrifice one to have the other. I ride the bus because I think asking for rides and looking for assistance is undermining of dignity. I think getting in a car and paying all kinds of money and having that kind of responsibility etc... is a big trade up in exchange for comfort that comes at the expense of having some dignity and self determination. "Man, I gotta sell my blood, my car payment is due." That kind of thing. So I have no expectation of comfort at work and certainly don't complain about being asked to take out the trash because... Because it's just pathetic and shitty to complain about that - while it's virtuous and correct to do what is needed without comment.

Complaining - fie.

Going home I get to a neat stretch of the war in the Crimea and am engrossed. On leg #1 Wayne comes on the bus.

The day before I'd made his acquaintance - a nice enough guy - Wayne. He's a displaced person, crippled by a life of hard work and recent family deaths. He tells me stories about the people at the hobo jungle at 185th - naming names and gossiping lightly and good naturedly about who's a grouch and who's friendly. Mentions how the fishing is good but hard in the runoff stream.

This boy gets dropped off at the stop while we're sitting around and I'm sharing my cigarettes. He's one of the... I dunno - aggressively hillbilly-gay boys that you see a lot around the area? Very WT and super aggressive with the staring and gross attempts to flirt. "You're really tall!" He shouts at me from across the parking lot. Approaches and insinuates himself into me and Wayne's conversation. "I sure am." I reply.

True story - I hate flirting and really don't like it when a dude gets the predatory smile on me. Anyhow kid wants to now dominate the conversation and starts going on about how he's a karate badass and then calls attention to a big scar on his eye - "My ex did this to me."

Wayne is supportive. "Well why'd that happen buddy?"

"He was drunk."

Wayne: "He?!"

Boy: "Is that a problem?"

Wayne: "Looks like it was for you." Which raises a laugh - because it's a nice day and smiles all around.

Bus is caught and on to the penultimate stop. Waiting at Tungsten and 276th again. It's a long dull wait, and people there - they're all grouches - we all say to each other: "RTA runs when she wants to." - Except I say "... runs when he wants to..." Because I think buses are boys.

But tired and hungry I run to the sandwich shop on the block and the Palestinian(?) guy there sells me a sandwich with a long sales-pitch. "Hey bro - it's better than Subway - you get a lettuce and tomato sandwich at Subway bro - I got the real thing - one pound of meat on each one. I know. I used to work there. You tell your friends bro, you come back every day okay. Hey bro - I take food stamps for these sandwiches - you remember - hey! Hey, Schaadi! Get him a menu. You don't forget right bro?"

I realize - you understand - that this is what my grandfather would do. He would figure out this sandwich shop.

So I get a sandwich and finally get up on the 28 and head back home- past the apocalyptic windmill at Lincoln Electric - there's always gossip about it - is it really the biggest one in the country? For all I know - I only know what I overhear on the bus. I have an all day pass but don't want to go anywhere else so I hand it over to a kid who wants one - the first person to look up when I offer it. I have a pang - I mean, is it virtuous to give it away? Isn't the RTA in some kind of trouble- should I make everyone pay their share? Or is it benevolent to share what I have? Realizing that my grandfather would have sold it and not given it away.

I go home and eat what turns out to be a great sandwich - a pound of roast beef - which was the ration of beef given the British at Balaclava it so happens. A pound of beef each - the better to fight the Russian heretics.

So these things happened.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Colorado Sports Bar

8400 Pena Blvd # B
Denver, CO 80249-6213
(303) 702-4685

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: If you’re stopping in Denver, try one of the other places – Wolfgang Puck’s or, if you’re feeling healthy, the Jamba Juice. Give the Colorado Sports Bar a miss.

It sucks that this needs to be said:

1) There are solid double-yellow lines in the middle of many roads. These lines mean that you’re not supposed to cross them – not to make a left turn while you wait in the middle of a lane of traffic, not to pass, and not to sit in the middle of a lane of oncoming traffic while waiting to make a left turn.
2) You know the shoulder on the highway or interstate? It is for stopping on in emergencies. It is not a buffer for drifting down when you’re texting, it is not for passing, and it is not for going down at 65 mph just because you want to get around heavy traffic. It weighs on our hearts to have to say that if you are driving down the shoulder trying to get around traffic, and someone has an emergency and pulls over, don’t be shocked if people think you’re an asshole and don’t let you back into the actual lanes.
3) If a car is stopped at a light and is going straight, do not drive into the other lane and make a right turn around them. God, if only I haven’t seen six people do this in the last year.
4) In fact, just because many people don’t seem to get this, it is unacceptable to drive into oncoming traffic. For some reason, drivers seem to think that this is ok. It is not.
5) Take the Bluetooth headsets out of your ears when you are driving. In fact, take them out of your ears whenever you’re not on the phone. Wow, you’re wealthy enough to afford a Bluetooth headset. You look stupid.
6) Especially in movie theaters. Why do we have to write this, people?
7) Use your turn signals when changing lanes and, yes, when turning. So you are clear on this, the turn signal knob is located on the left side of the steering wheel. The left side is the side where, if you point your forefinger and thumb out at a right angle, it looks like a capital “L.” Push it up to signal right and down to signal left. The person you don’t see might be the one who sees your signal.
8) Do not go straight or make a left turn when your light is red. I know you’re important, and the government owes you special recognition and the right to ignore traffic signals. Wait your turn.
9) Keep playing your music really loud – so loud, in fact, that other cars’ windows rattle when you’re driving down I-90. It will all be worth it when, in 20 years, most of your sentences consist of the word, “what?”
10) Don’t spend gobs of money on rims, LEDs, chrome and anything else that costs money on your car to make it more beautiful. Don’t, under any circumstances, invest or save for the future. China’s economy depends on your stupidity…er, spending.

For an airport with an unusually high number of cowboy hats, low-rise jeans and whale-tails, the Denver Airport has surprisingly few burger joints. I ended up at the Colorado Sports Bar in hopes of getting served quickly, since the other looked like crap. Vancouver was up 3-2 in the NHL finals, which many people seemed to care about, including the older, overweight attorney who tried to pick up the single, traveling doctor mother in the seats behind me on the plane, standing at the bar, cheering the plays on television and then looking around to see if anyone had noted his crucial support of one of the teams.

Five minutes after sitting down, a Hickory Burger was in front of me. The speed of a burger’s delivery tells you a lot; if it takes a while, they’re cooking it fresh; if it’s out quickly, it was pre-cooked and just waiting for some sucker to order it. This one was slathered in hickory barbecue sauce and topped with cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato and pickle. The toppings added a lot, as did the delicious fries, but a few hours later I was suffering stomach pains – sure sign that the meat was of extremely poor quality. It tasted about as good as burger meat can taste, but that, of course, isn’t saying a lot.

If you’re stopping in Denver, try one of the other places – Wolfgang Puck’s or, if you’re feeling healthy, the Jamba Juice. Give the Colorado Sports Bar a miss.

Stevenson's Bar and Grille

23749 Lakeshore Blvd
Euclid, OH 44123
(216) 731-7671

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Probably the best dive bar food in town.

A few weeks ago, Cleveland saw two shootings within a week of each other. The first, in a club on Public Square, happened early in the morning on a Friday, after the clubs got out and before people started going downtown to work; the second, again on a weeknight, happened in a bar on Saint Clair.

My mind went wild. Who the hell is out at 2:30 a.m. on a Friday morning? Don’t these people have jobs to go to? If not, how are they affording alcohol and cover charges and weapons? Why are people going out with guns to clubs in the first place, and who knows that they have these guns yet lets them walk around with them without comment? Don’t they realize that this can only escalate?

If there’s any one good thing that comes out of all this, it may be that there weren’t any race riots or accusations of white paternalistic instincts hurled about. I’m in the middle of the new, beautifully written biography of Malcolm X, and one cannot read it and not be more sensitive to issues of race. Also, now that it is summer, many people are probably being reminded of the controversy last year over Cleveland police officers discriminating against blacks in clubs on West Sixth. In light of the allegations of disparate treatment, it is thus particularly interesting that all of the victims of these shootings appear to be black; there is no mention of the race of the alleged shooters, but in one video the handcuffed man being paraded around by police is also black. We don’t know the race of the security guard, but all of the people filmed watching the scene on St. Clair are black. All of the people calling for the club to be shut down appear to be white, though, and it looks like many of the police officers are also white. There are no apparent accusations of racism in either of these instances, or of whites unduly oppressing blacks by calling to close down majority-black clubs or arresting people who allegedly assaulted a security guard. There are no calls for whites to leave the majority black communities alone and to let these communities take care of themselves. Instead, there is complete silence about the race of the perpetrators, victims and the government agents.

Is this good or bad? I think it’s probably great. The race card is easily, and often, played in situations where it is actually inapplicable. The reaction to these shootings indicates that people are deciding not to play this card for once, and instead are focusing on what we know: the Public Square club had numerous violations and was being recommended for closure before the shootings occurred, and the deceased on Saint Clair were, apparently, beating a security guard and dragging him to a back bathroom to assault him in other ways (whether this was turning into a sexual assault is not clear, and reporting since the shootings has been minimal). In a sense, then, the fact that white people are calling for the club to be shut down without charges of racism being levied against them indicates that perhaps racial animosity, or beliefs about inherent racism, don’t have to come up when race might play a factor, and I think that is a positive. At the same time, though, we must be afraid that some will argue that this is justification for more disparate treatment between majority-white and majority-black clubs; we must also recognize that this could escalate to the point where many people will feel that they have to carry weapons around for safety.
Safety. The shootings also reminded me of a debate I had a long time ago about what Cleveland needs. A classmate of mine argued that education was the top priority for Cleveland; I argued it was security. He came from the standpoint of long-term thinking, he said; education would bring people to the area, help convince them to stay and also add to the economy, long-term. Education is important; don’t get me wrong. However, if kids can’t walk to school because they’re afraid they’re going to be shot, the greatest schools in the world are worthless because the students can’t get to them.

Similarly, security downtown is of primary importance. Of course, the ideal is to have a vigilant citizenry that will police itself and prevent these sorts of antisocial villains from perpetrating crimes. Second best, though, and what is actually realistic for our downtown, is to have the police do everything that they can to prevent crimes from occurring. Whether their numbers need to be increased, their pay needs to increase, or some other factor needs to occur, we need more cops on the street preventing crimes whenever they can and arresting criminals whenever they can’t. The statements made about downtown’s reputation speak to this: when crimes occur, people are driven away. Security, then, is of the utmost importance in the city’s revitalization.

We were recently at a dive bar, Stevenson’s, which is perhaps one of the more dive-y bars I’ve ever been to. It used to be a bait shop for fishermen, and then added a bar and food capabilities. We had a few burgers and a pork sandwich, all of which were prepared right behind the bar in full view of everyone; they also have a decent beer selection. The sandwiches were delicious for dive bar food; the burgers were well-done but the lettuce and tomato were fresh and the buns were of the hard-to-mess-up variety. The best part: it’s pretty cheap. If you’re in the area and you’re hungry, this is one place you should consider. The only caveat is that there is almost no parking in the bar’s parking lot, so you may have to drive around the corner to find a spot.

Stevenson's Bar and Grille on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 20, 2011

Just Like Mom’s

3030 Superior Ave E
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 685-5555

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Good Polish Boy.

A proposal by Yum! Brands – owner of such brands as Taco Bell, KFC and Pizza Hut – would allow people on welfare to use food stamps to purchase fast food. While we at the Cleveland Sandwich Board are, generally speaking, encouraging of all efforts to increase the percentage and number of people who have easy and affordable access to sandwiches, we have found ourselves generally against this use of taxpayer funds intended to help those who cannot afford food to buy it.

You are incredulous. Here: if the point is to allow people to eat, then allowing them as much choice as possible in their food selection seems to be an intelligent thing to do; let them get the food that they want, when and where they want it, and don’t try to dictate to them what they choose to consume. The problem, though, is in “choice.” America is the land of the free and liberty is a great ideal, and that with freedom and liberty comes great responsibility. However, we cannot support the idea that liberty and freedom should exist absent responsibility, and, no matter how much fast food companies would love to claim otherwise, choosing fast food is not a responsible food option, because Yum! Brands food sucks, being marginally better than prison food, and their food is the cause of, or at least a major contributor to, obesity and obesity-related diseases. We understand that sometimes life kicks you in your balls/ovaries, and that nothing can be done to prevent that, and that society has an interest in making sure that nobody is allowed to hit bottom without some support. However, we can’t fathom allowing people to make poor food choices when better food choices – and virtually everything is a better food choice compared to what Yum! Brands puts out – are available. The fact that Yum! will itself be one of the major beneficiaries of the program makes us even more suspicious. (The idea that this is part of Yum!'s oft-rumored "Soylent Green" project remain unsubstantiated.)

Nobody paid us to write those things. As importantly in this day and age, nobody paid us not to write them. The Cleveland Sandwich Board is an incorruptible, unimpeachable force of honesty and goodness in the world – as at least three ESPN commentators have opined, perhaps the last. If nobody pays us not to say something, we will say it, and damn the consequences.

This ties in to a more recent debate that we’ve been witnessing in Florida regarding testing welfare recipients for drug use. As far as I can tell, the reasons for doing so are pretty straightforward:
1) Drug use is illegal.
2) Because it is illegal, people should not be using drugs.
3) Unlike many illegal activities, drug use leaves some of its evidence in a person’s body, meaning that we can test for past crimes by testing the person’s body.
4) Drugs cost money.
5) Welfare is money that is given to poor people so that they can afford food.
6) If poor people did not have welfare, they would not be able to afford food.
7) If poor people had money, they would not need welfare.
8) If poor people have money, they should spend it on food (a necessity) and not on drugs (an illegal luxury).
9) If poor people have money, then welfare frees up money for them to spend on drugs.
10) If poor people have money, spending it on drugs means that they are not spending it on food, so that’s money they should be spending on food and the government is supplementing their drug use/illegal activity.
11) The government should not supplement illegal activity – here or abroad.
12) Thus, to the extent possible, the government should be doing everything in its power to avoid supplementing activity that violates its own laws.

Am I wrong? Am I wrong? Please tell me I’m wrong, because if not, I agree with Republicans and Tea Partiers, and my mother would be so, so ashamed.

To be fair, we wouldn’t want them spending money on many things otherwise available in restaurants but not that good for you. Polish Boys, for example. Recently, we were asked to compile a list of the top Polish Boys in Cleveland for Fox 8, and to have amateur yacht racer/professional rake Andrew Samtoy present them on New Day Cleveland. This city has many amazing Polish Boys, and we were asked to limit our choices to five.

Five Polish Boys. Try it sometime. It’s not as easy as you think.

There were many good ones we had; after all, it’s difficult to go wrong with sausage, barbecue sauce, coleslaw and French fries. You could put that in a bowl and mash it up and sell it as a Polish Salad and people would suck it through straws, it would be so amazing. One of these good ones that didn’t get on the final list was the one at Just Like Mom’s.

A group of us got together to eat one Friday night at Superior Pho. We went to the Indians game, where a bottom-of-the-ninth walk off home run was the perfect reason to celebrate with cartoon-themed fireworks; a sobering walk through the crowds (after three flasks of whiskey and brandy) and a miraculously easy exit from the parking structure got us back to Superior, where we ordered a Polish Boy, split it up, then started eating.

The sausage was huge, and juicy, seemingly having been deep-fried; the fries were standard and had some sort of seasoning on them; the bun was well on its way to soaking up much of the barbecue sauce (reasonably good) and the coleslaw (fresh and creamy). I finished mine far before Scarlet did, and sat back, holding Frank’s hand as Scarlet slurped up the last few pieces. Then, as I always seem to do after eating Polish Boys, I burped; later, a small fart would escape as well, more pungent than most, something I attribute to the sausage.

Good? Yes. One of the greats? No. Those were listed on the air the following Tuesday, and, as I was out of town, I wasn’t able to watch it. Since eating it, and putting significant thought into nutrition, I’ve started to have a change in heart: if I know that it’s not good for me, and that there are better, healthier options available, it is stupid to go with the worse, less healthy option over the better, healthier one. What one should do should take precedence over what one can or wants to do. Something tells me that’s the height of civilization, or discipline, or religious devotion, or some ineffable quality that is generally seen as beneficial. Choosing salads over sausages is like choosing Jesus over Satan; it is the narrow path of overcoming temptation which leads us to the promised land, not giving in to transient desires.

Someday, somewhere, a grad student is going to write her thesis on reading Milton as an instructive text on how to combat Type II Diabetes.

UPDATE: 6/21/11 - Yum! Brands just scored low on customer satisfaction in a report issued this morning. It looks like they probably realized that they needed to tap new markets, since the customers they have been relying on are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with what Yum! is putting out.

Just Like Mom's on Urbanspoon

Tremont Tap House

2572 Scranton Rd
Cleveland, OH 44113
(216) 298-4451

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: Exceptional burgers at a great price.

How much does it cost to park a jet at Burke Lakefront Airport (BLA)? Quick - get a number in your head. Think of what it actually takes to own a jet - the money, the power, the fame that a member of the jet set would have. Quite a bit, no? Think of whether someone willing to splash out a few million on a jet would think twice about a fee of $1,000 a day, or $5,000 a day. Would such numbers even bother then? Do these numbers change your estimate?

Whatever your number is, cut it in half.

Then cut it in half again.

Then again.

Where are you now? $5,000? $500? $50?


It costs $5 per day to park a jet for 24 hours at BLA. That is not a typo. Five dollars.

How much for a car, then? Guess quickly, because the answer is $6. Yes - it costs $1 more per day to park a car at BLA than a jet, and then we wonder why BLA is losing $1 MILLION per year. It's because we feel bad for all of those jet owners who have spent all of their millions on private planes and can't afford parking fees, so we're stuck with their bills. Perhaps in the future we should be asking them to pay for us to park for free in their lots at their Cavs or Tribe or Browns games, or at their casinos.

This came up over dinner at the Tremont Tap House, on a beautiful early summer night on their porch. The midges were floating through the air around the tables and dogs, brought to support an APL fundraiser, were straining against short leashes tied to owners' chairs, tails and tongues wagging. A pretty blonde had a small dog on her lap and was feeding it from her plate, matching it bite-for-bite. The dog licked her fingers greedily as she laughed with a brunette. I thought: I would never date somebody who sat with a dog on her lap at a table. If she fed the dog like that on a date, I would probably give her a withering look and not talk to her for the remainder of the evening, and maybe even sneak inside, pay for my half of the meal, then slip out the back. Dogs, you see, are animals, not people, no matter what SWPLs might think.

I would certainly never feed them a burger from the Tap House. Oh, no. These burgers used to be not so good - or maybe it was that the only time I had ever had one, it was during a Cavs loss a year or so ago. Events, of course, change perceptions. On Wednesday, June 15, 2011, we were still exuberant over the Mavs' victory, and that may have changed my taste buds, but I don't think so.

The Tap House burger served that night was nearly perfect. The bun - soft, lightly toasted, and tasting buttered and fresh - sandwiched a patty ordered medium and served well-done; however, this ended up not detracting from its juiciness and vigor, and I ended up appreciating the charred taste even more. The lettuce and tomato rested atop bacon and a slice of aged cheddar, the latter of which overwhelmed the other ingredients out of proportion to its volume. This, of course, is not a bad thing. Most cheese chosen for burgers tend to be weaker than cheese chosen to eat on its own, letting the meat completely dominate everything else. Here, a better, stronger cheese could not have been had; I can still feel the way it pushed against the roof of my mouth and then dissolved into fragments, jostling against the meat and bread to get to my taste buds. The single slice of sweet pickle, which Scarlet disdained, was my only other complaint; I would have put two or three on top. Reasonably good fries and a dog-themed beer rounded out an exceptional happy hour meal.

And, at happy hour prices, you can get it all for just two times what it would cost to park a Lear and a Maybach at BLA.

Tremont Tap House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


7635 Broadview Rd

Cleveland, OH

(330) 928-3797

by Beau Cadiyo

Bite: some of the best fast food, service and ambiance in the region. Remember to tip your server well - it's not fun to be running to cars in this heat!

A new Republican proposal in the Ohio legislature would do away with front license plates because they don’t look good.

I’m not kidding.

Basically, Republican Rex Damschroder says that the plates pleaseth not his delicate eye and that car enthusiasts don’t want them on the fronts of cars. Also, some sports cars don’t come with brackets for the plates, so it’s apparently inconvenient. It is, in his view, not the responsibility of business to conform to laws; it is the responsibility of the laws to conform to business. Thus, we need to get rid of them on all cars.

Who opposes this? Police and law enforcement, funny enough. The front plates are useful because they help identify cars that break the law. For "Dandy" Damschroder, of course, that doesn’t matter – making things look nice is more important than public safety and enforcement of the laws, and serving the minority of car owners who actually care is more important than serving the public interest.

Is this, in conjunction with Senate Bill 5, an effort to distance the Republican party from law enforcement – a constituency which, one would think, is a natural Republican base? Perhaps. I had breakfast with D. John Horseradish recently, who is now some bigwig national political consultant. He mentioned that the Republicans have been recently exceptionally anti-government and that the Tea Party wet dream is to dismantle it at as many points as possible. In this, they are virtually anarchist; they want government to have no power over the individual citizens, and to have the citizenry in as close to a state of nature as possible. It makes sense. But this law, justified in Republican eyes because the plates don’t look pretty on expensive cars, is so far out of reasonableness as to make one question whether Mr. Damschroder actually read it.

(Interestingly, if you click on the link for “education” on his official biography, the field is blank. I’m not judging, I’m just reporting.)

Damschroder claims that, “The public wants (to get rid of the front plate requirement).” This is a surprise to me and, I’m sure, to everyone reading this. Rex, let me tell you something: the “public” of your imagination and the Public of the real world are different. The real Public doesn’t care about license plates right now. The Public wants you to go to Columbus and help figure out how to get our economy back on track however you can. The Public wants you to figure out how to ensure that our communities are safe – and yes, that means we do what we can to help police and law enforcement do their job. The Public wants you to figure out how to ensure that we don’t join California and Mississippi at the bottom of the public school rankings and that we educate our youth to take over and fix the problems that people like you create. The Public wants their potholes filled and their garbage picked up on time. The Public wants clean water and affordable health care. The Public wants criminals taken off the streets and rehabilitated, and then the Public wants to be able to integrate them successfully back into society so that they don’t pose any further threat to the Public. The Public wants its bread and the Public wants its circuses. If you can’t deliver these things, the Public wants you to stop taking up important government time with these frivolous bills which will damage Ohio’s communities in order to placate an absurdly infinitesimal minority. When you get us toward a more perfect union, then – and only then – feel free to pretty up the fronts of sports cars. Until that time, work on improving the lives of Ohioans.

And if you can’t do that, good sir, try to at least stay out of the way.

I’m really beginning to resent the constant assault on the responsible and the reasonable in favor of the merely aesthetic. Wright should have said that Form should follow function, and that function should come first; putting form in front frustrates everything else. If the Ohio Republicans were designing airplanes, they would first decide how it should look and only afterward would they try to see if the wings were aerodynamic. Essentially, we are in the middle of a war of intelligence against ignorance, a fight between the socially superior and the socially stupid. As played out in the Ohio legislature, the Republicans are attacking something that actually benefits our children and communities because he thinks it doesn’t look pretty.

This is ultimately what the Republicans are doing in Ohio right now. To all those who voted for them: you are getting the bills you deserve. After two years, we won’t be able to say the state is better under Republican leadership, but we WILL be able to say that it is less intelligent and rational.

I went to Swenson’s last night with Reuben Dagwood and Frank Kondilas; we decided a little while ago to have a book club on The Sun Also Rises. I read it every year between May and June, as I find it the perfect start to the summer, but I’ve never really discussed it with anyone. Soon after getting our Salad Boys and Fried Chicken Sandwiches, I had a whole new perspective on things.

We might be a lost generation.

But really, aren’t all generations lost in some sense? I started to think that after talking to them; we really have no purpose in the traditional sense since most of our lives are something we can take for granted. We don’t fear death so much as prolong it indefinitely; we have pretty much everything we truly need within our reach, even the poorest of us, and luxuries of the past have become as common as air. What, really, is the point of our lives, then, and how different is a weekend on West Sixth or Coventry from the nightclub scenes in Pamplona or Paris?

I’ve had the chicken sandwich at Swenson’s before; it is delicious plain, or with mayo and cheese, but with “everything” – pickles, peppers and something else I can’t quite remember – it loses some of its deliciousness. The Salad Boy, after a mint whip and fries, started to fill me up, and the patty felt mushy in comparison to the crisp-yet-tender chicken. We stood around after eating, smoking and taking snuff, and talked more about Lady Brett Ashley, about whether Jake’s impotence was physical or social or both, about how being an aficionado could just be an indication that you have nothing else of importance to go on in your life. I found it interesting that they seemed to be looking for something more to life – Reuben, a successful mortgage broker, and Frank, a high-flying international filmmaker. Then we went down the street to a bar and had three whiskies. Frank Todoroff called, and then I got gas, drove home, roasted a chicken, wrote for a while and tried to sleep. I stared up at the fan, lit by the light through the window, thinking about what I was doing with my life, whether it has meaning, or whether everything I'm doing and writing is really in vain.

As someone wrote, it is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night is another thing.

Swenson's (Seven Hills) on Urbanspoon