Kasey’s Favorite Movie Scene Ever

It’s safe to say that Kasey is somewhat attracted to squirrels.  If she spots one in the distance it is cause for all-out, head back, muzzle-raised baying, coupled with a quick dart in the squirrel’s general direction.  Once the end of the leash is reached, Kasey resorts to Iditarod-quality pulling, capable of out-hauling a Dodge Ram, toward where the squirrel was moments before — because, of course, the tree rodent is long gone by then.

It’s not surprising, then, that this is Kasey’s favorite movie scene of all time:

Crossing The “Shit-Faced” Line

Recently Russell and I witnessed first-hand the imprecision of the word “drunk.”

IMG_2179It happened as we were walking back up East Ninth Street in Cleveland after the Browns’ victory over the Steelers last Sunday.  In a crowd full of people who’d had some kind of alcoholic beverage during the day, we came across a living, stumbling definition of “shit-faced” who was lurching from side to side as we approached.  He had somehow lost a shoe and almost fell over trying to retrieve it.  When Russell picked it up and handed it to him, we noticed the guy’s nose was covered in fresh blood — whether from a trip and fall, a liquor-fueled brawl with a Steelers fan, or some other mishap, we’d never know — and his face was lit with that familiar, bright alcoholic haze.  Russell kindly gave him a napkin he happened to have, so the besotted wretch could stanch the flow of blood, and we hurried past.  The guy wobbled along, no doubt to an impending, hunched over encounter with a street gutter before he found whoever was going to drive him home.

“Drunk” is too generic; it doesn’t really capture the different gradations of inebriation that we all recognize through years of experience.  It’s why “drunk” is often combined with other words, as in messy drunk or blind drunk or falling down drunk.  If you’re going to have a drink for festive purposes, you’re probably aiming for tipsy or buzzed or lubricated or toasted — words that reflect a happy, uninhibited state, yet one where the drinker still maintains some semblance of physical and mental control and can speak in moderately coherent sentences.  You don’t want to venture into the territory of potted, sloppy, sloshed, or trashed, and if you’ve crossed the line into hammered, blotto, plastered, or wasted, there is no going back.  All you can do is hope that you finally stop the intake before you reach the shit-faced pinnacle — or, perhaps more appropriately, nadir — of embarrassing, knee-walking, vomit-covered public intoxication.

These considerations are useful to keep in mind as we head into the heart of the holiday season.

Save The PD!

Cleveland’s lone daily newspaper is the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  It’s hard to imagine the City by the Lake without the PD — but now employees of the newspaper are raising that possibility.

The PD has been hit by declining circulation.  In 2007, its circulation was 334,194 (daily) and  445,795 (Sunday).  In 2012 its circulation was 246,571 (daily) and 401,134 (Sunday).  In short, its paid readership has fallen sharply, and it likely has suffered a similar drop in ad revenues.

The Plain Dealer staff apparently has been advised that cutbacks of some kind are likely.  The Newspaper Guild Local that represents PD journalists has decided to approach the issue proactively, by buying billboards advising the public of the possible cuts and urging readers to not let the PD “fade away.” There’s also a “SaveThePlainDealer” Facebook page with the same message.

I was up in Cleveland on Monday and saw one of the “Save the PD” billboards, and it was as jarring as when I heard that Art Modell was moving the Browns to Baltimore.  It was impossible to imagine Cleveland without the Browns, and it’s just as impossible to imagine the city without the Plain Dealer.  It’s long been a leading newspaper in Ohio, and the idea that it might reduce its operations — or stop publishing a print edition altogether — is unthinkable.

The problem, however, is one of economics.  Writing, printing, and distributing a daily uses lots of materials and employees; publishing on-line doesn’t.  More and more, people get information from the internet, where new content appears all the time.  When you compare the cost and nimbleness of the web to physical newspapers that are delivered to your doorstep, the latter strikes many people as a kind of anachronistic antique, like the telegraph or stagecoach travel.  For that reason, the Newspaper Guild’s campaign may well face an uphill battle.

The Buckeyes Lose A Close One At Cameron

Last night the Ohio State Buckeyes fell to the Duke Blue Devils, 73-68, at Cameron Indoor Stadium.  It was a tightly contested, entertaining match-up between two pretty good basketball teams.

The Buckeyes played excellent on-the-ball defense and rebounded the ball well to dominate the first half — even though they played most of the half with Deshaun Thomas, their top scorer, riding the bench with two fouls.  The Buckeyes were sharp and attacking and had Duke on its heels.  In the second half, however, Duke played much more aggressively at both ends of the court, and it paid off.  Duke hit big shots, Ohio State didn’t, and when Duke pulled ahead it made the free throws that salted the game away.

Duke’s Mason Plumlee is as good as advertised.  As expected, he dominated inside, scoring 21 points and corralling 17 rebounds.  The Blue Devils also got great contributions from Rasheed Sulaimon, Ryan Kelly, and Quinn Cook, all of whom responded to Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s halftime instructions and hit huge shots to help Plumlee put the Blue Devils on top.  As usual, Duke was helped by its awesome home court advantage, with great blue-painted fans screaming every time an Ohio State player touched the ball.

The Buckeyes’ main problem was shooting.  Thomas never seemed to get into a rhythm after his early foul trouble, and Aaron Craft, Lenzelle Smith Jr., and Shannon Scott all struggled with their shots.  Still, the game had lots of positives for the young Ohio State team.  The Buckeyes stood toe-to-toe with a basketball power on its legendary home court, kept its poise even when shots weren’t dropping, and played down to the wire in a game many pundits expected would be a Duke blowout.  Playing in a tough venue like Cameron Indoor Stadium will serve the Buckeyes well when the Big Ten season begins.  I also thought that Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel played pretty well inside — if you can say that when the opposing center scores 21 points — and their experience with Plumlee should help when they match up against Indiana’s stud center, Cody Zeller.  Sophomores LaQuinton Ross and Sam Thompson weren’t intimidated and showed they can make big contributions, and I suspect that Craft will use his off night as an incentive to play even harder the rest of the year.

It would have been nice to beat Duke, end its streak of home floor wins against non-conference opponents, and win the Big Ten-ACC Challenge for the Big Ten, but the Buckeyes have nothing to be ashamed of.  Coach Matta and his staff will use the lessons from this game to teach and tinker and get the team ready for the Big Ten season.

Swan Lake

Our neighborhood swan was up early this morning, patrolling the pond in response to the gaggle of Canadian geese that landed for a stopover on their flight south for the winter.  The geese were barely visible in the blackness, but the swan’s white feathers stood out clearly as it paddled powerfully by with a stern look on its face.