Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Ian Malcolm Was Right. So Was Ron Swanson

McBone Outpost #5996 features a rather ordinary, run-of-the-mill, long-neglected basketball hoop.


But this hoop houses a secret.


A reedy, chirping chorus tipped me off. As did a scolding mother wren.


I had to climb a ladder and peek inside, of course.


Take a closer look.


Closer still. These five little house wrens look about ready to leave their nest of twigs and steel.


Life finds a way.  Nature is amazing.

nwb

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Haven't Forgotten You, Moms

These are the two most amazing women I know:


Without them, I don't know where I would have ended up. Certainly not in a beautiful Michigan house, sitting on a comfortable sofa, sipping bourbon from a crystalline glass.


My sometimes-pregnant wife, obviously, is not my mother. She is, however, the mother of my sons.

This one:


And this one:


Watching her mothering skills in action only reinforces what I've known for almost 15 years: marrying this woman was the best decision I've ever made. She is also probably the only person in the world (sorry ladies) who could ever talk me into fathering a third child, which is why I've gone ahead with measures to sterilize myself while she is out of town.

My actual mother had three children of her own. She did a fine job with all three, but by my reckoning, the middle child is the one she got just right. I would like to add that she has put as much work into this new house as its occupants. That's why we've set her up with a basement suite, where she can rest her weary bones.

Mother's Day has come and gone, but a love note to a mom is always timely, so let me just say: Hey Mothers, I love you!

nwb

Thursday, May 8, 2014

THANK YOU CLEVELAND!

My last few words on Issue 7 for those have followed along about this crucial Issue that just passed on Tuesday here in Cleveland:


1.) Thank you for your patience as I flooded your social media channels with Issue 7 posts and campaigning. I understand that this Issue may have not been relevant to some of you, some of you were against it, and others have no interest in seeing politics on Facebook. We can now return to my regularly scheduled posts on how great Cleveland is.

2.) THANK YOU to the city of Cleveland and residents of Cuyahoga county for believing in what we are building towards, and sharing our optimism about the future of this incredible place. This issue wasn't just about our sports teams, it was about continuing the momentum we have finally started to see downtown. Together we will build a stronger city that all of us that live, work and play here can be proud of. Clevelanders have ALWAYS been strong, and CLEVELAND will soon be stronger than ever.

3.) These last few months that I have been involved with Issue 7 have been an incredible journey of personal growth and development for me. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of this process, and I learned a great deal about myself in a very short amount of time. I am thankful to be a part of an organization that is heavily invested in our civic responsibilities. Thankful that I work for a company that shares my passion to help bring this city back to life, and invest time, money and resources to do so. Learning and personal growth most often come when you are forced out of your comfort zone, and this campaign certainly provided that forum for me. I am as energized and motivated as ever to represent all the good that Cleveland has to offer, and be a part of all the great things to come.

Now that the issue is behind us I hope that we can all come together and focus on the positive momentum we have built. I hope that we can use that optimism to work together and tackle other more important issues that desperately need our energy. Politics have a way of creating barriers, walls and separation, but the essence of Cleveland has always and will always be in the strength of the people that live here. We all want to see our city reach it's potential and we all must continue to work together to make that happen. There is no greater force on this planet than a group of people united by a common goal, and there is no better place to make that a reality than right here - Where the people are strong...the people are resilient...the people are prideful...and the people are passionate. The future of the city is in our hands, and I have never been more optimistic for what the future holds. Soon, Cleveland will by synonymous with progress. CLEVELAND has, does and will always, ROCK!


jab

Friday, May 2, 2014

House of Destiny

My sometimes-pregnant wife was born in 1977.

So was this house:


Today is my wife's birthday.

Today is the day we close on the house.

Coincidences? Nahhh.

Happy birthday, baby. I love you. Let's go own a house.

nwb

Friday, April 11, 2014

Ten Points on Chief Wahoo

10) Something is different this year. Never in 38 years of Cleveland fandom have I seen so much written and said about Chief Wahoo on such a broad scale, and it hasn't subsided the way it usually does after the Indians home opener. The reason? Wait for point #2.

9) Part of the reason is that, prior to the start of the season, the Cleveland Plain Dealer came out against Wahoo. Finally. Some have called it an empty gesture. Maybe, but I'll go with 'better late than never' for Cleveland's most prominent daily paper.

8) As usual, Wahoo has his legion of ardent defenders. Right now you can find them massing at a Facebook page called Keep Chief Wahoo. Check it out, if you care to sample some of their rhetoric.

7) Speaking of rhetoric, here are some highlights that have been directed at yours truly:

Classy: I love Chief Wahoo, you effing creep. When I walk to the stadium past the protesters I finger that love right in their faces.

Patriotic: Gouge your eyes out, plug your ears, sit on your hands, and stop whining. An American soldier died so that you could have the right to your opinion. But, if something else is bothering you... don't let the door hit you in the ass, leave the country, see what happens when you bitch elsewhere

Confusing: you think Chief Wahoo is racist, but you support Gay marriages? How sick are YOU? What an a-hole!

I've also been called the 'PC Police,' 'libtard' and the 'Liberal PC Taliban.' And yet I'm probably like a lot of fans who don't like Wahoo. That is to say: I like to watch baseball and drink beer. And that probably makes me like a lot of fans who do like Wahoo. So, before dropping your next ad hominem comment, whatever position on the issue you take, consider that the person on the receiving end is probably pretty OK, and likely just wants to get down to talking about baseball.

That said, when you see that sophomoric radio loudmouths like Bob Frantz and Chuck Booms are on the opposite side of the issue, that's how you know you're on the side of Right.

6) If the team was new, Major League Baseball would never sanction the name Cleveland Indians or the Wahoo mascot, just like it would never sanction Cleveland Negroes and Chief Sambo:

Cleveland Negroes - Not OK

Cleveland Indians - Somehow OK

5) One of the most common defenses of Wahoo you hear is 'It's just a CARTOON!' Well, that cartoon is a product of the 1940s, just like this cartoon. If you don't think they come from the same tradition of dehumanization, you are fooling yourself.

4) Hall of Fame outfielder Larry Doby, the first African American player in the American League, the man whom is often cited as an example of how progressive the Indians have been in their history, once likened Chief Wahoo to 'minstrel shows.'

3) The Cleveland Indians have long maintained that the name Indians and the Wahoo mascot are meant to honor Louis Sockalexis, a member of the Penobscot Nation who played for the Cleveland Spiders from 1897-1899. Even if that story were true (it is not), the Penobscot Nation formally requested that the team stop using the Wahoo mascot in 2000. Their resolution was adopted by the Maine state legislature in 2009. The team has upheld this tradition of honor by ignoring the resolution.

2) By now you've seen this picture, taken by Cleveland Frowns on opening day, of Indians fan Pedro Rodriguez and Native American Robert Roche, who has been protesting Wahoo since the 1970s.


This photo was presaged with startling accuracy in 2002:


The Roche/Rodriguez encounter is a game changer, and has exploded the issue on a truly national level. And you have to wonder if the redfacers, in their determination to celebrate the mascot, have unwittingly hastened its demise. Because, seriously, what is the difference?:

Not OK

Somehow OK

Not OK

Somehow OK
1) This issue has become an embarrassment to the Dolan family, the team and the city. It really doesn't matter how emphatically the pro-Wahoo crowd insists that 'it's about baseball' and 'tradition,' because no amount of baseball or tradition can excuse an almost 70-year-old visual slur.

1-A) When the team re-brands, and it will, I plan to put my money where my mouth is by buying tickets and a piece of merchandise that I can be proud to let my son wear. My son, who is half Venezuelan and certainly has Native American blood in his veins.

Change the logo.

And change the name while you're at it.

Get more on Wahoo from:

Cleveland Scene

Waiting for Next Year

The New York Times

Keith Olbermann

Uni Watch

Welcome to Falling Rock National Park

Idle Musings

Special thanks to Cleveland Frowns for the use of the photo and the relentless energy devoted to this cause.

#DeChief

nwb

Thursday, March 20, 2014

I Got Them CCCC Blues

I always spend a day or two in a state of discombobulation when my sometimes-pregnant wife goes out of town. My bad, I suppose, for marrying someone so brilliant and beautiful. This time, she'll be gone for five days, thanks much to the blasted Conference on College Composition and Communications, which has the nerve to take place every goddam year.

When I need a cure for the CCCC blues, I turn to a picture, taken on her 30th birthday, which we celebrated in Bordeaux in the year of our Lord twenty and aught-seven.


Throbbing with energy, passion, scepters, orbs and frenzied horses, this is undoubtedly the best picture I've taken in my life. I cannot unlock for you the many mysteries secreted herein; just know that this shot represents the lone instance in which my sometimes-mystical wife's magical powers have been captured on film. I do not know what was communicated from wife to horse and horse to wife via rainbow connection, and anyways I doubt that my feeble, unmagical brain could ever fully understand.

All I know is that, as an artist, this was my finest hour. Is it too much to call it the greatest photograph of all time? I submit that it is not.

nwb

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

This Is the Kind of Shit That Doesn't Happen before Having Kids

A few days ago I purchased $90 worth of groceries, placed the bags and the McBonerito into the shopping cart and made for the parking lot. After securing the kid in the McBonemobile, I climbed in, fired the engine and headed home.

Not until pulling into the driveway of McBone Outpost #1353 did I realize that the groceries were not in the car, but in a cart in the middle of the Shop Rite parking lot. After cussing my way back to the store, I found the cart exactly where I had left it ten minutes earlier. There the bags were too, though a scan of the inventory revealed that they had been relieved of several items. What remained (dish detergent, steel wool, onion), would not get us through the week.

No one to blame but myself, but the level of distraction is alarming. After all, there were only two things to remember:

1) Kid

2) Groceries

But then parental fatigue is a curious narcotic. Curious, in that it comes with a stimulating component, and just when you think you can't keep up with it all, you do. You feel as though you could take a nap at any time of the day, and yet you are strangely more alert than you have ever been. You accept that it will sometimes cost you $90 in groceries, because the tradeoff is that you aren't going to forget the kid.

But I do find myself wondering what the fuck is going to happen when this guy* arrives in July:


I suppose we'll wait and see. Until then, I'll pop open a beer and toast myself on one small victory: I did not forget the kid.

As for you, thief...cheers! I hope you enjoy the 3-pound English-cut roast, bottle of Pinot Noir, six-pack of Atwater Pilsner, olive medley and assorted nuts, among other delicacies I can't remember.

nwb

*If you ever read this post, kiddo, know that, when I placed my hand on your mother's belly today, I felt you kick for the first time.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

The State of Cleveland Sports, Dark Skies Edition

Let me preface this happy rainbow of a post by noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of Cleveland's last championship.

Browns

They're about to hire someone named Pettine to be the face of the next couple of 4-12 campaigns.

Cavaliers

They have a coach who preaches defense and a point guard who tries to shoot his team to victory.

Indians

They have a racist name and a mascot to match, casting a pall upon the city and all its beloved teams.

In memoriam:

The Cleveland Browns - 1964 NFL Champions
 
nwb