19
May
15

Social media assassination 

  

One of my favorite local haunts has been in the news this week in the Cleveland area, so of course I feel the need to offer up an opinion. The West End Tavern has been put on blast because a waitress typed the word “fags” on a bar receipt. Great idea? Of course not. According to her explanation, it was intended to be a joke between friends. She didn’t anticipate that anyone would see it besides the recipients of the check in question. It fell into the wrong hands and the rest is history. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that this type of thing has happened rather frequently. Whether it’s a racial or homophobic slur or perhaps a jab at someone with special needs, it’s all just one click away from becoming viral. 

This is precisely why it was an incredibly stupid thing to do, regardless of intent. In the society we live in, people are just waiting for this kind of slip-up. We love to be enraged, it seems. You have to assume that everyone is watching. You’re always just a tweet, Facebook status update or Instagram post away from being taken to task. What disturbs me most is the reaction from the internet. Clearly, this server is an ambassador for the West End, right? It stands to reason that because she had a huge error in judgement everyone affiliated with the establishment must be bigots. I mean, there might as well be a “No Fags” menu board out front. Does that really make sense to anyone? 29 years of brunches, nights out and catching your favorite Cleveland sports games should surely hinge on the immaturity of one girl slinging drinks. What? Yes, that does sound pretty ridiculous when you put it in perspective. Those threatening to boycott are simply part of the problem. If you want to make a difference, go volunteer at a place specializing in GLBT teenagers making a frightening transition or donate to increase awareness. Not eating a cheeseburger at West End won’t change the world. It may take money out of a single mother’s pocket, but that doesn’t appear to be a factor with all these knee jerk reactions. 
Let me clarify that I would never offer support for ANY business that exhibited any type of bigotry. I have far too many friends in all types of persuasions. I couldn’t back any organization that refused to see the beauty in all of the wonderfully diverse people I’ve collected over the years. With that being said, the witch hunt is ludicrous. Why in the world would you penalize the West End, their ownership and all of the other truly awesome people who work there? People need to get off the soap box long enough to see the big picture. This place isn’t standing behind the use of a homophobic slur on a receipt. In fact, they’ve issued a very heartfelt apology. 
It’s pretty unfortunate that everything is under a microscope these days. Social media can be a beast. You can literally ruin people’s lives with a single snap chat. Where do we draw the line? Everyone is offended by something. There’s a woman I refer to as “camel face”. Now that I’ve put that in print, is there some sort of camel coalition that will come gunning for me? Admittedly, it’s hurtful (mostly to the camels). The point is, that’s MY opinion and I’m the one accountable for said opinion, although I feel like I could sway some votes if you were to see a side by side comparison. No, I’m not comparing camels to the gay community…. So don’t run with that. I’m simply pointing out that anything can be made to be offensive if you try hard enough. I don’t really see that changing any time soon. We live in a social media driven society, which is a double edged sword. It’s fairly frightening how powerful that can be. If you act like a jackass, there’s sufficient opportunity for someone to capitalize. I’m confident that the West End ownership will do the right thing in this situation and I urge people to show support for something they clearly had zero control over. I’m also realizing how thankful I am that social media wasn’t around to document my dumbass years. 

12
May
15

Ray’s first Indians Spring Training

 

I had the unique privilege of bringing one of my closest friends to Cleveland Indians Spring Training this year. He had always wanted to go, so damn right I was going to be the one to make that happen. Unfortunately, he went to Goodyear Ballpark in my purse. You see, my friend Ray passed away very suddenly in November. Ray was my baseball buddy. That was always our thing. When I met him 15 or so years ago, he was impressed with my ability to engage in spirited baseball debates. He referred to me as a “lumpy boy” and laughed as I’d make off the cuff remarks about pitch count or how many men were LOB… While I was rocking stilettos. 


It was customary to ask “Were you DFA?” or “demoted to the pen” when discussing relationships. We were both baseball nerds, which is a beautiful thing. I gave it a lot of thought, and initially wanted to scatter some of Ray’s ashes at Progressive Field (it’s still “the Jake” to us) I eventually landed on Goodyear Ballpark as the final destination for my boy, Ray for more than one reason. #1- there was potential that I would be immediately arrested for my renegade behavior and I figure that the Arizona penal system is slightly more tolerable than Cleveland. I totally Googled “scattering a dead guy at a sports venue” and it’s not legal. I was willing to take my chances to fulfill this last wish. The main reason, however is what Spring Training represents. It’s a new year…  New hope. Every team is on an even playing field. There’s a special magic in the air during the spring. It’s exactly what Ray would want. He had a social media countdown each and every year. He felt that everyone should know how many days until pitchers and catchers reported. After that came the countdown to opening day. I can’t even explain how much I missed that this year. 

I had the huge honor of writing Ray’s obituary. I included the Cleveland Indians in the “left behind” portion because Tribe baseball is such a huge part of who this man was. He took it very seriously, which opened up some opportunities for me over the years. Ray was what I refer to as a “potato chip manager”. He was really gifted at making managerial decisions while sitting on his couch with a bag of wavy Lay’s chips… Almost always AFTER the situation had played itself out. “Oh… You would have pulled the starting pitcher before he gave up that home run? You’re a genius!” He would mumble under his breath, second guess the lineup and question pitching changes. On one occasion where he was being particularly vocal, I had the server deliver a piece of chocolate cake while proudly exclaiming, “congratulations on your promotion to Indians manager!” 


I can’t tell you how much he hated it when I’d place an imaginary call to the bullpen or the front office on his behalf. “My friend Ray doesn’t think so and so should be batting lead off. In fact, is there any chance he can just make all the management decisions going forward? Is he good at making decisions? Well, it only took him 20 minutes to decide what kind of beer to order. Does that count? No? Ok, I’ll let him know.” He’d just smirk and shake his head. 


I found the perfect spot for Ray in Goodyear. It’s a place where nobody cares who’s in the lineup or coming out of the pen. New talent is showcased and the future is prominently on display. If you’re not winning, it’s no big deal. It’s baseball at it’s very best. It’s hope and that’s what we could all use in Cleveland right now. I know Ray would be complaining with a bag of Cheetos because the 2015 Indians campaign didn’t get off to the best start, but it was his team no matter what. His family. That’s what I miss about him the most. His loyalty to this team, and essentially everyone else he considered near and dear. I keep hearing him in my head, “they’ll turn it around.” 

Yes, yes, they will.


28
Mar
15

The Broad’s Side of the Sports Illustrated Jinx

  

If you’re unfamiliar with the phenomenon, there’s some speculation that being on the cover of Sports Illustrated can be somewhat of a jinx. Enter the 2015 Cleveland Indians and their fanbase with a predeliction for doom. Whoah! Kiss of death, right? 


The Cleveland Sports curse is often highlighted around these parts. In fact, it may well be responsible for my last three failed relationships. To be fair, I’d like to think there were some athletics involved, and I definitely don’t want to take accountability for any type of failure. See how easy that is? Blame the curse. As Clevelanders, we’re conditioned to do that. So, imagine the reaction when SI elects to feature Indians standouts Cy Young winner Corey Kluber and MVP candidate Michael Brantley on the cover. 

Even more alarming is the magazine’s assertion that this team may be good enough to contend or perhaps even win the World Series. WHAT?? How dare you suggest that this team has a ton of upside. Are you soulless, Sports Illustrated? Don’t you know what you’ve done here? I’ll tell you what they’ve done…They’ve indicated that this team has the pieces in place to be competive and they think the Indians are capable of winning. That pretty much sums it up. 

Kluber’s arms aren’t going to fall off and a meteor probably won’t hit the ballpark on dollar dog night. The concept of a curse or jinx is nonsense. Let’s pull ourselves together here. I’m a fairly logical person, so I’m not a huge fan of predicting the World Series champs before a single pitch of regular season baseball has happened. EVER. There are far too many unknowns in any sport to begin that type of speculation, but I’m not mad at the concept. Why can’t we just enjoy the positive press and possibly get behind the team? Maybe it will be a great year. Why the hell not? 


I don’t believe a magazine cover can ruin your individual career, force you to lose a team championship or put you in a pine box. Let’s explore, shall we? Dale Earnhardt was on the cover of SI shortly before he tragically died at the Daytona 500 in 2000. Well, clearly that was caused by a photo shoot and not his frighteningly dangerous career choice and excessive rate of speed, right? If SI was to blame, I may have missed that murder trial. Race car drivers die… A lot. I doubt that the majority of them expect to spend their final days at Sunnydale retirement community. 


When I was little, my dad took me to the races regularly, until my favorite driver, Jimmy Shampine was involved in a firey crash. I’ve never been to another race since that day. My dad couldn’t break my heart with news of his death, so he told me he retired from racing and moved to a farm. I just found out about that a few weeks ago. Now that I think about it, I’m starting to think my dog Shelby didn’t really end up on a farm either, but I digress. 

Here are some other examples we should chat about. Are we willing to entertain the thought that perhaps Michael Phelps was photographed smoking pot because of his cover…. Or that Tiger Woods’ wife caught him having sex with essentially ALL the women alive due to a hex? Did Marion Jones get caught up in the BALCO scandal and get stripped of her Olympic medals because of magazine voodoo? What about the Kansas City Royals? Did they lose the World Series in 2014 because of a cover story? I’m pretty sure that one was Madison Bumgarner’s fault. If you need to place blame, I’d stick with that theory. There are far too many examples to name, but I think you can see my point. Whether it’s performance related issues or something as simple as someone being a complete dumbass, there’s ample opportunity for everyone to become an asterisk in the SI jinx Wikipedia entry. 


The Indians might have a phenomenal season this year. They might not. One thing I do know? Whether it’s a great season or a shitty one, it’ll be because they earned it themselves. It won’t be because of the Sports Illustrated jinx, a message in some tea leaves or a prediction from a magic 8 ball. Take a deep breath, Cleveland. Wear your socks inside out, eat some eye of newt, do whatever it is you do to ward off the evil sports reporter gods that be, and come down to the ballpark and root for your team. 
16
Feb
15

I Only Counted 17 Shades of Grey, Max

50 shadesI reluctantly attended a showing of the highly anticipated, supposedly super sexy film, 50 Shades of Grey last night. Full disclosure… I read exactly one page of the first book. It happened by accident when I picked it up off the floor at a SAMs Club. I tried to read a random page in the middle, but it was so poorly written that I couldn’t fathom reading even one additional page of that crap.

I summoned two of my cohorts and we met for martinis before trudging over to the theater in the -2 degree Cleveland weather. I wasn’t sure what to expect. I mean, this was going to be super hot, right? Maybe people wouldn’t be able to control themselves sitting in a dark theater with strangers while watching soccer mom porn. I brought a rain poncho just in case. I also brought sunglasses. I wasn’t afraid that people would see me. I just wanted to avoid the possibility of making eye contact with one of the other Girl Scout moms as she was being led to her seat in a spiky dog leash and ball gag. I didn’t want to risk that awkward exchange, especially during cookie season.

The basic plot of the film (if you can call it a plot) has our leading lady, graduating college senior, Anastasia Steele subbing for her roommate in a meeting with billionaire 27 year old business man, Christian Grey. The accidental meeting naturally turns into Mr. Grey proposing the two enter into filthy sex contract, which I’m sure is a legally binding document in sex court. Clearly, the smartest move you can make as a handsome billionaire with everything to lose would be to approach a total stranger with your closeted, freaky sexual habits. How could that go wrong?

Christian has previously managed to convince 15 other women not to call TMZ and engage in his fantasies of the dominant/submissive relationship, as we find out. I believe the intent was for this character to be a tormented, yet sexy and successful, misunderstood soul. The result of the casting, unfortunately made him an extremely un-likable, creepy, robot man with a potential murder spree in the not too distant future.

I'm going to start saying this to random strangers

I’m going to start saying this to random strangers

Anastasia was drawn to this cyborg for some reason. That part never became very clear to me. I wasn’t buying into the chemistry between the two characters. I’m just going to put this out there… It’s weird to buy someone a car after a week of flogging their naked ass. That’s a one month anniversary gift, at best. That’s precisely what happened though. I’ll be honest, I spent most of the remainder of the movie wondering how he was able to sell her old car without some kind of consent. It hardly makes sense that she’d need to sign a consent form in order to agree to nipple clamps, and yet we just go all nilly willy on a huge transaction such as transferring ownership of a motor vehicle. I knew this wasn’t a true story.

It wasn’t a total loss though. How many times do you get to see a shirtless piano concerto in the dark as a post-coital ritual? Handcuffing people is probably pretty exhausting and who couldn’t use a good tickling of the ivories afterwards? The hottest part of the movie for me was when I inadvertently dropped some popcorn down my shirt and had to fish it out of my bosom. I instantly wished I’d opted for the extra butter. Tell me that isn’t wildly erotic.

I saw two movies last week: this one and Spongebob. I’ll be honest, Spongebob was sexier. Hands down. At least he has a sense of humor. He’s also a more believable character than Christian Grey.

On a parting note, I’ll leave several suggestions on how 50 Shades of Grey could have been a much better film…

1) The roommate should have been the one to attend the meeting with Christian as originally intended. She was the only character I liked. She would have banged him once and moved on, saving me approximately 109 minutes of my life.

2) Make Christian an interesting person… Perhaps a doctor who performs life saving medical measures and THEN flogs Anastasia’s ass and buys her a car. They could call it Christian Grey’s Anatomy.

3) New leading man… Mr. Squarepants. The sex scenes would have been far less ridiculous.

Laters, baby.

22
Dec
14

The Manziel Era… Wait. I missed it?

TMTI’d love to put together an intelligent review of the Johnny Manziel era in Cleveland, but truth be told, I missed it. I had to work that day. As most Browns fans will agree, that was a pretty damn good day to be stuck at work. For Manziel’s hugely anticipated first NFL start, the Bengals humiliated us on our home turf, all the while mocking Johnny’s monumental failure by throwing up his “money sign”. Incidentally, this appears to have become some sort of douchebag gang sign. I’m very thankful that I was not featured on Sportscenter in the sea of brown and orange pouty-faced drunks. I’ve never seen so many sad looking grown-ups in one panoramic sweep.

Just like that, the love affair was over. We’d been catfished by Johnny and every damn one of us knew it. He wasn’t here to sweep us off our feet and finally bring us “just one before I die”. Let’s face it…. Unless one of our receivers happens to be a Nissan Altima with the driver’s side window open, the ball isn’t landing where it’s supposed to go. Not even close.

Surely, the Browns would acknowledge the egregious mistake to start him in the first place, right? Oh hell no. Not only did they pull our original starter, completely shattering any shred of confidence he may have retained, but they acted like a third grade girl by not admitting the mistake. What happened in Carolina for Manziel’s next (and last) start is no big surprise. I won’t lie, if it’s me in Johnny’s cleats, I clutch my hammy and beg for my clipboard back too. Johnny Boy is done for the year and Hoyer is hurt as well. I wouldn’t be surprised if the official report on him notes “feelings” as the area of injury.

I tried to get excited, but I always knew in the back of my mind that it was too good to be true. We don’t deserve nice things, do we? Hey, I really attempted to be a shot glass is half full kind of girl. Don’t you remember when the Browns were in first place? That was the best 6 1/2 days ever! Boy, those were some good times.

In a nutshell, as we enter the final week of the season, we have TWO broken quarterbacks and Rex F’in Grossman is too busy next week to get paid to play here. He has “holiday plans”. How’s that make you feel? Rex would rather tip back a few glasses of eggnog and play awful board games with relatives he probably can’t stand than play a single game in a Browns uniform. If that’s not a curse, I don’t know what is.

29
Jul
14

Sorry, ladies. The NFL hates you!

ray rice

I’ll be the first to admit it, I love the NFL. Sadly, the NFL doesn’t love me back. Do you want to know why? I’m pretty sure the fact that I have a vagina is the crux of the problem. The relationship first started to deteriorate last year when Roger Goodell announced the purse ban, which clearly wasn’t directed at the penis having contingency of the fan base. Feel free to bring a sandwich bag exposing any potential contraband, as if you’re starring in an episode of “Orange is the New Black”, but don’t you dare bring a purse. The message was pretty clear, in my opinion… My adorable $40 NFL endorsed jersey handbag I’d just purchased the previous season was no longer welcome and neither was I. Obviously, I should be hanging out at Target on Sundays shopping the circular sales anyways. My mistake, NFL.

http://thebroadsside.com/2013/06/26/491/

Just the other day as I was deciding whether my game day purse should be the “yellow and blue make green” zipper variety or the Target brand (maybe they’ll be in the ad this Sunday), I read online that my pal Roger had handed down the penalty for Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens domestic violence infraction that occurred in February in Atlantic City. I’ve included a link to the video of this upstanding citizen dragging his then fiancee’s lifeless body out of a casino elevator. Was she dead? it was hard to tell from the footage… she wasn’t moving, that’s for sure. He was kind enough to move her legs out of the way. We all know what a bitch it can be when someone’s waiting on an elevator and it never comes because an unconscious woman’s pesky legs keep setting off the sensors every time the door attempts to close. What a thoughtful man! Always thinking of others, that Ray Rice! There appeared to be one glaring exception to his graciousness as he stepped over his woman and engaged in casual conversation with his buddy. Does someone want to possibly check for a pulse? Maybe use an elevator mirror to see if there’s any evidence of breathing? No? This is clearly true love!

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/video/news/video-1084156/NFL-star-Ray-Rice-drags-unconscious-fiancee-elevator-after-fight.html

Rice admitted to knocking her out and as a first time offender was able to secure a pretty sweet deal which would eliminate time in the slammer. He’s very sorry. Well, he’s sorry that TMZ obtained footage of the callousness of the whole episode, at least. After carefully reviewing the NFL’s code of conduct and seriousness of the offense, Goodell lowered the hammer. Evander Rice was given a TWO game suspension. Ok… makes sense, right? Felonious assault against a woman can hardly be considered a big deal, can it? I mean, we need to be focusing on the super duper serious offenses like smoking a few joints. We can’t overlook that! Someone might get high, eat way too many Cheetos and binge watch old Beavis and Butthead episodes. That would be a black eye for the NFL, without question. Josh Gordon of the Cleveland Browns puffed his way into a one year suspension for violation of the league’s substance abuse policy. Granted, he tested positive more than one time, but can we really be sure that he remembers the first conversation? My mom says marijuana kills brain cells. If we’re giving benefit of the doubt, let’s at least be consistent. Let’s recap: Ray Rice goes all MMA on a woman and loses two games. Josh Gordon is a pot head and he’ll miss 16 games. By my calculations, Rice can get away with punching his wife in the face (oh yeah, they’ve since married. Does anyone know where they’re registered? I hope it’s Target!) seven more times to earn the penalty given to Gordon. In summation, Roger Goodell and the NFL don’t really like you or consider you worthwhile, all women everywhere. In fact, perhaps they’ll just start punching us all in the face at the turnstiles this season for kicks. Hopefully, that knocks women senseless enough to purchase a few pink glitter jerseys at your friendly stadium teamshop. They don’t want you there, but they’ll gladly take your money.

To say that there has been some backlash would be an understatement. Stephen A Smith from ESPN found himself in quite the pickle when he stated that women should be careful not to provoke an attack. The implication was that the victim in this case could have done something to prevent the domestic violence incident. After several failed attempts at an apology, ESPN suspended him for the insensitive comments. How about that? All he did was have a stupid opinion about domestic violence. As far as we know, he never laid a hand on anyone. As part of the ripple effect, ‘The View’ co-host Whoopi Goldberg weighed in with a woman’s perspective. Yeah… I didn’t realize she was a woman either. I just found out earlier today. She stated, “If you hit a man, don’t be surprised if he hits you back”, to the shock of her co-hosts. Once again, we have a blame the victim mentality. It’s difficult for me to take anything she says seriously. I remember ‘Corrina Corrina’, If the network is smart, they’ll fine her, encourage her to donate to a charity benefitting victims of domestic violence, or perhaps force her to star in ‘Corrina Corrina 2′ as punishment. At some point, someone needs to protect the victims and understand how helpless their situations must be for them to tolerate someone using them as a punching bag. For the new Mrs., Rice’s sake, I hope it’s the last time, but statistics tend to show otherwise.

As for Rice, the Ravens faithful gave him a standing ovation at training camp! How awesome! Was “Eye of the Tiger” playing over the public address system at the time? What a great way to acknowledge abhorrent behavior. I’m so glad that hero worship supersedes ability to recognize someone’s criminal nature. Keep on cheering for this thug, wearing his jersey and teaching your children to idolize a horrific human being. How could that go wrong?

If you know a woman in need of help…

1-800-799-7233

http://www.thehotline.org

11
Jun
14

true love’s kiss?

maleficent
I’ll be completely honest, I’m NOT a Disney fan. Even as a child, I disagreed with the messages the stories sent in regards to women. Why do we always need to be saved? Thank God for men! What would all of us poor meek girls do without the stronger, smarter male gender to bail us out?

I’m not sure what happened in Maleficent. Perhaps Minnie Mouse finally got fed up and went to the board of directors. Everything we’ve learned through the many years of sexist Disney movies is notably absent. Maleficent is in essence, a Prequel to Sleeping Beauty. It takes us inside Maleficent’s story and enlightens us on how she became such an evil presence. Get this… It was a guy’s fault! Maleficent was a happy little fairy, beloved by everyone until some cocky, power hungry man came along and stole her spirit.. And her wings. This Stefan jerk wanted to become king so badly that he betrayed his friendship with a really sexy fairy in order to do it. Essentially, he roofied her and hacked off her wings. Disney date rape? Whaaaaattt?

I don’t know about you, but I’d be pissed. One time, I was stood up for a date and took it out on all of mankind for a good 48 hours. I can’t imagine what I’d do if someone performed surgical procedures on my hot, passed out body. Granted, Maleficent went a little overboard. “I’m really angry. I know what I’ll do. I’ll put a curse on a baby.” In my opinion, this is a little extreme. Most babies are pretty chill. Stefan is a jackass, but messing with his infant is just wrong.

Cursing babies

Cursing babies

The curse is the ever popular “prick your finger on a spinning wheel on your 16th birthday and fall into a coma” curse. That’s the best you could come up with? Naturally, father of the year decides to send his baby, Aurora to live in seclusion in the woods with three really dumb, non-motherly fairies for 16 years and a day. Why wouldn’t he? That’s clearly the best solution. Aurora grows up to be a pretty annoying teenaged girl with zero social skill (that’s what forest living will do to a girl). However, as Maleficent keeps tabs on the girl, she grows to care for her a great deal, for some reason. We begin to see a softer side of her character.

Of course, Aurora has a gentleman suitor who becomes enamored with her, I’m guessing based solely on her looks because the character could not be more boring. Prince Phillip, apparently is a normal teenaged boy.

Try as they might, they just can’t keep Aurora away from a damn spinning wheel on her 16th birthday. It’s seriously, the worst birthday party ever. I’d probably be looking for a way out too, in her shoes. Maleficent desperately tried to revoke the curse, but she’s so good at curses even she can’t break it. Aurora falls into a deep, beautiful slumber which can only be reversed by “true love’s kiss”. Maleficent urges Prince Phillip to kiss Aurora in hopes that she will awaken. This might be my favorite part… They acknowledge how creepy this is. Thank you! You should NEVER make out with someone who’s unconscious. EVER. You’ll get arrested. Phil protests a bit by pointing out that he’d only met her once, very briefly in the woods. Thanks for not being a complete tool, Phil. Maleficent eventually convinces him to plant a very non-sexual, quick kiss on the sleeping princesses lips in front of witnesses. No monkey business! Well, it doesn’t work. Do you know why? Because Phil doesn’t love her. They just met, so that would be weird. He thinks she’s hot… End of story.

Maleficent has all but given up at this point. She’s responsible for this coma, which somehow requires no medical intervention on any level. I looked for feeding tubes, to no avail. As she leans over to say goodbye, she gives sleepy head a sweet, motherly kiss. Guess what? Life of the party wakes up! True love doesn’t have to come from a man? What? Is it possible that we don’t need men to save us? Well, this is a new development. I feel like Walt must be turning in his grave. We’ve destroyed his vision of helpless women everywhere!

Listen, Maleficent isn’t the best movie I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s not even a true story. However, kudos to Disney for at least attempting to make women a little less needy and pathetic. I was actively looking for a boyfriend before I saw this movie. To hell with that! I have a kid AND a cat. I can get “true love’s kiss” any time I want.




About the Broad

A humorous look at dating in your mid-thirties and the other hilarious things that happen around us on a daily basis.

May 2015
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