Thursday, March 30, 2006 | News | Mr. Big

It was strange and depressing to read Michael Roberts' piece about Ron Watt in the Scene ( | News | Mr. Big).

I met Ron Watt in the early 90s, while I was working at a local fiddle factory and trying to get a writing career off the ground. I had sent writing samples to every ad agency in town, to no avail. But when my samples made their way to Ron Watt, he got in touch and invited me to visit him in his office at Watt, Roop.

For nearly an hour Watt talked to me about writing, about what he liked about my samples, and about building a career in advertising. With his sponsorship, I got a student membership in the Cleveland Advertising Club. (I was around 40 at the time, so a student membership in anything felt a little weird...)

While a career in advertising never materialized for me, Watt's encouragmemt and praise were a welcome shot of validation for a blue collar guy who was too easily intimidated by the white collar world. I kept plugging away, made a few bucks selling freelance humor, built up a respectable portfolio, and ultimately landed a job in 1997 as an editor at the late, lamented, right here in downtown Cleveland. Nearly a decade later I still make a living as a writer and editor.

Things worked out for me, and I hope the work out for Ron Watt as well.

IEEE Spectrum: Unsafe At Any Airspeed?

IEEE Spectrum: Unsafe At Any Airspeed?: "In one telling incident, a flight crew stated that a 30-degree navigation error was immediately corrected after a passenger turned off a DVD player and that the error reoccurred when the curious crew asked the passenger to switch the player on again. Game electronics and laptops were the culprits in other reports in which the crew verified in the same way that a particular PED caused erratic navigation indications."

It's merely annoying when someone's cell phone goes off in a theater or a classroom. But any numbskull who ignores the warnings of flight attendants ought to have his/her thumbs broken with a hammer.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Cleveland, Ohio (44114) Conditions & Forecast : Weather Underground

For the first time in months, the little solar-powered Ferris wheel on the windowsill in my office is turning.

Spring is here!

Realistically, winter won't really be over until sometime around Tax Day, but I'm already thinking about spending evenings on my patio, with vodka-and-tonics and an occasional cigar.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

BRAVO > Inside the Actors Studio > Featured Guests > Dave Chappelle > Video

I just watched the Dave Chappelle's interview on BRAVO >Inside the Actors Studio, and I can't remember any such interview having quite the same effect. Chappelle's warmth, honesty, intelligence, and humility are beyond impressive. His comments on the nature of celebrity were genuinely human, especially his advice to the young audience to strive to be on the right side of history.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Paul Hackett on the Daily Show

The Daily Show's recent bit on Paul Hackett is yet another glowing example of that show's amazing ability to seamlessly blend real news and stinging satire. And Paul Hackett was great -- funny and a good sport.

Friday, March 17, 2006

'South Park'-Scientology Battle Rages On - Yahoo! News

'South Park'-Scientology Battle Rages On - Yahoo! News: "'So, Scientology, you may have won THIS battle, but the million-year war for earth has just begun!' the 'South Park' creators said in a statement Friday in Daily Variety. 'Temporarily anozinizing our episode will NOT stop us from keeping Thetans forever trapped in your pitiful man-bodies... You have obsructed us for now, but your feeble bid to save humanity will fail!'"

May the Flying Spaghetti Monster shower his blessings on Matt Stone and Trey Parker in their righteous battle.

I just don't think I can live in a world in which Tom Cruise is a cultural force.