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Cleveland Metropark Zoo

Wednesday, May 18
My Trip to the Zoo
-By: David Tran

When Asked

Sunday, May 15

"I mistook the statement," responded Natalie Portman when instructed by the director that the intimate scene was going to entail her to shave. I know, beauty isn't just skin deep, but I'd like to consider that beauty is 2 to 3 settings higher than mine on a hair clipper.

Blake's Seafood Restaurant & Bar

The weather killed the plans. It rained out the cancer walk and the road trip out to Bowling Green State University, but the day did make a good story. Kristalyn and I went out to Blake’s Seafood Restaurant & Bar [not very inventive, is it? I believe Jack’s Bistro from Three’s Company had more thought put into it] in Hyde Park. The restaurant looks fancier than it really is—think upscale Red Lobster without the fishing nets and oars.

The hostess said the following: How many? Smoking or Non? She conversed with the waitress and handed us off, and said have a good meal—all this without lifting her head to look at either of us.

THINGS TO CONSIDER: If your career is based on gratuity, then isn’t it safe to assume that being nice or at least feigning the impression important in advancing your career? My opinion, if your ass ain’t rocking, your tits ain’t bulging, and your face is less than pleasant—you better have a great personality and being funny, it’s now a requirement.

We were seated by: Lori, who is haggard and aged. She is white trash trying to dress up, but I still refer to her as ma’am. She said this and that, and wasn’t over enthusiastic, but she wasn’t rude either. Kristalyn and I both decided on the snapper, New Orleans style, with rice. So we waited for Lori. And waited, and waited, and waited—and waited, until I asked a bus boy to flag down our waitress. She came by and then raced by after being flagged and said, “I’ll be back.”

She apologized, took our order, and then after our appetizers she came by and said, “I have a meeting to go to and Laura will take care of us.” We both nodded and probably wondered the same thing—who the fuck is Laura? It’s my opinion, if you pawn me off on another person, please, at least introduce me to it. Our food came—it was another girl, she seemed nice and pleasant, attractive and charming, and part of me was content with the new server. Near the end of the meal another woman walked by and asked if things were all right, we nodded it was great and then I noticed her name. That was Laura?

After dinner, Kristalyn put her credit card down and she left to freshen up. She came back and her card was still there. We saw three different servers go by, still no Laura. It was a good 15 minutes when the chef came out and asked us if everything was all right, and we both hesitated, and she said, “The food was excellent, but the service was sub-par.” She explained the situation about being abandoned and we felt guilty for informing him, because it wasn’t his cooking—it was his staff. He wanted to get us dessert but we declined and then he sent out the manager and in a manager fashion, he covered our bill…and that was how we ate free yesterday. And for those people that wanted to know what the restaurant was like—Good Food, Shitty Service. Just be prepared to bus your own table Lou.

Back to BGSU

Friday, May 13
I’m going to pick up Kristalyn from the airport today, and then tonight we’re going to participate in the Relay for Life of Lorain County/North Ridgeville. Then tomorrow she is going to bust my ass on the track and then we're off to Bowling Green State University, if you’re in the area, meet me up at BW3’s at 6 to 7-esque or email me with your number and we’ll meet up. As of now, I just know J. Michael and Kenyon, all are welcome, all must drink, and all must celebrate the “Tran Homecoming.”


There will be toasts to world peace; to people that couldn’t be with us due to state and financial difficulties; to Pac and Biggie; to Smurfette holding down the entire village; to yellows, whites, blacks, halfies, and Spanish Rice; to Hadji; to New Jersey; to the Bricks; to Dave Chapelle; to the hot Chipotle Girl in Lakewood; to Eurasians; to Baby Mommas holding it down in the hood, even though Lakewood is actually a suburb with a good school system, even though it’s infested with Irish pubs; to my cat; to people I’ve taken out of my phone for fear of further drunk dialing and embarrassment; for the new Pope, even though I’m Buddhist; for Kellen Winslow’s knee; to Cleveland; to R. Kelly and Michael Jackson, may they finally find each other and touch one another inappropriately; and to all those that couldn’t share in our debauchery.

Hi Fi Club

Wednesday, May 11
Hi Fi Club:
I’ve been going to this Hip Hop club for the past few months. It’s all gold rope chains, baggy clothes, and thick women. The security guards pat the patrons down upon entering, and they’re trying to instill some Cleveland civic pride—it’s a bit preachy and headstrong, but it’s candid, honesty more so than most people hear in the span of a month, let alone a night. Suave said, “Be 100%. Be all and be pure, that’s why I got just 3 friends.” It’s the level of honesty that he knows he is only capable of, anymore than that would just be bullshit. He’s church with profanity on a Tuesday night, and in-between sets he’d tell his DJ to play his CD that consisted of Duran Duran. “I saw them a month ago, and I’m sure I was the only nigga up in there.” An MC singing “Hungry Like the Wolf,” and promoting the idea that change only happens when your actions instigate anger. “If you niggas don’t like my Duran Duran, then fuck you!

"He pulled up three people to freestyle. The first rapper was white man who still looked like a 15 year old boy with his white visor cocked to the side. He rapped over the theme song to “Nightrider.” The second rapper was a short black woman. She wore a red track suit and had a bad blonde wig, and she rapped over the theme song to “Taxi,” which sounds like a fluto-phone if you can't recall it. And the third rapper was a tall black man who rapped over the theme song to “Sanford and Son,” not fair because every black man knows that cadence, except Colin Powell. It was a tie between the “Taxi” and “Sanford and Son” rappers, and before the next act, there was a set of bad poets that tried too hard to be Erykah Badu and Saul Williams, then Suave asked the DJ to play the Verve, as he played on his air violin.

Second Scotland

Sunday, May 8
On my morning walk, a man, with a broken in hat, a stretched out sweater and busted jeans played the bag pipes on the Lake Erie shore. The morning fog, the rolling hills, and the cold breeze made one believe that Cleveland was the second Scotland. He played to the water—slow and soft echoes—wake up dear, it said. It’s the morning, he implied, it’s now time to begin. I stared intently—wondering if Nessie too were in these very waters. And if she rose, there would be no surprise, only just the order of the day.

The Corner:
Common feat. The Last Poets

The Cleveland Curse?

Wednesday, May 4
"Women who claim to love sports will be treated as spies until they demonstrate a knowledge of the game. Bonus points will be rewarded for the ability to pick a buffalo wing clean." -Rules for Men, Rule Number 3.

Kellen Winslow Jr. is just another Cleveland first round draft pick that still hasn’t produced. Last year, he suffered a broken leg on special teams when he went for an on-side kick. On Sunday, he injured himself in a parking lot trying to teach him self how to ride a Suzuki motorcycle. He is just another player in a line of Cleveland Browns first round draft picks that never came close to their potential.

Tim Couch: Cut last year and picked up by the Green Bay Packers, in hopes that he could be the next heir to Bret Farve. He was cut there too—I believe he’s now retired.

Courtney Brown: Injured constantly and has yet to play a complete season, and he too was cut and he signed with the Broncos in hopes of reinventing his career.
Gerrard Warren: Traded for fourth round draft pick, along with Michael Myers and Ebenezer Ekuban [who I’m sad to see go because I love saying his name: Ebenezer Ekuban].
William Green: After DUI and marijuana possession charges, is now third on the depth chart looking to be traded out of Cleveland. All these other players are at least taking drugs to make them stronger or faster, this guy takes drugs to make him play shitter.

Being a Cleveland fan is tough. I think it’s more difficult than being a Chicago Cubs fan or being a Red Sox fan. Yes—the Cubs have “The Goat Curse” and up until last year the Bo Sox had “The Curse of the Bambino,” but both cities have had teams that have won some type of championship in the last twenty years. In Chicago, they had Michael Jordan, who beat a talented Cavalier team that consisted of: Brad Daugherty, Larry Nance, Mark Price, “Hot Rod” Williams, Ron Harper, and Craig Ehlo, who he shot over clinching the 1989 play-offs. Then they went on to win 6 championships. In Boston, not only did they “reverse the curse” by beating the Yankees and the Cardinals, they have won 3 Super Bowls in 4 years. I think Cleveland showed be the new romantic underdog.

On Sundays, my mother and I watch Cleveland Browns football. She won’t watch college. “They’re just kids. The scores are so high, and who wants to watch a blowout—that’s not fun.” She’s loyal to Cleveland football—even when the Browns left Cleveland, she stopped watching football from 1996 to 1999, until they came back as an expansion team. She’ll be the first one to tell you that Baltimore is not “The Old Cleveland Browns,” and she’ll be the first one to talk shit about the Pittsburgh Steelers. She hates their head coach, Bill Cowher. “He’s ugly,” she says, “and when he talks, he spits—I hate him.” The way she talks about him, you’d think he robbed her of 2.2 billion dollars.

At my uncle’s house, my father and his adopted brothers would watch Cleveland Browns football. Most of them didn’t care for the sport—most had money on this game and the 13 others later that day and tomorrow night. The other women were there because their husbands were, but my mother was there for the game. She’d always watch, no matter if they were in the play-offs against Denver or if they were 4-12, competing for the worst record in the league. She would still watch, and on Sundays—she taught me how to appreciate the game.

1. Bernie Kosar’s ugly side arm throws.
2. Earnest Byner’s last second fumble in the endzone.
3. John Elway’s 92 yard drive against Cleveland, the AFC’s best defense that rushed 3-men down because both its cornerbacks were Pro Bowl starters.
4. Always losing to Denver in the play-offs.
5. Team leaves the city.
6. Team comes back after 3 year city campaign.
7. Three different head coaches in 5 years.
8. Passing on Donavon McNabb, Daunte Culpepper, Lavar Arrington, Jamal Lewis, Brian Urlacher, John Abraham, LaDanian Tomilinson, Deuce McAllister, Chad Johnson, and Steve Smith for Tim Couch, Courtney Brown Gerrard Warren all first round draft picks that failed in just their first four years.
9. And Bill Belichick, ex-coach, now in New England, who won 3 Super Bowls titles.

She taught me to appreciate all this—it’s part of the game, the romantic tragedy, the NFL soap opera that makes the wins valuable. “It’s easy to win games to everything goes your way, when you have the best players” she says, “but when you fight back from a bad position, with all right players—only then will a win means something, because it had to claw its way from a near loss to clean victory.”