Thursday, December 30, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
A cavernous fissure opened in the floor of the Mediterranean Sea Thursday and disgorged a huge roll of processed meat, which slammed into the western coast of Italy killing approximately 100,000 people.

The tsulami, which registered a 9.3 on the Oscar Mayer scale, not only swamped the islands of Corsica, Sardinia and Sicily, but flattened Vatican City and sent waves as far inland as Bologna. The United States has pledged $35 million in aid in the form of bread, condiments, crackers, cheeses, pickles and dip.

Monday, December 27, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Decoding secrets of the future from Page One of The Plain Dealer. "Revelation and prognostication — Read and believe!"

Newstrodumbass is filled with the holiday spirit and a new admiration for creative marketing. Sometimes all one has to do is draw a line across the front page and the truth comes out.

For example, in the top left corner of today’s Plain Dealer you will see, "Bobby Darin still defined by 'Beyond the Sea,'" a tease to a story about Darin and the hit song he had 40 years ago. The story also reminds us that “Beyond the Sea” — the biopic starring Kevin Spacey — will be in theaters this week.

Just below this promo we find the huge headline, “Waves of Devastation,” detailing the holiday tsunami in the Indian Ocean that has, as of this writing, claimed almost 24,000 lives.* Then in the lower right corner of the page we have the story of a man who drove off a bridge and lived to tell about it, not because he was lucky but because, “Survivor says holiday miracle was no accident.”

Now that’s interesting because Newstrodumbass thought the “holiday miracle” was the tsunami, that the death of almost 24,000 people was just “god’s” way of saying, “While the merry bells keep ringing / Happy holidays to you!”

But perhaps this is only because Newstrodumbass has a skeptical and irreverent turn of mind.

Revelation and prognostication — Newstrodumbass understands! The tsunami was not a holiday miracle because god was relaxing, too, and would not undertake such a big project on her weekend off. The tsunami was a Hollywood stunt to promote the Wednesday release of “Beyond the Sea,” a brilliant piece of subliminal advertising on the global level!

Thus saith Newstrodumbass: “While the merry bells keep ringing — and the death toll keeps climbing — happy holidays to you!”

*Some say the death toll could reach 100,000.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Here’s the story, in Haki’s own words:

The whole thing got started last year when Terry and I got to be huge LeBron James fans and started following the Cavs closely. Last year they were awful at the start but kept getting better throughout the year.
They had a good shot at the playoffs at one point, so we said that if they made it we would buy Lebron James jerseys.

Well, that didn't happen, and when the team got off to an 0-3 start this year I was a little worried, but then they rallied from 19 down to beat Phoenix, a team that still has lost only about 4 times all season. And that was the first game we went to this year.

That night, I had noticed that one of the Gund crew who paints faces (usually for kids) at games sets up shop right at the entrance to C111, the section in which we sit. I asked if she would be there at each game and she said she would. So the next day, still pumped from the rally the night before, I declared that the first time they had an above .500 record when I attended a game, I would get my face painted.

Mark Spang got word of this and insisted that I go whole hog with it. None of this tiny logo on the cheek stuff, the whole face or it doesn't count. Well, the Cavs got going and did their part, coming into the game 13-7 and having won 8 straight at home. So we got there a little early and brought a digicam. I told Erica, the painting lady what I wanted and she went to work, forcing many a kid who just wanted a smaller job to wait in line — but not as impatiently as their parents, mind you.

Actually, it took only about 10 minutes to complete. Erica did a fine job and Terry was there to document the whole event on film. It was Terry's idea to put the "hi kt" on my right, or blue, cheek. I thought it added a personal touch. After that, we headed into the stands and watched the Cavs trounce Portland. Thank goodness, how silly would I have felt painting my face for a loss!

The biggest challenge? Well, you might think it was not touching my nose for 2 1/2 hours but actually it came after the game, when I had to figure out some way to maintain a shred a dignity while working out at Fitworks with Cavs colors all over my face. They were closing soon, and I didn't have time to wash up first.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
It’s not everyday that one sees a Christmas card with a philosophical twist. So, of course, I had to buy it — and share it here on the Web site.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Legendary banana hater Kim Moy has finally come to her senses and is now a total banana-loving fanatic, as is obvious from this photo, taken after a recent shopping spree at the West Side Market.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Joe Hanak was surrounded by friends and food on his return to work today after three months off with a horrible back problems.

Tim and others will continue to handle the bulk of the national-section duties, with Joe as helper, until Mr. Hanak is feeling strong and fit enough to resume his full duties.

Pictured with Joe is Denise, Kathie and Lisa..

Sunday, December 05, 2004


Originally uploaded by jonfobes.
Tired of trying to figure out who's who on the nightside newsdesk/design team? Here's a handy ID chart designed by dead pop artist Ray Johnson: CLICK HERE

Art trivia: Our own Agnes Gund (see Page One of today's Plain Dealer) was listed on Ray's chart, "Moo York Abstract Expressionist Correspondence School." First person, second row. CLICK HERE

Thursday, December 02, 2004


It’s the time of year when I fire up Adobe Photoshop and make new graphics for my Web site. It usually takes a few weeks, but this time I did the job in just a few days, a few long days.

1. There’s a new image for the PORTAL PAGE.

2. New header and footer images for the 2005 HOME PAGE.

3. And there are new header and footer images for the ESSAY PAGES.

Interestingly enough, having finished my Web work last night about midnight, I popped in a new DVD called, “How to Draw A Bunny,” about artist RAY JOHNSON. He put together thousands of collages and founded the idea of making art that would be sent through the mail. So it seems quite fitting that I took a picture of Ray off my TV screen for use as mail-out advertisement for my own collage efforts.

Ray would be horrified, of course — unless he got paid something for it. But he's dead, so who cares!

Once he was selling a collage to a friend. I say "was selling" because Ray liked to show his art, close the deal, but still take the piece back to his apartment and make the seller write him a letter setting out the terms of the agreement; then Ray might change things around — add an image of Paloma Picasso, for example — and charge a few more bucks. For Ray, selling the art was part of the creative process.

He was once selling a round collage for $2,000. The offer, from a friend, was only $1,500. So Ray cut out one-fourth of the picture and mailed the rest. To this day it looks like a pie with a big hunk missing. Ironically, the deleted images probably make the work more valuable. And wouldn't you like to own that missing wedge of pie!

PS. Rumors is not designed to be viewed in the glare of the PD newsroom. Check it out on your home computer for a better look.