WEEKEND SHORTS

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Weekend Shorts is a weekly feature containing brief observations on current topics.


Is it just me or does it seem absurd that suburban shopping malls have been developed to look like downtowns when so many actual downtowns are in real need of development?

Legacy Village in Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst.

Legacy Village in Cleveland suburb of Lyndhurst.


This just in:

(PITTSBURGH) – The 2016 Pittsburgh Pirate Baseball Season was placed on life support recently after being discovered lying in a bloody heap on the north shore of the Allegheny River in the city.  Friends of the Pirate Season said it had a particularly harsh time that started at the end of August with a mauling in Chicago by young bear cubs only to return home to get pummeled by a group of beer makers from Milwaukee and then bludgeoned by a flock of angry, red, bat-wielding birds indigenous to St. Louis.  Grieving fans, anticipating the worst, have been seen dropping memorial wreaths into the Allegheny from the Roberto Clemente Bridge.  Whispered one, “2016 Pirates Season, we hardly knew ye.”


After seven months of having the scenery all to themselves, Trump yard signs are getting company.

Signs promoting Trump’s candidacy have been a fixture in certain lawns around Mahoning County since a month prior to Ohio’s March primary.  They have now been around so long that they blend into the scenery.  By contrast, the newness of a variety of signs for his Democratic opponent makes Clinton’s signs more noticeable as they begin to rapidly pop up.

Somewhat amusing are the households coming out for Clinton who are matching their next-door Trump-supporting neighbors sign-for-sign.  The majority of Trump supporters seem to enjoy putting an exclamation point on their support by displaying multiple signs as if one sign isn’t enough.  One home that had several Trump signs stuck in the yard now has three Hillarys next door to keep it even.


I think I’m going to have to meet my old friend Gerry for a drink sometime so he can explain to me how the Ohio Congressional delegation is 75% Republican even though less than 51% of all votes cast in the 2014 Congressional election in Ohio were for candidates of that party.

I should mention Gerry’s not so much a friend as an acquaintance, actually.  You may know him, too.  Does the name Gerry Manndring ring any bells?


The nominees for Most Likely To Have a Monument Erected In the Mahoning Valley In Their Honor are in.  They are Krish Mohip, CEO of Youngstown City Schools, and Tom Shipka, recently named to the Mill Creek MetroParks board of directors.  If their leadership restores stability and progress at their respective institutions which are at lows in public faith and opinion, a grateful public will be more than happy to show its appreciation.


With the non-stop craziness of the 2016 presidential election, it seems like a year since we heard about “What’s Aleppo?” Or was it “What’s ALEPPO?”  Or maybe it was “What’s a leppo?”

I don’t know about you but I like my presidential candidates to have at least a modicum of familiarity with high profile international events.  Like, for instance, the civil war in Syria and the city of Aleppo that has been savaged with bloodshed in the midst of that conflict and is currently the epicenter of a shaky cease-fire.

In case you missed it, during an interview on a morning news show, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad moment when asked what would he do about Aleppo as president and responded with, “And what is Aleppo?”

It was beyond cringe-worthy.  Johnson later explained that his first thought went to the possibility of an acronym.  Like ALEPPO – the Alternative Light Energy Project of Portland Orgeon. (I made that up – it’s not real, folks.  At least I don’t think it is.) Or maybe it stands for an organization Rush Limbaugh and Ted Nugent could both belong to: Anti-Left Entertainers & Purveyors of Partisan Opinion.

Perhaps after that Johnson thought it was slang for a fan of Def Leppard.  Or a street term for a poor soul afflicted with the dreadful and ancient disease leprosy.  Maybe there’s a scene in the updated version of Ben Hur about it.

JUDAH BEN HUR:  Where’s my mother?

MESSALA:  [in pain after a really, really bad chariot accident] She’s living in a cave.  She’s a leppo.  So’s your sister. [winces] So bite, me, Judah.

To his credit, Johnson took full responsibility for the flub and “should have known what [interviewer Mike Barnicle] was talking about.”  While a boo-boo like that would have probably given Donald Trump a five point lift in the polls, many people familiar with Johnson will likely conclude he’s finally one toke over the line.  Sweet Jesus…  The good news, though, for Johnson is that in the last day or so it was announced he is on the ballot in all 50 states, the first third-party candidate to do so since H. Ross Perot in 1992.


A couple of months ago a few Hillary yard signs seemed to spring up in some places where it was surprising to see them, but if you stopped the car to read the fine print you discovered the bad joke.  Under a large font “Hillary” were the much smaller words “for prison.”  You had to be within ten yards to catch it.

I have now spotted a few legitimate Hillary signs that looked similar to the “prison” signs and began to wonder about unintended consequences of the anti-Clinton signs.  There are precious few seconds, usually, to see and read a sign.  Typically one sees a name and that’s it.  In spite of their misguided efforts, the geniuses getting their chuckles with “Hillary … for Prison” signs look more like Clinton supporters than detractors.  I know at least two motorists who got that impression.

I’m sure Hillary for America appreciates the accidental “endorsement.”

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