This week’s featured game: Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Cleveland update: According to the 2000 census, the city’s population increased for the first time in 50 years: 499,700 in 1996 to 501,700 today. Analysts are split on whether this is due to redevelopment projects such as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or because census workers mistakenly counted the 2000 or so who regularly cross over from Kentucky to watch the Cuyahoga River spontaneously combust.
Cincinnati update: Area police have announced they will employ a method called QUAD (Quick Action Deployment) for dealing with gun-wielding crisis situations. QUAD calls for police to shoot first and ask questions later. In Cincinnati they call this “radical.” In New York and Los Angeles they call it “Tuesday.”
Running game: The half-century-long exodus from Cleveland has included such diverse exports as Bob Hope and Don King, one being a funny-looking blowhard who’s advanced his career by wrapping himself in the flag, the other a boxing promoter.
Rock and roll: Though Cleveland is associated with rock and roll for no apparent reason, Cincinnati has its pedigree. Peter Frampton, who twice attempted to kill rock—first with Frampton Comes Alive, then by starring with the Bee Gees in the apocalyptic film Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band—is building a new home in Cincinnati. Rest well, John Lennon. You have been avenged.
Consensus: They take their football serious in Ohio, home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Last season, a Cleveland elementary student was punished for wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers jersey to school. Yes, they love their football. They’re just not too crazy about the blind. There are plans in the state to cut $3.2 million from a program that supports blind food-service workers. Sure, the cuts could mean ruination and worse for the state’s visually impaired, but at least they won’t have to watch this game between two of the league’s worst. In the end, we’ll root for Cleveland because we value its rust-belt ways over Cincy’s anti-Mapplethorpe mind-set. That and the fact that Jerry Springer was once mayor of the Queen City.