Wednesday, January 30, 2008

62 degree change in the weather in three hours?!?

I walked my dog at about 115 AM last night. By the time I was done, my stocking cap was in my pocket along with my gloves. I was quite warm and the temperature gauge read 53 degrees.

A little while later I went off to bed, though my head o' congestion prohibited any meaningful sleep. Around 5, I heard the morning shift of talkers on whatever AM radio station I leave on at night talk about how cold it was.

"Ridiculous sissies," I thought. But then I started to listen. Some time after my dogwalking, a howling gale of frozenness came through, and within a few hours we went from 53 to -9 (wind-chill/real feel, but still).

WTF, weather-causers? 62 degrees? In only a few hours?


*WTF, indeed.*

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Virtual Exploration of the West Side Market

Last weekend, an old friend of mine was in Lakewood visiting family. Our respective schedules were pretty full and in conflict, but we both had some free time Saturday afternoon. Since she'd never been there and though her brother and sister-in-law love the place, they rarely take advantage, I suggested we meet at the West Side Market. (The fact that going there only required a thirty-second walk down the block also shaped my decision, though naturally I didn't play that angle up to my friend.)

When we finally met up, it started to dawn on me how little I know about the market. I'm not talking history, I just mean that my ability to tell you where the secret treats are in the place is pretty limited, much more so than I want it to be. I don't know which butcher has the freshest meat or the best prices. I don't know which produce vendor's stuff is organic, which is consistently just the right kind of ripe. I don't know which place has better fish or bread or something crazy awesome with a Eastern European name I can neither pronounce nor translate.

I was commenting on this to Christine at Really Bad Cleveland Accent. She empathized (but was also able to give me some market tips as well as some valuable intel on some of the neat shops within a block or so of the market). I also was able to gather some tips from the reader comments concerning this particular post on her blog, the topic of which was "Five Reasons to Love the West Side Market."

Since our chat, Christine has started a new weekly blog feature, in which she posts two brand new items she's purchased from the market and discusses what she's prepared with them (the inaugural week features orange-honey almonds and kippers). It is a great new idea and I'm excited to see how it develops and read about what she makes.

However, I'm not content. I'd like to learn more about the hidden secrets of the market. I suppose I could start to learn them myself, through trial and error, but that takes too long and costs too much. At least if that's the only way one goes about gathering information.

Instead, I'd greatly appreciate it if readers of this post would comment on their favorite stands and products at the market and, most importantly, why. (Also, if there are places or products to avoid like the plague, that'll be helpful, too.) To make it a little easier, I've copied a list of vendors below. Also this link will take you to an interactive map of the market, in case you know the location of your bounty but forgot the proprietor. The lists and map are accurate as of the end of last year, to my knowledge, though if there are any mistakes, please let me know.

Eventually, I plan to figure out a more user-friendly way to share the knowledge accumulated in the comments section. I'm really excited about learning from you about the best the market has to offer.



P-nut Gallery (A-3)
Meister Foods (A-4,5)
Judy’s Oasis (A-6,7)
Kim Se (A-12)
Frickaccio’s (B-3)
Pinzone’s (B-4,5)
J&J Meats (B-6)
Dionne’s Poultry (B-7)
Dennison Pies (B-8,9)
Czuchraj Meats (B-10)
Candy Corner (B-11)
Michelle’s Bakery (B-12)
City Roast Coffee (C-1)
Crepes Deluxe (C-2)
Kaufmann Poultry (C-3)
M&M Foods (C-4,5)
Tayse Meats (C-6,7)
Dionne (C-8)
S&K Deli (C-9)
Christopher’s Bakery (C-10)
Reilly’s (C-11)
Michelle’s Bakery (C-12)
Campbell’s (C-13)
S&S Seafood (D&E-1)
Michael’s Bakery (D-2)
Walker’s Meats (D-3)
Fernengel’s (D-4,5)
Theresa’s Bakery (D-6)
Cake (D-7)
Rolston Poultry (D-8)
Edw. Badstuber & Sons (D-9)
Larry Vistein (D-10)
Bistricky’s (D-11)
Wiencek’s Poultry (D-12)
Juice Garden (D-13)
Urban Herbs (E-2)
Ohio City Pasta (E-3)
Foster’s (E-4)
Pierogi Palace (E-5)
Jim’s Meats (E-6,7)
D.W. Whitaker (E-8,9)
Kluth Meats (E-10)
Narrin Asian Spices (E-11)
Apple Cured Meats (E-12)
Steve’s Gyros (E-13)
Dohar/Lovaszy (F-1,2)
Kaufmann Corners (F-3)
Ehrnfelt Meats (F-4,5)
Tom Kearns (F-6)
Orale (F-7)
Steve Check, Jr. (F-8)
Lance’s Beef (F-9)
Vera’s Bakery (F-10,11)
Kate’s Fish (F-12,13)
Frank’s Bratwurst (G-3)
Sebastian’s Meats (G-4,5)
Vince’s Meats (G-6)
Brueck & Kindt (G-7)
Old Country Sausage (G-8)
Wiencek’s Meats (G-9)
Rita’s (G-10)
D.A. Russ (G-11)
K&K Bakery (G-12)
Frank’s II (H-3)
AnneMarie’s Dairy (H-4,5)
Spanos Bakery (H-6,7)
The Cheese Shop (H-8,9)
Irene Dever (H-10,11)
Grandma Freda’s Fresh Bake (H-12)


Maha’s Falafel
Dani’s Fish
Mediterranean Imports
Westside Market Café
Westside Tobacco
Johnny Hot Dog


Samuel’s Produce (3,5)
Aleena Produce (4,6)
Queen Produce (7,9)
LoSchiavo’s Produce (8)
Kilani Produce (10)
King Quality Produce (11,13)
Mark’s Produce (12,14)
A-1 Quality Produce (15,17)
Elias Produce (16,18)
Samah Produce (19,21,23)
Shadi Produce (20,22,24)
Mike’s Produce (25)
Four H’s Produce (26)
Michael’s Produce (27,29)
Iskander Produce (28,30)
Bacha Produce (31,33)
Boutros Brothers (32,34)
Maria’s Produce (35,37)
Chuppa (36,38,40)
Harb Produce (39,41)
Boutros Brothers (42,44,46)
Mena’s Produce (43,45)
Calabrese Produce (47,49,51)
Maryou Produce (48,50,52,54)
Schilla Produce (53,55,57,57½)
Ehab Produce (56,58)
Basketeria (60,62,64)
Christie’s Produce (61,63,63½)
Dave & Sons Produce (66)
DeCaro Produce (65,67)
A&J Produce (68,70)
Jaajaa (69,71)
Fritz’s Produce (72,74,76)
Paradise Flowers (73,75)

Friday, January 25, 2008

Another reason to root against the Pats in the game to remain nameless

Did you know that in the years following an NFC victory in the very last game of the playoffs (stupid copyright b.s.), the economy has a banner year?

This is the case 80% of the time anyway.
Or maybe it was in the years following a victory by a team from the original NFL.
Either way, the New York Football Giants qualify.
So, if you needed another reason to hate on the Patriots, beyond the spying and the poor sportsmanship and the evil head coach and the absolutely unfair and inequitable good fortune of Tom Brady, look no further.
That's right, a win by the two-touchdown underdog Giants could single-handedly solve the looming foreclosure crisis, reduce inflation, shore up the home sales numbers, serve as its very own economic stimulus, and maybe - just maybe - reverse the trend of the sinking dollar and restore American purchasing power.
I say, Go Giants.

(Bear in mind, the exact factiness of the aforementioned "facts" and the brilliance of my subsequent interpretation is to be taken with many grains of salt. I learned of this NFL-US macroeconomy linkage in the wee hours of the morning from George Noory on Coast to Coast AM as I was slouching toward dreamland. So far, all efforts to confirm this relationship -- in other words, a brief google search about 30 seconds ago -- have failed.)

sounds promising

From the Great Lakes Brewing Company's website:

City Fresh Monday
February 18, 2008 (6:00 PM - 8:00 PM)
City Fresh Monday is a monthly gathering of folks who want to learn, dialogue and collaborate on issues of food, health, community development and the environment. Presented by the New Agrarian Center (NAC), the FREE and OPEN City Fresh Monday forum is hosted in the Great Lakes Brewing Company Beer Cellar the third Monday of every month from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. RSVPs are not required, but attendance will likely maximize at 60-70 people.February 18th Topic:Farm Link - Cultivating Next Generation FarmersPresenter:Chris Norman, Cuyahoga Valley Countryside ConservancyForum Ideas:Would you like to host or facilitate a forum? Is there a topic that you would like to suggest? Please contact Brad Masi with ideas!Please note: the Beer Cellar is not wheelchair-accessible.

Anybody know about this? Anybody interested in checking it out? I'll actually be out of town for this one, though it looks like it is a monthly event.

brr redux

So I've been playing a little weather-related game in my apartment these last couple months.

It is a strange game, one which I've come to realize the last couple days that I'm losing.

The game is simple: how long can I go before turning my heat on.

So far this winter I haven't turned it on yet. Not once. Not even for a minute.

That's right, I'm a bad mama jama.

There was a short span of semi-cold days in mid/late November when I considered turning it on, but thought, "Nah, you can wait till December." Then, in December, it wasn't really that cold, at least not to me, until about the 10th or so. I contemplated turning the heat on again, but then thought, "You know, you are leaving town in a week or so, why turn it on now? Just wait till you get back after the holidays." When I returned to Cleveland around the 28th, it was chilly, but I pulled a November and said, "Just wait till January." Then we had that awesome warm stretch of days and a bunch more only slightly cold days and all of a sudden the month is 2/3 over.

But these last couple days have freaking killed me. So now I sit in a frigid apartment, too bundled to sleep but to cold to unlayer, wearing a t-shirt, button-up, sweater, and a bum-around-the-house hoodie, wishing I could type with my gloves on, wondering if I ought to turn on the heat.

"But it is already the 25th, and before you know it it'll be February ..."

Like I said, I'm losing this game.

Or maybe I'm winning. After all, my gas bill hasn't been over $9 a month since I moved here.

That's right - Nine Dollars. Pretty awesome, huh?

Everyone I know living in a similar pad is paying anywhere from $125 to nearly $300 a month for their gas bill.

So maybe this game is worth winning.

All I know, given my work schedule and weekend plans (or lack thereof, thanks to some self-inflicted end-of-month poverty), is that I'm going to be home quite a bit between now and next Tuesday, so my resolve will probably weaken by the wee hours of Saturday and completely disintegrate by Sunday. Or maybe the powers-that-be will see fit to raise the temps a few dozen degrees. Doubtful, though it would be pretty darn cool if they did.

Cool. Not cold.

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Remember that wonderful burst of Spring in the middle of winter we had 2-3 weeks ago?

Yeah, I miss that.

I almost cried today, standing outside Tower City, waiting for the #6 or the E-line Trolley (whichever comes first).

I almost cried again, a few moments ago, riding down the elevator at work, when one of the women standing behind me said to the other, who was (justifiably) complaining about the cold, "Don't worry, it'll get worse."

Here's how tired I am of this winter, even though I'm fully aware it has been relatively mild:

I can't wait till June.

No shit, right?

I turn 30 in June.

I still can't wait till June.

Get it?

I really can't wait until June.

Yeah, that tired.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Truly Romantic

I was talking to one of my very best friends the other day, and we were, as we usually do, trading stories and seeking advice about the various quasi-romantic scenarios in our lives. Most of the time, these exchanges go a little like this:

Me, "Check this out, the other day ...."
Him, "Weird, man."
Me, "So what does that mean? or So what does she want? or So what am I supposed to do now?"
Him, "I don't know man. Check this out, the other day... "

And then it is his turn. Depending on how life is going, after he tells his story, maybe I have another one, or he has another one, or we just go back and reanalyze the ones we told each other last time.

Rarely do we have a good interpretation of the other person's narrative and even more rarely do we have useful advice. It isn't because we are dumb or because we don't care, mostly because we don't have the slightest idea what to do. And that is mostly because we usually don't know what the subject of the narrative(s) is looking for with respect to us.

Single people -- notice I'm including members of both genders -- do a pretty good job of being mysterious, even when they aren't trying. Perhaps that is what society tells us to do, perhaps we've seen too many romantic comedies, perhaps all this new technology over the past generation or two has left us unable to adequately communicate desire and preference. I don't know.

I'm guessing, though, that there are plenty of other people having these types of conversations, maybe even having them about me and my friend every blue moon or so.

Actually, what I'm imagining is a lot like the closing scene of the movie Singles, where we hear one conversation after another about love and sex and dating and the camera pulls upward to the sky, until we realize that all across Seattle are homes filled with single people not having a clue what is going on.

So, the last conversation my friend and I had, I suggested maybe we weren't communicating what we want very well either. Then I asked, what do we want. We quickly rattled off the obvious things, someone that is engaging, attractive, employed, honest, well-humored, etc. Nothing special or surprising there. But then we started trading hypotheticals, sort of "I want a person that will react in such and such a way if X ever happened." It was pretty telling.

After I got off the phone, I kept thinking about it and decided in addition to the superficial characteristics, the personality quirks, and the cultural requisites (like a healthy respect for "Paradise by the Dashboard Lights" and amaretto stone sours -- at least once), I remembered one of my all time favorite movie scenes.

Remember the part in True Romance, after the shoot-out where we aren't immediately sure if Clarence is alive or dead, but then we see Alabama watching him playing on the beach with a little kid, as she begins to narrate off-screen? Anyway, I typed it in below. But before you read that, let me say, that's a pretty good example of what I would like to have, after all the superficial/economic/cultural/lifestyle issues are out of the way: someone who thinks I'm one cool dude. As you read the quote, don't worry about the gunfire or the violence or the names, just that one glorious phrase -- you're so cool -- repeated so tenderly and appreciatively and humorously, fully cognizant of what a small thing "coolness is" yet determined to make the point why it matters. I'm not saying I want to be Fonzie, nor do I want to spend my life (or even a significant number of days) with someone so delusional they think I'm the alpha and omega of hipness. All I'd like, as I put it to my friend earlier this evening, is to have my significant other really dig me. Maybe that's weird, maybe it isn't. I don't know. It is funny, though, how often we get into situations where there isn't much digging going on by either party.

Anyway, look at me doing a bad job of being contemplative and a good job, in the words of some character or another from Mallrats, of being a morose motherfucker. The quote in question is below.

"Amid the chaos of that day, when all I could hear was the thunder of gunshots, and all I could smell was the violence in the air, I look back and am amazed that my thoughts were so clear and true, that three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: you're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool. And sometimes, Clarence asks me what I would've done if he had died, if that bullet had been two inches more to the left. To this, I always smile, as if I'm not gonna satisfy him with a response. But I always do. I tell him of how I would want to die, but that the anguish and the want of death would fade like the stars at dawn, and that things would be much as they are now, perhaps. Except, maybe, I wouldn't have named our son Elvis."

UPDATE: I found a good clip on youtube of Alabama's speeches at the beginning and ending of True Romance -- check it out here.

You should also really think about checking out the Meatloaf link above -- muy classico.

Paring down

Every where I turn, I see or hear or read something new about the current economic downturn and the dismal economic projections and how this frightening state of affairs is taking its toll on regular people.

I was thinking about it the other day, and realized that just about everyone I know that I would consider a peer is struggling right now. There are one or two exceptions, but they've made HUGE lifestyle sacrifices for their money, sacrifices I'm not convinced they would view as "worth it" in the end.

But other than these rare exceptions, everyone else is struggling. I have my ph.d. and while not all of my friends are as educationally long in the tooth as I am, the crowd I see around me is pretty well educated, experienced, and accomplished. Yet, like I said, hardly anyone is comfortable. Everyone is one bad thing away from a truly nightmarish economic reality. And these are people with solid educations and ostensibly good jobs or at least promising prospects. I can't imagine what it would be like to be a member of the so-called underclass.

Anyway, along with the media coverage of the current/future situation, there's been plenty of information out there for what folks can do to protect themselves as the bottom prepares to fall out and the shit works its way up to the fan, simultaneously. Generally, the advice seems to revolve around a few key points: pay down debt, start savings, and limit expenses. For those living check-to-check (or worse), this is pretty tough to do, but the last few mornings as I'm avoiding getting out of my warm bed, I've been trying to figure out how I can take these lessons to heart.

After my 11 years in college, I have a rather intimidating amount of student loan debt, but other than that, I'm relatively debt-free. I think there's a grand or so on one credit card, but that's it. I suppose I should pay that sucker off, which would be easy enough to do in a month or two if I wanted to really sacrifice or in 3-4 months if I wanted to do so in a more leisurely way. As for savings, well, I guess I could start doing that, but it never seems to work out. Paring down my expenditures is where I've been focusing most of my attention.

I don't have a really extravagent lifestyle. My largest expenditure is my rent, which is way too much, but nothing I can do about that until the lease ends in August. In August, my ass is moving (unless I decide to get a summer-time job bartending or something). Other than that, my next several expenditures are mostly mandatory: electricity, gas, car insurance, cell phone, and then cable/internet. I guess I could look for a cheaper plan -- that might save $50 a month or so -- and I could quit cable, which would probably save another $60, but even so, that's only about $100ish monthly. After that, I have mostly entertainment/food expenses, but other than a nice dinner once a month or so and the money I spend checking out cheap concerts or flicks at the Cinematheque, there's not much left to cut. I mean, paring down is one thing, but cutting back so much that you find yourself sitting at home, no minutes on the cell plan to use, no cable on the tv, and no budget to do things outside of the house - well, that sorta defeats the purpose of living, right? Sure, you can read -- I'm a HUGE reader, so it isn't like I haven't thought of that.

Anyway, all my rambling usually leads up to a point, however muddled it may be. This time, I don't really have one. Maybe a question, though it is mostly rhetorical: Where does one cut back when there isn't much left to cut?

I'm (unfortunately) a yuppie, at least in demographics, if hopefully not in spirit. The problem, such as it is, in my life is mostly a minor irritant. But even so, some months get to be challenging and none of them are flush. How must it be for these folks out there suffering from the burden of predatory lending, as the financial noose tightens and they too have nothing else to cut. Last night, during the Democratic primary debate, John Edwards told a story of a woman from St. Louis forced to choose between paying her rent or paying her gas bill. I could empathize. And if I can empathize, how bad is it out there for the huge chunk of America that is way more over-burdened and under-resourced than me. Pretty bad, I'd say.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

When it rains, it pours ...

... but sometimes that rain is toxic.

Ok, so that's a little dramatic, but it was the hook that struck me this morning as I groggily (more so than usual) stood in the shower and reflected on the sorts of thing one reflects on, in the shower, at 7 AM (which is very early for me), after going to bed about three hours before.

At least I wasn't hungover.

Anyway, the title of this blog, lame though it may be, is Cleveland Bachelor. The first 40+ posts have had a far greater emphasis on the Cleveland aspect than the Bachelor. Today's post, however, will focus a bit more on the latter.

Since moving to Cleveland about 5 months ago, I've met a bunch of interesting people. However, as mostly a function of being busy with starting a new job, being broke because that new job pays shit, and just a general bad luck streak, none of those interesting people have been eligible bachelorettes.

In the last few weeks, though, that has changed.

Don't get me wrong, I'm still as much a non-attached guy as ever before. I didn't say these gals liked me, just that, in theory, they are available. Kind of.

Let me take you through the hilarity and strangeness of my social life.

First, meet J. J is a cute, mid-twenties indie rock groupie. I shouldn't call her a groupie, as that has certain negative connotations that aren't really applicable, but I just can't think of a better word for someone who spends their time and resources in such a way as to maximize proximity to the various underground pop-rockers of Northeast Ohio (a group which is surprisingly large and quite impressively talented). A hanger-on? Too cumbersome. Anyhoo, J is the prototype young Lakewood woman, solid education at a good private liberal arts school, good starter job doing medical research, and enough cultural literacy to at least pick interesting folks over whom to swoon. I met her at a show at the Beachland Ballroom where, for whatever reason, she came over to the corner where I stood watching the Patriots dispatch the Jaguars with relative ease, introduced herself, and talked and talked and talked. She asked lots of questions, too, so it isn't like she's vapid. Eventually, we get around to talking about jobs, she tells me hers (like I said, in medical research), her job reminds me of an amusing set of experiences when I was in grad school, which I recount to her in what I believed was a very clever and humorous manner. Silence falls. Persists. Eventually a few more banalities are haltingly exchanged. More silence. She grabs her coat and says, sorta nervously, "Well, um, I'm gonna go." I say, "You are going home? I thought your favorite band was on next?" She says, "Oh no, I'm not going home, I'm just going to stand somewhere else. Bye."

Awesome. I wish I had a video of those last 3-4 minutes to post on youtube. I'd probably title it something like "Not Game."

But that's just the beginning. Now I'd like you to meet T. T is in her mid-thirties, not quite as intellectually gifted as J (though not stupid or even dull by any stretch), but a lot more worldly and mature. Unfortunately, she's a lot more world-weary and, well, a good example of the working poor. College educated but never consistently employed - for 15 years - but she's spunky and funny and really kind and generous with what she does have. We met at an art show before Christmas, had a great conversation, traded a bunch of emails, but never managed to synchronize our schedules before the holidays. After my winter travels, and upon my triumphant return to NEO, we met and spent a nice relaxing day of conversation and people-watching at the West Side Market. Trade some more emails, have some more difficulty synchronizing schedules, and then, last night, she asks me to call her so we can to try and nail down a time to meet. We aren't able to pull that off but we do end up talking for quite a while. Like 6 hours. Literally. But 9 PM to 3 AM went by like a snap of the fingers. To me, that's a good sign. We talked about all sorts of stuff, from the politics of funerals to why Deadheads are so ironically close-minded, and around hour 5 she begins a twenty-minute monologue about how tough things are financially. I don't know what to say, and she clearly isn't looking for solutions, more it seems that she just wants to share where she is in her life. When she pauses and asks what I think in a way that I'm pretty confident isn't merely rhetorical, I respond with brilliance: "Um, I don't know, man, that's pretty heavy. I mean, life is tough, but, um, if you are in a valley, that means there is a hill, right? And there's got to be something over the hill, right? And, well, maybe whatever is over that hill isn't just another pile of shit, you know? Um... anyway, I don't know... so, what are you going to do?" She sighs, soap-opera style, and then says, "Well, I have a really serious boyfriend and he says he'll help me, but I just don't know if I should do that."

She said more than that, but I don't remember what, as I was exchanging quizzical looks with my dog, trying to telepathically communicate with the canine my shock that the girl on the phone said she had this long-term relationship. I was pretty sure she hadn't mentioned that before. In fact, I was almost positive she told me, during our market afternoon, that she'd been single for about a year, since her last boyfriend moved out and took her cat with him. Eventually, what I did say was something like, "Yeah, that's a tough call, you know, involving your significant other in that sort of thing .... so, um, you have a boyfriend?" She says, "Oh yeah, I told you, right?" in the tone of voice you know she knows damn well she never mentioned it and that her failure to mention that one little detail wasn't exactly accidental. We talked for another 15 minutes or so, as she alternated between apologizing and insulting herself.

At least she gave me some good tips on places to get a haircut. And it isn't that much of a loss anyway, as she informed me she's allergic to dogs right before she started her hand-to-mouth monologue. Not only do I have a dog, but I've spent my life with them and plan to continue to do so until I kick the bucket. So, dog allergies are pretty much a non-starter.

All is not lost, though, dear reader ... at least not yet. Now I'd like you to meet K. I met K last week at this sort of community dinner kind of thing. She's funny and crafty and a bit outlandish, an artistic type recently returned to her hometown after a few tough years trying to "make it" in more cosmopolitan, competitive, and expensive places. I don't know how old she is, but she seems to have a world-view similar to my own, one that has been shaped by a certain amount of time and experiences, so I'm guessing she's well out of college but no older than 30. Anyway, I sent a post-meal email a day or two later (i.e., it was nice to meet you blah blah blah), she replied (i.e., I had fun meeting you too yada yada yada), and we have tentative plans to go see a band play this weekend. She could cancel, not show up, or come with a boyfriend or maybe even hubby and 2.2 children. Or she could come out, we have a nice time, and we hang out again. All I know is I'm not making any assumptions and definitely not any "clever" remarks about her occupation.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In Defense of Progressive Field

Recently, the powers-that-be in Cleveland's corner of the baseball world announced a new deal that would change the name of Jacob's Field to Progressive Field. As is the case with any sort of announcement, the name change was greeted with much criticism and gnashing of teeth.

I'm usually just as happy to get down with the anti-corporate sports crowd, but this particular instance doesn't bother me. In fact, I rather like the name Progressive Field, and here is why you should too.

Progressive Field seems to have a nice blend of futurism and antiquity to it, it both reminds me we live in the relative dawn of the 21st Century but also harkens back to an earlier era of baseball, say about 100 years or so ago.

As a word, progressive is one of the better choices in the English language. Whether it makes you think of modernity, early 20th century muckraking and trust-busting, or more contemporary connotations of human rights, social justice, and environmental security, only the most stubborn right-wing lunatic would have an intellectual objection to the new name.

The new stadium name is simple and graceful, unlike the ridiculous corporate monikers (e.g., Minute Maid Park in Houston or, ahem, Quicken Loans Arena here in Cleveland), yet still pays tribute to the company that paid for it, Progressive Auto Insurance.

I'm no shill for the insurance lobby - that much is for damn sure - but Progressive is a recent Cleveland business success story, and I don't need to tell anyone whose visited or lived in NEO the last quarter-century how rare that is.

Would it be better if we could have something like Cleveland Browns Stadium or Yankee Stadium in New York, a building name that purely and specifically paid homage to the entertainment housed within? Sure. But the realities of the professional sports macro-economy being what they are, not only are corporate stadium names the overwhelming norm, the deals that come from them can help fund the small difference between making the playoffs or not, or even between winning the series in 6 or losing in 7. The 3.6ish million a year that Progressive is plunking down for the next 16 years goes into the Indians coffers. For that price, the Indians can add another utility infielder or journeyman backup outfielder with decent off-the-bench hitting, maybe one more under-rated member for the bullpen, or 1/3 of a season for a non-blue chip starting pitcher free agent acquisition.

Ok, so making this deal isn't going to make the Indians, but my broader point in all this is that we could do a whole lot worse for a new stadium name than Progressive Field. Now all we gotta worry about is the non-creative sportswriters and super-fans out there settling of some stupid nickname for the stadium, some decidedly not clever variant of The Pro or the Prog. Let's take a cue from other MLB cities, where fans say they are about to head over to Wrigley or Fenway or Shea or Busch. Forget the shortened nickname, and instead, let's embrace progress.