Cleveland, Ohio

The city where the rivers catch fire

- Andy Whitman -
- 7 April 1997 -

[There are many clevelands, but only one Cleveland. The others are but pale imitations and wannabes, which is kind of scary. -Miles]
    ``It's not Camelot, but it's not Cleveland, either.''
    -- Kevin White, mayor of Boston
    (as quoted in a fortune database)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. [1] It's an old story. The Mistake on the Lake. The city where the rivers catch fire [2]. The city spat upon by Art Modell and Corky Belle. The city where the professional basketball team scores 70 points, and often wins. There's a lot to overcome.

But I'll tell you what: I'd rather live in Cleveland than hundreds of other cities in the U.S. Okay, maybe three. There is, for example, Sea World, the only one outside the states of California and Florida, and the only place where you can see dolphins jump through hoops during a snowstorm. There's nearby Cedar Point, proclaimed by Roller Coaster Magazine as "the coaster capital of the universe." There's the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, where for $25 or $30 apiece you can view the pick used by Eric Clapton when he ascended to Guitar Godhood and an actual locket of Jim Morrison's hair, and listen to all the tunes that you already have in your record collection. There's WMMS, voted yearly by the readers of Rolling Stone Magazine as the Best Rock 'n Roll Station in America, God knows why. There's a world-class symphony orchestra, a bunch of fine history and science and art museums, great ethnic neighborhoods, lots and lots of those cool Orthodox churches with their onion domes, the West End Market, where you can hear a dozen languages being spoken simultaneously and pick up delectable stuff from all over the world, and Lake Erie itself, which you can actually swim in if you get far enough east or west of the city.

Okay, so the sun only shines four days per year. Okay, so it starts snowing in October and usually doesn't fully let up until mid-April. But I'd still rather live in Cleveland than, than ... well, Gary, Indiana. Or Buffalo, New York. Or Columbus, Ohio, where you get all of the above minus the lake, the world-class symphony, the excellent museums, the ethnic neighborhoods, and the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame. Or Peoria, Illinois. Or The Bronx. Or Selma, Alabama. Or Burlington, Colorado. Or the whole insane madhouse of L.A., thank you very much. Or Baaahstin, Mr. Kevin White, which has Cleveland's climate but the steeeeenking Red Sox instead of the Tribe.

Yer darn straight it's not Camelot. Thank God for cities that don't succumb to Broadway musicals, that would rather boogie than over-emote. Stick it in your royal Arthurian ear, Mr. White.

[1] Courtesy of John Lennon

[2] "I know a lot about the history of Cleveland, Ohio
     Disasters that have happened there
     Like the Cuyahoga River on fire."
     -- Adam Again, "River on Fire"

Last updated: 16 July 1997

Copyright 1997 Andy Whitman, Mt. Vernon, OH. All rights reserved.

Miles O'Neal <> [remove the "XYZZY." to make things work!] c/o RNN / 1705 Oak Forest Dr / Round Rock, TX / 78681-1514