“Best of 2012 List of ‘Best of 2012’ Lists I Hate”

Snowhenge – still standing on 12-22-12

Ah, the final post of the year. This is a time for reflection, recollections, and drunken fights over “best of” lists. In the spirit of the day, please enjoy J. Thorn’s “Best of 2012 List of ‘Best of 2012’ Lists I Hate”:

USA Today’s “Best of 2012 Top apps for smartphones and tablets”
Who cares about what USA Today thinks? Do they still make newspapers? Who the reads newspapers anymore?

E! Online’s “Best of 2012: Top 10 Fresh Faces of the Year”
Number 3 is a cat. Enough said.

Time Magazine’s “The 140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2012”
Who cares about what Time Magazine thinks? Do they still make magazines? Who reads magazines anymore? When I think of the best Twitter feeds, I automatically think, Time Magazine. As soon as I saw Bill Cosby’s picture from 1984, I knew Time was a cutting-edge source of tech news. Who cares about Bill Cosby? Do they still make pudding pops? Who eats pudding pops anymore?

The L.A. Time’s “Best of 2012 Pop Music: Albums”
Hipster garbage. Next.

NPR Book’s “Best Books of 2012”
Technically, Preta’s Realm came out in 2011 so…

Slate.com’s “The 10 Best Movies of 2012”
No Crawl? No Sinister? No Cabin in the Woods? Hipster garbage. Next.

IMDb’s “Most Popular Adult Feature Films Released In 2012”
I know what you’re thinking. Let me explain. This so-called “list” has no screenshots, descriptions, or trailers. Not a single title has the word “jugs” or “asses” in it. Where the hell is AVN when you need it?

*I only had time to come up with 7 on my list instead of the usual 10 because I was preparing my bunker for the Mayan Apocalypse.

Happy New Year! Let’s make 2013 one to remember…

#KickassKleveland – A Christmas Story House

A Christmas Story is the Woodstock of holiday movies. Everyone claims to have seen it in the movie theater in 1983 and yet that is not true. I can honestly say that I did. My old man took me to a moldy, dilapidated, single-screen theater in Butler, Pennsylvania on the Sunday night after Thanksgiving. I was 12 and getting ready for my first experience hunting buck in Western PA. I was about [sarcastic gulp] to become a man. We decided to go to the movies the night before Opening Day and see the only PG movie playing. At the time, I was slightly amused by the film. Most of the humor came from my dad’s childhood, not mine. I begged Santa for video games, not Red Rider BB guns. As I grew up and TBS started pummeling us with 24 hours of A Christmas Story, I began to like the movie. Now I love it. I’m not a Christmasy-kinda guy, but Christmas Vacation and A Christmas Story always get me in the mood for annoying relatives and rooms full of screaming kids.

This past week we visited the wonderfully sketchy, I mean, trendy neighborhood of Tremont on Cleveland’s west side. Calm down hipsters; I’m only joking about Tremont. Sort of. Drive to 3159 West 11th Street and you’ll be greeted by a most spectacular site. There, between the “parking attendant” charging ten bucks for a space on his front lawn and the “museum” across the street, sits A Christmas Story House in all of its restored glory.

The wonderful glow of the Leg Lamp beckons from the front porch while the barking echo of the Bumpuses’ dogs can be heard in the distance. Stroll through the living room, complete with a Red Rider BB Gun and blue bowling ball under the Christmas tree. Go into the kitchen and hide under the sink like Randy did. Stand in the bathroom and stick a bar of Lifebuoy soap in your mouth or pick up the rotary phone where you can still hear Schwartz’s mom screaming about her son’s alleged dropping of the F-bomb.

They shot most scenes of the home’s interior on a sound stage in Toronto. However, the house at 3159 West 11th was used in pre-production for wide angle shots of “Cleveland Street” and owner Brian Jones used each and every frame of the film to restore the entire structure to the way it appeared in the movie. Jones, a San Diego entrepreneur, bought the house off of eBay in 2004 for $150,000 and spent a quarter of a million dollars restoring it.

A Christmas Story House draws fans from around the world. If you time your visit just right, you might even get to meet Jim Moralevitz. He starred as the delivery guy that brought the “Major Award” to the front door. To this day, I pronounce fragile as “fra-GEE-lay”. It must be Italian.

I usually tag interesting people with #KickassKleveland but I think you’ll agree that this house probably deserves it. “You’ll shoot your eye out kid. Merry Christmas! HO! HO! HO!”

Official “A Christmas Story House” Website

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I’ve deleted and rewritten this post 14 times. I’m going to keep this version simply because I have to write something. This is going to piss off some people. So be it. I’m not trying to be edgy or controversial. I’m trying to make sense of the tragedy, like everyone else.

Some have lashed out in anger, placing blame. I can’t because we’re all to blame. We gorge ourselves on violence and then recoil in horror at the results.

Some have called upon their faith. I can’t because I have none. I no longer pray to a god that “works in mysterious ways” or incorporates the slaughter of five year old children in “His plan”. Pray if you like. It certainly can’t hurt.

I’m going to hug my kids and tell them I love them. And then I’m going to remind myself each and every day that everyone I meet is someone’s kid. It’s really all I can do.


Duval, 1862, day after Decembeaver

A few weeks ago the wife said we needed several plastic items from China that would break in three weeks, so she sent me to the local Super Wal-Fart. In a strange way, I enjoy the outings. They have become like expeditions into the unknown, making me feel like Indiana Jones inside the Temple of Doom or possibly the Cleveland Browns in the end zone.

I strolled through the aisles gathering my booty and trying to avoid whining kids seeping snot from their disgusting faces. I approached the checkout line where a cashier stood wearing the revered blue vest behind a credit card screen crawling with bacteria. I smiled and began to load my items on to the conveyer belt where they stuck to the Gatorade residue left from days gone by. The cashier smiled and gave me a nod while I marveled at the dark, luxurious mustache.

“You dig that, huh?” asked the cashier.

I felt a bit awkward and tried not to stare but knew I couldn’t ignore the question for long.

“It’s full,” I replied. “Thick.”

The cashier smiled as she placed my items into the blue plastic bags that would surely split as soon as I walked past the Salvation Army creep, but before I could reach my car in parking lot row ZZZZ9999. She winked from behind eye makeup applied as a tribute to the Lone Ranger’s mask.

“Damn straight. It’s Movember. You grow one of these so you don’t get no cancer,” she said, pointing to the furry caterpillar underneath her nose.

The guy in line behind me snickered and then buried his head in an iPhone. He pretended not to overhear the conversation, ignoring the spectacle like a Wal-Fart greeter on a Black Friday morning. I hesitated. I had heard of Movember and just assumed it was a gender-specific event. I swallowed my words and waited to see where this was headed.

“My cousin told me about it,” she continued. “They gots another in December to help stop the cancers.”

“Really,” I said. “Cancer, great cause. That’s noble of you. What’s the one next month called?”

“Decembeaver,” she said while thrusting a hip at me. “You don’t trim the bush for the whole month, let it go wild. If you come back after Christmas, honey, I’ll show you my Kris Kringle.”


“We created modern society by forging American innovation. It should not be forgotten by anyone—including ourselves.”

Having spent most of my life in Pittsburgh and Cleveland, I proudly proclaim to be Rustbuilt. I come from a long line of hard-working, honest, people that lived simply. The glory of the mills and factories are long gone, but the drive to create is not. There is a movement flowing through the Rust Belt, a tide of innovation like molten steel that promises a return to our former prosperity. Whether it’s the ink master in a custom tattoo shop, a graphic artist hoping to inspire, or a renegade entrepreneur welding ideas together with lines of code, the Rust Belt will not die. We are not about accepting handouts and sucking from the teat of government assistance. We are not victims and we are not weak.

Join the movement. Create. Turn off the television and turn on your mind. Stop consuming and begin producing.

“We have always been and remain the captains of industry. We create things—from steel to machines to technologies to jobs. We built communities and the promise of a better future for families to grow. Our spirit is still alive and we are still innovating. We just need to get organized and stand and be counted. Are you RustBuilt?”

I am.

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