THE JUDICIAL BRANCH: Seeking Justice | Why In God’s Name Isn’t Cliff Branch in the Hall of Fame?!!

Speed Kills – A Flash of Light. A Puff of Smoke. Then Gone.
After that sweetheart Terrell Owens fisted the Canton Football Hall of Fame and the elder statesmen of the once wonderful All-American Football Conference and the American and National Football Leagues, what has been simmering for some two decades has busted out into a full, escalating, erupting boil:  Why Isn’t Cliff Branch in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Got-dammit?!!!

The Great Cliff Branch Is Awesome Video | Watch and Weep at the Injustice

In the Catholic tradition of the sins of omission – The sinniest of sins, No? – that Cliff Branch isn’t in the Hall is a spiritual felony. Aggravated and in the first degree.

Moreover, that Randy Moss, Ray Lewis, and Terrell Owens have made it to Canton – (where, contrary to popular belief, they do not speak Cantonese) – the Great Clifford Branch, WHO HAS MORE RINGS THAN ALL THREE COMBINED!!! (as if three exclamations  markers are enough) – is a blotch on a blight in a swarm of plague, a pestilence on the gridiron and its culture and shame on the Hall of Fame. (Don’t get me started on Jim Plunkett’s omission while one-big-win Joe Willy Namath?… – Ah, fuggetaboutit.) – Criminy, that Jerry Jones is in the “Pro Football Hall of Fame” ahead of Cliff Branch is pathetic enough. – But Terrell effing Owens?


With all due Namaste to Fred Biletnikoff, Dave Casper, and Ken Stabler – ALL OF WHOM ARE TO BE ADORED – none would be in the once-hallowed Hall were it not for the deep threat that was Clifford B, the first true deep threat in the NFL (with all due respect to Otis Taylor and Charlie Joiner) that allowed the floating Silver and Gold HOF ‘possession’ receivers to make seven-yard catches then six-yard runs because Speed himself – Cliff Branch, Speed Kills – was running deep-route decoy, taking a corner back and free safety tandem long while Freddy B and Ghost were doing button-hooks and slants.

And then, even still and nevertheless, while defensive schemes and secondaries often kept Cliff Branch covered , on numerous, various, and many occasions, Ken Stabler’s Crimson-Tide toned left arm could just as easily flick a forty-yarder to number 21 on the fly and possibly cum likely score for six.

What?! You gonna wait until Mr. Branch has left this plane, like you did Ken Stabler, before you honor the man’s greatness? – Shame on all y’all yellow-jackets.

Cliff Branch was money before money could run. And he didn’t even bother wearing knee pads.

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Something Special about Nothing

By Matthew K. Weiland

January is a gloriously mundane month – and mundane in the best sense of the much-maligned word. Not boring or tedious nor droning or monotonous (like this sentence might initially appear). Rather…Enjoyably routine. Divinely ordinary.  Blessedly commonplace. Beautifully dull. – No social obligations. No high expectations. No sleep deprivations. – Instead, small hydrations. Quiet meditations. Epic hibernations. Maybe some polar exhilarations. – Oh mighty Janus! Embrace us in your nothingness!!!

And this isn’t about being contrarian or ironic or rooting for the underdog – I am soooo over irony – but rather genuinely appreciating what the initial month offers, accepting it on its own terms, and making the most out of its darkness and coldness and smoldering charm. The femme fatale

January is a Zen time, when there are no expectations, and thus no disappointment. In fact, the whole month is a great reason to bail on practically anything, regardless of occasion. – No one’s counting on you to show up anywhere. No one cares if you don’t have your A-game. No cares how much you sleep. Or if you stay in your jammies all day. – There is quiet ritual and routine in January, yielding small satisfactions. Mindfully folding clothes. The warm water and soap suds of doing dishes. The sectioning of grapefruit.

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Great Lakes Christmas Sail

By Matthew K. Weiland
Based on the Voyages of Bridget Nagle

here has long been a certain fascinating mystique surrounding the notion of a solitary Christmas somewheres – a lighthouse, a forestry service fire tower, a rural AM radio station, the caboose of a 20th century limited smoking through the midnight clear – where a small choir of angels, convened through chance or circumstance, light a candle, exchange a gesture, and toast a nog to peace on earth however distant is their hearths and homes.
Such came to mind recently while watching a ship slip over the horizon two weeks back, following its own north star on a cold, lonesome lake. Where might they be going? Where will they find their yule port? Where might their midnight choir sing? How would Santa find them?
Rally in the Galley
Bridget Nagle | Photo by Marianne Mangan

“Holidays are extra special,” says Bridget Nagle, cook, steward, Santa’s helper and host extraordinaire, who has been aboard the 630-foot Manitowoc since May of 20 aught 10.

“I’m definitely a boat mom. I go crazy cooking and baking this time of year. It’s a three-day feast of gluttony for a crew of 17 along with the captain and first mate. These are my boys. I truly love them and their families. I’ve tried 100 different meat loaf recipes until I found the best one. Some of the must loved recipes belong to the mothers, wives, and grandmothers that have been graciously passed along to me.”

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Adult Cinema | A Shill for the Florida Project

They don’t generally make movies for the likes of me anymore – I am not really anyone’s sought-out demographic – so I rarely attend the cinemaplex much at all. The television commercials alone appearing before the previews; egad, by the third or fourth Uncle Hipster is generally ready to bail.

Yet, once a year around this time, I find myself craving and seeking something that is a reminder of good, honest, adult film making and story telling, an Up In the Air or Spotlight or Big Short. This year, a few weeks back, I caught Willem DaFoe on a noontime re-airing of PBS’ Tavis Smiley Show (I know, right?) promoting something called The Florida Project. It has become this year’s volley of the season.

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Writing, Not a Fan | A Writer’s Slog

I have to say, I haven’t really missed writing at all in the numerous, many times I have not done so.

I especially haven’t missed it since I began tuning out the siren song muses of false promise, the hot voices of all prompt and no payoff.

It’s not that I really or truly hate writing. It’s just…I really have a kind of better time without it. (Similarly, I don’t hate the notion of drinking the recommended eight glasses of water per month, either. I just a lot of times prefer not to.)

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Make Oregano a Primary Condiment in all Northeastern Ohio Pizzerias

“It’s time for the condimenti cognoscenti and the pizzerati to step-up…Free the Oregano! And make it a primary part of pizza’s condimenti Italiani.”


Cleveland, OH –The Fregano Federation of Northeastern Ohio (FFONO), in partnership with and the Basil Institute at Rhode Island’s New Shoreham Community Center, announces the launch of its “FREGANO!” campaign with the mission: “To free the oregano from the kitchen cupboard confines of Italian restaurants and pizzerias and make it a primary part of pizza parlor condimentsthe Condimenti Italiani – taking its rightful place alongside long-time stalwarts red pepper and Parmesan cheese, completing a holy trinity of taste and dimension.”

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