14 August 2005
City sanctions bar fights, holds tournament

A man jumps into the canal after losing his arm in a bar fight at The Wharf.

image courtesy of Jim "The Anvil"
If you can't beat em, join em. That is exactly what was in the minds of city administrators when they legalized bar fights this week. The new law comes to the delight of Ashtabula's long line of fighting families, itching to prove themselves in a new tournament of hillbilly gladiators. Not surprisingly, the first test location will be The Wharf in the Harbor district. Profits generated from new cover charges will go toward the purchase of antidepressants for city residents. Despite the potential economic boost, disagreements amongst Council members have lead to a somewhat complicated scoring system. Limbs completely digested will earn the most points at 150, with bites, headbutts, and otherwise detached body parts capturing 50 points. Noogies, wedgies, and other showy tricks, if performed correctly, are given 25 points. Extra points are awarded for farting or defecating on opponents, as well as making them eat things. If contestants shit themselves, they can call time-out, but cannot change shorts. Losing contestants voluntarily jump or are thrown into the river where they must defend themselves against a variety of vicious marine creatures. If they survive, they are granted a "cherry" match with former Ashtabula City contender Ray Enricco. Having sunk his teeth into several body parts during his prime, Enricco, has been hired on by the City as a coach. In an opening night embarrassment on Friday, Ray's first fighter jumped into the canal where he was run over by a speedboat, then eaten by a shark.

Homeless, Not Phoneless
Ashtabula's poor keep in touch
In a desperate plea for understanding this week, Martinis roamed the city to figure out how people who seem to have nothing always have the very latest in cell phone technology. Uptown, Martinis caught "Gimme" Jimmy, a Main Street bum known for his incessant asking for things. Each morning, Jimmy goes through local dumpsters looking for scraps to eat and finds the best food with his mobile phone. Using his Motorola V3, Jimmy is able to contact bums from different parts of town who clue him in on where the best meals can be found. "Wouldn't trade it fer all the worl'," said Jimmy, eating some margarine. Another man, Chris, from Ashtabula Harbor, has been unemployed for 13 years, but says he wouldn't have time for a job. Whether going to bars, or just staying home and getting high, Chris has a full agenda. More importantly, wherever he is, Chris never parts with his six cell phones and pager, which he keeps strapped to his body from his shoulders to his ankles. At 33, Chris says the phones are his lifeline to his closest friends, most of whom are still in high school. Both Chris and Jimmy are part of Ashtabula's unique network of homeless and degenerates somehow able to afford hundreds of dollars per month in cell bills. Stay tuned next week when the man who put Sesco's out of business, Scan Guerini, taps the phones of the city's biggest creeps.

Drinking Contest
Directors shoot pilot in local bar
Bridge Street was blocked off over the weekend during a shoot of a new television show said to cater to drunks. An out-of-state film crew received City permission to shoot the pilot at the La-La Cafe. Going against most networks' policies, the program, "Drinking Contest," uses real cocktails and has its guests participating in some kind of alcoholic playoff. A number of passers-by were permitted entrance to the La-La before doors were closed by Neighborhood decepticons Jay Bell and Martini. Bell and Martini sealed the bar's doors around 7pm Friday and did not surface until late Saturday afternoon. Over the course of the evening, a steady stream of emergency vehicles -- police cars, ambulances, two hearses, and the coast guard -- showed up; all drivers of which remained inside the establishment. After the sneak preview, Subway parking lot resident Jeff McLoughlin told Martinis guests became severely intoxicated, most to the point of hallucinating. Jeff said one of the golden moments came when a piss-drunk 60-year-old thought he had fallen through the floor and was reaching up, trying to climb out, screaming for someone named Barry. McLoughlin said they watched the scene several times during the evening and each time, "It was like, REWIND -- PLAY, REWIND -- PLAY."

Ashtabulans who go places barefoot