Gimme Back My Bullets

Let’s just say we’re a little upset.

The actual language used by at least one staffer (maybe me) was much stronger, but for right now, we’ll settle for peeved — like when you’re the guy randomly selected at the airport for the pat-down search.

Which brings me to why we’re ticked.

Those winding security lines suck.

I know they’re necessary. But still, getting there 90 minutes early to wait is a bummer. It’s worse than the weekend lines at Cedar Point: No adrenaline rush from the Top Thrill Dragster when you finally make it to the end.
About the best you can hope for is being picked to go through the airport’s supersensitive air-puffer thing.

But for a few thrilling years, we had something to occupy our attention. Big, mounted displays of every weapon you can imagine (and some you’ve never dreamed of) hung in the screening area like some warfare-meets-Warhol piece of pop art.

It was disturbing, fascinating. Like any good piece of art, it challenged you, caused you to ask questions, made you think. We easily slated it for our Best of Cleveland list for this year.

Senior editor Erick Trickey discovered that everything in the display — the knives, guns, throwing star, deck of razor-sharp playing cards, and what appears to be sticks of dynamite (they were actually men’s cologne bottles) — was confiscated at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport between 2002 and 2003. The Transportation Security Administration set up the intimidating exhibit, he learned, to remind travelers what to mail home or drop in the “amnesty bins” before they reach the X-ray and metal detectors.

Most people reacted exactly like we did, TSA spokesman Doug Koman told Trickey: “I can’t believe people even try to take something like that [on a plane].”

So you can imagine our surprise when we learned in August that the display had been removed and put into storage. It’s not like the Cleveland Museum of Art shoves Salvador Dalí’s “The Dream” in some broom closet. (Actually, Dalí’s work returns from an overseas tour and is a part of CMA’s Impressionist and Modern Masters, which opens this month.)

No, we want our weapons back. We want them back for art’s sake, for boredom’s sake. It was the best thing about those lines. It was one of the best things about the airport. (Oh, yeah, we really like the Great Lakes Brewing Co. outpost in Concourse A too, where for $10 you can get sampler-size pilsners of four Great Lakes beers.)

Despite our frustration at a great, lost best-of item, we hope you’ll find a lot to love and explore in this month’s Best of Cleveland issue.
Start with the unbelievable (and incredibly edible) re-creation of the Terminal Tower by Lauren Bozich and Marianne Carroll of The White Flower Cake Shoppe.

We know, it’s going to spoil your appetite, but there’s other great food on this year’s list — from a place where you can create your own fresh fish-fry (prepared right there for $1) to some four-star carryout from Pamela Waterman and Brad Schmid.

Discover something tropical with Paladar Latin Kitchen’s rum flights or a taste of the islands at Put-in-Bay Lakewood, where you can hear well-loved Cleveland and island-mainstay musicians four nights a week.

Slip into something comfortable — and SoHo chic — at Style Lounge, which offers an unrivaled denim selection (and free drinks), or something socially conscious like a bamboo tee from Revive in Cleveland Heights.

And yes, there are more than 50 categories selected by you, the readers. We even went to some of your favorites — Grady and Brady included — to see what they love about this town. So go on, turn to page 136 and get started. But damn it (oops, sorry), we want our airport display back.

Want to really experience the Best of Cleveland? Join us for the Best of Cleveland Party at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Oct. 25 from 7 to 10 p.m. (or 10:30 for VIP). Tickets may be purchased through Ticketmaster or at the Rock Hall. 
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