Mike Polk Jr. became our city's anti-ambassador three years ago, after his "Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video" got so many views (and raised so much ire), that he saw no other option than to throw together a sequel. Now that everyone has calmed down, he's ready to rile Clevelanders up again with his faux guidebook, Damn Right I'm From Cleveland: Your Guide to Makin' It in America's 47th Biggest City (Gray & Co., $14.95). Where else can you find a satirical guide to the best public restrooms downtown, a diatribe on the pointlessness of the Free Stamp, or creatively depressing context for our long championship drought? (The last time we won it all, Betty White was 43 and gasoline was 31 cents a gallon.) If you feel your blood pressure rising, just keep in mind that Polk is a comedian. And let's face it: before all the recent construction, the Flats did kind of look like a Scooby-Doo ghost town.
CM: You offer ideas for dating on the cheap: Free Mondays at the zoo, Edgewater Beach, Tower City Cinemas and the airport Holiday Inn. Which has the lowest success rate?
MP: If you go on a date to Edgewater Beach, you come back with several rashes, and that makes getting intimate that much more difficult.
CM: The book tallies the city's sports disappointments. Which, for you, was the worst?
MP: It's more of a long-term sadness for me. There really isn't one particular thing. Now the sad thing is, there is nothing remarkable about [the Browns 24-14 loss to Buffalo]. It's sad in how unremarkable it is and how used to it we've become.
CM: Which of our lowlights missed the cut for making the book?
MP: The Decision. It was just a sadly predictable indictment of what a spoiled superstar thought of our city, us as people and himself. I happened to be in the emergency room watching that at the time due to a broken finger from an adult kickball injury, which just adds insult.
CM: You even incorporate reader participation. What would your "Draw Your Own Lake Erie Monster" page look like?
MP: It'd be an amalgam of a bunch of angry college professors, ex-girlfriends and a dog in my neighborhood that always goes apeshit whenever I go past his porch.