THE NOT-SO-PLAIN DEALER

Work, wit and wisdom from Ohio's best visual team
these things unseen
Forum, January 19, 2014
Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer
Hours after finishing The Dead of Winter, her essay about the hulk of her discarded Christmas tree, Andrea learned her long-troubled brother had died. The coincidence in timing and the parallels in the essence of the essay and of her brother’s death haunted her throughout the week and long after the funeral.
She put together this touching piece — an emotional poultice for those who have lost loved ones under similar circumstances:

The morning of Jan. 3, I finished writing a rather dark piece about taking down the Christmas tree. I called it “The Dead of Winter.”In retrospect, you might call it an obituary for a tree.Little did I know as I sent the final words to my editors, that within hours, “The Dead of Winter” would include my brother, Todd.Little did I know that the very next day I would be with my siblings in Findlay, writing an actual obituary. I didn’t see it coming.Did I?These things unseen.

Go here to read the entire piece. And be certain to read the previous post to see how the dots were connected in a more personal, poignant way.
For other visual essays in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here. Andrea has started a FB fan page. You can like it here.
copyright 2014

these things unseen

Forum, January 19, 2014

Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer

Hours after finishing The Dead of Winter, her essay about the hulk of her discarded Christmas tree, Andrea learned her long-troubled brother had died. The coincidence in timing and the parallels in the essence of the essay and of her brother’s death haunted her throughout the week and long after the funeral.

She put together this touching piece — an emotional poultice for those who have lost loved ones under similar circumstances:

The morning of Jan. 3, I finished writing a rather dark piece about taking down the Christmas tree. I called it “The Dead of Winter.”

In retrospect, you might call it an obituary for a tree.

Little did I know as I sent the final words to my editors, that within hours, “The Dead of Winter” would include my brother, Todd.

Little did I know that the very next day I would be with my siblings in Findlay, writing an actual obituary. I didn’t see it coming.

Did I?

These things unseen.

Go here to read the entire piece. And be certain to read the previous post to see how the dots were connected in a more personal, poignant way.

For other visual essays in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here. Andrea has started a FB fan page. You can like it here.

copyright 2014

Dead of winter.
Forum, January 5, 2014
Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer
In her unique way of connecting seemingly unrelated dots, Andrea had some interesting observations as she hauled her Christmas tree to the curb:

Out my frozen window, beneath the harsh streetlight, I think I can see a body on my curb. Whoever left it there had the nerve to drag a bloody trail straight from my front door.
Well, the sight of it is practically making me sick. I wring my curiously scratched and sticky fingers.
Why should I care anyway? Someone else killed it.Right?


Go here to read the entire piece. And be certain to read the next post to see how the dots got connected in a more personal, poignant way.
For other visual essays in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here. Last but not least, Andrea started a FB fan page. You can like it here.
copyright 2014

Dead of winter.

Forum, January 5, 2014

Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer

In her unique way of connecting seemingly unrelated dots, Andrea had some interesting observations as she hauled her Christmas tree to the curb:

Out my frozen window, beneath the harsh streetlight, I think I can see a body on my curb. Whoever left it there had the nerve to drag a bloody trail straight from my front door.

Well, the sight of it is practically making me sick. I wring my curiously scratched and sticky fingers.

Why should I care anyway? Someone else killed it.
Right?

Go here to read the entire piece. And be certain to read the next post to see how the dots got connected in a more personal, poignant way.

For other visual essays in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here. Last but not least, Andrea started a FB fan page. You can like it here.

copyright 2014

Tough crowd
Forum, January 23, 2014
David Kordalski, illustrator/designer
One of the issues that our editorial board has championed over the past several months is the overcrowding in Ohio prisons. And rightly so. From the editorial:

Ohio’s prisons noware so overcrowded — they currently house 50,526 inmates, projected to reach 51,601 by June 30, far above their 38,500 capacity — that it could put inmates and guards in danger.
That’s a warning sign that Ohio has to move quickly to reduce the prison population.

Read the entire editorial here.
A side note: Since The Plain Dealer’s transition to three-day home delivery, we’ve committed to a Forum section for each of the home delivery days. We lead each one with the main editorial. The challenge — and the thrill — is that these pages are done live … often conceived and completed within a six-hour (or in this case, a two-hour) window.
Need an easy way to follow along with the not-so-plain? Like us on Facebook.
copyright 2014

Tough crowd

Forum, January 23, 2014

David Kordalski, illustrator/designer

One of the issues that our editorial board has championed over the past several months is the overcrowding in Ohio prisons. And rightly so. From the editorial:

Ohio’s prisons noware so overcrowded — they currently house 50,526 inmates, projected to reach 51,601 by June 30, far above their 38,500 capacity — that it could put inmates and guards in danger.

That’s a warning sign that Ohio has to move quickly to reduce the prison population.

Read the entire editorial here.

A side note: Since The Plain Dealer’s transition to three-day home delivery, we’ve committed to a Forum section for each of the home delivery days. We lead each one with the main editorial. The challenge — and the thrill — is that these pages are done live … often conceived and completed within a six-hour (or in this case, a two-hour) window.

Need an easy way to follow along with the not-so-plain? Like us on Facebook.

copyright 2014

Big finish. And great start.
Sports, January 5, 2014
Tony Briggmin, design and research; Dennis Manoloff, research; John Kuntz, photographer
Josh Gordon’s breakout year as an elite NFL receiver was a spectacular bright spot in an otherwise dismal Browns season. He broke several franchise and NFL records, including being the first receiver in league history to have consecutive 200-yard games — 237 against Pittsburgh, then 261 against Jacksonville. He made the Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro.
Gordon’s potential is the most encouraging thing for Browns fans as we look to 2014.
And your Not-So-Plain blogger notes that this doubletruck detailing each of Gordon’s 87 catches — Tony’s first for The PD — is an encouraging sign for Not-So-Plain fans as we look forward, too, now that Tony’s on our team.
Of course, our view is we’re more like the Patriots than the mess known as the new Browns.
Want more Gordon, or maybe a printable pdf version? Go to cleveland.com/gordon for even more detail.
copyright 2014

Big finish. And great start.

Sports, January 5, 2014

Tony Briggmin, design and research; Dennis Manoloff, research; John Kuntz, photographer

Josh Gordon’s breakout year as an elite NFL receiver was a spectacular bright spot in an otherwise dismal Browns season. He broke several franchise and NFL records, including being the first receiver in league history to have consecutive 200-yard games — 237 against Pittsburgh, then 261 against Jacksonville. He made the Pro Bowl and was named a first-team All-Pro.

Gordon’s potential is the most encouraging thing for Browns fans as we look to 2014.

And your Not-So-Plain blogger notes that this doubletruck detailing each of Gordon’s 87 catches — Tony’s first for The PD — is an encouraging sign for Not-So-Plain fans as we look forward, too, now that Tony’s on our team.

Of course, our view is we’re more like the Patriots than the mess known as the new Browns.

Want more Gordon, or maybe a printable pdf version? Go to cleveland.com/gordon for even more detail.

copyright 2014

Perfect match.
Forum, December 25, 2013
Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer
Our friend and former PD colleague Felesia McDonald found out she was a match to donate a kidney to the new love of her life, Ray Freeman. It would have been easy to come up with hundreds of reasons not to — but Felesia found the courage — and love — to go ahead with the donation just before Christmas. Andrea explains:

It wasn’t simply the love and support I witnessed between them that was significant. Felesia is a single mother of two who endured a long, stormy marriage and an eventual divorce. Ray was managing kidney disease, which required three weekly trips to dialysis. In light of all this, what was most striking about this couple was the optimism they shared. The sense of humor. Their electricity was palpable.

Go here to read the entire piece.
And to see and read other pieces in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here.
Last but not least, Andrea started a FB fan page. You can like it here.
copyright 2013

Perfect match.

Forum, December 25, 2013

Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer

Our friend and former PD colleague Felesia McDonald found out she was a match to donate a kidney to the new love of her life, Ray Freeman. It would have been easy to come up with hundreds of reasons not to — but Felesia found the courage — and love — to go ahead with the donation just before Christmas. Andrea explains:

It wasn’t simply the love and support I witnessed between them that was significant. Felesia is a single mother of two who endured a long, stormy marriage and an eventual divorce. Ray was managing kidney disease, which required three weekly trips to dialysis. In light of all this, what was most striking about this couple was the optimism they shared. The sense of humor. Their electricity was palpable.

Go here to read the entire piece.

And to see and read other pieces in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here.

Last but not least, Andrea started a FB fan page. You can like it here.

copyright 2013

About Face(book)
Forum, December 20, 2013
Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer
Andrea took a Facebook holiday and gained a renewed appreciation of the connections, large and small:

Well, my deactivation has made something abundantly clear to me: Beneath all the sleeping pups and perfect pies, new haircuts, snowy lawn furniture, shared fears, prayers and argument lies our need to reach out, whether electronically or in person. Because ultimately, I think we care deeply for one another.

You can go here to read the entire piece.
And to see and read other pieces in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here.
Oh, and after her self-imposed exile, she started a FB fan page. You can like it here.
copyright 2013

About Face(book)

Forum, December 20, 2013

Andrea Levy, photographer/illustrator; David Kordalski, designer

Andrea took a Facebook holiday and gained a renewed appreciation of the connections, large and small:

Well, my deactivation has made something abundantly clear to me: Beneath all the sleeping pups and perfect pies, new haircuts, snowy lawn furniture, shared fears, prayers and argument lies our need to reach out, whether electronically or in person. Because ultimately, I think we care deeply for one another.

You can go here to read the entire piece.

And to see and read other pieces in this continuing OpinionArt series, follow Andrea’s blog here.

Oh, and after her self-imposed exile, she started a FB fan page. You can like it here.

copyright 2013

Fictitious Constitutional clause gives a student pause
Forum, December 20, 2013
Chris Morris, illustrator; David Kordalski, designer
For a column from a guest community contributor about the lack of a clause in the U.S. Constitution requiring majority rule.
Not 100-percent sure why the author took a Christmas-like theme for this back-and-forth e-mail conversation between an imaginary schoolgirl and an equally made up editor, but he did — and Chris ran with it.
Read the piece here.
copyright 2013

Fictitious Constitutional clause gives a student pause

Forum, December 20, 2013

Chris Morris, illustrator; David Kordalski, designer

For a column from a guest community contributor about the lack of a clause in the U.S. Constitution requiring majority rule.

Not 100-percent sure why the author took a Christmas-like theme for this back-and-forth e-mail conversation between an imaginary schoolgirl and an equally made up editor, but he did — and Chris ran with it.

Read the piece here.

copyright 2013

Winning is out of their hands

December 15, 2013

Joe Hanak, A1 designer; Greg Darroch, Sports designer; John Kuntz, Joshua Gunter, photographers

Browns lose another game after another spectacular fourth quarter collapse, this time to the Chicago Bears, 38-31.

It took a while to post these pages, as the wound is just beginning to heal.

'Nuff said.

copyright 2013

Why does God hate kids?
November 24, 2013
Emmet Smith and David Kordalski, designers; Lynn Ischay, photographer
A powerfully provocative column by two-time Pulitzer finalist Phillip Morris deserves provocative play. There was no stronger headline than his lead for this one.
Phillip details a broken — and widely ignored — part of foster care in Ohio: What happens to the kids who age out of the system.
What’s most remarkable is that the focus of the piece, former foster child Candice Woodland, is fragile — but she’s not nearly as broken as the system. And she wants others to know that it needs fixed. She told Phillip:

“Love is the key. It might sound strange, but I never realized how important that was until I received real love. I never realized how important genuine love was until I found a family that believed in me.”
“The last family I was with told me that I was beautiful and that I mattered. I finally had parents who believed in me. That’s when I finally began to believe in myself,” she told me Thursday just before racing off to a class at Cuyahoga Community College.

Read the full column here.
copyright 2013

Why does God hate kids?

November 24, 2013

Emmet Smith and David Kordalski, designers; Lynn Ischay, photographer

A powerfully provocative column by two-time Pulitzer finalist Phillip Morris deserves provocative play. There was no stronger headline than his lead for this one.

Phillip details a broken — and widely ignored — part of foster care in Ohio: What happens to the kids who age out of the system.

What’s most remarkable is that the focus of the piece, former foster child Candice Woodland, is fragile — but she’s not nearly as broken as the system. And she wants others to know that it needs fixed. She told Phillip:

“Love is the key. It might sound strange, but I never realized how important that was until I received real love. I never realized how important genuine love was until I found a family that believed in me.”

“The last family I was with told me that I was beautiful and that I mattered. I finally had parents who believed in me. That’s when I finally began to believe in myself,” she told me Thursday just before racing off to a class at Cuyahoga Community College.

Read the full column here.

copyright 2013

Keep on Rockin’ in the CLE world
December 17, 2013
Chris Morris, illustrator; Emmet Smith, designer
The Class of 2014 isn’t the first time Morris and Smith have teamed up to do a cool black and white treatment for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees.
Just the easiest.
Not-so-plain followers might remember when Chris drew all 542 performers in advance of the 2012 ceremony. But just in case you forgot, you can see them here. And here. And here. And finally, here.
And for everything you want to know about the class of 2014, read PD Rock Critic Chuck Yarborough's story here.
copyright 2013

Keep on Rockin’ in the CLE world

December 17, 2013

Chris Morris, illustrator; Emmet Smith, designer

The Class of 2014 isn’t the first time Morris and Smith have teamed up to do a cool black and white treatment for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s inductees.

Just the easiest.

Not-so-plain followers might remember when Chris drew all 542 performers in advance of the 2012 ceremony. But just in case you forgot, you can see them here. And here. And here. And finally, here.

And for everything you want to know about the class of 2014, read PD Rock Critic Chuck Yarborough's story here.

copyright 2013