Getting beaned in the head no longer has to be just a fond memory from your youth. Cleveland Plays is offering a fall dodgeball league. "It was something that people have been talking about for a while and we decided to go ahead and do it," says managing partner Doug Bielinski. To relive a less painful grade-school memory, consider joining the kickball league. www.clevelandplays.com or (216) 269-5019
Naming Baby Girls After '40s Screen Stars
Through the '90s and into this century, birthing wards were filled with newborn Madisons and Taylors — monikers that sounded as fresh and new as the babies that got them. Nowadays, those names ring old and really old names seem fresh, hence the debut of many tiny Avas, Isabellas, Mias and more. (Full disclosure: Cleveland Magazine staffers have recently welcomed Olivia, Audrey and Stella into this world.) Want to be truly original? Try Karen, Jennifer, Melissa or Kim. But avoid Emma, the most popular girl's name in Ohio in 2003.
Bill Clinton wrote his tell-all in 1,008 pages, while Northeast Ohio's own Joe Eszterhas managed to cover the no-holds-barred take on his life as a high-paid Hollywood screenwriter in 736 pages. But for those who don't have time just yet to take a serious bite out of Eszterhas' "Hollywood Animal" (which we've read and can report is quite good), we offer some page numbers that can give you a taste of the sort of salacious material that will make you want to read the whole thing: Turn to page 173 to learn about the fairly unscientific method that led to Jennifer Beals being cast as the "Flashdance" lead, then check out the details of Eszterhas' one-night stand with "Basic Instinct" star Sharon Stone on page 337. Next, flip to page 359 to learn about Eszterhas' short-lived affair with then-Ohio governor George Voinovich's then-26-year-old daughter, Betsy.
Julia Roberts and Cameron Diaz are doing it. But there are better reasons to pick up this craft. "It's very therapeutic -- very calming and soothing," says Debbie Roth, owner of The Knitting Room in Woodmere (216-464-8450). Take classes for $15 per hour and a half with Roth or at Fine Points in Larchmere (216-229-6644, $35 for a three-hour class) or at The Knitting Garden (440-250-5648, $30 for two one-hour classes) in Westlake. Start with a scarf or the fashion trend of the fall: "Ponchos," says Roth. "At the moment, everybody's knitting ponchos."
Why remake your look when you can remake your life? Life coaches claim to do exactly that. The highest-profile coach in Cleveland is Dagmar Celeste, ex-wife of former governor Dick Celeste. Signing on with a life coach is like "hiring a personal trainer for your soul," says Celeste, who charges $900 for three months of weekly sessions. (216) 939-8167 or www.ladybugenterprises.com
Rattan Baskets as Clutter Conquerors
We've all fallen hard for the belief that pretty baskets will help us keep our homes as organized as a Pottery Barn catalog (where baskets sell for $22, plus $8 for the liner and $6 for monogramming). The theory runs that little Jack will put his toys away if his gingham-lined basket has his name on it. "The fallacy in getting baskets is thinking that because you have a basket, you can keep as much stuff as you want," observes clutter coach Rungsinee Phoudad, owner of R U Organized (440-779-8998, $55 an hour). "It's dangerous to think that." Most people, Phoudad adds, have 25 to 35 percent too much stuff in their house. Her advice: First, purge; then, organize. That can be done with $3 plastic bins or $40 baskets. If you must have the latter, Phoudad advises checking out Pier 1 Imports or World Market for more affordable alternatives.
Matt Lauer of NBC's "Today" show, Cleveland Browns quarterback Jeff Garcia and action star Vin Diesel all did it. Before the bald spot started to show through, they shaved — or very closely cropped — their hair. "I think it's better than trying to do one of those combovers," says Jimmy Sharaba, directing manager of Studio Palmieri (216-344-3200) in the Warehouse District, adding that whether you go bald or just closely shorn depends largely on the shape of your head.
Paris Hilton Skirts
While you may not be seeing as many tiny ruffled skirts as you did this summer, the trend hasn't faded; it's just been put on hold till warmer weather, says Kathleen McHale, who owns Lush Boutique (216-381-8888) in Legacy Village with her sister Tracey. Come summer, look at Lush for skirts Paris would be proud to wear by Juicy Couture or Corey Lynn Calter. Too old? Nonsense, says Kathleen. Just pair them with flip-flops instead of stilettos and they're cute and casual for "running around with the kids."
The getting-naked-in-public trend started long before Tom Coyne and Spencer Tunick. The Internet provided the real boost. Green Valley, located near Bath, is the closest nudist facility to Cleveland, though its exact location is revealed only to those who book a cabin or campsite (open May to September only, for obvious reasons). Interested in "essential wholesomeness" and a "life that is enhanced by the naturalness of societal nudity"? Check out www.green valleyinc.net. Don't forget your towel.
The '50s fad of faux-Polynesian decor and heavily liquored, pastel-colored froufrou drinks in mugs that look like Easter Island statues is back. We got invited to two tiki parties in one weekend this summer, and we've even seen tiki torches at Tops grocery stores. In the Flats, The Beachcomber and Tiki Bar (216-566-9400) tries to transform the Cuyahoga into the South Pacific. But for the best zombies and mai tais, nothing beats an old-school Chinese restaurant with cocktails, such as Bay Village's Bamboo House (440-871-1966). To outfit your home tiki bar, check out The Modern World in Ohio City (216-623-1226).
The buzz about the presidential election is so loud that political passion counts as a hot new trend. Voter registration cards have flooded election offices. Everyone knows how much is at stake this year and how swing state Ohio could swing the whole election. So join the fray! To volunteer for Bush, call the Ohio Republicans (216-621-5415) or the county campaign office in Brecksville (440-717-9642). For Kerry, call the campaign's offices on Shaker Square (216-991-2004) or Lorain Avenue (216-941-2004).
The only thing hotter than a regular Hummer H2 is a stretch Hummer H2 that offers 26 lucky people two plasma-screen TVs, lava lamps, a laser show, 20 speakers, 11 bar areas and a mirrored ceiling. Four hours cost $800 on weekdays and $999 on Saturdays. First Class Limos, Solon, 1-888-515-4667, www.firstclasslimos.net
Texas Hold 'Em Parties
We knew without a doubt that this trend had taken off when our high-school-aged nephew told us he and his friends have a weekly Hold 'Em party. If you don't already have your own poker group, check out www.clevelandpoker.net or ask around; many country clubs have Texas Hold 'Em nights. Don't know how to play? Visit www.texasholdem-poker.com.
It may be an oxymoron, but look around the next time you're in Heinen's. You'll see at least a guy or two perusing the wine selection with manicured hands. To get the look, pamper yourself with the Masculine Flair package at Charles Scott Salons & Spa (440-333-7994) in Rocky River. For $102.75, you'll get a real haircut, a one-hour massage and a manicure.
Ask a Hipster
Where's the place to be this fall?
Lisa Vinciquerra spends her days in the programming department at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, but emerges as a social butterfly at night. "A new fabulous bar where I will be hanging out is The Garage Bar on West 25th Street," she says. "It's sort of like a rock 'n' roll joint with a jukebox theme." (216) 696-7772
How old is too old to go to trendy downtown clubs?
Sixty-five percent of respondents say there is no age limit to fun. For the rest of you, who pretty much think 40 is the age to settle down, we propose a place that's trendy but not trashy: The Velvet Tango Room (216-241-8869) in Ohio City.