Almost Erie

Mocking Cleveland is somewhere between a topic of conversation and a cottage industry; everyone (except me and Drew Carey, apparently) makes fun of the Mistake on the Lake. Still, there are some highly-regarded places nearby:

Chagrin Falls has long been noted for its exquisite landscapes, vibrant arts, and being the hometown of several celebrities, including a beloved comedian, an Olympic gold medalist, and Oscar-winning filmmaker.

On Tuesday, Cleveland’s east side suburb was named Ohio’s most livable city by

The report looks at cities with populations over 25,000 and covers five essential factors: employment, housing, quality of life, education, and health. In total, over 2,500 cities were examined and given rankings on a per-state basis.

In its report, says about Chagrin Falls: “Ohio’s most livable city is Chagrin Falls, a modestly sized suburb of Cleveland. Chagrin Falls schools are regularly ranked among the best in the state and the city is home to Chagrin Valley Little Theatre, one of the oldest community theaters in the United States.”

Not far behind was Hudson, which came in at No. 4. “A well-to-do suburb of Akron with over one thousand acres of public parks. The city’s strong economy has resulted in a median household income of over 100K,” according to the study.

In all, 96 municipalities in Ohio were rated, and Cleveland came in at 89th, no cause for celebration but still better than Youngstown, Canton and Akron. Of those three, I spent the most time in Youngstown, which I described then as “uniformly dispiriting, and underpinned with remarkably bad streets to boot.” Fourteen years later, I haven’t been back, but I suspect I’d be a little kinder.

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How low can you go?

I just have a feeling that this chap is not exactly bound for Limbo, if you know what I mean and I think you do:

A Bryan County man arrested for embezzling money from the Durant Kids Baseball League was arraigned Tuesday.

Police say Justin Alberda embezzled over $14,000 from the little league, spending the money on vacations to Las Vegas and Branson, Mo. as well as online shopping.

Court records state Alberda was using the money on Amazon, Sam’s Club, Auto Body Shops and restaurants among other places.

Police reports say Alberda borrowed money from the league, with plans to pay it back with entree fees for tournaments he wanted to host. However, Alberda says the tournaments never made enough money to pay back what he borrowed.

They charge fees for entrees now? Damn.

(Pointed out to me by Fillyjonk.)


Crystal Pepsi it ain’t

The first Quil product from Vicks, NyQuil, dates back to 1966; it was successful enough for the company to introduce a non-drowsy formula, which they had the temerity to call DayQuil. They followed up with a version of NyQuil without any of the cold-symptom ingredients, sold strictly as a sleep aid, which was dubbed Zzzquil.

Now your basic Zzzquil comes in a 12-ounce bottle that sells for around $9. It contains a fairly common Active Ingredient, diphenhydramine HCl; the 30-ml cup contains 50 mg of the stuff, the equivalent of a couple of Sominex tabs, plus various flavorings, none inspiring, something to make it look nice and murky, and 10 percent alcohol. And that was just fine for a while; subsequent variants came in gelcap form, and there’s even a version with melatonin. What we didn’t have was a version lacking both the murky colors and the little swig of ethanol.

And then yesterday the young lady bringing out the grocery order from Walmart showed me the NewQuil, still with the triple Z, but mostly translucent and utterly lacking in booze content. Still a 12-ounce bottle, still around $9, though Voldemart marks it down to $7.99 or so. I have no idea how well it works; the same first-cousin-to-Benadryl main ingredient remains at the same level. But it’s now on my shelf, so I will have to try it eventually.

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Another phish phail

What are the chances? They dumped this load of dookie on the only non-subscriber for five miles around:

Fake Netflix membership email

Under the Big Red Button, of course, is a shortened link, using a URL shortener I’d never seen before and have no desire to test.


Not sorry I missed it

Personally, I’d prefer a bar without so much rat in it:

How it went, as reported in the nation’s rat capital [warning: autostart video]:

New Yorkers: Ever wonder what you could do to increase the number of rats in your life? Are rat-infested city streets, apartments and parks NOT enough?

Well, since it’s illegal to drink alcohol in your favorite vermin-inundated subway stations, this San Francisco pop-up bar is made for those who feel the need to party with rats.

Our sister station KGO-TV visisted the rat-friendly pop-up bar, which is open at The San Francisco Dungeon June 13, 14, and 15.

Guests can hold, play, and cuddle with domesticated rats from Ratical Rodent Rescue in Vallejo.

And we tip our hat to the rodent rescuers, who by now have saved innumerable rats from the hellscape that is the San Francisco street grid.

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Check his teeth

And for God’s sake. don’t get near his nuts:

Now there’s a phrase to sum up this century so far: “There was no safe way to test the squirrel for meth.”

And inevitably, the squirrel now has a Twitter account.

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Damn this railroad

And there are those who claim that God already has:

One of the original leaders of the anti-light rail movement in south Phoenix claims God “judged” Congressman Ed Pastor for “bringing death” to the community by supporting light rail and punished him with a fatal heart attack.

At a City Council meeting last week, Celia Contreras told council members she was “coming in the name of Lord Jesus Christ” with a message: Stop the light rail or the “punishment” will continue.

Um, yeah. If nothing else, says Warren Meyer, this tells you what the Arizona Republic thinks:

[T]he presence of this story in the Republic is a tell as to which side the paper favors. I have been to public meetings on Phoenix light rail and I have personally seen a number of insane claims by light rail supporters (at lot of wrath of Gaia stuff, for example) that never gets featured in the paper.

Pastor died last November of, yes, a heart attack; he was seventy-five.

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Kerry on

The other day, I mentioned somewhere that I could use a few more celebrity wallpapers; a couple of hours later, this link showed up in my inbox, and I decided that mere wallpaper wasn’t enough.

And so we get to talk about Kerry Washington, forty-two this year and looking every bit of twenty-nine. Half a lifetime ago, she graduated from George Washington (no relation) University with a double major in sociology and anthropology, and, oh yes, a Phi Beta Kappa key.

Kerry Washington at the NAACP Image Awards

Kerry Washington goes for a walk

Kerry Washington is glamorous and playful

She is perhaps best known as Scandal’s fixer Olivia Pope, and more recently she appeared in Confirmation, a retelling of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas story on HBO. Here, she discusses both with Stephen Colbert:

And she’s married to Nnamdi Asomugha, retired Oakland Raiders cornerback turned actor; they have three children.


U! H! F!

“Five,” he says. As if.

Those sound effects, in fact, were courtesy of the Federal Communications Commission, who decided that a continuous knob for tuning UHF was unsatisfactory; henceforth, said the Commission, UHF knobs will be just as clicky as VHF knobs. And when you have 70 clicks available (14 through 83 inclusive), by gum, you use them.

Today, of course, with hundreds of new local stations — Oklahoma City had three in those days, not counting KOKH-TV, channel 25, which was then owned by the Oklahoma City Public Schools, and watched by no one but school kids, teachers, and occasionally me, and anyway now we have 16 over-the-air signals, almost all of which are multiplexed — the UHF dial runs out at, um, 51, and if the FCC gets its way, it will eventually top out at 32.

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At least it’s only theoretical

Because this just sounds impossible:

I am not a mechanic, or mechanically minded at all, but for a story I’m writing I need to know if it is possible to swap the automatic transmission from an Aston Martin Lagonda (1980s Series 2) for a manual one, and how easy/hard would it be for a character to do? If it is possible, what would be the best donor transmission for the swap. Thanks in advance.

In the absence of James Bond or Q, someone attempted to give it a try:

It’s possible, theoretically at least.

The automatic versions Had a 5.3 litre V8 mated to a Chrysler Torqueflite 3-speed “slush-box”. There was a 5-speed manual option available, but it was very rarely ordered.

Any transmission specialist shop could supply a suitably-rated 5-speed and the correct mechanical modifications to replace the automatic.

But it would be near-impossible on a practical level without extensive additional modifications to the vehicle interior and the instrumentation. Finding original pattern centre consoles and gearshift lever parts will be almost impossible without buying a complete manual Lagonda. Obtaining the correct electronic dashboard displays will be like trying to buy fresh dodo doodoos. Those parts especially were horrifically unreliable even from new and most surviving Lagondas of that type are now undriveable immobile showroom exhibits because of that.

Lose the digital displays and centre console and you destroy the entire point of the car.

Still, 007 has been known to drive a Citroën 2CV when he had to — see For Your Eyes Only — so I don’t really think this would ruin the story: in fact, a half-assed transmission swap makes for a reasonable plot complication all by itself.

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Not the best part of town

If you ask me, that’s far too much shiny stuff to leave behind.

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But it’s easy to mow

And of course all sales are final:

This Florida man thought he bought a villa for $9,100 in an online auction, but in reality he just won the patch of grass between two of them.

And it turns out the 100-foot-by-1-foot strip of land Kerville Holness purchased is valued at only $50.

His new property starts at the curb where two mailboxes sit, goes under a wall separating the garages of two adjoining villas and goes through the back lot — and officials said there’s no way he’s getting a refund.

Holness claims photos linked to the auction site showed the villa as being what he was bidding on, but the appraiser’s site and county’s tax site shows the negligible value of the property, no building value and that the land is only 100 square feet, the South Florida Sun Sentinel reported.

North of Miami, $3.9 million per acre really doesn’t seem out of line. And there’s something schadenfreudelicious about the whole story: you can practically hear him say “I know what I’m doing” before the festivities begin.

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There really needs to be a Sarcasm Font for online use. I’d probably overuse it, intemperate as I am sometimes, but once in a great while I run across someone I’d like to run across with a railroad car.

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The sand which is there

It wasn’t so long ago that composer John Luther Adams swept us all off our feet with Become Ocean, and by “us all” I mean everyone from me to Taylor Swift. Become Ocean was symmetrical in its design, and I wouldn’t have thought the framework lent itself to a follow-on composition. I would, of course, be wrong:

When Become Desert was announced, I turned in a pre-order at the iTunes Store. Friday Apple notified me that it was ready to pick up:

iTunes Store Notification

Through Sunday the most I could coax out of the iTunes Store was this:

iTunes Store Notification failure

Eternities do seem to take a long time these days.

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Long before Bluetooth

There was a time when background music at the beach used to be a bit more complicated than it is today:

Portable-ish studio by Stephens

This 40-track (!) beastie dates to about 1974, and if it doesn’t weigh a ton, it’s probably close enough.

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Strange search-engine queries (698)

People often ask “How much privacy do I have on the Internet?” The answer, of course, is “Next to none.”

the invisible woman 1983 download:  By now, I think more people have seen this goofy little feature than ever watched it on NBC that one night.

select all words from this list that have an anglo-saxon origin:  In case you were wondering how reCAPTCHA could possibly be made worse.

god only knows vocals only:  Oh, He knows the chord changes. But some things, you have to do on your own.

the federal communications commission (fcc) found itself in court after issuing a controversial edict known as the open internet order (oio). the oio authorized a new set of regulations:  What the hell else would it do? The government vigorously resists the idea of removing old sets of regulations.

ssl_error_bad_mac_read:  Hey, it wasn’t my fault.

dorothy holds herself responsible for causing hurricane katrina that killed thousands of people in the united states. identify the type of delusion afflicting dorothy:  Thinking she was George W. Bush.

adrianne palicki stockings:  It’s summer now. Everyone you know is sporting bare legs.

part 7b costs the midwest division of frackle corporation $30 to make, of which $21 is variable. midwest division sells part 7b to other companies for $47. the northern division of frackle corporation can use part 7b in one of its products. the midwest division has enough idle capacity to produce all of the units of part 7b that the northern division would require. what is the lowest transfer price at which the midwest division should be willing to sell part 7b to the northern division?  And you thought Tesla’s finances were obscure.

armadillo syphilis:  I’d hate to see you explain that down at the free clinic.

jim holzman at ace ticket has a few premium seats in the front row. he would like to find out how much extra he can charge for those tickets, relative to identical seats right behind in the second row. to do so, he decided to run a survey. which of the following questions is least likely to elicit an honest answer?  “How much would you pay to see Nickelback?”

“everyonedoesit usa”:  Most useless hashtag ever.

gemma hung:  Which surprised a few of her dates.

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