In the counties of Northeast Ohio, the person who directly oversees the weights and measures department — the auditor or fiscal officer — routinely plasters his or her name on the “inspected and sealed” stickers on gasoline pumps.
That’s one of the joys of being an incumbent: free campaign advertising on every gas pump in the county.
But these days, the name on the pumps in Cuyahoga County is EDWARD FITZGERALD. Yes, all caps. As if Ed himself is out there riding around with stainless-steel jugs, testing and sealing the pumps.
Apparently, if you’re running for governor, as is the case with the Cuyahoga County executive, you feel justified in commandeering that prime advertising space.
(The county’s fiscal officer, Wade Steen, resigned in August, replaced by an acting officer, but the stickers predate his departure.)
On the other hand, FitzGerald’s blatant PR grab is not quite as audacious as the one former Cuyahoga County Auditor Frank Russo mounted. In his day, Russo not only put his name on the pumps, but also his photograph.
As it turns out, Russo’s photo should have been a mug shot.
Spooning up change
For the many readers who thought my July column about spoons was a ridiculous waste of newsprint — well, you were probably right.
In the overall scheme of things, the fact Bob Evans restaurants had stopped routinely handing out spoons with its forks and knives was not exactly on the order of pestilence and famine.
I thought at the time you might find it amusing that one reader had become sufficiently irked to phone the corporate headquarters and declare a personal boycott until the policy was reversed.
Well, get this: Bob Evans has reversed the policy.
The silverware delivered inside the paper napkin now automatically consists of a knife, a fork and — ta-da! — a spoon.
Bob Evans’ Columbus-based director of corporate communications, Margaret M. Standing, who told me in July the new policy was prompted by the tendency of spoons to be used at a disproportionately low rate and be lost at a disproportionately high rate, has confirmed the death of the no-spoon policy.
“About a month ago,” she said via email, “we did indeed revise our policy to welcome spoons back into the fold (or rolled silverware, as the case may be).
“After much consideration, and several rounds of listening to Mary Poppins on repeat, we realized that a spoonful of sugar really does help the medicine go down in the most delightful way.”
One huge day
Bath resident Alice Deffibaugh took particular delight in last week’s front-page story about “Thanksgivukkah,” the extremely rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah on Nov. 28.
That hasn’t happened since 1888.
Nov. 28 also happens to be the precise day she will celebrate her 72nd birthday and her 54th wedding anniversary.
Noting all of those events coinciding, along with the Comet ISON passing by the sun, Deffibaugh quips, “Is Michele Bachmann right? Is this the end times?
“Oh wait. She’s never been right. Guess we can all breath a sigh of relief and enjoy the turkey.”
Even when the weekly “Dyer Streets” column was alive (2001-2010), I never wrote about specific potholes. For one thing, every spring they were so numerous that we couldn’t even count them, much less identify all of their locations.
In addition, the city of Akron was reasonably responsive to complaints about the biggest potholes, usually plugging them within a day or two.
But this one is the Mother of All Potholes — and it has existed for at least six months.
If you’re heading north on Martin Luther King Boulevard and you exit at Cedar Street, keep your eyes peeled: A short distance onto the curving off-ramp, you will encounter a hole in the concrete that is 4 inches deep. I stopped the car the other day and measured.
Fortunately, that canyon is in the center of the pavement, so most folks’ tires straddle it as they drive past. But woe to the driver who gets a bit off-track and isn’t watching the road like a hawk.
News item from Brunswick:
“Police were called to the Circle K on Boston Road after a motorist crashed into a utility pole then exited the vehicle and began urinating on a sidewalk. The motorist was cited for numerous violations.”
I’ll bet we can all guess what one of them was. Burp.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org.