World Smile Day doesn’t take place until Friday, but I figure a few of you will need several days to build up to it. Wringing a smile out of some folks is harder than sneezing with your eyes open.

WSD (no relation to WMD) was instituted in 1999 by the late Harvey Ball, who created the smiley face in 1963 (but never applied for a copyright or trademark and didn’t make diddly from it. Insert frowny face here.).

It might please you to know that the official “Ohio Smile Ambassador” is one of our own: Joyce Crislip, a former elementary school teacher in Tallmadge and Wadsworth.

In 1975, she figured her class needed a theme. She made a big smiley face and put it on her bulletin board as “positive reinforcement.”

The kids loved it, and over the years showered her with smiley face items that now number 500 — cups, vases, stuffed animals, a beanbag chair ... you name it.

Crislip wrote to Ball in 1999, and he unilaterally proclaimed her the Ohio Smile Ambassador. Her sole duty is to tell people about World Smile Day.

How nice. (Insert smiley face here.)

Rural crime wave

A police report from ever-dangerous Medina Township:

“A Stonington Drive resident called police Sept. 17 to complain of a suspicious tapping noise. Officers discovered the source of the noise was a neighbor making a plumbing repair.”

Please LaQuit

Hey Allie LaForce: We don’t care that you are Allie LaForce. Are you selling cars or are you selling Allie LaForce?

Most annoying television pitch-person since Flo.

Major misnomer

Kenmore High School has named its football press box after alumnus and Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic.

Makes perfect sense, given Plusquellic’s undying love for newspaper reporters.

Foreign takeover

The caller was irate. His voice mail said he had been trying to watch a NASCAR race and a Cleveland Browns game, and both had been broadcast in Spanish. He demanded to know what the hell was going on in this country.

Well, I don’t know for certain, sir, but you might try changing the settings on your television. I’d go with the one that says “English.”

You’ll likely find it under “SAP” (seems fitting).

Say what?

I was reading the sports section of my favorite newspaper the other day and discovered an award I had never heard of. Not exactly sure how this works:

“The Summit County Cross Country Coaches Association selected its annual runners of the week.”

Signing off

A report from the front lines of law enforcement in Stow:

“A Seasons Road woman, 52, told police she was hit with a plastic ‘Danger When Wet’ sign. She said she wrestled the sign away from her attacker and struck him back.”

Seems kind of dangerous even when dry.

Breaking good

Apparently, FirstEnergy has figured out the packaging for these Ohio Energy Conservation Kits.

For those of you who managed to miss all 729 of my previous columns about the kits, FirstEnergy has been giving them out free — kinda, sorta, almost. You have already paid for them via a fee built into the monthly rate structure, but you won’t get one unless you ask. (Call 1-877-639-0218).

Anyway, after disregarding my own advice for a couple of months, I finally got around to ordering one myself. It showed up in 6½ weeks, well within the promised six- to eight-week window.

Better yet, the contents were unbroken. After some initial problems (reported here earlier), the company has beefed up its packaging. My box contained five sheets of bubble wrap and one sheet of thick cardboard.

All nine compact fluorescent bulbs were intact, as were the two LED nightlights and the power strip.

When I have more space, I’ll discuss the operation of the energy-saving power strip, which some readers claim cannot be understood without a master’s degree in electrical engineering.

Smiley face here.

Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or