My new career: B&E, safecracking

This, of course, is tongue-in-cheek. This is a very real safe in my mom’s house. It’s behind a wooden cabinet door. Mom lost the key somewhere along the way, and now that she’s selling the house wanted potential buyers to see the safe. So she had me put my best breaking and entering skills to work. Who knew juvenile delinquency could have useful benefits?

(Memo to real burglars:  There is nothing of value left in the house. Garage sale last week took care of that. Stay away or I will hunt you to the ends of the Earth.)

What was it Sarah Palin said? Oh, yeah: Drill, baby, drill!

Smile! You're on surveillance camera!

 

Here’s a little tip for you would-be safecrackers: Drilling out a lock generates quite a bit of heat. That lock and that drill bit will burn you but good if you’re not careful. I have the scar to prove it! See:

 

Yeah, that's gonna leave a mark.

 

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Truth in advertising

When is free not free? When the customers pay for it whether they want it or not. That’s the story of FirstEnergy’s “free” CFL program. Customers can contact FirstEnergy to get up to six compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) for “free.” Except they’re not free. Customers of the utility are paying for them. From the Akron Beacon Journal (Headline: “Free light bulb plan gets regulators’ OK”):

FirstEnergy residential customers using an average 750 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will pay about $1.50 a month over three years to fund the programs and the associated ”lost distribution revenue.” That totals $54 over the three-year period.

Call me crazy, but where I come from that ain’t free.

You might think that based on my objection so far that I’m opposed to the use of CFLs to save energy. But I’m not. I use them wherever practical, which is almost any household use, including outdoor floodlights.

But to spin the CFL distribution as “free” is dishonest and misleading. It invites suspicion about “What else is FirstEnergy hiding?” These are the same guy who had some difficulty with telling the truth about its Davis-Besse nuclear plant, which was shut down for two years after a potentially disastrous leak was discovered.

Tell it like it is: It’s a program to reduce energy use, and the PUCO is allowing FirstEnergy to charge a fee to recoup losses for the reduced energy use and the cost of providing the CFLs to FirstEnergy customers.

There, was that so hard?

True, plenty of FirstEnergy customers still don’t like it – naysayers don’t like the bulbs themselves, critics say they contain too much mercury, etc.

But CFLs have gotten better over the years. They generally last longer than the Edison-era incandescent bulbs (but not always, and when they go they usually emit that acrid electric fire smell). They don’t burn as hot as incandescents or halogens. They use less energy to generate the same (well, similar) amount of light.

But it’s all a moot argument. Your old-fashioned Edison-era incandescent bulbs are going the way of the Model-T. They will be replaced in 2014 or so by new, more-efficient light bulbs, including updated incandescents, LEDs or – that’s right – fluorescent lights.

So get with the program. You’re already paying for it!

New federal child seat guidelines

A pediatricians’ group has issued new recommendations that could extend the use of child seats in cars for passengers well into their 30s.

Retired (for now) Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre says he still prefers to ride in the comfort of his booster seat, although he recently switched to the forward-facing seat "so I could see what's going on."

The statement’s lead author, Dr. Dennis R. Durbin, scientific co-director of the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said, “If he’s rear-facing, his entire body is better supported by the shell of the car seat. When he’s forward-facing, his shoulders and trunk may be well restrained, but in a violent crash, his head and neck can fly forward.” (Real quote ripped from New York Times news pages.)

Concerned parents are advised to keep their little ones strapped and bubble-wrapped and facing backward at least until they outgrow those awkward teenage years.

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve treated teenagers who fell out of their regular car seats without the proper restraints,” one family doctor said. ‘They’re just so clumsy and careless.” (Made-up quote)

It does make driver’s ed a challenge, doctors and driving instructors admitted.

“Our recommendations are meant to help parents move away from gospel-held notions that are based on a child’s age,” Dr. Durbin said. “We want them to recognize that with each transition they make, from rear-facing to forward-facing, to booster seats, there is a decline in the safety of their child. That’s why we are urging parents to delay these transitions for as long as possible.” (Real quote ripped from news pages.)

“People cheer when they turn their kid around at one year, but hopefully some day they’ll cheer at how long they were able to keep their child rear-facing,” said Debbi Baer, a labor and delivery nurse in Baltimore who has been a car safety advocate for children for more than 30 years. (Real quote ripped from news pages.)

Moonshot

It got a tad chilly tonight – the tripod started sticking to my fingers, I thought – but I managed to snag a few snaps of the “supermoon” that rose in clear skies this evening. Wasn’t all that super.  A little bigger than usual (it’s an optical illusion), but not dramatically so.

When the moon hits your eye ...

 

This is the Cuyahoga Falls City Hall clock spire being outshined by the moon. The time on the clock isn't quite right.

 

The moon appears over the acoustic "sails" at Falls River Square, home of Rockin' on the River in summer.

 

 

To capture the detail of the lunar surface, you have to back off on the exposure, which seems to add a yellow cast to the image. I might fool around with this to get a whiter moon. Or not.

We seem to be counting backward in this series of photos. This dusk shot comes about a half-hour or so before the moon rose.

All churchy and stuff.

Sunset as seen on the bridge that connects Main Street in Akron to State Road in Cuyahoga Falls over the Cuyahoga River. If I were a better photographer I'd figure a way to get better light in the lower part while preserving the color in the sunlit sky.

Making a cameo appearance is Henry, the Squirrel with No Tail, who popped up just as I was striking out in pursuit of the Elusive Supermoon. Henry has made occasional appearances at AkronDave for two years now, earning "him" a spot in the pantheon of AkronDave lore. Whatever that means.