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Lock up the chocolate syrup. For the connoisseur, there's one way to make a martini: ice-cold vodka or gin, vermouth and garnish. And now that dropping blue-cheese-stuffed olives in your glass is growing old, Ohio's Fremont Co. is hoping you'll turn to cabbage the next time you get all James Bond with your drink. The K'Tini — a martini made with sauerkraut-stuffed olives — is already a bar staple in New York and Los Angeles. But the Fremont Co. suggests picking up a jar of its Frank's Quality Kraut and stuffing yourself. We found the idea initially repulsive, but were surprised by the reality, which is such a small serving of 'kraut that even those who don't gorge on it New Year's Day will be pleased with this salty twist on the stuffed olive.

Seen & Haeard

Rejoice, those of you who missed "Michael Stanley Superstar: The Un-authorized Biography of the Cuya-hoga Messiah" last December. Comedy troupe Last Call Cleve-land will resurrect the show — a funny and fictional account of the life and times of Cleveland's rock 'n' roll icon, Michael Stanley — this month. (Aug. 4 and 11, 8 p.m., Cabaret Dada, 1210 W. Sixth St.) Mike Polk, who plays the role of the rocker-turned-disc jockey, says Stanley declined his invitation to the show. "We had a special chair for him and everything," Polk gripes. Stanley tells us he's stayed home for exactly that reason. "This is like the Christians volunteering to go into the lion's den knowing that their hands were tied behind their backs," he says. "But I wish them all the luck in the world."

Name Dropping

Though some may find Bob Serpentini's radio commercials just a tad annoying, his time-tested formula of spouting political opinions along with a pinch of promotion for his five Chevrolet dealerships must be a winner. His "American and Proud of It!" catch phrase has caught the attention of not only those shopping for new cars, but also General Motors Co. executives. They named him one of 110 "2004 GM Dealers of the Year," based on high vehicle sales and customer satisfaction. There are 7,000 GM dealers nationwide. Serpentini (center) accepted his award from GM's Robert A. Lutz (left) and Gary L. Cowger (right) during a ceremony at New York City's Lincoln Center. No word yet on whether he delivered his acceptance speech from a soapbox.

Open up and say, "Oww!" Getting a syringe stuck in your arm probably isn't at the top of your to-do list before shoving off for that end-of-summer hurrah. But world travelers should swing by The Cleveland Clinic's Travel Medicine Clinic (30033 Clemens Road, Westlake) before packing those passports. "It's easy to become excited with plans of what to see, what to eat, what to wear..." says travel clinic director Dr. Brent Burkey, who holds a special diploma in tropical medicine and hygiene. "To ensure that these dream vacations don't become nightmares, it's important that people ensure their health needs are addressed, too." Visitors to exotic locales might need destination-specific immunizations, while travelers staying closer to home might just need a simple flu shot. Exploring the rainforest on foot or heading beneath the waves for some scuba diving? Burkey will brief you on the potential pitfalls of your adventure-seeking ways, so you make it back home happy and healthy.

Who says the suburbs don't get it? Concerned with a general lack of public art in the community, the Westlake-WestShore Arts Council commissioned native-son sculptor Harold Balazs to remedy the situation. Last month, a brushed stainless steel sculpture created by Balazs and measuring 16 feet in diameter was installed at the south-west corner of Hilliard and Dover Center roads. The former Dover High School student, who has also created public art for projects in Alaska, Washington, Oregon and California, was joined by a number of his high school classmates at the July 9 ceremony. Balazs, who was born in Westlake in 1928, now resides in Mead, Wash. Last month, he was included in a Ford Museum of Art short film series titled "Living Treasures" and was a featured artist in a University of Washington Henry Gallery exhibit titled What it Meant to be Modern.

We've got good news and bad news for Ohio motorists. Cleveland drivers, go ahead and lock your car doors before we continue. The Ohio Insurance Institute, a trade association that represents insurance companies, reports vehicle thefts in the state have dropped more than 2 percent for the second consecutive year. The bad news is heists in Cleveland and a handful of Northeast Ohio cities rose between 2003 and 2004. Some places even saw double-digit spikes. Cleveland's car thefts rose from 5,006 in 2003 to 5,504 in 2004 — a 9.9 percent increase. Lorain saw an 11 percent drop and Youngstown saw an 18.1 percent dip, but other Northeast Ohio cities didn't fare as well. Akron (18.8 percent), Elyria (25.9 percent), Euclid (56.2 percent), Parma (16 percent) and Warren (41.5 percent) all saw significant increases. Might as well start budgeting for those higher premiums now. For more information, visit

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