Best Use of Ancestors
Cuyahoga County Public Library (www.cpl.org)
The Cleveland Necrology File project is one of many gruesome but useful tools available on the Internet for genealogists, and it covers all of Northeast Ohio. The searchable database includes cemetery records and paid newspaper obituaries from as long ago as 1850. (Deaths after 1975 are not included.)
And while it may not be the unabridged guide to transience, it's definitely several steps up from "Death for Dummies" and it's morbidly easy to use.
(Potentially) the Best News in a Down Economy
Ohio Department of Commerce (www2.state.oh.us/com/unfd/thqry1.htm)
Northeast Ohio's economy is in the same state as the rest of the nation sluggish. However, there's a potential pot o' gold at the end of a Web rainbow at the Ohio Department of Commerce's Online Treasure Hunt. Another easy-to-use searchable database, it'll tell you if corporations or the government owe you money.
The database is updated monthly, and if you find that you have funds to claim, you can submit your claim form online. If the sum you've neglected to collect is more than $100, however, you have to get your claim form notarized.
Best Source for In-depth News
WCPN-FM 90.3 (www.wcpn.org)
While the Best of Cleveland is designed to be somewhat tongue-in-cheek, somebody's got to be the straight man. So why not WCPN-FM, which broadcasts the stylings of the ultimate straight man, Garrison Keillor?
WCPN, dubbing itself "the all-day brain food," provides thoughtful, insightful and timely news bits and articles on its Web site that you can also catch on the air. And among news outlets in Northeast Ohio, WCPN's depth stands out.
Best Cleveland Curiosity Quencher
"The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History" (ech.cwru.edu)
OK, so it's not the sexiest Web site, but there are some tidbits in the encyclopedia that will make even the most seasoned researcher raise his or her eyebrows. Case Western Reserve University completed a thorough, searchable database of moments and events that define Cleveland for the city's bicentennial in 1996.
And it is a watershed.
You can lose yourself in the scores of historical photographs and writeups describing the leaders throughout Cleveland's history. And there's no better source to tap for Cleveland research, kiddies!
Best Attempt to Lure Men to the Internet (As If We Needed Help)
Knowledge Pipeline LLC (www.knowledgepipeline.com)
Parma-based Knowledge Pipeline LLC is touting itself as the deliverer of the "male lifestyle market." With its SportsBabeTV.com, GameBabeTV.com and RaceBabeTV.com Web sites, one can hardly argue. Bikini-clad young ladies discuss sports, video games and auto racing, among other topics, and Knowledge Pipeline has several more babe-related dot-coms in the works.
The sites were developed to draw men ages 20 to 45 who are interested in gaming, gambling and sports. Oh yeah, and women in bikinis.
Sue Hrim, vice president of sales and marketing for Knowledge Pipeline, says the sites are G-rated and offer storylines such as bikini-wearing girls talking about sports while marooned on an island "to make them fun and entertaining without the need to push beyond the respectable limit."
Respectable is good.
Best Exception to the Rule
Ted Chats (www.newsnet5.com)
Chatting online locally has not exactly taken off like an Atlas 2 rocket; most local Web chats are of the Hindenburg variety. Many of the chats hosted by Ohio.com and Cleveland Magazine and its sister magazine, Inside Business, have bombed despite high-profile guests. But one stands out as a model of success Ted Henry's Chats on NewsNet5.com.
Most of the Wednesday night chats draw about 25 people, but on occasion between 40 and 60 will participate. Newschannel 5 anchorman Henry began chatting in [month year] and the 6:30 p.m. feature is "the most popular thing" NewsNet5.com does, according to its editor, Colleen Seitz.
Best Graveyard for That Apple Macintosh or PCjr
Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District (www.cuyahogaswd.org/residential/computer.shtml)
Moore's Law states that computer processing power will double every 18 months. Machrone's Law states that the computer you want will always cost $5,000. Given those two axioms, it's a safe assumption that there's a lot of unused and obsolete silicon and plastic sitting in garages, storage spaces and unmanned cubicles. And aside from perhaps their nostalgic value "The Antiques Roadshow" has yet to feature the Keno brothers drooling over an ancient Commodore 64 old computers can be traded for a tax write-off (depreciated, of course) at one of the many "old computer roundups" sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.
The site gives dates and locations where you can drop off your old-school computers. Of course, who knows what an IBM PCjr or Apple Macintosh will be worth 20 years from now . . .?
Pick up the October 2001 issue of Cleveland Magazine for more "Best of Cleveland" picks.