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Published: Sunday, 5/13/2001

It's a long trip down the list to find Toledo

Some items while wondering if Dan Rather got a refund from his hair stylist:

BY THE NUMBERS: I love lists. So, naturally, I like to rank things.

The top four songs of all time? “Small Town” (John Mellencamp), “Maggie May” (Rod Stewart), “American Pie” (Don McLean), and “Love Grows” (Edison Lighthouse).

The top three NBA players since 1975? Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Magic Johnson.


Lemmon Drops feedback
Reader

response to last week's column

The top two presidents of my lifetime? Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton.

You get the idea. Name a topic, and I can reel off a list. Those who enjoyed the movie High Fidelity can relate.

I especially love to see how cities rank in certain categories. I can spend hours flipping through a Places Rated Almanac. I also love analyzing Money magazine's annual “Best Places to Live” rankings.

For you list-oriented types, Money magazine's web site (www.money.com) lets you rank cities according to your personal preferences. In “Find Your Best Place,” the computer will tell you which cities are the best fits for your tastes. You have to set an importance value (five options, ranging from “not important” to “very important”) in nine categories, such as crime, affordable housing, and health care.

I gave the most importance to weather and transportation. Then, I told the computer to rank, in order, the top 300 cities best suited for me.

Toledo came in 295th. (Those who think I'm a bleeding-heart liberal won't be surprised to learn that San Francisco and Los Angeles finished 1-2.)

Stunned, I had my wife take the survey. Toledo ranked 289th. (New York City was No. 1, followed by Chicago.)

OK, so maybe Toledo isn't the perfect place for us. At least it was fun looking at the long list of cities that ranked ahead of it.

PICK A LABEL: The last time we met, I left you with this question: “Unless you walked a mile in 25-year-old Bob Kerrey's shoes, isn't it hard to be critical of him for sharing a horrific secret after 32 years of silence?”

Mr. Kerrey recently disclosed that, in 1969, during the Vietnam War, his Navy SEAL unit killed women and children in a raid on a small village.

The question generated some emotional responses from readers. One e-mail really got me thinking.

“I never served in Vietnam, although I was the right age,” one reader wrote. “Call me lucky. Call me a coward. Call me an anti-war protester. Or call me a student with a deferment.”

Thirty-plus years later, what should we call him? That's a tough call. If you choose the “coward” option, does that also apply to Dan Quayle, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush?

Someone said Mr. Kerrey's disclosure “pulled the scab off” our national healing of Vietnam. Based on my e-mail responses, I'd have to agree.

HALF A SIX PACK: Three questions again this week. In honor of Verona Lemmon (1917-1998) on Mother's Day, I'm offering 81 points for each correct answer. (Note: Log on to www.toledoblade.com/lemmon and check out reader response to last week's questions.)

1) If the President and Vice President didn't have such close ties to big oil companies, wouldn't they have already taken decisive action to combat skyrocketing gas prices?

2) Because the pendulum probably will swing toward fuel-efficient vehicles, isn't the success of Jeep Liberty far from a sure thing - and, as far as Toledo's economic health, isn't that kind of scary?

3) Can you believe Beijing is being considered as a site for the 2008 Olympics?

Russ Lemmon's column appears Sundays. Readers may contact him at 1-419-724-6122, or e-mail rlemmon@theblade.com.



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