Archive for August, 2016

A must-read if you’re following the controversy surrounding Kaepernick.

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Really good stuff here. Take a look.

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Fascinating.

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So this bro was supposedly working on Mt. Rushmore back in the day. My question is, what the hell is he doing? How is that work? Dude has no tools that I see nor is he attached to any type of line. I’m confused, man.

Note: Pretty sure that’s TJ’s eye.

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And so it continues. The clowns are getting more brazen, and Fleetwood clownManor is the latest to face evidence of the COMING CLOWN HORDE. Here’s the story:

GREENVILLE, S.C. — A note some Greenville County residents found on their apartment doors has them concerned for the safety of their neighborhood.

Residents at Fleetwood Manor Apartments on Fleetwood Drive reportedly received letters on Wednesday stating the property management has received complaints of a person dressed as a clown trying to “lure children into the woods.”

The letter, which appears to be printed on Fleetwood Manor Apartments letterhead, reminds the public children should never be alone or walking through the woods at night.

The property management in the letter indicates Greenville County law enforcement is conducting daily patrols of the property due to the reports. Below is the full text of the letter:

8/24/2016

To The Residents of Fleetwood Manor

There have been several conversations and a lot of complaints to the office regarding a clown or a person dressed in clown clothing taking children or trying to lure children in the woods. First and foremost at Fleetwood Manor Apartments children’s safety is a top priority. At no time should a child be alone at night, or walking in the roads or wooded areas at night. Also, if a clown or clowns are seen you are to immediately call the police. Greenville County Police Department is aware of the situation and have been patrolling the property daily.

Thank you,

Property Manager

Donna Arnold, one of the people residing at the complex who received the letter, said she called the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office to come out to Fleetwood Manor after her son and others reported seeing clowns behind the basketball court.

“I thought my child was seeing things,” Arnold said. “And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?”

First off, are there any more chilling woods than “Did you see the clown in the woods?” That’s nightmare fuel, man. Secondly, one particular part of the letter confuses me. So what they’re searching for is either a “clown or a person dressed in clown clothing”? WHAT THE HELL IS THE DIFFERENCE MAN? Aren’t all clowns just people dressed in clown clothing? Or, no, please, say it isn’t true . . . there are actual living breathing humanoids that are simply clowns all the time?

N-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-O!

clowns

Esquire has put out another idiotic awesome list, and as usual I’ve perused it and added my thoughts. Let’s get right to it.

Cast Iron Skillet

No, I do not have a cast iron skillet. I do have a handy dandy Toaster Oven though. What more could a man need?

Valid Passport

Of course I have a valid passport. I’ve always found that valid passports are much more effective than invalid passports. And my passport has one of those cool Shamrock stamps that Montserrat gives you. Awesome.1

Multi-Purpose Tool

Well, der. Doesn’t every man have a multi-purpose tool at his disposal?

Corkscrew/Bottle Opener/Knife

Wait. I counted this as my multi-purpose tool. Ruh-roh.

Ax

Absolutely I have an ax, and I keep my ax handy. You never know when you may have to fell a tree or fend off a hoodlum.

WD-40

Bingo again! Am I doing good on this man test or not? Whoop!

Cordless Drill

I must confess that I do not own a cordless drill, nor do I own a corded drill. I don’t drill much. I do have a regular old-fashioned screwdriver though, which should count for something.

Weekend Shoulder Bag

Yes, I always travel with an overnight bag packed for special occasions. After all, you never know when you might need one, right? That’s just good preparation, kids.

Blanket in the Trunk of Your Car

Yep, there is a blanket in my trunk. Always. What if your car breaks down or you run into a ditch at 3:00am and it’s -10 degrees outside? Gotta have a blanket, man!

1Chain Saw

I own no chainsaw but I know how to use one. Sort of.

Work Gloves

Dumbest list ever. What man doesn’t have a pair of work gloves? Of course I have a pair of work gloves. They’re unused and still attached by that plastic thingy, but I have a pair of work gloves.

Level

I have several types and sizes of levels but I can’t remember the last time I used any of them. Not a big leveler here. I prefer to eyeball stuff.

Work Boots

What defines work boots? Are we talking shit-kicker Red Wings or Timberland’s? Because I own none of those. I do have a pair of Trailbuxes I’ve had since 1995. Do those count?

Jack

Doesn’t every car come with it’s own jack? I’m so confused.

Claw Hammer

I swear to God, this list is the dumbest. Everyone has a hammer, right? Good God.

Kerosene Lantern

Why do you need a Kerosene Lantern? For the coming apocalypse? Won’t batteries work? Maybe build a fire? I’m getting a headache.

Chef’s Knife

I own no Chef’s Knives, for I am not a chef. But have I mentioned I own an awesome Toaster Oven?

Frisbee

Now they’re just screwing around with us. A Frisbee? For realz? Why should every man own a Frisbee? In case a rollicking game of Frisbee breaks out somewhere? That said, I own one.

Road Atlas

Yes, I owned a Road Atlas. In 1983. You know, before GPS Systems and cell phones with 1Navigation Apps and stuff. Really? A Road Atlas?

Hand Pump

I’m a basketball coach. Of course I have a Hand Pump. You never know when something may need inflated, man. I can inflate basketballs, footballs, car tire and large animal balloons. I’m also quite adept at deflating egos.

Jumper Cables

Yep. You never know when a damsel in distress may need jumped. On a related note, that sounded creepy.

Charcoal Grill

YES. I love stuff cooked over charcoal. Much better than gas. Much, much better. Don’t you dare argue with me.

1Card Holder for Jacket

Again, is this the 80s or something? Who passes out business cards anymore? So who needs a card holder? And I cannot look at a business card without thinking of American Psycho. What a movie.

Pocket Knife

I’m from Southern Ohio. I was born with a knife in my pocket. It’s a requirement.

Grease

Grease? Every man should own grease? W-h-a-a-a-t? Why? I already have my WD-40. This makes no sense.

Lucky Charm

I have a Lucky Charm. But you’ll have to trust me. But I can’t tell you what it is.

$1000 Hidden in Your House

Is this in case the banks go down or something? The same reason I need the Kerosene Lantern? Seriously, when the apocalypse hits what good will $1000.00 do you? Burn it for warmth? Geez.

LED Flashlight

This list disgusts me with its idiocy. A flashlight? Really? I would venture to say you could walk into every house in Ross County and you’d find a flashlight, LED or any other kind.

Money Clip

I actually love using money clips. Way more efficient than a fat wallet. Always have, always will.

Oops. Wrong book.

Oops. Wrong book.

Joy of Cooking Book

Yes, I own a couple cook books. Someday I may even read them. Someday.

So there it is, Esquire’s “31 Things Every Man Should Own.” My next list? Shoe’s “31 Reasons Esquire Should Stop Making Lists.”

Now that will be worth reading.

Note: I had 20 0f the 30 things every man should own. I have no idea what that should tell me.

So Tommy showed up at his presser today sporting this gem. I swear I had this haircut back in the 80s. Just parted in the middle and feathered back on top like you read about. Dude looks like he’s ready for the first day of 7th Grade. There’s a new haircut trend, kids, and it started today.

brady

Maybe the Wright Brothers, maybe not.

Oh yes, they call him The Breeze.

Oh yes, they call him The Breeze.

Let me tell you about a certain Brazilian gentlemen. This bro was one cool cat, lemme tell ya. Ask anyone in Brazil who invented the airplane and they will say Alberto Santos-Dumont, a five-foot four-inch socialite who was as well known for his building of airplanes and dirigibles as he was for his outlandish clothes and high society life in Paris.

Check out this little tidbit from Alberto’s bio – the eccentric Brazilian was the first and only person to own a personal flying machine that could take him just about anywhere he wanted to go. In the late 1800s and early 1900s he would actually keep his dirigible (like a hot air balloon but you could steer it) tied to a gas lamp post in front of his Paris apartment and every night he would fly to the trendy restaurant Maxim’s for dinner. During the day he’d fly to go shopping or to visit friends. That was wild for the time, or any time for that matter. Can you imagine hopping into your hot air balloon and running to town for a juicy steak and glass of wine?

And by rounding the Eiffel Tower in a motorized dirigible in 1901, he helped prove that air travel could be controlled and a practical means of transportation.

Later, on November 12, 1906, when Santos-Dumont flew a kite-like contraption with boxy wings 722 feet on the outskirts of Paris, it was hailed as the first public flight in the world, and Santos-Dumont was regarded as the inventor of the airplane all over Europe.

It was only later that the secretive Orville and Wilbur Wright proved they had beaten Santos-Dumont at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, three years earlier on December 17th. Their flight was supposedly 852-feet, and was witnessed by 5-people, those being John Daniels, Adam Etheridge, Will Dough, W.C. Brinkley, and Johnny Moore, a 17-year-old from Nags Head who wandered over to see what was up.

Bummer.

However, there is a rub.

The Wright brothers’ first flight did not fulfill the conditions that had been set up at the time to distinguish a true flight from a prolonged “hop.” See, it was only regarded as a true flight if it was completed under its own power and not aided by catapults and high winds.

Ruh-roh. High winds.

It was pretty windy down in Kitty Hawk. After all, that’s why the Wright boys went there in the first place.

But Santos-Dumont’s flight did meet the criteria, which in essence meant he took off unassisted, publicly flew a predetermined length in front of experts, and then landed safely.

So, it depends on how you look at it, but Alberto Santos-Dumont could certainly lay claim to the first official flight.

Sadly, Santos-Dumont was depressed that his invention was used in warfare, particularly during São Paulo’s Constitutionalist Revolution where bombing from his designed aircrafts killed hundreds. In 1932, as he exited an elevator, he spoke his last words to the elevator operator:

“What have I done?”

Then he went to his room and committed suicide by hanging himself.

Man, that’s sad. He’d envisioned his invention as being something that brought goodwill to the world, not something that was used for killing.

For Alberto Santos-Dumont, it was too heavy a burden to carry.

Like a boss.

Like a boss.

 

The red and blue areas contain the same amount of people. That is all.

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One of the least-remembered US Presidents, Millard Fillmore, was effectively sold as a child by his destitute father into a kind of indentured servitude (bordering on child slavery). He eventually bought himself from his master for $30 and walked 100 miles to his home at age 14.

 

Is it me or does Alec Baldwin look like Millard?

Is it me or does Alec Baldwin look like Millard?

baldwin_fillmore

Chilling really.

The Soufriere Hills Volcano erupted for the first time in recorded history about 36-hours after I was looking down into it back in 1995. It’s erupted off and on since then. In the bottom photo you can see where the old airport used to be, now buried under ashe. It’s perfectly safe to visit the island now as long as you stay out of the exclusion zone.

Soufriere-volcano-2009-eruption

As seen from the space station.

Montserrat-Exclusion-Zone-Old-Airport

Hard to believe I landed here back in ’95.

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You can find Montserrat if you follow a line southwest of Puerto Rico.

FRAMINGHAMAfter several players on the Framingham High football beacrwalteam received large blisters during practice on Thursday, all coaches on the team have been suspended, according to sources within the schools. The Framingham School Department said in a statement that it has decided to “cease football activities.” “Given the size and scope of this incident, where there were a number of students and adults involved, we decided it was prudent to cease football activities in order to collect relative information objectively and expediently,” the statement said. “Placing staff members on administrative leave is part of this process and should not be deemed as a punitive measure; the goal is to ascertain the facts surrounding an event before reaching any judgment.” 

So I think most regular readers know how I feel about this. However, I’m not a football coach. I coach basketball, and we don’t do bear crawls. We do other conditioning exercises. Anyway, I’d like to hear from some football coaches and players, both present and former, on this particular issue.

Should coaches be suspended when there players get blisters?

PS – I can’t believe I just typed that.

I’ve always love to read and, as many do, I learned from my parents. Mom and Dad were readers, my sisters were readers, and my son was reading books at a very young age. Hell, I remember many vacations where everybody was sitting around a beach house or on the beach with a book, just quietly reading.

I clearly recall reading books as I lay in bed as a kid. The Forest Fire Mystery and The Jinx of Payrock Canyon by Troy Nesbit, as well as The Call of the Wild by Jack London. I was absolutely mesmerized by The Time Machine by H.G. Wells and read it several times. With really good books it always seemed you could get more out of it the more you read it.

I even loved the smell of books, ya know? Still do to this day. For that reason I much prefer an actual book to a reading a book on my iPad or Kindle. I bet some of you feel the same way.

I always tried to pass my love of reading on to my students when I taught, especially when I actually taught Reading for a few years. So many kids hate to read and that’s a damn shame. They have no idea what they’re missing. I tried to tell them that the images your mind conjures up while reading a book is way cooler than anything you’ll ever see in a movie or TV show, and I believe that.

With all this in mind I decided to undertake the unenviable task of narrowing my favorite books down to my Top 20. Trust me, I had to eliminate some really cool books. Anyway, these are the books that have had the biggest effect on my life, in one way or the other. In many cases I’ve read these books up to 5-times or more.

I apologize for my brief descriptions of the books, which in no way do them justice. If you want more information, go to Wikipedia (never wrong, right?) or search it up on The Goggle. Bottom line, I highly recommend them all.

Here we go . . .

On the Road – Jack Kerouac (1951)

On the Road is based on Kerouac’s travels across America with his friends. It’s set in the post-1WWII United States, and it’s all about Kerouac’s anti-establishment and counter-culture ways and views of life. Oh, and if you don’t know what the Beat Generation is, this might be the place to start learning. I really believe my love of travel and being “On the Road” originated with this book. There are a couple other books with a similar theme on this list, but I think it all started with this one. Love this book.

The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (1937)

The Hobbit is a book that can be read as a kid or as an adult, and you can get something out of it depending on your age. My son read The Hobbit and the entire Lord of the Rings Trilogy before he turned 11 and loved them all. The Hobbit was all about the adventures of Bilbo Baggins and his trip with Gandalf and the dwarves to reclaim the gold (and much much more) from Smaug the Dragon. In reality, it’s all about finding what’s really inside of all of us, and what we’re actually capable of achieving. Exceptional book.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger (1951)

What young man can’t identify with Holden Caulfield, a guy who feels alienated from the way of life that has been led by his parents? I read this when I was around 17 years of age, and I completely identified with the character. Caulfield is rebellious against society, and this was not a mainstream attitude (or at least not verbalized) among teenagers when the book was written in 1951. As the 60’s approached, however, all this was about to change. Bottom line? This book, as well as On the Road, helped me to see that questioning what you thought you already knew was O.K.

Lord of the Flies – William Golding (1954)

Even as a kid I understood this book. It’s about a group of school boys stuck on an uninhabited island where they’re left to govern themselves, with disastrous results. And after being a teacher for 30-years, I can see the exact same thing happening in 2014. As a matter of fact, in today’s day and age the situation would undoubtedly disintegrate even more quickly. Somehow, someway, I convinced the powers that be at Greenfield Middle School to let me teach this book to 8th graders back in the mid-80’s.

1Ball Four – Jim Bouton (1970)

I first read this book as a freshman in high school, and it affected me in more ways than you can ever imagine. On the surface the book is based on a simple premise – it’s the season-long account of Jim Bouton, a professional baseball player for the Seattle Mariners and Houston Astros back in 1969. The book, however, is way more than that. Bouton was a liberal, anti-war and anti-establishment athlete who questioned authority at every turn. In the book he discusses everything from racial issues to the war in Vietnam, which influenced me tremendously. But you know what part of the book had the biggest impact on me? The part that would have an effect on me for the rest of my life? It was the part where he and his wife adopted a young son. It was an international adoption, and they got their little boy from Korea. Had I never read this book I may have never had the idea to do the same. Thanks Jim Bouton.

Travels With Charley: In Search of America – John Steinbeck (1960) 

Yep, another book about traveling. In this one, Steinbeck decides to take a trip with his dog Charley and a camper he named Rocinante, after Don Quixote’s horse. He basically does a tour of the US, keeping a diary as he goes, documenting the people he meets and the situations he encounters. I loved it. Just the thought of traveling, stopping in strange towns, little restaurants and diners, and meeting people from all around the country just intrigued the hell out of me. Steinbeck even visited the south during the height of integration and has some interesting observations. Good stuff.

Animal Farm – George Orwell (1945)

Who couldn’t love a book about animals leading a revolt and taking over their farm? Orwell was an outspoken critic of Stalinism and used this book as a tool to illustrate his views. He said it was his first book “to fuse political purpose and artistic purpose into one whole”. I read this when I was really young and again in college, so it was fascinating to see it on two completely different levels. Make sense? No? Well, tough. It does to me.

Rant – Chuck Palahniuk (2007)

This is an awesome book that is virtually impossible to describe in one paragraph. There are 1twists and surprises at every turn. The setting goes from the future to the present to the past in various stages and it takes awhile to get used to, believe me. However, once you get into the rhythm of the writing it’s addictive as hell. Completely confused? I told you it was impossible to describe. Just read the damn book.

1776 – David McCullough (2005)

This is, in my opinion, the best book ever written about the Revolutionary War. It’s so good that at one point I was 99% certain we were going to lose. Not even kidding. As I used to tell my students, had George not decided to turn around and attack those damn Hessians on that morning of December 26th, 1776 we all might not be sitting here today. Anyway, ’tis a riveting book. History, folks! This stuff actually happened for realz!

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West  – Stephen E. Ambrose (1996)

Quite possibly my favorite book of all-time. Just an amazing account of Lewis & Clark’s journey to the Pacific Ocean and back. These guys were rock stars in their time. They encounter all sorts of strange and unknown animals, including grizzly bears, buffaloes and prairie dogs. At one point in the journal of Lewis, he writes that he’d love to capture a grizzly bear and take it back to President Jefferson. He changes his mind when they finally encounter one and it nearly kills them. At the time, the American West was like another planet to these guys. Yet despite the dangers they made it. Incredible story.

Outside Valentine – Liza Ward (2004)

This quirky, odd little book is a fictional account of the son of two of Charles Starkweather’s victims. Starkweather was an infamous spree killer back in the 50’s, and the book entails how the brutal murders still haunt him into adulthood. Ward, the author, is the granddaughter of two of Starkweather’s victims. So the book is fiction but it’s based on real life events. I love it because it just has a dark, surreal feel to it. Right up my alley.

In Cold Blood – Truman Capote (1966)

The first book I ever read that made me lose sleep. It really, really freaked me out. The book details the brutal 1959 murders of Herbert Clutter, a successful farmer from Kansas, his wife, and two of their four children. The murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, had hatched the plan in prison when they heard Clutter had money hidden in his house. They show up one night, invade the house, and all hell breaks loose. They are eventually caught and are hanged, which incidentally is a really creepy scene in a great movie made later that was based on the book. I read this when I was 12, and it was the reason I always made sure our doors were locked before bedtime. Spooky.

1Modoc – The True Story of the Greatest Elephant That Ever Lived – Ralph Helfer (1998)

I swear to God I cried at least 3-times while reading this book. It’s the story of a boy and an elephant and their fight to stay together across three continents. Modoc and his owner Bram have this almost psychic connection, and were in fact born on the same day at the same hour. They survive attacks by rebels, a shipwreck, a gunshot wound, an evil and abusive trainer and owner, and much, much more. This is simply one of the most amazing stories you’ll ever read. I don’t want to give anything away, but if you love animals you will LOVE this book. Highly and eagerly recommended.

Sons of Mississippi: The Story of Race and its Legacy – Paul Hendrickson (2003)

In this book Hendrickson tracks down the sons of some of the most famous figures from both sides of the Civil Rights Movement of the late 50’s and early 60’s. It’s a fascinating insight into how people view the same set of circumstances through completely different perspectives. Intriguing, interesting and thought-provoking book.

Hemingway’s Hurricane – Phil Scott (2006)

This book tells the story of the 1935 hurricane that hit Key West, Florida, and the people whose deaths it caused. Those people included 600 war veterans that FDR had sent there to help build a highway from Florida to Key West. These men were living in flimsy shacks, and the two men responsible for getting them out before the storm hit didn’t act quickly enough. Earnest Hemingway was living in The Keys at the time and he was outraged. This book includes his efforts at getting to the awful truth.

Over the Edge of the World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe  – Laurence Bergreen (2003)

Just as the title says, this is the amazing story of Magellan’s trip around the world. He didn’t make it, and he wasn’t the only one. The voyage started with 237 men and finished with 18. That, my friends, is how difficult of a journey it really was. In fact, after this voyage nobody did it for another 60-years. Magellan and crew encountered hostile natives, icebergs, and even reported seeing giants. Better than any adventure a screenwriter could ever make up.

The Johnstown Flood – David McCullough (1968)

An absolutely stunning account of one of the greatest tragedies in American history. It tells the story of the 1889 flood that killed 2,209 people. Ninety-nine entire families died in the flood, including 396 children. One hundred twenty-four women and 198 men were widowed and 98 children were orphaned. One-third of the dead (777 people) were never identified. The flood was caused by the failure of The South Fork Damn, which was maintained by The South Fork Fishing and Hunting Club, whose members included many rich industrialists of the time. The club had been warned that the damn needed widened, but they refused to do so. When the damn broke due to heavy rainfall, the entire lake basically came down the valley and descended upon the town. I’ve been there, and there are still water lines high up on some of the old buildings. Just an incredibly tragic, compelling story.

Shout! The Beatles in Their Generation – Philip Norman (1981)1

Trust me, I’ve read about a zillion books on The Beatles, and this one is the best. It’s just a beautifully written account of their lives and the music they made. This book is must-reading for not only Beatle fans but fans of rock music in general. READ IT.

The Autobiography of Malcom X – Alex Haley (1965)

I first read this book in the late 60’s when I was 13-years old, and believe me when I say it blew all the stereotypes this southern Ohio youngster had heard out of the water. In addition, at the time I’d had no idea that Malcom X had completely changed his world views in the last months of his life. Hell, I’d be willing to bet that many people today aren’t aware of the cosmic shift he went through after his pilgrimage to Mecca. Incredible stuff, even when reading it today.

We Are Not Afraid: The Story of Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney, and the Civil Rights Campaign for Mississippi – Seth Cagin & Philip Dray (1988)

This book should be required reading for every American. It’s an in-depth study of the Civil Rights Movement, with a detailed look at the killing of the three workers in 1964 and the trial of their murderers. It’s a chilling account, and you can’t read it without being impressed with the courage of those who went south to fight for the freedom of their fellow Americans. Interestingly, many of the Freedom Fighters were trained in Oxford, Ohio at Miami University. Bottom line? If you haven’t read this book you should put it on your list immediately.

Just missed the cut: Helter Skelter, A Clockwork Orange, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Naked Lunch, Catch-22, Into Thin Air, Slaughterhouse-Five, and Fordlandia.

So there you go folks. The most influential and interesting books that I’ve read (so far) in my lifetime. In fact, some were life-changing for me.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy a good adventure or thriller as well. I enjoy authors like Stuart Woods and I particularly like John Sandford’s Prey series, it’s just that the above 20 books had a much deeper effect on me in one way or the other.

In addition, I’m fascinated by what others read. So let’s hear it. What books have had the biggest impact on your life?

Note: Let’s exclude The Bible. Too obvious a choice, folks.

As a teacher you get the occasional invitation from a student to attend one of their out-of-school activities. It might be an athletic event (I’d go sometimes) or a birthday party (I’d never go), maybe even a church play or something like that. Anyway, I’d try and go if it seemed important to the kid.

Back when I was teaching 6th grade a little girl named Erica asked if I’d like to come to her piano recital. It was going to be on a Sunday afternoon, so I said sure, why not? I figured I’d drop in for a few minutes, watch her little performance and be on my way.

Hey, a little support is always a good thing with kids, right?

Sunday arrived, and the recital was to begin at 1:00 PM in a local church. I got there a few minutes early, grabbed a program, and took a seat in one of the back pews. From the front row Erica saw me, and when her face lit up I was glad I’d come. It was then that I glanced down at the program to see when she’d take the stage. The first ominous sign was that they were beginning with the real little kids and moving up chronologically. Trust me, there were some real little kids there. The second thing I noticed was that the list of performers was a long one. Oh well. I planned to give her a thumbs-up after she was finished and sneak out anyway.

I ran my finger down the list, looking for Erica. Down and down I went until I found her name . . .

27th out of 27. She was the last kid on the list.

I sat through all 27 kids that day. I thought of leaving and coming back, but she kept glancing back at me and I was afraid if she saw I’d left she’d assume it was for good. So, I listened to 27 different piano recitals from kids ranging in age from 4 to 12. I heard Amazing Grace, Do Your Ears Hang Low?, Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Itsy-Bitsy Spider, The Wheels on the Bus, the ever-popular Bingo (3-times), and a slew of other children’s songs.

By the time Erica’s turn came it was almost 4:00, and my ears were numb to the music. All I wanted to do was listen to her version of Mary Had a Little Lamb or The Entertainer or whatever the hell she was going to play, applaud politely as I pretended to love it, and rush home to catch the second half of the Bengal’s game.

But then, she started playing her song.

Let It Be.

A Beatles song she’d learned for me.

That’s why she’d asked me to come, and that’s why she’d kept looking back at me.

Turns out I didn’t have to pretend. It had been a long day, but I’ll be damned if it wasn’t worth every minute.

Plenty.

Map-Of-Ohio-State-Parks

Part of the nearly 2,000-strong Thousand Islands chain, Just Room Enough Island was purchased in the 1950s by the Sizeland family who were looking to create a holiday get away. They built a house on the tiny speck of land placing the walls right up to the edges of the island, creating a home that was just big enough to fit, and giving the island its quirky name. A pair of bench chairs were placed in front of the home and there was also a tree on one side. Cool, man.

Note: They built the house as a private getaway, but over the years it has turned into a tourist attraction. Sad for the Sizeland family, huh? 

Note II: Does anyone else think “Sizeland” is an appropriate name for the family?

Note III: That house is begging for a deck, man.

just-enough-room-island-woe2-690x533

littlehouse

ITV – A new planet which could contain life has been discovered close enough aliento Earth to be reached by future space missions. The new world, which is slightly larger than our planet, is just 4-light years away in another solar system. It has been named Proxima B by astronomers. In terms of astronomical distances Proxima B is right next door, four light years is 25-trillion miles away. Astronomers believe that future generations of super-fast spacecraft could travel to the planet within the scale of human lifetimes.

First, everybody settle down. This is probably nothing to worry about. I mean, a new planet has been discovered 4-light years away, no big deal. 25-trillion miles is along way, amirite? Hell, you’d have to have spacecrafts that traveled really fast to get from Proxima B to Earth, and only a civilization much more advanced than ours would have such machines.

Wait.

RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

PS – Proxima B sounds like a fancy shampoo or something. Horrible name.

Oh yeah.

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The top speed at the world’s first real automobile race in 1895 was just 15 mph.

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Kilganon is a professional dunker. Yeah, they had no idea.

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Note: The following should only be viewed by: A) Residents of Ross County over 55-years of age; B) People who love old highways; C) Local people who are interested in the fact that they drive by an old highway every day and have no idea it’s there; D) People who like this site and trust that I post interesting content. 

A lot of you may not know this, but there was another road that led from Bourneville to Chillicothe (and beyond) long ago. My dad always called it Old Route 50, and it was replaced, I believe, sometime around 1958-1962 by the road you drive on now. I don’t know if I remember it or think I do because my father talked about it so much. Old Route 50 was a twisting and turning road, and very narrow. Fascinated by old stuff as I am, I made a visit to the Ohio Department of Transportation here in Ross County and was pleased to find they were happy to print out an old map for me, showing me the original road. What I found was, to me at least, fascinating as hell. And here’s the thing – a lot of it is still there. Some parts you see every day (but I assume you don’t know what it is), and others are just out of sight but really cool if you know where to look. Below you’ll see some photos I took, with captions explaining each. I know a few of you will like these, so enjoy . . .

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This was taken a couple miles east of Bourneville, facing east. It’s part of a driveway going by the big house there. That’s Old Route 50, folks. You can see today’s Route 50 on the right.

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This was taken just over the rise from the last one, heading downhill. That flat strip of grass in the distance is where the road continued years ago. Again, there’s today’s road to the right.

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Here’s a closer view of the end of the original road. It continued straight ahead on that flat grass straight ahead. The curved, new concrete turning right was put in to accommodate the property owners and connect their driveway to the new road back in the day.

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This is about a mile past Blain Highway on the right. There’s the new Route 50 on the left. The old road continues up and down the hill, then crosses the new road about where you see that truck in the photo. Erosion has narrowed the old road and grass has moved in as you can see.

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This shows the old road descending down the hill. As I said, it’s about to curve left and cross where is now the new 50.

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This is where the old road crossed and continues onward. It’s right in front of the house sitting at the bottom of a long driveway and beside the bridge there on the right. Those two vehicles are actually sitting on the old road. In front of them there remains remnants of an old guardrail erected after the bridge there was destroyed.

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This was taken directly on the other side of the last photo, facing east. Had you crossed the bridge I mentioned under the last photo, this is the view you’d see. That’s the new road by the guardrail on the right.

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Old Route 50 ran right along these trees, parallel to today’s Route 50.

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Looking back to the west, you can see where the old road came out of these trees. Again, that’s the new road on the left.

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This part is great. Maybe a half mile before you get to Maple Grove Road, there’s a straight stretch where the power lines go over the road. There’s a big bank to your right. At the top of this bank a HUGE portion of Old Route 50 remains. It’s maybe 100-yards long and is very cool to see.

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More of the long stretch of Old Route 50.

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The same stretch, looking back west toward the power line. Amazing to think I traveled that very road as a little kid.

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Heading east again on that same long stretch of Old Route 50. Incredible that it’s still in such good shape.

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Here’s the last view of that cool stretch of Old 50. Now you can see the New 50 on the left. The road dead-ends into a driveway. Beyond that car is Moore’s Cemetery on the right, then Maple Grove Road.

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This was taken in front of the Moore’s Cemetery, just before reaching Maple Grove Road.

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Another view of the road in front of the Moore’s Cemetery, facing back west.

As you know I love history, and something about the old road fascinates me. I had no idea that long stretch still existed, man. I swear as I walked it I was shaking my head and smiling, imagining riding in the back of my dad’s car as a little kid, just looking out the window and probably daydreaming. Who was in the last car that drove that stretch? What kind of car was it? The mind reels.

I hope a few of you enjoyed this 1/10 as much as I did.

Sweet Jesus. Nightmare fuel. Watch both videos for optimum scared shitlessness.*

*It’s those kinds of words that separate this website from all others. You’re welcome.

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I knew it.

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Yeah, we all need to stop. Powerful stuff.

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ANDY RAY ANDERSON

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Andy Anderson: 1958-2016

November 18th,1958 – July 30th, 2016

Andy Ray Anderson of Venice, Florida passed away Saturday, July 30th, 2016 after a brief fight with cancer. Andy passed with his loving wife Cindi, beautiful daughter Ashlei, and old friend Rick Baum and wife Sue at his side.

Born and raised in Bainbridge, Ohio to Patricia “Patsy” and Charles “Dink” Anderson, Andy attended Paint Valley High School with his older brother Brent.

Andy’s exploits on the football field, baseball diamond and basketball court are legendary. He played college baseball at Kent State University and was inducted into the Paint Valley Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

In the late 1980’s Andy moved to Florida where he met and fell in love with the love of his life, Cindi Paine. On March 13, 1993 they welcomed their precious angel Ashlei Mae Anderson into this world.

Andy worked at many of the local pubs in Venice as a bartender, including Flannagan’s Pub and The Green Diamond, where he worked for the last 6-years.

In his spare time Andy loved to spend time with Cindi and Ashlei, who he loved more than anything in the world. By moving to Florida, Andy truly found what he was looking for.

Andy was loved by many and had a multitude of friends in both Ohio and Florida. Among those who spent time with Andy during his last days were lifelong friends Dave Shoemaker, Tom Elliott and Rick Baum.

Andy had a vibrant personality that could light up a room, was extremely loyal, and to count him as a friend was truly a blessing.

Andy was preceded in death by his parents, Patsy and Dink Anderson and sister-in-law Traci Paine Bartram. Also grandparents Helen and Starlie “Jim” Anderson and Frank and Sarah Swisshelm, Uncles William “Bill” Anderson and Donald “Jigger” Anderson, and cousins Ann and Mark Anderson.

He is survived by wife Cindi, daughters Ashlei and Lindsay, his brother Brent and sister-in-law Jill, his Aunt Lucy and Uncle Dave Anderson, Aunts Charlotte Anderson and Aunt Karen Anderson-Armstrong, and several cousins .

They say that the quality of one’s life is more important than the quantity, and Andy lived a fulfilling life that touched everyone with whom he came in contact.

Andy Anderson is gone, but he will never, ever be forgotten.