Archive for November, 2018

The world’s strongest beer is called Snake Venom. At 68% alcohol it is stronger than whiskey.

On a related note, I hate this guy.

Suitable for framing.

Basketball, man. It’s the greatest sport. Put a baseball on a field and see if a kid stops, picks it up, and throws it. Same with a football. Put a basketball on a court and most kids will stop, pick it up, and take a shot. Boom. Anyway, let’s take a look at some famous people who played the greatest sport in the world. Some might surprise you. Click and scroll to read the captions.

See what I did there?

Washington Post: A Texas mother is calling out a Southwest Airlines employee who she said mocked her 5-year-old daughter’s name and then posted a picture of the small child’s boarding pass on social media.
Traci Redford told ABC affiliate KABC her daughter’s name is Abcde, which is pronounced “ab-si-dee.”

Redford said the incident occurred when she and her daughter were preparing to board a flight from Santa Ana, Calif., home to El Paso, Tex. Redford told the station that a gate agent at California’s John Wayne Airport saw Abcde’s name and started pointing, laughing and talking to other employees about Redford and her child.

Southwest Airlines has since apologized, saying that the social media post is “not indicative of the care, respect, and civility” that the airline requires from its employees.

Here’s the deal. If you name your kid Abcde you should not only expect her to be mocked, you should expect her to be belittled, razzed, teased, disparaged, scorned, roasted, bad-mouthed and pooh-poohed. What are you going to name your next kid, Fghijk? Then Lmnopq? The mind reels, man.

PS- Seriously, why do people try so hard to come up with unique names for their kids? Every time little Blayde or Hayzil or Aliviyah gives someone their name at a bank or hotel they’re going to have to spell it out for the rest of their lives. Little Max, Sam or Hank? Not so much. Time saved, baby.

PPS- Turns out Abcde is not that unique. A little Googling reveals that an Abcde Zoller plays soccer for the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and an Abcde de Coito teaches Zumba classes in the Aloha state. The site NameCandy also suggests the name may also be relatively common in New Mexico and among Latino families. Huh. Who knew?

You are welcome.

Yep. Whiskey vending machine. That is all.

Yeah, so this happened. Remember kids, when tandem hang gliding always attach your passenger. That’s Team Hang Gliding 101, really. On a related note, that’s absolutely and utterly horrifying.

PS- The pilot has to be fired, right? Or if he owns the business nobody will ever fly with him again, correct? That’s like a bungee operator not attaching you to the damn bungee. Inexcusable mistake, bro. You’re out.

Australia, man. They’ve brought us the drunk pig that raised havoc as well as many more stories from the Land Down Under. Now, we have a giant, humongous, gargantuan cow named Knickers. Kids, this is a large cow. Take a gander . . .

No, children, that has not been photoshopped.  That’s a real steer, man. On a related note, if Knickers wants to take over the freakin’ barnyard he can do it in a heartbeat. Here’s a video:

Holy cow that’s a big side of beef. Good news though. Turns out Knickers is too big to be processed for burgers and is destined to live a life of grazing in the fields and living a life of contentment. Good news Knickers!

In 1969 a 15-year old boy named Robert Rayford was admitted to the hospital in Missouri with sores, weight loss and shortness of breath. As time progressed he got worse as doctors were powerless to treat him. He eventually died of pneumonia, but remembering his case doctors ran tests on tissue samples they’d saved. They found that Robert had Aids 10-years before the first official case had been reported. He had never received a blood transfusion and had never left the country. His case remains a mystery.

Actually Swino.

Fraser Coast Chronicle: A boozy feral pig that shot to international fame after drinking 18-cans of beer, starting a fight with a cow and causing chaos at an Australian campsite has died in a car accident.

Local authorities confirmed that “Swino” had recently been hit by a passing vehicle in a remote stretch of the northern Pilbara region of Western Australia, adding that he had been identified by distinctive markings on the back of his ears.

It is not known if Swino had been drinking before the accident.

Wow, that last sentence was uncalled for, amirite? Poor Swino spends years trying to repair his damaged reputation after his drunken rampage and then the Fraser Coast Chronicle takes a cheap shot like that after he kicks the bucket. Sad really, even though he sort of hogged the spotlight for awhile. I wonder if they called the hambulance? Bottom line, this is quite a twist to the tale.  Rest in Peace, ya little porker.

PS- Get it? Twist to the tale? Tail? Never mind.

PPS- I hate myself right now.


New Delhi: American John Chau was intent on bringing Christianity to the Sentinelese, a remote tribe living on an island off the coast of India. His initial contacts with the tribe, hunter-gatherers who reject contact with the outside world, had not gone well. One teenager shot an arrow at him, piercing his waterproof bible. Yet Chau decided to return to the island and try again, galvanized by the feeling he was God’s instrument.

“Lord, is this island Satan’s last stronghold where none have had the chance to hear your name?” he wrote in his diary.

Chau knew his mission was illegal. He wrote of his intention and plan to local avoid authorities. “God himself is watching and hiding us from the Coast Guard and many patrols” he wrote. Critics say his brazen violation of Indian law was selfish and put the fragile tribe at risk, exposing them to modern diseases for which they have no immunity.

The morning after Chau’s final trip to the island’s shores, fisherman who had taken him there saw his body being dragged and buried in the sand. He was likely killed by the Sentinelese usual method of weaponry – bows and arrows.

Listen, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for folks who put themselves in situations like this – the guy who was arrested in North Korea, the couple who were hiking in Pakistan and wandered into Iran and were arrested – I mean, if you’re crazy enough to go into Third World Countries for your own selfish reasons you get what’s coming to you. However, this John Chau takes the cake. I mean, spreading the gospel is great and all, but doing it whilst breaking the law and at the risk of exposing a whole island of people to diseases from which they have no immunity doesn’t sound real Christiany, know what I’m sayin’?

PS- I’m not 100% certain how God felt about this guy after all. I mean, was “God’s Instrument” John Chau or the Sentinelese arrows?

PPS- Seems like an arrow through your waterproof bible might have been a warning signal, but maybe that’s just me. 

This speech was given just 2-months after Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30th, 1981. Listen, I was never a big Reagan guy at all (although he looks pretty damn good in retrospect) but this is a stone cold move. After hearing a loud balloon pop he doesn’t flinch, just casually says “missed me” to the masses. Reagan, man.

PS- Again, this was just 2-months after he was shot. Hell, the Orange Tweeter couldn’t go out in the rain to honor our veterans.


The story began when a guy named Jamal Hinton received a random text from a woman named Wanda Dench. Seems Wanda had texted him mistakenly. Here’s here initial text:


Jamal, perplexed, of course asked who the heck was sending him this text, since he knew no Amanda nor Justin. He was answered, and the following conversation ensued:

Wanda complied:

Of course Jamal couldn’t resist responding, and Wanda did too:

So, this happened:

Long story short, the initial text came in 2016 and Jamal has gone to his second grandma’s house every year since:

I’ve never understood racism and I never will, but in these sensitive times a story of how one kind, simple gesture can lead to a friendship sure makes me feel good.

Happy Holidays everyone.

Although I’m not coaching this year I still have a pretty intense interest in Southern Ohio basketball, the Scioto Valley Conference in particular. With that in mind I thought I’d write my inaugural SVC Preview and Predictions blog. I have a fairly extensive knowledge of the teams, coaches and players so I think I can provide some unique insight you won’t find anywhere else. Hey, I coached in the league for 13-years and have been watching games for as long as I can remember.

With that in mind, I talked to all eight of the SVC’s coaches who gave me their opinion of their team along with predictions of how the SVC will finish in 2018-2019, top to bottom. Those individual opinions will remain anonymous of course. And yes, I coached at one of these schools but I believe I can give an unbiased look at what to expect. Keep in mind that, although all coaches communicated with me to an extent, some shared more than others. Such is the nature of the beast.

I believe the SVC will be as close from top to bottom as it’s been in years. The gap has closed from first to last, without a doubt.

Here’s how I’ll do it. I’ll give an alphabetical rundown of each team with some coach’s comments included, along with my Player of the Year candidates sprinkled in. Finally I’ll give you my predictions and tell you how the SVC coach’s predictions tallied up.

Let us begin . . .

Adena Warriors 

Zach Fout

Coach Kyle Bradley’s Warriors return a ton of talent that includes seven players who played big minutes last season, and although they went 6-16 last year they were in nearly every game. Coach Bradley will run a lot of different sets with plenty of cutting and screens, and they’ll be difficult to match up with in a man-to-man defense. Adena has the horses to get it out and go offensively, and I believe they will.

The Warriors return all but two players from last year’s squad, including Senior Zach Fout, who averaged 15.5 ppg last season. He also drained 41 three-pointers and was 7th in the SVC in steals. Clearly this young man has the potential to be a Top 3 player in the conference. At 6′-4″ he’s explosive, athletic, and will be a tough matchup for any team in the league. Adena also returns Senior Caleb Foglesong, who came on strong toward the end of last season and had a good summer. Coach Bradley also expects Junior Dylan Gallagher to contribute big and says Dylan has put in the work required to get him to the next level. Other returning players for Adena are Sophomores Jacob Shipley, Jarrett Garrison, Logan Bennett, Nate Throckmorton and Preston Sykes.

From Coach Bradley:

“With the amount of varsity minutes we return it’s time for us to take the next step. Competing every night out at a high level and extending weeks, and not days, together is the focus. Moving into year three we finally feel as though the team has a really good grasp of our philosophies. We went out and challenged ourselves all summer and we are looking forward to getting started at Lucasville Valley on December 1st.”

Adena has the experience and talent to compete in every game in which they play, and the sooner the Warrior players realize this the better. It’s Coach Bradley’s third year in Frankfort and the Warriors are poised to make a run. Believe me, with Fout leading the way Adena can win the SVC.

Huntington Huntsmen

Elijah McCloskey

Coach Eric Snyder’s Huntsmen will feature one of the best 1-2 punches in the league, but due to the suspension of one of them we’ll have to wait until game 5 to see them play together. One part of that dynamic duo is Elijah McCloskey, a 4-year starter and quite possibly the league’s best player. McCloskey averaged nearly 15 ppg last season to go along with 34 three-pointers. He was also 5th in the league in steals. The other half of the combo, and missing the first 4-games, is Seth Beeler. Beeler is a super quick, athletic slasher who knocked down 27 threes in 2017-2018. He’ll take a lot of pressure off McCloskey in the Huntsmen offense. Other returnees are seniors Nate Snyder, DJ Kinzer and Canaan Knowles. Snyder is a good 3-point shooter who plays hard, and although he’s more of a catch-and-shoot player he’ll have to help out with ballhandling until Beeler returns. At 6′-3″ Kinzer will provide some length the Huntsmen so desperately need, and he can also give the team some added scoring punch. According to Coach Snyder, Knowles is the team’s “Junkyard Dog” who plays hard and with a high motor. Senior Andrew Cox is another player expected to contribute, the kind of kid who gives everything he’s got while understanding his role. Believe me, that’s often a rare combination. A new face for Coach Snyder this year is senior Jonathon Fisher. While only 6′-1″, Fisher can give the team a toughness in the paint that will be valuable come the dog days of January. Other players to watch include 6′-0″ senior Joe Phillips, 6′-3″ sophomore Nick Haines and 5′-7″ freshman Dalton Haubeil.

From Coach Snyder:

“Our motto this year is ‘Overcoming Perception’. It’s been 7-seasons since Huntington has had a winning season. These kids just need to know what it feels like to win. They have the potential to win, we just have to believe and take that next step.”

The Huntsmen will be a reflection of their coach – tough and persistent. They’ll will play a hard-nosed style of basketball and have the potential to be in every game. They’ll go as McCloskey goes, and he and Beeler will form a lethal combination. If this team can get through the first few games without losing confidence and if a couple players step up to form that third and fourth option, the Huntsmen will surprise some people, mark it down. The Mighty Huntsmen simply have to believe.

Paint Valley Bearcats

Cruz McFadden

New Coach Bobby Williams inherits a 17-win team that returns 4-starters, but due to having a late start because of the football team’s playoff success, having to learn a new system, and learning to play without Ross County’s all-time leader scorer Dylan Swingle the folks in the Valley might have to be patient with this team early. That said, when this team jells they’ll be as good as anybody. The Bearcats return all-district Bryce Newland, a 6′-4″ player who can not only score (15.0 ppg) and shoot the 3 (46 last season), but can also hit the boards (10.7 per game last season, good for 4th in the SVC). If Newland has developed his inside offensive game enough to balance his prowess from the perimeter he’ll be a Top 4 player in the league – at least. The Cats also return Cruz McFadden, like Newland beginning his third year as a starter. The Cruzer finished 4th in the league in assists last year as well as finishing 6th in steals, and when he attacks the basket he causes a myriad of problems for opposing defenses. Another returning starter is senior Caden Grubb, a never-say-die, clutch leader who is one of the better defensive players in the SVC. Grubby also averaged 4.6 assists per game last season, good for third in the league. The last starter returning for the Bearcats is 6′-4″ senior Hunter Hamlin, the team’s defensive stopper last year who also hit some big shots in tournament play. Other players who might make a splash are PJ McAllister (last year’s 6th man), Judson Bevan (an athletic 6′-3″ junior with a ton of potential), freshman Cordell Grubb (a scoring machine in JH), junior Colton Skaggs, and senior Justin Draise.

The Bearcats are expected to go deeper on their bench this year as well as playing a more full court style on both offense and defense. If players 5 through 8 can step up and contribute it will help their cause tremendously. They’ll also need McFadden, Grubb and others to knock down perimeter shots as I fully expect Newland to be face-guarded nightly.

From Coach Williams, via the Chillicothe Gazette:

“I think the potential is great,” Williams said. “I don’t expect to have a honeymoon period here coming off their success from last year. I’m expecting to come in and win immediately with this group.”

Paint Valley has been to the districts four of the last five years, and there’s no reason to think they can’t do it again. If everything comes together as it should, come mid-January “The Jigger” will once again be rockin’.

Piketon Redstreaks

Blake Reader

If there’s one thing you can count on down in Piketon, it’s that the Red Streaks will play a full-court trapping game, they’ll get the ball out and run, and they will play hard.

Always scrappy, this year’s Piketon team will have a nice mix of experience and youth while being bigger than in years past. Although SVC scoring champ Tanner Purdue will be hard to replace, they’ll return 3-starters from last year’s District Runner-Up – Alex Blanton, Scottie Lightle and Blake Reader. Blanton was 4th in the SVC in steals, and Reader is a tough kid who took an incredible 20 charges.

From Coach Evan Legg:

“We have a great group of young players coming through the program, and they are learning and improving every single day. As always our goal is to compete for an SVC Championship, get back to The Convo and compete for a District Title.”

The Streaks like to play a lot of kids, and as Coach Legg’s younger players gain experience they’ll only get better. Although last season’s 19-wins will be tough to improve upon, Piketon has been a fixture at The Convo for what seems like forever. They feel like they belong there, and that’s half the battle. Expect the Streaks to have more players involved in their offense, perhaps having as many as 3 or 4 players averaging in double figures. Traveling to “The Oven” and battling the Streaks is always a tall order for any SVC team, and this season should be no different.

Southeastern Panthers

Lane Ruby

Coach Rick Strausbaugh’s Panthers return several player’s from last year’s team, including point guard Lane Ruby, a 5′-9″, lightning quick whirling dervish who is nearly impossible to contain without defensive help. A possible 2018-2019 SVC Player of the Year candidate, Ruby averaged 10.5 points per game last season, was 6th in the league in assists, 4th in free throw percentage and 8th in steals. Like McCloskey at Huntington, Ruby is the straw that stirs the Panther’s drink. Southeastern also returns 6′-4″ junior postman Reece Wheeler, 6′-0″ junior Aaron Gillum, 6′-4″ sophomore Aarick Hill and 6′-2″ senior Noah Dresbach. Wheeler snagged 6.7 rebounds a game last season, good for 8th in the SVC. He was also 5th in the league in blocked shots and averaged 8.7 points per game. Gillum pitched in with 7.5 points.

New players with a chance to contribute are 6′-0″ freshman Aiden Estep, 6′-0″ freshman Luke Corcoran, 6′-1″ freshmen Derek Wheeler, 6′-1″ freshman Aaron Evans, 5′-7″ freshman Parker George and 5′-11″ junior Jared Sulpher.

I expect Ruby and Wheeler’s point averages to increase considerably, and at least one other player, possibly Dresbach, needs to approach double figure scoring for the Panthers to compete. Like I said, Ruby is the key. As long as he’s on the court Southeastern will be a dangerous team. The folks in Richmond Dale and Londonderry always have high expectations for this tradition-rich program, and that will not change this year. That said, it’ll be a big challenge for the Panthers to crack the Top 3 in the SVC.

Unioto Shermans

Unioto lost an amazing group of seniors last year, including Co-SVC Player of the Year Logan Swackhammer, sharpshooter Brandon Kennedy, ridiculous athlete Gabe Fisher, and bruiser Peyton Hill. Friends, those four never lost a league game. Because of these losses a lot of fans are expecting a below average year for the Shermans, but let me tell you a secret – they’ll be good again. Sure, they may finally lose a game or two, maybe even three, in the league. But they’ll still be fighting for the SVC title come February, believe me. One reason is that the Unioto kids expect to win. They believe they will, they know how to, and they more often than not do. Of course, as they say you can’t have a circus without the elephants, but I believe they have enough of those too. The Shermans will go 10-deep, and as always they’ll have shooters. You’re going to see more balance from Unioto this year as they have several different players capable of leading them in scoring on any given night.

Their top returners are 5′-11′ experienced senior Chance Smith (19-threes last year), 6′-2″ junior Cade McKee and 6′-2″ senior Gabe McBee, but they also have several players who have shown promise over the summer and in the preseason. Coach Matt Hoops speaks highly of senior guard Justin Manson and his development, and sophomores Isaac Little (he’s a player to watch) and both Carson and Cameron DeBord are expected to contribute as well. All three saw some time with the varsity last year. Hoops says 6′-3″ sophomore Aiden Loeffler is a great athlete who also had a good off-season, and newcomers Josh and Jeremy Lambert will only add to Unioto’s depth. Another kid mentioned by Hoops as having an outstanding summer is sophomore Gunnar Greenwalt.

So yeah, depth. I believe I mentioned at least 11-players in that last paragraph. Bottom line? If you thought this was the year you were going to see Unioto kicked around, you may want to think again. The Tanks aren’t going anywhere.

From Coach Hoops:

“We’re going to be very deep. A lot of different guys are going to play, and a lot of different guys are going to score. You’re going to see a different Unioto. And if and when the streak does fall people are going to celebrate that, but this team is not the team that’s won 4 gold balls. This team hasn’t won a game yet.”

Note: A little bird told me we can expect some new wrinkles regarding Unioto’s defensive schemes in 2018-2019. Stay tuned.

Westfall Mustangs

You’re going to see a different team than last year’s 4-win Mustangs, according to Head Coach Josh Rodich. Last season the ‘Tangs were pretty young. This year, the roster features 9-seniors, two of which were not on the squad last year. 6′-5″ Nate Reed moved to Westfall from Florida and 6′-6″ Jared Kaiser has been medically cleared to compete this year.

In addition, the Mustangs return four starters including senior Kaleb Farmer, junior Jay Wyman, junior Jayden Hammond and junior Trent Hampton.

Coach Rodich says Farmer is a coach on the floor, that Hampton has really worked to improve his perimeter shooting, and that he expects Hammond to carry a bigger scoring load this season. In addition, Hammond will make the rare move from center to guard this season.

From Coach Rodich:

“The Mustang community should expect to see a much-improved team this year with lots of depth, experience and added height.”

I have no idea how good the two new kids are, but if they can contribute at all it could completely change the complexion of this team. That said, the Mustangs will need improved guard play to compete with the top teams in the SVC.

Zane Trace Pioneers

Cam Evans

Bottom line, the Zane Trace Pioneers are loaded. Led by Player of the Year candidate Cam Evans, the Gary Kellough coached Pioneers are widely considered to be the favorite to win the Scioto Valley Conference (you’ll see the coaches predictions in a bit). Evans, a 1st Team All-SVC team member last year, averaged 15.0 points per game and 3.1 assists while shooting nearly 70% from the line. Point Guard Colby Swain and Chad Ison will contribute at both ends of the floor, and 6′-6″ post man Nick Nesser returns to patrol the paint. Coach Kellough likes the defense Triton Davidson brings to the table, so expect him to see extensive action as well. Davidson shot an incredible 73% from the floor last season. We’ll also see Luke Johnson spending a lot of time on the floor.

Coach Kellough says that Cam Evans has taken his game to another level. If this is true he’s really going to be fun to watch, not to mention the absolute handful he’ll be for SVC opponents.

Zane Trace ratcheted up the competition their team faced over the summer as well as in preseason scrimmages in an effort to prepare them for what lies ahead, not only in the always tough SVC but the D2 tournament in February. Coach K’s teams are known for their tenacious defense and disciplined, minimal turnover offense. Expect this year to be no different.

So there’s the rundown. Of course injuries, internal dissent and other factors can influence a season in any sport, especially basketball, the ultimate team sport. Chemistry is key.

My Predictions

  1. Zane Trace – With Cam Evans playing at a high level and Coach K on the bench I believe the Pioneers have to be the favorites.
  2. Unioto – The Shermans aren’t going anywhere, folks. Trust me. They’ll be deep, confident and well-coached.
  3. Adena – I might have the Warriors low here. They have the athletes to win it all, and Fout will be a beast.
  4. Paint Valley – The Bearcats can finish higher, but they’ll have some catching up to do first. They’ll be rolling by mid-January.
  5. Southeastern – With Ruby leading the charge the Panthers will be dangerous every night. He’ll need help though.
  6. Piketon – A lot of players will have to step up to fill the void left by Tanner Purdue, and the Streaks will need to find a go-to player. That said, Piketon knows how to win.
  7. Huntington – McCloskey is a given, Beeler has potential, but a lot of others will need rise to the occasion.
  8. Westfall – If the two new post players can play this can totally change, believe me.

SVC Coach’s Predictions:

Teams were ranked 1-7 with a coach not being allowed to vote for his own team. A team received 1-point for a first place vote, 2-points for a second place vote, and so on. Hence, the lower the score the better. Here are the teams, their rankings by the other coaches, and their point totals:

1. Zane Trace: 1-2-1-1-1-1-1 = 8

2. Adena: 4-3-2-2-6-1-2 =20

Unioto: 2-1-4-2-2-5-4 =20

4. Paint Valley: 3-4-3-3-3-2-5 = 23

5. Southeastern: 5-6-4-4-4-3-3 = 29

6. Piketon: 6-5-6-5-6-5-4 = 37

7. Huntington: 7-5-6-5-7-6-6 = 42

8. Westfall: 7-7-7-7-3-7-7 = 45

SVC Player of the Year Candidates, ranked 1-5

1. Cam Evans -Zane Trace

2. Zach Fout – Adena

3. Elijah McCloskey – Huntington

4. Bryce Newland – Paint Valley

5. Lane Ruby – Southeastern

Food for thought: Unioto last lost a Scioto Valley Conference game on December 6th, 2013, nearly 5-years ago. During that span, under Head Coach Matt Hoops, the Shermans have won 69 SVC games in a row. The team that beat Unioto that night? Zane Trace. Who do the Shermans open up with in league play on December 7th this season? Zane Trace. Better get their early, folks.

Enjoy the season, folks. Cheer for your team, don’t be too hard on the officials, and enjoy the greatest game in the world – basketball.

Well, maybe not everything, but a hell of a lot.

Let us review the facts and fiction of Thanksgiving:

FACT: The Mayflower did bring the Pilgrims to North America from Plymouth, England, in 1620, and they disembarked at what is now Plymouth, Mass., where they set up a colony. In 1621, they celebrated a successful harvest with a 3-day gathering that was attended by members of the Wampanoag tribe. It’s from this that we derive Thanksgiving as we know it. However . . .

FICTION: The feast wasn’t actually the first Thanksgiving. It wasn’t until the 1830s that this event was even called the first Thanksgiving by New Englanders who looked back and thought it would be a good idea. Heck, the holiday wasn’t made official until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a kind of thank you for the Civil War victories in Vicksburg and Gettysburg.

In any event, claiming it was the “first Thanksgiving” isn’t quite right as both Native American and European societies had been holding festivals to celebrate successful harvests for centuries. Maybe first for the English in the New World, but that’s about it.

FICTION: The town of Plymouth was created by pilgrims clearing land and starting a village from scratch. Plymouth was already a village with clear fields and a spring when the Pilgrims found it. Why was it available? Because every single native person who had been living there had been wiped out by a plague, namely smallpox.

FICTION: The pilgrims came to America seeking religious freedom. The Pilgrims already had religious freedom in Holland, where they first arrived in the early 17th century. Like those who settled Jamestown, Va., in 1607, the Pilgrims came to North America to make money. Shocking but not really.

FICTION: Pilgrims called themselves pilgrims. False. They called themselves Separatists. In fact, the term Pilgrims didn’t surface until around 1880.

FICTION: Everyone dined at a long table with a white tablecloth. The partiers most likely sat in small groups around fires, eating geese or duck. Also, it seems weird but forks hadn’t been invented yet. Folks ate with their fingers.

FICTION: The Puritan Pilgrims didn’t drink alcohol. Pilgrims loved a good beer. No doubt ale was plentiful thanks to a recently harvested barley crop.

FICTION: The Indians thought highly of Pilgrim intelligence since the English citizens brought with them advanced technology. Nope. The Pilgrims may have had durable shoes, woven clothes and powerful muskets, but their lack of survival skills earned them little respect among the Native Americans. Massasoit considered the Pilgrims “as a little child.”

FICTION: The first Thanksgiving took place in November. The exact date isn’t known, but the feast we celebrate on the fourth Thursday in November likely occurred in late September or early October, shortly after the harvest of such fall crops as corn, beans, squash and barley.

FACT: It is true that the celebration was an exceptional and unusual cross-cultural moment, with food, games and prayer. Native Americans had been growing food for the colony nearby for awhile, so they more than likely ambled over for some chow. In fact, they probably outnumbered the English 2-1.

FACT: Squanto did in fact help the English. His people, the Patuxet, had lived on the site where the Pilgrims settled. When they arrived, he became a translator for them with other native people and showed them the most effective method for planting corn and the best locations to fish.

FICTION: Squanto’s story is a happy one. In fact, he was captured by the English in 1614 and sold into slavery in Spain. He spent several years in England, where he learned English. He returned to New England in 1619, only to find his entire Patuxet tribe dead from smallpox. He met the Pilgrims in March 1621.

FICTION: Turkey and pie was served at the “First Thanksgiving.” The truth is that there was no mention of turkey being there, and there was no pie either. Settlers lacked butter and wheat flour for a crust, and they had no oven for baking. What is known is that the Pilgrims harvested crops and that the Wampanoag brought five deer. There were plenty of turkey around, but settlers preferred duck or goose.

Oh, and there’s one more truth that was ignored for hundreds of years, and that is the fact that entire races of Native Americans were wiped out by Europeans due to disease and outright murder.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


My Mom is 92-years old and is the coolest person I’ve ever known. She’s also a badass who grew up on a farm with two brothers. I’ve told many a story about my mother, from the time she gave me a Right Cross With Love to the time she was my teacher and paddled me the third week of school. One of my favorites occurred a few years ago when Mom was doing some mowing on her property. At one point she hopped off the mower to raise the mower blades. Keep in mind she was like 88 at the time. As she did, she heard a pop and thought the mower had backfired. Turns out she’d broken her back. The doctors said she be down for months, and of course she was back a few weeks later.

That’s Mom.

Another time Mom got a call from some ladies (aged 70ish) that wanted her to join their Garden Club. Mom has always had a green thumb, so it seemed like a reasonable idea. However, Mom declined and told me the reason she did was that “she didn’t want to sit around with a bunch of old people.

Mom was 83 at the time.

Even though Mom recently lost her oldest daughter, followed by her husband of 70-years, she’s hanging in there because that’s how she rolls.

Anyway, I’ve read that it’s good to ask questions about the past when dealing with older folks, because it helps to keep their mind sharp. I do this a lot, and every once in awhile she’ll drop a tidbit that is absolutely fascinating. For instance, last night we were talking and she mentioned that during her first year of substitute teaching she made $9 per day. She also once mentioned that her and Dad bought a new car for $1,400.00 around 1950 and that a loaf of bread cost 9¢. Of course money went a lot farther back then but you get the idea.

So this got me to thinking, what else has my Mom lived through? After a little research, here’s what I found. Believe me, it really puts things into perspective.

  • Mom was born on Sunday, January 23rd, 1927. In 1927 Charles Lindbergh flew The Spirit of St. Louis across the Atlantic nonstop and solo, direct from New York City to Paris, in the first solo transatlantic flight. Mom was 5-months old when Lindbergh did this.
  • When Mom was 8-months old, work began on Mt. Rushmore.
  • The year Mom was born saw the first transatlantic telephone call – New York City to London.
  • In 1927, the Ford Motor Company began selling the Model A. The price? $460.00.
  • In the year Mom was born, color television and the pop-up toaster were invented.
  • The #1 song in the year Mom was born was “Stardust” by Hoagy Carmichael. Click here for a listen. Good stuff. The top movie? The Jazz Singer.
  • When Mom was 1-year old, a famous character made his first appearance – Mickey Mouse. Yes, my mother is older than Mickey Mouse.
  • When Mom was 2-years old, the Stock Market crashed, signaling the beginning of the Great Depression.
  • In 1929, the first public phone booths appeared in London. Mom was 2.
  • When Mom was 3-years old Pluto was discovered. Not the cartoon dog, the planet.
  • When Mom was 4-years old, “The Star Spangled Banner” became our National Anthem.
  • When my mother was 6-years old, Hitler became Chancellor of Germany.
  • In 1937 Amelia Earhart was lost somewhere over the Pacific Ocean in her attempt to fly round the world. Mom was 10-years old. Yep, she remembers hearing about it on the radio.
  • When Mom was 12-years old, Gone With the Wind, King Kong, and The Wizard of Oz were all released into theaters.
  • When Mom was 13, Hitler invaded Norway.
  • When Mom was 14-years old the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, plunging the USA into WWII.
  • In 1942 Bing Crosby released “White Christmas” which has gone on the sell over 25-million copies. Mom was 15-years old.
  • In 1944 my Mom was 17-years old. That was the year she was introduced to 18-year old Ralph Shoemaker by her brothers Walt and Joe Immell. Thus began a relationship that would last 74-years, up until my father passed away on August 13th, 2018.
  • Mom was 18-years old in 1945 when WWII ended and Hitler committed suicide.
  • In 1946, when Mom was 19, televisions began being mass produced.
  • On October 4th, 1948, my 21-year old mother gave birth to my sister. They named her Karen Elizabeth.
  • In 1951, when Mom was 24, color television was introduced to the USA. I believe we finally got one in the mid-60s.
  • In 1952, on September 27th, Mom and Dad brought my sister, Sara Dailey, into the world. Mom was 25.
  • In 1953 Mom was 26. That year Edmund Hillary of New Zealand and Tenzing Norgay of Nepal were the first men to reach top of Mt. Everest.
  • On December 1st, 1955, Mom was 28. On that day Rosa Parks refused to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.
  • 2-days after Rosa Parks took a stand by not getting up in Montgomery, I was born. Mom and Dad named me Ralph David.
  • On September 9th, 1956 Elvis Presley made his first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show. Mom was 29.
  • In 1961, when Mom was 34-years old, John F. Kennedy was elected President of the United States.
  • On November 22nd, 1963, President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. Mom was 36. I remember that weekend pretty clearly and wrote about it in a blog called November 22nd, 1963.
  • On February 9th, 1964, I sat with my 37-year old mother and sisters and watch a new band perform on The Ed Sullivan Show. That band was The Beatles. I was mesmerized, Dad not so much. I think he watched about 2-minutes, snorted, and went off to make a sandwich.
  • In 1968 Mom was 41. That was the year Martin Luther King, Jr. and Bobby Kennedy were assassinated.
  • On July 20th, 1969 Mom, Dad and I sat in our basement and watched Ohioan Neil Armstrong become the first human to set foot on the moon. Mom was 42, Dad was 43 and I was 14. Afterwards Dad and I went out to the front yard and looked up at the moon, amazed that a two men were standing on it as we watched.
  • From August 15th-17th, 1969 the Woodstock Festival was held in upstate New York. Mom, 42, and Dad were not fans of Hendrix, The Who, Joplin and CCR and the rest. They were still into Dean Martin I believe.
  • On December 11th, 1969 Mom’s father Walter Immell passed away at 66-years of age. I recall being called out of my 8th grade class at Twin Elementary and given the news. Mom was 42.
  • On May 4th, 1970 Mom was 43. It was the day four students were killed by National Guardsmen on Kent State campus. Although the students had been protesting the war in Vietnam and had even burned down the ROTC building, I distinctly remember my father watching the news a couple days prior and wondering aloud “why in the hell” Ohio Governor James Rhoads had sent the National Guard there.
  • On December 27th, 1971 Mom and Dad saw their first grandchild enter the world. Her name was Aimee Elizabeth. Mom was 44.
  • In 1976 the United States celebrated 200-years of existence with its Bicentennial on July 4th. Mom was 49.
  • On November 22nd, 1977 Mom’s mother Ethel passed away. She was 76. Mom was 50-years old.
  • On December 8th, 1980, John Lennon was murdered in New York City. I was living alone at the time and wrote about that night on this site in a story called December 8th, 1980. It was nearly midnight when the news broke, but of course Mom called me early the next morning to talk to me about it. She was 53.
  • On January 28th, 1986 the space shuttle Challenger exploded. Mom was 59.
  • On August 11th, 1991 the internet was first made available to the public. Mom was 64-years old.
  • Mom was 67 when OJ Simpson murdered his wife Nicole and her friend in L.A. on June 18th, 1994.
  • On April 19th, 1995 Mom was 68. On that day the Oklahoma City Bombing happened at 9:02 am, killing 168 people.
  • On August 31st, 1997 Princess Diana was killed in a car crash in Paris. Mom was 70-years old.
  • In the year 2001 the iPod was introduced. Mom was 72.
  • On the morning of September 11th, 2001, Mom was 73.
  • In 2008 my mother was 80-years of age and witnessed the first African American, Barrack Obama, to be sworn in as President of the United States.
  • In 2015 Mom was 87 and saw the US Supreme Court allow same-sex marriages.
  • On June 21st, 2018 my Mom lost her oldest daughter Karen. Sis was 69. Mom was 91.
  • On August 13th, 2018 my father passed away. Mom and Dad had first met in 1944, 74-years earlier.
Front: Mom and Dad Top: Sara, Karen, Me

So yeah, Mom has seen a lot. She has lived to see 16-pesidents and 5 major wars. She has heard Big Band music, the birth of Rock & Roll, and Hip-Hop. She’s witnessed changes in the world that nobody could have dreamed of in 1927. During her teaching career Mom was a positive, impactful influence on thousands of kids, and through it all she’s been a strong, independent role model and mother.

And the best part? During the course of her entire life, including these past few months, Mom hasn’t changed. She’s stayed the tough, honest, loving, supportive mother she’s always been, and those of us lucky enough to know her would expect nothing less.

So apparently this was caused by a cable that was snapped by the truck driving by. Weird as hell. The girl was hospitalized but lived. I’ve watched it several times and can’t figure out exactly what happened. Thoughts?

My favorite part is the first thing MJ said to AI on an NBA court: “What’s up ya little bitch?”

Those dudes are on the lamb, man.


These are the young men of Baraboo High School in Wisconsin. They are posing on the steps of the county court house before their prom last Spring. And yes, most of them are giving the Nazi salute. How, I ask you, has blatant racism become so acceptable for some people in 2018? How could anyone think this is OK? Hell, by the looks on their faces they seem to find themselves hilarious. I ask you, who has enabled racists to become so damn brazen?

Click to see the faces of bigots up close.

PS- It’s Trump. The person I’m talking about is Trump.

So Mark Schlereth played in the NFL. His teams won three Super Bowl Championships with the Redskins and Broncos. He also played in a couple Pro Bowls. Poor Darlene Burner was apparently unaware of this when she ripped Schlereth on Twitter. His response was a classic.


Two days after walls of flames devoured the entire Sierra foothills town of Paradise in minutes, three firefighters set about surveying the damage Saturday so they could report back to evacuees they’d grown up with on what they’d seen.

Capt. Alejandro Saise, firefighter A.J. Mount and engineer Phil Rose had little good news to share.

Saise, 45, shook his head in sadness as he took in the scorched, smoking landscape. It was a vast patchwork of ash piles, mangled metal and skeletal pines more than 100-feet tall in a once thriving neighborhood of retirees and young families.

“There’s no easy way to say it,” Saise said. “I texted, ‘Sorry, brother, but it’s gone.’”

Man, that’s about the saddest news you could ever read. A town of 26,000 people, roughly the size of Chillicothe, gone. Nothing left. It’s heartbreaking. The pictures are awful to look at, but here they are . . .

Stan Lee died today. He was the creator of Spider-Man, the Hulk, Doctor Strange, the Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Black Panther, the X-Men, and many more. Stan Lee was also ahead of his time in many ways. Read what he wrote in 1968. We can still learn from his words today.