Sunday, February 28, 2010

Dayton Clinic with Tim Timmons MLB Umpire

Somehow Friday Night we managed to get the basketball games in at St. Marys....Kenton slid down the icy roadways the 40 miles from Ohio 309 to Interstate 75, and the 4 lane portion of US 33, for the final night of Basketball at the McBroom Gym....St. Marys opens it's new High School this coming fall, and with that the Western Buckeye League school will put the basketball program into a brand new gym. The homestanding Roughriders won both ends, the JV and Varsity contests, with the Varsity taking it's first league win of the season.

The drive home was not a the roads had become a icy mess from the light snow and heavy wind. Of the 5 officials, I had the shortest drive, 10 miles to and from Celina, in the Jeep. My partner Dan had a 40 mile round trip run across the 2 land portion of US 33 to Willshire, while the varsity officials had driven together from the Lake Erie area....about a 2 to 2 1/2 hour trip each way in "normal" conditions....and trust me, Friday Night and early Saturday, we nowhere near "normal". Most games had been cancelled and were made up yesterday(Saturday) or like in the case of Celina and Ottawa-Glandorf, they will be played this afternoon....they need to get done now, with the Boys Tournaments beginning Tuesday Night.

Baseball Umpire Clinic____

Garry and I had decided a couple of weeks ago to attend Major League Umpire Tim Timmons one day clinic on the campus of The University of Dayton....Friday's weather had us wondering if we would make times they had put out various Level 2 and 3 Emergencies in the local counties. Patricia and one of her co-workers had a workshop some 100 miles north at Bowling Green University, and decided not to go. Garry and I decided to see how things went, and left Celina for the 75 mile run to Dayton...29/33 and the 4 lane were icy, but by the time we got to I-75 things had been cleared off, with the combination salt and liquid heat working on the roadway....our trip was rather uneventful.

For 50 bucks some 50 licensed umpires from the High School to College level got to have a pizza lunch and 7 hours of hands on training and video from 11 season Major League level Umpire Tim Timmons, out of Columbus, Ohio. Tim and a half dozen Minor League umps provided the training and a look at where the attendees needed some work improving their game. With these kinds of clinics, you never know what you're going to say the least I was pleasantly surprised...No preaching, just some hands on tips...I thought the money was worth it...basically a one game high school fee was the cost for the clinic and trip down and back...We did stop for a couple of quality beers and a sandwich at Troy, Ohio, on the way back....we made it home by 6pm, a day well spent. If nothing else I came away with a look at a better "stance" behind the plate for when left handed batters were in the batters box. Timmons seemed like a pretty good stick, I know most Major League Umps have pretty good egos....Tim showed none of that and seem just a pretty decent guy....turning 61 in 2 weeks, I'm pretty sure I was the oldest of a crew that probably ranged in age from 20 to my 60 years, with the average age being in the 40 something area. Like I said, money and time, well spent.

Today marks the end of February and hopefully some moderating temperatures.....although the first part of the week will continue with highs in the low to mid 30s and lows in the upper teens and 20s, well below the averages of 43 and 28 for the first week of March.
The Wabash Valley Dartball Tournament will continue today...although the Host Team, that would be us, St. John Lutheran, will not be a part of today's action in the semi and finals...or tomorrow night in the League finals. JD and I will be there to feed and supervisor the teams and games both today and tomorrow night. The All Star Game is at our place next Monday(the 8th) then on March 15th the season ending banquet and league meeting, trophies, T-Shirts, etc., will finish off the 2009-10 season, and we can put the darts and boards away until around next Halloween when we will unpack and get started again.

I should get home in time to catch the final period of the Gold Medal Game between the US and Canada Hockey teams...we had defeated the Canucks earlier in the games, but I still gotta believe Canada is favored in the finals.... There would be nothing better than knocking off the Canadians and their fans "It's our game" attitude to win the Gold...the US has already clinched the overall Medal Count in the games, and Canada looks to take the most number of golds, a pretty good year for both countries...I believe this is the first time since 1932 the US has won the most medals in the Winter Games.

A busy week of Dartball and Baseball Meetings to follow, with the week topping off by Patricia and I heading back to Dayton for the Vietnam Mini Reunion and a night at the Off Broadway Play, "Wicked" the Prequel to "The Wizard of Oz" next Saturday Night.

back later>>>>

Photos-MLB Umpire Tim Timmons, 2nd from left, with cohorts(l to r)Jim Brinkman, Derryl Cousins, and Jeff Nelson, before a Reds-Cardinals Game. Me, some 25 pounds heavier working in the summer of 2009, Timmons making a call in a San Francisco vs ? game, and the Dartball Season winds down today and tomorrow.....

Friday, February 26, 2010

Celina Pool to Remain Open....

Just a quick one this morning....

Schools are closed in the area again today, meaning most have reached past their 5 day calamity day they will begin to extend the school year or cut back on extended weekends that are planned for the spring.

The Bryson Trust it appears can spend money on the City of Celina(Bryson) Pool for operating purposes....guess the outcry worked. Maybe next time the City will think twice before paving seldom used parking lots? Then again, they probably won't....they'll just cut back somewhere else, or figure out a way to increase funding via the taxpayers.....

With the schools closing, including St. Marys where my game is scheduled for tonight, will this throw a wrench in the High School Basketball final weekend? Final league games for the Boys, and Tournament action for the Girls...this could be a major pain. If my game is cancelled, I will be done regardless....Umpire Clinic in Dayton tomorrow, and too many other things going on in the next few I'm hanging up the whistle after tonight, regardless.

Full slate of baseball rules meetings this coming week, a State Meeting in Dublin, and local meetings at my 2 associations....Van Wert and at Indian Lake...then come Friday Patricia and I head to Wright Patterson/Dayton for the Vietnam Security Police Mini Reunion, and the off Broadway Play, "Wicked", which the kids got us tickets for at Christmas, on Saturday evening. Should keep us moving.

back later>>>>>

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Celina (Ohio) Pool Closing? Priorities Gone Awry?

Awoke this morning to another inch of snow, which starting last night made the roads back from Lima Perry High School pretty treacherous. I counted 3 vehicles in the ditch along the route from Wapak to Celina...a pick up and and car had tangled in one incident, and another car had slid off the road near St. Marys. With my neck and upper back still bothering me, I have decided to wait until later to see if the light snow melts on its own, or will I have to get the shovel out and clear the steps and sidewalk?

One thing I have to do is dig out the 1977 Buick which is still buried for the most part in my baseball umpire gear is stored in the back seat, and I will need it for this Saturday's Umpire Clinic in to get the gear out and make sure it's all in working order before Garry and I head down early Saturday for that all day session with MLB Umpire Tim Timmons, and some of the guys helping out from the Minor Baseball Leagues. The reason I store it in the Buick is's dry inside, and pretty air tight, and covered with a tarp to keep the interior in good condition until such a time I get the Buick back to being road ready. At least that's my excuse....

One more Basketball game to officiate...Friday night, Dan the Man and I will head to St. Marys for the final WBL league contest of the year....then I will pack away the roundball whistle, shoes, and clothes until next November. Baseball coming up, Football arrives in August.

Celina's Screwed up Priorities____

On occasion I've been known to go off on local politics. Not often, but at these times, the so-called leaders really do piss me off. This issue is one of those.....

The local daily rag blared out the headlines on this past Tuesday "Celina pool may close". A decade or so ago, the City of Celina(Ohio) closed it's old pool that was in need of repairs, and decided to build a brand new one at the same site. The new pool opened the next year, and offers this town of 11.000 kids, adults, and parents a clean and safe atmosphere, for summer activities. The pool is located at the County Fairgrounds, just a block away from our house. Now my kids are adults and have not used the pool in many a year, so I don't actually have a dog in this fight, except that I pay taxes and live in this community, and I don't like what is going on...not one bit, especially on this issue.

I've been asked on more than one occasion to run for council or even Mayor...."No way in Hell" is usually my response. Too many skeletons in my closet, I've been know to sit on my front porch and smoke a cigar, drink a beer, etc in the summer....and that's just a start. I also worked in local government for 20 years, and I know the pitfalls and pain in the ass of that. I'm not running for anything, except the fridge on a hot summer weekend afternoon for a cold beer.

Anyway The Daily Standard's lead story Tuesday was about the possible closing of the City Pool.

(Story only available in printed edition)

Seems the city handouts for Parks and Recreation is a little "strapped" for funds. The Bryson Trust was left to the city many years ago for the purpose of keeping the Parks and Recreation areas of the City of Celina in good financial shape. It seems those running the show have decided that the pool(named of course "The Bryson Pool") is such a drain that it should be closed, rather than supported.

$50,000 in RED is the complaint. We can't have that, can we? Hell no, we cannot afford to lose that money, not when the city is busy using the very same funds to pave a parking lot at the "Hot Water Hole", a drive way for the seldom used Pullman Bay Park, and an extra entrance for the ball diamond area of Eastview Park. $150,000 dollars for 3 areas, that if visitors were counted don't have have the numbers all year that the pool does in a single month.

Just who the Hell is running this side show? I got several acquaintances on City Council, and my complaint is certainly nothing personal, because I don't want their job...but I do wonder who is selling them this bill of goods that our 13,000 acre swamp called Grand Lake St. Marys, is the City of Celina's problem?

Grand Lake may be the focal point of the area, but it seems to me, Celina is spending way too much effort and money on convincing folks that the Lake can be a clean, clear, body of water. I won't go into the reasons it will never be anything more than good boating and party lake, that has mud at the bottom of 6 or 7 feet of green or gray water(depending on the season). But real estate agents, developers, and property owners around the lake have convinced some that Grand Lake can be a pristine, high taxed haven for towering Condos, and that Grand Lake will bring visitors from around the Midwest to Celina, and the City should be at the forefront of expending cash and resources for that purpose.....Good luck with that.

Work with the State of Ohio on improving the Lake(Hell, I'm a member of the Lake Improvement Association), but stop raiding the damn funds from the Parks and Recreation area to build parking lots, and driveways, while threatening to close the pool...and while you are at it, quit buying junk buildings, while refusing to remove snow and patch the damn city streets and alleys(a different discussion, different funding, for a different day).

Bottom Line=Keep the Damn Swimming Pool Open and stop paving seldom used areas of the "Parks" like the stupid Hot Water Hole Parking Lot!
back later>>>>
Photos-Will the Bryson Pool open this Summer or will it remain closed in July like it is in February? The former Hot Water Hole...took this picture from the Parking Lot which $50,000 will be spent to repave...come June the amount of parking will probably equal what it was this morning...1 car, which was me, stopping to take the photo. And the Pullman Bay park and fish park? What Fish? Grand Lake's fish population is long gone, and it appears the Byrson Pool isn't far behind/

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Air Force Security Forces take down a Low Life/Looking Back

Very light snow falling this morning, temps are around 30 degrees....looking ahead(which of course is not always good), the outlook for moderating temperatures looks promising...maybe, just maybe, we will hit 50 by the time of our Vietnam Reunion in Dayton come March 5th and 6th.

Shoulder still bothering me, but it is managable...will miss the Baseball meeting tonight, so I can officiate a JV Boys Basketball game at Lima more on Friday at St. Marys and I'm done for the season. Hopefully the back/shoulder will be good enough by Saturday for the hands on portion of the Umpire Clinic at Dayton this Saturday.

Luke AFB Cop takes out a scumbag____

When I entered the Air Force in 1968, the Military Police of the Air Force was in the process of changing it's name from Air Police to Security Police. A number of years later, the "minds" of the Air Force leadership(an oxymoron if there ever was one), decided to change it yet again to Security Forces. Why? Who Knows?

Anyway, just so you'll know, whatever name they use these days, the Air Police, Security Police, or Security Forces, are basically the Air Force version of the Army MPs.

In my days of stateside duty, first at Dover AFB, Delaware, then at Griffiss AFB, New York, I worked the Security section of the Security Police...Law Enforcement was seperate, but housed within the same Squadron, with the same Squadron Commander and the 2 divisions were somewhat interchangable. Actually on my orders when leaving Vietnam, I was supposed to work Law Enforcement at "The Griff" all the wisdom and failed promises of the Air Force however, I never saw the spit and polish of the LE portion of the 416th SPS. In retrospect, it was lucky for both me and the squadron...I wasn't exactly a spit and polish kind of guy. And that is what the expected of Law Enforcement types...that was no,t and would never be, me. I didn't like haircuts, didn't like pressed and starched uniforms...and sure the Hell didn't like taking orders and didn't take them very well. In short I was a trouble maker...from the day I first arrived at Dover in October 1968, until I walked out the front gate at Griffiss on May 5, 1972, it didn't work well in Security, it would never work in Law Enforcement. Looking back it was amazing that I made Buck Sargent in 18 months, and even more amazing that I kept my stripes for the 4 years.
I made my share of enemies from my superiors over the years...TSgts Jack Adkins at Dover, and Joe Gomez at The Griff come first to mind...but they were not the only ones. Indeed I also got along with others like Staff Sgt Carroll Marcelle(Griffiss), and Staff Sarge Melvin Sloan, along with TSgt Phil Lange, both at Nha Trang....they could handle the wild hair I had planted somewhere inside, others hated my free spirit and disrespect for forced authority. But I'm getting carried off in different direction than I wanted to go.... so back to the Luke Shooting in Arizona.

It seems a couple of car thief types decided to charge their stolen vehicle through the Main Gate at Luke late Monday night in least one paid the ultimate price:

The only time I worked Law Enforcement in the Air Force was at Nha Trang in 1969...and yes I worked the Main Gate on occasion, a boring shift, but you had to be alert, especially in a war zone. It appears this Sky Cop, scared for his life, kept his head together and did what he needed to do....Congratulations to him from a fellow former Air Force Cop...Salute!

That is about it, the short list for today...between seasonal changes, meetings, reunions, and life in general, the next couple of months will be busy....but I'll keep at this blog as it heads towards its 3rd anniversary.

back later>>>>

Photos-(1)A Security Police Shield...all of mine were plain, not fancy blue things, including the one framed on my wall these days.(2)Me, in a Mug Shot from San Antonio back in the late summer of 1968...I never again wore the "White Hat" of Law Enforcement...(3)only a Blue "Piss Pot" with the LE guys of the 14th SPS at Nha Trang in 1969(4) The Main Gate as it looks today at Luke AFB, Arizona (5) Marc Payen, Sgt Ky(of the South Vietnam version of the MPs), and Harry Bevan at the Nha Trang Main Gate in October 1969

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Remembering Tan Son Nhut

Light snow flurries greeted the old Airedale, Reagan, and me when we walked to the bird feeders, to give the daily ration to the sparrows and squirrels. It was a change from the past couple days of drizzle, fog, and melting snow banks....the ground is grimy, the snow has turned a somewhat muddy brown on top, and the back yard is a mess of bird seed, droppings, and a few piles of Reagan's works...which I will get to tomorrow when it freezes...always fun when the snow melts..Not!

JD and I were at the Church last night as the South Division Dartball Playoffs between Hopewell Lutheran, and Mt Carmel Church of God, were held at our place(being this years host team/Church)...Upstart Hopewell with some young players won the first half championship, while perennial power Mt Carmel topped the South in the 2nd half....Last night Carmel got off to a fast start and won the first of the best of 3...before Hopewell got hot, winning the second game 9-8 in 10 innings, and taking the series with a 10-5 win in the final game.

Hopewell will take on Schumm from the North next Monday, for the League Championship. Meanwhile Mt Carmel will join Schumm, Mendon, and Rockford, in the semi-finals of the post season tourney....we at St Johns are long gone, except to host the event...although JD, Ed, and I will take part in the All Star Game on March 8th, also at St. Johns.

Nothing going on tonight, no Dartball, no Basketball, no meetings.....maybe my shoulder and neck can make a recovery, although this pain is different than most back and neck problems. I may have to see the chiropractor if it doesn't work itself out soon.

Tan Son Nhut(Saigon) RVN_____

I have written many times on this blog about the time I spent at Nha Trang AB on the South China Sea in South Vietnam. A full dozen of those men I served with I have met through the Vietnam Security Police, Phil Lange, my NCOIC, honored me with a Life Time Membership in the VSPA, before he passed away last spring. The names and faces of Nha Trang, where I worked day shift(A Flight) Law Enforcement are etched in my memorty banks, as clear as the days at that base usually dawned. Bevan, Lange, Payan, Thompson, Niemotka, Copland, Johnson, Sandridge, Sloan, and others. Not so for Tan Son Nhut......

I first set foot on Tan Son Nhut on July 1, 1969. Just a day stop on arrival from San Francisco, via Hawaii, Guam, and the day and one night at the Transit Barracks, before heading back to Base Operations and jumping a C-130 to Nha Trang on July 2nd. I left Nha Trang and returned to Tan Son Nhut on December 27, 1969....crazy part is, I don't remember the flight, the plane, or for that matter even my arrival. The trip from TSN to Nha Trang 6 months earlier, I remember in great detail, the flight back, not at all.

But arrive I did...I would spend the next 6 months working Security, 3 months on Charlie Flight Security, walking the flight line, working the towers and bunkers...the final 3 months I would work "Blue Patrol"...once again on Charlie Flight, but this time in the alleys and buildings of the interior base, keeping down crime, and busting locals and GIs who would rob the place and base blind if given the opportunity.

The clearest memories of my time at Tan Son Nhut are the days I spent downtown in the bars and brothels of Saigon, and my 5 days in Hawaii on R&R in April of 1970. I suspect the reason TSN memories are not as clear comes down to a couple of reasons.

(1) The Size of the Squadron...the 377th SPS was the biggest group of Security Police in Vietnam, while the 14th SPS at Nha Trang was one of the smaller units on a smaller base.

(2) Working day flight at Nha Trang made things clearer...that along with plenty of sleep. At TSN, I worked overnights, and ended up with Insomnia for at least 2 months of the 6 I spent there. I would work until 6am, unable to sleep I would go the the NCO Club and drink beer until I figured I could go back to the barracks and pass out.

Regardless of the reasons, I just don't have the clear memory of people and their names as I do from Nha Trang, even though I served my time at TSN, after Nha Trang.

I do however have memories of a few....

Me and Aceavedo waking up on our off day at a brothel in downtown Saigon... it appears we had been slipped a "Mickey" and passed out. We were 2 miles from base, and broke(robbed), except for the $5 MPC(Military Pay Currency) that I had slipped in my fatigue pocket...enough for us to grab a cab ride, hangover and all, back to the base entrance, where a couple of LE Guys, fellow Cops, gave us a ride back to the barracks.

I also remember working a tower out in Bravo Sector on the perimeter one stormy night. The tower was medal with a lightning rod...during a heavy rain and rare thunderstorm a large bolt of lightning struck the fence line, not 50 yards from my "metal" tower. "Screw This" I said to myself....I wasn't about to get fried(like what happened on more than one occasion to SPs while manning towers during storms) I grabbed my M-16, my equipment bag, threw my rain poncho over my head and climbed down out of that tower. I plopped my ass down in a small ravine covered the weapon with the bag, and waited for the storm to end....I was soaked when relieved by the day shift the next morning, but damn, I was still alive! Hell, even "Charlie" as Gung Ho as those crazy sons a bitches were, wouldn't be out on a night like that. What I did was of course illegal, I basically left my post...tough luck.....I survived the storm.

The Hawaii R&R trip and the day I left Tan Son Nhut on my way home to the states, 29 June 1970 are also well remembered....but as far as hooking up with folks I actually remember, or those that might remember me, just has not happened. With the exception of Chris Godfrey from California...of course everybody knew Chris...we called him "Surfer Joe", he spent over 3 years of his tour with the 377th, still kicking around in California today, Chris Godfrey is a Tan Son Nhut legend.

Despite that, I have met many folks that were there the same time, before ,and after my time with the 377th...I just have not found Ace or the guys from Boston I hung around with...but I will keep looking. If I could just remember a few more names???

One great location for those that served with the 377th SPS in Vietnam is Charles Penley's(A fellow VSPA Member) great web location:

And for former Security Police and non Sky Cops, there is the Tan Son Nhut Association web site:

Captain Paul Christensen_____

Captain Paul Christensen was one of the men that worked Charlie Flight the same time I did....he was one of the "bosses", whom I probably met, saluted, and saw, during my 3 months in Charlie Flight Security at Tan Son Nhut....Paul arrived before I did, in August 1969, and left about a month after I'm pretty sure we crossed paths. But I just don't remember him. However I did contact him regarding his on line photos of Tan Son Nhut and the 377th SPS....most of those here, but not all are credited to Captain Christensen...Thanks Paul!

back later >>>>

Photos-(1)Entrance to the 377th Squadron(2) Me, getting ready for Charlie Flight work in March 1970, just after getting my Sgt stripes....(3)The Barracks inside the 377th Compound, I lived in the 2nd from left on the top floor(4) Tango Tower #10, I spent many nights in this and other towers...trying to stay awake.(5) A view from one of the towers overlooking TSN (6) And the Terminal at the Saigon Airport...I arrived and left from this building on more than several occasions. Photos 1, 3, 4, and 5 are credited to Paul Christensen.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Looking back at the Weekend

Despite not officiating a basketball game Friday Night for the first time in almost 2 months, the weekend none-the-less was pretty busy.

Friday______Rasberry at Club 211

As I wrote Friday, somehow I managed to pull a muscle or some such in my left shoulder area at Thursday's game in Lima....the rest Friday might have helped, but between Nick and my walk downtown and getting home about 2am, then 3 games on Saturday, the muscle didn't stop hurting, and this morning I've still got a crick in it.

Nick drove over Friday evening and we decided to walk the 10 or so blocks to the old Coffee Shop/Red Door building, now called Club 211 and The of the Old Red Door which I managed back in the mid 1970s, and which now days host the Red Door Reunions during April. Ron Rasberry a Western Ohio musical legend was performing his classic Rock and being about 9 months since I had seen him perform we would walk up, have a beer or 2 then walk home....being the older, wiser ones, we don't touch alcohol and get behind the wheel these days....sometimes with age, does come a bit of wisdom. Sometimes!!

I took the camera and decided to grab a few photos if I got the chance...the temperatures were cold, but no wind, and the skies had cleared, so the 20 minute walk was enjoyable...we arrived about 9:30 grabbed a seat and beer, just in time to see Razz come on the small stage and begin. We spent the next 3 1/2 hours meeting some old friends and BSing. Nick's youngest daughter Krista came in the door, and I'm sure she was surprised to see her old man...and said as much.

With 3 games to do on Saturday, the first at 11am, we headed back to my place just after 1am...with the kids gone, Nick stayed at our place, but opted to sleep on one of the recliners....Patricia got us up about 8:30 and I got ready for 3 games of Basketball in the next 10 hours.

Saturday Basketball___

Despite the late night and sore shoulder/neck etc...I made my way north to Convoy for a Junior High Tournament double header. 2 pretty close games with the first one ending in a controversy. Technical fouls, Intentional fouls, and what else is new? Once done with that I headed south to the small town of 20 people called Schumm, where JD and I were to meet with a couple of fellow Dartballers, and pick up the "travel" Dartball Board for the beginning of Sunday's that sucker is big and heavy....lucky for Gep and me, JD and Gep Jr, are we let them do the heavy lifting into JD's truck and I headed the half hour drive back to Celina.

Time for a quick shower once home, and back on the road to Allen East for the contest with rival Waynesfield-Goshen....Dan the Man and I did the JV game, showered(me for the 3rd time that day, no wonder my damn old skin is dry), then watched a bit of the Varsity contest, before heading the 50 miles home....a long day came to and end....I hit the sack early.

Sunday Dartball____

The Wabash Valley Dartball League Tournament kicked off Sunday at 1pm at St. Johns Lutheran....with us being the host team Sam made it home from Ohio State to help out with getting the area ready. JD fixed the food, and we were ready to go. Sad to say, our team, at least playing wise, wasn't. Mendon knocked us off in 2 straight games, 2-0 and 3-0. I was no help...despite a .441 batting average for the year, good enough for a virtual tie for the batting championship(second place by percentage points)...I got skunked...0 for 6....and after being shut out only 1 time in 42 games during the regular season, we doubled that total in about an hour. We were done....but JD and I will stick around for tonight's Division Playoffs, Next Sunday's Tournament Finals, the All start Game on March 8th(JD and I are on the All Star Team so we will be doing double duty,as hosts and players). Then we will wrap things up on March 15th with the season ending banquet, and put the darts and boards away until next October.

Last night I sat on my butt nursed the shoulder watched the USA defeat Team Canada 5-3 in a major Olympic Hockey upset, no doubt some teeth gnashing north of the border this morning. Caught a few minutes of the Duke Blue Devils knocking off Va Tech...and hit the sack was a long, but fast moving and good weekend.

This week I finish up basketball officiating for the season with JV games at Lima Perry on Wednesday and St. Marys on Friday. Then it's time to concentrate on baseball....this coming Saturday, Garry and I head to Dayton for a all day session with Major League Umpire Tim Timmons and others from the college and minor league ranks. I'm not sure how much an old dog like me can learn or improve, but for $50 with lunch included, what the Hell? It can't hurt.

back later>>>>
Photos-Ron Rasberry(L) and company performed the usual great stuff at Club 211 on Friday Night. Nick and youngest daughter pose for the young vs the old at the Club, I'm sure she was surprised to see her Old Man there. Dartball Sunday ends our tournament run, but work still to be done. And MLB Umpire Tim Timmons will instruct a class on Saturday at Dayton....I'll see if this old dog(me) can learn any new tricks.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hello Mister Sunshine?/Joe Stack/US Muslim Terrorist Troops

The 'shortest' month of the year February, usually seems pretty long in this part of the world, because of the dreary weather...and this year, it has been excruciatingly so. Not much sunshine to speak of, until a couple of hours yesterday. As I was heading to Lima Central Catholic for a Girls JV game, the sun was bright and the inside thermometer in the Intrepid read "32"....about as good as it has been of late. However this morning, the sun, only slightly blocked by some ground fog, came out early...and is expected to last the entire day, high around freezing again, the weekend promises some more snow showers, but the main stuff is slated(and least for now) to bypass Celina and vicinity.
Tonight, no games for me...the first Friday I've been without a game since New Year's Day....pulling a shoulder muscle last night, I can use the break. The break won't last long...tomorrow 3 games, 2 around Noontime at Crestview in a Boys Junior High contest, then tomorrow night I suit up for a Boys JV Contest at Allen East High School. Next week will see my final games, and I can concentrate on getting ready for baseball season.

I didn't get done with our basketball last night in time to drive across Lima to Bath Township for the State Rules Meeting(Baseball), so I'll probably hook up with Sam at Dublin in a couple of weeks to get that mandated meeting in...Dublin Jerome High School is where we went last season, so I'll make it 2 in a row down that way.

Damn, did I mention my shoulder hurts?

The World as it is______

Yesterday brought 2 news items to mind that make me think....So? I have been telling you all along, that Islam is pure evil, and the nuts of the far left(in this case) and the far far right both have the same end in mind, that end being destroying the Republic.

Texas Plane Crash-----

53 year old Joe Stack killed himself and one innocent person yesterday by fying his small plane into a Texas building housing the IRS:

This crazy bastard not only hated the IRS(no problem there), his wife, George W. Bush, the Catholic Church, Wall Street, etc, etc, appears he hated everything, one pathetic warped bastard. The left is claiming he was a Right Wing Nut, the right is claiming he's a Left Wing Loon....Nut? Loon?, yep, I say both fit.

One thing for long as the Government continues to grow and try to control every facuet in our everyday lives, people like Joe Stack are going to "go off".

Islam in the US Military-----

Should those Americans that practice Islam be allowed to serve in the US Military? IMO... NO!

The events at Fort Hood, and now at a base in South Carolina prove, you cannot seperate the radicals Islamics from the everyday Islamics...if the Muslims cannot clean up their own radicals, the nation is at risk:

As long as we coddle the radical Muslims, the more they will infiltrate the infrastructure of the Government and the US Military.....The Political Correct forces that control the country and even the Military are putting all of us in danger. It must stop.

Enough ranting...chores to do, work out the pain in the shoulder, and enjoy some sunshine.....

back later>>>>
Photos-Sunshine is a rare commodity these days in West Central Ohio, I snapped this one this morning out my Landing Window. And Crazy Joe Stack killed himself and one other person by flying his plane into a downtown Austin, Texas, building.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More Mundane Monotony/Political Cannibalism

The weather remains much the same, although no snow flakes this morning...after a partial day back at school yesterday, Patricia and a couple of fellow teachers headed for Cincinnati this morning in the dark(about 6am) for something to do with Special Education...frankly she told me, but it appears to went right over my head. Such is the way of mid winter...February has been one long month, although on the calender, it says only 28 days, the shortest of all months.

Garry and I headed north to Van Wert last evening, taking in our first Local Baseball Rules meeting, it mostly consisted of a video refresher test...quick clips of video situations and play, then you make the call by choosing one of 3 answers...I missed 6 of 25, normally I wouldn't be pleased, but seems I came in near the top, at least top 3 or 4, and won myself a new plate brush...needed one anyway, I think Garry missed 5 or 6 as well. As I said, the "test" consisted of some video plays/calls, and they ran by quick...hummm, just like a real game, maybe I'm not as good as I think? :) Anyway, home by 9, getting a call from Sam on the way, telling me of Ohio States first home loss of the season, 60-57 to #3 ranked Purdue...the Buckeyes had defeated the Boilermakers at their place early in the Big Ten season....OSU falls a game out of first. Sam was in press row, about 12 seats beyond the floor. Meanwhile my Duke Blue Devils and Coach K continue on their way to the ACC Championship for the regular season, by beating Miami on the road.
Will head for Lima this afternoon, scheduled for a Girls JV basketball game at LCC...if that ends before 7:10 or so, I will head across town to Lima Bath for the State Baseball Rules meeting, if it ends later, I will forgo that and take in the meeting down in Dublin with Sam on March 2nd.

Cannibalism on the Left and Right_____

In my mind I consider myself pretty politically savvy....I know the far left and even semi-far left nuts consider anybody to the right of Mao and Stalin, to be stupid, ill informed, just plain dumb, uneducated hicks. With enemies like the left nutjobs, I consider myself in a pretty good situation. However of late in some of the cyber e-mails that I get, I notice a disturbing trend. Not only are the far left loons trying to destroy right thinkers like Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and other main stream Conservatives, the far-far Right is trying to do the same...seems Beck, Fox News, Palin, and others are not far right enough for them. The 9-11 "Truthers"(morons that think George Bush and Company were responsible for the planes flying into the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001), Marxists, the Media, and the far-far Right, aren't too happy with those that are just "pretty far right". The fringe left and the fringe right are about to meet at ground zero...both sides should be avoided like the plague.

I've always considered myself, at least for the past 30 years, a pretty far right kind of guy...but with what I see coming out of the truthers on both on the left and right, I don't hold a candle to these Bozos. Yes, I believed Obama is a Marxist, out to destroy the Republic, I believe Pelosi and Reid are idiots crazed with power, I believe milquetoast John McCain ran a piss poor campaign in the 2008 election...and without a doubt the main stream media, pop culture, and Hollywood are destroying the youth of America. But I draw the line at thinking Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin are "Neo Cons" who are as bad as the far left. Do I the miss the boat on some issues? Absolutely, but they are hardly the ones out to destroy the Republic...look to the White House and then look at the far-far right for that. I may be "far right" and a Christian, but I'm not even that far right....

Radical Islam, DC Bureaucrats, and the Obama Administration are the enemy...Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, Sarah Palin, and Fox News are not...and the far right needs to know the difference in the 2 groups....Obama=Bad/Beck and Fox=Not so Bad!

The Survivors Club___

The new Survivalists are becoming chic these'll find them all over the Internet. Folks getting back to nature, growing their own, doing what they feel needs to be done in the days ahead, if we as a country and people continue down the path we are headed.....Patricia and I keep our pantry stocked with enough to get through any disaster in the short term...however, we are hardly "survivalists".

Beck has been promoting a book of late called "The Survivors Club", by Ben Sherwood. My wife purchased the book, now in paperback, through this week, and I started paging through it last night when I got home....Issues from surviving a plane crash, to basic survival skills, to your 'survival personality' quiz...the book is packed with over 370 pages of information. Not being a big reader of print these days...I plan on reading this one, and finding out if I'm a "Survivor", or just a BS artist. One thing Sherwood notes is the positive survivor influence that 'faith in a higher power' has in surviving the coming political and economic storms.

Postponed our lunch with Wulfie, Dick, and his son Ross yesterday...we will do that at Noon today....meanwhile, I'll read a few pages from "The Survivors Club"....

back later>>>>
Photos-Are you a Survivor? Baseball is near, and can't come soon enough with the warmer weather it promises. Are Beck and Fox to far left? The Far-Far Right thinks so, the Far-Far left would disagree. My 'survivor' supplies are getting rotated in and out...Spring and Summer will be time to restock the "Armageddon" section of our basement

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Birthdays, Robins, and Snow Flurries

Happy Birthday Anissa! 2/17/1979
Light snow continued overnight....all games in the area were cancelled last night, making about a half dozen for me in the past 2 weeks....Schools closed yesterday, we, at least in Mercer County, delayed 2 hours this morning. I'm not sure they should have even opened then...the roads are pretty bad, and some light drizzle began falling in the 25 degree temperatures. So Patricia and her fellow teachers are back in class...for 3/4 day, then she heads to Cincinnati tomorrow for a scheduled assignment, education related. This morning we got up early and would meet Anissa, her roommate, and her main provider Dawn, at Bob Evans Restaurant, in celebration of Anissa's 31st Birthday. As I've mentioned before, Anissa, born in 1979, is our Special Needs daughter...she has moved into a house with a roommate and independent living of sorts, that she seems to really enjoy, so much in fact, on the weekend times she spends here, she is more than ready to go back to "Her House". This is good, because we all know and realize, that someday in the future Patricia and I won't be around or if we are, won't be able to provide solid care for her. I still worry about her future however, especially in the "enlightened world" of the progressive they would love to destroy the lives of folks like Anissa and Sarah Palin's son Treg, all in the name of 'compassion'. Filthy rotten bastards, that is exactly what Barack Obama and his ilk are....they need to be watched and stopped at every turn.

With the games cancelled last night, I'm down to a game Thursday, 3 on Saturday, and a couple of contests next week....then the basketball season, for me, is finished. With that out of the way, I can concentrate on Baseball!~The postponed first local meeting comes tonight at Van Wert. I still need to work in a State Rules Meeting in the next couple of weeks....probably with Sam down at Dublin, the same as we did last year.....with a full Varsity Baseball schedule, I'm ready for some Spring weather, and to get outdoors. Sad to say, the extended forecast for the next couple of weeks does not seem to predict any springlike temps for us, anytime soon.

Maybe some more substantial stuff on the way later....but frankly I'm bored as Hell with snow and winter, and all it brings.

Last night a dozen or so Robins were seen in the back yard around the feeder....they were still hanging around this morning with a pair of Cardinals...probably "thinking"...What the Hell? It's breeding time, isn't it?

back later

Photos-Anissa and me at the Hospital in February 1979, and Anissa these days. Particia and I drove our way through the "gloming" through Celina, past the snow on the Court House lawn, on our way to meet Anissa and friends at Bob Evans for Breakfast....and one of the dozen or so Robins that visited our yard last night and today....I'm afraid they are going to have to wait if they are looking for worms.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Let it Snow... some more/Dartball Decimal Points

Our predicted 3 to 4 inches of snow was about "spot on" appears we have about that much fluffy white stuff....however, with some warm road melting yesterday afternoon, the roads once again turned treacherous. As a result, schools, at least those in the Mercer County area, are again without classes...Patricia has not had school at St. Henry since last Monday, February 8th. Today was the last day of calamity days...and from now on, they will make up days, either by extending the school year or cherry picking some off days that the schools have scheduled.

We are now approaching 20 inches in the latest go around of the past week or 10 days...hardly what those sadly unprepared folks in the DC and Maryland area have experienced. Meanwhile Hal, down in the Dayton area, and Sam, at Ohio State, got much more that we did....and when I talked to oldest son Sam last night, he thought OSU might indeed cancel classes....I haven't checked on that just yet.


We finished off the regular season last night against perennial power, Schumm, we hit above our season average , but so did they and took us 2 out of 3....we finish the 2nd half of the season at 7 wins 14 loses, to go with our 8 up and 13 down in the first half....sad indeed for our once powerful team. Losing players, aging guys, and a group of newbies have put us in the bottom half of the standings....hopefully we can make a tournament run like we did last year, when we finished runners up in the end of season tourney.

One interesting sidelight last night was the battle for Batting Champion. I went into the series with a .431 batting average, 1 point ahead of one of the Schumm players, who stood at .430. It came down to my last at bat, I missed a single by about a half inch, and finished 7 for 13 on the evening, he finished at 8 for 14...the final averages? RR came in with a .44134, and I ended 17th 1000ths of a point behind at .44117....not sure if we finished 1 and 2 in the league because one of the Mount Carmel players went into last night at .427, but it's pretty obvious that we 3 gained the top 3 spots, which appears RR will also finish in the top 3 in RBIs...not bad for a 24 year old you just got out of the Marines, good for him. We need good young players to keep the league going.

League Tournament starts this Sunday at our Church, followed by the Division Playoffs, All Star Game and finally the Wabash Valley League Banquet on March 15th. Being the host team, and me being the President for a year, I will be busy with that for the next month...along with Basketball games, Baseball Meetings, and our Vietnam Mini Reunion in Dayton from March 5th through 7th.


Tonight, depending on the roads, cancellations, etc. I am scheduled to do a double header Junior High Boys get together at partner is MB, the young official who I was with last Thursday when the attempted assault happened....reports of the incident have been across the local and area sports blogs....been pretty interesting to say the least. Half Truths, misstatements, and plain BS, abound in cyberspace.....and the story surrounding last Thursday events has all of them. With 12 days to go in my season, let me reiterate, I will be glad to see it end, and move onto baseball, something much more in my comfort zone. My pre-game conversation with MB should be interesting, seeing how he was the focus of the attack, and being a young official will have to work through this, if he is to continue as a High School official. At my age, and experience, I have no such worries....although the longer this festers the more I'm ready for the season to end.

With the wind picking up....who knows what lies ahead in snowbound Celina, regardless I'll be back later with more.

Update: Game cancelled, snow continues to blow, but the major storm appears to have headed east. Looks like I finish 2nd in the Batting Average Race.... .17/1.000 behind RR...Charlie from Mount Carmel ends up with .429 to our .441 each to finish 3rd...the RBI battle is still to be decided.

Photos-The foot and a half or so of Snow in our backyard appears not to be going anywhere...and growing inch by inch. My 1977 Buick, covered by a car cover and Mother Nature's own blanket....It's not going back in the Garage anytime soon. Dartball heads down to the final weeks. And the switch from officiating Basketball to Baseball cannot come soon enough for me.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More Snow and The Weekend That Was

Another round of Snow is in the forecast for today and tonight....although it appears that most of the "white death" will go south of Mercer County, and the amounts closer to a foot will fall in the southern Miami Valley and down towards Cincinnati....Hal will get his share in the Dayton area it appears, looks like Sam and Columbus will get 6 to 10 inches, we may get 3 or 4 inches. Even that's more that I want to see...especially with no snow melt from the previous storms. Despite the onslaught of Al Gore and Barry's Global Warming Hoax, February, thus far has not seen a day above freezing in West Central Ohio, and it is doubtful(looking at the forecast) that we will see anything above 32 degrees Fahrenheit anytime before March.

Dartball and Basketball Wind Down____

After the basketball fiasco that was Thursday evening, things got back to "normal" over the weekend. Friday evening I did a Freshman/JV double header, then Saturday I followed that up with a afternoon Girls JV game drove another 25 miles east and north and officiated a Boys JV game in the evening....yesterday I gave my legs and back a well needed rest.

Dartball tonight, then tomorrow, back with my Thursday partner for a JH Boys Basketball game...and I am guessing a more fan friendly atmosphere, than the last game we worked....can't be much worse that the post game extravaganza we had Thursday...can it?

Tonight, if we don't get snowed out, will be the final regular season Dartball games...the League Tournament and Playoffs begin next weekend, the All Star Game is March 8th, and we finish the season with the Banquet on March 15th...all of these events take place at our church.

On the basketball front, I have to admit, I'm glad the season is winding down, this week and next are it for me...unlike baseball, where I have tournament assignments and Summer games, basketball and football, once the regular season is complete, so are my seasons. And, especially with basketball, I am glad of it....Baseball, is and always will be, my favorite sport, whether playing, coaching, or umpiring, Football is 2nd and basketball comes in 3rd, although it is the best workout, physically, of the 3. I'm guessing 2, maybe 3, more seasons of Basketball before I hang up that whistle...Football and Baseball I will continue, as long as I'm healthy and fit enough to do them.

Speaking of fit enough, I am continuing to drop the weight at a slow and steady pace, down to 187 over the weekend, meaning just 7 pounds to go. My goal was to hit 180, from last Summer's high of 214, before this baseball looks like I'm on target to get that accomplished. The Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar are staying near normal levels as well.

Vietnam Reunion is Set____

Our 2nd annual Dayton/Wright Patterson Vietnam Mini Reunion is less than 3 weeks away, and I and those guys helping me, Wayne and Bob, have pretty much got things in order for March 5th to 7th at the Air Force we just need to get Mother Nature to cooperate...last year, we got together and froze on the last weekend of January, I pushed it back to the first weekend in March this time around, hopeful that we would get somewhat better weather in early March, I'm still hopeful. Hopeful that this mid winter deep freeze we are having, will give way to a nice little warmup with some sunshine come March 6th, the day long Museum get-together. Time is on our side....keeping the fingers crossed.

Patricia has not had school in a week...last Monday they got classes in, then were snowed out Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday....President's day weekend, took care of Friday and today...back to school tomorrow, unless the snow is more than predicted.....?

Regardless, the long winter continues, and to tell the truth, I am pretty damn bored{as my recent blog entries no doubt attest}...Spring and Baseball will be welcome, despite the ups and downs of April and May weather in the Buckeye State.

back later>>>>

Photos-Thanks to Rick Adams, we finally have a complete list of those in last years Mini Reunion Photo...a good tool when we match it up with this year's group.(last year we had about a half dozen that attended that were not in the photo, hopefully we will get all in the group shot this time around). Dartball winds down, and I am looking forward to baseball season, sick of winter, and frankly, tired of basketball season.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Basketball Rhubarb

Rhubarb-informal meaning/ A quarrel, fight, or heated discussion.

For the sake of this story, names, places, teams, have been left out....due to possible pending actions.

Last night I traveled north some 40 miles for what was to be a quick Boys Freshman Basketball game, 6 minute quarters, less than an hour total, what could be easier? I officiate/umpire a half dozen or more basketball and baseball games at this location each year, their opponents, the same, including a football game or 2 as well. Seems simple enough, doesn't it?

Game time 5pm, I meet up with my partner, a second year official who I have worked with a few times the past 2 seasons. I also have a couple of more scheduled with him the remainder of this basketball season go around....

The first half goes smoothly, and the home team, has a commanding 28-8 lead at the half...less than 10 fouls between the teams, and less than a half hour off the real time clock....this game is a piece of cake.

Forward to the second half, the home squad pushes it's lead to about 27 points at the end of the 3rd quarter....the only comment made to me was by the visiting coach(who I know from football season)...asking about the disparity of fouls in the 3rd quarter, his team had 5, the home team only comment was "I don't count fouls coach I just call them"..."I know" he says, "but your partner is anticipating his calls". OK? Not gonna answer I head over to toss the ball in bounds for the start of the 4th quarter.

With the score 49-27 and about a minute left, the visiting coach is getting increasingly irritated with my partner....I'm thinking, "Let's get this blowout over with"! Not so fast...with 27 seconds left my cohort calls a foul on the visiting team, 2 shots....hummm, I think, this is not good, because I can hear the visiting coach demanding to know, from my partner, what the foul was for....

As I hand the ball to the free throw shooter, the coach continues his rant...swish, the first shot goes in...I hear the whistle, and "bang" my cohort has called a technical foul on the visiting coach...."bang" another whistle, another "T", I'm thinking "no way, did he just toss the coach"....well rules say, the Coach is gone, ejected, banished to the locker room after the second Technical top that off, the offending coach gets to serve a 2 game suspension, pays a $100 fine, and attend a "Sportsmanship Class"....this was just the beginning of the evening's problems.

The coach, walking off the court, asks me a question, I answer it, and he heads off, knowing that his day is done, regardless if I agree with the actions of the other official. I hear a women shouting something from the small crowd in attendance, couldn't make that out....we administer the free throws, and after the toss in, the game quickly ends...54-27 the final. I'm thinking "Why the Hell would you allow yourself to get tossed in a blowout like this?"

Partner makes a Cardinal Rule Mistake____

The other guy makes a mistake, as I take the ball to the scorers table, he heads out the gym towards the AD Office/Changing Room....the Cardinal Rule is, you leave the court with your partner, he failed this and all Hell breaks loose.....

I'm at half court when I hear from the hallway, a shout, a crash, and a door the time I get to the spot, the Veteran Head Coach is standing between a women, a man, and the AD Doorway....she is screaming at my partner, who has fallen into a dozen or so vases of roses, sitting on the table, roses, water, pedals, etc are laying on the floor...the women(a fan, parent, nutcase, all of the above?) backed by her husband(?) is trying to get at my partner...she says to me, "I want his name and number, so I can call the state"...I'm thinking, no problem, the state automatically gets called, and guess what? You are in big trouble..." She had grabbed the other official by the arm, and he falls into the office, and lands in the roses that had been set up to give to the School Secretaries for Valentines Day.....

The Head coach, a legend in Ohio, who has been in this game for 35+ years....looks at the couple and says..."If you don't leave, I'm calling the police"....things eventually get settled down, and we leave about 30 minutes later...paperwork, conversations with the State Association, Athletic Directors, etc, are going to happen today and over the weekend.....I have some pretty good ideas what is going to happen, it won't be pretty.

Between Baseball, Football, Basketball, playing, coaching, and officiating, I can guess somewhere near 100 or more seasons of work...I had seen most things that could happen.... after last night, I may have seen it all. It will work itself out....and if warranted I'll let you know the final details/outcome.
back later>>>>

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Cabin Fever, Cancellations, and Old Friends

It appears the final totals for the latest round of snow is somewhere between a foot and 15 inches....the predicted amounts have failed to materialize neither have the 40 mph gusts that were predicted either....however, still enough ice and snow on the back roads to close Mercer, Auglaize, and Darke County Schools for the week...with most schools off for a long 4 day President's Day weekend, Patricia and the rest of the teachers, and students are close to reaching their "limits" on calamity days...and if things continue, Summer break may be shorter than normal.

Between the 2 of us, we have managed to keep a handle on the driveway and sidewalks at home, and keep a path for walkers open at mom's place as well....the city streets are bad, the main highways pretty good, and the outlying county roads terrible...although I have no wandered out in the Jeep that far out of town...I may do that later.

Last night, our first Baseball Rules Meeting of the year at Van Wert was cancelled...and the State Rules Meetings are getting postponed and rescheduled....a real "Monkey Wrench" for all...add this to the backlog of Basketball games, and I will be busier than I want to be for the next 3 weeks or so....tonight I'm scheduled to be at Lima Central Catholic for a boys Freshman contest, but that is not a sure thing, or even probable at this stage of the morning. The next few hours will tell that tale.

Dick, "Wulfie", and Me____

My old friend Dick Finke is back in Celina for a couple of weeks from Florida. The circumstances of his return however are sad...Dick and his companion, Mary, both widowed, have lived in St Petersburg for the past 3 years or so...sadly Mary discovered cancer back in the Summer, and passed away last week. Dick flew home to help her kids with the funeral and will be staying for another 10 days or so before flying back into Tampa.

Our Little Buddy "Wulfie", Dick, and I hooked up for a beer and lunch at Bella's in Celina yesterday...we stayed for 2 1/2 hours, and talked over our lives and old times from the Lake Front Racquet...Dick and I kept the bar in operations at the Club(thanks to our hefty bar tabs), and Wuflie was one of the bartenders for many years.....

I have know Dick for some 20 years, and Wulfie, like me for years, is a High School sports fact Wulfie and I met some 30 years ago while we were working a District Final Basketball game between St. Henry and Delphos St. Johns...we have been good friends since that time. Time which has flown by at warped speed. With Dick staying for awhile, we plan on another get together next week.

Other than that, not a heck of a lot going on, with the January type weather lasting into mid February and by the looks of the forecast, probably longer....of course we could have what the are getting in DC, Maryland, Philadelphia, and Delaware...record winter snows in just a couple of weeks, hopefully that fat lying bastard Al Gore is somewhere buried in a drift, and it won't melt until his fake science of Global Warming melts it....

Enough Cabin Fever ranting for now...back later>>>
Photos-Dick, Wulfie, and Me, meet for the first time in about 18 months...and the driveway before yesterday's 6 inches were added....this won't be melting anytime soon.