Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cincinnati Reds~Hangover after the Clinching?

The off again on again trip to Centerville to hook up with youngest son Hal, was eventually put back on yesterday afternoon.   Even though the Reds had clinched the NL Central with the dramatic Jay Bruce "walk off" home run on Tuesday, we decided to go, and see if the Reds would continue to push towards opening the playoffs at home, or be content to(in all likelihood) face the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round.  Once we saw the starting line-up for Cincy, we knew that latter was probably in the cards.

The Cincinnati starting lineup looked like a hold over from the Louisville Bats Triple A team, the Reds affiliate.  But the weather was perfect, clear, no wind, and about 72 at game time.  The traffic was reasonable, and with Hal driving from their place in Centerville, we arrived in plenty of time...after stopping at Skyline Chili for  supper and a beer, much cheaper than Ball Park fair, we headed out looking for a 'scalper' to secure good tickets.  Since the division was clinched, we figured to get decent seats for a good price...it didn't take long.  Without much wheeling and dealing, we secured seats right behind the Reds first base dugout, for $25 each....about 2/3rd of face value.

The Reds started Johnny Cueto on the mound, but other than that, Cincinnati went with subs and minor league call ups....it showed, and despite getting the starters in late for some pinch hitting efforts, Cincy fell 2-0.  That loss, while not guaranteeing a road opener in next weeks first round, made it likely that they will open in Philadelphia next Wednesday.  That will be a tough series, but the Reds have shown a penchant for making things happen....I am looking forward to it, especially since my Mom,  Uncle Jack DeVore, and their late brother, my Uncle Bill, grew up in the shadow of Philadelphia...Jack as was Bill, is a rabid Philly fan...making it even more interesting.

The game went fairly quick, so instead of spending the night in Centerville, I decided to head home and sleep in my own bed...I arrived well before 1AM, and got up early this morning...just in time to take old Reagan in for a trim and bath.....the Airedale is now 12 years 3 months old....and this may indeed be her last grooming before she leaves Planet Earth...but she has defied the odds thus far, and continues to amaze us with her continued "hanging in there".

Soccer...Ohio State ties Number #1 Ranked Akron_____

While Hal and I were in Cincinnati, oldest son, Sam was working the video for the Ohio State Men's Soccer game with top Ranked Akron.....The Zips had not given up a goal in over 1000 minutes this season. The Buckeyes put an end to that string, and after losing the lead, they tied the game at 2-2 with just 2 seconds remaining in regulation.  The game ended tied...the video(which Sam shot, and wasn't happy when the crowd blocked him out after the tying goal) is here:(takes a few seconds to load)

 http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?&db_oem_id=17300&id=725459&DB_MENU_ID=&SPSID=87752&SPID=10409&DB_OEM_ID=17300

The crowd was well over 7200 fans, and the story is on the OSU Athletic Website:

http://www.ohiostatebuckeyes.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=87752&SPID=10409&ATCLID=205003540&DB_OEM_ID=17300 

All-in-all it was a busy night for the Houseworth guys.....Junior High football double header tonight at St. Henry....busy weekend of football as well. 

back later>>>>

Photos-At Cincinnat's Great American Ball Park...the Division Crown is showcased.  The view from our seats...Cueto starts for the Reds, but the rest were subs and minor league types.  Hal and the Old man in our first base seats...at bargin prices.  And Ohio State Soccer does something that nobody has done in 10 1/2 months..scores on top ranked Akron in a 2-2 tie...the video attached is oldest son, Sam's work.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Cincinnati Reds Hoist The NL Central Crown!

For the first time since 1995 the Reds win the Division...for the first time since 2000, they actually have a winning record.....being a long time Reds fan(since I moved to back to Ohio in 1962) this season has been a joy for Cincinnati fans everywhere:

Jay Bruce hits a monster 'Walk Off' Home Run to put them in the playoffs, 3-2 over the Houston Astros:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QExZqmWsr3s


Now, they need to take care of business to secure a home field advantage for the first round of the playoffs...

back later>>>>

UPDATE Wednesday Morning September 29, 2010___

Here is a better Video of the Jay Bruce  "Walk Off" Home Run to win the NL Central Division...compliments of MLB.COM

http://mlb.mlb.com/video/play.jsp?content_id=12554775 

The win gave the Reds their first division championship since 1995...this young team is hardly the "Big Red Machine"...and maybe their playoff run will be short, however, the way they have won in the clutch, you never know.

I covered the Reds on Radio and TV for about 15 years, through the bad years and the later good ones(1990-95)....they have been my favorite pro sports team through thick and thin....and I even got to rub elbows with a few of the folks, players, broadcasters, managers(Rose and Pinella), and a certain owner named Marge.

  Photos-Reds Logo, Jay Bruce, and bottom, Reds owner, the late Marge Schott, and me, back in 1991......

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall is in the air....finally!

Twas a busy weekend to say the least....

After a Middle School game on Thursday, I worked a big game in the MAC(Midwest Athletic Conference) on Friday night...then followed that up on Saturday by working a JV game in the morning, and a fall baseball(5 inning games) double header on Saturday afternoon.  Sunday it was back at it with the local youth Recreational Football League, where Sam and I did another 3 1/2 hour double header.

Wasn't a lot of time for watching much on the tube...although I did catch the final innings of the Reds game yesterday at San Diego.  The 12-2 win clinched at least a share of the NL Central for Cincy...and we got to watch local left hander Cory Luebke toss a couple of innings for the Padres.  Cory, now working out of the bullpen, came in and shut down the Reds for 2 innings, despite make an error on a ball hit back to him....he had the Reds hitters off balance, and looked good in relief.

In addition to my game at Versailles Friday night(a 24-7 win by visiting Coldwater, handing the hometown Tigers their first loss of the season)...I got home in time to watch the Van Wert at Celina game on Channel 44 out of Lima.   The Bulldogs gave the Cougars a 22-0 lead in the first quarter, only to roar back and win 50-30.  Celina moves to 4-1 on the season, and 4-0 in the Western Buckeye League....alone at the top.  I had predicted the Dogs would have a hard time winning a game this season...and here they are undefeated in the WBL, with winless Shawnee coming to town this weekend.   It would be a stretch to think they can run the table, with the likes of Kenton and O-G top play on the road...but, a .500 or better season is better than me, or anybody else that I talked to, could ever imagine.  Congrats to the young coaching staff, and especially to the Bulldogs players who have performed beyond anybody's imagination.

Tonight I stay local and officiate the Van Wert-Celina Freshman game....always interesting for me.  Living in Celina and graduating from Celina High School(1967), I was the voice of the Van Wert Cougars for football and basketball for over a decade on Cable Channel 7 in Van Wert, back in the 1980s and early 90s.  I was also born there, and worked and retired from the Van Wert County Health Department(1990-2002)....so my roots go deep into both towns and schools.

The rest of the week looks like this...Junior High football at Wayne Trace, then Wednesday I head to Centerville, hook up with youngest son, Hal.  Where we will head for the Reds-Astros game that night...I will stay overnight at their place, and head home Thursday morning, in time to work a St. Henry Middle School double header on Thursday evening.

The weather finally broke, although we got none of the predicted rain, the temperatures did cool down significantally, and we are looking at highs in the 60s and low 70s for the remainder of the week...with lows in the 40s and 50s.  That is the week ahead at first glance....nothing out of the ordinary, at least not yet.  We of course will see how things shake out.

back later>>>>

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Internet...Good or Bad?

I was greeted by a strong southwest wind this morning as I made my usual walk through Celina towards Grand Lake....the wind is ahead of a cool front, that may bring an afternoon shower or storm, then usher in more normal early fall temperatures for the weekend.  Meanwhile today will bring one more warm one, albeit not as hot as yesterday, which saw the mid 90s for highs...the wind did help, and the humidity was not that high.

I got home and sat out back with a good hand rolled cigar and a couple of Miller Lite longnecks....as I was enjoying those, my cell phone rang...on the other end was the chief of the crew that had called me Wednesday...he had decided to stay with his wife tonight(being due with child) rather than make the 100 mile one way trip to his scheduled game.  He asked if I could fill-in for him, and work one of the wings tonight at Versailles in a huge match-up with rival Coldwater.  The two teams have multiple State Titles between them, and Versailles has rallied with a 4-0 record, including an opening night win over Celina...the Bulldogs lone loss thus far.  Coldwater, after the death of their Hall of Fame coach, John Reed, are out of the gate at 2 wins 2 loses, following a State Title in 2008 and a runner-up finish last season....they are now coached by former All Stater and former Cav and BG Falcon, Chip Otten....hopefully the rain will be done by kickoff time and we should have a close fought contest.

The weekend will remain busy after tonight....JV at Waynefield tomorrow, followed by a Fall baseball double header at 3pm...Sunday, Sam(back from Columbus, after working the Eastern Michigan at Ohio State game) and I will wrap things up with a football double header for the local youth recreational league.

The Internet...good, bad, a bit of both?

 It was around 1992 when I first discovered the Internet...I had purchased a small computer...crude by today's standards, that was Internet ready.  I hooked up with AOL, on dial-up, and watched the money fly away by the minute.  As I said, it was crude, and hard to navigate, and I lost interest in it rather quickly.  Fast forward to 1999 and I begin my interest in Houseworth Family Genealogy:
http://israelhouseworth.blogspot.com/
 I also discovered the VSPA:
http://www.vspa.com/
The group of fellow Air Force Vietnam Cops that I joined....those 2 discoveries convinced me that the Internet was indeed a useful tool.

Over the years, I have hooked up with many cousins from the Houseworth, DeVore, Waldron, and Feeley bloodlines that intersected my own....I have reunited with guys from my days in Vietnam, and friends from my childhood growing up in Venice, Florida.  The Internet, despite being filled with much garbage, bullshit, and perversion, when used properly opens up a whole new world.  Friends from my past, cousins I never would have met, along with discoveries of long dead ancestors and deceased friends would still be unknown to me.

I try to limit my time on-line to 2 hours a day...sometimes I fail, but usually I can get what I need done in that time.  This blog, which I usually spend an hour or so working on 5 days or so a week, has also brought people from my past, or folks I didn't know, but do now...it has also helped me link folks that are looking for information or people...once such case happened this week.

Mike Graff, Venice, Florida  1949-2003

My best friend growing up in Venice, was a fellow Buckeye named Mike Graff.  Mike was 8 days younger than me, and his family had moved to Venice in 1953 from Martins Ferry, Ohio, located on the extreme eastern part of the state on the Ohio River and West Virginia border.  Our family and our Poling cousins, moved there a year later, from the flatlands of far west Ohio, and the tiny town of Scott.  By 1958 the Graffs and Houseworths were neighbors...living just a stones throw from our house on School Street to their place on Groveland Avenue.  Mike and I remained close, bowled together, played Little League Baseball, and back yard football together for the next 4 years, until we pulled up stakes and moved back to Ohio.  Mike went on to be and all star Baseball and Basketball player for the Venice Indians before graduating in 1967...he remained in the southwest Florida area for the remainder of his life.

On a vacation trip in 1975 I saw Mike, his parents, and met his wife....it would be the last time I saw any of them...his mom passed about 1990, his dad, Ozzie, in 2002, and Mike passed away in 2003 at the age of just 54...his wife Terri followed him a year later.  Mike had a son Mike J, and his sister Luana.  Luana is a couple of years old than Mike and me.  Earlier this week I got a message on Facebook from a women who had stopped by this site, and was looking for Michael Graff, son of Ozzie, from Martins Ferry....Patricia is her name, and she is the daughter of Ozwald Graff's sister, and was looking for Mike or someone who could help with that Genealogy.  I added her as a friend on Facebook and gave her what I had...including old Venice Yearbook photos, and other stuff I had from the days shortly after we moved back to Ohio.  I also searched for Luana, who last I knew was living in North Port, Florida....I found that rare name on Facebook, and the rest his history.

I had not seen or talked to Luana Graff since 1962...almost 50 years, but here she was, on Facebook, living in Florida, and remembering me like it was yesterday....I flipped that information on to her 1st cousin Patricia, and there you have it....Success!  Thanks to the Internet.  What would be the odds of ever hooking up with the dozens of folks from my past, without this tool?  The Internet, for all it's garbage, is an amazing....and knowing it is just over a decade old as far as being practical....you gotta wonder just how much more advanced it will be in the next decade?  And hopefully the good it brings will far outpace the bad.

Time for some checking on both my football and baseball gear....going to be a busy weekend.  Have a good one...

back later>>>>

Photos-The wind was blowing strong as I made my way around town this morning...in the second photo about 3 dozen or so Buzzards(or as some call them Turkey Vultures) had been grounded on the Jetty by the West Bank of Grand Lake....and my best friend from my Venice, Florida, days...the late Mike Graff....although gone, he is now a link that has brought together family members who have not seen or even knew of each other for the past 60+ years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Randon Thoughts from a Listless Mind.....

Sitting here, after getting my walk in before the heat is turned back on high...94 degrees is the prediction, on the first day of fall no less.  We did get a couple of showers in our area yesterday, but not nearly enough to do much good for the brown lawns....94 today, 87 maybe a shower tomorrow, then cooler for the weekend and beyond.  That will give me a chance to shut off the A/C, hopefully for the last time for awhile...say, next May.

Junior High football game tonight at Convoy...tomorrow, nothing so far on the Varsity fill-in front, although I did get a call last night for another official who asked if I would be available to fill in for him tomorrow in a big MAC(Midwest Athletic Conference) match-up at Versailles against Coldwater.  Seems his wife is almost due, and he lives 100 miles or so away from the game...I told him I could help out if needed, so to keep me informed.  Saturday I am scheduled to work at JV games at Waynesfield, then Saturday afternoon, I will don the baseball gear for a Fall Baseball League game at Rockford....It's been almost 2 months since I umpired that sport, I will do a couple of 5 inning games...I figure that would be more entertaining than watching Ohio State thump on Eastern Michigan...then Sunday another Rec League football double header...so "retirement" is just a state of mind...if you want to stay in shape and live, you need to keep active, and I am trying.

The Crazy Left Wing______

It never ceases to amaze me just how bitter and crazy the so-called "progressives" are...of course progressive they are not...Liberals in name only....what the vast majority of the Democrat Party are, are hate filled Marxist snakes, that hate anything and everybody, that doesn't fall for their BS....of course the lone exception for these far left loons is Islam and Islamic Terrorists....for some reason, they coddle these terror making scumbags at all cost.   Even though they, the far left, and their protected gay blades would be the first to get beheaded in the land of Sharia Law.....

Rocker, Great American, and 2nd Amendment patriot Ted Nugent calls a spade a spade in this hard hitting, honest look at Islam:

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=39071

Even more interesting than Nugent's opinions are the sorry, hate filled, shrill comments, from the far left loons....Liberalism is indeed a Mental Disorder....and with the BS being taught in schools and universities these days, along with the slave like worship of everything left, and everything Islamic, in the lame stream media,  it is sure to get only worse....Keep your powder dry, lock and load....

Enough of politics.....will leave you with a tune from the above "Rocker".....a man of many "talents"...Ted Nugent:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zh0iDVsmLqw

That's it for now....back later>>>>

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

At Summer's End 2010

A little later than the norm, Summer comes to an end early tomorrow.  At least on the calender.  93 yesterday, after a brief shower this morning, it will climb back to 85, and then 93 or so again tomorrow.  Things promise to be more early Fall-like by the weekend.

The one thing you can say about this summer is that it was 180 degrees different than Summer 2009....that was a record cool one, while Summer 2010 has been record hot, the hottest summer since 1932, the eve of the "Dust Bowl".  Now regular readers of this blog know I am not a believer in man-made "Global Warming"...in my opinion it's total BS....last year cool, this year, hot...it's a cyclic thing, man has little to do with it.  Yes man pollutes, and that is bad, man does not cause "Global Warming", no matter what the toads at The Weather Channel, the Lame Stream Media, Al Gore, or Obama the Asshole, might tell you.  Don't believe the BS.

Regardless....it was a hot summer, and dry off and on.  Even when we got rain, it didn't stay around long enough to keep things green...witness the attached photos in today's post.  My back yard, usually the greenest part of my yard, due to the frequent fertilizing from Airedales over the years, is dry as a bone.....and the only green to be found are weeds popping up, or under the bushes, where the dew drops fall.

No football tonight, but back at it tomorrow at Crestview in Convoy, for a JH game....more games Saturday and Sunday.

Sam returned to Columbus last night...classes at Ohio State begin this morning, as he enters his Junior year, majoring in Actuarial Science.....Saturday he work video at  the Ohio State vs Eastern Michigan game....that one could be ugly, EMU is currently on a 15 game losing streak.

Other than that....not a lot going on.  I'm just hanging on waiting for cooler weather.  I did just get off the phone with my buddy Rick, up in northern Indiana...he has the same thing befall him as I had about 7 years ago.  A ruptured appendix....not appendicitis but a full blown rupture.  I had the same, and the recovery time is usually quite lengthy...Rick still has a ways to go before getting back to "normal"....

As for me...I'll be back later>>> God willing.

Photos-A couple of shots of our dried out back yard...the grass looking like close cropped straw.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Surrounded by Idiots-The Ohio U and Ohio State Mascot battle.

Taking my morning walk this today, I was greeted by a strong southerly wind that promised to bring record, or at least near record high temperatures to the Heartland.  93 is what they are calling for today...93 degrees on what is usually the first official day of Fall...September 21st(this year by a quirk fall "falls" on September 23rd).  Warm/Hot through Friday then things will slowly drop to more normal temperatures and conditions that we are used to for late September.

Tonight I head north to Antwerp for a Junior High football game...a busy week ahead, but not nearly so much as last week....I'm still trying to recover from that one.

American Idiots.....they are everywhere!

When I left Celina in 1975 for college, my first stop was a little place called Hocking Technical College in a small city in southeast Ohio called Nelsonville....I majored in Environmental Health while there and lived at Ohio University, along with a half dozen other friends from Celina.   It was a good couple of years....I had fun at Hocking and Ohio U...and that may be an understatement.

This weekend, the Ohio University Bobcats traveled some 70 miles north to Columbus to take on the Ohio State Buckeyes...it was a mismatch in every phase of the game.  OSU has not lost to an instate rival since 1921 or so when they lost to Oberlin College....a game that few if anybody can remember, for certain there are no highlights around.

Saturday promised to be an old fashion ass kicking...and it was.  The only highlight the hapless Bobcats could muster was some idiot named Brandon Hanning.  Hanning a former student at Ohio U., a flunked out student, now a student at Hocking College(the Technical is now dropped).  Hanning decided to get his 15 minutes of fame by taking down the world famous Ohio State mascot, Brutus Buckeye...he succeeded in both:

http://www.usatoday.com/communities/campusrivalry/post/2010/09/ohio-university-apologizes-for-mascot-attacking-ohio-states-brutus-buckeye/1

and here is the video....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siM3-4AAP2Y&feature=player_embedded

Funny?  Perhaps!  I guess I would have enjoyed this 35 years ago at Ohio U in a drunken state...which we all were a large percentage of the time...now I'm barley amused.  This guy, now banned from Ohio University athletic participation, has his 15 minutes of fame....I wonder if the brass at Hocking will allow him to remain a student?  Hocking always has been hopelessly connected with Ohio University, and I have a feeling things will not go well for Hanning...perhaps he can find a top flight job in the food industry, without his degree from Hocking.  I hear some places still need dishwashers.

A few years ago when broadcasting high school basketball,  the hometown Van Wert Cougar mascot, Claude got into a fist fight with the Delphos Jefferson "JeffCat"...I've got it on tape, and it was funny....but that was a heat of the moment thing, and the 2 guys paid the price from each school....this clown Hanning did his dirty work premeditated...you gotta wonder just what this fool has in store for him in the age of Obama....perhaps in the Kenyans Administration....it seems he would fit right in with those idiots.

As for me...my 15 minutes of fame is on hold....I wonder what I can come up with?  In the meantime...

back later>>>>

Monday, September 20, 2010

What a Week!

The time these past  seven days has been a blur....as you can see from the look on the enclosed extra photos from the Kokomo/Howard County Reunion, things were a little blurry...24 hours of partaking in fun and hard cider.


On the left you have Jimmy, a true Purple Heart warrior, "All gave some, some gave all" fits this man to a T.  Below the photo with me, you have Jimmy, along with my VSPA buddies Tom and Sam.  There were many classic restored Willys Jeeps on the grounds, forgot this guys name(real surprise..not!) But he had a beautifully restored
ride.  And then Tom McCandles with Bill Curran, another Buckeye, who downed a few with us through Wednesday night.;
Last week, I had football games on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday Night, Saturday Morning, and a double header of Rec League football on Sunday.....crammed in between those contests was a quick 24 hour run to Kokomo, Indiana, for the 28th Annual Howard County Vietnam Veterans Reunion...like I said...the week was a blur.  It took me a couple of days to catch up on sleep, and recover from it all....and with a cancellation of tonight's game, I will get an extra 24 hours to rest my 61 year old legs and body.

On Friday I was asked to fill in as Back Judge on a crew working a Division 1 Toledo City League Game....keeping up with those athletic speedsters was a challenge, and it gives me a greater appreciation of the guys that work the NFL and D1 College games....I survived, but tweaked my right calf muscle in the process.  With 3 more games over the weekend, I was taking it a little easy on the muscle, and hopefully it will be back to 100% by tomorrow's Junior High game at Antwerp.

This week the schedule is not quite as hectic....games on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday Morning, and another double header on Sunday....enough to put gas in the vehicles, and save a few bucks for the upcoming Michigan Salmon fishing trip in late October....in the meantime, I plan on catching up on some rest.  It is amazing sometimes what a 24 hour change in diet, and habits will do to your body....especially when you hit "Senior Citizen" status.  No matter how good of shape I consider myself in for my age....I ain't 25 anymore.

So I plan on putting the top back on the Jeep today....and not much else...

Cleaning up the weekend events____

In addition to my football games...it should be noted that Celina, after ending a 12 game losing skid to Defiance early this season, moved to 3-1 overall and a share of the top spot at 3-0 in the Western Buckeye League, with a victory over arch rival St. Marys, 26-25 in Overtime....that ended an 11 game losing skid to the Roughriders, and ties the Bulldogs with Ottawa-Glandorf atop the WBL, after the Titans defeated top ranked Kenton 22-20.

I honestly thought Celina would have trouble winning a game this season....thus far they have proved all the skeptics wrong...and the team, while nobody really expects them to contend for the title...have a legit shot at a .500 or better record, but plenty of tough games remain, especially with Kenton and O-G still on the schedule.

In baseball, the Cincinnati Reds remain 6 games ahead of St. Louis in the National League Central....despite losing 11 of their last 17 games.  Lucky for Cincy, the Cards are not playing much better.  The magic number is 8 for the Reds to clinch, and move on to the playoffs...tonight they move onto Milwaukee.

The Bengals pulled one out over Baltimore to go 1-1 in the young NFL season....while #2 ranked Ohio State thumped Ohio University 43-7 on Saturday to stay just behind Alabama in the national rankings, in the college game.

back later(when the fog has lifted from my brain)>>>>

Friday, September 17, 2010

Back From Kokomo and the Howard County Vietnam Veterans Reunion

I left Celina at 9am Wednesday, and made it back home in one piece before Noon yesterday....what a day long odyssey it was.  Taking Indiana Highway 18 to I-69, and then on Indiana 26 towards Kokomo was a trip that I had made many times during my stay at WIOU Radio in Kokomo in 1979 and early 1980.  It was a trip that I had not made in 30 years.   As much as the world, at least my world, has changed in the 30 years, the route had not changed much in those 3 decades.   Montpelier, the outskirts of Marion, down 69 to James Dean's hometown of Fairmount, looked much the same as it did when I made the trip from Kokomo to Celina back in my News Anchor days at WIOU/WZWZ.

I had only planned on staying the afternoon, just to catch up with fellow Vietnam Sky Cops Sam Lewis and Tom McCandles...but they planned leaving time around 6pm came along, I was already convinced to stay the night, with a little help of some good conversation and a few drops of white lightning.  And I'm glad I did.

Also met up with Phil Savage, another Air Force SP and Dog Handler in Nam...and we met another, Herb Johnson from Indiana, who wasn't even aware of the VSPA...we swapped information between sips, and hopefully have recruited another member.

$10 to get in for the entire weekend...if you are lucky enough to get a campsite, like Tom has had for 24 of the 28 years of the event...those are $10 a night as well.  The place is sold out every year, and a farm field a lady owns is filled with overflow...and this was only Wednesday, the actual events don't begin until Thursday night.  Regardless, Tom and a few thousand others had been there since Monday, and I'm guessing(if CBS and the National Park crew in DC can get a count wrong, so can I)...somewhere in the neighborhood of 10 thousand were already there when I arrived just before Noon Wednesday.

Free food, everybody has a cooler or a number of filled bottles, and you can party on the cheap....no difference if you are Air Force, Marines, Army, and Navy....everybody was getting along, and I noticed no difference if you had been there 24 years, like Tom, or where a first year FGN , like me and Sam.  Of course it helped being with Tom...everybody, and I mean everybody knew him.

Music throughout the weekend, swap meets, sales, free food,  and by tonight some 40,000 Veterans of Vietnam, friends, family, and descendants, will be on hand....I had a blast for 24 hours...I made it until about Midnight, somewhere about half passed Drunk-30, when I hit the sack...or should say, passed out in the back seat of my car.  It took Tom and Sam awhile to find me, wondering just where the Hell I had gone....I was gone all right, this old beer drinker isn't used to that hard stuff.

I got home before Noon yesterday, headed north to Wayne Trace to do a Junior High football game, and got home to a good nights sleep...tonight I head to Toledo for the City League game between Rogers and Whitmer...another long night, especially with a JV game at Spencerville tomorrow morning.

I plan on taking it easy, other than football officiating and watching, this weekend....and I'm trying to figure out how next year, I can pace myself if I decide to spend 3 or 4 days at Kokomo.  Photo descriptions below:  Double Click for large versions....



Photos-top left...Sam Lewis, Me, and Tom McCandles...along with "Sweet Pig" the Boar's Head....next is our new found Vietnam SP and potential VSPA Member Herb Johnson...for the life of me I forget where he was at and when...might have been the "shine" and a few other things I had partaken in by this time.  Next is Sam, Tom, along with VSPA Dog Handler Phil Savage from Michigan, and Wendy, and daughter of a Marine and long time attendee of this event who passed away a few years ago.  Our numbers are growing smaller by the day...The excellent painting on the back of Phil's pick-up saluting his dog and honoring his and our time in Vietnam.  The other photos, of new and old found friends and the grounds outside Kokomo, as the crowd was growing...hopefully I can make it back for a longer stay next year...

Back Later>>>>>

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Vietnam Veterans Reunion Kokomo, Indiana 2010

I took my usual walk around town down to Grand Lake this morning...it's getting pretty routine doing this 5 days a week...the 50 minute to 1 hour walk gets me ready for the day, and the weather of late, along with the pollution and smell being down on the lake, makes it pretty enjoyable.  The photos I clicked this morning pretty much told the story.  It was partly cloudy, mild with no wind to speak of when I set out at 7:45...the lake looked pretty nice in the rising sun, I barley broke a sweat.

Freshman football last night here in Celina, with the hometown Bulldogs coming out on top of Wapakoneta, as the Varsity did last Friday....A close game with a final drive by the Redskins coming up short in a 18-14 Bulldog victory.  Tonight I head north to the flatlands of my forefathers, Blue Creek Township, in Paulding County.  I'm at Wayne Trace, for an 8th grade game...I'm back there Thursday as well, before heading to Toledo Friday Night for a Toledo City League contest.  Another game on Saturday at Spencerville, and a double header Recreational League game back here in Celina on Sunday, will keep me busy.

My one day off will be tomorrow, and I will head over to Kokomo, Indiana, to meet up with a couple of my VSPA cohorts:


Tom McCandles and Sam Lewis will be there tomorrow, although the actual Howard County Vietnam Veterans Reunion doesn't start until Friday.

http://www.hcvvo.org/index.html                           

I worked in Kokomo 3 decades ago as the Morning News Anchor at WIOU Radio...doing the early morning news at WIOU and it's FM sister station WZWZ.  I left there in early 1980 and headed to Dodge City, Kansas, as News Director for KGNO out that way....a couple of stops on my broadcasting odyssey, before settling back home and working 20 years in the Environmental Health field.

Anyway off topic...I will only spend the day this time around, visiting with the guys....too many football commitments this year, maybe next year I can stay awhile longer....over 44,000 were there last year, and the camping and hotels are already full in the area this year...my major concern it the traffic along two lane Highway 26 East of Kokomo.

Hopefully I'll get some photos and have a story for Thursday....

Today's Images-Top left and bottom...3 shots on my morning walk along Lake Shore Drive this morning...the view and accompaning calm belies the lake's "problems".   Veterans hoist the Flag at a pervious Kokomo Vietnam Reunion....and my old Calling Card from my days at WIOU in Kokomo, back in 1979-80

back later>>>>

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Week Ahead and the Weekend Past

Football was the theme of the weekend for the most part...I didn't have a game on Friday.....but did catch a college game on the tube while listening to Celina down previously undefeated Wapakoneta 22-13.  The young Bulldogs at 2 wins 1 loss and 2-0 in the WBL are the surprise team of the area...I don't think many of us thought they would win more than a game or 2 the entire season.  Now the find themselves tied with powerhouse Kenton and Ottawa-Glandorf for the top spot.  Those 2 teams take on each other this Friday, while Celina goes up against arch rival St. Marys for the Roughriders Homecoming Game.   The Bulldogs have not won a game in this series in over a decade, that could change this season.

Regardless of how thing work out...it appears Celina has an excellent chance of finishing .500, something few could envision a few weeks ago.

In college action over the weekend, The Ohio State Buckeyes downed the Miami Hurricanes 36-24, in a game that could have been even more lopsided, if not for multiple drives stalling deep in Cane's territory.   Sam worked the game in the press box and did the game editing for the Buckeye.Com athletic website.  The Buckeyes take on the Ohio U Bobcats in Columbus this weekend....that should be a walk....although with my ties to Ohio University, I would like to see the Bobcats stay close.

Both the Browns and Bengals lost their openers on Sunday....no surprise there...not worth much of a mention.  I gotta say Pro Football bores the Hell out of me, and besides I was working a Rec League double header and didn't see any of the action, by the two Ohio clubs.

The Week Ahead_____

I will be in and out this week...it looks to be busy.  At Noon today I've got a board meeting at Mercer Residential Services....and a  football game here in Celina between the Freshman squads between the two aforementioned teams, Wapak and Celina.  Tomorrow a Junior High contest at Wayne Trace, back there on Thursday as well.   On Friday I will fill in at Back Judge for a crew at a Toledo City League game, between Toledo Rogers and Toledo Whitmer...that long night will be followed by a JV game at Spencerville on Saturday, and another Recreational double header here in Celina.

In between my busiest football week of the season, I have Wednesday off....and will take that opportunity to travel to Kokomo, Indiana(a place I worked and lived in 1979 and early 1980 as a news anchor at WIOU Radio).  Kokomo is about 90 miles due west of Celina...and every year it plays host to some 40,000 Vietnam Veterans for a massive get-together.  I've never been to the gathering, which lasts from Wednesday through Sunday one week in September each year.  This year several VSPA buddies of mine, Big Sam Lewis and his hooch mate from Phan Rang, Tom McCandles will be there....so I plan on making the trip and visiting them and a few other folks from the organization on Wednesday...I will return that night...while many will stay the 4 or 5 days, it's not in the cards for me.  I do plan on getting some photos and something to write about for this blog. 

So, no blog Wednesday....hopefully some photos and stories by Thursday...if all goes as planned.

We did get a spot of rain on Saturday, but not enough to green things up...the forecast is calling for a chance of showers and storms a couple days out of the next 10...but not counting on it.  After warming up to 85 today...it appears things will cool to more normal temps in the 70s in the future forecast.

That's about it...I did get my walk in this morning...a sunny walk with a cooling southwest wind...but frankly, not much else comes to mind, except the fact that the week ahead will be busy indeed.

back later

Photos-top left...The Immaculate Conception Church in Celina.  A few blocks from my house, with the Mersman Smoke Stacks now down, the Catholic Chruch is the tallest structure, and can be seen from across the Lake, walking by the structure, built in 1903, you realize just how massive it is.  Celina's Bulldogs are a surprising 2-1 overall and 2 wins no losses in the WBL...and Wednesday I will head for Kokomo, Indiana to gather with some 40,000 plus fellow Vietnam Veterans...the rest of the week will be filled with football officiating.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fishing Holes of My Youth/Venice, Florida and Celina, Ohio

Walking around town, down my usual path towards Grand Lake this morning, I got to thinking about fishing the waters of this giant inland body of water during my youth.  Grand Lake St. Marys, is not really a lake at all, just a giant reservoir...in the old days it was simply called the Celina Reservoir, because that is what it really is.  Those were the days before some hot shop politician out of St. Marys got the bright idea to rename it Lake St. Marys.  Why St. Marys?  No real reason, The Mistake by the Lake as we Celina folks like to call St. Marys doesn't even sit on the lake....Celina does(only kidding SM folks).  Now with the recent pollution problems, we are glad the lake is named after our 'sister' city on the east side.

Anyhow, I got to remembering the places I fished on Grand Lake after the family moved to the Celina area in the early 1960s, after spending a decade or so in south Florida, in Venice, which sits on a much larger body of water, the Gulf of Mexico!

In all honesty, I was a much better fisherman when I was 11 years old, than I am 50 years later.  In Venice, I spent many an evening with dad, fishing at the Venice Jetties...plural they are.  The South Jetties is adjacent to Venice, while the North Jetties is accessible if you drive to Nokomis ...although you can throw a stone(if you have a great arm) across from one to the other, if you go by car, they are a couple of miles apart.

Fishing Venice, Florida 1954-1962____

I learned from dad to fish while growing up in Florida....as stated, my usual haunt was the South Jetties, but I also fished the North as well, and on occasion I would cast my bait and hook off the Manasota Bridge near Englewood, a few miles to the south.  That is where the top photo with me and my Snook was taken...my first good sized fish...I think I was 7 or 8, so it must have been around 1957.  Salt Water fishing the Gulf and it's tributaries was a good chunk of my life growing up in South Florida.  Probably only topped by endless hours of playing Little League and sandlot baseball.  While dad was catching Shark, Snook, Snapper and Jewfish,  and other large fish from the Jetties and elsewhere, I spent my time casting for those Snook, and  Red Snappers, along other smaller varieties. It was a good life, although at the time, I didn't realize just how good we had it...those days are now golden in my memory banks.

Fishing Grand Lake 1962-1968____

When we picked up stakes and returned to Western Ohio in the fall of 1962, by luck we moved to Celina(some 30 miles south of our original roots in Scott, Ohio), which was nestled on the (at that time), the largest man made lake in the world....Grand Lake, a behemoth body of water, 13,000 acres which had been hand dug out of swamp land in the 1830s and 40s.

    Freshwater fishing was different than fishing the Gulf of Mexico, the fish were smaller, but at the time, they were much easier to catch, and even though the fish size was small, the "take" was usually much larger.  In those days the lake and it's bays, and connecting creeks and channels were loaded with a variety of Catfish, and Crappie, Bluegill, and Perch.  I sent my junior high and high school days and evenings from spring through early fall fishing for all....sadly Grand Lake these days, has little to offer as far as fishing, and if the pollution cannot be controlled, not much else as far as recreational value.

But those days of my youth were filled with fishing and "fish stories", that cannot be taken away as long as I am here to tell them.  My next fishing adventure will probably come in 7 weeks or so, when Nick and I head north to the Au Sable River and Lake Huron for our annual, Cigar, Beer, Drambuie, and Salmon Fishing outing....as a kid in Florida and Ohio, all I needed was a pole and a bucket of minnows and a can of worms.

A description of some of those "Fishing Holes" in the photographs are listed below:

Top Left  Me and my Snook that I caught off the Manasota Bridge near Englewood around 1957.  Dad, Stan Houseworth, with his 95 pound Jewfish caught off the North Jetties near Nokomis in the fall of 1956...Jewfish are no longer called by that name due to Politically Correct reasons...screw that, it was what is was, a Jewfish, PC be dammed.  The photo below that is one of the South Jetties I took on my last RV run to Venice in 2005, the town and area have changed, The Jetties?  Not so much!  The Grand Lake photos were taken this morning...left top, the 4H Camp at Harbor Point...where I caught my biggest Black Crappie ever, well over 1 pound, I pulled it in back in the fall of 1962, from right under that tree in the foreground.  The 4H camp was used to house German Prisoners of War back in the 1940s.  Below that is the Hot Water hole along Lake Shore Drive...where, due to the discharge of warm water from the City Power Plant, you could fish all winter.  On the right at the top is Whiskey Run on the Chickasaw Creek, the Jones boys and I could walk from our houses, west of Montezuma, and fish or ice skate here, depending on the season...we did lots of both.  And finally ColdwaterODNR....not!  These days Grand Lake, and the Gulf, to a lesser extent, are 'fished out', the memories and images of those times however, are still with me.

Enjoy your weekend...back later>>>>

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Luebke out duels Billingsley in Match-Up of Western Ohio Hurlers

45 degrees said the Internet weather temperature for the Celina area when I began my daily walk around town and the shore of Grand Lake this morning...I actually slipped on a long sleeve heavy T-shirt as I began the journey.  The sun was shining bright and a light northwest wind was at my back when I started out...50 minutes later, shower done, her I am at the keyboard downing my second cup of coffee.  The main subject of today's blog was settled before Midnight last evening.

Cory Luebke grabs first MLB Victory____

Mercer County, which Celina is the county seat, is home to some 45,000 folks, mostly of the rural German Catholic variety.  It is Ohio's largest agriculture county when it comes to farm receipts, and is home to as good of high school sports teams as you'll find for a place that is 99.5% white as the driven snow.  With those good sports teams, you are bound to get a select group that make the big time...from Jim Otis of Celina in the 70s, to Jim Lachey, Bobby Hoying, and Jeff Hartings, all of St. Henry, in the NFL from the 1980s through the early 2000s.  In baseball,  the great Wally Post of the Cincinnati Reds, also from tiny St. Henry, to the Brunswick brothers from Coldwater who made their marks in the minor leagues before turning to coaching...throw in some great players in the college ranks post and present, this small county is way ahead of the curve when it comes to athletics and academics.  It's something we can all hang our hat's on...while much of the country has turned into a diversified mass of humanity, Mercer County, Ohio, has for the most part, kept it's families, traditions, and lifestyles, in tact.

So it was with interest last night, as I watched the Reds get destroyed by the Colorado Rockies for the 3rd straight game, that I prepared to watch ESPN coverage of the San Diego Padres face off with the Los Angles Dodgers.  Two teams that I have little interest in as a fan...but both sporting area youngsters that I had the chance to stand behind the plate and call balls and strikes when they were in high school.  And they were going to face off in last night's game.

Chad Billingsley of Defiance signed with the Dodgers after they drafted him, right out of high school.  He moved up the latter quickly, and is now one of the mainstays of the LA staff.  Chad graduated in 2002, the same year as youngest son Hal, who was a backup catcher for Celina during the same time...Celina and Defiance are both in the same league, and both had excellent talent that senior season.  But none as good at Chad Billingsley.  The Defiance Bulldogs have for the most part dominated the Western Buckeye League for the past 2 decades, and have Billingsley and Jonathon Niese of the NY Mets, working in the National League, and both doing well.

Cory Luebke is from Maria Stein, a small farming community sitting in Marion Township here in Mercer County.  The Marion Local Flyers are part of the powerful small school conference, The Midwest Athletic Conference.  The MAC has more state championships than any conference in the state of Ohio.  From Football, to Basketball, Baseball, and Volleyball, Cross Country, and Track..it is a top flight league, both academically and athletically.  Marion Local has it's share of state titles in Football, Basketball, and girls Volleyball in recent years...Baseball?  Well baseball has always been an after thought at Marion.  Coldwater, St. Henry, and Parkway, have been the dominate schools in baseball in the MAC....The Flyers?  Not so much.

My youngest son Hal, coached for 5 years at ML during the ACME summer season, that was a frustration for him, because football and basketball were king, and even during the summer, those sports coaches needed the players time and efforts....baseball was second fiddle, it still is.  Not so for Cory Luebke, a 2004 graduate.  Straight out of the Flyers rotation, Cory headed to Ohio State, where he was in the starting rotation for 3 years.  He had been drafted deep in the draft by Pittsburgh, but decided to stay with OSU though his Junior season, and it worked out for the 6'5" lean lefty.  He was drafted in 2007 in the 1st round as a supplemental  by the Padres...3 years bouncing around the minors from  Elsinore, Fort Wayne, San Antonio, and the Portland Beavers, the Padres changed his delivery and he finally got the "call up" from the big club on September 1st....after a rough first 2 innings in his opening start last week, Cory retired the last 9 batters he faced in a 4-3 loss.   Last night, at home he faced fellow western Ohio native Billingsley, and left no doubt he was ready for the bigs.....6 innings 7 strike outs, 2 hits, 1 walk, and no runs later...he was replace by a pinch hitter, and the bullpen did the rest....4-0 was the final, and the Padres, after 10 straight loses, won their 3rd straight, to retain their lead in the NL Western Division.

The story can be found on


Billingsley, now the veteran, pitched well, but was wild and suffered his 9th loss of the season, compared to 11 wins.  For me, it was fun watching 2 guys that I had worked behind the plate while they pitched in high school and American Legion, not all that long ago.
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Tonight it's back to football, as I travel to Waynesfield for a Junior High game....no filling in this Friday, so I will work a JV game at Spencerville on Saturday....as for now, I plan on enjoying the weather, which is as close to perfect as one can expect in western Ohio.

back later>>>>

Photos-The sun was out bright, but the temperatures were cool, in the mid 40s, as I made my way this morning....the sun bouncing off "The Hot Water Hole", and as I rounded the bend on Grand Lake Road, I spotted one of the dozen or so Great Herons in that area, waiting for his breakfast.   Cory Luebke of the Padres out pitched his fellow Western Ohio hurler, Chad Billingsley of the Dodgers in a 4-0 shutout last night.