Sunday, January 30, 2011

Bachelor Party Rewind and awaiting the Snow/Ice Fall...

A Rare Late Sunday Post.....

Usually I don't post on the weekends, but on occasion I want to get things posted and out of the way....

Hal's Bachelor Party____

After finishing up the Junior High games at St. Marys yesterday, I showered and headed south down 127, then crossed into Indiana on US 36 and steered towards the Perfect North Ski Area near the Ohio River, not far from Cincinnati.  Hal, Sam, and a half dozen or so other guys, were already there when I arrived just before 4pm.  Most had spent the day skiing, or tubing(in Sam's case)...and some were doing it for the first time in their lives.  The place was crowded and the weather for skiing was picture perfect.  Warm sun coming down, light winds, and highs in the 40 range.
It's been 30 years or so since I last donned the boots and grabbed the ski poles, as I had choose to let that sleeping dog lay.  I worked at a ski hill in Wisconsin back in the late 70s, and learned on the slopes of upstate New York at Snow Ridge in Turnin, along with my buddy, the late Jack Friedl, in the winter of 70-71.  I liked skiing, but at 61, and the back feeling pretty good these days, no way am I trying that anytime soon, if ever again....I'll let the younger guys go for it.

When done on the slopes, we jumped into our various vehicles, headed for I-275 and backtracked north on I-75 to Covington, Kentucky, just across the river from Cincinnati.  There, 15 of us, gathered in our rooms at the upscale(we had great rates because one of Hal's future brothers-in-law works for the corporation) Marriott RiverCenter, located on the Kentucky side of the Ohio River, right at the river front.  Once in our rooms, the skiing guys grabbed their showers...meanwhile I walked downstairs to bar areas, and see none other that West Virginia Basketball Coach Bobby Huggins walking through the lobby with his bags...I greeted him, he said he was doing great.  It ended up just that, as his Mountaineer team, staying at the same Marriott, defeated his former Cincinnati Bearcat squad later last night.

After the clean up crew was done, we gathered, grabbed 4 cabs and headed the 10 minute drive to the Riverfront "Hooters" Restaurant, where we had plenty of beer and chicken wings, watched Ohio State survive against upstart Northwestern, by a point, and I took plenty of photos.  We let the "Hooter Girls" tease Hal as well...leaving there, we again grabbed cabs and headed to Newport...where we spent the rest of the night, downing beer, shooting pool, and riding the Mechanical Bull....

We kept it pretty well together, with me, as the oldest(and dad) keeping an eye on Hal, so he wouldn't get too many spirits.  I did well until the last bar, when the boys poured a few shots into him, while I was shooting pool....but we made it back to the Marriott in one piece, once there, Sam and Matt, one of Hal's baseball and high school buddies, decided it was time for a White Castle run.  They came back with $47 worth of White Castle products...including 40 "sliders" 20 with cheese, 20 without...a dozen orders of fries, and some chicken rounds.  Talk about revolting!  This morning, I think there were still a dozen or more "items" left.... because some of the guys never made it back to the hotel last night...but by the time we headed out of Kentucky through Cincinnati this morning, a full head count was made, everybody accounted for...and I think the hangovers were minimal.

All-in-all a safe and good time...we did our share to help the local economies of the Tri-State....between $70 lift tickets, several hundred in hotel bills, over $300 at Hooters, cab fares, and gawd knows how many beers and shots at the local bars?  I say we did more for the economy than that asswipe Obama has done in his 2 miserable years in office.

The Iceman Cometh____?

Now with one of three phases of the upcoming marriage of my youngest out of the way, we can concentrate on the next 2 portions.  The wedding in West Virginia next weekend, and the reception in the Dayton area on February 19th.

But first off it appears we will have a major weather problem on our hands starting late tomorrow night, and lasting into the mid and late mid-week.  Hopefully if the predictions are correct(and we are hoping they are not), the mess that appears to be coming will be gone by the time we head east and south towards the mountains of West "by god" Virginia on Friday.

For right now however, they are calling for up to 20 inches of snow north of Celina towards the Michigan line and in Northern Indiana.  We are on the border of snow and the predicted Ice, looking like more ice at this time, which could cause power outages and much worse.  Once the ice/snow storm is finished, brutal cold and winds are expected.  As of now it appears that West Virginia may miss the worst of the storm...our problem is getting through the mess in Ohio and getting there by Friday night, with the wedding set at the lodge for 6pm Saturday.

Stay Tuned....

Top Left:  Hal, 3rd from left, with two of his future brothers-in-laws and his future father-in-law Tim.  The table at Hooters when the night was still young, Hal gets his own "hooters", Hal with Powell and Stump two old school mates from Celina.  Sam, taking his turn on the "Bull". And Stu, Hal's Celina and college buddy, who helped get this party together riding....but all good things end,   Turn out the lights, Hal's Party is just about over!

Below, more photos:
Stump Gets Tossed....

I take my one and only ride of the night... and below the Marriott RiverCenter in Covington, Kentucky

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Grim Reaper...Bachelor Party, and a busy month ahead

Sometimes I wonder why I take girls junior high basketball games?  Sometimes you just leave shaking your head.  Frankly I do those because the athletic directors have a hard time filling games(although with the economy sucking as it does, more guys, qualified or not, are getting into officiating for money...a bad reason), so I help them out...because sometimes, if I scratch their backs, I get baseball Varsity and League games of better quality.  Last night was a long double header, lasting over 2 1/2 hours, with the 8th grade game going into overtime.  By the time I left, the roads were slippery and a nice glaze of ice was under the inch or so of snow that had fallen.  The Jeep roared through the night, down 127 towards Celina, with no problems....keeping it a steady 50 MPH.  Schools north were delayed by 2 hours, no delays in Celina or south, where Patricia teaches.

No game tonight, tomorrow a St Marys boys JH double header in the morning...then I will head south towards Cincinnati and youngest son Hal's bachelor party.  Hal and friends, including Sam, Lisa's brothers, and dad, are meeting up at a ski hill near Lawenceburg, Indiana, which is located on the Ohio River near the tri-state intersection of Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.  They will be skiing and boarding most of the day, I will arrive late and head to the Marriott in north Kentucky, where we will stay the night...after we will hit the town, with me trying to keep Hal from getting too much party punch in.  I know how these type of parties go...and the hangovers can be brutal.  "Been There Done That".  I will head home come Sunday morning after breakfast.

Next week February begins...The wedding weekend kicks it off, as we head to West Virginia on the 4th, for the ceremony which takes place Saturday the 5th.  The reception will be held in Fairborn adjacent to Wright Patterson Air Force Base, on the the meantime when not officiating basketball games, I will be attending baseball rules meetings, and getting ready for the upcoming high school baseball season.  Hopefully the weather will moderate sometime in the next 6 or 7 weeks.  Regardless of weather, it will be a busy time for me and the family.  I get.tired just thinking about it.

A quick look at politics____

As the Obama Administration moves forward, forward to bankrupting this Republic, I watch as his approval numbers rise towards 50%...which means to me that at least 50% of the public are gawd damn fools...or just stupid, rather than evil....a large collection, including the Kenya are however just that...Evil, pure and simple!

This son of a bitch is, if nothing else, the worst President this country has ever seen...topping even Jimmy Carter, and Lyndon Baines Johnson, in my lifetime....right down in the gutter with Woodrow Wilson.  I am now more convinced that ever, he is not an American, but a true "Manchurian Candidate" .  One born in Kenyan, and raised by his white, far left wing, grandparents.  He is nothing more than a sock puppet for one George Soros, and one evil bastard, out to destroy this Republic as we know it.  It's as clear as the nose on ones face...yet 50% of the public is clueless to his plans. It will only get worse, the more people he forces onto the government dole, through higher unemployment rates or through massive spending and handouts, the more people will be beholding to him and his plans...Hello Soviet States of America, Goodbye Republic/United of the United States.

That's my me crazy, because I really don't give a rat's ass.  The one good thing about getting old, 62 in March, is you don't worry about much...what the Hell are they going to do to you?  I know what I see, and I see a evil bastard in charge, and a whole lot of fools buying the snake oil he's selling.

back later>>>>

Attachments:  Top a portrait by Manly Rash/Bottom Snake Oil Salesman by

Thursday, January 27, 2011

....part 2 tasting Micro Brews~Wooden Shoe Brewery

For the third straight day, a light snow or frozen fog has descended on the area.  Games of the Junior High girls are scheduled at Lincolnview tonight, then tomorrow sees my first of 2 straight Fridays, without a game.  Tomorrow night I just don't have one scheduled, next Friday we will be on our way to West Virginia for the wedding, which happens on February 5th.  Brother Mike arrived back in Celina yesterday, after taking mom down to Naples, and then spending two weeks himself.  Saturday morning I will do a boys JH double at St. Marys, then head south to the Cincinnati area, and meet up with the friends of Hal and Lisa, along with Sam and Lisa's dad and brothers, for a skiing and then dinner and night out bachelor party.  Staying at the motel in Northern Kentucky, before heading back to Celina on Sunday morning.

After my "road trip" the back roads to Minster yesterday where I picked up a couple 750ML bottles of the locally brewed ales, a black and a dark brown, I sat down last night to try a glass or two of both.  Here are the results of my "research":

Wooden Shoe Black Ale_____

This Black Ale gets my grade of A-  The only reason for the minus on the A is the lack of a staying head...but really who cares?  Nobody drinks the foam or head anyway.  Deep dark color with  little aftertaste.  For those that like a dark beer, especially dark stouts,  you will like this.  The price for the 750ml bottle is pretty pricey, but it's not like you're going to down a six pack in one sitting, if you are inclined to do that, this is not for you....stick with the standard dark brews, or better yet, head back to drinking pale American Lager Beers.

Wooden Shoe Tippecanoe "Canal Jumper"_____

This Copper Ale gets my grade of C  Just not my type of brew.  A copper colored drink with lots of spice, mostly in the cinnamon flavor...a hint of pepper...if you like this type of ale, with minimum alcohol content(4.5% compared to the Black Ale at 7.5%), you might like this one.  Buy yourself a 25.3 oz bottle and see if you might like it...just not my type, but we all don't agree on what constitutes a brew that we like.  Next time over, I'll buy 2 bottles of the Black Ale, and leave the "Canal Jumper" to others.  I will probably head over on the next Saturday morning that I have open, and see what they have on tap at that small brewery in Minster, Ohio.  I really am interested to see what the have and how the proceed with the brewing process in that limited space.

Errands to run....back later>>>>

Photos~The Brew House of Wooden Shoe in downtown Minster, Ohio...and the two brews I purchased and sampled last night.  My personal favorite Black Ale, and the lower alcohol content Tippecanoe "Canal Jumper"...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Frozen Fog, Back Roads, and Micro Brews....part 1

Much like yesterday, the morning dawned with a misty, frozen fog, in the air...not real cold, about 25, but a damp biting cold, that chills to the bone.

 Local Road Trips_____

 In my younger days, before working a 9 to 5 job, I would often take road trips, usually it didn't matter the time of year.  I would load the Airedales, Rags and Max, into the Jeep Cherokee, and head out...sometimes north to my early childhood home of Scott, Ohio, to visit Grandma Houseworth and her daughters, Eva and Cecil.  On other days, we would just take a tour of the Grand Lake area, and spots around my high school home in Montezuma, on the lake's south side.  Sometimes I would stop, in the summer months, and let the dogs swim around the Windy Point Beach area of the lake...back when it was fairly safe for any living things to swim in the now {supposedly} polluted 13,000 acre mass of water and farm chemicals.

These days, with gas above 3 dollars a gallon, and me approaching Social Security age, I don't do those type road trips saving the road for longer trips on my routes to officiate or umpire, like last nights 100+ mile round trip to Antwerp.  This morning however, I had a burr in my seat and decided the weather looked perfect to climb in the Jeep Wrangler and take the camera and head south and east.

The first stop was along Coldwater Creek, near the old farm where we raised the kids and dozens of Airedales, and where Max and Rags remains are buried, along with a few other Airedales and other mutts from those years...good memories indeed.  The trees along the creek were white from the frozen fog of the overnight, the winding road, scene of many an accident, including some fatal, was snow covered and slippery, the Jeep however, had no problems navigating it regardless of conditions.

I then took the road where I hooked up with US 127 and the state route into Montezuma.  This town hasn't changed much since I spent my high school years living out near the small airport on SR 219.  Those years were from 1963 until I left for the Air Force in the summer of 68...the town hasn't changed much, but the surrounding area has...too much construction, too many subdivisions and too many people trying to put on airs, and overcrowding the entire south side.  It is no longer what it was 40 or 50 years ago. I headed back north to Windy Point State Park....the park isn't used much this time of the year, in fact, with the condition of the lake these days, it isn't used much at all.  The frozen fog shrouded the trees and brush, snow mobile tracks went from the small beach area out into Grand Lake...the quiet was pure as the snow that lay on the ground.

I stood there and took that scene in, snapped some more photos and after 15 or so minutes I headed south stop Whiskey Run.  This is Chickasaw Creek, before it runs into the lake, it is also where I learned to Ice Skate.  I was a pretty good roller skater back in Venice, Florida...learning that at the outdoor tent that was called "Venice Roller Rink".  Learning to ice skate at "Whisky Run" was followed a few years later, at my post Vietnam stop, in upstate New Your, by snow skiing...I always figure, if you gotta live where it's cold, you might as well learn to enjoy the outdoors, regardless of conditions. 

A few more photos and I headed south and east towards Minster, Ohio.   I get to Minster, about 20 miles from Celina several times a year....a Doctor's call at least 2 times for my semi-annual check-ups, and on other occasions to umpire and officiate sporting events.  This time it was to check out the location of the new area sensation, the Wooden Shoe Brewery.

The Wooden Shoe Brewery, in it's initial form many years ago, was the largest employer in Minster, that distinction now belongs to the folks that make my favorite yogurt, Dannon.  Wooden Shoe has been brewed in Cincinnati and Columbus of late, but the small downtown Minster Brewery has a new revival, via the Philpot Family.  It is brewed at a location no bigger than my house, and not nearly as big as some of the upscale dwellings on Minster's northwest side.  The Brewery is open only on Saturdays from 9am to Noon, so with basketball, a wedding, a bachelor party, and a wedding reception taking up the next several Saturdays, it may be March before I get to make a stop at the Brewery today I chose to stop take a couple of photos of the location, and stop next door at Wagner's IGA Store, where they have an excellent supply of all types of speciality beers, including those from Wooden Shoe.  Some that are brewed in Columbus{which are excellent in their own right}.  But today I was looking in particular one of the new locally brewed ale on the list, the Black Ale, a powerful 7.5 alcohol content Schwarzbier Black.  I found what I was looking for in a corked 750 ML Bottle(25.3 ounces)...I also grabbed a like sized bottle of Tippecanoe Canal Jumpers Ale, brewed at the small house next door to have to be from the area to understand the "Canal Jumpers" name,  this lighter colored ale is a bit less in strength at 4.5%

After my purchases, I headed home via a different set of back roads, and within the hour, I was sitting at computer admiring the bottles, worth the price, if only for their style....tonight, with no games to officiate, I will sit down and drink a glass of each, and tomorrow on this blog, I will let you know what I think of both.  I have a feeling that I won't be disappointed!

For more on the history of Wooden Shoe, here is a link: 

back later>>>>

Photos-A collection of foggy ice photos and the New Wooden Shoe Brewery in, the Black Ale that I was interested in, along with another Ale to taste this evening, "Canal Jumpers".  The photos of the icy roads and trees, are from the top...Along Coldwater Creek, south of Celina, looking back towards the old Andrews Farm that we called home for the decade of the 1980s.  Overlooking Grand Lake from the Windy Point Beach area.  "Whiskey Run" along the Chickasaw Creek.  A frozen fog covered fence line near New Bremen, Ohio....and finally the Brewery in Minster where tonight's taste test are brewed, and the large corked bottles of the same.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Summer of '75'~Road Trip for the ages..

Cold, damp, bone chilling damp this morning as I headed uptown to do some banking and other chores...will head north for another Junior High double header tonight.  Last night after the Freshman game at Delphos, I headed to Mt Tabor Church for Dartball.  After beating up on the leagues top teams the past 2 Mondays, last night we reverted back to our season form against a weak opponent...going scoreless in the first 2 games, before breaking out and winning the last of the 3 game set.  As a team we stand 6 wins 6 loses on the 2nd half of the season...I did all right, going 5 for 13 with a couple of RBIs, as my season average inched up to .360, still some 80 points below last year's finish, but the best finish since week #2.

Going out in the cold with it's frozen fog in the air, I realized just how long this winter has become....getting an early start in late November, it has seemed endless, and you can bet that we have at least 2 months to go.  The cold, along with snowy roads, got me to thinking about some of the crazy things I would pull off in the summer of yesteryear.

The Summer of 1975_____
I have written about our summer road trip to Florida some 35 years ago, on more than one occasion, on this blog.  Mike Schilling, Jim Olson, and I decided to take a couple weeks off from our works...Jim's at WCSM Radio(where I would work some 5 years later), Mike with New Idea in Coldwater(he would become a Celina City Cop several years later), and me, taking off from working 6 or 7 days a week at The Red Door, where I combined being manager, bouncer, bartender, and jack-of-all-trades.

We packed 25 cases of beer, Mike and my Kawasaki Dirt Bikes, and enough little white pills to stay awake for the trip down I-75(or at least what was completed at that time)in my old green Ford Van.  That van was something else....I had picked it up a year or so before.  A little rust, no shocks, a bed that folded out from the wall, and enough room to drop down a couple of sleeping bags, if the bikes were removed.  I stuck Patricia with my Coon Dogs, the mutts Genny and Dixie, and Rags the Airedale, to watch while we headed south.  In retrospect it is amazing that my wife to be would stick it out....Taking care of 8 dogs, and taking care of my house, while juggling her job at Celina Group.  Then still be willing to marry me some 18 months later...Amazing, simply amazing!

One flat tire near Cincinnati, the "thrill" of driving the shaky van down the mountains in Tennessee on a construction filled I-75, including Atlanta before the Interstate was completed through that dump, and we arrived in my old home town of Venice, Florida.  There we stayed at Oscar Sheer State Park at Osprey, and waited out several days of rain while we fished the streams and Jetties on the Gulf of Mexico.

After 4 days or so in Venice we headed north...spending a day and drinking beer from the pubs at Busch Gardens near Tampa.  Then it was on to Orlando, where we continued to consume beer by the case, and spent a day at Disney World.  Hard as it is to believe, I think the motel was $25, and the entire day at the theme park was less than that for each of us.  Try that these days....Disney is a rip off to the NT Degree today.

On to Daytona, where we parked the van at the Daytona Beach Campgrounds, which was located a few miles from the beach, south on Highway A1A....We spent most of the next 5 days riding my 250cc on the beach, working on our tans(in Olson's case getting a sever case of sunburn), drinking more beer, as we finished off the original 25 cases...and had to buy more.  10 or so days in, we were almost broke, so we left the heat, hot sun, and some rain, and headed north to Myrtle Beach.  As we crossed into Georgia, with Mike behind the wheel...he says "Cop in the mirror".  A few minutes later a young Georgia State Trooper pulls us over...

I can only imagine his thoughts when he sees 3 long haired leaping gnomes sitting in this hippy looking van(despite the fact that Mike and I were both former Military Police, him having served in the Army as an MP in Korea, while I was the former Air Force Security Police guy with Vietnam credentials)...he looked in at the floor littered with beer cans in the back, and the half asleep Jim looking up from my wall bed.  It turns out he told us...."Looking for a couple of black guys with 2 white girls that just robbed a bank, and they had a van that was described much like yours".  We convinced him, that although tanned, we were not black, and had no women, white or otherwise with us....If I recall he just shook his head, laughed, and told us to have a safe trip north.  Nothing searched, nothing about the beer can litter....we were not who he was looking for, and I think he was as glad as we were.

We continued on our way to Myrtle Beach...spent a day there, parked at a lot next to the beach, so we were able to see the glorious sunrise over the Atlantic...that was enough, I think we may have had enough money left for gas and a snack.  So back north on I-95 then crossing into North Carolina where we headed west to hook back up with I-75.  Our trip would soon come to an end...but the memories outlived the hangovers, and those 2 weeks still rank among the craziest of vacations, although we as a varied collection of 20 something misfits had many others over the next few years, before life moved on and we, at least Mike and me, made efforts to settle down...some of the others, including Jim never have, choosing to stay young in their own minds, and defiant into their 50s and 60s.

This blog story is just the finer points of that trip....I could probably write a short book on all that happened in that 12 or so day time span.

back later>>>>

Photos-Me, in the mid 1970s era of my front of that Ford Van on Daytona Beach June 1975, not sure what ever happened to it, but it was a cheap fun ride while I had it.  The Venice Jetties, this postcard is the South Jetties at Venice, the North Jetties across the inlet was accessed from Nokomis.  Me and Olson at Disney World, much cheaper then than it is these days.  And a Kaw250 off/on road bike same model, but a little clearer than my 1974 ride.

Monday, January 24, 2011

More Snow and the Weekend that Was...

I awoke to Reagan, the aging Airedale, barking as she does every weekend day after Patricia heads off to teach at St. Henry, wanting her morning "biscuit"....Reagan at 12 1/2 years, actually 12 years 6 months and 16 days, is approaching our longest living Airedale age~wise.  Max(1976-1989). the long living stud dog, who produced well into the hundreds of offspring, lived to be 12 years 7 months and 8 Reagan, it appears, will surpass that milestone.  Funny part is, a year ago I wouldn't have given her another 6 months, seems fate has moved in, and despite slowing down, and hard of hearing, she continues to move and eat.

The snow we are currently receiving was supposed to be less than one inch.  However, it appears from the Internet Radar, that that amount will be surpassed and maybe an extra inch or so of the fluffy type will be blown around the county and the deep freeze continues, with a solid core of snow on the ground, with no signs of melting in the forecast.  We of course are most concerned about the outlook for the mountains of West Virginia on the first weekend of February.  Friday February 4th the family heads out for the hills, where youngest son Hal, and his fiancee, Lisa will be married the next day at a remote ski and rafting lodge about an hour out of Charleston, West Virginia.  Roads are tricky in the winter, especially in that part of the world....I have driven the Jeep and RVs through those mountains in the dead of winter, and sometimes it is no treat.  The wedding will be that weekend, with the invite all reception in Fairborn, Ohio, two weekends later, on the 19th.

Plenty of basketball officiating and football watching over the weekend....

JV game at St. Marys on Friday night, with a Junior High double header back at St. Marys Saturday morning, with another boys JV game north to Paulding that night.  The Friday night game went overtime, with the other 3 being "blow outs" on Saturday.  In the college game, Ohio State solidified it's hold on the #1 national spot, with a come-from-behind win at Illinois, and Duke remained hot with a easy win at Wake Forest, and should be ranked #2 or #3 when the polls come out today.

Yesterday afternoon I headed to Nick's with Patrica and Anissa as my Chauffeurs, dropping me off on the south side of the lake, knowing I would drink more than a couple, I didn't need to be behind the wheel of the Jeep, or any other vehicle.  A small group of us smoked cigars, drank some micro~brewery beer, and ate a plate of goulash, while watching the Packers knock off the Bears, then I stayed for the first half of the Steelers/Jets game, which likewise appeared to be a blow out, but ended up, like the first game, close at the end.  Patricia picked me up, and I was home to watch the close played second half.

So it will be the Packers vs Steelers in Super Bowl #whatever...the same weekend we return from West Virginia...Go Packers!  Not that I am a great Green Bay fan(hated them growing up as a Browns fan), but I despise Pittsburgh and their Quarterback, and their double digit IQ ed fans.  "Hate" in a sporting sense, I could really care less about the NFL.  I do however find it amusing how folks act like pro sports, especially NFL Football, is life and death, and somehow is linked to their egos and manhood.  Don't get me wrong, I love sports, but life and death, or worth hating or fighting over?  You gotta be kidding?

Dartball tonight, at Mount Tabor, right after I finish up a Freshman boys game at Delphos St. Johns.  Our team finds itself with a winning record in the second half at 5 up and 4 down, our first above .500 record after any week this season...we will see if we can stay hot this week, especially after beating our 2 old nemeses, Schumm and Mt Carmel, 5 of 6 games the past two weeks.

Looks like I may get the shovel and even the snow blowers out this morning if this keeps out to the great white north...

back later>>>>

Photos-Top Reagan now at 12 1/2 years is approaching the age of our longest living Airedale, Black Max, seen here as a pup in 1976...Max lived to be 12 years 7 months and 8 days, while producing hundreds of AKC Registered Airedale offspring...he indeed lived a good life...And the Super Bowl is set, Green Bay against the Steelers...GO PACKERS!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The "Deep Freeze" is here for a short visit....

1 degree above zero, the Internet said the wind chill factor was -17, and even inside the garage, when out to scoop up the morning seed rations for the Birds and Squirrels the temperature was 16 above...cold indeed.  It will be about 10 for a high today, cold again tonight, and maybe in the low 20s for tomorrow...the forecast for the next week to 10 days doesn't see any major warm up...and snow, albeit light, will stick around.

As I mentioned yesterday, this is the apex of the Winter Season in the Northern Hemisphere...January 21st, by average, is the coldest day of the year....and this time around, it appears to be right on target.  However, with a week and more left in January and the entire month of February to go, 1 above is not likely to stay the coldest day of this long winter.

Spending a decade in south Florida winters, as a child, during my elementary and junior high schools days, seems long ago and many frost bitten fingers and ears past.  We lived in the now historic Edgewood Section of town:

Our idea of winter was a thin layer of ice on the front yard birdbath...which older brother Mike and me would blow up with our moderate collection of firecrackers that we would buy while traveling through Georgia on our summer vacations...then save for special events, one which was tossing them on the ice atop the bird bath.   28 degrees in the mornings were usually as cold as it got...and that may have happened 2 or 3 times a year, usually in January.  Even those days usually warmed into the 60s by mid afternoon.

Since those years during my childhood, most of my winters have been spent in cold northern climates, only Vietnam being the exception...Ohio, Upstate New York, and frigid Northern Wisconsin, among others.  The Mohawk Valley of NY being the snowiest, with the Northwoods of Wisconsin being the most brutal cold.  One day in February 1978 it reached -52 below, without a chill factor, at the water treatment plant in Merrill, Wisconsin...that morning was brutal by any standards.  So cold the battery terminals cracked and broke off in both of our vehicles, even with engine warmers plugged in.  I have never been a fan of winter, but usually have made the most of them...however that winter of 77-78 in Wisconsin was the worst.

Never one to sit around the house or barracks(in my Air Force days), I usually make it a point to get out and about, even in bad weather.  I guess that's why I've tried to have vehicles with 4 wheel drive most of my adult life.  From the Jeep Cherokee that Patricia and I purchased in 1976, which got us through the Wisconsin winters, and those brutal Ohio winters in the years before we moved north, and when we returned here in 1980.  That vehicle only got stuck once in the years I had it...the Jeep Wrangler, since I have purchased it in late 2002, has never been stuck(insert knock on wood).   Even going across the Appalachian Mountains during a major storm in West Virginia shortly after I purchased it to pull behind the RVs I delivered across the country.  I've been lucky, and those Jeeps have helped me with that luck.

Winter, despite my dislike for it, isn't all bad...I learned to snow ski while in upstate New York, honed that skill while working for the Parks Department in Marathon County, Wisconsin...employed during my Broadcast School days at the county owned ski area in Wausau.  Added ice skating to my roller skating skills when we moved from Florida to Ohio.  And even took a shot at ice fishing...that however, was never a favorite, too damn cold, and if the fish were not biting, it was pretty boring in my mind.  These days, basketball officiating keeps me busy during the cold weather months....regardless, for the things done during the cold season,  I dislike winter, and am ready for Spring, just 59 days away.

back later>>>>

Photos-top, this morning the neighborhood birds waiting for the morning rations in the below zero wind chill...and two photos from our house on the corner of School Street and Pineland Avenue in the Edgewood Section of Venice, with sister Marty's cat sitting on top of Dad's Dodge Station Wagon, or was it a Mercury? and brother Mike with our dog Brandy next to the Bird Bath which was the brunt of our firecrackers, every rare time a winter ice would form on it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The "Dead of Winter"....Basketball, College Style

Here we are...the apex of Winter, the days that mark the coldest on average here in the Northern Hemisphere...and it appears that the next few days will be just that.  A light snow is falling as I type, my games have been canceled due to bus concerns from the visiting Kenton team.  I will have that make-up on  February 3rd...the day before we head to West Virginia for youngest son Hal, and his fiancee Lisa's wedding, in the snowy Appalachian Mountains.  After the snow ends here tonight, the bottom will drop out of thermometer, and we will see temps near Zero, with a high tomorrow about 10 above.  Cold and snow will continue through the early days of next week.

January 20th and the surrounding days, one month after winter officially begins, are by record the coldest of the week, those averages will start to slowly, very slowly, climb until July 21st or so...then the warmth apex and downward slide will once again start.  Regardless, the next two months until Spring, will see an increase in average temperatures, and that is indeed welcome, despite the ups and downs.

Winter Entertainment....Basketball___

With no game to officiate last night, and my 2 favorite college basketball teams on the tube, I had my butt glued to the leather recliner, and my eyes to the tube.  Ohio State, where Sam was working the game for and The Big Ten Network, took on Iowa, and the number 1 ranked Buckeyes topped Iowa 70-48 to remain undefeated in both league and overall.  Duke, my personal favorite basketball team over the past 25 years or so, took on instate rival NC State on the road, and came away with a convincing win.  The Blue Devils, ranked #4 or #5, depending on polls, bounced back from last weekends loss at Florida State....the only blemish on their record thus far.

I really enjoy college basketball....on the other hand, you couldn't pay me to walk across the street to watch the garbage played by the "gang bangers" of the NBA.  That crap, while played by great athletes, is boring as Hell in the current form it is played.  Give me the college game, and NHL Hockey on the tube in the winter, that I can watch...NBA, don't even ask me who is in the hunt for the championship, don't know, don't care.

Even with tonight's games canceled, I still have four games on the schedule for tomorrow and Saturday.  Tomorrow night, at a WBL match up at St. Marys, then back to St. Marys Saturday morning for a Junior High double, and then north to Paulding on Saturday night for a non league contest.  In the meantime, I will wait out the snow, to see if I need to fire up the snow machines, and batten down the hatches for the cold that will follow.

back later>>>>

Photos-The look out my Jeep Wrangler windshield this morning at the melting snow and the intersection of Mill and Wayne Streets where they connect...Duke and Kyle Singler bounce back at NC State last night, and Ohio State, now number #1 defeats Iowa...there is a chance that they could meet in late March or early April with much on the line.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Amarillo Air Force Base 1968....The Summer of Basic Training.

Schools in the area from Dayton to the south, to Putnam and Paulding Counties in the north, were shut down today...last nights rain didn't move out in time before the temperatures dropped well below freezing, and ice ended up being the culprit.  I arose early, scarped off the ice from the Jeep Wrangler, and headed the 20 miles south then east down highway 127 and State Route 119 to Minster, for my semi annual check-up.

The blood tests showed no worsening of my pre-Diabetes 2, and my BP was 124/68, heart rate of 63...not bad for someone who turns 62 in less than 8 weeks.  I still need, or at least would like, to lose 10 pounds, dropping down to 178 or so was the original goal when I started in September 2009.  I made 184, and now sit this morning at 188.  The 178-180 range on the 5' 10 1/2 inch frame(as of this morning, guess I've shrunk about an inch over the past few years?) is a reasonable goal.   Doc says I need to get my eyes checked, and he also recommends a pill for a minor toe nail infection...told him, no problem on testing the eyes for any diabetes related problems, but no to the "pill" for toe nails(I'll continue to see if the salve works for now), at least not until my next check up in 6 months, and no flu shots either, have not had one since 1976, and don't plan on getting one either.  But for now it looks like I'll live....unless a heavy rock or some angry fan takes me out.

First Air Force Stop_____

 My year in Vietnam, first at Nha Trang, then at Saigon, is usually the focus of any, or at least most, of my military memories on this blog.  However, my first Air Force year, June 68 thru June 1969, saw me at 3 different Bases before heading over the pond...Amarillo in the Texas Panhandle for Basic Training, Lackland in San Antonio two separate times for Security Police training, and Dover, Delaware, where I patrolled the Nuclear Storage Mounds in the middle of the of Winter 68-69.

When I left the Columbus, Ohio, Airport in late June 1968, for Amarillo, it marked my first time flying.  Many more have come and went since, both during and long after my Air Force days. That first flight however saw stops in Dallas-Fort Worth, then in the small airport at Lubbock, preceded my landing late in the evening at Amarillo that early Summer night of 1968.  The next six weeks would mark the indoctrination into the Air Force lifestyle...a lifestyle frankly, I was never able to embrace.  I wasn't then and never have been able to follow orders or walk the line that says this is the wrong way/this is the right way type of life.  Although I look back at those days as ones that gave me confidence to face the world, I still never could have survived a career of taking orders, I never would have wanted that life...3 years 10 1/2 months was more than enough of the military for me.

I arrived at Amarillo as they were winding down operations, most of the training centers and base operation segments had been moved elsewhere...the Basic Training would cease by the end of the 1968 calender year as well.  My training instructor, or TI as the Air Force called their basic leaders, was Joe Prokop, a burly Staff Sergent from Wisconsin.  As it turned out Joe's bark was much worse than his bite.  My roommates were a couple of hillbilly types, Carter Miller from Arkansas, and Bobby Joe Glover of Alabama.  The training period which lasted through mid August, saw mostly hot dry, days, and cool, cloudless nights.  Two other troops at Amarillo during my stay were the late Ed Bonifus from Coldwater, whom I joined with on the "Buddy System", and fellow Celina resident Chuck Long, a younger brother of one of my high school classmates.

As for Miller and Glover, I never saw them again after basic...Chuck and Ed, I ran into back home(still do in Chuck's case from time to time), and Sgt Prokop?  Well it seems Joe, who passed away a few years back, was a Air Force Security Policeman.  His last words to me before leaving Amarillo for Lakeland for Sky Cop training were, "Houseworth, you'll probably be walking a dog around the perimeter of Tan Son Nhut within the year, yep, you'll end up in don't have the attitude to make it stateside for too long".  It turns out that Joe was pretty close...within that year I was in Vietnam, volunteered because I couldn't stand my NCOIC, a Tech Sarge named Jack Adkins, we called him "Smiling" Jack, and it wasn't a compliment.  I did end up at Tan Son Nhut, as Joe Prokop had predicted, but sans the dog...and one of the first guys I met at the Saigon Airport, there to pick me up, was Joe Prokop.  Joe had reverted back to the duties of a Security Policeman after his tour of duty as a TI, we both worked Security, Joe on A(day) Flight, which I worked over night(C flight)...we tossed down a few beers together before Joe was shipped back to the states in the spring of 1970.   Sadly I found Joe after my Air Force days, but only because I was informed he had passed away back in 2005...he was indeed a good guy.  A career Air Force type, much like Phil Lange, guys who gave their lives to their military careers, but didn't give their souls to the corp.

As for Amarillo_____

When I flew out for Lackland I didn't see Amarillo for a number of years....the base had been long closed by the time I rolled my delivery RV through the Panhandle and into Amarillo in 2003, on the way to San Diego.  I passed and even stopped many times in the next five years...but the Amarillo I knew, the Air Force Base, was only a of the first of my four year AF stint.  Most of the people I met there are nameless faces locked away deep in my memory banks.

No games on schedule tonight, but some snow in the forecast for tomorrow...back later>>>>

Photos-Our Flight just before Graduation in August 1968...Joe Prokop is seen Kneeling 3rd from left in the front row...I'm near the top fifth row, first on left, with one roommate Bobby Joe Glover, over my left shoulder in the back row.  (2)  Me in front of our barracks, with the painted salute to Joe Prokop...and his Prokop's Pups as his flight students were called.  (3) Entry control point at Amarillo, maned by 2 Air Police, which switched to be Security Police a month before I joined the ranks, and now in today's Air Force are called Security Forces, a much more "war trained" group than we could ever hope to be....but we were sent off to defend our bases in Southeast Asia anyhow, with little war training(a couple of weeks at Lackland if we were lucky), and weapons that were good, but hardly heavy enough for what we sometimes faced.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Doc Visit, Dartball, a Cold Forecast, and more Nha Trang 1969...

The cold freezing drizzle from last night, turned to rain with accompanying fog this morning, and as temperatures rose into the upper 30s, our ground cover began to melt....that is not destined to last however, as more snow is forecast for Thursday, then the bottom will drop out of the forecast...lows near zero with single digit high temperatures for the early part of the weekend.

Junior High basketball double last night at Delphos St. Johns, again tonight at St. Marys, then depending on the snow amounts and road conditions, another 6 games starting Thursday and lasting through Saturday Night.  After basketball last night, I headed back to Celina, for Dartball.  We played perinneal champion Schumm Lutheran, out of Van Wert County, whom had swept us 3 games to none early in the season.  Matter of fact, despite beating them a couple of times in tournament play over my 16 years, I can never remember us sweeping them in a 3 game series.  That all changed last night, somehow our struggling team of old men and young untested kids, pulled out a three game sweep, by the scores of 5-3, 4-2, and 6-5, crawling out in the last game from an early 5-nothing hole.  This moves us to 5 wins 4 loses on the second half of the season, after the miserable 6 win 15 loss first half.  Arriving late in the first game,  I went 4 for 9 with a couple triples and 2 RBIs, to move to .357 with 12 runs batted in for the season.  I'm still down about 100 points from last season, but plenty of time left to creep towards .400, if I don't have any terrible nights.

Waking up early this morning, I headed to Minster to get some blood drawn, will head back tomorrow morning for my semi-annual checkup.  Blood Pressure, pre-Diabetes 2 update, and medication renewal.

This morning and early afternoon, I spent checking out a couple of "burned" CDs to see if I should change the music on this jukebox has got some breaks in least certain songs do.  I also down loaded some photos from Nha Trang, that were put on CD, but my old NCOIC, the late Phil Lange, and fellow Sky Cop,  Bill Morgan...I'll add more diverse shots from that time to future posts as we move forward into 2011.

gotta run...back later>>>

Photos from Nha Trang Air Base, me with a V100...we used several of these with our "on call" SAT(Security Alert Team) groups.  TSgt Phil Lange, my NCOIC at Nha Trang, we met 30 years later when we found the VSPA on line, sadly Phil passed away in 2009, but gave me several items from our days at Nha Trang, as well as a life time membership in the Vietnam Security Police Association, before he left this earth.  "Bailey's Speakeasy", our own Security Police hangout..movies, a bar, and the occasional "cook out" when our "gofers" could wrassell up steaks, burgers, and fixings....and the RED STAR marks Nha Trang on the South China Sea...a top Vietnam vacation spot today(and frankly not bad duty in 1969, for being in a war zone).

Monday, January 17, 2011

Mr Ass Hat!

The Comedic Geniuses who handle President Barack Obama need to be given out special praise...from the speech writers, his outgoing press secretary, his wife's wardrobe designers, and those that keep fools like Chris "Tingles" Matthews, Keith Oldblowaman, and Rachel "Mad Dyke" Madcow employed, are to be praised...if for nothing else, for keeping propped up the most incompetent and most useful tool since Jimmy "Peanut Brain" Carter....

I would Call Obummer the Ultimate American Ass Hat...except for the fact, that we still are not sure if this sorry excuse for a human is evan an American....Where is the Birth Certificate Barry?

Needless to say I don't have much to write about is pretty drab, politics is slow, sports I could talk about...Ohio State is now #1 in Basketball, but how long is that going to last?  Nobody is going through this season without a loss, so with Duke having been beat, it remains to be seen, how long the other four undefeated teams can last.  Joining the Buckeyes are San Diego State, Kansas, and Syracuse...all will surly fall before the post season gets underway...or in the SDS case, at least when the post season kicks off.

In the NFL, The mighty Patriots became the second #1 seed to fall over the weekend, following the Atlanta Falcons....both teams were ousted by #6 Wild Card teams...the Falcon by Green Bay, and New England by the Jets.  This leaves the Jets to face Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania and the Packers to head to Chicago against arch rival Da Bears.  I'll take the two Wild Card teams, Jets and Green Bay in the Super Bowl, with the Pack coming out on top...but I've been wrong before.

But back to Ass Hats, or Ass Clowns...take your choice.  Obama is obviously "Top Dog" of all the asses, but I've met a few others...either wandering around a college campus, or in my radio news digging days.  A couple of dandy's come to mind:

1976 Athens, Ohio~Back when "The Boss" Bruce Springsteen played only before small venues.  Little Brucie, with the "big voice" on his 5' 6" frame, was in concert, at Ohio, having a night with nothing to do, I decided to slum with the hippy population of Athens and Ohio U.  As it turned out, one of the worst, most boring, performances I have ever witnessed.  Not that I am into loud, live, concerts...I wasn't impressed by Springsteen, who I considered, and still do, a runt with a big mouth, who would not toss out his far left political bullshit in private, in fear of getting his ass kicked:  So Call "The Runt" err, "The Boss" another Ass it!
1980 Dodge City, Kansas~This was during my News Director stint at KGNO Radio time, and it came down to Bush(1) vs Reagan for the GOP nomination, and Ted "The Swimmer" Kennedy was challenging incumbent, incompetent, the aforementioned, Jimmy Carter for the Socialist Party(aka Democrats) nod.  I was lucky enough to be in on a Reagan press conference(great man), and a Bush conference call.  Carter was a Kansas Primary no show that spring of 1980, but I did get to meet the soused Teddy and a couple of his handlers, he needed more than a few, because usually he had more than a few...although at the time of the interview, I couldn't tell...I just remember him as a self important babbling idiot, which he would remain until the day awhile back when he assumed room temperature.  Yep mark "The Swimmer" down as another Ass Hat, bank that as well.  But I really miss mocking him, that made the far left loons even madder than when you make light and fun of the "Ebony Messiah" who is currently gumming up the works in DC and the world.

Believe me, these 3 dandies are not the only Ass Hats that fester in the deep, smelly, bowels of the American Left...but I've spent enough time wasted on their ilk for today...these three just came to mind while I was sitting here wondering what I was going to write you can see, it and they are not much.

Basketball double tonight at Delphos and then rush back to toss some darts, showing up late again...but Sam home for the long weekend, will take my place, and hopefully last week can repeat itself, and our team makes slow progress. 

back later>>>>

Photos-Ass Hats all, Barry, Brucie, and Teddy....

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sunday: Songs From my Vietnam Year(1969-70)

'I usually don't post on Sundays...but sitting here watching the sun bounce off the snow, I figured, what the heck?  This Sunday is certainly much calmer that last weekend, when the left wing loons were doing their full court "Blame Palin, Fox News, and Right Wing Radio" for the Arizona Shooting.  That turd didn't float, no matter how hard the far left bloggers, and the space cadets on MSNBC and in the NY Times tried...and despite the Obama Cheerleaders at the Tucson Memorial Service, most Americans are not buying it.  So politics be moves on.

Of late I have been posting much about Arizona and the leftist nuts, both here and on Facebook...I figured it was time for a change.  After working 3 basketball games yesterday, as well as 2 on Thursday, and a rough and tumble JV game on Friday night, the rest for the knees, back, and legs are appreciated...10 games(including 3 double headers) await me this week, with my season, which ends in late February, half over, I can say I am looking forward to some late winter rest, before the Baseball season, and a large umpiring schedule, begins in mid March.

The Music of my Life______

I posted some songs on FB the past few days, mostly from the late 60s and early 70s.  Those songs got me to thinking about my year in Vietnam, and how much that music was a large part of our lives during that time.  Of course later on I would become a radio DJ and music would continue to influence my daily activity.  So if I appear to be stuck, at least musically, in the 60s and 70s, so be it....while some of the newer stuff has merit, I just don't enjoy much of it.

When I arrived at Nha Trang Air Base on July 2, 1969...I was a Top 40 contemporary music and radio fan, by the time I left Tan Son Nhut AB on June 29th a year later, I still liked Top 40, but also had gotten into the newer "country rock" and what we called "Head Music" by the likes of Led Zepplin, Cream, and others.  That time between "The Summer of Love(1967)" when I graduated from Celina(Ohio) High School and time after my Air Force days were completed, in May of 1972, were some IMO of the best times for music.  The period between the old rock of Elvis, the newer, but tame stuff, by the Beatles, and the time before,  in the later 70s that the garbage knows as "Disco" appeared on the scene.  Of course Disco was nowhere as bad as the crap known as "Rap" that still infests the music world today, or worse yet, the trash that so-called performers like Lady Gag-Me, and others put out as "music"....anyway, back to the Summer of 69 and some of the songs that were on AFVN(Armed Forces Radio in Vietnam) when I stepped off that C-130 at Nha Trang, that sunny, hot, and humid day, in early July.

Here are a few of the songs in their original forms:

David Clayton and Blood, Sweat, and Tears, had several hits in a short time:  "Spinning Wheel" was one I remember from my early days at Nha Trang: 

Kenny Rogers, before he was country icon, performed with "The First Edition" group...the song about a returning disabled Vietnam Veteran was still being played on AFVN when I arrived in-country:

And one of my favorite artists, as hokey as it sometimes sounds today, back in 1969 was Glenn Campbell, who followed up his "Wichita Lineman" with the Jim Webb classic about a solider in Vietnam singing about his town and girl back in Texas..."Galveston": 

And finally "Galveston", a more poignant version by the song writer/singer himself Jimmy Webb, on a salute to Vietnam Veterans on you tube: 

Damn, that wasn't hard....enjoy the remainder of the weekend, back later>>>>>

Photos/Pictures~PRH a couple of months after arriving at Nha Trang on the South China Sea, playing "Sky Cop" with the 14th shift Law Enforcement was pretty easy duty in a "war zone"...and the album and .45 covers of BS&T, The First Edition, and Glenn Campbell back in the Summer of 1969