Thursday, March 31, 2011

Out Like A Lamb? Baseball, Snow, and Opening Day...

Soon after getting done posting yesterday's short entry on "The Rant", I walked outside, and says to myself "Sheet, it's colder than heck out"...and here I was with a varsity baseball game scheduled at Convoy, between Crestview and Delphos St. Johns.  The forecast was for breaking clouds...not good baseball weather by any means, but not so bad that the game wouldn't get played.  It appeared however that the Weather Channel gerbils had missed that 40 degree and sunny thing.  About an hour later more proof positive, large snow flakes started to blow by, and looking back at the weather on the Internet, we had a "Special Weather Alert" posted.  That forecast said highs near 32, but the heavy at times snow wouldn't stick much because of the warmer ground...this time they got it right, just a dusting, but with temps in the low 30s, the game was canceled.  Given the fact that I don't tend to warm up as quick as I used to...I wasn't really put out when I got the e-mail saying the game was off.

So I am now 2 games in 1 game off out of the first 3....we will try it again tonight, this time up in Putnam County, where the Ottoville Big Green will host Ayresville.  My old buddy Jim from Rockford will be my umpiring partner tonight...we usually have interesting games, besides our attitude and ages match up pretty well.  Tomorrow the rain may be back, and frankly 7 out of the next 10 days have some kind of precipitation in the's always a crap shoot the first couple of weeks of the season.  This looks like one of those we may roll "snake eyes" in both temperatures and rain.  March came in like a lion...45 or so and sunshine today, hardly Lamb like, but maybe a toothless lion instead.

That is the frustrating thing about early Spring in Ohio and the Midwest in want winter to end, but when it does, you sometimes get stuck with 2 months(April and May) of "in between" type weather conditions.  Wind, Snow, Cold, Tornadoes, Heavy Rains, etc.

Major League Baseball opens today, they are calling for 47 and cloudy in Cincinnati.

For many years I attended opening day in Cincy....and over those years, I saw it as warm as 80 degrees for the opener, but I've have also seen the opposite.  I remember 15 years or so ago, Bill Clem and I went down to old Riverfront for the opener.  We had upper seats...I mean upper.  I think we were just 3 rows from the top, so far up that the beer vendors wouldn't even climb that high to sell us their goods.  You could look out across the Ohio River to the Kentucky side and watch the snow flakes drift across the time and temperature sign, which read 35 for most of the afternoon.  I think that was the year I finally gave up the ghost of going to every opening day....just too damn unpredictable was the weather conditions.  Better to sit at home, or in a bar, where you knew it would be 70 and the beer would be cheaper.

Here is an ode to Opening Day____ 

Never liked Fogerty's politics, but always loved his CCR and other music....some great old baseball video on that youtube version. 

So, that wraps it up for this morning....The Reds get underway at 2pm or so, I'll watch a bit of that, then climb into the car and head the 45 miles north with cold weather gear in tow, and get ready for my own game.

back later>>>>

Photos-Sometimes in March, the Lamb never makes it out....I have umpired many times in snowy conditions, trust me, it's never fun....and yes Virginia, the snow season is not done just actually looks like the East Coast could get a dozy of a storm this weekend...the track it takes may decide whether it's a snow or heavy rain event.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday Wanderings....

Really not much to write about these days....

Baseball has gotten off to a cold start, but at least so far the games have gotten played.   Last night a Varsity game at St. Marys with league rival, Van Wert(although not counted in league standings, those start in about 10 days)...I did the bases again, and watched as the home standing Roughriders put 8 across the plate in the bottom of the 5th, and held on for a 11-8 win.  Temperatures hovered around 40 as the 2 1/2 game ran rather long.  Tonight, no warm up, in fact, some snow showers in the area, as I head north to work another fact it appears that, despite the cold conditions, most, if not all games will be played this week.  A rare occurrence indeed for the first week of the season, especially when it begins in March.

On the other fronts, politics stay status quo...Obammy continues to lie like a sleeping dog about the situation in Libya...the Republicans and my Congressman, Speaker John Boehner, continue to cave to the Democrats on Obammy Care and budget spending.. "Just shut the gawd damn Government down, and be done with it".  We put you in to cut spending....not compromise with that Kenyan S.O.B.  Follow the Tea Party Freshman, or get the Hell out of the way....

The Major League Baseball season begins tomorrow...

For many years the Cincinnati Reds did the traditional opener for MLB...but since ESPN got their fingers in the pie, MLB has prostituted the opening day ceremony.  Sure the Reds still get to open at home, but no longer are they the first and only team to get an early start, and it's not even on Monday anymore.   One more thing professional sports has flushed down the crapper.  So tomorrow the Reds open against their division rivals, the Milwaukee Brewers at the Great American Ballpark at 2:10pm.  Glad the season is kicking if the weather would just cooperate.

That's about it in my world....things are moving slowly but steady....come on 70 degree weather, I'm ready to get the Hell out of the house for more than just baseball....cigars and a few good beers in the sunshine do wonders for one's mental and physical outlook.

back later>>>>

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baseball, Day #1 out of the way....

Cloudy and continued cool today...the rest of the week looks to be the same...40 something for highs with a rain or snow shower in the region.  Warm Spring days are going to be slow getting here I fear....

Yesterday I traveled 40 miles or so north to Paulding to work my first regular season game of the year....albeit a JV game, it was still good to get the rust off.  After working scrimmages behind the plate, I did the bases yesterday, and will again tonight in a Varsity contest between Van Wert and St. Marys...two WBL teams, playing in a non league contest.  They will meet again in April, and today's partner Terry and I will have that game as well...I'll take the plate for that one.

Depending on rain, cold, or snow, I have 7 games, 4 Varsity, the JV game from yesterday, and a JV double header here in Celina on Saturday....after that, my schedule calls for 36 Varsity and just one more JV contest, before kicking off the Tournament Season on May 7th....I'm just hoping to get most in, and with some sunny warm days to work with.  Spring weather drives me know it's eventually going to warm up, but how quick and how consistent it will be, is always a mystery.

That's about it for this post....I would talk about the Kenyan and his speech about what the Hell we are doing in Libya that he gave in prime time last night...but, damn!  I forgot to watch.....too busy watching women's basketball tournament action.  I'd rather have root canal than listen to the sorry Commander and Thief spew BS and I won't comment.

back later>>>>

Monday, March 28, 2011

Play Ball!!! Let the season begin....

Sunny, windy, and cold over the weekend, typical late March weather.  Temps in the upper 30s, lows near 20, and a bite to the air.  The week ahead, the first of the high school baseball season in Ohio, looks much the same.  High in the low 40s...some snow by Wednesday, and a mixed bag for Friday....the first week of the season usually goes something like this, lots of cancellations, and a mixed bag of conditions.  This season?  Time will tell.

Tonight I have on the schedule a Junior Varsity contest...of the 45 on my docket, only 4 are non varsity, today being one, with this Saturday a JV double header here in Celina...after that, all but one, a JV game in Celina April 15th, will be Varsity many the rain and cold will knock out, is always a crap shoot.  I prefer few cancellations, but getting anything above 65% in is a good spring.  I already received a tournament assignment, today being the first day those are allowed to be handed out.  A double header Sectional D4 request at Crestview on May 7th...a place where I have done many a game over the last decade plus.  The District, Regional, and State assignments will be handed out later...not sure what, if any I get, but regardless, I am looking forward to baseball far the favorite of the three sports I officiate, just like it was my favorite to play and coach.

Hockey and Basketball Final Four Set____

The NCAA Final Four was decided in both basketball and hockey over the weekend...the basketball, needless to say, was a bracket busting weekend.  Duke, Kansas, and Ohio State, all joined Pittsburgh, as Number 1 seeds on the sidelines....Butler a 8, Virginia Commonwealth an 11(tying for the lowest seed ever), Kentucky a four, and UConn a 3, made the show, with nary a one or two seed getting to the dance.  Go Butler!

Meanwhile Hockey's Frozen Four were decided in a busy weekend...Miami Ohio, with Celina's Cody Riechard in goal, were ousted by New Hampshire.  Cody had a great game, making 31 of 33 saves, but the Redhawks, a number 1 seed, could provide him no offense in a 3-1 loss(the final goal coming with a empty net).  New Hampshire was ousted by Notre Dame last night to set the final 4 with two teams each from the CCHA and WHA.   Michigan, joins the Irish, Minnesota Duluth, and North Dakota in the finals at St. Paul in 10 days....Go "Fighting Sioux".  The NCAA hates the Sioux, because of the nickname.  The "bean counters" have been trying to blackmail North Dakota into dropping the nickname, and it appeared successful until last week when the North Dakota Governor, House and Senate, passed a law deeming that the nickname will stay.  Expect a court fight from the politically correct assclowns in the NCAA.

Go North Dakota!  

So the last week of March the end of this one, it will be April, and Spring, with the snow, rain, sun, wind, warm and cold, will have began in full....get out and enjoy!

back later>>>>

Photos-top left...Baseball begins, that is me, about 25 pounds heavier, and a couple of years younger, working the plate....Hockey's Frozen Four kicks off in St. Paul on April 7th. Celina's Cody Riechard in goal for Miami...and The Fighting Sioux...The team logo and name the PC Brigade at the NCAA hates...screw those asshats...Go Fighting Sioux!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Duke Goes Down in Flames...and Why the Rabid Left Hates Sarah Palin...

Winter like conditions, albeit late winter like, have returned to western Ohio.  No rain overnight, but temps dropped into the low 20s and highs will only reach the upper 30s to near 40 for the next few days.  Tomorrow I am scheduled to do my final scrimmage game before the season kicks off on Monday(weather permitting of course).  The conditions, if the game is played at Convoy, are going to be pretty cold...mid to upper 30s by the scheduled time of 11am.  Guess I will get the hand and feet warmers out, and long johns ready to go.  All of next week looks below normal, although not as wet as previously called for.

My interest in the March Madness of the NCAA Tournament took a big hit last night, as my beloved Duke Blue Devils were knocked out by Arizona.  Building a 13 point first half lead, which dwindled to a half dozen by the half, Duke was completely outclassed in the second half by the Wildcats...and fell 93-77.  Something few of us saw...I know I didn't.  By the time the debacle was completed, I had downed a few too many stouts to care, meanwhile, Wisconsin was shown the door by last year's runners up, Butler.  UConn(the team I hate most) and Florida also moved on.  This leaves me Ohio State to root for, as the Buckeyes take on Kentucky in the late game in Newark, New Jersey tonight. 

The rabid left and their hate for Sarah Palin____

The hate, fear, and loathing, on the far left and by "moderate" Republicans(see RINOS) for former Alaska Governor and VP Candidate Sarah Palin is something to behold....and it just keeps getting worse, or more entertaining, depending on your state of mind.  The usual turds flung at her are "stupid", "quitter", blah, blah, blah,...same old tired crap.  Palin, if she runs, will be the most despised Presidential candidate ever...the hate she will receive will make George Bush look like Che' in the eyes of the losers on the left side of the isle.

You gotta wonder why the extent of hate for Palin....most of it is of course fear and envy.  The usual suspects like the fat, ugly, hogs on the "The View", and the non-comic, woman abusing, Bill Maher, are easy to figure out....envy, and jealousy.  She is everything, and has everything, they don't.  Looks, a family, and brains....and the belief in God, which they really despise.  

In today's issue of American Thinker, a recovering female liberal, gives her thoughts on what is really behind the hate...check it out, it is an interesting read: 

Actually the article/opinion piece was written back in late January, but it still rings true in light of today's headlines....and before any of you lefties decide to leave a comment in disagreement...don't bother, it will be gone in a New York moment....the days of free speech on this, my blog, are long gone.  Get your own....which like your favorite radio or TV talk opinion show, nobody cares about or listens to.

So that about wraps it up for today...this Friday March 25, 2011....back later>>>>

Photos-Duke goes down...  :(   Bill Maher is the poster child of the hate filled rabid left....and Sarah Palin is enemy #1 of the left....

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Rain(some snow) and Trimming the Cat...

For the third straight evening thunderstorms and heavy rains pounded the Celina and western Ohio region.   The days have been mostly cloudy and dry, but when night arrives, the storms move across the flatland through Indiana into our region of The Buckeye State.  I'm guessing three, maybe four inches of rain, over the 3 nights.  Last night it stuck around until the outside temperatures dropped enough to change it over to a bit of snow...just a dusting, but snow none-the-less. The warmer conditions we have had for most of the past couple of weeks are gone with the strong winds of last evening....the temperatures dropped into the 20s, and for the next week or so, it looks like highs in the 30s and 40s will be the norm, rather than the 50s and 60s we have had most of the past 10 days or so.

Once again scheduled for a scrimmage in Delphos tonight, however, that has little chance of getting in...if it does, it will be cold, the grounds wet, and the conditions miserable....I'm guessing it will be canceled, and frankly, in this weather, that is fine with me.

Basketball is going to be in the forefront this weekend, starting today.  Here in Ohio, the Boys State Basketball Tournament will be held at Ohio State in Columbus.  Four Divisions, 16 teams, over the next 3 days.  No local teams made the show, the closest will be Houston form Shelby County, and Continental from Putnam County in Division IV.  I had Continental early in the year....they are a senior laden team, with plenty of experience...and should make a good showing.  Sam will be working the video scoreboard and baseline camera for most of the games...I think he told me he had all 8 Semi Finals, and 2 of the Finals....and will work the Ohio State Softball double header on Saturday as well.   Majoring in Actuarial Science, he sure seems to be enjoying working his time for OSU.COM and the Big Ten Network.  Good experience and good pay, plus he will umpire his share of high school contests this spring as well.   Meanwhile his GPA continues to be "above average"...I think he is somewhere between 3.3 and 3.4 in the Math and Calculus laden major.  Down somewhat, but when working as much as he is....pretty hard to stay at 3.7 or above.

While the Ohio HS Tournament is going on, the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Men and Women Tournament's will continue.  Both the Ohio State and Duke, men and womens teams are still alive.   On the men's side, which frankly is all I am interested in, being the chauvinistic pig I am, Duke plays late tonight against Arizona, while OSU takes on the Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow evening in New Jersey.  So even with lousy weather, I can vegetate on the leather recliner and watch hoops.

Getting the Cat Trimmed_____

I'm not a cat person, I'm a dog person....however, over the years Patricia and I have had several felines, albeit mostly the outdoor variety.  We had dozens come and go while living on the farm on Coldwater Creek....but house cats, except for one some 35 years ago were not on my list of things to accept.  That change a few years back, about 11 to be exact.

We were visiting my father-in-law, who had a gaggle of feral cats hanging around his lake country home in southeast Wisconsin.  Most of those wild things would scatter as soon as the saw anybody but Bill himself.  On one trip over Thanksgiving, Anissa managed to capture one of the young ones who was looking half frozen.  She dragged the furry beast inside and took care of it for the next few days.  By the time we were ready to head back to Ohio, the cat, which they had named Precious, was in a carry box and on her way back with us.  The intention was to give her to one of Patricia's friends who lived in the country...that was over a decade ago, and "The Cat"(you know I'm not calling any animal "Precious") is still with us.

Basically a harmless cat, who has been outside maybe 5 times since she has lived with us, except for the fact she is long haired, and that hair is a mess at times.  So on occasion, she goes to the Pet Center and gets a trim...this morning, is one of those appointment days.  The cat has survived being locked out, survived Airedale attacks when Jack and Duke were alive, and has manage to co-exist with Reagan someone.  Given the fact that Airedales are natural cat killers, it took a few weeks to get Reagan to leave her alone, most days they just ignore each other, although if one of the neighbor's cats walks by, the again Airedale still tries to go through the window to get to it.  Go figure.....

So that's my day...unless the scrimmage game gets played, I'm taking the cat to get trimmed...and figure out what else to do when I get back...which will be later>>>>

Photos-"The Cat" before the trim....not knowing what's in store for her...a bit of snow this morning on the porch, and Basketball's "March Madness" continues..."The Cat" after the trim....Lion like and not real happy!


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Personal Photography 101

As predicted on yesterday's post, my scrimmage game was rained out at Delphos.  I really didn't mind that, because it was wet, windy, and raw.  Today looks to be wet, but warmer, near 60...and that might be the last of the warm part, for quite a few days.  The early spring forecast for baseball or anything else outdoors does not look good at all.  But we will play the cards as Mother Nature deals them, and steal the good days and games we get in as we can.

Tomorrow I am scheduled again at Delphos, and then Saturday morning at Convoy...the temperatures for both days scheduled in the upper 30s, as they are for the opening day of the High School season next Monday, the 28th, at Paulding.  That forecast chills me to the bone...but I've umpired in the snow and cold many a day over the years....and will again, it appears, this season.


Yesterday I talked about gaffes when writing on this blog....and those that slipped my "edits".  My photography is much like my writing.  I am not a photographer, except in the most amateur sense of the word.  I enjoy it, and I thank whomever came up with the digital camera idea.  I cannot count the number of bad photos that I wasted film and money in getting developed.  The digital camera thingy gave me freedom to take as many photos, good and bad, as I could manage...and boy did I click the shutter on some stinkers.  Regardless though, I have come up with some good photos, at least in my opinion, at various times and locations.

IMO, my best work is in the outdoor field, I'm just not as good at action or face shots of people....except on rare occasions.  My favorite photography is of night photos.  I especially remember one that was hanging on a wall that housed the AAA building in Van Wert, my birth town.  It was a real photo night time shot of Main Street in Van Wert, back in 1937 on a summer evening.  The AAA building had housed the old movie theater, and the photo looked west down Main(US 30 at the time, The Lincoln Highway) towards the court house and Washington Street(US 127).  The movie, of which the name escapes me, was an old Bob Hope flick from that year.  Great, great, photo, wish I had a copy.  The one on the wall was a blown up huge shot that measured about 36 x 24 inches.

Yesterday I messed around with a night lightning photograph I had snapped with my old Nikon 35mm on a stormy summer evening back in July of 1997.  I sat out on the porch and snapped probably 3 dozen photos with high speed film and open shutter...this was the best one I got.  It silhouetted the old Mersman Factory, which was abandoned at the time. Now, as documented on this blog over the demolition period from 2008 through 2009, it has been demolished and replaced by bare ground on the south side, and a new Senior Citizen complex on the north end.   

Anyway I went to my Lennox photo studio and did some work with this photo....I ended up using the sepia image as my computer wall paper.  I usually try to change those with the season, so out with the frozen sepia image of the St Marys River, and in with the 1997 lightning shot.

Contained on today's post are various looks at the night shot, as I worked on it yesterday.  All enhanced with my photo suite, but none "photo shopped".

Back Later>>>>

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More Rain, Yo-Yo Temps, A Baseball Scrimmage in anyway...writing gaffes

Headed the 20 or so miles east to Wapakoneta (hometown of first man on the Moon, Neil Armstrong) about 3:40 yesterday afternoon.  On the agenda was a varsity scrimmage between the hometown Redskins and visiting Marion Local from here in Mercer County.  Youngest son Hal coached summer ACME(High School) baseball for a handful of years after he graduated from high school back in 2002, while he was attending Wright State's branch campus in Celina.  I knew a few of the older players, and the assistant coach and I go back some 30 years.  Back the the day I was broadcasting sports play-by-play, and he was assistant basketball coach at Marion Local.

I once again donned the plate gear, and waited for my partner, a local from Wapak was my partner, and he did the bases.  This was the Redskins 3rd scrimmage, while the Flyers were getting their first in.  With temperatures in the mid 60s and a mix of sun and clouds, I actually worked up a small sweat behind the plate while in full gear.....2 1/2 hours later I headed for home.  Two scrimmages in 2 tries, not bad for March.  Will I make it three of three tonight at Delphos?  In a word "NO".  Once again overnight, we got hammered big time by thunder, lightning, and storms...I suspect a full inch of rain fell, and by the looks of the Radar, Delphos, 30 miles to the north and east, wasn't spared I'm guessing tonight's contest will be a wash.  I am scheduled to be back in at the same location Thursday, and that day looks like snow is a possibility.

The temperatures and moister conditions will flux over the next week to 10 days, so not sure how many scrimmages, if any more, we will get in before the opener at Paulding on the 28th.  Today in the 40s, tomorrow in the 60s, and then only upper 30s for Thursday...such is early Spring, at least in this part of the country.


I've never considered myself a "writer" per say, but I do enjoy "writing", at least putting my thoughts down on paper, or in this case in cyberspace.  On occasion I check back on past posts, either because somebody visited them from a certain town or location, or because some fool has left spam, or another fool has left some hated comment about me or my thoughts on politics.  Liberals are such gawd damn fools.  Usually writing little hit pieces, of course they seldom or never leave a real name, preferring to be listed as anonymous.  Thus proving left wingers, just like their hero Obama, are basically gutless bastards.  Anyway back to the point which I got off track on....

Someone had visited a post from back in January of this year about my days at Amarillo Air Force Base....they didn't leave a comment, however when I started to read the blog post, I was appalled by the grammatical errors that I had typed out.  So I went back and corrected those that I found.  I then got to thinking...How the Hell did I write that bad on January 19th?  I also wondered, how many more blatant mistakes have I made over the past 3 years 8 months I have been writing this thing?

As I said, I don't claim to be a writer, but I would like to think, in these days of spell check, and my own proof reading, I could do better than I did that day.  Was I tired, hungover, was it a night written post after a few dark stouts?  Not sure, I know this blog has evolved since I began it in July 2007, but I shutter to think about going back over 900 postings and finding the, I won't.  However, when checking certain posts from the past, I will make an effort to correct my mistakes, so as not to look like a total fool....although I'm sure "progressive" types would still find me that.  But you already know how much(or little) I care about, or value, their opinions.

back later>>>>

Photos-A night lightning shot taken off my front porch years ago, looking out at the old Mersman Factory, which has been torn down, as followed on this blog over the years...this is a Sepia version of the photo....I've worked out various color schemes.  Two Scrimmages, 2 games behind the plate, and although "spell check" takes the pain out of misspellings like "SOTP" doesn't catch all my grammatical mistakes.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Basketball Brackets and the Eastern World Exploding

Thunderstorms rolled through West Ohio last night, dumping probably a half inch or so of rain...something we didn't need, but it is after all, that time of year.  More rain is predicted over the next two weeks, along with varying degrees of warm seasonable and cold temperatures.  That's the end of winter and the beginning of Spring for you...Spring officially got underway yesterday, today, March 21st is the first full day of the new season.

Our esteemed Kenyan and Thief, one Barack Barry Soetoro Obama, is off to Rio, and while he was away he decided to attack Omer Qaddafi(the son of a bitches name is spelled 14 different ways in the media, so who cares how I spell it?) and Libya.  Of course he says the US is not at the forefront, putting the blame on the French(frogs leading military action? Sure) and the Brits.  And while Obammy was saying that, there were 114 tomahawk missiles dumped into Libya...112 came from the US.  So who is leading the charge?

US Military leaders(talk about oxymoron) say killing or removing Qaddafi is not the reason for the mission.  We had an old saying in the Air Force .."Mission? Mission?, F**k the Mission"...there is no mission, except to save Obammy's sorry ass in front of the American people and the world.  Obama is trying to keep his left wing base in line, while keeping corporate America happy, and driving more of the middle class to bankruptcy, so they will become wards of the state.  That is the liberal mindset...the more people on the public dole, the more Democrat voters there will be.  God help our kids and grand kids....these sons a bitches are leading them down the path to serfdom, and they don't even realize it.  It may be too late to change the course...but let's hope the remaining patriots have enough power to stop these evil bastards in their tracks.  I'm in for the fun!

As the Lybia mess was driving the Japan nuclear crisis off the front pages, and off the 24/7 news cycle, the NCAA Basketball Tournament was paring it's numbers from 68 to 64, and finally over the weekend, down to the Sweet 16.  The "Right Side" of my brackets were "blown up"...but I still am in the top 9% of ESPN's Tournament Challenge: 

With Ohio State and Duke left...I could finish in the top 10%....but I've got some empty spots.

Meanwhile on the court...The Big East Conference proved once again, it was overrated.  11 teams in, by far the most of any league(Big Ten had just 7 with the ACC only 4)...they have the most "out" already...just 2 of the 11 remain.   Meanwhile Duke slipped by Michigan 73-71 and Ohio State, with Kentucky up next, smashed George Mason 98-62.  Leading by 52-26 at the half, the Buckeyes cruised to an easy win...they must be considered the favorite now...but that hasn't meant much so far.  The ACC with only 4 teams to start, has the most, three, left...Duke, UNC, and Florida State.  The Big Ten and Big "Least" each have 2.

Baseball Umpire Class_____
On Saturday I joined a dozen other veteran umpires at Parkway High School in Rockford, Ohio, as an instructor for a group of 30 other umps....some first year guys, some older ones, just trying to improve their game.  I should say instructor only in the sense I got a T-Shirt saying so, and video taped the guys working with the Parkway Panther High School team.   I did give the younger guys my views on their work, so I guess I instructed some...whether they choose to accept my advice, or the others, is strictly up to them.   I know when I was just getting back into umpire work a dozen years ago, I took each piece of information I got, and decided for myself if it would work for me.  I even learned a few things Saturday, that I will try, as the season begins in full next week.

In the meantime, we will struggle to get scrimmages in.  I have four scheduled for this week, starting today at Wapakoneta, but after last nights rain, I'm not sure if we will get that in.   The forecast doesn't look any better for Tuesday and Thursday at Delphos, with cold and flurries for Saturday's contest at Convoy Crestview.

Super Full Moon___

Did anybody else stay awake for the "Super Full Moon" on Saturday night?  I walked out on the back steps at Midnight...and snapped a couple of shots through the haze.  I've seen some real good shots, including from my Vietnam Sky Cop Buddy Mushy:

Mine?  Hey, I don't put film in my 35MM anymore...back then I got some good shots, but nowdays with the point and shoot digital...night photography is limited to standing still shots...the moon, when full like this, is just too bright to get clear shots, unless you have the proper camera, lens, and shutter speed...this is as good as it got for me.  Hazy and Halloween like....

Out to enjoy the day....

back later>>>>

Friday, March 18, 2011

Take Me Out to the Ballgame!

A windy and warm St. Patrick's Day...temps near 70, with a solid breeze from the south.  I had gotten an offer for Ada High School to umpire it's first scrimmage.  So despite being 50 miles each way...I took the offer.  What the heck?  $60 to work a couple of hours in the sunshine...a chance to kick the rust off the gear, and see if I could call balls and strikes.  That sounded good to me.

Arrived at 4:15, met up with the other ump, Dave out of Findlay.  I would work the plate as Jackson Center would take on the home standing Bulldogs...both teams first opportunity to work outdoors.  Both squads actually played fairy well, and we went a little over two hours as everybody on both teams saw some action.  Once done, about 7:15, I headed back towards Lima to fill the tank up, and then home to Celina.

On the way home, I tuned in the Van Wert vs Rocky River Regional D2 game.  The Cougars pulled to a 6 point lead with about 2 minutes left...and for some unknown reason, they decided to keep shooting, 3 pointers no less, and it didn't work out.  They blew the lead, and RR popped in a 3 pointer of their own with 10 seconds left, to come away with a 54-52 win, and move on to the Regional Finals against Toledo Scott.  While the boys are in the Regional, Sam is working camera for the Girls State Tournament in Columbus.  Local team Fort Loramie won it's semi final game in D4, while Delphos Jefferson was defeated by 2...this afternoon in D3, Fort Recovery and Anna take each other on at 1pm.   Two teams that are familiar with each other, both schools are part of the MAC in Football, so the fans and teams a good area mix.

Meanwhile, how are your NCAA Brackets doing?

My southeast and southwest brackets took a hit yesterday...especially with Louisville and St. Johns, out of the Big "Least" Conference, getting beat....both the Blue Devils out of Duke, and Ohio State play their first round games this afternoon.  I suspect both will win without major problems, however, after Louisville getting knocked off by Morehead State yesterday, you never know.

Nothing going on for me tonight, but tomorrow, up early to work as an instructor at Rockford for the Umpire Clinic that our Van Wert association is putting on for area baseball umpires....that will take care of 6 hours to kick off the weekend.  It appears the temperatures will drop, but still remain near or above normal, with some sunshine.

Get out and enjoy the weekend if you can...I plan on it.

back later>>>>

Photos-Yep, it's only mid March, but days like today and yesterday get you in the mood for getting ready to plant, ready for baseball, and other Spring Activities...but I know, reality will set back in soon enough, after all, it's still mid March.  The NCAA will trim another 16 teams off the brackets today, and half that before the weekend comes to a close.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Paddy's Day!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Not a lot of time today....temps heading towards 70 with wind and sun....So, I'm out to enjoy, and be back later...

The Irish side of me(about 50% of the Ancestors) is smiling...go have a good one!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sixty Two!

After a all day rain, the ground is saturated once again, putting a delay into any scrimmages that might be scheduled.  Looks like today and tomorrow will dry things off, but more rain of Friday, cooler, but sunny for the weekend.  Next week looks like a typical March...some rain, some sun, some cool, and some above normal I said, typical March.

The Big 6-2

One thing about Birthdays, at least in my case, I've really never thought much about them.  I know my wife asked if I wanted a Cheese Cake or something else fixed, and what I wanted for the day....I declined, I've spent the past 18 months watching my weight, and lost 25 pounds...the past few months, the scale has turned 3 or 4 pounds upwards.  I suspect the Stout Beer is keeping me from the continued drop, carb and calorie wise, it is far less weight friendly than my old stand-by, Miller Lite.  So from a low of 185...I've have been slowly creeping up towards the 190 mark.  Sure, that is nothing compared to the 225 a few years ago, or the 214 when I was dicovered to have high blood pressure and a touch of pre-diabetes 2...but I still planned on droping down to 180, and now, instead of 5 pounds more to drop, I'm closer to OK...No Cake for me!

62 has really some significance except that I can cash in on my Social Security, if I choose to do so at a reduced early age...I choose, I choose.  You never know how long it's going to be around, before the Government under Obama, bankrupts the system?  Besides....studies show, you usually don't live long enough, on average, to make the difference up.  So I applied, and should recieve my first check by mid May.  Since I worked much of my adult life under the PERS(Public Employees Retirement System), the SS Checks won't be much...but should be enough for a vehicle upgrade for Patricia, and enough left over to pay the utilities and the extra insurance bill for the car.

62?  When you are young, you think this age is really, really, old.  And truth is, it really is...but I don't feel that way...sure I can't run and jump like I did at 30, can't stay out late, or do the other things I did, or at least not as well...but for 62, I do pretty good.  I can still officiate 250 games on the high school baseball, basketball, and football level per year.  Still down a few beers, and still get up when the weather is favorable, and walk around the town of Celina for an hour each morning when I choose.  I can still lift weights when I want, although I certainly cannot bench press 250 pound in reps of 15...the joints and bones just don't all for that anymore, but I can do pretty much everything I did at 30, just not as much of those things.
The first birthday I can remember was back in Scott, Ohio....1953, my 4th birthday to be exact.  My Uncle, Forrest(Housie) Houseworth took me the 9 miles to Van Wert, and bought me a toy truck of some sort...I think it was a red fire truck, but not sure, I do know it was a truck.  The next birthday, which I have a photo of some sort, was turning 16....I know I spent part of the day back in Scott, at Grandma Houseworth's.  Where I have a photo of me, youngest sister Kelly, and my great uncle Joe Waldron.  16 was not a big deal to me, I choose to not get my driver's license until I was 17...I wanted a car first, before I got the license.

Back in the day, when you turned 18, you could drink beer in Ohio, at least 3.2 low alcohol brew...I probably had a few before turning 18, but I remember on my 18th birthday, I sipped my first legal beer at the Bowling Alley in Celina.   Before that Rick Pearson and I would put a case of Pabst Blue Ribbon long necks in the trunk of my car, and drive around the county during the winter cold(to keep the beer cold), stopping on occasion to pop the cap on one...nobody said we were overly bright.

I turned 21 in Tan Son Nhut to be exact.  I had just, or was in the process of changing from Security on the base outposts to working overnights on "Blue Patrol".   The flight where our crew of Security Police would guard the inner workings of the massive base, protecting the buildings and what the contained from thieves, whether they be civilian or military...actually pretty sweet duty for a 21 year old Buck Sergent.

I was living back in Celina when I hit 25 in 1974...running The Red Door, and raising Hell.  At 30, Patricia and I had moved to the Wausau, Wisconsin, area.   I was working at the Wausau Lanes Bowling Alley and for the Marathon County Parks Department, both part-time while I was finishing up broadcast school. 30 seemed pretty damn old at that time, and I remember wondering where the time had went?   I was a father by that time, Anissa had been born a month before I turned 30.

The rest of the 20th Century flew by, and the birthdays with them....I remember a few and what I did...but they came and went as life moved on.  In 1999 I turned 50 as the century was coming to an end.  I spent the evening with Patricia at the Lake Front Racquet Club....we had went out to dinner, then stopped by the Club for a few drinks with the old gang of usual suspects.  The next 12 years have went by with many changes.  Retiring from the Health Department and Environmental Health work, driving RVs around the country and Canada for 5 years after that retirment...then adding basketball and football to my baseball umpiring license...retirement or not, I have stayed active.

The years since we moved to our current place in town(1995) have seen the kids finish school, with Hal, the youngest, getting his Bachelor and Masters Degrees from Wright State, then getting married last month.  Sam, the older son, is getting ready to enter his Senior year at Ohio State University in Columbus...he, like me, will finish up at 30 years old...I felt old when I finished up the various schools I attended,  the final one was the Trans American Broadcasting School in Wausau, at 29...Thirty doesn't seem that old these days, but it did back then.

So, here I am...62....the nest, for the most part, is empty, but Sam, Anissa, and even Hal, on occasion, stop by and stay in their old rooms.  Patricia still has a few more years teaching, so I have plenty of time on my hands.  Well we really never know how much time we have.  But, I certanily plan on making the most and enjoying what time I do they say, don't look back to often, something might be gaining on you.

Happy Birthday, to me!

back later>>>>

Photos-top/left today turning 62...and the others a look through the years.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March and March "Madness"

The cold rains have returned to West Central Ohio...but hope is on the horizon.  It appears that some sun and warmer temperatures will be mixed in with the clouds and rain for the next 2 weeks.  I'm not sure how many, if any, scrimmage baseball games I will get in before the regular season is set to begin on March 28th...but the season will eventually kick off.

The Ides of March_____

March 15th is that day, along with St. Patrick's Day, that my birthday is sandwiched in between..."Beware the Ides of March" was the warning to Cesar...this March 15th brings the beginning of the NCAA Basketball Tournament.  It gets it start just a few miles south of me, in Dayton.  2 games on the agenda for tonight, and 2 more tomorrow, to pare the field down to 64.  Then Thursday and Friday the games kick off around the country.  My two favorite teams have #1 seeds...Duke and Ohio State, OSU with the top overall seed goes into the east and begins play in Cleveland, while the Blue Devils were sent to the West Regional, but first have to get by the weekend in their home state of North Carolina.  Go Duke!  If the Blue Devils get knocked off, Go Buckeyes....those 2 teams would meet in the national semi final, if they would happen to get that far....I would have to root for the Blue Devils then...but without a national title since 1960, I don't mind if the Buckeyes win it long as they don't go through Duke to do it.

There have been some great tournament moments in the past years...of course most of the ones I have enjoyed have been the Duke runs to the title games...Coach K and Company, while hated by most of the country, have made it pretty enjoyable to be a Blue Devil fan.  I have no vested interest in Duke, a small liberal university from North Carolina...I just have always admired their top flight coach, and the mix of kids he surrounds himself and his program with.  For the most part, kids that are actually students first, and athletes second.  Players that actually attend classes and graduate with degrees that are worth something...few basketball or football programs around the country, at least in the major programs, can say that.

Some Great Moments in the NCAAs:

Duke beats Kentucky on the Laettner Miracle Shot...
 I would love to say I was sitting on my recliner or at the game when this happened...but alas, I, along with my brother-in-law, was on the way back from the Ohio High School Basketball Championship...and was listening to the game on radio...after Kentucky hit the shot to take the lead with 2.1 seconds left, I turned to him and said..."Well Hell, at least they won last year", thinking the game was all but over....(it wasn't): 

The "Dookies" went on to win it all again....

Butler tries to pull a "Laettner"....
 2010 saw another nail biter..this time upstart Butler out of Indianapolis and the Horizon League tried to steal the championship on their home court....(here are the final 2 minutes): 

I'm still trying to figure out why Duke wanted to intentionally miss that last free throw...but it made for great drama.  The Blue Devils hoisted the national title for the 4 time in 20 go with a handful of other final four appearances.

So with the majority of games to be played in the next 5 days...I probably will be stuck by the TV(something I usually don't do these days) or watching live on the brackets are filled out and I'm ready for them to "go bust".....

back later>>>>

Photos-The NCAA kicks off in Dayton, Ohio, just down the road tonight...4 "play in" games the next two nights, before the majority of teams kick off on Thursday and Friday.  Christian Laettner celebrates after hitting the shot that beat Kentucky in the Regionals in 1991, and Duke Senior Kyle Singler will try to lead this years edition to back to back championships.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Basketball Weekend....Earthquakes and Donut eating Union Bosses...

First off let me say...The photos, video and stories coming out of Japan are something to behold...horrific to say the least...I pray for the best for those poor souls.

Meanwhile life moves on in somewhat normal terms for the rest of the has's the way of natural selection.  We were lucky, except the damn fool in California who decided to film the waves coming ashore, this time...the next big one, maybe we won't be.  When you choose to live near a large fault, Hello California, sometimes **it happens.  The tragedy in Japan will also have the effect to set the US Nuclear Program back 50 years...the Environmental Nuts will be out in full force to stop further and future Nuclear Power options, and really it will be a lame excuse to keep us under the thumb of the marauding murdering bastards in the Middle East and their oil.


While that was happening and the world stood and watched, I basically spent the weekend with basketball...either officiating or watching the college game.

First off to follow up on Friday's post:  The Van Wert Cougars finally got a measure of payback for 3 straight overtime loses to their WBL Rival, Celina's Bulldogs.  The Bulldogs defeated Van Wert for the 3rd straight time, all in overtime, on their way to the league championship this season....for awhile Saturday night in the D2 District Title game at Ohio Northern University, it looked like OT #4 was at hand.  But a foul, and a couple of Cory Clifton free throws with 8.3 seconds left, gave Van Wert a District title and ended Celina's season at 19 wins and 4 loses.  The Cougars move on to the Regional at Bowling Green, with a good shot at a State Tournament birth for the first time since 1992.  Celina gets ready for baseball and track.

On Saturday, I got up early, grabbed a coffee and a quick breakfast, and headed to Rockford and Parkway High School.  22 games, in the 5th and 6th grade boys level, were on the agenda.  I worked 5 games on the main floor...beginning at 8:30 I wrapped up by 12:30 in the afternoon.  That was the final basketball for me until next November, time to pack up the roundball tools and clothes, and get ready for baseball next week.  The one thing that did strike me at this level, which I don't usually do(but what the heck?  The money was good, and I needed the exercise)...was the fans.  Not all, but on a couple of teams, usually the bad ones, the fans, made up of out of shape fathers and grandparents who should be home knitting or sleeping, are idiots.

Hint:  When your kid's team gets beat 47-16 and the winning team plays it's subs most of the second half, it's not the officials fault that the team sucks.

I arrive home just after 1pm, grabbed a few Stout Beers and proceeded to park my butt on the leather recliner....I was going to watch the finals and semi~finals of the NCAA League Tournaments and have beer throughout the day and early evening.  Sunday was going to be the same....and I did.

My teams, the Duke Blue Devils, and the OSU Buckeyes both won their respective tournaments...Duke knocking off hated rival North Carolina, and the Bucks defeating upstart Penn State.  Both won by double figures, but both defeated teams also got slots in the coming NCAA Tournament....time to fill out your brackets, the tournament kicks off tomorrow, just 60 miles south of here in Dayton, at the UD Arena.

Now I can relax and watch the tournament for a few weeks....while, if it dries out, I also begin the baseball season, with some 50 games in a fast moving 7 week period.  Of course rain and wet grounds will probably drop the total numbers, before the post season kicks off on May 7th.

Kicking the Public Union's asses_____

Way to go Governor Scott Walker and Wisconsin!  

Walker and Company have put a smack down on the Union Thugs that make up the leadership of the Public Unions in Wisconsin...and the left wing media cannot stand it.  Will there be a recall?  Maybe, but have fun getting your power back isn't going to happen.  At least not anytime soon.

So a little info for AFL-CIO leader Richard Trumka, and shit stirring racists like Jesse Jackass..."Choke On Those Donuts You Have Been Stuffing in Your Pieholes"...America, American Workers, and especially taxpaying patriots, would be better off if you indeed choked on those free meals you have been sucking down over the years!

Tonight, Patricia and I will take in the Wabash Valley Dartball Banquet that ends the season...dinner, entertainment, awards, etc, will end the season, and like Basketball, it will be around November before I pick up the darts again.

That's a short look at the weekend past and week ahead...

back later>>>> 

Photos-top left.....yep, it was a basketball weekend for PRH....Van Wert and Duke were among the high school and college winners...and finally Obama and his gay donut, chomping, union thug boss, Richard "I'll three with extra jelly" Trumka....2 more useless bastards in the same photo would be hard to find.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Disater in Japan/Saudi "Day of Rage"/Super Full Moon Coming March 19th

Patricia woke me up about 7 to let me know what was going on in Japan and the Pacific Rim.  It seems a monster Earthquake of 8.9 and following Tidal Wave(why the Hell they now call it a Tsunami is beyond me?  In the west it's a freaking 'TIDAL WAVE")..early reports have 60 dead, but it sadly appears that this death toll will rage into the thousands:


The wall of water had reached the Hawaiian Islands around 8am this morning...but reports are that that wall has been greatly reduced, hopefully damage and personal injuries will be at a minimum.  Stay Tuned!
Day of Rage in Saudi Arabia_____

Meanwhile a world away...the crazy Islamics continue to burn their world....

Libya strongman Qaddafi (I seen this sorry bastards name spelled a dozen different ways, so this is good enough) has unleashed his military on the Rebels...while our weak knee Kenya born President, sits on his ass and along with Queen Moo-Shell talks about "Bullying":  Meanwhile today in Oil rich Saudi Arabia, the people are gotta wonder how crazy things are going to get, while our own version of Nero, Barry Soetoro, fiddles:

Barry, stick to what you do best...which is "Bullying"  America and it's citizens in the eyes of the sorry puke.  Yes Bullying sucks..., but let the experts and parents take care of with everything else, you are out of your league.

Super Full Moon Coming?

Perhaps if the disaster in Japan had waited for 8 days...the dire predictions of disasters coming on March 19th would really set the world on it's ear:  Next Saturday the Super Moon, a full one to be exact, will be on display:

It's a crazy's events are just making it more extreme....
Tomorrow morning, if the world doesn't end{insert sarcasm}, I will head north to Rockford, where I am scheduled to officiate my final basketball of the season...5 morning games in a 5th and 6th grade boys tournament.  I will then pack away that gear, hang up the clothes, and get ready for baseball, which scrimmage wise is slated to begin next week.

Have a safe weekend and enjoy....

back later>>>>>>

Photos-Super Full Moons. Saudi and Middle East Crazies, and Japan under attack from Mother Nature.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celina vs Van Wert Basketball District Final...

A gloomy, damp, wet, start to the Thursday...the kind of morning I'm glad I don't have to get out and umpire a baseball game.  Sure, I'm more than ready for the season to start, but days like this are ones I do not look forward to standing on a cold, damp, baseball diamond.  The next few weeks, if the extended forecast is to be believed, will see a combination of rain, freezing rain, some snow, some sunshine, and temperatures between the low to mid 30s and near 60 for highs.

District 2 Basketball_____

Celina and Van Wert Boys Basketball teams move on to the final game....

This Saturday night Western Buckeye League rivals The Celina Bulldogs and the Van Wert Cougars will battle it out at Ohio Northern University in Ada, for the Division II District Championship...the winner will move on to the D2 Regional.  This game is interesting in quite a few ways for me....

Since I began officiating I really have not followed the local teams closely, when you see and work with different schools, you tend to tune out the results of each weeks games, and you tend, or at least try, to view the various teams without a rooting interest.  However, this Saturday night's contest for the District Crown does bring back memories of years gone by.

I graduated from Celina in 1967...and for much of the last 47 years, with the exception of the Air Force years, a spell in upstate New York, and a few years working in radio around the midwest, I have called Celina home.  We moved here from Venice, Florida, back in the early 60s, I returned in the summer of 1980, and for the past 30 years I have called the Celina area home.  As for Van Wert..I was born in the old Van Wert Hospital in 1949, and lived in the small berg of Scott, on the Van Wert-Paulding County line for the next 5 years, before the family pulled up stakes, and moved to South Florida.

I broadcast sports in Celina for a few years at WCSM, when I was the Program Director at that small station.  Then in 1982,  I became part time News Director at Cable Channel 7 in Van Wert...I would also become the play-by-play voice of The Van Wert Cougars on cable for the next decade.  In 1991, I  left the Mercer County Health Department, and moved on to Van Wert as the Environmental Health Director, where I would stay for the next dozen years before retiring....I would continue to do some play-by-play at the Van Wert Radio Stations as well.

So you see, I have a vested interest in the game Saturday...I live in Celina, am a Celina graduate, as are my sons....I also have past ties with Van Wert.  Born there, worked there, and was the voice of their basketball and football teams for years.   These days, I don't old a rooting interest, but I do look forward to them playing for the District crown.   And if the past is any indication, it should be a dandy.

Celina won the league, Van Wert was 2 games back, but helped Celina to the outright title by defeating Ottawa~Glandorf, the week before Celina dispatched the Titans on the final game of the season.  Van Wert comes into the game at 18 wins 5 loses, Celina at 19 and 3.   A month or so ago, Celina went to Van Wert and came away with a hard fought Overtime win....this marked the third straight year, that the teams have battled into OT, including one double overtime....Celina has won them all.  Another Overtime Game on the agenda?  Perhaps...the old rivals seem pretty even when all is said and done....the prize is a trip to the Bowling Green Regional next week, with a trip the the State Finals just a couple games away....Good Luck to both teams.

Haircut time....back later>>>>