Washington Court House Inchworm

One of several large outdoor murals painted by Harry Ahysen around Fayette County, OH.

Two and two are four. Art is around us, but it is something that you have to open your eyes to see. Fairly often we find ourselves focused on a task too hard to take a look at our surroundings. We need to learn to take time to glimpse at the world around us. The towns and cities we live in may not have the Louvre or the Met; they may not have a thriving theatre or a concert hall, but there is art everywhere. I am glad to have grown up in Washington Court House because I have had the opportunity to grow up with art. Some of it is hidden in the confines of old buildings; some however, is in plain sight. It blends into the town’s culture and heritage and eventually is forgotten, because we forget to open our eyes to it. We forget the brushstrokes and sweat it takes to make our masterpieces blend in with the community. We forget how boring the blank canvas was before those brushstrokes took effect.

Four and Four are eight. I had the opportunity to take a walk on a sunny Continue reading Washington Court House Inchworm

Roastin’ Peppers

If you had told me when I was twenty-one I would someday horde peppers for the winter months, I would have declared you a blasphemer. It would have taken a feeding tube to get me to eat something as simple and mild as a green bell pepper.

Well, things do change and taste in foods is certainly one of them. Today my wife and I love fresh sweet peppers along with the occasional hot pepper. At twenty-one I had never heard of Wilber L. Scoville. Today I almost have his chart of pepper power memorized. The Scoville Scale assigns a heat index in excess of 16 million for pure capsaicin (that’s the stuff that makes pepper spray so affective) while the garden variety bell pepper rates a zero. The jalapeño may come in around 9,000 while the famous habanero can reach 325,000.

Over the years, as my love of peppers developed, so has my tolerance for heat. I’ll probably never be one of those who pops whole habanero peppers into Continue reading Roastin’ Peppers

Prostate Exams, Root Canals, & Other Scary Stuff

I don’t know what medical things people fear as they grow older. I suppose we all fear someday hearing the cancer word. Besides cancer, the two things old people talked a lot about that scared me the most were prostate exams and root canals.

For years I was actively engaged in the hobby of Amateur Radio and on most days talked to a bunch of older men scattered around the mid-West. Their favorite discussion topics were medically related and they especially reveled in talking about prostate problems.

It appeared there was a competition between them as to who had the most painful prostate problems and Continue reading Prostate Exams, Root Canals, & Other Scary Stuff

Soup @ The Three Spoons

I received a note on Facebook today from The Three Spoons Diner in Rainsboro about their plan to make October, Soup Month. Beginning October 1st they will be serving up a different soup each day. Anything from crab bisque to homemade tortilla soup. This will be in addition to their daily brews of chili, veggie and potato. Soups on!

I Was Nineteen and the Movie was Exodus

When I was nineteen I didn’t know much about Israel, Palestine, the Mid-East, where oil came from, and many other things. What I first learned about Israel came from sitting through the 1961 screening of Otto Preminger’s film, Exodus in Copenhagen, Denmark.

To keep it brief, the story is about Jewish survivors of the Nazi holocaust seeking their own nation in what was then Palestine, a place already occupied by people calling themselves Palestinians. Palestine was under the control of Great Britain as mandated by one of the treaties ending World War One and directions of the old League of Nations.

Emigration to Palestine by European Jews, being frowned upon by the British, made the central characters illegal immigrants seeking to force the newly formed United Nations into partitioning Palestine into two nations, one Arab, one Jewish.

With the backing and manipulation of the United States the UN did partition Palestine in 1947 thus immediately setting off a war between Continue reading I Was Nineteen and the Movie was Exodus

The Best Bands You’ve Never Heard

Or maybe you have. Who am I to judge? Anyway…

Over the years I have been a huge fan of several bands I felt sure would hit the big-time. Some have and some haven’t. It’s a pretty hard and fast rule that when you love an unknown band and they hit it big some of the lustre immediately wears off. I remember listening to REM back in the early 80’s, and there was something cool about knowing something other music fans didn’t. Then, after the world woke up to them, things changed. I went from watching them along with a couple hundred other fans in a Springfield, Ohio gymnasium to watching them in 20,000 seat arenas. Trust me, there’s nothing more annoying than sitting beside some idiot screaming “SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE!” Sing SHINY HAPPY PEOPLE!” when all you want to hear is some of the early stuff like “Gardening at Night” or “Pretty Persuasion.” Sidenote: REM doesn’t play that song anymore. Thank you Lord/Michael Stipe. Continue reading The Best Bands You’ve Never Heard

Goodnight Mrs. Calabash

In 1982, on our way from Atlantic Beach, NC to Disney World, FL we stopped in Calabash, NC for some of their famous seafood. The only memorable thing about the place wasn’t the seafood. It was the wheel about to come off our travel trailer and the two guys AAA sent to repair it, Joe and Moe. That I remember their names is one of those enigmas of life.

Calabash is reputed to have a unique style of cooking and all along the coastline of Carolina restaurants tout serving Calabash “style” seafood. In my opinion it is just deep-fried creatures that hopefully came form local waters and otherwise, not all that remarkable.

Recently, my wife and I drove the coast between Continue reading Goodnight Mrs. Calabash

The Cynical Generation

Crates of Thebes, thought to be the greatest cynic of his age.

You may remember the end of John Steinbeck’s stage adaptation of, Of Mice and Men.  After accidentally killing a young woman, Lennie escapes from the men hunting him and hides near a small river, waiting for George to come and save him.  George arrives, but understanding that he can no longer protect Lennie, he makes the difficult decision to shoot him. He kills Lennie so that he will be saved from the cruelty of his pursuers.

It’s a difficult ending for a modern audience.  Killing a developmentally disabled man is complicated enough, but adding the fact that the killer is his best friend and caregiver makes an already hard to grasp ending that much more complex.  Every time I teach the play the discussion concerning the moral and ethical dilemma presented by the ending consumes most of the available class time.

But last week I was confronted by a response that I had never heard.  When I asked for opinions on what the Steinbeck was trying to say to us through the ending one normally quiet freshman offered his unique thoughts.  With some surprising degree of confidence this student said that George killed Lennie because he wanted his freedom.  George was tired of taking care of Lennie and now he could spend his money on whatever he wanted.

It was quite possibly the worst interpretation of classic literature I have ever encountered.  It was this student’s conclusion that Steinbeck wanted us Continue reading The Cynical Generation

Shrimp Burgers ala Holden Beach

I’ve had shrimp po’ boys in New Orleans, all along the gulf coast, couple of places in Charleston, SC, and several joints around Morehead City and Beaufort, NC. On every occasion they have been, to some lesser or greater degree, wonderful.

The common factors have been, first, they’re made of shrimp (shrimp is a good thing) and second, the small shrimp are individually dipped in batter or rolled in seasoned flour and deep-fried. Then piled on a hoagie roll, topped with a sauce, a little slaw or lettuce, and enjoyed and appreciated as something you just can’t get Continue reading Shrimp Burgers ala Holden Beach

The Pelicans of Lake Erie. Lake Erie?

In the past sixty-years many things have changed about Ohio’s wildlife scene. Growing up in the 40s and 50s I have no memory of ever seeing a local deer, wild turkey, black bear, osprey, bald eagle, or sea-gull. Today, to a degree, these things are fairly common in our state.

The first Ohio deer I saw was in the fall of 1970 driving along Lower-Twin Rd running my morning school bus route. As I came around a curve there was a huge buck standing in the road and as soon as it saw the bus it bounded over a wire fence and headed for the nearest woods. I stopped the bus and sat there in awe.

Today we have deer grazing in the clearing in front Continue reading The Pelicans of Lake Erie. Lake Erie?

Purveyor of Fact, Fiction, Opinion and Rumor. Not responsible for lost children, pets, or souls. Read at your own risk!

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