Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Repost: A christmas to remember



Cliff Note: I originally wrote this last year at Christmas time. Since I post links to Facebook whenever I post, I thought I would repost as the message remains the same.

As many of you know, my younger brother, Richard, passed away in March, 2008. He had been wheelchair bound for the last 20 years of his life and I thought it was somewhat poetic justice that the day he went home to be with the Lord was March 4th, or march forth.

I was thinking about Ricky today as it's a week before Christmas. He was always one of the easiest people to shop for as he was happy with just about anything you get for him. A true personification of "it's the thought that counts."

One of Ricky's life long passions was sports. The reason he became a sports fan was because I became a sports fan. You see, when we were growing up, Ricky was my shadow and my best friend. As he spent the last years of his life in a nursing home, people were amazed with his knowledge of all things sports. And on any given fall Sunday, he probably expressed the emotions of Browns backers everywhere.

In 1975, I decided that for his Christmas present, we would go see the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs were playing their games at the Richfield Coliseum, and we all were about to be witnesses to a miracle, the Miracle of Richfield. That season, the Cavs were a broken foot away from the NBA championship, that being suffered by center, Jim Chones. Other members of the 1975-76 Cavs included Austin Carr, Bobby "Bingo" Smith, Canton's own Dick Snyder, and newest member, the ever popular Nate Thurmond.

December 21, 1975, the LA Lakers, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gail Goodrich, and Pat Riley on their roster, came to Richfield. The game was originally supposed to be nationally broadcast on CBS. However, sports editor, Sonny Hill decided that the Cavs' play prior to the trade to Chicago for Thurmond didn't warrant a national broadcast. One of the give aways for the game was a Cavaliers pennant to all in attendance. Before Hill made his decision, I decided to buy royal courtside tickets to the game, two rows behind the basket. The tickets set me back $12.50 apiece. Cliff note: Nowadays you couldn't get one ticket in the nosebleed section for 25 dollars. I thought at the time it would cool to be in a position to be able to be on TV nationwide. But the important thing was that I got Ricky a present he would love.

Despite the fact that the game was not going to be televised, there were over 19,000 in the attendance, all armed with white pennants. I was offered 1000 bucks to do harm to Abdul-Jabbar when I told this person where my seat was. Needless to say, I declined. Time to go to our seats.

Being Cavaliers fans and not too bashful, we let the good guys know our allegiance to them. Others around us let us know how much they paid to sit in their seats. Obviously these folks were not future dawg pound occupants. Cliff Note: Unless you are fans of the Cleveland Browns fan, you don't get the last comment.

Well, back to the reason we were there. The Cavs and Lakers put on a game and then some. For awhile it looked as though the Lakers were going back to California with a win. Anytime coach Bill Fitch needed some defense, he would call on the capable veteran, reserve center, Nate Thurmond. Every time the 6 foot 11 12 year veteran entered the game, the ever popular Thurmond would hear the adulation of the crowd along with the chant "DEFENSE...DEFENSE!"

And as it became crunch time, all 19,000 plus got into the game, even those who chastised me and Ricky earlier in the game. Along with the cheers, there were over 19,000 white pennants waving back and forth. The terrible towel had nothing on the Cavalier pennants that afternoon. And I was yelling myself hoarse. And the good guys were cheered on to a 99-98 win.

The real loser that day was CBS. The rest of this memorable season, whenever CBS was broadcasting from the Coliseum, Sonny Hill was greeted with the boos that are now reserved for LeBron James.

The biggest winner December 21, 1975 was Cliff Feightner. I have had a winning memory now going on 36 years. I gave Ricky a Christmas gift that has kept on giving back to my memory banks.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A tribute to Zig

Today, the world lost one of it's greatest motivators ever.

I read in an email that Zig Ziglar passed away at the age of 86. He leaves a great legacy. I'm grateful that I have some of his recordings in my mp3 player. They are gold.

I first heard of Zig in the early 80's. He was the host of a radio feature called "Daily Christian Motivation." It was a five minute program, designed to make you feel better about yourself. A couple of years later, I picked up a copy of his book, See You at the Top. After much note taking and reading it through a few times,I became a fan of his. I also bought, and read..and read...and read, his book, Confessions of a Happy Christian. My wife loved the attitude adjustment the books gave me.

Although I never met Zig in person, I look forward to the day we will meet in glory. I say this because we are both born again Christians. Zig spent a year in the early 80's as the first vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Zig left his mark there as well. He was a man of convictions and was never afraid to let the world know where he stood.

Thanks to modern technology, I can still listen to his recordings when I go for a walk. One of my favorite recordings is "Biscuits, Fleas, and Pump Handles." He recorded this in Dayton, Ohio in 1977. The recording is as relevant today as it was 35 years ago. It's worth a listen. Here's another message worth watching:

A phrase I once heard Zig say when someone asked him how he was doing was "Super good, but I'll get better." I use it often.

RIP Zig. the world is a better place because of you.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Love Free Publications

This morning, Kathy and I were heading into Wooster to participate in early voting. We thought we would stop at the golden arches to have breakfast. Problem was that there was renovation going on at Mickey D's and half of the parking spaces were not available. So it was off to another place to eat.

We went to The Parlor, a restaurant on w. Liberty St. We have eaten there before, and the meals are very reasonably priced. And while I'm there, I always grab a copy of  The Vendor, a free magazine that gets most of it's revenue from advertising. And the magazine had some good articles. Most of the articles are faith based. I would guess the Amish community would be readers of this publication.

There are also recipes, factoids, and clean one liners throughout the magazine. But best of all, it's free. And like most folks, I like free.

The restaurant has some pretty good food as well. I had biscuits, gravy, home fries, and sausage. Kathy had corned beef hash and toast. With drinks, bill come to $12.45. They don't take credit or debit cards, so I had to,walk a block to the closest bank to get money out of the atm. The owner told me that that could have waited since he had plenty of dirty dishes and toilets to clean. Place definitely has a good atmosphere and worth return visits.

Cliff Note: After I wrote the post, I went to see if The Vendor had a web address. It doesn't. The publisher is located in Brinkhaven, Ohio. Does have a phone number, (330) 276-6508.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

I'm Fat, But You're Ignorant!

Over the years, the main things I have had to deal with have been health problems, They are nagging, but chronic issues, such as diabetes, hypertension, and arthritis. I can probably attribute most of this to either heredity or obesity. It depends on how much I want to factor personal responsibility.

Being fat gave me a convenient excuse when I was losing my shirt as a retail salesman over 20 years ago. I would come home after not making any money on commissions and tell Kathy, "Nobody would buy from me because I was fat and ugly." Met a new friend back then too. His name was Prozac.

In the past year, I have lost over 30 pounds. I feel better and clothes fit better as well. I'm still overweight, and I need to get off my fat posterior and do some more about it. Truth is, I have been fighting a battle with my weight since I was 11 years old. As an adult, I have seen a high of 305 pounds and a low of 186. So I know what to do to lose. Just isn't as easy as some like to think.

A video which has gone viral in the past few days is from news reporter, Jennifer Livingston. If was in response to a comment made by someone who wasn't even a regular viewer.
All I have to say about that is "You Go Girl!" That's right. Most of us know we are fat, as we do have access to mirrors.

I would guess Jennifer Livingston has to work harder at her craft because she's not blonde and a size zero. I'm sure the station recognizes her hard work. Most of us who don't fit the typical Hollywood stereotype have to work harder to accomplish anything.

I was in an exchange with "the trolls." One had run out of ammo to shoot at me, so this person referred to a photo I posted of myself in an earlier blog post and told me that I should spend time on a treadmill. Yep, when all else fails, play the "you're fat" card.

Walk a mile in my shoes. Just make sure you are wearing diabetic socks and support hose. Also check out the latest stats on obesity in America. Also don't be so quick to judge.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

About Forgiveness

This morning, I woke up to the news that former Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens owner, Art Modell, had passed away. He was a villain to the city of Cleveland for moving the franchise. Cliff Note: I know he was probably considered a hero to Baltimore for bringing football back and for getting them a Super Bowl ring before the Indianapolis (formerly Baltimore) Colts won one, but this post is about forgiveness.

Cleveland, like many other cities, lives and dies with it's sports franchises. Since the Browns left, northeast Ohio has also seen several top athletes leave and "take their talents" elsewhere. These folks go from being number one, as a show of the index finger will indicate, to not being number one with the next finger over also indicates.

Most decisions are made as financial decisions. We have seen this many times in business. People are either let go from their jobs, or jobs get outsourced. This gets plenty of ink, but people forget and move on. It's more personal decisions that get the grief over for the longest time. There are those who have a problem against a parent, siblings, an ex spouse, other relatives, or someone who did you dirty many years ago. You feel that you cannot forgive, or forget their actions. that's when you have to look up to a higher power. My higher power is a man named Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in Mark 11:26 "But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses." Sometime we have to realize that the same things committed against us are things that Jesus went to the cross and died for. Granted, there have been things done that you have a hard time wrapping your head around at the very concept of forgiveness. This is where the childlike faith that Christians are required to have comes into play.

In the grand scheme of things, something that took minutes to commit, should not end up controlling a lifetime of emotions. Also remember that eternity makes the time we spend on earth seem like less than a moment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

A Good Walmart Story

Okay, in the 6 years that I've been blogging, I have been somewhat harsh on the largest retailer in the world, Walmart. Most of it has been directed at the one I frequent the most, #2966, Wadsworth, Ohio. I have used the term Evil Big Box Store(tm) pretty much tongue in cheek. I do go there because I can save money and get what I need in one stop over the Giant Eagle one exit over.

Out of fairness to a good friend and distant relative, I have toned down the snarky posts. Cliff Feightner of Homassa, Fl. fame, works for Walmart in a management capacity and I don't want that Cliff Feightner to get into trouble because of what this Cliff Feightner writes.

Anyway, when I stop at Walmart on my way home from work, I like to go through a checkout of a cashier named Bonnie. The reason being is, no matter what, she always has a smile on her face and a good word for the customer.

First time I went through her line, she asked me how I was doing. I responded with "Better than I deserve." Most listeners of the Dave Ramsey show are familiar with that response. Bonnie correctly responded, "oh, Dave Ramsey." And so began a very pleasant checkout experience. And at the end of the experience I gave my usual "thank you for working at Walmart."

Everybody who would go through Bonnie's checkout will be in for a customer service treat. We all know shopping can be stressful and sometimes the last couple of minutes in the store could be the deal breaker concerning future visits. Bonnie's smile and her general attitude helps to ensure future visits for those who are fortunate to get her to ring them up.

And contrary to what one of the trolls reading this blog thinks, I do not harass Walmart cashiers. They are a very hard working bunch who don't get the recognition they deserve. I hope someone in Wadsworth reads this post and gives Bonnie a pat on the back for all who have the fortune of going through her line.


Sunday, September 02, 2012

From the Pressbox: Rittman vs Cleveland Knights, Halftime Highlights


This past Friday evening, the Rittman Indians football team played host to a group of home schooled high school athletes called the Cleveland Knights. The game was originally scheduled to be played at Case Western Reserve University, but due to a scheduling conflict, the venue was changed to Rittman. Two touchdowns along with two point conversions by Rittman, and a touchdown with a failed conversion attempt by the Knights made the halftime score 16-6 in favor of the Indians.

The Knights had no marching band, so my favorite group of student musicians had the entire halftime show to themselves. After the best entrance and band intro in Northeast Ohio, the Rittman Marching Band performed tan original tune by Jim Swearingen, called Fired Up. The majorette feature was the Roy Orbison hit,Oh Pretty Woman.

During the next selection, The Pennsylvania Polka, I was recording the performance with my iPhone. I was also looking at my script to ensure I had the right intro lined up for the next song. I missed one of the senior trombone players falling in front of the crowd on the 50 yard line. I was informed of this after I put this on my Facebook page. More about this later.

The circles continued on the next selection. The best marching band in Wayne County delighted the audience  as they performed the Colonel Bogey March.

And always ready, willing, and able, to entertain the baby boomers in attendance, the Marching Indians performed their show stopping rendition of the Beatles hit, Twist and Shout.

After halftime, and after I uploaded the aforementioned video to Facebook, I had told Emily, one of the majorettes, that I had done so. She then responded with, "I want to see the part where Brian fell." I then went to Ed Sims, who is the Rittman band director, and an all around good guy, and asked him if I should keep the video on FB. Ed's response was maybe for a little while. A few minutes later, we both decided to let Brian make this call. I showed Brian the video and he thought it was great. Being one of my Facebook friends, I asked Brian to make a comment on the post. He did that, and also asked me to post the video on my You Tube account. All this is why I even mention the incident here.

Although it was a well fought game, the Knights prevailed, final score 26-24.

This will be a somewhat long Cliff Note: There have been a couple of internet trolls making light of the fact that I consider myself in an important position as a band announcer, or the fact that I'm one of the more popular band announcers in the area.

The Rittman Marching Band is a show band. Ed Sims' goal is to get the best out of his student musicians, and for them to give the very best performance every time they are on the field. My responsibility is to make sure that I time my delivery, as there are some times between selections that the band members have to switch their position on the field. I pride myself with very little dead air during a Rittman performance. I credit this to my broadcast schooling.

Granted there are some announcers who think the show should be in the press box and not on the field. There are also the corps band announcers who come on, tell us where they come from, who are the superintendent, school principal, band director, assistants,  and flag line director are. They announce what the music is, then they get out of the way and let the band performance their competition routine.

 I've been doing the announcing for the Rittman Marching Band since the 2000 football season, which explains my popularity in the press box. I have been told by some of the best student musicians in the area that I'm a very important part of their show. I have been told the past couple of weeks how much I was missed last year when I couldn't announce their last two performances. The gentleman who announced in my place did a great job, I saw the video. The band agreed, but their timing was off because it was not me in the press box.

There are times when I mess up and I'm my harshest critic. Sometimes I regard YouTube as my personal blooper reel. I will watch some of the videos to see how I can improve myself. I take my responsibility seriously and there are those who consider me one of the best.

Next Friday, the 0-2 Rittman Indians play host to Mapleton, and Saturday the Rittman Marching Band performs at the St. Vincent-St. Mary Band show.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back in the old days.......

Sometimes I tell people that I graduated high school in 1974, "when dinosaurs roamed the earth." And to all you young whippersnappers, that is very much tongue in cheek.

Today, Kathy and I were out and about, taking care of some business. We stopped at Speedway to get some fountain drinks. I went in to get the drinks and Kathy noticed somebody parking their motorcycle. He left the keys in the ignition. She told me about the motorcycle, wondering if anybody would steal the bike. I told her that I remembered when I was growing up, my dad would stop at Lawson's, a convenience store chain in Ohio, go in, get a pound of lunch meat(sliced while you wait), a half gallon of milk, and a loaf of bread. But what I failed to mention is when he parked in front of the store, he left his car running.

Kathy countered with the fact they used to go to church and never locked the doors of their house. Such was life in the 1960's and 70's. When you lived away from the big cities, you never had to worry about people bothering what was rightfully yours.

I always wonder, what happened to the respect you were expected to show others?

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hope for a dying area

The above video is a walk through of the now defunct Rolling Acres Mall, which has been closed now for going on 4 years. A once vibrant shopping complex, it fell victim of being located in a depressed area, and of other close by malls experiencing renovation and rebirth. In 2008 when the final nail was applied to the coffin of this mall, I wrote this post concerning my memories of Rolling Acres.

There are several sites on the web dedicated to dying malls, and their surrounding areas. To me there is some interesting reading. Most of us should be concerned to what is going to become of the areas where these malls are located. Will they ever be of benefit to the community at large again?

At Rolling Acres, the only activity at present at the mall building is JC's 5 Star Outlet, formerly known as J. C. Penney's outlet store. The store still features goods from J. C. Penney, but at a discount price. And it is a popular location. The Sears store location where I once worked is now a recycling center. Up the street, the location where I worked, when known as Fretter, is now a furniture liquidation store. There is some rebirth for the area.

Yesterday, the Akron Beacon Journal and Ohio.com published this story about once busy retail buildings on Romig Rd. now being used as warehouse and office buildings. The mall itself, was sold last year, and may be reborn some day as a multi use center, small stores, maybe some call centers, and other businesses to once again serve the community.

Cliff Note: I realized after I posted this that today is my 6 year anniversary as a blogger. Thank you to all who have paid this blog visits since 2006.

Friday, August 24, 2012

From The Pressbox: Rittman vs Danville, Halftime Highlights






And the 2012 high school football season is underway! Tonight the Rittman Indians opened their season, playing host to the Danville Blue Devils. Game time temperature was comfortable, in the 80's, and as it has been all year, not a drop of rain. 
Tonight was parent night at the game, and the parents of those participating in fall sports, cheerleading, and the marching band were all invited to escort their kids across the field. 
After pregame festivities and the national anthem, it's time to play football. 

Though decidedly over-matched tonight, the Rittman team did not give up. They managed their only score during the first half. 

Halftime saw a talented Danville marching band keep the crowd attentive with their three selection, beginning with the Jimmy Buffett classic, "Cheeseburger in Paradise," and ending with the Beatles, "Do You Want to Know a Secret."

And then it was time for the words the Rittman faithful have been waiting since last October to hear:

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, FOR YOUR VIEWING AND LISTENING PLEASURE......

WE TAKE GREAT PRIDE IN PRESENTING TO YOU......

THE SEVENTY FOURTH EDITION OF THE RITTMAN INDIANS MAAAAARRRRRRRCCCCCCHHHHIIIINNNNGGGG BAND!"

The band came onto the field playing "Let's Groove," by Earth Wind and Fire. This was followed by, "Oh Pretty Woman>" The first halftime of the year was complete after the Indian Band rocked the house with their rendition of "Twist and Shout."

Great show tonight and a super effort by my favorite student musicians.

Tomorrow night, it's off to Sugarcreek for the Garaway Band Show.








Final score of the game, Danville 46- Rittman 6.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Video from Mogadore Band Show

This is the video from last Thursday's band show. The videographer is my 9 year old grandson, Ben. I may have some more videos to share as the season progresses.

Friday, August 17, 2012

From the Pressbox- Mogadore Band Show

It has been a long time since I have wrote about my favorite group of student musicians. Since last season was cut short for me because of a slip in the mud, this show was important for me. I did have a few opening night jitters. But for me things went great.

The Rittman Indians Marching Band was one of 6 bands to perform at the 2012 Mogadore Band Show. The other bands appearing were from the following schools: Manchester, Windham, Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary, Hudson, and the host band, Mogadore.

Was a great night weather wise, as it wasn't too hot and it was not raining.

As I got to the stadium for the night's activities, my favorite student musicians let me know how glad they were to see me. They tell me that I'm the best announcer around. I tell them the only reason I'm a good announcer is because I have a great product to announce. This years Rittman Marching band has 54 members and they all are dedicated young student musicians.

Last night's show was a combination of hits from musical history. As the band took the field to the most awesome introduction in all of high school halftime entertainment, they opened with the song Let's Groove, the 1981 classic by Earth, Wind, and Fire. This was followed by the 1964 number one hit by Roy Oribson, Pretty Woman.

Next up was a little polka music. (Cliff Note: There was a typo in the script which I thought was ironic. Instead of "feel good music" the script said "FELL good." As I said, this was ironic that this appeared in the script at the first show I announced after falling and breaking my ankle last October.) The song selection was The Pennsylvania Polka.

Then we were treated to a song from the movie Bridge on the River Kwai. The band entertained the audience by marching in circles and playing the Colonel Bogey March.

The last song played for our portion of the show was a hit for the Isley Brothers and a megsa hit by the Beatles, Twist and Shout.

And I always get a boost to my ego when a professional tells me I did a good job announcing. The announcer for St. Vincent-St. Mary is the morning host and program director at WONE, Tim Daugherty. We have talked at other shows and he always treats me like we are old friends. Tim is a class act and one who lets his voice add to the show and not be the show. It's important that the show remain on the field and not in the press box. Tim gets that and is a good example for other announcers to follow.




I hope to keep this up this season and Lord willing, see you all next week for the first halftime show of the 2012 season.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My friend, Dick

Well, I figure I will get quite a few hits for the wrong reasons with this title. I will explain this and my photo.

I received the t-shirt from Richard Henry, the president of Henry Tools, inc., this past Monday. I promised Dick I would have my picture taken wearing the shirt and would post it on Facebook. I also figured I would post it on my blog. Why? I'll tell you.

At my last job, I was a quality inspector. My office was adjoining the maintenance supervisor's office. Whenever someone came to see Charlie, the maintenance supervisor, they had to go past my desk. Some would go by and say hi, or give me a nod on their way to Charlie's office. Dick Henry would come through and would always stop and inquire as to how I was doing, sometimes spending several minutes shooting the breeze. He was one of only a few who even knew my name.

Long time readers of this blog know that I was called into the outgoing company president's office on December 31, 2009 to be informed that I was being laid off. A few of my former coworkers contacted me through Facebook to inquire as to how I was doing, and I have talked to some over the phone. But in all fairness, life goes on.

Within the month after my layoff, I get this call at home. It was Dick. He called to see how I was doing. Besides those in the HR department calling about my COBRA, Dick was the first one to just check up on me, and he was a vendor. Not only that, he has maintained email contact with me over the past 2-1/2 years. Dick was one of the first from there to know when I got my current job. He also kept up with me when I broke my ankle last fall, and congratulated me when I was honored a few months ago as employee of the month. I have also been chastised by Mr. Henry when I don't let him know how I'm doing.

If you are reading these words and you use pneumatic tools, such as grinders and chipping hammers, check out henrytools.com, or call 1-800-826-5257. Henry Tools are American made and durable.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ghostwriting and other things

Okay, I've neglected this blog for too long now, as it's been almost a month since I last posted. What really shamed me is that I've been on my friend Cathouse Teri to post. And she did post this tribute about her dad this past week. As I told have Teri several times, she has turned out to be a great friend to me. Don't let the "Cathouse Teri" moniker fool you. She is really a sweet lady who cares about others and lights up when posting about her grand baby.

Back to my topic. Recently, my daughter has gotten me interested in Textbroker. This is a website that pays you to write, many times blog posts. This is something I have been doing now for almost 6 years. You are assigned a skill level after reading a sample of your writing. You can choose from an available list of articles, do a little bit of research, then write a story. You can earn anywhere from one dollar to five dollars for doing a few minutes work. You won't get rich from this, but it beats the eternal hope you would have money fall from the sky.

Good thing about this is that I do get some confidence in my writing every time a client accepts my article. Anyway, if you are looking to make some cash from an afternoon at the keyboard, check out textbroker.com.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Another Job Lost in Time

Cliff Note: I'm taking a break from my usual Facebook activities this week. I'm not expecting a heck of a whole lot of traffic to this post since I won't be posting this link anywhere. So while I deal with FB withdrawal, I may be concentrating on my blogging this week. But I do feel my blogging audience are a real good bunch of people.

Anyway, I was driving through my small town this morning. A sight I saw, and this wasn't the first time it caught my eye, got me to thinking. My thought was what jobs have gone through a natural attrition? The sight that made me think that was the empty store front where the TV repair shop used to be. Yes, hoe many remember not being able to watch TV because their sets were in the shop? How many remember before the TV brecame solid state, and a repair would just involve changing a tube?

The independent TV repairman has, for a while, been a dying breed. Towards the end of the analog era, TV's had gotten cheap. And TV's also became disposable. And now with the new digital and HD televisions, there are no serviceable parts on the inside.

I noticed this after I filled up at a full service gas station. And I only filled up there because the self serve pumps across the street were 10 cents a gallon more.

I'd go bowling, but I can't find a bowling alley that employs pin boys...

Thursday, May 17, 2012

WIXYpedia

I started working on this post over a week ago, then got into a reading frenzy, where I read two books from cover to cover in three days, and posted reviews for both.

Anyway, over a week ago, I was checking my site meter. Sometimes I am curious about where the hits here are coming from. I saw that a particular hit came from Wikipedia, that very accurate source of information on the web. I know that, in the past, there have been things taken from this blog and used on Wikipedia, and I wanted to see the reason for the link.

The link was an article about Jay Lawrence, brother of comedian Larry Storch. In the article, it had mentioned that Jay Lawrence had died in 1987, and was a disc jockey during the 60's at KYW/WKYC-1100 in Cleveland, Ohio. The link here was this review of a book by "Big Chuck" Schodowski, long time late night television host, here in northeast Ohio. I had mentioned in the book that the famous recorded laugh used for many years in the skits was provided by Jay Lawrence.

Problem was, this was the wrong Jay Lawrence. The Jay Lawrence who was a Cleveland disc jockey is currently a talk show host at KTAR in Phoenix AZ. I had seen comments by Jay on Radio-Info.com as late as 2007. You know, about 20 years after he allegedly passed on the the great control room in the sky.

Anyway, I sent the living Jay Lawrence an email, telling him about the rumor of his death which, in the words of Mark Twain "were greatly exaggerated." Here's how he responded-"Larry Storch was a comedian who passed away, his brother Jay Lawrence also passed away. I assure you, this Jay Lawrence is alive and well. I am in a bad mood this morning but I'll make it through the day. I have a talk show on KTAR in Phoenix and look ,pretty good for a dead person. I was on the radio in Cleveland some years ago. KYW and WKYC

 Jay"

As one who likes to keep facts straight, I post this as a public service. Well, maybe for a couple of chuckles too.

Click here to hear the laugh at the end of this skit.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

It's Been A Real Ball- A book review

Click here for a review of the same book, written by blogging friend and fellow media geek, Tim Lones.

The past week has been great for a radio geek, such as myself. On Friday, I received in the mail, It's Been A Real Ball, a book written by Joe Tait and Terry Pluto. Like the other book I read this week, I consumed this within 24 hours. But then Terry Pluto is a great writer as well as an all around good guy.

Cliff Note: As I write this review, I will interject some of my thoughts as well. 

Joe Tait is one of the best sportscasters to hone his craft in a market that knew a lot alot of defeat and disappointment His voice was one of the last, some of us who were sports fans in the 1970's, would hear before retiring at night. And for the most of 39 seasons, he was the voice of Cleveland Cavaliers basketball. Joe is a transplant to northeast Ohio who firmly took root.

Growing up, Joe had two areas of interest, sports and the railroad. Like so many of us, Joe Tait was an avid sports fan who had very little athletic ability. But he knew very well how to describe a game.  Starting with college, he gave some excitement to many woebegone teams. Bill Fitch, then a college basketball coach, took note of this when he was scouting for his college football team. This paid off for Joe Tait when Fitch was named first head coach for the expansion Cleveland Cavaliers. Fitch recommended Joe for the job of play by play announcer, and the rest, as they say, is history.

I can remember listening to WERE the first time the Cavs beat the New York Knicks. I recall Joe saying things like, "the crowd is going bananas" and "the only way these refs were going to call a foul on New York is  if  they pulled out a gun." this remains one of my favorite Joe Tait memories. 

And for all of you who think a job in radio is all glamour, this book is an eye opener. Joe describes the jobs he took with little or no pay, the times he got fired from small town stations, and having to take on many other jobs at WERE to supplement the $7200 salary he received from the Cavaliers for the first season. The extra jobs also lead to his becoming Herb Score's partner on Cleveland Indians broadcasts for seven seasons.

Cliff Note: One evening in 1975, I found myself at the Richfield Coliseum after being stood up for a date. The Cavs won that night and since I was by myself, I made my down to the broadcast table after the game was over. Being one who wanted to get into radio at the time, I approached Joe Tait and asked him for some pointers for getting into the industry. In the next couple of minutes, he told me about small towns, long hours, and little pay. Pretty much like everyone else connected to radio has told me over the years. 

Much of the book is dedicated to an era in sports when the main attraction to going to a game was the game itself. Joe was a blue collar announcer in a blue collar market. He was there, describing to us the Miracle in Richfield, Ten Cent Beer Night, and Len Barker's perfect game, among others.

Cliff Note: One of my instructors at the WIXY School of Broadcast Technique in 1974, was a young sportscaster named Les Levine. He had criticism for Joe Tait, pretty much along the lines of most sportswriters in town at that time. Les did admit that he was jealous since Joe announced the Indians and Cavaliers, and all he (Les Levine) had was the Cleveland State Vikings basketball games to announce. Les has done well for himself over the years, being a sports talk show host. 

A year ago I wrote a post about about Len Barker's perfect game. Announcing that evening was Joe Tait and Bruce Drennan. The broadcast is another of my favorite Joe Tait memories. I was watching the game that evening with my brother, Ricky. Those who are long time readers of this blog know that Ricky had neurofibromatosis, and was developmentally disabled. Ricky, who passed away in 2008, had a great love for sports. Voices of people like Joe Tait, Pete Franklin, Herb Score, and Nev Chandler comprised a large part of the soundtrack of his life. Gordon Gund hired Joe back as the voice of the Cavs after Tait was away for two seasons. Gund was blind and appreciated the picture Joe painted during his telecasts. Joe brought the game alive for many that could not be there. I couldn't help but wish Ricky was still around to pass the book onto after I was done reading it. He would have loved it.

It's Been a Real Ball does touch on the Gund ownership, as well as the Dan Gilbert years of the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise. Joe does touch upon players such as Larry Nance, Craig Ehlo, Shawn Kemp, and World B. Free. In Tait's opinion the acquisition of Free saved the franchise and that his number, 21, should be retired by the Cavs. The book also devotes a chapter to Lebron James.

As I stated at the beginning of this post, I was able to read the whole book in a 24 hour period. I don't do this with many books. The book is an easy read and I felt I was living many of my sports memories all over through the eyes of one of the greatest sportscasters of my lifetime. And I'm going to finish this post with a limerick.

Listening at night to Joe Tait
I think his announcing was great
Pluto there at his side
To share this great ride
A great read again I must state

So...What are you waiting for??? Get the book! Click here to order it from Amazon.

Friday, May 11, 2012

They Call Me Baba Booey-A Book Review

This past Wednesday, Kathy and I were in the local Goodwill store looking for books for Kathy to read. She found about 3 books. Me I just was looking more or less out of curiosity when I come across a book called They Call Me Baba Booey, by Gary Dell'Abate. The inner radio geek in me then kicked in. Mind you, I have plenty of books to read that I haven't even touched, and I'm also waiting on another book to arrive at my house that I've promised to review for this blog. But my love of radio is a reason I bought the book. And I read it in less than 24 hours.

Gary Dell'Abate is probably the best known radio show producer in the world, as he is the producer for the Howard Stern Show. Now I'm not a big fan of Howard Stern, but I did read his book, Private Parts. And if Howard was in town and offered to autograph my copy of the book, I would let him. As I have said, I'm not a fan, but I am a radio geek.

I picked up They Call Me Baba Booey and could not put it back down. It is very rare for me nowadays to be able to finish a book in a reasonable amount of time, but this one kept my attention. Gary tells quite a bit of his home life, especially dealing with his mother. The way he describes his mother's behavior, I would say she was suffering from bipolar disorder. Having a difficult home life, Gary turns to music and his beloved New York Mets to help him cope. His interests lead him into a career in radio and eventually producing one of the most popular radio shows in the history of the medium, The Howard Stern Show.

Unlike Private Parts, where Stern goes into minute detail about all his guests, Gary gives us an insight about his adventures in life and shares many embarrassing moments with the reader. Lets everybody know that getting into radio wasn't a cakewalk back in the 1980's. Gary also accepted the fact that sometimes his life would be center stage on the Howard Stern Show because there was comedic value in doing that.

We also learn how a brain cramp became a nickname and rallying cry everywhere when a Howard Stern fan would pull a fast one on a radio television host. Read the book and see how Gary Dell'Abate became part of one of the biggest news stories of the 1990's.

As I have stated earlier, even if you are not a Howard Stern fan, but you are a radio fan, give They Call Me Baba Booey a read.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Love of Money

Is the root of all evil. This is more than evident when it comes to legalized gambling.

The Horseshoe casino will be soon opening in Cleveland. One thing this will mean is the rate of bankruptcies in northeast Ohio will be on the increase. Also means the pawn shops will see increased business.

But people see legalized gambling as the road to easy street and look for any vehicle to get them there. In some cases, this includes fraud.

Several years ago, Ohio got their first Mega Millions winner. The jackpot was 165 million. The winning ticket was sold at a convenience store in an eastern suburb of Cleveland. The holder of the winning ticket had not come forward when someone else said they had bought the winning ticket, but dropped it in the parking lot of the convenience store. This caused a crowd of people to converge on the store to search the parking lot, trash receptacles, and dumpster, for the elusive ticket. The holder finally come forward with an unsoiled ticket which showed no evidence of being dropped in a parking lot on a winter day.

The person who claimed to purchase the ticket confessed to trying to defraud the lottery commission, saying she wanted the money to help others, including the police. WTAM talk show host, Mike Trivisonno, said he admired this lady for what she had done and that if he had a million dollars, he would get naked and roll around in it.

This memory was sparked by the recent story about the million dollar winning ticket which was recovered from the trash in a convenience store in Arkansas. The alleged buyer of the ticket claimed that she checked the ticket against the scanner, which said it wasn't a winner. The ticket was then disposed of. The redeemer of the ticket recovered it from the trash. The person who claimed they bought the ticket and the convenience store went to court over this. The judge ordered the holder of the winning ticket to surrender the winnings. I'm sure the story will be continued.

Biggest winners will be the attorneys.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

What a difference time makes....

Two years ago, in May, 2010, I was unemployed. I didn't know if I would ever find employment. I was told by someone as I was going around with my resume that "the white stuff on top of my head" would prevent me from getting a job.

To keep my spirits up, I started posting a daily video on Facebook, calling it "The Morning Show." That became a hit with my family and friends. also encouraged a friend to post a daily video, calling it "Second Edition." A month later, I started posting my "Question of the Day." Became popular in time, but also became polarizing to some. Also proved I would stink as a talk show host. Though friends and family told me that my talents could translate in a radio job, I knew better. I have had those in broadcasting tell me that it makes a great hobby and a lousy career. I decided that this would remain a great hobby. I remained unemployed.

During this time, I also helped plan a class reunion. One of my classmates from out of town, pulled me aside and gave me a card with a very generous amount of money inside. though we have had some differences since then, I still am grateful for that.

Early in the fall of 2010, I finally found a job. Not what I had been doing, but utilizes my talents. Some decent benefits as well.

After 18 months on the job, I was honored, and humbled, this week by being awarded employee of the month. My feelings about this are that I got this as a result of being part of the best program at my place of employment, and having some of the best coworkers around. Also the result of a few supervisors working hard to help develop my skills. I realize that can be harder when you are working with someone who is over 50 years old. I also realize that many newer employees will be looking up to me and that as a result, I will have to step up my job performance. I also had realized that when I was told that my calls were among those being played for training purposes.

Yes, in these days, big brother is watching...Also little brother. Big and little sister as well. But it's all good.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Are You a Starving Artist?

Many folks reading these words are bloggers. We do like to check what one another are writing. I have had people telling me that I should write a book. I do have about 4 books inside me. What I need to do is convert much of my stuff to my word processor, then to adobe file, then to the hands or computers or e-readers of those who want to read my words.

I post quite a bit of examples of my talent online. Have I ever profited from this? Can't say that I have. I recently reached the conclusion that I am a starving artist. I realized this after having a conversation with a new coworker. This young lady has music available on iTunes, has acted in plays, and writes in a journal. However, being a young single mom of 2, she realizes that she does need to put food on the table. I can see her going far in life, as she has the gift of encouragement and knows how to effectively apply it on those around her. When she told me about all her talents, I replied that she knows all about the "starving artist" thing. I had to apologize to her because I later recognized the fact that she is working on using her talents. Some don't even go that far, most of the time because they fear the negative influence of those around them.

Sometimes we never even put our irons in the fire, causing not to even temper the steel of our talents. There are times we have to arise to any challenge we can give ourselves.

Earlier this week, I was watching my grandson. I had to gas up my car. On the way, we stopped for breakfast at Chick Fil A. My grandson decided he wanted to go in the play area, where he met up with two other boys. I struck up a conversation with the mother of one of the boys. I had asked her what she had done before becoming a mother. Her answer was she designed kitchens. I then asked her if she was going to return to this line of work when her boys got older, and her answer was that she wanted to write instead. I had told her about Dan Miller and showed her the 48 Days app on my phone. She immediately went to the Android store on her phone and downloaded the app. Cliff Note: the app is also available on iTunes as well.

It occurred to me that writing is something I will be able to do when I reach retirement age within the next 10 years. I may be a starving artist, but I will continue to starve if I keep my art inside me.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

You've come to a bridge, now what?

I have been thinking about this this weekend. What have you done with the bridges in your life? There are several things that you can do.

You can burn them. Many of us have done that, whether we realize it or not. We also have to suffer the consequences of the arson job. Two years ago when I was out of a job, a couple of things I did in the past stood in my way of getting employment sooner than the nine plus months in which I was out of work. Many others have done things to affect their relationships with friends and family. Sometimes the bridge can be rebuilt, other times not so much. Be careful with these bridges.

You can camp under them. Too often we hear about the homeless living by the river under a bridge. Too many people and programs nowadays offer a hand out, and too few offer a hand up. You don't have to be physically there to be there. Sometimes wallowing in self pity is the same as camping under this bridge. I've always been told that God helps those who help themselves. I think that even though this isn't in the Bible, it is a truism. Sometimes those who need help also need some direction, especially how to get away from this bridge.

Some jump off them. Some of my high school friends who will read this post after I put the link in Facebook remember Mr. McCormick. He was a math teacher at our school. His first year out of college and teaching was my senior year. He was very intelligent, but was the target of much ridicule and meanness from the students. The year following our graduation, Mr. McCormick was also having other problems in his life, including his fiance leaving him. One day he called off from work sick, drove to Akron, and jumped off a high level bridge.  This past year, one of our classmates, after dealing with alcoholism, shot himself.
Several others reading these words remember our blogging friend, Liquid. Dealing with some emotional issues and a failed marriage, Suzanne took her life on Christmas Eve, 2008.
Please, please, please stay away from this bridge. There are those who care. Ask for help until you get it. Jumping off this bridge affects more than you.

Many cross the bridge and go on. And some come back to tell what's on the other side, maybe help others get to the other side. We are all in this together. Some go further away from the bridge than others, but that's okay.

What will you do when you come to your bridge?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Adventures in Limerick Land, NASCAR Style

As many of you know, there are times when I wax poetic and I can keep the rhymes coming. Always best when I'm near my keyboard. This past Sunday, NASCAR raced at Martinsville. I was in my car when the race started. During the pre race show, it was said that Hendrick Motorsports were going for their 200th win. Their first came at Martinsville. The favorite going into this race was five time Sprint Cup champ Jimmie Johnson. I thought of this limerick to post on Facebook if this has come to fruition:

The forty eight driven by Jimmie
The car did not shake or shimmy
Great calls by Knauss
Brought a win to the house
And the grandfather clock was a gimmie

Needless to say, this is the first time I made this one public. And the grandfather clock is the trophy given to the winner at Martinsville.

As the race was progressing, I started to post some limericks on Facebook. Jeff Gordon was dominating the race early. I wrote this limerick:
Jeff Gordon is leading the pack
While driving around the short track
If it keeps up, he's in
Hendrick's 200th win
He'll get a clock instead of a plaque


 And yes, Jeff is a Hendrick driver. As the race progressed, Kasey Kahne was having some trouble. Kahne started on the pole:
Kasey has started to choke
His car has belched out some smoke
The car's in the pits
His points taking hits
A very poor April Fool's joke


 Oh oh, as the Fox announcer said, if it weren't for bad luck, Kasey would have no luck.

Fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr, had momentarily taken the lead, and the crowd roared.
Junior was hearing the crowd
They were cheering for him real loud
Passing Jeff for the lead
And picking up speed
However not left in a cloud


And others were making the show interesting. Columbian driver Juan Pablo Montoya and Ken Schraeder met on the track, sending Montoya into the inside wall: .
Montoya was riding real clean
Until he met Schraeder's machine
He went for a ride
Hit something inside
Sometimes the fate can be mean


And Carl Edwards got into the spirit of April Fool's day, telling crew chief Bob Osbourne something was wrong with his transmission, then saying it was a joke.
Old Carl said something was wrong
Sang Osbourne a nasty sad song
Said the tranny was broke
Then said was a joke
Bob's palipatitiations were long


The race itself, seemed to be in the hands of Johnson or Gordon. I posted this one with 100 laps to go:
With less than 100 to go
The driving is quite a good show
I now have a hunch
That one of Rick's bunch
Will set victory lane all aglow


And this one was also posted: But things don't proceed as expected.
Jimmie and Jeff's in slot one and slot two
Both know what they need to do
They need to race clean
And not to be mean
To the pedal apply some more shoe


But gas was running low with the front runners:
The Hendrick cars needing some gas
They're hoping that no one will pass
They're hoping no shock
Will lose them the clock
And losing they will have to show class


And a late race caution brought this meeting between Gordon, Johnson, and Clint Bowyer:
Jimmie is singing this song
Asking what the hell went wrong
Bowyer sent him and Jeff in
They went for a spin
Felt like a big bang on the gong


And this opened the door for Ryan Newman.
Ryan is now feeling fine
His car, the thirty nine
He drove like a ringer
And beat Allmendinger
And doesn't have need to whine

 Made for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Candice covers NASCAR and Life

As many of you know, I'm a NASCAR fan. And I belong to a group on Facebook, called NoBarNASCAR. One of the recent additions to this group is a motor sports writer and blogger named Candice Smith. Her blog is called Chief 187 Chatter. Candice chose her blog name because, "she's crew chief of her family."

NASCAR isn't the only topic Candice covers. Like most of us bloggers, she likes to share her life with those who will want to read about it. But as race day approaches, she will let us in about things like food at the track NASCAR's visiting that weekend, or history revolving around the track. Her aim is the casual fan, hoping to turn them hardcore.

Even if you don't happen to be a NASCAR fan, check out Chief 187 Chatter. I guarantee you'll find something you'll like

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Great Hobby, Lousy Career...

As most of you know, I'm a radio geek. And I'm not shy about making it known when I make an acquaintance of someone who is, or has been in the industry.

About 6-1/2 months ago, I started contacting former WMMS  host, Jeff Kinzbach, via Facebook. I had found out he was going to be the band announcer for Highland High School, where I had graduated. His daughter was playing in the marching band. We had some good exchanges back and forth. I gave him some advice that he had probably known already, but thanked me anyway.

A few weeks later, Rittman and Highland played in the same band show. Jeff came looking for me and introduced me to his wife, Patty. We had a good conversation, probably things he had discussed ad nauseum with countless others over the years. He messaged me the next day, telling me that he enjoyed the Rittman Band's performance and gave me kudos over my announcing style.

About 5 weeks later, after I broke my ankle, Jeff sent me well wishes via Facebook. Safe to say, Jeff Kinzbach is not full of himself. I had written a post several months ago called "After the talent is gone, then what?" Jeff was kind enough to write this response to the post:"From Jeff Kinzbach:Thanks for the kind words, Cliff. I try to tell people that you have to have a back-up plan. While I was in broadcasting I knew that it could be a life-long career but the odds were better that it would not. At the time, being in broadcasting was like being a baseball manager. Eventually you will lose your job. Now, most businesses are like that. I was fortunate. I worked hard and kept my head on straight. But, I was always fascinated by the economy. So I studied it and it became my second passion. I began to think that my next goal would be to work for myself. As time went on, radio started to change. The companies were expanding and buying more properties. However, they started to cut staff and corners in order to make the bottom line look better to shareholders and investors. Key people were let go because they made too much money and had too much vacation time. Creativity was put on the back burner for the safety of playlists. I knew at that point, radio would not be a life-long career for me. I actually wanted a new adventure. I was 41 at the time and had spent over 25 years in the business. I sometimes worked 7 days a week. Anywhere I had to go, whether it was a vacation or for business, I flew because I had to be back for work. One thing I realized more than anything...was that life was not about radio. I wanted more. I wanted to see other places and experience other things. Most people think that being in radio or television is great. You are famous. That was never an attraction for me. For me it was the creative ability to put together sounds, music, news, comedy and to enjoy it. Having another plan was starting to work wonders for me. After having been shown the door in 1994, when I came home, my wife said, "Why don't you just do your investment business?" So I took the plunge and did that. Was it easy? No. But I stuck with it and am glad I did. When I got out of radio I went through a very interesting change. I had never realized how wound-up I was. I started to relax. My wife and I got into the car and drove all the way down the east coast. No agenda. If there was a ferry to take...we took it. One of the first things I did when I was out of radio was to watch the sun come up one morning over the Atlantic in Hilton Head. With a great cup of coffee...it was super. Soon we were parents to a daughter. We moved to Texas, bought an old ranch and fixed it up. We harvested hay, had cattle, dogs, cats and whatever else showed up. The ranch was way out in the country so we would sit around the firepit at night and listen to the coyotes howl. It was a great place to raise a child. As we got older, the heat and the ranch work were wearing us down. We moved back to Ohio. It is great to be back. One thing Texas lacked was the seasonal changes. The vivid fall colors of Ohio are amazing. We lived through a pretty nasty drought. (not as bad as the one they have now) So rain, clouds and snow do not bother us anymore because we know how important rain is. Would I change anything? Probably not. Are we perfect? Of course not. If I had a dime for every mistake I have made....geez I would be rich. Life is to be lived and enjoyed. However, you have to have a plan and a back-up plan too. A good lawyer once told me, "I don't like surprises." And I agree. You have to look both ways. "What if," should be in your plan."
 Sometimes a response can be longer than my post. Anyway we have had a few exchanges over the past several months, as he has probably done with his over 4000 Facebook friends.


Lately, Jeff has made a return to radio. He has begun to do fill in work at WNCX/98.5, classic rock station in Cleveland. People have been able to get small doses of what had made radio great in "The Rock N Roll Capitol of the World." And I'm sure it has revived interest in WNCX. As he said in the above comment, he has moved on in life, but he gets to do something he has loved, now on a part time basis.

This week, the regular morning show host on WNCX, Slats, is on vacation. Jeff has been filling in to the audience's delight. Would this work on a long term basis? Probably not, but for me and many others, it's dessert. Better had in small servings. Today he also has in studio, his longtime on air partner, Ed "Flash" Ferenc, reliving past glory days. Good listening. Always good to hear one of the good guys who has never forgot who and what had made him popular. Cliff Note: Photo above was courtesy of the WNCX website.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Encouragement

I have been accused of doing much of what I do here on the internet purely for the attention it brings me. Sometimes that's true. But when you see some of the things posted on Facebook, I have to admit that what is posted by myself and others who have a blogging backround is much more original than the usual "repost this if you love Jesus" posts that we all have the tendency to see. And believe me, I don't have to prove I love Jesus by reposting a message.

Now that I have my rant out of the way, let's get to the subject of the post. I have noticed others around me are wanting to start working out. I was told by one coworker that I have inspired her to come to work early and spend about 15 minutes working out. Another coworker wants to check into Weight Watchers. I received an email last week from a friend who reads this blog. He told me that he joined Weight Watchers.

Top all this with my wife wanting to get walking, but not with me at 4:30am, and I feel that I'm doing a fair job encouraging others. This encourages me to do better for myself.

Another bit of encouragement came in the comment section from my last post. Syd always gives me a good word, and Busy Bee Suz always brings me a smile. There was a comment from someone who come to visit for the first time, Strong Beauty Val. After a little bit of following links, I found that Val writes a blog on women's fitness. So for someone like that to come over to this blog and offer the encouragement that she gave me, I felt that was a privilege.

So if at all possible, offer someone some encouragement today.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

It's Working Out!

I'm writing this post after returning from a 14 mile bike ride. One I've taken before. But this time I thought I had bitten off more than I could chew.

We will back up to my workouts. I had spent the prior 3 days utilizing the fitness center at my work. My aim is to be working "in the zone", or working up a good sweat at about a level 7. With several machines at my disposal, I could mix a variety of exercises, all designed to build up my legs and drop pounds along the way, that is if I can manage to eat right, and believe me I've also been working on that.

Yesterday I went in the fitness center about 7:15am. I wanted to get a good workout in before I started work at 9. I decided to reverse the order of machines used, and got on the treadmill first. I ended up spending 25 minutes on the treadmill, then after a rest, 30 on the stationary bike. Then after a shower, off to work. In my mind, a good workout.

Today is the first day of daylight savings time, and with a high in the 60's not a bad day here in Ohio. Considering I started the winter on crutches and had to transition back to walking, it wasn't a bad time to have a mild winter. I was going to go for the usual 1.7 mile walk I've been taking lately, but the bike path was calling my name.

Now for those unaware, the bike path I ride is also known as the County Line Trail, which makes no sense because the county line is a mile north of the trail. Where I get on the trail is 1/4 mile before the 1 mile marker. It's also about a mile from my house. My original intent was to turn around once I got to the town of Sterling, about half way into the trail. I got there, found a bench to sit on, then decided to go all the way to the end, which is in Creston.

Once in Creston, I decided to go to the Circle K convenience store. I bought me a Polar Pop, or a fountain Diet Coke, and a banana. I took my grandson on this trail last summer. Rested at the same place. When we got back to my house, he found some pizza coupons and said we could eat pizza while we rested the next time. I told him that would defeat the purpose. Good news is there is a Subway inside the Circle K, and I'm starting to like some of their salad possibilities.

On the way back to the trail, there was an accident with my water bottle and I lost about 2/3 of the water in it. I thought I would stop at a restaurant in Sterling and refill when I got there. No dice, restaurant closed. And I didn't have any money for the vending machine in front. So when I needed water, I could just take a sip. Good thing it was getting cooler. Was also a good thing that I could coast a lot along the way. My legs were starting to feel like lead. And I also need to get a wider seat for the bike.

And around the 2 mile marker is a shelter. And in the shelter is a bench. And once I got there, I entered the shelter and parked my butt on that bench. Stayed there awhile, probably wasn't a good idea since my legs felt heavier when I got back on the bike. Even though, it wasn't that far now, I thought I would never get back home. But let's take some inventory: I'm 56 years old, have an artificial left knee, and I'm 4-1/2 months removed from having a plate and 9 screws in my left ankle. All in all I'm not doing all that bad. And since the shelter had no wifi, you can see I made it home.

Now after a shower and granola bar, I'm sore but am feeling good about my accomplishment. And I intend on becoming more familiar with the County Line Trail.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

New blog: Charm of Nail Polish

It's been a while since I've introduced a new blog. A former coworker of mine named Courtney, also known as Zombie Mommie, has started a blog called "The Charm of Nail Polish."

Courtney is a single mom of 2 and she is going through some changes in her life. She has decided to go to school to become a nail tech, which has been a passion of hers for some time now.

Anyway, above is an example of Courtney's work. Check out her blog and say "Hi" while you're at it.

Self Esteem Issues

In the past 5-1/2 years since I began blogging, I have encountered many people with their share of of esteem issues. And I'm sure those of my friends who write recovery blogs have documented their own.

One of the descriptions of myself that I have had to promise myself I would quit using is when I have referred to myself as "the fat kid from the other side of the tracks." To be honest, I used to think this would get me some points. At least one of my friends called me out on it.

Problem is sometimes overweight people serve as comedic foils for other people dealing with their own self esteem issues. And as a Christian, I think this sort of behavior is as wrong as slandering your fellow man. Really serves no useful purpose.

Food is too often used as a recreational drug. Can give you a false sense of satisfaction when you are dealing with feelings of guilt or when someone causes you hurt. When I was growing up, I used to take out many of my frustrations on my stomach. Of course being a minor, that was the only legal way to handle it. Combine this with being a faithful follower of TV Guide, this was the perfect recipe for obesity. I wonder how many other have followed this non plan through the years.

Cliff Note: The last four sentences of this post was deleted as upon further review, they really had nothing to do with the spirit of the original idea behind this post. The only thing I do want to say is that if I offended any recovery bloggers who read my blog, I am truly sorry.