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Thursday, December 8, 2016

Iva's Input

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Cat Contest

Well, I’m certainly put out... disappointed... chagrined (Not you, Falls ites).  Whilst the Garrettsville SummerFest was tootling along its merry way, I was missing the grand convocation of the Great Lakes Region of the Cat Fanciers Association at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron last Saturday and Sunday.  The tractors, fire engines, unicyclists and French fries won...

Hug That Tree!

Awww, g’wan...hug the tree.  It deserves a little attention. After the bushwhacker weather situations we’ve had around here the last couple of weeks, maybe we’d ought to pay a bit more attention to  the greenery instead of taking it for granted all of the time.  Many real estate agents will tell you that one of the things that will sell...

News Flash!

Here’s a news flash : Tbilisi, Georgia (the former Soviet Union region, not the Peachtree State): “Sausage-wielding extremists” (There’s a phrase to ponder, right?) invade a vegan café –Café Kiwi--during a film festival in the neighborhood and proceeded to fling  meat and fish at the café patrons.  The ten to fifteen men, wearing sausages around their necks and waving skewers...

ZZZZzzzzzzz-zzz–zzzzz

Bob snores. I can hear him across a room or in my lap.  He has a sort of combination wheeze and whistle. I’m not bringing this up to clue anybody in on my—virtually non-existent--love-life, I’m calling it to the attention of the members of Bob’s Fan Club.  He has fans.  One of these days he’s going to stop just sitting on...

Amen for Jacks!

Can I get an “AMEN!” out there? Keep your fingers crossed; Spring may actually be here this time.  For the occasion, all of the Jack-in-the-Pulpits at my place have climbed up to their little green lecterns and are  giving us palefaces H-E-double toothpicks for all they’re worth.  They are in the front where the ferns are finally unfurling, they are...

Parks and Trees…

Well...isn’t April –now that we’ve finally got some weather that resemble Spring—just the greenest month! We’ve got Earth Day.  We’ve got Arbor Day.   We’ve got Happy Birthday for the National Park System (which will actually be running all year to mark the centennial of the founding of the NPS in 1916...by President Woodrow Wilson, no less—at the direction of...

Boaty McBoatface

Always be careful of what you wish for; you may get it.  A warning nicely illustrated by a recent item on various news media. It seems that some British outfit called the National Environmental Research Council, preparing to launch a brand-new $287 million—aw, let’s call it $300 even, like all of those government project go—polar(south) research vessel, thought it would...

Fiscal Fashions

So...I’m listening to a radio program called “Marketplace” and discovered an interesting idea from some economic guru—Michael Bloomburg or Warren Buffett or some such multimillionaire.  Whoever this dude was, he said that he frequently followed the MUI—the Men’s Underwear Index(not to be confused with the Modern University of Information and Technology or the Multilingual User Interface)—when deciding the type...

Prodigality

O.K., I can definitely understand the viewpoint of the older brother in the Prodigal Son scenario and I have to wonder if there might be a story to be told about how family life went on after the younger brother returned, all contrite and  grateful for a crust of bread, let alone the Fatted Calf.  The older brother, upon...

Return of the Prodigal Cat

I started with a dog, you know. Her name was Samantha, which rapidly became “Sammie”; her mother was a purebred apricot poodle   and her father was a traveling salesman of some sort...whatever he was selling, she bought it.  Anyway, Sammie was a nice dog, a good dog...and not much more discreet than her mama—had three puppies under the couch...

The Name Game

Speaking of winter storms....  This whole naming thing apparently started with the Weather Channel and a Latin class somewhere.  This was apparently so that the on-screen prognosticators could get us all to focus on a particular weather event at a particular time and to nudge us toward acknowledging the fact that all of this weather stuff is related rather...

The Old Farmer’s Almanac revisited.

What Dave Barry always calls “an alert reader” stopped me the other day in the PCDL and asked if I wasn’t going to write  some more stuff drawing on the abovementioned publication and it seemed like a good idea, so here we are.  The Old Farmer speaks : (Freely translated by yours truly) What is it that everyone quotes the...

Welcome to 2016 — Need a Calendar??

Well, here we go again.  ”Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme.” As you, no doubt recognized, the above aphorism attributed to Jean-Baptist Alphonse Karr, means “the more things change, the more they remain the same.”  (You might also be aware that albums by the groups Cinderella, Machine Head and Bon Jovi used the phrase, either as album or song...

Not my fault!

Working at Garrettsville’s Precinct A  for thirteen hours on Election Day—with a fairly steady stream of citizens exercising their rights, good for them—was enough to occupy my time; I had no occasion to commit mayhem on the Portage County Board of Elections computer system, though I’m sure there are those who probably think that I could do it by...

Turnpike Proud!

Well, that was interesting...and informative...and fun too. The Ohio Turnpike had an Open House on Saturday, October 24, celebrating its 60th Anniversary; it officially opened on October 1, 1955, all 241 miles of it.  The construction took 38 months, in sections, employed some 10,000 workers—and 2300 bulldozers—at a cost of some $326 million, give or take.  It connected to the...

Memorial Trash

Another Trick-or-Treat for adults? I am referring, of course, to the semi-annual trash pick-up in the village—not to be confused with the weekly services provided (paid for on an individual residence basis) to dispose of our pitch-worthy household detritus and garbage.  Garbage Eve is observed every Wednesday night; no carol-singing or candles in the windows that I know of. The Trash...

Forget the Memoir

Everybody is writing memoirs lately.   It’s the literary style du jour in all of the magazines and reviews.  So I’m thinking, hey, my memories are as good as anybody’s, why not hop to it and make the big bucks? One reason may be that my memories are certainly just fine, but getting them to show up on cue is...

Whadda Prize

It’s awards season just about all of the time now.  There are awards in television, for the theatre, for movies, for sports of every stripe and description, for just about every genre of music that one can think of( and some that I don’t really classify as music, but, rather as “entertainment”)—country, pop, rap, classical, you name it.  But...

Pretty Fair Fairs

Well, I seem to have hit my quota again this year.  A little shy, perhaps, but got the basics done.  I am speaking, of course, of fair attendance.  I really like going to fairs.  It’s the food, mostly.  Nothing like hot grease wafting through the air to set the rustic mood and a culinary challenge. I got to the Portage...

Skin In The Game

Ever since  that piece about plastic surgery and the aestheticians who keep having the gall to send me email about how they can get me a “Facelift Miracle”(as if I needed such a thing), I’ve been noticing a number of items in the news about occasions where the focus is on skin and the display thereof. The first one to...

Cat-astrophe!

https://pixabay.com/en/animal-cat-kitten-funny-yawning-339400/

At one time, there were, give or take, six—yes, six—cats in this house.  That was, so to speak, the high water mark, but the tide seems to have receded rather precipitously lately. See, I started out, innocently enough, with just one, chosen from a litter just out of town advertised with a sign that said, “Free Kittens”.  He was orange...

Strawberry Fields Forever

If John Lennon hadn’t written it, Roger Monroe would have had to.  Maybe with a Pochedly on vocals or bass.  Who better to whip up a little ditty about the most quintessential of spring/summer fruit?  The fact that the song was written about a Salvation Army orphanage near Liverpool (U.K.) doesn’t disqualify it from being a fruit-growers anthem of...

Missing Brains…

I knew that I misplaced something. The Associated Press recently reported that nine—count ‘em, NINE—brains had been found alongside a railroad track near Gouverneur, northern New York state.  Authorities said not to worry. Well, I won’t but it seems like there might be someone out there who is not ABLE to worry because the mechanism is missing. Anyway, the found objects...

Tell You What – An Editorial

Tell you what….  Let’s have everyone who says, “Why don’t they…(whatever it is about the rebuilding needed on Garrettsville’s Main St.) or “They need to…(suggestions for operations to be carried out to restore Main St.) or “They ought to…(directions on how to accomplish the rebuilding of half of Garrettsville’s business district), everyone who utters one of these or similar...

A Stitch In Time!

Here’s one for the Village Piece Makers, you know, the dedicated quilt-makers who every two years come up with a lovely handmade spread to be raffled off at the Christmas Walk. I don’t know how they come up with the patterns—maybe they make them up themselves—but recently the AB-J ran a cartoon (It’s a regular series called Non Sequitur, usually pretty apt for what they put out there) that might get a rise from out local needlewomen, even Ellie Foster Monroe who does “Quilts for Causes”, contributing to efforts that she supports.

Thinking Spring!

Another weekend, another home & garden show! Getting to the John S. and James L. Knight Center in downtown Akron is not real tough, although the predominance of one-way streets does sometimes make it a little tricky if you should happen to miss a turn.  There’s a parking garage nearby too but I won’t even tell you how many turns...

It Must Be February

Must be February, the Easter candy is on the shelves. And the “cabin fever news stories” are circulating.  That’s what appears when all of the news outlets are sick and tired of going hysterical about the weather—record-high snowfall, record-low temperatures, funny (or not-so) pictures of people digging out, names for the storms (How about Hortense?  We haven’t seen that name...

Cabin Fever Factoids

Being stuck inside(Where it’s marginally warmer) for extended periods can send a person(at least this one)over the edge, or at least out on the slippery part. While out there, one can run across some quirkily weird items in the news, To wit...

Red Letter Day

A RED-LETTER DAY Or a red something, anyway.  As I have said before, you can’t make this stuff up. It seems that in Sheboygan, WI a group of brewers has got together to raise money for charity by being featured—mostly in the buff—posing in a calendar which will be sold online or at numerous bars, liquor stores and groceries in Wisconsin...

Stupid Virus

So somebody on a slow news day—Newsweek was mentioned but the internet picked the mention up and ran with it—called it the “stupid virus” and implied that any lagging intellectual powers among us might be the fault of an insidious invasion by these viral marauders...

It’s A Failure!

A failure of Social Studies Education, I calls it. The recent election, that is…failure of turn-out, failure to understand the way government works(whether it’s supposed to work that way or not), failure to be informed on the issues and the candidates, failure to pay attention to the down-ticket contests…a whole bunch of things that we should all be thinking about but don’t. AND a prevailing, parsimonious attitude that makes a virtue of trying to do everything on the cheap. There’s a powerful big difference between wishing to do things in the most cost-conscious and efficient manner possible to do the best we can for the most citizens and trying to see how much we can get away with before the dreadful consequences which we have been outrunning finally catch up. The difference is the difference between “What’s the best we can afford?” and “What’s the cheapest we can get?” Strangely enough, there are cases in which quality actually does count.

Take Up A New Hobby

So here’s the thing….  We need readers and scorekeepers for the Garfield QuizMasters to go out to vanquish our intellectual foes in upcoming Academic Challenge competitions.  Do I see any volunteers? Really, the hardest part is getting up EARLY on a Saturday morning to go ride a bus to the designated venue for the tournaments.  Of course, riding in a...

If It Isn’t One Thing…

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another. We’ve finally seen the end of the political ads (Do you ever get the feeling that the only reason we have elections is to find out if the polls were right?—Robert Orben).  The signs should all be picked up until the next go-round and we can listen to the moans of the losers...

It’s Your Right … Exercise IT!

I’ve been serving as a poll worker for about seven years now and it always makes me proud to see a former student come in to cast a ballot; wish that I’d see even more of them. It used to be a regular thing in the seventh grade to take my classes down to the Precinct A polls on High Street to observe the voting; the poll workers were always helpful and welcoming and happy to explain the procedures to the kids. Pity we can’t do stuff like that anymore.

Plate City

Once upon a time, specific clerks dealt with specific operations and the issuer of license plates might be snowed under with people waiting and waiting, while the driver’s license clerk was able to sit at her leisure to examine the new nail color that she had chosen and tempers tended to shorten as the wait time lengthened. Well, that’s done with…and none too soon.

Weekend Travels

Well, that train left the station without me aboard. I had been planning to take the Portage County Farm Tour but it turns out that it was held on Saturday instead of Sunday and my schedule was all wrapped around the Aurora Band show, Thunder Over Aurora, so it was a setback to open the Record on Sunday and see...

You Can’t Make This Stuff Up

“Imagine looking professional but feeling like you’re wearing pajamas.”

Wild Hikes

Well, actually, it wasn’t all that wild but it definitely was interesting and fun.  The Portage County Park District is offering opportunities to scope out some of the features of the newly-funded (THANK YOU, VOTERS)county parks with knowledgeable  and  entertaining volunteer naturalists (or  one, at least, Thank you, Joe) to get a good look at just what’s out there. ...

SCORE !

Well , it’s not just about football, ya know.  Or volleyball or baseball or cross country or golf or soccer or any of those sports where you get all sweaty.  Much more refined than THAT. Specifically, it’s the Sinquefield Cup Chess Tournament.  Held this last week in St. Louis, MO, the event saw a stunning  performance by Fabiano Caruana, a...

Time Out!

Well…seasons have started…football season, soccer season, volleyball season, cross country season, interscholastic golf season (The regular duffers have been going at it all summer), marching band season…you name it, the season has started. School is like the opening gun for all sorts of stuff. There are, however, plenty of competitions out there which we “wot not of”. Such as: Amazon has just agreed to pony up a ton of money--$970 million—for some outfit called Twitch which makes it possible for video gamers to watch—just watch, not play themselves—other video gamers play…what else?...video games! This is causing great commotion in the online world for some reason and many of the big names—whatever they are, in the online gamers world are all a-buzz about it. I am not one of these people. Let us get this straight; people can get on their computers to watch other people play video games. Just what IS it that these watchers DO? They don’t have to even move their fingers, just barely their eyeballs. Do the actual players get any feedback on their play? Are there electronic/digital cheerleaders chanting algorithmic encouragement from the in-the-cloud sidelines? Any rain delays when a server goes down? The questions have only just begun to roll in.

NOT One Of My Better Weeks

Not one of my better weeks; suffice it to say that I’m now looking for a new car and not a rehab facility.  That’s the good part.  Time to move on. The rollercoaster begins again : school is starting!  Whooeee!  Anyone got an office/coffee klatsch/bowling league/civic group/ neighborhood betting pool going on whether the newly -added-on-to Garfield Elementary School will...

St. Fiacre

So…I’m thinking that my gardening endeavors are in need of divine intervention—for the fungus or whatever it is that’s devastating the hollyhocks and the tomatoes, the slugs and/or whatever is feasting on the berry bushes, the infant poison ivy that seems to be popping up all over the place, the ”sweet violets”, AKA Chameleon plants that are sending out their smelly but vigorous roots everywhere but in the “dead zone” where I’d like them to move in—and I was reading a murder mystery involving a public garden with a statue of a holy fellow called St. Fiacre(Irish--Fiachra, Latin—Fiachrius) patron saint of gardeners (…and maybe cab drivers…who knew?). Why not give him a shot?

In addition…

In addition to pareidolia, I occasionally suffer(if that’s the right word) from bouts of mondegreen; I don’t think that it’s covered by any reputable insurance(though it’s likely on the docket for some fly-by-night, blood-sucking outfit from the late-night TV)but it can be sort of debilitating when you’ve got it.  Pareidolia, as you must recall, is usually seeing significant images in totally random contexts, like the guy down in Louisiana who cut open an eggplant and beheld the word “God” spelled out in seeds.  Elvis and the Virgin Mary are apt to turn up anywhere, from a toasted cheese sandwich to pictures in mildew on old walls.  

Back in the Saddle

“Back in the Saddle Again…Out where a friend is a friend…Where the longhorn cattle feed on the lowly Jimson weed…We’re back in the saddle again….” (Was that Gene Autry?.  Gene had a sidekick named Pat Butram,  I think, who always says said his name so that it sounded more like “artery”. Made him sound like a medical condition. I...

A Quiet Week

Well, it’s been a quiet week in Little Garrettsville. (Lake Wobegone was another story) BUT…things are moving along. The paving over the “grooved pavement” is inching toward finished; there are lines and everything.  Crews are on-site to take down the perennial eyesore downtown which has been “slip-slidin’ away” for –LO!—these many years.  Haz-Mat suits and all, they seem to be doing...

Adventures in summer travel…or…You Can’t Get There From Here

You know those orange and white saw horses that the ODOT crews used to have marking off forbidden territory when the summer construction season started? (They have up-dated all that now with tall, skinny cones and plastic tape)  An ironic gentleman of my acquaintance once proposed that they   should be designated the state animal…probably because they spent even...

Excitement!!

Pretty generally, my cats are NOT about excitement.  Mostly, they’re about conserving physical resources, i.e., lazing around, with as little movement as possible.  Oh sure, there is the occasional wrestling match, when one of the “guys” has to show how tough he is(This is the same one who is afraid to go outside when the door is open; he...

Ahhhhh….. Spring!

If Jack-in-the-Pulpits are any indication, my yard is a veritable vegetation revival!  Nothing in the bulletin  tells  what the message is.  They’ve popped up in the front, the back, the side lawns.  They’ve out hustled even the ferns.  They’ve beaten the trilliums, hands down.  Wonder what got into them all of a sudden.  Maybe the ferocious cold that knocked...

Urgent!

Well, now, THERE was a week! Elections on Tuesday.  It was heartening to see that our precinct (Garrettsville A) was up over the prediction of the Board of Elections, not much,  but every little bit helps.  I think that Garrettsville B was over too but I didn’t check.  It’s also neat to see so many former students whom I exhorted...

Mad Medicine

Open your mouth and say , “Aaaah” Do physicians even DO that any more?  Well, according to an item in the Akron Beacon-Journal, you should not hand over your money before the doc sticks anything in your mouth.  That’s because  some researchers at New York University have discovered an absolutely stunning collection of bacteria,   viruses (Or viri?  Nope, virus...

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