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Thursday, June 29, 2017

Iva's Input

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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...

Vegan Bar-B-Que

Once, many years ago, I ran across a book with the title, Hollywood Is A Kosher Nutburger.  I think that I read it but who knows.  At any rate, it struck me that it was a fine shorthand for “This place is nuts!” Well, the news lately—internet, the comics,  the news pages, magazines—all of it, is proof that  while time...

O Spring

O.K., it’s Thursday, this must be springtime. Holy cow!  What a wild one!  Haul out the long johns, Maudie, the daffodils done froze!  And what does the Old Farmer say?  Not much.  But you’ll be happy to know that on April  18, 2009, Aaron Caissie set a world record by balancing 17 spoons on his face.  Now there is a...

Spoiler Alert

This is about the Portage County Park District, first in what will probably be a series of rants. Portage County DOES HAVE a park district. CATCH : Over 800 A of the land comprising the district are currently inaccessible because of a lack of funds.  The budget has been severely cut, with the 2014 revenues projected to be only $99,500...

April Showers

April showers bring May flowers, eh? Somebody alert the providers of floral items.  They’re either going to be left twiddling their thumbs because the general public is inundated by blooms of exotic sizes and descriptions springing up along every highway and by-way or their own backyards…or…there will be wholesalers of flowers lurking around corners trying to off-load cheap orchid and...

Out Like A Lamb?

Out like a lamb?  Maybe a drippy-wet lamb.  Maybe a lamb looking up at the occasional flurries and possible thunderstorms lurking in the wings next  week.  Baaaa! Enjoy it while you can.  Quoting The Old Farmer’s Almanac here, “Showers often; the earth softens.  Sunny and sweet.  Watch out for sleet!” Sounds  like Winter : Lite to me; a sunnier version...

Misguided Cats

Maplewood, beware! I’m thinking that the cats—at least some of them—need occupational/vocational counseling. One of the guys(It’s always the guys)apparently thinks that he is a watchcat, protecting us all from  dangerous gray tiger cats out on the back porch.  He pays no attention at all to the calico incipiently-maternal feline that appears on the front porch.  When  he spots this gray...

Gone…. GONE…. GONE!

The first department store in Portage County (Chic & Shabby/the Root Store)transformed into a  source for home decorating with a distinctive touch…a craftsman fascinated by and devoted to clocks… a fledgling lawyer, an experienced attorney…the Barber of G-Ville…lawn and garden equipment gurus…a quilt shop drawing craft persons  from all over the state and beyond…a podiatrist…an audiologist…a community food cupboard...

Oxford English Dictionary and then some

The Oxford English Dictionary has just come out with its quarterly revisions and additions.  Some nine hundred new words and phrases have now been deemed worthy to grace its pages, some of them pretty far out there.  How often do you wish to know the meaning of Empedoclean? ( Don’t go there.  It’s about some Greek philosopher dude named...

The Old Farmer Says….

The Old Farmer says of the month of March (and I quote), “In like a sea lion, cold and wet with fishy breath. Rain to snow and snow to rain—di-si-do and back again!  This month can’t be trusted; the hinge of spring has rusted.” Well, D’ya think? Good Grief!  If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.  The bit of doggerel above...

Whoa! Missed it Again!

Mardi Gras, that is.  Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, beginning of the Lenten season.  Carnavale, Carnival, Carnaval, Karneval, Faschtnact/Fasching…whatever your ethnic background, if there’s a shot of Catholic in there anywhere (or even if there’s no Catholicism but a lot of fun-lovers), you may be acquainted with Mardi Gras, one way or another. Some folk—like the ones in...

SANK

SANK!  The word is SANK!  The past  tense of “sink”  is “sank”…”sank”, not “sunk”.  “Sunk” is the perfect tense, which is either being shamefully abused or ignored most of the time by people who ought to know better.  If I have to listen to some talking head on a TV screen or hear a faux-authoritative voice on the radio...

Ragnarok

Well, here we go again.  The Mayan “end of the world” didn’t pan out, so, now we can look forward to the Viking Apocalypse. It seems that in some enormously long poem in Norse mythology written in the 13th century by( Here’s a name to conjure with) Snorri Sturlson, the gods of just about everything and nothing have a whopper...

Spice of Life

Sometimes bon appetit, the 0h-so-upscale cooking magazine, is just too much. They just assume that everyone has access to—and a budget for—artisan cheeses and spirits, baby organic lettuces, at least four different varieties of milk…and we don’t mean simply whole, skim, 2% and buttermilk…oh no.  You’re deprived unless the shelves boast the lactic fluid of cows, goats and maybe the...

This is Getting OLD

Don’t you just every so often look out the window or open the door or read the weather forecast and feel like the little boy  on the  internet the other day?  The little guy must have been about four years old, bundled up to a fare-thee-well in mittens, hat , snowsuit and he was out shoveling snow, clearing the...

Curses!!

Curse that groundhog! Well, it does depend on which groundhog you are going to believe.  The storied Punxsutawney Phil, of Gobbler’s Knob, Pennsylvania, according to his “handler” (like a sports agent, I guess) interrupted his long winter’s nap, peered out of his burrow and predicted six more weeks of winter.  This would NOT be hard to do, given our experiences...

File Under…

File under “Sorry we missed this one.” New Years celebrators in London this New Year’s Eve were treated to  an interesting array of flavored fun-type  festivity-promoters.  Indeed! There was banana-flavored confetti, there were orange-scented bubbles, peach-flavored snow, for starters.  Mercy!  So who first checked out this stuff?   Somebody just stuck out his/her tongue   and lapped up a healthy (?)...

Here’s Your Chance!

Here’s your chance to investigate the Mpemba Effect.  There’s a video of some Canadian dude on the internet performing this interesting experiment.  He takes a hard plastic water gun (A Nerf weapon would probably not work; you’ll see why)sucks up boiling water into it (That’s why you use hard plastic) and squirts  the water out into the air. The...

Isn’t technology wonderful?

Sports Illustrated reports that there is now a “Smart Sensor” basketball(94Fifty) full of God-only-knows what kind of sensors, nine of  ‘em, complete with circuit board, battery pack and Bluetooth relay—don’t ask—which will  do amazing things for your mastery of the game.  These sensors are processing whatever it is that’s happening with the ball, at your direction, of course, and...

Makin’ A List…

Now that the clock tower lights are lit, Santa has made the first of his (many) local appearances…for lunch, for breakfast, for pizza, etc….it’s time to get down to some serious shopping—preferably local, but wandering off into the exotic every so often. So, in pursuit of exotica (Try looking that up on the internet some times; Sears & Roebuck ,...

Old Farmers Almanac

I love the Old Farmer’s Almanac…I don’t necessarily take it as gospel but I do love the miscellany of STUFF that is in it.  It is a veritable FOUNT of KNOWLEDGE of various off-beat and semi-useful pieces of information.  I say semi-useful because some of the wisdom that this publication imparts, I would rather not have to actually have...

Comet ISON

AND…just in case you’ve been obsessing about the Comet ISON(International Scientific Optical Network—used by some Russian astronomers to first locate this fast-moving wonder) the one thing that most astronomers actually agree on is that it is highly unlikely to slam into the Earth, smashing us all to smithereens…that and the fact that nobody around right now is likely to...

Drawbacks To Unseasonable Weather

There ARE drawbacks to having a warm spell this late in the year.  Yes, indeed. So…I’m sitting in the living room reading the paper; it’s a breezy, balmy (for November, anyway)fifty-something, sixty-something outside.  The room is pleasantly warm enough.  It’s evening, getting dark, I’m thinking about getting to bed early after a day that started fairly early for a weekend. Then...

A Fungus Among Us

The computer strikes again!  Here I am typing away  at my keyboard-in-the-corner, writing  what I’m hoping will be more-or-less reproduced below and—WHAM!  It all disappeared.  Gone! Gone!  Nowhere to be found(Not that I could find it anyway, technological klutz that I am).  Nearly a page of deathless prose lost into the ether of cyberspace.  What’s REALLY irritating about it...

Rants in My Plants

Weeding and quite a number of other garden/lawn tasks are so essentially mindless that they offer “quality time” for pondering totally unrelated topics that  may have “gotten under my skin”, “stuck in my craw(What IS a craw, anyway?)”, “graveled my gizzard”, “frayed my last nerve”…whatever idiomatic expression you might prefer.  So I’ve been using the time, perhaps not wisely,...

Rambutan? Huh?

Please pass the rambutan. Right.  I didn’t know what it was either but it was mentioned in a recent filler article in the R-C.  I’m not sure what’s behind it but there seems to be a rash of “record-setting” events and/or activities of all kinds that seem to be, basically, pointless.  I imagine that the folks down at Guiness must...

Fatberg!

Have another piece of cake, Chubby? OMG!  New scientific research indicates that obesity is likely about three times as great a factor in mortality rates as had been previously believed, up from 5% to 18%.  Some 78 million people in the U.S. are struggling with the condition…or not.  Some twenty per cent of deaths in the 40-85 yr. age group...

Ya Shoulda Been There!

Ya shoulda been there! “There”, in this instance was actually two places where it was all happenin’ last week.  Not genuinely related places, really, but there were similarities, fo’ sure. The first one was the business-to-business open house at Facet Salon and Day Spa on Tuesday, August 6.  The parking lot at the TLC was hopping and they weren’t all in...

Treatise on Spell Check

Spell Check can’t do everything. I was at the Farmers’ Market at Robinson the other day.  Small but interesting; an assortment of vendors with  good stuff.  Dave Stotler had Lodi apples, good for the first apple pies of the season.   A lady from Randolph was there with a food truck that had been featured on WKSU’s “Quick Bites”.  Great Harvest...

‘Tis the Season?!

“Tis the season! For just about everything, I guess.  The other day, a container of blueberries and two squash magically appeared on my front porch sitting on some literature from the Jehovah’s Witnesses or some other well-meaning group and next to the comic strip umbrella from the AB-J.  Tasty stuff!  Then the model neighbors on the corner (You know who...

Time Flies

My, how Time flies! Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana. So, if the line above is an example of  a “garden path sentence” or syntactic ambiguity or  a pun, a double entendre or an antanaclasis—well, it would be, wouldn’t it—possibly by that great linguist, Groucho Marx, these recent weeks have been an example of pandemonium! (from the...

PARTY CENTRAL!!!

You know, the saying goes, “Be careful what you wish for.”  Ain’t it the truth! The Villager took a brief hiatus on the Fourth, giving staff and media stars (That’s you, Benjamin.) a little time to set off and/or observe firecrackers and recoup after all of the frenetic activity of the SummerFest—BEST EVER—and come out swinging for the rest of...

No Computer! Received via email — Thank Goodness!

So…the lightning storm took out the computers—desk top, laptop, probably the remote control for the alarm clock, for all I know—and the Villager deadline is looming on Monday.  What  to do?  What to do? The schedule is filling up : The computer guru who is working on the problem will be arriving with his bag of magic spells and incantations,(...

Good Grief

If it isn’t one thing, it’s another…how’s that for original thought? I went to my computer, the desktop, which is one of the newer dinosaurs, as compared to the iPads and tablets and such, intending to turn it on and get started on my weekly offering of deathless prose and witty repartee before journeying off into the wilds of assembled...

Costume Crises

Well, it’s all the talk.  Superman, in the new movie coming out soon, “Man of Steel”, has a new look--no tights!   The new costume still sports the iconic red capital “S” across the--very broad--chest on an all-blue, sort of metallic, more-armored-look unitard.  No belt, exactly, but a waist-defining red detail on the sides and red cuffs and a red...

Spam

Just in time for the summer cooking-out season, the Hormel company has now fessed up to producing ten--that’s 10 different kinds of SPAM.  Well, who’d a thunk it?  Yes! You have your regular old Spam ( which the company likes to call “Spam Classic”).  You have Spam Lite, Spam ”with real Hormel Bacon”, Spam with cheese, hot & spicy Spam...

A Bad Spell

It wasn’t pretty. The brain trust here at the Weekly Villager sallied forth to adventures in orthography by participating in the22nd Annual Community Spelling Bee for Literacy, co-sponsored by the Portage County Literacy Coalition Community Partners at the NEOMED Conference Center on Friday, May 24, 20013.  And fourth…maybe fifth… was about where we wound up…out of five. Like lots of vital...

That was a fine old time!

That was a fine old time! Well, if you weren’t trying to get anyplace in a hurry, that is.  The annual Garrettsville community garage/yard/porch sale seems to have attracted quite a crowd for most of the weekend.  Some of the narrower thoroughfares were a challenge for those just trying to get into their own driveways.  Down Park Ave. some savvy...

Ha Ha!

`You thought that spring had come, just because you looked at a calendar and got out your flip-flops and sunscreen (I wear sunglasses all year, so that’s really no indication), not to mention making pool plans.  Think again, Hummingbird-watcher. I DID hang out four loads of wash on the line to dry; they didn’t even freeze.  Planted several new flowers--I...

Getting Old is NOT for Sissies!

Just dealing with the medical and insurance issues is enough to send a rational individual(That would be me…no snickering out there) around the bend. I will be the first to admit that my medical and insurance issues are--knock on wood--WAY less fraught with difficulty than many other folk out there who have to deal with catastrophic situations and illnesses.  BUT…...

Marc Pfenning