Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!


As I write this, 2007 is coming to a close and the the beginning moments of 2008 are waiting just offstage.

I can't say 2007 was good, bad or indifferent. Many good things happened, while there were also some disappointments and setbacks. Overall, the good outweighed the disappointments.

I'm looking forward to 2008 to see some changes. I will work to make them positive. It's a fresh slate and a new beginning.

To you and yours, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Are You Suffering With The Ghost of Christmas Past?



With some planning and a budget, you can avoid Christmas bills lasting all year long.

If you'd like to know more, reply to this message.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Monday, December 24, 2007

What Every Child is Thinking

Remember as a child the long wait for Christmas Eve and the arrival of Santa Claus?

Maybe if we work hard enough, we can make the spirit of Santa come true.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tis The Season

Isn't it more fun the closer the holiday gets?

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Garish

On Friday afternoon December 21, 2007, a legend hung up his headphones and turned off his mic for the last time.

WLW radio afternoon host Gary Burbank retired after many years in radio, 27 of them at WLW radio in Cincinnati.

I've not been a regular daily listener to Gary for many years. I think they spoiled his show when they attempted to syndicate it in the 90's. They homogenized it to make it a national show, and his wicked sense of humor for things local and identifiable to Cincinnati and the general region were lost. For me it lost something magical.

Another blow came when producer and sidekick Doc Wolfe left the show the first time. They riffed off each other in a way that few teams can do. Their work together was marriage made in radio heaven. Even when Doc returned, that initial magic was gone. It just wasn't quite the same.

But thankfully, my thoughts didn't represent the personal likes or dislikes of Cincinnati radio listeners. Gary was a brilliant on air winner in the Queen City. He was consistently a ratings leader in Cincinnati and had a strong regional listenership due to WLW's blow torch signal.

And while not a regular listener to his daily show, I did keep up with some of his characters, wit and bits on his Weekly Rear View show that aired until recently on local station WTVN. The show was a few hours of the best of his bits from the week before.

Living in the Columbus area, about 120 miles from Cincinnati, we were blessed to have a strong signal from WLW. When Gary arrived at WLW, I was splitting my listening between local station WTVN and WLW.

At the time, WLW was a laid back full service station. Gary was hired to replace James Francis Patrick O'Neill. O'Neill was a very popular but predictable host. While I'm not sure why JFPO left WLW, Gary was the host hired to replace him. I wasn't impressed.

Not only was O'Neill predictable but was also a gentlemanly on air figure. From the old school of radio. His radio bits, while cute, didn't have the depth, bite or personality that Gary brought. From his ongoing spoof of soap opera "As the Stomach Turns" to detective Bentley Brussell Sprout and his sidekick Bacon, JFPO weaved together a morning show of music, local and NBC news, Lt. Jim Stanley traffic sports and his periodic bits.

When Gary came to town, he turned the heat up on the morning show. Not being one to recognize radio genius, I thought Burbank as a replacement for JFPO was a train wreck. Maybe the contrast between Burbank and O'Neill was too sharp. To me it just didn't feel right.

I sort of felt vindicated in my thoughts about Gary when about 2 years later, Gary was moved to afternoons. In the radio world, the morning drive spot is the jewel time period. I viewed the move to afternoons as a slap to Gary and it probably meant he would not be at the station much longer.

Boy was I wrong.

Gary flourished in the afternoon. WLW was going through a metamorphosis and Gary quickly became a centerpiece of that change. His characters and bits were allowed to come alive in afternoon drive. They just felt better in the afternoon rather than mornings. And I quickly became a fan.

I can't remember if the characters were in his morning show, but afternoons were filled with Gilbert Gnarley, spoofs of Cincinnati television news hosts Al Schottlekotte and Norma Rashid (referred to as Al Waddlebody and Normer), the seasonal soap opera like spoof of the Cincinnati Bengals "All My Bengals" and of course Earl Pitts. Gary even lifted "Pat" the spokeslady for Purex in the 80's and used her sappy "Yes" for many shows. Many more came and went through the years.

By 1984, Gary was not only a Cincinnati legendary radio host, but his listenership was growing regionally. I remember standing line at the Pizza Villa in Delaware listening to others in line talking about Burbank and his show. Columbus radio didn't have the bits and humor that Gary brought to the airwaves. And Gary's show had people talking. Even the Columbus Dispatch did an article on his show about that time.

Through the years, Gary's show quit playing music and became three hours of original humor. I simply can't fathom the amount of time and effort it took to put together that many hours of live humor. Even when Gary originally moved to afternoons, his then 4 hour show would repeat many of the bits. A bit that aired during the 2 o'clock hour would likely repeat during the 4 o'clock hour as the audience turned over.

I missed Friday's live version of the show. Thankfully it has been podcast and I've managed to listen to the closing hour.

Gary, a tip of the hat and a genuine thanks. Radio will never be the same.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

My Goal for 2008-Goals


Have you ever noticed a baby trying to take their first steps? They want to so badly, but simply can't let go of that piece of furniture or wall.

That's very much like me with goals.

Don't get me wrong. I operate with a purpose and a certain amount of direction. But I've never been able to focus in and make something work or nudge something along.

Part of the problem I believe is I have a great deal of difficulty focusing. But with new tools and methods, if I can't overcome that shortfall, then maybe I can manage it better.

There's an old Chinese Proverb that goes something like this: "The faintest ink is sharper and longer lasting than the brightest mind." I guess what it's saying is despite your concerns, lack of a clear picture or path forward, it's still best to write it down. Get it on paper. That's the first step and I will be taking it.

As I begin the process of mastering this challenge, I'll keep you updated on how it's going, the problems encountered and the successes enjoyed.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Odd Couple


I couldn't pass this up.

I was browsing through the local B. Dalton store at the mall today and found this collection on the shelf.

Who would have ever thought that behind the lady behind the scenes to destroy a President, Ann Coulter, would be sharing the same space with said President Clinton?

You could say for the time being, they are together 24/7. I wonder if Hillary knows?

Actually, I thought the pairing was a prank by an employee of the store to get a laugh, but in reality, the pairing happened because the books are of the same genre and alphabetically, Coulter follows Clinton.

White Death


A popular radio host in this area refers to winter storms as the White Death. Well, the White Death hit Central Ohio this today.








We made it to the mall and finished our holiday purchases. As I looked over the parking lot I wondered how many people who made it out shopping, but would have called in complaining why work hadn't been called off if it had been on Monday!

Friday, December 14, 2007

The President Born in a Gas Station


for 18 years, I lived in Delaware County just a few miles from the county seat, Delaware.

Delaware most favorite son became a President of the United States. In one of our most odd elections, Rutherford B. Hayes was selected by Congress to be the President after losing the popular vote by almost 300,000 ballots.

All that marks Hayes boyhood home is this marker sitting in front of a BP gasoline station on East William Street just east of the main downtown intersection in Delaware.

After growing up, Hayes spent most of his adult time at his Speigal Grove home in Fremont, Ohio not far from Lake Erie.

Odd Christmas Trees

For some reason, this year I've noticed Christmas trees that have been, shall we say, different.





Try this one. I saw this one at a Wal Mart store in Port St. Lucie Florida. An artifical lit palm Christmas tree. I guess it works is a tropical climate.







The next odd tree was this one in Statesville, North Carolina at the JR Cigar and
sundry store.









It's John Deere yellow with John Deere ornaments.










Finally, this upside down tree in the Macy's store at the Eastland shopping complex in Columbus, Ohio proved to be the ultimate in Christmas tree gymnastics.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Joseph Sangl is FIRED UP!

I've been reading a blog by a gentleman by the name of Joseph Sangl. I really enjoy reading it. And I've learned some little insights and. for lack of a better word, tricks to assist me on my financial journey.

I bumped into Joe's blog sometime last summer or fall while doing a search on financial guru Dave Ramsey. While doing my Google search, I found a link that said something like I Want to Meet with Dave Ramsey. I followed the link and found Joe's blog.

Now Joe wrote on his blog he wanted to meet Dave Ramsey in person. Guess what. He set the goal, announced it to the world, did the steps necessary to make it happen and he met Dave one afternoon in Dave's radio studio.

Joe, like me is into financial responsibility. Unlike me, Joe has made this his own personal evangelistic outreach. He quit his job to make his livelihood. As he likes to say and write, he's FIRED UP. And I must agree.

I've never seen, read or heard anyone as passionate about this mission and message (or as Joe says crusade) as Joe. You can see his story at this link. http://www.newspring.cc/214724.ihtml
Go to the 18:50 mark if you're not interested in hearing the music and seeing only Joe.

Through the years, I've had heros. Joe has quickly become one.

I hope you enjoyed his video. More than that, I hope he inspired you to take the first steps to believing that there is financial hope in your future.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Light Displays

Over the course of the past week, I've had the opportunity to see three different Christmas light displays. These aren't just lit houses with neighbors competing to see who can blow up the local electricity transformer. They are huge regional displays that you drive through.

The first display we saw was in the Charleston, South Carolina area. This was a great display. Many of the displays were dimensional providing a perception of depth. The neat thing about the tour was the weather was moderate and nice. We roasted Marshmellows over an open fire, walked some paths that had displays and drove through a long lit row of great light displays.

Friday evening, Brian and Abby joined us for a tour of the light show at Alum Creek. To me this has always been a great show, but after the Charleston display, was something of let down. Don't get me wrong. For a local presentation, it's still pretty nice. But Charleston spoiled us.

Saturday evening, we drove with Brian and Abby to Wheeling, West Virgina for the Festival of lights at Oglebay Park. After waiting 90 minutes in a massive traffic jam we finally entered the park. It was really nice. But again, it was not as well done as the Charleston show. The major difference is the light show is spread out over a wide area, and the lights are not as dense as they were in Charlestons. Still, it is a great show to visit and enjoy.

Tonight was a special treat. We listened to a collection of old time radio shows featuring their past Christmas's. The tapes were from radio station WDLR and the station at one time aired the shows from the mid 70's to the mid 90's. When the station decided to pitch the tapes, I salvaged them and we began listening to them when traveling over the holidays. The listening to the tapes became something of a family tradition over the years that Brian and I continue. The tapes featured classic holiday shows from the likes of Edgar Bergen who is shown at left with his daughter Candice. Also featured was Red Skelton doing skits, Raymond Burr in a holiday drama, Fibber McGee and Molly, Amos and Andy, Henry Aldrich, Jimmy Durante as well as Phil Harris and Alice Faye.

It nice to hear these old shows and how they used verbal details and sound effects to create the mental images the listener imagines as you listen to the shows. They are great fun and a great way to make a long drive more enjoyable.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Whatevet Hits The Spot



What a great place!

I love small town mom and pop eateries. And this one has always rated near the top of my favorites list. The Spot in downtown Sidney, Ohio is the name of the joint. It appears to have been at one time a drive in. The canopy and ordering menus are still there, but I didn't take the time to see if they were still being used ala Sonic.

Need a great hamburger? They've got it. How about homemade Chilli? They've got that too. Great homemade pies. And the secret to my heart, fried breaded mushrooms.

The prices are modest, the portions large and the atmosphere is doo wop.

Next time you're traveling along I-75 north of Dayton, Ohio, stop in and try out The Spot.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Benchwarmers

This is a redux of an earlier post from August.

I am fascinated with the phenomenon that separates highly successful people and the bench warmers in life.

I saw that quote on another blog earlier today. I too have had the same question running through my mind for the last year or so. I even sort of touched on it when I added this entry to the blog back in July.

I agree there is a phenomenon that happens. What I can't find is the key that allows for it to happen. For those of us who don't have the natural instinct, can it be learned? Where do you find it? How can one tap into it and make it a useful tool rather than an unknown phenom.

The quote was written by a person who has the ability to pick up the tool and use it. Yes, I'm sure they cultivate it. Yes, I'm sure that there is hard work involved. Yes, well you get my drift.

I cultivate many good characteristics in my life. I work hard. Yet I've never experienced the phenomena. The Guiding Light has never came down and touched me or illuminated the way.

There's another element that falls into all of this. Those who have experienced the phenomena seem to hold those who don't in a second class citizen status. Look at the openning sentence. It's sucessful people vs benchwarmers. Think about what they are saying. Or more importantly, how it appears to have been said.

Those lowly Benchwarmers are the people who turn out faithfully everyday and execute something meaningful. In sports, they provide the role of scout team. In business, they do the work that assembles, provides quality control, ships or greets. Many are not slackers and often put in 120% of the days requirements. They take pride in their contributions. They put out a good quality product.

But they are missing one element in life. The Phenomena.

For those of you who have found or were gifted with the Phenomena, share with us how it is found and better yet, how to cultivate it. I would love to hear from you. Reply to this page or email me @ johnstonteam@gmail.com

Monday, November 5, 2007

Lottery Winners Live in Hell

The Associated Press is reporting that John and Sue Wilson of Hell, Michigan are just a little over $115,000 richer after winning the Michigan Lottery's Fantasy 5 drawing on all things........Wednesday October 31, 2007........Halloween night.

Sue is a teachers aid and John is an electrician. They plan to pay off bills and buy their son a video system. And possibly make a long overdue visit to some relatives in Georgia.

Hell, Michigan is located about 45 miles west of Detroit.

Wikipedia has more information on the town. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Michigan

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Do We Have to Say Merry Christmas?

It's about time for the annual angst from the American Family Association about what stores allow or say or use in the advertising. Oh, I forgot. The magic word they will fight so hard over is the word........ Christmas.

Here's the issue. Many retailers now understand that their customer universe has expanded beyond the traditional Judeo-Christian shopper. Out culture is now becoming a larger and larger melting pot. There are now people, as there has always really been, from different cultures and religious perspectives.

There are several holiday celebrations that happen between the last burp of Thankgiving dinner and the last hangover head ache of the New Year. And the list of those celebrations continues to grow. So why shouldn't stores promote the holiday season with seasons greetings since so many holidays and other celebratory days fall in that 40 odd day time period?

To assure they don't offend anyone and are inclusive of all, many retailers have resorted to making their holiday greetings and advertising more related to the season rather than to the specific Christian Holiday.

Many stores suggested that clerks not offer a "Merry Christmas" when ringing a customer through the check out line. But most did not ban a reciprocal response if the customer made first mention. In some cases, I wish I would get a genuine thank you rather than a nonchalant grunt or a mandatory stock phrase.

That's not good enough for the AFA. And of course, talk radio couldn't pass up an opportunity to attack a PC attempt.

I'm not quite sure what the motivating factor of the AFA is. Maybe they should explain it. The comic attached to this writing sort of summarizes my view of the whole thing. It appears that it's more about the fight than the real undrelying cause.

Honestly, the meaning of Christmas was lost long ago when Merry Christmas greetings were in fashion. Commercialism had long outstripped the realization that the promised one was born. So simply saying Merry Christmas isn't going to suddenly make someone crack open the gospels and learn more. It didn't work that way 30 or 40 years ago. It likely won't work with the AFA's annual Merry Christmas dust up.

I'm quite comfortable with making the first offer to have a Merry Christmas by simply saying. And usually I get a big smile back from a very tired store clerk who is probably working two jobs during the holiday season to either pay bills or to earn additional money so their family could have a more bountiful holiday season.

I've always been leery of those who believe we need to impose our faith on others. That to me is what the AFA is attempting to do. Christians seem very eager to impose rather than expose their faith to those who may need it. And a fight for the sake of a fight.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hey Gordo!

This week Diana and I traveled to Circleville, Ohio to take in the sights and sounds of the Circleville Pumpkin Show. This was the 100th show and all the stops were pulled out.

We parked in Ted Lewis park. Ted Lewis? One of the better know burlesque and vaudeville entertainers, he was known in later years for his smaltzy performances featuring his tattered top hat and tag line "Is Everybody Happy"? Oh, he was also born in Circleville.

We headed down Court Street and found ourselves in the midst of a giant carnival. Food, amusement rides and games of skill and chance. Oh and the previously mentioned food. If it can be made from pumpkin, it was available. Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Burgers, Pumpkin Donuts and Pumpkin Coffee. Ok, I took liberty with the last one, but it wouldn't surprise me if it weren't availalble.

This years largest pumpkin was the largest and heaviest in the history of the show. It weighed in at 1524 lbs. The competion is great to grow the largerst gourd and locals as well as regional contestants take the challenge to grow the largest very seriously.



Others are on display, in many unique shapes and colors.

In Circlevile, the Pumpkin Show is a very "political" event. Political in that you have to be seen at certain events if you travel in certain circles.

I also got to see a person I've always really liked. Cindy Wood worked at the same company I did for a number of years. She worked for me in my department for about 7 or 8 years. Cindy is a native and fixture in Circleville and it was great to see her.

Our trip wouldn't have been complete without stopping at the legendary Lindsey's Bakery to see the large pumpkin pie and buy a dozen warm pumpkin donuts. Take about pumpkin excellence.

Lindey's is not only a must stop for Diana and me. On the walls are pictures of high ranking politicians including 1996 Presidential Candidate Bob Dole and in 2004 Vice President Dick Cheney. There's also a picture of former astronaut and Ohio Senator John Glenn.

It takes several weeks for the bakers at Lindsey's Bakery to prepare this masterpiece. The pie weighs 350 pound and is 5 feet in diameter. In case you might want to duplicate this phenomena you'll need 33 pounds of pie dough, 12 gallons of cooked and mashed pumpkin, 36 pounds of sugar, 11 dozen eggs, 4 pounds of cornstarch, a pound of salt, a pound of pie spices (including the all-essential cinnamon) and 116 pounds of milk and water. When you find an oven big enough to bake the pie, it will take six hours to bake and an additional six hours to cool before serving.

The show wrapped up last night and will be gone for another year. Well at least we can still go to Lindey's to get the donuts.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Things That Make You Go HMMMM.

I attended the Dave Ramsey Business Coach and Wealth Coach events in Cincinnati last month. During the break between the two events, I decided to take a walk to the suspension bridge that spans the Ohio River between Ohio and Kentucky. The bridge was designed by John A. Roebling, the designer of the Brooklyn bridge. Many say the Cincinnati span was the template for the later constructed and more famous Brooklyn Bridge. The Cincy bridge is a neat piece of history.

As I was walking down the street from the Duke Energy Center to the river, I passed an interesting shop.


The nemisis of Cincinnati, Larry Flint has a Hustler store in downtown Cincy. But it wasn't the adult store that caught my eye.

Well ok. I did see the Hustler sign first.

What did peak my curiosity was the plaque on the building, located just to the left of the bottom left corner of the window. It seems Larry's place is considered a historical site.

Now I wonder if the building's historic designation has anything to do with the current occupant or for some other previous historic reason?

And for those who are wondering the ultimate question, no I didn't go in the store. But I can say the window was loaded with..........

A lot of Cincinnati Bengals merchandise.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

The Look of Commerce.....How Times Change


During our trip through southern Central Ohio, we traveled through the village of Lockville in western Fairfield County. Lockville is one of the few places with three locks that were used on the Ohio-Erie canal.

The locks were used to raise and lower barges as they made their way either from Lake Erie to the Ohio River or from the river to the lake.

Ohio's 1000-mile network of navigable canals, were constructed between 1825 and 1847, and provided a system of economical transportation where none had previously existed. The canals opened what was an isolated wildness into an era of commerce and even new riches and wealth. It was easier, quicker and more economical to pull the cargo via horse drawn barges via water rather than try to cover the trip via land. The canals were an important mode of transportation until the trains began arriving about the time of the Civil War. After the war, much of the canal land was operated by private individuals and coporations who sold water for irrigation and manufacturing uses. There were two problems. First, canal traffic continued to dwindle and the private care takers allowed the canals to generally fall into ruin. By 1913, all of the canal had been abandoned for commercial use.

One additional treat at the park was the covered bridge. The Hartman II Bridge is built in Queenpost style in 1888 with a span of 50 feet. It once spanned Raccoon Creek on Wheeling Road in Fairfield County, Ohio. In 1967 the covered bridge was reconstructed across the canal within the Lockville Park, Lockville, OH. Rare triple locks can be seen at the park maintained by The Fairfield County Historical Parks Commission.

Some like Almond Joy. I Prefer Mounds



Saturday was an easy going day. Diana and I left her grandsons birthday party and traveled south through the western edge of Fairfield County. We stopped for a break in Lockport (more on that in a later blog) and then worked our way toward Tar Hollow State Park (you'll learn more about that later too!)

Toward the close of the day, we worked our way back toward the major highways leading back to Columbus. That journey took us to Chillocothe, the home of the Mound City Group.

The placard leading to the park shows the layout of the mounds. 23 Mounds remain after various excavations, surrounded by a ring mound.


The photo to the left shows a portion of the outer ring surrounding a couple of the inner mounds.

The Mounds are believed to the burial and ceremonial grounds of the Hopewell Indians. The Indians lived in what is now Ohio between 200 BC and 400 AD. Numerous artifacts and ash have been excavated from the mounds. One mound held many smoking pipes. Almost all were carved into very intricate shapes and forms.


While not as famous as the Serpent Mound in Ohio, which was believed to be built by the Adena Indians, this area is still in a beautiful setting.

Ohio has a number of mounds including at least one in the city of Columbus.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Final Call for This Year


It was probably the final call to go to the lake for the year. I've written before that Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie is probably one of my favorite spots. We take bag chairs and set them out in the shade, take books, water and just relax. The water is beautiful, you can watch the boats and wave runners, the scenery is just outstanding and the place is totally serene.





The only downside to the trip is from mid summer to the first frost of the year, the flies that feed on the tiny animal life love to munch on humans. Because of our warmer than normal fall, they were out in full force today as the first frost has not happened. Nothing a little OFF can't take care of, but it is a chemical product that I would rather not use. We went about this time last year and the hungry files were no where to be found.


Unfortunately, the last two pictures turned out a little darker than I wanted. But the bottom one is the scene from my chair at the lake looking between the trees.

I've also attached a video taken with my digital camera. Still need to practice on getting it to come out properly. But, what the hey. If you don't do it, you'll never learn it.



Today we listened to an old tape of a Jack Canfield (Chicken Soup for the Soul guy) on the way up and back. I need to listen to the tape a few more times. Jack, in this tape, touches a nerve with me. I need to listen to it with a pad in hand to jot thoughts and notes.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Farewell Lisa Moore



For many years I've been reading two comic strips. Tom Batuik's Funky Winkerbean Comic Strip and Lynn Johnston's For Better or Worse. I honestly don't remember when I started, but these two comics have been one of my "no matter whats" for daily life.

Other comics will be read if time permits. But for Funky Winkerbean and For Better or Worse, time is always made to read and enjoy the strips.

Both strips deal with daily life, including the celebrations and the times when lifes outcomes just are sometimes sad or even cruel.

Yesterday, Batuik's comic portrayed the end of life for Lisa Moore.

Lisa was a tragic character. During high school she wore large glasses and was very unattractive. She was seduced and then left abandoned by a high school football player, only later to find she was pregnant from the encounter. She was befriended by a nerd friend, Les Moore, who assisted her during her pregnancy and delivery. Lisa gave the child up for adoption. The child was adopted by high school principal Fred Fairgood and his wife. Les and Lisa later married and lived above Montoni's Pizza shop.

Lisa was an advocate. She became a lawyer. But the tragic aspect of her character remained with Lisa. In the late 90's, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Heady stuff for the comic pages, yet done in a very touching manner. Lisa and Les battled the disease with grace and grit through surgery and chemotherapy.


Earlier this year, Lisa discoverd the cancer had returned only in a more aggressive manner. She decided against another round of Chemo.

The comic strip showed Lisa winding up her life. As her health declined, Les would shuttle Lisa in a wheelchair. They enjoyed a trip to the park to enjoy the leaves one final time.

Finally, as the end neared, Lisa was no longer could handle moving around and became bedfast.

On Wednesday, Lisa died.
It's funny that for the past few days, I've almost mourned the loss of this character from the funnies. Even though I saw it coming for the past few months, on the way to work as I was scanning the paper, I said aloud without thinking "Lisa died".

My wife Diana said, "Who's Lisa?"

I explained, Lisa Moore, in the comic Funky Winkerbean. I explained the story line. Diana could tell that the character was more than just a sketch on the comic pages and that Lisa and the cast of characters in her life had found a place in mine.

Batiuk handled the loss of Lisa with dignity. Lisa's final story line was touching, yet not overly sappy. While it portrayed a lady who was clearly declining and ultimately dying, it was done in a dignified manner.

Goodbye Lisa Moore. Thank you for the many years of sharing your life with me. You were a fine lady. The world could use more people like you. May you rest in peace.

Naked Cowboy


A couple of years ago, Diana and I spent Memorial Day Weekend in New York City. It was a wonderful getaway for us and we had a great time. We toured the city, and saw a number of the sites so widely known about the Big Apple. Times Square, Central Park, Grand Central Station, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and more. It was a fun weekend and other than the crowd of people who had the same idea, we had a wonderful time.

One of the more colorful people we saw that weekend was the Naked Cowboy.

From Wikipedia: Robert John Burck (born December 23, 1970 in Cincinnati, Ohio), better known as the Naked Cowboy, is a New York City busker and prominent fixture of Times Square. His routine consists of playing guitar wearing only cowboy boots, a hat, and a pair of briefs.

I never realized I traveled several hundred miles to see a guy from my home state.



Certainly a unique act, at least I got to see him in person.....maybe a little too much.

With Studios Downtown in The Buckeye Federal Building



Growing up, one of the icons of my youth was WTVN 610 radio. I've mentioned this in previous notes.

WTVN was located on the 16th floor of the Buckeye Federal building in downtown Columbus, Ohio. As a teen in the late 60's and early 70's, I would frequently drive to the "big city" and hop the elevator to ride up to the studios for a tour. To me, it was fascinating to watch Dave Logan, Bob Conners and Bill Smith at work spinning records (yes they did that then), voicing commercials and other associated DJ work. Each and everyone of these gentlemen were heros to me.

The title of this piece refers to a bottom of the hour trade id voiced by one time program director Jim Lohse. His soothing baritone voice would do the 9 second voicer...."This is the friendly giant, WTVN Radio, studios downtown in the Buckeye Federal Building, 42 East Gay Street, Columbus, Ohio". And the ABC Entertainment network news sounder would begin to roll with the latest national news.

I was out for a walk downtown the other day and walked by the Buckeye Building. Buckeye Federal as a savings and loan long ago folded during the savings and loan crisis and scandals in the 80's and 90's. And while the building housed the S&L, it was also a general office building, housing law firms and other business entities. I noticed the building was getting a makeover. From what window vantage points I could see, it appeared it was a total internal renovation.

The walk brought back some great and not so great memories. That childhood dream of working at WTVN did become a reality for about 2 years. I was fortunate enough to work there. Yet once there, I was unhappy. Part of it was that I was young and naive. I didn't understand the realities of what was expected of me. The other
was I was in reality nothing more than a step and fetch it. The announcer part of it was nothing more than finding someone halfway decent to host the overnight show. But that's all you were. Someone to plug and play in the host chair.

While never articulated, it was an expectation that the undesireable tasks of the hosts were your responsibility. Production left undone. You finished it. Remote that didn't pay a talent fee. My responsibility. Other misc unpaid work. It was mine to do.

When I started to push back, things began to fall apart. Suddenly, I wasn't willing to "grow" with the company. Pay raises were something not mentioned. In fact, they were taboo.

In the end, I was let go. I was crushed. My dreams of a radio career, while not totally snuffed out, in reality it died. Like a fresh corpse, my career would jerk and lurch toward opportunites. But in reality, they were DOA.

WTVN left the Buckeye Building sometime in the 80's and relocated on Dublin Road. Due to radios ongoing consolidation, they outgrew that facility and have since relocated to a building on 5th Avenue overlooking an old quarry.

The Buckeye Building will be enjoying a makeover. In many ways I have been enjoying one too.

Monday, September 24, 2007

States I've Visited



create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Phil's Philo Pheast

Southeastern Ohio is blessed and cursed at the same time. The blessing is it has some of the most beautiful real estate in the state of Ohio. The curse? It's not blessed with opportunities to make a living.

Diana and I went for a drive to see the biggest bucket that I have ever seen. No, not a bucket that carries liquids. But a bucket that was used to claw and scoop dirt from the hills of southern Ohio in search of coal.

So what does that have to do with Phil's Philo Pheast? On the way back we drove through Duncan Falls, a small town just south of Zanesville. In Duncan Falls, which is just across the Muskingham River from a town calle Philo, is a bar on the river known as the River View. In a previous trip with my friend Phil, we've stopped at this little bar. It is at best a dive.

The bar overlooks a small dam and is across the river from a now defunct river lock. The lock was used in earlier times when the river was used as a navaigatable cargo river. Actually it's quite a pretty and pristine site.

For years, I've ribbed by friend that he should purchase the place, fix it up and call it Phil's Philo Pheast.

The place is now closed; probably went out of business. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea>

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Purpose Driven Budget

Author Rick Warren authored several books over the past couple of years using "Purpose Driven" as a theme. The Purpose Driven Church and The Purpose Driven Life are two that quickly come to mind. Both books have been highly successful and have become standards for Followers during the new millennium.

Leveraging off Warren’s all things Purpose Driven, I propose the Purpose Driven Budget.

Let’s face it. Developing a budget is for most of us about as fun as sitting in the dentist chair, hearing the high pitched whine of the high speed drill and waiting for the drill tip to hit the nerve the Novocain missed. As a matter of fact, the dentist experience may be more pleasant.

But money has a very unique quality. It's fast. Lightening fast. Ever notice how fast you get paid and the next thing you know it's all gone? I have a way to tame it. To stop the magical and speedy transfer for your wallet or purse to places unknown.

Where is this all going? About 18 months ago, my wife Diana and I attended Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University being sponsored at a nearby church. At the end of the second class, our homework was to develop a budget, or as Ramsey calls it, a spending plan. A pure zero based spending plan. We needed to spend every penny of our income in budget form on something. Necessities, savings, donations/contributions and yes, even thoughtless spending. The key was is that it had to be spent on paper (meaning written form) and "on purpose" meaning some thought went into the process.

The procedure took an entire Saturday with both of us working to reach a magical zero at the end of each week and ultimately at the end of each calendar month. Remember, we were to spend every penny. But the key to the process was to spend it on purpose. What a novel idea.

The other key is you will see I used the phrase both of us. It was a team effort. Each previous attempt was done with me noodleing out a budget and then laying down the gauntlet with no buy in from my spouse. BIG MISTAKE. But while working together was a big piece of the puzzle what made it all happen and the cornerstone was a spending plan. And even more important, it had to be on paper and on purpose.

Frankly, that process was a breakthrough for me. And us. For years both of us had tried various forms of budgeting and ultimately ended up chucking it a few weeks into the process. But throughout those failed budgets was the misconception of trying to save the money, not spend it. Sure, it’s a matter of semantics. But for the first time, we had a budget that worked. It wasn’t perfect. It took a few months of tweaking to get it to behave in a somewhat predictable manner. But overall it worked.

So why the difference and why does it work better? First, it’s always more fun to spend money than to budget it. For the spouse or partner who doesn’t have money and finances top of mind, a budget is seen as a control technique. But a spending plan. Now that’s something they can identify with.

On paper and on purpose though does something else. Getting the numbers out on paper allows you to see where the money is going. It gets the numbers out of your head and in front of your eyes. It’s funny how your mind works better when it is working in tandem with one of your other keys senses. In this case your mind is working in tandem with your sight. You now see your spending plan, line item by line item. It can be revealing. Savings, groceries, clothing, charitable and church giving, gifts, travel and home expenses. The good, the bad and the down right ugly.

But for those who now have taken the time to do the on paper on purpose spending plan they can now see some surprising results. And for many, it’s the first time getting the long jumble of numbers out of their gray matter and in front of their eyes to deal with them on a line by line basis. In many instances, you'll find that you're doing suprisingly well. In other? Well you now see where you're going to have to make some tough decisions.

The Financial Peace kit contained a list of recommended percentages of your income that should be allocated for each of the categories. It suggests you need some money going toward entertainment and other fun categories. No need to beat yourself up when allocating some money toward those items.

But the whole process is to get the numbers in front of you and then compare them to what the recommended percentages should be. At that point, it’s simply a matter of establishing the priorities of lowering the amounts that are too high and raising the amounts that are too low. It’s a process that can take a few months or several depending on where the excess is. If it’s in spending on things like food or fun, you simply make the quick adjustment. If it’s asset items like homes, cars, boats or other expensive toys, the process may take longer and be more painful and expensive to adjust. But with the on paper on purpose process, you may now see for the first time why and where your money is going.

For those who are in financial turmoil, even after doing this process, it may be wise to pick up a copy of Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover. The book will help you look at the myths of money and develop a plan that will allow you to gain control again. Dave will help you take baby steps that are logical and simple.

On paper, on purpose. The Purpose Driven Budget. The process that will ultimately guide you back toward financial peace and toward building wealth.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Seperated At Birth?




We're these two seperated at birth? One is the famous radio host, Don Imus. The other is Maureen McLaughlin, making news in Columbus, Ohio as Cat Lady.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Benchwarmers

I am fascinated with the phenomenon that separates highly successful people and the bench warmers in life.

I saw that quote on another blog earlier today. I too have had the same question running through my mind for the last year or so. I even sort of touched on it when I added this entry to the blog back in July. http://johnstonteam.blogspot.com/2007/07/have-you-ever-seen-tree-or-plant.html

I agree there is a phenomenon that happens. What I can't find is the key that allows for it to happen. For those of us who don't have the natural instinct, can it be learned? Where do you find it? How can one tap into it and make it a useful tool rather than an unknown phenom.

The quote was written by a person who has the ability to pick up the tool and use it. Yes, I'm sure they cultivate it. Yes, I'm sure that there is hard work involved. Yes, well you get my drift.

I cultivate many good characteristics in my life. I work hard. Yet I've never experienced the phenomena. The Guiding Light has never came down and touched me or illuminated the way.

There's another element that falls into all of this. Those who have experienced the phenomena seem to hold those who don't in a second class citizen status. Look at the openning sentence. It's sucessful people vs benchwarmers. Think about what they are saying. Or more importantly, how it appears to have been said.

Those lowly Benchwarmers are the people who turn out faithfully everyday and execute something meaningful. In sports, they provide the role of scout team. In business, they do the work that assembles, provides quality control, ships or greets. Many are not slackers and often put in 120% of the days requirements. They take pride in their contributions. They put out a good quality product.

But they are missing one element in life. The Phenomena.

For those of you who have found or were gifted with the Phenomena, share with us how it is found and better yet, how to cultivate it. I would love to hear from you. Reply to this page or email me @ johnstonteam@gmail.com

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Doing The Dave Ramsey Thing

I was doing a blog search using the search term Dave Ramsey. As I scanned through the search results, I noticed a phrase that caught my eye. It has many variations, but the core of the phrase seems to be "we're doing the Dave Ramsey thing".

Something about that drives me nuts.

I think the reason it drives me over the edge is because it infers that what they are doing is a fad or a phase. Doing something to change the course of life events, in a short term, cavalier manner. It didn't matter what it was. It was just something. The phrase seems to indicate the person writing it lacks commitment.

I know that sounds judgemental. Maybe it is. But I have seen so many people go off on this tanget on that with only half a heart and give up or burn out before the postive effects can take root and grow.

Doing the Dave Ramsey thing is more than just picking up a book or listening to the radio show. To have it work, one must really make it a part of their value system. You must embrace it. Nuture it. Set goals within it. Envision yourself making progress and seeing the finish line. Otherwise, like with a diet, you soon return to your old ways and find yourself flabby both in body and wallet once again.

Making it part of your value system requires something more than just making it a passing fancy. It requires tradeoffs that aren't easily accepted by common society. You don't become a monk, or as Dave says collect lint and only come out on triple coupon Thursday, but there will be times you are out of step with the peer pressure of friends, family and co-workers.

The key is to be wise enough to not put people off. You must creatively learn to say you no longer do things that make you spend money you cannot afford to spend. You've got to be able to verbally illustrate your dreams that your lifestyle may lead to in words that is enticing to those you are speaking to. Otherwise your seen in the same light as the person who just gave up booze, cigarettes or the latest person to find God. Ever met a reformed alcoholic, smoker or sinner? Not pleasant is it.

Even as one completes Baby Step 2 (all debts paid except for the mortgage), choices and tradeoffs must be made. There will be repairs and replacements. There will be retirment savings to fund. College educations to save for. Inadequate insurance coverage must be addressed. The move from the first two Baby Steps to the latter Baby Steps requires the shift from tactical to strategic thinking and actions. It may sound complicated, but it is an ongoing learning process. It's growth. But it's growth that will take a lifetime.

Don't just do the Dave Ramsey thing. Make the life change that will permanently make your life change for the better.

If you're interested in seeing the hits that I found, do a google search in blogs for "dave ramsey thing".

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Woody Hayes


But everyone in the Shoe remembers and reveres the high priest who stormed the sidelines.

Wayne Woodrow Hayes, known to millions as Woody Hayes ruled the Shoe in the glory days.

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Woody was larger than life. He could charm one moment. Explode the next. He was a student of history. He loved historical metaphores. As shown by the picture, in a short sleeved shirt in the midst of a snow storm he'd prowl the side chalk line, plotting, scheming and directing his teams.

This note is not to edify or destroy the man. I personally never knew the him. I do remember watching him on his Woody Hayes TV show in the 60's and 70's interview his players. I remember people loving to hate him. But after his career ended, he was fondly remembered by players and fans alike. That is a legacy.

Today I drove by the cemetary where Woody was laid to rest. I thought I would drive in see if I could find his tombstone. You'd expect something amost extragant. Yet it was very modest.

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Nothing more to really say. I can only salute a legend. Woody, thank you for the memories.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Did I Leave Talk Radio or Did Talk Radio Leave Me

I discovered talk radio in the early mid 1980's. Well maybe that's not quite right. I do remember listening to various talk shows on WBZ out of Boston, WJR in Detroit and some other shows both local and on the clear channels. WLW and WBNS locally had Sally Jesse and Bruce Williams from Talk Net.

Local radio station WCOL 1230 affiliated with ABC's talk radio and made it a 24/7 offering. That was my mid 80's discovery. And it was short lived. When the format was pulled by ABC, I truly missed hearing the format.

At the time, many friends used to tease me that I was so conservative that I made Reagan look like a New Dealer.

Then I began hearing about conservative talk radio in the 90's. I heard about a fellow by the name of Rush Limbaugh from my then father in law. Rush wasn't carried locally, but at lunch I would go to my car and pull him in from either Dayton or Cincinnati. I loved the show. So much so that I listened through the hiss, crackles and pops to hear the show. When you make that kind of effort, it sort of shows how far you would go to get what you want.

Eventually his show made it to the Columbus airwaves. Others soon followed. Barry Farber, G. Gordon Liddy and others began to grace the air. At first, I was in 7th heaven. But as time went on, I began to lose my interest. The hosts had somehow disconnected from me and my values. While I was conservative, I wasn't the "stuff it down your throat conservative". The 'embelish the facts to fit an outcome" conservative. A red meat needer.

There was a time when prior to audio streaming I would listen to hosts on scratchy far away signals. And some of the more "exotic", to be polite, hosts were sought out in the 90's on shortwave radio. I listened as their programs faded in and out on a circa 1940 Zenith Floor model radio that had the shortwave band on it. Robby Noel, Karen Bixman, Chuck Harder (profiled earlier), Tom Valentine and others bought time on the WWCR and other shortwave stations and beamed their ideas around the world. Not that I bought into those hosts values and beliefs, but talk radio, even the looney side of it, spurred me to think beyond just my environment, values and self.

As Bill Clinton and his team took the White House, I became concerned. No, not that I loved Clinton. It was quite the opposite. But there was something about talk radio that wasn't just conservative vs liberal and who would win in the battle in the arena of ideas. It was that even if Clinton were right on an issue, he couldn't be seen as being right or successful. Even on that one topic or issue. Everything had to be discredited. Sure it hurt Clinton, but did it help the Country? I don't think so and that's not good.

At the time, a gentleman who wrote a financial newsletter that contained a large amount of political commentary, wrote in the newsletter that even if their accusations against Clinton were wrong, it was important to keep team Clinton occupied and off balance so they couldn't be successful even in the things the news letter editor believed in.

If it were limited to ideology, I could understand. But he was writing about the doing everything possible to discredit to leader of the free world. This President couldn't be successful whether he was doing what was good for the country of if it was not the proper course. Either way, destroy him.

The newsletters contents and thoughts frequently made it's way to talk radio shows.

That deeply concerned me.

In addition, while Bill Clinton did lie under oath about his affairs with Paula Jones, those issues were unearthed by people working to discredit the President over his sexual affairs and lack of fidelity. They would claim it was about the rule of law, while denying it was about sex. Yet the underlying issue was the sex. Their investigations of his sexual escaped is what lead to the lying under oath issue.

The cause of the depositions where the lying under oath took place were caused by the search for his sexual misconduct. They were deeply disappointed the country wasn't more shocked and outraged about the sexual revelations and wondered why there wasn't a bigger disire to remove him for office. The guy was a cad. In their world, get rid of him.

Yes, Clinton's personal life was deeply disgusting. And yes, those who sought to unearth and expose it were just as disgusting. But they couldn't win the argument of ideology, so they sought to destroy him through his sexual indiscressions. And my fear wasus in the process.

As the 2000's unfolded, the war in Iraq began and continued, I became even more disappointed at talk radio and conservative talk radio in general.

Let's take Iraq as an example. I deeply believe had this war been executed as it has been to date and the results were the same, but the occupant of the White House was a democrat, conservative talk radio would have been lambasting the democrat President and their use of the military. The pass and passes the current administration has received and continues to receive would not be there. There would be no talk of "if you don't support the President, you don't support the troops". There would be a lot of talk against a democratic president not having a plan for after the invasion. For not making a factional group of people play well together in Iraq. For allowing Al Qeda to further instigate anger in a fragile area. For all the things that Vice President Cheney voiced in 1994 about why it wouldn't be wise to take down Saddam.

I read a blog writing by Phil Boyce, program director of WABC radio. He says that the most popular talk rado hosts are talking about what is important to talk radio listeners. But by that analogy Jerry Springer, Maury Povich and other trash tv shows are programming to what's important to tv audiences. Maybe instead they all are hitting the LCD of both mediums?

Also this writing is not to let liberal talk radio off the hook. While I've not taken them on as much as I have the conservative hosts, I have just as much heartburn listening to them as I do those who I more closely identify. The desire to destroy at all costs is high. And while that may be good for developing and maintaining an audience, especially if you strike a chord with the listeners, it doesn't mean it's what's needed to improve society. It doesn't matter whether you're Rush Limbaugh or Randi Rhodes, Sean Hannity or Ed Schultz.

Maybe I'm not alone. Through the years, Talkers Magazine compiles numbers of talk radio hosts and their listenership. Through the years, Rush is down from a once purported 22 million to about 13.5 million. The 22 million figure was Rush's. The first Talkers stab at the data was 18+ million. But still, that number is now down to about 13.5+ million listeners per week from their estimated peak of 18+. Through the years, almost 5 million people no longer tune in. Has talk radio become the next Detroit? Will talk radio soon become living corpses like GM, Chrysler and Ford?

I don't have an answer. I just no longer seek out hosts, listen to scratchy or fading signals. I seldom turn my radio in my office on unless there is breaking news.

It at one time was my workday companion. Now it's just a dusty article in my office.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Hard Luck Charlie

In the early 1990's, the small radio station in the town I lived in began carrying a slate of talk radio hosts from a network called the Sun Radio Network. The anchor host was a man by the name of Chuck Harder. He ran a show called "For the People."

At first, I sort of liked Chuck's show. Chuck was a populist. He swam against the stream. I sometimes am a contrarian, so it was easy to hook into what he was doing. He seemed to be out to assist the little guy. His program had tips and tricks to conserve consumption and how to allow the little guy to get ahead when the big guys were keeping their thumbs on them.

But over time, the show became nothing but depressing.

Chuck somehow got in bed with a group of people who ended up taking over his network. I believe it was the Liberty Lobby. Whether they ousted him or he went off in a snit, I've never quite determined. Anyhow, from there he moved his radio show from Tampa, Florida to White Springs, Florida where he renovated the Teleford Hotel that he purchased and quasi refurbished. Some of the work done on the hotel was quite unique. Other parts of it were not as well done. He created another network called the The Peoples Radio network and began once again to broadcast his show from the hotel.

White Springs was something of a unique town. It had moss covered trees. It was South Georgia in Northern Florida. It was almost Mayberry like, except there was an air of poverty, hard luck and no hope.

He began a "For the People" membership program that included the opportunity to stay in the hotel and dine in the dining room on old fashioned cooking. Done on a shoestring, it was, shall we say a unique setting. Not terrible. Just nothing to write home to mom about. Those who loved Chuck would have enjoyed it. Those who didn't see Chuck with rose colored glasses probably would have returned to the interestate and found food and shelter somewhere else.

Chuck again got in bed with another group of people, the UAW, and once again was in problems with his new business partners. He again lost his network.

It was funny that a guy who was dispensing advice on how to not let the guy who has the upper hand get the upper hand kept falling into their traps. It was then that I coined the name "Hard Luck Charlie".

Chuck was also a believer in all things Y2K. And all of the were cataclysmic. His shows in the days and weeks following the calendar change were not pleasant for him. A large portion of his advertising prior to January 1, 2000 was for survival type gear all aimed for when the power grids went down as the clock ticked midnight. Most of the gear was now deemed worthless by his listeners who felt betrayed and cheated. Chuck held his ground, but it was not a pretty sight.

Unfortunately, as I listened to his show off and on from the 90's to the early 2000's, I became terribly depressed. Chuck had a way of taking elements of truth and trumping them up. Making the facts fit his outcome. When I gave up the show, my outlook improved and my life began to excel again.

The station that carried Chuck went off the air and he was no longer heard in my area. However, in mid 2000 while traveling in Florida, I told my wife that I needed to see if I could find "Hard Luck Charlie" on the air to see what his latest problem was. He didn't disappoint. There was a horrible problem with his van now handicap retrofitted that he now needed due to an issue with his legs.

As time has gone by, Chuck's station count has diminished considerably. He at one time had about 300 affiliates, second only to Rush Limbaugh. He now is down to a handful, if that.

His problems with maintaining ownership of his networks, his Y2K issues, the election of President Bush (many Harder listeners would look past something President Bush did but would have been breathing fire had it been former President Clinton or another democrat) and yes even consolidation have hurt his show considerably.

It's sad. I at one time looked to him as a unique and needed host and personality. Because of his lack of foresight, his over hyping of Y2K and other issues, he and his show have become shells of themselves.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Signs, signs. Everywhere signs.

They were everywhere. Lining the streets near the courthouse. About 50 in all. Manned by men, women and children. In addition at least three trucks circled the downtown streets. Panel trucks with placards of very graphic, some would even say grusome pictures.

The signs depicted aborted fetuses. As did the panels of the cargo trucks.

The presenters of the art was a group that called themselves Missionaires to the Preborn. Their mission is to shock the public with their graphic pictures into the conclusion arbortion is wrong.

Oddly, I've never heard of this group before. Locally, I'm familiar with a group that does similar work, the Midwest Chapter of the Center for Bioethical Reform. That group is located in the Columbus suburb of Westerville.

Maybe Missionaires to the Preborn figured that Mark Harrington and his Center for Bioethical Reform was not having the necessary impact in the area and needed a little help getting the message out?

My guess is both groups enjoy the media coverage that such displays generate. As of this writing, it appears that the news organizations either weren't given a heads up or found other things to cover. There was nothing on the television news nor anything mentioned in the local daily paper. Usually something of this nature draws the news media like moths are drawn to a flickering flame.

In addition to the media exposure, the other purpose with such an in your face display, is that groups who do this seem to enjoy "the fight" as much or more than the outcome they claim to hope for. It's almost as if they are itching for an argument, or someone to become so agitated with the displays to maybe throw a punch.

You know what I'm saying. Many conservative commentators believe the Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's really deep down don't want the cause to be won because it would deprive them of their ongoing 15 minutes of fame. I've concluded it is likely the same with the groups who proudly display the graphic images.


I can't speak to their impact. The group was handing out pamphlets with more graphic pictures and writings explaining what they were trying to achieve. Some people readily accepted the pamphlets. Others turned them away. Who's to say how many agreed with the tactics and how many were being polite by accepting the handouts?

The people who knew me and spoke to me about the program were not impressed, even though they may agree abortion is a poor choice. Others were upset and dismayed that the demonstrators had involved children in holding the pictures and posters in place.

Were the folks from Missionaires to the Preborn sucessful in Columbus? While I'll never know for sure, I doubt they changed many minds to their way of thinking. My guess is more were repulsed than converted.

Sometimes God needs people representing Him with better public relations skills.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

The Big, Big Fair



The picture is from the Columbus Dispatch website. It shows the midway of the Ohio State Fair with the beautiful skyline of downtown Columbus in the background.

The Columbus, Ohio area has been my home for over 50 years. In general, I really like this area. While I'm not thrilled with the dreary winters, there much to see and do within driving distance. And while our skyline doesn't match that of New York City or Chicago, it's still majestic and still ours.

The Ohio State Fair has been a Columbus staple for many years. For me it has meant a midway full of thrilling rides, many not even found in theme parks. One such ride is the zipper.



The key to enjoyment of this machine is that it rotates much like a ferris wheel. The cars are on a chain track that travels in the opposite direction that the super structure is turning. When a car reaches the end of the super structure, the car tumbles. Because of the different directions the car is turning, the sensations of thrill are overwhelming.

While driving along I-71, I didn't see this unique and stomach churning machine on the fair midway, but it's been there in the past and is one of the few places that has had one of these machines taking riders.

The Ohio State Fair lore would not be complete without a mention of former Governor James Rhodes and fair manager Billy Inman.



Governor Rhodes made the fair a cornerstone of his 16 years in office during the 60's, 70's and early 80's. All governors since have had to don a stetson hat and spend the night in the junior fair sheep barn, whether it was really what they wanted to do or not. During the Rhodes administration, it was always a battle between Ohio and Texas as to who had the largest fair, with each year after year pointing to statistics that would prove one fair larger than the other.

As for Billy Inman, we'll just let his short tenure as fair manager fade into the sunset.