Saturday, September 13, 2014

A few hours at the Horseshoe

I've lived in Columbus for nearly 25 years now and until today I had never been to an Ohio State Football game. The only times I set foot in Ohio Stadium were for a Crew match before their stadium was built and a game of the Ohio Glory of the doomed World Football League. For a staff appreciation, the President of the University put some tickets up for a staff drawing and I was one of the winners.

My friend Alexis and her husband joined my Wife and I for a lot of firsts. We were wandering around outside the fan fest and saw the cheerleaders being thrown into the air. And there was Brutus Buckeye. Alexis had gumption and wanted a picture with the legendary mascot. I joined her.

I love mascots and can now cross a picture with Brutus off the list. We got into St. John Arena and watched the marching band do their skull session. A pep rally of sorts.

The band members in red are the alumni band, who had a reunion this weekend. Over 700 members took part today, more on that in a bit.

C-Deck of Ohio Stadium has 41 rows. We were in row 41. There were a lot of stairs to climb. Jokes were made. Who needs binoculars when we can summon the Hubble! We did find our seats without the need of a Sherpa.

There was nothing behind us but a concrete wall. I climbed on our seat and looked over the top of the stadium. Here's the view. 

Bought a Coke, the label was very ironic considering the firing of OSU Marching Band Director, Jon Waters, just a few weeks ago. There are a lot of feelings about this still going around. 

It was my wife's first live football game, she's trying, even with little oxygen. Maybe that's why we're both smiling. 

The background is a concrete wall. The backrest to our seats. At halftime the bands came out and did four Script Ohios. It was rather impressive.

Over 100,000 people were in attendance. That's a city within a city. Sometime in here a half of football was played and Ohio State was totally in control. They were ahead 45-0 at the break and won 66-0. Watching a rout is not much fun so we left after the band played, with many other people. I did take one last picture.

If you look inside the stadium and spot the blue flag on the right, the open space to the lower left of the flag - that is exactly were we were sitting. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

One American's take on the Scottish Referendum

On September 18th the people of Scotland will be voting for whether or not they want to be an independent nation. After an early lead by the No campaign that has dropped with Dukakis like speed, in recent weeks the polling results have become too close to call.

I have no say in the results at all but have immediate family, friends and acquaintances who will all be directly affected by the outcome. So I’ve been trying to follow along. What has impressed me most is how votes will be cast under peaceful conditions. There have been no tanks in the streets, no violent protests, no voter intimidation but a lot of simply talking about it.

A couple of weeks ago, I watched a live debate on STV that had members of each faction reasonably and with great conviction stating their cause. There was no shouting, no sound bark talking points or name calling, but an actual debate happening. This is something you rarely see in this country anymore. It was so refreshing to see something of great importance being given the respect it deserves by everyone involved. I'm reading that voter registration is at a record high and a massive turnout is expected.

Both sides have their points. Many of my friends and acquaintances online are talking about and linking to articles stating their positions quite clearly and rationally and I thank them all for this. From here I wonder what happens to my wife’s citizenship and passport if there is a yes vote, not to mention many other legal and financial concerns.

Come Thursday night though, after the smoke has cleared and there is a result, I hope they all keep their passion going for their nation and not merely be better together.

Be better, because they’re on the right path.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Who died and left me boss?

This email explains that!

Dear Plunkett

This is an official legal notice of an unclaimed fund left by Mr.A.
Plunkett,who died as a result of an industrial accident in his energy
& gas exploration company on the 31st of March 2010 As the former
official/personal attorney of the deceased and witness of fact of this
subject matter, I hereby solicit for your immediate response and
positive committed efforts to facilitate the fund remitted of total
sum  $12.5 million dollars(and Gold).

May his fragile soul rest in perfect peace, Amen!!! If you want to
know more, get back to me so I will give you more information to

My email;

Yours Sincerely,
Peter Okeke Esq

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

News about the sport balls

The announcement that the Buffalo Bills were sold today for about a billion and a half dollars to Terry Pegula caused a massive sigh of relief and a release of hope for the people of Western New York and Bills fans all over. Since the death of Ralph Wilson earlier this year, and  for many years before, there was a lot of speculation that the team would move if the team was not sold to an owner who loved the city of Buffalo. So the drama that Bon Jovi and Donald Trump caused as potential buyers added to the stress levels of supporters. An opening day win and a home game against arch rival Miami this weekend only adds to the joy of a new season. I'm guessing Pegula is introduced to the crowd sometime during the game, which gives the crowd 80,000 plus another reason to go nuts. The move is not official until approval by NFL owners next month.

Pegula already owns the NHL Buffalo Sabres so there is hope that he can become a benevolent monopoly owner of Buffalo sports teams. Do not be surprised if Kim Pegula has a major role in the operations of the franchise.

The NFL itself is in deep shit over the whole Ray Rice domestic violence situation. When TMZ exposes a story that the league denies in the video of Rice striking his fiancee in the elevator you have a massive credibility issue.

Meanwhile the NFL continues to allow Greg Hardy to play after his arrest in May on domestic violence charges, he threw his girlfriend onto a couch covered in rifles and shotguns, but the league has threatened to fine him if he wears face paint under his helmet.

I'm not sure how much more of the time I have left on this planet will be spent watching this bloodsport.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Good day to be a Columbus Poet

A few weeks ago I was interviewed for the newsletter Front Row Center, a publication of the Greater Columbus Arts Council about Columbus poetry. I spoke to the writer for a good half an hour, gave some honest thoughts about the scene and suggested she speak to a few other people (which she was already going to do) on the scene to get a broad view.

The finished article went online yesterday and I really think Tracy Zollinger Turner has come the closest to putting in writing what the entire Columbus poetry scene is all about. Read for yourself.

Early last month I was not feeling very confident in my writing and my wife sent me a link to a local submission. So I sent them a poem.

Never heard back, which I have to admit bothered me. I'd rather take the rejection, a thanks but no thanks than not hear anything back.

Went to eat in the Short North yesterday afternoon and saw a stack of the new issue of the publication in the doorway. I did pick one up and turned to the section where the poetry goes.

And I got in. Was never told I was in, but there it is, my poem From the Streets of the Under Served in 614 Columbus September issue. It's all over the Short North and other locations in Columbus. This is probably the biggest exposure to any of my work and I could not be happier!

A book about the Shakespeare and Autism program my son was in will be published in December. The cover art was released today, it's the worst cover ever because my son is not on it. See for yourself, then preorder the book if you'd like.

A video about the program which has the actors discussing how it affected them was released today. You can see that, right here

Friday, August 29, 2014

I am a winner!


Payment Notification Of Your Pending Funds.

I wish to notify you that your Winning / Inheritance Payment of $10.5
Million United States Dollars, Has been Approved and will be released
to you as soon as you respond to this letter, Also be inform that the
Federal Government of Nigeria have decided to wire your Payment
through our Oil Reserve Consolidated Account, You are ask to reply to
this Office with the reconfirmation of your information as below:

Your Name in full:
Your Telephone and fax number:
Your Age and Occupation:
Your Count Address: (1, 2, ha ha ha!)

Furthermore, as soon as I hear from you with the reconfirmation of
your information I will use it to obtain the Fund Approval Certificate
that will back up your fund to your Account, You are ask to stop any
Communication with any Office or person until you receive your fund.

Thanks and have a nice day, Extend my greetings to your family, I am
waiting to hear from you.

Best Regards,

Mr. Francis Johnson

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A visit and a memory

Stopped by the library to pick up my reserve of the new Murakami book, one chapter in and all is well. While there, one of the clerks, who worked with my on Sundays at the Hilltop, asked my if I missed public service.

After I laughed for about five minutes I said no. I do miss seeing the new, more popular work instead of the more academic materials I do process these days but there is no way I would trade anything now. The last few years there were rough. I was profoundly unhappy and should not have been dealing with the public in any way. My leaving was good for everyone.

Ten years ago, this happened. Here's a Live Journal entry about a typical day in the life of the Hilltop. Yes, it's more than a bit cynical and a bit hateful. Such was my life in 2004.

"Had a train wreck of a customer. She had us print up a list of the books she had checked out. Then proceeded to say that she returned about half of them last night. I looked on the shelves for one of them, it wasn't there.

She then went out into her car, a few minutes later came back with a huge tub full of books - including the one she claimed to have returned in the book drop overnight.

I overheard her talking to my supervisor. She said she clearly remembered returning one book in particular. That the book was so big that she hurt her hand on the book drop door. My supervisor looked the book up and said, "This book is a small paperback that cost $2.99."

If there was any liquid in my mouth, there would have been a spit take.

God, that was funny.

After she did her business, she asked if she could leave the tub on the check-in counter. For some reason, we did. A few minutes later an elderly customer dropped her copy of the latest Evanovich right in the tub.

I've never seen my supervisor laugh so hard.

We moved the tub off the counter after that. About an hour later, the train wreck came back, and was looking for her tub. Luckily I told her we'd moved it before her panic would set in."