Thursday, January 31, 2008


Wednesday, January 30th

The space agency gave a “Go” for the launch of the often delayed STS-122 shuttle mission to the international space station at 2:45 p.m., Thursday, February 7. The mission has been delayed since December after failures were discovered in the shuttle Atlantis’ fuel sensor system

During this mission the crew will install the European Space Agency’s new Columbus laboratory on the space station and exchange a new crew member for one that has served nearly four months aboard the ISS.

The above photo courtesy of NASA shows the glass cockpit of the space shuttle.

How would you like to be sitting at those controls on the launch pad and pondering flying this amazing machine about 250 miles into space, rendezvousing and docking with the station, then, finding your way back to Earth on the return voyage?

Godspeed ladies and gentlemen!

Breaking News
Washington, January 29

This Fox News headline: “Illegal Immigrant Taxpayers to Benefit from House-Approved Stimulus Plan”

The story continues, “Under the plan passed by the House, illegal immigrants who qualify as ‘resident ailens’ and earned a minimum of $3,000 would be eligible for rebates of between $300 and $600 FOX News has learned.”

“Resident Ailens are defined as people who spend a ‘substantial’ amount of time in the U. S. and have not been deported” they explain.

This bill passed the House by a vote of 385-35 and is supported by President Bush.

This bill also DENIES payment of the bonuses to most US citizens who are retirees on Social Security.

Let me get this straight. Our US House of Representatives wants to reward illegal immigrants with economic stimulus bonuses but deny those same payments to US citizens trying to survive on Social Security benefits alone.


Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Saturday we will be taking a look at the pathetic glob of remaining US Presidential candidates. This election could be the first time ever I select none of the above when I ponder my ballot for president. Please stop by while Fogeyisms takes a peek at the national political scene.

Also racked up and awaiting a date in the queue are pieces on ice fishing on our pond, a bird banding demonstration at the Gorman Nature Center and ice skating on the village green. We’ve also done some preliminary shooting at Ohio Dreams; a combination indoor-outdoor Action Sports Camp near Butler where participants can push their skateboards or wakeboards or many other things to their ultimate level of performance.

And, even more neat stuff is in the hopper. Please stay tuned!

Saturday, January 26, 2008



Jim South from Ashland, treasurer of the Mohican Trails Club, followed by his wife Cheryl leads the 5 kilometer segment of a series of hikes held recently at the Mohican State Park Campground. A second shorter segment was led by a park naturalist while other trails club officials led more adventuresome folks on a 10 kilometer challenge through the forest. In the small picture some of the nearly 80 participants enjoy pre-hike refreshments in the campground commissary.


Remnants of a gentle morning fog clung to the towering pines as we assaulted the stiff grade leading to the north rim.

Already the trailing half of the 60-some members of our 5 K group was strung far behind. Even in a group of enthusiastic hikers individual velocity in attacking the sharp incline varied widely.

Switchbacks followed switchbacks as the narrow, rock-strewn and often heavily rooted path worried itself up the hill. The respiration rate climbed and an occasional exhalation would briefly fog the glasses in the crisp morning air.

I remembered camping far below this trail last spring and seeing bicycles buzzing through the forest up here. A challenging bike trail is sometimes co-located with this system of hiking trails.

I was really glad I was not on a bicycle that hiking day.

Mercifully, the column would stop occasionally for a breather and I would find myself gauging the elevation yet to be conquered.

Mildly then, the grade diminished and we enjoyed a rolling passage on the leaf and pine needle carpet along the crest of the ridge

A slightly nervous herd of seven Whitetail Deer emerged into view about 50 yards ahead of us; first startled by our presence then prancing around as if to get a better look at those strange and colorful apparitions (us) that were flanking their presence.

They soon tired of our annoyance and disappeared into their otherwise quiet realm.

By then it felt like I had climbed a ladder to the top of a 10 storey building, but later, back at the camp store with a hot and tasty bowl of chili, topography maps revealed the ridge was about 300 feet max above the river near our starting location; really, just an invigorating walk in the woods.

Check the trails group here:

Thursday, January 24, 2008


Eureka by Jim Lehrer

Lehrer, of public broadcasting fame, uses fiction to craft a delightful story of a nearing-60 executive who acquires toys that childhood denied him—and escapes. Otis, the CEO of a midwestern insurance company obtains a very expensive toy firetruck, a football helmet, a Red Ryder BB gun and a vintage Cushman motor scooter. His intolerant wife acuses him of acquiring a mental illness. This is 228 pages of speed reading—could not put it down.

Prometheus’s Child by Harold Coyle

A rip snortin’ tale about private military companies hired by many countries including the US to do the kind of work that requires deniability by the foggy bottom crowd. This yarn takes us to the Saharan Desert of Africa where raw material for nuclear weapons is being mined and hijacked. Ultimately readers are treated to a tussel on the high seas. Coyle can always be counted on for an action-packed read.

The Arctic Event by James H. Cobb

Nearly 400 sizzling pages in a paperback read; this story pits a US covert team against- Russian Spetznaz troops-against terrorists in a page turning recovery effort of Cold War Soviet anthrax in the frozen north. Outstanding thriller—and the good guy not only wins the battle but the lady as well. But, a slick marketing ploy that makes the book look like one of Robert Ludlum’s was disgusting.

An Ocean of Air by Gabrielle Walker

This is a marvelous journey, exploring the science of our atmosphere, by an award-winning author who happens to have a Ph.D. in chemistry from Cambridge. Imagine pilots flying high enough to discover rivers of air flowing at multiple hundreds of miles per hour (the jet stream), or, a poor farmer who figures out why storms move in circles by doing his equations with a pitchfork on a barn door—a great peek at some science without typical, textbook stuffiness!


Saturday’s blog will feature a piece on a 5 kilometer hike at the Mohican State Park Campground sponsored by the Mohican Trails Club. Stop by and enjoy a vigorous romp in the forest.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It looks like our moon but this photo is of the planet Mercury taken by the Messenger spacecraft in its recent, first fly-by of the planet nearest the Sun. The robotic spacecraft is scheduled to fly past Mercury twice more before entering orbit there in 2011. The spacecraft already has taken over 1,000 images of the planet and will do many more for future study by planetary geologists. The spacecraft was about 12,000 miles from the planet in this NASA photo.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Some sharp wits
and even sharper tools.

The smirking cowboy carving above was done by Ashland’s Dick Strine. Members of a local, wood carving group meet in Strine’s shop each Thursday. From left they are Dave McCquillen and son Brad from Mifflin, Strine in the red ball cap, Tony Fox, Mansfield, (back to camera), Ron Mosier, Hayesville (in plain white T shirt) and Paul Shodorf, Ashland.


Formed in 1981 the Johnny Appleseed Woodcarvers, some 60 members strong, are a spirited group who certainly take the casual pastime of whittling to a much higher level.

Members show up at gatherings with their carving tools carefully wrapped and projects-in-process ready for the next step on their evolution into treasured family heirlooms.

Veteran members are eager to share their hard-won experience with newcomers. They are equally as eager to tell a whopper which usually leads to a spirited groan from their alert audience as the chips continue to rain onto growing piles of tinder.

Depending on the carving style, a block of wood can evolve into a delightful treasure in an hour or so. More often though, that creation will take hours—lots of hours—until it is nicked or burnished or artfully techniqued into its stunning new design.

“I examine a raw chunk of sometimes bark covered wood and enjoy the strong urge to cut in there and see what I can find,” Strine enthused. It could be the profile of an Indian. It could be Santa Clause, or, a sleek animal just waiting to escape from a knarled hunk of lignin.

Some carved creations can be astonishingly life-like, especially when Robert Holdeman of Ashland goes to work on his fabulous bird creations.

One member of the group works at his art professionally. Mansfielder Walt Ruess is located here: Take a peek at his galleries or his storefront for that very special gift.

Looking for a nifty new hobby? The group has scheduled meetings every Monday at 6:30 p.m. or so, in the coach house meeting room at Kingwood Center. Curious? Try a web search for Johnny Appleseed Woodcarvers.

Strine, a retired pattern maker, uses his inspired creation for tool sharpening.

The hands in the above image belong to Mike Beck of Ashland as his creation blossoms at a recent meeting. The male wood duck (below) hand-carved by Holdeman would be extremely attractive to a live, amorous female Woodie until she finally discovered he was most unresponsive to her charms.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

We feature a story on the Johnny Appleseed Woodcarvers Saturday. This exquisite piece by Dick Strine of Ashland is of an African Lion relaxing on his perch and is hand-carved from a single block of wood. The lion is about eight inches long. Please stop by for a visit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Since our inaugural edition we have posted 403 items on Fogeyisms—the very first being January 15, 2007.

And, what a nice ride it has been.

With my background in journalism and a near historic interest in photography, blogging has turned out to be a very natural outlet for my creative urges. Once in awhile it even serves as my own soap-box on the news of the day.

We started out with daily postings and did that through late November with 313 consecutive publications. But, I was running out of gas. I began to fear a decline in quality would emerge to satisfy the daily deadlines.

Besides, I am retired and that frequency began to erode the enjoyment of the project.

Going to a weekly format disappointed some of you and I apologize for that. But it is allowing me to settle into a routine where I can concentrate on producing a nice feature length article for Saturdays and still post things in mid week as opportunities arise.

The new schedule also is allowing me to roam around the town, the county and beyond in search of interesting topics. That alone is soothing for my retired and sometimes lonely soul.

Recently we were able to dig into the history of the local “Opera House” and spend some time poking around the area ski lodge. Next Saturday we will be sharing a story of some local woodcarvers and the week after that should be a piece on a recent and vigorous 5 kilometer hike in our Mohican Forest.

The relaxed publishing schedule allows time for such little adventures.

Please stay tuned. I am flattered to have you as readers.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Snow Trails Ski Patrol members Doris Noe and Jim Howe are pictured atop Mt. Mansfield with the resort’s lodge far below. That’s Randy Noe; a snowboarding blur at the far left while freshly made snow appears as an opaque mist in the background.


Since its opening in 1961 as Ohio’s first commercial ski resort, Snow Trails, near Mansfield, has matured into one of Ohio’s finest winter recreation facilities. It features 13 ski trails with a vertical drop of 300 feet spread over its 200 acre property.

Picture launching yourself off the top of a 30 story building with as much as 2,000 feet of downhill excitement ahead of you.

Four triple and two double chair lifts plus a ski carpet service its 100 percent lighted, skiable area.

And, they make their own snow. Lots of it. They can deliver 198,000 gallons of water per hour through more than 2 miles of underground pipe to well over $1 million dollars worth of modern snow making machinery.

With temperatures in the low 20s they can cover 15 acres with an inch of new snow in 24 hours. Snow bases as thick as several feet are commonly reported throughout the ski season.

Not only were they the first ski resort in Ohio they continue achieving firsts such as:

…first ski patrol in Ohio.
…first night skiing in the southern Great Lakes region.
…first chair lift and first triple chair lift operated in Ohio.
…first in the Midwest to use geothermal energy to heat facilities with snowmaking water.

They make a significant contribution to the local economy by attracting tourism dollars to the area; estimated to be several million dollars annually by resort officials. They have to operate a successful business with income largely limited to an average 90+ day ski season while employing 12 full time folks and 400 seasonal part-timers.

Check their web site here:

A very rustic Alpine-style lodge provides skiers a festive place to relax beside a cozy fire. A large, adjacent building of similar design serves as a fully stocked ski shop.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Doris Noe of Mansfield, a 30 year veteran of the Snow Trails Ski Patrol, whizzes down a run while on routine patrol. Saturday we will feature our recent visit to this premier winter sports venue. Please tune in!

Saturday, January 5, 2008


The upper floor of the Bellville Village Hall was jumping one recent Saturday night—up there in what is known as the “Opera House”.

The current village hall was built in 1877/78 for the town meetings and jail. About 100 of us had our own ‘town meeting’ that recent Saturday night.

Sitting in chairs plushly cushioned in red velvet with the tall vintage windows adorned in heavy matching drapes we tapped our toes and clapped our hands and ultimately gave a standing ovation to the Michigan quartet, Steppin’ In It for their rousingly quirky musical performance.

They are four young guys with the energy of an orchestra and were performing on a gaily decorated stage which is mostly a sleeping asset in the town’s 130 year old center of government on the village green.

Robert Bell arrived here from the east in 1816, laid out the town and called it BELLville naturally.

“In fact, in the 1800s around here most towns had ‘opera’ houses” explained local historian Don Palm. Most also had small “opera” companies. Our “Bellville Operetta” was still performing as evidenced by a 1921-22 picture in Don’s archives.

Like many old buildings things changed over the years. Movies replaced “operas” in the 1920s and 30s. “They continued to be popular until folks around here got cars and could drive to Mansfield for more modern facilities,” Palm explained.

Through the mid 1930s all formal functions of the Bellville High School were held in the opera house; graduations for example. Then, the school built its own auditorium and things changed again.

By the 1970s the “opera” facility had fallen into dis-repair and was used for storage while there were continuous efforts to repair its leaky roof.

In 1976 the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places and it was completely renovated in 1978 after a $9,000 fundraising campaign. Then, for awhile, the Bellville Drama Club was active—performing the old stand-by Arsenic and Old Lace in 1981.

It continues to be available for rental but a difficult stairway is a drawback; even with its one-person electric lift. Mansfield area musical promoters Fate Christan and Melanie Seaman have been the most active users over the past several years with their Highlands of Ohio Celtic Music Society.

Their next show at the “Opera House” will be January 31st, 2008 and will feature AMERICAN GYPSY.

Check here for more information:

A professionally decorated and equipped stage is a visual treat for music lovers in the Opera House on the second floor of the Bellville Village Hall. The quartet Steppin' In It is shown performing for an appreciative Bellville audience on a recent Saturday evening.

Thursday, January 3, 2008



The sixth most populous country with the second largest Muslim population in the world, it is bordered by India on the east and both Afganistan and Iran on the west. It has a 650 mile coastline along the Arabian Sea to the south and shares a border with China to the northeast.

To give India’s Muslim population their own country, India was partitioned in 1947 creating East and West Pakistan; the former now known as Bangladesh which achieved independence in 1971.

The country has dominated world news recently with the assassination of its popular, former prime minister who was seeking a return to power from years in exile. During the 1980s Pakistan was a crucial ally of the US during the Soviet-Afganistan War then fell into disfavor when she became the only Muslim nuclear weapons state in 1988. She has again been an ally of the US in the war on terrorism in Iraq.

Given her population of over 161 million (more than Russia), her status as a nuclear power and her long history of political instability it is likely she will remain of interest to the US news market.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008