Friday, February 29, 2008



Have you noticed the latest news out of this once-great, world capital of the automotive industry? It is sounding like the story-line out of some smutty TV soap/cop drama.

They have a married mayor up there named Kwame Kilpatrick (pictured) who evidently and nonetheless had a smashing crush on his chief aide lady. It is alleged they took their mutual concubine-ness to new levels.

Then some local police got a little too close to the drama and hizzonor canned a couple of them.

That led to a messy law suit and it seems some evidence did exist to support the good guy’s allegations. That, in turn, led to a payoff with public money somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 million smackeroos.

About then a local newspaper filed suit to make all the tawdry paperwork public—and won.

A couple of hours later, (February 28th) those documents emerged and it sounds like the whole sordid affair is true.

Transcripts between hizz-not-so-honorable-honor and the temporary squeeze reveal they did indeed enjoy some sizzling frolics.

Which really was followed by a boat load of high-priced lawyers who slicked the entire episode past city council in the form of an out-of-court settlement that was “ the best interests of the city” or some such nonsense.

Now what Detroit?

Are you going to struggle out of this swamp or will you continue to be like some wag once famously said of a then-declining Seattle, Will the last person out of town, please turn off the lights?

Curious? aim your favorite search engine at The Detroit News, where, by the way, the above photo originated.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


Soft blue smoke from the crackling, foot-warming fire floats on the still air across Main Street while children shriek their happy protests each time gravity gives them a crashing lesson in this ageless winter sport.

Parents scurry around the temporary ice rink snapping pictures with their digital cameras and, for awhile at least, all is right with the world.

For a few months each winter the village constructs a temporary rink of a wooden frame and a liner on the lawn of the town hall and even non-skaters have just one more visual delight in this Norman Rockwellesque village we are privileged to call home.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


I watched the political show on the lake last night.

Regarding Ms. Shrillary, not only is the "Fat Lady" now singing she is assembling her very own choir.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Editor’s Note: Thursday we are featuring a story we have been working on all winter—ice skating on the village green.

In preparation to shoot the photos I carried an 8 foot ladder around in the truck for several weeks in mid winter.

I had folks at the hardware store watching for the ice rink across the street to open.

Once, upon my phone inquiry, my friend Stoney ran out on his sidewalk (in his stocking feet) to see if the rink was active.

I went by twice one recent Saturday night and the rink was open--but vacant. Actually, given our freeze/thaw cycle this winter and society’s inclination to be couch-potatoes I believe the rink was only used about a half-dozen times max this season.

So, we are going with the story as-is; before the dandelions bloom.

Monday, February 25, 2008


The space shuttle mission STS-122, which ended February 20th, delivered the European Space Agency’s Columbus module; the silver colored cylinder forming the right arm of the “T” shape in the center of this photo. The cylinder is 23’ long and 15’ in diameter and will serve as an additional research laboratory for the next 10 years on the space station. (Photo by NASA)

Saturday, February 23, 2008


The recent death of good friend Harold Zehner was just one more jolting reminder that an aging body is an inexorable and inevitable process.

And, while it beats the dickens out of the alternative, ageing does often challenge those who enjoy the process with wildly varying degrees of debilitation.

My bicycling friend Lynn and my lady friend Ruth both are grappling with parents on the verge of dwindling from independent living to some form of assisted arrangements.

My lady classmate and friend Doneen in Texas is dealing with poor eyesight issues and her husband is condemned to constant use of oxygen for the rest of his life.

Good friends Dave in upstate NY and Mike here locally are in the process of beating cancer away with a surgical stick.

Cousin Bill in south FL lost a leg to cancer as a young man, had a distinguished career as an electrical engineer yet has long fought eyesight deteriorating toward total blindness.

My dad, mom and sister died way too young. So did my bride Carol. Her final protest was having a smoke on the porch of the National Institute of Health’s cancer facility in Bethesda, MD. She was gone an evening later.

She took after my cousin Bob’s dad. He went out on the porch, enjoyed his after dinner smoke then sat down in his chair and shook hands with his maker.

Carol’s mom Maribelle also died way too early those many years ago. She managed to frolic until that week when she celebrated a family party one evening and died unexpectedly a day or two later.

My friend Harold, too, managed to check out on his own terms. Living independently. A sharp mind and a ready smile. He died after taking a morning whiz then crawling back into bed. I like to think he peed in the devil’s eye too.

May we who yet survive be so lucky.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

LUNAR ECLIPSE and neighbor

This image was done at 10 p.m., February 20th; one minute before totality. The eclipse was caused by the Moon moving into the Earth’s shadow and the red hue of the Moon’s surface is the result of the Sun’s rays being refracted around and through the Earth’s atmosphere.

The exposure was made at ¼ second, F 2.8 and ISO 800. The telephoto lens was set at 190 mm giving a field of view sufficient to record both celestial bodies; the second celestial body being the planet Saturn (lower left) which was located northeast of the Moon in this picture.

Because the temperature at the time of the picture was 5 degrees F., I did not fiddle with a tripod. Instead, I propped the camera firmly atop a 4 x 4 post near the pond’s edge, squeezed the shutter—and promptly scurried back into the house.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Twilight by Brendan DuBois

The US is plunged into anarchy after a terrorist nuclear attack devestates much of the northeast. Militia groups fill the void of absent military and law enforcement but are careless in who they eliminate as much of the population scavenges for food and shelter while UN peacekeepers try to establish and enforce an uneasy peace. A good read on a chilling scenario.

Hog Pilots and Blue Water Grunts by Robert D. Kaplan

Kaplan, a visiting professor in national security at the US Naval Academy, manages to get himself attached to US military operations in such places as the Sahara Desert, a naval destroyer in the Indian Ocean, a nuclear submarine in the North Pacific, and army special forces in Algeria, among others, and writes poignantly of his experiences. Of our society he opines, “How to kill at no risk to our troops is only in our eyes a sign of strength; in those of our enemy it is a sign of weakness, cowardice even.”

Culture Warrier by Bill O’ Riley

My left leaning friends will cringe at this serious flaw in my reading taste, but, so be it. O’Riley positions himself as a general in an ongoing cultural war in the US between what he describes as “Secular-Progressives” (liberals) and those who support “Traditional” values (conservatives). Among his bad-guy targets were: George Soros, George Clooney and Susan Sarandan and their Hollywood liberal ilk, and, the ACLU naturally. I agree, but quickly acknowledge the best course for our country is likely somewhere between the extremes on both sides of the ideological fence; with a generous tilt to the right, of course.

Cat and Mouse by Harold Coyle

A little mindless brain candy in this anti-terrorism novel set in the Philippines where the good guys (American Army Rangers) battle not only a ruthless and cunning fanatic but an incompetent boob of a fellow officer. I’ll save you the effort; the good guys win the epic battle, the boob is reassigned to a cushy Pentagon job and the insurgent licks his wounds while pondering the next battle.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Steve McKee, director of the Gorman Nature Center, uses a magnifying glass to examine an American Tree Sparrow during a recent public display of bird banding at the center on Lexington Avenue in Mansfield.


Several excited youngsters had the stunning experience of comforting a newly banded bird in their bare hand—in one special case for nearly 30 seconds—until the tiny bundles of energy exploded into flight and zipped into the cover of nearby trees.

Citizen scientists got a taste of the real thing as McKee enthusiastically led a hands-on demonstration of bird study for a spirited group of visitors, mostly Pathfinders (the Seventh Day Adventists version of scouting) from around Ohio on their annual Mansfield visit.

In the photo (right) McKee amazes his audience by revealing a common tree sparrow like the one he is holding was once banded over a period of six years which means that amazing bird had flown his migration round trips from the Hudson Bay area of Canada back to the nature center for its annual, winter visits for a calculated total of 13,200 miles.

Birds like the tree sparrow McKee is banding in the second photo are able to fly, in part, because their bones are hollow and they have no heavy teeth or jawbones. “They also have very small brains” McKee added. “So,” he quipped with lots of chuckles from the audience, “If someone calls you a ‘bird-brain’ that is not exactly a compliment.”

Birds to be banded are harmlessly captured in large mist nets or docile, live traps where a door springs shut behind the curious or hungry bird. McKee then gently holds the bird with its legs between his fingers and carefully applies a light, aluminum band specially sized for the species.

About 500 birds are banded annually at the center and information is recorded on the species, age, sex and health status for examples. When the bird’s sex is not obvious it sometimes can be determined by checking for a brood patch on its belly or measuring the wing feathers.

The bands are uniquely numbered and the information is stored in a national data base maintained by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Then, when a banded bird is recovered ornithologists are able to study such things as the bird’s longevity and range.

McKee is one of only1,500 bird banders certified in the US.

A bunch of visitors that day were happy he does stuff like that.

Nine year old Pathfinder Cheewah from Mechanicsburg enjoys a very personal encounter with one of nature’s wild critters—a newly banded Dark Eyed Junco. About a dozen juncos and tree sparrows were banded during the morning program. It was too cold to use the net and these species come readily to the trapping feeders McKee explained.

Thursday, February 14, 2008


The tradition of celebrating this day in the US has had a widely meandering history through the calendars and festivals of antiquity.

The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382.

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese [choose] his make [mate].

This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. Incidently, when they did get married a few months later, he was 13 or 14 and she was 14.

For some reason readers of the poem assumed Chaucer was referring to February 14th as Valentine’s Day. However, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. *

But, what the heck; So be it! It has been February 14th for as long as I can remember--a memory that does not quite extend to the time of Chaucer by the way.

The US Greeting Card Association estimates approximaely one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. *

PS, Happy 48th wedding anniversary to dear friends Nancy and Jerry Kulka of Mansfield, and, Happy Valentine’s Day to dear friend Ruthie who will have to make do with a slightly used box of candy—it was used as the prop for the above picture.
* With compliments from the good folks at Wikipedia on-line.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Steve McKee, Director of the Gorman Nature Center will lead us on a bird banding exercise Saturday. Here he is describing the process to an attentive audience while Fogeyisms visited recently. Stop by and take a peek. You’ll be glad you did. So will we!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


This from the Associated Press Monday:

MINNEAPOLIS — It lived up to its name: The temperature in International Falls fell to 40 below zero Monday, just a few days after the northern Minnesota town won a federal trademark making it officially the "Icebox of the Nation."

Fogeyisms says, "Ha! Big deal." Here we are about 500 miles of south latitude from that border town and we had a low temperature of -36.4 degrees one frosty morning in January 1994. See the photo at right.

We are experiencing heavy snow with a current temperature of 16 as I write this and forecast to receive between 6 and 10 inches from the current storm.

Kinda' makes it hard to look out the window right now and take all this "Global warming" stuff too seriously.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Ms. Clinton vs. Barack Obama

Stumping in Washington state for last week’s primary Barack Obama drew 21,000 supporters at a speech in Seattle’s Key Arena. Meanwhile Ms. Clinton managed to attract a crowd of only 5,000 at that town’s Pier 30 Warehouse; statistics that have been common during Obama’s recent ascendency in the race for the Democrat nomination.

Another revealing news item deals with their comparative fundraising. Obama is reported to rake in multiple-millions of dollars in just hours of fundraising over the internet while Ms. Clinton is reported to be loaning her own campaign 5 million dollars while some of her campaign staff is now going unpaid.

Preceeding Sunday’s primary in Maine Obama had raised a reported $328,700 in that state alone while Clinton had managed a mere $76,400.

It seems to this novice old fogey in Ohio that, in this particular race, the fat lady may be tuning up.

Muslims continuing…

This recent story from Fox News:

“More Muslim Women Medics in UK Refusing to Follow Hygiene Rules”

“Muslim women working at UK medical facilities are increasingly refusing to comply with the basic hygiene standard of rolling up their sleeves when their (sic) washing hands, it was reported.

According to the UK’s Daily Telegraph, female workers are ignoring Britain’s Department of Health rules requiring medics to be ‘bare below the elbow’ because they consider showing any skin—outside the hands and face—immodest.

Admittedly, there is an ocean between me and the source of this news but it sure sounds like these jihad-prone fanatics prefer to march to the tunes of their clan’s modesty rules rather than obey the common sense science of good medical hygiene.

Why am I not surprised?

Saturday, February 9, 2008

December 25, 1925 - February 9, 2008

My good friend Harold Zehner, US Army veteran, fellow photographer and well known around Ohio as Mr. Bike died today. He was 82.

He was featured on the blog March 12, 2007 when he and I went eagle hunting with our cameras last spring.

About a year before that a group of us from The Mid Ohio Bikers rode with Harold as he celebrated logging his 125,000th mile on a bicycle during a gentle ride on the local bike trail.

He will be best known to many local folks for his years of employment at Sid’s Camera Shop in Mansfield.

Harold was a cancer patient and his primary care giver, Mrs. Cherri Vidonish, Lexington, said arrangements are in charge of the Snyder Funeral Home in Lexington. Funeral details will be available here:

Rest in peace my friend.


Dave Jung and Brother Mike, both of Bellville (above) enjoy a sparkling winter morning with some bluegill fishing on the pond. Dave and daughter Stefanie, a sophomore at John Carroll University in Cleveland, did a warm up a few days earlier and, counting both expeditions, nabbed a catch large enough for a nice family meal.

In the photos to the right Mike hand-holds a small ice pole. They are rigged with a little two-legged stand so they can stand alone and have a spring loaded red indicator near the end so a fisherman can watch several poles at one time and clearly see when a fish strikes.

In the close-up Dave unhooks his little ice lure from a bluegill. The hooks were tipped with waxworms for bait and in one stretch he caught more than a half dozen fish on the same worm until it needed replaced.

The Jung’s were pleased with the size of the bluegill population, confirming our belief the pond has maintained a nice predator/prey balance between the bluegill and the largemouth bass who are also thriving on the smaller fish’s abundance and size.

Mike married our good friends’ Duane and Jerry Maxwell’s daughter Diane many years ago, and, I did their wedding photographs. Small world! As they say.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Following is an email story from Wende Carter-Wolf, (right)daughter TJ’s partner. Eli is their very, very precocious son who will be 7 in April. They live in Jacksonville, FL:

Wende: "Sometimes, the drive home from school can get interesting. This was just part of today's conversation:"

Eli: "Nothing lasts forever."
Me: "True. Except for my love for you." [Don't puke at my syrupy language. I'm a Mom. I'm allowed. Plus, I said it with drama.]
Eli: "Not even that."
Me: "Why not?"
Eli: "Because....well...what about when you pass away?"
Me: "You don't think I'll love you anymore when I'm dead?"
Eli: ""
Me: "So what happens when you die?"
Eli: "You're just dead."
Me: "What is death?"
Eli: "It's when your body stops and your heart stops pumping blood."
Me: "Is there anything else left?"
Eli: "Well, the brain keeps on working."
Me: "No, your brain is dead too, when you die."
Eli: "Well your mind then."
Me: "How is your mind different from your brain?"
Eli: "Your brain contains your mind."
Me: "So what happens to your mind, when your brain dies?"
Eli: "When your brain dies, your mind and its schema gets recycled. It goes into another person and becomes their ability. Then they have the ability to learn what you knew."

After some discussion, it appears that this transfer can happen into a baby or an adult. Then:

Me: "So what is schema?"
Eli: (Laughing incredulously) "You don't know what schema is?"
Me: "No." [Just for the record, I really do. No self-respecting clinical psych drop-out would lack that knowledge.]
Eli: "Schema is everything that you know, and everything that you think you know."

Now, for those of you who didn't drop out of grad school (or, apparently, attend Jacksonville Beach Elementary), the definition is:

1. an internal representation of the world; an organization of concepts and actions that can be revised by new information about the world
2. a schematic or preliminary plan [syn. outline]

Which one of you is offering to take him for the summer right after he turns 13? I think we're gonna need a break.


Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Recently, the pond hosted its first ever ice fisher-people (one of them was a woman). Dave Jung and his daughter Stefanie (above left) of Bellville used an auger-left foreground in the photo-to drill through the 6 inch ice for access to a cloudy morning’s fishing. Their story and more photos are featured on Saturday’s blog. We will be delighted to have you stop by.

With the following squib, Fogeyism’s introduces a new short piece to the blog. We call it...

The Trivial Variety—

A hummingbird weighs less than a penny.

Saturday, February 2, 2008


The election of 2008 could be the first time ever I do not cast a ballot for any presidential candidate.

On the (D) side among the top two candidates remaining:

Obama, while likely to be least damaging of the two to the country’s future and, admittedly, a comforting persona on the campaign trail is just another sugar-coated liberal with slick oratorical skills.

Clintons (Yup, Slickwillie could be part of this package); if you really want to get a handle on this woman’s true character consult with your librarian on several books written by secret service officers who have had the extreme displeasure of being subjected to her private life. I like the idea of a woman in the race for the presidency but it is darn sure not this one.

On the (R) side everytime I ponder that crowd of politicians I have a compelling urge to consume prodigious quantities of heartburn medicine.

My choice all along has had the good sense to ignore the very idea of becoming a candidate. Moreover I fear her involvement with the Bush presidency would now be a serious flaw in such an effort.

But, a black lady from humble Alabama beginnings has risen—quite naturally—to an extremely high position in government and on the way had a stunning career in education including earning her PhD degree.

The lady is Condoleezza Rice who has served tirelessly and usually quietly on the world stage as US Secretary of State while Ms. Clinton has spent recent years zipping around the US and glad-handing anyone who might be of use to her personal, political ambitions.

The funniest line I have heard in this regard recently came from some Washington wag, who, tiring of Clinton’s yakking about her credentials to be a presidential candidate coming from living in the White House for eight years quipped, “So has the pastry chef”. Amen.

Who knows what will happen between now and the GOP nominating convention but history reveals General Dwight Eisenhower came home from the Second World War in Europe and found himself drafted as a candidate and winning election and reelection as US President.

Could history repeat itself in some form of a draft movement this year? I hope so.

Friday, February 1, 2008


This rioter at a makeshift roadblock in Kisumu, Kenya mugs the camera during an ethnic clensing rampage that has recently swept this eastern African country. Hundreds have been reported killed in rioting that followed a disputed election with underlying long-standing hatred among local tribes. AP Photo