Tuesday, March 30, 2010


New shoots of woodsy flora dance in the muted sunshine of a warming spring day.

They are early signs of the synthesis that soon will produce a spring plant noticeable to the naked eye.

Right now, though, they only came to visible life when examined close-up by the marvel of a macro lens.

These little, green sentinels are barely 1/2 inch tall as they bravely try to salute the sunshine that nourishes them.

May they be immune forever to mankind.

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Hack-in-Chief does it again

News reports confirm O-bozo used recess appointments over the weekend to skirt the Constitutional process of US Senate confirmation of presidential appointees.

One of those is particularly onerous; that of a Craig Becker to the National Labor Relations Board.

Don’t get me wrong. Fogeyisms does not know Becker from Captain Video. Nor are recess appointments an unusual process in the routine stench of DC politics.

But, in this case O-bozo made the appointment after his previous appointment of Becker was rejected by the US Senate last month by a vote of 52-43.

And this in the upper house of Congress solidly in the control of his Democrat party.

O-bozo’s action is a flagrant violation of the process of checks and balances built into our Constitutional government—an action typical of that expected from some banana republic dictatorship.

Then again, maybe that is where we are headed under this clown.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Enjoying a growing population

There were 215 eagle nests in Ohio in 2009 and they produced 197 eaglets. That is a whopping growth from the mere four nests that were recorded in Ohio just 31 years ago when Ohio’s restoration program began.

And, while their population is growing, their range in Ohio is expanding also. “Where once they were mostly located in the marshes of Lake Erie, Ohio now has a nesting pair on the Ohio River,” stated a volunteer with the Medina Raptor Center in a recent program near Loudonville.

That program, hosted by the Mohican River Inn, was along the Wally Road south of Loudonville, which area itself has grown to be an active eagle nesting area.

The highlight of the recent program was a visit by the raptor center’s “Program bird” a bald eagle with the Indian name Migisi (pictured above). The name is an Ojibwa term meaning “Eagle”.

Program birds are those that come to raptor centers for rehabilitation but are unable ever to be returned to the wild. They then become “Ambassadors” for their species, often appearing in educational programs—just like this one.

Migisi is an eight year old, eight pound female with a seven foot wingspan.

As you can tell from her expression she has retained her boundless dignity while enjoying her new role in life.

Eagles are known to have incredible eye sight; able to focus on multiple targets and believed to be able to read newsprint at 100 yards according to program officials.

Some of the nesting growth has occurred in curious places. There is a nest beside a bar parking lot in Cleveland where the birds seem oblivious to the constant human traffic.

Another nest was recently discovered within sight of the highway patrol post at the intersection of SR 95 and I-71.

Eagle population growth continues in Richland County as well. Resident eagle expert, Jan Ferrell of the Ohio Bird Sanctuary on Orweiler Rd. reports a brooding pair this year at Pleasant Hill Lake.

She continues, “Clear Fork brooding (but that is technically Morrow [County]. Mifflin...two reports, one says no, one says yes.... I haven’t heard from Jack Hattery yet about their pair up Franklin Church way (but they are pretty regular).”

And, here’s a suggestion. Pay attention to those big birds you see floating on the wind. Look closely and sometimes you will be rewarded to discover one of them has a white head and tail.

I have had that happen; once near downtown Lexington with an eagle flying by with a fish in its beak; likely returning to the nest with lunch for its new family.

Exciting? You-betcha’!
(And, stay tuned.  Jon Minard a nesting expert and volunteer observer for Ohio's wildlife officials called with the locations of two active, local nests that he believes will provide nice photographic opportunities.  I expect to visit both of them at the earliest opportunity.) 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

About 50 Eagle watching enthusiasts turned out recently for a program on these majestic birds sponsored by the Mohican River Lodge near Loudonville.  The highlight of the program was a visit by Migisi, a live bald eagle pictured above with two volunteers from the Medina Raptor Center.  Please stop by Saturday for our story on this program and some notes on Ohio's marvelous, eagle population growth.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


THE B and O


John Mershdorf, heaves yet another shovel-full of winter’s debris from the B and O bike trail in southern Richland County.

John is a bicycling friend and long-time volunteer maintenance fellow with the Richland County Park district which administers the Gorman Nature Center and our marvelous, 18.3 mile bike trail which runs from North Lake Park in Mansfield to Butler.

John, and about a half dozen other volunteers can be found on the bike trail nearly every day through the season mowing, fixing signs, sweeping, clearing downed trees and branches, picking up debris, repairing pot holes, discouraging ground hogs, etc....

Their to-do list is nearly endless as you might imagine.

I recently spent an afternoon with John, sweeping mud, cinders, pea gravel and assorted debris mostly from intersections where crossing traffic and snow plows left their winter mess.

I had encountered John several days earlier while I was enjoying a bike ride and he was busy with maintenance chores. It was an opportunity for me to offer to lend a hand if he ever needed a helper.

I was delighted when my phone rang a few days later.

While we were rolling between sites that needed our attention John told me it was people who made the job most interesting. Often trail users would stop to thank us for our work to make the trail an even nicer experience.

Sometimes they would zip by without even responding to our usually cheery salutations.

We had one teen-age type clown impressing his girl passenger by roaring across the trail on an ATV. I hoped they survived their senseless meanderings that day.

Then there was the bozo who whinnied, “Whatchyall’doin,” as he trundled by. “Planting avocados,” was my silent response to his stunning burst of intellectual curiosity.

John usually works out of a red, 4 wheeled ATV with a tool box in the rear bed and towing a small trailer for larger tools and a container for the collected trash.

By and large, trail users tend to be environmentally conscious but it is surprising how much junk can be collected in just a few miles.

Kudos to John and his fellow volunteers for their nearly countless hours devoted to the enhanced pleasure of our trail’s users.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Legs and torsos are a blur as Ken Johnson (left) and Lynn Rush work-out on exercise equipment in Ken’s basement gym. Ken is riding a recumbent-style exercise machine with a built-in computer that monitors his performance while Lynn is working through a segment on the rowing machine.

And a little sweat...

Ken and I started this exercise program early in December as a delightful winter diversion, and preparation for the 2010 bicycling season—itself aimed at preparing for a 70 mile bike ride some day near our combined 70th birthdays in October.

Lynn joined us shortly thereafter and, as a retired nurse, will be a welcomed companion on that early-Fall, geriatric adventure.

Here, Lynn and Ken each ride their personal road-bikes shown installed on trainers that allow lots of miles to be ridden—in place. By the way, the apparent motion in these photos is the result of using a camera shutter speed of ¼ of a second.

In the small photo (right) Ken is enjoying a little hot-rod tomfoolery on his Triton Ultimate, 3-Wheeled Cruiser.

I’ve come to really enjoy riding that little machine. I use it as a great cool-down after our 2-hour sessions.

Another handy gadget that has made an appearance in Ken’s gym is a blood pressure monitor. I was very surprised to note my blood pressure at the start of exercise one morning was a fuzz over 150. Ken guessed it would drop to about 120 after that morning’s workout. It dropped to 119 over 70 if I recall correctly.

My weight has slowly fallen to its current 167 pounds—as that layer of hibernation fat dissolves around my body. With Ken’s acute concern for health matters and Lynn’s nursing background we are paying close attention to the results of our exertions.

After all, our combined age exceeds 200 years.

It’s hard to believe that lofty number when I feel like 40 or thereabouts. Maybe even 30.

Hard to remember that long ago.

Ken (above) is using a home-made concoction consisting of some bent pipe, some cable, pulleys, fittings and assorted free weights in yet another device cleverly designed to extract more performance from our aging muscles.

For you photography enthusiasts this is an available light photo with the main light obviously coming from the basement window over Ken’s shoulder. His highlighted face is the result of the window light being reflected from the exercise gadget.

Note also how the composition is made more interesting by the low camera angle. I was sitting on the floor for this shot—relaxing, of course.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


It was a marvelous, late winter day March 5th when cycling companions Lynn Rush, Ken Johnson (riding ahead) and I did our inaugural ride for the 2010 bike season. We rolled around 12 miles of Bellville area roads with temperatures in the low 40s while nearly a foot of snow still blanketed the ground. We are southbound on Bixler Rd., in the above photo.

Our winter-long exercise program at Ken’s home was designed to prepare us for such exertions. Please stop by Saturday when Fogeyisms will take another peek at that topic of perspiration.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


Growing up bin Laden by Jean Sasson

Osama bin Laden’s first wife and fourth son join author Sasson in, for the first time ever, telling the inside story of life in the bin Laden family. This wife was married to bin Laden when she was 15 and bore eleven children by him. Altogether he had five wives and they bore him 20 children. The book is a revealing peek behind the usual secrecy surrounding this Muslim terrorist.

In the President’s Secret Service by Ronald Kessler

This is an interesting romp behind the scenes with a sometimes revealing look at the lives of the presidents they are sworn to protect. Surprisingly, the book also bashes the pathetic culture of the service’s management and their failure to support the troops where a staggering turn-over in personnel continues to this day. This was a quick read!

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin

Opponents including most of the liberal news media derided her as unprepared for national leadership—in spite of her being Governor of America’s largest state where she built a record as a reformer who cast aside politics-as-usual and pushed through changes other politicians only talk about. Pathetically, voters elected the opposing ticket led by a golden-throated hack with less administrative experience than the neighborhood kids who run lemonade stands. This is her memoir and it is a good one.

Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick

Subtitled “Ordinary lives in North Korea” the book pierces the shell of this “Orwellian” world where 1/5 of the population has died of starvation under the most totalitarian regime in the world today now presided over by Kim Jong-il. The author follows the lives of six North Koreans in a very moving story that will make you treasure the luck of your US birth.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It is hard to believe just two weeks ago friends were ice fishing on my pond and nearly a foot of snow blanketed the woody area.

And, there were piles of snow here and there and everywhere.

Then, with a spurt of supremely Spring-like temperatures and some cleansing rain—Presto! We are on target for the historically repetitious day of ice-out on March 15th.

In the 17 years I have lived on this little slice of nirvana you would have won a lot of money betting on that day for the last traces of crystallized water.

This is too small a sample to be statistically significant.

But, Nature’s clock seems a bit more consistent than the global-warming crowd would have us believe.

The geese with their primordial, on-schedule libido seem to agree.
This picture was taken Saturday morning, March 13th in light rain with temperatures in the mid-40s. Another wager for ice out on the 15th seems like a winner.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Square Dancing Friends Russ and Jane Matz (left foreground), Mark and Nancy Meinzer, lady friend Sue Brooks, Roberta Karger (white sweater) and husband Don are enjoying the ambiance of the old Ohio State Reformatory just before a recent dinner-theater event there.  This view is in the visiting area of the old prison between the main cell blocks.  The caricatures of Stalin and Lenin on the background walls are remnants of the movie Air Force One, segments of which were filmed in the restored, old prison.


That old prison out on the Olivesburg road was the perfect setting for a murder-mystery, dinner theater recently.

We dined behind bars between the massive cellblocks that held more than 154,000 prisoners during its macabre history—many of whom reside forever in the adjacent graveyard beside the old railroad tracks out back, known only by their numbers on simple tombstones.

The night’s ambiance was supported by blizzard-like, weather conditions pushing frigid wisps of cold through the audience. Or, so it seemed.

Often during the show I could visualize the rat-holes of solitary confinement in the dank sub-basement below that massive structure of concrete, stone and steel.

The play, Murder at Rutherford House, was set on the fifth anniversary of the death of Lord Rutherford. We were guests of Lady Rutherford at her annual dinner in commemoration of her husband’s passing.

When seated we were given an envelope of clues to be opened only as instructed during the performance. Periodically cast members would wander among the dining guests and for an amusingly sinister “bribe” would share other clues with that table of diners.

Suddenly there was a gunshot resulting in the evening’s first corpse. A “detective” revealed himself and began an investigation. Clues seemed to be everywhere but some weren’t as they appeared.

Cast members included names like Hermione Rutherford, Ruby Pinkbottom, Wendle Weedle, and Baroness Greta Von Keepsemfrumfloppen (pronounce that one carefully) and you will realize there was considerable humor during the ghastly event.

Ultimately, the success of the performance was sealed when only 3 folks of the 150 present solved the crime correctly.

Actually, I didn’t feel bad when I was among the failed detectives.

I noticed my friend, Judge Jim Henson of the county’s common pleas court was in attendance, and didn’t figure it out correctly either.

Kudos to the cast and crew for a marvelous production, and, to the preservation society working to save this magnificent structure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Ken Johnson and I giggled and grunted our way up the bike trail yesterday enjoying what turned out to be our version of...

Bellville style

Usually, on Thursdays, he, Lynn Rush and I do a two hour exercise program in his Bellville home’s basement. But, this day he was nursing a sore shoulder and Lynn was absent, nursing a sore nose.

With an additional nod to his pesky ailment he proposed, instead of a traditional bike ride, we hop on his side-by side tandem cycling rig and head up the bike trail toward Lexington and see if it is still clogged with ice and snow.

It was.

We set off—and were barely north of Bellville when we were slogging through multiple inches of snow just now morphing into a slushy mess of winter’s residue.

We did a Chinese fire-drill of randomly riding and hopping off to push while one of us hopped back on trying to steer. We were never totally stymied in our progress but we had to be quite a sight to traffic whizzing high overhead on the interstate highway.

We must have looked like a moving bicycle wreck still arguing about which of its halves had the right-of-way.

We grunted and giggled some more; resting periodically on ice-free pavement and enjoying the squirrels and the bluebirds cavorting through winter’s last fling.

To our right melt water was gushing through the meadows hurrying to be somewhere while just ahead of us a small herd of whitetail deer lazyied across the trail—their sentinel pausing to consider the silly apparition heading his way.

The deer’s ears twitched and it correctly identified us as peaceable as he and his companions disappeared slowly into the marsh—and we were thankful for the gift of their presence.

About then we noticed another source of resistance to our progress. Ken’s front tire was flat.

Not really a big deal at our modest velocity and we finally cranked our way up the hill into the Y-Not Bike shop’s Lexington parking lot.

Ken works there part-time as a mechanic so it was easy to acquire and install a new tube while other bike shop customers peered at our curious mount.

We zipped north on US 42 a bit for a cup of coffee at the Speedway station then zipped back for our return to Bellville, waving often at remarkably civilized drivers who appeared just as curious about us as the earlier deer.

We marveled at how much the snow had melted since our upward passage and mostly cranked our way home.

In a spurt of enthusiasm we crossed the Bellville RR bridge like it was a finish line of sorts.

Ken chortled “Geezer Power!” to the lady standing there with her posse of small dogs. She smiled and waved at our silliness.

We enjoyed a handshake and a smile as we put Ken’s bike away for another day; each of us in his own way, knowing something very special had just been shared and would be long remembered.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Jan Shafer, snowbird friend from Bellville now wintering with her hubby Dick in Vero Beach, FL, recently inquired about our remaining snow cover—no doubt attempting to achieve perfect timing for a return to their local home.

Above is the view from my lower deck looking toward the southwest woods taken March 10th . My back is toward the pond, more or less, and the walkway proceeding straight away from the camera goes up the stone steps out of the rock garden toward the front of the house.

The trail heading to the left passes a couple of the bird feeders and gave Max and me winter access to the driveway from the walkway along this pond’s edge.

The average snow depth in this view remains about 6 inches but already our southern exposures are snow free.

That’s the still frozen surface of the pond on the far left of the picture, but, it is sporting a layer of melt water on top of the ice. It’s hard to imagine as I write this the pond usually is ice-free by the 15th.

That seems a distinct possibility again this year with temperatures in the mid to high 50s these days.

We are keeping our fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


As a nod to my aging body I bought a new bicycle.

Actually, I’ve been eyeing a recumbent bicycle design for a year or so now thinking, when I get older and my upright bike is no longer comfortable the recumbent design with lawn-chair-like seating would be a good alternative.

Then during recent exercise adventures at my friend Ken Johnson’s home, I began to ride his wife JoAnn's recumbent-styled exercise machine and found my comfort and stamina were both enhanced on it compared to riding a traditional bike installed in an exercise trainer.

I pondered that observation a wee bit then launched my search.

I was rewarded when my search led to the Easy Racer models which are acknowledged as a high-quality standard of that style. My search then continued to a bike listed for sale online which turned into the one I actually bought.

Ken and I wound up driving to Xenia one recent morning to consummate the purchase and have lunch with an old bomber pilot friend of his, Don Haddock, who lives nearby.

We met with the bike’s owner and I promptly amazed myself by taking a successful spin on this new design (my first ride ever) without enduring any harm to the bike or myself. We did the deal, loaded my new treasure in the truck and headed for lunch.

When we arrived back in Bellville we noted the streets were fairly clear of winter’s ice and, since it was March 1st and the local custard stand was open, Ken on his mountain bike, accompanied me on another familiarization ride around the neighborhood, then headed through the town’s traffic to the ice cream stand.

The only downside to this purchase is—somehow, it is an acknowledgment that I have, indeed, gotten older...

...a fact that was promptly proven when I posed us for a picture beside a big snow bank with my new bike at the ice cream shop and discovered I had forgotten to put a memory card in my digital camera.

That forgetfulness ultimately led to the above photo in my driveway.  For you cycling afficionados the bike is a 2009 Easy Racer Sport AX (aluminum frame) model.  It enjoys upgraded, linear brakes and a titanium bottom bracket.  The rider is the old guy; author of this story.  When I sit on this thing I feel like I am astride a long, skinny Harley--with me as the engine.  Can you see my smile?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Recent news...

This recent headline; “Sherrod Brown Among Most Liberal” is from the National Journal, a...DC-based magazine that keeps a close eye on Congress. According to the Dayton Daily News, “Ratings released (in late February) by the magazine showed Brown tied with three other democrats...for the Senate’s most liberal voting record in 2009.”

* * *

Fox News reports on March 3rd, the White House once again paraded a herd of health care professionals, complete with white lab coats, in front of the media in another of its spasms to promote health care reform; a repeat gambit from last October when Obozo’s political cronies had to hustle spare lab coats from their prop room for cast members who showed up but forgot their medical costumes.

Fogeyisms has seen better theatrics in high school drama class.

* * *

Then there is this doozie: A headline in the Weekly Standard.com asked, “Obama Now Selling Judgeships for Health Care Votes?” It went on to point out (Obozo) has named the brother of an undecided House democrat to the Federal Court of Appeals.

The story continued, “Tonight (March 3rd) (Obozo) will host ten House democrats who voted against the health care bill in November at the White House; he’s obviously trying to persuade them to switch their votes to yes. One of the ten is Jim Matheson of Utah. The WH just sent out a press release announcing that today President (Obozo) nominated Matheson’s brother Scott M. Matheson, Jr. to the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.”

Does the sleaze from this administration never end?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thank you God

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hiking companions Mark Meinzer, Sue Brooks and Nancy Meinzer pause to appreciate this sun dappled cliff face in Conkles Hollow near the Hocking Hills State Park. Please stop by Saturday and enjoy an album of pictures from our recent visit.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


It used to be I would hop in the shower, slop some shampoo through the hair, scrub with a bar of soap, rinse, dress and go down the road.


...I mix a concoction of distilled water, non-iodized salt, baking soda and corn syrup then do a vigorous nasal spray to clear congestion so I can continue one of my favorite activities—breathing,

...then, I hop in the shower and shampoo with an expensive moisturizing product instead of my old favorite VO5 which, by the way, costs only a buck a bottle,

...then, I spread a moisturizing body wash on a sponge and scrub—gently,

...then, after drying—gently, I lather with a prescribed, compounded moisturizing cream,

...then, retrieve my dentures from the soaker,

...then, clean and install the hearing aids,

...then, clean and install the glasses,

...then, with clear vision restored, I glance in the mirror and wonder who that old guy is who is peering back at me,

...then, dress and go down the road.