Thursday, April 29, 2010


A half dozen, day-old Canada Goose chicks enjoy a familiarization swim around my pond this morning.  Momma goose was first noticed on her nest March 29th and her brood arrived right on schedule.  Gestation averages between 25 and 30 days depending on your reference source.  By human standards, poppa goose is a fine father.  He is just out of the frame in this photo and will be a careful guardian as these chicks work toward maturity.  The highlight of their growth is when flying lessons begin.  The biggest annoyance is--having to watch carefully where you step.  They are very prolific poopers.

Believe it or not, this is a view of the American Motorcycle Association Museum in Pickerington, OH. It is a marvelous, campus-like facility housing the nation’s premier salute to our passion for this two-wheeled sport, its machines and their riders.

The colorful bike below is an Arlen Ness creation on a Victory cycle in a museum display called “Awesome-Ness” a tribute to the man whose “...creations form a timeline of the custom-bike movement in America. His work has influenced everyone from other bike builders to factory engineers” museum officials explain.

Please stop by Saturday as lady friend Sue Brooks and I along with our friends, the Hatfields, make a visit to this delightful facility.  In Saturday's story we tell you about a bike that looks like a '57 Chevy.  That's it-in yellow-lurking in the background below.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Hour Game by David Baldacci

I like Baldacci’s stuff for an easy and entertaining read. Mind candy, so to speak. The heroes of this tale are two Secret Service agents turned private investigators who are confronted by a serial killer mixed in with a dysfunctional, aristocratic family. In spite of having more plot turns and victims than a mountain road has curves this is another fun read.

Bathroom Reader by The Bathroom Readers’ Institute

This book contains 504 pages of whimsical trivia perfectly suited to those brief periods of daily scholarship. Topics range from “Triskaidekaphobia” to “Vampires on Bikini Beach”. And, on the bottom of each page is a delightful squib like this: “According to the Weekly World News, Heaven’s fax number is 011-972-2-612222.” You may find that amusing, but that could be a really helpful number to know someday.

The Elephanta Suite by Paul Theroux

This novel contains three short stories that take a penetrating look at life in India. The flyleaf says, “Theroux’s Westerners risk venturing far beyond the subcontinent’s well worn paths...A middle aged couple veers heedlessly from idyll to chaos. A buttoned-up Boston lawyer finds succor in Mumbai’s reeking slums. And a young woman befriends an elephant in Bangalore.” She wishes that is all she experienced. Good read!

Racing Toward Armageddon by Michael Baigent

The word “Armageddon” and the sub-title “The Three Great Religions and the Plot to End the World” appear to be the work of marketing gurus rather than the author of this scholarly, religion-oriented tome. While not exactly bedside reading, it does probe some interesting concepts, such as, belief in one God by today’s major religions while many other known societies in the world believed in many divinities.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


The bicycle wheels went round and round as that day morphed from frigid to tepid to nice.

Our skinny tires are sometimes stuffed with 100 pounds of air pressure or more. They rumble and swish as the mostly tar and chip country roads coax us by lots of Amish farms with spring flowers blooming everywhere.

A tapestry of laundry dries in the brisk morning air up ahead, suspended on long lines with pulleys so the laundress of the home can retrieve it like a fisherman wrestling with his catch.

My friend Gary Courtright and I were rolling up the state highway from Ontario to Shelby earlier that morning when it dawned on us we were supposed to meet our companions in Lexington for a caravan to our cycling launch site near the reservoir North of Shelby.

We grinned as Gary, via cell phone, confessed our mistake to our assembling companions who ultimately joined us as planned.

Old guys are allowed to do that, we mused.

There were nine of us that morning; Joe and Edie Humphrey and Tom Hadley and Lynn Rush and our leader Ken Johnson towing a tiny and ultra-light trailer behind his bicycle. That was to be used to haul back to our vehicles any treasures we collected along the way.

In addition to Gary and me, Ute Volk and Tammy Petersen rounded out our relatively ambitious population.

We trundled East on London West Road to North on Bowman St. Road to East on Kaster to Ganges Five Points, crossed state route 603, whizzed around the corner on Free Rd., and ambushed the Planktown Country Market—as only a squadron of cyclists in bike costumes can.

That’s Gary in the top photo (left) while Tom reveals my camera to Lynn who is putting a cheerful hex on my photography and Ken retrieves something from the floor. Tammy (also in blue) seems to be pondering our silliness at the market’s very nice deli counter.

After lunch we stashed the remainder of our purchases in Ken’s trailer and we rolled along roads with names like Free and Wells and Rome-Greenwich and Rome South and ultimately Shelby-Ganges back to the reservoir.

We compared bicycle odometers and concluded it was most likely our ride was a bit over 22 miles.

At some point there Ken was kidding Ute about her having trouble climbing some of the hills by explaining, “Obviously her bike is two tired.”

The rest of us groaned.

Good naturedly, of course.

Gently undulating roads coursed us through the farm belt of Northern Richland County as nine of us recently rode the component of the Mid Ohio Bikers known as the 1020 group. We do not go much over 10 mph and hardly travel more than 20 miles (most of the time); a very civilized approach to this timeless sport, in our view.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Members of the Mid Ohio Bikers 1020 Group munch a lunch of deli goodies behind the Planktown Country Market near Shiloh recently.  That's Tom Hadley's recumbent bike on the left and my new recumbent ride on the right, flanking Ken Johnson's upright bike equipped with the aqua-colored trailer box center.  Please stop by Saturday as we tell you about rolling 20+ miles through Northern Richland County Amish country recently.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Goodwin Liu is President Obozo’s nominee to be a judge on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

That is a lifetime appointment and this court functions immediately below the US Supreme Court.

Liu would be in a position to make a serious impact on the Constitution and the laws of this country—even being mentioned already as a future Supreme Court candidate.

And, this guy has absolutely no judicial experience. None.

Worse yet; his legal writings have described “the US Constitution as a document that should adapt to changes in the world,” according to news sources.

Evidently this clown doesn’t even comprehend, should he receive this appointment, he will swear an oath to protect and defend the very Constitution he feels should be adjusted from time to time to meet contemporary whims.

How about the clown that nominated this guy?

He took the same oath.

That oath says, in part “...I will to the best of my ability preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (1)

How can either of these clowns even hold public office when one nominates the other to high office in evidently apparent violation, or intent to violate, their very oaths of office?

Lord help us.
(1)Art. II, Sec. 1, Clause 8, US Constitution, etc

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today's bird feeder visitor,
a Canada Goose!

Saturday, April 17, 2010


This Bald Eagle is tending to nesting chores along the shore of Charles Mill Reservoir off Harlan Road. The picture was done April 2nd from a distance likely exceeding 125 yards with my camera attached to my telescope, a Meade ETX 90 EC. The scope has a focal length of about 1,300 mm.

The dark, fuzzy elements in the picture are the branches of trees in the near foreground of the nest, rendered mostly out of focus by the lens’ very shallow depth of field.

Crisp focus on the bird also was difficult to achieve because I was shooting from the bed of my pick-up truck to have a good elevation for the composition. The slightest movement of the truck or the nesting tree is amplified by the strong magnification of the lens thus slightly degrading the sharpness of the image.

The small photo right is the equipment rig I use to do these photos.  It includes my Canon Rebel Xti digital SLR camera attached by an adapter to my Meade telescope.  The scope acts like a manual lens.  The loose wire dangling between the camera and scope is an electronic shutter control--designed to minimize camera shake during the physical act of pushing the shutter release.

The small picture was done at the actual location used to do the lower photo of the two eagles on the nest.  You can see the nest in the far distance (left center edge) of the small photo.  The nest, estimated to be about 7 feet in diameter is that little dark spot just above the horizon.  I hope this will give you an appreciation of the degree of magnification this telescope/lens produces.

This photo was done April 5th of a nesting pair of eagles along Pleasant Hill Road about 1/2 mile east of the golf course.  I estimate the distance to the nest at about 200 yards.  It was done from the front yard of long-ago friends Nancy and Jerry Howell who have graciously invited us to return anytime to continue our work.

The Pleasant Hill nest already contains two chicks.  I intend to visit this nest weekly and hope to document the feeding and growth of those now baby eagles--photos I hope to share as this season rolls along.

Please stay tuned.

Friday, April 16, 2010

at locally nesting eagles

Tomorrow, Fogeyisms will share two of our favorite eagle pictures (to-date) from this nesting season.

Lady friend Sue Brooks took this photo of me using my camera/telescope rig at one of our shooting sites, this one in the front yard of Jerry and Nancy Howell along Pleasant Hill Rd., in southern Richland County.

Please stop by for a look at some continuing success in reestablishing these majestic birds in Ohio.

Thursday, April 15, 2010


On warm Spring evenings these toad critters create traffic congestion on my driveway--sometimes to the extent I have to patrol ahead of my truck and give the loitering ones a little boost to safety.  This one brightened my evening after a recent day of Bald Eagle photography, the results of which will be featured on Saturday's blog.

I chuckled about the respective techniques of the above two photo sessions; the eagles being done with a telescopic peek at their far-away nests, often high in riparian corridors; the toad being done belly-on-the-ground and nose-to-nose along the driveway's edge; the illumination, by the way, being provided by a pair of Mini-Maglight flashlights.

Please stop by and enjoy our visual treat of the majestic eagles as much as I enjoyed creating it.  

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


I came across this tid-bit recently:  "The largest gold nugget ever found weighed 172 pounds and 13 ounces."

When I tried to determine its value at today's $1,135 price per counce--my calculator exploded.

Actually, gold is not measured in ounces as we commonly think of them--the Avoirdupois variety where there are 16 of them to a pound.

Gold is measured and sold in Troy ounces. 

Here's the formula:  One troy ounce = 480 grains, or 31.10 grams.  There are also 20 pennyweights to a troy ounce.  A troy pound contains 12 troy ounces (over 13 avoirdupois ounces) and is equivalent to 373.24 grams. 32.15 troy ounces = 1 kilogram.  Consequently, a grocery store pound which weighs 16 avoirdupois ounces (or 453.59 grams) will contain about 14.58 troy ounces.

It's no wonder my calculator exploded.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

A full-house (above) enjoys one of six performances of the play, “Desperate Ambrose” in the township hall of the Richland County village of Adario while the ageless hall wraps itself in post-sunset darkness (below).

The tradition continues...

It was another of those places right out of a Norman Rockwell painting.

The American Flag was flying proudly while 200 voices-strong inside the old, masonry township hall proclaimed their Pledge of Allegiance. Proudly.

While stars twinkled and Amish buggies clip-clopped down the Olivesburg-Fitchville Road the hall was rocking up there in Adario which, that night, was smack in the middle of the salt-of-the-Earth, US of A.

They pronounce their town name Ad-ah-RYE-oh, not the slanderous Ah-DARE-e-oh; a common mistake of outsiders—and a shameful one, indeed.

Applause slammed into the night from the township hall because, of course, the 114th annual Farmer’s Institute was underway.

It all started back in 1896 when the legislature created the Institutes as an official means for agricultural communities around Ohio to celebrate Spring and homemaking and farming and the bounty of the land.

Local folks believe theirs is one of only five institutes remaining in the entire state.

The institutes are two days of meetings in the township hall with informative programs on rural life, and meals, and displays, and fellowship—lots of fellowship. And, entertainment, usually in the form of an annual play, almost always featuring local talent—lots of talent.

Enjoyment rippled through the audience that night while the Adario Community Players presented a repeat performance of “Desperate Ambrose”, a three-act farce set in our country’s very lawless wild-west.

Panhandle Jake (Dean Glenn) was stunning in his portrayal of a hapless but loveable town drunk strongly supported by Ambrose Groves (Doug Eichelberger) the self-deprecating hero of the show. And Tillie (Carolyn Glenn); my oh my!

And, Hoot Owl Pete and Stinkweed and the villainous Sheriff Crandel. I was convinced central casting for this show must have had their offices on Broadway.

This play repeated the same show done there 40 years ago and the Glenns (Bob, Dean and Carolyn) plus Bob Cuppy appeared in both.

The program saluted Diana Eichelberger for her years of service as the play director. She, naturally, played “Lena” in the 1970 production.

We are humbled by and applaud this tradition of thespian excellence and strong, community values.  And, we are thankful we were there that night.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Saturday Fogeyisms will enjoy sharing a super-dose of Americana with a story on the Butler Township Institute up in northern Richland County.

Eight square dancing friends experienced a delightful evening recently at their annual institute’s production of “Desperate Ambrose”; being videoed by a support member of the cast (right).

In keeping with the salt-of-the-Earth humor of such things, one of our number, Nancy Meinzer, won a door prize—a haircut at the Olivesburg barber shop.

We hope you will stop by and enjoy our latest tale.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


This male (rear) and female Wood Duck found the roof of my hopper, bird feeder an attractive place to munch some lunch recently.

The lady wood ducks are adept at clinging to the roof of the feeder and extending their necks to the lower feeding trough for a bite of bird seed. Well, they are birds—after all.

But, I have yet to see the male successfully execute that maneuver.

He seems to prefer the less strenuous task of browsing for his lunch on the ground.

The ornithology folks at Cornell University describe the woodies thusly; “A colorful duck of wooded swamps and streamsides, the Wood Duck is one of only a few North American ducks that nest in trees. Many people consider it to be the most beautiful of all waterfowl.”

“These ducks will nest in trees, sometimes up to ½ mile from a shoreline,” they continue.

“After hatching, the ducklings jump down from the nest tree and make their way to water. The mother calls them to her, but does not help them in any way. The ducklings may jump from heights of up to 290 feet without injury.”

I have one, very active, nest box on the pond so the three additional nesting pairs of woodies loitering around here this Spring likely will do their family chores in the nearby, towering trees.

While naturally skittery, with chicks these ducks are very, very private. Mallards, for example, will deliver their new broods to nibble under the bird feeders but it is a rare pleasure, indeed, to even see a new family of woodies.

Photo notes: This picture was done through a double-pane patio door at a distance of some 50 feet from the feeder with a 200mm, digital lens. Combining that lens’s inherently shallow depth of field with its widest aperture threw any imperfections of the glass totally out of focus so the photo only suffers a mild degradation of sharpness.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Early settlers crossed the Muskingum River in Zanesville by ferries in 1797. They were fairly primitive—planks secured to canoes.

Today, local folks seem amused to learn you are visiting their town just because of their almost famous river crossing.

Here's some stuff that happened in between:

The first bridge in Zanesville was built in 1813. It was made in the shape of a “Y” because it had to cross both the Licking Creek (left in the photo) and the Muskingum. It was constructed of wooden trestles and stone with logs and planks bolted to the trestles.

Foot passengers in those days paid 3 cents to cross the bridge. A horse and a rider cost 12 ½ cents.

History records simply, that bridge “...fell into the river” and was replaced in 1819 by another of the Y shape. About 1830, the National Road, a narrow ribbon of crushed limestone, reached Zanesville from Cumberland, MD and continued to the West.

That bridge was weakened 13 years later when winter flood waters slammed thick ice against it.

It was reinforced in the early 1830s but it was not strong enough to handle the heavy traffic that flowed along the National Road. While that bridge was being further reinforced it fell into the river.

A third Y bridge was built on the site in 1832 and stood until 1900.

The fourth Y bridge was opened in 1902. Locals boasted it was the only Y bridge in the world and liked to remind folks they had a bridge you could cross and still be on the same side of the river from which you started.

That bridge was condemned in 1979 and demolished. It was later discovered only part of that bridge needed replaced but it was then too late. The old bridge was gone.

In 1984 Democrats announced the official celebration opening the newest bridge would be presided over by the head of The Ohio Department of Transportation, substituting for then governor Richard Celeste who had a previous commitment.

Republicans, not to be outdone on that celebratory morning, launched a parade down Main St., led by former governor James Rhodes, and cut the first ribbon.

Soon thereafter, ODOT officials found defective expansion joints in this fifth Y bridge and the final ceremony heralding the actual opening of the bridge was held a month later.

Today we know the National Road as US Route 40 which countinues to cross Zanesville's Y bridge on its long, coast-to-coast trek.

And today, amazingly, there are no tolls.
...with appreciation to both sources. 

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Zanesville’s Y bridge has a long and sometimes amusing history. Fogeyisms recently had an opportunity to take a peek at this engineering curiosity where locals like to explain you can drive across their bridge and wind up on the same side of the river. Lady friend Sue Brooks (right), sister Patsy (center) and friend Sandy are taking a peek at the bridge location from the vantage of the town’s Putnam Hill Park.

The third arm of the light-colored "Y" bridge extends toward the horizon up Linden Ave., which goes between the two grain storage facilities in the center background.

Please stop by Saturday and enjoy the story.