Sunday, November 22, 2015

Phone cam round-up

Lunch with buffalo at Fresh

Soul men and friend at Norton's

Come mister tally man, tally me banana

New friend encountered during this endeavor

Cleveland is Gotham, encountered during this endeavor


Yes, they were full; no I did not pick them up

Cries for help are sometimes very quiet

REMOVE encountered during this endeavor

Stairway to heaven encountered during this endeavor

Okay, I won't

Hola! from humble hostess and Goat

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Friday, November 06, 2015


Dear readership,

The Goat and your humble hostess are endeavoring to walk the entire 85 miles of navigable Ohio and Erie Towpath, which is a subtle wonder of the Buckeye state considering the massive amount of hoop-jumping one must do in order to gain right-of-way for such things. Add the fact that the accessible portion of the Towpath traverses four counties and requires the collaboration of god-only-knows how many public and private entities, and this accomplishment really astonishes me. That the Towpath team is nearing its goal of reaching all the way to Lake Erie fills me with unprecedented joy.

Just wow.

Hi Lillian

Every section of the Towpath has something to offer and while I probably should have been documenting our travels upon it, dear readership, I have not. All I do is document and write and document and write and document and write. Hence when I'm walking the Towpath, I don't want to worry about documentation. I just want to walk the Towpath and think about the guys who dug the entire canal with shovels.



Yesterday, we did more than three and a half miles of the trail that took us south of Massillon. I'm not sure what I expected of this section, but *man* did it deliver. My favorite parts of the Towpath are not necessarily the lovely pastoral stretches (although I do enjoy those), but instead those that say something about who we were, who we are and who we're going to be. In other words, those spans that have content.

Rancheros or El Caminos?

The miles traversing Massillon had it in nines and then some. Of particular interest was the on-street section, which is one of the few left on the Towpath (where the powers-that-be haven't yet been able to wrangle a dedicated trail). It went through a neighborhood that's clearly changed over the decades, but still has so much heart and hometown pride that it filled me with sighs: signs in windows cheer on the Massillon Tigers, American flags wave in the breeze, plastic jack-o-lanterns linger.

Don't listen to the sonsabitches. You're still standing.


We traversed a bridge lined with plaques dedicated to those we lost in Vietnam. Readership, you don't see stuff like this unless you're walking.

Thank you for your service, Private First Class Hill.

When we do these walks, they are a round trip to the car and back, so yesterday's stroll was more than seven miles. Afterwards, we were famished and went in search of an eatery.

Time for lunch


I do.

A Friday night lights kind of town

As evidenced by the photos, we found a burger and then some. I never tire of these beleaguered Ohio towns.

Yeah, yeah.

We've got about 25 miles to the trail's end in New Philadelphia in Tuscarawas County. Can we finish it up in 2016? Dunno.

Stay tuned ...

Bye for now, Massillon. I think you're beautiful.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Post drenched in tears

Bill and John O'Brien, circa 1985

The film "Leaving Las Vegas" debuted 20 years ago this week. The anniversary was noted by Esquire and The Fix.

I invite you to read those musings if you are thusly inclined, but as for me, I will repost this story, which I love. It's about John and Dad and the sort of memory that I carry in that poor old sad/sweet part of my heart. I first posted this in February 2010.

Yeah, yeah.

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In the summer of 1980, my family attended a weekend party in Columbus, about 120 miles south of Cleveland. I was 15 and went with my parents in their Honda Accord hatchback. My brother and his wife Lisa drove in their lime green Triumph TR7.

On Sunday, Johnny and Lisa left for the return trip about a half hour before the rest of us. Mom, Dad and I were making our way north on I-71 when a green dot appeared in the distance. It was the TR7 on the berm. John was bent over the open hood. Dad pulled over and threw the Honda in reverse.

Dad and John tinkered, ethered and cajoled to no avail (which is saying something). But of course, Dad had a tow rope.

"Hook it onto something that won't pull off," he yelled to John over the noise of the careening traffic.

Dad shifted into first and inched the Honda forward until the rope drew taut between the two cars. John hopped into the Triumph and our precarious caravan of two pulled onto the highway. It was 70 miles to Cleveland.

Behold a rare juncture when I may rightly divide the human population into two groups:

1) Those who understand the implication of a tow rope.

2) Those who do not understand the implication of a tow rope.

The tow rope experience is akin to a dog leash--sort of. Although both parties have brakes, only the leader has accelerating power. If the tow-er (as in one who tows) brakes too hard, he risks getting rear-ended by the towee. If the towee brakes too hard, he's "chewing up" the tower's clutch--or worse (think of pulling back hard on a dog's leash). If the tower accelerates too fast, the towee is subject to a lurch. it goes on and on. The tow rope itself is always in danger of snapping (not good when traveling 60+ MPH on a highway). So for those number 2's out there: using a tow rope is really tricky and should never exceed one or two miles.

But seventy miles with a tow rope? The prospect was insane.

In 1980, there were no cell phones. Communication during that trip was reduced to brake lights and exaggerated gestures poorly communicated by way of our rear-view mirror and windshields. At one point Lisa started to repeat a spell-casting gesture with splayed fingers and a frantic look on her face.

"Lisa's trying to tell us something!" I said.

"What's it mean? What's it mean?" said Mom as Lisa's motions repeated again and again.

"WAIT! I've got it!" said Mom. "She's counting ... TEN ... TWENTY ... THIRTY ..." I started in with her. We made it to about 60 before Dad rolled his eyes.

"The emergency flasher," he said, "they want us to turn off the emergency flashers." And we all laughed despite the tension.

Dad wasn't one to let circumstances interfere with lifestyle. He sipped beer for the whole trip.

"Hand me another Stroh's, Skeeziks."

The end was the worst--4.5 miles of dense city traffic between the I-71/West 150 exit and 14000 Lake Avenue. It isn't easy to navigate two cars tethered with a rope through an urban route of stoplights and turns, but despite the impossible odds, Dad and John got both cars home unscathed (although Dad would always say that the Historic Tow of 1980 ate a good bit of the Honda's clutch).

"Holy Christ," said Dad with relief as we finally pulled into the drive.

Holy Christ, indeed.

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Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Entertainment for Men *UPDATED*

"Five models from 50 cc to 250 cc starting around $225."

 Tidbits from the 231 pages of the May 1966 Playboy, which I am perusing courtesy of Dogs Don't Purr:

--An ad for Riegel surfer trunks that changed color when you smeared them with a grapefruit. "Draw or write, even play tic-tac-toe, in citrus fruit on your green surfers."

--Photo spread of 1965 Playmate of the Year Jo Collins visiting the troops in Vietnam. "Take it from me," Jo smiles, "these bulletproof vests they make you wear do nothing for a girl's figure."

--An ad for Old Spice Lime. "Fresh ... frosted ... spiced with a twist of lime!"

--Interview with Arthur Schlesinger. "What are we offering to the South Vietnamese people that the Viet Cong aren't?"

--An ad for Champale. CHAMPALE.

--Pictorial satire by Shel Silverstein: "Lord Love a Teevee Jeebie."

-An ad for Budweiser encouraging the reader to, "Try the Wiffability Test."

--Tons of cartoons and jokes I do not get. *UPDATED* per request

Yes, I get it and it's just disgusting.

What? She has to ask for a raise so he can demand sex? Huh? Hilarious.

Someone else can google "coals to Newcastle."

--"Playboy's wide-angle look at current and upcoming camera gear with an audio-visual assist by Woody Allen."

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

When all things culminate in one perfect object

Sometimes the fates smile on my tiny corner of the world.

Enter an angel in the form of one Jane Pierce, who did deliver unto me a treasure chest of puzzles she rescued from a garage sale. (How great is that?)

Among them, dear reader, was this beauty.

Country Fair puzzle by artist Lori Schory for White Mountain Puzzles

Would you just get a load of that? I mean COME ON. Anyone who follows me with any regularity knows that I loves me some county fairs. I even have a moo tee shirt.

This puzzle has bunnies and moos and oinks and everything. Plus, it was really really fun and easy to do. The best part? There were little surprises only a puzzler would understand, like a horse nosing around the sno-cone stand and a rooster peeking out from behind a sign heralding candy apples for sale.

Whimsical goat detail, Fair puzzle

Then came something that's never happened before: I discovered a kindred spirit when the pieces came together.

Kindred spirit of Erin O'Brien embodied in Fair Puzzle (no, not the horse)

Photographic proof of previous assertion

Part of me wants to believe that puzzle artist Lori Schory took some liberty with the good looking fella on the "tractor." Part of me wants to believe it is her hubby or dad or some other great guy in her life that loves roaming around a fair as much as I do with my ol' Goat.

Goat and exceptionally long friend at Portage County Fair

I noticed the following on the White Mountain Puzzle website:

Every White Mountain Puzzle includes our HAPPINESS GUARANTEE: If you are not completely delighted with your puzzle experience, we will replace your puzzle with a new one for free. Promise.

Photo of Goat and Lil' OB taken under duress

Well, White Mountain, I can tell you that this puzzle inflated me with pure puzzle-puzzling joy, but I appreciate your faith in your product just the same.

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