Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunday Photo: Gosling Stepping Out

OK, this is it for geese, young and old, for a while...

Friday, May 29, 2009


Southwyck Mall - reduced to rubble

This week's weird object is the Southwyck Mall in Toledo, Ohio. It's weird because they're tearing it down, all of it. And it's weird because we remember its heyday - not too long ago, maybe 20 years ago.

I guess the downhill slide began when Montgomery Ward's checked out and left a gaping hole where that anchor once held down the south end of the mall. Then the writing was on the mall's wall when developers started building those "lifestyle centers" that try to resemble the downtowns of yesteryear, and which are all the rage, much moreso than most actual, authentic downtowns.

Yep, the Southwyck area just fell into disfavor. Two big hotels sit on either side of the road just south of the ex-mall, hard by the Ohio Turnpike. I have stayed in each, when they were a high-rise Ramada and a Holiday Inn with an exciting (back then) "Holidome". Both are vacant now and the grass is growing unruly. Tumbleweeds may follow. This is simply an area to drive through on one's way to better shopping in Toledo's outer reaches. We seem to keep abandoning our close-in places and building out farther from the center, leaving a wasteland behind, sort of like a glacially-paced atom bomb.

Meanwhile, down in Columbus, the twenty-year old City Center mall has a date with the wrecking ball. Word is that this three-level shoppers' paradise for a brief period of history will be replaced with a park, a "pedestrian friendly gathering place". I believe the mall developers overestimated Columbus shoppers' allegiance to central city shopping. Today's hottest retail spot, Polaris, is a good 15 miles north, a good long drive up I-71 or U.S. 23 for just about everyone.
Columbus City Center
Pedestrian -friendly gathering place

So this is my W.O.F. salute to those malls of yore that served the shopping public for but a blink of the eye. We're fickle and we simply moved on. In fact, we may be more fickle about where we buy than what we buy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Toledo Botanical Gardens - Part 1: Animal Life

Took a trip over to the metro park-owned Toledo Botanical Gardens, along with wife & daughter, while son in law slept (he works odd hours). Major photo op! I took enough pix that I thought I'd better divvy it up into two posts: one animal, one plant. So here is the "animal" life that presented itself before the lens...

This guy was pretty photogenic, working the pond pretty hard and, I suspect, eating well.

Seemed to get along with others...Lots of geese in the place: Big ones, little cute ones, future ones...And big ol' carp swimming around. Once in a while we would hear a frenzy of fish action, and see a bunch of fish making a loud splashing. I don't know if this is a fishy rite of spring or what...Then there was this guy, hanging out on what appeared to be a scupture of a sea craft. He turned it into performance art. Aye aye, Cap'n.
That's it for now... THE END

Monday, May 25, 2009

A-Z Monday: T is for...


Teachers have existed since we needed to be taught
Teachers give us something that quite simply can't be bought
Knowledge is a gift that will fulfill your every day
So listen to your teachers - there is gold in what they say!

My daughter is a teacher; my wife's a teacher too
And so I am surrounded - I've learned from what they do
I've learned of dedication and care for whom they teach
And seen the great rewards in the lives that they can reach!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Photo - White Bass Spawning

This shot was taken while on one of our lunch time walks at work. There is a nice path up to a bicycle bridge across the Sandusky River. We are in the middle of spawning season for white bass, which follows on the tail of the walleye spawning run, as a small percentage of the total fish population head upriver from Lake Erie to keep the species goin'.

It was a nice day, and although many had already caught their limit and gone home by noon, quite a few were still hanging out by the bridge here. A heron had been sharing the river with the humans, but apparently he caught his limit and moved on before I could get a picture.

Friday, May 22, 2009


This is a Norfolk Island Pine that is now taller than I am by a large number of inches. It was a housewarming present when we moved into our house in, um, 1980. Back then, it was handed over to us in a small pot, and was maybe 18 or 20 inches tall.

Now it summers outside and winters in the parlor. I just dragged it outside yesterday and took this picture.

The Norfolk has seen better days. It only has about two tiers of healthy branches right now, making it look like something out of Dr. Seuss. But it's family and we will see it through. I think it will get a decent growth spurt now that it is outside with its "friends".

And that little plant down in the pot in that picture up above - an aloe plant that hangs out with it.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Magazine Nerd: Guilty!

Yeah, that's me. Among other things, I am a bit of a magazine nut. I enjoy an appealing layout, good content, splashy graphics. I subscribe to more magazines than I really should, and I even read some of them. Or parts of them.

In an earlier post, I tried to describe the magazine that a friend and I published back in our youth. we reached a circulation of 20 or so, and sent one to a random address in California just to be able to say our reach was coast to coast.

Ours, like many these days, did not survive. We chose to kill our media empire and go off to college or something. Couldn't get Rupert Murdoch to pick it up on our terms.

Anyhow, although the whole print medium industry is considered a dinosaur in its last death throes in many if not most quarters, I still enjoy that tactile feel of the printed page in my hands, on my lap, as I peruse the pages. I mean, who has not just simply THRILLED to the scenery in "Arizona Highways" as they waited for the nurse to usher them in to their appointment? (or if you were in a pediatrician's office, it would be "Highlights for Children").

Sol if I were to inventory my magazine intake, I must get two or three magazines or journals related to my work. Then I get three music (a bigger obsession than magazines, certainly) related magazines (two of which are only quarterly, at best, thankfully). We give small sums of money to a few causes that insist upon publishing and sendiing out their own publications. Some, like "Audobon", at least provide wonderful photography, which I scan, and which often beats reading actual articles in these hectic times.

Then there's "This Old House", which comes so dirt cheap that I re-upped. And there is my favorite monthly, "Wired", which changes their whole graphic approach about once every two years. I don't even know why I like "Wired" so much; the content tends to be all over the place. Maybe that's its charm. You never know what they may feature. The general theme is "here is how technology is making our world so great/scary/fun/apocalyptic (depending on the article)".

I have gotten one newsweekly since I was a freshman in college: Newsweek. Sometimes their editorial slant can drive me nuts; usually, I have no major quarrel. I am one of those few who go for good reasoned theory rather than rants, and at least Newsweek does not suffer the rants much, so I appreciate most of the columnists, no matter where they are coming from. As long as they are including some original thought and positive suggestions, I can appreciate them without necessarily agreeing with them.

At any rate, Newsweeek has just undergone a massive design change, and actually, a content one as well. This is big stuff for a magazine junkie like me. Paging through magazines just getting their "feel" is somehow important, and the new layout looks clean and well organized, based on the first new issue received this week.

I could go on, but there is something occurring right now that trumps magazine transformations, and that is that northern Ohio is currently enjoying those two or three days of PERFECT WEATHER that tend to come and go all too quickly every spring. So for now, it's time to put down these things and get outside. I'm outta here.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This will probably be a short-lived "series", but at least for today, I'm posting a "Sunday Photo". Don't want to work too hard at blogging on an early Sunday evening, but perhaps a little image reflecting some peace 'n' tranquility would be nice.
I hope your weekend has gone well, and that tomorrow will be Swell - being that it's A-Z Monday and we are all the way up to the letter S.

A-Z Monday: S is for


Remember the sense that a parent would bring
When your mom or your dad took you under their wing?
A sense of security, safety and peace
They'd watch over you like this family of geese
But slowly they'd ease as the goslings had grown
And give them the time to be off on their own
Then sooner or later they'd depart the nest...
But those times in their family were some of the best
By their presence, the parents made it so clear
That while they were there, there was nothing to fear!

Friday, May 15, 2009


While at our son's graduation, we got to hear quite a few tunes played on this little baby. This is the organ located in Gray Chapel, on the Ohio Wesleyan University campus. It is a monster, and sounds pretty good when them Bach fugues are a-playing. It is, in a word, awesome. Because of its dominating presence, I present it as my weird object of the week.

Gray Chapel, in colder weather

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Graduation and Adulation

Our baby's all growed up. The boy went and graduated Sunday, under a blue sky, and in the company of hundreds of fellow students, parents, grandparents, and other assorted well-wishers.

The weather was perfect. The mood was festive. There was a wonderful baccalaureate service the night before, where a dozen or so students shared their thoughts, some scripture from their holy book of choice (the student body comes from a number of countries), or some music. Our son chose to sing and play (on piano, no less) "Morning Has Broken", Cat Stevens aka Yusuf style.

We were also treated to a Saturday morning Phi Beta Kappa induction ceremony. Yeah, the kid is bright. A neat part of the ceremony has all the inductees sign their names in a ledger that, I assume, goes way back in time, so their names join those of their predecessors from the 20th and 19th centuries. Pretty cool.

Go for LEGIBILITY this time!

There was an excellent brunch on the college President's lawn (omelettes cooked to order, and the most tender roast beef I have had in ages! Which I guess is due us, given the thousands of dollars we have parted with over the past four years...)

Then the ceremony, followed by a small reception in the Physics department where the lad spend much of his time. Well, it had to be a small reception, as they had all of seven senior Physics majors!

Finally, a dinner at a local restaurant, with a table for eighteen, including Grandma, who William's sister and bro-in-law picked up, and also one of William's favorite professors, who is in the 75-80 age range by our reckoning, but still going strong, and his wife. Two or three of us had written out some memories and tributres, and both William's sister and father (that would be me) found they couldn't read what they had written and maintain their composure, so Linda jumped in and pinch-read. A family of wimps, we are, some of us more than others!

And, after the cake had been diminished in great measure, Linda and I gathered our stuff and our wits and headed home, leaving the lad behind with his friends and his apartment where the lease lasts 'til May 31 - and by golly he's gonna get his money's worth out of the place! The future is a bit uncertain, probably involving some time collecting thoughts (and, we hope, a salary of some sort), followed most likely by grad school.

It all reminds me of a Kodak ad that used to run during the Wonderful World of Disney on Sunday nights, which proves, if nothing else, that I am relatively ancient to recall such a thing. Anyway, the ad does a time lapse of a kid growing up to be an adult, and some sappy song plays along, asking" Where have you gone, my little one?" Or something of that nature. Anyhow, I cannot account for the time that has lapsed, or how we came to have two ADULTS out there in the world, but there we are, proud of both, finally relieved of college tuition, and ready for whatever the next chapter brings.
Note UFOs, upper right corner

Monday, May 11, 2009

A-Z Monday R stands for...


The feeder hangs upon the pole
To anyone it's plain
The seeds it holds are for the birds
-Not to this rascal's brain!

The squirrel's all about the seeds
He jumped from tree to pole
Then hung absurdly upside-down

And lots of seeds he stole

And so I moved the pole away
From that inviting tree
So go ahead, you rascal, you,

Can you get 'em now? Let's see!

Postscript: Yeah, it turns out he shinnies right up the pole. I guess it's time to grease the pole...

Friday, May 8, 2009

W.O.F. Odd Bus Stop

I was scanning some community planning related stuff and came upon an article on quirky bus stops around the world. This little strawberry number was my favorite.
You can chack out the rest of them by clicking here .
Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

new feeder goes to work

Last week, I won a birdfeeder from blogger friend Jen. It arrived in the mail a couple days ago with some seed mix, a seed bell, and (not sure what the connection, but winners can't be choosers) a rubbery life-like RAT - which may become a short-lived dog toy when the grand-pups visit.

Anyhow, I filled and hung up the feeder last night and enjoyed the show at breakfast today. Not so much the fairly commonplace bird (above) who took in some breakfast.
It was this squirrel who provided the show - I wish I had gotten to the camera in time to get some shots of sir squirrel's attempts to alight on the food trough. He tried jumping from the tree. He tried shinnying up the pole. He just stood there and CONTEMPLATED for the longest time. Finally, poor guy gave up and took off, deciding it was for the birds after all.

I suspect I have not seen the last of his attempt to storm the castle. I expect an army of his buddies to make a squirrel ladder or something in the near future.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Reason to Rejoice!

My wife, Linda, was pronounced healthy at the doctor's yesterday. This was no typical pronouncement and slap on the back. In the fall of 2003, Linda was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer. I will not detail the dark days that followed, but I can tell you from just being the "bystander" and support staff, there is no joy in a hardy regimen of two types of chemo, chased down with daily trips to the radiation machine (okay, I do not have the medical jargon down) for a month.

Anyhow, the light at the end of the five-year tunnel is a shimmering, bright one, as they traditionally call making the five year mark with negative tests for blood markers a "cure". And that is where Linda found herself yesterday.

Happy Cinco de Mayo, and for us, Happy Cinco Anos!!

Monday, May 4, 2009



I’m in a quandary, don’t know what to do

I need a word; this week’s letter is Q

I’m quaking and quivering as I make my quest

I’m quizzically pondering which word is the best

I question the quality if I just pick

A word like “quadratic”; that is just sick!

There’s more in my quiver than any quaint note

Or a quip or a question or notable quote

No quarrel that Q is a quirky old letter

Little quantity of words; other letters are better

I’m quashing this exercise, my brain’s a quart low

I’ve reached my quota, I quit, gotta go!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The trillium are out

Took a little jaunt to the reservoir last week to check on the trillium. Lo and behold, they were out in a big way. A couple pictures...something to occupy the blogosphere as everyone asks the same Question, Quivering in expectation: "What will the A-Z people come up with for the letter Q?

Friday, May 1, 2009


I have no idea where this came from. we did not make it here. I think it was a garage sale freebie - one of those deals where you take a whole box of stuff, good and bad. A great scheme to get stuff out of the house.

Anyhow, it found a home over a door at the end of an upstairs hallway. It has resided there for years. We cannot figure out what species of animal it is supposed to represent. One kid called it a "bear-cat-dog-horse" or something like that.

So, what do you think it is?