Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bad postcard of the week: Perilous playgrounds of the past

Playgrounds today are for the soft!

Kids back in my day had to be tough. Going to the playground involved danger and risk.
I’m reminded of my perilous youth by this week’s bad postcard.

The back reads: “Arrowhead Campsites, HWY 90 East, Marianna, Florida, Children’s play area, 250 wooded campsites, camper’s store, lounge, laundry, pool and gamerooms on a spring-fed, seven mile lake.”

I’m assuming that this is the children’s play area, notable for the lack of children playing in our photo. I see three of those arch monkey bars, which were always the most worthless of all things on the playground. I even see a rare pentagon-shaped bar, which seem even more worthless than the arches.

Seriously, what were you supposed to do on those things? Climb on top and then what? And why would any playground need four of them?

The real action seems to be at the back of the card, by the swings. We had those at Brady Park in Massapequa Park. The swing support is shaped like a person, and ours had an Indian head, which probably would happen today.

Marjorie Post Park, where I later worked for three summers as a seasonal, had perhaps the most dangerous with three-level structures shaped like rockets with a metal slide on the second level that was hot enough on a sunny day to fry eggs. 

The really bold kids would climb all the way into the nose cone, with less-strong kids falling to the metal floor, still two levels above where any adult could climb and console.

The park also had those spinning things that kids would spin so hard any that any occupant would either lose grip and go flying on to the sand – or asphalt – or hurl their PPJ and Cheetos, which project in a circle.

All of these, of course, were like our campsite arches, all hard metal bars. Our schools had the same stuff. It’s amazing that we didn’t return from recess covered in burns, bruises and broken limbs.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Rush R40 Countdown at No. 3: Permanent Waves is a masterpiece, Signals recalls exciting times

And then there were three! And that makes sense for a power trio like Rush. Will and I are continuing our R40 Countdown, marching toward the very best from our favorite band.

No. 3: Permanent Waves
Released in 1980

Highlights: “The Spirit of Radio,” “Entre Nous,” “Freewill.”

Relative least-glorious moment: “Different Strings.”

Cool Neil Peart lyrical moment:

“Just between us
I think it’s time for us to recognize
The differences we sometimes fear to show
Just between us
I think it’s time for us to realize
The spaces in between
Leave room for you and I to grow.”
-- "Entre Nous"

I’m feeling emboldened by Will’s decision to rank the glorious Permanent Waves at No. 4.

From the very start, I had this epic release at No. 2, right behind Moving Pictures. But something happened as I started to study the albums as we prepared each installment of the countdown.

There was one release that I kept going back to, over and over. It was always a favorite for many reasons, and you’ll learn more about that next week.

But each play revealed new nuances, new thoughts about lyrics and a stronger appreciation. I’ve found my thoughts drifting back to that release, over and over.

Here’s where things get bold. My No. 2 is not a release generally loved by Rush fans. It will be the biggest difference of opinion between Will and I, as he has it in the lower reaches of his list.

Thinking some more, I wondered whether it was possible that I enjoyed the release more than Permanent Waves. That’s blasphemy to many Rush fans. But I have to be true to myself.

So here we are at No. 3. There is no shame in being the third most-favorite Rush album. Actually, there’s no shame in being the least-glorious Rush album at No. 20.

I love Permanent Waves. “The Spirit of Radio” is an amazing song, immediately distinguishable from Alex’s stinging intro. It’s one of two songs – “Tom Sawyer” being the other – that Rush will probably play before being allowed to leave a stage now and into the future, whatever that might be for the band.
"Entre Nous" has been played live on only one tour -- and here it is!

A few years ago, my friends at the Crane Pool Forum had a thread where someone would list 10 consecutive songs from their iPod playlist, and then someone with one of those songs would start there and list the next 10 from his own list.

I remember listing about six different versions of “The Spirit of Radio,” and someone posting, “Isn’t that a bit excessive?”

The only answer is, of course, “No. Why do you ask?”

But the real gem is “Entre Nous.” It doesn’t rock as hard as “Freewill” or some of the others, but I love the message that we are all different and can still find ways to get along.

Being an impressionable high-school student when this came out, I embraced this album. One art class called for us to match lyrics or poetry with our artwork, compiled into a book at the end of the year.  I called mine “Entre Nous,” which made sense since most of the projects were based on Rush lyrics anyway.

The disc sounds amazing, leaping from the speakers with plenty of space between the instruments. And with shorter songs than the predecessor – Hemispheres – Permanent Waves is considered more accessible, opening the world of Rush to a much wider audience.

It is, in many, ways, a darn-near perfect album. I just happen to like two others better.

And Will jumps in:

I happen to like three, but that's just me. It's been fun to see as our lists dwindled what still was left. A couple weeks ago, I got clued into the likelihood that Dave and I were going to finish the same way--with a super-personal and somewhat idiosyncratic choice at the No. 2 spot and the obvious choice at No. 1. In honor of the 25th anniversary of the Newhart finale (the best ending of a TV comedy ever), maybe one of us is going to slip you a mickey, but my money's on the favorite.

That being the case, that makes my latest pick ...

No. 3: Signals
Released in 1982

I have a theory of music--feel free to argue with me if you think I'm wrong. I believe that most people gravitate to the music that was on the radio or record player or 8-track or CD carousel or iPod playlist or stream (we'll see) when they first got laid.

That can be the only possible explanation for the extended run of "Classic rock radio" and the death of modern rock radio. The people who still listen to music radio are old, like me and Dave (not that I still listen to the radio), and when Boomers go to the radio, what do they want to hear--the music of their youth, when they first were doing the dirty deed. Led Zeppelin, Clapton, The Beatles, Boston, etc. It's as comfortable as a pair of old jeans and always there when you need it.

That can be the only possible explanation for why I love--without any irony whatsoever--what I refer to as 80's synth-pop crap. Give me a steady dose of Duran Duran, The Waitresses, Flock of Seagulls, Psychedelic Furs (with maybe a little Phil Collins thrown in) all interlaced with the dulcet tones of J.J. Jackson, and I'm asking for seconds.

Signals came out in 1982, the year I finally grew a pair and asked that super-hot strawberry-blonde babe who kept coming into the grocery store where I worked my senior year in high school out on a date. And I had it in heavy rotation on the record player in my bedroom my sophomore year at college--the year when I and that super-hot strawberry blonde finally consummated our relationship. (Signals wasn't actually on at the time of that momentous moment, because it happened when I was home in Columbus over Christmas break.) Et voila, as Eddie Izzard would say.

Here's a great live version of Will's fave -- "The Analog Kid."

All that aside, however, this album spoke to me in a big way 30 years ago, and it continues to speak to me after all these years. The first time I heard "Subdivisions," I thought Neil wrote it solely for my benefit. Needless to say, I WAS that kid from the video who was out playing Tempest while all the cool kids were doing what cool kids do.

Then there's "The Analog Kid," which is, simply, my second-favorite Rush song of all time, behind only the saintly "Xanadu." With no apologies to Dave or any other Rush fan, Neil DID write that one solely for my benefit. (Sorry.) The chorus is magical, and the final line "When I leave I don't know what I'm hoping to find, and when I leave I don't know what I'm leaving behind," has been something of a mantra to me my whole life--looking forward and back with longing and regret all at the same time. If I had to pick one, it's probably my single favorite Rush lyric.

The rest of the album ... isn't as strong, of course. Nothing dishonorable about that; that's a pretty formidable one-two punch there. However, "Digital Man," "The Weapon" and "Losing It" also made my top 1,000.

"Losing It" in particular has taken on more weight now that I'm older, and I can begin to relate to the characters in the bittersweet elegy who are losing the skills that made them great at their peak. It happens to us all; it just happens to some people more slowly if they're lucky. Every time now that I say something and come to a screeching halt mid-sentence because I forgot what I was going to say (and it happens enough now to be more concerning than frustrating), I think of this song.

OK, so I'm as guilty as anyone about gravitating back to the music "of my times," ahem, but I wonder how many people are listening to Derek and the Dominoes and finding something that relates to their life now, not the life they wish they still lived--when everything was new and wonderful?

Speaking of wonderful, I know I'm running long, but I want to leave you with one final story. I couldn't tell it on my blog, because the song didn't make the list. Dave mocked "Countdown" earlier, and I won't disagree with what he said about it and its datedness, but it makes me think of something specific.

When I took American History my junior year of high school, I took it in the fifth period, right after lunch. Consequently, I was in the class with all of the burnouts, and I mean every single one. (The reek of smoke--not all of it cigarettes--was fearsome.) It was OK; they paid me no mind, much like most of the rest of the high school (which was the way I liked it after a brutal junior-high experience).

Anyway, one day in 1981 after the bell rang, Mr. Brewster greeted us at the front of the classroom standing next to a TV set wheeled in by the AV guys. I'll never forget what he said: "This is a history class, and today we're going to watch some history."

He turned on the TV, and we watched the Columbia land, the end of the first flight of the space shuttle--the blast-off of which, of course, inspired "Countdown." When it landed safely, the whole room burst into applause--and I mean everyone, including the burnouts. It took me by surprise, because it was the last group of people I expected to show spontaneous joy at something that was part of the establishment. But everyone got it.

If I may digress further, a decade or so ago, VH-1 ran a show counting down the top 100 TV moments of all time. I tried to guess the top 10 and got most of them right including the inevitable No. 1--9/11. I chose 9/11 because it was huge but also because it was the most current (in 2004). Other things, like, say, MLK's I Have a Dream speech, The Beatles on Ed Sullivan or Oswald being assassinated, were so old that the kids watching wouldn't have as much attachment to them.

It was kind of like when ESPN did its list of the top 100 athletes of the 20th Century. I knew No. 1 was going to be Michael Jordan, because everyone watching had seen him play. ESPN didn't have any footage of Jim Thorpe--who clearly was the top athlete of the 20th Century.

When the bit about 9/11 ended, however, the screen went black with the words "A second opinion," and the producers gave the final word to Walter Cronkite. Cronkite, who knew a little about big TV moments, said in his opinion the biggest TV moment was the No. 2 moment--The day the Eagle landed on the moon. Fear and sadness are powerful emotions, he agreed, but they'll never be as important as the forces of wonder and joy, which was what Apollo 11 meant. Cronkite said man is always at his best when he's striving for greatness and achieving beyond the wildest dreams of imagination. Consequently, the images of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin on the moon will be the ones that ultimately endure.

That brings me back to watching the Columbia land. Everyone in that fifth-period history class understood that they were watching something wonderful, something bigger and better than themselves, yet something that also represented and touched the best in themselves.

Neil nailed that emotion perfectly: "In fascination, with the eyes of the world, we stare ..."

And from one "Countdown" to another, here's where we stand:

No. 4: Roll the Bones (Dave), Permanent Waves (Will)
No. 5: Power Windows (Dave), Roll the Bones (Will)

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bad postcard of the week: Mysteries of the Marco Lodge and Kentucky's magical Top Brown

The Marco Lodge still exists, but I suspect it has changed.
It’s important to have culinary adventures when on the road.

This is only a recent declaration for me. Previously, boldly dining abroad meant finding a Panera Bread eatery and having a different kind of cookie for desert. I can find Panera Bread in just about any town, even in St. Louis, where they are disguised by calling them St. Louis Bread Co.

And I was tempted when I was in Louisville this week, because I found one a few blocks from the hotel.

But first, you’ve no doubt guessed that this week’s bad postcard is about a restaurant.
We’re heading to Florida for the Marco Lodge! The back reads: MARCO LODGE Dining Room. Goodland, on Marco Island, Florida. Home cooked foods – pies – cakes – overlooking The Island Waterways.”

It still exists today, but it’s known as The Old MarcoLodge.

I’m sure it’s fancier today. But back in the days of our postcard, well, it’s not a good sign with the drop ceiling gets such prominent display.

But it’s the stuff on the floor that caught my eye. Note the plant growing from the coconut? Very Florida, and very cool. There are at least two on the floor, which means they get touched by every kid and knocked over all the time.

But what’s over there by the register? Is that a giant bottle of booze? Why is it on the floor? Did someone set it there while paying the bill, then walked away? Actually, where are customers or staff?

There’s just a lot we don’t know.

Just like I didn’t know something on my plate in Louisville. We were in town for a conference and were treated to a buffet by our hosts. It was pretty yummy, with plenty of the things you expect at a buffet: pasta, meatballs, cheese and veggies.
But there was something I didn’t recognize. It was a small white meatball, covered in a white cheese sauce with a slice of a small tomato on top. The whole thing was on a small piece of toast.

I tried to cut it with my fork, and half of the sphere jumped from my plate to my shirt then my lap.  This is why we pack multiple outfits for a short trip.

The bite that actually made it to my mouth was good -- really good! But I couldn’t quite identify the flavor. I asked the others at the table, all from out of state as well, and no one could figure out what this delicacy was.

So I boldly approached the staff, inquiring about the delicious but difficult to cut food item.
We learned some history. The Top Brown is a Louisville treat created back in in 1926 by Fred Schmidt at The Brown Hotel.

The hotel still exists, and its website tells the story:  “In the 1920's, the Brown Hotel drew over 1,200 guests each evening for its dinner dance. By the wee hours of the morning, guests would grow weary of dancing and make their way to the restaurant for a bite to eat. Sensing their desire for something more glamorous than traditional ham and eggs, Chef Fred Schmidt set out to create something new to tempt his guests' palates. His unique dish? An open-faced turkey sandwich with bacon and a delicate Mornay sauce. The Hot Brown was born!

Our version mixed the turkey with sausage. Happily educated and ready to embrace a local tradition, most of the table went back to sample some more, careful to use a knife to cut it instead of just the fork.

Bad postcards of the past:

April 13, 2014: Newsflash -- water is wet!

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Rush R40 Countdown at No. 4: Roll the Bones and the death of baseball card collecting

The glorious Rush R40 concert in Chicago is just about a month away, which can only mean that we are in the home stretch of counting down the best Rush albums from the least-glorious release to Moving Pictures.

No. 4: Roll the Bones
Released in 1991
Highlights: “The Big Wheel,” “Bravado,” “Dreamline”
Relative least-glorious moments: “You Bet Your Life.”
Cool Neil Peart lyrical moment:
“When we are young
Wandering the face of the Earth
Wondering what our dreams might be worth
Learning that we’re only immortal
For a limited time.”
-- "Dreamline"

I remember driving somewhere along I-94 on the then-seven-hour trek to visit my in-laws playing Roll the Bones, and my wife suddenly saying, “This whole album, it’s about gambling!”
You can tell this was a long time ago and early in our marriage, because my wife was still willing to let me play Rush with her in the car. I pointed out that the theme wasn’t necessarily gambling, but chance – the things that happen to us and around us that we can’t control.
The always accurate Wikipedia notes that in the Roll the Bones tour book, Neil “described both the mindset of the lyrics written for not only the title track, but also the album:
‘No matter what kind of song you choose to play, you’re betting your life on it, for good or ill, and what you believe is what you are... No one can ever be sure, in this best of all possible random universes.
‘That's why the essence of these songs is: if there's a chance, you might as well take it. So what if some parts of life are a crap shoot? Get out there and shoot the crap. A random universe doesn't have to be futile; we can change the odds, load the dice, and roll again…. For anyone who hasn't seen Groucho Marx's game show You Bet Your Life, I mean that no one but Groucho knows the secret word, and one guess is as good as another... Anything can happen. That is called fate.’”
And since its Rush, the band tackles some heavy themes, like the end of the Cold War. How different were the lives of the people who happened to be born to families living on one side of the Berlin Wall than those born on the other?
Musically, the band continued stepping away from keyboards. There are some interesting experiments, like Geddy rapping in the title cut, at least as much as Rush is going to rap.
“Bravado” stands out as one of the few songs where the band in concert opens up and jams a little. And my favorite, “The Big Wheel,” has never been played live, so I’m hoping for an R40 surprise from the vault.
Will and I caught the Roll the Bones tour at the Palace of Auburn Hills. We killed time before the show opening a new box of baseball cards, which was not exactly unusual for us.

There are several things to note here. That year, 1991, was about the time the hobby took a turn for the worse.
Topps, after issuing what by any measure was a simply awful set in 1990, started righting the ship with a vastly improved issue. And you could still buy an entire box of packs for about $10.
We liked buying boxes and opening packs, because we could happily spend hours opening, stacking, sorting, trading, checklisting and, of course, playing the “stiff game,” where Rob Deer was a trump card.
This was fun, and the hobby had not really changed much from when we were kids.
Then the bad things started happening. First, companies started producing more than one set, each more expensive than the rest. Then, companies started the practice of “insert” cards – randomly inserted rare cards. The first were autographed cards, then it became cards of rookie stars, then – and here’s where the wheels came off – slices of jerseys and bats.
Suddenly no one cared about the base sets, all they cared about were the high-value insert cards. The base sets soon became an afterthought.
One of the great live versions of "Bravado."
Already some collectors were looking for more valuable “rookie cards” – the first cards of players. But, in theory, there were as many Ken Griffey, Jr. cards produced as the Rob Deers. Now, there were limited, limited, limited insert cards. People were ripping through piles of packs just to see if there were the special cards, which they’d then just try to sell.
Dealers soon started charging more for unopened packs because people could, in theory, pull out one of the expensive insert cards.
And, here’s where we get back to Roll the Bones. We realized that our favorite hobby had been reduced to chance. Buying a pack of cards now became almost like buying a lottery ticket.
This was an outrage to us, and the Flint Journal allowed us a forum to rant. Each week, we’d highlight the fun parts of the hobby and rail against what we – correctly – saw were storm clouds of people collecting for all the wrong reasons and the unsustainability of the concept.
We were the cardboard crusaders, and not entirely popular in some corners. But we had fun. And, I might add, all the things we predicted about the hobby became true.
And Will jumps in!

Of course they did! We knew what we were talking about, because we WERE experts who had collected for decades, not just some johnny-come-latelies who thought the hobby began with Don Mattingly. No one wanted to listen to us, and where are we now: One company runs everything and kids don't collect any more. It's an industry with no real future.

Sure, everyone realizes this ... now. We were saying that back in 19-aught-92 when "Dreamline" was kicking our rumps, and everyone was too busy plotting to finance their kids' Harvard educations with their TVP rookie cards!


On to my pick ...

No. 4: Permanent Waves
Released in 1980

Let me start by saying that if I were doing a list on the QUALITY of Rush albums--the "best" Rush albums and not our faves--this would be No. 2. I believe that most people would agree--except for a few hardcores who tout 2112 under the impression that one epic side is enough.

Why isn't Permanent Waves then MY No. 2 album? Context. Context, timing or whatever you want to call it makes all the difference. Permanent Waves was the first Rush album I knew, well, Side 1 anyway, but I didn't really gravitate to it until long after my Rush rebirth, in 1996. It was only then that I finally heard Side 2, which is outstanding. Consequently, it missed the key formative years that my top three all smacked dead center (and if you're paying attention, you know what they are by now). Put another way, memories based around playing Uniracers on your Super Nintendo don't stack up with memories of a first love, am I right?

Here's a live version of "Natural Science."

None of which is meant to slight Permanent Waves in any way. OK, so I'm not a fan of "The Spirit of the Radio," and "Different Strings" is meh. The four other songs all made my top 1,000, with "Natural Science" in the top 100, and if I had one pick for this Rush concert ... well, OK, aside from all of Fear and maybe "Fly By Night," I'd ask for "Jacob's Ladder" to be brought back to life just once more.

Rush hasn't played it on stage since 1981, so I've never seen them do it, and of all the songs from Permanent Waves, that one was there right from the beginning, thanks to Exit, Stage Left ... Maybe the boys think it's too repetitive and boring compared with other instrumentals; I don't know. It'd be nice to hear it, just once, live.

And while I'm at it, it'd be nice to have 50-cent packs of baseball cards again.

Here's our countdown so far:

No. 5: Power Windows (Dave), Roll the Bones (Will)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Rush R40 Countdown at No. 5: Power Windows and Roll the Bones transport us to special times, places

We're moving into the top quarter of our R40 Countdown and the epic Rush concert in Chicago is getting closer! Both Will and I are recalling how a particular Rush release instantly transports us to a special time and place.

No. 5 Power Windows
Released 1985

Highlights: “Grand Designs,” “Emotion Detector.”

Relatively least-glorious moment: “Territories.”

Cool Neil Peart lyrical moment:

“Like a righteous inspiration
Overlooked in haste
Like a teardrop in the ocean
A diamond in the waste
Some world-views are spacious –
And some are merely spaced”
--- Grand Designs

Power Windows always will bring back memories of my days at University of Missouri.

Going to school halfway across the country forced a great disruption in my music-listening habits. I flew back and forth to Columbia, meaning my extensive record collection wasn’t coming with me. 

I had a modest boom box with a cassette player, so I made greatest hits mix tapes of my favorite bands and brought the essential tapes of Twisted Sister concerts that were broadcast on the radio.
The sparsely decorated Room 4, Cramer Hall.
And speaking of radio, I was separated from the New York radio stations that made for the soundtrack for my daily routines, replaced with strangers with call letters starting with a "K."

We’re talking about a major cultural adjustment here. And that’s not even counting being surrounded by Cardinals fans at a time when the Mets were the team’s main rivals.

So, I learned about the Cardinals and the amazing Arch in St. Louis. I discovered culinary adventures like corn dogs and biscuits and gravy.  And I learned about new and different music, like Purple Rain-era Prince and the Pretenders.

I liked these new things – even some of the Prince stuff -- but never let go of my roots.
And Rush, of course, was one of the things I wasn’t letting go of. The dorm room had a Moving Pictures poster along with the New York skyline and Mets posters.

So Power Windows will forever remind me of an important time.

Playing the CD recently, I was struck that the keyboards certainly harken back to the 1980s – and I like 1980s music – but is still sounds fresh. These are good songs. There’s no denying the synths are there, but they augment instead of overwhelm.

And the band seems to like Power Windows, too, considering that all but one of the songs has been played live and a number of them are played often.

There was much rejoicing when I discovered “Grand Designs” – my fave cut – was dusted off for the last tour, which makes me hopeful that “Emotion Detector” – my second favorite – will finally get the concert airing it deserves.
"Grand Designs" is awesome live!

Since its Rush, we’re dealing with some big topics and the album’s theme is the use of power in its many manifestations, from the dawn of the atomic age to wielding financial clout.

Top to bottom, there’s not a bad song on the album. “Territories” was listed above as the least glorious moment, but it’s still a very good song.

I’m sure the album also benefits from coming out in the cassette era where each song was listened to and studied intently.  I know them all well.

So when “Big Money” or “Mystic Rhythms” come over the speakers, I’m instantly transported back to walking around campus with my Walkman.

And Will jumps in:

No. 5: Roll the Bones
Released 1991

Roll the Bones was released at a time when my Rush rediscovery was at a peak, and like with Dave and Power Windows, it definitely takes me back to a specific time--late 1991 to early 1992, when I saw Rush live three times. It was a time of baseball cards, baseball card columns, sports at the Flint Journal and when I made what at the time was a shocking discovery.

Unlike Dave, I grew up in a mid-market metroplex, and I couldn't wait to leave. Columbus in my youth was a city that rolled up the sidewalk at 5--even though it was a state capitol and had a major university at its hub. I wasn't an Ohio State fan, not like everyone else, and sometime just as I was entering my teens, OSU stopped holding concerts at St. John Arena, so no one who was big and current came to Columbus.
Unlike my friends, who all went to OSU, I went away to college. I was free. I discovered Chicago and wanted to live there at some point, but life got in the way, so I found myself in Flint, but I'd met Dave by this time and we were like a couple of 10-year-olds whose moms had given them the green light to ride their bikes to the pharmacy ... just so long as you're home by dinner!
I was loving working in sports; it was a good time, but ... I felt this longing, a longing that Rush was able to articulate all too well. I mean, "Dreamline," like "Subdivisions" a decade earlier, seemed to be written entirely for my benefit. Then there was "Bravado" and "Neurotica" and "Ghost of a Chance." All of these great songs were hitting me just at the right time.

In the fall of 1991, just after I saw Rush twice in the span of a week--once with Dave at the Palace, once in Cleveland with my father--I went home to Columbus for a number of reasons. Once was one of my best high-school friend's wedding. The next was for a vacation. I'd decided I didn't want to take another solo vacation, so what to do? Just go home and hang out with my old friends.

It was an eye-opening experience. Now that was an adult, well, of adult age, I found that Columbus held charms that hadn't been fully appreciated--mostly a far larger pool of prospective women than Flint could ever afford ... unless, of course, I wanted to grab one off the pole.

Columbus also had changed a bit since I'd been there. In the time since I'd been gone, it had turned into something of a burgeoning culinary town. German Village was thriving. And I had a big circle of friends there. I remember sitting at the table during a poker party thinking, you know ... I could move back here.
Like I said, that was a shocking development for someone who a decade earlier couldn't wait to get out and never look back. Things change. I began to make it my goal to get a job at the Columbus newspaper--a goal that eventually was achieved.
Becoming an OSU fan again? Well, that would take a little longer.

Your countdown so far: