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JUNE\MAY 2014

 

JUNE 28, 2014     STILL NIL-NIL?

Soccer is far from my favorite sport, but I have been tuning in to parts of the FIFA World Cup being played in Brazil.  As a TV graphics operator, I like the compact “score bug” that ESPN has been using. 

Notice the red block on the left, which tells us that the red jerseys are being worn by the Russians, and the white block on the right, which indicates that the white jerseys are being worn by the Koreans.  Nice and simple.

There’s no need to squeeze in logos or flags, and the viewer can quickly determine which players belong to which team.

On most basketball telecasts, depending on the network, we also try to use the team colors on the score bug.  But we complicate the issue.  Suppose Notre Dame is visiting Pitt.  Both teams have blue and gold as their colors.  We could use blue for one team and gold for the other, but there’s an added problem:  the white letters ND and PITT are supposed to appear on top of the team colors, and white letters on a gold background don’t show up well.  (Nor would black letters on a blue background.)  So after some debate, we decide to use blue backgrounds for both schools.  It would be better if we could simply use a generic background plus jersey blocks like this:  blue for Notre Dame, white for Pitt.

In this year’s World Cup, the United States unexpectedly won their first game, tied the next, and on Thursday lost the third but by only one goal.  That stellar 1-1-1 record has entitled the USA to advance.  We’re in the Round of 16!  Hurray, us!  You and I had absolutely nothing to do with it, of course, but that doesn’t stop you and me from feeling pride in our national accomplishment.

Some Americans aren’t happy, however.  They still deride soccer as a “communist sport.”  This is despite the fact that none of the 32 competing nations has a communist government.  Russia and Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina may have been communist once, but they aren’t now, and none of them made it through to the Round of 16.  Communist Cuba and China and Vietnam and North Korea aren’t even in the tournament. 

For the Americans who dislike soccer, excuses have to be invented.  Soccer is socialist, they say, with all the players working together toward a single goal.  (Isn’t that true of most sports?)  Because it’s low-scoring, the team that loses 1-0 doesn’t get its feelings hurt too badly.  (Tell that to the losing team, except the USA on Thursday.)  Games can end in an unsatisfying tie.  (Until recently, all of these arguments could also be applied to the National Hockey League.)  The game is somehow for sissies.  (Jim Rome was quoted in The Guardian: “My son is not playing soccer.  I will hand him ice skates and a shimmering sequined blouse before I hand him a soccer ball.”)

I suspect the disparagement of soccer as a “communist sport” began around 1948.  Then as now in America, the Do-Nothing Congress and the Party of No resisted all changes.  After all, America was exceptional.  We were already the greatest nation in the world, so nothing new was needed.  Certainly we shouldn’t import alien ideas from other so-called nations.  Here in the United States, the only legitimate “football” was the violent full-contact version.  Also, the blacks knew their place, the gays stayed in the closet, and everybody in town went to the same church.  Some people today feel the “Real America” should still be like this.

In Joe McCarthy’s day, the right wing looked with suspicion on any foreign concepts originating outside this country, including soccer.  Congress actually formed a committee to suppress Un-American Activities, labeling the Un-American Activists as communists.

Recently C. Edmund Wright ranted, “At its heart, soccer is the perfect socialist sport.  ...When the World Cup rolls around, that's where the arrogance of soccer folks meets up with the one-world feeling and the can't-we-all-just-get-along crowd and all sorts of international bodies that want to treat the U.S. like just another country like Cuba or Iran.”

Now I happen to believe that we are one world.

I tuned in the USA-Portugal match last Sunday.  I was in my car at the time, so I listed on ESPN Radio.  With the relative lack of action, soccer on radio was an interesting novelty.  The game was described by ESPN Radio’s lead soccer announcers, JP Dellacamera and Tommy Smyth.

That brought back a memory.  Nearly 30 years ago, JP and I shared a car for 70 miles on Interstate 70.

John Paul Dellacamera had been announcing telecasts for the Pittsburgh Spirit of indoor soccer.  Here’s a link to an old tape.

In this case he was headed for a college basketball game — as was I, the graphics operator.  It was 1986, give or take a year.  My company, TCS, put the two of us on a plane from Pittsburgh to Indianapolis.  There we were to rent a car and drive west to Indiana State University.

I introduced myself to John Paul.  He told me he preferred to be called JP.  He suggested that I should do the driving, since he had no idea where Terre Haute was and I had at least been in Indiana before.  He also warned me that he had a special requirement, I forget what, something like having to drink some water at least once an hour.

During the trip, JP expressed frustration about his professional difficulty of getting assignments to broadcast soccer, his specialty.  I guess he’s been doing all right over the ensuing decades.

 

JUNE 22, 2014     THE CALHOUN ROAD

On the outskirts of Livermore, Kentucky, my grandfather H.F. Thomas once sold D-X gasoline.  His gas station was located on the back road out of town, which we usually called “the Calhoun road” because it led to the county seat of Calhoun ten miles away.

Many towns have streets labeled with the distant destinations to which they would eventually take you, if you followed them far enough.

When I worked in Marion, Ohio, I traveled on Delaware Avenue and Mount Vernon Avenue and Bellefontaine Avenue.  Each was oriented towards a county seat in a neighboring county.

Here in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh area has Washington Pike and Freeport Road and Butler Street, among numerous others.

But the nearby city of Indiana takes a longer view.  Its main thoroughfare is Philadelphia Street, named for a well-known settlement nearly 300 miles to the east.  If we’re no longer limited to towns within easy driving distance, I think we should rename my street Anchorage Avenue.

 

JUNE 16, 2014     NO NAVIGATOR'S VOICE NEEDED

One gadget my new car doesn’t have is a GPS navigation system.  I don’t use GPS.  But it’s not that I’m avoiding computers.  I simply prefer to use Google Earth, in order to know in advance where I’m going.

Last winter I got a flyer from a new restaurant at “3231 Leechburg Road.”  I’m familiar with that road, but it’s a couple of miles long.  Where exactly is 3231?  I fired up Google Earth on my desktop computer and typed in the address.  The program immediately showed me where it is:  the former Quizno’s sandwich shop.  Set back from the other buildings and therefore easy to miss, Quizno’s is no longer in business at that location.  I may or may not decide to go to the new place.

When I’m assigned to work at, for example, Hometown High School, I’m given an address several days in advance.  So when I have the opportunity, I ask Google to plot a course to “225 White House Road, 15163.”  Then I examine the map in detail, paying special attention to the turns.  For the tricky parts, I use Street View and memorize the terrain.

“Okay, I’ll come up to a stop sign with a Sunoco station on my left.  There's a big blue-and-yellow sign.  I’ll make a right turn, then immediately get in the left-hand lane to make a left turn at the traffic light, just before the golf course.  I’ll follow that road for 2.6 miles.  Soon after passing Truman Road — there should be a green sign on the right — I’ll turn right onto Eisenhower Road, which is rather narrow.”

Now when I actually make the trip, I’m not driving in unfamiliar terrain.  I’ve been there, seen that!  Virtually, that is.

 

JUNE 10, 2014     FIRE!

It all started with a little spilled gasoline.

Exactly 50 years ago today, a spectacular fire.destroyed my father's auto dealership in Richwood, Ohio.

The 500-foot plume of black smoke could be seen in the next county, 12 miles away.

The damage (in today's dollars) was nearly $12,000,000.

But we had insurance, and we had the will to go on.  "This will not stop us," my father told his employees with tears in his eyes.  "You guys that can, report to work tonight.  Tomorrow, there's work to be done."

The rubble and the burned cars were cleared away, and plans were made to rebuild.

By the next spring, a new building had opened on the opposite side of Oak Street.

Vernon M. Thomas Chevrolet was back, bigger and better than before.

I first told the story on this website in 2001, and now I've upgraded the quality of several of the pictures.  It's this month's "100 Moons" article.

 

JUNE 8, 2014     AND THEY ALL LOOK JUST THE SAME

It’s after midnight on a starlit Wednesday night in Las Vegas, Nevada, so the temperature has cooled to 86° on the far northwest side of the city.

You’re Victor Thompson, a captain in the local fire department.  You’re sleeping peacefully in your modern home in your quiet gated community.

Suddenly your wife wakes you.  Someone is insistently ringing the doorbell!  You get out of bed to find out what’s going on.

Two young men are banging on the front door.  They’re shouting things like “Hey, open up, stupid!  We’ve got the beer, but this #$% door is locked!  We’re locked out!  Let us in, you #$%!”  You argue with them, but they become belligerent and won’t stop knocking.  You fear a home invasion.  You take steps to defend your family.  You grab the firearm you keep nearby.  You shoot through the door.  You hit one man in the chest.

I’ve augmented the story by inventing details and dialogue, but the basic facts are there.  According to this article last week in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the supposed intruders “were at the door after confusing the home with another in the neighborhood.  They had been celebrating a birthday with another person at a nearby house.  They left for a short time and thought they were returning to the same house.  They did not understand why they weren’t being let back in.”

How could they mistake one house for another?  “Residents who live nearby,” the article explained, “described the neighborhood as quiet, yet easy to get lost in.  Keith Patton, who lives on the street behind where the shooting happened, said he and his mother have confused the houses by driving or walking up to the wrong driveway several times.”

How confoundingly alike could these little boxes be?  On Friday afternoon, I decided to see for myself.  I took a quick trip to Las Vegas.  Yes, I did!  I used my preferred mode of transportation for such exploration, Google Earth.  It’s much cheaper and faster than an airplane ticket, and I returned with these pictures in half an hour.

I found that the houses are indeed similar and very closely spaced, though they’re hardly identical —  unless it’s 2:00 in the morning and you’re drunk.  That’s Captain Thompson’s home on the left, distinguished by a luxurious 300 square feet of grass in the front lawn.

And the streets are indeed easy to get lost in.  Captain Thompson’s community is a compact square only a quarter of a mile on a side.  Several such squares have been carved out of the beige flatness of the surrounding desert.  One example is the square shown below, ironically named Vista Verde (Green View).  Construction has been completed on almost all of the houses.

The area of this square is forty acres.  Now you young folks don't remember this, but back in my great-grandfather’s day, forty acres was the ideal size for a single-family farm.  When Vista Verde is finished its forty acres will contain not one but 170 single-family homes.  (A few of those structures might be for general community use.)

Notice the efficient maze of streets, designed to slow speeders.  There are only two ways in and out, through the gates in the middle of the north and south sides of the square.  In the interior it’s left, right, right, left, left, right, right, left, left, right; and if you get caught in a dead end, you need to use the cul-de-sac to turn around.

Las Vegas is growing by 50,000 new residents a year, and they keep building developments like this.  I wouldn’t want to live in such a cramped residential area, crawling over the other workers’ cells to find an exit from the hive.  The West boasts its wide-open spaces, but back here in the East there really are green views.  It's almost heaven.

Google Earth,
Take me home
To the place I belong,
Pennsylvania!

 

JUNE 5, 2014     REVISITING THE SQUARE

It's commencement season once again!

In the past, this website has featured pictures of five different graduation ceremonies at Oberlin College's leafy Tappan Square.

However, I've kept a dozen additional photos stored away since I shot them in 1968.  They're attractive angles, so I digitally enhanced them (the one on the left required a lot of processing) and inserted them into this letter I wrote about my own graduation in 1969.

Those aren't the only recent improvements.  Other existing articles have also been augmented as other historical images have become available.

Here is a century-old postcard view of Varuna Park in my old hometown.

Here is the Oldsmobile curved-dash runabout that was brought to mind by the musical Oklahoma!  For the first picture, I composited a modern photo from a vintage-car exhibition with an old black-and-white image of a driver at the tiller of the Olds. 

Here's the Oberlin College “marching band” straggling across the football field a year before I matriculated at Oberlin.  Meanwhile at the campus radio station, here we see an engineer doing some soldering in a equipment rack while an announcer prepares to announce.

Finally, I've illustrated my account of the college president's encounter with sit-in protestors by adding this photo of a similar confrontation two years before.

 

MAY 31, 2014     SPOKESMAN QUITS

Jay Carney resigned yesterday.  You probably didn't hear about it.  It wasn’t discussed much in the news.

Carney had been the White House press secretary for 3½ years.  Now he has resigned from that demanding job to spend more time with his wife and 12-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter.  It’s said that financial reasons are also driving him back to the private sector, where he previously spent 21 years in journalism.

Forty years ago, there was another resignation of a former journalist turned White House press secretary.  This one did make all the newspapers, because it was in the aftermath of Watergate.  And the man who resigned was my friend’s father!

Well, “friend” is too strong a word.  Karen and I both went to Oberlin College.  As undergraduates, we sometimes shared a conversation at the same dinner table.  I asked her out once.  I never met her father.


I’ve always been a bit of a nerd.  (I identify with the guys on The Big Bang Theory.)  I’ve never gone out much.  During college, as nearly as I can recall, I got up the courage to ask five different coeds on dates.  However, Karen was the only one who turned me down, so I wasn’t a total failure.

Fortunately, I was unlike that kid at Santa Barbara who recently went on a killing spree because he hated girls who refused to go out with him.  I knew better than to expect romance with anyone who was obviously out of my league in popularity.  Those girls already had cool boyfriends, boys with whom I could never compete.  So I accepted reality, as you can tell from my “allegory in four chapters” at the end of this article.

Instead, I tried to interact with a girl as a person, a colleague, a friend.  And sometimes, under the right circumstances, we agreed to attend a concert or something together.


It was the spring of 1967 at Oberlin.  Karen ter Horst was a freshman who lived at the dormitory called Harkness, and I was a sophomore assigned to eat dinner there.

Three years earlier in that same dining hall, the local College Republicans had hosted a future President, Congressman Gerald Ford of Michigan.  But I didn’t know that.  Nor did I know about Karen’s father, Jerald ter Horst, the son of Dutch immigrants.  He was a newspaperman from Grand Rapids who had known Ford since 1948 and had covered his career and the White House ever since.  As a member of the White House press corps, Jerald had been in the motorcade in Dallas in November 1963, but I didn’t know that either.

All I knew was that Karen was a cute, intelligent blonde who not infrequently sat at my table.  Outside, the sun was still shining one evening in April or May when, as the meal was ending, I asked her out.  She said no, thanks.  And that was the end of that.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

But as I hinted earlier, there’s more to the ter Horst tale, beginning with Oberlin's Mock Republican National Convention the following spring when Congressman Ford returned to campus.  Five years later, in 1973, he was appointed to replace Spiro Agnew as Richard Nixon’s Vice-President.  The year after that, the Watergate scandal forced Nixon to resign, and Ford became President himself.

He promised a new era of openness and honesty.  He appointed Jerald ter Horst to be his Presidential press secretary, to much applause from ter Horst's friends in the White House press corps.

A month later, in a surprise announcement, Ford issued a pardon to Nixon so that he would not be prosecuted for any Watergate misdeeds. 

I happened to think this was a good move.  It was time for the nation to return to normalcy.  Nixon had already been humiliated by having to quit the nation’s highest office in disgrace.  Dragging him through multiple criminal trials would accomplish little besides prolonging Watergate for years, giving the lie to Ford’s inaugural promise:  “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

But others wanted to see Nixon behind bars.  Many believe that Ford lost the Presidential election of 1976 because he had let Nixon go scot-free in 1974.

Jerald ter Horst also thought the pardon was a bad idea.  For one thing, he had been telling reporters every day what he believed to be true, that Ford had no intention of pardoning Nixon.  Then Ford proved him wrong.  His boss had thrown him under the bus, and he had lost much of his credibility with the reporters.

However, there was a bigger issue of fairness.  He wrote the President, “I cannot in good conscience support your decision to pardon former President Nixon even before he has been charged with the commission of any crime.  As your spokesman, I do not know how I could credibly defend that action in the absence of a like decision to grant absolute pardon to the young men who evaded Vietnam military service as a matter of conscience and the absence of pardons for former aides and associates of Mr. Nixon. ...  Try as I can, it is impossible to conclude that the former President is more deserving of mercy than persons of lesser station in life whose offenses have had far less effect on our national wellbeing.”

So Karen’s dad resigned as a matter of principle, after only one month.  The next year, he received the Conscience-in-Media Award from the American Society of Journalists and Authors.  I had nothing to do with it.

 

MAY 29, 2014     CHANGING FACES

LeAnn Rimes gave a lovely presentation of the National Anthem before the start of this past weekend’s Indianapolis 500.  At least I thought so.

Yesterday a letter to the editor, apparently from a crotchety old geezer from the moon who longs for the days of Kate Smith, whined that “her warbling, inaccurate pronunciation of words and failure to sing the notes correctly made a travesty of ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.’”  He included Miss Rimes in the category of “some wannabe vocalist.”

I’m sorry, but she’s no longer a wannabe.  In 1992, she began performing the National Anthem a cappella before Dallas Cowboys games.  In 1997, as a new country music star, she won two Grammy awards.

Back (west) side of pressbox at Rice-Eccles Stadium, site of Opening and Closing Ceremonies

I recall another performance.  Miss Rimes was on a stage in Rice-Eccles Stadium.  I was within a TV truck parked without.  It was the opening of the Winter Olympics.

This was in February 2002, less than six months after the 9/11 attacks.  Security was tight, especially because the President was going to be on hand.  We all had our official credentials, like the ID tag that Mark Vidonic is wearing in this photo taken in the graphics trailer at his curling venue.  Several weeks before, we had mailed in our pictures so they could be laminated onto the credentials, which had to be worn at all venues unless we were actually giving a performance.

But during the week leading up to the big performance at the stadium in Salt Lake City, the cast of thousands had to rehearse the complicated opening ceremony several times.

One day during one of those rehearsals, a cameraman zoomed in on the credential around LeAnn’s neck.

I thought, whose picture is that?  It doesn’t look like her at all!  I had only a fleeting glance, but the photo was something like this.

Surely a star could have submitted a proper professional headshot.  Even I had managed that.

LeAnn must have failed to do so and had to have a mug shot taken upon arrival, like a driver’s license photo.

But she cleaned up nicely for the actual ceremony on February 8.  Hours into the show, just after the lighting of the cauldron by Mike Eruzione and his hockey teammates from the 1980 “Miracle on Ice,” the 19-year-old Miss Rimes began the finale by singing “Light the Fire Within” with the Olympic flame burning behind her.

Once in every lifetime, there's a chance to stand apart.
We can show the world our very best — reveal what's in our heart.
So the story goes, and glory never will end.
Inspiration lights the fire within!

She was accompanied by the 83-member Utah Symphony, and singers from the Utah Opera, and the choristers of The Madeleine Choir School, and 695 “Children of Light” carrying lanterns.  Also, I think there were several thousand candles.  Light the fire, indeed.

And for all my Pennsylvania neighbors who last week won the freedom to marry, for whom “the night has been too lonely and the road has been too long, and you thought that love is only for the lucky and the strong,” here's another performance by this wannabe vocalist.

 
MAY 23, 2014     THIS END UP

Six years ago in this space, I wrote, “In my billfold, I have separate places for $1 and $5 and $10 and $20 bills.  But I don't care whether those bills are front side forward and top edge up.  After all, each piece of currency has its value printed in all eight corners.  It's easily identifiable no matter what its orientation.  Many people are obsessive about stacking all their money the same way, but to me that seems like an unnecessary waste of time.”

Now I’ve changed my mind.  All denominations of U.S. greenbacks used to look pretty much the same (top).  But recent redesigns (bottom) have given us a large numeral in the lower right corner of the reverse side, especially the purple 5 that debuted in 2008.  Therefore, I now arrange the bills so that when I look into my billfold, this corner is the one I see first.

I’d just like to report this amendment to my monetary policy.  For the record, you understand. 


 

MAY 18, 2014     MAY FOLLIES

Here are some more items of old news from the “In Retrospect” column of the Richwood Gazette, the weekly newspaper in my old hometown of Richwood, Ohio.

In May of 1888, the editor warned gardeners not to buy small packets of seeds from possibly dishonest purveyors.  It often happens, he said, that only a few seeds will actually grow.  “In the fall, what remains of these seeds are gathered up and mixed with the seeds of the coming year and sold again.  The best way to avoid such imposition is to raise your own seed, dried and stored away.”

Also in May of 1888, the Knights of Pythias in the neighboring town of Prospect were “talking of organizing a band to be composed exclusively of members of the order.”

In those days almost every town had a band of musicians — until the gramophone was invented and people could play its cylindrical recordings any time they wanted.  The famous bandleader John Philip Sousa deplored “canned music,” as he aptly called it.

The phonograph proved popular in Richwood.  See here.

It appears that Richwood was a “dry” town that banned liquor while its neighbor to the east was not.  In May of 1913 the paper reported that “fellows from Richwood have been causing Prospect officials untold trouble” by going over there and getting drunk.  Finally, Prospect asked Richwood’s Mayor M.W. Hill to supply a “black list” of Richwood people to whom “booze” should not be sold.  “Mayor Hill promptly supplied Mayor Hough with over a dozen names.  When those affected learned of this, they became ‘madder than old wet hens’ and in no uncertain terms told Mayor Hill just what they thought of him and asserted that they intend to move out of town, but to date have not acted on that extremity.”

Also in May of 1913, the Electric Light Plant had a failure.  Until new parts arrived, the town was “in total darkness from Friday until Tuesday.  The residents were compelled to fall back on coal oil [kerosene], gasoline, acetylene and other methods of illumination.”

But the shopkeepers may not have minded the first night of darkness on Friday, because that same spring the “business houses” had agreed to close at 5:30 pm on Tuesdays and Fridays to give their clerks a couple of nights off.  “The merchants expected to hear complaints, but instead, customers commended the stores for giving clerks time to themselves.”  I’m reminded of the time 43 years later that my father unilaterally decided to close his doors at noon on Saturdays, for similar reasons.  Nowadays most stores can stay open for longer hours because they've hired more than one shift of employees.

Model T Fords were not powerful enough in May of 1913 for drag racing.  But motorcycles were, and young bikers were frightening their elders.  “The roads between here and Marion have become Sunday speedways for flying motorcycles.

“They travel singly and in groups, and the machines are driven at terrific speeds, converting public highways into dangerous places for all who are brave enough to venture therein.  Frequently young women are taken on these machines at breakneck speeds along the country roads.  A moment’s attention drawn from the handlebars, a little pebble under the front wheel, a swerving of the machine, a crash into a telephone pole, and a tragedy develops.  It is hoped the hair-raising, fool-hardy, devil-chasing tomfoolery will soon cease.”

In May of 1938, Richwood High School seniors came to class on the final Friday of the school year “with the girls dressed in short dresses and hair ribbons and the boys in short pants in celebration of senior day.”  We had something similar in my era three decades later, except the seniors didn’t dress like little kids; they dressed in scruffy clothes that would not normally be good enough to wear to school.  I think we called it “Senior Slop Day” or something like that.  Nowadays office workers call it “Casual Friday.”

And in May of 1963, the four local auto dealerships held a six-inning “old timers” ball game on Memorial Day evening.  Although I was a high school sophomore at the time, I don’t remember this at all — even though the game was umpired by my father, Chevrolet dealer Vernon Thomas, along with Plymouth dealer Bernard Benton.  According to the newspaper preview, the two teams represented Swartz Motors Ford, with Claud “Casey” Swartz and Whimp “Advisor” Jordan, and Gruber-Reidenbaugh Pontiac, with Merle “Slow Ball” Gruber and Jack “The Man” Reidenbaugh.  “Both sides have an exceptional lineup of slow and hard-hitting talent, with a few openings on both sides for local volunteers who have their wills and life insurance policies made out.”

 

MAY 13, 2014     WHAT COLOR ARE MY EYES?

In a new article, I recall my college days and my second-year German course and my classmate Roberta, with whom I watched a movie.

 

MAY 7, 2014     MAGIC AMMO

Faced with a difficult situation, sometimes we try to find a “silver bullet” that will provide an easy answer.

Silver bullets are a metaphor for “simple solutions to complicated problems,” writes columnist Landon Y. Jones.  “In folklore across many cultures, a bullet made of silver is the only way to kill a werewolf or devil.”  However, he adds, real-world experiments suggest silver bullets are less accurate than lead ones, and they wreak less havoc.

Of course!  It’s simple physics.  Check out this chart of various metals, with their densities in grams per cubic centimeter.

Aluminum

2.7

Iron

7.9

Silver

10.5

Lead

11.3

Radioactive Uranium

18.9

Depleted Uranium

19.1

Gold

19.3

Platinum

21.4

For two projectiles with the same velocity and size, the mass of a silver bullet is 8% less than that of a lead bullet.  Momentum equals mass times velocity.  With only 92% of the momentum, the silver bullet will be slightly less stable in flight and will do less damage when it hits the werewolf.

But there are other options.  Compared to silver, gold is 84% heavier and platinum is 104% heavier.  Bullets made from these precious metals would be much more effective.  However, they would cost about 70 times as much as silver and 1,400 times as much as lead.

A more practical choice, with essentially the same density as gold:  depleted uranium (DU), a byproduct of enriching fuel for nuclear reactors.  The military loads DU projectiles into some of its weapons, such as the 30mm rotary cannon on the A-10 Warthog aircraft.

You want depleted uranium bullet, kemo sabe?   

 

MAY 1, 2014     RELAYING THE REPORT

We have received this sports report from my old home town in Ohio:  North Union High School’s boys track team has won the 2014 edition of the Virg Rankin Relays!

from a video by mapleguy43 (click here)

NUHS placed first in three of the thirteen events:  the 4x100, the long jump, and the high jump.  In the final event to be completed, the Wildcats’ trio of high jumpers totaled 18’6”.  That clinched the victory over Fairbanks High School.

Fairbanks (named after the Union County native who became Vice President of the United States) had been the Relays champions the last two years, and this year they placed first in five events.  But although North Union had only three first places, they also picked up five seconds, three thirds, and two fourths to win the overall boys point total.  (The girls team was not as successful.)

   BOYS

   GIRLS

   NORTH UNION

96.0

   MOUNT GILEAD

108.0

   FAIRBANKS

90.0

   PLEASANT

82.0

   MOUNT GILEAD

82.0

   FAIRBANKS

64.0

   BUCYRUS

60.0

   NORTH UNION

56.0

   PLEASANT

47.0

   BUCYRUS

55.0

   ELGIN

15.0

   RIDGEMONT

18.0

   RIDGEMONT

12.0

   ELGIN

9.0

 

Half a century ago, I wrote about this track meet when it was called the Richwood Relays.  The story is this month’s “100 Moons” article.

Back then, the athletes did not have today’s pullover jerseys in team colors with competitor numbers on the back.  Only boys competed.  The girls could merely cheer them on — and hand out the trophies.

 

Above is the 1964 Relay Court, in a picture I’ve colorized from the yearbook.  Left to right, they are sophomore attendant Pat Smith, senior Janet Johnson, Queen Dianne Wilson, junior Pat Ransome, and freshman Rose Sullivan.

 

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