Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Tiger's Address Book (Yes, Yet Another One!)

Why did Mrs. Woods get so upset?

1. She found out Tiger had been using Magic Johnson's old address book.

2. She found out Tiger wasn't trying to break Jack Nicklaus' record, but rather Wilt Chamberlain's.

While I don't take celebrities' follies all that seriously, it looks like Mrs. Woods has hired a really good divorce attorney. I think she's going to take a walk.

Tiger, of course is re-writing his book: "How To Get In 18 Holes Without Your Wife Finding Out."

Gilad Shalit (Remembering U.S. Grant)

I see that the Israelis are about to 'buy' Gilad Shalit for a THOUSAND Palestinian prisoners. Damn fools! They would do well to follow the example of U.S. Grant during the last year of the Civil War, who stopped all prisoner exchanges- and won the war.

Audie Murphy is rightly revered as a great hero because he took out about a hundred enemy soldiers. Is Shalit worth a *thousand*? No way!

General Anthony McAuliffe

It was 65 years ago yesterday that Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe, the acting commander of the American troops surrounded at Bastonge, received a demand from the German troops outside the town that he surrender. Upon reading the message, he commented to an aide, "Nuts, what do I say in response to this?"

The aide said, "How about what you just said?"

The rest is history. Because his response was simply "NUTS!"

For the rest of his life, people asked General McAuliffe frequently asked him if he didn't use a different four-letter word. However, I once saw an interview with that aide, who as emphatc that General McAuliffe did, in fact, say "NUTS!"

General McAuliffe was a man of both great bravery, and great brevity.

Parental Perspective (I): Nondriving Preschoolers

For anyone who has had a rough time with their kids recently: a friend of mine told me that she once got she got so exasperated with her three young 'uns that one day she told them to go to hell.

To which her four-year-old replied. "But mom, we can't. We don't drive!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Juanita Jordan

In view of recent news about Tiger Woods, it might be useful to consider the case of Juanita Jordan, who managed to wind up with $160 million as a result of her divorce from her basketball star ex-husband. Hmmmm....she's gorgeous, and she's rich- what guy wouldn't want to catch her own the rebound?

p.s. One more Tiger Woods joke while we're on the topic: What is the difference beteen Tiger Woods and Santa Claus? Santa Claus usually stops after three Hos.

Oral Roberts

Sometimes, I hear of someone's passing, when it would take a heart of stone not to laugh. Oral Roberts ent to his reward at the age of 91. About 20 years ago, he announced that he feared that God was "going to call him home" if he did not raise an additional $8 million for Oral Roberts University. (Insert joke here)

To borrow from Lord Byron:

"Posterity will never survey
a nobler grave than this-
Here lie the bones of Oral Roberts...
Stop traveler...and piss"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Joe Don Looney

Joe Don Looney achieved fame for two great reasons. He was a great fullback at the University of Oklahoma who played several years in the NFL and he was very well named. In the Oklahoma locker room, there was a large trash can by the door with a sign on it reading, “Put your used tape here.” Looney, however, continued to throw his used tapes on the floor. When his coach rebuked him for this, and pointed out the trash can sign, which was in plain sight, Loony retorted: “I refuse to take orders from a trash can.”

I believe that while Obama people tend to blame McCain people (and vice versa) the truth is that we have entirely too many loony people running around loose. I think it’s all too common for people on one side of the political side of the spectrum to never give anyone on the other side credit for a good idea.

Krugerrands and Rubles

As I’ve related several times, I have absolutely no use for Kucinich Democrats. My brother Bruce used to work on Dennis Kucinich’s staff. Back in 1976, on my twenty-first birthday, I purchased an old coin, a replica of an Austro-Hungarian 100-kroner piece for $200. That turned out to be one of the smartest investments I ever made. A bit more than three years later, I resold that coin for more than a 200% profit. When my brother Bruce heard that I’d purchased a gold coin, he felt the need to warn/threaten me that I had better not buy any South African krugerrands. I refrained from telling him that it was none of his business, but I couldn’t resist asking him if he had any objection to me buying a Soviet 100-ruble piece. He said no.

Does anyone need for me to explain why I found Bruce’s politics utterly despicable?

Woody Hayes, Anglophile

My English readers might be interested to know that my old friend, the late Woody Hayes, was an extraordinary Anglophile. Indeed, he once tried to motivate his players with a halftime speech describing Admiral Nelson’s death at Trafalgar. That didn’t go over well. A great many of the players had trouble keeping from laughing. When Woody’s old friend, Paul Horning, (about the only journalist Woody ever had any use for), told Woody that he planned to write a biography about him, Woody barked, “fine, so long as you do it like Cromwell’s.”

When Horning asked what Woody meant by that, Woody replied, “Do it warts and all.” In 1977, the BBC did a twenty-part documentary entitled, “The Americans,” and made Woody one of the subjects. They must have had trepidation, as Woody had a prickly reputation with the press. To the surprise of just about everyone in the American sporting press, Woody assented, along with a comment that he had always respected the British for the courage they’d shown in both World Wars and especially Air Marshall Dowding’s courage during the Battle of Britain.

Mystery in Mogadishu

I’ve been to Mogadishu, Somalia twice. This serves to remind me that 99% of all Americans have no idea how good they have it. There’s one Mogadishu story that I wish I could claim I was present for, but that would not be the truth. Sometime in the 1970s, the Somali government riled that the Soviets were trying to play a game by supporting the Somali’s rivals in Ethiopia. The Somali reaction was to expel the the Soviets and make overtures to the United States. Soon thereafter, an American destroyer visited Mogadishu and the Somali government held a banquet in the captain’s honor. At the climax of the banquet, the Somali envoy made a gift of half a dozen live goats. Perhaps the captain thought, “Well, at least I won’t have to eat the goats’ eyeballs.” He was, however, flabbergasted when the American ambassador informed him that the maintenance of good relations between the United States and Somalia demanded that the ship accept the Somali gift. The captain broached the idea of accepting the gift. The ship’s crew was none too enthusiastic about sharing the confined spaces of a destroyer with that many goats, since they can be ill-tempered, rambunctious and smelly creatures.

The captain suggested that they throw the goats overboard once they’d passed the twelve-mile territorial limit. The ambassador was adamant that, if the goat carcasses washed ashore, there would be a diplomatic situation. Trying to reach the best possible conclusion, the captain called a conference, and the guys working deck force suggested that they construct a pen on the fantail of the destroyer and that they could feed the goats table scraps and any sailor who had seriously messed up would be awarded Extra Duty, being required to clean up after the goats.

(My four years in the Navy, I heard of some jobs being referred to as chicken*** jobs, but this is the first time I heard of anyone having goat****jobs.) The guys on deck force were even nice enough to cover the pen with a tarpaulin to protect the goats from inclement weather. After leaving Mogadishu, they headed north and passed a Soviet base on the island of Socratscrtia????

The Soviet practice at that point was to send a helicopter out to react to any warship passing through the area. Usually, they would just fly one circuit around the US ship and return to base. This time, however, the Russkie helo completed one circuit and then spent quite a few minutes hovering a few hundred yards behind the destroyer. They were no doubt taking photos of that strange, unidentified structure on the destroyer’s fantail. Many Soviet analysts must have spent some sleepless nights figuring out what that structure was.

P.S. When the destroyer got to the Persian Gulf, they regifted the goats to an orphanage.

A Shabbat/USMC Story: Moses and the FAO

I enjoy the friendship of people from a wide variety of backgrounds. Recently, I got an invitation to attend a bar mitzvah of the son of a classmate of mine. We met in London and she new lives near Miami, Florida. I am also friends with a number of retired career United States Marines. I am happy to report that I know one story that both will enjoy. The story of Moses and the Forward Air Observer.

Once upon a time, an elderly Jewish gentleman asked his grandson what he learned in Shabbat. To which the youngster replied, “Grandfather, the rabbi told us the story of Moses and the Forward Air Observer.”

Moses had just sprung the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. When they got to the Red Sea, things looked pretty bleak because Pharaoh’s army was in hot pursuit. Moses asked the FAO to have his buddies, the engineers, build a pontoon bridge across the Red Sea and the Israelites beat feet across the bridge to get to Sinai. They had just made it to the other side when Pharaoh’s army started coming across the bridge after them. Things were looking really bad, but Moses got on the horn to the FAO, called in a precision air strike, which blew that pontoon bridge and Pharaoh’s army to Kingdom Come.

After hearing this, the old gentleman was silent for a while, then asked his grandson, “Are you sure that’s really what the rabbi told you?”

There was a long silence. Finally, the little boy said, “No, grandfather. But if I told you what the rabbi told me, I don’t think you’d believe it.”

p.s. I’m a little bit early, but let me wish a Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish friends.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Obligatory Tiger Woods Jokes

Actually, it wasn't Tiger Woods who was behaving so badly- it was his evil twin, Lion Cheetah.

What is the difference between a golf ball and a Cadillac? Tiger Woods can drive a golf ball 400 yards.

What does Tiger Woods have in common with a baby seal? They've both been clubbed by a Swede.

Why did Tiger hit both a tree and a hydrant? He couldn't decide between a wood and an iron.

When asked how many times she hit her husband, Mrs. Woods said, "I don't know- put me down for a five."

Why was Tiger up that early? He had a 2:30 am tree time.

Why was Mrs. Woods up that early? She was out clubbing.

Why did Mrs. Woods go ballistic? She found out Tiger had been using Magic Johnson's old address book.

When asked to comment, Jack Nicholas said "That's none of my business" (No joke there- I guess Tiger must enjoy knowing who his friends are.)

Jimmy Doolittle

Jimmy Doolittle was born to missionaries in December of 1896. They moved to Nome, Alaska, where Jimmy must have had an awfully rough time in grade school, seeing as how he was 1) Caucasian in an almost all-Indian town, 2) the preacher’s kid, 3) named “Doolittle.” Can you imagine a better recipe for getting picked on in the schoolyard? Even worse, he was small of stature, which was a fourth strike against him. Even as a grown man, he weighed no more than 112 pounds.

Surprisingly, Jimmy Doolittle turned out to be an extraordinarily tough little guy who became an amateur boxer and won the Golden Gloves championship of the entire Western United States. Even more surprising, Doolittle turned out to be a brilliant scholar, as well. He earned a PhD. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Aeronautics. After his service in the Army Air Corps, he earned a doctorate in Aeronautics. Jimmy Doolittle is very close to my concept of the ideal man. He was extremely smart and extremely tough.

Between the World Wars, he earned a reputation as one of the best civilian flyers in the country. When WWII broke out, he was called to active duty at the rank of lieutenant colonel. In early 1942, he pulled off one of the most innovative schemes in the history of warfare. The United States did not yet have any bases close enough to Japan to launch a ground attack. The Navy was not yet strong enough to do that with the few available aircraft carriers they had. So Doolittle hatched a scheme to fly sixteen Army B-25s off the flight deck of the USS Hornet and attack Tokyo and send a very clear message to the Japanese that they could not attack us with impunity. Because a Japanese trawler spotted the Hornet’s task group, approximately 670 miles off the Japanese coast, Doolittle had to launch his planes a day early. Each of them ran out of gas before they could reach the Nationalist Chinese air bases they were hoping to reach. Of the eighty Doolittle raiders, four were killed when their planes crashed, three were captured by the Japanese and executed, and one died in Japanese captivity. Five more were interned in Russia. The rest walked more than 100 miles to safety.

For that spectacular feat, Doolittle was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and promoted to Brigadier General, skipping the rank of Colonel. For most of the rest of the war, Doolittle was in England, directing the strategic bomber offensive against Germany and reaching the rank of lieutenant general. (I understand that he and General Patton were drinking buddies.)

After the war, Doolittle had a spectacularly successful career in the aeronautics industry and died in 1993. The surviving Doolittle raiders continue to have a reunion each year to reminisce. (The 2009 Reunion was held in Columbia, South Carolina.)

Bill Clinton and Christopher Hitchens at Oxford

As anyone who knows me already realizes, I am very fond of the work of the contrarian Christopher Hitchens. Among the many insights I’ve gained from him, some of my favorites result from the fact that he attended Oxford University just one year behind William Jefferson Clinton. Hitchens relates that he once dated a former girlfriend of Clinton’s. Years later, the young lady became a radical separatist lesbian. (Insert joke here.)

Even better is Hitchens’ insight into Clinton’s famous semi-denial, “but I never inhaled.” Apparently, Hitchens knew some of the same marijuana dealers as Clinton did. Apparently, it’s true that Bill Clinton never inhaled, I think it’s highly unlikely he will ever ‘fess up to how many brownies he ate while at Oxford.

A Sailor’s Lucky Appendix

Back in the summer of 1945, a young Naval officer suffered an attack of appendicitis that sent him to the hospital and prevented him from getting on board the cruiser he’d been assigned to serve on. That turned out to be an incredibly lucky break on his part. His assigned ship was the USS Indianapolis, which a Japanese submarine torpedoed near midnight on July 30, 1945. The ship sank so rapidly that the radio room did not have time to send out an SOS. Although the majority of the 1199-man crew got off the ship in time, it was four days before anyone picked them up. By that time, only 316 men were still alive. Hundreds of their shipmates had died of thirst or being eaten by sharks. The sailor with the lucky appendix was a lieutenant named John Wooden, who went on to achieve legendary status as the coach of UCLA’s basketball team to ten national titles. If Coach Wooden’s present good health continues, this October, he will celebrate his 100th birthday.

Elliot’s Education Evasion

A few months ago, I represented a client named Elliot on a probation violation. He had been sitting at home under Mom’s orders not to leave the house when a friend called him up and said, “Hey, Elliot. I just stole a car. Wanna go for a ride?” This made perfect sense to Elliot. Not only did he knowingly go joyriding in a stolen car, but Elliot managed to get behind the wheel himself. Indeed, that’s where he was when the police stopped the car. He ended up in police custody.

By the time I made Elliot’s acquaintance, he had violated probation by repeatedly not showing up for school. (He is rapidly approaching eighteen.) Shortly before our case was called, Elliot showed me his report card, which listed him as earning Cs and a couple of As. I was able to implore the judge not to ship Elliot off to Juvenile Hall as he was doing so well in school. It was not until after we had finished that I took a closer look at that report card. I noticed that the six different grade notations all seemed to be in the same handwriting and I’ve never seen a teacher record a grade in a felt-tip pen. When I confronted Elliot about this, he ‘fessed up. The next day, I called Elliot’s high school and learned that his attendance record was well under fifty percent. He had double-digit unexcused absences in every one of his classes. He had also fabricated the report card.

Elliot admitted as much to me when I confronted him about it. He also seemed quite mystified when I informed him in tones not usually used while addressing children that he was going to inform the judge of his deception at our next appearance, or I most certainly would. Elliot seemed crestfallen to learn that I would not risk my license and a five-year term in jail to protect his right to play hooky.

I had another hearing for Elliot last week. Surprise, surprise, he did not appear. The judge issued a warrant for his arrest. I managed to reach Elliot by phone and recommended he get his gluteus maximus to the courthouse forthwith. His timing was flawless. He arrived in time to get the warrant quashed, but too late to have his hearing, so we’ll be back up in front of a judge this coming week.

The British, Nigerians, Burma, India and Japan

I once told a friend of mine never to underestimate the ingenuity of the British. I shared with him one of my favorite bits of WWII trivia. During the war, the British convinced over 30,000 Nigerians (enough to form two full divisions) to go to Burma to defend India against invasion by the Japanese. He looked at me, dumbfounded, and asked how they did it. I told him that I was still working on that problem myself.

Rondo Hatton's Lemonade

Rondo Hatton is an underground Hollywood trivia king. He was voted the handsomest boy in his high school class- quite ironic, considering the unpleasant surprise Life had in store for him. Some time after his service in World War I, Hatton contracted acromegaly, a malfunction in the pituitary gland that caused him not only to grow well past six-foot-seven but gave him supersized hands and feet and an expanded jaw, lending him a monstrous appearance. Hatton was married twice, the first left him after he contracted his condition, and the second, thankfully, realized that one can’t just a book by its cover. Legend has it that the neighborhood children taunted him, calling him “monster man.” Acromegaly had several dreadful side effects, leading to diabetes and chronic pain. Somehow, Hatton failed to succumb to self-pity, earning himself a job with the Tampa Tribune that forced him to get out and talk to people. Ironically, one day, he was sent to cover a movie being filmed in the Tampa area and the director told him that a man with such a distinctive appearance might make a living in Hollywood.

Later, Hatton found out that he could make a whole lot more money playing bit parts in Hollywood than he could as a reporter, and he moved to Hollywood. Hatton achieved a measure of success in films, though he had to take a philosophical stance about playing monsters in film. He was in The Princess and the Pirate with Bob Hope; he played the gorilla man. He was in The Ox-Bow Incident, playing a member of an unruly lynch mob. In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, he played the runner up in an “ugliest man” competition with Charles Laughlin’s Quasimodo.

Hatton’s most famous role, however, was in the Sherlock Holmes classic, The Pearl of Death. By all accounts, Hatton was a kind, sweet-natured gentleman. However, due to his grotesque appearance, he was cast as the “Hoxton Creeper,” a mute, serial killing fiend who murders six different people by breaking their backs. In the climax, the Creeper is confronted by Basil Rathbone’s Holmes, who happens to have a pistol handy. Since the Creeper does not possess super powers, the outcome is predictable.

I remember seeing that film as a kid and finding it scary. Now, in middle age, I am surprised audiences didn’t find it silly. Are the London police so incompetent that they can’t find such an ernormous monster? Ironically, the Creeper was such a hit with fans that Hatton found he was going to be featured in four different films, playing the same grisly character. Sadly, he died at the age of 52, before any of those films were released. I think it’s admirable that Rondo Hatton managed to make a life for himself in spite of having suffered such terrible misfortune. Life gave him a huge pile of lemons and he managed to make a pretty good batch of lemonade.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Democracy in Action: HB 96 Passed

A dear friend of mine recently testified before the Ohio legislature in favor of requiring antifreeze to contain additives to make it unappealing to animals. Everybody in Ohio- write your legislator! Everybody outside Ohio, write your legislator.

Victoria (Sirker's) Secret

When I was stationed at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California, one of my Navy shipmates was a gal named Victoria Sirker. She was nice, she was smart, and she was *very* nicely proportioned. (Filled out her uniform quite well :)

One day, I had just taken a seat on the shuttle bus that ran from the classrooms at the bottom end of the DLI up the long, steep slope to the Navy barracks, when Victoria climbed in, carrying a large grocery bag. I offered her my seat, which she accepted. When I looked down, I could not help but notice that Victoria had done some serious shopping- that bag was filled to the limit with just about every snack food the PX had to offer.

Aware of my gaze, Victoria said, "Uh-uh-uh, Kent! I see you peeking at my goodies!"

In a moment of pure inspiration, I replied, "Yes, and I've checking out your *groceries* too!"

Among many other fine qualities, Ms. Sirker had a sense of humor- she cracked up.

Chelsea Clinton

It is now official: Chelsea Clinton is engaged to be married next year. The lucky fellow is Marc Mezvinski, who was classmate of hers at Stanford.

Chelsea's future father-in-la is Ed Mazvinski, a former congressman who served a bit over five years in federal prison after being convicted of 31 felony counts of bank fraud, mail fraud, and wire fraud. (insert joke here)

The happy couple in 1996.

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is still the world's best driver, but lately, he certainly has been having trouble with his putts.

Howard Cosell

For over twenty years, Howard Cosell was one of America’s most famous sportscasters. He initially achieved great fame by fervently championing Muhammad Ali’s right to fight. Toward the end of Ali’s career, he and Cosell developed a routine that went as follows:

Cosell: Let’s face facts. The spring has gone from your step. The sting has gone from your jab.
Ali: Well, I tell you what, Howard Cosell. I see your wife over there, and I’m going to go over there and ask her if you were the man you were ten years ago.

Cosell was noted for his braggadocio and his egomania. Once, while taking questions after a dinner, a young man said, “Mr. Cosell, I just want to say that you’re a great man and I agree with everything you say.” A second later, Cosell replied, “Young man, you are possessed of extraordinary intelligence.” It was quite some time until anything else could be heard above the laughter.

When I was in law school, one of my professors, Terry Phelps, was married to Notre Dame basketball coach, Digger Phelps. At a school function, she once mentioned she had met Howard Cosell. I asked her if, upon meeting her, Cosell had proclaimed, “What a world-class beauty, what an extraordinary intellect, what an amazing woman…truly, your parents must be absolutely devastated that you married so far beneath yourself.” Professor Phelps complimented me on my Cosell impersonation and told me that had been pretty close to word-for-word what Cosell had said.

In the past year of Cosell’s tenure broadcasting Monday Night Football, his partner was Al Michaels, who has related that Cosell’s bombast and egomania made him extremely difficult to work with. However, he also mentioned one occasion when Cosell managed to really impress him. Michaels and Cosell were in a limo, on their way to broadcast a game. Their driver that evening was a young woman named Peggy. On the way, while driving through a very tough neighborhood, they stopped at a light. On the corner beside them were two young men who were having a serious fistfight, much to the delight of a throng of cheering onlookers. To Michaels’ amazement, Cosell opened the door and got out of the car. (Howard was in his seventies at the time.) Michaels and Peggy did not even have time to scream at Cosell when he shoved his way through the cheering throng. In his loudest voice, he was proclaiming, “It is immediately apparent to this reporter that neither of these opponents has the skill to compete at the highest level of pugilism. This young southpaw’s jab is weak and ineffectual, whereas the other combatant’s skills are obviously in steep decline.”

At this point, the crowd was staring at Cosell. The man then bellowed, “I order this contest stopped forthwith!” A few seconds later, one of the dumbfounded onlookers said, “Howard Cosell!” The fighters and audience alike then took turns asking Cosell for his autograph. When Cosell got back into the limo, having restored peace to that street corner, Peggy said, “Howard, I don’t believe you. You could have gotten killed. “ Cosell sat back and proclaimed, “Pegaroo, I know who I am.”

He certainly did. Howard Cosell was one-of-a-kind.

The Terror of Influenza

As a lifelong student of history, I rarely read anything that surprises me anymore. An exception was John Barry’s book, The Great Influenza, written about the big outbreak in 1919. Influenza killed more people in a year than the Black Death of the Middle Ages did in a century. It killed more people in a week than AIDS has in 30 years. The thing that boggled my mind was understanding the horrors of the plague. It’s horrible to know that the medical authorities of the day were so far behind those of the present day. While the author did not write a polemic, it did occur to me that for all the heinous things John Rockefeller did in his life, he did manage to found the Rockefeller Institute. That body did great short-notice work to help mitigate the death toll.

I learned that the killer strain of flu emerged at the exact time when it would do the most horrific damage: during a World War, when millions of soldiers were living in close proximity. The U.S. Army was undergoing unprecedented expansion in 1917,-1918; barracks became death traps. Of all U.S. Army bases, the worst-hit was Camp Sherman, just fifty miles south of Columbus. In Philadelphia, the police were the first line of defense. During the week of October 16, 1918, 4,597 Philadelphians died from influenza. Nineteen police officers died of the disease. It took extraordinary courage for medical personnel to remain on the job. As bad as the death toll was in Europe and the Americas, in non-Western countries, indigenous people who lacked immunity to Western diseases experienced an unimaginable death toll. I lived on Guam for five months. 1999-2000. On October 26, 1918, nearly 95 percent of the U.S. sailors ashore caught the disease, but only a single sailor died. The same virus killed ten percent of the native population. The same virus would later kill another five percent of the native population. In Nome, Alaska, 176 out of 300 Eskimos died.

The most haunting bit: In the Labrador town of Okack, there was a population of 266 people and a whole lot of dogs. When a relief mission reached the village, only 59 people were still alive. What made the town something out too scary for a Stephen King book was that the town’s canine population outnumbered that of people. The dogs, without people to care for them, ate what they could. The Reverend Andrew Asboe, though deathly ill, survived by keeping a rifle near his bed. He personally killed over a hundred dogs.

The possibility of a renewed outbreak of influenza that would be as deadly as the 1919 strain is a horrifying prospect, particularly if someone is diabolical enough to use weaponized biological agents. While reading Barry’s book, I wasn’t interested in a political polemic, but I will make one observation: Why was the 1918 strain so deadly? It’s because the influenza virus evolves.


Last month, a young man from St. Louis who had just finished serving a seven-year prison sentence for convictions for burglary, grand theft auto and weapons possession, decided to seek greener pastures here in Columbus. On October 28, he decided to burst into a hotel room and rob six people at gunpoint. One of his victims handed him fourteen dollars and the thief cursed the man for having so little. Another one of his prospective victims was a seventy-year-old great grandmother who had something else for the burglar, Mr. Winston. She pulled a .357 Magnum from her purse and shot Mr. Winston full in the chest. Winston managed to stagger out the door into the hotel parking lot, where the paramedics pronounced him dead on the scene.

Note: CMH is the National Transportation Board abbreviation for Columbus, Ohio; PSH is Public Service Homicide.

The Ballad of Mike Lantry

Yesterday was a joyous time in central Ohio, as the Ohio State Buckeyes defeated their hated archrivals, the University of Michigan Wolverines for the sixth straight year by a convincing score of 21 to 10. OSU/Michigan week is an occasion for vituperation towards our archrivals, a time for telling nasty jokes about anyone or anything related to Michigan. Example: how to you get a U of M MBA off your front porch? Pay him for the pizza. What’s the difference between a U of M cheerleader and a hippopotamus? About fifty pounds. How do you eliminate the difference? Feed the hippopotamus? One of my all-time favorite musical groups is an outfit called the Dead Schembechlers, who have produced a number of albums. One of my favorite songs from their album is the song of Mike Lantry, commemorating his missing of a last-minute field goal in the 1974 game.

The Bucks were locked in battle
In the Fall of seventy-four.
The Wolverines would be the champs
If they got one quick score.

But who would win the game that day
To play the Bowl of Rose?
Schembechler bet his season
On Michael Lantry’s toe.
His toe, his toe, he bet on Lantry’s toe.

Well, Lantry was pure evil,
For he had sold his soul .
He sold it to the devil
To kick some field goals.

He strode into the Horseshoe
As seconds ticked away.
He planned to beat the Buckeyes
On the last play.
Last play, last play, upon the last play.

The snap, it came to Lantry;
He kicked it way up high.
The ball flew like an angel
Who swiped it as it flew by.

By the grace of God he hit it
For he was quick and deft.
The ball, it started spinning
And it sailed to the left.
Wide left, wide left, the ball, it went wide left.

The devil, he was angry;
The angel had him beat.
The Wolverines were defeated
Schembechler stamped his feet.

Mike Lantry, he tried suicide
Because he felt bereft.
But when he tried to shoot himself
The bullet sailed wide left.
Wide left! Wide left! The bullet went wide left!

p.s. Contrary to what the song says, Mike Lantry did not try to commit suicide after the game. He is a Vietnam veteran. Serving in Vietnam gave him perspective on how to deal with losing a college football game.