Save The Sistine Chapel

The chief of the Vatican Museums has raised concerns that the enormous number of sweaty, dirty, dusty visitors to the Sistine Chapel are posing risks to Michelangelo’s monumental masterpiece.  His comments raise the possibility that climate and dust controls, access controls, and other techniques may be instituted in hopes of preventing harm to the artwork.

Kish, Richard, Russell and I were among the sweaty, dirty, dusty visitors who has the privilege to gape in awe at the Sistine Chapel during our wonderful Italian trip.  It is a staggering, mind-boggling experience.  It is difficult to believe that a human being was able to create something so majestic and otherworldly — but Michelangelo obviously did.  I would be in favor of doing whatever is necessary to ensure the the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and Micheleangelo’s Last Judgment are preserved for many future generations to enjoy.  They are an irreplaceable artistic triumph.

The Hurricanes Blow Into Town (Cont.)

The game against the Miami Hurricanes is less than two days away, and the excitement here in Columbus is building.  Buckeye and Hurricane fans, and no doubt college football fans generally, are looking forward to what should be a marquee matchup between two teams with storied programs and lots of tradition.

The Miami program has experienced a few down years since the glory days of the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s, and Miami fans, I think, view this game as a chance to make a national statement that “The U” is back.  Ohio State fans, on the other hand, are looking to continue the momentum created by the 2010 Rose Bowl win and to wipe away the memory of the tough home loss to U.S.C. last year.  It seems like, every year, pundits raise questions about whether the Buckeyes can win the big games.  So, each team will come to the game thinking they have something to prove.

Early season matchups also have their own intriguing aspects because the teams are largely unknowns.  Last week Miami beat the snot out of Florida A&M, a Division 1-AA program, scoring 45 points, completing a high percentage of passes, pitching a shutout, and constantly harassing and sacking Florida A&M’s quarterback.  The Buckeyes pretty much did the same with Marshall.  But Ohio State fans like to think that the Buckeyes are much better than the Rattlers, and Miami fans believe they are much better than the Thundering Herd.  In all likelihood, the first games don’t tell us much.

I think the game is going to be decided on the line of scrimmage.  The Hurricanes have a fine quarterback, Jacory Harris, who is highly accurate when he is given time to throw.  Last year, however, he was sacked 34 times and threw 17 interceptions.  Ohio State will be looking to Cameron Heyward, Dexter Larimore, and their fellow defensive linemen to control the line of scrimmage.  If the Buckeyes can get pressure with their front four, it will simplify the task of Ohio State’s somewhat inexperienced secondary.  If Miami’s offensive line can keep the defensive line away from Harris, on the other hand, it will open up Miami’s running game and allow Harris to exploit the Buckeye secondary.

The Buckeye faithful will need to be loud on Saturday

On the other side of the ball, the burden will fall on the Ohio State offensive line.  Miami has some excellent speed rushers but has been victimized by power running games.  The Buckeyes may well focus on their stable of running backs and dare Miami to stop the run.  If Ohio State does mix things up, it will need to protect Terrelle Pryor.  Like Harris, he has shown that he can turn the ball over when significant pressure is applied.

Neither side seems to have a significant advantage on special teams.  The Buckeyes looked raggedy in the kicking game last week, giving up a long kick-off return, a blocked field goal returned for a touchdown, and a blocked extra point.  Miami will have speed to spare on its special teams, so the Ohio State coaches will have had to work on the spacing and coverage issues if they don’t want to get burned come Saturday.  When a team like Miami comes into a tough environment like the ‘Shoe — and let’s hope the Buckeye Nation is loud, loud, loud — you don’t want to give them a cheap touchdown that makes their task any easier.

This is one of those games where we will know early whether the teams are evenly matched.  I think we will see a tough, hard-fought game on Saturday.

The Hurricanes Blow Into Town




Okay, I have to admit that I have been sleep deprived lately because my good friend Joyce Phillips provided me with entertainment over the Labor Day weekend, it’s a television series called Dexter.

Dexter aires on the Showtime network and has been around since October 2006. It’s about a guy named Dexter who works for the Miami Police Department and moonlights as a serial killer. The premise is he eliminates (chops up) the low life scum that the legal system can’t punish or convict. Dexter is played by Michael Hall who played the gay son in Six Feet Under another television series that Joyce shared with me awhile back that I absolutely loved.

Since Saturday night when Joyce gave me all of Season 1 (12 episodes) I have been driving over to her house to get dvd discs for Season 2 (12 more episodes) and Season 3 (7 additional episodes) as late as 1:00 a.m in the morning. It wouldn’t be so bad if the show were a half hour long (15 and a half hours of viewing time), but each episode is an hour long so I have watched 31 hours of the show in four days.

I have to admit that I am addicted to the show and I actually find myself hoping that he doesn’t get caught. Of course as there is in every television series there are some annoying characters, Dexter’s adoptive sister (who is his real life wife) and Lila who plays a British artist that falls in love with Dexter.

The show is worth watching and I highly recommend it. Thanks Joyce.  

Thanks Joyce

Message to the World !

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If you sift through the political comments when you click on the link below you will find a wonderful story about the Heartsong Church in Memphis who have loaned their church to worshippers building an Islamic Center across the street.

The brief dialog between Pastor Stone and Dr Bashar Shala is more of what we need in this day and age, not hateful and fearful dialog, but dialog of freedom, religious tolerance and loving one’s neighbor. This is the America I know and love.

I am sure there are other stories like this one that the media could report on, but unfortunately they don’t drive up the ratings like the Quran burning church in Florida or the construction of a Community Center a few blocks from Ground Zero.

When You Fish Upon A Czar

Having appointed czars for the auto industry, bank bailouts, pay, energy, and countless other issues, President Obama finally got around to appointing a czar for a really important issue to those of us in the Midwest — namely, preventing the potential invasion of the Great Lakes by the Asian carp.

Nicholas II

It’s not entirely clear what powers the “Carp Czar” will have, although Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, in announcing the czar’s appointment, said he would be in “full attack, full-speed ahead mode.”  (The Senator also helpfully reassured us that the federal government is “not in denial.”)  That’s a good thing, because the Asian carp unquestionably pose a tougher challenge than reinvigorating the moribund U.S. auto industry, reining in greedy executives, or preventing further reckless lending and investing by U.S. bankers.  After all, the Asian carp are cold-blooded creatures that can fly (sort of), eat 40 percent of their weight every day, swim hundreds of miles upstream, knock out boaters and fishermen, and smash through an electronic force field without some much as batting a lidless fish eye.

Ivan the Terrible

So if we are going to get a Carp Czar, let’s make sure that he’s not a prissy, wussy czar like Nicholas II who may fall under the spell of some fishy character like Rasputin.  No, we need a tough, ruthless czar to adequately meet the formidable challenge of the Asian carp.  Someone with the temperament of Ivan the Terrible or Peter the Great, willing to lay waste to entire populations of carp, denude the entrance points to the Lakes of all sustenance and aquatic life, and reroute the streams of commerce to keep the invasive fish out of our Great Lakes, would do just fine.