Ohio Gets Weirder And Weirder

Some weird stuff has happened in Ohio lately. It’s turned our normally boring state into the constant subject of strange news stories.

Exotic animals have been set free to roam the countryside near Zanesville.  An odd Amish cult that features beard-cutting as punishment has sprung up in northeastern Ohio.  And now we learn that some bad guys in Noble County allegedly have been using the internet to lure strangers who are desperate to get jobs on a non-existent farm and then try to murder them and take their belongings.  This purported scheme was discovered only because the villains were unsuccessful in killing their latest victim, who was able to make it to a nearby house and alert authorities.

It’s sad to think that Americans are so desperate for work that they would load all of their possessions into a car, drive to a faraway state, and follow complete strangers into a wooded area in hopes of earning a living on a farm they’ve never seen.  It’s even sadder that Ohio has to be the site of such a cruel scheme.

 

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Stay Classy, Buckeye Nation!

This afternoon the Ohio State Buckeyes play a home game at the Horseshoe against the Penn State Nittany Lions.  Normally this would just be another hard-fought Big Ten game — but, in the midst of the awful scandal that has rocked Penn State, these are not normal times.

There obviously is nothing funny about allegations of child molestation or claims of institutional disregard of unlawful behavior — and there is nothing clever about purported jokes about such things, either.  In the raucous world of big time college football, however, stupid things can get said, stupid signs can be made, and stupid taunts can be hurled.  The people who do such stupid things are only reflecting badly on themselves and by extension, the school whose gear they are wearing.

As someone who is proud of Ohio State and my OSU degree, I hope that the members of Buckeye Nation at the game today show some class, simply cheer for their team, and leave the poor, bewildered, bedeviled Penn State fans alone.

50/50

If you’ve lost a family member or close friend to cancer, as most Americans have, you’re probably not eager to watch a movie about someone struggling with the dread disease — even if it is billed as a comedy of sorts.  Kish and I decided to take the chance, however, and went to see 50/50.

We’ve enjoyed the prior work of Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen, the two principal stars, and they were as good as we expected.  Gordon-Levitt plays Adam, a risk-averse neat freak who learns he has cancer, parts ways with his overwhelmed, self-absorbed girlfriend, goes through chemotherapy, and struggles with the 50-50 possibility that he might not survive.  Rogen is Kyle, a crass, stoner friend who provides crucial moral support — and, Adam learns, is approaching his friend’s disease with care and thoughtfulness.  Their interaction is hilarious and touching.  Along the way Adam learns important lessons about himself, the men in his chemotherapy group, and his domineering, yet deeply caring, mother.  The relationship that develops between Adam and his emotional counselor seemed like a plot contrivance to me, but it didn’t detract from what was otherwise an enjoyable, emotionally satisfying film.

It’s hard to imagine a movie about a young person dealing with cancer and potential death could be funny and positive, but 50/50 pulls it off.