Liking Lenzelle

There’s lots to like about this year’s version of the Ohio State men’s basketball team.  They’ve got the dominant inside player in Jared Sullinger, the scrappy point guard in Aaron Craft, the steady senior scorer in William Buford, and the instant offense in Deshaun Thomas.  They’ve got some talent on the bench, too.  But for me the big revelation so far this season is Lenzelle Smith Jr.

Smith is a 6-4 guard, and he plays the game the way it should be played.  He sweats and scrambles when he’s guarding an opposing player and looks like he eventually could be as versatile on the defensive end as David Lighty — who could guard just about anybody.  Smith has a solid offensive game; he’s patient, unselfish, and doesn’t force shots.  But where Smith really shines is in transition.  I love watching #32 rip down a rebound and rush pell mell down the court, head up and looking to dish.  He’s made some terrific passes, including some alley-oop lobs leading to  rim-rattling, crowd-pleasing dunks.

Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the kind of player you need on your team if you hope to contend for championships.  The Buckeyes play a tough schedule this year — Duke comes to town next week, for example — and they’ll need every defensive stop and transition bucket #32 can give them.

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A Dog-Swan Encounter

On this morning’s walk Penny and I noticed that the swan who cruises regally on the number 5 north pond was right next to the boardwalk.  As I stopped to take a picture of this beautiful creature, Penny decided to take a closer look — and then the fun began.

Penny stuck her head under the fence.  The swan cocked his head and took a good look, then decided he didn’t much care for Penny.  He shot his head forward and hissed loudly.  Penny bravely bolted out of there.

Round 1 goes to the swan.

The Tradition Continues

It’s hard to believe that on November 25, 1987 Paul King, Bill Kemp and I went out to play golf at Raymond Memorial and who would have thought that twenty four years later the event has grown to a group of almost thirty playing in The Day After Thanksgiving Turkey Cup.

No matter what the weather, we play golf. Today the skies were sunny and the temperature was in the sixties here in Columbus and fun was had by all. By the way Mark Kragalott (that’s him next to me kneeling in front) won back the coveted Burgundy Jacket which he gets to keep until next year and will have his name inscribed on the Turkey Cup after shooting a 78 at Thornapple Country Club.

There’s nothing better than getting together with longtime friends, playing some golf and talking about the good old days – life doesn’t get any better than this !

Giving Thanks — And Ignoring The Falling Dominoes

We Americans have many reasons to be thankful this year, and one of the reasons is that we aren’t Italy — yet.

I’ve written before about the debt problems in Europe.  Things keep getting worse there.  The dominoes are slowly falling and threatening to knock over larger and larger economies.

The latest country to teeter on the brink is Italy.  Today it offered six-month debt obligations, and had trouble selling them even at an unsustainable 6.5 percent interest rate.   The financial markets obviously feel there is significant risk that Italy will default, and therefore they require an ever-higher interest rate to compensate for that risk.

Why should we care, here in the U.S. of A.?  Because the same thing could happen to us.  At some point, our debt load could pass an as-yet-unknown, magic threshold that makes investors feel insecure.  Once the investors start to demand high interest rates as a result, our problems with balancing the budget get immeasurably worse.

It’s boring and depressing to think about such things.  That’s why President Obama doesn’t focus on our debt problems, and Congress is happy to ignore them, too.  We’re whistling past the graveyard, and in the meantime the spending and debt accumulation continues without any let-up — and the dominoes in Europe keep toppling.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2011

Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror, and therefore it’s time to focus on the next holiday on the horizon.  So, while others are out tussling with fellow shoppers on Black Friday, my thoughts turn to . . . Christmas cookies.

Every year I try to make something different.  I’d love to hear from anyone who has a good recipe they’d be willing to share.  In the meantime, I’ll be scouting.  This one sounds interesting, tasty, and a bit challenging, besides:

Holiday Nut Horns

Ingredients:  Dough:  1 envelope yeast; 1 cup sour cream; 3 egg yolks; 1 teaspoon vanilla; 1 pound stick margarine softened; 5 cups flour.  Filling:  1/2 pound ground walnuts; 1/2 pound ground pecans; 1 stick butter, melted; 1/3 cup sugar; 1/4 cup honey; 1 teaspoon vanilla; confectioner’s sugar.

Dough:  Combine yeast and sour cream.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.  Stir in margarine.  Mix in flour by hand.  Form dough into seven patties.  Wrap each in plastic and refrigerate at least overnight or up to 2 days.

Baking:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Thoroughly mix nuts, butter, sugar, honey, and vanilla.  Sprinkle confectioner’s sugar on a clean surface.  Take one patty of dough and roll out to a 1/8-inch thick round.  Cut into 16 wedges.  Place 1 teaspoon filling on the wide end of each wedge.  Roll up into crescent shape.  Place point side down on baking sheets.  Bake 20-25 minutes, until light brown.

Calling For Christmas Cookie Recipes — 2009

Calling For Christmas Cookie Receipts — 2010

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

Yesterday was the greatest day ever.  I mean it!  Young Master is back.  The Wrestler is back.  Our place was filled with new members of the pack.

And there was so much food!  There was food everywhere.  Crumbs were on the floor, and I ate them all.  I found plates I could reach, and I ate what was left on them.  And when I stared at people, they gave me food.  Boy, did they ever!  It worked every time.  Especially with the Wrestler.

When the new members of the pack left, there were plates and pots everywhere.  I ate what I could.  And then I wasn’t hungry anymore.  Seriously!  So I went to sleep.  And that was good, too.

This morning, I woke up, and I was hungry again.