Dotting The i At “The Game”

If you are a Sousaphone player in Ohio, you have one overriding dream:  to one day dot the i in Script Ohio.

Script Ohio is one of the most revered traditions of the Ohio State University Marching Band — commonly known, without exaggeration, as The Best Damn Band In The Land.  In fact, Script Ohio may be the most famous band maneuver in the world.  Starting from the form of a square, the band plays “Le Regiment” and follows the drum major in order to spell out “Ohio” in cursive letters, as if the word were being written by a giant hand.  The climax comes when the drum major leads one of the senior Sousaphone player out to dot the i.  The Sousaphone player high steps out, removes his or her hat, and does a deep bow to make the dot as Ohio Stadium roars its approval.

As great as it is to dot the i, the real cherry is to dot the i in Script Ohio during The Game — Ohio State’s annual grudge match against the Michigan Wolverines. I’ve actually met the Sousaphonist who will have that tremendous honor, and the nationally televised thrill of a lifetime, during Saturday’s Big Game.  Her name is Jocelyn Smallwood, and her parents are Carl and Connie Smallwood.  TBDBITL is a strict meritocracy, and Jocelyn has worked hard to earn the acclamation that will come with dotting the i at the Michigan game.  Among the more than 100,000 screaming fans will be many members of the extended Smallwood clan, cheering Jocelyn on as she prances out to Sousaphone immortality.

Congratulations, Jocelyn!  (And Beat Michigan!)

The Telltale Sign Of The Fruit Bowl

Richard is home for the holidays, and tomorrow Russell will be joining us.  It will be grand, indeed, to have them both at home.

If Sherlock Holmes were visiting our house, he would know with one glance at the kitchen fruit bowl that the boys will soon be home.  They are healthy eaters — unlike me — and Kish always stocks up on fruit when they are due to arrive.  The bananas, apples, oranges, and other goodies not only allow for healthy eating, they also add some bright colors to the Thanksgiving festivities.

Trapped Mid-Tale

Help!  I’m trapped in the middle of George R.R. Martin’s monumental A Song of Ice and Fire series of novels!

I started reading the books after Kish and I enjoyed the first season of HBO’s Game of Thrones.  We got the first four books in paperback, and I read them at a good clip.  It took a while, because the books are huge — almost 1000 pages each.  Then I got the fifth book from the library and read it with pleasure.

I’m not a big fan of the fantasy genre, but these books aren’t your standard fantasy fare.  They are vast, sprawling, richly charactered, carefully plotted epics that drench you in the reality of this strange world where the seasons are out of whack and human development seemed to stop in the medieval era, where it has remained frozen and unchanging for millennia.  The books are fascinating just as works of fiction and are well worth reading.

But here’s the problem — the fifth book ends mid-story with cliffhangers galore, and the sixth book is nowhere in sight.  What’s more, the sixth book won’t be the end of the tale; a seventh book will follow.  And to give you an idea of how long I might be waiting, consider the publication dates of the first five books:  A Game of Thrones (1996), A Clash of Kings (1998), A Storm of Swords (2000), A Feast for Crows (2005), and A Dance with Dragons (2011).  It may be optimistic to think that the next book will be out before the next presidential election.

So I sit, with countless characters and subplots and storylines fresh in my head, knowing that I will lose the golden thread by the time the next book in the series appears.  I’ll have to go back and re-read those thousands of pages to get refreshed and ready for book six, and then when I finish the sixth book I’ll have to do it all over again when the seventh book appears sometime after I become eligible for Social Security.  O, sweet misery!

It’s ridiculous to pine for years for a book, but it’s the reality.  Martin has set the hook so firmly I can’t walk away.  I want to know how the story ends.

A Wonderful Little Book

A couple of weeks ago my spiritual friend Heather suggested that I read the book Life of Pi by Yann Martel and I highly recommend it. It’s a very quick read, but thought provoking none the less. The movie is coming out in 3D this coming Wednesday.

Piscine Patel is a teenage Indian boy who lives with his father and mother who are zoo owners. Often typical of ones childhood he decides to change his name to Pi because the other children ridicule him by calling him Pissing Patel. The first part of the book covers his life with his family, growing up around animals and most importantly his adventure into religion where he becomes a practicing Hindu, Christian and Muslim because he likes some of what each of the religion has to offer.

In the second part of the book Pi’s father decides the family should immigrate to Canada for a better life so they board a cargo ship bringing with them most of their animals to sell in North America. Unfortunately the cargo ship sinks, but Pi survives floating in the Pacific Ocean for two hundred and twenty seven days along with a hyena, a zebra, a orangutan and a tiger named Richard Parker. His efforts to survive and his interactions with the animals are quite interesting as he makes his way to the Mexican shoreline.

Toward the end of the book Pi is interviewed by Japanese maritime officials who are investigating the ships sinking, but they find Pi’s story with the animals almost too incredible to believe. So Pi’s offers these officials an entirely different version of the story and they are left to ponder which of the two versions are true.

Based on what I have read about the book on the internet the story in meant to have some religious underpinnings. The author, Yann Martel leaves the reader with the choice of believing Pi’s animal version of the story which would make them a religious believer, Pi’s alternative version which would make the reader an atheist or an agnostic if the reader can’t choose between the two versions.

Where do you come down ? I know where I do !