A Welcome To Buckeye Nation, And A Pledge

Today is National Letter of Intent Signing Day!  I use initial caps, because for college football fans, it’s a Big Day.  The recruiting wars are finally ended, and the fans of each school count up the number of two-star, three-star, four-star, and five-star athletes who will be joining their teams.  By all accounts, Ohio State, its head coach Urban Meyer, and his hard-working assistants did pretty well this year.  Ezekiel Elliott, whose announcement that he will become a Buckeye is shown here, is one of the more heralded members of the Ohio State class.

When I think of National Letter of Intent Day, however, I think of kids, and their parents.  A high school student who is a stud athlete is still a high school student.  They may run faster, and bench press more, and catch footballs better than your ordinary kids, but deep down they are the same mass of raging hormones that you find in every kid of that age.  They are making a huge decision that could have tremendous, long-term consequences for their lives — and they and their parents are hoping that they make the right decision.  It’s a huge, emotional matter for any high school student about to go away from home to college.  Just imagine what it must be like for a kid who not only is leaving the cocoon of their family, but moving into new territory where their every move will be scrutinized and deconstructed by rabid college football fans.

So, on this National Letter of Intent Signing Day, I want to welcome all of the young men who have committed to come to The Ohio State University — but I especially want to welcome their parents to the family that is Buckeye Nation.

I also want to make this pledge to those parents:  no matter how high the athletic stakes, how big the game, or how colossal the blunder, I will always strive to remember that we are talking about young people here.  I will try to bear in mind that everyone makes mistakes, that we all have committed youthful indiscretions that we regret, and that people can mature and grow and shouldn’t be forever defined by a single, ill-advised decision.  I will always seek to give your kids the benefit of the doubt, just as I would hope that other parents would do with my kids. I suspect I’m not alone in this, so please remember that, for every fan who goes over the top there are dozens, if not hundreds, who support your youngster and wish only the best for him.

Welcome to Buckeye Nation!

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Truly Supreme

IMG_3054Today I went over to the Ohio Supreme Court to listen to an oral argument.  While there, I had the chance to enjoy the Supreme Court courtroom and many other splendid features of the Ohio Judicial Center, which was called the Ohio Departments Building when it first opened in 1933.

The building is a graceful structure that is chock full of beautiful features and distinctive touches, and the Supreme Court courtroom is one of the highlights.  It is a magnificent venue for an oral argument before Ohio’s highest court, with walls and ceilings covered with historical murals and classical scenes, rich carpeting and wall hangings, and fine furnishings.  When I was there this morning a high school class was there to watch the argument, and while I thought the students might have been bored by the subject matter — which involved the standards for certifying a case as a class action under Ohio law — they could easily occupy their time gaping at the room.  It definitely conveys the majesty of the law.

There’s a marked contrast between the current courtroom and its immediate predecessor, which was located a few blocks away in the Rhodes Tower.  The Rhodes Tower is a prime example of soulless modern architecture, and the Supreme Court courtroom was a cold, drab, unadorned room that was filled with stone and sharp angles.  The old courtroom always made me feel as if the Politburo was ready to walk out, give a perfunctory wave to the proletariat, and then pronounce judgment on the latest five-year plan.  The “new” courtroom — which of course is older than the “old” courtroom — is a vast improvement.

On my visit today I took some photos of the refurbished building and its trappings.  Above is a picture of the Supreme Court bench and counsel tables, and below is some of the terrific artwork found on the ceiling of the courtroom.  I’ll post some more pictures of the building over the next few days.

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The Icemaker Goeth

The ice maker in our refrigerator is unquestionably the most fickle appliance in the Webner household.

IMG_3047Its task is straightforward:  chilled water flows into molds and freezes into ice, gears turn and the ice cubes are dumped into a bin, and when you hit the ice button a metal coil turns and pushes the ice cubes down the chute into your waiting glass.  And, most of the time, the ice maker happily performs its humble task without incident.  But deep within its metal gearbox beats a malevolent heart.  The ice maker somehow senses when you must have ice — I mean, really need it, because you are hosting a cocktail party, or have to fill a big cooler for a tailgate party, or need ice to load up a chilled, anti-swelling medical device — and suddenly, it inexplicably stops working.  The ice maker then stoutly resists your mystified attempts to get it working again, scoffing at your feeble taps on its side or your fiddling with the wire ice level detector.

So, you show up at the neighborhood convenience store at odd hours, in dress not suited to the neighborhood convenience store, and buy two big bags of ice for $8.98.  $8.98!  For cubes of frozen water in a cheap plastic sack!  And the fat, sloppy, stoned guy behind the register looks at you like you are crazy for buying ice, or  are pathetic because you are too mechanically inept to fix a simple ice maker.  And then you live without ice for a time, thinking that you don’t really need ice . . . but after a steady diet of lukewarm soda you relent, call the repairman, and he shows up, takes a quick look, makes some furtive internal adjustment, then charges you $129.00 for a service call.

And the ice maker chuckles an evil chuckle.