When Four “i”s Get Dotted

IMG_3114I took a friend to his first-ever game at the Ohio Stadium today.  He got to see the Buckeyes beat up on a hapless Kent State team, 66-0, and was introduced to all of the great traditions that surround Ohio State football.

Although he was impressed by the football team’s score, what really blew him away was The Best Damn Band In The Land.  It was alumni band weekend, and 800 of the former members of TBDBITL returned for a chance to march and play on hallowed ground once more.  When they marched in before the start of the game, the alumni bandies covered the entire field.  And whew!  What a massive, colossal sound when about a thousand brass instruments and drums start to play I Want To Go Back To Ohio State in unison!

The band’s show ended with the quadruple Script Ohio — three of which were performed by alumni band members.  When the 4 “i”s got dotted and the sousaphone players bowed to the crowd, the place went up for grabs.

Here’s a sign of how much Ohio State fans like their band.  At halftime, people actually stay in their seats to watch the band’s show.  It’s only in the few minutes between the end of the band’s show and the start of the second half that there’s a mad stampede for the bathrooms.

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Word Games About War

The Obama Administration has an amazing, almost uncanny ability to stub its toe on the most ludicrous things imaginable.  The latest weird distraction involves whether our campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is a “war.”

Secretary of State John Kerry took pains, in two separate interviews, to say that “war is not the right terminology” to describe the U.S. actions against ISIS, which instead will be a “major counterterrorism operation.”  National Security Advisor Susan Rice similarly resisted describing the operation as a “war.”  The next day, however, a Pentagon spokesman and the White House Press Secretary both described the ISIS campaign as a “war.”

I’m guessing that what happened is this:  some political operative issued “talking points” that strongly discouraged using the word “war” because they don’t want Americans to think they’re going to see a repeat of the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.  But if you say you are going to destroy an an armed opponent, as President Obama said of ISIS in his speech this week, what you are talking about obviously is a war.  Quibbling about words makes the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor look like political flacks rather than the thoughtful, above-the-fray stewards of American foreign policy.

This is another instance, too, where the words can have real-world consequences.  America is trying to build a coalition of countries to fight ISIS.  If you are the leader of one of those countries that is considering joining the coalition, and you are trying to decide whether you can trust the United States, what message about long-term American commitment do you draw from the silly wrangling about whether the U.S. actions are a “war” or a “major counterterrorism operation”?  If you’re trying to decide whether to deploy your scarce military and economic resources, and potentially make your country a target of a brutal group of Islamic terrorists, do you want to rely on an ally that is inexplicably pussyfooting around about whether it is fighting a “war”?

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

The Leader has been gone the last few days, which means we’re stuck with the old boring guy,  That means no snuggling, no kisses, and no treats thrown to us when the Leader leaves the house.  The old boring guy doesn’t do any of that good stuff.

IMG_3064Kasey and I sure do miss the Leader!

When the old boring guy is in charge, we know he’s going to take for a long morning walk.  And when I say long, I mean long!  It takes forever!

But there is one good thing about it.  The old boring guy always walks by one of my favorite places and let’s me stop and have a good sniff around.  I love that little stretch of fence and patch of ground.  I’m not sure why.  I’ve been stopping there since I first joined the pack, smelling the smell and leaving my own sign for any dogs that might follow.

And in the morning, like this morning, when it is cool and dark and peaceful, this little patch of grass and fence is a wonderful place.  When I come home and lie down on the kitchen floor, sometimes I think about it.  And then, eventually, I get hungry.