Nice Try, Oregon (Ohio)

When I worked at the Toledo Blade more than 30 years ago, I had to go to Oregon, Ohio — a T-town suburb — once or twice.  Frankly, I don’t remember much about the place.

Some people in that town, though, had a good idea after Ohio State’s victory over Alabama set up an Ohio State-Oregon national championship game.  They collected signatures of residents who wanted to show support for the Buckeyes by changing the town’s name for the day of the game, and their idea garnered a fair amount of national attention — more national attention, in fact, than Oregon, Ohio has received since, well, ever.  At first the Mayor evidently nixed the idea, but then he came around.  Unfortunately, the new name that somebody came up with was “Oregon, Ohio:  Buckeyes on the Bay, City of Duck Hunters.”

Uh, what?  If you wanted to come up with a better example of a city name selected by some kind of mealy-mouthed committee compromise political process, you’d be hard-pressed to top that supremely lame effort.  A prudent rule of thumb is that any city name that requires a colon and a comma per se sucks.  It’s supposed to be the name of a town, not the name of a law review article.

I applaud the initiative of those Ohio State fans who came up with the idea.  As for the politicians who got involved and came up with the new “name”?  Never mind.

The Penny Chronicles

My name is Penny.

IMG_4513I’ll tell you one thing about our new place that Kasey and I really like — there are a lot of dogs around.  When we are going for a walk, there are dog smells everywhere.  I mean, EVERYWHERE!  There are dog smells on the brick sidewalks, and dog smells on the trees, and dog smells on the little metal fences, and dog smells on the sides of buildings.  And we all know that nothing smells better than a dog.  I could sniff dog smells all day long!

And then there is this big park that is like dog heaven.  Every time we’ve gone there we’ve seen lots and lots of dogs walking with members of their pack.  We’ve seen spaniels and boxers, dachshunds and Corgis, Great Danes and little yapper dogs.  There are even kinds of dogs that I’ve never seen before.  And somewhere, we’ve heard, there is a special dog named Mitzi who is the queen dog of them all.

There were some dogs who lived near our old place, like my friend Sassy, but I bet this new place has more dogs than just about anywhere else in the whole world.  It makes makes Kasey and me feel proud to be part of it.  And, for some reason, it also makes me feel hungry.  But then, I am always hungry!

The Wrath Of Gorgon

I had heard that we were due for some cold weather and snow today, so I checked the Weather Channel website to try to get some details on timing of the snowfall.  There I learned that it wasn’t just any snowstorm heading our way — it is winter storm Gorgon that is bearing down on us and will be bringing heavy snow and a few days of bitter cold.


Apparently last year’s constant discussion of one “polar vortex” after another wasn’t sufficient.  “Polar vortex” apparently is too abstract.  Now we’ve started naming those brutal winter storms, just like we name hurricanes and typhoons.  And we’re not messing around and giving them regular people’s names, either.  Instead, we’re giving them names of monstrous creatures from Greek mythology whose glance could turn a person to stone.

This is a good idea, when you think about it.  If you want people to bundle up against the approaching cold, telling them about winter storm “Ernie” probably isn’t going to do it.  But limiting winter storm names to terrible inhuman beings from Greek and Roman mythology is too limiting; given the regular appearance of bad winter storms, eventually we’re going to run out of names, just as has happened with naming celestial objects.

So I suggest sprinkling in some popular culture references, too.  Let’s start with the names of James Bond villains, Star Trek evildoers, and comic book and movie supervillains.  Oh, yes — we’d definitely pay attention to news about winter storm Draco, polar vortex Khan, snowstorm Ultron, or the approaching icy clutches of Megatron.