Card Family

This weekend we had a blast up at Put-In-Bay, thanks to the generous hospitality of Mr. and Mrs. Gleeful Retiree.  Saturday night eight of us sat down to play a little euchre tournament, with team pairings that changed every five hands.  It was a lot of fun.

luep0gEuchre is a great game for that setting, because each player is dealt only five cards.  As a result, every hand is over quickly, so if you get a crappy hand — which unfortunately happens from time to time — it’s only a matter of a few minutes before you get a new one that hopefully isn’t filled with nines and tens.  And there’s never a gap in table talk, either, because each hand offers opportunities to chat about the cards, the hand just played, the lay-down loner you didn’t get to call, and your run of ridiculous, inexplicable bad luck.

It’s the first time I’ve played euchre in a while, and it brought back a lot of memories.  I come from a card family, and both Mom and Dad’s families were card families, too.  For as long as I can remember, cards were a huge part of the Webner family dynamic.  Kids progressed through the card game difficulty spectrum — starting with war, moving on to hearts, spades, gin rummy, and euchre, and finally getting up to cribbage and bridge.  On  family vacations, there always was a nightly euchre tournament where different combinations of uncles, cousins, and grandparents paired off for some friendly competition and bragging rights, and taunting was the order of the day.  The bad jokes and gibes around the card tables at those euchre tournaments are some treasured memories and helped to make my childhood a little richer.

Some families are card families, some families aren’t.  I’m glad I was from a card family.  Richard and Russell are good card players, and we’ve had some good times playing cards together.  I’m happy they’re carrying on the family tradition.

Sad Sign

IMG_3264When I was up at Put-In-Bay several weeks ago, I walked to a park and found a nice group of colorful kayaks set against a rocky beach, with one of the island outcroppings and a pretty blue sky behind.  It made for a nice picture.

But . . . what’s that sign say, just above the “Have fun on the water” green triangle?

IMG_3268It’s a sign advising people not to drink Lake Erie water and cautioning about the potential presence of blue-green algae toxins.  The sign helpfully advises people to avoid water that looks like spilled paint, or is covered with scum or film, or has “green globs” floating just below the surface.  That’s useful information when you’re going out in one of those brightly colored kayaks, I guess, although it sure would put a damper on my ability to “have fun on the water.”

Ohio actually has a website that provides more information about “harmful algae blooms” and their potentially toxic effects on human skin, livers, and nervous systems.  The blooms are caused by excess nutrients, consisting primarily of phosphorus and nitrogen, that run off into the lake from fertilized farm fields and feed the algae.  The nutrient run-off and the algae blooms is a problem not only for Lake Erie, but also for a bunch of other lakes and ponds in Ohio — including the pond on the Yantis Loop here in New Albany.

Lake Erie is vastly improved from what it was in the ’60s, when I remember taking a boat ride in the lake with grade school classmates and being amazed at how filthy it looked and how terrible it smelled.  Careful regulation of pollutants, efforts to keep invasive species out, and other initiatives have had a significant positive impact.  As the sad sign on the Put-In-Bay shore indicates, however, there is still more work to do.

P-I-B Sunrise

The Gleeful Retiree and his lovely wife graciously invited me to join a group for a visit to their beautiful Put-In-Bay place on the shores of Lake Erie this weekend. We stayed up to the wee hours last night, talking and catching up, and I slept with the windows open, enjoying the breeze and the ever-present murmurs of the Lake in the background. I think you never sleep so well as you do around water.

Today dawned bright and clear, to the accompaniment of gull cries, surf sounds, and the whistle of a brisk wind.


Those of us in Ohio have always known that The Ohio State University Marching Band is the Best Damn Band In The Land.  Now, thanks to the Bus Riding Conservative and this video showing the band skimming across the waters of Lake Erie on their way to a celebration of the War of 1812 at Put-in-Bay, we know that TBDBITL is also TBDBOTW.

Mike “Mad Dog” Adams

I made my second trip up to Put in Bay in the past couple of months and got a chance to be part of the “Gangl Gang” (my good friend Keli’s parents, their friends and some of her family). Each year the “gang” goes to see comedian/singer Mike “Mad Dog” Adams (see picture below) at the Roundhouse Bar (known for serving draft beer in buckets similar to a bar called Papa Joe’s on High Street year’s ago).

I really like Put in Bay because it reminds me of my Florida Spring Break days when I was younger, but for adults. You have those of all ages having a few adult beverages and letting their hair down including some celebrities (Elvis, Santa and the Grinch where in attendance when we were there). Most of the people in the “Gangl Gang” were over age fifty while Keli, her sister and both their husbands are in there mid to late twenties.

Mad Dog’s motto is “everyday above ground is a good day” and when he mentions his motto the audience is to respond by repeating it. Mad Dog has been making patrons laugh at the Roundhouse Bar and elsewhere since the early 80’s and he reminds me alot of a modern day Don Rickles. His routine consists of heckling the crowd while playing the guitar and singing a few songs.

Just a few pointers before you go see Mad Dog. Get a seat at the Roundhouse or wherever you are watching him before he starts playing because once he starts he keeps an eye on the door and all those who enter whether male or female will be subject to the question he poses to the crowd, “gay” or “straight” ? Of course, the crowd always answered “gay” to each and every individual who enters.

When patrons are leaving the bar he will often say “Hey wait, don’t leave I can play folk songs” and will break into the chorus of Danny’s Song (even though we ain’t got money) with the audience joining in. When Mad Dog gets a shot of alcohol while singing his songs his response is always “Looks like its time for a toast” to which all reply “Ziggy Zaggy, Ziggy Zaggy, Hoi, Hoi, Hoi” !

Mad Dog is totally hilarious and a very good time was had by all. I highly recommend seeing Mad Dog at least once in your lifetime if your not easily offended. Many thanks to Roberta and Kirk for inviting me !