Wednesday, July 01, 2015

President Obama digs Black Keys


Akron’s Black Keys got a shout-out during President Barack Obama’s Twitter Q&A Wednesday afternoon.

The stated subject of #AskPOTUS was health care, but when asked “what’s your favorite song of the moment?” @POTUS replied: “was listening to outkast/liberation and the black keys/lonely boy this morning.”

The band promptly responded: “@POTUS Can we use Air Force One for our upcoming gigs?”

No word on whether Obama dances with the vigor of the dude in the Lonely Boy video when he’s jamming.

Well, we all know that President Obama can sing “Amazing Grace.”

The Black Keys, who are piling up Grammys for their records, are Patrick Carney, son of retired BJ reporter Jim Carney, and Dan Auerbach, Patrick’s Firestone High classmate when both were budding musicians.
Now they do world concert tours when waves don’t slam Patrick into the sand and put him out of commission.
Doesn't Downing make a dashing figure in his delightful Del Sol?

Downing’s Del Sol a delightful drive

Retired BJ printer Hugh Downing looked like a movie star as he tooled his 1995 Honda del Sol convertible onto 1970s State Desk reporter Paula Stone Tucker’s home in The Villages, Florida.

Actually, it belongs to his wife, Sharon Downing, but she’s visiting their son, Mark Downing, in Erie, Pennsylvania, so Hugh got his turn behind the wheel before Sharon flies back to Florida on Sunday.

Sharon purchased the Del Sol for $18,000 in 1995. When sales went from 25,748 in 1993 to 21,075 in 1994 to 14,021 in 1995, 8,489 in 1996 and 5,603 in 1997, Honda saw the handwriting on the wall and discontinued the model.

The 5-speed Del Sol has a removable metal roof that you plunk in the trunk. It’s more like a giant sun roof than the usual convertible with the retractable top that leaves nothing but the windshield to block the wind.

“It’s been a good car,” Hugh said, “and quite fast.” Hugh said he once got it up to 90 or 95 mph, “then I got scared.” Even though they are 20 years old I found 1995 Del Sol's selling for $4,000. Apparently they have a small but devoted following.
Hugh and Sharon, who wed in 1960, have been living in The Villages for 15 years.
Paula and John Olesky get together with the Downings when they winterize to escape Tallmadge blustery days. Hugh and John played golf together every week when Paula and John were renting in The Villages January-March 2015.
Paula liked The Villages so well that she bought a home there, which she is fixing up. That’s what she was doing in June when Hugh drove up to help out with a few things.

The Downings lived in the city of Medina during Hugh’s BJ days. They had three houses there, one at a time, including one they built on three-fourths of an acre.
Then came the lure of The Villages, where you have to be 55 years old to buy a house, and where every day is playday – golf, free concerts and dancing in several town squares every night of the year, card games, pickleball (ping pong paddles on a tennis court), 2,200 clubs for every hobby imaginable.

It is Disneyland for senior citizens. There are 114,000 residents with 50,000 golf carts that are used to get around the town and around the 47 golf courses. I’ve been to 52 countries and 43 states and I’ve never seen anything like it.
More about the Honda Civic del Sol:

It was a 2-seater front-engined, front wheel drive, targa (removable metal) top. Based on the Honda Civic platform, the del Sol was the successor to the Honda CR-X. It debuted in 1992 in Japan and the United Kingdom, and 1993 in the United States.

Starting with the 1995 models, Honda dropped the 'Civic' name from the del Sol in the Americas. In Europe, the del Sol tag was dropped in 1995, and the car was known as the new CR-X.

Production and sales ended with the 1997 model in the U.S. and 1998 elsewhere, with a total of about 75,000 vehicles sold in America.

Beth Hertz surgery went well

Beth, Josh, Alyssa, David
Beth Thomas Hertz, former page drawer and copy editor at the BJ, is doing well after surgery.

David Hertz, former BJ business editor and her husband, writes:
“This is David Hertz taking dictation. Beth asked me to share with everyone that her surgery went well. The surgeon removed a bone spur and the bursa sack and, fortunately, the rotator cuff was fine. The best possible outcome. Thank you for all your kind words. It means a lot. For now, she is resting comfortably thanks to pain medication and begins physical therapy next week.”
Dave left Ol’ Blue Walls in 2006 after 15 years to become vice president of Dix & Eaton, a Cleveland firm, in the media relations department. Before the BJ, he was at a Knight-Ridder paper in Boca Raton for five years.
Beth and Dave is the classic office romance. When they wed Oct. 23, 1933 in the Akron Civic Theater, a crowd from the BJ was there.
They live in Copley with their children, Alyssa and Josh.

BJ Reference Library retiree Sandy Bee met Glenn Lynn at a summer meeting of a winter skiing club that traveled to Put-in-Bay at a time when the only skiing possible was on the water.

Sandy and Glenn were in the club for about a year, but never went beyond a nodding acquaintance.

But something clicked in Put-In-Bau that summer. Today, July 1, they are celebrating their 26th wedding anniversary. 

Since they belonged to a ski club, it seemed natural that they went skiing in the Tyrolian Alps of Austria on a delayed honeymoon.

Sandy plays viola and Glenn plays the saxophone in the New Horizons band in Cuyahoga Falls.

Writes Sandy:

“Happy 26th Anniversary to my Glenn. It's been a wonderful ride. Love you the most!!!”

Sandy survived a 2009 head-on traffic accident caused by an unlicensed, uninsured driver in a stolen car who is still in the Ohio penitentiary for his dastardly deed.

After her exit from Ol’ Blue Walls, Sandy spent eight years at the Orrville and Wadsworth libraries. She lives in Doylestown with Glenn.

Sandy was divorced and began her college life at age 30 as the mother of two children.
Sandy’s father, Henry Fuller, parachuted into France on D-Day. He was among 126 survivors of the 792 who jumped with the 502nd on The Longest Day. There’s an exhibit about Henry in the MAPS (Military Aircraft Preservation Museum) just off Akron/Canton Airport.  Henry and Arline Mitchell Fuller were Sandy’s parents.

If you want to congratulate her and Glenn, her email address is or you can go on her Facebook page.



Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mark Mark marches to Columbus on Wednesday
PD and former BJ entertainment critic Mark Dawidziak will take his national tour to Columbus on Wednesday, July 1.
He’ll perform at the Thurber House, 77 Jefferson Avenue, from 5:30 to 9 p.m. That’s the historic former home of author, humorist and New Yorker cartoonist James Thurber, who, to my knowledge, has not been impersonated by Dawidziak. Maybe that’s for another show someday.
Mark has been at this critic stuff for more than 35 years, including when I was his editor in the Features Department at Ol’ Blue Walls.
Mark looks like Mark Twain’s twin brother, or a reincarnation of Samuel Langhorne Clemens himself, and does a Twain show and writes a Twain book about every 30 days, or so it seems.
Dawidziak first became Twain at age 22. He’s a lot older than that now.
His latest book is “Mark Twain's Guide to Diet, Exercise, Beauty, Fashion, Investment, Romance, Health and Happiness.” That’s his 12th book.
He squeezed a book about “Columbo” in there somewhere. My shining moment was when Peter Falk phoned and wanted to talk to Mark.
I explained that Mark wasn’t there, chatted a bit, and said, “One more thing . . . “ Falk laughed as if he had never heard anyone use Columbo’s famous line to him before. Hey, I take my brushes with fame where I can get them.
Mark came to the BJ from Tennessee and brought along his show-biz wife, Sara Showman, who often joins him in their performances at every library that will have them. They founded the Largely Literary Theatre Company in 2002.
When they need a Twain break, they break out in Edgar Allan Poe or Charles Dickens performances.
Dawidziak also has been the featured speaker at the Mark Twain Museum in Buffalo and the keynote speaker at the National Endowment for the Arts Big Read initiatives devoted to Twain.
And the other nationally known Twainer, actor Hal Holbrook, puts his arm around Dawidziak for frequent photo ops with a giant picture in the background beTwain them.
Dawidziak this month performed at the Mark Twain House & Museum in Hartford, Connecticut. He got a standing ovation. Either that or there was a stampede to get out the door.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Droning on about the new journalism

During my 43-year newspaper career drones referred to the privates who kept the newspapers humming while the generals huffed and puffed about the big picture.

Apparently drone has a new meaning, and not even one that President Obama has made us and ISIS familiar with.

Cathy Strong
Let 1970s State Desk reporter Cathy Robinson Strong, who’s been in New Zealand since the dinosaurs first died out, explain:

“Hey old journo friends, here is a little student production on the drone journalism course I'm teaching at Massey. When we were new journalists did we dream of having to use drone cameras .... or of having to produce slideshows like this one as part of our everyday work at newspapers, even community newspapers, as well as all other platforms?”

Cathy created the journalism masters degree program at Massey University in Wellington, which is within commuting distance of her beach home on the Kapiti Coast’s Te Horo Beach. 

Cathy taught journalism to the daughters of royal families in Dubai for three years before returning to New Zealand.

When she’s not teaching, Cathy snowboards down mountains, travels around the world and gets a ton of fun out of life.

If you go to her Facebook page, you can watch the video example of the drone Cathy refers to it. It’s not us at Ol’ Blue Walls. The world has changed.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Singer Joe Cocker dies

Joe Cocker, the British blues-rock singer whose raspy voice brought plaintive soul to such hits as "You Are So Beautiful" and "Up Where We Belong," his duet with Jennifer Warnes from the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman," died Monday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 70.

Cocker's performing career spanned some 50 years, from Woodstock, where he sang the Beatles' "With a Little Help From My Friends," to the digital-music era. He had tour dates scheduled well into 2015.

His Grease Band recorded "With a Little Help From My Friends" in 1968.

By the 1970s his descent into drugs and alcohol had become so severe that he sometimes forgot the lyrics to songs

Photo gallery of mass killers

CNN's web site has a photo array of mass killers in American history.

I suspect some nutcase is out there scheming to join this horrific Hall of Fame.

I’m not naming names, but if your curiosity gets the better of you, click on

Mark Twain is alive and well and living in Ohio

Mark Twain has been reincarnated and kept his given name. Hell, if they were standing together I couldn’t tell them apart.
Ohio humorist Mark Dawidziak, PD and former BJ culture critic, wrote:

“Early this morning, I said to Becky, ‘Yes, my dear, it's your 19th birthday, and you know what that means.’

“Without missing a beat, she immediately said, ‘The 49th anniversary of 'Dark Shadows'?
"Right!,’ I shouted back. Tell me I didn't raise this child with the proper influences.

"Dark Shadows’ did, indeed, premiere on June 27, 1966, and Becky was, indeed, born on the 30th anniversary.”

Oh, mein Papa.
For those who didn’t get the joke, which Mark D. probably did, “O mein Papa” is a German song about a young woman remembering her clown father. If the roast fits . . . toss it on the barbie!
Also born on June 27:

Helen Keller, Ross Perot, King Louis XII, Ohio’s own Paul Laurence Dunbar, Willie Mosconi, Captain Kangaroo (Bob Keeshan), fellow Pole Krzysztof Kieslowski and Tobey Maguire. Becky is in distinguished company.

But don’t tell her she shares a birthday with Khloe Kardashian.

That’s a photo of former BJ reporter Janis Froelich enjoying a Tampa Bay Rays baseball game in St. Petersburg’s Tropicana Stadium, which changes names more often than I change underwear. It began as the Florida Suncoast Dome and then switched to the ThunderDome before settling on Tropicana Park.
The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are neck-and-neck with the New York Yankees in this year’s American League East division standings. The Cleveland Indians also in a neck-and-neck race, but with the Chicago White Sox for last place in the American League Central division.

The woman sitting next to Janice amid Boston Red Sox fans, no less, Michelle Bearden, explains the headgear:
“Ladies night at the Trop! Free Rays cowboy hats. With longtime buddy Janis Froelich, a true baseball fan! Let's crush those Red Sox!”

When you go to a game at the Trop, besides catching sunrays you also can feed and/or pet the 30 devil rays roaming in a 10,000-gallon tank, among the 10-largest in America. If you don’t count the swimming rays, the Trop capacity is 40,473.

When I walked into Ol’ Blue Walls for the first time in 1969, as a new State Desk hire courtesy of Ben Maidenburg’s generosity to a guy who had been fired at the Dayton Daily News for his union activities, I looked around (remember, this was in my male chaunist days; I’ve gotten better since) and thought: “Damn, that Janis Froelich and Joan Rice are the hottest babes in this newsroom!”
Joan and I later had desks next to each other in the Features Department before we both retired, me in 1996 to Cuyahoga Falls and later Tallmadge, and Joan to her Rootstown sanctuary with a retired cop, Larry Momchilov. Joan, Mark Dawidziak and Bob Dyer are probably my closest friends from my BJ days.

In 2010 Janis published "My Life Looking Back at a Murder. A Disparate Story About the 57th PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club," about her friend, Linda McClain, who was volunteering with Janis at the 57th PGA Championship at Firestone Country Club in 1974.
Janis’ Kent State roommate at one time was Paula Slimak, a former PD reporter. Janis grew up in an 1853 farmhouse right off Hudson's downtown Main Street. She’s been married for almost two decades to St. Petersburg photographer Ray Bassett, owner of Maddock Photography. Well, he has a great live-in model (there’s that latent chauvinism creeping in again).

Nowadays, Janis writes, “I mostly babysit two granddaughters, Halle, 9, and Clare, 6. Larry Froelich, another BJ Alum, is my ex-husband and the proud grandfather of these two.”

Friday, June 26, 2015

Linda & Jerome Jones
41 years?

You’re out

Of here!

Jerome Jones has retired after 41 years at the Beacon Journal.

He worked at Accounts Payable, Payroll and Finance Department/Manager of Mail Services.

His co-workers threw one party on Thursday for Jerome and wife Linda. But there will be another party in the JSK room at Ol’ Blue Walls at 3 p.m. Monday, June 29.
You can eat, chat and stare at John S. Knight’s typewriter. Some think his spirit still lives in it.
Fabulous owner; best I ever had in my 43-year newspaper career that included six stops.

Posted Cheryl Scott Sheinin: “You were a pleasure to work with and more of a pleasure to know.”
Kudos, Jerome! I retired from the BJ in 1996 and I can assure you that you will be having a blast for the next 41 years!
Patrick Macnee
Bowler hat “Avengers” star dies

British actor Patrick Macnee, John Steed the 1961-69 “The Avengers” TV spy series, died at his home in California's Rancho Mirage at the age of 93.

He’s the lucky dude who had Dame Diana Rigg as his right-hand woman. And, for variety, Honor Blackman and Linda Thorson, who said: "He was the best-dressed man on television and a nudist in real life." Jolly good fun, Patrick!

At the age of 11, he acted in Henry V opposite a young Sir Christopher Lee. He first appeared in the West End while still in his teens.

Macnee returned when that series was reprised as “The New Avengers” in the 1970s.

He also appeared in the 1985 James Bond film “A View to a Kill,” playing an ally of Roger Moore's Bond character.

Macnee had a top 10 hit in 1990, with “Kinky Boots” -- a novelty song recorded with Avengers co-star Honor Blackman.

He said of “The Avengers”: “It started really bad and then it really developed.”

He was married three times, including to actress Katherine Woodville, with whom he acted in “The Avengers.”  Macnee became a U.S. citizen in 1959.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Serial killer stalking Chillicothe?

Chillicothe, once the capital of Ohio, is becoming the latest serial killer capital of Ohio.

At least six, and maybe nine, women – nearly all prostitutes – have gone missing. Most of them were found in Chillicothe’s rivers.

In a little over a year, six Chillicothe women went missing. Four were found dead. Nearby homicides are being investigated for possible connections to the Chillicothe serial killer.

That’s a lot of dead and missing women for a town of 21,000.

Kenneth Buell,  ex-boyfriend of one of the victims and the father of their two children, said that Chillicothe “is not safe The last five, six, seven years it’s gone to hell. You can’t walk around by yourself, especially females.”