Monday, June 30, 2014

Black Keys a hit, again, in England

The Black Keys, with BJ retiree Jim Carney’s son, Patrick Carney, and Pat’s Firestone High friend, Dan Auerbach, got a good review from the Manchester Guardian for their Glastonbury Festival over the weekened at Worthy Farm in Pilton Somerset, England.

It was a return for the Black Keys to the place where they scored big four years ago.

To read the review, click on

SCOTUS’ scary split


You want to know what’s scary about today’s Supreme Court ruling on providing contraceptions for employees of closely held for-profit companies?

All five conservative justices appointed by Republican presidents ruled in favor. All four liberal justices appointed by Democratic presidents opposed the ruling.

The Constitution is not being interpreted based on what the Founding Fathers would do today. Rulings are being made based on ideology.

That means when you elect a President, and the Senators who ratify his Supreme Court appointments, you will decide whether future rulings will tilt to the left or right. 

Not whether they are what Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, John Jay and George Washington – as modern-day Supremes (and what a Court that would be!) -- would do today (a non-Christian approach to the What Would Tommy, Jimmy, Georgie and the Gang of Seven do? measuring stick).

Remember, only 12 Supreme Court nominations in American history have been rejected so the President – right or left – usually will get his man or woman, and ideology.

This left/right split in this country -- which includes the chasm in the Supreme Court, for God’s sake -- will have far more affect than whether a business with 50% of the stock in the hands of 5 or fewer people can not be forced to go against its moral values with its employees, or whether the government can intrude on their moral values.

If either side gets enough control, it could drive this nation over the cliff under the guise of "interpreting" the Constitution. 

Who wants that?

Ray Habyan, BJ maintenance retiree, emailed about the Supreme Court ruling that damages unionizing efforts, but to me it was more of a reflection on what a great and wise owner John S. Knight was. Newspapers may never know such a combination again.

Ray’s email:

The ruling of the Supreme Court is very interesting indeed.  Not only do employees not have to pay dues while belonging to a union (closely held companies), but those employees also reap the benefits of the bargaining unit they belong to in name only.  
I remember when I first started working at the Beacon Journal in Feb. of 74'.  I stepped into the elevator in the lobby and John S. Knight and I rode up to the 3rd floor together.  He knew I was a new employee, and asked me if I had any questions to ask him.  Since I had never belonged to a union until then, Guild Local, I asked him why I had to belong to a union.  

He hesitated for a moment, and then gave me a concise and very short answer.  "Because I would screw you the first chance I had."  Quite honest, and as we can see, quite true.  

Especially today.

Ray Habyan (hay-bee-un)
Guild member and Stewart 1974 - 1996 

It was John Knight, and not the ITU bargaining members, who came up with the idea of giving lifetime jobs to printers in exchange for unfettered access to technology improvements. 

I’ve talked to printers who were at the table that day. They were so astounded, and not wanting to appear too eager, so they huddled out of sight and hearing of management.

Their reaction: Geez, let’s not screw this up. Don’t salivate too much. Make sure they don’t take it back in other areas. Then “reluctantly” agree to it.

It was that very agreement that caused U.S. Federal District Court Judge David Dowd, sitting in Akron, to settle the printers/Guild retirees lawsuit in favor of the 50 retirees. As Judge David Dowd said, “You promised in writing. You can’t go back on that.”

That was JSK’s promise he ruled on.

And it cost the BJ more than $1 million to keep JSK’s word.

Tony Ridder was such a contrast. Looking back, I doubt Jack would have gotten into bed with Tony today. The stench would have been too unbearable.

As for Ray, after he left the BJ he worked for 17 years computer networking for Pink Jeep Tours in Arizona and today in the Akron area does free pencil drawings for the families of Gold Star military – those killed in action.

He says he’s doing fine with his 2012-installed Pacemaker, the thing that keeps your heart ticking properly. Ray and I both have the same problem: Heart rate so low that it causes you to get dizzy or pass out. The Pacemaker won’t let either one of us go below about 60 beats per minute. Barely know it’s implanted, too.

In my case, it lets me go like 90 (mph, that is) at 81 (years of age, that is).

God bless JSK. I never had a better owner in my 43 years on newspapers.

Sandy Bee Lynn, retired BJ Reference Librarian (1983-2001), and husband Glenn will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on Tuesday (July 1).

Writes Sandy:

“Loved him then. Still love him, maybe even more! Here’s to at least 25 more.”

Sandra Louise Bee Lynn, who tacked on 8 years of experience at the Orrville and Wadsworth libraries, lives in Doylestown with Glenn.

Both are in the New Horizons Band in Cuyahoga Falls, Sandy on viola with the strings and Glenn on saxaphone with the main band, which  performed Sunday at the St. Luke Retirement Facility in Portage Lakes.

They were wed July 1, 1989 and the couple went skiing in Austria the next year and lived to tell the tale of tromping through Tirolean landscapes.

Sandy’s father, Henry Fuller, who parachuted into France on D-Day, has an exhibit of him in the MAPS (Military Aircraft Preservation Museum) just off Akron/Canton Airport. It was dedicated in 2013. Pop was among 126 survivors of the 792 who jumped in the 502nd. Henry and Arline Mitchell Fuller were Sandy’s parents.

Sandy is a survivor, too. She lived through a head-on 2009 crash by a driver who was drunk, didn’t have a license and in a stolen car. He went to the Ohio penitentiary.

If you want to congratulate Sandy, her email address is
Facebook manipulates 700,000 users’ emotions

Facebook secretly manipulated news feeds of 700,000 users in 2012 to study “emotional contagion.”

Facebook, Cornell University and the University of California at San Francisco were in on the tactic together.

They wanted to see if the number of positive or negative words in messages they received affected the content in their status updates. It did. What a surprise!

"Emotional states can be transferred to others via emotional contagion, leading people to experience the same emotions without their awareness," the study authors wrote.

It could have been worse. Facebook says it has one billion active users. So it manipulated the minds of only 7% of them. Lucky us.

To read about this, click on

My thanks to 1970s BJ reporter Cathy Robinson Strong, who has lived in New Zealand for nearly four decades, for tipping me off about this outrage.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Akron pedals to honor

Akron has 13 miles of off-road trails, 9.5 miles of conventional bike lanes and 12.8 miles of shared bike lanes. 

That brought the city a bronze award from the American League of Bicyclists in May.

About 1 percent of Americans use the bicycle as a major transportation means, compared to 40 percent in European cities, such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

To read Bob Downing’s story in the BJ, click on

Friday, June 27, 2014

Curt Brown ends long performance at Uniontown church

Former BJ reporter J. Curt Brown struck his last chord as music director and organist/choirmaster at New Life Episcopal Church in Uniontown.
Curt Brown at the organ

Writes Curt, who went from covering unions for the BJ (1971-74) to working for the United Rubber Workers and the United Steelworkers for years:
 “It had become an appropriate time for me for this to come to a conclusion. I am grateful to my New Life Episcopal Church friends, choir members and retired or former clergy who made this such an edifying experience. I will miss the parishioners who treated me so kindly.”

Curt says he has no immediate plans to begin a third career.
Curt, 70, teaches piano and organ at his Highland Square home. He also does organ recitals. His mother and two sisters also played the piano.

Curt was city editor of the Charleston Gazette, West Virginia's largest newspaper, when the Marshall University plane carrying the football team, staff and supporters crashed in 1970 on its way back to Huntington after a game, wiping out the Thundering Herd's grid squad. 

Curt was in Charleston on a National Guard assignment when he met the wife of a Gazette editor during a visit to the Unitarian Fellowship. He wound up working for the Gazette. 

The next year, Curt came to the BJ. And later began his PR work for the unions.

Curt was captain of his high school swim team, and also competed in swimming at Baldwin-Wallace. He studied at Oberlin College, with its highly regarded College of Arts & Science Conservatory of Music.

J. Curtis Brown, Jr. is the son of Curt and Curt's late wife, Jolan "Jody" Moldvay Brown, who died in 1993.
New Franklin most boring in Ohio?

The 10 most boring places in Ohio, according to the Movoto web site, are

   1. New Franklin
2. Green
3. Trotwood
4. Sharonville
5. Springdale
6. Macedonia
7. Centerville
8. Clayton
9. Blue Ash
10. Oregon

During my Dayton Daily News days I covered basketball games in Trotwood Madison High’s and Clayton’s crazy-crowd Randolph High gyms. I always considered Centerville fairly upscale, although not as upscale as Kettering or Hudson. More like Aurora.

Sharonville seems like a quiet community near Middletown and Hamilton, which are more hardscrabble. Springdale’s main claim is the regional offices of Kroger.

Blue Ash lost a battle with Cincinnati that cost Blue Ash its airport in 2012. 

Oregon’s No. 1 attraction is the Sundance Drive-In. Sounds more boring than New Franklin to me.

You can check out the rankings for yourself at

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Geist retiring from WVIZ TV

Kent Geist, with Cleveland PBS station WVIZ-Channel 25 for 46 years, is retiring from his full-time job as senior director of development and communications (try getting that on a desktop sign). 

He’ll still show up for special projects and on-air fundraising.

He began at WVIZ on Brookpark Road in 1968 as an 18-year-old high school graduate.

To read former BJ TV critic Mark Dawidziak’s entire article on Geist’s sort-of exit, click on

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Thursday boxing tribute to BJ Circulation retiree Doyle Baird

There will be a well-deserved tribute to retired BJ Circulation truck driver Doyle Baird on Thursday, June 26, when the Blue Steel Boxing Academy puts on a fight card at Lock 3 (7-9 p.m.).

There are many independent observers who say that Doyle beat world middleweight champ Nino Benvenuti, a native of Trieste, Italy, in a Rubber Bowl 10-rounder in 1968. The judge appointed by Benvenuti’s camp forced it to be called a draw.

Doyle said: “I won 6 rounds.” Boxing experts said Doyle won the fight. Doyle added: “I didn’t make 15 cents, but I got what I wanted, at least a draw.” Benvenuti was guaranteed $20,000 plus expenses for the Rubber Bowl fight.

Benvenuti went down in the 9th round, but the referee ruled it a slip and not a knockdown. 

Doyle’s advisor, Don Elbaum, called it “The Super Bowl of Akron’s boxing history”

In a 1970 rematch, Doyle was knocked to the canvas twice and lost on a 10th-round TKO in Bari, Puglia, Italy.

Doyle’s boxing record: 34 (21 knockouts)-7 (4 knockouts) and the Benvenuti draw, which jumped Doyle to No. 8 in the Ring Magazine rankings.

Boxing writer Jim Amato penned:

“The Rubber City of Akron has probably never produced anything more resilient than a boxer named Doyle Baird. Rugged and balding, he was often compared to Carmen Basilio in looks and his swarming style. After a fine amateur career he turned professional in 1966 under the wing of Don Elbaum. After defeating Ted Wright two years later he had amassed a 23-2 record. On October 14, 1968, Doyle fought middleweight champion Nino Benvenuti to a draw in a non-title bout at the Akron Rubber Bowl.”

Said Doyle: “I can punch pretty good if I can catch them.”

By that time, the most Baird made was $750 for a 10-round decision over Ted Wright.

In later years, Benvenuti was a successful businessman who helped Mother Teresa with her causes in India.

Benvenuti became world champ in 1967. His hometown was the Adriatic seaport of Trieste, Italy.

Tennessee native Doyle was inducted into the Summit County Sports Hall of Fame in 1976. He got into trouble with the law for brawling on the streets of south Akron – "I’ve been to prison,” Doyle admits – before taking his talents into the boxing ring.

As an amateur Baird won the Ohio middleweight championship in 1966 and was national AAU runnerup the same year. He turned professional and fought 32 fighters in six years - winning 11 by decision, 16 by knockout, had one draw and four defeats.

However, in that relatively short professional career Baird fought four world champions in non-title fights - including middleweights Don Fulmer, Emile Griffith and Nino Benvenuti and light heavyweight Bincente Rondon. 

He won a split decision over Fulmer and fought Benvenuti to a draw. 

In 1968 Baird decisioned Ernie Burford of Cleveland to capture the Ohio middleweight title.

Doyle was ranked among the world's top 10 middleweights for five years by Ring Magazine. 

He began his pro career in 1972 with a technical knockout loss to Jean-Claude Bouttier in Lyon, Rhone, France.

In 1971 Doyle lost a world light-heavyweight title fight to champ Vicente Rondon.

In recent years, Doyle has worked with young boxers – for no pay, because he loves the Sweet Science so much.

There’s fascinating video, “Grit & Determination – The Doyle Baird Story,” that runs nearly a half-hour. To see it, go to  
Eli Wallach dies

Eli Wallach, 98, husband of actress Anne
Eli Wallach
Jackson, died Tuesday in Manhattan. They met at a 1946 stage production of “This Property Is Condemned.”

He was never nominated for an Oscar, but he was Clark Gable’s sidekick in “The Misfits,” a Mafia don in “The Godfather: Part III” and a Mexican bandit in “The Magnificent Seven.” He got an honorary Oscar in 2010, at the age of 94. It’s a thing they do when they think long-time actors who were bypassed previously are near death’s door.

Eli’s first movie was 1956’s “Baby Doll,” with Carroll Baker and Karl Malden.

He grew up as a Jew in a predominantly Italian Brooklyn neighbor and graduated from Erasmus Hall High School.

To read his entire New York Times obituary tribute, click on