Wednesday, October 05, 2016
I was at Papa Joe’s restaurant on Akron-Peninsula Road (at the Portage Trail Extension intersection) to check whether there’s a cable plug-in for the room we’ll be using for the 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8 BJ party in the adjoining room, and heard someone calling my name.
It was Abe Zaidan, one of the most adroit political columnists in BJ history, sitting at a table with Ron Kirksey, former BJ editorial writer who went to Kent State as media relations director, and former BJ news editor and editorial department member Dave Boerner’s widow, Phyllis Boerner.
Naturally, I whipped out my Apple iPhone6 to take a photo, but I didn’t back up far enough so Ron didn’t make the photo (all you see on the left is Ron from his belly button to his shoes). I cheated and used a BJ Alums blog article head shot of Ron for an inset.
They seemed to be having a great time. When I told them I would have my 84th birthday on Nov. 5, the unanimous reaction from all around the table was: “You’re just a kid.” Everything depends on your vantage point in life, huh?
Ron recovered long ago from his 2005 bladder cancer surgery, with help from Akron General Medical Center, where I had just had my periodic Pacemaker checkup (“Mr. Olesky, you look perfect,” said the nice lady who plugged me into the computer and printed up an impressive array of graphs. She added: “Keep doing whatever you’re doing,” which is playing golf 3 times a week, traveling and being with my No. 1 love, Paula Stone Tucker, once my reporter when I was assistant State Desk editor).
Dave passed away in 2013. We shared many a meal together at Papa Joe’s in the room where the BJ party will be on Sunday. I was there to see if there was a cable hookup outlet in the room, so that I could bring a rented TV for those who wanted to watch the Indians’ playoff game with the Red Sox, which starts at 4 p.m., but there is no cable hookup outlet in the room. Well, I tried.
But those who come to the party – 38 RSVPs so far – can watch the Indians playoff game, if it’s still going on, at the bar where there are two TVs.
Dave and Phyllis have two sons, Trent and Troy. Another son, Eric, passed away in 2006.
Abe collaborated with another Ol’ Blue Walls escapee, John Green, to write the 2007 book, “Portraits of Power: Ohio and National Politics, 1964-2004,” which still applies in this year’s Presidential election, when Ohio’s 18 electoral votes are the prize that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have their eyes on. Since 1944, Ohioans have sided with the losing candidate only once – opting for Nixon over Kennedy in 1960.
Abe has two Internet blogs about politics, Grumpy Abe -- http://grumpyabe.blogspot.com/ -- and Plunderbund -- http://www.facebook.com/#!/Plunderbund?fref=ts . Liberals love both. Conservatives hate them. Abe is no fence-straddler.
The late State Desk legend, Harry Liggett, once posted on this blog: “If you type the word ‘Zaidan’ in the Ohio.com search box, you are asked the question, ‘Did you mean Satan?’ “ Who knew that Google was a right-winger? J
Scott Scarborough is no fan of Abe, either. Abe’s withering wit about the $1 million spruce-up that SS engineered when he was University of Akron president was among the cannonades that blew Scarborough out of that job and personal castle.