Should The Buckeyes Play All Their Home Football Games At Night?

September 30, 2013

Watching the Ohio State-Wisconsin football game Saturday night in prime time, it didn’t take a life-long Buckeye fan to feel the exuberance radiating throughout Ohio Stadium all game long.  For some time now, I have been opining that the OSU-Michigan game should be played under the lights as well.  However, many Buckeye and Wolverine fans will say that tradition dictates The Game be played at noon.  I say hogwash, that Big Money has long ago replaced tradition as the driving force in a sport that likes to think itself as being amateur in all things, despite earning billions of dollars annually.  It doesn’t take an economist to realize that the NCAA’s basketball and football programs are semi-pro, minor league developmental leagues for the NBA, WNBA and the NFL.

The following is a copy of my letter to OSU athletic director Gene Smith and head football coach Urban Meyer in which I express this sentiment.

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

September 30, 2013

Mr. Gene Smith
Director of Athletics
The Ohio State University
Room 224, St. John Arena
410 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, Ohio 43210-1166

Dear Gene,

While over at my 87-year-old neighbor’s apartment watching the Browns beat the Bengals Sunday afternoon, I glanced at her Springfield newspaper’s sports section during halftime, as we were eating dinner.  Wanda, who loves the Browns, is the biggest football fan I know.  Earlier this year, she called to tell me that the Nebraska spring game was on the Big 10/14 Network.  She even watches arena football, for crying out loud.  If there is any type of football game on television, she watches.  A couple of years ago, she was disappointed when I told her I do not listen to Cleveland preseason games on the radio.  She once told me that the only item on her bucket list would be to attend a Browns game.  While reading her paper, an article about the OSU-Wisconsin game caught my attention when I read how much Coach Meyer loves night games, as do I.

The atmosphere in the Horseshoe Saturday night was electric, and was so throughout the entire game.  The newspaper article said the coach believes night games help in recruiting, as evidenced by the large number of recruits in attendance for the game.  Every single one of the high school players must have walked away from the game on cloud nine, envisioning themselves playing in such an emotional and exciting environment.  If Woody Hayes had been on the sidelines, even he would have to admit it doesn’t get any better than that.  However, one game in particular would be even better, maybe even twice as good, that being against that reviled School Up North.

Having every home at night, might be asking too much.  However, I firmly believe home games against quality opponents such as Nebraska, Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Michigan State and especially Michigan should be a must.  I know some fans will be adamant in saying tradition dictates that the Michigan game be played at noon.  However, we both know tradition is long gone in collegiate sports.  When was the last time the Buckeyes and Wolverines both wore their traditional uniforms during The Game?  Playing games against the teams listed above at 8:00 p.m. means the entire nation would be tuned in.  A noon start for the Michigan game means half the country is just getting out of bed, while the other half is out running weekend errands.  When you consider all the other games being played that day, Ohio State-Michigan is just another game for most sports fans.

As electric as the crowd was for the Wisconsin game, imagine what the atmosphere would be like for Michigan.  It would be the biggest spectacle in all of sports!

Steven H. Spring
The Ohio State University, Class of ‘87

C.: Coach Urban Meyer

Flowers #3317C, 3315B & 3316C

September 28, 2013

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family.  There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies.  Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies.  True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well.  This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow.  They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level.  Their only requirement is well-drained soil.  Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well.  An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The 65th Emmy Awards Show Protest Moment

September 23, 2013

Catching the tail end of the New York Jets-Buffalo Bills football game Sunday night after watching the Indianapolis Colts beat up on the San Francisco 49ers, and waiting for that night’s game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Chicago Bears to come on, I decided to put the headphones on and try to keep up with Aerosmith lead guitarist Joe Perry’s 1980 debut solo album “Let The Music Do The Talking.”  There are four incredible songs on the album in which I really love to practice my lead picking along with.  They give me quite a workout.

After the Jets-Bills game ended, the 65th Emmy Awards show came on.  Normally, I would never watch any awards show, as it seems to me America gives itself far too many awards considering the sorry condition that this nation finds itself in.  As a matter of fact, I have a song in progress where I mock the ridiculousness of these awards and list nearly every major entertainment award given.  Needless to say, the list is nearly endless.  However, since I had the headphones on, it didn’t matter what was on TV.

During Neal Patrick Harris’ opening segment, he had many late night talk show hosts up on stage with him.  However, they then showed a close-up of Kevin Spacey, who turned around in his seat and I assume was talking into the camera.  Not having a clue as to what was going on, I did notice something very peculiar, that being Spacey had an American flag pinned to his lapel.  What caught my eye was the flag was being worn upside-down.

I would presume most people would probably think he had it pinned on upside-down by accident.  However, this being liberal Hollywood and I knew from watching a movie several years ago that this was no accident but a political statement.  I believe it was the Tommy Lee Jones movie “In The Valley Of Elah” which was about the effects of war on soldiers.  During the beginning of the movie, a janitor is raising the American flag at a school, when he raises it upside-down.  Jones is driving by and stops to correct the janitor.  He tells the man that raising a flag upside-down is the international signal of distress.  Towards the very end of the movie, the man is raising the flag once more, and this time, Jones has the man do so upside-down, making a very poignant statement.

Hopefully, I have the correct name of the movie.  If not, someone please correct me via a comment, as this is a very good movie and one I would highly recommend.  It has a very good premise about the true horrors of war, something this nation fails to realize, not only on the one percent of Americans that actually serve in the military but also the populace of the nations where the battles are actually fought.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #3395B, 3397B & 3396B

These three photographs contain both a Daylily and a Lily.  I must admit that when I first became serious about gardening and photographing flowers about fifteen years ago (one of my earliest childhood memories was helping Grandma dig up her Canna bulbs every fall), I thought Daylilies were just those funky looking orange flowers you see growing everywhere, even along the roadside.  One friend of mine once told me that old folks referred to them as shithouse Lilies.  Since then, I have come to learn that there are many glorious Daylilies that I would just love to have growing in my gardens if not for the limited space I have outside my apartment.  Over the years, I have tried eliminating these orange Daylilies from my gardens as I am still not very fond of them.  One thing I do not like about them are their very long stems.  My opinion has changed a little about this flower this summer after tweaking the colors and tones on several photos to obtain somewhat decent photographs such as these.

Although not a true Lily, Daylilies, whose scientific name is Hemerocallis, is so named as its flower typically lasts for only twenty-four hours.  There are more than thirty-five thousand named and officially registered species in its family.  Native to China, Korea and Japan, Daylilies can thrive in many types of climates.  Called the perfect perennial because of their stunning colors, ability to withstand drought and requiring very little if any care, Daylilies come in almost every color except pure blue and pure white.

Daylilies thrive best with a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, though darker flowering plants such as purple and red need some shade as the darker colors soak up too much heat.  These plants adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions, however they do best in slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soil.  Some Daylilies bloom in early spring, some in summer and some even in the fall.  The blooms come in many different shapes.  Depending on type, each plant should bloom for thirty to forty days.

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family.  There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, like the Daylily, all are not true Lilies.  Another example of this misnomer is the Peace Lily.  True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well.  This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow.  They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level.  Their only requirement is well-drained soil.  Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well.  An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Is Tiger Woods The Greatest Golfer Of All-Time?

September 20, 2013

For all the talk that Tiger Woods is back, having assumed the ranking of once again being the world’s number one golfer, I could not help but notice that having finished his second round in this week’s Tour Championship, which offers a $10,000,000.00 bonus prize to the season long champion in addition to the $1,400,000.00 that the winner of the tournament receives, that he is tied for twenty-ninth place.  That in itself, might not sound too bad, however, there is only thirty golfers in the tournament, being played at East Lake Country Club in Atlanta, Georgia.

Having won five tournaments this year to obtain the number one ranking, television golf analysts all seem to rave about his play, believing him back to his prime when he seemingly won a tournament simply by teeing off.  However, they all fail to notice that most of his wins this year were all on courses he has done very well through the years.  This year, Tiger won at Torrey Pines for the seventh time, at Bay Hill for the eighth time, at Firestone also for the eighth time and the World Gulf Championship – Cadillac Championship, which was held this year at Doral, where he won a tournament on that course for the fifth time.  His other win was The Players Championship at TPC At Sawgrass, for the second time

Nearly half of Woods’ seventy-nine career wins have come on a handful of courses.  On courses where he has not played before or has played very little, Tiger Woods has become just another golfer, albeit a very good player just not the all-time greatest.  I may be biased, having come of age in Columbus, Ohio during the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, back when Jack Nicklaus (he too hails from Columbus and attended Ohio State University, as did I) ruled the fairways, however, to me Mr. Nicklaus will always be the greatest because of the competition he played against.

Steven H. Spring

Gun Ownership In Itself Is Not A Second Amendment Right

September 16, 2013

It saddens me that once again I have to update the below list of senseless, mass murders committed on a seemingly regular basis in the United States, however the deaths of thirteen people, (including the shooter) that took place earlier today at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., cries out for me to do what little I can actually do about it, that being to put into writing my disgust with the gun culture in this nation.  I can already hear gun rights advocates opining that now is not the time to discuss new, effective gun control laws, as they always do after every horrific shooting.  If not now, in the wake of twelve innocent lives shot dead, when is the time to properly discuss gun control?

Proponents of gun ownership and the firearms industry cite the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution as the right of every citizen to keep and bear arms.  However, these folks all seem to leave out an extremely significant section of the actual amendment.  The Second Amendment, as passed by Congress on December 15, 1791 as part of the Bill Of Rights, states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”  A well-regulated militia, in this day and age, to me and I think most every educated person would agree would refer to the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and the National Guard.  Yet, this very important phrase of the Second Amendment is never mentioned by gun advocates.

America’s fascination with firearms has evolved into the most violent nation on Earth, with the possible exception of those countries who are presently engaged in actual warfare, which it seems would include this nation as we have been at war (or wars) for the past twelve years.  We are arguably the most violent nation in our planet’s history.  There is no excuse for any person to own a military assault weapon or a high-capacity magazine clip, yet our politicians who dare have the courage to speak up for sensible gun laws quiver in fear of reprisal from the National Rifle Association.  Politicians who do speak out in favor of new gun control legislation face the wrath of the NRA come their next election.  To believe that arming every citizen is the answer to curbing gun violence, as the NRA espouses is just preposterous.  Growing up during the hay-day of Westerns ruling television networks, the image I always remember is that the very first thing the town sheriff did when cowboys came into town after a long, hard cattle drive to visit the local saloons was to take away their guns.  However, just the opposite is occurring throughout America as more and more cities and states are allowing the concealed carrying of firearms into drinking establishments.

The following is a partial list of mass murders that have taken place in the United States just since the horrendous tragedy at Columbine High School in 1999 that resulted in the death of fifteen students:

Twelve dead in Atlanta, Georgia in 1999,
Six dead in Fort Worth, Texas in 1999,
Five dead in Wichita, Kansas in 2000,
Seven dead in Wakefield, Massachusetts in 2000,
Five dead in Queens, New York in 2000,
Ten dead in Washington, D.C. in 2002,
Six dead in Chicago, Illinois in 2003,
Six dead in Birchwood, Wisconsin in 2004,
Seven dead in Brookfield, Wisconsin in 2005,
Ten dead in Red Lake, Minnesota in 2005,
Six dead in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania in 2006,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2006,
Six dead in Carnation, Washington in 2007,
Five dead in Crandon, Wisconsin in 2007,
Thirty-two dead at Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Virginia in 2007,
Nine dead in Omaha, Nebraska in 2007,
Six dead at Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois in 2008,
Six dead in Alger, Washington in 2008,
Thirteen dead at Ft. Hood, Texas in 2009,
Nine dead in Geneva County, Alabama in 2009,
Ten dead in Covina, California in 2009,
Thirteen dead in Binghamton, New York in 2009,
Six dead in Santa Clara, California in 2009,
Eight dead in Carthage, North Carolina in 2009,
Eight dead in Appomattox, Virginia in 2010,
Nine dead in Hartford, Connecticut in 2010,
Eight dead in Seal Beach, California in 2011
Seven dead in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 2011,
Six dead in Tucson, Arizona in 2011,
Six dead in Seattle, Washington in 2012,
Five dead in San Francisco, California in 2012,
Seven dead in Oakland, California in 2012,
Seven dead at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, Oak Creek, Wisconsin in 2012,
Twelve dead in Aurora, Colorado in 2012,
Six dead in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 2012,
Twenty-six dead at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Newtown, Connecticut, 2012
Five dead in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2013,
Four dead in Tustin, California in 2013,
Five dead in Federal Way, Washington in 2013,
Five dead in Manchester, Illinois in 2013,
Five dead at Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, California in 2013,
Four dead in DeSoto, Texas in 2013,
Four dead in Lake Butler, Florida in 2013 and now
Thirteen dead at the Washington Navy Yard, Washington, D.C. in 2013.

This is a staggering list of senseless murders and families shattered, and does not detail the considerable number of wounded in the carnage.  What is alarming is that the percentage of Americans who believe we need stricter gun control laws is decreasing.  What does it take for a nation to realize that something is desperately wrong with our culture of guns and violence?  The NRA has convinced a good number of Americans that President Obama’s hidden agenda is to take away all their firearms.  Yet, in the only two firearm bills signed into law by this president during his first term in office lessons current restrictions on gun control, contrary to popular opinion.

If a person wants to own a firearm, fine, join a well-regulated militia as required by the Second Amendment.  We, as a country always seem to be at war, so there will always be a need for someone who aspires to shoot something.  I see nothing wrong with a hunter owning a few rifles, and have many friends who hunt, but as a general rule, hunters do not shoot their prey with assault rifles capable of firing hundreds of rounds automatically without having to reload.  For anyone to have the ability to purchase military assault weapons capable of creating the type of massacre seen in this country time and again over the past fifteen years is asinine.

Be it this latest, senseless mass shooting, tens of thousands of murders committed every year in America’s inner cities that have become battlegrounds or our seemingly endless wars, this is a violent, violent nation.

Steven H. Spring

Barns #17E, 341G, 159D & 233E

September 14, 2013

Majestic, wooden barns, once so prominent throughout the rural American landscape, are rapidly becoming, seemingly like so many other things of grandeur in Americana, a thing of the past.  In their place, are nondescript aluminum pole barns.  I have yet to see one of these pole barns where I had the thought that the view was picturesque worthy of me taking the time to photograph it.  The old saying that they don’t build things like they used to certainly holds true in this case.

These photos were shot many years ago while I was taking photography courses at Ohio State University.  Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, the thought of attending OSU did not cross my mind as I thought it just too large an institution of higher learning for a south-end boy like me to attend.  After serving four years in the U.S. Navy in order to receive the benefits of the G.I. Bill, which enabled me to attend college, I eventually decided to attend Ohio State because of its photography department.  However, after taking several black & white courses, I made the decision to switch majors to accounting because the photography courses all seemed to be held in the afternoon and as a married man with two precious babies to support, I was working full-time from 3 until at least 11 p.m. and thought it the prudent thing to do.

One comment I have remembered my instructors always telling me was that I did not print my enlargements dark enough.  I do not know if being color-blind has any bearing on my ability to see things in black & white as others do, but hopefully, these photographs do not look too terrible.

Steven H. Spring

The Statue Of Liberty & Twin Towers #51E

Statue Of Liberty & Twin Towers #51E

September 11, 2013

The Statue of Liberty, a neoclassical sculpture designed by Frenchman Frederic Bartholdi, was a gift from the people of France in honor of the friendship created during the French Revolution by the two countries.  The statue, standing 151 feet tall on a granite pedestal on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, was dedicated on October 28, 1886.  On a plaque hanging inside the statue since 1903 is the poem “The New Colossus” written by Emma Lazarus, which contains the following line; “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”

The Twin Towers was the name most people referred to 1 World Trade Center (the North Tower) and 2 World Trade Center (the South Tower).  These two buildings, along with 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 World Trade Center, comprised the World Trade Center complex, which stood in lower Manhattan, in New York City until September 11, 2001.  The total cost of the complex was $400 million.  When the Twin Towers, designed by Minoru Yamasaki and Emery Roth, were opened on April 4, 1973, they were the tallest buildings in the world, standing 110 stories.

On September 11, 2001, in arguably the most horrific act of terrorism ever committed in a single day, members of al-Qaeda, an Islamist militant group that was founded by Osama bin Laden, flew a Boeing 767 jetliner into each tower.  One hour later, the South Tower had collapsed followed a half hour later by the North Tower.  By the end of this ghastly day, 7 World Trade Center had also collapsed, leaving 2,753 people dead and many more injured.  All other World Trade Center buildings were later demolished due to being damaged beyond repair.

In the coordinated terrorist attack on that fateful Tuesday morning twelve years ago, nineteen members al-Qaeda hijacked a total of four planes.  One of the four crashed into the Pentagon, located in Washington, D.C., the fourth plane crashed in a field outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers, who learned of the other hijackings via cellphones, attempted to retake control of the plane.  All told, nearly three thousand innocent people lost their lives that horrendous day.

As a result of this horrendous attack, America attacked both Iraq and Afghanistan.  Even though “officially” the Iraq War has ended for this nation, both are ongoing and are the longest in this country’s history, and have resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians.  One independent survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Business out of London, has estimated civilian deaths just from the Iraq War at more than one million.  A lesson America has yet to learn from this tragedy is that for every action there is a reaction.  I am not saying the September 11th attack was justified, however, it is our foreign policy of supporting and arming a very long list of dictators, despots and tyrants over the past hundred years that is the reason why we are so despised throughout much of the world.

Steven H. Spring

Rapidly Entering The 21st Century

September 10, 2013

It all started innocently enough two years ago when my nearly twenty-year-old television set finally kicked the bucket.  I replaced that TV with a modest thirty-inch high-definition flat screen.  That was it for my big move into the twenty-first century, that is until about three months ago, when all hell began to break loose.  Regular readers and viewers of my blog will know that I purchased my first new camera in thirty-three years this past June, finally going digital.  I took full advantage of my new toy and shot more than twelve thousand photographs, nearly every single one of a flower, in just three months.

After seeing what my photographs looked like in HD on the small LCD monitor on the back of the camera, compared to what they looked like on my ten-year old computer’s CRT monitor, it did not take long for me to decide that I must get a new HD monitor as well.  My real concern was what my photographs looked like online to other people compared to what they looked like on my old monitor, after I had made some adjustments such as to color, tone and brightness and then matting and framing them.  This past Saturday, just before halftime of the Ohio State-San Diego State football game, the FedEx man delivered my new twenty-three inch HD monitor.  After setting it up at halftime, my first thought was why I ever waited so long to update my computer.

It’s not as if I am anti-technology.  The reason why I waited as long as I did to buy a digital camera, replacing my Canon A-1 that I bought in 1980, was I did not want to, nor could I afford to replace all my lens.  Earlier this year, I found out there was an adapter that would enable me to use all the old lens on a new camera.  The main reason for not updating both camera and computer monitor over the years was lack of money.  I have too many hobbies and passions and every one is expensive.  Barely surviving on SSI (Supplemental Security Income) disability income, I consider both of these recent purchases to be “major.”  I am very grateful for this government assistance, however, living on what I receive; I consider the current poverty level of $11,500 for a single American to be living high on the hog.

Now, all I need is a cell phone to complete my trifecta.  Nah, that ain’t gonna happen!  Besides, what I really need is a brand new Fender Stratocaster.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #3352B, 3330C, 3334B, 3341B, 3337B, 3332B, 3347B, 3344B

September 7, 2013

Easter Lilies are known primarily as a potted plant given as a gift or bought for oneself during the Easter holiday.  This plant is considered the traditional Easter flower because it is said to symbolize goodness, purity, life, hope and innocence.  Most people who buy the plant for themselves or who receive it as a gift throw it out after the blooms have all died, however this need not be.  Although it is not known as a hardy houseplant, it can be transplanted outdoors, where it can bloom for many years.

Ironically, this lily does not bloom outdoors during the Easter season.  In your garden, they bloom during June or July.  Greenhouse growers pot the bulbs in the fall and force them to bloom for the holiday by turning up the heat in their greenhouses.  Easter Lilies spout a straight stalk, which grows to a height of about two feet, and bear large, elongated buds that open into pure white flowers with yellow anthers.  The large trumpet shape flowers produce a tremendous fragrance.

After the plant’s last bloom has died, it can be planted outdoors after the last frost.  Its bulbs should be planted three inches deep, and if planting more than one, they should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart.  This lily likes a somewhat rich, moist but well-drained soil.  It likes the cool morning sun and not a hot afternoon one.  It is hardy even in cold climates, but should be mulched.  In colder regions, the bulbs should be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months.  If left outdoors, the mulch needs to be removed in the spring to allow the new shoots to grow.

Easter Lilies, whose botanical name is Lilium Longiflorum, are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan.  Its U.S. popularity is due to that of one American soldier.  At the end of World War I, Louis Houghton bought home a suitcase full of these bulbs.  He just happened to live in a region of the southern coast of Oregon, whose climate is very similar to that of the Ryukyu Islands.  Before World War II, nearly all bulbs came from Japan, however that all changed when importing them was banned during the war.  Ten farms along the California-Oregon border now produce ninety-five percent of all bulbs sold to U.S. growers, where they are grown in greenhouses around the country in time for the holiday.  Easter Lilies are the fourth largest potted plant crop sold in the U.S. behind only that of Poinsettias, Mums and Azaleas.

Nearly all Easter Lilies have the Lily Symptomless Virus that could spread to other lilies in your garden.  However, the virus may or may not cause problems.  One other issue with this plant is that it is highly toxic to cats and other animals.

Steven H. Spring