Home
Biography
About Site
Family
Richwood
College
Math/Science
WOBC
Broadcast
Design
Images
Sports
Poetry
Romance
Opinion
Feedback


To jump to a random article, click anywhere in this silver box:

00 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 0A 0C 0D 0E 0F 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 19 1A 1B 1C 1D 1E 1F 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 2A 2B 2C 2D 2E 30 31 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 3A 3B 3C 3D 3E 3F 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 4A 4B 4C 4D 4E 4F 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 5A 5B 5C 5D 5E 5F 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 6A 6B 6C 6D 6E 6F  70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 7A 7B 7C 7D 7E 7F 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 8A 8B 8C 8D 8E 8F 9A 9B 9C 9D 9E 9F  9X A0 A1 A2 A3 A4 A5 A6 A7 A8 A9 A0 AA AB AC AD AE AF B0 B1 B2 B3 B4 B5 B6 B7 B8 B9 B0 BA BB BC BD BE BF C0 C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 C9 CA CB CC CD CE CF D0 D1 D2 D3 D4 D6 D7 D8 D9 DA DB DC DD DE DF DG DH DI DJ DK DL DM DN DP DQ DR DS DT DU DV DW DX DY DZ E1 E2 E3 E4 E5 E6 E7 E8 E9 EA EB EC ED EE EF EG EH E-I EJ EK EL EM EN EP EQ ER ES ET EU EV EW EX EY EZ F1 F2 F3 F4 F5 F6 F7 F8  F9 F0 FA FB FC FD FE FF FG FH FI FJ FK FL FM FN FO FP FQ  FR FS FT FU FV FW FX FY FZ GA GB GC GD GE GF GG GH GI GJ GK GL GM GN GO GP GQ GR GS GT GU GV GW GX GY GZ HA HB HC HD HE HF HG HH HI bpdir P2 P3 P4 P5 P6 P7 P8 P9 P10 P11 P13 P14 P15 P16 P17 P18 P19 De1 De2 De3 De4 De5 mk

 

T. Buckingham Thomas:  A Personal Website

ESTABLISHED BY TOM THOMAS (AS GEOCITIES.COM/TBTHO) OCT. 25, 2000

To search the site, click the icon to bring up a Yahoo search box.
Replace ql in the box with the word or words you seek.

 

MAY 24, 2015    CAP & GOWN

Fifty years ago this evening, dressed in this odd but time-honored fashion, I posed for pictures in my back yard.

From there I went to the stage of the high school auditorium, 300 yards to the west, where I delivered a seven-minute speech to my fellow graduates.

The text of my valedictory is this month’s 100 Moons article.

 

MAY 23, 2015    IRE-BOWS

Mark Evanier posted this afternoon:

As I'm sure you've heard, Ireland has legalized Gay Marriage by a pretty resounding majority vote.  One hopes that opponents of that kind of thing in this country will realize that if that's the view of a nation as solidly Catholic as Ireland, that's the way the civilized world is headed and it ain't going back.

For years now, we've been hearing foes of Gay Marriage tell us that it will lead to the destruction of Straight Marriage, waves of Polygamy and men marrying cocker spaniels — all this then trumped by an angry God sending hell and damnation unto us all.

It's been eleven years since Massachusetts began allowing same-gender couples to wed.  There have been no reports of Straight Marriage going bye-bye and no evidence of Polygamy replacing it.  Nor has The Lord rained down burning sulfur on Boston.

On the contrary, Gay Marriage was approved today in Ireland, and what appeared immediately in the skies?  Not burning sulfur, but rainbow after rainbow!

If I were gay, I’d be inspired by these scenes.  If I believed in signs from God, I’d say loving couples whom some Christians revile have been promised God’s blessing.

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”  Genesis 9:13

“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

“Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven.”  Matthew 5:11-12

 

MAY 22, 2015    THROUGH THESE DOORS

It was a Friday afternoon in New York City, August 6, 1993.  Traveling with KDKA’s crew for Pittsburgh Pirates telecasts, I had flown in from Chicago that morning.

The Pirates had the day off before playing a Sign Day doubleheader against the Mets on Saturday.  Therefore, I had the day off too.

There was much discussion in the TV industry about late-night host David Letterman’s move from NBC to CBS.  Massive renovations were taking place at New York’s Ed Sullivan Theater.  Some wondered whether the studio would be ready in time for Dave’s CBS premiere on August 30.

On a map of Manhattan I located the theater.  From our hotel next to Grand Central Station, it was eleven blocks north and about the same distance west.  That wasn’t far away, little more than a mile, so I decided to walk over there to see what was going on.

The theater's lobby is on Broadway, but I remembered from watching the original Ed Sullivan show that the auditorium has ground-level exit doors on the left side of the audience.  From the map, I learned that those doors open onto West 53rd Street.  If during a show, Dave wanted to leave the studio and talk to people on the street or something, it would be very convenient — unlike NBC’s Studio 6A, from which one needed an elevator to access the outside world.

When I arrived, there were those doors, and they were open.  Crews were carrying in various pieces of scenery and seats and equipment.  I walked up and down the sidewalk a few times, glimpsing a few details of the interior through the open doors.  I didn’t see much.  There was a magenta light on the stage, which didn’t mean anything.  But apparently the technical work was progressing on schedule, because a monitor hanging from the underside of the balcony was functioning and displaying a color-bars test signal.

Yesterday, as shown in pictures from the New York Post, those doors onto West 53rd Street were open again.  Crews were again carrying scenery, but this time it was coming out.

They have only 15 weeks to remodel the theater again for the next late-night host, Stephen Colbert.

 

MAY 20, 2015
NOE BAER LITTERASY!

Last week, a juvenile bear was found exploring the suburb of Monroeville, 15 miles south of here.

The state game commission was alerted.  So were the news media; these images are from KDKA-TV.

If these critters ever learn to read, we'll be defenseless!

But the bait (doughnuts) worked this time, and all is well.

 

MAY 15, 2015    STEEL TOWN

Though I grew up in Ohio, I moved to the environs of Pittsburgh (the Steel City) in 1974.  Around that time, most of the dirty old mills were shutting down.  Nowadays visitors are surprised to find that this region, despite its former reputation as a home of heavy industry, is no longer smoky.

But steel hasn’t faded away in my neighborhood.  Only eight blocks from my suburban apartment, there’s a brand new billion-dollar mill!  A company official says, “You're not going to find another factory like this one in the world.”


In the 19th century, coal-fired steel mills made Pittsburgh an industrial giant and a fearsome sight to behold.  James Parton famously described the view from atop one of the surrounding hills as “looking over into hell with the lid taken off.”

In the 20th century, my uncle and many others noted that in the middle of the day, street lights had to stay on and businessmen had to replace their white shirts with clean ones.

However, a 1959 strike shut down the mills for four months.  Other industries needed the metal, so for the first time in American history they began importing large amounts of cheaper steel from foreign countries.  That virtually killed the domestic steel industry.  Within 30 years, over 75% of Pittsburgh’s steelmaking capacity was shut down.

When Monday Night Football started coming to Pittsburgh to cover the Steelers in the early 1970s, television producers still depicted the city by showing blue-collar industrial scenes.

 

 

 

 

Then the mills closed, the air cleared, and Pittsburgh was transformed.

Now our iconic image includes a blue sky and a leafy hillside with a picturesque incline.

But as I mentioned, not all the steel mills are gone.  There’s a gleaming new hot-rolling mill along the Allegheny River, only half a mile down the hill from my apartment.

Built just downriver from Allegheny Technologies Inc.'s existing plant (formerly Allegheny Ludlum), the $1.2-billion dollar facility is the largest investment in the company’s history.  Last week, ATI gave the media a tour. 

Out back there's a railroad (incidentally following the route of the old Pennsylvania Canal).  Three times a week, trains deliver huge 8½-inch thick metal slabs of specialty steel and various alloys from six ATI melt shops.

Inside the new building, the metal is re-heated to 2,250 degrees in one of two primary furnaces.  Then a roughing mill described as “the most powerful of its kind in the world” squeezes it down to 1½ inches within 90 seconds.

Additional “stands” incrementally reduce the thickness to 0.08 inch.  If the metal is stainless steel, the ribbons can be as much as five feet wide.

The steel is cooled, coiled if that's what the product calls for, and bar-coded before being shipped out for finishing.

Computers monitor the process for quality, and engineers and technicians in an elevated “pulpit” monitor the computers.

“Jobs are changing from manual labor to process control,” said ATI executive Robert Weatherbee.  “There are not a lot of people on the shop floor.  People are in the control rooms.”  They’ve undergone as much as two years of specialized training, and their average salary is $92,000.

So is the company hiring?  Well, not right now.  To get government approval for the construction, ATI pledged not to reduce its work force, but it didn’t promise to increase it either.  When current employees eventually retire, new workers will be added to replace them.  However, unlike the old days, laborers won’t be able to get a job straight out of high school.  Wetherbee said any new hires will likely need at least an associate degree in engineering, electronics, or other technical fields.

But you’re wondering how I like living close to a steel mill.

It’s no problem.  The only noise pollution came from pile drivers building the foundation a few years ago, but that’s all gone now.  A street next to the plant had to be relocated, but it’s open again now.  And the mill is clean.

ATI spokesman Dan Greenfield said, “The whole vision of a dusty, grimy facility is just not the right image of this facility.  There's no smoke.  There's no coal being burned there.  There are no pollutants.”  The plant operates on electricity and the re-heat furnaces run on natural gas.

As far as water quality is concerned, project manager Darin Sarin said the plant re-uses water taken from the Allegheny River, and “what does go back into the river will be cleaner than when it came in.  The EPA has said it will use this as an example for other companies building new plants.”

So far, my neighborhood hot-rolling mill has proven to be a good citizen. 

 

MAY 11, 2015    LADIES’ CHOICE

Fifty years ago this month, I graduated from Richwood High School.  Our Class of 1965 broke the mold.  The authorities, despairing that any better class would ever come along, retired the school’s name.  By that fall it had become North Union High School.

Next month we’re holding our 50-year reunion.  It'll be a time to get together, catch up with each other, and talk about old times — including some youthful moments we might prefer not to relive.

To reassure us, class president Ed Olson (left) told an embarrasing story on himself a few months ago via e-mail.

Here's Ed's tale, to which I've added images from our junior and senior yearbooks.

I remember the Homecoming Dance of ’63 during our junior year.  At that time, I had developed a teenage crush on Kay Clevenger (right), who was a senior.

I was sitting in the senior class section of the auditorium / gym at RHS listening to the melodious tones from the “Sunset Serenaders” from Pharisburg, Ohio, with their talent lineup of a drummer, a piano player, some guy on a bass or guitar ...

and our journalism teacher, Miss LeVan (left), on the saxophone.

I can still remember the band leader announcing, “And the next number is a ladies’ choice.”

Kay Clevenger walked off the gym floor and started up the steps.  I could have sworn that we made eye contact.

She got a little closer and smiled.  I smiled back, with my heart having passed the throat and continuing to ascend into my mouth.

As she reached the row where I was sitting, I stood up to accept her invitation.

Unfortunately, it was not until then that I realized Dick Hill (senior football /  basketball / track star and all-around heartthrob for many RHS girls) was in the row behind me, also standing.

As Kay and Dick descended the stairs, there was only one way to save face.  I started brushing my trousers as if they had become bunched up while I was sitting.

So, you see, even if there are memories you want to forget from high school, I can top yours.


 
Fortunately, when our senior prom came around the next year, the theme was “Arabian Nights,” and Ed found a beautiful girl who wanted to dance with him.

 

MAY 6, 2015    MY EYES ARE BACK

The local headlines mentioned hockey players.

Sid To Play In Worlds
Ailing Pens Eye Returns

I interpreted the second one the wrong way.  Who or what is the Pens Eye?  Apparently it has recovered its health, and the second coming of the Eye sounds like good news.

Reading further, I discovered the headline was trying to say, “Ailing Penguins Each Look Forward To Returning.”  Oh.  I suppose that would not have fit the allotted space.

Speaking of ailing eyes, however, mine are no longer ailing!  They’re still egg-shaped, but compared to last year, I see life much better now, thank you.

In a new article called The Hyperope, I describe my recent surgery to install clear lenses.

 

APRIL 30, 2015    NEXT NUMBER

Sports fans:  Round 1 of the NFL draft is tonight!  As Dave Barry explained in Funny Times, “The month’s biggest event is the National Football League draft, which draws 32 million viewers, who tune in to witness the high-voltage excitement of Roger Goodell walking to a microphone every 10 minutes to read a name.  Kind of like a slower version of Bingo.”

Speaking of Bingo, 40 years ago that was my job on Tuesdays.  Every 52 seconds for an hour, I called a number on TV.   The story is this month’s 100 Moons article.

 

APRIL 24, 2015    PLAYING THE OVERTURE

The Chicago Cubs were in town this week, and I worked for the visiting broadcaster.  During our preparations for the telecast, “the lead-off man” was frequently mentioned.  At first I thought the Cubs’ Dexter Fowler was being discussed, but it turned out they were talking about WGN’s 15-minute pregame show, called The Hyundai Lead-Off Man.

I’m reminded of certain telecasts I worked in Cleveland some years back.  The producer said, “It’s a seven o’clock game, so game time is at 6:30.”  That made no sense until I realized that the pregame show was illogically titled Game Time.

Why confuse the viewers?  Why not simply call it Indians Pregame?  Or, if you want a less obvious title, borrow from other sports and call it Indians Tipoff or Drop the Puck or Hyundai Hyuddle.

Or borrow from other genres and call it Prelude or Sinfonia or Foreword or Preamble.

It’s only a name.

 

APRIL 20, 2015    MR. FORBES & MISS ROGERS

Exactly 80 years ago tonight, a man and a woman met in New York.  They had nothing to say to each other.  But then, he pulled something from his pocket.

You’ll find this little drama in my new article, I’m Your Best Friend!  Get Lucky!

APRIL 16, 2015
MY SECOND CHILDHOOD

 

I never much liked the look of suspenders, especially when worn over a T-shirt.  Nevertheless, I did occasionally dress that way in my younger days.

And now, in my older days, I’ve had to start using suspenders again.


You see, as an adult I’ve always held up my pants with a belt.  The theory is that the belt goes around the narrowest part of one’s torso, the waist (X).  It won’t slide down over the hips because the hips are wider.

However, sad to say, the narrowest part of my torso is no longer my waist.  It's now my chest (Y).  I can’t pull my pants up that high.  The top of my pants only reaches the widest part of my torso (Z).  If my belt is located there, I have to struggle to pull it very tight and compress my flab as much as possible.  Otherwise, the pants will slide right off (green arrow).

I finally got tired of tightening my belt and went back to suspending my pants from straps over my shoulders.  That’s easier than trying to reduce the flab, a goal which I’ve been unable to achieve anyway.

 

APRIL 10, 2015    HATRED vs INDIFFERENCE

Atheists don’t believe in God.  But do they actively hate God?  Why bother?  To them, he doesn’t even exist.   How about the Ten Commandments?  Do atheists hate the Ten Commandments?

Some Christians fear their faith is the target of such hatred.  I disagree, in a sermon on Hate Speech.   

 

APRIL 4, 2015    SPORTS GRAPHICS SUGGESTION

The seasons of winter sports (like basketball and hockey) begin in one calendar year and end in the next.  We customarily label a season like that by mentioning both years, separated by a hyphen.  For example, suppose that during the current season of 2014-2015, Current Phenom is closing in on 200 blocked shots.  TV graphics might prepare a table like this.

To improve the graphic, I wish we were allowed to reduce the clutter by listing only the second year.  After all, the date of the championship tournament is -2015, not 2014-2015.  We could retain the hyphen to indicate that we’re citing the deciding year.  And while we’re at it, we could save more space by dropping the digits that indicate the century; it’s not like we’re risking another Y2K meltdown.  Wouldn’t this be easier to read?

 

 


Archive

2015

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2014

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2013

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2012

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2011

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2010

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2009

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2008

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

2007

DEC  NOV

OCT  SEP

AUG  JUL

JUN  MAY

APR  MAR

FEB  JAN

 

To search for specific names or events, click the icon to bring up a Yahoo search box.  Replace ql in the search box with the word or words you seek.