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Sheila Dobbie

I have been writing since the fourth grade when a poem I wrote was published on the front page of our school newspaper. But, hey, a by-line is a by-line. I progressed and eventually earned a degree in English and journalism from Marshall University. I have had a varied career that includes teaching, construction reporting, editing a technical/environmental magazine, assisting in research and writing about Scots at the Alamo, paralegal, and lobbyist for the arts in the schools. I also have written three children’s books.

50 Million Women Can’t Be Wrong

Girl Scouts Celebrate 100 years of Building Character

 

Over 50 million women can’t be wrong. That is how many women have participated in Girl Scouting since its inception in 1812. Today there are 3.2 million active Girl Scouts. That number breaks down to 2.3 million young women and 890,000 adults, most of whom serve as volunteers.

On March 12 the organization will officially turn 100 but celebrations are occurring throughout the year. The Girl Scouts began the year in a big way with a float in the New Year’s Day Rose Parade. A special celebration was even held on Capitol Hill where Rep. Loretta Sanchez (D-Cali.) talked about her struggles growing up Mexican without a lot of friends and how, when her mother put her in Brownies, she instantly made friends. “I had a lot of fun showing them how to make things like enchiladas and tacos,” she said. “And now, my sister and I are the only two sisters to serve in Congress ever.”

I am proud to be a Girl Scout alum

I am proud to count myself among those 50 million women. I began scouting as a Brownie Scout in the second grade. Much to my mother’s dismay I insisted upon going to camp that first year.  So, at the tender age of seven my parents deposited me at the large Army surplus tent housing about 15 girls with my bedroll, situpon, and orange crate that doubled as a night stand and left wondering what was in my head to want to stay in such a god-forsaken place.  But to me it was heaven.

 Every summer for the next 9 years I returned to summer camp. I even counted the days beginning at Christmas until the next camp. I never got homesick but I quite often got “campsick” and cried for days after camp ended each summer. This is where I made great friends, learned the names of the trees, the constellations and the stories behind them, how to make a lanyard, how to swim, how to keep my cool in front of a snake (and other stressful situations), and how to live with nature. This was the beginning of my love affair with the out-of-doors, my respect for mother earth and all her creatures, and my love for folk music. I remember gathering around the camp fire and singing at the top of my lungs camp songs that had their roots in old folk tunes. By the end of my 10 years of scouting I probably knew a hundred camp songs.

Scouting shaped my character

Scouting is where I learned leadership skills, honed my sales skills selling the traditional Girl Scout cookies, first learned how to sew, learned valuable first aid, learned how to properly display and fold the American flag, and had my first experiences as a teacher. I learned to accept others for what they are, no matter their cultural or economic background. Nicole Pasulka wrote in Mother Jones that the Girl Scouts have often been ahead of the curve, if just by a hair, on hot-button cultural issues. Pasulka is not alone in that sentiment, in 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. called Girl Scouts a “force for desegregation”.

We also worshipped together. Although the Girl Scouts is not a religious organization we also didn’t shy away from it. We had meetings at different churches and sometimes attended worship services at those churches. We also experienced a certain spirituality living with nature.

Scouting taught me the thrill of accomplishing a goal. All of those badges on my sash weren’t just silly patches of cloth but represented an accomplishment of finishing a project and learning a new skill.

I once attended a women’s professional conference and over dinner at a table with women from around the country we all discovered we had something in common—we were all former Girl Scouts. If I were a mother of young girls I would enroll my daughters into the Girl Scouts to give them an extra edge in the competitive business world. In Girl Scouts every girl is an equal and important member of the troop and learns to be a contributing member of society. She learns that what she does is valuable and there is no competition with the male ego. Within the confines of Girl Scouts every girl learns she has something important to contribute to society and by the time she reaches adulthood she is ready to confidently take her place in the professional world.

My adult life is a reflection the many things I learned in the Girl Scouts. I went on to become a teacher and then have worked for myself for many years, I have been active and held offices in many professional and community organizations, I swim a couple of times a week at the local Y, I find I constantly set goals for myself, I still love folk music, and I’m not afraid to be my own person. All are skill sets I first learned in scouting.

 

The Girl Scout Mission Statement    

The Girl Scouts is the fertile ground for developing leaders. Its mission states that its purpose is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The mission statement adds: Girls develop their leadership potential through activities that enable them to discover their values and skills, and the world around; connect with others in a multicultural environment; and take action to make a difference in the world. Through scouting girls discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together. Girl scouting helps girls develop their full individual potential; relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect; develop values to guide their actions and provide the foundation for sound decision-making; and contribute to the improvement of society through their abilities, leadership skills, and cooperation with others.

Many of the women leaders today are former Girl Scouts. Eleven of the 17 women (59%) in the U.S. Senate and forty-five of the seventy-five women (60%) in the House of Representatives are former Girl Scouts. Fifty- three percent of all women business owners have a scouting background.

The scouting influence has even reached beyond these earthly bonds. Over twenty of NASA’s career astronauts were former Girl Scouts and the first American woman to walk in space, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, was a former Girl Scout. Other famous American Girl Scouts are Dakota Fanning, Lucille Ball, Katie Couric, and Elizabeth Dole. In addition, many other Girl Scouts have become successful leaders in numerous professional fields such as law, medicine, politics, journalism, and science.

Today’s Girl Scouts are tomorrow’s leaders

I am glad to see that the Girl Scouts are still strong a hundred years later and they are looking forward to the next century. They have launched a program called ToGetHerThere which is the boldest advocacy and fundraising cause dedicated to girls’ leadership in the nation’s history. The aim of ToGetHerThere is equal representation of women in leadership positions in all sectors and levels of society within one generation.

Look out world because the sisterhood of Girl Scouts is alive and strong. Think how much better the world can be when women finally take their rightful place at the helm of society. The Girl Scouts is the best training ground possible to lay the foundation of courage, confidence, and character for tomorrow’s leaders. Get on board sisters, the fun is just beginning.

 http://www.girlscouts.org/

 Below are pictures of me as a Senior Aide to Girl Scout Troop 71 in Huntington, WV. I have also included pictures of my uniform I wore as a Senior Scout. The uniform may be a little wrinkled, as is its owner, but not bad for 50+ years later.

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THE ARTIST—Everything Old Is New Again

 

Who would have thought that a little known French director and his two French stars could do a silent movie and turn it into a hit in the days of everything electronic and computerized? The Artist turns the world upside down and proves that you don’t need 3D, CGI, and other fancy electronic tricks to make a spell-binding movie.

It is refreshing to sit in a darkened movie theatre and be at one with your senses and emotions. We learn there are other ways to communicate rather than with words. Between the actors’ expressions and the mood of the music we have no problem understanding what is happening on the screen. The audience is taken through a wide range of emotions and by the end of the movie we realize we have experienced hubris, joy, happiness, sadness, fear, tragedy, pathos, loyalty, and much more without a single word ever spoken.

The Artist parallels the decline of a silent movie star with the rise of a young starlet at the beginning of talkies. The movie begins in 1927 when George Valentin, a dashing and somewhat narcissistic silent movie star, literally bumps into Peppy Miller, a young woman eager to break into the movies. They are immediately attracted to each other and he becomes responsible for her big break by insisting she be in his next movie.

The Artist then jumps ahead to 1929 when the whole world changes. George Valentin is informed by the studio head, Al Zimmer (played by John Goodman), that talkies are the future. Valentin laughs at this prospect and walks out to write, direct, and finance his own movie. As fate (and old movie melodramas) would have it, his movie, and that of his protégée’s, Peppe Miller, both premier on October 25. Her movie is a big hit while his flops drastically leaving him financially ruined. In addition, we all know what else happened the end of October 1929. The great depression hits sending Valentin into a deep alcoholic depression of his own.

I won’t go into any more plot detail because I would like the reader to go see the movie for yourself, however, it is safe to say that, as in any good old-fashioned movie, we have to have a happy ending.

The movie has already won a lot of awards and is guaranteed to win more before the awards season is over. It is nominated for 10 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor in a leading role, and Best Actress in a supporting role. Jean Dujardin, who plays George Valentin, seems to have a rubber face as he goes through a wide range of emotions. Berenice Bejo is appropriately perky and peppy in her portrayal of Peppy Miller. And, John Goodman is bigger than life as he plays the cigar- chomping, studio boss. Although each actor is excellent, I must say my favorite is Uggie the Jack Russell dog. He is Valentin’s faithful companion and provides the comic relief.

The director, Michel Hazanavicius, has successfully made a beautiful homage to movies. He said he had fantasized about making a silent film for years because many of the filmmakers he admires emerged in the silent era and because of the image-driven nature of the form. He chose the form of the melodrama because he felt that many of the films that had aged best were melodramas. He did extensive research about 1920s Hollywood and studied films to find the right techniques to make the story comprehensible without having too many intertitles to explain the actors unspoken words.

Throughout the movie I couldn’t help but make comparisons to famous actors and scenes from the past such as Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Valentino, Citizen Kane, Orson Welles, and many more. The Artist is a visual masterpiece with just the right amount of highlights and shadows to make a scene memorable. It is also a joy to sit back and listen to the score which dances around our emotions evoking every feeling possible and then crescendoing to an unforgettable climax.

The Artist is more than just a work of art it is a work of genius. It is a must see for any serious movie buff, lover of the arts, or anyone tired of loud crash’em up, bang’em up movies. It is a breath of fresh air in today’s hectic world.

 I give it an A.

An Update on CHLOE’s Place—Breaking the Cycle of Poverty

 

Imagine, you are young and alone, from a disadvantaged home where abuse and poverty are rampant—and you are pregnant. Your education and life skills are minimal and you have no idea how you will care for your infant and support the two of you. Where do you go for help?

There is a safe haven for you where you will learn how to care for your baby and pick up some employable skills along the way. That place is CHLOE’s Place. CHLOE’s Place is a unique concept dedicated to equipping young mothers with the knowledge, skills, and disposition to continue their education and become personally fulfilled and socially responsible adults while promoting positive parenting, healthy families, and homes where children are valued and loved. The director, Connie Nafziger, RN, is a former Community Health Nurse who quit her job over ten years ago to dedicate her life to finding answers to breaking the cycle of poverty.

I first wrote about CHLOE’s Place exactly one year ago (see CHLOE’S Place Breaking the Cycle of Poverty, January 27, 2011) and since then a lot of exciting things have been happening for Nafziger and her team. I recently received an email from Connie excitedly asking everyone to post a link to a survey on their Facebook page and to forward it to all their contacts so they can gather important information to help guide their project. The survey was designed by a professor at Capital University as an undergraduate research project to benefit CHLOE, Inc.  and now, she and her students are ready to launch. Connie says the survey will provide wonderful insight they long to have. The more responses that are received the more successful the project will be. They hope the data gathered from this survey will more accurately help them determine the needs of single mothers.

If you are a single mother, or have been a single mother, then please take a few minutes to answer the survey below. I also ask all my readers to please post this survey on your Facebook page, Twitter account, and/or blog so they might be able to get a wide variety of responses. The survey takes only a few minutes to answer and the results will go a long way in developing a tailor-made program to help young single mothers care for themselves and their babies while equipping them with skills to break the cycle of poverty.http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SingleMothers

Please help with this worthy project.  YOU can be a link in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Below is a personal letter from Connie further explaining CHLOE’s Place and its mission.

  

            On leaving my position as a Community Health Nurse, having served hundreds of young mothers and their children, I knew the course was set for the rest of my career.  I determined to establish a not-for-profit organization able to equip others with health and life skill education; CHLOE, Inc was born in 1999.  A wealth of experiences has prepared us well.   In 2008 we expanded and refined our focus to equipping young single moms with the education and life skills they need to prevent and break cycles of poverty. They are guided toward educational opportunities and life choices that create opportunities for self-sustainability.

             In 2011 we launched Chloe’s Moms Connection, an Advocacy program for young single moms; piloting different formats and opportunities.  We learned a lot about the challenge of engaging young women in classes and what they value.  Having assessed the challenges and researched other options we are transitioning to a “Learn & Earn” model this month.  Parenting, Life skill, or Childbirth Preparation lessons completed with an Advocate are awarded with ‘CHLOE Points’ to be spent at Chloe’s Closet!  Our ‘closet’ is stocked with infant & toddler clothing, diapers, and other essentials and treats.  We are inviting pregnant teens to enroll.  Four young moms currently enrolled will no doubt be joined by many others in the coming months.  We are grateful to Sharon Woods Baptist Church (5959 Sharon Woods Blvd, Columbus) for providing space for Chloe’s Closet and classrooms.

            As an advocate for victims of abuse, I gained understanding of the plight of women  and children living in abusive or high risk environments.  This fuels my determination to establish a residential program.  Once Chloe’s Place,  is established, young moms needing a safe place to live for a couple of years while working on educational, relational, and career goals will be provided safe haven.  Such an ambitious plan requires a firm foundation; we work daily to make sure it is indeed sound and enduring before we open our residential program.

     A Five year strategic plan has us on a positive trajectory to accomplish our mission.  CHLOE’s Advocacy, Community outreach/education, Residential program, and a Micro-enterprise (to meet at least 51 % of our operational budget) are in the works.

   Our mission is practical, our visions is achievable, our purpose worthy.  You are invited to join us in this journey to equip young single moms and pregnant teens in whatever way you are able.                                                                            

                                                                                                               

Blessings & Peace,                                                                                                                                          ConnieNafziger,RN                                                                                                                                Founder/Executive Director

 

To learn more about CHLOE, Inc. see  www.chloeinc.org

Director’s Blog:  www.chloespath.blogspot.com

Email: connie@chloeinc.org

Monthly E-Note:  provide your email address

 

 

 

From Hell to Hollywood—Ted Williams one year later

 

It was exactly a year ago that Ted Williams went from homeless to hot news item over night. He was launched into reality star orbit when a Columbus Dispatch photographer videoed Williams on a local street corner. He was holding a sign that advertised himself as the man with the golden voice when the photographer asked if that were true.

Williams did an impromptu audition and his silky, rich bass voice attracted the attention of millions. Over 18 million watched the YouTube video. The world was astounded that an ordinary street bum would have such a gifted voice.

Voice as welcome as hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day

With a voice as smooth and comforting as hot chocolate on a cold winter’s day, Ted Williams won the hearts of millions. Job offers from around the world poured in faster than a gushing oil well. He had finally found the ticket he needed to leave the streets behind. Within days he was appearing on TV shows across the country and staying in posh hotels. Williams instantly went from pan-handling on the streets to pandering publicists eager to cash in on the latest phenomena. Everyone wanted a piece of him.

But the spotlight of fame illuminated a darker side of Williams. He had not always been an upstanding citizen. In fact, he had a long rap sheet as a result of his long time drug and alcohol addiction. At the height of his career he was a popular DJ but he succumbed to the temptations of drugs, booze, and women resulting in a downward spiral which led to his living on the streets.

When all of this came to light the fame and job offers suddenly disappeared. The unexpected fame proved too much for the addict and by the second week he and his girlfriend were in rehab, compliments of Dr. Phil. Williams appeared on the Dr. Phil Show where he was reunited with members of his family and forced to come face to face with his demons. Dr. Phil received a lot of criticism for his handling of Williams which some felt was too harsh and others felt he was exploiting for ratings. Williams left the rehab center after a short stay saying he felt there was too much pressure and that everything was too scripted. He also convinced his girlfriend, who had been living on the streets with him, to leave rehab.

Drug and alcohol addiction is a complex disease

He bounced around a bit but several months later returned to the rehab facility in Texas where he eventually completed the 90 day program. In addition, his longtime girlfriend, Kathleen Chambers, also returned to rehab and completed a 90 day treatment. One of the first stops Williams made after leaving rehab was to see Dr. Phil to apologize for his comments and to thank him for getting him help. It is reported that Dr. Phil paid for his treatment at Origins in Texas. Dr. Phil explained that drug and alcohol addiction is a complex disease and he knew he needed help to be able to handle his new-found fame. It came out that Williams lied about his number of days of sobriety and had actually been drinking during the publicity whirlwind.

Williams openly admitted he had lied to Dr. Phil and that he was not ready at the time to give up smoking crack. He said that through the treatment and recovery period he learned about his disease. He thanked Dr. Phil for being the only one to say, “Slow down.”

When I hear that mellow voice I want to rush right out and buy Kraft Mac and Cheese

Today, the man with the golden voice has returned to Columbus clean and sober and ready to start a new life. He and his girlfriend share a condo in Dublin, Ohio provided by Bret Adams, his new attorney and manager. It is far different from the tent he was living in just one year ago. The condo is sleek and modern and his spacious closet doubles as his recording booth.

Currently, that welcoming tone can be heard as the voice for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. A series of Kraft commercials are now running and every time I hear that distinctive mellow voice I want to rush right out and buy Kraft Mac and Cheese. He is also the voice for New England Cable News (NECN), a Comcast network. As a welcoming gift the people at NECN gave Williams an autographed jersey by his namesake, Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox. The gift left the honey-toned announcer speechless.

Another project of his is his autobiography A Golden Voice: Ted Williams: How Faith, Hard Work, and Humility Brought me from the Streets to Salvation coming out in May.

Meditate not medicate

It has been a roller-coaster year for Williams. However, it appears to this observer that he has had several earthly (and perhaps some not so earthly) angels guiding his way. The most prominent of these is Dr. Phil. In addition, several of the reporters and staff at Entertainment Tonight also became personally involved. They made sure he went to rehab and he is now doing some announcing for ET.

Today, the new Ted Williams is much more relaxed and self-assured. His speech is peppered with references to God. He says God has blessed him and that God is good. He is also following the creed of meditate, not medicate.

Last year I asked all my readers to take time to say a prayer for Williams because it was apparent that an awful lot was being thrown at a dazed and fragile person all at once. It looks as if those prayers have worked but he still has a lot of work ahead of him. The hard work of laying a solid foundation for his new self and career has been done and the future looks bright.

I hope Ted Williams keeps us updated of his activities and anytime he would like to be a guest blogger here at Notes from the Pond I will gladly share this platform. Just leave a note on my message board and I will contact you.

Never give up and believe in ourselves, our talents, and the God above

Once again I ask my readers to pray to the creator to surround Williams with his healing powers and guide him down the right path. He has accomplished a lot this past year and has a lot to be proud of but the task is not done. He has plans for the future which is something he couldn’t say a year ago. Ted Williams is an example to all of us to never give up and believe in ourselves, our talents, and the God above. Tremendous obstacles can be overcome but sometimes it takes a village to help make it happen.

He, like us, has a lot of living to do—one day at a time. God bless!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_gnf-RaoII&feature=player_embedded

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_gnf-RaoII&feature=player_embedded#t=0s

 

2011 was an extra-ordinary year

English: Wedding of Prince William of Wales an...

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It is always customary for leading news shows, magazines, newspapers, columns, etc. to close out an old year by reviewing the top stories of the year and provide a brief summary of the year that was. Following in that tradition, Notes from the Pond, being a leading column wanna-be, has spared no expense in time, effort, or money to bring you a personalized 2011 synopsis.

If I were to choose one word to accurately describe 2011 it would be extra-ordinary. (OK, that is actually two words hyphenated to make one.) I could use the word extraordinary which is essentially the same word but, to me, extraordinary denotes a very good year. Although 2011 was marked with many big news stories, I would not call it an excellent year. It was a year with many notable events which will have long-lasting effects but some of the consequences may not be predominantly good.

World news

It was a year marked with the loss of many famous people. Perhaps the most important news story of the year was the death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of the U.S. military, compliments of Seal Team Six. At last, our country’s chief nemesis met his end and was sent to sleep with the fishes. It was a gutsy call by President Obama and carried out with precision by all involved from the president on down. Bin Laden had vowed continued attacks and it was a sigh of relief that he was taken out before the ten year observance of 9/11 when it was thought he would stage another disastrous event.

The rise of the Arab Spring saw revolution across the Middle East and North Africa that ended the 30 year reign of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak (who is currently on trial) and the death of Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi. The end of the year was marked by the death of another world leader, Kim Yung Il of North Korea. The loss of these leaders from the world stage will certainly change the look of world politics.

Notable deaths

On the pop scene, one of the last surviving true glamorous Hollywood stars, Elizabeth Taylor, died this year. We also lost an incredible genius who was responsible for more changes in our daily lives since the invention of Edison’s electric light, Steve Jobs. Jobs was cofounder of Apple and a pioneer in the world of computers.

Natural disasters

Natural disasters world-wide grabbed our attention a good part of the year. In March Japan suffered a 9.0 earthquake with resulting tsunamis that destroyed everything in its path including a nuclear power plant. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility suffered a meltdown of three reactors spilling radiation in the air and surrounding ocean. The long term effects may remain unknown for quite some time.

The following month, April 27, the largest tornado outbreak ever recorded marched across the South, Midwest and Northeast touching down 207 times and taking 346 lives. Alabama received the worst of it, particularly in the college town of Tuscaloosa. Three weeks later Joplin Missouri had a mile-wide tornado killing more than 150 people making it the deadliest tornado in 60 years.

A rash of earthquakes was felt across the world including a 5.8 quake that hit the East Coast on August 23. Tremors were felt from North Carolina to Buffalo and Boston and as far west as Detroit. The tremors traveled across Ohio and some in my city of Columbus, Ohio even felt it. The quake damaged a few of our national monuments in Washington D.C. including the National Cathedral and the Washington Monument.

The economy

You might say economy around the world suffered a quake of its own. Prime ministers in Greece and Italy quit due to economic turmoil and fiscal instability continues across Europe. In the U.S. Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating for the first time ever. After a long-time stalemate, Congress finally came to an eleventh-hour agreement to raise the debt ceiling but it was too little and too late to stabilize our stagnant economy. Shortly after the agreement our credit rating was dropped from AAA to AA+ after threats of shutting down the government during the government gridlock.

A grassroots movement, Occupy Wall Street, spread across the nation as a reaction against policies favoring the richest 1%. The Occupy Movement, which began on Wall Street, has spread around the world and is described as a call to action against unequal distribution of wealth.

By the end of 2011 U.S. unemployment was at 9%. Arguments continue between Congress and the President over jobs bills and unemployment benefits.

Individuals in the news

The political scene saw one of its own become a victim of a crazed gunman. Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head as she met with constituents at a local mall. Giffords survived and is making a remarkable recovery but six people died.

Several other individuals were prominent in the news during 2011. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, head of the international Monetary Fund was accused of sexually assaulting a hotel housekeeper; however, charges were later dropped.

Charlie Sheen dominated the pop news for a while with his raging absurdities that eventually resulted in his termination from his TV show Two and a Half Men. He even turned his rants into a road show. The show, peppered with the words such as winning,tiger blood and other words not worth repeating here, was eventually canceled after it became apparent the public had tired of his foolish narcissism.

Locally, a homeless man burst on the national scene when a Columbus Dispatch photographer found him on the side of the road with a sign advertising his golden voice. Ted Williams, a former DJ, became known as the man with the golden voice and he went from living in a tent to appearing on national TV shows literally overnight. With fame also came public pressure as he was forced to face his demons under the glare of the public spotlight. He was in and out of rehab and then just as suddenly dropped from sight as he struggled to get his act together. He is now back with his mellow honey tones extolling the benefits of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and he will be working with Entertainment Tonight.

Notable trials

The trial of Casey Anthony dominated much of the year and ended when she was found not guilty of murdering her daughter. As that trial was ending the trial of Dr. Conrad Murray began. Murray was eventually convicted in the death of singer Michael Jackson. Amanda Knox was finally freed from an Italian prison after being convicted in the death of her roommate. She won her freedom on appeal.

Trouble in sports paradise

The year was marked with several sports scandals. Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, they did.

Ohio State began the year by winning the Sugar Bowl under a cloud of suspicion. Tattoo-gate came to light just as 2010 was ending but the players who traded OSU memorabilia for tattoos were allowed to play in the Sugar Bowl. It was thought at the time that their infractions weren’t too serious but it soon came to light that the problem went much deeper. The final result was that Ohio State’s successful and beloved coach, Jim Tressel, was asked to leave for allegedly covering up the scandal; and their outstanding quarterback, Terrell Pryor, left the school in disgrace and went to the pros. The players who remained served suspensions for anywhere from one to ten games. The final NCAA decision was announced in December. Assistant coach, Luke Fickle, was handed the impossible task of running a team under very difficult circumstances. Although he ended the regular season 6 and 6 and lost in the Gator Bowl he handled all the diversity with class and restored some of the honor to the school. Now, if only we could say the same about some of the fans.

As if Ohio State’s problems weren’t bad enough, we soon learned the University of Miami (Florida) had been having one big party for quite some time. Their infractions included hanging out on party boats with unsavory characters, strippers, paying for an abortion, and pay for severely injuring players of opposing teams. Their case is still before the NCAA.

Tongues were still wagging over these scandals when the big shocker hit the news. A coach at squeaky-clean Penn State was accused of molesting children. Jerry Sandusky, a former assistant coach to Joe Paterno, was accused of molesting young boys and had been doing so for many years. This scandal brought down long time coach Joe Paterno, the university’s president, the athletic director, and a vice president.

Following this scandal, an associate basketball coach at Syracuse, Bernie Fine, was also accused of child molestation and fired.

A big year for weddings

One bright spot in the year was the fairy tale wedding of Prince William to his long time love, Kate Middleton in April. Prince William and Catherine were wed at Westminster Abbey and were made the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge by his grandmother, Queen Elisabeth. The wedding was simple by royal standards and the prince and his brother and best man, Prince Harry, were dashing in their ceremonial military uniforms. The bride was stunningly elegant and so was her sister and attendant, Pippa Middleton.

On the pop scene, a big wedding (or non-wedding) was the farce of Kim Kardashian and her short-term love, Kris Humphries. The wedding cost millions and made them millions. Who makes money from their own wedding? It was nothing more than a money grabbing publicity stunt and made a mockery of weddings as the marriage lasted less than three months. It was billed as a fairytale but was totally crass compared to the real fairytale wedding of the real prince (William) and his bride.

Here’s hoping for a better 2012

The year 2011 was an eventful year marked by many absurdities. Here’s hoping that 2012 will be a better year for everybody.