So the news has been dreadful lately.
Deficits. Budget cuts. LeWhatshisname coming back and eating Cleveland’s lunch. Democrats and Republicans fighting like the old married couple they are. The Leader of the Free World gets his lip busted in a pickup basketball game. Sarah Palin seems to be with us for the duration.
“What’s happening that’s good news?” I asked myself. Well, quite a few things, I answered. Here’s an early Christmas stocking full of cheer.
The fumblers who have run the Browns since Art Modell took his talents to Baltimore Beach finally seem to have a mix of coaches and players who are building instead of rebuilding.
Going into Sunday’s game with Miami, the Browns had a record of 4-7. Not great. But, the team’s average losing margin is just seven points. One measly touchdown. If you average the points scored by the guys in the orange helmets vs. their opponents over those 11 games, the Browns lose by only a point, 21-20.
They’ve been fun to watch again, which is good news.
Not your WikiLeak
With the furor over the release of confidential U.S. diplomatic cables — who knew anyone, let alone the government, still used that word? — we can be glad our own impertinent ramblings, overly detailed personal disclosures and candid assessments of co-workers have not been posted on the Web for all to see.
I take that back. This pretty well describes Facebook.
Natural gas prices
Prices at the pump may be a pain in the tank, but natural gas costs have gone in the opposite direction. Government agencies report the natural gas industry has more in storage than ever before.
The high supply means low prices for consumers this winter. It’s a far cry from the record heating bills we suffered in 2008.
So toast your tootsies over the hot-air register and enjoy a little guilt-free warmth.
How about Matt Latarski? The Medina bowler rolled not one, not two, but three perfect games in a row in a Nov. 28 tournament in Oakwood. According to the story by Gazette reporter Jennifer Pignolet, United States Bowling Congress records show only 17 other people in history have accomplished this.
The USBC notes the odds of bowling a 300 game are 11,500 to 1. What are the odds of throwing three in a row? It has to be more than tripling the number 11,500 because of the cumulative unlikelihood of bowling one right after the other.
Here’s where I should have been paying closer attention in my college statistics class. Maybe a fresh-faced number-cruncher out there can figure it out. That’s your homework.
Another big bowl
The 21st annual Meadows Turkey Bowl took place in Medina Township on Thanksgiving morning. Four 12-member football teams battled it out for charity in the rain, cold and mud. When the epic contest was over, the winner was the Medina St. Vincent DePaul Society.
The players raised a stunning $90,010 from generous event sponsors — all of which will help feed, clothe and pay heating bills for Medina County people in need.
One of the laws of motion says for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. The economy continues to sputter, and many of our friends and neighbors are struggling. Yet Medina County churches, food banks, civic groups and charitable events like the Turkey Bowl continue to rise to the occasion. Amazing.
Excellence times seven
Last month, Medina County’s seven public school districts all achieved an excellent rating or better on their annual report cards from the Ohio Department of Education. We’re the only county in the state to pull off the feat twice. Medina County schools also came up excellent across the board in the 2005-06 school year.
This in the face of repeated levy failures, deep staff cuts, budget deficits and a state government that continues to play games with school funding. Congratulations to the students, parents, staff, teachers, administrators, levy campaign committees, voters and taxpayers who made it happen. You are heroic.
Here comes the sun
The winter solstice arrives at 11:38 p.m. on Dec. 21 — and not a moment too soon. It’s when the North Pole is tilted farthest from the sun, creating the shortest day and longest night of the year.
The sun will get up at 7:50 a.m. and set at 5 p.m., making for a neat tally of nine hours, 10 minutes and 11 seconds of daylight. After that, the sun will be staying around a little bit longer each day.
In the meantime, do what nature is telling you to do: Sleep. Read a book. Go to bed early and rest up in anticipation of sunnier days ahead.
Poetry contest deadline
More good news: There’s been a great response to the inaugural Lawrence H. Bartter Poetry Prize. The deadline for poetry submissions is today and the results will appear in this space next week. For details, go to www.medina-gazette.com and click on my column of Nov. 9.
Contact John Gladden at firstname.lastname@example.org.