Friday, Sept. 7, 42 A.D.

How To Make Your Own Columbus

Although I had every intention of cooking up and serving another Friday pot of Columbus Stewings, my good friend Extreme Ennui has just pointed out to me that it would be much more efficient to teach you all how to cook it up and serve it yourself.

"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day," E.E. reminded me.  "Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime."

"But slap him with a trout and he'll realize that it's not really your responsibility to feed or teach him," I replied.

"Do you even have a trout?"

"I have a can of tuna - will that do?"


Thus we come to Plan B -

How To Make Your Own Columbus


Take one Lima, Ohio.

Set in a cool, dark place until its 35,000 residents have increased to 1.6 million.

Mix in 3 million cars and just a pinch of mass transit.

Carefully remove ALL train tracks so no beguiling train whistles in the distance will distract diners from the latest new mall opening.

Smother in advertising flyers.

Set aside and try to ignore as best you can while watching "Battle Bots" on Comedy Central (10pm Tuesdays).

Take one medium downtown.

Tenderize any tough brain cells that might be lurking within by dropping one huge college stadium on it.  For best results, stadium should contain at least 100,000 spectators marinated in alcohol.  Freshen with $200 million in renovations.  Use up to 7 times a year.

Smack with a new $10 million scoreboard to remove any lingering sense of proportion.

Dump 3 million cars and a pinch of mass transit onto the general vicinity of the stadium.

Bake in hot sun until utter madness ensures....

On a fresh map use an aging interstate system to chop up a bunch of suburbs.

Lightly spice with 17,000 Somali refugees fleeing political troubles back home.  (If you have any trouble finding 17,000 Somalis in your local supermarket, spread the word that local real estate values are among the lowest anywhere in the country.  Try not to laugh while doing so as that may cause heads to roll!)

Plop in front of a small home which has one groundhog in back yard.

Sit back and enjoy the antics of the groundhog.

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(©Now by DJ Birtcher after garnishing with a smile)


FOOTNOTE:  I really do have a groundhog in my back yard.  I lived over 4 years in the country and saw many things around my home, including chipmunks, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, and several whole herds of deer - but never a groundhog.  I had to wait until I moved to the densely populated suburbs of Ohio's biggest city to see that.  I have a feeling that Nature is trying to teach me a very great and valuable lesson here, but I have NO idea what it might be.  "Once you have a holiday named after you, you can no longer settle for the violence of the inner city or the boredom of the farm"? That hardly can explain why we don't see more groundhogs in the elevators of department stores after closing.

ANOTHER FOOTNOTE:  When I first saw the groundhog that's in my back yard, I thought "Hans!  It's my imaginary friend Hans come to visit!  In a fur coat!  In the summer!  What an idiot!!  Best pull the blinds and act as if I don't know him...."  Then I realized that my imaginary friend would be wearing an imaginary fur coat - not a real one.  Thus did the wisdom of my years quite naturally lead me to conclude that what I was seeing was actually a groundhog.  Or maybe a woodchuck.  Ummmm - I'll get back with you after the wisdom of my years naturally wakes up from its nap.

YES, A THIRD FOOTNOTE - DEAL WITH IT:  A faithful reader of this journal has pointed out to me an "error" in my last entry.  "Midruff?  Is that anything like a 'midriff' or are you simply as bad a speller as you are a storyteller?"  Readers with a frightfully keen memory of that entry will recall that I actually was referring to "bare-midruff tops."  And, in point of fact, that's actually what I meant to say.  "Bare-midriff tops" are all the rage among teenage girls here - but who pays any attention to them?  I'm MUCH more interested in the bare-midruff tops I see - you know, those doggie sweaters which do not quite extend halfway down the belly of the beast, hence the silly name, "midRUFF."  Listen to the oddly chilling vocalizations of a dog wearing one of these faddish fashion statements if you still don't understand.  Just don't attempt to do the dog a "favor" by trying to pull the sweater down until it covers all it really should.  Turns out these dogs tend to hate such assistance even more than teenage girls do.  And their teeth are much, much sharper!