Feature Contributors Archives for 2024-02

The Deafening Event of 2024

The title sounds almost scary, but truly it is not. 2024 is a special year in the realm of entomology. It is the year that two broods of cicadas emerge at the same time. The last time this happened in our area was in 1802 when Thomas Jefferson was President approximately 221 years ago.

No, this does not mean that cicadas are taking over the world. But there will be more cicadas visible at the same time, especially in Indiana and Illinois where these two broods overlap. The two Broods are Brood XIX, the Great Southern Brood, which emerges every 13 years and Brood XIII, the Northern Illinois Brood, which emerges every 17 years. During the great convergence of these two species of cicadas there will be literally millions of these guys all over trees, bushes, sidewalks and streets coming out to greet mates. The next time this event will happen will be in 2245.

Cicadas spend most of their lives in the soil just waiting to emerge. There is nothing really dangerous or damaging about these cicadas. You may see lots of cicada shell casings attached to trees, bushes, and buildings. The males are the only one of the species that even makes a noise, but when he does, he wants all the females to know that he is in the mood for courtship. In fact, a male can create a song reaching 100 decibels which is equitant to a lawnmower or sound of a subway train. 

Many think cicadas are locusts, and the terms are often used interchangeably. But our periodical cicadas here are NOT really locusts. A locust is a different insect that is closely related to the grasshopper. In Africa and other parts of the world, the locust can decimate crops and vegetation by Biblical proportions anything that is in their swath of movement. 

Here is the takeaway about the 2024 Cicada Event.

  1. Emergence happens when the soil temperature reaches about 60-65 degrees. (This is normally sometime in June or maybe July.)
  2. There will be temporary noise pollution for some and/or a wonderful sound of nature for others.
  3. Emergence will provide a protein rich food supply for many predators including birds which will then increase in population.
  4. Dead cicadas will provide nitrogen rich products which benefits our ecosystem.
  5. There will be a bunch of Cicadas. 

Enjoy this wonder of nature.

Column: Will Shelbyville's new apartments be sold as vacation timeshares?

Dear readers,

My stack of unopened mail gets bigger every week. I can’t print all your letters, but if you mention “The Helbing” it does increase your chances.

Let’s get started. Today’s letter isn’t going to open itself.

Dear Kris,

The Helbing was glistening in the sun as my wife and I exited the Blue Agave Mexican restaurant last week. As I looked at the sculpture, I suddenly perceived the essential meaning held within the twisted stainless steel. In that moment, I gained an appreciation for that magnificent sculpture. I finally saw the clouds and rain appear within the twisted metal.    

I tried to get my wife to see it too. After a few minutes standing there in the parking lot, she said, “OK, I see it.”

I could tell that she really didn’t see it yet. It reminded me of those three dimensional pictures that were included in the funny papers years ago.  After staring at the page, it was unbelievable how the picture really looked three dimensional. Unfortunately, just like George Costanza, my wife could never see those either.    



I wanted to help her see the clouds and rain in the sculpture. I tried pointing to parts of the sculpture, but she just got mad. She finally admitted that she hadn’t seen it. She said she had claimed to have seen it just to shut me up, so that we could go home. Finally, she took the keys and insisted on driving. She claimed that I was imagining the clouds and rain in the sculpture because I had drunk too many margaritas. 

I tried to explain to her that Mike Helbing sculpted wind, rain, and water into stainless steel. The official name of the artwork is “Blue River-Wind, Rain, and Water.”

She said that just means Mike Helbing drank too many margaritas too. 

On the ride home, I decided it was time to change the subject. I commented on the progress made on the apartments being built behind the old Porter Pool. My wife suggested that maybe I should investigate putting down a deposit on one with a view of The Helbing.

She said maybe I would be happier living where I could gaze out at all the imaginary things in The Helbing whenever I wanted.

Kris, since you are the resident expert on all things Helbing, I have some questions.  Do you know how much rent will be charged for the apartments with a view of The Helbing?  I’m sure they will cost more than the apartments with only a view of the Cork Liquors store.

Please withhold my name. As my wife put it, “Everyone who spotted you gazing at The Helbing already thinks you’re an idiot. Don’t write a letter to Meltzer’s column and remove all doubt.” 

Dear name withheld by request,

What you experienced was a Helbing epiphany. Congratulations!

Many who began hating The Helbing see it one day in a different light and come to appreciate its artistic value. So, there is still hope for your wife. Here are a few fun facts about The Helbing.

  1. The Helbing weighs as much as 2,917 Schwinn Stingray bicycles.
  2. If the twisted stainless steel of The Helbing were straightened out, it would span the distance from my boyhood home to Morrison Park and back again.
  3. In his youth, artist Mike Helbing, creator of The Helbing, was once suspended from St. Joe for three days by Sister Angeleta. The suspension was a punishment for knowing the correct answer. 

I happened to see Mayor Scott Furgeson at a recent charity event, so I asked him about the cost of renting one of the new apartments. Mayor Furgeson said, “Kris, I haven’t been told yet, but I would think apartments with a view of The Helbing would be twice as expensive.” 

I’m even more optimistic than the mayor. With the increased popularity of our famous sculpture, I don’t think the builder will rent the units with a view as apartments.

I think if you want to wake up with a view of The Helbing you will have to invest in a timeshare!

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Household Foggers -Friend of Foe?

It is common when an insect problem is discovered to run to the store and grab a “bug bomb.” Let us think about this and evaluate whether this is a good idea or not. There are some things that should be considered before spending money on a fogger. Take a cockroach problem for example.

  1. Will a fogger really solve my problem? In the case of cockroaches, a fogger may work against you instead of working to accomplish your goal. Consider this fact. Cockroaches are Cryptic in nature meaning that they hide upwards to 90% of their time in cracks and crevices. They like tight dark places where they feel safe. With that being said, these areas are where the insecticide should be. When a bug bomb is released, the insecticide goes from an area of greater concentration to an area of lesser concentration. This process is called diffusion. In doing this the insecticide spews out and covers everything around the release point but does not enter into cracks and crevices. This is due to atmospheric pressure which is higher outside than inside causing a small breeze to come OUT of a crack instead of inside air with the insecticide being forced into a crack or crevice.
  2. Perhaps a better strategy is to be more surgical in treatments including the use of baits and crack and crevice treatments. If the goal is to get the roaches out of their hiding places, a flushing agent can be used to cause the roach to be forced out of cracks and crevices. These types of treatments are safer and less likely to contaminate large, not targeted areas with pesticides where pets and humans may come in contact.

I admit foggers can be beneficial in other cases, but they are not as effective as one might believe for a cockroach problem. This is not magic, but science. Once we understand how things work, we can be more effective in getting the result we are shooting for. 

Cockroaches have been around for centuries, perhaps thousands of years. They survived the ice age, can build resistance to chemicals, and adapt to changes of the environment.

Don’t let them get the upper hand in your home or property. A good solution is to get involved with a good pest control program to protect what is most important to you - your home and family. Give us a call to discuss options if you need help. 

Knowledge is power!

Column: The story of a lost ten dollar bill

Dear readers,

While looking for something in my desk drawer this week, I found an unopened package of pencils. They weren’t my usual No. 2 Ticonderoga pencils. These pencils had been custom ordered by me 25 years ago.

Neat gold lettering on each pencil said, “Schwinning into the Millennium.”

It was a commonly held belief that all computers would crash at that Y2K moment in time. I had planned on giving out the pencils as a public service. People would need an alternative way to communicate as we entered a dystopian future. As it turned out, the computers didn’t crash.  Like our arsenal of atomic bombs at rest on the top of rockets, my pencils weren’t needed. Better safe than sorry, I always say.

It seems hard to believe that 25 years have passed since I was planning on entering the new millennium. The years I spent in grade school lasted a lot longer. Childhood years are similar to dog years. The six years spent in grade school pass at the same rate as approximately 42 years in adult time.

A phenomenon that explains why friendships made in childhood remain closer than those made as adults. I believe that I remain closer to my childhood friends even if we haven’t socialized in 50 years. 



Today’s story about the lost $10 bill is from 1965. It might not be exactly 1965. I’m guessing the year by gazing at today’s photo. Look closely at the photo. The tallest boy in the middle is Larry Robertson. Left to right in front of Larry is Mark Jessup, Mike Jessup, and me. The Jessups were our next-door neighbors. Everyone in the photo is still among the living except for Mike. He died this past Nov. 8. 

The Jessups were great next-door neighbors. Mike and Mark’s parents, Stewart and Mary, didn’t mind other kids being over at their house and I spent many hours there.

Stewart worked for the City of Shelbyville. In the summer, he oversaw Sunset Park. We lived closer to Morrison Park, but on most summer days we would all ride our bicycles over to Sunset Park. Mike and Mark would take lunch to their dad. We would stay and play at the park.

In those days there were little grocery stores in every neighborhood in town. Strickler’s was the store in our neighborhood. One evening Mike’s parents gave him a $10 bill and sent him to Strickler’s to pick up a few items. Somewhere between home and the store Mike lost the $10 bill.

Mike rounded up several of us kids to help him look, but we had no luck. After sunset, several adults, flashlights in hand, made a final search for the lost money. My dad, Philip, was one of the adults. Everyone didn’t have a flashlight and Mike was partnered with my dad for one last walk to Strickler’s.

Soon Mike and my dad returned with good news. My dad had found the lost $10 bill. I wasn’t surprised that my dad had found the money.  Philip was always good at spotting mushrooms and Indian arrowheads on the farm.

That is how the $10 bill story ended for the next 55 years. Then my dad died on Aug. 8, 2020. Mike Jessup and I did not stay in touch over the years. A few days after my dad died, I happened to be in the checkout line behind Mike at Kroger. If you shop at Kroger, then you know that we had plenty of time to catch up.

Mike told me that he had fond memories of my dad. He said that he never forgot how my dad gave him a $10 bill that night to replace the one that he had lost. My dad told Mike that he didn’t want him to get in any trouble for losing the money. 

Somewhere in my mind I heard Paul Harvey say, “Now you know the rest of the story.”

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: My stay in a Japanese hospital

First and foremost, I want to thank everyone who reached out with well wishes after my last column regarding my accident in Amsterdam. Thank you all so much, and rest assured, I am healing more and more each day.

Along with everyone’s well wishes, I received quite a few questions related to Japanese hospitals, my particular stay, and how long I think I will be in the hospital. So, in this column I am going to try to answer as many of those questions as I can.

So many of you have expressed surprise at how long I am staying in the hospital. Americans are especially amazed at how long I am being kept in the hospital. I arrived back to Japan on Jan. 8 and I was immediately admitted into the hospital; my surgery was scheduled for Jan. 19 , then rehab for two weeks post-surgery minimum, in hospital.

It seems that the 19th was the earliest it could be done due to a crowded operating room schedule. Alas, pre-surgery, I was limited in my mobility due to the torn triceps tendon, as a result, even though I followed the doctor’s instructions about moving my legs and toes as much as I could, I developed two blood clots in my legs which traveled through my heart and landed in my lungs. So, this little setback means I must stay in the hospital at least a week longer than anticipated, to try to dissolve these.

So, for over ten days I was in a holding pattern while I awaited my surgery. People were astounded that I wasn’t sent home to await the surgery. This is typical in Japan, and in fact, it is not uncommon for people to spend a month or more in hospital when having a serious condition or surgery that needs treatment. I like that the Japanese healthcare system doesn’t shoo people out as quickly as they can and they allow patients to recover properly under direct supervision of the hospital staff.



Upon admission, I was given a choice of a shared room with four people, or a private room. The cost difference per day was around $20 more for a private room, which has to be out of pocket, but because I not only have travel insurance, but also a supplementary policy, this will be covered so I opted for a private room. In the U.S. the cost difference is so great that without good insurance a private room would be too expensive to have.

One reader was very interested to know what a typical day entails for me in a Japanese hospital. A patient’s usual day is quite regimented. Things tend to happen like clockwork.  For example, at 7 a.m., a woman comes to serve green tea or water; at 7:15, a nurse’s aide comes in with a hot towel so I can wipe my face. It’s a thick, disposable paper towel called an oshibori. It is refreshing upon waking up first thing and being able to wipe one’s face with a hot towel.

At 7:45, a nurse comes with my morning medication to be taken after breakfast. Promptly at 8 a.m., breakfast is served.  It usually consists of some sort of grilled fish, white rice, and miso soup. Sometimes, a slice of fruit is also on the tray or a gelatin cup. I am not a fish eater, so that is a bit of a problem as most meals have some sort of fish component.

Between 8:20 and 8:30, the breakfast tray is picked up. If you aren’t finished eating, they will allow you more time to finish. Around 9 a.m., a nurse comes to take my vitals (blood pressure, temperature, and oxygen levels). At 10 a.m., a cleaning lady comes through to empty the trash, dry mop then wet mop the floor and just make sure the room is generally clean.

At 11 a.m., the woman comes around with more tea or water in preparation for lunch which is served at noon.  Again, between 12:20-12:30, the tray is picked up. Around 1 p.m., a nurse comes in to take my vitals again, then around 3 p.m. I have rehab. It started out at about 15 minutes, but as I heal the time has increased to about 40 minutes. I still have to use a leg splint for several more weeks, and that means I must use a Japanese walker (see photo). It looks funky, but it works really well and is very sturdy and stable.

Visiting hours are from 2-4 p.m., with a maximum of three people allowed to visit and for only 30 minutes each. Visitors can only be immediate family and they must adhere to all Covid protocols, like getting their temperature taken, filling out a form, and wearing a surgical mask.

A student brought me papers to grade and they almost didn’t let her in because she isn’t “family.” I bargained with them to let her come for 15 minutes to hand over the papers to me, and they did allow her to give them to me.  But normally the rules are strictly enforced with no exceptions.



At about 5 p.m., the woman comes around with the evening water or tea and dinner is served at 6 p.m. Evening meds are delivered about 6:30 p.m., and vitals are taken again at about 8 p.m.

A boy comes around about 8:30 to disinfect the bed table by wiping it down thoroughly. A tenth Covid wave is threatening to rear its ugly head, so many Covid precautions are still in effect. The hospital WIFI is shut down at 9 p.m., so I have gotten into the habit of going to bed just after the WIFI signal goes dark.

The first week was so uncomfortable as I was still suffering from severe jet lag. My body clock is now on Japan-time, so my sleeping pattern is more regular. That is my typical day in a nutshell.

For two days post-surgery, I was forced to use a bedpan, which is a humiliating and humbling experience. I know it’s a normal bodily function and I realize that the nursing staff are all professionals and things like that likely do not bother them in the least, but for me, the idea of being assisted with one’s most intimate daily elimination duties left me demoralized. Besides, I have shirts older than most of the nurses on staff, so I felt odd having to be cleaned up and sponge-bathed by such young women.

Thankfully, I graduated to being able to go to my room toilet with assistance to now finally being able to do it all on my own.  It’s the small victories for sure! 

It is amazing how much you take for granted in your daily life until you can’t do something, and how helpless you feel when you are dependent on all those around you. For example, Tuesday is shower day, and a hot shower never felt so good.  It’s the little things, truly.

Again, the entire nursing staff has been fabulous so any hangups are purely my own. Nobody at any time has made me feel strange or uncomfortable by their behavior or actions, it was all me feeling inadequate, embarrassed, and vulnerable during these instances.

By all means, if you have any more questions regarding my Japanese hospital experience, please feel free to drop me a line at toddjayleonard@yahoo.com.

No doubt at least a couple more future columns will include my hospital and rehab stints here in Japan.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Love is in the Air

The month of February is considered the month of love, and rightly so with Valentine's Day celebrating togetherness and bonding relationships.

What about animals? Do they celebrate romance? Well, not really, but many nuisance animals do find themselves in mating season during the month of love. And while humans search for that mate to spend a lifetime with, there are some animals that just do not see it that way. Two examples of nuisance animals that are not committed to one another are the raccoon and the skunk. Both species are “polygynous” meaning that they mate with multiple partners and never form permanent bonds with their partners. These males also have nothing to do with raising the young.

Mating season for raccoons in Indiana is late January into early February. Birthing starts in April and goes into May. Why is this information important? During the mating season females are looking for a safe place that they can give birth and raise their young. The lesson here is to not make your home attractive to a mother coon. Button up soffits, holes in foundations and areas where there is good cover for the raccoon to have babies. Think of it this way, if a raccoon has young, there will likely be 1 to 9 babies so along with mom this is multiplying your problem. It is best to not let it happen by not providing a harborage for them or a ready meal of pet food left for your household pets outside the home.

Skunks mate in late February into early March. The females give birth to 4 to 7 young born usually in May. Males have nothing to do with the family after mating.  Again, don’t make your home inviting to skunks unless you want to take a chance of your pets tangling with skunks living under or around your home or you experiencing that unusual ‘fragrance’ lingering around your home. Seal foundation openings and do not leave pet food out overnight since both the raccoon and skunk are opportunists eating a variety of foods including pet food, human food scraps, insects and garbage. 

Nuisance wildlife can cause damage to your home, compromise the safety of your pets and disturb your peace of mind. Be proactive and do not procrastinate when preparing for unwanted animal pests. If you have questions feel free to give us a call for a free evaluation.

Column: Welcome to the Super Bowl Party

Dear readers,

Welcome to the official Team Schwinn Super Bowl party. It looks like the entire team along with several guests have already arrived. The team’s official stenographer, Kim Medsker, will transcribe for those of you who couldn’t be here in person. Enjoy!

Kris: I can see that Kim has her steno pad and a sharp No. 2 Ticonderoga pencil at the ready. Let’s take a lap around the room.

It looks like Susie Veerkamp, Susan Weaver, and Kathrine Glass are having a Southwestern Class of 1973 reunion over by the punch bowl.  Kathrine, I’m surprised to see you. I thought you were boycotting the Super Bowl this year.

Kathrine: I was planning on boycotting because the Budweiser Clydesdales weren’t invited last year. However, the Clydesdales are back this year and so am I. Susie, are you responsible for all these tasty hors d'oeuvres?

Susie: Not all of them. I don’t know who brought the Spam carved in the shape of a football.

Kris: I carved the football Spam myself. 



Kathrine: Susan Weaver, is that Kansas City red you are wearing?

Susan: Yes, I’m picking the Chiefs to win.

Kathrine: Susan, I think that outfit qualifies you as a “football fashionista.”  Have you always been a Chiefs fan?

Susan: No, I’m officially a “cheese head.” When I first met Al in 2014, he took me to a Green Bay Packers game. If the Packers aren’t playing, I always pick one of the teams to win. It makes the game more exciting to watch. Like Vince Lombardi famously said, “If it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, then why do we keep score.”

Kathrine: Look, I think Stephanie Rick just arrived.

Kris: She along with Fred Dickman and Kevin Zerr seems to be admiring the little football I carved from a chunk of Spam.

Stephanie: I can’t believe you rounded up some Mechanic Street kids from the 1960s. You know Fred, Kevin and I all lived on Mechanic Street in our youth. We were just making bets on who would be the first guest to sample the Spam football.

Fred: I’m not sure about the Spam football. You might have to cut it up and hide it in a casserole. As far as today’s game goes, I think it’s too close to call. I’m hoping San Francisco wins. My favorite halftime performer of all time was Prince. 

Kevin: I think Fred is right about the Spam football. No one seems interested in it. I see that Rick Gray and Jeff Gibson have joined the party. We can plan our next Shelbyville class of ‘73 reunion. 

Stephanie: Kevin, as a former football star from the class of ‘73, who is your pick for today’s game?

Kevin: My favorite global pop star is Taylor Swift. So, I am cheering for her boyfriend Travis Kelce’s team the Chiefs. I’ll keep a close eye on the game just hoping to get a glimpse of Taylor Swift in the crowd.

Rick: I remember watching the first Super Bowl in 1967 with my dad.  The Kansas City Chiefs were playing the Green Bay Packers. Max McGee caught two touchdown passes from Bart Starr to ensure the win for the Packers. Max McGee would later be known for being one of the cofounders of the restaurant Chi Chi’s.     

Rich Adams: I don’t know if he ever started a restaurant, but Bob Zimny, former teacher and coach at Shelbyville, played professional football. Zimny was a member of the Chicago Cardinals when they won the NFL championship in 1947. 

Kris: Rich be sure to give me your phone number before you leave today. I’ll want you to be my lifeline if I ever get invited to a trivia contest at Capone’s. 

Jeff: Kevin, I would never have picked you for being a member of the  Swifties. At one of the early Super Bowls, the halftime entertainment was the “Up With People” singers. I think they performed here in Shelbyville when we were in high school.   

Kris: Three Dog Night performed at the Bears of Blue River Festival.  Well, if it isn’t Rob Robertson. Rob, you were always the resident sports expert for the kids growing up near Morrison Park in the 1960s. What do you think about today’s game?

Rob: This year I’m picking Frisco to win. My favorite game was Super Bowl XLI. The Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17. 

Kris: Cousin Tom, I can’t believe you are arriving so late to the party.  Did you have car trouble?

Cousin Tom: No, I just heard that the Budweiser Clydesdales were going to be back this year. I had to take a TV out to the barn so that my horse Clementine could watch. 

Kris: Is your donkey Cletus also a Clydesdale fan?

Cousin Tom: No, Cletus is a Taylor Swift fan.

Kim:  Kris, my pencil is getting dull, can we wrap this up?

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Just How Tough is a Cockroach?

One of the most resilient insects in the world is the cockroach. Why would that be? What makes them such survivors? The purpose of this article is to investigate an insect with the amazing ability to survive. 

According to Pest Control Magazine:

  1. A cockroach has the ability to run faster than many other insects. Its speed tops out at about 3 miles per hour just like a human being taking a walk, but that speed compared to its size certainly gives it a real edge on escaping predators. 
  2. Its adaptability is superior. A cockroach can adapt to its environment like no other insect. If food is scarce, they can survive with little or no food for a much longer time than humans and most other animals. Dehydration is an insect’s enemy, however. Without water, cockroaches will not survive long but remember cockroaches and other insects may be able to survive without standing water if they are in a high-humidity environment.
  3. Low temperatures will not kill a cockroach unless it comes along very quickly because the cockroach, along with other insects, can build up a type of antifreeze in its body as seasons change from hot to cool to cold which allows them to just survive as they wait for warmer temperatures. Remember the cockroach survived the Ice Age!
  4. A cockroach can even live without its head. Even with the loss of a head, the circulatory system allows for a clot to form so it will not bleed out. Since roaches have multiple “brains” along the nerve cord, this allows them to continue to move and run. The catch is if there is no head, eventually a cockroach will die because it cannot process food or water.
  5. Cockroaches can literally hold their breath for 40 minutes which allows them to survive in sewers and drains.
  6. Cockroaches will eat about anything. They are not picky!

If you find yourself in a situation where cockroaches are getting ahead of you, give us a call to discuss your questions concerning your cockroach issue.

Column: My super awesome pregame column

Dear readers,

One week from today is Super Sunday. All eyes will be on Las Vegas where Super Bowl LVIII is being held. The festivities will be in the new Allegiant Stadium which will become Circus Maximus for the day.

Reba McEntire has been chosen for the honor of singing the national anthem. Reba was picked based upon the popularity of her hit song “Fancy” about a southern girl who still works in Vegas.

The rumor is that Reba will sing from a chariot being pulled by a team of Budweiser Clydesdales. We’ll have to wait to see.

I know what some of you are thinking. Whoa Kris, slow down a minute.  Are you allowed to say, “Super Bowl?” Isn’t it a registered trademark of the NFL? Don’t you have to use code words or euphemisms like, “The Big Game” or “The Big Dance?”

The NFL does hold the copyright to “Super Bowl” and “Super Sunday.”  “The Big Dance” is actually copyrighted by the NCAA along with the “March Madness,” “The Elite Eight,” and “The Final Four.”

Companies copyright or get a trademark on anything they think will sell on a T-shirt. Favorites of mine from the past include “Got Milk?” “Where’s the Beef?” and “Who Killed J.R.?” 



Just because something is a trademark or copyright doesn’t mean that you can’t talk about it or write the words. You just can’t print up your own T-shirts and sell them at vacant gas stations along with velvet paintings of Elvis. 

I also can’t claim or imply that my column is endorsed by the NFL. Unlike Bud Light who has a contract with the NFL as the “Official Beer,” my column is not the “Official Column of the NFL.”

Maybe just to be safe I should insert a disclaimer here.

Disclaimer: This column is not endorsed by the NFL, Budweiser, Taylor Swift, Carl’s Jr., Reba McEntire, Fancy or any person or corporation. This work is a product of the author’s imagination.  Any resemblance to reality is purely coincidental.

OK, now let’s get to the question on every football fan’s mind this week.  How many times will the TV cameras zoom in on Taylor Swift during the Super Bowl?

The casinos in Vegas are already taking bets. Of course, with modern betting there is much more to wager on than just the number of times Taylor will appear on TV. Side bets include the odds of Taylor wearing a scarf and if so, its length. Will Taylor wear any clothing item made from cashmere? Will she watch the coin flip? Will she sing along during the national anthem? 

Some football fans are worried that Taylor Swift might not make it to the game in time for the coin flip. She has her final performance of four shows at the Tokyo Dome the night before the Super Bowl. Will the NFL delay the game if Taylor is running late? Will she parachute into the parking lot before the game dressed as an Elvis impersonator?

I think that about wraps up this week’s pregame column. I didn’t have time to mention anything about the teams playing in the Super Bowl.  I’ll get to that next week.

Unlike the NFL, NCAA and other businesses who try to squeeze every last cent out of words they combine in a clever order, I’m not that greedy.

Feel free to use this column however you want. Read it aloud in public.  Make copies to pass out to tourists visiting “The Helbing.”

See you all next week, same Schwinn time, same Schwinn channel.

The Shelby County Post is a digital newspaper producing news, sports, obituaries and more without a pay wall or subscription needed. Get the most recent Shelby County Post headlines delivered to your email by visiting shelbycountypost.com and click on the free daily email signup link at the top of the page.

Letters Home: The best laid plans ...

This column is going to be a little different from my normal ones in that I am going to recount an accident I was involved in while traveling through Europe last month.

After spending nearly two weeks during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, my travel partner and I were finishing our sightseeing in Amsterdam after taking a riverboat cruise from Switzerland to Holland, passing through lovely French and German cities on the Rhine River.

After arriving in Amsterdam by riverboat, we arranged a few extra days to sightsee in Amsterdam (photo). The first day meant we visited the royal palace, some lovely churches, and the Rembrandt Museum — with general exploration of this fabulous city. The next day we were planning on visiting the Anne Frank house and the Van Gogh Museum.

While enroute to the Anne Frank house via a city tram/train, as I got up out of my seat to prepare to exit at the next stop, the tram driver was forced to slam on his brakes to avoid a collision with a taxi, which sent me flying across the car where I fell hard on my knees. I was initially in shock not fully knowing what had just happened, so I was able to crawl, somewhat, to a nearby seat. Momentarily we arrived at the stop where we needed to get off, but as soon as I exited the tram, my knees buckled and down I went like a ton of bricks. I was more seriously injured than I initially thought.



Immediately, a Dutch pedestrian, many in fact, came to my aid, but something was horribly awry with my knee and I could not move. One Dutch gentleman called an ambulance and stayed with us until it arrived in order to interpret in case the ambulance people spoke no English.

As I laid there on the pavement, spread out like a beached whale, I was so touched by the concern of the Dutch people in cars and on foot. Several cars stopped to ask if I needed any help, they passed water bottles to me out of the window, even an umbrella was offered, as it had started raining. Strangers helping a stranger in a foreign land in a time of need. Humanity at its best.

After the ambulance arrived, I was loaded in and rushed to an orthopedic hospital on the outskirts of Amsterdam proper. The attendants were wonderful as well, so caring, friendly and assisting. I was promptly admitted and given x-rays, where it was concluded that I had a torn tendon in my left knee and a contusion on my right knee, not to mention two stoved fingers that were turning black and blue and swelling up like little sausages.

My knees had begun to swell, too, and bruising was appearing all over. I injured my right arm, as well, making it painful to do anything with it.

The doctor informed me that while my injuries were serious and I would absolutely need surgery on my left knee, that if I preferred to return to Japan, she thought that it was possible with a full leg stint and crutches. Not knowing anyone in Amsterdam and feeling more secure returning to Japan, I opted to hobble back to Japan the best I could.

The Dutch doctor was concerned about me being on a plane for 15 hours to return and suggested I take an anti-coagulant injection several times before boarding. I had never had to give myself any type of injection before, so that was a new experience, as well as being hauled to the hospital in a Dutch ambulance.

Two things I hope to never experience again in my life!

As a matter of course, when traveling from Japan to overseas, it is customary to purchase travel insurance for such an occurrence. I am so glad I did!

I can’t imagine the cost of all the healthcare expenses without it. No one can predict what can happen, and a freak accident like that which happened to me could happen to anyone, so I recommend anyone traveling abroad to purchase some sort of travel insurance as a precaution. Chances are you won’t need it, but in the case you do need it, it can make the world of difference to you financially.

After spending the next two days in the hotel trying to learn how to walk in a leg stint and on crutches, we were ready to return to Japan. I called ahead and asked for wheelchair assistance and that was the best decision ever because the airport personnel from start to finish were all great and professional.

We flew from Amsterdam to Zürich, then Zürich to Narita Tokyo, where we had to change to Haneda airport by land (thankfully a college friend lives near Narita and offered to drive us across Tokyo to Haneda in his car as I don’t think I would have been able to get on a bus in my condition).  From Haneda, we needed to fly to where we reside In Fukuoka.



As soon as the plane landed, we were in a taxi and on our way to a Japanese hospital where I was promptly admitted. I will be in the hospital for a month for my surgery and then subsequent rehabilitation after such a serious injury. My injury, my surgeon explained, is rare in normal people but is quite common among professional athletes who do contact sports like football or rugby.

The force that I hit my knees when I was on the tram mimicked that of what an athlete might experience on the playing field when tackled hard.

So, while my New Year’s holiday ended badly, I count myself lucky in many ways. Ironically, while in Amsterdam, I was being so careful with the uneven streets and cobblestoned pavement, worried I might fall, when in fact it happened in the enclosed space of a tram car.

The moral of this story is that you never know what can happen, so be as prepared as you possibly can by purchasing proper insurance, and I am encouraged by the extreme kindness of strangers to a foreigner in a foreign land who needed assistance.

Someday I hope I am able to pay it forward to a foreigner in need that I may be able to help in a similar way as those who helped me while abroad.

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