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Happy Passover and Easter Weekend!

Greetings from N’Orleans, “The Big Easy,” the hub on “Old Man River.” Ok, those all sound nice but all I could remember was the smell of Urine, the Transvestites, and all the crime the last time I was here. PLUS all the “victims” who refused to leave when Katrina hit, and then blamed Pres. Bush. Needless to say, I was not excited about returning down here.

On the plane ride down I got to witness something that has always amazed me (I know it doesn’t take much), and took me back to some great memories. The lady next to me was knitting. It is not that big of a deal but I have always said it is the small things in life that amaze me. This woman made 2 pairs of socks on the 1 ½ hour flight from NashVegas to N’Orleans. Reminded me of watching my grandma when I was growing up. Although her specialty was blankets. One of my prized possessions is my OSU blanket she made for my graduation. I guess it should have been pretty cool; she only had 8 years to work on it 😉

Anyway, the trip down was not that great (and again I was not looking forward to this town even before getting here). I did not get much sleep, forgot to load “relaxing music on my I-Pod” (along with forgetting data chord), flights were delayed, cab driver took me to wrong hotel (spoke Heavy Creole making me wish VJA was here to translate), and problems with room when I got here. I tried to log on-line to post some frustrations, but HOTEL INTERNET WAS DOWN ALSO!!!

So I am thinking “I was right” this town still sucks! But decided to get a little “change in my attitude” and find some “mental floss” by retreating to one of the few places I liked last time I was here. I went to see the “Mango Man” at the “port of indecision-the place south of disorder.” That’s right this Parrot Head went to find the other Pirates at Margaritaville.

This was the first time I have ever left a Margaritaville without having a cocktail of any kind (it is still Lent-BUT ON FRIDAY NIGHT I WILL BE AT THE CASINO SIPPIN BOURBON!!!), anyway a bowl of Gumbo in the belly is “good for the soul,” and a “Cheeseburger in Paradise” is always a nice retreat (extra hot sauce hold the tomato) “I like mine with lettuce (no tomato), Heinz 57, and French Friend Potatoes, Big Kosher Pickle (BTW HAPPY PASSOVER), and a cold draft beer (after Lent of course).”

While enjoying a GREAT LUNCH…I got to escape with ‘Radio Margaritaville’ over the speakers and video montages on the video screen. It was fun to relive some memories…and yes I was in one of the pieces they showed. I even got a little teary eyed when they showed multiple clips of shows from O-H-I-O over the years with Brutus Buckeyes dressed in “Fin Gear” and the Volcano catching on fire at my second “Bubba” show ever at Buckeye Lake. I realized 1.) I have seen WAY TOO MANY JIMMY SHOWS 2.) I get into the music WAY TOO MUCH 3.) I wanna be just like him…making people smile, and forget about their problems-even if just for a moment. Hangin out at my hero’s place was just what I needed as I have been “pacing the cage” lately. Of course had to finish off with a little “Juicy Fruit” gum and head back to the hotel. (For the record those were all Jimmy lyrics or song titles)

On the way back it was AWESOME OUT, I know O-H-I-O is having great weather, but it felt really good to feel the breeze of the “Mighty Mississippi” offsetting the heat of the sun. The French market was booming and I found some dessert shops and HAD to get some goodies (only $50.00 worth). As I was enjoying my walk back and thinking “Maybe this town is not so bad” I took a right and walked through Bourbon Street. Ah yes…there it was.

The stench of Urine SMACKED ME IN THE FACE! Not just “that Sunday smell on Campus after a home football game” but the stench of years of decay and last night’s party BAKING IN THE SUN. Mmmmm, made my chocolate covered Oreos, and Toffee whatever taste good…

I made my way back to the room and curled up by the pool for a lil cat nap. Three hours later I woke up and um…let’s just say the Crawfish in the Jumbolia are not the only RED THINGS in N’Orleans right now!

I capped off the day with a run along the Mississippi (much more intimidating than running around Antrim Park). It was fun to again be next to a body of water, watch the blue collar fisherman working their livelihood in an industry that grabs hold of you and won’t let you go. Breathing heavily taking in all the smells (opposite of Bourbon Street) made me again want to be near a body of water (and Buckeye Lake does not count!). Then a quick shower and off to Emerald’s for some dinner BANG!!!

A great dinner along with the adventure of fighting off Cougars of all types (and genders I think), wore me out, but I had to cap it all off with a dessert of Bread Pudding. Nick Pavich at King Ave 5 always made the best…up until I had Emerald’s (sorry Nick). I took a cab there and decided to walk back. I made sure to ask the Valet if it was safe (I am not intemidated easily, but really did not want to FIND any trouble). The Valet looks at me and grins…”I think you will be fine.” I relied back with “smarta** I am not from here.” He appologized and said “I ment you can handle yourself, have you ever looked at your arms.” Now this is funny to you and to me, but, in his defense I was wearing a sleevless shirt (but it is ok…I tanned today so it was a “formal” sleeveless shirt).

Still no sitting of Tennesse Williams Ghost, Lil Wayne (even though I thought I saw him-but it was just a homeless guy with tattoos, glasses, and a fedora), or Archie Manning (but plenty of those obnoxious “Who Dat” shirts-not to be confused with the very COOL “Who-Dey” shirts I have).

I did see Nicolas Cage though. They are filming a movie down here. Since he is a method actor, and he is playing a down on his luck actor with a drinking and gambeling problem, I am sure I will see him at the Casino tomm night.

Long Day and I am very tired, wrapping up and heading to bed. Kinda Ironic, Lent started here in “The Big Easy” with Mardi Gras, and I am here when it finished, as always I am missing out on a party. Have a great Easter and Passover weekend Buckeye Nation; at least The University of Dayton brought a title to The O-H-I-O. I will be back on Monday but since it is Opening Day, I won’t be around till Tuesday, before jetting off to The “WestSide” and working Long Beach, California Next week.

EASTER:

In the BIG PICTURE, we are not all that different

Christian pilgrims mark Palm Sunday in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM — Hundreds of Christians from around the world marched from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem to mark Palm Sunday, retracing the steps of Jesus 2,000 years ago.

The pilgrims waved national and church flags and followed a white donkey, which according to Christian tradition was the way Jesus entered the holy city.

A few dozen Israeli police stood by, a small fraction of the forces on duty in recent weeks because of Palestinian unrest. There were no incidents in Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

“I see the problems here as a part of the trip, just showing the extremes of this God-drenched city,” said Jane Voigts, a pastor from San Luis Obispo, California. “I’ve really seen more grace and hope amidst the suffering here.”

In past weeks, Palestinian demonstrations followed disclosure of Israeli plans to build apartments in east Jerusalem, as well as rededication of an ancient synagogue in the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City.

Most West Bank Palestinians were banned from Jerusalem Sunday in keeping with standing Israeli regulations. Palestinians and backers demanding free access to the holy city briefly broke through a crossing between the West Bank town of Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Police drove them back and arrested 12. Palestinians said one of those arrested was local Fatah activist Abbas Zaki.

Others celebrated at the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, the traditional birthplace of Jesus, and in the Gaza Strip, home to a small Christian population.

“This day is not so much for celebration as a more somber remembrance,” said 25-year-old Julia Fitzpatrick from Detroit, Michigan, who lives in east Jerusalem and volunteers for a humanitarian nonprofit organization.

“What a lot of visitors who may have more distance may not see, is that this is an important witness for the Palestinian Christian population and their traditions,” she said.

The Christian population in the West Bank and Gaza has been dwindling for decades. Many have left for economic reasons and Muslim pressure. About 50,000 Christians live in the Palestinian areas, a tiny minority among about 4 million Muslims. Another 123,000 Christian Arabs live in Israel, about 8 percent of Israel’s minority Arab population.

According to the Bible, Palm Sunday marks the day Jesus rode into Jerusalem, greeted by cheering crowds bearing palm fronds. It marks the start of Holy Week, which concludes with Easter the following Sunday.

This year the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Churches mark Holy Week on the same dates. The Orthodox Church uses a different calendar from the others, but they coincide every few years.

HOLY WEEK

Holy Week is the week which precedes the great festival of the Resurrection on Easter Sunday, and which consequently is used to commemorate the Passion of Christ, and the event which immediately led up to it. In Latin is it called hebdomada major, or, less commonly, hebdomada sancta, styling it he hagia kai megale ebdomas. Similarly, in most modern languages (except for the German word Charwoche, which seems to mean “the week of lamentation”) the interval between Palm Sunday and Easter Day is known par excellence as Holy Week.

Antiquity of the celebration of Holy Week

From an attentive study of the Gospels, and particularly that of St. John, it might easily be inferred that already in Apostolic times a certain emphasis was laid upon the memory of the last week of Jesus Christ’s mortal life. The supper at Bethania must have taken place on the Saturday, “six days before the pasch” (John 12:1-2), and the triumphant entry into Jerusalem was made from there next morning. Of Christ’s words and deeds between this and His Crucifixion we have a relatively full record. But whether this feeling of the sanctity belonging to these days was primitive or not, it in any case existed in Jerusalem at the close of the fourth century, for the Pilgrimage of Ætheria contains a detailed account of the whole week, beginning with the service in the “Lazarium” at Bethania on the Saturday, in the course of which was read the narrative of the anointing of Christ’s feet. Moreover, on the next day, which, as Ætheria says, “began the week of the Pasch, which they call here the “Great Week”, a special reminder was addressed to the people by the archdeacon in these terms: “Throughout the whole week, beginning from to-morrow, let us all assemble in the Martyrium, that is the great church, at the ninth hour.” The commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry into the city took place the same afternoon. Great crowds, including even children too young to walk, assembled on the Mount of Olives and after suitable hymns, and antiphons, and readings, they returned in procession to Jerusalem, escorting the bishop, and bearing palms and branches of olives before him. Special services in addition to the usual daily Office are also mentioned on each of the following days. On the Thursday the Liturgy was celebrated in the late afternoon, and all Communicated, after which the people went to the Mount of Olives to commemorate with appropriate readings and hymns the agony of Christ in the garden and His arrest, only returning to the city as day began to dawn on the Friday. On the Friday again there were many services, and in particular before midday there took place the veneration of the great relic of the True Cross, as also of the title which had been fastened to it; while for three hours after midday another crowded service was held in commemoration of the Passion of Christ, at which, Ætheria tells us, the sobs and lamentations of the people exceeded all description. Exhausted as they must have been, a vigil was again maintained by the younger and stronger of the clergy and by some of the laity. On the Saturday, besides the usual offices during the day, there took place the great paschal vigil in the evening, with the baptism of children and catechumens. But this, as Ætheria implies, was already familiar to her in the West. The account just summarized belongs probably to the year 388, and it is of the highest value as coming from a pilgrim and an eyewitness who had evidently followed the services with close attention. Still the observance of Holy Week as a specially sacred commemoration must be considerably older. In the first of his festal letters, written in 329, St. Athanasius of Alexandria speaks of the severe fast maintained during “those six holy and great days [preceding Easter Sunday] which are the symbol of the creation of the world”. He refers, seemingly, to some ancient symbolism which strangely reappears in the Anglo-Saxon martyrologium of King Alfred’s time. Further he writes, in 331: “We begin the holy week of the great pasch on the tenth of Pharmuthi in which we should observe more prolonged prayers and fastings and watchings, that we may be enabled to anoint our lintels with the precious blood and so escape the destroyer.” From these and other references, e.g., in St. Chrysostom, the Apostolic Constitutions, and other sources, including a somewhat doubtfully authentic edict of Constantine proclaiming that the public business should be suspended in Holy Week, it seems probable that throughout the Christian world some sort of observance of these six days by fasting and prayer had been adopted almost everywhere by Christians before the end of the fourth century. Indeed it is quite possible that the fast of special severity is considerably older, for Dionysius of Alexandria (c. A.D. 260) speaks of some who went without food for the whole six days (see further under LENT). The week was also known as the week of the dry fast (xerophagia), while some of its observances were very possibly influenced by an erroneous etymology of the word Pasch, which was current among the Greeks. Pasch really comes from a Hebrew meaning “passage” (of the destroying angel), but the Greeks took it to be identical with paschein, to suffer.

Special observances of Holy Week

We may now touch upon some of the liturgical features which are distinctive of Holy Week at the present time. Palm Sunday comes first in order, and although no memory now remains in our Roman Missal of the supper at Bethany and the visit to the “Lazarium”, we find from certain early Gallican books that the preceding day was once known as “Lazarus Saturday”, while Palm Sunday itself is still sometimes called by the Greeks kyriake tou Lazarou (the Sunday of Lazarus). The central feature of the service proper to this day, as it was in the time of Ætheria, is the procession of palms. Perhaps the earliest clear evidence of this procession in the West is to be found in the Spanish “Liber Ordinum” (see Férotin, “Monumenta Liturgica”, V, 179), but traces of such a celebration are to be met with in Aldhelm and Bede as well as in the Bobbio Missal and the Gregorian Sacramentary. All the older rituals seem to suppose that the palms are blessed in a place apart (e.g. some eminence or some other church of the town) and are then borne in procession to the principal church, where an entry is made with a certain amount of ceremony, after which a solemn Mass is celebrated. It seems highly probable, as Canon Callewaert has pointed out (Collationes Brugenses, 1907, 200-212), that this ceremonial embodies a still living memory of the practice described by Ætheria at Jerusalem. By degrees, however, in the Middle Ages a custom came in of making a station, not at any great distance, but at the churchyard cross, which was often decorated with box or evergreens (crux buxata), and from here the procession advanced to the church. Many details varying with the locality marked the ceremonial of this procession. An almost constant feature was, however, the singing of the “Gloria laus”, a hymn probably composed for some such occasion by Theodulphus of Orléans (c. A.D. 810). Less uniformly prevalent was the practice of carrying the Blessed Sacrament in a portable shrine. The earliest mention of this usage seems to be in the customs compiled by Archbishop Lanfranc for the monks of Christ Church, Canterbury. In Germany, and elsewhere on the Continent, the manner of the entry of Christ was sometimes depicted by dragging along a wooden figure of an ass on wheels (the Palmesel), and in other places the celebrant himself rode upon an ass. In England and in many parts of France the veneration paid to the churchyard cross or to the rood cross in the sanctuary by genuflections and prostrations became almost a central feature in the service. Another custom, that of scattering flowers or sprays of willow and yew before the procession, as it advanced through the churchyard, seems to have been misinterpreted in course of time as a simple act of respect to the dead. Under the impression the practice of “flowering the graves” on Palm Sunday is maintained even to this day in many country districts of England and Wales. With regard to the form of the blessing of the palms, we have in the modern Roman Missal, as well as in most of the older books, what looks like the complete Proper of a Mass — Introit, Collects, Gradual, Preface, and other prayers. It is perhaps not unnatural to conjecture that this may represent the skeleton of a consecration Mass formerly said at the station from which the procession started. This view, however, has not much positive evidence to support it and has been contested (see Callewaert, loc. cit.). It is probable that originally the palms were only blessed with a view to the procession, but the later form of benediction seems distinctly to suppose that the palms will be preserved as sacramentals and carried about. The only other noteworthy feature of the present Palm Sunday service is the reading of the Gospel of the Passion. As on Good Friday, and on the Tuesday and the Wednesday of Holy Week, the Passion, when solemn Mass is offered, is sung by three deacons who impersonate respectively the Evangelist (Chronista), Jesus Christ, and the other speakers (Synagoga). This division of the Passion among three characters is very ancient, and it is often indicated by rubrical letters in early manuscripts of the Gospel. One such manuscript at Durham, which supposes only two readers, can hardly be of later date than the eighth century. In earlier times Palm Sunday was also marked by other observances, notably by one of the most important of the scrutinies for catechumens (see CATECHUMEN, III, 431) and by a certain relaxation of penance, on which ground it was sometimes called Dominica Indulgentiae.

Tenebrae

The proper Offices and Masses celebrated during Holy Week do not notably differ from the Office and Mass at other penitential seasons and during Passion Week. But it has long been customary in all churches to sing Matins and Lauds at an hour of the afternoon or evening of the previous day at which it was possible for all the faithful to be present. The Office in itself presents a very primitive type in which hymns and certain supplementary formulae are not included, but the most conspicuous external feature of the service, apart from the distinctive and very beautiful chant to which the Lamentations of Jeremias are sung as lessons, is the gradual extinction of the fifteen candles in the “Tenebrae hearse”, or triangular candlestick, as the service proceeds. At the end of the Benedictus at Lauds only the topmost candle, considered to be typical of Jesus Christ, remains alight, and this is then taken down and hidden behind the altar while the final Miserere and collect are said. At the conclusion, after a loud noise emblematical of the convulsion of nature at the death of Christ, the candle is restored to its place, and the congregation disperse. On account of the gradual darkening, the service, since the ninth century or earlier, has been known as “Tenebrae” (darkness). Tenebræ is sung on the evening of the Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, the antiphons and proper lessons varying each day.

Maundy Thursday, which derives its English name from Mandatum, the first word of the Office of the washing of the feet, is known in the Western liturgies by the heading “In Coena Domini” (upon the Lord’s supper). This marks the central rite of the day and the oldest of which we have explicit record. St. Augustine informs us that on that day Mass and Communion followed the evening meal or super, and that on this occasion Communion was not received fasting. The primitive conception of the festival survives to the present time in this respect at least, that the clergy do not offer Mass privately but are directed to Communicate together at the public Mass, like guests at one table. The Liturgy, as commemorating the institution of the Blessed Sacrament, is celebrated in white vestments with some measure of joyous solemnity. The “Gloria in excelsis” is sung, and during it there is a general ringing of bells, after which the bells are silent until the Gloria is heard upon Easter Eve (Holy Saturday). It is probable that both the silence of the bells and the withdrawing of lights, which we remark in the Tenebræ service, are to be referred to the same source — a desire of expressing outwardly the sense of the Church’s bereavement during the time of Christ’s Passion and Burial. The observance of silence during these three days dates at least from the eighth century, and in Anglo-Saxon times they were known as “the still days”; but the connection between the beginning of this silence and the ringing of the bells at the Gloria only meets us in the later Middle Ages. In the modern celebration of Maundy Thursday attention centres upon the reservation of a second Host, which is consecrated at the Mass, to be consumed in the service of the Presanctified next day. This is borne in solemn procession to an “altar of repose” adorned with flowers and lighted with a profusion of candles, the hymn “Pange lingua gloriosi corporis mysterium” being sung upon the way. So far as regards the fact of the consecration of an additional Host to be reserved for the Mass of the Presanctified, this practice is very ancient, but the elaborate observances which now surround the altar of repose are of comparatively recent date. Something of the same honour used, in the later Middle Ages, to be shown to the “Easter Sepulchre”; but here the Blessed Sacrament was kept, most commonly, from the Friday to the Sunday, or at least to the Saturday evening, in imitation of the repose of Christ’s sacred Body in the Tomb. For this purpose a third Host was usually consecrated on the Thursday. In the so-called “Gelasian Sacramentary”, probably representing seventh-century usage, three separate Masses are provided for Maundy Thursday. One of these was associated with the Order of the reconciliation of penitents (see the article ASH WEDNESDAY), which for long ages remained a conspicuous feature of the day’s ritual and is still retained in the Pontificale Romanum. The second Mass was that of the blessing of the Holy Oils, an important function still attached to this day in every cathedral church. Finally, Maundy Thursday has from an early period been distinguished by the service of the Maundy, or Washing of the Feet, in memory of the reparation of Christ for the Last Supper, as also by the stripping and washing of the altars (see MAUNDY THURSDAY).

Good Friday is now primarily celebrated by a service combining a number of separate features. We have first the reading of three sets of lessons followed by “bidding prayers”. This probably represents a type of aliturgical service of great antiquity of which more extensive survivals remain in the Gallican and Ambrosian liturgies. The fact that the reading from the Gospel is represented by the whole Passion according to St. John is merely the accident of the day. Secondly there is the “Adoration” of the Cross, equally a service of great antiquity, the earliest traces of which have already been noticed in connection with Ætheria’s account of Holy Week at Jerusalem. With this veneration of the Cross are now associated the Improperia (reproaches) and the hymn “Pange lingua gloriosi lauream certaminis”. The Improperia, despite their curious mixture of Latin and Greek — agios o theos; sanctus Deus, etc. — are probably not so extremely ancient as has been suggested by Probst and others. Although the earliest suggestion of them may be found in the Bobbio Misal, it is only in the Pontificale of Prudentius, who was Bishop of Troyes from 846 to 861, that they are clearly attested (see Edm. Bishop in “Downside Review”, Dec., 1899). In the Middle Ages the “creeping to the cross” on Good Friday was a practice which inspired special devotion, and saintly monarchs like St. Louis of France set a conspicuous example of humility in their performance of it. Finally, the Good Friday service ends with the so-called “Mass of the Presanctified”, which is of course no real sacrifice, but, strictly speaking, only a Communion service. The sacred ministers, wearing their black vestments, go to fetch the consecrated Host preserved at the altar of repose, and as they return to the high altar the choir chant the beautiful hymn “Vexilla regis prodeunt”, composed by Venantius Fortunatus. Then wine is poured into the chalice, and a sort of skeleton of the Mass is proceeded with, including an elevation of the Host after the Pater Noster. But the great consecratory prayer of the Canon, with the words of Institution, are entirely omitted. In the early Middle Ages Good Friday was quite commonly a day of general Communion, but now only those in danger of death may receive on that day. The Office of Tenebræ, being the Matins and Lauds of Holy Saturday, is sung on Good Friday evening, but the church otherwise remains bare and desolate, only the crucifix being unveiled. Such devotions as the “Three Hours” at midday, or the “Maria Desolata” late in the evening, have of course no liturgical character. (See also GOOD FRIDAY.)

The service of Holy Saturday has lost much of the significance and importance which it enjoyed in the early Christian centuries owing to the irresistible tendency manifested throughout the ages to advance the hour of its celebration. Originally it was the great Easter vigil, or watch-service, held only in the late hours of the Saturday and barely terminating before midnight. To this day the brevity of both the Easter Mass and the Easter Matins preserves a memorial of the fatigue of that night watch which terminated the austerities of Lent. Again the consecration of the new fire with a view to the lighting of the lamps, the benediction of the paschal candle, with its suggestions of night turned into day and its reminder of the glories of that vigil which we know to have been already celebrated in the time of Constantine, not to dwell upon the explicit references to “this most holy night” contained in the prayers and the Preface of the Mass, all bring home the incongruity of carrying out the service in the morning, twelve hours before the Easter “vigil” can strictly speaking be said to have begun. The obtaining and blessing of the new fire is probably a rite of Celtic or even pagan origin, incorporated in the Gallican Church service of the eighth century. The magnificent “Praeconium Paschale”, known from its first word as the “Exsultet”, was originally, no doubt, an improvisation of the deacon which can be traced back to the time of St. Jerome or earlier. The Prophecies, the Blessing of the Font, and the Litanies of the Saints are all to be referred to what was originaly a very essential feature of the Easter vigil, viz., the baptism of the catechumens, whose preparation had been carried on during Lent, emphasized at frequent intervals by the formal “scrutinies”, of which not a few traces are still preserved in our Lenten liturgy. Finally, the Mass, with its joyous Gloria, at which the bells are again rung, the uncovering of the veiled statues and pictures, the triumphant Alleluias, which mark nearly every step of the liturgy, proclaim the Resurrection as an accomplished fact, while the Vesper Office, incorporated in the very fabric of the Mass, reminds us once more that the evening was formerly so filled that no separate hour was available to complete on that day the usual tribute of psalmody. Strictly speaking, Holy Saturday, like Good Friday, is “aliturgical”, as belonging to the days when the Bridegroom was taken from us. Of this a memorial still remains in the fact that, apart from the one much anticipated Mass, the clergy on that day are not free either to celebrate or to receive Holy Communion.

BRUNCH:

After a long, cold winter—it’s nice to know Easter is almost here. It brings jelly beans, egg hunts, chocolate bunnies, daffodils … and (for many of us) Easter Brunch! If you’re like me and your favorite thing to make is RESERVATIONS, then look no further than Dublin OH. Several restaurants are offering special menus for Easter Sunday (April 4). Below are a few of our favorite picks. (Note: Most of these restaurants require reservations. Seating is limited. Call in advance. All restaurants are located in Dublin, Ohio 43017 unless otherwise noted; 614 area code.)

Columbus Marriott Northwest (5605 Blazer Pkwy. 791-1000) 11 a.m.-2 p.m. This ambitious Easter buffet includes an assortment of soups and salads, seafood, fresh fruits/berries/vegetables, a breakfast station, carved meats, six different entrees and a dessert station. Have a picky little eater? Plated children’s meal upon request with kid-friendly picks like hot dogs and chicken tenders. ($29.95/adults; $22.95 seniors; $11.95 children, 6-12)

Crowne Plaza Columbus/Dublin (600 Metro Pl. N. 760-7939) 10-2:30 p.m. Buffet featuring Chef’s Carving Station/Omelet & Crepe Station, breakfast items, dinner entrées and children’s buffet. Live piano music, ice and food sculptures. ($24.95/adults; $18.95 seniors, 65+; Children 6-11 $14.95; Children under 6 – FREE)

Digger & Finch. (6720 Riverside Dr. 889-8585) 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Appetizer buffet, pick your entrée (i.e. Rack of Lamb, Beef Wellington, Salmon Strudel, Grilled Ham Steak). Dessert buffet! ($24.95/adults. $12.50/children)

Bravo Italian Kitchen (3000 Hayden Rd. Columbus 791-1245) 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Choices include Italian inspirations (Bistecca Benedict), traditional favorites (Stuffed French Toast or Omelets) and more (Crab Cakes & Eggs). (Price range: $8-$14)

Golf Club of Dublin. (5805 Eiterman Rd. Dublin, OH 43016 792-3825) Seatings: 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Buffet includes breakfast items, tossed salads, leg of lamb, chicken, tilapia, pasta, roasted veggies, desserts and pastries. Reservations required. ($19/adults; $8/children under 10)

J. Liu Restaurant (50 W. Bridge St. 718-1818) 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Easter brunch buffet with Prime rib, Ham, omelets, shrimp cocktail, Asian and Italian options and house-made desserts. ($25/adults; $21/seniors; $13/children, ages 4-11) Reservations required.

Café Ephesus (6720 Perimeter Loop Rd. 614/798-8091) 12-9 p.m. Full menu—includes several lamb dishes.

HIGH TECH EASTER (these kids with the new fangled technology)

Geocaching for eggs

Bunny trail tracked via latitude, longitude

by Tom Knox

Hunting for Easter eggs isn’t just for kids anymore, and, as usual, technology is the catalyst for change.

Geocaching, an outdoor activity in which people use GPS coordinates to hide objects and post their locations online, was combined with the traditional Easter egg hunt yesterday at Three Creeks Metro Park in Groveport.

Park naturalist Jill Snyder hid 21 bags of eggs across a mile-long swath of Three Creeks. After getting an initial set of coordinates from Snyder, participants had to find the first bag of eggs, which also contained the latitude and longitude of the next bag, hidden elsewhere in the park.

About a dozen groups or individuals took part. Some were experienced GPS trackers; others were beginners.

Tim Hansen, 25, started geocaching almost two years ago.

“After the first day, you kind of get hooked,” the Orient man said.

Bexley resident Emily Turner, her husband, Sean, and their son Bode, 7, ventured forth on their first geocache hunt armed with a GPS-enabled cell phone. Cell phones generally are not as accurate as hand-held GPS devices, which can guide trackers to within 15 feet of a set of coordinates.

“We might be finished really early,” Emily Turner said, doubting how successful her hunt might be.

Spencer Nevin and his daughter, Lexi, 8, and son, Nick, 6, are seasoned geocachers. The Pickerington family has gone on one-day road trips in Ohio and to nearby states looking for caches, which typically include a logbook for people to sign.

“I found them a lot,” a proud Lexi said.

The Nevins’ first search took them along a pet trail. Spencer urged his kids to look for holes in the ground, brush – anything where a bag might be hidden.

“Where’s your geoscent?” Spencer asked.

The scent hit a few moments later as the bag was found stuffed in an unusual spot: a dog-poop station.

The third cache showed how tough it can be to use GPS in the woods. The device’s compass was “bouncing around” because of interference from clouds and trees, Spencer said.

For about 20 minutes, they looked under every branch and in every hole in the vicinity, to no avail. Spencer said he’d try to recalibrate his device.

“You’re using big words,” Lexi said. “I don’t know what they mean.”

After a few seconds, she understood.

“We’re lost.”

The group sought Snyder’s help. After some searching, she found the spot underneath a bundle of brush.

The cycle continued, with each child taking a turn holding the GPS device. High-tech egg hunting or not, a father must be fair to his children.

GOVERNMENT:

Petition drive will seek to exempt Ohio from health-care reform

By James Nash

Ohioans may get to decide this fall whether to exempt the state from federal health-care reforms.

Attorney General Richard Cordray today approved the language of a petition sponsored by the Ohio Liberty Council and other conservative groups to remove Ohio residents from requirements to purchase health insurance and to participate in health plans.

The proposed ballot measure still needs approval from the Ohio Ballot Board before supporters can begin circulating a petition. They would need about 402,000 valid signatures to place the issue before voters in November as a constitutional amendment.

Cordray already has said Ohio will not join at least 13 other states participating in lawsuits to block the health-care reforms.

But the attorney general, a Democrat, said today that the ballot measure is a separate issue. He said the language submitted by the Ohio Liberty Council is an accurate reflection of what the ballot measure intends to accomplish.

A coalition of liberal groups had called on Cordray to reject the petition language, saying Ohio has no right to exempt itself from federal laws. But Cordray’s review apparently could not address that issue.

MILITARY:

Please see the attached photo before reading

Humble chief gains national attention

by Staff Sgt. Jeremy Larlee

Air Force Print News

11/10/2006 – MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. (AFPN) — All of the attention embarrasses him, but as this chief master sergeant learned recently, a lifetime of caring and good deeds is bound to catch up with you eventually.

Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt, superintendent of the 22nd Wing Medical Group here, recently gained worldwide attention for a photo of him holding an injured Iraqi child. The photo was taken about a month ago, while he was deployed to Balad Air Base in Iraq.

The young infant had received extensive gunshot injuries to her head when insurgents attacked her family killing both of her parents and many of her siblings. The chief had a knack for comforting her and they often would catch a cat nap together in a chair.

Now, he is back at home in Wichita, Kan., with his wife, Mindy. They have a warm, hospitable home five minutes away from McConnell Air Force Base. His son Ryan, 25, and daughter Amber, 23, have long since outgrown being cradled and he said he thought about them constantly while he held the Iraqi child.

“I got as much enjoyment out of it as the baby did,” he said. “I reflected on my own family and life and thought about how lucky I have been.”

His affection for children is no secret to his wife, Mindy. While dating John in high school, she watched how he bonded with the child of a coach of one of his athletic teams. That softer side of him is one of the reasons she married him.

“People see him as this tough guy,” she said, “but I always see that other side of him that is full of compassion.”

The chief, who grew up in Jordan, New York, is not at home in the spotlight. When asked to talk about himself, he always tries to switch the focus to the other military people who served with him at Balad.

While deployed to Iraq, the chief tried to help out any way he could. He figured holding a baby that needed comforting that would free up one more set of arms that could be providing care to more critical patients.

“If I have an opportunity to help out, I look for that opportunity,” he said. “They had more than enough to do.”

The chief was not alone in volunteering at the hospital. There were more than 800 different volunteers at the hospital during the time he was deployed to Iraq, he said. Some of them volunteered so much that he mistakenly thought they were assigned to the hospital.

When Mindy describes the best qualities of her husband, the first word out of her mouth is integrity. She said the photo of her husband and the Iraqi child truly represents him. She believes he has been so successful because he is such a straight-shooter and puts others’ welfare ahead of his own.

“He never leads anyone astray,” she said. “He will never do something for himself that would have a negative effect on someone else. He always tells it like it is.”

But, the chief attributes his success to his family.

“Without their support I don’t know where I would be,” he said. “I definitely wouldn’t be in the position I am.”

And it is the chief’s hope that families in Iraq will receive the same kind of support in the future. They are just like American families, Chief Gebhardt said.

“I pray for the best for the Iraqi children,” he said. “I can’t tell the difference between their kids and our kids. The Iraqi parents have the same care and compassion for their children as any American.”

Life is calmer for Chief Gebhardt now that he is back home, and even though his recent “fame” has highlighted an eventful 27-year career, he said he wouldn’t change a thing.

“If I had to do it over again, I would sign up and give it another ride,” he said.

SPORTS:

Young Yankee Pitcher cause stir in Spring Training for “going both ways”

Pat Venditte throws with both arms in appearance for Yankees

Hey look, Stewies! Both hands!

Now that Pat Venditte has taken the mound in a Yankees uniform, I think it’s safe to say we’ve seen everything there is to see this spring training.

Yup, might as well pack up the kids, start the station wagon and head for home because how else are we going to top a pitcher making an ambidextrous appearance while wearing a specially-designed glove with six finger slots so he can wear in on either hand?

We’re probably not, which is why all camps should have shut down after Venditte, the Yankees’ young switch pitcher, left Tuesday’s game against the Braves after giving up one run, two hits and a walk against seven batters in 1.1 innings of work in Orlando.

And here you thought Mickey Mouse was the most versatile character in the Magic Kingdom.

That Venditte goes both ways with his arms and is a one-of-a-kind pitcher for this generation doesn’t exactly qualify as a breaking story. The 24-year-old made plenty of headlines when the Yankees drafted him out of Creighton in 2008 and his arrival in the pro ranks caused the Professional Baseball Umpires Corporation to create a rule crafted especially for him. Before each batter, Venditte must visually signal to the umpire and batter which arm he intends to exclusively use during that at-bat.

The reason that Venditte is on your browser today is because Tuesday marked the first time he wore the Yankees’ big league uniform against another major league team. After eight warmup pitches — four with each arm — he relieved CC Sabathia(notes) with two outs in the fifth, pitching righty to the righthanded Yunel Escobar(notes) and ending the inning on a groundout to third.

The real action didn’t start until the top of the sixth, when Venditte pitched righthanded against righty Matt Diaz(notes) (single), lefty against leftthanded Nate McLouth(notes) (sac bunt) and righty against righty Clint Sammons(notes) (walk). Things got even more interesting later in the inning when he declared righty against switch-hitter Brooks Conrad(notes), who opted to bat lefty but ended up grounding out to end Venditte’s day anyway.

The outing created some excitement in the stands, but also some confusion in the Yankees dugout, where Sabathia displayed an unfamiliarity with the Yankees’ unique farmhand.

THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY:

“I’m going to go outside in 80’ with sun, and watch the first day of Buckeye Spring Practice. My job does not suck”-E. Gordon Gee (April 1, 2010)

SPRING FOOTBALL

The Spring Game is only-Days away, and you can join me foe a HUGE Tailgate Party at Across the Field Memorabilia Store on the corner of Ackerman and Olentangy.

Think of the Ohio State football program like a house about to be put on the market. First, it needs some fixing up – not rebuilding, because OSU doesn’t rebuild – but some remodeling.

In the Buckeyes’ case, the areas of interest include a hinge (offensive left tackle), a joint (Terrelle Pryor’s knee), a wall (defensive line) and a security fence (safeties).

After the projects are completed, it gets listed, and on April 24, there will be a public open house in Ohio Stadium.

Expectations are high coming off a fifth-straight Big Ten championship, an 11-2 season and a Rose Bowl victory over Oregon.

So is this property worth buying? With spring practice set to begin Thursday, Dispatch beat reporters Ken Gordon and Tim May take a look:

ISSUE: Is Pryor’s left knee a concern?

Gordon: I don’t think so. It certainly has drawn a lot of attention since he suffered the partially torn ligament last October and had arthroscopic surgery in early February. But all indications are Pryor will participate in spring drills normally – and remember, quarterbacks generally are off-limits to contact in spring, anyway. On Wednesday, Pryor Tweeted that the knee was doing well and he was ready for spring ball.

May: Anything that makes him feel more confident in the joint is a good thing. I remember him pulling up on his first significant run in the Rose Bowl as he slipped out of bounds, then putting his head down and cutting up with the gusto of Jim Brown in the fourth quarter on the clock-eating drive that secured the win. That said, any extra work Joe Bauserman and Kenny Guiton Jr. can gain would be a good thing.

ISSUE: Who will replace LT Jim Cordle?

May: Cordle finally ended up at left tackle last season out of desperation to fill the void, and now he’s gone. That has been an iffy spot for the Buckeyes for a few years now, but at least there are candidates aplenty this spring. Most observers are looking at Mike Adams and Andrew Miller, but don’t forget about Marcus Hall. He established himself as dependable in his freshman year as a backup to right tackle J.B. Shugarts. And coach Jim Bollman plays his five best linemen, regardless of their major.

Gordon: This is year two of the “Will Mike Adams emerge?” era. To be fair, injuries have hampered his development. I also could possibly see Shugarts moving over and Hall staying on the right side.

ISSUE: Who will step up at safety?

Gordon: Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell were a pair of three-year starters, so there is a concern. Jermale Hines certainly will start at one spot, and Ohrian Johnson is the likely lead candidate at free safety. One player to watch is Tyler Moeller, recovering from a serious head injury. Like Hines, he is sort of a hybrid linebacker/safety type.

May: The key there is whether Moeller is cleared for full contact. Beyond that, these two spots could be more up for grabs than would appear to be the case. Jamie Woods is ready to challenge, as is Nate Oliver. The coaches first seek players who make few mistakes and then make plays. In that regard, Coleman is going to be greatly missed.

ISSUE: Too many running backs?

May: Seriously, do the Buckeyes have too many candidates seeking chances to tote the rock? Brandon Saine and Daniel Herron are the returning top two, but Jordan Hall proved as a freshman that he has game. And we never saw Jaamal Berry, who was considered one of the top running backs in the country coming out of high school in 2010. Then throw Carlos Hyde into the mix, and Jermil Martin – are there too many running backs?

Gordon: Too many for whom? For OSU? Heck, no. For the backs? Probably. Someone (or two) will eventually be unhappy with a lack of playing time, I’m betting. But that doesn’t affect on-field production this fall, which should be terrific. I say play Saine as the lead back, with healthy doses of Herron and whichever young guy shows the most potential. Then worry about who sticks around for 2011.

ISSUE: Who’s up at kicker and punter?

Gordon: For a special teams-minded coach like Jim Tressel, this may be producing some anxious moments. Kicker Devin Barclay certainly came through in the clutch last year when Aaron Pettrey was injured, making 7 of 10 attempts, including the overtime winner against Iowa. At punter, Ben Buchanan would appear to have the edge.

May: Barclay’s performance was underplayed, really, because he stepped up huge. His three field goals in the Rose Bowl, for example, were overshadowed by Pettrey’s return to action and Pryor’s passing. What will be interesting to watch the next four weeks is whether freshman Drew Basil can step into the mix at kicker or punter, since he plans to be at OSU this spring.

NEW UNION opens up

Nothing like this when I went there. BUT I did have to walk up hill both to and from class in the snow!

One giant ‘hangout’

Students thrilled with all ‘the biggest and the best’ offers; monthlong celebration begins

By Charlie Boss

With the fanfare of a tailgate party, Ohio State University opened its new $118million student union yesterday.

More than 3,000 students flooded through the Ohio Union’s three major entrances for the noon opening of the three-story, 318,000-square-foot building on N. High Street.

Greeting them were men on stilts, balloon twisters and dance music blasting from speakers. OSU’s marching band roused the group with Hang on Sloopy.

The crowd erupted when President E. Gordon Gee joined staff members and student leaders for the ribbon-cutting. Everyone counted down to noon, with fireworks exploding in the background to mark the union’s grand opening.

“It’s perfect for OSU,” Jasmine Webb, 19, a second-year premed and international studies major, said of the festivities. “We’re one of the biggest schools in the country. We need a big celebration.”

The party isn’t over. Officials have planned activities through April, including free movies, live music and speaking engagements featuring author David Sedaris, Avatar director James Cameron and Saturday Night Live comedian Andy Samberg.

The union has more than 30 meeting and event spaces as well as seven dining options, including Sloopy’s, a 1950s-inspired, 22-hour diner with breakfast available late into the night, and Woody’s Tavern, which will feature wood-fired pizzas and Ohio beer and wine.

The Archie M. Griffin Grand Ballroom, named after the two-time Heisman winner, covers more than 17,500 square feet and can seat 1,200 guests.

The Ohio Union is the latest addition to the university’s facilities for students. But the newly remodeled William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library, which opened in September, and the nearly 5-year-old Recreation and Physical Activity Center don’t offer what the Ohio Union can, students said.

“There has never been a place for students to hang out, someplace to be students in a nonstudying environment,” said Abigail Fabich, 22, a fourth-year human development and family science major.

Fabich, whose professor let her out of class early so she could attend the opening ceremonies, was so excited by the new student union that she called her father to share the excitement.

“There’s nothing in the world I would trade for this,” said Fabich, joining the crowd as it clapped during a Men’s Glee Club performance of OSU’s fight song. “I might even cry, I’m so excited. I love this school.”

During the day, students milled throughout the building, picking up free goodies and food. By about 12:45 p.m., Sloopy’s had a wait list for tables. By 1 p.m., organizers had given away all 6,000 tote bags.

At 2 p.m., Nick Fackler and his friends sat in the courtyard, taking a break from the crowd. The trio had gathered an assortment of freebies, including tickets to last night’s POWERade JamFest at Value City Arena. All three gave the building rave reviews.

“This is Ohio State,” said Fackler, 20, a second-year molecular genetics major. “You have to have the biggest and the best. That’s why I came here.”

The building is being funded through private donations and student fees that started at $27 this quarter for undergraduates. The fee will rise to $50 in the fall.

Mavis Kamadi, 21, a fourth-year engineering major, didn’t know about the fees for the union until asked by a reporter.

“Are you serious?” she said. “I guess that puts a damper” on it.

Many others, however, said they don’t mind the expense.

“It’s part of the college experience,” said Matt Dusenberry, 20, a second-year business major. “What’s another $27?”

BUISNESS:

I have a few more openings left to handle your company/business social networking. This is a unique and inexpensive chance to brand your services, and reach beyond your current clientele list. For more info, or a list of current ecstatic customers e-mail sosaudio@yahoo.com

HEALTH:

Physical

It is Spring In Columbus! The running and walking paths are free of snow and are full of runners and walkers preparing for the Capital City Half Marathon and Commit to Be Fit 5k.

Call it Momentum, a Tipping Point or just being ahead of the curve a bit, Columbus has exploded with positive energy and embraced the healthy active lifestyle. Everywhere I go, everywhere I speak and at every event M3S Sports produces, it seems everyone is training to participate in the 2010 Capital City Half Marathon or Commit to Be Fit 5k. Thanks to 10 TV’s Andrea Cambern, Mayor Coleman, the City of Columbus Police Department, the remarkable support from our partners and the community we will soon reach our registration limit of 10,000 participants.

Our team has been working hard to create a remarkable celebration for you. We have moved the start and finish line over to Spring Street in front of McPherson Commons, added Dj’s as “live milemarkers”, included Tweet My Time as our race tracking software and developed the Michelob Ultra post race party. Donatos Pizza and 10TV have been joined by an incredible number of new “best of breed” partners like Ohio Health, Nationwide Insurance, Cotters, The Diamond Cellar, Michelob Ultra, Skyy Vodka, PowerAde, The Columbus Clippers, The Columbus Blue Jackets and Muscle Milk.

This is YOUR event and your new Facebook Fan page has been up for only a month and the event already has over 1200 fans. Come post your questions, comments and training photos.

Our field is filling fast!. Be part of the Celebration and Register Now!

http://www.capitalcityhalfmarathon.com

Well Being:

I have put on a little weight the last couple weeks with lots of desserts, and being on the road. But still doing well and my runs continue to gain speed, and endurance. Check out some of the products from Visalus! To learn more on how you can get your weight under control, lose weight, and JUST BE HEALTHIER, plus have the chance to make an extra income…www.sexton.bodybyvi.com Or http://www.sexton.visalusgiving.com

ENTERTAINMENT:

Lady Gaga and Ricky Martin both came out of the closet this week. All I can say is I am shocked. In the same way the sun comes up every morning. WHO CARES both their music is good-yes I said I like Ricky Martin’s music and I am straight!

WHAT?

I am actually for the separation of Church and State on some areas…BUT THIS IS REDICULAUS!

Iowa Town Renames Good Friday to ‘Spring Holiday’

Citing the Separation of Church and State, Davenport Nixes Holy Day

One week before the most solemn day in the Christian year, the city of Davenport, Iowa removed Good Friday from its municipal calendar, setting off a storm of complaints from Christians and union members whose contracts give them that day off.

Taking a recommendation by the Davenport Civil Rights Commission to change the holiday’s name to something more ecumenical, City Administrator Craig Malin sent a memo to municipal employees announcing Good Friday would officially be known as “Spring Holiday.”

“My phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday,” said city council alderman Bill Edmond. “People are genuinely upset because this is nothing but political correctness run amok.”

Edmond said the city administrator made the change unilaterally and did not bring it to the council for a vote, a requirement for a change in policy.

Even more I can’t believe:

S.C. runner ticketed for running too fast

By Joe Farris
CHARLESTON, S.C. — Local university sprint champion Allison Bick can add a ridiculous distinction to her growing list of accomplishments as a college track star — illegally running too fast.

For many, the thought of being cited for being too fast would be flattering, but for Bick, who has never had a traffic violation or a ticket of any kind, being labeled a rule breaker is a serious matter.

“I respect the law. My father was a Police Sergeant, ” said a still-shocked Bick, who has yet to crack a smile over the citation. “When the policeman stopped me, I was like, are you joking?”

Officer Randy Clifton made it clear that this was indeed no laughing matter.

“My job is to control the speed in a given area,” said Clifton, who has been receiving hate mail since the incident. “I understand Ms. Bick is a top athlete but she was going nearly 30 (mph) in a 15 mph school zone and putting lives in danger.”

No human has been clocked over 28 miles per hour, meaning that according to Officer Clifton’s account, Bick could likely be the fastest human on the planet. Nevertheless, Bick still refuses to see the silver lining in the incident.

“I had just gotten a new pair of Nike Air Max running shoes and was doing some interval training,” said Bick. “I wasn’t trying to break the law.”

Bick will contest the charges in front of the county judge next month. Until then, she intends to keep her training on the track.

PASSING:

My Homeboy, Big J.C. He died on a Friday but rose on a Sunday! Happy Easter y’all hope you enjoy the ham, eggs, duck…and whatever else you do, whatever it is-make it GREAT!

QUOTES:

“The greatest crime in the world is not developing your potential. When you do what you do best, you are helping not only yourself, but the world. “- Roger Williams

is it inappropriate to tell knock-knock jokes to homeless people… i never said this but thought it was funny…

Look mommy, his dog left us a brown Easter egg in our yard

“If we weren’t all crazy we’ed all go insane!”-Jimmy Buffett

TO DO:

FRIDAY:
Shuckin Bubba Deluxe plays Captain Jacks

SATURDAY:
Left of Center is at Captain Jacks

FUNNIES:
ALL WEEKEND:
B. T. , brings “Clean” comedy to The Funny Bone at Easton Town Center

MORE TO DO:
SATURDAY:
Eggs, Paws and Claws at The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium. For more info
http://www.columbuszoo.org

IN THEATERS:
I saw the original at a drive in, and saw the remake in IMAX. I loved both. Go see ‘Clash of The Titans.’ rated PG-13.

Miley Cyrus stars in the Tween Chick flick, ‘The Last Song,’ rated “PG-13.” All I know it is from that Sparks guy who writes the sappy books, and I REFUSE TO SEE IT!

DVD:
No clues needed, get “Sherlock Holmes” starring Robert Downey, Jr., Jude Law, and Rachel McAdams rated “PG-13”

A great basket stuffer, ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakuel’ rated “PG”

ON THE MUSIC SHELVES:
Alan Jackson releases “Freight Train”

“For the Love” is the latest from Tracy Lawrence

John Michael Montgomery releases “Time Flies”

Gretchen Wilson is back with “I Got Your Country Right Here”

COMING SOON:
Starting next Weds. Join me for Largo’s Pub Ladies night. The newest Ladies Night in the Powell Area! Corner of Powell and Glick Roads!

OSU Spring Game Tailgate at Across The Field (Olentangy and Ackerman) April 24th. Details coming soon

Capital City Half Marathon May 1 (Columbus Biggest “Running Party”)

The Lima Company Going Away Party has been rescheduled to May 5th (Cinco DeMayo) This is due to scheduling conflicts within the Unit. Event is STILL SCHEDULED AT FROG BEAR WILD BOAR BAR!

Follow us:

http://www.mattsexton.com

http://www.facebook.com/theonemattsexton

http://www.twitter@mattysexton

http://www.myspace.com/djmattsexton

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April 2, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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