The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

Pizza House Rumble

February 19th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

Mt. Sterling wasn’t always a very friendly place for someone who went to high school in London.  Many times, I had been in a car driving there with several other London teenagers hell-bent on kicking some Sterling ass once they arrived there. Usually over some minor incident, trivial or imagined.  It was a slightly smaller town, about 15 miles from London, and that made for a nice little ride before you got there so that you could strategize on the coming carnage, yet not one ass ever got kicked on any one of the trips I went on.  By high school I had made many friends in Mt. Sterling.  Once on an ass kicking trip, one of my London “friends” told me he would personally kick my ass if I didn’t help him beat up someone from Mt. Sterling that evening.  I told him he might just have to try that.

My Friend Dennis.

By 1974, I had a mostly different set of friends.  I had known Dennis for several years but we had grown closer in the recent past.  We also continued to be friends for years to come, even sharing an apartment after high school. Dennis’ father was a single parent with two other older children.  He worked for the state like my father, but both were better acquainted from the local taverns.  His father was very strict, so anything that caused Dennis to arrive home after his established curfew could be stressful for me and my parents as well.  Many nights I would arrive home late only to find my mother on the telephone with his father.

Dennis by far got the most severe punishments for anything that we got caught doing.  Sometimes he would be grounded for months.  I spent many Friday and Saturday nights with him at his house, when he was even allowed to have company.  I could easily get out of my punishments after a few days. As a teenager being annoying sometimes had its benefits.  Dennis never could get out of anything.  His father was a stone wall.
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Closest Encounters?

November 22nd, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

Being on the road most of the day, five days a week for thirty plus years allows one to see many interesting people, places, and Closest Enxounters?things. Sometime around 1995, I was working for a wireless broadcasting company in Lima, Ohio. Heading to a trouble call in western Ohio, I was driving west on US Route 33, between St. Mary’s and Celina, Ohio just before the rest stop on the north side of the highway. It was approximately 2 PM, and the sun was shining very brightly. As I approached a farm field at a cross road on my left, I noticed something in the field, or I should say above the field. The grey colored object was not very big, but it was big enough that it shouldn’t be suspended in midair, about fifteen feet above the ground, for any reason. But it was.

My brain could just not understand what I was looking at. It was obviously something I had never seen before. I wanted to fill in this blank in my mind with something known, but I was unable to. There is just nothing I could explain about what I was looking at. I had no frame of reference and nothing was as it should have been.

There was a thing, hovering silently and steady in the middle of the air with no means of support whatsoever.

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Dock Ellis-LSD No Hitter (video)

November 14th, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

Dock Ellis (b1945-d2008) was a major league baseball pitcher in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. He’s mostly remembered as a Pittsburgh Pirate. He was an above average pitcher and played mostly in the National League. He usually would win a few more games than he’d lose, but in his prime he had pretty good stuff and had a good career, with decent numbers.

He pitched a no-hit, no-run game against the San Diego Padres while he says he was under the influence of LSD. The 1969 National League expansion Padres were not yet a very good team in this their second year in existence. But it still counted.

Below is an animation of Dock telling the story of that game. I think it’s hilarious. As he explains, steroids is just the latest drug of choice in baseball. Many veterans will admit to being drunk while playing or taking speed to help their performance. Or usually because they stayed out too late the night before drinking. I bet none of them pitched a no-hitter though.



Click Here If The Above Player Doesn’t Work

Finding My Boy

November 11th, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

This story is true and whether any of this adds up to anything, you can decide for yourself.

Let me start out by saying, I don’t believe in magic or any afterlife. I am definitely an evolutionist that believes in the scientific theory of the creation of life. That said, I won’t rule out the possibility of some kind of creator that used evolution as its tool to spawn life on our planet.

I must say though, that this story makes all of my scientific theories wobble a little bit in my mind.

My Two Kittens

I got two new kittens in 1984. My first cat died of feline leukemia about six months previously. I always hated cats until then and had little patience for animals or humans. I’ve always said my first cat helped teach me how to treat other people better. We were heartbroken when he died. It was one of the first times I lost something I personally cared so much for. My father had  Boypassed away the year before and of course, it had affected me in a similar manner.

We were waiting on a new kitten from someone that my wife Jill knew. It still hadn’t been weaned yet, but we just couldn’t wait any longer. We went into a pet store in a Columbus, Ohio shopping mall, and found they had only one kitten left. It was already getting a little big and had probably been there for a while. It was a black long haired cat. It was so beautiful that I bought it immediately. The clerk said it was a female and had all of its shots. We took her home and for some reason named her “Amy”.

A few weeks later the other kitten was ready to come home. It was also a black female cat, except with short hair. She was easy to name as she went around the house crying , “Mao, Mao, Mao”. So I named her China. They were so fun to watch. China was so much smaller than “Amy”. It was funny to watch them play together. I wish I had a camera back then, because I have no photos of either kitten at that age.

Amy or Amos?

A few weeks later, Jill took “Amy” to the veterinarian. When she returned, she had some startling news. The vet told her that “Amy” was really an “Amos”. We had just trusted the pet store and because the kitten’s hair was so long, I had never noticed it had little boy parts instead of little girl parts. I did not think Amos was a very good name and decided that I would name him “Boy”.

Boy was a fairly large cat after he grew up that was always the master of his own domain. He just tolerated most people, but always treated me with deep affection. I’ve always felt that most male cats were more attracted to people that gave them space and didn’t treat them like babies. Boy always followed me around the house. He sat at the computer with me. He would sit beside me on the couch. He loved me as much as I did him. But he had a streak of wildness that was usually initiated by trying to get him to do something he didn’t want to do. Brushing his long hair, giving him a bath, or taking him to the vet was always bound to draw blood from someone, even me.

Once we took Boy to the vet for a minor procedure. When we picked him up, the vet’s staff told us that even though they had sedated him they were too scared to do the procedure as he growled at them fiercely even while he was unconscious.

We lost China at ten years old to an illness, but Boy lived on to the age of sixteen. He had a stroke when he was about fifteen, but recovered. Later his kidneys began to fail. He became sicker and by July 2000 the end was very near.

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There goes a quarters worth of rubber: My time with Hobart Francis

October 24th, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

My dad had been interested in electronics and always tried to repair our televisions when he could. He had some miscellaneous hand tools and some test instruments including a vacuum tube tester. That was just enough exposure to make me think I wanted to be trained in electronics as well.

In the mid-1970’s, my school in London, Ohio had become involved in a joint vocational school (JVS) with a number of other local school systems. Each JVS program would last the final two years of high school and you would receive a certificate as well as a diploma at graduation. The stated purpose of this was probably to help train young people for the jobs of the future. I think the actual purpose, at least at first, was to get the deadwood out of the local school principal’s office and into the JVS principal’s office, at least for some students.

Hobart Francis in May 1981

I was somewhere in between. I was a bit of a trouble maker and terribly unreliable. But I did have some history of getting decent grades with little effort, when I wanted to. That was quite unlike most of the other semi-permanent participants of the after school detention program that I belonged to.

Our local JVS was recruiting us as soon as the money became available and the school was being built. I remember the question I asked the recruiter was, would I have to cut my hair if I went there? I had been sent home many times the last two to three years by the principal because of my hair length. Luckily there was no rule, so I would be able to grow my hair as long as I wanted.

About the same time, I was becoming interested in making a career as an FM rock radio disk jockey. I loved music. I read every rock magazine I could get my hands on. I wanted to be a rock star first, but a radio disk jockey if that didn’t work out. A friend of mine and I both had thought that the electronics program at the JVS was the way to make that happen. He realized after one year that it wasn’t the path at all. He went back to regular high school in his senior year and became a relatively famous radio personality. I stayed in electronics at JVS and I became a cable guy. I’m still working on the rock star thing.

As the summer drew to a close I still had no idea that I would find a job in electronics before I actually learned anything about it.


I had known Mrs. Francis (Mabel) for awhile. She had at one time also owned the State Restaurant. I had spent plenty of my lunch money there over the years. (See my post “Running From Rocks“) I would never say that she had been rude to me or actually even nice to me. She just gave you that look. She knew you were there, but she just wasn’t that excited about it.

I had also been buying 45 rpm records at her radio/TV sales and repair business, Francis Radio and TV. It was just up the street from the restaurant and she co-owned it with her husband, Hobart.

Mabel Francis

When I was in grade school, I only received a small allowance from my parents each week. I couldn’t afford record albums, but music singles on 45’s were within my budget.  Buying records at Francis’ was more expensive than most of the other stores in London. You had to really want something badly to have to buy it there. In addition, Mrs. Francis would follow you around the store like she thought you were going to steal something.

Once I went to the door of their store, just after 5 o’clock with my sisters and it was unlocked. We went in and immediately noticed the lights were out. I called out, but no one was there. I don’t remember us taking anything. We just walked out. I told Hobart about it once and he looked at me like he was a little stunned to hear that. It was as if I knew something that he also knew about. He said he had some unreliable person working for him then. That was right around the time Mrs. Francis left the State Restaurant and began working in the TV shop with him full time.

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Running From Rocks

February 23rd, 2009 . by Alexander Fisher

Mr. Boogey Man
As I was growing up in London, Ohio, my family lived in several neighborhoods. In 1969, when I was in the fifth grade, I moved to North Oak Street. Nothing was unusual about this neighborhood at all, for London. Most of the houses were two story single-family homes, plus a few duplexes. One street over from North Oak Street was a street called North Madison Road. The houses were very similar to the ones on my street. Most of them probably had been built around 1900.

About two blocks south of my house on North Madison Road, lived an old man named Ted Roberts. Mr. Roberts was a black man, about seventy-five years old. He always wore an old dark green coat and a wide brimmed dark hat. They were probably very stylish in the 1930’s, but were very old and dirty by the 1970’s. He had been a barber in London for many years and had been retired for quite a while. He had family close by, but he lived alone. People that knew him would mostly say kind things about him. Several people I knew had said their fathers had taken them over to his house and he cut their hair. My dad knew him, but luckily, my dad took me to the local prison to get my haircuts, where it was safe. Lucky me.

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The Old Burger Chef in London: The BC Lounge Burns Down

November 15th, 2008 . by Alexander Fisher

Burger Chef, the last one

Just recently I found out the old Burger Chef in London, Ohio had burned down. They said that the fire was suspicious, but I have never heard what they ever found out about it. More recently it had been a Rax restaurant. Thirty-five years ago it was in the busiest part of town, but that activity mostly shifted about two miles to the north-east twenty years ago now.

I remember when they built the Burger Chef in the early 1970’s. It was the first real fast food restaurant and had the first drive-thru window in town. My sister got a job there and I was treated to one of the first meals served at the restaurant during a family night event they held the night before the grand opening. There were about twenty to thirty people, all standing at the counter ordering free food. You would have thought civilization had finally just come to London after all these years looking at everyone’s faces.

The previous popular teenage cruising loop had been from the Dixie Drive In to the Red Baron restaurant. That was probably about three miles and five traffic lights long. Almost immediately the Burger Chef became the main part of the new loop for the local cruisers. You would get a mix of local hot rods, hot rod wannabe’s and teenagers in their dad’s four door sedans driving through the parking lot. Cars and people would be everywhere, especially on a summer weekend night. On those evenings, the parking lot would be full. There would be people just milling about and on bicycles. Kraco 8-tracks players with Bass 48 wedge speakers battled Craig Powerplay car stereos with Jensen Triaxials for audio dominance. There were houses across the street and most of the time the residents would sit on the porch to watch the procession of cars and people.

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