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Steelhammer: Meteors, asteroids and Woody

In the words of the noted barnyard bard and alarmist Chicken Little, "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

Well, at least a hunk or two of it is.

On Friday morning, a large meteor made a sudden, unexpected landing in the Ural Mountains near the Russian City of Chelyabinsk, triggering a sonic boom shock wave that blew in doors, smashed out windows and sent at least 43 people to the hospital.

On Friday afternoon, a 150-foot diameter asteroid passed within 17,000 miles of Earth, closer to our home planet's surface than many of the communications and weather satellites now orbiting it.

Thankfully, NASA has a plan in place to identify, track, and if possible, steer particularly threatening Near Earth Objects (NEOs) like asteroids away from our planet by equipping them with solar sails or rocket motors, or by setting off nearby explosions to alter their course.

Since the Steelhammer Compound's Cracked Foundation Foundation has so far failed to generate the funds needed to facilitate certain structural upgrades, I feel it's my patriotic duty to offer the structure and its surrounding dog run and pine disease test plot to NASA as an emergency NEO landing zone.

All I ask in return is adequate warning, relocation expenses and a beachfront replacement compound of equal or greater size at NASA's now-quiet Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral.

***

Feb. 14, 2013, was not only Valentine's Day, but the 100th birthday of Woody Hayes, Ohio State's legendary football coach, who died in 1987 after leading the Buckeyes to 13 Big Ten titles and three national championships.

To commemorate the event, an eight-foot-tall bronze statue of Hayes, hands on hips, trademark ball cap in place, peering intently at an imaginary playing field, was unveiled in front of OSU's Woody Hayes Athletic Center. A noose-like strap of canvas was attached to the 800-pound statue's neck as it was lowered into place by a crane.

"That would be a real popular look for him in Ann Arbor," the coach's son, Steven, joked to a Columbus Dispatch reporter, as he watched the scene.

By a strange twist of fate, Woody Hayes played a role in my getting a job on the Ohio State campus in 1970, during the coach's heyday. At the end of an interview for a proofreader's slot on an obscure scholarly journal produced by the university's Institute for Slavic Studies, one of the editors asked me what I thought of Woody Hayes.

"Who's Woody Hayes?" I replied, after a long, uncomfortable pause.

"You're hired!" the editor exclaimed.

I soon learned a little about the legendary Hayes, his football program, and the jealousy it produced among some of the more obscure university operations.

More importantly, I learned that nerds need to stick together.


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