On The Bricks

August 4, 2020…telephones

The telephone is a remarkable instrument and its history is interesting. From the first concept of a voice being transmitted to today’s cell phone is amazing. But this little bit of its history shows us, it is interesting, but it wasn’t easy!

The phone has been one of the most profitable inventions in the history of the United States. Today it is the most used piece of communication equipment in the world. Globally, about $1 trillion is spent annually on telecommunications products and services.

It started in 1667, when Robert Hooke invented a string telephone that conveyed sounds over an extended wire by mechanical vibrations. It was to be termed an ‘acoustic’ or ‘mechanical’ (non-electrical) telephone.

Charles Morrison proposed in 1753 the idea that electricity can be used to transmit messages, by using different wires for each letter.

Charles Bourseul wrote a memorandum, in 1854, on the principles of the telephone. In 1854, Antonio Meucci demonstrates an electric voice – operated device in New York. Philipp Reis, in 1861, constructed the first speech – transmitting telephone

On Dec. 28, 1871, Antonio Meucci filed a patent caveat for a device he named “Sound Telegraph”.

Elisha Gray establishes Western Electric Manufacturing Company in 1872.

On July 1, 1875, Bell uses a bi – directional “gallows” telephone that was able to transmit “voicelike sounds”, but not clear speech. Both the transmitter and the receiver were identical membrane electromagnet instruments.

Thomas Edison experimented with acoustic telegraphy and in November of 1875 builds an electro – dynamic receiver.

Also in the year 1875, Hungarian Tivadar Puskás (the inventor of telephone exchange) arrived in the United States and Bell’s U.S. Patent 161,739 “Transmitters and Receivers for Electric Telegraphs” is granted on Apr. 6, 1875. This used multiple vibrating steel reeds in make – break circuits, and the concept of multiplexed frequencies. Bell signed and notarized his patent application for the telephone on Jan. 20, 1876.

Elisha Gray designs a liquid transmitter for use with a telephone, but did not build one, in February 1876. Bell’s U.S. patent No. 174,465 for the telephone is granted Mar. 7, 1876. Three days later, Bell transmits the sentence, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you!” using a liquid transmitter and an electromagnetic receiver.

On Aug. 10, 1876, using the telegraph line between Brantford and Paris, Ontario, eight miles apart, Bell made a telephone call, said by some to be the world’s first long – distance call. Bell’s U.S. patent is granted on Jan. 30, 1877, for an electromagnetic telephone using permanent magnets, iron diaphragms, and a call bell.

Edison files for a patent on Apr. 27, 1877, for a carbon (graphite) transmitter. Patent was granted on May 3, 1892, after a 15 – year delay because of litigation. Edison was granted patent for a carbon granules transmitter in 1879.

The Scientific American in Oct. 1877 publishes the invention from Bell – at that time still without a ringer. The article is discussed at the Telegraphenamt in Berlin, Oct. 25, 1877.

The first commercial telephone company enters telephone business on Nov. 12, 1877, in Friedrichsberg, Germany, close to Berlin,using the Siemens pipe as ringer and telephone devices built by Siemens.

America’s first experimental Telephone Exchange in Boston is built in 1877.

Bell demonstrates the telephone to Queen Victoria on Jan. 14, 1878, and makes the first publicly – witnessed long – distance call in the UK. The queen tries the device and finds it to be “quite extraordinary”. First permanent telephone connection in the UK between two business in Manchester was finished Jan. 26, 1878.

The first commercial US telephone exchange opened in New Haven, Conn., on Jan. 28, 1878. Nine years later, Tivadar Puskás introduced the multiplex switchboard. The First U.S. coast-to-coast long-distance telephone call, ceremonially inaugurated by A.G. Bell in New York City and his former assistant Thomas Augustus Watson in San Francisco, California took place in 1915. It took a year to connect the first telephone line from New York to San Francisco. Approximately 14,000 miles of copper wire and 130,000 telephone poles were needed to link the country.

The initial transatlantic phone call took place in 1927, from the United States to the United Kingdom. Three years later, in the spring of 1930, the U.S. Senate almost voted to ban all dial telephones from the Senate wing of the Capitol, as the technophobic older senators found them too complicated to use.

The longest phone cable is a submarine cable called Fiber – Optic Link Around the Globe (FLAG). It spans 16,800 miles from Japan to the United Kingdom and can carry 600,000 calls at a time. One million threads of fiber optic cable can fit in a tube one – half inch in diameter.

          The busiest organization in the world is the Pentagon, which has 34,500 phone lines and receives 1 million calls a day. It received more than 1.5 million phone calls on the 50th anniversary of D – Day.

Getting phone lines throughout rural America was a daunting task (as it was to take electricity there too). Bringing the telephone to the rural portions of the Oklahoma Panhandle started in the early 1950s when a Rural Electrification Administration representative from Washington, D.C. met in the Beaver County Farm Bureau facilities with a group of 35 individuals intent upon acquiring telephone service for themselves and their neighbors. Delegates from Beaver, Cimarron, Ellis, Harper, Texas, and Woodward counties attended meetings that followed.

The first PTCI manager, Earl Alden, was named. In 1956, the cooperative acquired its first REA loan of $515,000 for improvement of service to 506 subscribers, including 266 new members. Two years later, the cooperative cut over service to its first four exchanges: Adams, Balko / Bryans Corner, Floris, and Tyrone, with about 600 subscribers.

Robert Jeffries was named manager in early 1960. In the winter of 1960 Hardesty, Eva, Griggs, and Felt – Wheeless exchanges were added, soon followed by the Logan exchange in southern Beaver County, early 1962. Kenton exchange was added in 1963.

Their headquarters building, 603 S. Main Street in Guymon, was built in 1962 and continues to serve as the cooperative’s headquarters to this date. In 1967, the cooperative secured a loan from REA in the amount of $1,640,000 to upgrade service.

The year 1973 marked the upgrade of all exchanges to one – party service using all buried cable. The party line was soon to be history. The same year, the cooperative purchased the Turpin area from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company (who served the larger towns) with approximately 185 main stations.

Gary Kennedy, who had worked for the company since 1958, was chosen as CEO in 1979. The next year was the completion of the upgrade of all exchanges to one – party service using all buried cable.

In September 1983, the cooperative purchased the exchanges of Hooker and Forgan from Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. In 1987, the PTCI network completely converted to digital technology. PTSI entered the cellular telephone business in 1989.

In 1994, PTCI acquired eight new exchange areas from GTE, including Guymon. In December 1994, Gary Kennedy retired, and Ron Strecker became the Chief Executive Officer. He retired after 38 years with PTCI in 2012.

Shawn Hanson, began as General Manager and CEO. PTCI initiated a five to seven – year plan to bring fiber – to – the – home infrastructure to all of the exchanges in the Oklahoma Panhandle with construction beginning in 2015. 

Customers in Hooker were converted to fiber in 2019 and the same year began a five to seven year “Rural Surge” project, extending fiber to all the farms and ranches within our serving territory. The project replaces over 2,000 miles of outdated cable and provides high-speed internet to customers in remote location.

Today Jana Wallace is leading the company as CEO, working to bring these amazing and complicated telephones to us in our homes, autos, and purses. It wasn’t simple back then to get to where we had a good telephone. It isn’t simple now. But PTCI employees make it feel simple for us.  Thank you, PTCI!

On The Bricks

July 28, 2020

For ten years the On the Bricks column has been written by me, putting something down to try and make you smile or ponder, but then followed by things happening in town. I try not to tell the same things that the newspaper and facebook is filled with, but something different. So, I pulled out the information that I had squirrelled away that is just, hopefully, interesting trivia and Oklahoma trivia. It doesn’t hurt to learn more about our state, by any means. Today is mostly trivia. We can learn some of this useless trivia and be a much better conversationalist. That’s a good goal, don’t you think? To not be so boring is a good goal for us all. Heck, we both know, if you don’t think so, you just won’t read it. It’s a good way to handle things.

Walking barefoot on hot coals isn’t as mysterious as it seems, according to The Book of Bizarre Truth. The secret to walking on hot coals has nothing to do with mental might and everything to do with the physical properties of what’s involved. It comes down to how fast heat can move from one object to another.

Some materials, like metal, conduct heat well. They’re good at transmitting thermal energy to whatever they touch. Think of your frying pan. You het it up, slap a juicy steak down on it, and witness an instant sizzle. The metal passes its heat to an object of lower temperature.

Now consider the bed of hot coals that’s used for fire walks. It started out as chunks of wood and wood is a terrible conductor of heat. It is important that the hot coals are not on fire. If you have seen a fire walking demonstration, you may have noticed there were no jumping flames, just smoldering embers. The coals probably have been burning for hours and had built up a layer of ash.

Ash is another poor conductor of heat.

But you still have to make a mad dash when going over the coals. The amount of time your foot is in contact with the coal needs to be less than a second, and with the exposure not continuous, each foot gets a millisecond break with each step. This is how you can make it work for you.

With a poor heat conductor (wood), covered with a layer of insulation (ash), and intermittent exposure to the heat, the likelihood of sustaining serious burns is low.

It still isn’t a good idea.

And if you are a slow runner, it’s a really bad idea.

Means I won’t be trying it. You know, my dad used to say that I was the only softball player he knew that had to hit a home run to get to third base. Really. Slow.

An average penguin can run as fast as an average man. That means I’m slower than a penguin. This self – realization is difficult for me. Don’t worry, I’ll get through it. With therapy. Or chocolate. Or both.

          Famous Okie information: The nation’s first tornado warning was issued March 25, 1948, in Oklahoma City minutes before a devastating tornado. Because of the warning, no lives were lost.

Keep Going on Your New Years Resolutions: Consider turning off your phone one night a week. You’re sleeping anyway, so you don’t need it. Right?

Made me laugh: I tried to catch fog yesterday. Mist.

          The Farmers Market is going strong on Saturday mornings, starting at 8 am. These gardeners and craftsmen are working hard to bring you tasty, fresh produce that is ripened on the vine. It’s wonderful! Hope you’ll be able to come out. This week the City of Guymon is giving prizes for the best watercolor art brought to the market. I so appreciate what artists can do.

Come out and celebrate the hard work and talent of folks on Saturday morning in front of the courthouse. When we appreciate others rather than try to tear them down, we are a better person! And we can make our community a better place by being positive. Let’s do it!

See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

July 17, 2020 – Presidents

 Pretty soon we’re going to be voting on the Presidential election. How much do you know about our Presidents?

Three presidents died on the Fourth of July: Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Monroe.

Samuel Seymour was five years old when he was at Ford’s Theater the night Abraham Lincoln was shot. He was the last survivor of that event, dying in 1956.

Not only was President Richard Nixon the first American president to visit both China and the Soviet Union, he was also the first to visit all 50 states while in office.

The Library of Congress was started in 1815 when President James Madison bought almost 6,500 books from former President Thomas Jefferson’s library.

And here’s an interesting fact about the ruling family in England. The British royal family changed its name from Saxe – Coburg and Gotha to Windsor in 1917, during World War I, because its original name sounded too German. The English royals are still today known as the House of Windsor.

Though the Hope Diamond is more famous, the Cullinan is the largest diamond ever found. Unearthed in South Africa in 1905, this 3,100 carat monster was cut into several stones that are still part of the British Crown Jewels.

It is crazy, but not even acid can dissolve a diamond.

Many people have opinions on how to be happy, or content. One bit of advice towards that end that I recently read, “If you can’t manage $1,000, you can’t manage $10,000. If you’re not happy on your own, you won’t be happy in a relationship. If you don’t feel good now, you won’t feel good when you have everything you’re working toward. Money doesn’t make you good with money. Love doesn’t make you love yourself. Success doesn’t make you happier unless you are already happy. You are your own foundation. If that’s not solid, nothing else can stand on it.” Makes sense.

I have a grandson that is going to Texas A&M as part of the Corp and the Aggies have a facebook page for the parents. Recently a mother posted on the site, “My son is in the band and has picked AFROTC. Where can we find what he needs for a physical?”

The answer to her question was posted, “Please ask your son to find it. He registered to join and everything he needed was provided on the registration website. Tell him COL Hawes said he was an adult now and this should not fall on his mother to fix him up.”

I’m guessing not many questions followed. Makes sense.

Famous Okie: Dr. Hall Duncan taught cartooning and advertising design for 17 years at the University of Central Oklahoma. During that time, he collaborated with Don Heath, an African American cartoonist, on an interracial comic strip called Winner Williams, published in the Oklahoma City Times. The cartoon strip was dedicated to teaching children from all ethnic backgrounds to respect and relate to each other in a healthy way. As a result, Duncan and Heath were awarded the National Education Association’s Whitney M. Young Human Relations Award for their work. In 2000, the comic strips were consolidated into a book, The Gospel According to Winner, Larry, and Friends.

Duncan retired in 1986 and began his Humor and Communication Publishing Company in 1998. He has written and illustrated eight children’s books, and trained illustrators in Africa and the United States. He has created four published cartoon features: Les Aventures de Jano and Mopela, (in Central Africa) and Clip-a-Tip for Parents and Winner Williams (in the United States). Duncan’s work has taken him to 28 countries, primarily in Africa.

He resides with his wife in Edmond.

More about Oklahoma cartoonists can be seen at the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, that includes the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame. See more at

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

July 13, 2020 – Astronauts

Oklahoma has had more astronauts than any other state in the Union and they come from many different communities in Oklahoma.

Gordon Cooper was born on Mar. 6, 1927, in Shawnee, Okla. He was an American aerospace engineertest pilotUnited States Air Force pilot, and the youngest of  the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first human space program of the U.S. Cooper learned to fly as a child, and after service in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, he was commissioned into the United States Air Force in 1949. After service as a fighter pilot, he qualified as a test pilot in 1956, and was selected as an astronaut in 1959.

In 1963, Cooper piloted the longest and last Mercury spaceflight, Mercury-Atlas 9. During that 34 – hour mission he became the first American to spend an entire day in space, the first to sleep in space, and the last American launched on an entirely solo orbital mission.

Cooper became the first astronaut to make a second orbital flight when he flew as Command Pilot of Gemini 5 in 1965. Along with Pilot Pete Conrad, he set a new space endurance record by traveling 3,312,993 miles in 190 hours and 56 minutes (just short of eight days) showing that astronauts could survive in space for the length of time necessary to go from the Earth to the Moon and back

Cooper retired from NASA and the USAF on July 31, 1970, with the rank of colonel, having flown 222 hours in space.

Cooper developed Parkinson’s disease and died at age 77 on Oct. 4, 2004.

Owen Garriott was born Nov. 22, 1930, in Enid, Okla. He graduated from Enid High School in 1948, where he served as senior class president and was voted “Most Likely To Succeed. He received a BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Oklahoma in 1953. He later earned Master of Science and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University in electrical engineering in 1957 and 1960, respectively.

After serving in the United States Navy, Garriott was an engineering professor at Stanford University before attending the United States Air Force Pilot Training Program and later joining NASA. As an astronaut he spent 60 days aboard the Skylab space station in 1973 during the Skylab 3 mission, and 10 days aboard Spacelab-1 on a Space Shuttle mission in 1983.

Garriott died on Apr. 15, 2019, in Huntsville, Ala.

          John Herrington was born in Wetumka, Okla., into the Chickasaw Nation. He grew up in Colorado, Wyoming, and Texas, graduating Plano Senior High School in Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in applied mathematics from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, before receiving his commission in the United States Navy in 1984.

          In 2002, Herrington became the first enrolled member of a Native American tribe to fly in space. To honor his Chickasaw heritage, Herrington, a member of the Chickasaw Nation, carried its flag on his 13 – day trip to space. The flag had been presented to him by Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby.

          This U.S. Naval Aviator and NASA astronaut retired in Sept. 2005.

          Shannon Lucid was born Jan. 14, 1943, in in ShanghaiChina, to Baptist missionary parents, and for the first year of her life she and her parents were imprisoned by the Japanese. The three of them were released during a prisoners swap, stayed in the U.S. until the end of the war, and then returned to China. When Lucid was six, her family decided to leave China due to the communists rising to power. They settled in Bethany, Okla., and Lucid graduated from Bethany High School in 1960. Shortly after graduating from high school, she received her pilot’s license and bought an old plane to fly her father to revival meetings

She attended the University of Oklahoma and obtained her Bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1963, her Master’s degree in biochemistry in 1970, and her Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1973.

Lucid’s experience includes a variety of academic assignments, such as teaching assistant at the University of Oklahoma‘s Department of Chemistry from 1963 to 1964; senior laboratory technician at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation from 1964 to 1966; chemist at Kerr-McGee, Oklahoma City, 1966 to 1968; graduate assistant at the University of Oklahoma Health Science Center’s Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from 1969 to 1973 and research associate with the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City, from 1974 until her selection to the astronaut candidate training program.

In 1978, NASA advertised for female candidates. Lucid was selected for the NASA Astronaut Corps in 1978. Of the six women in this first class with female astronauts, Lucid was the only one who was a mother at the time of being selected.

At one time, she held the record for the longest duration stay in space by an American, as well as by a woman. She has flown in space five times including a prolonged mission aboard the Mir space station in 1996; she is the only American woman to have served aboard Mir. In 2002, Discover magazine recognized Lucid as one of the 50 most important women in science.

Lucid was awarded the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in December 1996 (for her mission to Mir), making her the tenth person and first woman to be given that honor. 

William Pogue was born Jan. 23, 1930 in Okemah, Okla., of Choctaw ancestry. He attended school in Sand Springs, Okla., completing high school in 1947. Pogue received a Bachelors degree from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee in 1951, and a Masters degree in mathematics from Oklahoma State University in 1960.

He served in the United States Air Force for 24 years, flying combat during the Korean War, and with the USAF Thunderbirds. He served as a flight instructor and mathematics professor, and was a versatile test pilot, including two years in an exchange with the Royal Air Force.

Pogue was an Air Force instructor when he was accepted as an trainee astronaut for NASA in 1966. His NASA career included one orbital mission as pilot of the Skylab 4. The crew set a duration record of 84 days that was unbroken in NASA for over 20 years, and in orbit they conducted dozens of research experiments. The mission was also noted for a dispute with ground control over schedule management that news media named “The Skylab Mutiny”. Pogue retired from both the USAF as a Colonel and NASA a few months after he returned from Skylab.

He died Mar. 3, 2014, at age 84.

Stuart Roosa was a smokejumper, American aeronautical engineerUnited States Air Force pilottest pilot, and NASA astronaut, who was the Command Module Pilot for the Apollo 14 mission. The mission lasted from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9, 1971 and was the third mission to land astronauts on the moon.

He was one of 24 men to travel to the Moon, which he orbited 34 times.

Roosa was born on Aug. 16, 1933, in Durango, Colo., and grew up in Claremore, Okla. He graduated from Claremore High School in 1951. He studied at Oklahoma State University and the University of Arizona, receiving a Bachelors in aeronautical engineering from the University of Colorado in Boulder in 1960.

Roosa began his career as a smokejumper with the U.S. Forest Service, dropping into at least four active fires in Oregon and California during the 1953 fire season. He was a graduate of the Aviation Cadet Program at Williams Air Force Base, Ariz., where he received his flight training commission in the U.S. Air Force. He also attended the Aerospace Research Pilot School and was an experimental test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base in California before being selected for the astronaut class of 1966.

On Dec. 12, 1994, retired Colonel Roosa died at age 61 in Washington, D.C. and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

          Thomas Stafford was born Sept. 17, 1930, in Weatherford, Okla. Stafford became interested in aviation following the start of World War II, as the nearby city El Reno has an Army Air Corps training base. He began making model airplanes, and made his first flight at the age of 14 in a Piper Cub. Prior to graduating from high school, Stafford served in the 45th Infantry Division in the Oklahoma National Guard. Soon after, he transferred to the 158th Field Artillery Regiment, where he plotted targets for artillery fires.

Stafford attended Weatherford High School and graduated in 1948. In his senior year of high school, Stafford was recruited to play football at the University of Oklahoma, where he had received a Navy ROTC scholarship. Stafford applied to the United States Naval Academy, and was accepted to the class of 1952. He intended to play football for the Navy Midshipman, but sustained a career – ending knee injury during a preseason practice session. After his freshman year, he sailed aboard the battleship USS Missouri, where his roommate was his future Apollo 10 Command Module Pilot, John Young. Following his second year, Stafford spent a summer at NAS Pensacola, where he was exposed to naval aviation and flew in the SNJ Trainer.

Stafford graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree with honors in 1952, and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force. He flew the F-86 Sabre prior becoming a test pilot. He was selected to become an astronaut in 1962, and flew aboard Gemini 6A and Gemini 9. In 1969, Stafford was the Commander of Apollo 10, the second crewed mission to orbit the Moon and the first to fly a Lunar Module in lunar orbit, descending to an altitude of nine miles.

In 1975, Stafford was the commander of the Apollo – Soyuz Test Project flight, the first joint U.S.-Soviet space mission. Stafford was a brigadier general at the time of the mission, becoming the first general officer to fly in space, as well as the first member of his Naval Academy class to pin on the first, second, and third stars of a general officer. He made six rendezvous in space and logged 507 hours of space flight. He flew over 120 different types of fixed wing and rotary aircraft and three different types of spacecraft, and was one of 24 people who flew to the Moon.

Neil Woodward III was born July 26, 1962, in Chicago, Ill, and attended Putnam City High School in Oklahoma City, graduating in 1980. He then attended MIT, earning a degree in physics in 1984. He attended graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin, working in the Center for Relativity and then the Fusion Research Center. He received his master’s degree in physics in 1988. Later, in 2000, he earned his master’s degree in Engineering Management from the George Washington University.

Woodward joined the US Navy and was commissioned in January 1989, earning his wings as a Naval Flight Officer in March 1990. He completed Bombardier / Navigator training in the A-6E Intruder and was assigned to the Green Lizards of Attack Squadron 95. Woodward made two deployments with VA-95 aboard the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in support of Operation Desert Storm, Southern Watch, and Somalia.

In 1995, he was selected to attend the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School  and graduated with distinction in July 1996. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Air Vehicle/Stores Compatibility Department at the Naval Strike Aircraft Test Squadron (NSATS) in Patuxent River. Woodward was assigned to the Strike Aircraft Test Squadron when he was selected for the astronaut program. Woodward logged over 1,700 flight hours in more than 25 different aircraft and has 265 arrested landings.

Selected by NASA in June 1998, Woodward was on detached duty to Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in various roles, including Director of the ESMD Integration Office and Director, Commercial Orbital Transportation Services.

Woodward retired from the Navy and NASA in October 2008, and currently works in the field of information technology.

Oklahoma is well represented in the American’s space industry.

Astronaut trivia: Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the mon, has a second connection to the giant circle in the sky: His mother’s maiden name was Moon.

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

July 6, 2020…Who says history isn’t interesting?

Crime shows on TV are enjoyable for me to watch. But this story seems worse than those crimes shown on TV. It’s one that could give you nightmares.

This gruesome story is told in The Book of Bizarre Truth. Countess Erzsebet (Elizabeth) Bathory was born into one of the wealthiest families in Hungary. The family had some strange tales about an uncle that was allegedly a devil worshipper and an aunt that was believed to be a witch. With a family like this, when Elizabeth started suffering from violent, uncontrolled fits of rage, it wasn’t a surprise.

By age 15, with no sign of her fits subsiding, Elizabeth married Ferencz Nadasdy and moved into his castle. By most accounts, the castle’s dungeon gave Bathory her first opportunities to experiment with torture. With her husband gone for long periods of time, she apparently began experimenting with black magic, often inviting people to the castle to take part in strange, sadistic rituals.

Legend has it that, during this time, in a fit of rage, Bathory slapped a young servant girl across the face, drawing blood. Allegedly, Bathory looked down at her hand, which was covered in the young girl’s blood, and thought the blood was causing her own skin to glow. This, according to the legend, is why Bathory believed the blood of virginal girls would keep her young forever.

In 1604, Nadasdy died, leaving Bathory alone in the castle. For a while, she traveled abroad and continued her quest to fulfill her insatiable thirst for blood.

She eventually returned and purchased her own castle. Soon after, servant girls and young girls from neighboring villages began disappearing in the middle of the night.

During this time period, villagers knew better than to speak out against nobility. When people started implying the countess was kidnapping young girls and murdering them in her castle, the villagers keep their mouths shut. Even when Bathory’s carriage would ride through town late at night with young girls in the back, villagers kept their heads down and went about their business.

Villagers awoke in the middle of the night to the sound of piercing screams coming from Bathory’s castle. It wasn’t until young aristocratic girls began disappearing that an investigation was made.

It was 1610 and King Matthias II of Hungary sent a group of men, led by Gyorgy Thurzo, to Bathory’s castle to investigate claims that local girls were being held there against their will. Thurzo stated that when the group arrived at the castle, things they found inside were so horrific and gruesome he could not bring himself to write them down.

Thurzo said inside the door they found a young girl, dead and appearing to be drained of blood. A short distance away, they found another girl, alive but near death. She also seemed to have lost a large amount of blood. Advancing down into the dungeon, they encountered several young girls being held captive. The group released them and began searching for Bathory.

In the end, Bathory and four of her servants were taken into custody. The servants were questioned and Bathory was confined to her bedroom in the castle.

Twenty – one judges presided over the proceedings that began on Jan. 2, 1611. Bathory remained in her castle while her four accomplices were questioned. One, a dwarf named Ficzko, said he personally knew of at least 37 girls the countess had killed. Bathory’s childhood nurse, Ilona Joo, states she had personally helped kill about 50 girls, using cages filled with spikes, fire pokers, and oily sheets that were placed between victims’ legs and set on fire.

The descriptions went on to include stabbings with needles and scissors, tearing off limbs, and even sewing girls’ mouths shut. It was told the countess enjoyed whipping and beating young girls until their bodies were swollen, when she would then use a razor to draw blood from the swollen areas. Rumors were that she bathed in the blood of the girls in an attempt to stay young.

In the end, the countess was found guilty of killing 80 girls. Based on the number of bodies eventually recovered at the castle, the body count was probably as high as 650.

All four of Bathory’s accomplices were put to death. But because the countess was a member of nobility, she could not be executed for her crimes. Instead, she was moved to a series of small rooms in her castle and walled inside. All the doors and windows were sealed, with only a few small holes for air and one to allow food to pass through. The countess lived in her private prison for three years before she died, still claiming she was innocent of all charges.

          Hmmm, that’s not a very fun topic. But interesting, yes? 

          This makes COVID seem to be a cake walk to get through in comparison.

          Hope you had a Fourth of July holiday filled with whatever you wanted it to be filled with. And I hope you enjoyed the nourishing rain that followed.

          See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

July 2, 2020

Families have had a lot more time together recently and many have taken the opportunity to bring out the board games, card games, or dominoes. Games can be fun.

Bobby Baldwin has fun playing cards. He is a professional poker player who was inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame in 2003. He is best known as the winner of the 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event, becoming the youngest Main Event champion at that time.

Baldwin was born in Tulsa, Okla., in 1950 and attended Oklahoma State University in 1970. He currently resides in Las Vegas where he won his first two bracelets at the 1977 World Series of Poker, first winning the $10,000 Deuce to Seven Draw event, then winning the $5,000 Seven Card Stud event. Baldwin won his largest tournament prize in 1978 when he won the WSOP earning the title of Champion and the $210,000 first prize. When Baldwin won the 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event at age 28, he became the youngest winner in its history at that time.

His major wins include four World Series bracelets, all won from 1977 to 1979. He won bracelets in three consecutive years (1977, 1978, and 1979).

In 1982, he became a consultant for the Golden Nugget casino, and named the president in 1984. He was selected to head The Mirage in 1987, and named the president of the Bellagio hotel and casino in 1998. In 1999 – 2000, he was the CFO for Mirage Resorts; in 2000, upon the merger of Mirage Resorts and MGM Grand, he became the CEO of Mirage Resorts subsidiary of MGM Mirage.

In 2005, after the acquisition of Mandalay Resort Group by MGM Mirage, Baldwin became CEO and President of the announced Project City Center, while continuing his responsibilities as CEO of the Mirage Resorts subsidiary. He retired in 2018.

In addition to poker, Baldwin is also a world class billiards player. Now that’s a talented Okie!

          FYI: When you play with dice, you are playing with more than one. One is a die. And the spots on dice are called pips.

More FYI: The king of diamonds in a standard card deck is designed after Julius Caesar. The king of spades is for King David; clubs for Alexander the Great; and hearts of Charlemagne.

Great FYI: Dominoes were developed as a game by French monks and named after the first lines of Psalm 110, which in Latin read, “Dixit Dominus meo” (said my Lord).

Who knew? The world’s largest bowling alley is the 156 lane Nagoya Grand Bowl in Japan.

My grandkids and I have been enjoying some SkipBo games during this COVID time and my Papa and I play dominoes. Hope you had as much fun as we did!

See you on the bricks!

On The Bricks

June 30, 2020

          Many people want to be a part of something that is bigger than themselves. This can come through being involved in a church or other organization that helps others, invents, plans, that in some way helps the world be a better place. Or your community be a better community. Or your neighborhood be a better neighborhood. Or your family be happy.

          These times of COVID-19 have made this harder to do. Our chances to work together have been limited, even our “social distancing” has made it difficult to be together, whether working or socializing.

          We may have realized how important working and being around other people are to us. We may have realized how much we miss talking with one another, having conversations. We may miss fellowship with other humans

          Small talk is a big part of having conversations, which makes connections between people. The best way for us to create a connection with someone is to give them something real to talk to us about. Just a sentence, not a lecture. When asked how things are going. Answer beyond, “Fine.” Maybe, “Fine. I have been reading a great book in my spare time.” Or, “I have been going through old family photo albums.” Or, “My garden is really looking good.” Give a topic that opens the conversation.

          It is good for us to be able to make this small talk connection. And it is a nice thing to put people at ease when you meet them. Ask them a question that can lead to an open conversation. Avoid topics that polarize people, that arouses opinions, or that can cause someone to be defensive.

          I once had someone ask me, just after being introduced to them, “So, what do you think about abortion?” I have spent the past 40+ years avoiding having another conversation with that woman. As a young person a year out of high school, my answer to her question was simple, “I don’t think about abortion.” I will never forget that moment and how much I hated it. I will never understand why she wanted to make me feel so uncomfortable. I have never trusted her since that moment, those few moments in 1978.

          Be friendly when you meet someone and when you start a conversation. Put them at ease. Use their name when you speak to them. Don’t be lazy about using names in conversations. Even on those Zoom meetings that so many of us are being called to now.

          We need not be best friends with everyone we come in contact with, nor do we need to be friends with everyone that works with us. But we do need to try and be polite and friendly. We also need to be productive if we’re working and being on good terms will increase our productivity.

          It doesn’t mean you need to invite everyone over for dinner. Or to go to the show with you. Just be nice.

          When someone tells me what to do, or makes a statement on what they think I am going to do, it irritates me. Quickly. Even those stupid memes on Facebook. “I bet you can’t say you have two ears. I bet you won’t post it.”

          You’re sure right I won’t post it … and I’ll hide further posts from you, too.

          Don’t tell people what they think or what they will do. And try to stay away from telling people what they should do, unless you’re asked. We get enough lectures from people who we have to hear them from (our doctor, our parents, our boss) that most of us won’t choose to be around someone that jumps right in and wants to join in that elite list of people.

          That last paragraph is tough for us when we think we can fix someone’s problem. But it is best if we hush.

          Did you know sometimes I write these columns just because I need to give myself a nice little gentle reminder? Yes, that’s what it is. I need to quit being so “helpful” at times.

          Sometimes writing it down even helps for a little bit.

          We always need to keep improving! 

          I hope that your time during COVID has given you some moments to ponder and consider. I hope that when we are back out in the world that you and I are both better people for the time we spent during COVID.

          See you on the bricks!

News On The Bricks

June 26, 2020 – Welcome, Kim!

Introducing the newest board member of Main Street Guymon: Kim Tuttle-Smith

Kim Smith is a Guymon native. She owned and operated her own seasonal shaved ice business, Tropical Snow, on Main Street for a decade while simultaneously completing her education at Guymon Public Schools and Oklahoma Panhandle State University.

Owning and operating a business from age 12 was the perfect hands – on classroom for Smith to learn a foundation of skills necessary to thrive in today’s workplace. From this experience, the young lady was selected as a McKelvey Entrepreneur Scholar.

Smith became Miss Teen of Oklahoma 2008. Since her reign, she has served in a variety of roles over the years from Choreographer, Assistant Director, State Director and National Director in 2017 with the American Pageants organization.

She completed the Leadership Guymon Program in 2009 and aspires to take part in Leadership Oklahoma in the future.

Smith graduated from Panhandle State in 2012 with two Bachelor degrees in General Business and Computer Information Systems. She was also the recipient of the prestigious JRP Sewell award.

After graduation, she moved to Orlando, Fla., to work for The Walt Disney Company. While working full time as a Restaurant Guest Service Manager, she pursued an Executive Masters of Business Administration from Stetson University and graduated in 2016.

Smith returned home to the Oklahoma Panhandle in the fall of 2016 to begin her dream job of teaching college. She was hired as an Instructor of Computer Information Systems and served in that position for three years. Recently, Smith relocated within the College of Business and Technology to teach for the Business Administration department.

Smith believes her purpose in life is to create opportunities for others and she is very passionate about mentoring young adults into leadership positions; on campus, she can be found advising the Student Government Association and PBL (Phi Beta Lambda – business club).

Kim Smith also began the final piece of her formal education journey in the fall of 2017. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Information Systems from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Smith is passionate about the intersection of business and technology.

Kim married Drew Smith in May of 2019 and the couple resides in Goodwell. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, volunteering, crafting and spending time with her family. Out of all the titles she has held in her lifetime, Aunt is her favorite one! 

Kim has held Ghandi’s quote, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world” as her guiding mantra for her life. She is excited to bring her unique experiences, knowledge, enthusiasm, and creativity to the Main Street Guymon Board. It is important to her to give back to the community that has always been a huge support network for her many endeavors in life.

On The Bricks

June 25, 2020

Most people have an opinion about sports and those athletes and coaches made famous for their abilities in sports. But few sport opinions are listened to as much as Skip Bayless’.

Bayless, born John Edward Bayless II on Dec. 4, 1951, in Oklahoma City, is an American sports columnist, author, and television personality. His parents owned and operated the Hickory House restaurant in Oklahoma City. He worked in the restaurant as a youth. His younger brother Rick Bayless carried on the family tradition and became a television chef personality.

Skip was the salutatorian of Northwest Classen’s class of 1970 where he played baseball and basketball. He was a two – year member of the National Honor Society and president of the school’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and an officer in the letterman’s club. Bayless became the sports columnist for the school newspaper his junior and senior years. Prior to his senior year, Bayless represented Northwest Classen at Oklahoma Boys State. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Grantland Rice Scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University. While at Vanderbilt, he majored in English and history, and graduated cum laude in 1974. He was sports editor of the university student newspaper, and spent the summer of 1969 interning at The Daily Oklahoman.

Bayless went directly to The Miami Herald, to wrote sports features. He then took a position at the Los Angeles Times. Bayless won the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Newspaper Writing in 1977 for his coverage of Seattle Slew‘s Triple Crown victory.

At age 26, Bayless was hired by The Dallas Morning News, and later joined the Dallas Times Herald. Bayless was voted Texas sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association three times (1979, 1984, 1986).

In 1989, Bayless wrote his first book, God’s Coach: The Hymns, Hype and Hypocrisy of Tom Landry’s Cowboys, about the rise and fall of Tom Landry‘s Dallas Cowboys. Following the Cowboys’ Super Bowl victory in 1993, Bayless wrote The Boys: The Untold Story of the Dallas Cowboys’ Season on the Edge, and following the third Cowboys Super Bowl win in four seasons, Bayless wrote a third book about the Cowboys, Hell-Bent: The Crazy Truth About the “Win or Else” Dallas CowboysHell-Bent caused a stir, in part, because in the course of writing about the conflict between Cowboys coach Barry Switzer and star quarterback Troy Aikman,

Bayless then become lead sports columnist for the Chicago Tribune. He won the Lisagor Award for excellence in sports column writing. He was voted Illinois sportswriter of the year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.

Bayless’s work also appeared in various national sports publications, including Sports Illustrated.

Bayless had a presence in radio. He began hosting a sports talk radio show for KLIF in Dallas. He became one of the original investors in KTCK (“the Ticket”) in Ft. Worth, and hosted The Skip Bayless Show. He became the primary guest host of the syndicated radio program, The Jim Rome Show. Soon thereafter, Bayless began co-hosting a weekend show on ESPN Radio with former SportsCenter anchor Larry Beil.

His television time began in 1989, when Bayless joined as a panelist on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters, and over the next decade, he was a regular on the Sunday morning show. Bayless became a member of the original debate team on NFL Prime Monday‘s “Knights of the Roundtable” segments.

Bayless appeared regularly on Jim Rome‘s show on Fox Sports NetThe Last Word. He also made frequent appearances on Fox’s The Best Damn Sports Show Period. Bayless became a fixture on Rome is Burning. He was also featured in a weekly Sunday morning SportsCenter debate segment with Stephen A. Smith, “Old School / Nu Skool”.

ESPN hired Bayless full-time to team with Woody Paige in daily debate segments called “1st and 10” on ESPN2‘s Cold Pizza, and to write columns for Rebranded as First Take, the production was moved to the network’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn.

Leaving EPN in 2016, Bayless next went to Fox Sports. There he debuted Skip and Shannon: Undisputed along with Shannon Sharpe September 2016 on Fox Sports 1.

Bayless was selected to the Oklahoma City Wall of Fame. He was inducted as one of the five members of the inaugural class of the Vanderbilt Student Media Hall of Fame. In 2012, he received a Sports Emmy Award in the category of Outstanding Sports Personality, Studio Analyst, and was the co-recipient with DJ Steve Porter of a Webby People’s Voice Award in the category of Video Remixes/Mashups for “All He Does Is Win”, Porter’s mashup of clips of Bayless passionately defending oft – maligned quarterback Tim Tebow.

Oklahoma is proud of Skip Bayless.

Sports trivia: Tickets to the first Super Bowl went for $12, for the most expensive seat.

More sports trivia: Beginning with Super Bowl XXXIV in 2000, footballs used in the big game have been marked with synthetic DNA to prevent sports memorabilia fraud. Souvenirs from the 2000 Summer Olympics were marked with human DNA in the ink.

Even more sports trivia: Only three men – Dan Reeves, Mike Ditka, and Tony Dungy – have appeared in the Super Bowl as a player, assistant coach, and head coach.

Made me laugh: Why did the poor quarterback have his receivers cross at midfield? He was trying to make ends meet.

Another laugh: Where do football players go when they need new uniforms? New Jersey.

Hope you’re enjoying that sports is starting back up.

See you on the bricks soon!

On The Bricks

June 19, 2020

          This is a prayer that I recently came upon and wanted to share. I don’t know about you, but it had several things mentioned that I really need to do better.

          “Lord, Thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older, and will someday be old.

          “Keep me from getting talkative, and particularly from the fatal habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and on every occasion.

          “Release me from craving to try to straighten out everybody’s affairs.

          “Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details. Give me wings to get to the point.

          “I ask for grace enough to listen to the tales of others’ pains. Help me to endure them with patience.

          “But seal my lips on my own aches and pains. They are increasing and my love of rehearsing them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.

          “Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally it is possible that I may be mistaken.

          “Keep me reasonably sweet. I do not want to be a saint (some of them are hard to live with) but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the devil.

          “Make me thoughtful, but not moody; helpful, but not bossy. With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all – but Thou knowest, Lord, that I want a few friends in the end.”

          Good thought: Confidence is silent. Insecurities are loud.

          Good advice: Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comments.

Interesting Okie: Don Flowers’s newspaper career began at age 17, when he ran away from Custer City, Okla., to work for the Kansas City Star. After a stint there and with the Chicago American, he moved to the Associated Press. Flowers introduced an array of comics; his first success came in 1931 with Oh Diana, an adventure strip featuring a female lead, which was uncommon then. At the same time, he developed a single panel cartoon he called Modest Maidens. The long – legged ladies of his cartoon gained popularity and by the mid-1940s, it was his main focus. The Associated Press owned the rights to the title, so when William Randolph Hearst’s office approached Flowers with a pay raise to move to King Features Syndicate, he accepted. The new title, Glamor Girls, ran in King Features’ papers until 1968 when Flowers died suddenly from emphysema.
          Flowers work is identified by as some of the best inking in the field. His signature ladies have long been imitated but never surpassed. More about Oklahoma cartoonists can be seen at the Toy and Action Figure Museum in Pauls Valley, that includes the Oklahoma Cartoonists Hall of Fame.

See you on the bricks!