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Walking the Walk
Faith Mission

by Rick Brown

Above the reconverted church building on Long Street in downtown Columbus the cross sign reads “Faith Mission – Jesus Saves”. And instead of jumping to the usual conclusions by separating the four words in the middle, let’s look at it as one statement shall we? Because if Jesus in reality does in any way “save” (and I know many people believe that in a spiritual sense) many lives are enriched … often physically “saved” … by the hard work and dedication of the people of Faith Mission. Many “talk the talk”. Faith Mission “walks the walk”.

On any given night up to 200 men and 42 women are given a bed to sleep in. Every day 3 meals are served to anyone who is hungry and needs nourishment. In any fiscal year almost 325,000 people are fed. Over 1500 folks a year are served at Faith’s service center. More than 4500 use their clinic. Faith Mission helps those looking for a job by giving the homeless an address, a place to ready themselves for an interview. Women are sheltered from abusive relationships.

My wife Yvonne and I have been loyal supporters of Faith Mission for many years. The face of poverty, and homelessness in particular, is far from a pretty one. But we know Faith Mission lifts out of the streets and back into mainstream society many people. These are the people Jesus walked with, fed, and cared for. Just as he never required proof of specific belief so is the philosophy of Faith Mission.

I have been on two tours this year of Faith’s downtown facilities. And I will be soon visiting their urban garden (see the a la carte section). Our friend and Faith’s Development Officer Terri gave the first to Yvonne and I. It was good to get to see the people behind the scenes and get to know Terri better. On the second tour I drove a busload of clergy for a program sponsored by the Clintonville – Beechwold Community Resource Center (another fine social agency in its own right). The tour guide minced no words to this bus full of piety. He spoke of million dollar downtown condos encroaching on Faith Mission’s neighborhood and how that had caused some “concerns”. And when one minister asked “What kind of concerns” I rolled my eyes along with the guide. He also spoke earnestly of blanket giveaways in the dead of winter “saving someone’s life for one more night”. A Bible after all, will not keep you warm under a bridge in January. But to my relative surprise many of the pastors had a good grip on the reality of homelessness and severe poverty. Many had served meals … volunteered in other ways. And although I have had my ups and downs with the Lutheran Church, I can honestly say that when Faith Mission was pulled under the umbrella of Lutheran Social Services they did indeed “save” the day.

Many people are uncomfortable when they see a vagrant or panhandler. It’s a common assumption that all homeless people are like this. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Most are people who need a helping hand … a lift up. … people like you and I who maybe weren’t so lucky with their mortgage when the economy tanked.

Jesus is quoted in the Gospels as saying, “The poor will always be with you, but you will not always have me.” And too many times this verse is interpreted as Jesus alluding to his crucifixion, the implication of his divinity. Theologians have argued over the belief in him as God’s offspring for centuries. And the debate will continue. But the poor are still very much with us. That’s the literal truth. Maybe Jesus was also referring to our continual responsibility to our fellow human beings … unconditionally. So perhaps the next time a panhandler or the sight of homelessness makes you uncomfortable consider this. When Jesus uttered these words … and for at least the last 3 years of his life … he was a homeless man.

For more information about Faith Mission please go to: www.faithmissionofohio.org

Porch Time

by Rick Brown

Henri sits on the front porch floor watching.
Not so much curious … more contemplating.
As if someday he might need to pick up the trimmings himself.
He wants to get it right
When I finish my task … I lean over …
scratch him behind the ear.
“Time for lunch” I say.
He kisses my nose.
We walk through the door.
I tell him “You’re a good old dog.”
Hoping that I am too.

The Non Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
proudly presents:

Hidden Treasure!

by Rick Brown


About 50 yards from the beach in the Gulf of Mexico. Rick and Yvonne are wading neck deep in the water, bobbing about. The sky is deep blue and cloudless and the sun is shining hotly. Three very tan brunette girls in skimpy bikinis begin wading towards them stage left, getting splashed by the waves. Bikini Girl # 1 is in red and is cupping her ample bosom while pulling down on her bikini top. Bikini Girl # 2 (in purple) and Bikini Girl #3 (in blue) are frolicking, jumping up and down as the swells move by. They are giggling loudly.

Bikini Girl # 1 (with a heavy Jersey accent) – OH! MAH! GAWD! Mah TITS almost come out!

Bikini Girl # 2 (same accent) I wuz tryin’ tuh tell yous oily UH!

A man appears stage left walking in the water, chest deep, using an underwater metal detector, complete with earphones. He is wearing swim trunks, sunglasses, a white t-shirt and a ball cap over his hair. On his shoulder is perched a white Cockatoo.

Rick, Yvonne, and the 3 Bikini Girls look on silently in amazement, as the Treasure Hunter seems to float by with his Cockatoo and equipment.

Treasure Hunter (Turning towards the 3 Bikini Girls) – He just LANDED there! What should I DO?!!

The 3 Bikini Girls stare quietly.

Treasure Hunter – you almost bought that didn’t cha?

The Treasure Hunter affectionately strokes his pet bird while still gliding along.

Treasure Hunter – His name is Reno.

The 3 Bikini Girls (in unison) – REEEEE - NOOOOO!

As the Treasure Hunter moves slowly off stage right 2 young, tanned guys wade up to the Bikini Girls.

Bikini Girl # 3 (to the guys) – Did yous see DAT?!!

Boy # 1 and Boy # 2 (in unison) – Yo, we seen it.

Bikini Girl # 3 – His name is RENO!!!

Guy # 1 shrugs his shoulders while Guy # 2 puts his hands on his hips, cocks his head and gives Bikini Girl # 3 a look of raging jealousy.

Bikini Girl # 3 – Duh BOYD!! Duh BOYYYYYD!!!



Rick – himself
Yvonne – herself
Bikini Girl # 1 – her tanned Joisey self
Bikini Girl # 2 – her tanned Joisey self
Bikini Girl # 3 - her tanned Joisey self
Guy # 1 – his tanned Joisey self
Guy # 2 – his tanned Joisey self
Treasure Hunter – his existential being
Reno – his feathery existential being

Rick's book, Best Bites is available at:
Helen of Sparta
Raconteur Theater
Columbus, Ohio

by Rick Brown

Shadowbox Live
Worly Building
The Brewery District
Columbus, Ohio

by Rick Brown

In the Happy Country
Morris Jackson

Deep Marble Diver
C. Mehrl Bennett


Grace Kendall
Denise Dill
Jessy Kendall


by Amy McCrory

Jessy Kendall


Rick Brown

Hmmm # 30

I decided to tell
the people I love
I love them.
So far
it’s pretty much
freaked them

Hmmm # 31

Time flies
even if you aren’t
having fun.
So then.
You know

Join Naked Sunfish on Facebook

by Sue Olcott

Click Here

The Rocky Horror Show
Shadowbox Live
Brewery District
Columbus, Ohio

by Rick Brown

The Third Annual Shadowbox Live Sketch Comedy Festival
July 19-20, 2011

by Rick Brown

I have covered each of the three annual comedy festivals and have enjoyed watching the progress each year has brought. Returning as judges for the third consecutive year were Shadowbox’s own Julie Klein and Saturday Night Live alum Garrett Morris. Ms. Klein is always the voice of reason and it’s always good to watch Mr. Morris revel in blasphemous hilarity. But this year was greatly improved by the addition of local celeb Johnny DiLoretto.

The single biggest improvement was having these fine judges make the final decision about the winning troupe. Last year the audience voted and it seemed more like an American Idol popularity contest. Each year on night one Stev Guyer serves as emcee, yet his critiques (and he is more than qualified to express himself on comedy) make him seem more like a 4th judge doing double duties. This works fine for opening night. Relinquishing the emcee role on the second evening was a brilliant move. Jimmy Mak and David Whitehouse aptly maneuvered the show with witticisms and general goofiness. I don’t know what makes the boys from Steubenville so funny. Mr. DiLoretto hails from there as well and the three of them almost stole the show.

This year’s troupes included Sketch by Number (Columbus, Ohio and last year’s winner), The Don’t We Boys (Grand Rapids, Michigan), The Laughter League (Cleveland, Ohio), The Feral Chihuahuas (Ashville, North Carolina) and The Riot (Toronto, Canada). Each group performed some wonderfully original skits, at times a little amateurishly on opening night. It’s always interesting to see the presentations on night two, after the folks at Shadowbox Live help tweak each troupe’s sketch voted best by the audience the previous night. I would suggest that if you want to attend just one night make sure it’s the second one.

And a word of warning: opening night the humor can be quite blue, and at times clumsy and in poor taste. For the second year in a row Laughter League went to the dark side. C’mon people … I grew up outside Cleveland and know firsthand how great the city’s sarcastic sense of humor can be. But making fun of Parkinson’s disease is just mean and cynical.

The troupe did rebound night two with a loony “Extremely General Hospital”. The Feral Chihuahuas were great with their video “Grocery Cart Pirates” and a hilarious “Deer Cooler” skit. Sketch by Number’s “Bromeo and Julian”, while stereotyping, did so with delightfully relentless dude dialogue. The Don’t We Boys performed a funny “Summer Reading” piece. The narrator clutching a guitar that he never played was a great sight gag.

But it was clearly The Riot’s night. Their outlandishly operatic “The Lonely Gynecologist” was genius. A love story for the ages, the writing pushed the envelope without crossing the line. Right to the precipice (especially after crafting the piece for night two) the pregnant pauses woven with the wonderful word play certainly nailed the win for Toronto’s The Riot.

The Shadowbox Comedy Sketch Festival has come a long way since its inception. But I have one small suggestion for next year. Bring in a comedy troupe from Steubenville!


by Dennis Toth

“...And the name
of the star is called

A broken dream
In a hillbilly burg
So depressed
That the rust seeps
Through the water
Leaving grit in the mouth
Until every spoken word
Is bitter and terse.

“...It were a sea of glass
mingled with fire...

All faith has gone
To the lost and found
Where it wanders like a stray
In the bad part of town

...And there were stings
in their tails...

Eden was once
In Ohio, right next
To a Dairy Queen.
All nestled in a valley
Of corn
Like a farm's boy dream
From the combine seat.
Softly whirls the thrasher,
So swiftly twirls the blades.

“...Who is worthy...
to loose the seals thereof?

There is a silence in the heavens
In which the stars shall dim
And fade.

Visit Dennis' Blog at:

The Non Fiction Theater of the Truly Mundane
proudly presents:


by Rick Brown


A brightly lit fine jewelry store. Cases of jewelry and watches encompass the room. There are two young, smartly dressed saleswomen behind the counter at the back of the room. A middle-aged jeweler can be seen intently working through a door behind the women.
Rick is buzzed in through the security door stage left and strolls up to the counter in back.

Rick – I called earlier about getting a new watchband put on my Skagen watch.

Saleswoman #1 – Certainly sir. We do not do that here but we would be glad to ship it to the company where they will replace it.

Rick – That’s fine, but how much would that cost?

Saleswoman # 2 – I believe it’s around $25. Have you been a customer here before?

Rick – We did the same thing about 2 years ago.

Saleswoman # 2 – And what is your name sir?

Rick – Rick Brown

Saleswoman # 2 begins looking at her computer clacking away at the keyboard.

Rick (To saleswoman # 1) – Do you sell Skagen watches here?

Saleswoman # 2 asks if information about Rick’s address and phone number are
correct and he nods in affirmation.

Saleswoman # 1(sweeping her hand over the countertop like Vanna White presenting a brand new car) – Yes here are several.

Rick (pointing) – May I see that one?

He looks intently at the watch she hands him.

Rick – Very nice. How much is it?

Saleswoman # 1 - $200.00 plus tax.

Rick – Oh my. (handing the watch back)

Saleswoman # 1 – Is there a problem sir? It is a very fine timepiece for the price.

Rick – I’m sure it is. It’s just that … well … I’m retired.

Saleswoman # 1 takes a step backwards; shifts her weight to one hip and gives Rick a look of incredulous confusion.

Rick (shrugging his shoulders) – You know. I’m not so much into time anymore.


Saleswoman # 1 – herself
Saleswoman # 2 – herself
Jeweler – his busy self
Rick – his retired self

Issue 1 - January 2002