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May 4, 2018
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San Diego’s most popular holiday show “La Pastorela de la Familia” brings humor, inspiration to Lyceum Theater

“La Pastorela de la Familia,” the newest in Teatro Máscara Mágica’s award-winning series of Mexican-inspired Christmas musicals, once again features the timeless battle between Lucifer’s forces of evil and Michael the Archangel’s champions of goodness set in today’s world of chaos and hope. Its creators promise the funniest and most relevant Pastorela yet.

This year’s production celebrates not only our wonderful multicultural community and our unique home in the borderlands, but it celebrates the family, La Familia. It is a celebration of a journey that we all take, and we have to choose sides. Evil lurks in every corner and is masked with many faces. This wonderful musical, comic satire is a production for the whole family to enjoy and at the end the obligatory piñata for the children.

Playwright Max Branscomb

With this production we are celebrating Max Branscomb, the playwright, like the Archangel who fights for the rights of people, Max has been the Archangel of the Pastorela, and as a warrior he is fighting his battle with cancer. We want to celebrate and honor Max for being the playwright of the Pastorela for over quarter of a century.

“La Pastorela de la Familia” is a contemporary twist on the traditional story of the shepherd

s’ journey to Bethlehem to witness the first Christmas. Called to action by Archangels Michael and Gabriel, the shepherds face temptation and danger from evil Lucifer and his nasty minions. The bilingual script is primarily in English with beautiful Christmas carols sung in Spanish.

Written by Branscomb and directed by William Virchis, “La Pastorela de la Familia” runs Dec. 13-16 and 18-23 at 7:30 p.m., and 2 p.m. Dec. 15, 16, 22 and 23 at the Lyceum Theater in Horton Plaza. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students, military and groups and $10 for children under 12 or groups of 10 or more. For reservations call the Lyceum Box Office at (619) 544-1000. Tickets are also available through ArtsTix and Goldstar.

La pastorela is a folk art form that dates back to the beginning of Christianity. During the second century early Christians in hiding acted out the Christmas story to hand it down in the oral tradition. It survived as an underground movement until the Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the fourth century.

The Spaniards brought it to Mexico in the 1540s and it became that country’s most popular form of theatre. More than 2,500 unique versions of the story are produced south of the border. Almost every city, town and village in Mexico has its own version of the pastorela.

A pastorela is the tale of the shepherd’s journey to Bethlehem to witness the first Christmas. It is the B-plot of the nativity, a journey fraught with temptations, distractions and mortal peril as the devils try to prevent the shepherds from reaching their special destination. It is a traditional morality play full of choices and introspection, but presented with levity, music, beautiful costumes and poetic dialogue. Pastorelas are written entirely in verse, like a Yuletide Dr. Seuss story.

TMM and the Old Globe Theater developed and produced the first English language pastorela in San Diego in 1991 at the Old Globe. The play appeals to English and Spanish speakers alike. The text is in English and the beautiful Christmas songs are in Spanish. Raul Moncada of the Old Globe wrote the first script and mentored Branscomb, who has written the show for 26 years. Virchis has directed 27 of the 28 productions.

Branscomb’s devils and angels are masters of disguise who appear throughout the shepherd’s journey as historic and contemporary characters. His pastorelas have inspired theatre companies throughout the Southwest United States to produce their own. Branscomb has written almost 50 pastorelas for companies in Tucson, Los Angeles, San Jose, Bakersfield, Phoenix, Cincinnati, Nogales, Mexico and other cities on both sides of the border.

Director William Virchis

William Virchis is professor emeritus of theatre at Southwestern College. He has directed productions of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Zoot Suit” and “Let the Eagle Fly,” as well as the national touring production of “Selena Forever.” The late Old Globe founder Craig Noel called Virchis “the county’s boldest and most daring director.”

Besides his work with Teatro Máscara Mágica, Branscomb is the founder and artistic director of the Bonitafest Melodrama, San Diego County’s longest-running theatre production. It celebrated its 38th season in 2015. Branscomb is San Diego County’s most commissioned playwright. He has authored nearly 100 produced plays and musicals for more than 20 theater companies across the na

tion. Branscomb is a professor of journalism at Southwestern College and adviser of “The Sun,” America’s #1-ranked community college newspaper.

Virchis and Branscomb first teamed up in 1992 to update and revise the Lerner-Lowe musical “Paint Your Wagon” at Starlight Musical Theatre. Virchis asked Branscomb to rewrite the cliched Latino character Julio from a shuffling Mexican knockabout to a proud indigenous hero. The revision played to sold-old audiences at Starlight and was named Best Play of the Season by San Diego’s theatre critics. They also worked together as playwright and director of DiverCity Works Theatre and the annual Martin Luther King Breakfast for the National Conference of Community and Justice, America’s oldest civil rights organization.
Teatro Máscara Mágica was founded in 1989 to increase the production of multicultural theatre and to provide professional theatrical opportunities to underrepresented segments of the population. Another mission of the Teatro is to subsidize ticket prices to make live theatre affordable to families and the less affluent. La Pastorela has been honored by the National Endowment for the Arts as well as numerous human rights organizations. Teatro Máscara Mágica was a recipient of the 2004 San Diego County Multicultural Heritage Award for its leadership in multicultural theatre.

# # # # #

Reviewers please contact the REP box office, (619) 544-1000, for passes.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

We are facing a major growing pain in current society.  We seem to be unable to deal with issues from the past through the lens of our current societal norms.

In an article from CNN, “Laura Ingalls Wilder’s name has been stripped from a prestigious book award because of racist themes,” we are rejecting the good works of an author because she spoke in the vernacular of her times.

This is a dangerous lesson to teach our children. When I explored my family history, I found that my ancestors were a part of the slave trade one hundred years before the Civil War. I do not suffer guilt for having been a descendent of slave-owners.  I celebrate the progress our country has made to improve equality.  Our founders acknowledged in 1783 the coming challenges in the Preamble to the Constitution with the words, “in Order to form a more perfect Union”

It is unrealistic to assume that we will ever achieve a perfect union just as it is unrealistic to hold our ancestors to the standards we have already achieved. As a child grows, we make marks on the wall to indicate progress just as we collect the art, history and stories of our past. We should not erase those marks. They are our institutional memory and they remind us not to make the same mistakes. It is a teachable moment to educate young readers that in the past, the process of forming a more perfect union includes remembering that the good people of the past did bad things by todays standards. Not only does a child learn right from wrong, but so does society.

In trying to erase Laura Ingalls Wilder from our institutional memory, should we also erase Walt Disney whose movies and cartoons contained the racist vernacular?  Should we erase Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb from the Major League Record book because they never played against African-Americans?  Should we erase Abraham Lincoln from our history because he spoke these words in the Stephen Douglas debates, “I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races?”

In order to form a more perfect union, we must look at these events from the past as benchmarks of our progress.  We must also realize that the events of today will plant the benchmarks of progress toward our future.

On a related note, we are now going through a transition in the workplace.  It is no longer acceptable to treat men and women as other than fair and equal colleagues without regard to gender. As more offenses come to light, we feel free to condemn and reject those who have committed offenses in the past.  There should be no statute of limitations for this condemnation of criminal acts from the past.  Forgiveness of non-criminal acts should be earned.  But we are a forgiving society and there should be a road forward for those whose bad behavior was only in the distant past.

We must keep the marks on the wall that indicate our growth. We must erase the bad behavior in the present. Most importantly, we must  keep the memories of the past both good and bad.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

I am staying at Extended Stay North which has “Free Wi-Fi” provided by InnFlux.  It is a total ripoff.  Every one of their competitors provides enough speed to stream video from all of the popular services.  Except InnFlux and Extended Stay.  They charge a premium for average speed wi-fi.  Hulu, Apple Video and youtube will not even stream low quality video over Innflux at Extended Stay.   They say they cater to business customers but not if they have to pay a premium for acceptable speed.   Don’t stay at Extended Stay if you want acceptable wi-fi.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

In the spring of 1970, I was a student at Westerville High School and a cast member of the spring musical under the direction of Ron Nocks.  On one Thursday evening rehearsal, I was neither an experienced actor nor a talented one and I was most certainly not able to act as if I was not afraid of heights as I carefully climbed down a naked flight of stairs onto a raked stage wearing a helmet obscuring my vision. Later on, as a teacher, I would have hoped that I could have cared enough to individually help a student through a difficult problem and possibly even help them gain confidence.  I know that many of my students would agree that I was that caring teacher.  I know that some would not.

That evening, Ron Nocks was not that caring teacher.  At the rundown that evening in Room 201 in the presence of the entire cast and crew, he publicly dressed me down for my lack of confidence and my lack of courage.  He used his wicked and well-honed sarcasm to embarrass me and make me an outcast among kids who had been my classmates and neighbors since kindergarten.  Specifically, he asked me if my toilet was closer to the floor to compensate for my fear of heights.

I was never a victim of sexual abuse by Mr. Nocks or anyone else.  I know that most of the students in that room loved and worshipped Mr. Nocks. To a man with the ego and talent such as his, it leads him to appreciate the hero worship among his favorites and sometimes to take advantage of them as he has admitted. It also leads to an arrogance that allows him to verbally abuse the students who were not his favorites. It is this collection and exercise of raw personal power toward subordinates that has become such a difficult issue at present.

I do not desire nor expect an apology.  If he is in such a mood, maybe he could join me in apologizing to my students who received some of the same sarcastic treatment because that night in Room 201, he set an example and gave me, a high school junior, permission to act that way to my students in the future.   That is the crux of this problem.  That is the chain of abuse that goes from generation to generation.

I will never receive justice nor will any other victim of the abuse of power by those with talent and position. But if there is justice to be paid, follow the advice of Coach Hayes and Pay it Forward.  Don’t abuse.  Don’t accept abuse and don’t tolerate it towards others in your presence or in your organization.

That said, there is a paradox. Before and even after that night, I was a fan of the work of Mr. Nocks and I attended his plays.  More specifically, I admired and emulated him as a public address announcer during the morning announcements and I became a very accomplished sports public address announcer in San Diego.  That’s the rub.  That’s the quandary.  That is the love-hate relationship we have in our society with people who have immense talent or power. But, that night, he hurt me.

Rick Lakin

Retired Teacher and Publisher

Chula Vista, California

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

officer of the court. n. any person who has an obligation to promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system, including judges, the attorneys who appear in court, bailiffs, clerks and other personnel.

The President of the United States, Donald J. Trump is the appointing officer for all federal judicial vacancies and he is at the top of the chain of command for all military courts.  Should the president, as an officer of the court, be obliged ethically and legally to promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system?

Article II, Section 2 says the president “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.”

Fellow birther Sheriff Joe Arpaio neither accepted or responsibility for his actions nor did he express remorse for his gross disregard for the law that led to his conviction for contempt in the case of his treatment of undocumented individuals in Maricopa County, Arizona.  Nonetheless, Donald Trump issued a presidential pardon for his friend and political supporter.  Did the president subvert justice and ethically violate his duties as an officer of the court?

On Wednesday, November 1, President Trump was attributed the following quote referring to the judicial proceedings for the New York Terrorist,

“We have to come up with punishment that’s far quicker and far greater than the punishment these animals are getting right now. They’ll go through court for years. At the end, they’ll be — who knows what happens. We need quick justice, and we need strong justice. Much quicker and much stronger than we have right now, because what we have right now is a joke, and it’s a laughing stock. And no wonder so much of this stuff takes place.

Did the President promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system?

On Friday, the president issued the above tweet.  As commander and chief of the armed forces and therefore an officer of the court, did the President promote justice and effective operation of the judicial system?  More importantly, did the President prejudice the case and provide Sergeant Bergdahl an avenue for appeal?

The United States Constitution guarantees that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty no matter how despicable the act and no matter how evil the individual.  After the above tweet, can Sayfullo Saipov receive a fair trial in our country?  Is it possible for this terrorist to appeal any conviction on the basis of the fact that the President of the United prejudiced the jury pool in one single tweet?

Has President Donald J. Trump violated his oath of office to support and defend the constitution by undermining our justice system?  Is the president bound by his oath of office to the ethics of an officer of the court in our federal and military court system?

The charge of high crimes and misdemeanors covers allegations of misconduct peculiar to officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, briberyintimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, and refusal to obey a lawful order.

I believe that Mr. Trump has committed a string of offenses that fall under the category of high crimes and misdemeanors.  I believe that the House of Representatives should refer this string of offenses to the Senate in the form of an Article of Impeachment.

 

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

 

Comparing Obama’s Presidency to Great Athlete Performances

 

The list of iconic events that have occurred over the last eight years is too long to mention here, but no one can choose one as a signature moment in Barack Obama’s presidency. Many will be forever linked to his legacy.

 

It’s rare that two individuals can simultaneously have such a profound impact on the course of history by their actions. Think of their greatness being destined to intertwine with one another. After January 20th, the comparisons will begin on the major events of the Obama’s presidency to a great performance by an athlete.

 

The Stimulus Act

 

President Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into effect in 2009. The law was designed to kick-start economic growth during the midst of the nation’s greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after the stimulus was implemented, unemployment claims were down, thus beginning a trend that continued for an amazing 23 straight months and pumped 3.7 newly created private sector jobs into the economy.

 

LeBron James and Barack Obama have shown an abundance of promise and exhibited a surplus of confidence at the beginning of their careers. However at first, both shied away from their greatness and failed to grasp a leadership role. Too often, frustrated Democrats were disappointed with Obama’s failure to challenge the Republicans on certain issues. When a crisis came up in his first year in office, Obama relied on the help of his Cabinet members and Congress to solve the problem.

 

Wall Street Reform

 

After heated negotiations, President Obama gained enough votes to make the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act a law that puts strict regulations against the financial sector after their reckless behavior that caused the Great Recession. Dodd-Frank tightened requirements on the large banking and lending institutions by requiring them to sell derivatives on exchanges or clearinghouses. The law negated the bank’s ability to trade with customer’s money for personal profit.

 

The actions of a transcendent figure moves very rapidly. We all enjoy watching their career unfold before our eyes, and hopefully to witness some of their crowning achievements in-person. Roger Federer and Barack Obama struggled at first with the expectations placed on them, but once they hit their stride, no one could contain their dominance. Obama didn’t need the assistance from Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid to gain the necessary votes for this legislation to become law.

 

Auto Industry Bailout

 

Despite opposition from all sides, President Obama injected $62 billion of federal money into an ailing auto industry to bail them out. In return, the government received an equity stake in each company and the agreement to restructure their management practices.

 

It will be hard for an individual to duplicate the greatness of Barack Obama and Usain Bolt. Each accomplished their goal without much fanfare, while still maintaining a sense of humor despite being disrespected by their peers. It might take a decade before Obama is applauded for his decision to bailout the auto industry. His critics cannot deny the fact the country’s Big Three Automakers have shown a profit for the first time in two decades.

 

The Affordable Care Act

 

On March 23, 2010, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, and this changed the healthcare industry forever. The law gave medical insurance to 32 million citizens that were previously uninsured. Obama accomplished something that past administrations failed to achieve: universal healthcare for all.

 

The president dodge the opposition much like MVP candidate Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers eluding defenders in the pocket. Obama never became distracted by what was going around him, especially when there was serious doubt if the law would ever get passed. Even after victory, Republicans argued that he didn’t gain a mandate from Americans because Obama took full advantage of a Democratic-controlled Congress.

 

The Killing of Osama Bin Laden

 

Osama Bin Laden was the world’s leading terrorist, who was behind the 9/11 attacks. Intelligence information confirmed Bin Laden was hiding out in Pakistan. The president ordered a U.S. Navy Seal team to raid his secret compound and kill him.

 

Barack Obama and Derek Jeter are the true definition of a leader. Neither ever bragged and often gave credit to others for any achievements accomplished. Each played or governed like a true gentleman by never cheating or trying to gain an unfair advantage on their opponent. Obama praised the Special Forces unit for completing their mission, but also retrieving al-Qaeda documents.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

Notice that after I type this, the individual letters stand very still and form words and thoughts. Letters have been doing this for thousands of years. That’s what letters do best. It is not a challenge for letters. They don’t need a videographer to take their picture as they stand still. They don’t need an entire internet to celebrate the fact that they just stand still. That’s what differentiates letters from people.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

DreagonStar-Cover-V3

DreaganStar

by Nan Klee

Available now on

amazonllogoshadow

CHAPTER 1 – PREFLIGHT

They had ordered, rather than requested her presence, then left her waiting in a small anti-chamber for well over an hour. Now slightly miffed, Doctor Samantha Alexander considered leaving for a bite of lunch, when a massive blond jack of a man in a black security uniform opened the tall polysteel door and silently gestured her into the Board of Directors’ chamber. She followed him into the spacious room, feeling an unusual suspicion. The inner chamber felt even more sterile than the majority of the artificial, underground environment in the city of Proteus. Thin sheets of polished gray moon rock decorated the always-present, dull polysteel walls that sealed in the atmosphere. Lighting, as always indirect and psychologically effective, directed Samantha to the long slate-blue table at the other end of the cold room. Seated behind the blue lacquered, crescent-shaped table waited Dreagan Corporation’s Board of Directors, who, along with the colony’s Founder, Doctor Jonathan Dreagan, made up this ruling body of this pseudo-socialistic lunar colony.

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About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

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About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.

About Rick Lakin

Rick Lakin is the author of Brilliant, an upcoming young adult science fiction romance and the publisher at iCrewDigitalPublishing.com, Bringing New Authors to a Digital World. iCrew has published 35 books by 11 authors. Rick has been an optimist for almost two years and is the district webmaster as calso41.us. He is the founder of iCrew Digital Productions, A Community of Young Media Professionals and a member of the 1000 Club of the National Association of Sports Public Address Announcers. Rick is an Advanced Communicator Silver in Toastmasters International and is a member of American Mensa. Rick works as a Sports Statistician for broadcast television and is a retired math teacher. He lives in Southern California but his roots are in Columbus, Ohio, home of The Ohio State University Buckeyes.