Tuesday, December 30, 2008

3-D battle for No. 1

Here's a novel way to watch the BCS National Championship game between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 2 Florida on Jan. 8.

Carmike Cinemas will be showing the game in many of its digital-capable theaters live in 3-D. I didn't even know you could show any live events in 3-D. In Georgia, Carmike will be showing it at theaters in Savannah, Conyers and at Columbus' Carmike 15. You can also catch it in Fernandina Beach, Fla., Bradenton, Fla., and Mobile, Ala., among other places nationwide.

I, however, think they need to show the game in 4-D, you know, like they have in some theme parks where the seats move and other things make it seem even more real than 3-D.

They could spray water at you when the Gators' defense knocks the sweat off Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford and they could shake your seat when Florida quarterback Tim Tebow barrels his way through the line of scrimmage. And since the game is in Miami, they could make the theater a little warmer and more muggy than usual.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Return to the chicken house

We returned to an abandoned chicken house in Macon County on Saturday night to get down and dirty with old friends from back home. OK, I didn't get down too much because I was the designated driver, but we had a great time. Glad guitar prodigy Lance Price was able to make it down to join Gravel Road for a few songs, too. I'll probably write more about the experience in Sunday's newspaper because that red dirt from back home sure sticks with you for a while. Thank goodness. This just might become an annual thing.

Pictured below are the entertaining R&B act Hillmon (including the bass barrel drummer) and Southern rockers Gravel Road.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Year in Preview

I don't know how many years I've been doing this, but my annual Year in Preview is now online ... in case you were wondering what all is gonna happen in 2009. You can read it here.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

So this is Christmas

For all that's bad about this economy, there are silver linings. Gas prices are down, people can make a fortune with the right buys in the stock market now, and people are a little more appreciative of what really matters in life instead of 54-inch televisions and expensive cars and mansions. I rather like that this Christmas seemed a little less materialistic than, well, most Christmases since the early 1980s.

I'm OK with that. Of course, I have simple tastes. Give me a couple of palm trees, a hammock, a loyal dog, a pair of flip-flops, fun friends, good family and some spare change at the end of the week, and I don't need much else.

So, I can go ahead and declare this Best Christmas Ever on my end. My son didn't ask for much at all and got more than he asked for. He agrees it's the Best Christmas Ever.

And, quite frankly, that's about all that matters to me at the end of the day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


For anyone who may be confused at work, when the headphones are on, it doesn't mean I want to be closer to my music. I want to be left alone. So I can work. Believe it or not, I do that sometimes.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bluetooth bozo update!

Annoying Bluetooth bozo was at the gym again tonight, and, again, talked constantly. This would be the night the battery gives out on my MP3 player and I have to hear his hourlong conversation. And what's he talking about? Working out. He talks about working on his chest and his shoulders. He talks about how this and that tighten your abs. He suggests the idiot on the other end of the conversation get some Creatine like he does. He counts reps. All this over the phone. I swear I've seen this guy only twice in my life, on back-to-back nights. I believe the God of Annoyance is angry with me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bluetooth bozo

I find Bluetooths annoying. Really, how constantly attached to other people do you have to be to endure having a phone attached to your ear just in case you're lucky enough to get a call from another human? Oh joy! So, if you own one, sorry.

But I'm sure you can't possibly be as annoying as the Bluetooth-wearing goofball at the gym tonight who talked off and on throughout his workout. It was almost midnight when I got to the 24-hour gym, so I was hoping to have the place to myself. I was disappointed enough to find another guy there, but then the guy had to make it worse by talking constantly. It was a half hour before I figured out he wasn't insane and talking to himself. Instead, he was merely annoying. He even counted his reps to the person on the other end, who must be the most bored human on the planet.

It reminded me of a scene from Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm." It's the kind of thing I would do. Check it out below (The clip does have typical "Curb" R-rated language):

Thursday, December 11, 2008


Coke is relieving the economic pressures of the nation by offering the best diet drink ever, Coke Zero, for just 99 cents. Sounds like a great deal until you see the bottle is a measly 16 ounces. Granted, our grandparents could get through a whole day with an 8-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola, but we're the Big Gulp generation. We super-size our fries and at the movies we buy tubs of popcorn that we could live in should we become homeless.

I can't find a dadgum 20-ounce bottle of Coke Zero now to save my life. Give a caffeine addict a break! I'm stuck with nasty Diet Pepsi or Pepsi One. And by the way, Coke Zero has zero calories and Pepsi One has one calorie. Come on, PepsiCo, step it up and knock out that last calorie! You can do it!

I've never understood soda economics. You go into a convenience store (oxymoron alert) and they've got a 20-ounce for $1.35, a 16-ounce for 99 cents or a 2-liter for $1.19. Who else prices like that?

"Yeah, we've got the '74 Pinto for $10,000, the '94 Cavalier for $20,000 and the brand new Porsche for $2,500. What's it gonna be?"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Satanic/Islamic dolls??

I was forwarded an e-mail yesterday from one of my right-wing acquaintances here in Columbus (everyone I know, it seems, is on the left or right ... not in the lonely middle with me.) She's on a lot of TV and radio commercials that start with "Hi, y'all!"

Basically its an e-mail making the conservative rounds about how this cooing, giggling doll sounds like it says "Islam is the light" at some point and later says "Satan is king" or something like that. I, however, think it's a case of hearing what you want to hear or seeing what you want to see. People hear dirty words in "Louie, Louie," hear Satanic messages in Beatles records played backward and see the Virgin Mary in cupcakes. If you're looking for problems, controversies and things to get worked up about, you'll find them. And the e-mail points out that while the Snopes Web site discredited this story, Snopes is run by two people who are "Jewish -- very Democratic (party) and extremely liberal." Oh my God! Jews are on the Web now! First Hollywood, now the Internet!

And these right-wingers are mad about this doll. Never mind that Muslims don't exactly praise Satan. In fact, their version of hell is gruesomely and repeatedly depicted in the Koran, much worse than the description of Jesus' descent into hell in the Christian book of Nicodemus that they edited out of the modern Christian Bible. So if this doll is praising Satan and Islam, it's probably gonna need therapy when it grows up. Or it'll get beheaded by the Taliban or something. I don't believe all religions are created equal and some are more evil than others, but a doll is a doll is a doll. Unless they're inflatable.

As for the doll, I'm going to keep playing with mine despite its efforts to convert me to Islam and Satanism at the same time. I once had a Godzilla "action figure" and I somehow managed to resist its urging me to crush cardboard Japanese villages. And my Darth Vader "action figure" could not lure me to the dark side of the force. However, my Jimmy Buffett "action figure" did manage to talk me into a frozen margarita or two.

Judge for yourself in the video at the top of this post. I once sat through a 15-minute videotape when I worked at the Americus paper in which a reader kept showing us how you could see the Virgin Mary in the trees in his backyard.

"Um, yeah, right."

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thoughts from Atkins' memorial

I was glad to see that Wednesday night's memorial service for old buddy Steve Atkins was nontraditional. Just as he was. There was no formality. No religion. Cool music. Lots of photos. Stories. Tears, but plenty of laughs, too. It's also the first funeral I've ever been to where the F-word was part of a eulogy.

For the record, I want my death to be marked with a luau-style fun party. I want folks to get up and tell stories like they did at SA's service. I want Jimmy Buffett and party music played. I want folks to leave and say they had fun at my memorial service. And, like Steve, I want to be cremated because I don't believe you should be taking up valuable space on this planet if your soul has moved on.

There are lessons to be learned from Steve's death, but there are greater lessons to be learned from his life. SA lived in the moment. I don't mean in the present -- I mean in the very moment. Steve's life was always now, not yesterday or tomorrow. There's something to be said for planning for the future and learning from the past, but we should do more living in today. I'm guiltier of living in the past and fretting about the future than anyone I know.

Speaking of living in the past, one of the speakers was Amy Barker, whom I wrote a column about several years ago, prompting a nice e-mail from her. I can't find that column now, but the gist of it was this:

As a sixth-grader in junior high school, I decided to earn points by telling all the guys that my new girlfriend was the hottest girl in seventh grade ... yes, Amy Barker. I learned a valuable lesson I would apply later in life -- when you decide someone is your girlfriend, you should probably tell them about it. When my "friend" Clete Price got a little suspicious and informed Amy about this, she spoke her first words to me, "Get lost, you creep!" I swear those are the exact words. If Clete could have just kept his big mouth shut, heck, Amy Barker might still be my girlfriend.

After the service, Amy had to have her picture taken with the sixth-grader whose heart and reputation she shattered. It's amazing how something so horrifying at age 11 is so funny at age 38. Also amazing how I remember that and she doesn't. Of course, she didn't get her heart broken.

Monday, December 1, 2008

R.I.P., Steve Atkins

A tough stretch here for Macon County High School's Class of ’88. Steve Atkins, an old friend, classmate and one-time co-worker at good ol’ C-Mart in Oglethorpe, Ga., died Sunday. He was 38. You can find the obit and memorial service info here.

Steve was a tattoo artist and a bass player for rock bands (most recently Gravel Road) and liked to live on the edge a bit, and we weren't much alike, but we got along very well for two very different people. Of course, I guess everyone I know is "different people" from me ... which is good for them. He was also voted "best looking" from our senior class, which also made him "different people" from me. This photo at right comes courtesy of a mutual friend's MySpace page.

My thoughts go out to his family and friends, especially my old pals Shane and Clete, who have been much closer to Steve over the years. See y'all Wednesday night.

Steve, left, with Shane and Jeff during a Gravel Road gig in October.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A free "novel"

Oya's Wake is a "novel" I wrote to keep myself occupied after a car wreck in 2000 kept me out of work for a few weeks. Oya's Wake is about a straight-laced young accountant who gets mixed up in a teenage girl's murder and winds up taking refuge on a rebellious Cuban-American prostitute's sailboat.

You can get the e-book from Amazon here.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Isn't it ironic? Don'tcha think? A little tooooo ironic

Does anyone else find it ironic that the entity to which all these failing companies are turning is more than $10 trillion in debt?

Just curious.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Attn: Christmas-loving Parrotheads

This info comes courtesy of fellow Parrothead Pat Mitchell of Columbus:

Peter Mayer, guitarist/singer/songwriter for Jimmy Buffett's Coral Reefer Band since the very late 1980s, will be performing a Christmas concert Dec. 18 at North Highland Church in Columbus ... you know, the one with that massive prayer tower.

Mayer, whose brother Jim also is a Coral Reefer, does a good bit of Christian music in addition to folk and rock. His song "Suzannah" off the 1996 album "Green-Eyed Radio" is one of my all-time favorite tunes. His Peter Mayer Band had a hit with "Piece of Paradise" in the late ’80s, too.

The show, which is sponsored by Columbus Hospice, will, of course, feature a love offering, and Columbus Hospice is a very worthy cause indeed. I'm not exactly sure what my plans are for that night, and organized religion ain't exactly my cup of tea. But it would be interesting to see Peter Mayer perform in a setting quite different from the drunken debauchery of a Jimmy Buffett concert.

For bios, discography, tour schedule and to sample pretty much every song he's ever recorded, check out Peter Mayer's Web site here. His music is light and sometimes folksy or spiritual, so if you're expecting Parrothead-type music, you'll be disappointed. Although, many of the apparently close-knit Coral Reefers show up on each other's albums so there may be some familiarity.

Just park it

On Thursday, I watched somebody spend over a minute trying to park their giant, gas-guzzling truck into a space at the parking garage while at least three other cars, including mine, were blocked from continuing on their way to another level where we parked like normal people. And just now, I watched a guy struggle to maneuver his vehicle backward into a parking space at the gym. His was the only car in that entire side of the parking lot. It was surrounding by at least 24 empty parking spaces. Getting out was not going to be complicated.

I'm convinced that people who spend all this time parking backward so they can get out easier later actually spend more time doing that than the people who park normally and back out later. Pulling through to an empty space at the mall so you can exit easier is one thing. But, seriously people, backing out of a parking space is not exactly rocket science. And it's a lot easier and less time-consuming than backing into one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Han Shot First

Like a lot of folks of my advanced age, I grew up watching "Star Wars" movies and collecting the action figures (they're ACTION FIGURES, not dolls!) and playing with my Death Star and Land Speeder toys. But I'm not a "Star Wars" fanatic (with apologies to Cody back home), nor was I ever a Trekkie, referring to fans of that TV series where people explored outer space in their jammies.

Because I wasn't quite deep enough into the series, I never knew what the shirts "Han Shot First" meant in nerd world. And I dared not ask the few people who I knew would know out of fear it would turn into a very long discussion and not a simple explanation. Fortunately, my friend and co-worker Sonya Sorich, succinctly explained it to me briefly yesterday as I designed a newspaper page with her column about NerdaCon, which comes to Columbus State University on Friday and Saturday. I won't be there. If you've ever wondered what "Han Shot First" is referring to, here's a summary of the great controversy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

When good nerds go bad

There's absolutely no way I can explain this story. It seems lurid ... involving affairs, prostitutes and such. But it's a virtual thing. Something called the "Second Life." It's where you live out a simulated life online with online friends, wives, and apparently prostitutes, too. Sorta. Kinda. Oh, heck, I don't know. I don't get it. Click here and see if you can figure out what may or may not be happening.

Saturday, November 8, 2008


Spent Friday night watching the Brookstone-Schley County game in Ellaville and then kept heading east to my hometown of Oglethorpe to hear gifted guitarist Lance Price, pictured at right, play an impromptu gig in his parents' backyard. Lance is a popular solo act in metro Atlanta and does a good bit of shows on the road, too. He actually got to perform during the Ryder Cup, too. Hmm, the reasons to hate Lance are piling up. Not only can he play guitar 100 times better than I can dream of doing, but he gets to go to all these cool places. You can check out Lance's Web site by clicking here.

Also pictured and helping this night turn into a good ol' Macon County pick-n-grin are, from left, Jeff Kelley and Jason McKinney. Jason's the lead singer for Gravel Road, a good down-home band you can learn more about here. The first time I caught them was in an abandoned chicken house with a couple hundred folks. They've come a long way since then.

It's fun to hang out with guitarists who can run the gamut of songs from goofy to good. Along with such songs as "Message in a Bottle" "Layla" and "More Than Words," they were able to mix in two Britney Spears songs for fun ("Hit Me Baby One More Time" and "Toxic") and even the freecreditreport.com song. You know the one:

They say a man should always dress for the job he wants so why i am i dressed like a pirate in this restaurant its all because some hacker stole my identity so im here every evening serving chowder and iced tea should have gone to free credit report.com i could have seen this coming at me like an atom bomb they monitor ur credit and send u email alerts so u dont end up serving fish to tourists in t-shirts

Now that's range. That and bumping into old and new friends made for a fun night.

It's Christmas!

While scanning the presets on my truck's radio yesterday, I was surprised to learn it's Christmas. Well, it is on 95.7 FM anyway. I don't mind this so much on Sunny 100. After all, how many times can you stand to hear Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" being run into the ground? But 95.7 plays a lot of 80s retro stuff, or as you younger folks would call them, oldies. I don't feel old enough to call them that. I'll miss that station because it's going off my presets until January.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election thoughts

I don't think anyone could have watched the clinching moments of the presidential election and not be a little emotional about the historical significance of Obama and his family going into the White House. Until last night, the cultural impact of this was of no concern to me. I was focused on the economic issues. But it was a little overwhelming last night when the impact hit me like a ton of bricks. Definitely a great moment to witness.

A not-so-great moment was going to a couple precincts like many others from the newspaper to collect voting results as soon as possible from local races. As they posted the numbers, I combed through the write-ins and saw that in various races God, Pee-Wee Herman, Kobe Bryant, Method Man, Jay-Z and the usual Mickey Mouse got their votes and my personal favorite write-in of the night, Don. Don who? I dunno.

That's a lot funnier in a special election no one cares about and draws 10 percent of voters. But in a historical election where people come out in droves and wait in long lines to cast serious ballots, it's pretty insensitive to add to the wait with selfishness and immaturity.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote today

If you can't seem to squeeze a trip to the polls into your work schedule today, take this to work with you.

Georgia law:

21-2-404. Affording employees time off to vote

Each employee in this state shall, upon reasonable notice to his or her employer, be permitted by his or her employer to take any necessary time off from his or her employment to vote in any municipal, county, state, or federal political party primary or election for which such employee is qualified and registered to vote on the day on which such primary or election is held; provided, however, that such necessary time off shall not exceed two hours; and provided, further, that, if the hours of work of such employee commence at least two hours after the opening of the polls or end at least two hours prior to the closing of the polls, then the time off for voting as provided for in this Code section shall not be available. The employer may specify the hours during which the employee may absent himself or herself as provided in this Code section.

Quite simply, this means that with the polls being open 7 a.m.-7 p.m., you don't get 2 hours off from work if you have a 9-5 shift. However, if you're on a 7-7 or 8:30-5:30 or something like that, they do have to give you time to vote. It's not just the right thing to do. It's the law.

Don't let this election pass you by. It's a big one. If you don't think so, just watch the reaction of Wall Street in the next week and a half.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sarah Palin as Sarah Palin

Wow. Just came across this. I thought Tina Fey did a funnier Sarah Palin. But I've changed my mind. This proves Sarah Palin makes a funnier Sarah Palin. She got punk'd by a Canadian comedian on this prank call. Check it out:

Another great 'SNL' skit

Once again, John McCain shows the candidate he could have been (positive) and Tina Fey shows she's an even better Palin than Sarah. What's "Saturday Night Live" gonna do when the election's over Tuesday?

Click here to see John McCain's appearance on "SNL" Saturday.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bibb Mill in flames

You certainly can't tell anything from the horrible cell phone picture I took from Second Avenue around 2 a.m., but the historic Bibb Mill was totally engulfed in flames as I was coming home from work after a very long, late shift at the newspaper. Things were exploding as I drove past. Definitely the biggest fire I've ever seen.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chilly Philly

The fans and players alike looked miserable during the five and a half innings of World Series Game 5 in Philadelphia, which was suspended with the score tied at 2-2 between the Tampa Bay Rays and Philadelphia Phillies. It was rainy, cold and windy. Perhaps they need to go back to a 154-game schedule so that the postseason doesn't stretch quite as far into the cold season. The final innings of Game 5 were to be played tonight, but now they've been postponed until Wednesday. The Phillies could win it all in a game that began Monday and ends Wednesday. Let's hope not. I'm rooting for the Rays.

The suspension also disrupted my workout last night at the gym. It was the perfect situation. I was the only one there and had all the equipment and the four TVs to myself. I had one on the World Series, one on Monday Night Football and one on ESPN News. As I told our executive editor a little while ago, if there just some nekkid people on the other TV, it'd been a guy's paradise.

He told me to shut up. He does that a lot.

Photo by Steve Falk/Philadelphia Daily News

Monday, October 27, 2008

R.I.P., JB

We bid farewell to my old childhood friend and high school buddy Jay Bentley in Warner Robins on Saturday. He'd been in the Army for the past 14 years and had recently become an Army recruiter. He was killed when he ran a stop sign that may or may not have been highly visible according to this story.

Jay was a tennis teammate and lived just a few houses down the street from me. During the second half of my senior year, he pretty much lived by himself while his very sweet mother was dealing with health issues out of town. We didn't throw too many wild parties there, but it did kind of serve as a home base for misbehavior for a while, though nothing too bad. My other cohort that senior year, Travis Burnam, died 10 years ago.

Few things are more sad than going to a funeral where a parent sees their child laid to rest, whether that child is a true kid or a 39-year-old like Jay. And military funerals with the guns and "Taps" always remind me of the first funeral I recall, when my World War II veteran grandfather was laid to rest.

So I felt kind of weird going from there to meeting another friend from way back when, Shane, at a Buffalo's Cafe to watch the Georgia-LSU game. Quite a change of gears for me and Shane, whom I bumped into at the visitation. But I think even a die-hard Auburn fan like Jay would appreciate the tribute we two rabid Bulldog fans paid to him during the viewing party.

War Eagle, buddy.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Song of the South?

As I'm writing this, there's a live feed on CNN.com of McCain supporters waiting to hear him speak in Denver. In the auditorium, they're playing Alabama's "Song of the South." You know, with its lyrics of "Daddy was a veteran, a Southern Democrat.They oughta get a rich man to vote like that," might not be the smartest choice of music.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Very misleading ad

I hope there's no one gullible enough to swallow the Democrats' TV advertisement slamming Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) for supporting a 23 percent national sales tax. The ad, which is funded by the Democraric Party and not by Chambliss' opponent, Jim Martin, implies that this 23 percent is on top of business-as-usual. Chambliss merely supported the Fair Tax, which would be a national sales tax of, yes, 23 percent. But the ad fails to mention that such a tax would completely eliminate the national income tax.

I kind of like the Fair Tax myself, but I don't buy as much as most folks. But I have a big problem with any ad playing to the ignorance and fear of the electorate, whether it's this ad from the Democrats or the McCain campaign's tasteless robocalls implying Obama cavorts with terrorists.

Click here to read more about the sales tax ads.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sarah Palin on 'SNL'

After seeing a video of Sarah Palin's appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and seeing John McCain speak at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner, I'm starting to think that if McCain and Palin had been less obsessed with negativity and pandering to the grouchy bitter right-wingers, they might have had a chance in the presidential election. Check out this video of Palin's good performance on 'SNL':

Friday, October 17, 2008

Their funny side

Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain showed their funny sides last night at the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner at New York's Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. It's too bad they can't trade such good humor and fun-natured barbs on the campaign trail. Anyway, it's just good to see they're actually human. Sometimes we forget. It's also much more in McCain's nature to make points with humor ... one of the reasons his humorless campaign is failing. And while Obama probably won each debate, McCain probably won this comedic showdown. Check out the videos and decide for yourself. They were both funny ... for a change.

My favorite line from Obama noted that his middle name was obviously given by parents who didn't think he'd run for president some day. He also announced that his middle name is actually Steve.

Check out the videos for yourself.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My yearbook photos

Some of you don't know this, but it took me a long, long time to complete high school ... as evidenced by these yearbook photos of me through the years.




1970 ("Yeah, baby! Yeah")






Go here for your old, old yearbook photos.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Marcia? Marcia? Marcia!!!

Apparently Marcia Brady wasn't the goody-two-shoes we all thought she was. Drugs. Sex. Sex-for-drugs. She even almost got it on with her TV brother Greg ... and wanted to with her TV dad. For a girl who managed to get Davy Jones to play her high school prom, Maureen McCormick's had a tough life, and she's telling all in a new book out today.

Thanks for bursting the bubble of my childhood fantasies, Maureen McCormick. Next you're gonna tell me that girls really don't have huge pillow fights at their slumber parties. No, wait, don't tell me.

Read more about Maureen McCormick's past, including why Jan still hates her, and see a video here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Bush on the economy

For the first time since his deer-in-the-headlights speech to the nation on the bailout, President Bush spoke Friday from the White House to reassure everybody that the economy will be just fine. He's been making such comments for at least three years, which is about how long the entire rest of the nation has known the economy is screwed. Official recession, depression, whatever? Who knows? But screwed? Everyone can see that. Well, almost everyone.

Here's a short clip of President Bush's statement from the White House on Friday:

Thursday, October 9, 2008

5 reasons to kayak at Whitewater in Oglethorpe

1. When I showed up Tuesday at the park with my kayak, the superintendent looked at me as if I'd arrived with a spaceship. This leads me to believe it's not a hot spot among kayakers, which means loner kayakers like me can find some peace and quiet. Actually, I was the only person in any type of boat this day. Sweet.

2. I know the place. I grew up camping and fishing out there. My grandmother went to church there. I played on the playgrounds there as a kid. Even smooched with a few girls out there without any charges being pressed (as far as I know). I like exploring new places in my kayak, but there's something to be said for familiar territory, too. It's all about balance.

3. As the sign shown above at the boat ramp indicates, you're not gonna be bothered by personal watercraft and speeding boats. Nothing wrong with those. If I strike it rich, I'll have me a lake house somewhere with some of my own. But naturally beautiful and peaceful spots like this should be reasonably undisturbed. There are places to cut up and places to chill out and places to do both. If only everyone could tell them apart.

4. Because you don't have to worry about speeding watercraft, you can assume a more relaxed paddling approach, as evidenced by the photo below. You can even carry cell phones and digital cameras with you.

5. When you get through kayaking, you can eat at some of the best restaurants in Georgia in a 30-mile radius ... Troy's Snack Shack and Yoder's Deutsch Haus in Montezuma; Oglethorpe Barbecue Co. in Guess Where; The Pizza Place in Ellaville; Justin's Place in Butler; and The Station, Forsyth Bar & Grill, Pat's Place and Monroe's in Americus to name a few. Not to mention there's no better (or cheaper) way to fuel yourself for an excursion on the water than with a morning stop at Grover's Grits where their motto is stated on the sign outside: "Order what you want; eat what you get."

Enough disappointment to go around

Now THIS just might be the most depressing story of the economic disaster so far. Even more depressing than knowing your tax dollars are being used in a bailout that will facilitate further mismanagement, much like giving your drunk relative $500 to get him through as he promises to do better.

Another disappointing thing is see gas prices barely nudge down as oil prices tumble. Remember when oil prices would go up and gas prices would reflect it immediately. The industry said they were just at the mercy of the markets. So why are gas prices not going down proportionally as they did going up? See, now there are all sorts of "other factors" besides the price of oil at play. Awfully convenient.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

No shaving

A lot of people make snide comments because I don't put a razor to my face anymore. I'm not conforming to that clean-shaven look anymore. I'll trim it up every now and then, but I've got a baby face, and when I shave, I look like a 12-year-old. Anyway, I don't think my scruffy look is too bad, do you?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

567889583625374869708078675645362894905 ...

Mathematicians at UCLA claim they have discovered a 13-million-digit prime number, the latest great scientific discovery in a nation that can't make a vehicle that runs efficiently off anything but gasoline. Well, at least we know why UCLA can't seem to win football games anymore; they don't have their priorities straight.

I'm not sure I buy their claim, though. I mean, ask them what it is, and they can't even tell you. If they can repeat it to me, I vow to make it my new PIN at the ATM. Hope you don't get behind me at the machine in that case.

Read about this really, really big number here. It may come in handy. It's likely to be the size of the federal deficit soon.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Breaking (wind) news

I'm so relieved to see that a West Virginia man will no longer face battery charges after being accused of passing gas and then waving the fumes toward police officers while he was being detained following a DUI arrest.

According to the original Associated Press story, the police said that Jose A. Cruz, 34, scooted his chair toward a patrolman, lifted his leg and ‘‘passed gas loudly.’’

‘‘The gas was very odorous and created contact of an insulting or provoking nature with Patrolman Parsons,’’ the complaint alleged.

Cruz acknowledged passing gas, but said he didn’t move his chair toward the officer nor aim gas at the patrolman. He said he had an upset stomach at the time, but police denied his request to go to the bathroom when he first arrived at the station.

‘‘I couldn’t hold it no more,’’ he said.

You can read about it here, and who wouldn't want to?

In other flatulence news ...

* Jessica Simpson apparently ate the wrong meal before a show in Niagara Falls recently. But don't fret. She says her flatulence "smells like roses." I'll take her word for it.

* Then there's this clip of NFL analyst John Clayton appearing on ESPN's SportsCenter. Oh, the joys of live TV.

* And from the high-tech world of mobile farts is this story about the Pull My Finger application that Apple rejected for its iPhone. According to Beta News, it's an application that produces five or six sounds of human flatulence (and you thought it was embarrassing when you got a phone call in the middle of a meeting now). It got rebuffed not on the basis of offensive content, but on grounds that it is "of limited utility to the broad iPhone and iPod touch user community."

Stay tuned for the latest, breaking ppppplllrrrbbbtttttss here.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The great kazoo

No, not The Great Gazoo from "The Flintstones."

They're gonna try to set a world record for kazoo playing in Macon on Thursday night. Not for best kazoo playing or longest kazoo playing, but most kazoo players at once. This is either something you really want to be a part of or stay really far away from. I think I'd stay away, even though I can play kazoo almost as well as I play guitar. I even missed a wedding of fellow journalists here once because they had the attendees play "Here Comes the Bride" on kazoos. OK, I missed it because I hate going to wedding and funerals. Or is that redundant?

Hmm, I wonder if I can get folks at my funeral to play Buster Poindexter's "Hot Hot Hot" on kazoos.

You can read more about the even in my old friend Ed Grisamore's column in our sister paper, the Macon Telegraph.


This gonna come as quite a shock to some people, but Clay Aiken, the effeminate one-time "American Idol" runner-up, is gay. I know, I wouldn't have believed it myself, but he says so right here. He chose to make this announcement upon becoming a father, something he apparently had a lot of help with.

I don't care, you know, "not that there's anything wrong with that." It's not like I was waiting for Clay Aiken to star in something real macho, like a "Conan the Barbarian" remake or something. I just always wondered if Clay Aiken knew he was gay ... kinda like those guys you went to high school with who thought they were straight but everyone else knew were gay. And then you find out 20 years later that they finally figured it out, too.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Interesting fella

You've probably never heard of Matt Simmons, but few people in the world know more about the world's only-gonna-get-worse oil crisis and addiction. Instead of trying to score political points with offshore drilling or fuel efficiency increases of 15 or 20 MPG, politicians, corporate leaders and the general public better heed guys like this. Learn more about him in this well-done Fortune article.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Sweet dreams

It seems more married couples are sleeping separately. Not in a "Go sleep on the sofa, you jerk!" sort of way, but in the sense of getting a better night's sleep. I'm not sure it's such a bad idea. Maybe I can get bunk beds again, like I had when I was 12. I just thank goodness I've got a king-size bed. But if I sleep along, what am I gonna prop my legs on at night?

You can read about it here.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

No more -gate

Ever since Watergate, people think they can attach "gate" to any controversy. Irangate. Spygate. I Twisted My Ankle At The Mall-Gate. The latest is Sarah Palin's Troopergate.

Stop it! It's lame and lazy. As for Troopergate, I don't care if she abused her power in pushing to have her ex-brother-in-law fired. He needed firing. Forget that. Worry about whether you're comfortable with the 1984 Miss Alaska pageant's Miss Congeniality being one heartbeat away from being leader of the Free World.

You've got a couple of people with limited experience in this election -- Palin and Obama. Are you gonna go with the one with the gifted IQ or the one who can see Russia from their house? Experience, and/or lack thereof, is relative.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Just caught a glimpse of the local TV news (with apologies to my TV journalist friends, a glimpse is about all I ever catch of it.). Anyway, at the top of the news were a couple of stories about local gas stations being robbed. Well, at least they know how we feel now.

Barnes storming outta here

Brad Barnes, a talented pop culture writer here at the paper is moving on to the normal world. His last day at the Ledger-Enquirer is tomorrow. You can read his blog, Barnes Storming, by clicking here.

He's my age and came to the paper not long after I did. I'm starting to feel stranded as dozens of co-workers have come and gone since I started here. There are a few veterans still here and a lot of young journalists. But there aren't many of us still in the middle, straddling that line between idealistic journalist and cynical realist. Think I'm walking that line alone.

Good luck, Brad, in your real job.

Recession? Try depression

In some people's naive eyes, the U.S. economy is "fundamentally strong" (even though there's not one positive aspect of it nor a single driving force out there that could bring it back except for a clean, cheap energy discovery). I'm no economist, but I've got enough common sense to know that neither optimism nor the same ol' same ol' will bring it back. You've got to get off oil, pure and simple, and the rest will follow. Drilling for more will just feed the addiction so that we can keep repeating crises. No thank you. Amazing that the only industry doing will is the one with a finite future. No matter how many places you drill, it remains a finite resource.

Anyway, I was just wondering if we're still building that fence between us and Mexico. If so, we might want to make sure we all have a key in case we all have to go try to find work south of the border. And don't blame Canada if they start building one between us and them.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Holy crap!

You know, if a suspect in a high-speed car chase crashed into my house and knocked me off the toilet, I just might leave that last part out when police asked where I was at the time.

Yep, this really happened. Click here.

Wanna feel stupid? Check this out!

Have you read about the massive particle collider that's now operational in a tunnel beneath the border of Switzerland and France? The European Organization for Nuclear Research's ongoing project to learn more about the origins of the universe, dark matter and other dimensions could lead to the greatest discoveries since man discovered fire. Critics, however, worry the scientists' project could result in the creation of black holes that could swallow our planet and eventually the rest of the universe.

Does make you wonder if we're on the verge of discovering new dimensions and the origin of the universe, then why can't we find an alternative to oil? These geniuses oughta be able to know that problem out in a week or two. Priorities, people.

Speaking as a guy who's idea of scientific experiments don't go beyond a Mentos and some Diet Coke, I guess I'll just sit back and see how it all plays out. But for the record: Other dimensions, cool. Black holes, uncool. That's all I've got to say about it. Y'all be careful. Here's an excerpt from today's Associated Press article:

Scientists hope to eventually send two beams of protons through two tubes about the width of fire hoses, speeding through a vacuum that is colder and emptier than outer space. The paths of these beams will cross, and a few protons will collide. The collider's two largest detectors — essentially huge digital cameras weighing thousands of tons — are capable of taking millions of snapshots a second.

The CERN experiments could reveal more about "dark matter," antimatter and possibly hidden dimensions of space and time. It could also find evidence of the hypothetical particle — the Higgs boson — which is sometimes called the "God particle" because it is believed to give mass to all other particles, and thus to matter that makes up the universe.

You can read the entire article here. It's also all over the Web.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Scary numbers

I recently read that a Gallup poll found that more than half of Americans believe the right-wing propaganda that Barack Obama "wants to raise your taxes." Well, yes, if you make $227,000 or more, indeed, he wants to raise them, or at least restore them to Clinton-era levels -- you know, back when the economy was strong.

In case you're interested in facts, here are the average numbers on what you'll see from the tax hikes and cuts under the Obama and McCain plans, according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center:

$0-$19,000 ..............................$567 less....................$19 less
$19,000-$38,000....................$892 less....................$113 less
$38,000-$66,000....................$1,042 less................$319 less
$66,000-$112,000..................$1,290 less................$1,009 less
$112,000-$227,000................$2,300 less...............$3,200 less
$227,000-more.......................$23,000 more...........$15,000 less

McCain's ads state that Obama want to raise taxes on working class Americans. Apparently McCain considers only the top 5 percent of Americans working class because the bottom 95 percent would see their taxes cut under Obama's plan. However, it should be noted that neither plan is fiscally responsible, because over 10 years, Obama's would increase the national debt by about $3.5 trillion and McCain's by even more than that. So, vote for whom you want and whatever issues concern you, but don't fall for the rhetoric from either side. The whole "tax and spend" label is not only worn out, but it's a lie.

I still think all Gallup polls should come with the following disclaimer: 90 percent of people polled were complete idiots.

A recently updated report of the Tax Policy Center's analysis can be found by clicking here.

Men remain sexist, politically incorrect slime update

Attention all men: Do not notice what Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Alaska, looks like. Do not say that she was only put on the ticket to steal a few whiny disgruntled Hillary Clinton supporters or undecided hockey moms. Don't call her more eye candy for Sen. John McCain. And, by all means, do not describe her look as a "sexy librarian" look.

Instead, focus on her policies, assuming someone eventually points them out. Perhaps you should note her vehement opposition to sex education, but don't note the irony that she has an unwed, knocked-up 17-year-old daughter. Or how she doesn't believe in global warming.

I know it's politically correct for me to join the legions of men scared to even talk about Palin around women, but I'm not much for political correctness. She's a good looking lady. Sorry, I've noticed the obvious. I think Sen. Joe Biden will fry her in the VP debate, but I hope she gets more camera time. Sue me.

Is there a double-standard? Perhaps. Then again, I think women talk about men perhaps more than men talk about women. Don't forget there's an Obama Girl out there. Men are visual creatures -- creatures being the key word there. We can't help it; it's in our genes.

Let me just go on the record and say that to combat the double standard, women are allowed to talk about how devastatingly handsome I am when I run for president. Hopefully, women will be able to get over their fashion discrimination by then and elect a president in flip-flops.

Anyway, the more I hear about this, the more I think about my late Grandma Julia, as Christian a woman as you could ever meet. Yet, anytime President Reagan came on the TV, she'd say, "Mmm, mmm, that's a good looking man right there."


See this discussion of how Palin's looks are not important and men are still slime on CNN's "Showbiz Tonight."

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let's be friends, just friends

A woman friend randomly asked for my opinion on this question today (I think she was polling): "Do you think a man and a woman can just be friends?"

Talk about your loaded question. The politically correct answer she was looking for was, "Why yes, of course." But I decided since she thinks I'm a moron anyway to just give her the truth. Later, I found these clips from "When Harry Met Sally," a film that explored the whole subject. In these two scenes, Billy Crystal pretty much echoed what I had to say. Even though this is a chick flick, I love this movie. Ironically, based on my views, the last time I saw it all the way through was with a 100 percent platonic female friend. Seriously. Which I guess blows my whole argument. But I'm married, so that doesn't count. Refer to scene two for that question.

Do you agree with Billy/Harry/Me or do you choose to believe the untrue opposite? Check out the clips. The expression on Meg Ryan's face is priceless. I see it a lot.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

When you're not, you're not

Jerry Reed died this morning at the age of 71 due to complications from emphysema. He was one of my favorite guys in music, a good ol' Georgia boy who never tried to be more than what he was — in music or in acting. One of my favorite easy songs to strum on the guitar is "The Bandit" from "Smokey and the Bandit," in which he also starred. Stupid movie, yes, but stupid fun. I couldn't play "East Bound and Down" in a million years of guitar lessons. The man was well known as one of the best guitar players in Nashville long before he ever had a hit.

I saw Jerry Reed in concert at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Macon around 1990 or 1991. I was there with my future wife (my current one, in case that's not clear) and a couple of friends. There were several acts on various stages, including the Indigo Girls very nearby ... and act that interested neither I nor, apparently, Jerry Reed. In the middle of his concert, he stopped and asked of the sounds invading his concert area: "What the hell is that?"

Of course, that concert will always be remembered by my wife as the one where I forgot to guard her Port-O-Potty door. Ooops!

You can listen to a good many Jerry Reed songs for free by clicking here.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Football shout-out

My second cousin, Kyle Rowe, made his debut as the starting quarterback for the winningest high school football team in the nation Friday night as Valdosta High School thumped Jenkins 48-7 in their season opener. Kyle completed 14-of-20 passes for 161 yards and four touchdowns. You can read details by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Chew, man, chew

This just in from the Mennonite News column by Esther Yoder in my hometown newspaper, the Citizen and Georgian of Montezuma. The alarming second paragraph:

Brady Yoder got a piece of meat stuck in his throat last Friday. It wasn’t choking him, but he just couldn’t swallow anything else either to make it go on down. After several hours, they took him to the hospital in Warner Robins to have it surgically removed. The same thing had happened one other time several years ago and he had it taken care of in Warner Robins also. He is doing fine now.

You can view the entire column by clicking here.

Click here to visit the Citizen and Georgian Web site.

I think we can learn two things from this incident:
1. Brady Yoder needs to chew his meat a little better, and
2. If you ever have meat stuck in your throat, get to Warner Robins as soon as possible.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Noah where to go

In case y'all are interested, I'm building an ark. Sure, it may be merely the remnants of Tropical Storm Fay (apparently to be followed by Gustav), but I'm starting to get worried that God's in an Old Testament kind of mood ... you know where he had immediate buyer's remorse after creating humans and kept smiting them left and right.

I'm having a little trouble finding out whether these two ferrets are one of each sex, though. So, if I screw up, there may not be any ferrets reproducing when the rain stops. But, really, who needs ferrets? It's not like they're critical on the food chain or anything. Well, unless you count the Ferret on a Stick they sell at the Macon County Fair. Mmm.

And where the heck are "cubits" on this darn tape measure?!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's good for the goose ...

Here's a little post for the ladies. Don't forget that Saturday is "National Topless Protest Day." No, it's not a day to protest folks who go topless. It's a day to protest the inequity that allows men to go topless, but not women. I agree. Totally unfair.

It's sponsored by the Raelian Movement, a bunch of religious nuts who claimed to have cloned a human a few years ago. As if we need more humans. You can learn more about the religion by clicking here. Rael, the leader of the movement, gets messages from God when he goes riding on spaceships, by the way. (Ooops, upon further review, the messages don't come from God but the four-foot tall human-like outer space creatures who created Earth and people and asked Rael to open an embassy on this planet.) I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. These people are serious. Though, I doubt their claim of having cloned a human being because I don't think Rael could clone a piece of paper with a Xerox machine. Seriously, visit the site. Each of man's religions contains its own bit of silliness, but these folks go above and beyond ... literally.

But back to the important point here: boobs. The Raelians do have a point. If men can do it, especially men like the one pictured here, then why can't women? Beats me. So, I figure the least I can do is help them spread their message.

"The 21st century is high time for women to be granted the right to go topless in public, a right American men have been able to enjoy for almost a century in all 50 states," said San Diego resident Nadine Gary, a Raelian guide and one of the event's principal organizers. "To deny American women the right to go topless is not only ridiculous but unconstitutional."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Genre buster

When Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" hit radio this year with its catchy sampling from "Werewolves of London" and "Sweet Home Alabama," I could have sworn it was a rock song. After all, it was played often on Columbus' Rock 103. But in the past few days I've heard it on Q107.3 (Top 40), Kissin 99.3 (country) and even Sunny 100 (adult contemporary ... think songs like Daniel Powter's godawful "Bad Day"). I'm sure I'll hear it on Georgia Public Radio this weekend, maybe right before "A Prairie Home Companion."

I'm all for busting labels, and I'll be danged if I ever let anyone put me in one of society's confining boxes. But I've had this song on MP3 for a while, plus I heard it at my sister Laurie's luau at least 14 times last month before I had to jump in the pool at 3 a.m. just to get away from it. But I guess that's the sign of a good song -- when they play it 'til you hate it. And I can't begrudge any success that comes to good old-fashioned white trash. Even if he's from Michigan and not the Dirty South.

Then again, the guy did get arrested for fighting outside an Atlanta Waffle House. If that ain't grounds for getting your Southern citizenship, I don't know what is.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Here comes Fay

A quick shout-out to a reader and fellow kayaker and blogger Doug Bennett, who's riding out Hurricane Fay down in Key West -- and, yes, Hurricane Fay is an actual storm and not an exotic entertainer or something down there. Doug has a blog called "This Week On The Island" that you can find by clicking here. I like his recent weather forecast: "Beautiful week followed by a small hurricane." Actually, Hurricane Fay is still Tropical Storm Fay at the moment, but I think the girl has ambition. I'm sure Doug will provide an update on the goings-on down there.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


This is getting depressing. First, it was that ancient retired guy Brett Favre returning to the NFL at the ripe old age of 38. Then I had to hear how the oldest member of the U.S. men's swimming team (32-year-old anchor leg swimmer Jason Lezak, pictured here) pretty much saved the 4x100 freestyle relay team's collective butts and Michael Phelps' chances for a record 8 gold medals at the Beijing Olympics with an unbelievable come-from-behind win on Monday. Then, today, I heard a Prince song ("I Would Die 4 U") on Boomer 95.3, the oldies radio station here.

Now that I'm 38, is this what it's come to? I'm older than 99 percent of the professional athletes and way older than the oldest member of the U.S. men's swim team. (Thank you, Dara Torres, for not making me feel too old.) And, now, they're playing the music from my high school years on the oldies station.

I hope I haven't lost my walker I got after that car wreck eight years ago. Looks like I'd better dust it off.

By the way, if you missed it Monday (Sunday night here), Jason Lezak's anchor leg swim for the gold medal to upset the favored, smack-talking French team was one of the most exciting moments in American Olympic history. You can watch it again by clicking here. If you don't get a chill, you are one cold-blooded American.

Photo of Jason Lezak from http://www.jasonlezak.com/.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Lin-Yang of life

Remember that cute little girl singing and flying around on wires during the opening ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics? Me, neither. I watched the sleep-inducing ceremonies for a while and was very impressed with the precision of the performers. It was almost like they were a bunch of communists used to doing as they're told.

Anyway, cute little 9-year-old Lin Miaoke was lip-synching because the real singer, 7-year-old Yang Peiyi, was deemed a little too homely for such a ceremony. Luciano Pavarotti also lip-synched during ceremonies at the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, but at least he lip-synched to his own voice.

I'm just thankful that America never would have to endure any lip-synching controversy of its own. Thank goodness we have honest, real performers like Ashlee Simpson and Britney Spears who can deliver earnest live performances.

You can read the story about cute Lin and homely Yang by clicking here.

Xinhua News Agency photo

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sprewell Bluff

We spent Saturday at Sprewell Bluff, a beautiful stretch of the unspoiled Flint River between Woodland and Thomaston. Well, unspoiled except for a few rednecks who insist upon throwing their cigarette butts on the ground as they do at the beach, too. America's forgiven crime.

But another crime, far worse, looms on the horizon as folks including my congressman Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R) and Rep. Nathan Deal (R) are wanting to dam up parts of the river to feed overgrown Atlanta's thirst for more water and more overgrowing. Rewarding Atlanta's mismanaged sprawl by clogging up rivers for everybody else solves Atlanta's issues as much as drilling for more oil solves America's energy problems -- in both cases, you're just feeding the monster that's about to eat you alive. It's like helping a heroin addict kick the habit by giving them more heroin.

President Carter thwarted a similar plan to dam it up in the 1970s. I'm not sure he'll be as successful this time around, although I'm sure some folks south of Atlanta will have something to say about it. Atlanta's collective butt has been kissed long enough. We can't keep rewarding mismanagement with more opportunity to mismanage. And sometimes the only "smart growth" is no growth. In fact, the only wise way to handle Atlanta's urban sprawl is to go through a period of smart contraction. That's right, shrink. Columbus could stand to do a little of it, too. But the word "growth" sounds so good when you're running for office or trying to make a buck.

But, please, don't dam up places like Sprewell Bluff to punish folks in smaller areas where common sense trumps politics. Don't transform Georgia from the Empire State of the South to the Stopped Up State of the South. And go check out places like Sprewell Bluff, the recently spared Jekyll Island and Georgia's other natural wonders before the state's economic barons and their hos in office get their grubby hands on them. And if you're into adventuring, the Flint has some great paddling in this area, including Class I-III rapids near Sprewell. I'd hate to kiss that goodbye.

A post of Flint Riverkeeper was recently created in the wake of this slap in the face to everyone outside the Atlanta metro area. Mark Woodall is the first Flint Riverkeeper and you'll be able to learn more about the program by clicking here.

As for our day at the bluff, it's always a little painful walking across those rocks in the swift current, but Saylor had a blast bodysurfing in the little bit of whitewater. And I had a blast getting back to nature, even amid the cigarette-littering rednecks. Even saw a guy get baptised Saturday. Good thing he went ahead and took care of that. It could be a lot deeper soon.

Friday, August 8, 2008


This just in: Russia has invaded Georgia. If you don't believe me, you can read about it here.

They tried to warn us about this in the 1980s with the movie "Red Dawn," but we've gotten complacent about the Russians. I've tried to get information from Free America on the radio, but they've taken over the airwaves and filled it with propaganda from John Tesh ... and regular playings of "Sweet Home Alabama" to placate the occupied locals.

Last I heard, they were closing in on Columbus, having already taken over LaGrange, Upatoi, Cusseta (where they were briefly caught in a speedtrap) and Ladonia. So, we seem to be surrounded. I'm going to get my letterman's jacket and a BB gun and head up to Pine Mountain, which I'll use as a base to launch commando attacks on the Russians. Who's with me?!


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Paris for president

I'm apparently one of the few who thinks Paris Hilton is NOT hot. Of course, I find natural beauties and women deeper than a thimble attractive, so I guess I kind of march to my own drummer. However, I do like the job she did in this clip, a response to John McCain's camp using her name in likening Barack Obama to a celebrity. If nothing else, it's much better than the lackluster performance in her first straight-to-video effort.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Just wondering ...

If oranges are called oranges, why aren't lemons called yellows?

Monday, August 4, 2008

The final out

Atlanta Braves announcer Skip Caray died in his sleep Sunday at the age of 68. Sometimes funny, often brash and always sarcastic, he provided a lot of the sounds in the background of my childhood memories. He also got me through a lot of nights on the sports desk when I worked at the Valdosta Daily Times. Until then, I'd suffered along with him through a lot of bad Braves games on TBS. But when the Braves got good in 1991, I was stuck at work and had to follow most of their games on the local AM radio station.

I especially loved the way he seemed to think every person who ever called in to the Braves' pregame radio shows were complete idiots. And he made sure a lot of them left feeling that way. You can watch a video about Skip's career here.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

We can't help it if we're stinking rich

This just in from the Associated Press:

HOUSTON (AP) — Exxon Mobil Corp. reported second-quarter earnings of $11.68 billion Thursday, the biggest profit from operations ever by any U.S. corporation.

And thanks to our new high-tech wire service here at the newspaper that is so fast it actually delivers tomorrow's news today, here's this soon-to-be breaking news item from Friday:

HOUSTON (AP) — Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally and GM CEO Rick Wagoner were arrested Friday after hiding in shrubbery outside Exxon Mobil's corporate offices and then ambushing and beating the ever-loving crap out of Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Yes, I know Obama's not a Muslim

Thought I'd share this e-mail exchange with a reader over my most recent column:

To: Johnson, Chris - Columbus
Subject: Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim terrorist

While I'm sure the inherent humor in telling patent falsehoods about a man who stands a very good chance of being the next President of the United States of America is readily apparent to you, it has to this point eluded me. In your (admittedly facetiously-toned) article titled "Andy for President", you referred to John McCain as "a foul-mouthed dude with a bad temper" and Barack Obama as "a Muslim terrorist". While not putting names to either remark, the purpose is clear to even the casual reader.

The problem with these statements is that while McCain can, objectively, be foul-mouthed and possessive of a bad temper, to be a Muslim one must self-identify as such, something that Barack Obama denies. Indeed, if you were to ask Senator Obama what his religious affiliation was, he would respond that he is a Christian. Further, to be a terrorist is to be someone who spreads and uses fear, generally (though not always) in the form of violent action to further a set of goals, generally a political agenda that is not in keeping with the mainstream politics of the area. Barack Obama has never done this, has never been accused of this, and indeed there are no reasons to believe that he may have done so in the past or will do so in the future.

In the future, perhaps basic fact-checking, or a personal desire to avoid the pitfalls of yellow journalism in an otherwise humorous article would befit you. I recommend it highly.

Columbus, GA

On Tue, Jul 29, 2008 at 9:43 PM, Johnson, Chris - Columbus wrote:
Thanks for the clarification, but I assure you it's sarcasm with tongue firmly planted in cheek. Any folks who actually believe Obama is a Muslim or terror conspirator are too stupid to vote. Granted, that's a high number. But I like to poke fun at the ignorant and feed them at the same time.

The misconception is being spread broadly enough that it's getting hard to tell who's been sarcastic and who's being serious. I'm glad to hear that at least my hometown paper is safe. Take care.
- -------

Dear ------
Well, if there weren’t a misconception, there wouldn’t be much of a race. Obama would run away with it. You know, I once ran a farcical column that terrorists had created a bomb that didn’t explode but could knock out service to restaurants in Columbus, causing everyone here to starve to death because no one in this town seems to cook. Some folks believed it. I once had Satan take over my column for the week and explain that he wasn’t nearly as bad as he’s been made out to be and that a lot of stuff blamed on him over the years was not his fault. Some folks believed that, too. As for Obama, right-wingers will keep spreading that propaganda until, indeed, folks have heard it enough that they begin to believe there’s truth in it. I think they call it politics. For further clarification of my views on it, here was my blog reaction to the recent New Yorker cover.


Monday, July 28, 2008

Listen to Larry

Last week my former boss Larry Foley, the news editor here at the Ledger-Enquirer, called me aside to talk. This is something he does about once every, well, never. Larry may be the most private man in the entire newsroom. So I couldn't imagine what he had to say, but I couldn't have imagined anything much worse. He wrote a column for today's paper about what he told me. Here's the opening:

"You have cancer."

Those were the worst words I thought I would ever hear from the doctor exploring my prostate problems. But a week later, after X-ray bone scans and a CT scan at a hospital, he told me nine words that were much worse, terribly worse, and devastating: "Your cancer has spread. You have an incurable condition."

You can read Larry's entire column here, and if you're a man, pay attention. It's a powerful and an important column. Keep him in your thoughts. And, if nothing else, learn from him.

Photo of Larry Foley by Mike Haskey/Ledger-Enquirer

TitleTown, USA

If you watch ESPN's SportsCenter at 6 p.m. tonight, you'll see Valdosta being handed the title of TitleTown, USA. Having lived there for a couple years in the early ’90s, I can vouch for the championship atmosphere of the town. With Wild Adventures and family still there, including a second cousin who is a senior quarterback for the Valdosta High Wildcats, the winningest high school football team in the nation, I still get there fairly often.

Though I worked for an incredibly stingy newspaper company at the time, I enjoyed living there, and if I could have survived economically, I would have stayed. They sold all their U.S. papers after I left, but the top-tier newspaper companies surprisingly let the Valdosta Daily Times slip through their fingers. It's a great town and, yet, every time I go back I'm stunned by how nice everyone is there from the strangers on the street to all the waitresses with the sugary-sweet Southern drawls.

And if you've never been to a Valdosta High School or Lowndes High football game, you ain't seen nothing yet.

Congrats to all those folks in my old stomping grounds.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Boys will be boys

Click here to read this story about a 5-year-old boy in Texas who wandered out of his daycare and wound up a half-mile away at a Hooters.

I bet this is the kind of kid I would have hung out with in kindergarten. We had a hot kindergarten teacher, Miss Hunt, who had a paddle called "Hot Stick Hunt." Let's just say that being paddled by a hot, young, blonde teacher wasn't exactly a deterrent for my cousin and me. Heck, if there had been a Hooters in Macon County, I'd have never gone to school.

This story just shows that boys' minds are pretty much in the same place from ages 5 to 95, whether they admit it or not. And if America were serious about educating its boys and young men, it would pay Hooters girls to wear multiplication tables on their tight shirts and vocabulary words on their short shorts.