Thursday, May 29, 2008

One more week

Exactly one week from this very moment, I'll be on the Lakewood Amphitheatre lawn with thousands of other Parrotheads for the Jimmy Buffett concert. So, expect me to be in a pretty good mood for a few weeks after that. Nobody's more excited about my going to the Buffett show than my boss, Pork Chop, because she knows it's my religious holiday and I come back from Buffett shows a changed man ... at least for a little while. That's exactly what this Sunday's column will be about.

Every now and then you need to escape to paradise, even if that paradise is a parking lot in metro Atlanta. See this slideshow from The Gulch, where my friend Bass and I tailgated last year. If you've never been to a Buffett show, well, I consider you a heathen. And here's an idea of what you're missing:

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Lake Blackshear

When I was a kid, we went to Lake Blackshear (between Americus and Cordele) quite a bit. There wasn't a lot to do at Veterans State Park then except for fishing, boating, swimming and camping. The place has changed a lot, though. And it seemed like an appropriate place to visit on Memorial Day weekend.

We took my son Saylor there on Saturday, and the place has changed a lot. It has a wonderful resort and conference center, a nice marina and a bar/restaurant called the Cypress Grill which presents a slew of pretty good musical acts through the year. (Granted, the June 14 show we'll be attending there is a Bon Jovi tribute band called Slippery When Wet. My wife and some female friends from back home are planning that one — go figure.) Most impressive is the updated museum of war history and the displays of tanks, planes, helicopters and artillery outside. When I was a kid, you could actually climb in a couple of the tanks, but that's a no-no now, though Saylor got to peek in a couple. And the golf course, which I haven't played in over a decade, still looks nice.

If you've never been, give it a shot. If you haven't been in a long time, give it another shot. Saylor gives the place a thumbs-up. Or rock on. Or something like that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

More outsourcing

Due to an influx of terrorists who've killed innocent people in the name of Allah, Hell has become overcrowded, taxing its resources. In an announcement this morning, Satan said Hell will now outsource all of its operations to the Georgia Department of Driver Services, with the Columbus office taking the lead.

"The Columbus office is a lot like Hell anyway," said Satan, trying to put a positive spin on the situation. "The buildings even look the same. But when you get through the long line to finally reach the door of Hell, there's no air-conditioning inside. About the only difference. I assure you that condemned souls can count on the same brutal torture they've come to expect from Hell."

Hell's stock plunged $1.75 on the Hades Stock Exchange following the announcement.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Did you see this story about the photographer who wandered into the javelin area at a track and had a javelin go through his leg? You've gotta see the photos and video. The guy had the presence of mind to take a photo as folks worked on his leg.

I've seen photographers hit with baseballs and basketballs and run over on the sidelines at football games. If you've never had the opportunity to walk the sidelines at a college or pro football game, you have no idea how fast and hard these guys are hitting. But being hit with a javelin, that's a first. You'd think that as a former Marine who had been in Afghanistan, the guy would have a better sense for danger.
The kid who threw the javelin, by the way, went on to win the state title in the event. Although, I'm not sure whether it was for distance or aim.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best newspaper story ever

I've never been a car lover. But some people really like cars. I mean really, really like cars. From London's Telegraph comes this story about a man who claims to have had, um, relations with cars going far beyond oil changes. More than a thousand cars, actually.

Apparently there's something called mechaphilia. Who knew? I'd make fun of the British at this point, but this man's from Washington state.

I guess any day now he'll be allowed to marry one. But, hey, to each his own. But a word of advice to this guy: Wait ’til the exhaust pipe cools down.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

No Child Left Untested rides again!

A report in today's Ledger-Enquirer by colleague Larry Gierer says that an estimated 40 percent of eighth-graders statewide and 56 percent in Muscogee County failed the CRCT. They must pass it before entering high school.

According to the story: Those students who didn't pass must attend summer sessions and retake the exam. Based on the preliminary results, the Muscogee County School District may have more than 1,000 students enroll in the eighth-grade CRCT Summer Acceleration Program, which will be June 9 through June 24. Students will receive instruction from 9 a.m. to noon. The eighth-grade reading tests will be on June 23, and math on the next day.

A lot of folks say we overtest because our kids are undereducated. I say our kids are undereducated because they're overtested. It's too bad the freedoms and flexibility my generation and previous generations enjoyed in schools are gone ... at least in public schools. Does anyone else find it ironic that grown folks so concerned about the state of today's education system are straying so far from the education system that made them such geniuses.

It's past time to drop President Bush's No Child Left Untested Act and get back to educating kids with common sense and not optical scanners.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The $175 burger for idiots

The Wall Street Burger Shoppe of Manhattan is offering a hamburger that costs $175 and is topped with gold. It’s made of Kobe beef. It comes with black truffles, foie gras and Gruyere cheese in addition to gold flakes. You can read more about it here.

Idiots. And you wonder why the economy's going to hell in a handbasket. Wall Street is killing industries with ridiculous expectations. Why? So people can blow money on $175 burgers.

I'll bet anybody $175 that I can get a lot better burger (several actually, plus fries and a drink) with $5 at Troy's Snack Shack in Montezuma, Ga., than that Wall Street burger. If I were a millionaire (as a writer and journalist, slim chance of that happening), I'll still take Troy's over a pretentious Manhattan burger shoppe any day of the week. Just because you throw an unnecessary "e" at the end of your name doesn't make your food worth any more money.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Sweet accident

Breaking cookie news from the Associated Press ...

MORRIS, Ill. — Police say a trailer loaded with 14 tons of double-stuffed Oreos has overturned, spilling the cookies still in their plastic sleeves into the median and roadway. Illinois State Police Sgt. Brian Mahoney says the truck’s driver was traveling from Chicago to Morris on Interstate 80 around 4 a.m. Monday when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into the median. Mahoney says no charges have been filed but both lanes of traffic remain closed while authorities remove the cookies.

You know this is gonna take forever because you know they're gonna clean up all the white stuff first.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Girl-crazy poet

Mrs. Wright at St. Elmo Gifted Education Center sent home a collection of poetry created by her second and third grade students. Here was my second grade son Saylor's contribution.

Super Stars

Gwen Stefani
Sweet, pregnant, cute,
I love her music.
Cute, pretty, singing
She is cute.
Avril Lavigne
Cute, pretty, young,
She got married.
Paula DeAnda
Young, cute, pretty
So cute.

Saylor, by the way, has decided to start his own blog. It's here on the Live Journal site.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The drunk empire strikes back

This story is from the "some folks just need beating up" files. Some dude in Wales (that's a country, not a swimming mammal) dressed up as Darth Vader and attacked some guys in the Jedi Church. The guys in the Jedi church have turned the Jedi philosophies in the "Star Wars" movies into a religion — because God knows the world needs more religions.

It might not surprise you to find out the attacker — who repeatedly yelled "Darth Vader! Jedis!" — was drunk at the time and has a history of alcohol problems. Might not even surprise you that it was caught on tape because a couple members of the Jedi Church were about to film their light saber fight.

The surprising thing is that it happened in Wales. I've been in the journalism business since 1989, and I'm pretty sure this the first thing that has ever happened in Wales.

You can read more about the empire striking back here.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Check's not even in the mail ... yet

Hey, if you were looking for your stimulus payment to be direct-deposited last week (as I was), there may be a catch. I just found out that because I had my Turbo Tax fees deducted from my refund, the IRS will instead mail my check in June. Why? Has something to do with the third-party bank involved, in my case Santa Barbara Bank & Trust. If you were expecting direct deposit, you'll instead get it through the mail if:

• You got your refund through a refund anticipation loan (RAL). The IRS says it will not direct-deposit rebates into such arrangements. Folks who used H&R Block's Emerald Card to hold their refunds, for example, will get mailed rebate checks.

• You paid your tax-prep and/or electronic filing fee by subtracting it from your refund. These arrangements, which use third-party banks -- such as Santa Barbara Bank and Trust for TurboTax users -- are not eligible for rebate direct deposit.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Jenny!!

OK, so I just finished watching Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes" for the 47th time and this is the first story I see on the Associated Press wire at work:

DALLAS (AP) — A gorilla recognized as the world’s oldest in captivity celebrated her 55th birthday by munching down a four-layer frozen fruit cake and banana leaf wrapped treats.
Jenny’s caretakers at the Dallas Zoo say she’s having a few joint issues and her eyesight isn’t what it used to be but she still looks good for an old ape.

Will tomorrow's headline read "55-year-old ape dies from clogged arteries after eating four-layer fruit cake?"

By the way, am I the only guy who thinks Dr. Zira from "Planet of the Apes" is kinda hot?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Brett Fav-ruh

From the Associated Press:

Finally, David Witthoft shunned his Brett Favre jersey for the first time in 1,581 days. The 12-year-old Ridgefield, Conn., boy wore the No. 4 jersey every day since receiving it as a gift for Christmas in 2003. Witthoft first gained national attention three years ago, and attended his first Packers game in December. He’s also planning to attend the Sept. 8 game when the Packers retire Favre’s No. 4. His mother, Carolyn, had washed the jersey every other day and mended it when needed.

I know exactly how David feels. I've been wearing my Luke Skywalker underwear every day since 1981. Getting a little tight on my light saber, though.

AP Photo by Jim Matthews

Monday, May 5, 2008

Way to go, Sis!

Gotta give a shout out to my "sister" Laurie Hair, the CEO of Flint River Hospital in Montezuma, Ga. Her hospital recently came in third in the state in a HCAPPS customer satisfaction survey out of 72 Georgia hospitals. Columbus' Hughston Orthopedic Hospital came in fourth, just behind Flint River. You can find out how various hospitals ranked by clicking here. The survey is no small deal, by the way. Ignore it, and you'll lose significant Medicare money.

The top 4, by the way, were well ahead of the pack. I spent a week in Hughston in 2000 when I had a broken femur, hip and pelvis from a car wreck and they were fantastic. I was born at Flint River, back when it was called Riverside Hospital. When folks asked my parents which baby was me, they replied, "The white one."

Laurie is also my mom's boss and not my real sister. I adopted her several months ago. And she's not just my sister but a good friend.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Redneck romance

No, this is not another story from my single daze. Just wanted to let you know that the Redneck and Single Web site has undergone some construction (I suspect duct tape was involved) and is better than ever ... or so I've been told. It's a place for rednecks to meet or to just discuss shared interests such as "muddin’, fishin’, campin’, huntin’, Nascar races, mud floppin’ and mattress surfin’."

They bill it as an "Online Honky Tonk ... without all the drinkin’, cussin’ and fightin’."

Well, heck, where's the fun in that?