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 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?