Thursday, August 31, 2006


Somebody up there may have a curious sense of humor. For the third time in four days, the Northern Little League team had to wait out a rain delay - and this time, they didn't even have a game.

Call me a fearful wimp if you wish, but I canceled my plans to attend Wednesday night's Little League welcome-home celebration. I live walking distance from the Civic Center, but all sorts of lightning erupted between 5:00 and 6:00 - and after enduring two cut tires in the last 11 days, I figured I could get zapped for a trifecta.

A fierce thunderstorm hindered more than me, in terms of watching the welcome-home party. WRBL was unable to show the first 15 minutes or so of the program -- and during that time, Phil Scoggins and Teresa Whitaker might as well have been competing on "So You Think You Can Dance."

Even without my presence, a nearly full house was on hand at the Civic Center to welcome home the Northern All-Stars. Mayor Bob Poydasheff estimated the attendance at 8,000 - or was that his projected vote count in the mayoral election?

Mayor Bob Poydasheff called Wednesday "an emotional day for Columbus, Georgia," and kept praising the Little League world champions for showing "great character." He said the word so often, it was like he was trying to dissuade Jim Wetherington from rushing the stage.

(Earlier in the day, Mayor Poydasheff dared to tell GPB Radio because of the Little League win, "People who hear Columbus no longer will think of Columbus, Ohio. They'll think of Columbus, Georgia." We hope all those Big Ten football fans enjoy their stays in town this fall.)

Columbus Councilor Gary Allen read a city proclamation honoring the Northern All-Stars. He even gave second baseman Josh Lester a new nickname: "The Hoover." In a Bible Belt city, it's still not right to call someone a Dirt Devil.

Gary Allen also praised the world champions' sportsmanship, and said it "begins with the parents at home." This reveals a hidden advantage Northern players have, over other parts of Columbus - stay-at-home moms pitching batting practice after school.

Georgia Secretary of State Cathy Cox told the Little League champions enough tears were shed for them across Georgia "to run a tidal wave through the Civic Center." OK, but did she have to bring all the rain to illustrate that?!

(This may have been Cathy Cox's first public appearance since losing the Democratic Primary for Governor - so you wonder how many tears she's shed in the last month for herself.)

Congressman Sanford Bishop represented the U.S. House at the welcome-home celebration, even though I think the Northern players live in Lynn Westmoreland's district. Maybe this will satisfy the critics, who say the team doesn't really represent "One Columbus...."

Rep. Sanford Bishop declared Wednesday not only a great day for Columbus, but "a great day for the United States of America!" This seemed like a bit of a stretch - but then I realized the Civic Center crowd chanted "U.S.A." several times, but never once chanted Northern.

The grandest poobah at the Civic Center Wednesday was former President Jimmy Carter, who revealed to the crowd he's still pitching for a softball team at age 81. I'll assume Kyle Carter's pitches are a little bit faster....

Jimmy Carter admitted his wife cried, when she saw the Northern team's act of compassion toward Japanese players after the final game. Why, if only the winner of the Miss Georgia pageant let the first runner-up walk the runway with her....

The welcome-home ceremony was about 50 minutes old before the politicians finished their speeches, and the Northern All-Stars had their turn -- and the players never said a word. I thought back to the last time I covered this sort of ceremony, when the Kansas City Royals won the American League pennant in 1980. To be honest, the Northern players might have given more meaningful speeches.

Northern Assistant Coach Richard Carter told the crowd he sometimes acted like "Sergeant Carter" with the players, once making them run up steps at 11:00 p.m. Now this is scandalous! Attorney Richard Hagler would have had the players at home with their parents by 9:00.

Northern Manager Randy Morris said the players did everything the coaching staff asked - "for the most part." I hope he doesn't keep bringing up Kyle Carter running through that stop sign at third base....

When the one-hour ceremony was over, long lines of people remained at the Civic Center. They wanted Northern players to sign autographs of baseballs, special programs - but of course, it's too early for Kyle Carter to sign copies of his debut CD.

During the signing session, Coach Richard Carter marveled at all the people who lined Veterans Parkway in the rain to salute the Little League championship motorcade. And perhaps for the first time in years, none of those people on Veterans Parkway were looking for money to buy dinner.

The Northern All-Stars will be honored in Columbus in many ways. For one thing, "Trees Columbus" will plant trees in honor of each player and coach. That's a fairly safe thing to do, considering Little League players use aluminum bats.

The world champions also received gift bags, with all sorts of proclamations and commemorations from various government officials. The players will have to wait about six years before they can exchange those bags for what they probably really want - an ESPY Awards gift bag filled with text messaging devices and vacations.

The Ledger-Enquirer finally celebrated the Northern All-Stars in full Wednesday, with a big editorial and an eight-page commemorative section. Did you notice how smart the players were, to protect their reputations? Not one of them would admit their favorite baseball player is Barry Bonds.

The "Sound Off" section of the Ledger-Enquirer also had some words of praise for the Northern All-Stars. But one person wrote the Muscogee County Schools should learn a lesson from this, and move the start of school to after Labor Day. Now hold on - if this happened, the local Little League regular season would end before the school year does.

By the way, the rainstorm which kept me away from the welcome-home party washed out Wednesday night's Columbus Catfish game. So tonight's doubleheader will mark the end of the regular season - and the team has only one chance to salute the Northern All-Stars, with "Thirsty Thursday" cut-rate beers.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Here's a quick follow-up to one of the messages we posted Wednesday:

The "ack's" are from the Movie with Jack Nickolson "Mars attacks"

This comment is from a current re-elected offical

true statement

"It's a game....

It's only a game....

I know how to manipulate people

I'm good at it

and after I win the election i will not have to talk to any one" ....

So Jack Nicholson simply was imitating himself in that movie?!

Speaking of games - which official might have made this statement about manipulation and not talking to anyone? Well, Sheriff Ralph Johnson has the power of arresting people....

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas drops to $2.58 a gallon at Dolly Madison on Victory Drive.... "Classical Guitar Alive" at 8:00 p.m. ET tonight on Troy Public Radio.... and some of the Northern All-Stars taking school assignments home over Labor Day weekend....

COMING FRIDAY: What about that other sport we've been promoting here? You won't believe how it started.....

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Wednesday, August 30, 2006


We thank everyone in Columbus for staying under control, after Monday's big Little League World Series win. We haven't heard any reports about rioting in the streets, or cars being flipped upside down.

The plane carrying the Northern All-Stars landed in Atlanta Tuesday evening, close to two hours behind schedule. Doesn't that just figure? Yet another big event for this team is delayed by rain....

There was scattered applause in the Atlanta airport atrium, as the world champions walked through in uniform. Maybe the other people there thought it was the major-league baseball team, and were holding back boos.

Second baseman Josh Lester told WXTX "News at Ten" he expects things to be much different in Columbus now. As he put it: "Everybody's going to be going wild." Well, maybe not everybody. Today's big welcome-home ceremony will occur just before Wednesday night church prayer meetings.

Mayor Bob Poydasheff said at the start of Tuesday's Columbus Council meeting the Northern Little League team is "the greatest group of ambassadors I've ever seen." It looks like someone at the Chamber of Commerce will have to give up his seat, on upcoming road trips.

Did you buy a Ledger-Enquirer Tuesday, to commemorate the World Series title? I did, and found only two pages about the Northern All-Stars in section A (including the full-page front-page picture) and two pages in the sports section. Why, more people wanted to "Sound Off" about Dr. Eric Buffong and the former planet Pluto than about Kyle Carter....

(Newspaper sales probably jumped Tuesday - and we must note Monday was the most active day for visits to our blog since we added an official web counter. Thank you for your interest, and especially for all the hits from San Diego. I take it your boss didn't allow a TV set at your cubicle?!)

It felt a bit cool to make calls around the state promoting Power Frisbee Tuesday, and tell people I live in a city of "world champions." Trouble is, the championship look-alike jerseys haven't gone on sale yet - so I can't dress up and pretend to be Cody Walker.

The official welcome-home celebration for the Northern All-Stars takes place late today. The players will receive a police-escorted motorcade in limousines across town, from the Welcome Center on Williams Road to the Civic Center. We may not see something like this in Columbus again, unless Jim Wetherington is elected Mayor.

The big party will take place at the Columbus Civic Center - and Deputy City Manager Lisa Goodwin told Columbus Council Tuesday only the players and coaches will be sitting on stage for the ceremony. We don't want any politicians to get caught on camera, sitting next to a 12-year-old boy making silly faces.

We're told the special guests at the Little League celebration will include former President Jimmy Carter. But as of Tuesday afternoon, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue's schedule had him visiting National Guard personnel along the U.S.-Mexican border. Imagine if Northern had met Matamoros in the final game....

WRBL indicates the official speaker for the state of Georgia will be Secretary of State Cathy Cox. This could be the closest she's been to a winner since her campaign debates with Mark Taylor.

The welcome-home celebration is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET, and is expected to last about 30 minutes. Please do not be scared as you leave, if you see a big blue blob standing and pointing outside the front door. That will be the Columbus Catfish mascot, looking for any baseball fans he can find to go to Golden Park and watch a real game.

The celebrations for the Northern All-Stars won't stop there. Players can expect tributes Thursday, when they return to Blackmon Road and Midland Middle Schools. And all those stacks of posters and newspapers will be only the start of their make-up math lessons.

E-MAIL UPDATE: We promised to get caught up on your messages today, so let's get to it. We start with an item from last week, and the farthest edge of the solar system:

Houston - We have a problem

We will be the Generation known for Losing Pluto

Ack Ack, Aaacck Aaackk, Accck, AaaCcKk,Acckkk, Aaaacck, Ack Acck, Aaaackk,


Acck, Aaackk Aaacckk Ack Ack and Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaccccccccccckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk....................

Hey, don't look at me! I didn't lose Pluto. I never even saw the thing, because I don't have a telescope.

It was interesting to hear network news reporters talk about three new planets possibly being added to our solar system, only to have the scientists actually take one away. You talk about large-scale downsizing....

By the way, are all those "acks" from a planet about to die - or an online imitation of Chris Berman calling a home run?

Now we move closer to home, for an e-mailer's election-year essay:

walk on the wild side

We see that someone has a difference of Opinion on how a neighboring City needs to be run and is not happy with the ones that are currently running.

Some out there think that this person is doing this to ruin one of the other Choices on the ticket, while, others are happy to see this.

With so much crumbling about how the city is need of fixing,, why in the world did not many more throw their hat into the ring....

When someone steps out into the Political ring..right off the bat they are labeled "Crooks".

Many in our own area like it- well love it - when a canididate goes around promising the world to them and only come to realize that they had their promise broke,,over and over and over,, This way they can spend all of their time telling everyone how this person broke a promise to them..

What do you expect when you want promises out of someone that when elected "Do not know who you are anymore"......."Na, I never promised that for you"...."You have your words confused with someone else"

and the best one of all

"It's a game....

It's only a game....

I know how to manipulate people

I'm good at it

and after I win the election i will not have to talk to any one" ....

as i say

"Pay off your politican early

Pay them off often

Cause their memory is like your pockets

Always empty and cannot remember where it went too"

With a point of view like this, maybe we should find a wealthy family and crown a King or Queen of Columbus.

To be fair: I haven't heard any of the candidates for Columbus Mayor call an opponent a "crook" yet. In fact, none of them seem to have the endorsement of former Urban League leader Kenneth Crook.

This essay reminds me of a haiku-writing project we had in eighth grade. My "Ode to a Politician" wound up on the bulletin board for open house, and my mother wasn't quite sure what to think of it:

I will give you all

What you have always wanted

After I get paid.

Still searching for words of optimism, we come to this e-mail about the Columbus Mayor's race:

You would think with all that money Bob has, he could afford a new photograph for his campaign billboards. That photo appears to have been taken at least 30 years ago.

Send donations for Bobs new photograph to or make donations at your local Piggly Wiggly stores. You will find the jars at each register.

Aw, c'mon now! Maybe an old photo of Mayor Poydasheff is there on purpose, to make him look younger. Or then again, maybe someone on his campaign staff is skilled at airbrushing.

We actually noted the billboard picture of Mayor Bob Poydasheff a few weeks ago [7 Aug], when we broke the news about his web site being four years out of date. We checked the site again at our post time, and it's finally been updated for this year's race. The updated home page score: Jim Wetherington 16 pictured family members, Poydasheff 11.

In the interests of equal time - well, space....


"(The F.O.P. claims it will use the forum to reach a decision on which candidate to endorse for mayor. Aw c'mon - if that candidate is NOT Jim Wetherington, I may actually pledge money to an F.O.P. telemarketer.)" [27 Aug]

Insinuating you're pro-Poydasheff??



Not so fast there, Mr. British Petroleum Gas Station - or whatever those initials mean....

Regular blog readers know we do NOT take sides in political campaigns. Our point about the Fraternal Order of Police forum was simply that so many officers have grumbled publicly and privately about the current city government, it would only be logical for the group to endorse Jim Wetherington. But then, it only seemed logical to arrest John Mark Karr.

What else is on people's minds? There are always our schools....

The Ledger released the list of school population...I'm sure this came from MCSD central office...It could not be accurate since another "final" count just went in...The paper said Jordan had about 900 students...Get real,try 648...How can MCSD allow a school built for 1200+ to operate with less than 700..One science class there has a reported enrollment of 5. The class was told when it comes to science lab they will be put with another class..Wake up MCSD board..Stop allowing neighbor kids to leave Jordan and add to overcrowding conditions at other high schools..It is spelled b-a-l-a-n-c-e

Hmmmm - 648 students?! When someone takes time to count the enrollment who is NOT on the school staff, maybe that person needs a different hobby.

There can be advantages to Jordan High School having 700 to 900 students, you know. Teachers can provide more personalized instruction -- and tired teenagers can have more room to slouch and stretch at their desks.

It's easy to talk about balancing high school enrollment. But we're talking about a district with magnet programs -- and let's face it: the romance of going to Jordan for industrial arts has dropped, since Char-Broil moved all those jobs away.

We'll wrap up this session with a message of condolence, about a late doctor:

I'm sorry that Bufong's daughter was in the wreck with him. "IF" he was guilty as charged,and remember these charges were not his first,then he got an eye for an eye...

Isn't it nice to know we have such compassionate, sympathetic readers?

I'm sorry, but Eric Buffong's death in a car wreck last weekend does NOT qualify as "eye for eye." He didn't kill any of the women who accused him. And it's very different to feel like an emotional wreck.

We thank all of you for reading and writing - now let's get caught up on stories we've missed while celebrating the Little Leaguers:

+ The attorney for Judge Haywood Turner insisted he did NOT point a gun at anyone on the J.R. Allen Parkway last week. So? Point a pistol in the air, and bullets have to fall somewhere.

+ WRBL reported the Russell County Commission is looking at plans to build an airport. Now this is exactly what Columbus Metropolitan Airport needs -- some competition, to lower air fares.

+ Governor Sonny Perdue called a news conference to announce Georgia has moved up in the Scholastic Aptitude Tests. Now Georgia is 46th among the states, instead of 49th-- which is a bit like TV-16 announcing it now has more viewers than TV-66.

+ A nationwide survey found Alabama is the second worst state in the country for obesity. So? How do you think Auburn running backs have had so many successful seasons?

SCHEDULED THURSDAY: We attend the city's big baseball bash....

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Monday, August 28, 2006


"I am a pitcher. I am an ace." That's what ESPN coaxed Kyle Carter into saying. As of Monday night, I suppose he can be as cocky as his ball cap....

Congratulations to the Columbus Northern All-Stars, who won the Little League World Series 2-1 Monday evening. It'll be interesting to listen to WRCG's "TalkLine" today, and hear callers complain about the government spending money for special commemorative signs at the city limits.

Northern had a tough challenge in the final game, but defeated Kawaguchi City, Japan pitcher Go Matsumoto. Can't you hear the players on the plane heading home -- chanting, "We stopped Go! We stopped Go!"

Kyle Carter revealed in a post-game interview ESPN put him together with Japan's Go Matsumoto - and then "they made us look like we were boxing." If that part was staged, my view of ESPN's poker matches may be on the verge of a serious change....

Kyle Carter's mother Cindy says she tried to tell him during the Little League World Series to "stay grounded." He seemed to do that as a pitcher - because there were hardly any fly-ball outs.

Dad/Assistant Coach Richard Carter said the entire team was praised during the Little League World Series for being "well-mannered." Just wait until some of those players discover there are rap stations down the FM dial from what their parents turn on....

While Richard Carter was thrilled with Northern's world title, he admitted he was saddened to see the losing side from Japan crying. He should have shown them the front-page headline from last week's Atlanta newspaper - which quoted Tom Hanks's movie line, "There's no crying in baseball."

Some confusion remained Monday night about what Northern Manager Randy Morris will do from here. ESPN's Brent Musberger claimed Morris was retiring from managing, but Morris's wife said after the game he's "not done." Of course not - not until he gets a teaching certificate, and joins the staff of Hardaway or Shaw or Northside.

I didn't realize until Monday's post-game show that the father of Northern second baseman Josh Lester is a scout for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Jimmy Lester said of the Little League final game: "This is real baseball." Then I shudder to think of what the Columbus Catfish are playing....

After the celebration was over and the world title flag was presented, the Northern All-Stars stopped to collect infield dirt from the Little League field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. You know the proper way to handle this in 2006 - one bucket to keep for posterity, the other to sell on eBay.

So is everyone in Columbus pleased by how the Little League playoffs played out? Not quite. One man told me Monday night it's wrong to say the Northern All-Stars "represent the United States" and "One Columbus" - apparently because all the players are European-American. Come to think of it, I guess it's wrong to say Sanford Bishop "represents his district" if someone votes against him on Election Day.

I asked the caller named Michael if he thought Columbus Little League should have assembled an all-star team from ALL leagues in all parts of town, for ethnic balance. He stopped short of calling for that. Apparently he simply wants TV channels to declare this a win for the Northern area - and maybe the Civic Center should charge double for its celebration party.

But other people across Columbus seemed pleased to have the Northern All-Stars represent them. I found signs of support outside Chester's Barbecue downtown and Gus's Drive-In on Victory Drive - and I suspect championship apparel will be on sale all over town in a few days.


Premiere Weekend is over, but Power Frisbee's Season 1 goes on! The next stop is Athens next Sunday, with matches scheduled in Columbus and LaGrange later this fall. Check the schedule and learn more at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments at the P.F.G. blog.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: We blogged the Little League World Series finals in real-time. Here's the summary, from start to finish:

PRE-GAME: Little League suddenly moved up the starting time of this game at midday, from 8:00 p.m. ET to 5:00 p.m. That meant no "Monday Night Baseball" on ESPN. Maybe Tony Kornheiser couldn't come up with some clever lines that wouldn't offend anybody....

The Little League web site's weather report for Williamsport, Pennsylvania early in the day said it was "party sunny." Hmmmm - is Sunny-D juice sponsoring this tournament?

We found an online newcomer's guide in English for Northern's opponent, the Tokyo suburb of Kawaguchi City. The city is known for making cast-iron metals - so at least one team won't be embarrassed to have its bats labeled "Made in Japan."

FIRST INNING: Japan bats first, and Columbus pitcher Kyle Carter gets a strikeout to escape a two-out runner-at-third jam. Please, Columbus fans -- don't hang K signs for strikeouts. If Carter winds up with three, it will only reinforce those old Southern stereotypes.

The pre-game coverage on ESPN includes a pretend boxing match between starting pitchers Kyle Carter and Go Matsumoto. Over on WXTX, Jerry Springer has two real skirmishes before the first pitch is thrown.

(Meanwhile, WRBL didn't seem to mention the Little League at the top of its 5:00 p.m. news. Apparently the women watching their news don't care about sports.)

Northern's Brady Hamilton tells ESPN he spent the lag time Sunday "sleeping and watching the game from the other day." There, you see -- the teachers could have given them some homework to do in Williamsport.

ESPN has a "former Japanese league star" on the sidelines -- named Orestes Destrade?! They couldn't bring over Sadaharu Oh, and have him meet Sandra Oh of "Grey's Anatomy?"

Instant Message to Brent Musberger: I have to be "lookin' live" -- because otherwise I couldn't look, and I might be dead.

SECOND INNING: Kyle Carter gets another strikeout to end the top of the inning. But he's also had a pitch or two which badly missed the strike zone. Who could have taped me in slow-pitch softball years ago, to show him this?

Go Matsumoto threw about 30 pitches in the bottom of the first inning. Beginning next year, Little League will protect young arms by keeping players on a "pitch count." If they'd only protect the rest of us and put fans like that mother from Phoenix on a.... naah, I'd better not write that....

Kawaguchi City takes its name from the Japanese word for "mouth of the river." So who is that city's version of Doug Kellett?

What is this -- the Northern team is wearing "teal" uniforms? If that color is teal, University of North Carolina fans need to stop their remarks about God making the sky Carolina blue.

To be fair: WRBL mentioned the Little League team in its 5:30 p.m. news. More men must have tuned in, because Jerry Springer went to studio audience questions.

THIRD INNING: Japan takes a 1-0 lead with a two-out single, scoring a player named -- uh -- Yada? Yada? Yada?

(Hmmmm -- the run was scored "quick and easy Japanese-y. I wonder which side they're rooting for at Sumo a-Go-Go.)

ESPN notes the bent bill of pitcher Go Matsumoto's cap, in a very defined arch. Why does this look to me like a subtle psyche job -- to make the Columbus batters think they're facing the AFLAC duck?

Let's take a moment to check our e-mail about the finals:

I hope Columbus has a parade for our returning kid heroes.maybe people lined along Airport Thru Way would be fun..yea Southeast..players and parents...

It appears there will be a parade -- only down Veterans Parkway Wednesday, ending with an event at the Civic Center. Of course, we could combine the two -- parade around the airport, and have plenty of open space for everything.

BOTTOM OF THIRD INNING: A two-run home run to right by Cody Walker gives Columbus a 2-1 lead. That'll teach the city to rename it University Avenue years ago....

Cody Walker's homer comes moments after a blunder by Kyle Carter. He ran through a coach's stop sign at third base on a single, and was thrown out at home. Carter's running reminded me of some drivers on the 280 Bypass.

FOURTH INNING: Three up, three down for Kyle Carter in the top of the fourth. Wow, Japan was up and down almost as fast as John Karr was in and out of a Colorado jail.

For reasons I don't quite understand, Kawaguchi City dressed 14 players for the final game. Columbus dressed only 11. Is it the Southern football mentality, or something?

FIFTH INNING: Three more strikeouts by Kyle Carter give him nine for the game. If he stops there, one particular TV station is liable to be very happy....

But there's a problem with the format here. They only play six innings in Little League games. How in the world are young fans supposed to learn the joy of a seventh-inning stretch -- and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" off-key?

SIXTH INNING: A tag of a runner clinches the world title! Northern wins 2-1 -- giving Columbus its biggest championship since the Ledger-Enquirer won a Pulitzer Prize in 1955.

Kyle Carter was the winning pitcher, despite hitting a batter on the shoulder to put the winning run on base in the sixth. Carter threw so hard, that Japanese batter was Aiken' like Clay.

Kyle Carter winds up making history, by winning four games at the Little League World Series. That's probably one game for every million dollars in his pro baseball signing bonus someday.

And only after the final out is recorded do we see an AFLAC commercial on the screen. ESPN was more "fair and balanced" in its coverage than we thought.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Because of our special coverage of the Little League World Series win, we'll push the e-mail catch-up session back one more day. It's coming Wednesday, for sure....)

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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Sunday, August 27, 2006


How about that Northern Little League - winning the U.S. championship Saturday! But please, Columbus, do NOT think about firing weapons to celebrate the win. Do NOT follow the example of local judges....

We'll get to the champs, but we begin with Muscogee County Judge Haywood Turner. He was arrested Friday, in what Columbus Police call a case of road rage. And in a mild surprise, he was NOT accused of wielding a gavel at someone's head.

The arrest of Judge Haywood Turner stems from an incident on the J.R. Allen Parkway, during Wednesday afternoon's rush hour. You'd think there would be room for all sorts of drivers on the J.R. Allen Parkway - unless drivers on the main road consider people merging from the access lane inferior.

Two drivers apparently mixed it up on U.S. 80, and police say Judge Haywood Turner pulled out two guns. Apparently he did NOT fire the guns -- else someone would have cracked a "Who shot J.R.?" joke by now.

Judge Haywood Turner turned himself in to Columbus Police Friday, on charges including "brandishing a weapon in public." You don't hear much about people brandishing anything in Columbus. It's more common in Atlanta -- especially when they have those "Pride Parades."

We really shouldn't be surprised if Judge Haywood Turner was brandishing weapons. You may recall several months ago, several Muscogee County Judges received firearms training by Columbus Police. We'll have to wait for the trial, to learn if Turner thought that driver looked like Atlanta's Brian Nichols.

Haywood Turner has had a reputation of being one of the more offbeat judges in Columbus. Four years ago, he said it would take a bomb at the Government Center to gain the attention of Columbus Council. Amazingly, no one called for Turner's arrest then - but some did years later for the NAACP's Bill Madison.

And wasn't it Judge Haywood Turner who oversaw some of the sentences years ago for S.O.A. Watch protesters? Did they go to federal prison that year - or wind up doing landscaping work at local parks?

It was Mayor Bob Poydasheff who first broke the news on Friday of Judge Haywood Turner's arrest. Hmmmm - Columbus already has one former mayor, serving as a local judge....

In another bizarre traffic note, a car crash in suburban Atlanta early Saturday killed controversial gynecologist Eric Buffong. Our sympathies go to his family - and we truly hope we don't get any e-mails about alleged victims playing games with voodoo dolls.

BLOG UPDATE: Now to "El Norte," which will play today for the Little League World Series championship. The Northern All-Stars stopped Beaverton, Oregon 7-3 Saturday to win the U.S. title - and considering Oregon State actually won the College World Series this summer, a victory by a bunch of Beavers wasn't that far-fetched.

The Northern Little League faces Kawaguchi City, Japan in today's title tilt. I suppose we could inspire the U.S. team by saying "Remember Pearl Harbor" - but I'm not sure they're old enough to have studied that in history books yet.

(Kawaguchi City, Japan is a northern suburb of Tokyo. Quick, someone call the sister city of Kiryu - and tell them to take a stand once and for all.)

Columbus Mayor Bob Poydasheff hurried to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the U.S. title game, after taking part in a Fraternal Order of Police forum among the mayoral candidates. OK, who supplied the plane - and how much did they give his campaign on top of it?

(The F.O.P. claims it will use the forum to reach a decision on which candidate to endorse for mayor. Aw c'mon - if that candidate is NOT Jim Wetherington, I may actually pledge money to an F.O.P. telemarketer.)

The Northern All-Stars received encouraging messages the last couple of days from Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue and former President Jimmy Carter. We have yet to hear if any influential calls got through from Columbus High's Bobby Howard or Russell County's Tony Rasmus.

It was interesting to watch the Saturday night late TV newscasts, and see how they handled the Little League win. Two stations made it the top story, with extensive coverage. But WRBL didn't seem to mention it until the sports section. It's just like Phenix City seven years ago - with WRBL seemingly deciding if you don't mention it, the viewers won't go away.

There's now a media race to welcome home the Northern All-Stars. WRBL is touting a live event at 4:00 Tuesday afternoon - which is asking for trouble, because Judge Judy is liable to get very upset....

About 350 Northern supporters watched Saturday's game at the Carmike theaters at Columbus Park Crossing. Who knows how many will show up this afternoon. Why, this could be the perfect time to avoid long lines at Old Navy.

POWER FRISBEE TODAY: We'll have to miss the Little League finals today, because the premiere weekend of Power Frisbee of Georgia is taking us to Valdosta. We don't have a portable TV to watch the game, our first match is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. - and for some reason, no one has set up a Little League radio network.

Today's Round 2 matches of Power Frisbee are at Valdosta Middle School, which has nothing much for us beyond a football field with goal posts. It has no bleachers, no concession stand, no scoreboard - why, you'd think the high school football team with all its money would donate something....

In fact, we declared this "Picnic Sunday" for Power Frisbee in Valdosta. Frisbee fans are invited to bring lawn chairs and blankets - but as we say in our radio ad, do NOT bring dogs. The football team might not appreciate what they find on Monday....

You may be wondering how Power Frisbee's big opening night went Thursday in Augusta. It honestly was so bizarre that it will have a blog entry of its own later in the week, after the Little League fervor calms down. But when both players decide to play the opening game barefoot -- and they did -- you know it's a bit different.

Before we take off our slippers for a good night's sleep, let's check other events of the weekend:

+ Columbus gas prices dropped another few cents, to a low of $2.65 a gallon downtown. But of course, there's now a tropical storm approaching the Caribbean - just in time to celebrate the first anniversary of the afternoon gas panic.

+ The Columbus Rainbow/PUSH Coalition challenged the candidates for mayor to declare whether they'll support a legal settlement with Kenneth Walker's family. Mayor Bob Poydasheff insists it's in litigation. Jim Wetherington is the pro-police candidate. So this civil rights group could give Burt Coker his only noteworthy endorsement.

(So did anyone dare to ask Rainbow/PUSH leader William Howell about his meeting with Senator Arlen Specter - the one he announced months ago he'd requested in Washington? Did Howell get tired of waiting to track Specter down, in a Capitol Hill hallway? Did he even try Cynthia McKinney's office?)

+ A Phenix City developer announced plans for a condominium and retail development along the riverfront. It will be called "The Phenixian" - which is simply asking for trouble, because who knows how many residents will misspell that.

+ The Phenix City "Skate-a-Rama" had a last all-night skating marathon, before going out of business. There actually is a large-scale alternative to this rink - if someone would install a giant boombox near the lake at Idle Hour Park.

+ The former Club Antifreeze on Buena Vista Road reopened as "L's Place." It apparently is no longer a rapper's delight, as the sign outside now claims it's "grown and sexy." Of course, after a certain age the spelling has to change to "groan and sexy."

+ The annual "Denim and Diamonds" concert found a big crowd inside the Columbus Civic Center to see Hank Williams, Junior. So did Williams ask the crowd, "Are you ready for some football?" - only to have fans leave disappointed, to find the Catfish playing baseball?

+ Those very Catfish had an extra-inning game Friday night - so scheduled post-game fireworks at Golden Park didn't go off until 11:23 p.m. I heard the first few booms, and thought the drug fight my late next-door neighbor warned me about was finally happening....

(Arrrgh, I blew it! I forgot to walk over to Golden Park Saturday, to see how much of the outfield fence was still standing after the fireworks show.)

+ The Atlanta Falcons topped Tennessee 20-6 in exhibition football. For some reason, the end zones at Tennessee's stadium had no markings on them. Is it tryout time for the grounds crew as well?

+ Instant Message to Faith Middle School Principal Julio Gonzales: I was impressed to learn on WRBL that you speak five languages. So how many do you talk to the tune of a hickory stick?

BIG PREDICTION: Columbus will get it done today! I say Catfish 6, Charleston River Dogs 4....

(COMING NEXT: If our Power Frisbee schedule allows, Monday will be a catch-up session on your e-mails. If it doesn't, look for them Tuesday.)

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Friday, August 25, 2006


(BLOGGER'S NOTE: You may find this item humorous, serious, or a little of both - but we offer these thoughts from time to time, as we keep a seventh-day Sabbath.)

We mentioned the other day that our dream of Power Frisbee goes back many years -- but we decided 2006 finally would be the year to "fish or cut bait," and commit to starting it. Our months of time and effort have included several road trips, to pick up various forms and promote the gane. Is it only coincidence that the price of gasoline has dropped in recent weeks, as we did that?

All we ask in return is that the people and agencies with which we work demonstrate some commitment as well, toward us. Some people and agencies have shown that, and we're very thankful to them. But in other cases, we're sad to report the commitment has been lacking -- and no, it's not simply a "guy thing."

Some agencies and individuals have been reluctant to work with Power Frisbee, simply because we're new. In one case, we were asked to provide three references -- and we weren't even asking the agency for money.

Other agencies and individuals have expressed interest in us, but have not followed through with verbal and written commitments they made. Some have left us hanging for months at a time -- as if they're inspecting us more closely than Phenix City's new hospital.

Some may not have realized Power Frisbee is a season with weekly matches, and players who win one round are expected to compete in the next round. We have a name for this -- the "modified Jeopardy format."

What we've seen in the run-up to Power Frisbee has us wondering if commitment is more of a chronic problem than we realized, across a wide range of society. I mean, it's not like we're trying to arrange a cease-fire force for the Middle East here....

Commitment for us begins with players committed to taking part in Power Frisbee, and dreaming of winning a title. The Northern Little League team has shown that in recent weeks, and will play Saturday for the U.S. championship. We started planning our season much earlier than they did -- and we haven't asked for thousands of dollars in donations, either.

If we make a commitment to Power Frisbee, is it too bold as to ask that others be committed to it as well? We'll see over the next couple of weeks whether the commitment level is there. If not -- well, we may simply change our position and follow the examples of others.

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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Thursday, August 24, 2006


Today marks the culmination of months of effort, preparation, road trips and prayers. It's not really an end, but hopefully the beginning of something big. Before you jump to conclusions - no, I am NOT announcing my own write-in campaign for Columbus Council.

POWER FRISBEE TODAY: It's the Premiere Night of the new sport we've mentioned here over most of the year, Power Frisbee of Georgia. We're playing the first matches in Augusta, and moving somewhat east-to-west across the state from there like a golf tour. Only the fans will have to find something more meaningful to yell than, "Get in the hole."

From time to time in recent weeks, we've been explaining how Power Frisbee came to be. I developed the game during college, based on football kicking drills I did in the yard when I was young. My goal was to become a punter or kicker -- but I kept shanking the ball over the fence into the neighbor's yard, where the possessive barking dogs ended my practice for the day.

(Power Frisbee originally had the name Frisbee Showdown, but I changed it in the 1980's because I thought it sounded strange. Little did I know what Celebrity Poker Showdowns would develop on cable TV....)

Power Frisbee became a personal form of exercise for me during the fall, from college on. Some guys would go into the woods, to hunt for dinner. I'd take a frisbee to a football field and throw. Some afternoons, I brought home more for dinner - because I went grocery shopping on the way home.

But I admittedly was always a bit reluctant to tell people about Power Frisbee. It was partly a matter of waiting for the right time to introduce it - and partly a matter of being around men who think there's no room for any sport but football between September and December.

I showed off Power Frisbee a couple of times to passers-by over the years. There was a young man I met in the 1980's in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. And there was a TV technician I met at Georgia Tech's football stadium several years later - back when the field had artificial turf, and students actually hugged and kissed each other there on Sundays.

For years I thought Power Frisbee would be a viable game, which could build a following -- one with a mix of athleticism, strategy and drama. All I had to do was get organized and start preparing for it. But that would take time and money -- and the job I had full-time I had paid very nice money.

When I was let go of that job in 1996, I tried to get Power Frisbee going. A stadium contract actually was on my table to open the season in Atlanta, during the Olympic Games - so either the entire world would see the sport and be impressed, or everyone would be stuck in gridlock and the stands would be empty.

But Power Frisbee did not begin in 1996, because I took what was promised as a "one-week temporary" job at the American Red Cross. I was never told it was "temp-to-perm," and they actually wanted to keep me on the staff. I've amazingly faced a similar sort of situation this year. I suppose it's a compliment that no one else in the U.S. can be found to do my job....

The Power Frisbee season never happened in 1996, but all sorts of doors have opened to make it happen this year. I'm persuaded there's Someone bigger than I working all this out - and no, I didn't hire Ralph Reed after he lost in the primary.

Thanks to the computer age, I've been able to do much of the preparation for Power Frisbee at home. It started with e-mails about renting stadiums and working with parks departments last December - e-mails I'm now convinced were 90-percent deleted as spam.

It's become especially clear to me in the last week that some people are reluctant to help Power Frisbee, simply because it's new....

+ Local governments aren't sure how it works, even though we have a web site explaining everything. Maybe they think we're a front group for "Punk'd."

+ Many organized frisbee groups seem to be ignoring me. The folks who play "Ultimate" must really think it is....

+ A couple of people who I've asked to sing the national anthem before matches want to see copies of the words first. Maybe if I asked them to sing "Georgia on My Mind" instead.

I could tell you many more stories about the road to Premiere Night, but I'll save those for the tell-all book. Tonight is the big event - and in a stunning twist, it's turned into "Founder's Day." That's because no women showed up for our Augusta tryout. So who will face Savannah's top woman? None other than.... me.

The idea for this came in the middle of tryout day in Augusta - especially when the female sports reporter from a TV station didn't want to take part in it herself. I'm not sure that would have stopped Brian Sharpe years ago....

So your blogger will be taking on the best female frisbee thrower in Savannah, in a Premiere Night exhibition to begin the opening season of Power Frisbee. I don't claim to have a chance to win. After all, I turned 48 a few weeks ago - and when I threw a disc for practice the other day, it glided right into a storm drain. [True!]

I'm praying for nice weather in Augusta, and a nice-sized crowd to match. But I am NOT praying for victory against the woman from Savannah. I know some sports history, after all -- and I'm in the role of Bobby Riggs, taking on a Billie Jean King.

We should note Power Frisbee season will require some adjustments with this blog. Postings may be a bit less frequent, especially on Mondays after Sunday matches. (Don't expect one Friday.) And postings around match days may not be as laser-focused on Columbus as they are the rest of the week - in part because WRCG radio still can't get its signal right, so I can hear it beyond Harris County.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Since we're in a sports frame of mind:

I think the boys played great in the Little League games. What an experience to remember a life time...cheers to MCSD who is allowing the players and siblings to count the trip as a field trip...The only negative among many positives is the attitude of Kyle Carter. I hope he matures into a respectful young man and proves the media wrong...

Well, it's always nice to have readers from Phoenix, Arizona visiting our blog....

But no: this came from a regular reader and e-mailer whom I believe is local. He or she apparently is convinced when it comes to Kyle Carter, baseball truly is a game of inches - such as how many inches off-center your ball cap is.

Did you see Connie Watson of Phoenix on the news Wednesday night? "They're sandbagging the game!" she cried on-camera. Watson reminded me of that British comedy on PBS - "Last of the Summer WHINE."

The Columbus Northern team denied again Wednesday it sandbagged the game Tuesday night, when it lost to a team from Illinois. If it will make the eliminated players from Phoenix feel any easier - why didn't you beat Columbus the first time around, and make the whole issue moot?

Columbus faces an elimination game tonight in the U.S. semifinals. They'll take on a team from Portsmouth, New Hampshire - a place where I think Little League baseball is the only major sports event between Presidential primaries.

The Northern All-Stars have their dream to pursue, and so do I. But before I go chase mine, let's check items from the Wednesday news:

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Judge Robert Johnston has ordered The Fire House nightclub closed for good. Not even a federal homeland security grant can save this one....

+ The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported the next official Georgia road map will show the four grandchildren of Pine Mountain Rep. Vance Smith. Smith happens to chair the House Transportation Committee - so is this a political deal? Or is this simply proof of that theory about Republicans having more babies than Democrats?

+ Business owner and frequent WRCG "TalkLine" caller Burt Coker officially announced he's a write-in candidate for Mayor. I suppose he's sincere, but I'm afraid he's going to come across more like comedy relief. I'm not sure he'd even win a majority vote of the other TalkLine callers.

+ Instant Message to The Courier newspaper: Why do you want voters to ask mayoral candidates about whether they'll support a "qualified African-American candidate for Mayor" in 2010? I mean, what if Jim Wetherington wants to serve two terms?

COMING SOON: East Alabama's answer to Danica Patrick....

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Wednesday, August 23, 2006


No, the Northern All-Stars haven't won the Little League World Series quite yet. In fact, they didn't win their game Tuesday night - which I think explains why it wasn't the top story on the late newscasts.

Whether Northern wins the championship or not, the Columbus area already is filled with titles. But before you get ahead of me, we are NOT writing about too many nice-sounding positions in city government....

"CASH LOANS FOR CAR TITLES" reads the big sign on the corner of U.S. 80 and U.S. 280 in Phenix City. I noticed it Tuesday night, and did a double-take. This title loan shop has opened where "Express Lube" used to be. How fitting - as interest rates can be jacked up, instead of cars.

(That title loan location seems fitting for another reason - since that intersection has two pharmacies on it, filling expensive prescriptions.)

This discovery came one day after I passed the former Atkins Home Entertainment Center at North Lumpkin Road and Victory Drive. It's suddenly turned into a new, rather ugly-looking "Titlebucks" shop - with window signs still saying "rent to own." Hertz Rent-a-Car usually doesn't work this way....

Why is it that Columbus seems to be filled with so many title pawn shops? Not simply pawn shops, but places seeking the title on your vehicle. Old electric guitars and engagement rings simply don't seem to be good enough anymore.

Look up "Pawnbrokers" in the BellSouth Yellow Pages, and you'll find more than three pages of listings. By comparison, a ten-year-old Atlanta Yellow Pages I still have has about 12 pages of listings. Atlanta has a lot more people, of course - but I think Columbus has more sets of three balls per three people.

One Columbus Yellow Pages ad actually offers you a loan to "payoff other title pawns." So in other words, your loan will take care of the other loans - but I fear it's probably like a game of bridge or poker, with the higher interest rate trumping the others.

Some would say Columbus has a higher concentration of title pawn shops because we're next to Fort Benning. So what explains the sudden increase in new shops? Is this the front edge of base realignment, which no one told us about?

In fact, our check of the phone book found something interesting - as not one of the listed title pawn shops is located north of Manchester Expressway. Don't people on the north side need to pawn their car titles? Or do they put their big-screen and high-definition TV sets in hock instead?


The Premiere Weekend of Power Frisbee of Georgia is almost here! Opening night is Thursday in Augusta, with matches coming to Columbus this fall. Check the schedule and learn more about our new game at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments at the P.F.G. blog.

BLOG UPDATE: The Columbus trip to the Little League World Series took a bizarre turn Tuesday night. Not only did Northern lose to Lemont, Illinois 2-0, a woman from Phoenix went onto the field and accused Columbus of throwing the game. From what I saw, the Northern team was NOT wearing black socks.

The loss to Lemont eliminated Phoenix from the Little League World Series -- and the woman from Phoenix apparently thought something was fishy about it. Northern Head Coach Randy Morris says the woman asked if he was a Christian man. Did that woman ask the teams from Saudi Arabia and Japan the same question?

The woman from Phoenix reportedly was arrested for ranting on the field against not only the Northern All-Stars, but the Columbus fans in the stands. Aw c'mon - at least Columbus baseball fans showed up in Williamsport. If the Catfish had been there, the stands might have been almost empty.

Randy Morris told reporters after the game he doesn't know how to throw a baseball game. But he also said he could have put his "number-11 pitcher" on the mound against Lemont - so where did he get that idea, anyway?

If that's not enough, a couple of coaches in Northern's Little League pool are upset with Kyle Carter. They say he's disrespecting the game, by wearing his cap slightly off-center. This may explain why you haven't heard about any rap stars showing up in Williamsport.

There already had been one shock at the Little League World Series, as ESPN aired a pitcher using profanity when he was replaced. Wow, a 12-year-old using profanity in sports! People stunned by this never were in my junior high school locker room, before physical education class.

E-MAIL UPDATE: The person whose vent led to Sunday's topic has more to say, based on what we wrote:

> Mary Mardis told me a recent Home Builders Association newsletter had two full pages of "questions and answers" on the issue of hiring immigrants. I assume if the answers explained how to hire illegal ones, someone would have sent it directly to federal agents.

The 2 pages in the Newsletter in Question :

Titled - "Important Information I-9"

( I have only listed 2 of the question/answer paragraphs of this newletter)

Q. What is a Form I-9

A: Federal Law places an affirmative duty on employers to verify the identity and work authorization of all persons who are hired. This is accomplished by the mandatory completion of employment eligibility Verification form I-9. Employers are required to keep a complteted form I-9 on file for each of their current employees who are hired after Nov.7,1986

*(This does not include the builder because he subs work to a Contractor, Subcontracting work out is phrased in a careful way.. a builder will never say his SUBContractor is his employee)

Q. Are Builder- employers responsible for their subcontractor employees.I-9 Compliance?

A. No. Under the law ,Builder- employers are not required to complete form I-9 for the employees of their sub contractors,or to monitor Their Subcontractors' form I-9 Compliance. However, builders should be aware that they are unlawfully circumventing the immigration laws if they know that any of their work site contractors are employing unauthorized aliens.

*( so you see this question and answer newsletter was really for those worried builders)

Mary Mardis:> But when it comes to "native area workers" being unable to work, Mary Mardis said there "should be plenty of work for everyone these days." That's because of the home construction for Fort Benning's incoming soldiers and families. Besides that, there's the upcoming overhaul of Baker Village Apartments -- where at the very least they'll need extra security guards.

There would be plenty of work if all was not given to the illegal/legal Immigrants.

Just to give you a small look into whats going on- Look at Garrett Pines Drive (Garrett Creek subdivision area) - Steele Creek Subdivision off County Line Rd., Moye Plantation Subdivision off Moye Rd. , Wrenwood Subdivision off Flatrock Rd. ., Grove summit Apartments off Blackmon rd. ..I can go on and on...but.. ask yourself.. where did everybody go (native workers) because they are sure not on these job sites anymore.. this has just started coming to head in our area in the last 8-10 months espicially!

Again What these contractors are doing is using Illegal aliens & Not reporting payroll to Work Comp. Thus driving down the wage & Of course.. The Builders Love it... & the Builders Know it!

Mad Maria

So if you're traveling down I-9, be careful. You might face blizzard conditions - as in a whiteout of paperwork.

The newsletter from the Greater Columbus Home Builders Association would seem to refute Maria's original claim that builders knowingly turn the other way, while contractors hire illegal immigrants. They're not supposed to do that - but then, how would you know a turned back isn't simply a focus on another project?

With Power Frisbee season so close, I don't have time to go to all these subdivisions and ask for immigration papers. For one thing, I may be asking for something else - and I don't want to test the new emergency room policy at Columbus Regional.

If it's any comfort, consider the repair work Tuesday at Golden Park. From what I saw on TV, the new chain-link fence was installed by.... well, wait a minute. What if the state prison inmates in the work crew are illegals?

Now for other scattered debris from Tuesday's news:

+ The chair of the Public Safety Advisory Commission asked Columbus Council to clarify exactly what the commission's job is. Harold Bryant told the evening news, "No one knows who we are." At least Kenneth Walker's mother knows - and that ought to keep the members busy enough.

+ Mayor Bob Poydasheff said Columbus has hired 12 new police officers in recent weeks, reducing the number of open positions to 33. It's nice to see those laid-off Parks Department workers can be retrained.

+ Bill Ham easily won another term as Mayor of Auburn. So for you newcomers to the South who wonder why they call it "country ham" - it's because the city Ham is already taken.

(I suspect the mayor had widespread support from the Auburn University students. They looked at the ballot, had a Homer Simpson moment and said, "Ummmm, Ham....")

+ The Phenix City School Board voted to offer Superintendent Larry DiChiara a new contract with a 13-percent raise. I'm a bit surprised DiChiara attended the meeting in person. He could have heard all the discussion about him from his home computer, on a secret webcam.

+ The Tavis Smiley Show returned to GPB Television, after it was unexpectedly replaced Monday night by Charlie Rose. Hmmmm - Rose interviewed former President Clinton during that show. Are Georgia Republicans demanding an investigation of this?

+ Columbus Cottonmouths assistant coach Ryan Aikia announced he's retiring, to go into business in North Carolina. He may be on to something here. If Atlanta can have an Ikea store....

+ Instant Message to the Marion County, Alabama District Attorney: Have you thought about putting John Mark Karr on trial, too? That mullet haircut from the home video should get him jailed for at least one year.

COMING THURSDAY: Our great adventure begins.... as if you haven't already figured that out....

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Tuesday, August 22, 2006


When I was invited to WRCG radio to appear on "TalkLine" two weeks ago, co-host Antonio Carter gave me a flier inviting me to a news conference. I was unable to attend it Monday, because of work commitments. But that may be OK, because Carter wants young people to be committed to work much more than simply hanging out.

Antonio Carter's Government Center news conference announced the launch of The N.J.G., or "National Joshua Generation." In another part of the country, those initials might refer to the New Jersey Giants football team -- because it doesn't really play in New York, you know....

Let's make something clear right away: Antonio Carter told me Monday night the National Joshua Generation is NOT connected with the National Action Network, with which he's been aligned. In Columbus, I'm not sure that group stirred up that much action, anyway.

The National Joshua Generation is an entirely new group, of which Antonio Carter is President. He says the goal is to "raise the standard" for African-American people. So who came up with that phrase first - Carter's group, or Vice President and Columbus Council candidate Charles Weaver?

Antonio Carter says the initial goal of his group is to fight a "culture of decadence" in the African-American community. I'm not sure he should stop there. Plenty of decadent white people appear on Jerry Springer's talk show every day.

The decadence Antonio Carter is concerned about includes young people "wearing their pants down around their knees" and using filthy language. Trade low pants for high skirts, and you'd give me a flashback to when I was in junior high school.

Antonio Carter says the National Joshua Generation wants to show African-American people it's wrong to dream of being a "thug or a pimp...." Hmmm - to borrow from that Oscar-winning song, it may get even harder out here for a pimp.

Antonio Carter also is concerned that only 35 percent of the African-American men in Georgia graduate from high school. Some of us are concerned about a related issue -- where will the 65 percent go when they start tearing down the Baker Village Apartments?

The National Joshua Generation has several slogans. One of them is "whenever, wherever, however" - which is quite different from most young people today, who seemed skilled in saying "whatever."

Another theme of the N.J.G. is "turning pain into power." This leans toward two of the group's emphases, health and politics - or have you noticed how many doctors have been elected to Congress in recent years?

You may be surprised to learn Antonio Carter does NOT blame many of the problems with African-American youth today on white people. He says his own ethnic community has failed in many ways. I will resist the temptation here to mention the racial makeup of the Northern Little League Team -- and leave that for Kaffie Sledge.

The National Joshua Generation's web site has a statement from Antonio Carter, in which he says the new group was based on a "recent revelation." Based on some of his initial goals, I'm tempted to say the revelation came from Bill Cosby....

The picture on the home page of the N.J.G. web site appears to come from the January 2005 march in support of Kenneth Walker's family. At least Antonio Carter has started some new things since then. Pastor Wayne Baker seems to have done little more than build an addition to his church.

While no Columbus TV stations seemed to attend the news conference announcing the National Joshua Generation, Antonio Carter says about 40 people were there. The group included both candidates for Mayor - so maybe both of them are holding a "race card," and they're waiting for a Chattahoochee "River card."

Antonio Carter says he hopes the National Joshua Generation will expand, with chapters nationwide. I would imagine he'll have to get used to one question above all others - why there's no one on his board named Joshua.

As our phone chat concluded, Antonio Carter said something surprising to me: "Thank you, brother." Wow, maybe his TalkLine co-host Robbie Watson is right - he IS moving toward the political center.

By the way, Antonio Carter may be displeased to learn Tavis Smiley was taken off Georgia Public Television Monday night. Smiley's talk show apparently has been replaced by Charlie Rose - but at least Rose interviewed a couple of Democrats, so calm the viewers' emotions.


The Premiere Weekend of Power Frisbee of Georgia is almost here! Opening night is Thursday in Augusta, with matches coming to Columbus later in the fall. Check the schedule and learn more about our new game at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments at the P.F.G. blog.

Because the countdown is near to my big new other project, I'll have to stop there and move to some final thoughts from Monday:

+ Judge Robert Johnston ruled Chattahoochee County commissioners went too far by cutting the Sheriff's budget by 60 percent. At least Columbus Council was a lot more subtle than that with public safety pay....

(County commissioners denied they're trying to eliminate the Chattahoochee County Sheriff's office, by spending more money on a county police force. There are more civilized ways to handle this, of course - such as helping former Marshal Ken Suddeth move to Cusseta.)

+ The Columbus Boy Choir announced its name is changing to "Voices of the Valley." For all these years, I wondered why WRCG radio didn't take that slogan first.

+ WRBL reported Skate-a-Rama in Phenix City has lost its lease, and will close this weekend. We hope the skateboarders on the Riverwalks enjoy the extra company next week.

+ The Northern All-Stars had a day off at the Little League World Series, so some of them went go-kart racing. How quickly these baseball players forget about Ben Roethlisberger....

(The Muscogee County School Board passed a proclamation honoring the Northern All-Stars. The team is officially considered to be on a "field trip" - and as long as they don't trip on the field, they should be fine.)

+ As if the Columbus Catfish didn't have enough problems, the evening news showed Sunday's thunderstorm knocked over part of the outfield fence at Golden Park. City crews plan to put up replacement fencing in time for a home stand on Thursday - otherwise, a hard hit to the outfield really MIGHT roll for days.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.69 a gallon at Big Cat, Buena Vista and M.LK.... the song "So Long Self" by MercyMe.... and the Northern All-Stars to make Lemont lament....

COMING WEDNESDAY: A follow-up to Sunday's item about Columbus construction workers....

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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Sunday, August 20, 2006


So, you're asking, do we have fully-loaded overwhelming blog coverage of the Little League World Series TODAY? Sorry, not again. While Northern played its game Sunday, I had a car emergency. Thankfully, not every repair shop on the north side of the area shut down to watch the game -- even or even because it's Sunday.

When I planned the Power Frisbee schedule for Season 1, I intentionally left the Sunday before Thursday's Premiere Night open. "Dead Sunday," I called it -- for doing last-minute preparations and catching up on plans. After all, the National Football League doesn't play games on the Sunday before opening day. Football widows probably call it their last good chance.

I started the Sunday Power Frisbee errands by burning a CD of peppy Power Frisbee match music. But then as I drove down Wynnton Road, I noticed a flapping noise from the rear of my car. I didn't need that today. But then again, who wants to hear that ANY day - unless you sell tires for a living?

As I stopped to make copies at OfficeMax, I checked the back of the car -- and the left rear tire had a fairly big rip in the tread. Thankfully, the tire wasn't flat. But it looked like a pit bull had passed my car, and felt a sudden desire for chewing gum.

I went ahead and printed copies of the Power Frisbee rules to hand out on Premiere Night - saying as I did so, "Of all the days for this to happen." Actually I said that two different ways. One was out of disbelief, the other out of thanksgiving. If that happened next Sunday on the road to Valdosta, I would have become even worse than I already am -- the slowest car on Interstate 75.

The ripped tire suddenly changed the Sunday schedule. Since my tires have a warranty through Wal-Mart, I carefully drove to the Phenix City SuperCenter for repairs. Since it was Sunday, the only real traffic problem occurred on U.S. 280 between Opelika Road and the store - you know, the edge of the dead supermarket zone.

But because it was Sunday, there obviously would be a wait to get my tire examined and repaired. "An hour-and-a-half, two hours," the attendant outside the Wal-Mart "Tire and Lube Express" guessed. On a hot August Sunday afternoon, the only real entertainment nearby was a swimming pool - and I'd have to buy swim trunks at Wal-Mart, then walk to the Ramada Inn.

Resigned to my fate, but still thankful the tire problem occurred when it did, I found a few scattered items to buy at Wal-Mart and put in my car trunk before the car went on the rack for service. But the TV section showed nothing but Wal-Mart's in-store channel promoting other satellite channels. The Northern Little League would NOT be shown here -- but then, this was Phenix City and not Columbus.

I recalled August 1999, when I ate a Sunday afternoon dinner at Cici's Pizza in Auburn while the Phenix City team played on ESPN in the Little League World Series. The restaurant staff switched from that game to a movie on Nickelodeon. There may be "One Columbus," but there is NOT one East Alabama.

The Tire and Lube Express had a waiting room for customers - but the TV in that small room only had broadcast channels. That meant no incessant Wal-Mart ads, but also no ESPN to watch the Little League. And someone in the room actually seemed to be watching an infomercial on WLTZ.

At least I found a channel with a sports event on, where the Little League score was shown on the screen every once in a while. And from watching that event, I learned one other thing -- the WNBA Washington Mystics are a really lame team.

The Little League game was over by the time my car was ready. As I expected, I needed a completely new tire - and after a momentary mix-up over my warranty, I wound up getting it for free. You Democrats can keep pointing fingers at big bad Wal-Mart all you wish....

As for the game: the Northern All-Stars felled Phoenix 4-1 to stay unbeaten in the Little League World Series. So what gift does Mayor Bob Poydasheff win this time -- a six-pack of cactus juice?

Kyle Carter led the Northern team, by throwing a one-hitter as the winning pitcher and hitting a home run. But don't you wonder how many people are coming up to him, and asking if he's a grandson of the former President?

E-MAIL UPDATE: A message reached us with the title: "RAISING THE STANDARD WEBSITE." And boy, did we misunderstand that one! We thought Charles Weaver had set up a regular, run-of-the-mill site like all the others....

But no: "raising the standard" is the theme of Columbus Council candidate Charles Weaver. We checked his web site Sunday night, and found him standing in the middle of a home page amid nine boxes of various Columbus scenes. Younger voters will be disappointed to find Weaver does NOT start a tic-tac-toe game.

Charles Weaver is a relatively young candidate for Columbus Council, at age 31. His biography page shows recent work as a Columbus Police officer, and four years of experience managing Dillard's stores. He couldn't possibly have taken the police job to pay for those high-priced Dillard's suits.

Charles Weaver has a "definitions" page on his web site, in which he explains what "raising the standard" is about. He cites three fundamental parts to a community: "schools, environment and safety." I smell a Democrat here - because business and income aren't apparently that important.

Charles Weaver is running in Council District 1, and a map on his web site shows that district includes everything from the AFLAC Tower and the main library to the Carver High School area. It's truly a reminder that it doesn't take much in Columbus to move from the penthouse to the poor house.

Charles Weaver is challenging Nathan Suber for reelection. The campaign signs around District 1 declare Suber is "a good man!" That's nice - but whatever happened to that arrest involving his daughter?

We also receive "public service" items in our InBox from time to time. We post this one, for those who might be interested.

The First Annual Carver/Spencer High School Football Classic Unity Breakfast will be held this Saturday, August 26th at 8:30 AM at Friendship Baptist Church; 831 6th Avenue, Columbus GA 31901

This breakfast is the kick off event for the week of the Annual Carver/Spencer Football Game and is open to all Carver and Spencer High School students, parents, teachers, alumni and the community. Tickets are $6.00 and are available now.

For more information, please call 706-682-3892, or

This doesn't sound like a bad idea. The more stories Carver and Spencer graduates swap at the breakfast, the more likely they are to actually pay attention to the football game.

Now for other bits and pieces from a Sunday which turned stormy:

+ The Army Times declared Fort Benning in the middle of the pack when it comes to bases. That's apparently because the median income in the Columbus area is below the national average. So? We're trying to help the new soldiers feel right at home....

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported Columbus city government is about $250,000 behind in collecting landfill fees. We know where a lot of that money was hiding - but a bank retrieved that cash from the Schatulga Road landfill a year or two ago.

+ Instant Message to the Columbus Catfish: How did you wind up with a plywood board where your "will call" window at Golden Park should be? It can't possibly be because angry fans are upset with ticket shortage....

SCHEDULED TUESDAY: Who or what is the N.J.G.?....

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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If you were expecting complete extensive blog coverage of the Little League World Series -- sorry, not quite. The Northern All-Stars played Saturday afternoon, while I had church commitments. And as a former youth baseball umpire, I realize you can't call what you can't see.

Instead we'll focus first on a scalding e-mail we received the other day. And for a change, it did NOT name any of the candidates for Mayor:

How the Columbus Ga Area Home Builder is protected and getting away with using The Illegal Alien workers,They sub work out to a contractor that uses Illegal aliens, The Builder knowingly does this! The Builder is not required to police who the Contractors use as workers!

BUT.. What is starting to happen is that Insurance is picking this apart and finding the contractor who is not properly reporting payroll.. the Contractor with illegal subs claim they have maybe 3-5 workers when in fact they have anywhere from 20-30 workers! .. The Columbus Ga.Area Home Builders know this is going on!

The BIG LIE.. They do the work Americans don't want to do.. what has happened is the Builder has driven out the Native area workers(AMERICANS), they have driven them right out of business because the honest Construction contractor CANNOT compete with the Driven Down low wages of those that employ or Sub illegals!

Right now in Columbus Ga. are HUNDREDS of native construction workers out of work and THEY WANT WORK!. Next time you Drive by a residential home construction site .. take a good look at the Builders name on the sign .. Look at The majority of workers, what do you see,.. you will see a Builder breaking immigration laws.. !

The sad part .. most native construction workers in our area do not know where to begin in complaining.. Call I.C.E. you get a recording, call your State Govt. ..Nothing!

Ga. Passed one of the toughest laws against those that employ illegal aliens... the kicker.. Georgias Govenor is a Member of The Home Builders Association!

Mad as H**l In Columbus Ga.!


If the Georgia Republican Party realized that many people were mad here, they might have staged one of those immigration reform hearings in Columbus this past week. Instead, they were held in Gainesville and Dalton - perhaps proving many immigrants don't want to drive down Interstate 185, either.

But what about Maria's complaint? First of all, I'm aware of something like this happening in downtown Columbus. The Coffee Beanery which opened Friday on First Avenue had at least one outside worker in the construction project - a man who's lived in Phenix City for years.

Are Columbus home builders turning the other way, while contractors hire illegal workers? This letter called for a response from the Greater Columbus Home Builders Association - so we called Mary Mardis there on Friday. In an initial hopeful sign, her voice did not sound Hispanic in any way....

Mary Mardis told me a recent Home Builders Association newsletter had two full pages of "questions and answers" on the issue of hiring immigrants. I assume if the answers explained how to hire illegal ones, someone would have sent it directly to federal agents.

Mary Mardis says it's important for "any employer" to know the people being hired -- whether it's a home builder or a contractor. For one thing, half the crew might answer when a supervisor calls for Bubba....

Mary Mardis admitted she was put "on the defensive" by my call, and my reading of part of the e-mail. I should note here that I never raised my voice as loudly as mad Maria might have. In fact, it didn't even approach the District Attorney on "Law and Order."

When I asked Mary Mardis if she'd heard any complaints about illegal workers being hired in Columbus, she didn't give a direct answer. She wasn't familiar with the blog, and may have thought I was really doing undercover work for the Minuteman Project.

(In fact, the Minuteman Project might be a good place to complain if you're a construction worker. They'll at least come to town and hold an impressive-looking news conference - which I think puts them on a level with Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.)

But when it comes to "native area workers" being unable to work, Mary Mardis said there "should be plenty of work for everyone these days." That's because of the home construction for Fort Benning's incoming soldiers and families. Besides that, there's the upcoming overhaul of Baker Village Apartments -- where at the very least they'll need extra security guards.

As it happens, Sonny Perdue's latest campaign commercial focuses on immigration. Where DID they find that videotape of someone going under a fence in Lanett, to sneak into West Point?

The immigration ad brings in a new motto for Governor Sonny Perdue: "big heart, firm hand." So he's taking a step toward Mark Taylor - who's a completely big guy.

By the way, I'm surprised Governor Sonny Perdue is a member of the Home Builders Association. After that property deal he made in Florida, I thought he might really be a Realtor....


Only four days to go before the premiere of Power Frisbee of Georgia! Our opening night is this Thursday in Augusta, with matches coming to Columbus this fall. Check the schedule and learn more about our new game at the official Power Frisbee web site; then offer your comments at the P.F.G. blog.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Friday's e-mail about the Kenneth Walker case and Kaffie Sledge of the Ledger-Enquirer brings this response:

Hey Richard. I read Ms. Kaffie's article and must say that I feel that she has found the perfect way to voice her racism by way of the paper. I have the right to not read her articles anymore thank God. I sent an email after the last article because I had to point out that she did not read the definition of victim before writing her article:

Ms. Kaffie,

Please review the dictionary meaning for VICTIM and you will understand why Mr. Glisson is considered a victim.


vic·tim [víktim]

1. somebody hurt or killed: somebody who is hurt or killed by somebody or something

2. somebody or something harmed: somebody or something harmed by an act or circumstance

3. somebody duped: somebody who is tricked or taken advantage of

4. creature used for sacrifice: a living creature used as a sacrifice or in a religious rite

5. helpless person: somebody who experiences misfortune and feels helpless to do anything about it

Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Ooh boy, now you've done it! I'm not that concerned about Kaffie Sledge suing me - but a copyright suit from Microsoft is something else.

Based on this message, we can clearly say Kenneth Walker fits definition #1. So which one fits David Glisson -- #4?!

(In fact, some civil rights leaders might contend the grand jury which considered the Walker case in November 2004 qualifies under #3.)

We have one other e-mail, which finally brings us to the hot topic on many people's minds:

Have you noticed the game looked like a reunion of Hardaway High School...Beth Lester,mom of Josh,taught at HHS,Richard Carter,dad of Kyle,played sports at HHS,Rick Stallings,dad of Patrick Stallings is HHS grad,and Allan Rovig grad of HHS had his son wonder Bobby Howard was in the stands at the play off in Fla,.Hawk blood runs thick..

This is referring to the Little League Southeast Regional finals, more than a week ago. But it begs the question: was Hardaway High School's coach in the stands that night? If he wasn't, what is HE saving leave for -- next spring's playoffs?

The Columbus Northern Little League won its first World Series game Saturday, edging Staten Island, New York 3-2 in seven innings. The game was a marathon because of a two-hour rain delay -- leaving me to wonder if the players took buckets, to bring back some of that moisture.

The Columbus win means Mayor Bob Poydasheff has some apples and chocolates coming from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. They made a wager on the outcome of Saturday's Little League game. Of course, this would never happen if Jim Wetherington was Mayor. He'd call the Metro Squad, and report a case of illegal gambling.

The Columbus win even received a mention in the final two minutes of Saturday night's Atlanta Falcons telecast. Of course, when it's a pre-season game and Green Bay is stomping the Falcons 38-10, there might not be much else to talk about.

The next Northern matchup comes this afternoon, against a Little League team from Phoenix. How bizarre is this?! They're playing Phoenix, Arizona - and they can't even arrange a game against Phenix City, Alabama?!

The Northerners received a phone call at the Little League World Series Friday, from University of Georgia football coach Mark Richt. I suppose the Georgia baseball coach could have given them a pep talk - but most of the players probably couldn't name him.

The families of Northern players made it to Williamsport, Pennsylvania for the opening game - but at least one family lost its luggage during the flight from Atlanta. Did that $45,000 goal in donations include travel insurance?

Several signs along Veterans Parkway are rooting on the Northern All-Stars. In fact, Hamilton Ace Hardware's sign actually invited people to watch Saturday's game with them. But when I drove by, the parking lot wasn't very full - so maybe the staff needs to ask Carmike for a big-screen TV.

The Northern trip to the Little League World Series has again exposed an old staffing problem at WRBL. With Bruce Frazier in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and the newly-returned Jack Rodgers apparently only working part-time, Phil Scoggins had to double as sports anchor Friday night. You'd think Blaine Stewart would have been trained for this task, too....

We'll keep watch on that drama, while considering other weekend news:

+ Jordan High School finally opened for a new school year. It opened 12 days late, because of construction. And it opened on a Saturday - which makes me wonder how many Seventh-Day Adventists noticed, and plan to show up at the next School Board meeting to complain.

(The faculty of Jordan High tried to ease the concerns about "Saturday school" by holding a hot dog eating contest in the gym. Of course, this will increase attendance next Saturday - as the Health Department tries to persuade the faculty to hold a fruit-eating contest instead.)

+ WRBL reported the Russell County District Attorney filed papers to shut down an Internet Café on the 280 Bypass. Kenneth Davis says people only go there for illegal online gambling. Of course they do - since people who want to use the Internet can sneak over to Chattahoochee Valley Community College and do that for free.

+ Instant Message to Insiders Betting Digest magazine: I don't know how I wound up on your mailing list. I do NOT gamble. And if I find out there are betting lines posted in Las Vegas on Power Frisbee matches, I might just.... well..... I might just promote that here.

People across metro Columbus and around the world read this blog every day. To advertise to them, offer a story tip or comment on this blog, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

BURKARD BULK MAIL INDEX: 7429 (- 282, 3.7%)

If you mention this blog in public, please be polite enough to let me know.

© 2003-06 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

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