Sunday, April 29, 2007


Thanks to Troy Public Radio, I was able to hear a rebroadcast Sunday of the live "Prairie Home Companion" show from the RiverCenter. If you want to hear it on Georgia Public Broadcasting - well, maybe they'll treat it like the "Opera Divas," and play it next November.

Saturday night's public radio show from the RiverCenter indicated Prairie Home Companion host Garrison Keillor had looked around Columbus a bit. In his opening monologue, Keillor mentioned the bust of John Amos and the plaque honoring Horace King on the Riverwalk. But to say trains go through downtown "every 45 minutes" - well, I think he simply has bad timing.

Garrison Keillor's nature report on Columbus indicated the mockingbirds are mating right now, and "the magnolias are starting to bloom." Starting?! How many of them were damaged by that cold wave earlier in the month?!

Garrison Keillor raved on and on about how "full spring" has hit Columbus. In fact, all his talk about the scents of trees and flowers may have psyched me out - because my "anniversary run" Sunday evening was more than my lungs could handle.

Garrison Keillor declared Columbus State University students "keep it hopping" downtown. I don't know what he did after the broadcast - but he might have been surprised how many C.S.U. students are too young to get into those nightclubs on Broadway.

(At the end of the program, Keillor made it sound like the entire C.S.U. campus is downtown. I'm not sure the ceilings of the Trade Center are tall enough to be used for a basketball court.)

Garrison Keillor also mentioned the renovations underway at the Eagle and Phenix Mills. "They're turning it into condominiums, I guess," he said. That sounded a bit skeptical - but then again, maybe he thinks Synovus will need extra office space.

But when Garrison Keillor mentioned the fountains of Columbus, he said out loud what other people only dared write anonymously in the "Sound Off" section of the newspaper - that the fountain in front of the RiverCenter "makes a man think about his prostate."

Garrison Keillor even sang a couple of songs about "the glory of Columbus G-A." One focused on the Georgia pine trees which are turned into paper - which tells me his motel room wasn't located anywhere near a paper mill.

(Another song even gave free plugs to several Columbus barbecue restaurants, such as Country's and Fat Freddie's. Did the scrambled dog makers even know this show was coming to town?)

Columbus even made Garrison Keillor's signature "News from Lake Wobegon." He told the story of a Columbus native who moved to Minnesota, named "Billy Winn Causwood." I would have guessed Keillor would have more fun with another Ledger-Enquirer name - like Dusty Nix.

The Lake Wobegon news ended with a mild surprise, as the audience joined in the classic hymn "It Is Well With My Soul." It was almost as if a Saturday night service had broken out at North Highland Assembly of God - except that hymn is much too old-fashioned to be sung there on a Saturday night.

A section of Prairie Home Companion told the life story the show's "sound effect guy," LaGrange native Fred Newman. He has a brilliant way of making noises - and I wonder how many people he passes on the highways by sounding like a fire truck.

Garrison Keillor and his team did a funny sketch comparing his home up north to the people of Georgia, whom he called "almost unbearably sweet." That was a good move by the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau, to keep Keillor away from the Booker T. Washington Apartments....

But in the second hour of Prairie Home Companion, the salute to Georgia reached the boundary of being stereotypical. Some apparent Columbus residents (their voices never identified) suggested everyone around here loves collard greens, and goes to "juke joints" on rainy days. Not in Phenix City, they don't - because most of them have been shut down.

(Prairie Home Companion showed why it's on "non-commercial educational" radio - as one of the locals taught me in Columbus, you don't stub your toes. You "stump" them. I thought you stumped someone here by asking them to name the capital of Missouri.)

Near the end of the show, Garrison Keillor described Columbus as a "hotbed of social rest," where people in small cars would never be threatened by SUV drivers. He must have come to Columbus on Interstate 185, and not the J.R. Allen Parkway.

I don't listen to Prairie Home Companion often, and didn't realize what a big-time show it's become. Not only was it turned into a movie last year, the sponsors at the start of the weekend broadcast included Toyota. I can remember about 25 years ago, when the fictional Powdermilk Biscuits was the only commercial all they had.

E-MAIL UPDATE: We had to take a break from Hurtsboro Monday last week because we were ill. The people there apparently understood, because we received nothing new from them in the last seven days. The power of a blog to bring peace cannot be underestimated....

Before last Monday, we heard again from the Constable who watches Hurtsboro:


I will be brief! Your last Blog contained some inconsistencies - and I will try to clear them up! First of all I would remind your users that - I've never used anonyminity as a shield! I've attached a signature to ALL submissions! I find it cowardly to do otherwise!

Since the only two respondents have failed to identify themselves - and profess to speak for the multitudes - I will help them to attack me directly by the following means: R.J. Schweiger P.O. Box 71 Hurtsboro, AL. 36860 PH/FAX (334) 667-7856 E-mail

I will follow your lead in inviting correspondence. I probably will forward the most interesting (either pro or con) to you. Perhaps this will serve to smoke out these bushwhackers!

Footnotes: Mare What's Her Name can be reached at (334) 667-xxxx or (334) 667-xxxx and ask for Her Honor.

Bob Corwin is a Grant Writer who has successive failures in getting worthwhile Grants for The Hurtsboro Water Board. Just ask Joan York ( (334) 667-xxxx) and she can fill you in! Corwin's number is (334) 514-xxxx This Park project was to be "just a walk in the park" for him and an easy earned commission.

If you have any questions - just post them on the next "Hurt'sboro Monday.

Constable R.J. Schweiger

Since Mr. Schweiger asked to have his phone number listed, you see it here. But it's our policy NOT to post other people's phone numbers without their consent. (If you need one of those numbers, e-mail us.) We could violate their privacy, upset them - and then the messages about Hurtsboro REALLY would be one-sided.

We tried calling the two phone numbers for Mayor Shirley Tarver Sunday evening. One number brought what sounded like a fax machine. The other was a voice mailbox for "Junior Educators of Tomorrow." So Ms. Tarver apparently trains future teachers - and from her recent track record, I hope she's not teaching accounting.

So R.J. Schweiger denies he's the mysterious "Russell C. Ounti" - and Mr. Ounti does the same, in a 17 April snail mail to us. He wrote about the handwriting samples we posted two weeks ago: "I suppose DNA testing is next!" Sorry, but we're not that skilled with cotton swabs....

Mr. Ounti's main message to us this time was that in Hurtsboro, "The hand that once rocked the cradle -- now rocks the boat! Shame, Shame on the 'Men' of the town!" Why do so many people who can't stand female leaders forget about what Margaret Thatcher did in Britain?

R.C. Ounti also asks why there's been no effort to identify other e-mailers concerning Hurtsboro. That's because the "Concerned Citizen" who wrote weeks ago asked to remain anonymous, fearing reprisals by Constable Schweiger. But hold it - didn't Mr. Ounti tell me the Concerned Citizen left town? [2 Apr] If he knows who the citizen is, he can sign that message himself.

As for the contempt of court charges against Constable Schweiger: prosecutors have filed a motion in Russell County Court to continue the case until June 14. This could be playing into Mr. Schweiger's hands - having him rally supporters for a showdown on Flag Day.

We'll see what else happens in Hurtsboro as the weeks go by - and now let's check news headlines from Sunday:

+ Which former candidate for city office is on a mission to have security devices installed at all entrances to schools - even at college buildings? AND he wants his name put on the federal legislation?? It's nice to find people who refuse to exploit national catastrophes....

+ The CBS Evening News visited the Aflac Tower, to interview C.E.O. Dan Amos. But when reporter Marc Strassman was shown on the screen from "Columbus, Georgia," he stood in front of several skyscrapers. Either he really was in Atlanta, or that new Aflac complex near Woodruff Farm Road is very different from the blueprints.

(The CBS reporter followed Dan Amos to Country's Barbecue in midtown, and revealed the restaurant's owner owns Aflac stock. This may explain why the menu stops at chicken and turkey - not duck.)

+ METRA bus drivers competed against Macon drivers in a "roadeo" at South Commons. One category required bus drivers to make a very tight turn. I wish they'd teach Columbus SUV drivers how to do that - because many of them can't turn left without taking at least two lanes.

+ Jeff Gordon won the NASCAR race at Talladega, which Fox Sports announcer Darryl Waltrip declared "the capital of boogity." Oh really?! From what I saw at the end of the race, I thought it was the capital of beer can throwing.

+ The Atlanta Falcons finished the National Football League draft. One sixth-round choice was receiver Trey Lewis from Washburn University of Topeka, Kansas - where men's sports teams are called the Ichabods. If he can handle that nickname, he should be able to handle anything Michael Vick does.

+ Instant Message to the couple which reserved a web site for me, with my name on it: I appreciate your generosity - but I think I'll respectfully decline your gift. If I really become famous, that site might come in handy. But right now after several years online, I think it would only fuel the critics who think I'm on an ego trip.

COMING THIS WEEK: A loudmouthed lady at a laundry....

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As the sun rose ten years ago today, I was trying to drain my waterbed as quickly as I could. It wasn't because it had sprung a leak. It was because a moving company was coming - and I feared carrying a full mattress might leave me with a personal injury lawsuit.

BLOG SPECIAL EVENT: Today marks ten years since I moved to Columbus, from the south Atlanta suburbs. I gained a new job, an average six degrees in daily temperature -- and a longer-lasting car, because I fill my gas tank only about half as often.

I'd made a "scouting trip" to Columbus before the formal moving day, and selected an apartment. One place turned me down, because it offered a second-floor apartment - and the landlord quickly admitted the floor couldn't handle my waterbed. I don't handle it much nowadays myself. I haven't added any special chemicals in years, and the water doesn't look green yet.

But after the movers found a place for all my items, my new home didn't have electricity yet. So my first official night in Columbus was spent at the old "Heart of Columbus Motel" near 10th and Veterans Parkway. It's now the downtown EconoLodge - and I somehow doubt it charges the $25 I paid in 1997.

(I actually tried sleeping in my bed on the first night in Columbus. But the baseball RedStixx had a home game, and the Golden Park lights stayed on late into the night -- right through my curtainless window. Were there THAT many fans back then, for cleaning up the ballpark?)

Before I went to the motel, I jogged on the sidewalks of downtown Columbus on the evening of April 29. I went about 1.7 miles non-stop that night - and there wasn't much traffic on that Tuesday night to get in the way. Nowadays, of course, you have to dodge some obstacles. If the Streetscape doesn't get you, the tables for smokers might.

I've staged "anniversary runs" downtown every April 29 or so since I moved to Columbus. But I fear this evening's effort will not go well, since I'm still recovering from fluid on my lungs. I was happy to go 0.7 miles nonstop Saturday night, largely on the Riverwalk - and the pine trees near Golden Park simply were emitting too much carbon dioxide for my lungs to handle.

Until the power came on in my apartment, I ate dinner at restaurants for a few days. I found the "fast-food zones" on Veterans Parkway downtown, Victory Drive, and the 280 Bypass into Phenix City. This will seem so quaint 20 years from now - when youngsters learn there were places other than Columbus Park Crossing.

It's interesting to consider how much things have changed in Columbus, since I moved here in April 1997....

+ Bobby Peters was Mayor, not Judge - and he was engaged to a woman named Bobbi. If they had married, you could have had an interesting sequel to "Talladega Nights."

+ Columbus had a couple of radio stations with local news departments. Today, it has one - and sometimes I wonder if WDAK really counts.

+ The WRBL news anchors were Brad Means and Amanda Rossiter, and their faces were on billboards around town. Now Means is in Augusta, Rossiter reports for CNN - and I'm not sure that station can afford to buy billboard space anymore.

+ Columbus had two enclosed shopping malls - although they could have turned empty sections of Columbus Square into apartments back then, and people probably would have approved overwhelmingly.

+ A big dirt parking lot was available for city employees next to the Government Center. How all the staffers have coped since the RiverCenter was built, I'm not really sure....

+ The official web site of the newspaper was , as in "Ledger-Enquirer Online." Maybe if they had added a search engine with "Leo" the Lion on it, that name still would be in use.

+ The area had FoodMax supermarkets, and Montgomery Ward and Gayfer's stores at Peachtree Mall. The first two are gone now - and if Dillard's had any sense, they'd rename the Parisian store they just bought "Gayfer's" to fool people.

+ The city has lost one pro baseball team, two indoor football teams, one indoor soccer team and one minor league basketball team - yet somehow has changed men's basketball coaches at the university only once.

But in ten years, some things in Columbus have NOT changed. Tim Chitwood still handles "Monday Mail" in the newspaper. The Cottonmouths still play hockey, albeit in a different league. And amazingly, my rent has NOT increased since I moved in. Quietly drop the check in the slot every month, and sometimes the landlord forgets about you....

When I moved to Columbus ten years ago, I honestly thought I would miss living in metro Atlanta. But it turns out I don't miss my old home at all. I've grown comfortable here, despite all the changes in town and the challenges I've faced. But is it too much to ask for someone - ANYONE - to open a Cinnabon shop?

E-MAIL UPDATE: The hot topic of the moment is one of the biggest churches in Columbus - at least for one writer. This message actually reached us before the item we posted Saturday:

You said in an earlier blog [24 Apr] that you can imagine there are plenty of lies being told from the stage at Cascade Hills Church...and reference the fact that Bill has said that Jesus was born on December 25th. I have not heard that lie told, although I do believe that Bill Purvis accepts that date as the celebrated date for the birth of Christ. I have however heard him step up and say "Welcome to our third packed service". After looking around I realized that the seats were not full...and since I was there at the two other services volunteering my time I can testify that the other two services were less than half full....What gives Mr. Bill? Remember THE TRUTH SHALL SET YOU FREE. If by chance he did get wind of this statement he would laugh it off like it were no big deal...I mean its not that big of a lie now is it? Maybe we should look into some of those bigger the one about not taking a salary from the church.

Maybe you're misunderstanding what Pastor Bill Purvis meant -- and it was his third service packed full of folksy stories.

I've heard other people give misleading statements about attendance numbers, although it seems to happen more often in sports. How many times have I heard Marv Albert describe "capacity crowds" at basketball arenas, only to see empty seats near the court? Maybe those seats had fans which reached their capacity for alcohol too soon.

I attended one Saturday night service at Cascade Hills Church where Bill Purvis talked about the thousands of people on the membership rolls. He openly admitted half the listed members don't show up for services -- and to be blunt, that's true at a lot of churches of different denominations. You're only dropped from the rolls if you ask to be. But if you're not attending already, would you think to do that?

More comments about Cascade Hills are being held for our next Saturday religious discussion. Now let's see what's making news on this anniversary weekend:

+ WRBL revealed a strange twist in the Hispanic home invasion murder case. The mother of two suspects was arrested, on charges of conducting her OWN home invasion during March.

+ Auburn University trustees approved a five-percent tuition increase for next fall. Add up all the increases since 2001, and Auburn tuition has jumped at least 50 percent. I won't mention the exact amount, because it might be on the football team's math final exam.

+ The Atlanta Falcons's top choice in the pro football draft was Arkansas defensive end Jamaal Anderson. Huh -- ANOTHER one?!?! Was he required to dance the "Dirty Bird" at the combine?

SCHEDULED MONDAY: Our "Prairie Home Companion" review (we have to wait for the Sunday replay)....

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Friday, April 27, 2007


(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've apparently struck a chord in recent weeks with a reader who used to attend Cascade Hills Church. He's written us several times about the church and its pastor. One of them included this P.S. of sorts:

Thoughts for the day--

The meek might inherit the earth, but they have no place in Bill Purvis Ministries.

The poor you will have with you always....but not at Bill Purvis Ministries please.

Dishonesty...Its not just for liars anymore

Jesus wept... Now I think I know why.

At the risk of sounding like Dr. Phil McGraw - do you think this writer has some issues with Mr. Purvis?

What does it mean first to be "meek?" If you remember old Chips Ahoy cookie commercials, "Mort Meek" was a quiet nerd - wearing horn-rimmed glasses and reading books all day. It's a wonder he could transform into the superhero "Cookieman," because he seemed to get no exercise at all.

We can find two Biblical examples of meekness in Jesus (he said so in Matthew 11) and Moses (called so by God in Numbers 12). Both were accused of taking too much authority on themselves - sort of like what the President and Democrats in Congress are accusing each other of doing now with Iraq.

Those two famous examples of meekness were NOT always quiet wimps. Jesus became enraged twice, and turned over temple tables. Moses went before Pharaoh several times, to demand Israel leave Egypt. Yet by and large, God blessed their efforts. So it appears something in their "internal" kept them from being considered "infernal."

My secular dictionary says meek people have "patience and humility." If people leave Cascade Hills Church in a huff because of faults they find with the pastor, maybe they should ask if THEY fit the definition themselves. You lose the point in tennis if you double-fault, you know....

As for the poor: a "church health report" we picked up at Cascade Hills last year showed the church has support classes in divorce and financial management. The two can be connected, you know - if a husband is saddled with big child support and alimony payments

But Cascade Hills Church is known as a tithing church - and that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Bible endorses tithing. It's the humans who like to squirm out of it -- such as the late Johnny Hart's "B.C." comic strip, where a man promises to tithe at "the usual three percent."

Tithing really means giving ten percent, and that can sound like a scary commitment at first. But if you have a big income, it might help you get a refund at tax time (check Form 1040, Schedule A). And remember, the federal government takes a tithe from your paycheck already -- so it's the old-fashioned combination of "God and country."

This writer certainly suggests Cascade Hills Church has a pastor who's a liar. I need more evidence of that, before I reach a conclusion one way or another. But if you have suspicions about your minister, should you go to that minister about it? Should you write the newspaper, or e-mail a blogger? Do you go all the way, as I've actually seen people do - and hold silent pickets outside services every weekend?

It's easy to decide you can't change a minister's mind on something, especially if there's a question of Bible teaching or doctrine at stake. But after doing a study from Scripture, I've concluded there are times when it's OK for a Christian to speak up and complain. You have to be careful how you do it. And I certainly don't think swear words will get you anywhere.

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A perfect rainbow arched above the Historic District for a while Thursday evening. But it should have been the evening other things showed up - such as artists, vendors and giant grills for cooking barbecue. About the only cooks I saw on a sunset walk were Trade Center workers huddled under a gazebo.

On any other last weekend in April, today would mark the launch of Riverfest -- the annual street party which had a mix of local art and funnel cakes, and musicians ranging from the Dixie Chicks to James Brown to local groups. Not to mention the convicts doing "community service" by cleaning it all up on Sunday night....

On any other last weekend in April, cooking teams would have been preparing for the "Pig Jig" in the vicinity of Seventh and Broadway. Unless, of course, the event had to be called off because of all the hog farms suddenly placed under quarantine.

But alas, this is NOT any other last weekend in April -- because this year, there is no Riverfest. The Historic Columbus Foundation decided to cancel it for this year. Yet my GPB program guide doesn't show any "This Old House" marathon is on, to warrant this move....

Attendance at Riverfest dropped 70 percent in a five-year span, so the Historic Columbus Foundation decided to take a year off to regroup. If it works for them, the Columbus Catfish might be inspired to do the same thing and move out of town.

So what's the Historic Columbus Foundation with its free time, on what should have been Riverfest weekend? We called the office Thursday afternoon to find out. A man named Ben answered the phone, and indicated the Foundation simply was conducting its usual business. I think that means they're counting the days until the next thing becomes historic.

Ben told your blog the Historic Columbus Foundation has a "Riverfest Task Force," which is considering its options for the future. That's about all he's allowed to say publicly. Anyone who leaks more details might have to wear the pig mascot all weekend next year.

But when we specifically asked if Ben could say for sure there will be a 2008 Riverfest, his answer was intriguing: "I can't answer that right now." So he opened the possibility that what was first billed as a one-year break might be something more - and the civil rights groups which threatened a boycott two years ago can start one of their own.

The Historic Columbus Foundation had an alternative fund-raising event last November. Ben told me a 40th anniversary dinner was held, featuring a speech by political historian Doris Kearns Goodwin. I don't recall this dinner or this guest - which must show why we need a foundation like this.

Ben said the November dinner brought in a good amount of money for the Historic Columbus Foundation. But he noted you only have a 40th anniversary celebration once. Of course, some older women never seem to have a 40th birthday at all....

The Riverfest Task Force may be weighing its future plans carefully, in light of all the other events that have rushed to fill its annual spot on the calendar. Consider what's scheduled this weekend:

1. Public radio's "Prairie Home Companion" live at the RiverCenter. It will be interesting to see if the cast brings tumbleweeds, to make it more lifelike.

2. A country music concert at the Civic Center, featuring Brad Paisley. One of these days Prince should perform with him, to bring "Paisley Park" full-circle.

3. A Sunday afternoon outdoor music bash, on the lawn next to the Columbus State University RiverPark campus. That happens to be the old site of Riverfest -- so who's bringing the corn on a stick?

4. A four-day free outdoor seminar, presented by Seventh-Day Adventists at the Phenix City Amphitheater. The Adventists once offered health screenings at Riverfest - so this event on being free from fear could mean everyone's in good shape now.

5. Auburn CityFest in Kiesel Park. Unlike most years of Riverfest, dog-walking actually is welcomed there.

6. Jubilee CityFest in Montgomery has been moved up a month, from Memorial Day weekend to this weekend. Are they planning a jazz funeral, for what ought to be their competition?

7. "Fiesta Columbus," which actually has its second year next week at South Commons. We'll see if the illegal immigration protesters actually show up this time.

It's that last event which actually seems to pose the biggest long-term threat to Riverfest. Fiesta Columbus is put on by the Civic Center, as opposed to a nonprofit group like the Historic Columbus Foundation. That can mean a Columbus Lions game during the Fiesta, while.... hey, wait a minute! Why don't they play football games on the grass in the middle of Broadway?

E-MAIL UPDATE: We started with a rainbow sighting, and now we have a message on a rainbow of topics....

Richard, The new traffic light has finally been installed at the intersection of Opelika Rd and Cutrate Rd in Phenix City. January 2006 it was announced that the light would be installed because of the large number of traffic accidents at the intersection. So.... 15 months and many more accidents later the light is finally installed and operational. That's an example of why people talk about government being so slow. I wonder how long it would have taken a private contractor to install the light.

By the way the last time I went to the Armour Rd Urgent Care Center I only had a 30 minute wait but then again I showed up right before closing time.

Since Deborah Owens has her own site and you have provided links to it I think it's unnecessary for you to print all her lengthy essays reference the Library Board. Anyone who is interested can go to her site to read them. I fear if you're not careful she will take over your interesting and funny blog.


I don't know how much time would have been saved in installing that traffic light -- but it probably would have been done at a very Cut-rate.

Be careful what you wish for, though. Some parts of the country have privatized toll roads. Now they're owned by companies based in other countries, and charging whatever they please. Next thing you know, you'd have to pay in "euros" instead of dollars - and our country is sunk.

Sometimes I've wondered if some writers to this blog are attempting their own version of a "hostile takeover." Longtime readers will remember the
"IsOurCitySafe" e-mailer, who wanted changes in city government to improve public safety. I haven't heard from him since Jim Wetherington became Mayor - so maybe he's helping Bob Poydasheff find full-time work.

Speaking our public safety, that begins our check of Thursday news headlines....

+ The National Insurance Crime Bureau declared Columbus has the highest car theft rate in Georgia, and 23rd highest in the country. Police suggested not enough people lock their cars at gas stations. Maybe that's because a tank of gas can cost more than some older cars.

+ G.B.I. agents were called to Talbotton Central High School, amid concerns about a mysterious package outside an administration building. It turned out a teacher apparently misplaced a bag. If students are told to put their names on all their belongings, why not the teachers?

+ WXTX "News at Ten" talked to contractors on Manchester Expressway, who explained the controversial repaving project outside Miller Road is NOT finished yet. Drivers apparently only think it is, because crews switched to the other side of the road. I think this approach is known as equal opportunity bumpiness.

+ The Columbus Chamber of Commerce named Carrabba's restaurant its "Small Business Giant of the Year." The business qualified for the small business category by not going beyond "Table 31."

+ A local group announced it's bought full ownership of the Columbus Lions indoor football team. So the team changed owners, after only seven games?! Coach Jason Gibson had better keep winning....

+ New national rankings showed Columbus State is the top-rated Division II softball team in the country. The Lady Cougars have won 50 games - which puts them above about half the teams in the pro basketball playoffs.

+ The Georgia high school soccer playoffs opened, with Brookstone's girls rolling over Rutland 8-0. The visitors might as well have invited Dr. Carole Rutland to play with them....

SCHEDULED THIS WEEKEND: An e-mailer's "thoughts" about a mega-church.... and a Blog Special Event that's been a long time coming....

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Thursday, April 26, 2007


A national campaign came to downtown Columbus Wednesday. It featured a man rumored to be a presidential candidate. But he was NOT in town to talk about elections or politics. Does this mean Georgia has dropped to "second-tier" status for the 2008 primary?

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich addressed the Columbus Rotary Club - but his focus was on diabetes education. For political reporters, this is a bit like Barack Obama coming to your town to lead a panel discussion on National Malaria Awareness Day.

Newt Gingrich actually made his second visit here in two years, promoting a project called "Healthy Columbus." If I had known he was coming, I would have asked for a second opinion on the fluid in my lungs....

The national campaign Newt Gingrich is leading is called Healthy Transformations. It emphasizes making the right choices in terms of diet and exercise, to avoid developing diabetes. Come to think of it, I ought to be eating more fruit-filled doughnuts.

Newt Gingrich says one key to diabetes prevention is getting 30 minutes of exercise every day. We'd like to thank Columbus gas stations for supporting this - because if prices keep going up, a lot more people will be walking to work.

Newt Gingrich warned diabetes is a family issue, because children could develop blindness and kidney disease if the problem isn't treated quickly. Isn't this an amazing discovery? There actually IS something where if young people don't stop it, they'll go blind.

It's all very simple to Newt Gingrich. As he explained to WRBL, proper diet and exercise will prevent diabetes, allow you to live longer - "and the cheaper you'll be." You knew the supply-side economics side of him would come out at some point....

Newt Gingrich wants Columbus hospitals to offer low-cost diabetes screenings to people younger than 65, who aren't covered by Medicare. If he can convince Summit Hospital in Phenix City to offer this, it might only be available for a couple of months - before the money runs out.

All the diabetes awareness is nice and noble. But c'mon here - Newt Gingrich tends to show up among the top five names, in Republican polls about Presidential candidates. People in that league like to get "TV face time" anyway they can get it....

But Newt Gingrich officially is "on the fence" when it comes to the 2008 Presidential race. He told Columbus reporters again Wednesday he'll make a decision about that later in the year -- perhaps after Republicans decide Rudolph Giuliani is too liberal, Mitt Romney is too much of a Mormon, and John McCain has too loose a mouth.

You may not realize Newt Gingrich has Columbus roots. He graduated from the old Baker High School. Asked about that building Wednesday, Gingrich said he understood why the Muscogee County School District has put it up for sale. If his picture isn't hanging in a distinguished graduate hallway....

E-MAIL UPDATE: Our illness has put up a bit behind on your messages. Let's start with a reply to an e-mail complaint from Sunday:

The repaving of Manchester Expressway is the worst paving job I have ever seen. I have asked these questions of the DOT.

Where were the highway inspectors as the work progressed?

Why was the contractor allowed to continue on the western leg after they so obviously did an unacceptable job on the eastern section?

Why won't the DOT answer questions about the job?

How many millions of tax dollars been paid to the contractor?

The writer has sent us no answer to the questions yet - so perhaps the Georgia Department of Transportation has orders from the local Library Board to keep quiet.

I'd be asking if the state is allowed to change contractors on a road project like this, in the middle of the work. This could be a case where a contract is a contract from start to finish - and you can't make four changes a game, like Bobby Cox does.

All the complaints in the newspaper and here may be accomplishing something. I understand work crews are back on Manchester Expressway this week, trying to level the road. So much for the theory that Bill Heard is about to add a Hummer dealership, and needs a test track.

And speaking of Mr. Heard, here's a comment on our main Wednesday topic:

Mr B.

Where does one go when they are no longer employable of by Bill Heard Chevy of Columbus?... Bill Heard Baptist of Columbus of course. Interestingly enough a former hi up at Bill Heard Is now making six figures at Bill Heard Baptist doing "community relations" no doubt.

Give me that Old Time religion....


"Community relations" at a church?! Some of us can remember when this was called door-to-door preaching.

Several of you have e-mailed to express concern about our illness, and we thank all of you for your kind words. Here's one message from Ohio:

Glad to hear you are going to be OK. From the cryptic note at the top of your blog I wondered. Then when Boris Yeltsin kicked off, well you know they say it happens in threes.

Over the years I have had to take my wife to the emergency room a number of times. I'm quite certain someone could expire there and they wouldn't notice for hours.

One time a guy came staggering up to the check in desk clutching his chest and complaining of chest pains. Obviously they scrambled, got him a wheelchair and taken right back. About 30 minutes later he comes strutting out of there. Don't know what his problem was but those who had been waiting for hours were not amused. He's lucky they didn't beat him to death.

Glad you are back


Thanks for your.... hey, wait a minute! Comparing me to Boris Yeltsin?! Do you think someone hired a Russian spy to put poison in my dinner?!

(Come to think of it, maybe we should expect more spy antics like that during this year. After all, it's 2-007.)

When I had painful breathing problems early Sunday morning, I really didn't give much thought to visiting the emergency room. I go to Urgent Care centers instead, because that's what emergency room staffs recommend. And early on a Sunday morning, I might have been the only person in the E.R. who hadn't been out partying for hours.

After three days of the three-part prescription plan, I'm sleeping in bed again - and fairly comfortably at that. The pain around the rib cage is gone, to make that possible. But I'm still prone to occasional coughing fits - although I can't really compare my "hacking" to a teenage computer geek anymore.

OVERHEARD OVER HERE: A man in a Columbus office walks by a TV set, and sees this year's best-known American Idol contestant.

"Is that that guy - Sanjay Gupta?"

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. 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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Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The list of finalists has been announced for Southeast "Green Eyeshade Awards" in investigative journalism. A familiar Columbus name is on it, but you'd never guess which one. Sorry, Tim Chitwood - your shift to city government reporting at the Ledger-Enquirer didn't quite do it.

A Nashville TV station is nominated for a Green Eyeshade Award, for a series of investigative reports on Bill Heard Chevrolet. Bill Heard has a dealership there, as it does in Columbus and other cities - but in Nashville, there seems to be a large number of complaints. So "Mr. Big Volume" seems to be more like Mr. Big Trouble.

Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville has several pages all to itself on WTVF's web site. And to the delight of everyone, they do NOT include one of those annoying "brought to you by" sponsor ads....

WTVF's first report on Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville aired last July. It focused on a man who signed a contract to buy a used pickup truck, paid $8,100 for it - then discovered the dealership repossessed his truck in the middle of the night, and put it back on sale. The customer's check didn't bounce. The salesman apparently feared he would be -- as in fired.

A salesperson from Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville apparently decided something was wrong, and the customer needed to pay $10,000 extra for his pickup. They warn customers about reading the fine print of contracts - but you'd think the dealership would do the same thing.

Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville blamed what happened with the pickup on a rookie salesperson's mistake -- and it told WTVF the customer should have realized the $8,100 sale price was wrong. Based on the deals offered on "Super Shows," I probably would never have guessed that. I would have guessed the truck had a hidden engine leak of some sort.

That report by WTVF apparently led to other complaints, because a second close-up on Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville aired in November. A woman claimed a salesperson left her an answering machine message after buying a car, telling her the dealership ripped her off. That's the sort of up-front honesty the Better Business Bureau likes to see....

Former managers at Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville admitted customers were given blank sales contracts to sign - and bosses filled in the price lines later, sometimes for thousands of dollars more than promised. If the salesperson winks more than once during the sales process, be skeptical.

Another tactic by Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville involved letting people drive unfinanced cars. The customers thought they had car loans, but learned weeks later they didn't. At times like that, I could understand repossessing a car in the middle of the night - when the customer is at home, and can get a ride to work with a neighbor.

Then there were the customers who claimed Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville inflated their income on car loan applications, to get them qualified for vehicles they couldn't afford. One unemployed woman was listed as having an $80,000 job - as if the sales staff doubles as a team of faith preachers.

Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville admitted to WTVF in November it was "working very hard to correct any problems of the past." That's nice to know - and from the stack of complaints at the Better Business Bureau's Nashville office, the company attorneys aren't missing any paychecks.

WTVF recently won a national "Headliner" award for its probe of Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville. And the Tennessee Consumer Affairs Office is conducting its own investigation. It would only be fair if managers engaged in fraud were arrested around 3:30 in the morning.

Bill Heard Chevrolet has its world headquarters in Columbus - so why haven't you heard much about all these troubles in Tennessee? Actually, I have heard hints about them in recent months. But plenty of people have complaints concerning car dealers. Take the Phenix City Council, which is running them off 14th Street....

Since WTVF is a CBS station, WRBL would be the most likely Columbus TV station to show the reports on Bill Heard Chevrolet. Perhaps the staff never has known about the story. And now that the Country Music Association Awards has changed networks, there's little need for them to go to Nashville anymore.

An archive search Tuesday night at the Ledger-Enquirer's web site found no mention of the complaints or investigation of Bill Heard Chevrolet of Nashville. But I found a lot of sports stories with "Bill Heard" and "Tennessee" in them - so when are they renaming the Nashville football stadium after him?

But there may be another reason why Columbus news outlets have been quiet regarding Bill Heard's troubles in Tennessee. The car dealer spends a lot of money on advertising. Would you risk bringing up something that could cost you a sizeable percentage of your income? But then again, how much business would Bill Heard have by only advertising in the Phenix Citizen-News....

E-MAIL UPDATE: On Sunday we posted one e-mail from Deb Owens about the Muscogee County Library Board. Since then, she's e-mailed us several more times about the topic. E-mail addiction can be dangerous, you know....

Some of her items are repetitious, so we're trimming the e-mails a bit for that reason. But Ms. Owens begins by looking ahead to next Tuesday:

Dear Richard, On Tues, May 1, a council vote will be taken for what to do with the SPLOST 6 MILLION. We cannot get phone numbers and here are some problems we cannot address without speaking with the Library Board members. Committees are not listed-minutes are not provided. The Library board meets this Thurs. if anyone would like to attend.

We feel that the Library Board and Directors are acting irresponsibly and we would like to see the Library Board/Directors disbanded. The Library Board is operating outside of the law.

The Library Board operates in secret- without accountability- without the public being able to find out who the members/committee members are, with contact info. The board apparently feels completely comfortable- by avoiding all responsibility of interaction with the public or providing the public the public's record. They operate like a bunch of NAZIS.

The only viable option is to have the Library Board disbanded and to replace it with someone who is elected, either the School Board or an elected Library Board. Considering the Library Board's abysmal failure to provide open government and the sculpture debacle with secret unannounced meetings in private offices, with unauthorized contractual agreements for the people's money, and all the while for about 8-9 months the newspaper not reporting it. NO ONE SPOKE UP.

Now, the loss of Mr. Rothschild, with his recent resignation, proves the unworthiness of the group to act in a responsible manner.

The Board is acting outside of the law:

1. Library Board Members, Directors, Committees, and the members contact information are not available to the public, are not on the website, nor are proper-working emails, and phone numbers are NOT made available upon request to the Library Director, Ms Claudya Muller. (Does it sound like a foreign country?)

2. Meeting times, agendas, and most importantly Meeting Minutes are not on the website.

3. The many Committees, and the Committee members, with meeting times, agendas, and Meeting Minutes are not available on the website.

4. Ms. Muller will not comply with the Sunshine Laws and even state the names of the committees, nor the times they meet, nor the members of the committees.

5. Ms. Muller will not send them in email-though they have been requested numerous times. (you can see her responses on my group

6. Ms. Muller will not email any MINUTES AT ALL. She has steadfastly refused dozens of requests, with written refusals. She is in direct violation of the Sunshine Law and since i have now requested them of the entire board i know they are also in direct violation of the Sunshine law.

7. All members ignore emails.

If I printed all of the emails I have sent requesting minutes, I would endanger the world's supply of paper.

Ms. Muller's excuses for not placing the members info, meeting minutes and budget on the website have been:

1. They cannot email minutes because the minutes are not digitized (they are in longhand?)

2. They cannot put members names, contact info, MINUTES, and list committees, with relevant info on the website because:

a) they do not have time

b) they do not have man power

c) they do not have trained personnel

d) the library is operated by volunteers and they do not have technical expertise

e) they cannot pay more for the server- for extra pages-(untrue)

f) no one visited the members page before so they took them down

g) why should she send them when I can make an appointment and sit in her office and read them (they are her responsibility and she must protect them)

Has the woman ever thought of strolling to the computer section of the books (she is in a library-right) and educating herself?

May I request that the Library Board/Directors comply with the law and provide minutes via email, as the minutes are in a digitized format the second they are composed on a computer, and not only has Ms. McGreggor said she uses a computer to compose minutes, in the past, but she has emailed minutes to me. Again, they are digitized the minute they are put in a computer---The Sunshine Law, which i have sent to you states:

Please see section 7 B of the Sunshine Laws, It states:

"Records maintained by computer shall be made available where practicable by electronic means, including Internet access, subject to reasonable security restrictions preventing access to nonrequested or
nonavailable records."

The minutes are available and should be provided to anyone who asks for them. If they were placed on the website there would be no need to provide them to anyone because then anyone could print them in the Library from the Library website, or at their home from the Library website. That would be the most efficient method of providing minutes to the public- as the only time ever spent in providing minutes would be the few minutes it takes to place them on the website.

The website is a universal source of information. All other local governing bodies have superb websites. The City has one of the finest websites in the world, and they and the Board of Education have their meeting minutes on their websites. Both the City Council and the Board of Education are elected. The Library Board is not elected and there feel no accountability to the public.

Again, outside the law:

1. refusal to send member contact-phone and accurate emails

2. refusal to send names of committees

3. refusal to send committee meeting times & agendas

4. refusal to send committee member names and contacts

5. refusal to send committee meeting minutes

6. refusal to send meeting minutes

Ethics violations-the entire board-directors.

Library Board- Until the determination of how to best have the Library Board accountable to the public through elections or disbandment- please comply with the law.

Thank You,

Deborah Owens

AboutColumbusGA Yahoo Group

First things first - how did Ms. Owens find out the Library Board is meeting Thursday, considering it's not posted online? (And at what time and location?) Oh yeah, I forgot. Most libraries still have reference desks.

Comparing a Library Board to "a bunch of Nazis" is quite a statement. Last time I checked, most librarians were still against banning books....

If I remember correctly, Ms. Owens asked all sorts of questions about the Library Board committees a couple of years ago, during the Albert Paley statue debate. Then all of a sudden, the names of committee members showed up on the central library's stairway walls - in the form of several giant plaques.

People deeply concerned about the Library Board and its committees would have used the 2005 mess to note all the committees and their memberships (I recall the City Manager was on at least one of them), and then started attending the meetings to keep track of what happens. If Ms. Owens has been unable to do it, maybe the two or three others who attended those meetings could help her out.

Shortly after that e-mail, along came this one:

Dear Richard,

City Council will decide on MAY 1, what to do with the $7 Million in LIBRARY SPLOST MONEY. THE LIBRARY HAS SUGGESTED BURNING IT ALL OFF WITH some things that can only be considered maintenance-that way a park cannot be built-there will be no money for it and the School Board members who are developers can have a field day developing the property. Pls see my group for specific laws that might be used to account for such abuse of office

One of the things they want to spend it on is $1 Million in Genealogy. Please see my group for details on that duplication of local resources and Genealogy scams.

So far the paper is not reporting this. A Library Board member is the wife of the former publisher of the paper. You may remember that the paper did not report on the sculpture purchase for months, though the reporter was in the meetings for months, reporting was not done until after the contract was signed and the former publisher of the paper's wife is the ONE who was pushing for the purchase of that sculpture. Your blog is therefore vital to the public's right to know.

We feel that the Library Board and Directors are acting irresponsibly and we would like to see the Library Board/Directors disbanded. The Library Board is operating outside of the law and is not accountable to the people as they are not elected and will not interact with the pubic or release full contact info.

The Library Board operates in secret- without accountability-without the public being able to find out who the members/committee members are, with contact info. The committees are not even listed on the website and it is like pulling teeth to get them to tell you who they even are. They refused to tell me. The board apparently feels completely comfortable- by avoiding all responsibility of interaction with the public or providing the public the public's record. They operate like a bunch of NAZIS. Contact with them and the record-MINUTES- ARE VITAL TO KEEP UP WITH WHAT THEY ARE DOING NOW....

To the Library Board- Until the determination of how to best have the Library Board accountable to the public through elections or disbandment-Please comply with the law, please provide minutes to citizens when requested.

Thank You,

Deborah Owens


AboutColumbusGA Yahoo Group

Anyone can join, one must join to post. Posts cannot be altered. Anyone can read archives. Contact me for more info.

(if you publish this can you please leave my entire signature block as is so that people can contact me? thx-d)

From the top: one million dollars is a lot of money to spend on genealogy. I'd think a membership in would cost a bit less than that.

Perhaps the Ledger-Enquirer waited to mention the Albert Paley sculpture not because a former publisher's wife was involved, but because there was no signed contract. Or perhaps the reporter was as certain as the Library Board that everyone actually would like that art work....

But stop right here: this blog is "vital to the public's right to know"?! If you're looking for this blog to be a news alternative to the TV stations and newspaper, you're asking for more than I'm able to do (see point 2, subpoints a, b and d in the second list above) -- and you're misunderstanding what this blog is all about. I don't have income from this blog even to pay for my prescriptions, much less have reporters at all the committee meetings you want watched.

Check the top right corner of this blog again: "One man's often-humorous views." While we sometimes break news stories here, the emphasis is on humor. I'm not sure some people in Hurtsboro or in Columbus city government would agree with that, but that's what we try to do....

If you're pleading for this blog to become the successor to WRCG's Talkline and a "Crusader Rabbit" for small groups by investigating wide-ranging causes, then I give you two choices. Either I surrender this blog and walk away, since I can't satisfy your need. Or you start your own blog and go for it yourself. Blogs are free to create -- and I think sometimes the library even offers classes in making them.

I know from personal experience that I will upset Ms. Owens if I touch her "signature block." So it's there - even though prior posts have included links to her group, and we normally keep e-mail addresses off this blog as a courtesy to shield against unwanted spam. If she suddenly receives 100 offers of look-alike Rolex watches, don't blame me.

A third e-mail followed this one, requested by someone visiting that "All About Columbus" group:

Dear Richard;

Directors link- clarification-Board & Directors & Committees

My Funny Blogger- said this....

Well, not so fast here. I searched around the Columbus Library web site Saturday night, and found a list of Library Board members rather easily. Wouldn't a truly loyal library patron open a phone book from there, to get some of the other details?

First of all, some of them have unlisted phone numbers. At any rate their contact info should be posted. They are government officials as Library Directors and their contact info is subject to open records laws....

The link you cited is one which lists The Directors.

You will note that they have no contact info. The Library will not provide phone numbers for them either. If you do happen to get one of them on the phone they most likely will not provide info on the others-at least the ones i have asked would not. Most will slam the phone down when you call. If the library gives out emails you will be lucky if you get one half that work. They refuse to provide phone numbers....So that handles the Directors...but what about the Board--you know The Infamous Library Board?

They are not listed. Their names ARE NOT LISTED>


THE RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL FOR THE EXPENDITURES USING THE $7 Million ($6 million and almost $1 Million in interest which the city is holding and which the city refuses to admit belongs to the Library money (pls see my group for the Attorney General's Opinion on SPLOST INTERST-use- INTEREST FOLLOWS PRINCIPLE) and oh, btw, the city refuses open records requests on the dollar amounts and use and placement of the interest)- so the Library Board's all important committees are secret. We don't even have the names of the Board members.

Unless someone has an old newspaper, they are out of luck on finding out who the Library Board members are. They don't want anyone to know who they are.

The Library Director will not send Committee members and names of the different Committees to me.

You will remember that the sculpture purchase was accomplished in a committee. We had two basic dissenters Rothschild and Hyles, who wrote that superb piece in the paper.

So, Committee minutes are vital and they will not provide any info leading to opening up the secret workings of the Library and its surrounds.

We need to know which committees selected which expenditures and with what rationale. That is why we need minutes of the meetings. Without the official record we can do nothing and they can do anything and that is precisely why they are not releasing records.

Thank You,

Deborah Owens

AboutColumbusGA Yahoo Group

Thank you first for clearing up my confusion, between a "Board of Directors" and the Library Board. I recall from a couple of years ago that First Baptist Church Pastor Jimmy Elder was on the Library Board - so are we daring to say a Baptist preacher is a pseudo-Nazi?

You can microscopically analyze committee minutes and budget lines to your heart's desire. But one lesson from the Albert Paley fiasco is that if enough people in Columbus grumble and complain about a decision, top officials listen and the decision can be undone. That seems to make this city a bit different from the current U.S. Department of Justice.

BIG PREDICTION UPDATE: Well, I was almost right. The judges praised Melissa R. in every way, but they declared a New York "Knick City Dancer" named Asia the next Pussycat Doll. I guess this will make her Siamese....

Now to some less distracting stuff, which we learned on Tuesday:

+ The Russell County Sheriff's Office told WRBL it will open a substation in a travel trailer, parked in Pittsview. Huh - Pittsview, but not Hurtsboro?! Is this because Pittsview is a more dangerous place? Or is Sheriff Tommy Boswell concerned those roaming Hurtsboro thugs will hook up the trailer to a truck, and haul it away?

+ Russell County opened the Alabama High School baseball playoffs by conquering Montgomery Lee 9-1. One thing stood out to me as I watched the highlights on the 11:00 news -- I don't think a player named Rasmus was mentioned even once.

+ Montevallo mauled Columbus State in college baseball 19-6. The game was shortened to seven innings, by the "mercy rule." They don't have this sort of thing in soccer - and then critics say soccer is a wimpy sport.

+ Columbus native Sam Mitchell was named N.B.A. Coach of the Year, for winning a division title with the Toronto Raptors. I admit I had my doubts about his future last summer. But Toronto made the playoffs while Boston, New York and Philadelphia did not - showing why old-timers say pro basketball is in serious trouble.

+ Instant Message to Eckerd Drugs on Wynnton Road: Your prescription medicines are helping me heal, so thank you for that. But I hope you take my suggestion to heart - and please move the back pain items off the bottom shelf next to the floor. Not all of us shop for those things with grandchildren.

SCHEDULED THURSDAY: Another blog reader asking plenty of questions....

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Monday, April 23, 2007


"How are you today?" the doctor asked as he entered the examination room Monday. If I'm the only other person in the room and it's an "Urgent Care" center, you'd think the answer to that question would be obvious....

I spent all morning Monday at an Urgent Care center, after developing what might be called "Version 3.0" of an illness which has lingered in my body for a month. I can thoroughly relate to that "P.C." guy in the Apple computer commercial - but I wasn't sure which person should be handed my peripherals.

The latest version came upon me Friday afternoon, as pain began building around my rib cage. It reached the point over the weekend where I was breathing heavily simply to stand up or sit down - and "heavy" seemed to be only about 30 percent of lung capacity. So it was a Columbus election sort of "heavy."

It also reached the point where I couldn't sleep in my waterbed the last three nights. Every point of contact between my aching back and the bed seemed to cry out for personal negotiations.

I slept as best I could two nights in a computer room lounge chair. But early Sunday a "last resort" attempt to sleep worked only when I sat straight up on the floor next to my bed, with bedding piled on a corner of the bed for resting my head. This situation was dangerously close to yoga.

A fever started coming and going with the pain. In fact, as of Monday night my temperature had returned to 101 degrees F. But then again, it was right after I got off the phone with a telemarketer....

After checking my vital conditions Monday, the Urgent Care doctor told me to get a chest X-ray. He wanted to see if anything unusual might be in my lungs. isions of second-hand smoke from my late mother's Salem cigarettes went dancing through my head.

I was escorted to the X-ray room - but we opened the door to find an exasperated-looking patient inside. He apparently had waited an hour before HIS X-ray, and didn't want to be delayed again. Maybe his urgent problem is similar to Garfield the cat's - being allergic to Mondays.

"You might want to move your beverage," said the X-ray assistant with a very British accent as she noticed a cup in my hand.

"No, that's no beverage. That's everything I coughed up since I walked in the door." For some reason, the staff decided against putting that gunk under a microscope for examination.

(Smart comedians learn to tailor their material to their audience. So I told the British X-ray assistant a bit later: "I'd call it the F.A. Cup - except you don't spell phlegm with an F.")

I wound up undergoing two rounds of chest X-rays instead of one - because the plate of the side view came out blank the first time around. I couldn't resist asking the assistant: "Time to change the batteries in that camera?"

The second round of X-rays came out OK - and then the doctor returned with the best diagnosis he could give. I have "bilateral pleural diffusion." I think this was how U.S.-Soviet relations were handled when Richard Nixon was President....

(It was in the Urgent Care waiting room that I heard on Fox News Channel about the death of former Russian President Boris Yeltsin. The doctors ought to think about their patients, and turn the TV to a channel that's more encouraging and uplifting -- you know, like C-SPAN.)

But I digress: the doctor explained I have some kind of fluid at the bottom of my lungs. So he issued three different prescriptions - an antibiotic which hopefully will take care of that, a big-league syrup for my cough, and a blue-and-orange pill to stop runny noses. These Auburn fans always give themselves away....

I wound up spending a bit more than three hours in the Urgent Care center. I may have been to blame for part of that, because I didn't realize I was supposed to return completed forms to the reception desk. But all in all, the sign outside saying "You're sick, we're quick" may need to be changed on Mondays.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Enough about me - someone has noticed our recent comments about Cascade Hills Church and its pastor:

have you noticed that not only does dr. Purvis have a nice new television program that furthers the separation of himself from Cascade Hills...He also has himself some nice new hair plugs and a shiny new Lexus to go with his Hummer.

Many former members have had to stop going to his church for several reasons... One being the fact that it is HIS church and not a house of worship inhabited by the Holy Spirit. In fact I suspect, the Holy Spirit is not allowed an opinion there... unless of course He can pen a large enough check and present a convincing tithing testimony.

If people had any idea how many lies were told from that stage they would be amazed. Some of us old and former memebers do. Maybe we should ask some of the old members that have been run off from "Cascade Hills Formally Baptist Church" to start making a list of the lies they are aware of. I suspect the list would be a long one.

Ya know if one didn't know better they might think Doc P had hired Jim Baker as a consultant...what's next an air conditioned dog house?



Aw, c'mon - hair plugs?! I know the Bible talks about God numbering the hairs on your head, but really....

It's been a long time since I visited Cascade Hills Church, so I have no idea what sort of car Bill Purvis drives. But if it's a Lexus, apparently they did NOT let keep the $100,000 "fully-loaded Porsche" he showed on the platform one weekend.

But one thing concerned me the last time I went to Cascade Hills Church. The in-house "bookstore" seemed to consist entirely of Bill Purvis's sermon series. It didn't look like you could buy a Bible - which means you'd better like the one they give you as a new member.

Yes, I can envision lies are being told from the stage of Cascade Hills Church. For instance, there's the popular one about Jesus being born on December 25th....

By the way, was that simply a misspelling: Cascade Hills FORMALLY Baptist?! About the only time that church is formal is when it hosts high school proms.

This e-mailer wrote us a second time Monday, after apparently seeing something we posted 15 April:

"+ To Cascade Hills Church: If you can prove I'm wrong, I'll admit it -- but it sounds to me like you're adding a laugh track to Bill Purvis' "Real Time" sermons. If he's going to preach "the truth," I sort of expect the audience to be the same way."


I have no idea if they use a laugh track for real time and don't really care...because the other questionable things that take place involving this organization would pale in comparison to the use of a fake laugh track Interesting piece of information however... a friend of mine once volunteered for Real Time and he says that under no circumstances are they allowed to shoot from an angle that shows Billy's BALD spot. Maybe this would explain why Mr. Bill has more hair in his recent photo on his website than he had a year ago. Reminds me of a song..."You're so probably think this song (blog) is about you".

P.S. I hope you get well soon.



Oh dear - Bill Purvis isn't running for office, and people may be doing to him what they did to Bob Poydasheff's campaign photos last year.

Bill Purvis admitted one personal liability on his telecast a couple of weeks ago. He's now using a giant-print Bible, as opposed to a large-print one. It may not be long before he breaks down and buys "Daddy's little helpers" - what I've heard some ministers call glasses.

We're going to save some "thoughts for the day" which Mark submitted for a Saturday religious discussion. Now let's catch up on some news we've missed over the last couple of days:

+ Columbus Police officer Larry Lightning was fired from the force, after he was arrested on federal counts which include possessing crack cocaine. You may recall he was arrested in 2004, only to have charges dropped - so a man named Lightning may have believed that "not striking twice" stuff.

+ The Muscogee County School District voted to make the New King James Bible the official version for its "Bible literature" courses. Hopefully Joyce Meyer can handle the fact that the Bible with her names on it did not prevail.

(United Methodists tend to use the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, and school board member Joseph Roberson is a United Methodist Pastor. If this is a sign of how much clout he has, Owen Ditchfield might campaign against him a second time.)

+ The CBS Evening News reported the Food and Drug Administration was tipped off last year to salmonella at a Peter Pan peanut butter plant in Sylvester. So why did intervention only occur earlier THIS year? Did someone convince the F.D.A. that green spots in the spread were added vitamins?

+ The Columbus State women's softball team topped Augusta State 2-0, to win the Peach Belt Conference tournament. Congratulations to Coach Tiffany Tootle - and may she never think about moving out of town, and saying "Tootle-oo."

+ A New York Mets fan pleaded NOT guilty to charges that he used a high-powered flashlight at a Friday game, to blind the eyes of Atlanta pitcher Tim Hudson. It's already bad enough at a baseball game to have blind umpires....

+ Instant Message to the fans of Hurtsboro Mondays: Because of our illness, comments submitted for this week will be held until next Monday. Think of it as our way of marking Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama.

BIG PREDICTION: I probably should keep my mouth shut about this, because people might misunderstand and take it the wrong way. But tonight.... uh, er.... I think Melissa R. will be named the next Pussycat Doll.

SCHEDULED WEDNESDAY (health permitting): More on one woman's drive to eliminate the Library Board....

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Sunday, April 22, 2007


A big celebration was held at the RiverCenter Saturday night, as the Columbus Symphony Orchestra marked 20 years under George Del Gobbo. An anniversary cake was served at intermission, and hopefully the audience was refined in how it ate -- instead of engaging in a Gorge Del Gobble.

George Del Gobbo actually has two titles with the Columbus Symphony: music director and conductor. I think that means he actually chooses what the symphony plays - as opposed to many radio stations, where it's all in a computer.

The Columbus Symphony Orchestra marked the 20th anniversary of George Del Gobbo's direction with a Russian-theme program called "Shostakovich and the Struggle for Freedom." Many people would feel free if they never had to spell the name Shostakovich....

The C.S.O. web site notes George Del Gobbo came to Columbus 20 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas. He's certainly lost the Texas twang - but I don't recall him saying a Southern-style "hey" even once.

In many cities the size of Columbus, the name of a symphony conductor might be a trivia question. But to George Del Gobbo's credit, he's made himself a familiar face in the community. He appears in commercials, and isn't afraid to look a little silly. The late Robert Shaw in Atlanta might have made a joke about "mezzo-forte" in a rehearsal.

Most of my memories of George Del Gobbo don't really involve concerts, but his promotional appearances. He went on a diet one season, and did regular weigh-ins on the old WLTZ show "Coffee Break." I assume his baton speed increased by at least ten percent.

Then there was the commercial promoting the children's work "Peter and the Wolf," which featured George Del Gobbo as a prosecutor - and a wolf. His symphony concertmasters must not like to play along....

But there's a method to this sort of madness. George Del Gobbo seems to realize it takes unique promotions to put people in the seats at classical concert halls these days. That's especially true in a city like Columbus, which seems to have trouble supporting a classic rock radio station.

George Del Gobbo notes on the C.S.O. web site that NO member of the symphony makes a living simply from playing in Columbus. Many play in other cities, as "freelance" musicians. You'd think the violin players would have travel stickers on their cases to prove it....

(This may be true for George Del Gobbo as well. He's a guest conductor with two orchestras in Chile - where it appears THEY don't have any problem with outside immigrants taking jobs.)

So congratulations, George Del Gobbo -- and if there's any justice, someday the concert hall at the RiverCenter should be named after you. But of course, there's not much justice these days. And your family would have to outspend Bill Heard Chevrolet for the naming rights.

E-MAIL UPDATE: First she went after a fired radio talk show host - and now she wants more heads to roll:

The LIBRARY BOARD-DIRECTORS and all Committees

1. After two years of requests the Library Director, Claudya Muller, refuses to place members, their emails and phone numbers on line.

2. After two years of requests the Library Director, Claudya Muller, refuses to place meeting places, times, minutes and committees on the website. SHE WILL NOT PLACE MINUTES ON LINE. MINUTES ARE CRITICAL TO DETERMINE WHAT THEY ARE DOING.

3. The Library Director, Claudya Muller, will not email digitized minutes as she is required by law to do.

4. The members, if you can find a contact number or email for them (many are not valid), will not answer email, or even acknowledge it, nor will most of them speak with you on the phone. Meredith Jarrell just slammed the phone down on me when I found her phone number and called her and said " I have sent you many emails." She said 'No comment." and slammed the phone down. The same thing happened with several others. They feel no responsibility to the public.

5. They have had illegal meetings in private offices, that were unannounced and therefore illegal, they have taken illegal votes and done illegal business with the people's money. They will not supply the minutes for a reason.

6. They have taken city money and committed it without authority, Paley sculpture.

7. They have almost 6 million dollars now and they will not answer to the public about it now or later.

8. They are not elected but are appointed by the Board of Education.

9. The Board of Education has control over ONLY three things:

1. The Board of Education approves the total dollar amount of the budget-not what the Library Board does with the money

2. The Board of Education does procurement for the Library Board

3. The Board of Education handles the Library Board bookkeeping- payroll

10. In summary, the Library Board is autonomous and has operated illegally, and has refused to open up the workings of the Library Board records by placing them on line for all to see. The Director steadfastly refuses to send the minutes in email as required to do by law. SHE IS SUEABLE! The Board is part of government, but they operate outside the law and in the shadows with your money. They have millions for which they are responsible and they ARE NOT ACCOUNTABLE TO THE PUBLIC.

A School Board member has promised to present the petition to have the Library Board disbanded, to the School Board.



Please contact me about this with ideas and support.

Thank You,

Deborah Owens

AboutColumbusGA Yahoo Group

Well, not so fast here. I searched around the Columbus Library web site Saturday night, and found a list of Library Board members rather easily. Wouldn't a truly loyal library patron open a phone book from there, to get some of the other details?

But Ms. Owens makes a point, about upcoming meetings NOT being posted on the library web site. Nothing was listed at the central library for April or May - but I did find a graphic with dice rolling, so that could be the same thing.

While this e-mail says Library Director Claudya Muller is "sueable," Ms. Owens does NOT say if she actually has filed a lawsuit for all the information she wants. But then again, announcing a petition drive is a lot cheaper - and may scare Ms. Muller into the same result.

Do you think a petition drive to disband the Muscogee County Library Board will be successful? I'm not that sure it will - in part because most people aren't familiar with it, and in part because the library scoffers avoid the system as if it doesn't exist already.

Let's take one more e-mail, about a trip down Manchester Expressway:

I took a trip to Waverly Hall for a delicious steak at Luke's...Well,by the time I got there I was seasick from the awful paving job on the highway...Muscogee County really got ripped off by a fly by night paving company..It had more waves and dips than the surf at Panama City...

Here's hoping you get well soon - but look on the bright side. Fewer people are speeding on that part of the expressway than ever before.

Now to save paper and trees on this Earth Day, let's send some Instant Messages....

+ To Paul Voorhees of Ranger Joe's: I never knew that! I never knew you were an ordained Baptist minister. Maybe you should have gone to Iraq with the Third Brigade, and offer the Muslims a free haircut with every sermon.

+ To Doug and Brandon Greenway: You're certainly impressing people. A father and son making it to the final day of the Best Ranger competition - and for once, the father doesn't mind if his son has him climbing the walls.

+ To the Columbus Police Department: Interesting - very interesting. You crack down on interstate speeders, as a TV station openly asks for locations where speeding is a problem. But of course, you're ALSO innocent until proven guilty....

+ To Alabama head football coach Nick Saban: Wow - 92,138 fans for the spring game?! You'd better not let that go to your head. Especially since the game became a fundraiser for tornado survivors in Enterprise....

+ To the Auburn University defensive line: I've been aching around my rib cage for more than 24 hours, struggling at times to breathe. When did you sneak into my house and sack me?

+ To WRBL's Bruce Frazier: Excuse me for saying this, but NASCAR did NOT race "on the west coast" Saturday night. The last time I checked, Phoenix was still in Arizona - and California still hasn't fallen into the ocean.

+ To Tommy Bassett, wherever you are: Congratulations on winning the St. Jude Dream Home! You need a roommate to help pay the property taxes - right?!

+ To Church's Chicken on Hamilton Road: About that line on the receipt that says "$10-QuikTender" - I thought I gave you cash. Or is this your version of the Wendy's "100,000 Frosties" commercials?

+ To the toddler who wore a nice dress to church this weekend, and then proceeded to turn toward me and raise it up to expose her underwear: I don't know who your parents are - but if I find out, I'm going to suggest they severely limit how much MTV you watch.

BURKARD'S BEST BETS: Gas for $2.65 a gallon at Big Cat, 30th Avenue and North Lumpkin.... FREE flourescent light bulbs for Earth Day at Home Depot.... and please be careful not to hug a bush of poison ivy....

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: The jokes for today have concluded, but you're welcome to keep reading for some thoughts about recent news.)

BUT SERIOUSLY: Monday was Virginia Tech. Thursday marked the anniversaries of Oklahoma City, and the Branch Davidians in Waco. Friday marked the anniversary of Columbine - complete with a gun scare at Valley High School. Is the third week of April doomed to become the unofficial week of death in this country?

There's been a lot of talk in the last few days about what might have led to the Virginia Tech shooting spree. I think there might be a parallel with the big national story of the week before - the words of Don Imus. What Imus said hurt, but the words are common in our society and media. What the gunman did obviously hurt even more - but sadly, this sort of violence is common in U.S. society and media as well.

It's true that Don Imus and the Virginia Tech gunman are ultimately responsible for their own actions - whether with words or weapons. But each of us needs to be careful not to promote those actions, even indirectly. That could mean choosing to avoid TV shows and movies filled with violence. The right choices might just bring more righteous items from Hollywood.

Is the concern about a national "culture of violence" a new phenomenon? No, it's not. An old Bob Luman song came to mind Saturday -- one you probably hear only on "classic country" radio stations anymore. It begins: "In all the songs I've listened to lately, somebody gets shot." Amazingly, this song came out in 1960.

Luman's tune was concerned about "death lyrics" in songs such as Marty Robbins's "El Paso" and the Everly Brothers' "Bye Bye Love." He took a humorous spin on the songs with this line: "If we keep on losing our singers like that, I'll be the only one you can buy."

The title of this Bob Luman song was "Let's Think About Living" - and the refrain could work just as well for us today as it did long ago, especially in light of this past week:

Let's think about living - let's think about loving.

Let's think about the hoopin' and the hoppin' and the boppin' and the lovey-lovey dove-in'.

Let's forget about the sighing and the crying and the shooting and the dying

And the fella with a switchblade knife.

Let's think about living - let's think about life.

P.S. A couple of years ago, VistaCare began offering armbands with the word "REMEMBER" on it -- to use to remember loved ones, or whatever else you see fit. As it happens, the bands have a Virginia Tech maroon color. If you'd like to have one to remember the victims of the Blacksburg bloodbath, contact VistaCare for assistance.

This blog has thousands of visitors each month, from people in Columbus and around the world. 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: 3488 (- 312, 8.2%)

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

© 2003-07 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

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