31 AUG 08: ONE THOUSAND TO NOTHING
Saturday night was another victorious night of running. I made it 3.1 miles non-stop, even with the warm weather and humidity. But I may have made a mistake by running with radio headphones - as I didn't need to hear the Auburn football announcers talk about players getting cramps.
After the run comes the dinner - and as I stepped out of my car at a fast-food restaurant on Buena Vista Road, something sounded all too familiar.
"Sir - can I ask you a question?" This time, it was NOT a beggar with amazing timing walking past my car. This question came from a car parked two spots next to mine -- a car with fancy wheel covers. Not fancy enough to spin around while parked, but fancy.
"How much?" I said to the driver of the car.
"How much?" Maybe the wheel covers were bought on a six-month credit plan.
"A thousand dollars," said the driver of the car. Aw, c'mon - Hurricane Gustav didn't drive gasoline prices up THAT much.
"I don't have that," I answered -- and that was very true. When it comes to a fast-food dinner, I follow the example of Domino's Pizza drivers. I always carry less than 20 dollars.
"What did you think I asked?" said the driver of the car next. It was the perfect moment to explain.
"You said you wanted to ask a question. I said, 'How much?' When people ask questions like that on a Saturday night in this city, they're usually begging for money." One exception was a weekend when a Baptist conference was in town, and teenagers stopped even Riverwalk joggers with tracts.
"No, I've got plenty of money," the man in the car said quietly. Wow - it was all I could do to keep my jaw from falling to the pavement.
"Then what's your question?"
"How do I get to Warm Springs Road?" Perhaps he was visiting from out of town for the holiday weekend. He might even be a hurricane evacuee - although I'd think people from Louisiana would stop for dinner at Popeye's, instead of KFC.
After thinking it over a moment, I gave the man directions to Warm Springs Road via Interstate 185 and Manchester Expressway. The driver of the car said something I couldn't hear to a passenger alongside him. Did someone recommend a wrong turn at St. Mary's Road?
"Now repeat that back to me, since you didn't write it down." I was smiling as I said that. I've known grown men who needed things repeated three or four times - due more to the influence of drugs than Alzheimer's Disease.
The man in the car mumbled part of the directions, more toward his passenger than me. Then after a moment's pause I asked, "Any other questions?" I've known co-workers who could turn that moment into an on-the-spot mini-news conference, asking for details about my personal life.
"No," the man in the car answered. So I turned and walked inside for dinner. Sadly, the servers at KFC also were in no mood to ask questions -- because I would have asked for corn on the cob instead of mashed potatoes for a side order.
What a surprise this was - someone with a question, who did NOT turn into Blogger Beggar #9. Clearly he was joking about that thousand-dollar request. But I have to admit, something inside me wondered if a man was going to come up behind me and check my pockets to be sure.
E-MAIL UPDATE: Truly any topic can come up at this blog - including fashion trends....
Richard, For the life of me I will never understand the fascination of "sagging." For those who don't know by now, it is another "art of sorriness" that the decent among us have to endure. Whether our politicians have the courage to pass legislation banning this obnoxious behavior or not, we need to take it upon ourselves as moral people to "shame" these people that insist on showing their underwear and realistically their sorry "rear-ends" in public. I am sure that it is confusing to most children who are not exposed to this ritual and whose parents are trying to raise them correctly in an ever-growing, non-caring society. It sickens me as I see our youth of today and their "I don't care attitudes." Those that do this and those that want to be like them are a blight on our society. Piercings and tattoos are rituals with beginnings in cultures that did not and do not believe in the one true God. Rings were placed in slaves' noses and they were tattooed with numbers and sold as property and they were never respected as human beings. That's why I am saying now, "We should not show any respect to anyone that continues to mutilate their bodies or shows us that their parents did not have what it took to simply teach them to pull their pants up, especially when you are in public." In my opinion, the people that "mark" their bodies with dragons, devils, demons and foreign symbols, of which they have no idea their meanings, are screaming for someone to pay attention to them, because evidently, they didn't get love from where it should have started, Mom and Dad at home! That's the Bottom Line and that's where we are headed fast....the bottom!
Silly me - I saw "sagging" at the start of this message, and thought the writer was talking about the stock market.
(But then again, do you think the writer thought about sagging when he saw those pictures from St. Maarten of the arrest of Michael Registe? He might have been sagging against his will....)
This writer will be pleased to know I've had no interest in sagging over the years. If anything, I have the opposite problem - a building waistline, which means I hardly ever have to wear a belt.
But I tend to use things until they wear out - so if a pair of running shorts loses its elasticity at the waist, I'll sometimes use a safety pin to tighten them up. Yes, it makes me look a bit like Baby Huey from the comic books....
Another reader wants to bash our competition a bit:
The uptown/upscale pay- for- blog, AKA journalism for hire
The Problem with Richard Hyatt's "pay for blog" is jounalistic double mindedness.
The signature of one of the major power sources in the Columbus Consolidated Government, Jim Blanchard, appears on his pages in the Leadership Seminar advertisement. He ran the bank and its other parts of servant leadership along with council. Ads from the power throne seem a little weak in affirmation of all the good deeds he has done for them in the past--but then we only see the surface of the water!
Then there is the Troutman Sanders ad, one of the biggest firms in the state, and the one --that defends politicians when they are brought before the state elections ethics board---and the ethics board is also peopled with lawyers who used to work at the same law firm! True! How well has he covered their clients in the past? Will he cover those politicians with ethics charges in the future- or will he pay homage to his advertiser- their defense attorneys?
First of all, is Richard Hyatt charging a subscriber fee for his web site anymore? I haven't seen the requirement there lately -- even though there's still a login option for "members." I figured the people most likely to be members are former reporters at the Ledger-Enquirer.
I don't know how much power Jim Blanchard wields in city government these days, as Synovus Chairman of the Board. You'll notice his annual "leadership forum" next week doesn't have any speakers who serve on Columbus Council....
A check of the membership lists on Columbus city boards shows "Billy Blanchard" four times. Jim Blanchard isn't there, but his CV shows him on the board of everything from Columbus Bank and Trust to BellSouth to.... hey, wait a minute! BellSouth?! Is his wife the one writing checks for the local phone bill?
But anyway: Richard Hyatt wrote an article about Synovus Financial's last earnings report conference call, in which he was underwhelmed by President Richard Anthony. So I see no sign of him playing favorites in his writing -- especially not if he went to a Florida football game this weekend.
For the sake of full disclosure, we should note this blog has NOT been approached by Jim Blanchard or Troutman Sanders about advertising with us. In fact, we're disappointed that the bar which hosts our Thursday night poker games still hasn't come to us....
Keep those uplifting words of encouragement coming in -- and now let's check some holiday weekend headlines:
+ Callaway Gardens hosted its annual hot-air balloon festival. And for the first time, it also hosted a "regatta" of remote-controlled miniature power boats. Talk about covering both ends of the spectrum....
+ WRBL showed a football tournament at Columbus's Cornerstone Church - only it was "finger football," or the folded-up kind you push across the table. Now THIS shows the downturn of our society! A church was hosting this event - when during my junior high school years, the assistant principal would have confiscated those things during lunch.
+ In full-sized college football, Alabama opened the season by clobbering Clemson 34-10. WEAM-AM "1580 The Zone" had noisy problems tuning in the Alabama broadcast at times - almost like their satellite dish was struggling to find an AM radio station in Birmingham.
(As a single guy, I can tell you ABC Sports didn't handle the second half of this blowout properly at all. C'mon folks - we want to see more Erin Andrews interviews....)
+ Auburn lashed Louisiana-Monroe in its season opener 34-0. The radio crew referred to one freshman running back as a "little Rudi Johnson" - and given the pro football news of the weekend from Cincinnati, that could mean he'll be off the squad next week.
+ The Atlanta Falcons released quarterback Joey Harrington, in its final cuts before the regular season. Harrington has the skills to work in Columbus, you know - if someone would open a nice jazz club for him to play piano.
+ Instant Message to Republican Party spin-masters: You called Barack Obama's running mate a statement that he's "giving up on the South" - and then your candidate picks the governor of Alaska?! What are Georgians supposed to do? Hope Bob Barr and Cynthia McKinney merge their campaigns?
COMING MONDAY: A cut in pay for Labor Day.... it's another Blog Exclusive....
(BLOGGER'S NOTE: Beginning Monday, we're setting a regular daily post time of 3:00 a.m. ET. But of course, breaking news could always change things and move that time up.)
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