Saturday, May 30, 2009

30 MAY 09: Onward Christian Spammers

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

Many Christians consider the Bible the inspired word of God. But that doesn't stop some of them from finding humorous things inside it. Attend church or listen to Christian radio long enough, and you might learn some of their riddles. For instance, who is the smallest person in the Bible? The answer, from the book of Job -- Bildad the Shuhite.

SPAM-A-RAMA: Today we offer another set of replies to REAL e-mail titles we've received over the months. But today there's a catch - as all the items are religious in nature. Here's what they sent, and what we have to say....


So who snuck into the service with his own Bible?


I think most ministers call that the resurrection of the saints.


Yes, SIR! I heard a minister preach recently on joy -- and he ended with a warning that a Muslim sleeper cell in Georgia is ready to take over if you're not joyful. So smile or else.


Only one? There's Exodus 20, Galatians 5, Revelation 21....


I have, every day - and without any helpers from Joel Osteen or Joyce Meyer.


No no - Exodus 22 says you're supposed to kill them, not grill them.


What some religious conservatives call the last Presidential election.


I didn't know Thailand had states.


Verily verily trying.


The next conference of Unitarian ministers.


So sharp, it gets "nothing but the blood."


Now if you can get your wife to do the same?!


Probably being skipped by Duke and the Doctor.


Really? I've never heard anyone suggest Jesus was born in July.


What Seventh-Day Adventists call "broccoli chicken" at a restaurant.


Hold on - that's not the "messiah" we're talking about today.


One of the big events at a Pentecostal track meet.


The ones who claim God told you to give a $1,000 offering.


Well, Amy Grant is pretty good.


But thankfully, Jesus also will fall -- by returning to Earth again.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 476 (- 46, 8.8%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Friday, May 29, 2009

29 MAY 09: Retired? Released? Relieved?

Every spring the Muscogee County School District holds a dinner to honor retiring employees. The dinner list two weeks ago included two principals who left under a cloud. The judgment for one of them has not been revealed until today. And it turns out she was wise to retire on her own - because the state of Georgia might have done it for her.

BLOG EXCLUSIVE: Your blog learned Thursday former Rigdon Road Elementary School Principal Phyllis Jones has had her teaching certificate suspended by the state. The one-year suspension takes effect this coming Monday - perhaps so it doesn't distract Columbus High School today in the state baseball finals.

The one-year suspension for Phyllis Jones was confirmed by a staff member with the Georgia Professional Standards Commission. It matches the punishment for former Columbus High principal Susan Bryant. Now I'm wondering if they sat at the same table during that dinner, and swapped stories about attorneys.

We must be careful to say Phyllis Jones's teaching certificate was "suspended." It was not revoked, which is a different punishment in Georgia teacher ethics cases. Jones can be reinstated as a principal in June 2010 - and judging from this year's CRCT results, Rigdon Road might stage a parade to welcome her back.

The state rules for a suspended teaching certificate are rather strict. They state Phyllis Jones cannot even serve as a volunteer at a school for the next year. That apparently rules out the educational "consultant" work she told us about last fall. And so much for making extra money as a part-time bus driver....

Ethics investigators concluded Phyllis Jones violated Georgia teaching standards in two areas: "Public Funds and Property" and "Professional Conduct." Follow the advice of that old rock song "Take the Money and Run," and you probably cover both of them.

In case you came in late: Phyllis Jones suddenly retired as Rigdon Road Principal last September. It raised some eyebrows, and prompted a reader to urge us to investigate [17 Sep 08]. That request and others led to a Big Blog Question, which nearly ended the jokes on this blog - and, to be honest, would have given us a lot more free time to play online poker.

We happened to see Phyllis Jones outside the Liberty Theatre in November. In what apparently is still her only public comment on the case, she denied doing anything wrong [10 Nov 08]. Jones even compared herself to Jesus - but thankfully the Georgia Professional Standards Commission didn't quite go all the way with that.

After another tip about Phyllis Jones's personnel record (and as a few e-mail insults were fired toward us), we confirmed a complaint was filed in Atlanta [20 Nov 08]. The Ledger-Enquirer obtained more details than we could, revealing the Muscogee County School District did the filing [23 Nov 08]. Maybe now we'll prod the newspaper into investigating something again....

I was surprised to find a "Phyllis Jones" in the Columbus phone book Thursday - and with a Rigdon Road address at that. We dialed the number and left a message seeking a comment, but our call was NOT returned. Perhaps Jones will talk after one of those "retirement road trips" she mentioned last November - and 35 years in education means she has a huge pension for taking them.

Phyllis Jones apparently was punished for mishandling money from a Rigdon Road School book fair. That's sad, considering one recent book for educators cited Jones as a great example of "responsibility." Hire a responsible accountant, and we probably wouldn't have a topic to discuss.

BLOG UPDATE: The results of another local investigation were announced Thursday evening at the Government Center. Georgia Bureau of Investigation agents found NO wrongdoing at the Muscogee County Junior Marshal's office. Maybe now the Junior Marshal's program can end its separation, with that office miles away on Wynnton Road.

The G.B.I. determined there was nothing illegal about the stepdaughter of Municipal Court Clerk Vivian Creighton Bishop being on the Junior Marshal's Program payroll. It turns out Aayesha Owens Reese received NO city money, but was paid from a fund built with private donations. Uh-oh - how many Democrats put money in that account?

The G.B.I. also concluded there was nothing illegal about Vivian Creighton Bishop handling paychecks for stepson Stephen Reese, while he was working with the Junior Marshal's office. Investigators determined Reese never had a city account set up in his name. And what's this country become, if a mother can't give her stepson an allowance?

Yet the early reports on the G.B.I. findings still leave some questions unanswered:

+ An attorney at Thursday's news conference asked why the city Finance Department never set up a payroll account for Stephen Reese. Of course, the staff has been quite busy setting up accounts for all those new police officers.

+ What about the claim of City Attorney Clifton Fay, that Aayesha Owens Reese never did any work in Columbus? [4 Mar] Could any Junior Marshal be able to pick her out of a lineup?

+ What about the report from an Atlanta blog that Aayesha Owens Reese never reported her Junior Marshal's office income, after she filed for divorce from Stephen Reese in January? The bride is asking for child support - and with gas prices up again, the commutes between metro Atlanta and Columbus to look for work can be costly.

+ Who tipped off The Courier's "Street Committee" about the outcome of this investigation? The tabloid claimed in its 9 April edition that "many will be left with egg on their faces as a result of the findings." Of course, the egg would have been on the Bishop family's faces if the G.B.I. had found the other way....

-> How are the Thursday night poker games going? We're glad you asked. Read about our latest match at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: We've mentioned one of these changes already, but didn't know about the other....

Richard, I turned my radio on Tues morning at 9 a.m. Instead of hearing Bill Bennett's last hour (WRCG1420) there was Duke and the Doctor. It seems they made the switch from WDAK 540. I turned the radio off as I had already seen Dr. McBarron on the Calvin show from 6-7 a.m. Then at 1p.m. I turned my radio back on to listen to Clark Howard only to find that WRCG had taken his lst hour off and replaced it with some sports show. So again I turned my radio off and called the station. They explained they would be carrying Clark Howard only from 2-4. I guess WRCG is making changes hoping to improve their ratings. What they really need to do is put Talkline back on the air. That would almost assure them high ratings (at least for the hour or hours it would be on). I did leave a message to that effect on their voicemail and sent an email several months ago but never got a reply. Do you happen to know what the ratings were for Talkline? Everywhere I went around the Chattahoochee Valley people would be talking about the show.

The web site of Duke and the Doctor confirms the change of radio stations. It praises WRCG, without mentioning the old one. After all, Clear Channel someday may find enough money to have local talk shows again.

(To correct the e-mailer: Duke and the Doctor actually aired on WSHE-AM 1270. This explains why that station's web site didn't mention the program in recent weeks. But then, WRCG's web site still doesn't mention it -- as if they're waiting for proof that the items at Peachtree Natural Foods really work.

We noted here about two weeks ago that Coach B.R. Johnson had moved his daily sports hour to WRCG [17 May]. But someone who's friends with the new owners of WRCG has taken back his statement last year that "Talkline is coming back." The owners apparently decided the same small clique would keep calling day after day - and even worse, half of them might mention this blog.

Doug Kellett likes to say WRCG was a "top three station" in Columbus during the years when he hosted Talkline. But even before the show was canceled, the overall ratings eroded. The turning point seemed to come in 2003, after WDAK took Rush Limbaugh away. Without all those "dittos," the listening audience approached "hash marks."

Let's see what else we can talk about, from a busy Thursday:

+ Synovus announced President Fred Green III had resigned, with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Anthony taking the job. At last, corporate "downsizing" hit the top of the corporate ladder....

(A Synovus statement didn't really explain why the change of presidents occurred. But let's face it -- Fred Green III's leadership hasn't brought the financial company much "green" lately.)

+ The Georgia Department of Natural Resources announced the visitor's center at Providence Canyon State Park in Stewart County will close, to save money. The park's picnic shelter will close as well - a move I admittedly don't understand. Install a vending machine offering towelettes for 25 cents, and the state might make some money there.

+ Richard Hyatt's web site reported accused attorney Mark Shelnutt performed music Wednesday night at The Loft, on "songwriters' night." Wow - I thought potential jailbirds waited a little longer to start "singing."

+ Instant Message to Katya Shivashankar: Congratulations! I was happy to see a Kansan win the National Spelling Bee Thursday night -- but I think you had an unfair advantage. With a last name like Shivashankar, you started learning to spell big words at a very early age.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 522 (+ 25, 5.0%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Thursday, May 28, 2009

28 MAY 09: Millions in My Mind

Columbus Regional announced plans Wednesday for a new "Women's and Children's Health Center." It will require a new building, and cost around $30 million -- so don't be surprised if the annual fund-raising Celebrity Classic is extended to four weeks.

There are other ways Columbus Regional could get that $30 million. One way is simply to have employees watch and answer their e-mails -- because total nobodies seem to win "online lotteries" all the time. And the best part is that they don't have to wait in line at convenience stores, while people in front of them buy cartons of cigarettes.

You may have noticed an occasional "Online Lottery Winnings" line at the bottom of our posts recently. Today we can explain it's a two-month count of e-mails which declared me a big winner. We're only counting contests and lotteries here - not the giveaway offers which seem to keep coming from the widows of African dictators.

Without even prowling through the "spam" section of our e-mails, we've amazingly won FIVE online lotteries since early April. This beats getting up early and putting on nice clothes, in case Publishers Clearing House comes to your door....

Three of the online lottery wins came in an eight-day span, around the U.S. income tax filing deadline. In fact, the biggest prize of $6.8 million was declared mine on 15 April. How the companies doing the drawing knew I owed money this year, I have no idea.

But here's the strange thing - four of my five online prize winnings were in British pounds, so I had to compute them into U.S. dollars. All of these lotteries seem to take place in Europe or Asia. You'd think someone would try to break the mold, and stage a lottery from a gambling boat off the Georgia coast.

The two-month test ends with our online lottery total at $12,935,779. Well, at least that's what I was promised. But I've received no checks to this point. If these drawings are smart enough to find my e-mail address from out of nowhere, you'd think they'd know my home address as well.

But to be fair, I haven't bothered replying to any of the e-mails telling me I've won millions of dollars. It's because I know better - NOT because I hit an online poker jackpot instead.

Back in the LaughLine era, I actually responded to an online lottery victory announcement. That one claimed to be a drawing by the Spanish Foreign Ministry -- and like so many other online giveaways, it required me to send some money to get the jackpot. Ask them to deduct my "handling fee" and mail the rest, and I might as well have asked them to negotiate with North Korea.

Hopefully you realize the overseas online lotteries are scams, promising you millions to take away several thousands. If any of the drawings are legitimate, please let me know - and for a small one-time charge, I'll be glad to share your story.

(In the case of the Spanish online lottery, I actually forwarded my online correspondence to the REAL Foreign Ministry office in Madrid. I don't know if that ever led to an investigation or arrests. Considering all the messages both ways were in English, they might have been deleted.)

So here's my idea: Columbus Regional staff members try to claim online lottery winnings. If the companies overseas refuse to turn over the money, sue them for it. The Medical Center may wind up with that $30 million - if not from a jury, from its attorney needing a big tax deduction to reduce the income from all those legal fees.

There's one online area where I still dream of a real payday - at Internet poker tables. On Wednesday, my make-believe bankroll at Yahoo hit a record high of more than $13,000. Maybe if I had started playing before the Internet stock bubble burst....

Now let's check other news, from a Wednesday which admittedly didn't thrill me too much:

+ Georgia Congressman Nathan Deal visited Columbus, to kick off his campaign for Governor. I can't wait for Howie Mandel to appear with him and ask voters the big question - "Deal or no Deal?"

(Nathan Deal is getting attention because of his proposal in Congress to change the rules for U.S. citizenship by birth. Deal admitted he's proposed the change three times before - and that kind of successful track record in Washington is bound to impress Georgia Republicans.)

. + The Russell County Commission gave Sheriff Tommy Boswell approval to seek a state grant, to install cameras inside patrol cars. The grant money is left over from Hurricane Katrina - which leaves me wondering why Alabama officials don't hold that money for the next hurricane. Now THAT would be a real "rainy day fund."

+ Columbus's four outdoor city pools opened for the summer. I assume the city already has saved money this season, by letting rainstorms fill the pools naturally.

+ A doctor told WLTZ Russell County has been declared a "hot spot" for rabies by the Alabama state veterinarian. All residents are advised NOT to leave the bathroom with foaming toothpaste in their mouths.

+ WRBL visited Gold and Silver Trading Center, where manager Bob Upchurch declared: "It's hard to rap when gold costs 950 dollars an ounce." Wow - you can't make up rhymes about gangster shootings unless you have a gold chain around your neck?!

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 497 (+ 19, 4.0%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

27 MAY 09: I Will Follow Him

In the classic words of Bugs Bunny: "Didya ever have the feeling you was being watched?" I've felt that way over the last couple of days - but the right "mal-ware" program can clear away pop-up boxes, so you can ignore those silly warnings about computer viruses.

The watching with computers has moved to a new level at the Lee County Sheriff's Department. Dispatchers now can follow patrol cars, and track their locations on a map. It's almost like following a NASCAR race -- only better, because you can actually communicate with the drivers on their radios.

The Lee County tracking system relies on GPS devices in the cars of sheriff's officers. The devices record not only a location, but the time of day and how fast a patrol car is going. At last, there's a way to figure which cars really have the best acceleration from zero to 60.

Lee County Sheriff's officers say the GPS tracking system came in handy during a recent high-speed chase. A deputy followed a suspect into Russell County, then couldn't figure out where he was. Dispatchers helped the deputy find his way back to Opelika - which saved the embarrassment of using a law officer's notepad to write down directions to U.S. 280.

Another advantage of the GPS tracking system is that Lee County dispatchers can figure out quickly which sheriff's deputy is closest to an emergency call. This can reduce response time, potentially save the county gas money - and possibly start an in-house game of "closest to the pin-in."

Top-level officers in Lee County praise the GPS tracking system. But I suspect a few deputies quietly are grumbling about it. After all, they now can be tracked throughout their shift - and a sneaky side trip to a doughnut shop can't be kept secret anymore.

Then there are the groups which might be longing for the same GPS tracking system, to follow Lee County deputies on their own. Imagine the fun Auburn University fraternity houses could have, if members knew where the DUI checkpoints are set up.

This technology also opens the door for legal challenges to the Lee County Sheriff's Department. Attorneys might be able to argue their clients didn't speed, since patrol cars followed them at the speed limit. In fact, the deputy might get cited for following too closely.

The next logical step in this process is for Lee County patrol cars to have dashboard cameras connected to the GPS tracking system. Then dispatchers can see what deputies are doing at all times -- and offer unusual video immediately to the TV series "Cops."

I've heard some people express concerns about having bosses track them on the job, either with cameras or GPS devices. But perhaps the new technology in the Lee County Sheriff's office will make them feel better. Now "Big Brother" is being watched every bit as much as he's watching you.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: We had a link Tuesday to another blog, which quoted a Muscogee County School Board member. That quote brought a question our way....

Hi Richard:

Is that quote from Dr Schley accurate? Is the School Board going to issue $220 million in new bonds and fund all projects if the SPLOST passes? I'm sure they will save some money but I doubt they will close the projected $50 million gap between likely taxes collected and what they hope to collect.

Will we be voting in September on a list of projects that will be completed no matter how long it takes to pay off or will we be voting on a 5 year tax with actual monies collected to be spent based on a critical need basis?

Or to put it more simply, just what is the School Board promising this time?

From Dick's World:

Dr. Philip Schley says the new SPLOST will avoid those costly delays for new projects by selling bonds this time. Projects listed in the 2003 SPLOST took so long to complete because money could not be spent until taxes were collected. There will be no need to wait this time since bond money can be spent all at one time. The bonds will be paid off as taxes are collected.

I have to assume Philip Schley was quoted accurately. After all, Dick McMichael is a retired journalist who tries to get his facts straight. But then, there was that classic night in the late 1990s when he said at 6:00 p.m., "Good evening, I'm Dee Armstrong" - and Dee Armstrong wasn't even on the set.

We admittedly skipped the public forums on the proposed school sales tax, and Superintendent Susan Andrews's blog doesn't answer this specific question. But the priority list of projects isn't final, beyond the replacement of Carver High School. So there are still more than three months to sort out what's a "need," what's a "want" and what should stay at Imagination Station.

The Muscogee County Schools' web site now has a "SPLOST Penny Watch" button. We clicked it late Tuesday night, but only found details about the 2003 school sales tax -- and some of the technology projects won't be finished until the end of this year. The "Novell Migration" apparently has to wait until the weather turns cooler this fall.

Now for other news from a nice and comfortable late May day:

+ The highest court in The Netherlands cleared the way for accused killer Michael Registe to be extradited to Columbus. There's only one way Registe might be able to work out a plea deal, and it's a longshot. Has he met anybody in the Caribbean who saw Natalie Holloway?

(Don't you love the name of the Chief Prosecutor in the Windward Islands - Taco Stein? It sounds like something you should get for a souvenir at Locos Amigos Cantina.)

+ Columbus Water Works asked Columbus Council for permission to issue a $43 million bond issue. Some of the money will be used to build a new water line to Fort Benning - where I'm sure a small leak will be included on purpose, to add a swamp to the Best Ranger competition.

+ The evening news reported the intersection of Broad and Dillingham Streets in Phenix City has delays this week for repaving. Oh no, not again! Is this how the city is making up for finishing Streetscape $10,000 under the final budget?

+ WRBL changed the programming on digital channel 3.2 from "24/7 Weather" to the Retro Television Network. Think of RTN as TV Land, only with several even more obscure shows.

(This change seems to mean WRBL is giving up the weather fight on digital TV. It's either that, or the name will change to something like "15/5 Weather.")

+ Columbus swept Carrollton, to advance to the Georgia high school baseball finals. The games were moved to Columbus State University, due to wet grounds at the high school. WRBL actually suggested Monday night the games might be moved to Golden Park - which would have been shocking, because usually games are moved FROM there.

+ Instant Message to Alabama Governor Bob Riley: I thought you were trying to save the state money. But when I see you at a Montgomery media event and there are TWO big microphones at the speaker's stand, you're not trying hard enough.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 478 (+ 28, 6.2%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

26 MAY 09: Tearing It Up

Recently National Public Radio claimed there are two seasons of the year in Chicago - the winter season and construction season. It appears right now parts of Columbus are the same way. And the construction is NOT happening at schools -- which might be part of the secret plan for getting the sales tax approved in September.

We'll start at the Government Center, where the rules for getting inside change today. The usual south public entrance near Ninth Street is closed for "temporary" renovations. Hopefully this will be more temporary than the terms of Columbus Councilors.

You can still enter the Government Center from Ninth Street, but you'll need to enter on the Plaza Level. You can't walk around and down a hidden breezeway during the renovations - so hopefully you won't mind if paparazzi are standing outside, to see if you're a celebrity.

City officials tell the Ledger-Enquirer the renovation will lead to a new security station at the Ninth Street entrance, which will move visitors along faster. The project will include new flooring and nicer walls - but there's no word on whether more pictures of Mayor Jim Wetherington will be added.

Even during the renovation, the fanciest entrance to the Government Center will remain closed. I'm talking about climbing the steps along Tenth Street to the outdoor plaza. That entrance was closed after the September 2001 attacks - and I'm not sure Rocky Balboa could run up those steps now, without being stopped for questioning.

The other big renovation this week is on Armour Road. The North Columbus Branch Library will remain closed through Thursday, due to air conditioning maintenance. We certainly don't want readers sweating on the magazines - because the slick covers could leave them on the floor in ruins.

The extended shutdown of the North Columbus branch comes while the moving process continues at the Mildred Terry branch. So as school children begin their summer break, the local library system has two of its four buildings closed. Now we'll really see if the security guards at the central library do more than walk around.

Dick McMichael's blog has an interesting picture of the Mildred Terry moving process. Soldiers from Fort Benning are helping with the process, and even rolling a piano down Veterans Parkway from one building to the other. Rolling?! Aren't these young men in weight training, for critical moments like this?

But that blog also reveals the new Mildred Terry library will wind up costing almost twice the original estimate, at $4.7 million. School board members blame this on construction delays, and admit the new building was a low priority. Besides, the Historic Columbus Foundation could have filed a lawsuit - arguing an overcrowded old building is still nice and old.

Don't forget the Mildred Terry branch is having a "silent auction" Wednesday of items from the old building. This is your chance to bid in an oak bookcase, metal shelves used to hold books - and maybe even stacks of the Columbus Times which were left for visitors to have for free.

-> How are the Thursday night poker games going? Read about them and more at our other blog, "On the Flop!"

E-MAIL UPDATE: NASCAR finally ran its big race near Charlotte Monday, and David Reutimann was declared the winner. But first....

When the Coca Cola 600 was postponed last night due to weather,Fox 54 aired the most offensive cartoon I have ever seen..The language was trash and the violence was unforgivable. I hope they can claim they didn't know it contained filthy language and cock fighting and animals getting hit by cars...

I think I know which Fox cartoon you're talking about. I make it a habit to avoid all of them. But really now - didn't the "animals hit by cars" stuff start with Wile E. Coyote?

Let's see what else was on people's minds on Memorial Day 2009....

+ The Port Columbus naval museum's holiday program included the firing of the Civil War-era cannon above the Riverwalk. People across the river in south Phenix City have no reason to complain - because this happened around noon, when everyone should have been awake.

+ Several local churches held a celebration called "Life Fest" at Lakebottom Park. The way it rained at times during the afternoon, the friend who misspelled it "Life Vest" might have been more accurate....

+ The semifinal high school baseball series between Carrollton and Columbus was rained out, and rescheduled for today. Columbus High's Randy Jordan Field doesn't have a tarp, so plastic sheeting was bought over the weekend to cover the field. Huh - none of the players have Boy Scout tents?!

+ Auburn University missed the NCAA baseball tournament, while virtually every other area college made the field. Even my alma mater Kansas is in the tournament, heading to a regional at North Carolina. Someone should order basketball coach Roy Williams to go on vacation in the Caribbean right now.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 450 (+ 13, 3.0%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Monday, May 25, 2009

25 MAY 09: A-Mize-ing Chase

So I'm dialing around TV Sunday while waiting for the big 500-mile car race, and I spot a familiar name in an unlikely place. Before you get wrong ideas - no, Wayne Bennett has NOT made a commercial for a local dentist.

That name was Columbus golfer Larry Mize, who came within two strokes of winning a "senior major" Sunday. He had a strong final round to finish second at the Senior P.G.A. Championship. Before you scoff at Mize placing second - his Sunday drives put him one spot higher than Danica Patrick in that car race. And Mize only had a caddy to help him.

Larry Mize made four birdies on the front nine, and had a three-under-par final round to finish at four-under 276. At a major tournament like the Senior P.G.A., four-under for four rounds is a good score. Someday I'll understand why that score is bad at tournaments named after entertainers.

For a short time on the back nine, Larry Mize was tied for the lead. But he missed birdie putts at holes 15 and 17, then left an approach shot short of the green at 18. And on the former "Seniors Tour," they don't let you claim age as a handicap.

After his final round, Larry Mize told NBC Sports there was "not a lot of slobber in the mouth" during the back nine. He missed a golden opportunity here - because NASCAR drivers would have given credit for it to a drink sponsor.

Larry Mize wound up losing the Senior P.G.A. Championship by two shots to little-known Michael Allen. Mize said you "have to take your hat off" to him - but hmmmm, I noticed Mize never did during the interview.

Michael Allen won $360,000, by capturing the Senior P.G.A. Championship. I searched online Sunday night, but couldn't track down how much Larry Mize earned for second place. Yet I imagine the George W. Bush supporter finally can afford to make a Presidential campaign donation again, after skipping the 2008 race.

The NBC golf team was a bit tough on Larry Mize at one point in the final round. The announcers noted he hasn't won a pro golf event since the "Johnnie Walker Cup World Championship" in 1993. But then again, maybe they were being generous - because Mize's online biography doesn't even mention that.

I was surprised on a road trip a few years ago, when an Augusta TV sportscast claimed Larry Mize as its own. It's because Mize was born in Augusta, but now lives in Columbus. Obviously he appreciates those later sunsets, for finishing his rounds.

And I was also surprised to learn from The Golf Channel's web site that Larry Mize plays the piano. If he never plays in The Masters again, at least he can help play that low-key theme music on CBS....

By the way: remember when Columbus tried to host a Champions Tour golf tournament on Memorial Day weekend? That was six years ago, and the event at Green Island Country Club only lasted one year. We've done well to keep the annual "Purple and Gold Tournament" from moving to Los Angeles, in honor of the basketball Lakers.

We hope you have a happy and meaningful Memorial Day - and now let's check other Sunday items:

+ A holiday program at Fort Mitchell National Cemetery was cut short by rain. I always feel sorry for the "honor guard" soldiers, who have to stand outside in a storm with no umbrellas. They at least should be allowed all the soup they can eat, back at the mess hall.

+ The 50th annual Masters Water Ski Tournament concluded at Callaway Gardens. This year's winner in men's jumping was Freddy Krueger - so hopefully everyone understood when the first Callaway "movie by the beach" was one of those "Nightmare on Elm Street" films.

+ Troy University's Montgomery campus hosted the "Capital Classic" Body-Building Championship. If you spotted someone in the audience wearing dark sunglasses and taking notes on the contestants, it might have been Auburn football coach Gene Chizik.

+ Instant Message to Clear Channel Radio: Are you kidding me?! You aired a commercial for Trojans condoms Sunday night, on WSHE-AM 1270 - the "Southern gospel" station! Are you waiting for complaints, to make sure anyone is listening?

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 437 (- 19, 4.2%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Sunday, May 24, 2009

24 MAY 09: Cracker Town

It's a radio ad I've heard on the road in other cities, but not in Columbus -- "Put some Lance in your pants." Perhaps the slogan sounds a little too dirty for a "Bible Belt" city, and give those "tip of the spear" soldiers at Fort Benning wrong ideas.

The ads promote snacks from Lance Foods, and it appears plenty of people are buying them. Lance Foods announced an expansion of its Columbus plant Friday, which will mean 70 new jobs. For some workers, this admittedly would be a come-down - from Cessna airplanes to soda crackers for the airsick.

Lance managers say construction on the expansion will begin in the next 30 days, at the plant on Eighth Street. For this part of Columbus, that seems almost lightning-fast -- considering the speed limit on Ninth Avenue behind the plant is only five miles per hour. [True!]

The main project at the Lance Foods plant will be the expansion of a "high-speed cracker line." Then it's a good thing they're waiting until after the holiday weekend - because Columbus police are cracking down on high speeds all over town.

We wondered exactly how high-speed the Lance cracker line is, but we couldn't find any online data on it Saturday night. It's probably a corporate secret - although the Columbus Kellogg's plant probably tries to sneak Keebler elves inside from time to time.

A Food Network program filmed in Columbus last year revealed the local Lance plant produces Late July organic crackers [1 Jun 08]. Yet the Late July web site leads you to believe the "small family" company is based in New England. This isn't quite like stores selling U.S. flags made in China, but it's a step in that direction.

I'm not sure what other crackers are made at the Columbus Lance plant. But every time I see "Toast Chee" crackers on sale at a vending machine, I wonder if there's someone in Taiwan who had to approve the use of his name.

The expansion announcement shows the Eighth Street plant is making a nice turnaround. It's been four years since Lance Foods bought out Tom's Foods. Tom's had filed bankruptcy papers, and had more than $60 million in debts [13 Apr 05]. If the plant had been in Las Vegas, this much trouble with chips would have left executives banned from every casino.

While it's nice to see Lance has brought the Columbus plant back from the brink, should executives really be bragging about expanding cracker production? Some people consider the phrase "Georgia crackers" offensive. But then again, WRBL noted the plant manager's name is Jack Warden - and being called "Cracker Jack" probably is still considered a compliment.

My inspirational CD has sold out, but you can hear me sing next Sunday! I'm scheduled to be part of the United Church of God service at the Woodmen of the World hall, on Milgen Road between the post office and Lumber Liquidators. The service starts at 2:30 p.m. ET.

BLOG UPDATE: Prosecutors have clarified a key part of the indictment against Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt. They say the "J.S." mentioned in a couple of counts is NOT Muscogee County District Attorney Julia Slater. So how did Julia Stiles know so long ago that this story could make a great movie?

Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley is taking part of the credit for the indictment of Mark Shelnutt. He told WRBL he spotted illegal activity involving a drug suspect a couple of years ago. But apparently Shelnutt wasn't handsome enough for a prime-time sting on "Dateline NBC."

E-MAIL UPDATE: This tip from a reader sends us far outside the Columbus area....

I'll offer you this without comment.

Man In Ape Suit Sought For Trying to Steal Bananas

Not real ones, but foam ones used in Wisconsin store displays. The suspect is still on the loose - so if he couldn't get the bananas, he split.

Now for other news from a surprisingly busy holiday weekend....

+ A possible small tornado caused tree damage in Smiths Station. That apparently explains a siren I heard in the distance, during a Saturday night run at Phenix City's Idle Hour Park. A security man at the park had no police guidance about it - which led me to think some Phenix City Central high school graduates were having too wild a party.

(I wound up having my worst Saturday night run in two years - so yes, I'm blaming it on a siren psych-out.)

+ Columbus police set up several speeding checkpoints in "Operation Visible." Those dozens of new law officers are starting to pay for themselves, aren't they?

+ Police also reported someone stole an automated teller from a CB&T branch on Whitesville Road. C'mon, folks - write your card passwords down somewhere....

+ Auburn Police reported teenagers stole a car from a Bruster's ice cream shop, then led police on a high-speed chase to Montgomery. I've heard of a sugar rush, but this is ridiculous.

+ High schools across the area held commencement exercises. Webster County had its first high school senior class ever, with all of five students. This will make future class reunions easy. Why reserve a convention hall when you can take a corner booth at Applebee's?

(Two of the five Webster County graduates are entering the military. It seems awfully ironic to me that the Marines are gaining a "salut-atorian.")

+ The Opelika-Auburn News reported a set of quadruplets from Ohatchee will enroll at Auburn University this fall. They're three women and one man - so male classmates had better make it at least a double-date, or else.

+ The evening news visited a Thursday night Great Championship Wrestling program in Phenix City. One fan was shown shouting toward the ring with a bullhorn. I assume all the other fans let that person leave the parking lot first.

+ The Columbus Lions were bounced at Baltimore 52-32. Scorpio Brown caught three touchdown passes for Baltimore - and astrologers probably knew Columbus was in trouble, if all was well in the house of Scorpio.

+ Instant Message to my youngest niece Heather and her husband Ryan: Happy first anniversary! And I apologize for sending the wishes this way. You have an unlisted phone number - and it's silly for me to spend $14.95 for an online company to tell me a family member's e-mail address.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 456 (- 41, 8.2%)

ONLINE LOTTERY WINNINGS: $12,935,779 (details upcoming)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Friday, May 22, 2009

22 MAY 09: Shelnutt's Top 40

Well, well - the rumors were true. At least about what a federal grand jury in Macon has been doing. Muscogee County District Attorney Julia Slater did NOT go there simply to find another prosecutor to take her conflicted cases.

A federal grand jury in Macon indicted Columbus attorney Mark Shelnutt Thursday on 40 counts. They range from money laundering to cocaine conspiracy. Three of the counts accuse Shelnutt of making "false statements" -- but really now, don't most defense lawyers have to do that during closing arguments from time to time?

The 13-page indictment makes accusations against Mark Shelnutt we hadn't heard before. For instance, he's accused of attempting to bribe an assistant federal prosecutor by offering him Georgia football tickets. The indictment calls them "a thing of value" -- so I'm assuming it was NOT for a game against Louisiana-Lafayette.

District Attorney Julia Slater could have a role in several counts of the indictment. Mark Shelnutt is charged with directing someone identified only as "J.S." to put $7,000 from a defendant in a personal bank account in 2006. Of course, Josh Smith of the Atlanta Hawks could give this trial more pizzazz....

Based on my reading of the indictment, that $7,000 apparently wound up in the bank account of Shelnutt's law office secretary. Then the secretary reportedly wrote a personal check for $6,500 back to Shelnutt. So where do you think that extra $500 went - to Peachtree Mall or a day spa?

The indictment accuses Mark Shelnutt of "witness tampering" with J.S., by claiming several times last summer the $7,000 was a loan when it really wasn't. Shelnutt reportedly did this "with the intent to influence the testimony of J.S. before the federal grand jury." I will resist the temptation to make a joke connecting J.S. with B.S....

(I suppose this means Mark Shelnutt will NOT be able to have former law firm partner Julia Slater as his attorney in federal court. He'll have to find some other high-powered attorney - and this could be the biggest case of Ken Nugent's career.)

Most of the counts against Mark Shelnutt involve his work for federal drug suspect Torrance Hill. He's accused of hiding cocaine and drug money, with some of the money reportedly going to pay an expensive mortgage on land Shelnutt owns in Florida. If the indictment is accurate, Shelnutt may have to retire there -- after an all-expenses-paid trip to prison.

The federal indictment claims 11 times between 2005 and 2007, Mark Shelnutt made mortgage payments in Florida which were partly in cash. The indictment alleges the cash really was drug money. Either that, or Shelnutt found the most expensive poker games in Columbus.

F.B.I. agents reportedly visited Mark Shelnutt's law office Thursday, after the indictment was unsealed. It's not clear if they removed any possible evidence - you know, like a Rolodex with Julia Slater's private cell phone number in it.

Mark Shelnutt was NOT arrested after the indictment was unsealed. He'll apparently be a free man until his first court appearance 3 June. After that, who knows - Shelnutt might wind up moving in with some of his old clients.

Mark Shelnutt talked with reporters about the indictment late Thursday. He told WRBL he looks forward to going to court and winning. But it's a shame this is a federal case, where TV cameras normally aren't allowed. That means we won't get to see a full-press court.

We still have two key audio clips posted online from late last year, relating to the Mark Shelnutt case [10 Dec 08 and 15 Dec 08]. They come from a DVD a tipster quietly left at our front door. We didn't hear from that tipster about the indictment Thursday - perhaps because this time we actually were awake in the middle of the day.

-> How are the Thursday night poker games going? Sometimes things get wild. Read about it at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: Perhaps this also should be labeled a "Big Prediction"....

Is this really Columbus,GA in late may,cool and breezy or did I fall down the rabbit hole? I bet we pay for it in mid July when the weather hits the 100 mark and the humidity reaches 99%

No, this is Columbus -- where the high Thursday was only 71 degrees F. You have NOT moved to San Francisco. If you had, the AIDS candlelight memorial last weekend would have filled the Civic Center.

We've had some cool late May days in the past. I recall one in the late 1990s, when a man called to report a wildcat strike. A group of outside workers wanted to light a fire barrel, and their boss wouldn't allow it. Then again, maybe this was a liberal boss who was trying to prevent global warming.

The two murder cases in the Columbus news Thursday were nothing to joke about. But we found other interesting news....

+ Josh McKoon confirmed to the late-night news he's running for the State Senate seat Seth Harp is giving up. But isn't McKoon going to have to do more, beyond simply moving to Harp's district? An opponent will note his Phenix City law office, and accuse him of being on both sides of the water issue.

+ School-by-school results were announced for this year's CRCT exam. Amazingly, 77 percent of the fifth-graders at Rigdon Road Elementary failed the math test. Talk about a sea change! This wouldn't have happened if Phyllis Jones was still the principal - with all that mysterious extra money for buying class road trips and bicycles.

(Middle school math students also had troubles. About two-thirds of the eighth-graders at Baker, Marshall and Rothschild all hath to take the math CRCT a second time this week - so clearly something doesn't add up here.)

+ The United Way of the Chattahoochee Valley announced its allocations for the coming year. Contact Helpline will receive nothing, because the office computer crashed at the deadline to file a request for funds. Some of us would have been smart enough to go to OfficeMax with a bottle of liquid paper, to make photocopies of last year's forms.

+ Fort Benning gave reporters a tour of new buildings under construction for base realignment. An officer said the relocations are "disturbing 20,000 acres" of land. And here I thought a live-fire exercise with heavy tanks would disturb every square inch of land on post.

(I didn't realize until WRBL mentioned it that Fort Benning only has two generals. BRAC will double that number to four - which meant a couple of majors won't feel any more pressure in golf foursomes.)

+ The Jonesboro, Georgia mayor fired the police chief, because the chief wore blue jeans on the job. Mayor Luther Maddox wants the chief to wear a police uniform, instead of a coat and tie. In a related note, all undercover investigations in Jonesboro now will focus on Baptist churches and country clubs.

+ Georgia Tech was eliminated from the Atlantic Coast Conference baseball tournament, after only two games. Thursday's loss was embarrassing -- 7-3 to Boston College. I thought the only people who cared about baseball in Boston were spending $500 a ticket to watch the Red Sox.

+ Instant Message to Muscogee County's graduating high school seniors: Have a safe and fun celebration this weekend. And don't overlook that card the school board stuffed alongside your diploma - so you register to vote in time for the September sales tax referendum.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 497 (+ 14, 2.9%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Thursday, May 21, 2009

21 MAY 09: Into the Tanks

They're moving out tanks in Columbus these days. I think I saw a few on the railroad tracks above the 11th Street Tunnel the other day. But then, maybe they were Bradley Fighting Vehicles - and it's nice to know they're in the hometown of W.C. Bradley.

Another kind of tank could be on the way out - the storage tanks used by Columbus Water Works. WLTZ reported Wednesday night all the city tanks are being inspected ahead of schedule, after the big collapse at the North Treatment Center. If more tanks crumble and there's "water water everywhere," Columbus truly will NOT have a drop to drink.

The Executive Vice President of Columbus Water Works says water tanks normally receive safety checks every five years. Jim Patterson says the tank that tumbled near River Road had its last inspection four years ago. Hmmmm - have there been any recalls of Rust-Oleum since 2005?

Columbus Water Works crews take about a week to inspect a water. They drain all the water from it, before checking the inside and outside. So much for the lifeguards at city pools getting year-round jobs.

Jim Patterson says the oldest water tank in Columbus is in the Ogletree subdivision, near the north end of Armour Road. Patterson revealed after that tank is inspected, it might be taken out of service. Countless graffiti artists are waiting anxiously for this decision....

Jim Patterson noted Columbus Water Works stopped using a tank in the Benning Hills area several years ago. Why it wasn't turned into a water park, I'm not quite sure....

As the inspections are done, Columbus Water Works keeps waiting for an official report on why the North Treatment Center's steel tank collapsed in April. In fact, three separate reports are pending. Let's see - there's the inside and outside of the tank. And maybe someone secretly poured gallons of battery acid into the Chattahoochee River.

Speaking of water spills, the Wednesday evening news reported Teak Drive residents have hired an attorney for a possible lawsuit against the city of Columbus. The city's offer of a $10,000 payment apparently isn't good enough -- and the "Extreme Makeover Home Edition" team must be on vacation.

The attorney for Teak Drive residents has mailed a notice to Columbus city officials, warning a lawsuit could be filed unless there's a settlement in 30 days. That's nice and polite of him. In Phenix City, they seem to throw the papers on the mayor's chair before a city council meeting.

(I didn't realize the "30 days or I'll sue" warnings are called "anti-litum" letters. Maybe I should do this sort of thing to credit card companies - asking them an "anti-litter" letter about their junk mail.)

Since the Charter Oaks watershed overflowed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has declared Teak Drive a flood zone. Considering what apparently caused the April damage, I doubt Governor Sonny Perdue will designate it a "Go Fish Georgia" zone.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <--

E-MAIL UPDATE: A message to us Wednesday had the title, "Why, Oh Why?" Yes, it came in one long paragraph....

One of my favorite sayings has always been, "When all is said and done...there will be more said than done." There is no quote that sums up politics any more than this one. Politicians love to talk. Some even do it best out of both sides of their mouth. The common man/woman, or voters if you prefer, will never get what they need or want because politicians simply cannot agree on anything that loyal voters or "constituents" as some love to call them, need to be passed into ordinances, laws or legislation. We can't get the programming of traffic lights in an order where you are not sitting for over two minutes at non-busy intersections and then can't get a turn signal that lasts for more than fifteen seconds at a very-busy intersection. I honestly feel that in order to be employed to program traffic lights, you MUST have a single digit IQ. I'm pretty sure that one with a higher IQ could suffer brain damage and still do a better job. I only use the traffic light problem as a metaphor. If we can't get a small job such as this right, how can we ever expect anything on a larger scale to be solved? Politicians talk, but never say anything of worth. They talk, some only to argue that evidently is used as a shield to hide their shortcomings or lack of accomplishments (Hey, take a look at what he hasn't done to take the heat off of me type mentality). It is rather obvious as to why Phenix City has never grown. Politicians with the same thought process as the last are elected over and over again. The number one cry is "we have no money for that." Then turn around and spend or allocate millions of dollars on projects that are "flashy". They look and sound impressive but benefit whom? It will never be any better. The residents of Columbus love to see fighting amongst Phenix City Councilors and Commissioners of Russell County because it keeps them at a level of what they feel will always lower than they are. Neither has too much to crow about in my opinion. Phenix City says a lot and nothing gets done. Columbus will always be a big, country town with a "growth" on one its sides called a military base. Don't take this wrong, I am proud of our military and what they do for our country. It's the mindset of Columbus politics to constantly hope that people brought in from other parts of the country and world deserve better than the people that were born and continue to work and live here. Those outsiders come here expecting the table to be set for them while the residents are left looking through the window at the feast that politicians have prepared with the promise of more to come. People rush to the polls and get caught up in the election process and then sit back and complain about who is in office. Wonder how they got there? "If I had known that so and so was going to push for and vote on issues the way that they have...I would never have voted for them", I hear far too many say. That is why you must do your homework so to speak, prior to the election and attend forums for candidates before they are elected and not be afraid to ask stinging and important questions of the candidates before you mark your ballot. These two towns, Phenix City and Columbus, are OUR towns. Let's learn to take it more serious than we do or in the way that it always has been done. More said than done. Let's turn that old quote around! With Regards, I.M. Concerned

Now hold on, I.M. - consider what you're requesting here. If that turn signal light stays on too long, some will consider it a sneaky plot to promote leftist big government.

Another area blog writer suggested several weeks ago that Phenix City voters elect the same politicians over and over. But I took issue with that. Consider or Max Wilkes - suing the city one year, then serving on City Council the next. So there are two groups, and they're rotating....

Columbus residents can see plenty of fights at Council meetings - but not as many as they once did. The new "Public Agenda" rules mean Paul Olson and Bert Coker only have five minutes to get through their various topics. Maybe they should hire an auctioneer to make their points faster - and maybe even bring his own gavel.

Let's see if we can give peace a chance, based on Wednesday's other headlines:

+ The evening news reported Charles Johnston will plead guilty today to the Doctors Hospital bloodbath. This is surprising, since reports earlier in the week claimed Johnston's attorney would request a change of venue for a trial. Maybe the attorney concluded everyone in Georgia considers Johnston the killer.

+ The Phenix City-Russell County Boys and Girls Club confirmed it's losing its national charter on Friday, and will close one of its three centers. The reason for it might be explained at a community meeting tonight. And the way things are going, somebody's liable to blame it on Mayor Sonny Coulter.

+ The annual Georgia Special Olympics Torch Run passed through downtown Columbus, with a stop at the Public Safety Center. Aren't you thankful we have dozens of new police officers to help with this? If veteran officers don't run as far, they're less likely to have a heart attack,

+ Brookstone advanced to the Georgia Class A baseball semifinals by downing Darlington 7-0. That'll teach the folks at Darlington to branch out from NASCAR racing....

+ One-time Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was moved from federal prison to home confinement. Members of Congress should pay attention to this. If a scrambler like Vick couldn't get out of the Leavenworth, Kansas prison, I doubt the detainees at Guantanamo Bay can.

(Michael Vick hopes to return to pro football -- but for now, he'll have a construction job paying ten dollars per hour. Wouldn't it only be fitting if he builds doghouses?)

+ Instant Message to Wane Hailes of The Courier: That was you, right? The man in the pink shirt with a sweater? The man I saw running across Wynnton Road Wednesday afternoon? In the middle of the block, not at the corner? And talking on a cell phone as you did it? Maybe it's time to write another column on personal responsibility.

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 483 (+ 16, 3.4%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

20 MAY 09: WAIT - Your Turn

Uh-oh - be warned right now. We're talking about a delicate topic today, which might not be for all members of the family. And no, we're not going back to the debate about whether President Franklin Roosevelt was really a socialist....

We're talking about.... uh, well.... about something I've never really done. I think it's what the guy in the old Monty Python sketch meant when he asked: "Have you, you know - done it?.... Nudge nudge, say no more." At some Southern churches, I still think the discussion of the topic stops at that level.

OK, enough of this tip-toeing - the Muscogee County School Board has approved a new abstinence curriculum for ninth-graders. Students will be taught to abstain until they're married. Only then can you make a wise yes-or-no vote on a local referendum, like the one-percent school sales tax.

No, hold on -- this is about teaching ninth-graders abstinence from (ahem) serious lovemaking. After all, you can't star in a remake of "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" if you're disqualified at 14.

The New Horizons Community Service Board has developed this ninth-grade abstinence program. Isn't this a surprise? "New Horizons" is promoting something that's considered quite old-fashioned in 2009....

Yes, this abstinence instruction comes from the same New Horizons which works with substance abuse and mental health cases. So the staff must agree with that Robert Palmer rock song - "Might as well face it, you're addicted to love."

The ninth-grade abstinence curriculum is called the WAIT Training program. If the letters in WAIT are an acronym for something, I couldn't find it Tuesday night. I think the first two letters might stand for "Why Abstinence." I'm guessing the last two could be, "Internalized Tube-Tying."

The WAIT Training program has three main goals for ninth-graders to accept. One involves abstinence from, you know, doing it. The other two are to graduate from high school and avoid teenage marriage. Hmmmm - come to think of it, all three involve abstinence. Abstaining from doing something stupid....

A short video on the WAIT Training web site says if teenagers practice abstinence, the number of teen alcoholism cases will drop. I never realized there was a connection there - that high school students who keep their clothes on are more likely to drink soda.

New Horizons executives add abstinence also has financial benefits. High school students can save for a sports car at graduation, or spend money on a baby's toy car now.

The Muscogee County Schools will introduce WAIT Training in ninth-grade health classes over the next four years. This simply follows the instruction teens have received about this topic for decades - to take it slow.

The abstinence education program will mention contraceptives, but in a different way from usual health classes. Students will be told about the failure rates of items such as condoms. By comparison, abstinence programs in religious schools might teach about how you'll fail to have a high-ranking church office.

I see nothing wrong with the WAIT Training program - but I wonder if ninth-grade is a little late to be teaching it. When I was in high school, a guest speaker stunned our Sociology class by revealing she had helped a pregnant girl who was only five. No one asked what the male's age was - but I wouldn't be surprised if that man is under a state "1,000-foot" rule now.

Regular blog readers may recall one of our livelier discussions here - when I revealed in 2005 I've practiced abstinence throughout my life [21 Aug 05]. I still do that today. And sure enough, I've reaped financial benefits - such as not spending twice the money at restaurants, buying dinners for dates.

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <--

BLOG UPDATE: We may now know why Phenix City's Mayor skipped last week's town hall forum in a church. Several Council members indicated publicly Tuesday they simply don't like the guy. Sonny Coulter may be polite enough to avoid going where he's not wanted.

The Phenix City Council's honeymoon ended, with a vote to end a land dispute involving the Riverchase Drive interchange at U.S. 80. A pending court case will be settled, with developer Michael Bowden receiving $2 million. That may sound like a lot, but remember -- that's $500,000 below Tommy Bowden's buyout to quit coaching Clemson's football team.

The 3-2 vote revealed a clear divide on the Phenix City Council. African-American Councilors Arthur Sumbry and Michelle Walker voted for the settlement. Caucasian-American Councilor Max Wilkes and Mayor Sonny Coulter voted against it. And Jimmy Wetzel's tie-breaking vote to settle could put him in the running for a "Profile in Courage" award.

Mayor Sonny Coulter complained he was NOT told in advance about the proposed settlement. In fact, he said the deal "reeks of corruption." And since this is the mayor who arranged a public 50th-anniversary showing of the movie "The Phenix City Story," he ought to know.

The Phenix City mayor complained to City Attorney Jimmy Graham about the proposed settlement. Graham wondered why Sonny Coulter was so upset with him. After all, if the mayor doesn't have a Twitter account by now....

Councilor Jimmy Wetzel responded by accusing the Phenix City Mayor of "lies and backstabbing." I'm not sure what he means by that - but this is sounding like a cool special event for Great Championship Wrestling.

Jimmy Wetzel said it's Mayor Sonny Coulter's fault, if he didn't know about the legal settlement. In Wetzel's words: "He needs to come to the office more." Well, yeah - if you're going to vote yourself a raise, earn the extra money.

(Mayor Sonny Coulter told a reporter later in response: "I am in the office nearly every day...." Translation: pick up the mail on your way to lunch.)

Councilor Michelle Walker said she felt offended by Sonny Coulter's corruption comment. If he keeps making public remarks like this, Walker might take him to the Tyra Banks Show....

Somewhere amidst the finger-pointing, a new Phenix City Police Chief was named Tuesday. The City Manager gave the job to no-longer-interim Chief Ray Smith. If he could keep his composure during the heated Council debate, he might be the right person for the job.

Tuesday's fireworks happened a few days after we received yet another snail-mail letter from the "13th Street Businessperson." Well, check that - he/she now signs letters as "Southside Informant," after one signing as "Concerned From the North End of Town." I'm starting to wonder if this person runs a taxi service.

The latest letter has several points and questions. One claims "the citizens of north Phenix City now complain that they have no 'effective and knowledgeable representation.'" Hmmm - so now they actually WANT someone to "loiter" around City Hall all day.

The letter also asks for the city to "identify those bonds and warrants that were refinanced" in February. I probably was given the answer, but my old-style cassette recorder stopped working after last week's town hall and I couldn't hastily write down the detailed explanation. Our writer could ask Finance Director Stephen Smith for details - maybe by visiting City Hall wearing a trench coat and sunglasses.

But that's not all from Phenix City. The chair of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority told the Ledger-Enquirer Tuesday he believes the Phenixian condominium project still is on. But at this point, the only thing downtown that's "high-rising" is the volume of City Council complaints.

After all of this excitement, we only have a few news items left to clean up....

+ The Opelika-Auburn News reported on a new complaint from Auburn City Councilor Arthur Dowdell. He's hinting he might file suit to ensure a second African-American Council member. And if I was President Obama, I'd take a lot of extra care with that Supreme Court opening.

+ The "Ten Tenors" performed at the RiverCenter. Wow, the people who warned of hyperinflation must be right - because I can remember when only three were enough.

+ Columbus High School advanced to the state baseball semifinals, by shutting out St. Pius X of Atlanta twice. It's a score local baseball lovers could appreciate: X-0 X-0.

(Meanwhile, defending state Class A champion Pacelli was eliminated by Landmark Christian - so it was the worst day for Georgia Catholics since that Atlanta archbishop ran off with a female lover years ago.)

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 467 (+ 10, 2.2%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

19 MAY 09: Which Switch Are You?

TRUE NEWS ITEM: Columbus TV stations make the "Big Switch" to digital television in 25 days, so they're trying to make sure viewers are well-informed and prepared....

"Big Switch hotline. How can I help you?"

"Is this the Big Switch hotline?"

"Yes, that's what I said."

"OK, I don't hear all that good. Are you going to switch away from that closed captioning?"

"No, we're not changing that."

"Oh. That's too bad."


"I was hoping you'd open up the captioning, so I can add some funny lines to what the newscasters are saying."

"Thank you, but no. Next call -- Big Switch hotline."

"Yeah. You made the Big Switch already, didn't you?"

"No. Congress postponed that back in...."

"Yeah, you did. First Dee Armstrong, now Wayne Bennett."

"That's not the Big Switch we're talking about."

"Is this all a stunt to bring Dick McMichael back?"

"Sorry, he's moved on -- and so will we. Big Switch hotline."

"Hi, I have a question about the converter boxes."

"Finally. What's your question?"

"Will they convert you to the Baptist church, or some other one?"

"No, that's not what the converter does."

"It's not?! I was going to buy a bunch of them to give to the Third Brigade. You know, install them in Afghanistan...."

"I'm not sure they're even making the Big Switch in Afghanistan."

"Well, they're sure working on that sort of thing in Pakistan."

"Good point there. Thanks for calling. Big Switch hotline."

"OK, here's my problem. My son is five-foot-three and weighs 150 pounds."

"Uhhhh - and?!"

"When he acts up, how big a switch should I use on him?"

"No no. Our Big Switch is about television."

"I can bring him to the station, if you want me to. He'll be embarrassed in front of everybody."

"Ma'am, I suggest you call the Pastoral Institute about that. Thank you. Big Switch hotline."

"Hi. Am I on the air?"

"We're not putting callers on the air."

"'Cause I just wanted to tell everybody to switch to - HOWARD STERN!!!"

"So much for that caller. Big Switch hotline."

"I think you should be ashamed of yourselves!"

"And why do you say that?"

"The good Lord made us right, just like we are! For you to go around telling people they've got to switch...."


"I mean, do you realize you're not in Massachusetts?"

"Yes we know, sir."

"Not to mention Iowa. Those weirdo corn farmers...."

"Thanks for your opinion, sir. Big Switch hotline."

"Yeah, I'm one of those folks who has 'rabbit ears.'"

"Good! At last! How can we help you?"

"If I put them on for a costume party, do you think that'll be good enough to win?"

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 457 (+ 19, 4.3%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Monday, May 18, 2009

18 MAY 09: Hobbs's Choice

The annual candlelight memorial for HIV/AIDS patients was held in Columbus Sunday evening. This used to be an outdoor event near the Riverwalk, but this year it was inside a hotel. This may prove HIV patients are smarter than the artists who love a rainy Lakebottom Park.

In the last year or so, one local HIV patient has emerged as a lead spokesman on the illness. Perhaps it's no surprise that Jeremy Hobbs is doing this. He already was speaking out on plenty of other things - and sadly, Columbus Mayor Jim Wetherington has yet to commit any of the 100 new police officers to direct traffic on 13th Street during afternoon rush hour.

Jeremy Hobbs shared his story of dealing with HIV on this blog almost a year ago [1 Jun 08]. Hobbs mentioned then he had a new nonprofit organization awaiting approval. The Better Way Foundation is now in operation, and hosted Sunday's memorial service. At this point, I don't think it's trying to compete with the United Way.

The Better Way Foundation isn't stopping with an annual memorial. Jeremy Hobbs is organizing an AIDS walk on the Riverwalk in September. Unlike AIDS walks in other cities, this one will include a 5,000-meter run. That's the "better way" to illustrate how to stay away from (ahem) unprotected love-making.

But did I hear Jeremy Hobbs right on WXTX "News at Ten," when he said anybody can develop the AIDS virus? I thought improved testing of blood for transfusions has made HIV almost completely preventable. You can even donate blood in advance for surgery - and I've yet to hear of blood banks needing federal bailouts.

Jeremy Hobbs is blogging about his AIDS activism, along with other projects. In one post from March, he writes about a petition drive for President Obama to "sign a Clean Needles Act." That had to be a bit challenging for Hobbs to do - since he's a Republican, and the President is a Democrat.

Jeremy Hobbs is still listed as Secretary of the Muscogee Young Republicans, on its web site. But it's clear Hobbs is one of those "big tent Republicans," to borrow from the Sunday TV talk shows -- so big that he actually hopes President Obama will agree with him on an issue.

And that's the amazing thing - Jeremy Hobbs also is Chair of the "Non Partisan Civic Alliance of Columbus." It's an activist group which apparently has no membership dues. I assume the preparation of the coffee pot for monthly meetings rotates, between the "old-grind" and the latte group.

If all that isn't enough, Jeremy Hobbs announced last week he's become a policy adviser on HIV/AIDS to John Oxendine's campaign for Georgia Governor. I didn't realize until Sunday night that Oxendine has argued for health insurance plans to cover HIV. He never seems to mention that when he's investigating church fires....

For someone who's had the AIDS virus for six years, Jeremy Hobbs is one busy man. Some people in his position might go into a shell of self-pity. Instead Hobbs keeps working on issues which matter to him - as long as he doesn't get his jobs confused, and try to persuade President Obama and John Oxendine to become independents.

E-MAIL UPDATE: Sometimes there's a fine line between news and self-promotion. The InBox offers an example of that....

Hi Richard,

I know you love covering news and events in Columbus and I wanted to let you know about a great event next week. The new Baskin-Robbins store at 2445 Airport Thruway is hosting a Grand Opening event on Tuesday, May 19 from 5 - 8 p.m. to celebrate the new store. To show their commitment to the community, franchisees Jason and Claire Elrod will be presenting a $500 donation to the Allen Elementary School during the event. Principal Ruthie Hamlin will be at the event to accept the donation on the school's behalf.

The Grand Opening will be full of fun events and specials to celebrate the new store:

Grand Opening event from 5 - 8 p.m.

Buy One, Get One Free waffle cones

Free topping....

We're cutting off the e-mail there, because the "news" value essentially has been told. There's money for a school, low-priced dessert for you - and no advertising revenue for me.

This ice cream shop is not the first in the area to do this sort of public relations stunt. Ask business owners and civic groups why their giving should receive news media attention, and they'll say something like, "We want people to know what we're doing." When a staff member is caught in some kind of scandal, suddenly that thinking changes....

I take a different approach to these events than Wane Hailes of "The Courier." He chided Piggly Wiggly recently, for not publicizing their good deeds in African-American areas of Columbus. Then again, Hailes won't stop chiding Piggly Wiggly until the stores have two-page advertisements in his newspaper every week.

My thinking is that businesses and civic groups should follow the teaching of a well-known book, and "not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing...." But there's one problem with this approach. Thieves might try to use it in court, as a defense.

Now as we promised, let's chew on other news of the weekend....

+ Weekend storms left a few small limbs down near the Government Center, and ripped the tops off a couple of trees on the Riverwalk near South Commons. At least I'm assuming lightning struck the trees - and the helicopters which dropped soldiers during the Best Ranger competition didn't hover too low.

+ The Alabama Legislature approved the bill allowing the Phenix City Council to vote itself and the mayor a raise. If Governor Bob Riley signs it into law, the city's elected officials could have more money to spend - well, at least on themselves.

+ A check of Tuesday's Columbus Council agenda found one topic will be the installation of a cell phone antenna on one of the light poles at Golden Park. Any player hitting a ball off the antenna will win a free year of service.

+ Two classic cars owned by former Carmike Cinemas Chairman Carl Patrick went up for auction. A Ferrari sold for a bit less than $30,000. But a Rolls-Royce was NOT sold, because the high bid was ONLY $18,000. Aw c'mon - Rivertown Ford would have sold that old car for half the price, and shown it with a dancing turkey.

+ WRBL showed video of an eight-foot-long alligator being subdued in Fort Mitchell. The people who rounded up the gator mockingly read it the "Miranda rules," about having the right to remain silent. Tie a rope around the gator's mouth, and it probably becomes a moot point.

+ Columbus State University held its spring commencement. What's the perfect gift for graduates from a Georgia state university? Maybe it's lottery tickets, so they learn to "pass on the gift" to the next generation.

+ Eufaula's Eric Betts finished second in the "Jeopardy!" game show college championships. The Emory University student might have won, but he missed a final-round question about the home Henry David Thoreau built on Walden Pond. Sadly, most young people today think Walden Pond is where the bookstore chain started.

(At least Eric Betts finished ahead of that young woman from the University of Missouri. She's cute and smart, but the Kansas graduate in me simply couldn't root for her.)

+ The Georgia Republican Party held its state convention in Savannah. Can you believe John Oxendine already has a radio commercial promoting himself for Governor -- 14 months before the primary? I really don't think "advance voting" is going to start that early....

+ Instant Message to the Columbus and Pacelli High School baseball teams: Which of you will be first to borrow from the world news headlines, and call your home ballpark "Swat Valley?"

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 438 (- 39, 8.2%, record low)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats

Sunday, May 17, 2009

17 MAY 09: Bueno for Wayno

It was a touching tribute on the Friday evening news -- but something seemed to be missing. If a news anchor is going to move to Panama, shouldn't you give him a Panama hat?

That's the eventual destination of former TV news anchor Wayne Bennett. Yes, he plans to retire to Panama -- the place where "Panama City" does NOT automatically come with a beach.

(Before you write me: yes, I'm aware "Panama hats" do NOT come from Panama. A dictionary I have shows Panama merely was a main distribution point for them. It's a bit like College Park, Georgia having no college for decades.)

When Dee Armstrong left the evening news last summer, Wayne Bennett hosted what he called the "first annual retirement party" for her. This weekend marks the second annual retirement, for Bennett. As for next spring - well, how old IS Phil Scoggins, anyway?

Several farewell bashes have been held for Wayne Bennett over the last few days. Here's hoping at least one of them paid tribute to his upcoming new home of Panama - and had people sing, "We wish you a merry isthmus."

(Did you notice how one of the other TV stations showed respect for Wayne Bennett? WLTZ's John Beard apparently was so emotionally overcome, he stayed off the air all week.)

Now that Wayne Bennett officially is retired, I can tell you he scouted around for a nice retirement spot for the last few years. He dared to think "outside the box" and consider locations in Central America. But no, I do NOT think he timed this to take the staff of "Viva 1460" with him....

Costa Rica has become a trendy retirement spot for U.S. residents. But it wasn't quite right for Wayne Bennett and his wife. Betty Bennett told me last year of plans to assimilate with people in a small Panamanian city. Hopefully the experience won't turn them into Pana-maniacs.

One challenge Wayne and Betty Bennett will obviously have is learning fluent Spanish. Maybe that's why they plan to spend a short time in Florida, before moving to Panama -- probably watching as many "telenovelas" on Univision as they can.

You may not know Wayne Bennett's wife Betty bakes marvelous cheesecakes, and tried to sell them as a home business a few years ago. People in Panama probably would buy some for special occasions - assuming they have as many "American restaurants" as Columbus does Mexican restaurants.)

We wish Wayne Bennett and his wife a happy retirement, wherever the road ahead takes them. But we hope Bennett doesn't have a flashback to the start of his journalism career in Vietnam, and try to recapture the Panama Canal.

By the way, regular blog readers will be glad to know history did NOT repeat itself in my neighborhood Friday evening. Unlike last June when Dee Armstrong left the air, the departure of Wayne Bennett was NOT followed by a visit from undercover drug agents [1 Jul 08].

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. Visit "On the Flop!" <--

BLOG UPDATE: It was "farewell Friday" on Columbus radio as well, as the morning team of "Gladiola y Martin" said goodbye to listeners of WHAL-AM "Viva 1460." They admitted a tight economy was behind Monday's change to Fox Sports Radio - and yes, they warned listeners the new network will be in English.

Gladiola declared Martin "super-professional" in a final morning show which lasted 30 minutes beyond the usual sign-off time of 11:00 a.m. If only the people calling Viva 1460 had been the same way - as half the callers seemed to hang up before they went on the air.

No tears seemed to be shed on the air, as Gladiola and Martin ended their final broadcast with the happy sing-along song "Hoy es Viernes" (Today is Friday). You'll have to go to the Columbus Career Center Monday, and see if they're singing there.

It occurred to me as I listened to Viva 1460 Friday that Clear Channel tried very hard to make its Spanish station a success. Gladiola and Martin had one of the liveliest local morning shows in Columbus, right down to a theme song in their honor. They made the three guys currently on WDAK sound like grumpy old men....

Perhaps Gladiola and Martin will wind up at WTMQ-FM "Tropical 88.5." I'm not sure where else in Columbus they could go - especially since other Hispanic DJ's now are resorting to working weekend nights at restaurants such as Mi Casa. [True!]

Somebody's gotta ask it - where is the local Hispanic leadership these days? Or IS there any? We noted Friday all of the things "Latino Columbus" has lost in the last two months. The community is down to one weak-sounding radio station, a three-page "Eco Latino" section in The Courier -- and I'm being generous to count the annual WHINSEC open house at Fort Benning.

By the way, Coach B.R. Johnson apparently will NOT be on Fox Sports Radio 1460 after all. Today's Ledger-Enquirer reports he'll start a new afternoon talk show Monday on WRCG. Somewhere Paul Olson will be rejoicing -- and figuring out how to use sports metaphors in all his complaints about city government.

CLASSIC BLOG: Wayne Bennett was our first guest blogger, and offered a story from his TV reporting career. Here's what we posted 26 Dec 05:

In 1975, I covered a story that nearly soured me on sausage forever.

I was working as a reporter for WESH Television in Orlando, Florida when a call came in from a distraught farmer whose hogs were mysteriously dying. My photographer, Buddy Pittman, and I loaded up a news vehicle and headed out. The hog farm was located in a rural community called Bithlo. For those unfamiliar with the Orlando area, Bithlo is made up of numerous junkyards and trailer parks, a couple of liquor stores and, of course, one hog farm.

It was mid-August. The mercury was hovering somewhere in the upper 90s, so when we arrived at the farm, the air conditioner was blowing full blast. Nothing could have prepared us for what happened next. We opened the doors to get out and the smell assaulted us. If you've never smelled a pig farm, consider yourself lucky. It has a pungently overpowering scent that would gag a maggot. It certainly triggered the gag reflex in us. We jumped back in the car and slammed the doors, but it was too late. The smell had permeated everything. It was days before it completely went away.

After getting over the initial shock and pulling ourselves together, we once again ventured from the car to check out the farmer's story. He wasn't exaggerating. There were dead and dying hogs everywhere. Some of them were in rigor mortis. Others were barely clinging to life. It was not a pretty sight. We interviewed the farmer, filmed the carnage, and got the h**l out of there as quickly as we could.

In those days, we were still shooting our stories on 16 millimeter film. The editing process took place through a viewer that was about three inches square. When the story aired that night, what we could not see through the viewer was perfectly obvious on the television screen. As the farmer droned on about his pig problem, an Irish setter walked in over his left shoulder, squatted, left a steaming token of disdain, and walked away. My fellow reporters were in stitches. My News Director was not amused. Unfortunately, it didn't end there. As the story came to an end with a slow pan of dead and dying hogs by the dozen, we did not go back to the anchors. We did not go to a wide shot of the set. For some reason I still haven't discovered, we cut directly to a Jimmy Dean Sausage commercial. The sales department was upstairs at the far end of the building, and we could still hear their anguished screams echoing down the hallway. It was, needless to say, not my finest hour.

We later learned the hogs were being killed by contaminated feed. The source of the contamination, as far as I know, was never determined. Buddy Pittman later went into sports and is still working for WESH. I eventually wore out my welcome in Orlando and am now anchoring the news for WTVM....

BLOGGER'S NOTE: We'll wrap up other weekend news Monday. After all, that's how WRBL is doing it these days....

The number of unique visitors to our blog is up more than 14 percent so far this year! To advertise to them, offer a story tip, make a PayPal donation 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: 477 (+ 14, 3.0%)

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

© 2003-09 Richard Burkard, all rights reserved.

site stats