Sunday, October 25, 2009

25 OCT 09: Did God Get the Boot?

If you were bored Saturday, it wasn't because groups around the area didn't try. Peachtree Mall had a finger football tournament. Columbus State University held a team dodgeball tournament. And Loachapoka had its annual "syrup-sopping" celebration -- which ought to be sponsored by some brand of paper towels.

Saturday would have been the day for God Bless Fort Benning - but this year, things were different. The date was moved away from SOA Watch weekend. Uptown Columbus took over the celebration of soldiers. And the name was changed to Boots on Broadway. Doesn't that name sound like it belongs on a country music concert at the RiverCenter?

From the clips I saw on the late-night news, Boots on Broadway did NOT appear to draw a big crowd. It certainly didn't have the publicity that God Bless Fort Benning received in recent years, when Eve "Tidwell and friends" made you feel almost un-American if you didn't show up. Maybe all the patriots have moved on to Tea Party protests.

(Did you notice the Columbus Trade Center had one of its regular gun shows open, during Boots on Broadway? Maybe next year, the promoters will bring some REALLY big guns to town for this event - like tanks.)

Boots on Broadway was advertised to last from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. But when I jogged down Broadway around 7:45 Saturday night, I only saw one soldier in uniform - walking and embracing his sweetheart. Perhaps the rest had been redeployed to downtown bars, to monitor critical college football games.

(Uptown Columbus built a web site for Boots on Broadway. While it's fancy, it has little information - and if you click on the link, you'll find this blog was first to leave a comment in the guest book. Aren't soldiers given instructions today about manners, and sending thank-you notes?)

I went downtown during the lunch hour Thursday, hoping to visit the God Bless Fort Benning office - you know, the one which promised all sorts of services for soldiers [16 Nov 07]. But it's gone, and the staff at a loan office on Broadway had no idea where it was. That's what happens when a big public service event has plenty of sponsors.

So where did God Bless Fort Benning go? The answer came Friday from a former president of the event. Bob Poydasheff told me the program has "metamorphosized" into the new "Community of Heroes." Let's see Mayor Jim Wetherington even try to say the word metamorphosized....

Bob Poydasheff led God Bless Fort Benning for three years, then decided to let someone else take it over. His replacement was Chamber of Commerce executive Harold Bryant, who died last Sunday. "He was only 67," Poydasheff said sadly. When you're 79 years old, you can put the word "only" next to 67.

Bob Poydasheff said since Harold Bryant worked for the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, the Community of Heroes program was moved there. Poydasheff explained that meant "no capital" needed to be spent on a physical office. But I suppose soldiers had to spend extra money for gasoline, trying to find the new location.

A few people were distressed by the change of name from God Bless Fort Blessing to Boots on Broadway. They fear it's another case of God being removed from the public spotlight - and it might even open the door for Fred Phelps's followers to organize a "God Smite Fort Benning" event next fall.

"That's nonsense," Bob Poydasheff answered when I asked about the removal of God's name from the event's name. He said there's nothing to stop people from honoring God at such events - and he noted the military has members from a wide range of faiths, including Islam. Before Christians become scandalized by that news, consider two words: double agent.

Bob Poydasheff says the idea behind Community of Heroes is to expand beyond one big bash on Broadway, to a year-round effort to honor soldiers. This includes work with Fort Benning's Wounded Warrior program - but if its motto is "warriors never quit," why did Poydasheff step aside as President? Is he an old soldier who's simply fading away?

God Bless Fort Benning still has a web site, which hasn't been updated in a year. Enjoy it while you can -- because the late-night news indicated Uptown Columbus wants to work with Fort Benning to make Boots on Broadway an annual event. The "God Bless" part may disappear -- or at least left to local churches in early July.

Oh yes -- I know what some of you are saying. Bob Poydasheff used to be mayor of Columbus. Yes, I asked THAT question. I was not the first to ask it. In fact, he says more people are suggesting he run in 2010 than ever before. Given his record, somehow I doubt many of those people are public safety officers.

Bob Poydasheff appreciates the interest - but says his wife set some rules for another mayoral campaign. He has to have 25,000 names on petitions. And on top of that, he has to receive a check for $125,000. I should have asked Poydasheff if he's buying any Mega Millions lottery tickets, and holding blank sheets of paper while in line.

Bob Poydasheff admits he's in good health, but he'll turn 80 years old next year. Considering Mayor Jim Wetherington is 72, some might say they want to trade up....

-> Our other blog starts with poker, then goes in directions you might not expect. People around the world visit "On the Flop!"

E-MAIL UPDATE: We told you Friday about WRCG-AM adding an FM simulcast. A station manager saw that post, and sent us two e-mails with updated details....


A follow up to your post - the Translator is at 250 watts co-located on one of our tall towers in mid-Phenix City.

In driving the new signal at 250 watts, we can hear it to at least 3 miles south of Hamilton (haven't gotten a report further north yet) and out to the east side of Box Springs in Talbot County....

Also of note - FM at night is not as susceptible to the interference that AM's are. FM is purely a line-of-site transmission method, if you generally aren't in line of sight of the tower, you can't hear it. However, AM is ground-wave based - allowing the signal to travel much further at night as it bounces between the ground and ionosphere - so at night your radio is unable to distinguish between the various AM stations and you hear noise.

So all that being said, on the FM it will be as clear at night as it is during the day to the same distances.


A signal of 250 watts certainly beats 10 -- and it shows radio station managers are like some politicians. They're hungry for more power.

Someone told me Friday he suspects there's something more to this WRCG simulcast. This man dared to bring up Doug Kellett's name again, saying the talk show host wanted to be on FM if he was going to return to Columbus radio. But when we notified Kellett of the simulcast, he didn't seem to know it had started. And maybe PMB Broadcasting simply wants people to hear their station's commercials.

Another reader goes back to last Wednesday, and the complaints by some parents at Muscogee Elementary School:

I wonder how many of the parents complaining about cold school lunches actually pay for their kid's lunch? I have absolutely no problem with free or reduced lunches for children..That food actually gets into the kid and the parents can't swap $10 of food stamps for a six pack of beer...While visiting in a local hospital several years ago a man told about his little country store that was making him rich..He would swap $10 worth of stamps for a pack of smokes and $20 for a six pack of beer..He seemed to think it was ok,"because others were doing it." .I didn't know his name or the location of his store,but just thought here goes another rip off..

I received a free bag of groceries recently, with something Southern residents might consider even more valuable than those things. What's my bid for a 24-ounce industrial can of "pork with juices"?

Now let's see what else people are doing on this busy weekend:

+ Which local pastor said during a sermon: "Doctors don't build your faith; doctors destroy your faith"? We may have found the first congregation to claim the religious exemption, and bail out of health care reform.

+ Kia workers prepared their first Sorrento at the new West Point plant. WTVM reports it will be placed on display at the plant, while a formal "roll-out" ceremony won't take place until mid-November - allowing three weeks to determine if that first car needs to be recalled.

+ Baker High School alumni held a reunion and fund-raiser called "Restore the Roar." But what does it say when the event is held at a hot dog restaurant - and that restaurant is on the other side of Columbus from the old Baker High School? Apparently the chili dogs at Checkers on Victory Drive haven't restored the neighborhood quite enough.

+ An 18-year-old man who recently ran for mayor of Montgomery pleaded guilty in court to harassment charges. Jamel Brown says he still plans to run for City Council in 2011 - so I guess his role model is Washington's Marion Berry.

+ Columbus High School won the Georgia AAA softball title, winning the final game over Northside 5-0. Columbus pitcher Chandler Padgett threw three shutouts in the championship tournament - so guys who date her shouldn't even think about more than a goodnight kiss.

+ Louisiana State stomped Auburn in college football 31-10. The Auburn broadcasters declared L.S.U. coach Les Miles "classless" for bringing his first-string defense back in the game for a failed last-second goal-line stand. Then again, Miles could look at the statistics and declare Auburn offense-less.

+ Alabama escaped with a 12-10 triumph over Tennessee. The Volunteers could have won, but two field goals in the fourth quarter were blocked. It appears the Tennessee kicker could use a good can of "orange concentrate."

+ Instant Message to Columbus Water Works: I noticed you had a five-kilometer run Saturday at the South Columbus facility. Why not on River Road - maybe with a reenactment of that water tank rupture?

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