Monday, October 19, 2009

19 OCT 09: Pretty Daring

After weeks of potential provocation, the billboards have come down. And after weeks of waiting for an explanation, I've given up. A series of signs could have sparked a cross-river rivalry - but they apparently didn't even lead to a combined meeting of local Rotary Clubs.

Did you notice billboards such as this one across Columbus in the last few weeks? I spotted this one on Talbotton Road - declaring "Phenix City is prettier than Columbus." Most Columbus residents probably would dispute this right away. After all, when was the last time a Phenix City woman won the Miss Alabama pageant?

The billboards displayed several paintings and a web site address, but gave no further explanation. So I went to the web site of Mike Howard, and found a painting with a Dillingham Street view of the Government Center from the Phenix City side. It's a 1993 painting -- yet amazingly shows the tornado-damaged Phenix City buildings cleared away.

Mike Howard's web site explains why he's a bit biased when it comes to Phenix City. He grew up there, and was ten years old when "martial law" was imposed there in 1954. Yes, you Tea Party members - part of our country had martial law long before President Obama took office.

I'm told Mike Howard is related to former Phenix City Mayor Sammy Howard. Yet he has a college degree from the University of Georgia.-- which should tell you how free-spirited and flighty so many artists are.

Mike Howard received a degree in art education from the old Columbus College, then went to New York to pursue a career in painting. The reason for this should be obvious - so many homes in our area are built with brick.

Mike Howard has gone on to be a featured artist at galleries from coast to coast. Yet in a bow toward home, Howard's online biography indicates he painted two murals on the sides of Hurtsboro buildings. One is the "Museum of Ordinary People" - which I think refers to every resident Robert Schweiger has yet to criticize.

But none of this answers my big question - why put up billboards NOW, declaring Phenix City is prettier than Columbus? We left a message for Mike Howard about this several weeks ago, but never received a response. It's not like I'm asking him about sculptures going in front of libraries....

I can only guess about the reason for Mike Howard's recent billboards. His home page shows he recently had an exhibition at the Alabama Artist Gallery in Montgomery. So did he balance things out, with signs declaring Columbus is prettier than the Alabama capital?

I'd also like to ask Mike Howard specifically what makes Phenix City prettier than Columbus. For instance, did he conclude Phenix City did a better job with Streetscape - such as those colorful yellow bumps on the Broad Street sidewalk?

One area where I consider Phenix City prettier than Columbus is in the Riverwalk landscaping. Phenix City lined its walkway with plenty of trees for providing summer shade. But then again, Fort Benning still bars soldiers from fishing along the Phenix City riverbank - which means that walkway also is pretty dangerous.

-> 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: A blog reader calls our attention to a news story involving Warm Springs, which apparently has received much more attention in Atlanta than in Columbus....

As you know the Gwinnett Co., GA ousted Judge, James Oxendine, father of the present GA Insurance Commissioner allegedly gave nearly $400,000 to Wayne Reece, Lobbyist, The Tropics Foundation Chair and Vice [no pun intended] Chair of the Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation Development Fund. "Judge" Oxendine reportedly gave him the money without the knowledge of the Board of Directors.

HMMM-the father of the GA Insurance Commissioner gives money, under the table, to an insurance Co. lobbyist? What could possibly be wrong with that???Beats me~~~~

You will note Mr. Reece has listed on his lobby report: Porsche, and Intercontinental Hotels, both on the Board of The Tropics Foundation.

AIG, and Lifeline, are also listed on his lobby report and they are insurance related.


Oh, yea, that was Fundatropicos!!!! ~~~~ Right~~~~~

HMMMMM~ And, you thought they were Socialists! Silly You!

To be clear: James Oxendine chaired the board of this fund-raising agency for the Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute. Wayne Reece was Vice Chair, and according to our linked article lobbies at the Georgia General Assembly on behalf of insurance companies. Someone should tell Reece Rep. Carolyn Hugley is an insurance agent, and can save him the trouble.

(Yes, we were e-mailed details on Wayne Reece's financial records - such as lobbying work and campaign contributions. Thankfully, he was NOT the one who lobbied us to mention this past weekend's Benning Bazaar.)

Jim Oxendine told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution everyone on the Roosevelt Warm Springs Rehabilitation Development Fund knew about the $400,000 payment. So was it really done "under the table" - or across a banquet table at some Meriwether County restaurant?

As for doing business with Venezuela - local drivers may be doing that without realizing it. Citgo gasoline is owned by Venezuela's national oil company. And who knows where the Venezuelan beauty pageant contestants get the money for their plastic surgery.

A desire to rest in some "warm springs" leads to our review of Sunday news....

+ The high temperature in Columbus was well below normal, at 59 degrees F. But at least the day was sunny - making it the first day in months when entering a warm car made me say "ahhhh," instead of "ouch."

+ Online postings indicated TV reporter Chauncy Glover won a "Libby Award," for acting at the Liberty Theater. Apparently he did NOT offer to share the award with departed WLTZ anchor Libby Allison....

(Before you get wrong ideas - no, the Libby Award winners do NOT receive gold-plated cans of green beans.)

+ The first Bowl Championship Series rankings showed Florida first and Alabama second. Yet the Associated Press college football poll moved Alabama up to first, ahead of Florida. We need some sort of tiebreaker to settle this - so which college has the better students in fantasy leagues?

+ The Atlanta Falcons shut down Chicago 21-14. The Falcon cheerleaders wore pink outfits, to call attention to women's cancer. I'll know owner Arthur Blank is really serious about this when the players wear pink, instead of red.

(The NBC Sports broadcasting team said Falcons right guard Harvey Dahl is considered by some the "nastiest player" in the National Football League. You get the feeling the post-game shower is the only one Dahl takes all week.)

+ Instant Message to the managers of The Sports Page on Veterans Parkway: Did I hear the story correctly? Did you call off your three-night-a-week poker tournaments because you're licensed as a "restaurant," not a bar? Drain the fat from your sandwiches better, and players will buy them without worrying about marking the cards.

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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.

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