27 FEB 09: Fear Factors
Several years ago I worked with a man who had a touchy personality. He'd give me what I called "Friday morning sermonettes" -- angry complaints toward me or the workplace, which left me pondering a response all weekend. When I offered one the next Monday, he'd often forget he brought anything up. He simply moved the guilt cloud over to my house for awhile.
With that history in mind, today we throw away the usual optimism and good feelings about our immediate future. That's because we found several items Thursday which could scare people silly. Of course, I tell people I'm immune from this -- because I'm silly already.
The scariest discovery came while I was browsing online. Without even looking for it, I came across a site which shows the impact of nuclear explosions. That's as in bombs - not like your spouse catching you cheating with the next-door neighbor.
The web site lets you choose any location on Earth, as well as eight different sizes of explosions. So of course, I thought first of Fort Benning. What if extremists took control of SOA Watch, and decided crosses at the fence simply aren't getting things done?
If the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima fell on Fort Benning, the impact zone would be surprisingly limited - a radius of 1.5 miles around Ground Zero. But we all know how misleading that could be. Anyone who has endured controlled burns with shifting winds can tell you that....
The damage would be much greater if Fort Benning was hit by a bomb equivalent to the largest nuclear test ever in 1961. The circle of devastation would stretch from Hamilton to nearly Eufaula, and from Ellaville nearly to Tuskegee. It's scary to think a nuclear bomb would match the signal strength of WXTX.
A much more personal scary item comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery. Its annual report on "hate groups" came out Thursday, and Columbus happens to have one. Yet for some reason, the local Yellow Pages lacks a listing for Hate Groups. And the closest thing to hatred under "Associations" might be the National Catfishing Association.
The Southern Poverty Law Center found a branch of the "European-American Unity and Rights Organization" in Columbus. EURO is connected with former Louisiana state lawmaker David Duke -- but it seems so conservative, I doubt any member would admit using the euro currency.
The Columbus contact listed at the EURO web site only has an e-mail address and a post office box. He's NOT listed in the phone book -- so perhaps civil rights organizations found out about him well before the Southern Poverty Law Center did.
The report on hate groups also shows Georgia and Alabama each have more of them than New York. Alabama is said to have the second-highest concentration of hate groups, compared with state population. But of course, Auburn sports fans would consider any University of Alabama booster club to be a hate group....
If all this isn't enough, there's the bizarre story of an Alabama undertaker. Harold Watson Sr. of Gadsden is accused of keeping a dead body in the back of a hearse - for weeks. I never realized funeral homes had "busy seasons," where customers can be forgotten.
Gadsden police say Edna Woods died two years ago, and her family never paid for her funeral expenses. So Harold Watson Sr. reportedly put Woods's body in a hearse, and kept it there. I've heard of "cold storage," but this is ridiculous....
Harold Watson Sr. now faces a felony charge of "corpse abuse." I didn't know there was a criminal charge like that. Countless Alabama football fans may be guilty of that, when they bring up some former head coaches.
So there you have it - three reasons to be concerned about where our society is headed, especially in this part of the U.S. And did you notice I never even brought up Thursday's report on the Georgia unemployment rate?
-> Was it a "bad beat" or simply bad thinking? Learn what happened during our Thursday poker night at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <--
BLOG UPDATE: Carmike Cinemas presents another 3-D movie special tonight. For two weeks the Hollywood Connection 15 will show a concert featuring The Jonas Brothers. If one of them blows a kiss at the audience, half the girls actually will feel it on their cheeks.
Now for other items (hopefully less frightening) from the Thursday news:
+ Russell County Sheriff's Officers announced the discovery of large amounts of stolen farm equipment, from at least three counties. No one has been arrested in this case - but the thieves had better remember: nothing runs like a Deere.
+ Columbus city employee Larry Taylor won $6,000 in a Georgia Lottery game. So there's one pension the city can freeze, to save a little money....
+ The "Georgia Thespian Conference" for high school students began at the Columbus State RiverPark campus. From what I saw during an afternoon jog downtown, everything is going well - and no church groups have embarrassed themselves by showing up with picket signs about lesbians.
+ WRBL's 11:00 p.m. newscast had a strange twist - as the digital channel had practically no audio, while the analog channel did. Someone in a control room must have hit the wrong "big switch."
+ Barbour County's boys bombarded R.C. Hatch 55-40 to win the Alabama 2-A basketball title. Coach Raymond White noted afterward when his team lost in the finals the last two years, the community reaction was "like you lost the war." At least he didn't mention any parents sneaking into Russell County to enroll their children.
(Later in the evening, Loachapoka won the Class A boys' basketball title. Some bright music student ought to create a song and dance celebrating this win - you know, a Loacha-Polka.)
+ The Alabama High School Activities Association fined Valley High School $2,500 for the playoff brawl in Montgomery. Each player on the team was fined $300 - so their next cell phone upgrade could be delayed about three months.
+ Instant Message to Arby's restaurants: C'mon, admit it - you've surrendered. The chain which was founded on an alternative sandwich is now selling "roast burgers"?!?! Burger King still hasn't stooped to selling roast beef sandwiches....
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