Monday, January 04, 2010

4 JAN 10: The More You Know

For some of you, the "winter break" for local schools may seem endless. And amazingly, it's still not over in Muscogee County. Students are off one more day, while teachers have a planning day today. I'll assume that does NOT mean planning Powerpoint presentations of where they went on vacation,

I'll do my part to educate people today -- with a tradition that longtime blog readers may have noticed was missing last week. Our review of the end of 1999 pre-empted the annual list of "things I didn't know a year ago." If the list HAD appeared, I supposed it then would have been post-empted.

Today we make it up to you, by presenting a list of 25 things I didn't know a year (well, a year and four days) ago. In no particular order....

1. Columbus is big enough for two technical colleges. They simply need to be on opposite sides of Interstate 185, the way Columbus State University and Beacon Seminary are.

You may have seen the advertising for Miller-Motte Technical College -- but did you know where it's located? I finally checked online Sunday night, and found the Columbus campus is on Box Road. It's in the building which used to be Billy Cash Auto Sales -- yet there is NO instruction in selling cars, or even adjusting odometers.

There's one nice thing about the Box Road location. Miller-Motte Technical College are only a short walk away from the Columbus Public Library, so students can do research there. And Kmart probably could use all the sales of school supplies it can get.

2. Columbus restaurants are not allowed to host poker games -- yet motorcycle dealers can put on something similar to them for charity.

After wondering for some time why The Sports Page abandoned its regular Texas Hold 'Em poker nights, I found the answer in an unlikely place -- the minutes of a Columbus Council meeting from last September. And no, it's NOT because someone demanded the game be renamed Georgia Hold 'Em.

Police told the Sports Page managers their poker nights were OK, as long as people played for free. But then the city finance department stepped in - citing an ordinance which bars restaurants from allowing any "contest of skill, dexterity or talent." This probably means the servers can't even race to refill your water glass.

(This also means The Sports Page could not hold contests to find the best karaoke singer in Columbus. Did some owner of a Japanese steak house complain, because Japan had karaoke first?)

City Attorney Clifton Fay explained any restaurant contests such as poker tournaments would have to be held after 9:00 p.m., and have an "adults only" cover charge. Instead of bothering with that, The Sports Page has stopped Texas Hold 'Em nights. Perhaps managers instead should offer contests with NO skill, dexterity or talent - such as blackjack nights.

3. Billboards proclaiming "This is my time" and showing a 205 area code are NOT necessarily connected with the Alabama football team.

Have you seen the signs with a woman's face and a web site? That site is filled with messages presumably sent by the Virgin Mary to a Catholic organization based east of Birmingham. One message reportedly was given over the weekend - and surprisingly, it did NOT chastise that woman who pushed over the Pope.

4. One or two small salamanders can scare away or devour hundreds of cockroaches - without crawling into the very foods where roaches like to hide.

We told you in October about the amazing turnaround in my kitchen [20 Oct 09]. Years of cockroach traffic suddenly has stopped, apparently because a hungry lizard snuck inside. No, I am NOT trying to track down the lizard to thank it - since my lease has a "no pets" clause.

We're entering a week when roaches would tend to hide, anyway. When cold weather comes, they tend to disappear -- as if they're hibernating in the warmest place they can find. But not even a half-hour of brownie-baking last week flushed any out from under the stove. Who needs pit bulls, when you have guards like these?

Enough explaining - let's quickly summarize the rest of the things I didn't know one year ago:

5. Debating crime is one way of preventing crime. The Columbus murder rate dropped by half in 2009, while Columbus Council bickered over whether to hire a city Crime Prevention Officer.

6. Columbus can have 80 inches of rainfall in a year - without driving the Goo Goo Car Washes out of business.

7. Making too many weekend trips out of town can get you fired -- even if the schools you oversee are closed on those days.

8. Everything is "better when it's French." Unless you're a Columbus car salesman named Chris French.

9. TV news departments still can be "on your side," even after they take away half the newscasts they bring you.

10. Always double-check your computer's capabilities before buying a technology upgrade. I didn't - and now have an unused stack of 50 blank DVD+R's, bought as Circuit City was going out of business.

11. If a pro football team in Georgia wins nine games two years in a row, it's a rare historic event. If a college football team in Georgia wins eight games 13 years in a row, it's cause to shake up the coaching staff.

12. U.S. Presidents are especially dangerous when they speak to schoolchildren. No one seemed to notice this when Presidents read Dr. Seuss books to them.

13. The company once known as National Cash Register now builds automated teller machines. Yet it prefers to be called NCR -- as if someone in corporate history named NAT did something wrong.

14. A "Cougar" can refer to any woman older than 35, even if she does not attend Columbus State University.

15. Residents of Phenix City can become members of the Columbus NAACP chapter. I assume Russell County Commissioner Ronnie Reed did that because the sales tax was lower.

16. Police precincts can be built into new banks. So the next step should have firehouses built into submarine sandwich shops.

17. Big annual parties and events never have to be canceled. You simply fill the scheduling department with procrastinators.

18. High school football coaches might be capable of leaving provocative messages painted in a driveway, instead of written on dressing room chalkboards.

19. A radio station called "The Truth" can move to the left side of the FM dial, without any loyal listeners thinking it's a liberal plot.

20. Surprises involving fireworks should NOT be attempted until other people who can hear the fireworks are warned about them. The Phenix City Central Booster Club learned this lesson the hard way.

21. Bridal shops sometimes serve mixed drinks to their customers. I would have thought the management was concerned about spills on the dresses....

22. A museum can become a major local tourist attraction, without firing cannons toward the Chattahoochee River every few weeks to call attention to itself.

23. A college baseball tournament can be held in Columbus, while practically no one notices. If only WRBL's Shaun Skillman hadn't blabbed about it....

24. Local prosecutors and police chiefs read this blog -- perhaps waiting for the day I lose my temper, and write something which sparks an insurrection.

25. A "Twitter" does NOT refer to someone who collected all of Conway Twitty's albums.

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