Sunday, March 21, 2010

21 MAR 10: Days of Chaos

Compared with last March, the worship service I attended this weekend wasn't quite as noisy. It's not like the pastor didn't try. He had the congregation say "Good afternoon" twice, because it was the first day of Spring.

The noise in the distance during the worship service was due to planes flying overhead for "Thunder in the Valley." In other years, our meeting place was directly in the flight line - and it sometimes sounded like the devil was in the cockpit, planning a kamikaze strike on our hall.

The Thunder in the Valley air show attracts big crowds, and sounds like a lot of fun. But this year's theme doesn't sound to me: "Extreme Chaos." Do you really want chaos at an air show - much less the extreme kind? I've seen video of such things, and it sometimes brings an unscheduled performance by fire departments.

Imagine if "extreme chaos" had broken out Thursday, when Mayor Jim Wetherington took a practice flight. The thought of 100 rookie police officers racing to Columbus Airport would have left drivers nervous across the city....

(With Jim Wetherington leaving office, shouldn't the candidates for mayor be required to take stunt flights? We need to know which one can be calm in the middle of a crisis.)

And imagine if extreme chaos had occurred Friday morning. WCGQ-FM invited "Greg T." from the Elvis Duran morning show to fly in a stunt plane. Columbus Airport was on the air from Philadelphia to Miami to Des Moines - and a moment of chaos might have chased even Atlantic Southeast Airlines away.

To be fair: the theme for Thunder in the Valley apparently resulted from the appearance of performers from "Team Chaos Air Shows." They include not only stunt pilots, but a man who drives "the world's fastest jet truck." In Columbus, such super-speeders run the risk of extra fines....

Even though reviewers say Team Chaos "mitigates risks" with its shows, it simply doesn't seem fitting to me to promote Thunder in the Valley with words like that. But then, I realize the promise of chaos might inspire some people to head to Columbus Airport - you know, the ones who missed that NASCAR crash Carl Edwards caused in Atlanta two weeks ago.

There's probably only one celebrity at Thunder in the Valley who has vivid memories of chaos. Sad to say, it's the 89-year-old man who helped drop the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima in 1945 - and he was able to fly away from that chaos.

For some visitors to Thunder in the Valley, "extreme chaos" may have described the search for a parking spot. A free shuttle service was set up from the Columbus Public Library. Or you could park at the Airport Thruway Wal-Mart for five dollars - unable even to get an oil change while you were at the air show.

The promoters of Thunder in the Valley tried to attract a crowd from far and wide. I saw discount passes on soda bottles this past week, at a supermarket in Albany. At least the "extreme chaos" didn't stretch to discounts inviting people to drink beer while driving up Highway 520.

A different sort of chaos struck me Saturday night - and it left this Kansas graduate simply stunned. I'll simply link you to a reenactment of what happened when I turned on the television at sundown. Some call it "March madness." I'm more inclined to call it maddening....

-> We took a long nail to our most recent poker game. Read why at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

E-MAIL UPDATE: Speaking of taking off - one small comment about a convention sent a reader into orbit....

Mr. Burkard:

You posted to your blog [15 Mar]:

+ About 80 people attended the regional "StarFleet" convention in Columbus. It's an organization for fans of "Star Trek" - so this group must have grown tired of meeting in Enterprise, Alabama.

It's STARFLEET, as in ALL SHOUTING, not StarFleet as you typed.

Up until I saw this comment, I had newfound respect for Columbusites. Apparently, some of you are still living like it's 1959...

Apparently, you and most other people in the Columbus area still treat Trek fans as geeks who live in their parents' basements looking at porn all the time. NOT TRUE! I myself am an educator and part-time DJ who met his friends and his current wife in STARFLEET, and I enjoy every minute with them!

As far as I know, we have never met in Enterprise, AL. We do have meetings in our cities all over STARFLEET and the regions. I myself live in Region 3, San Antonio, Texas. You have probably received (and posted) my emails. I have had issues with Columbus in the past, and put them to rest with this past visit. I will not allow your attitudes to alter my new views of Columbus, as you are only one person. I invite you to go to and check out our organization. hen check out the STARFLEET Region 2 website at and see for yourself.

But if we decide to have a STARFLEET Region 2 meeting to discuss futures in cotton, then Enterprise would be, as Mr. Spock would say, a logical choice.

From the city of San Antonip (via Pensacola, Florida),

Steven Gordon

Well, excuse me! I didn't realize you had to shout to be a member of Sta.... well, this group. Don't they plan to make futuristic spacecraft with mufflers, to keep down the noise?

And what's this stuff about 1959? "Star Trek" didn't premiere on TV until 1966. Besides, Columbus has added a Space Science Center to go with the Sputnik Bar....

According to the SFI web site, this fan organization had its roots in a group called the "USS Enterprise." I've never watched "Star Trek," but even I know that was the name of the original starship. So why not have a meeting in Enterprise, Alabama? Or for that matter, follow William Shatner's career and have a conference sponsored by the Mike Slocumb law firm.

So how does a comment about Enterprise, Alabama turn into a personal attack on the background of Star Trek fans? Not once did I hear anyone accuse the convention delegates of having pointy ears.

With apologies for causing any offense and disorder in the cosmos, we'll move on to other weekend headlines:

+ Congressman Sanford Bishop told GPB he'll vote for the health care reform bill in the House today. Bishop admits he'd be cursed either way, but decided to vote "on the side of right." That's funny - most of the right-wingers I've heard are against the bill.

(Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue issued a statement urging Sanford Bishop to vote no, explaining it will delay the state's recovery from recession. Perdue really should blame the state legislature for that - because it's refusing to pay for attorneys to challenge the reform bill in court.)

+ A citywide town hall meeting on teenage bullying was held at the Trade Center. Hopefully the organizers were sensitive in every part of this - and refused to serve a "nice Hawaiian Punch" for refreshments.

+ Columbus Regional held an event promoting family health. The hospital's blog says one seminar involved "rescuing your children" from addictive habits - such as texting. If texting requires a rescue, Columbus State University will be overrun with psychologists next week.

(Let the record show I do NOT engage in texting. When it comes to devices like that, I'm all thumbs.)

+ Instant Message to Jeremy Hobbs: I'm sorry to hear you're reducing hours at the Better Way Foundation this week to cut costs. But look on the bright side -- now you'll have more hours per week to run for Columbus Council.

SCHEDULED MONDAY: A great discount price, but a product with some misgivings....

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