Monday, March 22, 2010

22 MAR 10: Color Coding

"How are you doing?" the woman asked at the checkout of a well-known local department store.

"Well, I feel a little guilty," I admitted. If someone from "The Biggest Loser" had been with me, I would have felt very guilty - because the issue involved a box of chocolate candy.

This box of M&M's was on a "30-percent off" shelf at the department store. But the marked price actually was 75 percent off. In other words, they were practically giving away chocolate - as if Michelle Obama was about to walk inside for an anti-obesity speech.

But do you see what's different about this box of M&M's? It's one of those specialty boxes, where all the candies are the same color. There's no rainbow of colors here - especially none of the green ones, which somehow have become female in recent years based on the TV commercials.

Wal-Mart SuperCenters tend to sell the one-color M&M boxes. On a vacation in Panama City Beach last year, I passed those boxes as a couple of other men looked over the candy shelves. "You can tell we're still in the South," I told them. "They've segregated the M&M's by color."

I've admittedly avoided the one-color boxes of chocolates since M&M's introduced them several years ago. The main reason is because they tend to be marked at a higher price. There's true symbolism there - as segregated "academies" for children in Alabama and Mississippi tend to cost more money as well.

But this was a different department store, selling eight ounces of black M&M's for less than a basic small bag costs at the supermarket checkout. So I decided to put my wallet ahead of subtle civil rights statements, and bought a $2.69 box of chocolates for only 66 cents. Don't worry - I put them out of their misery in only three days.

Yet as I said, I felt a little guilt about this purchase - and I told the woman behind the checkout counter so. I mentioned it's a shame that M&M's has to resort to seeming discrimination of this nature. The woman laughed a bit at my explanation - which I think means she doesn't attend "One Columbus" meetings.

Am I being too hypersensitive about all this? After all, there are times of the year when people are expected to display certain particular colors. This past week was one example, with St. Patrick's Day. Yet the church movement I attend frowns on marking that day - so I intentionally did NOT wear green. But I wasn't an extremist, by refusing to carry dollar bills.

People have questioned me at times over the years, about how I eat regular rainbow-colored M&M's. When blue was a new color, I set those candies aside and ate them last. It was really an effort to count how many were in the bag - and NOT some kind of protest against Smurfs.

But admittedly, some big "holiday" bags of M&M's receive special treatment. If the purple ones are chomped first after Easter, it's merely because a loyal Kansas graduate doesn't want to be reminded of anything relating to Kansas State.

I do NOT intend to make a habit of buying those specialty one-color boxes. But even that discount purchase reminded me of the classic words of Forrest Gump. Life truly is like a box of chocolates - except they sometimes reveal more about your life than you might care to admit.

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

E-MAIL UPDATE: The Texan who wrote us Sunday about a "Star Trek" fan association conference adds a little more....

Mr. Burkard:

Thank you for posting my letter to your blog. I apologize for bring rude if I was...I was not intending to give my letter such a tone.

Anyway, yes, Columbus does have the Sputnik Bar (which I think the building has been there since the Eisenhower administration, which is fitting) and the CC Space Science Center, which a group of us did take in a mission there last week. I was very impressed with the facility and give Columbus credit for such a fascinating place to visit.

Now, to STARFLEET/Star Trek. Yes, I know that the original series debuted in 1966. I did not mean to predate that with my comment about Columbus still "living like it's 1955". STARFLEET has members on chapters in a lot of communities, and its fans follow every and anything Star Trek related. I was making emphasis about the name STARFLEET being all caps as that it is the name of the organization to which we belong, whereas Starfleet/Star Fleet is usually a reference to the actual organization in the series/movies. No offense was intended on either was an honest mistake. Also, if the folks in Zone 2 (Alabama) of Region 2 want, I suppose that a Summit/convention could be held in Enterprise, Alabama. Would not be a problem to schedule one there. Makes logical sense to me.

Columbus has finally evolved and moved into the 21st century, yet still has problems like any other city large or small. I visited Country's on Broad, Dinglewood (the scrambled dogs are still just as tasty as I remember) and other Columbus area businesses, and I was impressed to find that Southern hospitality has made a return. Much has indeed changed: the old Jordan/Cartersville Spinning plant had burned (my late mother, grandmother and aunt all worked there), Jordan High has been remodeled/renovated, but is still very much recognizable, and Veteran's Parkway above 54TH street has grown tremendously; lots of new business growth!

All in all, Columbus has made great strides in not only preserving its past ("What Progress Has Preserved"), but is looking to a brighter future. TSYS dominates the Uptown landscape, and technology and education seem to be Columbus' new employment leaders. I really feel that Columbus is on the right track to improving the lifestyle of its citizens, and I hope for only the best.

In conclusion, I did make it home to San Antonio safely early this morning. To be fair, I give Tim Chitwood grief occasionally, but I promised him that I would no longer write anything derogatory about or toward Columbus.

Thanks for your post. I will keep up as need be. Please feel free to respond/comment appropriately, as you see fit.


Steven Gordon

What do you know - a visitor who actually thinks the latest official city slogan makes sense. The talk of blowing up dams for a kayaking course had me wondering if the Columbus Chamber of Commerce forgot about it.

Now for good, bad and ugly from the first Sunday of spring....

+ An afternoon storm dropped heavy rain on Columbus, and what appeared to be grain-sized hail on my car. At least, I assume that's what those white specks on the windshield were -- although I suppose the storm could have blown some termites across the river from Phenix City.

+ Dick McMichael's blog reported the Chattahoochee Valley Regional Libraries System will renovate its "bookmobile," to add six computer stations and a satellite dish. All it needs is a coffee-making machine, and you could have Starbucks on wheels.

+ Oxbow Meadows held a demonstration of organic farming. This is a good idea, since Columbus will have its own Fresh Market later this year - and Lewis-Jones won't have all the high-priced produce to itself anymore.

+ Georgia Tech was eliminated from the NCAA men's basketball tournament by Ohio State 75-66. This is really a double slap. That other "Columbus" moves on to the regional -- while Yellow Jacket radio broadcasts still are shunned by the Columbus a mere 100 miles away.

+ Instant Message to Taco Bell on Victory Drive: Did I see it right Sunday morning -- two traffic officers in your driveway? Are shrimp tacos really attracting that big a crowd?

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