Friday, June 25, 2010

25 JUN 10: Downtown Flee Market

Columbus State University Police arrested a suspect Thursday in a series of car break-ins downtown. Officers think Eric Mobley lurked around parking garages at the RiverPark campus, stealing iPods and DVD players. .Does this explain why I see some SUV's rolling around town with two or three video screens - none of them checking weather radar?

Whoever has been breaking into cars downtown could help himself to a free and open treasure right now, by driving a few blocks. An apartment complex in the Historic District has no fewer than 20 trash bags filled with items waiting along the curb -- along with objects too large to stuff in bags. It's like a giant yard sale, only without the sale....

A resident at this apartment complex apparently was evicted this week - and in the process, everything in that person's apartment was carted to the curb as garbage. The landlord's crew apparently hasn't heard about the city's "7:00 a.m. rule" for leaving trash on pick-up days. Either that, or it's trying to get all the other residents held in suspicion.

I know from experience that some people tend to roam residential neighborhoods, looking for items left outside as garbage. It's the old phrase, "One person's trash is another person's treasure" -- and I should stop here to thank whomever hauled off a well-worn box spring in suburban Atlanta years ago, after someone gave me a waterbed.

I first noticed the large apartment complex collection Wednesday night, as I stepped outside to head for a poker night. But I walked right by - because if I could win the top prize, I might buy new items instead of collecting used ones. And the new items might be more likely to work and fit. Well, maybe - as I once bought a new car with a gas gauge that didn't work.

But after the morning run Thursday, it was time to do some bargain-hunting. The evicted person apparently was quite a pack-rat, as I found several phone books in boxes at the curb -- apparently stocking up before AT&T stops automatically handing them out.

Free bedding also was available at the curb. I didn't need that, of course -- as my waterbed still works well, and thankfully has never boiled over during summer heat.

A nice silver cosmetics box also was available, complete with make-up inside. But as I told another man looking through the pile, I'm getting to the age where that would only help me a little....

The guy in me had his eye on a couple of other items. I picked up a stack-style stereo system, with twin cassette deck and three CD trays -- and in true guy style, a piece of duct tape was stuck next to a cassette door which refused to shut.

The stereo system lit up, when I plugged it in. But everything else was trouble. One of the CD trays insisted on opening every few seconds. The radio tuner apparently had a knob missing, as it didn't want to tune in stations. And there was no place to plug in speakers, except for a single "subwoofer out" hole. I'm not running a sandwich shop, thank you....

The stereo system was so uncooperative that I gave up, and returned it to the pile at the curb. Maybe someone else could strip it down for parts - perhaps by throwing it against a wall over and over in frustration.

The second system I carried away from the pile was an HP printer-scanner. It lacked any cords, but I have several from other printers I've owned - printers which refused to work after a few uses. When toner ink seems to evaporate from the cartridge while the door is closed in summer, that's trouble....

As I write this, the HP printer is still a work in progress. I'll need to buy an ink cartridge to determine if it works. Trouble is, cartridges start at 12 dollars each - and I read online I have to download the printer's driver. Is HP going to count my pages, and send an e-mail about paper when I'm close to 500?

One person told me by going through the discarded items at the curb, I wasn't far from "dumpster diving." Maybe so - but you never know when something valuable might turn up. And at least there's no risk of getting stuck inside the dumpster, and having a trash truck haul me to the landfill.

BLOG UPDATE: The Tony Adams side continues to press the attack in the "Rec-Gate" review. Now attorney Don Jackson claims Columbus Police are threatening to prosecute uncooperative Parks and Recreation witnesses. Jackson calls that unusual. I'd call it about half the crime dramas ever to appear on television.

Don Jackson told the Ledger-Enquirer Columbus Police has illegally obtained bank records - and the records belong to people "entirely unrelated to the investigation." Is this proves anything, it could show Lifelock isn't a scam after all....

THE BIG BLOG QUESTION first asked about Parks Director Tony Adams's future, but now turns in the other direction. Are the attorneys right about Columbus Police being biased in the audit review? Should the review be conducted by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation? Or perhaps the Muscogee County District Attorney - which at least would ensure Adams does NOT face capital punishment.

Let's see what else we can probe from Thursday's news....

+ Your blog confirmed WRBL is searching for a new news director. Christine Tanaka apparently is leaving after four years - and at least she's leaving while the station still has a little news to direct.

+ A car crashed into a pole on Wynnton Road, knocking out power for hundreds of people. Then a Georgia Power repair crew made matters worse, by hitting a natural gas main. If an Atmos Energy crew had panicked and opened a fire hydrant, that would have been the utility trifecta.

+ WRBL showed Chattahoochee River water being diverted through the old Eagle and Phenix Mill's powerhouse. Uptown Columbus leaders say it's part of the process to build the whitewater rafting course -- and we hope the loft space residents can turn up their stereos, to accommodate the extra noise.

(Before some of you write to ask: Richard Bishop of Uptown Columbus has NOT hired midget wrestlers to build the rafting course.)

+ NCR announced it will add 90 more jobs at its Columbus plant. They verified the number by bringing one of those old "National Cash Register" calculators out of a storage closet.

+ Tickets for a free Jimmy Buffett concert along the Alabama coast disappeared in ten minutes -- then were offered on eBay for more than $100. If this is how British Petroleum plans to pay damage claims, the oil company has fouled things up again....

+ The Atlanta Hawks used a draft pick and trade to obtain Xavier's Jordan Crawford - a player who gained fame last summer for dunking a basketball over LeBron James. This could be a stroke of genius for Atlanta. Either James signs with the Hawks this summer, or history will repeat itself.

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