Friday, September 10, 2010

10 SEP 10: Football or Sex?

Our apologies right away, if today's title is a shock to you. It is, of course, NOT a cheap publicity stunt to attract more readers. As far as we know, there are no special blog rating periods during the year where this would be more appropriate.

Our question is inspired by Thursday night's Auburn University football game. The Tigers mopped up Mississippi State 17-14 in Starkville - a place where so many fans shake cow bells, you'd think Chick-Fil-A sponsors every home game.

But here's the deal: for the second game in a row, the Auburn broadcast on WVRK-FM "Rock 103" included commercials for condoms. They apparently are the doing of Clear Channel Radio. After all, The Auburn Network is run by Alabama House Republican Leader Mike Hubbard - and Republicans there realize any mention of condoms is considered downright liberal.

The commercials specifically sell one brand of Trojans condoms. This raises an obvious question - why are these ads on during Auburn football games, instead of Troy?

(True confession: the first time I saw a billboard in suburban Atlanta promoting a box of Trojans, I thought it was a new brand of beer. And yes, I was well above age 21.)

In a way, the condom-mercials don't really surprise me. Clear Channel Radio has aired them for years in Columbus. One night I even heard about "Trojan Man" on WHAL-AM, when it was "Hallelujah 1460" playing gospel music [17 Jun 04]. Maybe the managers concluded Columbus is filled with religious hypocrites.

And to be fair, Auburn's first two football games have been night games. The condom ads are airing after 8:00 p.m. ET - and as we all know, children in East Alabama are safely put in bed by 7:30 on a school night.

The commercials for condoms also are, uh, a perfect fit with the Rock 103 audience. You know - young men who would snicker if I wrote Auburn was "on top of Ole Miss...."

But I'd think Auburn football games would draw a more wide-ranging radio audience. It might even attract entire families, young and old - people who turn down the TV audio on ESPN, because they consider Rod Bramblett "fair and balanced" when he shouts about Tiger touchdowns.

Where is the sensitivity by Clear Channel Radio, in running condom-mercials during college football games? Where is the concern for young ears? Where is.... oh wait, I forgot. Clear Channel has been running Budweiser beer commercials a lot longer.

Meanwhile, The Auburn Network carried a political ad during Thursday night's game. Robert Bentley promised not to take a salary as Governor, until Alabama achieves "full employment." Someone on Bentley's staff needs to tell him that promise got David Poythress nowhere in Georgia.

(Speaking of which: I want to cash in on the flood of money from political campaign commercials. So I've created a generic one - with candidates simply filling in the blanks and adding a "paid for" tag line. This could be my ticket to an attack ad inheritance....)

Oh yes, the game - Auburn won despite Mississippi State running what radio analyst Stan White called "bubble screens." Does that have anything to do with chewing gum while wearing braces?

-> Our recent poker tournaments have been challenging, in ways other than the game. Read about them at our other blog, "On the Flop!" <-

OVERHEARD OVER HERE: A Pastor is leading a Bible discussion -- and admitting believers sometimes try to get even with enemies on their own, only to foul things up. This leads to a question.

"So we're not going to burn any Qurans?"

The Pastor is ready to give an answer. "I actually plan to start with The New York Times."

E-MAIL UPDATE: We've tried to establish a new policy this year NOT to joke about stories involving death. So thankfully, this message goes beyond that....

Columbus is in mourning after the loss of a fine young man,Heath Jackson.. I thought it was low when the Ledger made the choice of remembering him by putting a picture of his body bag on the front pg..Why not have a nice blow up of him playing his guitar,but not something that ends his memory with violence.. THere is just too much violence in our city..

Richard,add another perp to your list at Crystal Valley...I get an e-mail everytime a sex offender is added to the list in Cols..added one to Cystal Valley Park this morning...Where are these people getting the idea to all live in the same sq.mile..? If I had a child and lived there I would be getting out fast.....

Actually, it was The River City Report which started the Crystal Valley list [2 Sep]. Maybe convicted sex offenders live there because the makers of "crystal meth" realize a drug raid there is inevitable.

I have another theory about this cluster of sex offenders in Crystal Valley Estates. Remember when Georgia had a state law requiring convicted sex offenders to live 1,000 feet away from schools and churches? Maybe that was the only place in town which qualified -- and the only alternative was building an island in the middle of Lake Oliver.

We'll get to Heath Jackson in a moment -- but first let's get caught up on a couple of days' worth of news:

+ Thursday's high temperature in Columbus was a record 97 degrees F. That explains why the CVS clearance sale on summer items does NOT include fans. So why are lawn chairs excluded, too? Do Little League "fall ball" programs bring out that many parents?

+ WRBL interviewed the mother of accused Parks and Recreation Director Tony Adams. Ola Marion claimed the "Rec-Gate" investigation and arrest are all about race -- and she doesn't think city officials really know what her son did wrong. Since many of them didn't know about the audit for months, they might figure everything out by January.

+ The Phenix City Council approved a fiscal 2011 budget which includes a hiring freeze. WRBL reports there's only money to buy four new police cars - so Senator Richard Shelby needs to hide some extra money deep inside one of those tax cut extensions.

+ Michael and Phillis Bleckley of Richland pleaded guilty to racketeering charges, for running an investment scheme which cost a Columbus restaurant manager millions of dollars. The couple will go to prison, could lose ownership of the Bulloch House restaurant in Warm Springs - and their reputations are as blackened as a catfish on the grill.

+ The top worldwide executive of Kia resigned, in the wake of the first recall of cars made at the West Point plant. Uh-oh - now Republicans might start a move to impeach Vice President Biden, for promising too many new jobs this summer.

+ The evening news reported five Muscogee County schools are receiving federal grant money, to encourage children to eat more fruits and vegetables. Here's hoping the schools don't blow all that money on a single trip to The Fresh Market.

+ Carver humiliated Hardaway in high school football 44-0. That makes a combined score of 107-0 against two Muscogee County opponents - so when Carver plays Jordan in late October, perhaps they should reduce the game to two quarters.

+ St. Louis lashed Atlanta in baseball at Turner Field 11-4. The embattled Colby Rasmus hit two home runs, drove in four runs - then explained to manager Tony LaRussa how he plays so much better when his father's house is a two-hour drive away.

+ Instant Message to the Freedom From Religion Foundation: About those billboards you plan to post in Atlanta - I don't object to "sleep in on Sundays." I've been worshiping on Saturdays for years.

(BLOGGER'S NOTE: The jokes for today have concluded. But you're welcome to read on, for personal thoughts about another Thursday news item.)

BUT SERIOUSLY: When was the last time Columbus Police had to do traffic control at a funeral visitation? It happened Thursday evening at McMullen Funeral Home, during the two-hour visitation for radio host and homicide victim Heath Jackson.

I've never seen a visitation so crowded -- and it reflected what I overheard one man say about Jackson: "He touched people in a lot of areas." For instance, I didn't know Jackson once had a band which played in Columbus clubs. One display of pictures included a promotional sign for an appearance at Scruffy Murphy's.

The casket was closed at the funeral home, but Jackson's 25-year life was on full display - with a video montage and boards of pictures and quotes. One quote was from Jackson himself, telling his parents: "I'll soon have enough money to solve all your problems." Sadly, a burglar-turned-killer is accused of leaving the family with many more.

Perhaps it's the wrong time to write this - but Thursday seemed like the wrong time for local radio stations to park promotional vans outside the front of a funeral home. Several station vehicles were on display. Perhaps it was designed to show where Jackson worked, but it came across to me as tacky at best and self-aggrandizing at worst.

The crowd remembering Heath Jackson confirmed what I thought when I first learned of his death Tuesday afternoon. His killing has touched a nerve in Columbus like few others have. It's also evident in the number of visits to this blog, which soared during the late afternoon Tuesday. Our visitor counts for Tuesday and Wednesday were the highest since March 2009.

The funeral service for Heath Jackson will take place at Evangel Temple. If you're unable to attend or have questions about how his death could have happened, this newly-posted religious article may be able to help.

The Blog of Columbus had nearly 25,000 unique visitors in the first half of 2010! To advertise to them, make a PayPal donation, offer a story tip or comment, write me - but be warned, I may post your e-mail comment and offer a reply.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author -- not necessarily those of anyone else in Columbus living or dead, and perhaps not even you.

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