Wednesday, December 08, 2010

8 DEC 10: Stinkin' in Thinkin'

Didya hear the one about the country boy who moved to Columbus? He went to Golden Park, and wondered why nothing was gold-plated.

That country boy admittedly wasn't very smart. But before Columbus residents point fingers at him, maybe they should look in the mirror. A new report ranks the smartest U.S. cities -- and sadly, our area is far down the list. If "Pinky and the Brain" from the cartoons came to town, they actually might have a chance to conquer it.

The Portfolio website ranked the 200 largest metropolitan areas by "collective brainpower." Boulder, Colorado is number one. Columbus is a lowly number 160. I'll take a first step toward improving our position, by confirming right here - yes, Columbus is in the bottom half.

(Boulder is the home of the University of Colorado - so now you know how it beat Georgia in football this season.)

If that doesn't sting enough, considers Columbus (to put it politely) the least smart city in Georgia. Only one Alabama city ranks below Columbus - and some Mobile residents still haven't figured out why they should move their homes away from a potential hurricane zone.

(Las Vegas is one spot above Columbus, at number 159. The smart ones only go to casinos to watch the stage shows....) bases its rankings to a large extent on the education level of adults. Only about 21 percent of the metro Columbus adults have a four-year college degree. The 16 percent who are high school dropouts stay busy begging for money from the 21 percent.

The Columbus Chamber of Commerce is concerned about keeping smart people in town -- especially the ones younger than 40. It started the Young Professionals program a few years ago, with committees in things such as "Political Awareness and Engagement." The recent mayoral election revealed Columbus voters want this stopped at the "awareness" part.

But I've admittedly seen things in Columbus which make the ranking of 160th on the "smart cities" list seem justified. In fact, I noticed a couple Tuesday. I saw one work crew on First Avenue and two on Veterans Parkway -- all featuring a man riding a big lawnmower. After two nights of below-freezing weather?! Do prison inmates get those rides for eating all their dinner?

Then there was WTVM's interview Tuesday night with the Executive Editor of The Columbus Times. Carol Gertjegerdes's name admittedly is hard to spell. (I had to double-check it to write this joke.) But her name appeared on the screen as "Carol Gert." If that's her nickname, the story never said so.

We've mentioned before how many spelling problems seem to erupt around town. We spotted this one during the summer at Lil Kim's Cove on Fourth Street - as customers are urged: "Where Your Kims Cove T-shirt." If I knew where it was, I might wear it inside your bar.

And oh yes - admittedly I'm not always the smartest person in Columbus, either. That's why I check at least four times for my house keys anymore, before I step outside....

I hope this news about Columbus being not-so-smart didn't upset you. Perhaps it will motivate you to try to be smarter today. It might even persuade some people to add an item to their December shopping list - new thinking caps.

Now let's ponder other items from Pearl Harbor Day:

+ TV meteorologists warned snow flurries are possible in Columbus today. But they stressed a flurry is NOT enough to call off school. It's not even enough for McDonald's to offer a sale on McFlurrys.

+ Columbus Council discussed a proposal requiring the Recreation Advisory Board to meet at least four times a year, and visit every Parks and Recreation facility at least once a year. For some strange reason, this proposal is NOT named the Tony Adams Ordinance.

+ Phenix City Council reviewed plans for whitewater rafting in the Chattahoochee River. Mayor Sonny Coulter complained a couple of months ago Phenix City was being ignored in plans for the rafting project. So when developers showed up Tuesday, Councilor Jimmy Wetzel spoke for the city. Has the mayor defected to Superintendent Larry DiChiara's camp or something?

+ The Ledger-Enquirer reported paranormal investigators want to probe the old Phenix Memorial Hospital building for ghosts. Aw, c'mon - I really don't think that's why Columbus Regional abandoned it with only 90 days' notice.

+ Fort Benning officers reported construction for base realignment will total about $3.5 billion. The Tea Party started worrying about the federal deficit just late enough - and Columbus officials thank them for waiting.

+ Georgia edged Georgia Tech in men's college basketball 73-72. I think this means Georgia now earns a battle for the state championship against Kennesaw State.

+ Former Alabama football coach Gene Stallings was inducted into Atlanta's College Football Hall of Fame. Who could have imagined two years ago that Auburn's Gene Chizik would be one game away from a spot alongside him?

(Did you notice the old video clips of Gene Stallings on the Alabama sidelines? He wore a coat and tie - something hardly any college football coach does anymore. But then again, I doubt Stallings had his own shoe contract to promote in 1993.)

+ Instant Message to Julian Assange of WikiLeaks: I thought you were a big supporter of revealing secrets. So why didn't you use Foursquare to tell everyone where you were hiding?

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