Friday, February 11, 2011

11 FEB 11: Free-Flow Friday

It's been a busy week for me - so busy that I've had to turn down a news tip or two which would require a lot of time to confirm. So today (and perhaps on future Fridays for a while), we'll change the format and offer short thoughts about a wide range of topics. This should be perfect for readers with attention deficit problems....

1. THE BENNING BUG. The current basic training class at Fort Benning isn't feeling very well. About 150 soldiers have come down with some kind of stomach virus. Are we sure it's not some kind of rebellion, inspired by events in Egypt? Instead of the "blue flu," we may have a camo whammo.

Fort Benning officials say the basic training breakout seems to be confined to one unit -- yet dozens of soldiers have symptoms such as diarrhea. Instead of an Army running on its stomach, we have Army stomachs which are simply running.

It may not be simply an Army illness. I know a church pastor who's battled his own stomach illness in the last couple of weeks. He noted it used to be called "Montezuma's Revenge." But unlike those attorneys in Montgomery, he stopped short of blaming Taco Bell for it.

When I had a queasy Monday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, I blamed it on myself. It can happen when I don't let leftover "Hamburger Helper" heat long or high enough in the oven. And no, it did NOT feel like that "oven mitt" was tickling my stomach.

2. THE WILD WILD 'WEB. WLTZ reported Thursday on construction at one of Columbus's oddest crossroads -- the confluence of Buena Vista Road, St. Mary's Road and Brennan Road. It's known in police lingo as "the Spiderweb". But when a train comes through in the middle of the afternoon, drivers probably feel as slow as an armadillo trying to chase down an ant.

City Planning Director Rick Jones says the Spiderweb is receiving a "streetscape" of sorts - as trees and landscaping will be added. This is part of the city "Heat Island Mitigation Program." What's so bad about heat islands? I've enjoyed every hot shower I can this winter.

3. RICKY'S ANGELS. Thursday was promotion day at the Columbus Police Department - and based on a Ledger-Enquirer list, nearly one-third of the officers promoted to corporal are female. And you thought the "good ol' boys" network was evaporating only at the Government Center.

Another promotion announced by Chief Ricky Boren will give Columbus Police its first official chaplain in several years. Corporal Roy Isasi is an ordained minister. But he will NOT receive a pay raise - so don't be surprised if he proposes traffic fine increase to a tithe of your income.

4. I-PHONE WHY-4. Verizon Wireless began providing iPhone service Thursday. Admittedly, I still don't have an iPhone. I'm so old-fashioned I still haven't seen an "iCarly."

WTVM spotted former Shaw High School quarterback and current minor league baseball player Cam Greathouse in line for a Verizon iPhone. Greathouse said he showed up at 3:00 a.m. to buy one. I knew something was missing amidst all the night spots on Broadway....

5. HAR-COURTS. Ground was broken Thursday for a new Harris County Recreation Center. It will have two full basketball courts, along with a "competition-sized" swimming pool. Does that mean it's big enough to have the first Columbus area belly-flop diving contest?

Wouldn't it be something if Harris County finishes its own version of a natatorium before Columbus does? After all the years of talk and pleading, the growing county to the north could make Columbus look all wet.

6. PEACE IN OUR TIME. WTVM finally announced Thursday an agreement with DirecTV to keep its programming on satellite. It was announced through one of those "crawls" on the screen during newscasts - and if Zaneta Lowe isn't doing a "Consumer Watch" report on how much it will cost me, I'm a little concerned.

7. QUAD STAKES. Long before Taco Bell put it on the menu, some of us dreamed of making it at the poker table - such as we did Thursday night. If ours wound up tasting sweet, the restaurant might be worth a try.

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