Tuesday, September 20, 2011

20 SEP 11: Something or Nothing?

It's been quite a long time since we played a game here about the news of the day. So today let's try one called - hey, the title's already up there - "Something or Nothing?" We'll consider several developments around the area, and determine if they amount to something or nothing. And remember: if it's "next to nothing," it's probably still something.

1. EXPEDIA EXPENDITURES. Have you noticed Expedia.com is running commercials during Columbus TV newscasts? I've seen them on WRBL for several nights. And they raise an obvious question - how can this travel website find TV stations in town, when it can't find any motels?

The TV commercials are straightforward, promoting the travel deals you can get through Expedia.com . They say nothing about the long legal fight with the city of Columbus over hotel-motel taxes. But then again, Columbus residents aren't likely to book local rooms online in the first place.

In terms of our game, I'm leaning toward saying these TV commercials are SOMETHING. They show Expedia is willing to spend a little money in Columbus. The website simply trusts that money in Teresa Whitaker's hands more than City Attorney Clifton Fay's.

But we should watch carefully to see if Expedia's investment in Columbus TV time affects the news coverage of its legal fight. At least WRBL should offer a nice donation to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

2. "MAD HATTER" HYATT. Shame on The River City Report. It noted Monday's main topic about a circus ticket offer from Mark Cantrell, and compared it with a weekend post at Richard Hyatt's website. Hyatt revealed he was an "honorary ringmaster" during the 2010 Shrine Circus. That ranks him far above me - because my "free ticket" might have been in the top row.

The River City Report is implying Richard Hyatt was unethical to accept Mark Cantrell's ringmaster offer. But I'm ruling this fuss is NOTHING. Cantrell was NOT a Muscogee County School Board member last September - simply a candidate. And Hyatt apparently didn't mention Cantrell on his website for a year after receiving the honor. That's certainly unusual "hush money."

3. THE TROY DAVIS TRIAL. Yes, this is SOMETHING. And for now, I don't dare say anything else about it here....

4. SATURDAY NIGHT RACING. The Ledger-Enquirer reported on a weekend police chase from Phenix City to Columbus and back. Authorities say it ended with the suspect stopping his car outside the Russell County Jail, getting out with his hands up and surrendering. At least they say he surrendered - but he might have decided he won a Formula One race.

Authorities say the police chase went from South Railroad Street in Phenix City across the 13th Street Bridge, around the Columbus Government Center, then through the Linwood neighborhood and down Cusseta Road. If Columbus television stations only had a helicopter -- we could have had a live local episode of "Cops."

Unless there's a police dashboard recording of this chase, we have to conclude it was NOTHING. Even in Columbus, the idea of using sketches to describe dramatic showdowns went the way of the Spanish-American War.

5. THE FRENCH CONNECTION. Legacy Chevrolet owner Emanuel Jones resurrected a familiar name in the Columbus car business. Chris "Mark 'em All Down" French is his new general sales manager. You'd think two young tag-team spokesmodels on TV would be enough to sell cars in this city....

Chris French took a break from selling cars, to start an organic farm in Harris County [24 May]. I'm not sure if he's still involved with that farm. But if someone wants a red Chevrolet, French will have a tomato handy to prove the color's right.

Emanuel Jones said in a TV commercial he's "bringing back" Chris French. French once was sales manager at Bill Heard Cadillac, on the grounds of Legacy Chevrolet. That convinces me this announcement is SOMETHING - since even with the great recession, French has found his second automotive job in three years.

6. WOMAN'S PURSE STRINGS. Alabama now has its first female state finance director. But if you think Marquita Davis will improve the state's financial situation simply by being female, I fear you'll be disappointed - and you'll wind up feeling Marquita-sad.

While I wish her well, I think the appointment of Marquita Davis will amount to NOTHING. After all, Alabama didn't avoid proration with Kay Ivey as state treasurer -- and the "529 College Savings Plan" has done well to avoid dropping to about 440.

7. CAM-DEMONIUM. Some Columbus residents have decided enough Cam Newton hype is enough. The hosts of WDAK's Morning Show appealed to local TV sportscasters Monday to stop focusing on Newton. He's no longer playing for Auburn, they argued - and you may recall Toomer's Corner was NOT rolled when Jason Campbell moved from Washington to Oakland.

The WDAK hosts also said Cam Newton now plays for the Atlanta Falcons' division rivals in Carolina. Yet minutes later, Scott Miller noted "Matthew Stafford had a big day" for Detroit -- and Stafford stopped playing quarterback for Georgia three years ago. Or did Miller do that in case federal "fairness doctrine" rules for radio come back?

I can see the radio hosts' point, but Cam Newton has thrown for more than 400 yards in his first two N.F.L. starts. So at this early point in the season, I'm declaring the former Auburn quarterback SOMETHING - at least until the Atlanta Falcon defense does to him what it did to Michael Vick the other night.

TEN YEARS' LAUGHTER/20 SEP 01: President Bush flatly refused a suggestion from Afghanistan that the U.S. negotiate a handover of Osama bin-Laden. The idea now rests in a new computer file created exclusively for the White House - the "Recycle Bin-Laden."

Afghanistan's government ordered CNN journalists to leave the country Wednesday. So much for it becoming the "Kabul News Network...."

Several airports have removed all knives from their kitchens and restaurants. For those of us who love Cinnabons, this is NO inconvenience. Eating them openly and unashamedly with your fingers is a dream come true.

Several Las Vegas casinos report business has dropped by a third since the skyjackings. It certainly doesn't feel right to tell a blackjack dealer, "Hit me...."

Major college football resumes its regular schedule. For security reasons, blimps will NOT fly over stadiums for awhile. You'll have to settle for the ones playing on the offensive and defensive lines.

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