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Tales from Tibby

    Just returned from a trip that included a few days in New York City. It wasn’t my first time. We were there just two years ago, so I knew I was getting in to. I love/hate that place.    The over-the-top weirdness of Time Square. Visiting the M&M store and paying $14 a pound for peanut M’s that would cost about $3 at my local grocery store. A truly unintelligible subway system. The fabulous – use your ‘jazz hands…’ fab-u-louus - Broadway shows.    It’s like no other place. It’s also like no other place should aspire to be, really. Especially the subway trains. The subway system there was designed by chimpanzees who then hired kindergarteners to draw the maps and legends explaining it.    Locals eventually figure it out by osmosis; visitors have no chance.    The way we handle the trains is to wander around in the subway station looking lost until someone takes pity on us and helps.    Mostly, we just walk. We certainly don’t attempt to drive in that carnival.    If you do drive in NYC, you need to be fluent in ‘horn.’ It’s the official language of drivers there.    But here’s what I’ve figured out: Honkers are almost always several cars back in the pack.    The first car in line has stopped because it’s illegal to run over pedestrians. The second car can see what’s going on so sits quietly. Get back to about the fourth or fifth car and all they know is that the light is green and they ain’t moving.    *beeeeeep*    Honking changes nothing, but I reckon it gives the drivers a way to vent their frustration of being in a city where a billion people live and having to deal with another billion visitors who know it’s illegal for you to run over them with your car and will therefore cross the street whenever they dang well want, traffic lights be damned.    The other language of New York City is every other language in the world. Except English.    Look, I’m a bumkin in The City, but I’m telling you, it was rare to hear English conversationally spoken. On the streets, in the subways, in the bars (so I’m told), on the elevators, the conversations were almost always in a foreign language.    That’s more observation than complaint.    To start with, we all know that as a country we’ve become heavily reliant on immigrants for service work. The servers, dishwashers, attendants, hotel staff… the list is endless of jobs immigrants are willing to do for the opportunity to live in the States.    Now, couple that with all the foreign visitors who are simply making NYC one of their must-do destinations, and there’s a whole lot of no speak-y English going on.    What if, I thought… what if we passed a law that required everyone in an American city to speak only English. That would probably cut down on the crowds since so many people would have to learn the language instead of relying on a single interpreter to be the English voice for their entire bus.    Then there’s a possible downside. What if that law not only required English, but required the proper use of the language?    That would shut most Americans out of places like New York City.    So, let me just say this, y’all. I ain’t never gonna go back to that place. Not never, not no how. I don’t know what them farners are sayin’, an’ until them people done learned how to tawk like me, I’d just a-soon stay home.    Somebody fetch me a beer.
  • Just heard a song from Dan + Shay called ‘Tequila.’ Wow, a song about tequila. How novel! While that oozes sarcasm, it’s a decent song, and so adds to an every-growing list of odes to a cactus. Off the top of my head, I can probably name 9 or 10 songs about tequila. There are more, I know. Many more. Almost all songs about tequila involve drinking too much. From there, we work on secondary themes, like being lonesome, drinking away a memory or doing something stupid. Tequila songs can also involve a fair amount of promiscuity. “Who is this cowboyWho's sleepin' beside me?He's awful cute, but how'd IGet his shirt on?I had to much Tequila last night.”  - ‘Jose Cuervo,’ sung by Shelly West Anyway… Hello, everybody, and welcome to TEQUILA TALK. As your host, you should know I fancy myself a tequila aficionado (I drink it), a tequila snob (I like the good stuff), and I may be the only person you’ve ever met that has never gotten sick from drinking it. Like, ever. Full disclosure: Oh yeah, I’ve overdone it. I’ve just never overdone it on tequila. And I’ll let my sainthood stop right there. Tequila gets a bad rap, and it’s not to blame. Its smooth, sometimes smoky goodness is a delicious sip, either neat or over a little ice. There are two main problems we have with tequila. First, we’ve made it a barroom game to see how much of it we can drink before we puke. Secondly, and a contributor to the first point, barroom tequila shots are usually done with a low-grade product. While anything calling itself tequila must, by law, contain at least 51% distilled blue agave, that leaves the other 49% to be distilled from something else. That’s very often corn syrup. And in these cheaper tequilas that nice golden color comes not from barrel aging, it comes from caramel coloring. I’m not hating on Cuervo Gold, y’all. Despite it being made from a whole lot of sugar and only minimally-required blue agave, it doesn’t taste bad. But even folks who think it does taste bad are willing to toss a few down so we can part-a-a-a-y!!! I’ll be worshiping at the porcelain alter later, but right now I have never been funnier, prettier, wittier or danced better! The girl who cuts my hair told me she can’t drink tequila. And why? “Well, one night…” …and we all know the rest of that story. Her drink of choice is vodka. Have you ever, I asked, sat down with some friends and slammed shots of cheap vodka down your throat until you went blind? Still, it’s hard to deny tequila has rendered some fun tunes. An all-time favorite became Pee Wee Herman’s dance groove: ‘Tequila’ by The Champs. In fact, that one may be the top tequila song of all time because of Pee Wee’s signature dance – let’s face it, tequila can lead to some pretty stupid dance moves – and because it’s easy to sing. The lyrical content of the song is a total of three words, and they are all ‘tequila!’ Speaking of lyrical content, Joe Nichols had a #1 hit with ‘Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off.’ Given its title, I’m not sure why it needed any lyrics. Seems fairly self-explanatory. Click here for more Tales From Tibby!
  • Did you see the recent news story from New Jersey about the woman turned away from a flight because of her emotional support animal? In case you didn’t, the woman had been told in advance by United Airlines that she could not bring her emotional support animal onboard because they couldn’t accommodate the peacock. A peacock, y’all! Her emotional support animal was a feakin’ peacock! She showed up for the flight anyway. With the peacock. Access denied. Most of us watching or reading that story probably rolled our eyes and gave whoever else was around that look. You know the look.  ‘Really?!’ Also known as the ‘is she on crack?’ look. This story originally was going to be about her and others like her, people with emotional support animals (ESA). Specifically, people with unconventional emotional support animals. People wanting to fly with pets has gotten so whacky that Delta has just updated it’s ESA policy, saying, “Customers have attempted to fly with comfort turkeys, gliding possums known as sugar gliders, snakes, spiders and more...” I had planned to write about the peacock lady. I wanted to write: Ma’am, number one, that peacock don’t care about your emotions. And number two, I’m betting you’re single. Then, a couple of things happened.  First, another ESA story emerged involving an emotional-support dog that attacked a passenger on a plane. In this case, though, the dog was a veteran’s ESA. That a veteran is part of the story gave me pause enough. (Gave me pause… get it? Pause… paws… OK, not that funny). Even putting that aside, though, if you’ve ever owned a good dog, you know that dog does indeed care about your emotions.  So, what do I do? Leave out people with dogs? The other incident derailing my original story involves a donkey. On my walk past a nearby farm just this week, I stopped and asked the young woman shoveling out the barn what happened to the white horse that had been there for years. “The white horse died, but we may get another one. That white horse and the donkey were close. The donkey is really lonesome.” What? “When we buried the horse, the donkey stood nearby and watched the whole thing. It was like she was at a graveside service.” The woman spoke of it all very matter-of-factly, like a seasoned farm hand would. On the farm, when a large animal dies, you take your backhoe or whatever implement you have to dig a hole, you dig that hole, then push the animal in and cover it up. The facts of life. She spoke just as stoically about the donkey’s loneliness. No emotion, just ‘yeah… the donkey’s lost her buddy. We may have to do something about that.’ But if a donkey can have an ESA, I knew my story idea-in-the-making, poking fun of people with emotional support animals, was going south quickly. So, I’ve decided to change gears. Let’s look instead at what other animals might make a good ESA. Like, a turkey. If you ever breakdown emotionally and need a meal, voila! And after eating the turkey, you could be thankful. (Thankful… turkey… Thanksgiving…? Is funny still not happening here?) How about a fish? Imagine, a friend comes over. She needs to unload her troubles, so you dutifully sit and listen as she drones on, endlessly. And you finally say, “Why don’t you kiss my bass.” But you mean it. What a friend! How ‘bout a bumblebee? Maybe all you need to pick you up is a little buzz. Speak of buzz, what about a buzzard? If you’re a particularly deep person, a buzzard could pick your brain. (And any other parts. Once you’re gone, of course.) Feel free to offer your own thoughts. There’s gotta be plenty of other animals that would make ESAs. I’m sure you’ve heard about the (true story) incident recently involving a lady with an emotional-support hamster? After being told she couldn’t have it onboard a Spirit Airlines flight, she flushed it down the toilet. You can Google up the details, if you want. It’s a weird story. But I have to wonder what kind of person relies on a hamster for emotional support. I doubt that hamster cared about her emotions. I bet she’s single. Click here for more Tales From Tibby!  
  • I’m not sure when ‘The Season’ begins. Is it Thanksgiving into Christmas, then into New Years? Or do we back it up to Halloween? Halloween into Thanksgiving into Christmas into New Years? And why do we say ‘new years’ like there are several of them? All I know is I eat a lot in ‘The Season.’ I’ve made pecan pies before, but making them this year was different. For some reason, this year I paid attention to what actually goes into making a pecan pie. It may be because I’m trying (in vain) to reverse the slow trend of becoming a slightly larger person every year. I’m still trying to get my brain wrapped around this notion that what I put in my mouth has some direct correlation to the size of my midsection. So... pecan pie: -syrup-sugar That’s your pie: liquid sugar, granular sugar. The sugars need something to hold them together, so let’s toss in a few eggs. Of course there are pecans, but it could be anything. Want a peanut pie? Walnut pie? Use dill chips and it becomes a pickle pie. The point is, we’ve named the pecan pie not after the mainingredients but after the only healthy ingredient in the thing. Rightfully, it should be called a sugar pie. “Oh, you’re making sugar pies for the holidays? Do you do anything special?” “Well, I like to top mine off with pecans. Adds a little crunch to the sugar.” Years ago, I made a ‘dark’ version of pecan pie. Instead of a light corn syrup, I used molasses. Instead of white sugar, I used dark brown sugar. I called it Pecan Mud Pie. I should have called it Pootie Pie. It hung around for days in unfavorable ways. Pecan pie is hard to turn down, especially if you know the reputation of the person or restaurant that is offering it. Once you become known for making a good pecan pie, you are considered an excellent cook for anything else you make. You could prepare an entire meal from canned food, nuke it in the microwave and serve it on plastic plates, and it would be the best meal ever. Because we’re all just waiting on your delicious pecan pie at the end of the meal. My pies this year were a failure. While they looked good coming out of the oven, apparently, I did something wrong. Serving them was serving a soupy, syrupy mess. With pecans. They had good pecan pie flavor and got eaten (with spoons), but I doubt I will be asked to make them again for the family gathering. I’m OK with that. Maybe it’s just to discourage myself from eating something that will only make me a little rounder in the middle, but next time I’m serving pecan pie, I’m gonna call it like I see it. “Alright now, I’m serving diabetes for dessert. Who wants Cool Whip on theirs?”
  • Kids like gross. Always have. Toy makers know this and have been delivering gross toys for decades. Garbage Pail Kids, Burp Balls, Queasy Bake Oven…. do a search for ‘gross toys’ and you’ll find not only the toys currently vying for your kids’ attention, you may also find what appealed to you as a child. Anyone remember making creepy crawlers? Then eating them? Seems like Santa Claus himself brought that one to my childhood house. With no children of our own, our home these days is generally gross-free. (Pay no attention to anything my wife might say about me and Mexican food.) But kids occasionally show up, and the ones we see most frequently know my wife and I are gamers. Ping pong, basketball, board games… we’re usually all in for whatever challenge gets thrown at us. And that brings us to Bean Boozled. For those not familiar with this game, allow me to introduce you. I’ll call it a board game but if it has a board, I’ve never seen it. It does have a spinner. And jelly beans. What could go wrong? The rules, as explained to us by the kids, are simple: Flick the spinner and whatever color it lands on, you eat a jelly bean of corresponding color. That’s it. You now know how to play Bean Boozled. When you eat up all the jelly beans, refill bags are available at places like Cracker Barrel. That’s how wholesome the game is. Except… Each color jelly bean can have one of two flavors. One of those flavors is tasty; the other, not so much. That brown jelly bean might indeed taste like chocolate pudding. But it might taste like canned dog food. The white jelly bean? Could be coconut, could be sour milk. I will attest that while I don’t really know what some of the gross flavors taste like (slimy socks?), they’ve done a pretty good job with replicating the taste of sour milk! My wife and I weren’t the only adult players, but we hung in there longer than the others. One of them got a booger-flavored bean and dropped out immediately. My wife grabbed a trash can after her first bad bean. She was willing to keep going but prepared to unload any further undesirable flavors. She didn’t last long. I became a case study for stupidity. Not only did I hang in there until I had tasted all the flavors, good and bad, but when asked to play again the next night, I agreed. My wife declined. So did the friend who went down on his first bean. “Tasted boogers all night,” was his excuse. Nasty. Which of course is why kids love it.
  • Let’s jump right in. Today’s gripe: Moms who put bows on their babies’ heads. I seriously don’t get this. Every single girl child that pops up on my social media feed has a bow on her head. What’s going on here? Trying to make your baby look like… Dumbo? Minnie Mouse? A rabbit? I have a niece claiming that just as with big hair, the bigger the bow, the closer to Jesus. Yeah, we say that in that South, but it’s only because bad style needs an excuse, if you ask me. A random baby that may or may not be family.   Not only is this a silly trend, some of y’all have pretty rotten tastes in bows.* Somebody needed to say that. What you see in those pictures is your little angel looking so precious. What I see is trouble looming. So let me just go ahead and prepare you for the conversation your surly teenage daughter is going to have with you in about 17 years: “Can I ask why you ruined all my baby pictures by wrapping my head up like you were going to give it away for Christmas?”“Can I get a tattoo? What do mean, you think it will make me look silly? Didn’t seem to bother you when I was a baby.” “What’s with that bow? Had Wal-Mart run out of pretty ones or was Dollar General having a sale?” I have another question. All of the babies I see have known fathers. Where are the fathers? Why are the dads not stepping up and saying something? Be a man! Assert yourself! Or at least claim half ownership of rights to decorating the baby’s head and take the bow off. I’ve never had children but I can assure you if my wife wanted to put a bow on Dumpling’s head, we’d be striking a deal. 'Sure, you can put a bow on her head if I never have to do poopy-diaper duty again for the rest of eternity.' Something like that. I’m a b-a-a-a-d man! Oh, I can feel your eyes rolling, moms. I know what you’re thinking. ‘Grumpy old man.’ But I know what you’re really doing. You’re trying to mask your baby’s fat head.  Look, that’s just the facts of life. Most babies’ heads are too big for their bodies when they are born. What happened to just saying a ‘bless her heart’ and knowing she would grow into it eventually? Has anyone considered that a fat-headed baby with a bow only makes fat-headed baby’s head look bigger? Moms, trust me on this. Do your baby a favor. Buck the trend. #saynotothebow (You can steal that; I stole your baby’s picture.) No need to thank me. Just doing what I can to make you a better parent. Heaven knows, y’all need help. *No specific accusations are intended for the babies pictured in this story. Although if the shoe fits…
  • It was something, the eclipse. Especially to be in the path of totality where the moon would completely block the sun for a few moments. The stars had aligned for us. And we were ready. Plans had been in the works for months. One neighbor had ripped off some images from the internet and designed t-shirts celebrating the event. Another neighbor had purchased moonpies and sun chips for snacks. There was beer. About the only issue facing us was where to see it. In our area, watching the eclipse start to finish would take about 3 hours and options on where to see the sky for that amount of time were limited. The few houses that make up our community are in a deep valley, heavily wooded, and a lot of the neighborhood only gets sunshine filtered through the oaks, maples and tall white pine trees surrounding us. The day before the eclipse, several neighbors wandered up and down the lone dirt road that connects us and determined that the cabin on the end offered the best viewing from both the lower porch and in river itself. Sitting in the river is where many of us wanted to be. More planning. A small tree would be harvested. It would be wedged between the rocks in the river so that floats could be attached. Further, the river was shallow enough at this spot that chairs could be put in the water. Bonus: this cabin had a refrigerator in the basement. Those sitting on the porch didn’t have to walk very far to fetch and toss beers to those in the water. The neck on this event was getting redder by the minute. Everything went exactly according to plan. The sky was blue, the day was warm, the water was cool. And man, down in our valley where we have limited sunshine to begin with, when totality came, it got dark! Perfect. Except… Many had gathered in the water a good hour or so prior to the start of the eclipse. The event had come and gone, and people were still in the water. Happy people, lounging in their chairs and tubes. And there was beer. We were into about the 4th hour of the party when someone just had to point out that no one had taken a bathroom break. Here we are, lined up one behind the other in the water, and no one had stood up and announced that they would ‘be right back.’ No one had left the water to ‘take a break.’ We just sat in the river. And there was beer. These things go unspoken. Or should. But when someone speaks of it, smiles turn to sneers. Suspicious eyes are cast to everyone around. Further, in the last couple of hours two pairs of those cheap eclipse-viewing glasses had come floating by us, meaning someone we could not see was upstream from us. At least two people, based on the number of glasses. Were they also in the water? Did they also have beer? These are questions best unanswered. But the subject had been broached. Resolution became necessary. In the end, we all agreed none of us would never do anything like that. Despite being older men and women, our friendship was strong and our bladders stronger. Everything’s cool, everything’s OK. One day, when you and your children are visiting the loveliest place on God’s earth you’ve ever seen, and you happen upon a pristine little trout stream, gurgling its way over the rocks, tumbling merrily to a larger river somewhere, and Little Precious looks up at you and asks, “Can I take a drink from it?” Don’t be my dad. My dad said, “Sure. Why not?”
  • When you’re 14, you’re never going to be old. Until one day you are.  When you get older, the best you can hope for is to be cool - the cool mom or dad, the cool aunt or uncle - and hope the young'uns around you see Rico Suave instead of Ricky Ricardo (who would have turned 100 this year).   That’s not the way it works, of course, but it’s really all most of us have to hang a hat on. That and our increasingly shiny heads.   Part of the perception of cool in this digital world is the ability to keep up with the latest ‘thing.’ Or at least to be perceived as trying to keep up.   So, when my teenage companions suggested I needed to be on Snapchat, I surrendered my phone.   “Set it up.”   If you’re not familiar with Snapchat, my best and shortest description would be that it’s texting with pictures. There’s so much more to it, but that’s the basic function.   Further, unless you make a special effort to save a Snapchat, it disappears for good, typically after 10 seconds. There is a lot to like about that, especially if you are fond of sharing pictures of you doing stupid or illegal things (I’m guessing).   I suppose it’s because your chats disappear the Snapchat logo is a ghost. The ghost is actually a blank canvas. You can insert a photo of you or anything else in that space. I had chosen to do nothing, and it was not sitting well with the 16-year old beside me.   She suggested I needed an avatar. In digital-speak, an avatar is a digital representative of you.   Think of it as a personal emoji.   For example, take your basic smiley face emoji 😊. Now, give Smiley Face some of your features, like the same color hair, that same skin tone, your dimples, glasses, if you wear them, etc.   You’re basically creating a cartoon character in your likeness.   You bet there’s an app for that. Several, probably.   Let the games begin.   She would look at me, then look at her options for designing me. “You need a longer face,” she commented as she picked a template to make that happen.   “His nose isn’t long enough,” her brother offered, thus involving himself in the process.   It started getting personal. Really personal.   My wrinkles were discussed. Scars and moles were talked about. And I guess I had bloodshot eyes that day because the question, ‘can you make the whites of his eyes red?’ was asked.   Assigning my avatar white hair was a no-brainer, but they argued over which available option looked most like a guy going bald.   Ultimately, my avatar was finished. It's not easy seeing yourself through the eyes of a teenager, but I wasn’t too disappointed. Given that they were only creating my face, I avoided some other pitfalls common to men of a certain age:   -pot belly  -corroded toenails  -ear hair  -nose hair  -turkey neck  -baggy pants (‘cuz you got no butt)   I thought I got off pretty easy. The 14-year old thought his sister could have done a better job around my eyes.   “He’s got some pretty gnarly eyebrows.”   I do. And he will too one day. As we’re all fond of saying: There’s only one option to getting older, and you ain’t gonna like it much.   But I’m good with where I am in life. And I'm keeping busy by working on my own app, inspired by Snapchat. Since it will only work on teenagers, its working name is Teenzap.   Here's how it will work: use the app to take a photo of any teenager, and in 10 seconds, they will disappear.   Not the photo. In fact, you may want to keep the photo. It will be all that remains of that precious pimply face.   I'll keep you posted.
  • It’s a very special smehell. I made that word up. It's a cross between 'smell' and 'hell.'  We need a new word describing what it’s like walking into your house after your refrigerator/freezer has died and been left alone. Putrid, nauseous, toxic, oh my god, and liquid death don't get it done. Who knows how long it had been dead. It had been two weeks since we had been around. Neighbors discovered the problem. Ours is a close-knit community; everyone knows where everyone else keeps a spare key. If you don’t have something you need but your neighbor does, go get it. That’s how this started. I received a text that someone or something was dead in our house. “It’s not bad,” she wrote. “It’s really, really bad.” She could have – I think I probably would have – just walked out and left it for the homeowner to figure out what was wrong. Instead, she and her husband decided to do a little investigating. “Sniff the shower drain,” I suggested, thinking the septic tank might have a problem. By the way, you want to be pretty good friends with folks you suggest to go into your shower and sniff your drain. Profanities could follow. Looking for any obvious problems led them to eventually opening the refrigerator door. And immediately slamming it shut. It was a morgue in there. Actually, no. There was life. You know how your fridge has little vents? When motors aren't running and coolants aren't cooling, those vents become doorways for small creatures, hungry for a meal of spoiled, rotting food. There were bugs. Among the damage, a sealed pack of chicken that had swollen up and burst through the packaging. Same for the venison. Packs of ground deer meat had all breached the seals of their vacuum-packed plastic, warming to room temperature, oozing blood. Yogurt had burst the seals of their individual cups and grown hair. Whomp buscuits – those you whomp against the counter to open - had broken through without being whomped and were molding. And the bugs. It may have smelled like death, but certain unidentified insects were loving life: crawling, flying and feasting. Clearly, the refrigerator had not just conked out yesterday. Alien life forms of this magnitude take time to manifest. Public service announcement: Frozen okra will thaw into a gooey mess but will not explode through freezer bags. I’m not sure why you need that information, but now you have it. Hazmat was called but refused to respond. So, friends stepped in to do what friends must occasionally do. Once in a while, you gotta step up to the plate. First, all windows were opened. They found of couple of fans in our house, then brought a couple more of their own to prop up in those windows. This cancelled the plans of our immediate next-door neighbors to eat lunch out on their deck that day. While they are a good 30 yards away, the stench from our kitchen was uncontainable. Those folks had other options of where they could be, so they packed up and left. Like I said, it’s a real special odor. Neighbors from both sides of the house came with garbage bags, willing to help clean out the fridge. While tossing out our food, one of them tossed his own cookies. Fortunately, he managed to make it outside, hanging his head out over the deck railing before that happened. Ten full garbage bags and $5 later, the offending mess was deposited in the local dump. The same friend who had lost his lunch cleaning out the refrigerator was around when we finally arrived two days later, offering to help me move the refrigerator out of the house. To fortify ourselves, we both took a shot of tequila. (We do a fair amount of fortifying around here.) During the process of rolling it out on a hand truck, one of the fridge doors popped open. His tequila shot left his body as quickly as it had entered. We refortified. Eventually, we were able to wheel the refrigerator into my neighbor’s yard. The same neighbors that had left. Their yard. I used their hose, their water, to wash out meat juice and mold. Can’t wait for them to return. Precious memories aren’t the only things that linger. The fridge made nice yard art, and we considered just leaving it there. Back inside, my wife Beverly wiped down every counter and cabinet with all manner of cleaning solutions, going so far as to take down the curtains and wash them. Floors were mopped. Disinfectant was sprayed on the furniture. Plates, glasses, silverware, every pot and every pan got washed. In tossing out all of the spoils of the refrigerator, the neighbors had left glass and canned items. Without much hesitation, we made the decision to toss everything that smehell had touched and start over. Everything except the beer. It’s good beer, and the cans had not popped opened. I deemed them salvageable and safe. Now, you could argue that beer which has been refrigerated, then brought back to room temperature, then refrigerated again will lose some flavor. You’d need to argue with someone else. My palate won’t notice, and I ain’t listening. You could also argue, as my buddy did, beer cans that have been in such close proximity to the funk of rotting deer carcasses are contaminated and need to be replaced. But again, my ears don’t hear. Those cans have taken a gentle bleach bath and are now chillin’ in a brand new refrigerator. My friend has vowed not to accept my offer of a beer for the next year. Beverly has vowed that lips that touch those cans of beer will not touch hers for about the same period of time. Don’t tell me I don’t know what it means to sacrifice.
  • Our bartender was Romanian but spoke pretty good English. Since he was working for a cruise line that caters to a mostly English-speaking clientele, good English was a prerequisite of the job, I reckoned. “Can you speak French?” he was asked. As the boat that employs him cruises the rivers of France, that was a fair question. “No,” he answered. “I speak Romanian, Russian and English. That’s enough!” Then he laughed. “Do you know how hard it is to speak English? You have over 300,000 words!” Whether that’s true or not, I’ve always thought what makes English difficult, even for those of us that have spoken it all our lives, is the way words sound the same yet are spelled differently (see my title), or that the exact same word can have different meanings (see my title). In fact, once you read the rest of this tale, you can tell everyone you’veread it. But let’s move this conversation back to the barstool, because someone has just mentioned they had read that the most difficult word in the English language is… RUN. Eyebrows immediately furrowed in doubt. Run? Really? So, we decided to run it up the flagpole and see if we had indeed run into the toughest word in the English-speaking world. Immediately, it was evident there are many ways to use ‘run’ that didn’t involve using your legs to move quickly from on point to another. You run water either to run the washer or run a bath. If it’s the washer, then you gotta run the dryer. The refrigerator runs. Let’s just hope we catch it before it gets too far away! (In today’s techno- world, you may have to explain what a prank call was to your kids or grandkids. I doubt they’ll immediately get the concept of dialing a random number and asking whomever answered if their refrigerator was running.) We run the vacuum to clean the room, unless we’ve run out of time. Or run out of room. We run our mouths. Too much. We run for office. If we don’t run into our scandalous past, well, we’ve run a good campaign, I guess, so we can run for reelection. Our watches run. Our cars run so that we can run to the store. Just don’t let the parking meter run out while you’re inside or you run the risk of a ticket. You’ve got a run in your pantyhose, by the way. Had enough? Me, too. Perhaps ‘run’ is all the problem it’s purported to be. Regardless, I’ve run out of easy examples. Besides, I need to run to the bathroom. For that, I will use my legs to move quickly from one point to another. Hopefully, we have not run out of tissue.

Local News

  • The Georgia House Rural Development Council, created by the House to find ways to boost rural Geiorgia's economic fortunes, is looking to encourage multi-county industrial partnerships. Committe co-chair State Rep. Terry England says that came out of a meeting in Elberton this week. He notes one such authority covering several counties east of Atlanta attracted a Facebook data center this year. He says this would particularly benefit smaller counties without the resources to land such an economic plum. He says those counties would share the cost of building industrial parks-and then share the revenue. The Council plans more meetings and will report recommendations back to state lawmakers by year's end. 
  • Colorado State football coach Mike Bobo released a statement after news broke of his hospitalization due to numbness in his feet. In his statement released on Twitter, Bobo said he was thankful for the support he and his family have received while he’s undergone testing is looking forward to the upcoming football season. “I am currently in the process of a multiple day treatment for a peripheral neuropathy, and continue to be encouraged by the results of the ongoing medical testing,” Bobo said in part. “While I’ve been hospitalized, I have been able to remain in close contact with our staff and watch practice film in preparation for our season opener against Hawaii.” Colorado State released a statement Monday from Bobo and Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker which announced Bobo was hospitalized after a Rams scrimmage Saturday and then admitted to a hospital to undergo further testing after consulting doctors. A former Georgia quarterback, Bobo coached at the University of Georgia under Mark Richt as the quarterbacks coach from 2001-2006 and offensive coordinator from 2007-2014. In three seasons at Colorado, Bobo holds a 21-18 record.
  • Did you miss all the rain, thunderstorms and risk of severe weather? Well, it’s all expected to return Friday, whether you missed it or not.    It’ll also set the precedent going forward for the weekend and beginning of next week, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brad Nitz said. Friday morning should be free of rain, and drivers should only have to contend with some light fog, Nitz said.  However, storms should roll into North Georgia around 2 p.m., and those should run through the evening commute, potentially causing problems for drivers. “We're looking at isolated to scattered (storm) coverage through 5 p.m.,” Nitz said. “As they come in, they could pack a punch.”     The risk of isolated severe thunderstorms is mostly north of I-20 and includes most of North Georgia and eastern Georgia, Nitz said. The storms present the possibility of 60-mph winds, small hail, downpours and frequent lightning. The worst of the storms should be over before the Braves take on the Colorado Rockies at 7:35 p.m. at SunTrust Park.  Friday’s 60 percent chance of rain increases to 70 percent Saturday, Nitz said. The rain chance remains above 60 percent through Tuesday. The cloud cover should lower temperatures into the mid-80s Saturday and beyond, but the added humidity and moisture should thicken the air, increasing how hot it feels outside, Nitz said.
  • There are now indictments for two men from Madison County, charged in a deadly shooting in Athens: David and Martin Garcia are cousins, 22 and 18 years old, from Hull. They’re accused in the June 4 death of Saheed Snow, who was shot and killed on Nellie B Avenue in Athens. Athens-Clarke County Police say it was apparently a drug-related shooting.  There are now indictments for Jonathan Herbert: the 30 year-old former Gwinnett County school teacher was arrested last month in Hall County, accused of biting a 14 year-old girl in the buttocks while she swam in Lake Lanier on the Fourth of July. Herbert is facing criminal counts that include sexual battery and public intoxication.    A Dawson County man is indicted on charges stemming from allegations that he stole money from a baseball umpire’s association and used it to pay prostitutes: Timothy Ryan is 55 years old, from Dawsonville. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Police say gunshots that were fired into a home off Linda Avenue were apparently in retaliation to earlier shootings that happened on Oak Hill Drive and Pamela Drive in Athens. A suspect in those shootings—identified now as Johntavious King—was arrested and booked into the Clarke County jail earlier this week. The search for suspects in the most recent shooting was, at last report, ongoing. There have been no injuries in any of the shootings. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — My debut for the Georgia football “ask the expert” feels very appropriate in that the subject matter in running backs. Of all the positions I’ve covered in college football, this is the one where I feel most qualified based on the fact I have covered some of the best running backs in SEC football history. While a journalism student in college I covered the Detroit Lions when Barry Sanders was the running back. Every handoff brought me to the edge of my seat in the Pontiac Silverdome, and I’ve only seen a few backs since then that can do that. Some of them I’ve had the good fortune of covering. The Stephen Davis-James Bostic duo on undefeated 1993 Auburn was special, and Shaun Alexander is the most talented running back in Alabama history in my opinion. The Jamal Lewis-Travis Henry-Travis Stephens trio at Tennessee was dynamic, and later, a Vols’ backfield with two 1,000-yard rushers in Gerald Riggs Jr. and Cedric Houston was among the most underrated. Arian Foster came along later for Tennessee, and you could see his talent his true freshman yea. I moved to the Michigan State beat in 2012 where Le’Veon Bell and Jeremy Langford were waiting to impress. My return to cover the Vols saw Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara and John Kelly sharing the backfield. They are all NFL talents, and I believe current UT back Ty Chandler could be special, too. Now, Georgia, and the first thing I did was look at the games last year and review the recruiting tape of Zamir White and “Little” James Cook. RELATED: Georgia LB raves about running back James Cook That brings us to today’s question:   @ChipTowersDN here’s one for you both.  With all the depth at running back, what are the chances of seeing more 2 back sets this year?  Saw it a few times last year, but not much. #keepemguessing — Michael McCollum (@mgmccollum) August 17, 2018   I’ll come right out and say it: Cook has captivated me from the time I saw his highlights. Not because of what he did — most all FBS backs are run away from the competition in high school. It’s where Cook did it. You don’t see guys run away that easily on the high school football field of South Florida. But there was Cook, electrifying and dazzling against future FBS players. Usually I put the videos at the bottom of the story, but you got to watch this — look at the change of direction and acceleration from Cook: James Cook High School Highlights Now you know why Monty Rice said: “I’ve never played against a running back like Cook before, he has his own little style, and it’s very unique.” Question is: What does Jim Chaney think? My guess is Georgia’s base offense will be single back, three-wide and one tight end. When two backs are in the game, I’d guess it would be in shot gun, and sometimes one might go in motion as a receiver. That’s what I saw on video from last year’s games, and it worked well. I could see Chaney doing it most often in passing situations or in the two-minute offense. D’Andre Swift looks strong and appears to be the starting back. Elijah Holyfield has had some camp moments, but I’m always somewhat skeptical of junior and senior backs having breakout years — seems their star would have already shined. But if you go with a second back, whether it’s Cook, Holyfield, Brian Herrien or White, who do you take off the field? RELATED: Kirby Smart explains why Georgia football offense personality still unsresolved Do you subtract a Demetris Robertson or Mecole Hardman? Because it sure looks to me like Riley Ridley is emerging as a go-to guy and Terry Godwin is proven. Ideally Cook will grow to be the same size as his big brother, 6-foot, 210-pound Dalvin Cook of the Minnesota Vikings. But for now, “Little” Cook — as Monty Rice calls him — is listed at 5-10, 190. Not big enough to be a three-down back in the SEC. I’m of the Alabama football mindset of utilizing bigger, stronger backs as primary ballcarriers. If anyone can appreciate that, it’s Georgia fans who have first-hand memories of the greatest SEC back of all time, Herschel Walker. So my answer isn’t as definitive as maybe you’d like, but hopefully it provides some perspective. Oh, and for those who wonder what I think of White, I’m reserving judgement until he gets that bulky knee brace off.       The post Georgia football likely to utilize 2-back formations in shot gun most often, but when and who? appeared first on DawgNation.
  • GEORGIA’S OWN #11: RB ZAMIR WHITE ATHENS — The term “freak” probably is overused in sports. But with regard to Georgia’s Zamir White, it suits him perfectly. And that goes beyond the Adonis-like body and size/speed combination White showed up with to UGA. No, White is a bit of a medical freak. It goes back to the very beginning with him. As detailed by DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell during White’s recruitment, doctors recommended White’s mother abort her pregnancy due to severe underdevelopment around the end of the first trimester. When he was born, the first 100 days of White’s life were spent in intensive care. As a newborn, White’s tiny body endured multiple surgeries. They had to address issues such as cleft lip, cleft jaw, kidney function, cysts, and other minor and major malformations. Initially, he was given 10 days to live. From his first breath, White was having to overcome adversity. But as all the world can see he turned out considerably better than “just fine.” “I’m really just happy he’s here,” said his mother, Shanee White. “It is not all this football stuff.” Zamir White has not missed a preseason snap despite wearing a significant metal brace to protect the right knee that required ACL surgery last December. (Steven Colquitt/UGA)       With that context, it’s easy to understand why White wasn’t about to let a little ol’ torn ACL slow down his development as the next great back to sign with Georgia. And he hasn’t. To cut to the chase, White will be available to play in the Bulldogs’ season opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 1. And word is, he would’ve been ready if that game had been played on August 1 as well. That’s when Georgia opened preseason camp, and White has been “full go” since the first whistle. The only thing limiting him is a somewhat cumbersome metal brace on his right knee. He longs for the day in the not-too-distant future when he’ll be able to play without it. “He could take the knee brace off and practice, but it’s precautionary,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said after the Bulldogs’ first scrimmage of the preseason. “It’s a little rigid and it’s not comfortable for him. He’s not out there feeling like he’s his old self yet. … But he is cleared and he’s safe to practice. He just doesn’t like having that knee brace on.” That he’s already working out full speed with the Bulldogs does not make White a medical miracle. His timeline to recovery from a simple tear of the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is not unusual in modern-day sports medicine. But White was fortunate to have been able to enlist Georgia in his treatment and recovery. White actually incurred the knee injury in a playoff game with Scotland High School on the night of Nov. 17 last fall. It came on his last carry in the fourth of quarter of game his team led by 25 points. White came out of the game knowing he’d taken a helmet blow to the knee, but didn’t realize he was seriously injured. White remained on the sideline the rest of the game and signed autographs for fans for at least a half-hour afterward in 30-degree temperatures. Then he went home and crashed inn advance of an early wake-up call for an unofficial recruiting trip to UGA. It was only after walking around Sanford Stadium and up and down the stands that White realized he might have more than a bruise. He mentioned it to Ron Courson, Georgia’s director of sports medicine, and a routine examination on the spot revealed that a ligament indeed was torn. A month later, surgery was performed by UGA doctors in Athens. As an early enrollee with the Bulldogs, White’s rehabilitation began in earnest upon his arrival on campus. White’s progress was evident in April during Georgia’s spring practices. By the end of them, he was already running full speed through position drills with the rest of the backs. He was held out of contact and any competitive scrimmage situations, but otherwise was getting in work and learning the offense. Fast forward to the summer, and a video was released by UGA of White high-kicking and hitting and moving in a Taekwondo workout in the Payne Athletic Center. It was on Aug. 2, the first official day of Georgia’s preseason camp, that Smart pronounced White “full go.” “I don’t know in this day and age you would say (White’s recovery) was quick,” Smart said. “I think he’s on schedule or a little ahead of schedule. He got injured last year in football season. It’s not a miracle he’s back going. He is pretty special when it comes to rehab, buying in, doing wrestling, doing karate. He does all these extra things like Nick (Chubb) did. That part — his effort and all the work — is incredible.” As a result, Georgia fans will get to see what all the fuss is about. And with White, there has been a lot of fuss made. That’s what happens when one is a consensus 5-star prospect and the No. 1-rated running back in high school. His numbers at his little school in Laurinburg, N.C., were ungodly — 2,086 yards and 34 TDs in 11 games as a senior and a gaudy per-carry average of 14.1 yards. White regularly draws comparisons to a couple of other great Georgia backs from small-town North Carolina, Todd Gurley of Tarboro and Tim Worley of Lumberton. Both of them wowed the masses with the Bulldogs and earned riches in the NFL. The thinking is that this young man who has come to be called “Zeus” is on a similar path. First, White will have to get through one of the most intense running back competitions in Georgia history, which is saying something. Sophomore D’Andre Swift is the heir apparent to succeed the last greats, Chubb and Sony Michel. Talented juniors Elijah Holyfield and Brian Herrien have been patiently biding their time and awaiting their opportunities. And fellow freshman signee James Cook, brother of Dalvin, has turned heads with his quickness and broken-field running. But White is thought to have all the characteristics Georgia looks for in great backs. He has the size and strength to punch the football into the A and B gaps of the defense while also possessing the speed get around the end and outrun defensive backs to paydirt. That script has yet to be written. But optimism abounds. The early chapters in the Book of Zeus certainly have been incredible, especially that first one. If White plays the way coaches and recruiting analysts expect, he’ll be another reason Georgia “Owns the East.” The post Own the East: Georgia’s Zamir White has been overcoming adversity from the start appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart isn’t exactly sure how his offense is going to look from play to play this season right now. Smart, however, said he’ll have a better idea following the Bulldogs’ second scrimmage of fall camp on Saturday. “ Scrimmage two is kind of a defining moment,” Smart said this week. RELATED: Kirby Smart explains why Georgia offense a work in progress Georgia is loaded with talent across the board, but particularly at the skill positions where running backs, tight ends and receivers are vying for play calls. “You want your best players on the field, so if our best players on the field are four wideouts and no tight ends, we better have some good tackles and be able to block well because we don’t have edges,” Smart said. “But if our best players are tight ends, then we’ll have three of them out there. If our best are backs, we’ll have two of backs and maybe two receivers.” The intense competition playing out in fall camp will go a long way toward determine who is on the field. Once that’s determined, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney can play Dr. Frankenstein with the playbook, the Bulldogs’ operating behind a monstrous offensive line. RELATED: Georgia football 5-star receivers getting outplayed in practice “We’ve got a set of plays, our core belief that we always have, which is balance, being powerful, being able to run the ball at our will, not somebody else breaking our will,” Smart said. “[But] as far as having it formed by any shape or form, I don’t think we’ll have that until the two-deep is set on the offensive line and how the top 10 shake out and the alignment that we’re going to be able to work with this season. I don’t think that will play out until even after scrimmage two.” RELATED: Georgia gets receivers back on the field from injury Some questions were answered in the first scrimmage, both quarterbacks proving they can manage the huddle, and running backs breaking loose on substantial runs. But Smart wants to see who can do it consistently, and the second scrimmage will go a long ways toward determine how Georgia will open the season at 3:30 p.m. on Sept. 1 against FCS Austin Peay at Sanford Stadium. Georgia football Kirby Smart 8-16-18     The post Georgia football second scrimmage ‘defining moment’ in offensive evolution appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football true freshman James Cook opened eyes at the Bulldogs’ open practice on Aug. 4,  and apparently he has continued to excel through fall drills. RELATED: James Cook catches Kirby Smart’s eye at open practice Georgia linebacker Monty Rice made it clear on Thursday that he has been impressed with all of the backs, and particularly Cook. “I’ve never played against a running back like Cook before, he has his own little style, and it’s very unique,” Rice said. “He’s very tough to cover …   you can’t be looking at the quarterback when you cover him, or you’ll watch them complete the pass.” Rice has had an impressive offseason himself, making a team-high 14 tackles in the G-Day game to put himself in position to win a starting job. Rice said nothing has been determined at linebacker yet, himself working at both “Mike” and “Will.” From the sounds of it, Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney will have a hard time sorting through the offensive weapons. RELATED: Kirby Smart explains offensive personality still evolving Elijah Holyfield tore through the first-team defense in the first scrimmage, and Rice said the defense is eager to atone in the upcoming second scrimmage on Saturday. “I don’t want to see Brian Herrien, Holyfield or [D’Andre] Swift run for 60 yards on a play, not against us,” Rice said. RELATED: Watch Elijah Holyfield run through first-team defense They’ve all impressed, Rice indicated. “Little Cook never stops running, he’s fast, I mean, just fast,” Rice said. “Then you’ve got Holyfield   Brian, Swift, Prather [Hudson], Zamir [White], there’s a bunch of them, and they are all pretty good.” Cook, 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, is the younger brother of NFL tailback and former Florida State star Dalvin Cook. He was one of the last freshmen in the 2018 class to arrive on campus. RELATED: Kirby Smart confirms James Cook on campus Cook and the Georgia backs could find the going tougher on Saturday. “We just have to get better on our techniques,” Rice said, “and if we get our techniques right, we can prevent those big runs.” Georgia football LB Monty Rice The post WATCH: Georgia linebacker Monty Rice raves about ‘Little (James) Cook’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • PRACTICE OBSERVATIONS ATHENS — It was another stifling hot day on Woodruff Practice Fields on Thursday as the Georgia Bulldogs conducted their 12th practice of preseason camp in full pads. Good thing for the hard-working, and always-running receivers that they welcomed two back to their number. Senior Terry Godwin and freshman Kearis Jackson, each were dressed out and going through position drills during the 15-minute media viewing period. Godwin, the Bulldogs’ leading returning receiver from last year, has been out for most of camp with what coach Kirby Smart has described as a “not too serious” knee injury. Jackson, an early enrollee who turned some heads last spring, has been battling a hamstring injury. While Georgia’s offense got back those two targets, they were missing one other one from the tight ends group. Luke Ford, a 6-foot-6, 252-pound true freshman from Carterville, Ill., was reportedly involved in a minor motorcyle accident Thursday morning, according to ugarivals.com. Ford was not seriously hurt but did suffer some sort of foot injury, the fan site reported. UGA has yet to confirm the report. Other observations: Redshirt freshman receiver Matt Landers seems to have added significant weight to his 6-foot-5 frame, though he’s still listed on the roster at 200 pounds. Landers also seems to have moved up in the rotation. Georgia’s defensive backs were really getting after it during position drills. Defensive coordinator and secondary coach Mel Tucker was having them work on moving toward the ball carrier even though engaged in a lock-down block by the wide receiver. It made for some great individual matchups, with freshman Otis Reese facing off against fellow freshman Tyson Campbell and senior Deandre Baker locking up with J.R. Reed. Cornerback Tyrique McGhee (broken foot) was still sidelined as expected. Freshman corner Divaad Wilson, who suffered a knee injury in the spring, continued to run on the side under the guidance of team trainers. Georgia continued to mix and match on the offensive line. Kirby Smart said Wednesday the Bulldogs are simply trying to identify the best fill-ins in the case of an injured starter. The top five still appears to be LT Andrew Thomas, LG Kendall Baker, C Lamont Gaillard, RG Ben Cleveland and RT Isaiah Wilson. Speaking of Wilson, the 6-7, 340-pound redshirt freshman from Brooklyn appears to have completely remade his body. More importantly, there have been no reports of him falling out of preseason workouts due to the heat, as was often the case a year ago. The post Practice report: Key wide receivers back on the field for Bulldogs appeared first on DawgNation.