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Tales from Tibby

    There was an editorial in the New York Times last week entitled, The Nude Selfie Is Now High Art.  Before we go any farther, I should point out it was published on 4/20. I think by now even my mom knows 420 is a number associated with marijuana culture. So note that a piece on ‘high’ art was published on 4/20.   But let’s get back to the nude selfie part and what makes it art, high or not.   The author contends self-isolation has led many of us to a monogamous sex life.   Skype or Zoom or Facetime with a willing partner can add a little flair, but all this social distancing is leaving a whole lot of folk as basically masters of their own domain, as Seinfeld once put it.   Making do on our own involves more imagination and less actual touching of another person. Nude selfies from friends could only help, I guessing.   The article quotes one dude who apparently wakes up in the morning to nude pictures posted to him or to his accounts on certain social media.   He’s quoted as saying, “I keep getting explicit photos from people I thought were just my friends. It’s nice to know they’re thinking of me.”   Really!? That’s really a thing?   The author of this article is apparently a learned lady when it comes to art. There’s all kinds of trying to make the idea work by comparing the nude selfie to some famous artists’ self portraits.   The point of her piece is summed up thusly:   “…nude selfies have become one symbol of resilience, a refusal to let social distancing render us sexless. Nude selfies are no longer foreplay, a whetting of a lover’s appetite, but the whole meal.”*   I’m all in for fresh ideas, so I decided to try an experiment. I took a nude photo of myself and sent it to someone who hasn’t seen me naked in years.   My wife.   “This ain’t no appetizer, baby!” I wrote. “This is the whole meal.   Apparently, she decided now would be a great time to go on a diet.   *The Nude Selfie Is Now High Art, an editorial by Diana Spechler, published 4/20/200 by The New York Times
  • This feels like I’m cheating. I wrote a tale about this person fairly recently, and now here she comes again. The problem any writer has is fresh ideas. When my tank is empty, I find visiting the social media posts of certain people to be quite useful. So if you haven’t read The Cat in the Hat on Xanax, take a moment and do so. It will help you understand exactly what we’re dealing with here. The first day of spring arrived this week. Her posts from Minnesota reminded me that spring doesn’t look the same everywhere. Even in the hills of North Georgia, it’s been a shorts and t-shirt kind of week. Expect that to be be my uniform for the next eight months. I’m all about minimal clothing. (Full disclosure: in my 20s, I thought I’d be a nudist. In my 60s, having seen myself nude, plans changed. Be grateful.) In Minnesota, the beginning of spring brought a fresh blanket of snow, apparently. Up popped a picture of a snow kitten. What makes a 50-ish year old woman see fresh snow and think, ‘hey, I’m gonna go outside and build a snow kitten?’ Correct answer: she’s a dang nut. If you answered ‘she’s a crazy cat lady,’ you get points, but crazy cat ladies are usually single. This one has a husband. I’ve met him. Other than being married to a dang nut, he has no other glaring personality disorders. Any snow kitten needs an owner to cuddle with, I reckon, so along with the snow kitten, we also had what was identified as a ‘snow person.’ This is where my brain got fuzzy.  Her post read, “a snow person and her cat.” As an enlightened guy, ‘snow person’ indicates to me this is a gender-neutral person of snow. But when it’s a snow person and her cat, that sorta identifies said person of snow as a female. As a heterosexual male, I’m conflicted. Is this snow person available or not? My wife says I cannot date either snow women or snow men. So, asking for a friend.  A very, very lonesome friend, apparently.
  • The Facebook post featured Brussels spouts being prepared with lemon honey. The author of that post also talked of how yummy they were.  In response, one of her friends said, “I have given up trying to find a good recipe for Brussels sprouts. No matter what other food is paired with them, the other food is ruined and the end product is inedible.”   My thoughts exactly. Actually, that’s worded better than I could have thought it.   There is truly no salvation for Brussels sprouts.  Notice their initials: BS. Think that’s an accident?   Nope. It’s what they taste like.   Raised to eat what I am served and to do so politely, if you serve me Brussels sprouts, I will eat them with no complaints. I hope I even compliment you on them.   I also hope you have a Brussels sprouts-eating dog under the table. We are regular dinner guests of friends who serve them ‘Italian-style.’ Best I can tell, that involves cooking some bacon, then searing the Brussels sprouts in the bacon grease. How that’s Italian-style, I’m not sure.  Unless pigs were invented in Italy. They even serve them with the bacon. But as the previous comment implies, that simply ruins perfectly good bacon. I’ve tried, y’all. With butter, with cheese, roasted, toasted, salted and malted. Sorry, malt was the only thing I could think of to rhyme with salt. Though if you actually did malt them, you could brew beer with them. How nasty would that be??? Likely, no nastier than the current fad of pot-flavored (hemp) beer. Hey! Wonder if anyone has tried smoking Brussel sprouts! Probably. And it was probably after they ate them.  “These taste like crap. Let’s fire one up and see if it’s any good that way.” If you like Brussels sprouts, good for you. And being in the cabbage family, they are in fact probably good for you. But here’s my truth: If a Brussels sprout was a critter crawling across my floor, I’d take my shoe and beat it into oblivion. Then I’d take a paper towel, wipe it up and flush it. Yep, it’s the cockroach of vegetables. Click here for more Tales From Tibby!
  • It starts with a visitA chance to beWith loved onesWho you rarely see They show you their houseThey show you their townThey take the whole dayJust to show you around. Then the cat shows up. “Don’t try petting him. That’s a feral cat we took in. Not really a people-cat.”    In a previous tale, I made an attempt to transfer the crazy of cat people to the people who raise yard chickens. Read it here.    I am taking the crown away from the chicken people and not just giving it back, but gluing it to the heads of the cat people.    For the life of me, I do not understand why people try to rescue feral cats. Feral cats are good for one thing: making more feral cats.    I’m sure they eat a few mice, but so do snakes. And most people only want to see snakes dead.    Nowhere, Minnesota    I love these people; they are kinfolk. But they are kinfolk from my wife’s side, so I am absolved of any shared DNA.    The problem isn’t just that they’ve taken in a feral cat, it’s that they have other cats. And one of the other cats and Feral Boy just don’t get along.    So what we have here is what us Southerners would call a good, old-fashioned p*ssing contest. Except in this case, it’s literal.    When one cat ‘marks’ their spot, the other cat must come along and override that marking with a mark of its own. And this is happening all over the house.    WWNPD    What Would Normal People Do?    Why ask? These are not normal people. So let me just tell you how this issue is being handled.    First, it’s a visit to the vet.    Initially, the veterinarian doesn’t mind. He’s got mouths to feed and bills to pay.    “Doctor, my cats don’t get along and are peeing all over the house. What can I do?”    “Nothing. It’s what cats that hate each other do. That’ll be $50.”    But these people keep coming back, over and over.    At some point, the vet decides he’d rather sift through the cat box for food than have to keep dealing with these people, so…    He thought and he thought  And he thought some more  How to keep these people  Away from his door.    Then the good doctor  He hatched a good plan  And it was so good  You could even call it grand!    “You know, there are therapists that deal with these situations. Perhaps you should find one.”    And just like that - *bam!* - he made these people someone else’s problem.    You have questions, I know. Like, where does one find a cat therapist? That one is too easy. The internet, of course.    A tougher question would be, why do two people from the boonies of Minnesota choose a therapist from Los Angeles?    I didn’t ask. I find asking fewer questions shortens the amount of time I have to spend hearing the answers.    What I learned anyway:  -the cats are involved in the video chat with the therapist  -she talks to the cats  -they don’t talk back (I made that up. It’s just a guess.)  -she recommended drugs. For the cats  -the cats are now on drugs  -cat therapy is expensive. Consider making it your profession. Fast forward to that night. We’re having dinner with these people and this is asked:    “Have you seen the YouTube videos of the lady that teaches you how to massage a possum? That is so weird.”    Let’s see… you got one cat on Paxil to treat aggression, another cat on Xanax to help it chill out; your cats actually have their own profile at the local pharmacy because, you know… cats on drugs. You’ve paid someone calling themselves a cat therapist $500 to video chat with your cats. And… you spend your free time watching YouTube videos of a lady massaging possums.    And she’s the crazy one?    There are things  Across this land  Things we cannot  Understand    It’s not the dogs  It’s not the cats  People are  The real dingbats.    And I need a drink. Click here for more Tales From Tibby!
  • Notes from China:  I wondered if there might be some backlash for an American tourist because of the tariff battles going on now.   Nope, not at all. The people are lovely. Warm, welcoming.   Actually, I’ve found this to be true just about everywhere I’ve traveled. People like each other, even as our governments bicker. Everything the Great Wall is in your head, it is in real life. I hope you see it one day.   I hope you also get to see the terracotta warriors. Well over 2,000 years ago, the first Chinese emperor ordered thousands of life-sized terracotta soldiers to be made and placed in his tomb to guard him in his reincarnation.   If pottery can’t protect you in the afterlife, what can?   It was only in the mid-1970s this discovery was made, so excavation is a work in progress that will continue for many more years. So far, about 6,000 terracotta soldiers and horses have been unearthed. Amazing. And what a rich history.   China has a bunch of people. Chongqing is China’s largest city by population. I’d never even heard of Chongqing. 33 million people, if you include the metro area around it.   Beijing, China’s capital, only has 25 million people. Only. That’s more people than the population of Florida, all living in one city.   Where do all those people live? Glad you asked.   High-rise apartments. Thousands of high-rise apartments are under construction in every major city. Construction cranes are indeed the national bird because there are no other birds.   Seriously. We saw almost no birds of any variety. But then birds don’t like pollution. Those big cities have air quality so poor the sky is perpetually gray and long-range visibility is non-existent.   Lots of people wear surgical masks in public. They look silly, frankly, but it’s hard to blame them.   I was anxious to leave Beijing because nothing there reflects Chinese culture. At least, not as I imagined it. It’s all been torn down and replaced by modern skyscrapers and pavement.   Downtown Beijing looks and feels just like downtown Atlanta. Atlanta with signage in Chinese.   Even the Chinese regret not holding on to some of Beijing’s historical relics. We encountered a lot of Chinese tourists. That is, natives out seeing their own country. That’s a fairly recent thing.   Ordinary citizens who before had no means to travel now do have the means. Incomes have been going up and Chinese people are starting to travel a lot.   We had been told that as Americans, Chinese people would want pictures taken with us, mostly due to a fascination with our white hair. That was correct.   One member of our group was rushed by some Chinese tourists, first by a single woman, then by what looked like her whole family, all wanting to be in a photo with him once he demonstrated his willingness to pose with them. His hair isn’t white, but his eyes are blue.   You don’t see blue-eyed Asians.   My wife Beverly, who has a head full of curly white hair, was a pretty popular photo op. In one case, a woman came up and just grabbed her by the arm, smiling as her husband snapped photos.   Beverly was happy to accommodate. The Chinese people are really lovely.   A teenager asked Beverly to join her for a selfie. After that was done, I offered to take another picture of the two of them. Seeing me take the camera, two of her friends quickly gathered. From a few feet away, I happened to notice a man taking his wife’s picture near Beverly while her back was turned. He repeatedly motioned for his wife to get closer to her.   Seemed obvious that he wanted her snow-white hair in the photo with his dark-haired wife.   I walked over, held up a finger to pause him for a moment, then went and turned Bev around to face the camera. The two ladies wrapped their arms around each other and smiled.   All of this happened with only smiles and happy faces, no words. But most Chinese have as much trouble with English as we do with their Mandarin language.   I spent our full two weeks in China knowing only the Mandarin words for hello, thank you and beer. It worked out well.   The English word ‘toilet’ was everywhere you might need it, and the rest was figured out by pointing and gesturing.   Even if they don’t speak English, but they know our words. In two weeks, I saw exactly one t-shirt that had Chinese characters (letters) on it. Everything else, English.   Not only were all those t-shirts in English, most reflected Western culture in some way. Cute sayings, pop stars, TV shows and movies.   They also know the f-bomb, as it showed up occasionally.   How is that not censored? The Chinese government censors.  Any time we were watching the BBC or CNN, when a story came on talking about the ongoing troubles in Hong Kong, the TV went black. The picture returned as soon as the Hong Kong piece was done.   The internet is censored. Pornography is not allowed. Neither is Google. I learned to use Bing. But not for porn.   Our guide told us Facebook was usually not allowed, but at times it was available to use. Never could figure that out.   The Chinese government spends a lot of time and money playing Sister Mary Sunshine, telling people how good life is, how prosperous they are, how wonderful China is becoming.   Newspapers tout only happy news. Even articles on the tariff issues are always upbeat, talking about progress being made in negotiations. Details are never a part of the story. Everything is good, and everything for the people.   The Peoples Republic of China is the formal name. There’s Peoples Square. Peoples Park. Everything belongs to and is for the people.   As long as the people belong to the Communist Party, the ruling party of China.   I expected to see a lot of Buddhist influence in China. I saw virtually none. Chinese people are generally not religious. Whether the figure is correct, we heard that 95% of the population doesn’t practice any religion.   It is fair to say, however, that the ruling Communist party doesn’t want competition for people’s devotion. The Chinese people will tell you that with a wink in their voices.   Indeed, it seems things are going well. Wages are going up. People willing to work more can earn more, so Chinese people work hard, often at multiple jobs.   Chinese citizens now have to pay for health insurance and pay income taxes. And the free-market seems to be taking over the business culture.   Most of this strikes me as exactly what communism isn’t, but what do I know. And all of this is of course purely observational on my part.   While China appears to be prospering, prosperity is for the cities. Country living, revered by us Westerners, is a ticket to poverty in the land of the dragon.   If you want a better life, you move to one of the already-overcrowded cities and hope you can afford a high-rise.   China doesn’t seem to hold the farmer in much regard.   My impression was that farmers are regarded as peasants, which is interesting because several of their cities individually have more mouths to feed than exist in the entire state of Texas.   If you’re a farmer and move to the city because you can’t find labor to help on the farm, the government will provide you a low-level job, like pruning shrubs or planting flowers in the parks.   Or sweeping streets. Streets are kept extraordinarily clean. Not only is trash routinely picked up, falling leaves from the trees are routinely swept up and discarded.   In some cities, you cannot buy a car even if you can afford it. Too many cars already and too much pollution.   Those cities have lottery drawings for car tags, which entitles you to own a car.   China is aware it has a big pollution problem. It appears one way they are trying to address it by planting trees. If there is an exposed area of land the size of your living room, it’s gonna have 25 trees planted on it.   The larger cities of China are very modern. Western toilets (like we use) are replacing squatty potties, though squatties are still very common, even in public places, like museums. Chinese dress very much like Europeans and Americans. Casual, and pretty much anything goes. Jeans, ripped jeans, t-shirts. Americans do not stand out for what we wear.   Chinese beer is weak and uninteresting. Regardless of brand, all of it seems to be of a similar light-beer style. But did I ever turn one down?   That’s a big no-o-o-o.   The most prevalent liquor I encountered is referred to as Chinese vodka, mostly because of the appearance (clear) and mouth feel. It’s sorghum-based. I like sorghum syrup, so I figured I’d like their baijiu.   Yep.   Big cities in China like to show off their technology, particularly using it to light things up! Lighted buildings with synchronized displays that are spectacular. You can watch images of birds flying or a camel walking seamlessly over buildings for several city blocks.   For all the country’s modernity, however, tap water is not drinkable. Another head-scratcher. All that technology, yet drinking water has to come from a plastic bottle.   If you get a chance to visit this beautiful country, remember that. Or be prepared to spend a lot of time figuring out the squatty potty. COMING NEXT: SQUID ON A STICK. EATING MY WAY THROUGH CHINA Click here for more Tales from Tibby!
  • Kip Moore grew up in my back yard. I do not know him. If you’re unfamiliar with Kip Moore, he’s a country singer. Not the biggest name in country music, but he is known – actually, admired - for having a large, loyal fan base.   In Tifton, GA, the house I grew up in and the house Kip grew up in have adjoining back yards. Walk out my back door, cross the yard and walk into his back door.   You can still do that, but you won’t find him or me in those houses anymore except to visit our parents.   In years past, I made that trek a couple of times because his late father was a teaching golf pro and tried his best to make me a better golfer. Didn’t work, but I knew his dad well and met all the kids, including Kip, I’m sure.   Since Kip is a full generation younger than me, he would have been a wee lad at the time.   WHERE IS THIS GOING?   We were in McMinnville, TN, recently to attend a concert in a cave. McMinnville is home to Cumberland Caverns and a concert hall that is 333 feet below the surface called the Volcano Room.   A favorite singer/songwriter was playing the Volcano Room.   As part of our visit, we did a pre-concert tour of the caverns. Our guide for the tour was a young lady that I’m guessing was in her early 20s. According to her, one of the perks of being a guide was getting to ‘work’ the concerts, meeting and hearing all the cool artists that pass through.   “Who’s your favorite you’ve seen so far?” I asked.   Kip Moore.   “He was so good and so nice!”   Y’all ready for this?   “Fun fact,” I tell her, “Kip grew up in my back yard.”   I then go on to be specific with the facts: I was friends with his dad but because of the age difference, I didn’t know Kip. But yeah, his mom still lives there and my family still lives there, and I figure one day, he’ll be home and I’ll be home, and we’ll probably have a beer together.   She seemed to think that was pretty cool.   I’m not sure what happened in the next two hours that included the concert we were there to see, but after the show, one of the cavern workers literally chased me down.   “I hear you know Kip Moore!”   Somehow, the game of Rumors had gone full circle. Telling someone Kip grew up near me had fermented into the fine wine of us being pals.   At this point, I simply capitulated on explanations. She was star-struck, and I neither wanted to bust her bubble nor take the time to go into details – again.   “Yeah, he grew up in my back yard.”   She gushed. About how good he was, how he played an extra hour more than scheduled, how he treated the fans as if they were his best friends.   She spoke to me though her words would probably reach Kip.   I grinned and nodded a lot, playing the hand I was dealt: friend of Kip Moore.   So, Kip, my apologies. I totally used you to play the fame card. I owe you a beer.   Since it seems unlikely you’ll be home at the same time I am, I’ll leave beer money with your mom next time through the home place.   Enjoy.
  • I accidentally pulled off a masterpiece of a scam.  With another friend joining us, my wife Beverly and I headed to horse country in Kentucky.   Somewhere just across the Kentucky state line I realized I had left my billfold at home. Some people would be upset about that. Not me.   No billfold meant no driving and no paying for anything. Four days of someone else taking care of everything. It’s was a thing of beauty!   Sorta.   Part of our journey was to catch the last day of the spring horse racing season at Keeneland race track just outside of Lexington. Bev and I had visited that beautiful facility before and had vowed to return one day to bet on the horses.   So there we were. But with no money of my own, I was what’s referred to in tax lingo as ‘a dependent.’ And somebody wasn’t going to give me a lot of money to lose on the ponies.   Didn’t really matter. We’re not much for gambling and being only the second time at a race track, neither of us know much about how to bet on the horses.   That doesn’t mean I’ve never made money at the track, though.   Gather ‘round, children for a sadly true story that will leave you shaking your head and probably liking me a little less.   Dateline: Ruidoso Downs/Ruidoso, New Mexico   I had never been to a betting track for horses but was intrigued and somehow convinced our group to spend an afternoon there.   It was a blistering hot day, to the point of being miserable. Probably because of that, the crowd was light and payouts were pretty small.   Compounding the misery, roughly halfway through the day’s races none of us were winning any of the $2 bets we were making.   But I remember this well:   Race #6 had just concluded, and I had concluded it was time to lose a beer, so I went to the boy’s room.   Standing at the urinal, I noticed all the disappointment laying on the floor. Apparently, people holding losing tickets as they hit the restroom simply dropped them on the floor when it was time to hold something else.   The ticket right at my feet caught my eye. It was for the #6 race just run, and it appeared someone had picked a winning trifecta.   In case it needs explaining, a trifecta is a bet on three horses to finish in the top three. A straight trifecta means you pick specific horses to finish 1st, 2nd, & 3rd. That can be a pretty handsome payoff..   This ticket was a trifecta box, meaning the bettor had picked the top three finishers but in no particular order. It’s a popular bet because it allows leeway for the order in which your top three picks finish.   The downside of the box is that it doesn’t pay out as well as a straight. But it’s still a win.   Finishing my own business, I bent down to take a closer look at the ticket.   Horses #2, 3 and 8. That’s what I remembered as the top three in the just-completed race. I’m guessing it had fallen out of somebody’s pocket.   Now, you can only imagine what the men’s room floor is like underneath a row of urinals. It ain’t pretty and it ain’t dry.   I didn’t touch it, instead stepping outside to double-check the numbers on the board and confirm the winning horses.   Yup, that was them.   I thought about it a few moments, taking into consideration that it was a ‘box’ so the payoff was not going to be all that rich, especially on a day when there’s weren’t many patrons attending the races.   What I really hoped was that the original owner would come back to the bathroom to see if he could find his lost ticket. I would show him where it was and see how he handled it. But as a couple of minutes passed, the ticket just laid there.   Taunting me.   Free money… Money just laying there… Waiting on some fool to rescue it from its sea of nastiness.   Yeah, I did.   I grabbed a couple of paper towels, picked it up and took it to the sink, rinsing it off before patting it as dry as possible with more paper towels.   Then I washed my hands. I washed my hands 40 times, then I washed them again. There simply was not enough soap to wash off the shame of my deed.   But whatcha gonna do? Leave a winning ticket laying there?   I finally determined my hands and the ticket were clean as they were going to get, and I headed to the window to collect my payoff.   To the window clerk I explained the wet ticket as the result of my excitement of having won, spilling my drink during the celebration.   She smiled politely and handed me my winnings. $36.   I didn’t tell anyone in our group about it until we were in the car and on the way back to our house. Everyone was pretty grossed out. Especially, my poor wife.   But poor because she didn’t win no money! Loser!!   Although, it can be argued that I was the loser. To this day, she still doesn’t like holding hands with me. For more Tales from Tibby, click here. 
  • In an early scene of the 1990 Julia Roberts/Richard Gere movie Pretty Woman, there’s a dude walking the streets asking people, “What’s your dream?”   Or as he says, “wha’s yo’ dream? Everybody gotta have a dream!”    I admire people who have a dream, a plan. It’s likely going to change but to have a goal is a good thing.    Graduating from high school, my goal was ___.    That’s a blank space.    College? I’ll go because isn’t that what you’re supposed to do?    Whatcha gonna study, boy?    No clue. #manwithoutaplan    That, by the way, makes for a poorly-motivated student.    By the time I started college I was working full-time at a radio station, but it didn’t seem like career stuff. It felt like something I could do until my real job sent me an invitation with a bottle of champagne and a signing bonus.    Since one shall not find what one does not seek, a real job never materialized, forcing me to continue my pretend job.    I did enjoy radio and worked hard at it, but it took a long time for me to believe this was going to be my career work. I remember thinking, man, if I can just do this thing until I’m about 35, I’ll have it all figured out by then.    No, I wouldn’t have. By the time I hit my mid-30s I started figuring some things out, but by then I had decided to ride that radio pony until it threw me off.    Further, I had dropped out of college because radio was way more fun. So if radio had fallen through, I would have ___.    That’s another blank space.    These kids today…    #1) An 18-year old I randomly met, headed off to college soon.    “Whatcha gonna study?”    She wants to be an actress. If that doesn’t pan out, she thinks being a doctor in a trauma ward has appeal.    Why a trauma ward?    “You know, when a chandelier falls and pierces your body, I’d be there to help you.”    Yeah, right. Unless you’re performing the exact same surgery on Grey’s Anatomy, which I suspect is the only place such a surgery would ever be necessary.    #2) My 11-year old niece wants to know if she can live with us when she attends the University of Georgia.    “Whatcha gonna study?”    She wants to be either a veterinarian or study culinary arts.    Being the guy I am, I suggested she do both. Her failures as a vet could yield some tasty offerings at suppertime.    She wasn’t amused, but I dismissed that as her not understanding the high level of sophistication in my humor. Click here for more Tales from Tibby.
  • There was a day last week designated as National Moonshine Day. You’d think after all these years I’d know there was such a thing.  That same day was also National Gingerbread Day, National Running Day, and National Veggie Burger Day.   Nobody seems to know how National Moonshine day was assigned, but I’m guessing someone came across the day honoring running, gingerbread and veggie burgers and decided it was a date that needed something good going for it. I’ve only experienced true made-in-the woods kinda ‘shine a couple of times in my life.   Probably the best-tasting stuff was provided by my neighbor, Frank. Frank had been a mayor and a state representative and was a good ol’ boy with lots of good ol’ boy friends.   One of his friends was a judge in a tiny North Georgia town who had a still.   A judge. The same guy who sentenced bootleggers was one.   Frank claimed the judge wasn’t a bootlegger because he didn’t sell it, only gave it out to trusted friends.   That’s a finer point of the law I don’t know, so I didn’t judge. As the Good Book says, judge not lest ye be judged by a judge with the keys to a jail cell and the authority to put your a** in it.   My favorite moonshine memory is Ernest.   Ernest was a care-taker on a friend’s family farm in rural South Georgia. He was an affable, older gentleman who was friends with everyone.   Ernest’s job was tending the farm. He mowed, did light repairs and fed dogs.   And there were dogs.   The remote location of the farm made it an easy spot to drop off an unwanted dog, so strays were always showing up. Ernest and the family he worked for were quite happy to welcome those orphan hounds.   Ernest was easy to like. Whether or not he ever knew my name, he knew I was on the radio. Whenever I accompanied my friend to the farm, he’d flash that big jovial grin and say, “There comes the radio man!”   I don’t recall ever going to the farm when Ernest didn’t have his big cast-iron kettle of corn mash is some stage of preparation out in the yard behind his trailer.   One cool fall night, three of us high school buddies decided we’d grab a couple of six packs (drinking age was 18), head to the farm and build a fire.   Since the old farmhouse and Ernest’s trailer shared a yard, Ernest came to join us. He didn’t want our company as much as he wanted our beer.   His offer: a gallon of his corn mash in exchange for a 6-pack of what was very likely Schlitz Malt Liquor back then.   Judge not. We were young with undeveloped taste buds.   We accepted the offer and a gallon jug of Ernest’s fire water soon began circling the fire pit.   If you want to know how this saga ended, you’ll need to ask one of my other buddies.   I’m pretty sure that night I determined one of those stray dogs was a camel and rode him to Egypt. Click here for more Tales From Tibby. 
  • This needs a quick preface so it won’t come off as snooty.  We have no children. Therefore, no grandchildren. And no pets. Like everybody else, we occasionally spend a little money on things we probably shouldn’t but unlike y’all with kids and pets, we spend on things that don’t pout or poop.   For me, there’s something magical about the $100 price tag. Once an item crosses the $100 threshold, it’s officially expensive and that must be pointed out.   I was serving apple pie to neighbors recently and drizzled an aged balsamic vinegar on it, vinegar that had been brought back from Italy and cost…?   Yep, about $100. And I told them so. In defense of my spending so much for a tiny bottle of balsamic, it happened at a wine tasting that might have lasted just a wee bit too long. That same tasting also lead to the purchase of a $100 bottle of olive oil before my wife asked to ‘borrow’ my credit card then hid it.   But why did I need to point out the cost to my guests? Why not try to impress them with the fact that it was 30-year old balsamic - from Italy! - and leave it at that?   ‘Cause it cost a hun’erd dollars, that’s why. If I’m serving you a hun’erd dollar balsamic, you’re going to hear about it.   I’d probably do the same thing if I was serving you a $100 bottle of wine, but don’t hold your breath on that one. In our house, it’s likely the wine I’m serving you is only $2.99. For the whole bottle.   It would be a fair question to ask why I’m willing to spend $100 on olive oil but cheap-out on wine.   I think it has to do with longevity. I’ll have that oil and balsamic for some time to come, enjoying it along the way. Wine won’t make it past bedtime.   Once wine is opened, it evaporates or something. Maybe it grows legs and walks off, but it gets gone. If it’s expensive wine, at the end of the evening you’ve just plowed through a hun’erd dollar bill with nothing to show for it but a dopey grin on your face.   That’s not to say I would never pay up for good spirits. I have spent a few coins for good bourbon, though I have stopped chasing the ones that have gotten stupid expensive. There are some tasty whiskies and bourbons that are quite affordable once you get your nose out of the air and into a glass.   A cousin posted this for me to see. That is good stuff, but in my town if a store has any of this available at all, the store paid $30 for it. Thirty. That’s a ‘3’ with one ‘0’ attached. If they can get $200 for it, fine, but it ain’t coming from me.   With that proclamation though, I must confess to a recent bout of liquor lunacy.   A friend who knows I often find decent prices online for these things asked if I could find a particular tequila that was $100 in the store.   I did find a better price, though by the time you added in shipping it was $96/bottle.   Hey, $4 saved.   I was somewhat familiar with this tequila, having brought a bottle of it back from Mexico many years ago. I didn’t remember a thing about how it tasted, but at $100 it had to be good, right? So I figured I should also get a bottle for myself.   “Wait a minute,” he says. “I have a friend who might want a bottle, too. Before you order, let me check.”   I knew exactly what was happening. He was asking his friend (wife) if he could just go ahead and buy a second bottle while we were ordering.   Sure enough, he tells me his friend wanted a bottle, so I decided if he could get one for his friend, I could order one for my friend. So, the order was doubled to four bottles.   Turns out, he actually had a friend who wanted a bottle. I didn’t. But I now have two big bottles of expensive tequila, and one small problem.   I don’t care for it. Neither does my imaginary friend.   I cracked open a bottle for me and a buddy - after bragging that it cost $100, of course. We took a couple of sips and just sorta stared at each other with that look. The look that says, “um…. paid how much?“   And yay! There’s a whole ‘nother bottle!   Anybody need tequila? It’s a real purdy bottle. It even comes with instructions on how to turn it into a vase once it’s empty. (Spoiler alert: take the cap off and put flowers in it.)   I’m willing to let it go for a hun’erd dollar bill. I’ll even throw in $4 in change. 

Local News

  • The first week of work on Oconee County’s newest traffic circle is coming to a close: crews have closed a stretch of Malcom Bridge Road to construct a roundabout. The impacted area is between the 2400 block of Malcom Bridge to its junction with Mars Hill Road. It’s a project that is designed to facilitate traffic at the bus and staff entrance to Malcom Bridge elementary and middle schools in Oconee County. Work is expected to continue through the end of July.  This will be Oconee County’s second roundabout. The first opened last year at Mars Hill Road’s intersection with Malcom Bridge Road. 
  • Athens-Clarke County Police are searching for suspects in the reported armed robbery of an auto parts store on Hawthorne Avenue: workers in the store tell police they were made to lie on the floor by two men wearing surgical masks.  The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says an Athens man arrested and booked into the Oconee County jail after allegedly shoplifting at a Wal Mart store on Epps Bridge Road was armed at the time of the crime. In addition to the theft charges, 24 year-old Shaquavion Adkins (pictured above) is facing counts related to the gun possession and the fact that had been previously convicted on felon charges and was thus not legally allowed to have the handgun.  A Newton County woman arrested after police say she shot her child’s father and his girlfriend is now facing a murder charge: police in Covington say charges for 22 year-old Dalanna Bailey were upgraded from aggravated assault after the death of 27 year-old La’Peachah Nash.
  • The system that runs Georgia’s 22 technical colleges introduced a plan to its board Wednesday that proposes furloughs and layoffs to meet the state government’s demand to cut its budget by 14% for the 12-month fiscal year that starts July 1. The plan does not specify how many employees would be laid off. The system said it still in the process of evaluating to determine an exact number Regarding furloughs, the system is planning a tiered approach that includes up to 12 days. The furloughs would begin July 1. The system’s commissioner, Greg Dozier, would participate in the furlough plan, a spokesman said. State officials earlier this month asked all departments and agencies to come up with the 14% cuts in response to revenue declines created by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed 14% cuts total $52.3 million across the technical college system, with more than $46 million coming from general education programs and the rest from its adult education budget, administrative costs and other programs. Dozier told board members that some educational programs being done on multiple campuses would be consolidated, such as auto collision or fire services. Some adult education programs would have more students and more classes would be taught online. The system has metro Atlanta colleges in Cobb, DeKalb and Gwinnett counties and the city of Atlanta.
  • The Clarke County School District says links to virtual graduation ceremonies for seniors at Clarke Central, Cedar Shoals, and Classic City high schools will be available later today: the District says the events are not live and can be viewed on-demand. From the Clarke Co School District… Cedar Shoals High School Valedictorian – Paula Figueroa Ms. Paula Figueroa, the valedictorian of Cedar Shoals, is continuing her academic journey at Emory University. Active on and off-campus in student government, service clubs, and volunteer organizations, she also conducted research at the Tsai Lab Genetics Department, as part of the “Young Dawgs” program at the University of Georgia. Ms. Figueroa received accolades from the National Honor Society, National Hispanic Honor Society, and was named an AP Scholar and AP Scholar with Distinction. “My experience at Cedar Shoals was one I wouldn’t change. When I first started high school, I was new to the state, and I didn’t know anyone, but I came to realize how inviting, and inclusive the community was. I fell in love with my school’s diversity and its constant successful fights with adversity. Cedar Shoals is where I met my closest friends, where I learned how to speak up, lead, and, most importantly, how to grow and keep going when things get tough.” “Ms. Figueroa was a joy to have in our classrooms and school community – she is charismatic, humble, and brought a wonderful spirit to Cedar,” states Antonio Derricotte, principal.  Co-Salutatorian – Angela Ghimire Cedar Shoal’s co-salutatorian, Ms. Angela Ghimire, credits her involvement in the Freshman Academy Mentoring Program as having a significant influence on her future. Helping to impact the lives of other students motivated her to set higher goals and work to achieve academic success. “The diverse and open-minded environment of Cedar Shoals allowed me to build a foundation of excellence for myself and gave me countless opportunities to strive for greatness. Cedar Shoals introduced me to so many hard-working educators and supportive peers who all contributed to helping me to reach where I am today,” states Ms. Ghimire. Co-Salutatorian – Aaliyah Hill Ms. Aaliyah Hill, co-salutatorian at Cedar Shoals, recognized and valued how a school community could positively shape the entire student body. “Attending high school at Cedar makes you feel like you have a second family. Through the ups and downs, we always seemed to come together for the better,” states Ms. Hill. Active in extra-curricular activities as a varsity cheerleader and a member of the Senior Advisory Board, she was named to the National Honor Society and served as president of the Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Political Science Honor Society. Ms. Hill will attend Georgia State University, with plans to major in nursing or health sciences. “Ms. Hill was an advocate for fellow students, constantly campaigning on their behalf, and inspiring them to find their voice and seek answers. She’s a positive force and will be a success in whichever field she chooses,” states Antonio Derricotte, Cedar Shoals principal.Clarke Central High School Co-Valedictorian – Theron Camp Clarke Central’s co-valedictorian, Mr. Theron Camp, is attending the University of Georgia as a Foundation Fellow, after an accomplished high school career which included being named a National Merit Finalist and the Clarke County STAR Student. 'I have only positive things to say about the people at Clarke Central. I know people say this sort of thing all the time in these situations, but I don't think they entirely understand what it means or how uncommon it really is for people's high school experience (and, in fact, their entire school experience) to be defined by positive and productive interactions. Looking back, four years is an awfully short time, and though I'm ready to move on to the college part of life, I don't think I spent nearly as much time at Central as I might've liked.' Mr. Theron’s extra-curricular activities included competing with the cross country and track teams, creating art, serving as the team photographer for the DC Girls’ Baseball team, and being a founding player/member of Northeast Georgia Hockey Association. “Mr. Camp is an academically focused student-athlete who represented our school well,” states Dr. Swade Huff, principal of Clarke Central.  Co-Valedictorian – Elena Gilbertson Hall Ms. Elena Gilbertson Hall, Clarke Central’s co-valedictorian, parlayed her high school success into acceptance from 14 post-secondary institutions (and almost $700,000 in scholarship offers), deciding to attend the University of Chicago, with the intent to study political science and mathematics. “Clarke Central has given me so many opportunities, including amazing teachers, classes, clubs, and extraordinarily supportive staff members and administrators,” states Ms. Gilbertson Hall. “My favorite thing about CCHS is the diverse student body, and I have learned so much from my peers over the past four years. Although our senior year didn't end as expected, I am grateful for the years I have gotten to spend with the class of 2020, and I wish all my classmates the best in the future.” Ms. Gilbertson Hall’s high school highlights include Editor-in-Chief of the ODYSSEY Media Group, 2020 Georgia Champion Journalist, Legislative Fellow for State Representative Spencer Frye, Founder of the Equal Test Prep Initiative, President of the CCHS Young Democrats Club, CoPresident of the CCHS Women in STEM Club, Winner of the National Merit Scholarship, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the Athens Mayor's Youth Commission. “Ms. Gilbertson Hall is a talented ambassador of Clarke Central who advocated for others through her thoughts and actions, as evident with her Equal Test Prep program to prepare students for the ACT/SAT,” states Dr. Swade Huff, principal.  Salutatorian – Lucy Yeomans Ms. Lucy Yeomans acquired accolades in the classroom, on the concert stage, and as a recordsetting athlete. As a scholar, she was named Cumulative “All-A” Honor Roll, AP Scholar with Distinction, Georgia Certificate of Merit, and National Merit Commended Scholar. A school recordholder in swimming and track and field, Ms. Yeomans led teams to state competitions, earning region and state honors. As a member of the Clarke Central Orchestra, she was named Most Valuable Player, Most Dedicated Player, and designated Concertmaster. Ms. Yeomans will attend the University of Richmond. 'I wouldn't trade my experience at Clarke Central for anything. It is such a diverse, unique school that has afforded me many opportunities,' states Ms. Yeomans. Clarke Central’s principal knows Ms. Yeomans will be successful going forward. “She worked hard as a student-athlete and positioned herself to continue finding success in both roles at the collegiate level,” states Dr. Swade Huff.Classic City High School Valedictorian – Joseph Ferdina Thoyi Le Le Walker Along with his high school diploma, Classic City’s top student, Joseph Walker, received a Technical Certificate of Credit for Video Game Design Specialist, prompting aspirations to enter the field of animation after college. “After starting school in Oregon then moving from Mississippi to Athens, my educational experience took a different turn. I came to Classic City to get ahead with my credits. I remained focused and even took advantage of academic opportunities to gain college credits,” states Mr. Walker. “The experiences I had going to a non-traditional school made it worth my while because attending Classic City and taking college courses through Athens Tech at ACCA gave me real-world practice for my future in college and life. I had the opportunity to feel the freedom and responsibility that comes with having entire sections of the day where I had no classes. The friends I made came from different grade levels and experiences, and we were all able to connect as equals. I wouldn't change it for the world. As a result of taking a non-traditional route, putting in hard work, and making genuine connections, I know that my future in animation will be bright.” “Joseph is one of a kind. His thinking is atypical of students his age – he thinks outside of the box but has realistic visions. Joseph takes advantage of opportunities to encourage others and is on the right track to accomplish future goals. I know success is in his future and can’t wait to see how he brightens up the world,” states Katrina Daniel, principal of Classic City. Salutatorian Melissa Campbell Classic City’s salutatorian decided to go to Classic City to experience a different educational environment, seeking smaller class sizes and an accelerated pace. Ms. Melissa Campbell utilized Classic City’s college and career resources to help her decide to continue her education and train to be a medical assistant. “Classic City allowed me to open up more and be myself. If it weren't for the amazing teachers, I would not be in this position today to graduate a year early. They all continued to encourage me, along with my wonderful mother,” states Ms. Campbell. “I am proud to be the salutatorian of Classic City's Class of 2020!” “Melissa is honest, caring, and very compassionate about doing her best,” states Katrina Daniel, Classic City principal. “She worked hard and accomplished her goal by finishing a year ahead of schedule – proving when you stay focused, set goals, and work hard, all things are possible.” 
  • The landfill on Lexington Road near the Clarke-Oglethorpe County line is reopening for Saturday service starting tomorrow, but Athens-Clarke County officials say you will have to make an appointment.From the Athens-Clarke Co government website… In addition to Monday-Friday, ACC Landfill will re-open for residential customers on Saturdays beginning May 23, 2020 by appointment only. ACC Landfill residential customers must make an appointment online at www.accgov.com/landfill before visiting the Landfill.  Operations have been adjusted to allow a manageable flow of customers while keeping staff safe. Face masks and social distancing are highly encouraged. Residents can pay via water business account or check ONLY.  Oglethorpe Construction & Demolition Landfill will also re-open on Saturdays from 8-11:45 am. Face masks and gloves are required for all Oglethorpe landfill customer

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Social media has never played a bigger role in sports than it has the past 2 1/2 months with college sports sidelined on account of the coronavirus. For better and sometimes for worse, fanbases have relied heavily on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for their sports takes of late. Certainly, social media had a field day on Sunday after watching 'The Match ll' on television featuring Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. There was key insight into the Georgia football program to be found on Twitter, too. More social media buzz is schedule for Tuesday, when UGA star pitcher Emerson Hancock holds a 10 a.m. Zoom press conference to announce his future intentions with the Major League Baseball Draft approaching. On Wednesday, UGA athletic director Greg McGarity joins DawgNation at noon for the On The Beat program. The show moved from its customary 7:30 p.m. Monday slot on account of Memorial Day. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean appeared last week. The Bulldogs have a reloaded team that looks to break more records next season. RELATED: How Tom Crean plans to turn Georgia basketball into a winner Here are three social media blasts worth noting from the Memorial Day weekend: Monty speaks up and out Georgia senior Monty Rice has yet to make first-team All-SEC, and he's hardly a household name even in his home state of Alabama. But the feeling here is Rice has evolved into the leader and player Kirby Smart knew he could be two years ago when he tabbed him to step in Roquan Smith's shoes at linebacker. Rice echoed his head coach's Sugar Bowl post-game sentiments when he called out himself and teammates on Memorial Day, setting a tone that's sure to roll into workouts when UGA players return on June 8. WATCH: Kirby Smart sends stern message after Sugar Bowl win It's one thing for a coach to say it, but another when a team leader like Rice is sending the message in the locker room when the coaches aren't around. I've been on a defense that was supposed to be dominant and we weren't. Wanna know why? 1word complacency #ripshotime #lastyeardontmatter Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) May 25, 2020 It's worth noting Georgia led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense last season and ranked third in total defense and eighth in pass efficiency defense. It's also worth pointing out that it was Rice throwing a fit in the postgame of the Auburn game. While many others celebrated a 21-14 win, Rice was aggravated UGA gave up its first rushing TD of the season. WATCH: Monty Rice more evidence of invisible progress during COVID-19 break And, from the sounds of it, incoming freshmen like Kelee Ringo will see to it returning starters can't afford to get complacent. RELATED: Kelee Ringo trains with NFL star, could make sudden impact at cornerback Peyton tees off Former Tennessee standout and five-time NFL MVP Peyton Manning is perhaps the greatest pitch man in football history, so he was right at home being mic'd up for 'The Match ll' golf event with Brady, Woods and Mickelson. Manning hilariously explained why he wouldn't match the signature red and black colors worn by his golf partner, Woods. 'I'm mot wearing black and red, that's Georgia Bulldog colors, I mean, I just can't do that,' Manning said. 'If you want me to get sick on the first hole I'll do it. 'I'm not gonna let Kirby Smart get a picture of me in black and red for their social media account.' #Georgia fans take note: social media matters, even Peyton conscientious of Kirby Smart https://t.co/xNX3jz8bIJ MikeGriffith32 (@MikeGriffith32) May 24, 2020 Tennessee has elevated its program image through social media throughout the offseason like no other program, trumpeting a No. 2 recruiting ranking that currently hinges more on volume than average player rating. To boot, the Vols social media account is promoting fictitious cartoon 'Coach Duggs' playing video games, celebrating the animated action as though it was real. Gametime Back where it all began Tennessee @ Toledo Starts Now -> https://t.co/MzqHRTGM0Z pic.twitter.com/2so1jP0swO Big Cat (@BarstoolBigCat) May 25, 2020 RELATED: Vols rewriting recruiting playbook Jake's belated farewell Celebrated Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm slipped away from the Bulldogs' program via a social media farewell on Jan. 8. RELATED: Jake Fromm drops surprising decision on Georgia, ends decorated career It seemed odd that a player so highly regarded and accomplished as Fromm would choose to bid his program and fan base farewell via a social media post rather than an in-person press conference. The personable Fromm is as celebrated a home-state hero as one will find. From his heroic Little League World Series days in Warner Robins, to his fascinating and fun character reveal as a star of the Netflix QB1 Series. Fromm, now in the role of NFL underdog quarterback as a rookie with the Buffalo Bills, took time to share his sentiments for Georgia through the school's football account on Saturday. Most everyone knew how Fromm felt about the Bulldogs, but to finally hear him acknowledge the legacy he leaves behind had to leave UGA fans feeling fulfilled Fromm shared some of his favorite memories, concluding, 'What's not to love about it? Everything, honestly . I loved every minute of it, I wouldn't trade it for anything in the entire world. 'The fans are amazing, and that's what makes Georgia football fun, the whole state of Georgia and DawgNation gets on board.' . An Experience Unlike Any Other | @FrommJake takes us back to some of his favorite memories as a Dawg #ATD #GoDawgs pic.twitter.com/mYjAS6y94A Georgia Football (@GeorgiaFootball) May 23, 2020 DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post 3 Georgia football social media blasts from Monty Rice, Peyton Manning and Jake Fromm appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia has arguably the best secondary in the nation returning, but there's talk incoming freshman Kelee Ringo is so good he might ultimately win a starting job this season. Ringo, no doubt, has the mindset and approach along with talent to make a sudden impact for the Bulldogs. WATCH: Early takeaways on newcomers, Kelee Ringo leads No. 1 class The No. 1-ranked cornerback prospect in the country certainly isn't resting on his laurels, as his recent workout at Ford Sports Performance indicated. NFL trainer Tracy Ford post pictures on his twitter account of the young and gifted Ringo working out with 5-time NFL Pro Bowl cornerback Richard Sherman on Saturday. Ford said Ringo, the No. 4 overall player in the nation per the 247Sports composite, was 'getting the words of wisdom.' The #1 rated HS corner in the country in 2020 @KeleeRingo getting the words of wisdom today from the Best Corner in the @NFL @RSherman_25 during today's on field session. The knowledge is priceless when the vision is clear and the people are Pure! #FSPCulture #WeJustWorking pic.twitter.com/efzQdQiEoF Tracy Ford (@TFordFSP) May 24, 2020 There's sure to be plenty more of those from Georgia secondary coach Charlton Warren, one of the more celebrated position coach hires of the Smart era last summer. RELATED: What Kelee Ringo's decision to attend Georgia means for future Fact is, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Ringo will arrive in Athens in June with NFL prototype size. 'Everybody that first sees him goes he is probably a safety right?' said Ringo's Saguaro High School coach, Jason Mohns. 'You're not used to seeing corners that are that big and that physical. But the kid is a 10.4 state champion in the 100 meters. He's a back-to-back 100 meters champion in the state of Arizona. He ran the fastest time in the state last year. So why do you need to move him?' 'He's got great feet. He's got great hips. He's got tremendous speed. He's got great length. He's got the instincts of a great cornerback. He's what I have heard described as a unicorn. They don't make them like Kelee.' Indeed, but a ton of experienced competition awaits Ringo in Athens. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy was commenting last week on how much experience the Bulldogs bring back from a secondary that ranked No. 8 in the nation in pass efficiency. Eric Stokes, D.J. Daniel and Tyson Campbell all have multiple starts under their belts, and safety Richard LeCounte has the look of a preseason All-American. Hard to imagine any team having more upperclassmen DB talent than @GeorgiaFootball. Seniors DS Richard LeCounte and CBs D.J. Daniel & Mark Webb are all next-level players. RS junior CB Eric Stokes is also a @seniorbowl candidate if he grads in December. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/Sow4qhykez Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) May 18, 2020 Lewis Cine shined in place of safety J.R. Reed in his Cotton Bowl start, and then there's all sorts of talented depth in the defensive backs room. RELATED: J.R. Reed says UGA defense won't be no name' much longer Senior Mark Webb has the inside track at the star position but sophomore Tyrique Stevenson impressed in the spring of 2019 and appears poised to make an impact. Redshirt sophomore Divaad Wilson, junior Ameer Speed, junior Christopher Smith, junior William Poole and junior Latavious Brini are all considered in the mix. RELATED: 3 parting shots from dominant Sugar Bowl win over Baylor Georgia signed some other talented defensive backs, too, including early enrollees Major Burns and Jalen Kimber. But Ringo, the sentiment is, could be a difference-maker. The fact he was willing to travel up to Washington to work out before reporting to Georgia is merely more evidence of just how special of an addition Ringo could be. DawgNation Georgia football offseason Kirby Smart shares thoughts on June 8 return to campus Jamaree Salyer one of the big offseason winners for Georgia Rival programs looming on recruiting trail for Bulldogs Podcast: George Pickens should ease Jamie Newman transition WATCH: Jamie Newman gets offseason work with Justin Fields The post Georgia freshman Kelee Ringo works out with NFL All-Pro, preparing for greatness appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Now comes the hard part. So says Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity with the return of college football underway across the country. 'We have one chance to get this right and we all know what happens if we don't get it right, it certainly pushes us back to the way things are right now,' McGarity said on the Bulldogs Game Day program. RELATED: Kirby Smart discusses Georgia's return to campus 'So we've got to be careful, we've got to do our due diligence, we've got to do a tremendous educational job not only for our staff, but our student athletes, for his new world.' SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced that the league's new world on campus can begin as early as June 8 with voluntary workouts on campus. RELATED: SEC presidents' vote, what it means for Georgia football The football coaches will not be allowed to oversee the workouts, but the programs' strength and conditioning staff will be permitted to supervise. What next? DawgNation Friday Night Mike 1. Uniform football start College programs' return to campus for workouts vary, but the start date for football practices overseen by coaches is expected to be uniform. The Big Ten is allowing its schools to return to campus at their own discretion, Nebraska among the early returners on the first eligibile date, June 1. The SEC has announced a June 8 date, and the Big 12 schools can return as early as June 15. The conference commissioners have agreed on a six-week training camp in effect by mid-July with an on-time season start date in mind. UGA officials have discussed among many possibilities quarantining the coaches and players on campus during a two-introductory phase. McGarity pointed out there is much to be determined. 'It's only the first step and there are many details still to be determined on every campus,' McGarity said. 'We'll certainly be driven by the medical community and our sports medicine staff led by (director of sports medicine) Ron Courson.' The NCAA oversight committee had recommended the six weeks of preparation before the season. 2. Fans in the stands The most fluid element of college football's return also figures to be the most controversial, with impassioned fans holding their collective breath as in-person attendance remains in limbo. Georgia, like every other program, has been considering several models with any sort of final decision still weeks way and almost completely at the mercy of the status of the COVID-19 pandemic. Ohio State announced last week it was considering a social-distanced model of 20,000 to 22,000 fans in its 102,000-seat football coliseum. Georgia is considering several attendance models that would take into consideration various COVID-19 conditions and circumstances, using a similar formula to Ohio State from approximately 18,000 on up. The question is, how would the tickets be distributed beyond essential personnel needed for sideline and stadium operations? Major donors, parents of players, recruits and students would seem to be at the forefront of the line in terms of ticket priority. Many scenarios and models are being worked on. 3. Georgia athletes' testing The SEC provided minimum guidelines for its 14-member schools upon announcing the league's June 8 start date with coaching restriction. SEC provides blueprint for team's return A league-appointed 'Medical Guidance Task Force,' which includes top pubic health, infectious disease and sports medicine professionals from across the league, plans a 3-stage screening process and testing symptomatic team members. Georgia's plan, however, takes it a step further and involves COVID testing and the medical evaluations on all student-athletes. The obvious question is what happens when a player or players test positive? How will the quarantine process work? McGarity said early on the key words would be 'testing, tracing and treatment,' but until it plays out, there are questions. Players who test positive will likely have their identities withheld by the school under HIPAA guidelines. The value of the UGA sports scholarship has never been more evident, as the programs need not cut any corners because of the $105 million available in the schools' reserve fund. Only 41 percent of FBS programs have a reserve fund, and many have announced cuts and furloughs, some schools eliminating athletics programs. DawgNation College Football Offseason SEC presidents make it official, looking ahead to June 8 return RELATED: 5 keys, NCAA vote on Wednesday includes pivotal provisions College football return takes turn out West NCAA president Mark Emmert discusses issues with return to campus Les Miles says college football set for return, expert says no fans in stands Return of college football critical to fans' psyche, pocketbooks UGA president Jere Morehead employs 9 research groups for optimal return NCAA advances ball on name, image, likeness player compensation States opening equates to flickering light for college football return Greg Sankey hasn't ruled out a CFB season without all conferences Three keys amid college football return process, from Greg Sankey NCAA board of governors votes unanimously in favor of NIL compensation The post WATCH 3 things: What's next for college football return appeared first on DawgNation.
  • It's been interesting to see how the newspapers I read regularly have chosen to deal with the lack of sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Athens Banner-Herald has done away with its sports section for the duration; what sports stories it runs (mostly about what the future holds for the UGA football program), are in the news pages. USA Today has kept its sports section, spending a lot of time discussing what the sports landscape might look like later this year. And, the AJC also has kept its sports section, much of which has been devoted to nostalgic looks back at local teams' triumphs, like the Braves' World Series-winning season. The AJC also has been running a series of columns from its various sports staffers, in which they recount the five most memorable games they have covered in their careers. The articles have been fun reading, covering quite a wide variety of sports (with Georgia football well represented). That put me to thinking about the five most memorable games I've attended. I won't say 'covered,' because, although I've been blogging about Georgia football for 15 seasons, that's always been as a fan, not a reporter. I wasn't a sportswriter during my career with the AJC, and I only ever participated in covering one football game in my career, for The Red & Black student paper at UGA. That was the Sept. 15, 1973, season opener in Athens against the Pitt Panthers. The Dogs were a 17-point favorite, but the Panthers had a running back making his collegiate debut that day named Tony Dorsett, and he rushed for 101 yards as the two teams played to a 7-7 tie. I'd been managing editor of The Red & Black that summer, and all of the paper's student staff wasn't back yet, since school hadn't started (UGA began classes much later in those days), so the sports editor asked me to help out with the coverage. It was the only regular season game I've ever watched from the press box, an experience I didn't particularly enjoy, since you weren't supposed to cheer. After the game, I did the locker room interviews with a disappointed bunch of Dawgs. 'We just never could get going,' my old Athens High classmate Andy Johnson told me. 'We didn't underestimate them. We knew they would be good, but I don't know, I guess we just weren't ready.' So, yeah, it was one of the most memorable games ever for me, in terms of how I experienced it, but not a great outcome. Likewise, the Oct. 22, 1977, homecoming game certainly was one of the most memorable ever, with Prince Charles in attendance (the Georgia student section chanted 'Damn good prince!') and James Brown performing with the Redcoats at halftime (with my brother Jonathan underneath the stage, bracing it with his back as the Godfather of Soul did his splits). But, the game itself was one of the worst ever in Athens, a 33-0 loss to Kentucky. (I believe that might have been the game where an irate Vince Dooley pushed over a row of lockers at halftime in frustration.) The 21-10 win to end the losing streak against Tennessee in 2000 also was memorable. The atmosphere was unforgettable, as the Sanford Stadium crowd sensed victory and massed around the field, but while fans taking down the goalposts after the game was understandable, the fact that some of them then trashed their own stadium, ripping up the hedges, was an act so mindless that I still don't understand it. So, that one stays off the list. I also was at the basketball game in the Georgia Coliseum on March 8, 1969, when 'Pistol Pete' Maravich scored 58 points. With LSU ahead by 8 in the second overtime, Maravich dribbled around Bulldogs defenders for about a minute, putting on a show, then launched a 35-foot hook shot at the buzzer for a 90-80 win. Georgia fans, appreciative of the amazing performance they'd just seen, mobbed him on the floor. But, again, it was a Georgia loss. So, stipulating that I want my five most memorable games to be Dawgs wins, that sent me back to a listing of the greatest games my brothers and I ever have attended. We first compiled it shortly after I started the Junkyard Blawg in 2005, and I updated it in 2009 and 2017, to add additional games. The most recent version offered a baker's dozen of the greatest games I'd seen, and, believe me, it was tough narrowing it down to those. Picking the five most memorable? Even tougher. Still, here goes, ranking them in ascending order, like the AJC series did. (Keep in mind, this is limited to games I saw in person. My list doesn't include some of Georgia's greatest wins games that I watched on TV or listened to on radio, including the upset of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 'Run, Lindsay!' in Jacksonville, the national championship win over Notre Dame in New Orleans and the 'hobnail boot' game in Knoxville.) 5. Georgia over Georgia Tech, 30-24, Nov. 28, 2009:Frankly, I was dreading attending this one when my son Bill decided to take me to my first game at Grant Field in decades, but the lightly-regarded Dawgs ran it down the throats of a Jackets team that ended up winning the ACC Championship. This was the original 'We run this state' game. The looks on the faces of the Tech fans on the walk back to the North Avenue MARTA station afterward were priceless. 4. Georgia over Clemson, 27-12, Oct. 5, 1991:Recently replayed on WSB radio, this was one of the high points of the Ray Goffyears (and there weren't many), as the Dawgs upset the No. 6 Tigers, who went on to win the ACC Championship, in a night game on national TV. Key plays were Georgia safety Mike Jones stripping the ball after a Clemson back had run 54 yards, and quarterback Eric Zeier setting up a TD with a 59-yard bomb to Arthur Marshall. This also was the day the Braves clinched the division title that began their celebrated run under Bobby Cox.When the Braves score was announced after the football game, Georgia and Clemson fans chopped and chanted together. Unforgettable. 3. Georgia over Auburn, 45-20, Nov. 10, 2007:The first 'Blackout' game. I don't think I've ever seen a Sanford Stadium crowd as excited as when the Dawgs burst through that banner in those black jerseys. Still, the Tigers made it a game, taking a 20-17 lead, before a Georgia team featuring Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno scored 28 unanswered points, and wound up dancing to Soulja Boy. 2. Georgia over Alabama, 21-0, Oct. 2, 1976:The outcome of the game between the No. 6 Bulldogs and the No. 10 Crimson Tide never really was in question, and the Sanford Stadium crowd smelled the Bear's blood from the start. This was the loudest I ever heard a Sanford crowd until they enclosed the east end of the stadium. Matt Robinson and Ray Goff alternated running Georgia's veer option offense, and Erk Russell's Junkyard Dogs defense held Bama's vaunted wishbone attack to just 49 yards rushing. Manhandling Bama, which was coming off five straight conference crowns, just wasn't done in those days. This game was one of the toughest tickets ever in Athens. Folks camped out overnight on the tracks, and my Dad had to watch from the Sanford Drive bridge. The postgame celebration in Athens was wild, with police having to close Milledge Avenue. 1. Georgia over Alabama, 18-17, Sept. 18, 1965: This was back during a period when Alabama was our opening game, and the last time the Dogs had won was during the 1959 SEC championship season with Fran Tarkenton. After that, the whippings by the Tide had become somewhat expected. N ot many folks gave the Dawgs much of a chance against the defending national champion Tide at the beginning of Dooley's second season. But, the Dawgs were hanging tough and behind only 17-10 in the fourth quarter. I'd gone to get a Coke and was walking back to my seat when I heard a guy I knew casually from school say to his father, 'The Bear better do something, or Bama could lose this thing.' I'm not sure if he was happy or sad about that, but, sure enough, moments later came the legendary flea-flicker pass from Kirby Moore to Pat Hodgson to Bob Taylor. And then, with the 2-point play pass to Hodgson, Georgia had one of its most unexpected wins ever, especially considering the Tide went on to take another AP national title that year. So, those are five memorable games I've seen in person. Are they the most memorable? Well, yeah, but, ask me tomorrow, and you might get a slightly different listing. After all, they don't come much more memorable than the 2013 UGA-LSU shootout featuring former roomies Aaron Murray and Zach Mettenberger (the loudest game I've ever experienced at Sanford Stadium) or the butt-kicking of Nick Saban's defending national champion LSU Tigers in 2004 (featuring f ive touchdown throws by David Greene ) or that spine-tingling moment last year when the stadium was lit-up all red at the beginning of the fourth quarter of yet another Georgia win over Notre Dame, or Yeah, I've seen a lot of memorable games. The post It's not easy to narrow down my five most memorable UGA games appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Tom Crean is well known for his Xs and Os and uptempo teams, and Georgia's 2020 basketball recruiting class makes it clear there are no plans to slow down. The Bulldogs are coming off a 16-16 season that saw the team peak the final night with an 18-point win over Ole Miss in the SEC Men's Basketball Tournament in Nashville. RELATED: Georgia pounds Ole Miss, aims for Florida in SEC tourney The next day, March 12, the college sports world shutdown amid the coronavirus pandemic. Crean and his team were left wondering what might have been. The Bulldogs have made just one NCAA tournament appearance the last nine years (2015). Crean, who rebuilt Marquette into a Final Four team and rebuilt Indiana into a two-time Big Ten champion knows UGA remains a work in progress. Crean inherited a mess two years ago. A vacuum existed among six returning seniors after star Yante Maten took his leadership and scoring with him to the NBA. Three other players served disciplinary suspensions or have been dismissed from the program. The sole shining star was Nicolas Claxton, and he improved so much under Crean in one season that he went to the NBA following his sophomore year. This rebuild is such that just one player remains from that 2018-19 team. RELATED: Tom Izzo shares insight into his former assistant, Tom Crean UGA appears to be a refreshed and recharged program moving in the right direction. Georgia has a solid nucleus to build around with players like freshman assists record holder Sahvir Wheeler, junior guard Tye Fagan and sophomore power forward Toumani Camara returning. The players are eligible to return to campus as early as June 8 after the SEC presidents voted on Friday to give the green light to players wanting to return to practices for voluntary workouts. The basketball team's plans are currently being evaluated. Look back The 2019-20 campaign saw Georgia set a single-season attendance record in Stegman Coliseum that included marquee home wins over Tennessee and Auburn. On the road, Crean's Bulldogs scored only the second non-conference road victory over a Top 25 team in program history, beating Memphis. And now, another reload is underway, with projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards moving on. RELATED: Georgia's 'Antman' declares for NBA draft, stock soaring Junior power forward Rayshaun Hammonds also elected to leave early, though his professional status is considerably less certain. Crean is looking forward, his roster now void of any players recruited by former coach Mark Fox. 'What I want is a team that can switch, a team that can play multiple ways,' Crean told DawgNation during the Ingles On The Beat show last Monday night. 'We don't need to get anyone that will slow us down or clog that lane. We have to get to the basketball, but we have to be able to run.' No doubt, Georgia has scored 90 or more points 11 times in Crean's two seasons. Prior to his arrival, the Bulldogs had scored 90 or more points in 11 times in 11 seasons. 'We were second in the country in transition points, we were third in the country at points at the rim, and yet we shot 30 percent from three,' Crean points out. 'You look at some of the games we had, if you had another 3-point make, or two more 3-pointers and I'm not talking about manufacturing threes, I'm talking about making the open threes that we had that's four or five more wins right there.' Georgia could be that close to the bubble again the season, but they'll need to rely on newcomers once again. Experienced recruits Once season after reloading with 10 newcomers and the No. 5-ranked signing class in the county, the Bulldogs are poised with seven more new players. Georgia most recently added Andrew Garcia, a 6-foot-5, 228-pound shooting guard who figures to add scoring punch and muscle to a team that will need to grow up in a hurry. Garcia is the second graduate transfer in the class, joining George Mason transfer Justin Kier (6-4, 197) on what looks to be another very versatile team. '(Kier) is gonna be a combination guard that can handle it and that can score,' Crean said. 'He'll be comfortable bringing the ball up the floor, or be comfortable having the ball thrown ahead to him.' Crean said this Georgia team will need to grow up fast, and that's likely why he's adding two graduate transfers and two junior college transfers, as well. Jonathan Ned is a 6-9 inside-out forward from Eastern Florida State junior college that shot 48-percent from beyond the 3-point line last season. 'We need Jonathan to come in and make threes,' Crean said. 'We need him to drive the ball, rebound and defend his position, but we also need him to make open jump shots.' Mikal Starks (6-0 guard) is another Eastern Florida State junior college transfer 'I think he's a highly competitive leadership guy, he's a winner, he competes, he fights, he's quick and he can get to the basket,' Crean said. 'I think he's going to be a good shooter for us, and I think that's important.' Georgia also has a commitment from Tyron McMillian, a 6-8, 225-pounder from Kilgore, Texas. McMillan is ranked the No. 11 junior college player in the nation. Incoming freshmen K.D. Johnson is a 6-1, top 100 signee out of Hargrave Military Academy High School the Crean believes will have an immediate impact. 'K.D. is a high, high level competitor,' Crean said. 'He's a two-way guy that picks the ball up full court, he'll hawk you, he'll fight you. 'He plays with a high motor, he plays to win, and I love his fearlessness.' Crean said Johnson will take on anybody at the rim, though he expects the talented prospect will quickly adjust to the SEC competition level. 'Sometimes he thinks he's going to go score on the 6-10, 6-11 guy, and I think he's going to have to make the growth of how to get to the other side of the rim and make the kick out (pass),' Crean said. 'But he passes the ball well, when he's locked in and stepping into his shot he's making it consistently. 'I love his track mentality, and I love the fact that he loves the game. Anthony Edwards is like that. You want guys that want to be in the gym making themselves better.' Josh Taylor is another incoming freshman, a 6-8, 195-pounder out of Norcross. 'Josh works around the bucket and he's a very good rebounder,' Crean said. 'He wants to get better as a shooter and driver but he rebounds the ball, he runs both ends and he wants to compete.' Future profile Crean plans to keep with his uptempo style, and he's hoping to develop more toughness and see leaders step up in tight games. That was something that was missing at times the past two seasons. 'Some of those games last season, we couldn't stop the runs because we couldn't stop the bleeding,' Crean said. 'We couldn't go in and get a bucket inside, or we couldn't just say we're going to get an And One. ''We had some maturity leadership issues with that when it was time to get it settled down.' Crean said it's something he needs to recruit to, and he feels good about what Georgia has in the works with a class currently ranked No. 29. 'You can't put a value on people that can settle your team down and bring them confidence on the floor,' Crean said. 'And it isn't always the point guard, and it isn't always the oldest guy. 'Anybody can change momentum inside a game, but very few can bring a lot of confidence every day to a team. Your job as s coach is to develop it and recruit it, and it's imperative you find those people.' Tom Crean May 18, 2020 DawgNation Georgia basketball Bulldogs upset Ole Miss in SEC tourney opener LSU beats Georgia in regular-season finale Georgia basketball goes cold in loss to Florida Anthony Edwards takes over final minute, UGA topples Arkansas WATCH: Georgia celebrates like crazy after Vandy win Bulldogs score resounding win over No. 13 Auburn Georgia basketball drops close one at Texas A&M, Anthony Edwards ill Georgia suffers deflating defeat at Florida UGA snaps four-game losing streak with Texas A&M win Perplexing loss for Georgia basketball at Missouri Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener The post WATCH: Georgia basketball look ahead, how Tom Crean's building another winner appeared first on DawgNation.