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My Epiphany

This is not a story about traveling to Italy. It mentions Italy because that’s where I finally found clarity for my life.

 

Since clarity is a rarity, it is charity for me to share for thee. 

 

I’m not gonna lie. Since retiring, I’ve struggled. 

 

While comfortably tucked into my career as a morning radio show announcer, I knew how my day would go. I’d finish up work around 10 or 11 am every morning, then go join the old fart golf group that teed off every day around lunchtime. Many years, I would play 150 days or more. 

 

The point is, I knew what I was doing with my days. In retirement, I’m playing maybe 50 rounds a year. That leaves a lot of days in limbo. 

 

To some extent, golf has been replaced by travel. Oh, it’s not all exotic. For example, we’re taking in more live concerts now, so sometimes our trips are just a quick overnighter to hear an artist we enjoy. 

 

We’ve fallen in love with Nashville, Tennessee’s music scene, so we wind up in Music City way more than I would have ever imagined. 

 

Still, we are trying to see some other parts of the world and recently returned to Italy for the second time in two years. And for a second time, we hooked up with a travel guide named Max. 

 

On our first tour of Old Italia, it took Max about one day to figure out what we liked: wine. With lunch. 

 

On our just-completed trip, he didn’t even ask what we wanted to see. Every day, he had arranged a wine tasting at a nice winery, usually with lunch thrown in. 

 

Lunch often lasted for a couple of hours. Afterwards, Max would just drive us around until we fell asleep. When we woke up, he’d tell us of the nice places he had taken us and say something like, “too bad you slept through it.” 

 

In the Tuscany region, we hit a couple of places that are actually referred to as wine castles. Translated to English, that’s a castle with wine. 

 

A castle, y’all. With wine. Take a moment, if you need to. 

 

Besides wine, another thing to love about Italy is gelato. Gelato is actually Italiano for ice cream, but gelato is better. It uses more milk…. something, something, something… so it’s not just like American ice cream. 

 

Gelato is sold in a gelateria. If you think about it, that makes sense. Pizza is sold in a pizzeria; gelato, in a gelateria. 

 

I’m a big fan of gelato. Specifically, coconut, though I’m multi-gelatinous and can swing many directions. 

 

So, the epiphany: I want to open a gelateria in a wine castle. 

 

When I told my wife, she suggested I build the castle from the corks we have in the basement.

Close

corks

It was meant as a snide remark, a dig at me for saving corks, even though I have no plan to do anything with them. 

 

But her idea is brilliant. A cork castle! 

 

Enemy bullets would bounce right off the cork walls. And if someone bombed my castle, what’s the damage? Broken cork? No problem. 

 

“Hey, we need more cork!” And out comes a corkscrew. 

 

My cork castle would also be flood-proof. The same rains that floated Noah’s arc would float my castle. When the rain subsided, who knows what country my castle would have landed in? But it wouldn’t matter. The local chamber of commerce would welcome me. Because I’ve got a castle full of wine. 

 

And gelato. 

 

Who wouldn’t want to be my friend? 

 

Beautiful minds like mine – and Steve Jobs – don’t come along that often. I can only imagine that you’re thinking, ‘Dang, I wish I had thought of that first!’ 

 

But you didn’t. 

 

Bring money. I will be charging admission. 

 

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Local News

  • A newly announced candidate for a seat in the Georgia House will speak to Athens Democrats tonight: Mokah Johnson is running against Republican Representative Houston Gaines. She’s the featured speaker at this evening’s meeting of local Democrats, set for 6 o’clock at the Library on Baxter Street.  From the Athens-Clarke County Democratic Committee Facebook page…   We've organized a special program, 'Civil Rights, Then and Now,' to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. Week. Come hear Mokah Johnson, of the Athens-Anti-Discrimination Movement; Beto Cacao, of DIgnidad Immigrante; and Hattie Whitehead, of the Linnentown Project.
  • The Athens Area Habitat for Humanity holds its annual gala tonight: it’s underway at 6:30 at the Cotton Press on Oneta Street in Athens. From the Athens Habitat For Humanity Facebook page…   Athens Hab celebrates our local partners and supporters at our annual gala, this year hosted by Epting Events at the Cotton Press. Come enjoy great food, live music, cash bar, inspirational speakers, and fellowship as we give thanks for a successful drive to raise $30,000 to complete Lydia's Homeplace, a joint project with Lydia's Place to create housing for homeless college students in our area. All donors giving $80 or more by January 23rd are invited!
  • A northeast Georgia judge says she will not be a candidate for reelection: Northern Judicial Circuit Superior Court Judge Lauren Watson says she won’t be the ballot for the May 19 elections.  Judge Watson, an attorney in Madison County, was appointed by Governor Nathan Deal two years ago as a replacement for retired Judge Thomas Hodges and has worked in a judicial circuit that covers Madison, Oglethorpe, Elbert, Franklin, and Hart counties.  The funeral for former Franklin County Probate Judge Eddy Fowler is scheduled for Sunday at the Ginn Memorial Chapel in Carnesville. Fowler, who also worked as a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy, died earlier this week at a hospital in Lavonia. 
  • Georgia travels to Fayetteville this Thursday to take on No. 20/21-ranked Arkansas at 6 p.m. CT/7 p.m. ET on the SEC Network. Courtney Lyle and Carolyn Peck will call the action from Bud Walton Arena.    » Arkansas is the fifth top-25 team the Lady Bulldogs have played this season. This is the first of four-straight games against top-25 squads coming up on Georgia’s schedule over the next couple of weeks.    » Three of Georgia’s seven losses this season have come against teams currently ranked in the top-10 of both the Associated Press and Coaches polls (No. 1/2 Baylor, No. 9 Mississippi State and No. 10 UCLA).    » Georgia head coach Joni Taylor owns a 5-1 record against Arkansas during her head coaching career. The Lady Bulldogs have won five of the last six and 13 of the last 15 meetings against the Razorbacks. Overall, Georgia is 34-6 against Arkansas, including a 14-3 mark in Fayetteville.    » The Lady Bulldogs defeated Auburn this past Sunday in front of nearly 5,000 fans at Stegeman Coliseum. The win snapped a three-game losing skid in SEC play.    » Georgia’s bench outscored Auburn’s bench by an impressive 34-4 margin. The Lady Bulldogs were down 17-9 at the end of the first quarter before the lineup of Chloe Chapman, Shaniya Jones, Caitlin Hose, Stephanie Paul and Malury Bates provided Georgia a spark in the second quarter.    » Lady Bulldog guard Shaniya Jones had her best game of the season against Auburn. She scored a career-high 21 points in 21 minutes of action. Jones hit 5-for-6 from the field and scored 11 points in the third period.    Scouting Arkansas » The Razorbacks rank third in the nation in points per game, averaging 86.9 points per contest this season. Chelsea Dungee, one of the top players in the Southeastern Conference, paces Arkansas with 20 points per game. Dungee has scored in double figures in all but one contest and has totaled 20 or more points nine times. Arkansas boasts a 15-3 overall record, with its only losses in SEC play coming to Texas A&M and South Carolina.    Series Breakdown Overall: Georgia leads, 34-6 In Athens: Georgia leads, 17-2 In Fayetteville: Georgia leads, 14-3 Neutral Sites: Georgia leads, 3-1 Current Streak: Georgia has won five of the last six Last Meeting: Arkansas W, 86-76 (3/7/19) Largest Margin of Victory: Georgia W, 87-54 (2/24/96) Largest Defeat: Arkansas W, 66-45 (2/24/02)   Last Meeting Against Arkansas The Georgia Lady Bulldogs fell to Arkansas, 86-76, in the SEC Tournament on March 7, 2019 at Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville. 
  • Economic forecasters from the University of Georgia and its Terry College of Business are on the road again today, in Augusta for the Augusta-area economic outlook luncheon: it’s set for noon at the Marriot in downtown Augusta. From the UGA Master Calendar…   The Georgia Economic Outlook series brings the expertise of the University of Georgia Terry College of Business to nine cities across the state, offering you specific and reliable insights into next year’s economy. Learn about the nation’s economic trajectory, the trends shaping our state’s fiscal outlook, and what to expect in your local area for the upcoming year from forecasts based on data and analysis from the Selig Center for Economic Growth.

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Former Georgia offensive tackle Andrew Thomas might want to make sure his wardrobe includes plenty of things that match with brown. Thomas, an Outland Trophy Finalist and All-American for the Bulldogs last season, is being sidelined projected as the first-round pick for the Cleveland Browns in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Browns have the 10th overall pick, and Thomas one of the record 111 underclassmen from the college ranks to declare himself eligible for the draft is widely considering the top offensive tackle in the draft class. The ClevelandBrowns.com website will be paying particularly close attention to Thomas throughout the draft process as its roundup reflected the former Georgia captain a popular choice among NFL draft analysts. Among those projecting Thomas to the Cleveland Browns at No. 10 are: Daniel Jeremiah, NFL Network Dane Brugler, The Athletic Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News Benjamin Solak, The Draft Network Josh Edwards, CBSsports.com Brugler reportedly noted Thomas has 'shock absorbers' for hands in assessment. Thomas has been projected to be selected by other teams by other analysts, but the Browns' projection is far and away most popular. That said, the NFL draft process is just getting underway ,with players' draft stock rising and falling at the Senior Bowl this week, and the NFL combine in Indianapolis fast approaching. Thomas' athleticism, skill work and disposition figure to make him a strong candidate to improve his stock once he starts meeting with teams and performs at the NFL combine. Indeed, Thomas has been projected as high as the No. 4 overall pick in the New York Giants (CBS Sports). Iowa's Tristan Wirfs and Alabama's Jedrick Wills appears to Thomas' biggest competition in the draft at the offensive tackle position. Both are also widely projected first-round picks. The draft ranking for Thomas from No. 4 to No. 10 is higher than any of the other Georgia players in the upcoming draft class. The Bulldogs have two other juniors, tailback D'Andre Swift and quarterback Jake Fromm, who have received first-round draft projections, but neither as high as Thomas. Georgia also has two other underclass offensive linemen coming out, junior guard Solomon Kindley and redshirt sophomore Isaiah Wilson. Both Kindley and Wilson have been trimming up their football frames to be in prime condition for the NFL combine. Kindley and Wilson, both, figure to improve their stock at the combine. The NFL Draft takes place April 23-25 in Las Vegas, Nevada. DawgNation: Georgia in the NFL draft ESPN labels Georgia a 'loser' in NFL early entry process Eli Wolf, Charlie Woerner, Brian Herrien, Tyrique McGhee shine in all-star games Todd McShay projects Georgia QB Jake Fromm to have first-round talent Closer look at Jake Fromm's decision, factors and faith Georgia OG Solomon Kindley comes off ankle injury, makes NFL leap The post Georgia football's Andrew Thomas first-round NFL draft lock, Cleveland popular projection appeared first on DawgNation.
  • LEXINGTON, KY.Neither Georgia nor Anthony Edwards may have seemed particularly impressive as the Bulldogs have stumbled out to a 1-4 start in SEC play. But don't tell that to Kentucky's John Calipari, who gushed about the team the No. 10 Wildcats defeated 89-79 Tuesday night at Rupp Arena. 'Tom's done a great job,' Calipari said of Georgia's second-year coach Tom Crean. 'They're going to win games. I just told their team as we walked off, you're as good as anybody we've played. Go win some games.' Their start was ridiculous. Now let's see where they go. Tom's terrific and I think they'll be fine. At this point, I want them to beat everybody.' The Bulldogs would settle for at least two in a row and soon. The loss to the Wildcats was their fourth in the last five games and 14th in a row to Kentucky overall. RELATED: Too little, too late from Georgia star Anthony Edwards at Kentucky But as Calipari pointed out, Georgia's league schedule has been a bit front-loaded. This was the second time they've played Kentucky (14-4, 5-1 SEC) and they've also played then-No. 5-ranked Auburn and Mississippi State on the road. Georgia (11-7) gets three of the next five at home, including Saturday's 5:30 p.m. game against Ole Miss (9-8, 0-4). The Bulldogs insist they'll be no less confident as they move into the next stretch of the season. 'We've just got to continue to learn,' Crean said. 'For where we're at youth wise, as many new guys as we have and starting three freshmen in here, we've got to go through some things so we can grow into some things. That's how I see my team right now.' Kentucky steps out of the conference Saturday with a road trip to Texas Tech, then comes home to face Vanderbilt before kicking off February at Auburn. Georgia's cause would be helped if Edwards could ever put two halves together again. Once again, the star freshman struggled in the opening half, going scoreless for the first time all year on 0-for-5 shooting, 0-for-2 from 3-point range. He rallied to score 16 points in the second half, but also fouled out and finished with five turnovers and just one rebound. 'I'm guessing the scouting report was to deny me the ball and not really let me touch it,' Edwards said. 'When I did touch, I was usually double-teamed. So I was trying to get the ball out of my hands in a hurry. I couldn't really do anything.' Edwards, a 6-5 guard from Atlanta, is projected as an NBA lottery pick. Calipari warned people who want to write off him as 'overrated' not to be too hasty. 'It's hard for young guys, especially when everybody's paying special attention to him,' Calipari said of the nation's leading-scoring freshman (19 points per game). 'Now all the sudden, every pick-and-roll, they hold him a lot longer. Every drive, they leave their men to go get him. So, it's like he's playing (against) a box-and-one all night, and he still gets baskets. That tells you how good he is.' The Bulldogs actually had Kentucky worried a few times Tuesday. They led twice in the first half and were within a single bucket twice in the second half. But every time Georgia would get close the Wildcats would answer with another run. Kentucky led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but the majority of the game was contested within a single-digit margin. Georgia sophomore Tye Fagan was able to pick up some of Edwards' slack in the first half. The 6-3 guard scored 12 of his 14 points the second-most in his career in the first half. Also, freshman Toumani Camara scored all 10 of his points in the first half as Georgia made a brief charge shortly before halftime. Rayshaun Hammonds had 16 points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs. Atlanta native and one-time UGA commit Ashton Hagans led the Wildcats with a career-high 23 points. That's the second time Hagans has scored 23, the other time also coming against Georgia. He has averaged 19.7 points against the Bulldogs. Twice in the second half, Georgia got to within three points, the second time 57-54 at 12:36 on a high-arcing Edwards jump shot. But that was followed in short succession by two Edwards turnovers and one by Hammonds, and Kentucky converted all three into points to pull away again. Crean said the Bulldogs are not despondent or disillusioned by the recent struggles. 'There's no moral victory, right? That's not what I'm saying here. But we brought a very young team into this environment and battled,' he said. 'This is an incredible environment, and for a team to come in here and battle like that. We're growing up. It's a hard league to grow up in and to win in, but I'm not worried about morale.' Said Edwards: 'We've got a great team. I've got great teammates beside me and we're going to keep fighting and keep working to get better.' DawgNation Georgia Basketball Georgia comes up short in hard-fought loss at Kentucky Mississippi State wins battle of Bulldogs in Starkville, decisively Anthony Edwards puts the squeeze on Tennessee in blowout win Georgia falls in first SEC road game of season at Auburn Georgia basketball delivers signature Top 10 win at Memphis Freshman Anthony Edwards discloses injury, status Sahvir Wheeler on clutch game-winner, 'been there a ton of times' Tom Izzo on Georgia: 'That was an incredible comeback' Anthony Edwards lights up Michigan State for 37 in 93-85 loss Rayshaun Hammonds wrecks Georgia Tech Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Kentucky's John Calipari says don't write off Georgia basketball just yet appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Georgia basketball simply couldn't keep up with Kentucky in Rupp Arena on Tuesday night. The No. 15-ranked Wildcats (14-4, 5-1 SEC) took down the Bulldogs (11-7, 1-4) by an 89-79 count. It was UK's 14th straight win in the series, and their second this season. Kentucky guard Ashton Hagans, from Cartersville, Ga., led the Wildcats with 23 points, nine assists and five rebounds. Georgia junior Rayshaun Hammonds scored 16 points and pulled down 8 rebounds, giving Coach Tom Crean the type of road effort that was missing in a loss at Mississippi State on Saturday. UGA freshman Anthony Edwards, meanwhile, scored 16 points on 7-of-13 shooting. But it was a case of too little, too late from Edwards, who had just one rebound and turned the ball over five times. Edwards was heldscoreless in the first half as Kentucky staked out to a 41-35 lead at intermission. The Bulldogs had their moments, using a 9-0 run to claim a 29-28 lead with 5:34 left in the first half. Donnell Gresham Jr. sparked the burst with a 3-pointer and also capped it with a jumper that triggered a John Calipari timeout. Kentucky responded with a 7-0 run of its own the first 78 seconds out of the timeout to reclaim control of the game. Georgia held a surprising 19-17 advantage on the glass in the first half, but the smaller Bulldogs could not sustain that advantage. UK out-rebounded Georgia 21-12 in the second half, even as Edwards awoke from his first half slumber. Edwards finally scored two minutes into the second half after missing his first five shots. Edwards hit his next three shots, too, pulling the Bulldogs to 57-54 with 12:38 left. It was as close as Georgia got the rest of the night. Kentucky came back at the Bulldogs with a 12-2 run, and Georgia couldn't get closer than seven points the rest of the night The Wildcats wonthe first meeting between the teams by a 78-69 count in Athens, coming back from nine points down in front of a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum crowd in both team's SEC opener on Jan. 7. Georgia returns to action at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs are 9-1 on their home court this season. The post Georgia basketball falls at Kentucky, too little, too late from Anthony Edwards appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Kirby Smart is typically pretty transparent, but the Georgia fifth-year head coach didn't let on the sort of overhaul or the extremes he was prepared to go to in order to improve the offense. 'We'll look at it,' Smart said on Dec. 18, asked about the Bulldogs' offensive philosophy. 'But we want to score points.' RELATED: Kirby Smart's amazing offseason of change at Georgia A month later, Georgia had landed the highest-rated (PFF) grad-transfer QB on the market, the OC from the NFL's most prolific pass game in 2018 and a quarterbacks coach Smart knew first hand from his Valdosta State days The Bulldogs still have work to do, and the Feb. 5 National Signing Day will certainly be worth tuning into. Georgia went 12-2 last season with a 5-1 mark vs. Top 25 teams and a third-straight SEC East Division title. But Smart, who insists on setting the bar at a championship level each fall, has continued to reach higher and push for more on his coaching staff and within his team. Complacency, Smart said, is the enemy of the team's aspirations and played a role last season. : When you're not hungry, you become average, and some of that, I think, has affected us in the past,' Smart said after the 26-14 Sugar Bowl win over Baylor. 'And we've got to find a way in this program to not let that creep in and keep that same hunger you have as a young player because we've had it happen to several guys that were really hungry, and then they become full.' Nobody in Butts-Mehre Heritage Hall will be getting too comfortable anytime soon. Indeed, incoming freshman QB Carson Beck is probably just now growing comfortable with the competition ahead of him on campus, and UGA has already added a 5-star in the 2021 class. Brock Vandagriff, a 5-star prospect from nearby Bogart who ranks as the No. 1 -ranked Pro Style quarterback in the 2021 class, made his verbal pledge on Tuesday. Mike Griffith and Connor Riley discuss the repercussions of Smart's latest moves and additions on Tuesday's 'On The Beat' show, and what it means for the program. Georgia football On The Beat, 1-21-20 More from DawgNation UGA adds offseason excitement, stars endorse new OC Todd Monken WATCH: 2021 commit Brock Vandagriff shares story with DawgNation Podcast: Brandon Adams shares his take on Brock Vandagriff addition Kirby Smart has turned Georgia offense upside down Social media reacts to addition of 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff Why Buster Faukner a perfect complement to Todd Monken The post WATCH: Georgia football early offseason breakdown, Brock Vanagriff addition, appeared first on DawgNation.
  • Brock Vandagriff is the newest 5-star commitment for the Georgia Bulldogs. The nation's No. 8 overall prospect (247Sports Composite ratings) chose Georgia earlier today. He was once committed to Oklahoma. Bet a lot of folks knew that. Maybe they also knew that he ran for 1,001 yards at a rate of 7.3 yards per carry as a high school sophomore. But what about his kickoffs? Or his big-time leg at punter? How 'bout the fact that he caught 34 passes during his freshman season at Prince Avenue Christian in nearby Bogart? Or that he threw his first high school pass off a jet sweep from the receiver spot? It was, of course, a touchdown. That's just the beginning of the information superhighway when it comes to all things Vandagriff. Check out the featured video above or the embedded version below for a breakdown on all things Vandagriff, including His favorite route to throw? How did Georgia keep the recruiting channels open after he committed to Oklahoma? His description of some real adversity he deal with during his junior year What was the reason he chose Georgia? What sort of connection his first name has to the Florida Gators? Did he really finish out a game last season with a broken fibula? Why did he choose to de-commit from Oklahoma? What sort of changes does he see in store for the offense at UGA? Brock Vandagriff: Getting to know Brock on DawgNation Prince Avenue Christian 5-star QB Brock Vandagriff commits to UGA Social media reacts strongly to Brock Vandagriff choosing Georgia DawgNation Daily: Breaking down what Vandagriff means to the Bulldogs Brock Vandagriff breaks down his 'Junior Day' unofficial visit, plans quick return Vandagriff previews big UGA visit, opens up on his Oklahoma de-commitment Just how competitive is Brock Vandagriff? Check out this early DawgNation story The post Brock Vandagriff: Watch the new 5-star Georgia commitment share his story appeared first on DawgNation.