GARY D. GADDY
« July 2008 »
S M T W T F S
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28 29 30 31
You are not logged in. Log in
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
Navigate Story Archive
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Rally to save what's good in America

RIGHT WHEN YOU'RE ABOUT to lose faith in humanity, sometimes something happens that heartens you, restores your hope, makes you believe again. After reading in the papers day after day about the selfish, self-centered and superficial attitudes and behaviors perpetually displayed across our nation -- and the world -- you can start to despair of any good coming of the human race.

Then you open the paper one morning and read the headline saying that in community after community across America, ordinary people are banding together to fight for what's right, to keep their heritage, to save what's good in America. I am, of course, talking about the fight to save the 600 Starbucks locations slated for closing by the Starbucks Corporation (NYSE: SBUX).

Perhaps I should have seen this more caring side of mankind in the response that came last year when the Krispy Kreme Doughnut Corporation (NYSE: KKD), in a move eerily foreboding the Starbucks pullback, cut back on its locations across the country. I should have remembered the words of Kim Valdez, an administrative assistant at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton, Calif., who had stopped by on the last day to buy four dozen hot Krispy Kreme doughnuts for her co-workers: "We're devastated." Then despondently she repeated, "We're devastated."

The devastation that followed in the wake of the Krispy Kreme closings now seems like the calm before the storm. The Starbucks pullback is not a local tragedy, like say, Katrina; this is a tsunami that has swept across an entire nation.

The Wall Street Journal reports that in towns as small as Bloomfield, N.M., and metropolises as large as New York, customers and city officials are writing letters, placing phone calls, circulating petitions and otherwise pleading with the coffee company to change its corporate mind.

Across the country, people can see that shuttering a Starbucks is not a minor economic jolt; it's the loss of a culture. As a blogger for the Minneapolis Star Tribune observed: "Starbucks was like an embassy of a country where people sat around and read foreign newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal, and discussed things."

According to a report by London's Channel 4 News, at hearing of one planned Starbucks closing, one young New York woman wailed, "Honestly, it's just awful."

The news website Boston.com also brought us a report that Newton, Mass., resident Denis Goodwin is boiling mad -- and doing something about it. Boston.com said that Goodwin had started an online petition to protest the closing of the Starbucks at 70 Union Street. Between July 15, 2008 at 12:42 a.m. until July 22, 2008 at 9:44 p.m., 182 people had offered their support to Goodwin at savemystarbucks.com.

And North Carolina has not escaped the bloody Starbucks axe. Of the 10 slated store closings in the state, Charlotte will be the hardest hit, with fully half of the statewide total set for its metro area. Winston-Salem, previously hard hit by the triple whammy of closures in the area's mainstay tobacco, textile and furniture industries, and following on the heels of last year's melt-down at the Winston-Salem-based Krispy Kreme Corporation, is losing one tenth of its 10 Starbucks locations.

We haven't seen the same level of direct political action here in Chapel Hill that we have seen around the country, perhaps because, thank God, we've been largely spared. Greater Chapel Hill is scheduled only to lose the store at Chatham Downs, which Chapel Hill residents will be relieved to know is actually in Chatham County.

Why close that location? You may think that the obvious answer is that even Starbucks Corporation, while wanting to cut costs, wouldn't dare to touch the Southern Part of Heaven -- but careful detective work by the investigative staff at GaryGaddy.com suggests otherwise. A spatial analysis reveals the presence of another Starbucks location approximately 150 feet from the Chatham Downs site, inside an adjacent Harris-Teeter grocery store. Still, this closing must remind us all that life itself, our Franklin Street Starbucks included, hangs by a thread.

But I would like for my readers to note that America has survived a revolution, a civil war and two world wars. If we band together, we can survive this heartless downsizing by the Starbucks Coffee Company as well.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, who often says like his grandmother used to say, "I like coffee, but coffee don't like me," loves the smell of fresh ground or perked coffee, but seems to be seriously allergic to the substance.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 24, 2008.

Coyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:59 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 26, 2008 5:29 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, July 17, 2008
The world of illegal immigration

I HAVE LOTS OF THOUGHTS on illegal immigration.

First, I am sympathetic with people who, out of necessity, immigrate illegally. In their shoes, I would have walked up here from Chiapas myself. I would figure out some way to feed my wife and kids. And, sorry, but meeting the rules and regulations of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service would not have been my first priority either.  (If you think yours would, you may wish to check with your cardiologist, as your heart may be missing.)

Second, illegal immigration is a big problem -- and not just for the United States. Unchecked illegal immigration is a problem the world around. We here in the U.S. have a problem with people coming in illegally from about 150 countries but especially our southern neighbor of Mexico. Well, guess what, Mexico has a problem with people coming in illegally from their southern neighbor of Guatemala.

In fact, about every relatively prosperous country with porous borders has a problem with immigration from its relatively less prosperous neighbors.

My wife and I recently spent a couple of weeks visiting Costa Rica. Costa Rica means the "rich coast" in Spanish. To us NorteAmericanos, Costa Rica's Ticas and Ticos don't seem that rich but to the Nicas and Nicos of Nicaragua they sure do. So, guess what, they head across the border to Costa Rica to find work -- which they usually do.

Read this quote from Costa Rican Alberto Cortés Ramos, while substituting American for Costa Rican and Mexican for Nicaraguan, to see how parallel our circumstances are. "Most Nicaraguan migrants don’t compete with Costa Ricans for jobs, since the labor markets are clearly segmented. Nicaraguans fill niches in the economy that Costa Ricans don’t want: largely seasonal agricultural activities, construction, domestic service, private security and, to a lesser extent, commerce."

But this pattern of immigration in both in Costa Rica and the U.S. is not without costs.

As those on the lowest rung of the economic ladder, the poor Nicaraguans bring the problems of poverty with them. Not long ago Costa Rica was touted as having a higher literacy rate than the United States, but that may not be so any more. The Nicaraguan adults who come are not well educated and in addition their children, even with a common language, are more difficult to educate. And crime, especially theft, rises in the places where these poor Nicaraguans come. What follows is anti-immigrant sentiment and xenophobia.

Now look at the plight of the Zimbabweans in South Africa. The rolling disaster led by socialist dictator Robert Mugabe has sent many fleeing for their lives as Zimbabwe's once prosperous, food-producing economy crumbles so badly that starvation is rampant.

Granting that this refugee crisis is not the same as ordinary illegal immigration, with an estimated three million Zimbabweans in South Africa, still this year’s murderous mob attacks there on foreigners, where as many as 20,000 Zimbabwean women and children were forced to flee their homes, show how when sentiment goes bad, it can go really bad.

And regarding attitudes toward illegal immigration closer to our homes, many of the well to do, whether realizing it or not, benefit from illegal immigration. We like having our clothes washed, food prepared, floors swept and yards landscaped at affordable prices. And we don't often consider the circumstance of the legal residents whose jobs have been taken, or whose pay rate has been implicitly cut, by the large supply of workers who are not here legally.

Perhaps in contrast to Chapel Hill and Carrboro, most of North Carolina does not think that illegal immigration is a net benefit to our state. According to the Civitas poll released this May, registered voters in our state think that illegal immigration is a burden rather than a benefit by a 7-to-1 margin (79% to 11%).

While right now the average person in Chapel Hill does not feel as strongly, but trust me on this, if the University of North Carolina was hiring "undocumented" professors and researchers in numbers as large as the chicken processing plants have been hiring wing cutters and cartilage removers, the rhetoric on the Hill on illegal immigration wouldn't be nearly so sweet.

The United States cannot solve the whole world's problems by letting the whole world come to us. (Google "youtube immigration gumballs" for a clear explanation of why not.) Given a chance, legal or illegal, much of the world would come to us -- and if we didn’t assimilate them quickly enough, this immigration would change our country into something that few of us, even the ones immigrating here, would want.

If we don’t come up with a sane and humane policy for controlling our borders and managing immigration, the day may come when you and I are huddling on the border – trying to figure out how to get into Canada, assuming, of course, they don't make the same mistakes we are making now.

 

Gary D. Gaddy knows lots of legal and illegal immigrants -- but in most cases he doesn’t know which are which.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 17, 2008.

Coyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 10:41 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, January 25, 2011 3:13 PM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Pay it forward, starting now

LAKE CITY, S.C. -- Two years ago last Fourth of July weekend, my family and I had a wonderful experience. On the hottest day of the year, on what must be, it turns out, the remotest stretch of I-95 between Boston and Miami, as we traveled on our way to Charleston for a week at the beach our van broke down. It was one of the more uplifting experiences I had been through in a while. Seriously.

Here's how the day went and why I say it was a wonderful experience.

Guy that I am, I usually drive, but at this point in the trip, my wife Sandra was driving. Because of the holiday, I-95 was even more congested than usual, but running at the same speed-limit-exceeding pace that it usually does. We, the five of us, were driving our slightly dated Nissan Quest minivan because that's why you own these large boxes with wheels, to go on family vacations.

Suddenly, the truck directly in front of us, an eighteen wheeler, swerved, apparently around something in the road. When a transfer truck swerves for something in the road, you can know it's something serious. I expected the worst.

Because of the traffic behind us and beside us, even knowing something worth dodging was coming at us, Sandra could do nothing but try to slow up a little bit. Out from under the truck appears something big and black. It was probably the entire carcass of a truck tire, but it was hard to tell. We ran straight over it. It went boom, whap, boom -- then exited behind us. Although adrenalin levels were high, it seemed we were unscathed.

I said something like, "That was close." Then looking in the rear-view mirror, I saw a giant plume of smoke coming out from behind our van.

I said, "Pull over right now!" Then looking just ahead, I saw an exit ramp, and said, "Take this exit!"

When we came to a stop at the top of the ramp I got out quickly, got down on my knees and looked under the engine. Oil was pouring out. As I looked back down the ramp, I could see a line of oil on the road.

Using my cell phone, I called Triple A. I was on hold when a guy in a big new double-cab truck stopped to ask if he could help. I told him what I was up to and he said, "Let me handle this. It's going to be hard to find a place that's open with the holiday."

I said, "Thank you." We did need help. It turns out that not only was there no gas station or shop of any kind on this interstate exit, there was no auto repair shop for 15 or 20 miles in either direction. This stranger found a repair shop in Lake City that was open and would work on the car, then called a friend with a tow truck who would come right away to pick up the car. Since the tow truck could take two passengers, he took my wife and her son and one of my sons on ahead with him.

Along the way we met three friendly and interesting sets of people: our new-found friend who stopped to help us, the tow truck driver who I rode with, and the two mechanics and their family who dropped by the shop while we were waiting briefly for our van to be repaired.

That repair turned out to be replacing the missing oil filter which was ripped off by the retread tire shell. In effect, an oil change is all it took to fix the problem. And, to top it off, they showed us an easy alternate route to our destination on the Isle of Palms that got us off more than 100 miles of busy interstate, a route we have used regularly since then.

And why did our personal Good Samaritan do such a nice thing for us? Here's his explanation. See if you can make sense out of it. Several weeks before his car had broken down -- and no one stopped to help him. He vowed to fix that. So he decided he wouldn't let other people sit on the side of the road unhelped. He kept his vow.

It's a new corollary to the Golden Rule: Do for others what you wish they had done for you.

So, for my part, I am passing this message on: Pay it forward. Stop today to help someone who could use your help. On your detour you just might find that you will show them, and yourself, a better way. The world will be a better place if you do. You might even discover a beautiful place like Lake City.

 

On this Fourth of July week, Gary D. Gaddy in his rental van ran over another truck tire re-tread on I-95 on the way to Charleston, but nothing broke, so there isn't any story to tell.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 10, 2008.

Coyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:31 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, July 3, 2008
UNC's All-time All-airport Team

WITH THE RETURN to UNC's men's basketball team of Wayne Ellington, Danny Green and Tywon Lawson, a team that includes all the players from last year's squad except for reserves Quentin Thomas and Alex Stepheson, in addition to our triumvirate that tested the NBA draft waters and found that the waters weren't "just right,"  adds three McDonald's All-Americans, Ed Davis, Larry Drew and Tyler Zeller.

Next year's team, if not the best, will be one of the deepest to ever walk on the court at UNC -- or any college for that matter, excluding the combined freshman  and varsity squads at UCLA in 1965.  (The varsity were the defending national champs -- but lost to the freshman in a pre-season exhibition game.  Oh yeah, the freshman team included a guy named Lew Alcindor.)

Which turns us to the topic at hand: the naming of UNC's All-Time All-Airport Team.  Dick Vitale, your favorite basketball announcer and mine, once said something entertaining, in talking about a category of college basketball players he called "all-airport," meaning players who looked good – in the airport.

Timo Makkonen  (small forward) was, without a doubt, the best Finnish male to play scholarship basketball for UNC.  In fact, he was the only Finnish male to play scholarship basketball for UNC.  In 5 years, Timo played in 41 games and totaled exactly as many points and personal fouls together as games played -- sadly he had more fouls than points.

Ed Geth (power forward) left UNC with a degree and a year of basketball eligibility left, as well he should have.  Ed, bless his heart, had a hard time running the length of the court without stepping on his own foot.

Neil Fingleton  (center)  I first saw Neil Fingleton in person at the Best Buy at New Hope Commons in Durham.  As I scanned my way up from his belly button, which was at my eye level, to the top of his head, which appeared to scrape the beams of the building's twenty-foot ceiling, my thought was: "Boy, this guy is tall."  Neil may be the leading candidate for the all-time, all-division, all-schools, all-sports, all-airport team at 7-foot-7.56-inches tall.  This is one big boy.  One point and one assist for his career.

Jonathan Holmes (point guard)  First, let me say, I that loved Jonathan.  Sometimes he used to sit with Will Johnson on row behind my wife and I in church.  Jonathan’s most notable accomplishment at UNC was bringing to light the vigilant job the NCAA in policing criminal behavior, being suspended, along with Morehead scholar-athlete Will Johnson for playing in a charity three-on-three basketball tournament that they paid to enter.  They money raised went to Carolina Cancer Focus.  Those were unfortunately also Jonathan's most notable minutes on a UNC basketball court.

Orlando Melendez  (shooting guard)  Now, this fact, and I say it is a fact, may remain unverified because I know of no source no more credible than me to back it up, but on the UNC teams that  included Vince Carter, that is, the Vince "Half man,  half amazing" Carter, Carter was not, I repeat not, the  best dunker on the team.  That would have been, according to Carter, Orlando Melendez.

I know, I know, Vince Carter was the winner of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest.  I know, I know, Vince Carter once jumped over, I repeat over, Frederic Weis, a 7-foot-2 player from France, during the 2000 Olympics and dunked.  Yes, that same Vince Carter said that he couldn't beat Orlando in a team slam dunk contest. His quote, to the best I can reconstruct it was, "He could do dunks I could not even try."

Orlando apparently could do all kinds of one-legged twisting, turning dunks that bordered on the physically impossible.  (Just to give an idea of how improbable those dunks might have been, I saw Vince Carter, in an NCAA playoff game, when the game had not been decided, get a break-a-way steal and do a 540 dunk.  That is, come at the basket, spin around so he did a full revolution of his body, then continue on until his back was to the basket and dunk behind his head.  This was Vince's idea of a snowbird lay-up.)

Orlando could have also made the Olympic team -- in the high jump, the broad jump, the triple jump -- just not in any sport that included a ball.

Anyone who has any comments or criticisms of my selections for UNC's All-Time All-Airport Team, I refer you to Neil Offen, the editor of the Chapel Hill Herald, he gets paid to get abused, and, besides, cares a lot more about this kind of stuff than I ever could.  (If, per chance, you still looking for someone to blame for this year's Final Four debacle:  In lieu of viewing, Neil went to the theater that night.)

 

Gary D. Gaddy almost played on his high school’s JV basketball team.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 3, 2008.

Coyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:05 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, March 11, 2010 11:11 AM EST
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, June 26, 2008
NIMBY: Not in my backyard

CHAPEL HILL -- As my wife said to me, after I told her that I just found out that John Paul was heading the Glen Lennox Neighborhood Conservation District petition drive, "This will be a test of your . . . what's the word?" My answer: "I don't know."  Then, fifteen minutes later, I said, "journalistic integrity." And she responded, "Yeah, that's it."

I had planned to do a column on the proposed re-development of Glen Lennox.  And John and Jill Paul are our friends.  In fact, in August we are going with them to Galax, Virginia to the Old Fiddler's Convention for a week of old bluegrass music.  Or at least I think we are.  Among the letters to the editor, perhaps, I will find out if we're still on.

* * *

As I have said many times about Chapel Hill, indicating both its government and its citizenry, Chapel Hill is for every good thing -- somewhere else.  They want a Habitat neighborhood -- somewhere else.  They want a light-rail system -- somewhere else.  They want a clubhouse for people with mental illness -- somewhere else.  They want a place for the homeless to go -- somewhere else.  And so on.

NIMBY.  Not In My BackYard.  Chapel Hill could well be the capital of the NIMBY universe.

But, don't get me wrong, NIMBYism is hardly confined to Chapel Hill, it is rampant across our fair country.  For example, over near where we live, which is not in Chapel Hill, but "out in the county," a residential development was in the planning but the neighbors of their future neighbors objected, preferring to look out the windows of their houses at woods rather than other people's houses.  Who wouldn't?

Using focused political action, they got several local governments to buy the land and make it into a greenway for them.  If the land had been somewhere else besides "in their backyard," it would have seemed like community-oriented conservation.  Instead it looked like NIMBY to me -- using your money and mine.

But NIMBY is really a misnomer.  I can stop just about anything in "my backyard" -- I own it.  That is, unless the government gets involved, in which case eminent domain can crush my property rights to a smudge.  What I can't stop, or at least shouldn't be able to stop, is what my neighbor does with his own yard -- especially when it is something good for the community as a whole.

We all like electric power but no one wants a power plant next to our house.  We all use paper but no one wants the trees next door cut down.  We all produce garbage but none of us wants a dump anywhere near them.  But, you know what, they need to be somewhere.

Despite our neighbors' opposition to it, I thought Meadowmont would be a good thing for our town -- and would have been even better if the developer had been allowed to make it more dense, as he proposed, and if it was even closer to the center of Chapel Hill -- say like where Glen Lennox is.

The Grubb Properties plan would replace the current 440-unit apartment complex and shopping center with 908 residential units, over 500,000 square feet of retail and office space, a multi-story hotel and 3,665 parking spaces.  This is clearly a high-density mixed-use development.

If density is to be in Chapel Hill, noting that the only alternative to density is sprawl, where should it be if not at the intersection of two major roads (Hwy. 54 and the 15-501 Bypass) and a walkable distance from the UNC campus, where the jobs are?

In case you haven't noticed, housing prices are high in Chapel Hill.  Why? Because demand exceeds supply.  Chapel Hill needs more housing. And all the world needs to live closer to places to work and shop.  Mass transportation only works with housing density.

The current configuration of Glen Lennox, with its relatively affordable apartments, may look like a solution but it is not.  The immutable law of supply and demand says more housing within Chapel Hill will in the long run reduce housing prices here.  There is a better and higher use for Glen Lennox -- and that is exactly what Grubb Properties proposes to do with the property they, not we, own.

While I could wish that the neighbors of Glen Lennox could have what they wish, the owners of the property have their rights and the community as whole, looking forward, not back, would be better served by more housing closer to the center of Chapel Hill rather than less.

But, ultimately, the issue is not what the neighbors want but what the owners should be able to do.  Neighbors’ objections are only relevant if they point to some greater social damage.  Here they do not.

 

Gary D. Gaddy is a member of the Orange County Commissioners' Affordable Housing Advisory Board. The views stated here do not necessarily represent those of that board, though he certainly would like it if they did.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday June 26, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy

 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:00 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Recall of human race announced

CHAPEL HILL -- In what business analysts are calling a move unprecedented in the history of manufacturing, God today announced the immediate recall of all currently functioning human beings. The action came after centuries of complaints to God by human beings who have long contended that something was seriously wrong with the human race.

One observer said the direct heaven-to-earth announcement came as "a booming sound that echoed like the voice of God." The clearest reports came from various elevated parts of West Virginia, oceanside on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and mid-town Chapel Hill in North Carolina.

According to University of North Carolina historian Kemp Plummer Battle IV, the many previous attempts by God to repair humanity since the Noachim Flood, all of which have failed, consisted of operating system patches, downloadable software upgrades and revisions of the owner's manual. None of these fixes, said the experts, had ever been correctly or systematically applied.

In the announcement God categorically denied that the recall was a result of a manufacturer's defect.

As legal analyst Bart Yunger, noted, "While there is little record of mankind ever operating properly, it is also true that no human has ever been operated strictly according to the manufacturer's instructions."

"I think we can safely say that legally the warranty on human beings is universally void," added David Felix, a product liability specialist with Klein and Gross Consultancy.

Despite this, God's offer extends the grace period for returns far beyond what is called for by law, making it available to all persons who admit a failure to operate according to design specifications and who then promise that future operation will adhere to manufacturer's guidelines. God also said He will personally bear the costs of restoration for each and every individual accepting this offer.

"This is certainly good news to the average person who will get an entirely new human nature at no cost to himself or herself," said consumer advocate Clark Howard. According to Howard, "God had to do this" to restore the luster to the God brand. "Made by God" used mean something, said Howard. "Humanity," he continued, "really tarnished God's reputation as the producer of nothing less than the best."

Despite the unprecedented generosity of the recall offer, it has been greeted with resistance and skepticism in many quarters. "I don't see any need to respond to 'voices from above' telling me how to live my life," said Schubert Izard from Carrboro. "Sounds a whole lot like what my parents used to yell to me from upstairs before I moved out to my own place," said Izard.

In the announcement God said that there was no point in repairing recalled individuals who will not check off on the new operating system agreement, so, regrettably, they will be permanently taken out of commission.

Most of the world's religions have convened assemblies, conventions or discussion groups to consider what is being generally referred to as "God's Offer." Longtime observers of religion expect most of the groups to reject the proposal outright and the remaining few to make counteroffers that require God to let them write the new operating manual.

Worldwide surveys are in the planning to determine why many people did not hear the announcement. Anecdotal reports indicate that most self-described atheists heard nothing comprehensible. As Los Angeles resident Edmund Hickey, reported, "It just sounded like rumbling thunder to me, dude." Substantial numbers of people whose hearing has been impaired listening to loud rock music were said to have heard only muffled and indistinguishable sounds.

In many parts of the world incessant gunfire and bomb explosions kept anyone from hearing the announcement at all.

The largest group of people who did not receive the announcement said they could not hear it over rancorous theological debates and pervasive religious chanting.

* * *

In other news, Amazon.com announced this afternoon that sales of the "Left Behind" series of 12 novels, which have ridden the top of the company's best seller list for years and sold more than 70 million copies worldwide, stopped selling altogether today. On that news the company's stock dropped $7.33 to finish at $26.26, one half of its 52-week high, and its lowest closing price since early 2003.

 

Gary D. Gaddy studies his OEM owner’s manual on a regular basis.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday June 19, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:04 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 3:59 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, June 12, 2008
The decline and fall of U.S. tennis

ASHEVILLE -- The sad state of American tennis has been much discussed lately. And the saddest state of all is the inability of an American to win on clay. Last year no American man made it out of the first round of the French Open.

This year was little better. Only because Robbie Ginepri made the fourth round did we Americans not get entirely eliminated from a Grand Slam event before the quarterfinals for the second time in the 40-year history of the Open era. And it should be noted that the only time such an early elimination actually happened, the Australian Open in 1973, not a single American man or woman was even in the field.

My trip to this year’s State Championships can only add to current dismay. Now, it is clear, not only have the upper levels of American tennis collapsed but the mediocre levels have as well. When teams which would have me as a playing member make the North Carolina Tennis Championship, or any state championship for that matter, something is woefully wrong -- or I am much better than I let on to be. Trust me, something is woefully wrong.

Last year our team went to Asheville to the state senior men's 3.5 tennis doubles championships and thought we had ended conclusively any debate about whether American men could win on soft courts. Every team we played showed they could -- at least against us.

This year we went to Asheville with hopes of doing better. My lofty personal goal was to win one set.

As you may know, as mediocre as I am, I am also as erratic as I am, so anything could happen. (There are times, I should point out, when Roger Federer wishes he could play like me, such as the third set at this year’s French Open, where I won as many games as he did but lost six fewer.)

Anyway, I am certain my loyal readers are waiting with bated breath to hear how I did at the United States Tennis Association's North Carolina Senior Men's 3.5 Doubles Tennis Championships, but that’s not the question. The question is how on earth did a team which included me as an actual playing member ever get to the state championships? The answer: the system is rigged. In this case, with two teams in our league, one of us has to win, that turned out to be the Hawks of Hollow Rock.

How did the Hawks fare in Asheville? To use the technical term, on Thursday morning, in first matches of the first day of the tournament, we got our clocks cleaned -- effectively erasing our near non-existent odds for making Sunday’s Final Four. Against some old guys from "Down East," our three doubles-partnership second-set scores were 1-6, 1-6 and 0-6. (Guess which one, or should I say which zero, was mine?)

As I noted at the end of the match, to our opponents, Tom and Jerry (actual names of actual people), "it wasn’t fair," noting that Jerry (who also plays in the 70s age group tournaments) had his granddaughter cheering for him and I don’t even have a grandchild. He said she was his wife -- but I still don’t believe him.

The next day was little better as we were again swept on all three courts in straight sets.

Saturday was our last chance. My regular doubles partner Terry O'Culligan drove all the way up from Durham on Saturday morning, arriving in time to play Ken and Bill, who were in close contention, with Terry and me, for Misters Congeniality. (I think they won when in the middle of the match they earnestly offered Terry one of their white shirts to replace the black long-sleeved one he was inexplicably wearing in the sweltering heat.)

We won the first set easily at 6-2, setting up perfectly my personal formula for a catastrophic collapse. In the second set, we were leading 4-1, then ahead 5-2, when we lost a game, then we lost another game. This is how it goes with me.

So, on my serve, with the pressure mounting at 5-4, Terry and I won the game and with it the set and with that the match. As our teammates Bob Clark and Carl Rose had already won their match on another court, it meant the Hawks of Hollow Rock proved without debate that we were not the worst 3.5 senior men's team in the tournament. That honor now belongs to the "The Directors" of Cary.

And it couldn’t belong to nicer guys.

 

In a rare family doubles double, Gary D. Gaddy’s darling wife’s tennis team, the Halyrackets, also went to Asheville to the United States Tennis Association's North Carolina Senior Women's 3.5 Doubles Tennis Championships. They finished in the Final Four for the state.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday June 12, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:31 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, June 10, 2008 9:54 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, June 5, 2008
The Wreck of Old (Southern) 97

DANVILLE. Va. -- You may not have heard about it yet but Old 97 was involved in a wreck. By now you certainly should have because the train crash occurred on September 27, 1903. So, pay attention, this may be you last chance.

I grew up in Danville, Virginia, so I know about The Wreck of the Old 97. Me, and everybody else who's from Danville, knows about the Wreck of the Old 97. It is one of Danville's several famous claims to fame. The others include being The Last Capital of the Confederacy (by some calculations), having the world's largest single-unit textile mill (now completely closed) and having America's biggest tobacco market (once upon a time.)

So, what Danville has left these days is The Wreck of the Old 97, or at least a historical marker at the site of the crash; the wreckage has been cleared for a while.

What makes this train wreck worth remembering? Probably not because it was one of the "worst train wrecks in Virginia," as the historical marker says. "Nine persons . . . killed and seven injured" would barely make the front page these days -- except maybe in Danville's own Register and Bee. (Some recent sources say the actual count was 11 dead and six injured, the historical marker is based on an early, inaccurate account.) The Wreck of the Old 97 is remembered because of The Wreck of the Old 97, the ballad, that is.

The Wreck on the Southern Old 97, as it was originally labeled, was the first million-selling musical record. Charles Noell and Fred Lewey are likely the authors of the first set of lyrics. The melody is from Henry Clay Work's 1865 "The Ship That Never Returned." As recorded in 1924 by light-opera singer Vernon Dalhart, who reworked blind fiddler Henry Whittier’s version, it sold 25 million copies over the following twenty years.

What follows here "in quotes" are the Vernon Dalhart lyrics, followed by, for your edification, a brief personal commentary, just in case you ever visit Danville and need to engage in small talk.

"The Wreck of the Old 97"

"They give him his orders at Monroe, Virginia,
Sayin', Pete, you're way behind time.
This is not 38, but it’s Old 97,
You must put her in Center on time."

Joseph A. ("Steve") Broadey (not Pete as Dalhart misheard) was the engineer who came into Monroe an hour late with his guaranteed-on-time mail train. The North Carolina town of Spencer, as is often sung, was the Southern Railway center station. "38" was another train that didn't deserve it's own song since apparently it never wrecked.

"He looked ‘round, says to his black, greasy fireman,
Just shovel in a little more coal,
Then when we cross that White Oak Mountain
You can watch Old 97 roll."

Many versions unnecessarily change "black" to something more politically correct. The fireman, who stoked the engine, was Caucasian -- but covered with soot and coal dust. White Oak Mountain is the highest point in Pittsylvania County, elevation 1058 feet. "Old 97" wasn't old.

"It's a mighty rough road from Lynchburg to Danville,
And a line on a three-mile grade.
It was on that grade that he lost his average,
And you see what a jump he made."

The railroad line reportedly was not well maintained. Dalhart misheard "air brakes" as the mysterious "average." I don't know what happens when you lose your average, but when a train loses its air brakes on a three-mile downhill grade, it's in trouble.

"He was goin' down grade makin’ 90 mile an hour,
When his whistle broke into a scream.
He was found in the wreck with his hand on the throttle,
And a-scalded to death with the steam."

The railroad claimed the train descended at more than 70 mph on the grade leading to the "jump" at Stillhouse Trestle which spanned the Dan River. Several eyewitnesses said it was probably around 50 mph. I always thought that "hand on the throttle" meant Broadey was still trying to speed the train up -- but in all likelihood the wheels were spinning in reverse. The song doesn't mention it but the baggage car was carrying six crates of canaries which were ironically freed by the wreck.

"Now ladies, you must take warning
From this time now and on,
Never speak hard words to your true lovin' husband
He may leave you and never return."

Engineer Steve Broadey was single. But, still, it's good advice, ladies.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, who grew up in Danville, Va., has walked by the Old 97 historical marker.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday June 5, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:17 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 19, 2008 10:36 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Saturday, May 31, 2008
"Sin" taxes or sensible taxes? Letter to the Editor

I don't agree with Gov. Easley often, but on this I do. The governor's proposal for adding a very modest tax on alcoholic beverages is a very sensible way to fund "mental health."

"Mental health services" in North Carolina, you see, is actually shorthand for mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services. One of our major substance abuse problems is alcoholism. One of the major sources of developmental disabilities is fetal alcohol syndrome. Among the most difficult cases to deal with in treating mental illness are those people with a co-occurring substance abuse problems – and alcohol sits near the top of that list.

So, this modest assessment on alcohol use, a so-called "sin tax," would be better termed a user fee in which we are asking those who use alcohol, including me, to pay for some of the services needed to repair some of the damages caused by alcohol abuse. And, you know what, if you can't afford to add less than a nickel for your bottle of beer, glass of wine or mixed drink, you really need to stop drinking anyway.

So, let your legislators know that you wouldn't mind paying a bit to help fund these much needed services.

Gary D. Gaddy
Durham, NC

Printed in an edited version in the News and Observer (Raleigh) on May 31, 2008.


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:22 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 31, 2008 8:28 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, May 29, 2008
School days: An autobiography

I WAS WHAT EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS call a "challenging student." As an illustration, I have one especially distinct memory from my youth: Mrs. Ferguson, the owner and operator of Mrs. Ferguson’s Kindergarten, picking me up by my shirt collar, stuffing her face right into mine, saying: "Don't ever do that again!" 

Upon several decades of reflection, many in the educational system -- including some time as a teacher myself -- it is now my view that Mrs. Ferguson should have done exactly what she did. This was an exemplary case of "hands-on learning." What Mrs. Ferguson was doing, by re-enacting what she had seen me do to a fellow student, which was re-enacting what I had seen the Lone Ranger do to a bad guy on our black and white television set, was help me develop understanding.

I understood -- don’t do stuff like that -- at least not while Mrs. Ferguson was watching. Her lesson probably kept me out of a lot of trouble in elementary school -- though not nearly enough, I’m certain, for my parents’ satisfaction. (I have three brothers and two sisters, and I am pretty sure that I spent more time in detention, in suspension or sitting in the principal’s office than the other five did combined -- if we don't count my brother Bobby's stint in summer school at the lovely Hargrave Military Academy.)

I cannot claim that "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten." (In fact, I have considered titling the autobiography of my pre-school years "I Didn't Learn Nothin' in Kindiegarden.") The fact is I did learn quite a lot, just very little at the time. Quick on my feet, quick with my tongue, I have always been quite a slow learner.

One particular day when I may have learned more than in any single day of my life was in the fall of 1957, the first day of first grade at Forest Hills Elementary in Danville, Virginia.

A true school learning experience came early on that day. Before the first recess of the morning, our teacher, Mrs. Ragland, had set the tone for the year. Due to talking out of turn, or some other egregious sin, David Cross would have to stay inside while the rest of us went out to play. Now, David was the sort of boy who desperately wanted to do nothing more than please his parents, be on the good side of his friends and do just what the teacher asked of him.

Once, many years later, one of my classmates from that year, Truxton Fulton, reminded me of what kind of child David was. When the teacher was looking for volunteers, David would use his left hand to hold up his right arm so he could wave higher and longer than anyone else -- that is, so he could please, please, please be the volunteer for whatever task it was.

After about 15 or 20 minutes of recess, I got the assignment of going inside to get David to bring him out. I guess Mrs. Ragland thought that was some sort of reprieve. I don't know why I got the assignment. Doubt I volunteered. When I got to the classroom, David had his head on the desk and he was crying. Made me mad. I don't know what I said to him, though I think it was something on the lines of "It'll be alright. She's stupid anyway." I don't know exactly what I thought except that I didn't like a person who would do that to someone like David.

But I do know what I did. At the end of the day, as we lined up to "be dismissed," I was whistling. Not very well, I'm sure, because I can't to this day. Mrs. Ragland said, "Whoever is whistling, please stop." So, I did -- for a moment. Then Mrs. Ragland said again, loudly, "Whoever is whistling, stop!" So, I did -- for a moment. Third time or so she figured out it was me. I was caught! Oh, no! My punishment: I had to stay in after school -- on the first day of school.

Know what I didn't do? Put my head on my desk and cry. Know what I did learn? I don't know either -- but I don’t think it was whatever Mrs. Ragland was trying to teach.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, a frequent visitor to Mr. Gordon's office, was only suspended once for just a couple of days during his six challenging years at Forest Hills Elementary School.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 29, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:24 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 6:31 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Chapel HIll Herald's Regular Thursday Columnist recognized

HILLSBOROUGH -- Gary D. Gaddy, the Chapel Hill Herald's leading regular Thursday columnist was recognized on Wednesday, May 14, 2008 for his authorship of a "local paper column." Gaddy, who was standing in line at the Wendy's near Daniel Boone Village, was accosted by the guy in front of him, who said, "Aren't you that guy with a column in the local paper with your picture next to it?" Gaddy admitted that he was. Later, the same gentleman introduced Gaddy to his wife as "the guy with that column in the local paper." She said, "Sorry, I don't read the local paper."

*********

Fond du Lac man world's first

   (Special from the Fond du Lac Reporter)

FOND DU LAC, WISCONSIN -- A Fond du Lac man has been declared by the Guinness Book of World Records to be the first to "read, understand and accept" all of the terms and conditions associated with an Internet software download.

In a ceremony at his home on East Sheboygan Road, Edgar Polandeski, 37, accepted the certificate from the representative of the Guinness Awards staff. Said Guinness World Records Editor in Chief Craig Glenday, "We have had people apply for this award before but a careful review had always shown their claims to be deficient. Most of the time they had only 'read, understood and accepted' the first panel of terms and conditions. Until we investigated the case for Polandeski, no one else had even come close."

Coming on top of winning the Morgan Quitno Award for the "#1 SAFEST Metropolitan Area for 2006" in its population grouping, "this is quite a double for Fond du Lac," said Council President Mark Jurgella.

Polandeski himself was quite nonplussed by the hubbub surrounding the award. "I didn't know I really wasn't expected to read it all," said Polandeski, who has an associate's degree in business accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac.

Neighbors said they weren't surprised. Eileen Creech, who lives just across the street from Polandeski, noted that he was "very meticulous." Adding, "Like my brother-in-law, he always mows his yard twice, both times on the diagonal."

"Doesn't surprise me at all," said Miriam Zlotby, who attended Sabish Middle School with Polandeski. "He used to be one of those who always was waving his hand to volunteer to help Mrs. Stepenski with whatever. You know, holding one arm up with the other, waving it so hard you thought it'd fly off. He's the one who'd say, 'Miriam, didn't stay in her desk while you were gone, Mrs. Stepenski.' Classic brown-noser. Glad to see it finally got him something."

Although Polandeski accomplished the feat on May 13, 2008, his achievement will not be recognized in print until the 2009 edition of Guinness World Records, which should appear early in January.

*********

CORRECTION, CORRECTION, CORRECTION

Corrections are my specialty -- but usually I am correcting others' misapprehensions, misconceptions and mistaken notions about the true nature of the universe. This time I am correcting one of my own very rare errors.

Earnestly, I am calendar challenged. I have no idea how anyone ever knew what day of the week it was, or day of the month or month of the year, for that matter, before the advent of the modern digital timepiece.

Anyway, in last week's column, I indicated that the Hollow Rock Tennis Calcutta for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society would be last weekend, while actually it is coming up the weekend of May 30-31. My bad! My error, of course, is a good thing, since it means that you can still sign up. Do. It's a good cause and it'll be fun. You don't have to play tennis even. Call Jim to ask him to explain about the event at 489-1550, or email him at jamesmcdonald@mindspring.com.

A further minor correction while I'm at it. James McDonald, the subject of last week's column, is not actually from Perth, as I implied by calling him the "Pied Piper of Perth." He is from a little town called Esperance, a seven-and-a-half-hour drive south of Perth (which is apparently a small distance in Australian). According to Jim, Esperance has "three claims to fame": it has "the best beaches in the world," which beaches also have "the odd shark attack," and, "Skylab fell on it." (If this Skylab claim seems a little too much like your standard Aussie braggadocio, it's not. Wikipedia confirms it.)

 

The last time Gary D. Gaddy was wrong was 1978, when he thought he had made an error, but it turned out he was mistaken about that.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 22, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 6:36 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 22, 2008 6:44 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Down Under at the Hollow Rock Club

As much as I hate to admit it, the tennis director at my tennis club, the Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, Inc., is Australian. He's a likeable enough mate, but he is -- how shall I say this delicately? -- a little too Australian. As I have often explained, if you want to see how Americans are seen by the rest of the world, just look at how we look at Australians: they talk too much, laugh too loud, drink too much. Australians are the über-Americans. Maybe that's why we like them so much.

Our Aussie doesn't seem to be much of a drinker, but we can't hold that against him since he makes up for it in other ways.

As you might expect, his name is Jim McDonald. Oddly, he also goes by the name James. (This may be explained, perhaps, by a checkered past and a fugitive present. Australia, you should know, was founded as a penal colony. To help you understand the culture of the place, when you think "Australia," think "Georgia on a large island." It begins to make more sense now, doesn't it?)

To assist you in identifying this bloke McDonald, in case he is in fact wanted by Australian authorities, here is an inexact description. (I would have done better but the chap won't stand still long enough for me to get good look at him.)

Jim is relatively tall -- although not for an Australian. They are very tall down there. This is easily explained by the fact that people (and pretty much everything else) hangs upside down all day long in Australia. Don't believe me? Here's the data: There are currently 10 Australians playing in the National Basketball Association, all of them are tall.

Jim wears funny hats. I am sure that he would explain it as "sun protection." I'm thinking: So, they don't have the sun in Australia? Then, thinking about it some more, I realize that the sun would shine upward "down under." Maybe that is why so many Australian animals hop so much. Then, thinking about it some more, I realize actually they're probably in the shade all the time, since the sun shines from above and they are "down under." Anyway, he wears funny hats.

Jim is often surrounded by teeming hordes of small to medium-sized children. He appears to be the Pied Piper of Perth. Trailing him are clusters of nippers and ankle biters, who mostly seem to be happy little Vegemites. He calls them "his juniors," but I am pretty sure they are not all his, at least many of them don't look that much like him. It is, I will admit, perplexing how remarkably like his their tennis games are -- which has him constantly grinning like a shot fox.

Jim is relentlessly enthusiastic. Continually, eternally, consistently, exasperatingly enthusiastic. I have seen him at what seemed like 10 o'clock at night hustling kids around the courts with an enthusiasm that would have embarrassed Katie Couric -- in her cheerleading days.

Jim hustles flat out like a lizard drinking, even when he has been at it since the crack of dawn. This is easily explained, however, as Australia is on the other side of the international dateline. So, for Jim, it is always tomorrow, Australian time.

So, you might ask, why does the membership of Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, Inc., put up with such an odd duck? Maybe because every now and then he has an interesting idea like curing cancer by throwing a party where you play some tennis. Friendly as he is, Jim is inviting you, my loyal readers, to join in.

Seriously, what Jim is up to this weekend is raising money for the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. This Friday night there will be a tennis social, party, and an auction. On Saturday morning, there will be a mixed doubles tournament running from 9 am to 2 pmish, as Jim would say.

Play is set in two levels and all players will play at or about their own level, with a fee of $50 per person for the whole event, all to benefit the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society. It's only $25 for those who want to participate but don't care to play tennis. A few spots may still be open. To find out more about what a Tennis Calucutta is, or to register, or just to talk with the bloke, call Jim at 489-1550 or email him at jamesmcdonald@mindspring.com.

 

Gary D. Gaddy once did a semester abroad in Austria, which is not like Australia at all.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 15, 2008.

Copyright  2008  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:18 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 15, 2008 8:25 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, May 8, 2008
The Theft Rings of Fame

CHAPEL HILL -- University of North Carolina junior Elbert Stuckey knew his Blackberry was missing -- but he didn't know where it had gone or what could have happened while the thieves had it. Elbert, one of the fortunate few, got his electronic organizer back before the crooks could take what they had purloined it for: his fifteen minutes of fame.

This report is the first in a three-part investigation into the pilfering of fame, starting with the international network of organized crime families who have moved into this new and lucrative area of theft: stealing the future fame of the ordinary citizens, then selling it on international black markets to the well-to-do. These in-depth reports are the result of dozens of interviews with international law enforcement officials as well as numerous buyers and sellers of fame from around the world.

In America, and other wealthy societies in Western Europe and East Asia, money is cheap. This often leaves the rich wanting something more than riches. Even when you're a Hilton you can only stay in one fancy hotel at a time. Often neglected as children, the rich want love, but as almost everyone knows: "Money can't buy you love." So, they have started buying the next closest thing: attention.

But if attention is opium, attention in its purest form, fame, is heroin.

In the bygone era of the robber barons, the Astors, Carnegies and Rockefellers got their full share of fame because they were so few. In the current era, when a million-dollar mansion is just another tract home, even the rich have their fame rationed out to them like gasoline during World War II.

In 1968, when pop artist and impresario Andy Warhol uttered his famous dictum, "In the future everyone will be famous for fifteen minutes," he couldn't know how true it would become -- and how a synchronized set of crime syndicates located around the world would thwart it for illegal gain.

The underground market in fame-shifting began in the early 1980s in Lucerne, Switzerland, where a Swiss watch-making family, whose business had collapsed under the combined pressure of digital technology and cheap Chinese labor, was left scrambling for survival. Taking local knowledge of international currency markets running through the Swiss banking system, making connections to futures traders in Chicago, and combining those with their understanding of time-zone shifting, the Kronos family began stealing and selling future fame.

How does it work? Around the world low-level thieves steal PDAs, smartphones and notebook computers, any electronic device that contains a digital daytimer, calendar or personal organization software. These petty thieves then hock the devices for pennies on the dollar to "hot goods" wholesalers.

Then the real theft begins. These syndicates ship this hardware in bulk by air to their own computer specialists who download key data from each device. While personal identification information is taken, as it is of value for those who have good credit or some money in their bank accounts, for the majority it's only the future fame data that's of real value.

Few people know it, but encrypted in the code of every piece of personal organization software is the future fame data for that individual. Usually it's fifteen minutes. Technicians take these segments of fame, adjust them for time zone differences, then aggregate them into consecutive hours, days, even years of seamless fame.

These processed chunks of fame are moved by secure high-speed data lines to Los Angeles, New York, London, Monte Carlo -- and anywhere else the rich "and famous" cavort -- where they are sold for as much as $1000 a minute.

Which brings us to Paris in the springtime, or any other time of year, for that matter. Paris Hilton, wherever she might be, is in the news -- regardless of whether she has done anything newsworthy or not. Explanation: Hilton, say sources inside INTERPOL, the International Criminal Police Organization, is the single largest individual purchaser of fame in the world, often buying upwards of 3000 minutes a week at an estimated cost of $1.5 million a month. A "simple life" indeed.

The same sources at INTERPOL say these exorbitant costs explain why Nicole Richie seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth for months after her split with Hilton. At these prices, super-fame is only for the super-rich.

So, what happens to the thousands, even millions, of ordinary people who each year lose their fifteen minutes of fame? We'll never know -- exactly because they did.

And, meanwhile, what would have happened to Elbert Stuckey, if the police hadn't busted the gang from Morrisville before they could ship his Palm Pilot to Hong Kong? It's hard to say with any certainty, but one thing we know for sure -- he wouldn't have made this story.

Next week: "What do the Famous do with Fame?"  The following week: "The Price of Fame."

 

Gary D. Gaddy fears this is his fifteen minutes of fame.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 8, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 11:39 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 14, 2008 9:52 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, May 1, 2008
A hearty welcome to HRTennisFriends

-----Original Message-----

To: HRTennisFriends
Subject: New members

Please give a hearty Hollow Rock welcome to new group members Jerry Eidenier, Steve Kennedy, and Bill McCaskill, the addition of whom clearly raises the tennis ability, intelligence level, and attractiveness quotient of our group as a whole!

On another subject, the next time one of our matches that I'm scheduled to play in is rained out, the foursome is invited to my house for a Beer Pong match.  I only live 7 minutes away from the club.  If you're not familiar with Beer Pong, check out  http://www.beerpong.com.  We also have some local rule variations which will remain undisclosed at this time.

Lex

-----My Reply-----

To the registered members of HRTennisFriends in general and Messers Eidenier, Kennedy and McCaskill in particular,

I have been out of out town so I have had not a chance to respond in a timely fashion to Lex Larson's missive regarding our list's new members. Sorry for the delay. First, and I think I speak for the group as a whole, Mr. Larson is not now nor has he ever been my official spokesperson.

And it should be noted that a "hearty Hollow Rock welcome," is most commonly displayed as a crisp backhand passing shot. As to Mr. Larson's contention that your collective addition "raises" anything, Lex may be speaking for himself. Tennis ability shall be determined upon the courts; intelligence by direct comparisons of PSATs, SATs, GREs, MedCats or in desperate circumstances, LSATs; and relative attractiveness shall be determined by the results of recognized beauty contests, or, alternatively, a valid poll of the dues-paying female members of the Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club, Inc.

The excess consumption of alcoholic beverages is neither endorsed nor condoned by HRTennisFriends. Further, as per USTA regulations and in the interest of fair play, all rules shall be publicly disclosed, being published in an openly available forum. Further, I highly recommend that our new members decline this seemingly kind "Beer Pong" offer. Never play drinking games with a former bar owner.

Sincerely, representing himself and other like-minded individuals,

Gary D. Gaddy

-----Reply to My Reply----

HRTennisFriend Ben Elliott responded under his regular nom de plume of "Bud Wiser":

GADDY FOR PRESIDENT   GADDY FOR PRESIDENT

-----Further Reply to My Reply----

Gary:

Thanks so much for responding to my email. I especially appreciate your input since everyone else (except Ben Elliott) appears to have been stunned into silence.

I want to assure you and others that my email was in jest. If the truth be told, the rest of us group members are every bit as athletic, brilliant, and drop dead handsome as Jerry, Steve and Bill. And as to the Beer Pong, this too was not a serious offer, though surely the regular late night Beer Pong matches at Hollow Rock could not have escaped your attention. Do you think it no more than coincidence that the beer keg sits so close to the ping pong table?

Take care,

Lex

-----My Final Reply-----

Dear Lex,

I can see that I forced you into your lawyerly mode. I certainly did not intend to do such. Being married to an attorney at law, I understand how awkward a posture that is. Clarification without admission of any culpability, however, should strengthen your legal position should a tort arise.

Your parenthetical "Except Ben Elliott" is a phrase I find myself using quite often as well. I expect that Ben was recognized as exceptional from his earliest school days. Mr. Elliott being stunned into silence -- now that would be exceptional. As for Mr. Elliott's political backing, I am not now a candidate for any elective office, but if I were would certainly welcome his endorsement about like I would that of Louis Farrakhan.

While I appreciate your attempt at repairing the damage your previous email wrought, you ain't gonna Lake Wobegon me. We are not all above average. If I thought you meant to imply that I am "every bit as athletic, brilliant and drop dead handsome" as, say, Bill McCaskill, you couldn't hire enough lawyers to win that suit. I am also certain that Messrs. Eidenier and Kennedy would be glad to join in said legal action, if they thought this unfortunate phrase was anything other than an extended typo.

And, finally, the United States Table Tennis Association, which strongly recommends against using the trivializing term "ping pong" (as well as "ping-ing" to determine who serves first), is currently running a significant media campaign to discourage mixing drinking and table tennis. I would have hoped you could have been more supportive.

Your HRTennisFriend,

Gary

 

Gary D. Gaddy, who was, at the time of this writing, a member of the HRTennisFriends listserv group, often wonders how Mrs. Larson knew when she named her son Lex.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Thursday May 1, 2008.  Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:53 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 1, 2008 1:04 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Shari Lewis exhumed; Lamp Chop questioned

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The body of actress and comedienne Shari Lewis has been exhumed, the Los Angeles Medical Examiner announced today, initiating a new investigation into the circumstances surrounding to her death in 1998. The death which had originally been investigated as a suicide but ruled "death by natural causes" is being reopened as a probable homicide.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office denied that this move bore any relation to the posthumous publication this week of Ms. Lewis's autobiography, entitled "Socks, Lies and Videotape." The book details the rocky relationship between Ms. Lewis and her protégé, co-performer and longtime companion, Lamb Chop.

Observers have long noted that the witty on-air banter between Lewis and Lamb Chop became increasingly acrid over the years, paralleling the increasing warmth of relationship among Lewis, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse.

According to his close friend Oscar, Lamb Chop always resented the "cute" Lamb Chop name, as well as getting second billing to Lewis. "They treat us like their little marionettes," said Oscar, adding, "And who do you think wrote our best stuff? Henson? Lewis? Right. Neither one of them could improv their way out of bag puppet. Just one time, I'd like to Punch and Judy them."

The interview with Oscar terminated quickly when the topic of Henson's untimely death was raised.

In her autobiography Lewis reveals that in late 1996 she began to develop an allergy to wool "which put a barrier between Lamb Chop and me." Lewis also said that Lamb Chop often complained of "being used." She quotes him as saying to her, "How would you like to try to perform comedy with someone's hand stuck up your . . ." just before throwing himself onto the middle of the bedroom floor in tears.

"Toward the end," Lewis wrote, "our friendship was just an act."

Buzz Berkeley, of E. F. Mutton and Associates, the public relations firm representing the artist formerly known as Lamb Chop, said that "Chopper had moved on in his life" and that "this travesty would do nothing but unravel old wounds."

Attorney Levi Cohen, of the law firm of Cohen, Kohein, Cohn, Cahn, Cone, Kohn, Kahn and possibly Katz, which represents the Lewis family, said that regardless of how the investigation turns out, he is sure his firm will make lots of money.

Chopper, who was a "sock of interest" in the original investigation into Ms. Lewis's death, parlayed that notoriety into a new career as part of the popular rap duo Chops and the Ice Kween. Sales of the latest C/IK cd, "Bust Yer Chops," spiked following the exhumation announcement.

LAPD investigators said technology unavailable in 1998 may bring to light new information regarding the death of Lewis. "For example," said Detective Kram Manfuhr, "the previously unexplained rash on Lewis's neck may have been caused by contact dermatitis." Manfuhr was quick to note that while the re-opened investigation was "not focusing" on any one individual, "Mr. Chop was the only one in the room at the time of Ms. Lewis's death."

* * *

Puff (the Magic Dragon) busted

LONDON -- Puff (the Magic Dragon), who had disappeared from the public eye following the last Peter, Paul and Mary Reunion Tour, re-appeared in a London courtroom today. Puffy, as he is currently known, was arrested in Heathrow Airport after drug sniffing dogs alerted customs officials to a suspicious smell.

The barrister representing Puffy, the Honorable Lord Beaverbrook, said that his client was "absolutely, undeniably, unequivocally innocent." According to Lord Beaverbrook, Puffy hasn't done any "illegal substances" since he entered treatment at the Betty Ford Center in 1989. "In his day Puffy did his dope, just like we all did back then, but now he won't even touch out-of-date cottage cheese."

It's a simple case of mistaken olfactory, Lord Beaverbrook contends. "The dogs smelled smoke, without a doubt, but he's dragon for God's sake! What's next? Arresting Topo Gigio for having Limburger on his breath?"

Regarding the "green vegetable matter found on Mr. Puff's person," Lord Beaverbrook argued that this was "an herbal preparation Puffy used to treat his glaucoma." This eye-condition, which is an issue in a civil suit filed by Puffy against Warner Brothers, was, according to briefs filed earlier in a Los Angeles court, "induced by overexposure to the fine print on record industry contracts."

In the late '60's Puffy was indicted and tried twice, but convicted neither time, on drug smuggling charges. Accusations of jury tampering and witness intimidation were never proven. Inside sources at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, however, remain convinced that Puff was linchpin in the Hanah Lee - Los Angeles drug connection.

 

Gary D. Gaddy was once a regular viewer of the Shari Lewis Show.

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 24, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:01 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 10:30 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Gaddy v. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

IN THE DISTRICT COURT OF ORANGE COUNTY,

GARY DOUGLAS GADDY, individually and on behalf of a class of similarly situated individuals,

Plaintiff No. 6160

JURY TRIAL DEMANDED

v.

Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., a New York Corporation,

and Miss Clara X. (name withheld to protect minor status),

Defendants

 

CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT

Plaintiff Gary D. Gaddy, on behalf of himself and a class of similarly situated individuals, brings this action against defendant Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. ("Girl Scouts"), and Miss Clara X. and a class of similarly situated individuals. Upon personal knowledge as to himself and his own acts and upon information and belief as to all other matters, Gaddy complains as follows:

VENUE

1. Venue is proper in Orange County because Miss X. resides in Orange County and Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. does business in the same and because the wrongful acts arose here.

PARTIES

2. Gaddy is a resident of North Carolina.

3. Miss X. is a resident of North Carolina.

4. Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is a North Carolina corporation with a place of business in Orange County, North Carolina.

CAUSES OF ACTION

5. In an effort to promote its wares and increase the sales thereof, Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has established an incentive-based system to promote, sell and convey cookies and similar confections to the public.

6. The Girl Scouts' system is inherently flawed and unfair to the public at large and Mr. Gaddy in particular.

7. The Girl Scouts' system works as follows: Under-aged and generally irresistible salespersons (hereafter referred to as "scouts") go door-to-door promoting and selling the above mentioned confections to unsuspecting neighbors, who have little choice but to purchase said offerings in general, and in particular when said scout was as irresistible as Miss X.

8. The Girl Scouts knew, or should have known, that such offerings (hereafter referred to as "cookies") such as Shortbread (previously known as Trefoils), Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Patties, Caramel deLites, and Thanks-A-Lots, as well as other such confections as produced by ABC/Interbake Foods and/or Little Brownie Bakers, would lead to purchases in large quantities.

9. The Girl Scouts knew, or should have known, that such purchases would lead to consumption of the aforementioned cookies.

10. The Girl Scouts knew, or should have known, that such consumption, often as many as a single box in less than one hour's time, in the case of Mr. Gaddy, would lead to rapid and substantial weight gain.

11. The Girl Scouts knew, or should have known, that said consumption of such confections would lead to pain and suffering, in particular whenever Mr. Gaddy attempted to buckle his pants.

12. The Girl Scouts knew, or should have known, that marital discord would arise whenever purchasers, such as Mr. Gaddy, ate "more than his share" of the aforementioned cookies.

RELIEF REQUESTED

13. Payment to Mr. Gaddy in the amount of $28 in compensation for the cookies which he was enticed to purchase.

14. Payment to Mr. Gaddy in the amount of $56 for the purchase of two pair of slacks, waist size 38.

16. Payment to Mr. Gaddy in the amount of $256 for 16 months of WeightWatchers Online, allowing a loss during such program of an average of one pound of weight for every two months.

17. Payment to Mr. Gaddy in the amount of $5200 for one year of marital counseling.

18. Payment to Mr. Gaddy in the amount of one quadrillion dollars in compensation for the loss of pleasure and enjoyment that has come from visits from Miss X. that are likely to cease as a result of the unfortunate necessity of this lawsuit.

And Mr. Gaddy requests such other relief as the court finds good and proper, both present and future, as the likelihood is that Mr. Gaddy will again be enticed to support the good and worthwhile activities of the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. again and again and again.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, whose college girlfriend was a Girl Scout leader, was once informally inducted into a "Mixed Scout" troop.

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 17, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:03 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 1, 2008 10:13 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, April 10, 2008
God quits the religion business

CHAPEL HILL -- God has announced that he is quitting the religion business, belated media reports indicate. As CEO, CFO and COO of the world's largest religion conglomerate, God has been a major industry fixture since its origin. Industry insiders say that they had seen this move coming for some time.

"I'm out," God said. "This whole operation has really run its cycle. Like I said in Ecclesiastes, there's a time to sow and there's a time to reap. And, as you may know, I haven't had a day off since Genesis 2. I could use a breather."

God made the brief announcement last Saturday evening before the assembled press in the media room at the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center on the University of North Carolina campus before taking questions.

Asked where he is going from here, God said he plans on expanding his personal-potential consulting business. "I always enjoyed working with people one-on-one. Without having so much bureaucracy to manage, I'll have much more time to spend with individuals who are seriously interested in personal growth and development," he said.

In response to a follow-up from Gilbert Klein of the Wall Street Journal, God said that he is, of course, considering spending some time writing his memoirs but first wants to work on a revision of his all-time-bestseller, The Bible.

"Right off, I'm looking for a new title. 'The Bible' is kind of pretentious, don't you think? Or at least it used to be," said God. "Calling something "The Book," once that seemed a little over the top -- even for the eternal truth -- but the way the term has been devalued these days, I mean, everything's a 'bible' now. If you don't believe me, which I know a lot of you don't, then try googling 'The Bible of'. You get 853,000 results -- only a fraction about the Bible," he said with a tone of mild frustration.

"Look at this stuff they call bibles these days. Seriously, I don’t know where to start: The Bible of Options Strategies; The Bible of Hip-Hop Music, Culture and Politics; The Bible of Booze; The Bible of Six-Man Football in Texas; The Bible of Deer Management; The Bible of Spatial Indexing; The Bible of Computational Fluid Dynamics -- trust me I could keep going. In fact, I will, look at these two: The Bible of Poodle Pedigrees and The Bible of Wedding Toasts. This has gotten ridiculous," said God.

Then, with a soulful look in his eyes, God added, "It’s a wonder the Gideons, bless their hearts, can even give the real things away. What's a franchise worth with a brand as diluted as ‘The Bible’? About the same as Frigidaire, I'd guess."

While some analysts speculated that God's resignation was made "under duress," he said that he made the decision "of his own free will." The consensus among analysts was that this was the same straight talk that the street had grown used to hearing from God, who John Welker of Forbes magazine calls "the greatest figure in the history of the religion industry."

"I think he left on his own terms," agreed Lev Gottlieb, a religion industry specialist for Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. "The way I look at it, nobody is telling God he has to go, anymore than anyone could tell Dean Smith to pack up and leave," referencing former UNC head men's basketball coach whose name was lent to the facility in which God, like Smith, chose to announce his "job transition."

God also said that he hopes to get in a "little travel" during his "non-retirement." People don't understand, God said, that when you're "everywhere all the time you don't really get a good feel for specific places. I’d really like to get a nice look at the Sistine Chapel."

After the surprisingly lightly attended press conference, one media observer, Gans Ebert of Business Week, said the sparse coverage was "a result of a typically poor scheduling decision," with the event being in conflict with NCAA men's basketball Final Four which included the University of North Carolina.

Public relations guru Hector Polloy said that this miscalculation was "characteristic of such decisions lately," Polloy asked. "Just as an example, I know it was tradition and all that, but keeping weekly worship on late Sunday morning even when the Atlantic Coast Conference was broadcasting the tournament championship game at noon -- that was just stupid. That's giving away regional market share."

Wall Street gave a lukewarm verdict on God's decision as the IRI (the Index of Religion Industrials) held steady, losing less than one point to finish the day at 776.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, who isn't retired either, is also writing his memoirs -- one line at a time.

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 10, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, May 11, 2008 11:05 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, April 3, 2008
April Fool's Day column rejected

CHAPEL HILL -- In a move that has sent the upper circles of journalism reeling, Neil Offen, editor of the Chapel Hill Herald, has rejected an April's Fool's column submitted by the Herald's leading regular Thursday columnist, Gary D. Gaddy.

Originally, the column was deep sixed by Offen without comment or explanation. But, when pressed by Gaddy, Offen first said he did it because it wasn't "April Foolish" enough. Later, during a press conference he held to try to explain his decision, Offen claimed the rejection came about because, even though the column was submitted on April 1st, it would confuse readers since it wouldn't appear in print until April 3rd.

Said Offen, "While we have a well-educated, well-read and generally sophisticated readership, they tend to be as literal as they are liberal. If you want to make an April Fool's joke, our readers expect it to be on April Fool's Day, just like they expect the full-color comics to run on Sunday."

"Please consider that these are people who called the UNC chancellor's office in a tizzy, asking Dr. Moeser whether 'UNC [really was] to hire a Republican.' These are the same people who tried to make reservations at the new Hooters restaurant in Carrboro, too," said Offen.

When questions began, Offen excused himself, slipped out a back door and was whisked away in a waiting limo.

Even after Offen laid low, "unavailable for comment," for several days, the controversy failed to die down. Offen then agreed to appear on WCHL’s Morning Show, where genial host Ron Stutts asked him to elucidate his decision-making process. Offen again changed course, saying that he felt that derision has its place in commentary but not when he (Offen) was the object.

As Offen continued, speaking in what sounded to be some sort of Yankee accent, he said that the primary reason he became an editor was so "he could be the critic not the object of critique," then adding, "If I wanted to be laughed at, I'd be a minister like Mitch Simpson."

The ever-sympathetic Stutts agreed. "Gaddy tried to do one of those audio 'Commentator's Columns' making fun of me, but I squashed that like a June bug. If I wanted to be made fun of, I'd run for president of the United States, that's what that office is for, I think," said Stutts, holding up a piñata that looked like Dick Cheney's head.

Then, in a first for local talk radio, former UNC coach Dean Smith, current coach Roy Williams and current Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came on the air simultaneously to discuss "being made fun of." Williams and Krzyzewski agreed that it was acceptable for the other to be derided but didn't think that they themselves should be.

Smith, taking the high ground, said that he didn't think anyone should be made fun of, not even Coach Bobby Knight.

Reminded by Offen that Knight often made fun of journalists, Smith said, "Yeah, but that's because you guys ask stupid and ignorant questions." Then Smith scrunched up his face into a weird expression and asked, "How's that for a game face, twerp?"

Stutts, who had just renegotiated the contract to air the "Stephanie Miller Show," then poked Smith in the chest and made a crude noise, when Williams jumped on him, as Krzyzewski jumped on Offen. Stutts then pulled the plug on the show.

Outside the WCHL studios, a spontaneous demonstration broke out when a rumor circulated that Gaddy might be inside. Carrboro mayor Mark Chilton was seen carrying a sign saying, "Keep the U.S. out of Carrboro." A perfectly coiffed John Edwards was there, also carrying a sign, which read, "Keep your hands off my hair. Go Heels!" A rowdy contingent of Hollow Rock Racquet and Swim Club members, lead by Tom Bordeaux, chanted for Gaddy’s head.

The Chapel Hill police were called in after fisticuffs broke out between Mark Acuff, the pastor of Teaching and Community at Chapel Hill Bible Church, and Dr. H. Mitchell Simpson, Ph.D., the senior pastor of University Baptist. Bystanders said the fight started as an argument over whether Gary D. Gaddy was related to the Reverend C. Welton Gaddy, host of the NPR program "State of Belief," which (Gary) Gaddy has said should have the motto: "All the liberal theology fit to air."

Bystanders said that Acuff won handily -- being knocked out when he turned the other cheek.

The commotion was brought under control when the Chapel Hill Police Department’s Crisis Intervention Unit Officer, Jim Huegerich, made several really bad puns, dispersing the crowd.

Gaddy’s agent, publicist and personal attorney, Ms. S. G. Herring, J.D., said that Gaddy was well on his way to recovering from the rejection, and is now resting comfortably at his Orange County estate.

 

Gary D. Gaddy makes fun of himself, as well as others, on a regular basis.  

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 3, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:00 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Rapid rabbit flu spreads nationwide

CHAPEL HILL – A nationwide epidemic alert has been issued today by the Centers for Disease Control. According to the CDC, large portions of the U.S. population are currently endangered by the rapid spread of an influenza strain termed March Hare Syndrome (MHS), which has been observed in eight sites across the United States.

CDC experts, who have been working with researchers at both UNC and Duke, say they are not sure at this point if the outbreak can be contained.

Varying distinctly from previous flu-like disorders which originated in specific animal hosts, such as swine and birds, MHS began in a variety of animal species then jumped to homo sapiens. In previous seasons, dominant disease carriers have included 'gators and bruins.

This season's most widespread strain of March Hare Syndrome, commonly termed Rapid Rabbit Flu, follows the pattern of previous spring seasons filled with sporadic episodes building through the month of March, coming to a head in early April. The current incarnation of the disease is so named for what scientists think is the most "prime mover" of the trans-species transfer of the disease, the common rabbit (Tywonagus carolinus).

Dr. Robert Briggaman of the University of North Carolina’s School of Medicine, one of the area's leading experts on the disorder, says that susceptible individuals should be on the lookout for a series of telltale warning signs. These include, in MHS-H (the "high" or feverish strain of the disorder), splotches with a pale blue colorization, morning hoarseness, tick-like twitching, and aching in the neck caused by repeated rapid back-and-forth head movements.

MHS-H also can be manifest, says Briggaman, in physical manifestations such as fast breathing, bulging eyeballs, and involuntary utterances and exclamations, especially those with euphoric components.

Recently verified cases observed in Chapel Hill have shown fevers as high as 108 and 113.

Dr. Lawrence "Doc" Muhlbaier, faculty member in the Duke Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics and statistician with the Duke Clinical Research Institute, says that far more dangerous than MHS-H is MHS-D (the "low" or clammy strain of the disorder), commonly known as the Devil's Disease. Having personally measured both, Muhlbaier says, "The lows of MHS-D are far lower than the elevations of MHS-H are high."

Muhlbaier details the warning signs of the "D" form of the disorder. The primary indicator is a dark-blue colorization which sometimes infects the entire skin surface. Other symptoms include a hypomania manifest in exceptionally fast speech and sinus congestion leading to a nasal tone of voice. Similar to MHS-H, MHS-D is also characterized by morning hoarseness but with an associated verbal coarseness that tends toward blue, usually of the darker shades.

MHS-D has four distinct stages, what Muhlbaier calls "The Four D's": delusion, delirium, distress and depression. Delusion, says Muhlbaier, begins as unrealistic expectations, often based on previous experiences with MHS-H. Delirium sets in when the first symptoms match those of MHS-H, but the sufferer does not recognize the emerging signs of MHS-D.

Distress begins, says Muhlbaier, when the individual experiences a continuing clammy coldness that will not dissipate, that is unlike anything that occurs in MHS-H. Finally, the onset of the depression phase is typically marked by buzzing or ringing in the ears, alternatively followed by either an even louder roar or dead silence.

The most intense irruptions of this season of MHS-D are reported in Lexington, Kentucky; Bloomington, Indiana; and, as noted, locally in Durham.

MHS-D, despite the similarity in symptomology, and although genetically related, is apparently not the same disorder as the blue flu suffered by Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, which also causes loss of voice and stamina.

For those who wish to keep up to date on this ongoing public health crisis, as a public service the CBS television network has been dedicating large swaths of broadcast time to covering the epidemic, with on-site reports from local infection hotspots, with break ins for any given broadcast with notable developments from other sites.

The CDC says if the epidemic follows its now standard course, this weekend's surge in Wake County will die down but there will be a further spate of cases in North Carolina later this week, with its expected epicenter to be in Mecklenburg County. The CDC says that this looks to be the worst outbreak in the state since 2005.

The CDC 's lead researcher on MHS, Dr. Campbell Finley, predicts that, based on local conditions, the next major MHS event will occur in west Texas within several weeks, with an expected ratio of MHS-D to MHS-H of three to one.

 

Gary D. Gaddy, whose household has been dealing with mild cases of MHS-H, would like to extend his condolences to the Witman family, and others, battling near deadly strains of MHS-D.

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday March 27, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 1:49 PM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Carrboro declares war on Vermont

CARRBORO -- Carrboro's Board of Alderpersons last evening passed a declaration of war in response to the actions taken by two Vermont communities during the Super Tuesday Primaries, calling them "unjustifiable pre-emptive strikes." Although some political analysts say that this could be just the first step in an escalating crisis, they hope that it will not lead to an actual war between the previously politically aligned communities.

Voters in two Vermont towns on March 4th approved measures that order local police to arrest President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney for "crimes against our Constitution," according to reports in their local media. The nonbinding, symbolic measures, passed in Brattleboro and Marlboro instruct town police to "extradite them to other authorities that may reasonably contend to prosecute them."

"This, it should be well-established by now, is our turf," said Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton. "If any locality, especially a borough, has the prerogative of unilaterally overturning the United States Constitution, it is Carrboro," he said. "We been out front on this for years," he added "When amateurs start dabbling in constitutional politics, they will muck things up, and Brattleboro and Marlboro have done just that," said Chilton.

"If you tell these guys (Bush and Cheney) -- tell them out loud you're going to arrest them if they come to your town -- guess what, they're not going to come to your town. They're not that stupid; at least not both of them," said Chilton. "In order to keep our leading-edge position on these issues, as mayor I now have to release what had been a discreet closed-chamber vote instructing our police to arrest Bush or Cheney or either of their wives if they ever even think about coming to Carrboro," said Chilton.

"It was bad enough when our allies in France began backtracking on their commitment to anti-Americanism, but when Vermont starts undercutting our efforts, it gets really tough. Still, we think that if we hold firmly to our position we can get Bush out of office on January 20, 2009," said Chilton.

"They wouldn't seem to know it, but Bush has never visited their state as president. Just because he has spent vacations at his family compound in nearby Maine doesn't change that. So, guess what? Don't be expecting any sales tax dollars from ol' W now," said Chilton.

Vermont, home to maple syrup and picture-postcard views, is known for its liberal politics. Carrboro, home to the Carrboro Music Festival, is a small town on the western fringe of Chapel Hill.

 

NCAA expands tournament by one-half

OVERLAND PARK, KANSAS -- The National Collegiate Athletic Association announced today that it will add a half-team to this year's men's college Division I basketball playoff format. After adding what many had hoped would be the 65th and final team to its post-season national championship tournament in 2001, the NCAA says it would now include one half of one team in an innovative shirts versus skins game among the players of the most deserving team left out of both the NCAA tournament and the year-end National Invitational Tournament. The winner of the game will then play the loser of the 64th versus 65th place "play-in" game one week after the Final Four is played, for the right to be considered for next year's preseason NIT.

According to NCAA spokesperson Wally Renfro, the game was primarily created to fill the gap between the NCAA's postseason tournament and the prediction and analysis shows which precede the broadcast of the National Basketball Association draft lottery show. "It will go head to head with the University of Oklahoma spring football Red-and-White game, and, honestly, we expect it will do quite well outside of the Midwest."

 

Gary D. Gaddy has never been to Vermont (only one of three states east of the Mississippi to hold such a distinction), but did once attend a concert by Andrés Segovia in Boston in 1970.

A version of this article was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday March 20, 2008.

Copyright 2008 Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:08 AM EDT
Post Comment | Permalink

Newer | Latest | Older