GARY D. GADDY
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Friday, June 24, 2011
Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics: Facts that speak for themselves

EVER WONDER WHY THE RECOVERY from this current recession is taking so long?  Historically, sharp economic declines are followed by steep bounces back up.  But not this time. 

The other night I was listening to the Mark Levin Show on the radio, which I do sometimes, even though he is often so strident that it is hard to hear the substance.  This particular night the substance trumped the stridency.  I caught his talk in the middle so I was not sure but I thought he was reading something written by someone else.  A little research via Levin’s website showed he was.  He was reading an article entitled "Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics: Facts and Figures" by Peter Ferrara published in Forbes magazine.  My column this week is little more than a summary of Ferrara's.

Here is Reagan's four-point economic program: Cut tax rates, reduce government spending, restrain money supply growth and deregulate the economy.

What was the result?  The Reagan Recovery (which started in November 1982 and lasted 92 months, the longest peacetime expansion ever).

What happened during the Reagan Recovery?  The economy grew by almost one-third as nearly 20 million new jobs were created and the American standard of living increased by almost 20% in seven years, and as this happened rich and poor and middle class benefited together, with the poverty rate declining every year from 1984 to 1989 (dropping by one-sixth from its peak), while the stock market more than tripled in value from 1980 to 1990.  Further, inflation, the bane of every man, collapsed not to revive for decades.

Meanwhile, what has been Obama's economic program?  (These policies may sound familiar, in an inverted sort of way.) Raise tax rates (on the rich mostly), increase government spending (the Stimulus), increase money supply growth (quantitative easing) and re-regulate the economy (e.g., healthcare reform, financial industry regulation, oil drilling moratorium).

What about the Obama Recovery?  History will show the Obama Recovery never happened.

As economist John Lott has said, “For the last couple of years, President Obama keeps claiming that the recession was the worst economy since the Great Depression.  But this is not correct.  This is the worst 'recovery' since the Great Depression.”

Is this non-existent recovery all President Obama's fault?  No, Ben Bernanke and John Maynard Keynes deserve some of the credit as well.  (Not to mention the Democrat-controlled Congresses of 2007 to 2010.)  Presidents are always given more blame and more credit for cyclical macro-economic events than they deserve -- but government actions do matter.  Policies do have an impact.

This is true with local business climate.  (Ask any business person who ever tried to do business in Chapel Hill/Carrboro.)  This is true with state business climate.  (If you were paying attention back then, you may have noticed that North Carolina avoided to a large degree the recession that preceded the Reagan Recovery.)  And it is clearly true with the economic influence of our current, massive federal government.

While Obama isn't solely responsible for the Obama Non-Recovery, isn't it interesting that opposite policies do appear to correspond to such distinct economic trends?  Personally, I don't blame Obama or the Democrats.  I blame the Republicans -- for not nominating anyone who held firmly to Reagan's economic philosophy since they last nominated Reagan.



Gary D. Gaddy recommends reading the original Ferrara article on which this column is based, which may be done by Googling "Reaganomics vs. Obamanomics facts and figures" and by Googling "Editorial: A Tale Of Two Recessions" to see clear illustration of some of these data.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday June 24, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 24, 2011 8:03 AM EDT
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Friday, June 17, 2011
Extemporizing on temporary taxes, North Carolina edition
 
THE LAST TAX, THE LATEST TAX, the next proposed tax, is, as always, "just."  (By "just" I don't mean justified or righteous, I mean "mere" as in "just one cent.")
 
If a "one cent" increase in the North Carolina sales tax sounds like just a tad or smidgen, consider that it could have been just as accurately be called a 22% increase as it went from 4.5% to 5.5%.  Further, it is difficult to call "small" any tax that took into the state government coffers an estimated additional $800 million in one year.  Money that would otherwise go into the private sector, increasing revenue, profits and jobs.
 
On October 1, 2009, the North Carolina sales tax was increased "temporarily" to 5.75%, set in the same law to return to 4.75% on July 1, 2011.  (Notice that the extra 0.25% that was added along the way cost taxpayers "just" $200 million more a year.)
 
A "one cent" increase in the sales tax does sound innocuous, but just as each little straw adds little to the camel's burden, if they are always being added and never being removed, one day one little straw will break the back of the strongest camel.  Right now, just as it was in October 2009, North Carolina's economy is not a healthy camel, it is one sick puppy.  While there is no good time to raise taxes in terms of strengthening an economy, in the midst of recession is the worst possible time -- with one exception, which North Carolina has already tried.
 
I read the local newspapers for information.  Happily, thanks to letters to the editor, they sometimes include some.  
 
We owe a debt of gratitude to Charles Leonard of Smithfield (who wrote in to the News and Observer recently), for teaching us that of North Carolina's current 5.75% sales tax, 4.25% was enacted as various "temporary taxes."  (For you skeptics, Mr. Leonard's facts are confirmed in a report by Cindy Avrette of the Research Division of the North Carolina General Assembly made in November 2009.)
 
In 1931, in the midst of what became the Great Depression, the state enacted a temporary sales tax of 3.0% as "an emergency measure." In 1939, that tax was made permanent.
 
In 2001, the legislature enacted another temporary sales tax of 0.5%, which was extended, eventually cut to 0.25% and made permanent.
 
Finally, in 2009, the state imposed a third temporary sales tax of one percent.  This temporary tax is set to expire soon -- although the governor's budget had proposed extending three-quarters of it ("just" 0.75%), at what would have been a cost to the state's private economy of $600 million a year.
 
As Leonard points out, each of those cases has one thing in common: When the economy is down, the state raises taxes and generally does not reduce them when the economy improves. Instead, these "emergency" measures are used to fund ever-increasing levels of state spending.
 
As Leonard put it, "We have a spending addiction; it is time to face it."
 
Taxes proposed as being for brief and limited time periods to raise money for supposed emergencies end up being imposed for decades -- sometimes in perpetuity -- because we taxpayers are suckers for believing politicians' promises.
 
Of course the local news media have been quick to point out the hypocrisy of politicians who have broken their campaign promises (if they are Republican anyway). Governor Beverly Perdue, on the other hand, has excoriated the Republican majority in the legislature for keeping one of the promises they ran on -- not to raise taxes, which raises would include extending a temporary sales tax set in law to expire.
 
But at least she's consistently inconsistent. The News and Observer reported that in October 2008 then-candidate "Perdue declared 'I don’t believe you can raise taxes in an economy with folks struggling the way they are.'  Much was made about Perdue’s commitment to avoid tax hikes during a down economy, but the campaign promise didn’t survive the new Governor’s first year."
 
In June 2009, Perdue asked the legislature to come up with between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in new taxes, in the end approving more than $1 billion in new taxes when she signed North Carolina’s fiscal year 2009-2010 state budget. The one-cent increase in the state sales tax accounted for more than $800 million of the tax hike.
 
When asked why voters should trust that the taxes would be temporary, the N&O reported, Perdue said, "Because I'm the governor."
 
If voters decide that taxing our way out of recession really doesn’t work, she may not be able to say that for long.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy has been a serial state government employee and has always been a faithful taxpayer.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday June 17, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 23, 2011 9:58 PM EDT
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Friday, June 10, 2011
Crime and pun-ishment: There oughta be a law

This week's column is taken straight from local agency reports.
 
Orange County police blotter
 
UNC campus police report that a graduate assistant doing a large-scale experiment with caustic liquids was trying to solve a chemistry problem when he fell into the vat and became part of the solution.
 
Hillsborough police were called to a Tot Spot Daycare where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.  No charges filed.
 
A patron called to report to Chapel Hill Police that a three-legged dog hobbled into He's Not Here, slid up to the bar and announced: “I’m looking for the man who shot my paw.”  The matter is under investigation.
 
Orange County Court reports
 
The Norwood family mutual domestic abuse trial continued today in Hillsborough with a variety of reports from the Norwood's tumultuous, on-again / off-again marriage.  Here are some of the highlights:
 
• Jon Norwood said his marriage  to Jan had started off on firm ground but when they bought a water bed, the couple started to drift apart.
• Jan Norwood admitted she did have an affair with an old boyfriend with a wooden leg, but said she broke it off.
• Jon said he remembered clearly an earlier assault Jan had made on him, saying:  "I wondered why the baseball was getting bigger. Then it hit me."
• Jan testified that money had been a long-standing problem and a source of mounting familial frustration: "You feel stuck with your debt if you can’t budge it."
• Jon, who confessed to a drinking problem, said he knew Jan, who hails from Wilkes County, was a bootlegger when he met her, but he loved her still.
• Jan said Jon was eating some Cap'n Crunch for breakfast again when she called the cops to report a serial killer.
• Before the case went to the jury, Judge Allen Baddour warned the jury to take care in considering testimony as: "Often a criminal’s best asset is his lie ability."
 
At press time, the jury was still out on this case.
 
More local blotter
 
Following a report of a ghost at the Franklin Hotel, the Chapel Hill police called for an inn spectre.
 
In what may be a related case, Judge Joe Buckner informed a citizen before his court that "If you don’t pay your exorcist, expect to get repossessed."
 
The Orange Correctional Facility is warning local residents to be on the lookout as the diminutive fortune-teller who escaped this weekend from the county prison was a small medium at large.
 
Officials from the state department of corrections, who investigated this breakout, say this never should have happened since prison walls are never built to scale.
 
UNC Hospital reports
 
UNC Hospital's Emergency Department also reported several notable incidents this week.
 
• A two-year-old Eland boy swallowed several coins and was taken to the UNC Children's Hospital. Family are waiting for an update in his status, but nursing staff report no change yet.
• The worker at Mebane Furniture Refurbishing who fell into an upholstery machine last week was discharged fully recovered.
• A Durham optician working for LensCrafters who was pulled into the lens grinding machine made a spectacle of himself.
• A staff psychiatrist from UNC Neuroscience was called into Hamilton Hall to observe the behavior of an emeritus professor of Middle Eastern history and language.  He determined there was no problem, saying "Ancient orators tend to Babylon."
 
Other agency reports
 
Following several recent kitchen incidents, the Carrboro Fire Department is warning residents, "If you leave alphabet soup on the stove and then go out, it could spell disaster."
 
Anito Bryant, the Cedar Grove man who was fired from the Orange Juice Factory for lack of concentration, has filed an appeal with the NC Labor Relations Board.
 
And, finally, the UNC Campus Police Department's Frauds and Scams Division reports that an undergraduate student emailed ten different puns to all his friends, in the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. Sadly, the police report, no pun in ten did.
 
Author's note: These stories could be considered plagiarized -- but can't since you can't plagiarize what no one will take credit for.  I am, therefore, I think, exonerated before the fact.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy has been advised by his attorney/editor/wife to state unequivocally that Jim Huegerich of the Chapel Hill Police Department had no part in the creation of this column except for his punspiration. 
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday June 10, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 6:52 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 21, 2011 2:14 PM EDT
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Friday, June 3, 2011
Think you have problems? My wife left me for a younger man

A FEW WEEKS AGO my wife left me for another man.  (I know what some of you who know her are thinking, but no, it was not Earl Scruggs – though she certainly would have had he extended an invitation.)  She left me for a younger man, a much younger man who lives up in Pittsburgh.  His name is Adrian.
 
I should been alerted by the signs.  Even before Adrian came along, in a restaurant I would see her gazing into the eyes of some cutie at a neighboring table.  Yes, she has been heading in this direction for a while.  Then, two days after the sixteenth anniversary of our marriage, she got on a plane to go to Pittsburgh “for a few days.”
 
I will give her this much, she is very upfront about the relationship.  She doesn't make up stories about business trips or banjo workshops and such, like many women who try to keep their other relationships secret.  I knew she was going to see Adrian because she told me: "I'm going to see Adrian."
 
Her honesty, if you want to call it that, goes even further. She shows me pictures of him: stills, color and black and white, and videos too.  After she first met him in person, she brought home a little book full of his pictures.  She would probably be showing me 3-D videos if she could get them.  As I said, she is thoroughly smitten.
 
I used to accept that I was fourth place in her heart (behind her Gibson Mastertone, Stelling Bellflower and Deering Goodtime banjos), but now I realize I have fallen off the chart.  For Adrian she would jump up from picking along with a YouTube video of Earl Scruggs playing Foggy Mountain Breakdown together with Jens Krüger, Tony Trischka and Bela Fleck – even if it was just to catch a glimpse of Adrian’s gaze on FaceTime on her Mac.
 
As if going to visit him wasn’t enough, she had Adrian come visit her at our home.  Although it was awkward at times, I have to admit I liked the guy.  He is a real charmer.  Cute as can be.  Sharp as a tack.  I am beginning to doubt I'll ever get my fourth-place spot back.
 
I know Sandra loves me but so much as a vague smile from Adrian sends her into paroxysms of joy. Everything he does is unbelievable, if you listen to her, which I have to do if I want any kind of life with her at all.
 
“You should hear him play the piano app on the iPad!” she chuckles with delight.  And, “Listen to him trill!  What a beautiful voice!” she exclaims.
 
Still, I see some problems in their relationship – but I am not about to bring them up with her.
 
[Just between you and me, he is quite immature.  For goodness sake, he still lives with his parents!  He's never held a job.  Sure he's smart but he hasn't finished high school.  (My wife has three graduate degrees.  What kind of relationship can she have with someone without so much as a high school diploma?)  You would think my coveted University of North Carolina Ph.D. would count for something, wouldn't you?  Not compared to the sparkling eyes of her new-found love.]
 
[Beyond his financial situation, I am more than a little worried about Adrian’s relationship with his mother.  He brought her along when he came to North Carolina to visit Sandra.  At some point, he’s got to stand on his own two feet, wouldn’t you think?]
 
I could hope one of these days she will see the light, maybe wake up to the unmanageable age difference, and she would bring her heart back to me – but I am not counting on it.  The longer this thing goes on, the clearer it becomes to me it is not just an overnight fling.
 
Sandra says, and I have to believe her, that based on the seven months they have been in a relationship, that it really is everything people say it is, this being a grandmom.  Watching Sandra and Adrian together, I would have to agree.


Gary D. Gaddy is the proud step-grandparent of little Adrian Gray, the smartest and cutest baby ever born.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday June 3, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy   

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, June 3, 2011 9:06 AM EDT
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Friday, May 27, 2011
A real emergency in North Carolina mental health
 
NOT LONG AGO, I was at the North Carolina General Assembly as part of the Coalition 2000 Advocacy Days looking for legislators to lobby about improving the current sad state of services for those with mental illness.  In the process, I stumbled into a mental health subcommittee hearing where administrators and doctors from two hospitals, Randolph in Asheboro and Moses Cone in Greensboro, made presentations about the crises in their emergency departments caused by the backlog of mental health admissions at state hospitals.

So, why should you care about mental illness and emergency rooms?  As I have often said as I prepared to talk to one of our state legislators about providing better and more humane treatment for those afflicted with mental illness, I feel confident that the facts will persuade anyone, at least anyone who has either a heart or a brain, that they should care.

If you have a heart you will care for those already troubled by mental illness being made to needlessly suffer a loss of freedom without purpose and you will be troubled by the failure to give them proper treatment for their illness. As a human, you will care about the welfare of another human.

If you have a brain you will care because you will see that neglect of proper treatment of mental illness is wasting your tax dollars and jeopardizing the health and safety of not only those who enter our medical system through your local hospital's emergency department -- which is quite likely to be you and your family -- but our society as a whole.

How big a problem are mental health admissions for North Carolina emergency departments?  During the 2009 fiscal year, 135,536 people in mental health crises were seen in emergency departments statewide, according to the North Carolina Division of Public Health.

A decade or so of reducing mental health beds at the state level, without replacing them with appropriate facilities at the local level, has led to a growing queue of patients who need mental health hospitalization and who are left languishing in hospital emergency departments across the state to the detriment of all involved.

For Randolph Hospital for the month of April 2011, over 25% of their 24-bed emergency department capacity was used for "mental health holding," that is, warehousing patients in mental health crises until they can be evaluated and transferred for treatment when a bed opens in an appropriate facility. This use of ER capacity caused increased risk for other patients who also then experienced their own lengthened waits. Other impacts include increased staff dissatisfaction and turnover as well as exposure of other patients, visitors and staff to extreme behavior problems and even violence -- all while they trying to deal with other medical emergencies. 

The cost of this mental health holding area (nurses, security guards, attendants, medications, and support services) was estimated at $1,000,000 annually, at Randolph alone, "for a service that is little more than a waiting room for those in need of transfer.”

On several occasions Randolph Hospital needed multiple law enforcement officers to control patients who were in the midst of long waits for transfer. As an example, one potentially dangerous patient spent six days waiting in its ER without a psychiatrist. "It is a pattern that dangerous patients have longer waits because they are harder to place," the administrators said.

This example is not an aberration. At Moses Cone Hospital the average time spent in the emergency department waiting for placement at Central Regional Hospital last year was 5 1/2 days.  I will repeat, in a hospital with a mental health unit, patients deemed needing a higher level facility for treatment spent 5 1/2 days, on average, waiting in an emergency department.  For some it was longer.

On some days Moses Cone had as many as 19 mental health patients in an emergency department with seven bays for patient holding.  Mental health patients left in limbo are straining staff resources, delaying treatment for patients with medical emergencies, and disrupting the entire emergency department.

A difficult environment is made so uncomfortable that some people who come for treatment elect to go home without receiving care.  Unsurprisingly, the "left-without-being-seen" rate increases when the emergency department is holding mental health patients.

The goal of emergency departments is to stabilize patients and transfer them to the next level of care as quickly as possible.  As a Moses Cone administrator said, in a wild understatement, "The emergency department is not an effective milieu for psychiatric treatment."

Reducing state hospital beds didn't make mental illness go away.  The evidence is it made its impact worse for all parties involved.  State hospitals need more beds, not fewer, and community hospitals need greater capacity and the resources to admit more patients, so the state hospital admission delays can be reduced.  Doing so would not just save money but help us regain an important portal to our medical system -- and maybe a little bit of our own humanity.


Gary D. Gaddy is a member of the board of the National Alliance on Mental Illness -- Orange County.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 27, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:32 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, May 27, 2011 8:37 AM EDT
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Friday, May 20, 2011
Pick your apocalypse; don't wait 'til it's too late
 
WE LIVE, I WOULD CONTEND, in the era of the apocalypse, meaning the end of life as we know it. Whether one will soon come to pass, of that I am hardly certain, but that this era is populated with more apocalyptical possibilities than ever before offered to humankind, of that I am sure.
 
An apocalypse (Greek: Αποκαλυψις; "lifting of the veil" or "revelation") is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind.  It is commonly understood as a catastrophic end to life on earth.
 
For the last several millennia we have been living in the "last days," with many expecting the imminent "end of the world" or the "end of the age"  In the first century, many a Christian expected, and called for (Maranatha!) the return of Christ in their lifetime. The year 1000 A.D. was also widely expected to bring the Lord's return.  (For the record, it didn't happen.)
 
But the meaning of imminent has long had a notable caveat in Christian eschatology, as the apostle Peter wrote in the first century: "But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day." (II Peter 3:8)
 
So, any day now has meant any millennium now for the last couple of thousand years.
 
But imminent just got imminenter.  You may or may not have read (I saw it on a billboard on I-40) but Judgment Day! is coming on May 21, 2011.  (If you are reading this after that date, it probably didn't happen.)  This is a prediction propounded by Harold Camping, the head of Family Stations, Inc., a non-profit, non-commercial Christian radio network.  Camping also predicts that the End of the World is coming on October 21, 2011.  (So, belated readers, if you missed out on Judgment Day!, perhaps you can still get in on this.)
 
But Mr. Camping is hardly alone in such predictions.  New Age authors have great expectations for December 21, 2012, the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, as calculated by various astronomical alignments and numerological formulae.
 
One New Age interpretation of this transition postulates that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, marking the beginning of a new era, or, alternatively, marking the end of the world. Suggested scenarios include the arrival of the next solar maximum, or Earth's collision with a black hole or a passing planet called "Nibiru."  Take your pick.
 
One recent technological apocalypse, Y2K, didn't really turn out to be that apocalyptic.  And the turn of the last millennium, dated variously December 31, 1999 and December 31, 2000, wasn't, in either case, really all that notable -- except as two chances to party down on New Year's Eve.
 
An older sign of the technological apocalypse, the Doomsday Clock, which once represented the threat of global nuclear war, has been ticking along since 1947.  As of May 2011, this clock stood at six minutes to midnight.  (It seemed much closer to me in 1962 when my classmates and I at Forest Hills Elementary were sticking our heads in our lockers as "nuclear fallout shelters.")
 
Since 2007, the Doomsday Clock has also reflected climate change and "new developments in the life sciences and nanotechnology that could inflict irrevocable harm."
 
As for global warming, I don't need to say much as the pages of every news outlet are filled with the intimations of imminent catastrophic climate change.
 
As for "life sciences" apocalypses, I remember reading when I was in high school Gordon Rattray Taylor's 1968 book, The Biological Time Bomb, which heralded the rise of biotechnology, and the possibility of its massively destructive impact on human life.  The biological time bomb hasn't gone off -- but it is still ticking.
 
The chances of a nanotechnology apocalypse seem miniscule to me.
 
But even the ever-upward-looking astrophysicists are pessimistic -- long term.  The universe, as seen from earth, eventually will go totally black, they say.  To put a date on this end of the world, take the year "one" and add 200 zeroes.
 
Seriously, I have attended a number of funerals lately. So, I can say this confidently, the end of our age has always been imminent. So, consider that you may wish to live every day as though it were your last.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy doesn’t think that “eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we shall die” is really a good philosophy of life.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 20, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:56 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 18, 2011 11:18 PM EDT
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Friday, May 13, 2011
High class, low class or no class: A quiz

The high-class, low-class or no-class quiz, also known as the Chapel Hill, Carrboro or Northern Orange County location test, is presented today to help my readers assess their social standing and/or social siting.
 
1) You've ever been kicked out of the zoo: a) For drinking pinot grigio which you purchased to complement your Southern Season picnic lunch; b) For being part of a PETA protest; c) For heckling the monkeys.
 
2) You think the Star Spangled Banner: a) Has too wide a vocal range for the non-trained voice to properly perform; b) Should be replaced with something less jingoistic; c) Ends with "Gentlemen, start your engines."
 
3) You don't like shopping at Wal-Mart Superstores because: a) The stores are too big; b) The Wal-Mart corporation exploits workers here and abroad; c) You'd rather just run around the corner to the Dollar General because you don't like getting dressed up to go shopping.
 
4) The centerpiece on your dining room table is: a) An original work of abstract expressionist sculpture which exhibits an anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic point of view; b) A hand-thrown pot from a local pottery which you purchased at the Festival for the Eno; c) Signed by Craig Hall, taxidermist.
 
5) You think "The Nutcracker" is: a) One of Tchaikovsky's lesser works; b) The best Winter Holiday show the elementary school ever put on; c) A high dive your brother Buford once did off the cliff into the lake at the rock quarry.
 
6) You are moved to tears every time you hear: a) Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat (which is commonly known as "Eroica"), especially the first bars of the second movement; b) Any song by Sorry About Dresden; c) Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You".
 
7) You have a complete set of salad bowls: a) But you never use them because they are Waterford crystal; b) You made yourself when you were a potter/artist; c) And they all say "Cool Whip" on the side.
 
8) You've ever hit a deer: a) With an automobile with a book value of more than the average American family's annual income; b) While bicycling; c) With your truck -- deliberately.
 
9) Your school fight song: a) Includes the phrase: "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"; b) My school would not have had something as militaristic as a "fight song"; c) Was the double-banjo rendition of "Dueling Banjos."
 
10) Your neighbors started a petition over: a) The county's plan to build a neighborhood public library in your neighborhood; b) Your 12-foot by 40-foot Kucinich for President yard sign; c) Your Christmas light display. (They want you to get a special commendation from PEMC for beautifying the county.)
 
11) You've ever financed: a) A graduate degree with some of the proceeds of your last IPO; b) A tattoo; c) A tattoo.
 
12) Your wife's hairdo has ever been ruined: a) By discovering she used the same hairdresser as John Edwards b) By "wife," you mean live-in partner, I suppose. Hard to say, dude. c) By a ceiling fan.
 
 13) You think "loading the dishwasher" is: a) Something the hired help are hired to do; b) Environmental abuse of the lowest order; c) Getting your wife drunk.
 
14) Every year in December you get a card in the mail that says: a) "Seasonal greetings from your investment counselor at Goldman Sachs." b) "Your subscription to High Times is about to run out." c) "Merry Christmas from Red Man Chewing Tobacco."
 
15) You have refused to watch the Academy Awards since: a) American film making has become so banal and hackneyed as to render any such awards risible; b) 1973 when Sacheen Littlefeather refused to accept the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando for best actor in "The Godfather"; c) 1978 when "Smokey and the Bandit" was snubbed for best picture.
 
***
Scoring: If you got all A's, you would rather be in Chapel Hill; if you got all B's, you are in Carrboro; and if you got all C's, you are in northern Orange County but you should consider moving to southwest Chatham County where you will be even more at home.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy is the epitome of classlessness.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 13, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 2:10 PM EDT
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Friday, May 6, 2011
Viagra and blue M&M's in unprecedented joint recall

McLEAN, Va. -- In an unprecedented joint-recall announcement Mars and Pfizer Incorporated have requested that consumers return to the place of purchase all blue M&M's and Viagra® tablets bought between December 25, 2010 and February 14, 2011.
 
Industry analysts say the recall is a result of a steady stream of consumer reports that both products were working much better than advertised.
 
"Best New Year's Day I ever had," said Emilene Snutter of East Chester, Pennsylvania. "Earl actually put down his remote at the end of the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl with Wisconsin driving to tie the game.  At the time I thought it was the jalapeño dip but during NFL playoffs it became clearer.  After my sister-in-law, Earlene, came over for bridge last Saturday night, I figured it out for sure.  She won't touch a blue M&M.  Very traditional, you know."
 
"Anyway, after Earl emptied the candy dish," added Mrs. Snutter, "he was frisky as a squid on Sunday morning.  We barely made it in time for the sermon."
 
Others caught in the mix-up had a quite different experience.  Viagra user Robert McCann said, "I didn't get anywhere with Hilda, but I didn't care, the tablet just melted in my mouth not in my hand.  You woulda thought it was a dark Belgian chocolate not sildenafil citrate."
 
Neither media-savvy Mars execs nor the PR-meisters at Pfizer could provide an adequate explanation for the embarrassing snafu.
 
"We cannot comprehend how this could have happened.  While we share the same blue-dye manufacturer and the same trans-shipper, we do not understand at all how our products could have become interchanged," admitted Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read.
 
"We are understandably very concerned, as both companies may lose millions in potential revenue," said Ryan Bowling, Director of Public Relations for Mars. "For this to happen just as consumers were beginning to accept blue M&M's as unobjectionable is very poor timing," he added.
 
"Blue M&M's, as many of you know, are manufactured at a separate location from the traditionally colored M&M's and some distance from the packaging facility," said Bowling.  "But that doesn't explain how they got switched inside the bags and blister packs."
 
Pfizer Incorporated, which is headquartered in New York, said that its Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Research and Development Division is warning M&M consumers about priapism (πριαπισμoς), a painful condition which can last for more than four hours, and has been reported among some Tollhouse cookie consumers.   To avoid long-term injury, it is important that the cookies be allowed to cool at least 15 minutes before eating.
 

The battle for the University of New Jersey
 
DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina which asks that Rutgers University "cease and desist from referring to itself, or any of its constituent entities," as "The University of New Jersey." Duke's suit says that this is necessary in order to prevent confusion by the public between the two schools.
 
In its reply Rutgers University made its case for being The University of New Jersey by noting that it launched in the past semester a two-year initiative called Project Civility, which is aimed at getting Rutgers students and faculty to treat people better.
 
The Rutgers' program's organizer Kathleen Hull jokes that the program's name could be, "Project Civility: You got a problem with that?"
 
Rutgers' student government president Yousef Saleh says he'd like for students to be more thoughtful on the university's buses, especially with their cell phones, and to stop slamming their textbooks closed before class is over.
 
Off the record several Duke administrators said such a civility program was unlikely to be offered at Duke since if it were effective it would mark the certain end of the Cameron Crazies.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy, on principle, refuses to eat blue M&M's.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 6, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 15, 2011 4:53 PM EDT
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Cisco/Crisco merger to produce slickest high-tech yet

SAN JOSE, Calif. and ORRVILLE, Oh. -- Cisco Systems®, the leading supplier of networking equipment and Crisco® Oils and Shortenings, a spin-off from the J.M. Smucker Company, announced today the world's first merger between a fat-based-food-products company and a silicon-and-glass-fiber information technology hardware firm.
 
John Chambers, über-geek and Cisco Chief Executive Officer, is enthusiastic about the up side on the tech side.  "Together we will produce the slickest hardware geekdom has ever seen," he said. 
 
Experts from the food and food preparation industry, however, remain skeptical about the touted "synergy" of the deal.
 
"Different products, different markets, different supply chains.  I don't see how this helps either of them," said Barry Halzer, an analyst for a leading consumer and retail market research firm, the NPD Group.
 
"Although high-fiber products have been hot in food consumables for a while, I personally am not sure how customers will respond to glass-fiber-enhanced foods.  The food consumer is generally conservative, and people are really used to cellulose-fiber-based products.   Maybe, just maybe, the techies will go for something this cutting-edge, and, historically, they have consumed a lot of partially hydrogenated-fat and lard-based foods," said Bailey Barnes, a food-industry analyst at the financial services conglomerate Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
 
Tech industry analysts were generally more positive in their outlook.  "Cisco will provide the heft, the bulk if you will, needed to produce regular favorable earnings reports, while Crisco will grease the internal systems of both companies increasing higher product throughput," said JupiterResearch analyst Tom Dole.
 
Industry observers do think that the technical expertise that Crisco brought to bear to produce Simple Touch™ Sprays could help Cisco on some of its stickier human-machine interface problems.  The Simple Touch Spray features an innovative "Click & Go" nozzle for its oil-dispensing products that eliminates the lid and allows for one-hand operation -- and generally leaves no sticky mess to clean up later.
 
"Similar solutions for Cisco router box interfaces could definitely help increase market share," said Joellene Wilcox, a Loehmann Brothers technical analyst.
 
One tech industry insider said he thinks such speculation is baseless. He said he's seen a similar cross-industry hybrid technology like this before. "I remember back in 1999 when Novartis tried to implement Lin-Lax X, their Ex-Lax-enhanced Linux boxes, to increase throughput on backbone routing. All they ever produced was a bunch of crap," said Uttam Kumar, a design engineer with Bharati-AirTel.
 
Wall Street adopted a wait-and-see attitude on the merger announcement with the new combined Cisco Slick Systems adding just 8 cents to close at 19.93.
 
 
Department of Corections
 
In this space, as well as cyberspace, I recently reported that prospective UNC athlete Michael McAdoo was former UNC athlete Bob McAdoo's nephew. One of my alert and knowledgeable readers -- thanks, Alan -- kindly and correctly corrected me.
 
Michael McAdoo was a UNC football player, and is not, by any known report, related to former UNC basketball player Bob McAdoo.  Michael McAdoo is one of seven North Carolina football players who missed the entire 2010 season, having had his eligibility permanently stripped in November for receiving a little over $100 in impermissible benefits and too much help on a single paper. McAdoo's family continues, however, to fight to have Michael's eligibility restored in time to play the 2011 season.
 
James McAdoo is the highly touted UNC basketball recruit. It also turns out that James is not, as has been often reported, Bob McAdoo's nephew either. While James is related to former Tar Heel Bob McAdoo, who played one season at North Carolina, and led the 1972 team to a Final Four berth before "going pro early," he is not Bob's nephew.
 
As reported in the Raleigh News and Observer, "I call him my uncle, but he's really my dad's second or third cousin," James McAdoo said.
 
But speaking of "going early," James was far enough ahead academically last year that he could have graduated high school a year early by taking a summer-school course in 2010, and then he could have played for the Tar Heels this past season. He and his parents gave the matter thought, but he decided to stay at Norfolk Christian and graduate from high school as scheduled.
 
"I've never regretted that," McAdoo said. "It's really been fun being a kid. People say your senior year is one of the best of your life, and I know that's true now."
 
Tar Heel fans can only hope that he and Harrison Barnes will be saying the same thing again in couple of years.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy, a consumer of Crisco consumables since the early 1950s, cruises the Internet on Cisco supplied hardware daily.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 29, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 23, 2011 7:07 AM EDT
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Friday, April 22, 2011
Cuba's Castro undergoes deathbed conversion, reports say

HAVANA and MIAMI – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has become a capitalist, close aides report.  Lying on what appeared to be his deathbed, the former communist dictator reflected on his days on earth and came to the conclusion that it had been a life misspent, the aides said.
 
"It was as if a light came on in his head," reported one aide who asked to remain unnamed.  Castro realized, the aide said, that the best thing that had ever happened to Cuba was the bed he was laying on -- a space-saving convertible sofa bed imported from New York in the mid-1950's.
 
"Only capitalism with its system of monetary incentives and rewards could have brought us the Castro Convertible," the dying dictator said.  "Why couldn't I see this before?" he asked.
 
"Of course, furniture that could switch between sitting and sleeping modes existed before the Castro Convertible Couch," noted Castro.  "Such convertible furniture had been around at least since the 1600’s -- but it was usually expensive and clumsy," he said.
 
"The davenport, which was still somewhat popular in the late 1940's, was difficult to open, and it looked like a bed even when folded up.  But the Castro Convertible Couch, which unfolded to become a bed with a strong but light metal frame, featured a 'featherlift' mechanism that made it much easier to operate," he observed.
 
"It's Bernard Castro who will be remembered by history, not me," Castro sighed.
 
Even as demonstrations celebrating the greatly exaggerated reports of his demise continued in Miami, Castro's conversion confounded his critics, deflating their joy at his impending death.
 
"That infernal deuce!" said one Cuban expatriate carrying a placard which read, "Better Dead and Red."  Another protester groused, "His death now will be no more satisfying than Ken Lay's" [referring to the chairman of the board and chief executive officer for the now-defunct Enron who died before being sentenced following a securities fraud conviction in 2006].
 
Crowds of confused men, women and children wandered the streets of Havana upon hearing the conversion report.  One little boy asked, in Spanish, "Will we still be allowed to go barefoot when shoes are available?"  No one could answer.
 
 
UNC's Sullivan to have jersey honored
 
CHAPEL HILL -- Former University of North Carolina basketball player Pat Sullivan will finally have his jersey hung in the rafters of the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center, the place where he spent so much of his life.
 
"We had to alter the criteria somewhat to include Pat, but we felt his longevity, if nothing else, merited recognition.  When we looked closer, we saw that a great injustice had been done to Pat not honoring his long service to UNC's storied basketball program," said UNC's athletic director Dick Baddour.
 
Sullivan is to this day the only player in NCAA history to have played on three national championship teams in three different decades.
 
Sullivan, a 6-8, 220-pound small forward, was a deep reserve on the 1957 team which beat the Wilt Chamberlain' Kansas team in double overtime.  He was a sub on the 1982 team with James Worthy, Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan.  And Sullivan was the player who missed the free throw that set up Michigan's Chris Webber infamous time out call at the end of the 1993 national championship game.
 
The jersey-raising ceremony will take place on Sullivan's birthday, February 29, 2012, during the halftime of the Clemson game, over half of which's record 55-consecutive Chapel Hill defeats occurred during Sullivan's tenure with the Tar Heels.


Gary D. Gaddy thinks he remembers seeing a billboard promoting the Castro Convertible when he went with his family to New York City to the 1964 World's Fair.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 22, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:13 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2012 9:08 PM EDT
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Friday, April 15, 2011
Wins and losses: The woos and woes of "going pro"
 
NOW THAT BASKETBALL PLAYING SEASON is over (no, the NBA doesn't count), for fans of the top teams, it is a season of sadness and helplessness, as the college basketball fan watches and waits to see which of his players are "going pro early."
 
With gazelle-like Tyler Zeller, a junior, and Spiderman-clone John Henson, a sophomore, having announced that they are staying, TarHeeldom awaits the word of freshman phenom Harrison Barnes.  While I wait I meditate on "going pro."  I'll share my thoughts (and actual facts) on Tar Heels who have "gone pro."
 
For some players there is a right time to "go early."  University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith had the temerity to advise players to go pro.  Not give them his blessing.  Not attend their press conference announcing their decision and act like he was happy being there, but to personally recommend to them that the time was right for them to go. (It is little wonder he won so few games, with him thinking of his players' good before his own.)
 
In 1972 Bob McAdoo, a junior-college transfer, became the first player coached by Smith to go pro early.  (Side note: His nephew James McAdoo arrives in Chapel Hill this fall. If Michael is as good in ACC play as he looked in the McDonald's All-American Game, McAdoo II will be "going pro early" in a few years too)
 
For Bob McAdoo I would say 1972 was the right time.  He won the 1973 NBA Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, earned the first of three consecutive NBA scoring titles in his second, and was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in his third.
 
Likewise for James Worthy, 1982 was the right time. Worthy, who shared national Player of the Year honors with Virginia's Ralph Sampson, waited until fellow junior Sampson announced he was staying to announce he was going.  "Big Game James" was the first player taken in the 1982 draft -- ending up with the Los Angles Lakers, a perennial championship contender, rather than with the worst team in league as usually happens.
 
In 1984, some guy named Mike went early. Michael Jordan had been the national player of the year after his sophomore and junior seasons.  My recollection is “going pro early” didn't seem to hurt his pro career, or the fondness of the memories for him in Chapel Hill.
 
(Pop quiz: Michael Jordan was drafted third, who were the players drafted ahead of him?  Think for a minute.)
 
(Answer: The first pick was Hakeem Olajuwon, which was not stupid as he is now in the NBA Hall of Fame.  The second was Sam Bowie, who is, you might ask, who?  He is the answer to this question: “Who was the worst pick in the history of pro sports drafts?”  Bowie, who had missed two full seasons in college with a recalcitrant leg fracture, had an injury-laden 10-year career as a journeyman pro player.)
 
For some players there is no right time to "go early."  After the Tar Heels lost in the national championship game in 1977 to Marquette, Smith recommended to junior Phil Ford that he go pro.  According to Art Chansky, Ford said no by asking, "Who's going to tell my mother?"  Apparently, even Coach Smith didn't have the nerve to do that.  Mabel Ford valued a college degree over money.  Ford graduated and went pro after his senior season, was the second pick in the draft, and was named NBA Rookie of the Year.
 
Not "going early" is sometimes bad: case in point, Donald Williams.  Williams received the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award when UNC won the 1993 championship, and did not go pro early, did not get drafted as a senior, never made it to the NBA, and, at last report, was an assistant coach for the varsity girls basketball team at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh.
 
And some who "go pro early" did no such thing. When, as a junior, national player of the year Antawn Jamison "went pro early," he had met all the academic requirements for graduation, except for one: the swimming test.  
 
"I can't swim at all," Jamison admitted. "You'll probably never see me in a pool over six feet," Jamison is quoted as saying. "They had a tutor with me the whole four weeks of the class. It was probably the hardest subject I faced in college, but I finished it," he added.
 
But, in any case, stars "going pro early" make life hard for the fans of their teams. I remember one year, following a batch of player graduations and early entries in the pro draft, a fellow Tar Heel fan was moaning to me about our team's losses, and I sympathized: "Yes," I said, "We're down to our last seven McDonald's All-Americans."
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy is going pro just as soon as he finds a sport someone will pay him to play. 
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 15, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  
 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011 9:15 AM EDT
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Friday, April 8, 2011
Puff (the Magic Dragon) busted on possession charges

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.

Puffy MD, as he was promoting himself, was on the way to the first leg of a series of now-cancelled hip-hop house concerts slated to begin next weekend in Amsterdam.

The barrister representing Puffy, the Honorable Lord Beaverbrook, said that his client was "absolutely, undeniably, unequivocally innocent of all charges and claims against him."  According to Lord Beaverbrook, Puffy hasn't done any "illegal substances" since he entered treatment at the Betty Ford Center in 1989.

"In his prime Puffy toqued his dope, just like we all did back in the day, but now he won't even touch out-of-date cottage cheese," said Beaverbrook.

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 coming through Gatwick for having Limburger on his breath?" asked Beaverbrook.

Regarding the "green vegetable matter found on Mr. Puff's person," Lord Beaverbrook argued that this was "an herbal preparation Mr. Puff 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 Los Angeles, "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.  One key government witness disappeared just before he was scheduled to testify.  Ashen remains found shortly thereafter could not be identified.

Inside sources at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency continue to be convinced that Puff was the linchpin in the Hanah Lee-Los Angeles drug connection.

Puffy is currently being held in HMP Canterbury, a men's prison holding foreign nationals who are expected to be deported.  Located in Canterbury, Kent, England, Canterbury Prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.


Lassie named Poet Laureate; produces doggerel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Stormy confirmation hearings ended late last night as former television actress Lassie was narrowly confirmed by the United States Senate as Poet Laureate of the United States.  As has become the norm for Senate confirmation hearings of late, both sides went nuclear with Lassie's qualifications for the office being disparaged, while Lassie's opponents found themselves being vilified.

Fellow poet Snoop Doggy Dogg, supported by a contingent which included Ice-T, Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice and Milli of the pop duo Milli Vanilli, defended Lassie's nomination.  "If a bad actor can be president, I don't see why a bad actress can't be poet laureate. The Gubernator used stunt doubles too, you know," noted Dogg.

A pivotal moment in the hearing came when the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shifted positions.  PETA, which originally opposed Lassie's nomination because of her public position on carnivorism, were won over by Lassie's tail-wagging pledge to eat only tofu-based dog food during her tenure as poet laureate.

While trans-species activists hailed the appointment as "ground breaking," a spokesperson for the Coalition Advocating Traditional Sense said that "while some of our best friends are dogs; this is a slippery slope.  What's next?  A lab-coated chimpanzee as surgeon general?"

Some observers thought a swaying moment was Lassie's own concluding statement to the confirmation committee which featured a reading of one of the poet's most beloved poems, "Trees . . . and Hydrants."  Through an interpreter, Timothy Martin, Lassie recited the poem's most poignant verse: "I think that I shall never see a tree on which I cannot pee."

The final vote followed strict party lines, except that all of the Democratic females crossed over the aisle to vote for Lassie's confirmation.


Gary D. Gaddy came through Heathrow Airport once, in the fall of 1971, without a whiff of trouble.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 8, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 4:21 PM EDT
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Friday, April 1, 2011
UNC hires Graham to head new Department of Irreligion
 
CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina is set to hire William Franklin Graham III as the founding director of what is believed to be the nation's first department of irreligious studies.  Amidst campus-wide budget reductions and strategic program cuts, Dean Bernard Manakin of UNC's College of Arts and Sciences announced this bold new initiative: establishment of a Department of Irreligion.
 
Manakin says academia should view irreligious studies as a complement rather than a replacement for religious studies.  "Departments of religion have long been an essential component of the academic array," said Manakin.  "While a sociology or psychology of religion course here and there provides the opportunity to examine religious prejudice or religious superstitions, where better than a religion-department course on the Bible itself to dismantle its mythology?" asked Manakin.
 
“But, without a department of irreligion, we have had no place to formally study agnosticism, atheism or even unphilosophical unbelief, which was, we realized, a gaping hole in the curriculum,” said Manakin, a professor in the Department of Dramatic Art.  "It was a deficiency in our intellectual array that could not continue to go unremedied -- even in these tough budgetary times," added Manakin.
 
Faith-based activists have been asking for decades for the Department of Religion to hire someone who believes something to teach there but to no avail.
 
"Of course, we could not hire someone who believes the Bible to teach the Bible.  That would simply be wrong.  We need people who can be objective about the document; obviously believers cannot do that," said Manakin.
 
One of the recent additions to UNC's board of trustees, Gilbert Aussenzeit, had encouraged the university to place Dr. Bart Ehrman, the current chair of the Department of Religion, as head of the new Department of Irreligion.  "As one of America's leading unbelievers, I thought that Ehrman would be the perfect fit, but, boy, was I quickly disabused of that notion," said Aussenzeit, a businessman from Fuquay-Varina.
 
"As Chancellor [Holden] Thorp explained it to me, it's OK to have a physics professor who believes in Newton's laws of motion, or a chemistry prof who accepts the periodic table, but it doesn't work that way in the humanities. There's no way you can have a religion professor who is religious," said Aussenzeit.
 
With the new Department of Irreligion, there will finally be a formal place on campus for a devout Christian, according to Manakin.  "What better place for a committed Christian within the academic venture than teaching courses on atheism and agnosticism?  These are subjects upon which they are uniquely qualified to expound," said Manakin.
 
The university is planning a founding ceremony for the department early this fall when Graham will be formally installed to his post.
 
Graham, the son of noted evangelist Billy Graham, currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse.
 
Graham attended LeTourneau College (now LeTourneau University) from which he was expelled, received an associate's degree from Montreat-Anderson College (now Montreat College) and also earned a bachelor’s in business from Appalachian State University.
 
***
In related news, Bart Ehrman announced today that he was putting on hiatus his national book tour for his latest release, Forged: Writing in the name of God -- Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are, as he realizes now he is not certain who wrote his books.
 
"After looking at early manuscripts and comparing them to the published editions, I am not sure now who really wrote 'my' books," said Ehrman.
 
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy believes he heard Bart Ehrman speak in church once, but he can't be certain.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 1, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy    

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:49 PM EDT
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Friday, March 25, 2011
"Aren't you Gary Gaddy?" Lesser moments in columnar fame
 
Just in case you are tempted to write a column for your local newspaper -- as a service to the reading public -- let my experience be a cautionary tale.
 
***
At a public event in northern Orange County, one of my hitherto-unknown-to-me readers asked, "Aren't you Gary Gaddy?"  To which I replied, as I am wont to, "Why do you ask?"  (I'm not paranoid -- but it can pay to be cautious.)  It turns out she really was a loyal reader and actual fan.  (For example, she thought I was funnier, and -- get this -- deeper than Vicki Wentz.  In Vicki's defense, I pointed out that her hair was definitely curlier.)
 
Later at this same event at the Schley Grange, this person, who I'll call Ann, because I think that was her name, told my wife, "I thought he'd be funnier in person."  This is what you get for being funny in print and then going out in public non-incognito.
 
At the same event, a man, another Schley Granger, told me that he agreed with "most everything I wrote -- but not everything."  I said that was OK.  Adding, "To tell the truth, I don't agree with everything I say."  He then replied that he bet most people in Chapel Hill probably don't agree with me.  I said, "If most people in Chapel Hill did agree with me on just about anything, I would change my opinion."  I think he thought I was joking.  I think I thought I was joking too.
 
***
I was once told by a reasonably reputable source (a former editor of the Chapel Hill Herald to be more exact) that the Chapel Hill Herald used to pay their "Local Voices" columnists $50 a column -- but decided that was an insult.  Now they pay nothing.  I feel so much more affirmed.
 
The relationship between my column and the truth
 
As you should know, according to the state of North Carolina, I used to be a statistician.  (Or at least they paid me for being one).  One of the primary problems with being well versed in statistical validity is that it makes it harder for me, as compared to your average statistically innumerate soul, to find studies that confirm my prejudices.  But, not to worry, as for my column, I always tell the truth.  It's just that sometimes I have to make things up in order to do so.
 
My columns, like many movies now playing in a theater near you, are often "inspired by actual events."
 
***
When people ask me what I do, I finally started telling the truth.  (I used to say, "Well, I used to be the coordinator of statistical consulting at the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill" and by the time I finished saying that they would have forgotten what they had actually asked.)  Now I say, "I'm a writer."  Bu that doesn't seem to be enough.
 
Once I was a poet but didn't know it.  I wrote free verse until I realized I'd never get paid.
 
Then I wrote songs but didn't write music, so that left me with putative lyrics, songs only in my aspirations for them.
 
Then I became a lyricist, so now I rhyme all the time -- and get paid in leftover fruits and vegetables.  (This is an actual factual fact. When you play at the South Estes Farmer's Market, which is a really good gig, above and beyond the rhubarb and rutabagas, sometimes people stop and listen and every now and then a small child dances, but regularly the vendors give you produce at the end of the day.)
 
Several people have asked me if I ever thought about writing a novel, to which my common response is:  Have you ever read a novel?  Do you have any idea how long a novel is?
 
Why I don't have an inflated ego
 
Looking at a Friday edition of the Chapel Hill Herald, my mother-in-law asked, "Do they always put your column on the front-page?"
 
"Yes," I replied.
 
"But it's always below the fold," my wife added.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy is a writer in residence in his own home.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 25, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy   
 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:15 PM EDT
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Friday, March 18, 2011
Coaches Krzyzewski and Williams fined for comments
 
GREENSBORO -- The Atlantic Coast Conference today announced substantial fines levied on head coaches Michael Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, of Duke University and the University of North Carolina, respectively, for their criticism of officials made during their post-game press conferences following the league championship game last Sunday.  Each was assessed $50,000.
 
During the game broadcast commentators had noted the frustration of both coaches with numerous officiating calls.
Specific criticisms of officials made by the coaches cited as conduct violations in the league report included the following statements.
 
Krzyzewski:  "It is unacceptable to me that the officials continually let my players get away with obvious hand-checking fouls.  It was clear that Nolan (Smith) was regularly using two hands to check Kendall (Marshall).  I can get on Nolan all I want in practice, in the huddle, during halftime, but if Karl (Hess) and Bryan (Kersey) and Jamie (Luckie) won't back me up, I'll never get through. This (the hand check) was supposed to be a point of emphasis this year.  Sure didn't seem like one to me, in this game."
 
Williams: "I am galldurned fed up with the blocking fouls that’re called on the Plumlee brothers.  What, just because their technique ain't classic?  I didn't think this sport was about frickin' style points.  So what if they ain’t Shane Battier?  W ho is?  Even a blind ref oughta be able to hear 'em hit the dang floor with a thump.  That oughta be worth somethin’, don’t you think?”

Sidney Lowe's replacement sought
 
RALEIGH -- As North Carolina State University begins its search for a new men's basketball coach following head coach Sidney Lowe's resignation this week, the school’s athletic administration announced some of the criteria they will adhere to for their next hire.
 
First, the search committee is to look for a proven head coach, one who has coached in top conference and has demonstrated that he can recruit good players, teach the fundamentals and coach a good game plan.  They also want someone with high moral standards, clear personal discipline and the authority with his players to keep them in school, out of trouble and regarded generally as people who are a credit to their school and community.
 
The school will be looking for someone relatively young (under 50 years old) but still with substantial quality head coaching experience (at a minimum, having been named coach of the year in three different athletic conferences), and excellent  personal academic credentials (having been his high school valedictorian and a summa cum laude graduate from a rigorous university).
 
Having established those criteria, the search committee said its next task is to see if Herb Sendek still owns his house in Raleigh.

NFL and players union hire Aesop Consulting
 
NEW YORK -- The National Football League owners and the NFL Player's Association announced that they have agreed to join together to hire Aesop/Golden Goose Consulting to assist them in their mutual aim of boosting team values, increasing player salaries and generally accelerating profit growth of America's currently most successful professional sport.
 
"We'll start by dissecting the sport to see what makes it tick," said Aesop's Butch Geldgrabber. "With our aid, we feel confident working together the owners and players will make a killing."

Study shows Henson is all arms and legs
 
CHAPEL HILL -- A collaborative study by the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine and its Department of Sport Science has finally shown what commentators and spectators had thought for some time: UNC basketball forward John Henson actually is all arms and legs.
 
UNC Professor of Anatomy Jonathon Langbein said that MRIs clearly showed that Henson's arms were attached directly to his legs.
 
"He has no abdomen," said Langbein.
 
"This not only explains how Henson can make some of the seemingly impossible twisting and turning inside moves he makes on the basketball court but also why his off-season regime of six high-calorie  meals a day had led to so little weight gain," said Langbein.
 
"It is very difficult to put on pounds regardless of how much you eat when you have no stomach," he added.
 
 
On Sunday afternoon, at the gas station/convenience market formerly known as Starvin' Marvin's, Gary D. Gaddy talked to Kyle Singler's next-door neighbor who had flown in from Oregon for the ACC tournament.  Seemed like a nice guy.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 18, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy   

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 9:58 AM EDT
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Friday, March 11, 2011
Top of the Pops: A pop music pop quiz ('60s edition)
 
Question: What '60s song, made popular by which group, gained most of it fame from its mysteriously vulgar lyrics and was supposedly recorded just after its lead singer had dental surgery?
 
Answer: "Louie, Louie," as recorded by The Kingsmen in 1963, was the subject of a Federal Bureau Investigation probe into the supposed obscenity of the lyrics.  (Go to YouTube.com and search for "True Lyrics to Louie Louie."  If you were in junior high school in 1963, prepare to be, like the FBI investigators, disappointed by what you discover.)  The FBI probe ended without prosecution.
 
Question: What song, which is a song that you do know, originally had the title "Scrambled Eggs"?
 
Answer: The song, which is formally listed, as are all Lennon and/or McCartney songs which were recorded by the Beatles, as a Lennon and McCartney song, was actually written entirely by Paul McCartney. Paul woke up one morning with the melody, but no real lyrics, in his head.  The working opening verse was "Scrambled eggs/Oh, my baby how I love your legs."  The song "Scrambled Eggs" later became a huge hit record.  The new title, with appropriate accompanying lyrics, is "Yesterday."
 
Question: What song is the most performed song in the English language?
 
Answer:  No, it is not "Yesterday," although it has had the most cover versions of any song ever written (over 3,000), was voted Best Song of the 20th Century in a 1999 British Broadcasting Corporation Radio poll, and, in addition, was the most-played song on American radio for eight consecutive years.
 
The most performed song is, most likely, "Happy Birthday to You", the story of which begins with sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, kindergarten teachers in Louisville, Ky., writing "Good Morning to All" in 1893.  Then the same melody, with new lyrics, was copyrighted in 1935 as the "Happy Birthday" song known worldwide today.
 
According to law professor Robert Brauneis, "There is no evidence that these two sisters wrote those particular words."  It even is possible that children in the Hill sisters' school might be responsible. Why would anyone care?  This pretty little ditty is a cash juggernaut, generating approximately $2 million in royalties every year.
 
Question: What was the first song composed by a Beatle which was recorded by the Beatles?
 
Answer: "Love Me Do" or "Please Please Me" would be good guesses but wrong.  "When I'm Sixty Four" was written by Paul McCartney when he was a teenager, "during the Cavern days," that is, before the Beatles became the Beatles.
 
Question: What long-lived rock group's name is based on an ancient aphorism turned blues song then become band name?
 
Answer: This band name has its origin in the first century before Christ, when Plubilius Syrus wrote a series of Latin proverbs, including saxum (rocks) volutum (rolled) non (no) obducitur (collect) musco (moss), that is, "a rolling stone gathers no moss."  
 
In 1948 Muddy Waters wrote a song called "Rollin' Stone."  Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were big Muddy Waters fans.  According to Richards, Jones christened the band while phoning Jazz News to place an advertisement. When asked what the band's name was, Jones glanced at a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor of which one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone," pluralized it, and there you go.
 
Question: What über-popular pop group named itself in punning tribute to earlier pop rocker Buddy Holly's band?
 
Answer:  This Cricket-alluding band's various names, in chronological order, were The Black Jacks, The Quarry Men, Johnny and the Moondogs, The Nerk Twins, The Beatals, The Silver Beetles, The Silver Beats, The Beatles, The Silver Beatles and, finally, The Beatles (for once and for all).
 
George Harrison suggested that the name was inspired by the Marlon Brando film "The Wild One," where a black leather-clad motorcycle gang was referred to as the Beetles. As Hunter Davies put it, "Stu Sutcliffe saw this film . . . and suggested it to John as the new name for their group. John said yeah, but we'll spell it Beatles, as we're a beat group."
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy started growing his hair "to look like the Beatles" before he ever even saw a picture of one of them.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 11, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 10:44 AM EDT
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Friday, March 4, 2011
I plea bargained with the law -- and the law won
 
I THOUGHT I HAD SCHEMED the system when my able attorney (who, for legal reasons, shall remain nameless) got me a bargain of a plea: a slap on the wrist for a reckless driving charge.  Haaa!
 
You are thinking, "What on earth were you doing to have such heinous offense hanging over your head?  Careening across an elementary school playground?  Running through multiple stop signs full tilt?  Weaving through heavy traffic on two wheels?"
 
No, I was driving down a Chapel Hill thoroughfare going a radar-detected 46 miles per hour.  I was cruising through the speed trap otherwise known as Weaver Dairy Extension, which is a divided roadway with center turn lanes, right turn lanes and an inexplicable 25-mile-an-hour speed limit.  (How inexplicable?  Don’t tell the officer citing me, but as I drove away from being ticketed, 100 yards down the same road, I looked at my speedometer and I was going well over 30 mph.  My car wouldn’t go 25 mph on that road.)  With 46 mph being 21 miles per hour over the posted limit, I could be convicted of reckless driving.
 
But with my new and reduced charge of improper equipment (which was, apparently, either my faulty brain or my vehicle itself), by paying court costs and a fine (plus some quite reasonable legal fees), my lawyers and the court will cut the insurance middlemen out of the deal as I will get no points on my license.
 
And, one other thing, I had to take the online driving course.  But how hard could that be?  (Only the parallel-parking element stymied me last time I took such a test back in 1966.)
 
The I DRIVE SAFELY® AAA Online Traffic School Course, North Carolina edition, which is, according to them, "Simple. Affordable. Hassle-Free," is anything but.  Simple?  Only if by that they meant for simpletons.  Affordable?  Only if you only count the fee for the course, and not what the minimum of 10 hours of your life it consumes.  (You figure it out: plumbers get $175 per hour and I have a Ph.D.)  And hassle-free?  Only if you don’t count multiple visits to the cosmetic surgeon for the hair implants (which I needed after pulling my hair out while taking said test.)
 
But I guess I should discount both the course fee and the opportunity-costs lost by all the valuable things I garnered from idrivesafely.com, highlights of which I will freely share with you.  (All entries are verbatim, edited only for simplicity's sake.)
 
General knowledge
 
An intersection is a point where any two or more roadways intersect or come together.
 
Commercial buses transport an assortment of passengers.
 
There is a higher concentration of pedestrians in urban environments.
 
Watch for signs identifying a street as one-way.  For example, you may see signs that say ONE WAY.
 
Psychology
 
Using your horn can be beneficial or very irritating to other drivers.
 
The goal of every driver is to get to their destination safely.
 
Physics
 
The vehicle's engine provides the power required to move the vehicle across the surface of the road.
 
Moisture will begin to freeze as the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
 
If your hood flies up on the highway your visibility can be significantly impaired.
 
Etiquette
 
Elderly, handicapped, or blind pedestrians might move slowly through intersections. . . . Do not honk your horn or shout at them.
 
Do not use your horn directly behind . . . a horse rider on the side of the roadway.
 
Never use obscene hand gestures when driving.
 
Philosophy
 
Becoming angry or aggressive will not get you to your destination any sooner.
 
What do you think the nearly 8,000 people who were not wearing seat belts and died in motor vehicle crashes would do differently?
 
***
 
Sorry, but now that I have reviewed this treasure trove of life-saving wisdom, I realize it was worth my every minute and every single penny.  If you would like to take the course too, the quickest way is to take a drive down Weaver Dairy Extension, you'll be signed up in no time.
 
 
Gary D. Gaddy actually did get something mildly useful out of the I DRIVE SAFELY® AAA Online Traffic School Course:  this column.
 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 4, 2011.
 
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:53 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:12 PM EST
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Friday, February 25, 2011
When you've said "Wisconsin!" -- you've said it all

PLEASE UNDERSTAND that the state of Wisconsin is, and has been, in a state of confusion.  This is the state that brought us both Joseph McCarthy and Frank P. Zeidler. The red-baiting U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy led the Army/McCarthy hearings, hunting for American communists under every rock.  Zeidler was, at the same time, the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, its largest city.
 
I can't imagine another state so confused . . . except maybe North Carolina, which had Jesse Helms and John Edwards serving together as its United States senators.
 
Please know that Madison, where the recent ruckus is occurring, is Chapel Hill on steroids.  It is bigger.  (When I lived there in the 1980s the University of Wisconsin campus had 50,000 students, the size of NC State and UNC combined.)  More liberal.  (Definitive proof: In 1984 the real-estate-tax rates were twice as high in Madison as they were in Chapel Hill.)  And even more out of touch with the rest of Wisconsin than Chapel Hill is with North Carolina.  (Think Carrboro cubed.)
 
Earlier this month in Madison 14 Senate Democrats walked out of the legislature, hiked across the state line, and holed themselves up in Rockford, Ill., thus keeping the 33-member Senate one member short of achieving a 20-member quorum needed to vote on fiscal matters.  (This is what I call democracy in action -- as opposed to something mundane like voting.)
 
With their walkout, these senators thereby stalled a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker that would take away from the state's public-sector employees most of their collective bargaining rights, which would make large cuts in state spending, the governor would argue, feasible.  Since then the streets of Madison have been filled with tens of thousands of raucous demonstrators.
 
(For the record, almost every state, including North Carolina, is facing the prospect of large budget cuts.  And also, for the record, North Carolina's public-sector employees have had no collective bargaining rights since 1959 -- when a Democrat-controlled legislature took them away, under no particular budget crisis.  Does anybody think that North Carolina state employees are overworked, or underpaid and under-benefited, as compared to comparable private-sector workers?  I used to work for the state, and in the private sector, and I don't.)
 
Meanwhile, the Badger State constitution gives its Senate the right to "compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalty as each house may provide." Once notified of the absence, the Senate rules say the Senate sergeant at arms "shall forthwith proceed to find and bring in such absentees."  We will see what that means.
 
"The rules weren't written with the expectation that someone would deliberately not comply and would place themselves outside of the jurisdiction of the state," said UW-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee, who served in both the Assembly and the Senate.
 
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, this was not the first time Wisconsin lawmakers have walked off the job to avoid a legislative vote.  The State Journal summarized past efforts in Wisconsin to force lawmakers' attendance at votes as detailed in a 1960 report by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library.
 
• In 1903, during a vote on a bill to establish primary elections, lawmakers were forced to remain locked in chambers for 40 hours until absent legislators could be brought back to the Assembly. "One of whom had been found hidden in the hay of his farm barn in a faraway county," said the legislative report, quoting a 1943 State Journal article.
 
• In 1918, The New York Times reported that Wisconsin state senators remained locked in chamber after some lawmakers fled the Capitol to avoid voting on a "loyalty resolution" that was a veiled rebuke to Wisconsin's own Progressive U.S. Senator Robert La Follette's anti-war stance.
 
• In 1951, Rep. Ruth Doyle refused to leave the "ladies' powder room," where she fled to avoid voting on a resolution asking Gen. Douglas MacArthur to address the Legislature on appeasing "Communists in our own nation and the world."  A State Journal report said the Assembly Sergeant at Arms entered the bathroom, bringing Doyle back to the Assembly chamber, where she promptly voted against the measure.
 
We should have seen this brouhaha coming; the Miami did.  According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, "Wisconsin" is the English spelling of a French version of a Miami Indian name for the river that runs through the center of the state. Recent scholarship has concluded that in Miami it meant, "this stream meanders through something red."
 
* At the end of every home football game at Canp Randall, win or lose, the UW marching band heads out to the field to perform a mini-half-time show for the fans, most of whom stay, until the final number, sung to the tune of the Budweiser theme song, which ends with "When you've said Wisconsin! -- you've said it all."  Wisconsin is major beer-producing state.  Budweiser is a product of Anheuser-Busch which is based in St. Louis, Missouri. I told you they were confused. 

Gary D. Gaddy was a non-unionized Wisconsin public-sector employee from 1983 to 1987.
 

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 25, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:24 AM EDT
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Friday, February 18, 2011
Shari Lewis exhumed; Lamb Chop again under suspicion

Editor's note: Despite last week's column's promise to deliver all the celebrity news our readers would ever need to read, as you will see, we had to publish this story.

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 of 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 associate 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.  "And who do you think wrote our best stuff?  Henson?  Lewis?  Right." Adding, "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."

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.

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."

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 controversial rap duo Chops and the Ice Kween.  According to figures from Amazon.com, sales of the latest C/IK CD, "Bust Yer Chops," spiked immediately 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 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."


Gary D. Gaddy has been a fan of Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop for decades, beginning perhaps as early as one of their first guest appearances on Captain Kangaroo, but was certainly a regular viewer of the Shari Lewis Show.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 18, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy

 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2011 7:13 AM EST
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Friday, February 11, 2011
Today's time and money saver: The generic celebrity news

READERS MAY WISH TO CLIP this special special-edition column and save it to read every week, or even every day if necessary, as it allows an individual to keep up with all the important celebrity news without maintaining a subscription to People magazine, buying the latest National Enquirer or even watching tonight's Entertainment Tonight.

HOLLYWOOD – Academy-Award®-winning actor was arrested again on substance abuse charges following a fray at a currently notable night club.  Actor could not be contacted for comment.  Celebrity attorney says that Oscar®-winning client has checked into well-known drug rehabilitation facility.

CHICAGO – Following persistent rumors of numerous affairs, Hall-of-Fame athlete has been slapped simultaneously with multiple paternity suits.  Published pictures of the individuals filing suits indicate that all of the paramours are all natural or bleach blondes.  Famous athlete is reported to have bought current wife one or more items of multi-carat diamond and gold jewelry.

LOS ANGELES – Person famous for no other reason except being famous was arrested again for driving under the influence.  Latest mug shots make this person look even worse than usual.  On-scene photos show famous person drives a notably expensive status symbol even when DUI.

MIAMI – Famous person is divorcing person famous for marrying famous person.  In written statements, both famous person and soon-to-be ex-spouse of famous person say that they hope to remain friends.  Other terms of divorce settlement are not disclosed.  Unnamed sources say large sums of money will be involved.  Follow-up stories indicate amicable breakup is not so amicable.

LOS CABOS – Formerly ordinary person made notorious by extended appearance on a popular reality television series has been arrested for: a) trashing hotel room, b) assaulting hotel staff and c) manhandling local celebrity who called in hotel staff to their shared room.  Incident resolved as reality TV star is paid substantial sum for interview with entertainment news channel which money is used to a) reimburse hotel for damages to room, b) pay off hotel staff and c) buy back affection of local celebrity, who is now, it is announced, reality star’s significant other.

ANTIGUA – Person newsworthy for their inherited wealth was taken to the hospital for bizarre, psychotic behavior while on a large luxury yacht moored in an exclusive marina.  Famous heir/heiress quickly released when psychiatrist recognizes person and realizes famous rich person is just eccentric.

NEW YORK – Notable politician specifically known for his very public views supporting family values was arrested after a not-very-well-known stripper and/or minor porn star accused him of stalking her.  Politician's wife stood by him uncomfortably at his press conference while notable politician admitted to a generic addiction and asked prayers and/or forgiveness from the "great people of this state" and says he has been "humbled by the experience," not specifying whether the humbling came from the recognition of his moral failing or being caught in it.

AUSTIN – Once notable quasi-country musician, now famous for his multiple drug possession arrests, is arrested for drug possession.  Charges dropped.

RALEIGH – Prominent politician charged with several crimes related to corrupting and/or being corrupt announces he has retained a celebrated attorney who always goes by first name, middle initial and last name, as well as the suffix of IIIrd, IVth or Vth.  Said eminent attorney at law, who always looks distinguished in his dapper attire, informs the assembled press that his client has been a "faithful steward for and a tireless servant of the great people of this great state," but is being crucified in the media because he stood up "against powerful interests and for the common man," one of which, notable attorney notes, his client is.

 

AUTHOR'S NOTE:  If, when you have completed reading the above, your celebrity news craving is not stemmed, please return to top and begin again.  Repeat as many times as necessary.

CAUTION: DO NOT COMBINE WITH PERUSING SUPERMARKET TABLIODS, WATCHING GOSSIP TV OR READING ANY NEWSPAPERS OR NEWS MAGAZINES.  OVERDOSE MAY RESULT.

 

Gary D. Gaddy wishes, if he ever were to be charged with a generic crime, to be represented by an attorney with a prominent middle initial who goes by IVth, Vth or VIth.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 11, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy

 


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 12:59 PM EST
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