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Friday, July 24, 2009
The incredible shrinking newspaper

I HATE TO WRITE AN OBITUARY for something that isn't quite dead yet -- but the American newspaper is in a death spiral.  I hate to write its obit in the very newspaper in which I am published -- but I can't figure out where would be a better place to put it.  And I figure I may not have long to publish it.

I have seen this coming for quite a while – forty-four years to be exact.  I have been in the newspaper business for some time.  In 1965 I was a paper boy for the Danville Commercial Appeal, a weekly newspaper.  Danville also had a healthy daily paper, and not long before had an evening daily as well -- before Walter Cronkite and his ilk killed it and the nation's other afternoon newspapers off.

I remember thinking, one morning as I walked my paper route: "This is a crazy way to get people the news."  I came up then with a solution: use fax machines, which existed then but were not common, to send readers articles on things they were interested in.  Four decades later, reality finally caught up with my lazy adolescent brain, only now they call fax machines computers, the Web, the Internet -- that kind of stuff.

But you haven't had to be an expert to see some of this.  It has been pretty obvious for quite a while that any major industry built on the backs of 13-year-old boys didn't really have a good business model.  Now the Internet really is jeopardizing the future of the remaining morning daily papers as both readership and ad revenues continue to shrink.

Many newspapers are shrinking -- literally.  One local paper, which I will not mention by name because I am writing for them right now, looks positively anorexic sitting in their single-copy sales boxes made for a larger format paper.  And either my arm is getting much stronger or newspapers are getting notably thinner as well.

But, as Philip Meyer, UNC professor and the former head of research for the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain, has said, as paraphrased by me, the response of newspapers in general to these tough economic realities is dismayingly stupid.  What mom and pop restaurant which was losing business would cut portion sizes, reduce quality, cut staff, raise prices and then expect to stay in business another week?  (Answer: none.)  So, what makes newspapers think that they can do the equivalent of that and survive?  Professor Meyer doesn't know and neither do I.

To compound things, readers are dying – literally.  As readership declines, it also is rapidly aging.  If you don't believe me, just find a twenty-something who subscribes to a daily newspaper -- and see if you don't have a real oddball on your hands.

As long as news is free tonight from news-aggregation sites such as Google News, it will be increasingly hard to get anybody to pay for papers delivered the next morning.

In the meantime, Craigslist has been eating up the business of the classified ad section -- which was once the most profitable part of the newspaper.  (Free will beat paid, any time, any where.)  And targeted web ads, such as those that come with Google searches, beat vague collections of ads or stacks of inserts all day long.

I don't know if I am part of the problem or part of the solution.  Working for nothing, as Local Voices columnists are wont to do, certainly doesn't help the circumstance of the paid journalists we may displace, but certainly we may help the circumstance of the failing newspapers we prop up.

But do understand, while newspapers may be going away, news is not.  Rest assured, someone, somehow will provide it.


Gary D. Gaddy, who was the owner of the Forest Hills neighborhood Commercial Appeal paper route from 1966 to 1968, holds a doctorate in Mass Communication Research from the University of North Carolina and taught journalism and mass communication at the University of Wisconsin--Madison for a while.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 24, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:45 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 4:55 PM EDT
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Friday, July 17, 2009
A very third-personal column

GARY GADDY is going to miss Roland Burris.  In case you missed it, Roland Burris is the Illinois politician who took Barack Obama’s senate seat after being appointed by another Illinois politician we all will miss: former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.  In the past week Roland Burris said that Roland Burris will not seek election when his appointed term expires.

But rather than using this as an occasion to mourn, it something to be celebrated -- with National Week of the Third Person.

Get to know illeism

Roland Burris has often talked about himself in the third person, saying "Roland Burris" thinks this and "Roland Burris" will do that.  Some people find that egotistical.  Gary Gaddy does not.  If nothing else, Roland Burris’ work has helped expand all our vocabularies.

  • lleism: Reference to oneself in the third person, usually to excess. (This definition is taken from the Logophilius blog. You gotta love words to appreciate Logophilius.  Frankly, it’s Greek to me.)

One famous illeist was Richard Milhous Nixon.  The classic example of a Nixonian illeism ("You won't have Nixon to kick around anymore.") was made on the morning of November 7, 1962 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles as Nixon gave what he called his "last press conference."  Unfortunately for us all, the press did have Nixon to kick around anymore.  This was not his last press conference.

But, let us not forget Roland Burris, if for no other reason than Roland Burris wouldn’t want us to.  Roland Burris is not just a person who speaks of himself in the third person.  He is much more than that.

According to Deanna Bellandi and John O'Connor of the Associated Press, in 1984, when Roland Burris ran unsuccessfully for the Senate, he once mused, "Illinois is the Land of Lincoln. Maybe someday it will be the Land of Burris."  He named his children Roland II and Rolanda.

"In addition to constructing a big mausoleum, he etched it with practically his entire resume, recording, among other things, that he was the first black Southern Illinois University exchange student to the University of Hamburg in Germany," said Bellandi and O’Connor.  And this is a notable accomplishment that II venture will never be duplicated by any person black, white or any other color.

“This is Rickey.  Calling on behalf of Rickey.”

But enough of Roland Burris.  Could it be a coincidence that Roland Burris was seated in the United States Senate during the same week that Rickey Henderson got voted into the Hall of Fame?

According to Wikipedia, baseball player Rickey Henderson was famous as an illeist.  Teammates reported seeing him standing naked in front of a mirror before a game, practicing his swing, and declaring, "Rickey's the best! Rickey's the best!"

It is also reported that during one off-season, Henderson left this message for Padres general manager Kevin Towers: "Kevin, this is Rickey. Calling on behalf of Rickey.  Rickey wants to play baseball."  This is, unequivocally, illeism at its highest.

Again, according to Wikipedia, in 2003, Rickey discussed his illeistic tendencies, saying, "People are always saying, 'Rickey says Rickey.' But it's been blown way out of proportion. I say it when I don't do what I need to be doing. I use it to remind myself, like,`Rickey, what you doing, you stupid . . . .'  I'm just scolding myself."

A sports reporter once asked Rickey if Rickey talked to himself, “You know, I never answer myself so how can I be talking to myself?”  And as to the degree of his illeiacal proneness, Rickey does use the first person, as when he defended his position during a contract dispute: "All I'm asking for is what I want."

But we should be careful of the facts on Rickey Henderson.  It is quite possible that the Wikipedia entry on Rickey Henderson was written by Rickey Henderson on behalf of Rickey Henderson.

Happy Illeism Week!

Gary D. Gaddy would like to thank Gary D. Gaddy for his assistance on this column which helped to win the National Society for the Advancement of Illeism’s Blog of the Decade.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 17, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:14 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, July 9, 2011 7:17 AM EDT
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Thursday, July 9, 2009
My wife and my life: An Internet investigation

THE INTERNET IS GREAT!  You can find out all kinds of things with it -- without even getting out of your pajamas.  (Traditional journalists are often derisive of bloggers "blogging in their pajamas."  This leads me to a question:  How do these "real" journalists even know the bloggers wear pajamas?  Investigative research is my best guess -- using the Internet.)

Recently, after having been married to my lovely wife and sometime editor for 15 years, I realized that I knew almost nothing about her except what she told me.  It used to be that you would have had to hire a private investigator, someone like Magnum, P.I., to look into her supposedly unsordid past.  Now, I can just Google her.

Let me tell you just some of the fascinating facts about her that I found out in my investigation -- none of which she had seen fit to tell me herself.

The first thing I discovered was that in 1972 my wife, who then went by Sandra Lynn Herring, was not only Miss Portland but Miss Oregon and a winner of a "Non-Finalist Talent Award" in the Miss America contest.  She never told me any of this.  She brags about second place in a bare bow archery contest with two contestants, but doesn’t mention this?  Odd, don’t you think?  (Coincidentally, she also never said anything about living in Oregon.)

But beyond bald facts, the Internet can tell you how to manipulate those essential pieces of data to entertain yourself.  For example, the website will tell you the "Top 5 Facts for This Name."

1. How well envoweled is Sandra Herring?  For this name, 31% of the letters are vowels. Of one million first and last names, 74% have a higher vowel make-up.  This means you, Sandra Herring, are modestly envoweled.

2. In ASCII binary Sandra Herring is:  01010011 01100001 01101110 01100100 01110010 01100001 00100000 01001000 01100101 01110010 01110010 01101001 01101110 01100111

3. Backwards, Sandra Herring is Ardnas Gnirreh.

4. In Pig Latin, Sandra Herring is Andrasay Erringhay.

5. In what is my favorite Top 5 Fact: "Sandra Herring, your Power Animal is the Common Mule."

And in the most hidden part of her life, she never said a word about being the performing artist Sandra Herring on "Everybody Wants My Body: Remix."

But these facts about others are just the tip of a massive but highly informative Internet iceberg. You can find things out about yourself, things that even you didn't know.

I remember graduating from George Washington High School in Danville, Va., (class of 1969), but had forgotten about my stints at Parkway High in Bossier City, La., (class of 1975) and Henderson High in Henderson, N.C., (class of 1964).

I remember being in the Furman University classes of 1973 (projected) and 1975 (actual), but I didn’t remember my time at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., (class of 1974).

I had thought that I didn't play golf, but with the help of the Internet, I find out I was Larkhaven Golf Club (N.C.) Four Ball Champion in 1986, 1998 and 1999; Greenville County (S.C.) Amateur Champion in 1991; and on the Montclair (Va.) Men's Golf Association Fall Classic tournament winning team (net score) in 2008.

While I knew that I had once played JV football, I did not know that at Hay High in Buda, Texas, I am the JV Blue Coach, an assistant coach with the varsity, and, of course, a PE/Health Teacher.  And last year I was the JV girls basketball at East Hall High in Hall County, Ga., as well.

I also find, besides being a self-employed "writer,"  I am a bus driver with the Lincoln, Mo., School System, a director at Sunny Level Baptist Church in Ringgold, Va.; and in 1996 was named Principal of the Year in Beaufort County, N.C.

But, I would like to caution you, sometimes the Internet information you find can be misleading.  For example, in a lot of places they have misspelled my name as Garry Gaddy.  So, be careful out there.


Gary D. Gaddy is, according to the Internet, the author of this column.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 9, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 10:26 PM EDT
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Thursday, July 2, 2009
Very Briefly: The News in Briefs

This week’s local, state, national and international news pre-digested for your consumptive pleasure.

Carrboro to star in network TV series.

CARRBORO, N.C. -- The mid-season replacement television show The Goode Family, an animated comedy by  Mike Judge, the creator and star of the hit animated television series Beavis and Butt-head and King of the Hill, will be moving its locale to Carrboro for the fall season, ABC announced today.

While the current program does not directly reference Carrboro or list it in the show's credits, those knowledgeable about the show and Carrboro say the parallels are far too numerous to be coincidence, and moving the show to the small North Carolina town will enhance its gritty reality.


Easleys hire Burris and Blagojevich

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Former N.C. governor Mike Easley and his wife, former N.C. State University administrator Mary Easley, have hired Roland Burris, the U.S. senator holding Barack Obama's former seat, and ex-Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, to advise them on managing their public images.  As Dr. Zach S. Kennagachi, a professor in North Carolina State University’s Department of Communication, noted succinctly, “It can’t hurt, now can it?”


Obama to appear on Letterman

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Barack Obama will be making an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman to apologize for appearing on Letterman’s show, according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.  Gibbs said Obama's proposed Top Ten Apologies list is still being drafted.


Court protects melanin deficiency disorder

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In one of its last decisions before Associate Justice David Souter leaves the court, the Supreme Court ruled today by a five-to-four margin that melanin deficiency is a legitimate disability eligible for protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Melanin deficiency disorder (MDD) is characterized by a series of superficial symptoms, including most commonly pale to pasty colored skin.  Ruled eligible under ADA are a series of medical interventions which may ameliorate if not reverse the MDD condition, including ultraviolet treatments, lower extremity strengthening therapy and group cotillion.

In a related case, several close court observers say that had the Supreme Court not ruled in favor of the 19 white New Haven, Conn., firefighters, they may have had to void the outcome of the recent National Basketball Association championship.

According to Professor Claude H. Hinkle of the Tufts University School of Law, the criteria used in the firefighters' job promotion examination were no more valid than the statistics of points, rebounds, assists, steals and turnovers used to select starters for those games.


UN: Next North Korea resolution to be bolder

NEW YORK -- The United Nations vowed today that if North Korea persists in developing and testing nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles to carry them, the next resolution that it passes will be even bolder.

"We have been working with typography experts and typeface designers to find the look that says, most clearly and cleanly, we are serious this time," said United Nations troubleshooter Ibrahim Gambar.

"We were very disturbed to discover that our last four resolutions were in Arial Light, which, obviously, has no heft or gravitas, and without a doubt, contributed to the North Korean response, which was, according to our envoy, in three cases to ball them up and throw them back in our envoy's face.  In the fourth case, Kim Jong Il lit a cigar with it -- and not a very fancy one at that," said UN's Kwang Trig.

Experts say the next resolution’s print will be much larger than used on any past UN resolution of any kind.  "We are examining the fonts to determine which one makes the most dramatic statement.  At this point we are leaning towards Bodoni Extra Bold, which expresses a sincere earnestness without being combative.  We want to come across as unwavering but we don't want to seem strident," said Trig.

Gary D. Gaddy was a journalist, briefly.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday July 2, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:14 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, July 8, 2009 5:53 PM EDT
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Thursday, June 25, 2009
A mediated political pop quiz

TEST YOUR POLITICAL IQ to learn what you may not have learned from the massive mass media.

1) In the first apparent action by the Obama administration which might lead to overt hostilities where none existed before, a U.S. Navy Aegis guided-missile destroyer shadowed the Kang Nam, a North Korean vessel suspected of carrying weapons or nuclear material, as it headed down the Chinese coast, perhaps on its way to Myanmar.  The name of the ship is (hint: it is the same ship whose sonar array collided with a Chinese submarine on June 11th, 2009):  a) The USS Theodore Roosevelt.  b) The USS Ronald Reagan.  c) The USS Harry S Truman.  d) The USS John S. McCain.  Answer, ironically, is:  d), the ship named after admirals John S. McCain, Jr. and John S. McCain, Sr., father and grandfather of the current Senator John S. McCain.

2) Under whose presidential administration was "extraordinary rendition" (that is, sending terror suspects to other less scrupulous countries for "interrogation") invented?  a) Richard Nixon.  b) George H. W Bush.  c) Bill Clinton.  d) George W Bush.  Answer is:  c) Clinton.

3) Under Reagan, the largest federal annual deficit was $208 billion.  Under Bush, the deficit hit $482 billion for the 2008-09 budget year.  These were both reported in the media as big problems.  The predicted deficit for 2009 is $1.2 trillion, perhaps more, but is not now widely reported as a problem because:  a) Those deficits were Republican deficits which are bad.  b) The current deficit is a Democrat deficit which is good.  c) The whole national debt will be paid off easily in a couple of years using Zimbabwean dollars, which will be worth more than American dollars after the coming deficit-driven hyperinflation.  Answer:  All of the above.

4) The most embarrassing acting vice president (based on his first 100 days in office):  a) Spiro T. Agnew.  b) Dan Quayle.  c) Richard M. Nixon.  d) Joseph Biden.  If the question had been the last 100 days in office, the answer would be obviously:  a) Agnew, as being booted out on your way to the jail cell especially reserved for Maryland ex-governors is hard to top.  If it were based on media coverage alone, the answer would be:  b) Quayle, who offered potatoe as the spelling of potato and questioned the value of celebrity role models promoting voluntary single parenthood.  Actual answer is:  d) Biden, who, so far, hasn’t gone a week without saying something that doesn't need to be retracted, clarified, glossed over or "qualified" by the White House press staff.

5) Which president invoked Jesus more often in his speeches and public pronouncements:  a) George W. Bush or b) Barack Obama?  In a contest that is no contest:  b) Barack Obama.  In the first year of his presidency, Bush mentioned Jesus several times -- but always in almost required contexts, such as an Easter proclamation, a Christmas message and in announcing “Salvation Army Week.”  Obama has invoked Jesus frequently in his first four months in office while talking about all kinds of topics including abortion, the Middle East and even the economy.

6)  Whose quote is this?  "In this dedication of a nation we humbly ask the blessing of God.  May He protect each and every one of us.  May He guide me in the days to come."  a) George W. Bush.  b) Ronald Reagan.  c) Jimmy Carter.  d) Barack Obama.  Answer:  None of the above.  These were the final words of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address.

 If you scored five or below, you should seriously consider changing your news sources. (This column excluded, of course.)


Gary D. Gaddy got a 99 and 1/2 on Mr. Olson's final exam on 20th century history in 1968 -- and is still sure he got robbed on the 1/2 point deducted.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 25, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:17 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 25, 2009 9:11 AM EDT
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Thursday, June 18, 2009
I write the songs; really, I do

ON MORE THAN ONE OCCASION, one of my putative readers (who would really admit to such a thing?) has said to me, and I paraphrase, "I like your column because it sounds just like you talking."  Honestly, I am offended -- though I am not sure if these supposed readers are maligning my conversational style of writing or my literary mode of speaking, or both.  I do not write like I speak.  (And you will thank God, atheists and believers alike, that neither are anything like my way of thinking.)

For example, the other day while reading the newspaper I was thinking about waterboarding, wondering why it raises so much brouhaha when my brothers and I used to waterboard as children every summer.  It was quite enjoyable way to spend a day at the lake.  A great way for a kid to get started, heading into the more challenging art of water skiing.

Then, my thoughts of summers at Buggs Island Lake were interrupted with the subsequent fantasy thought in which my wife says, "It's not the same kind of waterboarding, darling."  (She usually calls me darling, or sweetie, or some other term of endearment whenever I do or say something knuckleheaded.  This may be the reason we are such an affectionate couple.)

My next thought following my wife's kind reprimand is that I need to apologize to my readers before I go on.  Sorry, guys.

Anyway, I definitely do not write like I think.  For example, my thinking rhymes more frequently.  Sometimes I transcribe my thoughts and they come out as song lyrics, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

OK, I know what you're thinking at me now (which is probably a lot like what you would write to me if you were to write to me which many of you do not -- assuming, of course, that I have more than two readers -- which is not well established at this point.)

Anyway, what you are thinking is this: "What goofy kind of song lyrics would this loon write if he did actually write song lyrics, which I doubt he actually does?"

A very good question, which asks for, if not demands, a very good answer.  Sorry, don't have that but I do have some sample (rejected) song lyrics, however, which may answer the aforementioned question implicitly but not explicitly -- because I don't do rap.


                  Didn't Write Songs
Didn't write songs, but he did write song titles.
Didn't worship rock stars, did keep them as idols.   
Didn't have a band -- but thought up band names.
Didn't play an instrument but tried to play the music industry game.       

Had lotsa great ideas; very few, if any, deeds;
Could talk his way into anything that he might need.
Life for him wouldn't have been so very hard,
If it coulda been lived on four-by-six index cards.   
     The would-be lyricist wrote lotsa words --
     Swore they were lyrics to his songs.
     But that assertion had to be inferred --
     Until some notes came along.

He was writing a musical, or at least that’s what he’d say.
Didn't like musicals, but wrote music-less ones anyway.
His life was very complicated -- and quite incomplete.
Spent lotsa time in bed -- but never did get much sleep.

No one understood him -- but, hey, neither did he.
This would-be lyricist, well, you guessed it, he would be me.

(Lyrical Copyright © 2009, Gary D. Gaddy   All rights reserved -- for what, God only knows.)


Now, you tell me, actual readers, could Barry Manilow write anything more authentically “me” than this?  I, and I wrote the song, or at least the lyrics, don’t think so.

Gary D. Gaddy really did write this "song."

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 18, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:31 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 18, 2009 8:39 AM EDT
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Thursday, June 11, 2009
Now introducing . . . the Albatross!

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Congress today ordered General Motors to begin producing "as quickly as feasible" a brand new model for its Cadillac line of passenger vehicles, the Albatross.  The large, powerful, yet green, Albatross will be the first American-made automobile to come supplied with a driver and a full contingent of passengers.

"Redundant systems are the key to future of the American automobile which will be made, built, designed, engineered, created and assembled right here in the U.S. of A., the United States of America," said Sen. Dick Durbin, Senate majority whip.

"The Albatross will come with a government-supplied chauffeur and also a government-mandated designated driver and a government-employed backseat driver, in case the government-supplied chauffeur or designated-driver fails in some form or fashion to fulfill his or her navigational obligations," said Durbin.

The vehicle will be powered by a hybrid propulsion system of highly compressed thermally enhanced natural atmospheric gasses and combined with methane produced from bovine solid waste material.  Outside consultants were at first skeptical of the practicality of the drive system until government engineers demonstrated for them a similar but more primitive system of hot air and gas that has been harnessed to heat the United States Capitol for several hundred years.

One minor problem with the Albatross yet to be resolved is tailpipe odor.

As a flex-fuel vehicle the Albatross can also run by burning straight cellulose in what GM engineer Duncan Klein calls reverse ATM mode.

The massive Albatross uses the principle of buoyancy using human biologic systems to heat the atmosphere within the inflated cabin of the vehicle.  The same principle is employed to fill each of the Albatross' 100 naturally heated airbags.

Stylistically the Albatross has “aerodynamic lines reminiscent of the Von Hindenburg airship,” said Norma Slick of the NewWave AutoDesign Team.  At present, the Albatross is scheduled to be available in a single tint which GM calls Greenback Green.

President Barack Obama announced he is leading the way by adopting the Albatross as the new presidential limousine.  White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel said the first official use of the Albatross will be to ferry Obama to a speech to Congress tentatively entitled “Freeing Enterprise for the Twenty-First Century.”

In related news, the Department of Transportation announced today that in order to reduce costs to the government a $10,000 rebate will be given on all federal government purchases of any General Motors car.  The Government Accounting Office said that they expect this purchase incentive will save the U.S. Treasury more than $250 billion over the next ten years as the rebates revert to the federal government on planned purchases of more than 25,000,000 cars.


NC goes on Easley Plan

RALEIGH -- North Carolina Senate Majority Leader Senator Tony Rand of Fayetteville announced today that the state will be placing on a legislative fast track the "Easley Plan," a state stimulus package "for the ordinary taxpayer."  Under the proposal, every taxpayer in the state of North Carolina will receive an "Easley-like deal," worth $170,000 per year for the next five years.

Given the state’s constitutional restriction requiring a balanced budget, some legislative analysts had been skeptical of the practicality of the plan.  However,  following federal budget guidelines analysts in the legislature calculated that the total tax revenue generated by the Easley Plan payouts including income, sales and excise taxes, when combined with an economic impact factor multiplier, will exceed the cost of the payouts.

As with the original eponymous Easley Plan recipient, taxpayers receiving this stimulus payment will not be required to perform any useful work in return for their payments, and so the plan should not displace any of the currently gainfully employed workers left in the economy.

Gary D. Gaddy once owned a General Motors automobile and had a pre-Easley Plan job at the University of North Carolina, a wholly owned subsidiary of the North Carolina state government.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 11, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:01 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2009 8:07 AM EDT
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Thursday, June 4, 2009
Palindrome, spelled backwards

ADAVEN, Nevada -- Even as the Conservation Laboratory for Palindromes, plc, (CLP plc), a private-public partnership which seeks to preserve the palindrome for posterity, petitions Congress to add the palindrome to the Endangered Species Act, a bill sponsored by Sen. R. A. Barnes, Sen. Y. A. Haynes and Sen. O. J. Jones is working its way through Congress.

According to Bob "Otto" Bob, who holds the top spot at CLP plc, since the palindrome is neither flora nor fauna, the classification of the palindrome as endangered would break new taxonomic ground.  But, as Otto put it, "Are we not drawn onward, we few, drawn onward to new era?"

To look into the inner workings of the Conservation Laboratory for Palindromes, sent two crack reporters, Lee Keel and Lisa Basil, to listen to what gets said inside of one of America's top linguistic think tanks.  

As we toured the CLP plc campus, nestled in a valley sidled against the Humboldt National Forest, we eavesdropped, recording a small handful of the exchanges we overheard.

According to the CLP plc's Dr. Awkward, one of the institute's first projects was a history of the world in palindrome, beginning with the first instance ever recorded, "Madam, I'm Adam," (addressed to Eve, of course).

But, according to British historian Sir Roman A. Morris, while the fall of the palindrome began with the first mom and dad, it continues to this day.  As Morris noted, "Dennis sinned," and, shortly thereafter, "Dennis and Edna sinned."

As observed by Morris, other historically significant palindromes include Napoleon's unequivocally Napoleonic declaration ("Able was I ere I saw Elba!"), which inspired many more, notably Wake Forest University sophomore Bodo Beer's sophomoric boast: ("Remarkable was I ere I saw Elba Kramer!")

Dr. O. F. Mumford told us that the engineer of the lock-design for the first artificial inter-oceanic waterway John Frank Stevens was rightly immortalized with "A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!"  But he also explained that others expanded on
Stevens great life work: "A man, a plan, a cat, a ham, a yak, a yam, a hat, a canal, Panama!"

In a conference room we witnessed this fragment of a theological debate between Dr. Allan Allard and the Rev. A. E. Deaver.
Deaver quoted the Devil: "Reviled did I live, said I, as evil I did deliver."
"Devil never even lived," replied Allard.
"Evil, a sin, is alive," responded Deaver.
Looking out the window, Allard exclaimed, "Aha!"  Then he asked, "Do geese see God?"

In one lecture, stats maven Dr. Ari Girard said that palindromic numbers, strangely, are "Never odd or even."  Then Girard whispered to us: "I prefer pi."

Overheard between two cubicles.
"Was it a car or a cat I saw?" asked Leon Noel.
"Racecar, a Toyota racecar," answered Ned Den.
"Civic?" queried Noel.
"A Toyota," responded an exasperated Den.
After Noel looked quizzically, Den added: "A Toyota. Race fast, safe car. A Toyota."
"I did, did I?"   Noel, then shrugged his shoulders, noting: "A Toyota's a Toyota."

In the break room, Lena H. Chanel was musing.
Lena: "If I had a hi-fi . . ."
"Abba?" asked Blake DeKalb
"Oh, no! Don Ho!" responded Lena.
Then the tattooed Blake said: "Satan, oscillate my metallic sonatas!"

As we left, Bob Otto Bob told us the laboratory's next big project is finding a cure for aibohphobia (the fear of palindromes), a condition which strikes 11 out of every 121 Americans.

Did you know?  Emordnilap, the antonym of palindrome, is a word which spelled backwards is palindrome, which is a word which spelled backwards is the same as the word spelled forward, which emordnilap is, or is not, depending on how you look at it.

The first reader to identify all the palindromes of three letters or more in this column will be eligible for a drawing for an all-expense paid 7-day voyage on Cannard Cruise Line's flagship vessel, The Red Herring.

Gary D. Gaddy, oddly, isn't close to a palindrome

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday June 4, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 10, 2009 6:57 PM EDT
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Thursday, May 28, 2009
My love/hate affair with Thom. Jefferson

THOMAS JEFFERSON AND I are both from Charlottesville, so that would make us natural allies -- or perhaps rivals.  I really admire the guy, though I think that if we had ever argued about anything for long, I am not sure a discussion would have ever broken out.

Thomas Jefferson had the chutzpa to make up his own version of the Gospels -- excising the miraculous.  Once, in a Barnes & Nobles bookstore, I looked through a copy of the rumored work -- a bowdlerized version of Jesus' life and teachings.  Hey, but that's ol' Thom.  Religiously, Jefferson was a precursor to the most modern of religions: "I am of a sect by myself, as far as I know."

Like the most interesting among us, Jefferson was a tangle of contradictions.  So, I present to you, in the interest of free speech, Jefferson with no comments but his own, for the thoughtful among you to meditate upon in the light of modern times.

On Government

I own that I am not a friend to a very energetic government.  It is always oppressive.

That government is best which governs the least.

The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.

On Media

Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe.

Advertisements contain the only truths to be relied on in a newspaper.

The man who reads nothing at all is better educated than the man who reads nothing but newspapers.

Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.  

The Republic

The republican is the only form of government which is not eternally at . . . war with the rights of mankind.

Though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail . . . to be rightful . . . the minority [must] possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where 51 percent of the people may take away the rights of the other 49.  

On Liberty

Nothing is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

Errors of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.  

To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

It is error alone which needs the support of government.  Truth can stand by itself.
On Religion and Religious Liberty

Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

I never will, by any word or act, bow to the shrine of intolerance or admit a right of inquiry into the religious opinions of others.  

Some Jeffersonian Prophecies

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.  

If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.  

If God is just, I tremble for my country.

Government big enough to supply everything you need is big enough to take everything you have.

Gary D. Gaddy really was born in Charlottesville, which may shortly be known as the birthplace of Gary D. Gaddy.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 28, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy



Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:53 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 7:58 AM EDT
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Thursday, May 21, 2009
What a waste! And its transfer

I AM A RESIDENT EXPERT on waste disposal landfills.  I used to live next to one.  My apartment complex abutted the Chesapeake, Virginia, city landfill.  My building sat closer to the working landfill than my current house does to my neighbor's house across the street.  My then two-year-old son used to spend his time looking out the window watching the bulldozers work.  He enjoyed the landfill.

The mountains of garbage appeared to reach higher than the tops of the apartment buildings.  And when I say mountains, I mean mountains -- like Mount Trashmore, the highest point of elevation above sea level in Virginia Beach, a city bordering on Chesapeake.

When watching the trash dump next door grow grew boring, sometimes I would take our family to play on one: Mount Trashmore, the 165-acre recreation area with hills 60-feet high and over 800 feet long.  Mount Trashmore was created by compacting layers of solid waste and clean soil.

Mount Trashmore Park includes multiple playground areas, 15 picnic shelters, a basketball court, four volleyball areas, a skateboard park, multiple walking trails, and two lakes where fishing is permitted.  Ready for this?  Since its opening in the 1970s, it ranks as the most popular park in Virginia Beach, with attendance of over one million visitors a year.

My point?  Trash dumps, landfills as they are euphemistically known, are not all that bad. Carefully engineered and managed, they are not public health hazards when in use and can be assets afterward.  What is a public nuisance, public health hazard and waste of time, energy and money is sending our garbage to someone else's community so they can take care of it.

The real waste of a waste transfer station is not where it is placed -- but that we are planning to build one at all.  It's our trash, let's take responsibility for it.  I once studied a map of Orange County -- and there's lots of land here.

I have often said that Chapel Hill is in favor of every good thing -- somewhere else.  The wasted transfer site is another great example of that.  The only explanation I can think of describes many decisions by the town of Chapel Hill in dealing with things we all wish we didn't have to deal with:  Here, take this money and build your (fill in the blank) -- just not in my backyard.  We would love an AIDS hospice -- somewhere else.  We would love a clubhouse for those with mental illness -- somewhere else.  We would love a place for the homeless -- somewhere else.

What's the point of all this?  Chapel Hill and Orange County don't need to be debating about waste transfer sites.  We don't need a waste transfer site.  We need a new landfill and one in our county -- and energy, efficiency and safety say it should be in or close to Chapel Hill -- just like our old one.

I suggest that a new county landfill be placed inside of Chapel Hill -- given that a majority of its trash comes from Chapel Hill.  And given that a good fraction of Chapel Hill's garbage comes from the University, I have a radical, and not altogether jesting, proposal.  The new landfill should be built on the proposed Carolina North tract.  There is plenty of space there, nearly 1000 acres.  Such a landfill site wouldn't prevent Carolina North from being built, but would make use of some of the property in the meantime – before the landfill is turned into a nice park.

This would make lots of people happy:  those opposing the proposed waste transfer sites; those living near the current landfill; those who don't like the Horace Williams airport; and those in Orange County who think that Chapel Hill should keep their garbage to themselves.

Given the common sense of this proposal, I am sure all parties involved will easily agree to it.

Gary D. Gaddy really did live next to a landfill once, and lived to tell about it.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 21, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:49 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, April 6, 2010 10:35 AM EDT
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Thursday, May 14, 2009
The burdens of being a Local Voice

I AM A LOCAL VOICE.  It says so right here in the paper.  Look, up at the top of this column.  It’d be nice if I could be a disembodied voice, but they had to go putting my picture in the paper.  It's sorta like a mug shot.  Has the same kind of effect.

Once, while in Amante's Pizza in Carrboro, I was minding my own business, ordering a pizza, which is, I would think, what someone should do in Amante's Pizza in Carrboro.  The order-taking guy looked at me kinda funny and then said, "You're the guy in the paper, aren't you?"  I said, "Maybe," not being certain where this might lead. 

He turned around and came back with a copy of the Chapel Hill Herald.  He looked at the editorial page, then at me.  I was afraid it was the edition with "Hooters' Carrboro encounter," my news report on a new restaurant coming to town, or perhaps the edition that included "Carrboro proclaims June ‘Bathe French Month’."  I didn't know.

Fortunately, the pizza turned out to be tasty and non-toxic.  Still, as you can tell, authoring this column can be harrowing.

As another example, a Local Voice may be accosted in the halls of the Dean Dome by fervent fans. OK, it was one fan and not all that fervent.  Still, it can be awkward having someone laugh while telling you that he really "likes" your columns -- "especially the sarcastic ones."

Well, let's get this straight, I do not write sarcastic columns, any idiot could see that.  So, obviously, Greg is not any idiot.  I write spooferic columns in which I juxtapose an artificial reality with actual reality to see which is sillier.  Often they come to draw.

But we should cut Greg some slack.  He works for OWASA, our local governmental sewer authority.  (I won't embarrass Greg unduly with his co-workers by repeating his name, 'cause he's a nice Feller.)

Greg says I should publish a book of my columns.  How quaint!  Words in ink on paper.  Something like those tomes they keep in archival repositories for future historians to examine.  Get with the 21st Century, Greg!  I write my words with electrons!

Now why would anybody want to cut down a beautiful conifer or a flowering poplar to make paper, polluting the environment (sorry, Chapel Hill Herald), when he, she or it could log on to and, using electrons (saving numerous protons and neutrons) to read my collected columns, especially when the same trees could be used to make Charmin® with Absorbent Cushions™ (So You Can Use Less!)?

If I haven't made my point already, a little while back I found out something very disturbing.  They read my column in Danville, Virginia.  (This is one under-reported problem with the World Wide Web.)  George Davis, George Washington Davis, to be more exact, who went to elementary, junior high and high school with me, reads my column -- and pays attention.  Think about it.  This means some of my facts now have to be more factual.

Finally, I get putative readers suggesting, "You could put me in your column."  No, Moody, I cannot.  I cannot put every Tom, Dick and Moody Smith in my column just because they ask me too.  (Moody, you may or may not recall, is the person who wrongly accused me of wrongly claiming to have beaten Ludwig Wittgenstein in chess -- which I most certainly did.)

Moody thinks that bringing my attention to a great Mark Twain quote, one that I probably will use in my column sometime if I can figure how to do it, as it speaks volumes about the cultural ethos of the high art of this age ("Wagner's music is better than it sounds."), will get him a columnar citation.

Sorry, Dr. Smith, Twain said it, not you.


Gary D. Gaddy is a Local Voices columnist.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 14, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:16 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 3, 2009 7:43 AM EDT
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Thursday, May 7, 2009
Gaddy to be replaced as columnist

DURHAM, N.C. -- Higher management of the Durham Herald-Sun announced today that, effective with today's column, Gary D. Gaddy has been replaced as the Chapel Hill Herald's Leading Regular Thursday Columnist. 

Herald insiders say that current Chapel Hill Herald editor Dan Way and former CH Herald editor Neil Offen both opposed the move.  One source who asked not to be named said Way and Offen fought against the outsourcing on the grounds that Gaddy "was so easy to work with, such good company and often picked up lunch tabs."

This source said the Herald-Sun management made the move because, from their perspective, Gaddy is very difficult to work with, sometimes publishing odd columns that no one on the Durham editorial staff understood.  "At times we weren't even certain whether his columns were fact or fiction," said an editorial staffer who asked to remain anonymous for "professional reasons."

"The columns are supposed to sappy, local puff pieces, and he's running hundred-year-old song lyrics, fictitious restaurant reviews and transcripts of Larry King interviewing God.  It's very disorienting," the unnamed staff editor added.

Taking Gaddy's place is a contract ghostwriter working under the pseudonym of Gary D. Gaddy.  Herald-Sun management expects that readers will not notice the difference.

"Once we inadvertently re-published a column run six months before -- and nary a complaint crossed the transom, don't see how anyone will notice a replacement writer who is slightly less witty and insightful," said Offen, currently the Durham Herald's Metro editor, in a frank admission that his opposition to the move was primarily personal.

One expert believes the H-S management team is correct on reader obliviousness.  "What management did, before they made a permanent change, was to study the impact of this possible switch over the last several months by alternating actual Gaddy brilliance with ghostwritten boiler plate.  No one even noticed -- based on the absence of reader feedback," said University of North Carolina journalism professor and one-time gubernatorial candidate Philip Brown.

Even Gaddy's wife and sometime editorial assistant, who also asked not to be named, said she thought the "other stuff" was just about as good as Gaddy's.  "Maybe not as funny, but the spelling was better and the syntax easier to follow," she said.

Gaddy, who was reported to be very disturbed at first about the change, came to see it in a different light upon reflection.  “When I was first informed, I was very insulted,” said Gaddy, “then I realized it was nothing to be miffed about.  Just the opposite, it's quite an honor.  Nobodies don’t have ghostwriters.  Major industry figures, U.S. presidents and top Hollywood celebrities, they have ghostwriters.

"Think about this: even the least ghostwriter-supported author, Barbara Bush's dog Millie, made the top-ten best-seller list -- and probably had a higher approval rating than George H. W. when he left office," said Gaddy.

Biden treated for foot-in-mouth disease

WASINGTON, D.C. -- The C1B1 virus has claimed its first prominent victim as Vice President Joseph Biden was admitted today to Bethesda Naval Hospital for treatment of a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease.  Because it took so long for Biden to receive initial treatment, doctors say it is not clear when, or if, he will recover.

Not everyone, however, is unhappy with Biden's poor prognosis.  The National Association of Comics and Comedians said a slow recovery for Biden would be a good thing for them.

"Without Biden, we won't have a single notable white male to deride.  Talk about the Great Recession, the auto industry has  had a cakewalk compared to us. You ought to try writing nightly standup comedy without George Bush to kick around," said Sander Sandersson, chief monologue writer for the Tonight Show.  "Biden has been a godsend," he added.

Genetically similar to swine flu, foot-in-mouth disease originated in an animal host, spreading from the jackass to humans.



THOUGHT FOR THE DAY: You might be a redneck if . . . you have ever said, "You might be a redneck if."

Gary D. Gaddy may or may not be the author of this column. (Go to to see past columns.)

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday May 7, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:27 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, May 7, 2009 7:37 AM EDT
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Thursday, April 30, 2009
Suit filed against Chapel Hill nuttiness

CHAPEL HILL -- The Peanut Corporation of America (PCA) has filed suit against the Town of Chapel Hill, demanding that they "cease and desist all acts and activities which promulgate the use of the phrase 'another nutty Chapel Hill idea.'"  In its suit the PCA says that "another nutty idea" is its registered trademark phrase.

"While we acknowledge that Chapel Hill was having nutty ideas long before we were even incorporated, they never made the effort to protect that phrase as intellectual property.  We have," said Dean Kleinschmidt, an attorney representing the PCA.

The PCA suit does not demand that Chapel Hill cease having nutty ideas, merely that they "stop labeling them as such," Kleinschmidt added.

Peanut Corporation of America is a peanut-processing business founded in 1977 and headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, which was forced to seek protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in 2009.


Court orders Gaddy on to NBA roster

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a rare adjudicated case of height discrimination, the United States Supreme Court today ruled that Gary D. Gaddy must be added to the National Basketball Association's roster of active players. 

Justice John Paul Stevens, usually a reliable liberal, penned the 8-1 majority decision in favor of Gaddy, who the court said was discriminated against on the basis of height, or, more precisely, heightlessness.

Former NBA great and University of North Carolina alumnus Michael Jordan filed a pair of large amicus briefs in favor of Gaddy.  "I did it because I was cut from the varsity my sophomore year in high school so I can empathize with the guy.  Just because I grew after that, and he didn't, it doesn't seem fair I'll be in the Hall of Fame and he'll never get a minute off the bench," said Jordan.

Chief Justice John Roberts said, "The statistical arguments were compelling, but it was Gaddy's loquacious phrasing that swayed the court. I especially liked: 'One Muggsy Bogues doth not a tendency make.'  That was sheer poetry."

Per court order, Gaddy has chosen to go to the NBA's Eastern Division's leading team, Cleveland Cavaliers.  Gaddy hopes to help the team at non-shooting, off-guard position.  Gaddy's salary will be the mandatory league minimum of $457,588.

Gary D. Gaddy, 58, is not to be confused with Abdul Gaddy, 18, who played in both the McDonald's and the Jordan Brand Classic all-star games for top-rated high school seniors this year. The six-foot-three-inch Abdul Gaddy, no relation, has signed a grant-in-aid scholarship with the University of Washington.


Madonna adopts Botswana

HOLLYWOOD -- Following widespread media reports that celebrity actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie had adopted an entire orphanage in Zimbabwe, pop songstress Madonna has decided to adopt the country of Botswana.

Madonna, who was born Madonna Louise Ciccone in Bay City, Michigan and has two natural children, a daughter, Lourdes Maria Ciccone Leon, and a son, Rocco John Ritchie, by separate fathers of differing ethnicities, was also quoted as saying, “Top that Octomom!”


Roy's instant oxymoron

CHAPEL HILL -- Language experts were stunned by comments made by Roy Williams following the April 6, 2009 national championship game. "Roy Williams and Dean Smith don't fit in the same sentence," Williams was quoted as saying.

A linguistic expert in UNC's Department of Linguistics, Morley Leslie says Williams is wrong.  "It is very common for sentences to have a compound subject, and sentences of that length or longer are hardly rare in modern English."

UNC's rhetorician in residence Lyle Sprecher says he thinks that Williams may have been speaking metaphorically.  "Clearly they will fit in the same sentence, since the sentence Roy used to say that they won't fit in the same sentence uses them both in the same sentence.  Perhaps he meant they shouldn't be mentioned in the same breath, but I don't know, because apparently he did not say what he meant.  Or vice versa," said Sprecher.


Gary D. Gaddy does not belong in the same bio line as Roy Williams except, maybe, one that says he doesn't belong in the same bio line. 

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 30, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:13 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:28 PM EDT
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Thursday, April 23, 2009
Fascists and free-speech fiascos

I DON'T KNOW HOW MUCH news coverage it received, but on Tuesday April 14th, my wife and I attended an event on the University of North Carolina campus.  We came to be informed but the students were so loud often we could barely hear the person speaking -- even though when we were just few feet away.  It was a wonderful experience.

We were at the Undergraduate Scholarship Dinner, held to recognize UNC scholarship donors and recipients.  The happy noise was mostly that of undergraduates excitedly telling scholarship donors about classes they were taking, majors they were considering, planned summer jobs and internships, and where they hoped to study abroad.  Strange thing, students excited about learning.

Meanwhile, at the same time, we were missing an event over at Bingham Hall.  There former Republican congressman and one-time presidential candidate Tom Tancredo was trying to give a speech on his views on education and illegal immigration.  In short what happened is his talk never happened as he was shouted down, chanted over and bullied off the dais and out of town.

The protesters who did this think that Trancredo is a fascist.  Personally, I don't know – and neither does anyone else who hasn’t heard him speak or read what he has written.

Tancredo thinks these protesters are the fascists.  As he is quoted as saying afterwards, "A fascist is a fascist."  I don't know what else he might be right about but he's sure right about that.  Actions, in this case, certainly spoke louder than words from protesters' bullhorns ever could.

This event was not a "free-speech fiasco" -- as it has been termed by one newspaper -- at least not according to the primary organizer of the protest action, a UNC graduate student in Romance languages who heads the reincarnated Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).

He said he regretted the broken window but not silencing Tancredo. "He was not able to practice his hate speech," said the student, who I will not name because I'm not contributing to his fame.

Despite SDS's post-event press release, I will say this is exactly what they hoped for. This is exactly how they operate.  This is, as they call it, direct action.  Getting police to "over-react" is part and parcel of it.

Before their protest, we knew the protesters were opposed to the lecture’s sponsors, Youth for Western Civilization.  After listening to their taunts ("Western civilization killed my ancestors"), we find out they are opposed to Western Civilization itself. And after watching their acts, we now know they are opposed to civilization altogether.

Another of their chants ("Yes, racists, we will fight, we know where you sleep at night!") makes that abundantly clear.

But I may be completely wrong.  UNC geography professor Altha Cravey is reported to have joined protesters in chanting the names of Marco Polo and Christopher Columbus.  Perhaps this whole event was a geography field trip.

Another protest banner said, "No dialogue with hate."  This, obviously, is really what they are about -- because they weren't listening and don't want anyone else to listen either.

Lizette Lopez of the Carolina Hispanic Organization deserves credit for vainly admonishing the crowd inside the hall to be quiet. "We'd like to hear what he has to say," she said.  "Honestly, we were the ones who had more at stake" than the vocal protesters, said Lopez, calling it "depressing" that freedom of speech lost the night. 

Chancellor Holden Thorp, you have said the right things -- now please act decisively to make sure the right things get done.  There are students, and maybe even faculty, who were at Bingham Hall who need to be suspended, expelled and even charged with crimes -- and lots of photos and videos showing who they are.

And, Chancellor Thorp, please respond quickly so that the students like the ones I was having dinner with still want to apply to UNC, and so the donors sponsoring scholarships still want to give their money to the University they still want to love.


Gary D. Gaddy studied at UNC's School of Journalism and Mass Communication where they teach their students how to think, speak and write, but not how to keep others from doing so.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 23, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 13, 2009 10:27 PM EDT
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Thursday, April 16, 2009
Airlift to stem EU population collapse

BRUSSELS -- In the wake of the crisis meeting of the European Union's Population Board, EU ministers have called on the United States to begin an emergency airlift of "population uncontrol" measures to the European Union's shrinking native populations.  European historians are likening the crisis to West Berlin's cry for food and medicine following the Soviet blockade in 1948.

In a unprecedented bipartisan agreement, the United States Congress voted nearly unanimously to fund and supply shipments of Viagra and oysters, which wil be air dropped using NATO aircraft, to key areas of thirteen European countries where native Europeans are at least still sizeable minorities.

"The logistics of the drops are key," said General James L. Jones, the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe and the Commander of the United States European Command, who will head the mission, code named Operation Oyster, speaking from the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe in Mons, Belgium.

"If we inadvertently supply immigrant populations instead of actual Europeans we will exacerbate rather than ameliorate the problem. The way I read it that would be bad," said Jones.

"The latest demographic analyses are graphic: without outside assistance Europe as we know it will cease to exist within the next 50 to 75 years -- just a blink of the eye in the context of the storied history of 'old Europe,' which is, not uncoincidentally, becoming 'old Europe' even as this report is being written," Wolfgang Lutz of the Vienna Institute of Demography, a part of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

The EU Population Board is also calling for the Roman Catholic Church to take the unusual step of extending its ban on artificial birth control beyond its own adherents to "lapsed Catholics, unbelievers and infidels."  Although the Board says it recognizes that this measure may have limited impact, it feels it may help create "an uncomfortable atmosphere regarding birth control use among the general population," which it thinks may have some utility in increasing birthrates.

Air drops are necessary, rather than standard military truck convoys, demographics experts say, because of residential patterns in most European urban areas as well as the necessity of hitting remote rural areas.

"Most native European populations are essentially held hostage inside their old cities ringed by large complexes of subsidized housing filled primarily with immigrants, legal and other than legal," said Belgium's Louvain-la-Neuve University professor and demographer Michel Loriaux.

"As the French riots in 2007 showed, traversing these areas in land vehicles can be extremely hazardous," said Dr. Loriaux.

"It's funny how this whole thing has turned three sixty. The feared population bomb of the 1970's has turned out to be a dud.  Now the military that used to bring us wars as a primitive form of population control is being asked to use its bombers as storks flying in the babies," said demographer Loriaux.

The countries receiving assistance are Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Portugal, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.

In an extremely rare instance of Franco-American military cooperation, the French will prepare the oysters for eating by sautéing them in a light sauce béarnaise. The French are also providing a supply of barrel fermented off-dry Chardonnay, which is nicely balanced and complex, and works well with Viagra.


Gary D. Gaddy was a German major in college who studied in Austria and has in-laws from Sweden.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 16, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:56 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 8:59 PM EDT
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Thursday, April 9, 2009
Oh that championship feeling!

A CHAMPIONSHIP, ESPECIALLY a national championship -- when the adrenalin wears off, when the euphoria recedes -- brings about moments of quiet reflection.  Such as, this Tar Heel senior class may have been the best UNC basketball has ever seen.  Maybe the best we will see. 

Such thoughts immediately turn our eyes to the key member of that class. Not to belabor the obvious, it all centers on Mike Copeland.

With the victory over the Michigan State Spartans, UNC senior forward Mike Copeland broke, quite aptly, Quentin Thomas' UNC record of 123 wins for his career.  During his stint at UNC, Copeland went 124-22.  (Oh, yeah, Bobby Frasor, Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough also share the record with Copeland -- but not without him.)

Mike Copeland never made the honor roll on the court once the whistle blew, but he held honored roles just before it.  For his career Copeland averaged one point and one rebound in three minutes per game -- when he played --  but let us not forget that he was Danny Green's key "Jump Around" dance mate in the pre-game ritual that got the team loose before what were sometimes pressure-filled games.

He was also the slap-around guy who greets the team's starters as they were introduced before the tip off.  His playful manner and infectious smile made hard for any of the starters not to relax.  Even the stoic Tyler Hansbrough.

Bench players and practice players with good attitudes, like Quentin Thomas and Mike Copeland, really do help the chemistry of great teams.

Praisin’ Frasor, thinkin’ of Duke

I don't want our Duke-fan friends to feel neglected, to think we weren't thinking about them.  We were.  I went to a distinctly Carolina-blue Tar Heel championship viewing party.  Trust me, we were thinking about the Devils.

We even sang about them.  Before the game began, we sang "Hark the Sound," a cappella, no less. (Which was much more pleasant musically speaking than the extremely loud drunken karaoke that was going on in the background last weekend as my wife and I watched UNC in the regional finals in a bar in Ocracoke.)

But why would we sing of Duke?  Monday night was fun, but there was one game for Tar Heel fans, one in the last four years, that most would agree, was more fun.  National championships are glorious, no doubt, but one regular-season game three years ago may have been more pleasurable.

Bobby Frasor was the starting point guard in one of the most memorable UNC games in recent history -- national championships included.  That would be Freshman Night at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 4, 2006, when the freshman-dominated UNC team of Hansbrough, Green, Ginyard and Frasor (Copeland didn't make it into the game) outplayed, outscored and just plain beat the senior-dominated, number-one-ranked Duke team of J.J. Reddick and Sheldon Williams.  It was the first of four times that group of players beat Duke in Cameron.

Which reminds us of . . .

Prophets and their prophecies

As the Prophet Rasheed once said, "As long as Me, Touché and Jerry are here, we ain't ever losing here" (where Me refers to Rasheed Wallace, Touché and Jerry speak of Jeff McInnis and Jerry Stackhouse, and here indicates UNC playing at Cameron Indoor Stadium).

Well, according to sports writer Adam Lucas, 'Sheed's prophetic utterance came to pass.  Jeff McInnis was 3-0 at Cameron and 6-0 against Duke overall from (1993-94 until 1995-96).  Meanwhile, Stackhouse and Wallace were 4-0 against Duke including 2-0 at Cameron.

Finally, a news item . . .

NCAA grants Hansbrough fifth year

INDIANAPOLIS -- In an unprecedented action, the eligibility review committee of the National Collegiate Athletic Association has awarded UNC senior forward Tyler Hansbrough a fifth year of eligibility to play college basketball.

"We estimate Hansbrough spent over one-fourth of his playing career on the free-throw line -- obviously not where he, or anyone else, wanted him to spend it," said NCAA spokesperson Jennifer Kearns.  "An extra year only seemed fair," she added.


Gary D. Gaddy, neither Tar Heel born nor Tar Heel bred, will be -- when he dies -- a Tar Heel fan.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 9, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy



Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:47 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, April 9, 2009 10:56 AM EDT
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Thursday, April 2, 2009
Why Jesus didn't say what he said

JESUS MAY HAVE SAID lots of things -- but we have no clue what they are -- at least that's what University of North Carolina religion professor Bart Ehrman's books say.  Dr. Ehrman is making quite a name for himself publishing books which contend, if you boil them down to their essence, that you can't trust the Bible, the New Testament or the Gospel accounts of Jesus’ life and teachings.  

Why not?  Variant readings are the problem.  Now, I don't know much about variant readings -- but the New Testament is the best established document from ancient times -- by far.

If you cannot trust the New Testament to say essentially what it says, then we know nothing of any document from that time or before, nothing of Plato, Aristotle or Socrates  And you can kiss your Iliad goodbye.

Ehrman's skepticism has inspired me to write a book.  It says Martin Luther King, Jr., never gave the "I Have a Dream" speech.  You heard me.  Martin Luther King never gave the speech he delivered on August 28, 1963, at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.  The crowd of 200,000 attending never heard it and hundred of millions of readers never read it.

I know because I read a scholarly article on variant readings of the "I Have a Dream" speech.  I actually did.  Does that mean it didn’t happen or we can’t know what was said?  Is that what you would think if there were no motion picture cameras at the event?  Not me.

If variant readings determine whether something was said then many popular sayings never got said.  If you don't believe in God, perhaps you do believe in Google.  Take any famous quote and put it into the Google search engine (in quotes so as to find the exact quote) and see what comes out.  Then vary the quote in simple but logical ways.  It is likely you will discover that what you thought was said never was said -- but people are quoting it.  You will also discover that many similar things apparently were also said -- according to someone.

You could do this for the words of Jesus but I think for fairness sake that we should go to another spiritual tradition and use the enlightened words of another great yogi.  I am thinking here, of course, of Yogi Berra.

Yogi -- supposedly -- said something about dining, or not dining, at a fashionable restaurant.  Now before you read on, try to remember the quote.  Write it down.  Now you may continue reading.

Here's what I thought Yogi said: "That place is so popular nobody goes there anymore."  But Google says, via the many interpreters of Yogi, that he said many similar things which have been quoted very many times, tens of thousands of times, but only three measly quotes agreed with me.  

I was about to lose my faith in Yogi when I started looking less carefully and more sensibly at his words. Despite the variant word orders, despite the variant punctuation, vocabulary and even spelling, one thing remained: the essence of Yogi.  In all of its garbled forms, the truth of Yogi remained.

And, you know what?  If we really cared to determine exactly what Yogi said, the first time he said it, if we cared as much as many have for centuries about the words of Jesus, we could.  For the words of Yogi, not many care.  For the words of Jesus, many have, many do -- and that leaves us with modern translations which are some of the most reliable historical documents known to mankind.

Ehrman’s new religion is an innovative synthesis of two divergent strains of religious thought -- that of the Pharisees and that of the Sadducees.  We have nit-picking legalism combined with a doubt and denial of almost any manifest reality of God.  Ehrman has done what Jesus could not do, bring these two together.

I don't know if I should say this, but I have prayed earnestly for Dr. Ehrman, because reading his books and watching interviews with him, made me sad -- sad for him.  He has lost his way -- and now he is looking for followers.

Gary D. Gaddy has a doctorate from the University of North Carolina, thankfully, not in religion. 

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday April 2, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:41 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 5:48 PM EDT
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Thursday, March 26, 2009
McCain-Palin sighted in Carrboro

CARRBORO -- The town of Carrboro has issued a special bulletin alerting citizens to be on the lookout for light-colored passenger vehicle, a late model foreign import, probably a Honda or Toyota, which was spotted in the parking lot of the Harris-Teeter grocery store next to Carr Mill mall with a McCain-Palin bumpersticker affixed to its bumper.

Responding to an anonymous report, Carrboro police entered the parking lot at 2:14 pm on Tuesday but found no vehicle fitting that description.  As a precaution, they sealed off the lot until 4:30 pm when they were confident that the vehicle was no longer on the premises.

The Chapel Hill Police Department and the University of North Carolina Police and Security have been notified of the sighting.  A spokesperson for the UNC Police and Security said that they felt confident that the car did not belong to a student, faculty member or administrator from the University.

"We monitor our on-campus lots carefully, and we are certain that we have not seen any vehicle matching that description," said Sergeant Bob Mellman.  The park-and-ride lots, however, are a "different story."  Since many campus maintenance workers and secretarial staff live in Chatham, Alamance and northern Orange County, "we can't say with any certainty that it wasn't one of them," said Mellman.

Citizens within the Carrboro town limits are asked to call the town hall if they see a vehicle matching this description.

Carrboro officials say that they are hoping that this report is an event similar to the one last August when a Toyota Prius with a Huckabee for President bumpersticker was seen outside the Open Eye Cafe -- which turned out to be a misguided prank by the embarrassed owner's teenage son.


Work on Obama National Monument halted

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The work on the foundation for the Obama National Monument has been halted as the team of architects and designers debate anew how tall the monument should stand.

With siting issues resolved -- the Obama National Monument is being built over top of the current Washington Monument -- the new debate is over exactly how much taller than the Washington Monument the ONM should be.

The Obama National Monument Fund is an offshoot of the National Press Club with fund-raising efforts being coordinated with the National Association of Broadcasters, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the National Association of Newspaper Publishers.


Fed announces new U.S. currency

WASHINGTON, D.C.-- The United States Federal Reserve Board announced today that effective immediately, it will no longer honor Federal Reserve notes except in exchange for the new U.S. currency.  In an effort to counter the collapse of credit markets around the world and attendant falling currency values, the Fed has acted decisively to staunch the bleeding by declaring the NC Plenty to be the official U.S. currency.

Many currency exchange analysts expect the European Union to quickly follow suit.


Study shows fish do need bicycles

PALO ALTO -- A new study by Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station located in Pacific Grove, California and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography of the University of California at San Diego shows that most members of most common fish species do need bicycles in order to traverse on land.

"The average fish out of water can only live 12 to 15 minutes unassisted.  Rarely can they move more than several feet by flopping about.  With a pedal-driven carbon-dioxide generator attached to their fin-adapted bicycles, however, not only can they live indefinitely out of water, but they can cross large expanses of dry terrain, perhaps as much as 100 miles -- which is incidentally the length of the bicycle portion of an Ironman competition," said Stanford's Dr. Pisca Studemeyer.

"The freedom that this creates allows any fish to act as what we call a Super Lungfish.  It is then able to live a normal healthy life on terra firma, and not be confined to purely liquid environments such as oceans, lakes, rivers and streams," said Prof. Studemeyer.

Scripps is one of the oldest, largest, and most important centers for marine and earth science research, education, and public service in the world.  Leland Stanford Junior University is an elite private multiversity located in Palo Alto, California.

Gary D. Gaddy owns a Prius without any bumperstickers at all and probably has 50 or more liquid-bound goldfish in his backyard goldfish pond.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday March 26, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:58 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, October 11, 2010 8:37 AM EDT
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Thursday, March 19, 2009
Commissioner for a day, at least

I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU but I have been watching way too much basketball lately -- which has the side effect for me of evoking my guy-like tendency to fix things.  (My wife says she is going to put this epitaph on my tombstone -- presuming, in a demographically accurate fashion, that I'm going to die before she does:  "I know how they could fix that.")

One good thing about American sports, with the exception of baseball (which is, I might note, not "America's sport" anymore) is that the powers that be tend to fix their problems as they arise.  (Usually arising as a result of the last fix -- but still they try to make the game meet what fans want in a game.)

So, if I were the grand commissioner of basketball, which I usually am in front of my own TV, these are some of the obviously wrong things about college basketball that I would fix.

But, first, let me describe a scenario on a basketball court, and you tell me what you are observing:  A player has the ball in his hand while a player for the other team is standing in front of him.  The first player takes the ball and throws it as hard as he can at the groin area of the second player, hitting him.  What have you just observed?   a) a flagrant and combative technical foul meriting loss of possession, two free throws and suspension from the game;  b) a felonious assault meriting active jail time;  c) Christian Laettner;  d) a great, heady basketball play, as universally noted by the media commentators.  The answer, of course, is c) and d) -- if Laettner was in the game and he was falling out of bounds.

That’s dodgeball, not basketball.  Why is such a play even legal, much less applauded?  Just because a player is about to commit a rules violation?  You got me.  Just in the last couple of seasons, calling a time out as a player falls out of bounds was ruled invalid.  Exactly why, I don't know, but perhaps because it doesn't seem like a part of the game of basketball?

Just this season in college basketball, they made throwing a raised elbow, even if no opposing player is struck, a violation -- not a foul, but a loss of possession penalty.  Likewise, I say, throwing a basketball at anyone should be illegal, even if you don't hit the player.

Officials watching TV.  How did we get to point where we spend notable amounts of time while supposedly watching basketball games, watching officials watching TV?  Now, the instant replay as it is used in football is acceptable, as long as it instituted where a coach challenges a ruling.

What on earth are we doing having officials review their own calls?  Call it a two-point shot, call it three-point shot, but don't have the officials going, "I don't know.  Do you know?  I'm not sure," then spending the next five minutes looking a TV monitor trying to decide.

Institute a coach's challenge, where within a restricted amount of time, say up to the end of the next dead-ball situation, the coach may call a timeout and challenge some rulings.  Specifically, he may challenge three-point/two-point shot calls or shots made as the shot clock or game clock expires (the things the refs tend to review now).  If the coach is right, he keeps his timeout.  Otherwise, play the game!

If I were commissioner, I would end forever, perhaps longer, scheduling basketball games in enclosed football stadia.  But, some dimwit might say, well, in a dome don't more people get to experience the game in person?  So, more people getting to have a bad experience is a good thing?  If you have never watched a basketball game in a dome, trust me, it is not a good viewing experience.  If you have, you are already giving me a high-five in your mind.

Want to know why Cameron Indoor Stadium is a really good place to watch a basketball game?  (If you are thinking, being in close confines with the Cameron Crazies, you're one sick puppy.)  A careful technical analysis of the visual and acoustical physics of the building structure and of the social psychology of the spectating audience makes the answer very clear:  it's small and crowded.  Big domes ain't.

I'll go to the special exhibit at the Museum of Life and Science if I want to see ants playing basketball.  Watching people play the sport is a lot more fun.  Know what good dome viewing experience is called?  Watching on the Jumbotron.


Gary D. Gaddy wishes there had been a coach's challenge when he made his personal-record third straight three-point shot in one intramural basketball game when  the lousy official said his toe was on the line.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday March 19, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:03 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, June 6, 2009 2:31 PM EDT
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Thursday, March 12, 2009
What it was was baskey-ball

YOU MAY REMEMBER last fall I gave up my regular column's space to my wife's cousin Bobo Herring from Traphill up in the Brushy Mountains so he could report to you on his visit to the UNC campus with his son, William Robert Herring III.  William had been offered a Morehead-Cain Scholarship and in the process of touring the campus attended an inter-collegiate football contest.  What follows is Bobo's report from a more recent visit to Chapel Hill to see his son who enrolled mid-year at the University.

Now, Willy Bob, excuse me, Willie-yum, had been a-askin' me to come on down to Chapel Hill if’n I was gonna "to continue to persist in my state of anxiety."  Now, I never said nary a word about bein' to no state of Anxiety.  Well, I been up to Virginny, and over to Kentuck and Tennessee, and that's about all the states I think I'll be needin' to see.

I did say I was plumb worried stiff 'bout the boy. Will'um said I should come down "to meet the Morehead fellows," then I wouldn't be worryin' so much.  I got my heart encouraged when Will'um said he was gonna take me to the holiest place in Chapel Hill.  I had a-feared that them evolutionists at the college had chased the fear a-God plumb outta him.

Anyway, Will'um took me over to this holy place.  It was what looked to be a great big old barn that had a revival tent up top of it that just about glowed.  Lotsa people was a-goin' in, so we did too.  Will'um said it wadn’t a church like I thought but there was gonna be a sportin' contest and they was a-playin' ag'in the Dukes of somebody.

While we was a-waitin' to git in this barn, I met one of them Morehead fellers who said he was a-studyin' eth-no-music-knowledgey.  What in Heaven's name that would be, I do not know, but after I picked a little banjar for him, he said I played "an authentic banjo."  I didn't say nothin', but my banjar says "Gibson" right on it.

It was a right funny place this Smithin' Center, if'n yer askin' me. It was all painted robin's egg blue, just like that Pope's box overlooking that pasture I visited last fall. Strangest thing was somebody had been a-hangin' their laundry way up high in them rafers.  Them boys musta be great big boys 'cause I ain't never seen skivvies the like of 'em.  And them boys better be tall 'cause they hung ‘em so high I'll be wishin' them the best a-luck on ever gittin' ‘em down.

In this here barn they was havin' a hootenanny, hoedown or something with a band the likes a-which I never see'd.  That band didn't have nary a fiddle, mand-o-lin or banjar in it but when ever that man waved his little stick at 'em, they started a-howlin' and 'bout blowed the top off that tent.  Will'um said some of 'em was playin' tubers, but all I ever saw was boys blowin' in big brass Victrolas.

Will'um had tolt me that "UNC was a divers place" with people from all over the whole world.  I don't know about that 'cause Will'um's friends all looked alike and right strange and as sickly as folk kin git.  They wasn't just blue in the gills, they was blue all over.  But they weren't ‘xactly actin' sick, 'cept maybe like Nadine Strocker's cow when it got into Uncle Verne's mash that time.  They were all jumpin' and whoopin' fer no good reason I could see.

Then all a-sudden they whooped even louder and I saw what boys who could reach that underwear down.  The tallest bunch a-young'uns I ever see'd came a-runnin' out from under them bleachers.  Ever'body cheered like Gabr'el done blowed his horn.

Then right after it some other big boys came a-runnin' out a-wearin' dark blue underwear -- but them Morehead fellers and their friends sure didn't like 'em, 'cause they commenced to a-booin' louder'n they cheered a-fore.  Why for, I asked?  Will'um said they was Dooky.   I told him I was gonna wash his mouth out.

Those convicts that I saw out in that pasture, they was back, they all had whistles in their mouths, and they just a-blowed 'em and a-blowed 'em and a-blowed 'em.  First time they went to blowin' 'em, it so they could throw that punkin up the air and them boys could fight over it.  Next time it was 'cause two had grabbed the punkin -- and they was wrastlin' over it.  Them convicts seemed right confused.

'Bout half the time them convicts blowed them there whistles, all the crowd would go to a-booin' and a-booin'.  I ain't heard nothin' the like since Lula Ann Murphrey got up in that congre-ga-tional meetin' and said she didn't much think covered dish suppers was worth the trouble.

Anyway, that punkin, when they throwed it down, it'd bounce.  I never did figger what this contest was all about but it seemed a lot like when youngsters play hot 'tater -- just throwin' that punkin 'round and 'round, nobody a-wantin' to keep it too long.

One little brown feller a-wearin' light blue, they kept yellin' "Tie" when he had that punkin, he was like a greased-up pig with his tail a-fire.  Couldn't nobody of them Duke boys even touch 'em, much as they tried.

Then there was this big ol' boy, pale as could be, and they kept yellin' "Tie-ler" when he had that punkin.  Them boys in that dark blue, they sure didn't care too much fer him.  All he did all night was git up off the floor where they knocked him.  You woulda thunk he woulda knocked them down too, but he wouldn't.  He just git up and go to that line they had drawed on the floor where none of them Duke boys could even touch him a whit.

Then that boy he’d throw that punkin up in the air at a big picture window.  It had what Will'um called a basket a-hooked to it.  It wadn't much of a basket.  Didn't have no bottom in it, and that punkin fell right out.

After this a horn went off, and all them people in the bleachers got up and ran down and jumped all over that map on the floor.  Seemed down right disrepectful to me.  Then that band started playin' ag'in, Will'um said somethin' about its bein' a song for "Alma's mother."  I didn't git it, what with harkin' and all, but I did like the part about bein' Tar Heel dead, but I thought it was plain rude to tell them Duke boys to go to hell, though I am expectin', since it says devil right there on their undies, they won't really be mindin'.

After a while, this man they called "Roy" came and talked into this big silver pinecone, and his voice came a-boomin' outta heaven like the voice a-God.  He said, "I wanna thank y'all for a-comin' out and a-cheerin' so doggone loud."  It was 'bout only time I was down c'here I heard somebody a-talkin' plain so a body could understand 'em.

Then a whole passel a-boys came and talked in the pinecone too.  I couldn’t git much a-what was said, but them Morehead fellers kept on a-laughin'.  Finally, that big tough Tie-ler feller came out and cried like his best dog had died or somethin’ and most ever-body cried with ‘em.

When he stopped a-cryin', Will'um and them other young'uns headed out of there like a herd a cattle out of a burnin' barn.  And they just took me a-with 'em.  Next thing you now there's even more people and we're on Frankin' Street, whoopin' and hollerin' the like I ain't heard since I went to that Pentycostal tent revival over'n Boomer.

It wadn’t very cold but they started a campfire anyway.  They didn’t cook nothin’.  It was so crowded up that some them boys jumped across the fire just to git where they was goin’.

After most ever-body had left, I saw Will'um a-talkin' to one them dancin' girls.  Up close, you know they ain't nearly as lanky as I thought.  Fact, I'm a-thinkin', a passel of them and a passel of them big baskey-ball boys, I'll could git the work done 'round my farm in a wink and twinkle.

Fer sure, they'd be better'n Will'um ever was, who was always up in the hayloft with some book thick as Uncle Lester's head.

In any case, after I saw that sweaty dancin' girl a-kissin' Will'um on the cheek, I got a notion why Will'um why he’s a-likin’ his time down c'here.  I ‘spect he’ll be stayin' fer a while and goin’ to that gran-u-late school in phil-o-soph-i-cal-ness he’s been talkin’ so much about.

Gary D. Gaddy, whose wife is from Wilkes County, does know actual people from Traphill.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday March 12, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:07 AM EDT
Updated: Monday, March 16, 2009 8:21 PM EDT
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