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Archive for the ‘Life in Georgia’ Category

An Oakland (Calif.) police officer works the scene of a homicide.

So, how many of you here in Georgia need feel the need to be able to buy several handguns as often as you want, you know, for hunting purposes? I can tell you how many times I’ve looked out my back door, saw a seven-point buck and brought it down with my Saturday Night Special.

It’s no big secret that Georgia is gun happy—this is a pending bill in the state House that would allowed to carry concealed weapons in bars, public schools, most government buildings, college campuses and places of worship; as you will remember from Sunday School, Jesus was really big supporter of the right to shoot the crap out of your enemies.

It is also true that Georgia is the gun purveyor to U.S. criminals, and has been so for several years. My friend and former SF State Journalism School classmate Cecily Burt put together a great piece for today’s Oakland Tribune about how lax gun laws in Georgia and other states lead to gun crimes across the country, especially California:

Follow the Guns: From Georgia to Bay Area Streets

On April 13, 2009, Crystal Erin Davis walked into the Cherokee Gun and Pawn shop on Knox Bridge Highway in Canton, Ga., and bought a Cobra Enterprises .38-caliber pistol, commonly known as a Saturday night special. She filled out paperwork that said the gun was hers.

“But in fact Davis bought the weapon—and, on other days, 20 others—for her boyfriend, Jeffrey Martin Colon-Moore, a Vallejo, Calif., native and ex-convict who could not legally buy guns from licensed dealers. He sold and shipped the firearms by overnight delivery to buyers in the Bay Area that spring.

“Those buyers, in turn, put the weapons in the wrong hands.

“About 15 of the 125 guns Moore’s crew bought from gun stores or gun shows have since been recovered by law enforcement. While none has been directly traced to a killing, they’ve been taken from parolees after car chases, from juveniles after a robbery and from a car searched after a fatal shooting at a San Francisco nightclub.

“The story of those guns—which emerges from a federal trafficking case—provides a rare view of the ways criminals get firearms, and just how easy it can be. It also helps explain why, when Oakland police seize an average of 1,200 to 1,500 firearms every year, there is a steady supply to replace them.

“ ‘It is definitely frustrating,’ said Sgt. Nishant Joshi, head of the Oakland Police Department’s Gangs/Guns Intelligence Task Force. ‘A lot of guns come from out of state, a lot of straw purchases. Guns are not manufactured in Oakland. There’s no big warehouse in Oakland where you go in and buy what you want.’

“Instead, there are a variety of black-market sellers, receiving guns from states with less stringent gun laws. In California and many other states, buyers undergo background checks and a waiting period before they can take home a gun. But in Georgia, Arizona and Nevada—some of the biggest sources of illegal guns in California—there is no waiting period. Those states also allow person-to-person sales without paperwork.”

Great work, Cecily. The absurd gun laws—pending and existing—in Georgia need to be changed, but the odds of that happening in this redder than red state is just about nil. There’s no talking sense to some folks.

University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell was arrested last night on weapons charges. Bulldog fans are unsettled.

In a related incident, many folks in the state are up in arms today because a 19-year-old was on arrested on charges of possessing a concealed weapon, having a weapon in a school zone and having an altered ID mark on that weapon (the serial number was scratched off). Half the state is ready to throw the book at this young man while the other half is rushing to his defense. What makes this one college sophomore’s fate so riveting to so many people? Maybe it’s because he’s the University of Georgia’s star tailback Isaiah Crowell.

BREAKING NEW:

According to sports talk radio and the Atlanta Journal-Consitution, Georgia head football coach Mark Richt has had enough of the talented but pain-in-the-ass Crowell and booted him off the team.

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OK, so I was straightening up the garage the other day, opening boxes to find out what was in them (yeah, I didn’t label everything the last time I moved and am still trying to find missing items). In the process of pulling out some tools from crate, the boy—who was standing over my shoulder, not helping—asked what a certain item was.

Feeling like a being a pain in the butt, I put on  my best Bogart impression and told him, “The stuff that dreams are made of.”

I got a blank stare.

And I heard crickets. No, seriously, there are crickets all over this part of Georgia.

This began a thoroughly detailed—and unappreciated—dissertation on Humphrey Bogart and his movies.

Blank stare, continued.

“He was in some of the greatest movies ever. He was in ‘The Maltese Falcon.’ You know that movie, don’t you?”

Crickets. And the stare.

“No.”

Ah, I’m getting through to him.

“He played tough-guy roles. You know what that means, right?”

He scrunched up his nose and thought for a moment. “Oh, you mean like Taylor Lautner?”

Crickets and a blank stare.

Bogart and Lautnery: great movie tough guys.

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Ron “Tater Salad” White

Boy, some people just can’t take a joke. And some others can’t tell when a joke is appropriate. And together, they end up writing new jokes for comedians.

It seems that a high school principal in Columbus, Ga., is in hot water because he played a clip of comedian Ron White’s (he of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, with Jeff Foxworthy, Larry the Cable Guy and Bill Engvall) “You Can’t Fix Stupid” routine at a faculty meeting. Now, who knows what point Columbus High School Principal Marvin Crumbs was trying to make when showing the clip—maybe to buck up some of his teachers who must feel like Sisyphus, trying to roll those dumb-as-rock students up the steep hill of education—but he must have also known that the bit makes a detailed reference to breasts, and there was bound to be at least one fussy, can’t-take-a-dirty-joke type in the room who would rat him out as soon as the meeting was finished.

You can see where this is going, right? Someone was, indeed, offended; the school district administration was called; and Muscogee County School District Superintendent Susan Andrews got involved, reassigning Crumbs. The students of Columbus High are outraged at the transfer and have started protests and a petition drive to get their beloved principal back.

Of course, this has only been a comedic gold mine for White, who says he is going to incorporate the controversy into his act. Oh, and he’s headed to Columbus to do a show on April 28. Guess what he’s going to be talking about? The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer asked and White was happy to answer:

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That will be my whole show. I’m going to get involved with it,” White said. “It teaches me something about the people in charge of that school system, and I think I need to bring out the fact that they magically made my point for me, that you can’t fix stupid . . .”

“To fire the man and humiliate him is great fodder for comedy.  . . . I mean, here you’ve got a man with a doctorate who wants to be a principal. You’ve got kids defending him who want him to be their principal. Who else wants this job?”

If you have never heard of Ron White or heard his “You Can’t fix Stupid” routine, here it is. You decide which of those involved made a bad decision:
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Bobby Petrino, post-accident, telling fibs about how the accident went down. Inset: former Arkansas volleyball player Jessica Dorrell, alleged Petrino paramour.

OK, so here in the Atlanta area, the story of University of Arkansas head football coach Bobby Petrino’s motorcycle accident is getting a lot of play. Other than in the state of Arkansas, where the story has obvious interest, folks here in Atlanta are following the details with great glee, a sort of Southern schadenfreude, as the man is universally reviled here.

Among the details to emerge are:

• He was not alone; a young woman, 25-year-old Jessica Dorrell—a former Arkansas volleyball player recently hired by Petrino to a $50,000-a-year job at the university to do some recruiting coordinating (actually, it was a job created just for her)—was riding with him;
• They were having an “inappropriate relationship”;
• She is engaged to the Univ. of Arkansas swimming and diving coach (or, at least, she was).

But all is not lost for Petrino, as fans of the school’s football team held a rally on Monday to show support for the coach who has turned the team’s fortunes around. There is a Facebook page called Team Save Coach Petrino and has some 21,000 sheep supporters and counting. The group posted this message to UofA athletic director Jeff Long:

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Arkansas Football: It’s the players running through the A, Hog Hats. It’s more than 70,000 fans calling, “WOO PIG SOOIE!”

Arkansas Football: It’s the State of Arkansas banding together behind one team, and a mascot like no other. Those select few who put on the jersey are, chosen. They wear the colors, they pay the price, and they succeed. They are exceptionable, they are Razorbacks.

Together we stand as tall as the tower of Old Main. Our memories are etched in stone like names on Senior Walk. And our blood flows Razorbacks Red. For 100 years we’ve been Hogwild, and today we continue the tradition.

We are, Arkansas Razorbacks!

SAVE OUR COACH!”

Why is Petrino so hated in Georgia, you ask? Well, Petrino was brought in to coach the Atlanta Falcons in 2007 primarily to make star quarterback Michael Vick into a more complete quarterback. He took the job after signing a huge contract extension at the University of Louisville, where he was head football coach. (They still hate him in Louisville, too.)

However, before Petrino’s first training camp, it emerged that Vick had bankrolled an illegal dog fighting operation. For all intents and purposes, the Falcons’ 2007 season ended when Vick was arraigned on federal dog fighting charges on July 26. The terms of Vick’s bail barred him from leaving Virginia before the Nov. 26 trial, nixing his season. Without its starting quarterback, the Falcons stunk up the join that year.

In December, with the Falcons at 3-10 and with three games to go, Petrino resigned his position in Atlanta the day after pledging his commitment to owner Arthur Blank. Instead, he flew off to Arkansas to take the head coaching job there. Petrino informed his players of his decision to resign via four-sentence laminated note left at the locker of each player.

So, in case you missed the story, Petrino, who has led the Razorbacks to several winning seasons and a No. 5 ranking at the end of last season, was in a one-motorcycle accident the other day. He left the scene, getting a lift to the hospital from so passersby. He told his story to the investigating police and to university official but, like all cover-ups, the real truth eventually came out.

A song about the Petrino’s current mess, called “The Ballad of Bobby Petrino (The Girl in the Athletic Department in the Volleyball shorts)” is getting a lot of air time this morning:
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OK, so I didn’t realize until I moved to Georgia just how nuts people in the South are for college football. Coming from the Bay Area, Cal and Stanford occasionally had good teams, but I can’t say I ever paid attention to them. But on any fall Saturday in Georgia, you’ll see people showing their college colors on T-shirts, hats, magnetic car decals, radio antenna pennants, house flags, etc. In the South, one is born into a family collegiate alliance and seldom does one switch allegiances.

If your team wins on Saturday, you’re happy all week. If it loses, you’re in a profound funk until kickoff next week. Incidents of domestic violence spike when the good ol’ alma mater loses.

So given these facts, people will do just about anything to get tickets to these games. That’s why the Lee County (Ala.) Sherriff’s Department nabbed nearly a dozen people suspected of unpaid child support using their college football habit as the bait. In Operation: Iron Snare in Opelika, the suspects were sent a letter saying they won two tickets to the Iron Bowl, the Auburn-Alabama rivalry game this year. All they had to do was show up with the letter and a photo ID. This video from the Opelika-Auburn News website shows it all going sideways for these deadbeat fans.

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OK, so this morning I began the last day of my week-long vacation with nothing on the schedule. (The first four days, as well as the previous weekend was spent at Cape San Blas, Fla., which was a really, really nice; more on this to come later).

So, with nothing really to do (and not wanting to stay home, as the cleaning lady was there), I decided to do something I haven’t done in years: theater hopping. Yeah, I bought a $6 ticket to the first matinee of the day and stayed for three movies, getting the most for my movie dollar.

I know, I know… that’s stealing… well, I would have left if asked, and since I wasn’t asked, I took advantage of the theater’s hospitality and took in “Cowboys & Aliens,” “Captain America” and the final Harry Potter flick. I could have stayed for a fourth, and maybe even a fifth, but I did make plans to see Johanna tonight, so I took off, leaving something on the table. Having not theater-hopped in who knows how many years, it’s good to know that I could still have made a day of it.

Now, I usually see the Harry Potter movies with the girl, but she had already seen it with her friends. Having sat through the first seven (many of them several times on DVD), I figured I should round out the set. The boy wants to see the Cap movie, so I’ll probably have to watch it again with him. It won’t be that bad to see it again… I won’t sleep through it the second time around, but it was the one movie I would sit through that started in the right time slot. Oh, sure, I could have watched “The Smurfs,” but then I would have killed myself and missed the third movie.

So, as it was, all three were worth seeing, although I don’t know if I would pay full price for any of them, and as it turned out, I didn’t. I can’t say, “OMG! You have to go out and see this movie right away… it’s awe-some!” There was a lot of shooting in all three, be it Thompson machine guns, six-shooters and plasma rifles or swish-and-flicked magic wands (it was kinda funny how the aliens and the WWII-era evil HYDRA organization had the same kinds of laser blasters).

Since the kids are 11, I won’t be explaining the fine details on how to not stand out while spending all day at the movies, with details on how to camouflage yourself with a simple hat and light jacket (it’s harder to do the jacket trick here in sweltering Atlanta than in San Francisco, but the huge, 20-plus-screen metroplexes does help one blend into the crowd). Maybe next year, when they’re 12… That’ll keep them out of my hair for a whole day.

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The migrant workers who usually pick the crops in Georgia have left, due to a new state law. Consequently, there’s no one to harvest the crops and they are rotting in the fields.

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OK, so here in Georgia, millions of dollars of produce are rotting in the fields because state politicians stuck their noses into the immigration debate. A month ago, the state House and Senate passed, and Gov. Nathan Deal signed, House Bill 87, a law designed to drive illegal immigrants out of Georgia. Now state officials are scrambling because it seems that the bill ended up driving a lot of illegal immigrants out of Georgia.

Now there’s a labor shortage, and fields bugling with blueberries, onions, melons and other crops are going unharvested. This could end up devastating the state economy, as agriculture is Georgia’s largest industry.

A columnist in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution writes about the state government mucking around with immigration policy:

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Barely a month ago, you might recall, Gov. Nathan Deal welcomed the TV cameras into his office as he proudly signed HB 87 into law. Two weeks later, with farmers howling, a scrambling Deal ordered a hasty investigation into the impact of the law he had just signed, as if all this had come as quite a surprise to him. . .

The pain this is causing is real. People are going to lose their crops, and in some cases their farms. The small-town businesses that supply those farms with goods and services are going to suffer as well. For economically embattled rural Georgia, this could be a major blow . . .

We’re going to reap what we have sown, even if the farmers can’t.”

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