04/24/2014

Dec. 28, 2003: Some Thoughts and Observations For My Grandsons

To Zachary and Nicholas Wansley, Brian and Thomas Yarbrough: For the first time since we began this public correspondence a few years ago, I am writing to four teenagers. It seems like only yesterday that your parents were your age. This isn’t the time or place to snitch on them, but remind me one day […]

Dec. 21, 2003: Is That 2004 Ahead? What Happened to 2003?

Whoa! What is that looming straight ahead? Is that 2004? Already? What in the dickens happened to 2003? How could a year just up and leave us without any warning? Mark my words, we are going to miss 2003, because 2004 shows definite signs of being a royal pain in the behind. The Olympic Games […]

Dec. 14, 2003: The Reflections of a Mortal Man

I had a bit of a health scare recently that hopefully will be determined to have been just that — a scare. A routine physical revealed an unexpected blip on my electrocardiogram. That led to a morning of being stuck, stung and stressed by a group of eager medical technicians looking for answers. While lumbering […]

Dec. 7, 2003: You Got Questions? Answer Man Has The Answers

Okay, boys and girls, it is time once again for Answer Man to dip into the Question Box and see what is on everybody’s mind. Answer Man doesn’t have a lot of time for this because he has to write a suck-up letter to Santa Claus. Answer Man hasn’t been a particularly good little boy […]

Nov. 30, 2003: Delta’s New Strategy: “Warm and Fuzzy” All Over

This past October, Delta Air Lines CEO Leo Mullin proudly announced a new direction for his beleaguered airline, entitled “A Winning Strategy.” In an interview with the Atlanta media, Mullin was quoted as saying, “We have a winning organization. You (the employees) are going to have a future here.” Shortly after that comment, Mullin jumped […]

Nov. 23, 2003: Conversations With Sheila About Shirley

Shirley MacLaine, the actress whose elevator doesn’t quite reach the top floor, has written a book in which she claims she talks to her dog, a rat terrier named Terry. According to MacLaine, she and Terry communicate in “Humanimal,” which she says is a “purer, more direct form of language” than English. Hopefully, she makes […]

Nov. 16, 2003: Why Zell Miller Doesn’t Want to be Senator Anymore

Rap! Rap! Rap! “I declare this session of the U.S. Senate open for business. We will dispense with the Morning Prayer because the ACLU has told us that praying in a government building is clearly a violation of church and state. The chair recognizes the gentleman from Georgia, Zell Miller.” “Mr. President, we aren’t praying […]

Nov. 9, 2003: Board of Regents Needs to Dismount Their High Horse

I’m not sure about the criteria for becoming a member of the Board of Regents, but I suspect, like most state appointments, it isn’t what you know, but who you know. Who the Regents don’t know, obviously, is anyone with a modicum of political skill. They have handled the brouhaha at the University of Georgia […]

Nov. 2, 2003: Democrats’ Southern Strategy: Pickups and Possums

Zell Miller is mad as a wet hornet at Democrats. Our irascible senior senator has a new book out entitled “A National Party No More: The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat.” In it, he lambastes the national Democrats for ignoring the South. Miller says that “Once upon a time, the most successful Democratic leader of […]

Oct. 26, 2003: Second Class Treatment for First Class People

You may have read recently that Les Brownlee, Secretary of the Army, says he is going to improve conditions for members of the National Guard and the Army Reservists at Ft. Stewart who are living in barracks without indoor toilets and who are receiving inadequate medical care. When Mr. Secretary gets that little matter under […]

Oct. 19, 2003: This Is No Blarney: The Irish Are Great

Remind me not to go out of the country again without first letting you know. I tiptoe off to Ireland and leave you a mess: An Austrian bodybuilder with a bad accent who is married to the only Kennedy that ever had a day job is elected King of the Land of Fruits and Nuts. […]

Oct. 12, 2003: At First Look at the 2005 Governor’s Race Dan. Vs. The Big Guy

According to political pundits, the Big Guy is gearing up to challenge incumbent Gov. Sonny Perdue for governor in 2006. The Big Guy is Democrat Mark Taylor, who is your lieutenant governor. No one seems to know what a lieutenant governor does, but as near as I can tell, he sits around and watches Republicans […]

Oct. 5, 2003: Presenting the 2003 Pfft! Awards

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the third annual Pfft! Awards. You will recall the Pffts! were created in Oct. 2001, when the National Academy of Television Arts, Sciences and Loud Car Commercials couldn’t make up their minds whether to air the terminally boring Emmy Awards ceremony after the Sept. 11 attacks. Your intrepid correspondent, sensing […]

Sep. 28, 2003: Practicing Random Acts of Kindness

Sometimes you can’t win for losing. A group of well-meaning youngsters from a Presbyterian church in Athens recently dispensed candy throughout the downtown area as an example of “random acts of kindness.” They placed one package inside an old cannon at the Clarke County-Athens City Hall. An employee spotted the box of candy and reported […]

Sep. 21, 2003: Quit Picking on Public School Teachers!

A recent newspaper column criticized Gov. Sonny Perdue for not doing enough to get rid of “incompetent teachers.” I assume the comment was intended as a political shot at the governor, but it splattered on schoolteachers and I didn’t like it. I have a son and son-in-law who are high school teachers. I know how […]

Sep. 14, 2003: Mr. Yahoo, The Well-Groomed, Redneck Scalawag, Reads His Mail

I have had my backside chewed good and proper this week by irate readers and I’m not sure why. The Woman Who Shares My Name says it is because I go out of my way to be irritating and that if I act ugly, then others will too. “Pretty is as pretty does” is her […]

Sep. 7, 2003: An In-Depth Analysis of the Democratic Presidential Candidates

A recent nationwide media survey of registered voters showed that two-thirds of them couldn’t name even one of the current nine Democrats running for president. The other one-third thought the nine candidates were the Three Stooges; the Pep Boys: Manny, Moe and Jack; and the airheaded Dixie Chicks. Obviously, the pollsters didn’t contact you because […]

Aug. 31, 2003: Some Thoughts on the Anniversary of 9/11

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey recently released some 2000 pages of conversations from their employees trapped in the World Trade Center just after Arab terrorists had flown high jacked airplanes into the buildings on Sept. 11, 2002, killing almost 3,000 people. The calmness and bravery of the victims is overwhelming. The […]

Aug. 24, 2003: Fair and Balanced? That Could Get Me Sued!

Even a casual reader of this space knows I am the poster person for fair and balanced opinions. Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear someone say, “That’s Dick Yarbrough. He writes those fair and balanced newspaper columns.” I try to look modest, but we all know it is the truth. Now I […]

Aug. 17, 2003: Delta Employees: Management’s Perks Just Don’t Fly

Other than the time when I angered most of the Arab world by questioning their manhood, I got more response from my column about Delta Air Lines hiring an “image expert” than from any other piece I have ever written. Most of the mail came from Delta employees — active and retired — who are […]

Aug. 10, 2003: Atlanta: The Blowhard City We Don’t Deserve

How did the Great State of Georgia end up with Atlanta as its capital city? Here is a state that has been singularly blessed by You-Know-Who with beautiful mountains, the Golden Isles, Sweet Vidalia onions, corn-fried shrimp, Athens on a crisp fall afternoon, Julia Roberts and so many other good things that I fear talking […]

Aug. 3, 2003: Just What We Need: Two Howard Deans

Last week, in a sincere effort to befriend the liberals of the world, I said I was rooting for Gov. Howard Dean, of the People’s Republic of Vermont, to win the Democratic presidential nomination because I wanted to be there when he explained the joys of same-sex unions and other mainstream American ideals in rural […]

Jul. 27, 2003: Random Thoughts on Random Subjects

“What we have here is a failure to communicate.” In my recent column about the civil war at UGA and what I perceive will be the aftermath, a number of readers thought I was defending President Mike Adams and reamed me out. Just as many thought I was defending Athletic Director Vince Dooley and reamed […]

Jul. 20, 2003: The G-8 is Coming and I Know Just What They Need

Just when we thought that the biggest pests on the Georgia coast were deer flies, now we learn that the G-8 Summit will inhabit Sea Island for a week next June. For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, the G-8 are the eight highest muckety-mucks on the planet, and the summit is a […]

Jul. 13, 2003: When The Saints Come Marching In

Maybe we know each other well enough that I can share a secret with you. I’m not really as brilliant as you think I am. I have been getting a lot of help in putting out this profound prose and just like those smarty-pants at the New York Times, I haven’t been giving credit where […]

Jul. 6, 2003: No Winners in Civil War at UGA

Wasn’t it just a few months ago that the University of Georgia was enjoying a reputation as one of the finest public universities in the nation while celebrating its first SEC football championship in 20 years? My alma mater seemed to have the best of both worlds — academics and athletics. Now look at us. […]

Jun. 29, 2003: Delta’s Efforts at a New Image Don’t Fly With Me

Don’t look now, but somebody is getting ready to spray paint a cow patty. According to news reports, Delta Air Lines has hired a creative firm called BrightHouse to help improve its image. You remember Delta, don’t you? They are the folks who said they had to pay their executives $27 million in bonuses and […]

Jun. 22, 2003: Comparing Mt. Everest and Brasstown Bald

A reader who describes herself as a “bleeding heart liberal” has asked if I was serious when I compared the New York Times to a mere mortal newspaper in a recent column that appeared in a mere mortal newspaper. If so, the letter writer said she was looking forward to my column comparing Mt. Everest […]

Jun. 15, 2003: Some Unsolicited Advice For The President of UGA

Dear Dr. Adams: I know you don’t need any more mail from know-it-all alumni, particularly one who writes a column, but I had hoped we might talk about your decision not to extend the contract of Athletic Director Vince Dooley. I have spent the past four decades dealing with crises – many of which would […]

June 8, 2003: New York Times Got What It Deserves

I have gone through my files and carefully checked my notes.  I have spent hours reviewing reams of polling data and research materials and, for the life of me, I can’t lay my hands on one scrap of paper that indicates who decided the New York Times is “the nation’s finest newspaper.” I know it […]

Jun. 1, 2003: The Olympic Park Bombing Remembered

Isn’t it poetic justice that Eric Rudolph was discovered last week neck deep in a garbage pile? Garbage in, garbage out. Rudolph is the prime suspect in the July 27, 1996, Olympic Park bombing that killed one person, wounded more than a hundred and almost ruined a great peacetime event – the Centennial Olympic Games. […]

May 25, 2003: A Salute To Those Who Do Good Deeds

Rats. I had a wonderfully acerbic column teed up and ready to go this week. The column likely would have given some special-interest twits a major case of hyperventilation – at least that was my intention. Then I heard Gil Watson, one of the great preachers on this planet, observe from the pulpit about how […]

May 18, 2003: There Is A Whole Lot of ‘Comeuppance’ Going On

My Mama called it “getting your comeuppance.” That was her way of saying that, sooner or later, everybody is going to get what they deserve. Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a whole lot of comeuppance going down these days. First on the list – and nobody could be more deserving – […]

May 11, 2003: Random Thoughts on Random Subjects

After our troops had kicked Saddam’s crowd back to the 14th century from whence they came, President George W. Bush’s landing on the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln was the icing on the cake. Looking at the young men and women aboard the carrier, obviously they were as proud of their commander-in-chief as he is […]

May 4, 2003: Why I’m Glad I Don’t Live In California

Normally this space is reserved for the serious discussion of such burning issues as: Did the airheaded Dixie Chicks think their political views would seem more relevant if they posed nude on a magazine cover? How do money-grubbing Delta executives sleep at night without falling off their wallets? Does anybody really care what Al Sharpton […]

Apr. 27, 2003: Some Advice For Governor Sonny Perdue

Dear Governor: When you were elected, I wrote and told you I would be giving you free advice from time to time in my role as a public-spirited citizen. I mentioned also that I had attempted to do the same for your predecessor, Roy Barnes, but evidently his crack staff convinced him they knew more […]

Apr. 20, 2003: Memo To The World: We Are Back

Congratulations. After years of being ignored by the body politic, patronized by the media, criticized by every two-bit country on earth, made to feel that patriotism was passé and forced to endure human fruitcakes like Ted Turner extolling the “bravery” of the terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people in the Sept. 11 attacks, we […]

Apr. 13, 2003: Embedded in the Political War Zone

Maybe it’s the whole war thing, but I have decided it is high time that I become an embedded journalist. The term “columnist” no longer carries the panache it once did. Embedded journalists wear neat stuff like gas masks and helmets and goggles. Columnists wear loafers with no socks. Embedded journalists make journalism professors swell […]

Apr. 6, 2003: Goodbye to Two Great Men

The state of Georgia lost two great men recently. Charles Gowen, a former state legislator from Brunswick and one-time candidate for governor, died on March 31. He was 99 years old. That same day, Dr. William Suttles, 82, from my hometown of East Point, also died. Dr. Suttles had served as provost and as acting […]

Mar. 30, 2003: Delta Bonuses Would Make Enron Blush

What in the name of Orville and Wilbur Wright could Delta have been thinking! At a time when young men and women have sacrificed careers to go fight a war on our behalf; when more than 8 million people are unemployed — many with no insurance or benefits — and millions more wonder if they, […]

Mar. 23, 2003: Keeping Things in Perspective During the War

I called my daughter’s friend, Bobbie Zakary, to see how she was doing. (An aside: Bobbie is a working mother with four kids and an 85-year-old grandmother at home. Her husband, Ray, is a captain in the U. S. Army involved in the Iraqi war. The last she heard from him, he was in Kuwait. […]

Mar. 16, 2003: Don’t Let Harrick Tarnish UGA’s Academic Reputation

The two most frequently asked questions in my mailbag this week are “What is happening at the University of Georgia?” and “How can we possibly win the war in Iraq without the French?” Let me answer the latter question first. According to retired general Norman Schwarzkopf, “Going to war without France is like going deer […]

Mar. 9, 2003: For Republicans It Is Deja Vu All Over Again

In my opinion, the Republican Party in Georgia made a grievous error in 1996 when they denied Johnny Isakson the GOP nomination for the U.S. Senate. The reason for refusing Isakson the nomination was that some in the party thought him soft on the abortion issue. The party instead chose charisma-challenged Atlanta businessman Guy Millner, […]

Mar. 2, 2003: Not to CBS: How’s This For Reality?

As if television programming wasn’t already dragging the bottom of the intellectual barrel, now comes word that CBS is working on a new reality series intended to confirm the lingering stereotype that everybody in the South lives on dirt roads and marries their cousins. The program is called “The Real Beverly Hillbillies.” According to the […]

Feb. 23, 2003: Flag Flap Requires Courage, Not Referendum

Governor Sonny Perdue is in a bit of muck with his proposed state flag referendum. As of this writing, the referendum will ask Georgians for a yes-or-no vote on the current and seriously ugly state flag, and/or a vote on two another choices: the Confederate battle flag, which was Georgia’s official flag from 1956 to […]

Feb. 9, 2003: A Lesson in Unmitigated Gall

Attention, class. Today we will be discussing gall. Specifically, we will focus on a particular strain known as unmitigated gall. Before we begin, however, let’s review the chapter on the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. I know that comes under the category of ancient history, but since many of you have demonstrated an abysmally […]

Feb. 16, 2003: Some Random Thoughts on Some Random Subjects

Fat jokes are strictly forbidden in this space — except for Ted Kennedy. Therefore, the announcement that Gov. Sonny Perdue is going on a diet is a legitimate news story. Word is that Perdue decided to slim down after being informed by his staff that the four major food groups are not peanut butter, ice […]

Feb. 2, 2003: A Conversation with Teddy Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt is one of my favorite characters in American history. Like Harry Truman, another of my heroes, Teddy Roosevelt had a reputation for speaking his mind. I don’t think they had public opinion polls or media advisers when he was president, but if they did, I doubt it would have made much difference to […]

Jan. 26, 2003: Good Riddance: Bill Campbell is Leaving Town

Whether you live in Atlanta, Attapulgus or someplace in between: Rejoice! Bill Campbell is moving to Florida. Good riddance. The last thing our state needs is an arrogant, mean-spirited, race-baiting politician like Campbell, the former mayor of Atlanta. Florida can have him and can add him to their list of other embarrassments, such as hurricane […]

Jan. 19, 2003: State of the Column: No New Taxes, No McKinney

My fellow Americans, rather than the rib-tickling, head-scratching, mind-altering prose usually found in this space, today I will present my annual State of the Column speech. (Applause!) I figure if presidents, governors and assorted city and county politicos can waste our time telling us what a wonderful job they are doing in their annual State […]

Jan. 12, 2003: Some Unsolicited Advice to our New Governor

Dear Governor Perdue: You may not remember me, but along with the state’s movers and shakers we used to eat lunch together at the President’s house in Athens before University of Georgia football games. That was back in the days when I was a very important person and you were just another Democratic state senator. […]

Jan. 6, 2003: Rename Sanford Stadium For Dooley

Let me say this as simply as I can. When Vince Dooley retires as athletic director at the University of Georgia in 2004, Sanford Stadium needs to be renamed Dooley-Sanford Stadium. I’m not sure who is empowered to make that decision – the university administration, the athletic board, the Board of Regents, the Legislature, the […]