December 28, 2000: Random Thoughts on Random Subjects

Don’t look now, but the New Year is here.

I had a feeling it was coming and, as is my custom, I made ready with a primordial ritual of devouring all the corn-fried shrimp the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island could muster.  It is a solemn and sacred ceremony, heavy with symbolism and tartar sauce.

I had many observations to make before Y2K pulled out of town, but my train of thought derailed, thinking of those shrimp giving their little lives so I could gorge myself into the new millennium, I was duty-bound to see that their sacrifice was not in vain.  Greater love hath no shrimp than to jump into a boiling pot of corn meal concoction for me.

Therefore, it is urgent that I get my opinions to you quickly before the shrimp renders me contented instead of contentious.  Heaven forbid that I should loose my hard-won status as your resident curmudgeon while at the same time, disappointing my enemies.  So permit me to get a few nettling things off my chest before I place my napkin on it.

I have made a New Year’s resolution to ignore Jesse Jackson in 2001.  This man has no shame when it comes to self-promotion.  I find him unworthy of comment. Chances are, however, that this resolution will be broken before we see the first day of February.

I have a new hero. According to news reports, Brian Hindt, of Alpharetta, heard Jesse Jackson (See? I didn’t even make it through January!) accuse George W. Bush of being a draft dodger in a harangue at the Supreme Court building in Washington.  Hindt took him on.  He called Jackson, “a liar, straight up.”  After 15 minutes of debate, Jackson said, “Bush didn’t volunteer and that is why he is a draft dodger.”  Replied Hindt, “The only draft dodger is at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.” Clearly beaten, Jackson then tried to hug Hindt, whom I assume was holding tightly to his wallet.

You’ve read enough about the $257 million the Texas Rangers are paying Alex Rodriguez to play baseball.  I have nothing to add, other than to say that kind of money is obscene and undeserved.  I checked Rodriguez’ lifetime batting average.  It is .309, meaning he is a failure seven times out of ten.

The American Civil Liberties Union is committed to a strict interpretation of the separation of church and state.  Yet the ACLU allows government to use a calendar that dates to the birth of Christ and accepts contributions of U.S. legal tender with the phrase, “In God We Trust” on it.  I find this hypocritical.  I hereby call on the ACLU to begin using the Chinese calendar – it’s the 4698, the Year of the Dragon, in case they are wondering – and refuse all donations of U.S. currency.  I understand the exchange rate of the Romanian Lek is particularly attractive.

People from other states tell me Georgia has the wildest drivers in the country.  I agree.  I wish the state patrol and county police could nail each and every speeder in the state.   These lead foots think we have an endless supply of fuel and they are oblivious to and ignorant about conservation.  I suspect having no more oil will finally slow them down.

Recently, I wrote about Georgia Tech signing convicted felon Michael Southall to a basketball scholarship.  The response from my Yellow Jacket friends was pretty tepid.  They seemed too embarrassed to offer up much of a defense.  Now, we learn that Tech graduates only 24 percent of its football players – worst in the ACC and almost twice as bad as the football factory at Florida State.  One alum said the number is so low because Georgia Tech computes its graduation rates differently from everybody else.  Hmm.

It looks like Tech will get the last laugh, however.  My beloved 13-year-old grandson, Zack, is a math and science whiz and has announced his intention of attending Georgia Tech when he graduates from high school in 2005.  His mom, dad and both grandfathers are UGA graduates.  So much for heredity.

Finally, I thank you for reading and reacting to my musings over the past year.  I get lots of mail, some complimentary, some not, but all appreciated. Of the letters I received last year, my favorite came from a reader who said, “Educated people can handle three languages.  You seem to be having trouble with one.”

That deserves a response – as soon as I finish my shrimp.