May 23, 2004: Georgia On Your Mind? Try the Internet Encyclopedia

The rich just keep getting richer. As if Georgia wasn’t already the greatest place on God’s Green Earth, now we have our own online encyclopedia to prove it. The New Georgia Encyclopedia (www.georgiaencyclopedia.org) is the first state encyclopedia designed exclusively for the Internet. Not only does it contain all sorts of interesting information about our state, there are audio and video clips and even some 3-D presentations to make the search more interesting. Is this a great state or what? Pardon our dust, Delaware! Eat your heart out, Ohio!

And where else could such a thing of beauty and a joy forever be housed than in the main library at the University of Georgia, the nation’s oldest state-chartered university, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South? Our cup runneth over.

The New Georgia Encyclopedia is a joint effort of the Georgia Humanities Council in partnership with the office of the governor, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO and the University of Georgia Press. It recently went online with more than 700 articles, but that is just the beginning. According to the Web site, “The NGE is a work in progress, with a goal of at least 1,600 original articles for the ‘first edition’ to be completed by January 2006.” The materials will be constantly updated.

As a native Georgian, I could not be happier to have this state-of-the-art online reference about our state. The e-encyclopedia should be required viewing for everybody who moves to Georgia from the Northeast or the Midwest and makes fun of the way we talk, but would never move back because it snows ten months of the year there. Maybe the smart folks putting this encyclopedia together could include an article on the amount of money we waste in Georgia painting lines down the center of our highways. Nobody ever goes north; they all come south. When was the last time you heard somebody say, “Hot Dang, Honey! I just retired. Now we can fulfill our lifelong dream and move to Dee-troit City!”

Experts have been busy assembling materials for the New Georgia Encyclopedia for the past five years, and I have no doubt it will be the world’s definitive source on the Great State of Georgia. And, of course, if they get stuck, they can always give me a holler. I have a comprehensive file on my beloved state that I would be pleased to share.

As a matter of fact, I recently completed a first-of-its-kind research project, trying to determine how many states in the union can claim the Masters Golf Tournament, the G-8 Summit, Julia Roberts, Rabun County, Sweet Vidalia Onions, corn-fried shrimp from the exquisite little Georgia Sea Grill on St. Simons Island and Ray Charles singing the best damn song ever written, which also happens to be the official state song. (Hint: The answer is one, and it’s not South Dakota.)

Some of the information I have gathered over the years is not generally known and probably should be included in any encyclopedia about our state. For example: What is the highest point in Georgia? (Brasstown Bald.) What is the lowest point in Georgia? (The Atlanta City Council.) How many liberal weenies live in Georgia? (Too many.) How many liberal weenies who live in Georgia have no sense of humor? (At least six, because I hear from them every week.)

Does Georgia’s state government include the position of lieutenant governor? (Yes.) Why? (I don’t have the foggiest idea.) What does the lieutenant governor do? (I don’t have the foggiest idea.) Who is the lieutenant governor? (See previous two answers.)

Maybe some of this material will be helpful to the editors of the New Georgia Encyclopedia, although I suspect they have thought of everything. The only topic you won’t find discussed in the encyclopedia comes under the heading of “Humility.” Georgians aren’t humble because God likes us best of all. If you are looking for humility, contact a state that doesn’t have its own Internet encyclopedia with audio, video and 3-D pictures. They shouldn’t be hard to find. Last time I counted, there were 49 of them.