The Jackson Herald
August 2, 2000
The Miller's tale
For those who haven't heard yet, this week marked the big debut
of funny man Dennis Miller as color commentator for ABC's Monday
The ABC brain trust (let that one sink in a moment) made the
move in an effort to boost sagging ratings for the long-time
show by making it more interesting.
If this week's show is any indication, the attempt should prove
to be successful.
Readers who share this reporter's hour on the stage of life will
likely remember Miller from his days on Saturday Night Live,
when every late teen and twenty-something not out barhopping
sat up until 12:30 a.m. each Saturday night, sleepily awaiting
the Weekend Update segment. Yes, for those of you with quick
wits, I saw nearly every show. Go ahead and call me boring; I
laughed my rear off.
This week, the somewhat nervous Miller was right on target for
most of the evening. Though he threw in a few comic moments when
they weren't quite called for and fired off a couple of the puzzling
obscure references for which he's famous, Miller offered up a
number of interesting comments on the game and definitely made
it more enjoyable.
The comment about one player who recently underwent minor groin
surgery was classic. Sure, it may have skirted the line of what
some find acceptable for prime time, but this is a show for guys,
after all. I'd have been comfortable saying the same thing in
a living room full of male church friends.
Which points out why Miller should be successful in his new job.
Most guys can readily identify with his comments, which will
serve to draw the mostly male audience into the game.
Case in point: during one play, as a player took a particularly
nasty hit, Miller could be heard cutting loose with the gut-wrenching
"Oh!" that is heard often in living rooms around the
world during football games. Here was a real, down-to-earth guy,
one of the pals who comes over to watch the game every Saturday
or Sunday, who just happened to have a gem of a sense of humor.
No doubt Miller has already pored over tapes of the show, hoping
to improve in time for his next performance. When Monday Night
Football returns August 14, look for the comic to be more comfortable
and perhaps a little more discerning about what jokes to tell,
and when. Most of all, look for him to continue to enjoy himself.
If you're going to tune in to the show at all, do so early in
the season. The newness that makes the job fun for Miller and
for us won't last forever, and his already good technique will
continue to improve in the coming weeks. If you wait until he
remembers it's a job, you will have missed his best.
Let's hope he can ward off that thought for a long time.
Tim Thomas is a reporter for The Jackson Herald.
The Commerce News
August 2, 2000
I really did not want to write this, because I have always considered
us friends, but when my opponent starts using your editorial
opinion in his advertisements to prove he is the best qualified
candidate, that is going too far. His advertisements claim he
has the support of the editorial board, which consists of yourself
and a six-pack of beer, but it is still misleading.
You did not attend any of the forums and you did not conduct
any interviews to question us about the issues. You don't even
keep up with Jackson County issues very well, but in case you
haven't heard, the county is changing forms of government. The
chairman will no longer be CEO, the county manager will be and
he or she will play a large role in balancing the budget. You
did not attend the forum, and so I need to point out to you that
I never said I would consider Jerry Waddell as interim manager.
I said he had offered to serve as interim manager. I also said
David Bohanan, who has an MBA in public administration and nine
years of experience working for the county, should be considered
as interim manager. You failed to mention this when you were
trashing me, probably because you didn't attend the forum and
you didn't conduct interviews of the candidates.
If we were operating under the old form of government where the
chairman ran the day-to-day affairs and was responsible for overseeing
the budget, I would agree with you my opponent might be better
qualified, but the new system calls for political leadership
to bring the board together and set policies, which makes me
better qualified than my opponent.
I have to admit your endorsement of my opponent hurt personally,
maybe not politically. You accused me of having a desire for
politics. If you substitute the words "public service"
for politics, which is more accurate, I would say to you, "what's
wrong with that?" God forbid that we should have elected
officials who have a desire for public service.
As mayor of Commerce, we implemented the city manager form of
government, turned a taxi cab station into a public safety complex,
turned a city that was in the red to operating in the black financially,
created the Downtown Development Authority, the Main Street program
and Main Street manager, expanded the library, doubled the sewage
plant capacity, built the Little League field and other parks,
re-opened the swimming pool, etc. What has Harold Fletcher ever
done for Commerce?
The words of Jesus ring true, "A prophet is without honor
in his own country," but it still hurts personally. I am
not made out of steel.
Having seen you perform as mayor and Harold Fletcher perform
as county commissioner, having seen how both of you have conducted
yourselves, I needed neither your six-pack of beer nor attendance
at a forum to pick a candidate in this race and to determine
the issues. In making an endorsement, my intention was to determine
which candidate I felt would best serve Jackson County, which
candidate appeared to have the best background, best character
and best temperament for leadership. While there have been other
races in which I have found you the better choice, in this race
for the chairmanship of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners,
I find Harold Fletcher to be the better candidate. Don't take
The Jackson Herald
August 2, 2000
I talk to a person?
I've been making phone calls over the past few days trying (operative
word there, "trying") to disconnect various utilities
at my Athens apartment as I prepared to move out.
Did you know that it is just about impossible to talk to a person
at some of the power, phone and gas companies? I knew the trend
had been moving toward "quick touch service" on just
about everything - with little time for talking and more time
for "press one, press two, press three" - with the
idea being that customers don't have to wait and wait for someone
really busy to get to them. That's OK, but still, I was fairly
disconcerted when I learned, deep within a sub-labyrinth of options,
that with "press one" I would "permanently disconnect
my telephone service."
That was it. No explanation.
Wait a minute. So, if I "press one" right now, is my
service immediately terminated? If I "press one," will
I have the chance to give my new mailing address, or will I have
an unpaid bill floating around somewhere in the future after
I move? Will I be able to give my ideal cut-off date, or will
I go home today to find that I have no phone service?
Well, there was the number to dial to talk to a customer service
representative, however, a computerized voice came on the line
saying "We are experiencing extremely high call volumes
at this time" and offering the option of "quick touch"
service. I think the "extremely high call volumes"
are easily explained - it's from all those other people out there
who weren't really sure, either, what they were supposed to do.
So I went ahead with it, pressing various buttons and then giving
the phone number where I can be reached after my service is terminated.
That request took me so by surprise - giving my new phone number
to my old phone company - that I started entering my new zip
code instead. I got a computerized scolding for my mistake: "That
is NOT a valid area code. Please enter..."
But wait another minute. That brings up a whole other list of
concerns. What if I'm not home when they call to get my new address?
Will I have that same unpaid bill floating around in that same
nebulous "press one" world? Should I leave a message
on my answering machine: "Hello, you've reached ##, if you
need to send me a bill, please mail it to..."?
OK, so I tend to worry overly much about stuff like that. But
I did hang up the phone feeling disconcerted. I was wary about
making the other calls, but after pressing my way through a few
sub-categories I was able to talk to a customer representative
at the gas company. And although I was sort of dreading the whole
touch one, touch two rigamarole with the power company, I actually
talked to a very nice lady who wished me well with my move.
I guess I'm just stuck in the olden days of talking to people
and being clear on what happens when. Actually, I've had people
make fun of me for not wanting to make bank deposits through
an ATM. I can't help it; I just feel like something might go
wrong in between my pressing in all the information, feeding
in my deposit, a person recording it somehow and my writing checks
- yes, still relying on paper - on that account. That's crazy,
I know, since people use direct deposit, online banking, online
bill payment, etc., etc. all the time.
I'm pretty fond of the "rapid refill" service at my
pharmacy, but maybe that's different since it doesn't involve
potential unpaid bills floating around, probably lost for eons?
But I do use a credit card and I also use my ATM card to make
cash withdrawals, so go figure. And the mail service - the way
I send my bill payments - isn't it a labyrinth all on its own?
So I don't know what to think.
Does all this mean that at my relatively "young" age
I am already becoming set in my ways (see Virgil Adams' column
on page 5A) and wary of "new-fangled things"?
Or maybe I just need a few more words of explanation to answer
all my "what ifs" when it comes to "quick touch"
Perhaps I should make another call, pressing one, two, three
through the maze of options just to show that I can.
Jana Adams is features editor of The Jackson Herald.
Jackson County Opinion Index