More Jackson County Opinions...

AUGUST 25, 2004


Column

By: Virgil Adams
The Jackson Herald
August 25, 2004

Some stuff that bothers me
I seldom agree with Neal Boortz, the radio talk show guru. But this time I do. There is just one small difference. Boortz said he “should cough it up.” I said he “should give it up.”
We were talking about American gymnast Paul Hamm and the gold medal he said he won but didn’t. He not only didn’t win it; he didn’t earn it or deserve it. It is in his possession because of a scoring error. The gold should have gone to the young man from South Korea.
Hamm said he would not surrender his medal (it really isn’t his) unless the International Gymnastics Federation asked him to.
“I do understand and feel the disappointment that Yang Tae-young has been subjected to, and I hope he understands what I’ve been through as well,” he said. “My goal coming into the Olympics was to make America proud of my hard work and dedication to the sport of gymnastics. I feel I have accomplished that, and hopefully others appreciate my efforts.”
I’m sorry, Mr. Hamm, but I am neither proud nor appreciative.
Furthermore, I’m not proud or appreciative when a Braves outfielder traps a ball, then lifts glove and ball skyward in an effort to convince the umpire that it was a legitimate catch.
We don’t need any more cheating role models in this country.
* * *
By the way, as I write this on August 25, American Olympians had 72 medals, 21 more than China and 24 more than Russia. And one of our guys won’t give up one that doesn’t rightfully belong to him.
No wonder much of the world hates us, as in U.S.
You better believe I’m proud of and appreciate the young men and women who won and earned their medals the old fashion way, a.k.a. the honest way.
* * *
Some folks believe one bad apple ruins the whole batch. That just ain’t so. There are more good (honest) athletes than bad (dishonest) ones.
One Atlanta Braves pitcher, if we’ll listen to him, is a positive role model. Before he lost to San Diego on August 17, Jaret Wright had won nine straight ballgames.
“Whatever happens when I pitch, happens,” he said. “Then you go out there in four or five more days and do it again.”
Now, here’s the clincher: “As you get older, you realize nothing in the past really has any bearing on what you’re supposed to do in the next four or five days.”
Are you listening, George Bush and John Kerry?
Most of us don’t give a rat’s (censored by Shirley) what y’all were doing or not doing in Alabama and Vietnam 30 years ago. Knock it off! Get over it! Stop living in the past. Tell us what you’re doing now, and what your plans are for the future of our country.
I’m not judging either one of you on what you did in the 1960s and ‘70s. (Aren’t you lucky?) “Judge not that you be not judged.” That’s a pretty good idea for all of us. I certainly don’t want anybody going back and digging up the wild oats I planted in my younger days.
Wonder what would happen if we thought others better than ourselves, and spent as much time loving, forgiving and forgetting as we do hating and remembering?
Lord, have mercy!
* * *
I’m not judging fat folks, either (I am one of them), but it does bother me that 60 percent of us are that way.
I have been that way dozens of times. It’s called the yo-yo syndrome. You know: up and down, up and down.
The last time I checked, I had lost — and gained back — 4,063 pounds. It’s tough, staying on my surefire weight control program. Double up on your exercise and cut in half what you eat is a good plan. It works. But it is easier said than done.
I am judging the advertising industry and finding it guilty. If 60 percent of us are fat, why are 99.9 percent of the models on TV and in newspapers and magazines skinny as a rail?
Maybe the hustlers think pretty people with perfect bodies will motivate us to make ours more like theirs. Obviously, it’s not working. The rolls of fat (no pun intended) are growing by shuffles and waddles, as opposed to leaps and bounds.
What say we put those scanty panties, bikini swimsuits, lacy bras, see-through sleepwear and other Victoria Secret-like stuff on fat folks? That just might be stronger motivation for us to take action.
Lord knows we need something to get us off our fat (censored by Shirley) and on the trail or treadmill.
(Shirley tells me I’m not a very good role model with my colorful (off-color) language. She’s probably right, and I guess that’s something important — not stuff — that should bother me.)
Virgil Adams is a former owner and editor of The Jackson Herald.

Jackson County Opinion Index

Column

By: Susan Harper
The Commerce News
September 1, 2004

Done Any Cutting Up Lately?
I got together last week with a couple of friends to rehearse a musical number we’re going to be doing for the Saints Alive at their monthly luncheon. The song is Irving Berlin’s “I Love a Piano,” and Gayle Pritchett, in her role as coach and accompanist, was urging us to “ham it up” – wave our hands, loll along the top of the piano ... “You know,” she said.
We did know, of course. Or at least we used to know. My fellow vocalist and I exchanged the type of glance you might see from trapped animals. “Oh heavens,” that glance said. “I thought we were just singing. But no: we’re going to have to make fools of ourselves.”
Gayle, of course, saw that glance (very little escapes her), and said, “Isn’t this interesting? When did we all get so cautious, so serious, so afraid of being silly?”
It was a great question, maybe even an important question. And it led us to start reminiscing about the zany things people used to do. We recalled the “womanless weddings” that took place in the old auditorium, with prominent and dignified local gentlemen – doctors and lawyers and bankers and so on – dressed up as bridesmaids, not to mention the bride her/himself. Two of us recalled seeing Dr. Joe Griffeth on that same stage, along with a couple of other upstanding citizens, all of them clad in grass skirts and doing the hula, with big funny faces painted on their stomachs. Apparently people weren’t allergic to being foolish back then, especially if it was for a good cause, and sometimes they did it just for plain old fun.
So maybe y’all can tell me: has something changed? Are we afraid, these days, of being politically incorrect or insensitive, and having fun in a way that hurts someone? Could the womanless wedding, in today’s culture, be taken as a slam at transvestites? Or the hula as a satire of Hawaiian-Americans?
Or have we just gotten out of the habit of coming up with entertainments, perhaps? It’s so much easier (and more boring) to rent a video.
Back in 1998, my fellow library staff members transformed themselves into The Blues Sisters on the occasion of Olga Lacey’s retirement dinner. In fedoras, baggy suits, giant dark glasses and outrageous ties, they boogied into the Meeting Room and serenaded Olga, while the mayor, the city council, and the city manager (and their wives) looked on. The Blues Sisters were fabulous, and closed to loud applause, but as they boogied out, they whispered to me, “Never again.”
I know how they felt. Still, I think the world will be a sadder, poorer place if we don’t cut up now and then. So I’m going to do my best to ham it up at the Saints Alive luncheon, and try not to mind feeling mortified. I’ve already got stage fright, though, and this is only Saturday.
Susan Harper is director of the Commerce Public Library.


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