For those of you interested in my UGA season ticket dilemma, you may appreciate this correspondence between myself and the UGA Athletic Director.
I write to you in regard to 2018 football season ticket prices.
I've been a season ticket holder since I graduated from the University in 2002. I have attended almost every home game in that time. It has been my dream that I will be able to continue attending games in Sanford Stadium for the rest of my life. For the first time in the past 15 years, this year's jump in season ticket prices has me wondering if that will be possible.
I recognize the need for the Athletic Department to raise funds to maintain its competitiveness. I don't begrudge small adjustments from year to year – especially after championship seasons – to maintain operations in football and other sports.
However, I consider a 50% jump in ticket prices year-over-year to be excessive, even after reading the justifications provided at georgiadogs.com, especially considering that a less painful 25% increase per ticket would still have placed UGA squarely in the middle of the pack of your listed comparables. I would have hoped that loyalty would have some value to the Athletic Department, but if your goal is to price out longtime ticket holders in pursuit of deeper pockets, that's your prerogative.
Please know that despite my disappointment at the steep increase in price and the difficulty it presents to my personal budget, I still plan to renew my season tickets for 2018 and beyond. I do so with the hope that going forward, I shall not again experience such a sticker shock.
Walter Stephens, BFA 2002
To my surprise, I received a handwritten response, transcribed below.
(Before I go any further, let me publicly thank Mr. McGarity for responding, period. I'm sure if he'd read any of the terrible things I've said about him in the past 8 years here on my blog — which is accessible to Google — he would already have banned me from campus.)
Thanks for your letter of 2.8.18. I do understand the dilemma these ticket price increases caught our fans and in a perfect world, increases would never be necessary. I wish that were so! But in order to make all parts of our program work at the highest levels, football is one of the areas that allows us to raise the essential revenue.
I hope future increases are more in line with previous year increases, if and when necessary.
Thank you for your continued support.
Sincerely, Greg McGarity
Any price we football fans can pay is worth it to help the equestrian team win another national championship, I guess. Go horse-Dawgs!
Actually, I probably shouldn't pick on the equestrian team. Their most recent national title came in 2014 and is one of the few titles to be won by UGA teams since McGarity replaced Damon Evans (fired for having a DUI and red panties!) in 2010. Everyone knows UGA basketball is terrible and many other sports are under performing. Boosters have been pressuring for McGarity's replacement. Obviously, McGarity sees diving into football fans' pockets as a potential solution to his department's other woes.
I'm not sure I agree, but I'm willing to wait and find out. At least for one more year.
The Traveling Wilburys.
Those of you who know why know why.
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At the request of friend Randy, who wanted an easier way to find reviews for particular movies, I have updated my movie list (found here or via the link at the bottom of every page) to include links to reviews when they exist. You're welcome, Randy!
Now, on to new-to-Walter movie reviews for February!
21. (1250.) The Shiek (1921)
This is the movie that made Rudolph Valentino a star. A century later, it's hard to see why. The story is that old cliche: arab (Valentino) kidnaps strong-willed woman, she tries to escape and is kidnapped by an even worse arab, and she realizes that she loves her original kidnapper because he was slightly less rapey. *shrug* Make America Great Again, I guess.
22. (1251.) Gleaming the Cube (1989)
Skating! Drugs! Vietnam guilt! Rampant product placement! Christian Slater! It's the eighties in a movie. (And I still don't know what "gleaming the cube" means.)
Did I mention the product placement? It's hard to tell how much of the products and advertisements seen in the film were paid, but Pizza Hit, the (original) L.A. Rams, and Coca-Cola are the big winners here.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. They might as well have been skating inside a bottling plant.
23. (1252.) Goosebumps (2015)
Hey, this children's horror movie isn't bad. Even in this "I've got kids now" stage of his career, Jack Black is still funny.
24. (1253.) Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
Just fantastic! (Of course. Aardman Animations always brings the quality.) Highly recommended.
25. (1254.) An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
I've never been a big Al Gore fan, but it's a painful reminder to see what science had to say about climate change a decade ago and know that we're still not doing much about it. Ugh. We're all going to die.
More to come.
Earlier this week, the Newnan City Council agreed to give away a city street to the downtown Central Baptist Church in exchange for 18 parking places. (Central offered to build a parking lot with 40 spaces, but to do so they first have to take away 12 existing places, and they're keeping another 10 for themselves.) The entire affair was resolved in typical Newnan fashion: the citizens only being told that the city would be giving away their property a week before it was a done deal.
Personally, I don't care what happens to Brown Street. If the church wants it and the city doesn't, that's their call. I can't even say that I have a problem with the underhanded way the church and the city negotiated this in a back room without public input. As I said, Newnan subscribes to the Boss Hogg school of democracy ("What's yours is mine!"). What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy of the city councilman who was insulted that the citizens who opposed this underhanded horse trade would dare impugn his integrity.
The Newnan Times-Herald quotes Councilman Ray DuBose:
"Yes, I am a member of Central and I have been elected to serve as a Deacon on the board, which I serve with pleasure, and there is no conflict of interest in my voting for this. Furthermore, in my oath that I took as councilman, I promised to serve the community as a whole and certainly the church is a part of that whole as much as the other neighborhoods. I do my very best every time time I sit up here and find it an insult that people would call me unfair."
Well, bless his heart. As he's such a good Christian, I'll give poor, put upon Mr. DuBose the benefit of the doubt. Maybe no one ever explained to him what a "conflict of interest" is. Since he's a jeweler by trade, let me try it this way:
Imagine a jeweler who has agreed to keep a ring in his safe for a customer. The jeweler's wife sees the ring and wants it for herself. In exchange for the ring, she offers to trade the jeweler a necklace he could resell for big bucks. Ask yourself, is it ethical for the jeweler to make this trade without the consent of the owner of the ring? What would Jesus do? (Hint: He wouldn't trade away something that wasn't his.)
No matter how much that jeweler might want to keep his wife happy, no matter how much he wants to resell that necklace, his personal and professional desires present a conflict with the interest of the ring's owner who he also represents. Hence, he shouldn't be the one to make the decision whether the ring gets traded for the necklace. See? It's simple!
To put it more bluntly, if there's even a question of whether a councilman has a conflict of interest in a particular bit of city business, it's always most appropriate ethically for him to recuse himself from participating in making that decision. In this case, if Mr. DuBose had done the morally right thing and admitted that he valued the needs of his church so highly that he couldn't be bothered listening to the opinions of the general population, he still would have gotten his parking lot as the rest of the council voted 4-2 in favor of his little deal. And he wouldn't have had to hear the dirty bums who pay his salary call him such nasty names!
As I said, I don't care about the outcome. I only drive down Brown Street, like, 3 times a year, and I certainly never set foot inside Central Baptist Church. While I'm sorry that Mr. DuBose's delicate sensibilities were offended by a bunch of people who would rather drive through his filthy little town than park in it, I can't say that I much blame them.