Showing 1 - 10 of 260 posts found matching keyword: georgia

In America, you can be anything you want. In Soviet Russia, the government decides what you'll be.

—Yakov Smirnoff

In January, I signed a new tenant in our commercial office building in downtown Newnan, Georgia, into a lease for suite 101. In March, as a result of a change in our building management structure, I had to relocate that tenant down the hall to suite 113. In May, the new management leased 101 to another tenant under their supervision.

Today, the county inspector finally came by the building to review the original tenant's suitability for business licensure. The inspector insisted that we renumber our office suites, switching the numbers on 113 and 101, so that the number on the door would match the paperwork that the tenant originally submitted. Otherwise, she would decline the business license application.

So we switched the office numbers. When you walk down the hall, the numbers now go 113, 102, 103... 112, 101, 114... If visitors get confused, well, sorry, that's that the county wants insists on.

The inspector "helpfully" added that after the tenant's license was granted, the tenant could apply to have his newly registered suite number changed, and then, if that was approved, we could switch the building's office numbers back.

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On behalf of the Classic City Collective and the Touchdown Club of Athens, we are thrilled to extend a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: Plant the next generation of Sanford Stadium hedges!

That's the first line in an email I received last week from The Georgia Bulldog Club, the fundraising arm of the University's athletics department. The catch there is that the so-called once-in-a-lifetime opportunity1 is limited to 32 slots and costs $5,000. Skinflint that I am, even I don't think $5,000 is too big an ask, but I think I will decline the honor, partially because of who would get that money.

I received the email because I have given money to The Bulldog Club's William C. Hartman Fund every year for over two decades in order to be eligible for football season tickets. (Actually, when I started donating, it was called the Georgia Student Education Fund. It was renamed after former fund chairman Hartman died in 2006.2) Hartman Fund money is intended to support all student athlete scholarships, academic support, medical support, and more. I'm certainly okay with all that, and I expect I'll be donating to the Hartman Fund for years to come.

The Touchdown Club of Athens is Hartman adjacent. (Hartman was a founding member.3) It's pretty much a fraternal organization built around a collective love of Georgia football. I certainly don't have any problem with that, though I don't think they need any of my money. Although I also love Georgia football, I've long shared Groucho Marx's rule about not belonging to any club that would have me as a member.

The organization I have qualms about is the Classic City Collective, which by their own admission aims to be a facilitator for "Name, Image, Likeness" (NIL) contracts for University of Georgia athletes. That means, essentially, that they find ways to buy athletes, luring them to Georgia with more lucrative income opportunities than they might find at other schools. Something about that rubs me the wrong way. While I certainly believe that the athletes should share in the millions of dollars the University makes off their hard work, I think there's something unseemly about buying college players. Maybe I'm just an old prude who was raised in a simpler time of "amateur" athletics, but even if that's the way things are done now, it still feels like cheating. I'd personally rather the football team was made up of students who wanted to study at Georgia, not mercenaries playing for the highest bidder, even if that means we only win as often as Vanderbilt.

All that said, it would be disingenuous of me to say that the participation of the Classic City Collective is the only reason I'm politely declining this opportunity. There's also the fact that this fundraiser is about planting hedges. Sorry, but I don't do yard work. If I'm paying $5,000, it better be someone else who is getting their hands dirty.

1 This should be considered a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity only if you have the lifespan of an English Bulldog. Even the athletic department admits that the hedges live a maximum of 40 years (georgiadogs.com). And while most of the current hedges were last replaced for the 1996 Olympics, some are only as old as 2001, when the hedges were trampled after rowdy students stormed the field three times in a season. (For the record, the hedges were first installed as a crowd control measure when Sanford Stadium was built in 1929 — when the stadium sat 30,000.)

2 In 2004, the GSEF was briefly renamed the Georgia Education Enhancement Fund (GEEF) before becoming the Hartman Fund. I only mention that here because that timeline is surprisingly difficult to find in a diligent Google search. In the Internet age, it seems no one much cares when exactly the GSEF became the GEEF, and I can't entirely blame them; I was working on campus at the time, and I can't remember the switch either. These days it's all just Hartman, Hartman, Hartman, which I'm sure would make the former UGA football star proud.

3 According to the official public relations arm of the University (news.ugau.edu), the Georgia Student Education Fund (GSEF) was founded in 1946 in part by 23-year-old Bill Hartman — then Wally Butts' backfield coach. However, I have to wonder if they haven't conflated the GSEF with the Touchdown Club. Hartman's obituary and Wikipedia page don't mention founding, only that he was a former chairman of the GSEF beginning in 1960. (I suppose it's possible that the Touchdown Club created the GSEF, so all Touchdown Club founders are also GSEF founders.) I'm sure more information about the origins of the GSEF are hidden in the moldering stacks of the Athens library; maybe one day they'll be more accessible to online armchair detectives.

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For years, I've been trying to think of what epitaph I want on my tombstone. My mother is under instructions that if I die weirdly — electrocuted by eels, run over by an ice cream truck, hit by a meteor — I'll want that carved in stone. And if I die normally, she should lie and say that I spontaneously combusted.

On a related note, a recent incident at one of my town's finer dining establishments gives me another idea. "Shot to death in a Hooters parking lot over a plate of wings" would make a pretty darn good tombstone.

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I read in the local newspaper that my county currently averages 1 suicide every 14 days. That's on pace for 26 a year. If that seems high, it's because it is.

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Americans kill themselves nationally at a rate of about 14 per 100,000, which implies that Coweta County, Georgia, population 155,000, should expect something near 22 suicides per year. For Coweta, that figure is an aspirational number.

What's so bad about living in Coweta? I can only guess.

Of course, thanks in part to our poor healthcare system and our easy access to guns, Georgians kill themselves more often than average Americans. (That's just the price you pay for freedom!) By Georgia standards, Coweta should see 24 suicides per year. So maybe our higher rate is our friendly way of helping prop up those counties that aren't pulling their weight.

Back when I was in a Coweta County high school, the statewide suicide rate was only 13 per 100k (national average 12/100k), yet I knew several people whose parents had killed themselves, and I knew students who attempted it. If people are finding things more bleak and hopeless now than they were then... as a community, maybe as a whole society, we just must be doing something wrong.

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The bitterly cold 13° temperatures we experienced last week did not leave us unscathed.

Very localized flash flooding

Believe it or not, this flooded cellar was the result of an exterior spigot freezing and cracking. We thought we had the spigot well covered with an insulated sleeve, but it was just too damn cold for too damn long.

The spigot froze and snapped entirely off. Instead of flooding the yard, the water rushing out of the pipe shot straight into the still-secured sleeve where it hit a dead end and rebounded into the cellar ventilation. The resulting underground swimming pool did a whole lot of damage to the water heater and furnace.

Thanks to a lot of help from restoration professionals, plumbers, HVAC technicians, and electricians, we're getting close to the other side of it now that the temperature is back to an unseasonable 70°, warm for January even by Georgia standards.

The entire experience has taught me two lessons. One, we should tie the insulation sleeve on much more loosely (a frozen yard is better than a flooded basement). And two, winter sucks.

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2023 SEC Championship: UGA 24, Alabama 27

On the bright side, it's kind of comforting to lose an SEC Championship game to Alabama again. In changing times, it's reassuring to have a familiar rock to crash your ship upon.

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Last week, knowing that Mom would be busy tending to her wounded beau, I sent a message to my standing group text with my friends looking for someone to accompany me to tonight's 7PM football game between #2 UGA and #9 Mississippi. They ignored me.

To add insult to injury, my so-called "friends" were unsympathetic the following day when I complained about people who put up and decorate Christmas trees the first week in November. Are they really my friends if they hate live football and think Christmas should be celebrated before Thanksgiving? I say no.

So I did what any sane person would do: I deleted the group text chain from my phone and went to the game by myself.

No. 9 Mississippi 17, No. 2 Georgia 52

Sure, it was cold and drizzly, but I still had a great time (and a hand warmer), mostly because the Bulldogs were totally dominant (and because Mom wasn't there to talk me out of bringing a hand warmer to the game). The seniors were celebrated; the veterans were celebrated; the SEC Champion soccer team was celebrated.... After halftime, it was pretty much all celebration inside the 9th largest football stadium in the world. These are good times to be a Bulldogs fan.

There are still two games remaining on the season, but this was the last home game of the year, an unusually early ending to a (mostly lousy) home schedule. Looking back at the four I attended, Kentucky was the most fun, but this was an easy second place. The question is whether I will be back next year.

It is getting very hard to find people to go to the games with me, especially since I have fewer friends than I thought I did. (Christmas tree-hugging bastards!) So spending thousands on a couple of tickets I can't (and don't want to) always use is starting to seem like a bad use of my money.

I'll see how I feel when the bill comes due in February.

In the meantime, do as Miss Manners advises and "finish your turkey before putting up Christmas." Assholes.

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It's a big deal when some teams come to town no matter their records. And it's not such a big deal when some other teams come to town, no matter their record. Auburn, Tennessee, and Notre Dame fall into the first category. Missouri is in the other.

No 14. Missouri 21, No 2. UGA 30

I think that most of the problem is that Georgia has only been playing Missouri regularly since the latter joined the SEC in 2012. In that decade, Missouri has beaten UGA only once, and looking back at my write-ups of previous games I've attended, very few of those have been worth watching. Obviously, that's not going to stir the imagination of either fan base, even when Missouri is ranked #14 and Georgia #1 (or #2, if you're a 2023 CFP voter).

Making things worse, because Georgia played on the road for most of October, today was Homecoming, which means an audience full of fans who aren't in attendance for the game. So instead of having the feeling of a title bout knotted at 10-10 at halftime, today's stadium atmosphere was more... mildly bemused. Think Rome before Maximus demanded to know if the crowd was entertained. (It certainly wasn't helping that it seemed like the officiating crew blew a lot of calls in both directions. Maybe even the refs weren't particularly excited by the matchup.)

Like Maximus, UGA was ultimately victorious, winning 30-21.

From my point of view, the brightest spot of the evening was Mom's decision to honor her sister's request to take a "selfie" of the two of us after the game was over. Despite being the one holding the camera, this is the face she made when she pressed the button to take the picture:

I always wondered why my brother can't smile for a camera like a human being; now I know where he gets it

That's worth the price of admission.

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I've been in something of a funk lately, where not much really satisfies me and nothing is fun. So I wasn't particularly eager to attend today's UGA game versus Kentucky in Athens, despite it being a night game, and especially with so many Cassandras predicting that this would be Georgia's first loss of the season.

Which is why I was surprised that I did have fun, in no small part perhaps because for the first time all year, UGA played on a championship level. Final score: No. 20 Kentucky 13, No. 1 UGA 51.

No. 20 Kentucky 13, No. 1 UGA 51

The forecast for the game was the coolest weather of the season so far. I was going to take a handwarmer with me, but my game companion, my mother, talked me out of it. I assure you, she did not hear the end of it.

After cold hands (and nose and ears: the wind chill was unrelenting), the biggest problem I had was a sinus headache that grew worse each quarter. But not even that was enough to sap my enjoyment of the game, thanks in large part to the enthusiastic crowd, which was uncommonly convivial, probably because of the need to stick together for warmth. Seriously, though, there seemed to be fewer drunk and/or obnoxious fans than usual. Perhaps they had all passed out prior to the 7PM kickoff, but if the cold weather was responsible, I could handle more of that every game!

She made me take this second picture after my first snapshot caught her with a mouthful of Chick-fil-A

Note to Mom: from now on, if the forecast calls for 60° or under, handwarmers are mandatory.

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After winning 2 consecutive National Championships, the University of Georgia football program has rewarded its loyal season ticket holders with a schedule consisting of traditional rivals Auburn, Vanderbilt, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia Tech... all on the road. (Florida is the "home" team when the World's Largest Cocktail Party is played in odd-numbered years at the "neutral" site inside the state of Florida).

By comparison, the home schedule is UT Martin, Ball State, South Carolina, UAB, Kentucky, Missouri, and Mississippi. This is, without a doubt and by a very wide margin, the worst home schedule I've seen in my two decades as a season ticket holder. Mississippi is the only game with any promise of being a worthwhile watch, and I'm sure I could get pretty damn good seats to that for much, much less than what I paid for the entire slate. ($1,720 this year, if you're keeping track at home.)

I figured if any of those unworthy cupcakes was going to make for a fun experience, it would be the opener against UT Martin, with the debut of UGA XI "Boom" (following this week's unexpected death of Sonny Seiler), a rare 6PM kickoff, and a crowd eager to celebrate the 2022 National Title.

UT Martin 7, UGA 48

I was wrong.

In November of last year, I made a note to myself that games like the 2022 contest against Tennessee (ranked No. 1 at the time) were the reason I annually buy season tickets. Games like this are the reason no one should.

UGA rightfully treated the game against the NCAA Division I FCS Skyhawks like a glorified practice, with Mike Bobo's patented vanilla play-calling and an offense that looked like they could have used a few more weeks of minicamp. The shadows advanced down the field faster than either team. The word "boring" doesn't quite describe how uninspiring it all was. I've had more fun watching Pop Warner drills. If Georgia played like that against an SEC opponent, well, no one would be talking about three-peating, that's for sure.

What was worse was that UGA has now closed Gillis Bridge overlooking the West end zone on game days, which also closes our traditional route into the game. When we did finally arrive inside Sanford Stadium, Mom quickly overheated in the blaring late afternoon sun. So we left as the band cleared the field at halftime, having had a simply dismal experience. Given that a total time of 3 hours and 40 minutes would pass before the final whistle was blown (in a game that was televised to a very limited streaming audience but with a full complement of television commercials), I'm certain we made the right call.

Maybe I'll go back when a competent SEC team comes to town... in November.

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To be continued...

 

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