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I make fun of newspapers a lot, but they're not always the problem. For example, today I read this Newnan Times-Herald lede:

"Coweta County Crooner Richard Hawk is now officially a member of the Georgia Child Fatality Review Panel."

Yes, I thought it was odd that a singer would be appointed to such an important sounding government position, but this is 2017. We have a brain surgeon running government housing, a movie producer directing the treasury, an anti-science lawyer scuttling the EPA, a bespectacled idiot in charge of a department he can't remember the name of, and a game show host in the White House (on weekdays — on weekends he pretends to be an amateur golfer in Florida). In that light, a singer taking a state government position doesn't seem so strange.

But that's not what the paper really said. After I had my breakfast and was thinking more clearly, I realized that the man wasn't a "crooner" but a "coroner." Appointing a professional coroner makes way more sense for a Fatality Review Panel.

If only the federal government was so rational.

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I have been watching, with some amusement, the current wave of clown hysteria that is sweeping the country. The news is overflowing with examples of clown-inspired chaos in Georgia alone. An 11-year-old Athens girl took a knife to school for self-defense in case of a clown outbreak. Troup County had to close schools after kids reported clowns abducting people in unmarked vans. Here in Newnan, a traveling carnival worker was arrested for scaring people in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Things have gotten so out of hand that the White House had to address the matter in a press briefing.

Apparently, waves of "creepy clown" sightings have washed across America off and on for the past 30 years, but they have historically been written off as hoaxes. However, things are changing in the Internet Age. In social media, fear spreads faster than reason.

[EDIT: Check out AtlasObscura.com's interactive map of "creepy clown" news items in America.]

This is all mass insanity. Killer Clowns From Outer Space isn't a real thing. Why are we wasting time clowning around when a much bigger threat is on the loose? No, I'm not talking about Donald Trump. (He's a different kind of clown.) What I am talking about is deer.

This is the face of death

The Great Deer Uprising continues unabated. The United States National Park Service says that the deer have amassed armies "more than 10 times greater" than common around the battlefields of Monocacy, Manassas, and Antietam. Once again, the fate of the Union hangs in the balance. Rather than wait for the deer armies to make the next move, the NPS is deploying sharpshooters. The bloodiest battleground in American History is set to run red again.

Once the deer are back in their proper place, then we can worry about clowns or whatever else you've got. In the meantime, humanity has a war to win.

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Sunsets and rainbows.

I blame global warming for such spectacular sunsets

The sky is on fire

Rainbows are really just giant lens flares

Just because.

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There's a pothole in my neighborhood that's shaped like the state of Georgia.

Georgia's on my mind

It's hard to be too disgruntled about the quality of the road when the potholes are so patriotic.

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I often complain that the local newspaper has too little content to justify its 5-day publishing schedule. This fact was evidenced on Thursday when they ran the same Associated Press article on pages 7A and 9A.

But it was the paper's back page (10A) where things are really noteworthy. The page was headlined by an article about how many awards the Times-Herald has won for advertising in the annual Georgia Press Association's advertising content. (They won 12 first or second place awards from among 19 categories.) The Georgia Press Association is the trade association for Georgia newspapers. Their job is to promote newspapers. This article isn't news; it's salesmanship.

However, even the appearance of advertisements disguised as articles in the newspaper isn't what brings me to the keyboard today. No, that would be this passage in the restaurant inspections further down the same page:

Olive Garden #1658 — was inspected on May 24 and received a score of 99-A. The deduction came from the ladies being stored too closely to the hand wash sink to prevent contamination.

Contamination is bad. That's why I prefer to store my ladies in the freezer.

Keep up the good work, Times-Herald!

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Murder Death Kill

I want to know Coweta

What could possibly be noteworthy about fast food chicken?

Culvers is coming!

And so am I

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Earlier this week, I discovered that a squirrel had destroyed the duct work in the attic of the commercial office building I manage. The squirrel paid for this transgression with its life, not because I managed to trap it, but because it trapped itself. Leaving its rotting corpse wedged against a ceiling vent inside the HVAC system was its final act of domestic terrorism. Little bastard. The repair estimate is $1000.

I wasn't planning on mentioning that here until I found out yesterday that ours wasn't the only building damaged by squirrels in recent weeks. The local real estate Barron had a family of squirrels destroy his overhead duct work, too. His repair bill also came to about a thousand dollars.

Ian Fleming famously said that twice is a coincidence but three times is enemy action. Is there a conspiracy of squirrels to deprive the citizens of Newnan, Georgia, of the heat we need to survive the coming winter? Can we afford to wait to find out?

The Great Squirrel Uprising of 2015 is upon us!

Believe it or not, I could find no concrete data on just how many squirrels there are currently living in America. It is past time our government addressed this growing problem. I recommend building a wall to keep those suckers out. In fact, I should probably go buy a gun — the bigger the better — so I can be prepared for the next time they try to invade my home. A man's got a right to do whatever it takes to protect his own nuts.

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Mom and I kicked off football season last night by attending the season opener of our alma mater, Newnan High School. The Cougars defeated the Carrollton Trojans 13-34, so you know the home crowd was enjoying itself.

You can't tell it here, but that number 9 is huge

We were accompanied by Mom's high school classmate, Bill, who played for the team in 1965. It was his first visit to Drake Stadium since 1970. When asked how he felt about returning to attend a game after all these years, he said, "old."

I'm glad I went. I, for one, am ready for some football.

P.S. I should also mention that we arrived before the game and watched 10 people — including several R.O.T.C. cadets — spend 15 minutes trying and failing to raise the American flag on the pole by the field. Apparently, the pulley had rusted since the pole was last used in November, and they couldn't get the flag up without it getting twisted around the halyard. When they finally gave up, one kid rolled the flag up in his arms like it was a soiled motel bedsheet and walked away with it. I know times change, but back when I was a Boy Scout that behavior would have been unthinkable. Back in my day, we wouldn't have stopped until we had it flying, even if that meant someone had to climb the flagpole with it. (My Boy Scout troup was known to smoke cigarettes, steal purses, and throw rocks at cripples, but we respected the flag.) #GetOffMyLawn

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More in the life and times of Mrs. W.C. McBride. Published today in The Newnan Times-Herald:

This item was published in The Herald and Advertiser, predecessor of The Newnan Times-Herald, on Aug. 14, 1914:

"Among the numerous floral offerings displayed at Mrs. Woodrow Wilson's funeral at Rome on Tuesday last, and one of the few carried into the church with the casket, was a beautiful wreath formed of magnolia leaves contributed by Sarah Dickinson Chapter, D.A.R. of this city. The wreath was designed and put together by Mrs. W. C. McBride, who [sic] artistic taste was never more prettily displayed, and we understand it was much admired."

This belated celebration of the centennial of Mrs. Wilson's death didn't come out of the blue. It was published to illustrate Newnan's ties to the former first lady, a Georgia native whose paintings are currently on display in Rome.

The city of Rome must have been very important to Ellen Axson Wilson and her husband, the future 28th President. As the supporting article emphasizes, "They met in Rome, where they met and where she gave birth to two of her daughters." That two of the daughters were born in Rome is mentioned again later in the article. It also goes on to add that she attended Rome Female College, and Mr. Wilson became "immediately attracted" to her after seeing her in church. They sound like a happy couple. I wonder where they met?

(I should also be absolutely clear on this point: Ellen Axson was the first Mrs. Wilson. Ellen was the third first lady to die while her husband was in office, and perhaps not so coincidentally, Woodrow was the third President to be married while in office. The Mrs. Wilson history recognizes as managing the nation's affairs while President Wilson convalesced from a 1919 stroke was his second wife, Edith Bolling, who so far as I know had no ties to Rome. The article gives no mention of the second, probably more famous Mrs. Wilson.)

The first Mrs. Wilson's paintings are now on display at the Oak Hill & The Martha Berry Museum in Rome, GA. That museum is no relation to the Oak Hill Cemetery where the aforementioned Mrs. McBride rests.

So that's your Jennie Hardaway McBride update for 2014. For a woman who died 90 years ago, she still gets around!

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Overheard at the supermarket:

"We Scorpios, we can see through bullshit."

I'm sure he meant bullshit other than astrology, that is.

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