Showing 1 - 10 of 217 posts found matching keyword: news

For eight-and-a-half years, I've been warning you about the greatest threat known to man. According to recent news reports, you're finally starting to listen.

"Killer deer terrorizing pets, people in Peachtree City" (11alive.com)

"Attack of the Peachtree City deer without fear" (TheCitizen.com)

"Bully Bambi: Deer targets neighborhood dogs, one dead" (CBS46.com)

That's right: They're here! They're deer! Get used to it!

According to the reports, deer have been terrorizing dogs in Peachtree City, a community of golf carts and more golf carts. Full disclosure: I lived in Peachtree City for about half a year in 1988. It was not a happy time, but that doesn't mean that I wish deer on them. I wouldn't wish deer on anyone.

Why would the deer attack dogs? Obviously because dogs are man's best friends. Those bastards!

"So what?" say the Cat People. "Deer on dog violence is not our problem." You bastards! Deer on dog violence is everyone's problem! Once they're done with the dogs, do you think they'll just go away? No! First dogs, then cats, then I-don't-know-what, but it won't be good!

Act now! Teach your dog to attack deer on sight. Your life (and theirs) might depend on it.

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This comic may have been about me

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Fun fact: 100 pounds of confetti falls just as fast as 100 pounds of flesh
He's never wrong
All-Star Superman #10

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, an estimated 865 less-famous Americans.... This week could have used a little more Superman.

(See also: "Superman and the Jumper" from Superman #701.)

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Tuesday, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that a former US Marine Staff Sergeant who lost his legs to an IUD was kicked off a roller coaster at Six Flags Over Georgia because it's against their policy to let people without legs ride. With all due respect to the Marine's service, I have to side with Six Flags here. No one should ride any of their rides no matter how many legs they have.

The Staff Sergeant was trying to ride the Mind Bender, a 40-year old roller coaster. Back in my day, it was brown. Now it's green, because while Six Flags won't let a Marine ride their coaster, they have no problem rebranding it for a super villain. Oh, wait. Maybe those two things go together.

This bad press comes at a bad time. It just so happens that Six Flags Over Georgia is debuting their newest coaster, the Twisted Cyclone, this Saturday. The Twisted Cyclone will be the 16th coaster in the park's history. So far, only three of those coasters have killed people. (According to Wikipedia, the Mild Bender has merely sent four people to the hospital. Pfft.)

In Six Flags' defense — a phrase I thought I would never type — there is precedent for them to believe they should enforce their legless ban despite what would appear to be a clear case of a rider opting-in to assumption of risk. (That's a legal term. Look it up.) In 2011, another legless veteran who also lost his legs to an IUD died after falling out of a coaster in Darien Lake, New York. His family ultimately won a million dollar settlement when state regulators declared the park negligent because ride operators let him ride the coaster despite having no legs. Hmm. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

The interesting footnote (ha, ha) to this story is that on the same day the AJC published its article, Six Flags announced that they are purchasing Darien Lake. Re-purchasing, actually. Six Flags owned the park for most of the 2000s until shortly after Katrina quite literally sank their organization. It's only natural that they should want Darien Lake back. They love coasters that kill people.

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Nearly half a million Georgians woke up today to discover that their Blue Cross Blue Shield healthcare plans are no longer accepted at Piedmont Healthcare locations around the greater metropolitan Atlanta area.

That's not news to the half-million Georgia residents who have individual plans (read: "Obamacare"). Piedmont hasn't accepted any of the Obamacare plans for years, meaning those of us who freelance or are poor (or both *ahem*) and live in regions dominated by Piedmont's near monopoly have gotten quite used to setting our own broken bones and buying our painkillers from street vendors.

It's hard to decide which side of this current shouting match I should be cheering for. Piedmont says it just wants fair compensation from a insurer who refuses to allow its customers to go to emergency rooms until after they have a doctor's note proving they have an emergency. For its part, BCBS says it will go bankrupt unless doctors agree to shoulder some of the burden of a state and federal government that mandate coverage they refuse to pay for. Settle down, immigrants and Hollywood actresses. In 2018 America, everybody loses!

I understand why children these days are marching in protest of an absence of common sense gun legislation, but I have to say this latest healthcare crisis demonstrates why I still support easy access to weaponry. America's (and especially Georgia's) healthcare system is so fucked up, we need all the bullets we can bite to help push past the pain of untreated ailments. You'll understand one day, kids, assuming you're lucky enough to survive next month's school shooting. (And the month after that, and the month after that....)

What's that you say, Russia? You've got a shiny, new nuclear missile that you're eager to use because no one else will let you cheat at elections or kill anyone you want to? Big deal. Go ahead and shoot. That's one way to solve America's healthcare problems. We'll see how much money Piedmont's doctors are worth when we're all glowing in the dark. Besides, I'm eager to see what excuse BCBS comes up with to disqualify radiation poisoning trips to the ER.

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For those of you interested in my UGA season ticket dilemma, you may appreciate this correspondence between myself and the UGA Athletic Director.

Mr. McGarity:

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.

Go Dawgs!

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.)

Dear Walter,

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.

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I say we start a program to trade guns for dogs

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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.

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I've had the same two University of Georgia football season tickets since 2002. For most of that time, no matter how many games UGA won or lost, those 2 tickets cost about $500 (allowing for seasonal variation based on the number of home games played).

This year, UGA played for the national title. This week, it was announced ticket prices are going up 50%.

This is what losing a national championship costs
Imagine what the school will do when they actually win a national title game.

For the record, that's just the cost of the tickets. Before you can buy tickets, you first have to make a "donation" to the Hartman Fund (which pays for student athletics scholarships). UGA increased the mandatory donation last year, and I paid it without complaint. A 10% increase after years of stability seemed reasonable at the time. Yet this latest announcement means that the same pair of tickets that cost $1,055 in 2016 will cost $1,480 in 2018. Ouch.

What does this price increase get me? The six-game 2017 home schedule was particularly terrible, with Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia Tech all out of town. Despite the jump in cost and the return of those three teams, the rest of the home schedule is filled out with Vanderbilt (whose only 2017 SEC win was against Tennessee), University of Massachusetts (who lost to 4-8 Tennessee), Middle Tennessee (who lost to Vanderbilt), and Austin Peay (who lost to undefeated UCF 33 to 73!). $1,480 is a lot to pay for only 3 worthwhile football games.

Athletic Director Greg McGarity said he needs my money so he can make "substantial adjustments to the compensation of our coaching staff" (as quoted by Dawgnation.com). (What's the matter, Coach Smart? Being the highest paid public employee in the state [$3.75 million] wasn't enough for you?) Despite my qualms at the quality of what I'd be buying with my money, if paying an extra $400 for one season would guarantee a coaching staff that could beat Nick Saban's backup quarterback for a national title, I'd pay up. Are you willing to make that promise, McGarity? If we lose again, do I get my money back?

Obviously, I like attending football games. I have imagined myself continuing to travel to Athens on Saturdays until I'm old enough to need a walker to get around. That said, I won't get there if I go broke first. Fifteen years was a good run, but if UGA is getting greedy, I think maybe it's best if I go ahead and give up my dream before it breaks me.

Can you think of a reason I should keep paying? If so, please let me know. I have until February 15 to decide if it's worth giving UGA athletics any more of my money.

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While most of Georgia spent the past 24 hours stuck indoors looking at snow — not that they have a choice here in Coweta County as Newnan has declared a mandatory curfew — I've been stuck indoors in a bed. For the third time in 10 months, I'm sick.

No, seriously, who simultaneously uses an icebag and drinks hot water?
Why does my phone come with the ability to take this photo pre-installed? Who needs this?

I haven't seen a doctor, but my symptoms are consistent with the flu. You know, that thing that's been killing people this year. Which is not to say that I think I'm going to die. I won't. (At least not right now. Not from this.)

I can't remember being sick three times in a year since my senior year in high school. In that case, I wasn't even sick, just using new excuses to play hooky. I spent "Senior Skip Day" as the only person in most of my classes because I'd already missed 30 days on the year. Poor Mr. Smith didn't know what to do with me, so we just talked about Hamlet.

I've got to figure out what I'm doing wrong these days. Is my diet deficient? Am I too reclusive? Am I just a filthy pig? Whatever the cause, I'm making it a priority to get it fixed in 2018.

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To be continued...

 

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