Category Archives: Georgia

Musings on overcast skies.

Today has been one of those which has me wondering a lot about my life.  It’s a dreary, overcast Georgia day, and it reminds me a lot of days living on campus at Georgia Southwestern.  Yes, some of you will think “there he goes again,” but please indulge me this one stroll down memory lane.  You may be surprised to learn this has nothing at all to do with my campus newspaper.

I don’t speak much about my final few months living on campus because it was, quite frankly, one of the darkest, loneliest times of my life.  While not being Editor of my college paper was part of the reason was suffered a severe depression, there were a great many factors in play.  I felt like a fish out of water, and my lake had become a parched, barren lakebed.  The details of what happened are irrelevant now, but today’s weather evoked feelings which I can’t describe as nostalgic or wistful, but rather as reminiscent of that time, despite my best efforts to avoid the memory.

Sometimes, one must face the memory in order to heal. 

That period of my life was depressing and painful.  I felt abandoned and heartbroken on almost every level.  Other words to describe it include hungry (both spiritually and physically), abandoned, betrayed and deceived.  There were people I had grown to count on who I felt left me in the dust, and others who had simply forgotten about me and moved on the greener pastures.  It was a time in my life I also felt profound anger, resentment and even a bit of rage.  I chose to flip off the world and rebel like never before.  I chose to stop paying my bills, stop socializing, and stop taking care of responsibilities.  The anger had me feeling “everyone else could play by these rules, so why do I have to suffer and nobody else does?”

Odd how the truth of a situation is revealed over time.  When we peel back the layers of the story, we find the flaws in our behaviors, the foolish arrogance of absolutist thinking, and how our preconceptions and delusions can create a whirlpool of misunderstanding.  We learn those around us didn’t abandon us, but were instead dealing with their own personal hell.  The people we perceived as having betrayed our own loyalty to them were suffering from losses we couldn’t possibly imagine.  Spurned advances were the result not of something personal, but instead the fact certain lines were never meant to be crossed.  Other lines which had been crossed became minefields which often blew up in the faces of those we believed to be living perfect or fun lives.  We mask our pain and anger in a veneer of hubris, and act out in accordance with how our personality was molded by our environment and associations.

Looking back, I was an arrogant goddamned fool who believed I was entitled to certain things for no other reason than a meager collection of achievement, none of which now matter in the grand scheme of things.

I could say I forgive those who I feel then hurt me, but that’s an exercise in self congratulatory artifice, and an insufferable one at that.  I figure we all make a ton of mistakes in our lives.  Forgiveness of this sort is an internal matter, certainly not one to be made public.  Atonement on a grand scale is equally arrogant and little more than a grand display of emotional theatrics which only serves to assuage a guilty conscience.  No, today is a day which I look at, accept the feelings which exist, and just observe what happens next.  No amount of pining, whining, or promising this or that can undo what is done.  The deeds have been done, the words have been spoken, and all I can do is manage my reaction and healing process as best I can.  Deluding myself serves nothing – acceptance of my errors and misperceptions is the only hope I have for growth now.

That was, indeed, a dark time in my life.  I’m impressed I survived it.  I’m more impressed I’m able to accept just how much of an ass I’ve been about it all these years. 

Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

UPDATES: Walker County and great Frying Pan vs. Skillet debate

With all the insanity in America’s politics, I am pleased to report that one positive in this mess has occurred. Though old news, the new Sole Commissioner, High Commander and Eternal Leader of Walker County, Georgia is now firmly entrenched in his new position. Shannon Whitfield, who was able to easily defang and disembowel Bebe Heiskell in the 2016 election by a score of 3 trillion neurons to 2.1, is apparently managing to score points with voters on the simple fact that he keeps schedules consistent and has not traded away star players to the opposition in exchange for defensive coordinators who blow 20 point leads in the Super…oh crap, I’ve got the Atlanta Falcons on the brain. Sorry.

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Shannon Whitfield.  Wait, wasn’t this guy in a Super Bowl commercial for avocados?

Whitfield, despite his obviously improved status as Not Being Bebe Heiskell, has still rankled some voters by posting edited county commission meetings online instead of the raw feeds. Walker County gods on high, however, are apparently pleased with Whitfield’s performance, as a recent 1.8 earthquake indicates (previous earthquakes have been in the 4s, meaning Heiskell’s soul has obviously arrived at Satan’s mailbox, postage due.) Still, the City of LaFayette continues to function as always, with its fine collection of shops, gas stations, and a convenience store actually named “Yanks” (seriously.) It also continues to enjoy its status as Unofficial Job Haven for Wanted Criminals, as the county has had apparent known of a wanted criminal from Colorado working as a 911 dispatcher for the county for some time. Perhaps the Heiskell curse continues, but large predatory bird sightings are on the wane, so there has be obvious improvement – such as employees actually being able to now cash their paychecks.

No word as to whether “Thad” was available for comment. (rim shot)

This, however, pales in comparison to a far more serious matter facing our nation today from a political standpoint. Today, this writer took the liberty of challenging the political status quo and asking an ultra-controversial question: what the hell is the difference between a skillet and a frying pan?

A query which has dogged cooks for eons, the notion of a frying pan and skillet being different things has been a perplexing issue. Gigantic studies using massive federal block grants issued via presidential tweets have been suggested, especially since the skillet lobby has stated an unofficial goal of “Making Cooking with Skillets Great Again.” Of course, I chose to use the definitive source of wisdom and knowledge to answer this question once and for all…

My Facebook Feed.

My friends/readers/followers/associates of ill refute/various shape-shifting entities from the Gamma Quadrant all weighed in, and the results were very clear: no really knows for sure, and everyone wonders why the hell I was even asking that question. Of course, that would stop me from sharing some of the answers with you, my loyal and delusional reading audience, some of whom are obviously not aware of the need to stay off the road after heavy medicinal or recreational relaxant use.  We know that won’t happen, so here we go – actual answers from actual readers of my feed:

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Until the horse WHACKS you with it. And then you STILL won’t know what to call it!

“A skillet has straight high sides. Same flat wide bottom so u can fry or search, but the the high straight sides like a pot allow us to add more stuff, especially liquids and put on a lid.”

“Geography.”

“Weight. A skillet also says, ‘What’s this non-stick crap???'”

“One of those questions that just simmers…” (Honorable Mention for Best Answer)

“One you fry in, one’s a band.”

“They both cook eggs. So, none.”

and the Best Answer of All, which actually led to me spraying coffee on my monitor in such a fashion several wet wipes were needed…

“The difference between a frying pan and a skillet? The size of the knot on your head if you upset the cook.”

Bear in mind, all these answers are moot when one considers the fact that, when used properly, both pans and skillets make excellent counterweights for mousetraps created by grey and white cartoon cats. Still, we must never forget the most important part of this research, that terminology can vary widely from region to region in our nation, and that such things as “homophones” will always be targeted for persecution by moralist elements who obviously didn’t pay attention in English class.

If you are still unsure about how to approach this debate or how to understand the jokes in this post, feel free to contact Sole Commissioner Shannon Whitfield’s office. Operators are standing by to hire you now, provided you’ve been arrested in at least one jurisdiction.  I’m putting my application in tomorrow.

The Southern Storyteller…

There is an old axiom – the victors write the history books. History, of course, began as a set of written and verbal accounts, handed down from generation to generation. Thucydides, considered the “father of history,” became a legend for accurate, factual storytelling through his own records. The same for Roman Emperor Tiberius Claudius who, despite being portrayed as reckless fool and political shark in countless movies and series, had a passion for storytelling as well, recounting historical events to whomever would listen. As both a storyteller and a student (but far from an expert) of history, I began to put their storytelling approaches, and the axiom of who writes the history books, to an unusual test of why the American Southern history and culture, both antebellum and modern, has been embraced with such amazing affection. My conclusion is likely to spark some debate, but here it is.

Simply put, Southerners may just be better storytellers .

Read more here ….

https://booksandblondes.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/the-southern-storyteller-a-creation-to-be-prized/

Hermine Update:  Gentlemen, start your generators and Xboxes

Hurricane Hermine is poised to hit the Big Bend area of Florida tonight with up to 90 mph winds, heavy rains, swells and enough news sensationalism to power ratings for at least three years past the current election cycle.  News outlets all across the region have sprung into action, activating teams of reporters, throngs of meteorologists, and legions of “spotters” looking for their chance for the $10,000 prize and a shot at “America’s Favorite Attention Hog.”

The suggested storm track of Hermine puts it approximately 100 miles northwest of Cedar Key, too far for any beach bar indulging, but well within reach of Tallahassee, and its famous Tennessee Street party district but, much like the Florida General Assembly, this area has appeared to have cleared out.  Florida Governor Rick Scott, in a stunning moment of clarity, ordered a State of Emergency declared, which he later told reporters was “privileged information” and, having been sent from his private account long before Hillary Clinton cleared out for her next fundraiser, was not subject to state open records laws.  Georgia Governor Nathan Deal lost the game for the Peach State when he fumbled the declaration and Scott recovered it.  Deal issued a partial declaration hours later but, by then, the game was already a blowout.  The rematch is set for late November in Jacksonville.

We are pleased to report that news stations across South Georgia are up and running in their “Storm Centers,” featuring “live, local, late breaking” reports consisting of reporters replaying and re-narrating video shot several hours prior.  We are also pleased to report that no news anchors, weather anchors or sportscasters were harmed in the making of said reports.  We can’t say the same of radio broadcasters, as many are reported to be holed in the same studios they’ve been in since 2012, eating the same freeze dried food purchased by station management to survive the Mayan apocalypse.  Zombie sightings have been filed near radio stations in Tallahassee and Albany but it is believed these are just station employees suffering the effects of “food insurance hangover.”

Finally tonight, we must pay tribute to our athletes who are caught in this storm.  Hermine has commit an act of blasphemy as many high school football games across Georgia and Florida have been rescheduled.   Reports of exorcisms being performed at high school venues are unsubstantiated, but at least one fan is blaming Hermine for the upcoming Georgia Bulldogs season, saying “might as well get it out of the way now.”

Well, that’s all we have here at storm central.  Have a safe evening and please, don’t try this at home unless of course you’re at home in the path of the storm and, in that case, have lots of quality adult beverage standing by, along with a generator with which to plug in your Xbox and modem.

A special request of my readers for Americus, Georgia

I rarely ever make a personal appeal of this nature to my readers, but tonight I’m doing so.  My college town, Americus, Georgia, is dealing with a rash of violent crime and economic problems like it’s never seen.  Many of the city’s residents live below the poverty line, and it is ranked as one of the worst cities in Georgia for violent crime.  This is a beautiful city which deserves better, and should have a much better future.

For that reason I am asking my readers to please keep Americus in your thoughts and prayers.  Those of you who pray, please ask for its leaders and citizens to find peace and comfort, and to be granted the wisdom and courage needed to weather this civic hurricane.  I ask that we all hope for this city to heal the wounds within itself, and that brighter days lay ahead.

While I poke fun at the political happenings there, Americus will always hold a special place in my heart.  I truly love the city and its citizens and that is why I am making this appeal.  To those I care for, friends and those I consider family, please know you’re in the prayers and thoughts of many today.  A brighter day will hopefully shine down upon this beautiful, historic town and that I will once again shine as a jewel in Georgia’s crown.

Election 2016: Crazy is coming. Wait, it’s already here?

The Presidential election nominees are appearing to be clearer and clearer by the day, with Bernie Sanders (#FeeltheBernanywayyoucan) and Hillary Clinton (#HillBilly2016) down to the wire on the Democratic side, and Donald Trump (#FUImTrump) appearing to have locked down the Republican Party nomination by virtue of having turned everyone human being on earth, including Ted Cruz, against Ted Cruz.  Outsider John Kasich also conceded, the result of a bizarre particle acceleration phenomenon where Kasich finally, after three weeks of being mathematically eliminated realized (spoiler alert) he was mathematically eliminated.  These events, however, pale in comparison to one of the most hotly contested races in all of America.

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They actually ALL look like they just ate at Krystal to be honest.

I am referring, of course, to the showdown in my college town of Americus, Georgia, where the Sumter County Sheriff’s Election is in its finally, bloody, one-tin-soldier-rides-away week of campaigning.  The judgment day cometh, and it appears that nothing sort of a “May Surprise,” such as a giant space dragon eating the sun or some really lousy Dining Hall food at Georgia Southwestern State University, will make the outcome predictable.

The reason this particular election is considered crucial to this neck of the Peach State is that Americus holds the dubious distinction of having the one of the highest rates of violent crime among small towns in not just Georgia, but America in general.  Fingers have been pointing everywhere, from the Sheriff’s Office, to the City Police, to the City Council, to the Board of County Commissioners, to Professor X’s Office, and even the local Krystal until everyone realized the only crime that joint was guilty of was putting a trillion tons of onions on all its burgers – which could be Homeland Security threat when you consider the chemical output.   Still, the crime wave which has gripped this college town (yes, I said it, it’s a – GASP, don’t tell the County Commission – college town) has residents wondering if Americus can save itself.

The better question appears to be, can voters stop arguing with each other over who is the better candidate for Sheriff long enough to actually vote?  Practically speaking, Pete Smith and Philip Daniel are both professionals.  Smith, the incumbent, has been portrayed by his supporters as kind, compassionate, no-nonsense and willing to get the job done but needing to stop being stonewalled and sandbagged by longtime power brokers.  His opponents argue he is nepotistic, crooked and about a half quart low, and that doesn’t count the cruisers some say are out of date.  Daniel, by comparison, is portrayed by his supporters as a breath of fresh air, tough on crime, objective, energetic, and new blood.  His opponents paint him as a patsy for power brokers in town, completely unsuitable for the job, and loose cannon.  The wild part:  they are both, in theory, Republicans.  Somehow I think the Democratic Party took one look at this race, stepped back slowly, and said to themselves “oh hell no!

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Thor for Sheriff. No?  President maybe?  Come on, could do worse!

Naturally, one would want to compare this election to other elections around the state or country, but can you really compare this one?  It stands on its merits in so many good ways, and just about all the wrong ways.  Worse still, reliable sources (some, miraculously, still relatively sane after this election cycle) state this particular election has split the city in half, with the fault lines fracturing friendships, families and even the occasional custody battle over pets.  Wait a second, this does sound a lot like the Presidential election.  Forget this paragraph, seriously.

So that brings up a great idea – let’s say for a moment that the three presidential contenders were actually running for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office position and that Pete Smith and Philip Daniel didn’t even exist.  Here’s a breakdown of their likely campaign platform.

Bernie Sanders:  Legalize everything.  Make all services free, make college free, and tax the crap out of anyone buying pot or not getting government assistance.  By the way, don’t forget, feel the Bern!

Hillary Clinton:  She will provide solid leadership, strategic thinking, and truly visionary approaches to law enforcement.  Of course, that means she doesn’t have to be put under oath about anything happening in her life since 1992, and that especially includes that incident with throwing a lamp at her hubby after that tart Monica smoked a “cigar” in the Oval Office, if you get our drift.  Also, there’s this little pesky thing called Benghazi we’d like to forget.

Donald Trump:  He will make Americus Great Again!  How will he do this?  He will build a wall around all the bad parts of town, kick out anyone who causes trouble, and shout down anyone who disagrees with him.  He’ll also fire the County Commission, the entire Administration of Georgia Southwestern, and most of the State Government.  But he’s a great American, and will put his nose to the grindstone and help put Americus back on the map and make it great again.

Yes, folks, you have seen how much worse it can really get!  Commence heavy competitive drinking!

An educational “Hail Mary” pass

I sent this letter to Office of Georgia Governor Nathan Deal as a sort-of “Hail Mary” pass to see what my options are in light of my recent failed CLEP test attempt.  I am back to the drawing board and considering options, but at this moment in time, this seems to be as good an option as anything else out there.

Dear Governor Deal:

I am current a student at Georgia Southwestern State University, where I have been enrolled since September 1992.  In 1997 I left college for a variety of personal reasons, and made a life for myself without having graduated.  It was a hard road, full of debts which I struggle to repay, and working only jobs which I am considered qualified for since I lacked my Bachelor’s degree.  In 2011, I chose to return to my school to finish what I began in order to better my life.

When I began my road back, I learned that my Bachelors of Science Degree in History had been eliminated and that my only option was a Bachelors of Arts Degree in History.  This required an additional six hours of Spanish which has proven extremely difficult, both academically and financially, to complete.  I am at the point where all that remains to complete my degree is nine hours of foreign language.  I have attempted to secure these credit hours through the College Board’s College Level Equivalency Program (CLEP) Test, but twice failed to achieve the required score of 63 to secure the remaining nine hours needed to graduate.  I am currently living in Marietta, finding it difficult to secure a good paying job without my Bachelors, and all that is standing in the way of my degree is a foreign language requirement added while I was not enrolled and trying to survive

Adding insult to this injury is the fact that, when I relocated in 2013 from Florida to Georgia in order to qualify for in-state tuition, I later learned my university had begun offering in-state tuition rates to Florida residents.  I had spent nearly $50,000 on out-of-state tuition fees, over 20 years, with nothing to show for it because of a requirement added because my original degree choice was eliminated.  I am not asking for a handout, but rather a solution to this situation.  My advisor is currently exploring my options to finish my education without the language option, but she admitted it would likely require more classes.  I am now carrying a student loan debt load in excess of $100,000 because I have had to defer and forebear for years because my lack of a Bachelor’s limited my employment options.

I am unsure what your office is able to do vis-à-vis the Board of Regents and their requirements, but I do hope you consider my situation, as I have learned that many students across the state are now facing similar challenges.  As stated earlier, I do not wish for a handout, but some form of well-thought solution which takes into account those students who have worked long and hard but, through no fault of their own, find themselves, like I do, at the end of a hard road with nothing to show for it because of a requirement which was added on, to borrow a sports metaphor, late in the game.

I appreciate attention and thought you can give to this matter, and will be forever grateful to you if you are able to find a realistic solution which does not require additional expense or debt to be incurred on my part.  I wish to remain a Georgia resident who can contribute to this state’s growth and, as a writer, would like my experiences with my university days to continue to fuel great stories to help publicize Georgia’s college environment.  Thank you, in advance, for anything you can do.

Sincerely,

John Guzzardo