Post archives

When the dream cloud stole the beach

“We have a drought for four months without a drop of rain, and then we go to the beach for Thanksgiving, and it rains!! Are you kidding me? We haven’t seen the sun in three days!” And that’s my wife’s weather report from Saint Simons Island for Beachgiving 2022. Now, to Bill with the sports update. As with so many weather reports, I take issue with this report. While the sun did not make a single appearance during our latest Beachgiving trip, it wasn’t exactly a monsoon. It was more perpetual cloudiness interrupted by periods of mist, sprinkles, fog, drizzle

Read the complete article

You may be entitled to condensation

Hello. I’m Attorney Chris Johnson, Esquire-ish, of the law firm of Johnson and Maybe Larry If He Passes The Bar. I’ve been one of the leading malpractice, personal injury and ambulance chasing attorneys in Possum Holler for more than 27 days now. You can trust me as evidenced by this three-piece suit, shiny table and wall full of books I’ve never touched but I’m pretty sure has legal stuff like, you know, state codes from 1968 and junk like that in them. I have a few questions for you, and if you answer them correctly, we might score enough cash

Read the complete article

Want milk from extremely contented cows?

In “Rainy Day Women No. 12 and 35,” Bob Dylan famously sang that “everybody must get stoned.” After careful analysis of the song, I’ve determined that the point Mr. Dylan — one of the greatest songwriters in history and by far the best songwriter who also sounds like Buckwheat when he was “Wookin’ Pa Nub” in all the wrong places — was trying to make is that everybody, everybody, must get stoned. But not cows. He couldn’t have possibly meant cows. However, in a shocking new development sure to anger old while men who still think the drug war actually

Read the complete article

My exclusive interview with Vladimir Putin

One of the great things I love about being a world-famous journalist is the way prominent people jump at the chance to be interviewed by me … Me: Hi everyone. As you can see, I’ve got my serious journalist face on and my formal flip-flops. Welcome to my new special “Nine people ruining the world for the other 8 billion.” Today, I’m speaking with Russian dictator — not president — Vladimir Putin. Hello. V: Hello. Me: Thanks again for wearing a shirt. Now, first of all, you said that you had to invade Ukraine to get rid of the Nazis.

Read the complete article

Everyone loves a good bath, right? Well …

Over the years, I’ve seen my name in the newspaper or in online posts several thousand times. I’ve made a handful of radio appearances and even done a few sports radio broadcasts. I’ve been on some really keen local access TV shows and even been interviewed by some legitimate local TV news folks. At one point the newspaper had a partnership with a local TV station’s news broadcast that included having some of our journalists provide insightful commentaries — as well as whatever weird commentaries I could contribute for the Friday broadcast. After about 60 seconds of me trying to

Read the complete article

Mountains offer a few things to beach about

When it comes to getting away from it all, most folks prefer going up to the mountains or down to the beach. In other words, there are mountain people and there are normal people. We recently got back from a few days in the mountains somewhere just across the Georgia line into North Carolina so that my mom could see different colors of leaves. A friend offered to let us borrow his cabin — or I would deem it, a luxury mountain mansion. The price of free was too enticing to pass up. Granted, we could have waited a week,

Read the complete article

Political ads and debates are dang near useless

Photo: If this guy ain’t moderating the next debate, I ain’t watching. When was the last time you saw a political ad that made you think: “Wow, I’ve never thought of it that way. I’m so glad he detailed his plan to improve education. That makes good sense.” When was the last time you saw a political debate and thought: “I appreciate that they answered the questions asked by the moderators and were respectful of each others’ time by not interrupting. And I think I’ve changed my mind!” It doesn’t happen. Political ads make it seem like the opposition candidate

Read the complete article

Hotels and motels have changed a lot

I just spent a few days in beautiful Lanett, Alabama — really the tri-city area of Lanett and Valley, Alabama and West Point, Georgia, which are all connected and basically the same place — for the Millard Fuller Legacy Build, honoring the founder of Habitat for Humanity and The Fuller Center for Housing. Now, before I go any further, I know some folks reading this from Valley, Lanett or West Point just fell out of their chairs and screamed, “They are not the same! They are completely different!” Hey, I get that. I grew up in Oglethorpe, Georgia, which many

Read the complete article

Oh, Lord, it’s not hard to be humble

Last week, we lost yet another music icon with the passing of Loretta Lynn, the Coal Miner’s Daughter. I’ve gotten to the age where music icons are disappearing all too regularly. Some of those icons who provided significant chunks of my lifetime’s soundtrack died unexpectedly — such as Prince, Michael Jackson, John Lennon, Stevie Ray Vaughn and Whitney Houston — while others are unexpectedly still alive and kicking like Keith Richards and Ozzy Osbourne. Of course, Richards has finally quit smoking after 55 years, while Ozzy has cut way back on eating live bats. Other deaths you could see coming

Read the complete article

Don’t be a drag, Lil’ Snowflake

Photo: At least Milton Berle and Bob Hope had the decency to not read books. Today I’d like to talk about Lil Nas X. If it seems a little quiet here, that’s because all the racists just quit reading after the word “Lil,” and all the homophobes left after the word “Nas.” And anybody who likes decent music left after the “X.” The only reason I’m still here is because I’m getting paid big-time money to write it. And the only reason you’re still here is because your computer froze up and no matter how many times you click the

Read the complete article

What if brand names accurately reflected the product?

Hello, and welcome to Reality Brands — the new superstore for all of your shopping needs. We don’t carry traditional brand names, but — even better — we carry brands that accurately reflect the items for sale. And we sell dang near everything. My name is Mr. Friendly because I work on commission. Stereo systems? Hmm, we haven’t sold one of those in a while. A lot of bass, huh? Well, we do have this system here. As you can see it has the old school turntable and CD player with 100-watt speakers. It’s the DTP-3000x from NGH, Neighbors Gonna

Read the complete article

How to wash your pickup truck

I just did something unusual — well, unusual for me anyway. I took my pickup truck through the car wash. This was quite the shock to everyone I know, especially my wife who is convinced that I can’t actually see dirt until it piles up to the point that folks give it a name that starts with Mount. Not only that, but I purchased the $25 wash — the most money I’ve spent on a vehicle cleaning in my entire life. Yes, I know some of you spend 10 times that at some specialty place where they crawl all around

Read the complete article

There’s no present like the time

In the past week, I’ve picked up one grandson from preschool twice, taken the other to baseball practice and cheered him on at a coach-pitch game, did a whole lot of riding on the golf cart with both of them while blasting those super-cool new songs “Purple People Eater” and “Ghostbusters,” told bedtime stories about Jack and the Beanstalk and Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby and, of course, responded to roughly 1 million requests of “Pop, be monster!” Sigh. “OK. Raaawwrrrrr!” Cue screaming and panicked running to the nearest walk-in closet. Door slam … and scene. It was a

Read the complete article

Hope you all enjoyed your latest ultra-American holiday

Yesterday was Labor Day, capping a final summer weekend when many of us folks with cushy jobs hit the road for one last summer outing to the beach or pool or Wild Flags Over Mickey World. It’s truly an ultra-American holiday. Then again, this also is National Waffle Week, and that’s also extremely American. But Labor Day is when we celebrate the American worker, and we do it in the most American way possible — by leaving so many of them out of it. On Labor Day weekend, we fill our gas-guzzling vehicles and whine about the price of gas

Read the complete article

And I thought I was too old to be a pirate

One of the most beloved Jimmy Buffett songs is a reflective, anguished ballad from the early 1970s that has nothing to do with cheeseburgers in paradise, volcanoes or margaritas — although a little bit of rum may be involved. “A Pirate Looks at Forty” is about an aging sailor who is fading into the sunset and realizing that he’s found his perfect occupation … “two hundred years too late.” Having become a writer about the time most folks decided to quit reading, I kinda know how the guy feels. Maybe that’s why it’s one of my go-to songs when I

Read the complete article

If I’m being polite out of pure obligation, at least return the favor

Many people in my neighborhood like to walk around and enjoy the fresh air. Some put their dogs on a leash before heading out, while others tuck their kids into strollers or wagons. A handful should consider putting their kids on a leash and perhaps hooking them to a tree in the front yard until they return from their walk. I know, I know. I’m kidding. No one should treat a tree like that. They’re going through enough with the current environmental assault by mankind without having to battle kid-kind, as well. And I’m not saying to leave the kids

Read the complete article

Streaming soon: The Amazing 60-year-old Spider-Man

I learned to read at an early age. In fact, my kindergarten teacher made me read to the class at storytime so they could see that anyone could learn to read. It was a real honor, and I went home with a lot of badges of honor called black eyes. Despite that early start — or maybe even because of it — I was not a big fan of reading and books as a kid. Why spend all that energy turning pages when a television could beam stories directly into my head like a conspiracy theorist watching OAN today? Then

Read the complete article

Grease may be the word, but the music ain’t working for me

For all of my love of things you can find only at restaurants and not at my house — such as things that drip with grease (mmm), things that have the word “double” or “triple” in them and things cooked in gobs of perfectly natural ingredients like salt, lard or salty lard — I actually don’t find my way to restaurants very often. That may surprise you because I like to fuss about restaurant experiences and because despite all my eating at home and going to the gym, my body looks less like Conan the Barbarian and more like Grimace,

Read the complete article

An unexpected hiccup in my return to the gym

When you get to be my age, you’ve got to make some choices about your health. You could say something like, “Hey, 52 years is a good run, so I think I’m going to drink a few margaritas, eat some double-chili-cheeseburgers and then watch five straight games from this here recliner. Might squeeze in a nap, too. I’m done with exercising … forever.” To which your supportive wife might respond, “Chris Johnson, that is the dumbest thing you’ve ever said, and, believe me, that’s one loooong list of dumb stuff that has come out of your mouth.” My wife is

Read the complete article

Still rockin’ on Florida’s Gulf Coast after all these years

(Photo: Catching waves at Saint George Island, CJ-style) A little more than 34 years ago, I went down to Panama City Beach for my senior trip with my also-graduating cousin and a few friends with all intentions of being wild, loud and obnoxious. Wait … hang on a second. That can’t be right. Can’t be 34 years. That’s like multiple decades. Let me see. You got 2022 minus the, um, carry the one, multiply the fractional exponent. OK, maybe I am that old. I’m certainly too old to do math. Anyway, it was our senior trip. It appears that we

Read the complete article

Let’s reconsider a few poorly used words and terms

Mark Twain once said the difference between the right word and the wrong word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. That’s kinda true. Of course, it’s not the only difference. No one ever ran out to catch a lightning bolt in an old Mason jar with holes in the top. Well, except maybe Ben Franklin. He drank a lot and had some weird fascination with electricity. In fact, I doubt Mark Twain ever said that — he wrote that. Today’s lesson is about choosing the right word, for there is a huge difference between saying something and

Read the complete article

Travel vlog and gallery: Apalachicola and Saint George Island, Florida

We just spent three nights in Apalachicola, Florida July 14-16, and here’s a sampling of what we experienced on our first trip to the “Oyster Capital of the World” and nearby Saint George Island, rated one of the top 10 beaches in the United States … for a reason. Check out the video and photo gallery from the trip and then see links at the bottom of this post.   Captain Jack Frye The Bowery Inn Frost Pottery Garden

Read the complete article

Can you picture Elvis blowin’ out a flip-flop and steppin’ on a pop top?

More than once I’ve been told, “Enough with the Jimmy Buffett mess! You’re a Parrothead! We get it! Don’t you have a hobby or something you can write about?!” Nah, not really. Today’s article is about Jimmy Buffett. Well, actually it’s about Elvis. Well, specifically it’s about Jimmy Buffett and Elvis — two folks I rarely think about simultaneously. Elvis has gotten a lot of attention lately because of a new movie that has gotten rave reviews. My wife and mom are both huge Elvis fans, which means I’ll see it eventually. Hopefully I won’t have to watch it in

Read the complete article

I’m that smelly cat Phoebe was singing about

So, I was in Wally World on my lunch break and … I can see in your eyes that you’re thinking, “Oh this is gonna go well.” It’s like when a story begins, “So, this one time, me and Bubba’d been drinkin’ all night and then …” “Lemme guess, Chris: Then you went to Wal-Mart?” However, this story is completely different because I hadn’t been drinking, I haven’t even seen Bubba since his picture ran with the story about the beef jerky heist ran in the paper, and, again, I was on my lunch break. I barely even had time

Read the complete article

Enough with the enough is never enough folks

A lot has been made lately about golf sellouts such as Phil Mickelson, Bryson DeChambeau, Kevin Na, Patrick Reed and my 14th cousin four times removed on my paternal granddad’s side Dustin Johnson (who I always avoided at family reunions anyway because we kept arguing over whether shorts on the golf course are OK — they are, by the way) leaving the PGA Tour for the LIV Tour, where some have received bonuses over $100 million just for joining. Now, before I go on, let me assure you this is not an article about golf. I’ve applied for writing jobs

Read the complete article

Though I clearly am a fashion icon myself, I don’t really understand handbags

I’ve written more than once about how co-workers, friends, family, grocery store cashiers, homeless people and serial killers have made fun of my fashion sense — particularly their incorrect perception that I have none. I’m merely a nonconformist — and a frugal nonconformist at that. While I may not follow all the latest celebrities who are considered stylish, I do have plenty of famous fashion icons that I look up to and am inspired by — like Jimmy Buffett, Jeff Spicoli, Tripper Harrison, Cousin Eddie, The Dude and Crazy Jimmy down at the Possum Holler Pool Hall asking folks, “Lemme

Read the complete article

If you’re never wrong, that ain’t right

I grew up loving the sport of boxing. I remember when Leon Spinks upset Muhammad Ali. I recall the brilliance of Sugar Ray Leonard and the rise of Mike Tyson, who was once the most feared man in boxing, not just the most feared man on JetBlue flights … although that jerk he beat up had it coming. My favorite boxer of all time was brawler Marvelous Marvin Hagler, who knocked out Thomas Hearns in “The War” of 1985 — considered by many to be the greatest three rounds in boxing history. I loved boxing because it’s raw. It’s simple.

Read the complete article

Here comes the sun, do do do doo … so look out!

(Photo: This is how I spent Memorial Day — braving the sunshine at the all-inclusive Margaritahill Beach Resort in my backyard.) There was a time in my life — I think it was June 10, 1982 … about 2:16 p.m. — when I really loved the sunshine. Today, quite frankly, I’m getting a little tired of that out-of-control radioactive fireball. You would think I’d be a bigger fan of the sun, seeing as how I’m a beach-loving Parrothead who hates cold weather. But as I get older, the sun gets hotter. If I still had a next-door neighbor with a

Read the complete article

Merle Haggard ain’t gonna like my answer to his 40-year-old question

My favorite country music artist of all time is the late Merle Haggard. Yeah, Willie and Waylon are high on my list, but Merle’s life was a country song personified, and he produced some simple, yet memorable music. I’m thankful that I had the pleasure of seeing him perform — at the old Silver Moon in Buena Vista, Georgia, back in 1994. He looked a hundred years old then. He was 57. Life had taken a toll. After a rough and rowdy youth, Merle turned his life around and became a huge star, but he seemed destined for the dust

Read the complete article

In 2033, I land an exclusive interview with our favorite expatriated American

When you’re a part-time newspaper columnist like me, one of the advantages is the untold riches those 25 minutes of weekly work brings and the capacity to buy anything you want. I bought a time machine. Sure, I could go back in time and kill baby Hitler or go forward to get next week’s lottery numbers, but, again, I am already filthy rich — not rich enough to buy (or maybe not) Twitter but enough to buy (or maybe not) Parler. I’d let you borrow my time machine, but it’s a stick shift, and the air-conditioner doesn’t work. (Again, just

Read the complete article

Guys look at parties — and shark tootery — a little differently

Photo: My wife’s actual shark tootery tray Friday night At the risk of doing the kind of stereotyping for which the hypersensitive idiots running Facebook might ban me, I’ve noticed that guys and gals do many things differently. No, not every guy and not every girl and not every they or former guy/girl, but in general there is often a divide between the “guy way” and the “gal way.” (I apologize in advance for the above offense and the offenses that are to follow. It was completely by accident, and I will seek counseling. If you’re not offended by anything

Read the complete article

Restaurant apps are a thing now, but no so much back home

When I was a kid, going to a restaurant was a very big deal. Of course, I grew up in a small town where folks actually cooked on a regular basis and there weren’t a dozen restaurants on every street. In fact, I doubt there were a dozen restaurants in the whole county when I was a kid. Not that it was a bad thing. We sat down for dinner with no waiting for a table, no loud folks at the next table and no music or TVs blaring. That gave my parents a chance to ask things like how

Read the complete article

Why would Elon Musk want his weird hands on Twitter

Recently, in between middle-school-level jabs at Netflix for a bad first quarter and at Jeff Bezos for his rocket ship that looks more like something you’d buy at Starship more than, well, an actual starship, gazillionaire super-weirdo-villain Elon Musk has turned his attention to Twitter — buying $11 billion worth of stock and then threatening a hostile takeover of the company with an offer of about $44 billion. Granted, $44 billion may sound like a lot of money to an ordinary person like yourself or an even more ordinary person like me, but to Elon that’s basically like what buying

Read the complete article

Jiminy Cricket! Boycott Disney or don’t, but quit whining!

When it comes to the battle between right-wingers and Disney, I don’t really have a Pluto in this fight. Orlando is my least favorite town on Earth, just behind Aleppo, Syria, and College Park, Georgia. I’m also not a bigot who has knee-jerk reactions when he hears about anything related to gay or trans issues. I am, however, vehemently against whining. And America is now an incredibly whiny country. This whole Disney thing exploded when the company got in trouble with its more woke employees and supporters for not immediately coming out strongly against Florida’s “Parental Rights in Education” bill,

Read the complete article

The Bobs from “Office Space” need to meet with the U.N. Security Council

If you Google “U.N. Security Council,” “Security Council” or “What the heck is the point of this stupid Security Council if it’s completely impotent and can’t stop the sickening onslaught and war crimes in Ukraine,” the top result is probably going to be the website — www.un.org/securitycouncil. It’s possible that I’m the one who used that third Google search term and wound up on that page, where I noticed something very interesting. It was the very first sentence on the website, which I thought might indicate something rather important: “The Security Council has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international

Read the complete article

TRAVELOGUE: Dear Utah, sorry for all the jokes

Visiting Ensign Peak, overlooking downtown Salt Lake City and the surrounding valley (Note: Be sure to check out the photo gallery at the end of this post. Heck, no one reads anymore, so go ahead and check it out now if you want.) I know this is going to surprise a lot of folks, but I don’t have a lot of close friends. Yes, I know a lot of folks who I would say “yes” if anyone asked if they were a friend of mine. And, thanks to having worked in the newspaper business and then with an international nonprofit,

Read the complete article

Journalists fight for truth even as feces-flingers prefer propaganda

Right now in Russia, purveyors of “fake news” (deemed as such by that bastion of truthfulness and decency The Kremlin) can face a 15-year prison sentence under a new law enacted by truth-fearer Vladimir Putin and his gutless cohorts. This is on top of a 2019 “fake news” law that had somewhat lighter penalties with smaller fines and less jail time but that always-scary mark on your permanent record. I got that “permanent record” warning a lot when I was in school, though I was never really sure what it meant. I remain scared that someday when I try to

Read the complete article

Inefficiencies big and small are driving me crazy

Photo: If your bed looks like this all the time you’re not in it, congratulations of not being inefficient. When you get to my age, you begin to realize you don’t have a lot of time to waste. I’m more than half-dead. I suspect it’s more like 90 percent dead, but that clearly is “more than half-dead.” How old am I? I’m 51. How old is that? If Tom Brady were that old, he’d be like completely, totally retired from football — only for a year or so, of course, but still. I’ve always gotten a little bugged when folks

Read the complete article

Simple-mindedness sticks around

If there’s one thing Americans possess more than folks in almost any other country, it’s our amazing ability to boil a complicated, complex issue into one of utter simplicity. Take gasoline prices for instance. If you’re a critical thinker, you probably think prices are determined by the global market, production, speculation, demand and profiteering. You might get your numbers from folks like the U.S. Energy Information Administration and not Tucker Carlson or a pandering politician. It also means you’re one of about 12 critical thinkers left in America. However, simple-minded folks can sum up the gasoline price issue by slapping

Read the complete article

I’ll take “Things that don’t bother me for $200,” please

We’ve all learned a lot about Ukraine in recent weeks in months — like where it is, how resilient their people are and how to pronounce the name of its capital and biggest city, Kiev (or Kyiv). As long as I can remember — I mean, like, going back months — I’ve called it KEE-ev. So did most folks, including government officials and journalists. As it turns out, that’s the way Russians pronounce it. Ukrainians pronounce it KEEV. And if that’s the way the Ukrainians want it, by golly, they’ve got it. The heck with the Russian way. Yet, I

Read the complete article

How to be prepared for all the twists and turns of life

Yes, life here in these United States sure is great. However, you never know what lurks around the corner — such as a car crash, a medical emergency, your identity being stolen or your chihuahua attacking the mailman and causing permanent emotional distress. (For the chihuahua, of course, because mailmen taste horrible.) The point is that Americans are never more than three feet away from a disaster that can bankrupt you forever. No, wait, that’s a spider we’re never more than three feet from. Anyway, you’re going to need a lot of insurance to protect you from all the things

Read the complete article

I always knew I’d finally get the call from the Atlanta Falcons

This is a difficult time of the year for me. The Super Bowl is over. College football season is over. Flag football season is over. I am officially in mourning. Yes, I know there are other sports, but they are soooo many regular season games that it really just becomes a long road of elbow injuries and survival before the playoffs start, and I can start paying attention again. Of course, even the playoffs in baseball, hockey and pro basketball can be excruciatingly long. As the great Southern writer Lewis Grizzard used to say, “If the NBA were in charge

Read the complete article

Remember when we all gathered on hillsides with soda and wanted to teach the world to sing?

This world is a fragile place. We’ve got nuclear weapons pointed this way and that. There are doomsday ice shelves threatening to break away and flood the oceans any year, day or minute now. We’ve got 1 percent of the American population dictating our economic policies. And there are like zero biscuits at the grocery store. Who hoardes biscuits?! Have you no shame?! There are problems all over the world and problems here in America. There are problems on Aisle 3 of Groceries R Us. Even in Wal-Mart, I have to check myself out these days. “Sir, what are you

Read the complete article

A new place to watch some favorite TV shows

There was a time, boys and girls, when folks who watched TV didn’t have all the fancy advantages and options you have these days. We couldn’t watch shows on phones because phones consisted of an earpiece and mouthpiece hanging on the kitchen wall. We remember when shows were black and white — and not for some artsy effect — and when there were three channels, two of which you could see semi-clearly. That’s all back when the TV weighed 3,000 pounds and took up half the living room. The most significant advantage TV watchers have today is a gazillion sources

Read the complete article

Which horse you got in the 2022 End of the World Derby?

I recently got to thinking about how everything from Omicron to SuperVolcano and everything else that occasionally threatens to end the world sounds a little bit like a bunch of race horses. And it got me thinking about what the call for the 2022 End of the World Derby just might sound like. I suspect it would sound a little like this:  

Read the complete article

The top-secret transcript of Biden’s last call with Putin

Some of you may not know that writing newspaper columns, books and blogs is not my real job. I mean, it all pays incredible money and I often roll around naked in cash like Demi Moore in “Indecent Proposal,” but I do have a real job — on the White House staff as an advisor to the president. I spend a lot of time with President Joe Biden helping him navigate the complexities of the Covid response, increasing inflation amid even-further-increasing corporate profits and handling his Twitter account. Lately, though, I’ve spent a lot of time helping him with the

Read the complete article

No one wants to get East Bound and Down anymore

The United States has been gripped by a truck driver shortage for a few years now, and it has become even more painful now that pretty much everybody now has omicron, which is my least favorite Transformer ever. This has led to clogged ports and tragedies at local grocery stores, where little old ladies are attacking managers with stale baguettes and screaming things like “How come you ain’t got no cream cheese?!” and “Thanks, Joe!” Meanwhile, adolescent kids on interstate highways are having trouble finding truck drivers who will blow the horn when they do that little arm-pull signal. Thankfully,

Read the complete article

My new nonprofit will help a group whose suffering is often overlooked

The past decade of my professional life has been 99 percent dedicated to nonprofit causes that help people in need, preferably with a hand-up instead of a handout. Sure, I sit down and write a little Nobel Prize for Literature contending book every now and then or spend a good 20 minutes knocking out another Pulitzer Award for Commentary contender for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. But, mainly, I work my tail off so that other folks’ lives might be a little better. Every now and then, though, I run across a group of folks in need that falls through the cracks

Read the complete article

This year I resolve to have important resolutions only

New Year’s Eve/Day used to be my favorite holiday. Granted, a few different holidays have had that distinction over the years. Of course, as a child Christmas was my favorite holiday because, you know, toys. Then someone hacked Santa’s website and put me on the naughty list, and the toys stopped coming. After the hack, some folks in India — usually named “Steve” or “Mary” — began to call and warn me that the extended warranty on my tricycle was about to expire. (I couldn’t ever verify the make and model of my tricycle because the cord on that wall

Read the complete article

Some Christmas songs just hit you like wham

I’m one of those folks who gets irritated when they see Christmas decorations in early November or hear Christmas songs on the radio weeks before Thanksgiving — especially those stations that switch to an all-Christmas format somewhere around November 1. I know a lot of folks fret about some “War on Christmas,” but if you’re one of those who defended Christmas from the evil-doers, you should be happy — you won! There’s only one time I want to hear Christmas music, and it’s during this week. Christmas music at Christmastime … what a concept! Still, there’s a lot of Christmas

Read the complete article

The long and winding road of music hits a dead end

The No. 1 song the day I was born was “The Long and Winding Road” by The Beatles. It was their 20th and last No. 1 hit on Billboard’s Top 100 in the United States. And it’s a fitting song for the beginning of my life’s musical soundtrack because (1) it’s been a long and winding road and (B) The Beatles have been at both ends of it. Recently we watched Peter Jackson’s three-part rock doc “Let It Be” about The Beatles’ final recording sessions. It was interesting but not fascinating. The main takeaway was that they had run their

Read the complete article

2022: The Year in Preview

When your year begins with an exciting live-action episode of “The Walking Dead” filmed at the U.S. Capitol with thousands of frothing-at-the-mouth, brainless zombies, you know it’s going to be an interesting year. And 2021 certainly was that. But it’s time to put all that behind us — even though lawmakers are still investigating the January 6 insurrection, former President Trump is still pretending he won the 2020 election, and CNN complains that people give Trump too much airtime while never going three minutes without using the word “Trump.” Unfortunately, 2022 is shaping up to be much, much more of

Read the complete article

Quest for seafood leads to quest just to see food

Photo: This is definitely what I had in mind for a seafood dinner A couple weeks ago, I noted that we had chosen to spend Thanksgiving at the beach. We wound up having a delicious Thanksgiving Day lunch on Saint Simons Island and then spent the next few nights on Jekyll Island, one of Georgia’s true treasures. We usually prefer to stay in condos so that we can cook a few meals of our own. But this was a short trip with just the two of us, so we decided to stay in a hotel for a change. It was

Read the complete article

Peter Jackson’s “Get Back” interesting, but falls short of “McCartney 3, 2, 1”

As a child of Baby Boomers, I grew up hearing a lot of music by The Beatles, a band that broke up shortly before I was born. As I grew up, I was more and more amazed by how much music The Beatles produced in such a short window of existence as a band and how anyone could just give that up after basically just a decade of work. So I’ve been eagerly awaiting “Get Back,” the three-part rock doc by Peter Jackson about The Beatles’ rapid, chaotic production of their final album, and the work leading up to their

Read the complete article

Old Dawgs like me hope these young pups have learned some new tricks for Bama

Photo: UGA and I will have this facial expression all week and until the final seconds of the SEC Championship on Saturday. It’s our cautiously optimistic face. For those of you who are into “thoughts and prayers” as a preferred alternative to actions and solutions, some folks like me could use your thoughts and prayers over the next few days. And by “folks like me,” I mean fans of the University of Georgia Bulldogs, who will face some team called the Roll Crimson Tide Elephants of the University of Alabama on Saturday in the SEC Championship Game — or as

Read the complete article

Wishing you and yours — but mostly me — a Happy Beachgiving!

On the list of my favorite holidays, Thanksgiving has never been all that high on my personal list. It’s nowhere near the top with New Year’s, Christmas and Halloween. It’s much more toward the middle, just ahead of Monkey Day (December 14) and just behind No Pants Day (officially the first Friday in May, although it can be unofficially celebrated any Friday by some telecommuters — or so I’m told. Not that I would know myself, you know. I mean, that’s just crazy. Right?) Sure, I remember Thanksgivings of the past that were rather enjoyable. It was when I was

Read the complete article

Revisiting 1621 on the 400th anniversary of Thanksgiving

(Note: Years ago, I wrote a newspaper column about the very first Thanksgiving back in 1621 … the Thanksgiving, not the column. Few realized until then that my ancestors were very much involved in the event. Here is their story, reprinted.) As we prepare to welcome families into our home for a feast that will leave us thankful when they’re finally gone until at least Christmas, this is the perfect time to revisit the day that started it all — the first Thanksgiving. My ancestors came over on the Sunflower, which was a little party barge, complete with radio and

Read the complete article

American adults aren’t much for the M word

Of all the words that begin with the letter M, “mandate” may the most hated one in America these days. Oh sure, there are other strong contenders for most hated M word — such as mice, merlot, Missouri, monkfish, Marilyn Manson and, of course, manic monkeys — but, for now anyway, “mandate” tops the list. Of course, those who are particularly upset with the word are mainly upset with it in terms of vaccine mandates, especially when they come from employers who mandate that their workers get the shot or go find another job. This is most upsetting to those

Read the complete article

Q has opened my eyes

Folks these days are quick to throw stones at things they don’t understand. And because people get a little dumber every day, they’re going to need a lot more stones. We may have to import some from the Taliban. In America, of course, we do most of our stone-throwing virtually through tweets and Facebook comments. We save most of our stones for folks like scientists who think they know about science, doctors who think they know about medicine and especially for folks who believe scientists and doctors and other such purveyors of ridiculous facts. There are some groups who truly

Read the complete article

Appreciate the simple things in life — like little pigs who can build houses

We have a tendency in America these days to overthink things. I know, it’s easy to look at Americans these days and wonder if many of them think at all, and I must admit that’s a valid point. Perhaps what I’m actually trying to say is that Americans actually have a tendency to needlessly complicate things that are perfectly fine left simple. For instance, take my wife’s car. I mean, please, take it, because I get tired of its needlessly aggravating “smart” features — like touch-screen controls for the air-conditioning. It’s one year newer than my truck, which has its

Read the complete article

NOAA’s winter outlook for the South is all too familiar

In case you haven’t heard, NOAA — that’s the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, not that guy with the big boat — has issued its winter outlook for the United States. To sum it up for folks in these here parts, it’s likely to be warmer and drier than normal in Southern states due in large part to La Nina, which is another reason we gotta build that wall. I mean, we’re not against folks from Spanish-speaking countries, but no one ever blames climate problems on phenomenons like El Jimmy Bob or La Sally Ann. Just sayin’. Now, keep in

Read the complete article

Candid craziness is now an endearing quality

When Donald Trump first came down that escalator in 2015, politics in America changed forever. Like him or not, believe he is truthful or not, think he brought Jesus back to the White House or makes Jesus vomit, whatever — it’s indisputable that politics, particularly at the top of the spectrum, changed forever for better or for worse. Whether we are better off for America’s relatively new politics of personality over principles is not what I’m here to talk about … or type about in this instance. It’s here to stay, so I’m thinking about how we navigate these nasty

Read the complete article

Were a few hours without some social media sites really so bad?

Last week was the worst week for Facebook since Mark Zuckerberg launched the thing as a way to meet cute girls at Harvard. Even with the fake name “Future Billionaire,” he had a hard time meeting cute girls because (1) that geek would have needed the fake name “Future Trillionaire” to meet cute girls and (2) there are no cute girls at Harvard. Those, and quality football, belong exclusively to the SEC. It all started when a whistleblower went on “60 Minutes” with the breaking news that Facebook and Instagram ain’t exactly good for young folks, especially those who are

Read the complete article

Normal folks rarely change the world

Photo: Talbotton native Clarence Jordan (left) and Lanett native Millard Fuller at Sumter County’s Koinonia Farm, where each was crazy enough to think they could change the world.    Note: This is an extended version of the column that ran in the October 5, 2021 Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.    It’s Tuesday morning, October 5, which means I’m waking up in a hotel room in Lanett, Alabama — where everyone operates on Eastern Time … except the cell phone towers. (I’m a little tired of having to do math to set the alarm on my cell phone. What’s next? Facebook going down?) (Actually, it’s

Read the complete article

Sometimes those side effects are real

I’m finally old enough to get the vaccine. Woo-hoo! The shingles vaccine, that is. I’d put it off for a while because I done researched them interwebs myself and found a conservative witch doctor in Nambia who was silenced by social media when he explained that the shingles vaccine Shingrix has only been around since 2017 and is nothing but a money-making hoax that has killed millions, and that shingles can be cured with a mix of Elmer’s glue, Pace chunky salsa and Quaker State that you apply with a badminton racket while lying in a tanning booth (on high/George

Read the complete article

Are there really only two kinds of people?

Don’t you just hate it when folks speak in absolute terms? I know I always hate it and will never understand. Folks like to say things such as “It always rains when I plan to do something outside.” Really? Always? I know better than that because clouds always dodge my yard when it needs water, and my grass never gets enough rain. Another absolutism that always gets me is how folks like to make a point starting with, “There are two kinds of people …” I’m fairly certain there are more than two kinds of people. Heck, I can think

Read the complete article

Desperately needed words of wisdom, Southern-style

Ever since humans began speaking a couple million years ago — a time anthropologists officially refer to as way back when — man has been sharing words of wisdom, maxims, proverbs, adages, axioms and … Dang it! This online thesaurus site done crashed on me again! Anyway, what I was trying to imply, suggest, intimate, and connote is that ever since the first words of wisdom were spoken by that legendary caveman, uh, make that caveperson Ugh Bugga Jr. — “fire hot” — maxims just keep coming until there are so many that we begin to forget some very valuable

Read the complete article

When life hands you lemons, ask for limes and mix a serenity potion

If you own a television, a smart phone, a computer, an iPad or have a relationship with anyone named Alexa or Siri, you may have noticed that the world is pretty much going to hell. I mean that in a figurative way, of course, as the world can longer afford to go to hell, what with gas prices and all. You can’t literally go to hell, although it has literally been hot as hell all summer — though hell is more of a dry heat. We’ve got wildfires in California and Greece, hurricanes that blow up overnight and have a

Read the complete article

Our robot love is getting a little out of hand

The world of entertainment has offered a plethora of promises when it comes to robots. “Star Wars” has probably offered us the most robots — or droids — and made names like R2D2 and C3P0 as familiar as Steve and John. Television kind of got the robot rolling with a robot on “Lost in Space” named — wait for it — Robot. It wasn’t the best show to come out of the 1960s (That would be “The Andy Griffith Show.”), but it did introduce us to some futuristic visions and launched the all-important concept of folks exploring outer space in

Read the complete article

Palm trees or pumpkins? Margaritas or spiced lattes? Roll with the flow

Fall is in the air. Ah, yes. Can you smell it? Granted, I can’t smell things quite as well as I did before catching Covid last year. For instance, one the greatest aromas in the world is that of coffee brewing. At least I assume it still is. To me, it now smells a little like cat poop. But I’ve gotta have caffeine in the morning, so I’ll take my brewed cat poop with two Splendas, please. I understand that it’s not officially fall according to the calendar, but the whole calendar system is outdated. They say fall doesn’t officially

Read the complete article

A little inspiration from the Sunshine State

(Photo: Looking for a shot that makes you feel like this? I, and a friend of yours from Florida have great news!) If you broke down my friends list on Facebook, half of the folks are left of center, half are right of center, and the other third I’m not sure about. Now, all the folks on the left aren’t the same, nor are all the folks on the right. But a few things are consistent about each group. For instance, I’m fairly certain that every single unvaccinated friend I have is on the right, and vice-versa. And I’m pretty

Read the complete article

Unvaccinated? Please stop reading immediately

If you have not been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — and I mean with Moderna or Pfizer, not by Sister GiGi and her live chicken — I must ask you to stop reading now. This is a pro-science space today. Go out and about, spread the pandemic, unknowingly kill a few folks, and continue to stage the kind of environment that will allow the virus to further mutate, perhaps to a point where it might evade our vaccines and punish those who are doing the right thing. Remember, we can’t keep this pandemic going without you. Now, stop reading and

Read the complete article

Dog days of summer call for water

Not sure if any of you folks around here noticed, but last week was the hottest week of the year in these here parts. I mean, it wasn’t Canada hot where it has topped 115 degrees already this year or Arctic Circle in Siberia hot — also 115-plus degrees already this year — but it hit the upper 90s with 567 percent humidity. It wasn’t exactly a dry heat. As a kid, I learned there’s really only way to cope with hot summer days — water. In my hometown of Oglethorpe, Ga., we spent a lot of summer days playing

Read the complete article

My checklist for selecting a great restaurant is growing

Photo: My wife checks out the decor at our favorite barbecue joint, Hungry Hillbilly’s, just outside of Jesup, Ga. I’ve written more than a few times about restaurants — the kind of food I like, the atmosphere I prefer and, especially, how to decide whether a restaurant at which you’ve never eaten will be worth trying. Quite frankly, after penning more than 2,000 newspaper columns over the years, I can’t be sure exactly which rules I’ve already covered, so I’ll go over my old rules fairly quickly: If you’re in some small town with which you’re unfamiliar and it’s lunchtime,

Read the complete article

You can’t believe 1 percent of what 50 percent say

It has been said that there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies and statistics. Polling has found that 58 percent of people believe that quote is from Mark Twain. The other 57 percent believe it’s from British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. Actually, Twain used the quote and attributed it to Disraeli, although there is no direct attribution that it came out that way from Disraeli. But, really, since the Internet was invented by Al Gore in an igloo, attribution has become pretty much irrelevant. We have folks in this country ready to shoot folks over completely made-up stuff

Read the complete article

Forget Superman: I now present Uncle Rusty

Comic books were a big deal when I was a kid in the 1970s and early 1980s. I don’t mean they were a big deal as far as collectibles go. They may have been. For me and my friends, however, every new issue of Spider-Man came with the excitement of a new season of “Ozark” dropping on Netflix or “The Handmaid’s Tale” on Hulu. Back then, we didn’t have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Fox, Cartoon Network or … OK, we had like six channels — and two of them came in clearly. We were desperate for entertainment. And the movie

Read the complete article

Short-shorts are coming back

Photo: The NBA’s Hawks. Note, this is not this year’s team. It’s the St. Louis Hawks of the 1950s. Just in case you were confused. A lot of important things happened in 1957. The Braves won the World Series … the Milwaukee Braves, that is. And the Hawks made the NBA Finals before losing to the Celtics … the St. Louis Hawks, that is, of course. And John Pulman won the World Snooker Championship in a hard-fought 39-34 victory over Jackie Rea. Something else happened in 1957 that had way more folks snickerin’ than snookerin’ — a band called The

Read the complete article

Let’s talk things out in ways that unite us

If you turn on Fox News or CNN or have a Facebook friend who gets all of their news from either one of these “news” sources — or the extreme versions of each like Newsmax and MSNBC — you likely have seen issues that are “tearing America apart” and “destroying life as we know it.” Or so they would have you believe, even though their examples often are anecdotal — such as one school board meeting breaking into fisticuffs over “critical race theory” or one group of peace-loving Capitol tourists lambasted as terrorists just because they wanted to hang Mike

Read the complete article

Are UFOs real? The alien I met thinks so

The U.S. government has recently been a little more open about UFO sightings over the years — meaning they’ve shifted their official stance from complete denial that they exist to a more transparent and scientific “We ain’t got no idea.” I believe in objects. I believe things can fly. I believe things can exist without being identified. Therefore, I believe in UFOs, Unidentified Flying Objects. It doesn’t have to be controversial. For instance, last week I saw a fellow walking down the street and a friend asked me, “Is that Larry?” “I don’t think so,” I responded. “Therefore, it’s simply

Read the complete article

Feathers are flying over chicken sandwiches

When I was a tennis player back in high school — somewhere about the time they invented the sport — we often took road trips. The best thing about these road trips was stopping to eat before heading home. Today, when I see a school bus parked outside of a restaurant, I know two things are happening. One, the underpaid folks who work behind the counter are thinking something between “Oh great” and “I quit.” And, two, because I see 47 kids piling into the restaurant, I’m going somewhere else. But I was once one of those kids. I didn’t

Read the complete article

Revenge of the nerds is getting out of hand

When I was in junior high school, I dabbled in computer programming. By “programming,” of course, I mean that I bought magazines with basic DOS codes that I typed into a computer and produced simplistic video games that made Pong look brilliant. That was way back before Al Gore invented the internet as we know it — the place that today has led to such remarkable moments in human achievement like Grumpy Cat, Zoom meetings with Jeffrey Toobin, and mean tweets from Grumpy Cat’s third cousin twice-removed on his mama’s side, also known as the 45th president. Even in the

Read the complete article

Is a little common sense too much to ask? Probably

Several folks like Liz Cheney, Paul Ryan, Adam Kinzinger and the ghost of Ronald Reagan have been insisting that the Republican Party needs to rededicate itself to conservative fundamentals and move away from folks like Rep. Jewish Space Laser (R-Georgia) and all the witches found in recent witch hunts. Good luck with that. Cheney and the gang are way outnumbered. With everyone from Ron DeSantis to Elise Stefanik to Kevin McCarthy to Lauren Boebert dancing for Daddy Trump’s attention, the GOP looks like some sort of extremist version of “American Bandstand.” “OK, kids. Let’s do the Cha Cha Slide, GOP-style.

Read the complete article

Proof that I’m not one of “those people”

I’ve never been much for wearing jewelry. I know it’s hard to believe that a fashion icon like myself does not have his fingers, neck, ears, nose, tongue and teeth all decked out in gold and diamonds. I guess I just haven’t found the perfect jewels to match my formal flip-flops and sleeveless t-shirt. Besides, I don’t like the way we discriminate with jewelry. Who got to decide that a diamond is a more valuable rock than quartz or limestone? Who got to decide gold is more valuable than silver and platinum is more valuable than aluminum? I’m so woke

Read the complete article

All this hyperventilating has to stop

We all remember what happened last spring when the pandemic first hit: It clearly scared the poop out of everybody because the first thing most Americans apparently thought was, “I’m gonna need 400 rolls of toilet paper!” I understood the run on disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer, but the run on toilet paper baffled me. Did the poop rate go up? Was it because people were staying home from work and just got tired of sitting in front of the TV, so they decided to go sit on the toilet for a while? It’s the same thing when a snowflake

Read the complete article

Margaritaville or Margaritahill — that’s a tough call

For those of us who’ve spent a decade or three or four listening to the music of Jimmy Buffett, there’s this little section of our brain to which we can retreat whenever we sip a margarita, strum a six-string or lie in a hammock — or, on a really good day, all three. It’s our own little mental “Margaritaville” — where we can nibble on sponge cake in our flip-flops until someone shakes us out of our perceptual paradise with a “I thought you were gonna take out the trash!” “I can’t. I might step on a pop top! You

Read the complete article

At last, a diet plan that works for me!

As someone who has added a pound or two or 20 over the past couple of decades, I’ve tried my share of diets. Each has had about the same degree of success — and by “success,” I mean total failure. I’ve tried low-carb and no carb. I’ve tried intermittent fasting, outermittent fasting and intermittent slowing. I’ve even tried swallowing that supplement that starts with a “V.” What’s it called again? Oh yeah, vegetables. Some grocery stores have whole sections devoted to them. Who knew? I thought it was just an extension of the floral department. That might explain why Tessa

Read the complete article

Hurry up, tech world, and beam us into the future

This is a dangerous thing for me to say in my house — nearly as bad as, “Hey, can we trade the cat in for a dog, or a pet rock?” — but I was not a huge fan of “Star Trek” when I was growing up. Granted, the spinoffs and reboots of the original series in which T.J. Hooker and his friends explored the galaxy (Or was it the universe? I’m not clear on their jurisdiction.) in their pajamas were better produced and naturally featured better special effects. I was more of a “Star Wars” kid, at least until

Read the complete article

Will the handshake forever be a thing of the past?

It’s hardly their best song, but “Keep Your Hands to Yourself” is the hit that put the Georgia Satellites on the map and is quite catchy even if I’ve heard it way too many times. Any song that has the “jing-a-ling-a-ling” in the opening line can’t be all bad. Most of us have been keeping our hands to ourselves for over a year now. I believe the handshake may be one of the things that never truly comes back if the pandemic ever ends. (With so many people refusing to get the vaccine, herd immunity may never be achieved, but

Read the complete article

I guess noise is in the ear of the beholder

On Friday, April 2, I awoke in a hotel room on Saint Simons Island, one of my favorite places on the planet. My wife and I had gone down for a quiet weekend anniversary getaway. Unfortunately, it was 7:40 a.m., and we were awakened by a roaring leafblower. The wind was blowing a steady 10 to 15 miles per hour, and leaves were swirling. The guy would blow leaves from here to there, and the wind would blow them from there to here. It was a useless exercise that I’ve often seen repeated by workers in Columbus and other cities.

Read the complete article

Corporations should sit out more issues

Recently my Facebook feed was flooded with folks hyperventilating about a so-called “Satan shoe,” a collaboration between rapper Lil Nas X and a company I’ve never heard of called MSCHF, which I believe stands for Milking Stupid Consumers for Hellish Footwear. The company has a long history of repurposing products in weird ways and then selling them for exorbitant costs, such as these stupid repurposed Nike Air Max 97 sneakers — adorned with a bronze pentagram charm and a drop of human blood in the mid-sole. Now, I have a confession to make: I once had a Nike with way

Read the complete article

The glue that holds it together

As I sat at the dinner table Thursday night with my wife and two grandsons — one almost 2 years old and the other 4 — I reflected on a long week of relatively minor issues, albeit a big pile of them. I let out the 56th long sigh of the week. On one side of the table, the 4-year-old was complaining that he had to eat food when he could be doing something more productive like playing at the park down the street. We usually cook the boys a decent meal with multiple vegetables, but the multitude of tiny

Read the complete article

Scientists or Crazy Uncle Joe? Tough call

Last week I got my first dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine. I’m not yet 55 years old and I’m about as unessential as folks get, but I did have one of the health conditions that allowed me to get a shot — a condition my doctor refers to as “How are you still alive?” The official medical term for my condition, in Latin, is Nowayustillalivicus. It took a few calls before I found someone on the list of vaccination sites who actually had, you know, a vaccine. Fortunately, the Houston County Health Department came through and was very helpful.

Read the complete article

Oprah Winfrey ain’t got a Q — but I do

Folks were riled up last week about accusations made by former royals Harry and Meghan during their sit-down with America’s queen, Oprah Winfrey. Many on the left felt sorry for Meghan and wondered which royal expressed idiotic concerns about what her baby’s skin color would be. Many on the right thought Meghan was just acting for attention, quit watching and spent the rest of the night playing with their MISTER POTATO HEAD. And then there were folks like me who are generally unimpressed with rich folks and royals and thought there were too many commercials. But Oprah did inspire me

Read the complete article

What if a pandemic closed schools 40 years ago?

I’ve had to quarantine a couple of times over the past 12 months. The first time was in the spring of 2020 when I had all kinds of COVID symptoms (as did my wife), but I couldn’t get a test to confirm it one way or the other because I didn’t look, you know, dead enough. We got charged hundreds of dollars to be told “never mind.” The second time was when my wife had contact with a science-denier who went out as usual without a mask around a bunch of like-minded folks. Sure enough, the science-denier brought it to

Read the complete article

Snowflakes on both sides need to hold their taters

There are certain historic moments that no one can forget where they were when they heard the news. Last week we saw another such historic moment when Hasbro announced that it was dropping the “Mr.” and “Mrs.” from the Potato Head toy brand. Ultimately, they clarified that even though they were simply marketing the toy as “Potato Head,” the Mr. and Mrs. elements were not being removed. They were simply being less prevalent in the packaging. I’m pretty sure where I was when I heard the news — probably on the couch and probably watching Fox News because that’s the

Read the complete article

Valentine’s Day gift is worth the weight

A couple of weeks ago, I set out to find my wife something unique for Valentine’s Day. As the years go on, we get less and less interested in “stuff” and more interested in new experiences and making memories. I did get a few tiny “stuffs,” but the big gift wasn’t tiny at all. In fact, it was really big — about 10 feet long and more than 900 pounds. It’s a manatee. Yes, my wife is now the proud (at least I think she’s proud) adoptive mother of Margarito. I met Margarito, virtually, while researching Save the Manatee —

Read the complete article

Rush-ed into the age of perpetual punditry and willfully ignorant bubble-thinking

Whether you loved, hated or were completely indifferent about right-wing radio giant Rush Limbaugh, there is no denying he substantially impacted the media and political landscape of this country. And not in a positive way. Before you say, “I bet you never listened to his show,” save your money. I’m a multi-viewpoint consumer. There are about two of us left in America — me and some lady named Gladys from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, I think. Limbaugh said racist things — on multiple occasions. He mocked people with disabilities and AIDS. He convinced the wealthy that the poor had it

Read the complete article

Caution: Old man rant about today’s music ahead

(Photo: The corner of my writing room — no guitar smashing allowed.) When I browse Sirius XM satellite radio, I keep finding myself on channels like 70 on 7, 80s on 8, The Beatles Channel, Classic Rewind, Willie’s Roadhouse, Soul Town and similar stations that play music from when I was younger — a vague period of about half a century — and the music before I was even me. Sometimes I chill out with some jazz, listen to sports talk, catch a little bit of what passes for national broadcast news these days — or say the heck with

Read the complete article

Clearly, bling ain’t my thing

A few months ago, I began to have a little trouble with my ring finger. Fortunately, I don’t use that finger a lot, so it wasn’t too much of a hindrance to my daily activities. It’s not like it’s a thumb, which is an extremely important digit because it allows me to decline calls on my phone, play “Donkey Kong” on my Atari 2600 and rate movies I see. Most of the time, my thumb points downward. I’m picky. The index finger also is important because it allows me to point at crazy people, which means my index finger is

Read the complete article

TRAVELOGUE: Chillin’ with manatees in Wakulla Springs, Florida

When we get a three-day weekend, my wife and I like to get away — a little bit away, that is. We don’t want to spend half the weekend driving, but we want to get far enough away to feel like a real getaway. As much as we like staying home, you’ve got to have a little balance. While pondering what to do for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend last month, we wanted to experience something different. Georgia’s Golden Isles are our regular go-to destination, but we had just been there around the Veterans Day holiday in November.

Read the complete article

If you’re gonna hunt, go Big — as in Foot

Many folks where I grew up are passionate about hunting. It just never quite took hold with me. I grew up doing some hunting and a good bit of fishing, and I did an awful lot of shooting. All of my shooting was in self-defense, of course, as I was attacked by a lot of bottles, cans and road signs out in the country. You city folks don’t know how dangerous little road signs are because you’re so used to those docile giant signs along the interstate. By the time I was 13, I was mostly done with hunting. I

Read the complete article

Don’t believe the balls!

I’ve been censored by my preferred social media platform, Tweetifried, because I tell the truth to my wonderful followers, so I must now use this space usually reserved for my weekly newspaper column of totally true stuff that a lot of people are saying is pure genius to instead share my views and important news right here as a Tweetifrication of its own. I played the Powerball last week and supposedly did not get a single number right. That is scientifically impossible and FAKE NEWS! The numbers put out by the enemies of the state in the lamestream media are

Read the complete article

Staying home doesn’t fly for everyone, but it definitely does for me

Random thoughts are liable to pop into my mind at any moment — when I’m watching a football game, when I’m driving, or when I’m supposed to be doing something important while driving, such as yielding. “Oops! Sorry. Was thinking about squirrels.” “I’M GOING TO KILL YOU! YOU’VE THREATENED MY FREEDOM TO USE THE RIGHT LANE!” “Well, again, my apologies. At least we didn’t have an accident. May blessings be upon you.” “MY TIRE TOOL’S GONNA BE UPON YOU!” “Before you do that, can I borrow your hat with the horns on it? I left my viking helmet at home.”

Read the complete article

Images a dad can’t forget

When our country is attacked, it’s hard to find words with the capacity to rationalize, comfort or heal. It’s difficult to speak when you’ve been punched in the gut. On Sept. 11, 2001, I was awakened by a call from the newsroom, telling me I needed to come to work immediately. I had the day off because I had my wisdom teeth cut out on Sept. 10 and then spent hours in the emergency room after fainting at dinner. I’d been looking forward to a leisurely Sept. 11. Unfortunately, any day that the first words out of your mouth are

Read the complete article

Don’t stand between a guy and his grill

Growing up in a small town, going to “the hardware store” meant traveling a couple of miles across the Flint River from little ol’ Oglethorpe, Ga., into the metropolis of Montezuma, Ga., population 5,000 or so back then. It might have cost a little more, but we knew the names of all the folks behind the counter. They knew what we were doing and exactly what materials we needed. Heck, they knew our pets’ names and whether we’d gone to church the previous Sunday. Times have changed, and I’m guilty like most city folks of instinctively going to the big

Read the complete article

2021: The Year in Preview

I’ve been doing my Year in Preview for a long time. Longer than there’ve been fishes in the ocean. Higher than any bird ever flew. Wait. Sorry. I’ve got some song stuck in my head. Damn you, Dan Fogelberg! That was the problem with 2020. I got COVID, and brain fog is one of the after-effects. Worse than that, I didn’t see it coming in my 2020 Year in Preview, the first one I’ve ever gotten even 1 percent wrong. That means that I’ve got to get my 2021 predictions absolutely perfect this time. I’ve got to improve my average

Read the complete article

Forty-nine Christmases … and one unusual 50th one

This year will be my 50th Christmas. I’m now at a point in my life where Christmas is very different, and not just because it’s the first one taking place during a pandemic when we have new traditions like wearing a festive mask or, for those who refuse to wear a mask or take reasonable precautions, picking out which grandparent you’re willing to do without next Christmas. “Don’t worry, Granny. The virus only kills old people.” “Well, I ain’t no spring chicken!” “Hush, and open your gift.” “Aww, just what I’ve always wanted — a do-it-yourself will kit.” “Oh, and

Read the complete article

I’m ready for the COVID vaccine, microchip and all

It looks like a COVID vaccine is finally on the way. Granted, there are millions of Americans who vow not to take it, nor allow their kids to take it. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that those are the same people who also don’t believe that the coronavirus is actually killing people, that climate change is real or that Donald Trump lost the election. (Yes, I know the election was “rigged” … against one guy. Overall, the GOP had an outstanding election nationwide except for that one little race upon which the Democrats and

Read the complete article

Do I need a tin foil hat for the invasion?

My wife is very upset with me. No, that’s not really unusual. But this time it’s not because I left my shoes (OK, flip-flops) in the living room or because I didn’t make the bed nor attempt to reassemble its 37 pillows in proper order. This time its because when she brings up the metal monoliths that have been showing up in Utah, Romania, California, the Netherlands and the Isle of Wright off the coast of England and I can only imagine where else by the time I finish typing this post, I don’t respond with the same sense of

Read the complete article

What’s on the radio over yonder way in the galaxy?

While most Americans were bogged down in all the drama of Election Day and its sequels — The Election Day Strikes Back and Return of the Election Day — NASA was trying to direct our attention to some developments of astronomical scale, literally.  It all started just before Halloween when NASA announced that SOFIA had confirmed there is water on the moon. I’m not sure whether the SOFIA is Vergara or Coppola, but kudos to the lady for finding it. Oh, wait. Turns out that SOFIA is an acronym for NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy. I guess that’s better

Read the complete article

Sweating the idea of being stuck with naked catfish

I’ve written before about lingering effects after having had Covid-19, something I tested positive for and supposedly survived back in August. Yet, certain symptoms don’t go away and some new ones surface.The main problem is shortness of breath, but I’ve also got weird nerve pains, a diminished sense of smell and, now, sweat. I’ve always been hot-natured, so a little sweat is nothing new. That’s why I’ve always been the guy to stretch the limits of the office (and school) dress code to wear shorts or something close to them as long as possible. The assistant principal at my high

Read the complete article

Don’t lock yourself in the Parler

(Photo: Me outside the Parler world headquarters, a gift shop on Saint Simons Island. OK, maybe this isn’t the Parler headquarters, but I bet the proprietor loves Parler almost as much as he hates liberals.) Like a lot of my conservative friends, I now have an account on Parler — the conservative, wild west social media alternative to Facebook and Twitter, where facts are never checked, conspiracy theories are welcome and their version of a “retweet” is called an “echo,” which is fitting because it is definitely an echo chamber. Of course, you’re going to be mighty bored following my

Read the complete article

Are flip-flops appropriate civil war attire?

As Americans squabbled in the weeks ahead of the election, I occasionally cracked some joke about how the election was going to be Nov. 3 — clearly an oversimplification on my part — and the civil war would begin on Nov. 4, the same day the virus was supposed to go away. Maybe the virus will go away when they finally certify all of the results.  But with so many states decided — or kinda decided — by tiny percentages of votes and a president firing up his base with allegations that he got robbed because of counting, the prospect

Read the complete article

We gotta do some serious reconciling after today

If you’re like me, I imagine you’ve had today — November 3 for those of you playing at home — circled on your calendar (you know, the one with the cute puppies in flower baskets) for a long time. That’s right. After months upon months of arguing, yelling, debates, gazillions of dollars wasted and lies upon lies, it’s, yes, National Sandwich Day. I didn’t grow up super wealthy, so I know all too well what a mustard-and-ketchup sandwich tastes like. You’d think I’d be all about some decent modern sandwiches. Yet, I’m not a big fan of any chain sandwich

Read the complete article

I can’t make the bed — I’m a genius!

(Photo: The desk in my home office as seen in its neatest, most organized state.) I think it’s pretty hard to have a successful marriage if you don’t have a few things in common. For instance, my wife and I have similar taste in TV, politics and music. Granted, our tastes aren’t exactly the same. I’m sure she thinks she’s heard enough of Jimmy Buffett — wrong! — and I think 30 John Mayer songs a day is more than adequate. Yet, she has sat through two Buffett concerts, while I’ve seen three John Mayer concerts. Having connected with Mayer

Read the complete article

I’m not to the point of looking for my name in the obits, but …

Comedians such as George Burns and Carl Reiner, along with plenty of well-known older folks before and after them, as well as lesser-known older folks, have quipped something to the extent of “Each morning I read the obituaries in the newspaper, and if I’m not in there I get up and make breakfast.” Lesser-known folks to use that line would include my late grandma, who said it often. I’m a little disappointed now to know she was stealing that saying without giving proper credit, but then again I knew somebody who went to church every Sunday, crocheted doilies and made

Read the complete article

What is the point of these ridiculous debates?

As it stands now, the next presidential debate this coming Thursday is not going to happen after President Trump said he wasn’t interested in a virtual debate. Of course, by the time what I’m writing goes into print, that stance may have changed six or seven times — by Tweet, I imagine. Meanwhile, the Commission on Presidential Debates won’t allow a “solo debate” with just Joe Biden. I’m not exactly sure what a solo debate would entail, but then again solo synchronized swimming was once an Olympic event. Just as well, I guess, because Biden would likely lose his temper

Read the complete article

Hate masks? Well, here a few benefits to wearing one that you may not have thought about

It’s been about two months since I contracted COVID. I’ve been pretty darn safe through this whole pandemic mess, but I was just two degrees of separation from a science-denier who didn’t take this very seriously. Now, I’ve never been in the top 1 percent of my class, the top 1 percent of income earners or the top 1 percent of guys in People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” edition, so I’m thankful that I also wasn’t in the less desirable 1 percent — the 1 percent who die after getting COVID. (Or, as the science-deniers will no doubt dispute, the

Read the complete article

Happy birthday, Mr. Jimmy!

If you’re so blinded by partisanship and years of propaganda that you can’t see a totally apolitical mention of former President Jimmy Carter without some sort of knee-jerk negative comment about his presidential term (even guised in an otherwise positive comment such as “I didn’t like him as president, but he is a decent man.”), you probably should move on. This ain’t about politics, and there ain’t nothing here for anyone to argue about. This is about a man dedicated to making the world a better place. It’s also about a man who is pretty down-to-earth, literally as a farmer,

Read the complete article

Negative political ads have gotten out of hand

Last year after ditching the dish and then cutting the cord, we hooked up with Hulu for our primary TV viewing. Sorry, I was on an alliteration roll. We can also watch Netflix, Amazon Prime and YouTube, also, but Hulu is our main source for live TV watching and DVR-ing. Of course, about the only thing we DVR anymore is “Jeopardy.” Unfortunately, a recent Hulu update decided we live somewhere near Savannah. Savannah’s nice and all, but we live hours away from Savannah. I wouldn’t really care where Hulu thinks we live, but it’s election season. And because Hulu thinks

Read the complete article

Bad weather on the way? I’ll be outside

When there’s a hurricane or blizzard looming, The Weather Channel ratings skyrocket. No one wants to see anyone killed, lose their home or be buried by an avalanche, but weather events excite some people. Guilty as charged. Yep, I’m a weather junkie. When I see storm chasers following tornadoes in the Midwest or pointing at a blown-off roof somewhere on the coast, I get a little jealous. I would love to be in their shoes — or wet boots. I’m not much for freezing to death, so I’d let someone else cover the blizzards, but I get plenty excited every

Read the complete article

Y’all gotta start letting a few things slide

Way back in the early 1980s — long before a football player ever knelt for the National Anthem, back when no one carried AR-15s into the store to get milk and when wearing a mask into the liquor store was more likely to get you arrested than a “thank you” — a wise soul gave me some sage advice that sticks with me today: “You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life.” I can’t remember exactly who told me that, but the word Tootie

Read the complete article

Americans no longer know how to debate — only how to argue

We have less than two months until the next general election — and only about eight months until all the votes get counted. During this period of time, there is going to be an awful lot of arguing back and forth on social media. We will see manipulated photos and videos. We will see propaganda from Russians and Chinese and those dang Bermudans. Someone will die, and it will be that side’s fault. Another will die, and it’ll be the other side’s fault. People will point out hypocrisy on both sides, from lawmakers in hair salons to spiritual leaders in

Read the complete article

Colonel would never surrender this slogan to a virus!

I have made every effort to be part of the solution in this whole pandemic mess, and, yet, I still got the virus. I’ve worn a mask in public places, and I’ve stayed home as much as possible. Unfortunately, it appears I was two degrees of separation from a person who thought this was all a hoax and then got others sick. Oh well. It looks like I may survive and just merely may have trouble breathing and be a little bit tired until I die of natural causes — like a meteorite hitting me on the head. It’s 2020,

Read the complete article

This COVID symptom stinks, although I can’t smell it

I can’t wait until Dwayne Johnson — a.k.a. The Rock — someday returns to pro wrestling and then grabs the microphone to scream, “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?!” so that I can jump out of my seat and reply, “No! Not really!” Then again, I haven’t been a wrestling fan since I was about 8 years old watching folks like Mr. Wrestling No. 2, Tommy “Wildfire” Rich and Abdullah the Butcher stomping around Columbus’ old Municipal Auditorium. And I only saw those matches on TV, never in person. But my point remains the same — I can’t

Read the complete article

Only an idiot knows everything — especially when it comes to coronavirus

I knew I shouldn’t have eaten that third bat at dinner last night. But, hey, it’s a constitutional right for a man to fill his belly with potentially pandemic-spreading flying rodents. In case you haven’t been on Facebook or Twitter in a while, you may not be aware that everything is a right in today’s America and we have the freedom to do anything. Yep, I got it. As they say in these here parts, “Chris done up and got The Rona.” I was careful, but I’m surrounded by people expressing their “rights” and “freedoms” all up and down aisle

Read the complete article

Let’s trim the calendar to just three seasons

I was never a big fan of school, so my entire school year was a 180-day countdown to summer. Sure, I liked Thanksgiving break, Christmas holidays and the 1-inch-of-snow shutdown, but summer meant no school for more than two months. That’s an eternity to a kid. When I was a kid, I absolutely loved summer. It didn’t hurt that my next-door-neighbors had a pool in which I was welcome to jump anytime I wanted — which was just about every day of summer. I rode my bike all around Oglethorpe, Georgia. I spent hours playing in Town Creek, which in

Read the complete article

How gullible are you? Take the test and find out

I know you’ve gotten those robocalls about your car’s extended warranty. If you’re like me, you get about one per week. I wouldn’t answer them, but I often get work-related phone calls from numbers I don’t recognize. Then there are those calls informing you that you are about to be arrested over some Social Security scam or something. I really haven’t had time to sit through these calls to find out exactly what they’re about to arrest me for, so I just scream into the phone, “Come and get me, coppers!” There have been many such versions of these phony

Read the complete article

Baby come back — you can blame it all on me

On May 30, 2015, I broke up with you, Atlanta Braves. I’d loved you unconditionally, in sickness and in health (some loooong years of sickness, by the way) my entire life, and some of my earliest memories were from that ugly bowl called Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. I supported you when others sported bumper stickers that read, “Go Braves, and take the Falcons with you!” But after Ted Turner gave you away to some corporate folks who can’t find the state of Georgia on a map, things went downhill. You got cheap on me. Worse, you decided the perfectly good house

Read the complete article

Harold and Kumar would hate Flippy

I have a confession to make. I have never eaten at a White Castle restaurant, ordered takeout from a White Castle restaurant or even picked up one of those boxes of White Castle burgers in the frozen foods section of the grocery store. As y’all know, it’s Krystal country down here. I’ve seen a few White Castles in my travels but never stopped. Because I’ve never had a White Castle burger, I can only assume by the way they look that they are almost exactly like a Krystal burger. I’m sure some tiny burger aficionado is hyperventilating and ready to

Read the complete article

Why the $10 bill now gives me anxiety

Musicals have never been my thing. I know that’s surprising for those of you who look at me and think, “Well, if that ain’t a walkin’ talkin’ ball of culture right there, I don’t know what is.” Perhaps it’s the flashbacks I have to my days at Possum Holler High when our drama class staged “My Fair Lady” — but not the one based on George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion.” No, our creative drama teacher Lynn-Ellen Miranda wrote her own version based upon that time the Dog-Faced Boy ran off with Snake Girl — well, slithered off — at the 1977

Read the complete article

Wondering how I’m able to manage this coiffure in a pandemic, are you?

(Photo: Don’t tell Floyd, but I haven’t had my hair cut by a pro in years.) Something many folks have missed during these days of avoiding coronavirus like the plague — which it is — is regular haircuts. A few brave folks, of course, have charged courageously into the salon because as Billy Crystal used to point out on Fernando’s Hideaway on “Saturday Night Live:” It’s better to look good than to feel good.” Don’t I know it. Some of you, though, have played it a little safer. You’re the guys looking like Shaggy from “Scooby-Doo,” and the women looking

Read the complete article

Much needs changing, but let’s not forget these big issues

A couple of months ago, as many of us were dealing with shelter-in-place orders during those good ol’ days when we still cared about stifling a pandemic, Land O Lakes made some big news. That’s right. Butter. Butter made the news. They removed the image of a Native American woman from their packaging. It was a move hailed by half the nation and decried by those thinking this could be a slippery slope toward having almost nothing racist anymore. They actually removed the woman from the packaging in February, but I guess no one noticed until April because we were

Read the complete article

My 50 favorite Jimmy Buffett songs not named “Margaritaville” … in no particular order

Today is my 50th birthday. I’m writing this in advance, though, so just in case I died before this automatically posted, well, today would have been my 50th birthday. But let’s assume I’m still here. It just makes me feel better. Because it’s my 50th birthday, you can bet I’m at the beach. It won’t be a crowded beach, and I’ll be socially distancing just as I have my previous 49 years of going to the beach. There are margaritas flowing, something on the grill, and tropical music — especially a lot of tunes from Jimmy Buffett, who has provided

Read the complete article

I’m about to do something these greats never did

This coming Saturday, I’ll be celebrating a milestone birthday at the beach with a handful of family members. I promise to practice social distancing while there, something I’ve been practicing at the beach (and everywhere else) for the last 49 years or so. Yes, I’ll be turning 50 — a bit of a miracle given some close calls with car crashes, kayaking accidents and 20 years of battling our nation’s greedy health care system. Well, I assume I’ll make it to Saturday. It is 2020, after all, so any day now the super volcano under Yellowstone will erupt (it’s due)

Read the complete article

Things left unsaid can haunt us

There has been a lot of commentary on the George Floyd and the Ahmaud Arbery cases. The tragedies seem pretty clear to me, although the Arbery case hits closer to home as it happened not only in my home state but near the Georgia coast that I love so much. When you put a gun in someone’s hand, they get a sense of power and authority. When you put a gun in a racist’s hands, you exponentially ramp up the chances of a tragedy like what happened in Glynn County. And the guy who pulled the trigger in Glynn County

Read the complete article

Good luck in that quest for facts, Twitter!

Last week, President Trump announced he was going to crack down on social media after Twitter had the audacity to fact-check a couple of his tweets. Actually, they didn’t exactly fact-check him — they merely linked to a couple of sites where his Twitter followers could do the fact-checking themselves. Clearly Twitter does not realize that we live in a fact-averse society. Truth is so last century. If you believe everything you read on Twitter, in a couple of hours you’ll be yelling, “There is no way on God’s flat Earth that I’m taking a vaccine made in the basement

Read the complete article

A mask is not an imposition unless you’re selfish

One of the biggest problems in America right now is the way people generalize and oversimplify issues. Well, OK, that’s not exactly true because generalizations and oversimplifications barely crack the top 1,000 of problems in America right now. So, allow me to generalize and oversimplify for a moment. (Or don’t, because I’m going to do so anyway.) I’ve realized that there are two kinds of people in America. No, not Republicans and Democrats. No, not Southerners and Yankees. No, not Coke people and Pepsi people. True, those are kinds of people — well, except the Pepsi folks. You can’t love

Read the complete article

Neighborhood has a new sound during the pandemic

My neighborhood has grown exponentially since we moved in nearly three and a half years ago. Back then, we were the third house built on our street. Now, there are 25 or so. More have built on other streets. For the past few years, though, there was something conspicuously absent from the streets — children. I knew they existed because I’ve seen pictures. They’re like shorter versions of adults. Then something called coronavirus arrived in Georgia and schools began canceling in-person classes. If I’d have known it was possible to shut down schools, I’d have created COVID for my seventh-grade

Read the complete article

Modern technology has its flaws, but I’m grateful for some of it

I usually work from home about three days a week. Being in the communications field, most of what I do can be done can be done from just about anywhere with an internet connection. Don’t worry, though: I’m not writing this from the bathroom. It’s not like I’m the president. “Hey, Melania, pause ‘Fox and Friends.’ I got an idea for a legendary Tweet that’s going to go right up their with the Gettysburg Address and the Emaciated Promulgation. Besides, last night’s Big Mac is calling. May have a full-on Tweet storm coming on.” When I’m in the actual office

Read the complete article

I thought I could handle life without live sports

The coronavirus pandemic has shone a harsh spotlight on a lot of issues in American society. It has revealed that some folks consider great-grandmas and others in their age group expendable. So much for the wisdom of our elders. If they were so “smart,” then why did they decide to get older? It has revealed that the personal economies of most Americans are super-fragile. For years, we’ve heard that millions of hard-working Americans can’t afford a $400 emergency. We never addressed this as a society until now, and we still haven’t done too good at it: Sorry you lost your

Read the complete article

Welcome to Georgia’s pandemic radio station!

Welcome to Virus Radio, playing Georgia’s pandemic hits 24 hours a day! Heck, this is Georgia, baby, and we don’t do no stinkin’ numbers and facts, so, starting tomorrow, we are gonna broadcast 25 hours a day, eight days a week. This is DJ CJ with your Morning Drive for all you essential workers out there heading to your essential jobs — the health care workers, first responders, food prep folks, hair stylists, tattoo artists, massage therapists, nail technicians and, of course, our essential gun shop personnel in case we need to buy a gun to shoot anyone we see

Read the complete article

Hey (hey) you (you), get off of my White Cloud!

Tomorrow could be a momentous day at the Johnson household. That’s the day my online order of toilet paper is supposed to arrive. Supposed to. As President Trump says — about everything — “We’ll see.” When this pandemic first hit the United States, toilet paper began flying off shelves. But, I thought, surely this won’t last. After all, I can’t imagine that the bathroom-going habits of Americans have changed all that much. Or have they? “Well, Gladys, I got furloughed for the month of April. If you need me, I’ll be in here pooping until May. Thank goodness we bought

Read the complete article

Be a better you when this is over

(Photo: I snapped this shot of a guy contemplating the sunset on giant rocks that jutted out into the Pacific Ocean in the little fishing village of Las Peñitas, Nicaragua, during my first trip there to help build homes for families in need with The Fuller Center for Housing. This look of contemplation against the backdrop of the sunset seems to fit this column.) With all of the things that could go wrong during a pandemic, I guess I’m pretty unscathed by the coronavirus outbreak. I got sick … with something. Who knows what I was sick with because the

Read the complete article

Kemp sows dangerous confusion with ambiguous loopholes

(Photo: Gov. Kemp and I agree that access to tequila is “essential” — though I don’t think either of us has a truly legitimate argument.) It seems there is still a lot of confusion surrounding Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s order issued last week. Plenty of establishments are still open, including the liquor store closest to my house. Just today I saw a car dealership open and a man delivering pine straw. I can’t imagine why people are confused. After all, I’ve got the text of the order right here in front of me and it clearly states in no uncertain

Read the complete article

Sorry, Grandma, but, you know, the economy

(Photo: Remember “Logan’s Run,” where they were secretly killing off folks when they reached age 30?) I’m not much for conspiracy theories, but I’ve heard plenty of them over the years — the moon landing was staged, JFK was not killed by a single bullet, Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya, Melania has a body double, Bert and Ernie of “Sesame Street” are gay, etc. Then again, maybe I’ve never been much for conspiracy theories because I’m not much for following other people’s leads. There are a lot of natural-born followers out there — that’s how cults get started

Read the complete article

Coronavius testing shortage: You can’t find what you’re not looking for

(Photo: Unless this guy drives you to get a coronavirus test, you’re probably not going to get one.) Big news! Day 10 of self-quarantine, and I almost got tested. That’s the second time I’ve almost gotten tested in the past eight days, so we are definitely making progress on this testing front! Way to go, leaders! I’m still hearing reports of five cases in one county, four there, and three here. Please remember that’s all baloney. The entire state of Georgia has tested fewer than 10,000 folks at this point, and the vast majority of those folks are in urban

Read the complete article

When numbers don’t mean a whole lot

I’ve always been more of a words guy than a numbers guy. I think numbers are from the devil himself. For instance, they say “666” is the mark of the beast. See? Numbers! If words were from the devil, “Larry” might be the mark of the beast. Or maybe “Harold.” Even on “Sesame Street,” they use a vampire — the undead, for crying out loud — to talk to kids about numbers. This is clearly an evil trick. I’ve had a lot of time to think about numbers over the past week. I’ve had a lot of time to think

Read the complete article

Day 4 of self-quarantine

The next coronavirus bill passed by Congress and signed by the president should require that anyone ordered to self-quarantine by their doctor should be able to do so on a small island of their choosing. Contact your congressional representative today. So, Day 4 of this stay-at-home stuff, and I’m already feeling better. I’m now 57 percent sure I’m not carrying coronavirus. But, because I cannot definitively say I don’t have Covid-19, or the flu, or pneumonia, or ebola, or the Bubonic Plague with this extreme lack of testing, I’m supposed to stay home for another 10 days or so before

Read the complete article

Keep your hands to yourself

One of the main messages surrounding the coronavirus outbreak is that hands are nasty. Your hands. Everybody else’s hands. And especially any hands that were at CPAC. So, wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Don’t high-five anyone. Don’t play thumb wars. And, above all, don’t shake hands. With anyone. Ever. That last little bit of advice is a little tricky for most folks. When I was a young man, the importance of a handshake and doing it right was drilled into me. Be firm, but don’t squeeze. Look them in the eyes while you shake their hands. And, hand-buzzers

Read the complete article

I don’t have coronavirus, or maybe I do — it’s hard to tell in Houston County, Georgia

Click here for my Day 4 quarantine blog update. Day 2 of quarantine … still alive! That’s right, I’m on a 14-day self-quarantine, along with my wife. It’s sort of a staycation with coughing, except that I’m able to work from home, and she’s trying to figure out how to do it in this nation of no guaranteed sick leave. Over the weekend, we both developed coughs, and my condition felt almost exactly like the pneumonia I was diagnosed with in January. That pneumonia was never confirmed because apparently you need an X-ray to confirm that, and, you know, this

Read the complete article

Is is that hard to not cheat?

By now just about everyone has heard about the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scandal, a cheating scheme that likely helped them win the 2017 World Series. It’s absolutely shocking … that people are actually talking about Major League Baseball. This is the time of the year that folks talk about how they miss college and NFL football, about that trailer that just dropped for Season 3 of “Ozark” or that chicken sandwich from Popeye’s and whether it’s better than the one at Chick-Fil-A and whether it was worth the wait or worth getting shot. But baseball? Sure, we’re excited about tee-ball

Read the complete article

I’m ready for the coronazombielypse

Before the administration muzzled its infectious disease experts and ordered them to funnel anything they say through the U.S. Department of Don’t Worry ‘Bout It, they kind of let it slip that this whole coronavirus thing just might get worse before it gets better. Or as President Trump explained in remarkable detail, “We’ll see.” Fortunately, talk radio star Rush Limbaugh put everyone at ease on his February 24 show by explaining, “The coronavirus is the common cold, folks.” That’s very reassuring coming from a guy who decried the “nanny state” that frowned upon his love of cigars before he developed

Read the complete article

Is the music ever really over?

Photo: The Missin’ Links band was started by a couple of my uncles in Ideal, Georgia, in the 1960s, and my dad (left) played bass A couple Saturday nights ago, my wife and I attended a concert by a group we’ve never seen before — and, apparently, we never will be able to again. It was a reunion show for members of The Malibu’s /Sixpence, who formed back in the 1960s like so many bands hoping to make it big. Back then there was a fine line between being a band that played high school sock hops and a band

Read the complete article

I’m here to help Georgia solve its budget shortfall

In the past, I’ve come up with some ideas to help our federal government balance its budget. Among them were ideas such as selling one of the Dakotas. My argument was that no country really needs two Dakotas. One is more than enough. But with our nation projected to once again run up a $1 trillion budget deficit while the debt runs over $21 trillion, it’s clear no one is listening. Apparently, our federal government only runs up huge deficits during a great recession … or during the “greatest economy ever” … or anytime in between. Clearly, we’re going to

Read the complete article

Hey Iowa: Stick to corn

Iowa is known for only a handful of things. Captain Kirk was from there. Dead baseball players wander its corn fields. It is the nation’s leading producer of ethanol. And it is known as “The Hawkeye State,” making it the only state in the nation that got its nickname from Alan Alda’s character on “MASH.” And, oh yeah, they also get to vote for president before anyone else, shaping the race for the whole rest of the nation. Well, maybe vote isn’t the right word. They caucus. If you thought caucuses were some mountain range in Europe, let me help

Read the complete article

Vehicle safety has come a long way since I rolled around in the floorboard as a kid

I drive a 2011 pickup truck. That’s not exactly ancient or an antique, but it’s also not fresh off the assembly line. That means it doesn’t have its own electronic brain like so many of today’s new vehicles, nor does it boast as many safety features. My wife’s car, meanwhile, boasts so many safety features that you’re barely allowed to ride in it. Now, I don’t have anything against advancing safety features — except for that whole “I’ll brake for you” deal. I wouldn’t mind my truck warning me that there’s a stalled car up ahead or a deer in

Read the complete article

Don’t just die; live on as a tree

“If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?” It sounds like something Barbara Walters would ask on “20/20” 40 years ago or something you might hear in a job interview if the person interviewing you is an idiot who doesn’t care whether or not you can do the job. But now it has some relevance thanks to the Capsula Mundi. That’s not some new spaceship Elon Musk has designed, nor is it some wonderful new miracle drug that your health insurance company will never cover. The Capsula Mundi is a burial pod. That’s right. After you

Read the complete article

S-O-N-G-S with spelling irk me

We rarely go to restaurants these days, but we were 10 minutes from home, hungry and it was too late for lunch but too early to begin grilling dinner. My wife suggested we stop for a quick snack at a fast-food restaurant. Never one to turn down grease congealed into round and square semi-edible items, I slung the car into the parking lot. “Great idea!” A few minutes later, we were sitting at a table with order 298 — a round grease thing for her and six tiny round grease things for me — when we realized we were trapped.

Read the complete article

Don’t eat their feet!

Yesterday I spent nearly three hours in a dentist’s chair. It was not by choice. It’s not like I have some weird hobby where I just plop down in random professionals’ chairs. At least, not anymore. Not since that actuary from Macon called the police. I’m still not sure what they do, but, man, they get abnormally upset when strangers sit in their chairs. While I really like my dentist and his staff, I loathe going to any dentist’s office. But I had no choice. No, my wife didn’t finally punch me in the mouth. She knows I bob and

Read the complete article

Y’all need to make some New Year’s resolutions for using Facebook

I don’t really make New Year’s resolutions. I’m a rebel like that. I’m more apt to make a spur-of-the-moment, March 12th resolution when I get out of the shower and see myself in the mirror and think, “Dang! I need to lose one or two or 25 pounds. I think I’ll resolve to do that.” “You said the same thing last week,” my wife will say. “That’s fake news! Last week I resolved to lose one or two or 20 pounds.” But y’all — and I mean all y’all — need to make some resolutions about how to use Facebook

Read the complete article

2020: The Year in Preview

When most folks make predictions, they are merely guessing. But when I make predictions — especially about something as important and as annual as my Year in Preview — know that I am not merely guessing. Puh-leeze! I’m no amateur here. I’m guessing and throwing two tennis balls against a wall, each ball with a prediction about a topic of major importance. Then I send ol’ Blue here, a hound dog with the ability to foretell the future, to chase the balls. Whichever one he pees on is the prediction I announce. By the time I get around to predicting

Read the complete article

“Star Wars” allegedly comes to the end of its galactic run

When I was a kid, a film came out that changed the movie landscape forever — “The Godfather.” I was only 2 years old back then, so I thought it was a bit violent compared to “Sesame Street” and that Michael Corleone’s nearly instant mowing down of every other mob boss after his father’s death was a little too easy and simplistic. I gave it one tiny thumb’s up and one sideways. Five years later, another film came out that changed the movie landscape yet again — “Star Wars.” In case you’ve never heard of it, it’s a sci-fi movie

Read the complete article

Lost shaker of salt might be in Scotland

When my son first left for Scotland just before the fall of 2018 to follow his dream of studying at the University of Stirling, I just knew he’d be terribly homesick for everything about America, including his family. He was … for about 27 seconds. He’s fallen in love with the place. The Scots have stolen my son. He’s happy, though, and getting a good education, and that’s all I really care about. It’s not my life to live. But I’m glad to see that he hasn’t completely forgotten dear old dad. I know because he texted me yesterday morning

Read the complete article

Flashback column: “America will sing again” (September 2001)

(Note: This is the column I wrote back in 2001 after the 9/11 attacks. It’s also in “The Best of Chris Johnson, Volume I,” available at this link.) It’s so easy to lose perspective in this life. I spent Monday getting my wisdom teeth cut out and then spent about five hours that night at the emergency room after an unexplained fainting spell. I didn’t care, because I was more worried about my stepmother, who was in surgery that day as doctors worked to rid her body of cancer. I reckon I was fine. My stepmother’s prognosis was positive. Then

Read the complete article

College sure has changed, and I think that might be a good thing

This past Friday, I participated in a community fair for incoming freshmen at the college I allegedly attended 31 years ago, Georgia Southwestern. (I’m told I have a record there, though I’m not sure if it’s in the administration building or with campus police.) I was there to promote The Fuller Center for Housing, where these new students could put in some volunteer hours or just serve their community — here at home or around the world. I was advertising hard work for no pay, not exactly an easy sell. I got to speak with dozens of articulate, smart, seemingly

Read the complete article

Going hot and heavy into the redneck romance novel business

Some folks think that the reason Americans seem to get collectively stupider each year is that they read less and less. I, however, suspect it has more to do with decaffeinated coffee. People, though, are still reading. Most kids are excited about reading until you hand them a dull textbook and kill their interest in words forever. Folks read posts on Facebook with titles like, “11 Different Uses for Used Toothpicks” or “Which Little Rascal Are You?” (I’m Spanky.) And, on a beach somewhere, there’s a lady named Bertha wearing a blue muumuu and reading a torrid romance novel. “Why

Read the complete article

I’ll be perfectly happy as an old man in an old truck

This past weekend my wife and I broke down and traded in her cool little car for a big ol’ SUV with a third-row seat. We’ve got a couple of grandkids now, and we needed a better place to transport them than the luggage rack, which tends to make police all talkative and nosy at traffic stops. It’s not a new car, but it’s new to us. It comes with all kinds of fancy technology that my wife is learning how to use because she’s the primary driver. I’ll learn no more than I have to — mainly how to

Read the complete article

I’ll have a cup of Bacon without the Carly Rae Jepsen, please

I love the sport of baseball, even though I kinda gave up on the Braves after 40 years of loving them when they abandoned a perfectly good ballpark for a taxpayer fleecing in Cobb County. I tried to replace them with the Chicago Cubs, but it didn’t work. I like the Cubs. I just don’t love them. I grew up with about 13 channels, one of them TBS that showed the Braves all the time, and the other WGN that showed the Cubs. I mistakenly thought that commonality would allow me to make a seamless transition, but no. Maybe the

Read the complete article

I came for lunch, not a staring contest

I have many pet peeves when it comes to restaurants. I don’t like to eat in a place so dark that you have to use a flashlight to read the menu. I don’t like loud restaurants with bad music or acoustics that carry every conversation through the whole place. I loathe a restaurant telling me what sides come with an entree instead of letting me choose. And I especially hate paying more to get less. I have a theory that the more exclusive and pricey a place it, the less food they put on your plate. It becomes mostly parsley

Read the complete article

Honey, I shrunk the town

A recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau estimates that a third of Georgia’s small towns — it considers “small” any community under 10,000 — lost population in the past year. I don’t really have a reason to question the report, although I don’t know exactly how the Bureau goes about its estimating business in such a matter. “Hey, Larry, does it seem to you that Roopville just ain’t the bustling place it once was?” “Indeed, Sally. I estimate they’ve lost a little population in the last year or so. They’re probably down to an estimated 223 folks seeing as

Read the complete article

Why I’m feeling old and slow

I don’t think it’s an over-generalization to say there are two basic kinds of people in America. No, not Republicans and Democrats. No, not Coke vs. Pepsi drinkers. And, no, not people who like to vacation at the beach and people who like to vacation in the mountains, the latter also known as wrong people. Americans can be divided into two main groups — folks whose favorite TV game show is “Jeopardy” and folks who prefer extremely slow shows like “Wheel of Fortune,” “Family Feud” or “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” After decades of watching the rapid-fire pace of

Read the complete article

I ain’t no strangled conformist

More than once I’ve voiced my opposition to ties. They serve no purpose other than lightly strangling conformists — or severely strangling them in the case of folks like CBS Sports broadcaster Verne Lundquist (pictured above), who had to retire from calling SEC football games and the NCAA Tournament due to a lack of oxygen getting to his brain. Next week’s column mentions my war against the tie. It’s a war I feel like I’m winning until somebody dies and I have to wear one to a funeral, generally giving my face the same color as the deceased. Otherwise, my

Read the complete article

Sometimes, resolutions are for the Dawgs

Every year, I make a few New Year’s resolutions. I don’t usually make them public because the last thing I need in my life is someone holding me accountable to what I say or write. It’d be like if President Trump said something like, “We’re gonna build a big, beautiful wall, and Mexico is gonna pay for it,” and his supporters actually held him to it. No, I can’t handle accountability any more than he can. Unfortunately, I can’t blame everybody else — Democrats, the fake news, the Fed, Rosie O’Donnell — for my failures. If I make a resolution,

Read the complete article

Debriefing Santa Claus

Today we celebrate Christmas Day — or Jimmy Buffett’s birthday if you’re more into being a Parrothead than into religion. Better yet, throw on a tropical shirt, put on that “A1A” album and open some presents. After all, the jolly old elf Santa Claus put a lot of work into circumnavigating the Earth last night in search of good little boys and girls to leave presents under the tree. Unfortunately, Santa is an unusually foul mood today. I caught up with him for a little interview about how the night went and plans for next Christmas. Me: Merry Christmas, Santa!

Read the complete article

2019: The year in preview

As we say goodbye to 2018 — also adios, farewell, and go crawl back under whatever horrible rock you came from to 2018 — we can rest assured that 2019 can’t possibly be as irritating, mainly because there are no midterm elections. And in Georgia there is no gubernatorial election, which means the next time Brian Kemp points a gun at a teenager, he could get arrested for it. It has become an annual tradition for, literally, dozens of people across the nation to curl up with my annual Year in Preview. Anybody can report on what happened in the

Read the complete article

With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you …

At the end of every episode of “Barney and Friends,” a giant purple slightly-too-happy tyrannosaurus rex led the show’s young stars in singing the “I Love You” song: I love you/You love me/We’re a happy family/With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you/Won’t you say you love me too? Children happily sang along because Barney would eat children who did not cooperate — a scene more brutal than any in “Jurassic Park” because Barney had no incisors, just a bunch of molars which required hours of grinding the children down into digestible portions. We sure could

Read the complete article

10 Jimmy Buffett songs perfect for your Hurricane Michael playlist

(Note: Yes, I posted this same thing last September when Irma hit. I put a lot of sweat into changing the word Irma to Michael as Margaritahill is under threat of yet another tropical storm, this time a little stronger.) I love the beach. Unfortunately, I live three hours from the nearest coast. But, thanks to Hurricane Michael, it looks like I’ll have a tropical couple of days here in Perry, Georgia. Of course, Michael should be merely a strong tropical storm by the time it gets here as the ensemble models have him tracking right over my house. Ben

Read the complete article

TRAVELOGUE: Memphis, Elvis, BBQ and the birth of rock ‘n’ roll

About 10 days ago, I set out for a place I’d never been — Memphis, Tennessee — with a couple of women who are big fans of some guy named Elvis Presley, who is some sort of music or movie star, or a gas station attendant, depending on what magazine covers you like to peruse in the supermarket checkout aisle. My Mom and my wife Shellie are both Elvis fans, so this trip was for them — especially my Mom who recently had a milestone birthday. My Mom is such a huge Elvis fan that my son hated to break

Read the complete article

Feel free to ban me from your funeral

When it comes to funerals, I’d rather be golfing. No, that’s not a quote from President Trump, who got a few holes in while a lot of Americans were mourning both Sen. John McCain and Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin last week. That quote is from me. I really don’t enjoy funerals. Then again, my golf game is a mournful sort of event — especially for people who want to see eagles, birdies and pars instead of various multiples of bogeys. Unfortunately, I’ve had to go to my share of funerals for family and friends over the years. In fact,

Read the complete article

Larry David and I agree on a few things — especially small talk

One of my former bosses at the Ledger-Enquirer — whom I, with fond affection, called “Pork Chop” — kept trying to get me to watch some HBO show called “Curb Your Enthusiasm.” At the time, I didn’t even have HBO and barely watched any TV that wasn’t sports or news.  (Yes, kids, there was a time when there were news channels that told you what was happening in the world instead of offering perpetual punditry.) I declined, but Pork Chop insisted: “No, you don’t understand! This guy is you! You have to see it.” “The bald Jewish millionaire behind ‘Seinfeld’

Read the complete article

Y’all should never call

I’m not a huge fan of being around humans. I’ve probably mentioned it before. I mean, as a mammal, they are highly overrated. In fact, I just spent this past Saturday on Georgia’s largest barrier island, Cumberland Island, which allows only about 250 or so folks on it a day — or as I like to call it when I’m there, about 248 too many. I don’t like small talk. I don’t want to talk about the weather. I don’t like to hear your opinions on the game last night. I certainly don’t want to talk about politics, especially when

Read the complete article

The eyes have it — and whatever it is needs fixing

My wife and I passed an optometrist’s office yesterday, and she used the opportunity to suggest I might need to consider updating my prescription — which I’ve had roughly since Benjamin Franklin invented bifocals while trying to read what he wrote in Poor Richard’s Almanack during a thunderstorm. “We need to go by there and get you some new glasses and contacts,” she suggested. “I can’t see that happening,” I argued. “You can’t see anything — that’s why you need to go to the eye doctor!” My wife likes to send me to doctors, but the last time she sent

Read the complete article

It’s so easy to confuse Mitt Romney with Dr. John

There is a major problem in the United States that no one addresses. As a pseudo-journalist whose name has yet to appear on President Trump’s enemies list, it falls upon to me to address this very serious issue. I know I’m not on the list because former FBI Director James Comey did not bring it up during his appearance on “The View.” (Or was I was watching Lurch on “The Addams Family?”) Anyway, this major problem is from the world of sports. And, no, I’m not talking about that quarterback who took a knee — Colin Kaeppur … Caperni …

Read the complete article

I doubt Harry and Meghan need a toaster

When I was in junior high school, Prince Charles married Diana Spencer, and every girl at my school was swooning over the whole marrying-a-prince fantasy. Every boy at my school only cared about not being last to the monkey bars at recess and therefore being “it” first in a 10-minute game of tag. Not only did I not care about that wedding or any wedding at that age, but I couldn’t figure out why any country still had royalty or bowed down to other humans. In fact, I still think it’s a little crazy to consider another human being royalty.

Read the complete article

Again, I say, the kids are all right

Some folks would like you to think that teenagers today just sit around chewing on their Tide Pods while playing Grand Halo Death Dragon War 5 on the Xbox that they stole after Amazon delivered it to the neighbors’ doorstep across the street. And, sure, that’s mostly what teens do. But there is a segment of young folks out there — which I’m starting to believe is a vast majority — that wants to make the world a better place to live. They intend to do it through activism, actually voting and by simply caring for others. You may not

Read the complete article

No one can read what I write

Last week I watched an excellent — if a couple hours too long — two-part HBO special called “The Zen Diaries of Garry Shandling.” It was produced and directed by Judd Apatow, who considered Shandling his mentor. The show took a deep look at one of the greatest comedic minds of our time by mixing in clips and interviews amid short handwritten musings from Shandling’s diaries. As the handwriting would appear, I was struck by how much pain this guy, like so many comedians went though. I was struck by how insightful he was. And I thought to myself, “Wow,

Read the complete article

Trump should go all-in on this whole TV administration thing

Lately, President Trump has taken a lot of heat for turning to television for people to fill posts throughout his administration. Of course, that’s simply going to make him even more intent upon doing exactly that. I say the president should double-down on this whole television administration thing. I know he’d like to basically employ all of Fox News, but I think that is far too limiting, and they make a lot more money scaring old white folks in primetime than they could all day in government. He should reach beyond punditry channels, news networks and reality TV. He should

Read the complete article

Have I meat-ed the end?

A couple of years ago, I wrote a column to help me cope with my son’s shocking conversion to vegetarianism. I come from a family barely evolved from Cro-Magnon man — you know, those guys who flew on pterodactyls and had their cars tipped over by giant racks of brontosaurus ribs. We have always been meatatarians. As I said at the time, though, everyone should be a vegetarian. It’s way better for the environment, and scientists are pretty insistent that it’s better for your health, too. Unfortunately, as I also said at the time, it was too late for me.

Read the complete article

What men look for in underwear is no Secret

Like a lot of husbands, I’ve been accused on occasion of not listening. By “on occasion,” I mean a few times every day. However, my wife knows one way to get my attention: “I got a coupon.” “What’s that?” I’ve also been accused of being a cheapskate, although I prefer terms like frugal or spending-challenged. I’m definitely not embarrassed to present a coupon and save a few bucks. She said it was for a store that specializes in women’s underwear and lingerie and such. I’d reveal the name of the store, but I prefer to keep that a Secret. I

Read the complete article

The kids are all right

Today’s column in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer is about some young folks who give me hope for the future — those impassioned, articulate kids from Parkland, Fla.; a group of college kids from Ohio’s Wittenberg University who are working with my nonprofit this week; and my own kids.  I take a couple of jabs at Georgia’s pandering politicians like Casey Cagle (who represents the worst in American politics), but mostly it’s about why you should quit worrying about kids eating Tide Pods and be optimistic. They haven’t been Cagle-ized yet. They still have integrity. So, check out the column. Also, you

Read the complete article

The great curling debate

I know you are as excited as I am for the upcoming Winter Olympics. I’m wearing my USA t-shirt, bought a snow-cone machine and am making some hot cocoa right now. OK, let’s go! USA! USA! Wait, what? What do you mean they’re already over? Well, yes I saw a bunch of white folks on TV recently, but I thought that was just CPAC. Hmm, in hindsight, I thought Mike Pence looked a little too agile in the half-pipe. Perhaps I wasn’t paying attention because like so many Americans, I’ve been caught up in a tiring debate where no common

Read the complete article

Buying a new vehicle really pushes my buttons

For a 47-year-old guy, I’ve owned relatively few vehicles in my lifetime. That’s because I drive them until well after they are paid for. In fact, if it weren’t for a kid destroying my car — and almost terminating me — at a red light on Veterans Parkway in 2000, I might still be driving a 1995 Saturn coupe. The truck I drive today is paid for, and I’ll drive it until it blows up, hits another deer or I win the lottery and pay cash to upgrade myself to some other base model pickup — although perhaps one whose

Read the complete article

Even Facebook knows the value of a good snooze

There have been some truly remarkable inventions over the past couple of centuries — the automobile, the airplane, the microwave, the television, the computer and the Weeble Wobble, just to name a handful. But I think we can all agree that the greatest invention of the past 100 years — perhaps even the last millennium or two — clearly is the snooze button. Sure, an awful lot of us drive cars, too many of us watch TV and only a handful of disturbed people do not love Weeble Wobbles, but all of us use the snooze button. Those extra nine

Read the complete article

2018 — The year in PREVIEW

For many years now, I’ve published my annual Year in Preview in the print edition of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. However, the Ledger-Enquirer’s pages are filled with reports from legitimate journalists about what’s going on in Columbus and around the world — or as President Trump calls it, “Fake News! Sad!” I cannot afford to have my annual Year in Preview — which is not a bunch of predictions and prognostications about the year 2018 but an actual collection of soon-to-be-proven-true facts — associated with “Fake News!” This is too important. I’ve already run these by both Sarah Huckabee Sanders and

Read the complete article

Let’s try trickle-up economics

I’m going to take President Trump and Republicans at their word that what they really want to do is boost the middle and lower classes with their tax reform plan. Not only that, but I’m going to help them get everything they want. All they have to do is tackle tax reform in two phases. Because corporations are making record profits and already paying an effective tax rate on average of 21 percent (though some pay less or zero), they likely can wait a moment for tax relief and more breaks. Meanwhile, the wealthy in America are doing better than

Read the complete article

No questions allowed

My latest column in the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer (also shared by the Macon Telegraph here) begins with a question as the headline: “Is it time we replaced America’s national anthem?” This, of course, predictably produced knee-jerk angry reactions when shared on the Ledger-Enquirer’s Facebook page,  including one suggesting I should no longer be breathing. (Thank you, James E. B. Miller of Columbus, Georgia, for that one. I can see why you are a valuable employee in the security industry — you gotta know when to take folks down, such as for asking a question.) Also predictable is that most of the angry

Read the complete article

You never forget your first real concert

Last night I took my 17-year-old son to his first real concert — Poppy at a small club called Vinyl in Atlanta. If you haven’t heard of Poppy, she’s an unusual YouTube sensation, more of a visual and sound experiment than a true music star. But she does have an album out and is now touring smallish clubs with most shows selling out. It’s not my kind of music. The crowd is not my crowd. But it is fairly innocent, and the fans loved it. My son was among those at the front of the stage, while I stood well

Read the complete article

The world is ending … again

In case you haven’t heard, so-called Christian numerologist David Meade says that September 23, 2017 (OMG, that’s this Saturday!) marks the beginning of the end of the world. Again. Meade claims that a constellation will appear over the skies of Jerusalem on Saturday marking the beginning of the end as the planet Nibiru — which you’ve never heard of because it doesn’t exist — hurtles toward Earth, a rendezvous that will bring all kinds of end-times disasters like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and new Rascal Flatts albums. You might not have heard about it because the world has ended so much in

Read the complete article

No Margaritaville in North Korea

I wasn’t exactly a world traveler when I joined The Fuller Center for Housing in June of 2011 — unless you count that one night in Windsor, Canada, when I nearly missed the last bus of the night back into Detroit. The bus went through a tunnel under the Detroit River, which I found a wee bit disturbing. But one of my first tasks with The Fuller Center was to get myself a passport. The Fuller Center works all around the world — in faraway places like Nepal, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka, India and a few African countries

Read the complete article

At last, a movie actually worth seeing at the theater — “Dunkirk”

As I explain in my column in today’s Ledger-Enquirer,  it’s very hard for me to find a movie worth two hours of my time or any amount of my money. So, what the critics say matters to me. I usually concur. That most certainly is the case with the World War II flick “Dunkirk,” which has garnered rave reviews. It’s intense but not gory or gratuitous. Some folks who have been through conflict might find it a little too real, especially on the big screen with booming sound. Then again, as I mention in the column, my grandfather loved war

Read the complete article

John McCain, Bill Bradley and what could have been in 2000

With all of the hullabaloo accompanying the craziness of the Bush v. Gore general election of 2000, people often forget about the two runners-up in the primary season — Sen. John McCain on the Republican side and Sen. Bill Bradley with the Democrats. I longed for these two distinguished, principled men to face off in an election that they vowed— in a written, signed compact, mind you — that would be about the actual issues without special interests dictating the discussions. I truly believe that those two men could have mostly lived up to their promise of a principled general

Read the complete article

Hurry up and land this #$%@! plane!

I have mixed feelings about cussin’. Some of you might know it better as cursing, swearing or using foul language, but down South we refer to it as cussin’ — if you do it right, anyway. There are 26 letters in the alphabet, every one of them perfectly acceptable letters. Yet, you can use five of them to refer to a male body part and have it found perfectly acceptable, but use four of them to describe the same body part and you’re an uncouth slimeball. Who decided that that those five letters are fine but the other four letters

Read the complete article

Two books by the same person, but two different writers

In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had two new paperbacks hit the market — a novel by Bo Hunter and a collection of humor columns by Chris Johnson, the same guy but two very different writers. Bo Hunter was actually the pen name I used when I first began writing humor columns in Americus, Ga., back in 1995. I was a sports writer and news editor back then, so I wrote those columns under not just a pen name but with a disguised column mug. I didn’t want folks who hated the sports writer to hate the columns on

Read the complete article

An apolitical look at a hot-button political issue — illegal immigration

Whether you chant “Build the wall!,” support sanctuary cities or lie anywhere in between on the issue of illegal immigration, you have to know that there’s no simple fix or magic bullet that solves most problems, especially one this complicated. But no matter where you stand on this issue, here’s something we likely can all agree on: If folks are perfectly happy at home — wherever that may be — they probably will not want to leave. They certainly wouldn’t want to embark upon a treacherous journey full of unknowns to sneak into the United States if their home is safe

Read the complete article

2017: The year in PREVIEW

For years, I’ve given my readers a sneak preview into the coming year. And, based on analyses provided by Russian intelligence agents, I’ve yet to be wrong about anything. Ever. My 2017 year in preview was published Tuesday by the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, but if you’re like most Americans, you probably don’t — or can’t — read. So, for your listening pleasure, I’ve asked the Margaritahill Times audio department to provide a podcast version of the 2017 year in preview. You can hear it below:

Read the complete article

Twenty-five years ago, the ink got in my veins for real in Valdosta

It’s hard to believe, but 25 years ago this month I became a full-time newspaperman, taking an entry-level sportswriting job down in Valdosta, Georgia — the high school football mecca just above the Florida state line. Granted, I’d had part-time newspaper gigs for a couple of years before that as a sportswriter in Americus and Montezuma, but Valdosta was the first real job. It was owned by a company called Thomson Newspapers back then, which had a reputation for being cheap and paying terribly — which I found to be completely, 100 percent true. But those couple of years in Valdosta were

Read the complete article

Guy Noir investigates the Braves

As if this whole new Atlanta Braves stadium wasn’t enough of a mess, now they’ve called in a private eye to look into this. Guy Noir’s report from the latest “Prairie Home Companion,” recorded Saturday at the Fox in Atlanta, starts about the 44-minute mark if you wanna skip ahead.

Read the complete article

Five years into a new adventure

When I left the newspaper business full-time 5 years ago, the business had gotten very tough. You were either unemployed or extremely employed — and I had gotten extremely employed.  I was burned out, and so were many journalists I knew. Newspaper profits were declining if they existed at all, and the resources just weren’t there to get the job done anymore — yet the expectations of workers just became more onerous. The whole do-more-with-less concept gets wearisome when it actually becomes do more, more, more with less, less, less. Newspaper executives who spent too much time in meetings even

Read the complete article

A year after breaking up with the Braves

Last year, I wrote a column titled “Why I’m Breaking Up with the Braves.” Based on how they’re playing this year, looks like I did it just in time. In this coming Sunday’s column, I’ll take a look at the after-effects of breaking up with your favorite baseball team — whether or not the breakup is justified, and I think it certainly was with this management group now running the team. In short, you can’t just switch allegiances to another team after 40 years of sticking with them through thick and thin.  And there were an awful lot of thin

Read the complete article

Duh study you never needed

Every now and then researchers come out with a new study that truly wows you and utterly changes the way you once thought — a paradigm shift, if you will and if you’re someone who doesn’t regurgitate at the sound of every overly used corporate buzzword from the past 25 years. This study, however, is not one of them. A study co-authored by Michigan State University’s Amber L. Pearson is the first to find a link between health and the visibility of water, which the researchers call blue space. I believe the study was funded by a generous grant from the

Read the complete article

Into the bargain bin: Books for a buck

I’ve always loved to browse bookstores, especially those with used books and bargain bins. After I published a couple of print books, however, I kinda hoped I wouldn’t find one in the $1 bin. Although, I’ve seen Stephen King, Lewis Grizzard and Mark Twain all wind up in the $1 bin, so I guess I’d at least be in decent company, Now, it’s happened. I’ve wound up in the bargain bin. Now, I’m no Mark Twain at a whole dollar. Mine are available for just 99 cents — and it’s an online bargain bin, at Amazon. Both “The Best of

Read the complete article

Utter lunarcy?

Back in 1999, Jimmy Buffett released his 22nd album, “Beach House on the Moon.” Now, I’m a huge Buffett fan — a Parrothead, if you prefer — but I must say that it just might be the worst one he ever did.  I own the CD, but not a single song from there shows up on my extensive Buffett playlist on Spotify. But the album’s title track is an interesting concept. There are seas on the moon, after all. Of course, the Sea of Tranquility is no Gulf of Mexico as it has significantly fewer drunk teenagers and rednecks — two groups

Read the complete article

Prince: Another legend I’m glad I witnessed

My parents saw him as the purple pervert. Critics lauded him as a groundbreaking genius. His peers either loved him or were insanely jealous (Rick James). But I just loved the music. I finally got to see Prince live in Atlanta about 10 years ago, and it remains the best concert I’ve ever seen. I figured a legend like that could kinda mail it in, but he went above and beyond with a show that lasted more than two hours. And when the entire band disappeared into the stage for intermission, Prince re-emerged by himself with an acoustic guitar and performed

Read the complete article

Remembering Merle Haggard and the Silver Moon

I’m not a fan of today’s country music — or today’s pop, rap, rock or R&B, for that matter — but I love some old-school country. So I was among the many sad to hear of the passing of the legendary Merle Haggard today on his 79th birthday. I saw Merle Haggard and the Strangers perform live 22 years ago at the perfect venue for such a show — the massive Silver Moon, a huge honky-tonk a few miles south of Buena Vista, Georgia. It truly was the middle of nowhere, but it hosted some big country music acts during

Read the complete article

Y’all should all be vegetarians

A couple months ago, my son made a shocking announcement: “Dad, I’m a vegetarian.” At first, I went through denial: “No, no, no, you still love a juicy ribeye steak.” Then, it turned to anger: “No one grills a steak better than I do, and you’re gonna eat it!” Then, bargaining: “What if you just ate meat like once a week? And what about fish? That’s not really meat.” That was followed by depression: “He is never again going to know the joy that you can only get by sinking your teeth into a juicy ribeye hot off the grill. What a sad,

Read the complete article

Moving is the cat’s MEOW

We are currently crammed into a small rental house while we await the construction of a new house — well, actually awaiting the start of construction on a new home. Our cat, Sadie — er, I mean my wife’s cat, Sadie — is not fond of this whole moving thing after having lived her first seven years or so in a different home that she believed was was hers and she simply allowed us to stay there out of the goodness of her little feline heart. But she has had something to say about all this, and I let her

Read the complete article

Happy 75th birthday, Linda Fuller: There’s an important note about women here

Linda Fuller might very well be one of the most important women leaders of the last 50 years. If you haven’t heard of her, that’s probably got a lot to do with the fact that she doesn’t seek attention for herself — only for issues about which she cares deeply. One of those issues is simple, decent, affordable housing. You probably have heard of Habitat for Humanity and you should hear about The Fuller Center for Housing. But you wouldn’t have heard of either if it were not for Linda Fuller. They wouldn’t exist. And hundreds of thousands of families

Read the complete article

Sheriff Andy Taylor for president

I’ve long proposed that Sheriff Andy Taylor would make a good president. The man has common sense. He can deal with nuts like Ernest T. Bass without threatening to carpet bomb the hills near Mayberry. He knows when rules need bending. And we’d have Aunt Bee as our First Aunt. Now it might seem a little ridiculous to you that I believe a fictional TV character might be qualified to run for president, but have you seen the reality TV character running? Obviously, anybody can run for president this year! I’m assuming Andy is running as an independent. It never

Read the complete article

A bridge too high

Here’s the latest column about my fearful walk up the Sidney Lanier Bridge in Brunswick, Georgia, last weekend. I’m trying to decide what fear to conquer next. I’d like to conquer the fear of losing my hair, but that might take some cooperation from my disinterested scalp.

Read the complete article

The Sidney Lanier Bridge

I’m terribly afraid of heights, but my wife and I walked to the top of the way-too-high Sidney Lanier Bridge outside of Brunswick, Georgia, on Saturday. Well, she walked while I kinda crawled along the side waiting for it all to collapse.

Read the complete article

If I had a billion dollars …

That’s the subject of my latest Sunday column in the Ledger-Enquirer. I spent $2 buying a Powerball ticket this past week, and that’s my limit for lottery tickets for the year, so I’m done. The Georgia Lottery wants me to “please play responsibly,” so while the most responsible way to play the lottery is to not play the lottery at all, the next best thing is to set a $2 limit. And, shocker, I didn’t win. But I did ponder how I’d spend it all. Read all about it here.

Read the complete article

Actors and actresses

I’ve never been able to figure out why the Academy Awards give Oscars for both Actor in a Leading Role and Actress in a Leading Role. I understand why there is an NBA and a WNBA. And I understand why there is a PGA and an LPGA. In athletics, men have some advantages in certain sports. The average male NBA player is 6-foot-7; the average WNBA player is 6 foot even.  The average driving distance for a PGA golfer is 288 yards; the average driving distance for an LPGA player is about 250 yards. I’m not knocking the LPGA golfers,

Read the complete article

Cute kids in Las Peñitas, Nicaragua

I’ve had the opportunity to work in the quaint Nicaraguan fishing village of Las Peñitas on two different weeklong trips. I’ve never been anywhere else that the kids are so poor, yet so happy. They’re happier than our kids here in the United States who have so much more. I was in Nicaragua last month, and you can see more photos I took during that trip here.

Read the complete article

Let’s play the quiet game?

I was the oldest of six grandchildren on my mother’s side, and every now and then we’d all be together at my grandmother’s house in Ideal, Georgia. I was a perfect child, of course, but all those younger brats could raise a ruckus — which would lead my grandmother to suggest “Let’s play The Quiet Game.” I won every time. As you can read about in the latest column in the Ledger-Enquirer, I think we should take The Quiet Game to a whole new level.

Read the complete article

2016: The year in preview

It has become an annual tradition for me to peek into the year ahead. I could peek into 2016 and see all the lottery numbers that will be drawn or who will win every pro sports competition, but that would be an abuse of my awesome power. Instead, I want you to know who will win the presidential election, self-driving cars and whether I’ll be accepting a post in President Trump’s administration. Click here to read my Year in Preview column at the Ledger-Enquirer.    

Read the complete article

Share this: