Friday, February 29, 2008

Keep on rollin'...

For those dying to know the follow-up to "Give our Georgia Friends a Drink" Day, I have it for you here.

Mayor Ron Littlefield's assistant drove the truck full of water down to Atlanta, dressed as Davy Crockett. No seriously, there's a picture in the article.

And he was promptly "arrested". Okay, well, not actually. But they were met at the capitol steps with people bearing handcuffs.

I'll post more later, but we have a work crisis going on. Like I said, I'll fill y'all in later.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cool, clear water!

In a follow-up to a previous post about the emerging water war between the states of Tennessee and Georgia, I bring you this story of politics at it's best.

You may remember that the Georgia Senate had drafted a resolution encouraging the resurveying of the current state line between Georgia and Tennessee. If our state lawmakers have their way, we'd end up getting a piece of the Tennessee River, and a chunk of Chattanooga with it.

Well, Chattanooga's mayor, Ron Littlefield, issued a proclamation yesterday in response. Here is the story from The Chattanoogan, but I'll put the proclamation here for your reading pleasure as well. It's masterfully written.


PROCLAMATION

WHEREAS, it has come to pass that the heavens are shut up and a drought of Biblical proportions has been visited upon the Southern United States, and


WHEREAS, the parched and dry conditions have weighed heavily upon the State of Georgia and sorely afflicted those who inhabit the Great City of Atlanta, and


WHEREAS, the leaders of Georgia have assembled like the Children of Israel in the desert, grumbled among themselves and have begun to cast longing eyes toward the north, coveting their neighbor’s assets, and


WHEREAS, the lack of water has led some misguided souls to seek more potent refreshment or for other reasons has resulted in irrational and outrageous actions seeking to move a long established and peaceful boundary, and


WHEREAS, it is deemed better to light a candle than curse the darkness, and better to offer a cool, wet kiss of friendship rather than face a hot and angry legislator gone mad from thirst, and

Whereas, it is feared that if today they come for our river, tomorrow they might come for our Jack Daniels or George Dickel,

NOW THEREFORE, In the interest of brotherly love, peace, friendship, mutual prosperity, citywide self promotion, political grandstanding and all that

I, Ron Littlefield, Mayor of the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee,


Do hereby Proclaim that Wednesday, February 27, 2008 shall be known as

“Give Our Georgia Friends a Drink Day”


I think it's the best answer anyone has come up with. I only hope the mayor doesn't mind taking all those bottles back for recycling.

I've been working an awful lot this week, y'all, so the post on St. Patrick's Day may have to wait, and the Friday Five may not be in until evening!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday Five

Yea! I posted a Friday Five!

It's pouring down rain here today, which of course makes me think of springtime. I apologize to my northern readers for today's list. I'm really not trying to rub in your faces that it's still snowing up there, and so balmy down here. Really. Don't hate me. And don't send your cold, chilly weather down here, either.

I moved to the South primarily because I fell in love with springtime. My first time to the south was in early March of 1996. I went on a road trip with a boyfriend that took us through Alabama on our way to New Orleans. As we drove through Tuscaloosa, all the cherry trees, dogwoods and azaleas were just bursting forth with colour. It was a stark contrast to Kalamazoo, Michigan, where there were two feet of snow on the ground, and we'd just left a howling winter storm. I was instantly smitten. I moved a few months later and never looked back.

Even though it's only February, spring has already sprung in many places across the south, including Savannah. The daffodils have already begun to bloom, and some of the azaleas have too. So, today's Friday Five...

Five Reasons I Love Springtime in Savannah

1. Azaleas

They are everywhere, and I mean everywhere, down here. I even have a couple of scraggly looking little plants outside my house, although I doubt they're going to bloom. As I was driving to work yesterday, I notices that some of the older plants have already started putting forth those gorgeous pink, red and white blossoms. It's marvelous to think that while there's four feet of snow on the ground in parts of Ontario, the high today is going to be 67, and the azaleas are already blooming. If you ever visit Savannah, try to do it in the spring. The mounds of azaleas on every corner downtown will blow you away. By the way, if you come in January or February, you can see the camellias. They actually bloom in late winter. The picture is of Our Lady of Confidence Monastery here in Savannah. It shows how lovely the azaleas look against the Spanish Moss hanging from the oak trees.


2. Rain

It usually rains a lot here, and I do love it. I love the sound of it hitting the roof, I love the way everything turns green and lush after a rainfall, even in the winter. It also means I don't have to water my lawn all that much, and it still looks decent. Springtime is often the rainy season here, and it helps us grow all these great plants. That, and rainy afternoons encourage me to curl up with a cup of tea and a book on the sofa with the cats and TFYO. Any excuse, as far as I'm concerned. Here is a very short video of this morning's rain, taken from my back door. Excuse the construction debris, they're still building behind us. And yes, I know, I have no grass in my backyard.
video


3. Crickets

You can tell it's spring here, because we're seeing more animals and insects out and about, especially the crickets. I got to hear crickets for the first time in months a couple of nights ago. I was so excited. I wasn't so excited to find one in the kitchen, and even less excited when the cats couldn't be bothered to kill it for me. But I do like listening to them at night. It reminds me that those mild evenings spent on the porch are right around the corner. And it's a much nicer sound than ATVs through my backyard.






4. Green

Winter is short here, and relatively mild. There's actually quite a few deciduous plants that stay green here right the way through, like the live oak. But when spring comes, huge carpets of green seem to pop up overnight in farmers' fields, along roadsides, pretty much anywhere you look. It's almost as if all that green is waiting just below the surface for a good rain to wash away the dirt and let it emerge.




5. No jackets required

I bought a winter coat this past November, and I'm not really sure why. Oh, I got to use it a few times, mostly around Christmas. But now, I rarely need more than a sweatshirt and a rain coat. Usually, I'm just wearing a t-shirt. Several people I work with are from Michigan (small world, y'know?), and half of them wear short sleeves right the way through the winter. One guy wears shorts and a t-shirt everyday. Granted, the natives look at us without coats and think we're nuts, but who cares? It's mild, the breeze is soft, the flowers are blooming. Who wants to bundle up at a time like this?


Well, that's my five. For those who don't live in the South, give me five reasons you love spring where you live. Or if you hate spring, tell me why, you curmudgeons!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Old black water, keep on rollin'



There's been a lot of talk about water here in Georgia lately. If you're stateside and pay attention to the news, you know how bad the drought is in this part of the country. Now the good folks at our state legislature have hit on a plan to bring more water into the state.

They want to annex part of Tennessee.

Not much of it, just a little slice of the Tennessee River and most of Chattanooga with it.

According to the sponsors of a bill that would redraw the state line, the state line was never drawn correctly in the first place. Apparently, back in 1818, a surveyor mis-marked where the line should be because he was using nautical equipment to do the survey. Supporters of the "redraw" plan also have said there were forest fires, and he was being harassed by Native Americans while trying to figure out where the state line was.

The bill has now cleared the state senate unanimously, and the state house is lookng at a similar bill that would encourage a resurveying of the line.

Of course, Congress has to approve any moving of the state line, and I'm pretty sure Tennessee isn't going to go along with this.


I do find it amusing, though, since that whole area is where my in-laws live. Folks up there have been joking about a new "civil war". If I was living in Chattanooga, my biggest gripe in moving to Georgia would be about having to pay state income taxes, since Tennessee doesn't have them.


I honestly can't wait to see what happens with this. Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee have been duking it out for a while over water sharing, since all three states are suffering from the drought. But there's no doubt that Atlanta, with it's huge population, is definitely in dire straits, if they had any water to make a strait. I can't help but imagining little "water militias" popping up all along the state lines. Alabama already has a group that calls itself the Alabama Minutemen, although they're primarily concerned with illegal immigrants right now. I'm sure they'd be up for defending a river, though.


Lawmakers in Tennessee are questioning the sudden desire to correct a two-hundred year old mistake, but Georgia lawmakers claim they've been protesting this for years and nothing has been done about it. I think they may have to protest for another two hundred years before that thing gets changed.

By the way, the picture is a Thomas Nast Harpers Weekly illustration of the Battle of Lookout Mountain, which is in Chattanooga. I got it from this site: www.sonofthesouth.net It's a great site that has many Civil War era images, and despite the name, has some Union stuff, too. If you like history, please check it out.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Just a' good ol' boys...

Oh, and I'm feeling much better now. Biscuits consumed, porch rockers rocked, and much sleep was had. I recommend a rainy afternoon on a screened-in porch with a mountain view to anyone who is stressed. And thanks again for all your concern. ~J

Waylon didn't write that song, but he did sing it.

We had a minor scandal here in Effingham County not too long ago, involving some of our county's finest. Or maybe not so fine.

Seems a couple of our sheriff's deputies were bored with the graveyard shift one night back in January, and decided to liven things up by playing a prank on the Rincon Police Department. Too bad it cost them their jobs.

Deputy Brian Davis and Corporal Stacy Strickland are accused of making prank 911 calls from various pay phones around town, and then leaving the phones off the hook, resulting in Rincon cops driving all over the place to check out the calls. Not only that, but Cpl. Strickland is also accused of playing his cell phone ring tone through his cruiser loudspeakers while driving down Weisenbaker Road around 4 a.m. I have no idea what the ring tone was, but it might as well have been the Dukes of Hazzard theme song. There's more on the story here, from our local paper. So far, no charges have been filed, but each call could cost them about a thousand dollars.

I have to say, it's kind of reassuring that there's so little going on out here that law enforcement has the time to play like this. You know, no child abuse, no drug busts, no car wrecks , or anything. Makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. But then again, if the boys are bored, maybe they need something to keep them occupied on those long drives around the county. Kind of like me giving TFYO paper and crayons to keep her busy on long car trips. So here's a list of things those bored deputies can do.

  1. Count pine trees. Effingham County still has a thriving lumber trade, and I'd say about half the county still has pine plantations. Each night, the guys can count the trees in their patrol area, log them, and do it again the next night to see if any have fallen.

  2. Pull over any speeding ATV's. My neighbours seem to think it's okay to go cruisng through my unfenced back yard after nightfall, and I'm sure they're out driving on the streets as well. I don't know if there's a speed limit for ATV's (aka four-wheelers), but I'm sure we could work something out.

  3. Log the number of blue vehicles they see each night. Then switch it to red the next week, and green the week after that. Have them sort the vehicles by make, model and year. Cross reference how many are pickup trucks.

  4. Count the number of cars up on blocks in people's yards. Then compare it to the number of bass boats, also in people's front yards.

  5. Clean pay phones in Rincon, and make sure each one of them are on the hook.

These are just for starters, of course, I'm sure y'all could come up with a few. Maybe we could send them on to Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, just in case he needs help keeping his deputies occupied.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday...

...not so fun day. Well, I take that back. Today will be fun, because I have nothing to do besides drive up to my in-laws, which means I'll finally be getting some rest.

To say this has been a bad week might be an understatement. No Friday Five today, because my brain is mush, and the fact that I'm even putting coherent sentences together is an achievement in my book (they are coherent, aren't they?).

Yes, I've worked double shifts with the cold from hell. Yes, I baked cupcakes for TFYO's Valentine's Day party. Yes, I had an OBGYN appointment. Yes, I had a parent-teacher conference this week (my kid is teacher's pet, by the way).

And we're all fine. Tired, but fine.

I also found out this week that one of my grandmothers has been put in a nursing home, following a rather swift decline. On the one hand, I'm surprised, because I just talked to her at Christmas, and she seemed okay. On the other, when we got up north to see her a year ago last summer, she was already showing signs of confusion.

Gran has suffered from seizures for a long time, and she had a big one a few weeks ago. While the hospital says there was nothing wrong with her (which, despite the seizures and MRIs and CATscans they still say), she began to descend pretty quickly, and I'm convinced she's had a stroke. I got a phone call from my aunt letting me know what was going on. Gran can't walk (a month ago, she had a walker and was mobile), she's sometimes unaware of her surroundings, and she's having trouble feeding and bathing herself.

I suppose it's a little selfish of me that all I can think about right now is getting away to my in-laws where I know TFYO will be petted and fussed over, and I can just sit on the porch and eat a biscuit (that's not a cookie for you British types, but a Southern biscuit) and not think. There are people in the world much worse off than me: The families of ten people killed in the sugar refinery explosion, the families in the mid-South and mid-west who lost everything in tornadoes, the families of students killed in Illinois yesterday.

But I think I need a little selfishness right now. Just a little, just for a little while.

PS: I'm trying to get around to visit all of you, if just to read. If your stat counters show I've been there, but I haven't left a comment, please don't be offended. Sometimes, I just don't have enough time to comment before someone drags me away to do something else.


And is it just me, or are any of you who use Blogger having a tough time getting the spell-check button to work?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Housekeeping


Which is the title of a movie, not a song.


I do have quite a bit of housekeeping to do around here, though (to say nothing of my own house!), because I'm swimming in awards again.

I'm still not sure how that's quite possible since I haven't been blogging all that much, but I appreciate it, nonetheless.

First up, from my favourite ex-pat journalist, Dumdad comes this lovely award:





It also arrived from Kaycie, at Lost in the Bible Belt. I've always enjoyed reading Dumdad's musings from The Other Side of Paris, and have for quite a while. Kaycie is a fairly new friend, whom I met over at Confessions of a Rotten correspondent. I'm supposed to bestow this rather sharp looking award on ten people. If I've gotten it from two people, does it mean I need to find twenty blogs to give it to? Hmmm.


Next up, is this award that first came from Mya, and then came from RC.




It's a platonic love, kissy, appreciation kind of thing. Description:

It’s a big kiss, of the chaste, platonic kind, from me to you with the underlying ‘thanks’ message implied. I really do appreciate your support and your friendship, and yes, your comments.’


I do need to quote Mya, from Missing You Already, here, because her little description of me made me all weepy:


Jen at A Snowballs Chance in Hell – because she’s a great blogger finding it a bit of a struggle to keep up the pace as her pregnancy advances. This award will look very pretty against your black blog, my dear. Do hope you can get some sleep soon.

And that's not to diminish the marvelous Rotten Correspondent in her flinging of "mwah's", either. RC has been one of my biggest supporters in this blogging endeavour since I met her. She comes here faithfully, and reads whatever drivel I happen to spit out, and even has the niceness to comment on it. She certainly deserves that award.

Please forgive me if I don't fling any "mwah's" at folks right now, as I have a cold, so lovingly bestowed on me by a stupid coworker, whom I now get to fill-in for today. I'd hate for you to "suddenly be coughing up blood" while your boss is away, too.

Last, and certainly not least, this award come from Jo Beaufoix:


As RC noted, Jo was very brave in bestowing this award on our favourite crochety old man, Willowtree. (He's not really all that old, I just like to yank his chain sometimes. If you're the same age as the old man from Oz, don't take offense.) I love Jo, and I love Babs, her ostrich. Every time I drive by this farm out on Ga. Hwy 17, I think of Jo, because the guy raises emus and ostriches. The ironic thing about this award, is that I'm not spreading all that much love right now, since I haven't been here!

Once I stop working double shifts, preparing for parent-techer conferences this week, making something to bring for the TFYO's Valentine's Day party, and covering for hypochondriacal workers who claim to be coughing up blood while the boss is on vacation, I will be back to send out these awards to all the people that likely already have them. If you don't have one of these awards yet, leave a comment, and I'll put you on the list to thank, and you can take one for your blog! Kind of like the Piggly Wiggly for awards! Yeah!

Friday, February 8, 2008

Sugar

I meant to do a fabulous post thanking a bunch of people for awards that have been bestowed on me recently (despite the fact that I've done very little actual blogging, what's wrong with you people?), but an incident last night has pre-empted my orginally scheduled post. So, Mya, Dumdad and Jo, I promise, you will get your due in a couple of days, but there's something much more important I need to cover this morning.

Last night, there was an explosion at the Imperial Sugar Refinery, a few miles down the highway from where I live, in Port Wentworth, Georgia. It used to be the Dixie Crystals refinery, before Imperial bought them out, and it's been part of the Savannah landscape for generations. Whole families have worked there, one generation after another, fathers and sons, mothers and daughters.

It appears sugar dust in a silo next to the bagging facility may have combusted, according to a company CEO who just happened to be in town this week, and as we all know, sugar is very flammable. No official cause has been given as I write this. Most of the injuries appear to be burn related, with around ten people airlifted to the burn center in Augusta, which is north of here. Several people are in critical condition. Part of the Savannah River is still closed to boat traffic, so tankers and container ships are still backed up out into the sea waiting to port and unload.

There appears to be a total of 41 injured, with six people still unaccounted for. Firefighters had the blaze under control, but there are still some hot spots in the building that are keeping them from searching for the missing.

The most amazing thing to me about the whole incident, is how quickly emergency teams responded with ambulances and fire crews coming from miles and miles away, from many different counties. A church across the street was being used for triage (it's now being used as a family information center), and the local elementary school is still being used as a staging area for emergency personnel and media. The Coast Guard patrolled the river, and the local Air National Guard unit contributed large scale firefighting equipment.

We have wonderful neighbours living in this community, people who care, and for that, I'm thankful.

Please keep all of the workers and their families in your thoughts, or your prayers, if you're so inclined.

For more info on this story, you can check out some our local TV coverage here, and here.

PS: One other thing... I used to live in Memphis, and I'm very familiar with the area that was destroyed by the tornadoes this week. I'm very lucky that no one I know was injured, but I'm one of the lucky ones. Keep those folks in your thoughts, too.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious...

...Tuesday. Why not? So far I've heard Tsunami Tuesday, Super Duper Tuesday and Stupendous Tuesday in place of "Super Tuesday" to describe this primary day. Why not take it to it's illogical conclusion?

There's not a whole lot happening in the state of Georgia for our primary day, if you believe the polls. Senator Obama will likely win the primary here for the Democrats, while Senator John McCain is leading, albeit very slightly, on the Republican side according to Sunday's Rasmussen Poll. My poor husband will be working late, covering the returns as they come in. I'm hoping he makes it home before eleven o'clock tonight.

The biggest deal for us here in Effingham County, though, is whether or not our restaurants get to serve liquor by the drink. Beer and wine are sold at our local restaurants in the towns of Springfield and Rincon, but not out in unicorporated parts of the county, and you can't buy hard liquor at all anywhere here.

It's been quite a little battle, and it's not the first time the initiative has shown up on the ballot. One side says allowing liquor by the drink will encourage large chain restaurants (i.e. Outback, Chili's, etc.) to build here, which would be good, because right now we have to drive into Savannah if we want to eat there. It would also mean that we could boost tax revenues in the county instead of having it all flow into Chatam County, which is happening now. The other side, lead mostly by church groups, claims that allowing liquor to be sold will merely encourage bars (something not mentioned on the ballot), drunk driving, and the destruction of the "family way of life" which we've all worked so hard to preserve. To be fair, they do make the point that large chain restaurants look mostly at population base before they decide on location, but it seems their driving force is they don't want "demon liquor" destroying our families.

My take is this:

I'm a grown woman, and I should be able to decide for myself whether or not I want a Jack and Coke before, during, or after my meal. I've read the ballot (Shall the governing authority . . . be authorized to issue licenses to sell distilled spirits for beverage purposes by the drink, such sales to be for consumption only on the premises?) , and it doesn't specifically mention bars at all. It simply asks the folks in Effingham County, Springfield and Rincon to decide if they want to allow liquor to be sold, by the drink, in restaurants. The county and city councils can easily outlaw bars if they choose. As it is, the state has outlawed beer and wine sales in stores on Sunday, anyway, so it's not like there isn't a precedence for restricting alcohol sales here, both on a state and local level. I think we're all adult enough to decide the drinking issue for ourselves, without anyone else telling us we're all going to hell if we don't listen to them. For those that already have a problem with alcohol, they're going to drive to the liquor store (down here they call them package stores, y'all) that's located just across the county line and bring back their fifth of whatever and leave their tax dollars in Chatham County. The tax dollars we could use to help treat their addiction aren't being spent here.

Obviously, I can't vote, but if there's a primary going on in your state (and twenty-four states are holding primaries and ballot referendums today), go vote. I'm of the mind that you can't bitch unless you vote.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Friday Five

Last week's Friday Five was gobbled up by temporal rift. No, really. It swallowed me, too. Fortunately, we here in Georgia managed to seal the rift and rescue the Friday Five for your reading pleasure.


Five Things I've Learned from Science Fiction


1. Your twin in an alternate universe is infinitely cooler than you.

They dress better than you, they get more time with the opposite sex, and they very rarely ever had breakouts as a teenager. They're also likely to sport a short, pointy beard.







2. Men who write sci-fi are obsessed with triple breasted women.

I'm not really sure why this is. You'd think that extra one would just get in the way. And why three, guys? Why not an even number? Or maybe that would just make us look more like cows. For more proof on my theory about men and triple-breasted women, please see Eccentrica Gallumbits, the Triple-Breasted Whore of Eroticon Six from Hitchhiker's Guide to The Galaxy, by Douglas Adams. And after doing a GIS for this, I decided not to post any of the pictures I came across. You can do your OWN image search if a picture is that important to you.


3. Dead doesn't always mean dead.

Especially if you're a popular character. See Spock in Star Trek II (he came back to life in number III), Dr. Elizabeth Weir in Stargate Atlantis, and a host of other folks. You might get blown to pieces, destroyed with an exploding planet, shipped to a different universe or lost in a transporter beam, but somehow, someway, some enterprising scientist will figure out a way to put you back together.







4. Food doesn't sound as good in the future.

I'm sure they have gourmet chefs. But every show I've seen and every book I've read has people eating food made from machines, either with replicated DNA or dried up bits reconstituted into some kind of edible material. Shoot, in Firefly they were lucky to get dried up space rations half the time. In one of Douglas Adams's books, The Restaurant at the End of The Universe, there was a cow that would commit suicide for you so you could have a steak. In the movie Demolition Man, the only restaurant left was Taco Bell. I fear for my food in the future. The picture is from this article on futuristic food, photo courtesy of Stephen Orlick and Homaro Cantu. If you're wondering what it is, it's a maki roll, printed with edible flavoured ink on an ink-jet printer. It's an edible picture of sushi. Yeah, that's what I said.



5. The future is either really great, or it really sucks.

This depends on who you read. With Orwell, Phillip K. Dick, and the show Firefly, the future doesn't neccessarily look so good. We've wiped ourselves out with wars, we've become desensitized to our surroundings, we've lost our freedoms, we've widened the gap between wealthy and poor. But, if you watch Star Trek or read some Arthur C. Clarke, it doesn't look too bad. Sure, there's conflict, but everyone is fed and housed, and great scientific leaps are being made. Guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Well, that's this week's Friday Five, have a good weekend y'all. Since I don't have to work tomorrow, I think I'll be working on sleep instead!