As we await the start of Eastern Standard Time this Sunday morning, please be aware that tonight is Halloween and the trick-or-treaters will be out looking for goodies so drive extra carefully. Looking in my bowl, here are some tricks and treats I find I have already gathered:
A TREAT – Birmingham’s Lissa Handley-Tyson was named as the Homecoming Queen at the University of Alabama during halftime of the Crimson Tide’s victory over Mississippi State. The theme for this year’s Homecoming events was “Timeless Tradition,” which fit just as perfectly as Lissa’s tiara – after all the pretty senior is the great-granddaughter of the legendary Paul “Bear” Bryant.
A TRICK -- Tennessee’s defense is ranked 99th nationally. Football coach Derek Dooley explained it this way: “Generally, when you are statistically where we are, it’s not one thing – it’s everything.”
A TREAT – About 150 rescuers worried in Hacklesburg, Ala., a couple of weeks ago when Kyle Camp, a 10-year-old with Downs Syndrome, could not be found after wandering in the woods. The next day, a mixed-breed dog led a man named Jamie Sweeney to the frightened boy. Apparently the dog and her three pups had kept the boy warm throughout the night.
A TRICK – State prisoners in Palm Beach, Fla., have sued after saying that denying them of dental floss creates “undue pain and suffering.” Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is balking, saying he doesn’t care if they file 400 suits. “This isn’t the Ritz-Carlton!”
A TREAT – Last spring a cut in state funding caused the popular “Medical Assistant” class at Centinela Valley Adult School to be closed so the teacher – suddenly out of a job – created a secret school where Cristina Chiappe, who created the course and has taught it since its inception, still holds classes after she secured state licensing. “I didn’t want to leave my students with nothing. They cut the money back. This is not all about money, it’s about education,” she said.
A TRICK – As if the megastorm that slammed the East Coast wasn’t enough, the high winds fueled a terrible fire in Queens, N.Y., that totally engulfed 80 homes that firefighters couldn’t contain. High water, downed electrical wires and impassible roads hampered the six-alarm fire. The home of Bob Turner, a Republican Congressman, was among the houses destroyed. For the record, in New York City operators were getting 10,000 calls to 9-1-1 every 30 minutes. (The daily average is about 1,000 every hour.)
A TREAT – Pro golfer Rory McIlroy will not renew his contract with golf-ball giant Titleist, which insiders say with pave a deal for the popular champion to sign a deal with Nike. How big? The rumor is $250 million over 10 years. Incidentally, Rory beat Tiger Woods in an exhibition match in China on Monday by one stroke, shooting a 67, but the big thing was that Tiger got a $2 million appearance fee while McIlroy pocketed $1 million in the “friendly” game.
A TRICK – A Pennsylvania woman jumped into a creek Monday night in an attempt to save some wild ducks but by the time her rescue attempt was over it took eight firefighters to save her life. It turns out her legal blood limit for alcohol was twice what is acceptable to the state so she was arrested for reckless endangerment, disorderly conduct and public drunkenness.
A TREAT – Some cold morning, when the sky is gray and the wind is swirling, go to the “Bluegrass Café” on Main Street and order corned-beef hash for breakfast. Have the cook put two extra eggs on top of the plate and – within moments – all will be well and good about the world around you. The breakfasts are incredible and the small restaurant is a Chattanooga treasure.
A TRICK -- A wonderful cartoon is flying across the Internet in Alabama that shows an area filled with young trick-or-treaters and one desolate boy is shown looking into his goodie bag and holding two pieces of paper. The caption reads, “Oh, no … more Auburn football tickets!” (The sign in front of the Krystal in Auburn this week read: Go Tigers! Beat Somebody!”)
A TREAT -- Alicia Richman of Granbury, Tex. has just been named by Guinness as the world’s new breast milk champion. That’s right, between June 2011 and March 2012, the pretty 28-year-old mother of one realized she was producing more milk than her baby needed so she began donating her “extra” to premature and critically-ill babies in Texas. In one year she donated 11,115 ounces, or 694 pounds, or 87 gallons to charity.
A TRICK – Be very careful with this information but the early line from Las Vegas has Alabama as a 10-point favorite over LSU in this year’s edition of our annual “Game of the Century,” while Georgia is a 14-point pick over Ole Miss on Saturday. Tennessee is favored by 18½ over Troy and Vanderbilt is favored by 7½ against Kentucky.
A TREAT – As you stoop to rake autumn’s leaves, think of someone older who you love and remember the words of John Burroughs, “How beautifully leaves grow old … how full of light and color are their last days.”
A TRICK -- Lawanda Ann Alford is the mother of Southern Miss freshman quarterback Anthony Alford. But last Saturday, Mrs. Alford was escorted from the stands at Southern Miss’ M.M. Roberts Stadium and subsequently booked into the Forrest County jail on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. It seems a nearby fan questioned Anthony’s ability and Lawanda went ballistic, screaming at the fan, “Keep my child's name out your mouth!” before things really got ugly.
A TREAT – Real estate appraisers in the District of Columbia have estimated The White House is worth around $1.5 billion if it were put on the open market. The place has 13 bedrooms, 35 bathrooms, is frequently renovated and – yes – a good location.
A TRICK – The University of Tennessee basketball team very secretly scrimmaged Georgia Tech at UTC’s McKenzie Arena on Sunday, allowing no media or fans to watch what would have been a treat for hundreds of Chattanoogans. Under NCAA rules a major college team can have two “practice scrimmages” a year but instead of hiding it, why not call it a charity practice and give the gate to some charity?