On the first dawn of September, here are some of the orchids and onions that I notice as I stroll through Saturday’s garden:
AN ORCHID to Auburn University officials for realizing that the two-year fight to save the famed trees that were poisoned by an over-zealous Alabama football fanatic are now doomed and are “aesthetically dead if not actually dead.” Go ahead and replace the legendary oaks with two beautiful trees and move on before the culprit, Harvey Updike, goes to court on Oct. 1.
AN ONION for rogue boxer Floyd “Money” Mayweather who, after serving a stint in a Las Vegas jail for domestic abuse, has just wagered $3 million on tonight’s Alabama-Michigan game. The Crimson Tide is favored by 14 but … let’s play “what if” … what if Mayweather had just bet one million on the 8 p.m. game (ABC), given a million to at-risk youth in his hometown of Grand Rapids and another million to help battered women in Nevada. I’ll guarantee you “Money” would have gotten a bigger bang from his bucks.
AN ORCHID to Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice who, after a 15-year-old kid shot another student for allegedly bullying him on the first day of school in Maryland, quickly Tweeted, “When a kid shoots another kid, something is really, really wrong. Bullying or not, how does nobody notice that something is going wrong in the kid’s life? How do people stand by and do nothing? We need to start asking ‘What’s wrong?’ and do something before tragedy strikes."
MORE FROM RICE: “Students,” Rice added, “today when you go to school … sit with someone who is alone at the lunch table, befriend a new kid in class, lend a helping hand, make a point to be kind and if you see something that isn’t right, say something! You can be a hero by just being a friend!”
AN ONION to the headline writer who opined, “Texas Mayor Killed By His Own Ass” after William Bohlke, the mayor of a small suburb near San Antonio, was killed on his ranch by his 500-pound pet donkey after the animal became overly aggressive.
AN ORCHID for James Dean, a guy who graduated from Fort Payne (Ala.) High School in 1976 and became a sensation as the creator and author of the “Pete The Cat” children’s book series. I bring it up because in two weeks (Sept. 15) he’ll return to Fort Payne and display his illustrations for the first time since he graduated from the high school. His display will be part of the “Boom Days” celebration.
AN ONION to Chevrolet for just building a 2013 Camaro convertible that has a super-charged engine and yields 580 horsepower at 6,000 rpms. I mean, what do you do with something that goes 184 mph right out of the crate and has a window-sticker that starts at $60,445 at your local dealer? Law, I love speed but balance is what makes it fun. Oh, and the fuel ratings are 12 mpg in the city. Take that, OPEC.
AN ORCHID for the way the family of the late Joe Paterno is planning to quietly attend today’s first football game since JoePa died and – while shunning interview requests and photo ops – is very united in the desire to support the Nittany Lions to the fullest. The family will watch from its skybox. (The new book on Paterno by Joe Posnanski will be No. 1 in its first week on the NY Times best-seller list.)
AN ONION to Allen Pickett, a radio commenter for Notre Dame football who foolishly said the Fighting Irish need “a few more criminals” to be tough enough in college football. Are you kidding me; there are already four players who are suspended for this morning’s rare opener in Dublin, Ireland against Navy (kickoff is at 9 a.m.) You guessed it, radio announcer Pickett got himself suspended, too!
AN ORCHID to last night’s “Blue Moon,” that once-in-a-blue-moon phenomenon that occurs when there are two full months in a given month instead of one. You see, we get a full moon every 29½ days. If the clouds kept you from seeing it, take good care of yourself until July, 2015, when the next blue moon will appear.
AN ONION to those who opened the new high school football stadium at Allen High School in Dallas last night. You ought to see it – 18,000 seats, double-decked, a 38-foot video screen for replays and six corporate sponsors that will guarantee the upkeep of $35,000 a year. But do you think mankind has lost its touch when we build a high school stadium for $60 million and there are kids in Dallas who are homeless? A football stadium won’t host more than five or six games a year.
AN ORCHID to late-night talker Jimmy Fallon who quipped, “A new biopic coming out next year about Abraham Lincoln. That’s a good way to honor Lincoln -- by sending people to the theater.”