As I begin to tug on a sweater or a coat in the pre-dawn darkness, here are some of the orchids and onions that I find in my late-September garden:
AN ORCHID to eighth-grader Isaiah Stokes, who is having a banner year in the Memphis Middle School football League. One reason is because while he’s still in junior high, Isaiah is already 6-foot-7 and weighs 225 pounds. It’s seems everybody in his family is big: his brother, Jarnell, who is now 18 and is today a sophomore on the University of Tennessee’s basketball team, is 6-foot-8 and weighs 270.
AN ONION to the blown call by the officials in the last seconds of Monday night’s NFL game between the Packers and Seahawks, which gave Seattle a controversial 14-12 win and – get this – caused about a half billion dollars that gambling experts say was bet on the game to quite dramatically change hands. The Packers, a 3½ favorite, were leading 12-7 before the final play of the game.
AN ORCHID to Erlanger Hospital after showing a profit of over $2 million in August. Obviously the Price-Waterhouse consultants have done wonders and the search for a new CEO is “promising,” according to sources. Erlanger lost $17 million before the consultants were summoned to return solid decision-making to Chattanooga’s largest hospital.
AN ONION to the terribly misguided brothers of the University of Tennessee’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity after one was admitted to UT Hospital with severe alcohol poisoning. According to a story in Tuesday’s editions of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, one student “who had a blood-alcohol level thought to be ‘well over’ 0.40 percent, ingested the alcohol by a method known as ‘butt chugging,’ in which wine was inserted directly by a (enema) tube into his rectum for quick and potent absorption.” The fraternity has been suspended by UT officials.
AN ORCHID for the poster flying around the Internet that shows four pretty young female fighter pilots laughing and walking together after landing their F-18s with the caption: “Hey Taliban, your women can’t drive but ours sure can.” You have to know that’s funny.
AN ONION for Harvey Updyke, the infamous lout who poisoned the famed oak trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner, after he was just arrested in Louisiana for threatening the manager at a Lowe’s over a lawnmower refund. Updyke, whose trial is next month, told the Lowe’s manager he was going to jail anyway and he "had a bad heart so he would come back and take care of everyone."
AN ORCHID to Vince Dooley, the old Georgia coach, on why his son Derek, the young Tennessee coach, should have more time to produce a winning program: “He’s still got a very tough job there. He’s still lacking in recruiting and getting some athletes in order to compete. It’s an instant-success generation that we’re in … I hope it will allow (UT fans) to have patience to give him time to get a chance to get established up there. Because he did inherit a tough situation.”
AN ONION for the Deep South after a website called TheCarConnection.com found the worst five states for a motorist to drive in America – in ascending order -- are Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Alabama. This is based on gas prices, miles driven per capita, speed limits, accident rate and speeding tickets written. The best? Alaska, then Utah.
AN ORCHID to the children’s nursery company in Denmark that is offering babysitting service for absolutely free to any couple for two hours on the condition said couple “will try to make more babies” during that time.” Is that creative marketing or what?
AN ONION to Ronald Post, a convicted murderer in Ohio who petitioned the court that due to his size – 480 pounds – he should not be executed as planned. He claimed the lethal injection might not work, which would cause “serious physical and psychological pain.”
AN ORCHID to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross who taught us, “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”