Roy Exum: November’s Orchids And Onions

Monday, November 4, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Gee, it seems with Daylight Savings Time gone that I am walking in my garden an hour later than normal. As we wait until March 9, 2014, to once again “spring ahead,” I notice we have still not had a hard frost so here is what I find among my orchids and onions on the first Monday of a new November:

AN ORCHID for the way an ever-entertaining Southeastern Conference football season is roaring down this month’s home stretch. In the West we thought all along No. 1 Alabama might run the table but who among us figured once-beaten Auburn – a terrible 3-9 team last year – would offer the Crimson Tide its toughest test when the Iron Bowl rivalry (maybe the best in college football) is played at Auburn on Nov. 30?

AN ONION for the way Tennessee’s football team just gave up a dismal 502 yards in the 31-3 loss to Missouri, a game that will probably propel the No. 9 Tigers (8-1) into the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 7. Mizzou still has to play Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M, mind you, but if the Tigers win out the SEC East is theirs. A loss will force a three-way tie with South Carolina and Georgia but Mizzou has the best record in a tie-breaker.

AN ORCHID for a clandestine team of “Cannonball Run” guys from Atlanta who just drove a hopped-up Mercedes CL55 AMG from the Red Ball Garage in New York City to Redondo Beach, Calif., in exactly 28 hours, 50 minutes and 30 seconds.  The cross-country sprint was made famous in a 1981 movie where Burt Reynolds immortalized the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. So Ed Bolian, a 28-year-old devotee-of-speed who works for Lamborghini Atlanta, talked customer Dave Black into being a co-driver and Georgia Tech student Dan Huang as the technician into the fastest day of their lives. Armed with a police scanner, two GPS units, two laser jammers, three radar detectors and a bedpan (!) they broke the existing record of 31 hours, 4 minutes. Average speed was 98 miles an hour and top speed, according to a satellite tracking device, actually reached 158 mph.

AN ONION for anybody crazy enough to ever attempt to break the Cannonball Run record of Bolian & Co. At the beginning of the 1981 movie, the starter yelled to the crowd of racers, “You are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place.” (Sammy Davis. Jr. starred in the movie as a driver dressed as a priest.)

AN ORCHID for the newly-documented fact men decrease their walking speed by 7 percent every time they walk alongside their girlfriend.

AN ONION for the fact a Florida Highway Patrolman had to keep Gator football coach Will Muschamp from going into the stands after an irate fan made an obscene gesture and shouted profanities after a valiant comeback fizzled in Georgia's 23-20 victory Saturday. “I don’t spend two seconds thinking about that,” he said about the mounting hostility. “We just move on. We’ve gotta coach our football team. Control the things you can control. That’s what we’re gonna do. And we’re gonna be fine, I can assure you that.”

AN ONION to the ignoramus traffic planner who closed portions of Market Street, MLK Boulevard and other downtown streets at the height of Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic and for the regrettable fact there was not one police official that could be seen directing traffic. I’m all for honoring sanitation workers but closing streets far earlier than necessary all around Miller Park caused the thousands here for the “Head of the Hootch” rowing event to wonder how much backwards can our city be.

AN ORCHID to the football players at Boyd-Buchanan and Silverdale Baptist Academy for proving that high school football develops more kids for life ahead than just about anything you can name. Feisty Boyd-Buchanan, a losing season already assured, never flinched in the waning minutes and won a 22-21 victory over previously unbeaten Silverdale in a way that – get this – could inspire the losing team all the way to the state title. I’ve seen stuff exactly like that happen, too.

AN ONION to former University of Tennessee and professional football player Albert Haynesworth, a noted trouble-maker, who last week called Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan “self-centered” and predicted the head coach would “run (quarterback) Robert Griffin III into the ground.”

AN ORCHID to the same Mike Shanahan – one of the classiest guys in pro sports – for taking a deep breath and saying, “When you don’t get along with somebody as a head coach or an assistant coach, it usually falls into one of those areas –  lazy, lack of passion, and -- lots of times -- lack of character. And (Haynesworth) fits all three.”

AN ONION  to the stretch of city streets between McCallie Avenue and Glenwood Drive that are in such terrible condition – get this – the street’s surface alone terrorizes a bone-cancer patient a friend of mine has volunteered to drive to Memorial Cancer Center for treatments. C’mon, we can do better than this … (and if you want the reward of a lifetime find someone you can drive to the hospital and back.)

AN ORCHID for two long-awaited books that have just been released: “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham is a sequel to the legendary “A Time to Kill” written by the same author 25 years ago, while “The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son,” has been released by my all-time favorite author Pat Conroy and is a memoir in which he confesses, "I hated my father long before I knew there was a word for hate."

AN ORCHID to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for his gigantic steps to make sure former foster children in the state won’t “fall through the cracks” on their 18th birthdays – when benefits suddenly stop – and will now be offered community-based aid and nurturing until they get their feet on the ground.

AN ORCHID to Dr. Wayne Clough, Class of 1959 at Chattanooga High School, who was just named as the 2013 Alumnus of the Year, for donating funds to have a beautiful plaque in memory of Dr. James W. Henry to be placed at the school.

AN ONION for the wry observation that there is “a stairway to heaven” but “a highway to hell.” Seems to point in the direction most of us will end up if we don’t change our ways.

royexum@aol.com


Of Course Gangs Are A Public Nuisance

Now, I don't know it all.  Beginning with my parents, folks of all sorts have been actively pointing out my ignorance for more than seven decades now.  So I'm well aware that I don't know it all.  In recent months I've begun to develop an appreciation for the local work of Mr. Neal Pinkston; I've been impressed with several things he's been doing in his official ... (click for more)

PILOT Debacles

I am grateful there are citizens doing the heavy lifting and monitoring PILOT agreements.  Thank you, Helen Burns Sharp, ATM Watch Group. Chattanooga Organized for Action and so many others.  When citizens initially read these PILOT agreements, their first reaction is that local government needs to understand the cumulative impacts to the tax base. The data collected ... (click for more)

DA Pinkston Files Petition To Declare 2 Gangs A Public Nuisance

District Attorney General Neal Pinkston filed a petition on Monday asking that two Chattanooga gangs, the Gangster Disciples and the Grape Street Crips, and their members be declared public nuisances. General Pinkston is also "asking that injunctive relief be given to the law-abiding residents of East Lake by establishing a Safety Zone that covers most of their neighborhood." ... (click for more)

Woman With Ankle Injuries Rescued On Walden's Ridge

Emergency Service personnel responded to an injured runner on the Mabbit Trails on Signal Mountain on Monday morning. At 10 a.m. , a 39-year-old female called 911 reporting she had injured her ankle. Walden's Ridge Emergency Services, HCEMS and Signal Mountain Fire Department responded and set up a command post to Wilson Avenue and Summerbrook Lane. At 10:30 a.m. , ... (click for more)

Vols' Dobbs, Barnett Grab SEC Player of Week Honors

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs is the SEC Offensive Player of the Week and end Derek Barnett the SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Week. This week's honor marks the first time this season that a Vol has earned SEC Offensive Player of the Week. Dobbs was the last UT player to win the award in Week 6 of 2015 following his performance in the Vols' ... (click for more)

Lee Women Win 5-1 At Shorter

The blistering-hot temperature and the artificial turf was not enough to slow the Lee women's soccer team as they handily defeated host Shorter University 5-1 for its fifth straight victory  on Sunday  afternoon.   Summer Lanter and Kinsey Cichowitz combined to score all five of Lee's goals. Lanter now has six goals on the year and midfielder Cichowitz ... (click for more)