Roy Exum: Notes From My Pocket

Sunday, January 26, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As we get ready for next Sunday’s Super Bowl, where the early weather forecast in East Rutherford, N.J., calls for temperatures in the 20s and the chance of snow by kickoff at 6:30 p.m., I find I have a some catching up to do with the notes that are scattered about. Here is what interests me right now:

IN A REVEALING story from Politico Magazine comes the news that “the states of our union are not all strong.” By using 14 sources including the Census Bureau, FBI crime statistics and data from the Centers for Disease Control, it was determined the top five states in America are New Hampshire, Minnesota, Vermont, Utah and Massachusetts. The worst five, from the bottom, are Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, and Alabama (Georgia is No. 43).

THE BALTIMORE SUN has reported that traffic cameras over-charged residents $2.8 million in 2012 and, of 700,000 tickets issued, 10 percent were in error and 26 percent were questionable. Some of the cameras issued incorrect tickets nearly half the time and one device misfired 58 percent of the time. At $40 per ticket, the sham was quietly scrapped last spring but embarrassed officials didn’t tell anybody. Now city councilman Carl Stokes is livid. “We should have told the public immediately. We should have declared complete amnesty, that all of the tickets were null and void. If anybody paid, they should be paid back immediately.”

DEFENSIVE TACKLE Breiden Fehoko of Honolulu is only a junior in high school but the 6-foot-3, 275-pound, 16-year-old put on quite a show for some visiting college recruiters not long ago. In a test designed to measure strength and stamina, the athlete bench-pressed 225 pounds an incredible 37 times. According to, only three prospects at the 2013 combine were able to do that. (Yes, Alabama is among the colleges recruiting him.)

THE NEW MADRID fault zone, a 150-mile area that stretches in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee “is not dead yet” and could spawn another earthquake, according to a new study by U.S. Geological seismologist Susan Hough. Powerful earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 included the Chattanooga area, created Reelfoot Lake and caused the Mississippi River to flow backwards. The reason there were not mass casualties is because the area was sparsely populated at the time.

IT WILL BE most interesting to see if Tennessee’s Republican politicians boycott President Barack Obama again when he visits Nashville this Thursday. When the President of the United States came to Chattanooga last summer, the area’s elected Republican officials apparently thought it would be funny - and make a statement - if not one was here to greet him. It was not funny but made quite a statement to many who were embarrassed, affronted, and who will vote in the 2014 elections.

RUTGERS FOOTBALL player Eric LeGrand, who was paralyzed in a 2010 football game but has since become an inspiration to thousands, just earned his degree from the New Jersey university. He has written a book, started a foundation for those with spinal cord injuries and is ready to begin a career in broadcasting.

VETERAN WRESTLING writer B.B. Branton, who has probably seen more of the great matches than anyone I know, said Saturday that Friday’s bout between Baylor and McCallie was a classic for the ages, as he and John Hunt both brilliantly reported on It came down to the final match with the Red Raiders’ Ryan Parker triggering a 31-30 win. “There were times the floor vibrated and the building shook,” according to Hunt. Oh, but to have been there!

A GEORGIA TECH football fan died in Atlanta recently and his obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution said Robley Henson Tatum spent many wonderful years working for the Georgia Tech Research Institute. It noted he had fought in “The Battle of the Bulge” and said there was just one thing he lacked when he died at age 91. “He didn’t get his final wish for Tech, which to see (football coach) Paul Johnson get fired, but hey, there’s still time.”

DURING THE 27 years Nelson Mandela was in solitary confinement at Robben Island Prison, he was denied newspapers or letters from friends but, in his cell, there was what appeared to be a Hindu bible, a ragged book covered with what appeared to be Hindu deities. But what was really inside was the “Complete Works of William Shakespeare” and it is said to have helped the great South African statesman keep his sanity. Called the “Robben Island Bible,” the smuggled book has drawn attention from all over the world.

NFL COMMISSIONER Roger Goodell was asked about Richard Sherman’s brash outburst on national TV after the Seahawks beat the 49ers last Sunday and Goodell was gracious: “It's an emotional game, and you see a young man who comes off the field and he's pumped up, and there's so much excitement in the stadium, but no, I'm not cheering for that. (Richard) is a great young man, he's extremely well spoken, does great things off the field, obviously a great player on the field. I want him to present himself in the best possible way, and make sure that he's reflecting on himself and his family in a positive way. He took away a little bit from the team. That was what he said (earlier this week). I thought that was a very interesting comment and I think it's fair."

MY SUNDAY FUNNY: A group of women were at a seminar on how to live in a loving relationship with your husband. The women were asked, "How many of you love your husband?" All the women raised their hands. Then they were asked, "When was the last time you told your husband you loved him?"

Some women answered today, a few yesterday, and some couldn't remember. The women were then told to take out their cell phones and text their husband: "I love you, sweetheart."

The women were then told to exchange phones with another person, and to read aloud the text message they received, in response. Here are some of the replies:

1.   Who the (heck) is this?                                                                                                               

2.   Eh, mother of my children, are you sick or what?

3.   Yeah, and I love you too. What's up with you??

4.   What now?  Did you crash the car again?

5.   I don't understand what you mean?

6.   What the (expletive) did you do now?

7.   ?!?

8.   Don't beat about the bush, just tell me how much you need?

9.   Am I dreaming?

10. If you don't tell me who this message is actually for, someone will die.

11. I thought we agreed you wouldn't drink during the day.

12. Your mother is coming to stay with us, isn't she??

What Is Thanksgiving Day For?

As I thought about tomorrow, I asked myself this question: "What is Thanksgiving for?"  For some, it is simply a break from work. For others, it is a time to gather with friends or family or both, to enjoy one another's company and our favorite foods, and to give thanks for the many blessings we've enjoyed.  Thanksgiving encompasses all of those things, but for me ... (click for more)

This Thanksgiving Think Of Others

I used to keep a framed picture in my classroom: “Your Life is God's gift to you. What you do with your Life is your gift to God.” I wish every child could hear that repeated every day. And what teachers do with their gift benefits so many children on a daily basis. Teachers are often on the front line of the poverty battle. It is important that children know from where their gifts ... (click for more)

Residents Concerned Over 7-Story Building On The Southside

Downtown Chattanooga residents expressed their concerns with the proposed seven-story apartment building on Cowart Street on the Southside at Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting. The apartment building, originally zoned at four stories before Belle Investment petitioned for seven, has not been adequately publicized, residents claimed.   Architect and planning professional ... (click for more)

Commissioner Graham Chides Chairman Bankston For Shredding Arts Cigarette Tax Letter; Says Sunshine Law Violated

County Commissioner Joe Graham on Wednesday chided Chairman Chester Bankston for shredding a letter related to the proposed cigarette tax to aid the arts. "Have you shredded any other county legal documents?" he demanded. Chairman Bankston replied, "No, I have not done that." He said the letter did not get the necessary six signatures to forward to the Legislature. ... (click for more)

UTC Rallies to Top Arkansas State, 55-54

Just call ‘em the comeback kids, and kids – i.e. young ladies – who are plenty thankful for a win on Thanksgiving Eve. For the second time in three games, the UTC Mocs (4-2) rallied for a win as they handed previously unbeaten Arkansas State (3-1), 55-54, its first loss of the young season in McKenzie Arena Wednesday night before 1,189 fans. Down by as many as 17 (44-27) ... (click for more)

Jones Thankful For Resiliency, Resolve Of 2015 Vols

The day before families gather around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, Tennessee football coach   spoke about what he and the Vols are thankful for. "It's a time to reflect and we have so much to be thankful and grateful for in really the resiliency and resolve that this football team has shown, the growing of this football team and the growing of this football program," ... (click for more)