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 NFL.com, 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 Chattanoogan.com. 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?
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??