Roy Exum: Shulman, Gupta & More

Saturday, March 8, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

The best news of the week is that Johnny Shulman has been hired as the basketball coach at The McCallie School because it’s the best fit since Vince Lombardi joined the Packers. Shulman, the former UT-Chattanooga coach, has three sons who will tell you what a giant of a dad he is but now there will be hundreds more who will soon adore him.

I have known Johnny – and he’ll always be Johnny – since the days he was a varsity tennis player at East Tennessee State and there are scant few who are more enthusiastic and love fun more than he does. He represented UTC well – if only there had been more wins – but his true gift is working with young people.

He already knows a bunch of McCallie boys, with two of his own already students there, and he will make an immediate impact on the Blue Tornado community. The fact he’ll get to watch his sons grow up day-by-day is wonderful but even better is the fact he’ll have a role in developing some others who need such a genuine role model.

Here are some other things I almost missed this week:

* * *

Jim Jeffery, age 74, died last week after years of coaching at high schools in Alabama and many will remember he was one of the greatest football players ever at Chattanooga’s City High School. He signed with Auburn and played on the Tigers’ 1957 national championship team with former Central High star Bobby Hoppe.

Living in Hoover when he died, Jeffery played in the Blue-Gray and Senior Bowl all-star game but declined an NFL offer in order to be a teacher and a coach. He retired after 37 years and worked with the Court Referral Program.

* * *

Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent, has announced he is “doubling down” on medical use of marijuana after initially being opposed to the use of “weed” to treat ailments. “I have been reminded that a true and productive scientific journey involves a willingness to let go of established notions and get at the truth, even if it is uncomfortable and even if it means having to say ‘sorry,’” he told his viewers.

“I have met with hundreds of patients, dozens of scientists and the curious majority who simply want a deeper understanding of this ancient plant. I have sat in labs and personally analyzed the molecules in marijuana that have such potential but are also a source of intense controversy. I have seen those molecules turned into medicine that has quelled epilepsy in a child and pain in a grown adult,” he said on camera.

“I've seen it help a woman at the peak of her life to overcome the ravages of multiple sclerosis. I am more convinced than ever that it is irresponsible to not provide the best care we can, care that often may involve marijuana.”

Not long ago the House in the Georgia legislature voted to approve a medical marijuana bill by a stunning margin, the vote 171-4.

* * *

Gail Kerr, writing in the Nashville Tennessean, said she was initially against the idea that doctors should be forced to write a prescription for cold medicine but, after realizing what a huge problem methamphetamine has become in Tennessee, she’s all for it.

The state of Tennessee is about to out-distance Missouri as the worst state in the union for “meth” abuse and Kerr points out that “meth” alone costs the state’s taxpayers $300 million in enforcement, $64.4 million to remove and take care of children left after a bust, $48.9 million is lost workplace productivity, $38.8 million in drug treatment programs, $25 million in health-care costs and $4.3 million in environmental cleanup.

Requiring a written prescription is the best defense for Tennessee and it makes the most sense.

* * *

A cowboy appeared before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates. St. Peter asked, "Have you ever done anything of particular merit?"

"Well, I can think of one thing," the cowboy offered.  "On a trip to the Big Horn Mountains out in Wyoming, I came upon a gang of bikers who were threatening a young woman. I directed them to leave her alone, but they wouldn't listen.

“So, I approached the largest and most tattooed biker and smacked him in the face, kicked his bike over, ripped out his nose ring, and threw it on the ground. I yelled, 'Now, back off or I'll beat up every one of you!'"

St. Peter was impressed, "When did this happen?"

The cowboy answered, "Couple of minutes ago."

royexum@aol.com


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