As the month of July dawns this morning, I find my July garden is lush with a bit more than our average rainfall in June but I know it will be hotter than a firecracker in no time. Speaking of fireworks, here are some of the rockets and the duds that I notice while waiting on the annual show at “Pops in the Park” this Thursday night:
A ROCKET to the brilliant idea of establishing a first-rate hospitality and culinary center at Chattanooga State in the loving memory of the late Michael Hennen. A reception to herald the beginning of the project will be held at Hennen’s Restaurant on Sunday, July 30, and if we can capture Michael’s delightful zest for life in the students the center will hopefully produce, it will be a godsend for our area. Michael died in August, 2011. The gala reception is being hosted by Alexis Bogo, Sherry Pollock, Jon Kinsey, Rob Stickley and John Foy, and contributions can be made to the Michael P. Hennen Fund at the Community Foundation. (Further information and reservations are available at Hennen’s Restaurant, 423/634-5160)
A FIZZLE to the news from the Pentagon that a full two-thirds of America’s youth would fail to qualify for current military service. The Pentagon estimates that 71 percent of those now eligible to serve in the military would be turned down due to physical, behavioral, or educational reasons. What is further frightening is that there are 34 million Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 and to think 2,414,000 of them are unworthy is a terrible indicator.
A ROCKET to the nationwide roar that will be heard today at 4 p.m. when the United States soccer team plays Belgium in the World Cup’s Round of 16. Remember there are no ties in this, the knockout stage. If the score is tied at the end of regulation, the teams play 30 more minutes with no “sudden death.” If the score is still tied, the game goes to a penalty shootout. Also, if you watch the game in a bar or a pub like millions of Americans plan to do this afternoon, kindly have a designated driver on hand. This will be intense.
A FIZZLE to the cold, hard fact the United States soccer team has a 41 percent chance to beat the Belgians, this based on ESPN’s current soccer power index. If the USA wins today, the Americans would play the winner of the Argentina-Switzerland game, which starts at 1 p.m. today. The odds if the USA teams advances to this Sunday’s game? If the foe is Switzerland, the computer gives the USA a 47.5 percent chance but if Argentina wins, USA has only a 20.2 percent chance. (Brazil is obviously the top-rated team in the Round of 16.)
A ROCKET for comedian Chris Rock, who roasted embattled LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling when Rock hosted the BET Awards the other night. Chris brought down the house when he chirped, "An 83-year-old white man doesn't like black people? Is that news?" Then he said, "A black man couldn't look him in the eye until he was 45. The first black man he ever met, he got for Christmas."
A FIZZLE to the Urban Dictionary’s “Word of the Day” on Monday. The phrase was “College Coffee, which is made when one replaces the water with Red-bull when brewing a coffee. Then drops in a bottle of 5-hour energy and a shot of vodka, and a sprinkle of cocaine. To use it in a sentence you’d say, “Tommy woke up and made a ‘college coffee’ to get to his 8 a.m. class.”
A ROCKET to the news that work crews showed up at Lookout Mountain’s “Café On The Corner” Monday morning to begin rebuilding after Ruthie Oehmig’s popular eatery was severely damaged by a fire in late May. The cause was determined to be a leaking gas line and no one was injured in the pre-dawn blaze.
A FIZZLE to Texas Tech football recruit Nigel Bethel II who struck female basketball star Amber Battle in a pickup game over the weekend, breaking a bone in her face. The freshman football player was immediately dismissed from the school and Battle will have surgery this week. All over a pickup game that was meant to be fun.
A ROCKET to “Tucker,” a big black dog in Wisconsin who is widely known as a “food thief” in the family that loves him. Two weeks ago he gobbled down a Popsicle he swiped from a woman’s granddaughter but, in no time, he threw up the stick and all. Then the dog got sick again and a diamond wedding ring that had been missing for five years came flying out of the dog’s mouth. His owner was ecstatic.
A FIZZLE to the 9-1-1 operator in DeKalb County, Ga., who wanted to debate a frantic caller when he reported a carjacking. The 9-1-1 responder ventured it was a theft since the attacker didn’t use a gun when he threw the driver out of the car. Police arrived some 38 minutes later. James Conroy, the interim police chief, told WAGA reporters that was “unacceptable” and is looking very sternly into the matter.