Roy Exum: Batteries & Other Nuggets

  • Saturday, November 3, 2012
  • Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As we try to remember how in the world we set our clocks back an hour in this day of digital sophistication, don’t forget the wise advice that today is also “Battery Day:” change the batteries in your smoke detectors, your emergency flashlights, your portable radio and any other gadget you need in an emergency. Don’t wait until the power goes out to learn there is little or no power left. Same goes for your hearing aid.

With that public-service announcement done, I need to catch up on a bunch of stories I would like to write but that get squeezed out by stories I love to write. Here are some snapshots of things that really interest me:

A BLACK HOMECOMING QUEEN -- I can vividly remember when James Meredith defied death threats to become the first African-American to enroll at the University of Mississippi about 50 years ago because when I went there several years later, I was mystified that it was any big deal. Well, of course it was, which I’ve still never been able understand, so it was thrilling to learn this year’s Homecoming Queen at Ole Miss is Courtney Pearson. She is the first black girl to be elected by the student body in the school’s history. When she was presented at halftime by her father, who wore his Navy uniform, the crowd loudly cheered, causing Courtney to say, “Don’t applaud me; applaud them – look how progressive they are!”

THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT – Speaking of progressive, did you see where the University of Alabama Board of Trustees just named Judy Bonner as the university’s first female president in its 181-year history? Dr. Bonner’s appointment was so universally approved that moments after the board’s unanimous vote, she was presented with a box of business cards. She had earned much acclaim as Provost and Vice President prior to this week’s announcement.

THE COST OF LEADERSHIP – I thought it was swell for President Obama to comfort those affected by Hurricane Sandy until I heard that hundreds of police were pulled away from urgent matters to help block traffic and provide security for his visit. Sure, the photo-ops were strategic with the election in its final days but I’m of the opinion that, in the middle of a crisis, “if you ain’t helpin’ then you are hurtin’.”

A LONG 15 SECONDS – Everything has been written about tonight’s titanic football struggle between No. 1 Alabama and No. 5 LSU in Baton Rouge but the fact the Crimson Tide has only trailed in regulation play once since October 22, 2011, is inspiring, especially when you learn it was only for 15 seconds before ‘Bama regained the lead. And don’t forget that in the two games the two SEC teams played last year, LSU never scored a touchdown – only field goals.

THE LAST WHITE DEMOCRAT – If Georgia Congressman Jon Barrow is defeated in Tuesday’s election, there won’t be a white Democrat from the Deep South in Washington’s House of Representatives. As strange as it seems, in the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina every Republican in the House of Representatives is white and – if Barrow loses – every Democrat representing those states will be black.

A TOAST TO FRANK – Frank Sinatra, arguably the greatest male vocalist of our time, used to toast his audiences with a drink of Jack Daniel’s during concerts so – get ready – the Lynchburg distillery will soon offer an ultra-premium brand called Jack Daniel’s Sinatra Select. Ol’ Blue Eyes used to call Jack Daniel’s “the nectar of the Gods” and reports claim Sinatra Select will sell for about $150 a bottle.

SIX HEAVY OUNCES – Ronald Brown of England served with the East Yorkshire Regiment during World War II and stepped on a booby trap two months after D-Day, the shrapnel badly injuring his leg. Not long ago he died at age 94 and, when his children went to collect his ashes at the crematorium, they were handed a six-ounce pile of shrapnel Mr. Brown had carried around for 70 years. During World War II, the medical thinking was to leave the shrapnel rather than remove it so the war hero set off a bunch of metal detectors in recent years. His granddaughter Holly said, “We were very proud of him for what he did in the war. He never complained but the metal shows just how horrible war can be.”

FORD BEATS CHEVY – At the Los Angeles Auto Show several weeks ago, the Ford Motor Company unveiled a 2013 Shelby Cobra Mustang that will be available with a 650-horsepower engine. That’s 12 more horsepower than a Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 with 638. Ford officials say the Shelby version of the Mustang will go over 200 miles an hour but they did not say exactly where anyone can drive a muscle car that fast.

Ronald Brown and his shrapnel
Ronald Brown and his shrapnel
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