I am always pleasantly amused when people ask me how I can come up with something different to write about each day. The truth is that it is a rare day indeed when there isn’t something I want to share. As I sat down at my desk yesterday and looked about, I laughed at myself because there were several stacks each worthy of a story so please allow me to present “the best of” the top of my desk.
My morning readings cover a broad spectrum, as you might imagine, and I am worse than a blind hog in a forest full of acorns; there is no telling what I’ll bump into, no predicting where I’ll turn next, or how much I love every new discovery. I believe this Whitman’s Sampler will confirm exactly that. I feel confident I could write a full story on any of these delights!
* * *
THE BEST OF THE NASHVILLE SCENE’S BONERS
For the last 28 years the writers of The Nashville Scene have created the Boner Awards that are named in the honor of Nashville Mayor Billy Boner, whose claim to fame is that he is the only Mayor of Tennessee’s capital to never be re-elected for a second term. As you may suspect, the Boner Awards are earned by factual exhibits of mankind’s blunders and stupidity.
This weekend the 2017 edition came out and – as the committee was quick to note – the competition was keen. Most of the stories about the “winners” were funny and cleverly written. None of the winners were cut much slack, including Bob Corker and Todd Gardenhire, but the “hands down” grand champion of this year’s batch was this absolute gem …
“PATIENTLY DATING – Dating your subordinates is generally a bad idea. It’s an even worse idea if they’re married. An even more terrible idea? Doing so if you are related to them. But state Senator Joey Hensley, a Republican physician in Hohenwald, took things a full step further when he started sleeping with his nurse, who was also his second cousin, who was also his longtime patient. The (very explicit) details came out during the nurse’s divorce trial. She had left her husband and said she had discussed marriage with Hensley, but it seems the senator was not ready to take a fifth wife — the relationship ended before the divorce was final.”
That is so … so … “uniquely Tennessee.”
* * *
I’M PICKING JUDGE ROY MOORE ‘BY A NOSE’
The eleventh-hour polls have established today’s Senate race in Alabama is impossible to predict but the hunch from this corner is that controversial Roy Moore will beat Democrat Doug Jones by what they call in horse-racing “a nose.” Believe me, this whole sordid mess is every bit as embarrassing as picking one’s nose.
The Jones camp has just delivered a mass-mailing to the state’s black voters that reads, “George Wallace fought to protect segregation. So did Roy Moore.”
Moore’s fiery retort: “Lying Doug Jones is at it again. This is just another attempt to manipulate African-American voters with lies while covering for his own horrible track record of defending an extremist with KKK ties,” a Moore spokeswoman told Fox News.
Pleas from Barack Obama and Joe Biden are featured on endless Robo-calls for Jones and neither are very popular in “The Heart of Dixie.” Everybody agrees the race is “politics at its worst” and you haven’t heard the last of this national fiasco by a long measure.
* * *
THE NFL -- “PLEASE … SIT ANYWHERE YOU LIKE …”
When Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the national anthem in the 2016 preseason, there were many people who decided they could find something better to do on Sunday afternoons rather than put up with foolishness by the National Football League’s spoiled athletes. The true result? As the 2017 regular season begins to wind down, the best estimates are that the protests will cost the NFL and its TV partners more than $500 million this year.
I believe in freedom of speech. I believe in the right to protest, too, but there is a time and place for everything. When one man’s folly results in a half-billion loss, the ramifications of such stupidity will take years to heal. Think of concessions, NFL merchandise, and people’s livelihoods.
Now there is this: According to Vivid Seats, a ticket reselling website, you could have bought tickets to watch the Bills topple the Colts 13-7 in overtime last Sunday for as little as $2 each. You have no idea how bad the drought is! Tickets in the half-empty NFL stadiums are going for peanuts. The best seat in the stadium – 50 yard line about 20 rows up? Two years ago what would have cost in excess of $1,000 at a Bills’ game actually sold last Sunday for $29.
To put it in better perspective, there was a college hockey match at the same time in Buffalo and tickets were $28. That’s 1,400 percent more than the Bills’ cheapest seat.
Tickets to the Vikings-Panthers game last weekend were as low as $7 and in Green Bay you could have watched the Packers for $12. So the new game is to buy a cheap seat, find a better chair once you are in the stadium, and the home team will still be so glad to see you
To add insult to injury, this was just days after the NFL owners agreed to a five-year, $200 million contract for Commissioner Roger Goodell. Somebody needs to explain how paying gutless Goodell twice what New England’s Tom Brady earns makes sense.
* * *
FIVE KNELT, TEN SAT, AND ONE STAYED IN THE LOCKER ROOM
During Sunday’s NFL circus, here’s the final tally: On Sunday, the kneelers were Olivier Vernon of the New York Giants, Duane Brown of the Seattle Seahawks and Marquise Goodwin, Eli Harold and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers. The sitters were Marshawn Lynch of the Oakland Raiders and nine Seattle defensive linemen -- Cliff Avril, Michael Bennett, Frank Clark, Branden Jackson, Dion Jordan, Quinton Jefferson, Jarran Reed, Sheldon Richardson and Marcus Smith.
Jefferson was thrown out of the game and, as he walked towards the locker room in Jacksonville, several fans threw cups at him. He tried to get into the stands but was restrained.
* * *
OUR DARE-DEVIL WU FINALLY WENT WHOOPS
There are many in this world who are scared of heights, which is what made “roof topper” Wu Yongning, a 26-year-old dare-devil famous. Wu became something of a cult hero who loved creating his own brand of terror – he lived to climb tall skyscrapers, huge imposing buildings with no safety equipment, taking pictures and posting videos in his quest to spread a worldwide epidemic of vertigo. In the Chinese city of Changsha there is a 62-story building known as the Huayuan Hua Centre. Wu bagged that baby over the weekend, ending his climb by doing a set of pullups on the roof’s ledge before, quite regretfully, he said, “whoops.” Once again Wu Yongning never used safety equipment and this weekend it was said he died “doing what he loved” after he fell from the Hua Centre’s roof. The morale of the story – stay off tall stuff.