Tag Archives: Georgia

I’ll bet that tingled a little!

The sports world is providing all kinds of interesting videos this week.

I watched an outstanding Florida-Georgia basketball game on ESPN last night. It went to double overtime, with lots of amazing shots.

But the shot everyone will remember happened when Florida forward Chandler Parsons drained a three from the corner, right in front of the Gator bench, and fellow Gator Vernon Macklin popped him in the “jewels” with a towel.

Ouch!

I’ll bet Chandler and Vernon had a little chat about that in the locker room later.

Living in the past

You can always count on the folks in South Carolina to stir up the pot. They did it in 1860 and they’re back at it 150 years later. Monday night Confederate heritage-lovers staged a Secession Gala on the sesquicentennial of the state’s vote to secede from the union.

As a history lover and also a Yankee who has spent all but a few of his adult years in the South, I am chagrined by that group of Southerners who hold firmly onto their historical memory of four and a half years of bad judgment and reckless hubris under the banner, “It’s our HERITAGE!”

Some people take it seriously here. Former Georgia Governor Roy Barnes was defeated in his bid for a second term in 2002, in a large part because he would not support the use of the Confederate Army battle flag on the state’s official state flag. Groups of protestors followed him to public appearances in flag festooned pickup trucks and staged demonstrations to support their cause. I remember it well. It was really funny. But I don’t think Roy thought so.

I guess what I don’t understand is the battle cry, “It’s our heritage.” While it is a part of Southern history, it is not a big part. The Confederacy lasted only a little over four years. Besides, it is not a part of history that Southerners should be justly proud.

Taking nothing away from the soldiers who fought for the Confederate side, their cause was morally bankrupt and politically flawed.

Current day revisionists will claim the Civil War was not fought over slavery, but rather for some vague concept of “states rights.” That may be literally true, but when taken in context, not factually so. The causes of the Civil War were complicated, but at the risk of oversimplifying them, here is what it came down to:

  1. The Civil War started because the Southern states attempted to secede from the Union and form their own separate and hostile nation.
  2. The alleged reason they attempted to secede was to defend their “state’s rights.”
  3. However, the only “state’s right” they were really willing to fight for was the right to own slaves.

Many modern revisionists like to cite the first two reasons, but they stop before they get to #3.

There were economic issues in dispute, but if it were not for slavery, there would have been no secession and no war. Slavery, along with its related issues like expansion to new territories, was single hottest political issue of the decade leading up the Civil War. It was the overarching issue of debate. The current debate over legalized abortions pales by comparison.

You cannot separate the Civil War from the issue of slavery.  Lincoln figured that out. While he has been quoted as saying he would accept slavery if it would preserve the union, he also knew by tying the Northern war effort to a fight against slavery, he could strengthen his political position, gain additional support for the war and isolate the Confederacy from potential European allies. By 1863, slavery was most definitely a central issue for the north.

You will hear Southern apologist claim, “My great grandfather didn’t own any slaves, and neither did most of the soldiers who fought for the South!” So what? The key decisions that led to the war were not made by lower aand middle class farmers and shopkeepers. The decisions were made, as usual, by the rich and powerful, and they were overwhelmingly slave owners.

It is interesting to note that the Southern politicians did a complete turn when it came to writing their own Constitution. On one hand, they claimed that while part of the national union, the states had the rights to secede and to determine the status of slavery within their borders. Yet when it came time to write the rules for the Confederacy, they specifically prohibited both those rights to their member states. Any future secession was disallowed, and states were not allowed to outlaw slavery within their borders.

What’s good for the goose isn’t necessarily good for the gander.

Don’t ya love college football?

It’s November, and in the college football world, fans are starting to get riled up over the BCS rankings. I read an article on FOX.com yesterday  that projected LSU getting to the national championship game without even winning its division, let alone winning its conference. As much of a travesty that would be (It seems like almost anything involving Les Miles is a travesty.), I am even more amused over the debate regarding the “mid majors.”

As anyone who reads me knows, I am a big University of Florida football fan. It follows that I am also an SEC fan. Almost every year, we watch the SEC beat itself up.

This year is a good example. The three top teams in the SEC are probably Auburn, Alabama and LSU. So…

Auburn beat LSU.

LSU beat Alabama.

Alabama will play Auburn on Thanksgiving weekend, and may beat them.

So who is the best of that trio?

Of one thing you can be certain – when you play a schedule year-in and year-out that includes teams like Auburn, Alabama, LSU, Florida, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia, etc., and you come out ahead, you know you have a good team. To one degree or another, the same could be said about the rest of the major conferences.

Outside of those conferences, the “mid-majors” are another question. Schools like TCU, Boise State and, until last weekend, Utah, are portrayed as the raggedy urchins, left standing out in the cold; noses pressed to the window; and waiting for the BCS schools to throw them some table scraps.

I’ll concede that it is possible TCU or Boise State MAY be the best team in the country. The problem is – how will we ever know? They run up impressive records and statistics, while playing schedules consisting of Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind.

Utah was another school that was considered a top contender.

Donna McMillan - AP

They were undefeated and had accumulated impressive stats while playing a bunch of weak sisters. They were ranked in the top ten of all polls. Then they played TCU. They not only lost; they were blown out of the stadium by 40 points!

Oops! Maybe we were wrong.

The pseudo-logic that supported Utah’s claim to a ranking is also the same logic that supports Boise State and TCU.

So what is the answer? Since it doesn’t look like a playoff is going to happen anytime soon, I put the burden back on those “mid-major” schools.

If you want to be considered one of the “big boys,” then act like one. Improve your schedule. Join a stronger conference. Improve your own conference. If you can run a gauntlet like an SEC schedule, then someone may take you seriously.

PS to Boise State: Paint your field the right color!

Normally, I'm a big fan of orange and blue...but really!

You may think the blue field makes you special, but the rest of us just laugh and point to it as another example of you being a minor league player.

 

Politics, Hotel Indigo, Superbowl and a great chili

It’s been a few days since I’ve had the chance to sit down and actually write something. Unfortunately, I don’t have a lot to write about.

I took a trip to Atlanta last week with my boss and our business officer to schmooze with politicians. This is an annual Chamber of Commerce “kiss up to the state legislature” event. We drove up one morning and spent the day tracking down various state legislators, shaking many hands and asking them not to forget about us (or, even worse, cut us out of the budget.) The day ended with a big seafood-barbecue feast with multiple open bars. I stuck to Diet Coke though. I say enough stupid things when I’m sober, I don’t need my tongue loosened when someone may actually be listening.

We stayed at a Hotel Indigo in midtown Atlanta. I had not stayed there before, although it is part of the Holiday Inn family. I usually stay in HI’s because I’m a member of their points program. In any case, the Hotel Indigo was nice, if somewhat different from your standard business hotel. It’s a smaller, “European style” (not that I’ve actually stayed in a hotel in Europe) hotel. The rooms were smaller, but quite stylish.

From the hotel Web site, but a pretty accurate depiction of my room.

The bathroom was very small. I could have handled my “business” while shaving and brushing my teeth if I had wanted to do so. Altogether though, I liked it, and I’ll be back.

On Sunday morning, Mrs. P and I did something we almost never do; we went out for a nice Sunday brunch. We should really do this more often. On a Sunday morning or mid-day, we may go to our favorite Mexican restaurant or to a breakfast place, but almost never to someplace where, for instance, you might actually think about ordering a mimosa or a Bloody Mary. We went to our favorite seafood restaurant. I ordered the shrimp and grits and was disappointed. It was good for what it was, but it was very mild and creamy. I definitely prefer it with a little kick to it. (See the recipe in the Food tab above.) Next time, I’ll stick with my favorite, fried shrimp.

Over the rest of the weekend, we ran errands and continued the clean up and clean out process around the house. We finally got all the boxes and extra furniture out of our family room.

To celebrate, we had a few folks over to watch the Superbowl. It wasn’t a big event, just some of our close friends. However, everyone brought food and we had enough to feed a small African country.

Mrs. P made here white bean chili, which is fantastic.

White Bean Chili

I have trouble getting my imagination and taste buds around a chicken-based “chili.” However, if I think of it as just a spicy, chicken based bean soup, it’s easier to handle.  The recipe comes straight from a Southern Living Cookbook and I’ve added it to the “Food” tab at the top of the page. Give it a shot. You will not be disappointed. Be sure to make sure you include the shredded jalapeno-jack cheese when you serve it. That is an essential step that is not to be omitted.

Only eight and a half more months!

I stayed up late last night to watch the Alabama-Texas game. Unfortunately, I missed the best part of the game. At half-time, it looked as if the Tide had it in their pocket and it was just a matter of running out the clock in the second half. I ended up dozing off early in the second half and completely missed the Longhorns comeback. I awoke as the game ended and saw the final score. I thought the blow out had just continued.  I didn’t realize there was any drama until I listened to the radio on the way to work. I hate it when these games are on work nights.

I was very happy to see Alabama win. That is four years in a row for SEC teams. Florida finished third in the polls with a 13-1 record and a Sugar Bowl win against previously undefeated Big East champ Cincinnati. It would have been fun to have watched the Gators play last night, but I can’t complain about that kind of season.

We have a guy here at work who is a Florida State fan. He is always trying to lump the SEC and the ACC together as “southern football.” Sorry, pal, that just doesn’t hold water, at least not for the past several years. In the last weekend of the regular season the ACC division winners (Georgia Tech and Clemson) were soundly beaten by two middle-of-the-pack SEC East teams (Georgia and South Carolina.) What else do you need to know?

The SEC did not have the best bowl record, but then again, the SEC sent 10 of its 12 teams to bowls. Does it really matter that an ACC runner up (Clemson) beat a team that finished fifth out of six teams in the SEC East (Kentucky)? Both SEC’s BCS teams won big.

As there is every year, there is a lot of grumbling out there about the so-called mid-majors and the BCS system. Some radio guys were talking about mounting a protest and voting Boise State #1. I actually have some sympathy for the Boise States of the world, but too much. If you really want to be taken seriously and walk with the big boys, then start acting like one. Upgrade your program and play a serious schedule. Either join a serious conference or upgrade your own. In Boise State’s case, joining the PAC 10 (then 11) would make perfect sense. You go undefeated against that competition and we’ll take you seriously. However, when you play one or two decent teams (especially real early in the season) and then flesh out your schedule with Sister Mary’s School for the Deaf and Blind and the Montana School for Cattle Rustlers, you won’t be taken seriously. Playing a Mountain West or WAC schedule simply does not match up against playing Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, LSU, Auburn, Alabama, etc week in and week out. You MAY be the best team in the country, but we’ll never know for sure.

Let’s see, signing day is about a month away; spring practice about 3 months down the road and summer camp a few months after that. Fall kick off in 8 and a half months. Can’t wait!

Life is full

It has been a cold week here on the Georgia coast, maybe not by Minnesota standards, but certainly by ours. Ugh!

It has also been a busy week to be back to work. One of our scientists died in a home accident late last week, and that has taken up a lot of time and attention.  That,  and all the beginning of the year issues, has made it a weird week.

We had what seemed like our first CCD class in months last night. We had a good turn out and the “little darlin’s” were fairly attentive and engaged. We covered the sacrament of Baptism, and next week one of our priests is going to conduct a mock-baptism and explain the steps and symbols for our class and probably one or two others. That plan prompted an interesting development.

When I first walked in the building, I saw a mother in the office, apparently registering her kids for classes. She also had a newborn baby in a carrier. At the end of class, I saw her again in the hallway and we started talking.  I asked her if the baby had been baptized yet, and she said that it was scheduled for the 31st. Half-jokingly, I asked her if she would like to have the baby baptized next Wednesday night during our baptism program. Surprisingly, she didn’t think it was such a bad idea. I pointed out that the lad would certainly have a lot of god-parents. When we parted, she seemed like she was willing to go along with it. We exchanged contact information. We’ll see if she still thinks it’s a good idea after she’s had the chance to think about it. If she and her family go along with it, it would be a gas.

I stopped by the home-improvement store earlier this week and ordered the laminate flooring for our bedrooms. Mrs. Poolman has set up an appointment with an installer who comes recommended by several of her co-workers.

I installed the flooring in the rest of the house several years ago. After that summer-long project, I told Mrs. P early-on that whenever we finished off the bedrooms, we would have a professional come in and do the work. I am lacking the skills, the proper tools and the patience to tackle that again, especially with all the measuring and cutting involved in doing multiple rooms with closets, doorways, etc.

So we are looking at an action-packed Saturday, with a memorial service, the job to pick up the flooring and the “estimate appointment” with the flooring installer. However, the pressure is now on to finish the painting in our bedroom. For two people who don’t have much of a life, we sure seem to be busy.

Big weekend coming up

Around our house, this coming weekend is one of the big ones of the year. It is like Mardi Gras in New Orleans, New Years in Time Square, or the opening of deer hunting season in Pennsylvania.  It is the Florida-Georgia weekend. In this part of the world, this is more then a football game. It is a social and cultural event. As should be obvious, we are big Florida fans, but we live here “behind enemy lines” in Georgia.

There is a lot of history here. My first Florida game was in 1971. For the next 19 years, Georgia pretty much dominated the series. Vince Dooley, Buck Belue, Hershal Walker and the like “schooled” the Gators on a fairly regular basis. In 1990 the field shifted. Steve Spurrier came to Florida and since then the Gators have one 16 of the last 19 games.

Fla Ga 2

In recent years, the rivalry has intensified somewhat. In 2007, a group of UGA players stormed the field to celebrate their first touchdown. UGA fans credit that incident for psyching the Bulldogs to win that game. Last year, Florida had the game won when Urban Meyer called two time-outs in the final minute of the game to prolong Georgia’s agony. Payback is hell.

I have noticed a significant change in attitude among UGA fans this year. For most of the 17 years we have lived in Georgia, the UGA fans have been delightfully obnoxious before the game. They have never lacked for overconfidence.

“This year you are going down! Down, down down!”

In all but a handful of years, those boasts and predictions turned into muttered excuses and threats of ritual sepaku as the actual game progressed. However, this year, Georgia fans are acting humble, actually sounding defeatist.

My Bulldog friend, Sean, told me last night, “For the first time in as long as I can remember, I don’t think we have any chance in this game.”

That worries me. I much prefer the obnoxious, in-your-face Bulldog, who later walks away from the game with his stubby little tail between his legs.

On the other hand, I am not cocky about the game at all. There are too many games in this series when the favored team is sent home embarrassed. The Gators are ranked #1 and are unbeaten, but they aren’t hitting on all cylinders. The Poolman isn’t making any grand predictions. Crow is not one of my favorite foods.

Meanwhile, at the Poolman’s house, this has become one of our major party weekends of the year. We used to have tickets to the game, but lost our priority about ten years ago under circumstances too complicated to explain. So instead, Mrs. Poolman’s family comes to Savannah for a “house party.”  They are joined by a bunch of our friends, friends of friends, children’s friends, friends’ children, etc.

We’ll set up at least three TVs, inside and out. (Here is praying the prediction of dry weather continues to hold.)  The group is a good mixture of fans of both teams, and a ton of food and drink. Typically the Florida fans are in the family room and the Georgia fans out in the courtyard. The casual fans set up “beer pong” on the basketball court.  Mrs. Poolman is much more ecumenical than she has any need to be. She buys red and black napkins and paper plates to go along with the orange and blue.

This should be an interesting weekend. Go Gators!

Quiet weekends and hurricane season

We had a fairly quiet weekend, which was just great. I slept late on Saturday and then spent most of the rest of the day running errands on the far side of town. Saturday evening mass and then off to eat some seafood at a casual beach restaurant with two other couples. Sunday was spent cleaning up the yard and the pool, doing laundry and other equally exciting chores. We have such an interesting life.

As the summer winds down in this part of the country, there is a mix of emotions. You hate the see the summer end, but on the other hand the college football season is right around the corner. Around here, that is about as exciting as Christmas is to a small child.

Here on the coast, there is another issue that raises its head this time of year – hurricane season. Every day, people who for the rest of the year, are only casually interested in the weather make sure they check in on the Weather Channel or Weather Underground every day. Although they are thousands of miles away, cloud formations off the west coast of Africa are the topic of conversations in the aisles of the grocery stores. There is a little edge — a little anxiety — that sticks with you all the time.

When a storm actually does hit somewhere else, you have mixed emotions. “Gee, I’m really sorry you were hit by a hurricane, but I’m even happier it didn’t hit me!

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

Hurricane Floyd September 1999

It’s been ten years since Hurricane Floyd threatened this part of the coast before making one of those famous right hand turns and heading north to North Carolina.  The evacuation is legendary among Savannahians. It is fortunate we weren’t hit by a major storm in the ensuing couple of years. I know many people, Mrs. Poolman included, who said, “I’d rather sit here and suffer through a hurricane than spend another 23 hours stuck on the road to Atlanta.”

There is a local myth that Savannah is protected from hurricanes by the curvature of the coast. There is actually a little truth to the legend, but it certainly isn’t a bullet-proof shield. The rotation of the Earth tends to make hurricanes curve to the right (north.) They also feed off of warm water, and the north-flowing Gulf Stream runs about 100 miles off shore here. Both of those will give a storm a tendency to turn to the north, but they are only two of lots of other factors, most of which  I do not understand.

So as of this evening, we have a tropical storm in the Gulf that appears to be heading for Alabama, and another out in the Atlantic, heading who-knows-where.

I guess I’ll be joining everyone else watching the Weather Channel for the next two and a half months.