Spoiler alert: A non-negotiable and finite deadline
doesn’t allow me the opportunity to discuss the primary runoff results this
week. That’s OK. We can talk about it next week. Besides, Junior E. Lee,
general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company,
located in Greater Garfield, is busy spraying Arvel Ridley’s barn for fleas and
doesn’t have time right now. Junior is not only one of the nation’s most highly
respected and astute political analysts, he is also a pest control
professional. That is a rare combination.
I don’t know a lot about soccer but I am on a steep learning curve since I am told that Cameron Charles Yarbrough, who puts the “great” in great-grandson, is showing some proclivity for the sport. I watched a bit of the World Cup recently, and while I didn’t understand a lot of the strategies, I was awed at the players’ skill to curve the ball like a boomerang while running at full speed. I was also struck by the black and white teammates on the winning French team standing arm-in-arm and singing their national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” unlike the overpaid knee-jerks in the National Football League who disrespect theirs.
With the popularity of the NFL waning and as more mommas discourage their kids
from playing football lest they end up with mush brains as likely will many of
the knee-jerks, soccer is on the rise. May we raise a generation of outstanding
soccer players that will emulate the French in their national pride.
Don’t look now but the University of Georgia, the oldest state-chartered
university in the nation, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South,
just announced that donors have contributed over $1 billion to the Commit to
Georgia Campaign, which has a goal of raising $1.2 billion by June 30, 2020 for
additional scholarships to fund critical research and to further enhance the
university’s learning environment. A billion dollars? I remember when we used
to high-five over one-tenth that amount. The place is on fire and much credit
goes to UGA President Jere Moorhead for his quiet and effective leadership.
It is hard to believe that it has been 22 years since the Centennial Olympic
Games. The Games were outstanding. The city of Atlanta was not. The city’s
marketing director took the whole thing as a big joke, proposing to bounce ads
off the moon and put billboards on stray dogs. The city government, indemnified
from any tax liability, nonetheless set up an ambush marketing program courting
Olympic sponsors’ competitors and established a traffic-clogging street vendor
program that looked like a third-world country on steroids. The local media
chose to nitpick us instead of holding the city’s inept feet to the fire lest
they be labeled racist by a city administration that could make a racial issue
out of a lima bean. When the games were over, I took a two-by-four to the whole
crowd in a guest editorial. That was the beginning of a 20-year run as the most
widely syndicated columnist in Georgia. Thanks, guys. I couldn’t have done it
without you. …
Kudos to Georgia’s senior senator, Johnny Isakson, for his fight against proposed tariffs by the Trump Administration on Canadian newsprint, which could severely cripple the newspaper industry by making newsprint insanely expensive. Isakson says, “Local newspapers are a vital source of news and community information, especially in rural and small-town America. Unfair or punitive action taken against producers of groundwood paper would threaten to put many Georgia newspapers out of business.” Virtually, the entire newspaper industry is opposing the import tax. You should, too. No community is made better without a local newspaper. Thankfully, Johnny Isakson is on the case.
Finally, Dr. Raymond Cook, an English Literature professor who had a profound impact on an unfocused college freshman about to flunk out of school, turned 99 years old last week. Dr. Cook lives in Valdosta and while his body is a bit frail, his mind is as sharp as ever. I don’t want to over-dramatize it, but I doubt I would be where I am today and doing what I am doing had I not crossed his path those many years ago. It is a reminder to our public schoolteachers that while our politicians try to undermine you at every level, you are making a difference in some young person’s life. Please don’t give up.