Archive for February, 2011

My sky dive

February 28, 2011

It’s been almost eleven years since I jumped out of a perfectly good airplane.  I came across the video today.  Here it is from June 14, 2000. I’m wondering if sky diving is an adventure that would thrill me again…just wondering.

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Crossing the streams

February 27, 2011

 The Frosty 5K is one of two races I ran-walked Saturday.  We were on a trail near Jefferson, Georgia.  It’s about 60 miles northeast of Atlanta.   The Jefferson High cross country teams use the privately-owned, wooded, stream-crossed terrain  for training and regional meets.  One of the biggest challenges is trying to get across the streams without soaking your shoes, socks and feet.    You see different approaches.    Some leap,  others skim across as fast as they can move, and still others use the tippy-toe approach.  Regardless of which technique used, it’s almost impossible to make it across without getting water inside your shoes.  It’s consoling to remember from experience that they’ll soon be dry again.

The friction created by running speeds the evaporation.    It was a beautiful afernoon to be in the woods and crossing the streams.  The temperature was in the mid 60s  and it was another bright-sunshiny day in Georgia.

The cats in the windows

February 26, 2011

Marlee is looking at the outside world where she’s been only once since coming to live with us.  We adopted Marlee almost 6 month ago after the death of our beloved Mac.   Marlee weighed only 15 ounces when she got us.  Now she’s 7.5 pounds plus.   Her one time outside was when we accidentally left a door open.  Once outside, she quickly did an about face and scratched loudly on the door to get back inside.  Now, the 7-month-old seems content to go no farther than the bay window to watch the squirrels, the pond, and other sights that fascinate her.   She seems to sense that she’s safe with the window panes separating her from the unknown.  We’re blessed to have her and the senior feline member of our family

Misty.   Misty seems to prefer the perch looking out through the front window.   She too prefers the indoors.

“I FEEL GOOD! I KNEW THAT I WOULD!”

February 25, 2011

Bella-Elle

Bella says hello to Elle during a walk Thursday in my neighborhood.  It was a beautiful afternoon.  The sun was peeking through the clouds.  The temperature was near 70 degrees.  It was another reminder that life can be beautiful in Georgia…in our neighborhood.

Kathy Mitchell, Jill Dobbs and 3-year-old son Mac are among those drawn to the outdoors.  Bella and Elle were drawn to each other.  With this kind of harmony, I can hear James Brown singing, “I FEEL GOOD!   I KNEW THAT I WOULD!”

Federal dollars

February 24, 2011

This week, I read and hear about Atlanta getting a 10-million dollar federal grant to hire more firefighters.    Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and others were delighted.  I’m guessing that similar grants are going to many other communities in the United States.  No one seems to question how these grants may affect the attempt to balance the federal budget and reduce the national debt.     From the grantees perspective, there seems to be a non-ending supply of federal dollars.  Is that true?   Can the federal government just keep on printing and/or borrowing as much money as it wants?  Maybe there is a federal dollars fairy.    Local leaders don’t have to understand the fairy as long as the money doesn’t come from the local budget.  Is it any wonder local governments are reluctant to look a gift horse in the mouth?

Guts or love?

February 23, 2011

A retired lawyer said to me, “it must take a lot of guts for a journalist to get out there like that.”    He was talking about the CBS reporter who was attacked and sexually assaulted while covering some of the current riots.   I suggest that it doesn’t take guts because the reporter was doing what she had chosen as a career.   Journalists earn their stripes by being willing..even anxious…to cover any kind of story.    The essence of news is conflict.    Where there’s conflict between opposing groups, there’s often danger for the reporters caught in between.   I remember several instances of covering riots during the civil rights movement.   I was shot at in the Dixie Hills section of Atlanta.    Demonstrators threw bricks on Boulevard near what used to be called the Georgia Baptist Hospital.   I saw combat in Vietnam.   All of these incidents gave me pause, but never stopped me and others from doing what we love.

SPLOST

February 22, 2011

I live in Cobb County, Georgia just outside the Atlanta city limits.  Early voting began Monday on whether to extend a one percent Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST).  By definition, the county government is supposed to use the money for special purposes.    It was many years ago that the Georgia Legislature empowered the counties to put the SPLOST on the ballot.   My recollection is that it was supposed to expire at the end of 5 years.    Each time it comes up for renewal, most county leaders argue that without it, property taxes would rise.  They say that with it  people who live outside of Cobb county and shop here or work here pay part of the cost of maintaining and improving county services.  Those opposed to renewing SPLOST say county leaders should learn to govern with less.   If  Cobb county voters reject SPLOST, the sales tax in Cobb county would drop from 6 to 5 percent.  Perhaps property taxes would rise.  It’s  battle that is fought in other local government jurisdictions as it is in Cobb.  Voters rarely say “no.”  But with the cost-cutting fever that’s in the wind, this could be the year.   Maybe not.

“Chariots of Fire” revisited

February 21, 2011

When the movie, “Chariots of Fire”  came out in 1981, I was inspired to run faster and farther.     I believe it was the year I ran my first marathon.   The 26.2 mile course was in Huntsville, Alabama.      Mentally, the toughest part of the marathon for me is usually between 13 and 17 miles.  Once you get to 17 miles, there’s a confidence that comes from knowing you have less than 10-miles to go.  At 17 miles,  I would replay in my mind the music from “Chariots of Fire”.    No Eric Liddell. or Harold Abrahams was I, but the memory of the music lifted my performance.  Disk and mp3 players would come later.    Sitting in my chair t watching the young men running by the ocean, I felt again the tug of the emotions that comes from splendid  plots and performances.  When I’m out of my chair and running, I’m again going to recall that wonderful moment when Eric Liddel. broke the tape in the finals of the 400 meters.  It was at the 1924 Olympics in Paris.   Liddell spoke of pleasuring God with his running.  That too will be my goal.

Only the masters

February 20, 2011

Sha’ron Hurt is one of those running in what is an unusual if not unique road race in Georgia.  It’s the Al Toll Masters 15K (9.3 miles).  The winner is bound to be someone 40 years old or older because no one younger can compete in this Masters only event.  It’s been staged for 27 years by the Macon, Georgia Track Club in memory of one of the clubs members, the late Al Toll. I can’t recall how many of the 27 I’ve run, but I do know I was a lot faster in my younger master days.  Nevertheless, it still feels good to be there with my Macon friends and others.  On this Saturday, I’m grateful to God to have started and finished one more Al Toll Masters!

Felines and Canines

February 19, 2011

Diane Naughton is taking her 3 canines for a walk in our neighborhood.  She tells me that 2 of the 3 are mutts and have been healthy from day one.  However the pure bred white one has had one problem after another.  The most serious was a bad hip.   A Vet replaced it.  As a friend with me observed, it makes you wonder if the in-breeding inherent in pure-breds increases the chances of passing along negative genes.   Our beloved cats certainly are not pure-bred, but they don’t seem to care.   The tabby, Misty, is 9 years of age.   Marlee, the black and white is less than 6 months.  They love to wrestle with each other.   We love to watch!