Monday, July 19, 2010

And now, the News From the Ham and Beyond

First, the news from the Ham, which if you don't know, is Effingham County, Georgia, home of wide open spaces, great public schools, and meth (shaken, not stirred).

The renovation at the Rincon Wal-Mart (motto: "Yes, ma'am, we do carry bras in your size, and we'd appreciate you buying one immediately!) is ongoing. The pharmacy is still under construction, so it is temporarily housed at the former location of the checkout counters on the side of the store nearest to health and beauty. Those are the same checkouts that were never manned, or womanned, even though your checkout line snaked all the way back to the discount bikinis.

I am very upset at the Rincon Wal-Mart because they apparently no longer carry Post Raisin Bran, only the more sugary and salty Kellogg's and Sam's Choice versions. What does a guy have to do to get his recommended daily amount of fiber in a tasty way? I suppose I will just have to pay extra and get my Post RB down the road at Kroger. Either that or revert to the days when I would combine a box of All-Bran with a box of Cocoa Puffs or Peanut Butter Crunch.

In news from Savannah, the Savannah Morning News reports that Metro Police Chief Willie Lovett has instituted a ban on visible tattoos on police officers. Good thing Herve Villechaize has passed on. If you think this is an unusual policy, you would be wrong. The Georgia State Patrol will not hire you if you have any tattoos visible below the cuff of a short-sleeved shirt. The Garden City Police Department has been working on a tattoo policy, but officers there have been too busy pulling over people for driving 45.0001 in a 45 mile-per-hour zone, so as soon as they finish giving you a speeding ticket, they will get around to body ink.

In Sports, yesterday's Savannah Sand Gnats game in haiku:

Gnats Lose to Greenville
The Family Had Fun, but
Pitching Was Stinky

The positive news from Gnatsville; despite the loud guy on the public address speakers who one day will pass out while attempting to hold the word 'Savannah' for 30 seconds during pre-game introductions, attendance is up this season. Even though the Gnats are still last in the South Atlantic League in attendance, the average crowd of 1,812 through the first 48 home games is up over the same time period last season. Kudos to new team president John Katz for an outstanding year, and props to the team for giving Savannah a few extra home games by making the playoffs for the first time in 14 years.

With apologies to the Savannah Tobaccostapo, the smoke of the day is the Romeo Y Julieta Habana Reserve, an outstanding medium-to-bold cigar. It's wrapper and binder are grown in Nicaragua while the filler is grown in Nicaragua and Honduras. Unlike some, I don't rate cigars on a particular flavor - no "hints of dark chocolate and coffee" or "aroma of active paper mill." I just pick a cigar that I enjoy and recommend it. Speaking of the Savannah Tobaccostapo, there will be more to say about them down the road, but Mayor Johnson, while I love you as much as one man can platonically love another man, you are dead wrong on the smoking ban idea. We cigar and pipe aficionados are considering a smoke-in at your next town hall meeting because, unlike the Tobaccostapo, we believe in the Constitution.

The jazz record of the day is actually a double album, one that got virtually no recognition for being great in its time. "The Astaire Story" was recorded in December 1952 when Fred Astaire was 53 years old, still making good movies but long after his glory years with Ginger Rogers. Jazz impresario (are there college classes you can take on becoming an impresario?) Norman Granz conceived the album, which mostly featured songs made famous by Mr. Astaire in his films. Rather than the lush arrangements of "The Gay Divorcee" or "Top Hat", this album is pure jazz with the music played by an all-star sextet led by legendary pianist Oscar Peterson. Though it was not a huge seller after it's original release, Mr. Peterson spoke lovingly of this album - he and the other musicians all received gold bracelets from Mr. Astaire with the inscription "With thanks, Fred A", a bracelet Mr. Peterson would wear for the rest of his life. A personal highlight is an updated arrangement of one of Mr. Astaire's few hits as a songwriter, "I'm Building Up To An Awful Letdown", with lyric by Johnny Mercer. If local musicologist Roger Moss is, as he has suggested, recording an album of Mercer songs, I hope that song is included simply to hear Moss's enormous baritone utter the opening line "I'm like Humpty Dumpty...."

That's the news from the Ham, Savannah, and the half-point in between. Tomorrow, how the Ham desperately needs a mathematician. No, not a methamatician. Also tomorrow, how polls flat out lie, especially polls that claim you are just fine and dandy with higher property taxes. Speaking of lies, tomorrow is Primary Election Day in Georgia, otherwise known as Bend Over, This Won't Hurt a Bit Day, Part One.

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