December 18, 2008Santa Claus is coming to town
Last week I turned in my column on ups and downs in 2008, and my editor, John Hammer, said, "Scott, how in the world could you do a year-end review column and not mention the Hadron collider?" and I was like, "Well, I'm not done yet I'm doing more 2008 ups and downs again next week."
Here you go
Down. The Hadron particle collider scientists. 2008 was almost the year that the Hadron scientists made a black hole that destroyed the solar system. Fortunately for those of us who enjoy existence, the machine blew itself up as soon as they set it off not exactly instilling confidence that they know what they're doing by the way. They hope to fix it by March or April and start making the black hole then.
They spent a fortune over years and years to create the most complicated machine ever made and here's why they made it: They are trying to find a sub-atomic particle that a few geeks care about.
It's a particle they already know exists, but, in order to actually see a picture of it on a phosphor screen, they are willing to jeopardize the existence of the solar system. This, of course, creates a bizarre scenario in which we by "we" I mean normal humans who aren't totally insane all have to keep our fingers crossed and hope that things keep going terribly wrong with the collider.
By the way, one setback they had in 2008 was, no kidding, that one of the above ground facilities was struck by lightning. That should tell you something, shouldn't it?
Up. Racial harmony. Ever since Obama was elected, and many black people realized that white people would vote for a black leader, race relations got a big lift. Race relations are much cheerier at the end of 2008 than they were at the beginning. I can already feel it all around us in the Christmas air.
Up. City View Apartments. This place is a haven for local celebrities and hot women. For instance, Josh in the Box lives there and so did weatherman Eric Chilton until recently. Josh said that, in the summer, the pool scene there (heated pool, by the way) "looks like an MTV music video." (Josh evidently does not realize that MTV no longer plays music videos.)
Up. Gas prices. Well, I mean down. Well, I mean they're down but it's "up" that they're down. You know what I'm saying.
Down, and going, going, gone. Alarm clocks. For me, 2008 will always be known as the year I killed my alarm clock.
I'll tell you where it made its big mistake.
It used to be bad enough that it would go off on the rare occasion when I was supposed to be somewhere, but one morning it went off by mistake, and there was no reason under the sun whatsoever for me to be waking up at like 10:30 or whatever. And I got really mad, and I looked at it angrily in disbelief, and I took it and unplugged it and wrapped the cord around it and put in the back of a dark closet in a room I use for storage.
Now, that said, every once in a while, the county commissioners will hold a very early morning meeting (one time one started at 9:30 a.m.), so I got a bright idea how to deal with that without an alarm clock.
Here was my excellent idea. If it were a morning that I had to get up, then I would
(1) The night before, set my phone on the most pleasant ring possible you know, like a light chime.
(2) Get a hot girl to call me at the required time and, in a very sweet voice, say, "Good morning, Yostie. I am very, very sorry to tell you this, but unfortunately, you need to get up and go to your meeting. I know it is completely unfair and I feel very bad for you, however, I want to remind you that, just as soon as your meeting is over, you can go back to bed and get caught up on your sleep so you don't have to be tired all day."
That was a really good plan I thought but the part I didn't count on was that it turns out hot girls are not the most reliable wake up call service.
It's funny not using an alarm clock. People will ask me if I want to have lunch tomorrow, and I say, "Sure if I'm up."
"If you're up?" they'll say, confused.
And then I usually look at them like they're crazy, and I say, "Uh, hello? I can't very well be at a restaurant if I'm still in bed."
I swear I don't see why anyone would use an alarm clock: I find that having a machine making a loud blaring noise next to my bed when I'm trying to sleep really disturbs my natural sleep pattern. Trust me on this one: When your body has had enough rest, it will wake up every time.
Up. Bob Buckley of Fox 8 News. I have some issues with local TV news, but probably the best thing about it is The Buckley Report. Fox calls it "in depth," because it's two or three minutes rather than 20 seconds, and three minutes is not a lot of time, but Bob does a very good job in the time he has. During the campaign this year, he consistently did an excellent job of laying out accurate, fair and objective comparisons of where each candidate stood on various issues.
On the other hand, Bob's wife, Jean-Marie, gets a down in 2008 because she made a sausage dip for one of Julie Luck's parties and it was so good I wanted to know what was in it, and she wouldn't tell me because it is evidently a "family secret." Julie and I call it "crack dip" because once you start eating it there's no way to stop.
Up, unfortunately. Glow in the dark animals. In 2008, the number of glow in the dark animals they are making went up dramatically. I read that they are now working on glow in the dark deer so that the deer are easier for drivers to see at night. This is all totally unholy and unnatural. I think they should take the scientists who are making glow in the dark animals and put them on something useful, like, oh, I don't know, maybe, say, cloning the extinct penguin species they just found to make a new type of penguin.
Down. Un-informed voters. OK, here's what I've started doing and you really need to start doing this too.
I know the law is going to stay the same, and I know you are perfectly within your rights to do so, and, therefore, the only thing I can do is appeal to your better half and to your desire not to mess things up for the rest of us. So I'm appealing to the part of you that wants to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.
Here's what you need to do next time an election rolls around: Please do not vote in races you know nothing about. Just leave that part blank.
If everyone just did that, those leaders would be chosen by the people who are in the know about that race, and the best candidate would probably win.
A couple of the judges' races' outcomes in 2008 made it crystal clear that, when it comes to judges, no one knows anything about judges except, that is, whether they have a male name or a female name. And, in this county at least, female judges win no matter what; and, unfortunately, in 2008, that meant some good judges lost to some not-as-good ones for no good reason.
So, again, if you don't know anything other than the sex of the candidate, please just skip voting on that race in the future, thank you very much.
The other race in this election that demonstrated a glaring lack of voter insight was the soil and water conservation district supervisor race, which had five candidates. Listen, except for about 25 people in this county, no one knows what the soil and water commissioner does and, in this race, no one knew anything about the candidates. The winner of this seat was Kirk Perkins solely and simply because he happened to have the same name as a guy who is a county commissioner.
Commissioner Kirk Perkins, then chairman of the board, isn't related to soil and water Kirk Perkins, but Commissioner Kirk Perkins told me that, since the election, he's had people come up to him saying, "Hey, Kirk, I voted for you for soil and water," and "Kirk, I voted for your son for soil and water."
And who came in a very close second in that soil and water race? Why it was Andrew Court.
And why did he do so well in the five-man race? Because his name was first on the ballot.
(Herb Hendrickson, the incumbent who has been doing a fine job for the last eight years, finished next to last, barely in front of the Libertarian.)
So, please, for the love of your country, stop voting if you have no idea what you are voting on.
There, I've said it; and, by the way, don't blame me if your soil and water is all messed up soon.
Down. Outsourcing customer support. "Yes, Mr. Scott? This is Habib uh, I mean Bill Jones. In what manner may I provide you with excellent service today?"
Up. Register of Deeds Jeff Thigpen's salary. At the commissioners meeting last Thursday, Jeff got a raise and went from making $103,000 a year to over $106,000.
(John Hammer can't remember why we put Jeff's salary in the paper every time we write about him, but four years ago, before he was register of deeds, Jeff was a lowly employee in the admissions department at Guilford College and, when he became register he went, overnight, from making what was probably a pittance to pulling in a hundred grand annually. John thought we should stress that fact and a grand tradition was born.)
Up. Year-end lists. This is more fun than usual writing for some reason.
Up, up and away. Santa and his sleigh. Merry Christmas, ho, ho, ho now I have a machine gun.