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Friday, April 8, 2011
Puff (the Magic Dragon) busted on possession charges

LONDON -- Puff (the Magic Dragon), who had disappeared from the public eye following the last Peter, Paul and Mary Reunion Tour, re-appeared in a London courtroom today.  Puffy, as he is currently known, was arrested in Heathrow Airport after drug-sniffing dogs alerted customs officials to a suspicious smell.

Puffy MD, as he was promoting himself, was on the way to the first leg of a series of now-cancelled hip-hop house concerts slated to begin next weekend in Amsterdam.

The barrister representing Puffy, the Honorable Lord Beaverbrook, said that his client was "absolutely, undeniably, unequivocally innocent of all charges and claims against him."  According to Lord Beaverbrook, Puffy hasn't done any "illegal substances" since he entered treatment at the Betty Ford Center in 1989.

"In his prime Puffy toqued his dope, just like we all did back in the day, but now he won't even touch out-of-date cottage cheese," said Beaverbrook.

It's a simple case of mistaken olfactory, Lord Beaverbrook contends.  "The dogs smelled smoke, without a doubt, but he's dragon for God's sake!  What's next?  Arresting Topo Gigio coming through Gatwick for having Limburger on his breath?" asked Beaverbrook.

Regarding the "green vegetable matter found on Mr. Puff's person," Lord Beaverbrook argued that this was "an herbal preparation Mr. Puff used to treat his glaucoma."  This eye condition, which is an issue in a civil suit filed by Puffy against Warner Brothers, was, according to briefs filed earlier in Los Angeles, "induced by overexposure to the fine print on record industry contracts."

In the late '60's Puffy was indicted and tried twice, but convicted neither time, on drug smuggling charges.  Accusations of jury tampering and witness intimidation were never proven.  One key government witness disappeared just before he was scheduled to testify.  Ashen remains found shortly thereafter could not be identified.

Inside sources at the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency continue to be convinced that Puff was the linchpin in the Hanah Lee-Los Angeles drug connection.

Puffy is currently being held in HMP Canterbury, a men's prison holding foreign nationals who are expected to be deported.  Located in Canterbury, Kent, England, Canterbury Prison is operated by Her Majesty's Prison Service.

Lassie named Poet Laureate; produces doggerel

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Stormy confirmation hearings ended late last night as former television actress Lassie was narrowly confirmed by the United States Senate as Poet Laureate of the United States.  As has become the norm for Senate confirmation hearings of late, both sides went nuclear with Lassie's qualifications for the office being disparaged, while Lassie's opponents found themselves being vilified.

Fellow poet Snoop Doggy Dogg, supported by a contingent which included Ice-T, Ice Cube, Vanilla Ice and Milli of the pop duo Milli Vanilli, defended Lassie's nomination.  "If a bad actor can be president, I don't see why a bad actress can't be poet laureate. The Gubernator used stunt doubles too, you know," noted Dogg.

A pivotal moment in the hearing came when the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals shifted positions.  PETA, which originally opposed Lassie's nomination because of her public position on carnivorism, were won over by Lassie's tail-wagging pledge to eat only tofu-based dog food during her tenure as poet laureate.

While trans-species activists hailed the appointment as "ground breaking," a spokesperson for the Coalition Advocating Traditional Sense said that "while some of our best friends are dogs; this is a slippery slope.  What's next?  A lab-coated chimpanzee as surgeon general?"

Some observers thought a swaying moment was Lassie's own concluding statement to the confirmation committee which featured a reading of one of the poet's most beloved poems, "Trees . . . and Hydrants."  Through an interpreter, Timothy Martin, Lassie recited the poem's most poignant verse: "I think that I shall never see a tree on which I cannot pee."

The final vote followed strict party lines, except that all of the Democratic females crossed over the aisle to vote for Lassie's confirmation.

Gary D. Gaddy came through Heathrow Airport once, in the fall of 1971, without a whiff of trouble.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 8, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 4:21 PM EDT
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Friday, April 1, 2011
UNC hires Graham to head new Department of Irreligion
CHAPEL HILL -- The University of North Carolina is set to hire William Franklin Graham III as the founding director of what is believed to be the nation's first department of irreligious studies.  Amidst campus-wide budget reductions and strategic program cuts, Dean Bernard Manakin of UNC's College of Arts and Sciences announced this bold new initiative: establishment of a Department of Irreligion.
Manakin says academia should view irreligious studies as a complement rather than a replacement for religious studies.  "Departments of religion have long been an essential component of the academic array," said Manakin.  "While a sociology or psychology of religion course here and there provides the opportunity to examine religious prejudice or religious superstitions, where better than a religion-department course on the Bible itself to dismantle its mythology?" asked Manakin.
“But, without a department of irreligion, we have had no place to formally study agnosticism, atheism or even unphilosophical unbelief, which was, we realized, a gaping hole in the curriculum,” said Manakin, a professor in the Department of Dramatic Art.  "It was a deficiency in our intellectual array that could not continue to go unremedied -- even in these tough budgetary times," added Manakin.
Faith-based activists have been asking for decades for the Department of Religion to hire someone who believes something to teach there but to no avail.
"Of course, we could not hire someone who believes the Bible to teach the Bible.  That would simply be wrong.  We need people who can be objective about the document; obviously believers cannot do that," said Manakin.
One of the recent additions to UNC's board of trustees, Gilbert Aussenzeit, had encouraged the university to place Dr. Bart Ehrman, the current chair of the Department of Religion, as head of the new Department of Irreligion.  "As one of America's leading unbelievers, I thought that Ehrman would be the perfect fit, but, boy, was I quickly disabused of that notion," said Aussenzeit, a businessman from Fuquay-Varina.
"As Chancellor [Holden] Thorp explained it to me, it's OK to have a physics professor who believes in Newton's laws of motion, or a chemistry prof who accepts the periodic table, but it doesn't work that way in the humanities. There's no way you can have a religion professor who is religious," said Aussenzeit.
With the new Department of Irreligion, there will finally be a formal place on campus for a devout Christian, according to Manakin.  "What better place for a committed Christian within the academic venture than teaching courses on atheism and agnosticism?  These are subjects upon which they are uniquely qualified to expound," said Manakin.
The university is planning a founding ceremony for the department early this fall when Graham will be formally installed to his post.
Graham, the son of noted evangelist Billy Graham, currently serves as the president and chief executive officer of both the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and the international Christian relief organization Samaritan's Purse.
Graham attended LeTourneau College (now LeTourneau University) from which he was expelled, received an associate's degree from Montreat-Anderson College (now Montreat College) and also earned a bachelor’s in business from Appalachian State University.
In related news, Bart Ehrman announced today that he was putting on hiatus his national book tour for his latest release, Forged: Writing in the name of God -- Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are, as he realizes now he is not certain who wrote his books.
"After looking at early manuscripts and comparing them to the published editions, I am not sure now who really wrote 'my' books," said Ehrman.
Gary D. Gaddy believes he heard Bart Ehrman speak in church once, but he can't be certain.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 1, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy    

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 30, 2011 1:49 PM EDT
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Friday, March 25, 2011
"Aren't you Gary Gaddy?" Lesser moments in columnar fame
Just in case you are tempted to write a column for your local newspaper -- as a service to the reading public -- let my experience be a cautionary tale.
At a public event in northern Orange County, one of my hitherto-unknown-to-me readers asked, "Aren't you Gary Gaddy?"  To which I replied, as I am wont to, "Why do you ask?"  (I'm not paranoid -- but it can pay to be cautious.)  It turns out she really was a loyal reader and actual fan.  (For example, she thought I was funnier, and -- get this -- deeper than Vicki Wentz.  In Vicki's defense, I pointed out that her hair was definitely curlier.)
Later at this same event at the Schley Grange, this person, who I'll call Ann, because I think that was her name, told my wife, "I thought he'd be funnier in person."  This is what you get for being funny in print and then going out in public non-incognito.
At the same event, a man, another Schley Granger, told me that he agreed with "most everything I wrote -- but not everything."  I said that was OK.  Adding, "To tell the truth, I don't agree with everything I say."  He then replied that he bet most people in Chapel Hill probably don't agree with me.  I said, "If most people in Chapel Hill did agree with me on just about anything, I would change my opinion."  I think he thought I was joking.  I think I thought I was joking too.
I was once told by a reasonably reputable source (a former editor of the Chapel Hill Herald to be more exact) that the Chapel Hill Herald used to pay their "Local Voices" columnists $50 a column -- but decided that was an insult.  Now they pay nothing.  I feel so much more affirmed.
The relationship between my column and the truth
As you should know, according to the state of North Carolina, I used to be a statistician.  (Or at least they paid me for being one).  One of the primary problems with being well versed in statistical validity is that it makes it harder for me, as compared to your average statistically innumerate soul, to find studies that confirm my prejudices.  But, not to worry, as for my column, I always tell the truth.  It's just that sometimes I have to make things up in order to do so.
My columns, like many movies now playing in a theater near you, are often "inspired by actual events."
When people ask me what I do, I finally started telling the truth.  (I used to say, "Well, I used to be the coordinator of statistical consulting at the Howard W. Odum Institute for Research in Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill" and by the time I finished saying that they would have forgotten what they had actually asked.)  Now I say, "I'm a writer."  Bu that doesn't seem to be enough.
Once I was a poet but didn't know it.  I wrote free verse until I realized I'd never get paid.
Then I wrote songs but didn't write music, so that left me with putative lyrics, songs only in my aspirations for them.
Then I became a lyricist, so now I rhyme all the time -- and get paid in leftover fruits and vegetables.  (This is an actual factual fact. When you play at the South Estes Farmer's Market, which is a really good gig, above and beyond the rhubarb and rutabagas, sometimes people stop and listen and every now and then a small child dances, but regularly the vendors give you produce at the end of the day.)
Several people have asked me if I ever thought about writing a novel, to which my common response is:  Have you ever read a novel?  Do you have any idea how long a novel is?
Why I don't have an inflated ego
Looking at a Friday edition of the Chapel Hill Herald, my mother-in-law asked, "Do they always put your column on the front-page?"
"Yes," I replied.
"But it's always below the fold," my wife added.
Gary D. Gaddy is a writer in residence in his own home.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 25, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy   

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 23, 2011 1:15 PM EDT
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Friday, March 18, 2011
Coaches Krzyzewski and Williams fined for comments
GREENSBORO -- The Atlantic Coast Conference today announced substantial fines levied on head coaches Michael Krzyzewski and Roy Williams, of Duke University and the University of North Carolina, respectively, for their criticism of officials made during their post-game press conferences following the league championship game last Sunday.  Each was assessed $50,000.
During the game broadcast commentators had noted the frustration of both coaches with numerous officiating calls.
Specific criticisms of officials made by the coaches cited as conduct violations in the league report included the following statements.
Krzyzewski:  "It is unacceptable to me that the officials continually let my players get away with obvious hand-checking fouls.  It was clear that Nolan (Smith) was regularly using two hands to check Kendall (Marshall).  I can get on Nolan all I want in practice, in the huddle, during halftime, but if Karl (Hess) and Bryan (Kersey) and Jamie (Luckie) won't back me up, I'll never get through. This (the hand check) was supposed to be a point of emphasis this year.  Sure didn't seem like one to me, in this game."
Williams: "I am galldurned fed up with the blocking fouls that’re called on the Plumlee brothers.  What, just because their technique ain't classic?  I didn't think this sport was about frickin' style points.  So what if they ain’t Shane Battier?  W ho is?  Even a blind ref oughta be able to hear 'em hit the dang floor with a thump.  That oughta be worth somethin’, don’t you think?”

Sidney Lowe's replacement sought
RALEIGH -- As North Carolina State University begins its search for a new men's basketball coach following head coach Sidney Lowe's resignation this week, the school’s athletic administration announced some of the criteria they will adhere to for their next hire.
First, the search committee is to look for a proven head coach, one who has coached in top conference and has demonstrated that he can recruit good players, teach the fundamentals and coach a good game plan.  They also want someone with high moral standards, clear personal discipline and the authority with his players to keep them in school, out of trouble and regarded generally as people who are a credit to their school and community.
The school will be looking for someone relatively young (under 50 years old) but still with substantial quality head coaching experience (at a minimum, having been named coach of the year in three different athletic conferences), and excellent  personal academic credentials (having been his high school valedictorian and a summa cum laude graduate from a rigorous university).
Having established those criteria, the search committee said its next task is to see if Herb Sendek still owns his house in Raleigh.

NFL and players union hire Aesop Consulting
NEW YORK -- The National Football League owners and the NFL Player's Association announced that they have agreed to join together to hire Aesop/Golden Goose Consulting to assist them in their mutual aim of boosting team values, increasing player salaries and generally accelerating profit growth of America's currently most successful professional sport.
"We'll start by dissecting the sport to see what makes it tick," said Aesop's Butch Geldgrabber. "With our aid, we feel confident working together the owners and players will make a killing."

Study shows Henson is all arms and legs
CHAPEL HILL -- A collaborative study by the University of North Carolina's School of Medicine and its Department of Sport Science has finally shown what commentators and spectators had thought for some time: UNC basketball forward John Henson actually is all arms and legs.
UNC Professor of Anatomy Jonathon Langbein said that MRIs clearly showed that Henson's arms were attached directly to his legs.
"He has no abdomen," said Langbein.
"This not only explains how Henson can make some of the seemingly impossible twisting and turning inside moves he makes on the basketball court but also why his off-season regime of six high-calorie  meals a day had led to so little weight gain," said Langbein.
"It is very difficult to put on pounds regardless of how much you eat when you have no stomach," he added.
On Sunday afternoon, at the gas station/convenience market formerly known as Starvin' Marvin's, Gary D. Gaddy talked to Kyle Singler's next-door neighbor who had flown in from Oregon for the ACC tournament.  Seemed like a nice guy.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 18, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy   

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:55 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 9:58 AM EDT
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Friday, March 11, 2011
Top of the Pops: A pop music pop quiz ('60s edition)
Question: What '60s song, made popular by which group, gained most of it fame from its mysteriously vulgar lyrics and was supposedly recorded just after its lead singer had dental surgery?
Answer: "Louie, Louie," as recorded by The Kingsmen in 1963, was the subject of a Federal Bureau Investigation probe into the supposed obscenity of the lyrics.  (Go to and search for "True Lyrics to Louie Louie."  If you were in junior high school in 1963, prepare to be, like the FBI investigators, disappointed by what you discover.)  The FBI probe ended without prosecution.
Question: What song, which is a song that you do know, originally had the title "Scrambled Eggs"?
Answer: The song, which is formally listed, as are all Lennon and/or McCartney songs which were recorded by the Beatles, as a Lennon and McCartney song, was actually written entirely by Paul McCartney. Paul woke up one morning with the melody, but no real lyrics, in his head.  The working opening verse was "Scrambled eggs/Oh, my baby how I love your legs."  The song "Scrambled Eggs" later became a huge hit record.  The new title, with appropriate accompanying lyrics, is "Yesterday."
Question: What song is the most performed song in the English language?
Answer:  No, it is not "Yesterday," although it has had the most cover versions of any song ever written (over 3,000), was voted Best Song of the 20th Century in a 1999 British Broadcasting Corporation Radio poll, and, in addition, was the most-played song on American radio for eight consecutive years.
The most performed song is, most likely, "Happy Birthday to You", the story of which begins with sisters Mildred and Patty Hill, kindergarten teachers in Louisville, Ky., writing "Good Morning to All" in 1893.  Then the same melody, with new lyrics, was copyrighted in 1935 as the "Happy Birthday" song known worldwide today.
According to law professor Robert Brauneis, "There is no evidence that these two sisters wrote those particular words."  It even is possible that children in the Hill sisters' school might be responsible. Why would anyone care?  This pretty little ditty is a cash juggernaut, generating approximately $2 million in royalties every year.
Question: What was the first song composed by a Beatle which was recorded by the Beatles?
Answer: "Love Me Do" or "Please Please Me" would be good guesses but wrong.  "When I'm Sixty Four" was written by Paul McCartney when he was a teenager, "during the Cavern days," that is, before the Beatles became the Beatles.
Question: What long-lived rock group's name is based on an ancient aphorism turned blues song then become band name?
Answer: This band name has its origin in the first century before Christ, when Plubilius Syrus wrote a series of Latin proverbs, including saxum (rocks) volutum (rolled) non (no) obducitur (collect) musco (moss), that is, "a rolling stone gathers no moss."  
In 1948 Muddy Waters wrote a song called "Rollin' Stone."  Brian Jones, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were big Muddy Waters fans.  According to Richards, Jones christened the band while phoning Jazz News to place an advertisement. When asked what the band's name was, Jones glanced at a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor of which one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone," pluralized it, and there you go.
Question: What über-popular pop group named itself in punning tribute to earlier pop rocker Buddy Holly's band?
Answer:  This Cricket-alluding band's various names, in chronological order, were The Black Jacks, The Quarry Men, Johnny and the Moondogs, The Nerk Twins, The Beatals, The Silver Beetles, The Silver Beats, The Beatles, The Silver Beatles and, finally, The Beatles (for once and for all).
George Harrison suggested that the name was inspired by the Marlon Brando film "The Wild One," where a black leather-clad motorcycle gang was referred to as the Beetles. As Hunter Davies put it, "Stu Sutcliffe saw this film . . . and suggested it to John as the new name for their group. John said yeah, but we'll spell it Beatles, as we're a beat group."
Gary D. Gaddy started growing his hair "to look like the Beatles" before he ever even saw a picture of one of them.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 11, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Friday, March 18, 2011 10:44 AM EDT
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Friday, March 4, 2011
I plea bargained with the law -- and the law won
I THOUGHT I HAD SCHEMED the system when my able attorney (who, for legal reasons, shall remain nameless) got me a bargain of a plea: a slap on the wrist for a reckless driving charge.  Haaa!
You are thinking, "What on earth were you doing to have such heinous offense hanging over your head?  Careening across an elementary school playground?  Running through multiple stop signs full tilt?  Weaving through heavy traffic on two wheels?"
No, I was driving down a Chapel Hill thoroughfare going a radar-detected 46 miles per hour.  I was cruising through the speed trap otherwise known as Weaver Dairy Extension, which is a divided roadway with center turn lanes, right turn lanes and an inexplicable 25-mile-an-hour speed limit.  (How inexplicable?  Don’t tell the officer citing me, but as I drove away from being ticketed, 100 yards down the same road, I looked at my speedometer and I was going well over 30 mph.  My car wouldn’t go 25 mph on that road.)  With 46 mph being 21 miles per hour over the posted limit, I could be convicted of reckless driving.
But with my new and reduced charge of improper equipment (which was, apparently, either my faulty brain or my vehicle itself), by paying court costs and a fine (plus some quite reasonable legal fees), my lawyers and the court will cut the insurance middlemen out of the deal as I will get no points on my license.
And, one other thing, I had to take the online driving course.  But how hard could that be?  (Only the parallel-parking element stymied me last time I took such a test back in 1966.)
The I DRIVE SAFELY® AAA Online Traffic School Course, North Carolina edition, which is, according to them, "Simple. Affordable. Hassle-Free," is anything but.  Simple?  Only if by that they meant for simpletons.  Affordable?  Only if you only count the fee for the course, and not what the minimum of 10 hours of your life it consumes.  (You figure it out: plumbers get $175 per hour and I have a Ph.D.)  And hassle-free?  Only if you don’t count multiple visits to the cosmetic surgeon for the hair implants (which I needed after pulling my hair out while taking said test.)
But I guess I should discount both the course fee and the opportunity-costs lost by all the valuable things I garnered from, highlights of which I will freely share with you.  (All entries are verbatim, edited only for simplicity's sake.)
General knowledge
An intersection is a point where any two or more roadways intersect or come together.
Commercial buses transport an assortment of passengers.
There is a higher concentration of pedestrians in urban environments.
Watch for signs identifying a street as one-way.  For example, you may see signs that say ONE WAY.
Using your horn can be beneficial or very irritating to other drivers.
The goal of every driver is to get to their destination safely.
The vehicle's engine provides the power required to move the vehicle across the surface of the road.
Moisture will begin to freeze as the temperature drops below 32 degrees.
If your hood flies up on the highway your visibility can be significantly impaired.
Elderly, handicapped, or blind pedestrians might move slowly through intersections. . . . Do not honk your horn or shout at them.
Do not use your horn directly behind . . . a horse rider on the side of the roadway.
Never use obscene hand gestures when driving.
Becoming angry or aggressive will not get you to your destination any sooner.
What do you think the nearly 8,000 people who were not wearing seat belts and died in motor vehicle crashes would do differently?
Sorry, but now that I have reviewed this treasure trove of life-saving wisdom, I realize it was worth my every minute and every single penny.  If you would like to take the course too, the quickest way is to take a drive down Weaver Dairy Extension, you'll be signed up in no time.
Gary D. Gaddy actually did get something mildly useful out of the I DRIVE SAFELY® AAA Online Traffic School Course:  this column.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday March 4, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:53 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, March 9, 2011 6:12 PM EST
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Friday, February 25, 2011
When you've said "Wisconsin!" -- you've said it all

PLEASE UNDERSTAND that the state of Wisconsin is, and has been, in a state of confusion.  This is the state that brought us both Joseph McCarthy and Frank P. Zeidler. The red-baiting U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy led the Army/McCarthy hearings, hunting for American communists under every rock.  Zeidler was, at the same time, the Socialist mayor of Milwaukee, its largest city.
I can't imagine another state so confused . . . except maybe North Carolina, which had Jesse Helms and John Edwards serving together as its United States senators.
Please know that Madison, where the recent ruckus is occurring, is Chapel Hill on steroids.  It is bigger.  (When I lived there in the 1980s the University of Wisconsin campus had 50,000 students, the size of NC State and UNC combined.)  More liberal.  (Definitive proof: In 1984 the real-estate-tax rates were twice as high in Madison as they were in Chapel Hill.)  And even more out of touch with the rest of Wisconsin than Chapel Hill is with North Carolina.  (Think Carrboro cubed.)
Earlier this month in Madison 14 Senate Democrats walked out of the legislature, hiked across the state line, and holed themselves up in Rockford, Ill., thus keeping the 33-member Senate one member short of achieving a 20-member quorum needed to vote on fiscal matters.  (This is what I call democracy in action -- as opposed to something mundane like voting.)
With their walkout, these senators thereby stalled a proposal by Gov. Scott Walker that would take away from the state's public-sector employees most of their collective bargaining rights, which would make large cuts in state spending, the governor would argue, feasible.  Since then the streets of Madison have been filled with tens of thousands of raucous demonstrators.
(For the record, almost every state, including North Carolina, is facing the prospect of large budget cuts.  And also, for the record, North Carolina's public-sector employees have had no collective bargaining rights since 1959 -- when a Democrat-controlled legislature took them away, under no particular budget crisis.  Does anybody think that North Carolina state employees are overworked, or underpaid and under-benefited, as compared to comparable private-sector workers?  I used to work for the state, and in the private sector, and I don't.)
Meanwhile, the Badger State constitution gives its Senate the right to "compel the attendance of absent members in such manner and under such penalty as each house may provide." Once notified of the absence, the Senate rules say the Senate sergeant at arms "shall forthwith proceed to find and bring in such absentees."  We will see what that means.
"The rules weren't written with the expectation that someone would deliberately not comply and would place themselves outside of the jurisdiction of the state," said UW-Milwaukee political science professor Mordecai Lee, who served in both the Assembly and the Senate.
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, this was not the first time Wisconsin lawmakers have walked off the job to avoid a legislative vote.  The State Journal summarized past efforts in Wisconsin to force lawmakers' attendance at votes as detailed in a 1960 report by the Wisconsin Legislative Reference Library.
• In 1903, during a vote on a bill to establish primary elections, lawmakers were forced to remain locked in chambers for 40 hours until absent legislators could be brought back to the Assembly. "One of whom had been found hidden in the hay of his farm barn in a faraway county," said the legislative report, quoting a 1943 State Journal article.
• In 1918, The New York Times reported that Wisconsin state senators remained locked in chamber after some lawmakers fled the Capitol to avoid voting on a "loyalty resolution" that was a veiled rebuke to Wisconsin's own Progressive U.S. Senator Robert La Follette's anti-war stance.
• In 1951, Rep. Ruth Doyle refused to leave the "ladies' powder room," where she fled to avoid voting on a resolution asking Gen. Douglas MacArthur to address the Legislature on appeasing "Communists in our own nation and the world."  A State Journal report said the Assembly Sergeant at Arms entered the bathroom, bringing Doyle back to the Assembly chamber, where she promptly voted against the measure.
We should have seen this brouhaha coming; the Miami did.  According to the Wisconsin Historical Society, "Wisconsin" is the English spelling of a French version of a Miami Indian name for the river that runs through the center of the state. Recent scholarship has concluded that in Miami it meant, "this stream meanders through something red."
* At the end of every home football game at Canp Randall, win or lose, the UW marching band heads out to the field to perform a mini-half-time show for the fans, most of whom stay, until the final number, sung to the tune of the Budweiser theme song, which ends with "When you've said Wisconsin! -- you've said it all."  Wisconsin is major beer-producing state.  Budweiser is a product of Anheuser-Busch which is based in St. Louis, Missouri. I told you they were confused. 

Gary D. Gaddy was a non-unionized Wisconsin public-sector employee from 1983 to 1987.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 25, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:24 AM EDT
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Friday, February 18, 2011
Shari Lewis exhumed; Lamb Chop again under suspicion

Editor's note: Despite last week's column's promise to deliver all the celebrity news our readers would ever need to read, as you will see, we had to publish this story.

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The body of actress and comedienne Shari Lewis has been exhumed, the Los Angeles Medical Examiner announced today, initiating a new investigation into of the circumstances surrounding to her death in 1998.  The death which had originally been investigated as a suicide but ruled "death by natural causes" is being reopened as a probable homicide.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office denied that this move bore any relation to the posthumous publication this week of Ms. Lewis's autobiography, entitled "Socks, Lies and Videotape."  The book details the rocky relationship between Ms. Lewis and her protégé, co-performer and longtime companion, Lamb Chop.

Observers have long noted that the witty on-air banter between Lewis and Lamb Chop became increasingly acrid over the years, paralleling the increasing warmth of relationship among Lewis, Hush Puppy and Charlie Horse.

According to his close associate Oscar, Lamb Chop always resented the "cute" Lamb Chop name, as well as getting second billing to Lewis.  "They treat us like their little marionettes," said Oscar.  "And who do you think wrote our best stuff?  Henson?  Lewis?  Right." Adding, "Neither one of them could improv their way out of bag puppet.  Just one time, I'd like to Punch and Judy them."

The interview with Oscar terminated quickly when the topic of Henson's untimely death was raised.

In her autobiography Lewis reveals that in late 1996 she began to develop an allergy to wool "which put a barrier between Lamb Chop and me."  Lewis also said that Lamb Chop often complained of "being used."  She quotes him as saying to her, "How would you like to try to perform comedy with someone's hand stuck up your . . ." just before throwing himself onto the middle of the bedroom floor in tears.

"Toward the end," Lewis wrote, "our friendship was just an act."

Attorney Levi Cohen, of the law firm of Cohen, Kohein, Cohn, Cahn, Cone, Kohn, Kahn and possibly Katz, which represents the Lewis family, said that regardless of how the investigation turns out, he is sure his firm will make lots of money.

Buzz Berkeley, of E. F. Mutton and Associates, the public relations firm representing the artist formerly known as Lamb Chop, said that "Chopper had moved on in his life" and that "this travesty would do nothing but unravel old wounds."

Chopper, who was a "sock of interest" in the original investigation into Ms. Lewis's death, parlayed that notoriety into a new career as part of the controversial rap duo Chops and the Ice Kween.  According to figures from, sales of the latest C/IK CD, "Bust Yer Chops," spiked immediately following the exhumation announcement.

LAPD investigators said technology unavailable in 1998 may bring to light new information regarding the death of Lewis.  "For example," said Detective Kram Manfuhr, "the previously unexplained rash on Lewis's neck may have been caused by contact dermatitis."  Manfuhr was quick to note that while the investigation was "not focusing" on any one individual, "Mr. Chop was the only one in the room at the time of Ms. Lewis's death."

Gary D. Gaddy has been a fan of Shari Lewis and Lamb Chop for decades, beginning perhaps as early as one of their first guest appearances on Captain Kangaroo, but was certainly a regular viewer of the Shari Lewis Show.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 18, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, February 19, 2011 7:13 AM EST
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Friday, February 11, 2011
Today's time and money saver: The generic celebrity news

READERS MAY WISH TO CLIP this special special-edition column and save it to read every week, or even every day if necessary, as it allows an individual to keep up with all the important celebrity news without maintaining a subscription to People magazine, buying the latest National Enquirer or even watching tonight's Entertainment Tonight.

HOLLYWOOD – Academy-Award®-winning actor was arrested again on substance abuse charges following a fray at a currently notable night club.  Actor could not be contacted for comment.  Celebrity attorney says that Oscar®-winning client has checked into well-known drug rehabilitation facility.

CHICAGO – Following persistent rumors of numerous affairs, Hall-of-Fame athlete has been slapped simultaneously with multiple paternity suits.  Published pictures of the individuals filing suits indicate that all of the paramours are all natural or bleach blondes.  Famous athlete is reported to have bought current wife one or more items of multi-carat diamond and gold jewelry.

LOS ANGELES – Person famous for no other reason except being famous was arrested again for driving under the influence.  Latest mug shots make this person look even worse than usual.  On-scene photos show famous person drives a notably expensive status symbol even when DUI.

MIAMI – Famous person is divorcing person famous for marrying famous person.  In written statements, both famous person and soon-to-be ex-spouse of famous person say that they hope to remain friends.  Other terms of divorce settlement are not disclosed.  Unnamed sources say large sums of money will be involved.  Follow-up stories indicate amicable breakup is not so amicable.

LOS CABOS – Formerly ordinary person made notorious by extended appearance on a popular reality television series has been arrested for: a) trashing hotel room, b) assaulting hotel staff and c) manhandling local celebrity who called in hotel staff to their shared room.  Incident resolved as reality TV star is paid substantial sum for interview with entertainment news channel which money is used to a) reimburse hotel for damages to room, b) pay off hotel staff and c) buy back affection of local celebrity, who is now, it is announced, reality star’s significant other.

ANTIGUA – Person newsworthy for their inherited wealth was taken to the hospital for bizarre, psychotic behavior while on a large luxury yacht moored in an exclusive marina.  Famous heir/heiress quickly released when psychiatrist recognizes person and realizes famous rich person is just eccentric.

NEW YORK – Notable politician specifically known for his very public views supporting family values was arrested after a not-very-well-known stripper and/or minor porn star accused him of stalking her.  Politician's wife stood by him uncomfortably at his press conference while notable politician admitted to a generic addiction and asked prayers and/or forgiveness from the "great people of this state" and says he has been "humbled by the experience," not specifying whether the humbling came from the recognition of his moral failing or being caught in it.

AUSTIN – Once notable quasi-country musician, now famous for his multiple drug possession arrests, is arrested for drug possession.  Charges dropped.

RALEIGH – Prominent politician charged with several crimes related to corrupting and/or being corrupt announces he has retained a celebrated attorney who always goes by first name, middle initial and last name, as well as the suffix of IIIrd, IVth or Vth.  Said eminent attorney at law, who always looks distinguished in his dapper attire, informs the assembled press that his client has been a "faithful steward for and a tireless servant of the great people of this great state," but is being crucified in the media because he stood up "against powerful interests and for the common man," one of which, notable attorney notes, his client is.


AUTHOR'S NOTE:  If, when you have completed reading the above, your celebrity news craving is not stemmed, please return to top and begin again.  Repeat as many times as necessary.



Gary D. Gaddy wishes, if he ever were to be charged with a generic crime, to be represented by an attorney with a prominent middle initial who goes by IVth, Vth or VIth.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 11, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 11, 2011 12:59 PM EST
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Friday, February 4, 2011
Tar Heels succeed in spite of themselves; Duke fails me

THIS PAST WEEK'S SPORTS NEWS featuring the Tar Heel Nation illustrates several fundamental principles of the sporting life.  The most prominent being: "It does not matter what you say about me, just make sure you spell my name right."

The Tar Heel Haters, of whom there are not a few, have enjoyed the last six months of bad news regarding the University of North Carolina's beleaguered football program.  The NC State fan base of the Tar Heel Haters, of whom there are not a few, have particularly enjoyed watching the Tar Heel Nation squirm under the unforgiving light of multiple serial and simultaneous NCAA investigations.

But, and here comes, "It does not matter what you say about me, just make sure you spell my name right."  It turns out "UNC" is hard to misspell.  (And hardly anybody, it seems, confuses the University of North Carolina with the University of Northern Colorado.)  All this negative press, and the prospect of NCAA probation and other sanctions, should have killed UNC's football recruiting, right?  Wrong.

This week included the most important date of the football season: "Signing Day," the day in which football-playing high school seniors sign their binding letters of intent.  And, in case you haven't noticed, players are what make up football teams.  In the various national recruiting rankings, UNC, bad press and all, was listed as 19th, 15th and 13th in three different polls, while NC State, which had nothing but good press, what little there was of it, ended up 67th in one and unranked in the other two.

As for basketball, ESPN GameDay covered, on national television, for seven long minutes, more than a week after the fact, Roy Williams' televised press conference tirade against a "fan" who criticized his team and Williams' subsequent apology for his rant during his radio call-in show.  This is, some would say, the kind of distraction that could knock a team off of its game.  Some would be wrong. 

The supposedly soft Heels proceeded to demolish a talented NC State team and obliterate a veteran Boston College squad.  Former Duke player and Duke Law School graduate, Jay Bilas* said of Williams' rant, "I loved it because he was standing up for his players," adding, "I liked what Roy Williams said, and I'm sure his players did, too."  I'm sure they did, too.

The Duke women and the Duke men let me down this week.  The Duke men lost to St. John's, the eleventh place team in the Big East, by 15 points.  Duke, as the only ranked team in the ACC, made the rest of the conference, including my Heels, look even more pathetic.  Now we'll have to beat them to feel good about ourselves.

Likewise it goes for the Duke women’s team's loss to the University of Connecticut Huskies.  As little a fan as I am of Joanne P. McCauley, I am even less a fan of the most undeserving coach in all of coachdom, Geno "I yell obscene things at teenagers because it makes them play better"** Auriemma.  I pulled hard for the Devils until the game was over, that is, ten minutes into the game when the score was 23-2 Huskies.  Now we'll have to beat them to feel good about ourselves.

* My lawyeresque wife once had an on-campus interview at a law school which shall remain unnamed with attorney Bilas for a summer internship at his law firm.  She shocked some of her younger co-ed classmates with the frank evaluation she made of him afterwards: "He's cute!!"

** Auriemma’s player-directed obscenities are not a rumor or a second-hand report or even the transcript from a lip-reading friend of my wife who once interpreted Mike Krzyzewski's "comments" to an official during a televised game.  It comes from an ear-tingling personal experience several years ago when I sat behind the UConn bench in the Smith Center. I won't tell you what Auriemma said because I don't repeat such things even in a whisper and certainly wouldn't put them in a family newspaper. One disgusting thing Auriemma once yelled at one of his players which I will repeat: "I don't even know why I recruited you!!!"  Sweet guy, ain't he?


Gary D. Gaddy's wife, despite her Wahoo grad degree and her devilish legal credentials, is now and ever shall be, true Tar Heel blue.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday February 4, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Friday, February 4, 2011 8:38 AM EST
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Friday, January 28, 2011
Gaddy indicted under International Blogging Conventions

THE HAGUE -- The International Court of Justice, operating under the Lucerne Conventions Concerning Blogging and Hacking, today presented an indictment of Gary D. Gaddy, the originator, author and sole proprietor of, for "multiple and serial violations of blogging protocol."

Gaddy, court officials hope, may be the first person convicted under the new conventions.

"The Lucerne Conventions are an unfortunately necessary adjunct to the expanding scope of the worldwide web," said the Court's standing Rules Committee member Judge Antônio A. Cançado Trindade.  According to Trindade, formalization of the formerly informal rules of blogging were inevitable given the expansion of access to the internet to those not inculcated in its shared culture.

Gaddy was indicted under four separate articles of the Lucerne Conventions, including Section 8, Subsection C, Article I, "failure to use appropriate quantities of abbreviations, acronyms and emoticons," which Gaddy is accused of repeatedly violating.  Expert witnesses said that Gaddy had regularly posted entries of up to 675 words without including so much as a single "u" or "&" or “BTW”.

Gaddy was charged with, under Section 3, Subsection B, Article II, "being clothed in attire other than underwear or pajamas or other sleepwear while composing materials intended for online posting," Gaddy has, on several occasions, according the indictment, written and/or edited material for internet posts while wearing “street clothes, socks and shoes.”

Under Section 3, Subsection B, Article I, "authoring and/or editing while clean shaven," officials claimed as evidence a cordless electric razor found in Gaddy’s domicile that was not only “regularly and recently used” but “shows clear evidence of recent automated cleaning.”

Under Section 10, Subsection A, Article IV, Gaddy was charged with maintaining an image "inappropriate for online viewing."  Gaddy, the indictment claims, appears in at least one posted webcam photo “wearing a necktie or cravat tied with a four-in-hand knot.”

The International Court of Justice, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, has its seat at the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands.  The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized United Nations organs and specialized agencies.

In related news, U.S. law enforcement agencies are studying placing federal criminal charges against Gaddy, contrapositively related to the charges filed against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, which were made under the Espionage Act for Assange's publication of classified U.S. diplomatic cables.  The proposed charges against Gaddy are for nondisclosure of unclassified disinformation, Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday.  No further information was released.

Amish scientists invent time machine

LANCASTER COUNTY, Pa. -- Amish scientists reported today that they have designed, developed and implemented the world’s first practical time machine.  Aaron Garber, who was also the lead engineer for the design and construction of the Amish fireplace, also known as the Heat Surge® Roll-n-Glow® electric fireplace, with Amish-made wood mantle, led the effort.

One drawback to the Amish Time Traveler’s® innovative buttonless operational design, the Garber reports, is that the engineers have not determined how to reverse the polarity of function and thus travel into the future or, more significantly, return from the past.

While the Amish Time Traveler® is not currently available for purchase, Garber noted that the Amish Mantle Heat Surge® miracle heater is currently on sale at for as little as $298, not including shipping and handling.


Gary D. Gaddy has a long legal record, beginning with his first court appearance in the summer of 1963 for disturbing the peace and the illegal discharge of Class C fireworks.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 28, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:57 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 27, 2011 6:02 PM EST
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Friday, January 21, 2011
Sicily: I say if ain't Baroque, don't fix it

A COUPLE OF OCTOBERS AGO my sweet wife and I had the opportunity to travel to Sicily for a vacation, so we took it.  We were invited by my step-daughter's husband's parents, which makes them . . . some people from Juneau, Alaska?  (We'll give you their email addresses if you ever want to go on a great vacation that involves lots of walking, lots of talking, lots of eating and more ancient ruins than you can shake a stick at.)

Because the Lutchanskys are from Juneau, they travel a lot.  (Trust me, if you were from Juneau, you'd travel a lot too. For example, what month would you say generally has the best weather in Juneau?  If you said August, you would be correct.  In the August preceding their vacation in Italy, it rained 30 out of 31 days.  That's the good weather.)  So, Leo and Llewellyn invited us to join them in Catania for the last 10 days of their month-long trek across Italy.

Some background: Sicily is the football at the bottom of the boot which is the peninsula of Italy.  Sicily is a wonder of the ancient Mediterranean.  According to our unbiased Sicilian tour guides, Sicily was the most important place in the ancient world, strategically if not culturally.  The island of Sicily is the center of chessboard militarily.  If you wanted to control the Mediterranean, you needed to control Sicily.  That's what they said, and I believe them.

I learned a lot more on our wonderful trip to Sicily.

For example, whatever you might think of the “Victory Mosque at Ground Zero,” we went inside a Roman temple that became an early Christian basilica that became a Moslem mosque and then, via the Norman conquest, became a Baroque Roman Catholic cathedral.  Such are the ebbs and flows of history – which is always written by the victors.

I also learned I don't like Baroque.  Right off, it's screwy.  If you've ever seen a Baroque column (and known what you were looking at), you will know what I'm talking about.  Baroque boasts too much.  Baroque’s the brat who is always yelling, "Look at me! Look at me!"  If there ever was a self-centered, ostentatious architecture, it's Baroque.  Happily, Sicily has but a little of it.

One thing my lovely and talented and wine-drinking wife learned quickly to like about Sicily was how they do dinner.  Nicer Sicilian restaurants have a per capita “table charge” which covers plates, dinner ware, napkins, bread and, here's the kicker, the wine.  They bring to your table freely refillable pitchers of red and white wine.  It's like they do the sweet tea at Allen & Sons BBQ.

And the wine is good, and, as the bottomless carafe suggests, quite affordable.  One of my most memorable memories from our very memorific time in Sicily was a service station, or at least what I thought was a service station, in Palermo.  It had glass-paneled garage-type doors and we could see people at two pumps filling large 20-liter containers (like you might use if you use kerosene space heaters to heat your house).  One pump said "vino rosso" and the other "vino bianco."  It was a wine filling station, where they sold wine by the liter.

The food in Sicily was meraviglioso.  Italy has been at the forefront of the "slow food movement."  Sicily, to the best I could see, never left it.  Meals in Sicily can last hours, and the food is universally exquisite. We stopped once at an actual service station where I got the best Italian sub sandwich I ever put in my mouth.

We stayed at a B&B set in a vineyard/olive orchard and asked the proprietor to recommend a “good restaurant.” He led us in his rattling little pickup to what looked like a biker bar way out Highway 54.  It was the best homemade pasta I ever tasted.

Our trip to Sicily was, as we put it afterwards, "the search for the bad Italian restaurant."  What this means we will have to return, 'cause we didn't find it.

Gary D. Gaddy got a laugh from his Italian hosts when he told them he was a Lupo.* 

* Lupo was his Sicilian grandmother’s maiden name.  In Italian it means a crazy person.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 21, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:57 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:38 AM EDT
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Friday, January 14, 2011
Facing up to Facebook: Won't you be my friend?

I AM GETTING SOCIALIZED.  Over the last months I have become expert in the new social media such as Tweeter, MyFace and Spacebook. [Excuse me for a second.]  I'm sorry. My wife says it's Twitter, MySpace and Facebook.  Anyway, you knew what I meant.

But here is how it is settling out.  I inadvertently got LinkedIn but I am now trying to get LinkedOut.  My MySpace page is a vacant lot.  I think I need a lot more readers before I really try Tweeter. (Admit it, Tweeter does sound better than Twitter.  And further why do they call it Twitter if what you send are Tweets anyway?)

In any case, Facebook is the place for me.  I am friending, befriending, defriending and being unfriended all day long these days.

I realize now how disconnected I was from the world around me.  But, with the help of Facebook, I am now friends with dozens of people I never met.  With the assistance of marvelous social networking tools, I get to re-live my years at Robert E. Lee Junior High School without undue risk of getting beaten up again by the 15-and-a-half-year-old hoods with the slicked-back hair in gym class.

It is a good thing that my wife is not the jealous sort, what with now-ex junior-high-school cheerleaders chasing after me again. (Just like back in junior hi.)

And, through Facebook, not only can you get together with old flames from high school, but you don't need to go out on a single actual date to be reminded why you broke up with them in the first place.

Furthermore, Facebook is an intergenerational treasure trove of information that just a few years ago would have taken a small army of private investigators to uncover, but now is delivered to my digital doorstep free of charge. Last semester I could know which bars in Buenos Aires my niece was happily hopping amongst. (Boy is Franklin Street going to be bore, bore, boring this semester for her.)

Now I am told, by a reputable source, that my mother-in-law is on Facebook, which is causing me to re-think this whole intergenerational transfer of information thing.  Gotta go.  Need to check if I have any new friend requests.


The $50 billion question

Facebook is a privately held company, so it would normally be hard to know what it is worth.  Its most substantial asset is me, and, also, people like me, i.e., Facebook users.  Recently that changed, and the Wall Street Journal Online posed this question: "Goldman Sachs and Russia's Digital Sky Technologies have invested $500 million in Facebook Inc., a deal that gives the social-networking site a valuation of $50 billion.  What do you think?  Is the company worth more than eBay, Yahoo and Time Warner?"

Here are some selected online responses to that question.

Maciej Janiec wrote: "$50 billion means that every Facebook user is valued at about $100.  I wonder how to extract this money out of the users?"

Stephen Borsher wrote: ". . . That valuation is absurd. Looks to me like we are headed for another dot-com bomb; or, more likely, a meltdown of unclear [Editor’s note: perhaps this is a typo, and should have said ‘nuclear’] proportions."

Tommy Butler wrote: "If your marketing strategy is ‘pump and dump,’ then the current value is irrelevant. You simply have to locate a gullible buyer. . . .You can't be serious. Surely these shares were purchased with the thought that they will be re-sold at a higher price, soon."

Justin Murray wrote: "Reminds me of 1999.  Soon it will remind me of March 2000."   [Editor’s note: March 2000 is when the dot-com bubble first began to burst.]

Gary Gaddy says: "Please friend me on Facebook, so I can help these poor investors out and have a Joy-filled New Year!"


Gary D. Gaddy really does want you to friend him on Facebook. Please do mention that you saw him first in the Chapel Hill Herald.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 14, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 14, 2011 10:06 PM EST
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Friday, January 7, 2011
What's new in the news: The bottom eight for 2010

News you may have missed in 2010.  You tell me which are fact and which are fiction.


Playmate "overexposed" by TSA

LOS ANGELES — Former Playboy Playmate Donna D'Errico — Miss September 1995 — feels overexposed by TSA airport scanners.  The former "Baywatch" babe accused a TSA official of singling out her, and her son, to undergo full body scans at the Los Angeles International Airport.

"It is my personal belief that they pulled me aside because they thought I was attractive," said D'Errico.

"My boyfriend looks much more like a terrorist than either I or my son do, and he went through security with no problems," D'Errico said.

As a further complaint, D'Errico says the agent never gave her the option for a pat-down.


Maryland coach Ralph Friedgen fired

COLLEGE PARK — Ralph Friedgen, head coach of the University of Maryland football team, was fired in the same season he was named Atlantic Coast Conference coach of the year, even though there has been no hint of scandal during his tenure.

Friedgen won the conference championship during his first season, when he was the consensus national coach of the year.  He also earned ACC coaching honors both his first year and this one, and took his teams to seven bowl games in 10 seasons.


Cops catch suspect tattooed suspect

MIAMI — Police locked up a suspected iPhone thief on Tuesday thanks to his distinctive forehead tattoo.

Each heist involved a man entering a store, jerking one or two display iPhones from their security cables, and running away.  Witnesses remembered the man's tattoo.

It's a great help when suspects "put stupid things on their face and make it easier to identify them," said Jim Leljedal, a spokesman for the sheriff's office. 

Joseph Williams, 19, will face at least 19 counts of grand theft.  His tattoo read: "I'm Me."


Police taken on horse-and-buggy ride

LEON, N.Y. — Levi Detweiler, a 17-year-old Amish youth, accused of leading police on a low-speed one-mile chase when he allegedly refused to pull over while driving his horse and buggy, has been charged with underage possession of alcohol, reckless endangerment, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to yield to an emergency vehicle and over-driving an animal.

And, yes, "over-driving an animal" is an actual crime.


WikiLeaker wronged by leaks

LONDON — Julian Assange, the spokesperson and editor in chief for WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website and conduit for news leaks, has been wronged.

In November, WikiLeaks began releasing the 251,000 American diplomatic cables in their possession, 40 percent of which are listed "Confidential" and six percent are classified "Secret."

In December, someone leaked records involving a criminal prosecution of Assange, who describes himself as an activist for "radical transparency."

As a result of the leaks, "Julian may be forced into a trial in the media" and "the purpose can only be one thing — trying to make Julian look bad," said Bjorn Hurtig, Assange’s lawyer.


Big Ten to change name

PARK RIDGE, Ill. — The Big Ten Conference has decided to change its name following the addition of a 12th member to the formerly 11-member athletic conference and in consideration of the 0-5 shellacking it took in New Year's Day football bowl games.  The new name will be the Modestly Sized 12.  Also, the proposed names of the two new conference divisions have been changed from Leaders and Legends to Losers and Lousy Losers.


Suspect tries low-speed escape

TAMPA — Sheriff's deputies were searching a house for stolen property when they got a tip that one of the suspects, identified as Charles McDaniel, 25, was trying to make his escape — on a riding mower.

Lawn mowers aren't good getaway vehicles, according to Bobby Cleveland.

"And they're just a little too slow — unless you're on my mower," said Cleveland, the man who holds the world record for highest speed reached on a lawn mower, 96.529 miles per hour.

McDaniel was apprehended, arrested and charged with theft of a firearm, carrying a concealed firearm and being a felon in possession of a firearm — but not speeding.  He left the crime scene at an estimated seven to eight miles per hour.


Christmas tree threatens peace

SEOUL — The South Korean government responded aggressively to North Korea's sinking of a South Korean warship in March and the November shelling of a South Korean island which killed two and injured 20 more — by lighting a Christmas Tree

South Korea says a giant Christmas tree near the North Korean border will stay lit up till January 8 — the date that marks the birthday of North Korea's heir apparent.  The tree — a nearly 100-foot-tall metal tower strung with light bulbs — was lit up as marines stood guard against any cross-border attack on it.


Gary D. Gaddy would like to wish his reader(s) a joy-filled new year. 

NOTE: All of the above stories are absolutely true, with the exception of the one on the Big Ten, in which the name-change parts were made up — but not the rest if it.  (But I should acknowledge that a "Big Ten," team, The Ohio State University, won — for the first time in ten tries — a bowl game against a Southeastern Conference team.  But I should also note TOSU used five suspended players in the game.  True.  Look it up.)

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 7, 2011.

Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 11:34 AM EDT
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Friday, December 31, 2010
The sentimental cynic: New Year's resolved

THIS IS WHAT I SAID: "My New Year's resolution this year is to have no New Year's resolution."  Well, that didn't work.

All the major American holidays have some bad traditions associated with them.  For example, gluttony is associated with . . . hmmm . . . all the major American holidays.  Penitence and subsequent penance often follows shortly thereafter — when the cumulative impact of Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas/New Year's comes home to roost, usually on my belly.

Like my friend Dave! Ward, I say:  "I would be willing to do anything to have a fit and muscular physique — except diet or exercise."
* One year I resolve to lose weight.
* The next year I resolve to diet.
* The next year I resolve to get more exercise.
* The next year I resolve to use the treadmill more often.
* This year I am going to resolve to sell the like-new treadmill.

I don't know about yours but all my resolutions end up dissolving like a North Carolina snow -- quickly.

My resolution to this conundrum?  This year I am resolute to be resolute in whatever I resolve, if I resolve anything at all.  For now, it is just to provide the news you can't get anywhere else.


New Year refusing to come in

NEW YORK — For the first time since the year-change from 1929 to1930, the New Year is refusing  to come in. Chronologists at Columbia University's Department of Dimensional Studies say this will leave the Old Year to serve another term — which bodes for another disastrous year for the planet Earth.

"People often think of the New Year as innocent as a new-born babe, and that is how he is commonly portrayed, but he's been watching things incubate for nine months so he has gained a little perspective — and he doesn't seem to like what he's seeing," said Dr. Milbourne Tique, an expert in astrometrics.

"We have had Old Years that wanted to stick around, sort of like football coaches Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden, when everybody else knew their time was up, but it is pretty rare for a New Year to balk like this.  But, to tell the truth, who could blame him," added Professor Tique.

"I guess we will just have to wait for the ball to drop to see what happens," said Tique.


Fruitcake reveals “old earth”

ATLANTA — Scientists at the Georgian Institute of Technology have discovered a wrapped and uneaten fruitcake that was carbon-dated at 8.4 billion years old, pushing back estimates of the earth's age by nearly four billion years from the previous estimate of 4.54 billion years.

A combination of fingerprint and DNA analysis suggests that the fruitcake, which was discovered in house of one of the researchers’ Aunt Mildred, was passed repeatedly among a relatively small family and friendship circle, and may be one of the earliest known examples of the now-common practice of re-gifting.


Advice to my New Year's Eve readers

Do not spend New Year's Day with a hangover.  (Taking this advice, of course, begins on New Year's Eve.)  I know I won't start the New Year with a hangover because I don't drink much of anything alcohol laden, especially champagne.  (Taking care with champagne is a lesson learned from an episode in my younger years [circa 1976] in which I got into a champagne drinking contest with an Austrian.  I don't remember who won, but I do know who lost.  I also don't remember whether I had 13 glasses or 17 glasses of champagne — but it seems like it was a double-digit prime number.  The fact of the matter is I don't remember much of anything from that afternoon or night — but I do remember the next morning — and it makes my head throb just think about it.)

Note to my everyday readers

Regarding an earlier column, which referenced "questions you never want to be asked," my lovely, talented and clever wife explained how I should respond if she were ever to ask me: "Do I look fat in this?"  She says I should simply reply: "Do I look stupid?"


Gary D. Gaddy, according to a reputable source, doesn’t look stupid.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 31, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:29 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 8:44 PM EST
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Friday, December 24, 2010
The Christmas Story, the North Carolina edition

IN THE SPIRIT OF THE SEASON, I thought I would share my column space with my wife's cousin, Bobo Herring, who is from Traphill over in Wilkes County up in the Brushy Mountains.   Bobo likes to tell the Nativity Story.

Now here's the story how the Baby Jesus got to be the Baby Jesus.  His momma, Mary Lee, was plannin' to marry Uncle Joe, but they weren't hitched yet when Mary Lee found out she was in a fam'ly way, even though she hadn't been messin' 'round with Joe — nor anybody fer that matter.  Mary Lee tolt Ol' Joe about it and he was kindly notioned enough not to want to make a spectacle of it all and thought maybe he would send her quiet-like back home to her fam'ly.

But that was 'fore Uncle Joe had a dream where an angel appear'd to him, sayin', "Brother Joe, don't be a-feared to take that little woman for thy lawfully wedded wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost, and thou shalt call that baby Jesus, 'cause that's who he's gonna be."  (Angels, they talk like that.)

And came to be 'bout that same time, a call went up outta Raleigh that ever'body oughta be counted and taxed.  So, ever' fam'ly had to go back to their home place to pay their tab.  So, ol' Uncle Joe packed up from Robeson County down Lumberton way and drove over to Mecklenburg to the city of Charlotte ('cause he was of uptown folks) in his Pinto, so he could pay his taxes.  And Mary Lee, his wife-to-be, was 'bout fit to bust.  While they was up to Charlotte, Mary Lee had that young'un, her firstest one.  It was a cold December, so she wrapped that boy up in shop towels, and lay him in a tool chest in the garage where they was sheltered, 'cause the motels were all full up.

Just outside the city limits, there were mechanics rummagin' through a junkyard that night, when a light came a-shinin' on them, and they were sorely a-feared.  But then a voice said to them: "Do not be a-feared!  This here is good news we's a-bringin' you and all the folks, 'cause today, in the Queen City of the South, a chile's been born, which is gonna turn out to be Jesus, the Lord of the Whole Universe.  If'n you don't believe us, just wait, 'cause when you see the little rascal he'll be layin' in a tool box all wrapped up in grease rags."

Then, pow! there was a whole choir a-voices a-singin' and a-sayin': "Glory here!  Glory there!  Glory be to God up in the air!  Peace be to men!  Good will ever'where!  Glory be to God up in the air!"

But just as quick as that choir showed up, they was gone.  And them mechanics looked smack at one 'nother and said, all right at the same time: "Let's go up to Charlotte and see what in heaven's name they is talkin' 'bout."  They went a-speedin' into town in Zeb's Mustang and found Mary Lee and Uncle Joe in a garage and the little baby layin' in a toolbox all wrapped up in grease rags, just like that choir tolt'em.  Zeb and Zeke and all the rest of them mechanics was fit to be tied what with all they had seen, and was tellin' ever'body they bumped into what the choir tolt'em and that Baby Jesus was in that garage shed just like they said.

A little later and little bit further down the road, three sharp-witted fellers from down east came lookin' for the Baby Jesus.  First thing them sharp fellers did was cruise up to Raleigh in
their Expedition to the history museum and ask where a Baby King Jesus oughta be born, and they was a-tolt that Charlotte was the royal city 'round these parts.  So, these fellers follered the highway 'til they got down to Charlotte and found Mary Lee and Joe livin' in a mill house with Joe's kin.  Those sharp fellers gave the baby gifts from Goldsboro, Franklinton and Murfreesboro, and worshipped him like he was the Baby Jesus, Son of God and Saver of Ever'body.

So, thanks be to Mary Lee and ol' Uncle Joe and the lil' Baby Jesus, that's how we get to have Christmas.

Gary D. Gaddy wishes all his readers a Merry Christmas!

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 24, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy



Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 4:41 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, January 2, 2011 8:18 PM EST
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Friday, December 17, 2010
All the news that fits -- and then some

These News-in-Briefs© highlights are brought to you by Fruit of the Loom® brand undergarments, whose collections feature classic and contemporary styling with comfortable cotton fabrics and carefree cotton blends.

Chernobyl visitors bring back glowing reports

MOSCOW — The first visitors to the
Ukraine's hottest new tourist destination, the moth-balled Chernobyl nuclear plant, are just back in the United States.  The glowing reports to their friends and neighbors from these inaugural visits, Ukrainian tourism officials hope, will set off a chain-reaction of new visitors.

Kick the Can new national sport

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In unanimous bi-partisan action, Congress voted today to make Kick the Can the new national sport.  Each successive Congress is expected to extend this unfunded mandate.

The Stimulus!  The Sequel!  

HOLLYWOOD — Billed as a 21st century Fantasia, "The Stimulus! The Sequel!" will initiate casting this week, said Walt Disney Productions.  Insiders expect an extended cameo featuring Dumbo, along with leading roles for Bacchus, the god of wine, and his horned donkey, Jacchus.

Carrboro tops for flashbacks

CARRBORO — In its December issue, High Times magazine named Carrboro the top town in America for experiencing flashbacks.  In response, the Carrboro Board of Alderpersons passed a one-word resolution: "Groovy!"

Local invention to spark recovery

CHAPEL HILL — Local inventor Gerald Sensanough says his proposed innovation "will spark a nationwide economic recovery."  Sensanough was understandably coy about divulging too many details about his new product, described it as "an electric fork" specifically designed for consuming pork.

UNC study predicts procrastination

CHAPEL HILL — A new study from the University of North Carolina shows that individuals who are late for their own funerals were often late to earlier events.  Evan De Bolivar, a chronologist in the school's Department of Anthropology, said a follow-up study will examine the same relationship for post-term babies, that is, those who are late for their own births.


Some things I hope you never hear

From your boss: "I can give you a good reference."
From your real estate agent: "Think double-wide."
From your neighbor: "Actually meth labs are pretty safe."
From your accountant: "So, I was a few zeros off?"
From your lawyer: "So, how would you feel about jail time?"
From your surgeon: "Let's go in there and look around."
From your flight attendant: "You may want to use your seat cushion as a flotation device."
From your wife: "We need to talk."

Questions you never want her to ask

"Do you know what day today is?"
"Notice anything different?"
"Do I look fat in this?"


Department of Corections

Due to some confusion by compositors in the typesetting department who were acting with a heightened sense of urgency due to deadline pressure, last week's column referring to WikiLeaks linked to an entirely distinct website, an internet discussion group for urologists specializing in the treatment of urinary incontinence,   We apologize for any inconvenience this might have caused our readers.


Gary D. Gaddy sometimes wears boxers, sometimes briefs.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 17, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:22 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 17, 2010 11:12 AM EST
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Friday, December 10, 2010
UNC players Austin and Quinn reinstated for bowl

CHAPEL HILL — In an unprecedented decision, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has reinstated former University of North Carolina defensive tackle Marvin Austin and defensive end Robert Quinn, who had both been previously ruled permanently ineligible by the NCAA for collegiate play, so that they can appear in the Bowl Championship Series Championship Game on January 10, 2011.

Austin and Quinn, who were ruled permanently ineligible for violations of NCAA agent benefits, preferential treatment and ethical conduct rules, did not in any games for UNC this season.

Austin is expected to start at nose tackle for the Auburn University Tigers.  Quinn is slated to start at defensive end for the University of
Oregon Ducks.

The NCAA's head of enforcement, Julie Roe Lach, said that the decision reinstating Austin and Quinn was made in light of its decision to reinstate Auburn University's Heisman finalist quarterback Cam Newton, after a one-day suspension.

Newton began his college career at the University of Florida, but left there, according to the Orlando Sentinel, amid allegations of academic fraud and following an arrest in which he was found with a stolen laptop which he threw out the window when police arrived.  Newton then transferred to Auburn.

After the NCAA determined that Cam Newton's father, Cecil Newton, actively marketed his son to at least one other university in a pay-for-play scheme amounting to $180,000 before the younger Newton signed with Auburn, he was held out of one practice before being reinstated.

"Since these violations [by Austin and Quinn] occurred while these student-athletes were enrolled at UNC," said the NCAA's Lach, "it seemed reasonable that they also should be allowed to play with other, championship-potential, teams."  

"With Austin and Quinn, the process took longer than it did with Cam because, although both are projected as first-round picks in the upcoming NFL draft, neither is viable Heisman trophy prospect — and we had bigger fish to fry," said Lach.

[EDITOR'S NOTE: As defensive players, neither Quinn nor Austin was considered a likely candidate for the Heisman, which is awarded annually to "the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football," which is clearly understood by Heisman voters to mean most outstanding offensive player, as no strictly defensive player has ever won the award.]

The NCAA, Lach wanted to emphasize, had no part in the punishment meted out this season to Oregon's Heisman finalist running back LaMichael James.  According to The Oregonian, police in Springfield, Oregon, arrested James outside his apartment last February, after an argument with a former girlfriend escalated.  James was charged with with one count of strangulation, two counts of fourth-degree assault and two charges of physical harassment.. He pled down to physical harassment and was sentenced to 10 days in jail and 24 months of probation.

As a result of this criminal conviction, Oregon suspended James for one game, the season opener versus New Mexico — which Oregon won 72-0.  Lach said the NCAA was considering sanctions against Oregon for their punishment of James.  The game, Lach noted, was regionally televised on the Oregon Sports Network.

Lach also said that the NCAA had not reinstated the five other UNC players, defensive end Michael McAdoo, receiver Greg Little, cornerback Charles Brown, safety Brian Gupton or safety Jonathan Smith, who were all ruled ineligible to play for the entire season by the NCAA.  Lach said the NCAA would not do so until the NCAA received more complete information from Nielsen Media Research about those players' Q scores and viewer name recognition.

Gary D. Gaddy, it is reported by the Chapel Hill Herald, has provided false information to his column's readers despite "multiple opportunities to correct his assertions."

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 10, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy



Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Friday, December 10, 2010 9:21 AM EST
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Friday, December 3, 2010
Wit and wisdom attributed to Winston Churchill

THIS WEEK, 136 YEARS AGO, on November 30, 1874 to be exact, one of the great men, historians and wordsmiths of the past century was born.

Winston Churchill served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1940 to 1945, when, closely following the Allied forces victory in Europe, the voters summarily rejected him and his Conservative Party.   That moment, I would argue, marked the beginning of the end of the British Empire.

Churchill won the Nobel Prize in literature, and was the first person to be recognized as an honorary citizen of the United States.  See if you don't agree with me that the gentleman still has some relevance today.  

[Note: Each of these quotations has been attributed to Churchill thousands of times, but given how rapidly error proliferates in the cut-and-paste era, I still wouldn't be too sure about some of them myself.]


Churchill kept to his own ideals about ideas.

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom; justice; honor; duty; mercy; hope.”

“You must look at the facts because they look at you.”

“Any man who is under 30, and is not a liberal, has no heart; and any man who is over 30, and is not a conservative, has no brains.”


Like many of us, Churchill had a love/hate affair with democracy.

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.”

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth . . . but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.”

“It would be a great reform in politics if wisdom could be made to spread as easily and rapidly as folly.”

“It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government . . . except all the others that have been tried.”

Churchill was a governor who wanted to limit his own governing power.

“Some see private enterprise as a predatory target to be shot, others as a cow to be milked, but few are those who see it as a sturdy horse pulling the wagon.”

“There is no such thing as a good tax.”

“We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”


As I read him, Churchill was not a socialist.

“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

“Christopher Columbus was the first socialist: he didn’t know where he was going, he didn’t know where he was . . . and he did it all at taxpayer’s expense.”

“Socialism is like a dream.  Sooner or later you wake up to reality.”


The very quotable Churchill spoke as he thought speech should be spoken.

“Old expressions are the best, and short ones even better.”

“The rule which forbids ending a sentence with a preposition is the kind of nonsense up with which I will not put.”

[On the U.S. and the U.K.] “Two nations divided by a common language.”

“It is a good thing for an uneducated man to read a book of quotations.”

Gary D. Gaddy thinks it is good thing for the educated to read columns of quotations too.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 3, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:20 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 23, 2010 6:25 PM EST
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Friday, November 26, 2010
TSA gropes to balance traveler safety and satisfaction

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Continuing to grope for an answer to the conundrum of how to provide enhanced security against terrorists who are targeting airline travel while it tries to satisfy the traveling public, the Transportation Security Administration today announced a set of initiatives and refinements to existing policies and technologies.

"We're feeling our way through this sensitive process," said transportation security chief John Pistole.  While he wanted to make clear that the changes in protocol are "still being massaged," Pistole enumerated a series of policy adjustments being put into place immediately.

Those who are offended, or might potentially be offended, by the revealing visual full body scans, may use lead aprons like those used during dental X-rays.  For others less sensitive, 9x12 glossy prints suitable for framing will be made available at a nominal cost.

In order to reduce delays caused by those opting out of the body scans, passengers will no longer be allowed to request repeat pat downs, said Pistole.

The TSA will change its hiring criteria. "Using licensed masseurs and masseuses for the manual body screenings seemed like a good idea at the time, but we are re-thinking it," he added.

Passengers will be pre-sorted before passing through the security portal according to threat level, but, to avoid profiling, the passengers will self-assess.  The preliminary categories will be labeled "Not a Terrorist at this Time," "Incompetent Terrorist" and "Competent Terrorist."

Said Pistole, "We expect to spend the most time with the 'Not a Terrorist' and the 'Competent Terrorist' categories as our current screening and detection protocols have been shown to work well with incompetent terrorists."

Pilots, flight crew members as well as passengers traveling commando will no longer be subject to underwear searches.

The Air Travel Liquid ban, which was initiated by the TSA in 2006 after British police foiled a plot to blow up airliners with liquid explosives and which limits Americans to bringing only 3.4-ounce-and-smaller bottles in plastic baggies through the security gate, has been relaxed to allow non-clear liquor in mini-bottles, as it has been determined to be forbidden under Sharia law.

Printer toner cartridges in general will no longer be banned from carry-on luggage, as they were immediately following the incidents on Oct. 29 in which bombs crafted from laser printer toner cartridges were discovered on flights from Yemen to Canada and the United States.

"Careful further examination of those bombs shows that they all were constructed from Canon products, and from a limited range of models.  To reduce the burden on the public, especially those who like to print hard copies while in flight, we will only exclude model numbers CRG-104, L104, 104 and 104-compatible cartridges," said Pistole.

Following a careful analysis of the attempt by “Shoe Bomber” Richard C. Reid to blow up an American Airlines flight out of Paris on Dec. 22, 2001, Pistole said the TSA will limit its requests to remove shoes to those wearing Bass "Weejun"-type cordovan loafers of men's size 11 wide.

Further, Pistole said he had followed up on the recent report of an ABC News employee traveling through Newark Liberty International Airport Sunday morning, who said that the TSA officer who checked her "reached her hands inside my underwear and felt her way around." Pistole said the report was verified and the TSA employee has been charged with practicing medicine without a license.

Per a  request made by Pistole as he concluded this interview, all travelers are asked not disburse information on these new procedures to any known or probable terrorists regardless of competency as the TSA would like to keep them secret for as long as possible.

Gary D. Gaddy likes to make jokes about almost everything to just about anyone -- but not around Transportation Security Administration employees.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 26, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 2:26 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, December 5, 2010 7:48 PM EST
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