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Friday, January 8, 2010
Ten or so things that I learned from my dad

MY DAD'S BIRTHDAY is today.  My birthday present for Dr. Clifford Garland Gaddy, Sr., M.D., is a recounting of some of the best gifts he has given to me: things I have learned from watching him.

Money is not all that matters; it might not even be third or fourth.  Once when I was maybe 10 years old, I was helping my dad send out medical bills because his secretary had been out sick.  One bill was for over $2000.  (A lot of money back then.)  I said, "Oh, boy!"  My dad looked at the bill, said, "He has headaches already and he can't pay this anyway."  He threw the bill in the trash.

Everybody deserves the same respect regardless of their station in life.  Just by listening you couldn't tell if my dad was talking to Harrison, the sharecropper who worked our farm, or to the president of American National Bank.

Big isn't measured in inches.  My dad is big man in every way but height. But I will have to admit that he did enjoy meeting Muggsy Bogues in person, with my dad verifying that he was taller than an NBA basketball player.

Colorblind is good.  My dad is colorblind, literally and figuratively.  He can't tell a red light from a green light except one's on the top and the other's on the bottom.  If my mom didn't pick out his ties for him, he would look really funny some days.  But that's not the kind of colorblind I'm talking about.  Dad says one of his proudest days was the first time that a black player started for our formerly all-white high school's basketball team -- even though his son, my brother Steve, was the player who lost his spot to him.

Give more than you take; leave the place in better shape than you found it.  Once when our family went to Ridgecrest for a family summer camp, a friend loaned us his cabin.  Our last afternoon at the camp our family did yard work around the cabin, leaving the grounds looking great, not because we had to, or even we were asked to, but because it was a good thing to do.  At the time I didn't get it.

Friendships are measured not in days but in decades.  My parents have friends, the Dickersons and the Cresenzos, whose close friendships they kept across seven, soon to be eight, different decades.  My parents always made time to do things with their friends even when it would have been easier not to.  Family vacations with two families with 11 kids are not easy but are a great way to bond.

Loving your children equally well doesn't mean treating them all the same.  I am sure that my dad (and my mom) must have had favorites among their six children.  But, to this day, I don't know who they are -- and that's not because they mechanically treated us the same, because they didn't.

If you are going to do something, do it right.  My dad took up golf as an adult and became quite adept -- and has trophies to prove it -- which you could attribute to his love of the game.  But in his youth he was a Golden Gloves state boxing champion -- though he never really liked the sport -- as you might expect of someone born to be doctor.  As a physician he studied continually -- and was the best prepared practitioner of internal medicine you could imagine.

Keep your promises -- even those made in haste.  My dad promised my brother he would "build a shuffle board court in our backyard" if he won that week's campwide shuffle board tournament.  My dad wasn't too worried about paying off the bet since my brother had just learned to play that week.  Steve beat the man who taught him to play in the finals.  We had a shuffle board court in our backyard.

Love your wife.  Every Thanksgiving Dad tells the story about meeting Inez.  After more than sixty years of marriage, it's a love story every time he tells it.

These are hardly the only things I learned from my dad.  In fact, they are just the first 10 that came into my head.  Happy birthday, Dad!


Gary D. Gaddy would love to be remembered as Dr. Gaddy’s son.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 8, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Friday, January 8, 2010 8:46 AM EST
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Wednesday, January 6, 2010
Sometimes it is good to lose -- sometimes


IT IS GOOD TO LOSE -- sometimes.  No, this is not an article written to give small consolation to Wolfpack men’s basketball fans disconsolate over their loss to the University of Florida Gators the other night on a 75-foot buzzer-beater.  No one needs to console the fans of a team that won a national championship on an air ball.

Nor is this column written to console the North Carolina Central women's basketball team which recently lost to Duke 117 to 28.  No, somebody at NCCU should have read up on regional holiday customs before booking that gig.  In New Jersey, it is a long-standing tradition to invite over your neighbors around New Year's and beat the snot out of them.  Gracious is not a good description of the Duke women as neighborly hosts.

The NCCU athletic administration might have watched the news feeds from Bangor, Maine, then they could have seen this coming   Current Duke and former Maine coach Joanne P. McCallie was honored before Duke's game at the University of Maine just before Christmas with a standing ovation as a banner with her name was unveiled alongside Maine’s retired player jerseys.  Duke went on to beat Maine 75-34.  Gracious is not a good description of the Duke women as neighborly guests either.

No, in thinking it is good to lose -- sometimes -- I was thinking of the Tar Heel men's football team.  Losing the Car Parts Bowl down in Charlotte the day after Christmas, that was a good thing.

Let me explain by corollary. Winning is not always good.  In 2005 the UNC men's basketball team won the national championship over Illinois with a team dominated by underclassmen.  Think about it, fans.  Sure, it felt good getting treated at the Burn Center after that night's bonfire celebrations, but what about a couple of days later when the painkillers wore off and you realized your entire team was going pro?  The starters -- and a freshman who didn't start a single game -- gone.  The sophomore water boy took a job with Gatorade.  And the consequence? The dreaded re-building season.

(If it had not been for the incoming freshman class, Roy's Boys, headed by Tyler Hansbrough, beating the Duke out of Duke at Duke on "Duke's Senior Night," this could have been a depressing and distressing season for us Tar Heel fans.)

In 2009 the UNC men's basketball team won the national championship in a rout of Michigan State.  So, what happens to our batch of talented underclassmen?  You got it, off to the NBA, leaving us with . . . the dreaded re-building season.

(Note to Coach Williams: Roy, please have your Tar Babies win at Duke on Saturday March 6, 2010 on Jon Scheyer’s "Senior Night."  It will help us hapless fans make it through another dreaded re-building season.)

The Tar Heel football team, in contrast, not only had the sense to lose but to do it as a team.  No player on the team had an outstanding game.  Last year, in the previous Car Parts Bowl, some players did not cooperate in the loss.  I am thinking here of unaccommodating junior Hakeem Nicks, who, playing in his hometown, set three school receiving records and shattered his career-high game in yards receiving, catching eight passes for a bowl-record 217 yards and three touchdowns -- and, of course, immediately went pro.

This season's loss in the Car Parts Bowl was good because parts of our football team which might have gone pro early did not.  So, when the season kicks off against LSU next season, the Heels will be built, not re-building.

And, for those of you who think I am ignoring the elephant in the locker room, no, I am not talking about an overtime loss by the UNC men to a sub-mid-major team.  That game is a great example of the Tar Heels being gracious guests at the College of Charleston’s ironically named Carolina First Arena -- and another good example of life during the dreaded re-building season.


Gary D. Gaddy left college early to work in a pizza-pie crust factory.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 5:34 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 5:38 PM EST
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Friday, January 1, 2010
The bottom eight news stories from 2009

THE YEAR-END, AND YEAR-EARLY-DECADE-END, lists are rolling in.  This is one you haven't seen:  the bottom eight news stories from 2009.  Some of them aren't completely  made up.

Ashland passes Carrboro as wackiest town

CARRBORO -- The Carrboro Board of Alderpersons met in emergency session late last night following news reports that Ashland, Oregon, may have surpassed Carrboro as the wackiest town in America. 

Ashland city council member Eric Navickas, to protest proposed limits on public nudity in the town, held a clothing-optional showing in his art gallery of nude portraits and conceptual art involving naked people.  Nudity is currently legal in Ashland, except in the city center and public parks, where people are required to cover their genitals.

Although the Carrboro board did not act, they are mulling future clothing-optional board meetings.

Same-day registration increases voting

RALEIGH -- The institution of same-day voter registration in North Carolina has dramatically increased voting, one election expert has found.  With same-day registration and voting, many more voters are voting earlier and more often, according to N.C. State political scientist Ward Heeler.

"Before same-day registration, voter fraud was too onerous for many would-be voters, discouraging their participation in vote buying, vote rigging and other basic elements of the electoral process.  Before same-day registration took effect, it wasn't that hard to find a homeless vagrant to register but it was often burdensome or even impossible to find them again on election day to actually get the vote tallied," said the University of Chicago graduate.

"Now, with a single six-pack, a person can be registered and vote in one simple step.  With proper transportation, one individual can register and vote in multiple precincts or even municipalities without undue effort.  This greatly enhances voter participation rates which have been flagging over time," added Prof. Heeler.

UNC goes green, replaces coal plant with nuke

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- The University of North Carolina, in its biggest push to reduce its "carbon footprint," has begun plans to replace the University's aging coal-fired power plant with a third-generation breeder reactor.  Based on the never-constructed Clinch River Breeder Reactor, UNC's nuclear power plant should provide enough electricity to light up Kenan Stadium several times over

Satan sues Santa for "image infringement"

NEW YORK -- B.L.Z. Satan, the founder, CEO and COO of Satan, Inc., filed suit today in U.S. federal district court in New York, against Santa K. K. Claus and Associates for "intellectual image infringement."

"The case hardly needs to be stated.  For example, the red suit is pretty obvious.  Only a forked tail and pitch fork would be clearer," said Harold Kleinman, the attorney for Satan, Inc.  A spokesman for Claus and Associates had no comment.

Sponsors flee Wie

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Pro golfer Michelle Wie, who was until recently the highest-earning and most-publicized golfer on the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, now finds herself losing multiple endorsements and being abandoned by her sponsors.  Experts say when Wie, 20, won her first professional individual tournament, the Lorena Ochoa Invitational, marketers then realized she would never be her sport's Anna Kournikova.

U.S. voted "Best Destination for Terrorism"

SANA‘A, YEMEN -- The United States has been voted the "Best Destination for Terrorism" in 2009 by the International Organization of Terrorists and Terrorist Associations.  Insiders say the vote wasn't even close.

Sequel to Shakespeare's Hamlet found

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- UNC literary historians have found what they believe to be the first newly discovered major work by the English playwright William Shakespeare in nearly 400 years.  The play, which is thought to be a sequel to the tragedy "Hamlet," is a comedy entitled "Omelet" which is set in Ye Olde Waffle House in a "Chapell on the Hill."

U2 to become U3

NEW YORK -- Singer Cher has announced plans to re-unite with Bono, forming a group to be called U3.


Gary D. Gaddy, who has been voted, for the third consecutive year, one of the bottom eight Chapel Hill Herald Local Voices columnists, would like to wish his reader a joyous new year.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday January 1, 2010.

Copyright  2010  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, January 21, 2010 7:23 PM EST
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Friday, December 25, 2009
A Christmas column -- or maybe not

I WAS PLANNING TO WRITE a Christmas column, what with it being Christmas and all, but then I started reading the newspaper and now I'm not sure I can.  Apparently it is not correct to speak of Christmas anymore.  (If you can figure out how I can talk about not talking about Christmas without talking about Christmas, please let me know.)

So, how to proceed?  Since in Cary the city puts up a seasonally displayed, ornamentally decorated evergreen tree and calls it a community tree (which coincidentally shows up at about the time a Christmas tree would show up), I considered emulating them.  But I really couldn't call my column a community column because I want to write it all by myself.

My next thought: Maybe I could call it an X-mas column.  Then the "X" could mean one thing to atheists (and their existentialist fellow travelers) but something else to Christians.  In that way it would be one of those secret symbols, like the fish emblem you see on cars that you have wondered so much about.

X-mas, it would seem, would take the Christ out of Christmas -- X him right out, so to speak.  But some atheists would still find X-mas offensive since it would, even in negation, point to Christ.  (Don't think I'm joking.  Many atheists don't like being called atheist because the root of the word is theist which refers to God, who as they would be glad to point out, doesn't exist.  So, some of them have lobbied to have themselves referred to as "brights."  Again, I'm not making this up.)

Here's another problem with an X-mas column.  X-mas is not, some scholars say, a non-Christian, an a-Christian or an anti-Christian term.  Among the religious, objections to Xmas usually fall along the line that this takes Christ out of Christmas, replacing him with an unknown (since the English letter x is a common mathematical symbol for an unknown quantity) -- but this isn't so.  X-mas long predates the 20th-century secularization of the holiday.  The term was a widely used symbol for Christmas in the time of Gutenberg, five centuries earlier, and has no irreverent implication whatsoever.

I contemplated briefly going with the Raleigh solution, as in the dueling seasonal displays in Moore Square, Raleigh's free speech zone. (The U.S. used to be a free speech zone, but something happened, I think.)  In Raleigh, the duel is Son versus Sun.  Call2Action put up a Nativity Scene.  The Triangle Freethought Society put up a poster celebrating the Winter Solstice.

The more sophisticated worship the Sun instead the Son.  Don't laugh, their faith seems more effectual than that of mainstream Christianity.  I don't know exactly how they do it but about this time of year, every year, Sun worshippers start praying for the Sun to return, and in a matter of months it does. Christians have been praying for the return of Christ for two thousand years, and he has yet to come back.

The most powerful Sun-worshipping prayers come from Norway.  I have friend from Tromsø, Norway, which is 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle.  Lene called me all excited one spring with this declaration: "The sun is back!"  In Norway they don't just pray the sun to revive from its diminished state; they have to pray it back into existence.  And they do -- every year.

Anyway, under the Raleigh model I would have to get liability insurance and a government-issued permit, so I just decided to take a pass on the combined Yes Christmas! No Christmas! column as well.

That leaves me with a column which cites a work of literature, where the original wording is retained to maintain the authenticity of the historical text.

    Christmas is a-coming; the goose is getting fat.
    Please put a penny in the old man's hat.
    If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
    If you haven't got a ha'penny, then God bless you!


Gary D. Gaddy agrees with Rabbi Marc Gellman that "Christmas without Christ is just 'mas,' which in Spanish means more."

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 25, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2009 1:42 PM EST
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Friday, December 18, 2009
Lessons we can all learn from Tiger Woods

FOR A LONG TIME lots of people have wanted to learn from Tiger Woods.  Many were golfers who wanted to improve their game.  Sadly, most people can't improve their golf strokes by watching someone like Tiger drive, chip and putt, anymore than they could learn to dunk by watching Michael Jordan jump.  But while you may not learn how to continuously bounce a golf ball off a nine iron by watching a Nike golf ad, if you pay attention to the right things you might learn something about life by making note of Tiger's life.

Here are a few of the lessons we can learn from Tiger Woods:

All men are stupid, crass and driven by lower instincts.  (In case my feminist friends think, based on this statement, that I have gone over to their side, sorry.  I am using man in its antiquated, sexist form.  So, this covers you females too.)  Even people who seem to be perfect, maybe especially people who seem to be perfect, well, they're not.  Men, all of humanity, male and female alike, are fallen creatures, depraved and capable of remarkable cupidity and substantial stupidity.  I try to note when watching a wonderful and gifted life implode, that there, but for the grace of God, go I.

Money doesn't satisfying the deepest longings of man.  (And, apparently, collecting major sports titles doesn't either.)  Due to his "transgressions," Tiger may never make his second billion.  But, you know what, if his first billion dollars didn't bring him personal satisfaction, I am betting the next ones wouldn't have either.  I suggest that you and I and Tiger look for real meaning elsewhere.

Power corrupts.  (And a consistent 300-plus-yard drive is, apparently, a good source of power as well as evidence of it.)  Given power over others, most humans cannot resist exploiting them for their own selfish purposes -- even when they think they are not.

What is done in secret will be exposed.  (If it does not happen in this life, I promise it will happen in the next.)  Deleting text messages, erasing emails, hiring lawyers to make payoffs are all well and good, but, in the long haul, the truth will out.

Love has multiple meanings.  (In this respect, Greek is a far superior language to English.)  Let's not confuse erotic love (eros) with brotherly love (phileo) or either of those with unconditional love (agape).  Unconditional love is the foundation of a lasting marriage.  Uncontrolled erotic love is a good basis for wrecking one.

One final lesson we can learn from Tiger Woods: man was not made to be worshipped.  (Like Michael Jackson, Tiger began being adored by the public when he was just a child.)  Tiger may not have asked for worship but he co urted popular adulation -- and he got it.  Tiger, perhaps the world’s best-known athlete, had a Q score, a ranksing of entertainers by how likable and recognizable they are, which was among the highest of all entertainment figures.  In other words, the world knew and loved Tiger Woods.

Such adulation is very corrosive (confer Michael Jackson) -- but it does not have to be.  For decades Billy Graham has been among the most admired people in America, being named in the top 10 in Gallup's annual "most admired men" list more than 50 times.  He was once even named the "Greatest Living American."

Despite this public exaltation, there is no evidence Graham ever fell to sexual temptation.  I don't think it was because he was personally stronger -- but perhaps he was humbler.  Graham recognized his own weakness and depended on God to help him in spite of himself.

It is also reported that he never met with a woman behind closed doors.  He was not only aware of his own frailty, he was wise.  In this he protected himself from temptation but also from false accusation -- something Tiger might wish for now as well.


Gary D. Gaddy used to admire Tiger Woods, now he just feels sorry for him.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 18, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:03 PM EST
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Friday, December 11, 2009
Coach Anson Dorrance's losses mount

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE BALL, Coach Dorrance might say.  Don't be distracted by the man watching from the sidelines, I counter.

In the aftermath of winning his 20th NCAA-sanctioned national championship, like a clever slight-of-hand magician, UNC head women's soccer coach Anson Dorrance brought up his supposed 21st, his AIWA (whatever that is) championship.  In doing so, he cleverly tried to distract us from a stack of disturbing facts:  his mounting losses.  In his 31 years as head coach, Dorrance has now lost 36 games. That's more losses than years, if you can believe it.  And eight of the losses came in the last four years.  Do the math, that’s two a year!

If Dorrance continues on this slippery slope, like Bobby Bowen, he'll be having a .500 season, probably sometime in the 22nd century -- supposing we would tolerate him that long.  Trust us, Anson, we won't.

Goodbye and good riddance, Casey

A lot of people have been celebrating Casey Nogueira’s career this week, what with her team winning another national championship and her being named the College Cup's Most Outstanding Player on Offense -- again.  But these are the sentiments of the typical what-have-you-done-for-me-lately fans that we see everywhere we go in sports.  But real fans don't just focus on what been done for us lately, we remember what was done to us a while ago too.

Four years ago, the Tar Heel women's soccer team did to us fans what had not been done to us in twenty-three years. They lost the first game of the season.

I remember like it was yesterday: the pain I felt reading the news story a couple of days after the game. A measly national championship or three can't erase memories like those for real fans.

But, you might ask, how can I blame that loss on Casey Nogueira?  Isn't it true that Casey didn't play in that game?  Well, yes, but is that my fault?  If Casey and fellow freshman Tobin Heath, projected starters for UNC, decide to go play with the U.S. National Team in Russia at the Under-20 World Championship, is that my problem?  Well, when "their team" loses their first game, it is.

And here's the way it’s been lately: two years running an unbeaten and untied challenger has faced the Nogueira-led North Carolina in the NCAA championship match. And so, while two years in a row, the Tar Heels have beaten them, making sure that UNC remained the only program ever to finish a season unbeaten and untied, it is but little consolation when our championships come with blemishes -- like losses and ties.

And if Casey’s so great, how is it that in 27 games this year, with Tar Heel opponents scoring a total of 12 goals, Casey barely outscored them with 13 goals of her own?

I don’t think I have been so disappointed in a Tar Heel women's soccer player since 1992 when senior Kristine Lilly failed to repeat as national player of the year -- being beat out by a player on her own team, some girl named Mia.

The Blind Side: A blatant plug

I never thought I would reduce myself to this, but I am shilling for Hollywood. I do it for one reason: a Hollywood movie worth seeing.  It's a true story -- and, somehow, they didn't mess it up.

The movie tells the story of Michael Oher, who is now a rookie offensive tackle for the NFL's Baltimore Ravens.  It is a tale of his overcoming seemingly overwhelming adversity with the help of some caring people.  I don't want to give away too much of the story, but Oher's success, given that he had one of the most inadequate educations imaginable in a country with compulsory school attendance laws, is truly inspiring.

Go see it.  You won't need to care about football, I promise.

Gary D. Gaddy watched the Ravens play the Packers on Monday Night Football this week and spent most of the time watching offensive line play.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 11, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:02 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 10, 2009 2:08 PM EST
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Friday, December 4, 2009
Gameday notes & other sports-related excretions

Note:  Due to recent events near the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, this column's coverage of football has been suspended until bowl season.

A new year's resolution

For the coming new year my resolution is . . . HD 1080p -- where 1080p is the HDTV video mode with a widescreen frame resolution of 1920×1080, or 2,073,600 pixels in total.  The point is with HD 1080p, you can see Tyler Hansbrough’s lost contact lens on the floor before he does.

Sports-related excretions

I watch sports, lots of sports.  I even watch baseball when it comes time for the World Series -- a tradition that was perhaps fostered in my elementary school days when more than one of my teachers brought a TV to our classroom so we could watch.  (And people wonder how I became so well-rounded in my erudition.)  Thus began my education on sports-related excretions.

Boxing is known for blood spurting but also snot flying (hence the expression "knocked the snot out of him"), while basketball is known for sweat dripping (hence towel boys and girls beneath the backboard), but baseball is known for its spit shooting and the noxious drool that chewing tobacco produces squirting on the field (hence the declining popularity of the sport among those with even modest aesthetic sensibilities).

The consolation prize (of sorts)

The quote:  "Coach . . . and I have become very close over the last year and a half," said Harrison Barnes, the number-one high-school basketball recruit in this year's class.  [The school] "has high academics and is just unique in a variety of ways," he added.  Barnes was speaking of Coach Mike Krzyzewski and Duke University -- on the day he signed with North Carolina.  I would guess that this would be some sort of consolation to our Duke-fan friends -- but I could be wrong.

They're not booing .  .  .

Often, it is necessary to explain that "they're not booing . . ." because, well, they aren't.  It may sound like "booooo" but actually the fans are cheering.  For example, it may be "Zouuuuuub" if we are in Cameron Enclosed Stadium (where the Duke faithful are acknowledging the efforts of Devil big man Bryan Zoubek).  In the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center, it is commonly "Dreeeeeew" (for Tar Heel point guard Larry Drew Two).  Rarely do the home fans in either venue boo their own (though Jeff Capel might beg to differ).

"Over-rated! Over-rated!"

Or they may be chanting "Over-rated! Over-rated!" as Syracuse fans and Tar Heel haters did at Madison Square Garden as the Orange crushed the Heels in a men's basketball game last Friday night.  In doing so, these astute observers confirmed Roy Williams contention, which was that UNC should not have been rated that highly with four new starters on the team, especially this early in the season.  But as for the chanting ‘Cuse fans, they may as well have been saying "We are not as good as we appear to be!  We are not as good as we appear to be!"

Threat level reduced to yellow

Officials of the Atlantic Coast Conference's Internal Security Department announced today that the threat level on the Gary Williams exploding-head watch has been reduced again, this time from orange to yellow.

Up Cane Creek and more

Now some actual, factual news:  This Sunday come hear Up Cane Creek perform from 1-3 p.m. at a fun-filled family afternoon also including Ramses the Ram, Santa Claus and a band doing Mexican music at the Lake Hogan Farms Club House on December 6.   The event, which will run from 1-6 p.m., is a fundraiser for Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, the leading audiobook service for those with visual impairment and dyslexia.

On a sad note, this week the United States Tennis Association, as part of a wholesale reallocation of tennis ratings, changed Gary D. Gaddy from a 3.5 to a 4.0.  The passing of his mediocre status will be mourned.


A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday December 4, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:08 AM EST
Updated: Thursday, December 3, 2009 5:05 PM EST
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Friday, November 27, 2009
It's official: Butch Davis is a genius

IT'S OFFICIAL.  Butch Davis is a genius.  I told my wife, a couple of years ago, when the University of North Carolina head football coach hired Everett Withers as his defensive coordinator (and to coach the defensive secondary), that Butch Davis was a genius -- if he knew what he was doing.  I said it rashly because I knew only one pertinent fact about Coach Withers:  Withers was coming to UNC after one season as the University of Minnesota's defensive coordinator -- where the Golden Gophers football team had the worst defense in Bowl Subdivision football.

Personally, I thought, that's not whom I would hire.  (Actually, I thought “who I would hire” -- but let’s keep that between you and me.)

Apparently Butch Davis doesn’t think like me – or, perhaps, Davis had read more of Withers' resume than I had.  For one thing, Davis may have noticed that the Gophers also had one of the worst defenses in the nation before Withers arrived there for his single season.

Davis might have noticed that Withers spent six seasons with the NFL's Tennessee Titans from 2001 until 2006 where their defense greatly improved during his stay.

Davis also appears to have noticed that prior to working with the Titans, Withers was defensive secondary coach under former Tar Heel coach Mack Brown at Texas from 1998 until 2000, where the Longhorns pass defense improved from 75th in the nation in 1997 to first in the nation in 2000.

Davis may have noticed that Withers was the defensive coordinator at Louisville from 1995 to 1997 and that his 1996 defensive unit ranked fourth nationally in both total defense and rushing defense and led the NCAA in turnovers forced.

Here’s the story now.  UNC’s defense, through 11 games, is ranked twelfth in the nation in points allowed, fifth in tackles for a loss, ninth in turnovers gained, sixth in interceptions made, and is tied for first in interceptions returned for touch downs.  And, in what is the best measure of total defense, yards allowed, is fifth -- behind only Alabama, Florida, Texas and Texas Christian, four undefeated teams -- all with really good offenses.

(For those uninformed on football calculus, a good offense makes its team's defense look better since while your offense is on the field the other's team's offense ain't.)  Of the 120 teams ranked in the NCAA’s Football Bowl Subdivision, Alabama ranks 30 in total offense, Florida 15, Texas 17, Texas Christian 5 -- and UNC a lowly 113.

To illustrate how good UNC’s defense can be, consider the last UNC football game, a game against a Boston College team that was still in the running for a berth in the ACC championship game.  UNC won almost entirely on the stout backs and sticky fingers of its defense.

For the contest, BC's offense had an anemic 198 total yards. UNC's defense almost matched BC's offense with 171 yards on six returns (five interceptions and one fumble).  In the game's second half, BC’s seven offensive possessions consisted of 19 offensive plays which gained a total of 50 yards.  They never crossed the mid-field line.

For the game BC's offense was outscored 14 to 13 by UNC's defense (even giving no credit for an interception UNC’s defense returned to the one-yard line.)  For most of the game, UNC's best offense consisted of kicking to BC.

And so, yes, it is now official that Butch Davis is a genius. (And Everett Withers probably ain't far behind.)  It is also official that I am a moron -- for ever doubting that Butch Davis was genius.

But I’m learning.  Here’s my current advice to Coach Davis.  Hire Timm Rosenbach to be the Tar Heel’s new offensive coordinator.  Rosenbach has been that position for one year at New Mexico State.  You can’t go wrong -- the Aggies are last in the Bowl Subdivision in total offense.


Gary D. Gaddy is hoping the Tar Heels are invited to the Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl in Nashville, where he’ll treat his wife to her dream combination of bluegrass music and Tar Heel football.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 27, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:59 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, February 16, 2010 3:10 PM EST
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Friday, November 20, 2009
"The Play," played and re-played

IF YOU DIDN'T GO to the game or watch it live or watch it on the Butch Davis show, you need to see "The Play."

[Go to and search for "Miami UNC football recap" and watch, starting at about 3:00.]

At 9:58 left in the fourth quarter, Miami, which had been down by as many as 16 points was now behind by six points and had the ball at the UNC thirty-two yard line, driving toward a go-ahead score.  It was second down with nine yards to go when the Miami quarterback Jacory Harris dropped back to throw.  As he released the ball, he was grabbed by UNC defensive end Aleric Mullins, causing the ball to wobble toward its intended target.

Harris had already thrown three interceptions, one of which was simply stolen by the UNC safety Da'Norris Searcy.  The other two, both intercepted by cornerback Kendric Burney, were on underthrown balls due to contact at the ball's release.

At 9:53, Miami's third-string tight end, a former power forward for its basketball team, Jimmy Graham, had gotten behind both UNC linebacker Kevin Reddick and cornerback Burney.  As the ball fluttered in, Reddick lept to intercept the ball but mistimed his jump.  Burney, all five-foot-nine-inch of him, did not.  Burney took the ball from high out of the air, leaving the six-foot-eight-inch Graham to grasp at him as Reddick blocked him.  After a spin, Burney took off from the 10-yard line, heading up field.  Graham was the first Miami player to attempt to tackle Burney.

At 9:47, at the 25-yard line, a second Miami player dives to tackle Burney but misses even as the 300-pound Marvin Austin, sprinting up field, took out the third and fourth Miami would-be tacklers with one massive block.  At the 35- yard line, a fifth Miami player dives and misses. At the 45-yard line, a sixth Miami player also whiffs at tackling Burney.  Ahead are two Miami players, the seventh and eighth, and one UNC blocker, Robert Quinn.  Quinn didn't block either.  He blocked the ninth player to show up 

Meanwhile at the 50-line, Burney dodged one as the other, a big offensive lineman, grasped him by both hips and swung him around, changing his direction by almost 180 degrees.

At 9:41 Burney was at the Miami 45-yard line heading toward the near sideline when, as he appeared to be moving the ball from one hand to the other, it hit his thigh.  As the ball bobbled in his hands, it appears Burney directed to a UNC player just in front of him.

[In a truth is stranger than fiction moment, earlier in the game, after one of Burney's other two interceptions, Melvin Williams, Burney's roommate and fellow defensive back, had said to Burney something like, "Why didn't you lateral the ball to me?"]

At this moment the play appeared to stop, as the same Melvin Williams seemed taken aback by the presence of a football in his hands. A potential UNC blocker in front of Williams, linebacker Bruce Carter, also seemed to relax.  Then quickly, as both of them realize the play wasn't over, Carter blocks and Williams ducks and heads up field.

QB Jacory Harris, the tenth Miami player to have chance to tackle one of the two UNC ball carriers, was getting up after having been knocked down.  He is blocked again.

At 9:35, as Williams crossed the 30-yard line, it appears no one can catch him.  Aleric Mullins, the same player who altered the pass by Harris, looking back for Miami players, sees none close by, turns and celebrates. Williams, perhaps seeing Mullins' celebration, jogged toward the end zone.

Meanwhile, at 9:33, the eleventh and final Miami player, wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, sprints into view.  Hankerson, who had been at the opposite side of the field at the other goal line when the interception occurred, flew at an oblivious Williams, stripping the ball as Williams reached the goal line, causing an apparent fumble, which Williams recovered at 9:28.

Ruling on the field:  Touchdown Carolina!  "The Play" had taken 30 full seconds, one of the longest football plays you will ever see.

Time out for an official review.  Two elements were reviewed: the question of an illegal forward lateral and whether there was a fumble at the goal line.  The "lateral" was ruled a fumble, and the strip, it was ruled, occurred just after the ball broke the plane of the goal line.  Ruling on the field confirmed:  Touchdown Carolina!


Gary D. Gaddy has watched "The Play" more times than he can count.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 20, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:01 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 24, 2009 7:58 PM EST
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Friday, November 13, 2009
Well, you can just call me coach

I RETIRED UNDEFEATED.  It's not something that any other coach that I know of can say.  It's not something that Roy Williams will ever be able to say with his two national championships and 138 losses.

It's not something that John Wooden, the legendary coach at UCLA can say.  Sure he had 10 national championships in 12 years – along with 162 career losses.

Retiring undefeated is not even something that Sylvia Hatchell, head coach of the UNC women's basketball team, can say she will do.  Hatchell has won three national championships at three different levels (AIAW, NAIA and NCAA Division I) to go with her 282 losses.

I know what you are thinking.  I know exactly what you're thinking.  "Gaddy, you are undefeated because you never coached."  Wrong again, my friend.  I have, too, been a coach and an undefeated one at that.  Don't believe me?  Let me give you a brief history of my spotless coaching career.

The Daily Tar Heel held a contest to see who would be the "guest" assistant coach for UNC women's basketball team for the Virginia game.  More accurately the position might be termed the "temporary, part-time, honorary guest assistant to the assistant to the assistant coach" but whatever you call it, it's a crucial role that previously included two key duties: nodding your head to the crowd when being introduced as a "guest" coach and not provoking a bench technical foul call.

For the Daily Tar Heel contest, being the kind of person I am, I did not write a traditional essay, I sent in a David-Letterman-like Top Ten List instead.  [Important editorial note: This was considerably before David Letterman was revealed to be vindictive, mean-spirited, sleazy, lecherous and unfunny.]   I won the contest.  (And, no, I am not claiming that winning that contest as my coaching "victory."  How cheesy would that be?)

Why did I win this vaunted contest?  Just a few of "The Top 10 Reasons I Would Make a Great Daily Tar Heel Guest Coach" will make it clear.  My two primary basketball-related qualifications: "I took part in two full Optimist League practices in the fall of 1960" and "I spent two contiguous weeks at Glenn Wilkes Basketball Camp in the summer of 1965."  (I humbly left out my greatest achievement:  almost trying out for the George Washington High School junior varsity team.)

And the "Number One" reason I claimed that would make me a great Daily Tar Heel guest coach: "The Tar Heel team prays before and after each game I pray all during."

But my course-changing contribution to team history came via Jan Boxill, then the team's public address announcer, who read my top-ten list to the squad in the locker room just before the game.  They all thought it was hilarious – and the laughter relaxed them, got them loose for one of the biggest games of the year.  And so, under my watchful eye, the Tar Heels nipped the Cavs.

This was not a blip.  It was dawn of a new day.  Virginia had owned the Tar Heels up to that point, winning 20 out of the previous 23 UVa-UNC games.  And what happened, starting with my stint as temporary, part-time, honorary guest assistant to the assistant to the assistant coach?  The Tar Heels proceeded to win 23 of next 27 matchups.  Coincidence?  I think not.

Oh, of course Coach Hatchell recruited and signed the players, taught, tutored and trained them, designed a defense, established an offense and motivated the teams that have won 23 of the last 27 UVa games but who was coaching them when they were losing to UVa?  (I'm not going to say but it wadn't me!)

Don't get me wrong, Coach Hatchell, you’re a great coach.  Still, if you need further assistance, I’ll be in the end zone nearby.  I’ll not be joining you on the bench not and risk a game-losing technical that mars my undefeated record.


Gary D. Gaddy usually sits in the “senior section” of Carmichael (when the team gets back there) where he can coach the coach during crucial end-of-game situations.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 13, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:04 AM EST
Updated: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 7:20 PM EST
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Friday, November 6, 2009
Blue in Blue: Ringing the Victory Bell

TOMORROW DUKE WILL COME to Chapel Hill to play a football game that both teams need.   The Tar Heels need to win.  The Blue Devils need to lose.  (Trust me on this, Duke fans, the Blue Devils need to lose.)

I am a locally noted quasi-expert on Duke football.  (Several of my nieces and nephews, you see, have Bill Murray, the great Duke football coach, as their great-grandfather.  So, this means I need to know things about Coach Murray even their dad may not know, such as their great granddad played in the first game ever in Wallace Wade Stadium.  [This I learned after being forced to read "80 years in Wallace Wade" in "GoDuke! The Magazine" – a painful ordeal that no Tar Heel should have to experience, but will if they are no better prepared than I was when I took my car recently for repair at a Durham dealership.]).

Anyway, when David Cutcliffe was hired by Duke, I went out of my way to tell every Duke fan I know that he was the best coach Duke could possibly hire.  This is a man who tutored Peyton and Eli Manning, mentored Tee Martin when he led Tennessee to a national championship, and coached twenty-two football bowl teams.

Cutcliffe looked to be a clone of Wake Forest coach Jim Grobe (presuming that love, beauty and moral perfection can be cloned), so it would also take him about six years to turn Duke into a winner a feat that would make walking on water, or even winning at Wake, look like sluicing down a Slip 'N' Slide®.

I may have been wrong.  I thought Cutcliffe, who is younger than he looks, might coach at Duke until he retired.  Cutcliffe is already, by consensus, the best Duke coach since Steve Spurrier.  But I say Cutcliffe is a far better coach than Spurrier.  For one thing Steve Spurrier was an [anatomical reference here].  David Cutcliffe is a class act.

But Cutcliffe, stupidly, is winning too fast and his biggest danger at this point is success.  Yes, success.  Last year Cutcliffe got off to a near-disastrous 3-and-1start. Then, apparently, having been apprised of my earlier instructional column for coaches (perhaps by Googling "Learning the Goldsmith Variations"), Cutcliffe realized the error of his ways and quickly started losing, finishing a quite respectable, for Duke, 4 and 8.

But, it seems, Coach Cut, as he is affectionately known to the growing legion of seven Duke football fans, has forgotten again already.  So, let me warn you, Coach Cut: "If you start winning, you can't stop."

Cutcliffe should have learned this at Mississippi.  In 2003 the Cutcliffe-headed Ole Miss squad went 10 and 3, finished tied for first in the SEC West, 13th in the nation and won the Cotton Bowl.  The next year Ole Miss went 4 and 7 – in Cutcliffe's only losing season of his six there
and, of course, he was fired.  ("What have you done for me lately?" is the official motto of NCAA football.)

But none of this is why Duke fans should want Duke to lose.  Look at the current Bowl Championship Series standings.  If Nick Saban's Alabama team finishes third in the BCS poll, where they are now, Tide Nation will be calling for Saban's head.  And they may be looking for revenge for the events of 1930 when Duke lured Wallace Wade from Alabama, after he had won three national championships there.

David Cutcliffe, you should know, graduated from Alabama.  You don’t want Alabama to want him back.  Not even James Buchanan Duke himself could sell enough cigarettes to beat the Crimson Tide in a bidding war for a football coach.   The Tide hired Saban away from the NFL which clearly could not afford to keep him.

So, for the Duke fans whom I have invited to the game, please wear light blue and be ready to cheer, "Go Heels!"  Trust me, Devils, it’s in your own best interest to leave the Victory Bell in Chapel Hill.


Gary D. Gaddy requests that his Tar Heel team be very alert if any Duke player stops to "tie his shoestrings" on Saturday.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday November 7, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EST
Updated: Friday, November 6, 2009 7:53 PM EST
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Friday, October 30, 2009
Wednesday June 11, 1969: Commencement

THE  GRADUATION EXERCISES for George Washington High School were to be held on Wednesday, June 11, 1969.  The day before, we did a dry run.  One of the faculty marshals I think it was the JV football coach singled me out, saying something like "Gaddy, don't do anything stupid."  This was the kind of profiling I faced throughout my school years guilty until proven innocent, even though they rarely caught me at anything.

Truxton Fulton, one of my best friends, by a happy accident of the alphabet, was next to me in the graduation line.  By an unhappy accident for those marshalling such affairs, Truxton had a mind a lot like mine.  While sitting on the bleachers in the sun waiting to be instructed how to walk across a stage, Truxton and I came up with a plan:  a two-man peace demonstration.

We didn't announce what we were going to do but we may not have been quiet enough about it.

Word of our plans must have filtered out because news of another pronouncement filtered in to us: Nelson Moore, all-state offensive tackle on our state championship football team, said, reportedly and approximately, if we did "anything to mess up his graduation, he would kill us."  I had not thought of Nelson as a violent person except on the football field but I was also certain that he could kill us simultaneously with his bare hands.

If Truxton and I were going to chicken out on our plan before that moment, we weren't now.

Following the instructions of a school official meticulously, for perhaps the first time in my educational career, I stood at the bottom of the steps as Truxton took his diploma from Principal J.T. Christopher, a sober, even dour, man.  As Truxton proceeded across the stage, I came up the steps.  When he got to the end of the platform he stopped and I stopped.  We turned, and with a smile, both gave the peace sign.

At that moment I looked into the bleachers at the sitting graduates and soon-to-be graduates to see if Nelson was going to choose to fulfill his promise by killing us then and there actually messing up his graduation as I figured an arrest for homicide would do.  Happily, for the three of us, he wasn't coming.

I then realized what I should have considered before.  While Truxton was heading off the stage, I was going to have to walk right up to Mr. Christopher.  I wondered if he would even give me my diploma.  But with orderliness being above all, if he had done anything out of the ordinary, it would have just been more disorder, so he just scowled at me with the most scowling scowl he had ever given me and stuck the diploma in my hand with a little extra snap.  I smiled.

After the graduation exercise ended, I had an eerie feeling that my life might soon be coming to an end but it didn't.


Flash forward to this year's recent 40th high school class reunion.

In the buffet line, there he was: Nelson Moore.  As he looked at my name tag, I said, "Nelson, did you really say you would kill me on graduation day?"  He said he didn't think he said he would kill me. But he did remember why he might have.

Sadly, for the entertainment value of this column, Nelson didn't kill me at that moment either.

Later in the evening, Nelson made a point of finding me to tell me that if he knew then what he knew now, he probably would have demonstrated with us.  It's a funny thing, life.  On the ride back to Orange County from Danville, Truxton and I talked about what Nelson had said to me.  We agreed that if we knew then what we knew now, we probably wouldn't have demonstrated with him.


Gary D. Gaddy graduated from high school and has a diploma to prove it.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday October 30, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:04 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, November 6, 2009 7:56 PM EST
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Friday, October 23, 2009
Re-uniting of the class of 1969, Part II

LAST WEEKEND George Washington High School's class of 1969 held its 40th reunion.  So, I went.  This is Part II of a two-part series.  Part I may come next week.

Following the pre-party, it was on to the reunion proper.  Practically the first person I saw coming in to the Danville Country Club was David Cross who was, for my long-time readers with better memories than David, the subject of my May 29, 2008 column, where I recounted the first day of the first grade when David had to "stay in" for the first recess.  I told David about that day -- which, of course, he didn't remember.  I do -- he had his head on his desk crying when I came in to get him.

Why couldn't he remember this traumatic event?   Repressed memory syndrome is my diagnosis.  David is too nice to remember something that unpleasant.

A little later in the evening I dealt with another unpleasant memory from elementary school as I confronted Gayle Goodson (Butler) about her “ruining my sixth-grade graduation day.”  How was that, she asked?  By winning the best-history-student award, I replied.  She, of course, corrected me.  It was the English award.  (Exactly what you'd expect from someone who would become the editor in chief of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.)

Anyway, the point was, Henry Swanson told me had seen Mrs. Duncan's copy of the graduation program, and next to "English Award" she had written "GG."  I remember thinking, "Really?"  I was psyched to receive my award.  When Mrs. Duncan announced: "Gayle Goodson," I was crushed.  (In retrospect, I am quite proud of myself for not going Kanye West on her, rushing the stage and taking the award that so rightfully belonged to me.)

I then saw the smiling face of Marc Newman, who we are reminded, is a Duke graduate.  Quite happily, neither his Duke education nor his current New Jersey residency has sullied the sweet southern boy I knew, leaving him neck and neck in the contest for nicest guy in the GWHS class of 1969 with David Cross.

Standing nearby was Susan Hain, who brought her cute twenty-something daughter with her, leading me to ask this question of Susan: "How is it that you're the exact same age as your daughter?"  A number of my classmates looked like they had aged very little, or aged very well; Susan appeared to have gotten younger.  Sadly, twenty-odd years in New Jersey have left her sounding more Paramus than Danville.

Roaming by was Drake Myers, who brought a stuffed dog on a leash.  Drake was always different.  Not far away stood Verne Ferguson, who throughout elementary school regularly kept me from being the worst behaved kid in the class; he was drunk.

At a table near the dance floor was Deborah James, my first true love forever; she smiled at me.  Deborah brought her sisters along -- who turned out to be more useful to Deborah and I than they were when Deborh and I were in the seventh grade.  My friend Truxton Fulton said he was Deborah James' first true love. A little investigative research put this fraud to rest.  I had not only Deborah’s testimony but that of her sisters; it was me.  And, as a bonus, Deborah's still as cute and perky as Katie Couric.

Finally, Kathleen Harris, who is single again, provided much of the evening's entertainment, some of it intentionally.  She had warned us that she was "working on her moves" for the class photo.  In a short and sexy skirt, she turned, wiggled her butt, stuck out her leg and pulled up her skirt -- several times.  I am sure there were lots of laughs and gawks in the photo.  I may have had my hand over my face.  But I suspect she got a date or two out of it -- if not a proposal of marriage.


Gary D. Gaddy is sorry to inform George Washington Davis the Third that he did not make the cut for this story.  (Go to to peruse [which Gayle Goodson {Butler} could tell you means to read with great care] past columns.)

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday October 23, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:53 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, November 3, 2009 8:02 PM EST
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Friday, October 16, 2009
A prayer for my nation and my world

This is what was on my heart when I woke up this morning.  Sometimes I make jokes about praying, this is not one of those times.


I PRAY FOR my nation because it has lost its way and doesn't seem to know how to find it.

I pray for my nation where any crime can be readily ignored when committed by an ideological ally but is wholly unforgiveable when committed by an ideological foe.

I pray for my city, state and nation where selfishness regularly trumps responsibility as we expect someone else to carry our burdens, some other neighborhood to take responsibility for what should be taken care of in our own backyards.

I pray for my nation where venom from across the political spectrum so overwhelms ordinary decency that universally acknowledged problems can't be addressed sensibly -- whether it's healthcare, social security or our national security.

I pray for a world in which suicide bombers target public places filled with civilians, bomb the emergency responders as they aid them, and then the hospitals' emergency rooms when the wounded are taken there -- and think they are doing God's will.

I pray for my world where a committee of highly educated people can search the globe for someone who has furthered the cause of world peace and the best they can do is find someone who has talked about it.

I pray for my nation where you can go to the movie theater daily for months without ever hearing "God" or "Jesus" -- except in curses.

I pray for my nation where the religion of no religion is exalted while traditional faith is diminished, where ardent atheists and adamant agnostics can be paid for their views at public universities but believers of any stripe working in the same places are fearful of speaking a word of what they believe lest they violate the separation of church and state.

I pray for my nation so blessed with wealth that its citizenry has grown fat, figuratively and literally, but remains ungrateful for the material gifts it has been given, and unrepentant of the waste that it has made of them.

I pray for my nation that has become so filled with violence that an isolated brutal murder is practically un-newsworthy.

I pray for my world where God-given freedom, which was intended to give us the opportunity to be benefactors of blessing, has been turned into a license for licentiousness.

I pray for my nation where out-of-wedlock births are becoming the norm and two-parent families an aberration.

I pray for my world where the power of the Internet is used every day to expose hundreds of millions of innocent children, and billions of corruptible adults, to the vilest pornography.

I pray for my nation where gay and lesbian couples have a greater commitment to getting marriage rights than heterosexual couples do to keeping their marriages intact.

I pray for my state, where after decades of uninterrupted prosperity, none of our leaders prepared for the possibility of an inevitable economic downturn -- and then put the brunt of subsequent budget cuts on some of the most vulnerable, most underserved citizens: those with mental illness.

I pray for my nation where speculation passes for investing and the government promotes gambling.

I pray for my world where we hold well-intentioned ceremonies such as the blessing of the animals while simultaneously sacrificing the lives of millions of unborn humans each year because of their inconvenience.

I pray for myself that I don't start to think that these prayers are for others' flaws and failings, not recognizing my own face in the mirror.

I pray to God that he give us the grace to have mercy on each other for our sins and shortcomings, and, that as we turn away from our greedy and crooked ways, he will have mercy on us all.  And even in view of the unholy mess we have made of this his marvelous creation, I believe God is willing -- given what he offers us in the person of Jesus.


Gary D. Gaddy needs your help in prayer because he doesn’t pray nearly enough.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday October 16, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:14 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, October 18, 2009 6:18 PM EDT
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Friday, October 9, 2009
Up Cane Creek dazzles in Carrboro debut

CARRBORO, N.C. -- In the wake of the logistical nightmare that tried to pass as a U2 concert at Carter-Finley Stadium, I was expecting something similar with the Carrboro debut of the critically acclaimed Up Cane Creek.  In that respect, in only that respect, I was disappointed.

Despite the under-sized venue for such a notable musical milestone, the entire event went off without a hitch (if we don't count the bass amp going dead for several songs -- which I won't as the bass player covered for this potential disaster like a pro by upping his thumping volume and playing truly acoustically -- something which the bands on MTV's Unplugged never do.)

It is slightly curious that the home-grown Up Cane Creek had not performed before this week in Carrboro, given their touring history:  public performances in Maryland and Virginia, recording sessions on the coast of South Carolina and in the mountains of North Carolina, gigs in Bear Creek, Butner and Winston-Salem -- all in addition to their multiple Chapel Hill outings.  Up Cane Creek, as you might expect from their name, doesn't always go with the flow.

And it is ironic that the Creek's first club gig was not in a club (of the bar with bands sort) at all, but at Club Nova, the clubhouse rehabilitation program for people with mental illness.

Practicing each week on the western fringe of Orange County, on the banks of Cane Creek (thus the latter parts of the band name), the group is comprised of a couple of local couples, entrepreneur Jay Miller and his visual artist wife Ebeth Scott-Sinclair, and attorney Sandra Herring and her husband.

Already known as one of the best local cover bands for music from the 1780's (when big hair first entered the popular music domain), Up Cane Creek continues to expand its repertoire, its set list spanning the group's full range of Americana, bluegrass and gospel, being comprised of songs both traditional and original.

Beginning with a bluegrass "I'll Fly Away" and harmonized, a cappella versions of "Gospel Ship" and "If I Be Lifted Up," the show continued to the righteous rockin' and holy rollin' "Ain't No Grave," where the band showed its gospel streak, culminating in its own meditative "Walk Down to the Water."

The group unveiled its backwoods mountain heritage in light-hearted takes on "Cripple Creek," "Groundhog," and a mini-medley of "Old Joe Clark" and "June Apple," and then showed its roots-country roots with an edition of "Another Day Another Dollar" and their own working-class country compositions "Workin' on it Still" and "Leaving Danville," the latter of which was authored by Alabaman Miller and Wilson-bred Scott-Sinclair much to the dismay of the group's Danvillian bassist.

Vocalist Scott-Sinclair sang up a blue streak, literally, belting out not only their original "Blue Mist" but a Ray-Charles-derived, Patsy-Cline-influenced rendition of "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and a modernized and feminized edition of Bill Monroe's "Blue Night."  I think the audience would agree that feelin' blue never felt so good.

In the band's Johnny-and-June tune, "Don't Ask Me to Explain," Scott-Sinclair and Miller sizzled with a Cash-and-Carter-like energy, which got a spontaneous ovation for the wild and creative banjo break.

The scariest moment of the noon-time concert came when the bass player did what sidemen are prone to do, got the group to let him sing lead, in this case on "Wreck of the Old 97."  Happily, it was not a train wreck -- and neither was "Mecklenburg Train," the band’s heart-rending original set in 1860's North Carolina.

Lower-key songs included Miller and Scott-Sinclair’s haunting "Restless Wind" as well as 1780's favorites "Fair and Tender Ladies" and "Wayfarin' Stranger" and what has a shot at being one of the year's top-rated, bassist-authored lullabies, the afternoon's finale, "Rock-a-Baby."

Gary D. Gaddy, the author of this review, is said to look a lot like the bass player in Up Cane Creek, but it's hard to know since he wore shades the whole gig.  (Go to to listen to several of the band's original songs.)

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday October 9, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010 6:01 AM EDT
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Friday, October 2, 2009
What does true human greatness look like?

THIS YEAR A GREAT MAN passed from this earth. That man was Robinson O. Everett.

Characterized by his Duke Law School colleague Clark Havigurst as "a gentle, unassuming force of nature" and equally aptly as "the slowest moving high-energy guy I have ever known," Judge Everett was also described by one of his former students, James Dever, as "utterly brilliant and disarmingly humble and kind."

Judge Everett was a remarkable and multi-faceted man: student, veteran, lawyer, professor, scholar, judge, legal advocate and constitutional activist. But he was much greater than any list of his achievements might imply.

But before we get to his real greatness, let me give you a sample, and this is just a sample, of what he accomplished in his lifetime. He graduated from high school in Durham at 15, from Harvard University magna cum laude at 19 and from Harvard Law, also magna cum laude, at 22. The same year he began teach at Duke University School of Law, remaining until today the youngest professor in the school's history. Upon graduating from law school in the midst of the Korean War, Everett joined the United States Air Force, where he was assigned to the Judge Advocate General's Corps. As a judge, he rose to the rank of chief judge of the Court of Military Appeals, the highest civilian court in the military justice system, just a step below the U.S. Supreme Court. He retired as a colonel. And he practiced law privately for more than 50 years.

Some of Judge Everett's most publicly visible acts were also his most controversial. In 1966, Everett, a protégé of Senator Sam Erwin and a yellow-dog Democrat, challenged a congressional redistricting plan for North Carolina that he thought was an illegal gerrymander aimed at preserving the incumbent's re-election, a lawsuit which forced the legislature to revise the districts, making them more compact and contiguous.

In the 1990s, as an attorney he was the legal force, and personal financier, behind the case of Shaw v. Reno. This case brought a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court against the racial gerrymandering as embodied in the creation of the long, snaking district for North Carolina's new 12th District. This district, Everett argued, amounted to legal segregation.

While he did succeed in forcing new districts to be drawn up, Everett did not get the courts to rule out racial considerations altogether in drawing districts. For his efforts to enforce the principle of color-blindness which he saw enshrined in the Constitution, Judge Everett was thought to be a racist by many who did not know him -- which he definitively and unequivocally was not.

Judge Everett's true greatness lay in his character, shown in part by his willingness to sacrifice his reputation to what he believed was right, and in a sterling character displayed daily in his interaction with those of every station in life. To the best of my observation, Judge Everett treated every person he ever met with the same warmth and respect. Looking into his face, you would never know whether he was greeting the chief justice of the Supreme Court or the homeless guy on Main Street, both of whom may well have known him by name.

His private, unpublicized and even anonymous acts of charity numbered in the thousands. In business, he rarely, it seemed, charged his many clients of modest income anything close to going rates, often working pro bono.

Unabashed in his Christian walk, he did not wear his faith on his sleeve, but he was unashamed to let anyone know "the hope he held within him." Judge Dever said that the Presbyterian Everett truly embodied Saint Benedict's first rule that those who learn to live their life in the spirit of thanksgiving will receive life's full promise. Judge Everett learned that and so he did. That is true greatness.


Special postscript

It just so happens that the day Ellie Everett was born, her aunt went and bought all of the local papers so that Ellie would have a record of what was happening on the day she was born.  Lo and  behold, there was an article about her granddad!  It was this one.

I am placing a bet now on Ellie.  Since her great-great grandfather, her great grandmother and her great grandfather, her grandfather, her uncle and both her parents are lawyers, I will wager that Ellie is going to be a basketball player.


Gary D. Gaddy was a friend of Robinson Everett for 15 years.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday October 2, 2009.

Copyright  2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:07 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, October 7, 2009 9:53 AM EDT
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Friday, September 18, 2009
Orange County sheriff breaks up doggerel ring

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -- The Orange County Sheriff's Department has broken up what is believed to be central North Carolina's largest doggerel ring, an operation that officials believe may have been operating undetected in Hillsborough's literary underground for decades.

Orange County Sheriff Lindy Pendergrass said that the department’s big break in the case came when one of the Hillsborough ring's seasoned professionals, Elon G. "Jerry" Eidenier, " got a little careless" when he allowed his tennis and poetry circles to become conflated.

The sheriff's department first became aware of the illicit organization when the ring’s ringleader "slipped up" and gave a public poetry reading for his tennis team.  Several members of the team with humanity degrees from liberal arts universities recognized that the literary product that they had been exposed to was a subpedestrian form of poetry commonly known as doggerel.

The leak came through William "Bill" (aka "Loose Lips") McCaskill, Eidenier’s sometime tennis partner, who is said to have told "some of the guys" that Eidenier had written a "team poem."  This report sent up an immediate flag when received by sheriff’s department detectives.

Initially implicated as a principal in the operation was G. Douglas Gaddy, a local "writer" most well-known for his transparently faux "news" stories and slightly more than slightly out-of-kilter opinion pieces.  Pendergrass said Gaddy was taken in briefly for questioning and then released on his own recognizance.

Eidenier, according to Pendergrass, runs a front-operation as an "actual poet," writing what the area's literary community holds to be "actual poetry."  Said Pendergrass, "This gives Eidenier a cover for carrying around tiny notebooks where he is always scribblin' little sayin's and stuff without nobody suspectin' nothin'," he said.  "I can't tell no difference myself," said Pendergrass, "except maybe the doggerel rhymes better."

The primary foci of the doggerel ring are wagering events known as Poetry Smackdowns, which pit one poet against another in mano-a-mano competitions.

The sheriff said he was a "little at a loss" as to why the reportedly boisterous and sometimes bloody affairs had never drawn one disturbing-the-peace report, but thought perhaps it was because they were usually held in the subterranean basements of large estate homes, "typically near the wine cellars."

According to criminologist I.C. Hunter, who heads NC State University's Criminology Curriculum in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, each community is susceptible to different criminal vices according to its character, or characters, as the case may be. 

"For example, Charlotte tends toward financial crimes such as embezzlement and wire fraud, while Chapel Hill gravitates toward intellectual property theft," said Hunter. "I wouldn't leave even a half-baked idea laying around unguarded on Franklin Street.  It would last about as long as an untethered laptop in Davis Library," he added.

Prof. Hunter said that Hillsborough, as a "literary village," is prone to language-based crime such as "criminal uttering, con artistry of various sorts and, of course, doggerel rings."

"While poetry ring has a quaint sound to it, in the modern era literary rings are not of the innocuous sort that you might imagine with tea, crumpets and lace doilies.  When it comes to the acrimony among these poetry rings, they act more like Crips and Bloods," said Hunter.

"If you don't think this is so, just mention Doug Marlette, or Allan Gurganus, in the wrong Hillsborough literary circle, as I did once, and see if you escape with your eyebrows unsinged," said Hunter.  "Somebody may still think it's sticks and stones that break your bones, but not me.  I'd rather face a stone-hurling mob than face that gauntlet of flame throwers with their withering verbal fire," he added.

Eidenier, on the advice of his attorney, said he would decline comment on the charges against him but could not resist making one.  "I rhyme all the time," said Eidenier. "Is that a crime?" he asked.

A court hearing set for October 12, Dr. Hunter mused, may answer that question.


Gary D. Gaddy, who is a lyricist, not a poet, lives in the periphery of Orange County. 

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday September 18, 2009.

Copyright 2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:08 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, September 26, 2009 8:10 PM EDT
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Friday, September 11, 2009
Skin game: The reality of racial profiling

RACIAL PROFIING EXISTS.  Those who say it doesn't haven't been paying attention.  I know it exists because I have been racially profiled many times.

When I was in high school, my friend Maynard Reynolds and I used to play basketball on the playgrounds of Danville, Virginia.  When we first got to the courts often there was little obvious enthusiasm for our arrival -- unless they were really short of players.

Now, we weren't looked upon dismissively because of anything we had done or said or even anything that anyone of them had heard about us.  We were unknown commodities.  We were profiled because of how we looked -- extremely white.

Don't get me wrong, I understood.  We always went to play at the courts in the black neighborhoods, because, in some profiling of our own, we had decided that's where the good players were.

We did not decide this out of pure prejudice.  My older brother played for George Washington High School when they went to the state championship finals in 1965. GW had a good team – for a white school.  This was, as you might surmise, before the Danville school system was desegregated.

But I had been to a game at Langston High School, Danville's black high school as well.  For anything I could tell, Langston's team, a school with one third as many students, would have run GW out of the gym.

Here's the backstory.  The guys on the playground courts profiled us.  We were white, so, they thought that we couldn't play at their level.  You know what, they were half right.  Half of the two of us couldn't.

It didn't take long before they figured out the real story.  Maynard did have game.  He was a mini-Maravich.  Like Pistol Pete he could dribble effortlessly behind his back or between his legs, go to his right and to his left with ease.  He could shoot and he could score -- and he would pass to the open man.  He was a player.

It wasn't long before teams would grab him up before we got all the way to the court – despite his ghostly color.

Now, if my friend Maynard felt slighted that first time when he was picked next to last, I don't remember him showing it.  He just played and proved them wrong.  But, if he was miffed, who should he have blamed?  The guys at the courts who assumed we couldn't play?  Or the person who created the stereotype he had to break – me?  The guys at the courts were just trying to win, which is the point of the game, isn't it?


Carrboro goes dry as "Buy Local" hits stride

CARRBORO -- In the wake of its new "Buy Local" ordinance, Carrboro has become the first North Carolina town to go dry since Yadkinville voted in local prohibition in 1935.  The "Buy Local" ordinance requires that all Carrboro businesses buy and sell only products manufactured, produced or grown within the Carrboro planning jurisdiction.

"We had not realized that there were no breweries, distilleries or wineries in the greater Carrboro municipality," said Alderperson Burke O'Bailey-Smithwick, noting that she could now see how this could have an impact on alcohol sales within the town limits.

"The obvious answer is for Carrboro to legalize the sale and consumption of locally grown marijuana, which will boost the local farm economy as well as giving a kick start to the burgeoning hookah bar trade,” said Alderperson Albert Bosworth.

The Chapel Hill Chamber of Commerce was ecstatic at the news that Carrboro was going dry.  "This is the first time that we can remember a local government regulation of any sort actually helping business in Chapel Hill,” said Chamber spokesperson Milford Bunche, as he stood in line outside the Carolina Brewery.


Gary D. Gaddy played basketball for 40 years.  Most of time the players were divided by one clear and obviously superficial distinction: shirts or skins.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday September 11, 2009.

Copyright 2009  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:03 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, June 6, 2010 6:03 AM EDT
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Friday, September 4, 2009
The Golden Age of Football, a column about it

IT IS THE TIME OF THE YEAR when the crisp evening air, the smell of freshly mown grass and the sight of the sharp white lines on the gridiron remind us that it's just a couple of months 'til basketball season.  But let's do talk briefly about football.

Chirpy Chirping and Chippiness

It's a new era in Big Four football when the Duke coach gets testy because he thinks his program might be being dissed.  Understand me, before David Cutcliffe they were getting dissed regularly, being clearly the worst team in all of Division I football over the last 20 years.  However, even during the brief glowing moment under Steve Spurrier, Steve Superior didn't get chippy -- mainly because he was too busy dissing everybody else.

But, to my mind, an even better sign of the new era is that an NC State/UNC football detente may not be in the offing.  My hope derives from this exchange last spring.

“We're the best football program in the state, without question,” said NC State football coach O'Brien following State's 41-10 win last year over UNC, referencing State's season sweep of North Carolina, East Carolina, Wake Forest and Duke.

When UNC football coach Butch Davis was asked to respond the following Monday, he said, “Last Saturday, they were the best football team.  But before anybody anoints themselves, I’d say there probably needs to be some time invested into the programs, and then we’ll see what happens.”

Then Cutcliffe added, “If I were Tom O’Brien, I’d be saying that.  This might be the only year he can ever chirp like that. When you’ve got chirping rights, you better chirp."

Wake Forest's Jim Grobe didn't enter the fray.  Why not?  I will venture a guess.  Because he actually has the best case for the best Division I  BCS program in the state -- and when you got it, no need to flaunt it.

Which bring us to the . . .

The Golden Age of Football

The other day I shared this little sports tidbit that I found in USA Today with my family.  It had a list in its pre-season college football issue giving the "Golden Age of Football" for each of the schools of the Bowl Championship Subdivision of Division I (that is, the "We Don't Really Have a Championship" Subdivision) football.

Here was what they concluded about the Big Four -- a sports designation derived from basketball, not football, it is worth noting  (I sent this to my family because between my parents and siblings, we have, by my count, 30 years of undergraduate and graduate degrees spread across all the Big Four universities.)  For UNC, the Golden Age was '46-'49 with Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice -- 60 years ago.  For Duke, it was '52-'55 under Coach Bill Murray -- 55 years ago.  For NC State, it was '72-'74 under Lou Holtz -- 35 years ago.

Which leaves us with poor podunk Wake Forest, the second-smallest school in the BCS.  Its Golden Age?  The era under Jim Grobe with Riley Skinner from 2006 up to right now -- which includes an ACC championship and an Orange Bowl appearance.  My advice to my Wake family fans: "Enjoy it while you can, Deacs."

My sister, the Bowman-Gray educated pediatrician, then asked. "When do Furman fans get their Golden Age?"  (She asked, being like me, a Purple Paladin.)  I answered: "Beets (her family nickname), sorry but Furman wasn't listed since the list did not include schools in the ‘We Actually Play for a Championship’ Subdivision."

For the record, Furman's Golden Age would be 1985 through 1988 when it appeared in the Division I-AA championship game twice, winning it once.

But who should be chirpy, or chippy, as to claims about the "best football program in the state"?  That would be Jerry Moore, head coach of Appalachian State, whose Golden Age is also now, having won three consecutive Division I FCS (then I-AA) national championships beginning in 2005, and whose team tops the preseason poll again this year.

Gary D. Gaddy is a Furman University graduate.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday September 4, 2009.

Copyright 2009  Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 6:15 AM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 7:18 PM EDT
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Friday, August 28, 2009
Not anywhere in the vicinity of common sense

IT SEEMS LIKE EVERY OTHER WEEK I am writing about the latest local outbreak of NIMBYism.  I hope you are not tiring of my writing about "Not in My Backyard" because I sure am tiring of having NIMBYs living in mine.

I have neighbors against having neighbors. Their protests and lobbying efforts got your tax dollars and mine to buy them a park along New Hope Creek instead of a new neighborhood.  Neighborhoods are fine, apparently, as long as they are in someone else's neighborhood.

I have neighbors against neighborhood schools.  (I'm not making this up.)  Their protests got the proposed high school at Cornwallis and Erwin roads cancelled.  I am sure they would say that they are not against "neighborhood schools," just a particular school on a particular parcel of land -- which coincidentally sits in their backyard.

Now it's the Sunrise Road people on their fourth, by my count, NIMBY campaign of the last three decades.  First they opposed the route of I-40, which they wanted near someone else's neighborhood.  Happily, for everyone else in North Carolina, they were unsuccessful.

Next they say, "In 1995, BellSouth . . . applied to build a 169-foot tower behind the Wesleyan Church at the corner of Sunrise Rd and I-40, but local residents organized successful efforts to oppose the towers."

Later the Sunrise Coalition opposed a Sunrise Road Habitat for Humanity housing project, greatly delaying it, managing to make it smaller, much more expensive, and thus helping poor people get, someday, what most everybody else in Chapel Hill already has, houses that cost way too much.

Question. If poor people can't live near people who aren't poor, where can they live?  Near other poor people?  We've tried that; they're called ghettoes.

Now, Sunrise Road is repelling another Attack of the Dreaded Cell Phone Tower, by spawning the Rural Buffer Defense Group which is "made up of the owners of all 10 properties immediately adjoining the Tower site, plus over 20 other families . . . [in the] neighborhood."

I don't want to judge any one individual's motives. They may be pure, but ain't it a coincidence these NIMBY groups are always opposed to things in their own neighborhood -- even when they have, do or will use the service this annoyance may provide.  In this respect NIMBY is really I-SELFY, In Somebody Else's Front Yard.

Now understand, the Sunrise Road cell tower opponents are not against cell phones. As their ugly sign next to the proposed cell tower says: "Cell Service? Yes. Ugly cell tower? NO."

Of course, there are explanations for why the group doesn't want to allow a neighboring landowner to lease a space on his 10-acre wooded lot to put a 149-foot cell phone tower for AT&T and other providers which will serve local citizens, including them, service that could have been available for 15 years if not for their earlier opposition.

One argument they offer is that the property immediately adjacent to the tower site is a “Tree Farm whose mature timber is due to be harvested in the near future," thus making the tower more visible.  My suggestion is to not cut down the 32 acres of trees.  It will become a forest not a farm.  Then let your neighbor do what he legally may with his forest.  It's his, you know, just like yours is yours.

I don't like telephone and power lines going by my house -- but I do like my neighbors and I like having telephones and electricity.  I don't like the road that goes by my house -- but I sure do like  that we all can drive our cars where we wish, so I put up with it.

And because I want to be a good neighbor to the Rural Buffer Defense Group, here’s some helpful advice for their upcoming court hearing.  My wife, who is an attorney, says so as not to get on the wrong side of the judge, before you enter the courtroom, make sure to turn off your cell phones.

Gary D. Gaddy is, coincidentally, an AT&T cell phone subscriber.

A version of this column was published in the Chapel Hill Herald Thursday August 28, 2009.

Copyright   2009  Gary D. Gaddy


Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 8, 2011 8:32 PM EDT
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