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Friday, May 13, 2011
High class, low class or no class: A quiz

The high-class, low-class or no-class quiz, also known as the Chapel Hill, Carrboro or Northern Orange County location test, is presented today to help my readers assess their social standing and/or social siting.
1) You've ever been kicked out of the zoo: a) For drinking pinot grigio which you purchased to complement your Southern Season picnic lunch; b) For being part of a PETA protest; c) For heckling the monkeys.
2) You think the Star Spangled Banner: a) Has too wide a vocal range for the non-trained voice to properly perform; b) Should be replaced with something less jingoistic; c) Ends with "Gentlemen, start your engines."
3) You don't like shopping at Wal-Mart Superstores because: a) The stores are too big; b) The Wal-Mart corporation exploits workers here and abroad; c) You'd rather just run around the corner to the Dollar General because you don't like getting dressed up to go shopping.
4) The centerpiece on your dining room table is: a) An original work of abstract expressionist sculpture which exhibits an anarchic, highly idiosyncratic and, some feel, nihilistic point of view; b) A hand-thrown pot from a local pottery which you purchased at the Festival for the Eno; c) Signed by Craig Hall, taxidermist.
5) You think "The Nutcracker" is: a) One of Tchaikovsky's lesser works; b) The best Winter Holiday show the elementary school ever put on; c) A high dive your brother Buford once did off the cliff into the lake at the rock quarry.
6) You are moved to tears every time you hear: a) Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E flat (which is commonly known as "Eroica"), especially the first bars of the second movement; b) Any song by Sorry About Dresden; c) Dolly Parton singing "I Will Always Love You".
7) You have a complete set of salad bowls: a) But you never use them because they are Waterford crystal; b) You made yourself when you were a potter/artist; c) And they all say "Cool Whip" on the side.
8) You've ever hit a deer: a) With an automobile with a book value of more than the average American family's annual income; b) While bicycling; c) With your truck -- deliberately.
9) Your school fight song: a) Includes the phrase: "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum"; b) My school would not have had something as militaristic as a "fight song"; c) Was the double-banjo rendition of "Dueling Banjos."
10) Your neighbors started a petition over: a) The county's plan to build a neighborhood public library in your neighborhood; b) Your 12-foot by 40-foot Kucinich for President yard sign; c) Your Christmas light display. (They want you to get a special commendation from PEMC for beautifying the county.)
11) You've ever financed: a) A graduate degree with some of the proceeds of your last IPO; b) A tattoo; c) A tattoo.
12) Your wife's hairdo has ever been ruined: a) By discovering she used the same hairdresser as John Edwards b) By "wife," you mean live-in partner, I suppose. Hard to say, dude. c) By a ceiling fan.
 13) You think "loading the dishwasher" is: a) Something the hired help are hired to do; b) Environmental abuse of the lowest order; c) Getting your wife drunk.
14) Every year in December you get a card in the mail that says: a) "Seasonal greetings from your investment counselor at Goldman Sachs." b) "Your subscription to High Times is about to run out." c) "Merry Christmas from Red Man Chewing Tobacco."
15) You have refused to watch the Academy Awards since: a) American film making has become so banal and hackneyed as to render any such awards risible; b) 1973 when Sacheen Littlefeather refused to accept the Best Actor Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando for best actor in "The Godfather"; c) 1978 when "Smokey and the Bandit" was snubbed for best picture.
Scoring: If you got all A's, you would rather be in Chapel Hill; if you got all B's, you are in Carrboro; and if you got all C's, you are in northern Orange County but you should consider moving to southwest Chatham County where you will be even more at home.
Gary D. Gaddy is the epitome of classlessness.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 13, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, June 20, 2012 2:10 PM EDT
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Friday, May 6, 2011
Viagra and blue M&M's in unprecedented joint recall

McLEAN, Va. -- In an unprecedented joint-recall announcement Mars and Pfizer Incorporated have requested that consumers return to the place of purchase all blue M&M's and Viagra® tablets bought between December 25, 2010 and February 14, 2011.
Industry analysts say the recall is a result of a steady stream of consumer reports that both products were working much better than advertised.
"Best New Year's Day I ever had," said Emilene Snutter of East Chester, Pennsylvania. "Earl actually put down his remote at the end of the fourth quarter of the Rose Bowl with Wisconsin driving to tie the game.  At the time I thought it was the jalapeño dip but during NFL playoffs it became clearer.  After my sister-in-law, Earlene, came over for bridge last Saturday night, I figured it out for sure.  She won't touch a blue M&M.  Very traditional, you know."
"Anyway, after Earl emptied the candy dish," added Mrs. Snutter, "he was frisky as a squid on Sunday morning.  We barely made it in time for the sermon."
Others caught in the mix-up had a quite different experience.  Viagra user Robert McCann said, "I didn't get anywhere with Hilda, but I didn't care, the tablet just melted in my mouth not in my hand.  You woulda thought it was a dark Belgian chocolate not sildenafil citrate."
Neither media-savvy Mars execs nor the PR-meisters at Pfizer could provide an adequate explanation for the embarrassing snafu.
"We cannot comprehend how this could have happened.  While we share the same blue-dye manufacturer and the same trans-shipper, we do not understand at all how our products could have become interchanged," admitted Pfizer chief executive officer Ian Read.
"We are understandably very concerned, as both companies may lose millions in potential revenue," said Ryan Bowling, Director of Public Relations for Mars. "For this to happen just as consumers were beginning to accept blue M&M's as unobjectionable is very poor timing," he added.
"Blue M&M's, as many of you know, are manufactured at a separate location from the traditionally colored M&M's and some distance from the packaging facility," said Bowling.  "But that doesn't explain how they got switched inside the bags and blister packs."
Pfizer Incorporated, which is headquartered in New York, said that its Kalamazoo, Michigan-based Research and Development Division is warning M&M consumers about priapism (πριαπισμoς), a painful condition which can last for more than four hours, and has been reported among some Tollhouse cookie consumers.   To avoid long-term injury, it is important that the cookies be allowed to cool at least 15 minutes before eating.

The battle for the University of New Jersey
DURHAM, N.C. — Duke University filed a suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina which asks that Rutgers University "cease and desist from referring to itself, or any of its constituent entities," as "The University of New Jersey." Duke's suit says that this is necessary in order to prevent confusion by the public between the two schools.
In its reply Rutgers University made its case for being The University of New Jersey by noting that it launched in the past semester a two-year initiative called Project Civility, which is aimed at getting Rutgers students and faculty to treat people better.
The Rutgers' program's organizer Kathleen Hull jokes that the program's name could be, "Project Civility: You got a problem with that?"
Rutgers' student government president Yousef Saleh says he'd like for students to be more thoughtful on the university's buses, especially with their cell phones, and to stop slamming their textbooks closed before class is over.
Off the record several Duke administrators said such a civility program was unlikely to be offered at Duke since if it were effective it would mark the certain end of the Cameron Crazies.
Gary D. Gaddy, on principle, refuses to eat blue M&M's.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday May 6, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, July 15, 2011 4:53 PM EDT
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Cisco/Crisco merger to produce slickest high-tech yet

SAN JOSE, Calif. and ORRVILLE, Oh. -- Cisco Systems®, the leading supplier of networking equipment and Crisco® Oils and Shortenings, a spin-off from the J.M. Smucker Company, announced today the world's first merger between a fat-based-food-products company and a silicon-and-glass-fiber information technology hardware firm.
John Chambers, über-geek and Cisco Chief Executive Officer, is enthusiastic about the up side on the tech side.  "Together we will produce the slickest hardware geekdom has ever seen," he said. 
Experts from the food and food preparation industry, however, remain skeptical about the touted "synergy" of the deal.
"Different products, different markets, different supply chains.  I don't see how this helps either of them," said Barry Halzer, an analyst for a leading consumer and retail market research firm, the NPD Group.
"Although high-fiber products have been hot in food consumables for a while, I personally am not sure how customers will respond to glass-fiber-enhanced foods.  The food consumer is generally conservative, and people are really used to cellulose-fiber-based products.   Maybe, just maybe, the techies will go for something this cutting-edge, and, historically, they have consumed a lot of partially hydrogenated-fat and lard-based foods," said Bailey Barnes, a food-industry analyst at the financial services conglomerate Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
Tech industry analysts were generally more positive in their outlook.  "Cisco will provide the heft, the bulk if you will, needed to produce regular favorable earnings reports, while Crisco will grease the internal systems of both companies increasing higher product throughput," said JupiterResearch analyst Tom Dole.
Industry observers do think that the technical expertise that Crisco brought to bear to produce Simple Touch™ Sprays could help Cisco on some of its stickier human-machine interface problems.  The Simple Touch Spray features an innovative "Click & Go" nozzle for its oil-dispensing products that eliminates the lid and allows for one-hand operation -- and generally leaves no sticky mess to clean up later.
"Similar solutions for Cisco router box interfaces could definitely help increase market share," said Joellene Wilcox, a Loehmann Brothers technical analyst.
One tech industry insider said he thinks such speculation is baseless. He said he's seen a similar cross-industry hybrid technology like this before. "I remember back in 1999 when Novartis tried to implement Lin-Lax X, their Ex-Lax-enhanced Linux boxes, to increase throughput on backbone routing. All they ever produced was a bunch of crap," said Uttam Kumar, a design engineer with Bharati-AirTel.
Wall Street adopted a wait-and-see attitude on the merger announcement with the new combined Cisco Slick Systems adding just 8 cents to close at 19.93.
Department of Corections
In this space, as well as cyberspace, I recently reported that prospective UNC athlete Michael McAdoo was former UNC athlete Bob McAdoo's nephew. One of my alert and knowledgeable readers -- thanks, Alan -- kindly and correctly corrected me.
Michael McAdoo was a UNC football player, and is not, by any known report, related to former UNC basketball player Bob McAdoo.  Michael McAdoo is one of seven North Carolina football players who missed the entire 2010 season, having had his eligibility permanently stripped in November for receiving a little over $100 in impermissible benefits and too much help on a single paper. McAdoo's family continues, however, to fight to have Michael's eligibility restored in time to play the 2011 season.
James McAdoo is the highly touted UNC basketball recruit. It also turns out that James is not, as has been often reported, Bob McAdoo's nephew either. While James is related to former Tar Heel Bob McAdoo, who played one season at North Carolina, and led the 1972 team to a Final Four berth before "going pro early," he is not Bob's nephew.
As reported in the Raleigh News and Observer, "I call him my uncle, but he's really my dad's second or third cousin," James McAdoo said.
But speaking of "going early," James was far enough ahead academically last year that he could have graduated high school a year early by taking a summer-school course in 2010, and then he could have played for the Tar Heels this past season. He and his parents gave the matter thought, but he decided to stay at Norfolk Christian and graduate from high school as scheduled.
"I've never regretted that," McAdoo said. "It's really been fun being a kid. People say your senior year is one of the best of your life, and I know that's true now."
Tar Heel fans can only hope that he and Harrison Barnes will be saying the same thing again in couple of years.
Gary D. Gaddy, a consumer of Crisco consumables since the early 1950s, cruises the Internet on Cisco supplied hardware daily.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 29, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy 

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Saturday, April 23, 2011 7:07 AM EDT
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Friday, April 22, 2011
Cuba's Castro undergoes deathbed conversion, reports say

HAVANA and MIAMI – Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro has become a capitalist, close aides report.  Lying on what appeared to be his deathbed, the former communist dictator reflected on his days on earth and came to the conclusion that it had been a life misspent, the aides said.
"It was as if a light came on in his head," reported one aide who asked to remain unnamed.  Castro realized, the aide said, that the best thing that had ever happened to Cuba was the bed he was laying on -- a space-saving convertible sofa bed imported from New York in the mid-1950's.
"Only capitalism with its system of monetary incentives and rewards could have brought us the Castro Convertible," the dying dictator said.  "Why couldn't I see this before?" he asked.
"Of course, furniture that could switch between sitting and sleeping modes existed before the Castro Convertible Couch," noted Castro.  "Such convertible furniture had been around at least since the 1600’s -- but it was usually expensive and clumsy," he said.
"The davenport, which was still somewhat popular in the late 1940's, was difficult to open, and it looked like a bed even when folded up.  But the Castro Convertible Couch, which unfolded to become a bed with a strong but light metal frame, featured a 'featherlift' mechanism that made it much easier to operate," he observed.
"It's Bernard Castro who will be remembered by history, not me," Castro sighed.
Even as demonstrations celebrating the greatly exaggerated reports of his demise continued in Miami, Castro's conversion confounded his critics, deflating their joy at his impending death.
"That infernal deuce!" said one Cuban expatriate carrying a placard which read, "Better Dead and Red."  Another protester groused, "His death now will be no more satisfying than Ken Lay's" [referring to the chairman of the board and chief executive officer for the now-defunct Enron who died before being sentenced following a securities fraud conviction in 2006].
Crowds of confused men, women and children wandered the streets of Havana upon hearing the conversion report.  One little boy asked, in Spanish, "Will we still be allowed to go barefoot when shoes are available?"  No one could answer.
UNC's Sullivan to have jersey honored
CHAPEL HILL -- Former University of North Carolina basketball player Pat Sullivan will finally have his jersey hung in the rafters of the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center, the place where he spent so much of his life.
"We had to alter the criteria somewhat to include Pat, but we felt his longevity, if nothing else, merited recognition.  When we looked closer, we saw that a great injustice had been done to Pat not honoring his long service to UNC's storied basketball program," said UNC's athletic director Dick Baddour.
Sullivan is to this day the only player in NCAA history to have played on three national championship teams in three different decades.
Sullivan, a 6-8, 220-pound small forward, was a deep reserve on the 1957 team which beat the Wilt Chamberlain' Kansas team in double overtime.  He was a sub on the 1982 team with James Worthy, Sam Perkins and Michael Jordan.  And Sullivan was the player who missed the free throw that set up Michigan's Chris Webber infamous time out call at the end of the 1993 national championship game.
The jersey-raising ceremony will take place on Sullivan's birthday, February 29, 2012, during the halftime of the Clemson game, over half of which's record 55-consecutive Chapel Hill defeats occurred during Sullivan's tenure with the Tar Heels.

Gary D. Gaddy thinks he remembers seeing a billboard promoting the Castro Convertible when he went with his family to New York City to the 1964 World's Fair.
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 22, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 9:13 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 15, 2012 9:08 PM EDT
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Friday, April 15, 2011
Wins and losses: The woos and woes of "going pro"
NOW THAT BASKETBALL PLAYING SEASON is over (no, the NBA doesn't count), for fans of the top teams, it is a season of sadness and helplessness, as the college basketball fan watches and waits to see which of his players are "going pro early."
With gazelle-like Tyler Zeller, a junior, and Spiderman-clone John Henson, a sophomore, having announced that they are staying, TarHeeldom awaits the word of freshman phenom Harrison Barnes.  While I wait I meditate on "going pro."  I'll share my thoughts (and actual facts) on Tar Heels who have "gone pro."
For some players there is a right time to "go early."  University of North Carolina coach Dean Smith had the temerity to advise players to go pro.  Not give them his blessing.  Not attend their press conference announcing their decision and act like he was happy being there, but to personally recommend to them that the time was right for them to go. (It is little wonder he won so few games, with him thinking of his players' good before his own.)
In 1972 Bob McAdoo, a junior-college transfer, became the first player coached by Smith to go pro early.  (Side note: His nephew James McAdoo arrives in Chapel Hill this fall. If Michael is as good in ACC play as he looked in the McDonald's All-American Game, McAdoo II will be "going pro early" in a few years too)
For Bob McAdoo I would say 1972 was the right time.  He won the 1973 NBA Rookie of the Year Award in his first season, earned the first of three consecutive NBA scoring titles in his second, and was awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player Award in his third.
Likewise for James Worthy, 1982 was the right time. Worthy, who shared national Player of the Year honors with Virginia's Ralph Sampson, waited until fellow junior Sampson announced he was staying to announce he was going.  "Big Game James" was the first player taken in the 1982 draft -- ending up with the Los Angles Lakers, a perennial championship contender, rather than with the worst team in league as usually happens.
In 1984, some guy named Mike went early. Michael Jordan had been the national player of the year after his sophomore and junior seasons.  My recollection is “going pro early” didn't seem to hurt his pro career, or the fondness of the memories for him in Chapel Hill.
(Pop quiz: Michael Jordan was drafted third, who were the players drafted ahead of him?  Think for a minute.)
(Answer: The first pick was Hakeem Olajuwon, which was not stupid as he is now in the NBA Hall of Fame.  The second was Sam Bowie, who is, you might ask, who?  He is the answer to this question: “Who was the worst pick in the history of pro sports drafts?”  Bowie, who had missed two full seasons in college with a recalcitrant leg fracture, had an injury-laden 10-year career as a journeyman pro player.)
For some players there is no right time to "go early."  After the Tar Heels lost in the national championship game in 1977 to Marquette, Smith recommended to junior Phil Ford that he go pro.  According to Art Chansky, Ford said no by asking, "Who's going to tell my mother?"  Apparently, even Coach Smith didn't have the nerve to do that.  Mabel Ford valued a college degree over money.  Ford graduated and went pro after his senior season, was the second pick in the draft, and was named NBA Rookie of the Year.
Not "going early" is sometimes bad: case in point, Donald Williams.  Williams received the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award when UNC won the 1993 championship, and did not go pro early, did not get drafted as a senior, never made it to the NBA, and, at last report, was an assistant coach for the varsity girls basketball team at Saint Mary’s School in Raleigh.
And some who "go pro early" did no such thing. When, as a junior, national player of the year Antawn Jamison "went pro early," he had met all the academic requirements for graduation, except for one: the swimming test.  
"I can't swim at all," Jamison admitted. "You'll probably never see me in a pool over six feet," Jamison is quoted as saying. "They had a tutor with me the whole four weeks of the class. It was probably the hardest subject I faced in college, but I finished it," he added.
But, in any case, stars "going pro early" make life hard for the fans of their teams. I remember one year, following a batch of player graduations and early entries in the pro draft, a fellow Tar Heel fan was moaning to me about our team's losses, and I sympathized: "Yes," I said, "We're down to our last seven McDonald's All-Americans."
Gary D. Gaddy is going pro just as soon as he finds a sport someone will pay him to play. 
A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday April 15, 2011.
Copyright  2011  Gary D. Gaddy  

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 8:00 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, April 15, 2011 9:15 AM EDT
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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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