We were supposed to go on a diet right after New Year’s Day, and now Martin Luther King’s birthday is almost upon us, and I think we’ve actually gained weight. We went on Dr. Oz’s 10-day Mediterranean diet for a few days but found out we don’t like tofu and pita bread. We’re more the mashed potato and gravy types.
So now Ernie is in cardiac rehab at Georgia Health Sciences University, and I joined so I could work out while the team of exercise specialists hook him up to monitors and put him through the paces. It’s really a remarkable facility, with an indoor running and walking track and dozens of exercise machines that look like medieval torture chambers.
After the Friday morning session, we went to Macaroni Grill for lunch, where I ordered eggplant parmesan, which I highly recommend, as well as the loaf of freshly baked bread you dip in extra virgin olive oil.
Well, olive oil is good for you.
SO, WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING? OK, you don’t want to read about what we’ve been doing. You want to read about the GHSU/ASU merger, the downtown baseball stadium deal that’s being worked out behind the scenes, what the lawmakers are cooking up in Atlanta and the government’s next ploy to pick your pocket.
Well, it seems we know everything about the merger there is to know until they get ready to hold another public meeting to get the public’s input on something that’s already a fait accompli. Ditto for the baseball stadium.
In Atlanta, Sen. Jesse Stone is complying with Augusta Commission member Jerry Brigham’s and Richmond County school board trustee Jack Padgett’s requests not to sign off on the redistricting plan that increases the black population in District 6 to 60.6 percent from 52.9 percent and almost ensures the commission will have six black and four white commissioners. (And won’t payback be hell?)
Anyway, Stone has written Jimmy McDonald in the Office of Redistricting in Atlanta to say the commission has been unable to reach consensus on redistricting the commission and school board. He then asked McDonald to meet with him, commissioners Grady Smith and Brigham, Padgett and Rep. Barbara Sims to discuss the issue this week.
TAX AND SPEND AND TAX AND SPEND SOME MORE: Augusta commissioners spent 2½ hours talking about city Administrator Fred Russell’s plan to eliminate a $2.5 million shortfall in next year’s budget with 34 layoffs and departmental budget cuts.
The focus, however, wasn’t on cutting but on “generating more revenue” and creating additional “revenue streams,” which is a great big joke. Government doesn’t generate revenue. It consumes revenue like a big old hungry giant. What it generates is taxes.
A prime example is the city’s housing development in the Laney-Walker area. I don’t care what the PR purveyors say. You can read all about it in Meg Mirshak’s article in Friday’s edition of The Augusta Chronicle.
Commissioners at Wednesday’s work session kept saying they couldn’t cut recreation programs or put people out of work. A motion to take $1.5 million (in addition to $2 million already taken) and expect another million from taxes on property that Big Brother just spotted failed 5-2. Expect it to resurface Tuesday.
HORSE SENSE: One of the lighter moments in the work session came when Chief Tax Appraiser Alveeno Ross made his case for not cutting three employees from his office. He said he was under deadlines to get assessments finished, notices sent out, appeals dealt with and the tax digest ready to deliver to the state revenue department.
“In the words of my grandfather, and I quote him, Mr. chairman. ‘If you’ve got to pull the weight of the wagon, no need in letting the horses go.’”
ARNOLD BO BARNOLD, BONANA FANNA FO FARNOLD, FEE FY MO MARNOLD: GHSU President Dr. Ricardo Azziz and ASU President Dr. William Bloodworth held four open meetings Thursday to answer questions and assure folks that the marriage of the two schools is going to work, but they don’t even know whose name it will take. And that’s what everybody seems to be focused on.
Dr. Robert Nesbit, a professor emeritus of surgery, said that when the name Georgia Health Sciences University was announced last year, someone said GHSU sounded like “Guess Who?” Now it really is, Guess Who?
THE MUSICAL M.D.
(Since the merger of GHSU and ASU in 2012, enrollment in One Big School (OBS) has increased to 30,000, which has strained the facility and overrun the ER, where the Musical M. D. struggles to cope.)
Act 1, scene 1
Nurse: Doctor, you’re needed in here again.
Dr.: Oh, what is it this time? Another case of zits or is it cramps again?
Nurse: Not cramps. He looks very depressed.
Dr.: What seems to be the problem, young man?
Patient: (Sings) Well, I’m in love. I’m in love with a beautiful girl. That’s what’s the matter with me. But she don’t care about me. Lawd, I tried and I tried to keep her satisfied. But she wouldn’t stay. So now that she is lea-eav-in.’ That’s all I can say.
Dr.: (Sings) You’ve got a feelin’ called the blues, oh, Lawd. Since your baby said goodbye. And you don’t know what you’ll do-oo-oo. All you do is sit and sigh, oh, Lawd. You’ve grown so used to her somehow. Well, you’re nobody’s sugar daddy now. And you’re so lo-on-lonesome. You’ve got the lovesick blues.
Here, take these two aspirin, and you’ll feel better in the morning.
Nurse: We’ve got a strange one you need to look at, Doctor.
Dr.: (enters) What seems to be the trouble?
Patient: Can’t you see? I’m green.
Dr.: Hmmm. Have you had any meat and potatoes lately?
Patient: No. I’m a vegan. The thought of eating meat makes me sick.
Dr. So what do you eat?
Dr.: Young lady, you have a condition known from the 16th century as green sickness.
Patient: (Sings) I know, and it’s not easy being green. Having to spend each day the color of the leaves. It’s not easy being green. It seems you blend in with so many other ordinary things.
Dr.: But green’s the color of spring. And green can be cool and friendly-like. And green can be big like an ocean, or important. Like a mountain or tall like a tree.
Patient: When green is all there is to be. It could make you wonder why, but why wonder why. I am green, and it’ll do fine, it’s beautiful. And I think it’s what I want to be.”
Dr.: Keep eating broccoli three times a day, and you will.
Nurse: Doctor, we have a patient waiting. And he’s crying.
Dr. (Enters) The nurse told me you were crying. Would you like to tell me what the trouble is, young man?
Patient: (Sings) See the bright light shine. It’s just about hometime. I can see my father standing at the door. Lord, I’ve never been this homesick before. I can see the family gather. Sweet faces, they’re all familiar. But no one’s old or feeble anymore. Oh this lonesome heart is cryin.’ Think I’ll spread my wings for flyin.’ Lord, I’ve never felt this homesick before.
Doctor: (Sings) Home is where the heart is. No matter how the heart lives. Inside your heart where love is. That’s where you’ve got to make yourself at home.
City Ink thanks the late Hank Williams, Joe Raposo, Dottie Rambo and Peter, Paul and Mary for their contributions to this week’s column.