Just in time for Halloween, the powers that be stuck the word “Augusta” on the end of Georgia Regents University, not as part of the official name, mind you, but for branding purposes. So officially speaking, this rose by any other name still does not have Augusta in it.
How unfortunate it is that the Georgia Board of Regents dug in its heels, and, despite the best efforts of the Save the A committee, wouldn’t budge on reconsidering the honor they bestowed upon themselves. So somebody came up with a “compromise” designed to save face.
GRUA President Ricardo Azziz blogged that it was “a truly Solomonic decision.” I’m sure he knows all about Solomon because he’s so wise himself, having alienated half the population of Augusta in less than three years.
“So what is the difference between a brand name and a legal name?” he asks in his blog.
“One you see … everywhere … on logos, apparel, marketing materials, and the like. The other one you rarely see outside regulatory and legal circles.”
Would the one you rarely see outside regulatory and legal circles be the one you see on your diploma?
GRUA, THY NAME IS WOMAN: Mike Aufiero e-mailed that “grua” means “woman” in Albanian, “crane” in Spanish and Portuguese and “hearth” in Norwegian.
W-CRW-KGCWLBRFSEU: Several years ago, The Chronicle employed brilliant linguist Richard Noegel as a writing coach to teach the reporters some of the finer points of grammar, such as the difference between “whether” and “if.” We became fast friends and still communicate occasionally. I e-mailed him last week asking him to give me his take on the GRUA situation.
Richard responded by saying it’s clear, even to the most casual observer, that Azziz was brought to Augusta to be a hatchet man and suspects it might be the governor who brought him here.
“What is his name?” he asked. “Oh, Lord, I’m having a bona fide senior moment. Anyway, you know who I mean. Deal! Yes-Deal. As in ‘let’s make one.’ Reminds me of the time when that story about Bernie Madoff first broke, and I couldn’t believe my ears! People had actually given money to a guy on Wall Street whose name sounded like ‘made off.’ But they did. And he did. And you see, that is why you and I could have gotten ourselves elected King and Queen of Someplace-or-Other and had our very own Kingdom by the Sea if we had just thought about it and run campaign ads with a tractor on ’em. People are such willing victims.
“Anyway, ‘they’ bring Dear Leader Azziz here to the Garden City to, shall we say, ‘prune the shrubbery?’ ” he continued. “So he goes to hackin’ and rippin’ and prunin’ and shovin’ and pretty soon, the whole damn place is unrecognizable. And it now has a passel of names that would break a ventriloquist’s jaw! And he ain’t stopped yet! To paraphrase William Faulkner, ‘once a fool, always a fool, what I say.’ ”
Then, quoting St. Paul, Richard asked: “What shall we then say to these things?
“Well, here’s how I figure it. They mean to move all teaching and instruction and anything and everything that could reasonably be called ‘teaching’ to Athens. And what will be here in Augusta is research. That – and I know that this will not have escaped your attention – is the word they keep tossing about like the cow tossed the dog in The House That Jack Built. Only we’re going to end up with something like ‘The Nameless University That’s Located in a Nameless City That Dear Leader Built.’ Lord, I just hope it rhymes so that we’ll have at least a snowball’s chance of remembering the name, whatever it turns out to be.
“Research. Oh! I came perilously close to leaving out that thrilling adjective ‘world-class.’
“Yes, I predict that, in the end, it will be called ‘World-Class Research in a Well-Known Georgia City With a Lot of Brand Recognition and a Famous Sporting Event University’ (W-CRW-KGCWLBRFSEU). Anyway, that gets my vote, for what it’s worth.
“Now, I’ll grant you that it will be hellish to have to embroider W-CRW-KGCWLBRFSEU on caps and jackets and things, and it will take some doin’ to fit it onto letterhead stationery and bumper stickers and window decals and whatnot, but I really don’t see who could object to it, do you?
“True, true, I am the first to admit that it doesn’t have ‘Augusta’ in it and it doesn’t ‘Save the A,’ but it does have ‘Georgia’ in it, and I do feel that somebody – somebody – has to put his foot down and settle this thing for good and aye. And it looks increasingly unlikely that a Deal will be struck that satisfies all parties.
“So that is my ‘take’ on the whole shoddy comedy. Teaching will go to Athens; World-Class Research – for profit (did I neglect to mention that?) – will stay here.
“Augusta = World-Class Research for Profit
“Athens = all teaching”
BOO WHO?: The city’s Halloween party was supposed to take place at the new convention center this year, but because they haven’t been able to agree on a caterer or management agreement it’s going to be at Regency Mall.
The downside of that is they don’t have a management agreement with the mall either. And there’s no electricity out there, so the party will be extra spooky this year. Commissioners were supposed to bring refreshments, but they haven’t been able to agree on a caterer.
Despite the snags, dozens of city and state officials are expected to attend.
Just as he did last year, Mayor Deke Copenhaver will issue a proclamation, proclaiming Oct. 31 as Halloween. He will then say a prayer asking God to forgive everybody there for making such a big to-do over a pagan holiday.
Richmond County Democratic Party Chairman Lowell Greenbaum and the executive committee that canceled Sheriff Ronnie Strength’s retirement reception because he endorsed Republican sheriff’s candidate Freddie Sanders have RSVP’d and will come as a pack of donkeys.
Republican 12th Congressional District candidate Lee Anderson, dressed as Honey Boo Boo, will arrive on his tractor with the Board of Regents, Chancellor Hank Huckaby, Azziz and the Save the A committee riding the manure spreader.
Azziz, dressed as a magician, will perform magic tricks. First he’ll make the Medical College of Georgia disappear; then remove the word “Augusta” from all city limit signs, public buildings and golf courses, including Augusta National.
Everybody at the party will be talking about a brand and where they can go to get one.
City Administrator Fred Russell will be handing out resumes.
Democratic sheriff’s candidate Richard Roundtree will be handing out “Get Out of Jail Free” cards and skeleton keys to the men and motel keys to the women.
Sanders will be trying to handcuff Roundtree all evening and force him to debate.
Tax Commissioner Steven Kendrick will come as a bridegroom because that’s what he is.
Woody Merry will come as the Mad Hatter.
The mayor couldn’t decide on a costume because he didn’t want to make anybody mad.
Housing and Neighborhood Director Chester Wheeler will be signing people up to buy houses in Laney-Walker/Bethlehem with 100 percent forgivable loans and Obama phones.
Because of the economy, several Augusta commissioners will wear the same costumes as last year. (See the Oct. 29, 2011, City Ink for descriptions.)