Let's clean out the notebook ...
• I have to say I was impressed with Jasper High School's new medical tent, as described byn Sports Editor Johnathan Bentley Sunday in a story. We think many times of these new practice buildings and weight rooms, and that is all well and good.
But when an injury comes along, a tent for privacy and attention seems like such a simple idea that one wonders why no one has thought of it before for high school games, especially as the colleges have already latched onto this. I'm told when that injury happened that was mentioned in the story, there was an infusion of well-meaning people, and it only added to the confusion.
Jasper High School, Sherry Pike at Southern Orthopedics, Champion Sports Medicine and Brookwood Hospital should also be congratulated for bringing this about. I would encourage other schools to make this a priority the next time they get a list of spending items together for their athletic program, as this should be a top priority. If we are going to send our kids running into each other 100 times each night, and our schools are going to make money off of it, they should invest in a basic thing like this.
• As for Jasper Schools, I did not the capital improvements list. I held my breath when I saw about a new central office, but then I saw that part of the old high school could be renovated for that. That would make more sense, as it would give room for growth, possibly cut down on costs (although we'll have to see the bill), and rehabilitate some of that vacated building space. Being so close to Bevill State Community College, we need to do what we can to keep that immediate area occupied and presentable. (And I dare say it is time to get out of the way of that creek. Frankly, I'm thinking Alabama Power, which I pay may fair share to, might want to reconsider its location as well.
• Magazines that used to cost quite a bit are obviously feeling the hard times. I've gotten in the mail not one but two-year offer from Readers Digest for $15. I had a professional price (meaning we're in the publishing business) from GQ for $8 a year, which seemed low. Smithsonian offered a $12 subscription for me AND a friend. I've seen low prices for other magazines, even for Time - but that one has become such a shell of itself I even gave that one up. That is sad because I recall my first issue in March of 1976 with Gore Vidal on the cover, as I thought that was the great American newsmagazine. Today, I get more with the Time daily e-mail with its links to stories.
• By the way, a high official at the New York Times predicted this week that one day his paper would be online only; it is only a matter of when. I suppose we will all see this in time, but it will seem strange. (Then again, I've never seen a street car or had the milkman deliver in the mornings, so I guess times change.)
• I enjoyed my time this week at the Sportsmen's Health Expo at Walker Baptist Medical Center. I thought it was well planned. I didn't try out the hunting simulator; I was too busy taking photos and trying to find out about my own health than worrying about taking out a mythical deer. We kept going from one station to another for quick testing.
I sat down thinking I was taking another one when they showed me it was not a test. It was a demonstration of robotic surgery, using a device that substituted some tiny rubber items simulating organs and veins and the like. But those items were greatly magnified and displayed at another device several feet away, where I could remotely see the items in 3-D and use a thumb and forefinger to manuever the items a distance away. It was remarkable to see and understand the implications of this new surgery, and the ability to deal with the most intricate and dangerous of procedures.
As for my own health, they were all glad I lost 18 pounds but said I needed to lose about 40 more and continue working on the factors you would think of. My heart was great and hopefully the other items can be worked on. The most distressing matter was that they found a couple of spots, on my cheek and the top of my head, that could possibly be skin cancer, so I had to get an appointment at a dermatology office. I would hope other men who got a warning will take follow up action as well.
• I hope the idea takes off that people stay in the Jasper Veteran's Day Parade as it ends on 18th Street, so elderly residents and children there can see the parade. At Winfield's Mule Day Parade, it comes by the city's nursing home so the residents can see it the parade as well.
• You may be like me, in being surprised that the state of Alabama has digital driver's licenses, as reported online the other day. I actually came across an al.com story in 2015 that reported it was starting: "Smart phone users can download a digital license to show as a secure form of identification. The license, only available through an online renewal, can be downloaded using Apple Passbook or Google Wallet. ALEA Spokeswoman Anna Morris said the digital license will be a valid form of ID if pulled over by police."
I worry they have not done a good job to publicize it. I saw someone posted online they had shown that on their phone to a law enforcement officer, and the officer said it was not valid as a license. However, Corporal Steve Smith of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency told ABC 33/40 recently, “That digital copy that you can download to your smartphone is a legal, binding item that you can use to show your legal Alabama identification." That could be a game changer for those having to show a driver's license during a purchase or whatever, or worrying about carrying a wallet. (I checked the State Farm app and it looks like it carries the insurance card as well.) It may be worth checking into further.
• It was good to finally reconnect with Greg Tinker the other day on the well project his church, Saragossa Church of the Nazarene, has undertaken. I knew him when we went to Brewer State Community College (now Bevill State Community College) in Fayette in the early 1980s, many moons ago. (James Gardner of Jasper Christian Center was going there at the time as well. Greg is the only one who seemed to hang on to his hair.)
• Have to say I think the idea at Hope House Church of having a shower for the homeless, with the idea that they can clean up, is excellent and there should be more in the area. If they can shower and have some other resources, they could be more able to get a job.
(By the way, I have been impressed with an online sock company called Bombas. They make some very comfortable socks, but the real idea is that for every pair you buy, they donate a pair to the homeless. So far, they have donated over 5 million pairs. They claim that the number one requested item at homeless shelters is socks.
• If you have time, check out a story called "What Made P.D. East the Fearless Wit of Forrest County" on smithsonianmag.com. It's the true story of a small town Mississippi newspaper editor who used wit and satire to expose local racism in the 1950s and 1960s, which caught the attention of some national celebrities and even a nationally published book. However, he eventually had to move to Alabama, to Fairhope, and died in obscurity. He is only now being rediscovered and appreciated.
• Visited with friends in Tuscaloosa, and they took me to the Southern Ale House on McFarland, tucked away near the river bridge, next to Bryant Bank. Upscale Southern cooking, very good. Worth a try on your next visit.
• By the way, I was amused by a local official you would know and like. He was being very complimentary of the column, which I greatly appreciated. Many of you note you really like it when I "clean out the notebook."
He was fumbling for that, only it finally came out as, "hanging out the laundry, or something like that." I got to thinking of the past politicians and officials I've taken to the laundry and hung out to dry, and I thought, "Maybe I need to rethink this ..."