Has a year gone by already? It seems like yesterday that I laid out the first "Studs ‘n Duds" list. There were some good ones too in ‘07. Even carryovers to ‘08.
However, I couldn’t help but to put together another list after the year that we’ve had. So here are the overall Studs ‘n Duds of 2008.
I must admit, that after writing this year’s list and checking it twice, there were more "Duds" than "Studs" on it. But being a true optimist that I am, I decided to cull out many of the Duds. I figured it would either make people really angry to list them all, or even more egregious -- depressed.
The economy is depressing enough and obviously heads the "Dud" list. So we’ll skip that quagmire altogether. Nevertheless, here is my list (and explanation why) in no particular order of priority:
STUD: Barack Obama and his run for President. Whether or not you voted for the guy, you have to admit that he and his organizers skillfully ran the table against all odds. In my last column, I predicted that the forty-forth President of the United States will receive more angst and demands from the far left of his own party than he will from the political right. And, that he would become more centrist as a result. Looks like I was right. Judging by the "Washington old guard" nominations he put out there to fill his cabinet, the "time for change" mantra has already been partially mummified. More later.
DUD: The brain cell challenged citizens of the entire State of Minnesota. Al Franken(stein) for US Senator? I met Al once at a SNL party and also at the world premiere of his movie, "Stuart Saves His Family." Dierks Bentley’s song comes to mind, "What Was I Thinking?" Hey, Minnesota! What are you thinking!? Geeesh!
STUD: Tiger Woods thumping the best golf players in the world by winning the 2008 US Open with a broken leg. What was he thinking?
DUD: Hillary Clinton. Wow, what a "deer-in-the-headlights" performance. All you heard was the sound of crashing glass. What I never liked about her pitch was her sense of "entitlement" somehow for her husband’s indiscretions in the oval office. Well, Bill certainly still owes her - but the rest of the people of the United States? Wouldn’t a divorce have been simpler - and cheaper? Well, maybe simpler.
STUD: Closer to home; this year’s Seafood Festival at Gregory Park with the Charlie Daniel’s Band. Now you’re talkin’ - an’ dancin’.
DUD: Local gas at $4.50 a gallon in September.
STUD: Local gas at $1.50 a gallon three months later. What was that all about?
DUD: Bailouts of everything except the folks who really need it. Sure, most every other country in the world has bailed out their banks, guarantors and manufacturers. Those governments now own them -- it’s called Socialism. If you have the right to prosper, then you should also assume the right and responsibility to fail. The rest of us who have signed onto this ride did.
STUD: My colleague and friend, Bryan County Newsman Ross Blair, who took a multi-pronged taser gun to the chest just to write an article about the experience. Good thing the paper didn’t ask Ross to cover sex change operations at Memorial.
DUD: Walgreens going up at the corner of 17 and 144 where Minor’s Gas used to be. In the immortal words of TV Detective Lt. Columbo, "Let me see if I understand this correctly. You’re gonna put a Walgreens across the street from a CVS which is across the street from the Richmond Hill Pharmacy? What are you thinking?" Geeesh.
STUD: The two houses on the corner of Timber Trail Road, Live Oak and Boyd, that lit up the Christmas skies with festive illuminations and Christmas decorations. We see you. And thank you. Top honors.
DUD: Those PC folks who voraciously insist that everyone say, "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Yeah, well -- Merry Christmas, y’all.
STUD: The Richmond Hill firefighters who donned reindeer antlers and marched in the Christmas parade down Main Street. You gotta love it. With the new Sunday libation laws having been voted in by the Hillites, one has to think that perhaps we have to wait until next year’s parade to crown a Rudolph.
DUD: Shutting down Rt. 144 between Parkers and the Town Hall for an entire weekend to add hardtop to the rail tracks in front of Plantation Hardware. Hey, look. Economic times are hard enough without handcuffing the good merchants of Richmond Hill between Timber Trail Road and Edsel Drive. Couldn’t the railroad have worked on half the section at a time and allowed diverted traffic to go through? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Lots of merchants took a hit on a big weekend in bad economic times and I don’t see any bailouts coming on the horizon for the courtesy.STUD: National Hillite placements and winners; Ellis Phillips, Mark Gerrald, Steve Miller, Rodney Rogers, Mike Hodges, Jimmy and Travis Roberts, Alan and Justin Daniels in sanctioned SKA fishing tournaments and Andy Cayton of Black Creek in the world cup balloon championships. "Go --- (!?)" I think we need a town mascot here. Suggestions?
STUD SIGN: The best sign of 2008 had to be the one taped to the front door of the Bryan County Bank on Halloween; "Please remove your masks before entering." How cool is that?
DUD: Rising vandalism at Christmas. C’mon, already. If you’re the parents of these misguided kids - why don’t you start with a hug. After that, do everyone a favor -- bring them in for fingerprints.
STUD: Billy Reynolds on his stellar 25th year anniversary as the Hill’s Police Chief. Way t’go. One of the coolest parts about going by Billy’s station is to see the Blues Brothers "Bluesmobile" parked out in front. I cannot tell you how reassuring that is to me. (That was a great Seafood Festival show as well, no?)
PERENNIAL STUDS: The Richmond Hill Historic Society, Richmond Hill Pharmacy, Kim’s Kottage Kuts, Hill of Beans, 606, Sho Gun’s, Augie’s, MacPherson’s, Fort McAllister Steamers, Love’s, Plantation Hardware, the YMCA, Gregory Park, and those of you who say, "Merry Christmas" and mean it.
Victor Pisano is a Richmond Hill resident.