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Yarbrough: New year may strain my patience

POSTED: March 1, 2008 5:00 a.m.

The year 2008 has begun very much like 2007 ended: still populated with too many humorless liberal weenies, narrow-minded Bible thumpers, state flaggers who couldn't find the 21st century with a calendar, rude cell phone yakkers, poor service in two languages -- depending on which button you push -- and other assorted irritants.

As always, my New Year's resolution is to abide all of the above with my much-admired tolerance and patience. But it is going to be a strain.

The year started with the Georgia Bulldogs putting a major-league whupping on the University of Hawaii Warriors in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on New Year's night. Hawaii was undefeated but showed quickly that they didn't belong on the same field with the Dawgs. One of their regular-season victories had been over Fresno State, the same Fresno State that decisively defeated the Sir Lucious L. Lightfoot Brand Alignment Center on North Avenue in the prestigious Pine Beetle Infestation Dot Com Bowl in East Boola-Boola, Idaho.

But, Georgia fans, listen to this. Even though the Bulldogs, (a) return 17 of 22 starters; (b) have assembled one of the top recruiting classes in the nation; (c) have a classy coach who has compiled a 72-19 record in seven seasons; and (d) feature a young running back named Knowshon Moreno who may be the best in the nation, my Tech friends tell me that the good times are over in Athens. Paul Johnson is taking over their football program. We might as well buy some long white flannel pants and take up lawn bowling.

Giddy Tech fans remind me that Johnson is the man who beat archrival Army six straight years while coaching at the Naval Academy and at 1-AA Georgia Southern in Statesboro, compiling a record equal to or better than UGA's Mark Richt.

I share this information only if you promise you won't burst their bubble and tell them Army isn't UGA and that whipping Wofford, Western Carolina and Whomsoever State doesn't mean squat. Let's let them find out the hard way. After all, what are friends for?

On another subject: If one more newspaper columnist tells me this year that public school teachers are opposed to being paid on performance, I will barf in my bran flakes. My schoolteacher son and son-in-law would be happy to be graded on their performance. Just tell them what the rules are and then get out of their way.

Right now, they are dealing with the federally mandated No Child Left Behind, state-mandated Annual Yearly Progress, local system mandates, politically motivated school boards of education, superintendents and principals who have their own sometimes conflicting rules, drugs, poverty, crime, meddling legislators and too many parents who consider public schools a baby-sitting service.

And pray tell, my media cohorts, on what basis would you apply another set of rules on schoolteachers without giving them some help with the aforementioned problems? Maybe you need to spend a few days in the classroom before you answer.

In 2008, I hope I don't read or see anything about the latest didoes of Britney Spears or Paris Hilton, or the latest self-serving pronouncements of President Peanut, Jane Fonda, Al Sharpton or Sean Penn. I don't want to know what pro athlete has created another baby with his "fianceé," or to be told that illegal immigrants deserve my sympathy by politicians who want their vote and businesses who want their cheap labor. And I don't care one whit whether the Atlanta Falcons get a coach, a general manager or a rash that itches.

Finally, we have a presidential election coming in 2008 and not the foggiest idea of what the candidates really believe, only what their spin doctors and pollsters tell them to tell us they believe. No wonder we are disillusioned by the political process.

The only ray of sunshine is that our Ambassador to Outer Space, Cynthia McKinney, says she will run for the nomination of the Green Party ticket for president. Her first campaign promise was to not engage her brain while her tongue is in motion.

Hmmm. The year 2008 might be better than I thought.

Dick Yarbrough is a North Georgia resident whose column appears Saturdays and on gainesvilletimes.com.



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