Monday, Monday … How could you?

TRUE STORY: A South Carolina woman making a late-night trip to the grocery store found herself locked in when the supermarket closed unexpectedly.    

“All of the sudden everybody was gone,” said Loris resident Cheryl Freeman of her visit to the local Food Lion. “When I got up to the front, I thought I saw [employees] leaving in a car. I watched them drive away.”    

Unable to open the exit doors and realizing she had left her cell phone at home, Freeman started looking for a phone in the store’s office. An alarm went off, and police responded quickly to the call.    

Freeman said the alarm, which she described as deafening and continuous, was the worst part of the incident.    

“It kept saying, ‘You’re in a restricted area.’ The police came, but we couldn’t communicate because that alarm was so horribly loud,” she said. “I was pretty upset, but didn’t tell anybody about it.”    

After the incident, Freeman said she considered moving from Loris back to her previous home in Myrtle Beach because “they never locked me in a store down there.”    

+++    

During a recent visit to a Taco Bell, I noticed a plaque on the wall listing the store manager as “Zena Bailey”. I thought this was a funny name, and started relating it to friends and family.    

To a person, every single individual ruined the story by asking the same deflating question: “Was it spelled with an ‘X’?”    

No, I had to admit with much discouragement. It was with a “Z”. 😦    

+++    

NPR was reporting a story last week about a transition in the top ranks of the Nigerian government.    

“The current president continues to receive medical treatment at a hospital in Saudi Arabia,” said the announcer. “The Nigerian senate yesterday approved a motion that would allow the temporary appointment of Goodluck Jonathan.”    

What? Did I hear that right? Sounds like a news writer jokingly inserted a farewell to his favorite intern into the live transcript.    

As it turns out, Goodluck Jonathan is former governor of Bayelsa, a member of the PDP ruling party, current vice president of the republic, and owner of the coolest name in political history.    

Nigeria is currently confronting some troubled times, and Jonathan will face a daunting task governing Africa’s largest country. I think we’d all want to offer him a hearty “best wishes!”    

+++    

The legacy of the Rev. Billy Graham is still a widespread presence in his hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Though the frail and now-retired minister lives in the mountains west of here, there are plenty of namesake reminders in the city that residents take for granted, but must sound odd to visitors.    

Charlotte boasts a Billy Graham Parkway, the Billy Graham Library, and the headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelical Association. So it’s not that unusual to hear locals say things like:    

“The best way to the airport is to take Billy Graham.”    

“We were able to rent Billy Graham for both our wedding and reception.”    

“He’s got a good job. He’s part of Billy Graham.”    

+++    

My cats are getting more and more out of control around their meal times. I’m thinking of having them trained in photosynthesis so they can make their own damn food.    

+++    

Speaking of higher education, I saw a pickup truck in our area the other day that had three decals in the back window: one for Winthrop University, one for the University of Georgia, and one of the deer head silhouette frequently displayed by hunters. It made me wonder if there are colleges anywhere that offer a degree program in hunting. If so, they would probably call it something more academic, like the College of Wildlife Management and Assault.    

This same truck also had a bumper sticker for Ducks Unlimited. My son hadn’t heard of the organization, so I had to explain that, contrary the name, it was a group very much dedicated to limiting ducks.    

+++    

New locally owned restaurant opened in my hometown that seems even more doomed to failure than most. Its name: “Bats Barbecue”.    

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Sometimes, instead of using the men’s room located just outside my office at work, I’ll hike across the warehouse to the highly-disinfected facilities used by the hourly temps. The cleaning solution used by the janitor there has a much more appealing smell, just the right mix of flowers and industrial solvents.    

This is how sad and pathetic my life has become.    

+++    

I finally got a chance to see “The Hurt Locker,” the Oscar-nominated film about an Army bomb squad operating in Iraq. Great movie.    

I was confused though by at least one part (not counting being unable to figure out why anyone would take a job even worse than mine). When the chunky guy in the high-collar jacket approaches a suspicious package, his fellow squad members call out the location of potential nearby dangers: “Possible sniper at 1 o’clock!” “Kid with a cell phone at 3 o’clock!” “Time for an MRE dinner at 7:30!”    

I’m not at all clear on how that works as a way to indicate location. I assume that “12 o’clock” is directly in front of me and that other points fan out accordingly. But if a guy to my right says there’s something at 9 o’clock, is that his 9 o’clock or mine? And what if one of us swivels?    

Seems to me a more common-sense direction would be something like “to your left” or “look out” or “you should’ve stayed in community college.”    

+++    

I’ve really enjoyed watching the Winter Olympics on TV so far. The Opening Ceremonies on Friday night were absolutely splendid, marred only slightly by interspersed clips of the Georgian luger being killed during his practice run.    

The Parade of Nations, during which the athletes enter the stadium smiling proudly and waving at the crowd, was a little dry, but not for lack of effort by the NBC executive in charge of figuring out where to insert the commercials. Each block of ads took up enough time to obscure the entrance of several national teams, and the network official had to figure which alphabetical chunk of participating countries were least interesting to American viewers.    

He couldn’t simply go by populations or team sizes, because of compelling story lines among small groups like the Cayman Islands and Vanuatu. Nations in the news also had to be included, so places like Iran and North Korea couldn’t be overlooked. Even usually boring lands like Canada had to be shown because, after all, they’re the Olympic host.    

So it came down to three different five-state groupings that were judged less interesting than appeals for more people to drink Red Bull: the Bahamas-Belarus-Belgium-Bermuda-Bosnia axis, the Kyrgyzstan-Latvia-Lebanon-Liechtenstein-Lithuania alliance and the San Marino-Senegal-Serbia-Slovakia-Slovenia coalition.    

Watch for some of these peoples to provoke a high-profile incident on the international stage in the near future, just to get their names out there. I predict San Marino and the Bahamas will join forces to invade Slovakia, then realize that they meant to attack Slovenia, and then figure, oh hell, what’s the difference?    

+++    

The composite sketch artist embodies two seemingly contrary interests: a desire to create skilled renderings of the human form and a yearning to hang out with crime victims.    

Sometimes, one proficiency is stronger than another, and you get a terrific portrait of shadow and color and light, but it looks more like an eighteenth-century aristocrat than the suspect in a triple shooting.    

Or sometimes, you end up with an amateurish portrayal that sends police off in search of animated cartoon characters.    

Two examples below exemplify some especially bad examples of composite sketch artistry.    

Be on the lookout for the Latino uncle of one of those big-eyed children from paintings of the 1960s.

This suspect is a recent skin-graft patient.

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2 Responses to “Monday, Monday … How could you?”

  1. duffboy Says:

    Man, you have made me feel so much better about my life: “The cleaning solution used by the janitor there has a much more appealing smell, just the right mix of flowers and industrial solvents”. I bet Goodluck Jonathan really IS the coolest name in political history.

  2. wrjones Says:

    Great collection of stories/observations. But now I realize I’m peeing in a run of the mill bleach scented men’s room.

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