By: Dick Hodgetts: columnist
Peyson Moss will make you uncomfortable when you hear him play the piano in church. He puts so much energy and joy into his playing, it can be contagious. However, there is a certain reverence that has been instilled in many of us Southerners regarding music we hear at religious services. What happens is that he plays with so much inspiration, that at the end you want to applaud, or even shout!! You ask yourself: “is it okay to sound off about what we just heard?” No one tells you what is acceptable-it’s never stated in the bulletin. I’ve checked. So you sit there, just wanting to emote, and wondering if you are in a Presbyterian Church might they yank your membership if you are too demonstrative. I just squirm and wonder if I heard this in Jeff Davis’ Church, I bet I could let out a bit of encouragement!!! Peyson will do that to you. It’s magical to hear what that young man can do with a piano. Just simply magical.
When I hear a pianist play with many times the energy and emotion that I am used to, the inclination is to either applaud or wish that at that moment I was at an AME Church where they are way ahead of us in expressing the joy they feel. Peyson needs to play for us and also in venues where emotions are not so restrained. Not going to happen at my beloved Presbyterian Church. We are as uptight as the human condition allows. It’s in our DNA.
By: George Warren
Let’s talk about CFIUS (pronounced sifius). No, it is not a sexually transmitted disease. It is a committee that is supposed to protect your national interests---The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States. Chaired by the Secretary of the Treasury, it includes members from Defense, State, Commerce and Homeland Security. Started by President Ford, its objective is to approve or disapprove the acquisition of US companies by foreigners. Companies proposing to be acquired by foreigners are supposed to voluntarily notify CFIUS, but CFIUS has the power to review any of which they become aware. The problem is, they have not seen many foreign acquisitions which they did not like.
There are moral rules and laws to serve the greater good, but what’s wrong with wearing white after Labor Day or lighting candles in daytime? I love tradition, but my problem comes in following some silly rule because of convention. And I used to have lots of convention governing my holidays:
No Christmas music before Thanksgiving.
No Christmas scented anything before Thanksgiving.
Christmas cards in mail by December 17.
Christmas cookies must be made. Cut-outs with icing only acceptable form.
Have to attend latest possible Christmas Eve service to be in church holding lighted candle singing ‘Joy to the World” at stroke of midnight.
Must attend all community holiday events. (Bring can for donation along ~ danger of wrath of God if can of corn left on kitchen counter top in mad dash to make event 5 minutes late.)
White twinkling lights only.
Bake 20 pecan pies for gifts two days before Christmas.
Make shoe boxes, Toys for Tots. Any such activity must involve dragging along children as penitence for forgetting can of corn.
Artificial trees are for sissies.
The entire month of December has to be perfect.
I have to be perfect.
This year I threw open the door to my holiday perfection cell. I burn candles all day long and started playing Christmas music the middle of November. Funny, the earth didn’t rip apart and swallow me whole. Having my own trove of odd ornaments, this year I bought a 6-foot, pre-lit white tree with colored lights. A screaming pastel aluminum Christmas tree plucked straight from a “Charlie Brown Christmas.”
I LOVE that little tree.
By: Bobby Smith
Morgan, Putnam and Greene Counties: It is my pleasure to welcome Jonael Bosques Mendez as the Greene County Extension Agriculture and Natural Resources Agent and Annie Kauffman as the Extension Secretary in Morgan County!
Jonael (pronounced Jonah) comes to us from Coffee County where he has been an Ag Agent for two years. Jonael brings a vast knowledge base in agriculture to the Greene County office. Jonael is originally from Puerto Rico and has the added advantage of speaking Spanish and will be able to extend our programming into Hispanic areas.
Many of you have had the opportunity to meet Jonael, as he started November 1. I am looking forward to working with Jonael to offer expanded extension programming in the Lake Oconee Area.
Annie began her career as our extension secretary on October 1. Annie brings a vast knowledge of administration and office management skills and has the advantage of having post secondary training in Home Economics. We are pleased to have Annie answering your calls and helping us extend lifelong learning to the citizens of Morgan County!
Call your local Extension Agent at (800) ASK-UGA1 1(800)275-8421.
By: Fred Johnson; Columnist
A lake area doctor has been holding town hall meetings about healthcare. His patients were generally supportive of limiting government control of health care, but when he participated in a healthcare debate at the University of Georgia he found that students had a whole different concept. A common attitude among the students was that doctors make too much money. One commented that a high school principal is responsible for 3,000 kids every day while the doctor sees fewer patients; so heart surgeons should not make any more than the principal. The logic of pay being based on the number of people you are responsible for could lead to the UGA basketball coach being paid the minimum wage; but the student, evidently, has not carried his economic theory that far.
The Obama administration seems to have the same attitude as these college students. Obama appointed Kenneth Feinberg as a “Pay Czar” who imposed steep pay cuts in the seven firms that received taxpayers' money, including Citigroup Inc., General Motors Corp. (GM) and American International Group Inc. (AIG). He cut the cash salaries of the top executives by more than 90 percent and total compensation by more than 50 percent.
That was back in July. Now, Kenneth Feinberg says that he is "very concerned" that plans to rein in compensation may, in fact, be backfiring. The CEO of AIG has threatened to quit, Citigroup complains that pay restrictions will cause them to lose talented bankers and dealmakers to rivals and General Motors says that the pay limits are impeding its efforts to turn the company around.
Printed in the November 26, 2009 edition.