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Darrell Huckaby - Tons of stuff in the news

One of the challenges faced by any newspaper columnist is knowing what is on the minds of his or her readers. Sometimes I'm not even sure what is on my own mind, so how do I know what the great unwashed is thinking about.

Take this week, for instance. There is tons of stuff in the news on the local, state and national level. Let's go down the list, starting with a local issue.

In case you didn't notice, somebody finally turned on the rain switch. That's right. Water has been falling out of the sky for the past two days - at quite a steady pace, too, I might add. And I haven't heard a single person discard the "water event" - that's what they call rain these days, "water events" - by claiming it will not help the current drought situation.

On the contrary. Glen Burns was practically beaming Thursday night as he used the latest technology to show how much of the rain will be making its way into Altoona and Lake Lanier and other major reservoirs. Even the usually dour Paul Osmond had a semi-smile on his face as he shared his three-day forecast. I didn't get to see Ken Cook this week.

And I wonder whatever happened to Johnny Beckman.

Speaking of the drought - do you know how we'll know when it is really over? People will complain when we get a two-day rain like we got this week because it kept them from playing golf or washing the car or taking part in some other outdoor activity. We ain't there yet because my buddy Bob Bradley missed out on three days on the links and I didn't hear a whimper out of him.

He'll probably have to cut back on hs spending money next week, too - but I still didn't hear a word out of him.

We had a tragic shooting on a college campus in Illinois last week, but I have heard surprisingly little conversation about that. Makes you wonder how close to home something has to hit before we consider it close to home.

The General Assembly is hard at work this week. There are tons of problems facing our state of course. I can't help but notice that there are more and more "undocumented workers" - who said I was too old to learn political correctness? - competing for fewer and fewer unskilled jobs within our borders. And the schools still aren't operating at maximum efficiency. Ninth grade black males, for instance, have a less than 50 percent chance of actually graduating from school. Our teachers continue to lose purchasing power to inflation and more and more and more classroom instructors are becoming discouraged over low wages and less time to teach and are leaving the profession in droves. But not to fear!

Our legislature is considering a bill to weigh students twice a year and another to take away the right of those pesky Florida fans to flaunt their alligators on Georgia license plates.

Baseball players are stretching out and warming up and getting loose under the Florida sun, getting ready to come north in a month or so and do their thing, but there is more attention being paid to the testimony of Roger Clemens in Congress than to the Opening Day lineups.

Clemens said he didn't use steroids. If you believe him, I would like to meet you because I have the first home run balls that Babe Ruth, Joe Dimaggio, Mickey Mantle and Barry Bonds ever hit and I will make you a real nice price on them.

Down to the south, Fidel Castro stepped down as president of Cuba - which actually caught many off guard. Most folks thought that Castro would be like Joe Paterno and Bobby Bowden and hold onto power until a few days after he quit breathing. Not much is expected to change in Cuba in the short term because Fidel's baby brother, Raul, is considered to be just as despotic as Fidel, if not more so - but maybe now the elder Castro will have more time to take in a few spring training games. All I know is, I hope they work it out to start exporting Havana cigars before next year's Tech-Georgia game. I'm getting tired of celebrating Georgia victories with Swisher Sweets.

I suppose the other big news of the week is that the 80th Academy Awards show will go on, from the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. There was talk of having to cancel the production because of the writer's strike. Now that would have been a real shame.

I looked over the nominated films and, to be quite honest, haven't seen a single movie nominated in a major category.

I did see Shrek, Pirates of the Carribean, and Spider Man - and some movie where Kate Hudson hung out for two hours in a little black bikini.

None of those shows are up for any awards, but the one with Kate Hudson should be.

Oh, yes. I almost forgot. It is still an election year. John McCain is sitting in the wings, waiting to see if his Democratic opponent is going to be Hillary or Obama and we may not know, even after all the votes are cast. But if you thought the weather was bad here this week, wait until you see what will be flying around in Texas and Ohio for the next nine days.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.