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From (Clay) Aiken to Augusta (State)

It's been said you are never too old to learn. And, boy, did I learn a lesson last week.

You know, those Clay Aiken fans can be a protective bunch.

After I mentioned the American Idol participant in my column last week, I got a couple of e-mails from fans defending "OMC" -- Our Man Clay, as they call him. They were just a little upset that I grouped their crooner with warbler William Hung. They took offense that I used the word "inflict" when speaking of Mr. Aiken. And they took out their frustrations on me.

But that's OK. My skin's pretty thick. Plus, I've got other things to worry about: after all, the next American Idol is about to be crowned.

I took a little time last week to drive through my old stomping grounds at Augusta State University. It has been seven years since I graduated from the college and as long as it took me to get that diploma, I got pretty familiar with the campus.

In the years since 1997, I've been back to campus a couple of times -- mainly to establish the Steven W. Patch Memorial Scholarship.

But as I cruised around campus last Wednesday night, Augusta State has become a place of which I am not familiar.

The three sets of old classrooms (including the old college gymnasium) are gone. The tennis courts are gone. You can't drive through the campus anymore. And there are new, gargantuan, modern buildings everywhere.

ASU's administration has done (and is still doing) a great job in developing a beautiful campus.

It always has been a place I'm proud to call my alma mater. But I think it is finally starting to look like the school Coach John Barnett used to talk about: "Harvard on the Hill," indeed.

Just when I thought I couldn't waste anymore time in my life, the Comcast guy stopped by my house last week and installed a digital cable box.

Three nights into my journey into the digital world I had already spent more than a dozen hours on the sofa in front of the television.

Fortunately, God created laptops for situations like this, and I've been wearing out batteries left and right.

However, I refuse to be held responsible. How can I turn away from Finding Nemo, Scarface, Daddy Day Care, or Friday After Next -- all movies I watched between Thursday and Friday night.

Yeah, I really need to get a life.

My wife spent part of Friday at Springtime Made in the South. After apparently making a spectacle of herself at one of the cooking booths, she came home with this cool onion/potato/miscellaneous vegetable peeling contraption. I think it may paint the house and wash the car too. (At least, I think I heard that in the second-hand sales pitch.)

But here's the best part: Miriam knows how to use it and she makes a mean fried onion. Maybe there's some hope after all.

Web posted on Thursday, March 10, 2005


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