Right Opinion

My Gee & Haw Awards

Roy Exum · Aug. 28, 2010

Each day, as I go about my “morning reading” before dawn breaks, I have lapsed into the custom of categorizing different stories that catch my eye as either a “gee” or a “haw.” The practice comes from being raised at a tender age around farm animals you know as mules.

When newspapers first flourished at the turn the century, mules were everywhere in the South. While the advent of the combustion engine and later farm tractors quickly thinned their popularity, you can still see one of two in rural settings today but you have to know what you are looking for, which is an hybrid that is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse.

A donkey is the descendent of the African Wild Ass. I don’t wish to make light of that, especially since you’ll find the species is prominently mentioned in your King James Bible. As a matter of fact, until the word became badly twisted, our forefathers thought nothing of properly calling a donkey or a mule by the shorter three-letter moniker that ends in double-s.

Somewhere I even have an ancient newspaper ad that advertises three of the animals for sale; two “smart (mules)” and one “dumb (mule).” This wasn’t meant to be funny – a “dumb (mule)” is one that knows only two commands, “go” and “whoa,” while a “smart (mule)” also knew that “gee” and “haw” meant it should go to its right or its left accordingly, which greatly helped a farmer who was plowing a field.

Fittingly, I have adapted the word “gee” to denote a smart item I read and use “haw” when I marvel at a person who is dumber than, well … a mule. So today, allow me to dole out some “gee” and “haw” awards for things you may have missed. As you may see, I can be something of a “smart (mule)” myself:

GEE – Blue Cross-Blue Shield just presenting a gift of $500,000 to help education in Tennessee. CEO Vicky Gregg was right on target when she said, “Supporting a strong K-12 public education system is one of the best strategies for ensuring better health for the next generation.”

HAW – Donald Crosby, a preacher at Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ, was charged Monday with picketing without a license and disorderly conduct for not leaving Warner Robbins (Ga.) High School when he and some of his followers picketed the school. It seems they are righteously upset because the high school’s nickname is the “Screamin’ Demons,” which came from a World War II fighter squadron. The picketers don’t demons.

GEE – A group of UT football players were helping to feed the homeless in Knoxville shortly before the start of practice when a scheduled singer didn’t show up. Anthony Anderson, a Vol defensive back, promptly stepped up and sang the spiritual, “I Won’t Complain” in a way witnesses said should have earned the kid a Grammy. Later he said, “When you’re doing good stuff like feeding the homeless, I think it talks about your character.”

HAW – Once a powerful Federal Judge in Texas, Sam Kent was convicted in February of 2009 of obstruction of justice, lying, and groping female court employees. Now he is asking to go back to court because he claims he is “terrified” while serving a 33-month sentence. Sam Kent’s lawyer is citing “abusive psychological and physical conditions” at the very place Judge Kent regularly sent other lawbreakers.

GEE – In northeast Tennessee there is a fossil site and recently scientists found proof that the red panda was among the animals that once roamed there. The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) was always thought to be from China and is the cutest critter you ever saw – about the size of a raccoon with a face that resembles a panda bear. Other skeletons that have been identified at the Gray Fossil Site are a saber-toothed cat, ground sloth, rhinoceros, alligator, camel, shovel-tusked elephant, and Eurasian badger but the red panda looks like it is more orange to me.

HAW – Florida football coach Urban Meyer has tightly closed the Gators’ ongoing practice sessions. “I’m concerned about the stuff where you get NCAA violations and scumbags that are involved that shouldn’t be involved,” he blasted. “One way to control it and that’s ‘get out.’” He also said he dislikes “Internet people.”

GEE – Allison John, a woman in England, just became a doctor which is pretty amazing considering the fact she has four transplanted organ – somebody else’s heart, lungs, kidney and liver. It took the 32-year-old 14 long years to fulfill her dreams because she was in the hospital a lot.

HAW – The governing body of American swimmers in the Olympics, USA Swimming, has banned at least 36 coaches over the past 10 years for sexual misconduct with athletes. Chuck Wielgus, the executive director, told ABC News, “It’s not nearly as serious in USA Swimming as it might be in the rest of society.”

GEE – Arizona lawmen are “pulling out all the stops” in the pursuit for a remaining escaped convict and you’ve got to love Public Safety Director Robert Halliday’s determination. “We are going to be on (John) McCluskey like a cheap suit,” he said, “We are not going to pull this thing down.”

HAW – Actor Laurence Fishborne is refusing to call his 18-year-old daughter Montana after she just starred in a pornographic movie. Montana, who was arrested for alleged prostitution last year, claims her mother, on the other hand, “loves me and is concerned and worried about me. She wants me to be OK and wants whatever is best for me.”

GEE – In Lexington, Ky., Dr. Andy Moore and a huge handful of professional volunteers provide “Surgery on Sunday” free of charge to the uninsured. That’s right, on the third Sunday of every month Dr. Moore and other surgeons have now done over 3,000 out-patient procedures on those who cannot afford it but who also cannot afford to go without it.

HAW – When the Cigarette Trafficking Act of 2009 took effect June 29, it was designed to keep underage people from getting cigarettes but now it has been revealed it also keeps troops in Afghanistan and Iraq from getting smokes mailed to them. Now what’s a Sarge to do when he bellows, “If you got ‘em, smoke 'em!”

Whoa, that’s enough.

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