17 December 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: the Non-Joys of Christmas Shopping

Shopping.  If there’s such a thing as Hell on Earth, that would be mine.  I HATE shopping!  Don’t make me go to the store!!!

I learned this aversion to shopping young.  My aunt is my first, worst, shopping influence.  She can go into a dozen stores, pick stuff out, and decide not to buy anything.  It took HOURS of shopping with nothing to show for it.  Then we had to get through her buying clothes, deciding she didn’t like them, and take them back.  Yes, take them back, after trying on everything before we ever left the store.

The grocery store is the place where I “Power Shop.”  I know where everything is at.  I can walk in, grab a cart or basket and not think twice about what I’m throwing in.  With my list in hand, I don’t slow down.  Off the shelf, into the cart it goes and out of the store I go.  I don’t think my best friend will ever grocery shop with me again, and I do believe my husband prefers to grocery shop on his own.  He will stop, peruse the sale papers, and shop accordingly.  I just want to get OUT!


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Then we have shopping with my grandmother.  This is pure torture.

We get to the store and she asks “What do you want?” or “What would you like?”  I usually don’t want a whole lot of anything.  Therein lays the problem.  She will drag me through the entire store until I pick –something-.  I end up getting something, not because I want it or like it, but because I just want to get out of the store!

The next argument with my grandmother is at the cash register.  I want to pay.  She won’t let me.  I’m younger, though.  I can swipe a card before she can dig cash out of her wallet.  It doesn’t get me any brownie points, but sometimes the scowl on her face is worth it.  I GOT one!

Shopping with my boys’ was a whole different story.  

They learned young not to beg for anything.  My first answer would be “No!”  The grandchildren have learned that lesson, too.  But if you don’t beg, I’m a sucker – I’ll get it.

The boys learned how to tag-team me.  We’d go to the store, list in hand.  I was asked frequently, marching across the parking lot, “Are they all yours?”  No, Sherlock.  I pick up stray kids for grins and giggles.

Into the store we’d go, I’d shop by my list and check out.  This is before the days of self-checkout stations.  I wish they were there 20 years ago.

We’d get home and it was the boys’ job to bring the groceries in.  They learned to grab the broom, load the grocery bags on the handle and bring them all into the house in a single trip.

They brought the groceries in, and I put them up.  That’s when I found out what they threw in the buggy when I wasn’t looking.  I was too busy keeping up with little hands to see what was being checked out.  It was an insidious plan.  Two or three would get my attention, the other brothers would plant things in the buggy that they –knew- I wouldn’t buy, given the option.  

I love Amazon.Com and Cyber Monday.  Spare me the pain of shopping and just deliver it to my door.

  We’re about to brave the stores to finish up Christmas shopping.  

Heaven help me.   


Bess Tuggle

14 December 2018

Marshall's Music Minute: Chris, Jon & Scott @ Five O'Clock; Big Weekend at Porterdale Bar & Grill

Welcome back, music lovers, and let's get the 411 on who's playing where & when.

Local music superstars & TPC faves Chris, Jon & Scott will be playing at TPC fave Five O'Clock Bar & Grill (recent winners of CBS46's Golden Spatula Award) Friday night, the 14th, at 9PM. 


Expect nothing short of musical nirvana as this marvelous trio does that voodoo that only they can do! It's remarkable the sound that just the three of them can create & how they can hop from genre to genre. It really is something. 

Always a big night at The 5!

And Saturday night at The Five will see the return of Whiskey Run, a band that always puts on a killer show with their mix of newer & classic country, Class Rock & 90's Rock. 

Friday Night Live Music @ Amici

Also on Friday the 14th, KayWow & LB will be at Amici Covington

Porterdale Bar & Grill has their usual double-music weekend. The highly heralded Duke Brothers on Friday night & Dani Mac & Co. on Saturday!

And don't forget about the other musical spots around town: Good Fellas in Social Circle, The River Tavern in Porterdale, the Mystic Grill in C-town, et al.

Enjoy the tunes, friends! See you next time. 

- MBM 

13 December 2018

[Perrin Lovett] - A Book Review of Tolkien's "The Fall of Gondolin"

A story a century in the making. A book published 45 years after the author’s death. The latest in a long line of best selling works. Earlier this year came the “completed” master legend of the last days of Turgon’s hidden kingdom. Here follows my account of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Fall of Gondolin, the good, the great, and the quirky.

But, first, a few notes on how to read Tolkien, especially this tome. A virgin perusal is possible, provided the reader is possessed of what passed for, say, an eighth-grade education, circa 1960. (What that translates to, today, I do not know, though I suspect it leans towards the graduate level). While I’m about to highly recommend the book, I do not recommend it as an initial foray into Arda (the physical World of the Legendarium). Hence,

Start with The Hobbit. Read it at least twice. Then, read The Lord of the Rings (“LOTR”) - cover to cover - to include the important Appendixes. Read LOTR again. Next, read The Hobbit and LOTR, back to back. Then, read The Silmarillion - thrice. The initial criticism of Christopher Tolkien’s editing work will be manifestly obvious and seemingly justified during the initial and subsequent reading. What he painstakingly assembled immediately following his father’s passing at first looks like a neverending cobbling of names, places, dates, and more names. The basis for concern melts with the third reading as a thing of pure majesty presents itself. Somewhere around the twelfth consideration, the work takes on a pleasure all its own as the now academic reader skillfully seeks out well-known favorite passages.

Read The Hobbit, LOTR, and The Silmarillion in succession. Then, and only then, one may (and should) move into The Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales, the various volumes of The History of Middle Earth and other, associated works. Somewhere, during this time, a gander at the various explanatory Letters Tolkien sent is advisable.

Nearing finality in this educational process, one approaches The Children of Hurin, Tolkien’s grand tragedy to rival (I say “to best”) anything by Sophocles. Released in 2007, Hurin fully completes the tale glimpsed in some of the above works, a good novella stretched into a great novel. Hurin also set the stage for the first of two “disappointments” in the saga.

Last year we were treated to the full-length version of that base tale of eternal romance, Beren and Luthien. I say “disappointment” only because, unlike Hurin, Beren is not a completed telling. Rather, it is a “how the story was crafted over many decades” book, literally tracing the development, draft by draft, from WWI until near the time of Tolkien’s death. It’s fascinating, but what you get in the end is essentially the final product recorded in The Silmarillion 40 years earlier. Still, fans, we take what we can get, right?

So it is with The Fall of Gondolin. This is not an end-to-end expose of, perhaps, the most dramatic, action-packed legend in all the annals. But, it does, in primitive and rather disjointed format, link everything together. And, it’s all awesome.

Here, I pause to credit the masterful dedication of Christopher T. in revising, editing, and publishing so much we would otherwise miss. He says, and I believe him, that this is his finale. Then again, he hinted as much when Beren hit the shelves. If this is his end, the end of 70+ year tenure as vice-regent of Middle Earth, so to speak, he’s more than earned the retirement (and all the honor and gratitude we can heap on him). Thank you, Sir!

It occurs to me that more stories lurk in that vast archive housed, in all places, at Marquette University. Something tells me another generation or other appointed editor is already sifting through it. With any luck, a hundred years after people have forgotten the tedious Crowleyisms of Rowling’s inexplicably popular rubbish, they’ll still look forward to something new from the master of the Anglo-Saxon, our Literary Professor Emeritus.

Now - and, thank you for bearing with the preface - on with the book:

I have, here, no real Easter eggs. As I warned, The Fall is not really for the uninitiated, the faint of heart, nor the post-literate. I warped through it, the first time, in about an hour. This is due to: my pre-existing knowledge of the story; my understanding of Christopher’s editing style; the prior reading of Beren; some excellent outside reviews, and; the terrific, easy, and user-friendly layout of the Kindle version.

By the way,

Picture courtesy of Amazon, Tolkien, Tolkien, and Lee!

The first hint the casual reader may discover, of the grandeur of Gondolin, is in The Hobbit. This was the fabled city from whence came the blades of Gandalf and Thorin, originally made for the Goblin Wars. Therein, encircled and protected by near-impenetrable mountains, reigned Turgon, upon a time High King of the Noldorin Elves.

Of Tuor and His Coming Into Gondolin, we know from the Unfinished Tales. Orphaned Tuor, tallest of mortal Men, found the unlikely favor of Ulmo (Poseidon), Lord of Waters. He came to Gondolin following adventures wet and cold. There, he found the favor of the King and the love of his daughter, Idril. Theirs was one of a mere handful of mixed marriages and breedings (of Men and Elves), the progeny thereof being Earendil, future father of Elrond and Elros.

One of the most idiotic of all criticisms limply cast at Tolkien is his alleged forsaking of romance and of strong women. Forgetting, if it’s possible, Eowyn, Arwen, Galadriel, Gilraen, Morwen, Nienor, Luthien, Rose Cotton, “Gimli’s women,” Lobelia, Melian, Varda, Yavanna, and the literally scorching-hot Arien, Idril holds her own against both counts of libel. Her enduring love of Tuor and her unrelenting bravery in the defense of her people and her child suffice. When violently assailed by her wayward and lusting cousin, we learn she fought “like a tigress.” And, her plan was the contingency that saved the remnant, quite possibly preventing the First Age from ending prematurely and with total victory for Morgoth (Lucifer). Tolkien didn’t write weak women. Nor did he write weak fiction.

Not weak, but, as edited by necessity, confusing - hence my approach advice in the delving. The last telling of Tuor’s arrival, essentially that of Unfinished, comes towards the end of this book. A link is provided (in Kindle), instantly redirecting the reader back to near the beginning and the actual Fall of the most beautiful city of Beleriand.

In studying this demise it is helpful to know, in advance, something of how the peoples and the histories converged toward finality, of who made the cut and who didn’t, who became whom, and so forth. The Gnomes, for instance, were working placeholders; the “men” of the Gondolidrim are, in fact, Elves - Tuor being the only actual Man in the Kingdom at the time (though not in history). A healthy peremptory education prevents getting lost in an otherwise incomprehensible tangle of names, races, titles, and descriptions. But, once one has it - whoa!

Now comes the action, more action, and then, some more riveting action. Imagine, those of you of mere LOTR acquaintance, Minas Tirith falling, in spectacular fashion, during Sauron’s assault during The Return of the King. Imagine the peak valor and feats of heroism of that work, augmented and repeated side-by-side over and over again.

In The Fall we learn a bit more about Morgoth’s creation of the dragons, the slithering and winged. We also find out that Balrogs can be slain without the accompanying death of the slayer. Glorfindel (sorry Peter Jackson victims) finds and ends his “buddy” up on the mountainside. Ecthelion takes out three demons in rapid succession, only meeting his end killing the fourth - Gothmog, no less. Tuor slays five and grievously wounds a dragon and does so mostly unscathed.

Towers fall. Wolves run. Eagles fly. Snakes crawl. Evil wins the glorious day (night, rather) only to set up its eventual defeat at the hands of the temporarily vanquished. It’s a wild, violent, noble ride worthy of any acclaim ever aimed at the creation of Eru Iluvatar.

So… Five Stars. Highly recommended. Applause. Buy it today, read it when you’re ready.

And, another hardy thank you to Christopher Tolkien, illustrator Alan Lee, and, especially, to our most prolific Survivor of The Somme, Sir John Ronald Reuel Tolkien. Excellence mirroanwe!

THE Legend. Picture from Biography Online.

Perrin Lovett
The Piedmont Chronicles - Your Source for the
REAL Story! 

[MB McCart] - The City of Oxford, GA Now Taxing the Sun

Not to be outdone by their southern neighbors, Covington, GA, a city that taxes the rain - the city of Oxford is now taxing the sun (although apparently Covington does this as well). More specifically, Oxford charges a monthly stand-by capacity charge of $11.15 per kilowatt for those who install solar panels at their property. Basically what this charge is saying, in essence, is that whatever amount of energy is saved by a property owner that installs solar panels, the city wants a piece of the action.

Friend-of-the-Blog & construction expert Jimmy Strange summed it up the best: 

In the latest news that was completely overlooked or maybe just slipped by un-noticed is the City of Oxford's recent vote to penalize citizens who install solar power system in their dwellings.

It seems as everyone is promoting "Green Energy", "sustainable" "renewable" "resources" in reducing our dependency on fossil fuels and reducing CO2 omissions. People are building homes everyday completely off the grid totally independent from utility companies with zero or close to zero impact on the environment.

Two new major players in our local economy are solar powered buildings. Shire is being powered from Silicone Ranch in Social Circle and Grattis and Facebook from solar farms being built by Walton EMC in SW Georgia. These farms can be constructed in weeks verses years for nuclear and are 100% safer.

HOWEVER the City of Oxford has an agenda that would prohibit a homeowner from taking steps to reduce their utility bills.
The City Council voted last month to impose a TAX on any citizen that installs solar panels. The tax would be based upon $11.15 for each kilowatt installed. Since most customers install 3-5 KW the fees would be ranging from $33.45 - $55.75 per month.

THIS IS A MONTHLY FEE !!!!!!! for generating one's own power.
The City of Oxford is taxing the citizens for using the sun to reduce everyday living expenses?

Sometimes one just has to say WTF!!!!

WTF, indeed, Mr. Strange.

At its most recent council meeting, three council members tried to get rid of the "Sun Tax" but the Mayor of Oxford, Jerry Roseberry, broke a tie to ensure that people will still have to be extorted by the government  for energy they, themselves, produce from the sun. The Mayor spoke about financial concerns. But as Councilman David Eady so succinctly put it (CovNews $)

“The city itself, from a revenue standpoint, would be minimally affected by people installing solar panels,” he said, “ We have about 600 or so customers and the probability of 10 percent of those customers installing solar is very low.

“But if 10 percent of our customers install solar panels, 60 customers, we’re still only talking about less than $18,000 impact on our revenue. And one hundred installs is around $25,000 in lost revenue. We’ve got a very large margin on our electric utility right now to absorb some revenue erosion form people installing an energy conservation technology like solar panels. 

“And again, I believe it’s a discriminatory tax and it holds no place in our electric rates.”

Very well said, Mr. Eady. Agreed!

This really speaks to a fundamental question: what is the proper role of government? And is the current level of government we are now seeing at all levels proper, or sustainable?

Changes are coming, folks. With the almost-guaranteed next near-future down-turn, the growing financial & debt crisis, and the next big bust - pensions, especially government ones - I truly believe we are going to have to do some radically & drastically different things just to be able to maintain a somewhat similar way of life. And taxing the sun & building Taj Mahal City Halls ain't the way to go about that. 

Just the ole .02, you understand.

We'll keep an eye on it.

- MBM 

12 December 2018

[MB McCart] - #COV, First Report: In Which I Meet with the Mayor, Finance Director, Senior Planner, et al

Last week I wrote a piece about several issues that have been on the minds of many Covingtonians including occupational taxes, code enforcement & the dreaded Stormwater Utility bill/tax on rain.

Still the REAL C-town logo, IMO

So bright & early yesterday morning, I attended a scheduled meeting with the Mayor, the city PR officer & three department heads (Finance, P&Z, Engineering). First off, I want to thank these individuals for meeting with me, and I very much appreciate their time. I received a lot of information I'd previously asked for in an email I sent last week & I also submitted multiple other information requests at the meeting, some of which I've already received. Say what you will about the Covington government - and many of you have - but their level of professionalism & efficiency is a nice change of pace from dealing with the Newton Co. government the last few years. But I digress...

This is going to be a process, friends, and not necessarily a quick one. I really want to research all of this & truly have my ducks in a row before I start getting into the nitty gritty. Also, I've been meeting with various Citizens throughout the past few weeks & will be meeting with several more in the near future. I'm very much looking for the "REAL Story." From here on out, these following issues will be delineated into separate reports & most will likely have multiple reports. So bear with me & we'll all see what we see.

Occupational Tax/Business Licenses 

Specifically, the fact that all individual hairdressers & barbers are having to pay this tax on top of the salon or barbershop they work at already having paid it. Sort of seems like double taxation.

This much we know - while the city first started this tax in 1995, it really didn't start getting enforced until the early 2000's. And let's be real about it. This is the city taxing anyone engaging in an occupation, not just business endeavors & going concerns open for business with the public. The stay-at-home Mom working a side job out of her house? Let's say someone doing web design & development on the side? An older fella that does yard work for a few different folks? The city seems to think you owe them a minimum of $100 per annum to be able to make money. Their share of property taxes, sales tax revenue & several other revenue streams apparently aren't enough. But seriously, this speaks to some pretty big, philosophical issues. Freedom; the pursuit of Life, Liberty & prosperity & all of that. Another story for another time.

Charging the individual hairdressers, each & every one, however, didn't start happening until about 3 or 4 years ago, and this seems to be verified. I wonder what brought on that change? Being that these folks are licensed by the state, it was thought that they wouldn't have to pay any regulatory fees because that is expressly prohibited per Title 48 of OCGA; however, an occupational tax is NOT the same as a "regulatory fee." There are a couple of other things I'm looking at & will report on that sometime in the near future. I do know most other cities I've looked at do not charge the individual hairdressers & barbers, only the business establishment itself. And one thing I did confirm yesterday is this: 

The City of Covington Council can vote to change this.

So this is perhaps an issue that will have to be dealt with in the political arena.  Hairdressers & Barbers Unite! I'm still working on one other angle pertaining to some case law I found that could have an effect. I'll keep y'all posted.

Code Enforcement 

First off, as I'd previously mentioned, we're not talking about code enforcement officers, we are now - as of July 2017 - speaking of Marshals, armed & WITH arrest powers. I've already received some of the information I've requested & was somewhat surprised to learn that there has only been one official complaint lodged against either of the Marshals that Covington has.

Another concern, going back for years, is the concept of select enforcement of the city's ordinances, that perhaps there's a different set of rules for some than others. I'm continuing to research this & am in contact with multiple Citizens. Be on the lookout for futures pieces on this subject.

Stormwater Utility Taxes Fees 

This is the one that has most of the C-town folks the most riled up & for good reason! As I wrote in the original piece, less than 8% of the cities in Georgia have enacted this funding mechanism. Back in the day, the city said they had to. Folks, are we not taxed enough already? I think so. And just think about a hairdressers in Covington that have to pay for this thing?

This is definitely one that is going to take some time to figure out. The formula used to compute the fee is rather complicated & involves a lot of factors. I'm working on getting studied up on that so I'll be able to know what I'm doing & what I'm looking for when it comes to seeing if these fees are being properly calculated.

In terms of the financials of these fees, which go into a dedicated enterprise fund, I'm still waiting to get additional information. And the final thing I spoke of last week, the liens the city has filed (and making sure that's been done in a fair & proper manner) will probably take the longest. But I am working on it.

Another item of information I've requested from the city has to do with the overall financials of the city. How much are they bringing in, but more specifically, how much are they bringing in from each & every revenue stream, and specific breakdowns of expenses, salaries, benefits, etc. That piece will probably hit in the next day or two.

Okay for now. Thanks for reading.

- MB McCart

Your Source for the REAL Story


11 December 2018

Five O'Clock Wins CBS46's Golden Spatula Award; Segment Will Be Filmed on Wednesday the 12th from 12 to 2PM

Award only given to food establishments with 100 score on their restaurant inspection

Five O'Clock - Golden Spatula Winners!

On Wednesday, December 12th, CBS Atlanta 46 will be filming at Covington's own Five O'Clock Bar & Grill to present to them the Golden Spatula Award. As regular readers of The Chronicles may know, we're big fans of this awesome spot & they've also been local advertisers of ours

Local Creative Designer, Jennifer Minix, nominated The 5 for this award: 

I am pleased to announce that I nominated Five O'clock Sports Bar & Grill for the Golden Spatula Award given by Reporter Adam Murphy CBS46 and he will be filming a segment on them TOMORROW (12/12/18) from 12-2PM on location. Their continual inspection scores of 100 in 2018 and their awesome food have gained them this award. They deserve this great recognition! Y'all come out for lunch and make your TV debut from 12-2 tomorrow and let's show them all the support we can! PLEASE SHARE! #SupportLocalBusinesses

I had a chance to speak with Greg Rogers, owner of Five O'Clock, earlier today. He was naturally very excited & as he always does, made a point to praise his kitchen manager, cooking staff & servers for making this award possible. He also said it was ultimately their loyal customer base that was the key. And to that point, Greg is offering 10% off of all food purchases between the hours of 12 & 3 tomorrow.

From the 5 O'Clock Facebook page: 

Hear ye! Hear ye! Five O’Clock Sports Bar & Grill is the proud recipient of the coveted Golden Spatula Award from CBS46 Atlanta! This award is only bestowed upon those establishments which have demonstrated excellency by obtaining a score of 100 on their Restaurant Inspection by the Georgia Department of Public Health. CBS46 will be here tomorrow between 12pm-2pm. We invite all to come out and help us celebrate receiving this special honor! We are offering 10% your tab between 12p -3p because its is our customers we value and without y'all none of this would be possible!!!

Congrats to Greg & Five O'Clock! Well done & well earned! So swing by tomorrow & show your support for this wonderful local business. 7189 Turner Lake Rd. Covington, GA 30014 (K-Mart Shopping Center). 

10 December 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: The Fun Aunt

My aunt is wonderful.  WONDERFUL!  She’s also blond.  She’s blond to the bone, and that may be the only reason she could put up with all of us (me, my sister and my three cousins), or maybe the only reason we didn’t drive her completely crazy.   

She’s also fun!  Not just now, but as long as –I- can remember.

My aunt has had a successful business for decades.  Gymnastics.  It might be time for her to throw in the torch, but in my younger days she was the reason I could do a summersault, cartwheel, backbend... 

At my wedding she dug out some pots and pans with wooden spoons.  She put all the children in a parade and they had to sing and bang those pots.  It turned a boring afternoon into fun for the kids.  Oh, and she made sure they blew bubbles instead of throwing rice.  She forgot the bubbles on our first walk up the aisle, so we had to go back and do it again so the kids could blow their bubbles.

This Edition of Bess Tuggle's "Memoirs of Surviving Children" brought to you by...

  Every time I get to visit she still has games out the galore.  She turns it into fighting time for the bathroom – at our ages, laughing can be disturbing, and we do regularly laugh and run to the bathroom, hoping for the best.

After all that, the memory stuck in my head finally can come out of my fingers.

My aunt took my cousins to the bus stop for school decades ago.  They’d all had breakfast, dressed in uniforms and were taken to go to school.  I have to mention this was in Ohio during the winter.  Yes, major snow.  

An hour or so later they came back home; cold, wet and hungry after trudging through the snow.  They thought they missed the bus.

It was Saturday. 

Bess Tuggle