For the new year: A column about absolutely nothing

by Brian Clarey

I’ve got a lot of loose ends this week that I hope to tie up before getting on to more serious business on this page, business like making fun of models, embarrassing my family and trying to sneak in swear words when I think nobody’s looking.

First, as I’ve noted here before, this is YES! Weekly’s fourth year in business, and we’re hitting it as hard as ever. And it should be noted that we were once again recognized with an award from the NC Press Association, this time for editorial writing. And the name on the prize is my own.

I haven’t won a first-place journalism award since college – I think it’s because I spent so much time as a freelancer and not because I suck so hard – and one of a small handful of awards I’ve won in my whole life, including best goalie at Adelphi University’s soccer camp in 1980 and, in 1988, a National Merit Scholar Commended Student award that impressed my mother but other than that meant absolutely nothing.

And this award doesn’t mean all that much, either – it’s not like there’s a cash prize or anything – but it will look impressive, I hope, on my office wall. Also, congratulations are in order for Rhinoceros Times Editor John Hammer, who this year placed second in the category.

Speaking of the Rhino….

You might have noticed that we’re running a two-part fact-check of their “Cops in Black and White” series by Jerry Bledsoe that culminates in this issue. It is, I think, a wonderful effort by Jordan Green and also a necessary piece of journalism for the Greensboro community. Yes, there were, and are, serious problems in our police department. But the way out of this mess, we believe, is through the truth. Propaganda and muddy waters will not solve anything.

And, it should be noted, my experiences with the GPD as a consumer have been more than satisfactory. They solved a shooting in my neighborhood that I witnessed more than three years ago, the night before Thanksgiving. And when my house was broken into while we were in our beds, the GPD had two suspects in cuffs before sunrise that day. The two were eventually convicted of the crime.

In other legal news, my own lawyer and former Greensboro city councilman Don Vaughan is running for Kay Hagan’s seat in the NC Senate. I genuinely like Don and have faith in his abilities as counsel, but that doesn’t mean he’ll automatically get our endorsement. Sorry, buddy, but you’ll have to earn it on merits like everybody else.

I’m really looking forward to the 2008 elections, but a part of me will sorely miss George W. Bush. I’ve written thousands of words on the guy, most of them critical. And while I plan to really lay into whomever wins this thing just as mercilessly as I did the monkey, I hold little hope that the next administration will be as corrupt, negligent and scandal-ridden as this one.

Speaking of which, I think the Iranian powerboat incident in the Strait of Hormuz last week is a bunch of bullshit.

See how I slipped that in there?

And it should be noted that I am still against the construction of a carousel in downtown Greensboro. Because it’s silly.

Also of note: I wish everybody would just shut the hell up about the HBO series “The Wire,” at least until I’ve watched all the back episodes. My damn HBO On Demand scrapped the episodes from Season Three, but still I’m way behind. Last I saw was when Bodie got his on the corner. Please don’t tell me what happens next.

And regular readers might remember how I attempted to fix my car after a string of problems with the starter and electrical system. Here’s an update: I was forced to call Bob Dunn Subaru after my shade-tree mechanic threw up his hands. And it turns out they are readers of my column over there.

“We figured you’d call sooner or later,” a service rep told me over the phone.

The good news is that these guys fixed my car in like five minutes – it turns out the problem was fairly simple to fix but difficult to diagnose. And all they charged me for was a new battery; I burned out the old one trying to get the damn car started.

One more thought: I spent the Christmas holidays on Long Island visiting family and catching up with friends. My overwhelming impression was of the differences between that place, which is riding a sustained economic boom even in these fiscally frightening times, and this one, which has been hard hit by job losses, overbuilding and a comparatively sluggish economy. It’s not quite night and day, but the dissimilarity is stark.

Though it’s alsop true that my friends who still live up there pay property taxes roughly the same in a month that I pay down here in a year, it is also worth mentioning that incomes approaching six figures seem to be the norm, and a few guys I know are making, no shit, more than $1 million a year.

See how I slipped that in there?