Roy Exum: Things That Matter To Me

Perhaps the fact I can’t seem to shake a summer cold has made me more sensitive, or maybe it is enjoying the languid delight of late afternoon when you can feel the temperature drop on the porch. For whatever reason, I found myself enjoying a lot of little things in my morning reading yesterday. As I share them, I wonder what a psychiatrist might surmise about me by reading them.

* — Never in my life have I seen a story “get legs,” as they say in newspaper jargon, the way that the Stanford rape case has captured the nation. It seems it was a perfect-storm moment; two Swedes tackling rapist Brock Turner and holding him until police arrived, his father’s thoughtless plea to a judge with its despicable “20 minutes of action,” the ridiculous sentence by the soon-to-be-ousted Judge Aaron Persky, the victim’s glorious seven-page statement, and now – a treasure of a reply from Vice President Joe Biden that includes, “I do not know your name — but I see your unconquerable spirit. I see the limitless potential of an incredibly talented young woman — full of possibility. I see the shoulders on which our dreams for the future rest. I see you.” (To read the full version of Biden’s “Letter To A Courageous Young Woman” on the website Buzzfeed, click HERE.) Incidentally, USA Swimming, which governs all competitions in the United States, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, has now banned Turner for life. When have you ever seen such a backlash!

* — David Perdue, a Senator from Georgia, thought he was being funny when he partially quoted a verse from the Bible as he aimed at President Obama. “We should pray like Psalms 109:8 says. It says ‘Let his days be few and let another have his office.” Everyone laughed at the time but when more of Psalms 109 was read, it is obviously a death wish for one of King David’s enemies and the Senator now appears to be an idiot. Chapter 109 (King James Version) also reads, “Let his days be few; and let another take his office. Let his children be fatherless, and his wife a widow. Let his children be continually vagabonds, and beg: let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. Let the extortioner catch all that he hath; and let the strangers spoil his labour. Let there be none to extend mercy unto him: neither let there be any to favour his fatherless children. Let his posterity be cut off; and in the generation following let their name be blotted out.” Needless to say, Senator Perdue quickly issued a statement saying he meant no harm to the President.

* — Everything that has been written, said, and admired about the great humanist Muhammad Ali has been wonderful but if you missed his dear friend Billy Crystal adding to the eulogy in Louisville on Friday, it is your fault. So to help you remember “The Greatest,” click HERE for a look at Crystal’s genius with his eulogy. And click HERE for his “15 Rounds” from 1979.

* — When a 91-year-old veteran of the U.S. Navy died last month, it got out on social media that only four people were expected at Ms. Serina Vine’s funeral. She had no living relatives and few friends. Truth is the “forgotten woman” was fluent in three languages and was a vital part of Navy intelligence during her tour of duty, 1944-46. While very little else was known about the woman, let the record show over 200 people who knew nothing about her attended the service in memory of how she served our nation.

 * — Tony Campolo, a famed minister, educator and sociologist, is taking part in a huge evangelical event in Tulsa this week and the 81-year-old marvel told writer Bill Sherman of the Tulsa World, “It has taken countless hours of prayer, study, conversation and emotional turmoil to bring me to the place where I am finally ready to call for the full acceptance of Christian gay couples into the Church … I want the church to be open to everyone. I think Jesus was open to everyone,” he said. “The church has a lot of repenting to do. It has driven gay and lesbian people away in large numbers. … We have talked about gay and lesbian people in ways that have been hurtful.”

* — The University of Florida football team plays in the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on what has been known as ‘Florida Field.’ This week the university delightfully renamed the surface Steve Spurrier – Florida Feld. Said athletic director Jeremy Foley, “”Coach Spurrier did more than win a Heisman Trophy, a national championship and a bunch of games. Coach Spurrier changed the culture of Florida athletics. We were an institution that always had a mantra of wait until next year and wouldn’t it be great to just win one championship. Coach changed all of that. The Gators won, won big and won with swagger. As much as he impacted the football program, he changed the vibe in the entire athletic department.” Sadly, too few of us remember that late-October day in 1966 when Florida and Auburn were tied 27-all with scant time left. Gators were fourth and 14 at the Auburn 24 and Gator coach Ray Graves knew his kicker didn’t have the leg for a 40-yard field goal. That’s when Spurrier looked at Graves and said, ‘I’ll kick it!’ and that he did. Hooray for the ole ball coach.

* — Only because it was 50 years ago when the “Beach Boys” recorded the album “Pet Sounds” can we realize what a monument that record turned out to be. Not only did it include one of my top-ten songs of all time, “God Only Knows, “ there was “Sloop John B,” “Caroline, No,” and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” on the same record. Wow!

* — Gotta’ love those Buckeyes … Ohio State just announced it will sell beer during home games at the Horseshoe, which alumni call Ohio Stadium, and I’ll guarantee you that will ramp up rowdy in Columbus. Ironically, profits off beer this season will enable two new full-time positions in the Ohio State police department, which will just work out swimmingly.

* — Tovonna Holton, a 15-year-old girl who just completed her freshman year at Wiregrass High School in Wesley Chapel, Fla., has been the target of some unmerciful bullies as of late and, when they got another girl to secretly film Tovonna taking a shower, they posted the nude photos on Snapchat. When Tovonna saw herself on the website, she snuck a pistol from her mom’s purse and killed herself last week. It is whispered that a forthcoming report on bullying in Chattanooga schools is “absolutely frightening” and you can expect a groundswell of preventative measures when Hamilton County students return in the fall.

* — Bang the drum slowly for my dear friend Louis Glendenning this weekend after he died at the famed M.D. Anderson medical complex in Houston with complications after a lengthy struggle with cancer. ‘Lou Lou’ could tell stories funnier than anyone I ever knew and, when-and-if I ever get to heaven, his face will be among those I search for first. A memorial service will be held Monday at Signal Mountain Presbyterian Church, beginning at 2:30 p.m. “Good men must die but death cannot kill their names.” – Indian Proverb.

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