Saturday, February 23, 2013

Third Thursday Organ Interludes
February 21, 2013
12:00 Noon
Young Artist in Concert
Saint Joseph Catholic Church
Macon, Georgia

It was my pleasure this past Thursday to attend this event. As the program noted, this Concert featured Young Artist.  I will quote the biographic information on each performer.

Susanna Kimbell is a home-schooled student from Jackson, GA.  In the 12th grade, she also sings with the Griffin Choral Arts.  In 2012, 2011 and 2012 she was selected to sing with the National Catholic Youth Honor Choir.  She has been studying with Nelda Chapman for a year and a half.

Rachel Kimbell is a home-schooled student from Jackson, GA.  In the 9th grade, she also sings with the spivey Hall Tour Choir.  She has been studying with Nelda Chapman for a year and a half.

Born in Indianapolis, IN, Robert Jimison moved to Macon, GA at the beginning of high school.  His attendance at Christ Church Cathedral in the Diocese of Indianapolis exposed him to a wide range of Church and Secular music, as well as frequent Organ Performances by graduates of the Jacobs School of Music.  As a senior at Mount de Sales Academy, he began his studies with Nelda Chapman of St. Joseph Catholic Church.  Robert is a sophomore at Berry College, pursuing a degree in Biochemistry/Pre-Med with a minor in Music Performance.  He studied organ under Dr. Kenneth Moyers and voice under  Mr. Harry Musselwhite.

A native of Lake City, Michigan, Morgan Ingleright is a freshman organ performance major at Mercer University, studying under Dr. Jack Mitchener.  After attending Interlochen Arts Academy as an organ major for two years of high school, she graduated valedictorian of her class in May 2012.  As part of an active senior year at Interlochen, Morgan was chosen to be part of an organ tour to Los Angeles, California, where she was able to play on the organs of First Congregational Church, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and Walt Disney Concert Hall.  Morgan is currently the organ intern at St. Jospeh's Catholic Church in Macon.

These Young Artist impressed all in attendance.  Everyone was given the opportunity to meet these artist during a soup and sandwich/salad lunch after the performance.  Each of these performers was a delight to meet. 

Each Artist performed well.  I most appreciated the selection by Robert Jimison when he performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Francis Scott Key - arranged by Virgil Fox.  This was a very moving performance of this well known and usually sung selection.  It was the first time I had ever heard it performed on a Pipe Organ. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

We Must Do Better

Some may wonder why I am so interested in education for all of our next generation of citizens.  You and I know that it takes dedicated volunteers to man the weapons systems of our U. S. Military.  If we are to continue to be the world leader we need a defense system second to none.  Please take the next ten minutes to view this video to learn how team work and dedication is required on the part of our young Heroes.  Coordination and teamwork is the mantra of every branch of the U. S. Military.  This video is impressive and only shows the dedication our Nation's Defenders display as they execute their duties.

The same can be stated for members of the U. S. Marines, the U. S. Army, the U. S. Air Force and the U. S. Coast Guard.  This video of one of our Nation's Nuclear Carriers explains my point very well.

Please click on this link and enjoy the ride:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bibb schools' taxing power targeted

This was a headline on page 1A of my copy of "The Telegraph" this morning.  The sub heading was:  "Sen. Staton's proposed legislation would require budget approval by local government."

The article then went on to give a history of the taxing authority for the Bibb School System.  Some of my readers here may recall that when I ran for Bibb County Commission in the late 1990s and early 2000s I proposed that the Bibb County School System be allowed to set their own tax rates.  My concern at that time, and it still is:  "Why have two levels of government involved in the tax structure to support Public Education?"  If the school board messes up it will be easier to vote them out of office and solve the problem.  Having the School Board under the control of another level of government would then require the voting out of office of two levels of "leadership."  If the School Board is incompetent - vote them out of office!!!   Sounds simple enough to me.  For those who are concerned about the spending/financial situation currently surrounding our Bibb School System I would suggest that when they go bankrupt that just maybe our electorate will wise up and replace the school board.  Until the electors realize what needs to be done, putting another level of management into play to "control" our current School Board will only allow them to continue in their current mode of operation.

I really feel that the electorate voted for the current school board with the correct motivation.  I recall several candidates stating that they were running to improve education for the children.  In fact the usual statement was:  "It is all about the Children." 

Admittedly the current School Board most likely has been misled by the current Superintendent; so what controls will be put into place with two levels of management that will eliminate what is often viewed locally as an abuse of power by the current superintendent.

Now to be fair for those who are new to this community, I did run for the Bibb School Board for an at large post several years ago.  As stated in the opening of this post I also ran for a seat on the Bibb County Commission twice.  I state this here so that no one can say that I have neglected with my civic responsibilities as a citizen of Bibb County.

While the proposal to restrict the Bibb County School Board Taxing Authority may now appear to be prudent I would suggest that for the long term it may be folly.  As discussed in the early 2000s, Bibb County was the only system in Georgia that had two levels of management for the local school system.  What a shame that it now appears that we have to revert to our former ways to simply control the spending of our current school board.

While it will be painful, I would suggest that we let the those serving on our current school board suffer the consequences of their own actions.  Until we do we will be enabling them to the point that for the long term  Bibb County will always be viewed as the most backward County in the State of Georgia.  Our current students and our future Scholars certainly deserve better!!!!

In summary, short term solutions for a problem may not be in the best interest of those who are interested in the long term resolution of any problem.  In this case it is the Bibb County School Board.  "We Can Do Better!!!! and I am sure many of you will remember that campaign slogan.

We need to start thinking about the "Big Picture" versus the "Short Term Solution" to a serious problem.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

2013 Winter Arts Festival
Macon, Georgia
15 February 2013
Ingleside Avenue

This series of night shots certainly display the fact that this event was well attended.  There were so many things happening in Macon.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Saving Money


Telephone Service

I recently switched my Land Line Phone Service to a new Vendor (for me) here in Middle Georgia.

After the switch I received an E-Mail asking me about my experience.  Overall, the Technican who conducted the switch over was very competent and understanding.  Unfortunately, the level of support he and I the customer received left a lot be be desired. 

Here is a copy of my comments to the new Vendor for my landline phone service:

First of all, about 9 working days ago I called Cox about A cable problem. The nice person I spoke with also recommended that we change our program to better/faster internet service and reduced cost for the TV Cable. In addition she informed me about Cox Phone Service.
We discussed the many options available and settled on a package for about $125.00 which included the phone service. My two reservations were that we could keep our phone number which we have had since 11 December 1978 and also that the new Cox Phone would interface with Safeway Security Systems. It was arranged to switch over the very next morning. Well the next morning arrived as well as the prompt technician. He quickly ascertained that he could not redo the phone service because it would take 7 days to fire AT&T. No problem. We arranged a 11 February 2013 change over date. I just got ahead of myself. On the day of the initial contact the Supervisor called to validate our discussion of a few hours earlier. I was then informed that the package would cost $135.00. We arranged to have the package as agreed upon earlier in the day. No problem.

Now back to 11 Feb 2013. The technician arrived on time and commenced to make the change over. No problems. As he left I asked about the system now allowing us to view the number of incoming calls on our TV screen, if we happened to be watching TV. I was informed that I would have to call and have a third party set that up. Then we checked the alarm system out. Safeway did not call within the normal period of time after we tripped the alarm. I contacted Safeway and  after several checks I was informed that they could not communicate with our phone. Long Story short - we were finally told that Safeway had a communication problem from their Monitoring Station in Hawkinsville, GA to Bibb County. The trunk was nor working properly. The technician departed only after Safeway promised to resolve the problem and that Safeway would advise us via phone when that transpired. That transpired about 9:00 A.M. this A.M, Tuesday, 12 February.

In the meantime I called the Cox Service at 784-8000 to set up my system so that the TV would show the number of incoming calls if we were watching TV. I was informed that the installation Technician should have done that. "The old switch deal," where it was someone
else's responsibility. Only after I reminded the Cox Person that I was the paying customer was she able to tell me how to set up theTV so we could see the number of incoming callers. Two or Three times and it never was accomplished.

We terminated that phone call with her promise that the Installation Technician would return later on 11 February 2013 to do what he was reportedly to do when he visited earlier in the day.
He had a busy day. It was about 7:00 P.M. when the Technician arrived. No problem. He did what the on the phone customer service rep told me to do earlier in the afternoon. It did not resolve the problem. The technician then went back to his vehicle to talk to his Supervisor. After a brief period of time he reported back to us that they had a problem somewhere and that it was being worked on even as he was talking to us.

Short Story very short. I used My Bride's Cell Phone to call our landline number. They must have resolved the issue because the number appeared on our TV screen.

Today, 12 Feb 2013 I called 784-8000 to learn about the Voice Mail options. I was told to go online, however the customer service rep did tell me how to do it and we did it.

I then went on line to see the plethora of information you have concerning the Phone Options. I will review this stuff and write up a simple, easy to read document that I can use to meet our needs.

Bottom Line: The sales personnel at COX must be made aware of the time constraints of Phone Change Overs. They must also keep to the scheme that both the Customer and the First Point of Contact agreed upon. No changes, unless the price is decreasing, for the package first agreed to.

I would propose that you have one or two of your best Sales People actually go out in the community and call your service center and attempt to do business with you. Then, and only then will they be able to appreciate what the customer has to endure with defective information and/or unknowledgable sales staff. The person I first talked to should have known that it would take 7 working days to fire our former carrier, especially if we desired to keep the same number. Additionally, your entire organization must be taught that there is no placing blame on another vendor/contractor to Cox or a peer at Cox when things do not work as promulgated. To deal with any organization where there is blame placed on another reflects that the entire organization does not know what is going on, or who is responsible for what!

I trust that there is someone at Cox that will actually read this commentary. You can do better and I expect that you will. After all, Cox should be in business to retain customers and to also maintain their loyality.

Warm regards,


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Neiman Marcus’ Chocolate Chip Cookie

Contrary to the urban legend, Neiman Marcus has never charged a cent for this recipe.
The Neiman Marcus kitchens freely share their original recipe for their very
popular chocolate chip cookies.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


· 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

· 1 cup brown sugar

· 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar

· 1 large egg

· 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

· 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

· 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

· 1/2 teaspoon salt

· 1-3/4 cup all-purpose flour

· 1-1/2 teaspoons instant espresso, slightly crushed

· 1-1/2 cups (8 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).

Place the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in the work bowl of an electric mixer

fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium speed for about 30 seconds,

until the mixture is fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla for 30 seconds longer, until

well combined.

In a mixing bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Add to the mixer, while beating on slow speed. Beat for about 15 seconds, stir

in the chocolate chips and espresso powder, and mix for 15 seconds longer.

Prepare a cookie sheet with about 2 tablespoons of shortening (or use a non-stick spray).

Using a 1-ounce scoop, or using a 2 tablespoon measure, drop the cookie dough

onto the cookie sheet in dollops about 3 inches apart. Gently press down on the dough

with the back of a spoon to spread out into 2-inch circles; there should be room on the

sheet for six or eight cookies at a time. Transfer to the oven in batches and bake

for about 20 minutes or until the cookies are nicely browned around the edges. Bake

for a little longer for crisper cookies.

Yield: about 2 dozen cookies

The Flower Child's Comments:

(Please note I baked them for about 14 minutes and they turned out real well)
If you use parchment paper you do not need to place shortening on the baking sheet.
I also made the cookies larger than this recipe states


Saturday, February 09, 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies
A Baby Shower

Several weeks ago My Bride's Niece asked me to bake some Chocolate Chip Cookies for her Baby Shower.  It has been determined that the Baby will be a Boy so I was glad to be asked to bake these cookies.  After all, what boy does not enjoy Chocolate Chip Cookies.  The request was specific - bake Neiman Marcus Cookies.  I had made these for an event several years ago and the memories lingered as to their wonderful taste.  So, on Thursday, February 7, 2013 I baked 66 cookies for the shower which is to be held on Saturday, February 9th.

As you can determine I set up an assembly line.  It took a total of two hours to make four batches of these wonderful Neiman Marcus Cookies.  Of course I sampled each batch after they had cooled a bit.

2013 Cherry Blossom Senior Queen
Luncheon Honoring Shirley May
Macon, Georgia

This Luncheon honoring the 2013 Senior Queen for Macon's Cherry Blossom Festival was held on Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at the Neel House, 730 College Street.  Some readers here may know this house as the Garden Center or the Federation of Macon Garden Club Headquarters.

This was the table set up.  You will note in the next picture
that appropriate centerpieces were also on the tables.

The Wait Staff along with the Coordinator of this event in
the Darker Pink Jacket

This event was catered by Molly's Cafe which
is located on Cherry Street in downtown Macon

Shown here is the Cherry Blossom Festival Chairman,
Mr. George McCanless addressing the 2013 Senior
Queen, Ms. Shirley may

The Luncheon Coordinator, the 2011 Senior Cherry
Blossom Queen

The 2013 Senior Queen with her Escort

The 2012 and 2013 Senior Cherry Blossom Queens

Thirteen former Senior Queens were able to attend
this gala event honoring the 2013 Senior Queen.
Here they pose for the official photograph on the
stair way of the Neel House.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Swamp Oak Chestnut Trees
Honoring Grandchildren

I recall that it was in early 2009 when My Bride and I attended an Arbor Day Event at Macon State College here in Macon, Georgia.  We each received a Swamp Oak Chestnut Tree which was about eighteen inches tall.

We decided that we would plant them at the home of our Grandchildren near Dublin, Georgia.  The tree for our Grandson thrived.  However the tree for our Granddaughter did not.

In December of 2012 I was able to acquire a replacement tree for our Granddaughter.  It was eight feet tall. 

Here you see the Dad of our Grandchildren
watering the replacement tree which was
planted on 21 December 2012

Here you see our Grandson
modeling his tree which was
planted in early 2009 when he was
just a few months old

The Grandson proudly displaying
his Swamp Oak Chestnut Tree
27 January 2013

Our Granddaughter watering  her
Swamp Oak Chestnut on
February 3, 2013

Our Granddaughter proudly
modeling her tree
These trees can grow to a mature height of 80 feet.  They will provide an abundance of shade and I am confident that our Grand Children will be able to recall the trees of their youth as they grow into adults.  No matter where their respective lives take them they will always have fond memories of their Childhood home. 

Saturday, February 02, 2013

There Is A Better Way
Possibly Better Ways
Almost every time a State elects new leadership or a School System changes leaders they is a new way of achieving a better education for the Students in the state or the school system.

In the past two weeks I have heard of two programs that have demonstrated remarkable results.

I recently attended an event which featured Mr. Melvin J. Everson, the State of Georgia Executive Director and Administrator for the Georgia Commission of Equal Opportunity.  Mr. Melvin J. Everson was selected for this task by our current Governor, Nathan Deal.

Mr. Everson started his presentation to us by giving us a bit of his background.  He was one of ten children of a family where the Dad had a fifth grade education.  However, he stated that both his Dad and Mom stressed the value of an education as a way of achieving excellence, no matter what path their children took after High School.  Graduating from High School was a given for each of the ten children.  At graduation each child was presented with an appropriate gift - A Set of Samsonite Luggage so that they could proceed with the next step in their respective lives. The mantra in his family was to use the gifts you have and get on with your life.   Move out and achieve excellence by attending College or an appropriate Technical School was the implied goal.   Mr. Everson relayed to us that each child did exactly that.

Mr. Everson went on to relay several stories about his current job and how he works to insure that all citizens in Georgia have an equal opportunity.  The focus of his talk was the fact that in order to insure a dynamic future for our citizens, our current scholars in school we need to attract business and industry to employ our citizens; all of them.

That stated, he stressed the fact that when business organizations and industries look at Georgia, or any other State for that matter, they are always interested in education, the high school drop out rate and other aspects of the education establishment prior to locating or relocating in Georgia.

With our current High School Graduation Rate of (depending on who you ask) of about 55 percent we have a lot of future adult citizens who will not be able to perform at an appropriate level to be employed by any business or industry. 

He then pointed out that if an individual does not have the required skills to be employable, they will most likely resort to activities that require a period of time in a jail somewhere.  Or, as Mr. Everson stated - a Human Cargo Ware House.  He then informed us that each inmate cost us Georgia Taxpayers about $95,000.00 per year.  The funds spent on maintaining citizens in jail could better be expended on educating our current and future scholars with a resultant decrease in the correctional system budgets in the future. 

We were then informed  us of the funds that our University System and also our Technical College System expend to remediate High School Graduates so that they are ready for higher education.  I believe that the number he mentioned was in excess of $70,000,000.00 per year.  What a shame!!  Remediation would be unnecessary if the Scholars had been educated in High School, rather than passed on.  This fact alone is critical evidence that our education system needs a major emphasis on improvement.

With this information fresh in our minds, Mr. Everson then indicated that the "Current Charter School" program in Georgia may help.  However he then informed us that Governor Deal is working hard to "Foster opportunity to create jobs for Georgia Citizens."  Our Governor has also stated that "He is Afraid."  We cannot attract business and industry without citizens who are qualified!!!   Mr. Everson also informed us that our Governor makes decisions based on facts.  We all know the facts.  We all know that we simply must do better when it comes to educating our current scholars and those who follow them.  We need to do better so that our future adult citizens will be qualified to hold the jobs that we need in Georgia.

Mr. Everson then discussed the "12 For Life" program that Southwire Industries sponsored in Carroll County Georgia.  Southwire invested $10,000,000.00 in a model factory that would employ High School Students.  The students were required to complete application forms that took several days to fill out along with appropriate testing - just as you would to apply for a job in the adult world. 

Without going into a lot of detail I would encourage you to spend about 30 minutes viewing some of the video that is on the "12 For Life" website that features the Southwire program in Carrollton, Georgia.  They had a goal of 175 scholars achieving a high school diploma.  However their original goal was exceeded by 100 scholars.  Please visit the "Take A Tour" tab at this website:

When I visited this site I was most impressed.  If this can be achieved in a Georgia Town/County it can most certainly be duplicated in any other county in Georgia.  I must point out that this achievement was possible with business/industry funds. 

Then, just last evening during the CBS News with all the emphasis on New Orleans for Super Bowl Weekend they interviewed the current Mayor and asked him about the redevelopment of education in his city.  Specifically they asked him about the state of education in his city after Katrina in 2005.  He stated that there was no education  system in New Orleans after Katrina.  Everything had been destroyed.  Of course the next question asked was how did New Orleans manage the implementation of a new education system.  The answer was quick - Charter Schools.  The Mayor added that the graduation rate has shown remarkable improvement and the CBS news clip also featured several Scholars that were very grateful for the opportunity to achieve the education they desired at the school that fit their respective needs.  One girl interviewed stated three goals, of which one was to become the "Secretary of State."  This was a landmark moment as I viewed this newscast.  Young people with lofty goals all because they were given the opportunity to go to a state of the art school with the emphasis on education of the scholar.

There, you have it my dear readers.  Two concepts that have demonstrated remarkable achievement.  I would suggest that those, that also includes myself, who desire educational excellence for our future adult citizens take the time to inform our duly elected leaders that we cannot continue as we have in the past.  We need to be proactive versus reactive.  Both of the programs I discussed here require adult leadership that is focused on the Scholars.  There is no other way any excellence in education can be achieved.

I appreciate the comments I heard from Mr. Everson and also the news clip on CBS last evening. 

Some of you may remember that a few years ago I promoted the fact that "We Can Do Better!!"  Well today, I want to promote the fact that "We Must Do Better!!!