News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Auburn fan has warning: Fear the feet

Decatur Utilities board members and employees joked last week about holding the shortest meeting on record. Business required perhaps five minutes.

They admitted to Melanie Smith and other visitors that they spent more time beforehand picking at each other about Alabama and Auburn football.

Auburn fan Hugh Hillhouse warned that Alabama’s team, new coach or not, might have to fear not just the “next hand” but the feet as well.

The reference was to Auburn’s “fear the thumb” slogan before its fifth win in a row over Alabama, and the “fear the next hand” follow-up.

Hugh said he could just see the reaction when Auburn fans start taking off their shoes.

Coins for the coach

As Bradley Handwerger’s story in Friday’s sports section showed, faculty members at The University of Alabama have varying opinions about whether it’s wise to pay football coach Nick Saban $4 million a year.

But, pro or con, they like to talk about the coach’s pay, as one student learned when he commented to a professor that campus snack-machine prices are higher than in Decatur.

“Well,” the professor responded, “we have to pay the football coach somehow.”


Phyllis Eisen of the National Association of Manufacturers had the worst speaking slot Thursday at a Calhoun Community College conference on work-force development.

She spoke, notes Eric Fleischauer, right after the federal official who announced Calhoun would receive a $5 million grant.

Undaunted, Phyllis stood at the podium and announced, “I’ve come with a $10 million check.” After a long pause, she relented. “OK, I’m joking. It’s just hard to follow the $5 million announcement.”

Can’t be rushed

Speaking on the need to train workers for today’s high-tech manufacturing, Phyllis said educational developments are speeding the learning curve.

While she lauded the faster pace, she pointed out that it has its limitations.

“Even with all these advances, it still takes 18 years to raise an 18-year-old.”


Emmalee Bauer, 25, of Elkhart, Iowa, learned that it’s not smart to waste time using your employer’s computer — and even less smart to document your idleness.

Emmalee worked for Sheraton hotels as a sales coordinator in Des Moines, according to The Associated Press. A supervisor told her to stop handwriting her personal journal on company time, so she switched the journal to her computer, eventually drafting 300 single-spaced pages.

She was fired, and portions of her journal turned up as evidence when she sought unemployment benefits.

“This typing thing seems to be doing the trick,” she had written. “It just looks like I am hard at work on something very important.”

A judge refused to grant unemployment pay.

Send stories for You Don’t Say to, or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. Daily staff members contribute many of the items you see here. This column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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