Friday, May 30, 2014

Story Time - The Ghost

The last time I went to mothers was about a few weeks ago. On my way, I noticed a house for sale. I took down the number of the realtor and made a mental note to call.

I have a history with that house back from when I was about eight years old. I used to stay there over the weekends during one summer. Back then, the house belonged to my babysitter and her husband. They had two daughters around my age, I think 8 and 10.

Most of the living was done in the remodeled basement. It is huge. It runs the whole length and width of the house. The main open space is where they had their TV set up, and a couch and chairs. It was also carpeted. There were three additional rooms that ran off the main space. One room harbored the furnace and the washer and dryer. The second room was like a storage room where all the games that us kids played were kept. The third room was a guest bedroom. That was the room I had to sleep in.

I didn't mind at first. I was never too scared of anything in my life, least of all basements and attics. What seemed scary to most kids my age was nothing but a playground to me. Even that time we lived out on a farm across from a graveyard, I loved prowling around in it at night. Sometimes, especially if it was foggy, I would act like the walking dead just to try and scare some passer-by's.

I had already slept down there a few times before the first time of the event. I remember waking up and turning onto my back. Once my eyes came into focus, I saw a man standing in the doorway. My first thought was that it was my babysitters husband. But when my eyes worked themselves out, I saw that it wasn't. It was a much older, and elderly man. He was staring straight ahead before finally turning to me. I started freaking out. The elderly man smiled a most wicked looking smile. I screamed at the top of my young lungs and hid myself under the blankets.

I don't know why I screamed. He just looked wicked as hell. 

My babysitter came rushing down the stairs. She came into the room expecting bloody murder. "What in the dickens is the matter with you?"

Once I knew she was in the room, I felt safe. I came out from under the covers. "That man scared me." I said.

My babysitter scrunched her face in confusion. "What man?"

"That old man that was standing in the doorway." I explained. "He scared me. Who is he?"

"I have no idea what the devil you're talking about, boy. There is no man in this house. We're the only two here. Earl took the girls to go pick up the horse. We're gonna let you ride her today if you want."

Did she say horse? I love horses! And yes, I wanted to ride her. All of a sudden I had gotten way too excited and completely forgotten about the elderly man. 

I jumped out of bed, changed my clothes, ate breakfast and waited on the front porch for Earl and the girls. (And yes, I finally got to ride the horse. It was my first time ever to ride one.)

I never did think about that elderly man again. The following weekend Billy was over, He was a cousin of the girls. He was staying the whole weekend and he would be sleeping with me in the basement like he always done. He would stay about every other weekend. 

On that Saturday morning, I felt Billy shake me. I woke up and looked over at him. He was looking at the foot of the bed and pointing. His face whiter than a sheet. His mouth was moving but nothing was coming out. I turned to see what it was he was looking at. It was him again, the elderly man. He was standing at the foot of the bed and slightly leaning. That evil looking grin a flashing. I had no problem letting out my scream again. Billy somehow found his voice and joined me. Meanwhile, we both ducked under the blankets too. 

My babysitter came racing downstairs again, this time bringing the girls. Earl apparently had left earlier that morning. Once again, she came into the room expecting to see a murder scene or something. "What in the hell is wrong with you two boys?" She asked. 

Billy jumped to his feet and went to hug her around the waist. "I saw a scary man." He practically wept. My babysitter wasn't buying it. "Oh for heaven's sakes." She declared, then taking a look at me. "Now look at what you've done, Carroll, you got little Billy all worked up about your ghost." 

"He saw it first." I told her, but she didn't seem to give it no never mind. She just coddled Billy on their way back upstairs. "Breakfast is ready." She shouted back at me. Once I realized I was alone again, I got to my feet and scampered quickly out of there. 

Needless to say, little Billy never stayed the night there again. Well, not for the rest of my time there. A couple few weekends had passed before I saw this ghost again. And again, I gave a shout. And again, I got lectured. "You're just imagining things." My sitter would always say. I could tell it was working her patience. I started feeling like I was being scolded. I really was seeing a ghost. Billy saw it too. Why wouldn't she believe me? 

The last time I saw him, I had gotten up out of bed and turned to face the doorway and there he was. I quickly grabbed a porcelain sculpture that was sitting on the dresser, and I flung it at the elderly man. It went right through him, I guess, but whatever happened, the ghost was no longer standing there. 

The breaking of the sculpture brought my babysitter down. She was upset that I broke her porcelain doll thingy. I got into some big trouble. One thing was certain, I was glad when that summer was over. My mother found a new babysitter anyway. One who came to our house. 

But I never forgot about that house or that elderly man. 

Well, except for when I sometimes go to see mother. I have two ways I can basically travel. Every time I take the way I went that day, I see the house and I always reflect back to that summer. But this was the first time I noticed a "for sale" sign in the yard. Since I had always kind of wanted to revisit that room, I never thought it would be possible due to occupants in the house. I doubt I could just walk up to the door and say, "Hey, can I see your basement for moment?"

But now that it is for sale, maybe I could get a tour of the place posing as a potential buyer? So that's what I did. I had actually managed to arrange a tour that day. We scheduled it and I pulled into the driveway after leaving mother's house. I arrived first. My wait wasn't a long one. The realtor showed up about five minutes later. However, even in that wait and for the drive there, I was a bit nervous. 

The realtor led the way and she took me on a tour of the upper portion first. I could notice a lot of home improvements that were made over the years, I suppose that was to be expected. I could only wonder about the changes made in the basement. Soon, she led me down the stairs and I got to finally see first hand. 

The realtor took me to the other two rooms first, but I kept a silent eye on that room the whole time. When she finally led me to it, I stepped in and got a quick chill. I was taking it all in. Finally, after all of these many years, I got to go back to the place of my first haunting. 

We stepped out and began to head back upstairs when from out of the blue I blurted. "Do people still see the ghost?"

The realtor froze on the first step. I nearly bumped into her. She turned to look at me with a seriousness on her face. "You know about the ghost?"

Okay, I was only just kind of joking. I had no idea that anyone else had ever seen this ghost, but apparently, there were other people. 

I stared back at her. "The elderly man?" I mentioned. 

"You have seen him too?" She asked me. 

This is when I told her my story. Turns out that for the past ten plus years, people have been moving in and out of that house on a regular basis. I also learned that when my babysitter and her husband died, the daughter took over the house and sold it just as soon as they could. I guess maybe they knew about the ghost. 

The people who bought from them moved in and within a few years later, they were out. However, instead of them selling it, they tried to rent it out only they couldn't keep people in it for very long. Now they were selling it. 

I didn't buy the house, although I gave it some serious hard considerations. I'm not afraid of ghosts anymore. And truth be told, a part of me wants to try and figure out who that elderly man is. I asked the realtor if I could stay there for a few weeks before she sold it so I could investigate this ghost, but that wasn't going to happen. So anyhow, I am still here and left to wonder who that elderly man may be. Who is he looking for? What's his unfinished business? Oh the questions that go through my mind. I would really like to try and help him. I hope whoever ends up buying it will help the man. I don't think he is violent or anything. But I do get the feeling that he is trying to reach out and that he is trying to find something or someone. That's just my feeling. I kind of feel sorry for him now. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Jimmy Carter: The Presidents

James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States (1977–1981) and was awarded the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office. Before he became President, Carter, a Democrat, served as a U.S. Naval officer, was a peanut farmer, served two terms as a Georgia State Senator and one as Governor of Georgia (1971–1975).

During Carter's term as President, he created two new cabinet-level departments: the Department of Energy and the Department of Education. He established a national energy policy that included conservation, price control, and new technology. In foreign affairs, Carter pursued the Camp David Accords, the Panama Canal Treaties, the second round of Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II), and returned the Panama Canal Zone to Panama. He took office during a period of international stagnation and inflation, which persisted throughout his term. The end of his presidential tenure was marked by the 1979 - 1981 Iran hostage crisis, the 1979 energy crisis, the Three Mile Island nuclear accident, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the United States boycott of the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow (the only U.S. boycott in Olympic history), and the eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington state.

By 1980, Carter's popularity had eroded. He survived a primary challenge against Ted Kennedy for the Democratic Party nomination in the 1980 election, but lost the election to Ronald Reagan, the Republican candidate. On January 20, 1981, minutes after Carter's term in office ended, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Iran were released, ending the 444-day Iran hostage crisis.

Carter and his wife Rosalynn founded the Carter Center in 1982, a nongovernmental, not-for-profit organization that works to advance human rights. He has traveled extensively to conduct peace negotiations, observe elections, and advance disease prevention and eradication in developing nations. Carter is a key figure in the Habitat for Humanity project, and also remains particularly vocal on the Israeli - Palestinian conflict.

James Earl Carter, Jr., was born at the Wise Sanitarium on October 1, 1924, in the tiny southwest Georgia city of Plains, near Americus. The first president born in a hospital he is the eldest of four children of James Earl Carter and Bessie Lillian Gordy. Carter's father was a prominent business owner in the community, and his mother was a registered nurse.

Carter has Scots-Irish and English ancestry. One of his paternal ancestors arrived in the American Colonies in 1635. His family has lived in the state of Georgia for several generations. Ancestors of Carter fought in the American Revolution, and he is a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. Carter's great-grandfather, Private L.B. Walker Carter (1832–1874), served in the Confederate States Army during the American Civil War.

Carter was a gifted student from an early age who always had a fondness for reading. By the time he attended Plains High School, he was also a star in basketball. While he was in high school, he was in the Future Farmers of America (later the National FFA Organization), serving as the Plains FFA Chapter Secretary.

After high school, Carter enrolled at Georgia Southwestern College, in Americus. Later, he applied to the United States Naval Academy and, after taking additional mathematics courses at Georgia Tech, he was admitted in 1943. Carter graduated 59th out of 820 midshipmen at the Naval Academy with a Bachelor of Science degree with an unspecified major, as was the custom at the academy at that time. After serving in both the Atlantic and Pacific U.S. Submarine Fleets, Jimmy Carter attended graduate school, majoring in reactor technology and nuclear physics.

Though Carter's father, Earl, died a relatively wealthy man, between his forgiveness of debts and the division of his wealth among heirs, his son Jimmy Carter inherited comparatively little. For a year, due to a limited real estate market, the Carters lived in public housing; Carter is the only U.S. president to have lived in housing subsidized for the poor.

Knowledgeable in scientific and technological subjects, Carter took over the family peanut farm. Carter took to the county library to read up on agriculture while Rosalynn learned accounting to manage the business' financials. Though they barely broke even the first year, Carter managed to expand in Plains. His farming business was successful. By his 1970 gubernatorial campaign, he was considered a wealthy peanut farmer.

Jimmy Carter started his political career by serving on various local boards, governing such entities as the schools, hospitals, and libraries, among others. In the 1960s, he was elected to two terms in the Georgia Senate from the fourteenth district of Georgia.

In 1966, Carter considered running for the United States House of Representatives. His Republican opponent, Howard Callaway, dropped out and decided to run for Governor of Georgia. Carter did not want to see a Republican governor of his state, and joined the race. He lost the Democratic primary, but drew enough votes as a third-place candidate to force the favorite, liberal former governor Ellis Arnall, into a runoff election. A chain of events resulted in the nomination of Lester Maddox, a segregationist Democrat. Maddox was elected as governor of Georgia by the Georgia General Assembly, although he finished a close second in a three-way general election race with Callaway and Arnall, who ran as a write-in candidate. During the primary, Carter ran as a moderate alternative to both the liberal Arnall and conservative Maddox. Although Carter lost, his strong third-place finish was viewed as a success for the little-known state senator.

Carter was sworn in as the 76th Governor of Georgia on January 12, 1971, and held this post for one term, until January 14, 1975. At the time, governors of Georgia were not allowed to succeed themselves. His predecessor as governor, Lester Maddox, became the Lieutenant Governor. Carter and Maddox found little common ground during their four years of service, often publicly feuding with each other. In Georgia, the Governor and Lieutenant Governor were not elected as a team.

Carter declared in his inaugural speech that the time of racial segregation was over, and that racial discrimination had no place in the future of the state; he was the first statewide officeholder in the Deep South to say this in public. Carter appointed many African Americans to statewide boards and offices. He was often called one of the "New Southern Governors" – much more moderate than their predecessors, and supportive of racial desegregation and expanding African-Americans' rights.

After the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Georgia's death penalty law in 1972 as unconstitutional, Carter quickly proposed state legislation to replace the death penalty with life in prison without parole (an option that previously did not exist). When the Georgia legislature passed a new death penalty statute, Carter, despite expressing reservations about its constitutionality, signed the new legislation on March 28, 1973. It authorized the death penalty for murder, rape and other offenses, and implemented trial procedures to conform to constitutional requirements.

In 1976, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Georgia's new death penalty for murder. In the case of Coker v. Georgia, the Supreme Court ruled that the death penalty was unconstitutional as applied to rape.
Many people in the United States were outraged when Lieutenant William Calley was convicted in a military trial and sentenced to life for his role in the My Lai Massacre in South Vietnam. Carter instituted "American Fighting Man's Day" and asked Georgians to drive for a week with their lights on in support of Calley. Indiana's governor asked for all state flags to be flown at half-staff for Calley, and Utah's and Mississippi's governors also disagreed with the verdict.

When Carter entered the Democratic Party presidential primaries in 1976, he was considered to have little chance against nationally better-known politicians. His name recognition was two percent. When he told his family of the decision to run for president, his mother asked, "President of what?" As the Watergate scandal of President Nixon was still fresh in the voters' minds, Carter's position as an outsider, distant from Washington, D.C., became an asset. He promoted government reorganization. Carter published Why Not the Best? in June 1976 to help introduce himself to the American public.

Carter became the front-runner early on by winning the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. He used a two-prong strategy: In the South, which most had tacitly conceded to Alabama's George Wallace, Carter ran as a moderate favorite son. When Wallace proved to be a spent force, Carter swept the region. In the North, Carter appealed largely to conservative Christian and rural voters; he had little chance of winning a majority in most states. He won several Northern states by building the largest single bloc. Carter's strategy involved reaching a region before another candidate could extend influence there. He had traveled over 50,000 miles, visited 37 states, and delivered over 200 speeches before any other candidates announced that they were in the race. Initially dismissed as a regional candidate, Carter proved to be the only Democrat with a truly national strategy, and he clinched the nomination.

Carter began the race with a sizable lead over Ford, who narrowed the gap during the campaign, but lost to Carter in a narrow defeat on November 2, 1976. Carter won the popular vote by 50.1 percent to 48.0 percent for Ford, and received 297 electoral votes to Ford's 240. Carter became the first contender from the Deep South to be elected President since the 1848 election. Carter carried fewer states than Ford - 23 states to the defeated Ford's 27 - yet Carter won with the largest percentage of the popular vote (50.1 percent) of any non-incumbent since Dwight Eisenhower.

Carter's tenure was a time of continuing inflation and recession, as well as an energy crisis. On January 7, 1980, Carter signed Law H.R. 5860 aka Public Law 96-185 known as The Chrysler Corporation Loan Guarantee Act of 1979, bailing out Chrysler Corporation. He cancelled military pay raises during a time of high inflation and government deficits.

Carter attempted to calm various conflicts around the world, most visibly in the Middle East with the signing of the Camp David Accords; giving back the Panama Canal; and signing the SALT II nuclear arms reduction treaty with Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. His final year was marred by the Iran hostage crisis, which contributed to his losing the 1980 election to Ronald Reagan.

On April 18, 1977, Carter delivered a televised speech declaring that the U.S. energy crisis during the 1970s was the moral equivalent of war. He encouraged energy conservation by all U.S. citizens and installed solar water heating panels on the White House. He wore sweaters to offset turning down the heat in the White House.

In 1977, Carter appointed Alfred E. Kahn, a professor of economics at Cornell University, to be chair of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). He was part of a push for deregulation of the industry, supported by leading economists, leading 'think tanks' in Washington, a civil society coalition advocating the reform (patterned on a coalition earlier developed for the truck-and-rail-reform efforts), the head of the regulatory agency, Senate leadership, the Carter administration, and even some in the airline industry. This coalition swiftly gained legislative results in 1978.

The Airline Deregulation Act (Pub.L. 95–504) was signed into law by President Carter on October 24, 1978. The main purpose of the act was to remove government control over fares, routes and market entry (of new airlines) from commercial aviation. The Civil Aeronautics Board's powers of regulation were to be phased out, eventually allowing market forces to determine routes and fares. The Act did not remove or diminish the FAA's regulatory powers over all aspects of airline safety.

In 1979, Carter deregulated the American beer industry by making it legal to sell malt, hops, and yeast to American home brewers for the first time since the effective 1920 beginning of Prohibition in the United States. This deregulation led to an increase in home brewing over the 1980s and 1990s that by the 2000s had developed into a strong craft microbrew culture in the United States, with over 2,000 breweries and brewpubs in the United States by 2012.

In response to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Carter decided to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, which raised a bitter controversy. It was the only time since the founding of the modern Olympics in 1896 that the United States had not participated in a Summer or Winter Olympics. The Soviet Union retaliated by boycotting the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. It did not withdraw troops from Afghanistan until 1989 (eight years after Carter left office).

Carter later wrote that the most intense and mounting opposition to his policies came from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which he attributed to Ted Kennedy's ambition to replace him as president. Kennedy surprised his supporters by running a weak campaign, and Carter won most of the primaries and secured renomination. However, Kennedy had mobilized the liberal wing of the Democratic Party, which gave Carter weak support in the fall election.

Carter's campaign for re-election in 1980 was one of the most difficult, and least successful, in history. He faced strong challenges from the right (Republican Ronald Reagan), the center (independent John B. Anderson), and the left (Democrat Ted Kennedy). He had to run against his own "stagflation" - ridden economy, while the hostage crisis in Iran dominated the news every week. He alienated liberal college students, who were expected to be his base, by re-instating registration for the military draft. His campaign manager and former appointments secretary, Timothy Kraft, stepped down some five weeks before the general election amid what turned out to have been an uncorroborated allegation of cocaine use. Carter was defeated by Ronald Reagan in a landslide, and the Senate went Republican for the first time since 1952.

The Independent writes, "Carter is widely considered a better man than he was a president." While he began his term with a 66 percent approval rating, this had dropped to 34 percent approval by the time he left office, with 55 percent disapproving.

In the wake of Nixon's Watergate Scandal, exit polls from the 1976 Presidential election suggested that many still held Gerald Ford's pardon of Nixon against him. By comparison Carter seemed a sincere, honest, and well-meaning Southerner.

His administration suffered from his inexperience in politics. Carter paid too much attention to detail. He frequently backed down from confrontation and was quick to retreat when attacked by political rivals. He appeared to be indecisive and ineffective, and did not define his priorities clearly. He seemed to be distrustful and uninterested in working with other groups, or even with Congress when controlled by his own party, as well as fellow Democratic senators which he denounced for being controlled by special interest groups. Though he made efforts to address many of these issues in 1978, the approval he won from his reforms did not last long.

In the 1980 campaign, Ronald Reagan projected an easy self-confidence, in contrast to Carter's serious and introspective temperament. Carter's personal attention to detail, his pessimistic attitude, his seeming indecisiveness and weakness with people were accentuated in contrast to Reagan's charismatic charm and delegation of tasks to subordinates. Reagan used the economic problems, Iran hostage crisis, and lack of Washington cooperation to portray Carter as a weak and ineffectual leader. Carter was the first elected president since Hoover in 1932 to lose a reelection bid.

In the years since then, his reputation has much improved. Carter's presidential approval rating, at 31 percent just prior to the 1980 election, was polled in early 2009 at 64 percent. His post-Presidency activities have been favorably received. Carter believes that George H. W. Bush, who actively sought him out and was far more courteous and interested in his advice than Reagan, contributed to the rise in his reputation.

In 1981, Carter returned to Georgia to his peanut farm, which he had placed into a blind trust during his presidency to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. He found that the trustees had mismanaged the trust, leaving him more than one million dollars in debt. In the years that followed, he has led an active life, establishing the Carter Center, building his presidential library, teaching at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, and writing numerous books. He has also contributed to the expansion of Habitat for Humanity, to build affordable housing. As of September 8, 2012, Carter has lived longer after leaving the White House than any other U.S. President.

Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, are well known for their work as volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, a Georgia-based philanthropy that helps low-income working people around the world to build and buy their own homes and access clean water.

Carter's hobbies include painting, fly-fishing, woodworking, cycling, tennis, and skiing.

Carter intends to be buried in front of his home in Plains, Georgia. Both President Carter and his wife Rosalynn were born in Plains. Carter also noted that a funeral in Washington, D.C. with visitation at the Carter Center is being planned as well. In contrast, most presidents since Herbert Hoover have chosen burial at their presidential libraries or museums. Assassinated in office, John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Lyndon B. Johnson chose to be buried at his ranch

Sources: Wikipedia

This work released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Carroll Bryant Donates Chance To have It All

Hey everyone, just wanted to remind you all that during the year of 2014 I shall be donating a dollar from every book I sell this year to the Chance To Have It All Foundation.

"Chance To Have It All" is a radio show on KCLA FM 99.3 FM Los Angeles, California that gives aspiring singers / songwriters an opportunity to be heard nationally on the radio and proceeds go to helping Native Americans with medical expenses who fall between the cracks of the system. This includes women and children. So show your support by either going to the "Chance To Have It All" Foundation (founded by singer / musician Pat Vegas of the 70's hit group, "Redbone" and radio personality, Acela Bella) and directly donate what you can, or buy a Carroll Bryant book and know that one dollar of that sale will go to the "Chance To Have It All" foundation. So, if you were thinking about buying one of my books online, now would be a good time. Not only will you "hopefully" enjoy a story, but you'll be helping out those in need as well.

Thank you for your support. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Flag Of Georgia (Country)

The flag of Georgia (Georgian: საქართველოს სახელმწიფო დროშა; sakartvelos sakhelmtsipo drosha), also known as the Five Cross Flag (Georgian: ხუთჯვრიანი დროშა; khutjvriani drosha) was adopted in January 2004, and was originally the flag of the United National Movement. It was widely used during the "Rose Revolution" of 2003.

The current flag was used by the Georgian patriotic movement following the country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. By the late 1990s, the design had become widely known as 'the Georgian historical national flag' as vexillologists had pointed out the red-on-white Jerusalem cross shown as the flag of Tblisi in a 14th-century map by Domenico and Francesco Pizzigano.

A majority of Georgians, including the influential Catholicos-Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, supported the restoration of the flag and in 1999 the Parliament of Georgia passed a bill to change the flag. However, it was not endorsed by the President, Eduard Shevardnadze. It was adopted in the early 2000s by the main opposition party, the United National Movement led by Mikheil Saakashvili, as a symbol of popular resistance to Shevardnadze's rule.

The flag was adopted by Parliament on 14 January 2004. Saakashvili formally endorsed it via Presidential Decree No. 31 signed on 25 January, following his election as President.

The white flag with the single red St. George's cross was supposedly used by King Vakhtang I in the 5th century.

According to tradition, Queen Tamar (d. 1213) used a flag with a dark red cross and a star in a white field.

In the 1367 map by Domenico and Francesco Pizzigano, the flag of Tifilis (Tbilisi) is shown as a Jerusalem cross (a large cross with smaller crosses in each quarter). According to D. Kldiashvili (1997), the Jerusalem cross might have been adopted during the reign of King George V.

During Georgia's brief existence as an independent state as the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 1918 to 1921, a tricolour was adopted. The design resulted from a national flag-designing contest won by the painter Iakob Nikoladze. It was abolished by the Soviet Union following the 1921 incorporation of Georgia into the USSR.

During the Soviet period, Georgia adopted several variants of the red Soviet flag incorporating either the Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic's name, or a red hammer and sickle with a star in a blue sun in the canton and blue bar in the upper part of flag. The flag of Georgian SSR was abolished by the Georgian government in November 1990 shortly before it declared independence from the Soviet Union.

The previous flag used by the Democratic Republic of Georgia from 1918 to 1921 was revived on 14 November 1990, by the Supreme Council of the Republic of Georgia. However, it lost popularity thereafter as it became associated with the chaotic and violent period around the collapse of the Soviet Union. The wine-red colour symbolises the good times in the past and the future, while the black represents Russian rule, and the white represents hope for peace.

Sources: Wikipedia

Thi swork released through CC 3.0 BY-SA - Creative Commons

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Story Time: The Untouchables

She went swimming in the lake under a brightly shining full moon. Her naked body glistening in the after-glow. Sweet sixteen and country bred.

I got to my feet, leaving the comforts of the blanket we had just made love on, to walk to my truck and light up a cigarette. I planted myself down on the open tailgate of my truck to watch her. A swan playing with dreams.

By the time I tossed the the remains of the caner stick, she emerged from the water, walking to and picking up the blanket along the way, only to wrap it around herself as she approached me. I spread my legs and opened up my arms to let her in. I held her close, and kissed her on the nose, then the forehead, cheek and finally, the mouth.

I don't know how long it lasted, but it lasted for quite some time. It lasted not nearly as long as I wanted it to.

She turned around and leaned into me, her long wet hair pressing against my bare chest. We stared out into the darkness of the trees that surrounded. Another Saturday night for a couple of hopeless romantics. "My father would kill me if he knew I was with you." She said, breaking the silence.

"He'd kill me first." I noted.

"I wouldn't be too sure."

"Now why would you say that?" I wondered.

"He expects more from me." She concluded.

Silence fell between us for a couple of minutes.

"Carroll, what am I going to do without you around?" She asked me.

"I'll only be gone for about four months," I reasoned, trying to make light of the situation, "then I'll be back and it will be as if I never left, besides," I continued, "I don't leave for boot-camp for another three months."

"I'm going to miss you." She issued. "I don't want you to go."

"Too late now." I told her. "I already signed the papers."

She turned around to face me. "But, why the Army?"

"The Army Reserves." I duly corrected her before trying to explain it as best I could. "Katie, there's just a part of me that wants to get out of this town."

"I want to leave too." She revealed. "Only ...."

"Only what?" I asked, when she hesitated.

"Only ... I want to leave with you."

"You have two more years of high school left." I reminded her.

"So." She mumbled. "You didn't have to join so soon. You could have stayed and finished your senior year."

"There is no way in hell I could have suffered through another year of high school." I confessed. "Every time I see coach Mendenhall in the corridor, he always asks me why I won't play football. I'm getting tired of explaining to him that I don't want to spend the rest of life getting surgery."

"Just give the middle finger, he'll shut up." She offered a solution. Not the best solution, but it was an idea.

"Great," I sighed, "more detention. I have spent more time in detention the past two years than I have spent at home. Between work and making the social rounds at parties and school events, I'm lucky to find time to spend with you."

"You work for your dad," she replied, "I'm sure you could get your hours cut."

"I don't want to cut my hours." I stipulated.

"Why are we even talking about this?" I snapped back. "You're going off to college anyway when you graduate. Who knows where I will be. You really think we're going to be together in two years?"

"I don't know." She half snarled, turning back around. "It would be nice if we were."

"I don't know, Katie, two years is a life time for us. We're too young to be thinking about settling down."

"If we were together, I might put off college." She threw out there for me to ponder. And ponder, I did. When I was done pondering, I shook my head. "That's sad."

"What?" She gasped. "Why? How is that sad?"

"You're going to jeopardize your future for a guy?"

"That guy happens to be you." She pointed out.

"That's even sadder." I elaborated.

"How so?"

"Any girl who gives up her future for me needs to have her head checked." I bluntly answered.

"Why do you say that?" She really wanted to know.

I paused briefly to make sure I explained it properly. "Because the only person I see in my future is me. That's why."

I don't think I explained it very well.

"You are such an ass at times, you know that?" She responded bitterly. "I thought you loved me."

"I do love you." I stated, then stated some more. "For now. How do I know I will love you in two years?"

"Faith." She affirmed.

"Yeah, well, faith is what I am lacking."

She turned around once again. "So I'm just a summer fling?"

I looked into her eyes. "Shakes the devil when he misbehaves." Was all I said.

Katie stared back. "Fine, you go do whatever with your life, I'll go to college. Meet you here in six years?"

"Then what?" I pushed.

Katie reached up and wrapped her arms around my neck. "Then we'll get married, have kids, and grow old together."

She leaned in and kissed me. Upon our release, I asked her the million dollar question. "But what if I don't want to grow up?"

"Then I'll tell my dad you deflowered me at sixteen, and have him kill you."

"Okay. You win." I caved. "What's today's date?"

"July 22nd."

I took a peek at my invisible wrist-watch. "Good. I'll meet you here July 22nd, six years from now at precisely 10Pm."

"It's a date." She smiled, kissing me one more time.

"I got a hundred bucks that says you're not going to show." I dangled.

"I got a thousand that says I will. Two thousand that you won't show." She countered.

The night went too fast.

*** Six years later ***

I sat there on the hood of my car staring over the lake. After everything I have been through the past half dozen years, I couldn't believe I actually remembered our bet. Even more astounding, I couldn't believe I actually showed up. Was she ever going to be surprised. I kept my eyes on the water, visualizing her emerging from it and smiling as she walked towards me. I quickly snapped out of it.

I looked at my real wrist-watch. 11:35 PM. I tossed away my cigarette and got into the car. "That's okay," I whispered to myself, "you can owe me."

One of these days I might track her down and collect. Thirty-one hundred dollars is thirty-one hundred dollars. That should buy enough whiskey to erase another memory. That and time. Unfortunately, however, it wasn't enough. I still think about it to this day. 



Monday, May 5, 2014

Painted In You (Demo) Carroll Bryant

So for Mother's Day this year, I decided to give mom something she has been wanting for quite a while now, a demo of me singing one of my songs. While I do intend on posting Mark's rendition of this song at a later date, I thought I would go ahead and share my version with everyone. I have never claimed to be a singer, but at least mother likes it, and that's all that matters, right? Maybe I will try another song sometime, who knows. Until then, this is it. This is me singing my song "Painted In You". (For better or worse.)

Thursday, May 1, 2014

2014 NFL Mock Draft by Carroll Bryant

The 2014 NFL draft is almost upon us. It's just a week away. Many are speculating what the Houston Texans are going to do with the number one overall pick. Well, I am here to put my two cents in the kitty. I think I have this figured out.

After a whirlwind free agency, many teams remain unsettled at multiple positions. This draft will be unlike any other in recent memory. It's one of the deepest drafts football has seen for quite a while. Don't be too surprised if more 6th and 7th rounders stick this year than normal. So let's begin, shall we?

1) Houston Texans. (Blake Bortles QB, Central Florida)

All Houston needs is a QB. Period! Maybe some depth on the O-line, and perhaps someone on the DE side of the ball to compliment J.J. Watts, and they could use a little more depth in the secondary. (Who couldn't?) However, first and foremost, they need a QB. But who to choose? Well, the fan favorite going in would be Johnny Football himself, Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel. This is exactly who I think they should not pick. Instead, I like this Bortles kid. He's big, strong armed, and can throw a country mile. Back in the day when they last had the number one overall pick, they had their choice of QB Vince Young, RB Reggie Bush and DE Mario Williams. The Texans went against the grain and selected Williams. While many suggest the Texans will do the same this time around, I laugh at the notion. The Texans need a compliment to Watts at the DE position, not another star, so South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney is out of the picture. Clowny will be a star, but the Texans need a QB like a fat kid needs to go on a diet. This is why I think they will go with QB this time around. New head coach, Bill O'Brien, likes the more traditional pocket passer type, another reason why I think they will go with Bortles. I know Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater is considered the best QB in the draft, and most NFL ready, but I disagree. After his atrocious pro day, Teddy has dropped considerably in my book. He also needs a year or two to grow into his 6-5 frame. He needs to beef up a little in order to take some of those NFL sized hits he's going to get. The Texans always have the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds to address DE, secondary, and O-line. But Bortles would be the best selection for the Texans with this pick.

2) St. Louis Rams. (OT Greg Robinson, Auburn)

While it is tempting for the Rams to trade this pick, I don't see it. This is their pick for trading with Washington Redskins a couple years ago in so Washington could move up and take QB RGIII. The Rams have a nice young RB in Zac Stacey, who could be a star in this league and nothing could help that woeful offense more than beefing up that O-line. Plus, Robinson is the blindside Tackle, which could help to protect injury prone QB Sam Bradford. This pick makes perfect sense. Sure, Clowney would be tempting, but this is a deep draft class, but O-linemen of this caliber is hard to find in any draft. Besides, the Rams have another pick coming up shortly in the first round and they can always take a DE with that one.

3) Jacksonville Jaguars. (QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville)

Once again, it just makes sense. The Jags need a QB and with Bortles off the board, and Johnny Football such a gamble (in my opinion) Teddy is in line to be selected at this spot. Oh, sure, Clowney will always  still be tempting, even to the Rams, but needs come first at this point in the draft and for the Jags, their biggest need is a franchise QB. Something they have lacked since Mark Brunell. At long last, they now have that franchise QB. And in a couple of years, they may actually be relevant. Though I wouldn't go with Teddy personally, it's not my call. But I do think Jags will go with him.

4) Cleveland Browns (Johnny Manziel QB, Texas A&M)

Here we go. The most crucial part of this draft. Cleveland is a wildcard at this spot, and I'll tell you why. They have an interest in Washington back-up QB Kirk Cousins. And with good reason. Cousins is in the third year of his four year rookie contract, so a good fit for the salary cap. Also, Kirk has game. I know the Redskins have gone on record saying that Kirk is not available for trading, then changed their mind later saying they would take nothing less than a 2nd round pick, however, with Cleveland owning the Colts first round pick from trading RB Trent Richardson, I still think they might dangle that pick in front of Washington for Cousins. If by chance the Redskins bite, then bye, bye Johnny Football and hello WR Sammy Watkins. However, assuming Washington is dead serious about not wanting to trade Cousins, then Manziel becomes the latest victim of the QB graveyard in Cleveland. He will sell tickets for a couple of years. That's good, right?

5) Oakland Raiders (Sammy Watkins WR, Clemson)

Oakland needs a lot of everything. They had 61 million dollars for the cap this year, and hardly used much of it to this point. This includes the 7 seven million raise of the cap by the NFL for all teams so Oakland had plenty of money to fill plenty of spaces on their team. One thing they couldn't buy with that money this year in free agency was a franchise QB although they traded for Matt Schaub. There's no franchise QB out there, and Bortles is already taken. Oh sure, Clowney is tempting, again! but they signed a free agent to fill any DE needs they might have. Even though Clowney would be my pick, the Raiders are the Raiders, and they play by their own rules. And they always get this first pick wrong. Until now.  

6) Atlanta Falcons. ( DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina)

Well, well, well, look who fell in the draft. The second best defensive player in college football. No bones about it, Atlanta couldn't possibly pass this gift from the football gods up. Cha-ching! Who is the best defensive player in college football you ask? Well, take a look at the next pick and you'll find out.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers. (Khalil Mack OLB, Buffalo)

New head coach Lovie Smith loves defense. Just check out his past Chicago Bears teams when he was head coach there. With pressing need for another WR, and depth in the secondary, they also need a left outside linebacker to compliment MLB Mason Foster, and ROLB Lavonte David. The Mack Attack will do nicely. However, if for some unforseen reason that WR Sammy Watkins should happen to stilll be available here, which I doubt, they would be well advised to take him to add another another weapon for their young QB Mike Glennon to throw to. (Although McCown is said to be the starter going into the season) With Mike Williams gone, Vincent Jackson, could use help to making the TBuc offense light up the scoreboard each and every week, not to mention, give their young RB Doug Martin some more room to run. (As if he needs that.) There would always be the second round pick to nab a LB with, so if Watkins is on the board at this spot, TBucs will take him. If not, Mack will be their man. And yes, I think overall, Mack is the best defensive player in the draft.

8) Minnesota Vikings. (OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M)

I know, I know, they too need a QB, but instead of going with Fresno State QB Derek Carr, they will make do with Matthews. You see, the Vikings have already drafted a QB much higher than his talent level in Christian Ponder. If they don't trade down a few spots here, then Matthews is the logical choice. First, they could use him, and secondly, if you can't get the QB you need, then get someone who will pass protect the QB you already got and at the same time, open up bigger holes for RB Adrian Peterson. They can always hope that Carr falls to them in the second round, which he might, and or take a different QB in the second or third round. (I would target McCarron) There will be a few still on the board who they could work into their lineup. Remember when the Bengals did it a few years ago? (Andy Dalton) The Vikings would be well advised to follow that formula this time around instead of wasting another good high draft pick on another QB who is not a top ten QB. I think they learned their lesson. At least I hope they did.

9) Buffalo Bills. (Anthony Barr OLB, UCLA)

The Bills already have their QB from last years draft, E.J. Manual. They also have some young WR's on their roster and traded for Mike Williams from Buccaneers so they won't be looking for that either. They have C.J. Spiller to run the ball with Fred Jackson, so RB is out of the question. With OT Greg Robinson and OG Jake Matthews gone, this would be their most logical choice. And a great choice it will be too. He will solidify their LB corp, make no mistake about that. He has dropped in recent weeks, but I think this kid is a sleeper. He will be a steal at #9, in my opinion. The Bills would be wise to draft this kid. 

10) Detroit Lions. (WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M)

I know the consensus is they should take WR Marqise Lee here, but he had a rather disappointing senior season at USC, and he is injury prone. The Lions have had enough of injury prone WR's. They need a compliment to "Megatron" and they need one NOW! Okay, I know they signed Tate this off-season, but Evans is six feet and five inches tall, compared to 6-1 with Lee, so he will be another big target for QB Matthew Stafford. He could be "Megatron Jr." in fact. Not to mention, another great red-zone target. The Lions would be foolish to pass up on this guy. With such a deep draft to address other areas, to add Evans with Tate, Megatron, and their one two punch at RB (Bush, Bell) the Lions would be even that more tougher to defend against. They could be scoring points like a pinball machine. (Or is that outdated?)

11) Tennessee Titans. (CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State)

While the Vikings may be tempted to take this guy at number 8, I think they will pass for Matthews, but the Titans could use some DB help as well, especially since they didn't resign free agent CB Alterraun Verner. (Or sign a replacement) Dennard would only solidify their secondary that much more. And let's face it, the Titans, like everyone else, want to model their team after the world champs Seattle Seahawks, who had the undisputed number one secondary last year in the league.

12) New York Giants. (OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan)

The Giants need help all over the place, but while many seem to think they should draft a TE here, it is well known in the NFL that rarely do TE's ever really make an impact in their rookie season. Not even Jimmy Graham made an impact in his rookie year, so why go TE here at a spot where you need an impact player? It makes no sense. What the football Giants need is some help with that shoddy O-line. Lewan is that help. He will step in from week one as a starter. That's what you're looking for with your first round pick. Especially the number 12 pick overall. Besides, the Giants still have the second round to take a TE. There will be a good one still there.

13) St. Louis Rams. (DE Kony Ealy, Missouri)

This is a tricky part of the draft. While Marqise Lee would be tempting, they already drafted a WR last year in Tavon Austin. I doubt they will do it again. They could trade this pick to the New York Jets, who covet Lee, but that would require New York Jets to throw in perhaps a third round pick, something I don't see them doing. Still, the Rams could use a hefty DE to help with the pass rush. Ealy fits the bill. There is ample opportunity for them to grab another WR later, there are a plethora of WR's in this draft, so why waste a pick on one this early when you can get a pass rusher instead? Kony will shore up that defensive front for the Rams, make no mistake. And after passing up Clowney with the number two pick for OT Greg Robinson, it makes good sense. I doubt by seasons end that anybody will know the difference.

14) Chicago Bears. (OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame)

While LB C.J. Mosely and DT Louis Nix would be tempting here, the Bears need help on the O-line. They have one of the best RB's in the game in Matt Forte, and they just inked QB Jay Cutler to a long term deal, so why not make good on your investment by selecting the next best available offensive lineman in the draft? It just makes good sense to do so.

15) Pittsburgh Steelers. (ILB C.J. Mosley, Alabama)

The Steel curtain needs fixing. None better to start with than Mosley.

16) Baltimore Ravens. (DE Dee Ford, Auburn)

With Mosley now gone to the Steelers, look for the Ravens to beef up their defense as well. Many think they will go WR here, but the Ravens already have Torrey Smith, second year guy, Marlon Brown, Jacoby Jones and young Tandon Moss. Not to mention their signing of former Panther WR Steve Smith. They needn't to add another at this point in the draft. Maybe later they might take another WR, but not here. There is a chance they could trade down and draft a linebacker though, otherwise, it's Ford.

17) Dallas Cowboys / New York Jets. (WR Marqise Lee, USC - FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama) (Draft position between Dallas and Jets will be determined on draft day.)

If the Jets end up with this pick, they take WR Lee. If Dallas is here, they either take Clinton-Dix or they trade down. My money is that they will trade down to try and pick up an extra pick in the 4th round. Whomever they trade down with, will take Dix. 

18) New York Jets / Dallas Cowboys.

Jets take Lee. 

19) Miami Dolphins. (CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State)

The Dolphins could use another O-lineman to open holes for Moreno, sure, but they are building something special on defense, and Gilbert will only add to that big time. Nice pick Miami.

20) Arizona Cardinals. (OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama)

When you have a chance to take a big offensive lineman at this spot in the draft like Kouandjio, you take him. Nuff said. Although I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if Miami takes him.

21) Green Bay Packers. (Eric Ebron TE, North Carolina)

After resigning DT B.J. Raji, the Packers now turn to their biggest need, TE, and Ebron has been impressive thus far in all the workouts.But it's a known fact that most TE's don't make much of an impact their rookie year. As it is with the WR position, it takes most rookies at these positions to adjust to the speed of the defense while making the transition from college to the pros. But with Aaron Rogers throwing the ball, and all the talent they have on offense, Eric would probably thrive in the Packers system.

22) Philadelphia Eagles. (FS Calvin Pryor, Louisville)

The Eagles will look to shore up their secondary. They could go DT here, maybe, but I doubt it.

23) Kansas City Chiefs. (WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State)

KC needs another WR opposite Dwayne Bowe. Benjamin is that guy.

24) Cincinnati Bengals. (QB Derek Carr, Fresno State)

With no major needs, the Bengals have the luxury to take the best available player at this spot in the draft. Looking to push current starting QB Andy Dalton, Carr makes perfect sense here. If Carr doesn't beat out Dalton in pre-season, he will be a ready to go back up if Dalton gets hurt, or flounders. He could end up starting by seasons end, or in his 2nd or 3rd year. QB depth is always coveted, just ask the Redskins.

25) San Diego Chargers. (WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU)

The safe bet here is probably DT's Louis Nix, Timmy Jernigan or DT Aaron Donald, either would be nice, but the Chargers are needing another WR to go with last years rookie sensation, Keenan Allen, and Beckham will be too tempting to pass up.

26) Cleveland Browns (OG David Yankey, Stanford)

If Cleveland doesn't trade this pick to Washington for QB Kirk Cousins then it's an O-lineman for them. Although, WR Allen Robinson could be an alternate pick here, but with so many good WR's that will still be available in round two, this is an opportunity to beef up their O-line.

27) New Orleans Saints. (Louis Nix DT, Notre Dame)

After signing Byrd at CB this off season, the Saints continue to march on towards building a better defense, despite the fact they really should be focusing on offense after trading Sproles and releasing WR Lance Moore.  

28) Carolina Panther. (WR Allen Robinson, Penn State)

Cam needs a new toy. Seriously, Cam needs a few new toys.

29) New England Patriots. (DT Aaron Donald, Pittsburgh)

It's simple, the Pats need two things: TE and DT. While Amaro would be inviting, I think big Bill goes defense with this one. Wilfork is coming off of an injury and appears to want out of New England. It may be wise to have someone ready in any event. If you can't stop the run then your football games aint gonna be much fun - Brady or not. 

30) San Francisco 49er's. (CB Bradley Robey, Ohio State)

They lost some defensive free agents this off season. Make no mistake, Robey will absorb some of the sting.

31) Denver Broncos. (DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame)

This is a good spot to add some more defensive punch to what they already added this past off season.

32) Seattle Seahawks. (WR Jordan Mathews, Vanderbilt)

This is my "shocker" pick of the first round. After losing Tate to the Lions in free agency, the Seahawks need to fill the void. I have Jordan as a top five WR. I think he is going to surprise a lot of people. Seattle would be foolish not to take him. While Mathews is slated as maybe a late 2nd round or early 3rd round pick, I wouldn't gamble if I were Seahawks. Just take the kid and watch him make plays.

Okay football fans, there you go. My version of how the draft could go down in the first round. Obviously, trades could alter this quite a bit, but I doubt by very much. There's still a lot of talent left on the boards and in my opinion, this could be one of the deepest drafts in recent memory. Especially at WR, defensive tackle, and secondary players. There's a lot of decent looking QB's and offensive linemen in this draft as well. A very deep draft indeed. Don't be surprised if in five years, we look back at all the future stars that came from this draft. There will be many I'm sure.