Just when it seems the Queen City finally has something to hold over Atlanta (how many current mayors of Atlanta, for example, have recently been nominated to a cabinet position?), Charlotte leaders took yet another blow to their constant quest for world-class status.
Charlotte is nowhere to be found on a ranking by SeekingArrangement.com, which lists Atlanta atop the "Top 20 Cities to Find a Sugar Daddy." No, not the kind of Sugar Daddy that can be found on the shelves of your neighborhood Cashion's store, but rather the kind certain kinds of women, or "sugar babies," may wish to attract.
According to the website, more single men are turning to the "sugar lifestyle."
So what makes for a top-ranking sugar daddy city? The average Atlanta sugar daddy is 39 years old, makes approximately $361,959 annually, and spends on average $3,644 monthly on his sugar babies.
Now, Talkers know there'd be no need for sugar daddies if there were no sugar babies looking for more than the "longest lick on a stick" variety. Turns out that, according to the website, a whole box load of sugar babies are currently attending college in the Atlanta area, and since CNN reported that families are meeting only 30 percent of their college savings goals by the time their little chewy caramel nuggets are ready to go to school, the 5.98-per-1,000 sugar daddies have an endless inventory constantly re-stocking the shelves.
So chew on this: If you want to keep your little darlings from becoming somebody's sugary snack when they go off to school, get on the stick and feed that college fund, daddy.
'Make Room for Daddy'
With Mother's Day right around the corner comes some news that Talkers don't necessarily find shocking. Visiting Angels, an in-home care concern, reports that, according to its own online survey, a whopping 70 percent of adult children don't want their parents moving in with them. But if they had to choose, the survey shows that an overwhelming majority, 67 percent, say they would rather have Mom move in with them than dad.
That's because Mom is more likely to help with the cooking, cleaning and the kids and because Dad is, well, Dad.
Why? The exact language in a press release by Visiting Angels reads, "Dad has worse hygiene, is lazier and sloppier than Mom, is more likely to say inappropriate things and controls the TV more often."
Yeah, that's about right.
Of course, these are generalities, so some Talkers may take umbrage to the gender-specific characterization, but, Talkers note, where there's smoke there's probably a little fire.
The survey goes on to address questions about financial motivations and limitations, conflict among siblings and disruptions to the home life of those who may take in their parents, with the ultimate pitch about how aging parents would rather be at home anyway, and wouldn't it be better to send home care professionals to them rather than moving them to somewhere they probably don't want to be anyway.
So in conclusion, Mom would rather stay at home and Dad will be Dad no matter where he is. So why not give them what they want and let them deal with each other?
Happy Mother's Day.
A news trail blazer
Talkers have previously vowed to never again be appalled at the lack of professionalism pervasive in some media outlets, but — yet again — the bar has been lowered to a level Talkers never imagined.
Getting too deeply involved in a news story — not digging through facts but instead wallowing in emotion — is a detriment toa any news person with hopes of being taken seriously by readers or viewers, and last week WCCB-Channel 18's Israel Balderas, in a "report" about widenI77.org's presentation to the Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization, demonstrated why.
No 'Hope' for telemarketers
Talkers think telemarketers and fundraisers should give serious consideration to what will be used as their caller ID before they begin their pickpocketing via robo-call.
Especially when a Talker's caller ID can talk.
It appears many telemarketers have gotten wise to the fact that the relics who still have landline phones with audible caller ID features won't answer when a droning, auto-generated and somewhat androgynous voice announces that "Name Unavailable" is calling, or that "ID Blocked" is on the phone and would like some of your hard-earned coin.
One Talker's personal favorite is when "Anonymous" calls. The synthesized caller ID voice pronounces it as if it were "An-oh-NEE-mus," or the Greek god of intrusive dinnertime phone solicitations.
The telemarketers are getting a bit cleverer, though. Or at least more succinct.
Anonymous now calls less and less, and more truth-in-harassing is occurring, usually in one- or two-word labels that try to quickly identify the telemarketer's fundraising mission, but sometimes fail. In their rush to reach out with a catchy ID, some have missed their mark.
A word of advice from a Talker with talking caller ID to the geniuses programming the robo-calls: I'll always pick up when "Hope" is on the line, but will never answer when "Breast Cancer" calls.
New South is listing
Talkers love lists.
Not just for the alliterative allure of list loving, but because lists provide order in an otherwise wild and wooly world, a guidepost through the daily deluge of data. There's a lot to sift through — so much twaddle to tweet about, so much piffle to post on Facebook.
Where else would a Talker turn to for a decent fodder filter but a nice, concise list?
The latest favorite comes from the Charlotte Business Journal's "Book of Lists," and it runs the numbers on the area's top 25 tourist attractions based on attendance last year.
The list is intriguing for a couple of reasons. Not only was it a bit surprising — yet saddening — which attraction holds the highest-ranked spot, but Talkers found it more than amusing to see the high-falutin' yet clearly less attractive attractions that hauled up the rear.
For a city whose corporate and municipal cheerleaders insist that uptown Charlotte's supposed cultural district is replete with world-class offerings, the city's only museum to make the list is The Mint, and it barely cracked it at No. 19. The Museum of the New South — a label Charlotte so desperately wants sewn into its fabric — didn't even register with visitors.
Here's what did: the NASCAR Hall of Fame (No. 18), the Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville (11), Lake Norman State Park in Troutman (10), Charlotte Motor Speedway/zMax Dragway (4), and at the top ... wait for it ... Concord Mills. Yes, that cultural mecca of conspicuous consumption hosted 17.5 million visitors last year — more than 100 times what The Mint Museum drew.
Racin', feeding random critters, pontoon rides on the lake and waddling around the mall.
Meet the "New South" — looks a whole lot like the old South from where we sit.
Talkers learned this week that the anti-I-77 toll lane group widenI77.org has gained the support of the Charlotte branch of the Tea Party.
Now Talkers aren't saying if toll lanes to widen the highway are good or bad, but they can't help but wonder why a group that advocates lower taxes and user fees would oppose a plan that supports lower taxes and is paid for by user fees.
A dog's life
The air is alive with the scent of new life (and its pesky sidekick, pollen). Trees that seemed lifeless yesterday show signs of color today as they bleed hews so perfect, they could have been concocted only by nature herself. The still-cool breeze and the gathering sunlight meet like honey and chipotle on goose-bumped arms and legs bared for the first time since autumn.
This is spring arriving, as always, just when we need it.
But Talkers have noticed another rite of spring making its return, one that always makes them smile and, sometimes, turn just plain giddy.
It's the sight of canines with their heads poking from the windows of their owners' vehicles, their jowls rippling like river rapids and their tongues flapping like flags as they close their eyes and let the wind wash over them.
Over the weekend, one Talker even spotted a pug riding sidesaddle on its owner's Harley-Davidson.
If there is a more perfect portrait of bliss than the face of a dog hanging out the window of a passing vehicle, Talkers have yet to find it.
And if there is a Dog Heaven, this has got to be how God gets its new inhabitants there.
It's enough to make Talkers dream of a dog's life. Or, at least for someone else to drive.
And speaking of a dog's life, Talkers are reminded that the four-legged best friends are the focal point of several upcoming events celebrating the priceless connection between canines and their companions.
This Saturday, Paws Too Run activities — created by a north Mecklenburg eighth grader three years ago to benefit regional efforts for dog adoption and pet care information services — are being hosted in Davidson, and in two weeks, right on the heels of the 20th annual Scottish Festival & Loch Norman Highland Games, the Purina Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival makes a return to Historic Rural Hill in Huntersville.
Both events emphasize the important roles pets play in the lives of so many while giving humans the chance to pamper and parade their pets in public. The events also give Talkers a deeper appreciation of dogs and their owners and triggered just a brief search to find some of the best and most appropriate dog-related comments from the past, including:
"The average dog is a nicer person than the average person," Andy Rooney. "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself," Josh Billings. "No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses," Herman Melville.
"The great pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him and not only will he not scold you, but he will make a fool of himself, too," Samuel Butler. "Dogs laugh, but they laugh with their tails," Max Eastman. "If you get to thinking you're a person of some influence, try ordering somebody else's dog around," Will Rogers.
And, of course, "Happiness is a warm puppy," Charles M. Schulz.
Speaking of things that host blood-sucking ticks, Talkers note that ground zero for trouble-making in Mecklenburg County — Cornelius — is set to take by far the biggest hit when the county finally gets around to readjusting its remarkably flawed 2011 property revaluation.
Plenty of jobs have been lost over the mess, which was first pointed out and doggedly pursued by a grassroots movement that started in Cornelius, yet somehow the top dog has managed to continue to wriggle out of a tightening collar, County Manager Harry Jones.
The time for a good flea dip to remove the parasites is long overdue.
Looking for love
Lake Norman resident Gordon Engle has made local news recently by putting up two billboards on I-77 advertising for a girlfriend, and potentially more. The multi-continental entrepreneur, who appears to have it all, seems to strike out with the ladies despite his lake house, his rock band, his sailboat and his dog. Talkers are hoping his latest tactic pays off.
But in perusing a website some of his friends set up, www.helpgordyfindlove.com, Talkers were struck by amusing perspectives from the mouths of babes, where a handful of 6- to 10-year-olds offered their views about marriage.
For example, on what most people do on a first date, 8-year-old Lynette says, "Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough." Adds a clearly more experienced 10-year-old Martin, "On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date."
On when it's okay to kiss someone, 7-year-old Pam says, "When they're rich." On whether it's better to be single or married, 9-year-old Anita opines that it depends on who you are, saying, "It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need someone to clean up after them." Eight-year-old Derrick knows how you can tell if two people are married. "You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids," he says.
Freddie, age 6, is destined to be a career bachelor. "No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married," he says. Meanwhile, 10-year-old Alan faces an uphill battle when looking for a future wife. "You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming."
However, Ricky, at age 10, has it figured out when it comes to knowing how to make a marriage work. "Tell your wife that she looks pretty," he says, "even if she looks like a truck."
All of these youthful perspectives likely come from examples set by adults, which is why Talkers figure their last names were not revealed.
Good luck, Gordon.
Talkers have spent some extra time on the highways lately, and they've noticed a disturbing trend. Lots of drivers, it seems, have forgotten about the "safe following distance" lesson from driver's education class and are attempting, as best we can guess, to attach themselves to the rear bumper of the vehicle in front of them.
Maybe they've been watching too many NASCAR races and are attempting to draft the vehicle in front of them to help mitigate the rising cost of gas by squeezing out a few extra miles from their tank. Or maybe they are hoping to slingshot around the cars in front of them because they just have to get in front of somebody — anybody — to derive some sense of accomplishment. Shake and bake, baby!
Or maybe they're just morons. You see, tailgaters, Talkers really can't drive any faster than the vehicles in front of them, nor are they inclined to move into space occupied by another vehicle the next lane over just so you can drive up the rear bumper of the next car in front of them. And they really don't like it when you whip around them and wedge into the safe following distance space they are maintaining. You can't just step out and walk away from bumper cars at 75 miles per hour.
What can you do about it? Not much. To paraphrase an old defensive driving slogan, "Watch out for the other guy, because he's an idiot!"
‘But we have Wet ’n’ Wild!’
Talkers have witnessed over time the never-ending pursuit of Charlotte’s ruling class for “world class” status, rolling out the presses every time the area makes one list or another. Heck, they’ll even celebrate when they DON’T make a list, like when Charlotte (barely) avoided the list of the country’s top 10 fattest cities.
The text came in Monday morning of some news that came as a surprise to Talkers, which didn't turn out to be news after all. Talkers have preached about the dangers of social media and rumors spreading as news fact as fast as thumbs can fly, so they followed the quaint, old-school notion of making a few phone calls and getting the story straight before reporting anything.
Talkers have said it before and we'll say it again: One of the cool things about living in the Lake Norman area is that you just never know who that person in the next car at the stoplight, or in the next aisle at the grocery store, or in the next seat at the movies might be.
A Huntersville Talker recently clucked to the Citizen about the fare served up at the grand opening of Buffalo Wild Wings on River Highway in Mooresville. Seems Mike Maggio, long-time Citizen devotee and member of its advisory board, thinks the wings there are pretty tasty (admittedly, because they were free), and that when thrown into the chicken coop-full of the Lake Norman area's several other purveyors of poultry appendages, it may mean war.