Superior Court Chief Judge John Allen must be a fan of American Idol."Pants on the Ground," a song that brought the nation together for one brief summer a few years ago on the reality TV show, no doubt was on the judge's mind when he chastised a defendant in his court earlier this week.
The defendant in question lacked an attorney, and he approached the judge's bench Monday morning as he clutched his pants at the waist. Allen's gaze focused on the young man.
"If those pants fall down in the courtroom, I'm going to put you in jail today," Allen cautioned.
Needless to say, there were no pants on the ground.
We'll stay in the Government Center, just move down a few floors to the Columbus Council chambers.
Just as Edward Hudson, co-chair of the commission studying passenger rail service between Columbus and Atlanta, was starting to address Council Tuesday evening, a freight train's horn blared just outside the Government Center on Ninth Street.
"Timing is everything," Hudson said.
Now, let's go mountain climbing.
Columbus businessman Bud Allen admits he second-guessed himself a hundred times after making the decision two weeks ago to give up his bid to reach the peak of Mount Everest. After all, most of the climbers from his team decided to stay and attempt the feat.
But this week, any pangs of regret by Allen turned to sadness as he learned that four climbers, including a German man from his team, died last weekend of high altitude-related complications while near the top of the 29,035-foot mountain. The three other climbers were from China, South Korea and Canada, the latter being a woman who ran out of oxygen after a "traffic jam" near the top logjammed nearly 200 people in what is called the "death zone" because of its low oxygen levels and high altitude. She reportedly made it to the summit but died shortly thereafter.
Allen, 53, who returned home early last week, knew the danger was building for the climbers still there when the time for reaching the peak lengthened from its normal seven hours to 14 hours.
"That was just way too long," he said. "You have a limited O2 supply, limited water and constant exposure to the cold, especially the wind, just saps your energy. It is still a shock when death hits so close to home."
What's more, another large group of climbers is expected to scramble for the top again this weekend to take advantage of a window of decent weather. The Nepal government, which controls the south face of Everest, has said the people have the required permits and there is nothing it can do to stop them.