Chattahoochee Chatter: Shaquille O'Neal and John Rich of Big & Rich visit Columbus

July 24, 2013 

Shaquille O'Neal wasn't the only celebrity in town this week. John Rich, one half of the country music duo Big & Rich, also showed up in downtown Columbus Tuesday night.

In addition to visiting Mix Ultra Lounge, Rich hung out at Scruffy Murphy's Irish Pub on Broadway for about three hours, pub owner Breda Gleeson said. He arrived at the venue around 9:30 or 10 p.m., she said.

Rich performed one Big & Rich song at Scruffy Murphy's: "8th of November," which pays homage to the military. A Facebook post from Scruffy Murphy's notes the pub "breathlessly hunted down a guitar" for the performance. Fountain City Coffee helped make it happen, the Facebook post notes.

Rich interacted with the Rangers visiting Scruffy Murphy's in conjunction with the hot spot's Ranger Rendezvous festivities, Gleeson said. She called the singer "really nice" and "very laid back."

Why was Rich in town? We're still figuring that out. And even though Shaq didn't visit Scruffy Murphy's, we can't help wondering if he likes Irish beers.

"With a name like O'Neal, we thought he'd drop in for a Guinness," Gleeson said of the retired NBA player.

•••

Muscogee County School Board member John Wells of District 2 was on one of his rolls at Monday night's meeting, which means we were fixing to get another Chatter item.

Wells ranted about education rankings that place the United States disturbingly low. Some countries don't test all of their children, he said, only the ones deemed bound for college. He wondered aloud that if the U.S. education system is considered so bad, then why are so many folks trying to move here? Then he blasted government regulations for interfering with local control of education.

"I'm kind of tired of all of this crap coming down from the state and the fed," he concluded.

Chatterland never gets tired of Wells.

•••

How do you keep a CEO quiet? Wait for him to come down with a bad case of laryngitis, of course.

That was the case Tuesday with TSYS Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Phil Tomlinson starting off a research analyst conference call with what sounded like a sick frog in his throat.

"If you can't tell, I've got laryngitis, and I may have to give it up," he said, with the call then going silent for a few moments. TSYS President Troy Woods quickly jumped in to carry on with an overview of the credit-card processor's second-quarter earnings information.

Woods, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, mixed a nod of sympathy for his boss with a bit of humor.

"I guess first and foremost, we all hope for a speedy and full recovery for Phil, who has been battling this voice issue now for over two weeks. And although it has been somewhat quieter around the office, it certainly has not slowed him down from sending emails and handwritten notes all over the place."

Chuckles were heard in the background on the call, which finished without a hitch and nary a word from Phil.

•••

You might want to check this out quickly, before the Consolidated Government fixes it, assuming they read Chatter.

If you go to the city's website, columbusga.org, and scroll down to the links for Columbus Council, watch as the different councilors' names, contact info and photographs scroll through.

Wen it comes around to District 3 and it says, correctly, that Bruce Huff is the councilor for that area, look to the left and you will see a photo of former District 3 Councilor Julius Hunter.

•••

There will be a book signing today and Friday at the National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center. And it is one worth noting.

"The Boys of Benning" highlights the lives of 14 graduates of Infantry Officer Candidate School in 1962. Twelve of the fourteen graduates served in combat in Vietnam; most were wounded during their tours. Some left the Army after Vietnam while others continued their careers as Army officers.

Each chapter is written by a different OCS graduate.

Several of the authors of "The Boys of Benning" will host a book signing today from 9 p.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hardback copies for $25 and paperback for $15 will be available for purchase by cash or check only.

•••

Nobody likes to call 911, except maybe William Parrish.

The 52-year-old wound up in Columbus Recorder's Court Tuesday morning after he was charged with disorderly while intoxicated and false request for an ambulance.

Parrish's newest arrest began Monday around midnight after he called for an ambulance. When police and EMS arrived at the Ralston Towers downtown, Parrish was reportedly so intoxicated that two police officers had to physically carry him in and out of the patrol car.

Judge Michael Cielinski noted this was not the first time Parrish was arrested for contacting an ambulance for a non-emergency -- which is true. It's not even the first time this month.

Last time we met with Parrish, he was standing before Judge Michael Joyner on July 5 after he was arrested on Independence Day for loitering, false 911 call, false request for an ambulance and profanity over the phone.

According to the Recorder's Court hearing with Joyner, Parrish took "just enough time to get drunk" before calling up the police department after he was released from The Medical Center for unspecified injuries. The phone conversation turned less than polite, so the Police Department sent a patrol car to pick up Parrish. That trip ended with a witty exchange with Joyner and minor fees.

For Parrish's most recent troubles, Cielinski fined him $750 and warned him not to call 911 for an unwarranted event again.

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