Athens, Georgia – About Crazy and Cross-Eyed Crooks.

cross-eyed criminal 2cross-eyed criminal 4

cross-eyed criminal                                                                                      

I often see articles in the Athens Banner-Herald newspaper that I find potentially funny but my concern is: Will others find the police blotter reports as funny as I seem to find them and is it worthwhile to share my weird observations about some of the reports with others on

I think it might make the day go better for some people if they get a giggle, chuckle or guffaw out of these stories. I know it helps me every morning of my life if I can lighten up on the seriousness for a little while and laugh a little.

Anyhow here I go with my thoughts and comments on the latest Athens Banner-Herald police blotter reports that I found amusing:

This morning I read that a woman has been banned for two years from a local convenience store/service station because she had her seven year old son asking people who were gassing-up their cars for money. I would love to see the people the little pan-handler approached turn the tables on his ‘not-the-world’s greatest’ mom and line up outside her car window with outstretched empty hands begging and pleading for money. I think a little embarrassment goes a long way with pan-handlers.

Another shameless pan-handler written up in today’s paper was a 22 year old guy at an Alps Road supermarket asking the store’s customers if they could help him by purchasing baby diapers for his child. Once he hooked somebody, they would buy the diapers and give them to him. He would then return them to the store and get a cash refund for the diapers. Police ran him off (for two years) and found he had no baby….period. I like using the word ‘period’ since a US President of mine has used this word so effectively.

I think the guy with no baby should be made to work under close supervision for two years changing dirty baby diapers in a large nursery.

Sometimes the two year ban does not work on brain-dead pan-handlers. They keep returning to the same stores. They might not know they’ve even been there before.

Yesterday the Oconee County (Watkinsville) Sheriff’s Office had to cease the pursuit of dangerous criminals to negotiate an argument between a mother and her daughter over 87¢. That’s right, eighty-seven cents. The police should have the right to get a large switch from a peach tree and stripe the legs of the daughter for being so disrespectful to her mother and then they should have been able to legally whack mama on the butt with the heavier end of the stick for being such a dummy and calling the police. I’ll bet you she called 911 and some poor soul out there almost died from heart trouble while emergency responders tried to decide the importance of the distraught mother’s call.

My favorite is last. Yesterday it was reported a ‘cross-eyed’ peeping Tom was spying on a woman in the women’s rest room at Athens Technical College. This cross-eyed imbecile actually sat on a bench inside the library of the tech school until a woman came in and went straight to the restroom. A witness reported he bounced off a wall four times before he found the door. He followed her inside the restroom.

She told police that after she had gone into a stall she heard someone come in, enter the next stall and step on top of the commode seat.

Looking up she saw this guy staring at her from over the partition.

She screamed, ‘What are you doing?” and he fled. He obviously had a problem seeing  exactly from where oncoming objects were appearing because a car almost ran over him as he was running away.

The victim reported the guy was cross-eyed. Now I don’t doubt her story for one minute but I am curious to know how she knew he was actually looking at her. I can see her in court with his defense lawyer protesting that his client was merely checking the recessed lighting in the ceiling and then he will ask her to, ‘Show us how he looked when he spied on you.’ That’ll be a tough one to answer unless she is good at crossing her eyes.

For the cross-eyed peeping Tom, the police need to be able to take him out into thick woods and fire a few rounds in the air from their pistols as he races a zigzag course of his own making (that no one else can see) as he runs for his life. I can see him bouncing off pines and oaks that are never exactly where he thinks he sees them.

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Ben Swilley’s recently published book “Boomers and Geezers (Almost) Survival Guide can be reviewed at by clicking on this cover. It is also available at $3.99 for Kindle readers.



G-Day at UGA – We Watch The Red Play the Black.


G Day 4

Notice this picture was taken from the shade. The end zone is in the sun.

Ben and Sister

My Sister. We refer to her as Sister. Her given name is Sandra Lee but we have been calling her Sister for about 75 years and it seems to be sticking.

Katie Mae had this fantastic idea a few weeks ago. She thought it would be a wonderful thing to invite my Sister and her family to our house for this past weekend and we could all dine splendidly because when you eat at Katie Mae’s place you always dine splendidly and after we had stuffed ourselves for a couple of meals we could go watch UGA’s G-Day game on Saturday. And that’s what we did. Also we were all excited about seeing Britt’s boy Thomas play some Georgia football. It all went well and, as I said before, splendidly.

Katie Mae can load you down with more food and hors d’ oeuvres and then more food than it’s socially acceptable to stuff in your fat self but then who was trying to be socially acceptable?

We got to the game. My nephew Watkins Cannon was pilot of one vehicle and my son Paul drove the other. We had about a dozen people in the two cars and the plan was for the drivers to drop us all off and go find a place to park and then return to the game to join us but as my luck usually has it, a nice lady guard at the back of the Tate Student Center let us drop off all the passengers and then said (very quietly), Tell your two drivers to make a turn around the guard shack and we will get you parking spots in the parking garage behind you. This saved Ben and Sister from having to worry about long waits and long walks. The game was fun and as Louise Whiting used to say on the Society Page of The Albany Herald, “Games were played and fun was had by all.”

G Day 2

A common scene at a Sanford Stadium football game. The backs of the spectators standing in front of you.

G Day - More Family

The Swilley, Cannon, Lauterback gang…..with Harrison Fowler.


More of the spectators. This time, thankfully, they’re in their seats.


Kelly, Thomas, Rebecca

Kelly Cannon, Thomas Swilley and Rebecca Holland gracing the bar.                                                                                            Kelly Cannon (in blue) is married to my Sister’s youngest son, Watkins. Rebecca Holland is Paul’s special friend.

Sandra Swilley Cannon (below) with her eldest son, Harrison Lee Fowler.Sister and Harrison

Watkins, Paul, Mary Dale

Watkins Cannon and Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach are my Sisters children. The rascal in the middle is young Paul who is claimed by Kay and me.

G Day 5

Thomas Swilley is our UGA player and he has a very good appetite as you might imagine. It is wonderful to watch him eat. I remember being able to consume food like that when I was a young man. John is his brother. Britt is Father to both and Kay and I count Paul as our own. Thomas is standing. At the bar from the left is Paul, Britt, John, and the oldest but best looking Swilley boy.

The Whole Family

The whole gang Friday night before Saturday’s game. The person in charge is that short woman out front and to the right who has on a striped shirt.


The crafty Cannon brothers. They don’t realize we are real old and we know all the looks of someone up to nefarious endeavors. Where is Batman when you really need him?

Kay and Paul

My own Katie Mae. She who organizes, cleans and cooks and spends too much time trying to make me behave with our handsome lad Paul; grill aficionado extraordinaire. And oh how the boy can cook on outdoor BBQ equipment.

And so we are alone once again but guess who gets to pig out for the last three days on the cheese grits and sausage and egg casserole every morning and guess who has been diving into the leftover ham like it was his last meal. Today I lunched on the chicken salad that’s so happily (for me) made with grapes and apples. Now I get to eat some of the world’s best vegetable soup made with leftover vegetables and a huge much appreciated hambone.

Soon it will all be gone. I ate the last of the Plantation Crunch and Pecan Graham Crispies ( also known as Bulldog Divinity) yesterday.

There are a few scraps of sliced sausage left. I have hidden them deep in the darkened recesses of our refrigerator. It started out as links of chicken sausage stuffed with spinach and Asiago cheese, warmed to perfection on the grill and sliced into bite sized morsels that several of us got in the floor and fought over. Unfortunately somebody licked the bottom of the mustard dip bowl but maybe I can beg Katie Mae to make me a thimbleful more so I can enjoy the few bites left over. She makes it with dijon mustard with chardonnay and mayonnaise and honey.

Nothing goes wasted. No food is lost when you live with Benjamin the human garbage disposal. I would invite neighbors over but I don’t want to.

Such is the extent of my greed. If I have shared the food once and broken bread over the same foodstuffs with others, then my rule is I must eat all the leftovers myself.

I would share with Paul but he won’t come over. He remembers me sharing food with him once before when I bit him on the hand because I thought his eating was getting out of hand. That means he was trying to eat my food out of my hand.

I believe I have found all the food that was stashed out of my sight except for the delicious sausage balls that were made by my talented niece Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach.

Katy Mae does not realize that I know she froze them. Unlike most goofy older guys, I actually know how to thaw food and devour it in mere minutes.

When she checks the freezer for those meatballs in a week or two they will not be there. The geezergrit gut has struck again. By then she will think she just imagined putting them in there. Her memory is not much better than mine and she is almost twelve years younger.

So the big day came and went but I can tell you there is nothing like fun shared with family. I was never more aware of that than when I had a four-way bypass back in 2001. The family support was amazing and I truly believe that support worked a quick recovery on me. I was back at work in less than a month.

Take care of your family. You’ll have a great time with them and you never know when you will need them and how much their support will mean to you. G Day 6

Rebecca Holland, Paul Swilley, Eva Lauterbach my grand niece and her mother Mary Dale Cannon Lauterbach.
G Day 7

My grand niece Alexandra Lauterbach in the black top, Her brother Sam in the green tee shirt, and her uncle, Harrison Lee Fowler in the yellow shirt.

Zip, the Lovelorn Tortoise, Sprints For His Freedom.

Zip the Tortoise

Zip the Tortoise as seen in captivity somewhere near Carlton, Georgia. Photograph and whereabouts cannot be verified as it was found crumpled in the back pocket of denims worn by a small skink who reportedly escaped this same enclosure on a miniature skate board.

This is Zip. Zip is an African Tortoise who lives somewhere near Carlton, Georgia. You cannot possibly be any more surprised than he is that he’s in North Georgia. He doesn’t know how he got there and he doesn’t understand why. His owners insist on keeping him penned up in a hog-wire enclosure as a captive far from his homeland, The African Sahara Desert.

Zip weighs fifty pounds and he has made international news by means of a simple escape from the flimsy enclosure that

has robbed him of his freedom for some time now. The Associated Press has documented his escape and recent capture. News people really have their priorities convoluted these days. They are spreading the news all over the world about poor old Zip making a break for it but there is hardly a peep out of them about the reason for his daring flight.

I will tell you. It is all about love and news hawks do not understand old-fashioned love. Zip needs love. Zip is lonely. It is lovers’ season in the Sahara and Zip is stuck in the North Georgia hills trapped behind pig wire. There is no question that in today’s narcissistic atmosphere we are going to have to fight for true love. We must campaign for Zip’s freedom.

First we have to find him. He is said to be near Carlton, Georgia. we may never find Carlton, Georgia. They say over 250 people live in Carlton and we know about North Georgia people and firearms. Carlton residents own 800 guns. I think freeing Zip will cost us dearly in limb and life in a frontal attack.

It’s really serious business when you stop reptiles from doing what comes naturally. You are trying to change the course of nature. I’ll bet they wouldn’t like it one bit in Carlton, Georgia if Zip changed their town into a desert.

The part I love about Zip’s story is the rapidity and extraordinary agility he displayed in making good the break out. He shrewdly chose Friday the 13th as the day to go. Everybody is consumed with fears of voodoo spells, superstitions and half-hashed poppycock that is said to occur on Friday the 13th.

Nobody, in the midst of all those warped beliefs in the supernatural would ever dream the Zipster would run at full tilt and body slam the hog-wire fence. By the time the break in the fence was discovered, Zip was long-gone.

I use the phrase long-gone very loosely as you might imagine because, after all, this dude is a tortoise. He was on the run for nearly a full week before he was discovered just a half-mile from the house. He was really moving on.

He would have made good his escape but the poor guy had to cross a road and almost got a permanent spot in the nearby tortoise cemetery when a log truck had to swerve in the road to miss him.

As luck would have it, a female driver saw the truck swerve around him. She thought Zip was a bag of garbage in the road but there was a hint of something different about this particular trash bag. It had legs. It was moving.

I would like to believe that had she known this was all about love she would not have been so quick to call 911. The police arrived and they were quoted as saying he didn’t budge an inch once they got there.

I guess not. My gosh, the guy had been running flat out for almost seven days and he had managed to put a whole half-mile between him and his pen. As they say in the North Georgia hills, “He was flat wore out man.” He went all out for love and he lost.

The owner’s wife (Zip’s adopted mother) was really concerned about Zip getting hit by a car but she was even more concerned some of the locals might have made a stew known as turtle mull out of old Zip. I’ll bet turtle mull made from a fifty pound tortoise will last you through a couple of winters.

That’s pretty much it unless some of you want to get together and rescue Zip. My problem with a rescue is how are we going to tell him we are there to help him escape? He might think a bunch of nuts with a taste for tortoise mull stew are sneaking up on him and I think he has a pretty good bite. I saw his mouth in that picture.

I did get a chance to talk to the lady that spotted him and called 911. I wanted to know why she didn’t just bump him into the far ditch with her car so he could continue on his trek. She said she was afraid to get to close to him because she was driving one of those little Smart cars and Zip kept staring at it, licking the bumper and drooling on the tires.

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