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Random thoughts: Politics, football and other sports

Gas prices are up. The Dow is down. Unemployment recently hit a five-year high. Hurricanes threaten the Gulf. A bitter, divisive presidential campaign looms. The University of Georgia's football team is ranked, at this writing, second in the nation.

For Bulldog fans, life is sweet.

Actually, what this presidential election offers voters is a very clear choice between ... me and my dad.

OK, what I really mean is between my generation and his. Don't get your acorns in a stew, Obama-nation, I'm not comparing myself to your candidate. He has a lot more community organizing experience than I have, although to be fair I've probably coached more youth sports teams.

My point is that Obama was born in 1961, the same year I was. McCain, like my father, was born in 1936. Surely most thinking voters would prefer the wisdom and temperance of my dad's generation to the callow, self-absorbed cynicism of mine.

Heck, you don't even know my dad, but you do know me through reading my columns. Wouldn't you vote for him over me based on that alone?

By the way, my 14-year-old recently pointed out that "politics" is a word formed by combining the Greek word "poly," which means many, with the Anglo-Saxon word "ticks," referring to blood-sucking creatures.

Even so, I loved Republican VP nominee Sarah Palin's line, during her acceptance speech, that the only difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is lipstick. I know what she means. I've dealt with enough Gwinnett County little league moms, sans lipstick, to know it can be very difficult to tell the difference.

Speaking of Gov. Palin, much has been written about her appearance, and with good reason. But experience has taught me that there are actually two kinds of attractive women: those who look even better after they start talking and those who end up looking much worse. My wife and Gov. Palin fall into the former category. Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Jessica Simpson, Sheryl Crow and their ilk constitute the latter.

And finally, it's been a long time since Atlanta has been this excited about a football season. Not only is UGA expected to compete for a national title, but Tech has a new coach and a new system, and it's official that the Falcons will not go 0-16.

Meanwhile, in Gwinnett County high schools, the balance of power continues to shift to the east, following (if anyone's paying attention) the path of affluence. At this writing, perennial contenders Brookwood and Parkview are a combined 1-3. Collins Hill and Mill Creek are 4-0.

Money, as those mop-headed lads sang so long ago, indeed cannot buy you love. But what some local boosters have learned from their brethren at the Universities of Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee is that it sure can buy you a heck of a football program.

Rob Jenkins is associate professor of English at Georgia Perimeter College. E-mail him at rjenkinsgdp@yahoo.com.