You'd think my salary cut and furlough would have been a better indication of just how bad the economy has gotten for me, but no. Somehow I managed to overlook those items as facts of life I was forced to deal with.
What has really gotten me down of late is this: In the past month, I've tried to go to five different restaurants in Athens only to find out they closed. Five! In a month!
On Tuesday, I had a hankering for some shepherd's pie -- a cold-weather staple, in my opinion -- so I decided to hit up the British pub in Five Points. Closed. (UPDATE: A reader pointed out that it was simply closed for one day for cleaning. While I'm quite pleased with that news, it still left me with no shepherd's pie on Tuesday.)
So my pal Fletcher Page suggested we head instead to Wild Wing Cafe -- a reasonably unhealthy alternative. Closed, too!
And as we walked from one place to the next, I noticed that Broad Street Bar and Grill was also closed.
A couple of weeks ago we were going out for sushi and figured we'd try the place on Broad Street. Got there and it was closed.
And about a week before that, we wanted to get dinner at the Basil Press on Washington Street. Not only was that place closed, but another bar had already opened up where it used to be. It took me about 10 minutes to figure out what had happened.
Anyway, I'm pretty bummed about the whole thing. If places that serve beer and greasy food in a college town like Athens can't stay open, what hope do any of the rest of us have?
But, while the economy continues to be a cruel mistress, the links are always free...
-- I attempted to link to Mike in Valdosta's post on the coaching hire in yesterday's mailbag, but apparently the link was broken. In any case, here's a working link, and it's a story worth reading.
-- While all us reporters spend the holidays tracking down assistant coaches instead of Christmas shopping, Get the Picture wonders if this might all be part of Mark Richt's evil plan.
-- The Independence Bowl is having no trouble selling tickets... except to Georgia fans. In fact, it sounds like Mark Richt is already admitting defeat when it comes to the crowd: "From what I hear, the travel time from Texas A&M to Shreveport is about three or four hours, so they should have a strong contingent of fans. We anticipate crowd noise as an issue so we’ll be practicing with that.”
-- Chris Low has a run down of the bowl swag the SEC's players will be getting this year, and I must say, I'm super jealous of that Timely Watch Co. watch the Bulldogs will all be sporting. (I assume this is what they look like.)
-- Rex Robinson pays tribute to the exceptional season enjoyed by Blair Walsh.
-- David Paschall writes that more than a few of Georgia's players are less than enthusiastic about spending Christmas in Shreveport. Hey, at least they're getting a per diem. I'll be blowing my life's savings at a black jack table. (On the upside though, my life's savings is only about $43.)
-- Obviously UGA's young talent is a big reason to look forward to next year. But if you're like me and you find enjoyment in the misery of others, this might be an even bigger reason to be excited about 2010.
-- Loran Smith jumps on the bandwagon I've been driving for a couple months: Justin Houston deserves a lot of credit for a spectacular season.
-- I like a conspiracy theory as much as anyone, but I can only really get behind No. 2 on Dawg Stephen's list.
-- Georgia trainer Ron Courson is one of the lead voices pushing for stronger regulations on concussions in college football. (h/t GTP)
-- It'll be Mountain West officials you'll be complaining about on Dec. 29. Ah, pessimism.
-- The USA Today writes that the Broncos are being rewarded for their faith in Knowshon Moreno.
-- The Grit Tree's Lewis Grizzard Wednesday this week was a special holiday edition.
-- The AJC asks an interesting question: Would you let your daughter be a "recruiting hostess"?
-- And one of those "hosted" recruits at Tennessee appears to have changed his mind on the Vols.
-- This is an interesting article from the Pittsburgh Tribune on how much money schools really make off of a BCS berth. (Hint: It isn't as rosy a picture as you'd think.) (h/t CNATI)
-- Here's an interesting bit of football history on how the huddle was invented -- and as it turns out, Georgia was among the first to fully embrace it.
-- UGA researchers have concluded that being good looking makes you happier. So why am I so bummed?
-- I feel like I could take the jokes for this story in so many different directions that I just can't choose one. I'll let you make up your own.
-- My favorite blog interviews my favorite "Top Chef" contestant (and an Atlanta native). By the way, the "Top Chef" reunion special last night was hilarious.
-- Great deal for the Red Sox landing John Lackey's wife. I mean, she drinks Dunkin Donuts coffee at the press conference... so she's obviously cool. Why, what else could I have been insinuating?
-- Yet another interview with the creators of "Lost" who are promising plenty of thrills in the final season.
-- The AV Club has its list of the 19 worst movies of 2009 and I can happily say that I didn't see any of them and only even considered seeing two.
-- There's plenty of reasons to give up hope for society. This would be No. 1 on my list. (And by the way, keep in mind that Georgia is just 8-4 at home since the pregame music was changed from The Who last year.)
And let's end with a lightning round...
-- SI.com has some outtakes from Stephen Colbert's cover shoot.
-- McDonalds is going to start offering free Wi-Fi... it's about time!
-- Alan Sepinwall gives a big thumbs up to Season 3 of "Chuck."
-- An explanation on Marshall's Auburn sweatshirt on "How I Met Your Mother."
-- And the 18 best TV actors of 2009.