The Other Story

The HBO “Bama Rush” documentary has receieved ample press coverage, including a story by The Tuscaloosa NewsMark Hughes Cobb.

In a May 23, 2023 article, Cobb wrote:

The film’s trailer hinted at much of “Bama Rush”‘s flair: arrays of cameras displaying TikToks; crimson-and-white glamour at a Bryant-Denny night game; lovely imagery on and off campus; a slew of slow-motion running women; talk of power, status and prestige, about how boys rank sororities according to hotness; about top-tier sororities vs. bottoms; and how The Machine believes it controls everything, which this film’s completion, and streaming on premium service Max, calls into question.

Another recently released film (on Netflix ) Victim/Suspect also concerns campus life. Nancy Schwartzman’s documentary is about the efforts of the Center for Investigative Reporting‘s Rachel de Leon.

Daily Beast‘s Nick Schager reported, among other cases of alleged police misconduct, on the tragic story of University of Alabama Kappa Alpha Theta sorority member Megan Rondini. He wrote:

Schwartzman’s film argues that was the case with Megan Rondini, who in 2015 accused TJ Bunn Jr. (who hailed from a prominent local family) of rape, and was then charged with theft for taking cash from him for a post-assault taxi. Video from the interrogation room […] makes plain the stark difference between the cops’ handling of Rondini and Bunn Jr. In the aftermath of this ordeal, Rondini took her own life—citing the rape and cops’ bullying as the reasons.

When Rondini‘s suicide was reported in The Tuscaloosa News by the newspaper’s staff, there was a reference to a statement by the Bunn family which claimed that an “internet blog article” … “potentially defamed an honest man, a reputable family, and institutions that are the foundation of our community.”

The Buzzfeed article that the Bunn family’s statement referred to had claimed that the Rondini case “was mishandled by local law enforcement, medical providers and the University of Alabama.”

A full page ad in The Tuscaloosa News entitled “Character Assassination In The Internet Age” had been released by the Bunn family’s attorney as reported in the Daily Mail by Cheyenne Roundtree and Snejana Farberov. The ad asserted that the Rondini rape case “is now before the Court, and in an open court, ALL the evidence, the text messages, the statements she made, photographs on her phone, everything will be aired for consideration.”

An attorney for The Tuscaloosa News filed a motion for the release of investigative records from the Tuscaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

When the texts were released, some were silly exchanges between Rondini and her sorority sisters. One urged Rondini to essentially “go for it.” What the texts show, more than any culpability of Rondini in her own rape, is the vacuous nature of thinking about sex that seemed to be shared by some in the Greek system.

As part of the outcome of the Rondini rape case, a civil suit against the University of Alabama was settled. A wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against TJ. Bunn Jr. was dismissed after a a settlement with the Rondini family had been reached.

But T-Town has seemingly yet to hear the last about the Rondini case, as demonstrated by its inclusion in the Netflix documentary on “bullying by cops.”


Tik Tok & Bama Rush?

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Photo by KoolShooters on

Hi, it’s me, Rose again. I’m the Spirit of the Crimson Tide, living in my home away from life–Bryant-Denny stadium.

It’s been hard to ignore the going ons of the sorority sisters. After all many of the campuses’ main sorority houses are located on Colonial drive right outside of the stadium. They even once came right into the stadium.

Remember when I wrote about the bid day in the stadium? “Bid Day on Sunday was when all those girls found out which sorority they would be joining. The screams from the selected girls would’ve been blood curdling, if I had any to curdle. Then they started running out of the stadium. It reminded me of one of those zombie movies that George Romero used to make, except they were sprinting and screaming at the top of their lungs and the zombies just silently staggered along in a shambling walk. Like the zombies, they seemed irrepressible.”

I knew that HBO had been doing a documentary about Bama sororities.

I just got hold of a copy of the latest Crimson White, which somebody had brought into the media center in the stadium. There was a story about the HBO documentary in it.

One of the voiceovers that was quoted in the story was, “Not to be dramatic, but this documentary could end Greek life as we know it.”

I really can’t see anything affecting Greek life though.

For the last week I’ve been watching students pile all of their junk into cars to head home. For a while it seemed that a lot of girls were wearing tangerine colored exercise shorts with black crop tops or tank tops.

I’ll bet, after the finals, some couples visited one of their favorite haunts — Lake Nichols. Lake Nichols is about five miles out of town. There have always been some students who jump off of the cliffs there, but most just sunbathe on the rocks. Police supposedly have patrolled the cliffs on the lookout for drunk swimmers. Sunburnt, tipsy lovers saying goodbye for the summer–what a sight that must be! I’m sure that the cars parked at Lake Nichols must have tags from several states.

The HBO documentary will probably just be another recruiting tool for the Greeks.

Of course there will be a lot of cellphone calls in May when HBO releases it. “Ew, I looked so gross. If I’d known they were shooting that day, I would’ve have at least washed my hair. But you looked great!”

What captured the attention of the documentary’s producers in the first place were the ubiquitous Tik Tok posts made by sorority sisters in 2021. Alabama Rush Tok posts were viewed by more than two billion people! The posts were about the girls’ tacky fashion choices and how they decorated their rooms with junk from Hobby Lobby.

The HBO documentary will, just like the Rush Tok posts, feed the emotionally insecure sorority sisters’ never-ending narcissistic appetite. But it won’t end Greek life in any way.


My first A-Day game in my Home Away From Life

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Bryant-Denny Stadium

Hey, it’s me, Rose, the Spirit of the Crimson Tide. My home away from life was full of football fans for the 2023 A-Day game. The A-Day game is an exhibition game that occurs after Spring practice. Preparations had been going on for weeks. But the sudden influx of living souls was overwhelming.

I’m sure that many of the football fans that showed up were sitting in areas of the stadium that they’d never be in during the actual season. In fact, many wouldn’t be able to even afford a ticket. The A-Day game is open to the public, free of charge. The stadium was about half full of the usual number of fans, very few of which were students.

The Million Dollar Band played. But the band members were wearing tee-shirts instead of their official uniforms. I’m sure that they were happy about that!

The actual play seemed artificial of course. There was some hitting, but not the vicious kind you’d see in during a heated game with a rival like Auburn. Of course it was hands-off for the quarterbacks. I’m not a sports expert by any means but nothing on the gridiron looked too impressive.

In the back of my mind was the memory of how things went on an A-Day game weekend that occurred a couple of years ago when there was mayhem on The Strip.

The reason things got so out of hand had a lot to do with a rap artist who had been heavily promoted by the Twelve/25 bar. Tuscaloosa police had hundreds of calls that weekend. The Strip on Friday had been packed with mostly young people. Some cars that were parked nearby were found to contain automatic weapons.

I’ve found out, from reading copies of The Crimson White that were in the media area, that the owners of Twelve/25 filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city. The bar is owned by blacks and they think that white-owned bars are being treated favorably.

When the city closed Twelve/25 in 2020, because the bar was in violation of occupancy limits that had been set by the state in response to Covid, there weren’t any accusations of racism. Response by the police to the fracas that occurred when Twelve/25 had booked a popular rap artist during an A-Day game weekend hadn’t been a civil right issue either.

It’s ironic that the crowds that are attracted to Twelve/25 consist largely of white students. Many of those students who enjoy seeing black performers and athletes would never want them to be part of their society. White fraternities remain just that–white. Those little red-neck, white boys would be creeped out at the thought of a black person being their “brother.” Sorority sisters have been blatantly racist too, even though there is a smattering of black sisters in their mist. Not too long ago a sorority’s president made the news because of a social media exchange at a club which included the words “I’m gonna yack…cigs, weed and black girl.”

I didn’t hear gunshots coming from the direction of The Strip this weekend. I guess the new police precinct on The Strip might be working. Of course, I’m pretty sure that Twelve/25 didn’t book a rap artist this year. Maybe its owners are waiting to see what happens in court? Then they’ll be able to resume packing people in the bar like sardines.


The Smoking Gun…is the Smoking Gun

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Alabama is in the news again. This time the story’s about a shooting at a birthday party in the small town of Dadeville.

Jeff Amy, an Associated Press reporter, wrote:

Alabama law enforcement officers Sunday were imploring people to come forward with information about a shooting that killed four people and injured 28 others during a teenager’s birthday party.

According to‘s Ramsey Archibald, Alabama was ranked fifth in the nation for firearm deaths in 2021. He used data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In January, The Tuscaloosa Thread‘s Brittany Marshal wrote about an interview with Tuscaloosa‘s Mayor Walter Maddox. He was responding to a January 2023 murder that occurred on The Strip. Maddox said:

“I think what bothers me the most is, there’s never any reason to take anyone else’s life. So many times in these cases, it its absolutely unbelievable what provokes people to pull out a firearm or semi-automatic weapon and take someone else’s life. It’s senseless, it’s reckless and inhumane.”

In 2018, The Alabama Daily NewsCaroline Beck wrote about the Alabama gubernatorial race in which Maddox ran against the incumbent Kay Ivy. Ivy criticized Maddox for having banned guns in 2006 in city-owned facilities in Tuscaloosa. Beck opined:

Maddox’s proposal for more ‘common sense gun laws’ may not be as radical as other liberal politicians have suggested, but Ivey knows that in a state where half the population owns firearms, painting Maddox as anti-gun can be an effective tactic.

Any “gun control” measure proposed in the Alabama Legislature is likely to fail. As reported by 1819 NewsCraig Monger, the National Rifle Association is up in the air about gun laws that are currently being proposed. Monger wrote:

Permitless carry, also called constitutional carry, passed the Alabama legislature in 2022. The new law removed requirements for lawful individuals to obtain a permit to carry a concealed firearm. The law also added a provision to inform law enforcement of the presence of a weapon when asked.

State Rep. Chris England (D-Tuscaloosa), in response to the law that ended the requirement for a person to get a permit to legally carry a concealed handgun in public, sponsored House Bill 12 (HB12). The bill would create new penalties for those who fail to inform law enforcement of the presence of a firearm.

Whether any such new penalties would have prevented the tragic shooting that occurred in January on The Strip by a former University of Alabama basketball player is debatable. CBS News and many other national media outlets reported on the incident where the gun that was used had been in the backseat of a star athlete’s car. The “permitless carry” law allowed the player to legally have the gun in his car.

England also sponsored House Bill 28 (HB28), which would remove the exemption for persons with pistol permits to carry a weapon on school premises.

(The Franklin Stove Blog has repeatedly reported on gun violence on The Strip, including the recent post “The Strip–A Fool’s Paradise?”)

In a state such as Alabama, where half of its population is packing, any laws that restrict gun ownership in any way seem to be doomed to fail.

Many guns that are on the street are illegally acquired. In 2018, Tuscaloosa NewsStephanie Taylor reported on what former Tuscaloosa Police Chief Steve Anderson said:

Guns stolen in auto burglaries account for the majority of illegal guns ending up on our streets and in the hands of criminals, juveniles and people suffering from mental illness.

As reported by Ryan Phillips in The Patch, current Tuscaloosa Police Chief Brent Blankley said:

“I think it’s the culture, especially with our young people it’s shifted. People used to have a fist fight, now they just shoot each other … Until as a culture and and community we change, and we change especially our young people, I don’t know if this is going to go away.”

In T-Town, a smoking gun has ended the lives of many of its residents. In T-Town and in Alabama there are frequent incidents of the tragic loss of life that is due to gun violence. When such violence erupts at a birthday party or involves a star athlete, there are banner headlines. Otherwise, gun smoke just pervades the atmosphere and is hardly ever noticed.


Twelve/25 — Just A Sports Bar?

The owners of Twelve25, after being rebuffed in court in a federal lawsuit that claimed the city was discriminating against the bar because it was owned by blacks, may roll the dice in a local court.

City Attorney Scott Holmes said that some gastropubs, had morphed from restaurants to, not just bars, but to “mega-bars,” with hundreds of patrons.

If such establishments had a lounge license it would harder, if not impossible, to pack under age drinkers into their venues.

Sec. 3-41 of Tuscaloosa‘s municipal code states:

It shall be unlawful for any person to be in, on, or upon the licensed premises of any establishment licensed by the alcoholic beverage control board of the state as a lounge retail liquor licensee, in violation of any state law regulating the age of persons allowed on such premises.

Of course under age patrons might succeed in entering a lounge by using a fake ID. Having an establishment classified as a “gastropub,” where food service is offered until morphing into a bar, was a good workaround.

Tuscaloosa Police Department‘s Chief Brent Blankley at the January 17th, 2023, Tuscaloosa Pre-Council meeting said, “I’d like to remind the Council that gastropubs have had issues–that they have been turning into full-fledged bars.”

On February 28, 2023, the City Council amended the city code Sec. 7-33 – Revocation of license or privilege to obtain a license. If a business application “contains false or misleading information or an omission of a material fact,” then its license can be revoked. A proposal for a gastropub, for example, might not accurately depict the intended operation of the business in a way that is more like a lounge than a gastropub.

The ordinance would restrict a gastropub’s occupancy limit. Twelve25‘s practice of removing tables and chairs after food service ended had allowed hundreds of people to be packed in like sardines.

Lawyers for Twelve25 actually said that 287 “patrons” were contractually allowed.

Twelve25 began as a sports bar that Mayor Walt Maddox once praised as offering the “three things I love in life: beer, food and sports.” On an A-Day weekend in 2021 when Nle Choppa, a rap artist from Tennessee, appeared mayhem broke out.

Emily Enfinger reported on the A-Day game weekend incidents in the Tuscaloosa News:

Tuscaloosa police responded to a total of 271 calls for service on the day of the A-Day game, the 24-hour period from early Saturday morning through early Sunday morning.

Several incidents that occurred overnight resulted in multiple arrests and six weapons, including an AK-47, being confiscated by police, according to a Tuscaloosa police news release.

Lee Busby, the Council member for the District Twelve25 is in, once asked, “How many casualties” will be city be “willing to endure” as a result of making it so easy for people to consume alcohol?

Twelve25 was once publicized as a Mecca for University of Alabama students. The Crimson White‘s Grace Schepis wrote in 2020:

Twelve25 will be home to three distinct internal sections: a main VIP section to the left, a central restaurant area and a traditional bar layout to the right. With maximum flexibility as the main goal, Jarrett hopes for the possibility to entertain simultaneous events in each section of the bar. 

T-Town‘s Mayor Walt Maddox, said this about gastropubs, “You have a lot of places in Tuscaloosa that masquerade as a restaurant, but they’re really a bar.”

Has Twelve25 become a pariah in T-Town? Is it the victim of racist Tuscaloosa city leaders, as the attorneys for Twelve25 assert? Or is it a just good idea that went bad?


ROTC Follies

This installation of the Franklin Stove Blog is a departure from the usual format.

It’s fictional, based on accounts of actual events.

It might even be considered a ghost writ post.

This is a work of fiction. Any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.

Photo by Soly Moses on

Hey, it’s me, Rose, the Spirit of the Crimson Tide, again. I’ve had few distractions at the stadium since the football season is over. Of course, the annual A-Day game will take place in the Spring. But, for now, many of my thoughts involve memories of life on campus that have nothing to do with the gridiron.

The 55th anniversary of the Mỹ Lai massacre in Vietnam occurred on the sixteenth of March in 1968. That gruesome tragedy took place during my last year of life.

Images of the horrors that took place in South East Asia would likely be banned today from many social media outlets. Such things as the severed ears of Vietnamese enemy combatants that GIs collected and the naked little girl running down the road from her napalmed village may actually have paled in comparison to the dead bodies of children, women and elderly Vietnamese that Lieutenant William Calley Jr. killed in the Mỹ Lai massacre.

When I first arrived on campus it was compulsory for all male students to participate in the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, either Army or Airforce.

I got to know the goofy white boy who I wrote about having once dated a black girl.  He told me about his experience with ROTC. Ironically he had such poor vision that ultimately he was disqualified for military service. You could be blind as a bat and probably have to march around on the Quad with a M1 rifle if you were a male student. He eventually dropped out of school anyway and burned his draft card.

The sole purpose of many male students for attending the University, aside from getting the elusive “meal ticket” in life, was to be deferred from being drafted. Instead of being classified as 1-A in the Vietnam Draft Lottery, as students, they were classified 1-S. I read that some people joined the National Guard, hoping that they wouldn’t be wading in the rice paddies of Vietnam.

The “nearly blind” guy told me about a situation that he’d stumbled into. Freshman Orientation in 1967, took place where Alabama Governor Wallace had “stood in the school house door” — in Foster Auditorium. He felt lost and overwhelmed until a friendly bunch of guys at a ROTC table, as he explained to me, “treated him like a real human being and not a computer punch card.” In those days the cardboard cards were de rigueur for anything involving a computer.

He was a real “freshman” for sure. He signed up for the University of Alabama Army ROTC’s “counter-guerrilla corp.” I’ve never found out if this ROTC unit was fully legit. Males who were in it wore special berets with lightning bolt crest emblems. As a demolition “specialist” he quickly rose to the rank of a sergeant.

The way he explained it to me was like this. The corp’s leader was the son of a regular Army general who commanded the University’s ROTC program. The son was somehow able to procure live ammunition and military rifles for the cadets to play with. Also he obtained dynamite, fuses and blasting caps.

On one of the special field trips the cadets blew up cliffs. The “demolition specialists” climbed up a hill but they had left blasting caps and fuses on the ground below. A farmer, who must have heard the noise that they were making, discovered the demolition equipment and looked up at the cadets who were perched on the hill. He must have been very puzzled.

He said that they once buried sticks of dynamite and bags of ammonium nitrate based fertilizer in the ground. Then they lay down and joined hands in a circle around where the explosives were buried. When the explosives were ignited he was tossed into the air. He got a face full of dirt, and dirt in his mouth and in his clothing but was not injured.

I can’t imagine that the Army would ever have sanctioned students running around with loaded high power rifles and explosives. On field trips the cadets wore a uniform — olive fatigues without any identification on them that could be tied to the ROTC or University. Of course they  also wore the black berets adorned with a cloth shield patch that had a black and red field divided diagonally by a white lightning bolt.

He started doing “independent research” on Vietnam and learned about the white phosphorus munitions, defoliants and napalm that were being used by the US in Vietnam. He became increasingly disaffected from the ROTC program and started arguing in class with the military instructors about the morality of the war. One instructor told him that he’d be court marshalled in three months time if he ever enlisted.

On one field trip that took place in sub-zero weather, he developed pleurisy and was hospitalized. The regular Army officer who was supervising the cadets told them to eat a lot of beans and sleep snuggled next to another cadet, so that they could provide “internal gas heating” for each other. He decided to sleep alone.

He told stories about cadets rappelling from the top of women’s dormitories and going on panty raids. But the story about the cadets who derailed a train topped the list of mishaps.

After drills on the Quad some of the cadets would invariably go to a their favorite local watering hole Nicks. I was told that one day, after becoming sufficiently inebriated, they went out on a long trestle railroad bridge over the Warrior River to jump off of it. They had done this sort of thing before but that day was particularly chilly. After the first student warrior leapt into the river, he realized how freezing cold the water was. He yelled up to his comrades not to jump. While they were trying to walk off the bridge a freight train came along forcing them to move to the side. Then the train stopped, stranding them on the bridge.

After what seemed to them an objectionably long wait for the train to move one of them got what must have seemed to be brilliant idea at the time. If they just uncoupled a car from the rest of the cars that were on a downward slope the cars would roll down the track to free the bridge so that they could walk back out on it. This brilliant scheme lost its luster after the decoupled cars rolled down the track with such a momentum that they derailed. In a panic the remaining two jumped into the icy river. They were eventually all accosted, dripping wet and chilled to the bone, on the river bank by the local police.

They were put in separate cells in the local jail and were interrogated by the FBI. The fact that their uniforms had no ROTC markings made them look very suspicious. A regular officer who was a ROTC instructor got them off the hook. To reward the officer the group of rowdy students took him to an out of town eatery The Cotton Patch. On the way back the students and the Army officer, who were all well fortified by celebratory imbibing, were caught driving way over the speed limit on the highway back to the University.

They were all jailed. An even higher ranking Army officer had to use his influence to free them all, so the story goes.

Although the University is no longer overshadowed by its ROTC program, it still pays obeisance to the armed services. Before every football game in the stadium there’s a ROTC color guard, often with a woman cadet included. A military flyover moments before kickoff is a proud tradition. U.S. Special Operations Command para-commandos, yelling “Roll Tide,”  float onto the field on some occasions.

Back when I first enrolled, the University’s President Frank Rose advised the US Army as a member of the Advisory Panel for ROTC Affairs. Rose was even Chairman of the Board of Visitors in 1968 for the United States Military Academy at West Point. He believed, that under President Lyndon Baines Johnson, America could have both “guns and butter” in The Great Society. As the Vietnam blunder crescendoed, Rose probably never lost faith in LBJ. Then, while I was still alive in 1968, LBJ announced that he had decided not to seek his party’s nomination for president. He would no longer lie about the disastrous war.

Vietnam was not the last military misadventure that has occurred during my time as the Spirit of the Crimson Tide. It seems to me that all US Presidents have wanted to be war-time Commander-In-Chiefs. Some have led the country into more dire straits than others. As far as I’m concerned, they’re all a bunch of war criminals.

One of the newest buildings at the Capstone — Hewson Hall — was named after the former CEO of Lockheed Martin, Marillyn Hewson. Lockheed Martin is the world’s biggest arms manufacturer, and world’s biggest exporter of arms. During America’s many military misadventures the company has done very well.

One of Lockheed Martin’s most profitable planes, the F-35, will not be likely be seen flying over Bryant-Denny Stadium though. The F-35 is considered to be one of the Pentagon’s most expensive boondoggles. It has been said that the F-35 will not have a ghost of a chance in combat. Although I certainly qualify as a ghost, I’m no expert in aerodynamics.

So much for the military and ROTC. Maybe there will soon be some stuff about football to think about. Until then I’ll be in Bryant Denny Stadium. Roll Tide Roll!


The Strip–A Fool’s Paradise?

It’s interesting that T-Town‘s Mayor Walt Maddox, when he recently spoke about gastropubs said that “You have a lot of places in Tuscaloosa, not just The Strip, that masquerade as a restaurant, but they’re really a bar.”

The Strip has been the site of much violence. The business license of the High Tide bar was revoked after a shooting in 2019, but a lot has occurred on the The Strip since then. And bars have continued to proliferate on The Strip.

1819 NewsErica Thomas wrote about the violence in Tuscaloosa. In an interview on Tuscaloosa’s 95.3 The Bear’s “Steve & DC Show,” Maddox said:

“So many times in these cases, it is absolutely unbelievable what provokes people to pull out a firearm or semi-automatic weapon and take someone else’s life,” Maddox said. “It’s senseless, it’s reckless and inhumane.”

Maddox, as recounted in the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) in April, 2021, had high hopes for the hybrid bar restaurant Twelve/25. It is now considered to be a gastropub. It was among other establishments outside of which large crowds gathered on the The Strip during an A-Day weekend.

In one area on The Strip there are three Gastropubs in a row, as was written about in the FSB in July, 2022. At a Council Administration and Policy Committee meeting in February, 2023, City Attorney Scott Holmes said that some gastropubs, have morphed from restaurants to, not just bars, but to “mega-bars,” with hundreds of patrons.

On February 28, 2023, the City Council amended the city code Sec. 7-33 – Revocation of license or privilege to obtain a license. If a business application “contains false or misleading information or an omission of a material fact,” then its license can be revoked. A proposal for a gastropub, for example, might not accurately depict the intended operation of the business in a way that is more like a lounge than a gastropub.

In August, 2022, the City Council approved a queuing ordinance, as reported by ABC 33/40‘s Valerie Bell. The ordinance was intended to reduce the congestion on the sidewalk. Hundreds of people, who are trying to get into bars, have packed the sidewalks on The Strip.

The Tuscaloosa Thread‘s Stephen Dethrage reported that the University of Alabama and the city of Tuscaloosa were opening a shared precinct on The Strip in the hopes that it will result in less violence. The University and Tuscaloosa had already been cooperating by dedicating police officers to a “Strip Detail.”

With Spring Break in progress at the University of Alabama, T-Town will doubtlessly see less action on The Strip. However, should its basketball team go to the Final Four and win a National Championship, the effectiveness of the new police precinct will likely be tested.


A Modest Proposal

Photo by Mauru00edcio Mascaro on

There’s a simple way to stop the violence and other alcohol related problems at bars in T-Town.

Raise the legal drinking age.

In 2017 Erin Brodwin and Skye Gould reported in The Business Insider that “the brain doesn’t fully mature until age 25.”

They wrote:

Some scientists say this could illuminate a potential factor behind a recent spate of acts of mass violence, almost all of which have been perpetrated by men between the ages of 20 and 30.

“The preponderance of young men engaging in these deadly, evil, and stupid acts of violence may be a result of brains that have yet to fully developed,” Howard Forman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, told my colleague Chris Weller.

Detecting fake IDs, if the user is as old as 25, shouldn’t be as big a problem as the situation that now exists.

Footprints To Recovery‘s “Raising the Drinking Age to 25: What are the Pros and Cons” lists “Raises the Thrill of Underage Drinking” as one of the “cons”:

Critics of raising the drinking age argue that this change will just extend that “thrill” of asserting your independence against authority for a longer period given that we know that the brain continues developing well into the 20s.

One of “pros” listed in the article was “Protects Brain Development”:

Much research has shown the damaging effects of alcohol on brain development in teens and young adults. The brain is still undergoing crucial developments until age 25, and some scientists have found evidence that it keeps developing until as late as age 30.

Drinking by students at the University of Alabama was the subject of a post “The Greek God Pan at the U of A” by the Franklin Stove Blog (FSB) on April 21, 2022. The centrality of alcohol consumption in the University’s social life is not atypical:

Drinking during the pandemic may have led to more deaths than Covid-19. At colleges throughout the nation, in spite of any of the pandemic’s restrictions on “normal” college life, drinking remained a fixture of college living.

A post by FSB in 2022 “Booze & the Student Brain” concerned early life binge drinking.

Girl on The Strip

An actual image taken outside a gastropub on The Strip of police handling a violent, obviously intoxicated student accompanied the 2020 FSB post “Saturday Nights in T-Town.”

Drunken bar patron being restrained on The Strip

A 2022 FSB post “T-Town’s got litigation!” covered the lawsuits where alcohol use has been a factor.

A 2020 FSB post “Shot dead on The Strip” dealt with the tragic death of an out of town student. A wrongful death lawsuit has since been filed against the person who shot him and the bar that continued to “sell alcohol to the shooter even though he was visibly intoxicated.”

Perhaps the recent case of a homocide that involved University of Alabama basketball players has most thoroughly captured the public’s attention. A FSB post “T-Town’s University Blvd–a Danger Zone?” dealt with fatal shootings in T-Town, including the one that resulted from a “minor argument” that occurred between the victims and suspects, where athletes were involved.

Murders that occurred in South Carolina unearthed a story of under age drinking and death. Several television series have been produced about the tragedy in The Palmetto State, including one on Netflix, “Murdaugh Murders: A Southern Scandal.” The first episode provides a great amount of detail about the under age drinking that precipitated the boat death of a young lady. It also gives a look into the thought process of adolescents who are in toxic relationships.

The idea that the legal drinking age might be raised is a non-starter of course. There’s just too much money involved. Too much that the operators of bars take in. Too much that grocery stores and gas stations make from alcohol sales. Too much revenue that the city derives from alcohol sales. Much of the alcohol is consumed by under age drinkers. The whole Greek way of life that the University of Alabama is so proud of would be threatened.

So don’t expect much change even though T-Town‘s police department and the University’s have created a special police precinct on The Strip, as reported by ABC 33/42 News. As long as booze is sold to minors there will be blood.


Students Are Paying the Price for Booze

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It was likely that no one ever thought having booze at University of Alabama athletic facilities would affect the cost and quality of the food served.

An article “The price for a night out at Coleman Coliseum keeps adding up” by Nick Robbins in the campus newspaper The Crimson White deals with the high prices and poor quality of the food at athletic venues.

Robbins wrote that fans “can’t help but be disappointed with the quality and cost of the food and drinks at the eight vendors offered. Bryant-Denny Stadium, Coleman Coliseum and other UA sporting venues  have made massive changes to their food and drink options over the past couple of years — changes fans are not happy with.”

When Herbert Tesh, the representative for Levy Premium Foodservice, approached the City Council in February, 2022, most of the discussion about alcohol sales centered on legal liabilities.

Herbert Tesh

Robbins reported that;

The catalyst for these changes was the University’s partnership with food and concessions company Levy, which was announced in 2018. Before the company took over, concession prices had actually been lowered by $1-2 per item. But now a 16-ounce domestic beer costs $8.99 while a 20-ounce premium beer costs $9.99. The cost of beer reflects the prices in Bryant-Denny, but the rollout of alcohol sales has not been smooth, with some fans reporting being charged the premium price for a domestic beer.  

Some of the other prices that Robbins listed were:

Popcorn: $6.99

$14.49 for chicken tenders and fries

A German pretzel: $13.99

Nachos: $9.99

$7.49 for Dippin’ Dots

Robbins wrote that the University’s food and beverage prices don’t compare favorably to those of other venues at both colleges and professional events.‘s Ben Flanagan wrote a column about the $16 cheeseburger sold at Coleman Coliseum:

Flanagan opined:

So why charge a fan $16 for a cheeseburger? Or $14 for a pretzel ($20 with the side of cheese and tax)? Or $10 for a soda? What about fans buying tickets to individual games and then paying these exorbitant concession prices to create a memory for themselves and their families who love the Tide? Or what about students paying for tuition and the $4 side of beer cheese as they pack their section to the top of Coleman and attempt create one of the best home atmospheres in the SEC?

A University of Alabama athletics department statement this week said the venue’s concessionaire Levy Restaurants sets concession pricing based off concession offerings, product/overhead costs and market pricing. “Despite inflation’s impact on sports and entertainment venues across the country, a concerted effort is made to avoid annual price increases on concessions,” they said.

Since students are prohibited from alcohol purchases the excessive prices that they pay for beverages and sub-standard food must subsidize the sale of booze for other fans.

University of Alabama President Dr. Stuart Bell, has stated the sale of alcohol at University Athletic facilities is “a net positive for the school.” Many students must think otherwise in T-Town.


The Black Out Rage Gallon

Have students at the University of Alabama become part of the nationwide trend of partying with Black Out Rage Gallons (BORGs)?

Inside Higher Ed‘s Johanna Alonso reported that:

The latest college drinking trend is as simple as it is potent: equal parts water and liquor, combined with some sort of sugary flavoring. And while some see the beverage as just another way to get drunk quickly, others consider the fad a safer alternative to drinking games of yore, such as Slap the Bag or Edward Fortyhands.

Called a borg—short for “blackout rage gallon”—the beverages have been around since at least early 2020, when the first recipes for the concoction were posted on the video-sharing app TikTok. But borgs have garnered increased attention in recent months as more and more TikTokers, often college students, post videos of themselves making or drinking them.

Alonzo wrote that Penn State‘s Ashley Linden-Carmichael warned against the beverage. She retweeted Inside Higher Ed‘s post:

Carmichael was quoted in the Inside Higher Ed story:

“If someone is having 16 drinks in one sitting, even if it’s mixed with water, that still counts as high-intensity or extreme drinking.”

She noted that binge drinking is defined for men as having five or more drinks in a sitting, and, for women, four or more.

WHIO TV/7 reported that in Dayton, Ohio, there have been “BORG-themed events.” The television station reported that “Doctors at Miami Valley Hospital have not had any BORG patients yet, but if the drinking trend continues, they will not be surprised when students start showing up at the emergency room.”

NBC NewsMorgan Sung reported that the BORG jugs are often given “punny names” such as “Soulja Borg” and “Our Borg and Savior.”

Writing for the University of Texas at Austin‘s Daily Texan, Aaron Sullivan quoted a student who believed that BORGs would allow her better to pace herself while drinking.‘s Eli Curwin wrote:

For college students across the country, the days of Jungle Juice and Faderade are over. Now, many party-goers are lugging around a new type of drink: borgs. And doctors are worried.

“In general, when a patient comes to the emergency department because of binge drinking, its because they are no longer able to function.” Dr. Gus Colangelo, an Emergency Medicine physician at Tufts Medical Center, told “And this is not uncommon with borgs, because people have this perception … that the additional contents of the borg are somehow going to protect them from the toxic effects of the alcohol.”

Sightings of BORGs in T-Town haven’t been reported by any media outlets as yet. The Borg in Star Trek proclaimed that “Resistance is futile.” Will partying students on campus or at the farm be able to resist the BORG?