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Thank your lucky stars - Joel Hall

Sometimes, when I'm down, depressed, or stumped about what I should write for my weekly column, it helps me to think about all the things for which I have to be thankful. Tomorrow isn't promised, and it makes life easier to dwell on the positives, instead of the negatives.

* I'm thankful that the City of Jonesboro fixed that pothole on the corner of West Mill and North McDonough streets. It's been a few weeks since the repair, but for months prior to that, since the start of the Streetscape renovations, I had dreaded making right turns around the Train Depot to get to work. I hit that hole so hard once that it almost felt like my entire car went in there. I'm really, really thankful that someone took the time to fill it in.

* Chick-fil-A's carrot raisin salad -- Some people think I'm weird for ordering that stuff all the time, but it's really, really good. It's healthy, and it's sweet, and it doesn't make you all burpy like a regular salad does. If you haven't tried the carrot raisin salad at Chick-fil-A, I implore you to try it this week. It will blow your mind, and your life will never be the same.

* Pizza dough at the Publix Bakery -- Recently, I was faced with a number of financial challenges in which I had to make my money stretch farther than it had before. Until more recently, I didn't realize that a lot of my income goes toward eating out. After a tip from a friend, I found that you can go to Publix and get a $3 ball of dough and make your own pizza. All you have to do is buy some sauce, cheese, and toppings, which are cheap, spread the dough over a flat sheet, spread the sauce and toppings, then go crazy. It's better than spending $10 to $20 on the fancy stuff.

* Sega Superstars Tennis -- The best X Box 360 game you'll ever buy used for $2.99. My fiance bought this game a month ago, and it's eaten up a lot of my down time. It's fun and engaging, but simple enough to walk away from and put down. In addition to getting to play as your favorite Sega characters, such as Sonic the Hedgehog and Alex Kidd, you get to have them wield tennis rackets. It's much more fun than playing tennis when it's a ba-jillion degrees Fahrenheit outside.

* Family -- I can't say enough about my family. Although I don't get to see them as often, as an adult, they are always there to support my crazy ideas. Whether it's taking off to South Africa to work as an intern reporting on crime in the shanty villages of Cape Town, going to live in the mountains in Japan for two years, or getting married, my family has always been there to support me, spiritually and financially. There are very few people willing to live vicariously through you, so I am very thankful to have that kind of support.

* Keyless entry -- Maybe one day we'll learn that all the microwaves and radio signals around us are secretly frying our brains. However, I'm really stoked about the keyless entry on my Nissan Altima. Keys hate me, and I hate them. I drop them, I lose them, I drop them again. Anything decorative on my keychain bears proof of my ongoing battle. However, with my new keys, all I have to do is be near my car and it will open as long as the keys are in my pocket. I would be totally happy if every other door worked that way.

* Coffee -- I'm really thankful for that. Otherwise, I may have not been able to write this column. Hopefully, sleep will come later.

Joel Hall covers government and politics for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at jhall@news-daily.com.