OK, in a political season unlike any other, with the possible exception of the every-four-year-refrain that this is the "most important election" of your lifetime, maybe the clear winner was the process Thursday night.

That's right, after the first Trump-Biden face-to-face matchup made everyone uncomfortable, the changes to the debate format Thursday were universally praised.

Regardless of who you thought won or lost, who scored points and who rambled pointlessly, the two-minute warnings — and the hammer of the silenced mics — turned what was three weeks ago a shouting match below the standards of most barrooms back into a political conversation — a real debate.

Not sure the performances in those two-minute windows did enough to change many voters' minds, but the format had to get bipartisan support.


Speaking of the election ...

I spent a little time Wednesday roaming the parking lot at the Hamilton County Election Commission off Amnicola Highway looking for some insight. A Chattanooga police officer kindly reminded me to stand behind the dotted line behind the third row of cars.

In an election cycle swamped with polling data, it is easy to overlook what real voters are saying. What about the ballots cast?

Sure, my survey is a super-small sample in a super-small corner of the country — and in an area in which the closest thing to a battleground is a Battlefield Parkway in North Georgia — but the conversations were intriguing.

I asked 25 just-finished voters whether their decision was based on voting for a candidate or voting against a candidate.

"That's a very interesting question," Mary Catherine O'Kelley of Signal Mountain said. She was among the 14 people who answered "Voted For" a candidate, which meant 44 percent of that very small sample size voted against a candidate.


Rooting around

The Atlantic reported in September that as many as 9 million wild pigs are roaming the U.S.

Yes, 9 million. (Wait till Biden hears about this. If he wins, we're going to get hit with a new tax. Let's call it the Swine Fine, deal?)

The pigs have roamed into almost 40 states and reportedly have caused close to $2.5 billion in damage to farms and livestock.

Wait, it gets worse.

Apparently a growing number of the animals are called "super pigs," and because they multiply so fast, the phenomenon has been called a "feral swine bomb." States like Montana have a 24-hour hotline for the issue, for Pete's sake.

Maybe we should look at a swine fine after all.


No-show ghost groom

There's the crazy of the guy who howls at the moon, and then there's the guy who does it at Thanksgiving. The first one you shrug; the second you have to address.

For the Realm family, 32-year-old Amethyst of Bristol, England, is assuredly an issue.

Amethyst announced on London TV that her wedding to Ray was off because he "kept disappearing."

Sad story, normally. Ray consistently 'disappearing' should have been expected though.

Ray, you see, is a ghost. Yes, a ghost that Amethyst met in Australia who started darting in and out of the relationship after, according to the New York Post, Ray started mingling with a rough-and-tumble collection of troubled spirits while vacationing in Thailand.

"He'd disappear for long periods of time. When he did come back, he'd bring other spirits to the house and they'd just stay around for days," Realm told The Post.

Happy Halloween, Amethyst, and keep that chin up.

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Jay Greeson