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By Keith Graham:
Are some wars worth fighting? Maybe. Not an argument we have to discuss today.
But 46 years ago this month, a Quaker named Norman Morrison said an emphatic no to the Vietnam war and to any more Americans fighting in that ill conceived and ultimately pointless conflict, which resulted in so many — perhaps heroic but needless — deaths. Morrison said no in a dramatic way
Now that the frantic last-minute Christmas shopping is finished and the family gatherings have come and gone, what are we supposed to do?
What else but work on those New Year’s Resolutions?
I came across a line in a Paul Krugman column the other day that I thought might make a good resolution for me: “Well, I guess we should never assume malice when ignorance remains a possibility,” he wrote in a column headlined “The Humbug Effect” in The New York Times.
But among more specific goals — the ones
Anger? Frustration? Most likely, we’ve all experienced such feelings this year. But Thanksgiving Day is not the time to talk about such things. All of us still have plenty to be thankful for.
I hope you will feel free to share some of your own special notes of gratitude, but just to get the conversation started here are a few thank you notes of my own.
I’m thankful for:
My wife and I first heard a recording of Irish singer Maura O’Connell while we were having dinner in a tiny, long-gone Dublin restaurant.
We asked about the music, and the next day we went out and bought our first recording by her. We’ve bought every one since, and we’ve been fortunate to see her perform live six times. The latest was Friday night at Eddie’s Attic, an excellent venue and listening room in Decatur, Ga. We went with our good friends, Billy and Laurie.
Jobs in journalism that pay a living wage are hard to come by these days. Meaningful and interesting jobs in journalism that allow you to make any difference in the world are even harder to land.
Yet, students still enroll in journalism schools. In fact, the numbers of students might actually be growing. Are the students making a mistake? Are schools doing them an injustice by allowing enrollments to grow? The answer to those questions will shake out over the long term.
If anyone asked my advice, I’d discourage students from majoring in the field. Even if you do wind up working as a journalist, the lack of a journalism degree most likely won’t be held against you. Many media professionals have long favored liberal arts degrees or more highly specialized degrees over j-school backgrounds anyway. A minor in journalism, not a major, would be a sensible course to take, in my view.
Here’s a little good news: The Dalai Lama is back in town.
He’s in Atlanta for a series of events at Emory University, where he received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1998 and accepted an appointment as Presidential Distinguished Professor in 2007.
Not knowing what to expect, I spent an hour talking with him in his hotel room when he first visited Emory in 1987, two years before he won the Nobel Peace Prize. I knew less about the situation in his native Tibet than I should have then and understood even less about Tibetan Buddhism. Based on quick coaching from a couple of academics who knew a lot more than I did, I anticipated that the hour would be much like I imagined an hour at the Vatican with the pope might go. Interesting, perhaps inspiring, but not a whole lot of fun.
Desmond Tutu turns 79 today, Oct. 7, and he says this is it: At long last, he’s retiring from public life.
The South African archbishop-emeritus played a critical role during a period of dramatic change in South Africa in recent decades, and he is rightly revered world wide.
A man with the dynamic energy that Tutu displays surely has rubbed some people the wrong way over the years and picked up some detractors who regard his public persona as too good to be true. Sure, he’s a Nobel Peace Prize winner. He’s also human, after all.
However human he might be, he is also deeply humane.
Irish poet Joan McBreen is the mother of six children, a noble accomplishment in its own right, and taught elementary school until she quit teaching in 1986 to work full-time toward being a poet.
A genial down-to-earth woman from Sligo, she has enjoyed considerable success since then, both as the editor of anthologies and the author of her own poetry collections.
I just read the most recent volume of her poetry, Heather Island
The sign on the door at a neighborhood pub I visited last week gave me pause: “Als,” it said.
Was that the place for me? I wasn’t sure until I checked out its companion, “Gals.”
Yep, I was — for that moment anyway — an “Al.” In recent times, I have also been a “Guy,” not a “Doll,” and a “Cowboy,” not a “Cowgirl.” Most often (and I appreciate the simplicity) I go into a room marked “Men,” not “Women.” Sometimes, I’m just a stick figure, one that doesn’t wear a skirt.
But, during my most recent trip to Scotland, I registered the reality that, on every occasion when I needed to visit a restroom, I was for a moment or two one of the “Gentlemen,” not the “Ladies.”
Maybe the places I frequent here at home are on the scuzzier side of society, but I have rarely found myself invited to be one of the “Gentlemen” in recent years. We don’t have “Gentlemen” any more, at least in the circles I seem to run in.
Rest assured. This is not a tale about toilets,
Before noon, I had worked up a sweat. How? Sitting on my shady screened porch reading the newspapers.
It’s hot here where I live. I don’t yet know the official reading but the prediction was that we would reach 95 degrees Fahrenheit. It was humid, too.
And what’s wrong with this picture? Overnight, the seasons officially changed. Summer ended. Fall began.
A friend told me a couple of days ago that fall is his favorite season. When people ask him why, he jokes, “Because I like to see things die.” But I know why he really likes the season. The summers in the southern U.S. are so excruciatingly uncomfortable, but autumn at least offers some hope of cooler temperatures.
Smart. Savvy, Sophisticated. Southern.
Of course you are. You’re a Like the Dew reader.
Let’s be honest with each other. We have a sharp group of folks in the Like the Dew community, and we’d like to offer a new way for you to contribute to the Web site and share your knowledge and talents with your fellow readers.
This week we’re introducing a “Mini Dew Reviews” department. We invite each of you
The title of a book, compiled from the World War II diary of Naomi Mitchison, resonated with me the first time I heard about it: “Among You Taking Notes.”
What a good motto for a journalist, I thought then, and I quickly adopted the phrase as my own. That was a fair number of years ago, but I have kept the motto ever since.
I had never read the book, however — until this year when my sister, Stacy, gave me a copy as a gift.
As she so often does, Gail Collins of The New York Times summed up the situation with pinpoint precision today when she wrote that “it is important to remember that about 5 percent of our population is and always will be totally crazy.”
She wasn’t talking about people who suffer from a form of mental illness, which is a health matter and should prompt an empathetic response. She was talking out-and-out crazy, which is not at all what highly respectable organizations like the Mental Health Association try to address.
OK, the U.S.A. departed the World Cup a few days ago. So who is America’s team now?
I can’t say, but I do have a good sense of who Atlanta’s team is.
My wife wore her Holland shirt around town today and was stopped over and over by people who told her that they hope this year is the Netherlands’ year.
Some years ago, I met the writer Barbara Kingsolver and talked with her for a half-hour.
I had read a couple of her early books and thought they were well done. In conversation, she was charming, engaging and genuine.
In the years since then, however, I confess that I haven’t really kept up with her work. Oh, I’ve read the reviews, most of them very favorable, and some people who have read her books have told me how much they liked, even loved, them.
The cerveza companies probably deserve the most credit, but Cinco de Mayo has become a sort of Mexican version of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States. Lots of folks gather to sip a Corona or, my favorite, Modelo Especial, or a margarita, eat spicy Mexican food, and generally celebrate all things Mexican.
It’s not typically a day for deep thoughts, and its feel-good qualities don’t necessarily carry over to debates about immigration law or fair treatment of Mexican workers in this country.
I’d like to mark the occasion, though, with a tribute
The late John Walter, then-managing editor of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, used to call me aside once in a while to talk about a story a reporter was working on. On several of those occasions — and describing several different individual reporters over the years — he would say, “There’s a good (name withheld) and a bad (name withheld). Your job is to get the story out of the good (name withheld).”
“Name withheld” — referring to the person who was equally capable of doing very good or very bad work, in John’s opinion — comes from me, not John, who rarely minced words. But I’ve often thought you could say the same about the United States and the South and my home state of Georgia. There’s a good one and a bad one. As citizens, we take pride in the good and are embarrassed — or worse — by the bad.
John’s analyses — prompted by his assessments of his individual reporters’ strengths and weaknesses — came to mind again this afternoon as I spent some time looking back at stories and commentaries on the first Earth Day 40 years ago.
In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I’ve been re-visiting some of the Irish items I live with every day. Here are 17 of them for the 17th of March:
1) A green-and-black rugby shirt from Delaney’s, an Irish pub in the Wanchai district of Hong Kong. (Wanchai was the setting for “The World of Suzie Wong,” but I never met her at Delaney’s.)
While a lot of publications are downers, just telling folks about a lot of bad news, Like the Dew tries at least occasionally to say something uplifting.
Not long ago, for instance, we told you the wonderful news that the U.S. just might become the next France. We got the word from Mitt Romney and joie de vivre has been building ever since.
Once again, here goes: Some really great news.
Rush Limbaugh, who just might
Oh, sure, he’s a conservative.
But David Brooks is far from the most doctrinaire, and his columns in The New York Times are almost always readable.
As a writer and in his regular appearances on PBS’s News Hour,
Like many people, I confess to a fair amount of skepticism about the possibility that democracy is going to blossom in Iraq or Afghanistan as a result of the military actions we’ve been engaged in for much of this decade.
That skepticism has not been erased. But I also confess to a certain amount of humility after reading Stephen Lee Myers’ report on Sunday’s election in Iraq.
Here’s my choice for best quote of the day. It comes from David Axelrod, top aide to Barack Obama who is described by The New York Times in an article today as the president’s “message maven:” “Have I succeeded in reversing a 30-year trend of skepticism and cynicism about government? I confess that I have not. Maybe next year.”
A Washington Post column by the veteran political observer E.J. Dionne is already a bit dated but it still deserves to be widely read.
Published Monday, the column was written before Jim Bunning, a baseball pitcher turned Republican senator from Kentucky, abandoned his one-man stand against extending unemployment insurance. But it covers a lot of ground under the headline, “Living with partisanship.”
Like a lot of folks, I’ve spent much of the day watching the ongoing debate about health care in Washington. I’m not sure why I’ve been watching. Certainly there’s not much drama in what passes for discussion in the nation’s capital, and today’s conversation, such as it was, has gone as everyone predicted it would.
Far more unpredictable, I thought, was a discussion at the St. Marys, Georgia, city council meeting the other night.
Like so many people who feel great affection for the United States, I’ve been a little worried about it lately.
With the inauguration of Barack Obama in early 2009, the nation appeared on the verge of entering a new era of hope — one in which the U.S. would make progress toward living up to its ideals and once again be a shining beacon for the rest of the world.
Then Republicans put up a united front of naysaying and political grandstanding, Democrats responded with craven timidity and downright cowardice, and the era of hope quickly evaporated into an era of nope.
On a flight into Atlanta a few years ago — a journey I had made many times — I sat next to a young man from Dublin, who was on his first trip to the U.S. As the plane made its descent, the young Irishman stared intently out the window and marveled at what he saw.
“It’s a city in a forest,” he told me.
I loved his fresh perspective on the city
The best oyster stew I’ve eaten in recent months was served by the Oyster Shak in Brunswick, Ga., at the mainland end of the causeway to St. Simons Island. Rich and buttery, it comes in a cup or bowl with a generous portion of fat, juicy, whole Apalachicola oysters.
The best oyster stew I’ve ever eaten in my life was made by my grandmother and mother.
Mahatma Gandhi, the great nonviolent leader, was born 140 years ago today (Oct. 2). Just wonder how he would have dealt with much of what passes for political dialogue on the Internet, talk radio or some cable television in our times. I’ve been reading various commentaries on several sites on the Web today and the hostile and mean-spirited discussions that followed them. I also made the mistake of tuning into the misnamed Fox News channel, which might more accurately describe itself as the Fox Fantasy channel or, too often, the Fox Hate channel. Imagine Gandhi trying to introduce a sane thought into this mix. In honor of his birthday, though, I’ll let him introduce a few sane thoughts here. Gandhi speaks: “Intolerance is itself a form of violence and an obstacle to the growth of a true democratic spirit.” “I reject any religious doctrine that does not appeal to reason […]
Speaking to an audience at Yale University in the early 1970s, Tom Wicker attempted to explain the difference between liberals in the South and those in other parts of the nation. The main difference, he said, was that Southern liberals really believe what they say. Then a New York Times columnist whose views tipped decidedly to the left, Wicker knew all about Southern liberalism. He was born in Hamlet, N.C., and educated at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And he had started what proved to be a highly distinguished career in journalism with a job at the Sandhill Citizen in Aberdeen, N.C. Wicker was not denigrating the beliefs of liberals in other part of the country. He was just saying that, at that time, people didn’t come to liberalism in the South without having their views battle-tested. It wasn’t easy to be a liberal in our region, […]
Peter, Paul and Mary’s performance at a massive 1971 peace march in Washington was more ragged than their generally smooth concert work, but it still resonated with the emotional power their listeners always expected. I just re-watched the video of that performance, thanks to the link in R.P. Singletary’s tribute to Mary Travers, who died Sept. 16 at the age of 72. I had traveled to Washington from North Carolina for the ’71 rally and was, no doubt, among the scruffier folks in the throng. It was the second time I had heard PP&M at a political demonstration, the 12th time I had seen them overall. Their music rang clearly through the sound track of my youth. From the vantage point of four decades and more, the appeal of those performances might seem hard to fathom. But I remember them clearly. More importantly, I remember their impact on my view […]
B-o-r-i-n-g. Yet another debate on television about health care reform. The only thing I found interesting this time was a graphic saying 83 percent of the American people feel satisfied with their current health care coverage and 71 percent think change is needed. If that doesn’t make total sense to you, all I can say is welcome to America. But for that 71 percent who think reform is needed — perhaps because they feel compassion toward the less fortunate or even un-American pessimism about their own future status — I can help to change your mind. Just consider these 10 Good Reasons to Oppose Health Care Reform: 1) You are so rich and so sure that you always will be that you don’t even need medical insurance. 2) You have great insurance right now. You are confident that you can always keep it and that it will continue to be […]
Visiting other countries, I have occasionally been asked where I’m from. Sometimes, I’ve just played it safe and said, “Canada.” But in less cautious moments (and less hostile locales), I generally say the U.S. and sometimes even stupidly throw in my city’s name, Atlanta. I say “stupidly” because I am usually met with blank stares at the mention of Atlanta. Sure, most people know about Coca-Cola and CNN, some know about CARE USA, which is based here, and many have heard of Martin Luther King Jr. and/or Jimmy Carter. But they don’t generally associate Atlanta with any of these famous names. When I have run into people with some faint knowledge of the city, the most common response has been, “Oh, yes, ‘Gone With the Wind.’ “ A few occasions have been luckier. Last October, a shop keeper in Italy lit up at the mention of the city’s name. “Yes,” […]
My wife and I like Arlo Guthrie so much that we named our much beloved (and now long lamented) dog in his honor. (Full disclosure: Our dog’s complete name was Arlo Gordon Graham. The Gordon was in honor of Ruth Gordon because we also are big fans of her movie, “Harold and Maude.”) A Keeshond with a mane of silver and black hair, Arlo the dog even bore a slight resemblance to Arlo the singer, and once after a concert we managed to persuade the human Arlo to autograph a picture of our pup. While our Arlo is no longer living, Arlo the singer is still going strong. Because of our (admittedly one-way) bond with him, Chrys and I were interested to read a short q and a, published last month in The New York Times Magazine, in which Arlo mentioned his decision “five or six years ago” to become […]
If you take a non-stop train from the St. Lazare station in Paris to the village of Vernon, you can reach Giverny, the home and gardens where Claude Monet lived and painted for 43 years, in just a little more than 45 minutes. My wife Chrys and I were fortunate enough to make that trip once. Nothing unusual about that. Some half a million people tour the house and stroll through the gardens each year during the seven months the home is open to the public. But even if our experience was not unusual, it was special to us — one of the more pleasant days either of us can recall. In a more tangential way, Giverny figured into another of our more pleasant days, but that day was here in Atlanta. Even though neither my editor at the time nor I knew much about him, I was assigned to […]
We had talked on the phone and exchanged e-mails, but I had never met Han Park and wasn’t sure what he looked like. When I arrived at an upscale tea house in Seoul, South Korea, I told the hostess I was there to meet Dr. Park. She dutifully wrote his name on a small, hand-held chalkboard and walked around the room ringing a bell. When she returned, she said, “But, sir, there are so many Dr. Parks here.” I should not have been surprised. Park, like Kim and Lee, is a very common name in Korea. But the Dr. Park I was looking for — and who found me a few minutes later — was a singular man. A professor at the University of Georgia, Park might be the most authoritative expert on North Korea in the United States. For that reason, I took seriously an Associated Press report a […]
My favorite description of Paul Hemphill appeared in an article Doug Monroe wrote for Creative Loafing. That article now hangs in a frame on a wall at Manuel’s Tavern. Paul “came into his own as a writer at the time Atlanta came into its own as a city,” Doug wrote in the 2005 story. “He became a street-prowling chronicler of life in a Southern town that was blooming into a major-league city.” And what “a street-prowling chronicler of life” in the city Paul was. In later years, many readers knew him best as the author of well-regarded books. But his work as a newspaper columnist in the 1960s was nothing short of awe-inspiring. Reading Paul was simply a privilege. Getting to know him was a privilege, too. I remember once talking with him about how messy life can become and how much emotional baggage people can carry as we grow […]
From New York Times-bestselling author Mary Kay Andrews: Seen on U.S. 441 in Clayton, Ga. — billboard advertising “Bates Mountain Cottages — NOT affiliated with the Bates Motel.” From Alan Gordon: Billboard in Hollywood, Fla.: whocanisue.com From Diane Loupe: From my own minivan (from a stay-at-home mother and part-time freelance writer) bumper sticker — “Embarrassing my children, a full-time occupation.” Have you seen a good Street Scene anywhere in the South? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
From Alan Gordon: A Lincoln Continental cruising up I-95 near West Palm Beach, Fla., with three surfboards strapped to the top. From Diane Loupe: Spotted while riding on this year’s Bicycle Ride Across Georgia, on the road nearing Clarks Hill Lake, a sign for “Christian Gutter Cleaning.” (Diane adds: “We figured they must need that to aid in baptisms.”) Sign in front of a tiny shotgun house near Candler Park in Atlanta: “True Loft Living.” Have you seen a good Street Scene, anywhere in the South? Send it to email@example.com
From Jane Hansen: Here’s a bumper sticker we saw recently on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta that the Hansen family loves: “YNOTBME.” From Dallas Lee: When I walk our dog Ruthie, I hold the end of her leash in my right hand and the middle of the leash with my left. When she tugs like a little fish, I stop for her to check and dispense messages. But today, when a driver passed looking at me strangely, I glanced down and saw the connecting end of the leash dangling like an empty hook over the sidewalk. Three driveways behind me, Ruthie moseyed faithfully along unhooked, not the least surprised my mind had gone elsewhere. From Glenna Kline: My favorite bumper sticker has always been “Honk if you’re not sure.” Have you seen a good Street Scene? Please e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Like some other readers and writers involved with Like the Dew, I knew Mary Kay Andrews before she was cool … or, at least, before she was Mary Kay Andrews. She was a newspaper reporter back then but also was driven to write fiction, and, unlike many with those aspirations, she persevered until she was successful. Under her real name, Kathy Hogan Trocheck, she wrote 10 well-received mystery novels. Then she started the Mary Kay Andrews series, which has included the New York Times best-selling titles “Savannah Breeze” and “Blue Christmas,” as well as “Hissy Fit,” “Little Bitty Lies” and “Savannah Blues.” Mary Kay deserves all the credit for her success. But she was fortunate enough to have a great mentor and an even better friend who encouraged her to be the writer she wanted to be — someone I also feel tremendous respect for — the late Atlanta Constitution […]
Imagine that we’re all at a jovial dinner party and in the midst of the after-dinner conversation, some man of a certain age pipes up and says, “I know how to save the entire airline industry. Just bring back those sexy, young stewardesses of the good old days.” “Oh, go back to your cave (insert name here),” someone would say. Then, most of the people at the table — men as well as women — would immediately swat down the idea as ridiculous. At some dinner tables, though, the conversation might turn from there to serious topics: In light of today’s laws and regulations, just how crazy do some of those old rules that airlines imposed on flight attendants seem? Just how deeply have flight attendants been affected by demeaning stereotypes over the years, some of them a direct result of their own airlines’ marketing practices? How has the population […]
From Mary Kay Andrews: Seen on a bumper sticker on a beat-up vehicle in Atlanta’s Little Five Points: “A day without sunshine is, like, night.” From Alan Gordon: An apparently homeless man asks a shopper at a College Park grocery store for a ride to a nearby liquor store. When told no, he angrily cries, “God’s not gonna bless you!” From Austin McMurria: Living in an area of the South where the Bible seems to be worshiped more than God, and the Cross is more often used as a sword than a shield — I was pleased to see rational discourse replace unmitigated hate-tweaked condemnation on a bumper sticker recently. The sticker read: “Some Choices are Wrong.” Have you seen a good Street Scene? Please e-mail it to email@example.com
Back in the days of the old Nashville Network on cable TV, I was backstage at Ralph Emery’s “Nashville Now” show when an unexpected treat arrived: a planeload of shrimp. It had been sent up by the owner of the Flora-Bama Lounge, a classic Gulf Coast beer joint on the Florida-Alabama line. It would be an understatement to say that a great feast was had by all, including the crew of the show, some songwriters who happened to be hanging around and one fairly hungry newspaper reporter. Here at likethedew.com, we haven’t yet received a planeload of shrimp from the Flora-Bama, but an unexpected treat did arrive this week: some virtual refreshments sent by an illustrator in northeast Tennessee, James Noel Smith. These virtual refreshments were so good that we’re also sharing them with our readers. Just look at the illustration and enjoy. (Fortunately, this refreshment, unlike most, is calorie […]
Bearded man in short shorts twirling three batons as he prances down 10th Street near Piedmont Park in Atlanta. At Gascoigne Bluff on St. Simons Island, picnicker reads sign saying the county commissioners “ask” people not to bring alcoholic beverages to the park. “That’s nice,” says the man, as he pops open a beer. “They just ask. At least, they don’t prohibit drinking.” Bumper sticker in Atlanta’s still-bohemian Little Five Points area: “God Bless the Freaks.” Have you seen a good Street Scene? If so, please send to firstname.lastname@example.org
Both sons had volunteered for the Navy. One was serving in the Pacific, where he took part in heavy combat. The other was somewhere in the Atlantic, and when radio reports first barked the news about the invasion of Normandy, my grandparents strongly suspected that he might have been involved. The confirmation did not come for more than a month. It came in the form of a hand-written letter from that son, postmarked July 15, 1944, and bearing a stamp saying, “Passed by Naval Censor.” My Uncle Larry had grown up in the small-town South. He had lied about his age in order to join the Navy and he was little more than a boy in 1944. His letter is not at all the definitive story of D-Day. In fact, it may raise many more questions than it answers. How much did Larry really know about the scope of the […]
As I walked around Lake Claire, the little village of fisherpeople, artists and activists where I live, early on Tuesday morning, I noticed something: No shrimpers were out in their yards mending their nets. As those of you who have visited Lake Claire know, there could be many reasons for that. (You are, as always, free to offer your thoughts in the comments section below.) But when I returned home and looked at the calendar, I had my answer: The Georgia shrimp season had officially opened at 6 that morning. The French have Beaujolais Nouveau Day, the third Thursday of November when the latest bottles of the most popular vin de primeur are rushed to the markets. The closest thing we have here in Georgia is Shrimp Season Opening Day (although I have heard some people say that in Atlanta every day is an Opening Day). When the season starts, […]
Much to my surprise, I’ve noticed every once in a while that not everyone agrees with everything I write. Stunning and hard to believe for the rest of you, too, but sometimes true. For once, however, I’ll just throw out a few opinions that are really beyond argument on a few of Atlanta’s best culinary treats (if culinary can be used when you’re talking about such things as fried chicken and country fried steak). I’d love to hear about other superlatives in local kitchens, not only in Atlanta but all over the South, so this is an invitation to any foodies out there who want to tell others what you think. And, oh, yeah, even though I know I don’t really need to say this, if you disagree with these choices, let your voice be heard. Five Atlanta bests: Fried chicken: The Colonnade. Period. Some people think the Colonnade on […]
The man sitting next to me and rolling his own cigarettes as he sipped a Heineken in a dimly lit bar was talking about the history of Amsterdam. He worked for a radio station, sometimes played piano in a jazz bar and had lived in the Dutch metropolis all his life. “Amsterdam was founded as a free city,” he said. “Some people who live here have forgotten that. But if you believe in freedom, you are a true citizen of Amsterdam.” I promptly declared myself a citizen of the city that I was coming to love during a short stay last summer. It was an idyllic time. My wife Chrys, our friend Kathleen and I had come to town to cat sit for our friends, the writers Deborah Scroggins and Colin Campbell, who were away in Greece. Their wonderful old house was conveniently located on a tram line that took […]
Across the political spectrum, you won’t find much support in America for reinstating the military draft. As Republicans are well aware, neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama served in the military. On the other hand, neither did Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Pat Buchanan, Bill Kristol, Sean Hannity, Clarence Thomas, Ralph Reed, Mitch McConnell, Saxby Chambliss or Karl Rove, George W. Bush, as has been well documented, barely served on a sweet deal that required little sacrifice. No criticism is implied here. Not one of these people did anything remotely illegal. It is also easy to understand that even Americans who are most willing to commit our country’s troops to war might not be so avid to sacrifice their own children to that cause. I, for one, strongly oppose any efforts to reinstate the draft by itself. I’m open to a required year or two of service […]
In a field near Parkview High School in Gwinnett County, Ga.: A scarecrow dressed in graduation cap and gown. Sign on a combination boiled peanuts, peaches, tomatoes, corn on the cob and pine straw stand on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Atlanta, Ga.: “The earth is a pot and every race has to put their seasoning in it.” Headline on Crime Scene column in the Brunswick News: “Bed sheets stolen from residence.” (The news item goes on to say a woman came home and found her home’s door open but could find nothing missing except the “sheets from her mother’s bedroom.” For the record, they were valued at $200.) Have you seen a good Street Scene? Send it to email@example.com
As I drove through rural south Georgia on Friday, there they were again. Confederate flags flapping in the breeze from several houses and a business or two. You have to marvel at the power of the mythmakers for the Confederacy. They really have convinced some people, even all these years later, that there was something noble about the Southern cause in the Civil War, even though that cause happens to have been one of the most ignoble imaginable: the right to enslave other human beings. Just in time for Memorial Day, though, some historians and other academics have been sounding a new note of sanity. As part of a campaign organized by Edward Sebesta — a Dallas-based historian, who has written about the contemporary efforts of neo-Confederate groups — they have circulated a letter, which now has more than 60 signatures, calling on President Obama to abandon a tradition of […]
Some years ago, a friend who worked in marketing for a large company was told to try to recruit the NASCAR racing driver, Richard Petty, to speak at an upcoming event. My friend managed to wrangle an appointment with Petty at his North Carolina home. Once there, he laid out his presentation, telling Petty about the event and why he should speak there. After my friend had finished, Petty looked at him for a long minute and then drawled, “Boy, you talk pretty good. Why don’t you do it?” After eight years with an American president who famously mangled the language, we now have a president who also talks “pretty good.” Last week, Barack Obama gave two masterful addresses to graduates of Arizona State University and Notre Dame. Both of them offered heaping portions of food for thought, and both framed ideas in ways that should inspire Americans to do […]
Billy Howard writes: Here’s a street scene that’s really about streets, or lanes, as the case may be. There is an intersection in Atlanta of Merry Lane and Christmas Lane. All the more interesting when one of the most prominent members of the community is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue. Shalom, y’all. Bootsie Lucas writes: While on our daily walk around our intown Atlanta neighborhood, my husband and I spied a hole about the size of a bathtub in the front yard of some apartments on North Highland Avenue. “Whatcha making there?” we asked a man working in the yard. “Well, ya know, we thought maybe we needed an outdoor toilet…,” he replied. And one from me: Delta flight attendant inviting another to join a club for flight attendants in Glynn County, Ga., where the county seat is Brunswick: “We call ourselves the Brunswick Stews.” See a good Street Scene: Send […]
Warning: If Jamie the chef comes out of the kitchen and asks if you want to hear a pirate joke, just say no. Otherwise, you’ll hear something like this: “Where does a pirate go when he wants a drink?” “To a BAHHHHRRRR.” Trust me there are many more pirate jokes where that one came from. But if Jamie is not quite ready for prime time on Comedy Central he could definitely hold his own on the Food Network. St. Simons Island on the Georgia coast is blessed with several very good restaurants. I strongly recommend Crabdaddy’s, which has the best selection of non-fried seafood on the island, and Barbara Jean’s, which tends more toward home cookin’ but has excellent crab cakes and fried catfish. But my favorite island restaurant by far is the Blackwater Grill, where Jamie Cadden is the chef. Owned by islanders John and Rhonda Howton, Blackwater offers […]
Barry Goldwater was barnstorming around the country in a presidential campaign, and the fight over civil rights was sizzling around the South when a new newspaper, the Atlanta Times, was born. Launched with considerable fanfare in 1964, the Times was intended to be a conservative voice that would appeal to readers offended by the supposedly more liberal Atlanta Constitution and Atlanta Journal. “On that June day in 1964, when 175,000 copies of the hefty 128-page premier issue were printed, the Atlanta Times appeared likely to give the larger papers a spirited fight with its editorial positions against the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and for Barry Goldwater,” the Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Hank Klibanoff writes in a deep exploration of the Times and its times in the latest issue of Emory Magazine. “But its conservatism was to be broader, [the paper’s founder, former Congressman James C.] Davis said in a page-one […]
My mother was a faithful Christian. She also was a devout Democrat. I thought about her as I read an article by Jim Galloway in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution about a new effort to recruit Christians for an effort to rid the world of nuclear weapons. Why shouldn’t Christians, of all people, be working to make the world a more peaceful place? As the Two Futures Project, the group organizing this campaign, says on its Web site: “We believe that we face two futures and one choice: a world without nuclear weapons or a world ruined by them.” That group, which is closely aligned with Ted Turner and Sam Nunn’s Nuclear Threat Initiative, is headed by a Baptist minister in Nashville, Tyler Wigg-Stevenson. It is not partisan in a political way. Both Democrats and Republicans are involved. But the issue is one that we’ve become accustomed to seeing Christians shun as […]
Leah Ward Sears, chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, has been mentioned as a possible U.S. Supreme Court replacement for Justice David Souter. Sears became the nation’s first African-American woman to preside over a state Supreme Court in 2005. The Washington Post has written an interesting story — http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/09/AR2009050902519.html?wprss=rss_print — on her friendship with Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, whom civil rights activists have accused of failing to represent African-Americans interests. Should that friendship be a factor in deciding whether Sears should be nominated?
A lot of people think news organizations only report the bad news. Some reporters I know object to that argument on the grounds that if someone does what she or he is expected to do — do a job well, for instance — it’s not really news. Their argument is that doing good work is what we should expect of people, whether teachers, politicians, flight attendants, plumbers, cops, or, let’s just say for instance, reporters. But here at likethedew.com, we don’t take good work for granted, and we really do want to spotlight wonderful stories about people doing good work when we come across them. Here’s one of those stories. If you are a parent of a teenager and you’ve been worried about helping him or her act responsibly when doing what people of a certain age do — the age when hormones really kick in and start raging — […]
Man at St. Simons Island gathering, after warily tasting hummus for the first time: “It doesn’t taste like cheeseburger, does it?” Man telling friends at St. Simons Island bar: “I still smoke a joint once a month just so I can never get a job at Sea Island,” a reference to the posh and snooty resort on a neighboring island. Bartender at laid-back St. Simons Island pub telling customers, “No food tonight. The chef quit.” One customer says, “I hear that’s going around on this island.” The bartender replies, “Quitting? Yes, it is.” Editor’s note: Have you seen a good street scene? Eleanor Ringel Cater, Jim Walls and Bootsie Lucas are among those who have. Send yours to firstname.lastname@example.org
Newly formed band called the Common Taters — get it? — making uncommonly good music as they rehearse at Rafters, a St. Simons Island, Ga., bar and music venue. Young woman hitching a ride north on I-95 at exit 106 in Savannah while a young man sits nearby on their duffel bags. She holds a hand-lettered sign: “I don’t bite.” Headline in the Brunswick, Ga., News over a letter about an incident at a Jekyll Island wedding: “Person who stole bride’s shoes should be ashamed.” Editor’s note: Have you seen a good street scene? Eleanor Ringel Cater, Jim Walls and Bootsie Lucas are among those who have. Send yours to email@example.com
When people start talking about Southern cooking, fried chicken is sure to come up. But, lately, my taste in chicken has been running a little farther South. Every week or two, I like to stop by Las Brasas, a brightly painted hole-in-the-wall in Decatur, Georgia, and pick up one of their Peruvian-style rotisserie chickens to take home. Las Brasas translates variously as “hot coals” or “flame-grilled,” and the chicken it serves has a distinctively smoky but juicy taste with hints of wonderfully mysterious spices. You can buy a whole bird for $9.99, a half for $6.99 or a quarter, which runs $3.99 for dark meat or $4.99 for light. When you order and are asked whether you’d also like hot sauce, be sure to say yes. The salsa de huacatay, a green sauce made with peppers and a minty herb known as huacatay, is not burn-your-mouth hot but it has […]
Pete Seeger stirring a massive audience at an anti-war rally in Washington with a rousing rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.” Pete Seeger performing “Turn, Turn, Turn” in a packed Yale University concert hall for a benefit for a Vietnamese hospital. Pete Seeger playing his banjo and belting out “If I Had a Hammer” to a crowd of drenched listeners in a driving rain storm at a benefit for environmental causes at New Haven’s harbor front. Sometimes in person, often through the tinny speakers of cheap record players, Pete Seeger’s voice and deft banjo picking got major airtime in the soundtrack of my youth. As I waited to meet his plane at the Atlanta airport one day in the early 1980s, those memories flashed through my mind. I had never met Pete (calling him Mr. Seeger just doesn’t sound right) but he had agreed to let me ride in […]