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By Murray Browne:
Having written and published a book about public transportation that is a novel wrapped in political satire, I have been lately asking myself, “What possessed you to embark on this journey in the first place?
Coincidentally, I need look no further than a piece I wrote called “Book Spotting,” that appeared in Like the Dew in 2011. The article mentions a fictitious book club on the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) whose basic membership requirement was to read something while riding public transportation…
Fact: Sherman’s middle name came from the Shawnee war chief Tecumseh.
Fun Fact: Initially, Sherman’s mother named him after the Ottawa war chief Pontiac, but then realized it made her son sound too much like an automobile.
Fact: Sherman was mentally ill shortly before the Civil War.
Fun Fact: Sherman was depressed because he didn’t know what to do with his life. The firing on Fort Sumter fixed all that.
Unless you’ve been hiding under home plate, you know that this is Larry “Chipper” Jones final season with the Atlanta Braves and the only big question remaining on this fan’s mind: is “Why do they still call him Chipper, when he doesn’t seem very happy?”
The Braves organization is constantly entreating upon us to share this historical experience with Chipper by purchasing commemorative photographic prints, baseball bats, and souvenir programs.
Next Friday is the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh fought on April 6-7, 1862 in a remote area of Tennessee about 20 miles northeast of Corinth, Mississippi. Confederate forces under Albert Sydney Johnston made a Sunday morning surprise attack against the Federal troops led by General Ulysses S. Grant. At the time, it was the bloodiest engagement fought on the North American continent with nearly 25,000 casualties, exceeding the combined casualties of the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War.
“I take a look at Hester’s book, still closed on her finger. A good way to size up people.” – Walker Percy, Love in the Ruins (1971)
To have an idea of what people are thinking about, I pay attention to the books they read while riding mass transit. Such an exercise of indiscreet voyeurism, however, is not as easy as it sounds. When you ride public transportation (at least in Atlanta), it’s better to keep your eyes and your business to yourself to avoid trouble, though I have rarely seen an instance of rudeness during my commutes. Nevertheless, staring at someone could be misconstrued as being judgmental or getting into someone’s space. Discretion is paramount.
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