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Number of posts: 62
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By Mark Johnson:
we are so fired
Donald Trump’s relentless promise to Make America Great Again carried him through the Republican primaries with surprising efficiency. He beat Marco Rubio in the Midwest, easily carried Florida and the West, and fought off a late entry by Michael Bloomberg. The Republican convention became a pep rally for the dissatisfied, and his surprise choice for his vice presidential running mate was the final blow to any mainstream Republican hopes.
In a caustic and bombastic general election, Trump’s strength multiplied while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought a tight but eventually losing battle…
racing for cause
My friend Hugh Wilson once described the Atlanta Steeplechase as an event where a large crowd of well-dressed people stand in a pasture and get drunk while horses jump over bushes. The Atlanta Steeplechase celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend. A lot of people dressed up in clothes they probably wouldn’t wear to work or church, women wore fancy hats, the good china came out for elaborate tailgating, alcohol was consumed in abundance, and there was some pretty darn exciting horse racing.
My friend, Jack deJarnette, was a frequent contributor to Like The Dew. He was a retired United Methodist minister who came to the cloth by way of respiratory therapy.
Jack and I met the first day of the 9th grade at Georgia Military Academy in College Park. (GMA is now Woodward Academy.) I was stone cold alone sitting in study hall when Jack and I started talking. A lifelong friendship was born.
It was never my intention for the girls down the street to see me in my Superman suit.
My mother, a talented and inventive seamstress, had made me the outfit after I had become addicted to the Superman TV series starring George Reeves. It was a harmless diversion for an 8 year old.
never ending story
Daphne is a little brown Carolina wren, and she came to live with us about a month ago. Actually, she lives in the fern by the door to the deck. She was first known as that cute little brown bird who keeps flying out of the fern. Not being experts on the nesting habits of the Carolina wren, it didn’t occur to us she was decorating the nursery.
I guess everybody has heard about 2012 DA14 by now. DA14 is an asteroid that’s going to zip by next Friday at a comfortable 17,200 miles above the Earth’s surface.
“But wait!” you exclaim, “that sounds close!”
Damn right. It’s closer than some satellites. There are a few troubling things about DA14, other than the fact it’s the size of an office building and could flatten a major city. First, the reason it’s called 2012 DA14 is that we didn’t even know it was there until last year.
The Christmas decorations are up, the stockings are hung, Santa has been visited, toys are bought and hidden, cookies baked, and assurances have been made the fireplace will be empty Christmas eve.
It’s a beautiful winter’s day. She had skipped off to school, turned and waved and gone through the door of the school chattering with her best friend forever.
And then the phone rings.
I like chickens. In fact, my very first story for Like The Dew was about a proposed ordinance in Roswell that would outlaw keeping chickens within the city limits. I never heard how that turned out, but it was a quite heated dispute.
I have no problem with eating chicken. Southern fried chicken (which means it must be real chicken deep fried in real grease by a real southerner) is in the DNA of anyone raised south of Baltimore. (So are Varsity onion rings but that is a different story.)
Missing Maple Syrup
According to several news sources, thieves in the Canadian province of Quebec have stolen a significant amount of the 10 million pounds of maple syrup in Canada’s Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve (similar to our Strategic Oil Reserves only sweeter). The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers maintains the Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve which is made up of 10 million pounds in the worth $30.4 million.
The first time I met William R. Brewster, Jr. was in the fall of 1957. I was a new cadet at Georgia Military Academy in College Park, Georgia, and he was the superintendent. He was Commander Brewster then, a retired Navy officer. When I graduated from GMA, Commander Brewster had become Captain Brewster and he had taken over as president of the school.
Voice of God
You probably would not have known Greg Oliver by sight. But if you have listened to the radio, watched TV or been through the airport, you know Greg.
As you step on to the escalator to go to the trains, you heard Greg. It is his deep, authoritative voice that reminds you:
“If you are going down the escalator, you are entering the transportation hall. Smoking, eating and drinking are prohibited in the transportation hall.”
In May of 2001 I went to Normandy with a veteran of the 82nd Airborne who had parachuted behind the German lines in the early hours of June 4, 1944.
His name was Dr. Rufus Broadaway, and he had not been back since the war. His reason? He had “other things to do.” He was a retired vascular surgeon, had practiced in Miami for over 40 years, and was one of the founders of a major hospital.
It was, to say the least, a shock when I found out my daughter thought I was a deadbeat.
And in the process of being told I was a worthless husband and provider and that if it wasn’t for mom we would be all living in a cardboard box, I learned a valuable lesson about perception.
In his book, In Search of Excellence, Tom Peters makes the point “perception is all there is.” It’s an old observation. Around our house when I was getting older (“growing up” is a different concept altogether,) I heard “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” Also true.
In 1967 I decided I wanted to produce a series of motivational tapes. I convinced the late Ruth Kent of WSB-TV plus a well-known minister to have a conversation about the meaning of life, success, motivating yourself and the need for a spiritual foundation. There was no script, and I wanted the talk to run no longer than 20 minutes.
Right. Should be a piece of cake. The cake fell, but in the process I met Tom Wells. He owned a new, little recording studio named Doppler.
The art world is abuzz over the recent discovery of what one veteran critic “in the know” calls “a vibrant re-expression of a post-modern minimalist rejuvenation of the expressive neo-regression of late 18th century impressionistic overthrow of form.” And he is not alone in his praise.
I can say without any qualification that, in my entire career, I have seen nothing as viscerally exciting as this newly discovered master.
And who is the cause of the waves of excitement surging through the art world?
The man sitting next to me on the flight to Ft. Lauderdale was named David. He was on the way to Florida to visit his cousin and her children. OK. He was an aircraft mechanic, lived in Clarksville, Tennessee, was divorced and was going to South America from Ft. Lauderdale. OK. He was born in Kentucky, did not like Tennessee, and had moved to Georgia. OK. He was 47 years old, wore jeans, a sport shirt, and an orange cap with a logo on it. He didn’t like cats. OK. I’m not real fond of cats either.
And then David told me in the same tone of voice he had used when complaining about cats that his body was eaten up with cancer and that his doctor had told him he had 60 days to live.
Are There Bananas in Heaven?
A new controversy has emerged that is threatening to overshadow the impending Iowa presidential caucuses.
It was reported yesterday that Cheetah, Tarzan’s beloved sidekick had passed anyway in Florida. He was 80, enjoyed painting, and occasionally threw feces at people he didn’t like.
But Tamara Lush of the Associated Press filed a story yesterday throwing doubt on reports of the death. Several animal parks as well as two individuals have claimed to have the original chimp, but all said that Cheetah had swung on his last vine many years ago.
An animal expert said that, if the chimp had actually lived to 80, he would be the oldest chimpanzee on record. “Normally they don’t live much past 40 years.“
It’s the time of year when retailers try to convince you that every visible structure and open patch of ground must have lights, inflatable snow globes or gaudy trees that pulse to electronic renditions of “Blue Christmas.”
Sure, Christmas is too commercial. We all know that, and there is nothing we can do about it.
Rebecca – known this time of year as Mother Christmas – is dedicated to giving thoughtful and appropriate gifts to anyone who even vaguely qualifies as family. As you might expect, my view of “thoughtful and appropriate” often conflicts with hers.
Ralph Lomma is not a name you hear bandied about during a discussion of great inventors.
The cave man who invented the wheel? Sure. Thomas Edison, Eli Whitney, Gutenberg, Ray Kroc, the Earl of Sandwich? They all make the list. But Ralph Lomma is a name lost in the rush to laud Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, the Wright Brothers and Harlan Sanders.
Why should we build a statue of Ralph Lomma in every public square in America? Because it is Ralph Lomma who made miniature golf what it is today.
Well, chickens are back in the news. With all the attention being paid to the debt ceiling media event, the school mess and the endless stories on CBS Atlanta about the fireman who was smoking dope on the job, it’s easy to understand how you may have missed the chicken crisis in Cobb County.
To set the record straight, it is perfectly legal to keep chickens in your backyard in Cobb County. But in an unexpected flurry of ordinance muscle flexing, Cobb County decreed that chicken keepers must have 2 acres of land – which includes the home, garage, tool shed, old trampoline, soggy dog toys, and the chickens.
If someone from the planet Boorah asked me to explain the debt ceiling thing, I would say that it took 2 months for a group of self-serving egomaniacs to do what they were going to do anyway but would have been done quicker if somebody hadn’t invented television.
I’m not an economist. (For the uninitiated that is roughly the same as me saying I’m not a vascular surgeon.) But I understand this debt ceiling thing well enough to know that the US doesn’t make enough to pay its credit card bill.
If we don’t pay the interest on the credit card then our credit score will go down and people will start getting nervous about our ability to pay our bills.
So we have to cut our budget (stop going to movies, less steak, no summer camp, vacation in Panama City instead of Biarritz, send little Molly to a state school and put off painting the house.)
Albert Einstein said: “Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former.”
Anthony Weiner, the congressperson from the 9th District of New York, proved that point and got bonus points in a stroke of world-class, compounded, Olympic-level stupidity by sending a photograph of a well-known but usually covered male organ to a woman in Seattle. He used Twitter’s private (singular but could be plural in this case) mail feature. Except that, oh my, not all private communications stay private. Someone got ahold of Anthony’s Playgirl audition and it was seen by the object of his … uh … ego.
I’m cleaning up my office
I am a writer by trade, and many writers are able to concentrate on their craft if they don’t have to worry about filing, having office supplies in the same place, or having a place on your desk to put things like a pencil.
You could say, charitably, that my office is messy. I think of it as disorganized. The Goddess says it’s gross.
So in a stunning moment of stupidity, I told Rebecca I would clean up my office.
“Does that include the stuff poking through the rails along the walkway to your office?”
It’s fashionable to write heart-wrenching obituaries for beloved pets who have crossed over. I’ve written them myself. I refuse to do it this time.
Today is Molly’s 15th birthday. That’s old for a Scottish terrier, and she’s certainly showing her age. Like a lot of elderly Scotties she’s deaf. She can’t go outside unless I carry her, and she has cataracts. She is also in the advanced stages of Scottie dementia.
She will stand on shaky legs and just, well, stand there. The Goddess thinks she still recognizes us, but I have pointed out that her flashes of recognition only come when we have food in our hand.
“Looks like you’re headed for Washington.”
“You betcha. Another victory for freedom.”
“How was your freshman orientation?”
“Gonna cut some spending.”
“Sure is. I know John thinks so.”
“The Speaker of the House. We’re tight.”
A non-partisan fable.
“So you’re running for office …”
“Yep. Going to Washington.”
“It’s time to set things right.”
“I think all voters agree with that.”
“Too much waste.”
“Too much bureaucracy.”
The Goddess and I are at her family reunion in south Georgia.
“Look, sweetheart, there are just three things people talk about at family reunions.”
“Let me guess. Global warming, the oil spill, and the economy.”
“Not even close. They talk about food, health problems and how natural somebody looked in their casket.”
Many years ago during times of struggle of one kind and another, a friend sent me the following. It was written by a Baptist minister named Gary Odle.
I am not usually a fan of pop religion, but I am a fan of good writing and clear thinking no matter what form it takes.
I’m not a Baptist. My spirituality is a very personal thing for me. In fact, I never saw Gary’s “Rules” as a religious document. My definition of God is no doubt different from yours, as yours is different from others. You could be a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or Druid. Doesn’t matter. Just insert your definition of your Higher Power where appropriate. And be at peace.
FROM: The Chairman
TO: Tony Heyward
SUBJECT: This oil thing
Sorry to hear about 4th place in the race yesterday. Damn shame.
FROM: Tony Heyward
TO: The Chairman
SUBJECT: This oil thing
Thanks. Reggie dropped the ball. Of course, I wasn’t at the helm so it wasn’t my fault.
Ralph McGill, Jr. was one of my closest friends, and now he’s dead. Heart attack, the paper his father put on the map said.
Ralph was, and shall remain, the best copywriter I ever knew. Period. He had a quick mind, a vicious sensed of humor, and an almost psychic sense of what would sell.
It’s no secret that Ralph had issues with booze, women and money. But he never had issues with being Ralph.
I worked with Ralph for a time at Braselton Advertising. He and the late Clyde Hogg were buddies, and, along with Don Gill, some magic stuff came out of that shop.
I’ll miss him. I didn’t see him enough, and I kept meaning to call him. Now he’s gone, and I didn’t say goodbye.
Somewhere in that great ad agency in the sky, Ralph, and Clyde, and Tom Little are sitting around coming up with ideas for God’s next campaign. Watch out for thunder and lightning.
Editor’s note: A “Remembering Ralph McGill” Facebook page has been set up with the following post, “His family needs assistance in his burial and other expenses. Info will be added soon if you’re so inclined.”
You simply cannot make this stuff up. You just can’t.
The following story by Kristi E. Swartz appeared in the Saturday, May 29, 2010, issue of the AJC on page B4.
Wife indicted in husband’s killing.
The domestic-violence lobbyist accused of gunning down her husband of five days near the Varsity Restaurant was indicted in court Friday morning.
I believe it’s important to establish this is a true story. I’ve been to Marshall and talked to people who saw Jim, or who had parents who did. My next door neighbor grew up in Kansas City, and her dad told me about seeing Jim when he was traveling through Marshall.
Yes, there are elements of a fish story here. Bass grow bigger as the story is repeated. That’s why I have tried to stick to verifiable events. (If you would like to read an in-depth story about Jim, check out the August 1985 issue of Outdoor Life.)
There was an English setter named Jim who lived in Missouri in the late 1920’s who could read minds and predict the future.
It was during breakfast in Seattle that I had to choose between killing dust mites and looking good naked.
You see, the booths at the hotel café had individual TV monitors. The programming consisted of the major networks, the two cable news channels, endless NCIS reruns, and a veritable goldmine of infomercials.
A “goldmine” you scoff? Consider:
As I took the first sip of my double quad skinny mocha with …
Proceedings of the House Sub-Committee on Relocation and Allocation of Personnel Resources Subject to Allocation and Relocation Guidelines …
GINGKO: You are planning to relocate 250 people to the island of Patmos, correct?
WINGLE: Yes, we are establishing an agricultural trade center …
GINGKO: Living on Patmos probably will be scary.
GINGKO: Yeah. Patmos isn’t very big and if you get too many people on it the whole island will sink.
“It sure is a beautiful Sunday, Miss Jewel.”
“Oh, it certainly is, Eddie, it certainly is. A blessed Sunday. You know, I joined this church 65 years ago.”
“That’s quite a record.”
‘Some years were easier than others. Like when that Reverend Pickleton was here back in nineteen and seventy one. Never preached a single sermon out of the Old Testament. Four years and not a word about God’s wrath and eternal damnation of sinners.”