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Michael J. Solender
Michael J. Solender is a recent corporate refugee whose opinion and satire has been featured in The Richmond Times Dispatch, The Winston-Salem Journal, and Richmond Style Weekly. He writes a weekly Neighborhoods column for The Charlotte Observer and is the City Life Editor for Charlotte ViewPoint. His micro-fiction has been featured online at Bull Men’s Fiction, Calliope Nerve, Danse Macabre, Dogzplot, Gloom Cupboard, Full of Crow, Pangur Ban Party and others.You can find more of his work at his website and also at his blog.
Number of posts: 21
Email address: email
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Posts by Michael J. Solender:
The Democratic Process
Those hosting last year’s Democratic National Convention in Charlotte filed a report with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department for items missing or stolen during the week long convention totaling nearly half a million dollars, according to Steve Harrison in today’s Charlotte Observer:
“The Democratic National Convention Committee said it recently sent the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department a spreadsheet detailing $496,000 worth of missing equipment. CMPD created an incident report in May.
I am terminally, helplessly and hopelessly prompt.
No matter how hard I try to be late for meetings, appointments or scheduled events I just can’t do it, my DNA won’t allow me to be tardy.
If you live in the South, you’ve probably never met anyone like me.
Like many Charlotte, NC residents I’m a “not-from-here” and yes, I grew up north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Granted, there the obsession with all things dominated by the clock is a bit more compulsive than it is in the South.
Home to the 2012 Democratic National Convention, Charlotte, NC isn’t New York City, one of my artist friends reminded me the other day. We’re not Los Angeles or San Francisco, not London and we are certainly not Paris.
One extremely popular parlor game around these parts, enjoyed particularly by those from the above-referenced burghs or those even further afield, is the blood-sport of city relative comparison. The dissection of what exactly the Queen City is – or more fashionably, what it is NOT – seems to fuel endless discussion amongst those smarter, hipper and infinitely-more-urbane-than-us lowlies here in “Banktown.”
As reported by Reuters, Bonneau, SC police ticketed a 65 year old woman for violation of local obscenity laws earlier this month. It seems the sexagenarian’s sporting of fake (thank goodness they weren’t real) testicles from her pick-up were enough to get the constabulary’s underwear in a bundle…
Is it me, or has this “reality TV” thing gone just a bit too far? Seriously, how long can a nation be held on the edge of its collective seat, waiting to see who is voted off the island or who will get the boot from “the Donald”? Do we really care who will win the Amazing Race or who Snooki’s next hook-up will be? There have got to be better entertainment options and a better cultural legacy to leave our children than “You’re fired!”
It seems that in momma’s generation, people actually engaged in their own lives. They knew their neighbors and were plugged into the community in which they lived…
The state of Mississippi leapt headlong onto the slipperiest of slopes as it is reportedly making kidney donation a condition of parole for a convicted armed robber. As documented by the Associated Press, Mississippi’s Governor Haley Barbour suspended the life sentences of two sisters convicted in 1994 of the armed robbery that netted them $11.00.
In a move that would undoubtedly satisfy even Shakespeare’s vengeful Shylock, Barbour made the 36-year-old Gladys Scott’s release contingent on her giving a kidney to Jamie, her 38-year-old sister, who requires daily dialysis.
Islam-o-phobia in America got ratcheted up several degrees today when NPR fired veteran journalist and commentator, Juan Williams, for stating on FOX news that he “gets nervous when he sees people in Muslim garb on an airplane” …
When learned and well respected reporters with pedigrees of scholarly writing and journalistic excellence in coverage of American civil rights state on national television that they get “worried” and anxious in seeing airline passengers who identify themselves through their clothing as Muslim, every one of us has cause for concern.
Is It Hot in Here Or Is Your Koran on Fire? For a wacko preacher of a church with less than fifty members, the pastor of the Gainesville congregation Dove Outreach Center Terry Jones, has proven himself a master promoter and genius in generating worldwide press coverage that corporate marketers with zillion dollar budgets can only dream about. It seems going public with his intention to stage a Koran burning and weenie roast — now canceled — from the front porch of his sparsely attended church…
In a gastronomic feat that is certain to rock and roll the Tar Heel State more than the blood glucose levels of a Brittle diabetic, those NC stalwart manufacturers of our favorite health foods, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Cheerwine cherry soda have teamed up to create the ultimate limited edition confection, the Cheerwine Kreme Filled Krispy Kreme Doughnut. As reported in my hometown rag and sometimes employer, the Charlotte Observer, the two have collaborated on a combo that is sure to send even the most conservative weight watchers into a frantic search for the famous “hot now” sign that shines round the clock at Krispy Kreme outlets.
Pope Benedict XVI last week delivered his most definitive statement and apology for the sex scandal that has been plaguing the Roman Catholic Church for the better part of the last decade. Standing before thousands of priests in St. Peter’s Square on Friday, the Pope begged forgiveness and was quoted by the New York Times as saying he would do “everything possible” to prevent priests from abusing children. Bishopaccountability.org, a U.S. based organization that documents the abuse crisis in the Church called the Pope’s remarks a squandered
The Brookings Institution has just published The State of Metropolitan America report which evaluates census and other data for the nation’s top one hundred metropolitan areas. Their conclusions? As a nation we are reaching critical milestones that if continued to be ignored will dramatically impact our collective standards of living in negative ways.
The report outlines five “new realities” to be mindful of. They are: Growth and Outward Expansion, Population Diversification, Aging of the Population, Uneven Higher Educational Attainment, and Income Polarization.
U.S Newspaper circulation suffered its biggest drop in over fifteen years as reported today by the Audit Bureau of Circulations. The annual report indicates an average weekday drop in circulation of 8.7% in the six months ending March 31st. Sunday circulation saw a fall of 6.5%.
The Chicago Sun-Times said that national journals showed large weekday losses, with the
Southerners, perhaps more than any other Americans, have a love affair with their food. Of late however, the relationship between Americans south of the Mason/Dixon line and their food has become more complicated and by many measures, downright dangerous.
According to the Trust For American’s Health 2009 study, eight of the ten states with the highest rates of obese and overweight children and adults are in the South. Mississippi led the way with the highest rate of adult obesity at 32.5 percent, making it the fifth year in a row that the state topped the list. Four states now have rates above 30 percent, including Mississippi, Alabama (31.2 percent), West Virginia (31.1 percent), and Tennessee (30.2 percent).
As if being a sixth grader wasn’t difficult enough, now it’s the teachers that start going for youngsters psyche. No wonder our kids don’t find school conducive to learning.
Sixth grade teacher Rex Roland shapes young minds at Enka Middle School outside of Asheville, North Carolina.
At least he did until Sunday, when the Asheville Citizen-Times reported Roland was suspended for writing “Loser” not once but twice on one of his student’s graded assignments.
With spring upon us, many high school teens across our land turn their thoughts to that annual rite of passage, the senior prom. If you are gay and attend Agriculture High-school in Itawamba County, Mississippi, however, you won’t be welcome. This follows a recent decision by the local school board that had the school district cancel the planned senior prom rather than allow an 18-year-old lesbian student attend wearing a tuxedo and accompanied by her girlfriend. The story of Constance McMillen has been reported in a number of media outlets including CBS news and tells of the flap caused by McMillen’s intention of attending her senior prom. McMillen simply desired to escort her girlfriend to the prom and dress up for the occasion, just as other teens have done to celebrate the tradition. According to CBS news, a Feb. 5 memo to students laid out the criteria for bringing a […]
The careers of two highly regarded and celebrated men came to surprise endings this week in Charlotte.
As reported in the Charlotte Observer, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger flew his last commercial flight for US Airways, landing his short hop run from Ft. Lauderdale into the Queen City on Wednesday. He received a water cannon salute by the Charlotte/Douglas International Airport Emergency crew …
Jake Delhomme, the affable “Rajun Cajun” quarterback of the Carolina Panthers for the better part of the past decade, also made news in Charlotte by leaving the Panthers .
Author, historian, and professor of Christianity and southern culture at Duke University, Timothy B. Tyson cannot escape from a definitive life changing moment he experienced as a ten-year-old growing up in Granville County, North Carolina. There he was witness to a turning point in the racially charged southern small town of Oxford. Like many such southern communities in the period immediately following the civil rights movement of the mid-to-late 1960s, Oxford residents were grappling with what the future of race would look like in their hometown.
The racially motivated murder of Henry Marrow, a black serviceman returning from Vietnam, and subsequent acquittal of the white businessman and his sons accused of the crime in 1972 led Tyson to write a paper in 1982 as a freshman history major in college.
Next time you go out for a cup-a-joe in the Palmetto state, you might find your Washington’s, Lincoln’s and Jackson’s no good at your corner coffee house. If State Representative Mike Pitts has anything to say about it you’ll be paying with gold or silver as he’s aiming to eliminate federally backed paper currency in favor of bullion.
CBS News reports that Pitts, a Republican, introduced legislation this month banning “the unconstitutional substitution of Federal Reserve Notes for silver and gold coin” in South Carolina. They quoted Pitts who stated, “The Germans felt their system wouldn’t collapse, but it took a wheelbarrow of money to buy a loaf of bread in the 1930s,” he said. “The Soviet Union didn’t think their system would collapse, but it did. Ours is capable of collapsing also.”
My morning started today as it does most mornings with coffee and my local rag and sometimes employer, the Charlotte Observer. I found one headline particularly troubling, Facebook venting ensnares teacher.
The story tells of a middle-school teacher in one of the city’s neighboring counties who used the popular social networking site to complain about her young students and their insensitivity to her religious beliefs (presumably Muslim though not explicitly stated) and values.
In what will likely deal a crushing blow to yet another revenue stream for budget-tight South Carolina, State Senator Larry A. Martin last week introduced a proposal to repeal the Subversive Activities Registration Act. According to Martin, the law has been on the state’s books since 1951 and mandates that state-based subversives first register and pay a five dollar filing fee with the state prior to any activities related to overthrowing the government or face some nasty fines.
According to officials with the North Carolina State Board of Education, the Tar Heel State’s high school children don’t need to learn about the founding of our nation or the Civil War. The Board is proposing changes to the high school history curriculum that will eliminate teaching about any historical events prior to 1877.
Worthy of Comment
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The great satirist, song writer and pianist Tom Lehrer had me wondering about and laughing at his songs even as an adolescent just beginning to appreciate the sardonic view of life. Who could hear and ever forget his black humor in "Poisoning Pigeons In The Park"? Although separated by time, he and I both served in the Army as "enlisted scum" and both achieved the rank of "Specialist Four," which he described as "a corporal without portfolio." He held onto his identity as a sartorial dandy even draped in his wrinkled and ill-fitting uniform, describing his olive drab duds, "If it Read on →
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. There were also terrier races, a demonstration by some really cool bird dogs, and camel riding for the kids. ( Read on →
Who would have thought that years in corporate America would be the business background of a newly-published Gwinnett author? Michael Brown, a Loganville, Ga resident, has now had two books published. We read his Somewhere a River, a 268 page novel from Deeds Publishing of Atlanta, and found it most enthralling. It is set in Alabama, the story turning around growing up in the South, high school and college football, and the entanglements we can get ourselves in both when younger and afterward. Later parts of the story take place in a different setting… Wyoming, of all places, as a struggling S Read on →
The guitar symbolized the entire day. A four string Fender electric bass resembling those currently popular among rock star wannabees and Hipsters. You pay a few hundred extra and the manufacturers ‘distress’ it. Makes the instrument appear well-worn, as if the owner has played every day for decades. Like Willie Nelson’s old acoustic, minus the bungee strap. I asked Owen if that was how it happened. He smiled a little then got a wistful look in his ancient eyes. “Yeah, it’s been distressed. The first bass I ever got.” Owen Brown owns the grounds where Birdland Studio sits. The place looks like a movie set f Read on →