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Number of posts: 78
Email address: email
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Posts by Will Cantrell:
world cup futbol
Dear Soccer: Congratulations! The World Cup has been truly great. You`ve really outdone yourself this time around. As it turns out, you really ARE a ‘beautiful game.’ You’ve had boffo TV ratings and you’ve inspired a resurgence of U.S. national pride. You’ve even raised our awareness of geography — such as the fact that South America is not really “… Alabama, Mississippi and the parts of Georgia that ain’t Atlanta” as many Americans previously thought. We learned other things too, such as…
duck and cover
If there’s one thing that scares me to death, it’s death.
There’s other stuff that terrifies me too, such as going to sleep and waking up as a giant insect, or waking up Republican, but the visit by the Grim Reaper has always been The Big Magilla. The straight up truth is I’m not exactly thrilled none of us is going to live forever.
computer blues - part II
Just like my neighbor Carlos’ ferocious, man-eating cocker spaniel — or my Sixth Grade nun — Internet password strength checkers can smell fear on a man: Gotta’ get by me first punk, before you can do anything,” each one of them barks. But again, I’m getting ahead of myself…
“What do you want first, the good news or the bad news?” The statement is made by the head of the Credit Card Fraud Department of my current bank and former longtime employer. His cramped office is located in the bowels of the bank headquarters building in midtown Atlanta…
computer blues - part 1
The truth was that I’d have ponied up a week’s pay to watch the guy — if it was a guy — roll those two monster truck tires on board that Jet Blue flight to California’, two week’s pay to watch him stuff both the behemoths into the overhead baggage compartment. But, I’m getting ahead of myself…
Every time me and my computer get to a place where we finally understand each other, where we get things worked out between us, something goes awry. The honeymoon does not last for long. The threat to happiness ever after often comes from the outside, in the form of a new and ‘even worse than ever before’ computer virus…
a brief & sordid history
You promised yourself you would not get involved this time. You knew all about the probabilities … the impossibilities, really. You knew all about the odds against success, heard Nate Silver — or somebody — use five dollar words like “implacable,” “infinitesimal” and “asymptotic” to assure Charlie Rose the odds were ridiculous. And yes, you knew it was a Fool’s Notion for a grown man — someone who should know better — to think he had even a ghost of a chance of predicting the outcome of a 63 game string. There were too many X-factors a mere mortal couldn’t possibly know. Even the players and the hangers-on had no clue. Not even that Neil DeGrasse Tyson guy or Johnny Cochran, if he were still alive, could manage it.
Moments before, I’d accidentally dropped the TV remote. The thing must’ve flopped on the floor at some crazy-ass angle and flipped the channel to something else. I’d been laughing at a Saturday afternoon Three Stooges Marathon. Now, at the very top of the hour, an announcer, Jim McKay tells me I am about to enjoy “…the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.”
Every Blue Moon or so, comes another heretofore unfathomable, unthinkable, damn near frightening moments that causes me to come to the stark realization that life as we know it has very likely just changed forever — and nothing will ever be the same. The first of these moments I remember came in the Seventies when somebody came up with the bright idea you could actually charge people fees for stuff that had previously been free forever…
The Hawk has come South and Hell has frozen over.
I can’t prove these two events scientifically but I am very sure both happened in the last few days. Suddenly, the area to the south of the Mason-Dixon line is the freeze-framed Land of Petrified Cold. Mother Nature has turned into a frigid, heartless, cold-blooded shrew.
It hasn’t been this cold since…
Dear Fate (aka Pure Dumb Luck): A few days back, out of what must have been millions upon millions of contest entrants, you choose to smile broadly on a lady living in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Statisticians tell us that ‘Ms. Stone Mountain Big Winner Lady’ (not her real name) has a better chance of being struck by lightning than winning the Powerball Lottery. Ms. Lady is extraordinarily lucky TWICE last week then. First, she doesn’t get struck by an electric bolt out of the blue yonder and second, she wins ONE HUNDRED TWENTY MILLION DOLLARS!
in these crazy days
I’ve been doing the grocery shopping at my place for awhile now. An arrangement that came about when ‘the management’ (as I sometimes call her) grew weary of me carping about the monthly food bill. So I take her’ double-dog dare’ to”… see if you can do any better, Buster” And of course, the way these kind of things always go, I couldn’t. But I did learn a few things…
Roger’s Fine Foods (not it’s real name) is one of those bigger box national grocery stores located in close proximity to Atlanta’s Little Five Points area.
Who'll Be Infallible?
Black Pope Cometh? Yankee Pope Goeth?
Lately, I am especially intrigued by odds and probabilities. This recent fascination can be traced back to last December when I was pondering whether to pay bills or buy Christmas gifts. The ultimate decision hinged on the odds of the Mayans being right in their prediction of an upcoming Apocalypse. Not long into the deliberations, I was poking around one of those gambling websites that handicaps various events. When it came to Mayan’s predictions, the site promised there “…is a better chance of the Pope quitting or a meteor hitting Russia next February than the chances of…
Real Life Tales
“It’s 12:00 noon for crying out loud. What do you mean; I’ve got to wait for my fries? How can you be out of fries…at this time of the day,” I asked the young woman barking orders behind the service counter at BigBuckle’s, where they boast over 30 billion served.
BigBuckle’s Burgers and Fries Fast Food are nearly ubiquitous as pine trees or television evangelists.
Confession. I’m a junkie. There, I’ve said it. I’ve bared my soul. But it’s the truth, I’m addicted to print. I’ll read anything that happens to be in my line of sight no matter who put it there: bestsellers, bathroom walls, drug store rags, Proust, skywriting and self-help books (though it’s arguable any of these have ever worked on me). Non-fiction works, the works of Scott Turow, the fine print on bottles of analgesics…
Certified Funny by Trevor
That damn cat is back.
I spied the black and grey stray lurking about the backyard on the first morning of the New Year. I’d seen him months before and shooed him off any number of times, but he’s back again. I bet he thinks I wouldn’t notice, the same bet I have about the latest ‘just under the radar news’ story. Maybe the ones who make the Rules of the Road thought we wouldn’t notice…
It's Better To Give
“Not bad,” I say to myself, taking inventory of this year’s Christmas spoils. It’s the “night after” and I’m standing next to the nine-foot loblolly pine felled from the woods out back. I’d had my eye on the thing since the dog days of summer and finally gave it the axe the day after Thanksgiving. After a good, proper and practiced “TIM-BERRRR”, I managed to wrestle the tree along with its sticky, cumbersome limbs through the front door to a spot inside, a few feet from the fireplace.
You’re concerned. And you have every right to be. Every right.
You feel threatened.
You figure even though bin Laden is dead and no matter how good Obama is at aiming those predator drones, there’s still plenty of stuff making you lose sleep at night: Iran, North Korea, deep space asteroids that could be headed for Earth, rising tensions in the Gulf, the Kardashians and the Republican Party just to name a few. You worry about global warming. You’re also terrified that those people over at Microsoft will go through with their threat to roll-out a new version of Windows soon.
Finding anything named after the Deity ought to be easy… very easy… a lead pipe cinch, you say to yourself. After all, its namesake is rumored to be… well… EVERYWHERE. You figure globs of the stuff to be dripping from the branches of trees, oozing from swamplands, being swept from concrete carport floors and dusted from the tops of wing-tipped shoes, like pollen during the high season. The Bohemian side of your nature – and everyone has at least a little – hints you might even find… some of ‘em frolicking, like hippies, in a nearby meadow,“nekid” as jaybirds and “up to sumthin’.” It will be easy, you again say to yourself.
For the record, Don Cornelius danced down the precocious gauntlet of the famed Soul Train line exactly once, in 1973. Mary Wilson, then of the Supremes, was his partner.
You’d think that the man who invented the idea would’ve more frequently joined the festivities. But that was not Don’s way …
He was lyrical, emphatic, ‘to the point’ and above all, ‘too cool for school.’ I also noticed, at least I did at certain times, that he had a gleam in his eye that conveyed, not arrogance but the idea that ‘I know something that you don’t (…and I’m still the coolest cat in the room’).
I confess, I took Etta James for granted. I mean it seems like she’d always been around. Like the Moon. Like the Ocean. Or maybe like that monument out on Easter Island. Then comes the sad news: she’d passed away.
The news of her death wasn’t a complete shock, of course. She was ill and had been hospitalized for awhile. I guess that I just subconsciously assumed that she’d pull through. Then I remember the old adage we’ve all heard by now about what happens when one ‘assumes’. Still, I am a little brokenhearted.
Even all these weeks and days later, I can think of him only as “Red.”
It’s one of those “days after.” The market has misbehaved and the Dow is down a gazillion points.
I am at Five Points Station and not far away approaches a man who is anonymous except that he is covered from head to foot in the blood red clay-turned-to-dust of the Georgia drought. The man wears no hat and no boots, but from the look and smell of him, he’s been working hard at something.
Stuff Found Under A Tree
So, for Christmas I get one of those spiffy new E-readers. The gift box just materialized under the small Douglas fir that is this year’s Christmas tree, left there by some Secret Santa.
Several days later, no one has claimed responsibility for the gift though I have a short list suspects.
My new prize was wrapped in a small book-sized (ironic, hunh?) box, cleverly enveloped in gun-metal red gift foil and tied with a wide green felt ribbon complete—and I swear this is true– a bough of holly.
Eye of the Beholder
Almost five hundred years later, after everyone including Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown and a plethora of Popes can’t quite figure it out, along comes an amateur who cracks the code. New York based, amateur artist Ron Piccirillo claims the enigmatic expression painted on the Mona Lisa’s face is envy. What’s more, he says, there’s a bonus: if you look at Mona “just right” you can see all kinds of mischief going on behind her back: animals and secret codes and such.
The air is crisp and cool, Christmas music blares throughout the entire free world and even France. These are the signals that a favorite time of the year is upon us, once again: PBS Pledge Week.
Every year, I can hardly wait to see what new scheme the PBS people will try to guilt us into coughing up unholy amounts of cash so they can sponsor even more Doo-Wop Reunions and also televise stuff like the Bowel Cleansing Yoga-Diet Dance Method over and over again.
A few years ago, during Pledge Week, PBS went about shaking us down by digging up the bodies of a bunch of old Rock ‘n’ Roll stars and forcing them onstage to give one last performance.
There are germs in the air.
And stories too.
A writer never knows what winds will carry a seed. Or where a wind blown seed might land. Story germs, I call them and they are found most everywhere: planes and trains and bus stations and bars. Hotel rooms and yard sales and subway stations and barber chairs. I once ‘found’ a story seeded in one of those long, slow moving, interminable automobile tag lines before the days of online renewal. A piece about a grandmother and the tattoo of her new Ferrari was there, just waiting for me.
Lately, I’ve become as fidgety as a small kid riding in a car bound for a place he’s never been.
“Are we there yet?”
The destination is the End of the Recession. Until we get ‘there,’ I am tumbled about in the backseat of an old roadster careening down a bumpy and pot-holed Recession Road. I am hanging on, bouncing up and down, praying that whomever is driving will sober up — and that we’ll get there in a hurry.
I had no interest in seeing the movie, “The Help.” I’d read the book – TWICE —and as any avid reader knows ‘the movie’ is never as good as the book. Never! For one thing, one of the great problems in translating the written word to celluloid is that the film medium typically removes entirely, or drastically changes some of the elements the book’s author left to the reader’s imagination. (You say “TO-MA-TOE” and I say “TO-MAH-TOW, as it were.) Then, there are the inevitable dramatic effects added by Hollywood in order to make the screenplay more bofo at the box office.
There‘s always one thing or another going on with me.
I guess that it’s just the nature of things and as my late Uncle Copernicus would say “Kid, if it’s not one thing, it’s two or three of ‘em.”
My current problem is musical. For the past few days, there has been a song rattling around inside my head–like a couple of loose marbles. I can’t seem to turn it off, at least not for very long. Good songs and sometimes even bad ones are like squatters, the common cold and a few of my relatives: they show up and stay until they decide it’s time to leave …
Worthy of Comment
Also on the Dew
One night about three years ago when Jake was five, I was settling him to sleep with a book about Chicken Licken. I hadn’t met her before but Jake knew her well. When we got to the end of the book and he asked for another story, I was too tired to fetch another book, and didn’t want to disturb his sleepy state, so I made up a variation on this theme. We lay with our eyes closed, imagining. Taking the character’s name in vain, we casually began to invent life situations and adventures for Chicken Licken. “Chicken Licken goes to school” Read on →
Liberal America's disconnection from the power of the spiritual dimension is not only manifested in this hopelessness I've heard from people. The costs of this condition go a lot deeper. Indeed, it is through Liberal America’s “dispirited” state that this side of America’s political divide has played an important role in letting destructive forces wield so much power in our political system. The whole of the American body politic is exposed as defective by our current political pathology. A famous line from the poet Yeats: “The best lack all conviction, while the worst / Are filled with a passionate intensity.” Here is what I see as th Read on →
The French Impressionists attempted a rendering of what they saw, an "impression" yes, but the interesting aspect is best illustrated by Seurat's Pointillism. Interesting because in the late 1800s there was a shift in emphasis among painters of an adventurous nature, what came to be called the "avant-garde," from the "subject" depicted to the "act" of perception. This shift may have grown out of or been influenced by then current scientific theories of how the eye works, but I believe it was based in an emerging self-awareness. The excitement was not about "how" I see but "that" I see. I Read on →
This past weekend, my wife Jody and I attended a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Blackfriar’s Theater in Staunton, Va. Just to hear the language was well worth the one-hundred forty mile round trip. Although I don’t have the skill to read it in the original French, Anthony Burgess’ translation which combines blank verse, prose, and rhyming couplets held our attention for the nearly three-hour performance. He created a contemporary sound for a play written in 1897 by Edmond Rostand based on an historical seventeenth-century troubadour, dramatist, poet, soldier, and sword-swinging duelist known for his razor-sharp wit and w Read on →