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don’t bet on it
For years now, the gambling business has had its eye on Georgia. It recognizes Georgia as a state with a growing population, and therefore, one they see as a target. They aim at establishing gambling in Georgia, to enrich, of course, their own coffers, while promoting that it will bring in more state revenue.
What this gambling group may not recognize is that Georgia is basically made up of solid, conservative, faith-based families who cast an askance glance at such sins as gambling.
“Give yourself a round of applause.” My wife Jody and I laughed as we read this equivalent to a Chinese fortune cookie phrase printed on the inside of a small Dove chocolate wrapper. In this after-dinner treat, we both saw the pompous face of a local blowhard passing out verbal unsavories that he had convinced himself were bite-sized bon mots. Pity the poor dinner partner or driving companion strapped in beside him and unable to escape.
he has a dream
Fifty-two summers ago, Martin Luther King challenged our nation with these words: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”
Today, some dream of placing a freedom bell on that mountain.
I have another dream today:
I have a dream that one fine day a little black boy and a little white boy will stand together side by side on top of Stone Mountain;
on the campaign trail:
Republicans expressed anger and resentment at the “lack of hate” in the Democratic debate Tuesday night that pitted front-runner Hillary Rodham Clinton against self-declared socialist candidate, Bernie Sanders.
“I’ve heard all this talk on the radio about how they are destroying this country, how he’s such a socialist, and she’s such a liar, I just expected fireworks and a meltdown, the kind of hatred and vitriol we take for granted at Republican debates and campaign rallies,” said Ted Fletcher, who watched the debate with his family at their home in Satsuma, Ala.
dressed for success
Today something happened that rocked my world. I know what you’re thinking, but no, it wasn’t due to jamming knitting needles in my ears to prevent listening to the sea of stupid rolling from the mouth of Donald Trump. It wasn’t due to the reports of Ben Carson digging his way into another intellectual manure pile by saying all you have to do to stop a mass shooter is to for everyone to agree to rush the shooter all at once…
My wife Jody likes rocks. All kinds of rocks, small rocks to big rocks. Gravel to boulders. She loves to search for special rocks in creek beds where the flowing water has worn them smooth and brought out colors and nooks and crannies worn away by time and motion.
For years now, she’s coveted one such boulder that once just poked its head out of our road the way the iceberg did that proved fatal to the Titantic…
let freedom ring
Every now and then something comes down the pike that you know immediately it’s the proper thing to do, and that it just plains makes sense. You also wonder why no one has come up with this obvious idea before.
We refer to the story of this week that the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is planning to build a memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. atop the granite mountain. Not only that, but the Association has already earmarked monies to build it…
worrying about fear
Sooner or later you have to face your fears.
You have to confront Goliath,’ the thing that’s always loomed large over your existence – the dead of night dark… the soaring heights… the closed-in spaces… flying … or circus clowns. Goliath bullies you, taunts you and then talks about your Mama. Mainly Goliath means to have his way with you, to beat you up, take your lunch money — and whatever esteem you have left.
a national treasure
Planning a trip to Michigan, we had heard about the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, so that was our first stop in a week’s trip to Michigan. It is adjacent to Greenfield Village, which we strolled around one morning, then took in the Museum in the afternoon. Both are stellar places to visit. The Village was created by Henry Ford to showcase many of America’s original historic homes.
the way i see it
My eyes are super-sensitive, as I discovered fifty years ago when, walking on a gusty day on an unfamiliar city street, a piece of grit flew into my eye. I was in instant agony: blinking, holding the eyelid, eye watering and conscious of time changing. Seconds became nanoseconds of excruciation. I looked around with the good eye for help. In one of the most fortuitous coincidences of my life I was passing an optician’s shop…
“A new mentality is needed, and this implies above all a recovery of ancient and original wisdom. And a real contact with what is right under our noses.” — Thomas Merton, in a letter to Thich Nhat Hanh
On Thursday, September 24, I saw Pope Francis with my own eyes. That’s the gospel truth. Now the confession. I was attending the Interfaith Moral Action on Climate rally — organized to support the Pope’s call to action on climate change. That’s me on the right of the photo. That’s Doug, my Buddhist friend and climate troubadour, on the left.
Having returned from his trip to the U.S. where he addressed Congress, Pope Francis on Tuesday issued an encyclical from the Vatican warning of “man-made Global Dumbing.” “It disturbs me beyond belief the level of intelligence quotient that I encountered during my visit to the U.S., especially in the Republican-led Congress, where I’m guessing the average IQ must be in the high 70s or low 80s, at best,” Francis said, through an interpreter. “That’s unacceptable.”
no reason or compromise
I once worked for an abusive boss, a man who proved impossible to please. Congenitally mean, and though he wore no eye-patch, he had all of the charm, charisma and management style of your average, garden-variety Bond villain.
After three days on the new job, I knew I’d made a mistake. A year on the job, my misery factor was so high, I prayed (I was a church-goer in those days) one of us would either get a better job and move on — or that one of us would die, though preferably not me!
I was still in mourning for Bobby “Blue” Bland, who passed in 2013, when a short while ago the house lights went down for the last time on B.B. King, too. What to do, what to do? So many of our great blues singers have made their Last Road Trip, have gone on to that Great Jam Session in the Sky: Bland, King, the two Jimmys (Reed and Witherspoon), Ray Charles, Lou Rawls, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Little Milton, to name but an octet of the very best.
Despite the seeming endless number of deficiencies the South can lay claim too, there have always been two aspects which have set the South apart: writers and football. Southern writers, when they are good, are very, very good. From Tennessee Williams to William Faulkner to Erskine Caldwell, Southern writers tap into a part of the human equation at a singular depth of understanding…
the water is rising
An old Jewish curse says, “May Your Life Be Filled With Lawyers.” Better lawyers than bedpans. Unlike actors in televised medical fables, real people who work at hospitals, while sometimes angelic, are mainly natural-born Homo sapiens, just like the rest of us –- part devil, part saint, but all too human. They mostly mean well, but many days, they just do not give a flip. And some, like former President Dubya Bush, obviously chose the wrong line of work.
With the season upon us again my mind drifted back to my first year of NFL football. I had just arrived in New York and settled into a walk-up apartment in Brooklyn. After finding a job and a place to live I decided to watch this new game. I didn’t have television so went to the Irish bar below the apartment to watch the away games. Home games were blacked out in the New York area…
my head hurts
It is just a matter of time until Medicare recipients are forced to wear a bell around their necks like Biblical lepers. Already, in some doctors’ offices, Medicare patients are as unwelcome as dog poo on a white Sunday shoe. Even some TV faith-healing evangelists no longer treat senior citizens.
There have always been some who loathed and despised poor sick people – not only Republicans…
a tender mercy
My heart like wax is melted. –Psalm 22:14
When I first met Allie and Ida, my wife Jody’s uncle and aunt, back in the late 1990s, Allie looked across the table at me and asked in his quiet and gentle way, “Are you a farmer, too?” I appreciated quickly that it would have been an honor to have been anything that Allie was. Ida was a treat, too, and became an e-mail buddy even before Jody and I were married.
Dear Young Self: Lately, you can hardly turn on morning TV without seeing someone from Oprah Winfrey to Colin Powell to Miss America reading “A Letter to My Younger Self.” It’s one of the latest media fads no doubt designed to garner higher ratings. If it’s not Oprah or Colin, it’s Tom Brady or Tyler Perry or Chrissy Teigen or some other obnoxiously rich, supernaturally attractive or disgustingly successful celebrity smoochin’ on themselves…
One of the internet’s main advantages is the opportunity to make one’s voice heard, however small. Our opportunity to support change has never been greater. If we can’t personally command attention, we can join with others to promote causes in common. I don’t look for bandwagons to jump on, but as issues present themselves I consider if my signature will advance a good cause. (If not mine, I don’t sign.)
Like her husband Lehman, who could talk warts off, Mary Grace never revealed the secrets of her magic. She would lose her powers, she said, if she revealed them to anyone except a male child of her own. The legatee was my cousin Buddy, who figures prominently in this story.
In writing all of this, I have hesitated to call any of it magic, for that might imply my belief in the inexplicable feats I’m telling you about. But I looked up the word “magic” not two minutes ago, and it is indeed the right word for what I’m describing. For, in part, the definition says: “any mysterious, seemingly inexplicable, or extraordinary power or influence.”
on the campaign trail
Bellevue, Ill. – Psychologists say there is growing evidence that GOP candidates scare pets and small children.
The psychologists, meeting here for their annual convention, said the research is based on interviews with parents whose children watched the first GOP debate and have since had difficulty sleeping without a parent in the room or leaving the lights on all night.
head nurse miz liz hart
Now I’m an old man and have seen five continents and people of every stripe. By far the meanest woman I ever knew was Head Nurse Miz Liz Hart. Let me explain: when I grew up we had a family doctor, Dr. Hugh McCullough. Dr. Hugh doctored everything from gall bladders to colds to wart removal. You could look at Dr. Hugh and you knew he was a kind, gentle, caring man. Never in a hurry. He always had time – not like today where your GP is allotted 15 minutes to guess what’s wrong with you and write a prescription.
Don’t even touch anything close to me. Help me get out of my chair but don’t let my toe pass by anything except the air it moves in. It hurts worse than anything you’ve ever told me about childbirth.
“It might hurt, but it’s nothing like childbirth,” my wife Jody corrected me after I howled in pain when my big toe barely brushed lightly against the sheets. I didn’t know what was happening to me, or rather, what was happening to my right foot’s big toe that was red and swollen and soon to resemble too much sausage squeezed into an undersized casing.
OXFORD, Miss. – Politicians and local editorial writers love Howard Industries of Laurel, Miss. The editors at the Laurel Leader-Call shower their blessings on Jones County’s largest employer and castigate any naysayer who might want to offer an alternative viewpoint. Politicians shower the producer of electrical transformers with money—taxpayers’ money…
freedom to discriminate
It’s a natural law: a pendulum, once swinging, will always reverse its course.
Sometimes, it takes forever for that pendulum to move the other way. Look at the State of Georgia, Democratic always until 2002, when the Republicans finally won the governor’s office. Up until then, the statehouse had been slowly moving toward a more conservative, Republican bent, with the GOP finally gaining control of both houses in 2004.