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Thursday, April 17, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    sincerely

    My Country ‘Tis of Thee

    by | Feb 17, 2014
    My Country 'Tis of Thee

    The phenomenon of elderly people fixed with rapt and adoring attention on The Lawrence Welk Show used to totally baffle me. Everything about it seemed transparently fake – fake smiles, fake dialogue, fake music. The bubbles might have been real. It was like the glaring opposite of hip. But hip can be fake too, more like the opposite of authentic, or maybe anti-real. It’s not much of a leap from Lawrence Welk to Ronald Reagan.

     

     

    galumphing

    Child’s Play

    by | Feb 14, 2014
    Child's Play

    He always held his pencil differently from the rest of us. While we philistines labored to be little Norman Rockwells desperately trying to make the faces we sketched look at least human, he glided over the paper with an ease none of us could ever duplicate. His faces were human, but they were in a Picasso-like abstract style. The noses were there but they sometimes overlapped the mouth and eyes and were out of proportion. Our teacher in middle school was not in the least amused and totally disinterested in how his mind was able to see the assignment in such a different way. All she could tell him was to quit “wasting time” and …

     

     

    being remembered

    What’s your legacy?

    by | Feb 14, 2014
    What's your legacy?

    When his obituary appeared prematurely in the press, Mark Twain remarked: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” In the last weeks a number of deaths of celebrities have been falsely reported. Nothing but fame seems to connect the individuals whose erroneously reported demise has set the twittering classes tweeting. First I read on the internet that Michael Moore had died. I was dismayed at the loss of this useful member of society and great campaigner, and relieved next day when I discovered the report was false…

     

     

    in the south

    Cold Snow

    by | Feb 13, 2014
    Cold Snow

    I step out to a gray afternoon; queerly, white flakes fall from the Atlanta skies. It’s been snowing about an hour. The black roofs are now speckled grey and slowly turning white, yet dark streaks run their length telling of their poor insulation. Over the lawn, a thin blanket of snow leads to my car, a couple frozen blades still stick out. I look back at my footsteps; they only sink about a half inch. A smile of childhood emerges, as I recall how I loved to go sledding.

     

     

    'til death do you part

    Love and Romance in Obituaries

    by | Feb 12, 2014
    Love and Romance in Obituaries

    Among the survivors, obituaries usually mention the spouse whether the “devoted wife,” “adoring husband,” “the loyal husband” or the “love of his/her life.” Occasionally, though, careful obituary readers will find poignant “valentines” or little love stories almost buried in the litany of jobs, accomplishments and hobbies.

    It’s always fun to happen upon these as they definitely help to paint a more complete picture of how a relationship began or how a couple bonded and flourished over the years. Even just a hint of romance or intrigue or courtship that is revealed adds a little sweet perspective to a departure.

     

     

    saved his life

    My Buddy Al Has ‘Obamacare’

    by | Feb 11, 2014
    My Buddy Al Has 'Obamacare'

    Al is a crusty New Yorker who moved to our very waspy Republican stronghold here in Central Florida about 10 years ago to open a small cabinetry and carpentry shop. My wife and I own a small cafe here that we opened one month after President Obama was elected. Our very risky venture – on opening day I think we had $100 to our name – was fueled in part by our enthusiasm for what we saw as a turning point in American history. Now it’s five years later and we’re still open, we’re crowded almost every day and everyone in the county knows about us. We can’t claim to any profits yet…

     

     

    gave gouthern boys a fine ski

    Florida’s First Theme Park

    by | Feb 11, 2014
    Florida’s First Theme Park

    Back in the 1960s when I hung out at Georgia’s Elijah Clark State Park, the cool guys were into water skiing. I got into it too and learned to slalom. That was a big deal. Learning to take off from shore standing on one leg was an even bigger deal, and I did that despite my most ordinary ski’s limitations. No matter how well you skied though, not having a big name ski rubbed a lot of luster off your accomplishment. A Dick Pope Jr. ski, however, carried cachet. A cheap ski? It might as well be a plank.

     

     

    we were soldiers once and young

    Long Time Passing

    by | Feb 9, 2014
    Long Time Passing

    Of all the distinctive experiences in my life, there have been only two that have totally brought me to a halt, changing my landscape to the point that the line before and after are dark and broad strips as though made with a blunt and heavy magic marker. There is no ambiguity that the line is one of separation. One was my tour of duty in Vietnam from 1968-69. The other was the death of my late wife, Lilian.

     

     

    remembering

    Simplicity and distinctiveness at Pentagon Memorial will stir you

    by | Feb 7, 2014
    Simplicity and distinctiveness at Pentagon Memorial will stir you

    It is striking in its unique and haunting simplicity. The concept is most distinctive, and in its own way, reassuring.  Just looking at it calms you. The setting is a busy place with traffic rushing nearby, and often, airplanes overhead. It’s difficult to get to during business days, but amazingly simple during weekends. We refer of the Pentagon Memorial in Washington, D.C., the first memorial to 9-11, created to remember and honor those people who perished when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.

     

     

    sochi

    Larry, Moe… and Curling?

    by | Feb 6, 2014
    Larry, Moe... and Curling?

    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.”

     

     

    he had soul

    Mr. Goff

    by | Feb 2, 2014
    Mr. Goff

    Mr. Goff. Not “Tommy Goff” or “Tommy” or some dorky nickname — Mr. Goff didn’t have nicknames. A bandmate once made the mistake of calling him Mr. Goof — nobody ever said that again. No, there was nothing else really conceivable: he was Mr. Goff. He was the best teacher I ever had, and one of the handful of truly extraordinary people I’ve met in life — and a legion of former students scattered over the world would say the same.

     

     

    life rises from the earth

    Somewhere Along The Catawba River

    by | Jan 31, 2014
    Somewhere Along The Catawba River

    The day breaks gray, cold, and wet. Rain and mists swirl and shift like apparitions as winds whip them across the highway. Like twin metronomes, my windshield wipers lay down a steady beat … driving north, driving north, driving north. I’m driving to Lancaster, South Carolina, to interview a Catawba potter. To get there I drive up I-77 and peel off on SC Highway 200, a two-lane road running through pine-clad hills. It runs through hard times too.

     

     

    useless on ice

    Southern Snowpocalyse

    by | Jan 30, 2014
    Southern Snowpocalyse

    A dozen years ago, during the early spring, I was visiting my son in Pennsylvania. Among the scheduled activities was an opportunity to see my ten year old grandson play basketball that Saturday at the local YMCA. Upon rising that morning and peering out the bedroom window, I felt a tinge of disappointment. A dusting of snow had come during the night. I walked down to get coffee and expressed my regret to my son. He looked at me with surprise and confusion until he realized what I meant.

     

     

    his katrina?

    Deal’s Jam

    by | Jan 30, 2014
    Deal's Jam

    What is it with Republican governors and traffic jams? Up in New Jersey, we’ve got Chris Christie’s staff ordering up some “traffic problems” for Fort Lee, perhaps as a prank, and in Atlanta, Georgia, we’ve got Nathan Deal and the Mayor of Atlanta hosting each other at lunch while the traffic all around the city flops around in slush.

     

     

    going viral

    Follow-Up: How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

    by | Jan 28, 2014
    Follow-Up: How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

    If you didn’t read my column about how a mule’s kick ended up killing eight people, you are in the minority. Of all the columns I’ve written over the last four years none have generated quit a stir like this one. It began to show up on Facebook. People began to share it all over the place and Augusta radio personality Austin Rhodes came across it. He read the entire column over the air on WGAC. The floodgates opened up.

     

     

    oft we mar what's well

    Dance To The Music Of Time

    by | Jan 27, 2014
    Dance To The Music Of Time

    The practice Sunday morning went well and my wife Jody said that I had “nailed” the playing of my alto sax part of The Black Cat Rag, a snappy and quick-paced piece of music by Frank Wooster and Ethyl B. Smith written in 1905. It has been a tough piece, however, for me to get my fingers around in order to dance fast enough to keep up with the light-hearted but sprightly pace. When the time came later in the afternoon…

     

     

    every scar tells a story

    Remembering Dr. Weems Pennington Sr.

    by | Jan 24, 2014
    Remembering Dr. Weems Pennington Sr.

    Back in a simpler, better time… In my case, five scars bring back memories of Dr. Weems Pennington Sr., a doctor who epitomized what a family physician should be. He was smart, kind, funny, and kept many of us rolling despite an excess of maladies, ills, and accidents. He had a way of teaching you to be courageous no matter what bedeviled you. He’s been gone for seven years but he lives on in the hearts and minds of many, and he always will.

     

     

    channeling change

    Bob Dylan And Bernie Taupin Walk Into A Bar…

    by | Jan 23, 2014
    Bob Dylan And Bernie Taupin Walk Into A Bar...

    Times Are Changin’… Give a little thought to this conjured scenario. Bob Dylan and Bernie Taupin are both private, reclusive types who have managed to share many of their thoughts, visions and talents with the world. Such endeavors require the proper introspection. Therefore a logical spot to take in and digress on the world is the window booth at Manuel’s Tavern, located at the corner of North and North Highland Avenues in Atlanta, Georgia.

     

     

    book banners be warned

    Pat Conroy’s Letter To The Editor

    by | Jan 21, 2014
    Pat Conroy’s Letter To The Editor

    It’s a memory that refuses to die and it took place on the front steps of the old brick high school that overlooks Buddy Bufford Field back home. Angry classmates swarm around Skipper Hardin and me, furious because we had the gall to read Charles Darwin’s books on the theory of evolution. Even worse we were so bold as to talk about Darwin’s theory in class. Blasphemy! They thought Darwin’s books should be not just banned, but burned.

     

     

    leave nothing but footprints

    Sea Island Turds

    by | Jan 21, 2014
    Sea Island Turds

    One of our coastal Georgia environmentalists has got a bug about Sea Island Equestrians letting their mounts leave turds in the marsh and on trails through the dunes. Which, of course, is not how the new owners, Sea Island Acquisitions, or the contracted equestrian service provider would describe the “experience.”

     

     

    quality of life

    Running For My Life

    by | Jan 15, 2014
    Running For My Life

    From the time I was ten running and biking were part of my life and that led to football quite naturally. Like many Lincoln County boys, I played for the Red Devils. Ran track too.

    Not long after graduating from Georgia youth-induced laziness set in. Why exercise when you are young and weight gain is no big deal? I went through a stretch of seven years where I did nothing as exercise goes. Then one afternoon a couple of guys asked me to run with them.

     

     

    13121085

    Another of the “Greatest Generation” Falls

    by | Jan 15, 2014
    Another of the “Greatest Generation” Falls

    “When fascism comes to America it will be carrying a cross and wrapped in the flag.” — attributed to Sinclair Lewis

    Dr. Danny Pruett, my dad, passed away peacefully on January 4, his three grown children by his side. He was 90 and had willed himself back from the brink so many times that we began to think him invincible: heart attacks, bypass surgery, hips replacements, ruptured diverticulum and esophagus, multiple abdominal and back surgeries, atrial fibrillation, and more.

     

     

    oh atlanta

    Send Out For Some Pillars And Cecil B. DeMille

    by | Jan 13, 2014
    Send Out For Some Pillars And Cecil B. DeMille

    Such was life in Atlanta during the run-up to the ’96 Summer Olympics. The Centennial Olympic Games would, so thought entrepreneurs, promoters and cheats, provide hundreds, maybe thousands of ways to make money. And there seemed to be tens of thousands who thought they’d make the money. It was a sad sight. John Prine’s song of hucksters came to mind often, as did, quite a few times, the Bob Dylan line from “Tombstone Blues”: Is there a hole for me to get sick in?”

     

     

    overcoming primal fear

    The Last Great Snake Man Found Salvation

    by | Jan 13, 2014
    The Last Great Snake Man Found Salvation

    Few animals arouse primal fear like snakes and yet as citified as we are we seldom see ’em. Other than a green snake scooting through the lawn few people encounter snakes, and even fewer cross paths with industrial-strength venomous snakes. The kind that can send you to the next world.

     

     

    how’s your neuroplasticity?

    Train the Brain

    by | Jan 8, 2014
    Neuroplasticity: Forming new synaptic connections between neurons.

    At 76 I find my brain getting foggy at times (along with most of my peers) during tasks which I once saw clearly. My main concern is to avert dementia which debilitates and aggravates us and them. So I was interested when a brain training product on the internet introduced itself to me. I read the blurb, played a couple of simple but stimulating games and recognized that this could help keep me mentally limber; then I hesitated about the expense.

     

     

    polar vortex

    Melvin and The Almighty Hawk

    by | Jan 6, 2014
    Melvin and The Almighty Hawk

    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…

     

     

    suffering faith

    Be A Long Time Gone

    by | Jan 1, 2014
    Be A Long Time Gone

    I suspect there is often a child in a family who is able to escape the confines of the worst kind of restrictive life. Perhaps just getting away from people who have squeezed the vision of possibilities into a speck is beyond our power to appreciate, especially at the moment when we leave their world behind. It is a moment when the air rushes into the lungs and the body can fully breathe. We must shed them and slough off our old skins if we are to become more ourselves.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



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    UGA athletics needs “due diligence” in recruiting players

    UGA athletics needs "due diligence" in recruiting players

    By: Elliott Brack

    Ever hear of "due diligence?" That's a term often seen in business stories, particularly when public accountants are working at checking the financial background of companies who might want to buy or sell to one another. Some people at the University of Georgia apparently don't understand or use the term "due diligence," especially when it comes to recruiting football players. One group defines "due diligence" in two ways: 1. An investigation or audit of a potential investment. Due diligence serves to confirm all material facts in regards to a sale. 2. Generally, due diligence refers to the care a reasonable person should take before  Read on →

    Ravenous? Sick? Eat Some Good Georgia Dirt

    Ravenous? Sick? Eat Some Good Georgia Dirt

    By: Tom Poland

    Once again a memory from my boyhood days working at Clifford Goolsby’s store digs its way to the surface. That store was a portal to a sometimes-strange world, and one of the stranger things I heard came out of the mouth of Bill Goolsby, a true character. Bill ran the register at Mr. Clifford’s. He was a good-humored fellow and a prankster who soldered a quarter to a nail and drove it into the wooden floor near the register. How many laughs I got from the kids and adults who tried to scrape that quarter off the floor. Bill’s pranks and w  Read on →

    The Rise and Fall of the Second Reconstruction Era in America

    The Rise and Fall of the Second Reconstruction Era in America

    By: Lovell Jones, Ph.D.

    How many of you are aware that Albert Einstein taught a physics class at Lincoln University (an HBCU in Pennsylvania) in 1946? In doing so, the Nobel Prize-winning scientist once said, "The separation of the races is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. I do not intend to be quiet about it.” Another noted figure, Martin Luther King, once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” But we have become silent, for I don’t see the human outcry about where we are today. We have be  Read on →

    A Tale of Two Men

    A Tale of Two Men

    By: David Evans

    The book review I just finished repeatedly asks, “What endures?” The author offers one possible answer: “Spaces in the heart that accommodate the absent.” When I read this, I had just learned of the deaths of Peter Matthiessen and Thomas Polgar. Matthiessen was the prolific writer and author of a multitude of books, including The Snow Leopard, his account of a grief-stricken journey to the Himalayas. Polgar was a legendary CIA officer and the last station chief in Saigon. His final cable from Vietnam quoted Jorge Santayana that those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it. Both lived full li  Read on →