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songs we were singing
As John Lennon playfully noted in a song he wrote for Ringo Starr, the Beatles were “the greatest show on earth.” So true. And in the 45 years since the Beatles officially called it quits, appreciation of their songs has grown — across the generations. It isn’t hard to imagine a family reunion where the great-grandmother fondly remembers “Love Me Do” and “If I Fell” from her children’s Beatles albums while the great-grandson is listening to “Hey Bulldog” on his iPhone. Yes, it’s the act we’ve known for all these years…
Noted travel writer and novelist Paul Theroux’s new book, Deep South: Four Seasons on Back Roads, brings very mixed reactions.
On more than one occasion, I wondered, “Where does this guy get off saying that?” And I grab the book and want to hurl it through the window. These fits particularly came after one of Theroux’s elitist, degrading attempts at phonetically capturing the Southern accent.
But the book also shows he’s a great storyteller who occasionally makes an interesting observation. “Well, that’s a good point,” I would think. “Don’t get rid of it yet.” And I kept reading.
the wind in their face
“I’m sorry I have to say goodbye this way, not in person. My symptoms got a lot worse a week or so ago and I decided to do a process of voluntarily stopping eating and drinking in order to die faster and with less suffering.”
This opening to an essay from Dr. Irvin D. Yalom’s book Creatures of a Day: And Other Tales of Psychology stopped me immediately. The letter came from “Ellie,” one of Yalom’s patients. He said he knew she was dying from her cancer, but was still shocked to get the e-mail. Who wouldn’t be?
threatens as much as war
The word “conservative” means something different today than it used to.
Conservatives have traditionally understood the importance of stability—and the dangers of disrupting the established order. They considered it a responsibility to preserve their heritage and pass it down intact to the next generation.
Conservatives have been the guardians of tradition because they saw that what our forebears created is a great achievement, built with difficulty over time.
braves v. future
The World Series is now over and the Kansas City Royals, who fell just short last year, showed their mettle by coming back time and time again to win the crown.
We can only hope the Braves were watching.
They did it with what has become more and more lacking in major league baseball, playing fundamentally sound defense and taking advantage of the other team’s mistakes.
Ken Burger died last week. He was the most interesting, special and unique son of South Carolina that I have ever known. Period.
If that sounds like graveside hyperbole, consider his one sentence bio: Born and raised in Allendale, Burger graduated dead last in his class at the University of Georgia, has been married five times, is a grateful recovering alcoholic, a cancer survivor and a happy man.
Journalist Ken was a stickler for the facts, so I’ll correct one and add a few. He did not survive cancer and his one line bio does not do him justice.
finding your roots
Henry Louis Gates Jr. is a professor of African-American studies and English at Harvard University, a literary scholar who writes for The New Yorker, The New York Times and other A-list publications and has 14 books on his resume. But most people know him as an enthusiastic, almost evangelical proponent of genealogical research thanks to Finding Your Roots, a popular PBS series in which he and his team have traced the lineage of notables ranging from Samuel L. Jackson to Barbara Walters to Georgia Congressman John Lewis.
satire on the campaign trail
When it crashed in the Arizona desert, it left a crater where there was once a Bush presidential bid.
“I haven’t seen anything like this since Herman Cain in 2012,” said GOP astrophysicist Ted Billard as he examined the still-smoldering hole in the ground Thursday morning. “But Herman’s crater you could step across, about two feet. This one, we measured it, is a quarter of a mile across and 400 feet deep.
beautifully preserved the past
Like dogs with a penchant for roaming, they chained themselves to a wall. Tethered to brick walls above the ground with a brush and bucket of paint in their hands, these daring artists had a mission. Paint an advertisement onto the side of a building. They called themselves wall dogs and some claimed they worked like dogs. I suspect they loved their work and I am certain wall dogs’ ghost signs make our world more mysterious, more beautiful.
You’ve seen ghost signs, an old-fashioned advertisement painted onto a rough and unforgiving canvas, a brick wall…
The Civil War is alive every day for reporters and editors — and they may not even know it. A couple of weeks back in a commentary taking the South Carolina General Assembly to task for caterwauling about a court-imposed time limit on school funding, I observed how reporters face “deadlines” all of the time, just as courts impose deadlines frequently. I got to wondering about how the word “deadline” came about. I was surprised to learn…
on top of stone mtn
Georgia plans to build a “We Exhibit – You Decide” racial strife museum atop Stone Mountain to address the state’s long and troubled history of discrimination against dozens of minorities and blacks by making it a tourist attraction.
The museum will offer exhibits on both sides of the controversy over civil rights: people for them, and people against them. And, instead of passing judgement, the museum will allow people to decide for themselves, said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal in an afternoon press conference.
back to school
Her life was “good enough” was the answer the young woman told the genie as she declined his offer of three wishes for freeing him from his bottle. As I sat in the audience listening to Neil Gaiman read his short story, I was still on a high after being accepted into West Virginia Wesleyan College’s MFA program in creative writing.
This past couple of weeks I’ve been mulling over the idea of going back to school for an intensive two-year program focused on writing non-fiction. Flipping back and forth in Joe Biden-style…
what is truth?
Every now and again in our grand world history, magnetic personalities have had insights so stirring they just had to try to share. These sharings sometimes resonated broadly and created movements based on the master’s teachings, as they understood, or misunderstood, them. The truth shall make you free, for example. MLK said it, not sure where he got it, Jesus? Dunno. This example so begs elaboration that all kinds of factions can get behind it. The truth for some is Jesus…
drinking through the list
Having a bucket list seems to be the thing to do as you get older. Most of my friends have one and they are slowly working their way through everything they must do before they take that last ride into the sky or to the caverns of the earth. I have a list of things to do before I check-in to the departure lounge but my bucket has a hole in it. Occasionally new things are added to the list but they fall through the hole and I forget what they are.
ice cream trucks
As the northern hemisphere sinks slowly into increased darkness and a long cold winter the southern hemisphere is waking up to the sounds of spring and summer. The birds and the bees are happy, the gardens have come alive and the grass has started growing again. Families are heading for the parks and beaches to enjoy the warm days. The sounds of lawn mowers, edge trimmers, leaf blowers and chain saws fill the air.
poor school districts
You might not get much in your morning newspaper if reporters didn’t turn in stories by a certain time. Deadlines keep reporters — and columnists — on task. If there were not a specific time limit to submit a story for publication, the story might never get written. There’s always somebody else you can call or interview.
Like newspapers, courts set deadlines frequently. Time limits provide some certainty in the often long, convoluted judicial process and move cases along toward conclusions…
we got this one
Joe, we love ya, but please don’t run for president.
You are the man when it comes to defense and foreign affairs. You were there for the Bosniaks in 1994 when Clinton was timid, but you were wrong in 2006 when you voted for the Iraq war. Yet, we should have listened in 2006 when you wanted Iraq split into the three ethnic areas as it is today. Our troops might be home, the Islamic State probably wouldn’t exist and millions of refugees might be at home.
You were the man on justice for victims of domestic violence, against Bork and Thomas, assault weapons, hate and sex crimes, and privacy, but…
boys of summer
We are closing in on the start of the Fall Classic, only we’re not. It’s more like the beginning of the Winter Routine.
Through the years the World Series has slowly been pushed further and further back on the calendar until the point we can now hear Christmas commercials sprinkled in with reports of ERA and batting averages.
It doesn’t matter which of the current teams make the big dance.
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.