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“Everywhere I go I see an American flag. I don’t understand that. You hardly ever see a British flag flying anyplace in the UK.”
That from a member of my writers group, a transplanted Brit, in this country now for ten years or so. Sorry to say, it took my aging brain a few hours to compose a response. But now I have and here it is: We Americans are proud of our flag…
a clark & poland special
Robert Clark and I were on the road running down a story, a story about land, a farmhouse, and tomatoes, a story of war, old ways, and survivors of sorts. On a hot, humid July morning we abandoned I-20 for Longs Pond Road and after a back road or two arrived at a farmhouse near the community of Boiling Springs. Two big blackjack oaks stood out front. Out back, a handsome, clapboard smokehouse looked lonely, its fellow outbuildings long-fallen comrades…
Long before the Supreme Court agreed to hear arguments concerning The Affordable Health Care Act, many esteemed legal scholars were skeptical that such a hearing would ever come to pass. Indeed, Harvard law professor, Charles Fried, said if the High Court ever considered the legality of Obamacare, he would eat the kangaroo-skin hat that he had recently purchased in Australia.
Now, I’m not holding my breath waiting for Mr. Fried to eat his hat; it’s not even certain that his promise was legally binding, even though the good professor made his hat-eating offer on Fox News.
The presidential campaign of billionaire businessman Donald Trump is wreaking havoc with Fox News’ plans to host the first GOP presidential debate August 6.
Looking for a way to eliminate Trump, who tops the polls but is having a public feud with Fox founder and media czar, Rupert Murdoch, Fox executives plan to change the cut-off criteria for inclusion in the debate and one change under consideration is body cavity searches, according to Fox sources and a memo from Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, obtained by Like The Dew.
long slide into fascism
On this Americans agree: There’s too much money in politics, and it’s eroding our democracy.
A recent poll (New York Times, June 2, 2015) reveals 85 percent of Americans believe we must either make “fundamental changes” or “completely rebuild” how campaigns are financed.
The United States can no longer claim to be democracy. Instead of one person, one vote, it’s now one dollar, one vote.
e. l. doctorow
“There was nothing more to be said on the subject of the future and their different destinies, for those words, uttered with complete calm and conviction, had done what every inspired melody does: condense a welter of emotions into an unconflicted clarity that one can instantly recall and call upon. Like a hierogram.”—Kris Saknussemm, Enigmatic Pilot
As I anticipate this year’s upcoming Virginia Writers Symposium in Charlottesville, I was stopped the other day when I read of the passing of E. L. Doctorow, to me a sacred symbol of a writer who had mastered his craft and had so much to teach all the rest of us who marveled at his creativity and innovative ways…
not eatin’ that
No one in his right damn mind pays “you’ve gotta be kiddin’ me” prices to see a movie — even if it is an advance showing of a major motion picture. I’m willing today because this little excursion is part of my scheme to throw some serious ‘shade’ –- and some serious ‘cool’ –on a despicably hot summer day. I’ve come to the mall multiplex to match wits with Tom Cruise, to see if I can keep up with the on-screen goings-on in the latest installment of Mission Impossible.
Just within the mall, but outside the cinema, the conditioned air smells of popcorn and pastry. ‘Hot buttered’ emanates from the theatre; ‘Eau de Cinnabon’ oozes from the adjacent food court…
a loving tribute
At the beginning of 1997 I bought a new car. It was modest in price and style, but automatic and practical for a woman living in London. It was easy to park, small enough to fit in the narrowest spaces and comfortable to drive: a navy blue Daihatsu Charade that would not attract thieves or envy. I got it at a bargain price because one of my sons worked for a dealership. It was zippy in traffic, when traffic allowed. British roads are narrower and more congested than American ones, this small island being packed with a population of 63 million. It was economic in fuel consumption and cost of insurance…
Guns were the cause of three recent tragedies in the South, in Lafayette this week, Chattanooga last week, and recently in Charleston, S.C. You wonder where it will happen next. For it will.
What we can’t understand is the continual gun violence all across the country, almost every day in big cities, while the American public nonchalantly goes about its routine activities with little effort to curb these unfortunate incidents.
Does the American public not recognize what is causing all these problems?
The outcome of Christie’s recent auction of General Robert E. Lee’s precious navel lint left even the most jaded “Lost Cause” memorabilia mavens gobsmacked and whistling Dixie. Not to mention afflicting many frustrated, heart-broken losing bidders with a temporary paralysis that baffled emergency physicians compared to the old-timey Southern Belle “vapors.”
This dream-crushing auction loss brutalized their very star and barred souls.
Many people say that English is the hardest language to understand because so many words can mean different things and we often need a sentence to explain one word in another language. For example, in the US it is quite common for people to publicly “root for the team.” In other English-speaking countries if you are caught doing that you will be arrested. In Australia to call someone “an old bastard” is a term of endearment.
state tax credits at work
If you have noticed your TV smelling a little mildewy lately, or have found tendrils of Spanish moss clogging your TiVo, there is a perfectly good reason – the basic cable producers have discovered the Louisiana swamps; and like the Nazis who invaded Poland, they are not going to settle for just one kielbasa. Even though there is an old saying that if you’ve seen one alligator, you’ve seen them all, evidently Hollywood TV producers can tell the difference; granted, they are experts at dealing with thick-skinned carnivores after their experiences with the Kardashians…
black lives matter
Richard Rose, President of Atlanta’s NAACP, advocates that we sandblast the bas-relief of Confederates Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee from the face of Stone Mountain.
Months before the havoc wreaked on September 11, 2001, many of us cringed as the Taliban government of Afghanistan destroyed multiple Buddhas. How can destroying icons of another group increase respect and appreciation for your own icons?
In case you’re emerging from a coma over the last couple of months and somehow missed the change, it’s the tourist season again. The signs are everywhere – but, alas, mostly here at the beach. Gone are the days, for a while at least, when I could walk on the beach with my dog ’Dro (short for Pedro) and meet up with no one but myself. Good place for doing that. The late, great Southern humorist Lewis Grizzard wrote memorably that on a back road in Georgia at night, you could ask yourself a question and get an honest answer.
we could do worse
We’ve been down to two cats now, Sophie and Dolly, for over two years. The last two lads, Tucker and Sneezer, took their leave a couple of summers ago, one otherwise healthy gentleman on the operating table to have his teeth cleaned and the other a poor devil who had suffered far too long from a debilitating disease. Now we have two aging dowagers who think they’re still debutantes. They barely tolerate one another, however, and share a porch space during the day as though they’re on opposite sides negotiating a treaty with Iran. Feline peace is not easy to maintain.
could happen to anyone
Back during WWII, there was a manpower shortage in the east Alabama cotton mills, and my Grandfather, Jim Strickland, sold his backwoods Randolph County farm, and moved to the Chattahoochee Valley still seeking his fortune. Even at his advanced age, and with failing health, he easily found a job as an armed guard, watching the truck gate at Fairfax Mill.
Whether the nation’s Intelligence Services had uncovered an Axis plot to destroy Alabama cotton mills, I couldn’t say…
Anxious to try out my new East German camera, bought in West Berlin, we drove to Kurfurstendamm to photograph the ruins of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedachtnis-Kirke and then to the Brandenburg Gate. About 200 yards west of the Brandenburg Gate, and near the Reichstag in the British Sector, the Soviets had built a memorial to the Soviet soldiers killed in the Battle of Berlin. In 1959, the memorial was guarded 24 hours/day by Soviet soldiers who marched into the British Sector through the Brandenburg Gate…
growin' up southern
When I was eight years old, about the same year, more or less, that the mule stepped on my toes, we went to visit my country kinfolk up in west Randolph County at Christmas. Some of them lived sho’ ’nuff in the sticks, if that is not a redundancy.
One of my mother’s cousins lived near the Tallapoosa River, down a narrow, rutted dirt road, in the deep woods, in an old unpainted house, not much more than a cabin. It didn’t have a porch, or running water or electricity. She had five kids. There was another cramped hovel within yards of that dwelling…
An awful lot has been written about getting older. There is also a lot of awful writing about getting older. There is information about failing vision and hearing but most of what is written is that “best time of life” crap. As far as I know there is no information out there on the sudden, instant onset of old age. I have found that you don’t have a lot of time to consider getting older, rather one just wakes up one day and realizes “Shit, I’m old!!” It does not always happen as a result of the years that have been accumulated because most of us think of ourselves as fairly young until the “Oh Shit” day. Then it happens. You start to notice that things that were never scary or intimidating or painful now give you pause.
hide the dang cannon
With fireworks legal in Athens on the recent anniversary of our nation’s independence, I saw more flashes and fiery cascades over the Classic City than I could ever remember. The rise of Old Epps Bridge Road was a perfect vantage point. Every few seconds, the sky lit up in a different direction. It got me thinking about my history with pyrotechnics. The word “fireworks” for me evokes memories of Christmas, not the 4th of July. I have no recollection of lighting firecrackers or shooting off Roman candles in the middle of summer. Maybe it was just too hot in July in south Mississippi. I don’t recall my hometown, Laurel, ever having a big fireworks-in-park event, either.
Why do legislators think we need so much protection?
It seems that they are always modifying current law to protect us from that Boogerbear or that Devil? And the fact is that we often don’t need their help at being protected, for we already have more protection in our Bill of Rights and Constitution than most people in other countries of the world. Yet legislators feel that they can re-write the law to give us more protection that we certainly need…
its love of life
As I continue to read through James Joyce’s collection of short stories called “Dubliners,” I look at various old black and white photos of the city as it was published well over a century ago. I’ve also been guided by Mark O’Connell who wrote an article for “Slate” magazine in May 2014 entitled, “Have I Ever Left It?” to mark the one-hundredth anniversary of its publication.
I’ve never been to Dublin, but look forward one day soon to walking about, taking in the city that Joyce described.
fire the bums
It’s funny what makes you change your mind.
All these years I have been against term limits for elected officials. My reason: having old-timers around who knew the ropes made our government better by their insights. But one incident recently made me change my mind on the subject. Now I feel comfortable for being positive on limiting public officials’ terms of office.
Until recently, there were other reasons I had been against limiting the time a public official could serve. First, there is an automatic term limit, that is, an election every few years, with the voters deciding whether to keep (or limit) the public servants in office. Yes, it’s an unofficial limit.
east and west
My first visit to Berlin was encouraged and arranged by a former RAF Bomber Command pilot, Pathfinder and Master Bomber who flew more than 100 operational missions over Germany in World War II. Group Captain Peter Cribb, CBE, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar was Commanding Officer of RAF Gutersloh in the B Zone of West Germany when we met, in Italy, and he invited us to visit the air base. Gutersloh, a RAF fighter and photo reconnaissance base near Hanover, was the nearest air base to the “wire” between West and East Germany…
Hillsborough, NC Could Have Been Talladega. It makes for a good story. Back in the early 1950s men in Hillsborough, North Carolina, could see stockcar races for free. Why buy a ticket when you had a free seat in the air. All they had to do was shimmy up a tree edging a fence at the second turn and they had a grand view of the .9-mile dirt oval. That plan carried a bit of risk but all was fine as long as the drivers didn’t spin out. Then the inevitable happened.
reminder of racist present
While it’s good news that South Carolina has finally taken down the single Confederate Battle Flag that has flown on the state capitol grounds since 2000 (and over the state capitol itself for thirty-nine years before that), it would be better news if the flag of the Confederacy itself were removed from the Georgia state flag.
Beginning in 1879, when a state senator and former Confederate officer introduced legislation that included the design of the first official state flag, Georgia has had seven different state flags, each one bearing one or more graphic reminders of Confederate national banners.
face the music
Joyce has the most luminous blue eyes imaginable. Betty smiles and is quiet. Annie cannot break eye contact. And Don excuses himself to go to the bathroom and never returns. They are all part of my friend Ed’s drum-therapy group that meets weekly for an hour in the lobby of their retirement and assisted living center. Ed, who is a professor emeritus of Graduate Psychology, learned to lead the drum circle from his younger sister…
Worthy of Comment
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