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Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Southern Weather Radar


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    sweating the sermon

    Keeping The Heat At Bay

    by | Apr 17, 2016
    Keeping The Heat At Bay

    On March 22, I journeyed across Georgialina to Washington, Georgia, to speak to the Kiwanis Club. Prior to speaking, Mr. Steve Blackmon gave me a tour of seven historic homes that had something unique in common. All had been moved in total or in part to their current location. Expect a column on that soon.

    Steve reads my columns and he knows that I often write about things that are no more, and so he gave me six unique gifts: vintage handheld fans that had been used long ago in my hometown. You just don’t see fans in church anymore…

     

     

    military precision

    The Captain’s Widow

    by | Apr 15, 2016
    Silhouette of bugle player

    The Captain would do it. He’d leave two notes — to his parents and to his wife. He had even thought about the wording but dismissed it. When the time came so would the words. He had tried before but backed out. But this time felt different. Unless something happened he would really do it.

    His Colt .45 was in the leather holster on his web belt. He thumbed every round out of the clip except one; put the other seven into the ammo pouch on the belt, and the clip back into the pistol.

     

     

    unforgettable

    Remembering A Georgian

    by | Apr 15, 2016
    Harry Crews

    A boyhood year spent paralyzed and getting scalded in a kettle of boiling water must do strange things to the mind. Harry must have considered himself a freak. In fact, he would devote his career to writing about freaks. Maybe you’ve heard of Harry Eugene Crews. He came into this world June 7, 1935 in Alma, Georgia and he left it March 28, 2012 in Gainesville, Florida. This son of an indigent sharecropper in Bacon County ascended to writer in residence at the University of Florida. That’s more than remarkable. Were Crews alive, he’d be approaching his 81st year.

     

     

    being there

    Yew Nawk City, a quick trip

    by | Apr 15, 2016
    Thither They Go, oil painting by Tom Ferguson

    Gotta set aside climate change guilt sometimes, do some rationalization. I figure the airplane’s going there anyway, with or without me… and my credit card points make it almost free… so we fly. Got the very last seats, no window but plenty of avant garde audio from the engine just on the other side of that thin skin. We navigate our way to the East Village and though we enjoy a very pleasant visit with daughter and son-in-law, this is about three days of museum-hopping in Yew Nawk. Day 1. MOMA (Museum of Modern Art)…

     

     

    inexperienced fruitcakes

    Legislative kooks, weirdos can give Georgia a black eye

    by | Apr 15, 2016
    American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)

    Eventually, if you elect enough kooks and weirdos to the General Assembly, don’t you figure by the time they find their way around the State Capitol, that they might, just might, introduce some crazy legislation?

    It’s impossible to lay blame at any one door. However, these days in Georgia we have many more Republican legislators than Democrats in the 2016 session. (The GOP dominates the Senate 39-17; in the House, there are 118 Republicans; 60 Democrats; one independent; and one vacancy.) When we had Democrats in charge in Georgia, there were more oddball and woeful legislators in the Democratic Party. Today it is just reversed.

     

     

    rome rejects hate:

    An Interview With Jessie Reed

    by | Apr 14, 2016
    Neo-Nazi via ourtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center

    What should a citizen do when neo-Nazis announce that they intend to invade your town? That is the question now facing the people of Rome, Georgia. For some the initial response to the impending occupation of their quiet North Georgia community by a hate group from Michigan was to plan to hide and pray that the threat just goes away. Every schoolyard bully knows that denial and pusillanimity are powerful temptations. Fascists and white supremacists count on the paralysis that it produces. Fortunately some Romans didn’t give into the temptations of moral cowardice and instead decided to organize…

     

     

    port of st. marys

    Doesn’t it Always Seem to Go That You Don’t Know What You’ve Got ‘til it’s Gone?

    by | Apr 14, 2016
    St Marys Georgia - Aerial photo

    St. Marys, Georgia: A peaceful little coastal town of unsurpassed beauty. It serves as the gateway to Cumberland Island National Seashore, a mecca for tourists who want to experience true Southern charm, and a dream-realized for those seeking a natural environment beyond compare.

    Enter developer Christopher T. Ragucci and his Knights of the Green Shield/Worldwide Group. (Cue “Razzle Dazzle” from “All That Jazz.”) They quickly changed the company name to “The Port of St. Marys, LLC” and set about trying to convince the townsfolk and elected officials that turning St. Marys into an industrial barge port would be a blessing and boon to all.

     

     

    we know who we are

    Seems to be simple way to solve which restroom to enter

    by | Apr 13, 2016
    A female-identified restroom door by Ann Fisher

    We in Georgia may think we have our problems. Yet recent action by the Legislature in North Carolina puts that state in the ranks of those with reactionary actions flying in the face of reasonableness.

    The North Carolina situation particularly vexes us, in that its action made no sense. Legislators there quickly passed an act, their Public Facilities Privacy and Security Act, which will force public colleges and universities (as well as other public venues and government buildings) to require their restrooms be used only by people whose biological sex at birth matches the sign on the door.

     

     

    life’s good in the midnight garden

    Savannah’s Flannery O’Connor Day

    by | Apr 13, 2016
    Savannah’s Flannery O’Connor Day photo by Tom Poland

    Savannah has a strong heritage when it comes to books, authors, and writers. Published in 1994 by Random House, John Berendt’s Midnight In The Garden of Good and Evil shone a strong light on Savannah in the mid to late 1980s.

    The book centered loosely around internationally known antiques dealer Jim Williams’s shooting of male hustler Danny Hansford in May 1981. It covered the four murder trials that took place over a span of eight years. Though Williams was acquitted when the dust settled, readers for the most part took great joy in the book’s characters drawn from every level of society…

     

     

    teed off

    Does Yahweh Wear a Green Jacket?

    by | Apr 13, 2016
    via Golf Digest’s Twitter feed

    Back in the sixties, when I was 25, the all-wise, all knowing company management, in a poorly thought-out decision, offered me a third-shift supervisor’s job in the east Alabama cotton mill where I had been working since the age of 16. The fourth generation of my family to do so. In a fit of even greater lunacy, I took the job. My new boss was a hard-boiled character I will call Mr. Ely. Though I had never worked for Mr. Ely before, I knew his reputation. At the mere mention of Mr. Ely’s name, many hard, tough men would curse under their breath; sweet, motherly, sparkly-eyed old ladies would spit.

     

     

    not just about you

    Bernie and Hillary, Give Us the Campaign We Need

    by | Apr 11, 2016
    Democrat's Game of Thrones -- Bernie Seaworth The Onion Knight and Cersei Lannister Clinton

    Your recent squabble  — with one questioning whether the other is “qualified to be president” —  highlights how you two have not been giving us the kind of campaign that would best serve not just the Democratic Party but the nation.

    The differences between you may be important. But way less important than that whichever of you gets the nomination wins in November.  Two extraordinary aspects of our national circumstance oblige you to allow that priority to dictate how you conduct your campaigns.

     

     

    part two

    Down In Camellia Land

    by | Apr 11, 2016
    Down In Camellia Land

    Part One left us in the Edgefield General Store, a place with something for everyone, an old fashioned soda fountain, gourmet items, and the talented services of Maine the florist. It was there, near the front door, where two fellows out of Barnwell ambled in claiming they had found a pot made by Dave the Slave. Nancy Gilliam referred them to Old Edgefield Pottery around the corner. Off they went, would-be art peddlers, seeking fame and fortune.

     

     

    governing by fiat

    Should President Obama appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing?

    by | Apr 11, 2016
    Scales of Justice by DonkeyHotey

    An op/ed column in Saturday’s Washington Post, by an attorney named, proposes a most interesting idea. The essence of the idea is suggested by the title, “Obama can appoint Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court if the Senate does nothing.”

    The essence of the argument is contained in this passage:

    It is altogether proper to view a decision by the Senate not to act as a waiver of its right to provide advice and consent…

     

     

     

    masters week

    Augusta

    by | Apr 8, 2016
    Rory McIlroy walks up to No. 15 green during Thursday's first round of the 2016 Masters. CHRIS TROTMAN/AUGUSTA NATIONAL

    Though I am a native of South Carolina (Aiken), I grew up in Augusta, Ga., and I think of it as my hometown. I haven’t lived there in years, and even if I wanted to move back there, I know that you can’t go home again.

    That is particularly true in my case, but, no, it’s not because the Statute of Limitations has yet to run out on the antics of my misspent youth. In fact, I was nearly an altar boy. (May it please the court: let the record show that I said “nearly.”)

     

     

    fear and panic

    The Summer of ‘52

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    Hospital respiratory ward in Los Angeles, 1952. Courtesy of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

    America was waging a war, a war within a war, a war against fear. As the panic from the big war gradually subsided, another enemy attacked our country from within. By 1950, every town in America was affected. No one could guess who would be the next victim as the number of casualties climbed steadily every year. Signs went up on houses – Quarantined – Do Not Enter – Polio.

    By 1952, most kids in America thought we had polio – every time we had a headache, sore neck, aching back, or growing pains in our legs. The whole country was terrified – especially during the summer months as new cases of polio increased rapidly.

     

     

    part one

    Down In Camellia Land

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    Down In Camellia Land

    I’m making my way to Edgefield to attend Edgefield Camellia Club’s annual Camellia Tea. As soon as I take Exit 18 onto Highway 19, everything changes. I-20’s bland corridor of cars, trucks, and tedium gives way to thick, green cedar groves, sprawling pine-edged fields, stately avenues of oaks, an abandoned home or two, historic plantations, horses, and a curious collection of what appears to be forsaken 18-wheelers in a powerline right-of-way.

    My goal is a leisurely one. Saunter around Edgefield a bit and take photos and make mental notes…

     

     

    what would roger do?

    The Holy Bible becomes Tennessee’s official state book

    by | Apr 6, 2016
    The Holy Bible becomes Tennessee's official state book

    On Monday, April 4, the Tennessee legislature approved a bill making the Holy Bible the official state book of Tennessee. At least two other states (Louisiana and Mississippi) had talked about it, but Tennessee was the first to actually approve such a measure. The bill now goes to Governor Bill Haslam, who has questioned its constitutionality but still might sign it into law. If that happens, the Bible will join the Channel Catfish, the Eastern Red Cedar, and the Zebra Swallowtail Butterfly as an official state symbol of Tennessee.

     

     

    southern cool

    Seersucker

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    Seersucker suit and a straw hat

    It’s so damn hot, I can’t stand it. My fine seersucker suit is all soaking wet. —The Devil, Don Henley’s “The Garden of Allah.”

    Back on January 23 at 11:00 a.m. snowflakes fluttered from a cold, sunny sky. The startling blend of blue and white brought a Southern legend to mind. How nice it’d be to don a puckered, blue-and-white cotton suit and sashay out into a steaming Dog Day afternoon. Times were a Southern gentleman worth his salt would not be without a seersucker suit. Drifts of dust pile up from years worn and gone and the Grim Reaper’s relentless harvest takes its toll…

     

     

    something to fret about

    Idle Thoughts

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    First spring flowers background, yellow crocuses on snow, copy space

    Even though I’m not much of a gardener, in March and April I used to worry about things like when I should plant my veggies. I always let the spring flower bulbs fend for themselves. Vegetables were different. Building on that thought, this year things are quite a bit different.

    Today, it seems like I worry about everything in terms of the weather: shopping traveling, appointments — you name it. It’s now well into April and I’m still thinking about the “S” word — “snow.” How much snow will the next storm bring?

     

     

    april 16-17

    Bear Redux 20

    by | Apr 4, 2016
    The bear cub that started it all back in 1986 hiding in tree on Dahlonega's town square

    There are many reasons for people to decide to have a party, and such a reason occurred back in 1996 when a mama bear and her two cubs made their way out of the wild and onto Dahlonega’s Historic Town Square.

    A large crowd gathered, some of them actually following the bears to the square in the Northeast Georgia town.The mama bear and one cub escaped to another part of town, where they were later captured by forest rangers and returned to the wild, but one bear cub climbed a sycamore tree on the square and remained there for several hours as rangers and other locals tried to coax it back down to the ground…

     

     

    breaking news

    Whew! Thank Goodness

    by | Apr 1, 2016
    Breaking News Screen shot

    Several shootings lately. Today it’s in Virginia at a Richmond Greyhound Bus Terminal.

    Fortunately, no need to panic. As quick as you can scream “Active shooter, shelter in place!” the news stations pounced, emphatically stating “this is not terrorism!”

    Whew, for a minute I thought this was something serious.

    The local news and CBS categorically stated “There is no link to terrorism that we know of….

     

     

    remembering it is over

    Happy Confederate History and Heritage Month

    by | Apr 1, 2016
    Confederate Memorial Day by Dorret via flickr

    Governor Phil Bryant caused something of a stir in February when he signed a proclamation declaring April to be “Confederate Heritage Month” in Mississippi.

    Georgia’s Governor Nathan Deal made no such proclamation, but he didn’t need to. The Georgia General Assembly already took care of this back in 2009, when it legislated that “the month of April of each year is hereby designated as Confederate History and Heritage Month and shall be set aside to honor, observe, and celebrate the Confederate States of America…

     

     

    nothing stuck

    Trump reminds us of Italy’s Berlusconi, when he was prime minister

    by | Mar 27, 2016
    Berlusconi drinking and laughing with Trump (composite image)

    While Americans are somewhat thunderstruck by an independently wealthy person, like Donald Trump jumping headlong into the presidential race, and gaining traction, it’s happened in other places in the world.

    One recent ego-centered and financially independent figure on the world scene to seek political power was mightily successful. We refer to former Italian premier Silvio Berlusconi, who led Italy for nine years through four cabinets, often embarrassing that country with his escapades and outright peccadilloes, and was eventually forced to resign.

     

     

    make america great again

    Machen America Wieder Groß

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    not actually a photo of Donald Trump receiving an ovation at the Reichstag after announcing a successful Anschluss march

    Exasperated that its latest stratagem to derail the candidacy of Donald Trump – getting Jeb Bush to endorse Ted Cruz – has failed, mainly because Cruz is even more repugnant to most Republicans than the bellicose billionaire, the GOP is shifting its battle plan to subtle understatement.

    It’s going to distribute Trump campaign caps, “Make America Great Again,” translated into German (“Machen America Wieder Groß”) free to supporters to wear to campaign rallies in remaining primary states, hoping they get the hint.

    A GOP source admitted subtle is risky with Republicans.

     

     

    dog-whistle racism

    From the Party of Abe to the Party of Donald

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    Trump in the lap of Lincoln

    There’s poetic justice in Trump’s rise to the top of the GOP presidential field. The GOP is reaping precisely what it has sown.

    One might indulge in Schadenfreude if the stakes weren’t so high. America teeters on the brink of fascism, and no one can confidently predict which way the chips will fall.

    Trump has essentially effected a “hostile takeover” of the Grand Old Party. How the GOP enabled Trump is the subject of Time‘s March 21 feature story “The Party’s Over.” The article – by Peter Wehner, senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center – is surprisingly candid…

     

     

    the ncaa sham

    So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You

    by | Mar 24, 2016
    So Long, It’s Been Good to Know You

    Just in case you missed this, Ben Simmons has decided to forego the balance of his college experience and declare himself for the NBA draft.

    This is a shock on par with hearing Donald Trump insult someone.

    Simmons is another of the famous one and done, athletes who accept a college basketball scholarship with no intention of staying more than a year before leaving for the pros.

     

     

    public underrepresented

    Budgets Three, Which One for Thee?

    by | Mar 23, 2016
    Half Ain't Enough by Tom Ferguson

    There are three budget proposals up for a vote soon, the President’s, the House of Representative’s and the Progressive Caucus’. The Progressive proposal is aligned with what polls say the general public wants so naturally this one doesn’t have a chance. The other two go to different lengths to cut services for the general public and increase breaks for the wealthy, corporations and spending for the military. The fiscal year for this budget kicks off October 1.

     

     

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