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Friday, September 4, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


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    togt

    Alone

    by | Jul 8, 2015
    Nasa Image

    You might want to sit down for this.

    Ready?

    Here goes: I have concluded that we human beings are alone in the universe.

    Sorry. I thought you were ready. The smelling salts are on the table beside you.

    As I was saying: I believe that we Earthlings are by our lonesome in the big, wide universe.

    A-l-o-n-e.

     

     

    aging

    My Older Friend Gus

    by | Jul 8, 2015
    Hands of an elderly man

    It was a visit I did not want to make but knew I had to do it. For two years I had found excuses to not visit the nursing home where my older friend Gus lived. Rhinebeck, New York is a long way from my home so I telephoned regularly and inquired after him. As I was not on the list of people authorized to be told anything about Gus the nursing staff could only confirm that he was alive. I accepted their response and selfishly moved on with my life, satisfied that my older friend Gus was being cared for by people I didn’t know…

     

     

    secret to great sax

    If Music Be The Food Of Love …

    by | Jul 6, 2015
    Selmer Mark VI via the Wikimedia Commons

    I lost my self-confidence in singing and playing a musical instrument early in life. I can still hear Mrs Greeley in fifth grade telling my pal Byron and me that we would not be singing in the Christmas pageant that year, since neither of us could carry a tune worth a damn. A few years later I dropped out of High School Band because I continued to carry the Greeley curse and didn’t think I was worth a damn. It was a bleak beginning for anyone who fancied music.

    Many years later, though, my friend John coaxed me to join the New Horizons Band at James Madison University. I am forever indebted to Will, our band director, for welcoming me aboard in his enthusiastic and warm manner…

     

     

    presidential politics

    What Trump Means

    by | Jul 6, 2015
    Donald Trump by DonkeyHotey

    Does the presidential candidacy of Donald Trump serve any useful purpose?  If your first reaction is to dismiss the question because the idea that such an absurd and repellant figure could be taken seriously, it is worth remembering that American voters have elected others just as unlikely to the White House.  Ronald Reagan the movie actor and George W. Bush the old money underachiever whose daddy was president were no less improbable early in their political careers.

    o be sure, Trump’s candidacy might be nothing more than an example of the public attention seeking that afflicts the superrich.

     

     

    last word

    Enough Said about Confederate Memories

    by | Jul 3, 2015
    Confederate flag bug screen licensed by LikeTheDew.com at 123rf.com

    Only one hundred and fifty years after Appomattox, southern states are beginning to give up public displays of Confederate battle flags and other emblems of what my two grandfathers called the War for Southern Independence or the War of Northern Aggression.

    But what about private displays? And what about memories of private displays?

     

     

    male pattern blindness

    Quirks And Quiddities

    by | Jul 3, 2015
    Quirks And Quiddities

    “In this intimate body of work, she uses mixed media, collage and painting to explore the demands of motherhood, preservation of memory, and repetitious patterns of thought and behavior.”

    Huh?

    I recently received this invitation and quickly decided it was probably something I don’t want to even be seen near, let alone attend.

     

     

    read the warning label

    Takin’ My Medicine

    by | Jul 1, 2015
    Takin' My Medicine

    There’s a pill for everything, you know. Not that that puts pharmaceuticals in any special category. There’s an anything for everything—just a click away. Still, all those meds you see advertised on TV, targeted particularly to people who look to be about my age, people who are “having trouble” breathing or peeing or digesting or remembering. It’s become a cliché: all old people do is take pills.Well, that ain’t me. I have no prescriptions and take no medications. At least that’s what I say every time I fill out medical history forms. In fact, I’m just about a perfect human specimen, according to such documents, and I’m generally able to hold on to the notion that when I fill out these forms I’m conveying the spirit of the truth if not all the boring minutiae.

     

     

    all tangled up

    Death, Race and Irony in South Carolina

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Death, Race and Irony in South Carolina

    There have been hundreds of thousands of words written and spoken about the unspeakable tragedy of the nine people gunned down at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. In time, there will be many more; books will be written and countless analysis will be presented seeking to find some meaning in what happened. In time, the events of the tragedy will become a permanent part of the history of Charleston and our people, indeed the whole state and nation.

     

     

    seem a fetish

    Between Pistols and Prozac

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Between Pistols and Prozac

    There is a store in the North Georgia Mountains called “Drug and Gun.” I’ve been meaning to revisit the shop to ask the cashier if customers buy their anti-psychotic drugs before or after they buy a gun. But when I walk in and see the word “prescriptions” behind the gun counter, I ask the clerk jokingly, “Do I need a prescription to buy a gun?” A man behind me says, “actually that would be a good idea. “ And I agree: if Americans need a prescription for Prozac, why not for pistols?

    But there is one problem: changing the mind of people entrenched in a culture of guns.

     

     

    institute index

    Charleston church massacre puts spotlight on South Carolina’s gun violence problem

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Charleston church massacre puts spotlight on South Carolina's gun violence problem

    Number of people killed by gun violence in South Carolina from 2001 to 2010 alone: 5,991

    Percent by which that exceeds all U.S. combat deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined: 15

    Rank of South Carolina among all states for aggravated assaults with a firearm: 2

    For the rate of women murdered by guns: 4

     

     

    non-violent action

    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    People of Charleston showed the way out of tragedy

    Not only that, but that this move to bring the Confederate flag into the discussion would be one that reverberates all across our country, making that symbol of the Old South a new rallying cry for all sorts of people of this country? Who would have thought?

    In effect, it was the human heart speaking to our country, recognizing the sufferings of the people of Charleston, and in particular, the suffering of black people. We remember how our country has itself suffered from those who won’t give up a lost cause….one that brings division, not union, to our nation.

     

     

    beneath the american flag

    Finding My Heritage in the Long Shadow of Lincoln

    by | Jun 30, 2015
    Lincoln Memoria by Daniel Chester French licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license via Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lincoln_Memorial.jpg

    That my first visit to the Lincoln memorial in 48 years would bring tears was unexpected. Yet on a sunny September Sunday in 2012, at the feet of his massive marble likeness, staring solemnly upon the chiseled words of President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, salty drops dot my face.

    There is poignancy simply in standing where I scampered a lifetime ago as an unknowing four-year-old. But, my tears this day are for something more immediate – at least for me. This moment, the text of our 16th President’s second inaugural speech, and especially his Gettysburg Address fall this day upon a heart still moved by a different visit two days prior.

     

     

    breakfast over hard

    Ham n’ Angry

    by | Jun 29, 2015
    Charleson Massacre

    “Ol’ Obama knocked it outta the park yestiddy didn’t he?”

    “Sumbitch always does. He always does.”

    “Big O was fuckin’ magnificent in Charleston. I can’t believe he actually sang ‘Amazing Grace.’ I think he knew Clementha Pinckney…”

    The conversation was on-going at a table across from where I’m taking refuge from ominous weather. As near as I can tell, their names are Stan, Roy and Tommy. All three are African-American. They are gray-beards, firmly ensconced in the demographic labeled ‘active seniors…

     

     

    marriage equality. life.

    Outlaws no more!

    by | Jun 26, 2015
    Outlaws no more!

    Thomas Wolfe was wrong: We can go home again!

    As two Suthunahs living in exile in New Joisey — one from Georgia, the other from Alabama — we share a photo essay of our 41-year marriage  which today the Supreme Court made legal in every state of the union.

    Samuel A. Ward  was organist and choirmaster of our parish in Newark, NJ, when he wrote “America the Beautiful.” “Thy fruited plane” indeed. “Thy liberty in law,” Amen.

     

     

    marriage equality

    Let No Man Put Asunder

    by | Jun 26, 2015
    The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) by DonkeyHotey via his Flickr photo stream and used under creative commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/donkeyhotey/

    I recognize some Americans still feel threatened by gay marriage. I don’t understand that fear, but I respect it. I also respectfully suggest if you believe gay marriage is about what happens in the bedroom, you really don’t understand marriage at all.

    I’m 55. I don’t remember my age when I first realized I had gay friends in high school. It’s certainly not something anyone was open about at the time. It wasn’t something we talked about.

    But, I remember the moment I knew it was wrong to deny two loving, committed people the same respect we give married couples solely because they are the same gender.

     

     

    never forget

    The Charleston Massacre

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    The Charleston Massacre

    My wife and I attended An Evening of Prayer Tuesday at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Pawleys Island. The special event was an ecumenical vigil for the victims of the Charleston massacre on June 17 at Emanuel AME Church at the hands of a moral idiot.

    For some reason, the vigil brought to mind the opening lines of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, one of the most famous openings in all of literature: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times” …

     

     

    extra syllables?

    What Makes Southern Writing “Southern?”

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    Dahlonega by Wayne Hsieh via flickr and used under a Creative Commons license.

    This spring, my wife and I recently spent a lovely weekend in Dahlonega, Georgia. For the uninformed, Dahlonega is a small town just over an hour north of Atlanta in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. Dahlonega is best known for the gold rush that started there in 1828, when rich veins of the stuff were discovered in the area. It was the second significant gold find in the young United States, and within three years, Dahlonega’s population soared to some 10,000, almost all of whom were seeking their fortunes in the rocks and caves and streams of the region.

     

     

    bad for business

    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    by | Jun 25, 2015
    Confluence of factors drive momentum to take down flag

    The S.C. General Assembly put the Confederate battle flag in a place of prominence on the Statehouse grounds. Now after nine deaths in the horrendous Charleston church shooting, the legislature must take it down. Today, as the body of state Sen. Clementa Pinckney, the slain Jasper County Democrat and pastor of the church, lay in honor at the Statehouse, imagine the feelings of those who had to pass the Confederate flag before they paid their last respects.

     

     

    monopoly capitalism

    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Four Steps That Can Help End Unemployment and Poverty Now

    More than seven years after the Great Recession began in 2007, many Americans are still struggling to put their economic lives back together. Factors such as low wages, high interest rates on credit cards and a mediocre job market continue to make a lot of families feel like the recovery passed them by. It doesn’t have to be this way.

    The main cause of our troubles is monopoly capitalism, which is a system dominated by giant companies that charge high prices, pay low wages and extract huge productivity from employees.

     

     

    are we there yet?

    Awesome Ways to Keep Kids Happy

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Awesome Ways to Keep Kids Happy

    I clicked on this topic, interested to expand my ingenuity to distract children on a long drive or transatlantic flight. We played games to keep five boys from fidgeting and fighting during road trips when my (now middle aged) sons were small, growing up in England. We visited distant grandparents, camped in France and Spain in a Hiace van because we couldn’t afford air fares for seven…

     

     

    grief and fear

    Wellspring of Tears

    by | Jun 24, 2015
    Charleston Massacre by Lee Stranahan via flickr and used a Creative Commons license.

    The Irish poet William Butler Yeats wrote many years ago in The Second Coming that,

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned.
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

     

     

    race rant

    Just who the hell are we?

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    Just who the hell are we?

    First, yeah this is long, but just maybe, it’s time for long, cuz it’s been a long time comin’.

    I suppose it all started with Michael Jackson and his desire for a “white” nose, which didn’t turn out so well. Why a really handsome, very talented guy would willingly fuck up his face is truly beyond me. Michael was said to have lightened his skin, while Rachel Dolezal is said to have darkened hers.

     

     

    time for action

    Open the door of the race closet

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    CBS News anchor Scott Pelley prepares Thursday to broadcast from outside the church.

    Most South Carolinians don’t know a lot of out-of-the-closet, vociferous racists. They’re probably around, just like they have been since two people who didn’t look like each other first met. But in our society — here and in other states — they generally live on the fringes.

    A hundred years ago, racism was institutionalized in the South with Jim Crow laws and separate but equal schools.

     

     

    people will die

    When Disgraceful Political Conduct Becomes Acceptable

    by | Jun 23, 2015
    Tea Party Gap by DonkeyHotey via flickr and used a Creative Commons license

    As the American public recognizes, our political system has become dysfunctional. A big component of the problem is that disgraceful political conduct has become acceptable, and is often even rewarded. The rejection of Medicaid expansion by the Republicans in many states in which they have the power is a case in point.

    That includes my own state of Virginia, where the Republicans in the General Assembly have steadfastly rejected Medicaid expansion. It is hard – perhaps impossible – to find a way that this rejection is good for Virginia for its people.

     

     

    racist act of terror

    Keep your prayers, Nikki…

    by | Jun 22, 2015
    Dismantle Hate, Black Lives Matter (Candlelight Vigil for Victims of Charleston Mother Emanuel AME Church Shooting) - by Light Brigading

    These past few days I have been frantically trying to wrap my brain around the slaughter of nine African-American men and women at the Emmanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston S.C last Wednesday night.

    The crime was heinous, profane and an extreme act of cowardice. It was pre-meditated, mindful and calculated. Above all — it was a racist act of terror.

     

     

    incomprehensible

    Charleston shooting brings sadness, shock, anger, frustration

    by | Jun 22, 2015
    Dozens of bouquets lined a sidewalk Thursday outside Emanuel AMC Church in Charleston. The display board still lists the late Sen. Clementa Pinckney as the church's pastor.

    As I headed to bed Wednesday night, a white gunman shot and killed nine people in an historic black church in the center of town just four blocks from where I used to live. Unaware of the evil, sleep came quickly. But in the wee hours, the ping of a text from an Australian colleague woke me. I didn’t want to read it and tried to go back to sleep. But after tossing and turning, I read the text, only to learn the heart-wrenching news about what was going on a few miles away. I was dazed.

     

     

    southern life circa 1944

    The Day That Eulene Tried to Commit Suicide

    by | Jun 21, 2015
    The Day That Eulene Tried to Commit Suicide

    While I, Louie Crew Clay, narrate the story as if fiction, it actually is nonfiction and I have changed only the names. I wrote it to expose to myself as to any readers the arrogance racism taught me. Childhood is not all that “innocent” when the privileged teach our young to devalue and disrespect others. I hope that by my preserving the privileged little boy’s insensitivity, we will see what he saw but with our thinking caps on and our eyes wide open.

     

     

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    On the Brunswick, Georgia Waterfront with the Incredible Brothers Koch

    By: Monica Smith

    About a quarter century ago, when Hercules Specialty Resins was still spewing its sulfurous emissions across the marshes of Glynn to be dissipated by mingling with the off-shore breezes, local wags dubbed the odiferous environment “the smell of money.” They may have been more right than they thought. For, within a decade, all profits had apparently gone up the chimney, even as every rain storm deposited more toxins to poison the marsh. That profitable enterprise depends to a large extent on avoiding waste is a lesson the new owners of Pinova seem to appreciate. On the other side of town, the  Read on →

    Looking For a GOP Soul

    Looking For a GOP Soul

    By: Jeffry Scott

    San Clemente, Calif. – The back yard of Richard Nixon’s old Western White House seemed like as good a place as any to start the search for a Republican soul, said researcher Ed Whitfield as he prowled the grounds with a metal detector late Wednesday afternoon. “Any kind of beep, and I’m getting aroused, I’m telling you that right now,” said Whitfield, a retired entomologist who is among scores of GOP volunteers scouring the nation for any trace of a Republican soul. “If it turns out to be a belt buckle, well then, that’s one less place to look, that’s progress, that’s the way I look at i  Read on →

    Coca-Cola Thinks About Recalling 600 Billion Soft Drinks

    Coca-Cola Thinks About Recalling 600 Billion Soft Drinks

    By: Jeffry Scott

    Responding to criticism that its soft drinks contribute to epidemic obesity in America, and that it hooks kids on the sugary sodas like Bill Cosby giving away Quaalude Jell-O shots to kindergarteners, and that it has funded research to confuse Americans about how horrible soft drinks are for human health, the Atlanta-based Coca-Cola Co. said it is thinking doing something – but probably not. “Sure, we could recall all 600 billion soft drinks Americans drink on an average day, and you could make the case that these sugar-packed sodas contribute to the nation’s appalling weight gain, in the same way you could  Read on →