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like no one else
Writer Pat Conroy, who died Friday night, had a way with words that can only be described as an incredible gift. Perhaps no one more aptly painted word pictures of love, loss, beauty, yearning, pain, grief and aspiration.
Whether fiction or memoir, Conroy could tell a story like no one else. Just read his ebullient description of the inimitable author and chef Nathalie Dupree, the subject of the first chapter of his cookbook, The Pat Conroy Cookbook: Recipes of My Life: “Nathalie’s voice is deep and musical and seductive…
strife over cooperation
Why have our politics become so dysfunctional? The answer is really not so hard to find. Our founders knew the nation would always have its divisions — of interests, values, opinions. The hope in framing the Constitution was that we’d nonetheless find ways to move the nation forward by negotiating compromises.
The question “How can we fight to increase our power?” would always be there, they understood, but the question “How can we cooperate to serve the good of the nation?” was supposed to have greater weight.
T.J. English writes what my librarian calls, “guy books.” – books about the mob, organized crime and criminal justice: gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen, Vietnamese gangs in China Town, the History of the Irish mob and this one, about the infamous Boston gangster Whitey Bulgar. His murderous escapades were sanctioned, even abetted, over a twenty year period, by segments of law enforcement and the FBI. This book covers the trial that convicted Bulgar, sentencing him to life x 2 plus 75 years, and the suppression of the story of government malfeasance.
how you play the game
It’s been a long time but memorable in the eyes and mind of the then-young man who went to his first baseball game. Some of the small details are foggy. And he’s not exact about the team names. But the important stuff is still there, as if it were yesterday. But let him tell it:
There weren’t many organized sports activities at the grammar school I went to, first thru fourth grades. Ambrose, in Coffee County…
OK, I have an apology to MSNBC. I watched the Republican debate on FOX last night, and I liked it. Megyn Kelly was fantastic. I mean, I used to scream every time the channel was on FOX news in public places (because the remote is forbidden from stopping there at home), but recently I have been watching with glee as they try to make sense of the present primary picnic (especially turd blossom, who is doing his best to pimp Rubio).
It is now 60 years that I’ve been following American politics closely. Long enough to get surprised when the way things have always been change dramatically into something never seen before.
I have been surprised, for example, to see people who regard themselves as “conservative” readily support leaders who break well-established American precedent. Aren’t conservatives the people who recognize that traditions are there for a reason – that you respect established norms, not just trample on them?
Jeff Halper, an Israeli peace activist, spoke at Atlanta’s Oakhurst Baptist Church Monday night (2/29/16). He confirms and elaborates much of what Noam Chomsky says on the subject of Israel-U.S. relations. Halper raises the question, why does the U.S. so enthusiastically support Israel, enabling a brutal occupation and blocking peace with the Palestinians? He dismisses several conventional answers as being factors but…
we are so fired
Donald Trump’s relentless promise to Make America Great Again carried him through the Republican primaries with surprising efficiency. He beat Marco Rubio in the Midwest, easily carried Florida and the West, and fought off a late entry by Michael Bloomberg. The Republican convention became a pep rally for the dissatisfied, and his surprise choice for his vice presidential running mate was the final blow to any mainstream Republican hopes.
In a caustic and bombastic general election, Trump’s strength multiplied while Democratic hopeful Hillary Clinton fought a tight but eventually losing battle…
location. location. location
After making the decision at Christmas to move to Ireland, to live near my son Patrick with his wife Kate and family of four teenage children, I put my American house on the market a week later and sold it next day to the first people to view it. We complete in April.
I flew back to Ireland for a week in February to look at two houses newly available in the vicinity of my son’s house in the small market town of Nenagh, twenty miles from Limerick, in County Tipperary.
protecting our coast
Imagine going into the barbershop for a trim and coming out with a shaved head and a couple of missing ears. That’s about what happened to the storied Marshes of Glynn along the Jekyll Island Causeway. The barber of Jekyll Island, with an assist from the Georgia Department of Do Not Respect, has taken his shears to the Causeway to “trim” the place up.
A letter from one Karl Burgess, in the Coastal Resources Division, acknowledged the trimming plan, but apparently failed to mention that the assistants he was going to provide were novices at their jobs.
the things I do for love
On the way home to Virginia from a week house-hunting in Ireland, the ice storm and I collided on the east coast. After seven hours waiting for my connecting flight in Philadelphia to Charlottesville, it was cancelled and I was switched to a flight two days hence to finish my journey. My luggage was god knows where and I was obliged to wear the same clothes for three days.
I was stranded in Philadelphia, a city no doubt full of interesting places to visit, but …
the greed system
When I was a kid, growing up in the 1950s, I loved the religious spectaculars one could see at the movie theaters – films like The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur. I’ve never found it easy to believe that there is a God who intervenes in human affairs to punish the wicked and reward the good. But I loved entering that world in these enthralling works of the imagination.
I loved watching how God sent Moses to Egypt to tell Pharaoh to let his enslaved people go…
keeping us poor
Most of you know the feeling. You could lose a few pounds and you wish your clothes fit better, but you feel pretty good – still young, still vibrant. And then you see a recent photo.
It’s like that. For a native son and life-long southerner (excepting two years in Cleveland, OH), the Distressed Communities Index (DCI) map published Thursday in a report by the Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is profoundly troubling.
Dark reds are the most economically distressed communities; dark green are most prosperous. The ranking scale and methodology are explained on the EIG website, where you can also find the full report.
Despite obvious reasons for shifting away from fossil fuels, Georgia’s coast is under assault from three major fossil-fuel related proposals, which if built would severely jeopardize private property, coastal quality of life, and environmental features that are vital to our economy.
The Palmetto petroleum pipeline, offshore drilling, and the export of liquefied natural gas (LNG) are woefully unjustified and risky ventures, yet they remain on the table as if serving the public rather than threatening us…
reverse robin hood
The casino gambling industry is playing hardball, in a sneaky, unethical and vile manner, as it seeks to compel the Georgia legislature to allow this industry in Georgia.
We don’t want the gambling industry in Georgia. To begin with, just look at tactics. The industry is preying on Georgia’s children to get this sinister racket to become legal in our state. Here’s how…
Have you made up your mind which presidential candidate you’ll be voting for? If you haven’t, the presidential preference primary is just one week off, on March 1. So think speedily. You must decide soon!
At least what seemed like innumerable Republican candidates has been thinned seriously, with former Florida governor, Jeb Bush, exiting last week…
racism, militarism, greed
The Iowa Caucus, New Hampshire Primary, and South Carolina GOP Primary are now in the rear-view mirror. Jeb Bush has bailed from the presidential race. It’s time to pause and take political stock.
Of the four leading candidates — Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the GOP, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders from the Dems — three are anti-establishment.
Only Clinton is an establishment candidate. The others surf a giant wave of voter anger that rises from a sense of betrayal.
I know two nice guys from San Antonio and Nashville who recently wrote a cookbook on enchiladas. Cappy Lawton and his family have founded many restaurants in Texas, and presently own three in San Antonio; including La Fonda on Main which features many of the dishes from the cookbook. Chris Waters Dunn loves country music, but is presently more interested in honing his culinary skills.
The Myth. Of all the traditions associated with Georgia’s tradition-rich Jekyll Island, none is more durable than its being at the eye of controversy, the latest stoked by the Jekyll Island Authority’s ongoing redevelopment program. The complaints, simmering in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, Internet web sites and elsewhere, feature invocations of M. E. Thompson, who, as acting governor, acquired the island for the state. The knock is that the Jekyll Island Authority’s management of the island is a betrayal of Thompson’s populist vision of Jekyll Island as “a state park for the plain people of Georgia.”
Democratic voters have a choice between two candidates. Which candidate is the better choice depends on what you think is possible for us to achieve.
If you think we are stuck with the power system we have — in which moneyed interests take over the American democracy and get to call more and more of the shots, and where politicians can be rewarded rather than punished for betraying the American people — Secretary Clinton is an admirable choice…
the best medicine
I can’t keep up with the new medications because their names all sound alike. I woke up this morning with a runny nose and phoned my doctor – Dr. Bram – to call in a prescription for me. I thought I had an allergy.
“Runny nose? Does it run clear—or nasty looking?”
“Uh…Clear.” I had a sore throat, too, but didn’t mention it. He’d want me to go by his office so he could charge me.
“Okay, but you don’t need a prescription. Just buy some Allegra: a-l-l-e-g-r-a. It’s OTC.”
sho’ ‘nuff yummy
There is an old story about the ten-year old Alabama boy, Junior, who had never spoken a word in his life. Then, one morning at the breakfast table, the lad suddenly blurted out, greatly annoyed, “Mama, you’ve burned these here biscuits!”
His mother and the rest of the family were dumbstruck. After she regained her composure, the mother said, “Praise the lord, Junior – those were the first words you’ve ever spoken; you’ve never said anything before.”
Junior frowned at her and said, “Well, Mama, up ’til now, everything’s been all right!”
With all of the finger-pointing, gesticulating, spite, retorts, nasty responses to retorts, robocalls and flood of oversized postcards, the presidential primary process has become a mess, more of a reality television show than reality.
It’s as if the grind of politics, which has been the social equivalent to a root canal for many, has become a caricature of itself. It’s as if real people are really acting like cartoon characters.
times were a’changin’
In a recent writing class, we discussed the power that invoking the senses has to aid in memory recall. The instructor said the sense of smell gives our memory the biggest jolt and asked us to share some vivid smells from our past. Folks brought in Jergen’s Lotion, Old Spice aftershave, rosewater cologne, cinnamon buns and coffee. And then someone mentioned tear gas and Boom! I was immediately jerked back to January 1961 when I was a second quarter freshman at the University of Georgia, living in South Myers dormitory with my best friend from high school…
satire right out of history
Several of the founding fathers of the United States today expressed shock and disappointment with the federal government after they were transported from the past to Washington, DC through what scientists are calling an unprecedented “time warp.”
“Alack, this is not what we intended, not in the least,” said Thomas Jefferson, after he, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams visited Congress and the White House. “How in the name of the Almighty did all this transpire?” Washington asked.
Dear passionate supporters of the candidates, can you please answer these questions to help me choose our next President?
To Bernie supporters:
Q. I remember how hard I worked to get George McGovern elected to be a strong anti-war President in 1972. I also remember the crushing defeat, and the years afterward with Nixon. Where is Bernie’s 50-state strategy spelled out online? Where is his state-by-state endorsement list of elected officials? I am frightened that the former Independent will not be able to rally the Dems in all the states so we can not only win the White House, but also the Senate and/or House.
spooky action at a distance
I am now exclusively occupied with the problem of gravitation, and hope, with the help of a local mathematician friend, to overcome all the difficulties. One thing is certain, however, that never in my life have I been quite so tormented. A great respect for mathematics has been instilled within me, the subtler aspects of which, in my stupidity, I regarded until now as pure luxury. — Albert Einstein
The year was 1906. The previous year, Albert Einstein, a lowly examiner in the patent office of Bern, Switzerland, had laid five golden eggs in the form of scientific papers…