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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Southern Weather Radar


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    novel writing

    Once upon a time…

    by | Jan 28, 2016
    Vintage typewriter with once upon a time...

    So you’d like to write a novel. Then here’s Dr. Lamb’s prescription: take two aspirin and lie down till the desire goes away.

    Just kidding. Truth is, if you’re really a writer, you will write, no matter what. And if you’re not, well, I hope you’re at least a reader. Writers need readers and readers need writers, n’est-ce pas?

    But I brought up the subject because an aspiring writer, a young girl, teenager, asked me the other day how to go about writing a novel.

     

     

    get out of my yard

    R U Ready 4 Nu Writing?

    by | Jan 27, 2016
    R U Ready 4 Nu Writing?

    In a couple of years, if I’m lucky, I will disembark from the good ship I’m in my Fifties and book passage on the SS Lord, I Can’t Believe I’m in my Sixties. I try really, really hard not to be a “why, in my day” curmudgeon. For example, I’m OK with current popular music. I don’t actually listen to it, of course…everyone knows that the best popular music of all time is “classic rock” from the late 1960’s to the early 1980’s. But every generation has its own soundtrack, and every generation thinks its own music is the best. So more power to the current crop of pop artists, and to the whippersnappers who listen to them.

     

     

    one less egg to fry

    Lifetime: It’s television for women

    by | Jan 27, 2016
    Fried egg with broken shell

    My mama loved the Lifetime Network. Back then it had the advertising slogan “It’s television for women.”   Mama would eagerly tell me about the latest movie she had watched always leaning in at the end and saying conspiratorially “you know, it’s television for women.” She said it in that same lowered tone that was used to describe “down there.” Down there was her pseudonym for the entire area of the body contained in underpants. Thong underwear would have thrown her for a loop.

     

     

    bubba still rules

    Some smaller city and county governments merge

    by | Jan 26, 2016
    Ludowici Billboard

    For years, people in Georgia have been concerned that by having 159 counties, many of them small ones, government is too costly and inefficient.

    Meanwhile, the people who control those counties, the big landowners and the timber companies, are pleased as punch about owning property in smaller counties. After all, it’s a whole lot easier to control government when you have just a few voters than it is in the larger counties, where a diverse and educated population sometimes votes slackard politicians out of office. You don’t see that happening often in the smaller counties.

    Local government once was worse.

     

     

    unhinged base

    How Today’s Ugly GOP Presidential Race Provides a Teachable Moment

    by | Jan 26, 2016
    Sarah Palin Anoints Donald Trump an illustration by DonkeyHotey

    For years, there’s something that we Americans have urgently needed to see. If now isn’t a teachable moment – what with the spectacle of the Republican presidential race before us – I don’t know what would be. We can begin with Trump as a flagrant piece of a much bigger picture.

    Consider what it means that the British parliament lately debated the question of whether Donald Trump should be banned from Great Britain. Britain, perhaps the United States’ greatest friend, our “special relationship” for the better part of a century. And Donald Trump — the front-runner of one of America’s two major political parties…

     

     

    berniecare

    Three’s a Charm

    by | Jan 25, 2016
    St. Bernard Sanders wearing a berniecare barrel

    Seven is a lucky number, but three’s a charm.

    I’ve been told that the brain can’t keep track of more than seven things at a time. I’ve tried and it is really difficult to view seven fish at one time in the pond. I ended up counting them by size and then adding the groups to account for my dozen.  There are now fewer fish. I don’t see all the birds that come for a meal.

    Anyway, I remain convinced that the brain has to be exposed to any new information at least three times before it sinks in. That may well be a default to prevent attention overload.

     

     

    satire on the campaign trail

    Scientists Say GOP Campaign Speeches are as Lethal as Flatulence in an Elevator

    by | Jan 23, 2016
    GOP Debate Lineup BS Flatulence Emissions

    Iowa City, Iowa – Climatologists swarmed into Iowa Saturday hoping to avert a cataclysmic rise in global temperatures if GOP candidates are allowed to continue traveling across the state discharging billions of cubic feet of BS into the atmosphere.

    Scientists said the immense discharges of the gas during the GOP debates and early months of the campaign for president are the prime reason 2015 was the hottest, and by most measures, the most unpleasant year in the history of mankind.

     

     

    suggested reading

    A Subversive Activity – Reading

    by | Jan 19, 2016
    A Subversive Activity - Reading

    In an earlier post I mentioned that I had, via Christopher Hitchens’ essays And Yet…, discovered Henrich Heine (whom I had never heard of) and Edmund Wilson (I had been aware of him thru Gore Vidal so re-discovered). Well, I have now spent more time with HH and can report that that guy (1797-1856) was a cinematic writer, one who in turns can inspire one to pen and to despair (at one’s own feeble efforts). We have the handy word master to apply to folks like that…

     

     

    on the campaign trail

    Cruz Says He Will Carpet Bomb Iowa

    by | Jan 18, 2016
    Ted "Inigo Montoya" Cruz

    Iowa City, Iowa — Fresh off a bruising debate with Donald Trump, Texas Senator Ted Cruz said he is left with no choice but to carpet bomb Iowa.

    “That state is as threatening as ISIS because it could destroy America by not allowing me to be elected president,” said Cruz during a campaign stop with his two young daughters who were working the crowd asking for donations and posing for pictures with complete strangers who gave them candy.

     

     

    mortified

    I’m likely voting for Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse in 2016

    by | Jan 16, 2016
    I'm likely voting for Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse in 2016

    This presidential campaign has been special. It’s the first one that has made me sick to my stomach. It’s been embarrassing to say the very least. There’s been minimal civility or coherent, consistent thought on either side. Pointing fingers, shouting, few specifics, and all too often foul language just don’t hack it for me. Nor does the occasional suggestion of possible legal action for past “activities.” As an American, I’m mortified, especially by the front runners on both sides. I wonder how they got to be the front runners? I really cannot understand.

     

     

    gun totin' stoopid

    Patridiot Standoff Continues

    by | Jan 15, 2016
    Patridiot Standoff Continues

    Day 15.

    Standoff continues. Patridiots not budging, holding firm on demands of more clean underwear and Febreze. Feds yet to show up or give a damn.

    No shots were fired again today to the deep disappointment of the Yee-hadists within the Patridiot’s compound. “We are at serious risk of not being taken seriously” one Patridiot exclaimed. “Christ, they may think we’re some sort of hippie, peace-nik group if there ain’t a little blood shed soon” another one complained.

    “Now I know how Davy Crockett must have felt before any of the Mexicans showed up at the Alamo.” claimed Burfurd T. Mudflap.

     

     

    southern family

    Relatively speaking, genealogy is full of surprises

    by | Jan 11, 2016
    Abraham Coggin

    When George W. Coggin of Greensboro, N.C., and Pawleys Island, S.C., set out to trace his relatives’ military service in the Confederate Army, he little dreamed the trail would lead to finding black kinfolk. Coggin is white.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, the book that grew out of this journey into the past is Abraham & Jeremiah Coggin & The Montgomery Volunteers, published recently after years of research by Coggin, a retired lawyer, who with his wife Carol have a home in Litchfield Beach at Pawleys Island. We all met one day when I was out walking my dog, the late Dro Lamb, canine extraordinaire and companion supreme.

     

     

    maude edmondson

    A Mother’s Diary

    by | Jan 11, 2016
    A collection compiled by Maude Edmondson after the death of her son, donated to the Australian War Memorial.

    She began to write down her thoughts each day as her son prepared to go to war. He had suggested they each keep a diary of their activities so he would know what his mother did each day while he was away. She followed the war closely through media reports, writing significant events into a small note book alongside her daily activities, her fears and thoughts. The diary was surprisingly frank about the recurring nightmares which were centred on her son’s inability to help in times of her need.

     

     

    satire on the campaign trail

    Trump Demands Proof of Ted Cruz’s DNA

    by | Jan 7, 2016
    GOP candidates led by Trump vs Cruz's birth certificate

    Stepping up his birther attacks on Ted Cruz, Donald Trump is demanding proof of the Texas Senator and GOP presidential candidate’s DNA and has hired Ancestry.com “to prove, once and for all, he is one of us.”

    “I look at the guy and I think a face like that can’t possibly be a real American,” Trump said in a Thursday press conference. “And he doesn’t look Canadian either, which is where he was born, and his father was a Cuban?

    “I mean, this guy’s family tree is monkey bars!”

     

     

    gun totin' stoopid

    News Update from the heartland of the US of A

    by | Jan 6, 2016
    White Terrorist Militia Men Occupy Federal Cabins In Oregon To Protest Getting Caught Breaking The Law

    KRAZYVILLE, Ore. Community leaders were sent in today to help the Yee-hawdists who have taken over bird watchin’ from the commie, big-gubment liberals at a Federal reserve in Oregon.

    The local sheriff David Ward stated “we had to send someone in with a scissors to help because the I.Q.s are so low they would have died trying unsuccessfully to open the snacks we sent in.” A reporter for the Oregon Sentinel interviewed one of the Tali-banjo who said they couldn’t seem to figure out how to open the Zip-Lock bags containing the S’mores…

     

     

    questions

    It’s 2016 and time for some answers

    by | Jan 6, 2016
    It’s 2016 and time for some answers

    For this new year, I have decided to skip making resolutions and pose some nagging questions instead. These long-unanswered questions demonstrate more staying power than resolutions do anyhow, so here goes:

    • What happened to the United Nations’ peacekeeping role around the globe? How did the United States of America get saddled with the job – and enormous expense – of global policeman? Only a few years ago, an international crisis called for a peacekeeping force composed of member nations of the UN. Now nobody mentions it. Why?

     

     

    familiarity breeds content

    My Irish Christmas

    by | Jan 4, 2016
    Family group at Luke and Noras Christmas Day

    On the flight from Dulles to Dublin I sat by a woman returning from Las Vegas, where she had attended the World Freestyle fight between Conor McGregor, Irish Featherweight Freestyle Champion, and Brazil’s Jose Aldo. It took you longer to read that sentence than the fight lasted. Eyes brimming with enthusiasm, she told how Conor defeated his opponent in 13 seconds. For this triumph he was paid $500,000 but fifteen million more were set to roll in. I thought it an expensive trip for such a brief contest…

     

     

    bernie with gutman

    An Outsider in the (White) House

    by | Jan 4, 2016
    ernie Sanders at a rally in New Orleans, Louisiana by www.nicksolari.net

    Outsider in the White House reviews the various campaigns Bernie Sanders has been involved in, those he overwhelmingly, sometimes unexpectedly, won and those he dismally lost. Interestingly he uses his 1997 reelection campaign as something he is “currently” working, to which he returns again and again from excursions off into earlier campaigns. He obviously won the 1997 campaign but the details and outcome are used in the book to build a sort of advancing suspense, interspersed with the other campaigns. He certainly uses the form to lay out his political philosophy. The “White” is added to the title, for the book was originally published in 1997 and is updated to 2015 for his presidential run.

     

     

    better’n pissed on?

    Poll Shows 100 Percent of Republicans are Pissed Off at Everything

    by | Dec 29, 2015
    Poll Shows 100 Percent of Republicans are Pissed Off at Everything

    A new University of Wisconsin poll found that 100 percent of Republicans are pissed off at everything.

    That includes puppies and sunshine, said researchers.

    “There’s just so much anger out there, so much disillusionment – I don’t know any other way to put it, but everything just pisses them off,” said Jed Williamson, the lead researcher on the poll that surveyed registered Republican voters nationwide.

     

     

    a masterful performance

    “Joyful, Joyful” and Beethoven’s Ninth, plus Bernstein in Berlin

    by | Dec 28, 2015
    Screen shot of Bernstein - Beethoven no. 9. - Berlin - Freedom concert

    During the holiday season, we hope you (and I) get to hear and sing one of our favorite hymns, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” Somehow it reminds me of Christmas.

    The stirring hymn was written in 1907 by Henry Van Dyke, a Princeton University professor of English, who was also a Presbyterian minister. His inspiration was two-fold: the beautiful Berkshire Mountains of Western Massachusetts, and the fourth stanza of Ludwig Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony.

     

     

    the great equalizer

    The Preparation

    by | Dec 27, 2015
    Toliet Paper by Ken Peacock

    The Boy Scouts motto of “Be Prepared” was drilled into me as a kid – “Be prepared in Mind” and “Be prepared in Body”. I never forgot that instruction as it followed me around the world. In German-speaking countries I was told “Allzeit Bereit”, in France “Toujours Pret”, in Italy “Sii Preparato” and in Spain “Siempre Listo”. But the one that was easiest for me to remember was “Always keep your ass covered”.

    As I get older “Be Prepared” and “Keep your ass covered” has taken on a new meaning.

     

     

    ouch

    Dental Detours

    by | Dec 27, 2015
    Seeing the dentist from inside of my mouth

    We are all aware that there is often a big difference between reality and wishful thinking, both in life and advertising. Case in point, dental implants. You’ve seen the ads on television and the unwelcome blurbs on your computer. Both stress that it’s the wave of the future, quick and relatively affordable. After a failed root canal and the resulting extraction, I opted for an implant – thinking the procedure sounded better than the alternative which would, at the very least, do damage to the surrounding teeth.

     

     

    in the name of religion

    A Matter of Perspective

    by | Dec 25, 2015
    A Matter of Perspective

    Religion.
    Balm for the afflicted. Opiate of the masses. Fairy tales. Myth. The deepest truths.
    Religion is a lot of things.

    In today’s various wars – the War on Terrorism, the Culture Wars, the Jihad Against the Great Satan and the Little Satan, and the ever-popular War on Christmas (!), religion is a key element, if not the key element. Religion inspires us to do and be our best – but through so much of history, religion also has inspired us to kill and hate one another.

     

     

    stories

    Thoughts Of Christmas Past

    by | Dec 25, 2015
    Thoughts Of Christmas Past

    My wife was tickled the other day when a friend sent us a large basket full of crackers, peanut brittle, chocolates and a round container of “Sonomajacks, Gourmet Garlic and Herb” cheese wedges. Her curiosity turned to pure delight when she turned the container over and discovered it was from a cheese factory in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin, where her grandmother Frieda used to work on a kind of Lucille Ball-assembly line trying to keep up with the small bits of cheese coming at her on a conveyor belt.

     

     

    ’tis the season

    Another View

    by | Dec 22, 2015
    Another View

    The Irish poet Medbh McGuckian writes about subduing “the disquieting existence of others” in her poem Drawing Ballerinas. Seeing through eyes she describes as “unnerving sparks of matter,” she brings to life another view of the feeling of anxiety, of worry, a knowledge that something is about to pass in this world of disorder and disillusionment. The anxiety may be more than just a feeling. It may be real loss, not just of home and land, but of innocence.

     

     

    tree wrestling

    Christmas Tree 1, Columnist 0

    by | Dec 17, 2015
    The Obligatory Christmas Tree Close-up of the Bandaid Box

    File this under the heading of Best Laid Plans, the kind that “gang aft agley,” as Scottish poet Robert Burns warned in his philosophical poem “To A Mouse.”

    My wife usually shops for a Christmas tree with a scrutiny normally reserved for my shortcomings as a spouse. She also insists that I proffer an opinion on each candidate, after which she makes up my mind which tree to get.

    This year it was going to be different. To help a charitable cause, she bought a Christmas tree online. That means she bought a tree sight unseen.

     

     

    timely tips

    Holiday Preparations

    by | Dec 16, 2015
    Buon Natale

    My nine year old grandson asked me last week, “Granny, what was the best Christmas you ever had?”

    Without hesitation I answered, “It was the Christmas when I’d just separated from your grandfather and moved into a different house a few days before Christmas. Your Daddy was 14. My three youngest sons were still in school, one was in college and one had left home. I’d put my last penny down on the house. We had no money at all. In those days we didn’t have credit cards and I never borrowed money.

     

     

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