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Thursday, April 24, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    anger and unresolved pain

    Sticks, Stones and Histones

    by | Dec 5, 2013
    Sticks, Stones and Histones

    There is considerable cultural wisdom embedded within idioms, fables and nursery rhymes. Consider “The early bird gets the worm,” “The Tortoise and the Hare,” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Which makes the “sticks and stones” adage such a glaring exception.

    As a child, I broke three bones, once turning my forearm into a stair step by slipping from a swing — at the zenith of its rearward arc — onto wet grass.

     

     

    petition

    The Declaration of Independence, Updated

    by | Dec 3, 2013
    The Declaration of Independence, Updated

    When in the life of a democratic nation it becomes clear that the government has parted ways with the governed and evinces no intention to reform, a decent respect for the opinions of mankind requires that the governed, i.e. the People, should declare in terms both broad and narrow the causes that impel them toward a separation of their own.

    We the People hold to be self-evident the same truths that were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence of 1776, chief among them an inalienable right to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness, and we remind the nation’s leaders…

     

     

    to be or not

    Life is but a dream?

    by | Dec 1, 2013
    Life is but a dream?

    I looked over and the strange fact that Pamela Kheto was driving seemed perfectly normal, even though my sole contact with her in the last ten years was a brief meeting in a parking lot where she tried to recruit me for some kind of power-grab at her church. When I looked to the front I saw we were on rough terrain. I felt the bottom scraping on large boulders and finally hitting something huge that threatened to completely tie us up, the edge of a cliff actually, but our momentum carried us up and over, teetering on the edge a moment then flipping over, dropping about 20 feet.

     

     

    the sublime cannibal

    Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast

    by | Nov 28, 2013
    Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast

    “Where is the Love?” Kristof asks in his Thanksgiving column for the New York Times.  Thanksgiving is a euphemistic feast. I still haven’t found just the right term to describe cannibals bloodlessly and indirectly destroying and consuming their own kind. Some call it “sacrifice,” but that too is a euphemism. “Symbolic predation” doesn’t work because the injury and destruction are all too real.

     

     

    engaged in the drama

    At Lincoln’s death, 12-day rail procession took body to Springfield

    by | Nov 26, 2013
    At Lincoln's death, 12-day rail procession took body to Springfield

    Last week Americans saw heavy media coverage of the death 50 years ago of President John F. Kennedy. I couldn’t help but compare the aftermath and funeral of JFK with that of Abraham Lincoln, both victims of assassins.

    One reason this came to mind is because I had just finished a year-long project — reading Carl Sandburg’s six volume biography of Lincoln.

     

     

    number 95 of the 100

    A-Plus Soup

    by | Nov 25, 2013
    A-Plus Soup

    If you were to ask me if I considered myself a soup lover, I would tell you “No” without even thinking about it. Isn’t it strange how I can tell a lie so easily; how I can fool myself into thinking things about the way I act that have no bearing on reality? I mean—I must be the Grand Marshall of Liars, for why else would I tell people—those both close to me and strangers—that I detest soups, stews, and their ilk? All one has to do to prove I’m a liar is take a peek at my final list of Top 100 Meals and Side Dishes…

     

     

    representing the ruling class

    Modern-day Southern “nullifiers”

    by | Nov 20, 2013
    Modern-day Southern "nullifiers"

    Way back in 1988, I sat across from Strom Thurmond in his Capitol Hill office in Washington, D.C., and listened as he explained his opposition to federal anti-lynching laws and any other federal encroachment on states’ rights during his long career.

    “I felt it was dangerous to shift it all to Washington,” the then-85-year-old U.S. senator and former Dixiecrat presidential candidate from South Carolina told me.  “Lynching was nothing but murder. All states had laws against murder. … I’ve never had any feelings against minorities.”

     

     

    your crazy uncle

    Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories?

    by | Nov 19, 2013
    Who Believes in Conspiracy Theories?

    Many of us love a good conspiracy theory. Some of us, though, love them more than others. It’s no surprise liberals are more likely to buy into a conspiracy theory critical of the right, or conservatives are more likely to believe one critical of the left. The data supports exactly that, proving we often dare research the obvious. Here I’m going to discuss four specific conspiracy theories, two from each side of the political spectrum, and sketch what a national sample of over 5,000 U.S. adults tells us about who does, and does not, believe in them.

     

     

    30% tax credit

    Blockbuster movie being shot in Gwinnett

    by | Nov 19, 2013
    Blockbuster movie being shot in Gwinnett

    A big part of the future of Gwinnett may be happening right now, and most people don’t realize it. Already underway at the current 168-acre excess land of the OFS fiber optic cable plant (the former Western Electric site) at Jimmy Carter Boulevard and Interstate 85, is filming of a major motion picture. It’s to be called Fast and Furious Seven, an action-crime-thriller, and is a $300 million blockbuster being produced by Universal Studios, entirely in Gwinnett County. It stars Vin Diesel, Paul Walker and Dwayne Johnson.

     

     

    compare two experiences

    Naked and Afraid

    by | Nov 18, 2013
    Naked and Afraid

    You may have seen a series of reality shows on TV recently about two survivalists set down in hostile territory sans clothes, food, matches, water or shelter, and required to survive for 21 days. Each week a man and woman who had never previously met, removed their clothes and shook hands in a jungle, or on a beach, the Serengeti, a desert island, or wherever that episode was filmed by an unseen two-man crew. The fact that in the course of the episode participants each lost about 20 lbs. in weight and were seen eating maggots…

     

     

    number 96 of the 100

    Ron’s Southern Fried Pork Chops

    by | Nov 17, 2013
    Ron’s Southern Fried Pork Chops

    I’ve been trying — for two months — to write about recipe Number 96 — Ron’s Southern-Fried Pork Chops (Ron is not his real name). It’s been one difficult affair. There are two reasons. The first is because I became (perhaps, I still am) addicted to eBay. I’d never fooled with eBay before, and on September 15th, once I stuck my foot in the door, I couldn’t pull it back. I mean — the thrill of selling something and making five dollars. Wow. You may ask how in the hell can making five bucks be enjoyable?

     

     

    friends

    As Time Goes By

    by | Nov 16, 2013
    As Time Goes By

    When I was a child, I had a purple Crown Royal bag filled with all manner of marbles. We collected them, admired them, competed with them, and crowed about who had the most or “rarest.” There was something deeply satisfying about the heft of the bag, and the “aggies, beauties, cats-eyes, clearies, steelies, tigers and swirlies” within. We gathered friends in the same ways: through an arcane process of admiration, competition and number-building.

     

     

    coax our jaded existences

    The Beginning of Wisdom

    by | Nov 15, 2013
    The Beginning of Wisdom

    “Awe is the beginning of wisdom.” — Rabbi Abraham Heschel

    Years ago, a friend confessed that she was not at all religious. Then, in the next moment, she described her reaction upon first beholding Monument Valley, whose stark, unearthly beauty provoked her spontaneous tears. My friend, although not conventionally “religious,” was deeply spiritual, I believe, for the ability to be awed is the hallmark of a receptive spirit.

     

     

    guaranteed legal counsel

    Gideon’s Trumpet: A Brass Act

    by | Nov 13, 2013
    Gideon's Trumpet: A Brass Act

    The best television drama these days mostly comes in serialized form, with shows such as Breaking Bad, Masters of Sex and Mad Men vying for top industry honors and critical huzzahs. But there was a time – a stretch of 20 years or so, beginning around 1974 – when weekly series were mostly formulaic and unchallenging and the serious money and ideas went into original TV movies. The “made-fors” addressed historical events and social issues considered too complicated or controversial to be plot fodder for a Marcus Welby, M.D. or a Dallas.

     

     

    moronic public displays

    Gun Rights Advocates Turn to Intimidation

    by | Nov 12, 2013
    Gun Rights Advocates Turn to Intimidation

    Everything is indeed bigger in Texas, and now that slogan can also apply to moronic public displays of intimidation. The New York Times reported today on an armed protest outside a suburban restaurant this past weekend. From NYT: “A small meeting of a group seeking tougher gun laws was interrupted Saturday at a suburban Dallas restaurant when the woman who helped organize it saw something outside that startled her: at least two dozen men and women in the parking lot with shotguns, hunting rifles, AR-15s and AK-47s…

     

     

    kings bay naval base

    Getting a glimpse at modern submarine operation

    by | Nov 12, 2013
    USS West Virginia

    For reasons unknown to me, I recently got an invitation to attend a Friday conference at the Kings Bay Naval Base at St. Marys, Ga. Three local journalists were there, and I was the only outside interloper. I had never heard about the gathering, to be on the nuclear deterrence of our country. The invitation had another caveat: invitees were offered a two-hour tour of an Ohio Class submarine.

    The sub tour grabbed me.

     

     

    walk on the wild side

    The Record Business In ’78: A Lou Reed Memory

    by | Nov 12, 2013
    The Record Business In '78: A Lou Reed Memory

    Reading The Soundtrack of My Life, the second memoir by record label executive Clive Davis, brings to life a period when Davis was in at least his second chapter as music mogul. It was the mid-70s, when Davis emerged from the messiness of being canned as President of Columbia Records. There were allegations of Davis using company funds of up to $94,000.00 to feather his own nest while covering such expenses as his son’s bar mitzvah.

     

     

    duty to share

    Fact or Fiction

    by | Nov 12, 2013
    Fact or Fiction

    A friend of mine recently came out with her first novel which was so delightful that I wondered if I could do the same. Needless to say, I’m discovering that it ain’t easy. All my life, I’ve been writing short essays, not fiction, on my take of what’s happening. I don’t write diatribes or commentary, though. There’s enough of that on the opinion page of any newspaper. In fact, we stopped our subscription to our local rural paper, since I couldn’t help myself from reading the owner’s nonsense each week and then fulminating over how worthless his ideas were and how pathetically he expressed them. But I couldn’t help myself.

     

     

    elegance from another era

    Riding the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul

    by | Nov 12, 2013
    Riding the Orient Express from Paris to Istanbul

    The cab driver deposited our luggage on the sidewalk in front of the Gare de l’Est train station in Paris where the uniformed porters didn’t blink at the two huge suitcases, the carry-on bag, the hanging garment bag, and several shopping bags. We followed the two pillbox-hatted young men through the station crowd, beneath the sign announcing: Train spécial – VSOE Istanbul, onto the carpeted area on the platform cordoned off by a red silk rope where we showed our papers.

     

     

    50 years

    Overkilling Kennedy

    by | Nov 7, 2013
    Overkilling Kennedy

    Between the commemorative magazines at grocery checkouts evoking “Camelot” and the early-bird TV specials – JFK: The Smoking Gun,  Killing Kennedy and Capturing Oswald, to name just three – it’s hard to miss the fact that the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is fast approaching. By midnight on November 22, there will have been more than 20 newly produced assassination specials, including a History Channel offering that promises to be “definitive.”

     

     

    voter suppression

    In The Trenches With Voter ID

    by | Nov 6, 2013
    In The Trenches With Voter ID

    The green envelope in the photo is only one of 12 new forms necessary to qualify Texas voters (or make their vote “provisional” if they don’t have identical photo ID).

    Yesterday I was an elections judge on the Northside suburbs of San Antonio (read: big houses). This was not a heavy voting day, since there were no candidates on the ballot, so the polls were visited primarily by the faithful. Still, it provided insights into what we can look forward to in the future.

     

     

    preserving the family recipe

    Daddy was a Moonshiner – The Adventures of Ab Jackson

    by | Nov 6, 2013
    Daddy was a Moonshiner – The Adventures of Ab Jackson

    Legends develop themselves throughout the years, in various forms and fashions to become part of our everyday life. But many of us may wonder, “Exactly what constitutes a legend and how does one reach a status of that nature?” There are many people who feel you must lead an exemplary life to fall in this category, however, the focus of this particular legend doesn’t play out in quite this manner, but it perhaps one of the most interesting subjects you will read about. The name of this legend is none other than Albert “Ab” Jackson, Moonshine King of the Tri-County area.

     

     

    stoop to their level

    Disgusting, disrespectful Democrats

    by | Nov 5, 2013
    Disgusting, disrespectful Democrats

    Is being obnoxious catching? My email in-box is currently featuring messages with the following headings:

    Beat the snot out of them.

    and

    I’m here to kick some Tea Party ass.

     

     

    evening with bernie

    The Feisty Senator from Vermont comes South

    by | Nov 4, 2013
    The Feisty Senator from Vermont comes South

    Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Vermont spoke this morning (10/18/13) at a union hall in Atlanta to an enthusiastic full house. The points he made in his talk and the town hall-like Q & A, though pretty wide-ranging, highlighted a couple items: extremist republican ideologues look around and realize, hell, we can’t ask people to vote for us so we can gut social security, medicare-medicade, veterans benefits, ship U.S. jobs to China and cut taxes for the wealthy.

     

     

    love them once again

    After the War

    by | Nov 1, 2013
    After the War

    We were enjoying bar food and cold drinks at an East Columbia establishment. College football was on every hi-def TV and the place was buzzing with good vibes. The lady sitting across from me, one of my favorite people; was trying to keep the night from becoming a bummer while attempting to come to grips with the recent death of a young friend.

    Her partner’s favorite nephew had lost his best friend to suicide. It was a bad combination of alcohol, overreaction, PTSD, and having a pistol handy.

     

     

    peabody decades

    The 1960s: An assiduous flashback

    by | Oct 30, 2013
    The 1960s: An assiduous flashback

    If you remember the ’60s, you probably weren’t there.

    It’s an oft-quoted line, usually good for a laugh, that has been attributed to comedian-actor Robin Williams. But in reality (What a concept!), whoever coined that aphorism suffered from judgment that is, shall we say, clouded. The joke is supposed to be that real, honest-to-God veterans of the 1960s were so zonked out on one thing or another…

     

     

    southern cookin'

    Eighth Wonder of Mississippi?

    by | Oct 27, 2013
    Eighth Wonder of Mississippi?

    Seeing no Visa sticker on the door and having all of two dollars in my wallet, I had to ask the tall moon-faced man in faded Carhartts, who’d just shaken my hand: “Y’all take plastic?”

    “No, but we take green,” smiled Jeffery Vassel. “Green’s always welcome. And the gas station down there has a cash machine.”

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



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    TV For Dogs

    By: Eileen Dight

    Around the clock, Channel 354 on Dish TV is devoted to hour long programs for dogs. I stumbled upon this when flicking channels, wondering why plastic balloons were drifting across the screen to no apparent end. It was emptier in content than the billiards my Mother with dementia liked to watch for hours. I read the notes: Dog TV provides “Active Camera Moments, Exciting Animations and Moving Objects to encourage your dogs’ playfulness when home alone.” Further, “It’s relaxing time! Research shows that soothing music and relaxing images help your dog feel calm and relax.” “Afternoon Stimulation” runs into “Afternoon Relaxation,” followed by “Family  Read on →