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Tuesday, July 7, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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    holiday shopaholicalism

    Consumption: The Behaviorist’s Perspective

    by | May 29, 2015
    Consumption: The Behaviorist's Perspective

    Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day. These cherished holidays give us a chance to renew vows of love, to celebrate Christ’s resurrection (or, for us pagans, the return of spring), to honor our mothers, to show a little gratitude for our brothers and sisters in the armed forces. Mostly, though, these holidays give us a chance to spend money. I try to resist the impulse to blather on about consumption — about the insatiable beast into whose maw we pour all of our…

     

     

    call for revolution

    Pope Francis’ Integral Ecology

    by | May 28, 2015
    Pope Francis' Integral Ecology

    “The age of nations is past. The task before us now, if we would not perish, is to build the earth.” — Teilhard de Chardin

    There’s a new term being bandied about, and it’s high time we paid heed: integral ecology. Whenever the same notion arises synchronously in a number of different contexts — in this case the Catholic Church, the Occupy movement, the climate movement, and the new-economy movement — it’s an idea whose time has arrived.

     

     

    southern eatin'

    Blue Ridge has what TripAdvisor calls best barbecue in nation

    by | May 28, 2015
    Blue Ridge has what TripAdvisor calls best barbecue in nation

    Word got out last week that the best barbecue in the nation, says TripAdvisor, is at Joe’s BBQ in Blue Ridge, Ga. Ironically, TripAdvisor said the second best place for barbecue was at another Joe’s Barbecue, this one was in Kansas City, Kan. The two eateries are not related.

    Since we were in the Georgia mountains, why not try out the Blue Ridge place? So we arrived at 11:45 a.m., saw this relatively small restaurant on East First Street, and found there were 33 people in line ahead of us.

     

     

    out to pasture

    Jumped Too Soon?

    by | May 27, 2015
    Jumped Too Soon?

    You couldn’t wait to retire. Could. Not. Wait.

    In the run-up to retirement, you took stock any number of times. Don’t misunderstand, you told your inner-self for a zillionth time, you enjoyed your career. You did. (Well, mostly you did.) You’d survived every economic downturn since the Nixon Administration (there were six of those suckers), two Middle East oil crises (gas lines stretched to the horizon), more company budget cuts than one cared to count, four company down-sizings…

     

     

    back in the day

    A Little Place in Brooklyn

    by | May 22, 2015
    A Little Place in Brooklyn

    Brooklyn was an independent city until 1898 when it was consolidated with New York City but it retained its distinct culture and architecture from the early settlers. Its motto was In Unity There is Strength and sixty-two years later the 2.6 million people in Brooklyn still thought of it as an independent city. They didn’t like the people who lived in Manhattan.

    In 1959 I shared a one bedroom apartment on Nostrand Avenue, East Flatbush near the corner of Winthrop Street, one block from Kings County Hospital and a ten minute walk from the abandoned Ebbets Field.

     

     

    national flood insurance

    Rewarding Poor Planning

    by | May 21, 2015
    Rewarding Poor Planning

    It has been hard to get timely, accurate information. In the early years of the 21st century, some group was tracking the transfer of dollars from the federal treasury to the states, which generally showed that the majority payments were in the form of various types of insurance subsidies: mortgage insurance, housing insurance, health insurance, flood insurance, crop insurance and higher education loans.

    The data collection stopped, perhaps because of objections from the insurance industries at having their transfer function exposed. Or maybe all of my computer crashes and software switches are the reason I no longer can find the information.

     

     

    the here and now

    The Past Is Never Past

    by | May 19, 2015
    The Past Is Never Past

    “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” William Faulkner had a big-time influence on me as an adolescent as did my father who never met a funeral he didn’t like, especially if it took him back to the hill country of Appalachian Ohio where he had been raised. Even now I remember as a boy following a group of men carrying the casket of a man my father had known when he was a boy. The memory is still clear of them slipping and sliding along the dry creek bed en route to a spot in the woods…

     

     

    the 1960s

    Reflections on The Age of Youth

    by | May 18, 2015
    Reflections on The Age of Youth

    New York City was cold and uninviting when the Greyhound bus arrived late in the afternoon. It was two days before Easter and light snow had fallen leaving the streets wet and slippery. On Sunday, the Easter Parade down Fifth Avenue attracted a huge crowd and at night Times Square was alive with flashing neon signs and people celebrating. It was my first visit to the “Island of Many Hills” (Manhattan) and I had a lot to see. I rode the Circle Island cruise boat, took the elevator to the top of the Empire State Building, climbed the stairs into the crown of the Statue of Liberty and watched the ice skaters at Rockefeller Center. That was just the first day…

     

     

    bb king

    The Thrill is Gone

    by | May 15, 2015
    BB King

    When my cellphone rings, the opening notes of The Thrill is Gone signal me. I will have to consider changing that now. The author and singer of that song has moved on to Rock and Roll Heaven. B. B. King died in his sleep Thursday after nearly a year in hospice. I can’t imagine anyone was surprised; death happens to us all and this one has been imminent for quite some time. But hearing him tell me the thrill is indeed gone might be more than I want to hear every time my phone rings.

     

     

    judicious liberality

    “Indulging Generosity”

    by | May 15, 2015
    "Indulging Generosity"

    It’s a phrase that just popped into my head out of the ether the other day. And, sure enough, Google has a handy reference in a book by a Scottish minister, David Gilkison Watt, who died in London in 1897, after having visited both India and St. Petersburg, Florida. Watt was a missionary, so it’s perhaps not surprising that in his writing he promoted the wisdom he found in the Book of Ezekiel — i.e. long before his time. I don’t know if his “Homiletic Commentary on the Book of Ezekiel” was timely when he wrote it, but it sure seems timely now.

     

     

    it's smarta

    Gwinnett must act now to have traffic relief … by 2025

    by | May 12, 2015
    Gwinnett County Traffic photo by Valerie via Flickr

    There’s always a big time gap between conception of an idea and its completion. That’s true in social interactions in getting people to agree, in marketing of a new product, and certainly in construction projects. An old idea is getting more attention in Gwinnett, Ga. More people are recognizing the need for the county to have a modern transit system, that is, to include some sort of rail system, whether it be light rail, perhaps street cars, or heavy rail, either connecting to the MARTA (Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority) system, or even an extension of MARTA itself.

     

     

    the other deep south

    All for a Jar of Tobacco

    by | May 12, 2015
    All for a Jar of Tobacco

    The European settlement of Australia began as a penal colony and about 162,000 convicts were shipped there between 1788 and 1870, most of them in the first 60 years. From 1831 to 1840, the free settler arrivals outnumbered convict arrivals and by 1850 there were 156,000 convicts in Australia and 187,000 free settlers. The largest number of free settlers (587,000) arrived in the 1851-1860 period, attracted by the Victorian gold rush.

     

     

    home remedies

    The Last Cold Warrior

    by | May 10, 2015
    Sick man lying in bed suffering cold by Marcos Calvo Mesa and licensed by LikeTheDew.com at 123rf.com

    My current inconvenient and woeful truth is I’ve got the mother of all colds. This misery has all my senses confused and discombobulated …and there’s no relief in sight—at least none that’s not days away. It is times like this that my ‘inner-small boy’ wishes Aunt Lula was still around…

    Lula wasn’t my real aunt. You certainly couldn’t find her name anywhere on the official family tree, the one Mom kept folded up in the family Bible. In Mom’s heart though, Aunt Lula was as official as any blood-relation; they had been best friends since they were toddlers…

     

     

    college safety

    Tragic Accident Near Savannah Raises Questions of Student Travel

    by | May 10, 2015
    Accident on the Highway photo by Judy Baxter via Flickr and used a creative commons license

    The tragic vehicular pile-up on Interstate 16 near Savannah where five Georgia Southern University nursing students were killed has shocked our state, and has caused concern on the national stage. It may even lead to new legislation regulating heavy transport rigs to push safer highways.

    The nursing students were driving from college in Statesboro to Savannah (roughly 55 miles) to continue their clinical “rotational” training in order to become nurses…

     

     

    great sucking sound

    A Multinational Trojan Horse: The Trans-Pacific Partnership

    by | May 7, 2015
    The Procession of the Trojan Horse into Troy about 1760 by Giovanni Domenico Tiepolo via Wikipedia.org (public domain) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Horse

    “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, … may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.” – James Madison in The Federalist Papers.

    You don’t have to know much about the “trade” deal called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to be more than a little suspicious. First, there are the very peculiar bedfellows. Supporting the TPP are President Obama and most Congressional Republicans, the same Republicans who’ve vehemently opposed his every initiative for the past six and one-half years.

     

     

    the case for god

    Turning The Pages

    by | May 4, 2015
    Turning The Pages

    Religious “faith” is not an idea I subscribe to. I was asked recently if I would describe myself as an atheist. My response was no, but not in the sense that we usually think of the word. Like the former nun and author Karen Armstrong, I am also conscious of the mystery that is life and that there are many questions beyond my comprehension. I am grateful for being alive and for being able to add my own little contribution toward making this a better world for all of us. But I don’t feel any need to wrap myself up in any organized religion or wind my way on any particular day of the week to a church to “worship.”

     

     

    hard life

    The ship was no Lady

    by | May 3, 2015
    Lady Juliana under tow, 1782

    The Lady Juliana was built in the Thames River, London. She was a fine looking three-masted barque of about 400 tons, 110 feet long, 30 feet beam and two decks. It is believed she was the first British ship captured by American privateers in May 1776, near Cuba, on a passage from Jamaica to London. While en-route to Rhode Island the captive Lady Juliana was re-taken by a British man-of-war and conveyed to England where she resumed her role running to and from the Caribbean…

     

     

    oakland spring

    “They came to bury us, not knowing we were seeds.”

    by | May 3, 2015
    "They came to bury us, not knowing we were seeds."

    Occupy lives from coast to coast. It’s just no longer news. In Oakland, the images of martyred young men are “planted” along with real flowers and trees to start a garden of hope. That’s the Oakland Spring.

    Three years ago.

     

     

    lake city’s gift

    From Farm Fields To ArtFields

    by | Apr 30, 2015
    From Farm Fields To ArtFields

    Writer’s Journal, Tuesday, April 28 — The mission? Check out a town transforming itself. The destination? Lake City, a town first known as Graham’s Crossroads. To get there, I take a back road as soon and as far as I can, Highway 521. Therein lies a tale of men and soil and transition and transformation.

    Once upon a time, many a cigarette shot out of the earth here. And then a shadow fell over this land that grew bright leaf…

     

     

    100 years ago

    Shoebox of Memories

    by | Apr 24, 2015
    Ashley Royden Peacock: 1973

    April 25 was the one-day of the year Ashley met up with his old army buddies. He left early in the morning to march down the main street of the town and then visit the Returned Servicemen’s Club. It was a long day, the only day of the year he drank alcohol because his stomach had been ulcerated by chlorine and mustard gas a long time before. At the end of the day he would be violently ill but said it was worth the agony and the inevitable lecture from his wife. He stopped at our house on his way home, not feeling good…

     

     

    a lot of stuff

    Now You Know

    by | Apr 22, 2015
    mosquito exploads

    Write what you know. Has anyone ever given you that advice? I have spent some time thinking this over and wondering, just what did Madeleine L’Engle know about time travel? And what in the world provoked Ray Bradbury and that creepy carousel? So heck with the old chestnut “write what you know.” Today I am writing about what I don’t know.

    I don’t know why people take to the couch or bed. Call me insensitive but no matter how down in the black books I get, a quick walk or a punishing hike seems to straighten my world out. Get off your ass and do something would be my advice. Not that anyone is asking.

     

     

    pursuit of ambiguity

    Henry And A Slight Case Of ED

    by | Apr 21, 2015
    Henry And A Slight Case Of ED

    No, no, not that kind of ED, which always seems to feature one of those slightly discomforting situations where you see the happy afterglow of couples strolling hand in hand and smiling lovingly, presumably after the little blue pill has worked its magic. The kind of ED I’m talking about is entirely different. This ED is the nineteenth-century Belle of Amherst, the reclusive poet in white named Emily, and her ties with a fellow writer named Henry.

     

     

    upstairs closet box

    Unexpected find turns out to be great book

    by | Apr 21, 2015
    Unexpected find turns out to be great book

    There may be treasures in your attic or in some seldom-visited closet. You can never tell. We stumbled upon quite a treasure the other day, something we did not know was there. It was a large-format book, in a box of textbooks and other literature, probably from one of our children. Going through this box to help re-stock our Little Free Library, here was this older book with 86 stunning black-and-white photographs. The book was titled Say Is This The U.S.A. and the authors were Novelist Erskine Caldwell (born in Moreland, Ga.) and Margaret Bourke-White, the famous photographer.

     

     

    racing for cause

    Horses Jumping Over Bushes

    by | Apr 20, 2015
    Horses Jumping Over Bushes

    My friend Hugh Wilson once described the Atlanta Steeplechase as an event where a large crowd of well-dressed people stand in a pasture and get drunk while horses jump over bushes. The Atlanta Steeplechase celebrated its 50th anniversary this past weekend. A lot of people dressed up in clothes they probably wouldn’t wear to work or church, women wore fancy hats, the good china came out for elaborate tailgating, alcohol was consumed in abundance, and there was some pretty darn exciting horse racing.

     

     

    going back

    A Strange and Haunting Encounter

    by | Apr 17, 2015
    A Strange and Haunting Encounter

    A bronze statue stands in front of Jadwin Gymnasium at Princeton University. It’s a statue of All-American Dick “Kaz” Kazmaier, who won the Heisman trophy in 1951 – the last Ivy League player to do so – and who famously declined to pursue a career in professional football after being drafted by the Chicago Bears. Instead, he went on to Harvard Business School and proceeded to build an impressive professional resumé that included serving as “director of the American Red Cross; director of the Ladies Professional Golfers Association…

     

     

    southern writers

    Loganville retiree writes novels about the South

    by | Apr 17, 2015
    Loganville retiree writes novels about the South

    Who would have thought that years in corporate America would be the business background of a newly-published Gwinnett author?

    Michael Brown, a Loganville, Ga resident, has now had two books published. We read his Somewhere a River, a 268 page novel from Deeds Publishing of Atlanta, and found it most enthralling. It is set in Alabama, the story turning around growing up in the South, high school and college football, and the entanglements we can get ourselves in both when younger and afterward.

     

     

    lives

    A Friend Named Gus

    by | Apr 14, 2015
    A Friend Named Gus

    I have a young friend named Gus. He is in second grade at school, just starting out in life, and doesn’t hold back in letting us know what he is thinking. I have another friend named Gus who is ninety-four and confined to bed in a nursing home. He has dementia, so we don’t know what he is thinking, but he responds with a smile when someone talks to him. My older friend Gus hasn’t met the younger Gus and doesn’t know who I am anymore. When I telephone the nursing home to ask if he needs anything the nurses are reluctant to tell me because they “don’t have his chart in front of them” or don’t know who I am.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



  • Also on the Dew

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

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

    By: Sue Sturgis

    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 For the rate of law-enforcement officers feloniously killed with guns: 4 For gun homicides overall: 7 Percent by which South Carolina's rate of gun murders exceeds the national average: 39 Of 100 possible points on a curved grading system, number earned by South Carolina in the latest state gun law scorecard  Read on →

    Takin’ My Medicine

    Takin' My Medicine

    By: John Yow

    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, accordin  Read on →

    Quirks And Quiddities

    Quirks And Quiddities

    By: David Evans

    “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. Perhaps my reluctance to go has something to do with the description. I just have no idea what the promoters are talking about. Besides, when you use “intimate body of work” to put a fence around “thought and behavior,” I get a bit light headed. Perhaps my reaction was just a quirk   Read on →

    Enough Said about Confederate Memories

    Enough Said about Confederate Memories

    By: Julian Riggs Smith

    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? Here are two memories of private displays: Growing up in Louisiana during the Second World War, I was nurtured by the rival stories of my grandfathers Smith and Riggs about their fathers' service under P. G. T. Beauregard. General Beauregard, according to many accounts, was the gallant leader who insisted  Read on →