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Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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    china 1972

    Return to Guangzhou

    by | Mar 16, 2015
    Return to Guangzhou

    The 32nd Chinese Export Commodities (Autumn) Fair was held between 15 October and 15 November 1972 and I received an invitation to attend. The political climate was changing in Australia, the USA and China but there still was no formal diplomatic relationship between the countries. Chairman Mao was seemingly in control of China, although the struggle of Mao’s wife and her supporters (the radicals) against Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping (the moderates) was building towards the confrontation that occurred in January 1973.

     

     

    only sane course

    The Greater Danger: Precipice or Slippery Slope?

    by | Mar 10, 2015
    Lower Crabtree Falls, Virginia, National Forest Service image

    I’m a boomer, so I missed the greatest existential crisis of the 20th Century: The Second World War. My Dad, however, was in the thick of it, helping mop up after the Battle of the Bulge.

    In my lifetime, though, the human family has stared down the barrel of two additional crises of existential proportions: the Cuban Missile Crisis and climate destabilization, the latter of which is ongoing. Which crisis has posed the greater threat?

     

     

    friends

    Lunch With Floyd

    by | Mar 10, 2015
    Lunch With Floyd

    He was not at all like, as Jane Kenyon would say, “a wine glass, weary of holding wine.” During our recent time together, he was at one point on his hands and knees retrieving his confounded new hearing aid that still let him down. As he sat ajar at the table so that his one good ear was pointed my way, he told me that Mildred had said, “Don’t tell anyone.” His dear wife was forgetting too many things and was frightened of what was to come, although she didn’t want to talk about it.

     

     

    Oblogservations: Life in the Key of Stupid

    by | Mar 9, 2015
    Oblogservations: Life in the Key of Stupid

    Okay, what’s in the headlines today?  Well, let’s see.

    Jumpin’ Jehosaphats: There is the idiot woman who was asked to leave a McDonalds because she claimed that the kangaroo, (yes, a fuckin’ kangaroo) she had with her, wrapped in a blanket and riding in an infant car seat, was her “service animal.” Like the rest of you I assumed it must be a “Seeing Eye Kangaroo” but that would be incorrect. She explained to the officer that the kangaroo helps her cope with “emotional distress” and showed him a doctor’s note stating she needed a kangaroo…

     

     

    china 1972

    Who’s Who in the Zoo?

    by | Mar 9, 2015
    People’s Commune, near Guangzhou: 1972

    With agreement from the Dong Fang Hotel staff, I arranged for a taxi to take me to the Guangzhou Zoo. The PLA driver responsible for my well-being was unsmiling and silent all the way. The hotel staff had told me, and the driver, that I was allowed one hour in the zoo and the driver would wait at the main gate. The zoo was not large so it was crowded and Mao suits were the popular dress for both adults and children. The main attraction, until I arrived, was the panda bear enclosure.

     

     

    poisoning our wetlands

    An open letter to Georgia Representative Alex Atwood

    by | Mar 7, 2015
    State. Rep Alex Atwood

    Dear Alex Atwood,

    The problem with the Cons (conservative, contrary, confused, conflicted, concerned, convoluted; take your pick) is that they are negative — against not just change, but most everything else. So, since the world is in a state of constant change, they are “out of step,” so to speak and that makes them both ineffective and angry. It is a mistake to think the Cons we install in public office will accomplish anything positive…

     

     

    climate destabilization

    Global Warming or Climate Chaos: What’s in a Name?

    by | Mar 6, 2015
    Ice Floes, Kamchatka Coast, Russia (NASA, International Space Station)

    This winter has set record lows in many states, a fact the editor of our conservative local newspaper, and others of his ilk, must be relishing. “There’s no global warming,” I can imagine him crowing. “It’s all a liberal hoax.” Such distorted logic reveals either an appalling ignorance of the meaning of “average,” or a cynical attempt to intentionally mislead.

    Truth is, the names bestowed on various scientific phenomena are often whimsical in origin. Nobel laureate (1969) Murray Gell-Mann, for example, appropriated the term quark — one of three elementary particles and fundamental constituents of matter — from a nonsensical line in Finnegan’s Wake: “Three quarks for Muster Mark!”

     

     

    sins of the flesh

    God and Being Naked

    by | Mar 6, 2015
    God and Being Naked

    The 2015 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition came last week to the usual uproar. The magazine ran reminders for a month reminding anyone who didn’t want nearly nekkid swimsuit girls sent to their home to let them know. Simultaneously, the parent company ran endless ads on television making sure everyone else could get a copy.

    I saw my first naked lady picture when I was ten, in a man’s magazine in the Rexall Drug Store in Demopolis, Alabama. The front cover mentioned uncovered cover girls. I honestly had no idea what that was until I turned to that page.

     

     

    listen to the words

    Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me

    by | Mar 5, 2015
    Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

    “I was wearing an orange bathrobe. She was leaning over me in a white men’s T-shirt and tiny white panties, shaking me by the shoulder. Her slender body seemed fragile, secure, childlike, with no sign of last night’s Italian excesses. Outside was not yet dawn.”

    As I wind down Haruki Murakami’s novel Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World, I am deliberately slowing down my pace to savor the language and to listen to its tempo. The music is playing in the words.

     

     

    antisocial age

    Nobody Talks Anymore

    by | Mar 4, 2015
    Nobody Talks Anymore

    The first time I heard the phrase, “the Information Age,” I wasn’t sure what it meant. The best I could figure it meant an explosion in knowledge was on the way. That, it so happens, was true. Two weeks ago I came across this strange unpronounceable word, “paraskevidekatriaphobia.” I googled it and found an online dictionary that pronounces it. It has nine or ten syllables. I gave up trying to determine just how many but it’s a lot. (Read on if you want to know the word’s meaning.) For sure we have easier ways to learn things now, but “the Information Age,” to me means something else. People don’t talk on the phone much anymore. Maybe we are entering the Antisocial Age.

     

     

    part three

    Noah Langdale was key figure in Georgia State’s latter growth

    by | Mar 3, 2015
    Noah Langdale

    If George Sparks shepherded Georgia State University in its middle years, the major figure propelling the university into the future was no doubt Noah Langdale. He was president from 1957 until 1988, seeing it grow from two buildings with $1.9 million budget and 5,200 students, and offering one degree, to 22,000 students and 20 buildings, a budget of $118 million and with 50 degrees in more than 200 fields. Today GSU could soon have more than 50,000 students, as Georgia Perimeter College is to merge with GSU.

     

     

    friends

    Pat’s Last Book

    by | Mar 2, 2015
    "Nighthawks by Edward Hopper 1942" by Edward Hopper (at The Art Institute of Chicago). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

    Clearing away the receipts, letters, and documents that cover my desk I came across my own business card with a woman’s name, Pat, and phone number on the back. It brought back a lot of memories. It’s not what you think. It’s a true story that goes back a ways.

    I met Pat seven years ago. With no family in town, Pat, like many others, gathered with others at a neighborhood pub some evenings for conservation, a way to keep loneliness at bay. (For those who work all day only to face an evening alone, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. are the loneliest hours of the day. Meeting others provides a balm.)

     

     

    yin v. yang

    Burn Out or Check Out? Let’s Dance

    by | Mar 2, 2015
    Rights free image from WallpaperCraft.com.

    It’s a dance I know by heart, this shifting and swaying from the outward world of human entanglements to an inner place of calm reflection. I’m not sure I could stop this movement if I tried, caught between voices calling cause to action and others from far hillsides beckoning me to run away — to fly away and be freed.

    All around are people caught in conflict, their caring inching closer daily to anger, with words unheard, meanings misunderstood, and passions unrequited. On issues local, global, and universal, we have shouting like never before.

     

     

    reflections of the south

    Photo Journeys

    by | Mar 1, 2015
    Photo Journeys

    Traffic Jams:

    HIGHWAY 501 SC: April. Somewhere near Aynor. Having wrapped up a photo shoot in old Ocean Drive, we drive homeward through wind-driven coastal plain silt. Though dust devils obscure 501, a shimmering red and green mirage breaks through. But it’s no mirage. It’s remembrance. Winds subside, sands drop, and Dean’s Produce emerges next to a cornfield mown to beard-like stubble. Dean’s stand of glinting tin and yellow pine glows with honey, but the incandescent red and green jams gleam like St. Elmo’s fire.

     

     

    April 18 - 19, 2015

    Bear Festival Is Storytelling Spotlight Event

    by | Mar 1, 2015
    Bear Festival Is Storytelling Spotlight Event

    The Southern Appalachian oral art of storytelling has been a feature of the annual Bear on the Square Mountain Festival in Dahlonega, Ga., over the years. This year, storytelling will have an even more significant presence at the festival with the National Storytelling Network (NSN) awarding the 2015 Bear Festival the designation as this year’s Southeast Regional Spotlight Event for Storytelling.

     

     

    why it matters

    The Mission for March is the Marsh

    by | Feb 25, 2015
    Image: The Willet by Evangelio Gonzalez via flickr and used a Creative Commons license. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgonzal111139/5982804651/in/photolist-a7Frok-a7JjUY-am1BqY-3ywU83-dsqcWy-3ysvoT-3ywTSW-dsqb9E-dsqaem-dsfppi-S3qTk-b256Tr-bXB549-auTonb-dDUGWA-4LDLpD-4LDHzX-mGmeX

    Community Forum on Marsh Buffers & Clean Waters, March 4 at 7:00 pm, Ballard Community Center, Brunswick, GA.

    And, because such events need to be sponsored and the environment can never have too many friends, we’re organizing a new group, the Sidney Lanier Environmental Advocacy Team or S.L.E.A.T.– sporting the unofficial slogan “Making sure our environment is good to eat.”

     

     

    just keep voting republican

    Code Red in the War on Decent Folk

    by | Feb 21, 2015
    Code Red in the War on Decent Folk

    We couldn’t put it off any longer. Last night Dede and I told Ruthie we were getting a divorce. Since we’ve enjoyed what can only be termed a highly successful marriage for 37 years, the news was unexpected.

    “You’re what?”

    “We’re getting out,” I offered, not very helpfully. “It’s time. We really don’t have any choice.”

    “What are you talking about? You all are perfect together.”

    “That’s not the point,” Dede tried to explain.

    “What is the point?” Ruthie cried.

    I put it as succinctly as I could. “Gay marriage.”

     

     

    georgia hb 17

    Shining a Light on Hidden Predators

    by | Feb 21, 2015
    the Hidden Predator Act

    During the 2015-2016 Regular Session of the General Assembly, our Georgia elected-officials are expected to vote on HB 17 – “the Hidden Predator Act.”

    “A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Chapter 3 of Title 9 and Article 2 of Chapter 5 of Title 49 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to limitations of actions and child abuse and deprivation records, respectively, so as to extend the statute of limitations for actions for childhood sexual abuse…

     

     

    part two

    For years, acrimony blossomed between UGA and GSU

    by | Feb 21, 2015
    Georgia State University with Chase Williams, Kevin Espinoza, Eli Epstein, Joshua Carter and Jordan Daley.

    Back when states were planting institutions of higher learning, these universities were not always located in what became the state’s major city. As a result, problems have arisen between forces in the major city wanting a state university and the major university located in a smaller town wanting to enhance their school’s prestige.

    It’s that same old story of jealously, while seeking to keep the state’s university as the major campus of the state.

     

     

    reflections lost

    Who Am I now?

    by | Feb 20, 2015
    Who Am I now?

    This evening I popped out to the corner store for milk. A woman was there with an older man. He was walking up and down the aisles as she trailed behind him – sighing and huffing and saying things like “Dammit, Dad! You dragged me out to get something with you and now you can’t remember what you need?” Her words seemed to fall like blows on his shoulders. He began picking up items in a random fashion and knocked over several cans of soup. I bent to retrieve them up and when I straightened I looked into his face. There it was: the panicked, lost look of a man who set out with clear intent… and lost his bearings along the way. I know this look – and it breaks my heart.

     

     

    part one

    Georgia State University was once a stepchild of University system

    by | Feb 20, 2015
    Georgia State University’s Panther from GSU.edu

    Now that the Board of Regents have decided to merge Georgia State University with Georgia Perimeter College, GSU will soon total more than 50,000 students, and will be the largest unit of the University System of Georgia.

    Not only that, but it is an urban university, as well as a research university, bringing in $58 million in 2011 in grants for study. It has conferred 192,785 degrees since its founding.

     

     

    value of liberal arts

    Stay A Little

    by | Feb 19, 2015
    Stay A Little

    When I read Frank Bruni’s column recently in The New York Times about the value of a liberal arts education, I was pleased at how he had honored a professor at Chapel Hill whose Shakespeare classes had been the most transformative educational experiences of his life. She had read the column and had written him, the first contact they had had since the mid-1980s, to talk more about the state of higher education in this country today.

    As I squirmed over their exchange on how so many politicians want to value education according to what kind of high paying job it can bring, I can still hear the concerns over half a century ago of my father…

     

     

    not scientists

    A Party of Judases

    by | Feb 14, 2015
    The Kiss of Judas by Giotto di Bondone, Padua, c. 1306

    “I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists — that we don’t have enough information to act [on climate change]. Well, I’m not a scientist, either. But you know what? I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities.” — Barack Obama

    You’ve got to give the GOP credit: its members sure know how to tow the party line.

     

     

    glynn county, ga

    What’s the Matter with BMPs?

    by | Feb 13, 2015
    What's the Matter with BMPs?

    BMPs, short for Best Management Practices, the playbook upon which environmentalists rely to guide developers and other soil disturbers to do the right thing, are failing. The question is why. I don’t think the spouse, who observes that, in his youth, BMPs referred to “bowel movements with pee,” is on the right track, even though the venue, the southland, is apt. I really don’t think the blatant disregard for best management practices, especially on the part of public agencies, ranging from the Georgia Department of Transportation to the Glynn County Department of Public Works can be blamed on linguistic disconnects.

     

     

    in a white racial frame

    American History is not Black History; Black History is not America’s

    by | Feb 13, 2015
    NAACP.org

    As taught in mainstream culture, American history propagates this nation as the womb of freedom, justice, and liberty. There are American creation myths as exemplified by the “Founding Fathers.” There are founding documents as revered as biblical texts for their promise of “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

    That is why the argument that ‘black history is American history’ is naïve to the point of insipidity. For most of this nation’s history, blacks were not ‘Americans.’ First, we were owned, and then we were barred from exercising the rights of citizenship…

     

     

    georgia

    Attacking school bus drivers may serve as legacy for Nathan Deal

    by | Feb 13, 2015
    Nathan Deal at his 2015 inaugural ceremony - via his Facebook page

    If you were Georgia’s governor, what would you want your legacy to be? Most would want a spotless legacy, we would think, with several key points paramount on ways they would have improved the lives of the governed.

    We think back to the way Carl Sanders is thought of as an “education governor,” in that he greatly improved public education for our state at all levels. (He might also be called the “airport governor, ” as he established many local airports, using this as a tool for economic development.)

     

     

    in sports metaphor

    Clock Is Ticking for Leaders to Solve Georgia Transportation Woes

    by | Feb 11, 2015
    Clock Is Ticking for Leaders to Solve Georgia Transportation Woes

    Georgia’s transportation game clock was ticking its final minutes when a 2012 “Hail Mary” pass fell with a thud far from the intended receiver. Uncomfortable with the game on the line, leaders in the General Assembly and the Governor’s Mansion pitched a panicked audible to voters and local governments with the T-SPLOST referendum. Its rejection left leaderless chaos for two-a-half years, during which we’ve seen little reason for hope and backsliding across metropolitan Atlanta.

     

     

  • Worthy of Comment



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    The Past Is Never Past

    By: David Evans

    “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 where a  Read on →

    The Deconstruction of a discredited Gundermenatist Rock Star

    The Deconstruction of a discredited Gundermenatist Rock Star

    By: Patrick Andendall

    Ironically - let us begin with a Joke. Man walking along a road in the countryside comes across a shepherd and a huge flock of sheep. Tells the shepherd, "I will bet you $100 against one of your sheep that I can tell you the exact number in this flock." The shepherd thinks it over; it's a big flock so he takes the bet. "973," says the man. The shepherd is astonished, because that is exactly right. Says "OK, I'm a man of my word, take an animal." Man picks one up and begins to walk away. "Wait," cries the shepherd, "Let  Read on →

    “Indulging Generosity”

    "Indulging Generosity"

    By: Monica Smith

    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  Read on →

    The Fallacy in the Culture Wars: The Individual vs. the Collective

    The Fallacy in the Culture Wars: The Individual vs. the Collective

    By: Dave Pruett

    "Nothing is precious except that part of you which is in other people, and that part of others which is in you. Up there, on high, everything is one." -- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin At the root of the culture wars lies a fundamental dichotomy in worldviews. Which is more essential to humanity: the individual or the collective? The philosophy of Ayn Rand, as articulated in her novels The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957), undergirds one extreme of the cultural divide. Rand, a Russian Jew who immigrated to the U.S. in 1926, espoused a libertarian philosophy that leaves the individual unencumbered  Read on →