voice of the people

2010

I’ve been Repoodiated – The redefining of America

by | Jul 22, 2010
Sarah Palin as William Shakespeare

Normal English: Main Entry: re·pu·di·ate Pronunciation: ri-ˈpyü-dē-ˌāt Function: transitive verb / Inflected Form(s): re·pu·di·at·ed; re·pu·di·at·ing Etymology: Latin from repudium rejection of a prospective spouse, divorce

1: to divorce or separate formally from (a woman)

2: to refuse to have anything to do with : disown

3 a: to refuse to accept; especially : to reject as unauthorized or as having no binding force

4: to refuse to acknowledge or pay <repudiate a debt

Ben Stein’s BFF

by | Jul 22, 2010
Ben Stein’s BFF

“The people who have been laid off and cannot find work are generally people with poor work habits and poor personalities. I say “generally” because there are exceptions. But in general, as I survey the ranks of those who are unemployed, I see people who have overbearing and unpleasant personalities and/or who do not know how to do a day’s work.” – Ben Stein, The American Spectator

Guten Tag Ben!

It’s probably as big a surprise to you as it is to me that I’m writing, but I just had to give you a little shout out, or, as we said in my day, Sieg Heil!

The ‘Art of Loss’ …and Cell Phones

by | Jul 22, 2010
The ‘Art of Loss’ …and Cell Phones

The bald-headed, naked truth is that I am about to lose it.

I am really good—maybe even extraordinary — at what one might term “the art of loss.” Coats, gloves, hats, golf clubs, car keys, eyeglasses, and wallets have slipped through my watery grip and ‘butter’ fingers with more regularity than I care to admit. ‘Bumbershoots’ are a particular specialty. I have misplaced enough of these to keep a small town bone dry during a monsoon, especially if that small town was, say, the size of Chicago. (That umbrella that you found in your office recently, was more likely than not, lost by Cantrell.) At one time or another, I have forgotten the location of my car, once lost a sofa from the bed of a pick-up truck and once, for eighteen hellish minutes, lost my eight-year-old nephew at the mall!

The “it”—i.e. the item ‘most likely’ to be lost this time — is my new cell phone …

Remembering the heyday of the Miami Herald

by | Jul 21, 2010
Remembering the heyday of the Miami Herald

I worked at The Miami Herald in the mid 1970s, the newspaper that was my introduction to big-time journalism, Miami was my first foray into big-city life. The Herald then was fat with pages and news and ambition. Besides several metro-Miami editions, there were a half-dozen aimed at different sections of the state, plus two for Latin America that were flown each night to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, Caracas.

New York City journalism had recently experienced a major upheaval with many of the dailies closing, sending dozens of staffers heading south for jobs in Florida. Many landed at the Herald …

President Obama: An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh, Part One

by | Jul 14, 2010
President Obama: An Open Letter To Rush Limbaugh, Part One

Dear Rush:

First let me say that I admire your dogmatic approach to defending the lies, half-truths, and other space age theories of your fellow conservatives. You are to be commended on your willingness to get down in the muck and the mud– and sling it far and wide hoping it tags someone. It usually does. Wonderful tactic. And when you couple that with an absolute lack of knowledge about anything, you’ve got a winning combination. It’s no wonder folks at the EIV pay you the big bucks. See Rush, only in America could a dullard with a God complex become successful. But let me stay on task here.

I’d like to address your recent comments about me, and this nightmarish recession all Americans are dealing with. Your claim about me causing this terrible calamity to punish white people is correct …

Oil spills into Florida politics

by | Jul 13, 2010
Oil spills into Florida politics

The BP oil spill could decide who wins Florida’s U.S. Senate race, and Gov. Charlie Crist, one of the candidates, wants to let Florida voters decide whether to ban offshore drilling forever in a constitutional amendment. To that end, Crist has called a special session of the legislature beginning July 20 and is pushing his former Republican allies to approve the referendum.

“The rightness of this is so clear, especially dealing with what we’ve experienced in the past 80 days or so in the Gulf of Mexico,” Crist said in announcing the special session. But Senate President Jeff Atwater, a North Palm Beach Republican, called the move “political contrivance.”

God’s bodyguards

by | Jul 13, 2010
God’s bodyguards

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal has signed a bill allowing concealed guns in church, but the folks tucking pistols into their Sunday best won’t be just any believer wandering in off the street. No, Louisiana’s packing worshipers will be trained professionals, a “security force” for God, as it were. The new law authorizes people already qualified to carry concealed weapons to bring them to church and other houses of worship if they have passed eight hours of “tactical” training and cleared background checks. The law also requires pastors or other leaders of houses of worship to announce verbally or in weekly newsletters or bulletins that there will be individuals armed on the property as “members of the security force.” The bill’s sponsor, state Rep. Henry Burns, a Haughton Republican, had argued that churches, mosques, synagogues or other houses of worship in crime-ridden or “declining neighborhoods” needed the added protection to ward […]

Last Call for Martyrs Ya’ll

by | Jul 13, 2010
Last Call for Martyrs Ya’ll

After having a few beers around a campfire, a disciple asked, “What do you think is the best way to impact the most lives?”

I thought for a moment, shrugged and replied, “Suicide bomber.”

Martyrs come in all shapes and sizes. Some wore chainmail and big red crosses on their tunics. Others used airplanes to plow into warships. More recently, folks like to pack vests full of C-4 and a few hundred nails or marbles and strap them to their chests.

Thou Shalt Not Kill? No Big Deal

by | Jul 12, 2010
Thou Shalt Not Kill? No Big Deal

Announcer: Fox News. We Rant. You Submit. Now Live From Our News Desk In New York, Far Away From Any Real Americans, Is Bambi Lear, With Breaking News

Bambi: Good afternoon. Fox News has learned of an effort by conservative Christians and Republican Party leaders to amend The Ten Commandments. Let’s go now to our reporter in Washington, Hal Gullibal.

Hal: Thank you Bambi. Yes, today we can now confirm that Republican Party leaders and their conservative Christian supporters are working to amend the Ten Commandments by eliminating the sixth commandment, Thou Shalt Not Kill.

Who Will Claim Twain?

by | Jul 11, 2010
Who Will Claim Twain?

My, oh my…can open, worms emerging. Dear Samuel Langhorne Clemens is creating quite a stir: the man who was born a curmudgeon and raised cynicism and tongue-in-cheek wit to a mighty and enduring American art-form. Now his autobiography is to be released — the first version to enter the public forum without being sanitized beyond all recognition. Twain himself instructed his publishers, in 1906, “From the first, second, third and fourth editions all sound and sane expressions of opinion must be left out. There may be a market for that kind of wares a century from now. There is no hurry. Wait and see.”

Don’t look now, but the future has arrived!

by | Jul 10, 2010
Don’t look now, but the future has arrived!

First of all, you need to understand I’m a low-tech sort of guy. Back when I first started earning money playing with words, I did my work on a typewriter. That’s right, one of those little contraptions that had keys you pounded and a paper carriage that you tossed back into position after typing a sentence or two.

These days, other than my computer and a pretty ancient cell phone, I still remain rooted in the 20th Century. It’s not that I have anything against the magical devices that are being developed today. I simply fear I’ve reached that point of information overload …

With that as preamble, I stand before you today to sing the praises of one of those new-fangled, high-tech contraptions …

One Hot Summer

by | Jul 9, 2010
One Hot Summer

Eighty-five years ago this month, during another long, hot summer, Clarence Darrow and Dudley Field Malone, two of America’s foremost civil-libertarian lawyers, defended John Scopes, the high school football coach tried in Dayton, Tennessee, for teaching evolution, in violation of the Butler Act. The Tennessee statute, which had been enacted four months earlier, prohibited teaching any theory that denied the Biblical account of creation.

Cylindrical Meatstuffs: An American Favorite

by | Jul 6, 2010
Cylindrical Meatstuffs: An American Favorite

One of the long-standing traditions of American Independence Day celebrations is the grilling of meats. Hamburgers and beefsteaks are popular choices, but the quintessential Fourth of July comestible is, of course, that most American of foods: the Hot Dog. And hot dog is so much more American-sounding than frankfurter sausage, a name that reveals the Germanic origins of this Cylindrical Meat-Food.

Hot dogs are just one of a vast family of sausages, concoctions consisting of meat, fat, spices (and sometimes non-meat components), packed into a casing and then cured or cooked.

Panna Cotta

by | Jul 4, 2010
Panna Cotta

I have seen recipes for panna cotta for years, and frankly, I didn’t understand the point of it. Sweetened cream, set with gelatin? Ew. But when we were in Siena several years ago, I tried it for the first time. OH. MY. This is definitely something whose description doesn’t do it justice. Not at all. It’s just, frankly, wonderful.

It’s the perfect light dessert after a rich meal. It’s just the right touch of sweetness, and when you add berries as I have, you have a light, sweet/tart dessert, the perfect end to a perfect meal. What more can you ask?

Graceland vs Rowan Oak

by | Jul 4, 2010
Graceland vs Rowan Oak

During a recent book signing trip, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the homes of two famous Southerners, Elvis Presley and William Faulkner. Elvis, of course, was the king of rock and roll, and as almost everyone knows, his Memphis home is called Graceland. William Faulkner was the king of Southern fiction, and his residence—located just south of Memphis in Oxford, Mississippi—has the pastoral name of Rowan Oak.

So, here we have two Southern boys who made it good. Among other things, they both gave their houses names, they both left this world before their time, and they both recorded You Ain’t Nothin’ but a Hound Dog. Ok, Faulkner didn’t record Hound Dog, but I have it on good authority that he hummed it a lot, and I think he went to school with one of the Jordanaires.

Farewell to the First

by | Jul 4, 2010
Farewell to the First

Let us all spare a moment to bow our heads in silence as we consider the fatal blow that has been dealt to the First Amendment. While this cornerstone of democracy sinks beneath the oleaginous waves of the Gulf, we can only mourn its loss – and ours.

According to CNN reports, the government has issued a new edict that would make it a felony crime for any journalist, photographer or reporter to even approach any oil cleanup operation, personnel or equipment in the Gulf. Anyone who violates this draconian law is subject to arrest, a $40,000 fine and prosecution for a federal felony crime.

Josh White and the doorman

by | Jul 4, 2010
Josh White and the doorman

Whether or not this is an appropriate venue to air this memory – whether, indeed, the USA is an appropriate venue – I’ll leave you to judge. If it’s not, then my defence might be that I still haven’t entirely come to grips with differences in national senses of humor. Be that as it may, it was Tom Poland’s Riding The Chitlin’ Circuit that brought the memory so vividly back. It was the early 1960s and I’d not long been in the Eastern States trying my music out in a larger, more sophisticated market than in my native, allegedly backward Western Australia. In those days, and still, though to a slightly lesser degree, the relationship between The West and Tassie on the one hand and the more populous Eastern States on the other puts me in mind of the North–South thing here. One side uses the other as a convenient conscience […]

Anderson Cooper becomes N.O. tourist attraction

by | Jul 4, 2010
Anderson Cooper becomes N.O. tourist attraction

Tourists are flocking to Woldenberg Park in New Orleans to watch CNN’s Anderson Cooper report his nightly “AC360″ take on the BP oil spill. Referring to Cooper as “the blue-eyed heartthrob of CNN fame,” the Times-Picayune reported that about 40 people showed up one recent evening to watch Cooper tape his introduction for the cablecast.

Cathy Parnell and her husband, from Peachtree City, Georgia, took time out from their New Orleans vacation to track down Cooper. “I knew he was here because I watch him every night and I recognized the bridge,” Cathy Parnell told the Times-Picayune. Her husband added, “She just kept saying, ‘That’s the bridge, that’s the bridge.’”

Jesse

by | Jul 3, 2010
Jesse

I know and have known lots of veterans. Whether a veteran saw combat or not makes him no less a hero in my mind. If you put on the uniform, you had your posterior on the line for my freedom. On this Fourth of July I’m remembering one of these veterans in particular.

He was a Marine who fought in the pacific in the second World War. Somewhere in the midst of his deployment he was captured by the Japanese and spent several years in a POW camp. He was the ranking officer. As an officer it was his duty to escape as often as possible.

A Declaration of Dependence

by | Jul 3, 2010
Draft of the Declaration of Independence

A recently discovered, candid, but politically incorrect draft with last minute changes.

IN CONGRESS, JULY 2^4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for rich^one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and more than equal station to which the Laws of Capitalism^Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I Bought Gas at a BP Station Today

by | Jul 3, 2010
I Bought Gas at a BP Station Today

Does that mean I have oil on my hands?

Initially my social advocate side decided to boycott when I watched the ocean being polluted as a result of a BP fiasco. I felt satisfaction when I drove by BP stations and few cars were at the pumps. I even found myself sizing up those few who were pumping gas and wondering, “What have YOU got against the ocean?” (I later learned that BP supplies gas to many of my other local gas stations, so going to Quick Trip wasn’t doing sea life a darned bit of good.)

The problem with my boycotting stand on this is that I have a built-in aversion to scapegoating. And my own spiritual journey makes me aware of how quickly we humans project guilt onto others because of our own unbearable fear about being unworthy.

Bad writing

by | Jul 2, 2010
Bad writing

Good writers must, by their very nature, know what bad writing is. That is the premise of the Edward Bulwer-Lytton contest.

Starting in 1982, the English Department at San Jose State University has sponsored the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (www.bulwer-lytton.com), a clever and whimsical attempt to find the worst opening line of a novel. Brainchild of Scott Rice, then a student at SJSU, who took it upon himself to find the author of what he considered the worst opening line ever, “It was a dark and stormy night,” the contest has drawn thousands of entries over the years.

That opening line, from Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s “Paul Clifford,” goes:

The time is right: A sister city in the Netherlands

by | Jul 2, 2010
The time is right: A sister city in the Netherlands

OK, the U.S.A. departed the World Cup a few days ago. So who is America’s team now?

I can’t say, but I do have a good sense of who Atlanta’s team is.

My wife wore her Holland shirt around town today and was stopped over and over by people who told her that they hope this year is the Netherlands’ year.

Heat wave: Living in Hades

by | Jul 2, 2010
Heat wave: Living in Hades

I often marveled at tales from friends who lived in faraway places like Minnesota and Wisconsin about the brutal winters and their daily battles with snow and ice – places so cold that people would often go weeks without venturing outdoors for any length of time. From heated garage to underground parking lot to skyways between buildings … if you worked at it, they said, you really could get by without coming face-to-frozen face with the arctic-like temperatures.

And from the comfort of my mild-mannered Florida or Georgia winter, I scoffed at the folly of living in such an extreme place.

Well, you know what they say about payback.


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