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01/12/21 12:01 AM #8849    

 

Michael McLeod

Funny, John: I just came to the same conclusion and saw your sentiment, which mirrors mine. I'm giving myself a timeout.

This little online gathering of ours is, unfortunately, an accurate sampler of both human nature in general and not all that removed from the violent domestic conflict this country needs to put behind it if it's ever gonna amount to anything again. 

Quick: Name me something we have built as a nation over the past four years. Bet you can't think of a bridge. But you can sure as hell think of a wall, can't you? Our soon to be ex president isn't gonna tour a new children's hospital or even a freeway overpass as one of his last hurrahs. He'll be posing for pics at a wall. It's not the only one we've got going these days. 

The only really useful thing I can think of to say after all the talk talk talk is let's see if I can be more pragmatic and less dogmatic for a while. Students in my classes need guidance. (I'm going to have them write their term papers about the dawn of disinformation). People I know are sick or out of work or just flat out confused. Remember the book "Future Shock"? That came out a long time ago and we're living it still. It's really no wonder we argue. Mankind is at a turning point, a complicated one. It's no wonder people are looking for easy answers, and glomming on to people who are only too happy to provide them, whether or not they're true. 

I like to sing. I think I'll do some karaoke once I get my shots and things settle down. I have a fabulous woman in my life I sometimes think I don't deserve; the way I feel about her reminds me of that line Jack Nicholson has in movie whose name I can't remember: He looks at her and says: "You make me want to be a better man." I've got a really nice garden in my back yard - night blooming cereus around the swimming pool. You should see them: big, exotic, fragrant, mysterious, fleeting: soon as the morning light hits them, they're gone like a dream in the night you can't quite remember as well as you'd like to.

The older I get, the more I think about things I'll never see. I hope our species survives and thrives. And I even hope, and it may be a crazy hope, that we figure out, some day, how to get along with each other -- not just every now and then, but all of the time. That's seems pretty damn unlikely from where I'm standing, but fuck it, I'm gonna keep hoping it just the same.


01/12/21 01:59 AM #8850    

 

David Mitchell

A few short (true) Stories

Preface:

To those who insist that white priviledge is a "stupid idea", or that the answer to Black Americans struggling with a lower place in society is to get off their victim train and work harder, I say,  Hold on!  

There are many heroic examples (Mary Margaret named a list including George Washigton Carver and Tom Sewell - one of my favorite Black Conservative thinkers) but there are also tens of millions of Black lives who have tried but never caught a break, and never had that one "door" opened to them. More accurately, had doors specifically closed to them. 450 years and tens of millions of lives being enslaved, abused, and denial of their basic rights is pretty hard to deny historicly. It's like denying the Holocaust, or claiming that storks bring babies.

(note: playing the victim is not just a Black "thing".  Many of us do it to a degree.  I still believe many people have played the victim and are their own worst enemy)

-----------

The stories involve three lives.

 

First;

Mr. Jacob Martin - Bluffton, SC

Shortly after I moved here, I met an elderly local man named Jacob Martin, who is Black, and a long-time member of the local all-Black Campbell Chapel A.M. E. Church. He is one of the old lions of the local Black community. And he can roar like a lion when he gets his back up - which he did on my first encounter with him (at my first monthly meeting of the all-black - save one curiuos new white guy from Columbus, Ohio  - Bluffton Community Association). I learned that he had grown up here and then had been a cop in Detoit for almost 30 years, and then moved back here after retirement.

But Mr. Martin had another more interesting story. Somewhere around 1956 he had applied for entry into Law School at the Campus of South Carolina Universtity in Columbia, South Carolina. Mr. Martin was accepted and if I recall correctly, planned to attend as the first black man to enter South Carolina Universty Law School.

But he was blocked from entry by Senator Strom Thurmond. This preceeds the attempted blocking of James Meredith from entering Mississippi by several years, but never made news. A door was closed to Mr. Martin, but he found another one that was open. How different his life could have been?

 

Second:

name unknown, a relative of an aquaintence at the same Black church here in Bluffton

The woman who related this story is the mother in law of a young man who experienced another door being closed. She explained that he had come home from the first gulf War. It was the early 1990's when he returned home from the Navy to one of our rural counties in South Carolina. 

He wnet to register to vote and was met with the old Jim Crow "inteligence test" which I thought was long since gone from existence. He had to correctly guess the number of beans in a large glass jar.

Yes! in the 1990's!   I'd say that door was slammed in his face.

He was a physician and had been a Lt. Commander in the Navy on a hospital ship in the Gulf. The town needed another doctor but he and his wife moved clear out of the South where he found work in a large hospital. 

 

Third;

This is a story about a man named George.

I worked with George at my last job before leaving Columbus - at a small Mortgage Compnay up above Worthington. George was about 70 when I met him, about 25 years my senior at the time. He was Black, handsome and a wonderful personality for us "younger" guys in the office. He always brought encouragement to anyone who encounterd him. 

George had been a Major and a Squadron Commnader in the Air Force after the Korean War. I was fascinated that he flew the B-47 - that first long-range strategic bomber that never flew in a War. It came too late for Korea and it preceeded the revolutionary B-52 by only a few years. Many were once staitioned at Lockbourne AFB. 

After the Air Force, he put his savings into a gas station near Cleveland, where he had grown up. Then he bought another one near Akron, and then another, and another. He eventually owned a small empire of Mobile stations from Cleveland to Columbus. He shared with us once about how much he was paid for the final one (on East Broad Street) to end his carreer as an owner - It had been his pride and joy so to speak - and he received a small fortune for just that one station. 

One day George shared this touching story with us. He had grown up in about the late thirties or early forties, on the East sdie of Cleveland -  and gone to the Catholic Acadamy (Benedictine if I recall correctly?). George was one of only a few Black Catholics I ever knew, or even knew of. 

He had to ride a very early morning bus downtown to serve early Mass at the school. The buses he rode on began to be stopped by the police. They would order George to get off the bus and search him, then ask the young Black school boy what he was doing and where he was going? It frightened George and  became a routine. George was getting warnings from the priest about being late for Mass so often that he would be dropped from alter boy duties and put on warning. Finally, George broke down in tears and the Priest asked him what was wrong?

Little George spilled his third-grade guts and the priest was enraged. He called the bishop of Cleveland and passed on the story. The Bishop apparently then called the Cleveland Chief of Police (whom, I think was Irish and Catholic himself). The Bishop told the Chief of Police what the problem was and threatened the Chief of Police with excommuication if it ever happend again.

The police never stopped another bus again. Someone had opened a "door" for little George. 


01/12/21 02:13 AM #8851    

 

David Mitchell

Darn, I went out earlier tonight to watch a football game and a muggging broke out.


01/12/21 09:37 PM #8852    

 

David Mitchell

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO TOM McKEON !!

(a guy who still doesn't look a day over 40) 


01/13/21 12:27 PM #8853    

 

Joseph D. McCarthy

Happy Birthday to that old man Al Judy.  Way to go to making it to 93.

 

Joe


01/13/21 02:01 PM #8854    

 

Mark Schweickart

Hey there English majors, here's something I ran across that I had never encountered before. It is apparently something all of us English speakers know, but don't know we know.

Adjectives have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-color-origin-material-purpose before a noun. Therefore, you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French steel whittling knife, but if you mess with that word order it will not sound right, and everyone seeems to know that. For example, this means that since size comes before color, then green great dragons can't exist. 

 

 


01/14/21 10:31 PM #8855    

 

John Jackson

Mark, I saw something on the same subject a few months ago – can’t remember where (maybe the same piece you saw).  Such intricate (and totally arbitrary) rules that everyone picks up by the time they’re 6-8 years old.  Language is a strange and mysterious and wonderful thing (which may even explain the phenomenon of English majors)!


01/15/21 12:30 AM #8856    

 

Michael McLeod

new one on me mark.

like most people in the writing biz I do so many things on instinct or out of sheer repetition I forget the logic behind it. Then when I teach I have to...retrace my steps or look it up in a book to be able to spell it out for students.

(I swore off posting on this place but had to put in my two cents on this as it struck a nerve.)


01/15/21 05:06 PM #8857    

Timothy Lavelle

Do you remember when your parents brought the first color TV into your house? It was such a massive change in those simpler days.  

Re-read this and it does seem out of context...

Was reading The Network (Scott Woolley) about the struggle for radio, shortwave and later television development and  the fight for commercial supremacy. Sounds boring but a good read. Cut throat business! It reminded me of how we are amongst the last folks who grew up black n white and later decided to be colored. Reminded me of how having a color TV seemed like your fam was "making it". 


01/15/21 10:58 PM #8858    

 

James Hamilton, M. D.

Tim,  

I still have trouble wrapping my brain around all those people worried about what would happen to their computers when the clock struck Y2K!

Jim 


01/16/21 10:52 AM #8859    

 

David Mitchell

I remember the day they delivered our very first TV - black and white - a huge peice of shiny mahogany furniture with doors that opened to the 9 inch screen, the "'record payer" (which slid out), the controls, and a speaker. We were late to "color" so we would go to my aunt and uncle's house in Arlington to watch Bonanza in color on Sunday nights.

 

 

(Psst!  Don't tell anybody but I still haven't learned how to "program" my VCR - and oh, by the way, I started with Betamax)


01/16/21 12:30 PM #8860    

 

Janie Albright (Blank)

Tim, I remember clearly about the color tv. I was a freshman at OU. I came home for Thanksgiving and right there in the living room was a pretty big color television! I think we were late to have one. 

I think I have talked about this before but when I was much younger we had a neighbor named Pinky Morgan who worked for Ken Bush appliance and he had a very tiny screen color tv and all the neighbor kids went over to watch Peter Pan with Mary Martin in color. My memory is that it was mostly green. Dave Fredericks do you remember this?! 


01/16/21 06:09 PM #8861    

 

John Maxwell

Timbobway,
Like Dre Jim I couldn't get past monophonic. Then stereo arrived. Heaven on Earth, The stereo high fidelity made me want to be locked in a room alone with the lights out. Then pot swept the neighborhood and the devil introduced quadrophenia. I've spent the rest of my life trying to figure out how to grow another set of ears.

01/16/21 06:29 PM #8862    

 

James Hamilton, M. D.

All,

And talk about modern electronics with color and sound! From a Kodak Brownie and Instamatic, flash cubes and flash bars, to the magic of color film to the convenience of seeing those Polaroids roll right out of the camera to the interchangable lenses of an SLR and then to the digital revolution that allows one to do their own cropping, editing, printing and even filming videos let alone emailing them worldwide within minutes! Don't forget transistor radios, Boomboxes, Walkman's, CD's, DVD's, DVR's, Camcorders and Palmcorders.

Our generation has witnessed a literal explosion in such technology. 

The question is: "What do you see as the next big innovation in audio/visual technology?"

Jim


01/16/21 07:19 PM #8863    

Timothy Lavelle

First, I am watching Green Bay school the Rams....who made the Seahawks look like a girl's team last week...and I figured out how I want to die. Just hand me a football and let number 80 from the Rams tackle me! If the sheer panic didn't stop my heart, surely meeting the ground at light speed would!

Does anyone remember being in a house where radio was the main source of entertainment? I think that ended when we were still celebrating single digits but I could be wrong. 

Jim I was working in Peru on 12/31/99. Lima is the NYC of Peru and they fully expected computers and everything else to stop so they went nuts with the fireworks. Outrageous display. Then they were sorta pissed when all the computers kept working. 

I have a crap memory for exact events. Recall tiny tiny screens like Dave says but cannot for life recall when we got color TV like Janie does. I don't think my folks got one till after I left for the service. I came home from overseas and they had moved. Without telling me. New house, new TV...

But do you remember that some people put red or green film over their TV screen to make believe they had color? Back then the future was going to be a remarkable place. 

Uhweemawack Jack...you wild man...we all went nuts back then for the Sansui tuner-amps in the PX, got us some nice Koss headphones and came home to JBL, Mackintosh, Altec-Lansing and other high end music machines.  Speakers the size of battleships! So many great bands. We were truly a music loving generation but hey, we had rock n roll so of course we boogied to the beat. 

Party on.

 


01/16/21 09:01 PM #8864    

 

James Hamilton, M. D.

Tim, 

Yes, I remember listening to our old Crosley radio as a kid when our family lived in an apartment near 5th Ave. in Grandview. Broadcasts of Amos 'n Andy were poular which, today, would be totally politically incorrect if not racist. But the "Kingfish" was was humorous in those days. 

Jim 


01/16/21 09:41 PM #8865    

 

David Mitchell

All these different stereo compoment brand names got me to thinkng about those wonderful "PACEX" catalogues we ued to get in Vietnam. PACEX stood for "Pacific Exchange" - like a PX, or "Post Exchange" - the general store on most military posts around the world - from groceries to clothing, to jewelry, and gear and almost everything. 

We all got this PACEX catalogue in Vietnam with photos, prices, and descriptions of stuff to buy. And we could get it sent to us in Vietnam, or home to the States. It was full of stuff to drool over - at prices that were terrific -  Jewelry and fancy watches - but Cameras and Stereo equipment were the main attraction for most of us. I remeber trying to decipher what was best between those wonderful "reel to reel" tape decks - Sony, Sansui, Pioneer, McIntosh, Teac, and oh yes, Roberts and Akai - with those wonderful mahogany outer frames. 

I also loved to imagine buying a Nikon, Petnax, Olympus, or Minolta "SLR". But I found a really nice Canon FT-b SLR with an "interchangeable" 50mm lenes on the shelves of my own tiny little PX right there at Vinh Long - which was about the size of a postage stamp, and which never seemed to have anything but tooth paste and razers.

Thought I was seeing things. Couldn't beleive it!  Only two on the shelf and I grabbed one. Went back out of curiousity to check that afternoon and the other one was gone. Used that wonderful camera for about 15 years unil it was stolen out of my car. Eventualy moved on with a new Minolta, and then later a Penax. (A long way from the 1940's Brownie "Box" camera that we grew up with.)

I only made a couple of big purchses from that PACEX catalogue while I was there. I think I bought an Akai reel-to-reel that I sold after a few years. Loved it almost as much as just a beautiful piece of furniture as for it's technical qulaity. The other was a set of very big Pioneeer speakers for my buddy, Tom McKeon - free shipping as I recall.

Visited Tom and Tess a few years ago and there they were - still hooked up to his sytstem in the living room. 

Then came cassette players. I thought I had seen it all.


01/17/21 06:49 AM #8866    

 

Michael Boulware

John Jackson and Mike McLeod! Please reconsider your decisions to stop posting on our website. You two are brilliant people and gifted writers. I really enjoy reading your comments. 

Cleveland Indian fans; we have to change our nickname. Since Ohio is famous for arranging our voting districts to favor a political party; I suggest The Cleveland Gerrymanderers.


01/17/21 10:35 AM #8867    

 

Michael McLeod

Thanks, Mike,

I just needed to collect myself and reassess how and where to focus my efforts and energy in such a crazy time. 

I suspect John, who has much more patience and level-headedness than I,  goes through a similar process now and then.

Speaking of crazy here is a clip in case you missed it.

I love how calm the one guy remains - as well as the way he summarizes his feelings at the end.

 

https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2021/01/15/dc-police-officers-capitol-riot-prokupecz-newday-vpx.cnn

 

And in the "same as it ever was" category, there is this:

"Immediately after the attack on the U.S. Capitol, all corners of the political spectrum repudiated the mob of President Trump’s supporters. Yet within days, prominent Republicans, party officials, conservative media voices and rank-and-file voters began making a rhetorical shift to try to downplay the group’s violent actions.

In one of the ultimate don’t-believe-your-eyes moments of the Trump era, these Republicans have retreated to the ranks of misinformation, claiming it was Black Lives Matter protesters and far-left groups like Antifa who stormed the Capitol — in spite of the pro-Trump flags and QAnon symbology in the crowd. Others have argued that the attack was no worse than the rioting and looting in cities during the Black Lives Matter movement, often exaggerating the unrest last summer while minimizing a mob’s attempt to overturn an election.

The shift is revealing about how conspiracy theories, deflection and political incentives play off one another in Mr. Trump’s G.O.P. For a brief time, Republican officials seemed perhaps open to grappling with what their party’s leader had wrought — violence in the name of their Electoral College fight. But any window of reflection now seems to be closing as Republicans try to pass blame and to compare last summer’s lawlessness, which was condemned by Democrats, to an attack on Congress, which was inspired by Mr. Trump.

“The violence at the Capitol was shameful,” Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s lawyer, tweeted at 6:55 a.m. the morning after the attack. “Our movement values respect for law and order and for the police.” But now, in a new video titled “What Really Happened on January 6th?” Mr. Giuliani is among those who are back to emphasizing conspiracy theories."

 


01/17/21 11:30 PM #8868    

 

David Mitchell

Two Views of Ted Cruz

There is so much to think about over this past week that I hardly can narrow it down to one item. From my appreciation for Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska (which has shot up like a rocket), to my utter dumbfounded reaction in some of these newly elected officials spouting Qnon fantasies.  And of course, my lingering astonishment at the lack of security preparation. I am stunned that anyone on the planet could not have seen smething like this coming!

But more than anyone else - even Senator Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz has been on my mind this week. It's probably because I have been thinking of a couple of comments I heard years ago about Senator Ted Cruz  - long before all this misinformation, conspiracy theory, division, and anrachy came to visit our own "house".

As I have stated, I have been driving for a private car service (part-time) for a number of years, and I pcik up all kinds of people between Hilton Head and Savannah (and beyond). It's ususally quite enjoyabe. I've driven Myra Sorvino - and thought I had lost her when she took her dog outside the Savannah Airport one night and didn't come back in from the darknes for what seemed like an eternity. I had John Cusack an he was so polite it kind of made me nervous. I had Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin in "Happy Gilmore"), who asked to sit on the front seat and chat all the way. I recognized him from his role as a dirty nasty traffic court judge in a few episodes of "The Good Wife" and he laughed - nicest guy I have ever driven.

I've had an amazing number of people with some sort of common connections. It really is a small world. But we are always being reminded never to bring up religion or politics, but sometiems they invite it and you listen but only comment sparingly. 

I have two interesting encounters with people who knew Ted Cruz from professional conections. Both conversations happened about 6 yers ago, in the early days of the nomination prior to 2016. I never forgot them. 

One is a young 40-something regular customer - businesss trips back and forth to his office in NYC, and meetings around the world.  He lives on the island and is one of the managers of the "energy division" at Blackrock - one of the world's largest Hedge Funds. He would often be on the phone in my backseat with important people as I drove him - once it was the (then) female Vice President of Argentina. If it had to do with coal, gas, oil, wind, solar, or hydro-electric and power lines liens, this guy was involved in a big way. 

 

Something got us on the subject of politics (he brought it up it - mostly general comments about the campaign) and he went on to explain that he had had a recent meeting with Senator Kruz. Here is his comment. "We had about two hours together one-on-one and it was like talking to a wall. The man is a United States Senator from Texas and he doesn't know a damn thing about the oil buisness." 

 

But this next comment reallly hit me harder. (Seperate time - about 3 months earlier)

I picked up a guy at the Hilton Head Weston Hotel - a suit and tie guy - there for a convention - headed to Savannah Air Port (about an hour drive). As I often to, I asked where he was headed. "Texas".  And when I asked what he did it got really interesting.

"I run a political consulting firm. We're what you call a think tank. We do research on political issues under contract to the Republican Party of Texas."

Going a bit further than I should have - I asked him "what he thought of this Ted Cruz guy?

(And I swear I am not making this up.)

"He scares the hell out of us."  "Oh really, I said. Why?"

"We don't think he's qualified to gather trash along the highway." 

 

I am reminded of that great quote from Will Rogers -"We've got the best politicians money can buy."


01/18/21 12:45 AM #8869    

 

James Hamilton, M. D.

Dave, 

You have had some very interesting encounters with passengers both in and of themselves as well as high profile people whom they have encountered. And, from the way you describe these conversations, you certainly believe them and agree with them on your evaluation of Senator Cruz.

Wouldn't it have been nice if the SCOTUS would have agreed to hear some, or all, of the sworn affidavits from those who saw evidence of possible fraud in our recent elections? 🤔 

Jim 


01/18/21 02:17 AM #8870    

 

David Mitchell

The Supreme court refused because they are a court of law and the law requires evidence. In case after case the so called evidence was based on mis-information and false claims - as in the case with Georgia, where you will recall, the votes were counted (under illegal threats from the President himslef) three times - the last one by hand. They were checked and double checked and were found to be off by less than a fraction of one per cent. 

It has been reported that when Rudy appeared before the court in Pennsylvania and called to present his case, he simply stared down at his shoes. I would like to find the reporter who covered that.

 

And this brings up two more questions;

1) Name me one national election in our life times where there were not  ballot errors?

2) To be consistent, please tell me why the Trump people did not call for these court challenges in all 50 states? 


01/18/21 02:20 AM #8871    

 

David Mitchell

And this deserves special mention, so I am posting it sperarately.

 

While the attack on the Capital was going on, Cruz was actually sending out campaign funding requests.

Unthinkable!


01/18/21 10:00 AM #8872    

 

John Jackson

I agree with Dave -  the Supreme Court (unanimously) refused to give the Trump case the time of day because, while a number of the Justices are much more conservative than I would like, they do have brains and they understand the rules of evidence.  And, while I’m guessing at least some of the Justices on a personal level were disappointed with the outcome of the election (although I wouldn’t be surprised at all if a few of the conservative ones were secretly relieved), they are all familiar with the Constitution and felt they had to take a stand against Trump’s unrelenting attack on the principles of democracy and majority rule.

One of the states the loony right alleges was stolen from Trump is Georgia (“I won by a lot”, according to Trump), yet the two Democratic Senate candidates won the Jan. 5 runoff election by roughly the same (very tight) margin of victory that Biden got on Nov. 3.  I think it’s reasonable  to consider the runoff election as more or less ratifying the Nov. 3  results.  Two months of unrelenting (and baseless) allegations of widespread voter fraud (not to mention that control of the Senate was at stake) made the Georgia Senate runoff the most scrutinized election we’ve ever had.  That the Dems, in the face of unrelenting scrutiny, also stole the runoff election doesn't come close to passing the laugh test.


01/18/21 10:44 AM #8873    

 

Michael McLeod

Just such a delicious irony that a guy who made much of  his fortune cheating people now complains that he's been cheated. I almost wish it were true. But I'll say this again: We need to find a way to extend the inquiry for as long as there are people with questions about it. 

To me both the second impeachment and an ongoing open-book inquiry about this past election would simply be an educational public service. There ought to be a 2020 library project to let people do their own research about it. All the wacko theories would persist but maybe not quite so much.


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