A Sampler of Old Columns

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

An Encounter With A Black Dog

The problem with trying to recount an event that happened darn near sixty years ago is that time tends to blend reality and fantasy together. I'll tell what I remember but whether or not that is actually what happened, well, Dear Reader, I leave such discretion up to you.
An Appalachian childhood, especially pre-Deliverance, is a precious thing, most certainly  when those years straddle the transition into modern media. Television was a relatively new thing in those Eisenhower years, but the movies were the palpably real thing-- full of stars, stories, and not too much color. The neighborhood boys around Ratcliffe Cove spent those long summer days making creek swimming holes, hunting snakes, and riding bikes.
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Saturday, October 29, 2005

Mad In the Middle:A Political Blog

A more current commentary on what's going on.

A Needmore Fish Story

©1999 Harrison Information Systems
September 13, 2000

NEEDMORE---It’s another fish story.

After I left the chiropractor yesterday afternoon, feeling spry and two inches taller, and noting, of course, the fish dancing on my watch face and feeling the full moon pulling from above, I sallied forth unto the Little Tennessee river to indulge in an afternoon of paper grading and worm drowning.

Arriving at my favorite hole near the unthriving village of Needmore, NC, I discovered the river down to a mere rivulet, a trickle of gin clear water in comparison to the raging torrent when last I tread upon its hallowed shores.

"Fishing is gonna suck," I said to a scattering of dog-pecker gnats flitting about the newly exposed foul-smelling mud. Presently, I settled into my chair, and with two lines tossed far, far into the still current I began an investigation into spelling errors and comma splices.

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Hick of Hillbillies Hullabaloo

©1999 Harrison Information Systems
March 1, 1999

A high school near my digs has recently become the center of unwanted attention over the school mascots: Warriors and Squaws. Many trees have given their all on this subject so I'll leave it alone and touch on something else in the politically correct arena: Hillbillies.

I'm really frosted at the treatment we've been receiving in the media so I'm forming the Sons and Daughters of Appalachia Miffed About Discrimination (SADAMAD), not to be confused with the League of Itinerant and Belligerent Mountaineers (LIBM). As the original high-tech redneck, I am spreading this warning throughout cyberspace. We're mad as hell and we're not gonna take it anymore.

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Another Take on Florida

©1999 Harrison Information Systems
November 11, 2000

FLANDERS FIELD--The 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month—an appropriate time to write about politics methinks, and considering the on-going mess in Florida I think it is time to call for some serious changes to the "American System," such as the creation of new Federal offices, voting reform, and mental health.

Let me be the first to call for the appointment of special prosecutor to investigate W’s driving record, which ought to be at least as important as Bill’s sexual record. After all, the only things Bill ever endangered were innocent cigars. I think Anita Hill would be a primo choice for a special prosecutor in this instance and I’m sure with 20 or 30 million dollars and four years of time she could produce as much as Ken Starr did, and we would all be wiser about beer stains on the back seat and whether or not steering a moving vehicle was the same as driving, and we could all be titillated with tales of gear shift levers.

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GOP Blowing Titanic's Whistle

©1999 Harrison Information Systems
February 23, 1999

The Republican Party has aimed another shot at its foot. While the CNN Internet poll about the most influential U.S. President of the 20th Century may not seem like much of an event, Republican faithful were notified by the Republican National Committee that Reagan was trailing Roosevelt and, sure enough, here comes the deluge of E-mail that placed Reagan in first by far.

Somewhere, out there, are gnomes hunkered over keyboards waiting for commands to send forth letters of ire to the Internet, the local newspaper, and the windshields of America. Without dwelling on Liberty magazine’s telephone poll too much, everyone should bear in mind that the average American first of all doesn’t have Internet access and second of all doesn’t care. So why try to rig an Internet poll? Are there too many liberals out that gawking in cybergeekdom? I don’t think so, but what this little incident illustrates is the GOP’s problem with mainstream America.

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Another Colorado Column

©1999 Harrison Information Systems
May 1, 1999

No matter how horrific the crime, every crime has three fundamentals: means, motive, and opportunity. The Colorado murders are no exception, and, of course, everyone is reacting, trying to find a way to stop school violence. As a society we have focused on two elements of school crime and basically ignored the third.

Gun control, naturally, is the first reaction, but, like so many other rights, privileges, and traditions, that "cure" has remained elusive, and it is questionable whether rigid gun control would, in fact, succeed in lowering violent deaths. Weapons can be found everywhere, though logic must bow to the argument that the death toll in the Colorado rampage would have been much less if the attacks were carried with fists and knives. Keep in mind that the Oklahoma bombings resulted from diesel fuel and fertilizer.

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