Tag Archives: history

The bright side

As Americans’ traditional feast day approaches, I’ve been considering Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Thanksgiving proclamation.  It’s remarkable for its stubborn optimism, achieved in part by de-emphasizing the harsh reality then encompassing the nation. Here’s an excerpt: “In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign states to […]

Fake news … anchors

Now from China comes word that human television newscasters will soon be joined by salary-saving, computer-generated simulations that can work around the clock.  Here’s Xinhua News Agency’s first English-speaking artificial intelligence anchor, bringing you news of its existence: I suppose fake news anchors are the logical next step in technology’s gutting of an honorable profession […]

Carnegie’s paradox

I have recently been on a classics kick of sorts, exploring books I have long heard referenced but never read. Having considered Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, which contemplates the purpose of our individual lives, I am now immersed in a book that tackles an even more perplexing question: How the heck can we […]

Americana

Recently, a good friend who lives in Kansas drove 30 miles to another town to judge the Sorghum Queen contest for the Stevens County Fair.  This year, 19 young women competed for the honor,  which I assume is thus named because sorghum — a cereal grain used in livestock feed, ethanol and certain human foods […]

Broken

  We rose,  I want to say, became who you dreamed we were. Realized our better nature, I long to say, because I want to see you whole again. But we have fallen farther than your deadest imagining, and your heads are always broken. Jack’s skull perpetually shatters in Dallas, shatters into Jackie’s lap. It […]

What we lost

National Public Radio’s excellent StoryCorps project aired a deeply touching segment on Friday, just ahead of the 50th anniversary of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination.  The reflections of then 17-year-old busboy Juan Romeo, who attempted to comfort RFK seconds after he was shot, are a potent reminder of what we lost that night. Click on the […]

Provenance

My taste in library books tends toward the old and sometimes obscure, and I thereby experience a pleasure younger, hipper readers will never know:   a circulation card, glued to the back cover of the book and demarking its check-out history. The content of these yellowing index cards depends on the era:  All include typed title […]

Good night dear, love to you

Honey that cake  you sent me surely is fine.  I have been taking a hunk of it with me for lunch the last two days. The typing is faded and the paper stiff with age, though the simple signature looks as if it could have been scrawled yesterday, if people still used pencils.  Roy Osee […]

Elvis and the birthday not celebrated

It’s been 83 years today, and I’m thinking of a sleepy-eyed, full-lipped boy born in East Tupelo to a ne’er-do-well daddy and a hard-working mama. Not the boy who wound up king of rock ‘n’ roll, but the one who wound up in a shoe box beneath unmarked earth. It was a couple of hours before […]

Peace

Her last moment in breathable air might have been a shudder, or a howl.  A bearing down, a thrusting up. The snow driven like bullets by fierce wind, the fresh and frigid water ripped and roiled into 30-foot waves and worse, especially the last two: Monsters. Rogues. And then the great arc of tension — […]