MARCH 30, 2010 4:18PM

Through the dark, into the light

I miss those Saturday nights in the basement. It wasn’t exactly Alice’s rabbit hole but the weekly descent opened a universe that left me forever changed. So every weekend my heart still wanders those hours and minutes, retracing the joy of simply following passion and sharing the warmth… Read full post »

MARCH 24, 2010 12:39AM

And the difference is...?

Initially, I seemed the ideal man for the job. You want something instigated look no further.

The occasion was one class in a series at the University of South Alabama’s Odyssey program of continuing education, a series geared toward area elders seeking to keep their minds stimulated and vita… Read full post »

MARCH 9, 2010 11:55AM

So obvious, so ignored, so human

Four little letters; one short syllable.

It’s an awfully meager representation for a concept and feeling that touches us all. It guides our hearts and hands, fills us with mixed emotions and drives us to some of the most ambitious of feats. And its insidious nature is one of the most… Read full post »

This post appeared in an earlier form some ten months ago. It seems most fitting in this newer version today, on Fat Tuesday.  

... 

It was 1983. I was new to Mobile, a Birmingham native who had moved southward. The Old South roots of this sleepy coastal town were

Read full post »
FEBRUARY 7, 2010 5:11PM

The freedom of the mind

Lonnie’s feet churned but no matter the fury, the car behind his bicycle loomed closer. Glancing back, he could see the men inside, the leering, the malevolence.

The 10-year-old was on his way to his grandmother’s house, his new bike tires hissing over the asphalt in his Mobile neighborh

Read full post »
FEBRUARY 7, 2010 4:04PM

The sky's no limit

Though three centuries of Mobilians have reached for the stars, only Capt. Kathryn P. Hire has actually floated among them. This diligent and determined astronaut might not bear the local notoriety of Hank Aaron or Jimmy Buffett, but no other Azalea City native has reached comparable heights.

JANUARY 18, 2010 10:02PM

Monday in grey

Today, I awake from a dream. Eyes open, I face the world around me.

I drive the streets of my town, where the scarce pedestrians are African-Americans too poor to afford transportation. I hum past bus stops where the only faces waiting are dark.

I’ll sit in… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
DECEMBER 16, 2009 3:13AM

Puttin' some swing in your jing(le)

There's a little bit for every mood.

The sardonic:

From Miles Davis, with vocals by Bob Dorough (of Schoolhouse Rock fame)

 

The wryly hip:

From Babs Gonzales 

 

The purposefully "retro:"

From the Squirrel Nut Zippers 

 
 
From Louis Armstrong
DECEMBER 10, 2009 4:10PM

A season lost

Here we go again, another transformation of the noble into the notorious. Already the sabers are rattling in the ranks of the cultural warriors, eager to repel the false fusillade on a holiday season that most of their countrymen are glad to embrace.

And really it’s pathetic that something lik… Read full post »

OCTOBER 21, 2009 11:06AM

Beneath the chills and thrills

Great art resonates, across genre and form, locale and era. The ripples it creates reverberate in ways sometime unseen and take the art into all corners of the culture and human experience.

Even in this annual time of harvest and hauntings we find a pair of monumental literary works etched… Read full post »

OCTOBER 16, 2009 4:41AM

Friday Night Frights

I was raised under the glaring light of the Lord so of course I was drawn to the darkness.

I can’t even remember when my youthful fascination with the strange world of goblins and ghouls began but considering my family was steeped in the supernatural beliefs of fundamentalist Christianity,… Read full post »

OCTOBER 15, 2009 4:40AM

Tiny

I'm evidently in the vast minority. 

When I first saw Charlie Kaufman's "Synecdoche, New York" many months back, I loved it. Little surprise considering not only its cast but also the affinity I have for Kaufman's previous work. 

But I found myself basically alone in my fondness,… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 24, 2009 3:40AM

Lakota

I was across town in the summer of 1993, near my mother's place and suddenly decided to clean my car. I pulled into a semi-automated wash, where you dump in your quarters and it supplies the suds and water while you pitch in the elbow grease. 
 
The car was washed… Read full post »
SEPTEMBER 23, 2009 12:02AM

Glory of the long shadows

Fall looms and shadows shift as the relentless sun retreats. The days shorten and on cue my mood will lift then wane in unmet anticipation. I can’t help it. I’m wistful for nostalgia’s season. 

In our agrarian past, fall was a time of repose, when the labor of spring… Read full post »

Like the crack of a birch cane against a foe, two little words shot over the august assembly and echoed around the nation. The translation of that retort, though, is heard only through the wishes many hold inside.

By now, we all know the story. Pres. Obama’s address on health care… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 11, 2009 3:28AM

The essence of it all

Amidst the political intrigue, the haranguing and hassling over gamesmanship and polls and votes and reconciliation, we often lose sight of what matters most. 

Essentially, I am what I am politically because I think compassion is what ultimately gives us the right to deem ourselves civilized. If… Read full post »

It’s still hard to think about because the emotions it stirs are a storm as well. The anger, the horror, the sadness and guilty relief whirl around my recollections at the eye of one of our nation’s worst national disasters.

Out here on the rim of Katrina’s crater, I… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 17, 2009 5:11AM

I'm cannon fodder in the health care war

My breath was shallow and rapid, the rasping attempts futile. I needed oxygen.

I leaned forward on the desk, fighting, focusing against my body’s panic as I pumped my stomach, forcing my diaphragm in, out, in, out. Nothing helped.

I couldn’t muster the breath to phone for… Read full post »

AUGUST 12, 2009 2:57AM

Can the shots be far away?

What the hell is going on with the Secret Service? 

In case you haven't heard, Pres. Obama's appearance at a New Hampshire town hall meeting today brought out the usual crowd of hatemongers and hyperbole. Oh, that more of those screamers in attendance had heard of Godwin's Law but that would… Read full post »

JULY 31, 2009 1:13PM

Is it something I said?

Just a few months back, the nationwide Tea Parties unfolded. I reported from our local version and what I found was a bit unsettling. There was a racial undercurrent to proceedings – of course, everything here bears that – and I noted at the end that it merged with my sense of h… Read full post »

JULY 30, 2009 2:57PM

A few stiff belts with Don

What a bear of a day. I duck into a lounge to catch a hot jazz act and who do I spy but Don Draper. I haven't seen this cat since before I worked at Downbeat.

madmen_standard2  

We toss a few back, trade a few stories about creative pitfalls and… Read full post »

JULY 26, 2009 12:41AM

Words escape me

“Hurry up,” Mom said, grabbing my sister and me as she hurriedly opened the door. “They’ve gone all that way and we’re going to miss it!”

We stepped off the concrete and brick stoop into the afternoon heat and ducked into the apartment next door. Our neighbor, Mis

Read full post »

This piece from the editorial board of Sen. Jeff Sessions' hometown paper, the Mobile Press-Register, is remarkable mostly for one reason. No, it's not because of its right wing slant; that's well established for years now. Even the preceding day, the editorial board begged the utmost scrutiny of Sup… Read full post »

JULY 14, 2009 1:37AM

Happy Birthday, Woody!

video by lymanchandler
 
Woodrow Wilson Guthrie
July 14, 1912 - Oct. 3, 1967
  

Adventure pushed us westward, beyond the forest and into the bare brilliance of a spring morning on the Southern Plains. Into Oklahoma, we followed I-40, the asphalt river tracing the route of old… Read full post »