One-year-old Baylee Almon, cradled in the arms of Firefighter Chris Fields, died at an area hospital later that day. This photo, taken by utility worker Charles Porter, won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography.
Southern Man had just finished his morning general physics lecture and was walking back to his office when the university science building shook. Classes were dismissed so that professors and students could give blood. The donation lines were so long that they were turning away all but the rarest types and the flood of charity of every kind overwhelmed every agency in the state for months on end. And no one gave more generously to New York City after the horror of 9/11.
One of Southern Man's future colleagues was on the fifth floor. Apparently Bill, who was nearly killed in 'Nam and whose AWACS plane was very nearly shot out from under him by a optically-guided SAM during Desert Storm, is just too ornery to die. He was at memorial services all day, as he always is on this date every year.
Southern Man went to a Tea Party rally at the state capitol today - his first political rally since college. A few observations:
The crowd were plainly a bunch of enthusiastic, respectful, polite, good-natured Americans who love their country. Southern Man has rarely felt safer or more at home at such a large gathering.
The participants chose many ways to express their views with signs and shirts and such, but "Don't Tread On Me" was clearly the emblem of choice for the Tea Party.
The crowd was widely represented in age and gender; Southern Man was happy to see many young participants and equally happy to verify that many women are involved in the Tea Party.
The closest thing Southern Man saw to hate speach was a "nobama" sign.
The closest thing Southern Man saw to the lunatic fringe was an "Investigate 9/11" t-shirt. Oh, and the John Birch Society had a table set up with fliers and an email signup sheet.
There was no evidence of infiltration by the so-called Tea Party Crashers. Given the number of tough-looking men with signs (both military-tough and biker-tough) if any were present they slunk away unannounced.
There was no uniformed security at all. No matter - they weren't needed.
And speaking of notable absences: the area reserved for the media - just off the stage, on a hillside with splendid vantage of both speakers and crowd - was conspiciously empty.
Sadly, the crowd was mostly white. Hopefully this will change. Get it? Hope and change.
Speaking of mostly-white political parties: Southern Man did a little volunteer work for a local incumbent Democrat back in his college days. In public, he was a typical folky down-home politician; in private, he and his cronies were the most vulgar, rascist men Southern Man had ever met. His strongest memory of those smoke-filled rooms were how disdainful they were of blacks (including the one token black on staff), who they regarded as bought-and-paid-for property of the Party. Southern Man didn't vote for him and hasn't voted Democrat since.
But since this blogger is a conservative white male who identifies with both the Tea Party and the South he must be a rascist himself. Go figure.
OK, Southern Man is (reluctantly) on Facebook and cares not one bit about your wall or your farm or your rank in Mafia Wars. And Southern Man had not (until now) watched more than a few seconds of any episode of South Park. But this was just about the funniest thing he's ever seen.
Hat tip to Roissy. Language most decidedly not safe for work.
[added 15 April 2010] The episode streamed just fine until last night (Southern Man knows this because he can't stop watching it) but now pops up with a "cannot stream until 5.08.10" page. Go figure.
A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
It is Southern Man's weekend with ten-year-old daughter, which is always a lot of fun. And this weekend he was blessed by a rare appearance by seventeen-year-old daughter as well and the three of us had a nice meal at a local eatery. It blew the month's grocery budget but was well worth it. After taking older daughter home the two of us did some shopping (she got her hair cut and purchased a Selina Gomez CD - she's blown her allowance on far worse - and we spent an evening watching movies at home. And this morning we started out hitting a couple of stores (for an Easter basket and a set of headphones) and then went to a big Easter Egg hunt (thus the basket purchase) and then (as per her request earlier in the week) made a big loop 'way out northwest and did some geocaching. We lunched at a small-town bar reknown for fine fried okra and chicken, then worked our way back home. And now she's made brownies for tomorrow's Easter feast with Southern Man's folks and is in her PJs prancing about to her new CD with an old portable player Southern Man dug out (thus the headphone purchase). The dishwasher and clothes washer are both chugging away (for some reason the sound of labor-saving devices at work gives Southern Man an odd sense of domestic tranquility) and there's banana bread in the oven and all of the various problems that plague Southern Man's life are far, far away.
Ten-year-old daughter at the Easter Egg hunt with the new best friend (also ten) who shares her name. To further this cosmic coinsidence, her dad has the same name as Southern Man. No, not "Southern Man." That would be too strange.
Southern Man has a friend, an educated professional, who took a good hard look at his finances (which included a small mountain of credit card debt) and realized that he was bankrupt. He was up to date on all of his payments and had stellar credit, but the end of the road was approaching. But because of his good credit, he was able to borrow nearly six figures on his remaining accounts. And sure enough, this saved him from bankruptcy.
For the moment.
Now it's two years later. Again, Southern Man's friend is approaching the end of the road. And now the debt to be settled is twice what it was two years ago.
The moral of this story: sure, borrowing lots of money can save you from bankruptcy by merely delaying the inevitable. And when it comes, the fall is much harder.
Lots of blogs have already posted this graphic. It's linked above. But Southern Man will post it anyway. Take a good hard look at those numbers and think about the future of this country.
This charming little ditty was written especially for the movie by Kirk Thatcher (Trek IV associate producer) and a few other members of the crew. They called their one-song band The Edge of Etiqette. Rock on, dudes!
posted by Southern Man @ 10:00 PM
is a thirtysomething*CS/STEM educator in the Midwestern USA. After many years at church-affiliated liberal-arts universities he now teaches at a state school (lower salary, better benefits, and hardly any drama at all) and works in a building named for a dead politician.
He started blogging in the summer of 2006 shortly after his wife of sixteen years divorced him and this blog began as an account of
how he copes with the unsettling process of learning how to live as a single parent and deal with visitation and physical custody and all the other stuff that comes with divorce
and has evolved into an outlet for writing about his adventures and opinions on travel, geocaching, politics, religion, film, music, relationships, preparations for the upcoming zombie apocalypse, and whatever.
*Southern Man will be stating his age in hexadecimal until further notice.