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Rheta Johnson: A New York yankee in King Cotton's court

Posted 7/26/2014 in Local Columns

They say that the Mississippi Delta begins in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis and ends at Vicksburg, Mississippi's, Catfish Row.

 

Rheta Johnson: You got TRBL

Posted 7/22/2014 in National Columns

Artist Christopher Wool must be really good at texting. His stencil sign paintings, according to the Guggenheim Museum, "freely stripped out punctuation, disrupted conventional spacing and removed letters."

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Columnist without a 'do'

Posted 7/19/2014 in National Columns

My hair stylist, Joyce, is at the beach on holiday, and I want to stick my head in the sand. I should have made an appointment last week.

 

Rheta Grimsley Johnson: Monica, wherefore art thou?

Posted 7/12/2014 in National Columns

I never figured on feeling sorry for Monica Lewinsky. She was too much like an Atlanta Hooters waitress I once interviewed who wanted to file a sex discrimination lawsuit. You asked for it, I thought.

 

Rheta Johnson: Her writing rocks

Posted 6/28/2014 in National Columns

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, there's a story about popular novels versus serious novels. It asks the question: Can they be one and the same? In the course of not reaching any conclusions, the article quotes a critic who complains: "Doesn't anyone care how something is written anymore?"

 

Rheta Johnson: No answer at the other end

Posted 6/21/2014 in National Columns

I wanted to phone my father from Southern Utah. When recently we drove through the national park everyone calls "Arches," its red rocks carved by millions of erosive years into magnificent sculpture, I almost reached for the phone. It was the kind of natural scene he liked to hear about.

 

Rheta Johnson: Give us a choice

Posted 6/14/2014 in National Columns

Moderates in the Deep South are disenfranchised. So are the young, the impoverished, blacks, gays, women who want to control their own bodies, Latinos and unapologetic liberals of both races and genders. Which, in the South, rolls us right back to the 1950s, at least in statewide elections.

 

Rheta Johnson: Saints and sinners

Posted 5/31/2014 in National Columns

SALT LAKE CITY -- Everybody talks about religion here, though people come at it a couple of ways. Nobody seems to shy from the subject, though only about half the city is Mormon.

 

Rheta Johnson: Mel Rosen ran the distance

Posted 5/24/2014 in National Columns

Mel Rosen is a liberal Jewish Democrat from Brighton Beach, New York, who in 1955 arrived at conservative, football-obsessed Auburn University in the segregated Deep South. He was hired to teach gymnastics and assigned seven daily classes. His dream was to coach track.

 

Rheta Johnson: Dogs, clocks and a drink of Crown Royal

Posted 5/15/2014 in National Columns

Luke Hall had a name like a hero in an old Western -- simple, strong and uncompromising. It was fitting.

 

Rheta Johnson: Making hay of hate

Posted 4/19/2014 in Local Columns

Mississippi, my adopted home state, place that I love, is reverting to its old ways, which many of us who live here had believed and hoped to be in the distant past.

 

Johnson: Dreams of tossing tech

Posted 4/13/2014 in National Columns

Six inches of snow out the window where the azaleas ought to be. I am in Colorado for a few weeks, and my dogs are back home in Mississippi. My work computer has taken on a life of its own, with so-called "pop-ups" pestering me like door-to-door hawkers.

 

Rheta Johnson: Notes from a corner

Posted 3/29/2014 in National Columns

FISHTRAP HOLLOW-- I work in a corner of my bedroom. My desk is an old, dark wicker one, about three feet wide and two feet deep. Its small size keeps mess at a minimum. There is a window to my right, and I try not to look out when I'm supposed to be writing. When I part the curtains to stare, I see yellow daffodils on a drab March landscape, yellow butter on dry toast.

 

Rheta Johnson: Rooms with a view

Posted 3/15/2014 in National Columns

Somewhere in a shoebox beneath a bed, I have photographs of the Mentone Springs Hotel, a Victorian lodging built 130 years ago on the western brow of Lookout Mountain in Northeast Alabama.

 

Rheta Johnson: Electile dysfunction in the Big Easy

Posted 2/22/2014 in National Columns

NEW ORLEANS -- A security guard and a lawyer walked into a bar. Sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. It's bad, all right, but no joke. Everyone in this town, including two drinking buddies, was talking about the federal public corruption trial of former mayor Ray Nagin.

 

Rheta Johnson: Gestalt gardener with guts

Posted 2/15/2014 in National Columns

WAVELAND -- I got to walk right past the shiny, new, Christmas-ornament-red hook and ladder truck at the fire department here to see one of my heroes, radio personality Felder Rushing. One recent Saturday morning he was speaking upstairs at the firehouse. I couldn't help but think about how many of the boys of my generation wanted to be firemen when they grew up. Never knew a single one who wanted to become "a gestalt gardener," which is how Felder describes himself.

 

Cellophane hearts and soft centers

Posted 2/8/2014 in National Columns

I was using the free White Pages website to try to find the ZIP code for a friend's address. An advertisement popped up, something called Instant Checkmate, which is not free.

 

Rheta Johnson: A vicious circle

Posted 1/11/2014 in National Columns

NEW YORK CITY -- If you can imagine a place today that would extend credit to struggling but brilliant journalists, novelists and theater people, where, say, Donna Tartt and Jon Stewart and Tina Brown might convene daily for lunch and drinks, then there might be a contemporary equivalent of The Algonquin Round Table.

 

Rheta Johnson: A last-minute list of books for Christmas

Posted 12/21/2013 in National Columns

When niece Chelsey was little, I lavished her with Christmas gifts too numerous and fanciful to remember. There were faux-fur coats with Dalmatian spots, diminutive dolls bundled as quintuplets, plastic horses that cost more than the real thing.

 

Rheta Johnson: A world apart

Posted 12/7/2013 in National Columns

FISHTRAP HOLLOW -- Lightning or some other benevolent act of fate struck the magic modem that brings this technology-heavy century into our otherwise peaceful home.

 

 

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