COLUMNS

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Adele Elliott: Flocked

Posted 8/22/2009 in Columns

Monday evening my “barkler” alarm went off, full force. This signal can mean that some strange person has dared to walk in front of our house, or that one of the neighbor’s cats is sauntering across the porch, clearly invading their doggy territory.

 

 

Rob Hardy: The last member of Hitler assasination plot tells story in memoir

Posted 8/18/2009 in Columns

Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager died in May 2008. He was the longest surviving member of the most famous assassination plot against Hitler. Before he died he sat down for long conversations with Florence and Jérôme Fehrenbach, and together they have produced the memoir “Valkyrie: The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member” (Knopf).

 

 

Adele Elliott: Ice cream and art

Posted 8/15/2009 in Columns

August is the cruelest month. (My apologies to that other Eliot, the one deficient in double letters.) August is my most-hated month. It is the time when summer drags on, like an unwanted house guest. Not much to do about it, just suffer and dream of cooler months.

 

 

Adele Elliott: A day in court

Posted 8/8/2009 in Columns

Goodness, they say, is its own reward. That’s not enough for those uber-wealthy folks who like to slap their names on the wings of hospitals or endow charities. But, certainly, most of us consider ourselves “good,” and take some comfort in the idea that we are decent people.

 

 

Betty Stone: Laurels for an athlete

Posted 8/8/2009 in Columns

Some people become legends in their own time. One of the neat things about going to a water exercise class for non-athletes like me is being among people who are athletes, some of them legendary. Jake Propst is one of those from Columbus.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Khrushchev and his strange U.S. tour

Posted 8/4/2009 in Columns

The Cold War is over; we won it and we have forgotten about it, because we have hotter things to worry about. Young people now, and those in the future, will watch, say, “Doctor Strangelove,” and be astonished that the world could have organized itself in such a way. If you really want to get in touch with how weird the Cold War years were, a wonderful introduction is “K Blows Top: A Cold War Comic Interlude, Starring Nikita Khrushchev, America’s Most Unlikely Tourist” (PublicAffairs) by Peter Carlson.

 

 

Adele Elliott: No dead authors

Posted 8/1/2009 in Columns

In Mississippi talent flourishes like kudzu. Maybe this is because of the lush fertility of the land. Or perhaps it is a result of generations of oral tradition. Whether the artist’s flair is visual, or musical, or poetic, the results are almost always narrative. On some level, every one of us is a writer, spinning tales with pen, or brush, or song.

 

 

Roger Truesdale: A Blackberry jam

Posted 8/1/2009 in Columns

I just got a Blackberry. Some of you — that’s folks living the good life — may be wondering whether or not I picked it myself or bought it at the Hitching Lot Farmers’ Market. No.

 

 

Anne Freeze: The joy of bacon fat

Posted 7/29/2009 in Columns

This past Sunday as I was coming home from church, Lynne Rosetto Kasper on “The Splendid Table” was chatting with a caller to the radio program about bacon fat in cookie recipes. Like many of us, I grew up with the can of bacon fat on the counter (I really don’t remember it being refrigerated), waiting to be dipped into for frying or flavoring. And, for a time in my life I, too, saved bacon fat, refrigerated, and would spoon a tad in the water for my butter beans or mix it with olive oil for frying corn or green tomatoes, or in my cast iron muffin pan for corn muffins. I used it judiciously, telling myself that a little bit couldn’t hurt me.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Outnumbered by insects: ‘Bugs and the Victorians’

Posted 7/29/2009 in Columns

Insects, even the greatest of couch potatoes knows, are everywhere. If you weighed all the insects and weighed all the people on the planet, insects would win.

 

 

Betty Stone: Going back to Bob’s

Posted 7/25/2009 in Columns

Anyone who lived in Columbus between 1922 and 1992 probably has some story or memory of Bob’s Place, quintessential drive-in of Columbus and thought to be Mississippi’s first drive-in.

 

 

Adele Elliott: Tribute

Posted 7/25/2009 in Columns

Denizens of large cities love to boast about the cultural events, performances and limitless entertainment available to them. In some ways they are right. However, it seems to me that very few take advantage of this wealth of artistic opportunity. Most people just stay home, in front of the “boob tube,” in a sort of semi-catatonic state.

 

Match point: With simple supplies and respect for her past, Bessie Johnson passes on a lost art

Posted 7/25/2009 in Columns

Bessie Johnson has come to appreciate the humor in it. But when check-out clerks first suspected her of being up to no good after repeat store visits to buy armloads of wooden matches and bottles of glue, the moment wasn’t quite as amusing.

 

Adele Elliott: Haunted by past lives

Posted 7/18/2009 in Columns

“It’s no good trying to keep up old friendships. It’s painful for both sides.” W. Somerset Maugham   July and August are tedious months. The weeks between holidays seem endless. It will be even longer before the air cools and thins. These days, breathing can feel like drowning.

 

 

Roger Truesdale: Finding true love in the fantasy suite

Posted 7/18/2009 in Columns

How I got hooked on “The Bachelorette,” I’ll never know.  I’m so ashamed. For those of you who make better use of your time, it’s a reality series/contest produced by ABC.  

 

 

Rob Hardy: Author gives a look at magic books, their origin and their influence

Posted 7/14/2009 in Columns

If you thought you were outside the realm of magic, think again. There has been “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” on television, for instance, with magic books central to some of the plots. When the program was popular, Owen Davies used to get e-mails from teenage girls asking about specifics of casting spells. “They had seen my personal website,” writes Davies, “presenting my historical studies on witchcraft and magic and assumed I was a practitioner.”

 

 

Betty Stone: Small town kudos

Posted 7/11/2009 in Columns

Several times lately we have mentioned small town living versus city style. Maybe that means we should think about it a little more.

 

 

Adele Elliott: Love thy neighbor

Posted 7/11/2009 in Columns

Our backyard garden is thriving, in spite of the triple-digit heat index. The bounty of plump cucumbers is just beginning to dwindle. The last few appeared curled into fanciful flourishes, fat feather-ish shapes, looking like something that would adorn the hat of a woodland gnome.

 

 

Rob Hardy: The power of puzzles

Posted 7/7/2009 in Columns

If you are old enough, you remember the sensation that the Rubik’s Cube caused all the world over in 1980. No one is still alive that remembers the 1880 fad for the analogous two-dimensional “Fifteen Puzzle,” which had 15 numbered blocks within a four by four container and you were supposed to arrange them numerically. Mechanical puzzles can make storms like these, maybe because you can solve them over and over again, but it isn’t often that word puzzles produce such fads.

 

 

Rob Hardy: Ensuring interest by condemnation

Posted 7/7/2009 in Columns

Nowadays you can get just about any sort of pornography you want with a few clicks of the mouse, and much of it is free. Before that, New York City, especially Times Square, was known as the headquarters for porn movies, and when porn was available only in print media, New York’s Nassau Street in lower Manhattan (close to City Hall) was its hub.

 

 

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