Sunday, January 29, 2006


I missed a reunion of Hapeville High School (1977-82 years) last night due to illness and some family crises. I feel bad about that. While I love my present job, the best years of my teaching career were at Hapeville from 1981 to 1988. My best wishes and prayers go to all my former students and colleagues from there. Hopefully I'll run into most of them again.

Last night's reunion sounded like it would have been particularly good, as the lady in charge obviously had worked hard on it and had secured a great list of former teachers and had sent out the word to all and sundry. I'm particularly sorry to her and to my former mentor Ms. Parramore, the one who thought I had potential but despaired of my ever growing up and being a proper role model. Dear Ann, I've worked on the growing up thing. If I'm ever half the teacher you were I'll be happy. You were the best I ever saw in all my years of teaching.

PS - my sister also wanted me to go to the reunion and find out what ever happened to her friend Greg Barber (sp?). If anyone knows, send me a line, ok?

Saturday, January 28, 2006

4, four, fore...

My brilliant and pretty sister asked me to do the 4 favorites quiz. Astute readers will note that I cheated on a couple of items.

Four jobs you've had in your life: Truck driver/dispatcher for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper, history teacher/wrestling and track coach for 3 different high schools, sales clerk for Hastings entertainment centers, and currently counselor at an Alternative School.

Four movies you could watch over and over: True Lies, A Fistful of Dollars, A Christmas Story, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Fiddler on the Roof and Big Jake tie with these titles, and new movies Serenity and King Kong may eventually worm their way in).

Four great fiction books: (My own additional 4 spot here) First Blood, by David Morrell; A Little Yellow Dog, by Walter Mosley; The Riot at Bucksnort, by Robert E. Howard; and Sometimes A Great Notion, by Ken Kesey.
First Blood is still the most riveting can't be put down book I've ever read and I first read it about 1974. Plus I've briefly emailed David Morrell and found him to be a polite classy guy, for what that's worth.
Same with the next author - Walter Mosley's Easy Rawlings and his friend Mouse are two characters I can't live without - any of this series books are a joy to read.
Bob Howard was the creator of Conan the Barbarian, but his little known humorous tall tale westerns are some of the funniest and best things I have ever read, on a par with P. G. Wodehouse in his own individual way.
Ken Kesey is best know for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", but Sometimes A Great Notion (title lifted from song "Goodnight, Irene") is better, read it and see.

Four great serious songs: (another personal addition) Copperhead Road, Steve Earle; Rooster, Alice in Chains; Gangsta Paradise, Coolio; Flood, Jars of Clay.
Copperhead Road reminds me of my moma's people from Copperhill, Tennessee. Don't know about the moonshine part, but one of my turn of the last century ancestors was nicknamed "Shotgun" Simonds cuz he always carried a shotgun after some men beat him and left him for dead. Later on in the depression and world war II my Grandpa Simonds worked in the copper mines and steelmills and also rocked the system by being a labor union activist who was briefly jailed for his beliefs and activities before settling down in Atlanta with the family after the great WWII. I think he'd have liked the song. The song is good enough that I forgive Steve Earle our political differences.
Rooster reminds me of those friends who are all a little bit older than me, old enough to have served in the military during the Vietnam years.
Gangsta Paradise is a paean to those young men I've seen for the last eighteen years while working with at risk students.
Flood is a comment on the human condition. If Frederick Douglass (1818 - 1895) could survive slavery and civil war and reconstruction and Jim Crowe; if Enguerrand VII de Coucy (1340 - 1397) could survive war and bubonic plague in the apocalyptic 14th century; then I guess with God's help we all can survive terrorism and war and in this our own apocalyptic 21st century.

Four places you've lived: College Park, GA; Athens, GA; Stockbridge, GA; Newnan, GA.

Four TV shows you love to watch: How I Met Your Mother, Desperate Housewives, Family Guy, The Simpsons. When it comes to tv and movies I go for a humorous take on the human condition. My reading tastes sometimes tend to darker stuff.

Four places you've been on vacation: New York, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle. All are great, none compare to Panama City Beach or Spokane, Washington.

Four websites you visit daily:,,, and Also,, and (ok, so I keep cheating on the number 4 - I was never that great in math).
Just as an aside, Kevin Burton Smith of and I have totally different political slants (well, we may agree on immigration and gay rights so maybe we're not totally different) but I still love reading his take on things cuz he's always dead on honest (no guessing where you stand with Kevin - I prefer folks like that) and thrillingdetective is the site that got me back into reading hard boiled private eye stuff years after my college days of reading Raymond Chandler.

Four of your favorite foods: This is the vegetarian list only per order of my vegan son: scrambled eggs and cheese, fried rice, green bean casserole, bannana pudding (only my mother's though).

Four places you'd rather be: Lewiston, Idaho; at the movies; at the library; at home.

Four albums you can't live without: ok, I can tell you the groups - don't ask for complete specifics: The Who (the one with Baba O'Reilly), Strawbs (the one titled Ghosts?), Aerosmith (the first greatest hits one), and Linda Ronstadt (the original one with "Poor, poor, pitiful me" - which is a good way to describe her politics).

Four magazines you read: Slate, National Review, Sports Illustrated, The Cimmerian.

Four cars you've owned: the white Escort GT, the green Buick Skylark, the green Honda (?) GT I bought from my friend and co-worker Rick in the 1980's, and the one I have now - a Honda (?) Accord (?) - I think. Anyone who knows me knows that I love my cars in my own way, but that I am clueless as to year, make, and model unless it is visually right in front of me. I once got my car impounded by a #@% wearing a police uniform because I had to think about what kind of car I was driving - my dad had just helped me out and purchased it for me. True story. I won't say where the #@% policeman worked because all the other lawmen in that county are first class, but this man was a loser.

Four people to do this meme: Carri, Reid, Liana, Maxine (this last might be kind of hard since she's off line).