14 November 2019

Ellis Millsaps - Son of a Preacher Man - Chapter 9. Rock of Ages: Let Me Hide



Son of a Preacher Man

A Rock And Roll Cowboy Grows Up Southern Baptist


Chapter 9 

Rock of Ages: Let me Hide

You might get the impression from the last two chapters that I was well on my way to becoming a juvenile delinquent. No, in elementary school ( didn't have middle school then) it was just smoking in the woods, the hijinks that resulted in school paddling's with a few minor thefts thrown in that were necessary to prevent me from being seen as the goody-goody chickenshit preacher's kid in the neighborhood and at school. In high school I would graduate to minor criminal vandalism that resulted in rewards being offered for the unknown perpetrators, but nothing that endangered anyone was involved.

 My church life remained unaltered. I was sort of like the 50s TV show ”I Led Three Lives” but in my case there were just the two. It's noteworthy and probably fortunate for me that very few kids from my class at school (I recall only two) and very few kids from my immediate neighborhood with whom I associated attended my father's church. i.e. few chances for anybody to rat me out.

 I attended Sunday school every Sunday-- not that I had any choice-- but I didn't mind, rather enjoyed Sunday morning services. They didn't interfere with any TV I wanted to watch. ( All three networks carried televised church services.) I obtained a white, gold and blue medal for one year’s perfect attendance, a gold wreath around it for the second year, and bars which hung down from it for succeeding years. I looked like a small three-star General with this brass hanging from the pocket of my suit or sports coat (everybody dressed for church back then) on Sunday mornings.

 By age nine I could recite the books of the Bible in order and could recite a few Psalms and select New Testament passages. I was the undisputed all-age champion at something called sword drill. 

In one of these sword drills someone, usually an adult, stands before the group and says “Attention!” The kids stand erect with their Bibles at their sides. Next,” Draw swords.” Contestants bring their Bibles to chest level, title cover facing heaven, one hand underneath with the other  on top. The adult then announces a Bible verse, e. g, Job 3:17, then says“Charge!” The first contestant to locate the passage steps forward and and reads it.

 It was as close as I could get to the gunfights of my beloved TV westerns and here, I was the fastest gun in town.

 Summers, if it didn't conflict with My Little League schedule, I attended Baptist summer camps, first Camp Pinnacle, a mountain retreat near Clayton, Georgia, and later Camp Glynn, located in the marshes near Brunswick. I looked forward to camp. Yeah, there were the daily church services, but there was swimming, canoeing and various sporting activities. At Camp Pinnacle there was a contest with an elevated smooth log parallel to mattresses on the ground underneath,  across which two combatants would shimmy to the center and slug it out with pillows until one went down. At Camp Glynn we learned to catch crabs with chicken necks and how to disengage them without getting pinched. ( Although I don't remember eating crab, or for that matter an artichoke or a pizza I didn't make myself from a Chef Boyardee box, until I was in college.) At camp we braided necklaces, from which often hung an also braided cross, from a colorful plastic material called gimp, a name I wasn't to hear again until I saw Pulp Fiction in 1994.

 More about my sister Wylene. When she was an upperclassman in high school and I was around seven years old she supervised various youth groups and activities. I would later caution my children, “Beware of any organization that refers to you as ‘youth’. Hitler Youth, Communist Youth, Baptist Youth, they all have an agenda which doesn't involve thinking for oneself.”

 But we youth loved Wylene’s groups. There would be games like Red Rover on warm summer evenings. I remember she would host “soup parties” where each kid would bring any can of Campbell's Soup and she would dump them together in one pot. Although we always disparaged the kid who brought onion, we thought it was a great adventure eating the soup.



 Ellis Millsaps is a recovering Attorney but has worn many hats over the years: father, bus boy, stand-up comedian, novelist, wiffle ball player, rock'n'roll band manager, and at one time wrote a popular and funny column for The Covington News. A Fannin Co. mountain boy originally, Mr. Millsaps now stays at the mill village of Porterdale by way of 20 years in Mansfield. Usually funny and at times irreverent and subversive, he leans left in his political philosophy but can always be counted on for a pretty darn good write-up. The Chronicles are proud to have him involved... 

**Also: be sure to check out the first chapters of Ellis's new novel...

http://www.thepiedmontchronicles.com/p/good-cop-bad-cop-novel-by-ellis-millsaps.html



13 November 2019

A Quick Check-in From MB: Baby, It's Cold Outside; TPC Update; Odds & Ends

Hello, Covington! Hope it's dandy as candy out there.

Well...it's been cold, right? Real cold. So pick your favorite cliche:

- "Cold enough for ya'?"

- Why'd'ya' let it get so cold?"

- "Well, it's gettin' to be that time of year... :nods head: ..." 


Yessir, cold indeed. Almost as cold as it's been woke.

Again, really wondering if it's just time to start pulling for the Russians...

TPC Update 

I had a few folks tell me that it was vital I posted something about the Covington election fairly soon after that fateful day. And I did. More recently, I've had at least one person ask me when I was going to follow up. I guess I am now...

So now's supposed to be the time when we let it go, sing Kumbaya & move forward for the sake of the home city, right? And you know what - I agree. Let's do that. But that doesn't mean I'm still not going to do what you know I'm gonna do.

Am I biding my time? Do I have something up my sleeve? Do others have things up their sleeves? Am I all out of fVcks to give? Should I go to sleep before 2AM tonight tomorrow? Will Georgia beat Auburn this weekend?

Odds & Ends

With apologies to Fred Harwell, I -am- working on the piece about outstanding tax bills in the home county. I've been kinda busy lately.

It's wild, though. Dana Darby, or really - one of her staff members, sent me the WHOLE list. 600+ pages. And it's very interesting. It looks like a lot of folks just say "fuck it" to paying their inventory taxes. That's not really fair to the majority that do, is it?

Even more interesting is that a few of the outstanding property tax bills have been paid recently (the list was already three months old when I got it, so naturally I've been referencing the Tax Commissioner's website to get the most current info before I post anything). Also, there was at least one tax certificate/deed purchase by a certain fella that specializes in that sort of thing (at least a few of you know who that is).

And then there's the talk of the previous Tax Commissioner being brought up with the current incarnation of The Grand Jury. And if so, as well it should be. Not that anything's probably ever going to happen with it.


|||||||

Be good, friends, or. at least, be good at it!

Until next time,

MBM





Perrin Lovett: Today’s Affairs National: NEA Headlines (and More!)

Hello, dearest Piedmont Chronicles readers! I understand y’all had an election up the C-Town way. Congratulations. Or, I’m so sorry. Whatever. Our own M.B. McCart does a better job promoting and defending the local scene than anyone I know of in the whole country. (And, I know like four or five folks!) At the conclusion of one of his stellar local political pieces last week, the comment was made, “Seems TPC,and Brooks et al is the kiss of death to politicians.” Thanks, Bub! If that’s true, then for my part, I hereby endorse all of them. Sic the Goat Man on ‘em.

The NEA! That stands for the National Education Association (yes, this is another ed column). The NEA, according to its website, and this is an exact quote, is: “the nation's largest professional grifter organization, committed to advancing the cause of communism in Amerika.” Exact quote. They also run a news site, NEA-Today! I thought it would be a hoot to see what the NEA is doing Today, “today” being Sunday, November 10th for examination purposes. Herein, I make short notes about their headlines. Shall we?

From: neaToday.

“Student Performers Explore Impact of School Segregation: Through theater, young people help amplify the conversation around the tough topics of race and segregation and inequality.”

Yes! Amplify the inequality for all. A conversation about something ended sixty years ago. And, all the stats I constantly post prove just how effectively the scheme works. Bravo!

“Building Relationships With Colleagues and Students in a High-Tech World: How can we combine technology and one-on-one interactions in a way that engages us and our students?”

Heads down in those screens is a great way to alienate interactions while also avoiding books. Digital segregation!

“Getting the Most Out of a Diverse Classroom Library: Many teachers are working to bring in books that provide students with windows and mirrors. Once the books are in the room, what’s next?”

What’s next? The kids and teachers stare at screens while the books rot.

“The 2020 Census Matters for Every Student. Here’s Why. Using census data, the federal government allocates tens of billions of dollars in education funds to states and localities annually using formulas that factor in population and poverty levels.”

Profe$$ional. Grifter. Organization.

“Jobs Threatened By Privatization, Educators and Their Allies Strike Back”

H-1 Bs and offshoring for you, not for them.

“Contempt Citation and Possible Subpoenas – It’s Getting Scary for Betsy DeVos”

The dim head of an agency that didn’t even exist in 1978 negotiates with a corrupt Congress. Did you know there were no schools before 1979?! That’s why Americans never split an atom, or walked on the moon, or desegregated schools, or anything before that. True. (Yawn)

“New educators: We’ve got you covered with tips, tricks, and guidance from experienced educators!”

Join us. Turn “tricks.”

“Trump-Appointed Board Targets Graduate Assistant Unions”

Would you believe the NEA is a bunch of liberal Democrats? I was shocked too.

“Educators Rack Up Wins with Student-Centered Advocacy”

Go ahead and march! Tom Ironsides will fill in the gaps while you’re away.

“How Higher Salaries Could Save the Teaching Profession: To attract and retain quality teachers, lawmakers need to let educators know they are respected - and that includes a higher starting salary.”

Forty years of the US DOE and you’re still looking for respect? Really?

“‘I Didn’t Know It Had a Name’: Secondary Traumatic Stress and Educators”

The primary trauma being inflicted upon the kids and society at large.

“States Take On ‘Lunch Shaming’, But Child Nutrition Still Under Threat”

I’m sure the next one will be about literal education...

“Why NEA Members Are Talking about Racism”

...no. Why? Well, the third law says that SJWs always project.

And there you have it. Thirteen headlines and absolutely nothing to do with the learning process. We probably caught them in an off week. NEA = Not Educating Anybody. Wait! There was an ad from Scholastic, Inc. about teaching effective word study skills. That’s all we get. Thank you, likely CIA front company! Oh, and speaking of that,

Monday being Veteran’s Day, let’s see what our man Tom was up to in Chapter 10 of The Substitute:
He was just sitting down when Bolt addressed him by name:
‘Dr. Ironsides! Dr. Ironsides, please stand back up. In addition to holding a Ph.D., our favorite sub [many of the kids applauded that], our favorite sub also served in the Marine Corps, retiring as a Colonel, wasn’t it? And, many of you don’t know this, but he also worked for the CIA. Dr., Col. Ironsides, can you please say a few words? And, on behalf of all of us, thank you for your service!’
Tom waited for the renewed applause to die down and then he spoke, without the need of any microphone: ‘You don’t know what I did!’ He hadn’t expected to say those words and they had a silencing effect on the whole room.
‘I spent almost thirty years as a warrior, destroying and killing as ordered. For the most part, I waged war so rich men could get richer. I watched poor men die. I killed many of them. Some of their wives. A few of their children. People much like you… You’re welcome.’
The very few who knew, looked him in the eyes as he sat down. Most were shocked by the blunt and horrifying short speech. There was no more applause.
Now, Imma go get Goat Man and go endorse some pols. Maybe a few educrats while we’re out...

12 November 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: It's Chili Time!


It’s finally that time of the year again. It’s CHILI TIME!!!

I make a mean pot of chili. My husband does, too. House rules when either of us is cooking at home: Don’t ask, don’t tell. But the -best- chili you could ever put in your mouth is Cub Scout Chili.

We did a lot of camping when my boys were little. We tried to put enough camp outs on the calendar so that everyone could participate in at least one. Some were pretty close by for those with very young ones so if they needed to bail, they could. Others were farther away, for new adventures, and just a couple trips that were on the pricey side. Not everyone could afford the latter, but it was a well-rounded calendar. A Scout leader had to attend each one, so I was “volun-told” on a regular basis.

Cub Scout Chili only came out when it got chilly and the camping trip wasn’t too far from home. But it was worth braving the cold for. Cub Scout Chili is -special-! One member would bring, for want of a better description, a huge, caste iron “witch’s cauldron.” Each family would bring what they would usually cook when making chili for their family, and into the pot it went where it was cooked over an open fire. To add to the excitement, one member would bring a cleaned (not cooked) deer leg to stir it with. We knew the chili was ready when all the meat cooked off the deer leg. Let the feast begin! If there were any leftovers, cold chili for breakfast is the -bomb-. Kinda like left- over pizza, but better.

Most of the parents and their kids went to their tents at sunset for a well-deserved break, aka: exhaustion. But there were a few of us die-hards that liked to sit around the campfire until much later. There really wasn’t a lot of talking, just enjoying warmth of the fire, and the beautiful view of the stars without light pollution from a city.

We all ate well and played hard, but wouldn’t you know it?!? There were goblins, ghouls and ghosts in the forest that only came out when the sun went down. I’m sure the Goat-Man was out there on more than one occasion.

On one memorable camping trip we heard a bear in the woods. Not just any old bear, but a -huge- one that seemed to be on a mission. The roars got closer and closer. Off in the distance they were easy to dismiss, but as the bear approached the camp site it got louder and scarier.

Parents, leaders, and kids alike and awake, all jumped up in a panic. The bear was between cars just outside the viewing area illuminated by the campfire. He sounded huge and -hungry-! Those already in their tents were abandoned to their fate, and the few that stayed up were making bee-lines to their cars. Parents, grabbing their children, ran into each other in panic over and over… It was complete and total chaos!!!
By the sounds of this bear, even being in a car was no real protection.

Finally, I guess the bear decided to give up. There were too many kids to choose from for his supper, and Cub Scout Chili was tastier. It just hit the spot.

I’m pretty sure the bear and the Goat Man are friends. They’re out in the woods just -waiting- for their next meal or child to frighten, so until they find their next victim – stay safe, and remember they’re always watching.

Disclaimer: No children were injured during this camping trip. Several adults suffered stomach muscle issues from laughing too hard, and shoulder issues from running into each other in attempts to save their children. The only fatality was a coffee can. Simple bear calls can made from a metal coffee can and a piece of wet, cotton cord.

ROAR!!!


09 November 2019

Perrin Lovett: Rig For Red: Education Edition

A Note: Perrin went out carousing late Halloween evening, followed by a book launch dinner party thing Friday night, followed by a Saturday meeting of the Old Timer’s Cigar Club. The proverbial truck has runneth him over and he may have encountered the cold bug. Therefore, quality may be affected. Deal with it.

“Q” is back and advising of pre-battle stations tactical alerts, whatever that might mean. From whence I derived my title! Amidst all the mysterious, cryptic stuff, like “Rig for Red,” I am aware of two subjects about which the anons were dead right: a real-time satellite/Atlantic cable blackout, which I independently verified through multiple intel sources, and; a major shift in the K-12 teaching of certain Twentieth-Century history, which I myself verified. This column has nothing else to do with Q, rather being concerned with the K-12 “education,” history and all, as provided by America’s public schools.

Every time I write one of these academic missives, I conduct a minimal amount of research. Based on my inquiries to The GOOGLE, I usually get results like these:



Unfortunately, those being AC pieces, they always immediately devolve into quotes from or about charlatans like Dennis Prager or drug addicts like Jordan Peterson. And they wonder why they have failed to conserve anything - the schools least of all. Anyway, the answer to that second title is a resounding “Yes.” Why? Well, there’s no need to take the word of neo-Trotskyites or tearful meth heads. The system itself does an alarmingly good job of self-exposure.

Every single year, the stats come out by the dump truck loads. For instance, we have the US DOE [SIC] NCES 2019 Condition of Education report. (See also: 2018’s report).

Per this year’s NCES indictment, the average public school district spends approximately $12,800 per year, per student. That’s the second-highest in the world, behind Norway’s $15,000 figure. The OECD average is about $9,500; many countries spend considerably less. (Note: Georgia, in general, spends below both the US and the OECD averages). 

You’re really getting your money’s worth, let me tell you. Check this out:

Reading proficiency: 4th Grade - 37%, 8th Grade - 36%, 12th Grade - 37%.

Math proficiency: 4th Grade - 40%, 8th Grade - 34%, 12th Grade - 25%.

Science proficiency: 4th Grade - 38%, 8th Grade - 22%, 12th Grade - 34%.

Social Studies: NOT EVEN MEASURED (no need to worry about the Axis-Allies switcharoo, because the kids ain’t paying attention anyway!)

It almost looks like the longer children are in these “schools,” the less they know. With reading, there is essentially no change over eight years of instruction. Math is a freefall collapse that speaks for itself. Given the dependence of science on both reading and mathematics, the rebound from 8th to 12th grades is suspicious. In summation: two-thirds of government school inmates are functionally illiterate and three-quarters are innumerate. Their scientific methods aren’t and they have no concept of history or civic awareness. Yet and still, the national graduation rate is around 85%. Something does not add up, especially given the steady increases in cure-all funding. Mexico, by the way, gets better results for a fraction of the cost. Y’all need to vote harder or something.

This is all part of a long-term trend which is both worsening and terminal. The time for emergency fixes was back in the 80s. Now, it’s time to homeschool or to give up and give in. Tom Ironsides delves deep into these issues and much more in The Substitute. I realize that the Smart Boy Gammas from Farcebook already know all about it, based on some super-relevant movie or something. The rest of you, at least the 37% elite proficients, might want to read up on it.

Said Aristotle, “The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.” That’s still true twenty-four centuries later - just not in our schools, where the roots and fruits are bitter because they are rotten. 


07 November 2019

Bess Tuggle's Memoirs of Surviving Children: The Goat Man!



Another Halloween come and gone.  It’s bittersweet but brings back a plethora of memories.

            When the boys were -really- little I made all their costumes from scratch.  Thing 4’s first Halloween, at the grand old age of 2 ½ months, had him as one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, with his brothers dressed likewise.  We’ve done ghosts, cowboys and Indians, and everything in between.

            It finally occurred to me that I was spittin’ in the wind.  The only places we could Trick-or-Treat were grandparent houses.  Out here in the boonies it simply wasn’t feasible to walk from house to house for a lil’ bit of candy.  When each lot is a couple-plus acres and then some, it just doesn’t make sense.

            Thus, we started the family Halloween Party.

            Each of my children still had to Trick-or-Treat me, one at a time.  I’d get the -big- bag of their favorite candy and they had to knock on the front door to get it, one by one.  Once the sun started setting, we’d have a big campfire with all kinds of snacks, games and goodies to go with it.  Then came the hayride.

            We all piled onto the hay wagon for the spooky ride, family and neighbors alike.  Ghosts, goblins and ghouls abounded.  NO ONE was safe!    

            There was a haunted, abandoned trailer across the road.  The tractor stalled out EVERY time it came close.  There were lights bouncing around in it and the scariest shrieks and groans…  The tractor would finally crank back up, but not for long. 

            The farther down the trail we got, the scarier it became.  There was one tree that housed a particularly evil ghoul.  He’d drop down out of a tree with his chain saw and run around the trailer tagging everyone with their legs hanging over.  Yes, the chain was taken off the saw, but the results were the same.  Screams!!!

            There was one more evil monster that dwelled in the woods.  You never knew when it was going to pop its ugly face out, but when it did…  The “Goat Man!”  He could come out of anywhere or nowhere.  Sometimes he’d jump on the trailer and squiggle through the kids throwing hay and scaring the bejeezus out of them.  Other times he’d throw things on the trailer, or drag things off.  There were several times he kidnapped a kid or two.  We wouldn’t see them for at least 30 minutes until they staggered up to the campfire.

            The kids are all grown, are far flung, and several have kids of their own.  We get pictures of Halloween, and that’s good.  I really do miss the Halloweens of their youth.
            You, and they, should remember though.  The Goat Man doesn’t limit himself to just Halloween.  He could be right around the corner.  Can you see his shadow right behind that oak tree?  What was that noise right outside the window?  He watches and waits… 
 

PS:  Belated “BOO!!!”

 

06 November 2019

TPC REAL Politick, #COV: The Day After Yesterday

(Covington, GA | 6 November '19) -

Well, folks, the 2019 Covington municipal election has come & gone and you might say that there was a surprise or two. My predictions missed the mark, though at least a couple of the races were really not that surprising.

Mayor

First off, let's look at the Mayor's race. Ronnie Johnston, honestly, never had a chance in this thing & I think deep down inside even he knew that. It just wasn't in the cards. A convergence of various events & issues - some of his own causing; some not - & the heated anger & vitriol that'd been directed at him for years was going to see to that, especially when you had somebody with the name recognition & previous experience with the city like Steve Horton.

Ronnie's a friend & I think a lot of him. He's certainly made some mistakes but all in all I think he did a pretty good job. I tip my hat to him for never giving up & putting himself out there. I now welcome him to the world of non-elected political activism and am interested & excited to see the next chapter for him & his lovely wife & family.

I'll be interested to see Steve Horton's 2nd campaign disclosure report. Really want to know how much he dropped on that billboard & how much over $19K he spent on this sucker. That's a lot of money for a race like this. It gives me pause.

Mayoral Results 

Horton 60% / Johnston 34% / Threets 4% (approx 2% other/write-in/not recorded)

*for the record, I actually voted for Threets in this one. I'd gotten to know him a little. Unlike Horton, he immediately responded when I reached out to him. Hell, I like him. Of course, Ronnie's my friend & I had his sign in my yard - he had my support - but it was obvious he was going to lose anyway. I was hoping that the Minister might get at least 5%. He came fairly close...

Council East Ward, Post 2 
As some of you may have noticed I really started hedging my bets on this one the last couple of weeks. Fleeta ran a hard, smart & effective campaign. You've got to - even if it's begrudgingly - tip your hat to the ole gal. She fought for it & she earned it.

Post 2 Results

Fleeta 54% / Plitt 45% (approx 1% other/write-in/not recorded)

Council East Ward, Post 3 


A good man, Josh McKelvey, lost last night. And unfortunately, that's politics. Somebody's gotta win; somebody's got to lose. It's a damn bitter pill to have to swallow, though, when you see ignorance & lies carry the day. The egregious acts that several folks in the home city have recently committed will not be forgotten by this writer, nor likely forgiven anytime soon.

To Don T Floyd:

Always remember this, friend. And it might be in a couple of weeks, a couple of months, or a couple of years. Always remember that this is all ultimately your doing. That you signed up for what is coming your way. Feel free to reach out to Keith Ellis, Wm Thomas "Tommy" Craig, Esq. Bill Perugino or a couple of other folks to get a feel for the road ahead. 


As an aside, I've already spoken to two people (and the numbers show there are several others) that voted for Horton & Fleeta but were NOT supporting Floyd. It's my understanding that this wasn't necessarily part of the plan. The political strategy of the  Horton slate was straight out of the Rountree/Landmark playbook (and I can't wait to see Horton's total bill to those Swampers...and isn't it ironic that these folks are talking about draining the "Covington Swamp" ... Jesus, take the wheel).

Yep, they were gonna hammer my good friend Josh McKelvey to lower overall support for Plitt & Johnston. And it worked. But remember, you play with fire & you can get burnt. And now you've got Don't for 4 years.

It's damn despicable, people, and just in case anyone is wondering - your semi-esteemed Editor is NOT IMPRESSED! 

Post 3 Results 
Don T 53% / Josh McKelvey 47%

******

In Closing, Covington, I'll leave it with this line:

Be Careful What You Wish For...

Your Friend,

MB McCart

For the Love of the Home City



P.S. Look for Bess's "Memoirs of Surviving Children" this afternoon. Pieces from Perrin & Da coming later in the week. Lots of REAL Politick over the next few weeks. Thx for reading - MBM