09 September 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Fall Ball

 *Ed. note: Da wrote this article on 9/5

A month left in the season and the Braves are only  one game behind the Mets– we've been as many as nine and a half games behind.  The bad news is we may not overtake them.,


It’s mostly intra- divisional play the rest of the way but beginning Tuesday September 5th the Braves begin a nine-game west coast road trip, the sort of trip that has wrecked our hopes in the past. If we survive that we can still win our fifth straight division title.


 If that doesn't work out the good news is we're still a lock to make the playoffs because the rules have changed to require three wild card teams. No more one game do or die to determine the fourth playoff team. The top two division winners will receive a bye through the first round. The other four teams face off in two best-of-five series leaving four teams for the divisional series.





The Braves or Mets will have home-field advantage against the number two wild card team, likely the Phillies.


 One thing this means is we get more postseason baseball with the World Series running into November. Hopefully it will pit two teams from warm climates or domed stadiums.


 In other rule change news the ghost runner rule will be gone next year, but after hearing John Smoltz say he likes the rule, that it makes the game more entertaining (And keeps baseball announcers from having to work overtime and give us free baseball?), I worry that it may come back. My understanding is that any proposed rule changes must have a two-year waiting period, but I may be wrong.


 Other changes likely to come soon are robot calls on balls and strikes and a pitch clock. Both of these changes have been instituted successfully in the minor leagues. I'm fine with both of them because unlike the ghost runner they do not actually change the rules about how the game  has been played for going on two centuries nor the many records established. 


Also next year infield shifts will be banned. I don’t like that change but even worse is a change to be tried out in spring training limiting how deep outfielders can play.


Addendum to Fall Ball

My faulty memory told me we had been 9 and a half games back when we had in fact been 10 and a half behind the Mets on June 1.

Additionally I neglected to mention a little noticed rule change.  Teams may now use electronic signals sent from the catcher to ear pieces worn by the pitcher and middle infielders. I think the practice has been universally adopted replacing the finger signals which with a runner on second became long and  complicated. This combined with the pitch clock should achieve the desired result of speeding up the game.

Ellis "Da" 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...






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




26 August 2022

Mic Check, One, Two. Is This Thing On? TPC is Back; Recent News; Upcoming Publication of "Good Cop Bad Cop"

 By MB McCart, Editor 

Greetings & Salutations, Fearless Piedmonteers, and we sure hope all is lovely out there. 

Well, it's been a bit, hasn't it? Your semi-esteemed editor had a combined extended walkabout, summer sabbatical & vision quest. 

As previously mentioned, I've moved my political ramblings over to my Substack  & that's going. 

For me personally, here at the ole site, I have been working on a few pieces, all of which are local history related, w/ a side of Murder! Should be getting the first one out here next week w/ hopefully another one by the end of September. 

Editor Emeritus Ellis "Da" Millsaps is still on board & he's got a few things coming down the pike as well including another of his much beloved baseball pieces. So keep an eye out for that. 

But the big news is this: 

After a couple of false starts here & there, the publication of Da's novel - "Good Cop Bad Cop" will finally be happening w/ Yours Truly as publisher. Our projected release date is November 1st, 2022. The book will be paperback format & will be available from Amazon. It'd make for a great Christmas gift, ammarite? 

 





Moving forward, Ellis & I will be shooting for at least one piece each here per month w/ a "Past Piedmont Chronicles" rounding it out for an average of three a month. 

You can totally count on us! 

So, stay tuned & we'll be in touch soon. 

Best, 

MB McCart 


23 May 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Cranky English Major Strikes Again

 Yes he's back again but this time maybe less cranky and more analytical. I'm going to be examining some current trendy jargon and speculating on its staying power but I'm saving that for later. For now I want to look at slang and the evolution of language in general.


I started my research on this with “cool,” and learned that as I thought going in it sprang out of black jazz culture between two world wars and pretty much stayed there until the Beat Generation adopted it as part of their discovery of jazz. The word didn't become mainstream until the hippie counterculture adopted it in the sixties.


 It then pretty much obliterated ”swell” as a general expression of approval. We heard Andy Hardy peppering his speech with a lot of swell.  Wally Cleaver used the expression but Maynard G Krebs, Cheech and Chong never.


 So swell is an example of a slang expression which was commonly used for quite a while and then virtually disappeared as slang.  I suspect that “awesome” will suffer the same fate. I think I've noticed  the decline of its use among young people.


 Other trendy expressions appear to be here for the long haul in spite of the cranky English Major’s strong disapproval. The most notorious of these is “ veggie,” which sounds like, and I suspect it started as, baby talk. Similarly but to a lesser extent I cringe when I hear ”24 -7.” It's as if the speaker is saying” look at me I'm cool,” which isn't.


Another such expression is ”share,” as in “I'd like to share something with you.”  I understand what is meant but it ain't what Jesus meant. The speaker is not giving up anything as an act of Christian charity. On the contrary, that person is going for self-aggrandizement.


So our language evolves naturally and you may or may not like particular manifestations but that's entirely subjective. Next time I'll give more examples and reflect on their origins.. 


- Ellis Millsaps


03 May 2022

Past Piedmont Chronicles: Presley Jones & His One-Man War in Covington vs The Yankees in 1864

 *originally published in About Covington to Madison Magazine in ____

**ed. note: Wow...almost a full month w/out a post. Mea Culpa. We're gonna be workin' hard to get bettah on that, rest assured. You CAN count on us! 

Presley Jones Takes on the Yankees 

~From the April 2012 edition of About Covington to Madison Magazine~

Greetings! Good to be back with everybody. I was so glad that so many of you enjoyed the last column on Mr. Buster Chadwick. I got a lot of positive feedback on that one. Thanks so much! As always, I appreciate you reading and taking the time to comment.

I had previously mentioned that I was going to be concentrating more on human-interest stuff and less on historical things, but…what can I say? Like a moth to the flame—I just can’t help myself! There are so many things that I’ve mentioned in passing (or not at all) that I’d like to expound on. With that said, I will still be doing some more of the human-interest writings in the near future, but I will also be sticking to my historical roots. This month we’ll cover a topic I had mentioned briefly in my Covington column from the Summer of 2009. Hope you enjoy!

In July of 1864, well in advance of his famous march to the sea, Sherman had directed Brig. General Kenner Garrard to ride east from Atlanta and head to Covington with his cavalry division to start tearing up railroad tracks; destroying bridges, rail cars, depots, and locomotives; and burning stores and commercial properties. He actually wrote the following in a letter to Garrard: “…but of private property only take what is necessary for your own use, except horses and mules, of which you will take all that are fit for service, exercising of course, some judgment as to the animals belonging to the poor and needy.”

On July 21 Garrard left Atlanta and proceeded to Lithonia, GA where he started destroying the railroads and moving east at a pretty good clip. On July 22 Garrard and his raiders entered Covington. After having no resistance throughout their journey, I’m sure the Yankees were caught off guard when they came across an old man by the name of Presley Jones. Jones lived on what is now known as Washington St . and apparently had a “hatred of everything blue” and had vowed to kill the first Union troops to come into Covington . When word started to get out that Federal troops were advancing on Covington, Mr. Jones grabbed his rifle and hunkered down in front of the Covington courthouse. When he spotted his first Yankee he fired and killed the man. He then moved to another location and brought down another Union soldier a short time later. He was able to wound two more before he was captured and shot. The Yankees then proceeded to “beat out his brains with the butts of their rifles. He doubtless anticipated such a fate and went coolly to certain death with no hope of fame and with only the satisfaction of getting two for one (Sgt. Walter Clark, C.S.A.).”
Unfortunately, the “two for one” deal would not stand. According to multiple sources, it was widely believed that the Yankees were so infuriated with what had happened that they decided to find another victim to placate their revenge. It just so happened that a Confederate quartermaster by the name of George Daniel was on furlough and back home in Covington during this time. The Union troops tracked Daniel down and court-martialed and executed him. According to reports, the Yankees tried to blindfold him but he refused, saying “no, a Confederate soldier can face death without being blindfolded.” He was shot and killed and the count was evened—two dead Yankees; two dead Covingtonians.

Well, we all know the rest of the story. A few months later and Sherman would come through on his way to Savannah and the War Between the States would draw to a close just a few months after that. The shootings carried out by Mr. Jones and the subsequent retaliation by the Yankees would be the only warfare that Covington would see within her city limits during the Civil War.

Hope you enjoyed that. Future columns will cover more specific, historical events in Covington, Madison, and the surrounding areas. In the non-historical vein, I'll be rolling out a column about another musical talent from our area. And finally, after a lengthy delay, my installment series on the Moore's Ford Bridge killings will be up and running on my blog by the time you read this column. There will be a link at the top of the main page. Until next time... 





 

07 April 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Spring Sports Roundup

  It's time again for my semi annual state of baseball commentary. You know, the crack of the bat, the smell of rawhide and other cliches I don't recall at the moment.




  

First to the rule changes. After forty nine years the  HD is here to stay in both leagues.  This isn't really a rule change. We now have the Shohei Ohtani exception because of the phenomenal Japanese starting pitcher and designated hitter. A pitcher can now stay in the lineup to hit even if he's replaced on the mound. Thus you can possibly have two designated hitters in one lineup, i. e., two players who are hitting but not playing in the field.


This year there will be no seven inning doubleheader games. That's a good thing in my opinion but unfortunately we still have the what has come to be called the “ghost runner” rule where all extra Innings begin with a runner on second. I've hated this rule because of what it does to the baseball sacred record-keeping, but at least last year it was imposed because of covid, a problem which is hardly there now. This year the justification is the shortened spring training, a problem MLB brought on itself. They're allowing expanded rosters for the first 30 days. With two extra pitchers a team ought to be able to handle extra Innings. So it's another year in the books with an asterisk after it.


Fortunately this change expires at the end of the season. Unfortunately it can't be changed back until next year.


 There are other changes being contemplated for 2023. One is larger bases, which I suppose might prevent some injuries, but it would also shorten the throw to first base, a benefit to the defense. We can't have that. A beauty of the game is that records set in 1922 are still challenged under the same rules of play.


Even worse in this regard is the proposal to ban the shift. No, No, No!  Teams have always been able to position their defenders in any way they choose. The fact that the shift has somewhat changed  the strategy of the game is not a rule change.


Then there's the usual consideration of putting a time clock on the wait between pitches, fourteen seconds with the bases empty and nineteen with runners on base. It would limit throws over to first, a perennial boring aspect of the game, but I can see potential base steelers just waiting out the clock before they take off. After say fifteen seconds a pitcher would not be able to attempt a pick off then beat the clock to the plate.


I'm writing this on the day that the final four games begin. I picked these teams as a final four with the exception of Gonzaga rather than Duke. I have Villanova beating the Zags for the championship.


It's been for me one of the most fun tournaments to watch because of the magical run of St Peters. Against Purdue they looked like a middle school team playing against grown ups but they executed almost flawlessly to get to the final eight. It had to end. Carolina thumped them soundly.”Here's a truck stop instead of Saint Peters.”( Stipe at al,” Man on the Moon”)


I feel good about the Braves. Their lineup is one of the game's most formidable and that's before we get one of the game's premier players, Ronald Acuna, back soon. The bullpen looks outstanding. We have three very good starters and some real talent competing for the other two spots and someday Mike Soroka may make a comeback. Sorry to see Freddie Freeman go but he made his own problems. Doesn't he already look evil in that Dodger blue? I'm excited to see his hometown replacement. 



Ellis "Da" 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... 






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

31 March 2022

It's Been 80 Days Since The University of Georgia Last Won a National Championship in Football: my UGA Piece

How 'Bout Them Dawgs! 


Ed. note: this is a piece I've been working on off & on for the better part of two months. At one time I had a rambling draft pushing 2,000 words that I ended up scrapping. But, finally, here it goes. - MBM


My first distinct memories of UGA football were as a 5-yr old boy in 1980, the season UGA last won it all in the 1981 Sugar Bowl vs. Notre Dame. 

Apparently I went to a couple of games that year in Sanford Stadium but don't have any specific recollections of those; however, I do vividly remember watching that Sugar Bowl on the TV New Year's Day. 

My parents, brother & I had driven down to southeast Mississippi to visit w/ my aunt, uncle & cousins a couple days before. On the 1st they went down to NOLA & my brother, cousin & myself watched it in my aunt's living room in Greene Co, MS. 

I definitely remember the "longest onside kick in college football history" as well as Herschel's over-the-top soon thereafter. And then the sea of red that engulfed the field once the game ended. 



I've previously written about some special Bulldogs memories in this space such as the time my dad directed traffic to get us out of south campus & also my first trip to Columbia, SC (that didn't go so well). 

My most vivid memories from my childhood were in the mid '80s when maybe things weren't quite as good vs the few years before but did provide for some of my most exciting & passionate experiences, being that we always went to home games as well as a few road trips.

Hell, I was a member of the Junior Bulldog Club complete w/ a membership card signed by one of my true heroes -- Vince Dooley

Later, I matriculated at The University (and remember, you have to pronounce it in that proper, genteel southern way) from September of '93 to December of '97, the end of the Goof Goff era & beginning of the Donnan years, so those were pretty lean times though the 1997 season was definitely a highlight especially w/ the victory in Jacksonville over the dreaded Spurrier-coached Gators. 

The Richt years, for the most part, were really great. He definitely set the table for Kirby & will forever & always be a DGD! Plus, he's just a prince of a fella. Love that guy.  





A friend of mine not too long after the national championship game who is a very loyal supporter of another SEC program said something along the lines of this to me: 

"It's really not surprising or bothersome that y'all've been so damn arrogant & insufferable. Hell, you've been that way for 41 years." 

Touche. 

And he's right, you know. 

It's for good cause, however. We ARE the best. Always have been & always will be. Regardless of the fact that we've only technically won three national championships (if we counted 'em like the techies, it'd be more like seven) - putting us maybe just a step below a handful of the blueboods - we've always been the best. Uga. Downtown Athens. The Chapel Bell. The Hedges. Go You Silver Britches! The splendor of North Campus. So on & so forth; or, to quote the great one, Larry Munson: 

There is no tradition more worth of envy, no institution worthy of such loyalty, as the University of Georgia.

But, and this is the kicker I believe, we were due. We really were. And the catharsis of January 10th, and just the sheer, brilliant joy of it, was damn well earned & deserved. 



GO DAWGS

G.A.T.A.! 




18 March 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Tallulah & The Dog

 I know you've been dying to know what I've been up to lately. Well fret no more.


 I've been talking a lot about dogs lately, but I've simultaneously continued my voracious reading binge. (Although a dog will turn up before this is over.) At first I concentrated on things I'd always meant to read but hadn't, e.g. Tolstoy, and then on things I read long ago that I wanted to reread, e.g. The Magic Mountain , Fair and Tender Ladies.


Then I started on a project to read every winner of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. That constitutes around a hundred  books. Recently I’ve knocked off seventeen, pretty much starting with the most recent and going back in time. Coupled with the eight I’d already read I'm about a forth of the way through.


But I've had offshoots into other works by Pulitzer winners when I discover a writer I particularly like.  My favorites of these are Bel Canto by Ann Patchet and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles whose excellent The Lincoln Highway is under consideration for the prize  this year. I'm also usually mixing in a work of nonfiction. I'm currently reading The 1619 Project. Several of its essayists have been awarded Pulitzers in fields other than fiction. 


At the same time for the past month or so I’ve spent some time most days learning Spanish or somewhat relearning it. Seven or eight years ago I learned enough to be somewhat able to carry on a conversation with native speakers. I learned  the first time by listening to CDs on my way to work and back and by attending the Hispanic Baptist Church at Calvary for a year or so. This time I'm relearning from unlimited lessons from Babel on my laptop.


 The first time I was prompted by a mistaken notion that Spanish fluency would get me some Latino clients– mistaken because I had no experience in immigration law, a very specialized field necessary to attracting those clients. This time I'm inspired and challenged by my five year old granddaughter who’s learning Spanish at school in New Orleans. Here we see her instructing her dog Soul Train. Soul Train in his six years has developed understanding of a few words in English but as you shall see is bewildered and befuddled by Spanish.


 



(“No me gusta, Soul Train,” means - “You are not pleasing me, Soul Train.”) 


 - Ellis Millsaps



16 March 2022

A Check-in From Your Semi-esteemed & Maybe Slightly Lazy Editor

 Greetings, Old Friends. 

Well, when I previously publicly announced the format change I'd promised at least a post a week. For the previous three months we've averaged 3 posts per month, so more like a post every week & a half approximately. 

Hey, not too bad. 

The Road Ahead 

The latest from Da will hit on Friday. It's, not surprisingly, a superb piece & I can't wait to get it out there. 

Next week I will finally be releasing my "art piece" on the UGA National Championship in football. After having at one time been pushing 2,000 words, it's going to end up being right around a grand. 

W/in the next few weeks I'll be publishing a history column on a card game gone wrong replete w/ whiskey & murder that occurred in the home city over a hundred years ago. 

Stay Tuned...

As always, we appreciate you reading. 

- MBM 



02 March 2022

Guest Post by Lee Weber: Baseball is Important

Baseball is Important

It is particularly important to three types of Americans.
Kids.
Older Americans.
Those with disabilities.
Kids have time.
And few responsibilities.
And imagination.
Gives them something to be excited about every day.
Older Americans.
They’re home.
For the last few years.
Gives them something to be excited about.
Those with disabilities.
They can’t always get out and about.
Or may not be able to see.
Gives them something to be excited about.
Baseball is a radio sport.
Always has been.
Always will be.
The crack of the bat.
The punch of the ball in the mitt.
The sound of the umpire’s call.
Am not a kid, an older American, or disabled.
Baseball is important to me.
Nothing like a game on the radio on a long drive.
Gives me something to be excited about.
“Baseball isn’t a pastime.”
“It’s a habit.”
“They play almost every day.”
George Will.
Paraphrased.
Baseball is important.
Now to be unpleasant.
The Commissioner has two jobs.
Make sure they play the games.
Protect the integrity of the game.
Rob Manfred has failed on both.
The All-Star game nonsense.
The lock-out.
This guy is bad at his job.
Fire him immediately.
Baseball is important.

image: wp.wmu.edu

-
Lee Weber Lee shares his time between the Great States of Georgia & South Carolina. A headhunter & politico by trade, he's been known to cook game birds on his cast iron stove. He has a true affinity for nature & loves dogs, sports, America & his family.

14 February 2022

Ellis Millsaps -- Go Dog Go: Go Around Again

  Garbo died of natural causes in Mansfield on a sad hot date in August. I think she was eleven years old.


 Maybe it was because of the sorrow of Garbo's demise– seven year old Jack would not come out of his room for the burial under the magnolia ( one of two dogs and a half dozen cats interred there. a phenomenon that led  a decade later to the adjoining Wiffle Ball field to be named Pet Sematary Park)-- but Cynthia ruled that I couldn't get another dog, That was a few months before she came home with Chance, a mongrel shepherd- bird dog mix.


Chance was a good dog. I think that all dogs are good dogs when raised with kindness. He had a good sense of humor.  Looking at you intently, drooling while you were eating pizza he’d say, “All I am saying is give Chance a piece.” He never got tired of that one.


 In Mansfield a walk to Blackwell Grocery( the old downtown Blackwell’s) was a seven times a week or more occurrence. Garboo I could tell to wait outside, but not so with Chance who would come inside to do his own shopping the next time someone opened the door. Consequently it was necessary to tie his leash to a lamp post outside.


 One day Chance disappeared for a while. It wasn't like him to wander off but the kids and I drove down every street in town unsuccessfully looking for him. It was later in the day that I remembered he’d walked with me to Blackwell's that morning. He was still tied to the lamp post when we found him looking not distressed but happy to see us.


Chance had a problem with recurring ear infections. On account of this he had to take a daily cortisone tablet which handled the ear infection the but caused him to get fat.


 After he got fat he had trouble with the slick vinyl floor in the kitchen. He could make it okay if he proceeded carefully, but once he reached the doorway to the dining room he would panic and try to make a run for it thereby finding himself splayed out on his belly.


After this happened a few times he solved the problem by turning around and walking backward over the door sill. This he  repeated several times a day for the rest of his life, Sometimes we'd make the forklift backup beep while he did so.


 Grace and I bought Ginsburg when she (Grace) was about sixteen. He was the largest puppy in the litter, a black lab whose father was the champion working dog in the state, a  drug sniffer. He threw up in the car on the way home, not the last time in his puppyhood he would get car sick. He had a history of stomach issues. He once swallowed the target ball from our bocce game (a ball about twice the size of a golf ball) which had to be surgically removed. 


Ginsberg could not be tied to the lamp post outside Blackwell's because he was temperamental  didn't care for strangers. I had to tie him to a tree on the other side of the railroad tracks.


 One day he was tied loosely there and as I was crossing the tracks to get him he was looking at me with his tail wagging in anticipation. At the same time a drunk guy was approaching him from the side. I realized too late that he intended to pet the handsome happy dog. Ginsberg saw him out of the corner of his vision and attacked, one of his paws scratching the drunk's upper arm.


 For this he had to spend a week in doggy jail. I still feel guilty about it. I visited him every day bringing treats and conversation. The animal control lady said Ginsberg behaved like a ” perfect gentleman.”


 One day I was just visited by Jack and John Thigpen who brought  three dogs with them, each of them bird dog size: Jack's dog, another of which Jack has joint custody with a former girlfriend and John T’s dog.



 John and I  were seated in armchairs while Jack lay on the sofa, Ginsberg’s spot, with all  three dogs. Ginsberg came in and surveyed the situation then went in the kitchen and barked, whereupon the three visiting dogs went to join him defending against the imaginary intruder.


Ginsberg left them there and walked back in the dining room and hopped up on the couch with Jack.


 Well played sir.


- Ellis Millsaps




04 February 2022

My Continuing Journey Towards Becoming an Amateur Philosopher

Discipline: 

Stoicism


Bobby Jones, the greatest golfer to ever live, was a professional lawyer & an amateur linksman. While his passion was golf, he realized that he had to maintain that amateur status in order for him to fully be what he was on the golf course. 

Now, for the record — I’m not claiming to be any great philosopher or anything. No sir, far from it. As the title suggests, I am most assuredly a work-in-progress in so many ways. |

I embraced Stoicism at an early age well before I had any understanding of what this discipline exactly was. 

You likely know how cruel kids can be, especially when you’re maybe just a little bit different. 

From about the time I was in about 2nd or 3rd grade I realized that most folks were one or more of the following: 

- self-loathers
- cruel
- stupid
- fearful

But also: 

- wonderful
- loving
- amazing
- friends
 
…and many more. Or, the old line about how there's more than enough good & evil in each & everyone of us. 

However, in middle school (and high school for that matter), a lot of kids matched the top four of the aforementioned list as many can attest. 

For whatever reason, I was able to know & accept this at an early age. 

Maybe I was lucky; maybe I was cursed. Regardless, it was just simply what it was. Moreover, that’s just how it was & I got that. 

Later, I realized, sadly, a lot of folks never get & understand this. 

Nobody ever (or should’ve ever) said life was fair

### 

It was in 1999 when I first read A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe. 

It blew my mind. 

The inner dialogue of literally every main character was so very much similar to mine.

It was such an experience that I ended up reading that book once every year for several years in a row. 

The overarching theme? 

Yep, you guessed it — Stoicism. 

Everybody’s least &simultaneously most favorite expression fully captures that sentiment:

“It is what it is.” 


Switching Gears

A big thing here recently is this generational casting of shade. 

Whether it’s the Baby Boomers, The Millennials or Gen Z. 

I truly think all of this is unnecessary, I really do. 

Painting w/ such broad brush strokes is almost always the wrong way to go. 

There are stand-up, top-notch Silent Generation, Baby Boomer, Gen X, as well as Gen Y & Z types.

It’s true. I know some of each. 

Now, the numbers may very well skew a certain way. Obviously Gen X is epic (and will likely save our country - if it can be saved) but there are a large number of the Baby Boomers & Gen Y folks who seem to simply suck ass apparently. 

But what of the Gen Z crew, though? Hard, sometimes, to get a bead on them. They could go either way, right? At least a lot of them are foregoing social media. 

But why do we do this? It’s all so unnecessary. I truly think all of this generational divide & strife is by design. Divide & Conquer — the Bad Guys’ playbook. 

*******

To me, Stoicism is simply the realization that we are NOT in control. 

It could be worse. We could be animals where most of the time we would wake up every day realizing that we could very well be chased down & eaten by a predator. Where it was all simply about survival. 

(((obligatory self-awareness realization))) 


You WILL die someday; or, as the Old Folks would say — “We all gotta pay that debt.” 

Death is always just around the corner, lurking, lying in wait. 

God-awful & terrible things happen to the best people in this world while some of the worst seem to very much lead charmed lives.

That’s a hard thing to square. 

It’s always been that way & it always will, for this is just the earthly realm, and that’s simply the way it is. 

- MBM 

01 February 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Dawgs Redux

 Maybe the Dawgs will repeat. I certainly hope so. They seem to be competitively positioned for  next year. Marshall could give you a more informed opinion on that. My limited expertise is on baseball, which has been berry berry good to me. (I didn't realize until after I was finished with part one of this dog tale that during that same twelve month period as the World Series and the national championship Georgia Tech won the ACC basketball tournament.)


 But as I said last time, this ain't about them dogs. It's about Garbo, Chance and Ginsburg. We left off where Garbo had puppies. I sold those puppies for enough to buy an expensive baseball glove and some very fine wining and dining.


One of the eleven was remarkable in his retrieving skills. Garbo would always retrieve a stick thrown into a lake. George Washington couldn't throw a stick far enough that she wouldn't swim out and bring it back, but one of her puppies would dive in the deep end of our neighbors’ swimming pool to retrieve a rock from the bottom while Garbo looked on with an amazed “that's my boy” pride.


She was my constant and faithful companion for years. When I’d ride my bike from 26th Street to Little Five Points to see a girl (this before Cynthia and the puppies) she’d run along beside me, I in the street and she on the sidewalk. We’d take a break at the halfway point in Piedmont Park where she'd take a swim in the lake to cool off, then on up Virginia Ave., right on Highland, then left on North Ave, I'd guess about a five mile excursion. 


Later, when Cynthia and I lived on St Charles Avenue in Virginia Highlands, she'd walk with us to Atkins Park Delicatessen. When we arrived we’d tell her to sit and stay. She'd sit outside the door while we dined, greeting new customers until we came back out. They should have paid her.


 Garbo was in our overloaded Dodge Dart on our way to a new life in northern Idaho when it broke down, fortunately near Dalton, Georgia where my nephew Les and his wife lived. We left Garbo and most of our possessions with Les and proceeded  by bus to Coeur d'Alene. Garbo had one black puppy in Dalton that stayed with Les and Ellie after we retrieved her three months later. She then lived with us for three years in Athens where my son Jack was born, and when she saw we weren't going to get rid of him like we did the puppies she devoted  the rest of her life to being his guardian and protector.



                                             


Here we see that while the one- year- old is focused on the camera, Garbo is doing her Secret Service sweep of the venue. 


I see I may have doddered on past my and perhaps other people's attention span, so we'll have to wait for a third installment to hear about the rest of them dogs. 


- Ellis Millsaps



27 January 2022

Writings Styles: They're like fingerprints (or possibly another part of the human anatomy)

 *Ed. note: I originally published this at my Substack & then our erstwhile, semi-esteemed Editor Emeritus, Da Millsaps, made a very good point that this particular piece was very much in the TPC Wheelhouse & I totally agreed. So, here it is. As always, thx for reading. - MBM

By: MB McCart

I’ve always kind of been a teacher by heart, so it’s nice that I kind of finally found myself, maybe, by my mid 40s (JK — I still have absolutely no idea what I want to be when I grow up). 

But no, seriously, those of us who either can’t (or are too lazy) to do — can teach. And that’s a good thing. 

~~~~~

I’ve had a few writing proteges over the years.

My most recent one has really turned into a great writer. She’s humble about it, though (her name’s Kayla, btw). 

I used to always give her a hard time about saying the same word more than once in a write-up. 

Finally, about a year or so after working w/ her (and as some of you know, she was doing feature pieces at TPC at the time), she was like — “you pretty much do that in every major piece you write!” 

What could I say? Guilty as charged, Ma’am. 

*******

I call it the “AME Preacher Man Style.” 

You repeat those key words, in a particular type of cadence, when possible. As the data shows - especially w/ adult learners or readers - repetition is key; so, when wanting to make a cogent point, hitting on a key word multiple times can be an effective tool. However, you don’t want to get carried away w/ it. Keep it honest & clean. Don’t get carried away… 

### 

Got a few cool pieces coming up, and don’t forget about TPC, either. That Brunswick Stew piece over at the ole site might be on track to become one of the most read ones in our history & that makes me so very happy! 

Hope all is well w/ you & yours, 

- MBM