22 December 2022

Perrin Lovett: A Christmas Fire To Make The Good Victorious, a Tom Ironsides Tale

*ed. note: For those not in the know, you can read more about the incredible Tom Ironsides here, here & here . As I understand it, Perrin is about to rerelease The Substitute - the first Ironsides novel - w/ a new publisher, and we should see the second installment in the not-too-distant future. 

 ~a Tom Ironsides tale by Perrin Lovett~

~~Christmas 2022~~

Saint Thomas of Aquino College, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, December 22, 2022…

As the low December sun dipped behind the mountains, their afternoon dance complete, the slow-drifting refracted beams of stained glass light faded from the chapel wall. Several of the older congregants and more than a few of the youngsters noted the departure, with at least one mind wishing the ephemeral decorations good evening and goodbye. The tall, commanding speaker, standing in the middle of the steps before the altar, wearing a dark suit, an unusual tie, and a genuinely delighted look, took the shadowy spectacle as the signal to conclude his presentation.

‘And so,’ he said, ‘in summation, it has been, all the news of the outside world notwithstanding, a wonderful year both at the collegiate level and, especially, at our nascent little school. By the way, my earlier remarks, just to be clear, about quote-unquote wisely investing the center funds in something called FTX, that was a joke. I didn’t think enough of you laughed at the time, not in here, and it was difficult to gauge the online mood.

‘Speaking of that, what a testament! There may, in fact, be great things ahead for our concept of internet-assisted homeschooling. A note was passed to me some minutes ago, and it seems we have just over two-hundred families, benefactors, and friends joining us via the video call function. From as far away as the Helvetic Confederation and Slovakia, I might add. I regret to inform those of the digital set that they, unfortunately, will not be able to directly partake of the sandwiches, punch, and cookies which we’ll enjoy momentarily.’ Here, a peal of general laughter erupted.

‘My apologies,’ he said with a chuckle. ‘Perhaps that’s the next grand step in technology. But again and again, thank you all for coming this evening, all of you watching nationwide, worldwide, and everyone within these walls. I’d like to especially thank our tech department friends for making the wider conference possible. And I owe a debt of gratitude to all of my classics students and the other young academicians who stayed several days after finals to help. The younger kids love all of you, they look up to you, and your assistance has been beyond important. Critical, if you will. And if I’ve missed anyone, then I offer a great, all-encompassing thank you!

‘Just before we wrap this show up and commence our Christmas partying, a final word about those unpleasant secular and spiritual matters, the ones that have dogged us particularly hard of late. In an optimistic spirit of defiance, I offer you this inspirational challenge: There is no cure for this evil, but by the giving of greater force to the good hand. The righteous cause must be strengthened with might to resist the wicked, to defend the helpless, to punish all cruelty and unfairness, to uphold the right everywhere, and to enforce justice with unconquerable arms. Oh, that the host of Heaven might be called, arrayed, and sent to mingle in the wars of men, to make the good victorious, to destroy all evil, and to make the will of the King prevail! So wrote Henry van Dyke in his story of the Christmas Angel in 1905. In his young century, and in ours. Fear not! Our side is just too strong; they can’t win. Merry Christmas, everyone!’

The gathering then removed to the adjacent events center for further merry festivities. Tom inched to the back doors of the chapel and greeted everyone again as they disembarked in search of food and drink.

‘What a wonderful message, all of it,’ someone said. ‘I always loved van Dyke, and you did his words great justice.’

‘Thank you. It’s easy in a beautiful setting filled with gracious people.’

‘The virtual crowd enjoyed the show,’ a techie told him. ‘You had them overload the chat box! I emailed you all eight hundred messages for later, just like you asked.’

‘Thank you! Couldn’t have made it work without your help.’

‘You’ve made quite the start in only three years, Colonel,’ a woman said.

‘Time flies when you’re making progress and having fun!’

‘Public speaking might be your thing, sir. You should teach or something,’ one of his classics students said.

‘Yeah, I need to look into that.’

‘I knew you were trouble when we hired you,’ a Regent said. ‘My kinda trouble.’

‘All I’ve ever really been good at.’

‘What did you do to those state DOE people from Raleigh?’ another professor asked.

‘Get with me after the break about that.’

‘I like your tie, Doctor I,’ a little girl from the day school said. Her mother stood behind her, alternately smiling and biting her lower lip, and conspicuously batting her eyes at Tom.

‘It’s daffy just like us,’ he replied while ignoring the maternal flirtation and looking down at the Santa hat-sporting Duck himself.

He entered the hall last, walking and chatting with Oak Moreland. ‘I have to meet this woman, Chief,’ he said in response to some new information. ‘I suppose she’s behind these subtle changes in your ways. Have you noticed?’

‘No,’ Oak said. ‘Well, okay, I do notice her, shall we say, positive influences. I have also noticed a few things about you lately, boss. Are you aware that you, just now and three times, called this place the center? Didn’t I tell you? The Ironsides Center has a ring to it!’

‘Huh? Maybe,’ Tom said. ‘I’m more interested in seeing if a ring pops up in your life. Then you two can get on with the, you know, adding more kids to our programs.’ 

‘One step at a time, man! But, kids— Did you ever think, back in the old days, about your recent reason for being? I could always have seen it coming, but literally seeing it now, meeting her and all, is something different.’

‘Honestly,’ Tom said with light reflection, ‘back then, I didn’t even count on making it to retirement. Now that I’m here, I gotta admit this is the best part of life! Babysitting is the funnest job I’ve ever had, and kind of a reward for the trials of parenting – that first great go-round. Maybe a reward for any of the good work we might have ever done over all those mean years. You’ll find out before too long, one day, my friend.’

‘When will mommy and daddy be back?’ Oak asked.

‘Tomorrow, straight up from Charlotte,’ Tom said. ‘They took Jessica with them, her and her new positive, hopefully-speaking, influence, what’s-his-bubba. Bringing a college shuttle bus full of relatives, in-laws, and out-laws back with them. Thankfully it won’t be quite as many as last Christmas or the overkill year before. Got some folks scattered about this year. Oh, and I’d best remember to top that thing off before we return it. Wash it. Details.’

‘Can Todd drive it okay?’

‘Yeah. I mean, he was man enough to marry Vicky, so a box truck with seats shouldn’t be too bad. Who knows? Maybe she’ll drive. But not me! Cause I got something, somebody a whole lot more important right here!’ The men stopped and looked down at the gala’s smallest and youngest participant.

There, surrounded by college kids and swinging from Carmyn’s arm, was Tom’s pride and joy, his newest, funnest reason for being. She was named after Tom’s late mother, she was almost eighteen months old, and she was possessed of a constant bubbly precociousness. Her big brown eyes gleamed happily up at her grandfather before rapidly drifting over to Oak’s large, smiling face. She started hopping up and down and calling: ‘Bear! Bear!’

‘Hey, baby girl!’ Oak exclaimed as he bent down to her level. ‘Grrrrrr.’

‘You do look like a big, old grizzly,’ Tom said. ‘Especially with the beard.’

While the hulking man happily allowed many a tug on his beard, Carmyn proudly said to Tom, ‘not a peep from Meredith the whole time! She’s the perfect child. I’m not even sure she knows how to cry or fuss.’

‘She also failed to laugh at any of my jokes,’ Tom said with faux ruefulness. ‘Nor did she show any interest in my new Greek rhetorical powers.’

‘Gee, babe, that was all Greek to me too.’

Along with his usual Latin quips and French aphorisms, Tom babbled on in Greek a little more, or tried to, in between visits here and there around the room. He and Carmyn decided, along with an ample contingent, to simply make a dinner of the various finger foods, scrapping their earlier plans to dine in Boone. And so, perhaps an hour and a half passed pleasantly in the company of many good, intelligent, and interesting people. 

15 December 2022

Ellis Millsaps: Just Da

*ed. note: well, we took another extended break. What can I say? "The [fellas] in the point ain't changed." But, we're back! I've got a Covington history article that will hit next week & then Da's got another Cranky English piece lined up for the last week of the year. 2023 is gonna be a big year for TPC. Da's novel will finally be published & we will be getting back to at least weekly (or close to it) posting then. As always, thanks for reading, and enjoy! - MB McCart

 When I come in from the porch and my five-year-old grandson is visiting, I walk back toward the kitchen to see what he and his grandmother are plotting. He runs up to see who's arrived and  invariably says ”Oh, it's just Da.”

 Just Da here reporting on whatever is on my mind at the moment, in this case my previously announced project to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winners for fiction. There are 89. As of today I've read 55.

( When did football players start wearing their pants as shorts above their knees? This must have been going on for a while but I'm just noticing it.)

 I've had some off ramps from just knocking out the list. Specifically where a winner was part of a series I've read more of the series. First with Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres which is the first of a trilogy spanning a century in the lives of a midwestern family. This would be one of my candidates (the trilogy) for the Great American Novel, as differentiated in my mind from the best American novel, a list which would be led by Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, All the King's Men and others. In my conception, for a novel to qualify as the Great American it needs to cover generations of American life. My choice is Raintree County by Ross Whatley.

(When did it become permissible for football players to push their ball carrier forward? Hasn't that always been against the rules? When did they change this rule? In 2007 Google tells me the NFL changed it and ten years later the NCAA followed suit. It's still illegal in high school. I don't see why they changed the rule anywhere. I’d always assumed it was a basic safety precaution to keep the ball carrier from being squeezed like a capitol policeman between insurrectionists, but evidently the change hasn’t resulted in an increase of injuries.)

Other winners which set me off on a tangent are The Good Earth and Dragon's Teeth. The Good Earth is the first of a trilogy by Pearl S. Buck. It was always on my high school recommended reading list but never appealed to me because it was written by a presbyterian missionary,and I assumed incorrectly, telling of the conversion of Asians to christianity. In fact it is nothing of the sort. There are no significant western characters in the trilogy.

 Miss Buck spent most of her childhood in China. Chinese, she said, was her primary language.  All of the point of view characters in her work are Chinese and speak from that perspective. The story spans several generations of a family dealing with corrupt government, first on the warlord level and eventually leading to the Communists who centralized corruption to a new national style. I learned a lot of Eastern history from reading it. I highly recommend it. Except that it's written by an American in English it might qualify for the Great Chinese Novel.

( I've played or coached baseball most of my post  nine-year-old life and I've never seen a high school or rec ball player foul a ball off his foot. I pitched quite a few innings and there was never time called for a player to hobble around and walk it off. This happens several times a game in MLB. I have no plausible theory to explain this phenomenon.) 

I have a lot to say about the aforementioned DragonsTeeth but I think I've gone on long enough for now. Hasta la vista.

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...


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...


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. 


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... 


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." 


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. 



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.
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.
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.