Thursday, October 30, 2008
My Dad was an adventurer; he loved to travel the world and took advantage of every opportunity that came his way. And yet, his love of globetrotting always took second-place to his lifelong endeavor to help others; and whether with his hands, or by “lending” someone money, he felt his greatest joy when he was in the service of his fellow men.
My Dad lived his life the best he could, and tried to help out other people along the way. He was a team builder; he loved to involve others in what he was doing. Granted, he did love being in charge, or helping out at the higher echelons of power, but, my Dad’s purpose in life was to serve other people. After Hurricane Katrina, he would work far beyond the capacity that his body could handle, and would pay for that sacrifice physically with painfully swollen feet and ankles. As an employer of people, he took his responsibility to other people’s families very seriously, oftentimes foregoing paying himself so that he could meet payroll. He hired people that others wouldn’t even have interviewed, and trained them in new careers, changing their lives along the way. He liked helping people help themselves. He was a fisher of men.
On this, the anniversary of his death, my family is pleased to announce that the administration of Coker College has accepted our proposal to create an endowed scholarship in my dad's honor for Foreign Language majors and minors at Coker College to study abroad; The John McLarty Williams Jr. Endowed Scholarship. In order to have a permanent endowed scholarship we need a corpus of $10,000. Those monies, once capitalized, will generate around 5% per annum to be used to help Coker's foreign language majors complete their required semester abroad studies. I don't have the resources to fund it myself, so I'm asking anyone whose life my dad made better to donate, please.
The scholarship is to be awarded to a full-time student who is a rising junior or rising sophomore with a major or minor in foreign language. The scholarship should be used for study abroad in the foreign language and is intended to help Coker students experience the world outside the friendly confines of the Pee Dee region of South Carolina.. In honor of my dad's commitment to service, students are encouraged to include service learning as part of their foreign language study.
We recognize that right now is not the most fortuitous time in which to solicit charitable contributions, but we ask that you make the sacrifice that you can. Your donation will be tax-deductible, will fund a permanent endowment in Johnny Mac's name, and will help change the lives of students who might not be able to afford study abroad otherwise. If the economy prevents you from donating at the moment, please remember us when things get better for you and your family.
If you can afford to give, please do, generously.
Make checks payable to Coker College, and mail them to:
The John McLarty Williams Jr. Endowed Scholarship Fund
c/o Frank Bush
300 E. College Ave.
Hartsville, SC 29550
Monday, October 27, 2008
Well his stinging reminder has motivated me to go back on the South Beach Diet, effective 7AM this morning. Today's weight = 425.3 lbs.
Juan Carlos, our bet is on; you'd better get on board, or I'm gonna be the owner of Starcraft 2, if and when the vaporware materializes.
I'm also going to fire up the old Maybeexercisewillhelp blog, even though I am severely hobbled by a nagging achilles tendonitis that I got while climbing that big hill in Washington D.C. to get to Howard every day. That I got tendonitis from walking is probably due to my weight and not stretching, so all these feedback systems need to be addressed by lessening the burden on the bod.
Getting old sucks; it's inevitable. Being fat is partly controllable; I'll never be skinny, but if I weighed 325, life would be very different. My first goal is 399.8, or what I weighed last Christmas Day.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
One night in jail it was getting late/he was buttraped by a large inmate/and he screamed/but the guards paid no attention to his cries/
The moral of this date rape story/it does not pay to be drunk horny/but that's the way/it had to be/they locked him up and threw away the key/but I can't take pity on men of his kind/even though he now takes it in the behind.
I can't believe I ever thought that was just or funny. Anal rape is rape. Prison is punishment enough; how can we call ourselves a just and justice loving people if we think rape is funny or deserved, no matter how awful the crime? Shame on me.
What the hell was I thinking?
Friday, October 24, 2008
When I first read this article, the first thing I thought of was Jorge Luis Borges's short story, "La intrusa," or translated, "The Interloper." The sexual dynamics of shared love have to trouble all relationships. I cannot imagine a lack of jealousy between people who choose to, or are forced by traditions, share their sexual partner with others. This system seems to work for them.
I've been thinking about the political repercussions of the sea change in legal recognition of same-sex marriage in our country. One challenge I've yet to hear from the right is that a redefinition of legal marriage opens the door to other non-traditional unions, including polygamy and polyandry, group marriages, incestual marriages, and so on.
It would seem to this non-legally-trained citizen that the recognition of same-sex marriages stems from respect for equal protection clauses in state constitutions and from the judicial precedent set by the Texas case that the state cannot regulate sexual morality between consenting adults.
Reynolds vs. The United States was the famous challenge of the Morrill Act and the Poland Law that made polygamy and bigamy illegal in the United States and its territories. Here is an excerpt from that decision from a neutral website commenting on the issue:
"Polygamy has always been odious among the northern and western nations of Europe, and,until the establishment of the Mormon Church, was almost exclusively a feature of the life of Asiatic and of African people. At common law, the second marriage was always void, and from the earliest history of England polygamy has been treated as an offence against society . . . In the face of all this evidence, it is impossible to believe that the constitutional guaranty of religious freedom was intended to prohibit legislation in respect to this most important feature of social life. Marriage, while from its very nature a sacred obligation, is nevertheless, in most civilized nations, a civil contract, and usually regulated by law."
I think that the growing acceptance of same-sex marriages will lead to new legal challenges to this court precedent, and it will be overturned, though I doubt greatly that my Church would ever embrace polygamy again. I know that sharing my love with someone else would be inconceivable. The inevitable outcome of all these loosening of the definition of "marriage" as a civil recognition of what used to be a sacred obligation is that marriage will lose its current meaning. I foresee group marriages between groups of people, marriages to animals, marriages between animals (especially as they start to become inheritors of property), polygamy, polyandry, and so on.
Funny that we arrest and charge people for openly saying they're married to more than one person, but if they never marry, the state does nothing.
For the record, I am not in favor of polygamy, and I think the practices of forced marriages and marriage of minors to adults are crimes. I feel that reassigning wives and claiming wives as spiritual spouses so you can have sex with them but not support them temporally are sins. I do not sympathize with any polygamist groups, sects, or doctrines. I just think that constitutionally, the First Amendment protects homosexuals, polygamists, polyandrists, and other ways of living foreign to my own. Whether the state should formally recognize those, or any, unions is for the courts to decide, but even though I don't care for the practices, I don't think the government can justify prohibiting them without a Federal Constitutional Amendment.
What do yall think? Am I wrong?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Funerals and ceremonies are for the living. The dead care nothing for where their moldering remains are lain. When I considered all the places that my dad "would have liked" I realized that his favorite fishing hole would be a great place to scatter the little baggie of ashes and bone bits that my mom had given me in the Spring.
I could've just put them in my yard, but I felt this drive to put them somewhere more "meaningful" (whatever that means) in an effort to give me some catharsis from the trauma of having my father ripped away from my life. My dad and I had some great times fishing off
Apalachicola, Florida,so I decided to go hold an ad hoc ceremony on a boat bouncing in the waves right in a place loaded with good memories: Bird Island, Apalachicola Bay, Florida. If you look in the above map. the island shown below (Bird Island) is barely visible to the west of the gap between St. Vincent Island and St. George Island. This is an old photo because last week the island was over a half-mile long.
So, since we only have one car, and since Mickelle's parents and sister came into town for the weekend, I convinced my grandfather and my uncle to drive over from Atlanta, Georgia to pick me up. We then drove ten hours down I-95 and across I-10 to get there. My dad's good friend John Mitchell drove down from Atlanta separately. Friday morning we got up early and met our fishing guide, and my dad's good friend, Captain Jimmy Maxwell, at the Scipio Creek Marina and boarded the boat for a day of fishing and paying homage to my fallen father.
We started out well, Captain Jimmy got all the baitfish we'd need with the first cast of his net. From there we went out into the bay and began catching speckled trout and white trout. I was using a double-lure rig and four times I caught two fish at the same time. We caught lots of cats, ladyfish, croakers, a bluefish, a mackerel, a couple of ground mullets, and a whiting or two before the day was done. Papa (my dad's dad) landed a 27" redfish; all in all we bagged 60 fish.
At about 2PM we motored out to Bird Island found a quiet place on the bay side of the island and held the service. I started by talking about my dad, everyone said something nice, and I commented that his faults were no worse than anyone I knew and especially anyone on that boat, and that my memories of him are good, and that he was missed, and I wished he could've been there fishing with us. Papa and I then scattered his ashes in the water, and I said a prayer, asking Heavenly Father that that portion of my dad's remains might nourish the Earth and help replenish it. Captain Jimmy asked to say a prayer and Papa and I embraced as he asked that Heavenly Father bless all of my dad's family.
After that we fished for a little while longer and then headed back to shore, sunburnt and feeling relieved that the mourning process had been furthered a little.
I still miss my dad. I can't believe it's been a year. Damnit!
UPDATE: I can't write well today. Pardon my sophomoric language; I couldn't help myself.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Geraldine Mondale Ferraro
Joseph Gore Lieberman
John Edwards Kerry
Lloyd Dukakis Benson can commiserate
watch the embedded video, or this post won't make sense.
What startles me the most is not that she thinks Obama's an Arab, but that McCain doesn't call her out for calling him an Arab, as if being Arab were a bad thing.
McCain says, "No, no, no ma'am, no ma'am. He's a, he's a decent family man citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on, on fundamental issues, and that's what this campaign is all about. He's not. Thank you."
That final emphatic "he's not" is directed straight at the general US fear (read, hatred) of Arabs, of the assumption that they're all terrorists.
He didn't have time to craft a nuanced rebuttal of her statement; he had to shut her down immediately. She is an elderly citizen who is obviously confused and gullible. But, this is the product and endgame of the machinations of politicians who employ fear to win elections. Mix a little nationalism together with a little fearmongering and a touch of brinkmanship and you get Gayle Quinnell, registered voter.
from the above article:
Cooey and a then-17-year-old accomplice were convicted of the brutal murders of Wendy Offredo and Dawn McCreery, students at the University of Akron. The men had been tossing concrete slabs onto Interstate 77, and one of them struck Offredo's car.
Pretending to "rescue" the women, Cooey and Clinton Dickens took the victims to a remote field, according to prosecutors. There, the students were subjected to 3½ hours of rape, torture, stabbing and fatal bludgeoning. Cooey carved an "X" into the stomachs of both women, prosecutors said.
When you do such horrible acts, you forfeit your life. He tried to escape from prison in 2005. Locking this man away, warehousing the term of his mortal life isn't fair to those people who risk their lives as his jailors, and to the public should he escape. Imagine if he did, and your daughter had an x carved into her belly.
Some people deserve to die. Cooey reaped the bitter harvest of his actions today....finally.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Don't bother looking at the video, some idiot just made it full of images of pot. Listen to the music.
I like to watch Jeopardy. Lately, every single stinking commercial is for politicians. And, except in the case of Attorney General Roy Cooper (NC), they're mostly negative attack ads. Obama's an idiot, McCain's an idiot, "Libby" Dole's sending all our jobs to China, "And that's good for the Chinese, but bad for us." AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.
Enough. Any more and I'm going to quit caring. The rhetoric is getting viscous now. It's like putting peanut butter on peanut-butter cookies, too much.
I know who I'm voting for. Ya, basta; no más.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
1. Salman Rushdie: The Satanic Verses is my favorite book in English. It is a masterpiece of postmodern historiographic metafiction. I love that book so so much. I also understand why fundamentalist would want to kill him for writing it. In the book, an Indian voiceover actor becomes very ill after falling (thousands of feet) from a blown-up airliner to an English beach. He turns into a half-goat man, spikes a fever, and has a delusional dream wherein this kid in a cave keeps calling him "Gabriel" and asking him questions about God. Annoyed, he flippantly answers the kid, at first not believing that the kid buys the crap he's making up, all the while not realizing that he is dictating the Koran to Mohammed.
You can understand why this would piss Muslims off. People rip on Joseph Smith all the time. One South Park episode in particular tries to skewer the Mormon church (I found the episode hilarious and doctrinally and historically inaccurate by the way). Making fun of my religion in a farcical way, hidden in a work of fiction, does not bother me. My faith is my own, and no amount of attacks against it by others will influence my beliefs. I do not want to kill Matt Stone and Trey Parker. I respect their right to make fun of anything they want, and I even laugh when they mock my faith, because I am sure of what I believe. Rushdie should have that same right, without irhabists issuing fatwas against him.
Rushdie's Midnight's Children is one of my top ten books of all time, in any language. My wife thoroughly enjoyed Shalimar the Clown. Last April, I had the chance to go and hear Rushdie speak live. He read, at length, from Midnight's Children. His commentary and insights into this fiction convince me that he is one of the greatest living novelists, and despite some personality flaws that he himself recognizes, he is a master.
I don't think the Nobel Academy will have the political courage to ever give Rushdie the award he so very much deserves. Given the reaction to the Denmark cartoons three years ago, if anyone else in Scandinavia were to praise anything even remotely objectionable to Islam, the Middle East would erupt into rending of garments and gnashing of teeth. Also, Scandinavia exports vast quanitites of dairy products to the region. If the Academy were to give Rushdie the prize, well, think of the economic consequences to the Swedish, Danish, and Norwegian economies. Rushdie deserves the award more than anyone else I can think of. If he wins the prize, it would be an amazing declaration of free speech against the tyranny and oppression of religious intolerance. But, given the vindictiveness of most irhabists, would you, being on the Nobel Committee, vote to give him the prize? It takes a special mettle in your soul to make that kind of a stand.
The British had the courage to knight him; does the Academy?
2. Carlos Fuentes, he has labored for years trying to help Mexicans understand their roots. He is a tad prideful and perhaps offensive to certain types, but his work stands for itself. He is a contemporary of Octavio Paz, García Márquez, and Borges, and deserves the prize before it's too late. Second only to Rushdie in my opinion.
3. Antonio Muñoz Molina, he'll never win, but this Spanish author of detective fiction has created some of the few recent detective stories that you'll want to re-read. The solution to the crime isn't why you read them. They are noirish novels that deal with reconciling peoples' actions under Franco with their own moralities, ethics, etc. His novels such as Plenilunio, Sefarad, El invierno en Lisboa, and Beltenebros, are all classics and worth multiple readings. They have been made into movies, all badly, save Plenilunio. If they are ever translated into English, you should check them out. He is a modern master and a jazzman. He's on my list because I love his work, not necessarily because he's deserving.....yet.
4. Ricardo Piglia, another master, but one without the prestige and reknown to attract the Nobel committee's attention. The Absent City is amazing, and Respiración Artificial beggars description. I feel that Piglia will win some day, maybe not anytime soon.
5. Nicanor Parra, the anti-poet; his work was very influential on poets in Spanish and English. Deserving, and at 94, probably will never get it. He's an outside shot. He'd be the third Chilean poet to win.
6. Slavoj Zizek, the most enjoyable modern philosopher I can think of. He has his fingers on the pulse of current Western culture. He is a prolific writer and has a knack for explaining abstruse concepts in terms that everyone can understand. The estate of Jacques Lacan owes Zizek a huge hug for his tireless work in making Lacan relatively approachable to the masses. Zizek's works include The Sublime Object of Ideology, Tarrying with the Negative, Welcome to the Desert of the Real, Enjoy Your Sympton, and Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Hitchcock But Were Afraid to Ask Lacan.
7. Umberto Eco, a master in the classic form. The Name of the Rose, or "City of Robots" are very impressive and thought-provoking. If they can give the prize to Italian playwright Dario Fo they can surely give a nod to Eco (though Silviano Santiago would most definitely disagree with me).
I'm sure some people expect me to put Mario Vargas Llosa on my list, and he might well get the prize, but there's just something about his writing, his politics, and himself that makes me think he's not a strong candidate. However, I must say that I thoroughly enjoy his essay "My Son the Rastafarian" ("Mi hijo el etíope") and I teach it frequently.
I'm sure there are numerous others that need mentioning. Phillip Roth, Chinua Achebe, Margaret Atwood, Bob Dylan, etc. Can you imagine the difficulty in finding someone to translate works from say Somalian in to Swedish? Malawi or Togolese? so the committee can read them.... It's no wonder that English speakers have won more than any other language.
Please feel free to comment on my selections or add your own. You'll hopefully understand why my choices are Hispanic top-heavy, though please remember that no native Spanish-speaking author has won since Octavio Paz way back in 1990. Also, nothing prevents the Academy from awarding the prize to multiple winners, as has been done in years past.
Monday, October 06, 2008
During Weekend Update, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers traded off making fat jokes about the former "World's Fattest Man," Manuel Uribe Garza,'s pending nuptials later this month.
The one that soured me on the show was, "Uribe and his wife will spend their honeymoon trying to find his penis."
Wtf? That's not low-hanging fruit, that's just f****** cruel, mean, and shows how callous SNL has become. It wasn't borderline mean like the joke about him getting married as a way to get cake. No, this was the "cool kids" on the playground mocking the fat kid, on national television. Uribe has lost over 500 lbs without surgery.
The first time I remember being angered by SNL had to do with a fat joke too. Shortly after 9-11, Welsh singer, Charlotte Churchm then only 15, said that NYC firefighters weren't all heroes, they were just doing their jobs. Tina Fey's Weekend Update line was "Well Charlotte, some day you'll be fat."
What the fark? That's not funny. You can claim she was attempting to "act" like a high schooler and call her fat, for the irony of her being a teenager. But, Fey's not that good, and Church didn't suffer through the hell that is American high school, so the joke's lost on her. Fey's delivery was mean. The joke was lost on the majority of people. They laughed because Charlotte Church was a little overweight. It was just mean.
I loathe Tina Fey. I'll never watch 30 Rock. And, Seth Meyers can die in a fire with all the other assholes who can't leave high school in the past. He's not funny! Witty, when he's at his best, but he reminds me of the frat-boy golden-child poonhounds I had in my classes at Tulane. Nothing but a showy facade.
Manuel Uribe Garza does not deserve our pity. He hasn't asked for it. He doesn't want help. He's been losing weight on his own. Leave the man alone.
Seth Meyers, if we ever meet, I'm going to sit on you.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
When he awoke, I took him and laid him on our bed to change his diaper. When I took it off, he had definite nocturnal penile tumescence, or "morning wood," as most men call it.
Whenever I change his diaper, to ease the passage of the new diaper under his bottom, he puts his feet down and thrusts his pelvis up in the air. As he, like most boys, is naturally fascinated with his penis, when he did this yesterday, and saw his penis looking far larger than it normally is, or that he might have ever seen before, he grabbed it, looked at me with glee in his eyes, and yelled "MAC, LOOOOOOOOK!" He was very impressed with himself.
Friday, October 03, 2008
In wyfhod I wol use myn instrument
As frely as my Makere hath it sent.
If I be daungerous, God yeve me sorwe!
Myn housbonde shal it have bothe eve and morwe,
Whan that hym list come forth and paye his dette.
An housbonde I wol have -- I wol nat lette --
Which shal be bothe my dettour and my thral,
And have his tribulacion withal
Upon his flessh, whil that I am his wyf.
I have the power durynge al my lyf
Upon his propre body, and noght he.
and then later...
Thow seyst we wyves wol oure vices hide
Til we be fast, and thanne we wol hem shewe
Wel may that be a proverbe of a shrewe!
Thou seist that oxen, asses, hors, and houndes,
They been assayed at diverse stoundes;
Bacyns, lavours, er that men hem bye,
Spoones and stooles, and al swich housbondrye,
And so been pottes, clothes, and array;
But folk of wyves maken noon assay,
Til they be wedded -- olde dotard shrewe! --
And thanne, seistow, we wol oure vices shewe.
He's paraphrasing St. Jerome, but it's just awesome....and no, I'm not talking about Mickelle.
Thursday, October 02, 2008
Did you notice that when Biden was asked, "Can you think of a single issue where you were forced to change your longheld view in order to accomodate and change circumstances?" he gave a response that was thoughtful and answered the question. Whereas, Palin responded how she "didn't veto budgets" and that "there hasn't been something that I've had to compromise on, because we've always seemed to find a way to work together up there in Alaska."
Working together is compromise, and she totally avoided the question, mostly because she probably hasn't served long enough to have had a policy change....but it also speaks to her apparent intractability.
Her grousing about big government and taxes irks me too. I own stock in a petroleum royalty trust from the Prudhoe Bay fields.....wellhead taxes were raised twice on profits inside of 12 months, at her insistence...so anytime she claims to not favor tax increases, I beg to differ.
Her famously-balanced budgets were a direct result of tax hikes to fund their civic programs. Alaska is the biggest tax and spend state there is (per capita), and it's shady, at best, to rail against taxes and big government when she made her career on doing the opposite.
She reminds me of the son of Menelaus "Pappy" O'Daniel in O Brother, Where Art Thou?. He tells Gov. O'Daniel that the opponent is running a good campaign because he's the "Reform Candidate." The son says, "people like that reform. Maybe we should get us some." Pappy whips off his hat and slaps at his son with it and says, "I'll reform you, you soft-headed sonofabitch! How we gonna run reform when we're the damn incumbent!"
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
If they has asked me for a drink, I would've given it to them. But, to take all of them.......
A pox upon them and their kith and kin.
With the video footage of the suspect, it shouldn't be too hard to capture him. He's a big dude, and someone will recognize him. I've been to Gardner's and I knew the victim. When this suspect is caught, I hope he is given a very fair and impartial trial, that he is convicted of first-degree murder due to the overwhelming evidence, and that he is executed.
I lean left-of-center but I think the death penalty is warranted in cases like this. In my world, this is far more an act of terrorism (it happened less than a mile from my home) than any bomb going off. I don't "hope it hurts" or anything like that, I just think that the brutality of his crimes leaves him with no chance of ever changing, and that his execution would serve as a reminder to local thugs that murder brings death and that they are not immune from punishment. I knew the victim; he was a good and hardworking man. The murderer is not. He only robbed $30! Can you imagine being killed for $30? If I were a business owner, I'd think about keeping a shotgun for situations like this.
Hartsville will never grow unless we address the causes of crime (poverty, 15-year olds forevermore having babies, and wholescale ignorance of ethics), educate our youth, provide quality jobs to the lower class, legalize the use and sale of most drugs, and then severely punish those who commit violent crimes. As far as I'm concerned, if you use a weapon to rob someone, you're done for 30 years. Bye-bye. Make the punishment severe enough, and I believe crime will drop accordingly. But, rather than punishing, which is just treating the symptom, we must fight the disease, and that means education, jobs, and for society to stop hiding behind sub-cultural facades and starting recognizing the need for fundamental change in every segment of society, irrespective of race, creed, wealth, or the civil status of your parents.
Children need Fathers
Schools need more resources, distributed equitably
Fast-food jobs are not good jobs for adults
Drugs should be legalized
Criminal codes should be strengthened, and judges should be given more discretion on sentencing
Snitching is the right thing to do (farking idiots)
The wealthy need to help, and free capital to create jobs won't be enough
Philanthropy is a moral imperative
Giving your time to something can often have more of an impact that signing a check
Don't assume you know something about people because of how they look
Don't judge a group of people by the actions of a few