April 19, 2015
Emily Inman’s Parlor in the Swan House in Atlanta’s tony Biuckhead.
…the Civil War exhibit at the Atlanta Historical Society Center. I didn’t enjoy the Swan House more because of any shortcomings of “The Turning Point: the American Civil War,” because it is a very impressive exhibit of some 1400 Civil War artifacts, but because it really brings home just how horrific that war was. 670,000 people died in that war, many of them from dysentery. And to think that if a man owned 20 or more slaves in the Georgia, South he was exempted from being drafted. Yes, it was a “rich man’s war, but a poor man’s fight,” as a a lot of the poor farm boys who were doing most of the fighting said. This idea is very effectively explored in David William’s Rich Man’s War: Class, Caste, and Confederate Defeat in the Lower Chattahoochee Valley. I read it about ten years ago. It really came to mind again as I walked through that exhibit at the Atlanta History Museum.
The Swan House, built in 1928 , gives us a good idea of what it was to be really rich in Atlanta in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Located in very tony Buckhead, it was built for Edward and Emily Inman whose fortune was made from investments in cotton brokerage, real estate, and banking. He didn’t get to enjoy the house but three years because he died in 1931. But, Emily lived there until 1966 when she sold it to the Atlanta Historical Society for $500 thousand. It took $5.4 million to restore it.
I saw it with a fine group of folks who are members of the Columbus Academy of Lifelong Learning. One of them, my friend Julie Bray, asked me if I would like to live in the Swan House. With no hesitation, I said “No. It would be like living in a museum.” Of course it would, because it now IS a museum.
March 18, 2015
I told Muscogeee County School District Superintendent Dr. David Lewis after today’s Rotary Club of Columbus meeting, “You did it!” He smiled and said, “We did it.”
He’s right, and I’m proud of Columbus’ once again showing it supports its children and public education by approving the latest SPLOST.
And to those who voted “no,” I know that doesn’t mean you don’t support our children and their teachers. I hope you’ll accept that the majority has spoken. Now let’s pull together to make our school district as good as it can be.
March 9, 2015
As I said before. I am going to vote for the Muscogee County School District SPLOST.
The school district does have its problems, but not providing adequate facilities and today’s technological learning tools is not going to solve them.
At the top of my priority list is greatly reducing poverty.
A lot of people believe education is the answer.
It can’t be, though, if the kids don’t learn.
Why don’t they?
Are the best teachers assigned to top performing Columbus High and Britt David Magnets?
One teacher said, “Put those same teachers at Columbus High and Britt David in failing schools that are full of Title 1 kids and see how well they do.”
Kids with affluent, interested parents who read to them when they are pre-school, and support them intellectually and emotionally to help them meet high expectations when they go to school, for the most part, perform much better than kids who don’t have that. There are, of course, exceptions.
Public schools reflect society.
Anyway, public schools are the hope of the future, and I’m going to support them. Hope you do, too.
March 4, 2015
When I was young, fiction interested me more than non-fiction. Since my family subscribed to both the Columbus Ledger and the Columbus Enquirer, I did see the front page headlines on the way to the comics and movie ads, and I did see the newsreels when I went to a movie, so I did have an idea of what was going on in the world. But it was the feature films and the cartoons that I cared about.
Then, as I got older I became more interested in reality. A highlight of the year was radio, and later, TV coverage of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. And when, as a teenager, I got into radio broadcasting, announcers did a little of everything back then. They read commercials, newscasts, and hosted disc jockey shows. It was the disc jockey shows that I wanted to do the most. Still, reading wire service radio news copy served me well when I matured enough to specialize in news, first on radio and then on TV. I learned to interview news subjects, edit audio tape for radio, and shoot and edit film and video for TV news.
I basically stopped reading fiction, concentrating on non-fiction. But, I never stopped going to the movies, watching entertainment TV, and listening to music, live and recorded. All of us need some escape from the real world. And now I find myself escaping even more when I watch TV and go to the movies. There is so much distressing news in the world. Fortunately, there are enough quality TV programs and movies to hold my interest. A prime example of quality TV programs is Downton Abbey. The British are especially good at producing period series and movies for TV. Downton Abbey is over for this year, but Selfridges, another excellent period series follows it, so I won’t complain.
February 23, 2015
What to do? Watch Downton Abbey or the Oscars?
How about both?
We watched Downton Abbey while recording the Oscars.
Fast forwarding through all the commercials and the awards that didn’t interest me, I got to watch the Hollywood pat-itself-on-the-back show in a lot less time than watching it live.
There were almost no surprises. The predictors got just about all of them right. There was some uncertainly about Best Male Actor. Some predicted Michael Keaton would edge out Eddie Redmayne, but he didn’t. I was glad. Keating was really good as Birdman, but Redmayne was brilliant as astrophycist Stephen Hawkins in The Theory of Everything.
February 16, 2015
The Schwob star in the Columbus music crown continues to shine brighter and brighter. That was amply illustrated when Professor Seguis Schwartz and Professor Boris Abramov’s Vilolin Studio students awed the audience in Legacy Hall Sunday afternoon.
It’s hard to come up with a superlative powerful enough to describe the quality of the performances of those Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music violinists. Schwob’s reputation and scholarship program has attracted truly world-class, competition-winning student violinists. And those world-class students come from all over, places like China, Russia, Israel, Poland, Canada, Saipan, and, Georgia (US), Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Maine, New York, and South Carolina.
If you enjoy beautiful music, don’t miss their performances at CSU.
February 9, 2015
I am against the new SPLOST proposed by the Muscogee County School District School Board; however, I plan to vote for it next month.
I oppose it because it is a continuation of what is probably the most regressive of taxes, a sales tax. Instead of “a regressive tax,” legislators of old called it the “poor man’s tax.” A penny means a lot more to someone living on a minimum wage than someone who can afford to travel in his private jet.
So, if I’m not in favor of increasing the sales tax, why will I vote for the SPLOST? Because people, for reasons that I don’t understand, will more readily vote for a sales tax than a property or income tax increase. The MCSD needs to do things like building a new Spencer High School, providing better facilities for autistic students, repairing leaking roofs, buying some new busses, and other things. It appears the only way of financing that is with a sales tax. That’s reality.
As far as the Frank Myers and John Thomas opposition is concerned , I do have to say some of their concerns are worth considering. I see no reasons to pay for another audit when we already have two, but questioning the efficacy of some no-bid purchases is reasonable; however, I don’t think that consideration should be used to trash the SPLOST. Yes, teachers do need a raise, but that comes from operational, not capital, budgets. You can place a great deal of the blame for the financial stress teachers are facing on a state legislature that has slashed public school budgets for more than a decade.
February 3, 2015
Hollywood is still considered the movie capital of the world, but it’s getting a lot of competition from Georgia now. Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office, told Columbus Rotarians that Georgia came it third last year in the number of productions filmed in America.
There are a number of sound stages operating in Atlanta now, and a lot of movies are being shot on locations all over the state. It’s become a billion-dollar industry in the state. More than 700 films of different types have been made in Georgia since 1972. Westville has been the location for a number of films, including one just recently released, The Homesman, directed and starring Tommy Lee Jones, and featuring Hillary Swank, and Meryl Streep. And some major ones were made before then. Parts of Gone With The Wind were shot in Georgia in 1939. A number of movies have been made at Fort Benning, including the Green Berets with John Wayne.
Why are so many being made in Georgia now? Impressive tax breaks, and many suitable locations for shooting feature films, television shows, commercials, and more.
So now if you want to work in the movies, you can do it here in Georgia. Movies employ about 150 locals for middle-range budget movies, and about 250 for big budget fims.
January 26, 2015
Once humans evolved from bacteria in the ocean to walking and talking people, they started asking “why?” Seeking answers to that question has brought us to the point that we are today, able to go to the moon, split atoms, eradicate deadly diseases, compose and perform magnificent music, plays, movies, books, and produce computer games, among other really neat things.
Of course, there is a downside to technological advancement, because it has also brought to the point that we can easily destroy the world. All it will take is for one insane head of a country with an arsenal of nuclear weapons to push a button. Then, there is the process that takes a little longer, but can also do the job, and that’s the destruction of our environment by the side effects of machines and processes that produce pollutants.
Those thoughts occurred to me as I watched David Christian’s TED talk “The History of the World in 18 Minutes.” You can check it out at http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history?language=en .