Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck

Happy New Year (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann
Happy New Year cartoon (1910) from Keppler & Schwarzmann published in ‘Puck’. (US LOC image)

In the US South, superstition is a given. I grew up in a very diverse neighborhood, and regardless of skin color, many people I loved were quite superstitious.

As a young adult, I found it quaint. As a mature adult, I find myself still keeping those traditions to ward off bad luck and bring the good luck in.

One superstition reigned above all else in my grandmother and mother’s minds, though. Continue reading “Yes, we keep New Year’s traditions to ward off bad luck”

As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place

bricks symbol for brickbatsIn June, 2019, I wrote a column to call attention to misleading information the US Library of Congress published. The LOC, enthusiastically announcing the appointment of Joy Harjo as the nation’s new poet laureate, claimed in the subhead to the article that Harjo is the first Native American to serve as US poet laureate. Poet A.M. Juster attempted to get the record set straight, as did I.

Harjo was not the nation’s first native American to serve in that capacity, unless you play word games with reality or opt for politics over truth. Continue reading “As 2019 wanes, US Library of Congress leaves insult to Native American in place”

Unlikely bedfellows: ASJA joins Pacific Legal in suing California over freelance assault

Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher sponsored anti-freelance bill in California
Image of Gonzalez Fletcher, author of the anti-freelance bill in California, from Ballotpedia.

Sometimes news strikes a personal chord, and that’s how I feel about the state of California’s latest assault on freedom. A new law authored by state Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has brought together two unlikely bedfellows—the American Society of Journalists and Authors and Pacific Legal Foundation.

Gonzalez Fletcher’s law is a brazen assault on the freelance writing profession as I know it. Continue reading “Unlikely bedfellows: ASJA joins Pacific Legal in suing California over freelance assault”

From pogonip to Leap Day, TOFA is full of surprises and tips

The Old Farmer's Almanac 2020 photo by Indie Art South
Photo: Indie Art South

In today’s digital world, a publication enduring for 228 years is a thing of wonder. If you dive into the pages of The Old Farmer’s Almanac 228th Anniversary Edition, you’ll see why this book has made its way to millions of homes over the years. From explaining what the word pogonip meant to American Indians to little known facts about Leap Day in the leap year of 2020, TOFA has you covered. Continue reading “From pogonip to Leap Day, TOFA is full of surprises and tips”

Big double standard as radio ‘presenter’ goes full book burner over ‘Fairytale’ song

Still snip from 'Fairytale of New York' with Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues on YouTube.
Still snip from ‘Fairytale of New York’ with the late Kirsty MacColl and The Pogues on YouTube.

I’ve praised the song “Fairytale of New York” (The Pogues) for quite some time. I know the lyrics. I know there’s a term in there that in the USA, is derogatory if it’s used to insult a gay person, but not derogatory if a gay person uses it to describe a fellow gay. You still with me on this double standard thing?

As a matter of fact, ‘faggot’ isn’t the only derogatory word in music, but at present, it’s the only word getting attention. Sadly if that’s your primary takeaway from this epic song, you’re cheating yourself. A person described as a BBC radio “presenter” banned this song because of a single word. Continue reading “Big double standard as radio ‘presenter’ goes full book burner over ‘Fairytale’ song”