Purgatory phase as Coronavirus dominates news and art

You can’t get away from it. In the grocery, almost everyone is masked. Turn the radio on in the car when you’re running errands, and the news briefs are “Coronavirus-centric” every time. Music is not spared either. In an email blast today a major performing rights organization sent out a link to numerous songs dubbed “protest” songs, and a quick glance at the org’s news page reveals social justice in abundance alongside tales of, as we call it in our family, “Da ‘Rona.”

Welcome to 2020, a year many of us cannot wait to leave behind, despite as my grandmother frequently warned me, we are “wishing our life away.” Continue reading “Purgatory phase as Coronavirus dominates news and art”

Larson upends what you think you know about ‘Lusitania’ in ‘Dead Wake’

When I bring home a book by Erik Larson, my husband groans. Larson is one of the few authors whose books are so riveting I cannot put them down. He is the maestro of the page turner. It took me years to get around to reading Larson’s book on the sinking of the Lusitania by a German U-boat off the coast of Ireland. I thought I knew what I needed to know about that horrific tragedy.

I was completely wrong, and I realized how wrong others were, including history teachers. Continue reading “Larson upends what you think you know about ‘Lusitania’ in ‘Dead Wake’”

Probably not a good time to watch ‘Richard Jewell’, but glad we did

Still shot from film 'Richard Jewell'
Still shot from film ‘Richard Jewell’. Paul Walter Hauser gave an amazing performance of the title character.

We were in search of a film to watch in these trying times, and we settled on Clint Eastwood’s Richard Jewell. The Coronavirus epidemic is upending my innate distrust of the federal government, because right now, we pretty much have to trust different tiers of government, at least on some level.  So this probably wasn’t a good time to watch a film like this. Continue reading “Probably not a good time to watch ‘Richard Jewell’, but glad we did”

In 76 year old murder case, author Kendall Bell puts reader on jury for new ‘trial’

New nonfiction book 'Triple Tragedy in Alcolu' by Kendall Bell
New nonfiction book ‘Triple Tragedy in Alcolu’ by Kendall Bell

If you grew up in South Carolina in the 1950s, chances are you’d eventually hear someone mention the case of George Stinney, Jr. Depending on the context of the conversation, you’d hear one of two things.

The 14 year old black teen executed for the horrific murder of 11 year old Betty June Binnicker was truly guilty and justice was served.

The 14 year old black teen was railroaded, pure and simple, and there’s no other way to see it.

A new book by Kendall Bell, Triple Tragedy in Alcolu, is out, and instead of hyperbole and innuendo, the author takes a neutral approach to his subject matter.
Continue reading “In 76 year old murder case, author Kendall Bell puts reader on jury for new ‘trial’”

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”