“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine.”   ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS by Dylan.

Both sides are amazing at arguing.  The problem is nothing changes or gets done.  BLACK LIVES MATTER say defund the police.   Really?

In Malcolm Gladwell’s latest book,  TALKING TO STRANGERS,  his chapter 11 (Case Study:  The Kansas City Experiments) describes the City’s  various attempts to lower the murder rate.  Much like many American municipalities.

Several plans,  or experiments, failed.  Two factors   were “coupled” that resulted in an approximate 50% success rate, compared to all others flat failing.  The police found the crimes were almost totally committed  in small, off the main drag streets.  The flaw with other experiments too often was the need for search warrants, to enter abodes.   Traffic stops did not require a search warrant.

Gladwell details the success of these methods in KC,  and  then in 300 other American police departments.

From  a  layman’s perspective:  It seems that the discovery of these police “successes” coincides with the pronounced rise of police/black conflicts.  So often sparked by the frequency of police arresting black drivers.

While the police would contend these techniques were a godsend to successful arrests,  were there police policies that created havoc among black citizens.   Are changes that both sides can make to make this an American “win/win”?




Eternal hell fire.  Burn forever.  Scary at age 7.  Fear still in there at eighty.  Doubting Thomas?  “Looking for loopholes”(W.C.Fields).

Madeleine Albright just described herself as religious  with doubts.   Someone suggested one couldn’t be genuinely religious without some doubt.

Don’t know why the Pope’s declaration that there is no hell got so little attention. That’s great news for some of us.  More than anything said in America lately.

It is hard to know who to listen to.  No first to politicians.   Or radicals of either ilk.  Religion was the bedrock of my youth.   I remember people saying about one going to college that “…that will take their beliefs away”.   Christopher Hitchens said one “…can be an atheist and still have beliefs.”  There is a difference between religion and spirituality. There are countless religions world wide and in our country.  There is no telling how many varieties of Baptist churches there are  the South.

Are they all right or only one of em? Which one?

I have collected a lot of  “stuff”.  To follow are a lot of plagiarized comments. And/or unidentified  presentations.   The one below is a  comment on unusual religious beliefs.


I read somewhere there are at least a dozen religions that feature virgin births.   I can’t help wonder if some father didn’t forward this conjecture to save face for ‘”…my precious baby girl”

I have tried to read some writers who seem to be data based in their speculations.  Hard questions arise.  Was there God before humanity?   One of the eye openers from a few years back was A SHORT HISTORY OF NEARLY EVERYTHING by Bill Bryson. 

One example therein explains modern life this way;  the big bang occurred about 13.5 Billion years ago.  Bryson says if you open your arms to full wingspan that the distance from the tip of one middle finger to the wrist on the other hand is the time earth exhibited no life. From that spot to the middle fingernail, as one files off one simple file, represents life as we know it on the earth.

Anything but a “writer”, I consulted THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Strunk and White. Please understand my amateur editing and typing attempts.

Maybe the “glitches” don’t matter as much as Strunk and White’s final advice: “Your whole duty as a writer is to please, satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one”. It appears that 2000-2008 (Bush 2 administrative years) caused us to “choose sides”. And it seems that feelings were so deep that once committed to their view, very few were willing to listen, much less alter their stance. Winning the argument seems more important than learning the truth of the matter.

“Wicked sins” are racism, war, violence, murder.

“People who fight wars are not the ones who benefit from them”

Dick Cheney is a chicken hawk.  (see above).

“War has a long tail.”

Rush Limbaugh on Obama (“I hope he fails!”)

We butchered 200,000 Iraqi citizens.  Forget hell.

“…you are right from your side and I’m right from mine”. ONE TOO MANY MORNINGS—Dylan.

  • ALOT (A LEVEL OF THINKING) by Tom Parham was published in 2015.  I tried to cover serious topics (war, race, poverty, religion, politics) that seemed to trouble me more and more.  Below I snipped parts of ALOT and placed them in a some what “order”.  Here is a link to a PDF of the full book –
  • I am trying to read Stephen Hawking’s A  Brief History of Time.   Too much for me.   But I did read the conclusion.  The following is pretty clear:

    “ Then we shall all, philosophers, scientists, and just ordinary people, be able to take part in the discussion of the question of why it is that we, and the universe exist.  If we find the answer to that, it would be the triumph of human reason…for then we would know the mind of God.”

Some of these protesters seemed to be reasonable people. Dr.C.H.Hamlin was a pacifist professor. A Southern gentleman, Dr. Hamlin firmly states “…we got no business messing with those “VIANESE”.

I had a son in New York City on 9/11. We didn’t know his whereabouts for several hours. I shared America’s anger over this tragedy and I can understand the desire for revenge. Any good coach knows the adage “don’t get mad, get even”,but it seems the administration at that time could not wait to join in a new war.

If you go in the Middle East you will own it. (Scowcroft)

My years of watching told me to be cautious about getting into war. And the Bush Administration was moving way too fast for me. It was obvious that not much listening was going on. I doubt my conservative friends would know who Jello Biafra is. Jello said …”even the most Bush-happy, flag suckling jack-arse knows deep inside something is wrong”. Were these guys stupid? Evil? Was it pure hubris? E.L. Doctorow referred to “…hierarchal warrior nonsense”. Was it for money? Was it to protect the oil industry? Was this a headlong leap before you look?

They bought a guy named “Curveball”. Chalabi wasn’t it? Never in my life and in certainly no more important moment, or with more surety, did I know someone was lying to the country than the “sixteen words”. (“The British Government has recently learned that Saddam Hussein sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa”…George W. Bush in the State of the Union speech). The main source, “Curveball”.

From Clinton and a rare surplus, to a trillion and a half in the red? Someone explained a trillion dollars this way: If you could initial a dollar bill every second, non-stop for 32,000 years you would have a trillion dollars. The wars “off the books” and the collapse during the Bush W. years created debt that will long be with us, no matter who or what.In the words of the great philosopher, POGO “…it happened during my administration”.

In the impending days before the 2008 election there was at least one agreement. Commonly heard was the statement “…well no matter who wins things are so bad they won’t be corrected in one term, probably not in two”.

Coaches live and die with their win/loss record. George W. Bush was 0-10 for eight years in a row on the economy. Don’t kid yourself. The multi-trillion dollar runaway galloping deficit has its origins in 2000-2008. Don’t forget it.I would have fired Bill Clinton. His total disregard for the dignity of the presidency was grounds for divorce from any number of institutions. And yet it begs the question: Oral sex or the Iraq war and a bankrupted country?

Still I wonder what could have been accomplished if the OBAMA administration had not had to deal with “…harsh partisanship and a GOP leadership interested primarily in improving the fortunes of the wealthy…”The Department of Veteran Affairs announced that we are experiencing 22 suicides daily by veterans of these two wars. This totally shocked ancient me. That is almost one veteran per hour. Similarly, they reported an estimated 1800 total of similar suicides in the first quarter of 2014.

To me, this is among the most startling, sad, and truly disgusting among facts that have accrued from a decision that was so flawed and ill advised. Not one dime for our veterans wounded physically or psychologically should be begrudged, and yet the cost of all this damage, personal and financial, has to be borne by our country. This mistake was colossal. It was wrong. And the message is clear: The decision to go to war must be made with the utmost caution from our leaders.

I am on the”burn and scatter” plan, Cremation, and I have my urn picked out my urn.  Tennis trophy, the cup style. All I have to do is scratch out some engraving and —ready to go. Matter of fact this might be a source of income. Lots of trophies that really are sort of useless.

And Bob, from ALL ALONG THE WATCHTOWER—a ray of hope:

“But you and I have been through that

and this is not our fate.

So let’s stop talking falsely

The hour’s getting late.”

Faith may come casually. “She said, tell me, are you a Christian, Child? And I said, “…Ma’am, I am tonight!”  WALKIN IN MEMPHIS.

Pete Segar:  “The best thing for the economy is no war!”


I have always lived in North Carolina. I am a true son of the South. I take great pride in the South. A young man commented on a beautiful, full, “southern moon” to Oscar Wilde. Oscar replied “….yes, but you should have seen it before the civil war.” Southerners are unique people. Lots of characters. Some good and some bad. Racism is a part of our heritage. One cannot be from the South and not feel its sting. Sadly too, we have learned it is not limited to our area of the nation.

Someone suggested that racism is the “pox of the nation”.

Dr. Mildred Hartsock was the Head of the English Department at Atlantic Christian College.I became an English major and took 22 hours under Dr. Hartsock. She changed my thinking any number of ways. Non more so than on the subject of race. And nothing she said shook me like a statement she made in class. “If you have a child that you you would not let marry a member of the black race, you are prejudiced.”

As a young instructor in college one of my teaching assignments was First Aid and Safety. Located near both the ocean and the woods—sharks and snakes were subjects that college kids feared, probably to the extreme. I would warn them “…hey, forget the snakes. Worry about those Marines coming down U.S. 301 hell bent from New York for Camp Lejeune, with a dozen beers in them”. Drunk driving, racism and war were the big problems then and now.

2020 is different from all of it.  I was proud of our  country and Barrack Obama and easing off of “Bush bashing”.  I began to try to find better reading.  No one directed me better to current books than my son, Dan.  “You ought to read SAPIENS by Yuval Harari.” SAPIENS consequently stayed on the NYT best sellers list for sixty plus weeks.  Bill Gates and President Obama listed it as their top book recommendation..  Harari since has written two more significant books on humankind.  I can’t do justice to the several sources I am to  mention.  Do you own homework (…the hour is getting late”)

NUTSHELLS––SAPIENS dealt with humankind’s past.  HOMO DEUS, the future.  21 LESSONS for THE 21ST CENTURY, the present.

First SAPIENS.   Harari points out that no much human history occurred before 1500 bc.  Neanderthals showed up about 70k years later and in another 70k were extinct.  Replaced by us, Homo Sapiens.   He contends Sapiens evolved,  and eliminated Neanderthals due to the “ability to gossip”.  Conversations led to groupings, who concocted rules, laws, governance, religion.

Sapiens are the deadliest species in the annals of biology.


Biological knowledge x computer power x data is producing rapid change.  Data reveals truth, not religion or “my gut”.   Data can reshape and reengineer humanity.

“Mankind’s quest to upgrade humans to gods.”

Mankind has almost, and will, conquer the three remaining super problems–famine, plague, and war.

The main task will be to find happiness.

Homo Deus is where mankind is headed.  Artificial intelligence is on its way.

Harari contends the Sapiens may be more like Neanderthals than Homo Deus of  the future.

Terrorism will be dealt with. No reason for war.

Theology is not true enough to survive.

Algorithms rock.

Religion:  All the people think it is true.  All the philosophers think it is untrue.  Magistrates often find it very useful.”

’21 LESSONS for the 21st CENTURY

Present problems to be dealt with:  War, ecological problems, fake news, climate change, dying liberal democracy, immigration, the meaning of life today.

“…the reliance on the heart may prove to be the achilles heel of liberal democracy.”

The truth (accurate data) will set you free.


Jared Diamond authored best seller GUNS, GERMS AND STEEL

Another, UPHEAVAL, lists these reasons for religions:

  1. Explanation 2. Defusing anxiety 3. Providing comfort  4. Organization and Obedience 5. Behavior towards strangers  6. Justifying war.

Michio Kaku  (speaker at High Point University’s TV show.  Author of THE FUTURE OF HUMANITY. )

Another bright one.  Maybe one of the best TV interviews.  Nido Quebein is moderator.  Run it down through PBS

There are three waves of science–mechanical, electrical, technology.

Are we the last generation to die?  Immortality a real possibility?

Advanced civilizations seem possible.  But we will have the courage to leave this home, knowing that we won’t see it happen.   An uninhabitable  earth looming?

Malcolm Gladwell (2 books of many)

OUTLIERS  are not outliers at all.  They are products of history and community, opportunity and legacy.  Their success is not mysterious or exceptional.  Due to advantages, inheritances, luck–some earned, some not, variables critical to making them who they are.

Why were Canadian hockey all stars more apt to have a January birthday?  Bill Gates and computers?    10,000 hours?   Thought provoking.

DAVID AND GOLIATH concludes David was not an underdog at all.  Accurate as a modern .45 with his sling shot.  A near blind giant  ( “…come nearer, David”).   Acromegaly.  Chip shot for David.

Bill Bryson wrote A WALK IN THE WOODS among many books.

A SHORT HISTORY of MANKIND is a godsend for  science teachers.

THE BODY is newer:

***one sliver from a cadaver, one millimeter thick from the epidermis is all that influences skin color.

***a teenage driver adds one more teenager.  Odds of a wreck go up 400x.

***Tie your fitbit to your dog’s leg!”

Exercise—-Average weight for women in 1960 144, up  to 166 today.  Men 166 to 196.

Sitting too much is a killer.

One guy had the hiccups for 67 years.

Others suggested, MY READING LIFE by Pat Conroy.

What is an anti-theist?  Try Christopher Hitchens.  Hitchens concludes that extreme religious suppositions require thorough scienfic support.

Thinking from “my gut?

Religious leaders, politicians, warriors, fox news, history itself reveal mistaken wars, imprisonments,  race, civil rights, lawyers, business tyrants, have led down some dark alleys.  Lying seems an all time high.   Too many to keep up with.  Cadet “Bone Spurs” suggested his attendance  at NEW YORK MILITARY ACADEMY prepared him as commander in chief.  I was on the staff one summer at NYMA.  We had a camp water fight.  The only time battle was mentioned.

Hannity rudely bludgeoned Mark  Cuban with the repeated “what has Biden done?

If for no other reason OBAMA/BIDEN worked our way out of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld catastrophe of a war off the books (fade to trillions) and blood loss indefensible.

By  the way,  They got Osama Bin Laden.  History has and will shake all this data down.

Prescient?  Alexander Hamilton warned democracy of one who would “…throw things into confusion so he may ride the storm and direct the whirlwind!

Bob Dylan quotes:

May you have a firm foundation when the winds  of changes shift.


Strap yourself to a tree with roots.


It is not he or she or him or it that you belong to.


I gaze into the doorway of temptation’s angry flame,

and every time I pass that way it always calls my name.


Most of the time I am strong enough not to hate.


Don’t hate anything but hatred.


I would be kinder.  (Given another chance.)


Sometimes it is stupid to get into any kind of wind.

How did I do?  A quick look at some fun and correct choices

If  you list these you better put your Wife first. Check.

Bear Bryant said “coaching is only for those who can’t live with out it.”  Check.

And, “…if you do, get in a league you can win in.”  Tennis rather than basketball.  Check.

Got up with a hangover to go hear Coach Jim Leighton.  Check.

Tried to do  what he said.  Check.

Read DIE BROKE upon Retirement.  Check.

Quit resisting technology.  Semi check.

Embrace religious doubt.   Out the “snake handlers”   Check.




*****College ideas I pushed:  CPR, VIDEO for athletics, women’s sports (Title 1X).  Women’s soccer.  Start varsity soccer- hire David Adkins.  Pushed men’s volleyball as a varsity sport for southeast, high schools and colleges.  Exposed “spearing” as an unsafe tackling technique.  Bought O. Charles Olsen’s THE PREVENTION OF FOOTBALL INJURIES (1972)   E=1/2 times mass times  v squared.  BIGGER, FASTER, TOUGHER PLAYERS INCREASE FORCE, INJURY TO HEAD AND NECK, DEATH.
















Watching the recent protests was hard to avoid.  And confusing.  Lots of different factions that were diverse.  Mind numb and trying figure out what to make of it all,  a voice struck  about as  clearly as my hope for the final realization.  A  young black woman, fully masked, finished a fiery explanation :  “YO GRANDPAPPY  WAS WRONG!”

Opposing the sitting president of your own party means putting policy priorities at risk, in this case appointing conservative judges, sustaining business-friendly regulations and cutting taxes — as well as incurring the volcanic wrath of Mr. Trump.

But, far sooner than they expected, growing numbers of prominent Republicans are debating how far to go in revealing that they won’t back his re-election — or might even vote for Joseph R. Biden Jr., the presumptive Democratic nominee. They’re feeling a fresh urgency because of Mr. Trump’s incendiary response to the protests of police brutality, atop his mishandling of the coronavirus pandemic, according to people who spoke on the condition of anonymity to disclose private discussions.

Former President George W. Bush won’t support the re-election of Mr. Trump, and Jeb Bush isn’t sure how he’ll vote, say people familiar with their thinking. Senator Mitt Romney of Utah won’t back Mr. Trump and is deliberating whether to again write in his wife, Ann, or cast another ballot this November. Cindy McCain, the widow of Senator John McCain, is almost certain to support Mr. Biden but is unsure how public to be about it because one of her sons is eying a run for office.

And former Secretary of State Colin Powell announced on Sunday that he will vote for Mr. Biden, telling CNN that Mr. Trump “lies about things”


Maybe it is time  to ” SCREW UP YOUR COURAGE”

My sister,   Gerry Ritter, just joined  “the protest”.  In her mid-eighties, just over hip surgery,  there she was.  I was proud of her.  Always have been.  Is it time for me to be willing to brag that my whole family agrees with Aunt Gerry.  Why does the fog of fear  even now cause hesitation?

Another passing comment (I can’t remember the source, sorry) struck home, no pun intended:  “white America will never get serious about our racism problem until affluent America becomes afraid.’

Lots of sincere white people want change.   I have revered certain coaches and their street sense.  One, my friend Coach Henry Trevathan is in his 90’s.   His take:  “…it will never work until there are two parents in the home, working hard at it.”  I mentioned this to another wise old coach/friend, David Odom.   “You have got a chance if there are two strong ones in the home, a parent and a strong grandmother.”

Again, someone said, “…it will never work unless there is one loving family member who will willingly read to pre-school children”

A. ALOT–a level of thinking

starts here:

But, as I questioned whether “my level of thinking was a “worthwhile effort”, I felt compelled to address areas that appear to be quite troublesome.
Maybe my being retired forced my confronting of these concerns. Until this time my career and my family consumed my thinking and efforts.
Anything but a “writer”, I consulted THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE, by Strunk and White. Please understand my amateur editing and typing attempts.
Maybe the “glitches” don’t matter as much as Strunk and White’s final advice: “Your whole dutyas a writer is to please, satisfy yourself, and the true writer always plays to an audience of one”. Now, as a grandparent and 73 years old, maybe this level of thought needs to be represented.
Granted not a high-level, but nevertheless, mine.
• “There’s a big gaping hole in my chest where my heart was, And a whole in the sky where God used to be.
My American dream fell apart at the seams,
You tell me what it means; you tell me what it means.
Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan (HEARTLAND).

B. POX (349)

A statement by author Hal Crowther seems too accurate.  His contention being that if one  read CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY  they would not remain a racist.  Sadly he adds the corollary: “But most people who would save their souls with such a book will never read one.  Racism is a strict religion, and ignorance is its first commandment.”


“In order to get rid of infection, you must cut the boil out.”  Coach Henry Trevathan.

In an earlier blog I used a controversial term, thugs.  (See “THUGS, blog 161 ).

I haven’t seen much to change my mind about higher education in America.  (Payment for admission,  basketball cheating,  “AAU agents”, etc.)   Put the term “spot” into academic language and it turns out ” giving admission  to an unqualified student”.  Guilty everyone.  Admit it.

Somebody turned college admission into a commodity.  See blog 352 Payment Due.

True confessions #2.   The government was the second driving factor in turning college basketball, then football, black.  The first factor was the ability of the black players.

Basketball in North Carolina is king.  Dean Smith is credited with bringing Charlie Scott to Carolina as the first black player in NC (1967).   In truth that happened earlier in the small colleges (NAIA and mostly  North State Conference members.  The first was Henry Logan of Western Carolina (1964).

Then Gene Littles at High Point, and Dwight Durante at Catawba college.  Those who witnessed those guys can tell you a new day dawned in basketball.

Among those also affected were the historically black colleges and universities  (“You guys are taking all of my players.” Clarence “Bighouse”Gaines of Winston Salem State.)

Among the many reactions to this change was the question of admissions.   When

the first hard S.A.T. restriction (700) caused us to study transcripts, I was amazed at the fact that almost all of the black kids scored from 530 to 630.  Uncanny to the point of making me wonder.

Years later the next major change required 800 SAT , core courses and class rank.

Another series of  angry howls, many from  the black community.  One exception was Arthur Ashe, who contended it was legal only if all standards were equal.  Ashe also believed if the standard was equal the black kids would achieve whatever reasonable standard was set.

Basketball coaches figured the system out quickly.  Our league members , again among the first  to integrate teams, were limited to 7 and 1/2 grants.  When the government

gave aid, some loan and some grant,  the coaches figured they could combine monies and triple their players, and enhance the team’s quality.   (Example:  Rather than giving a full grant to a non-qualified player,  they could have financial aid or the basic equal opportunity grant of about 2/3 of costs and top that off with pure scholarship aid.   Properly juggled this might yield fifteen players on full ride, rather than 7 or 8.

Watching this evolve was fascinating.  Most high schools divvied up sports with king football retaining white coaches, while admitting they had to give #2 basketball to the black folks.  Yet it did not take long for football coaches who knew they had to win to keep their jobs, to insert the youngsters so well suited for football.  Consequently, over a period of time, college football coaches employed similar formulas that added more and better players.

Is our world of higher education infected?  Is the boil athletics?   Should we not uphold the law of equality for admission. Would we not fill some slots with good kids rather than so many questionable ones.

Below is a comment from my first book,  PLAY IS WHERE LIFE IS:


You never know who you’re influencing when you coach.  The same was true for teaching in college, formal classroom or just talking to kids.

A basketball player named Damian Carter appeared in my doorway one day at Elon.  He said he rode up and down I-85 often and had planned to stop by many times.

He was in his forties, had been a pretty solid player at Atlantic Christian, having transferred from UNC-Wilmington.   At Wilmington he hadn’t played as much as he wanted.   The same was true at ACC later on, and he found his chances of pro ball weren’t going to materialize.  He was about to quit college though his grades were good.

I don’t remember the specific conversation with Damian, but it was one of fifty I’d had with basketball players.

It went like this:

    Are you the first from your family to go to college?  Often the answer was yes.

    You’re not going to make $100,000 playing pro ball, you understand?

    You can get your degree and get a very good job.  People are looking for athletic people with degrees.

    Your job is to elevate your family and its expectations one generation.  Put your money in compound interest, and expect your children to go to college.

I agreed with Damian that was the gist of what I advised the “first kids.”  Damian smiled and added, “Coach, my two daughters have college degrees, and I’ve got a million bucks in the bank!”  Compound interest.  End.  

Integration was major change.  I felt uncomfortable advising these new guys.  Until I realized I may be the only one trying to point them in the right direction.  Even now I know I haven’t walked in their shoes.

If I could gather all these grown men and women, most of who were “first generation” yet now expect their children to go to college, I would risk this advice:   You need to step up.  Granted our country did your people great injustices.  But there is no telling how many people used basketball and sports in general, to combine with federal scholarships, and “advance their families upward a generation!”  Often much more.

This scenario played out in thousands of American colleges and Universities.   Many today need the same support.   Many small schools were the ones who took these kids in.

The American public often doesn’t understand the vast differences among colleges.  Only a few of the major schools break even on athletics.  Also while some elite institutions can cause movie stars to helicopter, figuratively and literally and financially, through highly selective admission barriers, many schools are quite different.  Some admission guidelines allow you to put your suitcase in any dorm.  Many need kids went  to these schools who were and are struggling to have enough students to survive.  Then and now.

And they need your support.  Women too got tons of aid.  International athletes from all over the world got great opportunities over here.   Need me to tell them?  Okay, all you people need to pay back at whatever level you can.

Malcolm Gladwell makes an observation about college choice that I think applies particularly to athletes.  His suggestion is that those who enter whatever school, should not go where they are in the bottom third of the class.  Go to a school where you are academically in the top third and you will avoid pressures that seem to occur altogether too often, and are severely painful.  This applies socially also.


A friend advised me to never  tell my wife of poker winnings or losings .  “They all think that money comes out of their clothing allowance!”

The late Worden Allen told me of his first attempt at fund-raising at our small college in rural eastern North Carolina.  On his maiden trip the retiring minister/fund raiser,  Dr. Ware, suggested he would go along and show the rookie some techniques.  Dr. Ware was old and old school.  Always a black suit and narrow  tie.  Piercing eyes and a firm jaw.

Worden said he hardly noticed  Dr. Ware holding two new lead pencils in his hand on the first stop.  Dr. Ware said he knew the first prospect, a first generation graduate who was doing quite well.   As matter of fact he had provided a room in his own home so the very limited youngster could go to college.  “As we sat down to start our appeal we were told quickly that ‘…you guys might as well know I have no intention of giving the college any of my money!’ ”  Before the sound of this sentence quieted,  a new and louder sound erupted as Dr. Ware quickly reached across the  table and cracked the startled man between the eyes with the new #2 lead pencils.  “Do not tell me you are not giving to the college.  I housed you, lent you money to pay your bill, fed you food from our table!”

Silence and that stare.  And the checkbook came out.

On down highway 264 east to stop two.  “Take a left up there, Worden,  I know a guy over  in Ayden.”









D. ROOTS (158)

It gets lonely in eastern North Carolina being a Democrat. Or liberal. Or even a “conservative Democrat” which is my own political self analysis.
Plus I’m running out of time to create world peace. Is it all controlled by the infamous hidden cartel? Does big oil prevent electric cars? Or 100mpg vehicles?
Or mass transit in our crowding cities? Why did one drug I require go from $300 a quarter to $4.oo? Is the fact that we pay so much of our total income into our final days of “unwanted life”,
controlled by those in the tube business? Why can the funeral people convince us to keep expenses and inconvenience from our loved ones, yet we must ask our families to disrupt their lives and finances to keep us drooling on ourselves for years. (“It is not he or she or them or it, that you belong to…” Dylan.)
Then, Americans always have the racial issue. It is the pox of our nation. From slave labor in tobacco and cotten fields, to the hatred of the welfare state. Lots of different kinds of hate floating around these days. Did entitlements ruin incentive? Was it looking after the poor and hungry, or buying their votes? Or was it good business for the those unseens that really control everything?
Are racial problems good for some business? Does race get people elected? Does telling the truth get you fired? Does race sell newspapers, magazines, entertainment, novels?
No race problems, less police? Security? White flight good business for realtors? Sports? Hollywood ? Education.
This goes on and on. Need to study this possibility. But if some are fanning the flames of racism for profit, they truly are some evil people.


I have always lived in North Carolina. I am a true son of the South. I take great pride in the South. A young man commented on a beautiful, full, “southern moon” to Oscar Wilde. Oscar replied “…yes, but you should have seen it before the civil war.” Southerners are unique people. Lots of characters. Some good, and some bad. Racism is a part of our heritage. One cannot be from the South and not feel its sting. Sadly too, we have learned it is not limited to our area of the nation.
Someone suggested that racism is the “pox of the nation”.
I lived in small towns in N.C. growing up. In my childhood and early adolescence, any confrontation with race or members of other races was never an issue. There were hardly any kinds of “different” people at all. Those that were around were sort of “invisible”.
Our family moved to a different town when I was 12. I was aware of the “N” Word, but paid little attention to its common use in both towns that I had lived in. My family prohibited its use in strict fashion. And I suppose that I was beginning to be aware of racial issues right along this stage in my life.
I certainly remember the stark embarrassment when that word was used in my presence, and in the presence of the Black janitor at our school, a man that I, and others, were fond of.
That memory is clear and perhaps a pivotal moment in my thinking.
Southern Pines, N.C. was 15 Miles from my hometown, and our nearest shot at nightlife. At age 14 and up I was among a group of teenagers who made this trip several nights a week. Beer was the goal and though I didn’t drink I piled in any car that made the trip. One night on the return trip someone in our car hurled a beer can at a person walking along the country road. Younger than the crowd, I was hesitant to complain. Yet I did. The response I got was “…hey, preacher’s boy, did see how black that bastard was? They don’t count anyway.”
Sports meant the world to me. The next stunning racial impression was related to that world. The biggest sport in our state is basketball, then and now, and the Dixie Classic was the premier event of the sporting year. Later banned because of a gambling fix, at least I saw the one that most people consider the best ever. Michigan State and “Jumping Johnny” Green, Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati, and the Big Four schools, including beloved Wake Forest (then College). Lucky enough to be given a ticket, I watched in reverence as the great Oscar Robertson and Cincinnati took on the Deacons. And while no one has ever pulled for a team any more than I did for Wake, the evening crushed me. Though Oscar was among the best college basketball players ever, and went on similarly in the professional ranks, my school, its team, and the crowd collectively exhibited the most blatant racism I had ever witnessed. It stung me.
Next in line, my Father who WAS much more tolerant than the neighborhood felt professional and personal pain for his stand on race. And I’m sure my love and respect for him helped me screw up my courage and begin to take humble stands on the issue.


We recruited international players often at Atlantic Christian, and from all over. Two Africans, Elfatih Eltom from Ethiopia, and Sharhabil Humeida of the Sudan were two of the firsts, along with Tony Barreteau, all great soccer players. They were also fine students, and they spoke the “King’s English” beautifully. Quite impressive to anyone in eastern North Carolina, white or black, myself included. We all listened and learned from these wonderful people.
Another person who impressed me similarly was a football coach at Elon, Leo Barker. Coach Barker is the only Panamanian to play in the National Football League. One of eighteen children, he was an All-Pro linebacker playing with Boomer Eliasason and the Cincinnati Bengals in the Super Bowl. Coach Barker was an impressive man in any number of ways, not the least of which the influence he wielded with our American Black footballers. I talked a number of times with some of our football players about Coach Barker. The comment that
sticks with me most is the player who stressed, “…Coach Leo don’t go for that victimology crap.”
While I had played high school football, there was no college football at the college I went to. When I changed jobs and began work for Elon in 1985, the football team was ranked number one in preseason NAIA picks. I loved that whole scene, and we had some ballplayers. Football players in general, and at this level, were new to me. They were big strong capable men, and as I got to know them I valued their friendship and their ability. John Bradsher, Russell Evans, Jeff Slade, and Gino McCree were close friends and they adopted me in my learning of Elon and college football. I am grateful to these guys, and they opened the door to my knowing a lot of the other players. Often our kids were smaller than Division I players, but they were just as tough and just as skilled as most of the big timers. The receivers and the defensive backs were predominantly Black kids, and for some reason I hold a special place for them and efforts they
rendered. These guys were quick and would “de-cleat,” you. Several years back I wrote a blog article about football and head injuries.


When Billie Jean King courageously “came out of the closet” it was a big deal. At that time in Wilson, North Carolina we sponsored a professional tennis exhibition. At a post play party, one of the local people made an anti-gay slur. One of the pros, Erik Van Dillen, a Californian, simply
stated, “that’s not too unusual where I come from.” Someone has stated that one in eight people
are homosexual. I know a lot of great gay people, and history is full of them. Isn’t equality an all encompassing term in America?
Get over it.
I saw a bumper sticker with “gay colors” (Jesus would slap the shit out of you).
In the impending days before the 2008 election there was at least one agreement. Commonly heard was the statement “… well, no matter who wins things are so bad they won’t be corrected and one term, probably not in two.” True then, true now.
But the “rock throwing” began almost immediately.
No answers, no solutions, just bitching about everything the man did. Worse than that, they followed Rush’s lead (“I hope he fails”). Isn’t that borderline treason?
So what actually has happened? Granted it has been slow-going. How could it be any other way given the negative behavior of Congress? And yet:
• There has been a remarkable recovery in the car industry.
• The housing industry is recovering.
• The Affordable Care Act is working and will continue to work better. April 1 marked the fulfillment of seven million people signing up.
• We have a president who can speak English. Remember: “… fool me, ah, twice, ah…fool me…ah…) and the combined zillion malapropisms of our top spokesman? The Right actually vilified President Obama, “…just because he can make a good speech, Wow.
• Unemployment is down.
• The job situation is much better.
• The President is carrying the flag for increased minimum wage.
• Many poor people or now covered with health insurance.
• The war in Iraq is over.
• He is getting them out of Afghanistan.
• The price of gas has been relatively stable. The stock market is at an all time high.
• Oil production in the United States is booming.
• Researches into “Green” options are yielding attractive alternatives that are essential to the
economy and environment.
• Information on climate change is gathering. Ninety seven percent of acknowledged scientists
agree it is a reality, with mankind a major contributor. This month the United Nation’s panel on climate change concluded that the “…world is warming, ice is melting, water flow is surging, Animals are changing their range and behavior, crop production is failing and once rare and deadly events are occurring with unnatural frequency.” The good news is someone is paying attention and evidence builds.
• The deficit has taken a remarkable downturn recently. More later.
• World opinion is has vastly improved during the Obama administration. And yet, unfolding history is rapidly revealing what a gigantic mess the others created.
• And, oh yes, Obama got Bin Laden!!!! Obama got him.
Still, here comes the race card, the tax card, the saber rattlers, the fear mongers. The old ones who send young ones to die for their profit, pride, or reelection. “A war is good for the economy”. Oh yeah? How did that work out this time?
Pete Seeger died this year. Was Pete right when he stated “… the best thing for the economy is no war.”
Take a guess as to who “walks with the money” a war makes? And who pays the bill?