Saturday, July 17, 2010
Recently the literary world lost an icon with the passing of Jerome David (J.D.) Salinger. If you went to high school in this country you almost were forced to read his classic novel of teenage disillusionment, The Catcher in the Rye, featuring the anti-hero Holden Caulfield. After huge praise was heaped on Salinger for writing what many call the great American novel, he retreated into the shadows, shunning celebrity and all its trappings and rarely appearing in public. His reputation as a recluse and hermit gradually grew to epic proportions and he became almost legendary for his ability to avoid being photographed.
Ever the seeker of unusual things to do, I decided I would try to get a picture of the elusive author. I figured that it would be relatively simple to find him—Cornish, New Hampshire, where he lived, is a small New England town and how hard could it be to find one house? I drove across the bridge over the river that separates Cornish from Windsor, Vermont and made my way to the Cornish Town Hall, where I could just take a look at the tax records for the area and would get the address. A nice man in the assessor’s office asked me why I was there and when I told him he said the following, slowly and deliberately: “When someone pulls into Mr. Salinger’s driveway, there are two people in town who know about it…Mr. Salinger and myself. I’m also the police chief. I’m not going to help you. Do not bother Mr.Salinger.”
I had no intentions of bothering Mr. Salinger—I just wanted to get a discrete picture of his house, and the man himself if he should happen to be outside. I crossed back into Windsor and stopped at a Goodwill store there, where a bunch of older ladies were gabbing away, in that quaint way that older ladies gab. New England is often like the South in that regard, just with a different accent. Figuring that since they were roughly as old as Salinger, they might know where his house was. They politely directed me to the Vermont Craft Center down the street, and I was informed that Salinger’s wife, Colleen O’Neil, displayed and sold some “very cute” spool dolls that she made herself. At the Craft Center I was shown the spool doll collection, found a really cool red, white and blue one. Ten bucks later I was out the door with my treasure, which incredibly included an unexpected bonus---a tag with not only Colleen O’Neil’s name on it, but incredibly her address, and by default, her husband’s address. Back into Cornish I went, a quick stop at the post office to ask generally where the road was that I was looking for and within five minutes I was staring at J. D. Salinger’s house. Careful to park on the side of the road, not on his property, I snapped a couple pictures—one of his mailbox AND his trashcans (which I didn’t dare peek into) and one of his house.
As I walked up and down the road trying to get a better view of the house, I noticed that seemingly every tree had an orange “No Trespassing “ sign. So did one telephone pole. A furtive glance to the left and one to the right, and I sprung into action. I hereby confess: I stole J. D. Salinger’s “No Trespassing” sign from the telephone pole, where it no right to be.
Don’t you love irony?
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I’m going to call it like I see it. Or like I saw it yesterday, as I drove the interstate towards Atlanta, hiiiiigh up on a pole, a sign that said “God isn’t a Socialist.”
The sign was paid for by a group that calls itself, “BillboardsagainstObama.com.
What a load of malarkey. There is a better term for it, has to do with male bovine excrement, but since this is a family paper, I’ll stick with the Irish. Always a good bet, and they have public health care, by the way…
So there was the sign, proudly announcing to the world that Georgia proudly lives up to the reputation held by most of the rest of the nation—a reputation for being so far to the right as to be ridiculous, willing to blow off their noses with their silly guns just to spite their faces..
When in the course of American history has any group taken the steps to try to denounce a sitting president in such a cowardly way? Freedom of speech is a right, of course, but This socialist label that they try to pin on him does him, and socialists a real disservice. The sign should correctly read, “Obama is not a Socialist” and to be fair, should also say that God isn’t affiliated with any political party. I know—I checked. He is not on any lists that I can find…
But it would seem that the Republicans have decided to claim Him as their own. I would ask that they produce proof of their claim. It’s my understanding that socialist concepts have something to do with a sense of community taking care of community---in other words, caring for each other, instead of having a society that rates people by how much money they have. People caring for each other, treating others the way they would want to be treated. Sounds a lot more like the concept of God that I was taught at a young age than the kind of people who would torture, lie, humiliate, segregate and discriminate, grab up as much of whatever they can as fast as they can, liked a bunch of fat pigs on some of those game shows, speeding down the aisles of a supermarket with a shopping cart. And wasn’t there something in the Bible about Jesus trashing the moneylenders? You would think, “Like father like son,” wouldn’t you?
I propose that the billboard, and it’s sponsoring website are wrong. I would suggest that everyone step back and take a long deep breath, if you still can, with all of the nasty pollution in the air, and look at how ridiculous this whole charade has become. Snarky and deceptive billboards are not the answer to any of our problems. Thoughtful action after thoughtful debate will do it, and cooperation from the citizens of what used to be a great country will go a long way toward solving the huge set of problems that began thirty years ago when we stupidly elected a mediocre, mob-backed actor for president.
If the tact of the right has had any real impact, it has successfully made the word ‘socialism” sound evil. Maybe it is, when run in the Lenist-Marxist way, (see Russia) but when all anyone really is talking about is health care for everyone, how can that be a bad thing? Ask yourself this question: If providing services like health care and police and schools and firemen and libraries and highway maintenance, etc. is so bad, why aren’t people from France, England, Canada, Denmark, and a good portion if Europe clamoring to come here? Why are they so darned happy?
Wanna see the end of this country as a democracy? Keep up the hate talk. Learn to say, “Ich bin ein Republican!”