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McPherson was born in 1943, in Savannah, Georgia. Later, as he writes in “Going Up To Atlanta,” he worked at odd jobs to help support his mother, brother, and sisters while attending a Catholic school where all the nuns were white and the children black, then the public schools, “where all the mean people went.” As a boy he loved comic books but soon discovered the Colored Branch of the Carnegie Public Library, where he learned that words without pictures “gave up their secret meanings, spoke of other worlds, made me know that pain was a part of other people’s lives.” All the while, surrounded by aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends of his father’s, he was struggling with the enigmatic figure of his father. McPherson senior had become the first black master electrician in the state, but only after the racist suppression of his repeated applications to get a license had caused him “irrevocable pain” and led to a drinking problem and a period in jail. At the time, McPherson did not understand the forces that had broken his father. “I had…been working every kind of job to help support the family I thought he had abandoned,” McPherson writes. “During all my years in Savannah, I had never had peace or comfort or any chance to rely on anyone else. I blamed him for it. I was very bitter towards him.”–“About James Alan McPherson,” Dewitt Henry, Ploughshares
This first is from Tim Tebow’s press conference a week ago in which he addressed the concussion he sustained against Kentucky.Testimony: “I think it was very humbling because you know at any moment it can be over.”
Pertinent Scripture: Phillippians 2:8-9And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death-
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name
From The Annals of Forced Comparisons: Malcolm Gladwell on the similarities between dogfighting and professional football, concussions and Michael Vick, with block quotes from Deviant Behavior to make it seem all scientific-like; minor league baseball players and their penises: a memoir; twee sellout filmmaker Spike Jonze photographed as a wee lad doing twee bike stunts
Let us pray. Almighty God, today we pray imprecatory prayers from Psalm 109 against the enemies of religious liberty, including Barry Lynn and Mikey Weinstein, who issued press releases this week attacking me personally. God, do not remain silent, for wicked men surround us and tell lies about us. We bless them, but they curse us. Therefore find them guilty, not me. Let their days be few, and replace them with Godly people. Plunder their fields, and seize their assets. Cut off their descendants, and remember their sins, in Jesus’ name. Amen. –“Fundamentalist ‘Fatwah’ issued against lives of Mikey Weinstein and Rev. Barry Lynn,” Military Religious Freedom
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”