The Diner and I need a break from each other. As I retool some things, please check back in a few weeks while I get my bearings… In the mean time: *quack*]]>
Okay folks, it’s like this.
The LBB is MIA. Richelle has it but I can’t hail her. I’m going to try sending a few more e-mails and perhaps an actual letter because it’s long overdue to get out.
If you can find her or reach her via any other means, I’d rilly, rilly appreciate it if you could make that happen.
One of two things can happen: I can send out another book starting with the next person on the list or start over and we skip Richelle until we hear back from her?
What say you LBBers?
I am planning to send out Book #2 in February. If you want to be a part of it send me your contact info, even if you think I already have it.]]>
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strip mining for whimsy: everything is more interesting than you think it’s going to be
if you take a twelve gauge shotgun shell and remove all the shot from it, you can load it with dimes instead. This is ideal for sawed-off shotguns, which tend to be fairly useless from more than a couple yards away. A sawed-off loaded with dimes will pretty much blow somebody in half at close range.
Yes PJ, you know exactly how that little bit of trivia is going to be used.
Mercury dimes for good luck - not for the target, that’s for damned sure.]]>
Mike Evans, “The Jeffersons” actor, dies at 57
TWENTYNINE PALMS, California - Actor Mike Evans, best known as Lionel Jefferson in the TV comedy series “All in the Family” and “The Jeffersons,” has died. He was 57.
Evans, who was born in Salisbury, N.C., died of throat cancer Dec. 14 at his mother’s home in Twentynine Palms, said his niece, Chrystal Evans.
Evans, along with Eric Monte, also created and wrote for “Good Times,” one of the first TV comedy series that featured a primarily black cast.
Damaged Goods, by Rob Callahan
If you already own it, why not mosey on over, rate it and write a review.
Thank ever so much.]]>
34 words/34 years
365 days/365 people
Texas city haunted by ‘no blacks after dark’ past
VIDOR, Texas (CNN) — As a reporter for CNN, I’ve spent a lot of time travelling around the United States. And along the way, I’ve developed some impressions of who we are, and where we are, as a society.
When it comes to relations between blacks and whites, it’s no surprise to me that we are, in many places, still separated, despite a desire for better relations. African-Americans often live in one neighborhood, whites in another.
When I was recently assigned to cover a story about the history of racism in Vidor, Texas, for the “Paula Zahn Now” show, it turned out that I was surprised by some of the things I found, namely that some whites were openly telling me they still wanted separation from blacks.
Vidor is a small city of about 11,000 people near the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from the Louisiana border. Despite the fact that Beaumont, a much bigger city just 10 minutes away, is quite integrated, Vidor is not. There are very few blacks there; it’s mostly white. That is in large part because of a history of racism in Vidor, a past that continues to haunt the present.
“We’ve been trying to live down something for 40 to 50 years,” said Orange County Commissioner Beamon Minton. “Once convicted, you’re a convicted felon. You can’t ever put that aside.”
Vidor was one of hundreds of communities in America known as “sundown towns,” places where blacks were not welcome after dark.
(FYI - Detroit was one too, going so far as to not allow Blacks on the east side of Woodward Ave, unless they were headed to or from work)
In some of these towns, signs — handwritten or printed — were posted, saying things like “Whites Only After Dark.” But in general, sundown towns existed by reputation. Blacks knew they were places to avoid after dark.
Charles Jones is a 62-year-old African-American man who lives in Beaumont. He told us when he was 19, he and three of his black friends were changing a flat tire on their broken down car in Vidor one night. A white policeman stopped.
“He said, ‘Well, let me tell ya — you boys better wrap and get out of here, because I’m going to go to that next exit and come back around. You better be gone!’ ” Jones recalled.
Vidor also had a reputation as a haven for the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, Jones recalls seeing a Klan rally in Vidor when he was a child. Vidor city officials point that that doesn’t mean the rally was filled with Vidor residents. They say the Klan brought members from all over and targeted Vidor for rallies.
One of the most memorable instances of that was in 1993, when the federal government tried to change years of racial separation, and brought a handful of black families into Vidor’s public housing. In response, the Klan marched in Vidor. Within months, the few black families moved out. And African-Americans were left with a deep impression that still exists today.
“They think that’s a racist town,” said Walter Diggles of the East Deep Texas Council of Governments. “They think when you go through Vidor, you better be very careful, and most blacks still refuse to stop.”
Vidor officials acknowledge racism is still present in Vidor. But they also say it is a very different place from the one it was decades ago.
“We don’t have a Klan,” said Minton. “We haven’t had a Klan in 30 years. We are trying to change our image, and we have changed, but I’m not sure we’ve convinced them [African-Americans] of that.”
Just because your modern Klansmen are too cowardly to wear the sheets, in no way should that imply that they aren’t organized in your town. The Klan is still actvie in Northern Oakland County and is moving west and south. Not seeing “strange fruit” on your trees doesn’t mean they aren’t still out there.
Last year, for example, the Vidor schools posted a billboard, which included the face of an African-American girl as a way to attract black families. City leaders also point out that Vidor reached out to African-American victims of Hurricane Katrina, and provided temporary shelter.
“The vast majority of our citizens are not racist,” said Vidor Mayor Joe Hopkins. “We’d welcome anybody here who is a good solid citizen.”
Indeed, I was left with a genuine impression that some Vidor residents wanted the city to welcome other ethnicities. But when I sat down in a cafÃ©, and talked to residents, I also heard the sound of prejudice.
Peggy Fruge told me she’d welcome blacks to her neighborhood. Then she said this:
“I don’t mind being friends with them, talking and stuff like that, but as far as mingling and eating with them, all that kind of stuff, that’s where I draw the line.”
I was taken aback, surprised the sound of prejudice could emerge so easily. But, I realized, her comments only reflected part of the story.
In fairness, Vidor had changed, at least somewhat. It’s no longer a city that actively shuns blacks. In fact, African-Americans often shop there, even if very few are residents.
Still, what took me aback was how Vidor had evolved into a kind of complacency. It was trying to change, but not all that hard, and sometimes wanted to be left alone. And to a great extent, that explained why Vidor has not quite escaped its past.
There are places we won’t travel (Mississippi, parts of Missouri, parts of Louisiana, most of Texas) because as friendly as people can be on the outside, I’m just not in the mood to have all of my tires replaced while traveling, or come out from a restaurant to find our windows broken on the car, or travel all day only to discover that the little mom and pop hotel has overbooked and our reservation can’t be honored, and no, they can’t refer us to another motel.
People like our friend Peggy are far more common than one would think and not just in bitty towns. There seems to be a mentality that as long as you’re not *actively* burning crosses on lawns and lynchin folks, you’re not really a racist. Small-town isolation and the garbage filtered through cable and the radio, I’d be scared of Blacks too. It’s all about the booty-shakin and pimpin and bustin’ caps - which makes me look like a safe novelty to some, and a opportunistic hootchie zebra to others.
On one hand I’d like to just leave those little cities alone to inbreed themselves into oblivion, but on the other hand, willfully allowing a community to continue to live like it’s still 1937 and Coloreds and women knew their place seems wrong to me.]]>
Peter Boyle Dead At 71, Veteran Character Actor Played Grumpy Father On ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ - The ShowBuzz
(CBS/AP) Peter Boyle, the tall, prematurely bald actor who was the tap-dancing monster in “Young Frankenstein” and the curmudgeonly father in the long-running sitcom “Everybody Loves Raymond,” has died. He was 71.
The veteran character actor died Tuesday evening in New York after a long battle with multiple myeloma and heart disease, his publicist, Jennifer Plante, told The ShowBuzz Wednesday.
A Christian Brothers monk who turned to acting, Boyle gained notice playing an angry working man in the Vietnam-era hit “Joe.” But he overcame typecasting when he took on the role of the hulking, lab-created monster in Mel Brooks’ 1974 send-up of horror films.
The movie’s defining moment came when Gene Wilder, as scientist Frederick Frankenstein, introduced his creation to an upscale audience. Boyle, decked out in tails, performed a song-and-dance routine to the Irving Berlin classic “Puttin’ On the Ritz.”
He went on to appear in dozens of films and to star in “Joe Bash,” an acclaimed but short-lived 1986 “dramedy” in which he played a lonely beat cop. He won an Emmy in 1996 for his guest-starring role in an episode of “The X Files,” and for the 1977 TV film “Tail Gunner Joe,” in which he played Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
Other notable films included “T.R. Baskin,” “F.I.S.T.,” “Johnny Dangerously,” “Conspiracy: Trial of the Chicago 8″ (as activist David Dellinger), “The Dream Team,” “The Santa Claus,” “The Santa Claus 2,” “While You Were Sleeping” (in a charming turn as Sandra Bullock’s future father-in-law) and “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.”
Educated in Roman Catholic schools in Philadelphia, Boyle would spend three years in a monastery before abandoning his studies there. He later described the experience as similar to “living in the Middle Ages.”
He explained his decision to leave in 1991: “I felt the call for a while; then I felt the normal pull of the world and the flesh.”]]>