Live concert series, Pt 3

My first live concert

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Photo by m on Unsplash

What will $4.00 buy you these days? The first thing that comes to my mind is a “Grande Latte” at Starbucks, and doing so might give you a few pennies in change.

If there’s a better story about inflation and how much/little our dollars get us today relative to fifty-two years ago, it’s likely this one (though feel free to inject your own noteworthy achievements in economic impotency).

In 1969, I was thirteen years old, an eighth grader at Bessemer Junior High School, and like the other old school buildings I attended, that structure no longer exists. Eighth grade was a fairly good year for me: I had broken through to the friend clique I had longed to belong to; I was calling girls on the phone almost nightly, not that these calls ever led to dates or even makeout sessions at “mixed” parties, but at least girls would talk to me, sometimes for hours at night, though I realize now that they could have been just avoiding their homework.

Lost Friend series Pt 7

Remembering certain summers and lost friends

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Photo by Fineas Anton on Unsplash

When I was fourteen in the summer of 1970, my dad asked me to do him a favor: stand in line for hours in order to purchase Alabama football tickets. He drove me to the auditorium box office, where the line on that Monday morning already numbered in the hundreds. I stood there from 7:30 to almost noon waiting my turn, with water cooler and fruit in hand, to buy three pairs of tickets for the upcoming season.

My reward was to attend one of those games — the Bama-USC opening contest in which Birmingham native Sam Cunningham would bust through Alabama’s line as if he were the knife and we the butter. The final score would be 42–21 and it was never that close. At least the blowout convinced almost every white Alabama fan that we had to allow African American players to join the varsity — that segregation was a bankrupt policy. …

Using what your grocery provides

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Photo by Carlos Fernández on Unsplash

In our lovely mid-sized town, Covid cases are on the upswing. My daughter who lives in Charlotte, commented that here in South Carolina, too many people are acting as if we aren’t in a pandemic: no masks, walking in large groups throughout downtown, standing at restaurant counters without protection and in some cases, being served by staff who think that mask-wearing is as optional as turning your head when you cough or sneeze.

All this to say, we are staying home mainly — except for dog walks and drives to my wife’s office for mail checks — and so are ordering our groceries from our favorite stores either for delivery or curbside pickup. …

A Playlist Series

Holy F**K

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Photo by Maria Oswalt on Unsplash

I might still be in shock. And it doesn’t help that the variant strain of Covid is raging and scientists warn that we’ll be blindsided if we don’t act. Fortunately, a responsible set of adults will be taking leadership soon. The question is: can we wait for responsible leaders for another 13 days, and, during that wait, will the cretin-in-charge destroy what’s left of us?

I have almost laughingly referred to Trump as the Orange Plague, and plague, he is. But let me be even more clear:

He should be impeached, arrested, thrown in jail as an inciter to riot, as a subverter of the Constitution, as a traitor to our country. This should happen now, and while we’re at it, the Hawley’s and Cruz’s, and Tuberville’s need to be exorcised from the Senate. Treason is Treason. Tyrants are Tyrants, and what we have had for four years is a drift and then a locomotive toward Authoritarian Dictatorship. …

My Outrage at Being White

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Photo by Thomas Dumortier on Unsplash

I am a white man in his 60’s. I am from the American South, the Heart of Dixie, the Bible Belt. I can no more apologize for being white than I can for being from Alabama. I am an accident of birth, in the sense that I had no control over my engendering, my skin color, or the fact that my mother was protestant, my father Jewish.

I did not choose to be born white but I have surely benefitted from it. Being white is being privileged in America and in other countries of this world. …

Studying what falls out

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Photo by Joanna Lopez on Unsplash

I believe in science, and when baking, I especially believe in Chemistry.

By nature, I am not a particularly defiant person, but during this Christmas season, I listened to Dr. Fauci, and with my wife in accord, the two of us nevertheless consented to have our daughters make the trip to spend two weeks with us over these holidays.

One of our daughters got the Moderna vaccine the day before she traveled; the other gets tested regularly before she visits us (she lives closer and can visit more often if she chooses). Our son-in-law tested positive for Covid just before Thanksgiving, cancelling that intended visit (He’s well and thriving now). …

A Playlist Series

Say Goodbye to Hollywood?

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Photo by Joel Muniz on Unsplash

I have no idea what Billy Joel meant when he wrote that song back in the forgiving 1970’s. Listen to it for a rave-up if you want, and consider it a bonus for this final crisis playlist of the year.

On Jan.6, Sen. Hawley from Missouri plans to force Republicans to vote on declaring Pres.-elect Joe Biden the President. This is like that note you likely passed to someone you liked back in the fifth grade. Like.

“I like you. Do you like me? Check yes or no.”

So, the OP is very clearly going to check Sen. Hawley’s yes box, and I hope that allows Josh to sleep better and have one of those nocturnal events that forces him to get up and take certain measures to get comfortable again. …

A Concert Series Pt. 2

Especially when it’s my daughter you’re targeting

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Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

I learned yesterday that the wife of one of the people who hired me to be a Professor of English some thirty-four years ago died last week. Her husband died four years ago. He wasn’t exactly a mentor of mine, but he could have been. He reminded me of my Dad, actually, or at least his hands resembled my Dad’s. Nails clean and finely trimmed, fingers strong and steady; youthful hands, seemingly able to grasp or mold any delicate piece of jewelry or prized fountain pen.

Bear with my meandering, please.

My colleague invited me to join a team of faculty creating a 20th Century media course (this was 1987, remember, and the course became, “Media and Society”), and he himself became a devotee of Marshall McLuhan. Pure and utter “the Medium is the Message/Massage” adoration. Not that I opposed McLuhan necessarily (though Neil Postman-world drove me insane), but subscribing to any one ideology/theory doesn’t appeal to me. …


Terry Barr

I write about music, lit culture, sports, food, and my Alabama past in One Table One World, MuddyUm, Indelible Ink, Literally Literate, and The Weekly Knob.

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