Safe and sound

Back home after a 4 1/2 hour drive from Athens.

Whoever is managing the clean-up effort here in South Carolina knows what they’re doing. We came down the back way through Augusta, Allendale, Fairfax, and Hardeeville.

Work crew on US 321 between Estill and Hardeville, SC

Work crew on US 321 between Estill and Hardeville, SC Many thanks for their heroic efforts!

Although we saw dozens of trees that had blocked the roads only 48 hours ago, we had no delays.  We’re talking 2-lane secondary highways for the most part.  The SCDOT web site was pretty accurate, and we augmented the traditional way with intel we picked up from locals at our frequent refueling stops.

Still have some more work to do.

Still have some more work to do.

Unfortunately, my poor little golf cart wasn’t so lucky on our cut-through trails.

Double Ace

Double Ace: The Life of Robert Lee Scott Jr., Pilot, Hero, and Teller of Tall Tales Robert Coram’s bio of Robert Scott, Brig Gen USAF (1908 – 2006), is now out.  I’ve ordered it and will post a review here.

cover of double aceAlthough General Scott isn’t well-remembered now (a Google search for “Robert Scott” didn’t include him in the first 10 pages of results), after WWII, he was famous as a daring fighter pilot and author of God is my Co-pilot. I met him several years ago when he was running the Museum of Aviation at Robbins AFB, about 2 hours south of Atlanta down I-75. This is an incredible museum, incidentally, with a collection of Air Force aircraft second only to the USAF Museum at Wright-Pat.  You’ll find the L-5E Sentinel (cruising speed 90 mph), the SR-71 (“Over 2,200 mph”), and pretty much everything in-between, including the P-40 Warhawk flown by Scott and the Flying Tigers.

If you can spend a day or two in this area, you won’t be too far from Andersonville and the National Prisoner of War Museum (my dad was a POW of the Japanese from  April 1942 – September 1945).  Boyd emphasized humane treatment of prisoners — and widely publicizing that fact — as a great way to encourage enemy troops to defect. Obviously there have been exceptions, but all-in-all, I think we have done this pretty well since the Civil War.

While you’re down here, check out nearby Macon, one of the capitals of Southern music, including Otis Redding, Little Richard, and the Allman Brothers.



Good morning, ATL

Hartsfield JacksonIf you’re staying near Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, check out the Renaissance. This is the view from my room. It can be a little noisy, but it’s worth it to watch the world’s busiest airport operating in its full glory, especially after dark. Click for a larger view, and see if you can spot the Delta flight that’s just taken off from the other side of the field.

That’s the new international terminal on the left.

The tower, by the way, is the third tallest in the world and the tallest in North America.

Interlude: More Southern ambience

MSC IlonaWe had guests in a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things we often do is drag them off to Savannah for strolling and libations. While we were there, the MSC Ilona sailed majestically up the Savannah River, providing the afternoon’s entertainment for the tourists on River Street.  As always, click for a larger view.

The Port of Savannah is the country’s fourth busiest container port and fastest growing over all.  In the FY ending June 30, the port moved right at 3 million containers (imports and exports) and should comfortably exceed that figure in 2014. The port is beginning a deepening and expansion program to be able to accommodate the larger ships that will be coming through the expanded Panama Canal.

Although we don’t have an IKEA store within a 4-hour drive, we do have a giant, 789,000 sq-ft IKEA distribution center that handles 15,000 containers through the Port every year. The store recently installed a 182,300-square-foot solar array producing approximately 1,973,562 kWh of electricity annually. Virtually all the furniture in our house came from you-know-who.

Georgia TheatreAnd then last Saturday, I went up to Athens to celebrate my brother’s retirement, after teaching for 31 years at Georgia State.  We did what everybody does in Athens, we hung out.  It has to be one of the greatest towns on the planet for that purpose. I went to Ole Miss and so am partial to Oxford, but it’s just too small to compete with Athens and its incredible band scene. In keeping with the spirit of the two schools, we go in more for culture — Faulkner and that sort of thing.

Here’s the Georgia Theatre last Saturday night, featuring the Bobby Compton band. You can see his bus on the left side of the picture.

Happy Father’s Day 2013

GC Richards MukdenHere’s a picture of my late father, Grover C. Richards (he dropped “Jr.” when his father died) taken in Mukden, Manchuria, September 1945. He’s on the far right, along with another POW and two of the Soviet soldiers who liberated their camp. Click for a larger view.

Dad was captured on Corregidor in May 1942, after the fall of Bataan. He was awarded the Silver Star for bravery for actions in the Bataan campaign. He retired from the Army in 1961, got his Ph.D., and retired again as Chair of the Psychology Department at Georgia Southern College, as it was then known, in 1981. He died in 1996.

After the Storm

A sharp line of thunderstorms rolled across us about 7:30 last night leaving only minor tree damage in our area and some much needed rain. At around 8:30 I noticed a bright orange glow out our west-facing windows, ran outside into the last tailings of the storm, and took this picture. Ten minutes later, it was pitch black.

Fortunately my iPhone is in a water-resistant case.

After The Storm

My copy of Contempo has arrived!

Just got here today: my February 1, 1932 edition of Contempo. No, the Post Office wasn’t that slow; I bought it off eBay (and the USPS was right on time).

I ran across this footnote in the life of William Faulkner while attending my daughter’s graduation from UNC last month.  Minter’s 250-page bio, for example, doesn’t even mention that Faulkner visited Chapel Hill, much less that he contributed to this journal, and neither does his Wikipedia entry. The librarian at the university’s Southern Historical Collection, learning of my interest in Faulkner, retrieved their copy from the files, and I bought this one from John LaPine in Chicago (5 stars, by the way).

contempo_front_pageWhat is known is that the author visited Chapel Hill in October for at least three days (there is some controversy over the exact length of his visit), stayed drunk most of the time, and upon sobering up, learned that he had agreed to contribute to this journal, published by a couple of UNC students. It was a most unusual periodical, founded by a couple of young communists who also finagled pieces from such luminaries as George Bernard Shaw, T. S. Elliot, and Sinclair Lewis. The primary owner later moved to New York and became a highly successful stockbroker while never renouncing his left wing views. But that’s another story. (Click for a larger image)

The entire 2/1/1932 edition is credited to Faulkner, who gave the publication some poems and a short story that he hadn’t placed in more prestigious (and profitable) publications. Despite his binges, Faulkner was at the peak of his creative powers, having already published The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, having the manuscript for Light in August (my favorite) with him, and with his masterpiece Absalom! Absalom! only four years in the future. One of Contempo’s editors presciently wrote that Faulkner was “the most creative, most original and most potential writer that America has produced.” Such an opinion of Faulkner was not widely shared at that time, but 17 years later, he would win the Nobel Prize.

I had been living in Oxford about a year when the author died, so it’s possible that I saw him. I have no such memories, but I do have an original of the February 1, 1932 edition of Contempo and that will have to do.

[Note: the information on Faulkner in Chapel Hill and his association with Contempo is from “A week or 3 days in Chapel Hill: Faulkner, Contempo, and their contemporaries,” Jim Vickers, North Carolina Literary Review, Vol I, No 1, 1992. Available on-line from the NCLR site.]