Chamblee54

New Years Day

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 31, 2010






One thing that is accepted without question is the year starting at midnight on December 31. That is, in some cultures. Jews have a new year in September, China celebrates some time in January, and the fiscal year is whenever the bean counters say. If you ask google “why does the year start january first”, you get 436m options.

The earth runs on a cycle, based on it’s annual trip around the sun. The winter solstice is the longest night of the year, and in many ways the logical end of the year. The celebration of Christmas, a few days after the solstice, is not a coincidence. The question today is, why do we start a new year a week after Christmas, or ten days after the solstice?

The top ranked answer at google is from catalogs.com. They talk about Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII(13), but never quite say why January first is the big day. It does end on a helpful note:
“Calendars are a way that grownups organize time, but clearly not all grownups do it the same way. Happy New Year, therefore, whenever it happens for you.”
Lifeslittlemysteries continues with the talk about Caesar and the Pope. It is noted that January 1 was the day that Roman officials started their term of office. In England and her colonies, the new year was celebrated in March until 1752.

The rest of the google results do not look promising. PG does not know the answer to this. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.




Lester Maddox

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 30, 2010







There has never been a politician like Lester Garfield Maddox. He was elected Governor of Georgia (with help of a quirk in the state constitution) in 1966. PG was 12 at the time, and saw the spectacle of the next four years with amazement.

Before we get started on this, we should remember a couple of things. Lester Maddox became notorious when he shut down his restaurant, The Pickrick, rather than serve a black customer. He was a segregationist, which means he did not want black people to have the same rights as white people. Looking back for 2010, it seems incredible that civil rights legislation was needed 46 years ago, so that 30% of Georgia could eat in a restaurant. PG does not condone the actions and attitudes of Lester Maddox, or the people who supported him.

There is style, and there is substance. While the substance of Lester may have been horrible, the style was a sight to behold. He could ride a bicycle backwards, and did so whenever a crowd was there to watch. ( PG saw this at halftime of the Peach Bowl.) He was on The Joe Pyne Show and The Dick Cavett Show, and walked off of both.

This section from a previous post tells a bit of the story.
The Governor was speaking to a group of reporters. He was announcing the appointment of a Black man to the Selective Service Board in some Georgia town. The reporter said it was the first Black man to serve on a draft board since reconstruction. What did the Governor think about this?The Governor said “Gee”
The screen returned to the Channel Five newsroom. The men at the desks were all laughing. The weatherman looked up at the camera and said “Thats a tough act to follow”
Whatever you might say about Lester Maddox…and there is no shortage of bad things to say…there has never been a public official that entertaining. As for being a tough act to follow, the next Governor was Jimmy Carter.
As for the weatherman, PG saw him  in a parking lot once. It was raining heavily. The “Gray Ghost” looked at PG with an ironic smile, as if to say “I am sorry”.

In 1970, the Governor of Georgia could not succeed himself. Lester ran for Lt. Governor, and spent the next four years feuding with Governor Jimmy Carter. Lester ran for a second term in 1974, and was trounced by George Busbee.( The slogan : “Elect a work horse, not a show horse.”) When Jimmy ran for President in 1976, Lester made a point of badmouthing Jimmy. In his own way, Lester Maddox helped Jimmy Carter get elected President.

There is a youtube video of the appearance of Lester on the Joe Pyne show. (Another guest that night was Culius Jeezer, who claimed to be 2000 years old). A video of the time Lester was on the Dick Cavett show has not emerged. ( Mr. Cavett has gotten old. He discusses the night Lester was on his show in this video .) Another guest that night was Truman Capote. After Lester walked off the show, Mr. Capote said, in his own inimitable way, ” I ate at his restaurant one time, and all I have to say is, it was not finger licking good”.

Pictures are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.




Potus Spout Pouts

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 29, 2010







The United States is in a period of almost unprecedented stability, in the office of President. The last time a President did not finish his term was 1974, when Richard Nixon resigned in disgrace. Gerald Ford assumed the office. It is note worthy that Mr. Ford was appointed to the Vice Presidency, after the resignation of Spiro Agnew. This was the first, and only, time the 25th amendment was used, to designate a successor Vice President.

When reserching this feature, PG typed Nixon into the google search engine. The top result was NixonNow , a watch company. Their website advertises “The Beastie Boys Time Teller”. In all the watches displayed, the time was 10:09.

Getting back to Presidential stability ( not related to the mental capacity of the person serving ), it has been 36 years since a President did not finish his term of office. The only longer period of Presidential stability was at the start of the republic. George Washington took office April 30, 1789. The first President to die in office was William Henry Harrison, who passed April 4, 1841. This gives us 52 years of Presidential stability, the longest span is the history of the republic.

With the exception of Mr. Nixon, death has been the only way out of the White House, before your term ended. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, but neither was removed from office by the Senate.

There have been eight Presidents to die in office. All but one ( Zachary Taylor) were elected in years ending in zero. This “zero factor” was in effect between 1840 and 1960, and seven Presidents in a row elected in zero years died in office. The “zero factor” guaranteed a White House death, roughly every twenty years. Such an abrupt transition is not good for smooth governance.

The “zero factor” was defeated by Ronald Reagan. He was elected in 1980, shot in 1981 and recovered, and served two full terms. There were many concerns about Mr. Reagan’s age before his election, and may have suffered early stage Alzheimers while in office. The winner of the 2000 election, George W. Bush, served two uninterrupted terms.

PG found a Playboy magazine article about the “zero factor” once. It was published before the 1980 election, and PG found it in 1983. The writer interviewed the Press Secretary for an also ran candidate, who said they were not concerned about the “zero factor”. The Press Secretary interviewed was Jim Brady. He served as White House Press Secretary, and was shot in the 1981 attempt on Ronald Reagan’s life.

The constitution provides for Presidential elections every four years. They can be lively affairs. However, when the election is over, the results are respected, and the winner allowed to serve. ( This is a contrast to the chaos seen in Iran. After the shabby election of 2000, maybe a bit of dispute was in order.) This system of regular elections, and frequent changes in power, is in contrast to the historic pattern of strongman rule, where the new ruler takes power with the murder of the old ruler. However corrupt the american system is, it is better than that.

Pictures today are from The Library of Congress.






Death By Caffeine

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 28, 2010






The facebook friend posted the cheerful news that 179 cups of brewed coffee would kill him. PG was fascinated by the concept of caffienating himself to death (headed to an early coffice). A doubleclick on Death by Caffeine put him closer to his fate.

PG was not the first person to see this test. It has been tweeted 668 times, with 40k on the f-like chart. It has tabs for USA, NZ & Australia, and UK & Europe. Asia and Africa are not important . The field below says “pick your poison”, you enter your weight, and click on the tab which says “kill me”.

The “pick your poison” has an impressive selection. Starting with “180” and ending with “Zun Energy Drink”, this is a selection to wake up the most jaded of amphetimites. Arizona caution energy shot, bawls geek beer, cougar energy double shot, foosh energy mints, venom mojave rattler, and slim fast cappucino delight shake all vie to send to excessive user on a one way trip to the pearly gates, presumably without a rocket. To a detoxed fuddy duddy like PG, this is heady stuff. (NZ & Australia have the options of Big Cock and Mother. UK & Europe balance matters with Pussy Energy Drink.)

With so many ways to die, one should think of taste and economy. ( What is the plumbing like in the pearly gate waiting room?)The first choice for PG is caffeinated maple bacon lollipop. 170.62 Caffeinated Maple Bacon Lollipop + You = Death. Next, native Atlantan PG needs to check out coca cola classic Gulp down 395.65 cans of Coca-Cola Classic and you’re history. Finally, for something that PG drinks everyday, it is iced tea . ( PG uses the cheap stuff sold at Kroger. Lipton and Nestea may have different results.) 290.43 cups of Iced Tea + You = Death.

The terminal dosage quotient is a feature of energy fiend . EF appears to be sponsored by the energy drink (e.d.) industry. Press release spawned posts for new drinks are listed on the left side of the home page. On the right are ads. You can Make Money! with energy mints! If you drink water, you are not mandrating. There is also a test for Caffeine Addiction.

The Addiction quiz is sponsored by Ammo Energy shot…no jitters, no crash, no kidding. There is a picture of a squirell, standing on his hind legs, drinking coca cola with a straw. The quiz is 15 yes/no questions, like “Do you have a hard time remembering the last time your favorite soda gave you a buzz?”or “Do you have a special refrigerator specifically for energy drinks?” The results … “Congratulations – you have completed Addiction Diagnosis. You scored 0 out of 16. Your performance have been rated as ‘Failed'”

Pictures for tonight’s amusement are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library” .




David Bowie

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 28, 2010







A webpage called CaptainsDead has a download of a David Bowie concert, that can only be called a Christmas present. Most Bowie live recordings are pretty dull. While the Thin White Duke is renowned for his concerts, they tend to be live events, that depend on staging and costumes as much as music. This show, from 1974, is different. Focusing on material from “Diamond Dogs”, the sound he produces comes close to matching the studio sound, and in a few cases surpasses it.

The next move for Bowie in 1974 was the “white soul” sound of “Young Americans”. He is moving in that direction in this show, even while he lingers in the glitter apocalypse. This tour included a stop at the Fox Theater, the first Atlanta show for Mr.Bowie. On the way to Florida for the next show, the truck with the sets and costumes crashed into a swamp full of rattlesnakes. The show in Tampa was performed in street clothes.

Maybe it is time for a Chamblee54 tribute to David Bowie. The Falcons and the Saints is on the box, and hopefully the Falcons can quit fumbling and score some points. The Georgia Dome has not hosted that many concerts…hopefully, the era of concerts in football stadiums is fading away. (The Saints wound up winning. At least PG did not have to see the obnoxious “Rise Up” commercial.)

The first album by David Bowie that PG heard about was “Hunky Dory”. At the time, Mr. Bowie had generated some buzz by admitting that he fancies blokes, or some uber british expression for being queer. In time, this would be seen as more publicity stunt than brave confession. The RCA debut got some good reviews, but not much else.

The next year produced “Ziggy Stardust”, a concept album. At about this time he did a tour of the United States, with costumes and onstage antics that generated even more publicity. More and more people started listening, some in spite of his outrageous image, and quite a few more because of it. He broke up his band, the spiders from mars, and announced his retirement. The band learned about this while standing on stage behind him. Mr. Bowie, for all his genius, is not always a nice man.

In 1974 there was an album, “Diamond Dogs”, about the decadent urban life in the scifi future. A stage show based on this album…the source of the download mentioned above…marked a return to the concert stage. The next year gave us “Young Americans”, and the year after that “Station to Station”. Every year was a different sound and vision.

Meanwhile, the artist was not doing so good as a human being. According to all reports, he was doing mountains of cocaine. (There is a story of going to meet the parents of Ava Cherry, one of his girlfriends. He shows up at 3am, and does coke on the dining room table.) There was an interview in Playboy( or maybe it was Rolling Stone ) where the first thing he says is, don’t believe anything I say. He went on to say that he admired Adolf Hitler. Have we mentioned the physical appearance of David Bowie in 1975? He looked like he was dead, and nobody bothered to tell him.( By contrast, in recent photo collections of rock stars, Mr. Bowie looks pretty good for a man who is 63 y.o.)

This was the era of Rocky Horror show. At one point, Riff Raff sings ( Tim O’Brien wrote the show, and gave himself some darn good lines ) Frank n furter, it’s all over, your mission is a failure, your lifestyle’s too extreme.I’m your new commander you now are my prisoner we return to transylvania prepare the transit beam While this may not have been directed at David Bowie, he took the hint.

We interrupt this David Bowie tribute with an emergency announcement. The new orleans quarterback likes to make these silly little passes when he is in trouble. The falcons just intercepted one, and ran it back for a touchdown.

So David Bowie saw himself at a dead end, and possibly a dead life. He moved into a little apartment in West Berlin, on top of a garage. Brian Eno offered his assistance, and a series of electronic albums was the result. The next few years saw rock and roll, dance music, and finally, crap. PG bought a Bowie album in 1984, the first time he saw it on sale, and was immensely disappointed. The last David Bowie album that PG got was a free cd that was given to people buying a magazine.

Around 1981, MTV was born, and radio was suddenly obsolete. A visual artiste like David Bowie was a natural for video. Unfortunately, many of these videos are not available for embedding in blogs. Ashes to Ashes was a staple of early MTV. Boys Keep Swinging , off the “Lodger” album, is a return to the gender bender Bowie of younger days.

David Bowie continued to do tours, and PG got to see two of the shows. In 1987, something called the “Glass Spider Tour” came to the Omni. ( In a later interview, it turns out Mr. Bowie was extremely unhappy during this tour, and close to suicide at some points.) The Glass Spider was this mass of lighting effects that hovered over the stage, and was used to best advantage during “Scary Monsters”. The show featured Peter Frampton on guitar, and had a pack of dancers. ( One apparent female took her drag off during the finale.) A good time was had by all.

In 1990, another retirement tour came to the Omni. This one had movies projected on a screen behind the stage, and featured guitar hero Adrian Bellew. The night had the feel of a contractual obligation. David Bowie is too professional to give a bad show, but this one did not have the fire of “Glass Spider”. PG had a new set of contact lenses, and his eyes were painfully dry most of the night.







This is a repost.
Using only song names from ONE ARTIST, cleverly answer these questions. Tag some others who might enjoy this. You can’t use the band I used. Try not to repeat a song title. It’s a lot harder than you think! Re-post as “my life according to (band name)”Pick your Artist: David Bowie

Are you a male or female: The Bewley Brothers
Describe yourself: Quicksand
How do you feel:Always crashing in the same car

Describe where you currently live: Life on Mars
If you could go anywhere, where would you go: Width of a circle
Your favorite form of transportation: Queen Bitch

Your best friend is: Young Americans
You and your best friends are: Kooks
What’s the weather like: Changes

Favorite time of day: Eight Line Poem
If your life was a TV show, what would it be called: Scary Monsters
What is life to you: Panic in Detroit

Your relationship: Fame
Your fear: Sound and Vision
What is the best advice you have to give:Somebody up there likes me

Thought for the Day: Hang onto yourself
How I would like to die: Ashes to Ashes
My soul’s present condition: Moonage Daydream
My motto: Andy Warhol





Open Coffice Burial

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 27, 2010







When you type world in the address bar of the browser here, the number one option is worldclassstupid . Written by a sixfooteight man in Brooklyn, wcs chronicles the world, and makes observations like “Virtue is its own reward.Vice can find a paycheck. “

On xmas day, World read a column in the New York Times about the top ten words for 2010. There were more than ten, which means a few were at the bottom, or off to the side. The post, titled ive-got-last… , focuses on three of these words.

mansplainer: A man compelled to explain or give an opinion about everything — especially to a woman. He speaks, often condescendingly, even if he doesn’t know what he’s talking about or even if it’s none of his business.sofalize: A marketing term created for people who prefer to stay home and communicate with others electronically.coffice: A coffee shop habitually used as an office by customers, who mooch its space, electricity, Wi-Fi and other resources.

Coffice sounds a lot like coffin. This may be one reason why starbucks is closing shops, to beat the last minute rush. Sofa lies could be untruths spoken in the living room. “He said he would put down the remote, but that is a sofalie”.

A look at the source shows a few more good words, as well as bad, and in between. The web version of this post has an ad for something called The Town, with a picture of nuns holding machine guns. Maybe it is the grammar police. Maybe the armed sisters should confiscate the vuvulezafrom the language. This plastic device was a soundtrack feature of the World Cup, and hopefully will be forgotten by 2012.

The list part of the post has 33 words, starting with Belieber( a Justin Bieber thing) and ending with weird (an acronym of Western, educated, industrialized, rich and democratic. As Hunter S. Thompson noted, when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro). They have groups, like pop culture, the oil spill, politics, and things.

A few of these phrases are worth noting. Star whacker is not related to Christine O’Donnell. It is a person who murders famous people, which is considered to be bad manners. Halfalogue is the overheard half of a phone conversation, frequently on a cell phone in public. Poutrageis outrage that is not to be taken seriously, because the pouter is not a serious person.

A certain celebrity, who will not be named, is given blame for mama grizzly and, of course, refudiate. PG saw a public performance by this overexposed celebrity, on behalf of a “mama grizzly” who wanted to be Governor of Georgia. The would be mama g, bless her heart, had the charisma of a doorknob, and lost in the runoff.

Enhanced airport paranoia gave us porno scanner and enhanced pat down. The certain celebrity had a few things to say about GZM, or ground zero mosque. Finally, the high point of the year may have been the morning a man saw a double rainbow. Pictures for this commentary are from The Library of Congress.





Relationship Evangelism

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 26, 2010







PG stumbled onto an amazing piece of work christmas day. The post is titled “Relationship Evangelism”. The concept is creating a friendship with someone, so that you can convert them to Jesus worship. This is not a new strategy, and is more user friendly than convert or die.

This is not to say that RE is an ethical matter. There is this quote to consider:
” So if you’re a Christian, keen to fulfil your part in the Great Commission, how exactly do you implement this strategy? Well, first you need to overcome any scruples about duplicity. After all, this approach means that you will be presenting yourself as ‘trustworthy friend’, and yet — thanks to your hidden agenda —you are anything but. “
The post about RE does not specify where you meet your friend. Obviously, it is not church. That leaves the other sources of friends…work, school, neighborhoods, bars, and others. In some of these, there is no other activity to get in the way of your proselytizing. However, some of these institutions have purposes, and you may be working against these goals if you mix business with Jesus. If you meet someone at work, and try to leverage that relationship into an evangelical opportunity, then having a profitable business can come in second place.

Ok, so you get to be friends with someone you play softball with. He thinks you are his pal because you enjoy his company. The next step is to sneak references to religion into your conversation. To quote from the text:
“As your ‘friend’, a non-believer will be happy to listen to — and possibly even come to share — your views about all sorts of things, including: real estate trends, the joys of bringing up children, a recent movie you saw, and Jesus being the Son of God. Ideally, they won’t even see that last one coming — until it’s too late! ““For example, you may want to drop in the occasional ‘God-talk’, preferably in the most innocuous, casual fashion: “Oh yeah, that restaurant is near our church.” “This time with you has been such a blessing.””I was just praying the other day . . . .”This approach is so subtle that the non-believer is unlikely to stop the flow of conversation.”
The tract does stop to consider the ethics of this. “It’s worth noting that evangelicals do have ways of justifying the strategies above… Why? Because they really do care about non-believers. They don’t want them to go to Hell. ” It is the catch 22 of Jesus worship…the scheme for life after death. This justifies all the rudeness, deceit, and disrespect of evangelism…if you don’t agree with us, you are going to go to hell.

This does not speak well for Jesus. After a lifetime of this approach to religion, PG wishes to never hear the word Jesus again. This is not going to happen. Jesus worshipers do not respect those who do not agree with their religion, and seldom miss an opportunity to shove Jesus in the face of non believers. This is one result of having a scheme for life after death as the focus of your religion.

Pictures for this entertainment are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”





Consumer Protection

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 25, 2010







The following story might be a satire. This Christmas presentation is a repost

Egyptian grooms can now complain to the Consumer Protection Agency if their brides “are missing a hymen, or are otherwise faulty,” according to the new law.

If the marital product, also known as “woman”, is found without the highly-prized tissue still intact, bride consumers can return the damaged commodity within 7 days of trying it out, in which case they will then receive compensation from its manufacturer, or “parent”.

Contrary to unpopular belief, Egyptian women are expected to preserve their hymens at least until their wedding day.

The new law is a response to a growing trend of more and more marital products falsely presenting themselves as first-hand goods, when in fact other consumers had tested them out secretly before. “Imagine spending LE200,000 on a new car then finding out some other prick had taken it for a ride before you?” says Moneer El Modage3, an avid car collector and Middle East hymen expert.

This sentiment is shared by a majority of Egyptian bride consumers and manufacturers, known for often violently disposing of marital products if the treasured bubble wrap goes missing before the so-called “entry night”.

“The manufacturer of my ex tried to tell me my purchase was damaged only due to frequent horseback riding in its past,” said one disgruntled bride consumer, “but in the end I got a refund and bought a new model with a longer expiration date.”

Saudi conservative leader Imar Wekhimar, a frequent visitor to Egypt, praised the new law, though with some reservations. “Quality control in marital products is long overdue,” he said between sips of fermented grapes, “I just wish they extended it to young boys too.”

Not all Egyptians are happy with the new law, however – particularly the XX-based gender. A minority of extreme “liberals” are arguing that the so-called marital products are in fact conscious, claiming that consumers should be more concerned with what’s inside the head-shaped region, rather than obsess about the one time-use tissue.

“Ha!” says El Modage3, “What’s next? Stop sexually harassing them in the streets?!” Justifiably, El Modage3 and other consumers are worried that attaching any real value to “women” themselves may interfere with the ongoing 7000 year old plan for men to rule the universe.





Bah Humbug

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 24, 2010


PG has nothing to say about Christmas. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.












Rudolph Shines

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 23, 2010







The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. There is a guest appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Chamblee54 is skeptical about reports regarding the gender of the lead reindeer. PG suspects that a female would put powder on that nose.

Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic Tuesday. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.

In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.

Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten.( Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one.) The booklet was released anyway, and was a big hit with shoppers.

Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story ( which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.

Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:

1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. always tell the truth.
4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. help people in distress.
7. be a good worker.
8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. be a patriot.

“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”. You just can’t get away from race.





Christmas Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 22, 2010










There is enough talk about Christmas already. Pictures are from The Library of Congress.

Flannery : A Life

Posted in Uncategorized by chamblee54 on December 21, 2010







With one day before it was due, PG finished reading Flannery: A Life of Flannery O’Connor , by Brad Gooch. The author is a professor of English at William Patterson University in New Jersey. He spares no citations, to show where he gets his information.

Chamblee54 has written before about Miss O’Connor , and repeated the post a year later. There is a radio broadcast of a Flannery O’Connor lecture. ( The Georgia accent of Miss O’Connor is much commented on in the book. To PG, it is just another lady speaking.) The pictures for today’s post are from ” The Special Collections and Archives,Georgia State University Library”.

Mary Flannery O’Connor was born March 25, 1925 in Savannah GA. The local legend is that she was conceived in the shadow of St. John the Baptist Cathedral, a massive facility on Lafayette Square. Her family did leave nearby, and her first school was just a few steps away. This is also a metaphor for the role of the Catholic Church in her life. Mary Flannery was intensely Catholic, and immersed in the scholarship of the church. This learning was a large part of her life. How she got from daily mass, to writing stories about Southern Grotesque, is one mystery at the heart of Flannery O’Connor.

Ed O’Connor doted on his daughter, but had to take a job in Atlanta to earn a living. His wife Regina and daughter Mary Flannery moved with him, to a house behind Christ The King Cathedral. Mr. O’Connor’s health was already fading, and Mother and Daughter moved in with family in Milledgeville. Ed O’Connor died, of Lupus Erythematosus, on February 1, 1941.

Mary Flannery went to college in Milledgeville, and on to the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She dealt with cold weather, went to Mass every day, and wrote. She was invited to live at an artists colony called Yaddo, in upstate New York. She lived for a while with Robert and Sally Fitzgerald in Connecticut, all while working on her first novel, “Wise Blood”. In 1950, she was going home to Milledgeville for Christmas, and had been feeling poorly. She went to the hometown doctor, who thought at first that the problem was rheumatoid arthritis. The illness of Flannery O’Connor was Lupus Erythematosus.

Miss O’Connor spent much of that winter in hospitals, until drugs were found that could help. She moved, with her mother, to a family farm outside Milledgeville, which she renamed Andalusia. She entered a phase of her life, with the Lupus in relative remission, and the drugs firing her creative fires, where she wrote the short stories that made her famous.

Another thing happened when she was recuperating. Flannery was reading the Florida “Market Bulletin”, and saw an ad for “peafowl”, at sixty five dollars a pair. She ordered a pair, and they soon arrived via Railway Express. This was the start of the peacocks at Andalusia, a part of the legend.

During this period of farm life and writing, Flannery had several friends and correspondents. There was the “Bible Salesmen”, Erik Langkjaer, who was probably the closest thing Flannery had to a boyfriend. Another was Betty Hester, who exchanged hundreds of letters with Miss O’Connor. ( Mr. Gooch says that Betty Hester committed suicide in 1998. That would be consistent with PG stumbling onto an estate sale of Miss Hester in that time frame.) This took place under the stern eye of Regina O’Connor, the no nonsense mother-caregiver of Flannery.

The book of short stories came out, and Flannery O’Connor became famous. She was also dependent on crutches, and living with a stern mother. There were lectures out of town, and a few diverse personalities who became her friend. She went to Mass every day, and collected books by Catholic scholars. Flannery was excited by the changes in the church started by Pope John XXIII, and in some ways could be considered a liberal. ( She supported Civil Rights, in severe contrast to her mother.)

In 1958, Flannery O’Connor went to Europe, including a trip to the Springs at Lourdes. Her cousin Katie Semmes (the daughter of Captain John Flannery, CSA) pushed Flannery hard to go to the springs, to see if it would help the Lupus. Flannery was reluctant…” I am one of those people who could die for his religion sooner than take a bath for it“. When the day for the visit came, Flannery took a token dip in the waters. Her condition did improve, briefly. ( It is worth speculating here about the nature of Flannery’s belief, which was apparently more intellectual than emotional. Could it be that, if she was more persuaded by the mystical, emotional side of the church, and taken the healing waters more seriously, that she might have been cured?)

At some point in this story, her second novel came out, and the illness blossomed. Much of 1964 was spent in hospitals, and she got worse and worse. On August 3, 1964, Mary Flannery O’Connor died,





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