Allendale, South Carolina
October 10, 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Phil Harris was a charismatic singer and an energetic band leader back in the "Big Band Era." I can recall his (black and white) TV appearances on the Jack Benny Show and on his own program with his wife Alice Faye. Phil Harris could really put over a song, especially his signature number, "That's What I Like About The South."
October 27, 2008
Here's a short quiz:
What is the correct pronunciation for the following places?
- Bossier City
- Natchitoches, Louisiana
- Nacogdoches, Texas
October 27, 2008
Bon jour mes amis,
"How…do…you…pronounce...the...name...of...your...city?" I asked the Continental Airlines agent on the tarmac of the Shreveport Regional Airport. (I anticipated that I would be obliged to modify my speech as well as adjust my hearing as I made my way into the deep South.)
October 28, 2008
Have you ever felt the ground vibrate beneath your feet?
I don't mean the sensation you felt when you were window-shopping at Bloomingdale's on Lexington Avenue in New York, and you heard the subway train rumble up towards The Bronx.
I don't mean the sensation you felt when you were sipping a latte in Union Square in San Francisco and the workmen nearby were using noisy pneumatic drills to repair the cable car tracks.
What I mean is something like the vibration I felt when I was walking the streets surrounding the Great Synagogue in Budapest. In 1944, Hungarian Jews, by the thousands were herded into this small area, barely able to survive, until, they knew not what awaited them, they were transported to their final destination. As I wandered these same streets in the summer of 2000, I could feel the earth shudder.
Once more I felt the earth come alive as I strolled the Civil War Battlefield at Mansfield, Louisiana.
Barksdale Air Force Base
Bossier City, Louisiana
October 29, 2008
One of my favorite television programs is "The West Wing." In one episode the President has been shot and the senior military advisors are worried that a foreign enemy might try to take advantage of the moment. When the military men ask the White House Chief of Staff what message the United States government should send out, the actor, the late John Spenser thinks for a second and says, "Don't mess with us tonight."
"Don't mess with us" was just what I was thinking when I visited the museum at Barksdale Air Force Base. East of Bossier City, Barksdale is the home of the Eighth Air Force. The slogan of the museum is "Come see the Might in the Mighty Eighth."