How Do Emptied Cabinets Stay Full?

It never ceases to amuse and amaze me that when I thin out kitchen cabinets, the refrigerator, the tool room, the basement, my art room–anything at all–nothing seems to have been tossed.

I just did an annual de-clutter of my kitchen cabinets, clearing out old food, unusable leftover containers, open pasta and even a few Ball jars. Dang if it looks like I (and Margie, my supervisor) have done a damn thing. Unless you look in our garbage and recycling containers, which are now nearly full.

How does all that stuff get into limited space, which stays full when you get rid of half of it? One of the physics mysteries of the age, I’d say.

I’d say another mystery is why I have five cans of beets?

‘The Post’ Well Worth Your Time

Linotype machine from the 1970s. This helped produce your daily paper.

Margie and I just saw “The Post” (a truly fine movie) and I ran into a bunch of old newspaper cronies with whom I worked during the time period of the movie (1971). Several admitted to shedding a tear during the movie and not necessarily for freedom of the press.

The movie was so very full of nostalgia that I got lumps in my throat–and tears in my eyes–over the friggin’ equipment we used in the early 1970s, including “hot type,” which was how the newspapers were printed at the time. The movie gets into the process and spends a good amount of time examining the Line-o-Type machines, which magically produced bars of lead-based type.

The movie, itself, gives us the strong message that Donald Trump is not the first president to try to shut up and shut off the press’ examination of how government is mismanaged.

Worth your time. Especially worth your time if you are a salty old newsie.

Old City Market Fading Away in Roanoke

Sam’s at 2:45 p.m. today, nearing closing time.

I just discovered that Sam’s On the Market, which has been on Roanoke City Market since 1922, will close in two hours, at 5 p.m. Friday. I’m saddened by this because it was where I had all my embroidery done and because it is one more connection with the old market that will disappear.

Sam’s owner Tommy Anderton, I’m told, finally had enough of running his small business, which kept shrinking. The store went from double its current size a few years ago to its current one-store front, selling uniforms–mostly emergency services and police–and embroidering them (and other things). For many years, it had been a general dry goods store, one of the last vestiges of a City Market that was as much nostalgia as practicality.

I’ve been here since 1971 and seen the Market slowly divest itself of the old ways, the old stores, the old farmers (not many of them left at all, and shrinking annually). I’m not certain how much longer the Market can survive, frankly, at least in a shape that many of us know and love.

I’m not one who hates or even resists change, but this is truly sad. I’ll miss Sam’s.

Just How Ill is Donald Trump? (Hint: Very)

Earth go “BOOM!”

The question that continues to concern nearly every civilized person in the world is the sanity of the president of the United States. It is a legitimate concern, one a team of esteemed psychiatrists thought so dire that they wrote a book about it:  The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.

One of the authors of that book is Yale psychiatrist Bandy Lee, who yesterday wrote a piece in The Guardian that contained the following:

“It is Trump in the office of the presidency that poses a danger. Why? Past violence is the best predictor of future violence, and he has shown: verbal aggressiveness, boasting about sexual assaults, inciting violence in others, an attraction to violence and powerful weapons and the continual taunting of a hostile nation with nuclear power. Specific traits that are highly associated with violence include: impulsivity, recklessness, paranoia, a loose grip on reality with a poor understanding of consequences, rage reactions, a lack of empathy, belligerence towards others and a constant need to demonstrate power.

“There is another pattern by which he is dangerous. His cognitive function, or his ability to process knowledge and thoughts, has begun to be widely questioned. Many have noted a distinct decline in his outward ability to form complete sentences, to stay with a thought, to use complex words and not to make loose associations. This is dangerous because of the critical importance of decision-making capacity in the office that he holds. Cognitive decline can result from any number of causes – psychiatric, neurological, medical, or medication-induced – and therefore needs to be investigated. Likewise, we do not know whether psychiatric symptoms are due to a mental disorder, medication, or a physical condition, which only a thorough examination can reveal.”

Trump says he is a “stable genius,” an opinion shared by nobody else who has a degree of sanity. He says his nuclear button is bigger than that of the premier of North Korea, another shaky leader who is being made to look much more “stable” by comparison to his American counterpart.

Lee strongly recommends a first-hand diagnosis of Trump, something almost nobody expects as even a possibility. It could, however, be the beginning of saving the world from a madman.


Happy Birthday, Paul; Drive On

Paul’s Camaro on the cover of a drag racing magazine.

Today is my youngest brother Paul’s birthday and I’ll take it as a chance to celebrate his success over the years as a drag racer, a guy who’s always built his own cars on his own nickle.

It is and always has been a hobby, but a driving, obsessive hobby for Paul and he’s good at it. The magazine cover here is recent, though he’s mostly retired from competition. He drove tracks around the Southeast for years with quite a bit of success and even met his wife, Jackie, literally under the hood of his race car at a small track many years ago.

Paul’s daughter, Paula, made him a Christmas present model of his 1968 Camaro dragster.

Happy birthday, Paul, and I hope nobody confused your birthday present with your Christmas present.

Mark the Date: Jan. 20, Women’s March

Last year’s Women’s March crowd was estimated at 3,500 in Roanoke.

My sign-holding friend Marj Easterling’s voice was loud.

Mark Jan. 20 on your calendar in red. It’s Round II of the Women’s March, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. in Elmwood Park, Roanoke. Last year’s event, like so many throughout the U.S. was central in beginnings of efforts to kick Donald Trump and his anti-Americans out of office. Virginia, during this most recent election cycle, showed the power of the vote.

This year’s march will be headed by a group of women led by ex-Marine Melissa Anderson. Men are not only invited, but encouraged to march, carry signs, yell, hold hands and encourage. This march isn’t just about women. It is about the rights and freedoms of us all. If we allow one American to be bullied and deprived by a government that was essentially elected by Russian espionage, we have all failed.

A Real New Year’s Day Lunch

Oh, hell, forget tradition. Forget blackeyed peas. Here’s lunch fit for at least a prince, if not a king, from Mother Smith’s World Famous Kitchen. It’s leftover beef stew that tastes like heaven, if heaven had a taste. Yum.

(Let’s hope it doesn’t kill me. I made it last week.)