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I see deer everywhere these days. Literally every day. Deer here, deer there, deer everywhere. That's not paranoia talking, either. I have pictures!

It's two AM. Fear is gone.
Ok. That's not a great picture. But that really is a deer, and it was only the first of four I saw last night!

Even if you go to bed at sundown, you probably know that after dark suburban neighborhoods are teaming with raccoons, possums, and armadillos roaming between the religiously maintained lawns and hedges. Owls can be heard marking their treetop territory, and it's not summer without bats overhead hunting gnats and mosquitoes. Those critters are everywhere, but they're small. Deer are big, larger than dogs. You think you'd notice if they were around. Don't be fooled.

I've been letting Dad's dogs out at about 2AM for the past two months. Almost every night, I see deer. This week alone, on Sunday, I spotted a pair of does napped by a fence. On Monday a family of four walked calmly across the road in front of my car. On Tuesday another grazed at the end of the driveway without regard for my presence. The dogs chased it away briefly; then it came back and finished its meal. That was a determined, hungry deer.

Where do these deer go every day? Do they have a lair? Do they retreat to their secret underground deer cave? Do they squat in abandoned crack houses? (Dad watches a lot of Ancient Aliens on History Channel. He'd probably insist they go back to their spaceships.)

I'm not trying to be an alarmist about this. It's too late to build a wall. Deer. Are. Everywhere. It's time to stop fighting them and learn to live in harmony. And build bigger gardens: deer eat a lot of greens.

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Forest Lawn Memorial Park is just around the corner from my Dad's new house. It's been there since 1956, which means it was there when I was in high school. I must have passed it hundreds of times, but I'd never been in. Not until this week when the beautiful weather made a side trip necessary.

Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful grave

I've never liked it. Oak Hill is the older cemetery closer to town. As previous posts on this blog prove, I like it fine. Forest Lawn, on the other hand, has always seemed to me more like a small, sterile golf course than a cemetery. Now that I've been in, I'll second my own first impression.

Fore

I've never been a believer that cemeteries should remain solemn and unused plots of ground. If you can't celebrate the lives of the dead, why remember them at all? Besides, a tiny metal plate with a stack of fake flowers is hardly how I'd want anyone to remember me.

Please Refrain From Loud Noises Or Activities That Disturb The Serenity Of The Park

The rules are posted by the entrance. The first one is no kids (living ones, I assume). The second is no recreational equipment (read: no fun). The third is no pets ("Leashed Or Unleashed": even fish are out). That sounds awfully exclusionary, but read to the bottom and you'll see that "Properly Attired Walkers And Joggers Are Welcome Except During Funeral Services." Thanks for that offer, but I think we'll keep on passing by.

Choose life

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What? I skipped a post again? Dammit.

In my defense, I've been busy these past few days. As you know, I've been supervising Dad's medications and dog-sitting Rambo and Scarlett (and trying to make July not jealous). Also, there have been issues with our commercial rental property, including an AC failure and an (unrelated) fallen tree that damaged the roof and destroyed the gutter over the back door that has a bad tendency to flood. Add to those that I have an end-of-July deadline on a coding project. And I helped one friend build some shelves and another fix her cable system. And my own ISP was down for most of Friday and Saturday. And I've been trying to find time to write more. And and and and.

But that's all just excuses.

On the up side, I did just recently discover that my phone takes great panoramic photos, a feature which I have been using exclusively to take photos of clouds.

Beautiful Clouds: Polution's one redeeming feature

So that's good. And that's enough.

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Seen from parking lot
the sunset's a forest fire.
Hooray pollution!

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The best thing about my father's hospital stay is the view from his room.

That one looks like a gauze pad!

I'll take what I can get.

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It was a hot and humid June. Heat + Humidity = Thundershowers. The one good thing about the rain is the clouds. And the best thing about clouds is spectacular sunsets.

For the record: not my house

Top that, July!

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You've probably heard by now that the Great Nazi Newnan Rally of 2018 this past Saturday was more fizzle than sizzle. I get the impression that the news media is disappointed that no one burned down our historic 1904 courthouse.

Estimates are that somewhere between 24 and 50 Nazis showed up, opposed by "hundreds" of counter-protesters, and 700 police. Police outnumbered everyone else 2-1. I don't know what the Nazis were rallying for, but what they got was a police state. I'm sure they felt comfortable. Newnanites pride themselves on being gracious hosts.

The only people arrested were counter-protesters who had the gall to cover their faces with bandanas. That may seem a little extreme, but how else were the police to know that they weren't secretly insurgents out to incite a riot? Or maybe they were crisis actors. Damn those crisis actors!

For the record, I didn't attend the rally. My Mom wouldn't let me. Instead we spent the day at home watching movies. Anne Frank wouldn't have needed a diary if she'd had RedBox.

The next time the Nazis think about coming to town, I'll be glad to recommend a film they could watch instead. Maybe Thor: Ragnarok. It's a pretty good way to pass an afternoon.

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Neo-Nazis are coming to Newnan. And this used to be such a nice Southern town. By which I mean the kind that kept its racism private.

The city police department sent a letter to local businesses to let them know that the Nationalist Socialist Movement (NSM) has rented a city park for a rally on April 21. The city says it can't do anything to stop that, what with the First Amendment and all. Funny. The First Amendment didn't stop the county from spending millions of dollars a few years ago to try to prevent Starship, a sex toy retailer, from getting a business licence. Sex toys bad! Nazis okay.

The city seems much more worried about the Antifa groups that have already announced their intent to protest the rally. The local newspaper suggests that we should just politely ignore the racists in our midst. I mean, why would anyone protest against those clean-cut skinheads? They look like such nice boys. Nice, white boys.

The representative of the NSM told the paper that his group chose Newnan for no specific reason, but, boy, aren't we be worried that "they" are coming for our Confederate monuments? "Next thing you know, it will be the Vietnam Memorial or even our American flag." Um, no, no it won't. Frankly, if the monument to Confederate dead on our Court Square is the reason we have Nazis in town, I'm okay with seeing it go.

Some sides just don't have "very fine people."

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Walking through Oak Hill Cemetery last week with Mom and the girls, we passed the burial plot for J.W.A. and Zippora Rowland. As you can see, only one of them was buried there.

You'll note that there is no death date for Zippora, though the engraver presumed it would happen sometime in the 20th century. That marker visible on the bottom right isn't for her, it's J.W.A.'s. Why is his body on Zippora's side of the bed? That's just the tip of the iceberg of what I don't know about Zippora. Who was she, and why isn't she buried along with her name? Of course this made me curious, so I did a little Googling.

It seems J.W.A. Rowland lived most of his life not in Newnan but in Bowdon in neighboring Carroll County. I don't know what he did for a living, but the Carroll Free Press of the late 19th century reports that he was the initial vice president of the Carroll County Chorus Choir Association. (That meeting appears to have been in the Shiloh UMC building which still stands halfway between Carrollton and Bowdon.) Still in Bowdon in 1892, he was witness on a U.S. Patent application for Ocran D. Bunt's plow fender (patent #467853). "James W.A. Rowland" appears as a 72 year old man living in Newnan, GA by the time of the 1920 census. Nearer his death, he was a co-plaintiff in a 1921 lawsuit against the Central of Georgia Railway Company in which he won $250. (They were riding in a buggy "when the mule drawing it ran away and threw them out," causing injuries. It's not clear what role the railroad played, but the court said they were guilty.)

None of those references mention Zippora.

Zippora Rowland does show up in the 1930 census as a 62-year-old woman living in Newnan, GA. "Zippora" was never a popular name, but I don't find any reference to her in the local papers of the era.

So whatever happened to Zippora? Did she remarry? Did she die somewhere else, and no one knew to bring her back to Newnan where her marker was waiting for her? I like to think she's still alive somewhere, enjoying the good life on her sesquicentennial birthday. Here's to you, Zippora!

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Earlier this week, the Newnan City Council agreed to give away a city street to the downtown Central Baptist Church in exchange for 18 parking places. (Central offered to build a parking lot with 40 spaces, but to do so they first have to take away 12 existing places, and they're keeping another 10 for themselves.) The entire affair was resolved in typical Newnan fashion: the citizens only being told that the city would be giving away their property a week before it was a done deal.

Personally, I don't care what happens to Brown Street. If the church wants it and the city doesn't, that's their call. I can't even say that I have a problem with the underhanded way the church and the city negotiated this in a back room without public input. As I said, Newnan subscribes to the Boss Hogg school of democracy ("What's yours is mine!"). What I do have a problem with is the hypocrisy of the city councilman who was insulted that the citizens who opposed this underhanded horse trade would dare impugn his integrity.

The Newnan Times-Herald quotes Councilman Ray DuBose:

"Yes, I am a member of Central and I have been elected to serve as a Deacon on the board, which I serve with pleasure, and there is no conflict of interest in my voting for this. Furthermore, in my oath that I took as councilman, I promised to serve the community as a whole and certainly the church is a part of that whole as much as the other neighborhoods. I do my very best every time time I sit up here and find it an insult that people would call me unfair."

Well, bless his heart. As he's such a good Christian, I'll give poor, put upon Mr. DuBose the benefit of the doubt. Maybe no one ever explained to him what a "conflict of interest" is. Since he's a jeweler by trade, let me try it this way:

Imagine a jeweler who has agreed to keep a ring in his safe for a customer. The jeweler's wife sees the ring and wants it for herself. In exchange for the ring, she offers to trade the jeweler a necklace he could resell for big bucks. Ask yourself, is it ethical for the jeweler to make this trade without the consent of the owner of the ring? What would Jesus do? (Hint: He wouldn't trade away something that wasn't his.)

No matter how much that jeweler might want to keep his wife happy, no matter how much he wants to resell that necklace, his personal and professional desires present a conflict with the interest of the ring's owner who he also represents. Hence, he shouldn't be the one to make the decision whether the ring gets traded for the necklace. See? It's simple!

To put it more bluntly, if there's even a question of whether a councilman has a conflict of interest in a particular bit of city business, it's always most appropriate ethically for him to recuse himself from participating in making that decision. In this case, if Mr. DuBose had done the morally right thing and admitted that he valued the needs of his church so highly that he couldn't be bothered listening to the opinions of the general population, he still would have gotten his parking lot as the rest of the council voted 4-2 in favor of his little deal. And he wouldn't have had to hear the dirty bums who pay his salary call him such nasty names!

As I said, I don't care about the outcome. I only drive down Brown Street, like, 3 times a year, and I certainly never set foot inside Central Baptist Church. While I'm sorry that Mr. DuBose's delicate sensibilities were offended by a bunch of people who would rather drive through his filthy little town than park in it, I can't say that I much blame them.

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To be continued...

 

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