That's "Campana-stan" or ''Land of Campana." It reflects the Weltanschauung of Michael E. Campana, President-for-Life of the Republic of Campanastan. Welcome to Campanastan - no passports or visas required!
Texas Agriculture Law Blog Don't let the name fool you - there are lots of water issues in agriculture and Tiffany Dowell of Texas A&M University does a fabulous job with this important Internet resource. Give it a read - I do every day!
The Way of Water Oregon State University Geography PhD Student, Jennifer Veilleux, records her fieldwork, research, and thoughts about transboundary water resources development in the Nile River and Mekong River basins. Particular attention is given to Ethiopia's Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Laos' Xayaburi Dam projects.
Thirsty in Suburbia Gayle Leonard documents things from the world of water that make us smile: particularly funny, amusing and weird items on bottled water, water towers, water marketing, recycling, the art-water nexus and working.
This Day in Water History Michael J. 'Mike' McGuire, engineer extraordinaire, NAE member, and author of 'The Chlorine Revolution', blogs about historical happenings in the fields of drinking water and wastewater keyed to calendar dates.
WaSH Resources New publications, web sites and multi-media on water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH).
Water 50/50 From Jay Famiglietti at UC-Irvine. Fifty lectures in fifty weeks: The 2012 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lectureship. A global lecture tour delivering the message about our changing water cycle, groundwater depletion, and the future of freshwater availability.
Water For The Ages Abby, another PNWer, writes about global water issues with passion and concern.
Watering the Desert Aptly-titled blog by CJ Brooks, a lawyer-hydrologist-geologist from Tucson, AZ.
Watershed Moments: Thoughts from the Hydrosphere From Sarah Boon - rediscovering her writing and editing roots after 13 years, primarily as an environmental scientist. Her writing centres around creative non-fiction, specifically memoir and nature writing. The landscapes of western Canada are her main inspiration.
WaterWired All things fresh water: news, comment, and analysis from hydrogeologist Michael E. Campana, Professor at Oregon State University.
Watery Foundation Tom Swihart, formerly of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, tells all about water management in the Sunshine State.
Western Water Blog The 'mystery blog' about Western USA water issues. What more can I say?
Wisdom in Water, Please... Kate Wilkins-Wells , who manages the Northwest Kansas Groundwater Management District No. 4, provides her wisdom on water issues.
xAnalytical Doug Walker's xAnalytical blog:Turning Data and Information into Knowledge
In between the fireworks, auto and furniture sales, and barbecues, take a few minutes today to read the Declaration of Independence and the remarkable Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which came along 11 years later:
If you are an American citizen, thank your lucky stars for those 56 guys who signed the Declaration in Philadelphia in 1776 and started this thing rolling.
While you are at it, give extra thanks for the First Amendment, which guarantees five fundamental rights, which you can remember with the mnemonic RAPPS: religion, assembly, press, petition, and speech.
Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, two giants in American history - friends, then opponents, and finally friends again - both died on this day in 1826. As I get older, I think less of Jefferson and more of Adams. Both were great men, but the former 'talked the talk' and didn't always 'walk the walk' (e.g., slavery) whereas the latter tried to do both.
Enjoy the day, and enjoy RAPPS!
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness." -- Declaration of Independence
"...a Republic, if you can keep it." -- Benjamin Franklin, at the end of the Constitutional Convention, when asked, "What have you wrought?"
Thought I would celebrate the fifth anniversary of the arrival of our SUSIE students, twenty-three young women and menfrom Central America (Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua) and the Caribbean (Jamaica, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Trinidad and Tobago). Most arrived on Sunday, 28 June 2009. We were all excited.
Ana Maria Peralta, one of three Dominicanas, who later pursued an MBA in Spain, assembled this photograph:
The instructors are arranged along the left side and top. The picture of Mt. Hood is signifcant because on the day before we all went to Washington, DC, we took them up to a few patches of snow where they all experienced snow for the first time.
Here is a larger picture of all of us in Washington, DC, where we spent a week after five weeks in Oregon:
Each student was different, but all shared great intelligence and a desire to learn. I told them that they were going to spoil me for my fall Geology 101 class. They did!
Two years ago at this time I was traveling through Honduras and Nicaragua and saw three of the SUSIE students. I saw Julio Eguigurems (above) on 27 June 2012 in Honduras. He works at the national forestry school in Comayagua. I then traveled to Nicaragua to see Laura Espinoza García and Natalia Raudez. Laura just completed her first year studying for a Master's degree in Belgium on a scholarship and Natalia is married and a mommy. I unfortunately missed Lucia Paiz Medina, who has completed her Master's degree in Brussels.
Julio may be applying for a Master's degree at OSU, and Dara-Marie Raggay of Trinidad and Tobago was accepted at OSU for a Master's in Environmental Science but did not matriculate.
You don't know how much I miss you and how much you enriched my life!
"Sometimes the only difference we can make is passing our wisdom to someone else who will make the bigger difference." -- Linda B. Gray
Looks like former Montana governor Brian 'La Boca' Schweitzer didn't really want to be POTUS after all. But, hey, what a charming buffoon (he's the one without the tie in this WaPo photo).
Most of this is from a piece by Aaron Blake in the WaPo.
First, Schweitzer's comment about Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) in the National Journal:
Schweitzer is incredulous that Feinstein—considered by her critics to be too close to the intelligence community—was now criticizing the (National Security Agency). "She was the woman who was standing under the streetlight with her dress pulled all the way up over her knees, and now she says, 'I'm a nun,' when it comes to this spying!" he says. Then, he adds, quickly, "I mean, maybe that's the wrong metaphor—but she was all in!"
Wrong metaphor? Ya think, Brian?
Next, Schweitzer opines on the femininity of Southern men and Eric Cantor in particular:
Last week, I called him on the night Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in his GOP primary. "Don't hold this against me, but I'm going to blurt it out. How do I say this ... men in the South, they are a little effeminate," he offered when I mentioned the stunning news. When I asked him what he meant, he added, "They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting."
You go, Brian! Montana will be a good place to be in 2016.
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." -- Albert Einstein
Megyn Kellytells it like it is. Dick gets his feet held to the fire. Or taken to the sandbox.
The Dickster must have thought he'd stumbled into the MSNBC studios by mistake.
You go, girl!
"In Iraq, a ruthless dictator cultivated weapons of mass destruction and the means to deliver them. He gave support to terrorists, had an established relationship with al Qaeda, and his regime is no more." –Vice President Dick Cheney, Nov. 7, 2003
(being a semi-fictional account of my sabbatical adventures, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
21 August 2002
It's a beautiful day in Vienna drizzly and about 65. Most everyone else is complaining, but not I. They don't understand.
I landed here on 16 August, and as we touched down, the sun broke through (it had been raining for about eight days). The flight on Austrian Airlines (motto: "Like a smile in the sky - but don't push it.") from Dulles was uneventful and up to their usual high standards (seriously). As I went through immigration, I commented on the glorious sunshine to the inspector. He looked at me forlornly and replied "Yes, but it is still raining in my heart." I decided to pass on that one and departed his desk quickly. Willkommen!
Vienna avoided much damage from the recent floods. When I landed, I saw little standing water. There was some flooding, but a floodway built on the Danube by the city over 40 years ago sent most of the flood wave downstream to Budapest (which fared better than expected). Prague, on the Vltava, and Dresden, on the Elbe, were hit quite hard. The damage in Dresden may set back the Germans' efforts to rebuild the once-beautiful city, famous for its Baroque architecture. The Allies destroyed Dresden in 1945 for no good reason, except to test a theory about the sustainability of bombing-induced firestorms. (For some reason, I'm reminded of Paul Rodriguez's line: "War is God's way of teaching us geography.")
I have been at work (so to speak) since 19 August, ensconced in the offices of the Isotope Hydrology Section of the International Atomic Energy Agency, a semi-autonomous division of the UN (all of whose divisions are semi-autonomous). I checked in with the HR folks that morning and after I introduced myself, the first thing the HR czarina said to me was "You're a week late" - for some reason, she had me down as starting on 12 August. I replied "Hello to you, too, and when I'm donating my time, I can be a week late." Having dispensed with the pleasantries, I was soon dispatched to the badge office to get photographed. The pass people were very nice (Gary Larson cartoons all over the place) and within a few minutes I was badged and ready to go. I asked one of the security guards what kind of access the badge gave me, and he smiled, saying "You have the same privileges as Kofi Annan", at which point I asked him to carry my bag. His well-developed Austrian sense of humor quickly dissipated. Seriously, though, I have 24/7 access to all buildings (I am not sure "sabbatical" translates well into German).
I was a little surprised by the security at the main gate. I have not been here since 9/11, but things have not changed - no metal detectors, for one thing.
I was then advised to go to the Commissary to get on the access list, which seemed to be rather important. The Commissary is in the basement (so visitors can't see what a great deal we have) and is a place where UN employees (or hangers-on, like me) can buy duty-free and tax-free food and other things. So now I can buy cheap cigarettes, alcohol, chocolate, etc., but I have sworn not to purchase these for any use but my personal use. So don't ask. No chocolate for you!
I am on the 23rd floor of the Vienna International Centre, overlooking the Danube and the city. The Section has but eight full-time professional staff, so it's a cozy group - mostly isotope geochemists, but still okay.
We had a staff meeting yesterday, and it reminded me of an E&PS faculty meeting: meticulous adherence to the agenda, no extraneous conversation or wisecracks from those in the back. The fellow who runs the isotope lab asked me if I was interested in tritium-helium dating, and I responded that I thought it was against the law. Again, so much for humor.
The Section wants me to work on their ground water sustainability project, which is fine with me. They thought my superb background was tailor-made for it, and besides, the only fellow who was working on it left last spring. I immediately thought of posing David Brookshire's question "Which of the 25 definitions of 'sustainability' are you using?" but decided that would destroy the moment, leaving me with either nothing to do or 25 things to do.
The IAEA does a lot of neat things: research, establishment of analytical standards, nuclear facilities inspections, documentation of nuclear/radioactive incidents (they have a heartwarming series 'The Radiological Accident at ______'), etc. One task they are doing that is of great interest to me is a search for two lost nuclear power plants (little ones - port-a-nukes) in the Republic of Georgia. Since I am about to start work there, I am anxious that these things be found. They have streaming videos of the search on their WWW site. The guys don't look happy.
I am living in a hotel about a 25-minute walk from the VIC, in a hotel by the Prater, a huge park in the eastern part of the city. The Prater has an impressive amusement park, dominated by the Riesenrad, a gargantuan (greater than 200 feet in diameter) Ferris wheel built in the 1890s by a British engineer. If you saw the film "The Third Man", the Riesenrad was the only thing in the film larger than Orson Welles would eventually become. (Seriously, that film, like Graham Greene's novel, gives a stark picture of what Vienna was like right after World War II -- not a pretty sight at all.)
The housing office at the VIC is great -- they have given me some leads and I start visiting places tomorrow. If this doesn't provide me with fodder for future stories, I'm going home.
I have to go now - it is time for a "torte break" (required by law). Auf wiedersehen!
(being a semi-truthful account of my travels, designed to amuse, and to be read with a dose of skepticism)
3 August 2004
I am now aboard (a bored?) one of Delta’s jets hurtling through the night sky en route from Cincinnati – er, I mean Northern Kentucky - to Albuquerque. I am returning from Myrtle Beach, SC, where I attended, for the fourth year, the South Atlantic Well Drillers’ Jubilee, an event that annually draws thousands of well drillers and their families, equipment manufacturers and suppliers, and hangers-on like me, to lovely Myrtle Beach, the jewel of the Carolinas. In some ways, Myrtle Beach reminds me of Las Vegas, the jewel of Clark County, NV, but there are five fundamental differences between the two. Myrtle Beach has: 1) a beach, as implied by its name; 2) lots more golf courses (over 100); 3) no casino gambling (ooops - I mean gaming); 4) air service by the notorious Hooters Air; and 5) much less class than Las Vegas. Despite this latter shortcoming, it is still a great place for vacations, and capitalizes on its family-friendly atmosphere.
A brief aside about Hooters Air. It is owned by the same corporation that owns the restaurants and features female flight attendants outfitted in the same manner as their “sisters” who wait tables. Hooters Air runs golf junkets from Atlanta. They also run them from Gary, IN, but no one in Gary can afford to golf so the planes are mostly full of gawkers. Other airlines have cried “Foul!”, claiming that Hooters Air’s skimpy fares are loss leaders and that the deck is stacked against any competitors. Dewey Cheatam, CEO of Delta, Hooters Air’s biggest competitor out of Atlanta, was quoted as saying, “We know that Hooters is cheating. They have a well-endowed “slush” fund and can afford to undercut us. They have a leg up on all the other airlines. Hooters drives us crazy!” Hooters spokeswoman Ima Skank commented: “Delta? They’re boobs.” The FAA is said to be scrutinizing Hooters closely and promised to keep other airlines abreast of its findings.
After reading the aforementioned paragraph there should be no doubt in your mind that I am a proud graduate of the Catholic elementary and secondary school systems. I am honored to number among my fellow high-schoolmates former Senator Al D’Amato (currently on work-release, serving as ethicist-in-residence at UNLV), Bill “No Spin” O’Reilly, Louis “Call me Lou” Gerstner (former IBM CEO), and Glenn “YMCA” Hughes, the original biker guy in the Village People. Guess which one of the above avoids our high-school reunions? Guess which one we wish would not show up?
So back to the Jubilee. You can tell something about it when you realize that Calvin Falwell, Reverend Jerry Falwell’s first cousin, was one of the movers-and-shakers in the organization. Calvin gained fame by distributing Bibles with each successful well he drilled. He believed that Satan was responsible for poor well yields, so he would bring in cousin Jerry to perform an exorcism. The duo became quite well-known throughout southern Virginia. Get your water, and religion, too.
On the flight from Myrtle Beach to Cincinnati I sat next to a German fellow who vaguely resembled Gert Frobe, the actor who portrayed James Bond’s nemesis Goldfinger in the movie of the same name. We struck up a conversation, and I learned that Ulrich was an executive with BMW in Munich who had come to SC to check out the BMW assembly plant in the Greenville-Spartanburg area farther north. He had taken a short golf vacation in Myrtle Beach before heading back home. Now, for those of you who own BMWs and believe that they were painstakingly crafted by meticulous German assembly-line workers named Klaus, Hans and Dieter – surprise! They may have been assembled by Bubba, Goober and Gomer in SC (you can tell by looking for tell-tale tobacco stains). Hey, but now they are cheaper (Mercedes owners – don’t snicker; your “German” car may have been built in Alabama). But I digress. Anyway, Ulrich was curious as to what I thought of Ahhhnold the Governator. I told him that I didn’t know that much about him but that he seemed to be doing a half-decent job, except for calling legislators “girlie-men” the other day. I asked Ulrich what he thought of South Carolina and he replied that it would be good to get home.
Cincinnati’s a neat town, although they did get confused and built their airport in Kentucky. It suffers from the “Philadelphia complex” – so overshadowed by the vibrancy of an adjacent city – usually across a river – that it pales in comparison. In Cincinnati’s case, it’s Covington, KY. In Philadelphia’s case, it’s Camden, NJ.
Speaking of the great state of South Carolina, I think I should enlighten you about it. The state has a proud past, its residents having started the Civil War (aka The War of Northern Aggression) by firing upon Fort Sumter. It has had memorable politicians, such as John C. Calhoun, Preston “Bully” Brooks, Mendel Rivers, Fritz Hollings, J. Fred Muggs, and Strom Thurmond, whose embalmed body lies in a glass case in the capitol in Columbia. The quote on the pedestal reads “Never was there a man who so dragged his feet through the sands of time.” Few people realize that ol’ Strom actually died three years before he left the Senate. His staff, inspired by the movie Weekend at Bernie’s, decided to “keep the dream alive” (and their cushy jobs intact) till his term ended. No one noticed until Strom introduced some fairly significant legislation – giving African-Americans voting rights - which was totally out of character. And a recent SC governor gained infamy by being caught in a compromising position on his desk with a female staffer. The governor muddled through the rest of his term, but the staffer resigned quickly. Newspaper headlines noted her resignation with lines like “She had served ably under the governor for many years” or “Governor’s aide was always on top of things.” Charleston is perhaps the best-known of all SC cities. A recent downtown renovation has rejuvenated Gallows Square, which for many years, was the source of entertainment for Charlestonians, especially those of the upper class. Each Sunday (except for Easter, Christmas and New Year’s Day), residents would gather in their finery, attended to by servants, to watch “uppity people” get “taught a lesson” from local law-enforcement officials. Charleston is far more sensitive now, and that barbaric ceremony, discontinued in 1978, has now given way to re-enactors who celebrate the good ol’ days on the third Sunday of each month. Charleston’s residents are quite boastful and prone to exaggeration. As an example, they note that their fair city is bounded by the Cooper and Ashley Rivers, which join to form the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, like the residents of Honolulu, Santa Fe and San Francisco, Charlestonians suffer from the disease known in medical circles as terminal pretension.
I could not end this without a few SC jokes. Q: What’s the best thing to come out of South Carolina? A: Interstate 95. Q: What’s the next best thing? A: Interstate 85. Q: What is the difference between Mississippi and South Carolina? A: At least Mississippi tries. Q: What do you have when you have three South Carolinians in a room? A: A full set of teeth. And finally, there is the state motto:
Like many others, today I am honoring those who served and those who died 70 years ago on D-Day and the entire Normandy Invasion. Special thanks to the Allied troops - American, Canadian, British, Australian, New Zealand, Free French, Free Dutch, et al. - who made it happen and rescued Europe and the world.
My father's brother - my Uncle Vic - was one of those young men who was there that fateful day. He was a paratrooper - 82nd Airborne - who made a nighttime jump into France. He survived.
Thank you! And a special thanks to the French people, still so welcoming and appreciative lo these many years!
Giovanni Pellegrino Campana would have been 100 today.
That name is on his birth certificate, but we knew my father as John Pilgrim Campana. Born on 6 June 1914, he was the son of Italian immigrants Consiglia and Domenico Campana, who arrived on these shores from Naples, Italy, in the late 1890s.
The family settled in Boston, where my father grew up working, playing baseball, ice hockey, but most of all, studying. He vaguely recalled the Great Molasses Flood of 1919. He attended Boston Latin School, the oldest and arguably still the best high school in the USA.
After that, it was off to the oldest college in the USA, Harvard, where he graduated magna cum laude with a degree in history in 1936. In those days, Harvard was not a hospitable place for Italian-Americans, Irish-Americans, or Jews; forget about Latinos, Asian-Americans, Native Americans, or African-Americans! It was the bastion of WASPs - White (or Wealthy) Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
He loved playing hockey - he was a right winger - but didn't play for Harvard after his freshman year. He told me that the rich kids on the team would rent one of the indoor arenas for practices that were restricted to themselves and their friends. So while he worked, they practiced and his skills fell behind. When he told me this, there was nary a trace of bitterness in his voice. That's just the way it was.
But his true sports love was baseball. He played shortstop and pitched on the Harvard team till he graduated in 1936. Here is the team ball signed by all the players on the 1936 team, with the cherished inscription: Harvard - 3, Yale - 0.
He married 'Southern belle' (North Carolina)Ruth Ellen Emerson in 1943 and they had three children. They first lived in Manhattan, then moved out to Queens, and finally, headed to the Long Island suburbs in December 1951, where they remained until 1978, retiring to Mooresville, North Carolina.
He started teaching in the New York City school system in 1938, a career that spanned 36 years, 26 of which were spent at Brooklyn's Erasmus Hall High School, the nation's second-oldest high school. He taught history and political science. He recalls EHHS students Barbra Streisand, chess champion Bobby Fischer, Neil Diamond, Billy Cunningham, and Lainie Kazan. Don't ask him about the first two. In those days, EHHS was one of the nation's best. Its top students won scholarships to the USA's finest universities. Even the top Jewish students, who for years could not get into the Ivy League schools, routinely made Princeton, Yale, and Harvard starting in the mid-1950s; African-Americans (few in number at EHHS in those days) and others soon followed. As I grew up, I remember many visits from former students who would drop by to thank him for all he had done. They told me what a remarkable teacher and man he was and how much he had helped them.
He left EHHS in 1964 to help open Canarsie High School in Brooklyn. He was the Assistant Principal, a position that earned him more money but meant no more teaching. That was a tough call for him.
His time at CHS was difficult - an unreasonable boss and trouble from the start. In those days, the races and ethnicities mixed far worse than they do today. On some days scores of NYPD officers patrolled the halls and grounds. When a chair whizzed by his ear during a cafeteria free-for-all, he knew it was time to retire. That was 1974. This photo was taken a few years before he left CHS.
My father was an inveterate and prolific letter-writer. He would write letters to all kinds of people: political leaders, heads of state, CEOs, editors, sports figures, et al. At the time of his death he was working on a book titled, One Small Voice, a collection of his letters. His favorite target was Tom Yawkey, then the owner of his beloved but then-incompetent Boston Red Sox. He would instruct Yawkey on whom to trade, whom to release, etc. It was a futile exercise, of course, but he enjoyed it. One of my big regrets in life was seeing him die in 1984, before the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, 2007, and 2013. But at least he did not witness the 1986 debacle. That surely would have killed him. My father's devotion to the Sox and their history still have an impression on me: although I am a Yankees fan, there is a soft spot in my heart for the Red Sox.
I often wonder how the Internet would have appeared to him. Given his love for writing and commentary, would he have become a blogger? Somehow I doubt it. He was committed to letters.
He was a student of history, languages (five), politics, sports, chess, and more. He was small in stature and an unlikely athlete. Baseball, hockey, golf, bowling, and tennis were his games. He was a Democrat who was not overly fond of John F. Kennedy and the Kennedy clan. He remembered too much from his early days in Boston and also never forgave patriarch Joe for being an early Hitler supporter. But he voted for JFK over Richard Nixon in 1960; that was a no-brainer.
My late younger sister Ann and he would have some epic confrontations; they were too much alike. One of his unbreakable rules was, 'Never drive the car into Manhattan.' I recall an incident where Ann was to drive his precious Mustang into Queens to catch the subway into Manhattan. Well, she sort of forgot about the rule, and drove into the city. Next morning as he got up to go to work, he saw a note from Ann that said, 'Sorry - it was the goddamned bus!' He did not understand the note till he went out for his morning drive into Brooklyn. That's when he noticed a huge crease running the length of the driver's side of the Mustang. Seems that Ann had had an encounter with a city bus. She left the note and was spending the day at the beach. Lucky for that, too - she had been partying with friends in Manhattan and was in no shape to face my father.
I loved listening to him discuss history, especially American history. He actually 'rescued' my interest in history, because my high-school history teachers were pretty pathetic. They often emphasized rote memorization with little dicussion of what the events meant. That's where my father came in. He provided the big picture.
Whatever my skills are in teaching and education, I owe to him. He was so proud when I received my PhD. He had an ABD ('all but dissertation' - half done, on Stephen Decatur and the Barbary Pirates) from Fordham - marriage and a family intevened - and he never finished. He would have made quite a professor!
I doubt his beloved Red Sox will win this year. And the Bruins are not en route to the Stanley Cup as they were a few years ago. Oh, how he loved watching Bobby Orr!
I miss you, Dad; I think of you each day. You're my role model.
“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ―G.K. Chesterton
"Democracy is like a raft; you're safe, but your feet get wet." -- John P. Campana
Curious about the strong supportMrs. Kanye West in the Southwest and Hawaii, with my former home state (for 17 years!) clocking in at number 1. Is it because Kim looks like a Latina? But she's also strong in my native state of New York and southern New England. Perhaps they think she's Italian-American?
At least my current home state checks in at number 48.
Whatever she is (Armenian-American, mainly), she's wealthy and famous. Must laugh all the way to the bank.
Realice cream she loved; butter pecan was by far her favorite. Today's penchant for frozen yogurt would be a non-starter. Strong coffee? You'd better believe it! Don't ever serve her a cup if she could see the bottom; it would go right down the drain. Four-letter words from a Southern lady? Numerology? Well, you'll have to read this entire post.
My mother, Ruth Ellen Emerson Campana, is shown below (c. Easter 1953 or 1954) with the family. Note the scowl on Ann's face - not the angelic smiles of older sister Ellen and me. Did that facial expression ever portend the shape of things to come!
Mom died on 8 May 2003 at the age of 83. Hard to believe that was 11 years ago. Although she lived for almost two years beyond 9/11, that event killed her just as sure as those five Saudi Arabian terrorists killed her youngest child, Ann Campana Judge, on American Airlines flight 77.
My mother was a remarkable woman. Born in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, in 1920, she was an archetypical Southern lady. No profane language, kind, compassionate, soft spoken, a beautiful drawl, proud of her Southern Scots-Irish roots but no apologist for the Confederacy and slavery although her great-grandfather fought for the South. At age 23, she married my father, John Pilgrim Campana, an Italian-American from Boston, and the two of them settled in New York City, where my father taught high school in Brooklyn.
Although my Harvard-educated father was the family scholar (American history ABD) , my mother was no slouch. She majored in history and English at Flora Macdonald College (now part of St. Andrew's Presbyterian College) in Red Springs, NC, and graduated at 20. She acquired her love of learning from her mother Julia Johnston Emerson, who was a college graduate in a time when that was almost unheard of for a woman. What stubbornness she had no doubt came from her father Harris Emerson, a farmer and an avowed Republican in a time when the South was the 'Solid South', always voting for Democrats (hard to believe, I know). My mother said he was a Republican because everyone else was a Democrat.
I owe many of my semi-decent English skills to her. Each Sunday night she would would write five words and their definitions on my blackboard. Those were the 'Weekly Words.' I relied on her to correct my writing more than I did my teachers. Why? Because she was far better than they!
My friends loved her. 'How come your mother's so nice?' was a common question. But she was no pushover. My father's hot-blooded Italian nature often manifested itself when one us overstepped our bounds, but my mother would generally raise her voice only slightly, or just glare at us. The message got through.
While still raising three children, she returned to teaching in 1960 and taught fourth grade. Her students idolized her. Here is a beautiful tribute from one of her fourth-grade students, Fred Avolio. Fred also remembers the 'Weekly Words.' And yes, Fred, I remember bringing my pet iguana Leroy into class.
My mother was also somewhat naive. One story, somewhat risqué, stands out. I must have been 16, Ann 13, and older sister Ellen was away at college. We were chatting at the dinner table, something we did every evening. My mother related a discussion that occurred in the teachers' lounge at her school. Seems she came in during a conversation, and a few of the teachers were laughing about something called '69'. She was puzzled so she asked one of her colleagues what it was (she had concluded that it had nothing to do with math). He told her that she had better ask someone in her family. So she did. Ann and I could hardly contain our laughter, and my father's jaw dropped like I had never seen (he taught high-school in Brooklyn so I knew he knew). I believe it was Ann who matter-of-factly told her what it was. Then my mother's jaw dropped. I think what surprised her and my father more than anything was that their 13-year old daughter knew exactly what it was. Yes, that faclal expression above was coming home to roost.
On another occasion at the dinner table, she told us that one of her fourth-graders had made a gesture to a classmate and she was unsure what it meant. We children knew what was coming. When my father asked what it was, she extended her right arm and raised her right middle finger. Before my father could recover, Ann, all of 12 or 13 at the time, exclaimed, "'Fuck you!' It means 'Fuck you!'" I thought the Big One was going to strike my father. I chimed in and said that it didn't mean that literally but more like 'Fuck off!' At that point my mother said she got the message and did not need to know any more. In all our years chatting at the dinner table that was the only time I recall the word 'fuck' being spoken - not once, but thrice.
Needless to say, I did not mention either of these instances in the eulogy at her funeral service, although I was tempted to. It would have sent those North Carolina Presbyterians over the edge.
Despite the fact that she lived in the North for 35 years, she never lost her Southern grace and charm.
In 1978 she finally returned to her beloved Tar Heel State. She and my father settled in Mooresville, just north up I-77 from Charlotte. She and I shared one dislike: that of including 'NC' after Charlotte in lists of US cities' weather or some other characterisitc. Every other city stood alone, but there was 'Charlotte, NC'. She viewed it as very disrespectful for NC's beloved Queen City. Check it out - some newspapers still do that.
When my sister Ann was murdered, my mother was living with her and husband Geoff Judge in Great Falls, VA. After Ann was killed she continued to live with Geoff (an amazing man who treated her as he did his own mother) but soon after that she began to shut down. When Ann's beloved black Lab Bubba died, that was it. First she decided she couldn't walk on her own. Then, she stopped talking. Finally, she stopped eating. The end came soon after that, peacefully, while she slept. I believe the death certificate read 'heart attack' but I knew better. It should have read 'broken heart' - burying her baby killed her.
The irony is that today's saying is something she would say whenever she heard of a parent burying a child. I doubt she ever expected she'd have to do the same.
Especially her youngest.
Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
One last thing - I turn 66 in two days, and the older I get, the wiser I've become. You were right about so much stuff, Mom. I do forgive you for trying to transform me into a Southern gentleman. Some things aren't just meant to be. Probably one of the few times you failed. But I still won't apologize for not going to law school.
Boy, do I miss you!
And it's funny, but each time this year I get a strange hankering for some butter pecan ice cream. And none of that low-fat or frozen yogurt stuff - the real deal.
"The hardest thing any parent has to do is bury a child." -- Ruth Emerson Campana
I have previously posted a few times about my experiences at caddy camps in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and on Cape Cod, about 70 miles south of Boston, MA. My most recent posts were 26 December 2012 and 4 September 2012.
So what is this post about? Well, a reunion was held last weekend at the Maplewood Caddy Camp(MCC) site (the building still exists, is in great shape, and is occupied by a rehabilitation center) on Route 302about one mile east of Bethlehem, NH. The reunion celebrated the reconstruction of the 'Our Lady of the Fairways' shrine/memorial just outside the camp's driveway on the north side of Route 302. I regret being unable to attend - I was committed to a conference in Denver.
To finance the reconstruction, engraved bricks were sold to former campers, indicating the years they spent at MCC and other caddy camps run by Boston's North Bennet Street School. I bought bricks for my father and me.
Thanks to Fred Forte for arranging this.
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela
Interesting that Sterling's racial bigotry has been known for years. So why did thelocal chapter of the NAACP give him two awards in 2008 and 2009, and had to rescind a third award because of the current flap (read here)?
Weed-loving treehuggers, take note. Cannabis production is increasingly moving indoors, into large-scale industrialized systems, and all those grow lights and air filters consume an extraordinary amount of energy. In all, marijuana grown indoors is responsible for a whopping 1 percent of the entire nation's electricity demand. That's enough juice to power 2 million homes. For 4/20, a date we hear has meaning for marijuana enthusiasts, we take a look at the power it takes to grow all that pot. Sorry to harsh your mellow, but that's a big carbon footprint.
Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s long-running feud with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management came to a head last week after BLM agents squared off against Bundy and an armed gaggle of self-identifying “patriot” militia-types. After decades of argument and lost court cases, Bundy still refuses to acknowledge the federal government’s claim to vast tracts of Western lands and pay the grazing fees for his cattle. More detail can be found here.
The feds were correct in standing down last week. The situation was spiraling out of hand and the risk of bloodshed was real. Any show of significant force likely would do nothing more than turn Bundy and his supporting militia into martyrs of the far right, which already has concocted a witch’s brew of conspiracy theories for the standoff involving Nevada Sen. Harry Reid, his sons, a Chinese solar company, the BLM and perhaps even the Trilateral Commission.
"Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." -- John Kenneth Galbraith
Is it possible to work 60 hour weeks and still be unable to cover basic expenses? Making minimum wage as a parent of one, you will need to work closer to 70 hours in all fifty states (plus the District of Columbia) just to make ends meet. If I told you that $25.00 an hour full time in D.C. isn't enough for some demographics to make it, would you believe me? You should. Welcome to the age of the eroded middle class, and the decimated working class. Whether you're planning a move, or another child, seeing if a new wage is good, or just curious, check out the cost of living in America today, and see if you're making a living wage.
Using the Calculator
1. Adjust the slider at the bottom to match your wage.
2. On the left, select how many adults and children are in your household.
3. Select a state to see where you fall between a poverty wage and a living wage. - States that are brighter mean that you would earn closer to a living wage in that state. - States that are darker mean that you would earn closer to a poverty wage in that state. - The light blue triangle above the wage slider shows the minimum wage for that state. - The dark blue triangle below the wage slider shows the federal minimum wage. - The box above your wage listing shows how many hours a week you would have to work just to earn a living wage.
4. To see the nation divided into counties, click on “County View”. To see the nation divided into states, click on “State View”.
5. To zoom in on a particular state, first select the state then click on the plus sign that appears in the corner. - While zoomed in, you can click on individual counties to see their poverty/living wages. - To return to the national view, click anywhere outside of the state.
“A girl knows her limits, but a wise girl knows she has none.” - Norma Jeane Mortenson (1926-1962)
Remember those who suffered one year ago today in Boston.
Another memorable event of a different type occurred on this day in 1947.
Sixty-seven years ago today, on a cold Tuesday in Brooklyn, Jack Roosevelt 'Jackie'Robinson took the field in a game against the Boston Braves at Ebbets Field. He was to face Johnny Sain, one-half of the legendary "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" pitching duo of the Braves.
Robinson didn't do too well that day: grounded out, flied out, hit into a double play,reached on an error. But his feat went far beyond what he did at the plate or in the field. He became the first African-American since the 1880s to play in a major league baseball game, and entered the history books. We didn't know it at the time but the USA's civil rights era began that day.
Jackie Robinson was a great athlete, but he proved to be an even greater man. Robinson endured a lot of crap (a euphemism) from other ballplayers, the public, sportswriters, and fans. He was a proud man, but had promised Dodgers owner Branch Rickey that he would hold his tongue and his fists for two years. Rickey feared that if Robinson proved to be too combative right off the bat, naysayers would proclaim 'I told you so!' and the cause of major league baseball integration would be damaged.
I like this 1997 passage by Ira Berkow, in which he talked about Robinson and Dodger teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Pee Wee Reese, a Southern boy from Kentucky who was the Dodgers' captain at the time Robinson came to the big leagues.
The first of the two incidents occurred at the beginning of spring training in 1947, when Robinson had been called up to the Dodgers from Montreal, Brooklyn's top minor league team, on which Robinson had starred during the 1946 season. A petition was drawn up by a group of mostly Southern Dodgers players that stated they would not take the field with a black man.
"I'm not signing that," Reese told the ringleaders, who included Dixie Walker, Kirby Higbe and Bobby Bragan. "No way."
Reese, the soft-spoken but respected team captain, with a Southern upbringing, perhaps surprised the petition-carriers. "I wasn't thinking of myself as the Great White Father," Reese says now. "I just wanted to play baseball. I'd just come back from serving in the South Pacific with the Navy during the Second World War, and I had a wife and daughter to support. I needed the money. I just wanted to get on with it."
But there was more to it than the money.
And Reese's refusal to sign the petition, many believe, meant the end of the matter.
Robinson played, and endured vicious abuse from opposing teams, from beanballs and spikings to racial epithets and spitting. Robinson had promised Branch Rickey, the owner and general manager of the Dodgers, that for at least his first two years in the major leagues, he would hold his tongue and his fists, no matter the provocation. And one day -- it was probably in Cincinnati, Reese recalled, in 1947 or 1948 -- the attack was so nasty that Reese walked over to Robinson and put his hand on the black man's shoulder.
"Pee Wee kind of sensed the sort of hopeless, dead feeling in me and came over and stood beside me for a while," Robinson recalled, as quoted in the forthcoming biography "Jackie Robinson," by Arnold Rampersad (Alfred A. Knopf). "He didn't say a word but he looked over at the chaps who were yelling at me through him and just stared. He was standing by me, I could tell you that." The hecklers ceased their attack. "I will never forget it," Robinson said.
After reading that pssage I gained a huge amount of respect for Pee Wee Reese. He could have easily gone the other way, but he did the right thing. Not easy for a white guy from Kentucky in the late 1940s.
Jackie left us at the all-too-early age of 53. What he endured no doubt contributed to his untimely death. Robinson was a truly remarkable man who rose to a challenge few of us could ever imagine, much less face with such grace, strength, and courage.
At the tender age of 8, in 1956, I saw him play against the St. Louis Cardinals and Stan "The Man" Musial at Ebbets Field. He was nearing the end of his Hall of Fame career, but still went 2-for-4. My father attempted to explain to me the significance of what he had done, but I was too consumed with hot dogs and cotton candy to comprehend. Later, I understood, and realized that what Robinson had done helped free us all. He is now one of my all-time heroes, right up there with Nelson Mandela and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Arnold Rampersad wrote an excellent biography, Jackie Robinson. Read it. Never mind that you're not a sports fan. It is not a sports book; it's about a courageous man, a hero for all, who just happened to play baseball.
And don't forget the movie,42.It's well worth your time.
To honor Robinson, all major league baseball players wore number 42 in today's games. With the retirement of Mariano Rivera, no player permanently wears 42.
"Some numbers will always be associated with an athlete; '42' will forever be associated with a movement." - John Saunders, ESPN
Yes, the Cover of Golf Digest Is Tacky, Gross, and Exclusionary. But So Is Golf.
It's actually perfect that Golf Digest'scover image of sexy, non-golfer Paulina Gretzky has irritated people for being sexist and exclusionary. After all, nothing provides a better digest of golf than exclusion, annoyance, cultural damage, and self-absorption.
Gretzky is the fiancée of professional golfer Dustin Johnson and the daughter of professional hockey player Wayne Gretzky. Besides those relationships, she is perhaps best known for her Instagram account, which features a number of photos as demure as the Golf Digest cover. That she is the 12th woman ever to appear on the cover of the monthly magazine has frustrated female golfers, The New York Times reports. The No. 1 ranked female golfer in the world, Inbee Park, put it elegantly when she saw the Gretzky cover: "Who is that?" Juli Inkster, the last woman to grace the cover, agreed. "It’s like, What do you have to do to get a little respect? I’m guaranteeing you right now, it was not a woman editor who chose that cover."
This is all completely fair critique. But golf is so completely rotten and has such a terrible track record on every single issue of social change over the past century that uproar over the Gretzy cover is like fretting about a small sapling in the middle of the Black Forest. Ha ha — well, the White Forest, anyway.
Here is the thing: Golf is the worst sport, if it is a sport at all. Golf is worse than NASCAR, and I say that fully understanding the weight of those words. Golf is worse because it is more classist, more racist, and probably more environmentally harmful than car racing. And what's really remarkable about golf is how little legwork it takes to demonstrate each of those qualities.
Racism. In 2011, Complex magazine put together a handy compilation of the most racist moments in golf history, which is a bit like compiling the most racist bus drivers in 1955 Montgomery. In includes a number of the responses to Tiger Woods appearance on the national tour, like when golfer Sergio Garcia made a fried chicken joke and when golfer Fuzzy Zoeller made a fried chicken joke. And when the guy that founded the Augusta, Georgia country club, home of The Masters, said that "as long as I'm alive, golfers will be white, and caddies will be black."
When the Supreme Court barred segregated golfin 1955, private clubs simply didn't accept black members. On February 14 of this year, a club in Texas admitted its first black member. "We just want to show we’re equal," resident Evelyn Walling toldthe local CBS affiliate. Too late! This club is not alone, though; the news over the past decade is peppered with similar firsts, black golf players being allowed to play golf in country clubs. By way of reminder, it is 2014.
Anti-semitism and homophobia. If its any consolation, private golf clubs were been similarly reticent to embrace gay players and Jewish players. Hillcrest Country Club in Los Angeles was created largely to accommodate Jewish players unwelcome anywhere else in the city.
Social class. While country clubs struggle with in terms of excluding people of different religions and races, they do not struggle at all with excluding members of lower social classes. They were created as social clubs for the middle- and upper-class, and that has not moved backward an inch. A 2010 paperby Hugo Ceron-Anaya of Washington College notes that golf clubs were specifically designed to foster the advancement of the upper middle-class.
It worked. The golf course is the place where business deals get done, where President Obama takes the Speaker of the House to discuss politics. It's intentionally exclusive, in a way that benefits deal-making. But it's exclusive, too, in that it ensures that those deals and conversations happen among peers. Last November, the San Diego Union-Tribuneran a sponsored essay telling women to take up golf as a way to become "a powerful player" — since women (and poor people and workers in the service sector) aren't part of this great culture.
What's more, the social status qualification of country clubs is the easiest to enforce: simply raise annual dues. Far easier than trying to guess if an applicant is as white as they say they are. A 2004 report summarized neatly: "The clubs have long histories of racial-ethnic homogeneity, but they now display some demographic diversity while preserving the economic and cultural homogeneity with which members are comfortable."
A golf course carved into the desert (AP)
Harm to the environment. Golf courses are beautiful, stretching over acres and acres of land that's heavily watered and regularly mowed with gasoline-powered mowers. The critical need to keep fairways immaculate means lots of weedkillers and insecticides. The extent to which those -cides leach into outside water sources was so heavily debated that the U.S. Golf Association itself put together a report meant to minimize such concerns. Even Golf Digest itselfcast a suspicious eye at the environmental effects of golf courses in 2008.Some courses are moving toward more natural setups. Most aren't.
The Golf Digest cover is a mistake, a problem that should — and probably will — be addressed by editors, who will apologize for emphasizing sexiness over the sport. Then, if we are to continue down the slippery path of fairness, the PGA and USGA should shut their doors, and private clubs across the country should either become public or be converted into affordable housing. At that point, the damage done by golf will be nearly eradicated, and we will consider this incident resolved.
"Anyone who watches golf on television would enjoy watching the grass grow on the greens." - Andy Rooney
Some of you may consider this to be disparaging towards Italians but my paternal grandparents came from southern Italy (Naples) so it's okay for me to post this video. Besides, how else does an Italian make a point during speech?
Looks like two-year-old Leah is getting the hang of it with her great-grandmother's mentoring.
Circle of Blue Circle of Blue uses journalism, scientific research, and conversations from around the world to bring the story of the global freshwater crisis to life. Here you’ll find new water reports, news headlines, and hear from leading scientists.
Drink Water For Life The idea is simple. Drink water or other cheap beverages instead of expensive lattes, sodas, and bottled water for a set period of time. A day, a week, a month, Lent, Ramadan, Passover, or some other holiday period.
eFlowNet Newsletter From the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) this newsletter has lots of information about environmental flows and related issues.
Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable Since 2002, the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable (SWRR) has brought together federal, state, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors to advance our understanding of the nation’s water resources and to develop tools for their sustainable management.