Posts Tagged ‘Charlotte’

Give me America

April 22, 2018

Give me America anyday because

I hear America bringing

politics gone mad

into process.

Just give it to me:

America.

Give me America anyday because

I see America clinging

to an old notion

of liberty.

BlkPanthr

Give me America anyday because

I still feel America flinging

the deadends of malice

into arcs of goodwill.

Give me America anyday because

I know America’s still singing

an old song, just with

a new beat.

BlkViolin

You can’t beat

America.

ElecCar

Give me America anyday because

I can sight America winging

its way o’er terrains of pain

and strife.

It’s just life, y’all

to have to put up with

this stuff.

This stuff that’s goin’ down now:

them with their their guns and butter

vs. them with their lgbt muttering—

just give me America, you guys!

ChicFila

Give me America anyday because

I feel America clinging

to hope and justice

and even God

is still with us,

y’all.

Heroic

King of Soul

The Perfect Curve

March 5, 2018

If you depart the city of Charlotte driving northward on I-77 toward Virginia, you will, about an hour later, cross over US highway 421. The traffic interchange there consists of a typical cloverleaf-type interstate-highway overpass with a looping exit ramp on which your vehicle descends from the overpassing I-77 down to the underpassing perpendicular US 421.

As I am a frequent sojourner between Charlotte and my Blue Ridge mountain home, I have performed this little maneuver many, many times over the last 39 years or so. Possibly hundreds of times.

Over the years, there is something very special I have noticed about this exit ramp, by which I steer the Subaru, veering slightly rightward and onward down the ramp, decelerating slightly and moving in a steady arc along a quasi-circular path to the destination highway below, on which I have then been redirected westward (although the sign says US 421 N) toward my domicile in the mountain town of Boone.

I say I have noticed “something very special” about this exit ramp, although this unique speciality is probably common to most every overpassing intersection that we’ve ever crossed o’er; and it is this:

As I turn the steering wheel for exiting onto the ramp, there is a point to which I can—less than halfway through the turn— adjust the wheel and cease its turning, having set the steering mechanism to a precise degree. This adjustment is sufficient to complete the onward arcing of the vehicle’s path as it egresses with no further turning of the steering wheel, until the turning maneuver is completed as I have redirected the Subaru, now on a westward vector instead of the northward one we had previously sped.

Recently on one of my trips homeward, I realized that the reason this maneuver can be performed so smoothly is this:  some engineer designed the exit ramp on what appears to be a perfectly constant curve. Cool! The perfect curve, thought I.

So now I take back everything bad I ever said about freeways and modern vehicular transportation systems.

My new theory is that there is probably no curve on earth more perfect than that one.

Except for one— the curve of my wife’s hip, which I noticed while we were dating many and many a year ago, when I  first visited her family in Charlotte.

Now that’s what ahm talkin’ about! The Perfect Curve.

Curve

King of Soul

The Money Bowl

December 8, 2013

I entered into the Money Bowl last night, and there I saw the great Florida State football lean, mean, passin’ machine shred Duke’s ACC hopes into scrap.

I say Money Bowl because it was the first time in many a year that I have entered into the great, gleaming gridiron realm of state-of-the-art stadium excellency that Bank of America/Panthers Stadium certainly is and will always be in the minds of Charlotteans, although they tell me that now Dallas is building one for the Cowboys that puts Charlotte’s colossal Collosseum to shame.

Yes, it hath been many a year since I saw such a bright sight as the inside of big stadium all lit up  like that, because you see, I grew up down on de Mississip at Baton Rouge, where Huey Long had, back in the 30s, mustered all the mud of south Louisiana politics and all the dust of north Louisiana hot air into a brand new Tiger Stadium at LSU, where Billy Cannon ran the 97-yard kickoff return to beat Ole Miss back in ’57, and where all my people and me studied and earned degrees and all along the way went on Sat’dy nights to what was, back in the day, the shrine of Tiger football, Tiger Stadium, where I sold concessions when I was in junior high  back in the 60s and then went on to actually live in that great edifice because they had made the north end of it into a dormitory that overlooked Mike the Tiger’s cage over which I would sit on the wide sill of that dorm room during freshman year, looking down at Mike’s little caged domain and listen to Abbey Road and dream about maybe leaving’ Louisiana in the broad daylight.

Which of course I did, later on, leave Louisiana after matriculation in ’73, and went to Florida where I got humiliated  for driving on revoked license and then doin five days jail time, sentenced by a Judge Rasmussen, and then leaving that state, home of those crazy Seminoles and their Gator cousins and I wouldn’t give you a nickel for the whole dam state now anyway.

‘Specially after last night, and what the Seminoles did to Duke, where my son did university, and there we sat last night in the cold in the Money Bowl, with Duke Energy Tower flashing big diagonal neon stripes throught the mist in the background and Bank of America Center over there with its spiky litttle shafts of light on top and Wells Fargo-used-to-be-Wachovia-back in the day somewhere in that sparkly skyline  still doin their thing out in the Golden West.

You see Charlotte is new money, not old money like New Orleans was with its Superdome, or Houston, which was old-new money and its state-of-the-art AstroDome back in the day, down where I come from,  and because Charlotte is such new money,  not old money like New Yawk or Boston, and so Charlotte had to erect the Panthers pantheon-home state-of-the-art or so they say in order to show the world what new money is really all about because you see the queen city has always been a wannabe and always will be, ever since the gold diggers out in California eclipsed the Carolina gold find back in 1848, when the California discovery made Carolina’s little gleaming vein look like a flash in the pan, which it actually was comparatively speaking, as it all turned out. So Charlotte had finally made it, and there we were last night sitting in the cold and watching all those Seminole fans in their maroon and gold doing their obnoxious chop chop thing and rubbin’ it in after they had absconded that chant from the native Americans and still got away with it, and it really is a case of the new money down there in Tallahassee shredding the old-new money of Duke, chopping it into smithereens, and there we were having to watch all this as the third quarter ended and Florida State waltzed into the end zone again for the umpteenth time, but then we went to Denny’s somewhere out there in the vast suburban money land and it wasn’t so bad after all, although there was no joy of course over in Durham because might the Blue Devils had struck out.

I mean Panthers Stadium is a lot like Tiger Stadium  used to be back in the day, except you know, better, and also excluding  what happened there last night.

Glass half-Full

Not your father’s parade, booby

September 2, 2012

Americans do love a parade. We revel gloriously, don’t we, in their ambient festivity. We get excited, turning into regular yankee doodle dandies, when we hear the brass band Sousa strains wafting on a summer breeze from the other end of Main Street.

It’s Labor Day! Surely that’s what this parade was all about today in Charlotte.

Not exactly. Absent from this Labor Day parade were the marching bands with their brass flashing in the sunshine. No Sousa phrases of Stars and Stripes Forever were floating on this uptown Charlotte breeze. We heard no clarinets proclaiming harmonies to complement their sassy trumpet cousins; we felt no sultry saxes. Gone were the young girls spinning their batons and tossing them high into the air to celebrate Americanity, as sequins sparkle and  children harken.

No. That Main Street thing was so old school. It was like, Ozzie and Harriet, for crying out loud.  I’m here to tell ya that somewhere between Ozzie and Harriet and Ozzy Osborne we got all turned around. Everything now is whoop-fizz, wooby-shooby hip-flip city, not to mention protest. Well, I just did mention it: protest.

That’s why today’s parade in Charlotte was a horse of a different color, or flag of a different color. What used to be red, white, and blue flapping on the summer breeze is now a kind of shredded rag of tattered and torn ideological fabric, flapping on the sound-bite hot air. What we got now is what the talking media heads have termed fragmentation.

Down there in Tampa you had the red stripes. Now, here in Charlotte, just before the Democrats meet, all the blue stripes have come out in full force.

But this new color-coding of political stripes is backwards. You know that don’t you? I mean, back in the day, communists were “reds,” and American patriots were true “blue.”  How did this get turned around?

If you don’t believe me, check out that old ’70s movie, Reds, starring Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton as a couple of yankee Soviet-sympathizers supporting the Bolsheviks when the revolutionaries killed the czar and his family in Russia in 1917.  Now them was reds, the kind of reds that the John Birchers used to dis when they grumbled, back in the ’50s, better dead than red! 

But here we are now, in 2012, in Charlotte, across the street from Bank of America corporate headquarters, for crying out loud, in this so-called (in the new newspeak) redstate because of it bein’ in the bible belt, and in this red city because of all the republican bankers, and here comes this band of rag-tag bunch of occupiers from every blue state and blue neighborhood in this here nation.

But them’s reds if I ever saw one. I mean, the first sign I saw said: Capitalism is holding back the human race.!

I fear this is not your father’s parade, booby. I’m thoroughly confused. Furthermore, the Code Pink contingent passing by has totally intensified my redwhiteandblue colors schizoshmizz.

Actually, that Capitalism is sign was the second sign I saw. The first one said: Vote now Jail bank execs Jail oil execs.

And these are definitely signs of the times. They were preceded by no traditional  drum and bugle corps. Instead we had a lone drummer at the fore. (behind the myriad of police escorts, of course.) He looked like ZZTop. They made him stop beating the drum when the ragtag Occupy Wall Street South ensemble stopped in from of Bank of America headquarters to let the world know exactly why they had come here, by making speeeches and flashing their signs and strutting their stuff.

These days,  we fragmented Americans  are like birds of a different feather, strutting the stuff. These here are  the wispy-wing’ed fringes of the blue flock. I suppose if you went to a Tea Party gathering a while back, you’d have gotten a view of what they’re calling the red flock. Tea Partiers don’t strut, however; they tend to sit in lawn chairs that they themselves brought from their back porches at home.

These Occupiers, I don’t think they have back porches, but more likely, fire escapes.

The last time I saw a parade like this was in the streets of Florence, Italy, several years ago.

There were some similarities with that Italian procession and what we see today approaching the DNC arena. You could just feel, back in the old country, that those old ideological lines had been drawn long ago. The onlookers just kind of yawn, like oh here comes another socialist parade; it must be Friday. The paraders were very organized, not like this bunch I’m looking at now. And those Europeans are more obviously labor-centered, not like here where the unions are just kind of hovering around the perimeter, waiting for their opportunity to organize the occupiers when they run out of steam.

And these fledgeling protest movements in the USA, they’re like only a hundred and twenty years old or so, still young and whippersnappin’, not like those European ones that seem so mature and classifiable and with their own political parties and stuff.

And I need to mention before I go that the ratio of protesters to police to onlookers was, from my sidewalk perch, something like 1:1:1. Not very efficient, from a banking city’s spreadsheet standpoint.

The long, steady stream of fire trucks at the end made it seem a little like the old days-style parade, with hints of orderly garnish, and an official finish, as the coffee-slurpers might say here at Starbucks where I’m now knocking this little ditty out.

And guess what, Labor Day is tomorrow, not today. What was I thinking?

 

Glass half-Full