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McCrory really does want dialogue

McCrory on Meet the Press

The North Carolina Governor plainly told the nation, on ‘Meet the Press,’ that we need more dialogue.

“And let’s have this dialogue and I welcome that dialogue,” he said.

In another interview, he says, “What we need is dialogue, instead of threats. […] I see at the national level with presidential politics, I see even with this issue with the threats and the letters and the boycotts—I don’t see conversation. I don’t even see people reading things before they threaten to boycott. Why don’t we have a conversation?”

I wonder if he really means that — or what he means by that.

Skye Thomson, a transgender boy, says The Governor declined to have dialogue with him. This young man is still offering that opportunity to The Governor of North Carolina.

Open Letter from Trans 9th Grader to NC Gov. Pat McCrorySkye_Thomson.0

I’m thinking that dialogue, in McCrory’s world — the world of politics and getting re-elected — means that he hopes people will spend from now until the election talking about how right he is for being in favor of having separate bathrooms for men and women. It’s hard to disagree with that. What a dialogue!

And something else of high interest to our Governor:  What must it be like to be in the bathroom with a transgender person? A person whose genitalia does not match his or her appearance? The governor is quite interested in that — and he hopes all of us will be too.

These are fascinating dialogues.

A dialogue like that takes the attention off things like declining public education, declining higher education, unpopular and ineffective building of toll roads, inadequate minimum wage, loss of human rights, and the huge economic and cultural damage caused by legislation he has signed into law.

Not to mention the fact that North Carolina taxpayers are spending billions to provide health insurance to low income residence of other states, while half a million low income residents of McCrory’s state are denied health insurance, because he and the legislature have denied Medicaid expansion here. To heck with morality or dignity or humanity in matters of health, life, and death. Better to be right about that pesky Obamacare than allow care for the poor in his own state.

He also caused much pain to those who were already suffering when he cut unemployment benefits in 2013, at a time when North Carolina had an unemployment rate over 8% and workers here were pretty desperate.

We’re not talking about bad stuff that happened under his watch. Good and bad has happened under his watch. The governor is not all-powerful. He did not cause jobs to be lost.

But these things — real damage to public schools, state universities, state workers, economic development, providing health and well being for people, and cultural losses — these were not unintended consequences. These things are the result of a clear intention. These things happened because he caused them to happen as a direct result of legislation he signed.

Much has been written about the Governor’s hypocrisy (see The epic hypocrisy of Gov. PatMcCrory).  I’m saying that McCrory is telling the truth. He does want dialogue. He wants lots of dialogue, between now and the election.

And he wants that dialogue to be about bathrooms and human sexuality (fun stuff that anybody can talk about). And, although he won’t directly start it (he’s no Donald Trump), if he can frame the conversation such that a little hate speech for sexual minorities becomes the dialogue-du-jour between now and the election, he’ll welcome that kind of dialogue too.

It’s an excellent distraction from real issues that impact the lives of real people in the Tar Heel State.

It’s smart politics. It’s not a very noble way to govern a state that’s been pretty good to him.

Jackie Mudpie: The one who never left

jackie1

We rarely called her by her full name, Jackie Mudpie. She mostly went by Jackie, and sometimes Jack-Jack or Sweet Doggie, or various sounds like Doggie-woogie-beegie-baggie-boo.

Most people have a special voice they use for their dogs, and so did I. It’s a high tone that’s a little squeaky, a little weird, and full of affection — and it comes from a different place that’s reserved for objects of pure delight.

She had a long life for a dog and was a baby until the end.

She was a fast learner and messed the house only twice — on the first day we brought her home, and twelve years later, on her last day of life.

The day we found her is a vivid memory for all of us.

A few weeks prior, we had lost a dog in a tragic accident. The guy who mowed my parents yard had not shut the fence gate on departure, and the love of my daughter’s life, Honey, had raced onto Innes Street and been hit by a car.

jackie7In the days that followed, I took Emma to look at puppies and none were suitable. I begged her to settle on a puppy to ease the pain. There was no replacing Honey.

Emma was still in love with Honey and still too struck with grief to consider another dog, but my mom, like me, had other ideas. My mom was a person who knew what was best for her grandchildren, whether they agreed or not. And she was persistent — not one to lose an argument, even with a grieving eleven year old.

She persuaded Emma to keep looking, whether she wanted to or not, and insisted, one Saturday morning, that we take a ride to Albemarle. She had the address of a woman with a yard full of dogs that needed to be rescued.
As it turns out, the dogs did need rescuing, but the woman who lived in the house needed rescuing more. She was a stressed out mess with 50 dogs on her hands. People dropped them in her yard. She fed them bread from the day-old bread store. She begged us tell people about her, to send help, to get Mom to write an article about her and her plight.

Mom had not gone with us. Neither had Alicia. That task was assigned to my father, a man of action. Dad was the primary finder of things that matter: puppies, cars, shoes, houses, safe spaces. He drove, leading us on this adventure to Albemarle. I sat in the front. Emma sat in the back with Sarah, her older sister, her pillar and protector of all things emotional.

jackie2The place was depressing, with too many unhappy dogs, all begging for their freedom inside a maze of fencing. Emma proved that she was right. There was not a single dog on the property that could replace Honey. We turned to go home.

As we walked down the hill, toward the car, there was a puppy on the loose that seemed to appear from nowhere and somehow sprang into Sarah’s arms. Emma immediately joined the 3-way embrace.

Sarah shouted “Jackie.” Emma shouted “Mudpie” and the naming was thereby final, joyous, spontaneous, and complete: Jackie Mudpie.

Having survived a diet of bread, Jackie was sweet, frail, and grateful. She was anemic and walked with a limp. We thought she was a lab and hoped she would live.

I remember Dr. Almond’s smile as she advised us on bathing and brushing and other matters of care. She told us Jackie was a feist and gave us vitamins.

Alicia is quite skilled at nurturing young beings, and our new family member soon thrived.

Jackie never gave us any problems. Emma taught her to sit, shake, turn around, lie, come, and speak.

jackie3She would get on the couch and be petted by three or four people at once. In our house, Jackie was like the Beatles. She was the object of our over-the-top group affection.

We took a thousand pictures of her, trying, unsuccessfully, to capture her true essence. She was so black that she barely showed up in photographs.

We often walked her three blocks to my parents house to visit their dogs. My parents also had a cat. The first time Jackie tried to play with the cat, she got scratched on the nose. After that, when she saw the cat, she took cover behind a human being and cried.

Aaron was off at college. My father passed away. Sarah moved to Alaska. Emma went to college. Mom’s health declined and her life came to an end.

And then it was us, the empty nesters — Alicia, me, and the one who never left, Jackie.

She slept on our bed. Some nights, when we were up late, working, she would go upstairs around midnight and keep the bed warm and wait for us.

She took turns being with Alicia, while she worked in her office, and with me, in my office — until a few months ago. I don’t know why, but toward the end of her life, she stopped coming to my office (which has a separate entrance outdoors).

jackie6She had amazing bladder control. When we took day trips to visit Emma at college in Asheville, we made frequent stops for her to pee and no matter how much we coaxed, she would never go. Jackie was a bit of a private lady, and a creature of habit. She held it until she got home to visit her familiar bathroom spots in the ivy bed.

When we got chickens, she behaved herself, although sometimes she would chase them briefly, for a moment of fun and exercise. Sometimes, when they free-ranged, she would be naughty and enter the hen pen and eat their food — but she was all-in-all gentle and friendly with any and all living creatures.

She enjoyed walks, especially in the Catawba Nature Preserve, where she often went for a swim or momentarily sprinted after a vanishing deer.

Up until her arthritic end, she devoted her entire being to pleasing Alicia and me. She could still take a two mile walk, and, although it took maximum effort and sometimes a little help, jump up onto the bed.

But I knew the time was coming. I had given considerable thought to the location of her final resting place and had chosen a spot in the yard for that.

jackie5Alas, I didn’t expect it to happen the way it did. Somehow we talk about the future like we know it, and of course we never do and never could. It happened on a cold day of frozen ground, with earth too solid for me and my shovel and Jackie’s entry.

Her death came on Super Bowl Sunday. Very early, when it was still dark out, she wanted to go out. That was unusual. Once out, she did not want to come back in. Also unusual. We got her in and soothed her with our words as she lay on the couch, thinking she had eaten something bad. The last time that happened, the vet said not to give her any food for a day, and she got better.

I was hoping that was it — that she would throw up again and start to feel better. But I feared it was the end and said to her what I needed to say. I told her I loved her and thanked her for being such a great dog.

She didn’t get better. She started to cry. We called our vet, and then the emergency vet — who said to bring her in.

We loved her deeply, and she knew that.

Mostly she loved us. No one teaches the art of love and loss like a pet dog. What a gift.

On Sunday, we situated a blanket underneath her and carried her to the car, and, at the moment we gently laid her into the backseat, the one who never left, left.jackie4

Going to see ‘A Parie Home Companion’ and I’m Sorta excited

phcIn a few minutes, Alicia and I will be making the pilgrimage to see A Prarie Home Companion, in Brevard, NC.

That show begin a month after I graduated from high school, and I’ve been a fan since then.

My dad liked it, and I have a vivid memory of sitting in the car on trips and listening and laughing. After all, I was an English major, and Mr. Keillor has always had a knack for English major jokes.

I’m not much of a concert goer. I could count on both hands the number of I’ve been to in my life. I’ve been to more political rallies — and a whole lot more training and development weekends 🙂

But this is special. He’s retiring, and I’ve always wanted to go.

So this is just to say I’m pretty excited!

Conservative think tank workers cancel July 4th Vacations

novacation

Declaring this past week “an emergency,” conservative think tank thinkers have canceled July 4th vacations so they can use the time to come up with new ideas for the future of our country.

“We lost same-sex marriage, health care, and the rebel flag — all in one week,” said the head of RTTCTOA.

Continue reading Conservative think tank workers cancel July 4th Vacations

Scrum, chickens, and extra time

chicken in hot weather

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past two weeks trying to outsmart a clever flock of backyard chickens.

I did not succeed.

Humans have a long history of dominating these little creatures. We eat their eggs and eat them. We live longer, eat more interesting food, live more interesting lives, use

Continue reading Scrum, chickens, and extra time

Responsibility cast and production team

L-R. Sam Post, Markeita Cornelius, Pamela Mitchell, Matthew Holley, Nik Blocker, Holly Horton.

 

I had an eventful Easter Sunday.

The Theatre Department at Lander University, in Greenwood, SC, put up an evening of Student Directed One-Act Plays — and they held a Sunday matinee.

Senior Nik Blocker directed one of mine, Responsibility.

I went to the show. It was a bit of a drive, but

Continue reading Responsibility cast and production team

Who’s the fool?

April Fools Goat

Yesterday, I played an online April Fool’s joke.

I asked Alicia to take a picture of me in the yard. I called the dog and the chicken over. The chicken did not obey, so Alicia sort of herded it in my direction.

And she took the picture.

I slapped on a a picture

Continue reading Who’s the fool?

Yard Sale

yard

I wrote this little play for the Lee Street 10 minute play festival. The guidelines requested a comedy with the theme Yard Sale. Alas, the period of suspense has ended and this script was not picked. Which gives me the opportunity to share it here 🙂

The picture here is my front yard

Continue reading Yard Sale

Buddy Snider

Buddyserving

A week ago, my friend Buddy Snider passed away, and it broke my heart.

Buddy grew up next to the City Park tennis courts. Boyd Gilman lived across the street. That was like my second neighborhood, where I hung out all summer and most days after school. In the summers, my parents would

Continue reading Buddy Snider

Pretty juice

juice1

After making juice this morning, prior to stirring and pouring out, I thought it deserved a picture, or two.

It was so beautiful!

In the picture on the left, there’s a bottom layer of green — spinach, lemon, orange, apple, and cucumber.

Then there’s the beet — an overpowering deep red that, moments

Continue reading Pretty juice