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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
               Wednesday, July 3 2002 

Summer doldrums

I hate to admit it's come to writing about the weather....

Some of my favorite fiction is about summer days and hot climates. Starting with movies, remember (or have you seen on the Movie Classics Channel or the late shows?) the old Burl Ives tales of southern corruption, small towns dominated by big (bully) aging men? One of the titles I remember from "those days," my cusp-of-adulthood days, was The Long Hot Summer. with Lee Remick, Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, and Orson Welles in the Burl Ives part. I think too of Cat on A Hot Tin Roof, by Tennessee Williams, and also his Streetcar Named Desire. They all dealt in human excess, sin without redemption, and at least a little madness.

But it's not those southern gothics that I have been most impressed with. The youthful exuberance-and-discovery type impressed me more. I remember Paul Adams reading Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn on the Friday reading time in seventh and eighth grades, and later seeing the movies. Two of my favorite books are Something Wicked This Way Comes, about two boys at that juncture between childhood and adolescence being sucked into an entrancing black magic carnival in their small town (and it's also been made into an excellent movie that's available on video). That was written by Ray Bradbury, more famous for science fiction, but he's excellent in the boyhood genre. His collection of short stories that weave a tapestry that's almost but not quite a novel, Dandelion Wine, is exquisite summer reading, also about young boys of summer, to be savored while propped up on a beach chair or lolling over a hammock. Similar to these is Stand By Me, which is based on Stephen King's novella, The Body.

Something of a hybrid of the corrupt southern small town gothics and the coming-of-age stories is a novel and movie that some consider America's greatest work of fiction, Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s Raintree County. Raintree County is a mythical part of the state of Indiana and the setting is that of America's own coming of age, the Civil War and its aftermath. The protagonist (played by Montgomery Clift in the movie version) begins as a teenage pilgrim who through deceit and betrayal ends a lonely broken man. Though not set in the hot south, Indiana gets its share of heat, and one of the novel's charms is that although it spans whole lifetimes, it's all set in warm summertime.

So it's not quite writing about the weather, but that has been topic A in Cambria County this week, and much of the rest of the country...or topic B, after where or when terrorists will attack on the Fourth of July.

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Dumb crooks

A 45 year-old woman was arrested in San Antonio, Texas, after a mechanic reported to police that 18 packages of marijuana were packed in the engine compartment of the car which she had taken to the mechanic for an oil change. According to police, she later said that she didn't realize that the mechanic would have to raise the hood to change the oil.

— Sent by Mike Harrison

Thought for today

I N S T R U C T I O N S  F O R  L I F E . . .
(third in series)

11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. Do all you can to create a tranquil, harmonious home.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.

Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

 

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