Ranting

Memphasis > Exploring The Cutoffs

February 24th, 2011

SEE WHAT YOU CAN CATCHWhen the river determined its own course, before it got its manmade shoulders, before spring disaster and all-year fear made us try to tame it, it went where it wanted and – like the biggest bully in the schoolyard, the meanest drunk in the bar – directed its fury against those who talked back.Think of it as original eminent domain.When the river decided to ...

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Memphasis > Getting Over It

February 17th, 2011

GETTING OVER THE BIG DIVIDEOutside, it was a beautiful spring day. Inside, it was a dark afternoon in engineering science lab. In front of me was a pile of balsa wood, popsicle sticks, string, rubber bands and a slide rule. The assignment – design and build a bridge. At that moment – while I was trying to figure out whether the number on my slide rule was 10,000, 100,000 or ten ...

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Memphasis > Power Trumps People

February 10th, 2011

IN THE NEW MATH, 30% IS MORE THAN 70%Fellow I know who worked for S.C. Toof & Co. back in the sixties told a good story about the use of power. Then the company was family owned and the largest printing operation around these parts. Mr. Toof fancied himself a broad-minded leader, open to suggestion and reform. The company's leadership would meet weekly to discuss issues and vote on ...

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Memphasis > An Uncommon Man In Common

February 3rd, 2011

AN UNCOMMON MAN IN COMMONThe first one was in the former Barksdale police station, a mounted police station complete with a stable and cells. Kids playing horse replaced the horses. Cells became offices, and the squad room turned into a classroom. A pool table took the place of the sergeant's desk, kids doing homework replaced cops doing paperwork, and those with nowhere to go and nothing ...

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Memphasis > The Right Call

January 27th, 2011

AN EASY CALL TO MAKE.Howard took his phone out on his porch overlooking the Little Red River in Arkansas and called me. "The band wants to throw Jimmy a party," he said. "Can we make that happen?"A few months ago, I wrote a column about a friend with cancer and the comfort of cheeseburgers. A couple of weeks ago, just before he left town to have major surgery, we had a helluva ...

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