Billfish: Catch & Release

Billfish: Catch & Release Tom Poland Posted 6/19/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI wanted a real-deal Ernest Hemingway long-bill cap to let me see into the depths. One that would shade my Canon’s LCD monitor. One that might impart a bit of writing magic. The cap arrived along with a post...

Mystery Plant! #780

Mystery Plant! #780 John Nelson Posted 6/19/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comAn early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.--Henry David ThoreauI agree! And now that it’s summer, it warms up really fast around here where I live, so a morning walk is indeed the best time for me. My neighborhood is...

A Coquina Sunrise

A Coquina Sunrise Tom Poland Posted 6/14/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netAt first I thought men had poured cement onto the beach. Protection against an encroaching sea, I figured. The waves had scoured it good, brushing tresses into it. I walked south a ways, shaking my head as to how man...

Mystery Plant! #779

Mystery Plant! #779 John Nelson Posted 6/12/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comBotanists have plenty of heroes. One of our best known, of course, is Charles Linnaeus, the "Father of Plant Taxonomy," who lived and worked in Sweden. His most memorable publication, probably, is a masterpiece called "Species Plantarum," which was published in 1753,...

“I don’t know” can be a great answer

“I don’t know” can be a great answer By John Foust, Advertising Trainer I remember talking about sales presentations with Edwin, who is the marketing director of a regional advertiser. “I’ve heard all kinds of presentations from media salespeople and I’ve asked plenty of questions during those conversations,” he said....

Mystery Plant! #778

Mystery Plant! #778 John Nelson Posted 6/5/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com“Habitat in Virginia.”                        Linnaeus, Species Plantarum (ed. 2) vol. 2, p. 1414            Well, yes, “it grows in Virginia,” but the one in this picture grows on the USC campus here in Columbia, an easy walk for me.Now if you draw a line...

Protect your precious credibility

Protect your precious credibility By Jerry Bellune, Writing Coach What if your police chief came out with what sounds like a controversial statement?What if he said that illegal immigrants, criminals and rapists had invaded your community? Strong charge but is it true? Would you publish this without asking for evidence to...

Tribe

Tribe Aïda Rogers Posted 5/30/24 (Updated 6/5/24)By Aïda RogersWhen you think about it, friendship is a mysterious thing. I’ve been pondering it ever since a group of mine gathered for five days of nonstop togetherness after 34 years apart. We had all seen or spoken with each other individually and there...

No Damsel In Distress

No Damsel In Distress Tom Poland Posted 5/29/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netLate May, I made one last effort to see the rare rocky shoals spider lilies before they play out. Rain and high water had deviled the flowers and me all spring. Not this time. I made three trips in...

Mystery Plant! #777

Mystery Plant! #777 John Nelson Posted 5/29/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com    Let's be bees. Busily buzzing bees. If I were one, this is where I would be.            Very recently I spent part of a sunny afternoon at the Spoleto Festival in Charleston, just wandering around in Marion Square, right in downtown....

Daddy Had A Worm Farm

Daddy Had A Worm Farm Tom Poland Posted 5/28/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe towns sounded distant, not as miles go, but as memories. Hazlehurst, McRae, Baxley, Soperton, Alma, and Tifton. Tifton meant trouble.I was studying a map for a six-day trek into South Georgia in August. Near a place called...

Mystery Plant! #776

Mystery Plant! #776 John Nelson Posted 5/28/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWe’ve had a number of  mysterious pine tree species in this column, and here is another. There’s always a new pine species to learn about: after all, there are about 100 species worldwide.This one is growing in a small park not far...

Fallen but not forgotten

Living on Purpose: Fallen but not forgotten Dr. William Holland Posted 5/28/24By Dr. William HollandThis week we honor those who died while fighting for our country. There was a time when society seemed to be more sensitive and compassionate about casualties of war, but today there are so many distractions...

Hemingway’s Pocket

Hemingway’s Pocket Tom Poland Posted 5/21/2024By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netWe give little thought to our pockets until one gets a hole in it. When it does, it becomes a liability. Well, what’s the history of pockets? When did these bags sewn into pants and jackets become handy for stuffing our...

Monsoons, Dogs, & Drought

Monsoons, Dogs, & Drought Tom Poland Posted 5/20/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netA spring long ago … It rained and rained. And then it rained some more. The rain gauge brimmed and our yard turned quagmire. It rained so long our Boston terriers couldn’t walk. We thought they had tick fever....

Mystery Plant! #775

Mystery Plant! #775 John Nelson Posted 5/15/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIt’s not a grass, and it’s not a sage. It’s a “sedge”.This week’s column is devoted to a certain plant family, and especially a certain genus within the family. This would be the family named “Cyperaceae”, an enormous group, in terms of...

Cicadas’ Rise & Fall

Cicadas’ Rise & Fall Tom Poland Posted 5/14/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netA spring or summer day isn’t quite Southern without singing cicadas and it seems our annual cicadas love the heat of day come summer, singing best during sultry hours. To me, the singsong rise and fall of cicadas, a...

Robert Ariail, Cartoonist

Robert Ariail, Cartoonist Tom Poland Posted 5/14/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIn the beginning, there was the urge to draw—and inspiration, Saturday morning cartoons.“I’d drawn since I was a boy, spending hours with crayons, pencils, manila paper, and an Etch A Sketch to render dinosaurs and other creatures. In junior high,...

Christ is interceding on your behalf today

Living on Purpose: Christ is interceding on your behalf today Dr. William Holland Posted 5/8/2024By Dr. William HollandSome individuals are healthier than others, but the uncomfortable facts reveal the human body is generally frail and vulnerable. I occasionally joke around with my Son-in-law about him being from another planet because...

Mystery Plant! #774

Mystery Plant! #774 John Nelson Posted 5/8/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comHow could anyone not love this lovely little plant?Its graceful stems are adorned with beautifully scalloped, bright green leaves. Rub the foliage and sniff: you’ll detect a charmingly spicy “earth odor”. Its little stems are perfectly square in cross section…so fun to...

Fly Down Hill

Fly Down Hill Tom Poland Posted 5/7/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI reached deep into my sense of place and reckoned the road ought to come out near Anthony Shoals Road, and it did. My parents drove me over that road when a boy. It was a dirt road then, and...

Mystery Plant! #773

Mystery Plant! #773 John Nelson Posted 5/1/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comI remember a costume party once several years ago, it was Halloween, of course. There was a crazy guy there, very tall, with wild hair and a frizzy beard, both dyed bright yellow (how did he do that?), and then he was...

Troubadour Of The Night

Troubadour Of The Night Tom Poland Posted 4/29/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThree a.m. I looked out my bedroom window to see eyes aglow with foxfire. I could not see its head, its mouth, but from it came the sweetest, most melancholy song. Just like that I was so lonely I...

Mystery Plant! #772

Mystery Plant! #772 John Nelson Posted 4/24/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWhatever humor this little plant might have must be truly tasteless. Well, its fruits are tasteless, anyway.The fruits are gorgeous, brilliant red, and are dead ringers for the cultivated strawberry. Bite into it, though, and you'll get a watery flavor, and not...

Mystery Plant! #771

Mystery Plant! #771 John Nelson Posted 4/17/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comBehold this lovely flower! Now it’s spring--glorious spring!...and you can’t hardly go anywhere without seeing flowers. Lots of flowers.This flower is commonly seen on the ground, after it has been blown out of the tree from which it comes. It is an...

Mystery Plant! #770

Mystery Plant! #770 John Nelson Posted 4/17/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comAre plants wimps?There they are, growing with their little leaves, their roots in the ground, the little delicate flowers smiling up at the sun…and being eaten, trampled on, mowed down, dug up, burned, sprayed with herbicides, hardly ever putting up a fight....

Mystery Plant! #769

Mystery Plant! #769 John Nelson Posted 4/3/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWhen you look closely at our Mystery Plant, you can rather easily tell that it belongs to the bean family. Each flower is what we call “papilionaceous,” and in a fanciful way, butterfly-shaped. Five petals are present, all a beautiful pink or...

Mystery Plant! #768

Mystery Plant! #768 John Nelson Posted 3/27/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com"Now 'tis the spring, and weeds are shallow-rooted; Suffer them now, and they'll o'ergrow the garden And choke the herbs for want of husbandry."                        [Shakespeare, Henry VI (part 2)]Watch out for the weeds, both the annuals and the perennials! Even in Shakespeare's...

A person is only as true as their word

Living on Purpose: A person is only as true as their word Dr. William Holland Posted 3/20/24By Dr. William HollandWe live in an age that tends to shrug its shoulders when confronted with spreading information that is not true. Instead of asking, like Pilate, “What is truth?” the postmodern man...

Mystery Plant! #767

Mystery Plant! #767 John Nelson Posted 3/20/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comAlthough spring has sprung, it is still a bit cool on these Southern mornings. As a botanist, I understand that many of my colleagues, botanists, that is, have been suffering through bouts of cabin-fever during the dark winter months, and now that...

Pulling down strongholds within our minds

Living on Purpose: Pulling down strongholds within our minds Dr. William Holland Posted 3/18/24By Dr. William HollandThe Human experience includes the standard requirement to choose right and wrong and has always been accountable when it comes to good and evil. Each of us has the free will to choose how...

Mystery Plant! #766

Mystery Plant! #766 John Nelson Posted 3/18/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com            I hereby decree that spring has arrived, along with its fragrant wisterias, brilliant jessamine, and charming crimson clover. Finally! And to celebrate, let me offer one of the most attractive of the spring-blooming Southeastern species...and a...

Mystery Plant! #765

Mystery Plant! #765 John Nelson Posted 3/18/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comPicture yourself in Bavaria in the spring, in a friend’s back-yard, admiring the view of the Alps in the distance. Your host, showing you around, spots this little weed, and exclaims, “Schau mal, Erdrauch!” (translation below…)            Our little plant is common...

Mystery Plant! #764

Mystery Plant! #764 John Nelson Posted 3/18/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com“Life’s a beach.” That’s what they say.This is a species of an oceanic, or “marine”, algae. It is indeed, one of the many species of "seaweeds", a very non-technical term, but a term that is useful. Botanists consider the true seaweeds to...

Being tempted to let down our guard

Living on Purpose: Being tempted to let down our guard Dr. William Holland Posted 2/26/24By Dr. William HollandYears ago I worked in a department of five people and one day our director was replaced with someone new. The new leader of our team brought a small radio into our office...

Mystery Plant! #763

Mystery Plant! #763 John Nelson Posted 2/21/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com¡Guacamo-le! Guacamo-le! Me gusta el guacamo-le!                                                                                       --a kids’ songThere are two basic reasons why you should make, and eat, guacamole.First, it tastes great. Guacamole, of course, comes from the avocado plant, which is native to warm semitropical forests of the New...

It’s time to do some spring cleaning

Living on Purpose: It’s time to do some spring cleaning Dr. William Holland Posted 2/19/24By Dr. William HollandDo you believe there is such a thing as good and evil, God and Satan? When something good happens do you thank God because you believe He blessed you? What about when something...

Mystery Plant! #762

Mystery Plant! #762 John Nelson Posted 2/14/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com"In an early spring we see the appearing buds;Which to prove fruit, hope gives not so much warrant as despairThat frosts will bite them."                                King Henry IV, Part 2: I: 3.I'm just like Lord Bardolph, who was afraid that just as soon...

Remembering Cale Yarborough

Remembering Cale Yarborough Tom Poland Posted 2/14/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe breaking news alert held just 29 words.“Cale Yarborough, a NASCAR great, dies at 84. Known for his fierce toughness and grit, Mr. Yarborough won the Daytona 500 four times and the Southern 500 five times.”His death brought back memories...

A New Backroad Magazine

Backroad Portfolio A New Backroad Magazine Tom Poland Posted 2/12/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net You cannot raise your ancestors from their grave, but you can appreciate how they lived. Just take a backroad deep into the countryside and perchance turn onto a dirt road. You’ll see old farms and their...

First Taste of Blackstrap Molasses

First Taste of Blackstrap Molasses Tom Poland Posted 2/9/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netMid 1950s, early morning on the farm, it was. Rivers of gold ran down the stack of pancakes on the old oak table. Butter pooled higher and higher and I expected it to spill onto the old table...

Broomstraw Brooms

Broomstraw Brooms Tom Poland Posted 2/7/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI call it broomstraw. Others broomsedge. Whatever you call it, it doesn’t kill my memories of my grandmother’s homemade brooms. About a yardstick long, they stood in corners throughout the house. That made them handy. They were simple. They were effective....

Mystery Plant 761

Mystery Plant! #761 John Nelson Posted 2/7/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIt's so Fly-Day, Fly-Day Chinatown…                                                                Yasuha, 1981This song came out 40 years ago, or so, and of course I wasn’t “hip” enough then to quite understand what it was all about. It was a rather popular song, though, in a good many...

When the Border Boys Were Young

When the Border Boys Were Young Tom Poland Posted 2/5/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netBefore the photos, Robert Clark had been photographing architecture for ten years. I had been writing scripts for documentaries. Much earlier, during a teaching stint, I submitted a paper to an academic journal. That earned me an...