This was a modest year.
When we looked to buy a house in Gainesville, almost every realtor assured us that we would not want to live north of the main campus because the fans coming to the football stadium would be too disruptive. Since I grew up within three blocks of Yankee Stadium, I didn’t consider that a valid argument. Fans can be well behaved.
In any event, although I ever went to one game in the 17 years we lived in Gainesville, the football program was a significant issue, and not just because the son of one of the team doctors kept harassing our kids waiting for the school bus and his parents refused to be concerned. And not because the spouse’s Freshman English courses were eventually boycotted by the athletes as too difficult.
Poor George Will. He got exercised by a ruling that panhandlers are free to ask for a donation. It’s my guess his column showed up in our paper.
Google says it starts out:
WASHINGTON–Just when you think no new folly can make city life more menacing, some moral exhibitionist, wielding power and reeking of liberal self-approval makes matters worse. Meet Judge Leonard Sand.
So, despite my bad reputation with the operators of a soup kitchen that didn’t think it important for people to wash their hands, I opined.
I like that line, “The beggar drops the mantle of stranger by speaking up.”
Ah, yes, the threatening public official!
But then, certain segments of this community seem to enjoy being threatened. The school board, the county commission, the chamber of commerce and even the Democratic Executive Committee ritually issue expressions of gratitude and appreciation to our legislators for withholding the whip and bringing home the rind of the bacon. Who’s to say that this gratitude isn’t genuine and merely masks the relief that our dumb leaders haven’t turned vicious? After all, they were elected. Some people, feeling powerless, keep pit bulls for their protection.
“Population control” started out in the 1960s as a response to poverty in the third world and environmental degradation. An old family friend made his living advising governments, on behalf of the Population Council, how to persuade people not to reproduce. It struck me as presumptuous, but he enjoyed the travel.
True, population control is a fuzzy term. But that’s the point, isn’t it? People are to be controlled. That’s what, according to the authoritarian mindset, they’re for. Now, in 2013, I refer to it as part and parcel of the culture of obedience.
Meanwhile, Porter’s Oaks went into phase two. It’s probably worth noting again that while the common assumption was that Porter’s subdivision was called that because railroad porters settled there, in fact, it was a subdivision named after the person who developed it, in the 1880s, Olivia A. Porter, the wife of one of Gainesville’s early physicians. If probate records are to be believed, there were a lot of women of wealth, often inherited and managed by them because the menfolk went West. Olivia and her spouse, however, were active in Gainesville for many years. She had a female partner and sold lots to whoever came up with the cash.