Friday, August 31, 2007

Business of War

In an MSN Money report this week, business writer Michael Brush answers the question:
Who's profiting from the Iraq war? Suffice it to say that if you’re an arms merchant in America, these are the golden days. But that's always the way it is - war would be a lot less prevalent if it weren’t so damned profitable.

The business of war does mean different things to different people. While 1864 was a great time to be an arms merchant in America, a Confederate soldier wrote to his family in Haywood County about the other side of war:

August 31st, 1864
Dear Father and Mother, Brothers and Sisters.

Yesterday I received sister Rachel’s kind letter of the 23rd which contained the saddest news that ever was my lot to receive. I write these lines to let you know that I am enjoying good health, but almost heart broken, once I had a kind loved cousin and a dear and affectionate brother with me but "alas" Ebed is gone, Nathan is gone, never will I have them give me advice again. Now no more shall I have their much loved company, for the narrow graves contains these forms so dear.

I feel alone, but I trust that I have been left alone that they might join each other in a better land. I am very glad that Nathan got home to see all again, and there with Father and Mother and sisters and more especially his loved little daughter near to die. He wanted to see you all and to die at home. Many soldiers are deprived of that privilege - Dear parents, I can hardly give up dear brother Nathan but we must be resigned to the will of the almighty…

Mother if you have a good chance a pair of socks will be very acceptable. Father since I have elected as Lieutenant I have been necessarily compelled to go into debt some. How are you off for money and how are money matters in Haywood? I many have to ask you to send me some, until I get to drawing Lieutenants pay. Maybe Zeke can bring me a small lot of provisions if so it would be treat for me. This is a hard time to play the soldier…

News from the Chicago convention is that some hopes for the peace party-having a respectable number in that body. I guess that McClellan will be nominated, if so he will be elected. I hope peace will soon be made and that on terms just and honorable to the South.

I understand that prisoners will be exchanged. If so I will take Bob and Andy back as ours. Grandpa I often think of you, and am very anxious to see you. I hope that I may live so as not to bring disgrace on the head of parents and grandparents. Give Elenor and children and Annie and children my best love and tender them the heartfelt sympathy of a brother. My love and deepest sympathy are with you all.

I am as ever your affectionate Son.
Garland


From Civil War Letters and Memories from the Great Smoky Mountains by Hattie Caldwell Davis

Thursday, August 30, 2007

BOLO - Be on the Lookout


There's a chance that the forms pictured here can be seen in the mountains this weekend, if you look carefully... The mysterious creatures are NOT to be found in the Southern Appalachian skies, but might be seen in nearby lakes.

They’re not extraterrestrials, but are freshwater jellyfish (Craspedacusta sowerbyi).

The most likely time for observing the jellyfish is when waters are at their warmest in late August and early September. They prefer the calmer waters of lakes or ponds rather than rivers, and have been seen in Fontana Lake and several other TVA lakes west of Fontana.

After hatching from polyps on the lake bottom, the translucent creatures tend to gather on the surface of the water seeking zooplankton and other food. The adults are about the size of a quarter.

Freshwater jellyfish do possess stinging cells but are unable to penetrate human skin and cannot produce the painful sting caused by most marine jellyfish. Freshwater jellyfish are considered an indicator species, with presence signifying a relatively healthy ecosystem.

Yet, they are unpredictable, appearing in large numbers one year and sometimes not at all the next year.

Mark Doty was inspired by the sight of jellyfish - here's a passage from his poem, Difference:

…All they seem
is shape, and shifting,
and though a whole troop
of undulant cousins
go about their business
within a single wave’s span,
every one does something unlike:
this one a balloon
open on both ends
but swollen to its full expanse,
this one a breathing heart,
this a pulsing flower….

Photos from :
IUP website
Micscape website

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Stay Here and Become Industrious

If history repeats itself, and the unexpected always happens, how incapable must Man be of learning from experience. - George Bernard Shaw (1856 - 1950)

On August 29, 1808, Indian Agent Return J. Meigs addressed the Cherokee Council:

You have your choice to stay here and become industrious, like white people, so that the women and children will not cry any more for bread, or go over the Mississippi where meat is plenty and where corn may be raised as well as here. Your Father the President wants what is best for you, but in the east it will be difficult. That is why from time to time your people Straggle one or two at a time to the West or in small parties.

Brothers, it is well known everywhere that the Cherokees stand on the highest ground of reputation as a Nation of Red men. The Cherokees have more knowledge as farmers, as manufacturers, and have more knowledge of literature than any nation of Red men in America, I may safely say, than all the Red men in America put together. . . . You have more money, more cattle, more horses, more and better clothing than any other nation of Red men of equal numbers in America. . . . I wish to excite in yourselves a just pride, that is, to have you value yourselves as Cherokees; the word "Cherokee" or "Cherokees" should always convey an Idea of Respectability to your people.

On August 29, 1829, the governor of Tennessee wrote to John Ross, principal chief of the Cherokee Nation:

It is scarcely necessary to say that the President of the U States feels a deep interest in the removal of the Cherokees West of the Mississippi. This you have been informed of by himself. He believes that it will tend to the permanent advancement of the prosperity of the nation, and will prevent those unpleasant bickerings that are sure to arise from the extension of Jurisdiction by the adjoining States over that part of the nation within their respective chartered limits.

Without entering further into a train of reasoning upon this subject, permit me to say that I am directed to make the plain, simple proposition to you. Will you agree to meet commissioners to be appointed by the President, at such time as might best suit the convenience of both parties, for the purpose of discussing the subject of the Cherokees removing West of the Mississippi. …
Receive assurances of my best wishes for the future happiness of the nation over which you preside, and of the regard, with which I am most respectfully

Your friend,
Wm Carroll

Monday, August 27, 2007

Robbing the Land of its Memory



"Who controls the present controls the past; who controls the past controls the future." The Ministry of Truth, in George Orwell’s 1984.

After a long day’s ride down the Valley River Valley, nothing hits the spot like a bottle of Moet’s Champagne. That’s what one old geologist would tell you. During the summer of 1837 George Featherstonhaugh meandered around the mountains of Western North Carolina. On the morning of August 26, he left Franklin and took a difficult trail across the Nantahalas. Eventually he reached the Valley River Valley near present-day Andrews:

At sunset we stopped at a very indifferent place called Whitakers about thirty-two miles from Franklin. Here we got a very humble supper, about which I was less anxious than to get a mattrass to myself. The setting in of night always brings its anxieties on this point to me, my travelling companions were more sympathetic, and seemed to prefer "turning in" in pairs.

Featherstonhaugh awoke the next day and continued down the Valley River:

August 27.--A most beautiful morning found me at early dawn dipping water out of the stream to make my ablution saperto cielo, preparatory to a very scrubby breakfast. The method the Indians adopt of taking fish in this stream is a very destructive one. They cut a channel parallel to the stream, and damming this last up, turn the water into the new channel, seizing all the fish that are left in the shallow pools of the old bed. We continued our course S.W. down the valley on the right bank of the stream, the valley enlarging to a mile of rich bottom land surrounded by lofty and picturesque hills covered with fine woods.

This was the Paradise of the Cherokees, their wigwams being built on graceful knolls rising above the level of the river bottom, each of them having its patch of Indian corn with indigenous beans climbing to the top of each plant, and squashes and pumpkins growing on the ground. The valley now contracted as we advanced, but contained a great many thousand acres of the most fertile land. Any thing much more beautiful than this fine scene can scarcely be imagined; two noble lines of mountains enclosing a fertile valley with a lovely stream running through it. The whole vale has formerly been a lake.

I’ve read Featherstonhaugh’s account several times in the past without giving much thought to his statement that the whole valley had formerly been a lake. Featherstonhaugh was a geologist and it may be that any student of geology would recognize that the valley had contained a lake many thousands of year ago. I just don’t know, and my cursory research on the matter hasn’t provided an answer.

"The whole vale has formerly been a lake." Did he hear this from the same sources that told of Spanish gold mines in the mountains? Unfortunately, Featherstonhaugh left no other clues to explain the remark.

In an archaeological study of the Valley River Valley, Trawick Ward observed the valley’s modern farmers growing corn and soybeans and hay:

Obviously this environment represents a drastic alteration of prehistoric conditions by modern man. Prior to these modifications, areas within the valley floor that were subject to intermittent flooding were most likely ensconced by willows, cottonwoods, sycamores, silver maple, boxelder, and sugarberry…From ethnohistoric accounts and the archaeological record, it is evident that the animals occupying these habitats were not only plentiful but also varied, including some species that are locally extinct, e.g. elk, wolf, mountain lion, and bison.

But, alas, no word on any possible lake. Ward studied the Valley River floodplain in the 1970s after construction had begun on a new route for Highway 19-129 between Andrews and Murphy. Ward and his fellow researchers identified 23 sites that were partially or wholly within the highway right-of-way. The sites represented human occupation from the Early Archaic through the Late Woodland Period. Before detailed archaeological surveys could be completed, though, road builders disturbed or destroyed or paved over all of the sites, spanning an area 160 feet wide and fifteen miles long.

Thirty years ago, Trawick Ward watched the evidence of ancient civilizations bulldozed away in the name of progress. One hundred seventy years ago today, George Featherstonhaugh traveled the same route and witnessed the preparations for the impending removal of the Cherokees:

Leaving the river, we met in a defile, at no great distance, a company of mounted Franklin volunteers moving to the mouth of the Nantayáyhlay, a part of the North Carolina State troops employed in a surveillance over the Cherokees until their evacuation of the country should take place. They would have been perfectly in character in the uplands beyond Terracina, on the road to Naples, for I never saw any fellows in my life that came so thoroughly up to the notion entertained of banditti. …

About 2 P.M., we ascended a hill to Fort Butler [near Murphy], a temporary camp with a block-house built for the State troops upon this occasion: from hence we rode a mile to Hunter's, a tavern kept by a person of that name who had been long in the Cherokee country; it was most beautifully situated upon an eminence commanding a view of the Hiwassee, gracefully winding through the hills, and of the lovely country around. There was a clever little hut in a retired part of the garden belonging to this house, and beds being placed in it, it was assigned to us exclusively, so that we had some prospect of comfort. Perceiving some ladies in the house, one of whom was the wife of an officer of the United States army, we made our toilette rather more carefully.


The dinner was excellent, good soup, and a fine large trout from the river. We seemed restored to civilization, an idea that lost nothing by the introduction of a capital bottle of champagne, of which Hunter had brought a basket from Augusta, thinking the officers of the State troops would not sneeze at it; but either the price or something about it did not please them, and there Monsieur Moet was likely to have remained for some time "unknowing and unknown" but for our appearance. As it is not every day that Moet's champagne, and in the finest order, can be drank on the banks of the Hiwassee, in the Cherokee country, we formed the virtuous resolution of appropriating the whole basket to ourselves, and lost no time in putting a taboo upon it.

I don’t know how ceremoniously George Featherstonhaugh lifted a glass, but he could have dedicated this old Irish toast to any who would rob the land of its memory:

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you are going,
And the insight to know when you have gone too far.

George William Featherstonhaugh was a geologist and linguist who traveled through the mountains of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina and compiled A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor based on his diaries.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Give That Kid a Coke!



Child labour, properly conducted, is calculated to bring the highest measure of success to any country on the face of the earth. The most beautiful sight that we see is the child at labour. In fact, the younger the boy began work, the more beautiful, the more useful his life gets to be. - Asa Candler, founder of the Coca Cola Company, 1908

God gave me my money. - John D. Rockefeller

I’ve been to several wedding anniversary celebrations. In particular, I recall my grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary. It was festive in its own way, but this weekend, I plan to attend an ever bigger fete. It’s the 251st wedding anniversary of Daniel and Rebecca Boone, and the streets of historic Mocksville, NC will be jammed with celebrants.

It’s understandable that the life of Daniel Boone has become the legend of Daniel Boone, and that he’s a Rorschach of the American experience. When I read about his early years, I find a deep and personal connection. In the mid 1700s, the Pennsylvania-born teenager moved with his family to the rolling hills of the Yadkin River valley. In the mid 1700s, my own German ancestors followed the same route to the south, and ended up just a few miles from the Boones.

Daniel Boone’s blazing of the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap in 1775 presaged the future of America just as much as, and arguably even more than, the signing of the Declaration of Independence a year later. Daniel Boone - the poster child for Manifest Destiny? Why not. If you retrace Boone’s Wilderness Road out of the Yadkin and across the Appalachians you’ll find it leading, not to some historical dead end, but to the here and now.

Boone’s act of pushing the frontier westward and Thomas Jefferson’s advocacy of a nation of independent small farmers would eventually culminate in the Homestead Act of 1862, which granted 160-acre tracts to settlers in exchange for their farming the land. But there was trouble in paradise, beyond the hardships of extreme weather and crop failures. Corporate interests and speculators took advantage of the Homestead Act to reap vast profits from control of water, timber, oil and other resources.

Meanwhile, the historian Samuel Eliot Morison asserts that during the Civil War:

A government generous in contracts and lavish in expenditure helped to create a new aristocracy of profiteers, who became masters of capital after the war…The foundations of fortune laid during the war were: Armour (meat packing), Havemeyer (sugar) Weyerhaeuser (lumber), Huntington (merchandise and railroads), Remington (guns), Rockefeller (oil), Carnegie (iron and steel), Borden (milk), Marshall Field (merchandise), and Stillman (cotton).

The second industrial revolution changed everything. From then on, the power and influence of the robber barons grew. In a recent story here, we looked back at the “Golden Age” of the robber barons, when child labor was a staple of life in the cotton mills. But as I said at the time, that’s a thing of the past:

We’ve moved on. Civilization has advanced. In our current enlightened condition, we’ve conquered discrimination, exploitation and greed. Sent them packing. Benevolence rules!

Robber Barons? In 2007? No way!

There must be some other explanation for the Ten Most Brazen Iraq War Profiteers and the Windfall for the Bush Family from the war in Iraq. You “surrender monkies” are either for us or against us, after all. Do you want VICTORY or not?

So what that some real estate developers pull off a $100,000,000 heist in Mitchell County. If they’d done anything wrong, you’d see criminal charges filed against them. Right?

Balsam Mountain Preserve didn’t devastate Scott’s Creek and they didn’t drag their feet cleaning it up. Jackson County was the one that made an error in fining Balsam Mountain Preserve $300,000. It was all a big SCIENCE EXPERIMENT!

A good man exercises his private property rights in Waynesville and the neighbors get their homes flooded? The developer, affable Don Hairston, denies responsibility for the flood and blames the damage on the wrath of God. Might as well give credit where credit is due.

And to cap it all, this week we pick up the Mountain Xpress and see a cover story by Nelda Holder about child labor in Jackson County. Don’t call it exploitation when a developer sends an 11-year-old up the ladder to roof a house. Look at it like old Asa Candler did, “The most beautiful sight that we see is the child at labour.”

Somebody give that kid a Coke!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Rattlesnakes of Balsam Mountain Preserve



"The only green Chaffin/Light sees is the dollar sign...I made a mistake hiring them…they never listened and learned." (Former business associate John Bradley, commenting on the "environmental ethic" of the Balsam Mountain Preserve developers.)

Thanks to the hard work of vigilant citizens, Chaffin/Light eventually slithered away from their intended development on John Bradley’s land in New York State. Of course, opposition never mobilized against Chaffin/Light’s infestation of Jackson County, and now we pay the price for our inattention.

They say that if you don’t bother rattlesnakes, they won’t bother you. Good advice as far as it goes, but I don’t think it applies to the two-legged rattlesnakes. And the news this week would indicate that you can find specimens of both types at Balsam Mountain Preserve.

A story posted yesterday at Science Daily tells of scientists implanting radio transmitters in timber rattlesnakes and turning them loose at Balsam Mountain Preserve. Damn, I wish I’d thought of that. Not that I would have bothered with implanting radio transmitters.

I looked through the BMP amenity package again and couldn’t find any mention of timber rattlers. Just consider it a little unexpected bonus – "free with every $400,000 lot purchase – your very own den of snakes."

If I were you, though, I wouldn’t let ophidiophobia prevent me from moving up to Balsam Mountain Preserve. It’s like the professor said about the rattlesnakes (the legless ones, that is):

When we build homes on the mountainsides, we are encroaching upon their territory. When people and rattlesnakes share the same space, the snakes usually lose.

Well, that good news should be a comfort to all the residents of Balsam Mountain Preserve. But until victory over the rattlesnakes is declared, remember to "WATCH YOUR STEP!"

That was yesterday. Today, we picked up the Smoky Mountain News and learned more about the two-legged rattlesnakes of Balsam Mountain Preserve. You can distinguish them from the earth-bound snakes because they don’t rattle before they strike. They strike first and then make noises like:


We are putting forth a good effort.

We are just cooperating.


We regret this very unfortunate event.


The article alludes to various government inspectors overseeing the alleged cleanup of the mess resulting from the Balsam Mountain Preserve dam break:

The agencies have questioned why Balsam Mountain Preserve hasn’t devoted more manpower to removing drifts of sediment from Sugarloaf and Scotts Creeks. In addition to the sediment traps, sediment has been settling in mounds in wide, slow stretches of the creeks in side pools.

So why hasn’t Balsam Mountain Preserve devoted more manpower to the cleanup? For one thing, BMP may be too busy calling Raleigh so they can wriggle their way out of having to paying the $300,000 fine that Jackson County tried to assess.

That’s one explanation. But now that shirking the fine is a fait accompli, here’s one more explanation, straight from the Balsam Mountain Preserve public relations team:

Sometimes we create our own questions to further our knowledge and sometimes the questions ask themselves and we have to be there to take advantage of the opportunity.

One question that was posed to us recently was, "How long will it take for a Southern Appalachian stream to restore itself to a healthy biological system if it is struck by a naturally or anthropogenically induced event?"


We now have the opportunity to have that questions answered and are exploring the recovery rate of Sugar Loaf Creek after the failure of one of the golf course irrigation ponds.


The resulting amount of water that coursed its way down Sugar Loaf Creek carved out old stream beds and deposited sediments on the banks of the stream.

The company’s commitment to being both a good neighbor and a conservation community was put into practice to begin the restoration process in Sugar Loaf Creek.


How reassuring! That’s about what you’d expect from a two-legged rattlesnake. That’s about what you’d expect from Balsam Mountain Preserve. It makes you long for the days when the most dangerous snake in the mountains was the one described by Horace Kephart:

When a rattlesnake sees a man approaching, it generally lies quiet to escape observation, so long as it thinks itself concealed. It seldom strikes unless provoked. If alarmed when it is wide-awake, it nearly always springs its rattle before striking, the sound being very similar to that made by our common "locust" or cicada. If the reptile is trodden on when asleep, it strikes like lightening, and does its rattling afterward. Unfortunately for us, the poisonous snakes do their sleeping in the day time and hunt at night. They are prone to seek the warmth of bed-clothes, and sometimes will coil up alongside of a sleeping man....A snake is not obliged to coil before striking, but can strike from any position; it will coil first, however, unless attacked very suddenly or taken at a disadvantage. (Camping and Woodcraft, Volume 2, pages 439-440)

At least those good snakes, now sporting their own radio transmitters, are still alive and well at Balsam Mountain Preserve.

So, if you’re enjoying life in the gated wonderland called Balsam Mountain Preserve…be sure to WATCH YOUR STEP!

The rest of us are still trying to find the anti-venom for that deadly two-legged rattlesnake.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hunting Legends in Chapel Hill

It was about as hot as it gets in Chapel Hill.

Nevertheless, we found a parking spot near Franklin Street and started walking…swapping stories…pointing out the places that had changed beyond recognition, and the places that hadn’t. It was, and it wasn’t, the same place where we had studied and worked and partied back in the seventies. It brought back a lifetime of memories. Make that two lifetimes of memories.

The Rathskellar...Carolina Coffee Shop...the rose garden in front of the planetarium...Davie Poplar...the Old Well...the arboretum...it was all good.

When the doors of Wilson Library opened, we rushed in to escape the heat of the day, and to peruse an exhibit of historic North Carolina postcards from the past century, beautifully presented. I could spend years digging through the treasure troves of Wilson Library, now home to the North Carolina Collection, the amazing Southern Historical Collection and the Southern Folklife Collection. But all that will have to wait.

Following a brief stopover, we reluctantly left Wilson Library to meander and talk some more:

“When I first came to Chapel Hill a fellow took me on a tour of the campus. We were walking along here when he told me about the dunce cap on Wilson Library.”

“A dunce cap? Is that so?” I said, “That’s one I never heard.”

“That’s right. He said there was a rivalry between John Motley Morehead and Louis Round Wilson. And because of that, Morehead had the Bell Tower built in just the right place so that Wilson Library wears a dunce cap.”


I looked over my shoulder and could see the dome on the library...representing Wilson’s bald head. But I couldn’t see the pointed cap.

“No, not yet. We have to go farther up the hill toward South Building.”

A few steps later, I could see the seal of the University of North Carolina.

“That’s it. Go stand over there and look.”

I stepped onto the seal and turned around. Sure enough, the dunce cap of the Bell Tower sat perfectly on the dome of Wilson’s bald head.

“Whoa! Amazing. It’s just too bad they stuck that #$%^#*% flagpole where it obstructs the view. What a woefully misguided gesture of patriotism!” I complained. It meant moving to the side to snap the picture displayed here, hence the cap appears to sit slightly askew.


I admired the scene for a minute, awestruck by the ingenuity of the elaborate practical joke. “Hmmm,” I pondered, “do you think the story is really true? I’ll have to research this one.”

“Oh, I’m sure you will...you're crazy.”

And research it I did. Let me say now that if you relish the legend of Wilson’s dunce cap, you might want to stop reading. Otherwise, here’s the rest of the story:

A 2002 article in the Daily Tar Heel recounted the tale and included some additional information from Neil Fulghum, curator of the North Carolina Collection Gallery. (Ironically, we had met Mr. Fulghum during our visit to Wilson Library, before we continued our stroll around campus.)

From the DTH article:

One of the most circulated stories overheard from campus tour guides involves Wilson Library and the Bell Tower. The top of the Bell Tower, funded by John Motley Morehead, can be seen above the dome of the library, named in honor of Louis Round Wilson.

The legend says there were ill feelings between Morehead and Wilson. Morehead had the tower built tall enough so that when looked at from in front of the library, the tower's conical peak appears to sit like a dunce cap on the library's dome, which represents Wilson's bald head.

Fulghum said the story has no grounds because the library was named in honor of Wilson in 1956, 25 years after the completion of the Bell Tower. "I don't know whether there was an actual disagreement between Morehead and Wilson, but this story has been circulated and alluded to for half a century," he said.

There you have it. Yet another urban legend bites the dust.
Sorry about that.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Unwavering Sense of Justice



'Twas in Marion, North Carolina,
In a little mountain town;
Six workers of the textile
In cold blood were shot down.
--From "The Marion Massacre" by Woody Guthrie

WNC’s company towns now a fading memory appeared in the Asheville Citizen-Times a couple of weeks ago. The story looked at "Western North Carolina’s one-time company towns — Enka Village, Champion Paper’s Fiberville in Canton, the neighborhood around the former Beacon Plant in Swannanoa, Martel Village in Woodfin, among others."

Helen Jones Rice recalled growing up in Sayles Village, a development of wood frame cottages for employees of Sayles Biltmore Bleacheries. "It’s like you’re owned by the company — that’s true," she said. "But we in the village did not feel that way because Mr. Sayles made sure we didn’t feel that way."

Rice’s comment illustrates the dichotomy of the company town. Utopia. But utopia with a dark shadow.

Reporter John Boyle talked with local historian Rob Neufeld:

…mountain mill towns emerged [beginning in the late 1800s] after large industries came to the area in search of local resources, including pure water, minerals, timber — and hard-working, relatively cheap labor. "Company towns provided extra incentive for people to come work in the community, but they also enabled the company to have a little more of a stranglehold on the employees."

A century ago, the mill towns of the Carolina piedmont attracted thousands of people from the mountains. Families traded a hard and tenuous life on the farm, for the relatively comfortable, but more restrictive, life in the factory.

Technology and economics brought about a massive culture shift throughout the Southern Appalachians, as people moved to towns like Cliffside, described on the cover of Cliffside: Portrait of a Carolina Mill Town:

Cliffside was a model town, lauded and envied like few others of its kind. It was the dream of its founder, Raleigh Rutherford Haynes, a home-grown tycoon who created an entire industry along the Second Broad River in Rutherford County. More than a town, Cliffside was a way of life. It was a society shaped by Haynes’s respect and concern for his workers and neighbors, by his unwavering sense of justice and fairness, and by his insatiable desire for perfection. Even now, long after his death in 1917, his legend and his principles live on in the people of this once-bustling little town. In recent decades, Cliffside, like many other mill towns in the south, has struggled to survive the decline of the textile industry. These photographs portray the gentle and loving nature of Cliffside and the generations of people who have called it home.

When the Mill Closes Down, a recent documentary, told a similar story about South Carolina towns - Newberry, Honea Path, Ware Shoals, Simpsonville and Pacolet. Residents described an idyllic time in the villages, with a strong sense of community and sharing.

It was similar to the way Helen Jones Rice remembered Sayles Village:

"We had good people who lived in the village. I never was embarrassed that I lived in the village because I always had more friends than anybody."

Of course, it’s ludicrous to think that life in the mills was all paternalistic mill owners, company baseball teams and community bands. WELCOME TO DYSTOPIA!

Take, for instance, child labor. A century ago it was common practice in the southern textile mills, as well as the mills of the North, where Mother Jones brought it to the public’s awareness:

I asked the newspaper men why they didn't publish the facts about child labor in Pennsylvania. They said they couldn't because the mill owners had stock in the papers. "Well, I've got stock in these little children," said I, "and I'll arrange a little publicity."

We assembled a number of boys and girls one morning in Independence Park and from there we arranged to parade with banners to the court house where we would hold a meeting.
A great crowd gathered in the public square in front of the city hall. I put the little boys with their fingers off and hands crushed and maimed on a platform. I held up their mutilated hands and showed them to the crowd and made the statement that Philadelphia's mansions were built on the broken bones, the quivering hearts and drooping heads of these children.

That their little lives went out to make wealth for others. That neither state or city officials paid any attention to these wrongs. That they did not care that these children were to be the future citizens of the nation.

The officials of the city hall were standing the open windows. I held the little ones of the mills high up above the heads of the crowd and pointed to their puny arms and legs and hollow chests. They were light to lift.

I called upon the millionaire manufactures to cease their moral murders, and I cried to the officials in the open windows opposite, "Some day the workers will take possession of your city hall, and when we do, no child will be sacrificed on the altar of profit."

The officials quickly closed the windows, as they had closed their eyes and hearts."

Worker unrest simmered in 1929, with strikes in Elizabethton, TN, Gastonia, NC and Marion…just off the mountain from Asheville.

On October 2, 1929 the McDowell County sheriff and deputies gunned down unarmed strikers picketing Marion Manufacturing Company. Six workers died, 24 were wounded. The sheriff, the mill superintendent, two mill foremen and 14 deputies were all acquitted or otherwise exonerated of murder charges. All of the strikers were fired from their jobs and evicted from their company-owned homes.

Only two weeks prior to the Marion Massacre, organizer Ella May Wiggins was shot and killed on her way to a union meeting in Gaston County. The 29-year-old single mother of four, had worked 12 hour days, six days a week, and backed the union. She didn't shy away from a fight: "They’ll have to kill me to make me give up the union."

But that’s all in the past now. We’ve moved on. Civilization has advanced. In our current enlightened condition, we’ve conquered discrimination, exploitation and greed. Sent them packing. Benevolence rules! Ain’t the 21st century grand?

Mill Mother's Lament
We leave our home in the morning
We kiss our children goodbye
While we slave for the bosses
Our children scream and cry.

And when we draw our money
Our grocer's bills to pay
Not a cent to keep for clothing
Not a cent to lay away.

And on that very evening
Our little ones will say
I need some shoes, dear mother
And so does sister May.

Now it grieves the heart of a mother
You everyone must know
But we cannot buy for our children
Our wages are too low.

Now listen to the workers
Both women and you men
Let's win for them the victory
I'm sure twill be no sin.
-Ella May Wiggins (1900-1929)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Happiness



"Happiness is like a butterfly: the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder." - Thoreau

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Land of the Sky, 1917





These illustrations are from Land of the Sky, published in 1917 by Southern Railway...one of the earliest full-color tourism brochures to promote Western North Carolina.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Evenings in the Slubber Room


I’ve been thinking about life in the factory and wondering how many people are left that even heard the word "slubber".

I also remember, 25 years ago, discovering a poem called "Factory". Antler wrote the poem at age 24 in 1970 while working at a Continental Can Company factory along the Milwaukee River just north of Milwaukee. His job was to scoop can lids into long narrow paper bags and cardboard tubes as the lids came down a chute from a loud machine that punched the lids out of sheets of aluminum. [From Antler’s Website which includes two passages from the poem.]

"Factory" opens:

I
The machines waited for me.
Waited for me to be born and grow young,
For the totempoles of my personality to be carved,
and the slow pyramid of days
To rise around me, to be robbed and forgotten,
They waited where I would come to be,
a point on earth,
The green machines of the factory,
the noise of the miraculous machines of the factory,
Waited for me to laugh so many times,
to fall asleep and rise awake so many times,
to see as a child all the people I did not want to be...

In August 2002, Antler was profiled in a Judith Steininger article, Free to Be Disciplined. The poet counted Whitman, Ginsberg and Ferlinghetti as his mentors and listed other writers that had influenced him:

"Jack London (‘Call of the Wild’ and ‘White Fang’) was my early role model. I wanted to be a novelist like him. I really like his autobiographical novel ‘Martin Eden.’" When Antler talks reading, he obviously prefers poets — even local ones like Marty Rosenblum ("The Holy Ranger Harley- Davidson Poems") and Susan Firer ("The Underground Communion Rail"). About the Pulitzer Prize winner Gary Snyder ("Hay for the Horses" and "Lookout’s Journal") he says, "I like him for his questioning the deepening intrusion of modern industry and his key images of ecstasy." From Snyder, it’s a short segue to Robinson Jeffers ,the Big Sur poet ("Gale in April" and "Salmon Fishing").
"Jeffers like Whitman sees sex spiraling out into nature, a sunrise or starry night can be a sexual experience. Emily Dickinson is also very important to me. She was very alone in her life, had doubts, and was never gregarious. I’m her type." Last but certainly not least, he mentions Flannery O’Connor ("A Good Man is Hard to Find"), one of the greatest American short story writers; a Catholic woman in the Southern Baptist south who surely understood the complications of inclusiveness.

I remember the Piedmont textile town where I grew up and which is no more.
I remember
- second shift in the slubber room of the cotton mill (pictured above and long since razed)
- the mind-numbing repetitiveness in the din of the factory
- a desiccated old man who propped himself up with a broom and had worked at the mill for 75 years of his life
- long rows of machinery spinning furiously, sending up tiny fibers that filled the air and gave the factory light a soft glow

I remember waking the next day, coughing cotton dust.

The pictures and the words are fading away.
Slubber (noun) from the verb slub, to draw out and twist
1. A soft thick nub in yarn that is either an imperfection or purposely set for a desired effect.
2. A slightly twisted roll of fiber, as of silk or cotton
Etymology unknown.

Click over to Occupations in the Cotton Mill, for more terminology rapidly leaving the language…slubber hands, creelers, doffers and more.

Pictured below - a 1907 street scene just several blocks away from the cotton mill.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Mount Mitchell In the Clouds




After a long trip up the Parkway from Asheville, I was ready for the short walk to the observation tower on Mount Mitchell, elevation 6684'. But a sign at the botton of the trail said "CLOSED". The old tower on the summit was gone!

That started me thinking about the various structures that have stood atop the mountain.

In 1835, Dr. Elisha Mitchell became the first person to measure the mountain, the tallest peak in the United States. He made several return visits and fell to his death while exploring the mountain in 1857.

In 1888, a 12-foot-tall monument marked the grave of Dr. Mitchell, who had been buried on the mountain bearing his name.

Several years later, visitors erected a 15-foot-tall platform perched on poles at the summit.

After Mount Mitchell became North Carolina’s first state park in 1915, the state built a covered wooden platform about the same height.



In 1926, a stone tower of a medieval design was constructed atop Mount Mitchell.




In 1959, it was replaced by the 30-foot-tall tower that was demolished last year. Engineers had determined that the 1959 tower was structurally unsound.




A tower now under construction will be 10 feet tall and 36.5 feet in diameter, with a curved and gently sloping ramp for access. The 135-foot ramp, supported by circular columns will make the platform fully accessible.




In addition to the architect’s rendering of the new tower shown here, is a photo of the actual construction as of July 2007. For more, you can click on the Vaughan and Melton website for photos of the Mount Mitchell tower as construction proceeds.




Charles Dudley Warner visited Mount Mitchell in September of 1885, before any markers or towers were built upon the mountaintop, and here’s what he saw:

In the center of the stony plot on the summit lie the remains of Mitchell. To dig a grave in the rock was impracticable, but the loose stones were scooped away to the depth of a foot or so, the body was deposited, and the stones were replaced over it. It was the original intention to erect a monument, but the enterprise of the projectors of this royal entombment failed at that point. The grave is surrounded by a low wall of loose stones, to which each visitor adds one, and in the course of ages the cairn may grow to a good size.

The explorer lies there without name or headstone to mark his awful resting-place. The mountain is his monument. He is alone with its majesty. He is there in the clouds, in the tempests, where the lightnings play, and thunders leap, amid the elemental tumult, in the occasional great calm and silence and the pale sunlight. It is the most majestic, the most lonesome grave on earth.

As we sat there, awed a little by this presence, the clouds were gathering from various quarters and drifting towards us. We could watch the process of thunder-storms and the manufacture of tempests. I have often noticed on other high mountains how the clouds, forming like genii released from the earth, mount into the upper air, and in masses of torn fragments of mist hurry across the sky as to a rendezvous of witches.


This was a different display. These clouds came slowly sailing from the distant horizon, like ships on an aerial voyage. Some were below us, some on our level; they were all in well-defined, distinct masses, molten silver on deck, below trailing rain, and attended on earth by gigantic shadows that moved with them. This strange fleet of battle-ships, drifted by the shifting currents, was maneuvering for an engagement.


One after another, as they came into range about our peak of observation, they opened fire. Sharp flashes of lightning darted from one to the other; a jet of flame from one leaped across the interval and was buried in the bosom of its adversary; and at every discharge the boom of great guns echoed through the mountains.


It was something more than a royal salute to the tomb of the mortal at our feet, for the masses of cloud were rent in the fray, at every discharge the rain was precipitated in increasing torrents, and soon the vast hulks were trailing torn fragments and wreaths of mist, like the shot-away shrouds and sails of ships in battle. Gradually, from this long-range practice with single guns and exchange of broadsides, they drifted into closer conflict, rushed together, and we lost sight of the individual combatants in the general tumult of this aerial war.


If I didn’t know better, I’d think that Chuck rode the Hippie Bus back in 1885.

What was going on back then, anyhow?

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Perks of Being 50+

Why post this, since everybody’s seen it already? Well, if you ARE over 50 and HAVE seen the list before, you’ve forgotten it by now…so here it is again. This will make you feel better:

THE PERKS OF BEING 50+
1. Kidnappers are not very interested in you.
2. In a hostage situation, you are likely to be released first.
3. No one expects you to run -- anywhere.
4. People call at 9 p.m. and ask, "Did I wake you?"
5. People no longer view you as a hypochondriac.
6. There is nothing left to learn the hard way.
7. Things you buy now won't wear out.
8. You can eat dinner at 4 p.m.
9. You enjoy hearing about other people's conditions.
10. You get into heated arguments about pension plans.
11. You have a party and the neighbors don't even realize it.
12. You no longer think of speed limits as a challenge.
13. You quit trying to hold your stomach in, no matter who walks into the room.
14. You sing along with elevator music.
15. Your eyes won't get much worse.
16. Your investment in health insurance is finally beginning to pay off.
17. Your joints are more accurate meteorologists than the National Weather Service.
18. Your secrets are safe with your friends because they can't remember them either.
19. Your supply of brain cells is finally down to manageable size.
20. You can't remember who sent you this list.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Water Garden - II


At Perry's Water Gardens, Cowee Valley, Macon County, NC

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Margaret Rides the Hippie Bus Through Cowee



If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite.William Blake

One day last month we went to Cowee Valley. It was the perfect place to spend an afternoon watching a summer thunderstorm, a great blue heron, a flock of red-winged blackbirds.

Later, just past the ruby mine road on the way to the water gardens, I spotted an incongruous psychedelic box near the creek. The object they call the "Hippie Bus" is an odd time capsule in the midst of immaculate pastureland and farmsteads.

You can’t help but wonder where people have gone in that Hippie Bus.

Last month, too, I picked up a new edition of Margaret Morley’s 1913 book, The Carolina Mountains. I’d read it a long ago and appreciated that she wrote her book around the same time as Horace Kephart’s Our Southern Highlanders. It intrigued me to compare their perspectives on mountain life…to the point that I once broadcast an in-depth conversation between Horace Kephart and Margaret Morley…not exactly standard fare for commercial radio!

It’s hard to believe that the Hippie Bus is one hundred years old, but you never know. I say that because I opened to page 269 and read a passage that made me think that Margaret Morley rode the Hippie Bus through Cowee. How else do you explain this pair of sentences:

In the valley of the Cowee Creek these two lovely gems, the ruby and the rhodolite, have blossomed side by side in the rocks, each extracting from them what it needed to bring to expression the spirit of inorganic life, just as in the crumbling soil above them the roses and rhododendrons have blossomed each in its own rare colors to express the inner spirit of the plant. And who shall say that the same necessity, impelling the crystals through cycles of cosmic pressure to emerge in permanent forms of beauty, does not impel flowers of the upper air to clothe themselves in transitory loveliness?

Groovy!

For all I know, William Bartram rode the Hippie Bus through Cowee in 1775. Obviously, Bartram had blown the hinges off the doors of perception long before his moveable feast of botany and language reached the Little Tennessee:

Some of these roving beauties stroll over the mossy, shelving, humid rocks, or from off the expansive wavy boughs of trees, bending over the floods, salute their delusive shade, playing on the surface; some plunge their perfumed heads and bathe their flexile limbs in the silver stream; whilst others by the mountain breezes are tossed about, their blooming tufts bespangled with pearly and chrystaline dew-drops collected from the falling mists, glistening in the rainbow arch.

Let’s return, though, to Margaret Morley (1858 – 1923) who lived near Tryon, explored the mountains and wrote about what she saw. The Carolina Mountains also includes two dozen of her photographs. Some of them are staged tableaus of entire families, posing on their front porches. Others are straightforward documentation of geographic features. Several photos do stand out; for instance, one of her most memorable images - "The Sorghum-Cutter". In fact, the North Carolina Museum of History just concluded an exhibition of Morley photographs.

Morley moved to Tryon because of her close friend Amelia Watson, a watercolor artist with whom she had collaborated. Watson illustrated an 1896 edition of Thoreau’s Cape Cod, and her watercolor shown above is featured as the frontispiece for The Carolina Mountains.

Like Horace Kephart, Margaret Morley advocated protection of the mountains and devoted a whole chapter of her book to the Southern Appalachian National Park.

Maybe Horace even joined in with Margaret to drive that Hippie Bus all the way into town. I can almost hear them now, rolling out of Cowee and making awkward Victorian small talk with each other:

Margaret - To come from the turmoil of city life to these mountains is like taking a journey back into the history of the past.

Horace - I was seeking a Back of Beyond…In Far Appalachia, it seemed that I might realize the past in the present, seeing with my own eyes what life must have been to my pioneer ancestors of a century or two ago...

Margaret - Oh! Ahead there, Horace, it is the village of Franklin, with the Nantahala rising, an exquisite background, behind it. And seeing it thus in the mystical light of the summer day one has again that vision of what the earth might be, and will be, when future generations are moved by the power of beauty that is finally to conquer the world.

Horace - That's...uhh...groovy, Margaret, groovy...ahem... Myself, I wanted to enjoy a free life in the open air, the thrill of exploring new ground, the joys of the chase, and the man’s game of matching my woodcraft against the forces of nature, with no help from [blah blah blah...]


Friday, August 3, 2007

August 4, 1837

Thanks to George Featherstonhaugh, we get a glimpse of Cherokee Country on the verge of Removal. Observing the events of 1837 in the Georgia mountains, Featherstonhaugh had a knack for capturing the smallest of details with his descriptive prose:

August 4.--This morning, whilst we were at breakfast, a company of Georgia Mounted Volunteers rode through the place on their way to the Cherokee Council. All had their coats off with their muskets and cartouch-boxes strung across their shoulders. Some of the men had straw hats, some of them white felt hats, others had old black hats on with the rim torn off, and all of them were as unshaven and as dirty as they could well be. The officers were only distinguished by having Cherokee fringed hunting shirts on. Many of the men were stout young fellows, and they rode on, talking, and cursing and swearing, without any kind of discipline. Upon the whole it was a picturesque sight, and brought to my recollection the descriptions of the condottieri of ancient times.

Having engaged the stage to take us to Red Clay, we left Spring Place at 8 A.M., passing for twenty-five miles through a wild country with a rolling surface, pleasingly wooded, and sufficiently open to admit of the growth of various beautiful flowers. We crossed the Connesawga, which is a beautiful mountain stream, and were frequently gratified with the sight of fine fat deer bounding across the narrow wood road with their magnificent antlers. The quail, too, were numerous, and the young birds large. The soil being derived from the lower Silurian limestone is very fertile, and certainly I never saw heavier Indian corn than in two or three settlements that we passed, especially at one Young's, about fifteen miles from Spring Place. . . .

Hearing that a half-breed Cherokee named Hicks, whom I had formerly known, had put up some huts for the accommodation of strangers, we found him out, and he assigned us a hut to ourselves, the floor of which was strewed with nice dry pine leaves. It contained also two rude bedsteads, with pine branches as a substitute for beds, and some bed-clothes of a strange fashion, but which were tolerably clean. Chairs we had none; and our first care was to get a sort of table carpentered up, and to place it in such a position that we could use our bedsteads for chairs when we wrote.

Our log hut had been so hastily run up that it had neither a door, nor bore evidence of an intention to add one to it, and its walls were formed of logs with interstices of at least six inches between them, so that we not only had the advantage of seeing every thing that was going on out of doors, but of gratifying every body outside who was desirous of seeing what was done within our hut, especially the Indians, who appeared extremely curious.

Having refreshed ourselves with a cup of tea, we walked out with General Smith, the Indian agent for the United States, to see the Council-house. Crossing the Cóoayhállay, we soon found ourselves in an irregular sort of street consisting of huts, booths and stores hastily constructed from the trees of the forest, for the accommodation of Cherokee families, and for the cooking establishments necessary to the subsistence of several thousand Indians.

This street was at the foot of some hilly ground upon which the Council-room was built, which was a simple parallelogram formed of logs with open sides, and benches inside for the councillors. The situation was exceedingly well chosen in every respect, for there was a copious limestone spring on the bank of the stream, which gave out a delicious cool water in sufficient quantities for this great multitude. What contributed to make the situation extremely picturesque, was the great number of beautiful trees growing in every direction, the underwood having been most judiciously cut away to enable the Indians to move freely through the forest, and to tie their horses to the trees.

Nothing more Arcadian could be conceived than the picture which was presented; but the most impressive feature, and that which imparted life to the whole, was an unceasing current of Cherokee Indians, men, women, youths, and children, moving about in every direction, and in the greatest order; and all, except the younger ones, preserving a grave and thoughtful demeanour imposed upon them by the singular position in which they were placed, and by the trying alternative now presented to them of delivering up their native country to their oppressors, or perishing in a vain resistance.

An observer could not but sympathize deeply with them; they were not to be confounded with the wild savages of the West, being decently dressed after the manner of white people, with shirts, trousers, shoes and stockings, whilst the half-breeds and their descendants conformed in every thing to the custom of the whites, spoke as good English as them, and differed from them only in a browner complexion, and in being less vicious and more sober.

The pure bloods had red and blue cotton handkerchiefs folded on their heads in the manner of turbans, and some of these, who were mountaineers from the elevated districts of North Carolina wore also deer-skin leggings and embroidered hunting shirts; whilst their turbans, their dark coarse, lank hair, their listless savage gait, and their swarthy Tartar countenances, reminded me of the Arabs from Barbary. Many of these men were athletic and good-looking; but the women who had passed from the maidenly age, had, owing to the hard labour imposed upon them by Indian usages, lost as usual every feminine attraction, so that in my walk I did not see one upon whom I had any desire to look a second time.

In the course of the evening, I attended at the Council-house to hear some of their resolutions read by an English missionary, named Jones, who adhered to the Cherokees; a man of talent, it was said, and of great activity, but who was detested by the Georgians. These were afterwards translated,vivâ voce, into Cherokee by Bushy-head, one of the principal half-breed Cherokees. A most refreshing rain fell in the evening, and about 8 P.M., somewhat fatigued with the adventures of the day, I retired to our hut, from whence, through the interstices of the logs, I saw the fires of the Cherokees, who bivouacked in the woods, gleaming in every direction; and long after I laid down, the voices of hundreds of the most pious amongst them who had assembled at the Council-house to perform their evening worship, came pealing in hymns through the now quiet forest, and insensibly and gratefully lulled me to sleep.

-From A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor

Lazy as Boiled Cod-Fish

Just the other day, in The March of Progress, we featured a passage from one traveler’s account of life in Cherokee Country ca. 1837. George William Featherstonhaugh was a geologist and linguist who traveled through the mountains of Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina and published A Canoe Voyage up the Minnay Sotor based on his diaries. Featherstonhaugh is just too descriptive a writer not to revisit. He was less than favorably impressed with the political acumen and industriousness of the north Georgia citizens he encountered on July 31, 1837:

The people about were tall, thin, cadaverous-looking animals, looking as melancholy and lazy as boiled cod-fish, and when they dragged themselves about, formed a striking contrast to some of the swarthy, athletic-looking Cherokees. This, no doubt, is to be attributed to their wretched diet and manner of life; for the better class of Georgians, who lead more generous lives, contains many fine-looking individuals.

What these long parsnip-looking country fellows seem to enjoy most is political disputation in the bar-room of their filthy taverns, exhibiting much bitterness against each other in supporting the respective candidates of the Union and State-rights parties which divide the State, and this without seeming to have the slightest information respecting the principles of either. Execration and vociferation, and "Well, I'm for Jackson, by --!" were the nearest approach to logic ever made in my presence.

Their miserable attempts at farming, when compared with the energy, foresight, and neatness of the people of the Northern States, are as absurd as they are ridiculous; indeed, it is quite distressing to see the most numerous class in the community condemned by their ignorance to be the slaves of those demagogues, who with their eternal elections encourage them in these tavern-haunting habits, which bring nothing but misery and ruin upon themselves and their families, generation after generation.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Goat Gland Genius



The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.
-Albert Einstein


Though my curiosity is not particularly as holy, nor my intellect as sharp as Albert’s, inquisitiveness does lead to remarkable discoveries on occasion. Nothing to match the general theory of relativity, mind you.

Here’s what I mean. I was thinking about Aunt Sally’s curve and the word that a state-record rainbow trout had come from the Tuckasegee River near that monument.

Which led me to wonder about the man responsible for the Aunt Sally marker, Dr. John R. Brinkley. The most famous native son ever produced by Jackson County. Born near Beta on July 8, 1885, John endured a tough childhood. And he went on to great things.

If you don’t believe me, here’s what Joe Schwarcz, PhD., said about him…over at Quackwatch:

The remarkable events I'm going to chronicle here would likely never have unfolded, in 1917, if young Dr. John Brinkley had not been hired as house doctor at the Swift meatpacking company, located in Kansas. He was dazzled by the vigorous mating activities of the goats destined for the slaughterhouse. A couple of years later, after Brinkley had gone into private practice in Milford, Kansas, a farmer named Stittsworth came to see him. Stittsworth complained of a sagging libido. Recalling the goats' frantic antics, the doctor semi-jokingly told his patient that what he needed was some goat glands. Stittsworth quickly responded, "So, Doc, put 'em in. Transplant 'em."

Most doctors would have ignored the bizarre request, but Brinkley was not like most doctors….

No, he wasn’t. That’s Jackson County genius for you. Around the same time Einstein was concocting incomprehensible gibberish about physics, our favorite son was using his talents to accomplish something useful.

"But," you say, "we’ve all heard the story of the Goat Gland Doctor."

Well, perhaps. The exciting news is that I’ve turned up a treasure, a BANNED work from 1983 that sheds new light on the old doc.

By way of introduction, here’s a brief bio of the document’s creator:

"…born in 1953 to become an artist who believes that great art communicates to us both the glory and insignificance of TRUTH without regard for TIME and SPACE. He also believes he is made of three-colored quarks and the entire Universe will end in 10 years, so big deal."

In the days ahead, I’ll share from this amazing work. And, perhaps, there’ll be more to tell of the trophy trout taken from the Tuckasegee.

For now, an excerpt from one review of this suppressed classic:

The first man to understand the hypnotic power of mass media shows how Corporations, run by people who flit through the revolving door between the SEC (Security Exchange Commission) and the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), create Consumer need through anxious fear and control of information. This illustrated biography depicts the "The Goat Gland Doctor" and Border Blaster Radio pioneer in his meteoric rise to become the World's Greatest Quack.

Brinkley was the first Tele-evangelist with a Viagra-like cure for men; he sold colored-water medicine through 1,500 drugstores, owned the most powerful radio station in Earth's history (one million effective watts). The government created the Federal Communication Commission to control his troubling influence in the fields of Quack medicine, religion as mass-media evangelism, and modern political campaigning….

As Doc Brinkley himself might have said, STAY TUNED!