Paddle faster, I hear banjos

The Deliverance reference has created a pop culture catchphrase. How do I know? Easy. You can get it on a t-shirt.

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The Deliverance reference has created a pop culture catchphrase. How do I know? Easy. You can get it on a t-shirt.

My boyfriend, who seems intent on introducing me to all things redneck while also saying things like, “paddle faster, I hear banjos” on the way to the rifle range/BBQ shack/out of the way infamous live oak tree, is my source on this bit of redneck-dom, as well.

 Here’s the 1972 scene it references…

ROUND-UP: What I’m reading and loving this morning

Today, I’m reading up on some of the coolest, most inspiring, most successful, most heroic, most fabulous women around. Take a peek at my picks from this past week:

I was born in a country where the birth of a girl is lamented while that of a boy is celebrated. The majority of Pakistani girls are married before the age of 18; most never learn to read or write. @ Elle

It’s not what anyone would think of as a good table, and just as I am debating whether I should make a fuss, the maître d’ rushes over and says, somewhat breathlessly, “Are you meeting Ms Coddington?” @ FT via Fashionista

 

Pizza junkie. Harry Potter addict. Broadway star? “I know,” laughs 14-year-old Emerson Steele. “I can’t believe it either.” But that’s exactly what’s happening for the Atlanta native, who plays the teen version of theater goddess Sutton Foster in the new musical Violet. @ Teen Vogue

 

In the world of early-20th-century African-American music and people obsessed by it, who can appear from one angle like a clique of pale and misanthropic scholar-gatherers and from another like a sizable chunk of the human population, there exist no ghosts more vexing than a couple of women identified on three ultrarare records made in 1930 and ’31 as Elvie Thomas and Geeshie Wiley. @ NYT Magazine

 

Of all the battles in our half-century culture war, perhaps none seems further from being resolved, in our laws and in our consciences, than abortion. @ New York Magazine

 

What are you reading today? Share your links in the comments!

Concealed carry: When is it OK?

I had never met anyone whom I knew concealed-carried a handgun until I met my boyfriend. He carries to Walmart (and other potentially sketchy places). One day, I popped by after he’d been to Diet Coke Mecca and I recoiled instantly when after I slung an arm around his waist, I felt the tell-tale bulge on his lower back. He’d just gotten home and his holster, complete with Glock, was still on his belt. It felt weird, wrong, to my then-black-and-white guns are scary mind. I didn’t want to touch it. And yet–and yet, guns fascinated me. They’re foreign, they’re dangerous, they’re contentious. And I’m not the only one who thinks that.

I was browsing the r/parenting subreddit a few days ago–no kids here, I just, um, enjoy reading about other people’s quandaries…–and came across this:

So last weekend during my wife’s family Easter dinner there were quite a few people there, including 7 children. For some reason, at some point of the afternoon, after the Easter egg hunt, my wife’s uncle decided to start carrying his loaded 9mm in a holster stuck in his waistband. This made me and my wife uncomfortable, so we said our goodbyes and left.

After getting back to my in-law’s house, we started a discussion with my in-laws about the situation saying we didn’t want our son exposed to that type of behavior and we saw it as a safety issue. The discussion turned into chaos….

I chuckled reading the story and naturally schadenfreude-d my way to the comments. There were some agreeing with the original poster (“OMG, that’s insane, I would have done the same thing, guns are awful”) and some mocking him (“It’s legal, it was in a holster that a toddler could not have reached, safety was on, what’s the issue”). Some called the gun-toting man a nut job because he strapped one on at a family function–who was he afraid of? they questioned.

But there’s no getting around that it is his legal right to conceal carry, depending upon state laws and the state of his permit.

Concealed carry has cropped up in the news recently:

  • California gubernatorial candidate and current assemblyman Tim Donnelly proposed an overhaul to the state’s notoriously strict (and recently decreed unconstitutional) concealed carry laws. More here…
  • A new Georgia law–dubbed the “guns everywhere bill”–allows concealed carry permit-holders to carry handguns into some bars, churches (both can ban them using state-approved signage) and schools (carriers must be authorized officials) as well as into airports as far as the TSA line. More here…
  • Many are attributing the drop in Chicago’s murder rate to 2013’s change in concealed carry laws. It is currently the lowest its been since 1958. More here…

My point of view? Concealed carry is terrifying when you know nothing about guns. If your weapons exposure is through media coverage of shootings and violent movies and video games, of course you’re going to mistrust guns and those who carry them. But the more you know, the more you handle them, the more you understand how to be around them and use them safely–and teach your friends and family how to be around them safely–the more positive your perspective will likely be. Guns are scary because they’re powerful, but when you know what you’re doing (and you’re not afraid to wield that power when it comes down to using it or losing it), it’s you who becomes powerful, making the gun a tool, not an object of terror in and of itself.

A babe with a bow covers Field & Stream for the first time since the Queen Mum

That’s not to say Queen Elizabeth II, bless her hat-wearing heart, was a babe with a bow on her 1976 cover of the 119-year-old magazine. But the May cover girl certainly is.

30FS-May-2014-CoverThat’s not to say Queen Elizabeth II, bless her hat-wearing heart, was a babe with a bow on her 1976 cover of the 119-year-old magazine. But the May cover girl certainly is. Eva Shockey, who co-hosts Jim Shockey’s Outdoor Adventures with her father, stands proud on the front page as a representation of where the sport is heading. As the NSSF reports (via Outdoor Channel), 3.35 million women currently hunt. That’s an increase of 10 percent from 2008. More women are spending time and money in sporting shops, guns with pink grips are being marketed to women young and old for far more than self-defense. My last trip to the range probably saw women outnumbering men, though I didn’t see a single one shooting solo.

What I like most about Eva is that she sounds kind of like me. I’ve never shot a bow, but I have shot a rifle, and I enjoyed it—and was a wee bit terrified by it, too. To Outdoor Channel, she said: “I’m just like a lot of hunters who are from the younger generation. I don’t have 40 years experience. I’m nervous to hunt because I don’t always know why we’re doing something. I don’t know what to do and what decisions to make. I think people can relate to that.” I love that quote because I understand the sentiment. I like that she’s not a pro and doesn’t pretend to be one. In fact, she embraces her average-ness. It’s sort of what makes a star of the people, don’t you think? Consider Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley—we love them because to us, they are relatable. So, an apt choice, I would say.

On tap for this week: A closer look at hunting, gun laws and all things redneck.

Night terrors, in truth

The rhythmic bleating of cricket frogs I was used to. The high-pitched chirping of tree frogs? Yes, I could identify that. But this was surely extra-terrestrial, E.T. meets Contact, fire alarm by way of fog horn.

It was half past midnight when I opened the back door and released Charlie into the night. The skittish Goldendoodle planted his feet at the top of the steps and threw his head back. He whoofed the night air, inhaling deeply and then thrusting the offensive scents away from him with an indignant snort. Something was afoot. And whatever had incited his scramble for the backyard moments earlier retreated. It can very well wait ‘til morning, thought he. And I’m sure if he could, he would have crossed those fluffy legs of his and beat a retreat.

Then I heard what he had so precipitously smelled. Wah wah wah, it sounded. I reached for a flashlight. Wah wah wahh, it went. What the bloody f—, I thought. Rustle, shuffle, rustle, then again: wah wah wah. It was coming closer, booming louder, and now I was alone at the top of the steps; my guard dog had fled to the shadow of the doorframe.

The rhythmic bleating of cricket frogs I was used to. The high-pitched chirping of tree frogs? Yes, I could identify that. But this was surely extra-terrestrial, E.T. meets Contact, fire alarm by way of fog horn. My brain clicked through different possibilities and settled on the villain illustrated in the nearby yellow signs. Alligator.

Alligators eat dogs. Click click. Crocodiles can climb trees. Click click click. Prepare the house for siege; the drop gators are coming.

The clicks turned to curse words, which summoned back-up in the form of my pajama-clad mother. “It’s not an alligator,” she insisted. She whisper-laughed (Dad was sleeping just one wall away) and I littered my language with F-bombs and pointed into the dark unknown. “It’s a frog!” Another wah wah wah joined the first and as my eyes widened, she amended her statement: “It’s two frogs! Just frogs! Frogs.”

Amphibians, pfft, I thought. I snatched up my iPhone and soon became an expert in frog calls. Not a ribbit. Not a croak. Not this, not that, definitely not that. As I crossed each hopper off the list, a triumphant terror blossomed on my chest, the intersection of being right and being right about something it would have been nice to be wrong about. And then, a sinking happiness. Audio confirmed it: My drop gators were just bloated bullfrogs.

Did you know those things can be 8 inches long? Freaky.

 

Bite Size: A truce at the Roosevelt Hotel

The only thing more boring to report on than an awards show where the winners are announced ahead of time is a town council meeting. You know what’s going to happen, you know when it’s going to happen and you know exactly who the players are and what they’ve done to snag a spot in next week’s minutes.

The only thing more boring to report on than an awards show where the winners are announced ahead of time is a town council meeting. You know what’s going to happen, you know when it’s going to happen and you know exactly who the players are and what they’ve done to snag a spot in next week’s minutes.

But that’s not this reporter’s assignment. New York Magazine sent Andrew Rice to the Roosevelt Hotel ballroom to be a fly on the wall at the James Polk Awards, which highlight the year’s best investigative journalism. Naturally, that would feature those who leaked Edward Snowden’s infamous NSA documents. The hitch: Two of them, Laura Poitras and Glenn Greenwald, haven’t set foot in the United States since the story broke for fear of detainment.

When word came this week that the pair would brave the flight (not to mention those awkward stare-downs at customs), the media realm started buzzing. Word came that they were in transit; we bit our lips and crossed our fingers. Word came that they’d made it through airport security safely; we (collectively—I wasn’t in the ballroom, after all) applauded.

Rice captured the feeling in the room when we all finally exhaled. And he did it nonchalantly. His article isn’t effusive or inflated. It is very much what happened, down to the acid-washed jeans Greenwald wore to accept the prize.

Line I love: “Within the ballroom, the two sides of this media war held a polite truce.”

Read the rest of the story at New York Magazine, here.

Cue applause.

Feature: “The right words”

Devastating news comes in variety of forms, and when you’ve never dealt with it before, it can become debilitating, and not just for the person experiencing it. When I pitched this front-of-book feature to my editor, it was an automatic “yes” for the upcoming issue, Feb/March 2014.

A grandparent dying. A sibling falling ill. A failed test. A cross-country move. Devastating news comes in variety of forms, and when you’ve never dealt with it before, it can become debilitating, and not just for the person experiencing it. When I pitched this front-of-book feature to my editor, it was an automatic “yes” for the upcoming issue, Feb/March 2014.

 

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Click here to read the full feature…