John Hicks

I was told I had been comatose. Not unconscious. Comatose. For three weeks.

I’m still not sure whether I was in a coma because a lawn tractor had bounced off my head, or because they had pumped me full of industrial-strength dope to keep me from moving around, or both.

I tried to get some specific answers about what had been going on while I was insensate, but it was the same doc-speak every time.

Potentially lethal head trauma. You’re a very lucky man. The surgery went well. No infection. Lucky for you. You were immobilized for your own good for a reasonable period of time. You should anticipate a full recovery. You’re a very lucky person.

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Tom Long

Dark clouds hang over White Sox Nation.

The final indignity of a season of disappointments will likely soon come, with the contract of stellar lefthander Mark Buehrle expiring today with the end of the 2011 season. With the Sox poised to go into rebuilding mode, it is doubtful the free agent pitcher is part of the team plans moving forward. And that is a shame.

Over the past 11 seasons, Buehrle has been hands-down my favorite player in baseball. For a fan who treats baseball like his religion, this off-season is going to hurt. Last night’s performance — 7 innings, no runs, no walks and pitching out of jams caused by two errors — was typical of the man who can barely hit 89 MPH on the radar gun, yet has consistently fooled the best hitters in baseball with his great control and ability to throw first-pitch strikes. A tater served up by reliever Jesse Crain was the only run allowed in a hollow 2-1 victory.

Derek Bridges

A few years ago I started noticing many of my photos were getting uploaded to Wikimedia Commons–which was perfectly legit as I’d uploaded them to flickr using a Creative Commons license that allowed anyone to use my images so long as I received attribution. The Wikimedia uploads, mostly pictures of musicians, second line parades and politicians, were diligently attributed to me and increased the likelihood someone would see them. I liked the idea there was some guy out there who thought my photos were worth the effort–his effort, slight as it may have been.

At some point I finally connected that the guy uploading my pics to Wikimedia was one of my flickr contacts, Infrogmation. I poked around and found he was quite active in Wikimedia and Wikipedia, and judging by some of his photos, he seemed to play a little trombone. He didn’t shoot with a high end camera but he had a decent one (Canon PowerShot) and a patient eye and he covered a lot of ground (a good example of his dogged work is his series documenting Banksy’s graffiti art around New Orleans). He also uploaded photos he inherited of family members from the 1920s and 1930s and he had a good feel for oddball but revealing historical ephemera:

Derek Bridges

From Subversive Sounds: Race and the Birth of Jazz in New Orleans by Charles B. Hersch (University of Chicago Press, 2008, pages 180-182):

The small group transformation of ragtime through the blues tradition, hauling it onto the streets where it marched, can be seen in a performance of High Society Rag by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band, featuring a young Louis Armstrong. This tune defined New Orleans jazz, for as Lee Collins put it, ‘at that time when you heard a clarinet play High Society you didn’t ask him where he was from. You knew he was from New Orleans …’


John Hicks

I called Mr. George again this morning. Mr. George is a plumber. We are fairly well acquainted. My life is an interminable episode of Green Acres.

Someone answered after a few rings.


I thought maybe the voice was too young to be Mr. George’s voice. It sounded like it could be his assistant, whose name I had forgotten. It was very early and I had had no coffee. When you wake up and find Lake Michigan in your front yard, you become preoccupied.

“Hey, uh, there. This is John Hicks out on Coburn Mountain Road. How y’all doing?”

At such times I employ the local dialect. John becomes Junn, doing becomes doon, etc. I have solid hillbilly genes and several years in-country. Someday I will rotate back to the world and speak like Sir Laurence Olivier.

Cynthia Daffron

Bear!This weekend, while on a peaceful hike in Shenandoah, I saw another hiker scrambling back up the path, eyes wide. He slowed down when he saw me, and explained in a breathless North Carolina accent, “Bear! There’s a bear just around the bend. I’m not kidding!”