The Charlotte News

Saturday, February 3, 1940


Site Ed. Note: Those freaks was wrong when they said he was dead.

One fall afternoon it was, in October, 1969. We had just finished a bit of the old clockwork orange routine down at the local gymnasium.

Driving our mama's brand new touring car, (though not actually from Turin), three days off the showroom parking lot, we approached an intersection in a leafy-lined section of the city where we lived. All manner of fall particoloured brilliance softly set against the sun-drenched crispness in the air. Very satisfying.

Then, as we approached a crossroads, came on the radio of our mama's brand new touring car a man who, amid telling us how white our shorts could be, gave us the news: He was Dead!

"What was that he said?" we said.

Apparently by a car crash, and some years earlier, around 1966. Details to come. But he is, sadly, Dead.



Ach oh. What happened? Where did that car come from?

Front of mama's touring car was now against the door of the female driver's other car, in the middle of the crossroads.

Backed up. Got out. Made sure everyone was okay.

Everyone was okay, but not very happy.

Closer examination demonstrated that there was an octagonal red sign with four letters on it, pointed toward the direction from which we had just proceeded, hidden, most surreptitiously and sneakily, behind one of those particoloured, leafy branches in the soft, sunny afternoon light.

Madame was definitely not very happy. "Didn’t you see the sign?"

"A, no ma'am. So sorry." Too faint of heart to describe the news that, after all, it was all precipitated by that announcement amid the fall leaves: He was Dead! And thus the Four were no more, and so soon after release of that last triumphant recording of their singing voices which ended with "The End"--or actually, "Her Majesty", (first line of which, for the longest time, we heard as "I imagine she's a pretty nice girl...").

Home to mama, the worst part, with her three-day old touring car, so pristine and wonderful merely an hour before, now possessed of a twisted, mangled thing stuck on its front, causing it to appear prunish and weak, horribly brittle, fractured: fenders, hood, bumper, grille, headlamps, chrome trim, all a tangled and broken morass. The smells of factory fresh adhesives and plastics and all those other things giving that new car smell were now tainted with smells of friction and burnt rubber, snapped plastic releasing gases most foul. And the fresh, glistening paint no longer lay in soft curves upon the body as just moments before, but was now raised and crinkled and cracked in stratified flakes, exposing beneath them the cold, barren steel, communicating in its hardness that winter was fast on the trail of this late October sun in shadowed afternoon.

We limped home, a long, long ride--slowly broke the news to mama, not that he was dead, but that the three-day old touring car was no longer a pristine piece, with all the fresh smells and smooth paint and pleasant contours attendant with such machinery right off the showroom lot, but now transformed in an instant to something else, as its physical plane had become unduly enmeshed with that of another object in the crossroads.

The worst part, however, was yet to come.

"Let's go see it, then."

As our mama quietly accompanied us on the long, long walk to the garage to see the results of our afternoon crossroads touring, she said nothing.

When we reached the three-day old touring car, she said nothing.

She simply cried.

Oh well, next day, at papa's suggestion, we all went to a football game in Pulpit Hill, that is mama, papa, and ourselves.

All was forgot. We went in papa's car.

It can be fixed, they said, the three-day old touring car.

Still and all, the thought lingered: Is he Dead?

The kicker of this crossroads adventure, incidentally, the pocket-letter as it were, was that the other driver, most fortuitously, was the wife of a driving instructor, though most fortunately not our own driving instructor, at our high school.

She took pity on our contrite, youthful soul, and was very nice about the whole thing. The ticket was dismissed. (We don't think the cop liked that part. He didn't seem to like the Four.)

Probably, the whole thing may be attributed finally to the October particoloured leaves and the radio-man's stunt, on the Devil's radio.

The costs of mass practical jokes, whether by man or nature, are often manifold.

We won't tell you the name of one of the cross streets at the intersection, incidentally, but it was not Parsley, Sage, or Thyme.

Well, just a reminder not to follow leaders.

Here, another little filler from the page of this date, all anent the Rhode Island Red hophead chicks:



When day-old Rhode Island Red chicks are given 1 mg. of benzedrine sulfate subcutaneously, they show visible effects of the drug in seven to nine minutes: mouths open, legs become unsteady so that the boci falls forward, and the wings droop and spread. The most remarkable reaction is the incessant twitter, or "singing", roughly 220 notes per minute, which continues for fifteen minutes to half an hour. All the visible effects disappear in about forty-five minutes.

When larger doses (3.5 mgs.) are used, the effects appear in two or three minutes and the rate of twittering is increased up to 300-330 notes per minute. Apparently the drug is eliminated rapidly, as the chicks return to normal inside of an hour.

Further Site Ed. Note: When the volume of the dose has added to it much more, undoubtedly the Red singing chick then may be seen to sleep with the…

Lost Angel

Concerning Case Of Hysteria In America

Yesterday there was hysteria in the nation. Not because Mr. Orson Wells [sic] had been conjuring up any new invasions from Mars. Not even because of the horror in Poland.

But because a handsome young man, who is getting on to the middle age, and his lawful wife had been reported missing in Mexico by his publicity man. Actually the more or less young man and his lawful spouse were at the ranch to which they had started in the first place. And the only visible reasons why the publicity man should have thought them missing were: (1) it had snowed, and (2) there was currently showing in the United States a mooompicter concerned with the passing of the wind, in which the handsome fellow played the role of a caveman from Charleston.

Nevertheless, not less than twenty million females in the United States, from the age of, say, nine to, say, ninety-nine, were full of terror, and grief. Twenty million females, all deeply enamored of him and building their daydreams around his devilishly handsome looks and his splendidly dominant manner, finding consolation in him for the everyday and totally inadequate males who were theirs--or someday, D.v., would be theirs. Darkly the rumors ran, through the streets, over the telephone, in office and home--the Angel Gable was dead! And the radio announcers had to halt the programs to attempt to reassure them, while the publicity man hastily discovered that the handsome fellow was really at the ranch, after all.

But tonight and for many nights to come, you may be sure, returns of the box offices devoted to the wind will bounce upward, and theaters will be crowded with femmes come to gaze upon the handsome phiz and sigh their warm relief that he is still in the flesh.

Shall be together, breathe and ride,
So one more day am I deified.

Site Ed. Note: The super-sensitiveness, we note, while abated for awhile perhaps during the 1930's and 40's, returned later, and, insofar as we may attest, has only by small measures diminished since, though diminishing in small measures over time it probably is. To dose the South with criticism, however, still in many quarters, is to criticize one's country, much as with criticism to Party and God; and to dose criticism of country, Party, and God is to dose treason and heresy.


Which Are Significant Of A Changing Attitude

It is a far cry from the usual thing in the past when a Southern woman's society in New York awards its first prize for the best book by a Southerner to Thomas Wolfe, and second to Hamilton Basso.

Both men had written of the South critically. When Wolfe's "Look Homeward, Angel" appeared in 1929, it was not only Asheville which was outraged. He was denounced all over Dixie as having misrepresented the people of the section. And Basso has repeatedly had to contend with the same charge.

One of the chief handicaps of the South has always been that it was super-sensitive to criticism of any sort. And Southern women have been particularly inclined to regard any attempt to point out Southern weaknesses as being an insult to Dixie which called for personal resentment. And of them all, perhaps those living outside the South have been the most militant about it.

But there is increasing evidence that that state of affairs is ceasing to exist, and that Southerners are at length forgetting the complexes built up by slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction sufficiently to accept criticism calmly and examine it with a view to profiting by whatever truth it may contain.

Parking Meters

Letter Directs Attention To A Pressing Problem

In the letter column today we print a communication which refers primarily to Winston-Salem but which raises a question which is of interest everywhere--that of the parking problem.

The contention of the Winston automobile club that motorists are already paying taxes enough will certainly bring hearty amens from most of the clan. Nevertheless, it is to be observed, in fairness, that they get very definite returns from these taxes. Out of them are built and maintained the roads and the streets of the country which makes the present day automobile possible at all.

Moreover, it is to be observed that there is no right to use the public streets as garage space. If that were so, then farmers would have the right to use the highways as parking space for their farm implements, their tractors and trucks, and even their animals. Streets, like roads, are primarily conduits of travel, not parking lots. The use of them for the latter purpose grew up from the habits of earlier days when there were few vehicles of any sort present in a town at one time, and when the practice raised no problem.

The case is very different today. Cities are continually having to pay out larger and larger sums in an effort to get the streets wide enough to allow traffic to move freely through the parkers. That is precisely one of the reasons for the high taxes which the motorist already has to pay.

Parking meters as a way of raising revenue very properly arouse the antagonism of the automobile owner. If mere revenue is the objective somebody else might more properly be bled. But if it would work, a great deal might be said for them as a means of preventing unnecessary parking at congested points.

Probably, however, it wouldn't work. The motorists would be likely to settle down to paying and growling, as usual. But soon or late some device must be found for thinning out parking in many areas, or we are going to wake up one of these days with the streets blocked solidly.

Site Ed. Note: As the experiment in destruction was waged, Luci in the sky was dropping its eggs…

War By Air

Concerning The Destructive Powers Of The Bombers

If Hitler does make up his mind to attempt the wholesale air attack on London--an attack which will certainly be countered in kind by wholesale English air attack on key German cities--what precisely will he have loosed in the world?

Of one thing we may be sure, we have seen nothing yet which gives us any adequate idea. It has been generally forgotten, but German squadrons of as many as 43 planes repeatedly bombed England in the last war but without doing much damage. But airplane design has now advanced to the point that 50 medium bombers can carry more weight of bombs than was dropped in all these raids.

A heavy bomber of late design can carry 4,400 pounds of bombs a distance of more than 1,100 miles at a maximum speed of more than 300 miles an hour. A fleet of 200 such bombers--and both Germany and Britain can send out several such fleets in relays--can therefore easily carry 880,000 pounds (equivalent to 440 tons or 2,200 500-pound bombs) from the German border to London and back again, or from the French border to Berlin and back again. Actually, they can carry more, because of the smaller distance and the lack of weight in returning empty.

And a 500-pound bomb? It will penetrate 60 feet of solid earth, fifteen feet of reinforced concrete. Splinters from it will cut through a foot-thick brick wall at a distance of 50 feet. Such bombs, falling in great numbers on the docks in the Thames, will certainly destroy them and wreck London's commerce. And London's commerce is more than half that of all Britain.

On the other hand, the German experiments at Scapa Flow have already demonstrated that bombs dropped by planes flying at a great height are extremely ineffective. To hit the target or close enough to damage it greatly, it is necessary to power dive and loose the bomb at short range. Which means that the bombers must come within fairly easy distance of anti-aircraft guns before they get into position to do their work.

But on the other side of that, again, anti-aircraft fire, even at close range, has already proved a somewhat disappointing defense. And the warring nations seem to be turning rapidly to the theory that the fighting plane is the only possible adequate defense. Upon the question of whether or not these fighters can successfully head off the bombers and their escort before they reach their objectives seems to rest the decision as to whether or not we shall see crucial objectives like the Thames and the German air and naval bases and ammunition factories wiped out in swift order--if Hitler elects to set off the conflict.

But the utter crippling of cities may be easier. Even a very light bomb carried by very fast, light bombers will destroy water and gas lines, sewers, electric power and telephone lines, etc.--all of which are placed at only a shallow distance below the street. And moreover, hits sufficient for the purpose can of course be secured from great heights. Such hits might well cause disastrous conflagrations and explosions and set off appalling epidemics.

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