The Charlotte News

Monday, December 27, 1937


Site Ed. Note: Them squirrels again. A-building their nests high, high, high up in them trees, see. Warm winter on the march. Drought thus forecasted for the spring. Bad crops. Bad doin's. Civil war in Spain. Fascism on the march. The Panay done been fired on in the Yangtze by them Japs; Standard Oil vessels, likewise. Bad doin's. They don't like us Yanks, see.

To war or not to war? That be it. Wait, or not to wait? Try to stimulate better trade relations, to insure continued disposition of our Southern cotton, or boycott themses' silk stockin's?

To war, or not to war.

Them stockin's, nice look.

Maybe, better, though, to go raw in the warm winter, anyway. That'd be nice.

Them squirrels, high, high, high up in the trees. Look up yonder.


Well, by 1940, though Cash was still training his portent telling sights--with mixtures of lightsome observation and darksome penetration on the quarrelsome fray abroad, there, and portentous portraits of same here, fascism--on the all-telling squirrels in the Park, the portents would ring differently, by then, in the blinding snowstorm which sometimes is life.

The rest of the page is here. Praise be, by imprecating implication, says the letter, lo, to the four-eared law and order cops who shoot little black boys running away after being apprehended for stealing a pair of suits worth thirty-five bucks.

Yeah, they need protection, plenty of good p-r, these sorts of coppers need.

Like a pig's-eye shooting a gutter-ball that can fly, we retort.

...In Paterson, that's just the way things go...

And, if you can figure out what in Hades the Ripley's is trying to say in its supposed resolution of its puzzle, we'll pay you. The answer, we insist, is simply, by the Fahrenheit scale anyway, -32. But, we tend to be simple like that.

Okay, then, you smirk smartly, what is twice as cold as freezing? Sixteen, we reply. Twice as cold as 31? Er, we pause, scratch our heads and ponder a bit, scuff the frozen ground beneath our footsies. Thirty? Centigrade then. Zero?

We've other things to do than play silly games with the thermometer, Ripley. We can tell you what you might do with that thermometer. 451.

Why are you smiling, Ripley?

What's that? Oh, we were right to begin with. Thank ye, thank ye very much.

Wait a minute. Then, what's twice as cold as zero?

Objections to Economy

Carolina members of the Associated General Contractors of America are unalterably opposed to President Roosevelt's recommendation to Congress about reducing Federal highway appropriations to the states. Naturally they would be, and for that matter they make the tenable point that the Government is collecting a quarter of billion dollars annually from highway users--the gas and oil taxes, we take it--and that to cut the road appropriation to $125,000,000 would represent a fifty-per cent diversion of highway funds.

But their argument, while pertinent, will not, we believe, hold water. The Federal Government, unlike the State of North Carolina, has no separate highway fund. Gas and oil taxes go straight--kerplunk!--into the general fund. Furthermore, they were first imposed, along with a number of other taxes such as those on theater admissions, sporting goods, and safety deposit boxes, also the three-cent postage, back in the dark days of 1933, and they were called "emergency taxes." True, their life has been extended again and again, unto this day, beyond the duration of any emergency, but the budget still can't spare them. There is that looming eighth successive deficit...*

The Contractors might contend that it would be inequitable to economize at the expense of road-building while still indulging profligacies in other directions; and we would agree. At the same time, the only way to economize is to begin to economize somewhere; and for our part we are all in favor of making a start.

*[Receipts through December 18, $2,029, 872,340.97, expenditures, $2,282,103,213.64]

When Signs Fail

If this may seem to come to the defense of our esteemed new weatherman, the admirable Mr. Howe, then, very well. But it has a darker, deeper significance, too, and in the interest of the public welfare we dare to expose it. The squirrels this year built their nests unusually high in the trees.

For the initiate in weather lore, that suffices. It brings on a question. It fetches the mysterious into play and we find ourselves face to face with something portentous. We no longer take umbrage at Mr. Howe for failing to deliver the snows and freezes and the blizzardy conditions he promised. Forces are in motion in meteorological realms which he can't perceive. The squirrels can't, either.

By all the portents we should have had a rip-roaring early Winter. The obdurate foresaw it. Mr. Howe foresaw it, and has been giving us one report after another warning us of impending elemental disturbances. But, did they? Not at all. The squirrel nests hung high in the trees, bathed in sunshine. It is strange. We don't understand. We fear that something unforeseen has come to pass in the dark places where weather is made. When the squirrel nests are high--then look out. That, always, has been a sure sign. But when that fails to work, fellow citizens, what may we expect?

A Happiest Christmas*

Perhaps modesty ought to forbid our saying so, but nevertheless here goes. That was one swell job The News did in putting on the rousements for its Empty Stocking Funds and Christmas for the poor, and an admirable response it got from the community. Literally hundreds of people responded. They gave nearly a thousand dollars in hard cash, between 1,500 and 2,000 substantial toys, such as wagons, tricycles, go-carts, innumerable small toys, candy, fruits, nuts, garments by the truck-load and all sorts of things. As a result, it is generally conceded that the Christmas just gone was the most charitably abundant the city has ever known.

A great many organizations and individuals had active parts in it. The Salvation Army and the Family Service, of course. The firemen, as usual, turned to and did a lion's share of the work. Hornets Nest Post of the American Legion and the 7-Up Bottling Co. were largest cash contributors. Mr. Bernstecker and the North Carolina Theaters put on a couple of performances, to one of which admission was by toys or animals, the other of which was attended free by more than a thousand underprivileged children. The Lance Packing Co., the A&P and the Dixie Candy Co. joined in making this party an unqualified success.

But most responsible of all for the success of the undertaking were the good people of the city and nearby. They gave readily and generously, and on behalf of the children and the parents whose Christmas they made a happy one, we thank them.

Did They Say Silk?

The Charlotte Central Labor Union last week adopted a resolution boycotting Japanese goods, and we are wondering if it includes silk. For silk, of course, is by far the largest item in the inventory of Japanese trade with this country, and in spite of the many gimcracks and gewgaws which bear the label, Made in Japan, it is principally silk that enables Japan to take the cotton of Southern farmers (in 1936 she was our best customer), just as it is Japanese silk, by and large, that trims the ankles of our well dressed American women.

And for that matter, it is for silk that the machinery of hosiery mills dotting the Mecklenburg and Gaston landscapes is gauged, and it is out of the throwing and the weaving and merchandising of silk that a great body of our American people make their livings. Hence, it is a distasteful, perhaps, but an inescapable conclusion that the only way to get at the Japanese silk industry is at the expense of our people who own and work in hosiery mills, at the expense of our cotton farmers, and at the expense of the appearance of our women. And, besides, isn't it altogether likely that effects of a successful American boycott of Japan would be, principally, these:

1. To send her elsewhere to do her buying? or

2. To so paralyze her domestic economy that the millions of her workers and peasants and soldiers would rise up, overthrow the government and go in for a Communist state?

Note on Safe Driving*

The other night there was an accident on the Concord road. An automobile ran over and killed an old man who was walking beside the highway. The driver, in defense of himself, argued that the killing happened unavoidably when he attempted to pass another car and was blinded by the light of other cars approaching from in front. And thereupon the coroner's jury investigating the case cleared him, presumably on the theory that the accident was a simple mischance.

But let us look at that a moment. If the lights of approaching cars blinded the driver as he attempted to pass, then it is obvious that they must have been visible before he turned out to attempt to pass. Yet more, if they blinded him, they must have been pretty close--so close that to pass he had to resort to a burst of speed. And that he actually was traveling rapidly is pretty well attested both by the fact that most of the bones of his victim were broken by the impact and the fact that, having struck the old man, his car went out of control and turned over, to seriously injure several of his passengers.

Is that kind of driving actually accepted as sound judgment under current standards? If so, those standards had better be revised in the light of horse sense. And particularly at this season when the roads are extraordinarily crowded. Else Christmas is going to be a sad season in even more houses this year than last.

Site Ed. Note: All "means little", "perhaps subject to misinterpretation", but, sooner or later, it will get you to where you might be going; that is, if you take the studies on it enough. Then you can just slide, Percy, as long you don't kill anyone in the process, with the harquebus à croc.

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