The orange road

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corp built roads through many mountain forests, including those in North Georgia. An abandoned CCC road runs along the western boundary of our community, and it’s part of a long hike that I love to do in the fall. The CCC (pronounced “triple C”) runs along a ridge at … read more The orange road

Hold that music!

How long now have companies had customer service lines? Fifty years? Eighty? So why is it that they have not yet figured out hold music? Anyone who’s calling customer service already has a problem. So a company should start the conversation pleasantly, right? But no. We’re already irritated with the product, service or website when we pick up the … read more Hold that music!

The young woman in Wuhan

South China, 1992 For months I had been editing stories at China Daily about how China’s moribund state-owned enterprises were being closed, disassembled, and sold off in bits. It was part of Deng Xiaoping’s ongoing push for economic reform, which he had just re-emphasized with his tour of South China. As I traveled through South China … read more The young woman in Wuhan

Day 98: A taste of Columbus

Columbus is the quintessential Dead White Guy – castigated as one who was undeservedly glorified by other elites. The guy had a tough trip across the Atlantic, for sure, and he launched the colonization of the Americas, so he is not insignificant. But you don’t have to be a Howard Zinn fan to know that he didn’t … read more Day 98: A taste of Columbus

Day 51: Mao’s holy cards

In the midst of this week’s scare about China, I happened to be sorting through memorabilia from the early ’90s, when I lived, worked and traveled there. And I found the Mao holy cards. That’s what our group of resident foreigners called them: laminated portrait cards of Chairman Mao, which suddenly appeared, hanging first from … read more Day 51: Mao’s holy cards