Is It Acceptable To Be An Angry White Guy…


When what I’m angry about is all the other angry white guys who also happen to be stupid, gullible, rage-addled, entitled douchebags?

Honestly, I’d made a conscious vow to lay low over the summer and on into November, partly to continue work on the novel that won’t seem to end, partly to enjoy more time with my family and friends, but mostly to alleviate the caustic, cumulative effects of a long and bitter political season.

I couldn’t do it. I went to my doctor the other day and discovered exceedingly high–dangerously high–levels of bile in my system, as well as a large amount of detritus lodged in my craw. Both, I was warned, can be life-threatening if not addressed swiftly. Luckily for me, both conditions can be mitigated (there is no total cure, one can only address the symptoms) through incision and drainage, releasing pressure and toxins as one would lance a boil.

Consider much of what’s to come a direct result of that process. And be warned. I’ve sat quietly through months of Trump, and the resulting immune response has left me brimming with rancorous puss (what? the boil isn’t the metaphor you would have chosen to carry forward?) to drain onto the page.

So, I guess I’m back early. I know a few of you won’t be rejoicing, but tough. Read at your own peril.


The Old Road Apples Reader, Volume 1

When I hit the internet I generally become distracted and start reading things I never set out to read, while not reading a lot of the stuff I’d like to read.  I set book marks on blog posts and articles I’ve opened in windows and don’t have the time to consume, collecting thousands of them over time.  Many of them turn out to have better headlines and leads than the writing deserves, but I read a lot of really good stuff that deserves to be shared.  The Old Road Apples Reader will be the vehicle for that sharing–expect it sporadically at first, until it either settles into a regular rhythm or until I get bored with it.

This issue’s selection:
On Being a Black Male, Six Feet Four Inches Tall, in America in 2014
W. Kamau Bell in Vanity Fair

Chuck’s comments:  Over Thanksgiving I was talking to a few of my nephews from Virginia and North Carolina about race and culture–a discussion that began with my disgusted railing over the stubborn fetishism of some people, northern and southern alike, for the confederate battle flag, specifically a giant flag raised near Fredericksburg, Virginia on a fenced off lot along Interstate 95.  Predictably, one of these fine young men raised the “southern culture” thing, which I countered with, “and that’s what you want as a symbol of your culture?  You do know Nazi iconography is illegal in Germany.”  He reminded me of the first amendment, but I just shrugged.  “I didn’t say they couldn’t fly it. It’s better off we know what they stand for.”  As for that giant flag, fenced in to ward off those who might destroy it, two words came to mind: flaming arrows.

The conversation then turned to my serious questions about Richmond, a city where I’ve visited by only briefly, and the the small, rural community in North Carolina where my 5500_i-m-not-racist-plasma-other nephews live.  Specifically: how did people get along?  And by people I mean black people and white people.  I’d come to this realization, I explained, “For all of my progressivism, I’m stuck with these preconceptions, especially when I find myself a racial minority in a certain situation: I get a little nervous, mostly because I expect to be disliked, distrusted.  If I was black, I’m fairly sure I wouldn’t like me.  On principle–a bullshit bit of reasoning, but still….”

I tried to explain it, and it eventually came to me “I don’t trust my perspective,” I said.  “Fear, guilt, paranoia, limited experience–it’s one thing to say “this is what I believe” but it’s quite another to shake off that baggage.”

That said, perhaps the heaviest baggage we carry today as a nation is the inability–and in many cases, the unwillingness–to talk freely and openly–and the way this lack of 1013communication makes it impossible to understand different perspectives than our own.  I often think of a small, jewish lesbian woman I know who confided in me once that her “worst moment” was a time when she was walking near the University of Pennsylvania after dark, watching a large, young black man, his face lost in the shadows, ambling towards her up the sidewalk.  She related how every ounce of her wanted to cross the street, or run, but only a determined willful refusal to reveal her fear–and a very personal experience with bigotry in her own life- kept her walking, pretending not to watch the man’s every move right up to the point where, as they passed, he smiled and said, “Good evening, ma’am.”

As worst moments go, that’s not so awful, but it’s indicative of the feelings and fears and thoughts and preconceptions so many of us carry into our interactions.

end-racial-profilingIt’s a luxury that I get to worry that some deeply buried racial awkwardness corrodes my perceptions.  It is almost impossible for me to imagine, on the other hand, what it feels like knowing–knowing!–that one’s life could be forfeit on the basis of one minor misunderstanding, or one encounter with an adrenaline-soaked psychotic with a badge, a gun, and the utter surety that, whatever he does, there will be no consequences.

I found the referenced article to be illuminating.

See also:

61 Percent Of Black Americans Say Race Relations Getting Worse



Commentary Photo I Like

The Saturday Snow White Variations: She’s Baaaaaack

6a00e54efdf11288330192aa923604970dI’m surprised there’s no real discussion about Snow White’s magical revival–where exactly was the magic?  It’s implied that she’s been put “under a spell” but the weapon wasn’t a “magic apple” but a “poison apple.’  The Dwarfs–Sleepy, Grouchy, Hungry, Horny, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur and Thorin Oakenshield–clearly thought she was dead, or they wouldn’t have laid her 73e5f40fc8da6e0ca1ec52cac5bf384fout in that nifty glass coffin that keeps all the forest creatures from gnawing on her surprisingly supple flesh–but doesn’t keep Young Prince Necrophile from snagging a little sugar from her moldering corpse.  Gives you something to think about, eh?

Forgetting that unfortunate perversion theme, we must wonder: the magic was in the kiss?  What am I forgetting?  Why does she wake up?  Why did she, um, remain so, er, fresh. Doesn’t really matter, because the point is–and we’re all in agreement, yes?–that she was dead.  And then, not so much.  A man has to wonder: is “not dead” always the same as alive, or….

Maybe she was exposed to a huge dose of Gamma Rays at the exact time she bit into the apple?










I know, it’s unlikely–but a guy can hope, right?  The alternative is just too disturbing to ponder.










I’m not talking about a mere deal with the devil, although that would do.






But something more…unnatural.


snow_white_zombie_by_g_10gian82-d5lobzh 123347_zombie_snow_white a3efb6eb71d35bb0f88fe7b844547f2f







Another Saturday Snow White Variation

c9ccea26c2865130003e15637002a8abI don’t have much narrative for this week–just a surprising volume of Snow White art that I discovered in less time than you think.  I’m not sure why I find the volume and variation so interesting, but I do. (My wife doesn’t–she just looked over my shoulder and said “I think people are sick of Snow White–I know I am.”)


I have to admit, however, that I never really thought about Snow White as a sex symbol, even after seeing that mural that started this all, on the side of an RV back in 1990.  Some people clearly do.  Indeed, some people aren’t just content with drawing Snow White–they want to BE Snow White.

We’ve got Snow White who looks like she’s from a 1920’s silent movie…











Or from a cutesy 1930’s movie….










Marie Antoinette Steampunk Snow White…












Science Fiction Warrior Princess Snow White…

Snow White By Mike Roshuk Photography












“Apocalyptic Snow White” (also known as “Great Abs Snow White”)…












Is That An Owl In Your Pocket or Are Just Happy To See Me Snow White…












Solemn Snow White…












Are Those Pants or What? Snow White











Snow White You Dated Briefly in College, Never Introduced To Your Parents, and Still Kind of Miss Sometimes…

regret white











“Will Spank For Food” Snow White…












“Oh My” Snow White

velvet snow white











Sullen Pothead Vampire Snow White








And, finally, my Personal Favorite….Snow Black.

Snow Black


The Saturday Morning Snow White Variations 1


As I’ve mentioned elsewhere–most recently in a post I’ve already written that you haven’t seen yet!–I like having themes woven through this blog, little bits of this and that that serve as prompts and inspirations when I have time to write, or as visual filler when I don’t.  The Saturday Morning Snow White Variations will be another such theme for the next several months.  But why?

It happened like this.  In 1990, just west of Blue Earth, Minnesota I stopped for airstreamsome reason or another and ran into a guy with an old Airstream RV which he’d kept polished to a perfect stainless steel glint, like one of the Lone Ranger’s bullets writ large.  It was impressive, but even better was that he’d had a large mural of Snow White painted across the rear side panel of the thing, in the fashion of old-school World War II era airplane nose cone art–but this wasn’t Uncle Walt’s Snow White.  Her heavenlyblouse was cut low, showing way too much Magic Kingdom for Disney, and she wore garters and hose on her endless legs.  She looked a lot like the first image at the top of the page, except that she wasn’t skirtless–her dress was just hiked up quite a bit, and there weren’t any squirrels.  In her outstretched hand she held a shiny red apple, not pondering it herself but offering it as a tantalizing treat, as if she was Eve herself.

I was out of film. Having squandered my last frames on the massive Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth, I’d figured on securing more Kodachrome for the Corn b0edc54f198741ab0c6d7af84112165aPalace and parts west in Mitchell, just up the road a piece, but the image stuck in my mind until a few weeks ago when it occurred to me that something so magnificent might have caught more eyes than mine, and a photo might be found on the wacky wide web, even 24 years after the fact.  Alas, no–but I haven’t given up.  More to the point, during my search I discovered a remarkable volume and wide range of Snow White illustrations, many of them quite evocative–maybe even provocative–to the point where I feel comfortable saying that the chaste princess of the forest must be one of the most ubiquitous inspirations for fetishistic illustrations on the net.  I’ve collected several dozen of the best and will offer them serially, until I run out–or get bored.

2a7686cc85ca35775560ac1c96413031In the meantime, if you’ve ever seen the Snow White RV, or better still know where I can get a picture, let me know. The owner and his girlfriend were towing a sharp, ligher blue 1970’s Opel Manta behind the rig.  Both of them would have to be at least 85 years old by now, but I’d like to think he’s still out there, traveling the highways, causing frazzled parents to frantically scramble to cover their impressionable children’s eyes.



Subject of Last “Random” Photo: Georgie White

Anybody miss me while I was out of town and away from the Interwebs?  Well, I missed you–or “yinz guys” as we like to way in western PA.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. Photo by Josef Muench. Call # NAU.PH.2003.11.4.3.H3828A

I had several ideas I thought I could write about today, but a second look at this morning’s “random” photo inspired me to do a little digging to see who this woman is and what she’s about.  Fortunately, this was an easy one to run down.

As I’ve said before, most of the photos represented in this series have come by way of  Tumblr and Pinterest, and are either unattributed, or have been reposted so many times that it’s difficult to figure out the original source.

This Sunday’s photo has a lot of clues, and while it shows up all over the net, I had no problem figuring out that the woman in the photo is Georgie White Clark, a fairly famous georgiebookand historically significant river guide who made her mark floating the Colorado River through Arizona’s Grand Canyon (among other places) –which she first descended in the mid 1940’s.  It deserves notices that while most people run the Colorado is rubber rafts, Ms White and a friend did a 60-mile stretch by…swimming it, wearing lifejackets.

Just so we’re clear on what we’re talking about, here’s a glimpse of one of the rapids:

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives. 1955. Call # NAU.PH.92.17.1

Not only was she the first woman to swim the canyon, she was the first to row a boat through the canyon, and the first woman to run an outfitter service to guide others through the canyon as well.  Her story is easily found spread across the web, and deserves a look.

NAU Cline Library, Special Collections and Archives, Colorado River Plateau Digital Archives NAU.PH.
Glen and Bessie Hyde

And what a good story it is–“controversial” in life–though, for the record, after an admittedly cursory bit of research I’ve found little explanation for her “controversial” resputation beyond the observation that she wasn’t a modern-style feminist and that she liked to pack tin cans for her float expeditions and I suspect, had she been a man that word would not been been applied to her, her legend grew in death. Numerous, but nebulous, clues suggested that her auto-biography was filled with manufactured information, and that she may have been someone entirely different, possibly even a murderer, in the part of her life before she began running the river: Bessie Hyde, who infamously disappeared, along with her husband, on a honeymoon float down the river in 1928 that would have made Bessie the first woman to run the canyon.  Was Georgie actually Bessie, returned 20 years  later to finish what she’d started?  It’s an exciting story that reads like a movie, and can be read in detail here:


Olympics Volume 2–Meryl Takes Down Downton

It was Sunday night, the sofa was soft, the down comforter warm, and the sun was shining on Downton Abbey–it’s always shining on the glacially slow BBC soap opera, you might have noticed, despite what I’ve heard about England, yet it was brighter still inside the ice arena in Sochi, Russia where the world’s finest ice dancers were doing their thing in the short program–see how I’m talking in cool skater jargon?–and lighting things up.  We tuned out of England and headed for the East.

I don’t know what the hell I’m looking at, of course–I know basketball and football (American Football, the best kind 😉 )–but all I know about skating is that skaters have to fit “swizzles” into their programs.  Otherwise, I’m judging what looks good, what looks fluid and graceful and, well, (sorry, gentlemen) what looks pretty.  Last night, they all looked pretty, and it doesn’t help that I’m a guy who, despite feminist leanings, can’t help noticing how beautiful some of these women are–muscles, smiles, short skirts–it’s better than art on a wall.  I’m generally too beguiled by the beauty and the unfamiliar sport to be any kind of judge, unless one of them teeters visibly or falls down.

moir, virtueThe top couples last night all stayed upright.  We caught Canadians Scott Moir and  Tessa Virtue early on and decided they were unbeatable, even if the young lady didn’t have the most perfect figure skater name ever.  Tessa Virtue.  A name like that doesn’t even need a publicist–at least not in theory.

Elena Ilinykh, Nikita KatsalapovA short while later, we enjoyed watching a young Russian pair, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, and you know what? Yep, they looked unbeatable, though I thought–or, more appropriately, felt something that made me wonder if the Canadians were not just a little bit better.  At it turned out, it was close, but I was right.

Fabian Bourzat Nathalie PechalatThe next skaters were noticed were a French pair, Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, who I think I liked best of all, up to that point, and guess what: I thought they looked unbeatable. It doesn’t hurt that Ms. Pechalat wore the most beautiful, most exuberant smile on her already beautiful face throughout their program–I wanted them to do well on spirit alone, and they did, landing briefly in third place behind Ilinykh/Katsalapov and Virtue/Moir.

Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew PojeThey had to know it would be short-lived.  Even though another young Canadian pair–Kaitlyn Weaver, Andrew Poje--came out and gave a great showing–not quite unbeatable, but fluid and spirited, and Ms. Weaver’s brilliant blue dress was the hands-down scene stealer of the evening, the night belonged to the last couple to skate.

It seemed like NBC packed an especically dense set of commercials into the space before Meryl Davis and Charlie White took the ice, and why shouldn’t they?  This all-American couple of student-athletes has been anointed as the face of the American Olympic team this year, and for all intents and purposes they were a very good choice: smart, upbeat, and wholesome–some of my favorite images of this Olympics have been of White and Davis off the ice, cheering for their team-mates and consoling them when things haven’t turned for the best.  You have to like that.

c55885bce17cdc211e64e00fb26901b6dc406cd5Of course, they’re also the best skaters in the world right now, and while I can’t quantify why, it was clear the moment they hit the ice–even to a neophyte like myself.  I could not see, so much as I felt the difference–the skill and the surety of their performance, the confidence in every movement.  It is their moment, they knew it, and their world record finish pretty much cemented the fact–while simultaneously burying all but the most emphatic–and nationalistic–rumors of score fixing that had been swirling around. Meanwhile, back and Downton Abbey, absolutely nothing had happened.

More Olympics:


Children’s Letters to Megyn Kelly, Posted by Andy Borowitz

Too funny not to post.

‘Black-As-Hell’-Santa-Claus-is not real.

Why is this funny?  Because Kelly recently set the record straight regarding people of color who dared to think that Santa might possibly look more like them that he is traditionally portrayed. Kelly wasn’t hearing it.

“For all you kids watching at home, Santa just is white.” She said.  Of course, she couldn’t just stop there.  Overcome by a sudden attack of foot-in-mouth disease, there were megyn-kellya few other concerns Ms. Kelly, who was obviously hired at Fox for her unfathomably awesome intellect, set everything–er–right.  “Jesus was a white man, too. It’s like we have, he’s a historical figure that’s a verifiable fact, as is Santa, I just want kids to know that. How do you revise it in the middle of the legacy in the story and change Santa from white to black?”  I found her words to be deeply reassuring.

I’ve always been a little unsettled by the fact that Jesus came from the jesus_pictures_wallpapers_christ_christian_chrstmas_xamas_06Middle East, where all the Terrorists come from.  I had read an article a while back in Popular Mechanics about a forensic artist who gathered all the data he could find about Jesus and his worldly ancestors and attempted to create a reasonable approximation of what a carpenter from Nazareth might have looked like–and the result looked NOTHING like me.  This guy to the right, except for the Woodstock hair style, is much more appealing.

Photo I Like Uncategorized

It Really Is A Wonderful Life



Ohiopyle Late Summer Rain

Ohiopyle Late Summer Rain

Just below the put-in for the lower Yough