It’s been a pretty spectacular autumn here in North Alabama. I was worried at first because it started rather rapidly, suggesting I was starting my annual photography near the peak. I believe the peak at higher elevations occurred just shy of Halloween. In the valley, the leaves remain very bright and colorful in isolated spots. This gallery is a collection of some of my better images from this fall.
HATE is a four-letter word I reserve for things I truly despise. In recent years, Facebook has sadly joined that club.
Facebook has experienced so much negative press attention that they recently rebranded as “Meta” in the sort of old PR move that disguises something to confuse users by giving it a new name. Most recently, they’ve started running ad spots meant to create the perception that they actually welcome government regulation and value user privacy. Give me a break.
I’ve been around social media since the early days and helped launch a competitive platform on a similar timeline to Facebook. When I watch the movie “The Social Network,” it brings back fond memories of a time when young tech-savvy guys fueled by beer and testosterone didn’t even know where our efforts would lead or whether we’d ever be able to monetize it, we just knew it was cool and fun.
In hindsight, Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg found ways to make an obscene amount of money exploiting the human need for connection and the information we share to do that. Our society is worse off for it because of the ethical shortcuts taken along the way.
Do we dare believe that we are on the downward slope of this pandemic? We are cautiously optimistic that we may have turned the corner, but lesser so than the glee we felt after the mass vaccination rollout began at the start of the year. One by one, the precautions that returned when COVID-19’s Delta variant surged appear to be loosening their grip on our lives as the number of new cases drops.
This may be a good time to reflect on the lessons we learned as a society. Failure to do so dooms us to more disruption the next time we face a public health crisis. Here are some of the conclusions I’ve reached…
This odd structure found in Collinsville, Alabama seems to be a tangible metaphor for the sad stained state of the world today.
Another in my “story behind the photo” series…
I call this portrait “Resolve” because it shows my friend, Brittney, walking on Pensacola Beach on January 29, 2017, moments after she told me she had decided against riding back to Chattanooga and was going to stay down there with just the clothes on her back, find a job, and make it her new home…
That’s terrifying. And part of what makes growing older so frightening is the realization that our freedom to make such choices fades as we put down roots and people begin to rely on us.
Everyone who views this always wants to know if she regretted making the audacious choice.
I’ve been restless lately and a bit depressed. I have a lot on my mind.
I imagined things would be so different after the vaccinations began. I pictured a summer of fun and connection to my fellow human beings. Not what the summer of 2021 has turned out to be: A time of great division with large numbers of my neighbors eager to dismiss experts and believe nonsense and obnoxiously mock those of us who are trying to do the right thing.
This week I interviewed a local doctor and actually had to ask the question, “Should human beings go down to the local feed store and ingest a deworming product meant for horses to treat COVID-19?”
When I first got to Auburn for college, I was fortunate to have a mentor, an older guy named Burson Dixson who took me under his wing and showed me the ropes, as the saying goes. Maybe he saw this awkward skinny kid integrating into his group of friends and decided it would be good karma to make sure I graduated with not only a degree but also an education on life.
He taught me many things, but the one that stands out right now is his advice on asking for forgiveness rather than permission. Specifically, our tendency as human beings to perceive that someone belongs somewhere if they appear to belong. “Faking it until making it,” if you prefer.
Support the Local Journalism Sustainability Act
Please Contact Your Congressman Today!
The Local Journalism Sustainability Act (H.R. 3940) has now been reintroduced into Congress. I am asking you to take a moment and reach out to your US Congressional Representative to ask them to cosponsor H.R. 3940. This is a bipartisan bill that both Democrats and Republicans are working on.
Time is of the essence, so please contact them today. A phone call is best, but emails can also be effective. If you aren’t sure who is your representative, click here.
Why This is Needed…
The newspaper I publish is more fortunate than a lot of others, who are really struggling financially. We have the benefit of loyal subscribers whose choice to advertise and subscribe is an expression of caring about our community.
Still, it’s impossible to ignore the “elephant in the room” as people frequently ask me what it is like to be the publisher of a community newspaper during a time of tremendous disruption for our business model.
The internet has had a devastating impact on the print advertising industry. In about the last decade, America has seen more than 1,800 newspapers vanish. Even in the newspapers that have survived, about half of newsroom staff journalists have been let go, leaving publications as shells of their former selves.
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