Stories for December 2002


Sunday, December 29

I Cannot Be Silent

"The van will leave about 5 a.m., Friday, January 17," said Landon Huey, vice chairman of the Jackson Greens and a political organizer extraordinaire. This time, he is speaking to a group of 13 people seated around the room of Computer Co-op in Rainbow Plaza. Huey is taking the show on the road, organizing a trip to the National March on Washington to demand "No War on Iraq" on Jan.18.

HIGHTOWER: Flowers in a Dark Winter

The politicians don't want to think about it, the media establishment has turned a blind eye to it, and the Bushites are trying to shout it down—but it's rising anyway, getting bigger and bigger all across the country.

Rebels Belong In Shreveport

"Don't play us in Shreveport," Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe crowed after the Rebels beat one of the worst Nebraska teams in decades 27-24 on Friday. OK, Towel Boy, Dr. S acknowledges that you're the king of Shreveport. But the first time you go 5-6, you will get fired. Of course, Dr. S is surprised to hear that Cutcliffe is sticking around in Oxford. But Dr. S won't be surprised when Eli Manning tells Rebel Nation that he won't be sticking around. Take the money, Eli ...

ART: Gaga Over Lallah

The Lallah stands 10 to 12 inches high. The clay figure is of an older woman sporting a wild orange kimono while holding a wine glass in one hand, cigarette in the other and a paintbrush across her arms like Miss America's scepter. The recipient of the Lallah Perry award, created by Jackson sculptor Susan Clark, will be honored during the closing ceremony of each session of the annual Mississippi Art Colony, held in the spring and fall in Utica. The award goes to the person who embodies the most Lallah-like qualities during that session: imagination and daring are two of them. Her credo is "We smoke, we drink, we eat, we draw." Living large is the Alabama native's way of life.

Daddy's Little Running Back

As a child, my dream was to play running back for the greatest professional football team, at that time the Chicago Bears. I thought I would never see the day when young girls or women would be wearing jerseys, shoulder pads, helmets, cleats and rushing down the field for six points, all the while avoiding No. 46 who just sent her teammate to the sidelines with a thunderous hit. Could I ever realize my dream? Probably not, but I'm getting closer.

My Stocking Needs a Massage

Christmas. Next week. Gifts. Parties. Cards. Stress. Relaxation: You could use some right now, and we're betting the people on your gift list would love some, too. Sit down; take a few deep breaths and think. Who on your gift list has been really uptight lately and might enjoy a luxurious massage? Probably several names come to mind. Simple: Buy gift certificates to solve your problem and theirs at once. If you already have a favorite massage therapist, or the name of a highly recommended one, start there.

Thursday, December 26

For Those About To Lose, We Analyze You

Thank goodness Southern Miss and Ole Miss are playing a bowl doubleheader today. We can wrap up the 2002 football year in Mississippi with these losses. Then Dr. S can start giving the rest of the bowl games the attention (none) they so richly deserve. Let's start our bowl preview with some mean words from the Los Angeles Times:

Wednesday, December 25

Happy Holidays

What is Trent Lott dreaming of today? A white Christmas, of course.

Dr. S would like to wish all of you a happy holidays. Check back in the next day or so for previews of the Southern Miss and Ole Miss bowl games. And Dr. S promises to get back on a regular Sports Blog schedule as soon as he awakes from his Christmas ham coma. (That Christmas bills coma will last much longer.)

Saturday, December 21

How About More Holiday Treats For Jackson Fans?

In a column on Saturday, Rick Cleveland of The Clarion-Ledger echoes what Dr. S said earlier. The Mississippi State basketball game at the Mississippi Coliseum earlier this week was a huge success. Now why can't games like that become a holiday tradition in Jackson? Sure, this Mississippi State team is a special case, but I think Jackson fans (especially those from State and Ole Miss) would welcome a chance to see their school's team at least once a year. And who knows, it might help attendance in Starkville and Oxford, too, once fans get a look at the Bulldogs and Rebels.

Friday, December 20

Edward St. Pé, by Todd Stauffer

OFFSTAGE: Crooning Again

Edward St. Pé, local weatherman-turned-CEO of WeatherVision, has another passion—singing American standards. St. Pé stopped singing nearly eight years ago, but he says he's always missed it. "If you sing, there's a certain channel in you that opens up," St. Pé said. "I'm happier when I sing."

Braggin' in Brass, by JC Patterson

Hear, and dance to, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Friday night (Dec. 20) at George Street Grocery.

Thursday, December 19

An Evening of BAS-ketball, Mississippi State-style

Dr. S was among that number (6,592) at a sold-out Mississippi Colisem on Wednesday night that saw 16th-ranked Mississippi State crush Georgia State 78-54. It was one of the great nights in Jackson sports history. Dr. S' question: Why can't the capital city have this kind of fun more often?

SPANN: Woman's Birthright

Mars, Venus or whatever, men will never understand women. Think about it. From the beginning, the enigma of woman has been shrouded from man in a cloak of mystery. Eve was created while Adam slept. Wouldn't you know? Important work always gets done while men are sleeping. And I don't think he's missed that rib, yet.

Wednesday, December 18

MUW Dumping Women's Sports

Ouch. The Mississippi University for Women (and Men, actually) is trying to abolish its women's athletics programs due to budget cuts and tornado damage. "MUW President Claudia Limbert is asking state College Board approval on Thursday to take steps to eliminate the school's four teams beginning July 1, 2003," the Clarion-Ledger reported today.

Our Boy Trent

Is Lott an anachronism, or does he represent a stereotypical, but true, Mississippi that still denies its racist past?

Blythe Daigle

Blythe Daigle doesn't look like your stereotypical activist. Dressed conservatively in a gray turtleneck, blue jeans and black clunky shoes, she resembles the other inhabitants of her Belhaven apartment complex. But, unlike most people who are only three years out of college, Daigle, a Louisiana native, has already completed a two-year stint in Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer.

Saturday, December 14

Fester Brings New Funk

Our crazed Cajun correspondent Fester sounds off with a postseason postmortem on Mississippi State and a sneak peek at the bowl opponents for Southern Miss and Ole Miss (snore).

Wednesday, December 11

HIGHTOWER: Voter-Owned Elections

What if our elections were "voter-owned," instead of being owned by the big money powers—would that make you feel better about voting?

Don't Believe The Urban Legends

Todd and I were out at Little Toyko one Friday night having dinner with two other couples. Politically, the left, right and the middle were amply represented among the six of us. So were various perceptions of Jackson. We were having one of those loud, aerobic conversations that bounce blissfully from topic to topic, probably annoying the heck out of the people around us. Our waitress seemed quietly, but distantly, bemused. Then one of our friends said something that made my neck hairs stand up.

Wyatt Rides Again On "60 Minutes"

Northside Sun publisher Wyatt Emmerich got a few minutes of fame on Nov. 24 when "60 Minutes" used him as the centerpiece interview in an "expose" of "jackpot justice" in Mississippi. Somehow, the state's self-appointed tort-reform sheriff managed to take his smiling tirade against "runaway juries" from the pages of his suburban weekly paper to a national audience. Viewers over in Dodge City or in the Dakota territories might have been shocked to learn that poor little Mississippi is a hotbed of expensive, runaway jackpot justice. Here, crooks line up to sue hogtied corporations to redistribute their wealth, living off their stolen loot. Meanwhile, doctors and pharmacists hang "Closed Forever" signs on their doors because they can't afford their malpractice insurance, leaving babies unborn, bones unset and our values on life support.

Tuesday, December 10

WELLNESS: Bad To The Last Drip

Your throat feelslike a cross between sandpaper and raw meat. Your nose must be training for a marathon. A percussion section has taken over the inside of your head. Your cheeks are on fire. Yes, it's cold and flu season, which officially plagues us from November to March. Contrary to what your mother might say, cold weather doesn't cause our sniffles, but it does chase us indoors, giving us more opportunities to catch them from other people.

ART: In Absence, I Paint

The Art And Passions Of Mary Lovelace O'Neal

Mary, Toro and Tillie are driving from Berkeley to Tougaloo. Traveling back to Mary Lovelace O'Neal's birthplace and home until the first grade. Now she is head of the art department at the University of California at Berkeley, her home for the last 30 years. She is also in the forefront of abstract painting today, and is on the short list of the country's greatest African-American painters. An exhibit of three decades of O'Neal's work, more than two dozen paintings, opens Dec. 6 at the Mississippi Museum of Art, so Patricio Moreno Toro, fellow artist and husband, and Tillie the dachshund are accompanying her for her first visit back to Jackson since 1996.

Editorial: The Status Quo Rides Again

It was a big week for proclamations by the Clarion-Ledger's editorial staff, with two doozies coming the same day. In his Nov. 24 column, editorial director David Hampton said of Third District Rep. Chip Pickering: "[T]his election was a crossroads event for his career; he is now pretty much politically bullet-proof. Except for some drastic redistricting, he likely will be in Congress as long as he wishes."

Artiste At Work

For two months the lights at the large, older brick home on Morningside Street in Belhaven Heights burned the night. There's no "artist at work" sign on the outside; however, a peek inside the house reveals organized chaos, with silk batik scarves draped from clotheslines stretched across the length of a spare bedroom/studio, in doorways and on a screened back porch.

A Child Of Peace

Mark Henderson's dark skin gleams in the green and white stage lights of the University Park Auditorium on the Jackson State University campus. The group of 20 or so performers in this weekend's "Black Nativity: (some of them members of the Mississippi Mass Choir), ranging in age 8 to mid-40s, start to congregate in the cavernous room to rehearse. Looking on, Henderson, 33, talks about his MADDRAMA (Making A Difference Doing Respectable And Meaningful Art) acting troupe that is presenting the play. The JSU alumnus and professor started the group in 1996 for students interested in developing their theatrical skills; it has now grown to encompass students and non-students alike.

Liberals In The Christian Center

These days in Mississippi, it can be hard to admit that you're, gulp, not conservative. And don't even say the L-word in public. You might get summarily run over by a honkin' SUV with a "United We Guzzle" license plate and several American flags in various stages of decay.

Monday, December 9

Music: Les Kerr, Christmas On The Coast

I heard Jackson native Les Kerr perform "Christmas on the Coast" this summer during a gig at Hal & Mal's and, despite the poor timing (of course, musicians rarely have the luxury of recording Christmas songs during the holidays), I enjoyed the song then. On his new album of the same name, the "Christmas on the Coast" track features background vocals by the Jordanaires, which give the song some Johnny Cash ballad credibility. Overall, the song balances novelty and a familiar coastal country sound, adding something significant to the body of Christmas tunes we stick into our CD changers each year.

They Call Him Mr. Bass, by Katherine R. Dougan

Everybody knows him, either by name or reputation.

When I first met Raphael Semmes, I didn't realize he was a legend on bass guitar. My first impression: Semmes was a super-nice guy who played bass. Moments later, I learned better.

Rammer, Jammer, Yellow Hammer ...

Fester is slacking again this week. I think it's some kind of holiday down in the swamps of Baton Rouge. They will make up any excuse to eat alligator or nutria. Anyway, the next time you hear an Alabama fan say, "I can't believe Dennis Franchione left Alabama for a dump like Texas A&M," here's a bit of info to pass along.

Saturday, December 7

Hot Rumors

Welcome to Rumor Central, where we have all the dope on who's going to be coaching where. Which dope will be coaching your favorite team next?

Friday, December 6

Ask The Doctor

Dr. S answers the burning questions of the day. But like Al Jaffee said, ask a stupid question, get a snappy answer.

The Art and Passions of Mary Lovelace O'Neal

Mary, Toro and Tillie are driving from Berkeley to Tougaloo, traveling back to Mary Lovelace O'Neal's birthplace and home until the first grade. Now she is head of the art department at the University of California at Berkeley, her home for the last 30 years. She is also in the forefront of abstract painting today, and is on the short list of the country's greatest African-American painters. An exhibit of three decades of O'Neal's work, more than two dozen paintings, opens Friday, Dec. 6 at the Mississippi Museum of Art, so Patricio Moreno Toro, fellow artist and husband, and Tillie the dachshund are accompanying her for her first visit back to Jackson since 1996.

Your Cheatin' Heart

"Want to cheat on your husband?" The 10-foot-high People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals billboard (featuring Fabio in a muscle shirt) is trying to say something different than it might seem at first glance. According to the PETA Web site (, the idea is to get women to serve fake meats at dinner, and not tell their men.

Thursday, December 5

And The Trophy Goes To ...

Who's going to win the Conerly Trophy, the annual award supposedly given to the state's top college football player? The Sun Herald of Biloxi says it knows the answer: Southern Miss linebacker Rod Davis. Now that would be the biggest upset of the year in Mississippi college football.

CHICK: Nowhere To Stand But Up

"The worst state for women is Mississippi," says the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a scientific research organization founded in 1987 to inform and stimulate debate on public policy issues important to women and families. We certainly need to be informed and stimulated. For women, Mississippi is ranked 49th in employment and earnings, 49th in social and economic autonomy, 49th in health and well-being, and a whopping 51st (!) in reproductive rights.

SPANN: Going To The Chapel?

President George W. Bush wants you to get married. And why not? Just consider the implications. According to Wade Horn, assistant secretary of children and families for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and a long-time marriage advocate, marriage can: end poverty in America, end abuse and neglect, and maybe even achieve world peace. Who knew that "I do" was so powerful?

Words Like Freedom: Black Poetry Movement Wants Acceptance, A Home

"Sometimes, I think it's the only thing I know how to do. I know it's the only thing that I want to do." I could hear myself saying these words, spilling my soul, to my friend Michael Norris, aka Verbal, one of the few white spoken-word, hip/hop artist in the city. He was telling me to go for it. Just write. He asked me if I had ever read any of my work before. When I responded that I had not, he invited me to a place that he was sure would help with my anxiety: Seven All Arts Cafe. I had heard of it before. A friend had invited me to go with her for reggae one night, but when we got to the location, 110 Wesley Street, we found padlocked doors.

Bill Minor

Bill Minor is proof that the best way to keep a muscle fit is to exercise it. Rigorously. When I arrived at his Broadmoor home the Friday after Thanksgiving, the brain of this 80-year-old journalist and columnist immediately started churning, and for the next two hours, he exploded with facts, details and opinions and quirkobilia. I didn't need to ask a single question of the man who has made a career out of asking questions in the state of Mississippi.

Translated Into English

Last week, Dr. S weighed in on the antics of American sports fans, pointing out that even the most unruly U.S. sports fan can't hold a candle to the soccer hooligans of Europe, particularly those in England. Aside from being hit by a falling goal post, doused with pepper spray, brained by an empty whiskey bottle, knocked down by an opposing team's assistant coach or choked by Bobby Knight, the out-of-control U.S. sports fan has little to fear. The English soccer fan runs the risk of being fatally beaten by opposing fans, arrested and thrown in a dungeon by police, or being crushed or trampled inside the arena by "friendly" fans.

Tuesday, December 3

Now, Where is Jackson?

"Now where exactly is Jackson?" was the response when we asked if anti-war cartoonist David Rees could stop by on his 30-cities-in-50-days book tour supporting his new book, "Get Your War On." He found us Nov. 14 when his Greyhound bus deposited him on Jefferson Street. Looking a little discombobulated and worn out from the 4 1/2 hour ride from New Orleans—and from sleeping on some punksters' sofa the night before—the North Carolinian-turned-New Yorker seemed ready for a meal and a bourbon on the rocks.

Tea With Lydy

I've thought often of Lydy Caldwell since she was so horribly murdered in October. But I thought of her often when she was alive, too.

Day of the Jackal

Heads have begun to roll at Mississippi State. Football coach Jackie Sherrill fired five of his assistants on Monday, including the offensive and defensive coordinators. Why stop with them, Jackie? Dr. S says fire yourself, too. But AD Larry Templeton would never pull the trigger on the Prince of Darkness and MSU is still looking for a permanent university president. So the reign of error will continue for at least another year.