Showing category "Opinion" (Show all posts)

THOUGHTS ON CHARLOTTESVILLE...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 16, 2017, In : Opinion 

My wife Melissa, son Joshua and I were in Monroe, Louisiana, sitting in the living room of our dear friends Win and Lisa Eckert last Saturday, talking about any number of things - most of them far removed from this place we (sometimes grudgingly) refer to as “the Real World” - when we got the news about the act of domestic terrorism perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Like so many others - like anyone with even a trace of human decency in their soul an...


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DID HE REALLY SAY THAT?

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, October 27, 2016, In : Opinion 

Something rather... disquieting, I think, would be the most appropriate word in this particular instance... occurred to me last Wednesday night as I was in front of the TV watching the latest episode in this sitcom we are rather euphemistically calling the Presidential Campaign of 2016.


I have been alive now for just shy of 53 and a half years... a little more than half a century as the eagle flies. During my lifetime, America has seen one president assassinated, another president resign, a ...


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IT'S MORE THAN JUST A RIGHT; IT'S A RESPONSIBILITY

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 24, 2016, In : Opinion 

Believe me, nobody will be more happy than I will to see this current campaign season - with all its circus atmosphere and a cast of characters that makes me wonder sometimes if both major party candidates are being funded by Mad magazine -  finally come to an end.   


People complain about “election fatigue” in pretty much every campaign cycle, but I can’t remember a time when my own sense of fatigue has been so pronounced and, at times, downright painful to bear. More than once in rec...


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SOMETIMES WORDS FAIL ME...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, July 13, 2016, In : Opinion 

There is a lyric in the Harry Chapin song “Story Of A Life” that I’ve always found somewhat appropriate for those of us who toil in my particular line of work: 


“Sometimes words can serve me well,

Sometimes words can go to hell

For all that they do...”


As a newspaper columnist, I understand and appreciate the sentiment Chapin was attempting to convey in those lines. Because there are times when, as much as I hate to admit it, words fail me.


I was oh so proud back in 1991 to earn ...


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REMEMBER CIVILITY...?

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, June 23, 2016, In : Opinion 
(Note: This is a slightly revised version of something I recently wrote and posted on Facebook, and then published as my weekly column in the June 23, 2016, edition of the Johnston County Capital-Democrat.)


I recently had a… well, I don't know that it actually rises to the level of being an honest-to-Jed Bartlett "epiphany," but it is darn sure something that bears being shared the rest of the world.  (And if it does qualify as an epiphany then I'm just tickled to death, because I don't know...


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WHEN DUTY AND BELIEFS CLASH...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, September 10, 2015, In : Opinion 

I had not originally planned on commenting here about the controversy surrounding Kim Davis, the court clerk in Kentucky who was refusing to issue marriage licenses to anyone because she disagreed with the U.S. Supreme Court decision earlier this year legalizing gay marriages. Not because I don’t have an opinion on the subject (come on, you know better than that) but, rather, because I'm actually kind of tired of listening to everyone else talk about it.


There had already been so much disc...


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SOME THOUGHTS ABOUT AWARDS...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, August 26, 2015, In : Opinion 

One of the big news stories of the past week revolved around James Harrison, the pro football player who launched a national debate when he announced that he had made his young sons return sports participation trophies they had received because he felt they rewarded involvement, as opposed to actual accomplishment.


Harrison got a fair share of “atta boys” from certain corners, but he also caught no small amount of flack from others who apparently felt that his decision fell just short of...


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RETURN TO PAL-UL-DON: A REVIEW

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, July 3, 2015, In : Opinion 

In his tribute essay “Caliban,” one of the several items of supplemental material included in the 2013 deluxe hardcover reissue of Philip José Farmer’s classic fictional biography Doc Savage: His Apocalyptic Life (Meteor House), author and pulp historian Will Murray twice makes statements to the effect that no other writer was as qualified as Farmer to step into the shoes of Edgar Rice Burroughs with regard to the task of telling new tales of Tarzan of the Apes.


Those comments of Murr...


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Overdose Of Goofy Juice...?

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, May 21, 2015, In : Opinion 

Either we are about to plunge off the precipice into another long national election cycle, or else some people have thrown caution to the wind and are deliberately exceeding their doctors’ recommended daily amount of Goofy Juice.


Or, quite possibly, both. 


How else does one logically explain the increase in the number of just out-and-out bizarre items in the national news that I’ve found myself running across in recent weeks?


One of the most recent came this past Sunday on the CBS News...


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Why, Kraft, Why?

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, April 23, 2015, In : Opinion 

Dear Kraft Foods:


I was ALREADY angry with you. I have been ever since you made the bone-headed decision a few years back to discontinue sales of your classic Chicken Noodle Dinner - a move which I still consider to be a personal insult to me and my family. 


That delicious dinner in the little brown box had been an important staple of mealtime in the Small Household for as far back as I could remember. More than merely an easy-to-make side dish that went with almost everything, it was an im...


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REDUCTIO AD ABSURDUM*

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, April 2, 2015, In : Opinion 

(* - A Latin term that means "the refutation of a proposition by demonstrating the inevitably absurd conclusion to which it would logically lead.")



You know what? I give up. I surrender. You’ve convinced me. I admit it, I was wrong. White flag. Uncle.


A fellow can take only so much hate mail and so many beatings about the head and shoulders with a proverbial two-by-four before he finally reaches the conclusion that he has engaged himself in a losing battle and capitulates. And so, effect...


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A YEAR ENDS... WHAT HAVE YOU LEFT BEHIND?

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, December 31, 2013, In : Opinion 


So it’s all come down, at last, to this. 


The end of another year. Another 365 days wadded up and tossed aside like a used gum wrapper. It’s all over. Gone. Past tense.  There it is, in the rear-view mirror…


Ave atque vale, 2013; you were an interesting little year, while you lasted. A few of us may even miss you.


Now we all get to start over. Time to chuck that calendar into the circular file beside your desk and start your headlong rush into another 52 weeks of You Ain’t Seen Not...


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QUACKY BOO-BOO

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, December 19, 2013, In : Opinion 

The U.S. Congressman who represents my district, Markwayne Mullin (whom I did NOT vote for, nor would I ever), today decided to weigh in on this silly Duck Dynasty "controversy." His statement began thusly:


“America is currently witnessing a contradiction in its core principles. The fundamentals that founded our great nation included the freedom of speech and religion. Unfortunately a man who simply voiced his religious belief, which is protected by our constitution, is now being punished....


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I GUESS I WAS HAVING A BAD DAY...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, October 17, 2013, In : Opinion 


I've heard a lot of people spouting off in recent years about things they as individuals think are “un-American.” As if they as individuals – individuals who, as it happens, weren’t even there in Philadelphia when the Founding Fathers were bickering back and forth putting together the plan that got this country up and running in the first place – are somehow qualified to make a determination for the rest of us as to what is and is not “American.”


Well, a recent incident at home...


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THE COLUMBUS MYTH

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, October 14, 2013, In : Opinion 
(Note: The following newspaper column was originally written and published back in 1992 as my contribution to the discussion surrounding the 500th anniversary of Columbus' arrival in the New World. It generated a lot of response at the time, both pro and con, and I suspect there are folks out there who will still take offense to it today. That's their problem, I guess...)



“The land was ours before we were the land’s…”

When Robert Frost recited this line during President Kennedy’s inau...

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On Responsible Journalism...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, August 9, 2013, In : Opinion 

...So I was sitting at my desk at the office this past Monday morning, reading the previous week’s issue of the newspaper I work for to catch up on what had been happening at home while the family and I were away on a two-week vacation, when I came across a letter to the editor taking our publisher to task for his column about “Facebook journalism” that appeared in our July 11 issue.   


The letter grabbed my attention for two reasons. First, I had both appreciated and agreed with every...


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THE RULE IS STILL GOLDEN...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, July 25, 2013, In : Opinion 
(Above: The Golden Rule as defined by the different major world religions...)


When I was but a wee nipper, trying to learn all about that great big wonderful world out there and looking to find my place in it, my parents and my teachers and my Sunday school instructors devoted a great deal of time and attention striving to impart upon me the value of something they liked to call the “Golden Rule.”


That rule, they told me, spoke of the importance of treating other people the way we ourselv...


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A GROSS INJUSTICE

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, June 26, 2013, In : Opinion 
(Graphic by www.TheEverlastingGOPStoppers.com, via Facebook)


Now let me see if I've got this straight: the five Supreme Court justices who voted on Tuesday to strike down a key part of the Voting Rights Act did so because that provision has been so successful at preventing racial discrimination?


That’s the way Chief Justice John Roberts’ decision read to me. It’s the way it read to dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, too. In her dissent Ginsburg wrote that throwing out the provision...


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STEPPING INTO THE SUPER FRAY

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, June 13, 2013, In : Opinion 


(Christopher Reeve... now THAT'S Superman!)


For much of this week I have been watching and participating in an going debate on Variety's website regarding the validity of Chief Film Critic Scott Foundas' review of the new Superman movie Man Of Steel. For those of you who haven't read it Scott didn't give Man Of Steel the most glowing of reviews, stating that its "humorless tone and relentless noisy aesthetics drag down this heavily hyped, brilliantly marketed tentpole attraction."


You could t...


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JUST A SUGGESTION...

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, January 14, 2013, In : Opinion 

Tell you what, if you really hate paying taxes then please refrain from doing any of the following: 


Drive on paved streets or highway; call 911; flush your toilet; call the police or the fire department; mail a letter; expect a Social Security payment; expect Medicare to pay your bills; visit the Washington Monument, the Grand Canyon or public museums; expect the military to defend the country; use city water; expect the street lights on Main Street to work; expect medical research to conti...


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NO EASY ANSWERS...

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, December 20, 2012, In : Opinion 

“I suppose you’ll be writing about that horrible school shooting just like everybody else,” my old friend Julian Frye commented when I ran into him unexpectedly during a trip to the store last Saturday.


I responded with a gloomy shrug of my shoulders. “To be honest, I really haven’t decided yet,” I said. “I mean, yeah, definitely feel like I should say something, even if it turns out to be nothing more than a catharsis for my own sorrow and anger and frustration. But nothing th...


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RESPONDING TO AN IDIOT...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, December 7, 2012, In : Opinion 

I was just reading the "Comments" section of an online news article about this fiscal cliff business when some ding-a-ling started ranting about how "you @#$!" liberals don't know anything about Pearl Harbor" and tried to make the argument that liberals are a bunch of military-hating traitors who ought to be rounded up and punished for being traitors to the country.


Setting aside for a moment the fact that I'm still trying to figure out what Pearl Harbor and the fiscal cliff have to do with ...


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IF I MAY, A PRE-ELECTION OBSERVATION...

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, November 2, 2012, In : Opinion 

I cast my early ballot today. I was proud to do so.


I quite deliberately have not written much - either here or in my weekly newspaper column - about the campaigns for president and other political offices to be decided next week, primarily because it seems like that was all everybody else was talking about for so much of this past year and, well, SOMEBODY had to talk about other things.


But with only a few days remaining before the election, I’d like to change that policy just long enoug...


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IF THE SHOE FITS...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, September 19, 2012, In : Opinion 

I received a nasty message earlier today from someone who seemed to take angry exception to my support for President Obama. I'm still not sure why my support of any particular candidate should have engendered such vitriol on the part of someone I have never and likely will never meet. After all, I don't take exception to his supporting his particular candidate of choice; I may not agree with that choice, but neither would I treat him with such venomous disrespect because of it. People CAN dis...


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Sweatin' The Little Stuff...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, September 12, 2012, In : Opinion 

Apologies in advance if today's entry comes across sounding cranky or surly or curmudgeonly. That’s not an impression that I particularly like leaving with others. I much prefer to think of myself as being a cheerful, optimistic, “glass half full” kind of guy, and have spent a lifetime desparately striving to portray myself in such a manner. Not always with success, I’ll grant you, but give me credit for trying. It’s more than some people I’ve met have ever bothered to do.


On the...


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REGARDING AURORA...

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, July 23, 2012, In : Opinion 

There was a graphic floating around on Facebook the day after the horrific theatre shooting in Aurora, Colo., that read as follows: "84,999,989 firearm owners killed no one yesterday." 


To be fair, the observation was true enough. But my response is one firearm owner DID kill 12 and wounded 57 others that terrible day, and that was one too many as far as I'm concerned...


*      *      *


Of all the responses to the Aurora incident I've encountered on the Internet these past few days,...


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I Don't Care What Anyone Says; I LIKED "John Carter"

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, March 29, 2012, In : Opinion 

Every now and then I find myself in the unusual (and not always desirable) position of championing some cause that seems to fly in the face of mass public opinion. I guess it is not altogether unfair to blame my parents for this tendency; after all, they are the ones who drummed into my mind as a child the importance of standing up for what you believe, and the notion that what is popular is not always what is right.


Sometimes those battles place me on what some would consider to be the wron...


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AN OPEN LETTER TO CONGRESS

Posted by John Allen Small on Thursday, January 26, 2012, In : Opinion 

 

To The Men And Women Of The Congress Of The United States:


You folks always claim to be working for us, the American People, and quite often invite us to contact you if we have something we want to bring to your attention. I sincerely hope you mean that, because I have something I want to say:


Motion Picture Association of America President Chris Dodd - one of your former colleagues, though for the life of me I can't at the moment recall anything worthwhile he ever had anything to do with ...


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THE FREEDOM TO READ

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, January 20, 2012, In : Opinion 


Hitler burned books, and we here in America were outraged. Such behavior flew in the face of the spirit of freedom which we have always claimed to hold dear. “Thank God such things can't happen here in America,” we said.


But guess what? It HAS happened here – and would no doubt more often, if certain people were to have their way. They claim their motives are different, of course – but what else would you expect from folks who have dedicated their lives to telling us what we can or c...


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HATE TRANSCENDS LOGIC

Posted by John Allen Small on Monday, October 31, 2011, In : Opinion 

There was a news story I ran across today about how competition between pizza restaurants in Lake City, Fla., had gotten out of hand to the point that two managers of the local Domino's had been arrested for burning down a nearby Papa John's location.


Stories like that tend to get my attention anyway, because they so clearly illustrate that my father has been right all these years about stupidity running rampant. In this case, however, what bothered me even more than the story itself was one...


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FROM THE ARCHIVES: IT’S ONLY A GAME...

Posted by John Allen Small on Tuesday, August 9, 2011, In : Opinion 
(Note: The following originally appeared as one of my newspaper columns a few years back. With another high school football season quickly approaching, it seemed like a good time to share it here.)


Once upon a time - and yet not really all that long ago, if you stop to think about it - all it really took for the boys in the neighborhood to have a good time was an empty lot, the proper equipment, enough fellows to make up two full teams, and one captain willing to let Little Brother Tag-Along p...


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JUSTICE IN AMERICA...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, In : Opinion 

For better or for worse, it has become second nature in this great country of ours to second guess just about everything. Whether it be the outcome of a sporting event or an election, or the verdict in a criminal trial or civil lawsuit, or even something as comparatively insignificant as the last scene of a book or movie or the final episode of some TV series, Americans seem to take delight in telling everyone who will stop long enough to let them get started why that particular resolution wa...


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A FEW @#*! WORDS CONCERNING CENSORSHIP

Posted by John Allen Small on Friday, May 27, 2011, In : Opinion 

A friend of mine told me that he saw the “D” word in a book once, so he threw it away.


“It couldn’t possibly have any real value if it was written by someone who uses the ‘D’ word,” he told me. “Quite frankly, I just don’t want to have anything to do with any person who says ‘d--’ or ‘d--’, or even ‘d--ed’.”

He then proceeded to explain that the book had challenged his mind. Made him examine his beliefs. But that, you see, made him uncomfortable. And the langu...


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TO DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM...

Posted by John Allen Small on Wednesday, May 18, 2011, In : Opinion 
One thing that some people I've talked to over the years seem to find interesting, humorous, odd or even slightly creepy about me (depending on who you ask, I reckon, and I have to admit that I've often found myself a tad befuddled by the latter reaction) is the fact that I like musicals - both on stage and in the movies. 

Not ALL musicals, mind you. I've never been a fan of "The Sound Of Music," for example (which for some reason people seem to find even more troubling than the fact that I li...

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About Me


John Allen Small John A. Small is an award-winning newspaper journalist, columnist and broadcaster whose work has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association, and the Oklahoma Education Association. He and his wife Melissa were married in 1986; they have two sons, Joshua Orrin (born 1991) and William Ian (born 1996). Mr. Small is the News Editor and columnist for the Johnston County Capital-Democrat, a weekly newspaper headquartered in Tishomingo, OK. He obtained his nickname, "Bard of the Lesser Boulevards," from a journalism colleague - the late Phil Byrum - in recognition of the success of his popular newspaper column, "Small Talk." (In addition to the many awards the column itself has received over the years, a radio version of "Small Talk" earned an award for "Best Small Market Commentary" from the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.) John was born in Oklahoma City in 1963; lived in the Bradley-Bourbonnais-Kankakee area of Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony); then returned to his native state in 1991, where he currently resides in the Tishomingo/Ravia area. He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor's degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais in 1991. The years between high school and college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something. In addition to his professional career as a journalist he has published two short story collections: "Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West" (2007), a collection of western stories; and "Something In The Air" (2011), a more eclectic collection. He was also a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology "Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer's Wold Newton Universe," edited by Win Scott Eckert. In additon he has written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled "The Men On The Sixth Floor"; and has either published or posted on the Internet a number of essays, stories and poems. He has also won writing awards from the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the National Library of Poetry. He is a past president of the Johnston County Chamber of Commerce in Tishomingo; was a charter member and past president of the Johnston County Reading Council, the local literacy advocacy and "friends of the library" organization; served as Johnston County's first-ever Americans with Disabilities Act coordinator in 1994-95; served two terms as chairman of the Johnston County (OK) Democratic Party; and has taught journalism classes for local Boy Scout Merit Badge Fairs. He is a member of the New Wold Newton Meteorics Society.
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