November 29th, 2007

  • pgdf

The World Down a Wire

The new issue of POSTSCRIPTS magazine, number 12, is now out (hint, hint):

Consequently, I thought it time to post my guest editorial from the prior issue, number 11.

And here it is.


I no longer work alone.

For centuries now, since the birth of writing as a full-time professional trade, a writer’s life has traditionally been quasi-monastic or hermit-like—at least during working hours. (We know the deserved reputation writers have as wild off-duty revelers, a counterbalance to their enforced concentration and seclusion. That’s why you’ll find me each night in my pajamas, pen and notepad in hand, reading whatever book I have to review next, a cup of chammomile tea to hand.)

Oh, sure, there were always cafes to write in, and writers who claimed to produce imperishable and copious wordage in such environments. Color me doubtful. One could even, as Harlan Ellison was occasionally wont to do, write in store windows, for the maximum in public exposure and interaction. But the vast majority of the world’s books, fiction or non-fiction, got composed in isolation, the product of many laborious hours characterized by writerly butt plunked down firmly in chair, blinds drawn (or sun flooding in), in silence (or with music blasting), in a wooded cabin or in the middle of a city, but in all cases uninterrupted by the continuous and/or frequent presence of other living humans.

No more.

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  • pgdf

Salty Brine

Local kiddie-show hosts are a fascinating topic, and always rich with nostalgia.

Here in Rhode Island in the Sixties, we had SALTY'S SHACK, with Salty Brine.

Here's a brief appreciation of the man, written at his death in 2004.

I managed to find this 1979 televised profile of Salty posted below. Even if you have no connection with the show, you get awesome B&W footage of Sixties TV, plus a flashback to 1979 fashions and furniture and cars, plus a chance to study the peculiar RI accent.

Finally, Salty has a memorial beach named after him, tying in to our beach theme.


Posted by Paul DiFi.
  • lizhand

Cousin Jane

I got the terriblly sad and shocking news today of the sudden death of my cousin Jane Lawton, one of the most remarkable people I've ever known.   She had more humor and energy and intelligence than any ten ordinary humans, and she used them 24/7 for her entire life, working for the environment, the rights of children and  those in need.  As my cousin Don Ray told my mother, "she died with her boots on."   I can't tell you how much I will miss her.

From the Washington Post:

Montgomery Del. Lawton, 63, Dies of Heart Attack

By Ann E. Marimow and Lisa Rein
Washington Post Staff Writers
Thursday, November 29, 2007; 5:11 PM

Montgomery County Del. Jane Lawton, 63, died of an apparent heart attack this morning, collapsing after giving a speech in downtown Washington, her family said.

Lawton, a Democrat who represented parts of Chevy Chase, Kensington and Silver Spring and was the county's cable administrator, was declared dead at George Washington Hospital Center about 11:45 a.m.

"The state has lost a person of great commitment, great courage and great compassion," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who first worked with Lawton when she was mayor of Chevy Chase in the 1980s. "She was indefatigable on every issue, no matter how big or small."

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) described Lawton as "a lifelong public servant who dedicated her energy and talents to enriching the lives of others."

Lawton first ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 2002. Three years later, she was appointed from a wide field of contenders to fill the District 18 legislative seat vacated by John A. Hurson. Last November, Lawton was elected in her own right after becoming the top vote-getter in the Democratic primary.

In the House, Lawton drew on her telecommunications expertise and experience in federal, municipal and county government. She made her mark in her short time there, championing issues including a cleaner Chesapeake Bay and stiffer penalties for human trafficking. In the process, she endeared herself to colleagues with her even temperament, gregarious personality and Oklahoma twang.

"Nobody else in the legislature calls me 'darling,' " said Del. Del. Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore), a Kansas native and chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee, where Lawton was a member. "She kept all the best parts of the Midwest."

Lawton headed a task force studying ways to enhance green buildings in the state and this year won passage of two bills to curb sprawl and reduce pollution flowing into the bay. She planned to file a bill with Sen. Jamin B. Raskin (D-Montgomery) for consideration in January to allow public schools to purchase food from local farmers for school lunches.
Lawton had just returned to her seat after speaking at a telecommunications symposium at the Ronald Reagan Building today when she collapsed. She is survived by her husband, Stephan, from whom she was separated, and her daughters Stephanie, 26, and Kathleen Lawton-Trask, 33, both of Alexandria.

Lawton had a history of irregular heartbeat and was taking medication, her husband said. But that did not stop her from tackling mountains in Colorado, playing tennis or flying off to see football games at the University of Oklahoma, her alma mater. She had recently traded in her old Maxima for a Mercedes, which both thrilled her and made her a little embarrassed, said Sen. Richard Madaleno, a Democrat who represents the same district.

Lawton was thriving in the fast-paced General Assembly and "at the top of her game," Stephan Lawton said. News of her death stunned the state and Montgomery County political establishment.

"She cared passionately about serving and helping others, but she never took herself too seriously," said Karen C. McManus, a close friend and Van Hollen's head of constituent services. "She wasn't in it for what it was going to add to her r¿sum¿."

In the special session that ended this month, friends said, Lawton agonized over the legalization of slot machine gambling. She was personally opposed, as are many of her constituents, and was lobbied by Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) to support bills to allow it, her husband said. In the end, Lawton voted along with many Montgomery lawmakers for a bill authorizing a referendum on slots next year but against a companion bill with the nuts and bolts of how gambling would operate in Maryland.

Lawton began her political career shortly after graduating from Oklahoma when she went to work on Capitol Hill for her congressman, Carl Albert, who went on to become House speaker. She was deeply involved in local schools and politics, serving as PTA president at Rosemary Hills Elementary and, in the Town of Chevy Chase, 12 years on the council and four terms as mayor. She was also a special assistant to County Executive Neal Potter in the 1990s.

In Chevy Chase, Lawton led the fight in the 1970s to tear down an old middle school and create the Leland Center, now a magnet of community activity, which Madaleno called a living legacy to her efforts. Lawton's home was a hub for neighborhood activities, Democratic gatherings and parties, where she easily handed out 40 or 50 gifts at Christmas.

"When someone is so warm and vivacious, it is just incomprehensible to imagine that just suddenly they are gone," Madaleno said.