One of the great things about the week leading up to NASCAR’s race in Darlington, S.C. – at least if you live in South Carolina – is reminiscing about the past.
Whether it’s Cale Yarborough sailing clean over the wall and coming to rest several hundred yards outside the track in the 1965 Southern 500, Ricky Craven edging Kurt Busch by .002 seconds – the closest finish in NASCAR history – in the thrilling 2003 spring race, or Johnny Mantz, the slowest of 75 drivers to qualify for the track’s inaugural race but then going on to outlast the field in a 1950 Plymouth outfitted with truck tires, Darlington has had no shortage of great moments.
The State newspaper of Columbia today focused on the man who won at the track 50 years ago this week – Joe Weatherly.
Weatherly was known as the clown prince of racing, a nickname that was well-earned, according to publication.
“He flew to races in his own plane, but never learned to read the instruments. He used gas station maps for navigation. Once, he left his Virginia home for a race in Dayton, Ohio. All was well until the Empire State Building appeared out his window,” according to The State.
“On a good day, his rental car wouldn’t be a total loss upon return. On a typical day, the car might have found the bottom of a hotel’s pool,” the paper added. “He often was as lubricated as his race car’s engine, a party animal with a knack for talking his way out of arrests.”
Weatherly, who captured NASCAR’s top division title in 1962 and ’63, won 25 races in his career. The victory at Darlington on May 11, 1963, however, would be his last.
The Los Angeles Times’ take on the recent report that William Shakespeare didn’t like to pay taxes and sought to profit from an archaic form of commodities trading says as much about the Times’ view of the world as it does about life in Elizabethan-era England.
The Times picked up on a report from researchers at Aberystwyth University in Wales that claims the Bard of Avon was a grain hoarder and was pursued by authorities for tax evasion.
Profits from his actions were channeled into real estate deals, enabling Shakespeare to become a large landowner.
The Times calls Shakespeare a conniving character, a tax dodger and a profiteer. What it fails to do is add some economic context to its story.
While focusing on claims that Shakespeare “a tax dodger who profiteered during times of famine,” the Times makes just a brief mention of the fact that there was no copyright laws in Shakespeare’s time, meaning he could expect no future royalties from his works.
Instead, the publication manages to whip up a little class envy while portraying the playwright as little more than a thug:
“By combining both illegal and legal activities, Shakespeare was able to retire in 1613 as the largest property owner in his hometown, Stratford-upon-Avon,” according to the Times. “His profits – minus a few fines for illegal hoarding and tax evasion – meant he had a working life of just 24 years.”
The following is in no way is meant to make light of child abuse, but sometimes you just have to shake your head in amazement at the poor decisions made by some parents.
The mother of a South Carolina middle school student who was being suspended has been arrested after authorities said she walked into the school and slapped the wrong child.
Tyshekka Collier, 36, went to Fairforest Middle School in Spartanburg County Wednesday morning to pick up her son.
When Collier walked into the office, she saw a boy sitting in the office with his head down. Mistaking him for her son, she slapped him in the face, according to Spartanburg County sheriff’s deputies.
However, the boy Collier struck was sick and was sitting on a couch waiting for his mother to pick him up, according to Fairforest Middle School Principal Ty Dawkins.
Dawkins said once Collier realized she had slapped the wrong boy, she apologized, and then walked over to her son and began to slap him for getting in trouble, hitting him in the head and face and knocking him to the ground, according to a Greenville television station.
Collier was charged with disturbing school and assault and battery. It wasn’t known if she had a lawyer.
Her three children are in protective custody, according to the Associated Press.
Occasionally one comes across a news report that cries out for additional information. Given that journalism has been called the “first draft of history,” it’s not surprising that reporters aren’t able to always get complete answers to every question that arises.
Sometimes, though, one has to wonder if an article’s author is an actual living human being, or simply an automaton devoid of curiosity and an awareness of the surreal.
A German student “mooned” a group of Hell’s Angels and hurled a puppy at them before escaping on a stolen bulldozer, police have said.
The man drove up to a Hell’s Angels clubhouse near Munich, wearing only a pair of shorts and carrying a puppy.
He dropped his shorts and threw the dog, escaping on a bulldozer from a nearby building site.
Schools have been known for giving out awards for just about everything, with the idea being that if no one is left out, no one’s feelings will be hurt. You know, just like in the real world.
However, at least one South Carolina high school would appear to really be reaching with its latest accolade.
Kinsley Wentzky, 34, a high school English teacher at Columbia’s Dreher High School, was arrested Friday on a charge of sexual battery with a “student 16 or 17 years of age with no aggravated force or coercion,” according to the Columbia Police Department.
That means the relationship between the female teacher and unidentified student did not involve physical violence, such as rape. Wentzky has admitted to having sex with the student in a statement, according to the arrest warrant.
So how does the headline in the Columbia newspaper, called The State, read regarding the incident: “Dreher High School honors teacher charged with sexual battery.”
Now lest one come away with the misguided assumption that the school in question is actually lauding said teacher for being charged with sexual battery, it should be noted that the instructor is an English honors teacher.
Mainstream media takes its fair share of abuse, not all unwarranted, but one need only pick up a newspaper from the 19th century to see how much different – and better – journalism is today.
While it’s no secret that it was accepted practice for newspapers in the 1800s to exist to blatantly promote a single candidate or party – something that would be unheard of today (despite the bleating of conspiracy theorists) – it seems old-time scribes had no issue with laying their biases out in other areas, as well.
Consider the following “article” taken from a South Carolina newspaper in 1864:
Thaddeus W. Saunders was executed for Burglary in Col’a So. Ca. June 24, 1864. He had been convicted of breaking into the residence of a female, who kept a house for Prostitution, on Bridge Street in Cola. She was known as “Dutch Rosa,” so the writer understands.
In the commission of this offence, there was also an appalling and additional monstrous crime. In order to carry out the theft, which was intended by the House Breaking, the committal of a murder was necessary. This man, therefore with the assistance of a brutal companion, destroyed the life of the woman, by using Cloroform (sic) copiously. This effected, and her room and trunks were then robbed of money, jewels, and other valuables, to a large amount.
The two robbers and murderers then left the city, but were ultimately arrested in Montgomery, Alabama, and brought to Col’a So. Ca. for trial.
First off, one gathers from the article that Saunders was executed for burglary, rather than being an accomplice to murder. However, one might have thought the reporter would have wanted to include the bit about the killing in the lead paragraph.
Someone may want to let the Spartanburg Herald-Journal in on a little concept called “market forces.”
According to a Sunday article in the Upstate publication, copper theft is down in Spartanburg County due to a new law requiring those selling scrap metal to obtain permits.
“Between Aug. 16, when the law went into effect, and March 19, the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office issued 13,569 scrap metal permits,” the paper wrote. “As a result, copper theft is down about 15 percent in the county, Sheriff Chuck Wright said.”
Nowhere in the article does it say that the price of copper has dropped about 15 percent over the past year, which may have stymied potential scofflaws’ willingness to steal non-ferrous metals.
The Nerve reported last month that SC lawmakers are attempting to pass even more legislation in a bid to thwart the theft and illegal sale of copper.
Meanwhile, over the past year the price of the malleable metal has fallen to around $3.80 a pound on the London Metal Exchange, from approximately $4.50 a year ago.
But the way the Herald-Journal sees it, more laws equals less malfeasance.
However, if reducing crime was simply a matter of legislation, murder, rape and armed robbery would have been wiped from the earth long ago.
Furman Bisher, the only writer to ever land an interview with baseball great Shoeless Joe Jackson after his suspension from Major League baseball for his alleged involvement in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, died Sunday at 93.
Bisher secured an interview with Jackson for Sport magazine in 1949, 30 years after the infamous World Series in which the Greenville native and seven other Chicago White Sox players were said to have fixed the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
The interview appeared in the October 1949 issue of Sport, barely two years before Jackson died in Greenville at age 64.
The following year, Bisher joined the Atlanta Constitution and spent the next 59 years writing for it, its sister publication the afternoon Atlanta Journal, and their combined successor, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
His final column for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution was published in the October 11, 2009, Sunday paper, 60 years after his interview with Jackson.
The Sport interview was done in “as-told-to” style, as though Jackson wrote it. Given that Jackson was illiterate, Bisher likely wrote or recorded Jackson’s words, then transcribed them.
A century ago, two residents of the Oklahoma Confederate Veterans Home wanted to get married. This wasn’t as unusual as it might sound because the home admitted Confederate veterans and widows of Confederate veterans.
William H. Stoneburner, 68, of Muscogee County had fallen in love with Annie Bolling, 66, of Capitol Hill.
At first there was a bit of a problem because while the home, which was in Ardmore, Okla., had separate quarters for men and women, there were no accommodations for married couples.
In addition, there was the fear that “connubial relations” between residents might lead to “improper familiarity” between men and women who weren’t married, according to the blog My Old Confederate Home.
However, both Stoneburner and Bolling claimed they were desperately in love and asked for Superintendent John J. Galt’s permission to wed.