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December 2, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Oct. 31, 2012/ 15 Mar-Cheshvan, 5773

Escape velocity

By Paul Greenberg




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "A lot of people leave Arkansas and most of them come back sooner or later. They can't quite achieve escape velocity."

--Charles Portis, "Dog of the South"

Those are the lucky ones, the Arkies/Arkansawyers/Arkansans who can't ever make it out of this small, wonderfully interconnected state. Or are drawn back into it by some inexorable force. Call it fate or failure or necessity or whatever you like if you're one of those folks embarrassed by any mention of the will of God.

Sooner or later these blessed souls come home and settle in, having discovered or rediscovered their natural habitat, aka destiny. As for those who never make it back, they may spend the rest of their lives without a sense of place.

Much like vegetation, the transplanted may not thrive in other than native soil, which is why it is necessary, when inserting them into inhospitable climes, to leave their roots intact, sustained by at least some of the nutrients that made them what they are, or used to be.

No wonder the surest instinct of those cast into the Southern diaspora is to seek out other Southerners, just to hear a soft word, a familiar tone, or feel the unspoken comfort of home and old times there not forgotten. Their ears perk up at the sound of a Southern accent across a crowded room.

They grow nostalgic, that is, homesick for the past. Sometimes in the worst ways. The South can assume freakish proportions in their telling. Especially in the worst of the breed, the professional Southerner. Pitiful. If I encounter one more mezzotint in a New York drawing room of Lee and Jackson drawing up the order of battle for Chancellorsville with a stick in the middle of a dirt road....

Some of these lost souls finally make it home, where even the damned are welcomed like the prodigals they are. As if they'd never left. Think of Willie Morris, whose memoir and comic masterpiece, "North Toward Home," is unimaginable without his coming from Mississippi, where he was destined to return after all his wandering and realize, like Jacob, that this place was holy and he knew it not.

Naturally enough, Buddy Portis came home to Arkansas, not that he ever left it in disposition. He had the good sense to stay a kind of Southerner -- the best, unpretentious, slightly detached kind, even when he was elsewhere physically. Like in the London bureau of the New York Herald-Tribune.

The self-exiled may return at any time, and walk in as though they'd never left. ("Haven't seen you around lately. You been sick?") Then they'll sit down and throw off a masterpiece or two, like "True Grit." And lesser works -- "Norwood," "Dog of the South" -- that still tower above anything on the meager market today. Portis keeps on being discovered -- or periodically re-discovered. That's the way it is with old friends and good writers.

Now we have a collection of Portis's miscellaneous writings dished up under the title "Escape Velocity," and emphasizing what long has needed emphasizing -- his journalism.

As expected, Buddy Portis didn't show for the book launch here in Little Rock the other night. He's a writer, not a celebrity. His appearance at the party would have been superfluous, maybe even in the way. His books were there. And they were more than enough. For the writing's the thing.

Just don't let the self-absorbed introductions and marginalia in this miscellany spoil the taste of Buddy Portis' own dry vintage. The wise reader will go straight to the selections from Portis himself -- astringent, bracing, simple, sounding like stray thoughts jotted down in a casual moment as only the artfully and arduously made can. His characters could be sitting next to you on a Greyhound bus.

The charm of Charles Portis' prose isn't easy to describe and the attempt is better not made. Just read even the shortest snippet and you'll smile. Especially at his adroit use of the Southern vernacular. If you're from these latitudes, it may even save you from the snare and delusion called escape velocity.

Paul Greenberg Archives

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JWR contributor Paul Greenberg, editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, has won the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing. Send your comments by clicking here.

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