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Author Bob Newell

Pity the elusive mouse who must struggle to disconnect himself in the minds of youthful humans from the ubiquitous, plasticized keyboard kind. Does anyone any longer recognize the fundamental literary distinction between Walt’s beloved “Mickey” and some cordless, unconnected robot rodent? What have we done with our words? Rats! Shame on the unwashed who thoughtlessly […] Read More

At the beginning of the 21st century, I lived in Houston and tended to observe immigrant struggles from the relatively safe and somewhat distant perspective of a privileged American. The fighting in Kosova (the Albanian spelling), where Serbian soldiers attempted to terminate the majority Albanian population, had been halted by NATO intervention. In one of […] Read More

It was a powerful, nonverbal symbol recognized by every player on the old New York Yankees baseball club during their successful 1956 season. When manager Casey Stengel wanted to signal the identity of the person he had chosen to pitch for the next game, he would get to the locker room early and place a […] Read More

The soft rain slowly fell just beyond the edge of the balcony. Because of its larger size, this blessed appendage – which hangs out over the street, four stories below – is referred to by the Greeks as a veranda. How cool was my elevated seat at noon on this October day in Athens. How […] Read More

One of the first phrases I learned in the study of the contemporary Greek language is lipame – Greek shorthand for “I am sorry!” As a stumbling practitioner of modern Greek, I learned this word rather quickly and easily because I constantly make mistakes. Another related word I learned is lathos, meaning “mistake,” because I […] Read More

Recently, I learned that due to the religious politics of the day, early in the 14th century the Italian poet, Durante degli Alighieri, better known as Dante, was banished from Florence, Italy – the city of his birth. Dante and his “side” wanted Florence to be independent of the Vatican. Indeed, in the attempt to […] Read More

I am told that when Walt Whitman read Ralph Waldo Emerson’s essay “The Poet,” he was highly influenced. When the young Whitman heard Emerson say that the United States needed a poet to capture, in a proper fashion, its national spirit and character, the ambitious and perhaps foolhardy writer decided that he was that poet. […] Read More

It’s not at all uncommon to see death notices posted on the side of buildings on the streets in Athens, Greece. This is the remarkably economical and semi-efficient means by which a local neighborhood is notified of a death and the plan for memorial services at the nearby Greek Orthodox Church. But the death declarations […] Read More

She said that she was a friend of a U.S. school in another city in Greece and wanted to sell me tickets to a country-western barbecue fundraiser for scholarships. In a traffic jam of instant mental images, synaptic connections collided in my brain: I told her that I was from Texas, had been to a […] Read More

Before and during the Great Depression, my grandfather, William Emmitt Newell, was a small truck farmer, living and growing his crops in the red dirt near Marion, Miss., just outside of the “Queen City” of Meridian. Granddaddy raised turnips, tomatoes, potatoes and corn, gathered fresh eggs and sold chickens to city folks who missed the […] Read More