Thursday, June 22, 2023

Part III: Persona non grata? "No thanks!"

Note: I am experiencing some technical issues with Blogspot. That's why it's taken me so long. I have (sorta) resolved them, but not completely. That's why the background to the type is a little "off"! Cheers, Malcolm

Persona non grata? "No thanks"

The African adventure that fellow journalist and good friend Andy Moor and I had undertaken did have purpose – seeking out stories with the hope of selling them to any publications that would have them. The adventurous part of our travels tended to overwhelm that, by choice, aided and abetted by all the wonder Africa provided at every turn.

In Dar es Salaam, our goal was an interview with Mozambique freedom fighter Eduardo Mondlane (“mond-LAH-nay), a former Syracuse University professor in exile and the leader of FRELIMO, the militant organization leading the fight against Portugal’s heavy brand of colonialism.

On Feb. 3, 1969, just before our arrival, a letter bomb exploded at FRELIMO headquarters in Dar es Salaam, killing Mondlane. While not happy with the news because of our sympathies with his cause, it did make the story more valuable – to us and publications around the world.

My “runs’ having settled into a gentle walk, we began work.

One of the first people we sought out was James Thurber – not THE James Thurber, but a former Wall Street Journal reporter who was head of the USIA in Tanzania and who went on to a long and distinguished career in the State Department.

On our first visit, and those that followed, Jim was welcoming and affable. He proved to be a valuable resource, providing help at every turn.

Our enthusiasm for the story was soon snuffed out. We got word from the embassy (through Jim, I recall) that the Tanzanian government had objected to our efforts. Diplomatic tensions were high because the prevailing theory was that Portugal had been responsible. (As it turned out, it was in inside job, a faction opposed to Mondlane’s approach).

If we continued, we were told that one of three outcomes would be the likely result:

We’d be kicked out of the country and deemed “persona non gratis,” never allowed to return. (“But we like Tanzania and want to see more”).

We’d wind up in a Tanzanian jail (“Uh, no thanks! The food sucks, we hear”), then expelled.

Or, this being Africa, we might just disappear (“Uh, a BIG no to that, thank you!”)

Or choice #4: Pick another story to pursue.

At the time, Tanzania was ignored, often vilified, by much of the West, especially by U.S. politicians and policies, because of its embrace of so-called “African socialism.” The Big S scared the hell out of ‘em. Their ignorance of the reasons and what that really meant opened the door to the Soviet Union and China. African socialism, in the broad sense, was merely an attempt to shed the yoke of colonialism by returning to core African values – you were obliged to work together, neighbor helping neighbor, in all activities. This philosophy, too, helped keep you from getting eaten by a lion. It's why many Africans, men and women, walk arm in arm or hand in hand. Larger the group, warier the lions. (That’s true, by the way.)

So, a political door was opened that let the Soviet Union and China walk in, something those aghast at The Big S would come to hate even more.

We decided to do a story that would illuminate that. “The Hell Run” was it.

Zambia, Tanzania’s land-locked neighbor, was (and is) the one of the world’s largest producers of copper. The most efficient way to get its copper to the world market was through South Africa, a bitter pill, to say the least, given its deep-rooted racist policies. In colonialism’s collapse, new Africa did all it could to isolate South Africa.

The only alternative was to send the copper by truck to Dar es Salaam along what would come to be named the TanZam highway, a treacherous two-lane, mostly gravel, road dubbed then, I recall, “The Hell Road.” Accidents — many fatal – were frequent along the 500-mile tortuous route down through the mountains from the Zambian border to Dar es Salaam.

Tanzania and Zambia asked the West to build a railroad. The capitalist West demurred, citing the expense and arguing it would never be profitable. They agreed, instead, to build what it said would be a good, safe road.

China, interested in making inroads, said it would gladly build a railway.

So, on parallel routes, the U.S. and other Western countries began their competition – new road vs. railway.

That’s was our story, and one that apparently would not involve getting us kicked out of the country, find us in a Tanzanian prison, or worse.

To do that, though, we needed to get to Mbeya, 500 miles away and almost 6,000 feet up on the Zambia border where a U.S. construction firm, our focus, was building a major part of the new roadway as the Chinese toiled nearby.

We readied our thumbs and sought help from Jim and his art department. (He had one; it was the information service, after all.) Could he make us a sign in Swahili telling folks where we wanted to go?

“Sure,” he said. Shortly, a letter-sized sign, in heavy stock, appeared with big block lettering that simply proclaimed:



 Translation: “We are going to Mbeya.”

We made our way to the highway outside Dar es Salaam and held up our sign. Almost immediately, we heard:

“We are going to Mbeya!”

Another adventure begins, one that led all the way to London.

Title changes -- thankfully!

OK, not only another year, but entering a new decade. Yep, I'm 80, so the title had to change from Going Over Seventy to Going Over Eighty. BTW, it started as Going Over Sixty. Now, I'm going for Going Over Ninety. If I remain healthy and happy, that's the goal!

Wishing good health and greater happiness for y'all, too!

Oh, and I will be posting the continuing sage of "Why Africa?" soon.


Saturday, April 29, 2023

"We interrupt . . ."

 "...this blog -- the Africa series -- for the following important message" (that I've also posted on Facebook -- yes, it's that "important").

To all my KU and UDK fans in the Lawrence-KC area, please read: need help!

As many of you might know, I was the first (I am led to believe) to purchase (by making a donation) one of the UDK’s stand-long, big-ass (6’x4’x2.5’ and weighing in at =/-200 pounds) distribution boxes scattered across campus. I did it the moment I heard they were being taken down in great part because (a) I designed them and (b) I had ‘em built and installed. Ours now sits in great friends Tom and Gail’s Sloan’s barn just west of Lawrence (not far from the KU tennis facility and the city’s great rec center (that we miss a lot).

Joyce and I had intended to get it to Clovis, CA, where we are living in splendid retirement, put it in the front yard along the sidewalk (“The FRONT yard?” Joyce screamed – yes, she does scream on rare occasions. “Yes,” I said, calmly, “to turn it into one of those ‘Free Library’ things – whereby I fill it with books – and folks take a book and (by request, but not required) leave a book. Our friends in Rock Hill (our best man/matron of honor – Terry and Betty Plumb – of almost 52 years ago) have one. It’s great. And I do need to get right of books. Our small home is filled with ‘em.

But, alas, getting it here, we have found, is virtually impossible without spending a butt-load of cash (and more than you think, really!) that we’d rather spend on food, utilities and booze! Oh, and travel and grandkids (including college funds). And, well, you know.

OK, anyone want it – for free (but only if you put it to some good use)?

Free! If close to Lawrence, I might even be able to talk Tom and Gail to get it to you! (Uh, that’s a maybe since I haven’t asked ‘em, they are really, really nice.) Or you can pick it up . . . and play with the sheep (they run a sheep farm). Bring the kids!

So, whattaya say? Any takers? (“PLEASE!!”)

Oh, the photo is of Tom and Gail’s daughter, Lynette, and her great son, Curtis, (who’s dad and Lynette’s husband, Bart, is on the Lawrence City Commission).

Oh, did I say “PLEEEEEEESE!????

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk and the UDK!

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Part II: Farewell, Abyssinia (Mussolini’s Revenge)

It was well after midnight with dawn still hours away.  The lights of nearby Addis Ababa flickered in the distance as we neared the end of our travels upcountry and to the Red Sea, our visa set to expire in two days. A long line of transports, trucks of all sizes, crowded the highway, officially barred from travelling at night. They ignored the restriction in the hinterlands, but all had stopped as they neared the Ethiopian capital, awaiting first light when they could resume legal travel. I sat in the cab, graciously offered by our hitchhiking host, unable to sleep, trying to fully appreciate my good fortune of having experienced what we’d experienced the previous three weeks in early 1969 going this way and that with no clock, no compass, no map, guided by whim alone.

Sitting in a spot once shared by the Queen of Sheba. Hunkering down in our lodging on a rainy night in Dessie as we watched, through gaps in the floorboards of our lodging, the permanent residents, rats, scurry about. (We did our best to ignore them. They did the same.) Fixing 13 flat tires over two days. Stuck on a remote roadside because of one of those flats, forcing us to spend a sleepless night high in the mountains, the Rift Valley thousands of feet below just off the edge of the roadway, our hitchhiking host having to trek into a nearby village to hire someone to stand guard because of the threat of insurgent activity, and, in the black of the night, uninterrupted by civilization, seeing more stars than words can describe except “spectacular!” Riding in a crammed kombi mid-day through a village when one passenger yelled “Stop! I know a great place to get lunch. I used to teach here.”

We all followed him into a mud hut in the middle of the small village, sat on goat skins, flies in abundance, to feast on the local fare, injera and wat, a stew-like concoction, served with mounds of cooked veggies, especially lentils, all heavily laced with a spicy – HOT! – mixture called berbere (“bear-beary”) to the great delight of all.

What’s not to love!

The flies were of no concern, by the way.

Ethiopia, many believe, is the birthplace of Judaism and Christianity. Many scholars believe it was home to the Garden of Eden. Because of its seminal Christian, Jewish and Islamic influences, Ethiopian cuisine follows strict dietary laws.

Because of that, Ethiopians of the time were extreme in their attention to hygiene. Before every meal, even in those areas enveloped in drought, a bit of water and soap to wash hands was always offered. Every dish, every glass was spotless. And no utensils. Injera*, a flat bread made from teff, a high-protein grain indigenous to Ethiopia, serves as both fork and spoon. And you always – always! – eat using your right hand, never the left. The left is reserved for functions best left unmentioned when chatting about food. The “no left hand” rule is important because, when food is served, eating is done from a single platter shared by all.

For me, it was love at first taste!

But food would prove to be my undoing – not of Ethiopia. But of Italy.

On our return to our HQ in Addis Ababa, the YMCA, Andy and I decided to celebrate the triumph of our travels by going out to a first-class restaurant. Because of the Italian influence that remained strong in Ethiopia, we decided on Italian.

It was delicious. And almost fatal – for me.

During the night, I was struck with the “runs” – a bad, bad case that had me, throughout the night, doing, over and over, what the ailment’s moniker implies.

We had to fly to Dar es Salaam that morning, with me in great distress, an eye always on a nearby “facility.” As you can imagine, having the runs and flying on an airplane are two things that don’t go together well.

After landing in Dar es Salaam, we found a small hotel. I crashed, becoming intimate, frequently saying my “I dos,” with the lone toilet down the hall. In three days, I’d lost 40 pounds and was not getting better. I needed medical help. We went to the U.S. Embassy seeking a recommendation for a doctor. “We don’t do that” was the reply. My tolerance for officious bureaucrats has always been terribly short, so I persisted. Still “no.”

“Well, I’m going to lie here in the lobby then until you do!”

I did.

That did the trick.

The doctor was gracious and understanding and prescribed medicine that quickly cured what I’ve come to call “Mussolini’s revenge.”

The reason for the ailment was not because I had eaten Italian. When Fascist Italy invaded (never conquered) Ethiopia in 1935, it set about to install water and sewer systems throughout the then-small capital of Addis Ababa. They wanted it done quickly, so they simply dug a single trench, placing water and sewage lines side by side. When new, all was fine. But in the decades since, well after the Mussolini’s Fascist forces were driven from Ethiopia, the pipes had deteriorated. You can imagine the result.

We were always careful when eating in our travels in Africa, including Ethiopia. We often ate street food (cheap, but tasty, especially samosas), but the food was always well-cooked or had a skin we could peel, like a banana. We did it often, before and after. Still do during visits. Never a problem.

But that night, thinking a first-class restaurant in Ethiopia’s capital city was “safe,” I ate a salad – rinsed, no doubt, in tap water coming from pipes in that single trench.

Benito Mussolini got his revenge.

NEXT: “Persona Non Gratis? No thanks”

*Injera, the sour flat bread, is an acquired taste. It has what some say is an unappetizing grayish look with the texture of those old foam pads that sat under our manual typewriters in the Tampa Tribune’s newsroom to help still the symphony of “clanks” from each as dozens of folks pounded away on their Royals or Underwoods.

                                                                           * * *

NOTE: This is the second installment of my "Why Africa?" series that I wrote for good friend and colleague, Al Hutchison, and his "Gospel Island Gazette" on the beginnings of my love of Africa. Please let me know in comments below what you think, whether thumbs up or thumbs down. All comments are welcomed. Oh, and no photos. Virtually all my film, with few exceptions (found in the first installment), was stolen many weeks later in Rome, along with my Nikon, camera bag (film and equipment) and my Framus guitar (mentioned in a later report.)

                                                                           * * *

Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Africa: Love at First Sight

 Note: This is the first of a series of relatively short reports that I wrote for Al Hutchison, a longtime friend and colleague, and his online publication, The Gospel Island Gazette.. I've often been asked "Why Africa?" -- and my love of everything Africa. I wrote these to relate my first journey to Africa and fell in love with Africa. Actually, perhaps, when I found out that I had been in love with Africa all my life because, growing up, I was always fascinated by all things African.

Those are my feet atop the truck on which we'd hitched a ride heading into Addis Ababa. Truly, it was at  this point that my love of Africa filled my heart and all my senses.

Africa and Love at First Sight

The call that ultimately fulfilled a dream came at 8 a.m. on a Monday. I’d just arrived at my office the University of Kansas J-School had assigned to me on my retirement a few months earlier in May 2013, a nice perk as I taught my favorite class and worked to set up a study-abroad program in Africa.

I’d been chatting by phone and email with a long-time friend, Kenyan journalist and Nation Media Group executive Tom Mshindi, about study abroad. During one chat, he outlined issues that NMG was having at its operations in Uganda and asked my opinion. I freely shared my thoughts. That was a Thursday. The next Monday morning, the fateful call came. He wanted me to share my thoughts via Skype with the NMG board, which was meeting at that moment, 5 p.m. in Nairobi. They, as Tom, liked what they heard. A few days later, Joyce and I were on a plane to Nairobi. That meeting (and others) ultimately led to an offer: Would you come to Uganda to head up news operations?

I was ecstatic!

Joyce, truth be told, was not, but supportive.

Our children were not happy.

“It’s too far away.” “It’s dangerous, especially for journalists.”

Both true, but . . .

“Well, it’s not like Dad woke up one morning and said, ‘I think I’ll move to Africa!’,” Joyce told them. “He’s always wanted to do that!”

I have – since first setting foot in sub-Saharan Africa almost 45 years earlier.

It was early 1969 when I stepped off the airplane in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with good friend and fellow journalist, Andy Moor. We’d decided to travel the world, so we quit our jobs (he at the Pompano Beach Sun-Sentinel; I at The Miami Herald) and bought PanAm tickets to Africa. We’d planned just a few days in Addis. However, once on the ground, captivated by the culture and history, we decided to see as much of the country that our 30-day visa would allow. In that month, we circumnavigated the country, hitchhiking most of the way, looking for stories to tell.

In Addis, we found Onni Niskanen, a middle-aged Swede who oversaw a leper hospital. He also trained Ethiopia’s long-distance runners, including Abebe Bikila, who won the 1960 and 1964 Olympic marathons in record times – barefoot!

 “Barefoot?” we asked.

“He and the other Ethiopian runners had never really worn shoes – gave them blisters. We also found they took fewer steps” – duh! – “running barefoot,” which he and other teammates had always done at home. After the Olympics races, he said, they found soda pop-top tabs imbedded in the soles of their feet! (No worry. The calluses on their soles were as thick as today’s Nikes!)

After a few days in Addis, we headed north, to Asmara (now the capital of Eritrea).

Hitchhiking was easy in Africa. Not much traffic outside the cities. If any vehicle came by, it would stop for two obvious outsiders. At one remote spot, we sat by the gravel highway, next to a school. That was reason enough for the administrators to dismiss classes so the hundred or so children could sit nearby to ogle the two Westerners. After an hour or more, a car came over the rise, driven by a young man, a salesman, coincidentally heading to Asmara. It took two days – and 13 flat tires, most of which I repaired (old rubber inner tubes). Until the last, #13: That occurred just a mile or so outside Asmara. Our host hired someone to fix that flat; we walked the rest of the way into town.

Before Asmara, our hitchhiking host stopped in Axum, a town in northern Ethiopia famed for, among many things, its many stele and a small stone throne resting, unguarded, in the town square. I sat in it. So had the Queen of Sheba centuries earlier.

Once in Asmara, we then tried to take the train to Massawa, about 70 miles away and about 8,000 feet below on the Red Sea. It had mechanical issues, so we hitchhiked. Easy enough, though we were stopped by government troops and, later, insurgents (fighting for Eritrean independence), looking for weapons. We had none and, thanks to our convincing host, were allowed to proceed. Heading back to Asmara, we took the snail-like third-class train which, going uphill, allowed us, at times, to get out and walk alongside. At one stop, we were sitting in our seats when goats came flying through a nearby window, tossed in by their owner. (Count as carry-on, we guessed.) Snaking its 8,000-feet up from sea level up through mountainous terrain, the coal-powered steam engine chugged its way through a score or more of tunnels. With each, smoke billowed into the cars, enveloping us. By the end of the trip, we looked more Ethiopian than the Ethiopians!

The third-class train; a first-class experience.

Hitchhiking back to Addis, we stopped at Lake Tana and the spot where the Blue Nile begins (before merging with the White Nile in Khartoum, Sudan). Among our transport was a couple-of-days trip riding and sleeping atop a truck. Something that says a lot of the Ethiopian people at that time, we were treated as guests. When we stopped to eat, we offered to pay. The truck driver said no. The food was cheap (to us) but wonderfully delicious. Ethiopian food – injera and wat – is my (Joyce’s, too) favorite cuisine.

That first African experience was life-changing, the beginning of a fascination, a love affair, actually, that continues today, punctuated by all the experiences that followed, including two academic degrees, sharing beers in a Johannesburg back yard with Nelson Mandela and living in Kampala. Those stories, and more, to come.

Africa is never far from my mind.

NEXT: “Farewell, Abyssinia (Mussolini’s Revenge)”

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

I found Earl!

Hello, I'm back. The reason I've not updated this is simply because I'm, well, a bit stupid: I'd been using the wrong login (gmail sign-in, instead of my Yahoo account), which means I couldn't post anything I finally tried logging in using my Yahoo! account, and -- voila! -- it worked. Duh! So, here goes. I intend to post a few stories that I'd written for a friend's newsletter (and a book for our grandchildren) on "Why Africa?" -- why I love Africa so much and how that love came about. And, today, I'm posting a story I wrote 10 years ago for the Virginian-Pilot (the best newspaper in Virginia, based in Norfolk, Va., where I grew up.) I've written several essays for the V-P, but today's entry -- "In Search of Earl" -- is important because I found Earl! Enjoy!

The Virginian-Pilot, May 18, 2013

By Malcolm Gibson

In my retirement, which comes May 31 — 11 days shy of my 70th birthday — I have a big "to-do" list.

As a journalist, I have abundant writing projects and prospects. And one of the first is to write about a search for people, most from my time spent in Norfolk, who've made a big difference in my life at various points.

There's Camille Clancy, my first real love. And Frank Burroughs of the paper truck. And George Poy, whose folks owned a Chinese restaurant next to the Rosalee Theater in Ocean View. And Mitch Pierce, my bowling buddy who had lost part of a finger in a misdirected blow from a hatchet. And Dorothy Carpenter, another "first love." And Dorothy Gaudry, who encouraged me to skip school at Granby High one day. (While her encouragement was successful, my effort was not; I was caught and suspended.) And Dickie Gatewood. And Marsha Herman. And Joe Brenner. And many more.

However, the search must begin with Earl.

The search begins with Earl because — unknowingly to him and, even, to me until well into my adulthood — he played a role that fueled many of my life's interests, including the career I chose and how I pursued it. Much of my time has been spent chronicling the human condition in places near and far, with a hope for all people to be treated as they themselves would like to be treated.

I haven't a clue as to Earl's last name, which adds to both the mystery and difficulty of the search. Adding to that is this challenge: I haven't seen Earl for more than 60 years. The last time was shortly before my family and I returned to Norfolk after spending one year (1950-51) at the Naval base in Coronado, Calif., where Earl and I were in second grade.

On my first day at the school there, Earl and I had scrapped, gathering more dust and dirt than landing blows. It was a friendly scuffle, so, of course, we became fast friends. "Forever," I recall us saying.

On that day or one soon after, I brought Earl home to play. We marched into the house and settled down in my bedroom, doing this and that, including sharing my dad's prized Hohner harmonica.

It wasn't until I was in my mid-40s that I learned that my parents had had a long discussion that evening, after Earl had departed and I was asleep, about whether they would allow Earl and me to continue our friendship.

Earl was black. It was a time when much of the Navy was still segregated. California bases and housing were not; Norfolk, Merrimack Park and the city's schools were. And my parents — a step-dad from strongly segregated West Virginia and a mom from self-imposed segregated Massachusetts — didn't know what to make of my newfound friend.

So they talked, and then, after much agony, came to a decision: We're going to let Malcolm make that decision for himself.

When they finally told me that story so many years later, I could say nothing but "thanks" and smile, reactions that fell far short of my volcanic pride for those two great people and the ultimate effect that decision likely has had on my life.

As for Earl, I'd like to find him. And I will try. I remember asking Earl's mother one day: "How do you tell when he gets dirty?" "He gets white," she calmly replied to that extraordinarily naïve but sincere 7-year-old. I often wonder whether his folks had had the same conversation, the same struggle, that my folks had had during that time. I often wonder what he's done and where he's gone and where his life has taken him. I often wonder if he, too, has thought of me as often as I have thought of him. And I wonder if he knows how much of an effect he had on my parents. And on me.


Postscript 1 (03/03/2023): I have been in contact with Earl though his brother, Carl, who has been most helpful. I found Earl through I simply put "Earl" and "Coronado" in the search field, and up popped one item: the 1950 census for Coronado. The page that popped up on my screen had an Earl F. Mitchell, father, his wife and four children. And there was Earl -- Earl F. Mitchell Jr. We have plans of going to San Diego soon so I can offer my thanks -- for all he has meant to me and my parents -- in person. Stay tuned. I will update.

Postscript 2: I've also reconnected with George Poy, a dear friend from the 5th grade, whose parents owned the Chinese restaurant in Ocean View, not far from Ocean View Elementary and across the street from the huge roller coaster on the beach. We plan to meet -- over Ethiopian food (our favorite cuisine that he's never had, but is looking forward to) in Washington, D.C., in January when we visit. Stay tuned. I will update.



Thursday, March 4, 2021

A must read, and . . .

I write this to recommend a book to everyone, especially to my good friends who grew up in the South, as I did: “Robert E. Lee and Me, A Southerner’s Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause” by Ty Seidule, professor emeritus of History at West Point and retired brigadier general whose stated goal in life was to be a true “Southern gentleman.”

I was drawn to it because of the “recommended reading” tag by The New York Times.  It’s a book everyone should read, especially those who grew up in the South. It’s eye-opening and, likely for some, life-changing.

Virtually all of my “growing up” time, my truly formative years, was spent in the South, the segregated South, with “Whites Only” and “Coloreds” signs in evidence on many doorways and water fountains. It was where, in elementary school in Norfolk, Va., where I did most of my growing up, we stood, once each year, outside around the flagpole with the U.S. and Virginia state flags fluttering, to commemorate Confederate Veterans Day. (We did not do the same for [U.S.] Veterans Day.) And, in 1958, the governor, to thwart mandated desegregation, closed schools in Virginia, so I sat out virtually all of that sophomore school year. Even when we eventually returned with just a few months of the school year remaining, we were disrupted most days, having to evacuate the building because of threats and smoke bombs being tossed into the hallways and cafeteria. All to preserve segregation (and the myth).

I’ve also touched on that time for the Virginian-Pilot, my home-town newspaper that I read and delivered as a youth in Norfolk.

The first was “Lessons from the Blue Room” ( The Blue Room was a small diner situated in the Black neighborhood directly across the street from my high school. It featured two big lures – great chili dogs and a pool table. I learned a lot at the Blue Room, about pool and about life.

Another was “In Search of Earl” ( about a childhood friend during a short sojourn from the segregated South in 1950 California.

Seidule’s book has prompted me to think even more about my time in the “old South,” including my time in the U.S. Army in North Carolina at Ft. Bragg (named after an inept and despised, by his own, Confederate general). That will include an incident that likely would have resulted in great bodily harm or, perhaps even death, to me and a fellow soldier had it not been for that African-American G.I.’s common sense.

As many of you know, I’m in the process of writing a chronicle (book) for our grandchildren that Joyce and I are compiling about us and what we know about those who came before us. It will include stories about our time growing up in the “Old South.” (All Joyce’s kin are from the Carolinas.) I will post virtually all entries on my blog, “Going Over Seventy,” as each part is produced.

When I post new entries, I will also post an alert on Facebook; however, I do ask that you “sign up” for my blog, if truly interested, so you’ll be notified of new entries and make it easier to comment – which I strongly encourage. Everyone needs an editor, especially me! And as one of my former students, now dear, dear friend, said: Tables turned! My former students get to edit me instead of me editing them! That’s something that I relish, greatly!