On Saturday, 30 July 2022, two actresses whose work is embedded in American nostalgia took leave of this life: Nichelle Nichols, 89, who played Lieutenant Uhura on the 1960’s sci-fi series “Star Trek”, reprising the role in several feature films; and Pat Carroll, 95, a staple of television for decades with supporting and guest roles on sitcoms and game shows, most likely known to more modern audiences as the voice of Ursula in Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.”
Posts by Alex Miller
Torrential rains drenching eastern Kentucky in late July led to massive flooding on July 28, 2022, particularly of isolated rural communities in the poorest areas of Appalachia, where rivers and creeks swelled to overflow their banks by as much as 20 feet, filling the hollows and washing away some homes and businesses, inundating others in feet of standing water. Hardest-hit areas received 8-10 inches of rainfall within 48 hours. As of this writing (July 31) 26 are dead and dozens more still missing, while continued rain forecasts imperil search efforts and threaten to exacerbate an already tragic situation. Among the dead are four young siblings from Montgomery, Kentucky: Maddison, Riley, Nevaeh and Chance Noble, aged 2 to 8, torn from their parent’s arms by the current’s grip as the family’s mobile home was swept away.
The daylily garden is really beginning to take off. Some of the plantings are now in their third year on the property, and it shows. I have one stubborn year two variety that just won’t bloom – Exotic Love. Rather fitting, don’t you think, as elusive as love can be? But all seven of the new first-years gave me something, which is unusual. Small and sparsely budded, they bloomed out early, but as a group they have done better in their first season (by percentage) than the prior plantings. They are in a prime location, ringing the seating area atop the sandmound, in full sun, so I’m sure within a couple more years they’ll be as voluminous as the rest.
Highland Park is an Illinois North Shore suburb which, though just 25 miles from downtown Chicago, has always retained a small-town feel, with an ethnically mixed, middle-class population of about 30,000. The annual Independence Day parade has been a feature of the civic calendar for decades, drawing crowds of families to watch the typical summer parade staples of high school marching bands, gleaming red firetrucks, floats and local dignitaries, complete with candy and prizes for the kiddies.
But on July 4, 2022, this peaceful bit of nostalgic Americana was invaded by a 21st Century reality check, as a lone gunman fired multiple rounds into the unsuspecting crowds from a rooftop perch along the parade route. Pandemonium ensued, with panicked people scattering in all directions, leaving behind lawn chairs, strollers, picnic lunches and bikes.
Proving it has its finger firmly on the pulse of the corpse of America, the US Supreme Court on June 23 ruled that Americans have a right to carry firearms in public for self-defense, effectively upping the ante on concealed carry legislation that is sweeping the nation. This in the wake of recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas, with more than two-thirds of Americans polled supporting tougher gun regulation. For more than a century, New York has had a gun safety law that bars the concealed carry of a firearm without a permit and requires good cause to obtain the permit; the conservative supermajority on the SCOTUS struck it down 6-3, ruling for the plaintiff in New York Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. The case was the first the SCOTUS had weighed in on Second Amendment issues since 2010.
It’s been a cool spring, and as summer commences, that trend has largely continued. So the garden is a good 2-3 weeks behind where it was at this time last year. But on the upside, rainfall has been steady and regular, so everything is looking very lush, without any backbreaking effort on my part. Just how we like it!