Sallie Satterthwaite's blog

Murphy strikes again

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We all know Murphy’s Law, but did you realize there really was a documented “Murphy?” His name was invoked by the development engineer overseeing repairs to a malfunctioning strap transducer at Wright Field Aircraft Lab at Edwards Air Force Base, California, in 1949.

Captain Ed Murphy was quoted by George Nichols, used it in a press conference, and it went viral within a few months. Researchers have claimed attribution for this story, some very persuasive, but this is the first I’ve seen that appears “so spot on.”
The law? “If anything can go wrong, it will.” Read More»

Second Surgery

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Few family crises tug more at the heart of mother than not being with her child when she is in pain.
Mary had to undergo another operation for a ragged rotator cuff.
Yes, the first one was just last fall, but once that healed up, the other began to make itself felt and she went ahead and scheduled surgery.
Why would a 50-something pianist come down with what is usually regarded as an athletic ailment when she is so careful about nutrition and fitness? And why did this develop in the first place? Read More»

February, short but sweet

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Portions of this column appeared in 2002.

My old copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations surprised me: No entry for February among its vast hoard of words, except for the nursery rhyme, “Thirty days hath September….”
The framers of our calendar were merciful in dealing to this wintry month only four rounded-off weeks of weeping skies. Would they have been so thoughtful with January. Read More»

Ice storm

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Someone ought to publish recipes that ice-constrained menus go into effect. What do you do with so much milk and bread?
We didn’t shop for a week and survived, so far as I know. Once the initial surprise snowstorm has snowed itself out and only then does hunger strike little boys who are drenched and red-cheeked, and the snowstorm itself history. Read More»

Hail the BBC

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It takes a little time to build up a “must-watch” television listing strong enough to make me say, “I’m sorry, we have plans for that evening.”
Smile, enigmatically.
When my girls were very young, they were allowed to watch television or go to movies only after we had vetted the material and deemed it acceptable for our little dears’ developing taste. They were good about it. “Because I say so” was a reason they didn’t often challenge. Read More»

Superman and Hometown Newspapers

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These short stories really have nothing in common except they are being published on the same day…
I don’t remember what aroused my interest in Superman a few weeks ago. Was looking for something else and lost track of time – when, “Look! Up in the sky!” There he was, on my laptop screen. No, actually it was a TV movie I had never watched. So I did, and found it winsome. Read More»

Whatever happened to...?

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This column originally ran in April, 1996.

Not many of today’s Peachtree City residents remember a time when we did not have a real police department. Our earliest policing came from the Sheriff’s Office -- the county supplied a car and support; local businesses paid for a deputy.
Granted, he didn’t have much to do, but people felt good knowing he was out there.

Ralph Jones was mayor and Chip Conner on city council when the city began developing its own department, and by the time Chip became mayor, in 1970, we were well on our way. Read More»

What goes around...

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This is based on a reminiscence made at New Year’s Day 1984 and demonstrates that – as usual -- “What goes around comes around….”
Picture, for a moment, your school days' diagram of the earth orbiting the sun, and note that its path has no milestones, no square marked "Go" that signals the beginning of a new year.

It was humankind, not God, that divided the endless ellipse into months and years with beginnings and ends, to account for the apparent rebirth of the sun.
Even that is arbitrary. Read More»

New Years, 2014

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My late friend and beloved editor Dave Hamrick summed up a writer’s puzzlement thus paraphrased):
“I can write my heart out with blood, sweat and tears, and dread to come in to work on Wednesday morning. But then I grab some notes and cobble something together long after deadline, just to get it in, and someone will tell me (through tears) that the column packed such a powerful message, it changed her life.” Read More»

Irony abounds

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Dave and I have always thought we were the sole lovers of Christmas fruitcake on the planet. Every year, we have become used to seeing stacks of the little ruby-studded fruitcake that made Claxton, Georgia, a household name.

Fruitcake seems perfect for that not-too-pricey last-minute Christmas gift. After all, they keep virtually forever, especially when soaked in rum, and the fact that you can give them away secures their role as the answer to the everlasting question, “What should we give the mailman? Or the kids’ piano teacher? A next door neighbor? A fellow employee?” Read More»