Claude Reese

Claude Reese

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Reflections - October 1, 2009

I've often heard the question asked, "What is the most important part of the building?" Usually the first answer is, "The foundation, because if the foundation gives, the whole building would be gone." The second is often, "The roof, since water is the worst enemy of the building, if you lose the roof the whole building is soon gone." The answer I like best is this, "The most important part of the building is the integrity of the builder." Cason Calloway, founder of Calloway Gardens and President of Calloway Mills wrote a little booklet on leadership. He said, "If a leader doesn't have integrity, nothing else matters." We gave a great shortage of integrity in government today. We need to know very well those we elect or appoint to high office.

Reflections - September 24, 2009

"Boiler Plate" is a type of writing. Its criteria: use lots of words (redundancy), especially uncommon and hard to pronounce types. Make long sentences and form them into long, hard to understand paragraphs. The goal is to leave your reader confused and without any idea of what you said.
It appears the primary adherents to this type of grammar have clustered in our capital city. They are chiefly employed by the federal government, and as a result, we have the 1200 page health bill which nobody understands.

I believe if I had continued my sentence last week into paragraphs, it would have been a good example of boiler plate writing. It certainly was redundant. Here are a few brief types of redundancies. Pilots: "I flew a two wing bi-plane." For many of us: "I went to the tooth dentist." And for most of us, "We have a hot water heater." In reality, most of us have a hot water heater in the kitchen, but it is called a boiler.

My sentence from last week as edited is shown below. I have retained the wheat and marked out the chaff.

"Not long ago I called a plumber in Marianna and told him we were not getting any hot water out of the faucets, so he and his helper came out to Greenwood and solved our problem and we now have a brand new 40 gallon gas fired hot water heater installed up in the attic and the old one has been removed and has gone to the hot water heater grave yard."

My edited sentence is: "We have a new water heater."

We are printing two of the solutions which were submitted by readers. They both greatly improved the original sentence, and I am thankful for their submission.

Pat Crisp - "I called a plumber and told him we were not getting hot water, so he came and solved our problem. We have a new hot water heater and the old one has been removed."

Mary Killingsworth - "I recently called a plumber in Marianna and told him that we did not have any hot water.  He and his helper came to Greenwood,  installed a brand new 40-gallon gas-fired hot water heater in our attic, and removed the old one to the hot water heater graveyard."

Readable Writing - September 17, 2009

I once took a course called "Readable Writing". It basically taught us how to edit our own writing. You simply reread your article, and then take out all the unnecessary words. As an example, here follows a sentence written as I think most of us good old southern boys talk. I'm bolding the words so you can play the game by taking out the words you deem unnecessary.

"Not long ago I called a plumber in Marianna and told him we were not getting any hot water out of the faucets, so he and his helper came out to Greenwood and solved our problem and we now have a brand new 40 gallon gas fired hot water heater installed up in the attic and the old one has been removed and has gone to the hot water heater grave yard."

Now, to test your editing ability, please remove all unnecessary words from this sentence.

If you want, you may email your new, improved sentence to us (), fax it to 526-1505, or drop it by the Jackson County Times office. We will let you know how many we receive and print some examples. I will give you mine next week.

Reflections - September 10, 2009

When territorial Governor Andrew Jackson formed our county and named it for himself in 1822 we had an agricultural economy. When we became a state in 1840 many of the great plantations between Graceville and Monticello were already in existence. Their owners became leaders in the new government and they assured we would get our share (or more) of government largess.

Aviation was added in 1953 by the reactivation of the WW II airbase (Gov't). When Graham Aviation left in 1961 we began an active and successful search for industry. This now provides our third source of income.

We became a part of Florida's largest industry in 1997 with the establishment of the Tourist Development Council. We can receive a great deal of income from this, not from the bed tax, but from the wise expenditure of the tax. This is advertising outside the county so more people will know what we have and will come to see our natural assets.

On Wednesday, August 26th, I was one of about 25 people from Jackson County who went to Bristol to attend a daylong seminar on Eco-tourism. This was a high caliber, professional presentation. We learned that this is about people who have a special interest in ecology. These are nature lovers. It includes bird watchers, lovers of the forest, the soils, the lay of the land, the wildlife, and the bogs, ponds, lakes and streams. I'm sure we all realize we are blessed with these things.

During the day, the question arose, "Should hunters and fishermen be included in this group?" Most people said yes. I personally say yes. I am not a hunter or fisherman, but I really enjoy nature. One of my friends who fishes told me he did not fish just to catch fish, but to get out and enjoy nature.
Another of my friends, now deceased, took me to Scott's Ferry three times to see the great virgin cypress trees there. On our last trip we measured some of them. The largest we found had a circumference of 21ft. 7 inches. We calculated its age to be 1,929 years, so it sprouted about A.D. 80, around 47 years after Christ was crucified. I think these trees are more impressive than their kinsmen, the Sequoias. It is awesome to see them and realize we have something that old living so near to us.

This seminar was not held for people like me, it was held for the TDC's of the six counties that abut the Apalachicola River. I'm very thankful two members of the TDC and three county commissioners were in our group. So what can we do to earn more from tourists? As individuals, probably not much. But I hope the above mentioned five people will do all they can to persuade their peers to tell the world what we have.

I hope lots of bird watchers will come here and spend lots of time and money trying to see the beautiful, elusive, and rare Northern Parula Warbler which resides in our area. This one was photographed in Greenwood. It is smaller than a chickadee.

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