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That Rebel Yell-Jay Vaquer
During the past year, three events have evoked that Rebel yell. Each time I called the Ledger-Enquirer promptly and they told me someone would call back. None of the stories reached print. Now, thanks to Playgrounds, I can share my observations with the public and offer this trilogy of ignored information.

Several weeks ago on a clear and warm late summer's night, I was watching three T.V. sets, simultaneously, when a deep toned explosion rocked me right out of bed. The intense magnitude of the shock wave vibrated the entire house and knocked out the electricity. After a few seconds, the lights came back but the T.V. sets irradiated a strange green glow, as if a stream of alpha particles was passing thru my room and my body. I sprang from the bed, grabbed the portable phone and ran outside. When I saw the street lights and traffic signals out, I dialed 911 and they said someone else had already reported the blast and a firetruck had been dispatched. I saw my next door neighbor, Floyd Day, up on the street. As I went to meet him a Sheriff's car and the firetruck arrived. Mr. Day had served in World War 2 as an Army pilot and told the firemen that a 70mm cannon had nothing on this explosion and that it was definately not a transformer on a power pole. He said as soon as he heard it, he looked outside and saw a shower of sparks falling from the sky above Brookstone school. Mysteriously, the street lights and traffic signal came back on line. Everyone looked around but could find no evidence of the explosion. The anomaly remained inexplicable until the following morning when I went across the street and discovered the charred remnants of the culprit. A lightning arrester, installed for the Achievement Academy still under construction, sprayed an area with a 30 yard radius with its lethal shrapnel. I found pieces of its metal core and sizable sharp edged fragments of its deceivingly innocent ceramic exterior blown in every direction. The effect was identical to a hand grenade with the added electrical surge emission. These things are all over the city and it's only a matter of time until a jogger crossing the street or some kid at the park gets killed. Alert the public to the potential danger imposed and maybe someone will redesign these bombs and make our community a safer place.

 

This next Rebel yell deals with cultural ignorance. Again I called the Ledger and this time spoke to Sandra Okamoto who obviously deemed this information useless. Earlier this year, I received a phone call from my cousin in New York. He had just heard on the radio that an old friend of mine had died while in New York that day, but there were no details of his death. Later that day, another friend from Huntsville, Alabama called and heard the same thing on CNN. The next day I searched the Ledger but found no information. I thought they must be preparing a feature story for the Sunday edition. On Monday, after finding not one word, I called the Ledger and the guy I spoke with asked me if my deceased friend had anything to do with Columbus. I told him who he was but the name did not ring a bell so he suggested I call Okamoto. She listened to my story but never mentioned his name. My late friends name is Tom Jobim. He lived a few blocks from me in Ipanema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He wrote a song for my ex-wife Jane Duboc to record for RCA and taught me how to play the piano inversions on guitar. We hung out quite a bit and became good friends. He was honest, humble, humorous and a musical genius. Tom's real name was Antonio Carlos Jobim, and there were other Americans who had heard of him. Like Frank Sinatra, whose real name is Francis Albert Sinatra, who recorded two L.P.s of Tom's music immortalizing Girl from Ipanema as a standard. "Dude, like its even in Waynes World." Stan Getz did an L.P. of Tom's music and Ella Fitzgerald recorded a double L.P. of Tom's music. Of course Tom recorded many L.P's in America with Creed Taylor, who, by the way, is not a chewing tobacco, and many of the worlds best jazz orchestral arrangers and musicians- Ron Carter, Don Sebasky, Claus Ogerman, Hubert Laws, Airto Moreira, the list reads on like a Who's Who of contemporary jazz. In all, Tom left a legacy of nearly 500 compositions recorded and 34 personal albums. So what does all this have to do with Columbus, Georgia? In the land of three chord harmony, I suppose nothing. Maybe 50 years from now, when local musicians and the general public burn out on dominant chords in 1-4-5 progressions with boring melodies, they will discover the treasures Tom has left to humanity including Columbus. Whenever I'm in an elevator and I hear those rich dissonant chords, interesting melodic intervals and sixteenth feel rhythm patterns, I smile with contentment knowing if its not Cole Porter, its Tom Jobim and I'm about to experience another of life's pleasures.

 

Which brings us to my third and final Rebel yell. Last spring I turned left off River Road onto 52nd Street. When I got to the railroad tracks I stopped and looked across the street and saw a large metal building with garbage trucks and heavy yellow equipment parked around it. Behind the building some guy in what looked like a space suit was sand blasting the old paint off the vehicles and inside the building they were painting them. As I turned onto Alexander Street I saw the Beallwood School. Behind the school were about 30 young children on the playground which was totally engulfed in the dust from the sandblaster. I also noticed the windows in the school were open and the dust was going inside. I thought that dust is most likely lead based paint and the long term effects of inhaling it could seriously affect one's health. I was shocked at my discovery and felt I should warn those people of this possible health hazard. No one that I spoke to seemed to care. Their attitude was "oh, they're just a bunch of poor Black kids, who cares?" Well, this ole Rebel cares. Remember, first they are Human Beings and secondly they are Americans and members of our community. If their parents and teachers want to ignore their health then its up to us to stand up for those kids and protect them from harm. The alleged Black community leaders seem too preoccupied with whether or not Samuel L.Clemens said "nigger" than the clear and present dangers facing their children. Particularly single parent households need to teach their children love and a fundamental respect for human life. Then keep their kids healthy, in school, off drugs and unarmed, and the American system will work for them like anyone else. I thought those teachers at Beallwood were required to have college degrees. Do they think all that dust came from the dust fairy? Come on people, let's clean up our act and give them that Rebel yell- "Hey, what the hell do you think you're doing?"
 

 

 

 

 

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