Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


June 19, 2012

RANDOM THOUGHTS: Plateau blessed with talent

CROSSVILLE — Our Plateau is blessed with talented folks. Jym Mitchell, a writer of poetry and prose, is one of those people. His second book “Simple Dreams” is now available at Shanks Center For the Arts.

Jym is a life long resident of this area and he began writing poetry and prose during his years in junior high school. Unfortunately all those pieces were destroyed when his family home was destroyed by fire in 2000. 

Expressing his thoughts through writing continued and he was encouraged by several knowledgeable poets to publish a book. In 2011 “Dilemmas” was published. This second book, “Simple Dreams,” continues with stories about family and places familiar to people in this area — Pleasant Hill, Ozone, Falls Creek, Crab Orchard and Grassy Cove.

Mitchell also takes the reader into the mind of many who have lived through bad experiences such as the Holocaust. He was asked to read his poem on that “Ghastly Dream” at the annual Days of Remembrance ceremony held in Cookeville in May 1911 by the Tennessee Holocaust Commission.

This second book is worthy of being added to your collection of books. It stirs memories as well as addressing a number of injustices many face silently.


Once there was a time called the age of innocence. Its decline began when Edith Wharton’s novel by that name was published in 1920. The actions of characters in that book showed the fallacies of such a belief.

During that age of innocence, educators in late 18th century England called for a return to traditional speaking and listening methods in the schools. Changes were made and after they had been used for some years a study was done in 1911 on the results.

It concluded the greater the expectation placed on people, often students, the better they will perform and described it as the Pygmalion effect. In mythology that was the name of an early Cypriot sculptor who carved an ivory female statue and fell in love with her. She became human because of his wishes.

In 1912 George Bernard Shaw wrote a play called Pygmalion. It was a tale of a professor of phonetics transforming a young woman who spoke with a cockney accent into a lady speaking excellent English. In 1956 Pygmalion became My Fair Lady and the scenes of Henry Higgins teaching Eliza Doolittle proper English continues to delight audiences world-wide.

In the late 1770s English actors were giving lectures and publishing information on speech. Those youngsters taught privately learned the importance of speech but those of the lower class were neglected. Not only did the call for a return to traditional speaking methods in schools have an effect on entertainment but on the general public. Interest in speaking the Queen’s English became important and elocution entered the scene. 

Elocution is defined as one of five core disciplines of pronunciation and soon both private and public classes in the art of public speaking were offered. By the early 19th century elocution became a staple of American public school’s curriculum.

McGuffey published several books on the subject. They included chapters on articulation, accent and emphasis, inflections, the voice, gestures and instructions on reading verse. That period of enlightenment didn’t last long.

Today the masses communicate by texting, tweeting or twittering  Could this be the century there should be a call for the return to traditional speaking? 

Text Only
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    Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan mention in their book, “The Last Week,” that Roman-occupied Palestine during the first century was under the control of Pontius Pilate who lived in the coastal city of Caesarea. Each year at the beginning of the Passover observance when Jews celebrated their liberation from Egypt, Pilate feared that they might be getting ideas about revolting from Rome, so he would come with additional soldiers on horses to beef up the Roman garrison in Jerusalem. 

    April 15, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: Is it (new) party time?

    The Democratic and Republican parties are toast, according to Joe Trippi. The Republican Party is coming apart at its Tea Party seam. Democratic candidates struggle to celebrate President Obama’s health care successes, while responding to criticism of his failed promises, e.g., government transparency.

    April 15, 2014

  • TIDBITS: I found it at the library

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    A month ago, we followed the money trail left by a ‘think tank’ to the major sources funding an attack on our traditional, locally controlled public schools. We saw that a handful of billionaires provide major support to many organizations lobbying for change.

    April 8, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Just another government lie?

    There is a vault located in Fort Knox, Kentucky. It was built in 1936 and encased in 16 cubic feet of granite and 4200 feet of cement. The door is made of 20-inch thick material that is immune to drills, torches and explosives.

    April 7, 2014

  • GARY'S WORLD: The chance to speak your mind

    Are you tired of hearing people complain about the way things are run in Cumberland County? Or, do you like the way the county government is run and operated in our beautiful county?
    Are you happy with the way things are, or would you like some change?

    April 3, 2014

  • LION AND THE LAMB: Digging beneath the headlines

    Our media have been focusing on two important events that have taken place overseas during the last several weeks.

    April 1, 2014

  • WE THE PEOPLE: SNAP, health and work

    A recent letter from Representative Diane Black to me states that she voted for the farm bill (with $8 million in Food Stamp (SNAP) benefit cuts) because she, like me, is a supporter of food stamp benefits for Tennessee families who qualify. That’s a lot of families, as most recipients are families with children and the elderly. Now, recall that there was already a major cut to the food stamp program back in the fall. But for some Republicans, that was not enough.

    April 1, 2014

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