Only in modern-day America can flying the American flag be viewed as somehow representing the ever-growing divide in our country.

Should flying the flag be a symbol of putting America first? Isn't flying the flag demonstrating patriotism?

Well, some opinion writers at The New York Times have thrown out the idea that perhaps it's time to retire Old Glory, and sought ideas for a redesign of the flag.

"This essay is part of 'Snap Out of it, America!,' exploring bold ideas to revitalize and renew the American experiment," the Times writers wrote.

Yeah, the redesigns are about as awful as you can imagine, ranging from a hodgepodge compilation of other flags, including "Black Lives Matter" and "Don't Tread on Me" to a blurred fuschia banner to a faded gray monochrome number with barely visible stars.

I wish I were kidding, because now national unity is divisive.

Think about that.


Speaking of jokes

OK, I can do the math to calculate the average number of citizens per representative our Hamilton County commissioners are considering as they redraw district boundaries and consider boosting the number of commissioners from nine to 11.

When business grows, so do staffing needs, I suppose. That said, as tax bills are being delivered across our county, it's nearly impossible for me to picture a question — any question — to which the solution is "more elected officials."

Because more government does not guarantee better government.

I've been to enough county commission meetings to know that unless there is a budget conversation that centers on schools, there are always plenty of seats available come Wednesday morning around 9:30.

And that will continue to be true whether we have nine or 11 county commissioners averaging 39,000-plus constituents or more than 42,000 in their district.


Say what?

Among the many famous Lewis Grizzard skits was the church revival that features the preacher encouraging members to confess their sins.

When the topics get over the top, the preacher simply adds, "Don't believe I'd told that, brother."

Well, in the hubbub of the recent Powerball drawing that reached close to $700 million earlier this week, one Louisiana man shared with a reporter what he would do with the nine-figure windfall.

"I'm definitely going to get a new supercharged Mustang with dual exhaust," a convenience store Powerball player identified as James told a KSLA reporter, "and about 5 kilos of cocaine.

"And I'll be good to go."

Don't believe I would have told that one, Brother James.


Obit observation

Apparently, Heaven needed an angel letter writer, so they took one of ours last month.

Emily (Lenoir) Blackwell died Sept. 16 in Chicago after spending most of her adult life in and around Los Angeles. She was 88 and moved west after graduating in 1951 from Central High School and later from the University of Chattanooga.

She was a mom and a grandma, a wife and a painter, as well as an office secretary at a middle school.

She also has a life story that makes the rest of us know that she was one of God's gifts.

In the 1980s, Emily volunteered as an anonymous pen pal to terminally sick children, sending letters and notes and even gifts to the children and families.

She always signed the anonymous letters with a stamped red ladybug.

Her ashes were scattered late last month in Lake Michigan.

Her giving and kind spirit, though, were certainly much bigger than that body of water.

Contact Jay Greeson at

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Jay Greeson