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George Gurley

Opinion: Exulting in Mardi Gras excess
April 6, 2014
Some irresistible need must make members of our species attempt to escape from the prison of their skins. I was standing at the corner of Frenchman and Royal streets in New Orleans, and towards me flowed a stream of human beings magically transformed: A penguin, baboon, zebra, sea horse, alligator, gorilla, bear — the entire animal kingdom usurped by intoxicated women and men.
Opinion: More equality, more mediocrity
March 2, 2014
Inequality is in the news. Inequality has been declared the crisis of our times. Ingenious politicians have made the startling discovery that some people have more stuff than others. And they are promising to do something about it.
Opinion: Trip spurs musical memories
February 2, 2014
I stopped in Memphis, bound for New Orleans, with a U-Haul filled with stuff in tow. The clerk at the motel gave me a dinner recommendation. “They’ll pick you up in a pink limousine,” he said. The significance of that detail escaped me until I noticed that most of the stores on our route displayed signs evoking Elvis. At last it dawned on me. I was in Memphis, home of “The King.” The pink limo had to figure in the Elvis legend. It wouldn’t have surprised me to learn that Elvis tooled about in such a conveyance. If I remember correctly, he wasn’t famous for his refined taste.
Opinion: Government oppresses more than serves
January 5, 2014
An enterprising journalist recently unearthed a remarkable statement made by Hillary Clinton during her attempt to nationalize health care in 1993. According to Clinton, if we Americans are allowed too much discretion in how we spend our health care dollars, we won’t spend wisely and won’t get the care we need.
Opinion: N.D. fracking: Boom or bust?
December 1, 2013
For the first time in some 40 years, I didn’t open the pheasant season in Kansas with the same group of friends. Such traditions are painful to break, but the dearth of birds in drought-stricken Kansas and divergent commitments trumped nostalgia. So I struck out for South Dakota, where pheasants are plentiful. Then on to North Dakota, where I met up with a friend who’s moved his contracting business there to take advantage of the fracking oil and gas boom.
Opinion: Scotland ponders independence
November 3, 2013
“You say tom-ay-toe, and I say tom-ah-toe” and according to the song, the remedy for such lovers’ quarrels is to, “call the whole thing off.” From breakups and divorces it’s but a short distance to riots in the streets, schisms, world war, genocide, and Apocalypse. So it goes – from fists to cudgels to spears to muskets to hydrogen bombs. People gather together for mutual security and, when the threat of invasion by aliens passes, they begin to discover irreconcilable differences among themselves. The next thing you know, the word “We” is forgotten and the community divides itself into “Us” and “Them.”
Opinion: Memories of a bygone Mideast era
September 29, 2013
The first time I heard an opera was at a school where I was teaching in Beirut, Lebanon. The year was 1963. I had stopped at Tom Weaver’s door to listen to this gorgeous, poignant music that was floating from his dormitory room. He invited me in, and we both listened without speaking a word. I had no idea what the characters were singing, about but their voices kept me on the verge of tears. The opera was La Boheme.
Opinion: Political candor? Only in your dreams
September 8, 2013
President Obama appeared to me in a shocking dream the other night. Borrowing a phrase from Ronald Reagan, he declared that, “Government is the problem.” Then he proceeded to rant about the Dodd-Frank bill that’s supposed to regulate the financial sector so as to prevent another economic debacle.
Opinion: Violent acts hard to explain
August 4, 2013
The news has provided much to astonish us recently. From the murder of four people in Ottawa, including an 18-month-old baby, to the Boston Marathon bombing, along with numerous other prodigal acts of violence. Rational, conventional people search for explanations, but these stories defy understanding. We’re forced to summon words such as “senseless” or “evil” to deal with them. The culprits often don’t seem surprised to get caught or to be all that troubled by the prospect of a long sojourn in prison. They’re like creatures from another planet, alien to our common-sense, rule bound existence. What makes such people tick?
Opinion: New Orleans has inspiring rebirth
May 5, 2013
ew Orleans still has its share of problems. But it’s enjoying its own springtime of rebirth. On every block you can see houses undergoing restoration. The dysfunctional educational system has been rebuilt from scratch and dramatically improved. Talented young people are flocking to New Orleans, drawn by opportunities and challenges.
Opinion: ‘Rules’ are king in bureaucratic game
March 3, 2013
I was in the process of selling my deceased mother’s home in Kansas City and had a list of utilities I needed to call to have service discontinued. “I am not allowed to talk to you until I have documentation verifying that you are the trustee and have power of attorney,” said the robotic voice at the first utility I called.
Opinion: Ancestors warrant new respect
February 3, 2013
In the early years of the last century, my mother and her friend Daphne (not her real name) were driving through Ohio on their way to the East Coast. I imagine them in raccoon coats and flapper hats dashing across the Midwest in a flashy roadster when a police car appeared in the rear-view mirror. They pulled over. The officer approached, and Daphne — a formidable, haughty woman — gave the officer an indignant dressing down topped off by the most powerful, terror-inspiring declaration she knew: “I’ll have you know that my father is Buster Nottage!” (not his real name, either). To which the policeman replied: “Lady, I don’t give a darn who your father is, but you were speeding and I’m going to give you a ticket.” By George Gurley
Opinion: Neither party deserves support
January 6, 2013
A strange thing happened after the last election in which the Republicans got stuffed, trussed and roasted two weeks before Thanksgiving. Instead of exulting in victory, Democrats were overwhelmed by a wave of compassion for their rivals.
Opinion: Driving spurs flashes of inspiration
December 2, 2012
Man is by nature a nomad. He must be constantly on the move. No sooner settled comfortably in one spot, he begins dreaming about some imaginary paradise that lies just beyond the horizon. Then off he goes, singing, “Val-da-re, val-da-ra…” The automobile has been a boon to this urge. No longer must man walk forth on “shank’s mare.” Now he only has to hop in his auto and head down the highway, destination unknown, just to satisfy the urge to go.
Opinion: Medical crisis yields new respect, friends
November 5, 2012
One thing I have learned is a keener appreciation for the miracles of modern medicine. Above all, I’m in awe of Lawrence’s outstanding hospital.

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