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Truth or guess
About North Georgia

Randy's Corner
About North Georgia's publisher Randy Golden contributes a look into life in north Georgia, the Web, or anything that's on his mind.

Hello, friends
Recently the dump trucks have been rolling in the mountains again, the sign of good economic times. I always think of Dad when I see one because of the little yellow square sign on the back of all of them that says "Not responsible for objects coming from the road." My late father, a lawyer, always said that anybody can put up a sign, but that doesn't make it true!

Well, the saying applies, in a way, for pages on the web. I often see things that are downright wrong on websites. For example, one of our editors is preparing an article on William Bartram, the noted American naturalist. I encourage all our writers to check the information on the 'net before they start so that they are not duplicating the efforts of others. Larry found a reference to Bartram accompanying the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1803, not implausible since Bartram was a good friend to then President Thomas Jefferson.

"That's not correct," I responded, "Jefferson never even asked him!" My old friend Larry then showed me three more sites that had the same information and lo and behold, a myth had been created.

A few years ago during the Bicentennial Celebration it became common to cite the "fact" that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson borrowed heavily from the Muskogee to create the Constitution. As a writer with a heavy historical background, I immediately became suspicious about this since Jefferson was in France and Franklin was purposely kept away from the document because the founding fathers were concerned about his notorious sense of humor.

For two months I searched the papers of both men for any reference to this fact and found none. Calls to experts on both men yielded no results. I began to look for contemporary references and there were none. Then I changed what I was looking for and tried to find the earliest reference to this myth. The first mention in a published text is in 1917, far too late to be considered contemporary.

Yet today these myths remain. There are so many of them on the Internet and in life that it would be impossible to correct each and every one, but I do get a good laugh at some of these that a little research (or common knowledge) could correct. When I hear the words "Everybody knows that..." I brace myself for what's coming. If the speaker thinks that this phrase is reassuring, think again.

And I still think of Dad every time I see one of those signs on the back of a dump truck. Oh, by the way, the sign is merely put there to confuse and intimidate you. If you are hit with debris from a dump truck, they most certainly are responsible. If you are hit by debris from the road, they probably are responsible.
Randy Golden, Publisher


Randy's Corner
Notes from our publisher, Randy Golden

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