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Thursday, October 30, 2014
Southern Weather Radar


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    David Evans

    David Evans
    I'm retired from another life and live in the mountains of eastern West Virginia with my muse Jody along with one little and two big dogs and a diminishing pride of two cats and other critters who come along the path from time to time. I retired one morning years ago when I woke up and said, "This is the day." It was simply time to do something new with my life. I had done whatever I did long enough, and now it was time to do something else. Being independent and no longer in the reins of someone else's driver, I believe I have found something to cherish that I never had before. Retirement may be dull and boring, but that's true only if you are dull and boring. But if you’re like I was, and am, I saw a lot of things as I went along the trail that I would have liked to linger over a lot longer if I had had the time to spare. Above all, I wanted to think about what they meant and have the chance to go back over them and figure them out. I'm not abashed to say that today I lead a life of real luxury. I also recognize that I'm a lucky boy. In the words of Katherine Anne Porter: "My life has been incredible, I don't believe a word of it." I am the author of the recently published collection of essays entitled Words To Woo Her By And Other Distractions Along the Way. Earlier I self-published Tunes of Glory: The Slow Ticking of the Heart, Cradle My Soul: Glimpses Into Other Lives, and Unscheduled Stops: Essays on Love, Loss and Other Roadside Attractions. All are available on either Amazon or Create Space, a subsidiary of Amazon. Proceeds go to the Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Capon Bridge, West Virginia.
    Number of posts: 148
    Email address: email

    Posts by David Evans:


      another dark wood

      Promises To Keep

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 28, 2014
      Promises To Keep

      In a class on Dante I’m currently enrolled in, Professor Frank Ambrosio of Georgetown University quoted the nineteenth century philosopher Friedric Nietzsche that human beings, as far as we know, are the only animals that make promises. I only add that humans are also the sole ones who break them.

      According to Ambrosio, Nietzsche puts the significance of human promising and its place with regard to freedom this way: “In man, nature set itself the task to breed an animal worthy of making promises.”

      good company

      Frankly But Faintly Malicious

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Oct 23, 2014
      Frankly But Faintly Malicious

      Mary Alice told her joke by asking, “What is black and yellow and goes zub, zub, zub?” Of course, the answer is a bee going in reverse. Thus we rode this joke off into another round of high-energy talking, joking, and drinking some less than satin wine. If I were to compare her to some famous author, perhaps the Nobel-prize winning Doris Lessing would come to mind. She’s funny, yet serious at the same time.

      dreams

      A Hard Day’s Night

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 12, 2014
      Dreams Don't Turn to Dust by Alex Timlinson aka: hootalex from Devianart.com.

      The tiny old man wheezed and warned me to leave him alone since he was just looking for a wall to lean against. He was an examination of human frailty, revealed in blurred and jagged fragments. He told me to beware of joy. Thus ended another of my dreams that left me a bit shaken and in need of understanding. In some of my dreams, such as this one, everything is frequently miniaturized and even immaterial …

      the muse be with you

      The Schoolboy Presses On

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Oct 1, 2014
      The Art of Poetry with Robert Pinsky - edX

      Like the proverbial schoolboy with his nose pressed up against the glass of the candy display, I can’t seem to get enough of the various on-line and free classes offered over the edX educational program conceived of by a couple of Harvard professors just a few years ago. This fall I’ve perhaps bitten off more than a full plate by registering for six different classes. They range from the Greek epics to Chinese history to current events in the Middle East…

      follow your bliss

      Trying To Do The Impossible

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Sep 25, 2014
      Trying To Do The Impossible

      “All of us failed to match our dreams of perfection. So I rate us on the basis of our splendid failure to do the impossible.”-- William Faulkner

      It’s been quite a spate of birthdays for famous writers this latter part of September, the beginning of autumn when we slowly let go of whatever is left of our ties with summer. The daily Writer’s Almanac column always provides for interesting bits and pieces of the lives of writers, but this week seems to have been special.

      the mighty chestnut

      Look Homeward, Angel

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 15, 2014
      Look Homeward, Angel

      The mass killers came as stowaways aboard ships about the time the Kitty Hawk first took to flight along a North Carolina beach. Although these assassins were merciless, they probably did not even know themselves the great destruction they were to bring.

      Thus began the near complete killing of all the American Chestnuts in this country. The pathogens that had probably slipped into the country on infected nursery stock consumed relatively little time in destroying the forests of American Chestnuts ranging from Maine to the southern Appalachians. It took fewer than forty years.

      happy birthday to me

      Never Look Back

      by | 7, Add your Comment | Aug 31, 2014
      Never Look Back

      “Old Age is like everything else. To make a success of it, you’ve got to start young.” –Fred Astaire

      It’s finally happened to me… I’m now the Biblical threescore and ten years old. I went to bed after a great meal, wonderful evening with my ever-loving wife Jody, some funny conversation, a little mystery on the telly and woke up… well, I didn’t feel any different.

      fanciful thoughts

      Barefoot In Time

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 28, 2014
      Barefoot In Time

      She somewhat resembled the retired but not really old men who can’t wait to don their big blue hats and disappear into the basement for long periods to “work on” their elaborate model train sets. Like them, she could easily slip into a fantasy world where objects of interest were always smaller and at times had to be willed to be seen. She could spend hours gathering moss and twigs to build fairy houses and would then sit quietly nearby waiting for occupants. Little did she suspect that if you make them, they don’t necessarily come. And she was nearing forty.

      increasingly cynical prism

      All The Light We Cannot See

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 20, 2014
      All The Light We Cannot See

      At this time in my life I am beginning to view so much of what is happening around me through an increasingly cynical prism. As a friend is quick to point out, though, that behind every committed cynic there is a disappointed idealist wondering what happened to a world that once seemed so good and full of possibilities.

      I blame Shakespeare for part of my mental dyspepsia. It all began back in university when a supercilious professor dressed down a fellow student for misspelling the bard’s name. Now after reading Bill Bryson’s book Shakespeare: The World As Stage

      visitors

      Cucumbers And Calipers

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Aug 18, 2014
      The Ancient of Days by William Blake - from Whitworth Art Gallery The University of Manchester UK The Bridgeman Art Library via Wikimedia.org (public domain)

      In his poem The Cabbages of Chekhov, Robert Bly had me again when he wrote that,

      “William Blake knew that fierce old man,
      irritable, chained, and majestic, who bends over
      to measure with his calipers the ruins of the world.”

      Despite such a fierce image in his poem, Bly has that way about him where he can rescue you in the end from all the bad news that comes tracked in on the dog’s paws.

      make love stay

      Flight Of Fancy

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Aug 12, 2014
      Love Padlocks by Nathan Meijer

      I read recently that the woman was so hateful that you could light a cigarette from her glare. There was just some deep hurt or plain orneriness about her that made her a Fukushima Daiichi that refused to cool off. When looking at the tabloid in the supermarket rack, I noticed that her mop of big hair needed some untangling and definitely a good scrub. She sat there showing a tattoo on her fleshy forearm bearing witness to whatever meaning was hidden beneath her skin’s impression of a tractor trailer. And she sure looked pissed.

      remembering

      Her Grandpa’s Apple

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Aug 7, 2014
      Her Grandpa's Apple

      The apple was no ordinary apple. It was a Red Delicious and it had been cut in two and shared with her some fifty years ago. The man who cut it was her grandpa and he was confined to a wheelchair soon to die of multiple sclerosis. She and he were alone in the house and he rolled his wheelchair up to the refrigerator, managed to get an apple out, and then expertly used his pocket knife to cut it in two and then scoop out the seeds, coring it before sharing it with her. Back in those days on the farm no one had store-bought apples and certainly no one peeled, cored or cut the crabapples that the kids would pick directly from the tree, wipe on their jeans and eat on their way to the field to herd the cows into the barn for milking.

      endings

      More Than A Month Of Sundays

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Aug 4, 2014
      Church steeple on a truck

      “I just opened up the Sunday morning paper to the Religion page and was stunned that my little county, including the county seat, had eighty-four different Baptist churches! Why so many and what kind of folk could harbor such nuanced differences in a particular denomination that they could be spurred at any perceived slight to go out and found another church to match their theological shoe size perfectly?”

      So began Lady X, one of the nine of us seated around a large table at a recent writers’ symposium. The topic was the “fine art” of cobbling together your far-fetched yarns into comprehensible tales that have a point and won’t lose your reader.

      oh, shit moments

      The Illusionists

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jul 31, 2014
      The Illusionists

      “I remember the City Park Prophet once said everything that isn’t darkness or death is a vision. I remember he said we are all God’s hallucinations.”

      As I read further into Anthony Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, ostensibly about the second Chechnya war set in 2004, I begin to wonder how much people think about god and the afterlife when all the minutes of their each and every day are focused exclusively just on keeping one step ahead of any number of thugs who want to plant them in some garbage pit.

      life in their shoes

      This Old Man

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 28, 2014
      My mother Margaret Ellen Dailey on far right, circa 1917. My grandmother Julia on far left. Others are brothers and sisters.

      By now, most of us know that 28 July 1914 marks the formal beginning of WWI when the Austro-Hungarian Empire declared war on Serbia. Within a few days, most of the other nations of Europe had decided to unleash their own dogs of war in a complicated array of alliances that obliged them to come to the aid of their pals and fellow monarchs. Perhaps toward the end of the carnage a few years later, the phrase “How’s that working out for you?” was coined.

      waging peace. fighting disease. building hope

      Delighting In The Culture Of The Earth

      by | 8, Add your Comment | Jul 23, 2014
      Panoramic Pool view from main entrance of Carter Presidential Center by Robert Neff

      I recently had the pleasure of roaming about the grounds of the Carter Center in Atlanta. It was an early Sunday morning before any of the buildings were open and I had the place pretty much to myself except for one lady who volunteers there and was fidgeting around in one of the small side gardens. I didn’t tromp over the entire thirty-five acres, but I covered enough to be impressed with the design and the number of large Oaks that provided much needed shade from the bright sunshine and heat.

      words of love

      Words To Woo Her By

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 21, 2014
      Words To Woo Her By

      This past weekend, my wife Jody and I attended a performance of Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Blackfriar’s Theater in Staunton, Va. Just to hear the language was well worth the one-hundred forty mile round trip. Although I don’t have the skill to read it in the original French, Anthony Burgess’ translation which combines blank verse, prose, and rhyming couplets held our attention for the nearly three-hour performance. He created a contemporary sound for a play written in 1897…

      chance meetings

      A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Jul 16, 2014
      A Constellation of Vital Phenomena

      I knew I liked him early on by the way he told a joke. He had timing and delivery and the punch line was not telegraphed. Whenever I get off my mountain, I’m alert to serendipitous opportunities to meet such people and to get a peek into their lives. So on a recent trip to Atlanta for a couple of woodworking classes, I had the pleasure of spending a few nights with a dear friend in Asheville, one of the world’s finest and most civilized of cities. My friend is also a fine lady and like her adopted city, most civilized…

      the great war

      All The Hedges Broken Down

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jul 4, 2014
      World War I, English Soldiers in the Trenches in France, 1914 from AllPosters.com

      Now that I have come to the end of Paul Fussell’s book The Great War And Modern Memory, I continue to think about the quote he cites describing a British soldier’s discovery of a pocket Bible lying open next to the body of a fellow Tommy killed at the WWI battle of the Somme. The soldier says, “it was open at the eighty-ninth Psalm, and the only legible words were: ‘Thou has broken down all his hedges; thou has brought his strong holds to ruin.’

      distraction

      Quieting The Restless Mind

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 1, 2014
      Quieting The Restless Mind

      In our never ending age of anxiety, you hear so much about those who cannot put their restless minds to sleep. They awake from storm-filled dreams full of concerns over the loose threads in their lives. Will the irresponsible son ever settle down, how long can the battered daughter survive the abusive husband, will the youngster learn to focus better in school and not be so disruptive? Did I remember to…

      rearview mirror

      Almost Eternal

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jun 28, 2014
      theres a dance in the old dame yet

      As I fast approach my Biblical threescore years and ten, I have no particularly sad feeling about entering my seventies or worrying about mortality. I certainly have much left undone and much to do, so I’m just planning on increasing my pace. After all, we’ll all be gone too soon, as Mehitabel the alley cat with a sense of adventure in her morals used to tell Archie the poet, now reincarnated as a cockroach who could only type in lower case, in the old Don Marquis stories…

      our troubled world

      Something Wicked This Way Comes

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 23, 2014
      Something Wicked This Way Comes

      I have just finished rereading Macbeth for the first time in many years. The actor Kenneth Branagh was on The Charlie Rose Show recently touting his production which is now playing in New York’s Park Avenue Armory. As we know, it’s a tale of ambition and treachery. But why read it again now in the throes of summer when we’re usually looking for “light reading suitable for the beach”?

      back to wholeness

      Conspicuous Gallantry

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 20, 2014
      Conspicuous Gallantry

      In Paul Fussell’s book on WWI, The Great War And Modern Memory, a deep sense of irony pervades. A scholar of eighteenth-century English literature, he was heavily influenced by the satiric writings of Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson. During WWII, he served as a second lieutenant in the 103d Infantry Division where he picked up his “dark, ironical, flip view of war.” In an article he wrote for the PBS program The War, A Ken Burns Film, he said: “The war made me a foot-soldier for the rest of my life and after any war foot-soldiers are touchy.”

      primal energy

      The Inheritors

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 18, 2014
      The Inheritors

      This week my wife Jody and I went to closing on the 5-acre meadow and woods that abuts our property in the Potomac Highlands of eastern West Virginia where we live. For many years it’s been a plot of ground that my neighbor in the next development over has used as a buffer zone to protect his privacy. This arrangement was fine with me, since it served the same purpose for me.

      poetry

      An advance with a comma

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jun 15, 2014
      Searching for poetry by Satish Krishnamurthy

      As the story goes, the author fainted when the publisher’s five-digit advance arrived in the mail. Of course, for most of us scribblers this never happens. But it is a sweet thought to think anyone could put such a value on our “work.”

      I read an article in The New York Times this morning (15 June) by William Logan, a professor of English at the University of Florida, who was promoting the need for poetry in our lives.

      the idea of memory

      Ulysses Comes Home

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jun 5, 2014
      Ulysses Comes Home

      I want to tell you about Floyd, but I think I might be able to best do it by first contrasting him with Walt Whitman and then by comparing him with Jim Corder, a university scholar who gave us a new appreciation in the 1980s and 1990s of language and the power of rhetoric.

      In one of his own anonymous reviews of Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman described himself as “one of the roughs” with a “face not refined or intellectual, but calm and wholesome — a face of an unaffected animal — a face that absorbs the sunshine and meets savage or gentleman on equal terms.”

      perfume of memory

      The Darling Buds Of May

      by | 1, Add your Comment | May 30, 2014
      The Darling Buds Of May

      This morning as I read Linda Pastan’s poem The Months in The Writer’s Almanac, I was once again reminded to live in the moment, not to think too much about upcoming calendars or events planned days, weeks, or months from now. She begins her thoughts with an allusion to the German Romantic-era poet Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s haunting poem Der Erlkönig or The Elf King, an image of Death pursuing a child held by his father as they both race forward on horseback. When I first read the poem eons ago in a second-year German class…

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    When Bad Politics Are Supported by Good People

    By: Andy Schmookler

    Recently my wife and I attended a reunion of her first cousins (and their spouses). These cousins are the children of the children of a couple of Swedish immigrants who settled in Iowa to farm in the late 19th century. What a wonderful family event! Just enough people to fill all the seats around a table not so big we couldn't all converse together. In all our time together, there wasn't a single hurtful word. Even the spouses, like me, were embraced in the family feeling, all glad to be together. All these cousins -- except for the two children of those  Read on →

    Denial is a River in the Right-Wing Mind

    Denial is a River in the Right-Wing Mind

    By: Andy Schmookler

    People like Bill O'Reilly call upon people to raise themselves up while helping keep a foot on their necks. Conservatives like O'Reilly do have some kernels of truth on their side. They rightly think people should develop good character, including virtues such as discipline and responsibility for oneself. And they are rightly concerned to assure that social policies don't discourage people from developing such virtues. But after those kernels of truth, their map of the world is dominated by a river of denial. First, as Jon Stewart pointed out in his confrontation with O'Reilly, they deny how much their own ascent was boosted  Read on →

    Concerned About Where Our Nation Is Heading?

    Concerned About Where Our Nation Is Heading?

    By: Andy Schmookler

    Summary: Americans think the nation is heading in the wrong direction. My biggest worries are 1) that our democracy is increasingly being transformed by the influence of big money into a plutocracy, and 2) we are failing to act vigorously to address the pressing emergency of global climate change. On both issues, the Republicans are playing a darkly destructive role, while the Democrats are failing to press the battle with the necessary vigor. That pattern reveals the essential core of America's national crisis. *******Are you, like me, unhappy about where you sense our nation is heading? Do you, like me, fear  Read on →

    What Is Art, Anyway?

    What Is Art, Anyway?

    By: Tom Ferguson

    When you get interested in painting you naturally look around to see what others who got this bug have done. Finding out what painters are doing in the U.S. today is like listening to rock on the radio. You have to wade through a lot of “forgettables” before you hear one that will be an “oldie” in ten years. Museums show oldies. Most of their collections have been filtered. The forgettables have been thrown out. On this painting journey you will run across an opinion that painting is dead, irrelevant, old paradigm. You can ignore that, and be sure you will en  Read on →