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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Goines On: The Old Rugged Cross

Click image for more vignettes
Goines was wondering where all the “hank you Jesus” signs had gone. He didn’t know how long it had been since he’d seen one in the development. Oh, they were still to be seen out and about, but not right around where Goines lived.

Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 6)

Click image to see
all published parts
Margaret Bayard Smith, wife of the president of the local branch of the Bank of United States and leader of the social circle of Washington ladies, wrote a letter on New Year’s Day, 1829 that came into John Eaton’s hands. He married Peggy that same night. He called her Peggy when they were alone together; he asked Edgar to use Margaret. Mrs. Smith said his bride’s reputation had been “totally destroyed” by her relations with John, General Jackson’s “bosom friend and almost adopted son,” and that none of the respectable ladies would attend the wedding or call on her, even though she was now the wife of the Secretary of War, as she had strayed from the path of virtue.

Monday, September 26, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (64)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Thursday,
August 31, 1922


Red and Jumper took a break from nailing fence rails onto posts, and Red pulled out a small flask and took a swig. He handed it to Jumper, who turned it up happily. Joe’s moderate attitude towards alcohol didn’t affect Jumper one bit.
    Red wiped the sweat from his forehead with a blue bandana the size of a dish towel, a present from Rosalijo and the Mexican boys.

Sunday, September 25, 2022

All Over the Place: Beginnings

By Michael H. Brownstein

You know everything has its own inherent qualities. Mine are to be deep and hard
to cross.
          —King of the Ocean to King Rama
            in Phi Kah Phi Lam

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Acting Citizen:
Fletcher-Munson Curves

By James Knudsen

I imagine it is the experience of most that there are people we get to know when we are children and they are nearing the end of their lives. Our memories of them are formed in a child’s mind and the span of time we get to know them is shorter than most of our other relationships. And when they die, what we are able to learn about them after they’re gone is usually limited. And sometimes, we get a second or third chance to learn more about them.

Friday, September 23, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (63)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Friday,
August 18, 1922,
12:00 PM


Red sat at the plank table in his new house, which stood just about where Guy’s still had been, the last time they’d worked the cutting. The raw wood of the table and chairs had burrs and splinters, as did the rest of the house, because the lumber was green as new grass. Green oak or pine would warp so badly the house would be unlivable in a year, but this was cypress. If you needed to build it fast, you cut cypress. The splinters would smooth out in no time, with oil and a little use.

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#7)

By Geoffrey Dean


Threesomes

got rear-ended
honor defended
license suspended

ladies befriended
here’s how it ended
life upended

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

At Random: Things I Will Never
Be Old Enough to Understand

By Paul Clark
(aka motomynd)



Tailgating

Other than driving the wrong way on an interstate, tailgating is probably the most dangerous move a driver can make. Yet, if anything rivals the American obsession with sports in general, and football in particular, it’s tailgating. Let’s lay our lives on the line to get there one car length faster: good logic.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (62)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Friday,
July 28, 1922,
concluded


“Okay, Joe, so, how do we do the surveys?” He’d done a bit of surveying himself, with one of his uncles up in Mayday Georgia, to determine logging rights, just like here. He also knew if somebody thought you’d jiggered the survey and stolen some land, you could get yourself killed over it.

Monday, September 19, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 5)

Click image to see
all published parts
Though their union engendered a baby, her child and Walt’s was not born. At least not for well over a hundred years. She was to suffer miscarriages, intensifying her longing for a child more than for fortune or for love, which never was what she wanted it to be. She hoped she’d made more than love with Walt, on that March morning so inhospitable out of doors but so cozy in front of the blazing fire with the rum filling her with golden warmth, with this man who was not as old as he looked but seemed so avuncular, or even grandfatherly, he seemed, but how would she know what a grandfather was like? So safe, that’s what he was; that made her so happy. He deserved good love, and she was good, when she was loving, giving to one deserving, poor, lonely man. From that union, a magical thing happened, unique in Nature. Maybe. Or what if it happens all the time? If a child was conceived, not in the womb, but in the blood or genes or in the psyche or maybe in the hope, her hope for the child but also in a greater hope too much for her to think about, it lay dormant through many long generations, waiting to be born, when the time was right, when the need was greatest, when it could be of most service, when a great battle was prepared that only it could win. There would come a first battle to be fought over the slaves from Africa, and another over the far vaster race of slaves of all nations.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

All Over the Place:
Opera of the Wood

By Michael H. Brownstein

The silence of the forest is not the silence of the empty classroom, the teacher bent over
his desk grading papers, a book open to page 202, a soft breeze blowing through a crack
in the window. It is not the city at 3 AM, a residential street, everyone asleep, the cat

Saturday, September 17, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Oscar’s Opera Houses:
  A Virtual Tour

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]

As a follow-up to my Ashland Grand Opera House post, here are the briefest of sketches on some of the late 19th-century opera houses built to designs by Chicago theatrical architect Oscar Cobb (1842-1908). These 24 buildings represent about 12% of the 200 or more theatres Cobb designed. I have arranged them by state, with asterisks denoting the five that are still standing today. The other 19 were lost to fire or demolished; the year of destruction is given next to the year of construction. Images are always below the entry they illustrate.

ALABAMA
Selma Opera House, Selma, AL (1880s-1972). 1000 seats. Appears to be synonymous with the hall of the Selma Academy of Music and the Edwards Opera House, both of which were managed by Louis Gerstman until 1896. A period postcard depicts the exterior (see photo below). A movie theatre by 1914, it was known from 1938 as the Wilby Theatre. Lost to fire in 1972.
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Friday, September 16, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (61)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Friday,
July 28, 1922,
8:00 AM


Red was shaving by the little creek with his Army-issue Gillette shaving kit, his button-down open and hanging around his waist, when he heard the deep burble of the G-10 Dodge. He’d driven a galvanized spike into a palm tree and hung the steel mirror from the kit facing east, so he and Guy could shave with the rising sun.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#6)

By Geoffrey Dean







Flood Warning

Near the banks of the northernmost reaches of the Mississippi
Birds time their song to the drum of incessant rain.
The thrill of settling near this storied waterway is
Drowned out by current concern: how well do rivers drain?
_______________
(5/18/2019)


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Roger’s Reality: The Camper
with a Whole ’Nother Story

By Roger Owens

So, when we left off the Camper Saga last October, I promised a “whole ’nother story,” and here it is.
    We’re in Virginia, having camped our way up the coast. We had yet to experience the great Camper Saga; that was on the way back. As I said in the Camper Saga, it was tough setting up and tearing down the very next day on the way, but having only used the camper three or four times, it was a good training exercise. And we only ran the AC at night, for maybe eight to ten hours. Now we’re on the swampy coast of Virginia. It hot, humid, in fact flooded. At first, I thought the horse pasture was a lake. We’re there for a week; the AC is running twenty-four hours a day.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (60)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
April 30, 1918,
concluded


Thus had begun a long and mutually prosperous relationship between Duval County and Barnett Bank. Bion swore on the spot his bank would never charge the county a dime in transfer fees, if the county would simply deposit its funds with the Barnett National Bank of Jacksonville. From that day on, the fortunes of Barnett Bank began to increase.
    According to Geneva, every other Tuesday was the day the county’s receipts were deposited, by armored truck, at around six-thirty AM. Today was that day.

Monday, September 12, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 4)

Click image to see
all published parts
“Okay. Here’s what it is. You’re a full-fledged woman, one who’s grabbed sexy and taken it beyond where anyone thought it should or could ever go.”
    “No, I have not!”
    “Yes, yes! You have! And you pretend not to know it, which is precisely what I mean by beyond. You take a man beyond what he believes is possible. And yet, at the same time, you’re innocent. It’s not that you seem innocent, but that you are. You’re a child. And I mean that as a compliment. Not a child, but childlike. You see me as a daddy. That’s the only reason you’re here. And I want to love you like a daddy, protect you, make sure you’re gonna be all right, but I see the willingness of your flesh, and I want that, too. So bad. You don’t aim to incite me, but I respond. But the need in you for daddy puts the clamp on the man in me who wants you in the nasty fun way. I want to embrace you, for the course of the night. But that’s all. Don’t ask me for more, for I know you want no more, and we can do no better for one another than to love each other in just that way.”

Sunday, September 11, 2022

All Over the Place: How My Teeth
Came to Be This Way
and the Choices I Made
Because of It

By Michael H. Brownstein

Have little to do with my wife’s obsession with snakes.
She turns off the heat a few hours before bedtime waking me early with a tired rhythm of cold blood.
Some mornings cold wipes the floor with Saran Wrap and she remains undercover till noon.
Other times she unhinges herself from bed in a slow stretch of wills to let in the sun.

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#5)

By Geoffrey Dean


Symphonic Gr8ness

Mahler 8 is simply great –
What a way to celebrate,
Even with trumpeters who feel the need
To blast your ears until they bleed.

Friday, September 9, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (59)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
April 30, 1918,
6:00 AM


As the sun peeked up to his left, Joe was driving north in his new Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8 with the custom-made light brown body panels, a dark brown stripe running the length of the car level with the bottoms of the windows.

Thursday, September 8, 2022

From the Alwinac: Lazar Nikolov:
  Bulgarian Composer Centennial
  (1922-2022)

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]








Read my earlier Lazar Nikolov post here.
Listen to Nikolov’s second cello sonata:


Yesterday [August 26], on the occasion of Lazar Nikolov’s 100th birthday [1922], his long-time musical associate Dragomir Yossifov observed that Nikolov’s music continues to receive polished performances by leading Bulgarian musicians of the younger generation. This is a happy state of affairs. It is not by any means a “given” that any composer’s music will outlive the composer. I suspect that Lazar himself, who had been accustomed to the near-impossibility of getting an unbiased hearing of his own compositions, would enjoy the irony that now, almost two decades after his death [in 2005], young performers are voluntarily seeking his music out to perform.
    I was once one of those young performers. In September 1991, then a new arrival in Bulgaria, I wanted to meet the most celebrated living Bulgarian composer. The next thing I knew I was drinking tea across the table from Lazar Nikolov and his wife Hanna at their Sofia apartment. I remember the excitement I felt as he played recordings of his music, laid out the scores of several of his cello works, and invited me to play them. I remember that same kind of excitement, a sense of profound momentousness and child-like giddiness all wrapped up in one, every time I performed or recorded one of his works. Its echo comes back to me now as I write this....
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Highways and Byways:
The Drowning (Part 2)

The rest of my preamble, and the poem

By Maik Strosahl

I still remember driving on Indiana 128 on my way to a Frankton store to collect for the papers I had delivered all week. The sky was dark from an approaching storm and the winds were gaining strength.
    It had to be late July or early August, as the corn was tall and the beans were full grown, still all the dark green of summer. The gusts really did make waves through the beans and I got distracted by the thought of the beans being a real sea, filled with danger. I sat for a while in the parking lot of the now defunct Bauer’s Market, working out the language and playing with the story.

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (58)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Tuesday,
April 23, 1918,
7:30 AM


Joe Ashley sat on the same canape as he had sat on that first time, eight years before, at Geneva’s North End mansion; when they had birthed the Dapper Bandit. The furniture was still overly ornate and insubstantial; a man feared to put his weight on a chair in case it broke.
    Geneva Pitt, the little snake, had gained a few pounds, but she still looked good. At fifty-one, Joe had a bit of a pot belly himself.

Monday, September 5, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 3)

Click image to see
all published parts
Shields had said, on that day six years earlier, “It feels like we’re Hamilton and Burr!”
    Lincoln had replied, “We are in no way similar. They had a long-standing enmity based partly on politics and more on hotheadedness.”
    “Okay. Plus they used guns, with which I might have had the advantage. But just the drama!”
    Lincoln replied, “Here’s the drama,” and he reached up, extending his arm as high as it would reach overhead and swung his saber, lopping off an overhanging branch.

Sunday, September 4, 2022

All Over the Place: Why We Teach

By Michael H. Brownstein

Teaching is not for the selfish
nor those who have a jealous streak.
Teachers are not bullies
nor are they anger and flame.

We teach because it is our calling.
We teach because it fills us with song.
We teach because it is our passion

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Coyote v. Groundhog

Graphic violence warning:
A groundhog was hurt during the filming


By Paul Clark (aka motomynd)

We live in the city but have wooded acreage around us. In recent years we have occasionally seen and heard coyotes, but this is the first photo/video proof we have of them. The video was captured by our Ring “pond cam,” which is aimed at a small pond I dug nearly 20 years ago and lined with a scrap piece of rubber roofing.
    The coyote attacked the groundhog a few minutes before 7 p.m. on July 22, 2022. Only 12 minutes earlier, our resident whitetail matriarch had walked down the same path with her two fawns in tow, who were born May 20th of this year.
    In the past five years we have had one fawn attacked and injured by a coyote – the fawn was saved by me with a baseball bat and the deer who ran down and killed the coyote – and the deer have killed at least two coyotes, possibly three. Based on that, this coyote may have decided it was much safer to let the fawns pass and go for the groundhog instead.
    “Nothing good ever comes of violence.” Especially for groundhogs. And except for a coyote getting to dine on a groundhog for dinner. So maybe MLK was wrong, at least from a coyote’s perspective.


Copyright © 2022 by Paul Clark

Friday, September 2, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (57)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Sunday,
March 31, 1918,
concluded


Moses sent Gaius running ahead to the prison, and by the time they got the wagon there, the gate was open and Warden Blitch was shouting and pointing, organizing a search party. Nine men galloped off right after the work gang got through the gate, all carrying twelve-gauge semi-auto shotguns and riding far better mounts than the poor mutt led by the young black convict.
    The mare had happily trotted along with Gauis, relieved of the weight of a rider and anticipating her stall and her feed bag. Gaius fed her, stroked her head, talked to her softly in the night. She loved him.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#4)

By Geoffrey Dean


Slipped Up

I slipped in the shower once upon a time
From a major buildup of bathtub slime.
Moral is, I could have written “grime”
And who’ve cared – it’s still a rhyme.
_______________
(5/16/2019)


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Highways and Byways:
The Drowning (Part 1)

Beginning of my preamble to a poem

By Maik Strosahl

I was driving up through west central Illinois on a recent day off with my younger son. With a couple hours of driving left to our day, he was lamenting the lack of a decent internet signal for his iPad near Macomb. I was encouraged that his brain had retracted back into his head so he could actually converse.
    “The nice thing about not having signal,” I started, trying to help him have a positive non-connected moment, “is that it forces you to look around your world.”

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (56)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Sunday,
March 31, 1918,
continued


Marcus was on the ground, gasping, his breath knocked from him. The horse had jinked sideways and thrown him, and likely on purpose. The shotgun had gone flying into the grass somewhere. That old bitch knew he was a shitty rider. He didn’t like horses, never had, and in his limited experience the feeling had been universally mutual. Horses scared him.
    He started to get up when the flat of Tom Maddox’s shovel smacked into the side of his head, from out of nowhere. Marcus was laid out flat, but he wasn’t out. He blinked at the sky, saw the mare ploughing back through the grass towards the road, and Tom Maddox standing over him.

Monday, August 29, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 2)

Click image to see
all published parts
Walt invited some soldiers recently returned from the war in Mexico to join them, because one of these was General James J. Shields. Walt, familiar with the legend of the Rebecca letters and subsequent duel, asked him for the real story, which he was glad to relate, because he was still rather vain and had to try his capacity to charm the beautiful blonde lady seated puzzlingly with these two possibly disreputable fellows.
    “I begin at the site of the action, and, as I felt neither of us truly wanted to be there—we had been friends theretofore, or friendly rivals—I dissembled calm by conjecturing a comparison of ourselves to those other famed duelists Hamilton and Burr. I asked if such had occurred to him.”

Sunday, August 28, 2022

All Over the Place:
Early Spring Storm

By Michael H. Brownstein


[This poem is an example of a Waltmarie—at least ten lines long (it can be longer) and every even line has only two syllables. This one was published in the Last Stanza Poetry Journal.]


within the context of hush, a vocabulary of whispers
snow fell
time was not essential—Friday evening into Saturday morning
quiet
the valley filled itself with white evergreens
no wind
an infinity of snowflakes erased sight lines, landscapes
silver
we went into the fields tobogganing snow angels
ice warm.


Copyright © 2022 by Michael H. Brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein’s volumes of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else and How Do We Create Love?, were published by Cholla Needles Press in 2018 & 2019, respectively.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Acting Citizen:
Trump’s Journal for January 6, 2021

By James Knudsen

Former President Donald J. Trump is known for communicating using unconventional methods. Conventional for a mob boss, but unconventional for the Leader of the Free World. Unknown to many is that he frequently used a journal to record daily thoughts and observations. It is difficult to decipher in that it is composed entirely in crayon and Sharpie, but we present here the 45th President at his most introspective on that most consequential day of his presidency, January 6, 2021.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (55)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Sunday,
March 31, 1918,
3:45 PM


John Ashley had been in Raiford Correctional Institution for exactly 16 months, to the day. He had, on the advice of his lawyer Alto Adams, pled guilty to armed robbery in Palm Beach County on Thursday, November 23rd, 1916, and had been sentenced to seventeen and a half years in the state penitentiary.
    This had been a nasty surprise to both Adams and himself. It seemed that the nine kinds of hell raised by the family of Desoto Tiger and the Cow Creek Seminole Tribe had reached ears as far as Washington, and Florida Governor Park Trammell had leaned on the court to throw the book at John. Trammell was term-limited, could not run for re-election, and was looking for a job on the Federal Court. President Woodrow Wilson was the man who could give it to him, so when Wilson said lean, he leaned.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#3)

By Geoffrey Dean


Definitions

Gritted too fierce – tooth chipped.
Stretched too far – pants ripped.
Turned too much – screw stripped.
Bird on branch – talons gripped.
Wit too sharp – one-liners quipped.
Thirst too strong – slurped, not sipped.
Psychedelic – on acid tripped.
Kitchen puddle – faucet dripped.
Sudden wealth – generously tipped.
Expedited – already shipped.
Invisible – unnoticed, skipped.
Nails too long – get them clipped!
_______________
(5/16/2019)


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

From “The Scratching Post”:
Medievalism, Part 2

By Ken Marks

[Opening from the original on The Scratching Post, August 16, 2022, published here by permission of the author.]

In Part 1, Congresswoman Greene talked about the futility of fighting climate change. She favors confronting it stoically, as brave people have always done in the face of natural disasters. She declared her love for science when it manifests God’s glory, but she resists the timeline that science assigns to the development of life. She disparaged homosexual marriage because it doesn’t respect Nature’s demand for procreation, and she warned that changes in our sexual mores would soon lead to our extinction. She conceded that she hated Democrats and blamed them for instituting a policy of immigration without quotas. She predicted this blunder would destroy the culture that Americans had come to love.
    Obviously, her enmity ran deep. I wanted to explore this further.
        •
        •
        •
Please tell me more about the disputes with Democrats that push you toward hatred. Maybe it’s still possible to find common ground.*

I see you’re slow on the uptake, Ken, so I’ll spell it out for you.

Please do.…
_______________
*


Copyright © 2022 by Ken Marks
Ken Marks was a contributing editor with Paul Clark & Tom Lowe when “Moristotle” became “Moristotle & Co.” A brilliant photographer, witty conversationalist, and elegant writer, Ken contributed photographs, essays, and commentaries from mid-2008 through 2012. Late in 2013, Ken birthed the blog The Scratching Post. He also posts albums of his photos on Flickr.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (54)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
July 19, 1922,
concluded


The moon was on the wane, just a sliver in the eastern sky this early in the night, but it was enough for Red to find his way. The lake to his left showed as a dark border of cypress and bush along the bank a quarter mile away. Fisher Creek was a line of river brush ahead, to the east, over where the sickle of moon showed him the way.
    He crossed the bridge over Fisher, struggled through Padgett’s Branch again, then nearly dropped the shotgun as he fought his way back across Mudfish Slough.

Monday, August 22, 2022

Fiction: From Chapter 6:
New Orleans (Part 1)

Click image to see
all published parts
“Madame,” began Walt, in a voice of deep and assumed majesty, “I require a cup of your coffee, but only if its taste is as rich and pleasing as its aroma.”
    Whitman spoke to a Creole woman in a stall in the marketplace in New Orleans. Her head wrapped in a lime-colored scarf, she squeezed the juice from an orange in her large palm into a pitcher of glass.
    She turned and smiled at him, scrutinizing him behind a hard-to-maintain modesty, but he held up a finger of warning. “Wait!” he cried. “Do not lie to me now, or exaggerate its quality in the least, for I can be violent before I have had my coffee, and I require the absolute best!”

Sunday, August 21, 2022

All Over the Place:
How It Came to Be This Way

By Michael H. Brownstein

[There were days I would get off the elevated green line train at 43rd and violence permeated all of my senses. It would be so great, its stench would actually burn my nose. I had to cross a large empty lot—well, I didn’t have to (I could have stayed to the main streets and sidewalks)—next to Mr. Stubb’s building, the son of a sharecropper who came to Chicago in the fifties. I didn’t know this, but his wife always watched me cross the lot just in case.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Summer Song:
  The Ashland (Wisconsin)
  Grand Opera House

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]










I discovered
the Ashland Grand Opera House on a recent trip to the Chequamegon Bay area on the southern shores of Lake Superior. A city of about 8,000 inhabitants, Ashland, Wisconsin, was founded in 1854. For a time it was the third busiest Great Lakes port, behind Chicago and Buffalo, with ships loaded with northern Wisconsin pine, brownstone, and iron ore departing from Ashland to supply the rest of the Midwest and points beyond. The central ore dock was, at the time of its completion in 1925, the largest concrete structure of its kind in the world….
    We first learned of the ore dock on a tour through the streets of downtown Ashland, where more than twenty expansive murals adorn as many facades, each visualizing a chapter in the story of Ashland and its citizens….
    One of the murals is a tribute to local railroad workers and located near the former train depot, an impressive brownstone structure two blocks south of Main on 3rd Ave. W. As we walked along 3rd Ave., a smaller building on the east side of the street caught my attention. A painted, poster-like sign identified it as the Ashland Grand Opera House. An attempt had been made to visualize a fanciful operatic scene through mural art on a more miniature scale. The familiar likeness of famed operatic tenor Luciano Pavarotti in full voice covers an upper window, while a Wagnerian soprano holds forth from another. The boarded-up doors, no doubt leading to the second-story performance space, and twin abandoned store-fronts on the ground level make the prolonged disuse of the building painfully apparent. But the signage seems an encouraging indication that the opera house is still a source of local pride in Ashland….
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Friday, August 19, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (53)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
July 19, 1922,
continued


“Mister Middleton here says you’re still in the market for a parcel of lumber, that right?”
    Skeeter just nodded and took a swig from the bottle.
    “Well, we can sell you that lumber at a good price, and we need to trade for a few things too, if you’ve a mind. We need a still, and if I recall y’all have the beginnin’s around here somewheres, that there storage can y’ took with you last time, if y’ still have it.”

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Museful Mornings:
Pre-Pandemic Poetry (#2)

By Geoffrey Dean


Laying Low

Snuggled soundly in your grave,
No more need to wash and shave,
Chucking foods you know you crave.
Now you’re free to misbehave.

No more need to pay the rent,
Blast your quads or get a stent,
Regret the gaffes you couldn’t prevent,
Or mourn the money you made and spent.

You’ve begun a brand new phase,
Laying low in languorous laze,
Boxed up in formalde-haze,
Wiling away your deathful days.
_______________
(6/24/2019)


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Highways and Byways:
Wenn Du Mich Siehst, Dann Weine

By Maik Strosahl
I saw an article today that several hunger stones have been exposed due to drought conditions. [“Centuries-old warnings emerge from riverbed as Europe faces historic drought,” by Aspen Pflughoeft, Miami Herald, AUGUST 12]
    In parts of Europe, hunger stones were placed as a memorial to those lost in past droughts and the famines that followed

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (52)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
July 19, 1922,
continued


They set out for Middleton’s camp up by Blue Cypress Creek, Harlan in the lead, both striding strongly through the grasses that dragged at their boots and swished and whooshed as they passed. Cicadas screamed in the afternoon light. As the sun dropped the mosquitos came out in their droves, buzzing in the bushes, impatient for the night when the heat no longer prevented them from hunting blood.

Monday, August 15, 2022

From the Alwinac:
  Carl Schroeder’s Sondershausen:
  Schroeder Travel Log, Part 3

[Click on image to
go directly to
the Alwinac’s home page
]
[The Alwinac blog is part of the schroeder170 project, honoring the life and musical career of cellist Alwin Schroeder (1855-1928) and exploring the history of cello playing in the US.]


Exactly three years ago [August 10], as Petros and I circled the central streets of Sondershausen in search of a free parking spot, we noticed the banners with the cello-friendly logo and the slogan, “Muzik im herz” (Music at Heart). Sondershausen’s claim to being a “music city” (Musikstadt) is more than a ploy to increase tourism in this picturesque Thuringian city of (currently) about 21,000 inhabitants. While targeted efforts have been made over the last 20-odd years to strengthen the presence of music in Sondershausen’s public spaces, the city’s musical traditions run much longer and deeper, with local institutions such as the Loh Orchestra and the Carl Schroeder Conservatory standing out as traditional sources of civic pride. Alwin Schroeder's older brother Carl was himself decisively connected to both the orchestra and the music school, and is celebrated in Sondershausen as a local musical hero.
_______________
Read on….


Copyright © 2022 by Geoffrey Dean

Sunday, August 14, 2022

All Over the Place: Noise

By Michael H. Brownstein

You bundle your words into growls
and pitch them against the scars of others.
Aren't you the glad one able to build
bonfires and lightning storms and one time
a great tornado. It is no wonder plagues
move away from you, history repeats itself.

Friday, August 12, 2022

Fiction: A Killing on a Bridge (51)
A historical fiction

Saint Sebastian River Bridge
[Click image to call up
all published instalments]
By Roger Owens

Wednesday,
July 19, 1922,
continued


They sat on the log sections they had left for stools. The termites and wood ants had been at them since last season. Next year they’d be falling to pieces. For now, though, they were comfortable enough, eating their sandwiches by the fire, the sun still streaming red banners in the west. It wouldn’t be full dark till after eight o’clock this time of year.
    “Sweetie baby,” Guy said to Jenny, “would you go get us a jug from behind the seat of the car?”