Saturday, August 31, 2019

Goines On: The young doctor

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The first words Goines said to himself as he lay in bed this morning were, “I am going to die.” They felt truer than usual, more forthright, more definitive, as though he had merely mouthed them before, saying someone else’s words, quoting them, as when he reported what that doctor who wrote books said, “We are all going to die of something.”

Friday, August 30, 2019

Goines On: Counting steps

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Now that Goines was walking for 30 minutes rather than the 20 he had previously thought sufficient, he wanted to make sure that he never went too far away to get back near the 30-minute mark. Obviously, he shouldn’t go farther than 15 minutes away from home. That was easy, since the Runkeeper app on his phone alerted him at each 5-minute mark. And he already knew, for three of his possible return routes, the spot that was 5 minutes away from home.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Fiction: Jaudon – An American Family (a novel) [12]

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Chapter 12. Changing Time

Ricardo took the day off in order to see Claude to his ship. They walked down the long pier toward the massive black hull of the White Star Line SS Adriatic. It had one funnel and four large masts. It was a steamship with four boilers, plus sails for added speed. The sun was out and the weather was much warmer.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Creation or Evolution?

Compromise (a poem)

By Michael Vázquez, when he was 11

[Contributed by his mother, Sharon Stoner, who reports that at age 11 Michael “wrote and illustrated a book of his poems, including some limericks. Using cardboard and stick-and-peel vinyl, he made a book to put them in. I still think he missed his calling to be a writer.”]

There’s an argument in the nation,
about evolution and creation.
    Tho I don’t know what it is,
   I hope they settle the whole biz.
Maybe compromise, and call it Evolation!

Copyright © 2019 by Sharon Stoner

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Goines On: Needing to believe

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Goines found himself wondering, as he undertook his 30-minute walk – lengthened by 10 minutes recently on Mrs. Goines’s recommendation – whether Mrs. Goines thought about him as much as he thought about her – or thought as much of him as he did of her. But two people just couldn’t know such a thing. Moored inside their own heads, neither “had standing” – no place to stand – to make the comparison. Did that make the very notion of such a comparison meaningless, perhaps in the same way that talk of “God” was largely meaningless?

Monday, August 26, 2019

Revival of ...the President

W.M. Dean’s unfinished 1974 novel

By Moristotle

Updating our Book Authors’ Corner last week happily afforded me an opportunity, 45 years later, to design a book cover for my unfinished 1974 novel parodying events that transpired during and at the end of the second term of President Richard M. Nixon.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

All Over the Place: Dusk

By Michael H. Brownstein

My day begins with a prayer
and a night’s armor
gray breath and gray gasps for air
a leak in the area west of the gut
a somber throat
the last peals of swollen hamstrings

Copyright © 2019 by Michael H. Brownstein
Michael H. Brownstein’s latest volume of poetry, A Slipknot Into Somewhere Else, was published by Cholla Needles Press in 2018.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

The Loneliest Liberal: Want to buy?

By James Knudsen

More than once, tales of my time in the retail trenches have found there way into this column. I found two such instances and stopped looking. To review, I didn’t like sales. But many do. An old friend of mine – we’re nearing four decades of friendship – has spent most of his adult life in sales of one kind or another, usually involving electronics for home and auto. His career began in the late eighties with a now defunct retail giant in Orange County, California. He ascended the career ladder, eventually becoming manager of various departments. One stint in particular seems relevant during this strange time in which we live.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Goines On: Seeing the dahlia

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Mrs. Goines asked Goines whether he’d seen the dahlia. He took a couple of steps toward the back door to look out. But she said, “Here, in the vase.” Goines had walked right past the vase, which was sitting on the stand to the left of the sink’s counter. “Yes,” he said, “I’d noticed it.” And he had noticed it, but now he saw how beautiful it was and realized that he must take a photograph, which he made a mental note to do later.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Fiction: Jaudon – An American Family (a novel) [11]

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Chapter 11. Banking

Ricardo had an offer right out of college for an apprenticeship, at Rockwell and Jones Landbank and Saving, in New York City. They dealt in real estate loans and were interested in Texas properties. If that had not been the case, they never would have hired a Mexican as their apprentice, although this fact had never crossed Ricardo’s mind. He truly believed his hard work was paying off at long last.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Roger’s Reality – The Jasper Chronicles: The Slave Quarters

By Roger Owens

If one does an internet search for the Stephen Foster Memorial or the Stephen Foster “Culture Center State Park” in White Springs, Florida, a veritable cornucopia of interesting information is presented. Directions to the site from Jasper, where I spent summers as a child, are basically “Get on Highway 41 and drive southeast until you see White Springs.” One will be informed of the camping, the hiking, the bicycling, and the carillon bells playing Foster’s most popular songs all day long. There are demonstrations of quilting, blacksmithing, and the making of stained glass. In January, there is Stephen Foster Day, and in May there is the Florida Folk Festival. Of course, much of the most interesting information, as is true with many histories and Federal investigations, is what is not revealed.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Goines On: The last sunflower

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Goines thought he had better not trust his thinking of the previous afternoon. He had seemed to become delirious from pulling weeds in the humid heat for too long that morning. He had even pulled up one of Mrs. Goines’ dahlias and the only sunflower that survived from those a friend had given her.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Book Authors’ Corner update

Titles have been added to the collage

By Moristotle

With apologies for months of neglecting our Book Authors’ Corner, we have updated its collage of covers (see below). We have included covers not only of a few recently published titles, but also of several not-yet-published books, with links to excerpts from them on the blog (if there are any):

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Friday, August 16, 2019

Goines On: Weeds and wolves

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Goines had pulled that weed in the cypress mulch path only yesterday or the day before. And today it has sprung back. Amazing, really. To Goines and his wife, it was a weed, and weeds were weeds – to be pulled up, roots and all if possible, and trashed. But to the weed itself, it was all there was, it was its life, with a lineage, really, as old as Goines’ maybe. He wondered briefly whether pulling a weed was of the same order as killing a rodent or a wolf that threatened a farmer’s livestock? He couldn’t fathom it.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Fiction: Jaudon – An American Family (a novel) [10]

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Chapter 10. Claude

Claude woke up up the next morning in a bed at the local cat house. His head hurt, his mouth was dry as a desert, and he had the shakes. He pulled the pisspot from under the bed and threw up.
    Somehow he got dressed, but when he checked his pants for money, there wasn’t any. He pulled off a sock and removed the two twenties, wondering why no one ever thought to take his socks off. He walked to the café on the corner and had breakfast. By the third cup of coffee, he was feeling better.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Goines On: Kidnapped

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As usual, Goines tapped on the house-style bird feeder after releasing the perching assembly to listen for any rustling of blacksnake inside. No sound. And then he felt the roof release on the far side for possible feel of snake body (and for the possible sting of a bite, like the one that had surprised him some months ago). Neither. Hearing and feeling nothing, and with the roof raised for light to stream into the interior, he then craned his neck to look through the feeding-window openings. No snake sighting either. The birds would be safe for some time today anyway.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Movie Review: Apocalypse Now (1979)

Francis Ford Coppola’s failed translation of Joseph Conrad

By Rolf Dumke

I found Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather (1972) wonderful. But I think that his celebrated Apocalypse Now (1979) contains too much slaughter. And, according to a recent article in The Guardian, Coppola agrees so far as to say, “Apocalypse Now has stirring scenes of helicopters attacking innocent people. That’s not anti-war.”

Sunday, August 11, 2019

All Over the Place:
The language of blue

By Michael H. Brownstein

The squint of sky between twig and nettle
wallpapered azure, sapphire, soft blue:
Mark your soul, Mr. Bowerbird. Create
turrets of royal blue and cyan, Collect
pen tops, blue orchids, for-get-me-nots,

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Poetry & Portraits: Hindsight

Drawing by Susan C. Price

By Eric Meub

Assuming we survive the present age,
What will the story look like on the page?
How will our failures and successes rate?
What will they say about our head of state?

Friday, August 9, 2019

Goines On: The turtle snaps

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Goines returned to the big green electrical box where he had seen the turtle two hours earlier, right before he texted George its precise location. He had not heard from George, and Goines was apprehensive what he would find this time. There had been that tractor clearing brush, so there was even the possibility the turtle might have been….

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fiction: Jaudon – An American Family (a novel) [9]

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Chapter 9. Changing World

Claude came in late that night, long after James had gone to bed. Clara and he had a long and revealing talk. Claude had thought his father was turning his back on his new sister and her mother, and he was surprised to learn it wasn’t J.F. but Clara who had decided to raise the child on her own.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Goines On: The hoot of an owl

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Goines was emptying the dishwasher when he heard what sounded like an owl hooting, and he wondered what the owl was saying, what he might be alerting other owls to or warning them about.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Goines On: Nightmare

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Goines seemed to have to race his electric toothbrush to cover an entire quadrant before the device’s 30-second beep. He supposed that perceived time was very slow this morning because he had gone deep into dreamland in the hour or two before arising. His psyche probably couldn’t have delivered the quartet of dreams any other way than by sedating him – otherwise he would have woken himself up to escape them.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

All Over the Place:
A coloring of mood

By Michael H. Brownstein

yesterday the sky witch blue
well lit
not a single cloud stain
the sun
bright yellow

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Interview: Martha Sink
on making pots

Inspire • Create • Serve

Interviewed by Moristotle

I became acquainted with Martha Sink in her role as a librarian with Alamance County Libraries. Questions would arise when I tried to use the libraries’ website, and I was directed to Martha as the person who could answer them for me. Indeed she could, and she was also quick to act on suggestions I made for improving the website. My wife and I even made a special trip to the libraries’ main location so we could meet her.
    When I emailed her recently just to say hi, she told me that her 37 years as an employee of the Alamance County Libraries system had been “a long time” and she had “a new career lined up and underway.” She said that she “figured that when [she] was more interested in throwing pots than coming to work, [she]’d know it was time to retire!”
    I told her I thought my readers would like to hear about her plans, and she agreed to do an interview. My questions are in italics.
    Photographs of some of her creations are interspersed throughout the questions and answers.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Goines On: Housing development

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Goines took his morning walk into the adjacent housing development to the south, where Mrs. Goines loved to walk because of its openness and the interest of its road paving and housing construction. Its clubhouse and pool were the first construction site he came to, only a couple of hundred yards in. The building looked almost finished, though only a small fraction of the development’s projected 400+ dwellings had been constructed and moved into. Perhaps the first home-buyers had been promised a clubhouse soon?

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Fiction: Jaudon – An American Family (a novel) [8]

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Chapter 8. Peace

1886. May 1 – A general strike begins in the United States and on May 4 escalates into “the Haymarket affair” in Chicago, which eventually wins the 8-hour workday in the U.S.
    May 8 – Pharmacist Dr. John Stith Pemberton invents a carbonated beverage that will be named “Coca-Cola.”

On the range there was peace. For the first time in years, there were no Indian raids, bandit attacks, or range wars. James had opened two toll roads across his land. The price was so low per head that even the hardest-core ranger saw no benefit in not paying it.