Monday, April 30, 2012

Photo of the Day: Oh, It's a Cup Holder

Remember a photo like this published here a couple of weeks ago? Well, I found the answer to the question today. Here it is.

Photo of the Day: A Fountain in the City

This beautiful little respite is on the Murray Run trail in Roanoke, smack in the heart of the city. It looked like this on my walk this morning. I don't know if the water can be drunk, but the view can be drunk in. Calming.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Photo of the Day, Too: Going After the War on Women Cretins

Here is a group of women from our region in Richmond yesterday to protest the Republican War on Women that has been carried on in the General Assembly this year. It's one of those atrocities that can easily be stopped at the ballot box and from what I'm seeing on the campaign trail, there are a lot of nervous, knuckle-dragging, dunderheads who are on the verge of being sent home this fall--for good. I'm not sure who shot the photo, but I asked Cynthia Atkins (right) to send me something and this is what I got. Good shot and the women in it are: Molly Dearing, Liz Kalisch Drahos, Mirabai (great name!) Mcleod, Bridget Kelley-Dearing and Gretchen Sukow, in addition to my pal Cynthia (a poet, who has taught at our Roanoke Regional Writers Conference).

A Bridge Too Far Adds Aesthetic Drama to the Greenway

This is the longest expanse of the bridge, which zig-zags across Tinker Creek near Vinton.
The bridge has several overlooks and the view is great.
Some of the metal is painted, some is rusting.
Another view of the view.
Looking back from the other side of the river.
This trail goes up the steep hill with sharp switch-backs, making biking it difficult.
Your favorite editor in his new favorite shirt, taking in the view.
I went over to Vinton this morning to try to find that damn new Tinker Creek bridge that was opened last week as part of the Roanoke Valley Greenway. And I found it. It is at the end of a stretch of Greenway that previously had no link to anything on either end and now is part of a long stretch from Vinton to Wasena Park. Problem here is that the road is so sharp and so steep that it takes quite a biker to navigate a small part of it. But, for many bikers it is a real delight.

I wonder why the bridge is so big, so elaborate and why rusty metal was used (as it was in that monstrosity in Wasena Park*), but, frankly it all works here and the view is just lovely. Go find it. It's worth the effort.

(* Architect Richard Rife of Rife + Wood in Roanoke answers this question thusly: "Cor-Ten steel has a galvanized coating on it to prevent corrosion, then they apply a thin, sacrificial layer of steel on top of that which rusts and makes a sort of "patina" that prevents/minimizes further rusting. It's not supposed to rust through.")

Photos of the Day: 'Living a Fun Life'

One of Virginia Tech's Heighty-Tighties shoots his mates with the Viking contingent.
The Viking Growl (that's my Madeline on the right and she's into it).
The float--literally for this Viking ship--is underway.
Brian Nemeth adjusts his outfit.
Here's a fierce Viking look from Matthew Sutherland.
Madeline, Valkyrie maiden, prepares for battle.
Pulling the ship and carrying the banner.
Bearman Samuel McCormick is at the head of the Viking group.
Charisse Surayya threatens a captive.
Jeffrey Rigdon goes after a couple of spectators.
Lovely Jessica Allison-Bourne prepares to sound the charge.
No, Maddie! He's not the enemy! Kill the Wabbit!
Maddie and buddy look forward to pillaging.
Madeline The Great: Leader of the Children's War.
Maddie celebrates victory!
Jeff gives a tiny Viking a reassuring hug. He scares the hell out of some of the kids and they love it.
OK, so we're a little over the top here, but it seemed an especially fierce group of Vikings yesterday in the Vinton Dogwood Festival parade. Madeline, my seven-year-old grandgirl, took part in the Viking raid for the second time and this kid is a born warrior (even as her Pampa is a pacifist). Jeff Rigdon invites the kids along and even helps outfit them. You gotta love Jeff and this whole group of people who know how to live a fun life.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Belles of Vinton Dogwood Festival Parade

Pretty Brianna Campbell was the Queen of the Dogwood Festival.
Brianna and her Dogwood Festival court.
Kasey Edsall (left) puts necklace on Sarah Vipperman.
Heather Basham shows her smile.
Miss Emeraldette Blayre Grice.
Million Dollar Babies Lexie (left, 14) and Kenzie (9) Lawson.
The ever-lovely Bootie Chewning.
Some of the Emeraldettes.
And a few pre-Emeraldettes.

A proud Scottish Miss, ready to dance for us.
Don't know her name, but would Katie O'Reilly do?
This may be the sweetest smile in town.
She's a member of the dancers from The Band of Baltimore and she did shake.
I like the face, love the hair.
Watching the parade.
Mom and the girl: A nice moment.
The Viking horn and Jessica Allison-Bourne is a-blowin'.
Gotta love this kid.
Hey, nice hat. Great eyes, too.
Just one more picture.
And one more kiss.
The Annual Vinton Dogwood Parade drew a few thousand people to its annual celebration on a cool afternoon today. I thought for a little change of pace, we would take a look at the belles of this particular ball to get a little idea what the guys were looking at today. And here it is.

Can Karen Kwaitkowski Be Part of the Solution?

Karen Kwaitkowski and me outside Panara Bread a little while ago.
Finally got a chance this afternoon to sit and chat with Karen Kwaitkowski, the Republican primary candidate in the 6th District who wants Bob Goodlatte's seat, one he's held for more than 20 years.

Karen is Tea Party/Libertarian and pretty close to my opposite on most issues, but I like her personally and I think she's honest, courageous and forthright, so if I were voting in the primary, she'd get my vote. In the general election, she probably wouldn't get that vote, but she's such an underdog that I doubt that will be a choice.

Karen's a Shenandoah County farmer and a former career military officer (she was in the Pentagon on 9/11 and has quite an interesting perspective). I first became interested in her because of some of her libertarian positions, which I share from the other end of the political spectrum--she's anti-war, for example.

I was taken with her enthusiasm, her willingness to hear the other side and her certainty. Karen and I can talk to each other. I like that, even though our political beliefs are far, far apart. That's something we've lost with our Congress and I am of a mind that everybody who has served in the past 10 years must be voted out of office and replaced with people who will discuss issues, compromise and move the country to where it should be. Karen and I agreed that it doesn't look like that is going to happen and without it, the future is bleak. But here's an opportunity for us all to take a first step toward being part of the solution.

Today's Quote: The Simple Truth is That GOP Is To Blame

"The GOP has become an insurgent outlier in American politics. It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition. When one party moves this far from the mainstream, it makes it nearly impossible for the political system to deal constructively with the country’s challenges."

--Thomas E. Mann and Norman J. Ornstein in today's Washington Post (This is a reasoned and reasonable argument by people who lean much more to the right than to the left)

Sedalia Conference: A Gathering of Writers

This is the Sedalia Center in bedford County, a lovely setting for a conference.
Conference organizer Darrell Laurant and moi.
My pal Susan Ayers and her Goodwill outfit.
Me teaching my class "What Editors Want"

The Sedalia Writers Conference in Bedford County, the mother of the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, was held last night and this morning and I taught a class for the fifth or so straight year. It's always fun to see who comes out to this small conference in the middle of nowhere and even who teaches at it.

This morning I met Kurt Ayau, a VMI English teacher whose new collection of shortstories (The Brick Murder: A Tragedy and Other Stories) is garnering all kinds of praise. Kurt told me of some major changes VMI is making in its English curriculum that could result in national news. Not necessarily good national news, either. More to come, I suspect.

I was there for a presentation by a team of romance writers who read from their work, which was not especially good, and heard them chatter back and forth with what sounded like bickering. One of the more unusual presentations I've heard at a writers conference.

Susan Ayers, who writes for the magazine I edit, rode out with me, wearing a brand new--and quite lovely--outfit she bought yesterday at Goodwill. Love her taste and her complete understanding of what constitutes a bargain.

Anyhow, my pal, conference organizer Darrell Laurant, has another one under his belt and I'll have to congratulate him for that.