Friday, February 28, 2014

Todays Photo: Some Days You Miss 'Em More Than Other Days

Saw a movie tonight that had Kevin Costner and his long-lost daughter re-living a day from years before when they were throwing rocks into the river. It reminded me of Madeline, who has been gone a month today, and the times we used to walk along the Roanoke River. She always wanted to throw rocks, always wanted to show me how much better she was getting, always wanted me to teach her more. I do miss that kid.

Another 'Find' in a Junque Store

Found this photo frame in a junque store the other day and couldn't resist it (for 55 cents), but I had no idea what I'd do with it until I searched my photo archives. This is a picture I took on the water at Carvins Cove last summer and the red and blue are simply perfect with the little boat of the frame. The photo's tiny (3"X3"), but I think it all works together.

Gettin' My 'Hair' Ready for the Show

Me and hair about 1972
Picked up a couple of tickets yesterday to "America's first tribal love-rock musical" ("Hair") at the Roanoke Civic Center March 8 and I'm pumped to be re-visiting my 22nd year, one of the best of all of them.

This was 1968 and I always recall the Chinese curse "may you live in interesting times" when that watershed year of American history comes up.

"Hair" revolves around a group of kids who are subject to the draft during the height of the Vietnam war, perhaps America's most controversial entanglement. It tells the story in some memorable songs ("Aquarius,” “Let the Sunshine,” “Easy to Be Hard” and “Hair”) of a tribe of hippies in New York's Lower East Side. These kids are resisting their parents' culture and values, which seems to be the curse of every generation.

"Hair" was first noticed, I think, because there was a brief nude scene at the end. That became the center of the controversy about the play and always represented America's warped sense of values to me. War vs. nudity. Which to ban?

There's an interesting cultural afterlife to hair: long hair was a sign of rebellion in 1968. By 1980 poor, uneducated conservatives had adopted the scraggly look and these days it seems the few men around with long hair are in the arts. Ah, fashion.

In any case, I'm looking forward to this re-visit and all I ask is that the troupe of actors sound as much like the Cowsills as possible when singing "Hair." (Here)

"Gimme a head with hair/Long, beautiful hair ..."

Today's Quote: GOP Playing Games in Richmond Again

The Republican mantra.
"House Republicans, thumbing their nose at the federal funds, would throw the hospitals a bone in the form of $81 million, a comparative pittance. That money would come not from Washington but by cannibalizing the state’s own revenues — in effect, forcing state taxpayers to pony up again for part of what they have already paid for with their federal tax dollars. Without tapping the funds from Washington so that more Virginians have health coverage, some hospitals around the state are in danger of closing.

"In reality, Republicans are far more interested in partisan warfare than a fact-based effort to help the uninsured find coverage and good health care."

--Washington Post editorial today on Virginia House of Delegates Republicans refusing $71 billion in federal Medicaid funds, money desperately needed by Virginia hospitals to treat the indigent. The refusal would result, in effect, in a tax increase for Virginians for something already covered by the federal government.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gay Marriage and You: What's the Relevance?

The sins of Sodom were in not helping the poor.
Somebody asked me the other day what the Arizona/Texas dustup over gay marriage had to do with him. "I'm straight," he said. "I'm not against people doing what they want to do as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else, but I can't wrap my mind around why I should run around supporting marriage between two people of the same sex. I'm not even sure I support marriage between people of the opposite sex." He laughed.

I didn't laugh because it's not funny.

We have state governments in the United States systematically stripping the rights of various groups of people and codifying that bigotry in their state laws. Last year in Virginia, the General Assembly attacked women, this year in Texas and Arizona, it's gay people. Every year it is African Americans, Hispanics, people of every color that doesn't suit the far right. Virginia's government approved a physical invasion of a woman's vagina to disuade her abortion choice. Texas wants to strip women of the right to vote, unless they're Republicans and states all over the country are disenfranchising our Black brothers and sisters at the polls.

Should we be angry when a group's--any group's--rights are threatened by Republicans, hell bent on getting and keeping power through any means necessary? You bet your fat ass we should.

Gerrymandering, so common in red states since the 2000 census, is basically about the individual's right to vote in a way that has some meaning. When Republicans group all the Dems they can find into one painfully large and meandering district, then create three Republican districts from what's left, it affects me directly because my vote becomes almost meaningless and I have no voice in firing the people who are trying to overthrow our democracy. Our General Assembly in Virginia is heavily Republican, but the vote in statewide elections generally leans toward a Democratic majority. The Republican majority is the direct result of unethically and unfairly drawn district lines.

What does this have to do with gay marriage? Everything. When Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of these, you do to me," he was including a lot of invasions that strip us of our rights, our humanity and our very souls. That's happening all over under the guise of "Christian" legislators who have no clue what their own Bible says.

Take "sodomy," for example. Right-wing, "Christian" legislators have ruled against what they call "sodomy," taking that to mean sex acts involving the mouth and anus. The Bible (English Standard version here, but you pick your own translation) says this of Sodom (and sodomy): "Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy." Sodomy is the refusal to help the poor. Pretty far run away from sex acts, I'd say.

But it's typical of what bigots give us with their interpretations of religious literature, the Constitution, state law, and damn near anything else.

Throwback Thursday: The Big One in the Middle

I shot this pix in about 1983 at Victory Stadium in Roanoke during a high school track meet. The large gentleman in the middle, wearing the stopwatch, is surrounded by supple, trim and trained athletes, creating quite a contrast. I assume he was a coach of this group from Alta Vista High or the one behind it from Martinsville High. Wonder what his event was during his playing days. Probably wasn't a sprinter.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

See the Oscar Shorts (but No Passes Accepted)

Just saw the live action half of the Oscar Nominated Shorts festival at the Grandin Theatre in Roanoke and let me tell you: These babies are some great film-making. (These are all playing at Virginia Western Community College's Whitman Theater Friday--all day--for free.)

There are five shorts ranging in length from seven minutes to 30 minutes and they're all over the board: comedy, intense drama, great special effects, wonderful storytelling, movies that moved me. The storytelling in this short form is simply outstanding and there are even some special special effects in a couple of the briefs.

The range was wide: child soldiers in Africa; a mother and children escaping an abusive dad; a small child dying and his new friend who helps make it a joy; a mother getting her tribe ready for a wedding; and the guy who thinks he's god (and is). Here's a trailer that will give you some of the flavor of these movies in the three categories (animated, live, documentary).

Animated and live action are showing at the Grandin and I strongly recommend the live. Didn't see the animated, but my guess is that it's special.

NOTE: Let me throw out a quick warning to anybody who wants to use Grandin passes (which are purchased and given as gifts) or Star Passes (which cost $1,000 and helped re-open the theater a few years ago): They are no good during the first week of any movie's run, which, from the schedule I saw, means they are no good for these movies at all, since they'll be gone Thursday. It's always a little disconcerting to hear, "We don't accept passes the first week ...," especially when the the passes have been paid for. Is the money no good? Really a pisser.

Jason Garnett, who used to manage the theater before being fired in a dustup with manager Kathy Chittum, responded thusly: "You can also see the Oscar Shorts in Whitman Theater at Virginia Western Community College this Friday. Screenings all day and they are free. Sidenote: Magnolia Pictures distributes the Oscar Shorts and they don't put pass restrictions on theaters."

Monday, February 24, 2014

Photo of the Day: My Daughter the Trucker

Jennie used to drive an 18-wheeler and I suppose she still has something of a fascination with trucks, if not so much life on the road. This one appears to be about a 1948 Studebaker that has seen better days, but has never been more of an artistic statement. Girl likes art, too.

Update: Madeline's New School Uniform

Here's my best girl (and brother Oz) in her new school uniform. She's attending British School in Cordoba, Spain.

"British School" does not mean "school for the British," I'm told. Mostly the kids are Spanish and they're learning English by immershing themselves in it for the entire school day.

The Tartan plaid in Maddie's uniform is appropriate, since she has two clans (Buchanans and McCourrys) on my side of the fam. Not sure what's there on her maternal side.

Anyhow, here she is. Settled in.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Photos: Two Sunrises, One Mountain, a Lake ...

Your favorite editr on the ridge over Carvins Cove this morning.
My buddy Janeson shot photos.
My pal Janeson Keeley and I hit the trail for the ridge overlooking Carvins Cove this a.m. and found a gorgeous spring day on the way.

We were treated with the additional surprise of watching the sun come up over the ridge after we'd crossed it, leaving the bright sun behind. Two sunrises in one day can't be equalled under normal circumstances.

I love this little hike that is within 15 minutes of my house and this late spring I plan to walk up from the Hollins, down to the Carvins Cove parking lot, where I will have left my truck and a couple of kayaks, take an hour in the boats, then re-cross the mountain before picking up the truck and the boats again. That will be devine. For the time being, though, the hike up and down the mountain works.

Janeson and me: Selfie.
I shot this pine cone on a precarious ledge, but didn't fall.
Second sunrise of the day, this one behind us.
Pampa in his element and his black and gold hoodie.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Photo Essay: A Saturday Tour of City Market

Leah waiting for Roanoke's new amphitheater to open.
I'm eager for the new fountains to be turned on.
Low angle on amphitheater stage.
Like this shot of Blue Cross, Sun Trust, Norfolk Southern buildings.
Leah enjoying brunch at 16 West (the Trucking Company).
Leah's kids selling their pottery.
Leah's wonderfully photogenic daughter-in-law Bea Guiterrez Clements, a potter.
Leah Weiss came over from Lynchburg for a visit today and we went to City Market to update her on the major changes there, including the new amphitheater. Leah's son Paul and his wife Bea were selling Bea's pottery on the Farmer's Market, so it was a nice reunion. Here are some photos of the little excursion, which was delightful.

Tebow Bill: My Liberal Pals Are Dead Wrong Here

The Virginia legislature killed the "Tebow bill" again this week and it really pisses me off. This is one place where my liberal friends are dead wrong, where we have an opportunity to build a positive bridge with conservatives, and where we are denying Virginia citizens services they're paying for.

The "Tebow bill" is named for Tim Tebow, the former All-American football player who was home-schooled in Florida, but was invited (I won't say "allowed" because that implies somebody was doing him a favor) to play high school football for a public school. The Virginia bill would open up football, forensics, chess and other extracurriculars to home-school students and that is only right.

Regardless of why parents choose to teach their children at home--religion, that they can do it better, that there are too many distractions in public school, whatever--they are paying for public schools. The whole notion that homeschoolers aren't conforming to class schedules, homework assignments and the like in order to remain eligible is bogus.

Home-school students are often far more college-ready than their public school counterparts and would blow the doors off the tests these public school kids struggle with. I know a number of home-schooled kids who are miles ahead of their public school counterparts.

We have teacher lobbies and the Virginia High School League going at this in a self-serving manner and we need to stop it right now. Being inclusive means that we also need to include conservatives. That makes us all better.

Blog Passes a Good-Sized Milestone: 750,000 Visits

This photo went with the blog's most popular post.
This week passed another milestone: 3/4 of a million views. That's 750,000 or 1.5 million "eyes," as the marketing people would have it.

This is post number 2,774. The blog began Oct. 16, 2008. This post, from May 8, 2010, "Fat vs. Skinny, Liberal vs. Conservative" is the all-time hit leader with more than 42,000. I cannot explain its popularity, but will guess that the topics of weight and politics, and the picture of the naked skinny woman have something to do with it. All are great in Google searches.

The blog's first entry was this, called either "Rustics" or "Rustics in Charge," depending on which you want. I hadn't yet figured out how to post a headline, so I got two. The post was about perceptions of visiting environmental journalists of the people of our little Valley. It was not a happy post. The second post the next day announced that I was writing a blog. Guess I was too mad to say that the first day.

Anybody who meanders through the archives will note that there have been some style changes as I figured out how to do this. The backgrounds and fonts have changed occasionally, but you won't see that. When I make a change, it goes through the history--or at least I think it does. I'm not looking it up.

Let me also mention that this is not my only blog. I do one for the Roanoke Regional Writers Conference, which I founded, and until last summer or so, I was in charge of the blog for FRONT magazine. 

I've written some meaningful--to me, at least--posts, so it always puzzles me what is popular. The second-leading eyes-on post is this little throwaway about a study showing that dumb guys like big breasts. It was written a year ago in March and right now is the most viewed post for the past month. It has legs. No. 3 is a post about organizing to support the arts (go figure); No. 4 reports on a study detailing the intellectual level of fat women; and No. 5 is a post on the death of my former sports editor, Bill Brill.

Posts have ranged from political (I'm a liberal, if you haven't figured that out yet), to the absurd, to straight news, to photo essays (which I love doing), and just stuff that comes up in the course of a day. The blog is the perfect place for an essayist, which I have been for many years, and heaven knows I wish it had come along earlier. It's a great way to chronicle a life and a family.

I have no idea how long these posts will remain up for viewing, but I'd like to think of them as a legacy, much like a book. I've done the books, too, so I ain't taking chances.

Hope you're enjoying what I'm doing with the blog. And even if you aren't, I am.

Friday, February 21, 2014

A Solution to the Execution Mess in Virginia: Shoot 'Em

These boys executed lots of people cheaply and efficiently, and they used guns.
Here's a story in the Richmond Times-Dispatch about the difficulty the Commonwealth is having in coming up with the right amounts and types of chemicals it needs in order to murder people convicted of capital crimes. Damn shame, I'd say.

States across the country are running into the same pharmacy wall: medical people don't want their drugs used for state-sponsored assassination--or any other kind for that matter--since most of them have sworn an oath to protect life, not to take it. Penal officials have searched for years to find a "humane" way to kill people, but the very act itself defies humanity, so why even make the specious claim that you're trying?

Just shoot them if you're going to murder them anyway. This is Virginia, an NRA-controlled state where guns are welcome in church, in school, on playgrounds and in bars. Why not in rooms where people are systematically murdered by the state? Shooting with a proper-caliber bullet--.30 would do it nicely; hollow-point would be even better because the brains would splatter so much more dramatically--would be quick, painless, cheap and relatively easy. Cleanup could involve some minor expense and a smidge of gross-out.

The NRA could pull the trigger. I don't think it'd have any trouble at all having a would-be Wayne LaPierre blow a convict's brains out and he'd likely do it gratis, just for the thrill of shooting something/somebody. Hell's bells, my guess is you could charge admission and the whole Duck Dynasty crowd would show up with popcorn, beer and peanuts. They'd be selling bobble-head dolls of the convict, and give you a firecracker to blow off the bobble head.

So, let's think about this, legislators. Murdering people in the name of the state is perfectly legal. Those panty-waists who make the drugs don't want to take part any more. Friggin' commie-socialists. So, we go to Play B, which shudda been Plan A+ anyway. Bam! Bam! Bam!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Chirren and Me, 1986

This was about 1986. I was cruising toward 40; my daughter Jennie was was 18 with big hair and an attitude, and Evan was 11 or 12 and trying to squeeze out an adult look.

The dog is Emmett Smith, who was named not for the football player, but for the clown, Emmett Kelly. Emmett was a beautiful boxer with active bowels. One did not walk behind Emmett.

The photo was shot on a hiking trail atop Roanoke Mountain and I don't recall who the photographer was. Could have been Kathryn Rhoads, whom I would later marry ("favorite ex-wife" until Christina and I got a divorce and Kathryn was bumped back to second place). The time's about right.

I often tell young photographers not to take pictures of people 40 or older from below their chins and this photo provides a good example why. This was taken before I had more than one chin (and substantially more belly), but you still get the impression of multiples.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

'Ben & Rita': Strong Effort With a New Play at MMT

The purpose of the Winter Festival of New Works at Mill Mountain Theatre is to give aspiring writers a platform for the development of their plays. And it's a dandy of an opportunity for these promising artists.

The final piece of this year's puzzle at MMT's Waldron Stage is Wendy-Marie Martin's "Ben & Rita," a comedy with rough edges, an ending that needs some oomph and a lot of promise. Martin will graduate with an MFA in playwriting from the Hollins Playwright's Lab this year and she has already built a nice resume.

"Ben & Rita" tells the story of a couple of neighbors who are opposites in every way, but who are thrown toward each other by a series of odd circumstances and the result is quite a few laughs. Ben is the shy sci-fi writer, Rita the late-night carousing grandmother with an estranged daughter and a granddaughter she doesn't even know about. The daughter and granddaughter come back into her life because of the youngester's "visions" and we're off on a good tale.

Martin's play is fortunate here because it has a strong cast, led by veteran improvisational actors Ross Laguzza, Amy Trowell and Kristin Banks and spectacular 15-year-old newcomer Gwyneth Strope, daughter of Roanoke theater veterans Mike and Amanda Strope Mansfield. Laguzza's agorophobic sci-fi writer and Trowell's trashy granny are balanced by the sensible Banks character and we get a workable plot that needs some development, but is strong already.

The play is in development this week and it's worth a look. It's $10 at the Waldron Stage through Sunday with matinees both Saturday and Sunday.

The whole crew gets extra kudos for this production because of some major interruptions by snow, which kept them from doing a full run-through until Tuesday night, the night the play was initially scheduled to debut. Fine effort from everybody involved.

My Next Novel: Finally a Breakthrough

My next novel has been rumbling around in my head for several months now, but I think it may have escaped this morning. I even have a title for it: NEWS!.

I won't tell you what it's about, but the protagonist is Eb McCourry, the boy you watched grow up a lot in CLOG!.

These books develop--I'm pretty well convinced--when and how they are supposed to and I can't control any of that. I have been sweating bullets for a hook to a pretty good story and it came right at me in the form of somebody I recently met, whose personal story fits perfectly with the tale I was developing, giving it shape, focus and purpose far beyond what I had intended.

This will be an honest book, a close look at a corner that doesn't get much attention and one with which I am quite familiar. Now, I have something of a muse and, as important, somebody to bounce ideas off. The words are rolling and I'm pumped!

Hilton Hotel, Mexican Restaurant To Replace Huff Lane School

Say goodbye to Huff Lane School.
The deal that will see Huff Lane School flattened in favor of commercial interests has been finalized and work is about to begin building hotels and restaurants on the side that abuts my neighborhood. I'm pretty pissed about it because this is a truly unwise use of the property and because it is violating the integrity of the neighborhood, something Roanoke City Council promised not to do when it allowed the building of Valley View Mall.

Here's the press release from Poe & Cronk, the commercial realtor that brokered the deal:

"Poe & Cronk Real Estate Group today announced the abandoned Huff Lane Elementary School and its 5.3-acres adjacent to Valley View Mall transferred from the City of Roanoke to NDRA II, LLC, a regional hotel and hospitality development company.

"The purchaser, NDRA II, LLC, will commence development of the property immediately. The first phase of development will include a "Home-2-Suites", a new Hilton Hotel product that has launched in other markets very successfully. Construction will also begin shortly on a new Mexican restaurant operated by the local El Rodeo / El Toreo group which will mark the growing brand's first Valley View location. The new 7,000 SF restaurant will feature a private dining area and outdoor patio for customers to enjoy.

"'We are very proud of the significant role our firm played in making this redevelopment possible,'" commented Dennis Cronk, President/CEO of Poe & Cronk. 'Efforts to make this a successful project began nearly two and a half years ago, and have now produced the $1.735M in sale proceeds which will go directly to funding new construction projects needed at nearby Round Hill Elementary School. In addition, the project, once completed, is anticipated to generate over $1,000,000 in additional tax revenue every year and provide needed new jobs for our city, according to Cronk."

Throwback Thursday on Wednesday: Life-Death of Victory Stadium

The opening of Victory Stadium, 1942.
My former mom-in-law Kitty Koomen is in the middle here.
The wrecking ball is swinging.
Ball smashes into the superstructure.
For some it was a death in the family.
Gone, but not yet forgotten.
Roanoke's Victory Stadium, built in 1942 at a cost of $300,000 and named for the goal of the Allied cause in World War II, was torn down in late June, 2006 at a cost of $486,714. It had become a political hot potato, an emotional issue that resulted in a kind of rotating City Council for several elections.

The stadium was the location of several (not many, frankly) memorable football games over the years, foremost the annual Virginia Tech-VMI game when that meant something. Later came the T.C. Williams 27-0 victory over Andrew Lewis (1971) in a game not mentioned in the movie "Rember the Titans," though it should have been. And finally, Patrick Henry High's state title 9-0 win over T.C. Williams in 1973. I covered both those high school games and thought Andrew Lewis was a better story than T.C. Williams and that PH's defense (which didn't allow a point in the playoffs) was simply awe-inspiring.

The photo at the top here is of the local daily newspaper report of the opening game in the stadium and the cheerleaders are Jefferson High School's in 1942, my former mother-in-law Kitty Koomen in the center of them. I salvaged one of the bricks from the stadium and made a presentation piece (with this photo) for her at Christmas.

I shot a bunch of photos of the stadium during its last days, including a flood that covered its surface one last time just before it was torn down. That, I said at the time, was the final indignity for a stadium that had served well over the years before neglect took its toll and left it in a condition that would have meant a huge expense to save it.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

A Change in the General Assembly: Looking for Answers

Tech football coach Frank Beamer's salary wouldn't be affected.
Last year at this time, the only news coming out of the General Assembly was a series of horror stories concerning the lengths lawmakers would go to make abortion uncomfortable, inaccessible and even illegal.

We have a new government and that's changed. The GA is dealing with real issues that affect people on a daily basis and the constant assault on women's rights has eased, if not ceased. Some on the right are going to make abortion the only issue, regardless, but they have no chance of achieving their goals with the current breakdown, so it's on to what can be done.

One of the new issues is an interesting look at college costs and what athletic fees do to them in state schools. Here's a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch that tells you the relevant details.

What we're seeing, in an age when college costs outstrip the ability of many to attend, is that athletic costs per student equal 12 percent of the cost of college. That's too much and needs to be dealt with. There's a bill to limit state payment of coaching salaries to $100,000 and if that sounds severe, it's not. Most coaches' salaries do not come from the general fund, but are supplemented by the athletic departments. Thus, football coaches can make $1 million a year without affecting a student's costs.

However, there are a lot of programs and a lot of costs attached to programs that return nothing to the schools and must be paid for with state funds. I don't know what the answer is, but there's one out there and I'm delighted the lawmakers are looking for it. It's a nice change.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Captain of the Snow Shovel Team

This is my friend Deborah Goglia, world champion snow shoveler. I went over to Deborah's house in the Cave Spring area a little while ago to help her finish shoveling her driveway. She did most of the work ... and this was work.

The snow plow finally made it down her street last night and piled up heavy, frozen snow in front of her driveway, which she had partially shoveled yesterday. The snow had to be broken up, then shoveled. We used a mattock to break it, a garden shovel to separate it and a snow shovel to get the lighter snow. T'was quite an operation.

Deborah proves beyond a doubt that one can be gorgeous and mucho macho at the same time. She can be on my snow shovel team any time ... as the captain.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Opening of Two Roanoke Plays Delayed by Snowstorm

This week's snow is having effects all the way into next week and beyond, actually moving two theatrical productions to different opening nights.

Because rehearsals were covered in snow this week, opening night of Hollins MFA Playwright Wendy-Marie Martin's play "Ben & Rita" has been moved to Wednesday, February 19, and a matinee performance on Saturday, February 22 has been added. Details here.

Likewise, Off the Rails Theatre's production of  "Oleana"is delaying its opening until February 26 at Community High School. The show will run four consecutive nights: Feb. 26-March 1.  Ticket prices will be reduced to $10 Wednesday and Thursday and Friday and Saturday nights will be at the regular price of $15.

This production of "Ben & Rita is sponsored by Mill Mountain Theatre, Hollins University Theatre and The Playwright's Lab. Ben & Rita is directed by visiting guest director Cheryl Snodgrass, of Chicago, who has directed dozens of new plays in Roanoke going back to 2007.  The cast features three members of Roanoke's premier comedy improv company, Big Lick Conspiracy, Ross Laguzza, Ami Trowell and Kristin Banks, and Gwyneth Strope.

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by calling 540-362-6517 or visiting the website above. The play runs on MMT's Waldron Stage (the small stage) Feb. 19-22 with matinees Saturday and Sunday.

Here's a brief synopsis of the "Ben & Rita": "Rita's desperate need for attention has driven away everyone she's ever known. Ben never got close enough to anyone to scare them off in the first place. In fact, he hasn't left his apartment in 10 years. When Rita's widowed daughter, Eve, and her teenage child, Sammy, come to stay with Rita, the walls are broken down, literally. As Rita & Ben's worlds collide, they are faced with a choice. Continue to live in fear or take a chance on love?"

"Oleanna" is David Mamet's two-character play bout the power struggle between a university professor and one of his female students, who accuses him of sexual exploitation and, by doing so, spoils his chances of being accorded tenure.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Pampa Goes for a Walk in the (Virgin) Snow

The Greenway Trail at Memorial Bridge in Roanoke.
The new iron bridge crossing the Roanoke River along the greenway trail.
Pampa does a selfie at the bridge.
Love the snow ruffles.
Looking through the bright bridge.
Pampa's footprints in the snow. A lovely hike-ette.
A short walk on the Greenway Trail that runs under Memorial Bridge in Raleigh Court is a beauty in the snow. Here's some of what I saw this perfectly clear and bright winter morning with nearly two feet of snow on the ground in some spots.

Camera + Snow = A Hell of a Lot of Fun

Memorial Hill, one of the best sledding hills in Roanoke.
This kid soared off his tiny ramp.
Struggling up the hill and having a blast.
Help me, Dad, I'm stuck ...
... OK, sweetie, I'll carry the sled.
Dad and the boy: a bonding moment.
Sledding is definitely a family activity.
Took a run over to Memorial Bridge Hill this morning to capture some of what you're looking at here. The most important impression I came away with was just how much I miss my grandgirl, Madeline. The last time I was at the hill, she and I were sledding together, the little kid and the old man laughing so hard it hurt. So did the ground when I bounced off it time after time.