Moon Over My Arky

People are on the move today, traveling from distant spots to experience the solar eclipse in real time. This convergence of world events happening alongside the eighth day of National Poetry Month 2024 would be (for some) an ideal opportunity to commemorate. Perhaps there are hundreds (thousands?) of poets waxing eloquent about the waxing (and waning) of the moon. Not me.

As a helpful tool for people unable to travel directly into the darkened path, NASA has provided a virtual map. In our local area, the main thoroughfares have posted warnings prohibiting parking on the shoulders during the eclipse, so it would seem there’s an expectation of multiple misdemeanor law-breakers early this afternoon. (I wonder if troopers will be so distracted by the eclipse they’ll forget to hand out tickets?) Continue reading “Moon Over My Arky”

Jail Break!

Here we are … 8, 10, 12 weeks in with this crazy (and seriously overheated, if I may offer my personal opinion) pandemic. Have you enjoyed this bizarre social experiment as much as I have? (Granted, one of my last posts noted my comfortability with self-isolating.)

It’s been relatively easy for me to follow the guidelines. We live in a state where stay-at-home recommendations (for the most part) were modest, mostly respectful to sensible adults listening and heeding medical and government guidelines. Truth be told, my Beloved has trudged off to work every single day. It’s what he does.

Then, a week ago, we saw the headline “New York Times lists COVID-19 daily growth rate in NWA as highest in the nation.” Imagine the reactions! This isn’t something we aspire for top-list status. For myself, I’m hoping herd immunity kicks in soon.

Still, we’re adjusting here. And the good news I’ve been reading about – seemingly everywhere –  is that rioting, looting and pillaging cures the spread of COVID-19! It certainly takes the spotlight off  all the dreary predictions and public shaming (when someone isn’t wearing a mask … or sin-of-sins, failing to maintain proper distancing).

Long after a range of normalcy is restored across the world, the awful effects of COVID-19 will remain. So many individuals have lost their livelihoods and scores of businesses have been crippled beyond return. I’m no doctor, but even I can see this virus will go down in history beyond the number of people who died from the disease itself. I can’t help but think of its long-lasting psychological impact on children.

Further, the ease with which government encroached on personal liberties was stunning. (If that doesn’t bother you, maybe take some time to read the US Constitution.) Measles, influenza and smallpox were serious concerns for the founding fathers, but somehow they managed to secure our nation and enumerate certain rights of citizens … despite the numerous health challenges they encountered.

Don’t misunderstand, I know the virus was (and remains) a notable threat, especially for elderly folks with other health complications. As various states continue to transition through phases of re-opening, I’m optimistic we’ll see states and the country as a whole flourish and regain some economic and spiritual wholeness. But please, let’s not forget the essential freedoms previous generations fought and died to uphold; let’s hold them close, close enough we won’t let go.

In the meantime, a sonnet reflecting my thoughts on the lock-down.

Ten, Two and Four

For people who are into fine dining, there’s big news in our locale. The news revolves around the Texas chain of hamburger joints, Whataburger, now introducing their brand to northwest Arkansas. (Yes, the fine dining reference is written with tongue-in-cheek.) I think I’ve eaten at a Whataburger maybe twice in my life.whataburger

All the buzz about this new chain coming to town reminded me of other local burger places I’ve enjoyed. Though fast food is mostly off my list nowadays, I’ve relented from time to time when I’m entertaining my grandson (actually, when he’s entertaining me). He likes kids’ meals … cheeseburger (no pickles), fries and a toy. Recently, his parents have stressed healthier choices, so Sonic and McDonalds are slightly verboten. Continue reading “Ten, Two and Four”

Banners Gonna Ban

So it begins. The successful demonizing of one object (the Confederate flag) is rapidly opening the door for additional suggestions of items that “deserve” similar removal from our sight and consciousness. A film critic at the New York Post has written a column suggesting “‘Gone With the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag.Gone-With-the-Wind-gone-with-the-wind-4370629-1024-768No doubt, images from the iconic movie (like the one above) are what motivates such thinking. This film critic, Lou Lumenick, asserts Gone With the Wind (GWTW) is “insidious” and goes “to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery – an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes.” He characterizes author Margaret Mitchell as a “die-hard Southerner” and pooh-poohs Mitchell’s natural affinity and loyalty to the region where she was born. He calls the film an “undeniably racist artifact.” Really? Continue reading “Banners Gonna Ban”

That Mean, Fickle Woman

One of the singers from the 60s was a guy named James Darren. I first remember him from his role as a teen idol on The Donna Reed Show. He was more than a musician though as he enjoyed a varied career on television and in films. His biggest hit on the pop charts was a 1961 song called Goodbye Cruel World.

Like many songs of that era, this one was certainly silly. Still, it became a top ten hit, reaching number three on the Billboard Top 100 and was also popular in the UK. Continue reading “That Mean, Fickle Woman”

Purging History

When our older son purchased his first vehicle, he was about sixteen years old. He wanted a pickup truck and found a 1984 Dodge that appeared to be a dependable vehicle. After he purchased it, he began making modifications. I recall he put lifts on it and he painted it a dull camouflage green. (There were other things as well that I’ve likely forgotten.) He loved that vehicle. The picture below isn’t his truck, but a similar version.We were glad he enjoyed spending time fixing up his truck and making it an expression of his personality. However, we put our foot down when it came to one specific attachment he’d planned – he wanted to hang a Confederate battle flag in the rear window. We told him we thought that was an especially bad idea. Continue reading “Purging History”

Where Is Excellence?

Earlier this month, I posted a video of the most honest “commencement” speech young graduates of today should be required to hear. Almost every day this week, I’ve talked with at least one person (most of whom were educators) who expressed his or her deep concern about the current state of education and learning in our country.Scholarship-clip-art-300x264In my state, there’s been an ongoing discussion about Common Core and the state Board of Education has been re-evaluating. Earlier this week, it appeared they’d be adopting another curriculum. However, decision-makers have ruled against the recommendations of a review committee and the process is dividing educators and reviewers. Continue reading “Where Is Excellence?”

Poetic Artistry

Yesterday in this space, I saluted my brother and sister-in-law on the occasion of their 48th anniversary. They enjoyed an anniversary getaway in a town near us and because they were nearby, that allowed us to meet for lunch. Since they are both talented artists, we settled on the perfect meeting place, the spectacular Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.Crystal_Bridges_at_night

When I say this is the perfect lunch outing, I’m not kidding. Lunch at the museum was delightful and a splendid first course (if you will) before the entrée – feasting on world-class artwork in gallery after gallery. There’s never enough time to relish it all, but the atmosphere (and menu, if I may continue with the food metaphor) invites one back for follow-up visits. Continue reading “Poetic Artistry”

Wrestling With The Devine

The total number of poetic forms probably exceeds anyone’s ability to compile a complete list. Some of the forms are obscure while others are well known and are represented by numerous familiar examples.bullwinkle-poetry1

When I first got serious about writing poetry half a lifetime ago, almost every time I ran across a new form, I challenged myself to write at least one poem with that form. I thought it would be a helpful exercise in learning the specific form as well as a means of exercising my poetic muscles through new challenges … though the sonnet will probably always be my favorite poetic form. Continue reading “Wrestling With The Devine”

Refuse To Be A Victim

Back in the days when I was in eighth or ninth grade, my girlfriend and I decided we’d work out together. (In those days, we called it exercise.) It was summertime, we planned to sunbathe in our two-piece swimsuits, and a sudden interest in boys dictated we look our best.VintageAdWe were fourteen or fifteen, easily impressed by the silly advertisements in newspapers. No doubt, we were conscious of ads like the one above. How Do You Look In Your Bathing Suit? We wanted to look good.

So we did what people usually do … we took our measurements, height and weight, and recorded them on a chart. The chart was tacked to a wall in my friend’s basement where we exercised. Everyday, we recorded how many sit-ups and jumping jacks and other calisthenics we did as well as noting changes in our weight. We were consistent with the routine for several weeks. Continue reading “Refuse To Be A Victim”