Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A Sketch of the Circus

The circus is a mystery thing. A field becomes a city of gently swaying canvas envelopes. Why they visit us is a secret they will not tell, if they know. But go quickly into the magic darkness unafraid. Wish the unwishable, believe the unbelievable. Memorize the sights, the sounds, the smells—by dawn, the wispy city becomes a field again.

There were colorful posters and billboards on every flat surface available, advertising the Circus Mystique.


The black-and-white outlines were filled with red, yellow, and blue, showing each beast in highly unlikely poses—a joganot on a tightrope? A joganot was a large herbivore that ate its weight in vegetation each day. Many homes had a pet joganot instead of a kitchen disposal unit. They also pulled wagons if wearing a feed bag. The purple gross was a bird to be avoided because it had never been potty trained, and the long-billed snooze slept during the day and caught insects at night. Its wings beat so quickly that it could be heard as a whoosh above in the black sky.

This performance will include the following:

1. The Grand Entrance Parade. The Circus Mystique is proud to welcome each and every one of you.

2. Danger in the Cat Cage. In the center ring, within a cage of steel, these wild beasts perform amazing tricks such as jumping through a hoop of flame!

3. The Riding Gelatos. In ring number one, Papa Gelato oversees seven of the finest jackalopes doing superb dances, while in ring number three, Eve Gelato supervises her children riding bareback, doing flips and whirls on their jackalopes.

4. The Flying Maidens. High above you, our aerial chorus line dances and cavorts for your pleasure while dangling from ropes high above the arena.

5. Here Come the Clowns. Mayhem in the arena as our masters of fun amuse one and all.

6. Bring on the Dogs. In all three rings, watch and be amazed by their seriously silly antics.

7. The Elephant Shrews. In the center ring, these amazingly graceful animals will astound you with their dancing and high jinks!

8. The Wire of Death. In the stratosphere above the center ring, the Abasheds Quintet will defy the danger of the high wire for your approval.

9. Six Performing Joganots. These gentle giants, having astonishing dexterity, perform in the center ring.

10. Great Jumping Gerbils. In all three rings, watch these graceful beauties leap or climb through a variety of hoops,runs, and ladders.

Following the Intermission:

1. Clown Alley. Here they are again with more hilarious misadventures.

2. The Big Bang. Shot from a cannon in ring number one, watch Tony Toledo land in the net in ring number three! Do not try this at home!

3. The Supremes. This is the finest trapeze act of all time, right above your heads!

4. Rodeo. Throughout the arena, watch these trick riders try to outperform each other.

5. Ballet in the Sky. A lavish production of aerialists who defy the laws of gravity, accompanied by the world’s only performing goldfinches.

6. Menagerie Madness. You saw them in cages and dens, now see the unbelievable dexterity they have racing and prancing in all three rings. Cats! Dogs! Gerbils! Rabbits!

7. Ring Toss. In all three rings, we present the most famous jugglers of our day.

8. Scramble. Clowns, jugglers, rope skippers, chipmunks, and rabbits everywhere!

9. Mystique. The moment you’ve been waiting for. The one, the only Professor Mystique will perform magical spells and pose questions without answers in the center ring.

10. The Circus on Parade. In a fond farewell to you all, the entire cast and our beloved animals circle the arena.
Extracts from Lands of Inchoate Trilogy, 3rd Edition, by Edward J. Fisher, Xlibris 2014.
Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com, Xlibris.com, www.GreatImagination.com, The Bookshelf, Mt. Pleasant, Mi.

Monday, December 22, 2014

The most important piece you shall read this year!

 December 22, 2014

Arthur Demarest: On the future of the U.S., or of Western civilization in general, I tend to be quite pessimistic. Perhaps that is simply because “collapse” is what I do. As an archaeologist, I have excavated single trenches, just a few meters deep, in which you can see stratigraphic levels of several civilizations. We find layers of artifacts and evidence indicating periods of great prosperity, but always separated by levels of burned earth, ash and artifacts that reflect the epochs of social disintegration, chaos and tragedy that seem to conclude the achievements and aspirations of every society.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Winter Solstice 2014

December 21

  At this rolling time of the year we look forward to the beginning of winter. This year it will occur in central Michigan on December 21 at 6:11 am. This is when the Earth’s tilt of 23.5 degrees points its axis directly away from the Sun. It is this tilt that causes our seasons. The sun will appear directly overhead along the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5 degrees south latitude. With the Earth’s North Pole at its maximum tilt from the sun, locations north of the equator see the sun follow its lowest and shortest arc across the southern sky. For the next six months, the days again grow longer as the sun spends more time above the horizon.

  Places on or north of the Arctic Circle will be in total darkness. Those on or south of the Antarctic Circle will receive 24 hours of sunshine. The sun will appear directly overhead along the Tropic of Capricorn, at 23.5 degrees south of the equator.

  December 21 is the shortest day of the year for us with about ten hours of daylight.  The earliest sunset for us was on December 7. The perihelion (closest point to the sun in our elliptical orbit) occurs around January 4th at about 147 million km. This is a little over 88 million miles.

  Astronomers have refined the degrees into minutes, seconds, and highly accurate decimal places. Because the Earth wobbles slightly on its axis, due to problems of indigestion (that magma rumbling around is a pain), the times and degrees change from year to year.

  In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice was taken seriously by the ancients, leading to a number of festivals to coax the gods into bringing back the sun and warmth. The Saturnalia was a major event for the Romans, with lots of drinking, gift-giving, bonfires, candles, and feasts. It lasted from three to seven days depending on the whims of the Emperor and economic conditions. Saturn was the creator of man in the Golden Age, where there was no winter. He was ousted by his son, Jupiter and life went downhill from there.

  Dies Natalis Solis Invicti means “the birthday of the unconquered Sun”. In what is now Iran, the Zoroastrians worshipped Mithras, who was created by the chief god, Ahura-Mazda, to save the world. This festival was celebrated in his honor by Roman soldiers who occupied the land. In 274 CE the Roman emperor, Aurelian, made it an official cult holiday alongside the many other Roman holidays.

  Brumalia was a Greek winter holiday associated with Dionysus and wine. By the time of this winter holiday the wine was ready to be poured into jars for drinking.  Although a Greek holiday, the name Brumalia is from the Latin for Winter Solstice. (N.S. Gill, www.About.com .)

  For one and all, enjoy the Winter Solstice!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Excerpts from Lands of In-KO-8 Trilogy, 3rd Edition

The book is about a dark-matter world. It involves space travel, many cultures, war and faith. Here are several of the characters:

He awoke from a terrible dream and found himself in the middle of a field covered with wheat stubble. The stubble had pierced his hands and face, and he was bleeding. A bell somewhere far away solemnly toned the hour: one, two, three. Dawn was still to the distant east, rushing toward him.

He went back to the mill and entered what he took to be an empty shed. There was straw on the floor and two animals, a feeding trough, and a basin of water. He recognized them as jackalopes, amiable creatures. They were used for pulling wagons and plows. They looked at him shrewdly.

There was early snow, and as it deepened, the pace slowed. John Narrowpath led his little group to a shelter, a wayside inn called the Flying Pig, with a good barn and as good a bar. The sign above the door indicated that the proprietor was Fiesta Rohling-Boyle. He took his wagon into the sturdy barn, unhitched his lopes, brushed the snow from their backs, and led them to a food trough and water basin. Fiesta was a jolly ample woman.

All had been tranquil until 930 AST. Sudlandt’s King Fugal IV had died, leaving his throne to his son, Fugal V. Fugal IV had been hard and trouble enough, but his son took all of his father’s worst traits and polished them until they sparkled. Grasping, unflinching, cruel, he had a temperature so low that Celsius himself could not measure it.

Dr. Hepatica Windblown was the monastery’s herbalist and an assistant to Dr. Cronkite. Tall as bamboo and lean as a reed, her nose formed a wondrous rudder. When she walked through a still room, she left a wake in the air.

One of the chairs was occupied by a man who was a stranger to Nathan. He was lean and hunched over like a rodent. He hadn’t shaved in days, leaving a wire stubble on his sallow cheeks and weak chin. His small shiny eyes glistened in the lamplight. He wore ragged clothes, and Nathan noticed that even the patches on his sleeves and knees were worn with loose multicolored threads on every one.

Willy Limpet was a small rather withered-looking middle-aged man with thin wispy hair, one who had missed out on the meaning of life completely. A widower with no children and few friends, he shuffled through each day wearing a furrow deepening in time.

Sylva Sylvaram was the one hundredth master of the Inchoate Polytechnic Institute (the Polytek) in Dolphene, capital of Nordlandt. He was tall, at least forty centimeters, stately, and immensely powerful. His was a presence such that when he entered a room, all conversation stopped and all eyes swept toward him. He had held his office for over fifty years, yet his face did not reflect the passage of time. His features were serene. His large forehead indicated his great intelligence. There was no friction in the machinery of his mind. When he moved his eyes to those of another, it was as if he could read the other’s thoughts. It would be unimaginable to lie to such a being; he would simply extract the correct answer if he willed to do so. His was a memory that never forgot; he could recall every detail of anything he had read and could quote whole passages of a conversation held years before.

For more go to www.GreatCreativity.net.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Some holiday spirit.

Crumbs for Christmas

He tickled pickles on his plate
He made burritos wet— he
Bent the lentils that he ate
And rolled in his spaghetti.

I cannot tell you why
Lord Nelson, with his singing
Made laughing gulls cry
With tales of his upbringing.

Hickory dickory dock
Three mice ran up the clock
The clock struck one
The other two ejected safely.


A Solstice Gift

  It was December 20. The chipmunks beneath the family room had three dimes to spend for Winter Solstice presents. Filbert, Hickory, and Wally (for walnut) wanted to get everyone something special. “Let’s get a barrel of pistachios,” suggested Filbert eagerly. The other two doubted that three dimes would be enough. “How about a case of peanut butter?” wondered Hickory. Wally was more practical, “Maybe we should go to Ric’s Market and price things".

  The boys didn’t realize how far away Ric’s was. They had heard Those-Who-Live-Above talk about it only taking five minutes. They started out in great spirits, each with a dime in a cheek pouch. The morning was pleasant; the air was brisk but there was a hint of snow somewhere out and about. Hickory had a fairly good sense of direction and they headed east. Morning past and so did the afternoon. “Are we there yet” was asked every couple of minutes and Hickory just gritted his teeth. Filbert became distraught when evening came, “Mom usually wants me in bed by now,” he fretted.

  They got to the market near closing time. They slipped in as a customer was leaving with a shopping cart. My, it was big in there! They scurried down each aisle, Wally looking at prices. “Way too much,” he said again and again. Finally he spotted something. Something wonderful. “There it is! PEANUTS!! By the pound. He did some figuring and concluded that each could take two cheekfulls. He left the dimes where the clerk would find them, and out they slipped.

  They were tired but determined. They headed west. On and on. It started to snow. A bit at first, but it increased as they continued. Crossing the street was dangerous, they knew, so were extra careful. A passing car flung slush on Hickory’s tail. Many of the homes had holiday lights to cheer the passers-by.

  The family room was close now. Somewhere a great clock struck the hour: TEN, ELEVEN, TWELVE! Cold and wet they found the tiny entrance and squeezed in. Everyone was there. When they divided the peanuts each had two. They sang chipmunk songs, wished each other good cheer and settled in for a long winter’s nap.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

My new book


KIRKUS REVIEW A sci-fi saga of an alien world, recounting its wars, its near-destruction and its risky restoration. Fans of such whimsical fantasy settings as Piers Anthony’s Xanth or Terry Pratchett’s Discworld may be equally impressed by Fisher’s audacious creation. Inchoate is a planet made of dark matter that occupies a point in space inside the Earth but that’s slightly out of phase in time. As a result, the two independent, evolving environments don’t (normally) interact. Inhabitants of Inchoate are one-sixth the size of Homo sapiens, with a quasi-feudal social structure, advanced technology, and a penchant for befriending talking animals such as jackalopes, rats, dogs and spiders. Successive, advanced alien races have visited Inchoate and used it as a key station in their intergalactic teleportation network. This inspires an act of wartime sabotage that causes Inchoate to be accidentally transmitted several light years away; its people awaken from long-term suspended animation to find themselves in a double-star system in Sirius, where they rebuild over the next thousand years. Fisher further stirs the pot by telling his three-part tale out of chronological order, starting in the middle, proceeding to the prologue and then reaching the finale. The major connecting thread between them is the resourceful troubleshooter Naksarben, aka John Narrowpath, aka Brother Nathan, who weaves his way through palace intrigues and virtuous secret operations against tyrants who rely on religious fundamentalism and militarism to gain power. A final, twist ending about the character’s true origin is a head-scratcher, but by then, readers will have bought into the novel’s blend of quantum mechanics and fairy tale. The author, who also contributes scattered maps, diagrams and illustrations, is a master punster, offering character names such as Hans Pholde, Shellson Carapace, a philosophy professor named Eponymous Muser, a scientist and professor named Prudence DeCysseve, a librarian called Reed Tomes, an order called the Monastery of the Inevitable Whens and a capital city dubbed Distopia. A fetching, seriocomic fantasy of faith, politics, science and death that never succumbs to cuteness.

3rd Edition: November 2014
ISBN: 978-1453519615
Page count: 514pp
Publisher: Xlibris
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: Oct. 31st, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Truly Horribles

The stars of Orion marshaled the last night of October to feast on those who walked alone with the frost coxing them indoors to a warm fire.

I was going to start a story for you with that as its first line but found it too frightening. Let’s start again.

The Truly Horribles were misfit spirits. They really wanted to frighten people but didn’t have the knack. To begin with, they didn’t look frightening, or even like spirits. They looked more like lumpy clowns in soiled baggy green pants, red suspenders to hold up the baggy pants, polka dotted blue shirts, purple bow ties (imagine, bow ties in this day and age!) and yellow bowler hats. Downright silly! They tried walking like zombies, with their eyes wide, their tongues lolling, and their limp hands straight out in front. People laughed, “Look the circus must be in town and the show can’t be very good. Just look at those foolish clowns.”

They tried disguises. When they wore sheets they forgot the eyeholes and couldn’t see. When they wore costumes over their clothes they looked like balloons from a Thanksgiving Day parade. When they put on invisible paint no one could see them.

Even their tricks for Trick or Treat were lame. They would ring a door bell and forget to run and hide. When they threw a pie it ended in their own face. When they tried to roll a garbage can down the hill, they would run in front and ended up crashing into the stone wall at the bottom. When they chased someone in the cemetery they would trip on the tomb stones.

To top it off, the Truly Horribles weren’t really even spirits. They were the misfit boys from down the street. None they less, they wished everyone a Happy Halloween, and I do too. BOO! So there!

Friday, October 3, 2014

M'slle Hepzeba in our back yard

A social outcast crept into our back yard a night or two ago. She was ill and hungry and in need of solitude. We gave that to her as best we could. She has wolfed down sunflower seeds and shuffled off under a neighbor's porch. Nature is what it is, and we can't foresee her future, nor ours for that matter. Perhaps Pogo and Albert will come to her rescue.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The onset of Autumn 2014

On September 22, at 10:29 P.M. EDT. Autumn began. I like Autumn and Winter best, followed by Spring. Summer is okay, but I get even more cranky than usual when the temperature exceeds 80 degrees, and with global warming a reality, future summers will sizzle.

Where we are in the circle of the year depends on where we stand, just as how we will vote does. Since we live in the northern hemisphere it seems logical to leap from the middle of Michigan to a point “above” the center of our orbit. You may recall the solar clock with the Winter Solstice at 12 o’clock, the Vernal Equinox at 9 o’clock, the Summer Solstice at 6 o’clock, and the Autumnal Equinox at 3 o’clock. We are just past 3, moving counterclockwise at about 67 thousand miles per hour.

On the day of the equinox the Sun shines directly on the equator, where there are exactly 12 hours of daylight and 12 of night. Where we live day and night are not exactly equal but no one notices. The daylight hours become shorter and will continue to do so until the first day of Winter, December 21.

In ancient times, the Autumn Equinox brought a variety of pagan festivals. The Welsh celebrated the birth of Mabon, the son of Mordon, the goddess of the Earth. Mabon simply means Son. His full name was Mabon ap Mordon, son of the goddess of the Earth.

“The only myth we have about Mabon says that within minutes of his birth, he was stolen from between his mother’s side and the wall next to which she lay. By whom, is not known. He was imprisoned in a castle, on an island in a lake, until his uncle, King Arthur, obeying a prophecy, freed him to participate in the adventure called The Wooing of Olwen.” (See Dana Corby, www.widdershins.org.)

Many cities and areas have Fall Festivals, particularly in places like Michigan, where leaves turn to gold, yellow, scarlet, russet, burnt umber, and raw sienna. We here in the middle of the mitten don’t have to travel very far for great color tours. We see the leaves by light from the sun, and it took about eight minutes for each photon from the sun to reflect off the leaves into our eyes.

Another wonderful aspect of Fall is the harvest. For thousands of years farmers have gathered crops to last the long Winter ahead. Our Farmers’ Market features pumpkins, and hardy squashes such as acorn, butternut, blue Hokkaido, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti, turban, and my favorite, Hubbard. Fall apples, such as honey crisp, are also available. Other vegetables that store well include potatoes, cabbage, kohlrabi, and onions. To celebrate the harvest families often gather to share a wonderful meal and enjoy each other’s company.

  Enjoy the onset of the beautiful mid Michigan Autumn as she unfolds her wonders. Crisp, fresh air, the glory of the trees preparing themselves for Winter, glittering frost on the lawn, roof and every twig, the freshness of the harvest, good friends, and peaceful memories are yours for the taking.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My selfie

Dr. Curtis Young, MD, MS, FACS of Midland Hospital performed an operation on my right hand to relieve Dupuytren's Contracture, an hereditary problem of those of northern European extraction, that shrinks the tendons on the hand. As you can see, the procedure went well.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Future use of the A-10

July 18, 2014
Dear Senator Levin:

I am a retired USAF officer and am concerned about the crisis in Ukraine and the Russian threat to Eastern Europe.

 I am also concerned about the Air Force decision to scrap its A10 close-support aircraft. While assigned to the Pentagon, I became familiar with the A10’s capabilities. It is a cost-effective platform for protecting frontline forces, and attacking opposing armor, personnel, and caches of ammunition and supplies. It has proven itself in combat and is able to carry out its mission despite heavy damage.

 Rather than scrap such a weapon system, I believe it would be better to sell or loan it to European nations at risk from invasion. Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland could use this capability in their defense.

 I know you are extremely busy in these last days of your service to the people of Michigan and the United States. If you could share my concerns with those making the final decision regarding the A-10 Thunderbolt II, I would truly appreciate it.

 Thank you for your many years as our senator.


Edward J. Fisher
Lt. Col., USAF, (retired)

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The wee folk and their trees

The wee folk had cut down a stand of their magic trees.
Crafty strangers had been watching from the undergrowth with great interest.
Their leader approached the wees, “Will you sell us the remainder of those trees?” he said with a smile.
“Why do you want these stumpy things?” asked the Groft of the wees.
“We —have need for many things,” replied the Stroug of the strangers, “We can offer you—gold?” The deal was struck and both seemed satisfied.
The wees hid their gold at the end of rainbows.
The strangers turned the slices of the magic wood into coins.
For them all went well for awhile. As the supply ran out, they were using stems, then tearing up pieces they ripped from the soil. It was all valuable to them. Near the end a few died. Then more and more. Soon all the strangers were gone.

Thus, it seems: That roots are the evil of all money.

Friday, June 6, 2014

New show at Art Reach

The new artists exhibition at Art Reach at 111 East Broadway in Mt. Pleasant is "Reuse,Recycle,Reinvent." It features works by Laura Coffee, Jessica Stefani, and Lavana Shurtliff. The pieces include discarded and reused items placed in original formats and include paintings, sculpture, pottery and jewelry. The show continues through June 30. Gallery hours: M F 10am-5:30pm, Saturday, 10am-4pm.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Alright, more cruise pictures...!

Several of you asked for more photos of our Panama Canal cruise. here they are.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The boustrophedon form

 Three thousand years ago, an early form of writing developed in Babylonia was written in the boustrophedon form: every other line was written from right to left.

The standard from:

Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow
And everywhere that Mary went
The lamb was sure to go

  In the boustrophedon form:

 Mary had a little lamb

Wons sa etihw saw eceelf sti

And everywhere that Mary went

Og ot erus saw bmal eht

It takes a bit to learn how to read it, but in stride, you could read almost twice as fast.

Source: Peter Watson: "a history of thought and invention, from fire to freud", Harper Perennial, 2005.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Mid-Michigan Model Train Show

The 34th Annual Mid-Michigan Model Train Show will be held on MARCH 23, 2014, 11am to 4 pm at the Finch Field House, CMU, Mt. Pleasant, MI. Free parking, operating layouts, vendors, and food concessions are available. The show is sponsored by Dog Tales, Inc. (Therapy Dogs Reading with Kids) and Clare Depot Preservations, Inc. Admission for adults is $4 and kids are free.


Friday, March 7, 2014

The unique art of Philip Carey

An exhibition of the "Postal Art & Dream Drawings" of Philip Carey will be in the Morey Family Gallery in Art Reach through March 31.  Carey's postal art depicts the adventures of "mini-Philip", phobias, scenes from dialysis, landscapes, travel and colorful designs. These are created with #10 envelopes, ink, and Prismacolor pencil during his three times a week 3 1/2 hour kidney dialysis treatments that keep him alive. This California artist has had many fascinating careers, including as a professional singer, serving in the Navy, and for 35 years as an exhibits designer/installer at the California Museum of Science and Industry, and other venues. Carey's work has won many awards and has been exhibited in California, Chicago,  Michigan, and other areas.
Click on images to enlarge.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

CMU Students Perform at Unitarian Universalist Fellowship

On March 1, 2014, seven CMU students sang a medley of show tunes for family and friends at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan, 319 S.University Avenue, Mt. Pleasant. They were accompanied by Mary Beth Orr and directed by Dr. Annette Thornton.

Singers included Lisa Lull, CJ Malloy, Maika Van Oosterhout, Jullian Weimer, Grace Van Poppel, and Conner Hall. They are members of the Music Theatre Capstone Class and will travel to New York for workshops and auditions later this month.

They will perform at Art Reach on Broadway on Wednesday, March 5 for Let’s Do Lunch at noon. Bring your lunch and be prepared to be entertained by a fine young group of talented vocal artists.

Click image to enlarge.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Thoughts on the Winter Olympics

  My wife and I really have enjoyed the Winter Olympics. We got off to a rocky start with Charter Cable, though. The morning paper indicated we could see the opening live on the Montreal station, which our guide indicated was channel 18. I turned on the set to that channel and was confronted with “NOT AUTORIZED: HUB.” A call to the local telephone number was useless: it is for subscribing or checking bills. The CALL CHARTER number led to an automated answering system where I had to say “No” a number of times, in an increasingly loud voice. Finally a human answered. I explained the problem. “I’ll transfer your call.” Another human; I explained the problem: “I’ll transfer your call.” A third human transferred me again. A mild-mannered young man answered. I explained for the fourth time. “What is your area code?” he asked. I told him. “I am sending a signal to your system. It will take a minute.” Nothing happened. “What channel was that again?” I told him. There was a pause. “Oh, they have transferred that to channel 3.” I switched and there was the opening ceremony. I thanked the young man. “Do you wish to take a survey on the quality of our service?” I declined.

  The opening ceremony was extravagant. Well when a country spends $50 billion on the Winter Olympics what else would you expect? There were many special effects, and I am sure many of you watched. What upset me was the sanitized history of Russia it depicted. Apparently, Trotsky wasn’t assassinated, nor were most of the Mensheviks, who helped Stalin get into power. The revolution was rather bloodless and everybody enjoyed their new freedom. World War II, in this rendition, did not lead to the deliberate starvation of millions of peasants; many of the Cossacks were not slaughtered after they had saved the army. And many of the satellite countries were not overrun and turned into Soviet states. No mention of Gulags, and Siberia was a pleasant place to winter-over. The Cold War never happened in this fairytale, and the Soviet Union did not collapse because of the complete failure of communism. In fact the word “communism” is never even mentioned.

  And as to the supposed “friendliness” of Russians, when Nedra and I visited St. Petersburg, we never saw anyone happy. We did witness the Midnight Sun, but the city was dismal, the people on the streets seemed resigned, and the Hermitage was downright gloomy. The only hint of a smile was on the face of one of the solemn uniformed security agents as we were leaving when I said “Da sveedaneeya, tovaris.” The tour guide had taught me to say it:”Goodbye, friend.” Yeah, right.

  Putin’s Potemkin Village must be a strange experience to those attending the Olympics. Many of the buildings were incomplete and some of the hotel rooms didn’t have furniture at first. The strangest photo I saw was of a typical bathroom, with a sign by a special pail, “Don’t flush toilet paper!” The location also seems peculiar: near the Black Sea, Sochi is a sub-tropical resort. Putin wants it, Putin gets it. But is it good for Russia? Putin wants his country to be great, yet he refuses to do great things with his country. The games have done more to divide his people than unite them.

  As to the games, we have found the Montreal coverage during the daytime to be better than other stations. Many of the events are live. They switch from venue to venue quickly. The commentators are brief and not self-opinionated. The advertising is short and often related to the Olympics. Of course, we are fortunate to be able to watch during the daytime. In the evening we switch from channel to channel, however.

  I have to admit, I prefer the Winter Olympics to those in the summer. Growing up in New England, we had lots of snow, frozen ponds and great sledding hills. We have watched men’s and women’s skating, luge, downhill, ski jumping — they sure have improved the safety of the hills—, snowboarding, skiing, bobsled, curling, well just about anything and everything. There are 88 countries participating in these Olympics and 2,800 athletes, a splendid gathering.

  The games go on until February 23. As I write this there has been neither sabotage, nor disturbances within the Steel Ring around Sochi, with its 40,000 Russian security people within it. May that hold true throughout the rest of the games. The next Winter Olympics, in 2018, will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Let us hope that by then, North Korea will become a bit more sane than it appears to be now. In the meantime, let the 2014 Winter Olympics end well!


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

The Amazing Art of Lenore Crawford

Lenore Crawford's fabric art is a fusion of quilting, thread painting, and fabric painting. After working in a hospital and then chemical research for many years she wanted to pursue her passion for art as a full-time endeavor. She has worked in many different media including pen and ink, acrylics, wood, and others and became intrigued with fabric as a medium. Over the years her art quilting has developed and grown. Now, using fabric along with fabric painting and thread painting on fused fabrics has allowed her to interpret her love of France, their architecture, and flower gardens in a sort of "fabric painting". She creates landscapes with dramatic color, texture, and warmth that is not possible simply with paint. Her technique allows her to add fine detail, depth through light and shadow, and texture to her art. The finished quilts are her interpretation, in fabric, of places to escape and to dream about.