Section 2, part 2

(1) Alyson in CO (with an offer for those in the Northeast): FOR SALE BY ORIGINAL OWNER in Central NJ: 2004 Chrysler Sebring Convertible,2-door, 6CYL, RED, 137,000 miles, Good condition. Other features: automatic transmission, cruise control, AC, am/fm radio, 6 CD player, Navigator system, remote key lock and opener. $3000. Questions / Serious buyers:

(2) Rod R. in NJ: Blaine, a great way for you and your readers to start writing your life stories is to login to and just answer questions of your choosing. Fun, easy, quick and Free! I encourage everyone to write their story – we all have more than one.

(3) Walter B. in NC: I’d like to introduce you to my new website [PWIMSD Masks . . . Possesion With Intent to Manufacture, Sell, and Distribute Masks]. . . . This is also my first time working with WordPress, so mind the clutter, it’s still under construction. Any feedback would be appreciated.

(4) Andy C. in NC (with a REQUEST FOR HELP): I think awhile ago Maria Mason mentioned that we were working on filming the Asheville High School Marching Band’s trip to DC for the inauguration. A friend and I took that trip with the school and documented as much of the trip as we could donating our time. We set up a fundraiser to help pay for the editing time through Indigogo. Our goal is $4,000, and so far have raised $2,555, and are $1,455 shy of that. We have eight days left. I’m wondering if we could get your help to spread the word of our need for help via your network? (Indigogo takes a 4% fee if you make your goal, or a 9% fee if you don’t – we’re trying avoid the 9% if possible) Anything you can do would be much appreciated! Below is a link to the fundraiser.

(5) Pam: just tried a restaurant in Hickory, NC I really enjoyed. It is only a few miles from the furniture market. It is called The Old German Schnitzal House. You have got to try the apple strudel! It is to die for. Hope all is well in the mountains.
(6) Herb S. in NJ: Ought to watch the Central Park Five…done by Ken Burns’ wife.
Check out Spielberg’s The Last Days….if you don’t mind sobbing.
(7) Ruth W. in PA (with a REQUEST FOR HELP from readers anywhere):

Oops now I’ve now done it. Randomly picked out of 30/100 submissions Jason and I are scheduled to audition for a 10 minute skit for the LAB at the Painted Bride Arts Center on March 11 10:20am for a skit I haven’t written yet. DOH!(I guess my off the top of my head pitch was too good.)HELP US WRITE THE SKIT.I’m writing a 10 minute comedy skit for the Live Arts Festival in Philadelphia called: “Living with an Urban Survivalist” showcasing such preparation. (One of the best ways to educate is through witty, engaging ideas and humor and what if scenarios.)There will be trial and error demo of such survivalist supplies on stage i.e. the portable stove that works with firewood and has a cell phone charger but the phone doesn’t work during the skit because the satellites don’t work during the disaster and other dilemmas. My husband who is more of a collector/hunter/survivalist will be show casing his gear, and on stage I’ll be posing as the skeptic partner who appreciates his preparation even if some of the things in the survival kit don’t work out as planned. 🙂 Any suggestions on what supplies to showcase in this skit are welcome; food, flares, camping gear, medicine, technology… ?What do you think is the best way to introduce this topic to an audience who hasn’t considered proactively preparing and gathering supplies? How do you introduce the topic as a party or social gathering? Thanks again for your great posts!If you are shy about posting your comments send email with Subject: “Living with an Urban Survivalist” for the pitch and plot to: ;-)Your help/ businesss will be mentioned the performance if this craziness gets that far!
Section 4C
C. I started college as a journalism major, wanting to be a sportswriter . . . though I never became one, I got a true appreciation of what life could have been like for me by reading Frank DeFord’s OVER TIME: MY LIFE AS A SPORTSWRITER (Atlantic Monthly Press).The author, a senior contributing editor of SPORTS ILLUSTRATED,  a weekly commentator of NPR’s MORNING EDITION and a regular correspondent on the HBO show REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL, tells many fascinating stories in this memoir of his life in sports over the last half-century.
Among them:* What touched me, in his [Muhammad Ali’s] decline, was that only one of the old entourage did stay loyal to him. He was Howard Bingham, a photographer, a lovely guy who stuttered. All the others had abandoned the old champ when he was no longer a meal ticket. Not Howard. I was so moved by this enduring affection between two men that I did a story on their friendship. I found that Bingham and Ali called each other Bill. It was a sort of code, their way of saying that, whatever one of them had been to the world, to each other neither was more special than the other. They were just a couple of guys named Bill. “I’m lucky,: Muhammad told me. “Did you ever have good friend?” This from the man who was supposed to be the most famous person in the world.And this one that had me laughing:* Of course, it is also true that as mysteriously distinct as my voice may be and as consistently brilliant as my sporting observations are, I come on pretty early at most NPR stations, and so people are just up and multitasking. Thus, they can manage only to lend me an ear as they brush their teeth or otherwise perform their morning ablutions.I was speaking at one swanky eastern college, and at the reception beforehand, the president entered the room. She was very pretty, very vivacious, and also very loud. Spotting me across the room, she called above the crowd, “Oh, Frank, this is the first time I’ve heard you with my clothes on.”

Heads turned. Gasps gasped.

In addition, I liked how DeFord presented insights on many of the great sportswriters that I had grown up reading as a child–including Jimmy Cannon:

* Cannon also had created an inspired irregular column called “Nobody Asked Me, but . . . ,” which allowed him to express wonderfully colorful and bizarre opinions about sports and the associated life he encountered. He had a fabulous eye and his juxtapositions were priceless.

OK, a few of his typical Nobody Asked Me, Buts:

“I can’t ever remember staying for the end of a movie where the actors wore togas.”

“Guys who use other people’s coffee saucers for ashtrays should be banned from public places.”

“Women aren’t embarrassed when they buy men’s pajamas, but a man buying a nightgown act as though he were dealing with a dope peddler.”

“Fishing, with me has always been an excuse to drink.”

“It’s almost impossible for a girl to be homely if she wears a gardenia in her hair.”

And, obviously, in a moment of conflict:

“A sportswriter is entombed in a prolonged boyhood.”

Bottom line: OVER TIME is a must-read if you’re a sports fan or know somebody who is.


Section 11

Can’t Buy It
by Guy Sayles*

Think of the hours we spend on food and drink: going to the grocery store, perusing cookbooks and magazines for recipes, being sure the kids have lunch money, grabbing a bottle of water on the way to work, and stopping midmorning for a coffee break.  We eat and drink in order to live.  “Daily bread” is one of the things for which Jesus taught us to pray and about which he urged us not to worry.  He made a meal central to the church’s life: bread and wine which speak to us of his body and blood, sustain us with mercy, and slake our thirst for joy.   In one way, then, we are inescapably consumers. We have to consume to live.

But, what if we’re living to consume?  That’s consumerism–the idea that we can find fulfillment and happiness by buying, owning, collecting, accumulating, eating, drinking, and experiencing more things.  Consumerism is driven by emptiness, by an inner and aching void which we’re anxious to fill.  I think the emptiness has a purpose: to send us on a quest for beauty, truth, goodness, and, ultimately, for the Holy, but we misspend the emptiness on more immediate and less enduring things.  This emptiness is behind our clamoring demand for more: more stuff, more status, more security.  Emptiness drives consumerism.

And, it depends on our having an array of options and the power to choose among them: superstores, multiplexes, hundreds of television channels, and millions of websites.  Have you bought blue jeans lately?  Classic fit, relaxed fit, painter’s pant, low rise, straight-leg, boot cut, authentic tint, faded, pre-washed, stone-washed, acid stone washed, and—so it seems to me—pre-worn and pre-worn out.  Consumerism depends on options, because we are always in search of something new and improved, something novel and untried.

Emptiness, options, and the power to choose.  These are the essential elements of consumerism, and they are galvanized by savvy marketing and pitch-perfect advertising.  There’s a fascinating story about how religion, advertising, and marketing have long been intertwined in this country.  For instance, when revivalism swept across America in the 19th century, it helped to create the climate and structure the models that modern advertising uses to this day.  On the fringes of camp meetings, to which people came not just for religion but for socializing and entertainment, peddlers of patent medicines hawked their wares, promising relief from physical and emotional ailments.  Like the preachers in the meetings, they promised miracles and used “before and after” testimonials from satisfied customers who found amazing cures in their products.  Inside the meetings, people were saying “before I met Christ, I was a drunk or a gambler or a crook, but now I’m on the straight and narrow” and outside the meetings, people were saying “before I tried Grove’s elixir or Carter’s pills, I had bad digestion or constant pain, but now I am free.”  If people could choose conversion, they could choose other remedies.  The pattern for advertising was set, a pattern that persisted through the nineteenth century and prevails today: identify (or create) and dramatize a need, promise that your product will meet it, and move your customer to buy it.

Advertising is consumer evangelism, and consumerism is our national religion.  So we shouldn’t be surprised that consumerism has affected how we view faith and church.  Increasingly, we see the church as one more place we go to get our needs met and to be entertained.  Faith—“spirituality”—is one more choice we make, like a breakfast cereal or a movie or an automobile.

Church is one more option about which we decide, like we decide whether to spend an evening with friends or go to the gym or attend a PTA meeting.  Most often, we decide to do whatever it is we think will make us feel good about ourselves—and to deliver that good feeling quickly.  If church gets too demanding or challenges our commitments or questions our priorities, then we have other ways to spend our time.

Those of us who lead faith-communities in this climate of consumerism know how easy it is for people to walk away, like dissatisfied customers who vow never to darken the door of a restaurant where they had one bad experience with a huffy waitress.  That’s why there are scores of books and countless seminars on, essentially, how churches can increase customer-satisfaction.  By the way, there’s a lot for church leaders to learn about how to communicate clearly, about good hospitality, and about attentive service, which can be an expression of servanthood and not simply of commercialism.  It doesn’t make sense to me, on any level, from the most superficial to the most serious, for people to feel more respected and better treated at Nordstrom’s or Disneyworld than they are at church.

Not all of the influence of consumerism on the church is so benign, though. In fact, consumerism may well be our greatest challenge: its values clash with the central commitments of the Christian faith.

Consumerism says, “Have it your way.”  Jesus says; “Pray then like this: your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Consumerism says: “Happiness can be bought and sold.”  Christianity says: “Fulfillment is a gift of grace.”

Consumerism says: “Everything and everyone has a price.”  Christianity says: “The things that matter most are priceless: faith, hope and love.”

* Reprinted with the gracious permission of Guy Sayles. He is a writer and speaker who blogs at “From the Intersection”: 


Section 12A, NC events 

(1) FALSETTOLAND at Haywood Arts Regional Theatre

  • “Falsettoland” is a modern musical with a book by James Lapine and music and lyrics by William Finn.It’s 1981, the year of Jason’s Bar Mitzvah. Join Marvin, his wife Trina, his psychiatrist Mendel, his gay lover Whizzer, Cordelia and Dr. Charlotte (the lesbians from next door), as they celebrate Jason’s Bar Mitzvah and discover the power of love and friendship in this very “modern” family, while Whizzer comes face to face with a mysterious, life-threatening, as yet undefined illness.The cast includes Rod Leigh (La Cage aux Folles), Eric Martinez (La Cage aux Folles) Strother Stingley (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Tabitha Judy (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), Kelli Brown Mullinix (The Marvelous Wonderettes) and introducing Oskar Olszewski and Jennifer Russ.Show dates: March 1 and 2 at 7:30, March 3 at 3:00
    with possible holdover dates March 8 and 9 at 7:30 and March 10 at 3:00Tickets: 828-456-6322 or harttheater.comDirector/Musical Director: Justin Slack
    Stage Manager: Kier Klepzig
    Producer: Eric Martinez
    Musical Accompanist: Kristen Johnson Dominguez
    Drums: David Bruce
    Lighting Designer: Charles Mills
    Marvin: Rod Leigh
    Whizzer: Eric Martinez
    Mendel: Strother Stingley
    Jason: Oskar Olszewski
    Trina: Tabitha Judy
    Dr. Charlotte: Jennifer Russ
    Cordelia: Kelli Brown Mullinix

(2)  Neighbors at ACT/35below – 35 Walnut St.

Feb. 8-10; Feb. 15-17; Feb. 22-24.

Neighbors picks up where A Raisin in the Sun ended and well before the world invented in Clybourne Park could exist.Dan Clancy has performed with many local theater companies in recent years and is thrilled to be making his debut with Different Strokes Theater Collective.  Dan was last seen on stage at the Magnetic Theater as “Greg” in the original musical M.I.L.F. The Musical.  Last year, at 35 below, Dan appeared as” Larry” in Twin Gravity’s production of Hospitality Suite. Some of his favorite roles include the hard-charging “Senator Joe Cantwell” in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man and “Edward”, the Irishman, in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. Dan dedicates this performance to his father.Anna Fearheiley is excited to make her first appearance with Different Strokes, having most recently performed the role of Lady MacBeth with Montford Park Players. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a BFA in Acting. While at university, she performed with 2 x 4 in Rep., Oklahoma City Theatre Company, and Soonerstock Summer Theatre. She was also the assistant dialect coach for Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma’s production of A Christmas Carol in 2011.
Cyd Smith has been seen skulking about in the background for local theater companies for a little while now. After many years of helping in other ways, she will be making her return to the stage in this production. She looks forward to having this opportunity to work with Different Strokes, incredibly wonderful actors and production staff  – including one to whom she is actually married – and to help bring such an important piece of theater to Asheville.Rodney Smith spent his twenties as a stand-up comedian, his thirties fronting rock and blues bands, and discovered theater in his forties.  He has appeared in Montford Park Players productions of Lysistrata, and Romeo and Juliet, as well as The Magnetic Theater’s The Last Laugh, Love Among the Frankensteins, and most recently, Evening the Score. When not on stage, he is a photographer, graphic designer, database administrator, husband and father (not necessarily in that order).  Rodney is thrilled to be working with Different Stokes on this wonderful show and ecstatic to be sharing the stage with his wife Cyd.  
(3) The Wham Bam Puppet Slam is back. Join us for an evening of contemporary adult short from puppetry! Anything can happen (and usually does). NOT FOR CHILDREN. For 5 shows only at the Magnetic Field Theater. Thurs 7:30, FRI and Sat 7:30 and 10. 7:30 show $15, 10PM shows $12
(4) Annette Griffin

  • Dear Friends,I am excited to invite you to the opening of my first solo exhibition, “Invisible City,” at the NC Stage Chase Gallery on Friday, February 15th, 2013. We will be gathering between 5:00 and 7:00 that evening, and if you’re able to stop in I would love to see you and show you what I’ve been working on. After the opening, I hope you’ll stick around to watch “The Understudy” on the main stage.”Invisible City” is a family-friendly sculpture, drawing, and installation show that explores the relationship between landscape and identity. I hope to see you there!

(5) Advanced Training for your Brain
  • Come learn about the Interactive Metronome…evidence-based therapy for everything from brain injury and dementia to enhancement of academic, artistic and sports performance. Reservations are required.Register via Facebook or call  828-681-0350.

(6) Asheville Talent Slam at Jubilee Community Church on March 15 at 7:30 p.m.

2nd Annual Benefit for Eblen Charities and steveNyou Presents. Cash prizes awarded: $500 for first place, $300 for second place, $200 for third place. Get tickets and/or register talent (same advance price for either) at Etix link below. If performing, email details of your 5 minute Act to:
Section 12B, PA/NJ events
(1) Jennie Giardine-Smith: You can find me in the Authors’ Corner during the Lower Bucks County Campus art gallery show/sale. There will be wine ($5 for a souvenir glass which can be refilled), free hors d’ oeuvres and a chocolate fountain!Feel free to share the invitation. I hope to see you. It sounds like a fun event!
Saturday, Feb. 23 (just rescheduled): 12–3 p.m.
Note: You’ll also hear all about Jennie’s first novel.
(2) DRACULA concludes its run at Actors’ Net in Morrisville, PA this Friday through Sunday, Feb. 8-10. I saw the show, and it’s fun and quite well done. You’ll have a blast. For more information, please click:
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