BLAINESWORLD #1091 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2





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BLAINESWORLD #1090 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2


Section 12, NC events

(1) Barrie Barton:

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(2) Brian Bullman:

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BLAINESWORLD #1089 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2


(2) Len Ennis: I agree wholeheartedly with your review of Dunkirk. It was boring. It gave no insight into how the fishing boats were able to save so many troops while the big ships were being sunk with impunity. Also Kenneth Branagh reminded me of Popeye.

(3) Jean Brenner: Thank you for the suggestions about the books.  I’ve ordered two of them and started reading.  Just knowing what you said and what little I’ve read is helping me.

(4) Tony Ray Fogleman: That’s a great newsletter Blaine!!! If I wanted to I could play in that Moody Blues Band and I know one of the players quite well.

(5) Ingrid Sofield: Enjoy reading the newsletter and always learn something new especially the technology tips.

(6) Daryl Slaion: Re: Dunkirk. You are not alone. I read your brief movie review. Even though I liked the movie OK, I agree with your view of it. I think the director missed on some important elements. Historically, this was a significant event. In the movie, I never got the sense of the crushing danger of the approaching Germans, nor the scope of the event.

BTW, I have a friend in Great Britain whose father was at Dunkirk. He was around 21 years old and was assigned to destroy equipment that the Brits had to leave behind. While evacuating, he was denied passage on a large ship that was quickly sank by the Germans resulting in a major loss of lives.

(7) The toll of exercise on the heart

(8)  Smart pet? Audible wants Fido to listen to Jane Austen.

(9) Steven Darter: I agree with you about Dunkirk. They also should have had something before and after to provide a better understanding of Dunkirk, how it came to be, what happened after 80,000 captured, French holding the line so others could escape, etc.

(10) Juliet Mitchell: I had a second last week to read your blog.  Love it and the jokes.

(11) The secret life of pain
(12) How to deal with stress

 (13) India plants 66 million trees in 12 hours with more than 1.5 millions people involved in huge operation


Section 12A, NC events

(1) Bob Bowles: Asheville Wine & Food Festival 2017: Aug. 18 & 19 at the Renaissance Hotel

For tickets, please click:

(2) Chris Martin: A Gaggle of Giggles Youth Improv
Hosted by A Gaggle of Giggles and The Hop Ice Cream Cafe

The Hop Ice Cream Cafe
640 Merrimon Ave, Asheville, North Carolina

A Gaggle of Giggles Youth Improv monthly performance takes place every 3rd Tuesday at The Hop on Merrimon! We have had the privelege of working with these kids and director, Chris Martin, for years and they just keep getting more and more hysterical!!!

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Section 12B, PA/NJ events

(1) Mike Andrus:

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BLAINESWORLD #1088 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2

(1) Ken Greenfield: Saw it [A STREET CAT NAMED BOB] a few weeks ago. Lavelle really enjoyed.

(2) Dan Becker: Are the $2 bills readily available (the crisp ones)? I think they are the most visually pleasing bills, only lacking in their dollar amount. Of course, I’d rather have $100 bills. Did you know that hundreds are now the largest denomination bills available?

Response: You should be able to get them from most banks. As for the $100 bills, I’d also like to have them!



(5) Vickie Gaddy: I love BLAINESWORLD. Thanks for congratulating us on birth of Cyrus – publicly. Now the whole world knows about him !!!

(6) Carolel Biro:  Everything we love to eat is a scam



(9) Carla Hayden: By the Book [interview with Librarian of Congress]

(10) Let’s Stop the Bickering and Fix the Health Care System





Section 11, Thought for the day

Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labor and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. “I’m looking for a few days work,” he said. “Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?”

“Yes,” said the older brother. “I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbor, in fact, it’s my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us, and he took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll go him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence –an 8-foot fence–so I won’t need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow.”

The carpenter said, “I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger, and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you.”

The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.

There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge–a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all. And the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hand outstretched. “You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done.”

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. “No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you,” said the older brother.

“I’d love to stay on,” the carpenter said, “but, I have many more bridges to build.”


Section 12A, NC events

(1) Paula Hanke:

(2) Jeff Catanese:

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Note: I just saw this show and had a good time at it. See next week’s issue for more information.

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BLAINESWORLD #1087 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2

(1)  Your best tips for beating procrastination





(5) Carole Biro: How our lives will change dramatically in 20 years






Section 11, Thought for the day

Making An Idol Of Trauma?

by Guy Sayles

Cancer has changed—is changing—me in, I imagine, the ways that a variety of life-limiting, life-diminishing, and life-threatening experiences change other people.

When, 3½ years ago, my oncologist confirmed that I have Multiple Myeloma (MM), I began a relationship with “Frank’” which is the name I gave this cancer. Since MM is presently incurable, I will be in this relationship for the rest of my life. I will either die at Frank’s hands or in his company.

Everyone who has MM has a somewhat different experience; there are multiple Multiple Myelomas. Since, for me, bone pain (sometimes intense) and fatigue (often extreme) are its main symptomatic manifestations, part of my calling now is to live—not merely to survive or exist—with chronic pain and unpredictable energy.

Cancer has made urgent some changes that were already stirring in my heart and spirit, and it has brought others that I couldn’t have anticipated: in my career, role, “place,” and self-understanding. Myriad troubles, traumas, diseases, and disasters have a destabilizing and disorienting impact on those whom they strike.

Lately, I’ve worried that I am letting “Frank” take up more space in my consciousness than he deserves. Because cancer and its treatment have gathered-up and come to represent many of  the significant traumas of my life, it’s distressingly easy to allow them to exercise a controlling, misshaping, and distorting influence over me. I’m tempted to make an idol out of illness.

Maybe people with other hurts and losses faces a similar temptation. I can’t speak for them; but making a false god out of suffering and mortality is certainly a risk I run. Failure to avoid it would make fear stronger than love, brokenness more real than salvation, and death more powerful than abundant life.

When cancer dominates my field of vision, I rivet my attention to limitation rather than focus on possibility.

When Frank pesters me with the lingering effects of “chemobrain”—especially a mushy memory and an attenuated attention span—I lose track of the capacities I still have for imagination, reflection, and discernment.

When I give cancer too much authority, I cling to regret over what I no longer possess rather than practice faithful and creative stewardship of what remains.

Cancer is part of my self-description, but it doesn’t have to be part of my self-definition.”

Cancer patient” is one of many roles I play; it’s not an identity I inhabit.

As others put it, I have cancer, but cancer does not have me.

Signs of idolatry—of putting something proximate in the place of the ultimate and of allowing fear to displace Love—are ingratitude and narcissism.

I don’t want to let trauma wrap me up in myself, to enclose me in my own “stuff,” and to desensitize me to the struggles and hopes of other people.

And, I don’t want to overlook wonder and beauty, to live with a sense of scarcity and anxiety, and to lose the joy of giving thanks for the gifts of life and the gift of life itself.

We become like the gods—the powerful personal realities—we serve. To live in, for, by, and with Love is to become love.

For me, Love has a name. To say the obvious: it’s not “Frank.”  To say what I trust: Love’s name is “Jesus.” 

Myeloma Cells

Note: Thanks, Guy Sayles, for your gracious permission to reprint this beautiful blog entry.


Section 12A, NC events

(1) Laresa Griffin: Safelight – hope and healing for families–a FUNdraiser to highlight Safelight’s services for children

Saturday, September 9 at 6 PM – 9 PM
Burntshirt Vineyards
2695 Sugarloaf Rd, Hendersonville, North Carolina

Night of the Child is a fundraising party to highlight the exceptional children’s services and programs offered by Safelight. Sponsored by Pardee Hospital, this fun event will feature delicious food from Dandelion, award-winning wine from Burntshirt Vineyards, and a silent auction full of beautiful artwork from local artisans and Safelight family children. Tickets are $50 per person and may be purchased by calling 828-693-3840 or at:

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(2) The Magnetic Theatre proudly presents the world premiere of Six Knots, a gripping contemporary comic-drama about greed and avarice. Travis Lowe, an accomplished actor best known for his work with The Montford Park Players and Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective makes his full-length debut as a playwright with Six Knots.

Set on a richly appointed sailboat drifting lazily in the Atlantic, Six Knots concerns Randall Lowell (Jeff Messer), the alpha male CEO of a company that builds and manages for-profit prisons, his wife Amber (Christine Eide), and their guests, two other couples (Mike Coghlan and Jamie Knox, and Julia Cunningham and Lisa M. Smith). Though this is supposed to be an easy-going vacation, everyone has an agenda. As the shoreline fades and the rum flows freely, tensions boil over into a frenzied quest for money, power, and survival.

Directed by Andrew Gall, Six Knots plays August 3-19 at 7:30 PM.

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Section 12B, PA/NJ events

(1) If you’re in the PA and/or NJ area, please do join me at …
My Annual Trek Up North

Sunday, August 27 from 1:59 PM – 5:01 PM
Sycamore Grill, 255 N Sycamore St, Newtown, PA

Stop by to say “hello,” greet old friends and meet new ones. There will be plenty of great food and drink that will be available on a cash basis.

In addition, you’ll get to see Bill Lewis perform his all new, sit-down routine, and John Strauss (along with possibly others) will be providing music for your listening enjoyment.

And make sure you’re there at approximately 3:43 p.m., at which time John will lead all who are there in a rendition of what’s arguably the greatest rock song of all time: “Happy Together.”

***** PLEASE RSVP *****

So I can have a ballpark of how many to expect, indicate if you’ll be able to join me by responding to the Facebook invite if you see it there. Or if you see it in my BLAINESWORLD blog or elsewhere, send an email to: and put AUGUST 27 in the subject line.

PS. If the above date doesn’t work for you and/or you’d also like to get together some other time, I will be in the area from August 21-28. I’m looking to possibly see WAIT UNTIL DARK at the Langhorne Players on Aug. 25 or 26, a comedy show, get to eat at some diners and other places I miss in Bucks County, etc. Please let me know.

(2)  Since 2009, K2KEntertainment and The Kelsey Theatre [at Mercer County Community College] have jointly administered The Kelsey Awards. The Kelsey Awards recognizes achievement in the live theater that takes place inside the building.

The winners of each category are kept hidden from the public and are revealed during a live ceremony inside the theater. This year’s ceremony takes place on August 19th at 7pm. This live ceremony announces the winners, features special performances from nominated performers and productions, special comedic sketches, along with surprise cameos and collaborations.

For tickets, please click:



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BLAINESWORLD #1086 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2


(2) Lucas Gregg: Ah, where to begin…

The long and short of it:
A theatre company near and dear to my heart needs your help. Consider making a donation and if you are in the WNC area, check out ‘HARD TRAVELING WITH WOODY’ aka Randy Noojin at Owen Theatre July 27th-30th.

Some backstory:

I’m fortunate enough to have been raised in a “theatre family.” Theatre had always been a part of my life, but in the year 2000, my family moved to Mars Hill, NC where my father Bill Gregg took a position as the artistic director at SART. The theatre was old, and falling apart in many places. But man, it had history! The space was an old church converted into a performance space, and at that point SART had already been running for 25 years.

Growing up, if I wasn’t acting on the stage, I was backstage being babysat by the actors, or in the technical booth operating a follow spot. I’ll never forget playing the role of Little Jake at the age of 7 in ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ along side my mother Liz Aiello – literally kicking ass on stage in cowboy boots and hat, swinging an antique 45′ like it was her job.

Or the time my brother, Cameron Gregg and I played stage brothers in ‘Lost In Yonkers’ with the immensely talented Kay Galvin.
Michael Mattison played the badass uncle and man, cameron you rocked that ‘stickin it to the man’ monologue every night! You got moxie, kid!

And who could forget ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’? Savannah Rose Crespoabsolutely stole the show as scout, Ellis Robinson as Jem. I portrayed Dill. Mackenzie KnappJennifer Ariel HastyRobert P McDaniel all in this one as well.

How about ‘The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe’. Manon ManavitJasmine Sky, Cameron and I – What a dream team! One night we forgot one of our prop swords and came out at the end with a frying pan instead….Larry Putnam.

And the summer of 2008 was probably the best summer
I ever had as a kid thanks to Amanda ‘Mandy’ SaylesCat Dillon and Chelsey Lee Mirheli. The year of Evita! Or some might say….Evito? Michael Fisher

All of these individuals and so many others passed through the stage door every summer. Some came and went, others returned each year. And every single one of them I looked up to in one way or another. This theatre, the people, the shows, shaped so much of my being. Im so fortunate to have called SART my home for the last 17 years.

…………………Clear the stage, dim the lights, lower the curtain………………

From 2015-2016 SART and MHC Theatre dept. finally got the renovations and new building they so desperately needed to a falling apart space. However, the construction process displaced SART and the theatre was forced to move out of its home venue for two seasons, drastically diminishing sales and now the doors have been temporarily closed.

However the once downtrodden theatre space has been turned into a state of the art facility with new seating, lighting, and carpeting. There’s a new box office, black box theatre, and bathrooms. What a shame it would be if this new space couldn’t be properly put to use!

I want so much for others to experience the one of a kind magic that SART has the potential to offer, and that I experienced for so may years growing up.

There are stories that deserve to be told on that stage…and actors who eagerly await to tell them.

So lets raise the curtain again for SART, and keep the tradition alive for years to come.

With love & gratitude***

Note: To help out, please click:

(3) Ginger Heskett: The three best tips for customer retention

(4) As Paperwork Goes Missing, Private Student Loan Debts May Be Wiped Away



(7) Natalie Kaye: Saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2 – laughed so hard.  I loved it.

Response: I liked it, too–and so did Cynthia.

(8) Bill Rech: [Saw] Dunkirk the movie, today. I Max version. Really worth seeing.

(9) Jacquie Wollins:


Section 12A, NC events

(1) Richard Shulman: “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: A Journey in Jazz” with Wendy Jones, Russ Wilson, and Richard Shulman

Great Jazz Songs from the 1920s through the 20-teens.

July 30, 2017

Lounge Seated
Limited Tables Available with a Dinner Reservation :: All Other Seating is First Come First Serve General Admission :: Please Call Venue for Dinner (Table) Reservations 828-575-2737
$12 Advance / $15 Day of Show

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(2) Hendersonville Community Theatre:

Disney’s The Lion King has captivated the imagination of audiences around the world. In this family-friendly performance, the African savannah comes to life with Simba, Rafiki and an unforgettable cast of characters.

Join this cast of students, ages5-15, as they take you on a memorable journey of coming of age and finding your destiny!

(3) David Francis:

Note: This is David’s final recital in the area, in that he will be moving to Mexico in September. (Asheville’s loss!) There is no charge for this performance.

(4) Travis Low: Tickets are on sale now for Six Knots. Get them here:

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(5) Nathan Singer: Learning to Listen, for a Change.

Different Strokes! Performing Arts Collective presents…

by Mark St. Germain
Directed by Ashleigh Millett-Goff
Assistant Direction by Courtney DeGennaro Robinson

August 17 – September 2 (Thurs – Sat) at 7:30PM
Online tickets are $15 for Opening Weekend or $18 in advance, and $21 at the door. And NO FEES for online purchases.

BEBE THEATRE. 20 Commerce Street. Downtown Asheville, NC

Features: Jeanette Oliver, Sean David Robinson, Bjorn Goller-Hagoob, and Molly Graves

Designs: Artemis Addams, Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, Katy Hudson, Laura Lowe, Grace Siplon, Nathan Singer, and Tippin

Production Beneficiary: Word on The Street, a component of Asheville Writers in The Schools & Community

Osha Gray Davidson’s The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in The New South, chronicles a friendship that developed in 1970 between two people who began as bitter enemies–black activist Ann Atwater (Janet Oliver) and white Grand Cyclops of the Durham North Carolina chapter of the ​Ku Klux Klan, C.P Ellis (Sean David Robinson). Mark St. Germain’s play, Best of Enemies, brings the story of this “unlikely friendship” to the stage against a Civil Rights backdrop.

Best of Enemies is based on the true events leading up to the official desegregation of the Durham school system in 1971. Ellis’ racism and contempt are challenged by Atwater, a local civil rights activist and Bill Riddick (Bjorn Goller), a community organizer from D.C. sent to Durham to facilitate the desegregation process. Both Ellis and Atwater are extremely reluctant to be in the same room together, let alone co-chair a committee to explore the problems in their school system. But through the course of their work together—and the tough-but-soft influence of Ellis’ wife, Mary (Molly Graves) — the two extremes find their way to the middle, uniting around their shared desire to secure a better future for their children. They realize that regardless of the color of their skin, their children are suffering in appalling school conditions. “We began to talk about what was on our heart,” Ellis says. “And both of us wept. … It was because the kids were suffering.” In the documentary “An Unlikely Friendship”, Ellis explains that people join extremist groups because they feel “shut out”. “Deep down inside, we want to be part of this great society,” he says. “Nobody listens, so we join these groups.”

I love how Best of Enemies explores what these two angry, opposite people have to go through in order to find common ground, and how relevant that is to the divisive times we’re going through in 2017. When I chose this play almost a year ago, I was very consumed by the negative effects of the social and political climate on my friends, and within our community; how people weren’t really listening to each other, yet fighting ​vehemently ​to be heard. Best of Enemies appealed to me as proof that the people of this country could find a way to listen to each other despite our personal and political differences; to work together for the rights, equality, and safety of all it’s citizens.

– Stephanie Hickling-Beckman, Managing Artistic Director

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(6) Kai Elijah Hamilton:

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Section 12B, PA/NJ events

(1) ‘The Threepenny Opera’ at ActorsNET through July 30

To read a review for this show, please click:


(2) At Mercer County Community College’s Kelsey Theatre:


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BLAINESWORLD #1085 (Please send any comments to:

Section 2, part 2




(4) Shela Anmuth: How do you both not weigh 400 lbs. each???

Response: We very rarely have bread and/or dessert. We often split our meals in half, which also gives us a meal on another day.  In addition, we both exercise. (And  I walk at least 10,000 steps every day.)

(5) Sam Uhl: A song/video to share. He’s normally not my kind of music, but this young man honors his grandmother by presenting her with the gift of spending her day doing anything she wanted with him for her 100th birthday. It hits you right in the “feels.”

(6) Keith Challenger: Your question about merging, then answer is the “zipper merge” approach. It’s very common in most European countries and study after study shows it is way more effective than the alternative which only seems to be popular in the US for some reason.

(7) Sharon Gunderson:  Great CD [from Buce Lang; see Section 1A]. Love the songs and your newsletter.
(8)  Shelly Jacobs: Beyond Fitbit: The quest to develop medical-grade wearables

 (9) Ginny Plaisted: Just wanted to let you know that we found “The Beguiled” with Clint Eastwood on Google play.

It was very good!


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