This webpage is being called “Rural Thoughts.” We have lived in a very rural household in the very southeastern tip of Illinois for the last 26 years. But we do have access to what can almost be called an “urban” area - Paducah, Kentucky, plus Metropolis and Brookport, Illinois. But even our “urban” areas are pretty rural in character compared with the truly large metropolitan areas such as Chicago.
I was surprised to step outside my house on Saturday, April 4, 2015, and hear a white eyed vireo calling from the hedge in our front yard. Later that day I heard a northern parula in the yard. It was a week before I heard them again. It was at this time that I also was hearing the first american toads trilling. As far as the white eyed vireo goes, it is a about 3 weeks earlier than the year before.
On Saturday morning last week I came home from work early afternoon to hear a white eyed vireo. This was my first encounter with them this spring. They are usually one of the early arrivals. On Monday morning, I heard a chuck-will's widow as well as the whiporwills. This is the only time I have heard them so far this spring. I'm sure this one was just passing through.
In the last week, starting approximately a week ago, there has been several arrivals of spring things, even though tonight they call for a freeze.
I can't believe that I haven't published anything on this page since November. There have been a number of reasons for that, the harsh winter being one of them. But we are coming out of winter now. I try to keep track of some signs of spring that I find noteworthy.
This last weekend was the opening of the "Member's Show" of the Yeiser Art Center in Paducah, Kentucky. This annual event is held in and sponsored by the Yeiser Art Center, the city art organization in Paducah. It is open to all members (who are willing to cough up an entry fee). There is good participation from the membership as a matter of course.
In the last couple weeks I have seen two music shows of women who have been very influential in U.S. popular music. The shows were in many ways opposite, and in many ways similar. The artists were Cheryl Crow and Judy Collins.
At this point in the government shutdown, it appears to me that both parties are trying to position themselves for the 2014 elections, with a particular focus on campaign ads - with a more particular focus on TV ads that they will be running.
I watched the Sunday News shows Sunday. They were focused on the looming "government shutdown" which isn't really - more of a partial temporary layoff for some government workers. That is just indicative of how language is misused by interests to try and persuade. If we had accurate use of language, (which is what George Carlin was always harping about) we would probably have a lot more peace in the world. Unfortunately, language and words are too easy to misuse and twist around.
I still watch the Sunday News shows that I have access to most every Sunday. Most of the time they are, overall, a yawn, and I quit feeling self-obligated to write about them every Sunday. But yesterday's discussions have inspired me to write a few comments. What I want to comment on is the difference in opinion between some of the politicians and pundits and Washington Post writer David Ignatius, a recognized middle eastern expert. In my opinion, it demonstrates how the republicans are trying to politicize through mischaracterization of every move of Obama's. Let me explain.
On August 23, 2013, Travis Tritt performed at the Carson Center in Paducah. Kristi and I ushered for the show. I didn't know what to think going into the show. I knew that I liked some of the top 40 country tunes that he had gotten some good airplay from in our area, but that had been years ago and there had been nothing from him lately. But while I liked some of his songs, they mostly have a commercial side, and thus, I wasn't sure if his show would be more hype than substance.
Like everyone, I have been watching with interest and anxiety over the Obama administration's threats of military attacks on Syria to "degrade" their capability to deliver chemical weapons. I, like most of my fellow citizens of the U.S., are having a hard time buying into the whole ordeal. It simply smacks of more overt militarism based on shabby evidence and a blind eye to the unavoidable unintended consequences that military action brings on. To that extent, it has been an unpleasant surprise, and a cold washrag in the face, that Obama is so fervently behind doing this.
Last Sunday we visited Cheekwood, a Nashville, TN art museum located in an historical mansion in Belle Meade, an older, very wealthy neighborhood on the west side of Nashville. Cheekwood isn't the municipal art institution that the Frist center is, but it is born and sustained by wealth. And, wealth has enabled the facility to acquire, maintain, and exhibit a great visual art collection.
The New Yorker has a recent story about the man, a Mr. Arnett, who "discovered" Thorton Dial, an Alabama "folk" artist. Of course, it's a kind of ridiculous concept that our society has embraced that you can "discover" something that's been there all along. It's sort of an historical account of how Arnett, a white guy, came to look for "artists," black for the most part, that were creating really great pieces of artwork but were totally unknown to society through the mainstream media. You mean the mainstream media was missing something important?
After we attended Fancy Farm picnic last Saturday, we drove about 100 miles north to Mt. Vernon, Illinois. This is up in the neighborhood where I grew up. We went to see the opening of the Southern Illinois Biennial, a juried art show sponsored and exhibited by the Mitchell Art Museum, part of the Cedarhurst arts complex in Mt. Vernon.