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Page 2, The Loafer • February 25, 2014

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 3

Volume 28 Issue #12

Cover art designed by:

Jonathan Brooks

Publisher - Bill Williams • Editor/Graphic Arts Director - Don Sprinkle • Office Manager - Luci Tate Cover Design - Bill May • Photography - Mark Marquette Advertising - Dave Carter, Akey Kincaid, Lisa Lyons, Terry Patterson, Pam Johnson-Bowling Contributing Staff - Jim Kelly, Andy Ross, Ken Silvers, Mark Marquette, Pat Bussard Published by Tree Street Media, LLC., P.O. Box 3238, Johnson City, TN 37602 Phone: 423/283-4324 FAX - 423/283-4369 • e-mail: (editorial) (advertising All advertisements are accepted and published by the publisher upon the representation that the agency and/or advertiser is authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof.The agency and/or advertiser will indemnify and save the publisher harmless from any loss of expense resulting from claims or suits based upon contents of any advertisement,including claims or suits for defamation,libel,right of privacy,plagiarism,and copyright infringement.

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Northeast State Theatre stages

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Northeast State Theatre Department will take audiences through an old coat closet into the strange nature-world of Narnia with its spring production of the C.S. Lewis classic: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. The production will recreate the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the never-to-be-forgotten land of Narnia. The story is one of love, faith, courage, giving, and the triumph of good over evil. Our goal is to create a totally original production of the play,” said Brad McKenzie, technical director. “Since nature plays such a large role, we’ve taken an organic bent and tried to incorporate wood and other elements of nature to help tell the story. It won’t be childish, but it will maintain the child-like wonder that’s inherent in the original story.” The action features chases, duels, and escapes as the witch is determined to keep Narnia in her possession and to end the reign of Aslan. All the memorable episodes from the story will unfold: the temptation of Edmund by the witch, the slaying of the evil wolf by Peter, the witnessing of Aslan’s resurrection by Susan and Lucy, and the crowing of the four new rulers of Narnia. The memorable supporting characters are also here: the unicorn, the centaur, and other forest animals, as well as Father Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and the faun, Tumnus.

The set will feature two, 13-foot tall arches and four large panels of material that will use multiple arrangements and lighting to adapt to various settings. McKenzie said stage hands dressed as wood nymphs will set the stage as needed and then fade back into nature. A unique aspect of the production will be sound, which will be created solely by the actors or crew members - and require deft timing. For example, as the actors crunch through the woods or snow, a crew member will create the sound of footsteps off-stage. “We think it ideas like this will make the production unique and be something that no one’s seen before,” McKenzie said. “We know we have a challenge presenting this story because it’s well-known, so we’re looking to stray from convention.” The set is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students, McKenzie said. He said there are eight student-designers and 20-25 cast members. The play was dramatized for the stage by Joseph Robinette from the story by C.S. Lewis. The novel was the first installment of Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series. First published in 1950, it has long been a youth-fiction staple. Time magazine placed the book on its 2005 list of the 100 best Englishlanguage novels. The play is being brought to the Northeast State stage courtesy of Dramatic Publishing. The play is being directed by Northeast State’s own Elizabeth M. Sloan, theatre department chair.

The show will be presented at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on two successive weekends of April 3-6 and April 10-13. Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., April 3-5 and April 10-12. Matinee performances begin at 2 p.m., April 6 and 13. Tickets are $10 general admission with senior and students priced at $8. Tickets for children under 12 are $6. Performances are free to current Northeast State students, but they must pick up tickets at the box office. Tickets can be purchased online at or at the theatre box office one hour prior to the show. The house opens 30 minutes before show time. The performing arts center is located at 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport. For more information, contact Northeast State Theatre at 423.354.2479 or e-mail emsloan@ As a bonus attraction, pop-culture historian Stephanie Murray will give free presentations about the book on April 10 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the performing arts center. Murray, is an education specialist with a passion for mythology, will explore the novel’s influence on pop culture. Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Religious Studies from LeesMcRae College. She currently serves as an educational advisor for adult learners in North Carolina.

Cultural Events Abound at Northeast State

Wardrobe’s influence on pop culture. The event is a tie-in with the College’s production of the play April 3-6 and 10-13. April 10, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (WRCPA, free) The Return of Hypnopalooza Hypnotist and mentalist Rich Aimes brings his hilarious Hypnopalooza! show to Northeast State. Apr. 15 - Noon & 7 p.m. (Auditorium, free) The Billy Crawford Band The Bristol-based blues rockers will turn their fiery style loose during a Northeast State Community Col- Mar. 5 - Guitar Player Workshop, 7 p.m. British Invasion-themed concert. April 25, 7 p.m. RCPA (WRCPA, free) lege has a full slate of cultural activi- Mar. 6 - Concert, 7 p.m. (WRCPA, free) Hot Nights, Cool Music ties scheduled for spring and summer Caravan of Thieves including ventures into bluegrass, pop The keynote event for Northeast Northeast State will once again stage culture, hypnosis, and the Beatles’ State’s celebration of the 1960s Brit- its popular summer music series with 50th anniversary of debuting in Amer- ish Music Invasion. The band will concerts scheduled from May through ica. Most events are free and staged feature its take on the complete Sgt. August at the performing arts center. The line-ups are being finalized, but in the Wellmont Regional Center for Pepper album by the Beatles. the Performing Arts (WRCPA) or the Mar. 20 - Concert 7:00 p.m. (WRCPA, free) previous groups have included The Ed Snodderly Group, Mandolin OrCollege’s newly renovated audito- Stephanie Murray rium. Both venues are located at 2425 Murray, is an education specialist ange, The Billies, Caravan of Thieves, Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities with a passion for mythology, will ex- and Samantha Gray and Rock-A-Bye plore the The Lion, the Witch, and the Blue. Regional Airport. Here’s a list of upcoming events: A Celebration of African-American History C.H. Charlton’s Black Studies Class Feb. 26, 10:30 a.m. (WRCPA, free) Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver in Concert Over his 40-year career in music, Doyle Lawson, singer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader, and recent inductee to the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor has become one of the most respected names in bluegrass. From his work with innovators like Jimmy Martin and J.D. Crowe in the 1960s to the formation of his band Quicksilver in 1979, his name is synonymous with high-octane acoustic music.  Feb. 28 - Concert, 7 p.m. (WRCPA, $20) Muriel Anderson in Concert Anderson is considered among the top acoustic nylon-string guitarists / harp-guitarists in the world. She is the first woman to have won the National Fingerstyle Guitar Championship and is host of the renowned Muriel Anderson’s All Star Guitar Night.

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Page 6, The Loafer • February 25, 2014

“Dallas Buyers Club”

An Evening of Classical Dances of India The City of Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts is pleased to present An Evening of Classical Dances of India on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 6:30 PM at the Renaissance Arts Center Theatre. The beautiful classical dance of India shares the stories and culture through music, movement and voice. Exotically clad dancers will be joined by a live orchestra: Vocal: Mrs. Anjana Nagaraja Violin: Mr. Prasad Mantraratnam Mridangam: Mr. Ajay Ravichandran Nattuvangam: Mrs. Bhavani Murthy Dancers: Ms. Ranjani Murthy, Chandni Bhat, Saanvi Goenka, Vikram, Karuna and Vandana Natham Reserved seat tickets are available from Kingsport Office of Cultural Arts at 423-392-8414 or on the web at The Kingsport Renaissance Arts Center is conveniently located at 1200 East Center Street. Visitors may easily access the facility from I-26, by taking exit 51, Wilcox Drive, and proceeding 3.1 miles to Center Street. At Center Street take a left and the facility is on your right as you top the hill.

Arts Array presents

“Dallas Buyers Club” The Arts Array Film Series presented by Virginia Highlands Community College is in its 43rd year. All films are presented at the Abingdon Cinemall on Mondays and Tuesdays at 4 p.m. and again at 7:30 pm.

(March 3 and 4) Ron Woodroof likes living his life hard: heavy smoking, drinking, using cocaine and having sex. He’s also a stereotypical redneck with racist and homophobic ideology. While in the hospital on a work-related injury, Ron learns that he is HIV-positive, and will most-likely die within thirty days. He reads every single available AIDS related research article, and all highlight AZT as the most promising, effective treatment for the disease. Unfortunately, in the US, AZT is only in its clinical trials stage. The Arts Array Film Series is part of the comprehensive cultural outreach program of Virginia Highlands Community College. The series is co-sponsored by the Abingdon Cinemall, the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center, Emory & Henry College, Virginia Intermont College, and King University. Admission to the films is free for the faculties and students at the supporting institutions. Members of the general community may attend for $7.75. For a brochure on the series or more information, please contact Tommy Bryant at 276-739-2451 or email him at

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 7

Art Series Concert

of baroque trumpet solos & duets On Sunday, March 2, at 3:00 p.m., the First Presbyterian Church of Bristol, Tennessee continues its 2013-14 Arts Series with a concert of baroque trumpet solos and duets, presented by Clarence Mitchell II and Dr. David Champouillon, accompanied by the Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble.

Clarence Mitchell II is retired from The United States Air Force Band (Washington, D.C.) and lives in Fort Washington, Maryland. He retired as a Senior Master Sergeant with 28 years of service. He has a Bachelor of Music in Composition from Temple University. Dr. David Champouillon is a Bach Artist/ Clinician, and Professor of Trumpet at East Tennessee State University. He holds the Doctor of Arts in Music in trumpet from the University of Northern Colorado. Mitchell and Champouillon served in the USAF Band of the Golden Gate from 1979-1983 and have been friends for over 33 years. They studied together with Mr. Laurie McGaw, associate principal trumpet of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra (now retired) for four years. They both also studied with the late Professor William Fielder (Rutgers Uni-

versity) who was Wynton Marsalis’ teacher. Mitchell also studied with the late Seymour Rosenfeld (Second Trumpet) of The Philadelphia Orchestra. Champouillon also studied trumpet with the late Gilbert Johnson (Solo Trumpet) of The Philadelphia Orchestra. The Pro Musica Chamber Ensemble directed by Tim and Kim Barrett will provide the orchestral accompaniment. The program will be all Baroque trumpet concertos including composers Franceschini, Torelli, Viviani, Telemann, Purcell, Vivaldi, Fasch, Handel, Tartini,

and Stradella. The Arts Series of the First Presbyterian Church strives to share with the community events that enrich and inspire the life of the people of Bristol, share our unique and marvelous facilities, and encourage the artistically gifted of our region and beyond. Admission is a suggested donation of $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for students. The church is located at 701 Florida Avenue, just west of King University. For more information contact the church at 423-764-7176.

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Mountain Park Old Time Band at the Carter Family Fold

Saturday, March 1st, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the Mountain Park Old Time Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free. Mountain Park Old Time Band was formed six years ago as a group of friends who happened to enjoy old time music got together to have a good time. Over the past several years, the Mountain Park Old Time Band has been creating a stir in old time music circles. The group has five members, all of whom are very versatile and talented musicians. Nancy and Johnny Gentry played for years with the Whitetop Mountain Band. Johnny plays guitar, dobro, and fiddle as well as doing vocals for the band. Nancy drives the rhythm with her excellent bass playing. She and Johnny both teach music, and Johnny also makes beautiful banjos. Roger Stamper handles the fiddling for the group and he plays guitar and

bass as well. C. T. Janney plays the washboard – an “instrument” rarely played today. C.T. also cuts a mean rug when he dances. Dr. Mark Handy plays banjo and does vocals – he’s also a champion clogger. When he’s not playing old time, Dr. Handy practices medicine in Abingdon, Virginia, and helps to run his family’s farm.

The Mountain Park Old Time Band has played at the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Alleghany Jubilee, the Rex Theater, and at Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Festival. They have also been featured on National Public Radio. The group has released two CDs – Fire on the Dance Floor and Dancing with Sally Goodin. Mountain Park recently performed at the annual Carter Family Festival. Their group has very quickly become a Carter Fold favorite. Fans of groups like the Whiteop Mountain Band will love the Mountain Park Old Time Band. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, and be ready for a night of down home fun. Nothing gets you out of your seat and on the dance floor faster than a rousing old time band. Don’t miss the Mountain Park Old Time Band at the Carter Family Fold! For more information on the group, go to www.mountainparkoldtimeband. com/. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.

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celebrates 40 years on the air Forty years ago, on Sunday, Feb. 24, 1974, East Tennessee State University’s radio station, WETSFM, began providing the first public radio service to the Tri-Cities region. Station Director Wayne Winkler says while WETS today is, in many ways, very different from the station that went on the air that Sunday, the mission of the station remains the same. “The mission of WETS, then and now, is to provide high-quality, non-commercial news and entertainment to the people of Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and Western North Carolina,” says Winkler. “The way we do that has changed dramatically in the past four decades, but we’re still doing what we set out to do in 1974.” During the first year of operation, WETS was on the air from 10 a.m. until midnight. By mid-1975, the broadcast day had expanded to 18 hours, 6 a.m.-midnight. Twenty-four hour operation began in the 1990s. Programming on WETS consisted of classical music, public affairs programs and National Public Radio’s evening news program “All Things Considered.” Within a few years, the music offerings expanded to include jazz, folk, bluegrass and blues, most of which originated at the station. WETS began broadcasting from what was initially intended to be a temporary facility, a slightly renovated, two-story house at 920 West Maple St. on the ETSU campus in Johnson City. “‘Temporary’ turned out to be 14 years,” Winkler recalls, “but the old house served us well during the formative years of the station.” The current WETS building, at 1125 Centennial Drive, was built in 1988 and paid for almost entirely through listener contributions. In January of 1993, the building was designated “Richard F. Ellis Hall” in honor of the original director of the station. “Dick Ellis was a well-known broadcaster in the area before

coming to WETS,” says Winkler, who joined the staff in 1978. “He oversaw the technical aspects of getting the station on the air, worked with the university and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to establish funding, hired the original staff, and managed the station for 19 years. There would be no WETS today if not for Dick Ellis.” Ellis succumbed to cancer in February of 1993, two weeks after the dedication of the building that bears his name. Winkler, who had previously served as announcer, producer and operations director, has managed the station since Ellis’s death, and helped usher the station into the digital age. Today, WETS is essentially three radio stations. With the introduction of digital HD broadcasting, WETS offers three distinct programming streams. WETS-HD 1 is a digital version of the analog FM signal, which focuses primarily on news and information from NPR; the BBC; a regional news partnership with the John-

son City Press, Kingsport TimesNews and Elizabethton Star; and other sources, including such locally produced programs as “Your Weekly Constitutional,” “Religion For Life,” “American Variety Radio,” “WETS Community Forum,” “Studio One” and “Business Matters.” WETS-HD 2 is dedicated to Americana music, a broadly defined blend of roots music styles that includes bluegrass, folk, country, blues, rhythm and blues, and rock ’n’ roll. WETS-HD 3 features classical music and jazz. All three program streams blend nationally distributed programming with local hosts, topics and performers. “Our goal has always been to bring the world into this region,” Winkler says, “but also to reflect and represent our own area. “From the beginning, WETS has been a unique partnership between ETSU and the listeners who support the station with their financial gifts. Without either of these partners, WETS as we know it would not exist today.”

Page 10, The Loafer • February 25, 2014

“Anything Goes” at Abingdon High School

The Abingdon High School Chorus presents the musical comedy, “Anything Goes” on Friday, February 28 and Saturday, March 1 in the Abingdon High School auditorium. This delightful tale is based on the book by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse (adapted by Howard Lindsay and Russell Crouse) and features a musical score by the great Cole Porter featuring songs like, “Anything Goes,” “I Get a Kick Out of You,” and “You’re the Top.” This madcap adventure on the high seas will have you tapping your feet and laughing out loud!          AHS staff students and volunteers have been working hard

to make this a most “de-lovely” production. Hearty thanks to our many community supporters – Berry Home Centers for lumber donations, Front Row Music for sound and technical support, Humphreys Flowers for donating flowers for our thespians and staff, In The Country for feeding our painters and set crew, and all of the many volunteers who have helped to build, paint, teach dance and support this effort. We also wish to acknowledge The Office Place, Zazzy’z, Carla Keene Dentistry, Greg Gross, Flacon Pharmacy, Fresh Look Home Remodeling and Office Depot for their support and talent – we couldn’t do this

without you!          So, don’t miss out on this “de-lightful” community extravaganza – boarding times are Friday, February 28 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. and again at 7:00. Tickets are only $8.00 for adults and $5.00 for students and can be purchased at the Abingdon High School office or at the door. A fun time is guaranteed for all – come support the Abingdon High School Chorus and set sail for an evening of song, dance and laughter! For more information, contact: Abingdon High School at 739-3200.

Minton Sparks & John Jackson at The Down Home Minton Sparks and John Jackson appear on Friday, February 28th at The Down Home in Johnson City at 8 p.m. Sparks will be accompanied by guitarists John Jackson, who is perhaps best known for his time playing with Bob Dylan. Sparks has received worldwide acclaim for her written and performed work. As Marshall Chapman puts it, “I have seen Minton Sparks. And if she’s not the ghost child of ‘Flannery O’Connor’ and ‘Hank Williams’, then cotton doesn’t grow in a cotton field.” Sparks received the Fellowship of Southern Writers Spoken Word Award from novelist Dorothy Allison in 2011. She recently released her fifth record “Gold Digger”. For more information about her work and upcoming performances, visit her website at: www. Please contact Maddison Grigsby for more information 402-212-9137 or

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 11

“Liberty!” Final Audition – Saturday, March 1 at 4:30 pm

This year, “Liberty! The Saga of Sycamore Shoals,” Tennessee’s Official Outdoor Drama, will be hosting its 36th year of performances in the Fort Watauga amphitheater at Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area in Elizabethton! We would love to have you and your families join us as cast members for our performances this July! You will have the opportunity to audition for speaking parts on Saturday, March 1 at 4:30 pm –

in the “Gathering Room” in the Sycamore Shoals Visitors Center. When you arrive, you will be given a short section of last year’s script to read for your audition, so you won’t need to worry about preparing something in advance. We will also be taking signups for cast members interested in participating in non-speaking roles. If you do not have the appropriate clothing, Sycamore Shoals will loan it to you for the month of July! “Liberty!” shares the incred-

ible stories of the events that took place at Sycamore Shoals, during the late 18th century, as settlers began moving into this area and beginning new lives. Throughout the intriguing scenes in the drama, our guests have the opportunity to not only discover events of historic importance, but also experience the traditions of the times. These stories are your stories! We hope you will consider becoming a part of our “Liberty!” family this year at Sycamore Shoals! “Liberty!” will be performed the last 3 weekends in July, Thursday through Saturday, July 10 – 12; 17 – 19; and 24 – 26. Each show begins at 7:30 pm. For additional information, please call the park at 423-5435808 Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area 1651 W. Elk Avenue Elizabethton, Tennessee 37643 about/sycamore-shoals www.friendsofsycamoreshoals. org Directed by Joe Greene Produced and Sponsored by Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area

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The Crooked Road Music Series at Heartwood to feature the

Smyth County Jam

venue for good clean fun and relaxation every Monday beginning at 6:30pm. Concessions are sold and admission is free. All musicians are welcome.   “I’m sure part of their popularity is due to their efforts to make sure everyone enjoys the Jam,” says Hinshelwood.  “Just look at their website and all the musician bios they have posted to see they really go out of their way to promote the region’s music and musicians.”   The Crooked Road’s mission is The Crooked Road:  Virginia’s to support tourism and economic Heritage Music Trail (TCR) music development in Southwest Virginseries at Heartwood in Abingdon ia by celebrating and preserving showcases communities of the re- this Appalachian region’s unique gion through their traditional mu- musical and cultural heritage.  The sic venues and their youth music. 19 counties, 4 cities, and over 50   At 6:00 pm on Thursday, Feb- towns and communities in Southruary 27, 2014, the Smyth County west Virginia that make up The Jam from Chilhowie, Virginia will Crooked Road region represent be the featured Venue Showcase one of the richest sources of tradiat Heartwood.  “This is one of tional heritage music in the world. the most popular jams along The   For additional information Crooked Road, for audiences and about The Crooked Road, call 276musicians alike,” says Jack Hin- 492-2409 or send an email to info@ shelwood, executive director of The Crooked Road.  “They have a For more information about the main room where bands perform Smyth County Jam, call 276-496for appreciative audiences, but 5467 or visit www.smythcountythe backrooms are often overflow- ing with great singers and pickers.    Heartwood:  Southwest VirWe’re thrilled to be able to feature ginia’s Artisan Gateway is located them at Heartwood and appreciate of I-81 at Exit 14 in Abingdon, Virhaving them as an Affiliated Venue ginia of The Crooked Road.  They were and features food, music and craft one of the first participants in our of Southwest Virginia. Venue Showcase series when it Admission is free but donations started back in 2011 and they re- will be accepted for the series perally made the rafters ring.  I look formances. forward to that happening again.”   Thanks to John Pearse Strings   Held at the Lion’s Club, 116 In- and Breezy Ridge Instruments for dustrial Park Road in Chilhowie, their support of Crooked Road muthe Smyth County Jam is a great sic programs at Heartwood.

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 13

Community Open Band plays for Jonesborough Contra!

The Historic Jonesborough Dance Society will host the next contra dance of the season on Saturday March 1, 2014 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street at 7:30 PM. There will be a community open band led and hosted by ETSU Professor, Lee Bidgood. Tom Colwell and Myra Hirschberg will do the calling. Admission is $7, $5 for HJDS members and $5 for full time students. A special family package for members is now offered for a total of $15. Parents and all of their own children under age 18 can gain admission for one price. Ever wanted to play music for a dance? This is YOUR chance! Join a diverse group of community musicians who come together to provide music for dancing four times a year. Develop your skill at accompanying dancers and supporting this community activity. All instruments are welcome - please contact Lee Bidgood (blidgood@ to learn more and to obtain the song sheets. Wind players are particularly needed to add a new element to a mostly string band.

Two practice sessions are scheduled: • 7-9pm Wednesday 2/19/2014 at the Jonesborough Visitors Center, 117 Boone Street • 7-9pm Tuesday, 2/25/2014 in Room 306, Brooks Gym, ETSU, Johnson City, TN Sheet music will be provided for those who play guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, flute, clarinet, keyboard or accordion and percussion. The caller will teach a class for beginners at 7:00 PM and the dance will run from 7:30-10:30 PM with a waltz and Klondike Bar break at 9:00 PM. Come to dance or come to listen. No partner is necessary. It is customary at contra dances to change partners after each dance. As always, our dances are smoke, alcohol and fragrance free. Families, students and singles are welcome. All dances are taught by the caller. No previous dance experience is necessary. For more information, contact David Wiley at 423-534-8879, or email to Also visit the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society on FACEBOOK.

Page 14, The Loafer • February 25, 2014

Reconnect with Antiquity Amid the Starry Sky “The sad and solemn night Hath yet her multitude of cheerful fires; The glorious host of light Walk the dark hemisphere till she retires; All through her silent watches, gliding slow, Her constellations come, and climb the heavens, and go.” William Cullen Bryant circa 1860

A moonless week like this one is what turns people on to amateur astronomy by appealing to the genetic, celestial DNA that seems to flow through mankind. And if you go out and recognize the mighty Orion the Hunter taking command of the night, you are well on the way to being an amateur astronomer. To gaze upon the stars, the Moon and planets is to make a connection

with every human being who has looked up at the dazzling night sky and wondered. That’s because when it comes to the pattern of stars tossed the sky, no one owns the original. These are the same stars of Orion—or Taurus or Gemini—that all people who’ve walked the Earth have laid their eyes upon. It’s exciting for me to think about not just great astronomers like Galileo

and Copernicus looking at these same stars. But people like the Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, Jesus and the Egyptian builders of the pyramids, all saw the same stars I do tonight. There are 6,000 or so stars seen with the naked eye from both hemispheres of Earth, and their positions have changed very little during the 10,000 years of civilized man. To the stargazers over the centuries, these patterns of stars have become friendly acquaintances whose positions give us a sense of time and familiarity with the seasons. Monuments like Stonehenge were built to the rhythm of the stellar seasons, while civilizations worshiped the sighting of certain stars which seemed to trigger the time to plant or harvest. And then there are the mystical events that often terrorized ancient people when the Sun disappeared behind the Moon, and the Moon disappears in the Earth’s shadow—the total solar and lunar eclipses.

Even though each star in the night is moving through the Universe at speeds around 30,000 mph, the distance between the stars is so vast that it takes millions of years to see any change in the familiar constellations. So, nothing seen tonight in 2014 is any different than what Moses of The Bible saw thousands of years ago. Confucius was inspired by the same stars that the writers of the Psalms when they so beautifully penned the praises to the Creator. “The heavens declare the Glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.” Psalm 19:1 After years of watching the parade of constellations rise and set, a history of people, places and things become engrained in the subconscious of the avid stargazer. And it is those memories, like seeing distant relatives, which draws me to the stars, no matter what time of year. But Winter is always special, as the brightest stars and boldest constel-

lation patterns are on display. Many of the brightest stars of the night have distinctly Arabic names, kept by the star-mappers over antiquity. Orion’s shoulders are Betelgeuse and Bellatrix; his knees are Rigel and Saiph. The three stars of the distinctly angled belt of the giant hunter are, from left to right, Alnitak, Alnilam and Mintaka. The name of each bright star adds to the personality of the night sky. Let your imagination run wild as you realize each star is like a human—a specific size and temperament—each star with its own alien planets and their moons, as well as possible comets, asteroids and other objects yet unknown. These are also the winter nights to behold the brightest star of all, Sirius, well below Orion and also called the “Dog Star” in the Big Dog, Canis Major. And way above it is Procyon, in the Little Dog, Canis Minor. Continued on page 15

Continued from page 14

Above Orion is the “V”-shaped stars making the horns of Taurus the Bull, one of the oldest recognized star patterns going back to forgotten civilizations. The animal’s eye is reddish Aldebaran, “The Follower.” Just what this star is following is in the Bull’s shoulder, the cluster of Seven Sisters, or The Pleiades, a source of celestial folklore from the Chinese to the Native North Americans. Another fainter star cluster, The Hyades is at the point of the “V,” and they are the half-sisters of The Pleiades in mythology. A purely Roman constellation is above Orion and another ancient one. Founding brothers of Rome, mythical Castor and Pollux head the side by side string of stars making up Gemini the Twins. A Greek man with a strange name of Auriga is the inventor of the chariot. And he is immortalized by a lopsided wheel shape group of stars. Auriga’s brightest star, Capella, is a yellow one. Different cultures in different eras of mankind have arranged the stars and given them names in their native tongues. Whole cultures have put

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 15 the stars into patterns that immortalize their gods and heroes. Today, the names of 88 constellations are universally agreed upon, as are the stars names on the modern celestial charts. The patterns of the constellations look the way they are only from our perspective in the Solar System. From any planet or object orbiting our Sun, the constellations look the same. But if we rocketed to the nearest stars, that would change the perspective and alter the familiar dot-to-dot patterns. Connecting those points of light into arbitrary formations have merely served as landmarks to navigate the celestial realm as seen from Earth. Some stars are near, some are far, but seen side-by-side they make up patterns that are given borders by their specific sky coordinates. Modern light pollution has robbed the night of its faintest stars once seen by the naked eye. Few of us can see the Milky Way from our own suburban backyards. And the number of stars realistically seen from an average neighborhood is maybe half of what it was just 50 years ago.

When someone gets in the country or mountains on a dark, moonless night and takes the time to look up, their dark adapted eyes can leave them breathless with the splendor of the night. The many multitudes of stars that can be seen from a dark observing sight gives the 21st Century stargazer a hint at what could be seen in the night sky just 200 years ago when there was no electricity. For thousands of years,

the skies were so dark for civilized cultures to ponder. Modern man can hardly imagine the impact. The false science of astrology is one lasting influence. Again, unlike the Mona Lisa painting in the Louvre, or the statute of the Pieta at the Vatican, no one owns the original when it comes to the night vault of stars overhead. They are there for the asking,

ready for you to examine, marvel at or mediate upon. Looking up, like every person who has walked the Earth, gives you some cosmic connection to be enjoyed and cherished. And this moonless Winter week is a terrific time to make that connection…something I’ll be enjoying, and hope you will, too.

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Skies This Week Celestial events in the skies for the week of Feb. 25 - Mar. 3, 2014, as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.

The absence of the Moon in our night skies allows the glorious constellations of Winter to shine. The Winter Circle of bright, 1st magnitude stars is made even more magnificent with planet Jupiter in the middle of the night show. And for early morning risers, three planets, Mars, Saturn and Venus are evenly spaced across the sky at 5 am. Tues. Feb. 25 The Winter Circle of eight bright stars begin overhead with red Aldebaran in the V-shaped pattern of Taurus the Bull and continue with Capella in Auriga, Castor and Pollux in Gemini, Procyon in Canis Major, Sirius in Canis Major, Rigel and Betelgeuse in Orion. Jupiter is in the middle, between the legs of the celestial brothers. Wed. Feb. 26 Venus and the crescent Moon are spectacular at 6 am before sunrise. Look to the right and the red star is Antares, the next bright star, a yellow one, is planet Saturn. Further right is red Mars, with white star Spica below. Thurs. Feb. 27 Looking north, the Big Dipper is standing on its handle and its bowl is pointing to the North Star, Polaris, which is always visible. Fri. Feb. 28 On this 1966 date in space history, two Gemini rookie astronauts were killed when their plane crashed into the very factory their spacecraft was being built. Gemini IX prime crew Charlie Bassett and Elliot See crashed their T-38 jet after

clipping the McDonnell Aircraft Corp. building while landing during a rainstorm in St. Louis, Mo. They were replaced by Tom Stafford, who later orbited the Moon, and the last man on the Moon, Gene Cernan. Sat. March 1 On this 2002 date in space history, Space Shuttle Columbia was launched for the fourth of five repair missions to the Hubble Space Telescope. Five space walks over five days by four astronauts installed new equipment and solar panels. Sun. March 2 On this 1995 date in space history, Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched with Astro 2 in its cargo bay. This purely astronomy mission had an array of three telescope that probed the high-energy ultraviolet spectrum of the 600 object during the 16-day mission—one of the longest in the Shuttle’s 30-year history. Mon. March 3 On this 1969 date in space history, Apollo 9 was launched aboard the mighty Saturn V rocket with the mission goal of testing the moon landing spaceship in Earth orbit. James McDivitt and Rusty Schweickart give their Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) nicknamed “Spider” a positive workout while David Scott was in the mothership, “Gumdrop.” In just five more months, man’s greatest adventure to the Moon would be fulfilled by a LEM called “Eagle.”

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“The Lego Movie” Lego Batman is awesome!

I must begin this week by saying Lego Batman is awesome! The Lego version of the Caped Crusader is featured in the new film “The Lego Movie”, along with other well know fictional characters in Lego form. The story begins by introducing us to an ordinary Lego miniature named Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) who is thought to be the MasterBuilder destined to save the Lego universe from an evil tyrant named Lord Business (Will Farrell). Lord Business is determined to destroy the Lego universe by gluing it all together. Emmet has been recruited to fight Lord Business by the wizard Viruvius (Morgan Freeman), who is convinced the nondescript construction worker is extraordinary. Just before his mission begins, Emmet runs across Wyldstyle (Elizabeth Banks), a woman with colored streaks in her hair, who is searching for something at his construction site. Emmet is smitten with Wyldstyle, but the only problem is she dates Batman (voiced by Will Arnett). Talk about intimating. While the attack is being planned on Lord Business, the vile villain captures various Lego characters, including Superman, Wonder Woman, and a Ninja Turtle. Soon, Emmet, Wyldstyle and Batman are joined

by others in their quest, including the hilarious Unikitty (Alison Brie). The showdown occurs in the high rise of Lord Business, and is highlighted by the effort to stop the villains use of “Kragle” (Krazy Glue). I was not sure what to expect from a film using Lego toys, but I was pleasantly surprised who much I enjoyed the film. My movie companions and I giggled like over grown kids throughout the film at the witty dialogue. The story-line was fast paced, but not so much that children in the audience would become confused. I know the kids in attendance when I saw the film were laughing out loud at various times. The film also has plenty for adults to enjoy, highlighted by a hilarious rap song about Batman, and the over-the-top anthem “Everything is Awesome”. The actors used in the film are all perfect for their characters, and I enjoyed cameos by several “Star Wars” characters. In fact, if you have ever wanted to see Batman aboard the Millennium Falcon, now is your chance. “The Lego Movie” provides a joyous time at the movies for both kids and adults, and actually made me want to build a Lego city when the film ended. (Rated PG) A-

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Win A Guitar signed by January Jam Artists Abingdon, VA –The 2nd Annual January Jams at the Barter Theatre brought thousands of people to Abingdon in January from around the region, as well as several Grammy-award winning artists. The series included 7 total concerts, most coming close to or selling out the 500-seat theatre. Seizing an opportunity while having these nationally recognized musicians in town, Capo’s Music Store teamed up with the Abingdon Music Experience to have a guitar signed by every performer to be raffled off on February 28, 2014. “We are thrilled to offer fans the chance to win an amazing piece of memorabilia,” says Sara Cardinale, Special Events Coordinator for the Town of Abingdon. The guitar is a Breedlove Passport D/SM guitar, which retails for over $500. Artists who signed the guitar include: Marty Stuart, Jim Lauderdale, John Cowan, Jason Isbell, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Mountain Heart, Iris Dement, Holly Williams, St. Paul & The Broken Bones and more. Raffle Tickets are only $1/ea, and are available at Capo’s Music Store in Abingdon, as well as online at Multiple tick-

Carver offering Zumba Fitness The Appalachian Dharma & MedCarver Recreation Center, 322 W. Watauga Ave., is now offering Zumba Fitness classes. Fee is $4 per class or $25 for seven classes. The Latin-inspired workout creates a party-like atmosphere and is perfect exercise for dancers and non-dancers of all ages. Instructor is Jennifer Walters. • Mondays and Tuesdays: 5:30-6:30 p.m. • Thursdays: 6:30-7:30 p.m. For more information, please call Carver Rec at 461-8830.

ets can be purchased to increase the chance of winning. A single winner will be chosen on February 28th at Capo’s Music Store. All proceeds from the raffle will go to support the Abingdon Music Experience. The Abingdon Music Experience is an effort of the ACVB which includes different concert series throughout the year. In addition to January Jams, the AME also puts on the Thursday Jams, an outdoor concert series in the summer at the Abingdon Market Pavilion. “The Thursday Jams are free to attend, and in order to keep high quality acts on stage, we need sponsorships to make it happen,” explains Cardinale. “Thankfully we’ve had some corporate and business partners step up to help, but we are still looking for donors and thought the autographed guitar would be a good way to get the community involved and give back.”   For a complete lineup of events, including details of the Abingdon Music Experience’s summer concert series: Thursday Jams, visit www.abingdonmusicexperience. com. Sponsored in part by Eastman Credit Union and Capo’s Music Store.

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Terror on the Highway It was late and I was running behind. I left my house in a rush, and was trying to get to Knoxville as quickly as I could. A friend of mine was having a birthday party, and I was determined not to miss it. Sometimes on long car rides I fill my car’s radio up with vintage radio shows to keep me company. On that cold night I chose to ride along with Inner Sanctum Mysteries, a show that leaned a bit towards the spooky and the murderous. Creepy organ music playing, a squeaking door, and a host making macabre jokes. The road was somewhat bare that night, not as much traffic as one would have thought, but I suppose for a Thursday night it wasn’t too surprising. Right as things began to get going, both on the road and on the 40s radio show on my speakers, a warning light came on in my car’s dash. It was a light that said “Hey, your right rear tie is low on air. Fix it!” At first I ignored the light and it’s warning. “Pfft, it does that when it gets cold. It’ll be fine.” But then the combination of having the brain of a writer, and a spooky 1940s radio

show caused me to have visions of the news of my death being reported on the 11 o’clock news. I knew that most gas stations have those air pump machines, so I didn’t fret, “I’ll just pull off as soon as I see an exit with a station” I thought to myself. So I rode along quite contently, listening to the ongoing saga of “The Man Who Couldn’t Die”, those Inner Sanctum shows have the best titles. After staying in the right lane and looking at every blue sign on the highway, one showed itself that indicated a gas station was at the upcoming exit. I took the exit and pulled up to the gas station that wasn’t far from it. As I slowly circled the gas pumps, I was scanning the building to see where their air pump was. I spotted the pump along the back right side of the building, and as I drove up to it, I heard a loud bang. After I assumed my tire had just gone out on me, I realized it was a gunshot on the radio program playing off my iPhone. I paused it, and got out of my car. I walked over to the air pump to see where to put the quar-

ters in, only to see a handwritten sign on the top of the pump which read “Out of order.” “Hell,” I thought to myself as I returned to my car, left the gas station, and got back on the highway. At this point, I was becoming more concerned. “What if I don’t find an air pump? What if my tire blows out on the highway? What if while changing it a group of rogue chihuahuas come along and tear me to ribbons?” Granted, only two of those things were plausible, but my brain still went there. The next exit had not one, but three gas stations, so I pulled off again and tired the first one. They didn’t have an air pump at all. On down the road I went to the next station, which did have an air pump, but it was situated right over a large drain gate. Considering how clumsy I can some-

times be, I had visions of me dropping my keys, the cap to the tire, and other things down it. I went to the third station, air pump they indeed had, and over lovely, lovely pavement. Now came the task of filling the tire up, while running behind, while it being a cold night, with the wind whipping all around at a great speed. I’m the type that assumes the timer on a gas station air pump is not generous enough to give me the time I need to get one tire, yet alone if it was all four, done. So I quickly dropped the 75 cents into the machine, and rushed to my right rear tire. I was fumbling to get the pump onto the nozzle, and in the corse of action I could hear more air leaking out. Once I finished, I quickly got back into my car, and drove off. In a moment, the light on my

car went off, and I safely made it to Knoxville in time for cake and party games. A night of frozen suspense, from both my overactive imagination, the low tire, and Inner Sanctum made for one of the more adventitious journeys down to Knoxville. At least there was cake at the end of this one. See you next week.

Page 22, The Loafer • February 25, 2014

Today’s To Do List:

READ THIS COLUMN Each Wednesday I find “Write Next Week’s Column” on my To Do list, and each Thursday morning, I am happy to see that task not reappearing on the list. However, I can’t say that for the other items on my list, some of which never get done and will no doubt be carried over the next day throughout eternity. For those of you who are frustrated on a daily basis by your inability to check off every item on your To Do list, there might be hope. According to Sam Bennett, author of Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes A Day, we can change the nature of our To Do lists by merely changing their name. Although doing this won’t make the lists of tasks go away, a simple name change might be the thing you’ve been waiting for ever since

you established your rather silly goal of always completing your To Do lists. Ms. Bennett advocates changing the name of our To Do list to the Could Do list, because “I could do the laundry or I could walk around in dirty, smelly clothes. I have a choice. Even if the task is something I know I must do, I feel more relaxed if I remember that I have the option to not do it.” She advocates that you accompany your new Could Do list with a worksheet that charts your progress on getting the task accomplished. This worksheet should be divided into columns labeled Task, Time, Expense, Inclination, and Return On Investment. This prioritizing will hopefully make your tasks easier to tackle. As neat and tidy as this sounds, I can’t help but wonder if we won’t soon

be including “Prepare A Worksheet For My Next Task” on our Could Do lists, thereby insuring that we might never get around to completing our task. In a PsychCentral piece about Bennett’s suggestions, Margarita Tartakovsky concludes that “Creating a could-do list (and considering factors like time and desire) gives you the opportunity to be intentional about your days. It helps you feel less shackled to should—I should do that—and become more mindful of how you really want to live.” That last sentence reminds me of the subject of my column a few weeks ago— Mindfulness, the idea that deepfocusing on the details around us will help us lead less distracted lives. Next item on my Could Do list: “Be Mindful of accomplishing the next item.” So much to do, and

so little time. So much for Mindfulness. In a similar piece for Lifehacker, blogee Kyle Pott argues that a To Do list is much more intimidating than a Could Do list, attributable to the unavoidable feeling of “dissatisfaction at the end of the day” knowing that “I didn’t have everything ticked off, despite the fact that I knew when I wrote it, it was highly unlikely I’d get to everything.” A Could Do list, on the other hand, creates “more of an element of choice around how I spend my time—I don’t have to do x today.” A Could Do list is more selective than a To Do list and makes us more aware of the whole range of options that present themselves while we are drawing up our list of things to get done. A Could Do list gives us a deeper feeling of being in control than does a typical To Do that carries with it a sense of urgency, forboding, and coercion. Not that we don’t need a little coercion now and then. And there’s no doubt that having a deadline is a good motivator from time to time. As we all know, creating To Do lists can become an allconsuming passion to the point that the list itself can become a To Do item (i.e. “Create a new To Do List). I doubt that making a Could Do list will alleviate the anxiety and pressure, because it will, in the end, just represent a name change and little more. So, in the interest of making our lives a little more interesting, if not less stressed and intimidated, I propose the following variations of the To Do / Could Do lists. Whether they will become life-changing remains to be seen, but I certainly hope they will so I can write a self-improvement book and add “Deposit Book Royalties Into Bank Account” on my list each day. First up is the Might Do

list. Notice how this makes you feel better just contemplating it. No commitments, no sense of urgency, and no feelings of inadequacy attached if you don’t get these things done. Just think—a list of things you might do, but then again might not. Next, we have a little item called the Shouldn’t Do list (paired perhaps with a less interesting Should Do list). You know, things like you shouldn’t run with a pointed stick (you might put someone else’s eye out, but never yours), give your bank account number to a mystery caller or emailer, or make impossibleto-accomplish To Do lists. Closely related to this list is a neat little Can’t Do list (do we need a Can Do list as its opposite?), containing all those things you just can’t do no matter how hard you try, like move an immoveable object, finish or start a task on Tuesday that can just as easily wait until Wednesday (isn’t procrastination wonderful?), and find a misplaced file on your hard drive. And I think we need a Never Do list for all those things that are just against your principles, as ill-defined and ambiguous as peoples’ principles usually are. For instance, I will never intentionally watch the movie “The Sound of Music” (my one and only New Year’s resolution that I’ve kept faithfully since the mid1980s). Just for fun and giggles, everyone should also maintain both a Do-Do list (for all those things you have to do but just can’t bring yourself to take seriously), and a Whoop-De-Do list (including the many things in our lives that are just downright silly and/or irrelevant). The next thing on my Could Do list is to add “Bring This Column To An End”. So, with a tremendous sense of accomplishment and purpose, I will bid you a fond farewell until Do-Do lists.

February 25, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 23

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