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Page 2, The Loafer • May 13, 2014


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May 13, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 3

Volume 28 Issue #23

Siege of Fort Watauga

Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area 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, Terry Patterson 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 www.theloaferonline.com • info@theloaferonline.com e-mail: editorial@theloaferonline.com (editorial) adcopy@theloaferonline.com (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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May 17th & 18th On Saturday, May 17th and Sunday, May 18th, Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area will host 150 living history re-enactors for the annual Siege of Fort Watauga. Colonial, British, and Native re-enactors will converge at the re-created Fort Watauga at Sycamore Shoals to relive the days when America’s first frontier was the land beyond the blue ridge. The Siege of Fort Watauga is a live retelling of the Cherokee attack brought on the settlers of the Watauga valley in the summer of 1776. At Sycamore Shoals, Fort Watauga offered protection to nearly 200 settlers during a two-week siege led by Cherokee War Chief, Old Abram, and 300 warriors. Sycamore Shoals will once again be the scene of war during the Siege of Fort Watauga. The event lasts from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm on Saturday, May 17th and 10:00 am to 3:00 pm on Sunday, May 18th. Step back in time as you visit the fort, militia camps, British encampment, and Native camp. Be immersed in 18th century frontier life as you witness daily aspects of colonial culture. Take advantage of colonial merchants selling period wares in “Sutler’s Row”. See the clash of two cultures as the attack on fort Watauga is recreated both days at 1:00 pm. Also, attend our auction of 18th century reproductions on Saturday. For more information on this and other exciting events at Sycamore Shoals please contact the park at 423-543-5808 or visit the park’s website at www.sycamoreshoalstn.org. Bring the entire family and see how your ancestors played a crucial role in our region’s history and in the formation of our nation. Hear the rattle of muskets, smell the campfire smoke, and see the 18th century come to life at the Siege of Fort Watauga. This event is sponsored by The Washington County Regiment of North Carolina Militia and The Friends of Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area. Sycamore Shoals State Historic Area, 1651 W. Elk Ave. Elizabethton, TN 37643 Ph. 423-543-5808 www.sycamoreshoalstn.org http://tnstateparks.com/parks/about/sycamore-shoals www.washingtoncountyregiment.wordpress.com


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The Motown Experience at Niswonger Performing Arts Center

The Motown Experience will be presented at NPAC on Saturday, May 17th at 7:30pm. The Motown Experience is an all-star lineup of world class vocalists drawn from the ranks of the legendary groups that made many of these hits timeless classics. This dynamic vocal group is assembled from former members of The Capitols, The Miracles, and The Temptations. The Motown Sound became the soundtrack of the lives of generations around the world. The Motown catalog includes some of the most enduring songs in popular music. For more than 50 years Motown’s strong musical hooks have provided some of the most recognizable songs in music history.

The Motown Experience features impeccable harmonies, dazzling choreography, and those timeless Motown grooves that everyone knows and loves. Enjoy some of the greatest hits from artists including The Temptations, The Miracles, The Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. The performance contains that unmistakable Motown style complete with coordinated suits, great vocals and carefully orchestrated dance moves... creating a polished look that has set the bar for many vocal groups since the late 1950’s. The backing band is comprised of seasoned musicians who have toured with many notable artists from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. The Motown Experience will

perform at Niswonger Performing Arts Center (NPAC) in historic downtown Greeneville, TN on Saturday, May 17th at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $25 for orchestra and mezzanine level seating and $15 for balcony seats. Tickets may be purchased online at www.npacgreeneville.com, in person at the NPAC box office, or by calling 423638-1679. NPAC offers online seat selection and no-fee ticketing. The box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10 am until 5 pm. The 1130 seat performing arts center is located adjacent to the campus of Greeneville High School in Greeneville, TN. For venue information, and to purchase tickets, please visit www.npacgreeneville.com.


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The Voice’s Swon Brothers coming to Bristol’s Steele Creek Park

For the past few summers the City of Bristol has endeavored to bring the brightest and best of the up and coming stars in the country music world to Bristol. Beautiful Steele Creek will provide the stage for the Pavilion by the Lake concert series. This year, WXBQ Radio, the sponsor of the summer series has outdone themselves in bringing the Swon Brothers (Zach and Colton) to the Birthplace of Country Music. The free concert has been set for Friday, May 16, 2014 at 7:00PM.

“Mark your calendars for this great event. We are anticipating a great crowd. I think you will get a chance to see one of the greatest acts to grace the stage of the park’s amphitheater. Someday, you will be able to say, ‘I saw them when....’ they are just that kind of band,” said Darlene Cole, Deputy Director of Community Relations for the city. “I watched them the night they played alongside Bob Seger and was blown away. That show proved to me they can sing anything; country, southern rock,

you name it. They are just that talented.” The brothers first hit the national radar charming fans with their incredible sibling harmonies and fun-loving personalities as finalists on Team Blake in Season 4 of NBC’s The Voice. Newly signed to the Arista Nashville record label, the brothers returned to The Voice in December of 2013 to perform “Later On,” the first taste of the Muskogee, OK, natives’ upcoming album, helmed by producer Mark Bright (Carrie Underwood, Sara Evans). The journey marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the history of the Swons, who had the ambition to take their first swing at a record deal when they were only 9 and 11 years old, asking their parents to stop in Nashville so they could audition at record labels ontheir way to a family vacation in Florida. Recently honored with the Rising Star award by the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame, The Swon Brothers are currently writing and securing songs for their major-label debut album, coming in 2014. “More information will be forthcoming concerning concert logistics,” said Cole. “Many thanks are owed to WXBQ in making this concert happen.”


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20th Annual Iris Festival Downtown Greeneville, May 17-18

Hillbilly Bad Non-stop entertainment at the 20th Annual Iris Festival May 1718 in downtown Greeneville will be provided from two stages, the main stage in the Greene County Partnership Parking Lot and the dancing stage in the City Parking Lot. Entertainment from the main stage will kick off Saturday with Ralph Jeffers, an Americana singer/songwriter from Jonesborough performing at 10 a.m., followed at 11:30 a.m. by the Mason Dixon Boys, a bluegrass band. Hillbilly Bad, featuring some of East Tennessee’s top musicians, will provide a two-hour country rock performance beginning at 1 p.m., and Saturday’s singing entertainment will close with the ever-popular country/southern rock band, Nick Fillers and the Fugitives, beginning at 3:30 p.m. Savannah Faith, a former talent contest winner at the Greene County Fair who has performed at numerous fairs and festivals throughout southeastern Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee, will open Sunday’s entertainment schedule at noon. A newcomer to the festival stage, rock band Ivy Road will perform at 1:20 p.m., followed by the Nolichucky River Band performing traditional bluegrass music at 2:40 p.m. The Foundations with their mix of old southern gospel standards and

hymns with some modern favorites thrown in for good measure will be onstage at 4 p.m. to close out the festival.. Square dancers, cloggers, line dancers and contemporary dancers fill the schedule for the dance stage, sponsored by First Tennessee Bank and located in the City Parking Lot. The schedule is as follows: Saturday – 10 a.m., Country Girls Line Dance Team; 10:45 a.m., Dandylines; 11:30 a.m., Studio Nine 22; 12:15 p.m., Trailblazer Cloggers; 1 p.m., East Tennessee Twirling Academy; 1:45 p.m., Stoney Creek Cloggers; 2:30 p.m., Tennessee

Foothill Cloggers; 3:15 p.m., Dancers Unlimited; and 4 p.m., Roby Swingers. The Sunday performances are as follows: noon, The Misfits Acro Troop; 12:45 p.m., Dancers Unlimited; 1:30 p.m., Winter & Company; 2:15 p.m., Trailblazer Cloggers; 3 p.m., Stoney Creek Cloggers; and 3:45 p.m., Praise Cloggers.. To apply for a booth space or obtain more information on the various aspects of the festival, call the Partnership at 423-6384111 or emailgcp@greenecop.com. Information is also available on the Partnership website, www. greenecountypartnership.com.


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Local artist on display

at Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville, TN Kingsport area artist, Tony Henson broke his hand 6 years ago, making it very difficult to hold a brush, so he began using his hands to paint with exclusively. His technique and style has naturally evolved since he broke his hand. Using large brushes, palette knifes, squeegees and from time to time, his hands. “I believe that great paintings are powerful, simple, and yet have a subtle quality to them. I want to create a sense of immersion for the viewer as I have when I’m painting as well as being surrounded by nature while driving, hiking, or mountain biking. I want the person to ‘enter’ the painting like one would ‘enter’ a great play, opera, or film. Immersion of the art you are experiencing and standing in front of is very important to me.” Visit Tony’s website at www. tonyhensonart.com for more info and images.

Winged Deer Park

Twilight Nature Walk set for May 15

Citizens are invited to join Nature Program Coordinator Connie Deegan on Thursday, May 15 from 8-10 p.m. for a Twilight Nature Walk at Winged Deer Park. This leisurely family- oriented stroll will follow the wooded trails and will feature brief discussions on some of the nocturnal animals taking over the night. The walk will conclude with a check-in at the Moth Study being conducted at the park, so participants should bring along cameras for a little insect photography. Walkers will meet at the Robert Young Cabin, next to the Parks and Recreation Administrative Offices, 4137 Bristol Highway. Please dress accordingly for this nature adventure. Fee is $1 per person. For more information, please call (423)283-5821.


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May 13, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 9

An evening with Danny Schmidt & Carrie Elkin at The Renaissance Theatre as part of the Engage Kingsport Performing Arts Series

It’s a special treat when Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, who normally tour separately and solo, get to share the stage together. If the chemistry seems especially sparkful, they come by it honestly, as they are a rare breed: a romantic partnership in real life, not just musical life. And the two together on stage makes for a classic case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Danny Schmidt is best known for his riveting poetic lyrics, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt for their depth and complexity. And gypsy spirit Carrie Elkin is best known for her incredibly soulful and dynamic vocals, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Patty Griffin at her most powerful, and Nanci Griffith at her most intimate. Together, the respective strengths they each bring, individ-

ually, merge into a much greater whole...a performance of great energy and spirit...and one that audiences seem to be able to connect with on a multitude of levels, at once: Emotionally, Spiritually, and Intellectually. On Danny: Named to the Chicago Tribune’s 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/ songwriter Danny Schmidt has been rapidly ascending from underground cult hero status to being broadly recognized as an artist of generational significance. Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, leading Sing Out Magazine to tag him: “Perhaps the best new songwriter we’ve heard in the last 15 years.”   On Carrie:With her Red House Records release, Call it my Garden, Carrie Elkin has emerged as one

of the defining new voices in the world of Texas singer-songwriters, being celebrated by Texas Music Magazine as one of their artists of the year. The voice, the stories, the images, the grace, it’s the complete package. But it’s the power of her live performances that really have been creating an incredible buzz around this young artist. Maverick Magazine said it best, after a recent festival performance: “I have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. That’s the gospel truth. Onstage, Elkin was simply a force of nature.” Don’t miss these two great artists in a rare split-bill performance, sharing songs back and forth, lending their voices to each other’s tunes, in harmony. And lending commentary to each other’s tunes, in the form of sarcastic banter between-songs.

Don’t miss these two great artists.... Friday, May 23rd at 8pm Book now at www.EngageKingsport.com


Page 10, The Loafer • May 13, 2014

SWVA Wine Festival Celebrates Regional Wines

The third annual Southwest Virginia Wine Festival will be held Saturday, May 17, from 1-5 p.m. at Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway. Recognized by Virginia Wine Lover as the region’s best wine festival, the event gives visitors an opportunity to taste a variety of Southwest Virginia wines, meet the region’s wine-makers and hear their unique stories. “The wine you have in this area won’t taste like wine from anywhere else,” said David Manley, general manager at West Wind Farm in Wythe County, one of more than a dozen wineries now operating in Southwest Virginia. “It’s great that we can have a festival that specializes in wine from our region.” Southwest Virginia is a 19-county region known for its heritage music, skilled artisans and outdoor recreation that, with exponential growth in the number of wineries over the last decade, is also becoming a bit of a wine destination.

Bob Carlson, owner and winemaker at Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, said the festival came together after Heartwood’s 2011 opening presented an opportunity for wineries that were seeking an opportunity to showcase the region’s wines. Like a good wine, a new festival can take a few years to mature, he said – and he’s hopeful the 3-year-old Southwest Virginia Wine Festival will continue to grow. This year’s featured wineries are Abingdon Vineyard & Winery, Davis Valley Winery, Coltsfoot Winery, MountainRose Vineyards, Plum Creek Winery, Rural Retreat Winery & Vineyards, Villa Appalaccia Winery, Vincent’s Vineyard, and West Wind Farm Vineyard and Winery. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door; for more information, visit www. SWVAwinefestival.com or call Heartwood at (276) 492-2400.


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ETSU has summer classes of interest to the general public

East Tennessee State University will offer a number of summer courses of interest to the general public. Among them are ones ranging from the works of Shakespeare in cinematic form to American folk music to war’s effects on the region. Dr. Robert Sawyer of the Department of Literature and Languages will teach “Shakespeare in Film” during the first summer session, June 2-July 3. The class will explore the reinterpretation and appropriation of Shakespeare’s works through an exploration of those works adapted for cinema by Julie Taymor, Kenneth Branagh, Laurence Olivier, Roman Polanski and others. The course will also investigate new social media forms of Shakespeare, including YouTube and Facebook productions. The course is also of interest to both graduate and undergraduate students. Dr. Ted Olson of the Department of Appalachian Studies will present two online-only courses. “Appalachia and War” will explore the history of war in the region from the earliest days of European settlement on the frontier to the present day. Students will learn about the regional impacts of wars partly fought in Appalachia, such as the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, and will explore the experi-

ences of Appalachian people in wars fought outside the region. This class will be held from June 2-July 3. Olson will also teach “American Folk Music: Roots and Branches” from July 7-Aug. 8. The class will be an interdisciplinary, multimedia introduction to American folk music in all its diversity. Students will investigate the influences of Old World traditions on American music, and will trace the impacts of American music traditions on popular and classical music, as well as on regional, national and world cultures. This class does not require any previous musical

training. Current ETSU students and members of the wider community are invited to register for these classes. Individuals not currently enrolled who wish to take one of the courses should call the ETSU Office of Admissions at (423) 4394213 for an application to be admitted as a special student. For further information about these specific classes, contact Sawyer at (423) 439-6670 or sawyerr@ etsu.edu or Olson at (423) 439-4379 or olson@etsu.edu. For a listing of other unique ETSU summer courses, visit www. etsu.edu/summer/course.aspx.


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BMS offers fans chance to win

ULTIMATE BRISTOL WEEKEND Consistently named one of the best races of the year, the IRWIN Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway offers guests the ultimate NASCAR experience. This year, Speedway officials are ensuring one lucky fan not only witnesses the next battle on the banks of the Last Great Colosseum but receives the ultimate weekend experience as well. “The energy and excitement surrounding The Night Race at Bristol is second-to-none,” said Speedway Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Caldwell. “The Ultimate Bristol Weekend sweepstakes allows one lucky fan and a guest to experience the event in a way they never have before.” The Grand Prize Package for the Ultimate Bristol Weekend includes: • On-Site Accommodations (Camper and Campsite) • Parking Pass (on property) • $500 Travel Stipend • NASCAR Race Weekend Tickets • Hot Passes for the IRWIN Tools Night Race • Attendance at Sprint Cup Drivers Meeting • $200 in Groceries from Food City

• Four Cases of Pepsi Products • Bristol Motor Speedway Prize Pack including a Bristol bag, cups, koozies and programs Every ticket purchased for The IRWIN Tools Night Race doubles as an Ultimate Bristol Weekend entry. Fans may also visit www.ultimatebristolweekend. com  for more information about the sweepstakes and an alternate means of entry. Several ticket options remain for those ready to reserve their seat at the Last Great Colosseum. Beginning at just $75 for single-day tickets or $99 for weekend packages, fans purchasing early can save $5 off the race week price. Cost for Food City 300 tickets start as low as $35 and half-price for youth 15-and-under. For those looking to attend one of the most competitive doubleheaders in racing - Wednesday night’s Whelen Modified race and Camping World Truck Series UNOH 200 presented by ZLOOP - tickets start at just $30 with free entry for youth 15-and-under. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (855) 580-5525 or visit www.BristolTix.com.

Parks and Rec applications for seasonal positions The Johnson City Parks and Recreation Department is now accepting applications for tennis instructors, camp counselors and other seasonal positions in athletics, programs and maintenance. The department will also be hiring seasonal lifeguards, with a rate of pay of $7.85 per hour. Please call

434-4872 for more information. Applications may be downloaded at http://www.johnsoncitytn. org/HR/ and are available in the Human Resources Office at the Municipal and Safety Building, 601 E. Main St. All applications must be returned to Human Resources.


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The Lincoln Theatre Celebrates 10 Years   The spring season is in full swing at The Lincoln Theatre in Downtown Marion, Virginia.  With featured performances including classical and jazz, blues and bluegrass, and live theatre, The Lincoln has made strides in diversification of their programming and audience appeal.  This year marks the 10 year anniversary of The Lincoln’s reopening, and plans have been made to ensure that the celebration year is one to remember.  “When the doors to The Lincoln were opened in 2004, I doubt anyone knew that we would grow into what we are today,” said Executive Director Kristin Untiedt-Barnett.  “The Lincoln is an anchor for Marion’s Downtown Historic District, a driver for tourism and economic growth, and a nationally known brand with our Song of the Mountains bluegrass concert series.  These are great accomplishments that have positioned us well for the future.” 

Untiedt-Barnett credits the volunteers, board members, and donors for making The Lincoln a success: “We would not be here today without the vision and passion of this community.”  It is in the spirit of community that The Lincoln will celebrate their anniversary year.  Conducting locally driven fundraising performances, recognizing volunteers, and growing the youth and educational programming are all a part of the plan for 2014.  The theatre had great success with the first of their anniversary fundraising events: Dancing with the Stars, Smyth County.  The nearly sold out performance showcased local talent and leadership for supporting the non-profit arts organization.  Additionally, 2014 marks the first year that The Lincoln is serving as a satellite campus for Barter Theatre’s Youth Academy program.  Local students now have more opportunities than ever before to ex-

plore their interests and talents in performing arts.  These programs are just a sample of what The Lincoln has added to their schedule. The Lincoln Theatre’s official 10 Year Anniversary Celebration will be held during the weekend of May 16-18, 2014.  The celebration will offer three days of the best in arts and entertainment, along with special recognitions for community support.  Robin & Linda Williams and Their Fine Group will return to The Lincoln stage for a special performance on Friday, May 16.  “Back in 1998, when The Lincoln was still in development, Robin & Linda Williams headlined the first fundraising concert for the organization,” said Director Kristin Untiedt-Barnett.  “We are pleased to be able to bring them back to kick off our anniversary weekend.”  Robin & Linda Williams are Virginia-based performers who tour all across the United States.  They are known for their

robust blend of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and acoustic country that some may call “Americana,” but these two musical masters were performing long before it became a popular music format.  The celebration continues on Saturday, May 17 with a performance honoring not only The Lincoln’s anniversary, but also the 50th anniversary of the British Invasion.  Live from Las Vegas, Yesterday: A Tribute to The Beatles, will perform all eras of Beatles music in their original key, wearing drainpipe trousers and playing authentic instruments.  Audiences will be singing along with their favorites from the Fab Four, including “Hard Day’s Night,” “Help,” “I Wanna Hold Your Hand,” and “Revolution.”  After reliving the British Invasion, patrons are invited to return to The Lincoln for the final weekend celebration performance on Sunday, May 18.  Relive The Lin-

coln!: An Anniversary Tribute will offer a look back at the past with memories and reflections from The Lincoln Theatre’s early years.  Featuring music from regional performers and special songs with The Lincoln Theatre Children’s Chorus, the Anniversary Tribute will recognize the history of the theatre, the volunteers who rebuilt the facility, and the supporters who have kept it going for so many years.   The performance will also serve as one of the anniversary fundraisers, moving The Lincoln closer to their goal of a “decade” of fundraisers.    The Lincoln Theatre is offering special weekend packaging for the 10 Year Anniversary Celebration, and offers group rates for groups of 10 or more. For details and information, contact The Lincoln Theatre Box Office at 276-783-6092 or visit the website: www.thelincoln.org.


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Hillybilly Gypsies

at the Carter Family Fold

The Hillbilly Gypsies Saturday, May 17th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

The Hillbilly Gypsies are a West Virginia native string band who specialize in playing their own homegrown style of Appalachian old time music, mixed with a hard drivin’ bluegrass sound. In addition to their original material, the Hillbilly Gypsies play a mix of traditional bluegrass and catchy old fiddle tunes. They are best appreciated at a live show. The Gypsies perform in the old fashioned style, around a single microphone. Their show has the feel of a barn dance, and it transports you back in time. One thing’s for sure – you’ll want to get up and dance. They’ve been a group for over ten years, and they have played at many national festivals, concert halls, and theaters. Formed from a chance meeting in 2001 in Morgantown, West Virginia, they have been pickin’ and grinnin’ ever since. Trae Buckner and Jamie Lynn Buckner, Jason Teel, Ty Jaquay, and Dave Asti are the members of the group. Trae is featured on guitar and vocals. Jamie Lynn does both lead and harmony vocals. Jason does the bass fiddling for the group. Dave Asti plays banjo, and Ty does the fiddling. The Hillbilly Gypsies truly are a close knit family, mindful of tradition but boldly exploring new styles of acoustic music. For an evening of unforgettable old time, bluegrass, and tra-

ditional music; come out and see the Hillbilly Gypsies at the Carter Family Fold. Don’t forget to bring along your dancing shoes. Their gospel tunes are reminiscent of the old time tent meetings, and there will be music to suit everyone’s taste. Be prepared for an evening of high-energy, no holes barred family fun! To learn more about the Hillbilly Gypsies, go to their site at: http://thehillbillygypsies. com/. Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to http://www.carterfamilyfold. org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com. Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts the National Endowment for the Arts. 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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Kingsport Aquatic Center OPEN NOW Outdoor fun also will extend past Labor Day

Community pools and outdoor water attractions often use Memorial Day as the traditional opening date. However, the Kingsport Aquatic Center opened its outdoor water park May 12, nearly two weeks earlier than the outdoor facility’s Memorial Day weekend grand opening in 2013. Also, as a response to visitor requests, the outdoor water park season will be extended on weekends past Labor Day through Sept. 28, weather permitting. Opening day visitors enjoyed all of the features of the outdoor water park: • Two waterslides • The Eastman Credit Union Lazy River, a 900-foot long, three-footdeep attraction • Climbing structure/play area with water cannons • Lily pad crossing • Changing rooms and lockers • Concessions The center’s party rooms open onto both the outdoor water park and indoor pool areas. More information about admission options and amenities is

available at http://www.swimkingsport.com or at the Kingsport Aquatic Center reception desk. Outdoor water park hours: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The Kingsport Aquatic Center is the region’s newest and most comprehensive indoor-outdoor public aquatic and recreation facility. Located in Kingsport’s Meadowview district at the base of iconic Bays Mountain, the center provides area residents and visitors with the best in health, fitness and recreation features in a safetyfocused environment. The Kingsport Aquatic Center features the area’s only indoor Olympic-sized pool, the HMG Competition pool, plus year-round swim courses and American Red Cross-certified water safety and lifeguard training. A seasonal outdoor water park offers recreational activities from midMay to early September. Seasonal, annual and daily rates are available. For more information, visit http://www.swimkingsport.com.

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Quick Tour of Solar System Robots Hop on Spaceship Stargazer Q and let’s take a tour of the hard working robots scattered about the Solar System. Hop on Spaceship Stargazer Q and let’s take a tour of the hard working robots scattered about the Solar System. First stop is our favorite star, the Sun. It is kicking up its heels as the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle is lingering on a downward slope. Two identical satellites, Stereo A and B, are in huge orbits on opposite sides of the Sun, giving mankind a unique, simultaneous view of the front and backside of the 800,000-mile wide nuclear inferno that sustains all life with its energy. And there is also the Solar

Dynamic Observatory, a billiondollar orbiting complex that keeps a camera on the Sun 24/7 while taking images in eight different wavelengths of light. All this attention helps space weather scientists predict magnetic storms and aurora on Earth—as well as other planets. MERCURY – NASA’s Messenger spacecraft has been orbiting the tiny, iron globe just 30 million miles from the Sun’s hot surface. The only robot from Earth to orbit Mercury, it has completed an extensive mapping of the entire, heavily cratered surface. VENUS – The European Space Agency has a big success story in

the Venus Express spacecraft orbiting Earth’s twin in size, but a hellish sibling in character. With a 15-mile thick cloud bank of poisonous carbon dioxide, a rain of sulfuric acid evaporates before hitting the 900 F. degree surface. Venus Express is the most recent in a long line of Russian and American spacecraft that have probed the second planet during the past four decades. Since April 2006, the Venus orbiter has been following the weather pattern of this alien world in unprecedented detail. And its piercing radar has created images that show the changes over the years when compared with past images.

EARTH – No less than 30 spacecraft are actively scouring the Earth, taking our temperature, pulse and blood pressure as it watches for any trends and changes in the established norms. Our high-tech world of social media and instant gratification depends on a handful of satellites for communication, television and weather forecasting. But there are earth-orbiting robots that are monitoring the oceans, the atmosphere and gravity—all contributing to our continuing knowledge about our spaceship Earth in the cosmos. MARS – The invasion of Mars by earthling robots in the 21st Century has confirmed that the Red Planet was once a watery world with all the ingredients for life to

exist. Two NASA rovers and two American orbiters, as well as ESA’s Mars Express, are untiring in their methodical investigations of the fascinating riverbeds, dried lakes and ice buried at the poles. Mars Odyssey has been orbiting since 2004, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter since 2006—and both are still very healthy and sending data as well as charting the progress of rovers Opportunity, now in its 10th year, and Curiosity, working in its 2nd year. ASTEROIDS – After spending the year 2011 orbiting giant asteroid Vesta, NASA’s spacecraft Dawn is now headed to dwarf planet Ceres, the largest object among hundreds of thousands in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn will arrive at


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Ceres in February 2015, and spend a year exploring that important key to the Solar System’s evolution. JUPITER—NASA has spacecraft Juno headed for the largest planet on a mission to orbit in July 2015. A follow-up mission to the highlysuccessful orbiter Galileo in the 1990s, Juno will probe beneath the cloud deck of Jupiter, looking for clues to how it was formed as the largest object orbiting the Sun. Jupiter’s has an exotic, liquid metallic-hydrogen core and cloudbanks thousands of miles thick. Juno’s instruments will pierce the clouds

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and try to figure out the dynamics of this complex world. SATURN – The amazing, billion-dollar Cassini spacecraft has spent 10 years rewriting nearly everything we thought we know about this incredibly ringed world. Now into its second extension on what was budgeted to be a four year mission, the decade in orbit has produced some of the most stunning images ever made from spacecraft. Twice Cassini has orbited behind Saturn, the backlighting making an incredible image of the rings with Earth in the background looking like a blue

star. The spacecraft and its nine scientific instruments are planned to operate two more years, when lack of funding may end the mission before Cassini wears out. URANUS & NEPTUNE – Only visited by Voyager 2 in 1981 and 1984, respectively, there are no new missions planned by any space faring missions on Earth. Those three decade old images are still the only close-ups of the seventh and eighth planets. PLUTO – Planetary scientists can’t wait to get their first close-up view of the demoted planet discovered in 1930 and reclassified

as a “dwarf planet” with a halfdozen others in 2007lkjlj. Heading for a July 2015 flyby of Pluto and its five tiny moons is NASA’s New Horizon spacecraft. The Hubble telescope images show dark and light areas, and planetary scientists suspect that the tenuous atmosphere has frozen and fallen to the surface. COMETS – The icy left-overs of our Solar System’s infant days are important to understanding where we came from and where we’re heading in planetary evolution. For 10 years, ESA’s robot explorer named Rosetta has been chasing comets. It flew by Comet Steins in 2008 and Comet Lutetia in 2010. Next up is Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where Rosetta begins orbiting this month in May 2014. In November 2014, a small lander called Philae will be ejected from Rosetta and anchor itself for a long ride on the comet. Both Rosetta and Philae will observe 3-mile long Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko as it approaches the Sun and warm up to become an active world. INTERSTELLAR SPACE – Out there in space beyond the influence

of the Sun is the senior emeritus robot of the Space Age, Voyager 1. After 40 years, NASA still stays in touch with the spacecraft that is more than 12 billion miles away and officially in interstellar space, traveling at 30,000 mph forever until it encounters another gravitational influence. Right behind it is Voyager 2, 10 billion miles away, taking 17 hours to send back a health check report to Earth. Both Voyagers passed by Jupiter and Saturn in the late 1970s, and Voyager 2 completed the “Grand Tour” of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune in the 1980s. In fact, the Voyager 2 photos of the seventh and eighth planets are still the only close-ups mankind has seen of these gas worlds and their retinue of dozens of intriguing moons. STAY INFORMED -- You can keep up with the robots spread about our Solar System—most at the expense of the US taxpayer— as all have Internet website, and some even have Twitter, blogs and other social media. The images are astounding, and the science is ground-breaking—and you can be along for the ride!


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Skies This Week Celestial events in the skies for the week of May 13th - May 19th, 2014, as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.

Full Moon on Wednesday will mean the orb dominates our night with its silvery light. And on Wednesday the Moon will wear the planet Saturn like a jewel, actually passing over the planet as seen from Australia and New Zealand. Mars is high in the east as darkness grips the landscape by 9 pnm EDT, and Jupiter sets around midnight. And, there were an unusual number of human space flights launched this week in May—five Space Shuttles, one Apollo and the last Mercury mission blasted 33 humans into space this week. Tues. May 13 Yesterday, the Sun entered the constellation Taurus the Bull, though astrology has that event happening more than a week later—wrong! Wed. May 14 The Full Moon of May is the Flower Moon for obvious reasons. Tonight it is right beside Saturn in Libra the Scales, framed by the stars Zeubeneshamali, above, and Zeubenelgenubi, below. And that’s a mouthful! On this 1973 date in space history, America launched their first space station, Skylab. In 2010, Atlantis was launched for a resupply mission to the International Space Station, its next to last flight. Atlantis is now on display at the entrance to the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. Thurs. May 15 On this 1963 date in space history, NASA launched the sixth and last Mercury mission, Faith 7 with astronaut Gordon Cooper, deceased. Cooper spent 34 hours in space, and was the first American to sleep and last American to fly solo in space. Shuttle Atlantis was blasted into space in 1997 on the sixth docking mission with Russia’s space station Mir, delivering American Mike Foale for a six month stay.

Fri. May 16 Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched on this 2011 date in space history, the next to last mission of the 30 year program. Loaded with extra supplies and hardware like replacement motors, computers, fresh clothes and disposable products, Endeavour is now on display at the California Science Museum, south of Downtown Los Angeles. Sat. May 17 Mars is high in the east at dark with star Spica below it in the constellation Virgo the Virgin. Leo the Lion is beginning to nose down in the west from its high perch overhead, and the Big Dipper is easy to see directly north. After midnight, the Milky Way begins climbing above the eastern horizon. Sun. May 18 On this 1969 date in space history, Apollo 10 was launched toward the Moon for a full dress rehearsal of the landing to be attempted by Apollo 11. Astronauts Gene Cernan and John Young flew their moonship “Snoopy” to within 10 miles of the target in Mare Tranquility. Orbiting the Moon alone and driving the Command Module nicknamed “Charlie Brown” was Tom Stafford, another Gemini veteran. Young walked on the Moon on Apollo 16, and Cernan was the last man on the Moon with Apollo 17. Mon. May 19 Two Space Shuttles were launched on this date: Endeavour in 1996 and Atlantis in 2000. The six astronauts on Endeavour spent 10 days in Space Hab in the cargo bay doing experiments on commercial space applications. Atlantis (with a new computerized “glass cockpit”) and seven astronauts docked at the International Space Station with lots of construction supplies like batteries, handrails, docking mechanisms and miles of electrical cables.


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Page 20, The Loafer • May 13, 2014

Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park Features “Chair Caning” for

May Artisan Series Workshop The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park continues the 2014 Artisan Series of programs, providing visitors with opportunities to create handmade crafts with regional artisans. The next workshop in this monthly series is Chair Caning on Monday, May 19th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Caning is a method of weaving chair seats and other furniture either while building new chairs or in the process of cane chair repair. Participants will use this technique to create a foot stool, learning how to cane in the process. The

fee for this workshop is $35, which includes all supplies for the project as well as use of the tools required to complete the stool. The registration and payment deadline for Chair Caning is Sunday, May 11th by 5 p.m. The workshop can accommodate 10 adult individuals or adult pairs, so register early by calling (276) 5231322. The Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park’s Artisan Series will offer a craft project on the third Monday of every month from March through December in

2014. For more information about upcoming workshops, please contact park staff. The award-winning Virginia State Parks are managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation. For more information about Virginia State Parks’ activities and amenities or to make reservations in one of the more than 1,800 campsites or 300 climatecontrolled cabins, call the Virginia State Parks Reservation Center at 800-933-PARK or visit www.virginiastateparks.gov.


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May 13, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 21

Come On Feel the…

Storytelling?

Quiet Riot—the storytelling duo, not the heavy metal band— will be the next featured performers in Jonesborough’s popular Storytelling Live! series. The brainchild of brothers Bill and David Mettler, Quiet Riot is a unique act that layers high-energy staging and sound effects over the traditional art of storytelling. “Our family was really into Jonathan Winters in the fifties,” Bill Mettler recalls, tracing some of his early influences. “He was a fabulous sound effects man on TV who had a 15-minute show right before Rosemary Clooney and the Hi-Los.” The brothers were also in love with old-fashioned radio, particularly the sound effects. All those vintage TV and radio programs clearly inform Quiet Riot’s very modern act, which features Bill as the primary storyteller, with David working from a station on

the stage to provide special light and sound effects. The duo also draws inspiration from some of their father’s performances around the campfire as the scoutmaster of their Boy Scout troop. Instead of standard-issue ghost stories, he’d reenact literary stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe. “It was pretty terrifying to watch dad go into a psychotic break in the story when he screams out that he committed the murders,” Bill admits. “He was a really good storyteller.” During Quiet Riot’s weeklong residency in Jonesborough, the duo expects to share a wide variety of personal stories, folk tales, and adventure stories. “We’ll have all those forms working on eight cylinders on the stage each day,” Bill says. In addition to their matinee performances, the brothers will also

host a special children’s program on Saturday, May 24, at 10:30 a.m. Tickets are only $5 for all ages, and ticket holders will receive coupons for 15 percent off at The Lollipop Shop, a popular Main Street store that sells old-fashioned sweets and toys. “It’s my favorite show,” says Bill of the children’s program. “It’s about the wonder of the planet Earth and what kids can do to care for it.” This year marks the 35th anniversary of Quiet Riot’s career as professional storytellers. “We’ve been performing together so long that he can anticipate my moves,” says Bill of his brother. “He matches the sound effects so precisely he can make us look like living cartoons.” While some family businesses can strain relationships, the Mettlers’ long collaboration has only strengthened their bond. “It

has been a real tender mercy of the universe to be able to work with my brother,” says Bill. The brothers’ residency will run May 20 – 24, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily performances at 2:00 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets for all matinees are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students, and children under 18. Season passes that offer savings of 44 percent are also available while supplies last. Ticket holders for both the children’s concert and the afternoon matinees will save 10 per-

cent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room, Jonesborough General Store and Eatery, or Main Street Café. Information about all TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2014, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net. The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.


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“The Amazing Spider-Man 2” When the first Spider-Man movie without Tobey Mcguire burst on the big screen in 2012, we were all anxious to see how new star Andrew Garfield would do in the role of the famous web slinger. After seeing “The Amazing Spider-Man”, I was impressed with Garfield, and knew the studio had made the correct choice, as he shined in the role. Garfield is back in the not so creatively titled “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”, and he has plenty to deal with. The beginning of the film has a scene of Peter Parker as a child, and what happened to his parents for those unfamiliar with the comic book stories. The sudden departure of his parents, left Peter heartbroken, and in the care of his Aunt May (Sally Field). The film then flashes forward to the present day, where Peter is dealing with his guilt over the death of Gwen Stacy’s (Emma Stone) father, and

childhood friend Harry Osborne (Dane DeHaan), who has returned to his life.   Meanwhile, Peter/ Spidey has been helping citizens throughout New York and enjoying every moment of his swinging between skyscrapers. His duties as Spider-Man eventually cause a riff with Gwen, as the hero feels he may need to break up with his love in order to protect her. His concern is heightened with the emergence of bad guys Electro (Jamie Foxx), Green Goblin (DeHaan), and eventually Rhino (Paul Giamatti). The film, of course, features the origins of all three villains, with only one of them really being of any interest. For me the weakness of the film lies with the villains, except for the Green Goblin. I was not overly excited by electricity run amok (Electro), or a guy in a glorified rhino looking tank. In fact, the appearance of Rhino is so brief, I was wondering why he

was even in the film. Thank goodness the Green Goblin saves the day, and DeHaan does a wonderful job of bringing the demented character to life. The villains aside, Garfield is once more impressive as the hero, and his mix of humor and angst are the highlights of the story. The film does feature several heart-wrenching moments, and may just cause you to feel some moisture in your eyes. Even though I didn’t care for the Electro character, his battles with Spidey are exciting and work well in the 3-D format. The ending of the film, as expected, sets the stage for a third effort, and fans of the character are no doubt anxious for the next adventure. While “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a fun romp, it’s nearly derailed by two lessthan-impressive villains. (Rated PG-13) B-


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 Cosmonauts Just Want To Have Fun at The Blue Moon Dinner Theatre

The Blue Moon Dinner Theatre is proud to present their newest comedy “who done it?” by Clayton Van Huss - 1985:RED MENACE ON THE RED PLANET. Russians in space can be fun when they are involved in a Murder Mystery unfolding in Downtown Johnson City. Come solve murder Playing now through May 24th. Starring Anthony Frazier, Faith Rader, Megan Blevins, Linda Wakely, Clayton Van Huss, Sean Reed, Richard Nave and Edward Breese as the cast of space travelers, the show is pared with a dinner of Chicken Kiev and Cosmonaut Cake. There are several chances to win prizes throughout the evening by participating in trivia and guessing who committed the murder. 1969, The United States puts a man on the moon. The same year, the Soviet Union establishes a secret colony on Mars. Sixteen years later, while everyone else is singing “We Are the World” and watching Back to the Future, the Soviets lose contact with the Martian colony and a team of special forces is sent to investigate. What menace awaits them in the cold of space?

Author Clayton Van Huss and Edward Breese in rehearsal for 1985: RED MENACE ON THE RED PLANET

“With all the troubles going on in the world today the Blue Moon takes the audience back to the good old cold war days of 1985” jokes Artistic Director Edward Breese “ It’s a look through rose colored glasses back on the times and anyone who remembers the 80’s fondly will en-

joy this Murder Mystery” The Blue Moon is offering all seats for this dinner show at 10 dollars off their normal price. All seats for dinner and show are just 29.99 plus tax and can be ordered online at www.bluemoondinnertheatre.com or by calling 423-2321350 to make reservations.


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May 13, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 25

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A Mad World It can feel like beating a dead horse to say over and over again “they don’t make them like they used to” when it comes to talking about classic films. The phrase itself automatically puts an aged sheen over a movie, a disservice, when sometimes what you want to do is get someone to realize that an older film can be just as relevant as whatever new Michael Bay film in which he destroys a beloved childhood property is (my bet is on Power Rangers as the next one). However, there are some times when that phrase is quite apt to describe certain movies, and nothing fits that moniker better than 1963’s It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. By the early 1960s, director Stanley Kramer had a glowing reputation as the moral voice of Hollywood. Kramer was best known for his big dramatic, socially conscious films, such as Inherit The Wind and Judgement at Nuremberg. Wanting to show that he had more to offer than just heavy films, Kramer decided to make what he called “The comedy to end all comedies.” Kramer didn’t quite hit that mark, but he did come quite close and made a remarkable movie, Mad World simply has an overwhelming sense to it, packed to the gills with anyone who was anyone in comedy of the era. The main cast of Mad World is impressive in its own right: Milton Berle, Sid Ceasar, Edie Adams, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Buddy Hackett, Phil Silvers, and the force of nature that was Jonathan Winters. Topping of all that off is the top billed Spencer Tracy, and bringing up the rear Jimmy Durante. If that’s not enough the film is loaded full of cameos, it’s the only film where

you can see both Don Knotts and The Three Stooges together. But that crazy sprawling cast is only part of what makes Mad World so remarkable. For one thing, the film is quite possibly the only three hour long comedy that’s ever worked. It’s an epic, the kind of sprawling film presentation that doesn’t exist anymore. A film with an overture, an intermission, exit music, and even radio cues that were played during the intermission in the lobby and bathroom that continued the story. The story revolves around a group of strangers who stop alongside the highway in the California desert, after witnessing a car flying off the side of the cliff-side road. Found near the wreckage is a dying gangster, who tells the group that $350,000 is buried in a town not too far away, “under a big W.” With that, the chase is on. If the cast and frantic chase plot, not to mention running time, of Mad World wasn’t overwhelming enough, the film was shot on 65mm film and released as a film having been made in “Cinerama.” Cinerama was one of those early widescreen processes, which used three cameras ergo three movie projectors working simultaneously to fill an impossibly large curved wide, WIDE screen. Mad World was the first film made in the single strip of film Cinerama process. Google the Cinerama Dome sometime, it’s a historic theater in Hollywood that was built for the film’s premier—an “IMAX” of the era, if you will. The film opened with a total running time of 210 minutes, but shortly after that the film was cut down into

a shorter general release version that Stanley Kramer approved. The missing material was, as was usual at the time, junked. As the beloved film’s reputation grew, the rabid fan base began a search to find an intact, full blown, 210 Mad World. To date, most of the film has been recovered, some of it taken from 70mm release print trims, that were badly warped, faded, and on the verge of deterioration. A recent five disc UBER collectors edition from those Cinema Candy merchants The Criterion Collection presents the new film in a wonderful restoration. Viewers have a chance to see the film in the general release version, or the new extended 197 minute cut, which is as intact as the film is ever as likely to be. It’s truly a definitive home video document of one of the most unique films ever created. If you’ve never seen the film, start with the general release version that runs 162 minutes. In truth, it’s the better of the two cuts, the pacing is quicker, redundant scenes are out, and some plot elements are not given away as quickly. Mad World paid off for Kramer, as the film was a massive critical and box office hit. Leaving us with a most beloved film, and a document of almost every funny person alive of that era. “They don’t make them like they used to” is true of a film like It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, with it’s sprawling cast, running time, and huge screen presence, no studio would dare take a stab at making anything as lavish today. It’s a one of a kind film, and one that is now ripe for discovery by a new generation. See you next week.


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An Unbiased Bias As we find ourselves in the midst of this year’s graduation season, we might want to examine our beliefs, ideas, and biases. You know, those things that every educated person should examine every once in a while. Some people call this critical thinking while other might call it common sense. Whatever you call it, let’s go hunting for an unbiased opinion. As a teacher I am often confronted with the presumption that people should hold unbiased opinions and that the world would be better off if the media and textbooks weren’t so biased. My response is that, first of all, there is no such thing as an unbiased opinion and, second, we should be thankful for biases because they give us golden opportunities to examine them and to test their fitness for credibility. A world without ideas and opinions would be a dull place indeed, and we should get very antsy when people tell us that we should hold unbiased opinions. Let us understand, however, that we shouldn’t be advocating outright lying and the spreading of misinformation; we should, instead, recognize that any opinion or belief is, by definition, a biased one. Biases have been studied many times over the years, and a recent example is from the April 21 online edition of Psychology Today. Written by Dr. Karl Albrecht (a proper sounding name for a psychologist, don’t you think?), this little piece proposes to inform us about “The Real Reason We Believe What We Believe.” For some reason this reminds me of the following famous and oft-quoted exchange between Matthew Brady (aka William Jennings Bryan) and Henry Drummond (aka Clarence Darrow) in the play/movie “Inherit The Wind,” based on the infamous 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial: Brady/Bryan: I do not think about

things I do not think about Drummond/Darrow: Do you ever think about things that you do think about? Believing that we should indeed think about the things that we think about, Dr. Albrecht defines a bias as an “ABCDE—an Assumption, Belief, Conclusion, Decision, or Emotion that distorts our perceptions and narrows our options for responding to experience.” I tend to agree, but since it is nearly impossible to be unbiased, it is

environment. The all-too-common belief that “I read it on Facebook, so it must be true” is a difficult one to dismantle. To make things even more complicated, Albrecht calls our attention to what he terms “netcrud,” which is “the term given to contrived photographs or stories circulating on the Internet which have been deliberately manufactured or doctored so as to mislead readers into believing they’re evidence of remarkable discoveries

is presented. In other words, we should never let facts stand in the way of our beliefs. And, if we can align ourselves with people who see things the way we do, we can cling to our beliefs even more because doing so gives us a sense of belonging to a select group that has special knowledge others don’t (or that others don’t want us to believe). This last observation—that we have a very strong tendency to associate with people who agree

crucial that we examine our biases and make sure they are as free from bias as possible—or at least presented in a way that reflects critical thinking and appreciation of multiple perspectives. According To Albrecht, we stand in the shadow of the assumption that it is possible to achieve “objective” knowledge, and it is ironically this expectation that often leads to uncritical biases. We, in short, often like to think of biases as objective truths. Our willingness to confuse biases with objectivity is compounded by the social media culture in which we live, with its power to lure us into believing almost everything because it is online and therefore authoritative. To be honest, it is often very difficult and sometimes impossible to separate fact from fiction in the online

or events.” One very prominent example is the proliferation of the many hundreds of conspiracy theories that circulate hourly online. Most of these sound reasonably credible, and their advocates are so passionate about them that we can easily be persuaded that what we read is the gospel truth. Bringing out the inevitable “expert witnesses,” retired FBI/CIA/ military intelligence personnel, et. al., makes the case even stronger. These authority figures surely wouldn’t tell a lie, would they? Like all good psychologists, Albrecht gives us a list of biases to watch out for. One of these, the “backfire bias,” is particularly troublesome because it asserts that we should believe something with greater conviction every time a piece of contradictory evidence

with us—introduces us to the “affinity bias,” which is the “common tendency to believe or agree with the ideas of people you like or admire, and to discount or disagree with those you dislike.” This bias is very evident in too much of today’s politics, where members of different political parties refuse to believe or take seriously any idea or plan proposed by those on the other side. This is a no-win situation because factual information or give-and-take are not options for these rather unpleasant and confrontational people. A “reluctance bias” is present when a person refuses to consider alternative explanations or policies simply because they are afraid that any appearance of open-mindedness or willingness to compromise will cause them

to lose their position of authority. People in this position often whine and moan about how others are biased and therefore unwilling to consider their own unbiased and “sensible” alternative. People who generally scream the loudest about media bias refuse to consider that maybe their position is even more harmful or erroneous. Feel free to fill in the blanks as you see fit. This last point is related to something called a “bias bias,” which “is the tendency to believe that other people are more biased than you are.” This “I’m right and you are wrong” mentality is of course very characteristic of life today. The “Age of the Selfie” can all-too--easily be transformed into the “Age Of The Selfish.” The term coined by Leon Festinger in his 1957 book A Theory of Cognitive Dissonance is relevant to our discussion here. Cognitive dissonance occurs when we try to reconcile two or more competing ideas or beliefs. When faced with this dilemma, we often retreat into a fantasy world where we can feel secure in our belief that President Kennedy was actually killed when a stray bullet entered the back of his head after a Secret Service agent’s gun accidently discharged as the presidential motorcade passed in front of the grassy knoll. When confronted with a mountain of evidence, much of it convoluted and difficult to interpret, we often take the easy way out by proposing a theory that seems to tie everything together, regardless of whether facts are relevant or not. I realize I have overstayed my welcome this week, so I will invite you to continue thinking about all this unbiased biased stuff. Try not to come down with a case of cognitive dissonance while doing so, however. See you next week.


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Catch Daikaiju

when they make a tour stop in Johnson City at The Mecca Lounge on Friday, May 16th.

Daikaiju (Japanese for “Giant Monster”) is a psycho-surf band of kabuki-masked mystery men from the American South that has been touring relentlessly across the U.S., Europe, and Asia, developing a reputation for a not-to-miss live show characterized by muscular prog-metal riffs, math rock percussive complexity, and exotic reverbdrenched shredding. Pitchfork calls them “impressive” and Metal Injection gushes “very rarely am I this blown away by a band”. They’ve shared bills with Peelander-Z, The

Protomen, Japanther, Speedy Ortiz, Legendary Shack Shakers, Rasputina, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, The Mermen, Faun Fables, and Dick Dale. Daikaiju’s self-titled debut album was released by Reptile Records and garnered a 7.8 from Pitchfork while receiving rave reviews from Coke Machine Glow, Hybrid Magazine, Cosmik Debris, The Philler, and Juice Magazine, among others. The follow-up release, Phase 2, landed on numerous surf, heavy metal, and progressive year-end best-of lists, including one compiled

by Metal Sucks. The band released “Double Fist Attack” in early 2013 on a split 7” with Appalachian rockers Ampline and toured Southeast Asia over the summer (prompting an award of “Best Show by a Foreign Touring Act” by Timeout Beijing). Most recently, Daikaiju was included on an international surf compilation called Monsters of Surf, out on Ding Dong Records. Catch Daikaiju, May 16th at The Mecca Lounge, 117 Spring Street, Johnson City. 423-928-9360


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The Loafer - May 13th