Three white, working-class men, heads bowed, wistful eyes, lips pursed in silent prayer, are visibly overcome with emotion. They are baseball umpires, pressing their caps to their hearts in a show of reverence for two Little League teams.
When you hear about public art, it’s usually the monumental kind that attracts attention, like Mount Rushmore or the Statue of Liberty. The backdrops for these works might be bustling cities or magnificent landscapes, but public art, historically, has not found its way into the suburbs. It’s rarely a feature in shopping plazas or residential neighborhoods.
Occupation is defined as: the action, state or period of occupying or being occupied by a military force. Such a term I remember from my history books and visual media as it applied to the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan during WWII as they occupied Western Europe and parts of Asia. And again as the Vietnamese viewed the French and later the United States, as occupiers in their own homeland. The occupation we are under now is different.
We enjoy stories with a beginning, a middle, and an end. We especially like clear resolutions to mark the end of a story. So, it’s no wonder that we’re itchy nearly two years later when the omicron variant has lengthened the COVID-19 story, and threatens re-entry to libraries, museums, theatres, restaurants, churches, schools, and sporting events. The omicron variant is at this time a law unto itself.
A number of historical books cover American Presidents, but none is as singularly focused as Ronald Gruner’s new book We The Presidents. Mr. Gruner’s experience as an accomplished executive and founder of several technology companies has resulted in a much different perspective of presidential history. His focus on one hundred years of U.S. presidential history is shown primarily through an economic lens. (His book will be available on Amazon beginning on January 11, 2022.)
Waves sneak up to the shore from nowhere. Mountains of water advance, attacking like a marauding army. Churning angry white foam, the King Tide has arrived on the north coast of Oregon. Water levels rise higher and tides grow stronger. Some tides crest far higher than others. Swell after swell, rising and falling, an ache and a sigh, reeking of salty spray. Sneaker waves suddenly smash against the beach with a boom like thunder. The power of water washing over us can take us on an unwanted ride far out to sea. Sudden fierce currents sweep victims away. Never turn your back to the ocean.
Neither of my parents was musically inclined. My mother could not sing, but rather spoke the lyrics to a few songs; while my father, who took violin lessons as a young child, would often croon along with a tune coming from the wooden box in the corner of the living room.
The author’s writing is superb, but her characters who personify death, sickness, self-destruction, depravity and despair are never able to see beyond the confines of a very small block of row houses on Union Street.