Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gorman and Peake at Friendswood Public Library

Yesterday evening, The Friendswood Public Library hosted a poetry event featuring Dr. John Gorman of UHCL and Dr. Richard Peake. Both poets read to a full and enthusiastic room. Our next FPL Poetry Series event will be a presentation on Walt Whitman’s Civil War Poems during National Poetry Month on Thursday, April 18 at 7pm. An open mic session will follow the presentation and offer poets the opportunity to read their favorite Whitman poem(s).

Dr. Richard Peake (left), Dr. John Gorman (right)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Astronaut Remembrance Week

(This is a short speech delivered by Sy Liebergot during Astronaut Remembrance Week at the Museum of Flight on January 27, 2004.)

It’s an honor to speak to you today as a guest of your city’s incredible Museum of Flight.
This week has been dedicated to be a time of remembrance of our fallen astronauts. There have been seventeen brave souls who paid the ultimate price to advance humankind’s venture into space.

Let me quote some words from a speech President G.W. Bush gave regarding the loss of the Columbia astronauts. I believe they apply equally to all of our astronaut losses. He said, in part:

“The loss was sudden and terrible, and for their families, the grief is heavy. Our nation shares in your sorrow and in your pride. And today we remember not only one moment of tragedy, but seven lives of great purpose and achievement. To leave behind Earth and air and gravity is an ancient dream of humanity. For these seven, it was a dream fulfilled. Each of these astronauts had the daring and discipline required of their calling. Each of them knew that great endeavors are inseparable from great risks. And each of them accepted those risks willingly, even joyfully, in the cause of discovery.” 

We remember the Apollo 1 space crew, Flight Commander Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, who were killed in a flash fire in the Command Module on January 27, 1967, during their participation in a rehearsal for the launch of the first manned Apollo mission.
We remember the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51L); Commander Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judy Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ron McNair, Gregory Jarvis and Christa McAuliffe. They died tragically in the explosion of their spacecraft during launch on January 28, 1986. The explosion occurred 73 seconds into the flight as a result of a leak in one of the two solid rock boosters that ignited the external main liquid fuel tank.
We remember the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia (STS-107): Commander Rick Husband, David Brown, Laurel Clark, Kalpana Chawla, Michael Anderson, Willie McCool and Ilan Ramon. They were lost when Space Shuttle Columbia broke up during re-entry on February 1, 2003, due to a breech in the left wing caused by the 545 mph impact of a 1.7 pound piece of the external tank insulation foam that broke off during launch.
Sad as these losses have been, they have not been without purpose as they have taught harsh lessons of the risk of exploring a new frontier and allowed us to learn lessons that will make space travel safer as we now make plans to return humans to the Moon—from there, venture landing people on Mars.

Sy liebergot 

The Friendswood Public Library welcomes Sy Liebergot, Apollo era former EECOM Flight Controller, on Wednesday, February 6 at 7pm, as he speaks about his experience as a front-line Flight Controller during the Apollo 13 mission.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

From the Rickshaw by Kathryn Lane: Photo by Gottlieb

On Wednesday, May 8th at 7pm, the Friendswood Public Library will host
A Conversation on India through Photography and Poetry: An evening celebrating the culture of India featuring photographs by Brenda Gottlieb and poems by Kathryn Lane. 

This poetic and visual travel narrative is a journey of the heart and a journey of the soul. Through words and photos, Lane and Gottlieb pull readers into an intensely physical and sensual world, and then go further, into a spiritual world that is at once imaginative and real and compelling. A Conversation on India is an exceptional work of art.
—Lowell Mick White, author of That Demon Life 

From the Rickshaw    

electrical wires
like sleepy eyelids.

Women in red, purple and orange saris
light up the street like neon signs
as jeweled bracelets bangle
on their wrists.

A driver
pedals and pedals,
dancing the rickshaw,
like a flamingo, through the crowd.

He pedals past shops,
in sandalwood scented air,
calling –barber, spices,
betel leaves, panipuri, pan.

A body in a swath of white linen
on top a bamboo stretcher,
high on the shoulders of four men,
passes by slowly, silently.

The driver stops pedaling,
he turns to whisper, 
but the crowd is loud
and I cannot hear what he says.

Poem by Kathryn Lane
Photograph by Brenda Gottlieb

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Hanger Squares Square Dance Club this Wednesday

Hanger Squares Square Dance Club will provide a dance exhibition at the Friendswood Public Library this Wednesday, January 16 at 7pm. Program is free and for all ages. Square Dancing is easy to learn, good physical and mental exercise and just plain fun!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Writing Screenplays at FPL

Film director and producer Michelle Mower instructed a workshop on writing screenplays for independent film. Mower’s debut movie The Preacher’s Daughter premiered on the Lifetime Movie Network in August of 2012.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Playing Cowboys by author Bill Crider

Bill Crider is an author of Mystery fiction;  many published by St. Martin’s Press in New York. He received an M.A. at the University of North Texas (in Denton). Later, he taught English at Howard Payne University for twelve years, before earning a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. He then moved to Alvin, Texas where he was the Chair of the Division of English and Fine Arts at Alvin Community College. He retired in August 2003 to become a full-time writer.  He is the author of the Professor Sally Good and the Carl Burns mysteries, the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, the Truman Smith PI series, and wrote three books in the Stone: M.I.A. Hunter series under the pseudonym "Jack Buchanan."

Playing Cowboys
By Bill Crider

Sometimes I get nostalgic and want to set down some of the things I remember.  And I remember guns.  For example, the first thing I remember Santa bringing me was a toy M-1 rifle.  I don't remember how old I was, but it was before we moved to town, so I must have been three or four.  It's one of my earliest memories of my mother.  She came into my room very early, before daylight, I think, and carried me into the little living room where we had the Christmas tree.  She had long hair then and was wearing a long white cotton gown.  It was like being carried by an angel, and there under the tree was the M-1.  I thought that rifle was great, and I played with it for years afterward.  So did my brother, later on, and some of the neighborhood kids.  We played with it so much, in fact, that the barrel eventually fell off.  We might have played with it even after that.  It was all a long, long time ago.

We loved to play with toy guns.  We all had them, my sister included, as you can see in the photo.  I'm on the left, with my brother between me and my sister. The kid from across the street is on the right.  His name was John Roy Truelove, and he had guns, too.  We could play for hours, shooting each other with cap pistols.  What the photo doesn't show is my very favorite gun, which was a cast aluminum Luger.  It had no moving parts, but I thought it was swell.  I must have gotten it about the time I got the M-1.  Long gone, however, with all the rest of the arsenal.  It looked just like this one.

Later on, when we moved from the first house in town to the one I associate most with my life in Mexia, Texas, my brother and I shared a room.  There was no closet in the room, and our clothes and shoes were all in a little armoire.  Together we probably had four pairs of jeans and six or eight shirts.  Well, we had some underwear and socks, too.  That was it. 

Besides the armoire, two twin beds, and a desk, the room had an open gun cabinet that held a couple of .22 rifles, maybe three.  Two shotguns, an automatic and a double-barrel.  Later on a couple of deer rifles.  Ammo was right there in the cabinet behind a couple of little doors in the bottom.  Shotgun shells and .22 cartridges: shorts, longs, and long rifles. 

We never thought a thing about any of that.  That's just the way things were.  Our parents told us never to play with the guns, so we didn't.  We were allowed to handle them, but we were cautioned never to point them at anyone.  "There's no such thing as an unloaded gun," we were told.

Then there were the BB guns.  I had one.  My brother had one.  We didn’t shoot our eyes out.  We shot at targets, and, I admit it, at a bird or two.  The birds were completely safe, however, as the BB guns didn’t have much range and we were both myopic and (at the time) not wearing glasses.
Comic books and movies with guns?  Oh, yeah.  Hardly a Saturday afternoon passed that I wasn't at the double-feature cowboy show at the Palace Theater.  Some kids even brought their cap pistols to the show.  And a lot of the stars had comic books that I read: Monte Hale, Roy Rogers, Rocky Lane.  Add to that the Lone Ranger and Kid Colt.  Probably others.  Lots of gunplay in all of them, though I remember that the Lone Ranger never killed anybody.  Maybe the others didn't, either.

When I was a teenager, I stopped going to the matinees, but nobody thought anything of it if I said I'd like to take the .22 on Saturday and hunt armadillos or that I'd like to take the shotgun and go dove hunting.  If we didn't have enough shells, I could go down to Western Auto, walk in, and buy a box.  I could drive by and pick up a couple of friends with their shotguns, and off we'd go.

That's really all there was to it.  I never developed a lasting affection for guns, and I haven't owned one since I was a kid.  One of the .22s was mine, and I gave it to my brother when our parents died.  He's the family gun collector, and he always liked hunting more than I did.  I never cared for it, myself, and my dove hunting expeditions were few.  Never went deer hunting at all, though my brother and father did for a lot of years.

Don’t Forget: Tonight, January 9 from 6:30 to 8:30pm at Friendswood Public Library:  Filmmaker Michelle Mower will instruct a free workshop on Writing Independent Screenplays for Film.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

2 poems by poet Glynn Monroe Irby

Glynn Monroe Irby has been a featured poet at previous FPL Poetry Series readings. He has been published in both the Houston and Austin poetry festival anthologies as well as Sol Magazine, Borderlands, Texas Poetry Review, and numerous others; Irby has been an invited poet to many reading venues in Texas, is a member of the Galveston Poets’ Roundtable, the Circle Way Poets, the Poetry Society of Texas, the Gulf Coast Poets, and was selected in 2006 as one of the “Bards of the Bayou.”


Picking Figs Before the Birds Come 

When blue northers came hard,
grafted fig limbs silently trembled.
I placed blankets across their crown
and fire barrels nearby.

Before spring rains came washing
through forest underbrush, I nourished
the first-year striplings, dispersed
phosphates on the ground.

While formless birds thrash
inside the hurricane fence line,
midday shadows have become short.

With promise of abundance,
I pick fruit from each offshoot
you collect in a sycamore basket,

I trust the word
of trees,

honor the voice
of harvest.

Glynn Monroe Irby

Geophysical Survey

Leather men move quietly through buttercups  
setting fuses into shot holes
drilled above the sulfur in the salt ridge
where charcoal timbers of previous egos
have fallen under the experiential plane
and columns of arcane memories
are cracked into lines along the spinal tracks
of shadow trains.

These rust-encrusted pipe-heads
once thrust into the brimstone blood heart,
spilling crimson onto the shallow bed
before condensing into these soft sun stones
that litter the wrinkled skin
and blend with the glaze of broken silica.

Explosions rattle contours of crow-footed gullies
and echo image the acoustical outline
of resources layered within my personality,
redefining my value by the simple motion
of a red pen pushing across the parchment
of my comprehension.

Glynn Monroe Irby