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Sean on Ben Bulben — photo by William E Evans, © 1991

Dear Sean –

Let me begin with this: how could I have ever competed with an enormous replica of the Millennium Falcon and all those Star Wars figurines?

Along with the other presents your mother packed around the Christmas tree, stacked on chairs, on the sofa, the table. A townhouse living room jammed with her presents until moving about was near to impossible. Only the clothes gifts were mine.

A well-kept secret pact between you and your mother? Perhaps on her part, it was. When your brother came along, she showered Ryan the same.

This need to overwhelm you guys with presents seemed like a compulsion. She needed you to understand she loved you both and had no better means to express it — she the gifted artist, this was the best she could do? …


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Upside down Layla — photo by William E Evans, 2019

We’re all crazy on this bus. Some recent posts on the Lake Barcroft community list serve:

“Good evening, any experience with getting rid of an annoying woodpecker that is damaging the soffit on back of our house?”

Dear Annoyed: you may find twelve gauge pellets will need to be followed shortly by a soffit replacement, but that’s the price of quiet, eh? Woodpeckers need to eat, sometimes we need quiet. Think like a woodpecker, then hammer the sucker.

“Please recommend the right person to call to investigate the noises we hear coming from the attic. Thank you.”

Oh dear. Is Kathy Bates still lurking about since her last movie? …


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Photo by Wolfgang Hasselmann on Unsplash

If it is true, as 25 former irate presidents of the DC Bar suggest in their Washington Post opinion piece, Lawyers should not be complicit in Trump’s attack on democracy, that a few of Trump’s lawyers are practicing ‘professional misconduct,’ it would seem these twenty-five constitute a credible group to bring said lawyers before the DC Bar to answer the charge.

Instead, they’re preaching to the choir er, Washington Post.

Though I do like the Elihu Root’s saying: “About half the practice of a decent lawyer consists in telling would-be clients that they are damned fools and should stop.

I wonder if Giuliani’s in trouble. …


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Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain - photo by Tony Hisgett, 2009

This article was originally written in 2007 but never published — nowhere to publish it back then–when Frank Gehry’s Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao was the hot new thing. Since then, I’ll confess I have little idea what impact artwork from a New York museum has had on a Spanish harbor town, but the building itself landed like sticks of dynamite in the architectural community. Since then, it even has a Jeff Koons funny ha-ha Puppy.

But the question remains valid: if all that can be said about architecture is that architects should build on the work that precedes them, is it sufficient? …


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Do my blank eyes make me look stupid? Photo by Anne Nygård on Unsplash

Ryan Holiday has it all wrong. Should We Cancel the Stoics? Probably.

Life is messy. Oh no! I didn’t say that.

If you believe in justice, freedom, righteousness, truth and the family way, all you need to do is (move to Portland, or South Dakota, join Proud Boys, or join Antifa, pin up your anti-war posters, buy AR-15s, march for–fill in the blank, vote for–fill in the blank, pick one). See? It’s actually straightforward.

We don’t need no stinking philosophers.

The Stoics were heathen atheists; I’m Catholic, and I know what the nuns taught me. …


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Chef’s Knife photo by Octavian Dan on Unsplash

“I never knew you” is the opening line from Patchwork Quilt, a poignant Gov’t Mule lyric that fit the mood, Warren Haynes’s song mourning Jerry Garcia. Though in my case, I was thinking about my old man.

Chopping veggies and realizing how dull the knives were told me it was time to break out the stone. It had been awhile.

I own very few things of my father’s. I wear his wedding ring mainly because I never knew him and I wasn’t going to stuff it back where I’d found it in the attic–never knew my mother neither when she lived with a man. But I do have my father’s carborundum stone. Complete with its box, tired and oil stained as you’d expect a cardboard box to be eighty years later. The stone’s older than I am. He’d always stored the stone in its box. …


Manet: The Difference Between Nude and Naked by Steven Gambardella

I read the article —eye-catching title, not to mention the teasing cover image. So his thesis was: Manet was modern and Titian was what? Titian did have Manet beat by three centuries, but most times when you say ‘modern art’ there’s a different expectation. Perhaps modern because Manet came toward the exhausted end of the French academy? Perhaps.

I’ll grant it’s hard discussing painting, and Gambardella does yeoman’s work.

At one point before the Western world went crazy with futurism, one could go step at a time from ism to ism and art, if not life, seemed was moving in a clear direction. …


“There was the time she matter-of-factly mentioned, ‘If we weren’t family, we probably wouldn’t be friends.’ ” from a story by Anna Marin — Sept 17, 2019

Wow. If nothing else you could call the woman tactless, right? How about clueless? About all she would have needed to say to me. I’d just as soon not be around someone like that.

It’s not important that my attitude toward extended family probably doesn’t include an expectation we’d all be close. Not feeling uncomfortable in their presence is sufficient. OK, I like people to like me, but I don’t insist on it. I’d feel silly trying to make it happen. …


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Photo by Filip Baotić on Unsplash

In this month’s newsletter, we, the Elysian Fields Association Board of Directors would like to direct your attention to our Association’s rules regarding yard signs. There’s been a noticeable uptick in signs recently, and we thought a review of the policy is in order.

First of all, please, just one sign per yard. This is so all the signs running up and down the block can be viewed independent of one another–and not be mistakenly spray painted along with your neighbor’s. In point of fact, vandals in the community are severely frowned upon.

“Black Lives Matter” are certainly the most popular signs these days, and they might in fact deter angry ‘other folk’ wandering into our lovely piece of heaven from the low income apartments down the street. Though black lives do indeed matter, good golly, yes! And I’m told having one of these signs in your yard provides security. Might be able to deduct it on your income taxes, like your doorbell camera and AR-15. …


One of my partners in our architectural firm was a racist. The real deal. I’ll call him Bubba. Exploding at him (being of an Irish temperament) made no dent in his armor, so I stopped trying — after a few years. Though it was hard walking by his office with Rush Limbaugh spewing from the radio.

Bubba hated Blacks, Browns, Middle Easterners, Asians, Women, educated people, and I could go on. But first and foremost, he hated Blacks. Why the son of an immigrant shoemaker raised in New York State thought Blacks were lesser creatures, I could never figure out. …

About

Bill Evans

A practicing writer and architect, he is now squandering hours making a mess from writing.

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