The conversation

Flynne's Coffee Bar in Southern Pines
Flynne’s Coffee Bar in Southern Pines

To date in Southern Pines, I’ve found a proper Bistro (Chef Warren’s), as well as a proper coffee shop (Flynne’s Coffee Bar) and a proper breakfast cafe (Betsy’s Crepes). And get this … the crepes at Betsy’s are optionally gluten-free!

Southern Pines feels to me like a mini-Asheville, only with retirees instead of hippies, and pine trees instead of mountains. There’s a used bookstore here and a bunch of artsy-craftsy specialty shops, a renovated train depot, block after block of well-maintained residential lots and a theater company. Said theater company pays its actors, though exactly what it pays and how it handles housing I don’t know, nor does it have its own facility, but the people I know who’ve worked with the company speak well of it.

Here’s hoping that Moore Onstage responds to letters of inquiry.


My friend Buren Martin alerted me this morning to a NY Times article. Headline: “What do you say to an alien?” It’s trendy these days in mainstream media circles to write lighthearted nods to the possibility of the possibility and this article is a good case in point. Mind candy. Wouldn’t-it-be-cool-if … but chances are nil … oogity-boogity.

I’m torn when people I know send me such things. Part of me appreciates the cordial interest. I have a friend who knits, for example, and although I know next to nothing about knitting, nor do I give knitting much thought beyond the projects that she shares with me, I’ll sometimes mention to her things that I’ve heard or read about knitting or needles or yarn. I like her and she likes knitting, so …

Anyway …

Another part of me – the ungrateful part – feels mostly frustration. I’d seen the Times piece when it was published a few days ago and, since it wasn’t saying anything that I hadn’t heard before, I blew it off. Then the email came, reminding me (and here’s the source of my frustration) that the vast, vast majority of Times readers catch only the tail-end of countless conversations that go something like this:


Pilot: My plane was paced last night for several minutes by some kind of glowing object. Then it shot off at a right angle and disappeared.

Control tower operator: We verified that. When it broke off, it was moving almost instantaneously at the speed of sound.

Policeman on patrol: I saw the same thing. It buzzed my vehicle and all the electrics went dead. It made no sound at all. My dog hid under the car. The electrics came back on after it was gone.

Professor of physics A: Phenomena like this one are too frequent and too well-documented to ignore. They also would seem to confirm some current theories about faster-than-light travel.

Foreign head of state: Our government has records of similar reports dating back to WWII, which is when we began keeping records.

Professor of physics B: It was a bird.

Newspaper headline: Pilot, policeman, professor and foreign head of state think birds are little green men

People quoted in the article: Professor B, a man on the street, a middle school kid who dressed up like E.T. for Halloween


There’s a huge body of evidence that something non-prosaic is going on right here. That body of evidence is being discussed among credible, credentialed people all over the world right now. Reporters that pretend otherwise are mushroom farmers.


I shared these thoughts with Buren and he said that I “could insert (his) response at any point in the conversation” …

Buren:  And just how will any of this be affecting my bookings this year?