Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thor's Day: Verbicide

Aristotle (384–322 BC). Roman copy after
Greek bronze original by Lysippos from 330 BC
(alabaster mantle a modern addition)
A crime of rhetorical proportions

By Kyle Garza

The best defense against the whimsical rhetorical strategies of any good prosecuting attorney is a solid understanding of Aristotle’s three appeals of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos. To Aristotle’s mind, these three are ultimately what lead to a listener’s persuasion in favor of a speaker’s position. While the ethos of a speaker rests entirely in his personal character, his pathos and logos are established through the words he employs in his rhetorical attempts to persuade his audience. In matters of persuasion, all winsome speakers must sway the hearts of their audience by using diction that will appeal to their emotions (pathos) and their logical thinking (logos).

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

AskWednesday: Are copies of JT: Another Mighty Midyett actually available yet?

Yes! In several formats

By Morris Dean

You ask whether copies of JT: Another Mighty Midyett are actually available yet.
    Yes, they are! As of this week, you can order paperback copies directly from the publisher, Xulon Press.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 8


By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor's Note: The artist seems to have given this painting to her sister Flo Elowee Story for her birthday, for on the back, in Flo's calligraphic hand, is penned:
June 14, 1997
From DEAR Mary
My Sister

Monday, March 2, 2015

First Monday with Characters

Our new calf, Midnight
Edited by 
Morris Dean

Bettina Sperry, calving
With all the snow and sub-zero temps, the days on Franklin Hill Farm have been spent ensuring that the newly arriving and newly born calf was greeted by the warmth of a cared-for mom. Beginning on Valentine's Day, I spent every morning and evening hauling water and hay to the cow. Finally, on Thursday, Feb. 19th, in single-digit temperatures, she calved her little one. Franklin Hill Farm has four more calves on the way in the coming few months. Our small business thrives.
Midnight with mom on their first winter walk together
    We spent a later weekend sending our first mare in for foaling, due on March 17. Updates soon to follow!
    As the year progresses, it'll get easier and easier. Next winter will be easier, too, as I now know how to prepare better. All this work keeps me healthy.
The Rogers, to a new house in two weeks
We were recently burgled for the second time since we have been in Costa Rica. We love where we are but it is too easy for people to come in from the jungle side without being seen. So we found a new house closer to town and will move in starting the 15th of March. We'll lose the view of our beautiful valley but we will be more secure.
    I had hated the idea of going into the big city of San Jose to apply for a new passport but to my surprise it was easy and faster here than in the States. In less than two weeks we had our new passports.
    That's about it from CR.
                                –Pura Vida
The Midyetts, visited from afar
    Having never seen the West, they crossed the desert and came to visit our fair city of Bunbury. Here are a few photos they took on the way here:
    It has been wonderful to catch up with them again. We shared many laughs together in Queensland and have been looking forward very much to seeing them again. BBQs are in order!
    Others who have also said they would visit us again here, but these folks are the first.
    They took better photos of their trip west than we did:

Abravanel Hall
Geoffrey Dean, around Salt Lake City
It has been a very mild winter in Salt Lake City, with no lasting snowfall at all. Well, maybe a little back in late December, but we weren’t here then, so it doesn’t count. Last week the un-wintry conditions made it easy to do a kind of alternative walking tour of the Temple Square area of the downtown. Armed with a cello, I set out from our apartment five blocks north of the Square and made my way to the Tabernacle, where I joined the Spivey Hall Children’s Choir (SHCC) from Atlanta in a lovely Spanish-style song by choral composer Joan Szymko. SHCC was in town to open the national convention of the American Choral Directors’ Association.
    From the Tabernacle, we walked a block and a half to the Salt Palace Convention Center to warm up for a repeat performance at Abravanel Hall, home of the Utah Symphony and named after the conductor [Maurice Abravanel, 1903-1993] who transformed a community orchestra into a full-time professional ensemble. It was an honor to work with a very talented and dedicated group of young vocalists and to experience the nurturing guidance and consummate musicianship of SHCC founding director Martha Shaw.
    On Friday, my walking tour continued as I walked four blocks east to the Utah State Capitol Building, constructed entirely of materials native to the state of Utah, to play at a benefit event for CMV [Cytomegalovirus] awareness. I just increased my own awareness of CMV by reading some information on the Mayo Clinic website, and encourage Moristotle & Co.’s readers to do the same: "Diseases and Conditions: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection."
André Duvall, around Memphis
Current reading: I've gradually acquired a collection of various biographies of many of the major composers. I've now decided to start delving into this section of my library a little at a time. I've started reading Chopin, The Reluctant Romantic, by Jeremy Siepmann. It looks to be a great read.
    New eats: This month, I discovered Lisa's Lunchbox, which in addition to featuring healthy homemade sandwiches and soups, serves a variety of delicious smoothies made from a base of almond milk, cashews, vanilla, and molasses.

    Music in Memphis: On the first day of February, I had the pleasure of hearing all six of Bach's cello suites, which I discussed in a Second Monday Music piece. On the final day of February, I attended a masterworks concert of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. It was a wonderful program consisting of a Mozart piano concerto, Variations on I Got Rhythm for piano and orchestra by George Gershwin, and Rachmaninoff's Symphonic dances. After intermission, the Memphis Symphony chorus provided a prelude to the dances with a surprise performance of selections from Vespers by Rachmaninoff, sung from the balcony while the rest of the hall sat in darkness.
Kyle Garza, on a break recently
Last week I was off work for winter break, so I was with my fiancé during her school days at CSU Northridge, usually sitting in the back of the room grading my students’ work. She is a mechanical engineering major, so I sat in on Differential Equations, Calculus 3, and some sort of computer programming class. I had absolutely no idea what was going on in the lectures (the lengthiest of them was three hours). I knew she was intelligent on the other side of the brain, but I didn’t know just how intelligent! She received several quizzes back on the first day I visited – all A’s. One of them was only three problems long, but it was several pages: mind-blowing to me.
    After her school days, we went apartment “shopping” for the first time. It’s looking like we’re just going to have to keep checking in on apartment complexes every month until something is open. We have until June to figure out a place that is closer to my work and her school, so I’m confident something will open within our budget.
    I also wrote my first essay of the new semester for my MA program, which will be published this Thursday on Moristotle & Co.
    I’m in a class studying contemporary cultural issues that often come up in Christian-atheist debates, like abortion, gay marriage, euthanasia, and celibacy. It’s actually particularly interesting in one regard because my professor is Catholic and opposed to the use of contraceptives (as many Catholics are), whereas I’m of the mind that doesn’t see a problem with certain kinds of them. I’m feeling quite comfortable with this semester so far because I’ve studied all these issues on my own time, but now I’m just getting a great reading list added to my starting grounds.
"Christina of Sweden,"
by Jacob Ferdinand Voet
Chuck Smythe, in concert
I performed Bach's titanic Mass in B minor at the Boulder Bach Festival Friday and Saturday, and the Seicento Baroque Ensemble began its Concert Week Saturday, featuring music this coming weekend that was inspired and commissioned by Sweden's flamboyant mid-1600's Queen Christina.
    Then I'm heading to Guatemala to visit an old buddy who is a snowbird.
At the MMA's "Battle in the South," February 28
Allen Crowder, two for two
    Congratulations to Allen Crowder! As he told us he would last month, he had a kickboxing match on February 6 in New York City and an MMA fight on February 28 in Greenville, North Carolina, and "I feel more ready than ever." It seems to have paid off: he won both bouts in the first round.
    Allen was interviewed by MMA Mayhem Radio on February 27, the night before Saturday's contest:

So I'm 5-0 now MMA, and 1-0 Kickboxing. I got more beat up before Saturday's fight then I did during it. I was holding pads for a teammate and caught a knee to my nose and lip, and I hit my Sensei elbow while I was warming up, but the fight went well. My opponent [William "Mac Truck" Baptiste] tried to take me down to the ground (like I figured he would) but I stuffed it and took his back. Then I decided I wanted to move. I took side control and dropped some body shots, then some vicious elbows to his head, splitting his forehead open. The ref called the fight. William had to get 23 stitches, but as soon as he heals we are going to start training together to get ready for our next opponents.
Susan C. Price, in status quo
I do not seem to have any changes in my character.
Jim Rix, in memoriam
My not-so-much-older (12.5 months older) brother Dan died on February 11, of complications arising from a life-long low-carb, high-protein/fat diet coupled with blind-faith in physicians.
Morris Dean, fallen afoul
    I fell afoul of a norovirus (apparently) about eight days ago. To describe its symptoms would be to hazard the social offense of providing TMI (too much information). Let it suffice to say that the norovirus is sometimes known as "the winter vomiting bug" in the UK, and that it is perhaps the main reason that people who go on cruises end up wishing they hadn't gone.
    I probably got the virus either from something I ate on Saturday night (the 21st) or from shaking hands with someone (and failing to wash my hands well).
    The worst was over by Tuesday – well, by Sunday at 7 a.m., if you count the vomiting as the worst (which I personally do). The gaseous bloating on Monday night was the most painful, however. But the three-day progress of the malady did parallel a doctor's description of the symptoms as "starting high (in the stomach) and working their way through and out." But there I go, providing TMI.
    I was luckier than my friend who told me he had what he called "the ten day crap" over his birthday (in January) that was "the worst flu I can remember." And also luckier than what some friends of a friend experienced over Christmas and New Year, which "wiped them out for ten days! And both [of them] sheepishly told us they had not taken flu shots." I don't think flu is what I had.

Copyright © 2015 by Morris Dean

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Review: American Sniper

Not in Eastwood’s cross-hairs – but still disappointed

By Bob Boldt

As for American Sniper (2014, directed by Clint Eastwood), if Clint was out to direct a propaganda film, he did a pretty hopeless job of it. There was little to recommend it even to the Tea Bag nation. He could learn a lot from ZD-30’s Kathryn Bigelow. Now, there is a true embodiment of a latter-day Leni Riefenstahl.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fourth Saturday’s Loneliest Liberal


By James Knudsen

Two-thousand fourteen ended with my siblings and me officially joining the ranks of the orphans following the passing of our dad Mo. I commemorated the event by changing the wallpaper on my smart phone to a very “Mad Men” shot of dad that was taken at a studio. This was replaced after a month with a picture of Dad and Mom which remains to this day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Best road. Transfăgărășan, Romania:
    The Transfăgărășan or DN7C is the second-highest paved road in Romania. Built as a strategic military route, the 90 km of twists and turns run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians, between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second highest, Negoiu. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia, and the cities of Sibiu and Piteşti.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thor's Day: Elvis's sign from God

So strange it must be real

By Jim Rix

It is commonly known that Elvis was a religious man. What is not well known is the roll Josef Stalin played in cementing Elvis’s faith. Here in performance by Al Stewart is the story, “so strange it must be real.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Does it help to pray for weather?

What do you think?

By Morris Dean

I turn the question back to you, because I don't really know, although I admit that I confidently assume it doesn't help to pray for weather. Do you pray for weather? Do you find it useful?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Voice

Oliver Sacks
Thoughts upon hearing that Oliver Sacks will soon depart

By Bob Boldt

It was a dark and stormy night when I ventured out into one of the biggest blizzards of the young year 2007. My destination was the Lensic Theater, where one of their landmark discussions was being held by the Lannan Foundation. The night’s guest was Lawrence Weschler, who was hosted by Oliver Sacks.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle

Ouija Science (excerpt from Chapter 16 of 
Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: Blurb from the dust jacket: “Jingle Jangle: The Perfect Crime Turned Inside Out is a remarkable book, a page-turner that asks all the right questions, shocking us out of our complacency by exposing the deep flaws in our criminal justice system. It should be required reading for every college student in America.”
        –Gary T. Lowenthal, Arizona State University law
        professor & author of
Down and Dirty Justice
    Today’s excerpt can be considered an elaboration on a comment made this week on a recent Thor’s Day column: “There is an upcoming trial for an American hero Chris Kyle, in which each side will introduce their experts on PTSD. How can experts have two different opinions and call it science?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Third Saturday Fiction

New cover, updated on Amazon this month
(Kindle price $0.99)
Chapter 24. 
Air-Am, from the novel Boystown

By Ed Rogers

[In the previous chapter, published here on October 18, James Hamilton had enlisted in the US Army to get away from a Colombian drug cartel. But things became confused, and Chapter 23 ended with Hamilton sitting alone on his bunk attempting to sort out what had happened. “Two days ago, all I wanted was a place to hide. What was I doing in this outfit? Why promote me to a warrant officer?...I was sure there was a puppeteer pulling strings, and I was the puppet.”]

The next six weeks were hell. The fun times the crews had before my arrival stopped. We ate, slept, shit, and pissed in our planes. Moreover, when we weren’t flying, we were in one class after another. They pushed two years of training programs down our throats and made us chew each bite.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fish for Friday

Indian fishermen pushed their boat through
plastic waste last month in Mumbai
Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

"Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans." [John Schwartz, NY Times] Excerpt:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thor's Day: Freedom of religion

How far should it go?

By Morris Dean

The U.S. postage stamp commemorated religious freedom and the Flushing Remonstrance, which was, according to Wikipedia:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Chuck, why are you agnostic with respect to "God"?

Guessing at the inconclusive

By Chuck Smythe

Chuck, a couple of weeks ago, in our question to Susan C. Price ("What do you think about religion?"), we indicated that you’ve said you don’t know enough to go one way or the other, so we labeled you agnostic. Please tell us what that means for you. Why are you agnostic with respect to "God" and other religious beliefs?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Everyone poops

School projects

By Bindi Danchenko

[Editor's Note: Last year, when she was seven and in the first grade, the author's art teacher assigned a project. The pupils were to create a display featuring a character from one of the books they had read. The following account was constructed by combining answers from the author to questions from her mother ("she laughed quite a bit while writing her answers") and to follow-up questions from the editor.]

I chose to do a character from Everyone Poops [by Taro Gomi, School & Library Binding, 2001] because the book is funny – it shows their butts – and because everyone really does poop. Even the animals poop.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Third Monday Musing

The right to vote

By Ed Rogers

We have all placed our trust and hope on one candidate or the other at some time in our life—if you haven’t, why vote at all? The right to vote has forever been in the hands of the rich. White Americans never questioned the right to vote until the voting act of 1965. Outside of the South, people seemed to believe that everybody was voting who wanted to vote. But in the South, citizens with money pretty much controlled who got elected, and they controlled who was allowed to vote. A number of blocks were placed in the road to guarantee white control. From Wikipedia’s article on “Voting rights in the United States”:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Review: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Now open at Lake Tahoe

By Jim Rix

After the better part of a year and $60 million (I’m told), the renovation of Lake Tahoe’s old Horizon Casino got completed. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened to a much anticipated local crowd on Wednesday, January 28.
    It was fortunate for my friend Heather and me that we entered through the back door, because we found out later during our meandering that the front entrance was jammed and backed up. It was basically a madhouse. It was so packed that Security was letting people in the front door only as others exited.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Second Saturday's Sonnet

To Valentine's Day

By Morris Dean
Shakespeare asked whether he should compare "thee,"
and, having considered, decided not.
Than summer's day, he thought that she (or he)
was more lovely and temperate, less fraught

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

In December, more than 500 people from across Colorado and surrounding states packed into a small theatre in Salida, Colo., to deliver a message to President Obama – keep our spectacular Browns Canyon forever wild for bobcats, bighorn sheep and elk by making it a national monument.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thor's Day: The dinosaurs are coming! The dinosaurs are coming!

Among the Creationists

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s note: In June 2010, the author attended a sermon and two talks by a Dr. G. Thomas Sharp given as part of the Summer Vacation Bible School at the First Assembly of God Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.
    In submitting this account, the author reminded us that today is Charles Darwin's birthday. Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, 50 years before the publication of his landmark book, 
On the Origin of Species, which plays no small role in the following account.]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

What does one do?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

What does one do when dreams feel shortchanged except by sleeping? I know that some poetry I have written has come true for me. The poems exhausted me in the reality they became. I also know that tears are cleansing.
    How do I get past the fact that my grown children and their actions in life are not my responsibility anymore? I feel like I owe it to myself to be my own responsibility and to trust God and human beings with this answer. I received emotional support from a professional and will continue to do so. The emotional support I received was just plain excellent. It is difficult so far because it seems my biggest quest if for someone to truly love me for who I am. Presently I am enjoying the freedom to be me. Dear Susan, what do I do to reach a goal? –Patricia

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Second Tuesday on Franklin Hill Farm

Phantom Sunrise [detail of a photo below]
Crops of babies

By Bettina Sperry

During the course of the next two months, Franklin Hill Farm will have a new spring crop of babies. We're expecting five calves and two thoroughbred foals. The images below are from our 2014 crop and include our expecting mares and cows. The images also include photos of our Tennessee Walkers, Phantom Sunrise (see detail at right) and Korabelle, who will be joining wonderful new parents at a neighboring farm.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Second Monday Music: Johann Sebastian Bach performed in Memphis

Six suites for unaccompanied cello

By André Duvall

On Sunday afternoon, February 1, I had the pleasure of hearing all six of Johann Sebastian Bach’s suites for unaccompanied cello performed live in succession. Brazilian native Leonardo Altino, an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Memphis, presented these masterpieces in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music’s Harris Recital Hall.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Review: A new trend in films?

“Factually” “based”

By Jonathan Price

I go to see many films, as many as I can and still have a life and still be human. My goal is two films a week. That would be 104 films a year, more if you add the few that are relegated to first viewing via video or streaming. Serious film reviewers often see 200 to 400 films a year. But it has seemed to me lately that more and more films are “factually” “based” – that is, their source or origin or impetus is a biography or history. This would include films this year such as Selma, which is both biography and history; or The Imitation Game or Big Eyes or The Theory of Everything (reviewed on January 4) or American Sniper. I know many films begin with some kind of subtitle or suggestion or claim, “based on a true story,” and that this has some resonance and power and draw for a potential audience.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thirst Satyrday for Eros (in fiction)

"Angel," photo by Bob Boldt
The Baby Sitter (a short story)

By W.M. Dean

At last the Beamers’ three kids were in bed! Jan Hilbert let herself fall face-first and full-length on the Beamers’ ratty old hide-a-bed couch.
    “Ugh.” She shouldn’t have gone face-first – the heavy smell of ancient dirt, stale popcorn, and a hundred other crumbly family television snacks permeated the man-made fabric.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thor's Day: How many folds?

How many times should you fold your toilet paper?

By Morris Dean

[Published originally on February 10 & 11, 2007, in the posts, "How many folds?" and "Should," respectively.]

We humans want answers to the important questions of life. Several years ago a success coach was addressing a large number of young professional women. The audience responded gratefully when she met their need to know how many times to fold their toilet paper, especially before a business meeting. (Twelve layers, she said.*)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Susan, what do you think about religion?

KT's prayer

By Susan C. Price

Susan, a number of different theological views have been expressed on Moristotle & Co. The editor in chief, for example, claims to be an atheist (or an aduotheist, if a recent proof was correct in proving that two gods exist or don’t exist). So does columnist Jim Rix (and so did the late contributing editor Tom Lowe).
    Columnist Chuck Smythe says he doesn’t know enough to go one way or the other, so he’s agnostic.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Missionary Kid

Stories in print

By Vic Midyett

JT: Another Mighty Midyett, the book about my dad that includes my Missionary Kid stories, is being typeset and will shortly be available.
    The fact that there is a book at all owes to my cousin Randy Somers, who was a small boy when his mother's brother, my father, James Thomas Midyett, left for India in 1950, where I was born within two years of my parents' arrival there. But even 12,000 miles away, Randy says, my father was a continual presence in his family's home: