Thursday, July 27, 2017

Five Years Ago Today: Fish for Friday

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 27, 2012, not one word different. The “Fish for Friday” column had been launched three weeks earlier, on July 6.]
This column serves up fish caught by casting our hook into the waters of recent correspondence, thus abstaining from our usual practice of blogging on anything whatsoever.
    Only fish will be served that we think will be good for you, either for information or for provocation to think about something new, or about something old but from a different perspective.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paris Journal: Tennis, n’importe qui?

Roland Garros (1888-1918), French aviator
and WWI fighter pilot [PD-US]
Tennis, anyone?

By Moristotle

I didn’t feel right about asking the wild-haired young man (30 to 35 years old, I guessed) if I might take a photograph of him, so I cannot share an image of the person with whom we had perhaps the most enjoyable encounter of our month in France (four nights of which were in the U.K., the subject of a subsequent entry). The young man had asked us for directions as we were boarding the metro at Boulogne-Jean-Jaures station late the afternoon of June 5, our first Monday in Paris.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Eleven Years Ago Today: California on my mind

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 25, 2006, not one word different, but with graphic added.]

On reading a novel set in San Francisco –
All the talk of Golden Gate, Marina,
Presidio, the Park, Mission District,
Point Reyes, Muir Beach, Tamalpais,
The blue Pacific, the great gray whales
Serenely going south from their summer
Habitation down to Mexico –

Monday, July 24, 2017

Thunder Down Under: The Atherton Tableland of northern Queensland

Photos tell some of its tale

By Vic Midyett

Moristotle & Co. appreciates a good picture. A friend of mine in northern Queensland, in the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, took these two photographs recently. The parakeet visits a tree at his family’s home a lot. Wild parakeets of many different varieties and colors are prolific in Australia.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Paris Journal: Paris’s “bleus” appartient à temps perdu

Paris’s “blues” belong to a lost time

By Moristotle

As I posted on February 20 (“Lost time reading Marcel Proust”), I have been reading Marcel Proust’s A la Recherche du Temps Perdu [In Search of Lost Time] – reading it, that is, in an English edition that renders the title “Remembrance of Things Past.”

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Worse before better

There must be a silver lining

By James Knudsen

Six months into the Trump era, it would appear that things are going to get worse before they get better, assuming they get better. And yet there is something in my nature that seeks to find the silver lining in the cloud, the ade to add to the lemon, the low-monthly payment in the worthless, high-deductible, health insurance plan offered by the GOP. Put me in a besieged castle of the middle ages and I’d be the one saying, “I think one of the barbarians has brought a bottle of wine.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Paris Journal: Bon appétit!

At Le Bistro du Maquis
Bon appétit! (adopted from French –Merriam-Webster)

By Moristotle

I suspect that many of you were hoping Monday’s entry (“‘Je vote France Insoumise’”) would be mostly about food. “Food,” after all, was its fourth word (“Remembering the Moroccan food….”). And you might have hoped that its subtitle, “‘I Vote France Unbowed’,” meant that I vote for France’s food. Indeed, I do vote for it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Correspondence: How interestingly it accumulates!

By Moristotle

You worked for IBM for 30 years, so you probably already know this? “To battle hackers, IBM wants to encrypt the world” [Brian Fung, Washington Post, July 17]. Excerpts:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Paris Journal: La rondelle de chien (un interlude léger)

The dog washer (a light interlude)

By Moristotle

Monday, the day I published “Je vote France Insoumise,” I received the envelope a part of whose address is shown here. It contained a check from our friend whose Montmartre apartment we stayed in, to reimburse us for some repair work we had paid for out of pocket in June.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Theological half-gainers (Eight Years Ago Today)

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 18, 2009, not a word different.]

In Christopher Buckley’s unexpectedly caustic memoir about losing his parents, Patricia Taylor Buckley and William F. Buckley, Jr., he recounts his father’s regret that a beloved friend whose ashes he and Christopher have just scattered was not a Catholic. “What do you mean, Pup?” Christopher asked.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Paris Journal: “Je vote France Insoumise”

“I vote France Unbowed” (or Untamed, Defiant, Rebellious, Indomitable, Unsubmissive)

By Moristotle

Remembering the Moroccan food at Ménara in my last entry (“Auvers-sur-Oise”) put me in mind of another Moroccan lunch we had in France. But I’ll write about our first Saturday in Paris (June 3) in the order of its leisurely events.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Just the book to give to your sister (Ten Years Ago Today)

Recommendations for Flann O’Brien’s first novel

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 16, 2007, with links and image of book cover added today.]

“A real writer, with the true comic spirit.” –James Joyce

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Paris Journal: Auvers-sur-Oise

Auvers on the Oise

By Moristotle

After an overnight trip to Lyon June 9-10, my wife and I were so tired during dinner, she suggested we not follow our itinerary to go to the town Auvers-sur-Oise the next day. “That suits me,” I said without hesitation. (Auvers is a “commune” that sits along the Oise River about 27 km, or 17 miles, northwest from the center of Paris. It is associated with several famous artists, the most prominent being Vincent van Gogh.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

British academics and elites

By Rolf Dumke

A recent interchange with a college friend over Fintan O’Toole’s essay in The New York Review of Books, “Britain: The End of a Fantasy” (June 10), brought to mind some personal impressions I formed of Britain while in Europe again after my time of growing up in America. These impressions support O’Toole’s contention that the Conservative Party’s Eton-Oxford elite have fiddled away Britain’s economic and political future out of pure intra-party skirmishes and arrogance.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 43 & 44

The End Game
& The Rebirth

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 43. The End Game

Right after hanging up on Tom, Ambassador White had tried to call Senator Weigher, only to be told the senator was on his way to the club for dinner. Ambassador White called for his limousine, and as the limo made its way out onto the street, White used the car phone to try the senator again, and this time got him just as he was sitting down to eat.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Paris Journal: Aperçus

Spires of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
from the north, not far from our apartment

By Moristotle

[Author’s Note: After our trip to Paris for three weeks last year, for our fiftieth wedding anniversary, I was going to blog extensively about the trip. But the only result was one post, and the unfulfilled announcement of a second. However, when we returned to Paris last month, I did a better job taking notes, and I am developing these notes into a series I will call “Paris Journal.” Today’s post is the first installment.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 42

The Truth Can Kill You

By Ed Rogers

Rubin called the club and asked if they had an opening for dinner. The more he thought about Jac threatening him, the madder he got. He told the club manager that Jac had said he was welcome to eat there anytime he wished, which was true. However, Rubin had never been in the club without Jac. They asked no questions of him, the brother of the President of the United States and friend of Jac Truborn, they just told him his table would be ready by seven-thirty.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Old Peppermint Tree

Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

There is a very old Peppermint tree not far from where we live, in Fremantle, Western Australia. Shirley decided to paint part of it. The painting is about 2' x 4':

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 41

The Flight Home

By Ed Rogers

Tom read and reread Cahill’s journal on the flight home. He understood now why Mary was having so much trouble deciphering Cahill’s writings. There was nothing in the order of dates, places, or events – just a note here and a note there. Tom saw the names of some of the people he had spoken too, but the journal was useless as evidence. Toward the last couple of pages, two names kept showing up. This would be about the time Cahill was coming back to the States to meet with a man named White. Who White was or what he had to do with anything, Cahill never said.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Follow-up for fans of artist Susan C. Price

Her gallery show runs through July 22

By Moristotle

Artist Susan C. Price’s participation in a gallery show, announced here on June 10, has been of great interest in the Los Angeles area. A June 29 post on Form Function Style’s Facebook page included the photo shown above of “the always entertaining artist Susan C. Price discussing her work at the FIG Gallery show opening.” Susan herself ever modestly describes the photo as “of me serving vino and pretzels in front of my work.”

Me (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on February 13, 2016]


It’s true, Lake Lagunitas sparkles like
the windows at Bulgari, but, as I’ve
remarked before, you idolize your hike,
why can’t I idolize Rodeo Drive?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 39 & 40

& Carlos Makes His Move

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 39. Germany

Tom drove the lonely mountain road into the small German town that Hans and Gert Duman had called home for so many years. Not that Tom was expecting to find anything in the town – like a monument to the passing of Mary. No, nothing so grandiose. He carried the monument in his heart, his deep feeling of loss and of guilt. He was hoping the trip would help him get past Mary’s death, or at least past the guilt he felt for not being with her.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Utopia or dystopia?

By Roger Owens

There are two major philosophies concerning the future: utopia and dystopia. Utopians see a day when all strife will end, and the children will play together forever. There will be enough clean water for everyone, a car in every garage, a chicken in every pot. And no one will ever have to make the decision to hurt or kill someone else, because if you have everything you need, why would you want to do that?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 37 & 38

The Meeting
& More Questions Than Answers

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 37. The Meeting

Rubin wanted to meet at the Hilton, where there was a bar, room service – all the comforts of home – but Tom insisted they address the situation as though they were being watched. Tom told Rubin that the only way he would meet with him was if he went to the tower called Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park. Rubin was to wait for a contact who would use a name Rubin would recognize.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

By way of apology to the wild birds in our neighborhood

Written towards the end of May, just in case

By Moristotle

Besides missing Siegfried, who will be kenneled for the month of June, a sadness of being away from home, mostly in Paris, is the knowledge that our neighborhood’s wild birds will find no seeds in our back yard all that time. They won’t even find their favorite feeders. I took the favorite feeders down this morning to stage the photograph shown above. Though it may look inviting enough to you, I who delight in seeing & hearing birds there, find it a desolate spectacle.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 35 & 36

& Tom Takes Sandy Home

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 35. Rome

The plane landed and Carlos Veneto disembarked first class. Tired of flying and tired of airports, Carlos had been in the air for two days. On Monday he was in L.A. and on Tuesday he caught a flight from New York to London. It had been a nice flight until reaching London, where it was raining and cold.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

In Your Dreams (Ten Years Ago Today)

My dream of personal violence

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 2, 2007, not one word different.]

Saturday night I had a vivid dream that left my heart pounding. Parked on a city street (in Manhattan?), after stepping out of my car for but a moment, I returned to find two young men—teenage boys—already sitting in it in the act (it was clear to me in the dream) of stealing it. Without a moment’s hesitation I pulled the nearer boy out of the front passenger seat, raised him up with a strength that I probably no longer possess, and threw him, “with prejudice,” up and over the rear of the car. Then I yanked the other boy out from behind the steering wheel, threw him to the pavement, and kicked him viciously....

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 33 & 34

The Senator
& Ambassador White

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 33. The Senator

Senator Robert “Bo” Weigher was brought back from a far-off dream by the incessant beeping of his intercom. “Yes, Judy, what is it?”

Friday, June 30, 2017

Ten Years Ago Today

Even though...
still Nature....

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 30, 2007, not one word different.]

Even though violent men continue to murder people and blow things up in Iraq,
and even though the Bush Supreme Court continues to subvert our Constitution,
and even though Cheenie continues to insist he is a law unto himself,

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 31 & 32

Kandahar Airport
& The Last Hole

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 31. Kandahar Airport

The black C-17 Globemaster with no lights dove toward the ground and landed at Kandahar at 1 a.m. Max and his team disembarked from the rear of the airplane.
    Four headlights were coming at them from the other side of the tarmac. Two Humvees pulled up and four of the five-man team climbed aboard the first Humvee, while Max talked to the captain driving the second vehicle. “You do know what our mission is and where we are going, don’t you?”

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Six Years Ago Today

Nature creates art, reflects Nature
(at the Honolulu Zoo, July 2010)
Culture comes of nature

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 28, 2011, not one word different.]

This morning I finished reading the concluding chapter of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s 2010 book, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. The chapter, titled “Living with Consciousness,” sketches consciousness’s contributions to the success of living organisms; that is, places it in evolutionary context.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 29 & 30

Central Park
& The VP

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 29. Central Park

After Tom and Jake met at the Surf &Turf, they decided to move the meeting to Central Park. After many turns and stops, and several reversals of direction, they determined no one was following them.
    Tom turned to look at Jake and said, “Why in the world did you pick this look?”

Monday, June 26, 2017

Three Years Ago Today

Moral quandary: Omnivorous

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 26, 2014, not one word different.]

What a plight to be of the human race –
grabbing everything, claiming every place,
    eating all kinds of animal
    (no laws yet make it criminal) –
were I pig or cow instead, I’d have no face.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 27 & 28

Jac Truborn
& The Surf Is Up

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 27. Jac Truborn

Jac Truborn had been the first person Rubin thought about calling for help. If anyone could help Rubin it would be Jac. Jac was one of the wealthiest men in the world, and he thought Thad Johnson was the greatest thing to happen in America since white bread. He was a good friend of Rubin and his family, and Rubin was one of the true friends Jac had in the world.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: The Liberal Gun Club takes on the NRA

Man bites dog

By James Knudsen

The standard for selecting which stories to follow in news reporting goes something like this: “Dog bites man,” not a story. “Man bites dog,” a story. Recently I was involved in an event that falls under the latter.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 26

Not Everybody Is a VIP

By Ed Rogers

The cab pulled up to the Hilton and Rubin got out. The sidewalk was still wet from the shower that had passed over New York during the morning rush hour. The doorman called the bellman to get Rubin’s bags, and then opened the door for him and signaled the concierge. “You may go right up to the suite, Mr. Johnson, there will be no need to check in at the desk.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Three Years Ago Today

A Christian-atheist conversation, Part 1: About animal rights

By Morris Dean 
& Kyle Garza

[Originally published on June 22, 2014, not one word different.]

Morris: In my Thor’s Day post of June 5 (“Value experience for its own sake: It’s an art”), I not only stated positively my view of the sacred art of living in a way that values life and respects one’s own and others’ experience for its own sake, but also outlined six areas in which I found the monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam wanting:

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 25

The Brother

By Ed Rogers

Rubin Johnson was two years older than Thad and had been the workhorse of the family. Rubin was named after a very close friend of their father’s, Rubin Goldberg, who became a mentor to his namesake. From the elder Goldberg Rubin had received, along with the name, the wisdom, and the need to work hard at whatever project he took on. Unlike Thad, who had had a very easy time in school, Rubin pushed himself to be the best in every class he took.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Six Years Ago Today

A matter of conscience

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 20, 2011, not one word different.]

My opposition to eating animals probably doesn’t rest “on moral grounds“ but might be more appropriately termed “a matter of conscience.” Opposition on moral grounds seems to imply that I would condemn as immoral anyone who doesn’t oppose eating animals, and I don’t do that.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 24

At the White House

By Ed Rogers

The President of Russia, Victor Putin, was waiting to be shown into the Oval Office to meet with the President of the United States. It was a long flight from Russia and Putin was a little tired, but the message he had for the new President was too important to wait. Time was short and events had a way of running over a person who moved too slowly.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 23

SEAL Team 5

By Ed Rogers

SEAL Team 5 boarded the plane that would fly them to Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. There they would undertake special training for a top-secret mission. The only thing the men knew for sure was it would more than likely be somewhere in the Middle East.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Five Years Ago Today

The hawk was about 250 feet away
[Click to enlarge]
Hawk calls

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 16, 2012, not one word different.]

I had some excitement yesterday clicking the shutter continually as fast as my Coolpix would allow (approximately every two seconds). At any moment I knew the hawk (it might have been a Cooper’s Hawk, or Chicken Hawk) might spot prey and swoop off the limb...and the camera might record it!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 21 & 22

A New Port
& Sister, Sister?

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 21. A New Port

The sun was coming up and its warm rays bathed Tom’s body. Much renewed, he watched the new morning breaking through the big oak tree in the back yard.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Five Years Ago Today

Getting to know the devil

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 14, 2012, not one word different.]

I completed one of those political questionnaires yesterday that, besides seeking numbers to rank election issues, seeks to gauge how likely it is that you might donate money to the party. To a direct question whether I’ll donate, I checked the “no” box and found myself explaining, “I don’t have money to waste on stupid political money wars.”

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 19 & 20

Just Another Day
& A New Plan

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 19. Just Another Day

It was eleven-thirty on a cold, rainy Tuesday morning. Spring was around the corner, but today it was just nasty. Ted was waiting in his car by the curb. He hadn’t told Tom he was picking him up, so he had to keep an eye out for him. He was in the hospital’s pick-up and drop-off zone, so all Ted could do was wait for him to come out.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Ten Years Ago Today

Divine aporia

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 12, 2007, not one word different.]

I have long regretted that I didn’t study much classical rhetoric in college. My knowledge of technical terms in poetics and prosody has barely kept me afloat as I’ve tried to tread water reading literary essays and criticism. So my interest was piqued last October when a young Hollywood screenwriter [JD Payne] suggested I look at M. H. Abrams’s Glossary of Literary Terms. And I’ve since discovered Chapel Hill’s own English Professor William Harmon’s Handbook to Literature. Not bedside reading for everyone, but I delight in both books.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 17 & 18

Oh! The Pain
& The Bug-Out

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 17. Oh! The Pain

Tom got some meat and bread and sat down to watch TV. Halfway through his sandwich, his eyes became heavy and he lay out on the couch with his head on the arm. He was awakened from his nap by a loud voice.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

For fans of artist Susan C. Price

Two paintings in gallery show this summer

By Moristotle

Our talented friend & former contributing editor, artist Susan C. Price, is now a member of the First Independent Gallery (FIG), at Bergamot Station in Santa Monica, California. She will have two paintings in a group show there this summer, opening two weeks from today (on June 24):

Poetry & Portraits: Mystic

By Eric Meub


It’s simpler than you think. A note will cup
the monastery bell, and birds fly up
as if the vault they soared before was but
a painted blue above a virgin, shut