Friday, July 29, 2016

SURVEY: Tell us how you read & comment on Moristotle & Co.

To help us improve

By Moristotle

As a follow-up to yesterday’s announcement and our invitation for readers to join our community, we have designed a survey to collect reader feedback on your practice of reading & commenting on Moristotle & Co.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

We are bringing back named recurring columns

Starting in August

By Moristotle

[Note: I’ve decided to refer to myself as “Moristotle.” That is, after all, who I am.]

We have decided to return to naming recurring columns in the sidebar*. The reason is simple: a number of members of the staff confessed that they needed recurring columns to motivate them to write more things for the blog. And they cited a need for encouragement from me (some called it nagging) to get with it and submit something!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

El Camino de Santiago, Part VI

Santiago on the horizon

By Valeria Idakieva

[Part V, “Mountain relief from the sweltering plain,” was published on July 12.]

A beautiful morning in the mountains invited me to savor the picturesque route.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Fear for family and motherhood

My greatest fear for the future

By Christa Dean

Just when, exactly, do you become a mother? Is it the moment you get that first positive pregnancy test? The moment of conception? When you hear the little one’s heartbeat or when you hold him or her in your arms for the first time?

Monday, July 25, 2016

Do you have a fear for the future? What is it?

Sharing our fears with others

Edited by Morris Dean

We recently asked the members of the staff of Moristotle & Co. whether they had a fear for the future, and, if so, what was it? Today we are sharing the responses we received.
    But we are also asking readers the same questions. And we hope that you will take the time to tell us. We wonder, for example, to what extent your fears are like ours. Please let us know.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Fear in time

Be here now

By Bob Boldt

Thinking about fear brings a whole series of ideas and impressions to mind. I invite you to follow me through the following disjointed ramblings. Because many critics have abused my writings, I do have a great fear that you may get lost or mistake my meaning.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: Primates in a panic

Scenes actual or created

By James Knudsen

For anyone who is interested, I still have two kittens available for adoption. They’re up to date on their shots, recently “altered,” playful, affectionate, and best of all, free. Cats have always been in the background of my life. As a child, my bedroom (and box-spring mattress) served as the nursery to a litter of four kittens. As an adult, cats with names like Jimmy, Mo, Gypsy, and Prince have been in my home or the homes of significant others.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Animals, funsters, and a certain impaler

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Wonderful nature pictures on! But lots of them so only watch when you have lots of time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Sad but uplifted

Richard Francis Burton,
by Rischgitz, 1864
Not that Richard Burton

By Morris Dean & Bob Boldt

Yesterday’sSad like Jesus” revealed some of the consolations offered me following the short-lived publication, on July 3, of “Misunderstood, disrespected, resented: A meditation on Jesus: Glad, mad, and sad.”
    Another interchange provided much-needed comic relief:

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Sad like Jesus

Christ as the Man of Sorrows
by Luis de Morales
A meditation

By Morris Dean

Last month some “communication problems” (let’s call them) put me in touch with a feeling of over fifty years ago, when I identified with Jesus as the “man of sorrows.” An image also returned to me, or at least I assumed it was the private picture of Jesus I had in my head then.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Welcome Valeria Idakieva to the staff

By Morris Dean

With pleasure, we announce that Valeria Idakieva, the author of a series of articles about her trek across northern Spain along the El Camino de Santiago, has accepted our invitation to join our staff as a columnist. We have added an entry for her in the sidebar. Welcome, Valeria!

Monday, July 18, 2016

The RNC kicks off, and more

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Voters are about to be given the deciding say on the question whether Donald Trump’s ways make him a winner. Ironically, it is possible that a majority of voters will have been persuaded to say “yes” by the fact that Trump is not in prison for any of his many frauds, and he has, after all, apparently won the Republican Party’s nomination.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Frank O’Hara - The Last PI

Now available in paperback

By Morris Dean

D. Michael Pain’s novel, Frank O’Hara - The Last PI, has just been published in paperback and is available from Amazon. It is based imaginatively on Mike’s own professional experiences as a private investigator.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Chapter 13 of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Farm

By W.M. Dean

[The novel is set in the 1970s of Watergate. Links to earlier chapters are provided at the bottom.]

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

El Camino de Santiago, Part V

Mountain relief from the sweltering plain

By Valeria Idakieva

[Part IV, “The Meseta,” was published on April 12.]

Early in the morning after the day dedicated to sightseeing in the glorious city of Leon, I said goodbye and buen camino to Bill, who had been walking with me for a few days and decided to walk a bit more slowly and then travel to Portugal where he was going to join a group from the USA.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Reminiscences of Canada’s National Parks in the Rockies

Achingly beautiful

By William Silveira

On June 1, my wife Marylin and I departed from Fresno for Toronto, Ontario to begin a 14-day “Canadian Train Odyssey.” I had been going to post a running account along the way from hotel computers, but when we arrived at Jasper, in the Canadian Rockies, I got locked out of my e-mail and left a crucial piece of paper by the hotel computer in my exasperation. So all I have now are these reminiscences.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Collection (a poem)

By Eric Meub


e.e. cummings would have understood
Melissa’s rubber stamps as but a game
To fix one’s typographic neighborhood.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Bread & chocolate

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Today is World Chocolate Day. This Cadbury’s ad has been on TV a lot here. Nice music!

Monday, July 4, 2016

Another outing Down Under

Lunch at the fishing harbor

By Vic Midyett

Yesterday Shirley and I drove to an area of Fremantle that several years ago had some good restaurants. It’s where the Canning River and the Swan River meet. Sadly, high rise apartments and cycle tracks [bicycle lanes] had been built there, now eliminating what used to be good eating and good views.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bye, bye, Boris & others

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Funny article on Boris Johnson as Blackadder’s dashing Lord Flashheart. Lots of good links that explain the social interactions of the British conservative grandees. It reads like the introduction to an Ian McEwan novel that, like Amsterdam or Saturday, makes fun of the English upper class. “Bye bye, Boris, the man who wouldn’t clear up his own mess” [Marina Hyde, Guardian, June 30] Excerpt:

Thursday, June 30, 2016

A winter’s day in Fremantle

Small town in the city

By Vic Midyett

Yesterday morning was a rather warm winter’s day in Fremantle, Western Australia – in the high 60’s F – and it had been raining off and on and cloudy for several days, so Shirley and I went into the city just to goof around in the sun.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Hitch-22, Nook or no Nook

Belief in certainty

By Morris Dean

A couple of months ago I put away the Nook tablet some colleagues had given me when I retired from UNC. Even though I had purchased a few eBooks for it from Barnes & Noble, I was finding that my iPhone gave me access to so many things to read (recorded books from the Library of Congress’s BARD website for the blind and physically handicapped, iBooks from Apple, Kindle books) that I just didn’t think I needed the Nook any longer.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: Marine Corps sweep

By James Knudsen

I just swept my front walkway. Let me repeat that, I just swept my front walkway. I never sweep the front walkway, NEVER. But I had to do something, the frustration, the anger, the...crap on Facebook finally was just too much and I had to pick up a broom.

Thursday, June 23, 2016


From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Excellent analysis on the Brexit [UK exit from the European Union] press: “Who Is to Blame for Brexit’s Appeal? British Newspapers” [Martin Fletcher, NY Times, June 21] Excerpt:

Notes from Paris: Les Etoiles de Paris

By Morris Dean

When I went to bed last night, I wasn’t remembering that I had scheduled a skeleton of my second “Notes from Paris” column. Sorry about that, but even more sorry that I haven’t yet written it!
    But believe me: my embarrassment over this is great, and I now feel more highly motivated than I was to write about the star-shaped intersections of Paris, which so captured my imagination that they only make me want to return to Paris to experience them again.

Copyright © 2016 by Morris Dean

Sunday, June 19, 2016

The ouroboros, a metaphor for dreaming

“Ouroboros,” By anonymous medieval illuminator;
Public Domain

By Morris Dean

[Note: The unedited, dictated version of the following account was appended on June 15 to the May 27 Dreamsourcing column, “Sleeping and waking.” It was the approximately sixteenth set of “dream notes” posted as comments on that column.
    The revised account below is my first attempt at a new Dreamsourcing column since May 27.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Chapter 12 of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
Addleman’s Last Tape

By W.M. Dean

[The novel is set in the 1970s of Watergate. Links to earlier chapters are provided at the bottom.]

Friday, June 17, 2016

UK life / US life

By Penelope Griffiths

[Editor’s Note: We are grateful to Penelope Griffiths for speedily answering a correspondent’s request to hear more from her.]

At the same time the United States is choosing its Presidential candidates, the United Kingdom is getting ready for a referendum that could have the potential to make or break not just the United Kingdom but also Europe and, even possibly, the rest of the world.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Bloomsday 2016

1961 edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses
Remembering its origins

By Jonathan Price

June 16 is the day Joyceans have designated “Bloomsday,” and it is one of the more erudite and celebratory holidays in the literary calendar. Compare Shakespeare’s birthday, which I suspect fewer people could name or remember (but that’s just a suspicion). It is not a birthday, and it is not called “Joyce’s Day,” or “Ulysses Day,” but “Bloomsday,” because the novel it celebrates gives us an intimate portrait of a key, but also typical, day in 1904 in the life of its central character, Leopold Bloom.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Voting commercial


By Bob Boldt

The Dream. Our marketing firm had been hired to produce a commercial to encourage folks to take voting more seriously. We decided to audition some sample presentations to see if someone had a sufficiently innovative way to present the material in a new and catchy way. The first to audition was a troop of clowns who brought into the studio a huge cardboard cutout of a TV screen behind which they did a series of juggling and acrobatic acts.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

An out-standing contribution

The story of our detached garage

By Geoffrey Dean

A couple of weeks ago we had a rep from the city’s home improvement program come by to give his opinions as to what needed improving about our home. My secret hopes of getting some logistical and financial help in tearing down and replacing our current garage were dashed by his overt enthusiasm when he saw it, a decaying wooden structure set about ten feet from the back of our house.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Has the Republican Party humped itself?

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Thank you, Jake Tapper! “Jake Tapper asked Donald Trump if his judge attack was racist — then followed up 23 times” [Callum Borchers, Washington Post, June 3]. Excerpt:

Sunday, June 12, 2016

By popular request

J. PriceC. SmytheW. SilveiraB. SperryP. Griffiths
From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Since you are open to requests [“More politics, religion, and (by analogy) sex,” Friday June 10], I would like to request that we hear more from other members of your staff as well as from Kyle Garza. For example:

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Delay (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub


The plane has just left Denver, so they say
at six. At eight, The crew are on their way.
A surly rabble mills about the gate:
I’d lose my job if I was always late.

Friday, June 10, 2016

More politics, religion, and (by analogy) sex

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

This would be good.“The media have reached a turning point in covering Donald Trump. He may not survive it” [Paul Waldman, Washington Post, June 3]. Excerpt:

Thursday, June 9, 2016



By Bob Boldt

The Dream. I was packing up some ten or twelve equipment cases of various sizes and descriptions with cameras, lights, cables, and costumes from a feature film shoot we had just completed in Australia. There just didn’t seem to be enough room for everything. I was in the process of collapsing a huge down jacket – compressing it to remove the air – when I thought of something I had left behind in the hotel.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Politics, religion, & sex

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Oh, to have been a political writer last month! Mike Webb, an army major drafted by the Repuglicans to run against Don Beyer for Congress in northern Virginia’s 8th District, accidentally posted porn links to his own campaign site [“Politicians, take note: Don’t post screenshots that show your porn tabs,” Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, May 17].

Friday, June 3, 2016


From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

We named our lock company “SURE-LOCK” so that any houses using our products could be called “SURE-LOCK HOMES.”
    One thing is certain:
Although things aren’t
as they should be,
they definitely are as they are.
    Did you hear about the Vampire Doctor? To repel him, you hold not a cross but an apple in front of him every day.

Thursday, June 2, 2016



By Bob Boldt

The Dream. I was nine years old, visiting New York with my mother on the morning of September 11, 2001. We went to the World Trade Center.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Notes from Paris: Plain kindness

By Morris Dean

Maybe we were too used to the sort of insincere Southerner who smiles big and speaks gushily in your presence and then, after you’ve left, eviscerates you, but we were gratefully surprised in Paris this April how often people there (who do not smile big or gush) came to our aid – by giving directions, helping with translations, offering physical assistance, or volunteering information.

Birds & bees & butterflies

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Didn’t you spend three weeks in Paris last month? Did you see many bees? “Bees Thrive in an Unexpected Paradise: Paris” [Aurelien Breeden, NY Times, May 24]. Excerpt:

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Missionary Kid

Rule Number One: Get in the house before dark

By Vic Midyett

Anita and I were too young for watches, so Dad told us the following:
No matter what you are doing, come home and get in the house before your shadow becomes as long as you are tall. The reason for this is that the animals of all kinds would be needing water.

Monday, May 30, 2016

A prayer for Memorial Day

Created by altering a certain political cartoon*
Apologies to Honest Abe

By Bob Boldt

I composed the following prayer because I have had it up to here with all of the militaristic jingoism rampant this holiday.

Boystown: The Return (a novel)

Chapter 3. El Rojo

By Ed Rogers

[Chapter 2 of Ed Rogers’s new novel appeared here last month. It is available in its entirety as a Kindle book.]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Mom’s last good-bye

By Vic Midyett

In about 1971, less than two years after my parents and Anita and I arrived in Perth from our missionary days in India, my mother found out that she had cancer in her lymph nodes and one breast. She had that breast removed and made jokes about not playing with her fake one when she wasn’t wearing it.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: Anyone but Trump

By James Knudsen

Despite my efforts to avoid this moment, I must weigh in on the story of 2016, Donald Trump. His baffling rise to become the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party has left many scratching their heads or, alternatively, gouging their eyeballs out. My explanation follows that of many who trace it back to the elevation of Sarah Palin to be John McCain’s running mate. To those in the establishment, the GOP is no longer recognizable.