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.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Sleeping and waking

“Iris,” by Auguste Rodin (detail)
photo by the author, April 27

By Morris Dean

[Editor’s Note: The following account was dreamt early this morning, and we are pleased to assume that Bob Boldt’s post of yesterday (“Tony”) deserves some credit for it – at least for the fact that the dreamer wrote the account.]

It’s early morning as I start to write. Coming to my chair, I had the thought that I was dreaming even then, that “dreaming”as ordinarily understood – something we do in our sleep – extends, really, to our waking life as well. That is, our very life is a dream.

Thursday, May 26, 2016


“Peter,” a dream invention by the author

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s Note: This post renews the author’s January 31 “Invitation to recount our dreams here,” which provoked a fair amount of commentary but has so far prompted no one else to recount a dream. The invitation still stands, and we hope that other dreamers will take us up on it soon.]

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Missionary Kid

Tiger cub

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Mea Culpa: The author submitted today’s Missionary Kid story last year sometime, along with another story that together had lain forgotten until they came to our attention recently as a direct result of Bob Boldt’s “Happy Mother’s Day” post of May 9, which prompted Vic Midyett to submit a piece about his mother. In the course of looking for a photograph of Vic’s mother, which we thought could be found among his Missionary Kid stories, we came across the two forgotten stories. Vic’s tribute to his mother, “Mom’s last good-bye,” will be published on Sunday, and his other Missionary Kid story a week from today.]

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Movie Review: Nelson Algren: The End is Nothing, the Road is All

My lost Chicago: Reflections on the film

By Bob Boldt

Nelson Algren is regarded by some respected critics and authorities as one of the greatest writers of the twentieth century, certainly the greatest American writer. In spite of that, his career was dogged by censorship, slander, and worse of all, neglect. He was the quintessential modern, existential man, a mixture of light and dark. A devoted womanizer who seemed to be unable to sustain long-term relationships and an inveterate gambler, he wore his vices like badges of honor.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Chapter 11 of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
Hush Money

By W.M. Dean

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

Life on Earth

From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Today four Canada geese flew close overhead going northward honking to one another. My heart leapt up with joy to be a part of life on Earth that includes such creatures. I winced to remember that I am also a part of the race of creatures some of whom have spent thousands of hours interpreting something they call Scriptures in order to “prove” that the son of a god died to ensure that they could have everlasting life in some fantasyland beyond their fondest hopes. I had the feeling-thought that such animals as Canada geese are at least as noble as us humans, whose great intellects we use for foolishness as often as not.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Some passing curiosities from Down Under

By Vic Midyett

Sunday, just before lunch time, the largest plane in the world landed at the Perth International airport, delivering a small generator weighing 117 metric tonnes for a coal mine South of here. It was the first time this plane has ever landed on Australian soil. The news reported that 25,000 people took up vantage points near the airport to watch it land. Ukrainian built, the airplane has a payload capacity of 240 metric tonnes, or 92 full-grown Asian elephants. Total take-off weight is 640 tonnes. [Read more about it: “Antonov An-225 Mriya: World’s largest plane touches down in Perth,” Rebecca Trigger, ABC News.]

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Wash (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub


Big downpour up the canyon fills these halls
in no time, flooding ten feet high in zones
like this, or more, then spilling waterfalls
from basin into basin as it hones
the red-rock, widening the canyon walls,
and carving picture windows in the stones.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Shakespeare & Co.

Photo by the editor, April 23
From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

[“Recent” is relative; some of these items arrived while my wife and I were in Paris celebrating our 50th wedding anniversary.]

Thursday, May 12, 2016

“Tea Cup Roses,” painted & sketched by Shirley Deane/Midyett

“Tea Cup Roses” (detail)
By Vic Midyett

We have a couple of rose bushes that produce delicate little roses. As buds they begin with a fresh, pastel pink, and as they mature and age they turn snow white, and don’t hold their shape real well. Reminds one of something else, huh?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

“Dead Calm Ocean,” painted by Shirley Deane/Midyett

“Dead Calm Ocean” (detail)
By Vic Midyett

We met a young couple (Mitch and Grace) in Southern Queensland a few years back, not long after we started our gray nomad journey around Australia. They showed up again in Northern Queensland, in Walkamin, where we spent a few months. These kids were insistent that we visit them in their little town on the Southern tip of Toora, Victoria, which we did, and met their whole family and had a wonderful, loving time.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Happy Mothers Day!

My mom as a teenager
By Bob Boldt

In honor of mothers, I thought I’d comment on the mothers in my life. The picture below is of me and my grandma – my dad’s mom. There was such an affinity we shared together, a bond. I recalled a line from a poem I had been writing, “I remember kissing my grandma when she was ten.”

Saturday, May 7, 2016


By Morris Dean

[Published originally on April 17, 2009.]

Funny thing. I don’t believe in god or heaven, but [on the morning of April 17, 2009] I was feeling so extraordinarily buoyant that, quite spontaneously, I exclaimed to my friend Jeff, “I feel so good—as though I’ve been apotheosized!” [The painting shown to the right is “The Apotheosis of St. Ignatius” by Giovanni Battista Baciccio (1639-1709). Ignatius is still, I suppose, believed by some to have been literally apotheosized after being killed by one or more lions for the entertainment of the citizens of Rome.]

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Compassion and justice

A teaching of Jesus & John

By Morris Dean

[Published originally on September 1, 2009.]

An email discussion I’ve been having about health care reform with a small circle of Yale classmates recently put me in mind of something I’d read about the political philosopher John Rawls (1921-2002). I’d read, perhaps in an obituary, that he held something like

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal

Where’s the bacon?

By James Knudsen

Finding the right metaphor can be tricky but I think I’ve got it this time: bacon. We’ll get back to that.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Ask Susan

How can I get my family to stop punishing me?

By Susan C. Price

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

My sister and my fiancé had an affair that blew my family and my life into pieces. The two have both moved on with different partners now and life is great for them, but I’m still dealing with what happened. What I’m struggling with most is that it was my own sister who betrayed me, and we were always so close.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Chapter 10 of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
What the Man on the Street Said

By W.M. Dean

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

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Material body and immaterial soul

According to Christian belief

By Kyle Garza

In our postmodern materialist society, there seems to be an idea creeping steadily more prevalently into our culture that, as the field of neuroscience progresses, scientists will eventually “explain away” all that we once thought could only be attributed to the human soul. Eventually, some think, we’ll be able to say with empirically-based scientific observation and study that the physical human brain accounts for all of our experience in life, and that there is no reason to archaically believe in the existence of the human soul.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

El Camino de Santiago, Part IV

The Meseta

By Valeria Idakieva

[Part III, “Legends and reality,” was published on February 3.]

After the sweltering heat of the previous day, luckily a storm during the night lowered the temperature and cleared the air. So my first day on the Meseta – wide-open spaces with very little shade – started on a more cheerful note in the fresh air.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Futures (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub


We had then (still) tomorrow, Saarinen,
a Trans-World tapered, curled, stiletto heeled,
and Kahn. We thought we’d live without a Penn
Station (what a leveled playing field).

Friday, April 8, 2016

Bernie Sanders occupies Wall Street?

March for Bernie demonstrators
Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/
LightRocketv/Getty Images
From recent correspondence

Edited by Morris Dean

Four fairly recent articles examine Occupy Wall Street, and three of them see strong affinities between the movement and Bernie Sanders: