Monday, September 26, 2016

Susan’s Stuff: thanks, Oscar

“thanks, Oscar” (detail)
with help from a family on vacation in farmland

By Susan C. Price

“thanks, Oscar” was born of a painting that was lifeless, and did not “work.” i placed a loosely painted version of a family-on-vacation-in-farmland photo on top of that and...agonized, painted, painted over, and voila!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sustainable Agriculture in Native America

By Christopher-Joseph Ravnopolski-Dean

I have a profound interest in agriculture, and more precisely sustainable agriculture, which uses an ecological approach towards nature – instead of fighting nature, it follows it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: In rehearsal

Waiting for Lefty

By James Knudsen

This week marked the sixth week of instruction for this Fall 2016 semester. I have a typical load of classes, one beginning-acting and one theatre-appreciation course. But I’m also assisting in the production of this season’s first play, Waiting for Lefty, by Clifford Odets. My colleague Janine Christl is directing, and, since the start of rehearsals five weeks ago, I’ve been working with the ensemble and the featured actors to help them better understand the time period, 1935.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Correspondence: The world moves on

Edited by Moristotle

Pictures from the first week of the Oktoberfest in Munich. Thankfully without terrorist attacks: “Oktoberfest: the world's largest beer festival – in pictures” [Natasha Rees-Bloor, Guardian, September 20]. Excerpt:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mary’s Voice: Posthumously speaking 12

(detail)
Mountain chapel

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, my sister Mary’s daughter, Karen Abbey, came across a photograph of yet another of her mother’s paintings. “I think the picture is one of her best!” Karen reports the following note on the back of the photo:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mary’s Voice: Posthumously speaking 11

(detail)
Country barn

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor’s Note: Another painting of Mary Alice Condley came to the attention recently of her daughter, Karen Abbey, whom her (and my) cousins Richard & Joyce Frost told they had a painting. “Mary gave Richard & me this barn painting years ago and it proudly hangs in our hallway.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fiction: Baby-sitter Saturday night (a short story)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
By W.M. Dean

[Editor’s Note: I found this story last week when I was going through my files after installing a lovely desk given me by a friend, Bill Johnson, who just moved away. I’d like to dedicate its publication to him, to whom we owe the pleasure of two “Liam’s Wuff” stories.
    The baby-sitter rates from the 1970s haven’t been revised.
]


Friday, September 16, 2016

Correspondence: Under the influence


Edited by Moristotle

I drank beer last weekend with a guy in a red baseball cap. At some point, I asked him what he liked about Trump, and what the slogan on his cap meant to him. After as many beers as he had drunk, he was quite forthcoming:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Boldt Words & Images: 9/11 (a poem)

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s Note: Published on the 15th of the month in recognition of this September’s being the 15th anniversary of that 9/11.]

United Airlines Flight 175 passengers knew they were heading toward
meaning, madness, Mecca or mayhem, but they knew not which.


Wednesday, September 14, 2016

West Coast Observer: Heads in the sand

Without water

By William Silveira

Trump blew into the City of Tulare on August 30 for a luncheon fund raiser at the home of Tulare Union High School classmate, Corky Anderson. Anderson owns and operates a wholesale pistachio nursery as well as owning his own pistachio groves. In attendance at the event were members of some of the Central Valley’s large agricultural enterprises, including Annette and Bob Smitcamp of Fresno and the owners of Harris Ranch. Also in attendance was our congressman, Devin Nunes, whom Trump invited along for the jet ride from San Francisco to Fresno. Trump purportedly picked up 1.3 million dollars from the event – not a bad haul for a 1.5 hour visit. The event was closed to the public – except for those who wanted to pay $25,000 for a private talk with Trump or $2,700 for lunch with about 250 other people.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In Your Dreams: Dream music

By Geoffrey Dean

Last week, a student in a music class I teach mentioned the music of the 2001 Japanese anime film Spirited Away. I remembered that as I woke up today, with the feeling that I must listen to the film’s song, “One Summer’s Day.” When I discovered this song while in Osaka five years ago, I fell in love with the unabashedly sentimental music of Joe Hisaishi and the pure, heartfelt singing of Ayaka Hirahara. I hear this song with a nostalgia for something unreachable, far away:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Poetry & Portraits: Isaiah (a poem)

By Eric Meub
 







 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Align the avenues and sweep the streets!
Suburbia, so long neglected, greets
the tan Executive, his tailored Queen,
his stately Presidential limousine.


Friday, September 9, 2016

Correspondence: These are the times

True & faux

Edited by Moristotle

Trump continues to receive ill-deserved respect: “Donald Trump’s Campaign Stands By Embrace of Putin” [Jonathan Martin & Amy Chozick, NY Times, September 8]. Excerpt:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Outside the Box: One-size-fits-all creative expression

Thoughts on Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione

By Geoffrey Dean

Reading the description of the new “Outside the Box” column while listening to Franz Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano, I remembered my own dismay when studying this piece at what I took as Schubert’s inconsistencies. My “inside the box” thinking at the time was to try to minimize the variations in intervals, dynamics, articulation, rhythm found in Schubert’s score – to move toward standardization, so that each appearance of a given musical gesture would resemble every other as closely as possible. In pursuing this standardizing impulse, I was unwittingly following the example of a long line of music editors who had purged Schubert’s (and others’) works of their native quirkiness, putting them back into the box of one-size-fits-all creative expression as they confined them to the narrowly drawn parameters of “tasteful” interpretation.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Missionary Kid: Champion kite

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: Vic sent me this story recently with the comment:
For some reason, I got to thinking about my kite again yesterday, this time it was in light of “big or tall stature does not make you the best.”
    Tell me I shared this story with you a long time ago.
    And I happily replied: “If I told you that, I would not be telling you true.
    So here it is!
    Otherwise, the most recent of the Missionary Kid stories appeared on May 31 (“Rule Number One: Get in the house before dark”). I hope Vic keeps finding stories that he hasn’t shared with us yet.
]

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

As the World Turns: A stranger in my own land, Part 1

What becoming an expat can be like

By Wally Tucker

[Editor’s Note: Wally’s account accompanies Ed Rogers’s piece yesterday in his As the World Turns column, “Going native.”]

I repatriated back to the USA in September 2000, leaving our apartment exactly six years to the day after my wife and our two young sons had arrived in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Six years and weeks earlier, we had packed 27 boxes and eight rolling duffels with everything we thought we needed and wanted for our new adventure abroad. Naively, we left behind a fully furnished home for rent. Don’t ever do that!

Monday, September 5, 2016

As the World Turns: Going native

By Ed Rogers

I can’t remember the first time I heard the term “going native.” I’m willing to bet it was in a movie, but I also heard it when I was in the Army. Soldiers who had spent too much time in-country found upon returning that they had a hard time being around their fellow soldiers. It was as though their common link had broken. I had a friend in the State of Washington who had been a Green Beret and done three tours in Nam. He once told me, “I don’t belong here.” I laughed and said something stupid like, “Hell man, this is your home.”

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Growing Up in America: American Movies in the 1950s (Part 3)

Hitchcock thrills with North by Northwest

By Rolf Dumke

Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful film North by Northwest (1959) is my top American thriller. It mixes up the life of Roger Thornhill – a smug advertising executive and self-contained ladies’ man, only hounded by his overly protective mother – with the violent world of cold-war espionage and counter espionage. In the bar of the Plaza Hotel, Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) – decked out, as usual, in a well-fitting suit – is called to the telephone by a bellboy and becomes entangled by mistake in a net of spies and counterspies.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Correspondence: Origins

James W. Cronin at the University of Chicago,
where he taught physics, astronomy
and astrophysics
Of something rather than nothing, of life, of happiness…of the big lie

Edited by Moristotle

Interesting argument for why there is something: “James Cronin, Who Explained Why Matter Survived the Big Bang, Dies at 84” [Sam Roberts, NY Times, August 30]. Excerpt:

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Thunder Down Under: Disappearing boat reappears

Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett


Shirley wanted to paint an older-style fishing boat. The painting I’m titling “Disappearing Boat Reappears” (15" x 20") has changed about ten times. The boat appeared, then disappeared and appeared again four of five times. The background kept changing too. At one point she got a wet rag and washed away most of the painting.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

In Your Dreams: Escape to a parallel reality

By Sharon Stoner

This experience (I don’t call it a dream) occurred about twenty-five years ago, when I was in my early 40s and had lived in my own house in Tulare, California for about fifteen years. I experienced waking up in my house. I was hearing voices coming from the living room. When I got out of bed and put my feet on the floor, I noticed that it was a bare wooden floor, not carpeted as usual. As I moved toward the door, I realized that the room was larger, and it was decorated better. I was totally bewildered! I was in my own bedroom, in my own home, but it was different, and better.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Penny for Her Thoughts: In praise of immigrants

And we’re all immigrants

By Penelope Griffiths

I come from five generations of publicans [persons who own or manage a pub], midwives, and Tarot card readers. I can trace my ancestry on my father’s side as far back as the 13th Century and on my mother’s side to the 14th Century. Why am I writing this? Because having watched the ballyhoo and racist rants from Donald Trump, I feel it’s time for people to know, we are all immigrants!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Growing Up in America: American Movies in the 1950s (Part 2)

Billy Wilder, itchy and hot for Marilyn

By Rolf Dumke

The Seven Year Itch (1955). This film must have excited millions of adolescents and men in America and in the world in the last sixty years. It has an iconic scene etched in my memory. Marilyn Monroe is standing on an iron grate before a shop in New York City when a rumbling subway thrusts its way through the tunnel below, causing cool air to explode upward through the grate to swirl up her wide, white summer dress. She tries to push it down, to contain the swirling skirt and limit exposure of her thighs, smiling and giggling in delight, because the cool blast is so pleasant on a hot day.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: Call the midwife

By James Knudsen

People of a certain age grew up learning that cats are finicky eaters. Morris the cat, the mascot of the 9 Lives cat food brand, presented the image of cats as creatures who play with yarn and children because stupid humans expect it. When summoned for dinner, Morris would be initially bored by the whole idea, but upon hearing that it was scrumptious 9 Lives Chicken Parts, well that’s another matter entirely.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Correspondence: In real life

Edited by Moristotle

Americans seriously disturbed by the theoretical possibility of an unimaginable Trump presidency have an alternative to sharing anti-Trump items on Facebook – they can share pro-Hillary items!: “Hillary Clinton Wants to Be Your Facebook Friend” [Emma Roller, NY Times, August 23]. Excerpt:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Boldt Words & Images: Welcome to ello.co/deboldt

By Bob Boldt

Edited by Moristotle

[Editor’s Note: Bob Boldt recently announced on Facebook that he had
just completed what is, so far, the most extensive visual record of my artistic output of the past half-century. The greater tolerance Ello.co provides for creative artistic expression (compared to repressive Facebook) has allowed me to publish some previously unseen work. I hope all my Facebook friends take time to view at least part of this collection. I hope you will comment on some of the items contained.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Interview: D. Michael Pain, novelist

And private investigator aka Mike Pain

Interviewed by Moristotle

I first learned of Mike Pain about 15 years ago when I was editing Jim Rix’s book Jingle Jangle, about his cousin Ray Krone, who was convicted and sentenced to death for a murder he didn’t commit. Jim had hired private investigator Mike Pain to look into what had really happened in Phoenix, Arizona the night of December 28, 1991, when Kim Ancona had been raped and brutally murdered.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Outside the Box: From Sudoku to recreational mathematics

By Moristotle

Hardly anything calms me more than sitting down alone in a quiet place to solve a fresh Sudoku puzzle. At least, it calms me when I don’t screw up the puzzle. Let me recast the opening statement: Hardly anything calms me more than sitting down alone in a quiet place and flawlessly solving a Sudoku puzzle.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Susan’s Stuff: serious painter

“serious painter....” [detail]
the moral equivalent of an elegant math proof?

By Susan C. Price

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Growing Up in America: American Movies in the 1950s (Part 1)

America in 3‑D, shaken and stirred

By Rolf Dumke

It Came from Outer Space (1953). This was the first American film I saw with my friend Gene in Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. We went because of Gene’s enthusiasm for the new 3-D film technology and my interest in Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Center of the Earth, which I had just read, after my local librarian’s nudge to read Verne’s adventure stories rather than the Black Stallion girl’s books.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Fiction: Parts II & III of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

The author in 1974, one of his many poses
By W.M. Dean

[Note: I am chagrined to have to report that, upon dipping into the remaining manuscript of this 1974 novel set in the 1970s of Watergate, I discovered only synopses for Part II & Part III – no further completed chapters. It appears that the writer I was 42 years ago only thought he had finished writing the novel – unless he did finish it but subsequently lost the remaining chapters in his move to North Carolina, or in his move from Chapel Hill to the temporary apartment in Durham before his possibly final relocation to Mebane. In any case, all I have at present to share as this final installment of The Unmaking of the President: A Bicentennial Entertainment is the synopses of Parts II & III. I somehow don’t think these chapters are ever going to be written.
    Links to all of the novel’s extant chapters are provided at the bottom.
]


Friday, August 19, 2016

Correspondence: With a religious cast

Edited by Moristotle

Roger Cohen at his best! Great picture and comments: “Olympians in Hijab and Bikini” [NY Times, August 11]. Excerpt:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

As the World Turns: My four years in Costa Rica (2012-2016)

And what I learned from them

By Ed Rogers

Let me start off by saying how much I love Costa Rica. The country and the people are like a part of me. But not everything is rosy. True, there are many up-sides to living there, but there is also a price to be paid. I will cover two of the down-sides in hopes it will help others not make the same mistakes I made.
    But first let me recap our adventure:


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Thunder Down Under: King’s Park & Botanic Garden

By Vic Midyett

I believe it was around 1898 when the Perth city forefathers decided not to allow development over the most scenic views of the city and Swan River, but leave it open to the public to enjoy. King’s Park & Botanic Garden covers almost 1,000 acres.
    As you enter at its main gates, you are majestically welcomed by well over 100 white gum trees (a variety of Eucalyptus), also referred to as Ghost Gum. Australian indigenous trees lose their bark every year during winter.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Book Review: Family Is Forever: High School 1950-1954

The third volume of Shirley Skufca Hickman’s autobiography

By William Silveira

On July 25, my wife, Marylin, and I drove to Porterville to join Joe and Shirley Hickman for lunch. I had taken a speech class from Shirley in my junior year at Tulare Union High School (1958-1959). Shirley had just graduated from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado, and this teaching assignment in Tulare, California was her first.

Monday, August 15, 2016

As the World Turns: A fool and his wall

By Ed Rogers

A wall is built to keep something or someone out. It is supposed to make the builder of the wall feel safe. In most cases, it does just that – until the wall is breached for the first time. The fear of being unprotected is overwhelming at that point. It is more intense even than before the wall was built, because there is no backup plan. Once your wall is breached, your faith in it will never be the same. Your only choice or hope is to find a bigger and better wall – right?

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Growing Up in America: American movies in the 1950s

Prolog

By Rolf Dumke

Movies in the 1950s were an intoxicating and disturbing experience for an immigrant boy. They exposed the psychic underbelly of an America disturbed by Freud, sex, women, and crime; troubled by the Cold War struggle between patriotic Americans and communist traitors; haunted by Ray Bradbury’s and Orson Welles’s impending attacks by aliens from outer space; and unbalanced by the drama in American high schools that created or cemented social barriers, allocating dramatically different life chances among its students.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Poetry & Portraits: Sondheim (a poem)

By Eric Meub
 







 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
Has no one seen? Has no one yet been told
      a star is being born in me at last?
Who grouses I’m too old, that I’m a mold
      from which one character alone is cast?


Friday, August 12, 2016

Correspondence: From scientific research

Edited by Moristotle

Interesting combination of technology and art : “Finding Degas’s Lost Portrait with a Particle Accelerator” [Steph Yin, NY Times, August 4]. Excerpt:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Succulent succulent

With gratitude for my gardening wife

By Moristotle

Don't ask me what the succulent’s Latin name is – I haven’t asked my wife yet.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Movie Review: Gladiator

Finding Elysium

By Kyle Garza

Since its introduction to the big screen in the year 2000, Gladiator has met heavy-handed criticism from Christian film critics, largely because of its “gratuitous” violence. I argue, however, that the violence in Gladiator is always purposeful, serving the greater purpose of characterizing the virtues in its combatant protagonist, Maximus Decimus Meridius. Upon a first viewing, Maximus’s story seems to be yet another tale of vengeance and gore that encourages our desire to see wicked villains slain. With a little more reflection, though, we can discover that Gladiator has much more to say about love and service, and in fact uses Maximus to discourage bloodlust and carnage as mere means of entertainment.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Preliminary response to the reader survey

How to follow us by email

By Moristotle

Thank everyone who has already taken the survey [“SURVEY: Tell us how you read & comment on Moristotle & Co.”], which will continue for a few more days.

Monday, August 8, 2016

In Your Dreams: Attend your own funeral

And who was that prostitute?

By Moristotle

The first dream (night of August 3-4). Because my funeral was scheduled to commence in a couple of hours (around 1 p.m.), and I was on the program to perform a classical piano selection for it, we (that is, my over-the-shoulder assistant – or perhaps my manager – and I) had to decide whether I knew the music well enough to do it. We judged that I didn’t, so we decided that we would play a recording of the music and I would sit at the piano and play along with it – sort of finger-syncing.
    We had to get to the venue in time for me to retrieve the sheet music. We arrived – it didn’t seem to be a church (“thank God!”) – but I dilly-dallied the time away and, seconds away from whenI was scheduled to start, I had not yet assembled the sheet music I was to “play” from.
    I woke up.


Considerations. Well, the first point has to be that I was supposedly attending my own funeral. If it was someone else’s funeral, I failed to comprehend that, and I did have the sense as the dream went along that it was my funeral, and this didn’t seem strange to me or my assistant manager.
    The second point is that I can’t play anything on a piano, let alone classical music. And not only could I not play such music, neither could I convincingly “finger-sync” doing so.
    A perhaps obvious “meaning” of the dream might be that I have been ill-prepared to live my life, I have not known its “music” but have only gone through the motions of living, so that being alive at my own funeral isn’t strange – I have been dead the whole time anyway. And my being in no hurry to find the sheet music suggests that I have not applied myself to finding the music of living my life.
    All of which seems absurd somehow, and singularly off the mark. Perhaps nothing more is “meant” than that I have some second-thoughts about the actual music that has been my life’s soundtrack?
    Was the only constructive thing I did in the entire dream…to wake up? And is my task now simply to consider what other kinds of music I might pursue?
    One thing strikes me about my life: I work hard, and I am future-oriented in planning projects I need to get done, whether to get through a day or a week of home life or to publish whichever of Moristotle & Co.’s recurring columns have recently accrued. All of these activities are enjoyable, but....Could they be more enjoyable if I could “be present” more in the moment of doing them, and less “in the future” planning my next move?



The second dream (night of August 5-6). I was sitting in an upholstered chair in a sort of student center (a busy, crowded, large, public sort of room, anyway), with a fair amount of my “stuff” lying in the seat on other side of me. A woman I recognized from about 40 years earlier at IBM rushed up, desperately in need of using the toilet, which my upholstered chair in the crowded public space had suddenly become (or been revealed to be, although it still looked like an ordinary upholstered chair with a fairly wide and deep seat). There was no question that, of course, I would get up and let her “use the toilet.”
    Nothing else passed between us; we didn’t say hello or anything else. I simply stood up and gathered my stuff, which mainly included several lemons and several limes. I stuffed as many as I could into my pockets and carried the rest away in my hands.
    I didn’t watch her “go to the toilet.”
    In the next scene I was reconnoitering with my team of detectives in another area of the “center” - it seems we were there investigating something, although I can’t remember whether I had a sense of this as I was sitting in the upholstered chair. One of my colleagues asked, “Who was that prostitute?”
    Without hesitation I said the name of the woman who had asked to “use the toilet” and told them what years she had worked at IBM. My colleagues were amazed that I knew her and even knew “all about her.”
    I didn’t question the term “prostitute,” although had never been a prostitute to my knowledge.
    And then I woke up.


Considerations. I don’t think I’d dreamed about the woman in many years, and I can’t remember when I ever did, although I suppose I must have. The most striking thing about this dream (even more striking than the strange “toilet chair”) is that this person showed up in it. And I suppose that the dream’s “meaning” must somehow involve her identity and be centered on the fact that the chair I was sitting in was the one that she wanted to use, not someone else’s – couldn’t all of the chairs in the large room have had the same property? (This question didn’t come up in the dream.)
    And what about those lemons & limes? Why citrus fruits? Vitamin C? The colors – bright green & yellow? Beats me.
    Or could “prostitute” be my psyche’s assessment of my dealings with the woman, and the dream’s message be that I have now evacuated all its remains?


Copyright © 2016 by Moristotle

Sunday, August 7, 2016

West Coast Observer: Great divides

In California & beyond

By William Silveira

I have agreed to become a commentator for Moristotle & Co. I hope that what I have to say does not prove to be too soporific to the blog’s readers. And I hope that I will have the inspiration to say something of interest at least once a month.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Boldt Words & Images: On the 71st anniversary of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

A meditation in five acts

By Bob Boldt
“My God, what have we done?”
–Bob Lewis, the Enola Gay co-pilot
Act One: Video selections from Alain Resnais’ 1959 film, Hiroshima Mon Amour (French), with music by Giovanni Fusco and George Delerue 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Correspondence: Nightmares

“The Nightmare,” by Henry Fuseli
Edited by Moristotle

I had an election nightmare last night . It was November 8, 2016, and recent polls showed that American voters preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump, 67% to 29%, with 4% undecided.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Sketches from Salt Lake: The Farmers Market

By Geoffrey Dean

Two weekends ago, we made our first visit of 2016 to the SLC Farmers Market. Now in its 25th year, the market brings local farmers, craftspeople, and their customers each Saturday to Pioneer Park in downtown SLC. This time we parked on 200 W, passing the hundred-year-old Broadway Hotel on 300 S (also known as, you guessed it, Broadway) on our way to the northeast corner of the park.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Correspondence: America’s new Manchurian candidate

Edited by Moristotle

Too bad you didn’t have this photo of “Trumpet Mouth” on Sunday (“Tricker Tweeter”), from “A cesspool with teeth…AKA Donald Trump’s mouth…” [Pouring My Mouth Out, July 31]

Monday, August 1, 2016

Movie Review: Genius

Who is the genius?

By Jonathan Price

Genius is a movie you’re likely to miss, but shouldn’t. In our little burg it got two stars out of four, an invitation to skip it, and ran for perhaps one week at the local art theatre downtown. It was previewed in advance a number of times, but apparently never made it out of its dim downtown venue, and may have been seen by 300 people – perhaps – in a metropolitan area of one million.