Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday Voice

Lest we forget

By Vic Midyett

Saturday was Anzac Day. Anzac Day is the day to remember fallen soldiers and past wars. In Australia, it is more celebrated and honored than Australia Day. Every memorial everywhere in Australia, no matter how small the monument or the town, will have four soldiers or cadets standing at the north, south, east, and west corners of the memorial all night long, on guard until dawn facing away from the monument, with their heads bowed. Mostly silent, haunting dawn services will be held everywhere with a lone bugler or bagpiper playing as the first rays of the sun appear.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fifth Monday Fiction

Chapter 4. Set the Hook, from the novel Far Stone

By Steve Glossin

[Editor’s Note: Chapter 2 of this unfinished novel appeared on March 21.]

The prisoner opened his eyes when he heard the key inserted into the lock at the end of the hallway. The light switch made a clicking sound when it was flipped and a glow filtered through the door seems. He sat up and waited patiently as the booted footsteps approached his cell. The steel latch opened with a clang and reverberated through the cell block like a dropped guillotine. The prisoner stood and with both arms behind his back, limped toward the door and the beam of light that penetrated the room.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle (oops: Fifth Sunday)

The Snaggletooth Murder (Chapter 2 of Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: First, our apologies for failing to notice that last Sunday was the fourth Sunday of the month!
    Blurb from the dust jacket: “Jim Rix takes us on a remarkable journey inside an American tragedy. He helped win his cousin’s freedom from Death Row and now he documents the chain of errors that put him there. The story will chill your belief in the American justice system. With gripping details that can only come from one who has lived the horror, Rix makes us realize that one wrongful conviction is a tragedy for us all.”
        –Bill Kurtis, producer of the A&E programs

        Investigative Reports and Cold Case Files]


Saturday, March 28, 2015

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal

This isn’t my usual gig, this isn’t how I work, maybe I should have said “no”

By James Knudsen

“No” never entered my head. For a number of years I’ve known that someday, this task would fall to me. I’ve had plenty of time to prepare. Whether I’ve actually used that time is another matter. But Saturday, March 28, 2005 has arrived (as of publication). Today I am the master of ceremonies for my father’s memorial service. He’s been dead for four months and now it is time to provide some closure.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

In 1998, says Monica Lewinsky, “I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously.” Today, the kind of online public shaming she went through has become constant – and can turn deadly. In a brave talk, she takes a look at our “culture of humiliation,” in which online shame equals dollar signs, and demands a different way. TED Talk: "The Price of Shame" [22:26].

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Thor's Day: Are you an atheist?


Do you believe in fewer gods than someone else?

By Morris Dean

The definition shown to the right probably should say believes "in fewer gods" rather than "in one fewer god," but never mind. It would appear, if we looked at it strictly logically, that the only person who isn't an atheist – aside from agnostics, of course – is the one who believes in more gods than anyone else.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Ask Wednesday: James Knudsen on writing for Moristotle

Now it's 
Moristotle & Co.

Edited by Morris Dean

Towards the end of the year 2012, we approached James Knudsen about writing a guest article for what was then Moristotle, even possibly doing a regular feature for us. James is a stage actor well-versed in Shakespeare and a teacher of theater craft. The previous year, at our own high school reunion, which he and his sister attended with their father, who was a teacher of ours and is now an honorary member of our class, James mesmerized us by reciting as his parting gift Hamlet's uncle Claudius’s attempt to assuage his guilt [Hamlet III, iii].

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Rest in peace, Mike Nichols

A memory of an earlier time

By Bob Boldt
He brought fierce wit, caustic social commentary and wicked absurdity to classics such as The Graduate, The Birdcage, Angels in America, and, for the stage, Monty Python’s Spamalot, in a career that spanned six decades.
    His directorial golden touch led him to be one of only 12 people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and numerous Tony Awards.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Sunday Review: The Lives of Others

The music, the music!

By Bob Boldt

“I know of nothing better than the Appassionata and could listen to it every day. What astonishing, superhuman music! It always makes me proud, perhaps naively so, to think that people can work such miracles!” Wrinkling up his eyes, Lenin smiled rather sadly, adding: “But I can’t listen to music very often. It affects my nerves. I want to say sweet, silly things and pat the heads of people who, living in a filthy hell, can create such beauty. One can’t pat anyone on the head nowadays, they might bite your hand off. They ought to be beaten on the head, beaten mercilessly, although ideally we are against doing any violence to people. Hm – what a hellishly difficult job!” –Maxim Gorky’s anecdote about Lenin listening to Beethoven’s Appassionata

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Third Saturday Fiction

Chapter 2. Miguel Castro Maximum Security Prison, from the novel Far Stone

By Steve Glossin

[Editor’s Note: The opening chapter of this unfinished novel was published here on January 16.]

The 2x3 meter cell was the prisoner’s private black abyss when he lay down and let his mind wander to other places and times...A smothering coffin when his rage over betrayal and failure made him want to scream and beat his fists against the walls – but never did.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Fish for Friday

To help fight a proposal to list added sugar on food labels,
the cranberry industry over the summer enlisted
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and
then-Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick
Edited by
Morris Dean


[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

"Food industry waging a bitter battle over proposal on added-sugar labels." [Evan Halper, LA Times] Excerpt:

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Thor’s Day: A holy reminder

Thou shalt not ignore the evidence

By Bob Boldt

How hard it is to change a mind based on new evidence and a reassessment. The outrage over Ferguson police conduct is valid, but let’s be honest about who Michael Brown was. Months ago a couple of white, Liberal friends on Facebook defriended me when I suggested Brown might not be a very suitable candidate for the Gandhi award. More evidence now points to the fact that Brown was indeed a bully, a thief, a thug, and not an innocent trying to surrender (hands up!) to officer Wilson. Perhaps Brown was a product of the rampant hostility largely engendered by the Ferguson police’s brutality toward their community, but it still seems that Brown gave Wilson no out but to kill him. I think the Jonathan Capehart piece in The Washington Post (“‘Hands up, don’t shoot’ was built on a lie”) pretty well sums up my conclusions after reading the Justice Department’s 86-page memorandum “...regarding the criminal investigation into the shooting death of Michael Brown by Ferguson, MO police officer Darren Wilson.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan


Can older men keep their sexual response up through technique & attitude adjustment?

By Susan C. Price

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

Susan, a couple of friends and I have shared with each other that our libidos have fallen off (we are all males, of similar "mature" ages). I raised this subject with them because my slightly older single sister said she is still "very sexually active," and she likes to brag about it. I made the mistake of telling her I'm not that interested in sex anymore, and she berated me with all these stories of affairs she has with men my age, and older. She went into graphic specifics of their sexual activities, implying that it is her techniques that are wildly "successful" in the act. When I tell her I don't believe it, she says the reason is my attitude, that I think of myself as old and past it.
    I have been thinking about what she told me, but I just don't know. My friends and I don't think that sexual activity and response are simply a matter of attitude or specific "techniques." One of them was familiar with your column and suggested I ask you to help us clarify.
                            –Mature Male


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Growing up in America

Arrival in New York Harbor

By Rolf Dumke

The sky and waters were calm on Saturday, June 7th, 1952, when the Liberty ship made a slow right-turn into the panoramic view of New York Harbor.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Third Monday with Bob Boldt

Orwell rebooted

By Bob Boldt

Someone recently asked me what I thought about a statement attributed to persecuted whistleblower, Thomas Drake: “If everything is a target, there is no target.” I said I thought that what he was driving at was, the bigger the haystack the harder to find the needle. When you collect everything on everybody, the amount of data is so overwhelming that anything relevant is nearly impossible to find.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Review: Citizenfour

Friends and countrymen, give me your ear

By Bob Boldt

I have spent my life making documentary films. Some of my mentors, men I have worked for, like Denis Mitchell, are now appreciated only by film historians, while others, like Studs Terkel, are better known. For over half a century I have seen some of the most amazing technical and aesthetic innovations in the area of documentary film and video. I feel as if I have seen the industry move from the stone age of production technology to the digital space age in the span of one lifetime.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Second Saturday's Sonnet

Will and testament

By Morris Dean
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Time was, we carved the cello’s Venus mound,
Composed the music for the melody,
And aged the ocher wood to free the sound
To sing the cello’s heart from memory.


Friday, March 13, 2015

Fish for Friday

Brown Bear, Katmai Wilderness,
Katmai National Park and Preserve,
Alaska
[Image credits: Robert Amuroso]
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

4th & 5th of 18 Photos from The Smithsonian’s “Wilderness Forever” Photo Contest

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thor’s Day

Pentecost at Chimayó 
(a short story)

By Bob Boldt

[Foreword: Last Sunday I attended the Catholic mass memorial service for a dear friend, Tony Barnicle. As readers know, I am no fan of any organized religion. I attended the mass out of the deep love and respect I had for my old friend. I must confess to being deeply moved by nearly all forms of worship. I feel the psychic force present in all such events, be they Santeria drummings, Baptist revivals, or the Catholic mass. This service was no exception for me. About the time the communion was being served, something released a memory from three years ago when I attended another distant mass with Tony and his wife, in the Sanctuary of Chimayó in New Mexico. I subsequently described the experience in a short story. The communion liturgy last Sunday somehow brought back all the sensual experiences of that other special mass, in Chimayó.]

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

About giving advice that a person can hear

Edited by Morris Dean

During the venerable run of your “Ask Susan” columns, whenever we have forwarded you a question, you have always seemed to rub your palms together in delight, often replying within only two or three days. Giving advice seems to be your métier, or calling. What do you think of that? Does it feel like a calling, or just what does it feel like to you?
    You should just know by now that i will resist any labeling whatsoever. Not my calling, just something you thought of (tho, weird, i was thinking of the same thing when you mentioned it) and i love doing it.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Second Tuesday on Franklin Hill Farm

Midnight, our newest calf
Food & the farmer

By Bettina Sperry

“The food which was not, he causes to be.” Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote of farmers as patient creators dependent on the sun, weather, and seasons. And so it is.
    I love the work I do on my farm. I love the horses and cows that I produce. It takes many months to achieve the goodness of a single calf or foal. One of the hardships of farming is recognizing the end result of farming livestock is often the production of food. When you love your cows and calves, or sheep and goats and chickens, this isn’t a lighthearted matter.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Second Monday Music

A performing-arts intensive at the American International School of Utah

By Christa Saeger

One of the things I do besides direct orchestras in the Department of Performing Arts at the American International School of Utah, in Murray, Utah, is to help out with performing arts “intensives” for its students each trimester.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Review: Calvary

Don't presume

By Morris Dean

St. Augustine wrote somewhere that the reader should not despair, for one of the two thieves [being crucified the same day as Jesus] was saved. Nor should the reader presume, for the other thief was damned.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Thirst Satyrday for Eros (in fiction)

How the prairie got its prick
(a short story)

By Bob Boldt

“The construction of this tower and the surrounding office complex that houses the Nebraska State Capitol building was completed in 1932.”
    Vivian Albers’s voice was quiet and strong. Because of the anteroom’s acoustics, it was not necessary to project above a conversational level in order that the flock of high school sophomores could hear her. She continued, “Because of the 400-foot height of the tower, and the lack of any other competing landmark, it is not unusual for the tower to attract a large number of lightning hits, sometimes even in relatively clear weather. The architect, Bertram G. Goodhue, was a protégé of the eccentric inventor, Nicola Tesla, and was rumored to have been interested in his electrical experiments, especially those dealing with the storage and transmission of electromagnetic energy.”

Friday, March 6, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Pretty entertaining, some of the "art of snow" that people create in their front yards.

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

Ask Wednesday: 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

Detail
Homestead

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.

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.