Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: Are you in Holosync?

By Bob Boldt

[Notice: This is in no way intended as a commercial for Centerpointe, Holosync, or Bill Harris.]

Fifteen years ago, Ex-Wife #1 sent me a packet of CD’s that introduced me to an interesting system of meditation called Holosync. The promise was that you would immediately begin to “meditate as deeply (actually more deeply) than an experienced Zen monk, literally at the touch of a button.” (No kidding.) The program promised to allow you to instantly begin achieving the kind of deep meditative states formerly achieved only by adepts after years of spiritual practice. That promise seemed too good to be true, and like most similar claims, that proved to be the case.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Today is Anzac Day

Lest we forget

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published for Anzac Day in 2015.]

Saturday [in 2015] was Anzac Day. Anzac Day [today this year] 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.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

If you were alive today....

By Moristotle

If you were alive today, William Shakespeare, how would you treat Donald Trump? Would you tend toward tragedy, or farce?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Small change and big

It can’t be denied

By James Knudsen

This year has seen a number of changes, big and small. At the national level we are continuing to see changes as a new administration goes about trying to make a great nation great again...? At the local level, the City of Tulare saw the oldest of its three high schools officially retire its mascot and all references to the name “Redskins.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: When the stars begin to fall

Art Institute of Chicago, original building
By Bob Boldt

In 1962, I was attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For 13 days that October, the world was poised on the brink of universal destruction over the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember crossing Michigan Avenue on my way to class and noticing a construction crew pouring curbing at the corner of Michigan and Monroe Streets immediately north of the Art Institute. I wondered whether, before the concrete had set, we might all be dead. The fear and apprehension was just that immediate, just that concrete in everyone’s minds.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Annual Arts Festival in Fremantle

That’s Shirley facing the camera
By Vic Midyett

Fremantle has just had its annual Arts Festival. The streets were closed off to vehicle traffic, and people spilled out of micro breweries, cafes, etc. onto the streets.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Peonies in glory

By Moristotle

I photographed my wife’s peonies in our back yard a week ago today, on April 9:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Carlin did Moses, Dawkins, and me eight better

Richard Dawkins
Revising the Ten Commandments

By Moristotle

[Author’s Note: Originally published on July 8, 2008.]

When I took Richard Dawkins up on his suggestion in The God Delusion that the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament needed updating to align them with the advances mankind has made in understanding what’s what (and what ought to be what), I rather slavishly followed him in retaining the number 10 when I developed “My ‘New Ten Commandments’.” Of course, he was only following Moses, so why not?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: Transformation (video)

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s Note: The text of the author’s talk delivered on April 9 to his local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in Jefferson, Missouri, was published on March 26.]

Monday, April 10, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Why do people think the way they do?

By Roger Owens

[Editor’s Note: Today’s post launches a new recurring column. Roger tells me that he “comes up with this type of thing fairly often, and when the time is right it’s like an itch, a need to get it down on paper (so to speak) before it slips through my fingers like the proverbial sands.” Sounds as though we might expect continuing such recurrences....]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Parquet (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on January 9, 2016]


I trailed through cavern after cavern hung
with clouds of crystal from a painted sky,
and gawked at fountains on the lawn, a young
suburban girl bewildered by Versailles.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Correspondence: A few curious phenomena

By Moristotle

Will warmer weather bring the birds back earlier? That’s the question on many antsy birders’ minds. “How Different Spring Migrants Decide When to Head North” [Kenn Kaufman, Audobon, March 22]. Excerpt:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

As the World Turns: It’s the end, my friend

By Ed Rogers

It was the summer of 2021 when the ice cap covering Greenland broke apart and slid into the ocean. The tidal wave was thirty feet high. It wiped out everything on the East Coast of North America, from Canada to South America. Millions died along the US coastline, and Florida was gone. Along the gulf, there were mass evacuations.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Remembering April 4, 2014

It started with “More about creativity”

By Moristotle

Thanks to Sharon Stoner for reminding us today, by commenting, of a “Fish for Friday” column published exactly three years ago today (when April 4 was a Friday). She made this comment:
I’ve often wondered if when I die will there be anyone left who knew me. Without friends all that is left is, alone!

Movie Review: The Most Hated Woman in America

Who is Madalyn Murray O’Hair

By Moristotle

Netflix’s latest streaming release, The Most Hated Woman in America, doesn’t flatter Madalyn Murray O’Hair, nor does it flatter the religious people who hated her for “standing up” (as she put it) for the First Amendment of the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, including freedom not only to believe, but also not to believe. Her lawsuit, Murray v. Curlett, led to the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling that ended official Bible-reading in American public schools.

Monday, April 3, 2017

In Your Dreams: For real

Accurate in detail  & intensely felt

By André Duvall

I can often recall many specific details about my dreams in the first few minutes upon awaking from them. In contrast, I have spoken with several people who say that they do not remember lots of details from their dreams, or who claim to not remember dreaming much at all. Perhaps their dreams do not cause them to awaken, and thus are forgotten entirely. I likely have many of those kinds of dreams as well, the memory of which is long lost in deep slumber earlier in the night. Yet, even though I can recall details of a dream quite well for a few precious minutes, if I do not record those details, the specifics of the dream often fall away, and I can recall only generalities later in the day.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Weddings and funerals

By Roger Owens

I spent a few days at my mother’s house last week, about an hour away in Melbourne, Florida, and I will spend a few more next week. Unfortunately, Mom fell and broke her arm and can’t be alone just yet, so myself and my brothers are taking turns staying over. Ironically enough, she fell at a reunion of the Harbor City Volunteer Ambulance Squad, which has been defunct for many years, but the house was full of people who have spent their lives caring for the sick and injured and carting them to the hospital, so at least they knew what to do.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No fooling

Spring has sprung (in the Northern Hemisphere)

By Moristotle

In Your Dreams: Swan song

With a twist

By Moristotle

I had a fascinating dream this week, perfect for recounting on the first day of a new month.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Thunder Down Under: In a quiet place

“A Quiet Place” (detail)
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

After laying off painting for a couple of months following the holidays, Shirley is back, and finds herself in a quiet place.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: The Bronze Age of Comedy

Three golden anomalies

By Bob Boldt

Bert Kreischer (aka The Machine) is a comic I just discovered (I don’t get out much) who does his routine without his shirt covering his beer belly. In what I call “The Bronze Age of Comedy,” he now stands alone with my other two anomalies, Puddles Pity Party (Mike Geier) and Louis C.K. You can keep the tapes of all the MSC’s (mainstream comics) in the Carson vault awaiting the Alien Apocalypse: Colbert, Silverman, Fallon, Kimmel, etc. – boring. All the Progressive Left have to keep themselves amused are the hyperbolic Jimmy Dore and Lee Camp. (Also very boring.)

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Magic (a poem)

By Roger Owens

When the leaves on the trees
Will no longer support your weight

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Cyclone Debbie

Before U.S. news reports it

By Vic Midyett

Hurricanes are called cyclones in the Southern Hemisphere. As I write this [at about 8:45 a.m. Tuesday in Western Australia, or 8:45 p.m. Monday, Eastern U.S.], Cyclone Debbie is wreaking havoc already on the East Coast of Australia. The eye is not due to enter the mainland until this afternoon [after midnight Monday, Eastern U.S.]. The East Coast of Australia is already getting 120 mile/hr winds and 8 inches/hr of rain. It is currently rated a Category 4 and expected to go higher. It is huge and very slow moving. Boats, roofs, etc. are already lost.

Monday, March 27, 2017

West Coast Observer: The Republican House Intelligence Committee

An oxymoron

By William Silveira

The West Coast, but more specifically Tulare County, where I live, has been thrown into the national spotlight by the actions of our Congressman, Devin Nunes, the head of the House Intelligence Committee, which is supposed to be looking into ties between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: Transformation

By Bob Boldt

[From a talk to be delivered on April 9 (two weeks from today) to the author’s local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in Jefferson, Missouri.]

From Maxim Gorky’s anecdote about Lenin listening to Beethoven’s Appassionata:

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: What Big Pharma could learn from theatre production

Winning the Battle on Black Mountain

By James Knudsen

Well, here it is March, and I still have things to write about that happened in February. That’s not just a different month, as of a few days ago, that’s a different season. February, despite being the shortest month, was a busy month.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Thunder Down Under: The world’s biggest cattle ranch

But it’s called a “cattle station” in Australia

By Vic Midyett

The Williams [Family] Cattle Company’s cattle station in Australia has become the largest in the world. The company’s purchase of another enormous cattle station doubled their holdings, which are now a whopping 45,000 sq. kilometers (27,962 sq. miles) – larger than the country of Israel, and over seven times the size of the King Ranch in Texas, which is “only” 1,289 sq. miles.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Let us now praise a famous dog

With thanks and apologies to James Agee and Ecclesiasticus

By Jonathan Price

Sam is dead. Our dog died seven years ago. That seven is a key marker for dogs – a symbolic marker for humans. The memories somehow persist.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tomorrow will be a special day

The 12th annual National Puppy Day

By Moristotle

“National Puppy Day,” according to its entry in Wikipedia, “was founded in 2006 by Celebrity Pet & Home Lifestyle Expert and Author, Colleen Paige, who is also the founder of National Dog Day and National Cat Day (among many others).”

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Dogs, Boys, and God (a poem)

By Roger Owens

God made little Boys loud
So that Dogs, who Love little Boys,
Could hear them from miles away
And, hearing, prick up their ears
In anticipated Joy.

Copyright © 2017 by Roger Owens

Monday, March 20, 2017

Correspondence: Irony...and a public dole

Current events

By Moristotle

“Weaponizing irony”: could this be one of Trump’s greatest offenses? “Trump Ruins Irony, Too” [Moises Velasquez-Manoff, NY Times, March 20]. Excerpt:

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Night light

Rather noir

By Moristotle

When I looked into the bathroom mirror early this morning, my visage illuminated only by the blue of our new LED night light, I thought the effect was...interesting?

Saturday, March 18, 2017

A stop on Maui’s Ke’anae Peninsula

Ke’anae Peninsula
Lava at high noon

By Chuck Smythe

Last October in Hawaii, on the way to Hana, I visited the island of Maui’s Ke’anae Peninsula. [“Ke’anae” is Hawaiian for “the mullet,” a chiefly marine fish that is widely caught for food – according to]

Friday, March 17, 2017

Correspondence: Happy St. Patrick’s Day

The South Lawn fountain at the White House
was dyed green for St. Patrick’s Day
Hooray for America’s Irish immigrants!

By Moristotle

The author of this article about Irish immigration, Fintan O’Toole, knows whereof he speaks – he is a columnist for The Irish Times. “Green Beer and Rank Hypocrisy” [NY Times, March 16]. Excerpt:

Solomon (a poem)

A freshman high-school project, March 1983

By Geoffrey Dean

This is the story of Solomon, that wise and wonderful king,
    who built for Yahweh a temple, a big and marvelous thing.
Pharoah’s daughter in marriage Solomon wished.
    This placed him high on Pharoah’s list.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Movie Review: Logan and The Shack

In great difference, a thematic commonality

By Kyle Garza

Weekend before last, people poured into theaters to watch two very different movies: Logan and The Shack. While I’ve not seen The Shack, I have read the book, and I did go see Logan that Saturday.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Visions of the American West (Part 4)

The Northwest

By James T. Carney

Finally, the fourth part of the West is the Northwest, although most Americans do not think of it as “the West.” The Northwest is the smallest part of the West, including only northern California and most of Oregon and Washington.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Visions of the American West (Part 3)

The Mountains

By James T. Carney

The third part of the West is the Mountains (Rockies) and the high plateau around them. Indeed, it is this area – the home of dude ranches and national parks – that most Americans now seem to identify as the West. The Rockies extend from Alaska south to the Mexican border. They encompass the western part of Washington, almost all of Idaho, the western parts of Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado, as well as a strip of New Mexico and the mountainous part of the Big Bend area of Texas. Although one thinks of ranching in terms of Texas and the Great Plains, the Mountains are the site of much modern-day American ranching, as it has been for a good century and a half. Unlike the Great Plains or the Southwest, the Mountains have much water and good land suitable for grazing, although generally not flat enough for farming. The Mountains are reasonably temperate in the summer but brutally cold in the winter. Even sections of interstate highways that go through mountain passes are often blocked by winter storms (which cause havoc in the Great Plains). Indeed some roads are not even maintained in the winter.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Visions of the American West (Part 2)

The Southwest

By James T. Carney

The second-largest part of the West is the Southwest – ironically the situs of most Hollywood movies about cowboys and Indians, although most of the cowboys who have roamed this territory came from Beverly Hills. The Southwest is the part of the West that I know best because of having made a great number of trips there. The Southwest is bordered on the south by Mexico, on the east by the Rockies, on the north by the end of the desert, and on the west by the California coastal plain, which is east of the Sierra Nevada. It consists of Southern California, Arizona, western New Mexico and Utah, Nevada, and Southwestern Oregon. Basically, it is the territory that the United States took from Mexico in the Mexican-American war. It is an extremely dry territory, full of canyons, mesas, and mountains, and in many ways inhospitable to man. Civilization’s existence in this area is precarious, since it depends on the resources of the Colorado River, which is fed by the snows of the Rockies. Natural aquifers are being depleted at an alarming rate, and if global warming decreases the snow in the Rockies, Phoenix will go the way of so many of the Southwestern mining towns that were abandoned after the ore gave out.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Visions of the American West (Part 1)

Introduction & the Great Plains

By James T. Carney

Some of us grew up in the era of Crockett mania, with the chorus of the frontiersman sounding in our ears:
He’s ahead of us all
meetin’ the test
Followin’ his legend
into the West.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Poetry & Portraits: Penny

By Eric Meub


Behind us naps the Byzantine and Belle
Époque of the Excelsior Hotel;
before us, Adriatic shallows flood
a Canaletto flat of sand and mud.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Outside the Box: Machine translation

By Chuck Smythe

I stumbled on to this piece from a December New York Times Magazine: “The Great A.I. Awakening” [Gideon Lewis-Krause, December 14, 2016]. It seems that artificial intelligence researchers have made a Great Leap Forward in machine language translation. The article is fascinating on many levels, among them its glimpse into the Google corporate culture.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Приключения от България: в Рила планина с 70+

Чрез Валерия Идакиева

Винаги съм мислил за планините като мястото, където се чувствам свободен от всички притеснения на всекидневния живот. Сърцето ми скача от радост в цялата красота и спокойствие, което изпълва душата ми. Ето защо аз обикновено прекарват малкото свободно време, имам в планините.
    Аз също имам голямо уважение към хората, които са били в планината много. Такъв е моят приятел Димитринка който е опасана българските планини за повече от 30 години. Преди започване на дълги разстояния пътека, аз обикновено посещават й да говори за това и тежи раницата. При един случай, когато щях да ходя на екскурзия по протежение на дългата писта в българските планини - около 720 км - тя ме посъветва да вземе малка бутилка ром, защото е добре да има някакъв алкохол в планините.

Adventures from Bulgaria: In the Rila Mountains with a 70+

By Valeria Idakieva

I have always thought of the mountains as the place where I feel free of all the worries of everyday life. My heart leaps with joy at all the beauty and serenity that fills my soul. That is why I usually spend the little free time I have in the mountains.
    I also have great respect for people who have been in the mountains a lot. Such is my friend Dimitrinka who has crisscrossed Bulgarian mountains for more than 30 years. Before starting a long-distance trail, I usually visit her to talk about it and weigh my backpack. On one occasion when I was going to hike along the longest trail in the Bulgarian mountains – about 720 km – she advised me to take a small bottle of rum because it was good to have some alcohol in the mountains.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Book Review: Nutshell (a novel)

By Moristotle

With a whoop and a slap of my thigh, I finished Ian McEwan’s latest novel, Nutshell, its final act an ingenious, but inevitable turn of plot. What a read! I highly recommend Nutshell, for all those who like their fiction with a flair for invention – in language as well as in setting and narrative voice – and for informed comment on culture, politics, psychology…and, in this case, forensic investigation. For Nutshell involves a murder.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Correspondence: Looking up

By Moristotle

Some good things are happening in America: “A Great New Accidental Renaissance” [Timothy Egan, NY Times, March 3]. Excerpt:

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Other Side of Me (a poem)

By Roger Owens

He moved down the sidewalk of 25th Street like a battered little boat, rudderless against a strong current
Bobbing and weaving

Friday, March 3, 2017

In celebration of the people of Moristotle & Co.

By Moristotle

It occurred to me today that I could construct a collage of photos of members of the staff, some past – one even deceased. And I’ve added Ms. Bindi Danchenko as well (her presence can remind us that “Everyone poops”).

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Correspondence: Refresher

By Moristotle

After all the enemying, don’t you think your readers need a few days off from you-know-who?