Saturday, August 19, 2017

As the World Turns: It turns for my friend Harvey

By Ed Rogers

In my December 29, 2015 account of my friend Harvey’s Costa Rica tale, “Shots in the night,” I reported Harvey’s fleeing Costa Rica after living there for 11 years, getting married (to Ileana), buying a house and a bar and land on the coast, and even becoming a citizen of Costa Rica, which meant he could then own guns.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Haiku (Eleven Years Ago Tomorrow)

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 19, 2006, with no more words than this, but without the image, found on the Internet.]

Three naked poplars,
. . .silent above russet-leafed
slope of steaming lake.

Copyright © 2017 by Moristotle

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Correspondence: Decency & the U.S. Constitution

By Moristotle

I’m going to be a bit of a provocateur relative to Charlottesville.
    Can you believe Trump? A genius at the un-PC sound bite. Making it hard for his Republican friends. Pretty soon his core supporters will be the same as David Duke’s.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Subconscious communication

Open to scientific research, or not?

By Vic Midyett

Subconscious communication seems to be something that just happens, out of the blue. It’s a difficult event to document. Perhaps it’s a mystical force woven through words and thoughts that can’t be (or hasn’t yet been) measured scientifically. It seems unlikely to me that it could be measured by science. I like to consider it a transcending energy that, like space, has no boundaries or limits to its reach.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Movie Review: War & Art – Part 2


By Jonathan Price

A very different kind of film from Dunkirk [reviewed yesterday] is Maudie, an indie biopic about a Canadian folk artist, Maud Lewis, which played in only two theatres in town for a week. Like Dunkirk, it is based “on a true story.” But Maud’s life and art are different from our common parables about human existence, or the life of an artist. And so the film is a commentary on the intensity and power of personal vision, dedication to beauty, and the transcendence of loneliness and suffering. A single film can do all that. Maud lived her entire life in a small town in Nova Scotia, and most of her adult life in a small house on its outskirts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Movie Review: War & Art – Part 1


By Jonathan Price

In my unrelenting search for something worthwhile to feast my eyes on in late afternoon or early evening and take me from the Trump-drenched world to other worlds worth contemplating, while munching on the obligatory bag of unbuttered popcorn, I recently saw two films, Dunkirk and Maudie. The titles, as so frequently, tell you very little; the names of places or people or events, and they promise very little, unless you happen to know about these things in advance. They don’t really tell you about content or feeling or approach. You’re supposed to learn these on your own, through general cultural knowledge, or the deluge of previews in previous visits to movie houses. And I probably see more previews than the average moviegoer, trying to get my movie fix at least twice a week, arriving early to locate a suitable seat and to see previews.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fly (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on March 12, 2016]


She steps into the church, unprepared, underdressed,
just to shake off the downpour, the street noise defied
by a coffin-lid door slowly sealing inside
with the shadows her hurry to go un-confessed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Sophie & Amelia’s birthday party

Colors of a rainbow

By Vic Midyett

Last weekend, Sophie & Amelia, the two girls next door who were featured in a painting by Shirley a couple of months ago, celebrated their 3rd & 6th birthdays, respectively. (Their birth dates are close.)
    Their mom made all the eats, including the multi-layered sponge cake and the white-chocolate unicorn.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Paris Journal: Notre visite de 2016 au Musée Nissim de Camondo

Our 2016 visit to the Museum Nissim de Camondo

By Moristotle

I wrote on Thursday (“Dimanche du musée libre/Free-museum Sunday”) that, if I could find Edmund White’s book, The Flâneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, “I would quote from the passage that piqued our interest in the Gustave Moreau Museum,” for I assumed that “something about White’s enthusiasm for things Moreau must have decided us.”

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Canadian West

By James T. Carney

The Canadian West is in many ways a continuation of two parts of the American West – the Great Plains [“Visions of the American West (Part 1): Introduction & the Great Plains”] and the Rockies [“…(Part 3): The Mountains”]. When I fled into Calgary, I could see miles and miles of flat, fertile farm land – much like the American states of the Great Plains. The only difference is that the further north one goes – and Calgary is only about 100 miles north of the American border – the shorter the growing season. What has made Calgary has been the Canadian oil boom. Calgary has almost doubled in size in the last twenty years growing from 700,000 people to 1.3 million. The down town area is bigger than Pittsburgh’s – and cleaner.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sketches from Salt Lake: Ode of joy to rabbits

In Bloomington, Illinois

By Geoffrey Dean

We’re back in Salt Lake City following three weeks in Bloomington, Illinois, for the 15th edition of the Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University. Coaching young chamber groups and performing some of the iconic works from the chamber music literature with fellow faculty members make this a meaningful experience each summer that I’m always happy to come back to. The highlight of this year’s faculty performances, according to an audience member who’s been coming to the concerts for over a decade, was our rendition of the Dvorak String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97. The lesser-known “cousin” of Dvorak’s popular “American” quartet, the quintet was also written during the summer of 1893, when the composer was staying not too far from Bloomington, in Spillville, Iowa. How “American” is the American quintet? The theme of the variations movement sounds a lot like “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Paris Journal: Dimanche du musée libre

Free-museum Sunday

By Moristotle

A number of websites announce that admission to Paris’s museums is “free the first Sunday of the month.” This can’t be literally true. The website My Parisian Life: Your City Guide to Life in Paris has a section titled, “List of all the free museums on 1st Sundays in Paris.” And the list distinguishes the 16 museums free “on the 1st Sunday of every month” from the one free only from March through October and the seven free only from November through March. And, somehow, the total of only 24 museums in Paris doesn’t seem like a big enough number...Maybe I should google “Paris museums that are never free on first Sunday.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Religious belief: what a bargain! (Ten Years Ago Yesterday)

By unknown, a copy of a painting
of Blaise Pascal (of the famous wager)
by François II Quesnel, which was made
for Gérard Edelinck in 1691
By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 1, 2007, not a word different, but the image added.]

Many have been impressed by Pascal’s wager* and convinced by it to go ahead and believe, what the heck! The odds are unbelievable: nothing whatsoever ventured (if you don’t value your personal integrity), and you might be a huge, huge winner! From Christopher Hitchens’s book God Is Not Great:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Paris Journal: Un vieux chien découvre de nouvelles astuces sur le métro

An old dog learns new tricks on the metro

By Moristotle

The Paris metro proved instructive as well as marvelously handy for getting around the city.

Monday, July 31, 2017

Five Years Ago Today: Among the bohemians

From our rental car
on the ferry to Tadoussac
By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 31, 2012, with the addition today of a grammatical correction, a capitalization, a couple of commas, and two bracketed clarifications. The activities took place in the province of Quebec, in Canada.]

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Links to historic columns on Moristotle & Co.

From the Permanent Collection

By Moristotle

[The information below reflects the page from Moristotle & Co.’s Permanent Collection that provides links to columns published regularly before December 4, 2015 (an admittedly arbitrary date, coinciding with our decision to cease publishing columns on a regular weekly or monthly schedule). Links to all of the public pages in the Permanent Collection appear in the sidebar.]

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Correspondence: Things of beauty

Another of the 10+ best
By Moristotle

My personal favorite is the geese in the swamp: “10+ Of The Best Photos From 2017 National Geographic Traveler Contest’s Nature Category” [Giedrė, Bored Panda, no date]:

Friday, July 28, 2017

Paris Journal: “La vie est un miroir: vous souriez, il vous sourit”

Voltaire’s “Smile of Reason”
“Life is a mirror: you smile, it smiles back at you”

By Moristotle

The day we went back to Le Parc de Sceaux (June 15), we first went grocery shopping at Monoprix. We arrived at Monoprix a few minutes before it opened (at 9:00), which gave us a chance to observe that for at least some of the staff, opening time was also their time to report to work – perhaps, for them, more their time to start than customers’ time to expect to begin to be served!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Five Years Ago Today: Fish for Friday

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 27, 2012, not one word different. The “Fish for Friday” column had been launched three weeks earlier, on July 6.]
This column serves up fish caught by casting our hook into the waters of recent correspondence, thus abstaining from our usual practice of blogging on anything whatsoever.
    Only fish will be served that we think will be good for you, either for information or for provocation to think about something new, or about something old but from a different perspective.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Paris Journal: Tennis, n’importe qui?

Roland Garros (1888-1918), French aviator
and WWI fighter pilot [PD-US]
Tennis, anyone?

By Moristotle

I didn’t feel right about asking the wild-haired young man (30 to 35 years old, I guessed) if I might take a photograph of him, so I cannot share an image of the person with whom we had perhaps the most enjoyable encounter of our month in France (four nights of which were in the U.K., the subject of a subsequent entry). The young man had asked us for directions as we were boarding the metro at Boulogne-Jean-Jaures station late the afternoon of June 5, our first Monday in Paris.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Eleven Years Ago Today: California on my mind

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 25, 2006, not one word different, but with graphic added.]

On reading a novel set in San Francisco –
All the talk of Golden Gate, Marina,
Presidio, the Park, Mission District,
Point Reyes, Muir Beach, Tamalpais,
The blue Pacific, the great gray whales
Serenely going south from their summer
Habitation down to Mexico –

Monday, July 24, 2017

Thunder Down Under: The Atherton Tableland of northern Queensland

Photos tell some of its tale

By Vic Midyett

Moristotle & Co. appreciates a good picture. A friend of mine in northern Queensland, in the Atherton Tableland west of Cairns, took these two photographs recently. The parakeet visits a tree at his family’s home a lot. Wild parakeets of many different varieties and colors are prolific in Australia.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Paris Journal: Paris’s “bleus” appartient à temps perdu

Paris’s “blues” belong to a lost time

By Moristotle

As I posted on February 20 (“Lost time reading Marcel Proust”), I have been reading Marcel Proust’s A la Recherche du Temps Perdu [In Search of Lost Time] – reading it, that is, in an English edition that renders the title “Remembrance of Things Past.”

Saturday, July 22, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Worse before better

There must be a silver lining

By James Knudsen

Six months into the Trump era, it would appear that things are going to get worse before they get better, assuming they get better. And yet there is something in my nature that seeks to find the silver lining in the cloud, the ade to add to the lemon, the low-monthly payment in the worthless, high-deductible, health insurance plan offered by the GOP. Put me in a besieged castle of the middle ages and I’d be the one saying, “I think one of the barbarians has brought a bottle of wine.”

Friday, July 21, 2017

Paris Journal: Bon appétit!

At Le Bistro du Maquis
Bon appétit! (adopted from French –Merriam-Webster)

By Moristotle

I suspect that many of you were hoping Monday’s entry (“‘Je vote France Insoumise’”) would be mostly about food. “Food,” after all, was its fourth word (“Remembering the Moroccan food….”). And you might have hoped that its subtitle, “‘I Vote France Unbowed’,” meant that I vote for France’s food. Indeed, I do vote for it.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Correspondence: How interestingly it accumulates!

By Moristotle

You worked for IBM for 30 years, so you probably already know this? “To battle hackers, IBM wants to encrypt the world” [Brian Fung, Washington Post, July 17]. Excerpts:

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Paris Journal: La rondelle de chien (un interlude léger)

The dog washer (a light interlude)

By Moristotle

Monday, the day I published “Je vote France Insoumise,” I received the envelope a part of whose address is shown here. It contained a check from our friend whose Montmartre apartment we stayed in, to reimburse us for some repair work we had paid for out of pocket in June.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Theological half-gainers (Eight Years Ago Today)

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 18, 2009, not a word different.]

In Christopher Buckley’s unexpectedly caustic memoir about losing his parents, Patricia Taylor Buckley and William F. Buckley, Jr., he recounts his father’s regret that a beloved friend whose ashes he and Christopher have just scattered was not a Catholic. “What do you mean, Pup?” Christopher asked.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Paris Journal: “Je vote France Insoumise”

“I vote France Unbowed” (or Untamed, Defiant, Rebellious, Indomitable, Unsubmissive)

By Moristotle

Remembering the Moroccan food at Ménara in my last entry (“Auvers-sur-Oise”) put me in mind of another Moroccan lunch we had in France. But I’ll write about our first Saturday in Paris (June 3) in the order of its leisurely events.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Just the book to give to your sister (Ten Years Ago Today)

Recommendations for Flann O’Brien’s first novel

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 16, 2007, with links and image of book cover added today.]

“A real writer, with the true comic spirit.” –James Joyce

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Paris Journal: Auvers-sur-Oise

Auvers on the Oise

By Moristotle

After an overnight trip to Lyon June 9-10, my wife and I were so tired during dinner, she suggested we not follow our itinerary to go to the town Auvers-sur-Oise the next day. “That suits me,” I said without hesitation. (Auvers is a “commune” that sits along the Oise River about 27 km, or 17 miles, northwest from the center of Paris. It is associated with several famous artists, the most prominent being Vincent van Gogh.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

British academics and elites

By Rolf Dumke

A recent interchange with a college friend over Fintan O’Toole’s essay in The New York Review of Books, “Britain: The End of a Fantasy” (June 10), brought to mind some personal impressions I formed of Britain while in Europe again after my time of growing up in America. These impressions support O’Toole’s contention that the Conservative Party’s Eton-Oxford elite have fiddled away Britain’s economic and political future out of pure intra-party skirmishes and arrogance.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 43 & 44

The End Game
& The Rebirth

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 43. The End Game

Right after hanging up on Tom, Ambassador White had tried to call Senator Weigher, only to be told the senator was on his way to the club for dinner. Ambassador White called for his limousine, and as the limo made its way out onto the street, White used the car phone to try the senator again, and this time got him just as he was sitting down to eat.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Paris Journal: Aperçus

Spires of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
from the north, not far from our apartment

By Moristotle

[Author’s Note: After our trip to Paris for three weeks last year, for our fiftieth wedding anniversary, I was going to blog extensively about the trip. But the only result was one post, and the unfulfilled announcement of a second. However, when we returned to Paris last month, I did a better job taking notes, and I am developing these notes into a series I will call “Paris Journal.” Today’s post is the first installment.]

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 42

The Truth Can Kill You

By Ed Rogers

Rubin called the club and asked if they had an opening for dinner. The more he thought about Jac threatening him, the madder he got. He told the club manager that Jac had said he was welcome to eat there anytime he wished, which was true. However, Rubin had never been in the club without Jac. They asked no questions of him, the brother of the President of the United States and friend of Jac Truborn, they just told him his table would be ready by seven-thirty.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Old Peppermint Tree

Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

There is a very old Peppermint tree not far from where we live, in Fremantle, Western Australia. Shirley decided to paint part of it. The painting is about 2' x 4':

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 41

The Flight Home

By Ed Rogers

Tom read and reread Cahill’s journal on the flight home. He understood now why Mary was having so much trouble deciphering Cahill’s writings. There was nothing in the order of dates, places, or events – just a note here and a note there. Tom saw the names of some of the people he had spoken too, but the journal was useless as evidence. Toward the last couple of pages, two names kept showing up. This would be about the time Cahill was coming back to the States to meet with a man named White. Who White was or what he had to do with anything, Cahill never said.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Follow-up for fans of artist Susan C. Price

Her gallery show runs through July 22

By Moristotle

Artist Susan C. Price’s participation in a gallery show, announced here on June 10, has been of great interest in the Los Angeles area. A June 29 post on Form Function Style’s Facebook page included the photo shown above of “the always entertaining artist Susan C. Price discussing her work at the FIG Gallery show opening.” Susan herself ever modestly describes the photo as “of me serving vino and pretzels in front of my work.”

Me (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on February 13, 2016]


It’s true, Lake Lagunitas sparkles like
the windows at Bulgari, but, as I’ve
remarked before, you idolize your hike,
why can’t I idolize Rodeo Drive?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 39 & 40

& Carlos Makes His Move

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 39. Germany

Tom drove the lonely mountain road into the small German town that Hans and Gert Duman had called home for so many years. Not that Tom was expecting to find anything in the town – like a monument to the passing of Mary. No, nothing so grandiose. He carried the monument in his heart, his deep feeling of loss and of guilt. He was hoping the trip would help him get past Mary’s death, or at least past the guilt he felt for not being with her.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Utopia or dystopia?

By Roger Owens

There are two major philosophies concerning the future: utopia and dystopia. Utopians see a day when all strife will end, and the children will play together forever. There will be enough clean water for everyone, a car in every garage, a chicken in every pot. And no one will ever have to make the decision to hurt or kill someone else, because if you have everything you need, why would you want to do that?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 37 & 38

The Meeting
& More Questions Than Answers

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 37. The Meeting

Rubin wanted to meet at the Hilton, where there was a bar, room service – all the comforts of home – but Tom insisted they address the situation as though they were being watched. Tom told Rubin that the only way he would meet with him was if he went to the tower called Cleopatra’s Needle in Central Park. Rubin was to wait for a contact who would use a name Rubin would recognize.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

By way of apology to the wild birds in our neighborhood

Written towards the end of May, just in case

By Moristotle

Besides missing Siegfried, who will be kenneled for the month of June, a sadness of being away from home, mostly in Paris, is the knowledge that our neighborhood’s wild birds will find no seeds in our back yard all that time. They won’t even find their favorite feeders. I took the favorite feeders down this morning to stage the photograph shown above. Though it may look inviting enough to you, I who delight in seeing & hearing birds there, find it a desolate spectacle.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 35 & 36

& Tom Takes Sandy Home

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 35. Rome

The plane landed and Carlos Veneto disembarked first class. Tired of flying and tired of airports, Carlos had been in the air for two days. On Monday he was in L.A. and on Tuesday he caught a flight from New York to London. It had been a nice flight until reaching London, where it was raining and cold.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

In Your Dreams (Ten Years Ago Today)

My dream of personal violence

By Moristotle

[Originally published on July 2, 2007, not one word different.]

Saturday night I had a vivid dream that left my heart pounding. Parked on a city street (in Manhattan?), after stepping out of my car for but a moment, I returned to find two young men—teenage boys—already sitting in it in the act (it was clear to me in the dream) of stealing it. Without a moment’s hesitation I pulled the nearer boy out of the front passenger seat, raised him up with a strength that I probably no longer possess, and threw him, “with prejudice,” up and over the rear of the car. Then I yanked the other boy out from behind the steering wheel, threw him to the pavement, and kicked him viciously....

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 33 & 34

The Senator
& Ambassador White

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 33. The Senator

Senator Robert “Bo” Weigher was brought back from a far-off dream by the incessant beeping of his intercom. “Yes, Judy, what is it?”

Friday, June 30, 2017

Ten Years Ago Today

Even though...
still Nature....

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 30, 2007, not one word different.]

Even though violent men continue to murder people and blow things up in Iraq,
and even though the Bush Supreme Court continues to subvert our Constitution,
and even though Cheenie continues to insist he is a law unto himself,

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 31 & 32

Kandahar Airport
& The Last Hole

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 31. Kandahar Airport

The black C-17 Globemaster with no lights dove toward the ground and landed at Kandahar at 1 a.m. Max and his team disembarked from the rear of the airplane.
    Four headlights were coming at them from the other side of the tarmac. Two Humvees pulled up and four of the five-man team climbed aboard the first Humvee, while Max talked to the captain driving the second vehicle. “You do know what our mission is and where we are going, don’t you?”

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Six Years Ago Today

Nature creates art, reflects Nature
(at the Honolulu Zoo, July 2010)
Culture comes of nature

By Moristotle

[Originally published on June 28, 2011, not one word different.]

This morning I finished reading the concluding chapter of neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s 2010 book, Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain. The chapter, titled “Living with Consciousness,” sketches consciousness’s contributions to the success of living organisms; that is, places it in evolutionary context.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapters 29 & 30

Central Park
& The VP

By Ed Rogers

Chapter 29. Central Park

After Tom and Jake met at the Surf &Turf, they decided to move the meeting to Central Park. After many turns and stops, and several reversals of direction, they determined no one was following them.
    Tom turned to look at Jake and said, “Why in the world did you pick this look?”