Sunday, September 17, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #6

moral merit badge, 8.17, 30 x 40, mounted on canvas

By Susan C. Price

6th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Interview: Carolyn Richardson on Math-U-See (and other schoolings from life)

Interviewed by Moristotle

My wife and I have for many years purchased seeds for our bird feeders from the Wild Bird Center in Chapel Hill. That’s where I met Carolyn Richardson and her younger son, Nolan, both of whom had started working there a few weeks earlier.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paris Journal: Side trip to Wales

Welcome to Caerdydd (Welsh for Cardiff)

By Moristotle

On Saturday, June 17, the Paris metro stations were relatively deserted for our 6 a.m. departure from Mark’s apartment. We were off to take a train from Gare Du Nord to the port city of Calais, to be met there by our friend Penelope Griffiths, who had driven over from Cardiff, Wales to meet us and take us back on a ferry across the English Channel so we could see the White Cliffs of Dover.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #5

memory lemur, 6.17, 30 x 38

By Susan C. Price

5th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Monday, September 11, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #4

lil torso, 2017, 10 x 11

By Susan C. Price

4th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fiction: Dancing at the Driftwood Hotel (#1)

A novella with some real characters

By Roger Owens

[Editor’s Note: Hurricane Irma seems to be telling us to go ahead and announce  n o w  the forthcoming publication of Roger’s novella: “With 130-M.P.H. Winds, Storm’s Eye Begins Passing Over the Florida Keys,” says a headline today in the NY Times. “The eye of the Category 4 hurricane was 15 miles southeast of Key West, the National Hurricane Center said.”]

Sketches from the Twin Cities: Greetings from Minnesota

Scenes from the 2017 Minnesota State Fair

By Geoffrey Dean

For the inaugural post of “Sketches” from the Twin Cities, after our move there last month from Salt Lake City, here are some scenes from the 2017 Minnesota State Fair. I will let the photos and videos tell the story, with minimal help from my aphoristic captions.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Poetry & Portraits: An Essay on Ma’am

Sequel to “Ode to a Department Store

By Eric Meub


We had a creedI shop therefore I am;
We had a name — the honorific Ma’am,
that word of light whose bright acoustics beam
about the altars of the old regime.

Ten Years Ago Today: All in or all out

By Moristotle

[Originally published on September 9, 2007, not a word different, same image as then, but with an author’s note at the very end.]

I have talked approvingly of what I understood to be Kierkegaard’s view, on the question of belief in God, that it was nobler (as well as more accurate) to hang with one hand from one ledge of the narrow chasm of religious belief and with the other hand from the opposite ledge than to transfer either hand to join the other on the same ledge. Hanging precariously from both ledges symbolized doubt. Kierkegaard thought doubt nobler because it consigned the doubter to the perpetual angst of his uncertainty whether to believe or not to believe, since, as a matter of accuracy, the person could not be objectively sure which belief was right.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #3

furies & Jefferson, nothing is real, 8.2017, 44 x 30

By Susan C. Price

3rd of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #2

dogs that only i remember, 6.17, 29 x 30.5

By Susan C. Price

2nd of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Monday, September 4, 2017

West Coast Observer: Soundings from the Portuguese

With a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

By William Silveira

Acquiring new skills in old age is said to help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Taking a half-way measure, I decided instead to improve my knowledge of Portuguese.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #1

death sizzle, 7.2017, 9 x 11

By Susan C. Price

6 new paintings recently got “finished,” so of course let’s stuff them on moristotle [one at a time on prime-numbered days over the next two weeks, at the editor’s insistence; he thinks this stuff is “ glorious expression, color, evocation, ARTISTRY!”].

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

By simple domestic beauty...


By Moristotle

Last evening, as I was bringing in the bird feeders (to protect the seeds and thistle from overnight deterioration from moisture), the waning light was just sufficient to dazzle me with the beauty of our back yard. Thanks to my almost always-handy smartphone for its adequate camera:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Correspondence: Fight club

By Moristotle

Allen Crowder is fighting at 5:00 p.m. today, Las Vegas time. I saw the poster shown below at the fitness center yesterday morning:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Two Years Ago Today: Is some kind of real world lurking out there?

An invitation to read a recent NY Times article

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 27, 2015, not a word different, same image as then.]

Ordinarily I would have included this as a “fish” for tomorrow’s column [August 28, 2015]. But George Johnson’s August 24 [2015] NY Times article, “The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths,” offers so insistent a caution about competing subjectivities that I couldn’t resist devoting today’s column to it.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: I fret not

By James Knudsen

It occurred to me recently that my longing to master the guitar has endured.
    As a teenager I had a subscription to Hot Rod magazine. Cars had long held my interest and, as the hormones kicked in, I delved into the world of V-8s, long-duration camshafts, and tunnel-ram manifolds.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Four Years Ago Today: A blind man on seeing

Hugues de Montalembert
Seeing beyond

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 22, 2013, not a word different, same image as then.]

Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, I hardly see anything at all.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Review: Unwanted President

A highly entertaining story, based on true events, and inspired by a certain conspiracy theory

By Moristotle

My paperback copy of Ed Rogers’s political thriller, Unwanted President, arrived on Monday, occasioning me to review it on the publisher’s website, which happens to be For readers who haven’t been to the website yet, to purchase their own copy of Ed’s book (and read my review), I thought I’d provide that link and the review itself:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Seven Years Ago Today: Saint Ayaan

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 20, 2010, not a word different, same image as then.
    And I did read a “Travis McGee” in the days following, but it didn’t have the same zing that it had had for me when I read it twenty or thirty years earlier.

To my admiring mind, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a contemporary heroine, a person who, were she a Catholic (and passed on to her reward), might very well be nominated for canonization.

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