Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ask Wednesday: Allen Crowder on mixed martial arts

Our interest in mixed martial arts (MMA) was piqued by the movie Warrior, a very well-done and exciting movie that we reviewed on July 22.
    We learned in September from a poster at the fitness center where we participate in the Silver Sneakers fitness program for seniors that there would be an MMA event in Wilmington, North Carolina on October 7.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday with Another Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Contributing Editor
Tom Lowe
Of ghoulies and ghosties
From ghoulies and ghosties
And long-leggedy beasties
And things that go bump in the night,
Good Lord, deliver us!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Voter guide

By Ken Marks

Voting to elect a president is essentially a defensive act. Our choice, in all but a small fraction of elections, is guided by a reflex to protect. In effect, when we vote we act as physicians: our byword is "Do no harm." That's why the worst thing we can do next week is to cast a vote that does harm without our realizing it. With this in mind, I've devised a simple survey that will tell you in advance whether your well-meaning vote will be harmful to the country.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Always on Sunday: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

We must have seen the preview of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011, directed by John Madden) six or eight times, and we enjoyed it every time. It seemed to be a comedy, and it featured seven companionable English actors we'd grown old with: Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Ronald Pickup, Penelope Wilton, Tom Wilkinson, Bill Nighy, and Celia Imrie—listed oldest first, all born within 12 years of each of us. (Dench is only nineteen days older than Smith, who will be 78 this December.)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

motomynd's favorite websites

The last two Saturdays, we let you know Tom Lowe's and Ken Marks's favorite websites. Today we're revealing motomynd's favorites, so that our readers can check them out to see whether any of them become your favorites too.
    And for permanent reference, we added a link to each one's list in the staff listing in the sidebar.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fish for Friday

By now you've probably heard the infamous quote by Richard Mourdock, senatorial candidate from Indiana, that if a pregnancy results from a rape, "it is something that God intended." This made me wonder if believers think that any occurrence is an exception to God's plan. If some things are an expression of God's will and some are not, can we tell which fall in the latter group and, if so, how? Inquiring minds want to know. [personal communication]

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thor's Day: Words from beyond

Excerpts from my book club's current selection for discussion:
The Hound of the Baskervilles is my favorite book....
    I like Sherlock Holmes, but I do not like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who was the author of the Sherlock Holmes stories. That is because he wasn't like Sherlock Holmes and he believed in the supernatural.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ask Wednesday: The Eckmann Family on home-schooling

We lucked out when we learned that a neighbor family were willing to be interviewed about their involvement in home-schooling, for we very much wanted to share home-schooling experiences with our readers.
    The Eckmann Family include parents Kim and Kyle, children Tanner and Courtney, and their dog Rocky.
    [Our questions are in italics.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday with Another Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Guest Columnist
Jonathan Price
How is a major league pitcher like William Faulkner?

We are now in the postseason of baseball, and we, if we watch television, will see many games and many pitchers. Baseball is supposedly an American game, and one that can go on forever, and during this forever the watcher's mind tends to wander. Mine certainly does, into unchartered territories and strange metaphors and comparisons.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Mitt's ace in the hole

By Ken Marks

As the third of three, tonight's debate should be a yawner. Surely we've seen everything there is to see, including a dramatic spectacle, "Welcome to the Two Obamas." And it's just as certain that we've heard everything there is to hear. Well… no, we haven't. There's the possibility of just one thing more, and it's a big thing.

Persimmons in sestina postponed to Nov. 5

To make way for important election pieces by Ken Marks, we've postponed the final stanza and terminal envoy of "Persimmons in sestina" two Mondays, to November 5. They'll keep.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Always on Sunday: The Grey

Riddle: When is a movie review both easier and harder to write?
    Answer: When you watched only the first 28 minutes. It's easier to write about only 28 minutes than about 118, but it's harder to write about the other 90.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Ken Marks's favorite websites

Last week we let you know Tom Lowe's favorite websites. Today we're revealing Ken Marks's favorites, so that our readers can check them out to see whether any of them become your favorite websites too.
    A week from today, next Saturday, we'll tell you motomynd's favorites.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fish for Friday

Thanks to last night's debate, I have the gift of an image. It's the image of Romney damning Obama for taking his toy soldiers away and not letting him be King of the Hill. It's the face that Romney will wear on election night as he sees his dreams go poof. Till then, I'll keep it on my desktop. [personal communication]

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thor's Day: Mustn't go there

A close and beloved female relative of my age wrote me recently that
Religion is one subject I don't think you and I should discuss. I love you and we are just too far apart in our thinking to go there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Ask Wednesday: motomynd on guerrilla websites

Contributing Editor motomynd points out that our readers may think that the only political options are Democratic or Republican, but at the local level, at least, the independents win a few. And at times they produce political change by forcing the hand of the major parties, as the Tea Party did with the Republicans.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tuesday with Another Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Contributing Editor
Ken Marks
Romney-Obama 2

It isn't often that we can turn on the TV and watch our future unfurl before our eyes. But that's the kind of rarity we'll witness tonight: a presidential debate in which the election hangs in the balance. How could the long campaign have reached a fateful moment like this? I think there are three parts to the explanation:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Always on Sunday: Puncture

You like the legal thriller genre? Fan of John Grisham? The 2011 movie Puncture (directed by Adam Kassen and Mark Kassen) isn't based on a Grisham novel, but it does have some similarities to The Litigators (2011).

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Tom Lowe's favorite websites

Holding our contributing editors in high esteem as we do, we figured that you, our readers, might like to check out their favorite websites, so you could see whether any of them become your favorite websites too.
    Today we're letting you know Contributing Editor Tom Lowe's favorites, and we'll give you a week to check them out.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fish for Friday

Well, my goodness. See The Guardian's article, "Pew's religion survey reveals a secular shift away from the religious right" [personal communication]:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thor's Day: Straight from the pit of hell

When we thought it just couldn't get any better, the Associated Press came out with a small story from Athens, Georgia, that
10th Congressional District Republican candidate Rep. Paul Broun said in videotaped remarks that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are "lies straight from the pit of hell" meant to convince people that they do not need a savior.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ask Wednesday: Susan C. Price on her art

I first met Susan Price in 1966, when my new wife and I visited her family in San Diego, because her older brother had been a friend of mine at Yale. We've stayed in touch, had dinner with our spouses in October 2006.
    Susan is a self-described amateur artist, utterly without pretensions. She says that she's "trying to learn to paint." Well, we like her work so much that we asked Susie if we could show you some of it, perhaps in the course of an interview? [Our questions are in italics]:

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday with Another Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Contributing Editor
So, what is a “wasted” vote?

This is the time of year we are pushed to vote either Democratic or Republican so we don’t “waste” our vote on someone with no chance of actually winning the race to be President of the United States. The logic of the “wasted” vote seems simple enough, but have you ever actually thought about it?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Persimmons in sestina (2nd & 3rd stanzas)

I started writing "Persimmons in sestina" last Monday without André, who indeed would like to have joined me, but couldn't:
I'm glad that you've gone ahead and started one on your own, as it may be a couple of weeks before I can start mine. I'm eager to see what you will produce; I imagine it will be a challenge to keep to your timetable for each stanza.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Always on Sunday: Moscow, Belgium

"Aanrijding in Moscou" is the original title of the movie Moscow, Belgium (2008: Christophe Van Rompaey). Matty (Barbara Sarafian), a mother of three children, including 16-year-old Vera (Anemone Valcke), and mostly without art-teacher husband Werner (Johan Heldenbergh), whose midlife crisis is being tended by a former student, collides with a truck while backing out at the supermarket, and remains peeved and confrontational during the argument that follows, despite 29-year-old truck driver Johnny (Jurgen Delnaet's) evident personal interest in her.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

First Saturday Green 101: Preparing your lawn for winter

By motomynd

As impossible as it seems, there is a series of commercials these days that may be even more irritating than the barrage of election ads. And they may be even more over-hyped and deceptive than the false claims that Barack Obama cut Medicare funding or that Mitt Romney plans to starve to death the 47% of Americans who he says will never vote for him.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Fish for Friday

I have some thoughts about [Wednesday evening's] debate that I haven't heard or read yet. Several media observers have said that Obama looked ill-prepared or insufficiently motivated, that he had the look of wanting to be elsewhere. I didn't get those impressions. Rather, I thought he was truly rattled. He had no teleprompter, of course, and his dependence on that device has been widely mentioned ever since he became a national figure.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thor's Day: A conversation with Bill Gates

By Ken Marks

Some time ago I came across an extraordinary quote in a biography of Bill Gates. He told his biographer:
Just in terms of allocation of time resources, religion is not very efficient. There's a lot more I could be doing on a Sunday morning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Ask Wednesday: Jennifer & Matt Neumann on the boating life

Have you ever thought you might like to own a boat? Today, we're pleased to offer you some information to help you decide.
    Jennifer & Matt Neumann have sailed and power-boated out of Coyote Point Yacht Club, San Mateo, California for a number of years. They have graciously taken half an hour out of their active outdoor life (and from their own blogging) to talk with Moristotle.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday with Another Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Guest Columnist
Chuck Smythe
A musical conundrum in five voices

“Write what you know,” they tell us. Since retiring, many years ago, I have spent a lot of my time trying to know music. I hope to describe, here, my current battle to do justice to good music. I hope you’ll find it interesting, and I hope some of you will have insight to offer.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Persimmons in sestina (first stanza)

When my cousin André visited us two weeks ago and he accepted my invitation to write about the Harvest Moon, he asked me whether I'd ever read Elizabeth Bishop's poem "Sestina" and later wrote that:
I like to read her poem in late September, especially on a rainy day like today. In a sestina, the final words of each line of the first stanza (six lines) are reused for the remaining stanzas, but the order in which the words appear are different each time.