Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thor's Day: Score 2 for the A-team

By Morris Dean

It may have taken a drink or two for courage to get the second score, but in Sunday’s episode of the CBS TV program The Good Wife, its title character, Alicia Florrick, is asked by a reporter—

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Morissa Knudsen on phototrotting in Asia

Morissa Knudsen visited Vietnam and Cambodia for seventeen days in October as part of a “phototrotting tour” organized by humanitarian photojournalist Joanna Herr, whose website informs us that she “has been traveling the globe experiencing and photographing people and places for a long time. Her fascination with exotic cultures and indigenous people, her curiosity about their history and her sense of adventure has led her to embark on numerous sojourns and safaris.” On this one, Morissa (and her sister Claire Donahue and neice Luisa Gildea) accompanied Joanna. [Our questions are in italics.]

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Tale of two towers

Part I: Leaning Tower of Pisa

By Geoffrey Dean

[Sequel to "Montepescali, Ardenza"]

Saturday, Jan. 5. After a night spent at La Coccinella Affittacamere, (The Ladybug House), a cozy and very reasonably priced guesthouse run by a young couple with wonderful enthusiasm and attention to detail, we made the short walk to the Piazza dei Miracoli. I felt inexplicably drawn to the piazza’s most famous “miracle,” the leaning tower of Pisa, and gladly parted with 18 Euros to be able to get the inside view. I took these (and many more!) photos to help tell the story of a structure whose beauty and magnetic power lies for me in its very “imperfection.”

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

What is ethics?

By Susan C. Price

What is ethics? Naturally, I begin with my ideas, ’cus they’re obviously s-o-o wonderful, as I was asked to write this column...Oh, the dog was too busy? Now I understand....
    Ethics is doing the right thing.
    To me there are two basic types of “right thing.” One, not doing bad. And two, actively doing good.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday Review: Broken City and Gangster Squad

Dubious urban mythologies

By Jonathan Price

So a few weeks after New Year’s we have two police films with old themes set in the two traditional American urban police meccas, New York and Los Angeles, though parts of the first were apparently shot in Louisiana, which has superior skyscrapers and a former mayor under indictment, which is eventually what happens to the New York mayor in Broken City. One way of thinking about film, other than wondering how faithfully it replicates the book on which it was based, is to think of it in terms of genres. These two, more or less, fit the cop genre, which arguably has replaced the Western genre, which reached its apogee in the 1950s, and began to be “revised” in the 1970s (think Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, McCabe and Mrs. Miller) before it dwindled to almost nothing in the current era.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: About being something else

By James Knudsen

I just checked my LinkedIn profile to be sure and yes, I am a performer. Which is not what it should say. It should say, “actor.” How long I've been an actor is up for argument. When I was finally able to call myself an actor is not. I remember the very moment, getting there was difficult and not the subject of this piece. This month's Fourth Saturday is about me being something else.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
What's this affair all about—the years of doping,
Or how Lance and everyone else went on hoping
    That lies would stay sold,
    The records all hold,
And no one be embarrassed to've been caught nopeing?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thor's Day: Books that will worsen your thinking

By Morris Dean

Page 417 of my copy of John Brockman's 2012 book, This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking*, contains the following brief entry:

Essayist; poet; layman of science and the arts

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Computer Nerd on arithmetic

Nerdy arithmetic
in sestina

By Morris Dean

We almost have a normal interview
ready—next week, I promise!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Ancora 2013 Italian style

Click to enlarge
Montepescali, Ardenza

By Geoffrey Dean

[Sequel to "Continuing 2013 Italian style"]

Following our early morning seaside walk in Civitavecchia and a generous breakfast in the Roman catacombs-style basement breakfast area in the Roses hotel, we dutifully loaded our GPS info into the device, but secretly vowed not to listen to it because 1) it seemed to choose circuitous routes and 2) the female British-English speaker had horrible Italian pronunciation. We had heard her say “Strada provinciale” like “STRAY-dog prov-in-SEE-ayl” way too many times the previous day.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Sunday Review: Trouble with the Curve

The curve life throws

By Morris Dean

My niece told me that her adult son who loves baseball thought that Clint Eastwood's 2012 movie Trouble with the Curve was awful. I asked her whether her son had been expecting to see a movie about a pennant race or a World Series.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

New Pew Research Center survey on guns

Talk the talk,
or walk the walk?

By motomynd

Moristotle & Co. recently hosted a spirited discussion about gun rights following the tragic shooting of school children in Newtown, Connecticut. Even among the blog's editors strong opinions seemed to range from "ban all guns" to "people will basically forget about this over the holidays."

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
What you have and do depend on who you are,
And on your point of view depends how far
    You're up to see
    What you may be
If you to who you've been 'til now: "au revoir!"

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thor's Day: The courage not to pray

Primo Levi in Konzentrationslager Auschwitz

By Morris Dean

In 2007, Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011) dedicated The Portable Atheist to Primo Levi (1919-1987). Levi spent a year as a prisoner in the Auschwitz concentration camp in Nazi-occupied Poland, where, Hitchens comments, he "had the moral fortitude to refuse consolation even while enduring the 'selection' process."

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Sharon Stoner on flirting

It came to our attention during some casual conversation recently that Sharon Stoner, a high school classmate of one of our contributing editors, possesses some particular knowledge of and expertise in the art of flirting—something our readers have likely practiced a bit themselves...or been on the receiving end of, we hope enjoyably.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tuesday Voice

Today's voice belongs
to Guest Columnist
Jim Rix

In 1996, two events occurred that brought “opinions” to the forefront.
    The first was the second conviction of my cousin Ray Krone for a murder he did not commit. While there was an abundance of evidence in the case (some neutral and some which actually favored Ray), only a single bite mark left on the victim by the perpetrator implicated my cousin.

Monday, January 14, 2013


By André Duvall

Ever so slowly rises the full moon
over the focused counsel of two close,
    yet new, friends,
one native and one of foreign tongue.
Sitting in a still, uncharted valley,
they discuss grievances which niceties of
    fresh acquaintance can no longer shade,
each hoping to have intentions and compromises embraced.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sunday Review: The book Aristotle by Jonathan Barnes

Moristotle's inspiration

By Morris Dean

Not as many people as I would have thought have asked me where "Moristotle" came from. It appears that most people just accept it. As one person said, "Of course, you are Moristotle. Perfect!"

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Dispatch from Rome

Starting 2013 Italian style

By Geoffrey Dean

Having decided to spend the first week of 2013 in Italy, we left for Rome on an almost-empty late-afternoon flight from Sofia on December 31st. A bus from Fiumicino Airport and the A subway from the Termini train station got us painlessly to Via Ottaviano,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
Prosecutors are happiest convicting dumb saps,
Tort lawyers earn biggest bucks by suing plum chaps—
    They say "See you in court!
    Litigation's my forte"—
And defense attorneys guard their clients from raps.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Thor's Day: Now I lay me down to sleep

yourself to sleep

By Morris Dean
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Mlle. Sestina on arithmetic puzzles

Arithmetic puzzles
in sestina

By Morris Dean

Once again, we don't have a normal interview ready to publish. One interviewee has been very ill, two extremely busy, and the fourth—oh, my!—seems to be a world-class procrastinator.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Guest Columnist
Elvis Presley
Happy Birthday, Morris

You ain't nothing but a hound dog either, man, but I love you.
    My own last birthday, of course, was January 8, 1977. Now I'm "in eternity" and, I have to tell you, it's a drag.
Copyright © 2013 by Elvis Presley

Please comment

Monday, January 7, 2013

First Monday with Characters

A new monthly column

Edited by Morris Dean

A month ago, Contributing Editor motomynd, our Green 101 editor, suggested that we establish "a regular update on what one might call feature character stories." The idea instantly appealed, and I started planting. Today we see the first sprouts.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sunday Review: Hitchcock

Psycho revisited,
or adultery v. art

By Jonathan Price

If you’re a film buff or if you have nothing to do this weekend, or if you’re a fan of Alfred Hitchcock, or if you wanted to know how Psycho was made, but were too afraid to ask, you might want to spend a few hours watching the 2012 film, Hitchcock, directed by Sacha Gervasi.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

First Saturday Green 101: New Year’s green resolutions

Go green to save money and live longer

By motomynd

Now that you have made your New Year’s resolutions to improve your health, fitness, finances, and attitude, here’s an easy one you may actually be able to stick with: resolve to go more green in 2013. No, you don’t have to go completely green, just more green—and you will find that much easier to do than losing ten pounds.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
Since we now have a new place to recommend op-eds*,
We can serve you some fish about recent top threads:
    Some readers complain
    Of feeling some pain
When a commenter seems to be out to lop heads.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thor's Day: The tie that binds

By Morris Dean

The English word "religion" derives through Old French from the Latin religiō, whose ultimate origins are obscure, but some modern scholars favor the derivation from ligare (bind, connect), probably from a prefixed re-ligare, i.e., re (again) + ligare, or "to reconnect." [Wikipedia]

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Geoffrey Dean on the Ardenza Foundation

Geoffrey Dean is an American musician who relocated to Bulgaria twenty years ago to help found the American University in Bulgaria, where he is currently an Associate Professor of Music. He performs internationally as cellist of the Sofia Quartet, the resident chamber ensemble of the Sofia Philharmonic. A more recent classical chamber music affiliation is with the Ardenza Trio, which he founded with violinist Galina Koycheva and pianist Daniela Dikova in 2005. This interview focuses on the activities of another Ardenza organization, the Ardenza Foundation. [Our questions are in italics.]

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Tuesday Voice

Click to enlarge
Resolve for
the new year

By Tom Lowe

A friend posted the image to the right on Facebook last week. I was intrigued, so I tried to find its origin. Its Wikipedia citation has it being published in 1989 by Viesti Associates, which currently is the name of a stock photo agency.