Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Walk of Hadrian’s Wall—Part 3

Last of the wall near Newcastle
[click to enlarge]
On to Newcastle

By James T. Carney

[Sequel to “From disasters onward]

Anyway, when we got to Newcastle, we dumped our stuff in the hotel and caught the one bus (a day) which would take us to the section of the Wall where we had left off the previous day. Catching this bus was not easy because the woman in the hotel directed us to the wrong stop and the bus station operator doubted our ability to make it to the train station, where the bus we wanted would leave in the 15 minutes we had. Stonewall Jackson’s foot cavalry could not have moved faster and we caught the bus with some time to spare. This day was a rather easy hike and not terribly interesting except that my USS Border Patrol cap, which my son Dan had given me and which I was wearing, attracted the attention of three Americans—two of whom were from Arizona and worked for what was the Immigration and Naturalization Service. I thought it was appropriate to wear a Border Patrol hat because we were walking in the footsteps of the first Anglo-Saxon Border Patrol.

Monday, April 29, 2013

At least it can’t happen in America

By motomynd

Can you even begin to imagine the horror of living in a country where you could be falsely accused of trying to kill the president and other political leaders, surrounded by hooded men carrying machine guns, paraded in front of the public, and imprisoned? No trial, no hearing, no chance at rebuttal: Just snatched at gunpoint, and locked up.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Review: Gun Guys (a book)

By James Knudsen

Frequent visitors to Moristotle & Co. know that my handle is “The Loneliest Liberal.” I came up with the moniker a while back, not in the hope of gaining sympathy, I just found that my social views didn’t fly with the people I encountered at gun ranges and with being a gun enthusiast in a blue state...well, you get the picture. So when I heard about a new book titled Gun Guys, A Road Trip, by Dan Baum, and that the author was a liberal who grew up in New Jersey, I had a feeling that I had finally found a kindred spirit. I introduced the book in my column yesterday.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: How the NRA has changed

The new gun guys

By James Knudsen

There’s an old saying, “Be careful what you wish for, you might get it.” Put that to the side for a moment.
    I began my career at Moristotle & Co. with a piece about guns following the Sandy Hook shooting. The focus of that article was to make gun owners aware of their culpability in that tragedy. Dan Baum’s new book, Gun Guys (which I review in tomorrow's column), points out that that sort of finger-pointing makes the gun community, of which Mr. Baum and I are members, feel put upon for something that wasn’t really our fault. Well, fear not, fellow gun guys, this month I’m picking on the liberal anti-gun crowd of which Mr. Baum and I are members—at least, of its liberal part.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Fish for Friday

Currumbin RSL ANZAC Day Dawn Service
By Morris Dean

[As always, the items below were selected from my recent correspondence and are presented here anonymously. I do admit to concocting the Limerick of the Week, however.]

Yesterday was Anzac Day. Australia remembers this day every year. ANZAC stands for "Australian and New Zealand Army Corps." Australian and New Zealand troops landed at Gallipoli 98 years ago, where the two countries lost more soldiers in this conflict than at any other battle of World War I.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thor's Day: Cultivate your negative capability

Richard Foreman in 2009
From "Negative Capability Is a Profound Therapy"

By Richard Foreman

[Published in John Brockman's 2012 book, This Will Make You Smarter: New Scientific Concepts to Improve Your Thinking, p. 225]

Mistakes, errors, false starts—accept them all. The basis of creativity.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ask Wednesday: The husband again on when a date repeats on the same day of the week

Leaping calendar in sestina

By Morris Dean

We wanted to follow up today with the husband interviewed last week (in "Anniversary in sestina"). That interview mentioned that the couple's wedding anniversary follows a pattern in the day of the week on which it recurs year after year. We realized that the same applies to all other dates: they'll recur in certain future years on the same day of the week. By what pattern will they recur? [Our questions are in italics, but the interviewee starts talking first.]

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Walk of Hadrian’s Wall—Part 2

Birdoswald Fort
From disasters onward

By James T. Carney

[Sequel to “Thirteen years later]

We then went on from Landercost Priory Church to Birdoswald Fort, where we encountered another disaster. We missed the last bus back to Carlisle. We were marooned in the middle of the wilderness by a Roman remains with the shop closed down by that time of day. By our good luck, another two hikers were coming from the opposite direction and landing there at the same time. They had a mobile phone with them and called a taxi, which dropped them off and put us on the major bus line, where we caught a bus back to Carlisle only to face more disasters the next day.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

Working out

By Susan C. Price

Let me talk about a topic much less “freighted” than ethics…as part of my ongoing series, “Ok, I’m retired, what can i obsess about today?”
    Specifically, why does my energy/interest totally flag at EXACTLY 1 hour with Zumba class, and exactly 1.5 hours for Treadmill and Free Weights?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sunday Review: Barbara

A German Huckleberry Finn?

By Jonathan Price

Most of you, if you’re like me, will not have seen or have heard of Barbara (2012, directed by Christian Petzold), a film I saw recently at an art house (or what used to be called an art house, but is now a multiplex with an occasional “art house” film) in Berkeley near the University of California. It’s one of those small, simple, slight, unprepossessing but troubling films that don’t make it into the list of the same 15 films that are spread around every multiplex in your medium-size city and involve vampires or cars or teenagers or space travel or apocalypse or Presidents.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

A tour of California's Central Coast (Part 5)

One last view from the balcony
Pismo to LAX: Wishing we could spend another day...or another lifetime

By motomynd

[Sequel to “Atascadero and beyond]

outside our room, what seems
to be a domestic rabbit
We begrudgingly leave Pismo Beach on a beautiful, sunny, palm-tree-adorned morning, and drive south toward LA. We drove as close to the coast as possible coming north, and have firmly established we will not be buying acreage near the beach unless we win the lottery, so we are exploring a bit further inland on the way back.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Fish for Friday

Senator Harry Reid
The vote in the Senate to block expanded gun sale background checks is a glaring example of dysfunction in democracy. No matter if you are personally for or against increased gun control measures, the polls show 90% of Americans are in favor, so you have to wonder what it says about our political system when elected officials vote against the wishes of such an overwhelming majority.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Thor's Day: Ages of faith perpetuate

From "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"

By Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

The Ages of Faith, which are praised by our neo-scholastics, were the time when the clergy had things all their own way. Daily life was full of miracles wrought by saints and wizardry petpetrated by devils and necromancers. Many thousands of witches were burnt at the stake.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ask Wednesday: A husband on what he and his wife did Monday

Near Southport's Provision Company
Anniversary in sestina

By Morris Dean

What did you and your wife do on Monday?
We drove over to Southport, on the coast,
To spend a night away to celebrate
This year's marking of all our married time
Together. Not to approach platitude,
But the day was our anniversary.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Walk of Hadrian's Wall—Part 1

[click to enlarge]
Thirteen years later

By James T. Carney

I first saw Hadrian's Wall in 1996 when I drove around England with some friends on an eleven-day trip. Driving north from York, we saw the old forts at Chesters and Housesteads before turning south to Penrith. I felt greatly disappointed as we left the Wall without further exploration and vowed to come back. The next summer my older boy, Jim, and I made an abortive effort to walk the length of the Wall but on the third day of the trip, just as we started to get to the most interesting part of the Wall (which really only exists in the middle portion of the 80-Roman-mile length), his feet gave out. He then told me that he had been having foot problems all summer—something which I would have preferred to know earlier. So our trip ended in disarray. Like McArthur, I vowed to return. Thirteen years later, in September 2010, I did. Along with my good friend Rich Gainar—from the old U.S. Steel Pension Fund days—we walked the length of the Wall from Browness on the Solway to Wallsend outside of Newcastle.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Third Monday Random

Mark the day

By motomynd

Next Monday, April 22, is the 43rd Earth Day. Do you remember the first one—how old does that make you feel? More importantly, do you remember the idealism of that first Earth Day, and all the things you resolved to do to help save the planet? So how have you done—does your resume make you an eco warrior, or just another backslider?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sunday Review: The Sparrow (a novel)

Theological sci-fi

By Morris Dean

Only today do I have in my hands a printed copy of Mary Doria Russell's 1996 novel, The Sparrow—a large-print edition I borrowed from a public library to check the spelling of a few things, like the name of the planet Rakhat, four lightyears away from Earth in the binary star system Alpha Centauri.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

A tour of California's Central Coast (Part 4)

For wildlife photos you need
a long telephoto lens...
Atascadero and beyond

By motomynd

[Sequel to “Mountain meander around Santa Margarita]

...or maybe not
Backtracking from Santa Margarita, we are again on Highway 1/101 and heading north. We like the scenery in this region so we detour into Atascadero for a look around. Could this be the biggest surprise of the trip? Yes, it turns out.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Fish for Friday

Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady
Limerick of the Week:
Margaret Thatcher died this week, obits were varied:
In some of them she's praised, in other's harried;
    In the long run
    We'll all have done
And be like Mrs. Thatcher dead and buried.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Thor's Day: The belief of an unbeliever

From "Why I Am an Unbeliever"

Carl Van Doren (1885-1950)

Let us be honest. There have always been men and women without the gift of faith. They lack it, do not desire it, and would not know what to do with it if they had it. They are apparently no less intelligent than the faithful, and apparently no less virtuous. How great the number of them is it would be difficult to say, but they exist in all communities and are most numerous where there is most enlightenment. As they have no organization and no creed, they can of course have no official spokesman. Nevertheless, any one of them who speaks out can be trusted to speak, in a way, for all of them. Like the mystics, the unbelievers, wherever found, are essentially of one spirit and one language. I cannot, however, pretend to represent more than a single complexion of unbelief.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Maria Napolitano Fish on the Killington Music Festival

View of Killington Peak with the
Festival's performance place
(Ramshead Lodge) in the foreground
It's the outreach

By Morris Dean

Maria Napolitano Fish is the executive director of the Killington Music Festival. My wife and I occasionally have the pleasure of speaking with her when we go up to Vermont of a summer to attend concerts and visit our son, who has been the Festival's dean of students for a number of summers. Knowing how important the Festival is not only to the students who participate but also to the community that comes out to enjoy its concerts or is the beneficiary of student outreach, we decided to see whether we could interview the Festival's executive director. [Our questions are in italics.]

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Tuesday Voice


By Jim Rix

On March 14th 2013, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the murder conviction of Debra Jean Milke. Milke has been on Arizona’s Death Row for 22 years.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Second Monday Music

In pursuit of ecstasy

By Chuck Smythe

“The Tao of which one can speak is not the Tao.” Thus Lao Tzu began the Tao Te Ching—then went on to speak of the Tao at great length.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Sunday Review: The Magdalen Martyrs (a Jack Taylor movie)

Compassionate attraction

By Morris Dean

Iain Glen seemed perfectly cast as the hard, conniving newspaperman Sir Richard Carlisle to whom it looked for a while that Lady Mary of Downton Abbey might be married. His mad ex-commanding officer Madoc Faulkner stole his episode of Ripper Street with his eloquent delivery of beautifully phrased language designed to seduce Inspector Reid's officer Drake into Faulkner's scheme to redress the ill treatment of ex-soldiers.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

First Saturday Green 101: Trail of the Timberdoodle—Act 3 (final)

By motomynd

[Sequel to "Act 2"]

A call to my satellite phone, as I sat in camp hard by the Kenya/Somalia border, brought the crushing news of my uncle’s suddenly failing health. The next two years were a blur of post-9/11 work overseas, and as many rush trips to Upstate as the schedule could possibly allow. Since age 12, I had marveled at Carl’s hunting and fishing tales, and his trophies from Canada and Alaska. On our last few visits I finally had my own trophies to share—photos taken while walking amongst elephants, rhinos, lions, and other animals in Africa.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fish for Friday: What scene made you watch a movie?

Today's theme, as announced in last week's limerick, is what scene had such an effect / It made you watch a movie? / And was the movie groovy, / Or one much better to neglect?

The leg-cross scene in Basic Instinct made that a difficult movie for me not to check out.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Thor's Day: Religion and family strife

Love must overcome

By Dawn Story Burke

Last week, I got to emailing with an aunt, an uncle, and a cousin about going to church on Easter. Or, more specifically, about going to church without one's spouse.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Now, I ask you!

What's an ethical person to do?

By Morris Dean

For today's interview, I want to try something different. I want to interview you. If you agree to be interviewed, please leave a comment with your response to a multipart question I will pose about a recent situation I was involved in.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Tuesday Voice

The sixties

By Ed Rogers

Reflecting back on my life, as most of us old farts do, I realized that most people only know about the sixties through history books, newspapers, or bullshit stories that people like me tell. I don’t claim to have been in the belly of the beast, but I had a hold of its tail.