Friday, May 31, 2013

Fish for Friday

The following "solitary fact," referred to in a review of George Packer's book The Unwinding, is even more striking when it comes to the disproportion of wealth in America than the often-cited one about America's anonymously wealthy "1%":

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thor's Day's roots revisited

Brad Pitt helped inaugurate the column
Old goodie

By Morris Dean

Last July, I announced that Thursdays would be devoted to airing out religion and religions. I explained that the column's title came from the etymology of the word Thursday, literally "Thor's Day."
    It's probably useful to explain again, for readers new to this column, that in Norse mythology, Thor was a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility.
    Not just for newcomers, but for readers who haven't missed an issue, here's
 a repeat of Thor's inaugural column:

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Do you plan to attend your 50th college class reunion?

Doubts about a class reunion in sestina

By Morris Dean

On this very day next year the Yale Class of 1964's 50th Reunion will begin in New Haven. Its members are of an age now that I wasn't surprised to see a box marked "Deceased" on the response form. When I mentioned this to my wife, she asked me how could I return the form if I was deceased? I told her she could return it, couldn't she? Otherwise, how would they know I've died?
    But when she looked at the form, the box was labeled "Divorced" and positioned under "Marital status."
    I told her if I were divorced I might as well be deceased.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Rememorial Day

Ortega on the left and me on the right;
we flank a soldier whose name I can't spell
By Ed Rogers

I come from a military family. We have had a member in every war this Nation has fought. Not bragging, just stating a fact that explains why as a child Memorial Day was special to us. I grew up on bases in Texas, Wyoming, New Mexico, Alaska, France, and California. We were stationed in some of those states more than once.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

Dance class musings

By Susan C. Price

Oh GOD!!! (Morris’s beliefs not withstanding), it’s time to put thoughts to blank paper...again!! Not ethics...just musings on human behavior...ALWAYS a fascination…when i’m not too busy watching myself exclusively. i am fully retired...and it’s...different. Somewhat as fun as I’d hoped. Mostly, i think about improvements to the world, the small things and the large. Since I CLEARLY know how everything should be.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Sunday Review: The Great Gatsby

The Ungreat Gatsby: A failed attempt to transmit literature to film

By Jonathan Price

Why does anyone want to do yet another film version of one of the great American novels of the twentieth century? The answer, I suppose, is the same as why anyone tries to climb mountains: because they are there. Actually, despite the relatively small fatality rate, there is far more repeat success climbing mountains than there is any significant success turning great literature into even moderately successful or satisfying films. In fact, the effort is littered with the near-dead bodies of failed attempts at great fiction-to-film transformations.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: Exactitude

By James Knudsen

ex•ac•ti•tude noun \ig-ˈzak-tə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\ – the quality or an instance of being : exactness [–Merriam-Webster Dictionary]

Many years ago, as the family was travelling to Los Angeles in a Renault R16, Dad and I got into a disagreement. It was not a fight, it was a disagreement regarding geography. Now my memory places me in third of fourth grade. Our teacher had provided us with one of those, “did you know” gems and I had just related this information to the occupants of the car. I did so incorrectly.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Fish for Friday

You may remember I mentioned a climber acquaintance who died way too young due to a fluke avalanche in a "safe" area. Here is an interesting quick read about him: "Historical Badass: Alpinist Alex Lowe," which includes the statement, "Often named in magazines and by his peers as the best climber in the world, he had shrugged off the unwanted label with typical diffidence, responding: 'The best climber is the one having the most fun.'”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thor's day off

By Morris Dean

Yesterday, on a whim, Thor actually listened to a few hundred of the millions of prayers that were coming in over his radio, and he informed me that the experience was so demoralizing and exhausting, he needed today off.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Ask Wednesday: How do you look to yourself in the mirror now?

In a word: I look a bit catawampus

By Morris Dean

How do you feel about that?
    Well, I feel it's...rather me, at any rate. Do you remember that I said in Sunday's review that to my left eye the horizon now slopes off about 10° to the right?

Yes. What of it?
     I realized later that was an incorrect statement. I think the left eye's horizon slopes off more like 6°, and the other 4° comes from the right eye's horizon's rising up to the right. That is, the right eye's horizon isn't level either, and it hasn't been since January 1996. I'm sorry I confused this point in Wednesday's review.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tuesday Voice: A magical part of Queensland history

Main castle side view
Paronella Park

By Vic Midyett

My wife and I recently visited Paronella Park in northern Queensland, South of Cairns. José Paronella, originally a baker from Spain, immigrated to Australia to make his fortune as a young man around the turn of the twentieth century. He first bought land and planted sugar cane—a very successful venture. Sugar cane is the main crop from central Queensland to the north. Millions of acres of it as far as the eye can see.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Third Monday Random

Fate lies in the secret of the fork seals

By motomynd

In case you have ever wanted a new way to measure the fine line between adventure and death, here it is: If the left front fork seal of a motorcycle bursts, you live; if the right fork seal fails, you die.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Review: Two

Baby Jessica is rescued
A magazine article, and a medical progress

By Morris Dean

Paul Bloom's thesis, in his article "The Baby in the Well," published in the May 20 edition of The New Yorker, is that "Empathy has some unfortunate features [and] we’re often at our best when we’re smart enough not to rely on it." Indeed, the article's subtitle is "The case against empathy."

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The story of my firing

When steam became a mineral

By Ed Rogers

Okay, about my firing from the Lake County Chamber of Commerce, which got mentioned in the comments on my article Tuesday ["Tuesday Voice: My time in Lake County, California"].

Friday, May 17, 2013

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thor's Day: A shimmering vision

Seeing through water-filled goggles

By Morris Dean

The retinal surgery I underwent last week involved a procedure (a vitrectomy) to remove the vitreous humor from my eye before the retina was reattached with lasers. Afterwards, the eye was filled with a gas to press against the operated area to promote healing. For a week I remained upright, including while sleeping at night, so that the gas (which of course rises) would continue to exert pressure on the healing area.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Ask Wednesday: The husband yet again on the calendar

Fourteen calendars in sestina

By Morris Dean

The last time we interviewed the husband who last month with his wife celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary, he explained why a particular date recurs on the same day of the week according to a pattern, using for example the date April 29, which occurred on Monday this year (see calendar above right). As you may recall from that interview, April 29 falls on Monday again in the years 2019, 2024, 2030, and 2041. Note the number of intervening years, or intervals:
2013 [6 yrs] 2019 [5 yrs] 2024 [6 yrs] 2030 [11 yrs] 2041

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Tuesday Voice: My time in Lake County, California

Hand-colored postcard of Clear Lake & Mt. Konocti
By Ed Rogers

I recently googled Lake County and was surprised at how the place has changed. A lot of things I will mention here may be gone now. Lake County had large hotels as far back as the twenties that offered hot baths and cures for every kind of illness. There was a train, a small-rail, which brought thousands of people to the resorts in the hills around Clear Lake.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Second Monday Music

Reflections on musical signification

By Geoffrey Dean

During the first week of April I attended the 12th International Congress on Musical Signification (ICMS). The 2013 edition of this biennial forum of the International Project on Musical Signification took place in Louvain-la-Neuve and Brussels, Belgium.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Sunday Review: Divine Histories, a concert by the Seicento Baroque Ensemble

By Chuck Smythe

My last big concert series of the season was with the Seicento (17th Century) Baroque Ensemble, a semipro chamber chorus dedicated to early music. This is a somewhat intimidating group for an amateur. Evanne Brown, the director and proprietor, is the Kappelmeister of the downtown Methodist Church, as well as a journeyman soprano soloist.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Ann-Ann Andover

There's not enough space between
fish and and and and and chips
By Morris Dean

When Ann-Ann Andover's parents named their daughter, they had no way of knowing she would be dyslexic and have difficulty writing her name, sometimes rendering it, for example, "And-And Anover."

Friday, May 10, 2013

Fish for Friday

The parrot Einstein at the Knoxville Zoo is really something! And she does all this for pumpkin seeds! [Video from Youtube courtesy Knoxville Zoo.]

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thor's Day: God really does exist... certain imaginations

By Morris Dean

Last week's column provoked a reader named Kyle (a pseudonym) to pronounce of me that I have been hoodwinked by Satan, who "uses Education [capital E], as well as many other things [unfortunately, he didn't name them], to blind us to God's Truth [capital T]."
    And Kyle is praying for me—and not only for me but also for "all" of my friends. He prays that we will all [collectively or individually?] "realize how much God loves [us] and that He sent His son, Jesus, to die in [our] place so that [we] might have eternal life with Him."
    Aren't you just dying to have eternal life with Jesus?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Rachel Zamorski on selling real estate

It's being of service

By Morris Dean

Driving in and out of our residential development, I virtually always see two or three front yards with a “For Sale” or a “Sold” sign that lists the name of Rachel Zamorski as the agent. The other day my wife commented that houses listed with Rachel seem to sell a lot sooner than ones listed with anyone else. My wife is very observant, so I accepted that that was likely true.
    I said, “I’m going to have to see whether Rachel would submit to an interview.” I’m delighted that indeed she would!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday Voice: A trip to the northwest coast of Costa Rica

The end of the beach
By Ed Rogers

Costa Rica is divided into territories not unlike our counties or states. We live in the Cannon of Alajuela, in the Central Valley. To the west is the Cannon of Puntarenas. Alajuela is mountainous, cool, and green. Puntarenas is on the down slope of our mountain range and runs along the southern coast. The terrain goes from the green forest to hot beaches within a few miles of each other.

Monday, May 6, 2013

First Monday with Characters

Untitled work by Susan C. Price
Edited by Morris Dean

[Though the date above says Monday, it's Tuesday afternoon as I finish and publish this column. For an explanation, see the update on myself, the last "character" reported on below.]

Susan C. Price at the easle
why on earth would i want to update my character this frequently? i'm retired...the only BIG changes...can be icky

Blog offline for a few days

By Morris Dean

I'm having eye surgery today at one,
Forced leave from blogging won't be as much fun.
    We'll be back on hand
    When doc says I can,
With our usual daily posts to run.
Copyright © 2013 by Morris Dean

Please comment

Saturday, May 4, 2013

First Saturday Green 101: Freak of nature

By motomynd

Forty years ago today, one of the greatest athletes in history began his quest to become legend. Two minutes later he had achieved just that, with a jaw-dropping performance that resonates even today. It previewed two dramatic follow-up victories that may have him ultimately remembered as the greatest of all time, until the end of all time.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Fish for Friday

Editor of Moristotle & Co. (at 8-1/2)
flanked by his beautiful, lively sisters
I found a poor copy of this photo of you and your four sisters, Anna, Flo, me [Patsy], and Mary [L to R]. It's labeled, "Kings River July 28, 1951." I don't have the original that I can find. Maybe Steve has it? [Yes, he did.]

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Thor's Day: Everyone's question about God

If God exists, how....?

By Morris Dean

A news article earlier this week recognized the anniversary of an American soldier's arrival at a Nazi concentration camp:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Ask Wednesday: On the first year of my retirement

Happy at the
University of North Carolina 
A year away from all that

By Morris Dean

Today marks the first anniversary of my retirement from UNC General Administration (UNC-GA), where I began working eight months after retiring from IBM at the end of 1996. A number of former colleagues at both places submitted questions for this interview, and other questions came from friends and current associates, none of whom is identified. Thanks to all who provided questions. I've used most of them, combining a few that overlapped. [Questions are in italics.]