Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thor's Day: What fosters religion?

From Theological-Political Treatise

By Baruch (Benedict de) Spinoza (1632-1677)

Men would never be superstitious if they would govern all their circumstances by set rules, or if they were always favored by fortune, but being frequently driven into straits where rules are useless, and being often kept fluctuating pitiably between hope and fear by the uncertainty of fortune's greedily coveted favours, they are consequently, for the most part, very prone to credulity. The human mind is readily swayed this way or that in times of doubt, especially when hope and fear are struggling for the mastery, though usually it is boastful, over-confident, and vain.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Movie reviewer on Farewell, My Queen

Directed by
Benoît Jacquot
Movie review in sestina

By Morris Dean

How did you like the film Farewell, My Queen?
The French Revolution, set in Versailles....
Loved it! Three days as seen by Sidonie,
Marie Antoinette's reader—through her eyes.
She's there at court with the aristocrats,
Helps Marie with her girl-love Gabrielle....

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Tuesday Voice: In Peru (finale)

On to Machu Picchu

By James T. Carney

[Sequel to "Lima and Cusco"]

Our first day on the Inca Trail was relatively easy because we hiked for only about five miles and probably climbed a thousand feet or so in altitude. The portion of the trail we climbed followed the River Cuscichaca.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

Ethics again, sort of

By Susan C. Price

Ok, readers, this is probably it for me on the topic of ethics. I really did say all my tiny mind thinks about the topic the first time through, plus my comment in reply to loneliestliberal’s summarizing his dad’s World War II gasoline-rationing story, how his grandfather Vern refused a larger ration on the supposed grounds that his work was vital to the war effort, saying that “his needs were no more important than those of anyone else.” I replied that

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sunday Review: Taken 2

Not taken in

By Morris Dean

In the 2008 French action thriller Taken, written by Luc Besson and directed by Pierre Morel, retired CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) relies on his old skills to rescue his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) from human traffickers who have kidnapped her while she was travelling in France. At the time, it didn't occur to me that there could or would be a sequel. What, his daughter makes a career of being kidnapped?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: A piece of theatre's pie

By James Knudsen

My bio here at Moristotle & Co. is pretty scant. It’s a sketch really, lacking in detail. So here’s a detail; I was a college student for a long time, a really long time. Fourteen years by my reckoning. Over the course of that decade and a...and four-tenths, I changed my major twice, earned three degrees, enrolled in four schools, and attended five theatre festivals. That last bit is the subject of this month’s “Fourth Saturday.”

Friday, February 22, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
It's a terrible thing when a pipe gets clogged up,
Whether a pipe in your heart or one lower's cocked up.
    With either dysfunction,
    You feel you need unction,
Something to clean your pipes out and get you back up.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thor's Day: Which days are holy?

By Morris Dean

Which day or days do you think are holidays—in the literal sense of holy days?
    My own answer to the question has been settled for a number of years, and has served me well. I'll say more about that in the concluding paragraph.
    Two books nicely epitomize two contrasting ways of answering the question. The first is Yann Martel's 2001 novel, Life of Pi, which I reviewed on Monday. The other is a book mentioned recently in a local newspaper; I'll identify it later. For now, consider the following passage from Life of Pi:

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Dr. Congeries on parentheses

Parenthetical expression
in sestina

By Morris Dean

What's your surname mean, Dr. Congeries?
It means "collection"—of thoughts in thinking,
Say, or of words or phrases in writing.
Collections require order for clarity,
Order can be served by parentheses
But a limit's prescribed by memory.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Tuesday Voice: In Peru

Lima and Cusco

By James T. Carney

Unfortunately for tourists, Lima, the most unprepossessing of all third-world capitals, is the gateway to Peru. Founded by Pizarro in 1535, it is the home of a third of Peru’s 22 million people. Like San Francisco, it is located on the Pacific Coast although it is in the Eastern time zone. Like San Francisco, it has a misty, cold, and damp climate. Any other resemblances to San Francisco are non-existent. While the old Spanish section of the city has its charms, and the San Isodoro and Mariflores sections of city are attractive, most of Lima consists of slums inhabited by the very young who have fled the poverty of the rural areas in search of a better life.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Review: Life of Pi (the book)

The author of Life of Pi
An inconclusive
theological analogy

By Morris Dean

After reading Yann Martel's 2001 novel Life of Pi, I went back and read Jonathan Price's review of the movie (December 9). I haven't seen the movie yet, but it appears that the movie story and the book story have several significant divergences. It wouldn't do to dwell on them.
    The book is structured in three parts, plus a foreword by the author. The foreword appears to abet the fiction that follows, attempting to cast it as a true story that the author learned about from someone he met who told him if he wanted a compelling story to write, he should go find Piscine Molitor Patel. "Pi" could tell him "a story that will make you believe in God."

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sunday Review: Zero Dark Thirty

Double-edged vision
in Zero Dark Thirty

By Jonathan Price

In darkness this film (2012, directed by Kathryn Bigelow) begins and ends in darkness, not even revealing its title until it’s over and the credits are rolling. And it is both a mystery and “based on firsthand accounts of actual events.” Is it the truth? “Where was it one first heard of the truth? The the” (Wallace Stevens). Truth is elusive. It’s true that Osama bin Laden is dead. But it’s hard to imagine a viewer who sees this film and wonders if that’s true, or wonders if its cast of characters will eventually track down and kill UbL (to use his sometime screen nickname, creating another mystery) in Abbottabad, Pakistan, living modestly and unknown with others in a wellconcealed three-story walled compound near some goats.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review: Flight

Not that flight—the other one

By Morris Dean

The trailer for Flight suggests that this 2012 movie directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Denzel Washington as a commercial airline pilot might be an action movie. Indeed, what happens during the movie's single airplane flight unfolds as a harrowing action sequence. Pilot Whip Whitaker must execute the only maneuver apparently possible to prevent the plane from diving into Atlanta and killing everyone aboard—a maneuver that none of the ten other pilots tested afterwards by investigators of the National Transportation Safety Board is able to execute in simulation. The investigators are prepared to class Whitaker's feat as miraculous.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Fish for Friday

You don't want to give up meat, but at least you are careful about the type you eat and the quality, right? Actually, as shown in the report "Horsemeat scandal exposes complex food chain," when you eat meat of any type you basically have no clue what it really is.
    If the possibility of pork bung (rectum) instead of calamari didn't get your attention [see the last fish on January 18], maybe the idea of eating meat from a former race horse will give you pause, especially since it may have been given all kinds of performance enhancing drugs during its racing career. No, unfortunately the drug residue will not help you run faster, but it may help you die quicker.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Thor's Day (and Valentine's)

Be my Valentine

By Morris Dean

"Valentine's Day" is short for "Saint Valentine's Day." You may not have known that.
    Or that it's also referred to as "the Feast of Saint Valentine"—in liturgical (or church) circles.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Jonathan Price of his sister

Susan C. Price
with her interviewer
Some questions for snoopy

By Jonathan Price

I assume that your answers will be outside the bounds of propriety—
    Always, I hope.

...but will conform to the knowledge that they take electronic form and are sent out into the ether, and may thus be redacted or reduced by interviewer/interviewee, to avoid insult, injury, truth, boredom, and so as not to violate the Geneva Convention unduly or to hamper the brother-sister relationship. Skip any questions that seem inappropriate. More may follow at some date....

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tuesday Voice

Today's voice belongs to
Guest Columnist
Ed Rogers
The housing crash:
The secret everybody knew

In 1990—well, maybe a little before that—G.H. Bush was seen to be unbeatable. There wasn’t any big-name Democrat who would dare run against him. Then out of the backwoods of Arkansas came a little-known man by the name of Bill Clinton. No one gave him a chance, but he knew one thing that Bush with all his family money didn’t know; the American people were tried of doing without. We fell into a hole after Vietnam ended. There were not that many jobs and they didn’t pay worth a shit. And, we were not turned on by war Presidents. Then came the phrase: “It’s the economy stupid.” And, the colored girls went—hell yell!

Monday, February 11, 2013

A verse poem

Welcome home!

By Ed Rogers

I lay wounded from the world’s earnest attempt to kill me.
The life blood of my spirit flows freely across the landscape.
The soul within me melts from the heat of shame and embarrassment.
My pride wilts in the light of incompetence.
Grief and sorrow are now my companions.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sunday Review: Bernie

Change of venue

By Morris Dean

Watching the way Margaret Nugent treats Bernie Tiede in the 2011 movie Bernie might be hard to take if you live with someone who to some extent treats you similarly. The movie was directed by Richard Linklater and stars Jack Black and Shirley MacLaine.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A prose poem


By Ed Rogers

The clouds of smoke drift on the winds of battle; the burnt rubber and fuel assault your senses like a monster from a childhood nightmare. The rubble of war machines litter the longer the proud, victorious steeds that carried warriors into battle. Now, the coffins of contention lie silent.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fish for Friday

Provocations of a
Peace Corps ditty

Thought you might enjoy this, maybe blog it. Received it from someone whose friend is currently a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, and just accepted an assignment in Moldavia, at the age of 70:

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Thor's Day: There is no other life but here

From The Rubáiyát

By Omar Khayyám

The bird of life is singing on the bough
His two eternal notes of "I and Thou"—
    O! hearken well, for soon the song sings through
And, would we hear it, we must hear it now.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Ask Wednesday: Susan C. Price of Morris Dean on various very interesting things

By Susan C. Price

When you were hard up for an interview to publish, you might have interviewed yourself…but perhaps it’s time for one of us (namely me, cus i de bes riter) to inteview YOU.
    Hmm, what might you propose to interview me on or about...? And could you whip up a drawing or painting of me (from a photo) as my “mug shot”?

I get to decide and you can edit out or not answer as you like :-) and oh, what a Cheshire cat grin THAT is! Yes, I could do a line drawing, except that “whip up” means on command, fast, and looks like you…I can ensure they look like humans...but can’t guarantee a likeness. And I find “commission” work...real stressful...but you can give me a photo and I will get around tuit...Looking like I will be “free” before mid April...methinks.
    I understand about “commission”....Look at my Facebook profile photos to see whether there’s one there that “inspires”you?

I did download about 4-6 of your portraits from Facebook and they are on my table in my painting “studio.” But…there are many things on that table and much dust…We will see...if I get actually into that studio by April.
    Okay. I trust that you would ask excellent questions for my interview. Fire away any time.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday Voice: Tale of two towers, continued

Part I: The Campanile of Florence Cathedral

By Geoffrey Dean

[Sequel to "Part I: Leaning Tower of Pisa"]

One of my first tasks in Florence was to climb the campanile (bell tower) of the Florence Cathedral (Il Duomo, or Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore) on the morning of Sunday, January 6 (Epiphany, or La Befana, with the old lady chasing the three wise men on her broom), which in Italy is the climax of their Christmas celebrations. We knew there would be a parade, so we got out into the street around 9 a.m. expecting the festivities to already be in full swing. As it turned out, the street cleaning that we had witnessed the night before was still going on, like this recyclables-collecting truck near Il Duomo,

Monday, February 4, 2013

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

Click photos to enlarge
Allen Crowder,
the King of Jacksonville

     On January 19, Allen fought William Baptiste in the "King of Jacksonville" mixed martial arts event in Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sunday Review: DR-Drama praesenterer

The Eagle and
The Protectors

By Morris Dean

DR is the name of Denmark's national broadcasting corporation. It originally stood for Danmarks Radio, but is now "officially rendered into English as the Danish Broadcasting Corporation" [Wikipedia]. I've come to thrill with some excitement when I see the announcement shown by the inset photo, its two programs we have watched are simply that good.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

First Saturday Green 101: Trail of the Timberdoodle—Act 1
By motomynd

Most people have a favorite bird. In some cases because of their image of the bird, in others for what it says about their view of the world. Some like the jet-fighter-like flight and strike of the falcon, others the equally breathtaking yet seemingly playful flight of the hummingbird.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Fish for Friday

Limerick of the Week:
Readers weren't asking to be given a choice,
But for months we've wanted a female voice.
    We asked and dealt,
    We touched and felt,
And all we're hearing now Susan's come's rejoice.