Monday, March 31, 2014

Fifth Monday Fiction

Jimmy High Tops (a short story)

By Steve Glossin

The slap to the back of Kenny Mayberry’s head made a sharp popping sound that echoed briefly as it bounced off the soundproofed walls of the interrogation room. The Fourth Street Station in the Twelfth Precinct had three “confessionals,” as they were called by the detectives who used them. Two of the rooms had one-way mirrors through which conversations could be observed. This one, a twelve-by-eight-foot room, was isolated and soundproofed, with a reinforced steel door that could be locked from the inside.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Review: The Fifth Estate & Inside WikiLeaks

Anonymous sources

By Morris Dean

After watching The Fifth Estate (2013, directed by Bill Condon, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange), I felt it deserved to be brought to the attention of readers who might not have heard of it. But I felt at a loss as to how I could possibly review it, because I was likely in the same boat as most others, knowing of "WikiLeaks" almost entirely because of PFC Bradley Manning's quickly being identified as the source of the "the largest set of classified documents ever leaked to the public [Wikipedia]," in violation of the Espionage Act and other U.S. laws – but otherwise relatively clueless about whistle-blowing, and about the apparently extensive network of computer-hacking activists intent on rooting out evil and making the world better.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fifth Saturday Fiction

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
Tristram Shandy’s Marvelous Moebius Band (a short story)

By W.M. Dean
I am this month one whole year older than I was this time twelve-month; and having got, as you perceive, almost into the middle of my fourth volume – and no farther than to my first day’s life – ’tis demonstrative that I have three hundred and sixty-four days more life to write just now, than when I first set out…[A]t this rate I should just live 364 times faster than I should write – It must follow…that the more I write, the more I shall have to write....
–Laurence Sterne, Tristram Shandy

Friday, March 28, 2014

Fish for Friday

Animated version by Dutch mathematician
Gert van der Heijden of M. C. Escher's drawing
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Thanks for letting me have an advance look at tomorrow's fiction piece, "Tristram Shandy’s Marvelous Moebius Band." The animated GIF would be an apt illustration.
    And doesn't the image on the cover of Hofstadter's book remind you of Rebecca's "fantasy room"?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thor's Day: A walk on the light side II

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

The children were all lined up for their first confession when Little Johnny’s turn came. The priest asked him to confess his sins, and the boy promptly replied, “Father, I threw a stone at Jimmy.”

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How can I work well with another take-charge person of strong personality?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

I’m on a project with someone at work. We both have strong personalities and like to take charge. How can we work together as a team instead of butting heads? –Team Member

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tuesday Voice: A fourth red herring of the healthcare biz


By Jim Rix

In the last episode, protein (specifically protein deficiency) was identified as a red herring, because any diet, whether animal-based or plant-based, contains sufficient protein for humans to thrive. Protein deficiency obscures the real problem, which is excess protein. For example, as the discussion of that article revealed, kidney failure is a consequence of excess protein. Are there others?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks: Research study

By Susan C. Price

ok, there was no time limit
    having signed up to do this Kaiser research study...i felt...responsible, and as always, tried to do my best (and get the “A”...does it NEVER end?)

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday Review: Babel

Dysfunctional world

By Morris Dean

[The reviewer is on vacation. His review below appeared originally on August 18, 2007.]

Thursday night [August 16, 2007] we finally watched the movie Babel (2006: Alejandro González Iñárritu) [From the Internet Movie Database: "Tragedy strikes a married couple – played by Brad Pitt & Cate Blanchett – on vacation in the Moroccan desert, touching off an interlocking story involving four different families.]

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: Thinking about cars and how they’re sold

NADA doing

By James Knudsen

Spend any amount of time on the internet and you’re bound to come across a story about Tesla Motors. For the past few years, company founder Elon Musk has been changing the way people think about cars, electric or otherwise.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Recent photo effort: Tulips currently sitting on my table.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thor's Day: A walk on the light side I

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

A big, burly man visited the pastor’s home and asked to see the minister’s wife, a woman well known for her charitable impulses.
    "Madam," he said in a broken voice, "I wish to draw your attention to the terrible plight of a poor family in this district. The father has left home, the mother is too ill to work, and the nine children are starving. They are about to be turned into the cold, empty streets unless someone pays their rent immediately."

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How can I put my daughter's mind at ease about that shooting where I rent a house?

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

Someone got shot in the neighborhood where I own a house. It is just a middle class area. People keep their lawns and property up. No loud music blasting down the streets. But there was a shooting.
    I have the place rented to a very nice couple. The guy is good with tools and takes good care of the property. The shooting was last October and my daughter is still onto me about selling the house. She believes the shooting has devalued the property and it would be better to take the loss now than wait for another shooting. I’ve had the house 12 years. That was the first and only shooting I know of.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Missionary Kid

Yellow wicker chair

By Vic Midyett

Our home, when I was a kid in India with my missionary parents, had a screened-in veranda almost three quarters of the way around – every side but the one the kitchen was on, which was the cliff and tree side.
    The veranda was quite wide too, 8-10 feet, and screened in from floor to roof with the very minimum of wood framing.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Third Monday Musing

The last word

By Eric Meub

There are sentences I come across that stop my pulse, like a precipice across the trail. I have to set the book aside and take a breath. I look out the window, try to hear if there’s a bird somewhere, then slowly settle back into my skin again. I read one of these sentences recently in Mary Ruefle’s Selected Poems. It was near the end of a poem titled “Merengue”:

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sunday Review: Coupling (TV sitcom)

No jokes is very funny

By Morris Dean

I'm on record as generally disliking sitcoms, their virtually every line written and delivered as a joke. Not so with the BBC TV sitcom Coupling, which has no jokes.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Third Saturday Fiction

Chapter 10. The Hippie Experience, from the novel Boystown

By Ed Rogers

[The first-person narrator is James Hamilton, a 1960’s draft dodger and entrepreneur. In this chapter he’s checking out the market for a certain product in San Francisco.]

BUDDY stepped outside, turned his collar up, and headed for his bike parked at the curb. The wind blew across the city from the bay. The air was cold and damp and the chill ran up and down my spine. I shook badly as I turned to close the door, and the key fell from my hand. The last thing I thought I wound need when I left Texas for California was a coat.
    “What do you want me to do with the key?”

Friday, March 14, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

A man and his wife tried and tried to have a baby, but without success. Years went by and they went on trying, but no luck. They liked each other, so the work was always a pleasure, but they grew a bit sad along the way.
    Finally, she got pregnant, was very careful, and gave birth to a beautiful eight-pound-two-ounce baby boy. The couple were besides themselves with happiness. At the hospital that night, she told her husband to stop by the local newspaper and arrange for a birth announcement, to tell all their friends the good news.
    First think next morning, she asked if he'd done the errand.
    "Yes, I did," he said, "but I had no idea those little notices in the paper were so expensive."

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Thor's Day: Our sins

Other people can point them out to us

By Morris Dean

We don't need the Bible to tell us we're sinners. We can know it quite well by listening to the judgments of other folks who sin in ways different from ours.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Heather Broadbent on life around music

Creative empowerment

By Geoffrey Dean

This January, I had the pleasure of meeting Heather Broadbent, an American violinist now living in the city of Gabrovo in central Bulgaria, where she is a member of the Gabrovo Chamber Orchestra and founder of the ensemble Sintez (Fusion). I recently suggested to Heather that we do a piece for Moristotle & Co. about her global activities as an online violin instructor and creator of the popular Violin Secrets Academy.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Squiggles and the Gang of Four

By James T. Carney

Squiggles has five siblings – four canine and one sub canine: Teddy (aka James Theodore Carney III) pictured, as appropriate, at the end of this column.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Second Monday Music: Delicate art

Thunder struck

By Chuck Smythe

I haven’t anything musically interesting to say this month. Instead, I’d like to offer the delicate art of our new Baroque Chamber Group, 2Cellos. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Sunday Review: Two war films

That question yet again: can art rescue us from World War II?

By Jonathan Price

The Oscars have just been awarded, and I’m going to write about two films that those Oscars largely ignored, for different reasons: The Book Thief, because it got nominated in only one category and seemed a minor film in comparison with the others; and The Monuments Men, because it opened too late to be considered for this year’s Oscars. Both are films about World War II and, for me at least, raise interesting questions about that key twentieth century event, which, for most of us in 2014, some 70 years after its ending, is just history, the past: but each succeeding year is still good for a film or two.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Second Saturday's Sonnet


By Eric Meub



That smile’s not just for anyone. You know
your falling houses, gingham dresses, To-
to too, with flowerbed discernments keen
enough to tell the good witch from the green.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

People who like to beat, torture, and sexually abuse cows now have yet another safe haven in which to do so. Idaho has passed an "ag gag" law that makes it illegal for those concerned with animal welfare to take any of the logical undercover steps to expose abuse. Similar laws were previously enacted in Iowa, Utah, and Missouri. By the way, yes, you did read that correctly: some people who work on dairy farms apparently enjoy sexually abusing cows, as documented in an undercover operation in Idaho in 2012. Under the new Idaho law, anyone convicted of working undercover to expose people sexually abusing cows is now in more legal trouble than the abusers. Got milk? Excerpt:

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Thor's Day: Why I am not a Mormon

By Kyle Garza

I suppose I should begin in a way that lets you see my worldview as best I can explain it, just so you know where I’m coming from. I will try to go from broad to specific. I originally intended for this to be a very different post, but it took a turn I didn’t expect mid-way through.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

Can you help me and my spouse? We are fighting about money!

By Susan C. Price

[Questions are followed by answers and then, inevitably by DID expect that...didn’t you?]

My spouse and I are fighting a lot about money. We are barely paying our bills right now and it is really taking a toll on our marriage. –Concerned about Money

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tuesday Voice: A third red herring of the healthcare biz


By Jim Rix

Not infrequently when friends notice that my dinner plate is devoid of animal products and I tell them that I eat a plant-based diet, they ask “Where do you get your protein?” I look over at their plates, observe, say, a nice juicy piece of meat, and answer their question with this question: “Where did the cow that donated your steak get its protein?” Sometimes they figure it out but if they present a dumbfounded look, I reply, “That cow, as well as all large land mammals, like elephants and giraffes, is a vegetarian.” If they still don’t get it, I say “If there’s enough protein in plant foods to build these large animals, there must be enough to build a puny human being, don’t you think?”

Monday, March 3, 2014

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

The Rogers, staying close to home
Hello from Costa Rica!
    A certain part of our road has been washing out over the years. It became so bad they at last had to do something. They dumped a couple truckloads of rocks to fill the hole and covered it with dirt. I’m not saying they will not get around to fixing the road, but it took two years to get the rocks dumped.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sunday Review: Last Tango in Halifax (TV serial)

By Morris Dean

The BBC's serial Last Tango in Halifax must have caught me in a stupor the first time I started to watch it, for I formed the superficial impression of a sappy love story involving a man and a woman even older than I am (Alan and Celia, played by Derek Jacobi and Anne Reid). I told my wife to go ahead and watch it, but I would skip.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

First Saturday as the World Turns

Why have homes lost value?

By Ed Rogers

I had a thought the other day. It came to mind that house prices going up and down made no sense. If it cost you $100,000 to build a house today, and five years from now it cost $150,000 to build the same house; why would your house only be worth $75,000.
    The first answer I could come up with, in my mind, was it had to be the banks. I’ve always believed in the saying, “Follow the money.” In the past, as it is now, market value has little to do with what your house is worth. Before all the crooked dealing throughout the nineties, the cost of labor and material set the bottom line for value. These costs the bank covered by a building loan, which the contractor paid off from selling the house.