Thursday, July 31, 2014

Thor's Day: Holy humor 2

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

Little Johnny and his family were having Sunday dinner at his Grandmother's house. Everyone was seated around the table as the food was being served. When Little Johnny received his plate, he started eating right away. "Johnny! Please wait until we say our prayer," said his mother.
    "I don't need to," the boy replied.
    "Of course, you do" his mother insisted. "We always say a prayer before eating at our house."
    "That's at our house," Johnny explained. "But this is Grandma's house and she knows how to cook."

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How can I approach my girlfriend about the weird sounds she makes in bed?

By Susan C. Price

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

I’ve been with my girlfriend for five months and love her to bits - apart for one issue that’s causing me grief: When we are in bed making love she makes weird sounds, one like a cat being strangled, and not quietly either!! The other night in the middle of sex I “lost my desire” because she was so loud and off-putting!
    As it’s so early in our relationship, I don’t know how to approach this without her feeling I’m criticizing her in bed. Help! What do I do! –Troubled Man

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Coober Pedy (Part 1)

The opal capital of the world

By Vic Midyett

My sister, Anita, was coming from Perth, Western Australia, to visit me and Shirley in South Australia, and we all wanted to see Coober Pedy, which is sometimes referred to as the "opal capital of the world" because of the quantity of precious opals that are mined there.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday Review: Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book (novel)

It deserves a wide audience

By William Silveira

I much enjoyed reading Shirley Skufca Hickman’s latest novel, Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book, as I did her previously published novel, Sarah Darlin’, and Don’t Be Give Up, an autobiographical story of the author’s childhood in the then coal mining town of Crested Butte, Colorado.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: In memoriam Elaine Stritch

Wishing to be her

By James Knudsen

Lost in the media frenzy following the loss of Malaysian Airlines, Flight 17, was the news that the world of theatre had lost one of its true greats. Elaine Stritch died July 17, 2014 at her home in Birmingham, Michigan. She was 89.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

To understand the influx of children from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, it helps to understand U.S. military, trade, and drug policies. News stories say the children are fleeing violence. What made those countries violent? The answers are complex, but we could start with the 1954 CIA-engineered coup of a democratically elected government in Guatemala. The dictatorship that followed received continued U.S. military funding even after it turned genocidal force against the rural Mayan population in the 1980s...."Our collective complicity."

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Thor's Day: Get ready to meet Jesus

We can make you look pretty

By Morris Dean

If you're an older Southerner (and spent much time in church those years ago), do you

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How can I tell if I’m gay, and can I change it?

By Susan C. Price

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

Please help! I am a 17-year-old girl and I think I’m gay. I have never felt comfortable with boys on the kissing front, but I get on great with them for sports, etc. My parents would have a fit if they thought I was gay. I’ve heard them say things about famous people who are gay, and it’s not good! How can I tell if I’m gay and can I change it? –Girl

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tuesday Voice: In editorial cartoons

Drawing right conclusions

By Vernon Dewayne Voss

[Editor's Note: After I learned that my cousin Vern Voss has a trove of editorial cartoons, I asked to use some in our "Fish for Friday" column. Much of Vern's work is devoted to expressing his conservative political views and his reading of the Bible, so the ones shown here are more representative than the ones we felt comfortable selecting for fish....To be continued at the bottom...]

Monday, July 21, 2014

Third Monday Musing

Eric Meub is away
In retrospect

Edited by Morris Dean

Eric Meub is away on architectural assignment. It's a good occasion for us to catch up with his musings and return to any of his previous columns we may have missed or just wish to savor again:

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sunday Review: Five films for Summer

Across the genres:
from the mythical west to the dystopian future

By Jonathan Price

The films A Million Ways to Die in the West, Chef, Palo Alto, Locke, and The Rover represent ones I’ve seen within the last month, and they merit some attention, even if you decide not to see them. But each seems to represent a different genre, or a different tendency in filmmaking, and a different tendency of some creative people to move off in new directions, but most still remain disappointing in some way.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Third Saturday Fiction

Chapter 1 from Fall in Love with an Orange Tree or a Book

By Shirley Skufca Hickman

Balancing on her ladder, seventeen-year-old Elena Hernandez clipped the stem of another orange and dropped it into the canvas bag slung across her body. Stopping to rest, she glanced past the orange grove to a cotton field and beyond to a grape vineyard bordered by valley oaks and eucalyptus trees. The merciless California sun beat down at midday, making her hot and uncomfortable.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

The lead paragraph of the following story states that Raju's rescue is giving the world something to smile about: "Raju the Elephant Cries Tears of Joy While Being Rescued From 50 Years of Captivity." While I am glad, I'm more inclined to weep with Raju for the life he was forced to endure. Excerpt:

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Thor's Day: Holy humor 1

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

The preacher's 5-year-old daughter noticed that her father always paused and bowed his head for a moment before starting his sermon. One day, she asked him why.
    "Well, Honey," he began, proud that his daughter was so observant of his messages, "I'm asking the Lord to help me preach a good sermon."
    "How come He doesn't answer it?" she asked.

Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Shelly Hall on the operation of local transit systems

Public systems need private help

Edited by Morris Dean

At our next-door neighbors’ first birthday party for their twin boys this spring, I was pleased to strike up a conversation with Shelly Hall, who is the Vice President for Safety and Security at the French-held company Veolia. In the United States, Veolia provides public transit management services to transit agencies. The company currently has over 70 contracts in the US and Canada.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 1

Painted from an unknown scene in an art book (8" x 10")
Paintings from life

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor's Note: Three of the paintings shown today are in the collection of the artist's granddaughter Dianne Condley Kapigian, and one is in her great granddaughter Rayanne Kapigian's collection. We thank mother & daughter for permission to use them.
    Mary Alice Condley was the eldest sister of the editor.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Second Monday Music: Movement in musical performance

More than meets the eye

By André Duvall

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the release by Virgin Records of Roy Orbison’s final album, Mystery Girl, which went public a few months after his death in December of 1988. He was first signed in Memphis, Tennessee by Sun Records, just a few minutes from where I live. Orbison’s voice is markedly different from most voices I have heard, lending a haunting and warm quality to his music. Elvis once said that Orbison’s voice was one of the most beautiful voices that he had ever heard. Others have described his voice as sounding otherworldly, operatic, and powerful.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Second Saturday's Sonnet


By Eric Meub



It’s nearly bedtime, but I’m seeing shapes
Beyond the window, on a hill of grapes.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fish for Friday

Pinus Gaudensis, Ponderosa Pine buds
(photo by Ed Schmahl)
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

What a beautiful display of mountain flowers, last night I watched Nature on TV; it is amazing how a variety of animals work together in large groups to protect themselves from predators.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thor's Day: A Christian-atheist conversation, Part 1

About animal rights

By Morris Dean 
& Kyle Garza

Morris: In my Thor’s Day post of June 5 (“Value experience for its own sake: It’s an art”), I not only stated positively my view of the sacred art of living in a way that values life and respects one’s own and others’ experience for its own sake, but also outlined six areas in which I found the monotheistic religions Judaism, Christianity, and Islam wanting:

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Ask Wednesday: What's blooming in Columnist Chuck Smythe's Colorado?

Fairy Slipper (Calypso bulbosa),
an endangered orchid
Glorious mountain flowers!

By Ed Schmahl

[Editor's Note: Ed Schmahl and Chuck Smythe have been hiking buddies since 1966. They've spent uncounted thousands of hours in the mountains of Colorado.]

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Roo Bars

How to kangaroo-proof your car

By Vic Midyett

Something I've never thought to explain to my wider audience is that you don't drive at night anywhere in Australia, except in cities. YOU JUST DON"T. There are more kangaroos in the country than there are people. The chance of hitting one with your car is high.

Monday, July 7, 2014

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

André Duvall, in accompaniment & solo
Last week, I performed with four other musicians in the second annual Peanut Butter & Jelly Concert for the Mid-South Food Bank, which services over thirty counties in West Tennessee and Northern Mississippi. We raised several pounds of non-perishable items, as well as a good supplement of cash donations, for the Food Bank. For the majority of the concert, I accompanied three of the performers, including soprano Kallen Esperian. Kallen is dearly loved in Memphis and is sort of our “home town” opera star, having performed in almost all the major opera houses in Europe and toured with Pavarotti many years ago, and we were very fortunate to have her come and support our efforts. I also played some solo works for piano and organ for this concert.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Sunday Review: Earth & Oceans

One thing we know

By Morris Dean

One thing about who we are we know: we evolved from the earliest life forms on Earth. We are, in the deepest sense, children of the Earth, and we are related to Earth's other children. For those interested in a highly readable book about how we know that, I recommend Richard Dawkins's The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

First Saturday Open

What the spammers are saying

By Morris Dean

Before we look at what the spammers are saying, I see that two of you have a hand raised.
    "What happened to Ed Rogers's column, First Saturday as the World Turns?"

Friday, July 4, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

The peaceable Kingdom can be achieved it seems. The following narrative comes from Noah's Ark Animal Sanctuary, in Georgia:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Thor's Day: Faith and more

By Morris Dean

Some newspapers have a section they call “Faith and More,”
where they stuff church stuff and words designed to shore
    their readers up
    and hand them a cup
of courage to believe all the things they believe about “Thor.”
Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday Voice

A day in Hahndorf

By Vic Midyett

Toward the end of June, Shirley & I took a day trip from Strathalbyn, South Australia to Hahndorf, the oldest German-settled town on the continent, they say, and completely dependent on tourism.
    Hahndorf has some awesome art galleries, which Shirley drooled over. We went from one to the other, passing a huge number of cafes and restaurants, all serving German food. Everything is on one very long street.