Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 4

"Blue Daisies" (detail)
Paintings on request

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor's Note: Today's three paintings belong to the artist's daughter, Karen Abbey, who requested her mother to paint "Blue Daisies" & "Kettle & Oranges" especially for her.
    Two paintings in the collection of the artist's brother were shown on September 9.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Fifth Monday Fiction

Excerpt from a novel in progress

By Michael Hanson

[Editor’s Note: Raymond is still 40, still grieving the death of his mother (JP), and he remembers. A previous excerpt appeared on June 30.]

This business of shifting my brain’s focus when I don’t like the direction it’s taking causes a certain internal conflict: while it can keep me from obsessing over morose matters (the harrowing ordeal of my mom’s death, for instance, or all the wish-I-hads I haul around now that she’s gone), maybe I’m just dodging the truth, refusing to face what’s really happening, regardless how uncomfortable it might make me. What’s the difference between what I’m doing, in other words, and an alcoholic turning to the bottle, or a TV junky burying his brain in “reality shows” rather than taking the time to look long and hard at what’s happening in his very own life?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Fourth Sunday through Tom's Looking Glass

From the trenches of social change

By Tom Lowe

[Editor's Note: We are pleased to inaugurate a new monthly column featuring the photographs of Contributing Editor Tom Lowe.]

These photos from 2006 are from my involvement in the San Francisco Bay Area communities – social, political, and creative – I worked with that year. Basically, I shoot what catches my eye, people who bring passion and commitment to helping their fellows.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal: He’d be expelled, we’d all be arrested

And I’d be dead

By James Knudsen

I’ll confess to not being completely up to speed on the difficulties associated with raising children in the 21st century. I imagine it has not gotten any easier. Time especially seems to be in short supply as parents try to cram 27 hours of raising, parenting, and rearing into 24 hours. And time is already limited for a child. If you live the average and only 18 of those years are considered by law to be “child” years, that’s definitely a fraction of the total. And then there are those who aren’t even children for that long. So many lessons to learn and mistakes to make as part of that learning. That last part is something that has made raising children more difficult – mistakes. They aren’t allowed anymore. It’s a good thing I grew up when I did.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

This is one of the best Jon Stewart commentaries...EVER! "Must-see morning clip: Jon Stewart gloriously schools GOP on climate change." Excerpt:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Thor's Day: If you're out there somewhere

Happy birthday, Mary Alice Condley

By Morris Dean

Today is my sister Mary Alice Condley's birthday. She would have been 89 (1925-2007). I am confident that almost everyone who knew Mary would agree with our sister Patsy's estimation of her as "the sweetest, kindest, most caring person [they] have ever known."

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ask Wednesday: What did you do on your summer vacation?

We went to Europe

By Morris Dean

Early this year we purchased tickets to fly from Charlotte to Sofia (by way of Munich) to visit our son and take in the Rila Music Exchange 2014. As it transpired, our son wasn't going to be in Bulgaria for the event. What to do? Our air tickets were nonrefundable. I was okay with simply not using them. The money's spent, so cut your losses.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Where Europeans first set foot in Australia

Shirley's bench (detail)
Albany, Western Australia

By Vic Midyett

In August, on our way home from our 3-year sabbatical as gray nomads, Shirley and I spent a few days in Albany, at the southern end of Western Australia. I first came here in 1975, when the whaling station was in full swing.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

The writing seminar

By Susan C. Price

[Please do not take what follows as...truth, or...should you know the teacher...anything but my personal views. Don’t tattle to the teacher.]

Two close friends felt my writing about my pal Pam was so good that I should “make it into a book...add some stuff on Mom and more about dementia.” (eww, I thought...requires research)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Third Saturday Fiction

Chapter 22. The High Country, from the novel Boystown

By Ed Rogers

[James Hamilton has had to abandon his business and flee Mexico to avoid being killed by a Colombian drug cartel. Previous excerpt, "Santa Teresa," published here on August 30.]

Northern California is not like any other part of the state. I crossed the Golden Gate Bridge about six in the morning, a light fog hung over the water. As usual, there was a chill in the air, but fortunately, I wore my full leathers. Most of the traffic came across the bridge from the north at that time of day. The line of cars looked like ants as they broke from the darkness of the tunnel into the gray morning light. Each little soldier, sadly in search of a dream that required them to spend eight hours locked in an office. Then at the end of the day they would make the drive back across the bridge and start over tomorrow.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fish for Friday

[Click to read text]
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

And in the beginning, and in times since, Americans have always created a god who suits their purposes: "5 ways America changed God." Excerpt:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thor's Day: Holy humor 4

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

During these serious and troubled times, people of all faiths should remember these four great religious truths:
  1. Muslims do not recognize Jews as God's Chosen People.
  2. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
  3. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian world.
  4. Baptists do not recognize each other at the liquor store.
Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Faces of Berkeley Politics 2014

By Tom Lowe

For my latest photo project, I took my camera to the Kriss Worthington campaign kickoff on Berkeley's City Hall steps.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Second Saturday's Sonnet


By Eric Meub

[Originally published on October 8, 2013]

The raven’s more than hoarse by now, he’s dead
of boredom. Duncan’s come again, fifth time,
and I’ve put fresh sheets on the sofabed
for Mac and me, sleepwalking past our prime.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Fish for Friday

Eyjafjallajökull - a "little" volcano - erupting in 2010
Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Travel Planning: "Just To Let You All Know...." Excerpt:
... since it's gotten about zero coverage (it gets almost no hits on Google News)....
    It's a beautiful day here in Iceland. The weather is crisp. Clear skies over almost the whole country. Light breezes. Potential erupting globally-super-dangerous volcano. Chirping birds. The usual
    Oh, did I bury the lead that a globally-super-dangerous volcano might be getting ready to go off? Um, yeah, you might want to watch this one just in case....

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Thor's Day: Holy humor 3

By Anonymous

Edited by Morris Dean

When my daughter, Kelli, said her bedtime prayers, she would bless every family member, every friend, and every animal (current and past). For several weeks, after we had finished the nightly prayer, Kelli would say, "And all girls."
    This soon became part of her nightly routine, to include this closing. My curiosity got the best of me and I asked her, "Kelli, why do you always add the part about all girls?"
    Her response: "Because everybody always finish their prayers by saying 'All men'!"

Copyright © 2014 by Morris Dean

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

I've moved on, but how can I get her to move on?

By Susan C. Price

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

My boyfriend cheated on me with a girl who lives near him. At first he denied it, but she somehow got my name and cell phone number and contacted me to expose him. I finished with him immediately but he is still contacting me and begging me to take him back. He says he is really sorry and won't do it again, but I've decided to go my own way without him.
    The problem is that the girl is still contacting me with abusive messages and calls. I don't want to get into a fight with her because I've moved on. But what should I do? I can't change my number, I use it for work. –Moved On

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 3

Still life with onions (detail)
Paintings from love of light

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor's Note: The two paintings shown today are in the collection of the editor, the artist's only brother.
    Three paintings in the collections of the artist's grandson Stephen Denham & granddaughter Jo Condley Snyder were shown on August 26.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Second Monday Music: The marvel who was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Two anecdotes

Edited by Morris Dean

[The following anecdotes I found in a short search of the World-Wide Web.]

Mozart's young memory:
Part of the service used in the Pope's chapel at Rome is sacredly guarded and kept with great care in the archives of the chapel. Any singer found tampering with this Miserere of Allegri, or giving a note of it to an outsider, would be visited by excommunication. Only three copies of this service have ever been sent out. One was for the Emperor Leopold, another to the King of Portugal, and the third to the celebrated musician, Padre Martini.
    But there was one copy that was made without the Pope's orders, and not by a member of the choir either.
    When Mozart was taken to Rome in his youth, by his father, he went to the service at St. Peter's and heard the service in all its impressiveness. Mozart, senior, could hardly arouse the lad from his fascination with the music, when the time came to leave the cathedral.
    That night after they had retired and the father slept, the boy stealthily arose and by the bright light of the Italian moon, wrote out the whole of that sacredly guarded Miserere. The Pope's locks, bars, and excommunications gave no safety against a memory like Mozart's. [Web source]

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Thirst Satyrday for Eros: Understanding Eros

...merits ardent investigation

By Jim Rix

It’s been awhile since I studied the Greek gods, but here’s what I remember about them in relation to Eros (the God of Love and Sexual Desire). Eros is the son of Aphrodite (the Goddess of Love, Beauty, Sexuality, Pleasure, Procreation, etc.), who was born when Cronus (a first-generation Titan) cut off Uranus (the God of the Sky’s) balls and threw them into the sea, out of which Aphrodite arose from Aphros (the God of Sea Foam). (Those ancient Greeks had a God for everything.)

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Know this from Campbell:
Jesus, for example, can be regarded as a man who by dint of austerities and meditation attained wisdom; or on the other hand, one may believe that a god descended and took upon himself the enactment of a human career. The first view would lead one to imitate the master literally, in order to break through, in the same way as he, to the transcendent, redemptive experience. But the second states that the hero is rather a symbol to be contemplated rather than an example to be literally followed. The divine being is a revelation of the omnipotent Self, which dwells within us all. The contemplation of the life thus should be undertaken as a meditation on one's own immanent divinity, not as a prelude to precise imitation, the lesson being not "Do thus and be good," but "Know this and be God." –Joseph Campbell, The Hero with a Thousand Faces (p. 275, revised 3rd edition, New World Library; p.319, 2nd edition, Princeton/Bollingen paperback)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thor's Day: A new proof for the non-divinity of Jesus or the errancy of the Bible

One or the other

By Morris Dean

On a walk this morning, on the day of my writing this (August 3), I realized that the second installment of "Christian-atheist conversation: About Christianity’s non-'holy days'" [published on August 7] revealed a new proof for the non-divinity of Jesus or the errancy of the Bible, one or the other. Here's how it goes:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Ask Wednesday: Why is there something rather than nothing?

Who's asking?

By Morris Dean

As far as I can remember, I didn't wonder as a child why there was something rather than nothing, and I don't remember hearing anyone voice the question. I believe I came upon it for the first time at age 19, in a book by German philosopher Martin HeideggerIntroduction to Metaphysics (from a 1935 lecture).

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Tuesday Voice: Esperance, Western Australia

Watching it all from our place

By Vic Midyett

On our way from South Australia back to our home base of Bunbury, Western Australia, after three years away as "gray nomads," Shirley & I stopped at Esperance for a few days.

Monday, September 1, 2014

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

James Knudsen, in the garden
You're probably thinking, “enough with the bugs already!” But, this fellow... fella, I suspect it's a she, charmed me. She has made her home in the patch of mint off the back porch that has been there since my youth. And if you're wondering about the orientation of the picture, that's how I snapped it. Praying mantis' seem to enjoy hanging around upside down. They really do move in a three-dimensional way, forward/back, right/left, up/down. At some point this mantis decided, via her well-developed, binocular, stereoscopic vision, that I was nothing to be concerned about and started cleaning her forelimbs. That's what the camera has captured here.