Saturday, May 30, 2015

Fifth Saturday Fiction

Chapter 5, Brenda and the File, 
from the novel 
Frank O’Hara – The Last PI

By D. Michael Pain

[In Chapter 3, published here on April 18, Frank O’Hara received a telephone call from a woman named Kim Dawson. The woman murdered in Chapter 1 was her friend Brenda, and Kim “knew some things” and was afraid on account of some files she had that Brenda had taken from work. Frank agreed to meet with Kim to look at the files.]

He straightened his red-and-blue striped tie and walked into the coffee shop. He saw her in her red sweater immediately and walked confidently to her booth. Making sure his shoulders were erect, he smiled and said, “Kim?”

Friday, May 29, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

"Jon Stewart, Iraq War Critic, Runs a Program That Helps Veterans Enter TV." [Dave Philipps, NY Times] Excerpt:

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Thor's Day: Reflections on Galileo's middle finger

Authority versus independent thinking

By Morris Dean

My wife often tells me about the books she is reading. Which means that she's telling me about a new book roughly every week. But she most recently spoke more often and more excitedly than usual about Alice Dreger's book, Galileo's Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and the Search for Justice in Science, and she devoured it in fewer days than usual, giving me too plenty of time to read it before the library wants it back.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Have you had a visitation of frogs?

Up against the garage door
In joy and sorrow

By Morris Dean

All of a sudden, about three weeks ago, we started to see a huge number (dozens? hundreds?) of tiny, dark frogs in our yard, right around the house, both front and back. When I say tiny, I mean on the order of half an inch long, nose to tail in squatting position.
    There's a drainage pound out back of our house, but frogs have commonly taken up residence in our yard, even in the gutters, although I can't tell you how they got up there.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Posthumously speaking 9

Hand tools

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Correction: The artist's granddaughter has informed us that her father doesn't think Mary did the shovel painting. (May 27)]

[Editor's Note: The artist's granddaughter Suzanne Dawn Condley recently brought to my attention that her father, my nephew Jeffrey Condley, Mary's second of two sons, has a number of his mother's paintings, several of which were done on hand tools – the first such paintings of hers that I was aware of.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fourth Monday Susan Speaks

Portraits of two youths abuilding

By Susan C. Price

The two paintings I'm speaking through today are from the Mirror, Mirror Project in Los Angeles, where artists meet and make portraits of young persons who are participating in a program called YouthBuild, in which they finish high school and learn the construction trade.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle

A Shady Person (Chapter 4 of Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: Blurb from the dust jacket: “Jim Rix has written an astonishing memoir about his cousin Ray Krone’s wrongful conviction for a 1991 Arizona murder. Rix meticulously details every aspect of police corruption, prosecutorial misconduct, defense incompetence, expert witness tampering and jury shenanigans that led to Ray’s decade-long nightmare. But Rix doesn’t stop there. He dissects each problem, then with careful research explains how it is not an isolated incident but part of a larger pattern of problems in the criminal justice system. Rix’s wry humor and occasional sarcasm reveal the depths of his despair at realizing that the justice system, which he once trusted, is so deeply flawed. Scariest about this true story is that if Ray Krone, an honest, law-abiding person, could end up on Death Row, it could happen to anyone.”
        –Rachel King, author of
Don’t Kill in Our Names and
Capital Consequences, teaches legal writing
        at Howard University School of Law

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Fourth Saturday's Loneliest Liberal

Shakespeare says

By James Knudsen

Another semester has ended. The lightest of teaching loads, one class, one night a week. Drama 1, an overview of theatre, was all the public system of higher education could find for me this spring. I filled in at the local community college I attended decades earlier, but had never been employed at. The syllabus I taught from was the same one used department wide and different from what I normally teach at my usual gig at Fresno City College. And I’ll confess that I prefer to spend a bit more time on Shakespeare than we did in my recently ended section at the College of the Sequoias, Tulare Campus.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Have you ever wondered...what dogs do when they drink water?

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Thor's Day: What's nihilistic about nihilism?

The meanings of our lives

By Morris Dean

When my views were labeled "nihilistic" by a Christian last year, I couldn't think at the time how to respond. I'd never thought much about "nihilism," and I didn't really know what the label meant, or was supposed to imply.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

Should I break up with my fiancé to be with the man I have butterflies for?

By Susan C. Price

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

I fell in love with someone but when he asked for my hand in marriage, my parents refused because he’s not educated like I am. He’s from a family my parents don’t get along with. I wanted to please them so I broke up with him, thinking I’d done the right thing.
    Then on a work trip, I met someone else and he seemed the sweetest guy on earth. He surprised me by coming to my home town and proposing. My parents liked him, and the way he asked me was so romantic it was hard to say no.
    Now, though, I can’t help thinking of the first guy. I talked to him on the phone and got butterflies when I heard his voice. I’ve never felt like this for my fiancé. Should I break up with him?
    One more thing. I come from a culture that forbids sex before marriage, and I’ve been intimate with my fiancé, which makes my decision even harder. –What Now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tuesday Voice: In 4" × 4"

Sunrise detail
By Shirley Deane/Midyett

[Husband Vic Midyett's Note: Jake did both of these 4" × 4" paintings in about 10 minutes each, on May 5. You should recognize them from recent photos on the estuary: April 21; May 4.]

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Review: Before I Go to Sleep

You need to lose it before you watch this movie*

By Morris Dean

During lunch yesterday, I said to my wife, "I think I'll review that movie we watched last night."
    "What movie was that? I can't remember it."

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Third Saturday Fiction

Excerpt from
The Suicide Diary,
a novel

By Michael Hanson

[Editor’s Note: The narrator is a 27-year-old novelist whose girlfriend, Karla, has recently left him. He has decided he is going to commit suicide but will keep a diary of all that transpires prior to the precipitous act, identifying it as his new novel and leaving it for his editor to find.]

Friday, May 15, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Legendary dance choreographer Bill T. Jones and TED Fellows Joshua Roman and Somi didn't know exactly what was going to happen when they took the stage at TED2015. They just knew they wanted to offer the audience an opportunity to witness creative collaboration in action. The result: An improvised piece they call "The Red Circle and the Blue Curtain," so extraordinary it had to be shared [6:26]:

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Thor's Day: Glimpses of Jesus in Salt Lake City

The Beehive House, 67 E South Temple St
Why the tour was free

By Morris Dean

My wife and I returned to Salt Lake City on April 30, hoping this time to have no problems with that city's street nomenclature. I had its coordinate system securely installed in my head this time, the x-axis being South Temple and the y-axis Main, and my mind was clear this time that South Temple (and all streets named South or North) run east-west, not north-south, which I had been confused about last October and was forever spinning my head over ["How long does it take to become fluent in Salt Lake City's street nomenclature?," October 29, 2014].

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How do we all be good neighbors?

By Susan C. Price

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

I have a question regarding etiquette. I put a basketball goal up for my son in front of my house. Now my neighbor (who has lived here less than a month) has a son who is ALWAYS using it (when my children are not). He has never asked, nor his parents. Today, they are having a get together with about 10 people, and are outside in front of my house and their own. I had to wait for them to get from in front of my driveway to get in and they didn’t even bother speaking! How would you handle this? Am I being “unneighborly”? –Neighbor

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Second Tuesday on Franklin Hill Farm


Bettina Sperry

It sets in when foaling and calving season is over. It is arguably one of the most restful and peaceful times of the year for me. Spending time watching the new babies grow consumes much of my attention.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Second Monday Music: Who is Storm Large?

Photo by John Rudoff (2014-02-14)
She's big

By Morris Dean

I had never heard of Storm Large until a friend in Oregon wrote me that she and her husband were going to a Storm Large concert for their wedding anniversary last week. It was performed with the Oregon Symphony in Portland on Friday, May 1, and was, my friend reported, heavily attended by people of all ages:

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Sunday Review: The Drop

They never saw him coming

By Morris Dean

The Drop (2014, directed by Michaël R. Roska) takes place in Brooklyn, and the title refers to the practice of organized criminals of depositing illegal takings in a designated bar for later pickup. The designated bar in this case is "Cousin Marv's," which used to actually belong to Marv (played by James Gandolfini in his last feature film). It belonged to him, that is, until some Chechen mobsters muscled him out. He just works there now, and Bob (played by Tom Hardy) is a bartender.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Second Saturday's Sonnet


By Eric Meub

[Originally published on February 8, 2014]


An unexpected gust puffs flames into
the candles, blowing suns across the glow
of water. Flashes let the waves slip through
like fabric over muscles in the flow.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

For the first time, the USDA has asked Americans to think about the environmental impact of the food we eat. Unsurprisingly, the cattle industry doesn't like it one bit.
    A diet heavy in red meat is unsustainable – and raising cows produces five times more greenhouse gasses than other animals raised for meat....

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Thor's Day: Love your enemies

Saint Victor Catholic Church, West Hollywood, CA
By Morris Dean

[Originally published November 29, 2012]

According to the Gospel of Matthew (5:44, King James Version), Jesus said:
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

How can I fix my on-off relationship with this girl?

By Susan C. Price

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

I’ve had an on-off relationship with a girl for nearly three years. There’s been a lot of back and forth awkwardness and drama during this time, but last month things finally seemed sorted out. We actually settled on being together and we confessed all of our feelings for one another.
    When I left the country for a few weeks, we missed each other terribly, so I surprised her by coming home a little early, which she seemed happy about.
    Now, however, she appears less interested. Maybe I’m making too much of it, but she doesn’t talk to me like she used to and doesn’t text me as often and so on. I’ve asked her if there’s anything wrong and she insists there isn’t and that she loves me.
    I was thinking of not texting her for a while to give her some space. I’ve thought about this relationship every day for as long as I can remember knowing her. How do I fix this and keep her happy? –On-Off

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Heavenly

Detail from "Sunset"
Paintings by Shirley Deane/Midyett

By Vic Midyett

Shirley has completed two new paintings, both commissioned.

Monday, May 4, 2015

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

James Knudsen, ready for AARP
Entering the second half-century of one's life means certain things happen. You become eligible to join AARP, certain manufactured home parks are now open to you, and your doctor recommends that you get your baseline colonoscopy done. Guess which one I did on April 30, 2015. I'll give you a hint: I ate bologna sandwiches on white bread for two days. No, I did not move into a trailer park, and I have yet to receive an AARP discount because I'm not yet a member.
    One of the world's great mysteries is why, when the medical professionals want to start looking around the last place I would consider looking for...ANYTHING, why do they insist that you eat the stuff you should not eat in order to remain healthy. Why?
    From the instructions I was given by the VA:

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Sunday Review: Calvary

A flawed, personal review

By Bob Boldt

[Author’s Note: This review is a further exploration of the subject of Morris Dean’s detailed examination of the 2014 film Calvary, starring Brendan Gleeson. A reading of his review will help readers who have seen the film remember salient details. I hope that my review will encourage a continuing conversation about this important artistic work.
    I also hope that people who have not seen the film will excuse me for a spoiler or two included in this review. I don’t think people should read reviews of movies before seeing them and I don’t really write movie reviews for people who have not already seen the film.]

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Thirst Satyrday for Eros: Personals

Hot water

By Bob Boldt

Date: 2010-8-05,7:04 PM CDT—Hetero Couple Seeking Hetero Couple—We believe there is no trouble that cannot be dissolved in the sweet, steaming waters of Lethe. New Age 30-something couple seeks like-minded other couple or single pleasure seekers to help fill our hot tub—Posting ID: 199103525.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Fish for Friday

Andrea Rutigliano in Emptying the Skies
Edited by
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

I'm forwarding you the link to a NY Times review of a new documentary, "‘Emptying the Skies’ Follows the Rescue of Songbirds at Most Any Cost" [Neil Genzlinger], because it's based on an essay I just read in Jonathan Franzen's book Farther Away: Excerpt: