Saturday, February 28, 2015

Fourth Saturday’s Loneliest Liberal


By James Knudsen

Two-thousand fourteen ended with my siblings and me officially joining the ranks of the orphans following the passing of our dad Mo. I commemorated the event by changing the wallpaper on my smart phone to a very “Mad Men” shot of dad that was taken at a studio. This was replaced after a month with a picture of Dad and Mom which remains to this day.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

Best road. Transfăgărășan, Romania:
    The Transfăgărășan or DN7C is the second-highest paved road in Romania. Built as a strategic military route, the 90 km of twists and turns run north to south across the tallest sections of the Southern Carpathians, between the highest peak in the country, Moldoveanu, and the second highest, Negoiu. The road connects the historic regions of Transylvania and Wallachia, and the cities of Sibiu and Piteşti.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thor's Day: Elvis's sign from God

So strange it must be real

By Jim Rix

It is commonly known that Elvis was a religious man. What is not well known is the roll Josef Stalin played in cementing Elvis’s faith. Here in performance by Al Stewart is the story, “so strange it must be real.”

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Does it help to pray for weather?

What do you think?

By Morris Dean

I turn the question back to you, because I don't really know, although I admit that I confidently assume it doesn't help to pray for weather. Do you pray for weather? Do you find it useful?

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Tuesday Voice

Oliver Sacks
Thoughts upon hearing that Oliver Sacks will soon depart

By Bob Boldt

It was a dark and stormy night when I ventured out into one of the biggest blizzards of the young year 2007. My destination was the Lensic Theater, where one of their landmark discussions was being held by the Lannan Foundation. The night’s guest was Lawrence Weschler, who was hosted by Oliver Sacks.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Fourth Sunday from Jingle Jangle

Ouija Science (excerpt from Chapter 16 of 
Jingle Jangle)

By Jim Rix

[Editor’s Note: Blurb from the dust jacket: “Jingle Jangle: The Perfect Crime Turned Inside Out is a remarkable book, a page-turner that asks all the right questions, shocking us out of our complacency by exposing the deep flaws in our criminal justice system. It should be required reading for every college student in America.”
        –Gary T. Lowenthal, Arizona State University law
        professor & author of
Down and Dirty Justice
    Today’s excerpt can be considered an elaboration on a comment made this week on a recent Thor’s Day column: “There is an upcoming trial for an American hero Chris Kyle, in which each side will introduce their experts on PTSD. How can experts have two different opinions and call it science?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Third Saturday Fiction

New cover, updated on Amazon this month
(Kindle price $0.99)
Chapter 24. 
Air-Am, from the novel Boystown

By Ed Rogers

[In the previous chapter, published here on October 18, James Hamilton had enlisted in the US Army to get away from a Colombian drug cartel. But things became confused, and Chapter 23 ended with Hamilton sitting alone on his bunk attempting to sort out what had happened. “Two days ago, all I wanted was a place to hide. What was I doing in this outfit? Why promote me to a warrant officer?...I was sure there was a puppeteer pulling strings, and I was the puppet.”]

The next six weeks were hell. The fun times the crews had before my arrival stopped. We ate, slept, shit, and pissed in our planes. Moreover, when we weren’t flying, we were in one class after another. They pushed two years of training programs down our throats and made us chew each bite.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Fish for Friday

Indian fishermen pushed their boat through
plastic waste last month in Mumbai
Edited by 
Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

"Study Finds Rising Levels of Plastics in Oceans." [John Schwartz, NY Times] Excerpt:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thor's Day: Freedom of religion

How far should it go?

By Morris Dean

The U.S. postage stamp commemorated religious freedom and the Flushing Remonstrance, which was, according to Wikipedia:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Chuck, why are you agnostic with respect to "God"?

Guessing at the inconclusive

By Chuck Smythe

Chuck, a couple of weeks ago, in our question to Susan C. Price ("What do you think about religion?"), we indicated that you’ve said you don’t know enough to go one way or the other, so we labeled you agnostic. Please tell us what that means for you. Why are you agnostic with respect to "God" and other religious beliefs?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Everyone poops

School projects

By Bindi Danchenko

[Editor's Note: Last year, when she was seven and in the first grade, the author's art teacher assigned a project. The pupils were to create a display featuring a character from one of the books they had read. The following account was constructed by combining answers from the author to questions from her mother ("she laughed quite a bit while writing her answers") and to follow-up questions from the editor.]

I chose to do a character from Everyone Poops [by Taro Gomi, School & Library Binding, 2001] because the book is funny – it shows their butts – and because everyone really does poop. Even the animals poop.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Third Monday Musing

The right to vote

By Ed Rogers

We have all placed our trust and hope on one candidate or the other at some time in our life—if you haven’t, why vote at all? The right to vote has forever been in the hands of the rich. White Americans never questioned the right to vote until the voting act of 1965. Outside of the South, people seemed to believe that everybody was voting who wanted to vote. But in the South, citizens with money pretty much controlled who got elected, and they controlled who was allowed to vote. A number of blocks were placed in the road to guarantee white control. From Wikipedia’s article on “Voting rights in the United States”:

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Sunday Review: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Now open at Lake Tahoe

By Jim Rix

After the better part of a year and $60 million (I’m told), the renovation of Lake Tahoe’s old Horizon Casino got completed. The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino opened to a much anticipated local crowd on Wednesday, January 28.
    It was fortunate for my friend Heather and me that we entered through the back door, because we found out later during our meandering that the front entrance was jammed and backed up. It was basically a madhouse. It was so packed that Security was letting people in the front door only as others exited.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Second Saturday's Sonnet

To Valentine's Day

By Morris Dean
Shakespeare asked whether he should compare "thee,"
and, having considered, decided not.
Than summer's day, he thought that she (or he)
was more lovely and temperate, less fraught

Friday, February 13, 2015

Fish for Friday

Edited by Morris Dean

[Anonymous selections from recent correspondence]

In December, more than 500 people from across Colorado and surrounding states packed into a small theatre in Salida, Colo., to deliver a message to President Obama – keep our spectacular Browns Canyon forever wild for bobcats, bighorn sheep and elk by making it a national monument.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Thor's Day: The dinosaurs are coming! The dinosaurs are coming!

Among the Creationists

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s note: In June 2010, the author attended a sermon and two talks by a Dr. G. Thomas Sharp given as part of the Summer Vacation Bible School at the First Assembly of God Church in Jefferson City, Missouri.
    In submitting this account, the author reminded us that today is Charles Darwin's birthday. Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, 50 years before the publication of his landmark book, 
On the Origin of Species, which plays no small role in the following account.]

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Ask Susan

What does one do?

By Susan C. Price

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

What does one do when dreams feel shortchanged except by sleeping? I know that some poetry I have written has come true for me. The poems exhausted me in the reality they became. I also know that tears are cleansing.
    How do I get past the fact that my grown children and their actions in life are not my responsibility anymore? I feel like I owe it to myself to be my own responsibility and to trust God and human beings with this answer. I received emotional support from a professional and will continue to do so. The emotional support I received was just plain excellent. It is difficult so far because it seems my biggest quest if for someone to truly love me for who I am. Presently I am enjoying the freedom to be me. Dear Susan, what do I do to reach a goal? –Patricia

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Second Tuesday on Franklin Hill Farm

Phantom Sunrise [detail of a photo below]
Crops of babies

By Bettina Sperry

During the course of the next two months, Franklin Hill Farm will have a new spring crop of babies. We're expecting five calves and two thoroughbred foals. The images below are from our 2014 crop and include our expecting mares and cows. The images also include photos of our Tennessee Walkers, Phantom Sunrise (see detail at right) and Korabelle, who will be joining wonderful new parents at a neighboring farm.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Second Monday Music: Johann Sebastian Bach performed in Memphis

Six suites for unaccompanied cello

By André Duvall

On Sunday afternoon, February 1, I had the pleasure of hearing all six of Johann Sebastian Bach’s suites for unaccompanied cello performed live in succession. Brazilian native Leonardo Altino, an Associate Professor of Music at the University of Memphis, presented these masterpieces in the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music’s Harris Recital Hall.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sunday Review: A new trend in films?

“Factually” “based”

By Jonathan Price

I go to see many films, as many as I can and still have a life and still be human. My goal is two films a week. That would be 104 films a year, more if you add the few that are relegated to first viewing via video or streaming. Serious film reviewers often see 200 to 400 films a year. But it has seemed to me lately that more and more films are “factually” “based” – that is, their source or origin or impetus is a biography or history. This would include films this year such as Selma, which is both biography and history; or The Imitation Game or Big Eyes or The Theory of Everything (reviewed on January 4) or American Sniper. I know many films begin with some kind of subtitle or suggestion or claim, “based on a true story,” and that this has some resonance and power and draw for a potential audience.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Thirst Satyrday for Eros (in fiction)

"Angel," photo by Bob Boldt
The Baby Sitter (a short story)

By W.M. Dean

At last the Beamers’ three kids were in bed! Jan Hilbert let herself fall face-first and full-length on the Beamers’ ratty old hide-a-bed couch.
    “Ugh.” She shouldn’t have gone face-first – the heavy smell of ancient dirt, stale popcorn, and a hundred other crumbly family television snacks permeated the man-made fabric.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Thor's Day: How many folds?

How many times should you fold your toilet paper?

By Morris Dean

[Published originally on February 10 & 11, 2007, in the posts, "How many folds?" and "Should," respectively.]

We humans want answers to the important questions of life. Several years ago a success coach was addressing a large number of young professional women. The audience responded gratefully when she met their need to know how many times to fold their toilet paper, especially before a business meeting. (Twelve layers, she said.*)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Ask Wednesday: Susan, what do you think about religion?

KT's prayer

By Susan C. Price

Susan, a number of different theological views have been expressed on Moristotle & Co. The editor in chief, for example, claims to be an atheist (or an aduotheist, if a recent proof was correct in proving that two gods exist or don’t exist). So does columnist Jim Rix (and so did the late contributing editor Tom Lowe).
    Columnist Chuck Smythe says he doesn’t know enough to go one way or the other, so he’s agnostic.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tuesday Voice: Missionary Kid

Stories in print

By Vic Midyett

JT: Another Mighty Midyett, the book about my dad that includes my Missionary Kid stories, is being typeset and will shortly be available.
    The fact that there is a book at all owes to my cousin Randy Somers, who was a small boy when his mother's brother, my father, James Thomas Midyett, left for India in 1950, where I was born within two years of my parents' arrival there. But even 12,000 miles away, Randy says, my father was a continual presence in his family's home:

Monday, February 2, 2015

First Monday with Characters

Edited by Morris Dean

Siegfried, at 6
    Siegfried’s sixth birthday was January 24. We commemorated the event with our cousins Duvall over lunch at the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock [see André’s &Morris’s reports, below]. In the photo right, Siegfried, recently groomed, seemed unsure about being top dog. He's a modest companion, but demanding all the same. He has us well-trained, though, so it works out fine.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sunday Review: The reviewer

Can't get my mind around anything today

By Morris Dean

Sure I'm super busy today, trying to start on my income tax and preparing tomorrow's column. But my main problem when it comes to reviewing something is that I don't seem to be able to get my mind around anything.