Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bottom (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on August 9, 2014]


Why bother getting out of bed? It’s not
As if we’re here in season: covered pool
And lounge chairs stacked like firewood as a rule.
I say resort, you think forsaken spot.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Ask Nancy Walker Gemar about sports fanaticism

Can you explain it?

Interviewed by Morris Dean

[Interviewer’s Note: My friend Nancy Walker Gemar, whom I knew in high school as Nancy Walker and only recently got in touch with again, after 55 years, told me that she was in Chapel Hill for a Duke-UNC football game in 2009, when I was still working at UNC General Administration. She said that she and her friends whom she was visiting spent the next day touring the UNC campus and checking out the hot spots on Franklin Street.
    But she also wanted to see Duke University, so they went there “and the three of us went into the chapel. Tom refused to walk on the campus because of his overwhelming hatred for Duke! He sat in the car while Dianne and I checked out the campus. That’s what you call a ‘loyal son’!!”….

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Shots in the night

My friend Harvey’s Costa Rica tale

By Ed Rogers

Living in Costa Rica from the United States and having friends among Costa Ricans is not a common thing. The Costa Rican people are very friendly and most would bend over backwards to help you. However, they know that one day you will be going back to the States (and you know it too). So in some ways their (and our) minds protects us from the hurt of losing a close friend by not allowing us to get past a certain line toward closeness.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Christmas in Costa Rica

My personal update

By Ed Rogers

Janie and I had our Christmas yesterday. A total of 16 people came over for BBQ chicken, cornbread dressing, and all the stuff that goes with it. We had 12 yesterday afternoon and 4 at 7:30 last night. Our kitchen is a mess this morning but it was nice to have so many friends come and eat with us.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

The Loneliest Liberal’s Christmas magic

By James Knudsen

Nowhere on my resume has the title “journalist” ever been found. There have been half-hearted attempts, but this morning I finally put all arguments to rest. I am not a journalist, reporter, news anchor, or any other member of the Fourth Estate. Why? Because a responsible reporter would have at least made an attempt to confirm that Fox News is continuing its absurd, asinine, annual assault on the aural orifices known as the “War on Christmas.” There’s no war, but there is a disease that kills Christmas.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Summery Christmas

From Down Under

By Vic Midyett & Shirley Deane/Midyett

We would like to share with you a painting that Shirley did for our middle son, Ben, who provided a photograph of his niece and nephew taken on a beach south of Perth, Western Australia. Ben asked Shirley to do the painting as a Christmas gift for the children’s mother, Ben’s half-sister, who had taken the photograph and posted it on her Facebook page.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Light before Christmas

By James T. Carney

I am deeply religious and always feel faith most in the Christmas season. I am an Anglican, although I do not agree with the Church’s position on gays, but I think that the Anglicans in general are more right than the Episcopals. My parish is based in an old person’s home and we have services every Sunday in the chapel. Not having a building to worry about, and a part time priest – Father Paul – who makes $100 per year, means that our focus can be on evangelism and charity. In my old church – from which I was expelled by bell, book, and candle – everyone’s main focus was on the struggle to maintain the building – which was beautiful – but from my standpoint was a millstone around our necks.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmas In America

A tale

By Anonymous

The CIA had an opening for an assassin. After all the background checks, interviews, and testing were done, there were three finalists: two men and a woman.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Private Christmas

By Morris Dean 

The double spiral stairs at the Vatican Museum reminded me that my mother had a term for female genitalia that I had certainly not heard before when I was eight or nine, but neither have I heard it since. Mama’s term was “Christmas.”

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Movie Review: The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe

Not so merry

By Morris Dean

Marilyn Monroe may have posed for a number of “Merry Christmas” photos, but she didn’t seem to have had many merry Christmases herself. Not to go by Lifetime’s four-hour miniseries, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, which was based on the NY Times best seller by J. Randy Taraborrelli.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Chapter 7 of The Unmaking of the President (a novel)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
Better to Serve You With, My Dear

By W.M. Dean

[The novel is set in the 1970s of Watergate. Links to earlier chapters are provided at the bottom.]

Friday, December 18, 2015

Gunned down

An excerpt from a novel in progress

By Michael Hanson

[Editor’s Note: Raymond, age 40, recalls an event from his 27th year – the death of his best friend, Lauren, who was shot to death while on her morning jog. Our previous excerpt from this novel appeared on September 29.
    The rise of gun violence in America makes today’s piece eminently current, as incidents of gun violence are reported virtually every day, more people than ever must deal with the loss of family and friends, and politicians fervently debate what to do, or likely not.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Losing class

A recent publication of the Pew Research Center, “The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground” (December 9), might give us pause. Excerpt:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

How well do you know holy scripture?

Take Nicholas Kristof’s quiz

By Morris Dean

In the context of Donald Trump’s proposal to bar Muslims from America, Nicholas Kristof, in his op-ed piece in yesterday’s NY Times, cherry-picked some quotations from holy texts to see how well we understand religion. I found the quiz fun, even if I didn’t answer all of its questions correctly. In fact, I missed the very first one:

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Puzzle (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub


I read too much. My second husband used
to make inspections of my bedside drawer,
then catch me at the sink: You’re fifty-four
for God’s sake, Marianne, why start on Proust?

Thursday, December 10, 2015

A gripping political & architectural contest in Munich

Gasteig Philharmonie [Source: Schlaier – own work.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons]
What size breeches?

By Rolf Dumke

An architectural and political contest is gripping Munich. It concerns the location and design for a second concert hall for Munich’s homeless Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, under chief conductor Mariss Jansons. It is one of the top ten orchestras in the world, besides the number one in Munich, the Munich Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Valery Gergiev and Zubin Mehta.

Monday, December 7, 2015


First Monday, as were

[Editor’s Note: My call for “character updates” went out to all of the blog’s staff members before I faced up to the fact that regularly scheduled columns weren’t working for me, and the call was graciously (if not habitually) answered by updates from a number of them. I trust that updates will continue to come in as our “characters” have something they want to share about themselves. We look forward to publishing these under their own bylines. To remind yourself who each character is, you may consult their blurbs in the sidebar. And remember that the link of each character’s name calls up all posts whose name they labeled.]

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Happy Saturday to all the friends of Moristotle & Co.

From the editor:

In our new spirit of spontaneity and relaxation of the rules, we take this moment to greet everyone (from an iPhone without benefit of the formatting tools on a computer).

May you all have a creative and fulfilling day.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Moristotle & Co. abandons regular scheduling

Baldassare Peruzzi, “Muses Dancing with Apollo”
Our muses insisted

By Morris Dean

This week I notified the staff that it was no longer working for me to try to live up to the blog’s commitment to have regularly scheduled columns. I told them that I wanted to give up specifying the days of the week (or month) on which particular columns would appear, so that there would be no stated or implied commitment to publish anything on any given day.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Tuesday Voice

A Thanksgiving dream

By Bob Boldt

I hope your Thanksgiving was better than mine.

I spent the awful occasion on licensed premises,
alone with a “Tyson Frozen Turkey Parts Dinner,”
“with added tryptophan”
and “no more than 20% additional sponsored contents.”