Monday, September 26, 2016

Susan’s Stuff: thanks, Oscar

“thanks, Oscar” (detail)
with help from a family on vacation in farmland

By Susan C. Price

“thanks, Oscar” was born of a painting that was lifeless, and did not “work.” i placed a loosely painted version of a family-on-vacation-in-farmland photo on top of that and...agonized, painted, painted over, and voila!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sustainable Agriculture in Native America

By Christopher-Joseph Ravnopolski-Dean

I have a profound interest in agriculture, and more precisely sustainable agriculture, which uses an ecological approach towards nature – instead of fighting nature, it follows it.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal: In rehearsal

Waiting for Lefty

By James Knudsen

This week marked the sixth week of instruction for this Fall 2016 semester. I have a typical load of classes, one beginning-acting and one theatre-appreciation course. But I’m also assisting in the production of this season’s first play, Waiting for Lefty, by Clifford Odets. My colleague Janine Christl is directing, and, since the start of rehearsals five weeks ago, I’ve been working with the ensemble and the featured actors to help them better understand the time period, 1935.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Correspondence: The world moves on

Edited by Moristotle

Pictures from the first week of the Oktoberfest in Munich. Thankfully without terrorist attacks: “Oktoberfest: the world's largest beer festival – in pictures” [Natasha Rees-Bloor, Guardian, September 20]. Excerpt:

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Mary’s Voice: Posthumously speaking 12

Mountain chapel

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor’s Note: A few weeks ago, my sister Mary’s daughter, Karen Abbey, came across a photograph of yet another of her mother’s paintings. “I think the picture is one of her best!” Karen reports the following note on the back of the photo:

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Mary’s Voice: Posthumously speaking 11

Country barn

By Mary Alice Condley (1925-2007)

[Editor’s Note: Another painting of Mary Alice Condley came to the attention recently of her daughter, Karen Abbey, whom her (and my) cousins Richard & Joyce Frost told they had a painting. “Mary gave Richard & me this barn painting years ago and it proudly hangs in our hallway.”

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Fiction: Baby-sitter Saturday night (a short story)

Portrait of the author
by Susan C. Price
By W.M. Dean

[Editor’s Note: I found this story last week when I was going through my files after installing a lovely desk given me by a friend, Bill Johnson, who just moved away. I’d like to dedicate its publication to him, to whom we owe the pleasure of two “Liam’s Wuff” stories.
    The baby-sitter rates from the 1970s haven’t been revised.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Correspondence: Under the influence

Edited by Moristotle

I drank beer last weekend with a guy in a red baseball cap. At some point, I asked him what he liked about Trump, and what the slogan on his cap meant to him. After as many beers as he had drunk, he was quite forthcoming:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Boldt Words & Images: 9/11 (a poem)

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s Note: Published on the 15th of the month in recognition of this September’s being the 15th anniversary of that 9/11.]

United Airlines Flight 175 passengers knew they were heading toward
meaning, madness, Mecca or mayhem, but they knew not which.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

West Coast Observer: Heads in the sand

Without water

By William Silveira

Trump blew into the City of Tulare on August 30 for a luncheon fund raiser at the home of Tulare Union High School classmate, Corky Anderson. Anderson owns and operates a wholesale pistachio nursery as well as owning his own pistachio groves. In attendance at the event were members of some of the Central Valley’s large agricultural enterprises, including Annette and Bob Smitcamp of Fresno and the owners of Harris Ranch. Also in attendance was our congressman, Devin Nunes, whom Trump invited along for the jet ride from San Francisco to Fresno. Trump purportedly picked up 1.3 million dollars from the event – not a bad haul for a 1.5 hour visit. The event was closed to the public – except for those who wanted to pay $25,000 for a private talk with Trump or $2,700 for lunch with about 250 other people.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

In Your Dreams: Dream music

By Geoffrey Dean

Last week, a student in a music class I teach mentioned the music of the 2001 Japanese anime film Spirited Away. I remembered that as I woke up today, with the feeling that I must listen to the film’s song, “One Summer’s Day.” When I discovered this song while in Osaka five years ago, I fell in love with the unabashedly sentimental music of Joe Hisaishi and the pure, heartfelt singing of Ayaka Hirahara. I hear this song with a nostalgia for something unreachable, far away:

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Poetry & Portraits: Isaiah

By Eric Meub


Align the avenues and sweep the streets!
Suburbia, so long neglected, greets
the tan Executive, his tailored Queen,
his stately Presidential limousine.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Correspondence: These are the times

True & faux

Edited by Moristotle

Trump continues to receive ill-deserved respect: “Donald Trump’s Campaign Stands By Embrace of Putin” [Jonathan Martin & Amy Chozick, NY Times, September 8]. Excerpt:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Outside the Box: One-size-fits-all creative expression

Thoughts on Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione

By Geoffrey Dean

Reading the description of the new “Outside the Box” column while listening to Franz Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano, I remembered my own dismay when studying this piece at what I took as Schubert’s inconsistencies. My “inside the box” thinking at the time was to try to minimize the variations in intervals, dynamics, articulation, rhythm found in Schubert’s score – to move toward standardization, so that each appearance of a given musical gesture would resemble every other as closely as possible. In pursuing this standardizing impulse, I was unwittingly following the example of a long line of music editors who had purged Schubert’s (and others’) works of their native quirkiness, putting them back into the box of one-size-fits-all creative expression as they confined them to the narrowly drawn parameters of “tasteful” interpretation.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Missionary Kid: Champion kite

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: Vic sent me this story recently with the comment:
For some reason, I got to thinking about my kite again yesterday, this time it was in light of “big or tall stature does not make you the best.”
    Tell me I shared this story with you a long time ago.
    And I happily replied: “If I told you that, I would not be telling you true.
    So here it is!
    Otherwise, the most recent of the Missionary Kid stories appeared on May 31 (“Rule Number One: Get in the house before dark”). I hope Vic keeps finding stories that he hasn’t shared with us yet.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

As the World Turns: A stranger in my own land, Part 1

What becoming an expat can be like

By Wally Tucker

[Editor’s Note: Wally’s account accompanies Ed Rogers’s piece yesterday in his As the World Turns column, “Going native.”]

I repatriated back to the USA in September 2000, leaving our apartment exactly six years to the day after my wife and our two young sons had arrived in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. Six years and weeks earlier, we had packed 27 boxes and eight rolling duffels with everything we thought we needed and wanted for our new adventure abroad. Naively, we left behind a fully furnished home for rent. Don’t ever do that!

Monday, September 5, 2016

As the World Turns: Going native

By Ed Rogers

I can’t remember the first time I heard the term “going native.” I’m willing to bet it was in a movie, but I also heard it when I was in the Army. Soldiers who had spent too much time in-country found upon returning that they had a hard time being around their fellow soldiers. It was as though their common link had broken. I had a friend in the State of Washington who had been a Green Beret and done three tours in Nam. He once told me, “I don’t belong here.” I laughed and said something stupid like, “Hell man, this is your home.”

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Growing Up in America: American Movies in the 1950s (Part 3)

Hitchcock thrills with North by Northwest

By Rolf Dumke

Alfred Hitchcock’s wonderful film North by Northwest (1959) is my top American thriller. It mixes up the life of Roger Thornhill – a smug advertising executive and self-contained ladies’ man, only hounded by his overly protective mother – with the violent world of cold-war espionage and counter espionage. In the bar of the Plaza Hotel, Thornhill (played by Cary Grant) – decked out, as usual, in a well-fitting suit – is called to the telephone by a bellboy and becomes entangled by mistake in a net of spies and counterspies.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Correspondence: Origins

James W. Cronin at the University of Chicago,
where he taught physics, astronomy
and astrophysics
Of something rather than nothing, of life, of happiness…of the big lie

Edited by Moristotle

Interesting argument for why there is something: “James Cronin, Who Explained Why Matter Survived the Big Bang, Dies at 84” [Sam Roberts, NY Times, August 30]. Excerpt: