Monday, October 31, 2016

Susan’s Stuff for Day of the Dead

she cries
By Susan C. Price

i love Day of the Dead, i love the decorated skull design and use it now and then in my paintings. (sounds so...lofty, is actually just what i do, like…um sewing or knitting or gardening – hmm, how many folks have i managed to offend with that attitude?)

Friday, October 28, 2016

Correspondence: City planning & tipping point

Edited by Moristotle

Poundbury , the Prince of Wales’s traditionalist village in Dorset, has long been mocked as a feudal Disneyland. But a growing and diverse community suggests it’s getting a lot of things right: “A royal revolution: is Prince Charles’s model village having the last laugh?” [Oliver Wainwright, Guardian, October 27]. Excerpt:

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Movie Review: Gladiator

A deeper analysis, with reflections on Christian reviews of the film

By Kyle Garza

[Editor’s Note: The author reviewed Gladiator on August 10. Today’s extended review goes into greater depth and critiques some other sorts of reviews of the film.]

Long before Braveheart (1995) and Gladiator (2000) and Troy (2004) had kicked off a new cycle of epic films that mixed history, legend, and cinematic entertainment, the Iliad, the Odyssey, and Beowulf stood as cornerstones of epic poetry, defining for millennia the standards of what it is to be an excellent man. Despite thousands of years between them, the modern cinematic epics still retain much of the same poetic elements that their written predecessors had, and the definition of masculinity which they offer has not varied far.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

To whomsoever it may pertain

By Moristotle

[Author’s Note: Yesterday, while writing the letter below, I had no thought of publishing it, but only of helping the person who had asked me to consider writing a needed letter of recommendation. However, my muse’s insistence this morning that I share it with everyone makes me think now that that was probably her idea all along.]

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Loneliest Liberal doesn’t read the New England Journal of Medicine

By James Knudsen

I am convinced a major reason for my sunny disposition, absent any mind-altering substances, is my ability to remain blissfully unaware of the grim realities that so many of my fellow humans are forced to confront daily.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Correspondence: Dressing up and down

Dolly Sisters 1923
Edited by Moristotle

The 1920s heralded an explosion of sexual freedom, female emancipation and decadent glamour – with clothes to match: “Fops and flappers: wild fashions of the 1920s – in pictures” [Guardian, October 18].

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


By Moristotle

When I prepared this morning to do my stretching exercises, I first lay quietly on my back and clasped my hands on my chest. Immediately came to mind an image of monastic life, of withdrawal from the hurly burly of life to a quiet sanctuary. As I enjoyed the peace of the moment, I discovered in my own respite a new sympathy for individuals who would seek such shelter. I was understanding for the first time that Wordsworth's "world too much with us; late and soon" had brought my own self to a point of wishing such quiet refuge as a monk.

Copyright © 2016 by Moristotle

Friday, October 14, 2016

Correspondence: Light & verity

Edited by Moristotle

[Editor’s Note: Two years ago today, we shared another photograph of my sister Mary Alice Condley’s painting, “Barn on a Bluff.” Today’s new photo was submitted by a loving niece of Mary’s.]

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Make your work-days into live-days

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

[Editor’s Note: I discovered this nonstop writing exercise in my younger self’s pile of drafts recently (after installing the beautiful desk my former neighbor Bill Johnson gave me before leaving for Denver). The exercise paper is dated September 15, 1977. It offered good advice then, maybe even better advice now – our world seems to have sped up so much in the intervening almost 40 years….]

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Trump sex scandal & spirituality

Edited by Moristotle

Novelist blogger Peggy Payne pointed out yesterday something else that Donald Trump has sullied besides the level of our political debate. “Among his other sins, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is using a previously-respected political position to tar the reputation of the, at best, sacred and ecstatic act of sex.” (“Spirituality, Lust, Trump Sex Scandal,” Peggy Payne: Novels of Sex & Spirituality)

Monday, October 10, 2016

The hawk comes

By Dawn Burke

[Editor’s Note: “The hawk comes” is a line from Robert Penn Warren’s poem, “Evening Hawk.”]

On Saturday evening, October 1, about an hour and a half before sundown, I went out with my new camera, a Nikon D3200. My grandchildren Isaiah and Ale were already out there, playing, about 30 feet away from a tree close to our neighborhood playground. Suddenly they called to me loudly, pointing at the tree. When I realized that a hawk was perched on a low branch, I was amazed the kids hadn’t already scared it off. I immediately motioned to them to be quiet and not move!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In Memoriam: Edward Albee

By Jonathan Price

Edward Albee died last month. It wasn’t exactly a surprise; he was 88 [March 12, 1928 – September 16, 2016]. But like many recent prominent deaths, it made me think. Edward Albee always made you think and feel. He was one of the great American playwrights of the twentieth century, and certainly by far the greatest of my contemporaries. Of course, no one can say such a thing for sure, since it is a matter of opinion – of many opinions over time. Nevertheless, in any week Broadway sports perhaps 30 plays or dramas, and then there is off-Broadway, which Albee helped to invent. Over the years, that’s a lot of plays, and the competition is intense. No one, I guess, sees all the plays, or reads all the plays. But Albee seems to me like a great pro golfer – Tiger Woods, or Jack Nicklaus. In a very competitive field, where audiences and critics are always demanding, he stands out.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Poetry & Portraits: Livia

By Eric Meub


My Lares are Lorazepam and guilt,
my Cicero is Amy Vanderbilt,
but there’s no Seneca to set me free
from Greco-Roman grandiosity.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Correspondence: Tremors of the Trumpocollapse

Edited by Moristotle

Artemisia Gentileschi turned the horrors of her own life – repression, injustice, rape – into brutal biblical paintings that were also a war cry for oppressed women. Why has her extraordinary genius been overlooked? “More savage than Caravaggio: the woman who took revenge in oil” [Jonathan Jones, Guardian, October 5]. Excerpt:

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Concert Review: Synthesis in the music of Johann Sebastian Bach

By André Duvall

Johann Sebastian Bach’s legacy as one of the greatest composers of all time is firmly rooted in both the depth and the breadth of his work and musical influence. His ability to synthesize aspects of multifarious musical styles across Europe – with incredible mastery and imaginative development of musical counterpoint, harmony, and musical ideas – has continued to inspire and teach composers and musicians across centuries of changing styles and musical tastes. The vast treasure of documented examples of his mastery more than suffices to justify his widespread veneration, yet there are other aspects of Bach’s compositional mind and soul that further demonstrate the genius of this incredible artist.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Thunder Down Under: Seashells in sand

Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

You may recall that on our way back from the East coast of Australia, we spent a few weeks in the little towns along the Murray River. Australia’s longest. We joined the river in Northern Victoria and followed it west and south through the state of South Australia, where it emptied into the Southern Ocean. [See “The third largest navigable river in the world,” May 27, 2014.]

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Correspondence: Insanity & other maladies

Edited by Moristotle

We shouldn’t be focusing on and condemning Donald Trump. Sure, he’s a despicable man, out for himself and the public be damned, narcissistic, [racist,] misogynistic, bullying, fraudulent, a conman, inveterate liar, [cheat,] and fantasist. But he also appears to be clinically insane.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Adventures from Bulgaria: El Camino de Santiago, Part VII (final)

Still further!

By Valeria Idakieva

[Part VI, “Santiago on the horizon,” was published on July 27.]

Santiago de Compostela is a grand city. Last night I had time only to have a shower and dinner, but now it was time to see some of the city’s splendor. The pilgrims’ mass would be at noon, as it was every day in the Cathedral of Santiago, so I had the whole morning to wander through streets that manifested the strength and beauty of more than a thousand years of history. Only a few minor tasks awaited my attention, such as buying a train ticket to Madrid and printing out a confirmation letter from a hostel in Madrid where I had booked a bed, but these were not going to spoil my walk of pleasure.