Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Correspondence: Diddling

Edited by Moristotle

[Items of correspondence are not attributed; they remain anonymous. They have been chosen for their inherent interest as journalism, story, or provocative opinion, which may or may not be shared by the editor or other members of the staff of Moristotle & Co.]

Harvey Weinstein’s being thrown out of the Motion Picture Academy is like they’re overdoing it because nothing was done about Donald Trump. At least Weinstein was good at his job. “Right and Left React to Harvey Weinstein Reports” [Anna Dubenko, NY Times, October 13]. Excerpt:

Monday, October 16, 2017

Fiction: Dancing at the Driftwood Hotel (#4)

A novella with some real characters

By Roger Owens

Porcelain Jones was still terrified. Something had to go wrong. Everything in her nineteen years always had gone wrong, and there was no reason to think now would be any different. Her father had died, her stepdaddy lost his job like every other black man when all the white boys came home from the war, and took to drinking and beating her mother and everyone else near him. And worse. He’d tried to come to her bed more than once, but he’d always been so drunk she’d been able to fight him off. She worked a little at Mrs. Jeffries’ dance hall to make enough money to get out of the house, but she had known that sometime she would have to sell herself to live. There was no work anywhere. The service jobs that had sustained her family for generations were going to white women who were out of work for the same reason black men’s jobs were going to white men. The white men were back.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Eight Years Ago Today: Georgia O’Keeffe, at one with nature

By Moristotle

[Originally published on October 15, 2009, not a word different.]

Last night I watched my recording of Lifetime!’s 2009 TV movie, Georgia O’Keeffe, directed by Bob Balaban. The interplay between Joan Allen as O’Keeffe (1887-1986) and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) is as scintillating cinema as the story of O’Keeffe and Stieglitz’s affecting 30-year relationship is fascinating drama. And as far as I have been able to tell, the actors were successfully cast for their physical resemblance to the principals.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Futures (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on April 9, 2016]


We had then (still) tomorrow, Saarinen,
a Trans-World tapered, curled, stiletto heeled,
and Kahn. We thought we’d live without a Penn
Station (what a leveled playing field).

Friday, October 13, 2017

Correspondence: Malevolent or incognizant?

Edited by Moristotle

[Items of correspondence are not attributed; they remain anonymous. They have been chosen for their inherent interest as journalism, story, or provocative opinion, which may or may not be shared by the editor or other members of the staff of Moristotle & Co.]

Trump’s lack of self-awareness is, as ever, awe-inspiring. I hope he will soon be examined by a team of psychiatrists and their consensus report made public: “Trump rips the NFL for disrespecting the flag. Then he jokes about a military flag ceremony” [Patrick Martin, Washington Post, October 12]. Excerpt:

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hoping you and yours are well

And what about everyone else?

By Moristotle

Yesterday morning I messaged a beloved cousin, “I hope you and all yours are well.” Even before I pressed Send, my “inner voice” spoke up to remind me that it represents my universally compassionate self, which avoids stepping on a bug or a little frog, which is sobered into silence whenever I eat the flesh of an animal that did not hope to be slaughtered to become food, which had been stirred the day before when I witnessed from a few feet away a frail-looking bird hovering on a branch of our persimmon tree, the mild wind ruffling its feathers.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nine Years Ago Today: Learning experience

By Moristotle

[Originally published on October 11, 2008, not a word different, but with images added.]

“Are you sorry?” I asked the young head cashier at a local home improvement store. She had just straightened out my $25 discount coupon on a purchase of over $300 for building and gardening materials. I was getting set to build a raised planting area my wife wanted in the back yard.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

On fanciful ideas

Reflections over the kitchen sink

By Moristotle

Spellbound at its revelations, my wife and I have been watching Ken Burns’s Vietnam War. Watching it is tearing at my heart, and hers too, I think. The war’s stupidity, our leaders’ pathological need to “save face,” the hundreds of thousands of deaths, square miles of beautiful land burned and bombed, the angst of soldiers, their families, their fellow citizens torn asunder by opposed stances on the war….

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fiction: Dancing at the Driftwood Hotel (#3)

A novella with some real characters

By Roger Owens

[Editor’s Note: On Saturday, this book finally became available in paperback. The long delay since its availability as a Kindle eBook owes to two things: (1) Hurricane Irma, which swept along the west coast of the author’s state, prompting him to evacuate, and (2) the ineptitude of the book’s cover designer ( m e ), who hadn’t noticed that some of the text originally extended into the area that gets trimmed off after each book is printed and bound.]

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Correspondence: Tools of violence

Edited by Moristotle

[Items of correspondence are not attributed; they remain anonymous. They have been chosen for their inherent interest as journalism, story, or provocative opinion, which may or may not be shared by the editor or other members of the staff of Moristotle & Co.]

Saturday, October 7, 2017

It has never been about a song

Slave trading block in
Fredricksburg, Virginia (1926)
A reply to “Choose Respect

By Ed Rogers

The voices in the halls of Congress that cried out against slavery were drowned out by the sound of the slave auction outside. No discussion was to be had, you were for slavery or against it. The debate would go on until, at last, it started a war. The debate and the war changed nothing. Black men and black women were no longer called slaves, but they were treated no better than they had been.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Choose Respect

By Victor L. Midyett

My wish would be for the National Football League and its players to be open to a serious discussion about the American flag and our national anthem’s being off limits to anything other than our nation’s traditional habits of somber respect.
    Is change needed? Yes, and I completely agree with the players’ issues. Their reason is righteous. Their “tool” to advocate change is not.

Monday, October 2, 2017

Fiction: Dancing at the Driftwood Hotel (#2)

A novella with some real characters

By Roger Owens

Lottie Jane Miller was tired of walking. She knew what her momma had said about taking rides from strangers, but if she kept turning down rides she was never going to get anywhere. The sun hung flaming in the Florida sky, while both ends of the flat, empty highway disappeared into the shimmering September haze. She shaded her eyes with a hand that was at once delicately boned and roughly used. Her nails were broken and dirty, and calluses marred her palms. She dreaded another night out in the mosquito-ridden woods of Florida’s Big Bend, where the west coast takes a turn to the south. Last night she’d felt like a plate of ribs at Hank’s Barbecue back in Wewahitchka, where she’d run off from the other day, the damn bugs were that bad. “Wewa” was outside of Panama City, and she had considered going there; the air station at Panama made the place a real town. But for sure her daddy, the no-good bastard, would find her in Panama City. He was probably there right now, looking for her. She hoped he got run over by one of those busses that brought new draftees to the base, until she remembered the war was over and not so many recruits came there anymore. Well, as her mother would say if she wasn’t dead, one could always hope for the best. Maybe a farm tractor would do the job instead. The thought of Daddy mashed under big black tractor tires made her feel a little better. There would be a lot of blood. Maybe he would scream. She smiled, seeing it in her imagination. She peered north up the highway, where there seemed to be a shimmer in the haze. Was that a car?

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Fiction: Betrayed

A chapter from a novel in progress

By Ed Rogers

[Editor’s Note: Ed tells me that “The Unspoken War is a tale of international corruption that threatens the existence of a large number of species of sharks. Charlie Blankenship had never heard of shark finning, but a chance meeting and a trip to Costa Rica changed all that. His encounter with the Taiwanese mafia and a beautiful French environmentalist may lead to his death, but would you expect anything else in Paradise?”
    The chapter we share here highlights shark finning, which you might not have heard of either. Below the chapter we provide excerpts from a couple of publications to throw further light on the deplorable practice, in Costa Rica, where Ed’s novel is set. You may, of course, elect to read them first, for the background.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Bailey was a good dog

By Roger Owens

Bailey was a good dog. She wanted to be a good dog; she tried very hard. We first saw Bailey in a photo from a group called Rescue Sisters, out of Palm City Florida. She was at the back of the cage, sitting on her tail, obviously scared to death. The post said she was aggressive. I knew right off they were wrong. She wasn’t aggressive, she was terrified. Of what there was no way to tell, but Bailey was a brindle Catahoula, a breed we have extensive experience with, and when brindle hounds are frightened they tend to respond aggressively. A fine point, but there is a difference.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Drs. Strangelove

Life (& death) mirroring art

By Moristotle

Anyone ought to act soon who would like to see Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film classic, Dr. Strangelove, one more time. It may soon be too late: “Kim’s Rejoinder to Trump’s Rocket Man: ‘Mentally Deranged U.S. Dotard’” [Choe Sang-Hun, NY Times, September 21]. Excerpt:

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Local custom

By James Knudsen

Nearly thirty years ago I was driving to St. John’s Hospital in Santa Monica, California to see for the first time my nephew. Fifteen days ago I watched as that same nephew made his mother, Morissa, a mother-in-law. This milestone occurred in the Czech Republic capital of Prague.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Correspondence: Tweets & titters

Edited by Moristotle

[Items of correspondence are not attributed; they remain anonymous. They have been chosen for their inherent interest as journalism, story, or provocative opinion, which may or may not be shared by the editor or other members of the staff of Moristotle & Co.]

Trump could never even think tweets like these: “The Trump Tweets We’ll Never See” [Andrew Postman, NY Times, August 19]. Excerpt:

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Correspondence: The sexes

Edited by Moristotle

[Items of correspondence are not attributed; they remain anonymous. They have been chosen for their inherent interest as journalism, story, or provocative opinion, which may or may not be shared by the editor or other members of the staff of Moristotle & Co.]

Interesting view of feminist philosophy, which seems to promise improvement, not only in the climate for women, but also in philosophical thinking itself: “Feminism and the Future of Philosophy” [Gary Gutting, NY Times, September 18]. Excerpt:

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #6

moral merit badge, 8.17, 30 x 40, mounted on canvas

By Susan C. Price

6th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Interview: Carolyn Richardson on Math-U-See (and other schoolings from life)

Interviewed by Moristotle

My wife and I have for many years purchased seeds for our bird feeders from the Wild Bird Center in Chapel Hill. That’s where I met Carolyn Richardson and her younger son, Nolan, both of whom had started working there a few weeks earlier.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Paris Journal: Side trip to Wales

Welcome to Caerdydd (Welsh for Cardiff)

By Moristotle

On Saturday, June 17, the Paris metro stations were relatively deserted for our 6 a.m. departure from Mark’s apartment. We were off to take a train from Gare Du Nord to the port city of Calais, to be met there by our friend Penelope Griffiths, who had driven over from Cardiff, Wales to meet us and take us back on a ferry across the English Channel so we could see the White Cliffs of Dover.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #5

memory lemur, 6.17, 30 x 38

By Susan C. Price

5th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Monday, September 11, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #4

lil torso, 2017, 10 x 11

By Susan C. Price

4th of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Fiction: Dancing at the Driftwood Hotel (#1)

A novella with some real characters

By Roger Owens

[Editor’s Note: Hurricane Irma seems to be telling us to go ahead and announce  n o w  the forthcoming publication of Roger’s novella: “With 130-M.P.H. Winds, Storm’s Eye Begins Passing Over the Florida Keys,” says a headline today in the NY Times. “The eye of the Category 4 hurricane was 15 miles southeast of Key West, the National Hurricane Center said.”]

Sketches from the Twin Cities: Greetings from Minnesota

Scenes from the 2017 Minnesota State Fair

By Geoffrey Dean

For the inaugural post of “Sketches” from the Twin Cities, after our move there last month from Salt Lake City, here are some scenes from the 2017 Minnesota State Fair. I will let the photos and videos tell the story, with minimal help from my aphoristic captions.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Poetry & Portraits: An Essay on Ma’am

Sequel to “Ode to a Department Store

By Eric Meub


We had a creedI shop therefore I am;
We had a name — the honorific Ma’am,
that word of light whose bright acoustics beam
about the altars of the old regime.

Ten Years Ago Today: All in or all out

By Moristotle

[Originally published on September 9, 2007, not a word different, same image as then, but with an author’s note at the very end.]

I have talked approvingly of what I understood to be Kierkegaard’s view, on the question of belief in God, that it was nobler (as well as more accurate) to hang with one hand from one ledge of the narrow chasm of religious belief and with the other hand from the opposite ledge than to transfer either hand to join the other on the same ledge. Hanging precariously from both ledges symbolized doubt. Kierkegaard thought doubt nobler because it consigned the doubter to the perpetual angst of his uncertainty whether to believe or not to believe, since, as a matter of accuracy, the person could not be objectively sure which belief was right.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #3

furies & Jefferson, nothing is real, 8.2017, 44 x 30

By Susan C. Price

3rd of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #2

dogs that only i remember, 6.17, 29 x 30.5

By Susan C. Price

2nd of 6 new paintings recently “finished”....

Monday, September 4, 2017

West Coast Observer: Soundings from the Portuguese

With a nod to Elizabeth Barrett Browning

By William Silveira

Acquiring new skills in old age is said to help ward off dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. Taking a half-way measure, I decided instead to improve my knowledge of Portuguese.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Susan’s Stuff: for september, #1

death sizzle, 7.2017, 9 x 11

By Susan C. Price

6 new paintings recently got “finished,” so of course let’s stuff them on moristotle [one at a time on prime-numbered days over the next two weeks, at the editor’s insistence; he thinks this stuff is “rich...in glorious expression, color, evocation, ARTISTRY!”].

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

By simple domestic beauty...


By Moristotle

Last evening, as I was bringing in the bird feeders (to protect the seeds and thistle from overnight deterioration from moisture), the waning light was just sufficient to dazzle me with the beauty of our back yard. Thanks to my almost always-handy smartphone for its adequate camera:

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Correspondence: Fight club

By Moristotle

Allen Crowder is fighting at 5:00 p.m. today, Las Vegas time. I saw the poster shown below at the fitness center yesterday morning:

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Two Years Ago Today: Is some kind of real world lurking out there?

An invitation to read a recent NY Times article

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 27, 2015, not a word different, same image as then.]

Ordinarily I would have included this as a “fish” for tomorrow’s column [August 28, 2015]. But George Johnson’s August 24 [2015] NY Times article, “The Widening World of Hand-Picked Truths,” offers so insistent a caution about competing subjectivities that I couldn’t resist devoting today’s column to it.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: I fret not

By James Knudsen

It occurred to me recently that my longing to master the guitar has endured.
    As a teenager I had a subscription to Hot Rod magazine. Cars had long held my interest and, as the hormones kicked in, I delved into the world of V-8s, long-duration camshafts, and tunnel-ram manifolds.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Four Years Ago Today: A blind man on seeing

Hugues de Montalembert
Seeing beyond

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 22, 2013, not a word different, same image as then.]

Sometimes, or maybe most of the time, I hardly see anything at all.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Book Review: Unwanted President

A highly entertaining story, based on true events, and inspired by a certain conspiracy theory

By Moristotle

My paperback copy of Ed Rogers’s political thriller, Unwanted President, arrived on Monday, occasioning me to review it on the publisher’s website, which happens to be Amazon.com. For readers who haven’t been to the website yet, to purchase their own copy of Ed’s book (and read my review), I thought I’d provide that link and the review itself:

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Seven Years Ago Today: Saint Ayaan

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 20, 2010, not a word different, same image as then.
    And I did read a “Travis McGee” in the days following, but it didn’t have the same zing that it had had for me when I read it twenty or thirty years earlier.

To my admiring mind, Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a contemporary heroine, a person who, were she a Catholic (and passed on to her reward), might very well be nominated for canonization.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

As the World Turns: It turns for my friend Harvey

By Ed Rogers

In my December 29, 2015 account of my friend Harvey’s Costa Rica tale, “Shots in the night,” I reported Harvey’s fleeing Costa Rica after living there for 11 years, getting married (to Ileana), buying a house and a bar and land on the coast, and even becoming a citizen of Costa Rica, which meant he could then own guns.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Haiku (Eleven Years Ago Tomorrow)

By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 19, 2006, with no more words than this, but without the image, found on the Internet.]

Three naked poplars,
. . .silent above russet-leafed
slope of steaming lake.

Copyright © 2017 by Moristotle

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Correspondence: Decency & the U.S. Constitution

By Moristotle

I’m going to be a bit of a provocateur relative to Charlottesville.
    Can you believe Trump? A genius at the un-PC sound bite. Making it hard for his Republican friends. Pretty soon his core supporters will be the same as David Duke’s.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Subconscious communication

Open to scientific research, or not?

By Victor L. Midyett

Subconscious communication seems to be something that just happens, out of the blue. It’s a difficult event to document. Perhaps it’s a mystical force woven through words and thoughts that can’t be (or hasn’t yet been) measured scientifically. It seems unlikely to me that it could be measured by science. I like to consider it a transcending energy that, like space, has no boundaries or limits to its reach.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Movie Review: War & Art – Part 2


By Jonathan Price

A very different kind of film from Dunkirk [reviewed yesterday] is Maudie, an indie biopic about a Canadian folk artist, Maud Lewis, which played in only two theatres in town for a week. Like Dunkirk, it is based “on a true story.” But Maud’s life and art are different from our common parables about human existence, or the life of an artist. And so the film is a commentary on the intensity and power of personal vision, dedication to beauty, and the transcendence of loneliness and suffering. A single film can do all that. Maud lived her entire life in a small town in Nova Scotia, and most of her adult life in a small house on its outskirts.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Movie Review: War & Art – Part 1


By Jonathan Price

In my unrelenting search for something worthwhile to feast my eyes on in late afternoon or early evening and take me from the Trump-drenched world to other worlds worth contemplating, while munching on the obligatory bag of unbuttered popcorn, I recently saw two films, Dunkirk and Maudie. The titles, as so frequently, tell you very little; the names of places or people or events, and they promise very little, unless you happen to know about these things in advance. They don’t really tell you about content or feeling or approach. You’re supposed to learn these on your own, through general cultural knowledge, or the deluge of previews in previous visits to movie houses. And I probably see more previews than the average moviegoer, trying to get my movie fix at least twice a week, arriving early to locate a suitable seat and to see previews.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Fly (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on March 12, 2016]


She steps into the church, unprepared, underdressed,
just to shake off the downpour, the street noise defied
by a coffin-lid door slowly sealing inside
with the shadows her hurry to go un-confessed.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Sophie & Amelia’s birthday party

Colors of a rainbow

By Vic Midyett

Last weekend, Sophie & Amelia, the two girls next door who were featured in a painting by Shirley a couple of months ago, celebrated their 3rd & 6th birthdays, respectively. (Their birth dates are close.)
    Their mom made all the eats, including the multi-layered sponge cake and the white-chocolate unicorn.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Paris Journal: Notre visite de 2016 au Musée Nissim de Camondo

Our 2016 visit to the Museum Nissim de Camondo

By Moristotle

I wrote on Thursday (“Dimanche du musée libre/Free-museum Sunday”) that, if I could find Edmund White’s book, The Flâneur: A Stroll through the Paradoxes of Paris, “I would quote from the passage that piqued our interest in the Gustave Moreau Museum,” for I assumed that “something about White’s enthusiasm for things Moreau must have decided us.”

Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Canadian West

By James T. Carney

The Canadian West is in many ways a continuation of two parts of the American West – the Great Plains [“Visions of the American West (Part 1): Introduction & the Great Plains”] and the Rockies [“…(Part 3): The Mountains”]. When I fled into Calgary, I could see miles and miles of flat, fertile farm land – much like the American states of the Great Plains. The only difference is that the further north one goes – and Calgary is only about 100 miles north of the American border – the shorter the growing season. What has made Calgary has been the Canadian oil boom. Calgary has almost doubled in size in the last twenty years growing from 700,000 people to 1.3 million. The down town area is bigger than Pittsburgh’s – and cleaner.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Sketches from Salt Lake: Ode of joy to rabbits

In Bloomington, Illinois

By Geoffrey Dean

We’re back in Salt Lake City following three weeks in Bloomington, Illinois, for the 15th edition of the Illinois Chamber Music Festival at Illinois Wesleyan University. Coaching young chamber groups and performing some of the iconic works from the chamber music literature with fellow faculty members make this a meaningful experience each summer that I’m always happy to come back to. The highlight of this year’s faculty performances, according to an audience member who’s been coming to the concerts for over a decade, was our rendition of the Dvorak String Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 97. The lesser-known “cousin” of Dvorak’s popular “American” quartet, the quintet was also written during the summer of 1893, when the composer was staying not too far from Bloomington, in Spillville, Iowa. How “American” is the American quintet? The theme of the variations movement sounds a lot like “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.”