Sunday, April 30, 2017

Missionary Kid: Pugla Walla

(Bengali for crazy man)

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: After the author submitted the story published yesterday, “I do not know him...but I respect him,” which refers to the Pugla Walla in today’s story, we discovered that he had never submitted his “Missionary Kid” story about the original Pugla Walla. Here it is, at last. And may Vic discover a few other such stories he hasn’t submitted yet!]

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thunder Down Under: I do not know him...

…But I respect him

By Vic Midyett

A few years ago I wrote a story about a “Pugla Walla” (Bengali for crazy person) in the village near our home in India in the 50’s. The villagers protected, fed, and respected him even though he was not considered “mentally normal.” This is the Indian societal way – and specifically the way of the Hindu faith – of honoring and holding in reverence every living creature.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Correspondence: Extraphenomenal

By Moristotle

Could this be just another tall tale?: “Tall story? Men and women have grown taller over last century, study shows” [Nicola Davis, Guardian, July 2016]. Excerpt:

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Ayard in springtime

By Moristotle

“We can go abroad, or aloft, why not ayard?” –An old book of adverbs

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: Are you in Holosync?

By Bob Boldt

[Notice: This is in no way intended as a commercial for Centerpointe, Holosync, or Bill Harris.]

Fifteen years ago, Ex-Wife #1 sent me a packet of CD’s that introduced me to an interesting system of meditation called Holosync. The promise was that you would immediately begin to “meditate as deeply (actually more deeply) than an experienced Zen monk, literally at the touch of a button.” (No kidding.) The program promised to allow you to instantly begin achieving the kind of deep meditative states formerly achieved only by adepts after years of spiritual practice. That promise seemed too good to be true, and like most similar claims, that proved to be the case.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Today is Anzac Day

Lest we forget

By Vic Midyett

[Editor’s Note: This piece was originally published for Anzac Day in 2015.]

Saturday [in 2015] was Anzac Day. Anzac Day [today this year] is the day to remember fallen soldiers and past wars. In Australia, it is more celebrated and honored than Australia Day. Every memorial everywhere in Australia, no matter how small the monument or the town, will have four soldiers or cadets standing at the north, south, east, and west corners of the memorial all night long, on guard until dawn facing away from the monument, with their heads bowed. Mostly silent, haunting dawn services will be held everywhere with a lone bugler or bagpiper playing as the first rays of the sun appear.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Happy Birthday, William Shakespeare!

If you were alive today....

By Moristotle

If you were alive today, William Shakespeare, how would you treat Donald Trump? Would you tend toward tragedy, or farce?

Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Small change and big

It can’t be denied

By James Knudsen

This year has seen a number of changes, big and small. At the national level we are continuing to see changes as a new administration goes about trying to make a great nation great again...? At the local level, the City of Tulare saw the oldest of its three high schools officially retire its mascot and all references to the name “Redskins.”

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: When the stars begin to fall

Art Institute of Chicago, original building
By Bob Boldt

In 1962, I was attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. For 13 days that October, the world was poised on the brink of universal destruction over the Cuban Missile Crisis. I remember crossing Michigan Avenue on my way to class and noticing a construction crew pouring curbing at the corner of Michigan and Monroe Streets immediately north of the Art Institute. I wondered whether, before the concrete had set, we might all be dead. The fear and apprehension was just that immediate, just that concrete in everyone’s minds.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Annual Arts Festival in Fremantle

That’s Shirley facing the camera
By Vic Midyett

Fremantle has just had its annual Arts Festival. The streets were closed off to vehicle traffic, and people spilled out of micro breweries, cafes, etc. onto the streets.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Peonies in glory

By Moristotle

I photographed my wife’s peonies in our back yard a week ago today, on April 9:

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Carlin did Moses, Dawkins, and me eight better

Richard Dawkins
Revising the Ten Commandments

By Moristotle

[Author’s Note: Originally published on July 8, 2008.]

When I took Richard Dawkins up on his suggestion in The God Delusion that the Ten Commandments of the Old Testament needed updating to align them with the advances mankind has made in understanding what’s what (and what ought to be what), I rather slavishly followed him in retaining the number 10 when I developed “My ‘New Ten Commandments’.” Of course, he was only following Moses, so why not?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Boldt Words & Images: Transformation (video)

By Bob Boldt

[Editor’s Note: The text of the author’s talk delivered on April 9 to his local Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, in Jefferson, Missouri, was published on March 26.]

Monday, April 10, 2017

Roger’s Reality: Why do people think the way they do?

By Roger Owens

[Editor’s Note: Today’s post launches a new recurring column. Roger tells me that he “comes up with this type of thing fairly often, and when the time is right it’s like an itch, a need to get it down on paper (so to speak) before it slips through my fingers like the proverbial sands.” Sounds as though we might expect continuing such recurrences....]

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Parquet (a sonnet)

By Eric Meub

[Originally published on January 9, 2016]


I trailed through cavern after cavern hung
with clouds of crystal from a painted sky,
and gawked at fountains on the lawn, a young
suburban girl bewildered by Versailles.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Correspondence: A few curious phenomena

By Moristotle

Will warmer weather bring the birds back earlier? That’s the question on many antsy birders’ minds. “How Different Spring Migrants Decide When to Head North” [Kenn Kaufman, Audobon, March 22]. Excerpt:

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

As the World Turns: It’s the end, my friend

By Ed Rogers

It was the summer of 2021 when the ice cap covering Greenland broke apart and slid into the ocean. The tidal wave was thirty feet high. It wiped out everything on the East Coast of North America, from Canada to South America. Millions died along the US coastline, and Florida was gone. Along the gulf, there were mass evacuations.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Remembering April 4, 2014

It started with “More about creativity”

By Moristotle

Thanks to Sharon Stoner for reminding us today, by commenting, of a “Fish for Friday” column published exactly three years ago today (when April 4 was a Friday). She made this comment:
I’ve often wondered if when I die will there be anyone left who knew me. Without friends all that is left is, alone!

Movie Review: The Most Hated Woman in America

Who is Madalyn Murray O’Hair

By Moristotle

Netflix’s latest streaming release, The Most Hated Woman in America, doesn’t flatter Madalyn Murray O’Hair, nor does it flatter the religious people who hated her for “standing up” (as she put it) for the First Amendment of the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, including freedom not only to believe, but also not to believe. Her lawsuit, Murray v. Curlett, led to the landmark 1963 Supreme Court ruling that ended official Bible-reading in American public schools.

Monday, April 3, 2017

In Your Dreams: For real

Accurate in detail  & intensely felt

By André Duvall

I can often recall many specific details about my dreams in the first few minutes upon awaking from them. In contrast, I have spoken with several people who say that they do not remember lots of details from their dreams, or who claim to not remember dreaming much at all. Perhaps their dreams do not cause them to awaken, and thus are forgotten entirely. I likely have many of those kinds of dreams as well, the memory of which is long lost in deep slumber earlier in the night. Yet, even though I can recall details of a dream quite well for a few precious minutes, if I do not record those details, the specifics of the dream often fall away, and I can recall only generalities later in the day.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Weddings and funerals

By Roger Owens

I spent a few days at my mother’s house last week, about an hour away in Melbourne, Florida, and I will spend a few more next week. Unfortunately, Mom fell and broke her arm and can’t be alone just yet, so myself and my brothers are taking turns staying over. Ironically enough, she fell at a reunion of the Harbor City Volunteer Ambulance Squad, which has been defunct for many years, but the house was full of people who have spent their lives caring for the sick and injured and carting them to the hospital, so at least they knew what to do.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

No fooling

Spring has sprung (in the Northern Hemisphere)

By Moristotle

In Your Dreams: Swan song

With a twist

By Moristotle

I had a fascinating dream this week, perfect for recounting on the first day of a new month.