Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Limestone rock wall

Limestone rock wall (Detail #1)
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

This abstract-looking painting is actually a realistic interpretation of a limestone rock wall at the sight of the oldest jail in Western Australia, in Fremantle, where we live. It closed only as recently as 1992. It was built by Australia’s first convicts to house them and others afterwards, for whom its condition was notoriously disgusting.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 11

Stepen Kabak

By Ed Rogers

The black sedan pulled into the alley behind the hotel where Mary and Tom had stayed the night before. Two men got out of the front, and one opened a rear door. The man who got out of the back seat was shorter than the other two men, but there was an air about him that let you know he wasn’t someone to be disregarded. Just looking into his cold, unemotional eyes had made many a man wet himself.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Correspondence: Fanfare without Trumpets

By Moristotle

Oh my! This is good stuff! “We Aren’t Built to Live in the Moment” [Martin E. P. Seligman & John Tierney, NY Times, May 19]. The “mental health field” has been broken for so long. If this methodology is perceived well and expanded, it just might be what changes “the field” to actually being effective. Excerpt:

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 10

Bad Guys Everywhere

By Ed Rogers

Tom stepped out into the cold morning air to find that the wind was no longer blowing and the snow had stopped, but there was still a chill coming out of the north. That time of the year, that close to the North Pole, the sun never really came up. It just went from being very dark to being a little light.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Loneliest Liberal: Trump at the dinner table

Business as usual

By James Knudsen

We are currently in the midst of the latest drama to come out of the Trump White House. It is alleged that President Trump asked then-FBI Chief James Comey to “let go” of the Russia investigation. I offer the following explanation of the thinking – er, the mindset – behind that statement. I’m not making an apology and I’m not excusing a President seeking to make an uncomfortable situation go away. My only hope is to illuminate.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 9

First Love

By Ed Rogers

They moved quietly down the dark, cold hall. They stepped ever so lightly. The thought of confronting some Russian they might awaken wasn’t very appetizing. Expecting the toilet from hell, Tom and Mary held their breath as they stepped into the bathroom and found the light. To their surprise, it was very clean and with a nice big bathtub and small hot-water heater on the wall above the faucets.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ten Years Ago Today

By Lucas van Valckenborch –
Grandes énigmes de l'humanité -
éditions Larousse, Public Domain
Our own Tower of….

By Moristotle

[Originally published on May 25, 2007, not one word different.]

The original world envisioned in Genesis Chapter 11 “had one language and one speech” [Verse 1] and “the people [were] one” [Verse 6]. The Tower of Babel, far from being a tower of babble, was built as a monument to that unity – as a bulwark, somehow, to protect it:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 8

A Cold Day in Russia

By Ed Rogers

Mary and Tom were taken through two doors and seated in chairs and their hoods were removed. From behind a table, two bright lights shone on their faces. All they could see of the man across from them were his feet under the table.
    “Welcome to Russia, Mrs. Cahill, Mr. Warring. Just what do you think I can help you with, my American friends?”

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Oval landscape

Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

This oval landscape captures a scene adjacent to a travel park we stayed in about three years ago while driving through South Australia, near the Murray River. It is about 15" across.

Monday, May 22, 2017

The astonishing appeal of candidate Trump

Personal factors reflected in many mirrors

By Moristotle

It appears certain now that Donald Trump wouldn’t have been elected President without help from Vladimir Putin of Russia and James B. Comey of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But even without winning in the Electoral College, Trump would still have gotten many millions of votes. How was that possible?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 7

The Plane Ride

By Ed Rogers

Tom took back everything he said about Finland being no colder than New York. The sun wasn’t up yet. It was that time of morning when the light of day and the dark of night seemed to be fighting each other. The wind came out of the north and it felt, as they walked to the hangar, like a thousand daggers hitting them.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Sketches from Salt Lake: Diamond of light

Sunrise poem

By Geoffrey Dean

Diamond of light
Streaming through the attic,
Dancing with the dust.

Friday, May 19, 2017

West Coast Observer: Honoré de Balzac’s Unknown Masterpiece

The President and our Congressman

By William Silveira

Before his self-recusal from the Russian/Trump Campaign investigation, our California (22nd) District’s Congressman, Devin Nunes, head of the House Intelligence Committee, made a surreptitious trip to the White House (no doubt at the bidding of the President) to collect information on what he and the President seemed to think was the burning issue before the Committee – information leaks. He did this without informing members of his own Committee. When what was obvious all along became blindingly obvious (that Nunes could not impartially lead an investigation into the issue of Russian [read Putin] meddling in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of the Trump Campaign Committee), Nunes recused himself from the investigation.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 6

How Cold Is Too Cold?

By Ed Rogers

Tom caught a plane out of Atlanta into Seattle. From Seattle, he flew over the North Pole to Helsinki, Finland. It was the long way to Finland, but the only other flights going out of Atlanta to Finland stopped in New York. He wasn’t sure how they had found him in the little town of Milton. He had no doubt the New York airports would be covered – his friends in the SUV would be all over New York looking for him.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Sunflower

“Sunflower” (detail)
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

A friend gave us some sunflower seeds that she had had for years. No one thought they would grow, but out of the entire packet, one did. Shirley painted “Sunflower” just for this friend:

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Correspondence: America has a tremendous fantastic president

By Moristotle

Who’s mutinying? I don’t see any impeachment quorum forming. “Trump’s Madness Invites Mutiny” [Charles M. Blow, NY Times, May 15]. Excerpt:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 5

In Drag

By Ed Rogers

Tom was trying to fight his way out of a fog. For some reason, his eyes wouldn’t open. Somewhere overhead he heard sirens, but he couldn’t seem to get the direction right. Suddenly, his eyes popped open as though he were waking from a bad dream. Pain shot through his head like a bolt of lightning. He could still hear the sirens – they were loud and close by. They seemed to be coming from somewhere up above him. He tried to move, but his feet weren’t working right. His head cleared enough for him to realize that half of his body was in the water, and he was lying on a muddy bank. Tom used the grass growing along the creek bank for a handhold. He slowly pulled himself, hand over hand, up the muddy slope, until he had made his way out of the creek and onto dry land once more.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Poetry & Portraits: Ode to a Department Store

By Eric Meub


Discriminate, my child! Leave cheaper wares
to bargain-basement huntresses downstairs;
let Target’s multitudes stampede or graze;
let online shoppers stalk in negligees.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 4

The Brotherhood

By Ed Rogers

The Professor lived outside of a small town in Virginia called Milford. It was still early, and there was freeway most of the way, only two hundred miles. He should be able to make the drive in a little more than three hours; he would be there long before dark. He hoped he could put the story to bed before nightfall, and take a few days off before heading to Finland.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Floating on top

By Victor L. Midyett

Have you noticed that some folks go through life with little depth in their thinking? I have, at times, envied them. Their minds seem so much simpler than my more busy one, and seemingly less complicated. They appear to float on top of life.
    I have, however, made another observation about them. They do not seem to feel deeply about anything much. That is not to say they don’t feel emotional pain, because they do. Their comprehension of that pain, of its cause or roots, appears to be minimal. Their need to comprehend these things, even, appears to be minimal. But still, I tend to envy them.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Sailing into Sunset

“Sailing into Sunset” [detail,
with the artist’s signature three birds
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

“Sailing into Sunset” is the largest painting Shirley has ever done, about 2' x 6'. The scene is near the point where the Swan River is joined by the Canning River in Perth, Western Australia (see the image below):

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 3

A Good Story and a Pretty Girl

By Ed Rogers

Trying to decide if he wanted to drive all the way back to Maryland and his house, Tom had made it as far as the “Lucky 7,” a local bar whose only costumers were the workers from the New Daily. The brick on the wall outside said the bar had been there since 1926. From the looks of the inside Tom was sure the brick was real.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Correspondence: Particulars

By Moristotle

Whichever constitutionally sanctioned body finally undertakes to remove Trump from office, whoever argues that he is insane might use these particulars as a prompt: “Way Too Many Trumps” [Gail Collins, NY Times, May 4]. Excerpt:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Penny for Her Thoughts: What to take, what to let go

By Penelope Griffiths

What things should you, would you keep when downsizing from your home of 17 years to a small – much smaller – apartment?
    Sounds easy, really. Just take what you need or what fits.
    Well, aside from what furniture or clothes to take, it isn’t easy, as I found out and am indeed still finding out!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Chapter 2

A Reporter Is Born

By Ed Rogers

Tom had been riding high for the twenty-four hours after the paper hit the streets. The New Daily scooped everybody, including the FBI. Their online edition had over two million hits and was still climbing. It just didn’t get any better than that. Everybody wanted to buy him drinks and shake his hand. He was now like the star of a new hit movie, titled, “Cahill Done It.”

Friday, May 5, 2017

When Ruben & Juan are deported...

...economic & human misery follow

By Shirley Skufca Hickman

Lured by the offer of a good job and a better life, Ruben entered California from Mexico illegally to work as a farm laborer. He lived here for many years, married an American citizen, and they had a son. Eager to get a green card, he collected documentation showing he was a reliable and steady employee, had paid taxes, and had no police record. His son’s pediatrician even provided a letter describing what a good father he was.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Thunder Down Under: Kimberly Vastness

“Kimberly Vastness”
(detail: Boab tree)
Painting by Shirley Deane/Midyett

Text by Vic Midyett

A friend of ours has been wanting a painting of Shirley’s for years and finally decided what its subject should be. She is from the Kimberley region of Western Australia, and part Aboriginal.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Fiction: Unwanted President. Prolog & Chapter 1

& Three Days After

By Ed Rogers


Two years after the election of Theodore Allen Benton to the White House the voters were having second thoughts. Not only were there no new jobs as promised, but under Benton more companies were moving overseas and getting larger tax breaks to help pay for the move. The wars in the Middle East were raging and instead of ending the wars, Benton had sent fifty thousand more troops. The economy, which had been growing at the time of the election, was now in a tailspin with no hope of its recovering.
    Yet, in spite of all that, his party had run away with the mid-term elections. For two years already, they had controlled the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court, and the White House. And now they were set to do it for two more years.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Correspondence: Je suis avec vous

By Moristotle

Moristotle, that verse you wrote about Trump retreating “to private room to grab your pussy,” has anyone commented that the verse presumes the generalized reader, which includes men, to have a pussy?

Monday, May 1, 2017

For the fifth anniversary of my retirement

Why I decided to retire

By Moristotle

In the final hours of overnight between Thursday and Friday, the remnants of sleep inundated me with what felt like some hidden layers of past remembrances, with feelings of loss, of shortcoming, of empathy for a few people along the way.