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 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.”

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Paris Journal: Dimanche du musée libre

Free-museum Sunday

By Moristotle

A number of websites announce that admission to Paris’s museums is “free the first Sunday of the month.” This can’t be literally true. The website My Parisian Life: Your City Guide to Life in Paris has a section titled, “List of all the free museums on 1st Sundays in Paris.” And the list distinguishes the 16 museums free “on the 1st Sunday of every month” from the one free only from March through October and the seven free only from November through March. And, somehow, the total of only 24 museums in Paris doesn’t seem like a big enough number...Maybe I should google “Paris museums that are never free on first Sunday.”

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Religious belief: what a bargain! (Ten Years Ago Yesterday)

By unknown, a copy of a painting
of Blaise Pascal (of the famous wager)
by François II Quesnel, which was made
for Gérard Edelinck in 1691
By Moristotle

[Originally published on August 1, 2007, not a word different, but the image added.]

Many have been impressed by Pascal’s wager* and convinced by it to go ahead and believe, what the heck! The odds are unbelievable: nothing whatsoever ventured (if you don’t value your personal integrity), and you might be a huge, huge winner! From Christopher Hitchens’s book God Is Not Great:

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Paris Journal: Un vieux chien découvre de nouvelles astuces sur le métro

An old dog learns new tricks on the metro

By Moristotle

The Paris metro proved instructive as well as marvelously handy for getting around the city.