Quick (loaded) thought experiment: Would you sign a form that allowed your kid's school (grades 6 through 12) to handle just about all discipline cases in-school, even if that risked your kid's being paddled, or would you sign a form that says your child will be assured strict due process under… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 4:49PM

Existential Threats

            An existential threat to the human species is a large-ish asteroid or middling-size comet hitting the Earth, or a mega-super-volcanic event — a Yellowstone eruption, say, as the start of a series of super eruptions — or aRead full post »

            With all due respect to Graham Nash, the various Occupy Movements, The World Social Forum, the New Left, and, what the hell, most Left and Left-ish movements back to the Bolsheviks, and most Right-Wing movements, too — compared and contrasted withRead full post »

 "When the banner unfurls, all reason is in the trumpet." — Ukrainian Proverb


            This is an initial response to what I think I heard on NPR this morning, Sunday, 14 September 2014, and to some quotations from UK PM Davi/Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 7, 2014 11:32PM

History Lesson: Judgment Day Plus Ten


"The past is never dead. It's not even past.”
William Faulkner, Requiem for a Nun


Looking back upon the Apocalypse,

Warming our hands as the last books flame,

We play again our nightly game

Of whom, precisely, we should blame.… Read full post »

             Some Australians joke that the British government sent Australia their felons and North America the Puritans — and Australia got the better deal. Those Ausies have a point certainly this far: the American Puritan heritageRead full post »

SEPTEMBER 1, 2014 9:25PM

Words Mean (Yet Again: Sept. 2014)

[…] Still harping on my daughter:
[…] I'll speak to him again.—What do you read, my lord?

Words, words, words.

What is the matter, my lord?

Between who? (Hamlet 2.2.191-94)


        &Read full post »

"our courteous Antony,

Whom ne'er the word of 'No' woman heard speak"

— His aide and friend Enobarbus on Mark Antony,

in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra


            I think most of my readers will agree with the formula, "No/Read full post »

             Words mean in complicated ways, but they do mean, and this gets important when words come from people with power.

            In a difficult case and with a 4-3 split, theRead full post »

AUGUST 24, 2014 7:28PM

"Food Porn" Sequel: Food Erotica

            I have written already on "Food Porn" TV commercials and won't push that point, or at least not here. I will also continue to ignore all the cooking shoes on TV, but I do want to update the point with this much on movies: food eroticaRead full post »

    When the trumpets sounded, the army shouted,

and at the sound of the trumpet,

when the men gave a loud shout, the wall collapsed;

so everyone charged straight in, and they took the city.

TheyRead full post »

AUGUST 16, 2014 5:52PM

ISIS and the Fall of Rome: A Parable


            The Christian God won out over those of ancient Rome for many reasons, but most basically because there were significant numbers of people in the Empire who were "frustrated" in Eric Hoffer's definition in The True Believer (1Read full post »

AUGUST 13, 2014 12:20AM

"Squeamishness" Again

“I live in the Managerial Age, in a world of "Admin." The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid "dens of crime" that Dickens loved to paint. It is not done even in concentration camps and labour camps. In those we see its final result. But it is conceivedRead full post »

            One day early in my career as an English teacher, a student at a tutorial on his essay said to me, "You know, for a guy so far Left in politics, you're a real conservative when it comes to grammar." I asserted in mostly mock indignatiRead full post »

AUGUST 10, 2014 3:34PM

Still Nobody Special


            I just returned from some travels and have been reinforced in my views that I am nobody special, but, also, so are most people — both human people and corporate people, as in "Corporations are people, my friend."

 Read full post »

Back to Basics #82

             In a way this post supplements my rather insistent request for some apologies from the late 20th-century "Lefter-than-Thou" Left, this time adding in some issues of pretty much just style.

   Read full post »

It's significant that in deciding what's being called The Hobby-Lobby Case the Supreme Court of the United States found, in the words of Justice Samuel Alito, that "The owners of the businesses have religious objections to abortion, and according to their religious beliefs the four contraceptive me… Read full post »

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES (2014) came out several days ago, and I hesitated to go see it since it looked like a real downer. I went, though, since I  respected the 2011 RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES, and DAWN got mostly good reviews, including a solidly-argued… Read full post »

 Just as you do not know how the lifebreath passes into the limbs

within the womb of the pregnant woman,

so you cannot foresee the actions of God […].  

— Koheleth (Ecclesiastes 11.5, Tanakh)


            Behind/Read full post »

      In a moment of candor, an official of the Alumni Association or U of I Foundation or other money-raising activity of the Univsersity of Illinois told me that soliciting people like me — nonrich people — barely repaid the effort. We were solicited, persistent… Read full post »


"I may have the genetic coding that I’m inclined to be an alcoholic, but I have the desire not to do that - and I look at the homosexual issue the same way." — Gov. Rick Perry, 11 June 2014


"Rale is... the right thing/… Read full post »

Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, ‘I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doingRead full post »

        Some folks in the local media out here in the West (and elsewhere) have viewed with alarm the last century and more of a rising percentage of deaths among American young people stemming from violence. Well, Bill Maher and other knockers of vaccination and in… Read full post »

      It looks like I have a Spam-bot of some sort either buried so deep on my computer that my virus scans can't get at it — or them — or some similar bit of milicious mischief is on my account with Miami University, which their highly competent IT people haven't… Read full post »

Cannibalism was reported by Flavius Josephus during the siege of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 AD, and according to Appian, the population of Numantia during the Roman Siege of Numantia in the 2nd century BC was reduced to cannibalism and suicide.


        &nbsRead full post »