APRIL 17, 2014 12:28AM

"Put that kid out in the dirt ..."

It would have been some time in the mid-ish 1940s, perhaps 1947 or so, when I was a small child and — my mother's story went — she took me to a pediatrician who told her "Put that kid out in the dirt and get him around more kids."Read full post »


            In early 2014, new New York mayor Bill de Blasio was blasted on The Daily Show for his scandalous behavior in what was occasionally called at the time "Pizza-Fork-Gate."

         Read full post »

APRIL 11, 2014 6:26PM

Parable of the Masturbating Madmen

            In reading The Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 25-37), we might ask, Who was this man "going down from Jerusalem to Jericho," who was mugged and left for half dead. What was the date and time of day of the assault, and what were theRead full post »

            In the Ventura County Star for 6 April 2014, Ritch K. Eich, advises what to look for in collegiate commencement speakers from the quite legitimate point of view of Ritch K. Eich, president of a "leadership and marketing consulting firRead full post »

The logic is basically quite simple.

If the threat to the American people (or whomever) is sufficiently great to justify my torturing someone, it should be sufficiently great that I'd be willing to die or go to prison to meet that threat. 

If I am not willing to face a… Read full post »

APRIL 5, 2014 2:04AM

There's Always a Sports Section

Like many small newspapers, and large ones, too, my local paper is struggling, and is often pathetically thin. There have been times when the Business Section has disappeared, with a bare remnant appearing as a handful of business stories barely set off from other news (and, of course, if newspapers… Read full post »

Let me offer this thin ray of hope for anyone hoping for eventually limiting the money going to buy US elections: there's the possibility for some strange-bedfellow alliances.

A decade or so ago, maybe two, during an earlier round of debate on limiting political contributions, one corporate leader/r… Read full post »

MARCH 31, 2014 8:20PM

COSMOS: Tyson, Bruno, and Despair


            I'm writing this blog post before and after for the third installment of the new iteration of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, this time with Neil deGrasse Tyson as our guide on this "Spacetime Odyssey" (30 March 2014).

  Read full post »

MARCH 31, 2014 3:13PM

Quick Take on Current Crises

It just occurred to me: Early in March I saw Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney on television. If either of them saw his shadow, does that mean six more years of war?

MARCH 30, 2014 5:13PM

Update: "Nobody Special"

"What're you waiting for — a personal invitation?"

A while back (26 Feb. 2012, to be exact), I noted in these blogs that I was "Nobody Special."  That hasn't changed: I was and remain personally unimportant.

I had that point made strongly to me in the early days of computerized… Read full post »

You never let a serious crisis go to waste.

And what I mean by that it's an opportunity to do things

you think you could not do before. — Hon. Rahm Emanuel


            The diplomatic community seems to have rejected my suggesti/Read full post »

            Let us contemplate for a moment the opening scene of the "Perfect Day" TV commercial for PlayStation 4 (2013-14).

            The second and third scenes are also good — present-day on-roRead full post »

MARCH 20, 2014 1:30AM

Three Meditations Upon Medical Stuff

Non-Incident at Podiatrist's Pay Desk

            Possibly in reaction to the latest fashion round of Day-Glo colors — yes, kids, those lime-green shoes you're wearing are indirectly from the 1950s — possibly for something totally inexplicable in teenagRead full post »


[Q]uantities of pleasure being equal, push-pin is as good as poetry.
—Attributed by John Stuart Mill to Jeremy Bentham


 Prejudice apart, the game of push-pin is of equal value with […] music and poetry. If the game of push-pin furnish more pleasure, it is mRead full post »

MARCH 12, 2014 8:48PM

Crimea/Sudetenland = Putin/Hitler?


            It'd be good if all US politicians stopped making Hitler analogies, period.

            Still, here's some background on analogies that might be useful.

 &nbRead full post »

Trudy Rubin of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an excellent column on Sec. of State John Kerry’s later February 2014 efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the column included an unfortunate phrase picked up in its headline by my local newspaper and elsewhere: "Kerry’Read full post »

If what the Russians want most in Crimea is a peninsula jutting into warm water and offering port facilities for a fleet — you think they might take Florida?

There already seem to be a lot of Russians in the Miami area, migrating down from Greater Toronto and Montreal… Read full post »

MARCH 7, 2014 12:06AM

Divide, Distract, and Rule


            The current crisis as I write is Russian troops pretty well taking over Crimea and threats and posturing over the fate of Ukraine.

            This is an important crisisRead full post »


            I am a great admirer of Job of the Biblical Poem of Job: not so much the pious sufferer from the Prolog or the rewarded .000001-Percenter of the Epilog but the wounded lover and tragic hero of the middle of the Book.

 &nbRead full post »

            A friend sent me a copy of an op-ed piece from The New York Times of 27 February 2014, wherein Greg Hampikian, identified as "a professor of biology and criminal justice at Boise State University," raises the question, increasingly prRead full post »

            It was undoubtedly part of some program under the over-arching theory my friend Dan Prickett used to call "Cliché of the Month Management"; anyway, some time more or less in the late 1970s or early 1980's, I found myself in a faculty workshop wherRead full post »

This much on the rapidly evolving crisis in Ukraine as of the last week of February 2014:

          1. Ukraine is more important to Russia than it is to western Europe and far more important to Russia than it is to the United States of (significantly) America,… Read full post »

            Page one of my local newspaper for 16 Feb. 2014, above the fold: "Opiates plague east county," a variation on headlines you've probably seen in your newspaper since the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, and that I've seen since the 1/Read full post »

Consider the birds of the air, or of the cage.

If you were to see one seagull a week, majestically flying over in silence, it would be an inspiring sight. A flock of them, screeching and fighting each other and you for your fries: less impressive.

There's a moral/… Read full post »

FEBRUARY 8, 2014 12:58AM

Authority: Academic and Other

Back to Basics # 81 

"… you will respect my authoritah!" — Eric Cartman

            In Joe Haldeman's classic SF/Vietnam-War novel The Forever War (1972 f. — the composition dates are complicated), there's a dialog between neRead full post »