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 »

CONTEXT: Atlantic on line column, "Rage Against the Outrage Machine," by Conor Friedersdorf, 23 June 2014, "The most searing critiques of George Will's much-maligned column on rape misrepresent his arguments, illustrating a common flaw in American public discourse."


I threw in in two points to… Read full post »

The aide [Karl Rove] said that guys like me [reporter Ron Suskind] were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and em
Read full post »

My local newspaper ended the editorial for 16 June 2014 with, "Its not beyond imagination that the United States could find itself working with Iran to restore stability to Iraq and tame a poisonously radical government [based in ISIS: "the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria"]. War, even more than polit… Read full post »

The background here is my teaching Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange at a university with a high percentage of conservative Catholic students, leavened with a fair number of born-again sorts who'd say things like (this is an actual quotation, from a very nice guy), "Well, I used to be Cathol… Read full post »


            It was my pleasure in late May of 2014 to see my great/grand-niece graduate Deerfield High School, in one of the more education-friendly of the Chicago suburbs. I was however, less than gleeful at attending another graduationRead full post »

JUNE 9, 2014 6:52PM



            It was some time during the 1980s: after 4 July 1982, when I earned my certification as an open-water scuba diver, and before November 1986, when the Iran-Contra affair became national news and few would joke about US actionsRead full post »

 Short People got no reason
To live — Randy Newman

           The only time I was openly discriminated against, it was discrimination on the basis of height.

            From adolescen/Read full post »


            Before teaching my first course in College Composition, I had been thinking about teaching for a while (my most likely alternative to teaching was a brief but exciting career as a tunnel rat for the US Army in Vietnam), and myRead full post »