Once My Mouth Got Washed Out by Soap. For the “N” Word

In my defense, I was 3 years old at the time that the tiny sliver of soap was inserted in my mouth. The word had no meaning to me. It was something I said, a mere interesting sound, and for that I was punished. By the time I was seven, I knew what the word meant. I understood it was a horrid insult and not to be spoken. And every kid I knew realized they were in a lot of trouble if they used the word.

But I am in my late sixties right now, and there is an expression that deeply troubles me. Can I, should I, compare this expression to the “n” word? Having never been a person of color, I can’t say how they feel when the “n” word gets used. I do know that poet Maya Angelou took one of the rappers to task for using the “n” expression in a comedy send up. And that person took her seriously and re-evaluated his use of the word.... [Read More]


I am not a “white nationalist” and I do not think “great swaths” of Republicans are either

Great swaths of Republicans are not just biting their tongues about Trump, they are convinced that his white nationalist path is the right one.

-Mona Charen, August 29, 2018... [Read More]


TOTD 2018-08-31: A Reckoning Cannot Be Delayed Indefinitely

When you proclaim your allegiance to a set of principles, you are expected to follow them.  When you carry a banner for an organization, you are expected to support its goals and those of its members.

When this is out of alignment, there is a reckoning coming.  No matter how much you put it off, there is going to be a moment when either the group changes to fit the leadership, or the group tosses out the leadership.  We have seen this in numerous settings, most recently the conservative movement and the Catholic Church.  A similar disconnect between the leaders and the bulk of the organization.... [Read More]


Paul Spudis R.I.P.

In June 2015, I was on the Milt Rosenberg show for the second time.  Bill Mellberg, friend of RA, organized this program; we were joined in the second half of the first hour by lunar expert Paul Spudis.  Bill died a year ago in April and Milt died this January.  I just got word that Paul died yesterday.  So I’m the only one left out of four people who did a show 38 months ago.  This is shocking to me.



Academic Brain Washing

When I was in college, I loved studying the humanities. I almost abandoned my major in order to pursue a humanities degree. Correction: I did. I was undeclared for the last quarter of my Freshman year.

One of the things I observed as very different between humanities and mathematics is that the humanities never has a right answer – it is argumentative in nature (which is what makes it so much fun to converse over!). Present an argument and draw on known facts and logic to support your position. Correct is not the same as Right – if you cogently support your claim and it stands up to counter argument, it is sound.... [Read More]


Wasn’t Doctor Zhivago a lovely, romantic film?

Doctor Zhivago (1965) is a British-Italian epic romantic drama, over three hours long. My Film Group loved it, but we stopped our first viewing at the Intermission. It was going to be so late if we continued to watch until the end, we decided to carry it over for another week.

The film is set in Russia during the years prior to the First World War (1914-18) and the Russian Civil War of 1917-1922. Produced by Carlo Ponti and directed by David Lean shortly after he had directed Lawrence of Arabia, it is based on the novel (1957) of the same name, by Boris Pasternak. Filmed mainly in Spain, the winter scenes of the family travelling to Yuriatin by rail were filmed in Canada. It did look familiar, but I thought that was because Russia lies in the same latitude as Canada, and the scenery in parts of Russia would look similar.... [Read More]


TOTD 2018-8-30: Disagreement Versus Disruption

In a pluralist society disagreement is its mother milk. People need to keep true to their beliefs. I am a firm believer in, there is more unity in diversity* than uniformity. It works because hopefully there is enough commonality on the basics that people can live in peace. What a society or community can’t handle is willful disruptions. I would put Antifa in this group.

There seems to be a trend where people want to shut down the discussion rather than have it. Many tactics are used. One is the extreme pejorative. “You’re a racist.” “You hate poor people.” “You have no principles.” The next is to heckle. This person wants to stop a good conversation from happening. They don’t rent the room or gather the people. But they figure they have a right to disrupt the people who do. Third, there are the thought police. One can’t even bring up the subject. Certain words need to be bleeped out. “You are part of the patriarchy. ” “Meritocracy is code for keeping people down.” “We know what you really mean.” “One giant leap for [Redacted].”... [Read More]


The Immorality of Trump

Is there a difference between political morals and personal morals?

When the ramping up and campaigning began in 2015, I was dismayed to see Donald Trump in the top half of the candidates who announced.   I perceived him as a bombastic arrogant New Yorker of low morals.   Is that an unfair characterization?... [Read More]