Category: Feature

19

A NEST OF SWAMP RATS

In the past twelve months the national news has introduced us all to some remarkably loathsome people wielding considerable power from very high places.  How does this come about? A complete list of these creatures would be long and unwieldy, but a short list, on the lines of the FBI’s Most Wanted, and treated as character studies, allows us to reach some conclusions, the most important one being that we are dealing here with is entrenched mediocrity—intellectual, moral, and spiritual.      John Brennan, former head of the CIA under Obama, is an Irishman, born in New Jersey, 1955, whose...

4

Death of a “Diva”

Morgana King died in March.  Born in the province of Catania (Sicily), she moved to New York with her family at an early age and, with a clear if wispy voice, she enjoyed a fine career as a singer of popular music with a strong jazz orientation.  Her recording of the Kern/Wodehouse standard “Bill” is a classic performance.  Those who do not have an ear for popular music may recall her as Mamma Corleone. Since “de mortuis nihil nisi bonum,” should be the rule for normal human beings (which excludes politicians, journalists, and academics), I’ll say nothing about the late...

17

‘Give Us Back the Death Penalty, Josef Vissarionovich!’

“Government is not reason, it is not eloquence – it is force.” – George Washington (attributed) “All grandeur, all power, all subordination to authority rests on the executioner: he is the horror and the bond of human association. Remove this incomprehensible agent from the world and at that very moment order gives way to chaos, thrones topple and society disappears.” – de Maistre “Who – Whom?” – Lenin My title refers to the chapter of that name in Solzhenitsyn’s “In the First Circle,” now “free” with Amazon Kindle Unlimited. Under the all-compassionate Josef Stalin, the Soviet Union abolished the death...

5

Wednesday’s Child: More of Tuscany

The hotter it gets, the harder it is to write anything here. I am now back in Palermo, and it’s quite astonishing what a difference just a few graduations on Fahrenheit’s scale can make.  In Pietrasanta, where as the gentle reader may remember I have just spent nearly two weeks, one can effortlessly ratiocinate – in the shade, if not in the sun.

1

Wednesday’s Child: Letter from Tuscany

If ever I had the temptation to shirk my duty as the gentle reader’s clarion and dulcimer, if ever I wanted to declare myself on holiday and beg off for just a single week, if ever nature triumphed over nurture to make a child’s chore of the fast approaching Wednesday, it is now. I am in Tuscany, where the other day it actually rained – that last word describing an atmospheric condition when condensed moisture falls from the sky in drops, see also snow. In July in Palermo, where it last snowed in 1956, leaving an air conditioned house to...

1

A Generation of Peace?

In 1970, a year in office, President Nixon gave an address to the UN titled “A Generation of Peace.” With the Cold War hot in Vietnam and elsewhere, and American campuses and cities erupting in riots, it didn’t seem peace was at hand. Yet Nixon soon went to Moscow and Beijing in his still-famous trips. “Only Nixon can go to China” has become a saying meaning someone who is strong in one area using that to work out a compromise with an enemy.  In his 1972 campaign, Nixon’s slogan was “A Generation of Peace,” and he won 49 states in...