An Interview with Johnson N. Masters - Part Two

Submitted by Ken Watts on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 14:31

The second part of the daily mull interview with Johnson N. Masters picks up where Friday's post left off:

TDM: Doesn't that require you to be something of a fortune-teller?

JNM: It would be impossible if I hadn't developed the Heuristic for Understanding Moral Patriotism.

TDM: And that is...

JNM: It's a tool for predicting the direction the collective conservative psyche is taking. I used the Northridge earthquake as a model.

TDM: The Northridge earthquake?

An Interview with Johnson N. Masters

Submitted by Ken Watts on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 11:51

This interview is a special report, only for readers of the daily mull. It ran a bit longer than I expected, so I'll be releasing it in three parts.

Johnson N. Masters is a compelling personality, in spite of his diminuative appearance. From his understated comb-over to his crisply pressed polyester sportscoat, he is the model of the insider conservative academic.

Apple Blossoms

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 02/03/2012 - 18:28

I think I have just fallen in love with apple blossoms.  I have never known them so personally before.  But four years ago we planted a Granny Smith tree in our yard, and after some false starts -- well, a start can be false and true -- this year we have some blossoms that have completely captivated me.  The translucence of the petals and their call make me wish I were a bee. 

Approaching 70...

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 01/06/2012 - 20:24

January, for me, has always been two new beginnings.  I'm not only beginning a new year, I am turning another year older.  And this year it will be 70.  Seventy.  I am approaching with caution, and disbelief that I have only been on this planet (well, this time anyway) for 70 years.

At sixty I thought -- "ah, free at last, free at last" -- to do what I like, see what I like, eat what I like, drink what I like!  I'm old enough that it doesn't matter anymore! 

The Week After Christmas

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Thu, 12/29/2011 - 15:47

Even though the ornaments are still on the tree;


And even though the lighted reindeer are stll on the lawn;

The week after Christmas has a stripped down, self contained aspect.

The stuffed Santa knows he will soon be put back in the old sea chest,

And the sagging branches of the tree know they will soon be outside on the curb for recycling.

It feels like there is more air and more light (well, there IS more daylight!);

It feels like the first peeling back of a layer that will reveal a sturdy newness, something unused, fresh, and real.

Christmas Present(s)

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Tue, 12/20/2011 - 15:52

Christmas presents or Christmas presence?  I've been thinking about those two words for some time.  Obviously they sound the same, obviously they have completely different meanings.  Or do they?  Sometimes what we crave the most is not a thing, but a connection. 

Christmas Past

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Mon, 12/12/2011 - 12:07

It’s 1957 and even though it is winter and cloudy, smog gives an acid-edge to the air in West Los Angeles.   But it is what I know as normal for that time and place, and the weather seems right to me even though it’s a little hard to breathe.

What I Thought I Knew

Submitted by Virginia Watts on Sun, 12/04/2011 - 17:35

For as long as I can remember, I have been interested in the history of the things that are part of my life.  The history was often recited to me when I was very young, and having received the information, I never thought to question it again.  For instance, there are four caned chairs that have been in my grandmother's house, garage, my dad's house, workshop, my first apartment, and are now part of the furniture my husband and I treasure.  These chairs were hand made, and my grandmother, dad and I have all, at one point, undertaken to restore the caned seats.  This is a tedious and back-br

Jeffrey Sachs, Charles Dickens, and our National Budget Debate

Submitted by Ken Watts on Wed, 11/23/2011 - 15:52

Our current national budget debate reminds me of a quote from Charles Dickens in David Copperfield:

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six,
result happiness.
Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six,
result misery.

Jeffrey Sachs posted a fascinating piece in The Huffington Post Sunday, in which he applied a "misery index" to the economies of the U.S., Canada, and Western Europe.