Family Hour

In the interest of broadening my horizons, I’ve spent Oscar month away from movies and reading classic plays, instead. I’m not sure that the experience has been enlightening.

Today I wrapped up with “The Duchess of Malfi”, by English playwright John Webster (written circa 1613). I’m not quite sure what to think. During the course of the play we experience:

  • Four stranglings (the Duchess, her servant, and her two youngest children);
  • Four fatal stabbings (the Duchess’ two brothers, her lover, and her murderer);
  • One case of lycanthrophy (the Duchess’ brother);
  • One poisoning, the result of kissing a specially treated Bible (the mistress of the Duchess’ non-werewolf brother, a Cardinal);
  • A waxwork representation of the Duchess’ lover and children, posed as though murdered (used to torment the Duchess, by her brother);
  • A entire palace full of madmen (also brought there to torment the Duchess, again by her brother); and
  • One ghost.
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Spreading the Ink

When I entered university more than a quarter-century ago, it was with a profound sense of inadequacy: I was a small-town boy from a small-town high school, native of a place that had a church for every fifty-three inhabitants, but didn’t possess a public library or a bookstore. I was not a great student, but I enjoyed learning, and I had gone on to college in the hopes that I could become more than my beginnings might have suggested.

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On Invisible Enemies

This morning in a town in central Nigeria a car bomber attacked a Church of Christ and killed at least three people, while injuring dozens more. No matter what you believe — or disbelieve — it’s very hard to find a way to make attacks like these make sense.

I couldn’t help but notice, however, that this was not an attack by atheist secular-humanist college professors, but rather by a Muslim extremist group called Boko Haram. The bomber and his targets alike all professed to believe in God.

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The morning after the end of the world.

I have recently begun looking for alternatives to coffee and tea for my morning wake-me-up.

I should mention that I enjoy both coffee and tea — the real things — but I know that these are items that must be brought here to northwest Arkansas across great distances.  If, one day, civilization as we know it were suddenly to rattle to a halt, I could find myself waking up with an unfillable void between sleep and breakfast. So, because I worry about these things, I’m looking for acceptable local alternatives.

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