Stay Strong (Crito)

A human reading this is going to die or is dead and is wasting the afterlife. Death is more sure than taxes and that is the surest thing not certain. Not all humans have died: Enoch, Elijah, and perhaps Arthur and a few others folk, but so many have that one need not plan on [Read More…]

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Do Not Be a Jerk for Justice (Euthyphro)

There is a West Virginia expression: “He is so straight, he leans a little.” God help us never to be such jerks for justice . . . The jerk for justice takes a good cause, a noble idea, and bends his whole life around that idea until he makes the truth, the cause, or the [Read More…]

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Oh General Custer (On My Birthday)

It was with great disappointment that I discovered that my birthday marked the Battle of Little Big Horn and the death of General Custer. Even greater disappointment came the more I learned about “cowboys and Indians.” I rode a stick horse around the house and yard in Clendenin, West Virginia, so often that the end [Read More…]

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John the Baptist: The Best Not Jesus in History

I have never taken John the Baptist as seriously as the Bible takes him. He was “the not Jesus” in the story, so he vanished in my imagination. This is odd since everyone else in the New Testament is the “not Jesus,” but even a fairly minor figure like Nicodemus played a bigger role in [Read More…]

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Will the Civil War ever really end?

Everything happening right now in the US, everything, has a piece of the Civil War in it. How could this be? Wasn’t it a long time ago? No. It was not. I am 53 this week and I knew a woman who grew up eating food paid for by her father’s Civil War pension. When an [Read More…]

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Accepting the Ending (The Tempest)

We aren’t very good at accepting “endings” as fans and cry for a sequel, reboot, or continuing adventures for our favorite stories. Sometimes this works well, but usually not so much. “The End” used to appear in films and perhaps it was better so. My dad told me that at camp meeting the time would [Read More…]

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This Magical Island: On My Anniversary (The Tempest)

This will first be published on the day, thirty years ago, when I married Hope Lancy. If all has gone as planned, we are on an island now, far away from troubles, and full of love. Whatever is the case, and wherever we are, there is a magical place where love endures that we reach [Read More…]

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Friendship: Don’t Underestimate It (Two Noble Kinsmen)

If we eliminated the popular music, theater, and video dealing with romantic love, there would be little left. This would strike our ancestors as odd. They valued friendship at least as much as romantic love and certainly more than erotic love. In fact, they would have valued the duty and love owed to any guest [Read More…]

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Even A Blot of Grease Can Be God’s Man (Henry VIII)

Do not flatter the great. That’s easy to say, but hard to do and even William Shakespeare fell for the desire to simplify history and tell a patron what they wanted to hear. Charles Dickens had Henry VIII dead to rights: The plain truth is, that he was a most intolerable ruffian, a disgrace to [Read More…]

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Life Lesson: Genius Needs Company (Edward III)

Genius needs company, so any company that tries to build on a solitary genius will fail. How do we know? The Bible suggests it, history supports it, and Shakespeare’s career proves it. Shakespeare may have written none of Edward III, some of it, or all of it. Scholars disagree and where the experts are divided, we the [Read More…]

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