The Truth About George & the Dragon, Long Suppressed, but Now Revealed

As it happens today is the Feast of St George. I've always been suspicious of the original story. However, thanks to the scholarly investigations of Stan Washburn, we have access to what really happened in those days of yore when the dragon and George walked this good earth. Sadly, this study has been long supressed (okay, out of print). But, thanks to my own relentless digging around the web, I've found the text, nearly complete. I reprinted it back in 2011. I was hoping the book would be … [Read more...]

A Feast for John Donne

John Donne was born in London on the 22nd of January, 1573 and died on this day, the 31st of March, in 1631.His family were recusant Roman Catholics. He studied at Cambridge but was not awarded a degree as he could not take the oath of supremacy, which included acknowledging the sovereign as head of the church. Donne then read the law, and was admitted to the bar.Rather than take up a practice he traveled through Europe giving him the opportunity to master several modern languages. And … [Read more...]

Holy, Holy, Holy: Recalling Ginsberg’s Howl

It was on this day in 1957 that US Customs seized a shipment of Allen Ginsberg's Howl and Other Poems.The title poem Howl was purportedly largely written at the Caffe Mediterranean in Berkeley. A coffee house of some importance to me, the Mediterranean. In my teen years it offered me my first latte. and later when I worked across the street at Moe's Books, it was a comfortable place for a break and a cuppa and some very interesting conversations.The poem took shape over several years. … [Read more...]

A SMALL MEDITATION ON SPIRITUALITY AFTER RELIGIONS Or, Mark Twain’s Large Dream

A MEDITATION ON SPIRITUALITY AFTER RELIGIONS Or, Mark Twain’s Large Dream19 March 2017James Ishmael FordUnitarian Universalist Church Long Beach, CaliforniaI love Mark Twain. I just love Mark Twain. In fact Jan and I have made Mark Twain pilgrimages twice in our lives. The first time was a tad more than twenty years ago when we lived in Wisconsin, and I served a suburban Milwaukee congregation. During the summer hiatus in our regular services, we took US 90 to La Crosse, and t … [Read more...]

William McGonagall: A Small Celebration of the Worst Poet in Great Britain

It all started when I noted that the eighth and last attempt to assassinate Queen Victoria took place on this day in 1882. The attempt was by Roderick McLean, a poet who appears to have been offended by what he considered a curt response when he had sent a sample of his work to the Queen.That led me to think a number of things, not least of which, was, oh my, eight assassination attempts? Considering the length of her reign that's basically one every eight years.But, actually where I … [Read more...]

Gary Snyder Talks Religion

Old Zen hand, Pulitzer prize winning poet, essayist, and the poet laureate of Deep Ecology Gary Snyder shares a panel with religious studies academics Christopher Patrick Parr, Bron Taylor, Christopher Ives, with Mary Evelyn Tucker pressing.He takes questions.But no prisoners... … [Read more...]

Recalling Andre Norton: Grand Dame of Science Fiction & Fantasy

There is no night without stars.Andred NortonAlice Mary Norton was born on this day, February 17, 1912 in Cleveland, Ohio.By the time she was in High School she was writing and editing and produced her first short stories, published in the school's paper. She also wrote a book, which would eventually be published as her second novel, "Ralestone Luck."After graduating college she taught school, then went to work for the Cleveland Public Library, where she worked for eighteen … [Read more...]

Bless you Sister, May all your sons be bishops: Thinking of Brendan Behan

Brendan Behan, poet, short story writer, novelist and playwright in English and Irish, was born on this day in 1923.He led a tumultuous life, born in Dublin, by the age of sixteen he joined the Irish Republican Army, and was involved in a plot to blow up the docks in Liverpool. He was arrested in possession of explosives and sentenced to three years. Later Behan returned to prison for attempting to assassinate two Garda Siochana detectives, this time sentenced to fourteen years. However he … [Read more...]

The World Honored One Sees the Morning Star, And the World Awakens

I so love telling the story.That wonderful old story.And, so, once again...Gautama Siddhartha lived somewhere between the sixth and fourth centuries before the common era near what today is the border between India and Nepal. He had some experiences, and he taught, he preached sermons that were memorized and no doubt polished by those who transmitted them, and then polished some more. Finally, some four hundred or so years after these words were spoken, they started being written … [Read more...]