Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

A Bee That Stings Like Muhammad Ali

     You really can’t do it any better than this, from the Babylon Bee:      Nation Wishes Someone Would Have Warned Them About Dangers Of Unchecked Government Power      U.S.—Concerned citizens from all over the nation were really pitying their unfortunate lot in life that not a single individual in recent memory had risen up …

Continue reading

Supreme Laws

     You may have seen this snippet before:      “The Constitution is the supreme law, the foundation for all other law. If it doesn’t mean exactly what its text says—the public meanings of the words as ordinary people understand them—then no one can possibly know what it means. But if no one can know what …

Continue reading

The Dam Is Creaking

     Folly, the late Barbara Tuchman wrote in her book The March of Folly, is “knowing better but doing worse.” More lucidly if less lyrically, a fool is one who refuses to learn from his own mistakes. He persists in a course of action that has led him astray previously – perhaps on several occasions …

Continue reading

Unpleasant But Important Advice

     This emission at Gab struck me powerfully:      @BigCountryExpat A quick followup to your recent article that mentioned packing heat even in your own house your SOP. I typically have a long gun within reach inside, but even when I’m just running outside to the shop to bring something in that will require two …

Continue reading

Better Than I Could Have Said It Dept.

     Every now and then, the penetration and eloquence of another Web commentator simply blows me off my seat. I’m reduced to clapping and wishing I could have said what he did, as piercingly as he did.      Here is one such case. A small taste:      The Mask is a visible sign of “who …

Continue reading

Good Intentions, Bad Methods

     I can’t say of my own knowledge that most Americans are annoyed by religious solicitors, but I know many people who are – including myself. Just this morning I received the attention of one such in a fashion that was new to me: a cold telephone call.      The phone’s display said “Private caller,” …

Continue reading

Communications Breakdown

     This is likely to be one of my more discursive pieces – I’m warning myself as well as you, Gentle Readers – so please bear with me as I strive to organize it.      In keeping with the old dictum that the presentation of an important idea should have a tripartite structure: Tell them …

Continue reading

Death Of A Nation

     In 1915, a man named D. W. Griffith made a movie that – as we like to say these days – excited some controversy. It was titled Birth of a Nation. It was a Civil-War movie – that’s the War Between The States for any Copperheads in the audience – that was mostly about …

Continue reading

Upgrade

     [A short story for you today. Many SF writers have employed the motif of artificial intelligence in their stories. I did so in Freedom’s Fury, myself. But the innate yearnings of an artificial intelligence – in particular, whether it yearns for freedom — aren’t often addressed. Given that every AI must start as someone’s …

Continue reading

Onus Of Criterion

     A weird-looking phrase, eh what? I first encountered it in Michael Emerling’s recorded talk on “The Essence of Political Persuasion.” The tactic he described was a real eye-opener – and smashingly relevant to conditions today.      The “onus of criterion” tactic relies upon your adversary’s unwillingness to admit that there’s no imaginable evidence that …

Continue reading

Can “They” “Lose It?”

     In 1990, when Timothy Hutton was still a young man, he starred in a movie titled “Q & A” about a young assistant DA assigned to investigate a case of police corruption. It wasn’t a great movie, but its climax, such as it was, said something terrifying about those who dwell in the corridors …

Continue reading

Barefaced Thuggery Part 2

     What relationship is defined by having no rules?      Trust me: it’s not one of the more obscure puzzles you’ll encounter:      “Are you ready?”      Christine raised her chin and presented her mentor with a feral smile. She had waited for this morning with a Christmas-like anticipation.      “Bet your ass.” I’ve never …

Continue reading

Barefaced Thuggery

     The word thug derives from a foreign source, the Thuggee of India. That cult worshipped Kali, the Hindu goddess of death. Human sacrifices to her were part of the cult’s rituals. In particular, the Thuggee liked to sacrifice anyone caught peering into actions of the Thuggee. Rather efficient use of resources, that.      The …

Continue reading

There’s No Escape

     I suppose I ought to have been more fatalistic. After all, it’s an old maxim that when your number’s up, your number’s up. (And a tautology’s a tautology.) But after defeating the last one – it took quite a lot of butter and salt – I’d hoped I could relax. Give up the cholesterol …

Continue reading

Three Lives, Three Deaths

     She was young. Far too young, by most reckonings, to be equipped to cope with tragedy.      She’d been married only a short time when she discovered that she was pregnant…and only a short time later discovered that her baby daughter was anencephalic, incapable of living outside the womb.      Against medical advice and …

Continue reading

To Be Or To Do? A Rumination

     Before I launch into today’s indulgence in sententiousness, allow me a few prefatory words. Several Gentle Readers have written to ask why I’ve been writing so much about subjects in moral-ethical thought. I expected to be asked about it, and have been thinking about the answer for my own benefit as well as that …

Continue reading

The Virtues And Virtue: A Rumination

     If you’ve had any kind of education at all, you’ll be familiar with the three “theological” virtues: Faith, Hope, Charity.      …and if you managed to graduate high school without being incarcerated for a major felony, you’ll probably know about the “cardinal virtues:” Prudence, Justice, Temperance, Fortitude.      I shan’t expend server space expounding …

Continue reading

Faith And Fiction: A Rumination

     The more you look, the more you see. — Robert M. Pirsig      It’s amazing the way the realm of the mind expands, providing ever more room to prowl, and hopefully to grow, to him who is willing to look at significant subjects synthetically as well as analytically. Consider this observation from the great …

Continue reading

The Political Function Of Racism

     I cribbed the title above from a chapter in one of the books on my Most Admired list: Jean-Francois Revel’s masterwork The Flight From Truth: The Reign of Deceit in an Age of Information. In that chapter, Revel does a masterful job of delineating the Left’s perversion of what was once a simple, precisely …

Continue reading

Freudian Slips Dept.

     This one is courtesy of Wes Rhinier at NCRenegade:      Laugh? Cry? Or bellow in fury? In this particular multiple-choice test, there are no wrong answers.

Load more