Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

The Rulers

     To learn who rules over you, simply look to those you are not allowed to criticize. [Multiply attributed, most often to Voltaire.]      The above seems sound. Certainly many aristocracies treated the criticism of the rulers — lese majeste — as a serious offense. In some such lands it was treated more harshly than …

Continue reading

Unsolvings

     The world of “problems” and “solutions” makes for a fascinating exploration of human conceptual space. The tendency to view some unsatisfactory condition as a “problem” to be “solved” is intriguing all by itself. Some such conditions are so persistent and so deeply embedded in the history of Man that it would be more reasonable …

Continue reading

The Ever-Trendy Faith

     Gerard van der Leun has a typically excellent essay up today. It’s so good that I almost feel as if I’m committing an offense against the proprieties by pull-quoting it, but…well…maybe the authorities will look the other way:      Back in 2006 National Geographic and other media echo chambers thought enough of this “discovery” …

Continue reading

Ruins

     The saddest things on Earth, for my money, are the ruins of things that could have been great. That excludes archaeological ruins, of course; at one time they were legitimately impressive structures, or so we’re told by the “authorities.” What I have in mind here is a bit different: art, or music, or fiction …

Continue reading

Who For President?

     The wizened old librarian-curator who lives in the back of my head said that he was prompted to dredge this up by the talk that Gavin Newsom would make an excellent Democrat presidential nominee: March 3, 2004      “Everybody’s always giving me guns.” — Humphrey Bogart playing Philip Marlowe, in The Big Sleep      …

Continue reading

A Timeless Observation

     As I’ve recently been re-enjoying the writings of the great Henry Louis Mencken, the Sage of Baltimore – yes, there was a time when Baltimore not only had a Sage but actually produced its own! – I thought it might be appropriate, in this time of troubles, to share a slice from one of …

Continue reading

What Matters

     When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. But, when I became a man, I put away childish things. [First Epistle to the Corinthians 13:11]      A fiction writer must know what matters to the reader. But this is far easier if …

Continue reading

One Incident, Two Observations

     Just yesterday evening, Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin was attacked during a campaign rally:      Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for New York governor, was attacked during a campaign stop near Rochester in upstate Monroe County on Thursday night….      The suspect approached Zeldin wielding an unknown weapon and Chenelly tackled him.      …

Continue reading

Computer-Generated Fantasies

     It was 1983: “early days” for the personal computer upheaval. Most Americans knew that microcomputers existed, but few had actually acquired one, or knew what they were good for. (Spoiler alert: not much.) I was asked about them now and then – I remember an ophthalmologist quizzing me about them during an eye exam …

Continue reading

“But They’re Not Allowed To Know!”

     If you have firearms, the federal government knows about it:      The homeowner was alerted there were trespassers on his property by motion detectors outside his front door. A live video feed from his doorbell camera showed three armed men wearing tactical vests, t-shirts and jeans. Two appeared to be ATF agents. The third …

Continue reading

Objectives And Constraints

     “If you’re willing to die you can do anything.” – lapel button      Yes, there’s a point to the above – and it’s not that the accumulated wisdom of Mankind can be found on lapel buttons. (It’s also not that I’m willing to die.)      Life under the veil of Time is an exercise …

Continue reading

Day Off

     Exhausted. Must rest. Back tomorrow, with luck. Have a nice day.

Day From Hell? Try A Whole Weekend

     Yes, it was that kind of weekend. The kind that makes the national and international news seem chuckleworthy. But that won’t stop me. (When has it ever?) ***      I found this brief but pungent piece courtesy of Gerard van der Leun:      Ever since Roe was overturned I’ve really started to notice how…I …

Continue reading

Conversations

     This one just took place: FWP: Say, is Jamie Lee Curtis related to Tony Curtis? [spoiler alert: she’s his daughter] CSO: Why do you expect me to know? FWP: You’re the one who reads Entertainment Weekly. CSO: That subscription was by mistake! FWP: Yeah yeah, but you read it anyway. CSO: I don’t know. …

Continue reading

An Alternative Strategy No One Will Like

     Concerning the prospect of mail-in ballots and similar fraud-enabling measures in the upcoming midterms, Stephen Kruiser has a few words to say:      During the Obama years, I used to say that any GOP candidate had to make sure that he or she was “outside the margin of ACORN.” I’ve updated that to “outside …

Continue reading

A Quick Saturday Morning Observation

     Courtesy of The Feral Irishman:      Is there a Gentle Reader disposed to argue the point?

I Have A Day From Hell Before Me…

     …which will include a teeth-cleaning, a trip to our family veterinarian, a great deal of laundry, and the assembly – by yours truly – of a lawn sweeper that might as well have come from IKEA. So rather than entertain you with a typical Curmudgeon Emeritus rant, I’ll give you a peek at something …

Continue reading

Climax States

     Before I retired, I had no idea how the range of my thinking would expand once I was free from the imperatives of wage labor. It’s been a unique sort of experience. Among other things, it got me thinking seriously about “eye catchers” that I’d previously only chuckled over. (That’s not to say that …

Continue reading

Unmaking The Foundation

     There are a myriad things I could write about this morning – you should see my “Future Columns” folder – but one has risen above (below?) the rest to evoke a balled-fist tirade from my underappreciated main computer.      Courtesy of Dave Blount at Moonbattery, we have this piece of scrofulous garbage from LA …

Continue reading

The Lowest Steps

     Mike Miles has provided another thought-provoking graphic:      The “message” could hardly be more obvious. But what about its wider applications – that is, its applications to various aspects of social and economic mobility?      Give it a moment’s thought while I finish my breakfast. ***      We often hear of “social climbers,” usually …

Continue reading

Load more