Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

King Cash

There are mornings when every columnist must feel he faces an embarrassment of riches. For me, this is one such. Telling of his recent sailing vacation around the coasts of Italy, Michael Ledeen reports thus: The spring weather has been unusually unpleasant, which no doubt accounts for at least part of the problem, but this …

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The Naked Face Of The Enemy

I’ve considered long and hard. I’ve agonized. I’ve cast about for alternatives until all the skin has worn off my fingers. I’ve repeatedly refused to accept the implications of what my senses repeatedly told me. I simply can’t do it any longer. The evidence is overwhelming. America is currently in a state of civil war, …

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Pragmatics Some time ago, when embroiled in a quarrelsome encounter, I challenged my adversary in a fashion he found troubling. “Define Milwaukee,” I said. “Huh? Why?” he replied. “To prove to me that you know both how to do it and why to do it.” At first he rejected it as absurd, but I persisted, …

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Yesterday afternoon, Beth and I indulged our taste for action movies and went to see Lockout, Guy Pearce’s near-future star vehicle about a breakout on an orbital prison. Yes, we enjoyed it quite a bit, though perhaps for different reasons. Pearce’s character Snow is the archetype of the American hero of yesteryear: masculine, cool, fearless, …

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The Three Systems of Man

Some years ago, a DEC software engineer by the name of Mike Gancarz wrote an intriguing little book called “The UNIX Philosophy.” In it, he propounded his conception of the Three Systems of Man. The First system occurs when some genius with time and CPU cycles on his hands thinks up a nifty new idea: …

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Life Stories

     [The following was written by a dear friend – a young woman who can fairly be said to have saved my sanity – named Duyen Ky. It first appeared at the late, lamented Eternity Road on January 18, 2009. Today she lives in Southern California with her husband. – FWP]      Welcome to Sunday! …

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     [This essay first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason on August 5, 2003 — FWP] ***      Once upon a time, a group of gamblers who controlled the nation of Japan looked around them at a vista that gleamed with opportunity. A host of prizes stood temptingly near, theirs for the taking. There …

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     Being of a certain age — I’m certain of it even if you aren’t — I came to manhood amid the loudest and rowdiest years of the Sexual Revolution. Being of a certain height, build, and facial conformation — see the Personal page if you really need to know — mostly I didn’t participate. …

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Dictionary Of Government Doublespeak

Ever wondered why you simply can’t understand bureaucratese? It’s a problem that daunts many people, what with phraseology like “firmly tentative,” “bold caution,” and “interim final rules.” But never fear: your old friend Fran is on the job, and herewith presents the First Edition (collectors be alert!) of his fabulous… DICTIONARY OF GOVERNMENT DOUBLESPEAK Like …

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Private Knowledge

     I consider myself a Catholic. I also consider myself an agnostic. And while you’re catching your breath from that seeming contradiction, I’m going to indulge in a little word-splitting, hopefully of the consciousness-expanding kind.      The original Gnostic controversy propelled a great deal of the early unrest within the Church. On one side stood …

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     Economists tend to partition the world’s goods into: Capital goods (made because they help to produce something else), Consumption goods (made because they’re desirable in and of themselves).      This is an incomplete partition, and its failings have cost us dearly.      There is a third category: overhead. Overhead goods aren’t made for productive …

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