Category Archives: sociability

Peers and Um-peers

“Peer” is the English language version of the Latin par, which means “equal.” [1]“Umpire” just means “not a peer.” English borrowed nompere from the French but over time “a noumpere” became “an oumpere”—a process I learned just today is called … Continue reading

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The Zipper

One of the lines for which Thomas Hobbes is justly famous is that life without a strong central government (Leviathan, he said) is “solitary, nasty, poor, brutish, and short.”  [1] What he meant is that one of government’s prized functions … Continue reading

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Back to Burgundy

I know scarcely any French at all and most of what I do know, I learned from movies or jokes. [1] I was curious, of course, when I saw a movie about French siblings coming to grips with their lapsed … Continue reading

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In loco parentis

Who is really well placed to act in loco parentis? That was a big deal question when I was in college. Mothers and fathers sent their children off to far away institutions, some of them hoping that the college would … Continue reading

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Alyx Amber, Miss Portland 2017

I want to reflect a little today on Alyx Amber, [1] who is currently Facility Services Coordinator at Holladay Park Plaza, where Bette and I live. She is also Miss Portland 2017. I put her name in the first sentence … Continue reading

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Reading Strategies for the Next Generation

Is there a right way to read a story? The first—the very first—discussion of a topic of general interest between the Hesses and the Jaenisches concerned that question. The Hesses are Bette and me. The Jaenisches are Bette’s daughter Melisa, … Continue reading

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A Bad Moment at a Good Party

Luke Timothy Johnson has recently written a book about the Apostles Creed.[1] The first job of any writer is to give potential readers a reason to read the book. I think Johnson does a terrific job of that. Here is … Continue reading

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