A polite request for a miracle

As of March 31, Pastor Benny Hinn is in Honolulu for what his host church, King’s Cathedral on Kalanianaole Highway, is calling a miracle service. Mr. Hinn, a well known televangelist, is famous for waving his white jacket at a congregation and causing people to fall down en hysterical masse, as at a funeral service for a North Korean statesman.


Another event on March 31 is that Honolulu’s streets are crumbling after a month of heavy rain. Right in front of King’s Cathedral the other day I hit a pothole that almost broke an axle. So here’s a request, Pastor Benny:

as long as you’re there, would you mind stepping out the front door of King’s Cathedral for a moment, walking through the parking lot past the Kentucky Fried Chicken, waving your jacket at that pothole, and getting it healed?

And all the other potholes while you’re at it?

Thank you. We’ll all appreciate it.


When I arrived home on the afternoon of the equinox, March 20, a big yellow gardenia bud was just on the point of opening. But I was tired and I decided to wait until the shadows were longer. I lay down to take a nap.

The next thing I knew, it was 6 o’clock and cloudy. But by then the bud had begun to make its own new light for spring. Click to enlarge.

Conservative aesthetics: a constructive suggestion

Following an incident in late February and early March 2012 when the conservative intellectual Rush Limbaugh spent three successive days on AM radio calling the Georgetown student Sandra Fluke a slut and a prostitute, then suggesting she make a sex tape and post it online for him to watch, two apologies followed — one on Mr. Limbaugh’s web page, then another on the air.

Another conservative intellectual, Cal Thomas, found that heartwarming. In his March 7 column, he wrote:

Limbaugh might resist this next suggestion, but I speak from experience, having had to apologize for a recent misstatement of my own. Limbaugh should invite Sandra Fluke to lunch and get to know her as a person, not a label. At the very least, he would send an important message that civility and strong political speech do not have to be contradictory.

Who knows, he might even persuade her to become a conservative. From his perspective, and mine, that would be a win-win for everybody, except liberals.  http://www.calthomas.com/index.php?news=3505

About that, a suggestion: by way of breaking the ice, why doesn’t Mr. Limbaugh also invite Ms. Fluke to a nice movie? It would be a conservative thing to do. After all, there is a precedent, right here:


My earlier post about Mr. Limbaugh and the language of conservatism is at




All of us dwellers in the universe share the property of chirality, or handedness. It keeps us from ever becoming perfectly symmetrical. We can never again be simple unisex spheres, as we were (Aristophanes assures us) in the days before there was love.

For the intense yearning which each of them has towards the other does not appear to be the desire of lover’s intercourse, but of something else which the soul of either evidently desires and cannot tell, and of which she has only a dark and doubtful presentiment. Suppose Hephaestus, with his instruments, to come to the pair who are lying side, by side and to say to them, “What do you people want of one another?” they would be unable to explain. And suppose further, that when he saw their perplexity he said: “Do you desire to be wholly one; always day and night to be in one another’s company? for if this is what you desire, I am ready to melt you into one and let you grow together, so that being two you shall become one, and while you live a common life as if you were a single man, and after your death in the world below still be one departed soul instead of two — I ask whether this is what you lovingly desire, and whether you are satisfied to attain this?” — there is not a man of them who when he heard the proposal would deny or would not acknowledge that this meeting and melting into one another, this becoming one instead of two, was the very expression of his ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called love.

Plato, Symposium, trans. Jowett

About that interesting characteristic there’s a new Issuu book on the wooden-looking shelf at the bottom of the screen. It’s a free download.

Adjective neutral, noun bad


At minute 4 of this video about a small lake in New Hampshire called Jew Pond, the director of the New Hampshire Jewish Federation makes the point that the noun “Jew” is pejorative when it’s used as an adjective. His examples are “Jew politician” and “Jew lawyer,” and he might also have mentioned T. S. Eliot’s scornful phrase about one of his benefactors, “Jew publisher.” “If the name had been ‘Jewish Pond,'” the director tells the interviewer, “we would not be having this conversation.”

And that’s why Republicans say “Democrat Party.”

Addendum: Gary Ostrower writes to recommend the Wikipedia article “Democrat Party (phrase),” and adds,

“The difference between using ‘Democrat’ as an adjective and ‘Jew’ as an adjective is that the latter has nearly 2000 years of negative connotation behind it. Not so ‘Democrat.’ Most — maybe all — of my own students would not recognize ‘Democrat’ as slur; not so with ‘Jew.'”

And that’s true enough. Just two days ago one of my own rhythm-challenged students sent me a friendly e-mail beginning, “High Professor Morse.” No, he didn’t mean “Herr Oberprofessor,” and no he couldn’t hear the pause where the comma should go. For that matter, when I took my physical exam for the draft in 1966 the sergeant in charge of the paperwork instructed us to fill in the Race blank “Neg” if we were, as he carefully put it, Negroic.

Further note, March 14, 2012: Jew Pond will now be renamed. Story here: