Blog #31

Seth McFarlane has been described as a fan of Star Trek, particularly The Next Generation. It’s hard to miss in The Orville, the Fox show he’s created and in which he stars. The series has just completed its second season. It was entertaining from the start, though it required some time to get its feet on the ground. But it’s gotten consistently stronger. The final two episodes, linked together into a time travel what-if narrative, blew me away. The earlier show, “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow,” had come to a working conclusion, but I’ll confess that it felt as if more was coming. But I couldn’t see any way to manage it. Nevertheless, they pulled it off. The second episode was “The Ro

Blog #30

In an era of unrelenting bad news, where the most visible current scientific advance had to do primarily with a black hole, let me offer a hopeful report. Boris Johnson’s The Churchill Factor, makes the point that one man can make a serious difference. Without Churchill taking a stand in 1940 against almost all his British government colleagues, who wanted to cut a deal with Hitler so they could hopefully stay out of a war, Johnson shows us why at the end of the conflict, western Europe would have been in Nazi hands. Note that FDR had promised not to let the U.S. get dragged into the war. Without Churchill, it doesn’t look as if that would have happened either. Beyond that, Anthony Pagden in

Blog #29

The value of comics is grossly underrated. Newspaper strips have been reduced in size over the years, and there aren’t many adults who can avoid a tolerant smile when their kids bring home a Batman comic book. But we may be missing something. How do we learn to read? The reality is that, at least for fiction, we need something we care about. I can’t recall any fiction we read as school assignments during my early years except Dick and Jane. But I have no idea who they were or what they did. When I was five years old, getting ready for first grade, I was already addicted to Dick Tracy, Blondie, Smilin’ Jack, Terry and the Pirates, Little Orphan Annie, Popeye, and the Katzenjammer Kids. And of