Blog Archives

Our Annual Back-to-School Special: THE ALWAYS-NEVER LIST FOR THE CLASS OF 2027–BORN IN 2005

by Tom McBride

he Always-Never List for the Class of 2027 Born in 2005 (Please send comments/questions to mcbridet@beloit.edu) While this year’s new college students were being born, Johnny Carson and Rosa Parks were dying; ice caps at the North Pole were slowly moving towards what may be a summer devoid of ice; The 1918 flu strain was being revived in a lab; George W. Bush was preparing for what would prove to be a rocky second term; Hollywood was going nuts on sci-fi and fantasy flicks; the Chicago White Sox were suddenly unbeatable; Saddam Hussein sat helplessly in a courtroom; and a video called “Meet Me At the Zoo” was uploaded to an upstart new internet site called YouTube. This is all but   Read on »

THE PO-MO PUTIN: He’s not such a bad guy when you get to know what he really is –By Tom McBride

by Tom McBride

The Po-Mo Putin The alleged war criminal isn’t so bad once you see what he really is.      Vladimir Putin would not like Post-Modernism, a trend from the decadent intellectual salons of France that quickly spread like a domineering blob to the rest of Europe and North America. He would see its slippery relativism as perilously consistent with non-binary-sexual preferences and other germs that America and the European Union wish to smuggle into the Motherland and that might be lurking, even now, in Nazi Kiev.      He would not like this sort of thing. It is unclear whether or not he knows what it is. Less mysterious is what he would think of it.      But can he do without   Read on »

SECRETS: The Mindset List® of UNDERWEAR

by Tom McBride

SECRETS: The Mindset List® of UNDERWEAR You ae likely wearing undergarments while you read this. What’s in an undergarment—mindsets, that’s what. The history of underwear is a history of mindsets—about outer versus inner, about discretion versus convenience, about civilization versus comfort, about sex appeal versus repression of same, and about men versus women. Go backstage with us now to consider, say, the Victoria’s Secret Mindset of Fruit of the Loom! 1 As he began his life of crime in Breaking Bad, Walter White found it so hot in the meth lab that he had to strip down to his jockey shorts—yes, they were white. 2 The loin cloth was the earliest type of underwear, but only the rich could afford   Read on »

THE FELINE FILE: Poems for Every Cat Lover

by Tom McBride

These poems trace days in the lives of such cats as Meo, Joe, Ophelia, and Big Boy. They also illustrate some lively feline wisdom. I’ve long thought that, the more like cats we are, the better off we will be, and will add to this verse at least once a week. –TM A BLIZZARD OF CATS We couldn’t tell even one from all the others, De-itemized by sheer numbers as they were. The wind blew them all from side to side. A very few motorists braved the storm. A Maine Coon or Siamese walloped their windshields. Eight lives remained. They blocked out the phone poles and swank cafes. An endless feline deletion Erased the prairies and the hills. They filled   Read on »

GOD’S THREE RULES, or Why the Real Enemy of MAGA is Margaret Thatcher

by Tom McBride

God’s Three Rules Or, Why Margaret Thatcher is the True Enemy of MAGA Tom McBride      It is a cliché in enlightened circles to muse that God’s list of responsibilities has dwindled. Sean Carroll, the famed physicist and podcaster, has put it precisely this way. God is no longer required to throw lightning bolts. Magnetic electricity can do that. No progressive would disagree. What the secular observer doesn’t get, though is that God is required more than ever.      Throwing lightning bolts and raising the dead were never His main line of work—and yes, the masculine pronoun is sociologically correct. Throwing and raising were just commercials. The real work of God has been to establish and enforce rules, and this   Read on »

BARBIE’S VERY OWN MINDSET LIST®

by Tom McBride

Barbie’s Very Own Mindset List® All Dolled Up One of the great philosophical puzzles is called “Theseus’ Ship.” This ship over the decades has to be repaired so many times that finally there is not a single board left from the original vessel. Is “Theseus’ Ship” still THESEUS’ SHIP? It’s a question of continuity and identity—and it is relevant to the thousands of makeovers of Barbie Dolls over the past 6o-plus years. Is Barbie still BARBIE? You be the judge. Here’s a little list to help you decide! 1 Barbie is 64 but has never looked her age. 2 There are over a billion Barbies. 3 She has been on cable and streaming for nearly 20 years. 4 She and   Read on »

SHAKESPEARE’S PHILOSOPHER-GHOSTS: Mystical Empire & the Multi-verse

by Tom McBride

Shakespeare’s Philosopher-Ghosts Tom McBride      Ghosts all tell the same story: that what we thought was over and settled is not so; that miscreants can’t get away with their crimes and you can’t cut off and steal someone’s hand without their coming back as ghosts to claim it. The motto of ghosts is what Faulkner once said: “The past isn’t over; it’s not even past.” This is also the typical message of literary ghosts and part of the fun of ghost stories. The premise is that death settles nothing, in a way a comforting idea, and if you throw in the spookiness of ghosts, as long as we readers are safe from them, then the whole thing adds up to   Read on »

BELOIT FROM A TO Z: The History of a Great College in 26 Items

by Tom McBride

Beloit From A to Z: Tom McBride Note: This list only tickles the surface of a Beloit College record abundant with colorful achievements. It will be edited from time to time to become as inclusive as possible. Suggestions are welcome at mcbridet@beloit.edu A: Aaron. Aaron Lucius Chapin was Beloit’s first president, a Congregational minister praised by Lincoln for helping civilize “the west.” Midway through his presidency, just after the Civil War, he said the new college was growing into what he called “lustsy manhood.”  Folks talked differently back then. B: Beloit. Beloit, Wisconsin is the home of Beloit College and gave it its name. It was founded in the mid-1840s or about the same time as the college was. It   Read on »