Some time ago now Deborah Lane urged Karen and me to consider moving into their home from the retirement home we were living in. As covid raged across the land the move seemed a wise thing to do. We have lived with Steve and Deborah for a year now. Some thoughts about the move:

  1. First let me say the food is great. Delicious suppers and lots of milk to drink! (Believe it or not but I do not drink much alcohol anymore.)
  2. The rooms we have are comfortable, warm, easy to clean and we sleep comfortably.
  3. We seem, for the most part, to live separate lives. We do share supper together – always varied and delicious – but for much of the day we go our own way. Walking in our old neighbourhood, socially distanced, and more and more making and keeping doctor appointments.
  4. Supper time conversations are rich and interesting, although Karen has some hearing problems, and I get lost from time to time, leading to some laughable moments as I am somewhat of a buffoon!
  5. After one year, I can say: it was a wise move.
  6. It seems we are happy and well-fed in our new place.
  7. Thanks. And Happy Anniversary!
  8. PS: Angelina, the cat, likes us both!


I do not understand many things in this world. Right at the top of the list is covid-19 deniers. What is that about? Half a million deaths in the USA! What more evidence is required?? Thousands of deaths in Canada. How do deniers explain those numbers?

Skepticism is cool. I am a skeptic. But to deny public health orders is just crazy. Daily newspapers report on fights in stores over mask rules! WTF!

Wearing a mask is easy. Social distancing is possible. Hitting an employee, or spitting on her/him because they ask you to put on a mask is beyond my understanding.

Don’t facts matter in 2021?

Help me!

Doug Rirosky #3

Doug and Callie had a garden in the back yard. I remember digging it up one Spring as a surprise for them. They raised vegetables for the table. Callie prepared the best fried chicken EVER (as my Grandson would say – letting the word drag on for EVER!) They had two beautiful daughters and three sons. Callie worked in the school system preparing hot lunches for school kids. She was an attractive and vibrant women loved by our kids.

After we left Santa Barbara we tried to stay in touch, but soon the letters stopped. The Riroskies were good friends, good teachers, good people, and we all learned from them.

I tried calling them from Canada later. Callie remembered me, but Doug’s health was deteriorating and he had some memory problems. Soon after he died leaving me with memories of a good man who walked the earth with pride and was a good friend, who helped me and my family in many ways.

I have always been proud to call Doug Rirosky – friend!

“It was middle school, eighth grade, when a sheltered 13-year-old boy suddenly found himself immersed in an unfamiliar world, guided by a girl who wasn’t much older, a girl on the verge of leading a religious movement,” writes host Ramtin Arablouei.

“The boy was me. The girl, Lauren Oya Olamina, is, of course, the main character in Octavia Butler’s classic science fiction novel Parable of the Sower.”

Hear the episode here!

Doug Rirosky #2

As my family was getting ready for the trip north Doug said that he wanted to add something to our old rambler that would make it easier for the five of us to travel. (This was back in the 1960s!)

“OK”, I said, “but I’ll be back in a few hours. We have to be on the road soon.” I had no idea what Doug was up to. I was considering something like this:

So, I left the car with Doug and went to UCSB to say goodbye to some of the profs and students.

Several hours later I returned to Doug’s home and he had constructed a wooden, aerodynamic box that fit on top of the car and held an amazing amount of stuff!

The man was amazing. I don’t know how he was able to so quickly construct such a box – which we used for several years. It held lots of gear: suitcases, clothes, dishes, camping gear, etc. leaving the car pretty empty for the five of us.

I’ve looked for a picture of the box but so far cannot find one. If I do I’ll post it.

Black History Month

I want to tell you a bit about Doug Rirosky.

He was a Black man, a good friend, and he helped me and my family while I was a graduate student at UCSB by providing high paying construction work for me on weekends. I would go to his house and we would get in his pick-up to drive to the job. We talked; or, Doug talked and I listened.

Doug told me a bit about this past while we were traveling in his old pick-up to the jobs on weekends. As a young man he faced serious challenges as a young Black competing with whites as a labourer in Chicago. To keep his job in those days Doug had to work harder and faster than his white colleagues. He could do so. He was the strongest man I ever knew. I want to tell you a few stories about Doug.

One: As my family were getting ready to leave Santa Barbara for my first full-time teaching position, Doug called me into his kitchen one night after a marvelous dinner, prepared for us by his wife, Callie. He said, “Bob. I found these old suits and thought you might be able to use them in your new job.” I remember thinking “if these were yours they will never fit me!” We were quite different in size and shape.

He presented me with two complete suits – each with two pairs of pants – and said “try them on.”

I did. They fit perfectly.

He had sized me up, ordered the suits from a local tailor, and gave them to me for wearing in my new teaching position.

I hugged him. And cried.

Black History Month.

Professor Stuurman

RUSSELL: Douwe Stuurman?

HARDIN: Well, he’s one of a kind. He was one of the spearheads of the movement to keep this [UCSB] a small liberal arts campus. He was, as you know, at Oxford–a Rhodes Scholar–and very much a lover of humanities in a traditional sense. I don’t know how one could summarize him. You know plenty about him anyway. He’s quite unusual.

Check this out! One of the great profs at UCSB!

Camus between Augustine and Hegel

Camus’ Hellenic Heart, Between Augustine and HegelMatthew J Sharpe

This chapter for Adam Goldwyn and James Nikopoulos ed. *Brill’s Companion to Classical Reception in International Modernism and the Avant Garde* looks at Camus’ philhellenism, arguing that it is both what shapes his thought, and makes it singular in the post-war French scene.  In four parts, it looks at Camus’ early “Greece of the flesh”, rooted in his upbringing and education; Camus’ critique of political messianisms or theologies, based in his appeal to classical mesure, and a moderate philosophical scepticism; Camus’ “virtue ethics” and his critique of heroism, fidelity, and authenticity as ideals (as “secondary virtues”) in particular; then Camus’ cultivation of literature, “style,” and philiosophical self-writing in the Carnets as a way of life.