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herculodge
I am Jeff McMahon. I teach college English, I'm married to a middle school English teacher, and we have a "rescue" dog, Gretchen, with special emotional needs, though I imagine we're now just as dependent on Gretchen as she is on us. herculogical@verizon.net
Interests: power yoga, combat conditioning, cars that possess the i've-got-to-have-it factor, vegetarian cooking, blissed-out naval-gazer and underground dream pop music, a few well-chiseled books. other website: http://herculodge.typepad.com/
Recent Activity
Like a lot of people, I read Michael Scheuer's best-selling book Imperial Hubris and felt edified by someone whose experience in national intelligence gave a critical eye on American foreign policy. At a certain point, I wondered if he had gone crazy. People whom I once thought were credible seem... Continue reading
Posted 4 hours ago at Leaving Anhedonia
On Bill Maher’s most recent Real Time, Maher discussed America’s acrimonious divide as “Whole Foods versus Piggly Wiggly.” This may have been in the context of Amazon setting up headquarters in two more coastal towns. Maher’s point is that Whole Foods America is having a party: money, relevance, job growth;... Continue reading
Posted 5 hours ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Essay #5 Due Date: 12-12-18: 260 points You need 5 credible sources for the MLA Works Cited page in your final capstone essay. Option One. In context of Alfie Kohn’s “From Degrading to De-Grading,” support, refute, or complicate Alfie Kohn’s... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Breakthrough Writer
Paul is a genius and very possibly the founder of Christianity. His spiritual orientation is complex and contradictory. He rhapsodizes about love and humility, but too often betrays a raging egotism that gets the best of him. His prose is prickly, sanctimonious, and full of self-regard. Yet let there be... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Leaving Anhedonia
Option Three. Read Bryan Caplan’s “The World Might be Better Off Without College for Everyone” and write an essay that analyzes the validity of his claim. You should see this critical review in The Washington Post of Caplan’s ideas. You... Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Breakthrough Writer
In Elaine Pagels' Why Religion: A Personal Story, she explains that she learned the limits of willpower in fighting her alcoholism, and that she needed to draw from a "spiritual dimension." I've been reading Pagels for the last three decades and her main argument in her books is that Christian... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
November 27 Homework #20: Read Paul Bloom’s “Against Empathy” and write a 3-paragraph essay that explains the author’s position. Essay Variation #3 for "Winter Dreams": Comparing and Contrasting Dexter Green and Hasan Minhaj In the context of "Winter Dreams" and Hasan Minhaj's Netflix 72-minute comedy special "Homecoming King," compare and... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Critical Thinker
With the exception of those philosophers who say God can only be conceived through negation such as Spinoza and Meister Eckhart, John Gray in his powerful, short book Seven Types of Atheism has little patience for atheists whose attempts at a non-theistic world prove to be futile: They keep appropriating... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Leaving Anhedonia
Homework #15: Read Cryan Caplan’s “The World Might be Better Off Without College for Everyone” and write a 3-paragraph essay that analyzes the validity of his claim. Essay #5 Due Date: 12-12-18: 260 points You need 5 credible sources for... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Breakthrough Writer
Homework #19 for November 20 Read Brendan Foht’s “The Case Against Human Gene Editing” and write an essay that explains why the author maintains his position. November 13 Homework #17: Read Chekhov’s “Gooseberries” and write a 3-paragraph essay that analyzes Nikolay’s moral disintegration and decrepitude. We will also explore a... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at Critical Thinker
November 15 Homework #18: Read F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Winter Dreams” and write a 3-paragraph essay that compares how Dexter Green and Nikolay both traded true happiness and meaning for a life wasted on a chimera (illusion). Essay #5 Due 12-13-18: 260 Points(over one-fourth of your total semester grade) You need... Continue reading
Posted Nov 8, 2018 at Critical Thinker
After an hour of still hearing his voice on the radio as I turned the radio on and off, I said to myself: "Is he still talking?" Listening to his constant con speak and gaslighting, the utterances of a troubled middle-school boy who is always being sent to the principal's... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
The New Yorker's David Remnick correctly points out that there was no blue wave, but the split between rural and suburban voters, evidencing a nasty national division, will become worsened in the 2020 election. Help me if I'm wrong or guilty of hubris or some kind of pride as someone... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Homework #14: Read Bell Hooks’ "Learning in the Shadow of Race and Class" and write a 3-paragraph essay that explains the conflict Bell Hooks has about how her education gave her privilege on one hand and challenged her not be... Continue reading
Posted Nov 7, 2018 at Breakthrough Writer
For the last week, I've been having recurring dreams about waiting for intractable periods inside desolate airports, which became the inspiration for this piano title. Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Materialism is more than just wanting nice stuff. Materialism is about obsession, and obsession is about placing meaning on objects. For example, I associate a Gillette vintage razor with the innocence of my childhood when my father used to shave with a Gillette Fatboy or a Gillette Super Speed Flare... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
So you want to be like me, do you? A watch obsessive? An amateur watch crackerjack? A grown man who acts like a man-child while curating his watch obsessive ways on his YouTube channel? Wow, I’m flattered. Now I must tell you there is a part of me that is... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Today I was listening to Terry Gross talk to Elaine Pagels, author of many books studying Christianity, the Gnostic Gospels, and Satan’s origins, including her latest book Why Religion? Pagels explained she rejected her father’s strident atheism and joined an evangelical church, but after her Jewish friend died in a... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
As a kid, my family joined about four other families for a summer tradition of camping on an island near Mt. Shasta. The summer of 1971 was hellishly hot, a fact that remains because one of the fathers nailed a giant thermometer to a tree at the campsite, and every... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
Watching people rhapsodize on Facebook about their fish tacos, barbecue tri-tip, mango margaritas, and raspberry cheesecake, which they consumed with friends and family at events I was never invited to make me feel left out in a biblical way like when Jesus describes Heaven as a banquet with all these... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
When one cultivates a worldview that addresses their psychological and spiritual condition, one may be tempted to embrace atheism as the philosophy of reason, materialism, science, and what Julia Sweeney calls naturalism. She is a naturalist, and I find her critique of religion a compelling one. However, atheism appears inadequate... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
I read many works by atheists, including the so-called New Atheists, and found myself skeptical of their confident positions, which too often smacked of arrogance, pride, Straw Man arguments, and over simplifications. I just started reading John Gray's Seven Types of Atheism, which so far appears to be a compelling... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
The world’s major religions have a dualistic view of the world, the Flesh and the Spirit. People’s spiritual development helps them weaken Flesh, their selfish impulses, and helps them grow stronger in the Spirit, their altruistic, charitable inclinations. But which religion is the best one? The major religions make competing... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
One of the uncanny things I’ve observed in my neighborhood is that it is very possible to never see my neighbors. They drive down the street with dark-tinted windows on their all-terrain vehicles, press the button to their automatic garage, and walk inside their house using a garage door that... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia
I was standing over the bed folding clothes this afternoon when I turned and saw my vial of aromatic argan oil in the bathroom, which I used this morning as a very satisfying aftershave. I looked with longing at the oil, a tube of Proraso shaving cream, and the nearby... Continue reading
Posted Nov 4, 2018 at Leaving Anhedonia