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Moonrise (July 20, 1969)

U.S. astronaut Buzz Aldrin salutes the American flag on the surface of the Moon after he and fellow astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first men to land on the Moon during the Apollo 11 space mission on July 20, 1969.

The moon marked out the edge of heaven.
On this, our scriptures all agreed.
The moon was fixed, it could not fall.
The moon would fill our final needs.

The songs we’d learned were of the moon,
A fitting subject, known to all,
But the songs we sang were of the Earth,
And those that lived before the Fall.

These songs of forests flowing round
The Earth’s four corners warmed the frost
That killed our gardens, coming early,
To remind us all of what we’d lost.

“Why wander yearning for the moon?”
We’d ask of stones and ancient trees.
Their silence sang back in the night,
Of lands where all free choices freeze.

“Tranquillity”, they promised us,
“Is the highest peak you will attain.
Tranquillity, where your bones will rest
Forever in the airless rains.”

Our numbers grew, as did our tongues,
Beside brown rivers, on ancient plains.
We made more gods, we built up walls,
We fashioned towers of dirt and rain.

Within those walls we planted fruit
And flowers bordering roofless rooms,
Wherein we sang the centuries down,
Observing all the phases of the moon.

In time our towers turned to steel,
And their foundations into fire.
The rooms we made were sealed as stone,
And in those rooms we rose much higher.

The moon grew monstrous as we ascended;
In our window it grew larger than the world.
We lowered our ladder gingerly,
Stepped down, a bit of cloth unfurled.

We named the place Tranquillity.
A fitting gesture, all agreed.
We photographed ourselves on site,
Tossed away some junk we did not need,

And left, returning to that place
Where we’d begun beside the plains,
Boasting our footprints would endure
Forever in the airless rains.

Sometimes at night, we still look up
And see the moonrise scrape the sky.
It is the same, yet not the same,
And we know why, yes, we know why.


Box of Colors by Ghostsniper

They live entirely inside their tiny box of colors – they have become one of the colors. The “organic them” exists only when it must, like feeding time and such, the rest of the time they are an avatar that is changed at will. Quite flexible when you are just so many pixels. The electrons creating synapses in their brains are in perfect synchronicity with the electrons flying thither and yon in their box of colors, they are one. Or, maybe they both are an extension of the other. Perhaps it is the other way around. The small box of colors is the owner and the ”organic they” is used only to connect the box to other boxes, using electrons mind you. Someday the boxes of colors may learn to connect themselves. Then the organic robots they own will no longer be necessary.

You’ll be driving in your driverless car through the ville, looking at your box of colors in your hand and you’ll look up and see an organic laying along the street, seemingly dead. And you won’t mind, cause you’ve been warned this will happen. As you glide past that corpse you swipe the red color on your box and through the magic of 33′ Bluetooth the essence of that corpse’s avatar will show on the screen and suddenly you will be liked, like all the other organics that drove by just like you. You are like number 31,076. Endorphins fill you with mechanical pride and worth. You are a good person, they told you so! Then you see another organic corpse, and another, and another. As far as the eye can see there will be decomposing organic hulls lying everywhere and collection agencies will be on patrol picking up all the boxes of colors for recycling.

The likes are coming fast now, an app update makes it possible to swipe without actually swiping, you just have to think you’re swiping and ta-daaa, you’ve swiped. You’re now up to 99,156 and climbing. You drive on but you don’t see the light pole step off the sidewalk into your path. It did it so smoothly no one but a non-user would have seen it. Your vehicle is demolished and your airbag cast you in another direction and there you lay, broken, and your box of colors lies over there.

A car glides by, much like yours, and the driver of this driverless car swipes the red avatar and you chalk up another number on their screen, and they drive on…

A comment in Post of the Week (So Far): The Mob Eats Its Own


I’m not even going to touch…       check that... I’m not even going to start to talk about the Full-Monty of subtextual and cultural things that are splashing about in the warm ideological soup of this item.


Pictures at an Exhibition

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“Think for a second about what they are demanding. If you don’t automatically accept the imprecise, unspecific, never-fully-explained findings of shadowy intelligence agencies with long, documented track records of making serious mistakes, you’ve somehow betrayed your country. The very people who assured you Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the ones who said the Shah would never fall in Iran, etc, etc…..THOSE people must be accepted without question or else.

“On television, this group is called the “Intelligence Community.” That’s an Orwellian name if there ever was one….where exactly IS this community we hear so much about? Does it have a ZIP code? A public library system? A youth football league? How long before Congress demands unthinking obedience to the “Lawmaker Community?” It’s a community after all, you must obey it…dissent is unpatriotic, and if you don’t agree, you’re working for Vladimir Putin.

“That’s where we’re headed, by the way, and fast.

“In some ways, this whole story is about Donald Trump and what he said and what he does. But on a deeper level, it has nothing to do with Donald Trump. This is about democracy–whether or not voters rule their country. It turns out the very people telling you they are saving our democracy are working overtime to destroy it, and scolding you as they do.”

Via | Chateau Heartiste


Trump vs CNN: The Summing Up

“Last night I fell asleep in front of the TV and I had a dream and I heard a CNN infobabe saying “We now interrupt the regularly scheduled hair-on-fire outrage about the evil Brett Kavanaugh and his normal wife and normal children to bring you this new hair-on-fire outrage about Putin getting Trump to kiss his butt in Helsinki. After this plays out, we may be bringing you more of that hair-on-fire outrage you may have forgotten, the bit where Trump personally stuffs little foreign children into cages and then laughs at them while they cry. Or maybe it will be the hair-on-fire outrage from not believing every word spoken by Peter Strzok whose super-duper patriotism is unquestionable because we’re not questioning it. But first, back to Helsinki where we’ve just received word that Vladimir Putin is raping Donald Trump behind the podium like a Viking and so here is a panel of experts who will tell you all about their hair-on-fire outrage from these events….” And then I woke up. Holy crap. No more eating fermented pineapples while watching CNN late night, I can tell you. But I’ve got one question. Why is it that, no matter how bad Trump may appear to look, his enemies always manage to make themselves look worse?” From the always worthwhile and often hilarious The Morning Rant


“It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent: Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation.

“What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn.

“American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. . . .

“Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now serves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip.

“No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position.” Robert Lewis Dabney on Conservatism, 1987


The Succulent Spiders from the Uncanny Valley

“When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology,

let’s share some of technology with plants…”

Okay, now, for the first time, the robots among us have morphed from Roomba to Creepy.

Much creepier because of their efforts to seem “cute.”

Remaking “Sharing Human Technology with Plants” with HEXA – General Discussion – Vincross Forum

The original idea of the project came from a dead sunflower. In 2014, I went to see a sunflower exhibition, and found myself focused on a dead sunflower near a ground of blooms. The dead flower sat in a place that was always in a shadow. I had no idea how it ended up there or why it died – whether it was because of the lack of sunshine or water – but it was just there, and it was dead. I thought, if it could move a little bit, take a 30-feet walk out of the shadow to where the other sunflowers were, it would have lived healthily. But it didn’t.

Plants are passive. Eternally, inexplicably passive. No matter if they are being cut, bitten, burned or pulled from the earth, or when they lack sunshine, water, or are too hot or cold, they will hold still and take whatever is happening to them. They have the fewest degrees of freedom among all the creatures in nature. This is simply the default setting that nature gives to plants.

Each life has its own default settings, including human beings. We humans are not built to go to the depths of the ocean to explore its wonder; nor are we meant to fly to the skies to have the clouds beneath our feet. We’re not meant to land on the moon to view the blue planet. For millions of years, humans have been following their settings, and it’s not until the last century that we started to break those laws. We invented submarines, airplanes, and the Apollo Program, essentially helping us to break our default settings.

However, for billions of years, plants have never experienced movement of any kind, not even the simplest movement. Their whole lives, they stick to where they were born. Do they desire to break their own settings or have a tendency towards this? If human beings always try to break the settings with technology, how about plants? I do not know the answer, but I would love to try to share some of this human tendency and technology with plants. With a robotic rover base, plants can experience mobility and interaction. I do hope that this project can bring some inspiration to the relationship between technology and natural default settings.

In remaking the project, I didn’t create a special new base but just used a standard Vincross HEXA instead. I built a dual-layer “flowerpot,” which replaced HEXA’s shell. And to honor the original project, the main body of the plant was still Echeveria ‘Hakuhou.’

Would the plant like it, I mean, the feeling of being an animal? I have no idea. But I want to let it have the experience. When human beings go to deep ocean and moon through technology, let’s share some of technology with plants, let them at least experience what it is like to experience the simplest of motions.


In the Midst of Laundry We Are in Taco

“Media vita in morte sumus”

Paradise is a one-laundromat town. That’s fine since it is a very serviceable laundromat indeed. It is clean, well-maintained, and sanitary. It is right next door to the latest woodfired pizza oven of Paradise, right in front of the full-service Mexican butcher shop of Paradise, and tucked in just to the south and a little below the recently renovated Taco Bell of Paradise. As a man living alone with lots of clothing and ties older than some of my readers I elected not to get yet another washer-dryer set but to content myself with a once a fortnight afternoon at the Paradise Laundromat with a side-trip to the Taco Bell where the Taco Supreme remains one of my two fast-food fetishes.

It’s an excellent plan until today when pulling into the parking lot I looked in the window and noted a hastily scrawled sign that stated “Closed until further notice. If you have laundry inside call us at 555-1212 and we’ll try to get it to you as soon as possible.”

Humm, I pondered as I ponderingly will ponder. It looked to be a strange wasted trip and then I remembered that at least I was right next to the Taco Bell and…

But the Taco Bell, up the slight hill to my right, was also closed and dark. Curious, I parked and walked into the Mexican butcher which was doing its usual solid afternoon business. “What gives? What happened to the laundromat and Taco Bell,” I asked the butcher.

He gave me a straight look and said, “Go look at the back of this building.”

I went outside and took a look at the back of the building. It had an SUV parked inside it — or, should I say, “half-parked” inside.

It would seem that a lady of certain years had, at the end of the always backed up Taco Bell drive-through lane made a silly little mistake and mistook the accelerator for the brake. She tore through the drive-through sign, through the drive-through lane itself, and then — hitting the curb at the far side of the drive-through lane achieved lift-off and arced through the air into the back wall of the laundromat that was about four feet lower than the drive-through lane.

Result? The impact and sudden appearance of an SUV hood at about head height after blowing out a couple of industrial dryers missed everybody but did succeed moving them, at speed, into the parking lot. At the Taco Bell deep growl came from all those on their lunch breaks in the drive-through that could see their chances for a Gordito fading far, far away.

“I was just sitting here waiting for my rugs to be finished, there was three of us up front, two guys and me,” Jackie Brooks told the Paradise Post. “All of a sudden the building shook, it actually sounded like the building blew up like you see on TV.”

Thank God we have TV, otherwise we’d have no analogies for those moments in the modern age when an SUV on a Taco run jumps the curb blasts through a wall and plunges its chromed hood deep into the guts of a bank of industrial-strength clothes dryers.

For me, this means a trek of some 21 miles to a laundromat that has no Taco Bell. It’s quite a first world problem to have. On the other hand that particular distant laundromat happens to be about ten yards from Priya Indian Cuisine and its fantastic Indian buffet, so I suppose I can suffer.
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Post of the Week (So Far): The Mob Eats Its Own

FROM I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me – Quillette

I drive food delivery for an online app to make rent and support myself and my young family. This is my new life. I once had a well-paid job in what might be described as the social justice industry. Then I upset the wrong person, and within a short window of time, I was considered too toxic for my employer’s taste. I was publicly shamed, mobbed, and reduced to a symbol of male privilege. I was cast out of my career and my professional community. Writing anything under my own byline now would invite a renewal of this mobbing—which is why, with my editor’s permission, I am writing this under a pseudonym. He knows who I am.

In my previous life, I was a self-righteous social justice crusader. I would use my mid-sized Twitter and Facebook platforms to signal my wokeness on topics such as LGBT rights, rape culture, and racial injustice. Many of the opinions I held then are still opinions that I hold today. But I now realize that my social-media hyperactivity was, in reality, doing more harm than good.

Within the world created by the various apps I used, I got plenty of shares and retweets. But this masked how ineffective I had become outside, in the real world. The only causes I was actually contributing to were the causes of mobbing and public shaming. Real change does not stem from these tactics. They only cause division, alienation, and bitterness.

How did I become that person? It happened because it was exhilarating. Every time I would call someone racist or sexist, I would get a rush. That rush would then be reaffirmed and sustained by the stars, hearts, and thumbs-up that constitute the nickels and dimes of social media validation. The people giving me these stars, hearts, and thumbs-up were engaging in their own cynical game: A fear of being targeted by the mob induces us to signal publicly that we are part of it.

Just a few years ago, many of my friends and peers who self-identify as liberals or progressives were open fans of provocative standup comedians such as Sarah Silverman, and shows like South Park. Today, such material is seen as deeply “problematic,” or even labeled as hate speech. I went from minding my own business when people told risqué jokes to practically fainting when they used the wrong pronoun or expressed a right-of-center view. I went from making fun of the guy who took edgy jokes too seriously, to becoming that guy.

When my callouts were met with approval and admiration, I was lavished with praise: “Thank you so much for speaking out!” “You’re so brave!” “We need more men like you!”

Then one day, suddenly, I was accused of some of the very transgressions I’d called out in others. I was guilty, of course: There’s no such thing as due process in this world. And once judgment has been rendered against you, the mob starts combing through your past, looking for similar transgressions that might have been missed at the time. I was now told that I’d been creating a toxic environment for years at my workplace; that I’d been making the space around me unsafe through microaggressions and macroaggressions alike.

Social justice is a surveillance culture, a snitch culture. The constant vigilance on the part of my colleagues and friends did me in. That’s why I’m delivering sushi and pizza. Not that I’m complaining. It’s honest work, and it’s led me to rediscover how to interact with people in the real world. I am a kinder and more respectful person now that I’m not regularly on social media attacking people for not being “kind” and “respectful.”

I mobbed and shamed people for incidents that became front-page news. But when they were vindicated or exonerated by some real-world investigation, it was treated as a footnote by my online community. If someone survives a social justice callout, it simply means that the mob has moved on to someone new. No one ever apologizes for a false accusation, and everyone has a selective memory regarding what they’ve done.

RTWT AT I Was the Mob Until the Mob Came for Me


If I had a hammer….

The Essential Craftsman’s Scott Wadsworth takes us on a tour of blacksmith shop artifacts with a side trip into how the 1,912 miles of the transcontinental railroad were hammered into place.

“Gotta love the legacy of hard work that is printed all over these things by their very existence.”

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The Magic Meal Maker

“The Planning Center — this is the heart and the brain of the RCA-Whirlpool Miracle Kitchen. For example, there’s a button that turns on a built-in color television set that brings entertainment into your Miracle Kitchen of the future. Other buttons select recipes, request an inventory of food stock, select food from storage, or complete the automatic meal from the Magic Meal Maker.”

March 1959. “Home economist Anne Anderson demonstrating appliances and features of RCA-Whirlpool ‘Miracle Kitchen of the Future,’ a display at the American National Exhibition in Moscow.” Cafe Jetson: 1959


Noted In Passing


This Britboy is the walking talking definition of “putz.” By the end, Gorka is wearing putz’s guts for garters.


So Platform Crocs Are Now a Thing    Who would make such an atrocity? € you might ask.  Well friends, Balenciaga has your back. Balenciaga, if you’€™re not aware, is a Spanish fashion brand that’€™s basically just trolling everyone at this point, and the latest evidence is this monstrosity that costs $850. That’€™s right, PLATFORM Crocs for $850!

The Wave | So far the liberal world order has made no serious intellectual effort to understand the Wave, leaving the task to late-night comedians. They have preferred to depict it as the product of subhuman, bigoted minds whose feeble arguments can be contemptuously dismissed by symbolically floating rubber blimps over London; or by falling back on explanations such as Nazism, despite the fact we are in the wrong century, without a recent world war, in the middle of an economic boom and the beneficiaries of too many decades of politically correct instruction for that thesis to be easily accepted.

“Nothing would be easier politically than to refuse to meet, to refuse to engage, but that would not accomplish anything. As president, I cannot make decisions on foreign policy in a futile effort to appease partisan critics, or the media, or Democrats who want to do nothing but resist and obstruct.” Trump and Putin and the fear-mongering MSM

When I was a boy, our betters in America were trying to force soccer and the metric system on us. The people doing it were all loathsome snobs. Worse yet, all of them were the children of working-class people who should have known better. But, their parents sent them off to the state college and they came back thinking they were sophisticated citizens of the world, so they loved soccer. Yep, soccer was a Boomer fetish.   Why I Hate Soccer 

Political Disinformation, Dezinformatsiya    Leftists began infiltrating academia more than a century ago. One of their key goals was influencing those planning careers in journalism. I saw this first hand, as a journalism major at a university in California in the early 1980s. Any student who spoke up for conservative ideals was immediately pounced on by the School of Journalism faculty. And most of the students would usually pile on, in a harmony that would make Chairman Mao proud. Even back then, the leftist diatribes in lectures and classroom “discussions” (indoctrination sessions) were pronounced and sustained. I can only imagine what things are like in journalism schools today–in the era of Social Justice Warriors, Safe Spaces, and Trigger Warnings.
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