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"There never was a good war or a bad peace."- Benjamin Franklin

American Studies

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And when we were children, staying at the archduke's,
My cousin's, he took me out on a sled,
And I was frightened. He said, Marie,
Marie, hold on tight. And down we went.
In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

        -- Eliot

Last Sunday in Seattle I was still sitting with my morning coffee when the phone rang. It was my old friend, the constant urban explorer, who lives a few blocks away. "I want to give you a gift," he said, "but I can't bring it to you. Instead, you've got to go to it." This man's gifts are not lightly chosen (Except for the inflatable Sarah Palin love doll -- but he's getting that one back when he least expects it.), so I listened.

"Write this down. Walk to the Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in your neighborhood."

"Oh..kay....."

"No. No. You'll be glad you did. Then go in the main entrance and stroll along the road on the west side."

"Right."

"Look to your left for a large white stone with two benches on either side of it. The name carved into the stone is 'PUDDY.' "

"Got it."

"Sit down on a bench and look around. That's your gift. Talk to you later. Oh, you'll want to take your camera."

I wondered for a moment if this could be some sort of geocaching joke. At the same time I knew it wasn't. He's a man with little use for the latest techno-ephemera. He values time, his and others. Sleeveless errands are not his style. It was a bright, somewhat cool, Indian Summer Sunday in Seattle and the cemetery was only a few blocks away. I suited up and out the door I went. In a few minutes I was walking into the cemetery and looking around.

Mt. Pleasant is fine cemetery as cemeteries go. Quiet and expansive without being overlarge. You can be buried with your own kind if you are Asian or Jewish, or you can just be planted helter-skelter in the great Seattle diversity plots that make up most of it's area. I've written about this place before in Small Flags, a meditation about loss and war, but the cemetery tells, as all cemeteries do, more than one kind of story if you settle your soul down and listen.

At first I was a bit disoriented inside the gates since the one-lane road winds hither and yon around the grounds and the office with the map to the grave sites is closed on Sundays. By and by, however, I spied off to my left and over near the wall of trees and bushes and chain link fencing that is the western border of the cemetery a large white stone with two white stone benches on either side. I went over and read:

PUDDY

Come sit with us awhile and share our sorrow. Though you weep share the joyful memories too. Look in your heart: In truth you mourn for that which has been your delight.

For Joy and sorrow are inseparable.

I sat and looked north to the outer edge of the large plot that, so far, had only one grave. And there they were.

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I've taken this ride in winters past. I've taken it as a child with my mother and father and brothers. I've taken it one New Year's Eve in New England by myself. Right into a tree and the emergency room for thirty stitches. I've taken it as a young adult under the moonlight on the banks of the frozen Red River in Fargo racing my cousins to the bottom and out onto the ice. I've taken it as a father in other winters past. It's a great ride while it lasts; one that -- barring impact with a tree -- makes you want to get up, pull the sled back up to the top and go again. One that makes you want to race your sled against the others. One that makes you want to see how many can pile on and go down, embracing the others and whooping all the way to the bottom where you all tumble off into a laughing heap.

You can take lots of rides in this life, but a full sled careening down a hill of fresh snow is the closest to a ride of pure joy as you can get. You'll find it near the top of my list of "Best Moments in This Life." It's probably on yours too. If you've never done it, move it to the top of the Bucket List now.

The man buried here died in his 45th year: R. Scott Puddy

On the morning of June 18, 2002, Scott perished doing what he loved: practicing aerobatics in a Yak-52, in the mountains of Brentwood, Calif.
He was survived by his parents, his sisters, and his daughter.

The dark secret fear lurking inside you when you are a parent is that your children will die before you do. That fear came true for this family. All parents can imagine their grief, but all choose not to do so. But they did not choose, as so many do, to be utterly undone by grief. Instead they chose to balance grief with joy, "For Joy and sorrow are inseparable," and place upon this grave a bronze symbol of all that is best in this life and in this world.

It's a gift to their son, R. Scott Puddy, and a gift to any in the world who chance upon his grave. It's a gift outright.

If you ever happen to be near Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Queen Anne, Seattle, go see it. Take your camera. Send your friends. Sit a spell and leave a token, stone or blossom or leaf. When it comes to gifts like this, the gift must move. Pass it on.


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Young boy in pilot's helmet and goggles

puddystoneandsled.jpg
"And down we went. / In the mountains, there you feel free."

[This is back from last October because Puddy's daughter came by and left a comment on the anniversary of his passing.]

Vanderleun : May 1, 16  |  Your Say (37)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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What #TrigglyPuff Means : The Other McCain

The phenomenon of #TrigglyPuff — Cora Segal, the angry feminist who disrupted an event at the University of Massachusetts this week — deserves extended analysis, and I’ve got a 4,000-word draft in queue, awaiting the final touches. Spending two days analyzing the social significance of this comedic phenomenon was perhaps too much, but that’s my job. You need someone to totally overthink it? I’m available.

Anyway, while working on that brain-straining endeavor, it dawned on me what a small world radical feminism actually is. Cora Segal became notorious in March 2014 for a “Fat Justice” event at Swarthmore College that I blogged about, and here she is two years later, notorious again.

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A drone takes you over the edge of El Salto Angel in Venezuela, the highest waterfall in the world....

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"If you’re not in that bunker because you’re not satisfied with a certain candidate, more than shame on you! You’re on the other side!"

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Scientists just captured the flash of light that sparks when a sperm meets an egg For the first time ever, scientists have captured images of the flash of light that sparks at the very moment a human sperm cell makes contact with an egg. The phenomenon has been observed in animals before, but no one’s ever seen the spark of human conception. And what’s even more incredible is the fact that some eggs burn brighter than others, which is a direct indication of their ability to develop into a healthy embryo.KA-CHING

23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him. -- Mark 9:23-25

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every single government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned, they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

gerardvanderleun : April 28, 16  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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5-Minute Arguments

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"A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now"

In late 1965, Dylan commented on the writing of "My Back Pages" specifically during an interview with Margaret Steen for The Toronto Star: "I was in my New York phase then, or at least, I was just coming out of it. I was still keeping the things that are really really real out of my songs, for fear they'd be misunderstood. Now I don't care if they are."

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"It’s not like we didn’t know this was coming. Megyn Kelly is already talking about leaving Fox News.

In recent interviews, Kelly is triangulating against her employer, snarking about the “brain damage that comes from the job” of working at Fox. She’s openly speculating about bailing on the company when her contract runs out because she doesn’t feel the company has backed her sufficiently against the evil sexist Donald J. Trump.
Trump’s attacks on her are the best thing that could have happened to Kelly. Before, she was America’s Sweetheart, a center-right pundit with flowing blonde locks ready to calmly tell you how it is. Not a bad position to be in, but no one important would take her seriously. Now, Megyn Kelly scowls at us from the camera with her angry woman haircut, covering the really critical issues like the “assault” on Michelle Fields.
....
Few people involved in what is absurdly called the “conservative media” want to shift the Overton Window to the Right or view themselves as activists. Instead, their goal is to carve out a niche, secure the loyalty of a certain market, and then push products to that market. If you are Jim Bakker (back and bigger than ever) or Glenn Beck, it’s buckets of food or packets of “survival seeds” so you can survive the End Times. If you’re some girl on Fox News, you want some subtly suggestive picture of yourself on the cover; what you are actually writing about is beyond the point. If you are Bill O’Reilly, you’re pushing a particular fantasy about “greatness” to aging white men who know the country’s best years are behind it. If you are Mark Levin, you’re offering Talmudic and convoluted knowledge about the Constitution, with Levin acting as a kind of rabbi bestowing ancient secrets on the uneducated goyim.
The point is to secure ownership of The Microphone to guarantee access to that market. The business model only works if the Narrative is predictable, the talking points are the same, and the supposed solutions are things people are used to. The recent report Erick Erickson, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck are being paid to attack Trump isn’t some amazing revelation. It’s just business as usual....""
- - Gregory Hood: RTWT

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American Studies

Secret Service Plans to Raise White House Fence by 5 Feet

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Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down. I could say "Elves" to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself.
-- Frost

Here endeth the lesson.

I want to ride to the ridge where the West commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in

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Make no mistake. It's not revenge they're after.....

And now, the word according to Milo:

"Dear #NeverTrump: It's Time To Get Behind Daddy - "So, #NeverTrump haters and losers — it’s time we had a little talk.

Now, I know Trump and the alt-right hurt your feelings by relentlessly undermining the anointed heir to the Royal House of Bush, as well as that flamboyant, permanently dehydrated ADHD junkie from Florida, but it’s time to let bygones be bygones. So, by all means spend a few days in a safe space blowing bubbles and eating oatmeal raisin cookies like your feminist compatriots to recover, but after that it’ll be time to face reality: Trump is going to be your party’s nominee. It’s not so bad, honestly. If you get behind Trump fast enough, your betrayed base might forget comments like “we decide the nominee, not the voters.”

"Those weren’t just any old voters you were alienating, by the way. They include the next generation of conservative firebrands, who are currently gravitating to Trump, the alt-right, and me. Unlike most right-wing writers, my biggest demographic is 18-34 year olds. Your supporters will be dead or retired in ten years. Ours won’t. It’s pretty simple, really. Either you want your party and movement to die, or you don’t."
"The GOP establishment are keen on flooding the country with cheap workers. Backing Trump just means your party will be flooded with cheap voters — you don’t have to bribe them this time; Trump will make them come for free! And they aren’t even Mexican gang members — just disgruntled blue-collar Democrats and independents. You own the beltway, and you’ll always own the beltway. So why not come together with the unwashed masses, behind Trump? Don’t forget, you need the base to keep funding your lavish lifestyles. Look, the Inner Party of Oceania in 1984, which you’ve modeled yourself on so well, was adept at the idea of doublethink. It’s perfectly acceptable to both hate Trump and tell the proles to vote for him. Stop letting the hate cloud your vision and act in your own best interest, like you normally do."
"Some of you are convinced that Trump will lose to Hillary, hence your support for the eminently electable Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)97% and charismatic people’s champion Jeb Bush. And it’s true that Hillary currently beats Trump in the polls. But Trump hasn’t even started exposing all the skeletons in her closet yet — assuming the FBI don’t get there first. Remember, this time last year, Jeb Bush was ahead in the polls. Look how that turned out! Oh, sorry, I shouldn’t have reminded you. Here, have a box of tissues."

Meanwhile, as Cruz throws his Hail Carly Pass well out of bounds, Kasich heads off into the Elephants' Burying Ground mumbling coulda-been-a-contender the Trump breaks out the dreaded teleprompter, and the heads of the Whole Thing ask themselves the burning question of the moment,

gerardvanderleun : April 27, 16  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Grace Notes

I.
With woven steel hands

Cupped around clear cadenced tones,
Our sentinels of the infinite
Herald the skein of the sky,
Repeating one announcement,
Sans ornament and instantaneous,
To be etched on eternity's orbit
In a tattoo of silences.

Like torches tossed down
Into unexplored caverns
Our call dwindles and fades
Till the darkness dissolves it:

"We have arrived at the limits of Earth.
We are here. We are here.
We stand on the edge of Forever.
We are here. We are here.
Are we alone here? Are we here alone?
All alone here on the shore of the sky?"

In numbers and bits
The signal soars up,
Clambering the jade ladder
Out of the pit of gravity
To float like some ancient insect
Trapped within the amber spine of light:

"We have arrived at the limits of Earth.
We are here. We are here.
We stand on the edge of Forever.
We are here. We are here.
Are we alone here? Are we here alone?
All alone here on the shore of the sky?"


II.
The disconcerting occurrence

Encountered at the terminus
Of all the mind's parabolas
Is the thought that Nothing
Is all that occurs, that endures;

That Pinwheels of luminous plasma,
Glowing reefs of nebula's matter,
Spatter the crests of the darkness
And descend like lamenting specters
Caught in the eddies of shoreless seas.

Their lights, creeping up along
The curve of the continuum, gleam
No more than the two-franc candles
Cupped in crippled, translucent palms
In the grotto of Our Lady at Lourdes.

And thus they too only serve
To dapple, quite briefly, the dark edge
Of that shoreless ocean that consumes
What little light they lend,
Until, like some pitch-drenched Pharaoh,

Are damned down into oblivion
By their own command to wait
Sealed in stonelight for a distant dawn.
All these thoughts and messages
Noted for a nanosecond, memorized

In some splinter of a second,
In tombs of luminous instruments,
Relayed, incorporated, and sent out:
A telegram with no fixed address
Woven out of frozen starlight,

And then to the darkness delivered.

III.
Fantasy fears spun in the circles of flickering campfires.

Mythologies winnowed out of unusual stones, or bone, or bits of bark.
Cosmologies concocted from rats' skulls, corn, and Titanium atoms.
Theologies tortured from the blind, wrung from hints in high cumulus.
All the perceived and imagined stockades raised against Zero:
The face of hoarfrost that blooms in our mirror, the Last God,
He who is the Pure Noun for which there is no adjective,
An orb of vacuum which sees itself as Cosmos, a tendril of unseen smoke,
A word which can never be spoken, the footprints of extinguished stars,
The visage mathematics cannot freeze.

IV.
Shored against such a Shibboleth all

Our philosophies and ornaments evaporate.
All our most comforting music and meters dissolve.
The clapping of frostbitten hands in Antarctic tents continues.
Above us the rictus of universal harmonies lingers.
The new landscape appears: desolate, arid, airless, uninhabitable.
The tendrils of the desert of the senses invade its frontiers,
Guided by hands of ice that caress the belly of the stratosphere,
As far above the chill ionic winds erase the footprints pressed
Into the dust of the moon's untenanted tranquillity.

V.
The waterless waves on that sea without ships

Go outward, roll onward in search of horizons.
The faces in stone keep their futile appointments
With wind and with water, which also have schedules,
That return them to silence in a melding of stars
Here where the tree's roots drink from the stream,
Here on the banks of tomorrow as the mind's searching message,
Laden with numbers, with dates, and with data,
Rises up and flies out past the sun to the birth of the stars.



**The Very Large Array
The observatory consists of 27 independent antennas, each of which has a dish diameter of 25 meters (82 feet) and weighs 209 metric tons (230 Short tons).[2] The antennas are arrayed along the three arms of a Y-shape (each of which measures 21km/13 miles long). Using the rail tracks that follow each of these arms -- and that, at one point, intersect with U.S. Route 60 at a level crossing -- and a specially designed lifting locomotive, the antennas can be physically relocated to a number of prepared positions, allowing aperture synthesis interferometry with a maximum baseline of 36 km (22 miles): in essence, the array acts as a single antenna with that diameter. The smallest angular resolution that can be reached is about 0.05 arcseconds at a wavelength of 7 mm.... In 2011, a decade long upgrade project had resulted in the VLA expanding its technical capacities by factors of as much as 8,000.

gerardvanderleun : April 27, 16  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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September 1936. "House for sale in Manchester, New Hampshire." - - | Shorpy

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This is wonderful on so many levels. Pass it on.

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Grace Notes

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I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise,
park his car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile
in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out
at the Sierra mountains where, in June, the winter lingers.
On the seat beside me a well-taped cardboard cube
contains what remains of my father. I climb out
and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb
down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below.
The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by
and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I,
beside the snow-chilled stream.
- - My Father

There are two ways into Paradise, the back way and the Skyway. When you can you take the Skyway but the back way will get you there just the same. When I moved back to Paradise after being gone for more than 60 years everything had changed but nothing had changed. Superimposed over Paradise as it is was Paradise as it was. Not everywhere but in the rise and roll of the land and roads; in the place names and the clearings. It was there in the overlay, in that "certain slant of light" where you see what is not there layered over what is. Because it what was is still there; in moments that appear unbidden and "fade upon the blowing of the horn."

And in those translucent moments I often see all Paradise as ghostly, drifting like a soft wall of mist across the scrim screen of the present. I can always hold this at bay, filter it out to get the errands of the day done. And then in an unguarded moment, it returns.

One afternoon soon after I arrived in Paradise I saw my father standing next to the Skyway. I saw my father, alive as you or me, and dead these forty years.

By the time I saw him it didn't really shock me. I'd lived in Paradise for over a month and I knew these things could happen here. Paradise was not just Paradise. It was a ghost town. And it was filled with my ghosts.

I first saw my father in the middle of the day next to Big O Tires on the Skyway. I'd gone there to have some minor repair done to my car and, while they took the car into the bay behind me, I wandered into the empty front showroom and gazed through the Big O display windows looking out over the Skyway and down the steep decline and quick rise of Pearson Road. Then I glanced down to the left of the showroom at a small vacant building next door. It was caked with many years of paint. The latest coats were pale gray with a light blue trim. The windows were sheets of painted plywood nailed tight to the frames and the door was solid with a padlock. It was shut tight and, like many buildings on the Skyway in Paradise and beyond, had a large red and white "For Lease" sign attached to the front.

As I looked at it my father walked through the closed and padlocked door and, like me, stood looking down hill as the traffic paused at the light and then turned left or right at the T-junction.

It was December for me, but it must have been summer for him because he stood there in his starched, short-sleeved, crisp and immaculate white shirt with a stainless steel Parker ballpoint pen in his pocket, a sharp crease in his slacks, his perfectly shined shoes, and a ruler-level flat-top -- his choice of a "sharp" haircut for men and boys. He stood there for about a minute as I watched him without moving, the smell of new tires in my nostrils. Then he turned and walked back through the walls of his office.

Behind me a burst of compressed air from a lug wrench brought me out of my brown study and I was looking again at a gray and blue building with a small courtyard that was now "For Lease." It was then I recognized the old building as the place where my father had had his car dealership when we all lived in Paradise in the mid-1950s. I told myself that what I had just experienced was some sort of vivid memory from my childhood as a kind of faint film from my mind projected onto the mundane present. Yes, that was all it was. I'm sure of that. I'm an educated man of no little experience in the real, wide world of now. It only felt like seeing a ghost. In broad daylight in deep December, dressed for summer.

The last time I'd seen my father was in a dream decades after he died on the operating table. He came to me out of the streets in the Red City that persists off and on over the years in my dreams. He was wearing a hospital smock stained with large patches of his blood. He said to me, "I don't belong with the dead," and then he faded. I hadn't seen him since.

This time, on the Skyway of Paradise, he was looking much better; looking at home with the dead. This time he didn't even seem dead, only translucent. I had a brief moment of disappointment that he was gone before we could continue the conversation from where he left off in my dream, but having been briefly dead I knew that the dead have little to say to the living. In any case, it was my father and I was, this time, glad to see him.

The poet says "Old men should be explorers." When I was younger I admired that sentiment but now, as the hand of age closes around me, I find I don't wish to explore new lands, but to explore again those I have already passed through trying to see what I missed in the first hectic rush towards my "goals."

These days I pass my father's place on the Skyway several times a week while turning onto the Skyway on an errand in Paradise or down from the ridge and into the valley to see my mother or to get the kind of meal unavailable in Paradise. My father's vacant office is right at the turn and, because of that (or so I tell myself), I don't stop. Someday I might pull over down the road a bit and walk back to his office hoping to see him again. But I don't think he'll oblige if I do. He doesn't have to. He's not inside our time now. He's just one of many ghosts that I've seen of late, up here on the ridge, up here in Paradise.

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Myths & Texts

asmokeoftheworld4.jpg

Snow still sheaths the streets in their mountains,
and the spring trees shudder in the wind off their lakes,
until night's smoke frames them fades them finally and forever and they're gone...
gone into the smoke of the world.

Smell of her long hair hot in the sun through the windshield,
rattle of dried corn sheaves shaken by dusk's breeze,
soft heft of breasts sweet as winter oranges,
the breath rising in the dry heat parching her body.
And the fire rose up in me and I stretched her out, O lovely,
across the pale cloth and reached out
and holding held and held until gone....
gone into the smoke of the world.

Gone.
Gone fifty years.
The day, the lips, the hair -- gone,
gone forever, forever gone into the gone world...
gone into the smoke of the world.

Above Berkeley's Old Moe's bookstore late at night
she loomed over me in the lamplight
as morning seemed forever delayed.
An eastern school took her at dawn,
her name forgotten, her scent and her flesh
remembered so that even now, on a unknown street
here in the west, I sometimes pass
a woman with that scent and turn
wondering, all these past gone years later,
could that one, that one, that one have been her
in that night when the dawn delayed,
and I woke to find her scent on the pillow
but her body forever gone, gone forever...
gone into the smoke of the world.

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They arrive dancing along the blade of night.
They leave fading into the smoke of dawn.
The mists of memory swirl and fold,
and remove their distinct details:
the haiku left behind in old boxes:
"I scrunched up the moon
into my water bucket..."

Did someone say she became a singer
somewhere in California? Judy? Was that,
last innocent love of my youth, her name?

The Christian roommate with tawny hair,
stroking the breasts near the kennels of the barkless dogs.
That musk, that hot breath in the cherry orchards,
the dwarf cattle, that hand closing upon me
so fleetingly and then gone...
gone into the smoke of the world.

The Italian with the moped.
The cowgirl with the blues.
The lapsed Catholic.
The painter with the horse's face and too-tight jeans.
The chintz shack. The quilt covered table.
The kiss upon my body -- Ah and Ah and Ah --
The whispered love in the attic of the San Francisco Mansion ---
The poet's garret on the side street, gray corridors --
The one named after the little deer... Bambi....

And then the forest takes a spark
And all the woods are blazing
And ash drifts down over the days
And they are all gone ... all gone...
gone into the smoke of the world.

Then the years of the cities and the slim women
wafting out of the night and into the smoky clubs.
The models and the painters and the posers.
Hairdressers, shop girls.... and those that loved the literary life.
The mockers and the shockers who kept
mostly cats but sometimes chittering marmots.
The ones who were sneaking around way downtown.
The socialites at the Black and White Ball
who needed their foreheads held as they hurled
into the shrubbery and then headed back to the bar
for another burst of oblivion.

And then in the room next to the roses in the Sur,
Holding the one who became the long wife.
Now off to her aging and gone, long gone...
gone into the smoke of the world.

The brief wife calls from her place in the smoke,
hiding her need at the center of her speech,
and achieving assurance can't wait to fade back
to the rooms that she's chosen to have and to hold.

"How am I?
I'm good.
I'm doing quite well."

"That's good.
Glad to hear it.
Stay well."

Missed connections.
Harsh static.
The cellphone in fade and then gone...
gone into the smoke of the world.

Snow still sheaths the streets
in their mountains and rivers,
and the spring trees shudder
in the wind off their lakes,
and the streetlights flicker
in their towns and their cities,
until winter banks their fires,
and night fades them finally,
and forever they're gone,
gone into the gone world,
gone, gone, long gone,
gone into the smoke of the world.

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Vanderleun : April 25, 16  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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American Studies

I can see by your coat, my friend
You're from the other side
There's just one thing I got to know
Can you tell me please, who won the war ?
....

Go, take your sister then, by the hand
Lead her away from this foreign land
Far away, where we might laugh again
We are leaving, you don't need us

And it's a fair wind blowin' warm
Out of the south over my shoulder
Guess I'll set a course and go

gerardvanderleun : April 25, 16  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Last year, Streit's closed its 90-year-old matzo factory on the Lower East Side of New York City. The Rivington Street location that produced unleavened bread for the Passover holiday had been a hallmark of the one-time Jewish enclave, alongside mainstays like Russ & Daughters and Katz's Deli.

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A woman packages Streit’s matzo to be sent to Berlin during World War II. According to the company, only two-thirds of each box was filled with matzo, the rest was secretly filled with bullets for the resistance movement.

19 more photos at Streit's Matzo on the Lower East Side - The Atlantic

gerardvanderleun : April 25, 16  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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InVerse

Homestead

It was found in the fog that shivered
        the slivers of glass in the windows.
It was seen in the sheen of the moon
         on the unworn wood of the floor.
It spoke with the slow, patient clutching of light
         and tapped out the unknown codes of the flesh,
         the indistinct worm of the years and the shapes
         of desire, possession, and fate.
It was mute.

It was stitched in the spaces
         of the wind's alphabet.
It was clothed in cool hands
         gloved in wet weather.
It appeared on the paths
         that admitted no passage.
It's rachety rhythms
         were all made of match sticks.
It waited.

It's slashings were tattooed
         on drapes of dank velvet.
It's gibbering laughter inserted itself
         between doorway and jamb and continued to carve.
It's snickering plumbing
         rotted the dinner.
They had left, they had left.
         Indeed, they had left.
Of that all their objects would clearly attest.

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Vanderleun : April 24, 16  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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MONDO BIZARRO


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By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | c/o Lake Union Mail | 117 East Louisa, #380 | Seattle, WA 98102

Comprised of six different ethnicities, most of which did not want to live with each other, the only way Yugoslavia could be kept together was through a strong totalitarian regime.

Interestingly, the people most able to "get along" were the educated "cognitive" types whilst the masses maintained their grudges.

The failure of the policing state meant that natural demographic forces could assert themselves, the rest is history. Yugoslavia failed because it need a strong state to force Croats, Serbs and Slovenes to be Yugoslavs and it was an example of trying to fit men to the model instead of fitting the model to men.The Social Pathologist: Human Nature and Political Society.



All of the wailing and gnashing of teeth over Trump disguises the fact that the American Left is collapsing.

One place you see it is with their candidates. Hillary Clinton is a world class screw up planning to run as an old hen clucking about the men, with a mild whiff of lesbianism to spice it up. No wonder the 2000 year old man is giving her a run for her stolen money. The Left has nothing to offer so it coughed up these geriatric hairballs from the 1970’s. -- Great Culture War

Can you imagine a liberal being a potato farmer? It would never work.

The conservatives who clean the crap out of the sewer lines and lay the foundations upon which buildings will be erected, that will house all sorts of publicly funded liberal-egghead think tanks, have come to the unpleasant realization that previous generations never quite learned: They have to make the time for politics.
They’ve got to attend to it, as if it’s yet another chicken with eggs not yet gathered, otherwise everything else they’ve done is for nothing. They’ve got to write the code that works, they’ve got to build the diesel engines that successfully contain the explosions, they’ve got to manufacture the action boxes for 9mm pistols that don’t rupture under the stress, and do all the other things that liberals can never do. Then, they have to participate in politics like the liberals do. And the conservatives have to grow all our food. House of Eratosthenes


Another element we have today that works well for pandemics is the mass movement of people.

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The Spanish Flu was most likely the result of the Great War. Troops carried the disease all over Europe and then back to their home countries. The exact source of this strain of flu is still unknown, but the mass movement of people is certainly the way it spread. Millions of Muslims pouring into Europe, as well as millions of South Americans pouring into the US is already increasing disease rates. The End Is Near | The Z Blog

It wasn't "eco," another word for wasteful useless disposable plastic crap.

I knew it was shellac. Of all the dumb luck. No one had "fixed" this piece of furniture in 75 years. It didn't have any new, improved finish that wouldn't last but couldn't be fixed. It wasn't "eco," another word for wasteful useless disposable plastic crap. The finish was made from the nasty ooze that comes out of a lac bug and dries on a tree branch. Your favorite Hindoo used to gather the stuff by putting tarps on the ground under trees where the lac bugs congregate, and then beating the limbs with sticks to make the amber flakes rain down. When you mix lac leavings with alcohol, you get shellac. It's wonderful stuff. Sippican Cottage: Happy Birthday, Mrs. King
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Some People Just Need to Be PreKilled: Died as he lived but not soon enough by a long shot.

Serial rapist killed by runaway trailer while distracted by porn on his cell phone in Memphis... just blocks from where he terrorized numerous women

No matter how hard the Americans and Europeans have tried to show Russia as a busted flush, the joke’s on them.

Putin is authentic and authoritarian, the type who wins wars, a spontaneous and courageous leader who has shown up the West as a paper tiger.
Let’s face it. When was the last time a world leader did something really bold? And he didn’t declare mission accomplished, either, a declaration that has proved fatal in the case of Iraq and Libya. This is the man the clowns in Brussels tried to bluff with Circe-like songs to Ukraine, so he took back Crimea as a bonus. His standing by Assad has shown up Uncle Sam yet again as an unreliable ally when the going gets tough. Over Two Centuries Ago…


Enemies of the State

Billionaires Battle for America's Soul The more I cover this campaign, the more mysterious it seems to me, the more mysterious the whole electoral process appears to me.

Who would actually be the best president may not be revealed by it all. For all the sound and fury, we never really know until the man or woman is in place. And even then, it may remain a mystery. But what I do know is that, until groups like MoveOn.Org, #BlackLivesMatter and the billionaires that support them learn to respect that founding fundamental pillar of our nation the First Amendment, I reject every word that comes out of their mouths and every act they perform. They are, to put it bluntly, enemies of the state.



A slow-talker and a homeless guy walk into a bar.

Apparently, John Kasich and Ted Cruz are at their most appealing when no one is paying attention to them, which, conveniently, is most of the time. Ann Coulter

The little sign said EDAMAME CRACKERS AND UNEXPECTED CHEDDAR.

The sample bestower saw me and said "Would you like some" -
"WOAH I DID NOT EXPECT CHEDDAR!" I said, except I was about ten feet away and I said it really, really loudly. Surprised myself, actually. "DON'T DO THAT." LILEKS (James)


"The Cascada comes off the line like an arthritic bloodhound comes off the couch when called—painfully, noisily, yet eager to please. "

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Buick Cascada: Getting Lost in a Time Warp This car is destined for seniors in the Sunbelt, particularly Florida. One thing we know about senior car-buyers is they do fewer comparison test-drives, often one or none. They might thus be unaware what a trembling relic the Cascada actually is. Dynamically, the Cascada never had a chance. Sitting sideways under the hood is a 1.6-liter turbocharged, direct-injection in-line four, pedaling the front wheels through a pretty dated six-speed automatic. Four-thousand pounds divided by 200 hp comes to a well-marbled 20 pounds per horsepower. The Cascada comes off the line like an arthritic bloodhound comes off the couch when called—painfully, noisily, yet eager to please. Figure 0-60 mph in 8.6 seconds, but somebody will report you to the SPCA.


Co-Opting The Culture Of Victimhood

Evangelicals have for the last 30 years acted as the useful idiots and earnest footsoldiers of the GOP establishment.
While clinging to empty promises of ending abortion and vows to halt the moral decay of the public square, Evangelicals willingly sat by as the very material conditions that permitted the flourishing of their cherished Middlebrow Christianity were destroyed by free trade and the obscenity of a hyper-capitalist popular culture.
Likewise, for the Democrats, the black underclass has filled the same niche of the useful idiot. In exchange for continuous handouts (in the form of lifetime social service benefits) and a series of never-ending affirmative action initiatives, blacks have become the most consistently loyal members of a party’s base in the history of American politics. This is, of course, in spite of the fact that it is the ideologies of their benevolent overlords, i.e., the perverse stupidities of free love and atomized individualism, which have so thoroughly devastated their communities. Walk through any black ghetto in the United States, and immediately you will be immersed in conditions so degenerate that the social mores of feral dogs seem genuinely aristocratic in comparison. - Social Matter


Barbour gives the collection of all possible moments an evocative name: The Heap

Following a single thread, one would experience an apparent flow of time. Most threads would follow isolated paths that are without sense or meaning, but a very few threads and their neighbours follow paths that are mutually coherent. We might say that such paths tell a story, or that they include a sensible memory of the past at each step. The family of threads that are mutually coherent is robust, whereas the isolated and incoherent threads are fragile, with brittle associations providing no neighbouring reinforcement. | Aeon


Zap the Machine

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A weasel has just shut down the Large Hadron Collider"I can confirm that we had some issues overnight with electrical trouble," CERN spokesperson Arnaud Marsollier told New Scientist. "We suspect it might be due to a small animal." The culprit, a fatally curious weasel, was zapped to a crisp after chewing on a power cable. The weasel’s tragic snacktime caused a power outage throughout CERN.


The process of turning one thousand gallons of maple sap into fifty gallons of syrup

takes about two thirds of a cord of dry firewood, preferably flat slabs of well aired pine cut from the outside of the timber when we make lumber and eight hours of standing in front of a raging fire that must be fed every six or seven minutes.
The hot air is drawn from the front of the arch to the double walled stainless steel chimney at the read. Between these two point the super heated air passes beneath two finish pans and the main pan, or evaporator. Within minutes of lighting the seventy five gallons of sap is brought to a roiling boil, foam rising eight inches above the surface as hundreds of gallons of water are turned into steam, concentrating the sugar solution as it moves from the intake end of the rig and moves as it's density increases. The sugar content of the sap can vary widely from tree to tree and as the season progresses. DROP BY DROP ォ The Burning Platform


Vanished! The Surprising Things Missing From Ancient Art

Take a look, a long rambling look, at the cave paintings that Paleolithic artists drew as far back as 40,000 years ago. There are hundreds of them, in Spain, in France, all over the world. What do you see?
There are, says Richard Mabey in his new book, The Cabaret of Plants, “galloping horses and rippling bison,” reindeer, cattle, the occasional rhino—animals you might eat, animals you might chase, or simply admire, maybe even worship … But here’s what there’s not: While all these animals lived on plains or in forests and ate plants, Mabey found no convincing image of grass, no landscape imagery showing a deer nuzzling a leafy thing, pecking at a bush. Leafy things don’t appear in Paleolithic art. – Phenomena: Curiously Krulwich


"Prolechic:"

The clothes offered in the catalog were tawdry, the sartorial equivalent of much modern architecture, that is to say without elegance or unified design, elements cobbled together in the hope that something worthwhile will emerge. No absurd price tag could disguise the aesthetic cheapness of the designs, or their resemblance to the products sold in the cheapest stores and worn by the denizens of modern slums. No doubt this was part of the catalog’s cunning: It managed by its prices to appeal to snobbery and by its designs to democratic, or demotic, sentiment. Its designs might be called proletarian chic, usefully shortened to prolechic. Catalog Slog - Taki's Magazine


Scapegoat

In great emergencies the sins of the Rajah of Manipur used to be transferred to somebody else, usually to a criminal, who earned his pardon by his vicarious sufferings. To effect the transference the Rajah and his wife, clad in fine robes, bathed on a scaffold erected in the bazaar, while the criminal crouched beneath it. With the water which dripped from them on him their sins also were washed away and fell on the human scapegoat. --The Golden Bough

Why do we board planes?

The sublimity of the act is heightened by the earthly mess around it. On arriving at the airport, you push your way through snarled security lines—the shoes, the belt, the laptop, the canopic bag of fluids—and purchase a day-old ciabatta sandwich. You sit and read, glancing at a suspended screen that seems to play only disaster news and weather reports from the Midwest. You hear your boarding announcement: more queues and lost elderly people with enormous bags. The airplane seems to hail from the same era as your old dishwasher, which conked out last year. The guy beside you has a wide stance and an overmedicated gaze that suggests he will drool during his sleep. It has been three hours since you left home, and you are still waiting. Has the Internet Made Air Travel Irrelevant? - The New Yorker


The Shuttlecock Paradox.

The enigma of the robot-batted shuttlecock | Robots are capable of doing amazing things — playing badminton with the premier, for instance — but the amazingness is often thin and brittle. Robots may soon be able to beat the best badminton players in the world, but that’s not going to put professional badminton players out of work. Because it’s still a lot more fun to watch people play badminton than to watch robots play badminton. Remember how automatic teller machines were going to put bank tellers out of work? And yet, even though ATMs are everywhere, there are more bank tellers at work today than when ATMs were invented.


“Native Advertising”—i.e., the disingenuous pimping of ad content as though it were actual news—

will be the calling card of the Viceland cable network, by the looks of things.
As Wall Street Journal media reporter Keach Hagey previews the look and feel of Viceland, it doesn’t conjour the fearless energy of a millennially minded “60 Minutes” so much as the terminally hungover ambience of the final day of an over-branded trade show: Within a year, Viceland is aiming for roughly half its advertising inventory to be made up of “native” ads—ads packaged to look like editorial content and keep audiences from tuning out. Often made by Vice itself, these spots will frequently be longer than a typical 30-second ad and will be tailored specifically for the network, whose other owner, A+E, is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co. and Hearst Corp. “We are trying to displace the clutter by injecting some humanity and authenticity,” said Eddy Moretti, co-president of Viceland and Vice’s chief creative officer. Your Media Future: Cheesy and Skeezy | The Baffler


They only saw the public lie. The private truth remained hidden until some galvanizing event forced it to the surface.

It's becoming evident that the European elites failed to understand how explosive the migrant issue was until it detonated full in their face. Now it is in the midst of a crisis which could literally bring down the European Union. Why didn't they see it coming? Because they believed their own Narrative, even when they should have suspected it was a lie of their own making. If the PC Western elites are overtaken by a cascade similar to that which collapsed the Soviet Union, the ultimate irony will be that the very migrants which they had counted on to create the Curley Effect will turn out to be the engine of their own destruction.How Tyrannies Implode | PJ Media


Before I am carried away by time’s flow,

I want to share one last memory, again as a small child. I am sitting in a warm sunbeam on the living room floor of our farmhouse, watching the gentle chaos of drifting dust motes, small worlds entire, next to my sleeping dog, King. We were – are – will be – best friends forever. Always at peace. Why doesn’t physics help us to understand the flow of time? | Aeon Essays


Who says there's no good news?

tom carbone on Twitter: "https://t.co/T0YpaE26sn"


Melissa Cook is a forty-seven-year-old surrogate in California with four children of her own.

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In Cook’s case three embryos were implanted in her uterus and all three took.
When C.M. learned of the triplets, he asked her to abort one because he was not capable of caring for three children; Cook refused. C.M. continued to ask for an abortion by arguing that giving birth to multiples was dangerous for the babies. Despite threats from C.M.’s lawyer that they’d cut off funding to Cook throughout the rest of pregnancy if she did not comply with the abortion, Cook refused and C.M. relented. The Schizophrenic and the California Brood Mare


"Get your mind off 1,237; get your mind on the wind at Donald Trump’s back."

The wind is at Donald Trump’s back, and it’s the kind that doesn’t lessen but builds.
Last week he won the New York primary with an astounding 60% of the vote to John Kasich’s 25% and Ted Cruz’s 15%. This week he swept the five-state Northeast regional primaries with numbers that neared or surpassed the New York results—54% in Maryland, 57% in Pennsylvania, 58% in Connecticut, 61% in Delaware and 64% in Rhode Island. He beat Mr. Kasich in Greenwich, Conn., the affluent enclave of the old moderate Republicanism. Amazingly, he carried every county in all five states, and every county in New York except Manhattan. With 10 million votes, Mr. Trump is on track to become the biggest primary vote-getter in GOP history. He did well with varied demographic groups, old and young, college graduates, rich and not. This is the kind of political momentum that tends to grow. A political saying attributed to Haley Barbour is that in politics this is the dynamic: Good gets better and bad gets worse. Simple Patriotism Trumps Ideology - Peggy Noonan


Ten Things You Should Know About The Reptilian Elite Conspiracy

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Believers don't agree on where the Reptilian Elite came from (some say a distant planet, others say they've been on Earth since before mankind), but they all agree the Reptilian Elite are the scaly bastards behind the New World Order. - Neatorama

I don't write the headlines, I just report them.



"Understand us and understand this clearly: you have everything to learn from us; we have nothing to learn from you."

Oxford, let us remind you, is the world’s second oldest extant university. Scholars have been studying here since at least the 11th century. We’ve played a major part in the invention of Western civilisation, from the 12th century intellectual renaissance through the Enlightenment and beyond. Our alumni include William of Ockham, Roger Bacon, William Tyndale, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Erasmus, Sir Christopher Wren, William Penn, Samuel Johnson, Robert Hooke, William Morris, Oscar Wilde, Emily Davison, Cardinal Newman. We’re a big deal. And most of the people privileged to come and study here are conscious of what a big deal we are. Oxford is their alma mater – their dear mother – and they respect and revere her accordingly.

And what were your ancestors doing in that period? Living in mud huts, mainly. Sure we’ll concede you the short lived Southern African civilisation of Great Zimbabwe. But let’s be brutally honest here. The contribution of the Bantu tribes to modern civilisation has been as near as damn it to zilch. You’ll probably say that’s “racist”. But it’s what we here at Oxford prefer to call “true.”
"Dear Scrotty Students" - Maggie's Farm



The cardinal error of the Germans who opposed Nazism was their failure to unite against it.

At the crest of their popular strength, in July 1932, the National Socialists had attained but 37 per cent of the vote. But the 63 per cent of the German people who expressed their opposition to Hitler were much too divided and short sighted to combine against the common danger which they must have known would overwhelm them unless they united, however temporarily, to stamp it out. -- William Shirer, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich, 1960, p. 185

I have not endorsed Mr. Trump.

I do refuse to denounce him. – Jerry Pournelle

It's easy if you don't pay attention to the news. Or weather. Or traffic report.

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Hope n' Change Cartoons: Storm und Drang

While we in the moribund West gabble self-congratulatory nonsense about the “right” and “wrong” sides of history,

China — which doesn’t bother with such rubbish — is rapidly reconfiguring itself. It has always been aware of the risks that Western infection brings, and so it is clamping down on foreign influences, and on the free expression of ideas (such freedom of expression being itself a Western notion, of course, and a relatively recent one at that). Foreign journalists and NGOs are leaving the country, and homegrown muckrakers are being rounded up, pour encourager les autres.... What has made this great expansion possible? The great wealth that China has accumulated through, among other things, its openness to global trade and influences — and in particular, the 3.6 trillion-dollar trade surplus it has racked up against a decadent and profligate United States just since the year 2000. That kind of money will buy a lot of nice new things, including a robust and rambunctious military, and a fat class of loyal political dependents.
Mission Accomplished

Trump has won. The current practice is to find someone to blame for this, other than ourselves; but really the whole team stinks.

I refer, of course, to Team Conservative, which took the battering from this glitzy goon, who didn’t need a “ground game” for his strategy was viral. The great majority of Americans, like a larger majority of Canadians, will actually vote for a Clinton or a Trump; even for a Trudeau. Who cares which huckster they choose? A gentleman like Cruz, who employs reason, and tries to complete his passes (ice hockey again) has no chance with such opponents. They aren’t playing the same game. Wednesday morning : Essays in Idleness


The Democrats are the party of lunatics and black people now.

The other goofy bit was how the party nominates delegates to the convention. I picked from a slate of women and a slate of men. By rule, the seven delegates voted to the convention must be four biological women and three biological men. You just know where this is headed. A few more turns of the wheel and there will be a list for the one tranny, the one left handed gay ginger and so on. The Democrats are the party of lunatics and black people now. Voting in the Ghetto | The Z Blog

Trump does not scare black people.

That does not mean Trump will win many black votes.
It just means they have no reason to fear him. That’s why I suspect Hillary is in deep trouble. Blacks will vote for her over an old Jew, but they are not turning out in big numbers for her unless the Republicans run someone scary. Trump does not scare black people. In fact, blacks seem to respect him and appreciate his showmanship. It’s a small thing but politics is a game of small things. Voting in the Ghetto | The Z Blog


Dear Canada,

If Trump is elected and you do not take these miserable celebrities off our hands it may be considered an official declaration of war.


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I don't write the headlines, I just report them.

Cruz to Tap Fiorina as Running Mate Translation: Cruz to play the "Who Bitch This Is" card.



6-Day Visit To Rural African Village Completely Changes Woman’s Facebook Profile Picture

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“I don’t think my profile photo will ever be the same, not after the experience of taking such incredible pictures with my arms around those small African children’s shoulders. Honestly, I can’t even imagine going back to my old Facebook photo of my roommate and I at an outdoor concert.” | STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC

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