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"A Renaissance man diffuses to refine himself."- Steve Hug

American Studies

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It began in 1923, when South Dakota historian Doane Robinson had the idea to carve larger-than-life figures into the state's Black Hills.

Robinson wanted to honor Western heroes — both Native Americans and pioneers — but it was his sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, who suggested the monument go national, spotlighting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Robinson appealed to Congress for funds and permission, but only permission was granted. Amid outspoken opposition to the project, planning and fundraising began in 1925. But it wouldn't have gotten very far without President Calvin Coolidge who, in one of his last executive acts, signed a bill approving funding. Borglum broke ground in 1927.

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The workers were paid $8 an hour, which is more than $100 an hour by today's standards.

But the work was brutal and dangerous. They had to endure blazing hot summers and bitter cold winters. Just to clock in each morning, they had to climb more than 500 stairs and maneuver over 45 ramps to the top of the mountain. Drillers and carvers strapped into leather harnesses dangled on the side of the mountain, hundreds of feet off the ground. Anytime they needed to change position or come up for the day, a worker hand-cranked the cable. Incredibly, not a single person died in the process, thanks to the intricate, and stringent, infrastructure Borglum designed.

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--- More at The Week

gerardvanderleun : February 21, 17  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Did Donald Trump beat up your hopes, crush your dreams. and kick them to the curb? Well, snowflake, it's time for you to feel better by moving, not to Canada, but to an alternate universe.It is a universe ruled by.... President Hillary Rodham Clinton!

gerardvanderleun : February 20, 17  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Immigration - Global humanitarian reasons for current U.S. immigration are tested

in this updated version of immigration author and journalist Roy Beck's colorful presentation of data from the World Bank and U.S. Census Bureau. The 1996 version of this immigration gumballs presentation has been one of the most viewed immigration policy presentations on the internet. Presented by immigration author/journalist Roy Beck

Doug Ross @ Journal notes

As each refugee that vacates Africa, India, Mexico, South America, Indochina, the Middle East or any other overpopulated country—that same arena of humanity adds another 80,000,000 (million) net gain, new babies annually. Those countries and cultures either refuse to engage birth control or have no access. Therefore, they refuse to or cannot become responsible for their own numbers. Those people follow ancient religions that refuse to step into the realities of the 21st century: Catholic Church, Islam, Hindus and other Christian sects.

As a result, our planet falters as the Third World adds one billion more humans every 12 years on their way to adding three billion more of themselves by 2050 or 33 years from now. These verifiable facts cannot be disputed as reported from population projections by the United Nations.

Millions of those people cannot read, write or perform simple mathematical equations. In other words, illiteracy drives their fecundity rates that can never be solved because no country on Earth can educate another 80 million people annually without commensurate teachers.

Don't like gumballs? Here's more from the same source done in charts:

gerardvanderleun : February 20, 17  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Grace Notes

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Matthew had some strong ideas about prayer. It is in his book that we find the Lord's Prayer, also known as "The Swiss Army Knife of Prayers." This particular prayer, according to Matthew (who should know about such things), is the Alpha and the Omega of prayers. He stresses this when he writes in Matthew 6:9-6:13, "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven....

Of late, and for obvious reasons, I've become more likely to pray than to curse. Indeed my new program is to swap a prayer for a curse whenever I find I've slipped into the cursing mode.

In a world that is accursed putting more curses into it is never a good idea. We are full up at present. No shortage of curses that I can see. Still, slipping into the cursing mode is easy to do in today's world. We're encouraged to do it by the very nature of the secular society.

Add to that my thirty year stint in New York City where the standard reaction to almost any event is either a curse that involves the middle initial of the Savior (Just what does that "H." stand for anyway?), or the invocation of unnamed males who have an affinity for crude sex only with females of the motherly persuasion, and you've got, when it comes to my ability and propensity to curse, one crude mother....

It's a bad habit and one that I am trying to break. One way is, whenever I catch myself in an angry cursing moment, to recite a prayer instead. And the goto prayer in these multiple moments is always the Lord's. It's brief. It's beautiful. I can say it at high speed and by rote.

Our Father which art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come,
Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
Give us this day...

The Lord's Prayer also has a hidden benefit. It has, at is core, one simple but profound request:

"Give. Us. This. Day."

That's it. That's the real core of all prayers. That is the one request of the Lord without which nothing else matters. That is what all our past, lost days flow towards and which all our future hoped-for days flow from. Without the gift of "This Day" the ones that have passed have no meaning and the ones that are to come have no potentiality. Both are but abstractions or, as the poet has it:

What might have been is an abstraction
Remaining a perpetual possibility
Only in a world of speculation.
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.

Which is a fancy way of saying that without the gift of this day being given all else is lost. Secular thinkers speak of this as being "in the now" as if "being here now" was all that it took to be really alive.

I lived in that popcult fauxworld for years before escaping and, looking back, I seem to remember it not as replete with luminous headlands overlooking the sea, but as the shadowlands that loom beyond a darker border. It was neither a gift nor a curse, a burden or a blessing. It simply was and, as a result, was rather unremarkable.

That secular world originated out of nothing, out of the limited imagination of the noosphere and, with no reach beyond itself, existed closer to the Alpha than to the Omega. It had, as secular things often do, a tangle of bright, shiny deceivers clustered around it like gnats outside a privy, but when you arrived at the center it had nothing to say about tomorrow, and very little to promise about this day other than that it would be roughly similar to yesterday. There was little inscape and no escape. Its "Now" was always the same day, neither given nor taken but simply existing. It was the kind of day in which the existence of the Human and the existence of Planaria were essentially equal. I, for one, would rather ask for my day than simply arrive in it.

Which is why, when I pray the Lord's Prayer, I always pause -- at the very least -- when I come to the phrase, "Give us this day." And in that pause I remember another phrase derived from scripture, "Tomorrow is not promised."

I once knew that phrase, "Tomorrow is not promised," in a rather dry, academic, vaguely poetic manner. Now, having had my all my tomorrows removed and then miraculously restored, I understand the phrase down to the marrow of my bones. Coming into this day I always ask "Give us this day." Departing the day I find I return to the early litanies of childhood, "I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake...."

But then, so far, I do wake and I continue in my project to replace curses with prayers. I'm not very good at it yet. Still fairly shaky. Then again, as another poet tells me,

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.

What falls away is always. And is near.

I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

I learn by going where I have to go.

The Lord give me (and give you) This Day.

[ UPDATE: And now, the First Lady of the United States, in Florida, February 18, 2017 .... ]

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gerardvanderleun : February 19, 17  |  Your Say (34)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Proof -- Dateline: Moab, Utah Taken at Site

He'd hunted big game for years all over the United States. Hunting was a way of life to him. But, in all those years, he'd never shot a buffalo. He'd put his name in for the lottery that gave out yearly licenses to shoot buffalo, but year after year the winning number had eluded him. As he failed, again and again, his need to add a buffalo, an American bison, to his life bag grew to obsessive proportions. Finally, he could stand it no longer. He determined that he would buy a couple of young buffalo, raise them, and then shoot them. It seemed like a plan.

When the buffalo purchase was completed the question arose about where these buffalo were to be raised. He wasn't a rich man and the cost to two baby buffalo maxed out his credit cards. The only viable option was to raise them on his front lawn in Moab, Utah. Accordingly, the buffalo were delivered and put out to pasture, or "out to lawn" as the case may be.

Besides grass the lawn also contained, courtesy of his kids, a couple of soccer balls. Shortly after the buffalo became his lawn ornaments, he was out walking among them when one of them discovered a soccer ball and butted it over to him with its nose. Without thinking he kicked it back towards the other buffalo, who passed it to the first buffalo who butted it back to him. An hour or so of passing and kicking the soccer ball between man and buffalo ensued.

When he went out on his lawn the next morning, they were waiting for him. One seemed to be playing midlawn while the other hung back by the water trough which had become some sort of goal. The forward buffalo butted the ball towards him. Without thinking he returned the kick over the head of the forward. No good. With a speed belying its bulk, the defensive buffalo moved quickly and butted it through his legs to the porch. When it bounced off the barbecue, they seemed to do a brief victory prance. The game was afoot.

Day after day, week after week, the strange lawn ritual with the soccer ball went on and on. In truth, he had long since pulled far ahead of the buffalo in goals, but what do buffalo know about keeping score?

In time, however, the hunting season came around. He looked out of his house on the first morning and saw the buffalo waiting for him, the soccer ball in front of the forward, the defensive buffalo pacing slowly back and forth by the water trough. It came to him then that he could never shoot them. It would spoil the season -- and the soccer season, in the deserts of Utah, is never really over.

On a hot afternoon soon after, he looked out his window and discovered, much to his delight and his neighbors' shock, that the two buffalo on his lawn were indeed male and female.

Now it is two years later and he has four buffalo on his lawn. He doesn't hunt anything anymore. Says he's lost the taste for it. His old hunting buddies come by every so often and razz him about the buffalo.

"You started with two and couldn't shoot them," one said. "Now you got four, and next year you're gonna have five. What are you going to do then?"

He went to his garage and came back with a basketball.

Vanderleun : February 18, 17  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Translation:

"Trump la mitad del territorio de U.S.A. es nuestro": Trump, half the territory of the USA is ours. "Trump, devuelve (etc)": Trump return our (list of states). "Trump no pagaremos tu muro": Trump, we're not going to pay for your wall.

We'll see.

gerardvanderleun : February 18, 17  |  Your Say (14)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Loomings. Every year, sometime between the fade of Indian summer and the rise of white drifts, I find myself entering the forgetting. Underneath the rain and the packed ice my world goes brown and brittle, sodden with leaf mulch, sad with weed sighs, and the mind fills with all the past gone years.

The weather becomes predictable and hence I pay more attention to the predictions -- a kind of confirmation bias of gloom; sought to bolster my own pessimism of this time, of that place,

Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.

In the forgetting time the sunlight hours of the day seem to drain rapidly away until you mark well, and others underscore for you, the shortest day of the year. But once that passes, the adding of sunlight to the day seems to come on with agonizing slowness and you note, ruefully, on a January Sunday, that at 7:15 it is still dark.

And then, on that same Sunday, only four hours later you open the door and step out into your little corner of the world. And you smell it. You smell it every year and every year you forget until it comes back again.

You smell that faint, distant, almost ineffable, sweetness coming in on a breeze from the south. You look to the north and you see the slate sky swirling away, almost ablating before your eyes, and the washed teal blue revealed. Not the winter's blue of stark ice, but a shade like that seen in a cast-off jay's feather.

It's the hint, the first faint far-off hint. It's a memory's whisper behind the breeze. You remember that to see what's really the news of the day you have to LOOK and look carefully. And so you look and you see what even yesterday you did not.

You see that the green of the pines has gotten brighter and taken on a faint shine. You see that the moss seems to be ringed round and shot through with small shoots of grass. You look and look more closely at the weeping birch and you see, as small as a butterfly's eyes, the buds beginning to push through the bark.

You see what was the rank and sodden leaf-mulch and sad decayed weeds and you think, "Compost. I really have to plant something now."

You pause on the street corner of your little corner of the world and you feel, see, hear, smell and, yes, faintly on the tip of your tongue, taste the return of the world. It's back from winter as the abiding earth swings again closer to our home star. It is today and today is Just-spring.

And in spite of yourself you remember the plaque on the wall at your daughter's school somewhere in all those past gone years:

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it -- Psalm 118
Vanderleun : February 17, 17  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Ace says: "Thanks to Soothsayer, the best TV intro ever, and yes, it beats Manimal, UFO, and even The Six Million Dollar Man."

And I believe him.

gerardvanderleun : February 17, 17  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Nordstroms of Seattle yanks Ivanka Trump's line because... because.... well they lied. An interview with Abigail Adams at I Own the World where, at the end, it is suggested that I get in my van and round der loons. File under: "It's my horn and I toot it as I pleases."

"Just so you know: the woman I spoke with at Nordstrom was an exec asst to CEO, Blake Nordstrom. She wasn’t a random customer service person in the PI. Money talks and BS walks — and I’ve got (somewhere) my original paper Nordstrom credit card. I’m probably customer number 001. Now I’m customer 000. We won the battle of the election but, as you can all see today, the war has just begun. So suit up, fix bayonets, and get into the current battle — whatever it is." -- Abigail Adams We’re Going To Try and Do This More Often: Conversations With Readers – IOTW Report
gerardvanderleun : February 17, 17  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Drive-By

I’ve got Mick Jagger’s lost memoir

One of my favourite anecdotes is of Mick returning unannounced to Dartford to see his parents after two years of chaotic world tours, debauchery, mayhem, riots and goodness only knows what else. ‘Oh Michael,’ says his horrified mother on opening the door. ‘Your hair….’

The Hidden History of the Laundry Chute - The Atlantic

A laundry chute is a mythic domestic space. It’s an unwatched door to nowhere, the open throat of an old home. Its reputation has as much to do with convenience as with the early recognition that a house is not solid through and through. The laundry chute is a place where stains and embarrassing odors go to be erased, and dropping linen down the chute is a mnemonic for forgetting those embarrassments, for making such accidents invisible.

Remembering Nüshu, the 19th-Century Chinese Script Only Women Could Write | Atlas Obscura

Up against the pipes :

Does gentle reader enjoy being smeared? Well, I should speak only for myself. I don’t like it. Perhaps I am projecting when I guess that most members of the new administration, Stateside, don’t enjoy it either. Verily, I’ll go out on a limb, and say no normal person delights in becoming the target of vicious attack, and yet our Lord said: “Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.”

Ann Coulter: Silence Of The Lambs: Why Doesn’t Congress Just Pass 2015 Anti-Refugee American SAFE Act Again?

In the past three weeks, Trump has: staffed the White House, sent a dozen Cabinet nominees to the Senate, browbeat Boeing into cutting its price on a government contract, harangued American CEOs into keeping their plants in the United States, imposed a terrorist travel ban, met with foreign leaders and nominated a Supreme Court justice, among many other things (And still our hero finds time to torment the media with his tweets!) What have congressional Republicans been doing? Scrapbooking?

Hurty Words, Killy Words

Time and again, we give away a right because we think it’ll adversely affect only those we see as adversaries. But it always comes back on you. When you give power to politicians you like in order to punish Americans you don’t, it’s guaranteed that that power will one day be used against you by politicians you don’t like, who see you as the bad guy.


"Did you know that the first Matrix was designed to be a perfect human world.

Where none suffered. Where everyone would be happy. It was a disaster. No one would accept the program. Entire crops were lost. Some believed that we lacked the programming language to describe your perfect world. But I believe that as a species, human beings define their reality through misery and suffering. Smith Interrogates Morpheus Transcript

The Genetics of the American Nations

While the original colonial ancestry of the country has been overrun by subsequent migrants, the founding stock remain as a genetic undercurrent – a common genetic thread – within each American nation. This is especially true in the nations of the American South, where the colonial settlers received less subsequent migration and the original stock remains strong.

Happy 150th Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder

The changes that they saw in their lifetimes are nothing short of astonishing. Almanzo lived from 1857 and died in 1946; his birth predated the Civil War and his death happened after the dropping of the atomic bomb. Laura lived from 1867 to 1957; she was born during Reconstruction and died in the same year that Sputnik I was launched. She lived to see the introduction of electricity, the telephone, penicillin, movies, television, air travel, space travel, and two World Wars. She was born in an era of twig brooms and eating hard tack on the trail, and died in the age of vacuum cleaners and counter-top blenders.

gerardvanderleun : February 17, 17  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise: "

A ten minute signing ceremony today which concludes with Trump, surrounded by Washington DC players, giving the pen to the miners and inviting them back to the Oval Office. Check it out.

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gerardvanderleun : February 16, 17  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Too much winter? Too much rain? Two words: "Road Trip"

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THE FIRST THING YOU LEARN IS your don't go "into" the Olympic Peninsula. You go around it. Although Seattle has the feel of being on a coast, it's really an interior city protected from the lashing storms of the Northwest Pacific by a vast up-welling of mountains, as much as it is protected from the cutting edge of our political storms by its removal to the far corner of the nation. One of the advantages of the city is that it sits at the bottom of a vast bowl of straits, lakes and mountains. When the rain clears out and you take in the western view from the top of Queen Anne Hill (the highest hill in Seattle) you see the barrier of the Olympic Mountains that seems to wrap around half the horizon. After seeing this a number of time, two words appear in the mind: Road Trip.

So it was with Spring a day away and, for once, a promising weather forecast I set out for a short trip to the Olympic Peninsula since I had had enough, for a few days at least of:

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But, as I said, there is no "into" when it comes to the Olympic Peninsula, only "around."

It was not promising when, in my effort to get to the ferry that would take me out to the jumping off point, I ran afoul of three detours and two Sunday afternoon traffic jams. What should have been a fifteen minute drive to the ferry turned into an hour and a half. Enough time to take me off my original plan of staying at the Kalaloch Lodge. Instead, I only managed to make the town of Forks in time to participate in the town's annual scholarship auction. You had no choice but to participate since every sound system in every store and restaurant was tuned to the broadcast of the auction and turned up loud. I took shelter by going to the auction itself.

It was one of those small town events that puts your faith in the essential goodness of people back into your soul. Everyone in this town of some 1,300 souls had evidently donated something (From a $1600 Alaskan Fishing Trip to a plate of 6 brownies baked by the Brownies -- $22 and delicious). And everyone in the town was buying something. Furniture, art, baked goods, embroidered guest towels, exercise equipment... a hodgepodge of a town wide garage sale. The purpose? A fund to send some kids from Forks to college. And in Forks getting to college was very, very important because it meant those kids that made it had a chance to get out of Forks.

Not that it is a bad town. Not at all. It is just that it is a dying town. The curtailing of logging and fishing in the Olympic Peninsula may have gone over well in Seattle where people are concerned that they won't have any natural, unspoiled environments in which to ride their horsies and mossy woods to hike about in. In Seattle, the only thing more popular for a politician to say than "It's for the children" is "It's for the environment." Some of the brighter politicians have taken to working in the phrase, "It's for the children's environment!" This always plays to rousing ovations and cheers, especially from the childless.

Things are not so happy in Forks which has had to deal with the loss of thousands of jobs as a result of various "popular" [in the cities] measures. Forks, by any measure, is struggling to keep its head above water. You can feel it in the forced cheer and the determined pride shown at this one small auction where, against all odds, they have managed to raise more than $50,000 for the Forks Escape Fund.

One of my local correspondents, much more knowledgeable about the shameful political history that killed Forks related this small tale that pretty much sums up the relationship of city and town in Washington state:

Our US Senators, Patty Murray (D) who we rightfully detest and Slade Gorton (Republican and now defeated by Maria Cantwell) were on opposite sides of a timber debate on the floor of the senate. Listening to the floor action on the squawk box, we heard Patty nattering about how she was totally in tune with the people of Washington on timber issues, why in fact the lumbermen of Forks were some of her best sources of information and strongest supporters, The staffer turned to me and said "Seattle liberal greenies may love Patty, but not the good folks in Forks. She's cost hundreds, maybe thousands of timber people their jobs. If you handcuffed her to the stop sign in the middle of Forks at 3 AM, come morning she'd be gone and they would never be able to find her body."

True enough. I looked. And she wasn't there. There are many hungry crab pots in these waters.

After an amazingly indifferent meal, I put up at the Pacific Inn Motel to wait for dawn and pray for sun.

Which, amazingly, arrived with the dawn. I wanted to go south towards the Hoh Rain Forest, but since La Push was nearby I decided to head there. Big mistake. Even though my correspondent, who had been so prescient about Forks, declared that she "grew up hiking, camping, trying to drown myself and poaching salmon, crabs and clams off all these beaches and I love every stinking piece of seaweed on every slippery barnacle befouled rock, " I found that I could not share the love enough to find it in La Push. La Push is an indian village and like most of these sad places, seems determined not to let money from casinos work against decades of squalor. Whenever I find myself in these towns I always have to wonder where all those millions are going. Certainly not for paint or decent housing. I beat a quick retreat.

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La Push, the only scenic view

About an hour later, I took a left and came to one of the roads I was looking for.

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This let me know that I was well on my way to what is probably the greatest collection of moss in the Northern Hemisphere, the Hoh Rain Forest.

I stopped in a small store on the way in where the woman behind the counter had been waiting patiently for at least a week to sell something to somebody. She sold me a rain coat. "You'll probably need it seeing that you are going to a rain forest." What could I do but agree? Besides, it was lined with the holy fabric of the Pacific Northwest, fleece, and it doubled my holdings.

Correctly attired, waterproof, I pushed on up the road past local inhabitants --

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--- and signage betraying local attitudes that seemed as eager to say "Goodbye" as "Howdy tourista!"

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But it was worth it because, once beyond the mysteriously deserted entrance to the Hoh Rain Forest, --

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-- I found myself alone in the location where they will shoot the Freddy Kruger epic, Nightmare in the National Parks.

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Walking the Hall of Mosses trail alone on a Monday morning brings you quickly in touch with the overwhelming beauty of this carefully preserved and presented part of the forest. The signs along the way and the slow rise into deeper and deeper groves of moss obliterated trees is like walking through a live Powerpoint slide show on "the value of preserving our national parks at all costs. No matter who has to pay."

At the same time, this particular show, by the time you get to the core of it, starts to present your subconscious mind with all sorts of disturbing back chatter. For all the beauty of it, you still understand that you are also seeing a parasite run wild across a very large chunk of forest. And you see, time and again, how a very small organism such as a spore of moss can topple very large forms of life such as a 300 foot tall spruce. I've always liked moss but I have noticed that various treatments to kill it are quite popular at the local Home Depots. Perhaps, just perhaps, even a good thing can get a little out of hand.

From the Hoh Rain Forest I finally found my way to Kalaloch Lodge. I'd made this my destination since it seemed to promise all the things I need in the way of a retreat from the world, that vision of Edna St. Vincent Millay of:

.... a little shanty on the sand

In such a way that the extremest band

Of brittle seaweed shall escape my door

But by a yard or two ...

and closer still to an acceptable restaurant

serving three meals a day

compete with an adequate wine list

and a nearby store fully stocked

with a vast assortment of

classic American snack foods.

And so I was forced to hunker down with plank-grilled salmon and a few glasses of crisp Riesling. And there I sat until, as it will, the last light came and got me.

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It not only fetched me out of the cabin, it fetched the entire lodge as if a lodestone had, on the very cusp of the vernal equinox, of Spring, taken hold of our rain-soaked, mossy souls and dragged us out of our pastoral stupor, back into the world dimensional.

All along the cabins strung down the bluff doors opened and men, women, children and dogs came tumbling out onto the wet lawn to hover and stare as far out to sea as they could while the sun came down from beneath the curtain of cloud and lit the world and made it new.

It was only about five hours steady drive back to Seattle, but nobody was leaving. Behind us you had the impenetrable escarpment of the Olympic Peninsula.

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In front of us you had the slow Pacific swell illuminated by the hand of God.

Tomorrow would be the first full day of Spring. It would rain again. It would always rain again.

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For now, nobody was going anywhere.

Vanderleun : February 16, 17  |  Your Say (33)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"If there had not been freedom of speech in the 19th century, I can guarantee you that we would still have slavery today. Powerful voices would have silenced the abolitionists arguments and the modern world would never have come into being. We have labor saving devices because labor became expensive. And labor became expensive because slavery was ended...."

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gerardvanderleun : February 16, 17  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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When the fog forms in Paradise all my ghosts come out, moving like wraiths behind the mist, believing no one can see them. But I do. Everywhere in this small town in northern California in which I was a young boy and to which I have returned as an old man, I often sense that boy and those long ago moments.

This morning the fog was thick here on the ridge as I returned from an errand down on Lucky John Road; a road I had not been on for over 60 years. Even before I came over the crest of the hill and started down the far side my back brain told me there was a brook at the bottom. And sure enough, in a moment, my car passed over the brook as it flowed in a culvert from one side of the road to the other.

Today there were a number of tidy cookie-cutter contractor-built homes on either side complete with their gardens, garages, and water-features. The once forest-thick pines were thinned out to garden specs.

The little old lady’s ramshackle homemade house was long gone to landfill... as was the little old lady herself. Still, as I pulled the car over in the fog and looked around, they appeared. Ghosts moving behind today's new morning; a kind of Balinese shadow puppet epic projected on the far side of the atmosphere by the lantern of memory.

The last time I had been to the brook I was 11 and I walked. I walked from my house on the canyon's edge half a mile to where the brook meandered out of the pines and under Lucky John Road. I did it because my father told me to do it. I did it because my father had decided that at 11 it was time I had “A Job.” My father believed in boys having A Job and having one as soon as possible.

One evening shortly after my 11th December birthday he called me aside. “There’s an old lady named Miss Helen over the hill who needs help,” he told me. “She’s getting on and she has no family. She needs help chopping wood for her heat and other chores.” (“Dad, please.”) “No backtalk. I’ve already told her you’d be there tomorrow afternoon.” (“Oh come on, dad.”) “Did I mention she was going to pay you.” (“Please, dad.... Oh? How much?”) “Four or five bucks a week....” (“When can I start?”)

This would have been 1956 and my allowance at the time was a royal fifty cents a week which kept me in bubble gum and comic books. Barely. The sum to be paid was an expansion of my cash on hand to levels beyond the dreams of boyhood avarice. The next afternoon my Keds crunched through the thin sheets of ice formed in the puddles next to the stream as I reported to Miss Helen driven more by greed than duty.

Thinking back Miss Helen’s place was more of a hut than a house. It had a tin roof and was very small, consisting of a small sitting area just inside the door, a kitchen behind that, and a sleeping alcove behind that with a curtain that was always closed.

The hut sat on what were probably cinder blocks on a sort of islet around which branches of the brook actually made a babbling sound over the mossed rocks. There must have been some electricity since I remember a refrigerator and a radio, but there weren’t any electric lights, only kerosene lanterns that required me to trim their wicks. Her water was drawn from the stream and stored in a large tank just on the other side of the kitchen wall with a pipe that came through the wall to a small metal tub she used as a sink. One of my primary tasks was to carry buckets of water to the tank and fill it.

This job began in the winter and the only source of heat Miss Helen had was a standard issue wood stove that she also used for cooking. The stove took a lot of wood and the old lady’s wood came from a large pile of logs on another islet behind her hut. They were far too big to fit in the stove and my main job was to take a maul, then an axe, then a hatchet, and transform the each log into a pile of kindling that the old lady could use. It wasn’t that bad a job except when it snowed or rained, which, since this was winter in Paradise was pretty much every other day when it was not a continuation of the snow and rain from the day before.

At the start it made me ache but by the end of two weeks I didn’t mind it much. I went to school. I took the bus home and at the bus stop instead of going down the dirt road to home I walked over the hill to chop wood and carry water. When I was done I would walk home. Tired.

Miss Helen was both little and very, very old. Or as old as a person in their late 60s appeared to a boy of 11 in 1956. She was small, stooped, with almost translucent hands, and as roly-poly as my paternal grandmother. She wore thick stockings and heavy shoes. It seemed to me that she wore only hand-sewn dresses that could have been fashioned from large print tablecloths. Over these she always had an apron on. These aprons always had a pocket and from that magic pocket, every Friday, she’d take a clasp-closed leather change purse and count out four silver dollars with their satisfying clack and clink.

Once I got home my father had me hand over two of the silver dollars so he could demonstrate the miracle of compound interest in a savings account he made me open.

“So,” he’d ask every week as he relieved me of half my cash flow,”how do you like going to the job?”

I’d make some kind of half-hearted response to which his response was always, “You don’t have to like the job, but a real man always goes to the job.”

I’d nod and dream of all the extra Fleers bubble gum and comic books my residual two bucks were going to get me down at the Feed Store. Sometimes I’d splurge and get a nickel Coke and read my comics lying on bags of feed with their dusty burlap smell.

And so I went to the job with the little old lady who lived by the brook. For months I chopped wood and carried water for Miss Helen, and saw how even the very old and the very poor still carried on their lives with dignity even when all they had was miserable, mean nothing.

Then, one day, I came home on the school bus and found my father waiting for me at the stop. “You don’t have to go to work today. Miss Helen’s left.”

“Left? Where’d she go?”

“Away.”

“When’s she coming back?”

“She won’t be. But she left this for you.” He reached into his wallet and handed me a ten dollar bill. At the time it was the largest bill I’d ever possessed. “It’s like a two week notice. She wanted you to have it.”

I took it feeling good about having it but disappointed that Miss Helen would leave without so much as a goodbye.

But of course she didn’t leave. She just became a ghost; a ghost my father wanted to spare me. Hence, she just went away. Until this morning when, sitting in my car near the brook on Lucky John Road, she came back.

She came back out of the fog; small, translucent, in her hand-made dress with her apron and her worn change purse fat with its silver dollars.

Which is when, after 60 years, it hit me.

Miss Helen was a very, very poor woman. In 1956 four silver dollars a week would have been a serious sum of money to her. Very serious. Unless she had some sort of secret stash of silver dollars. Which I was pretty sure she did not. In fact I’m pretty sure a secret stash of pennies would have been beyond her means.

On the other hand, my father really liked silver dollars and always kept a jar full on his dresser.

“You don’t have to like the job, but a real man always goes to the job.”

When the fog forms in Paradise, all my ghosts come out.

gerardvanderleun : February 15, 17  |  Your Say (36)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Now I see you standing
With brown leaves falling around
And snow in your hair
Now you're smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square
Our breath comes out white clouds
Mingles and hangs in the air
Speaking strictly for me
We both could have died then and there....

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gerardvanderleun : February 14, 17  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Myths & Texts

notoffthlist.jpgAs some day it may happen that a victim must be found,
I've got a little list--I've got a little list....
- W. S. Gilbert

"The List" is the bane of testosterone-driven humans. "The List" is kept in the secret mental lock-box of human beings of the estrogen persuasion. Some believe that "The List" is a social construct, while others believe that "The List" is hard-wired into the DNA of the human female. I favor the latter theory since it seems to me that "The List" is merely a subset of "The Plan" -- and "The Plan" is not only part and parcel of the basic makeup of the human female regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or historic epoch, it is also the reason that -- over time -- women triumph over men. Women, in short, always have a life plan while men are stuck with something that looks like a cross between a spread sheet without a recalc button and a really slick marketing idea.

In short, men might have a plan for making a rocket-propelled street luge, but they have none at all when it comes to human activities that stretch across decades -- unless it involves such trifles as national defense or energy policy. Men seem to see items like this as actually important, but women know that what is really important is the command and control of male behavior. Hence, "Your Permanent Conduct Record" aka "The List."

Women reading this essay are, of course, not the type to ever keep an indelible list of male transgressions, large and teeny-tiny. But trust me, there are many that do. Why? Because it works.

"The List" is a means of male-control through negative feedback. Positive male actions towards a woman are expected, perhaps noted at the time, perhaps not, -- but always in pencil. A brief pat and nod of encouragement and then the woman goes back into the default mode of "what have you done for me lately?" "Lately" is, as all men know, but a small subset of a single day.

Failings of the male -- such as lapses in mental telepathy -- are kept on "The List" in indelible ink, preferably blood-red. "The List" also includes transgressions, large and small, against the woman from previous relationships with previous males. The ownership of all these transgressions is automatically transfered to the male of the current relationship at the moment of inception or conception, whichever comes first. This is the reason men sometimes feel they are expected to pay an overdue bill for a meal they did not eat in a restaurant that no longer exists. Plus a 20% tip.

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Vanderleun : February 14, 17  |  Your Say (71)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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apandas.jpg

In a large forested enclosure of the Wolong Reserve, panda keepers Ma Li and Liu Xiaoqiang listen for radio signals from a collared panda training to be released to the wild.

Tracking can tell them how the cub is faring in the rougher terrain up the mountain. As conservation icons go, nothing quite beats the giant panda. Instantly recognizable worldwide and adored by billions, the giant panda is a virtual brand whose resemblance to anything wild is as tenuous as it is rare. Like many endangered species, giant pandas have declined as a growing human population has seized wild lands for human uses. The Chinese have spent the past quarter of a century perfecting breeding methods, building a captive population and protecting habitat. The giant panda was recently taken off the world endangered species list—a minor miracle, due to the unique efforts of Chinese zoologists and conservationists. -- Winners of the 2017 World Press Photo Contest

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gerardvanderleun : February 13, 17  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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5-Minute Arguments

Cognitive dissonance happens.

gerardvanderleun : February 13, 17  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Fortunate that the drooling moron mayor of Davis now sleeps with the squashed toads.

[HT: Armchair Sinner: "Gawd, I forgot about Julie Partansky: a proponent of leaving potholes unpaved, lest we should lose their historic value (I'm not joking); one of the architects of the Dark Skies campaign, which dimmed and shaded streetlamps to better view the stars, much to the delight of drunken college students, graffiti "artists," rapists and muggers (finally, we folks in the Downtown Davis Business Association -DDBA- been able to make some headway against this crime issue); and, last but not least, Ms. Partansky was a vocal opponent of mosquito abatement, particularly with respect to West Nile Virus spraying.

RIP, Julie, 'cause now that you're gone, we sure are.

Oh yeahhh, we can't forget this little gem either (sorry about the Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert link, but it's funny and from way back in 1999, when he wasn't so insufferable.):"]

gerardvanderleun : February 12, 17  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Search American Digest

MONDO BIZARRO


Please Donate

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By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | 6616-D Clark Road #176 | Paradise, CA 95969

Okay, everybody remember where we parked.

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Leonardo's To-Do List


Exit Interview: I Spent 20 Years Behind the Wheel of a Big Rig

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I did four seasons on the ice roads, in the northern part of Canada.
I'd haul diesel fuel to diamond mines over frozen lakes for six to 10 weeks in the winter. I did a fair bit of hauling fertilizer throughout Saskatchewan for a few weeks after that, in the springtime. I just did a year and half of driving road trains in Australia -- double and triple trailers out of Perth to communities in the North-West. They're 53 and half meters [175.5 feet] long, and can weigh basically the weight of three and a half semis at once. | Atlas Obscura


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Riot Control Training and Riot Suppression Tips

Ah, but what if the rioters don’t run, but hundreds (and hundreds) of them decide to stand and fight?

Be still my heart. Oh, joy; oh happy-happy-joy-joy. These assholes know how to posture, but fight as a group, by which I mean a collective and mutually supportive action, not just a lot of people fighting at the same time? It is to laugh. If they try to stand, you don’t send a few to the hospital. You send them all to the hospital…or the morgue; whatever the market will bear. Rubber bullets, you know, fired from point blank range, are not necessarily non-lethal. -- EveryJoe



(Speech and Press): Thomas Jefferson to John Norvell

It is a melancholy truth, that a suppression of the press could not more compleatly deprive the nation of it's benefits, than is done by it's abandoned prostitution to falsehood.
Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper. Truth itself becomes suspicious by being put into that polluted vehicle. The real extent of this state of misinformation is known only to those who are in situations to confront facts within their knowledge with the lies of the day. I really look with commiseration over the great body of my fellow citizens, who, reading newspapers, live & die in the belief, that they have known something of what has been passing in the world in their time; whereas the accounts they have read in newspapers are just as true a history of any other period of the world as of the present, except that the real names of the day are affixed to their fables. General facts may indeed be collected from them, such as that Europe is now at war, that Bonaparte has been a successful warrior, that he has subjected a great portion of Europe to his will, &c., &c.; but no details can be relied on. I will add, that the man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. He who reads nothing will still learn the great facts, and the details are all false. - - Amendment I


Publishers are hiring 'sensitivity readers' to flag potentially offensive content

These days, though, a book may get an additional check from an unusual source:
a sensitivity reader, a person who, for a nominal fee, will scan the book for racist, sexist or otherwise offensive content. These readers give feedback based on self-ascribed areas of expertise such as "dealing with terminal illness," "racial dynamics in Muslim communities within families" or "transgender issues." - Chicago Tribune


Science!

You're different at 14 and 77 says personality study | Daily Mail Online

It is important to no-platform the people in charge.

It would glorious if all Trump voters dropped their cable sub this month, but that’s not happening.

People like their entertainments. What you can do is build your own media platforms by relentlessly supporting the new ones coming on-line now. Gab is becoming a useful platform that is beyond the control of the Cloud People. Vox Day is starting a news service designed to curate news stories in a way that undermines the media model. .My Advice to the Alt-Right | The Z Blog



The Question of the Age is Islam: Why the Lie?

Angela Merkel says Europe must take MORE refugees and Islam 'isn't source of terror'

Why the lie?

Pope Francis: 'Muslim Terrorism Does Not Exist'

Why the lie?

Monday morning links - Maggie's Farm



How to move a painting the size of football field

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The Battle of Atlanta made its debut in February 1887 in Detroit. Senator Logan had died in December of 1886 and the work was advertised as "Logan's Great Battle" in homage to him.
His cavalry charge to reinforce the Union lines was a featured scene in the cyclorama. Believe it or not, this massive painting more than 370 feet wide and just shy of 50 feet high was designed to be moved. After it was shown in Detroit, vast swaths of the canvas were draped on wooden frames and taken on the road where it was shown in Minneapolis and Indianapolis. The Cyclorama opened in Indianapolis in May of 1888 and by then Wehner’s company was in trouble. He sold The Battle of Atlanta to a local exhibitor. In 1890, that company sold it to promoter Paul Atkinson of Madison, Georgia. The History Blog


So they hate Trump but what are these protestors and their media enablers for?

They are for children but also for killing unborn ones with no restriction, no apology, and no need for a fee.
They are for LBGT and women's "rights," but ally themselves with Muslims who practice FGM, oppose abortion, treat women like cattle, and promote and engage in honor killings, and advocate death for LBGT people. They are for women's rights, but want men who think they are women to use women's washrooms. They are for free speech, but shut down anybody who disagrees with them, and, of course, ally themselves with Muslims who oppose freedom of speech and thought as part of their core dogma. They are against racism but try to stir up old racial animosities and conflicts that had long been resolved, buried, and forgotten. The DiploMad 2.0: Madness and Chaos: the Left in the Time of Trump


Loving the Call of Their Murderers



The modern American Left is obsessed with removing things.

I don’t know how or why it came to this, but it has.
They want to take away your single-occupancy vehicle. They want to take away your ability to operate your private business according to your religious convictions — except Muslims, who will get a pass. They want to take away your right to choose where your kids are schooled, and how. They want to take away your furnace, and your air conditioner — global warming, cough, climate change, cough, reasons, cough. They want to take away your options at restaurants, and also at the grocery store — you will no longer be allowed to have “bad” things in “bad” quantities. They want to take away your right to own firearms and defend yourself, your family, and your property — because only the police should have guns. Even though the same mouths claims the police are out of control and kill black people for sport. How the ctrl-Left drove me away from American liberalism | Brad R. Torgersen


"Interesting"

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Spock was the epitome of logic in the original Star Trek series.
Although he had a human mother, it was the Vulcan half that was firmly in control. If he said that something was interesting, as I understood it, then he was describing an expected, objective fact. That notion is embedded deeply in today’s popular culture: cable news segments, websites and Facebook posts compete for our attention with surprising but allegedly genuine – interesting – truths. Whatever you do, don’t call this an ‘interesting’ idea | Aeon Ideas


L.A.: "We're number one!"

Traffic study ranks Los Angeles as world's most clogged city

When it comes to getting stuck in traffic on the way to and from work, Los Angeles leads the world. Drivers in the car-crazy California metropolis spent 104 hours each driving in congestion during peak travel periods last year. That topped second-place Moscow at 91 hours and third-place New York at 89, according to a traffic scorecard compiled by Inrix, a transportation analytics firm.



In 1905, 11-year-old Frank Eppersonfrom San Francisco, California, accidentally invented the Popsicle.

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Epperson

It was a chilly evening when he decided to make himself a soft drink.
He mixed soda powder and water with a wooden stirring stick but somehow forgot about his drink and left it on the porch. When he woke up the next morning andreturned to the porch his drink was frozen with the wooden stir stick stuck in the frozen liquid. He ran the glass under hot water and licked the frozen treat off the wooden stir stick. He had invented a new treat and named it Epsicle. - - Vintage News
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Thoughts While Shaving

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I didn't choose thug life....

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Vintage Photos Of Depression Era Gangsters And The Lawmen Who Gave Chase - Neatorama

The demographic most opposed to President Trump is not a racial minority, but a cultural elite.

It was a war between Davos, Conde Nast, GQ, Soros, MSNBC, Hollywood, Facebook and America. And America won
. The "resistance" is a collection of elites, from actors at award shows to fashion magazines to tech billionaires, decrying a popular revolt against their rule. They are not the resistance. They are dictators in exile. They had their chance to impose their vision on the people. And they lost. The revolution will not be brought to you by BMW, by a Davos conference, by $100 cologne that smells like nothing or by Facebook lobbying. It will be brought to you by the comeback of America. Sultan Knish: The Elites are Revolting


Ivanka Trump brand tops Amazon Best Sellers list

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- Story | WNYW

Be engaged in the political process.

While the "big" elections tend to get the most attention, we can be engaged in local politics, too.
This does not mean you should run for office, though that is certainly an option for some. Even if you cannot serve in an elected capacity, your local officials need to know who you are and what you stand for. In my local town, we had a county commissioner running for reelection this past year. He had not done a good job, but is well known in the community and seemed to have the inside track on getting his seat back. So what did we do? We found a guy who offered a better choice, we supported him, and we got him elected. If he doesn’t follow through, then we will get rid of him  next time. This is something we can all do. Whether it is a mayor, sheriff, or any other local office, get good people in there. Use that same principle for state representatives, state senators, and on up to national office. Moving Into Meatspace -- Men Of The West


Regarding the Much Missed Happy Acres

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I keep getting inquiries about Happy Acres, whose Tumblr site was nuked by the floating chunks of sewage at Tumblr. I haven't heard from Mr. Acres of late, but he has said in the past that he will be back. In the meantime he is still active on Twitter with his characteristic pith and humor. Follow him at HappyAcres (@HappyHectares) | Twitter

The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?

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Cat and Dog Paw-Themed Ice Cream Is Now a Thing in Japan
To many Japanese feline lovers, cat paws smell like nice things (right from caramel crepes, to wheat and sunflowers) and their soft, smooth texture is considered mysteriously soothing. Cat paws are so popular that a couple of years ago, a company came out with a hand-cream that not only left the users' hands as smooth to the touch as a cat's paw, but also made their skin smell like it too. But now, the organizers of the 2017 Japan Pet Fair, are taking this obsession one step further with two unique ice creams designed to have the texture and flavor of cat and dog paws.


These are the days of miracles and wonders

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Develop a new Civil Defense Organization.

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This organization is not designed to replace government services on a day to day basis, but is there to supplement the regular structures when the scope of the problem makes it impossible for the traditional organizations to meet the need.

* The organization can be created by any private or public institution from a small church or informal neighborhood group all the way up to the Federal Government, with a heavy emphasis on local involvement.

* Ideally, the organizations will be physically centered around local fire halls, schools, and churches, due to their central location and existing infrastructure (e.g., parking for vehicles, communications, sanitation, and bulk cooking facilities. Concepts For A New Civil Defense Organization: Part I – Overview | Western Rifle Shooters Association



My liberal friends are gleefully scouring the semi-fake news and sending me articles that show Trump is “incompetent.”

That’s the new narrative on the left. The Hitler illusion is starting to fade because Trump refuses to build concentration camps as his critics hallucinated he would.

And Israel likes Trump, which is making the Hitler illusion harder to maintain. So the critics are evolving their main line of attack from Hitler to “incompetent,” with a dash of “chaos.” You’ll see those two words all over the Opposition Media’s coverage. It isn’t a coincidence. How to Evaluate a President | Scott Adams' Blog



At that Trump presser, the press didn’t know what hit them.

I’ll send them a little message, except I don’t think many of them read me, but here it is:

Trump isn’t dumb. He’s pretty canny, and he knows how to mock people, in case you hadn’t noticed. Like him or hate him, he’s a good comedian as well, and at least half the country already likes and trusts him. That’s more people than like and trust you, and that fact is not because of anything Trump has said about you, it’s about your behavior for several decades and beyond. And the more sanctimonious you act about yourselves, the more you will be hated. neo-neocon Trump's presser: beauty in the eye of the beholder



Imaginary News

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So how can we know who is hallucinating in this case? The best way to tell is by looking for the trigger for cognitive dissonance.
In this case, the trigger is clear. Trump’s unexpected win forced the Huffington Post to rewrite their mental movies from one in which they were extra-clever writers to one in which they were the dumbest political observers in the entire solar system.

You might recall that the Huffington Post made a big deal of refusing to cover Trump on their political pages when he first announced his candidacy. They only carried him on their entertainment pages because they were so smart they knew he could not win.

Then he won.

When reality violates your ego that rudely, you either have to rewrite the movie in your head to recast yourself as an idiot, or you rewrite the movie to make yourself the hero who could see what others missed. Apparently the Huffington Post chose to rewrite their movie so Trump is a deranged monster, just like they warned us. That’s what they see. This isn’t an example of so-called “fake” news as we generally understand it. This is literally imaginary news. Imaginary News | Scott Adams' Blog



I’m a gay New Yorker — and I’m coming out as a conservative

It can seem like liberals are actually against free speech if it fails to conform with the way they think.
And I don’t want to be a part of that club anymore. It used to be that if you were a gay, educated atheist living in New York, you had no choice but to be liberal. But as I met more Trump supporters with whom I was able to have engaging, civil discussions about issues that impact us all, I realized that I like these people — even if I have some issues with Trump himself. For example, I don’t like his travel ban or the cabinet choices he’s made. But I finally had to admit to myself that I am closer to the right than where the left is today. And, yes, just three months ago, I voted for Hillary Clinton. - - NY Post[HT: NeoNeoCon]


BOOM: Why Leftist California Has Only Itself to Blame for Current Woes

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But hey, go ahead and become a sanctuary state, California — then you can divert even more scarce resources from such “unnecessary” things like dam safety and infrastructure to illegal immigrants. Oh, and good luck with that secession movement — looks like California’s got things all figured out. | The Federalist Papers

Why are gays no longer the darlings of the left?

Part of the reason is the mainstreaming of intersection:
if you're a gay white male, yes, you're gay, all right, but you're also the two worst things you can be in the eyes of the left: white and male. Which means that on balance you're more privileged than you are oppressed. Across Europe, gays have been deserting the left in growing numbers for the so-called “far-right” parties that are standing up to Islam – and they're making that move because they've seen enough of Islam to know that it represents a threat to their very lives. Woodpile Report


This seems like a reasonable request

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“If you want to make a bit of good red paint, take an ox … ”

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in panel paintings from the late Middle Ages,
symbolically “negative” reds — those coloring the fires of hell, the face of the Devil, the coat or feathers of infernal creatures, and all impure blood of one kind or another—were often painted with the same pigment: sandarac, a resin lacquer more commonly called “cinnabar of the Indies” or “dragon’s blood.” Various legends circulated in workshops regarding this pigment, a relatively expensive one because it had to be imported from far away. It was believed to come not from a plant resin but from the blood of a dragon, gored by its mortal enemy, the elephant. According to medieval bestiaries, which followed Pliny and the ancient authors here, the inside of the dragon’s body was filled with blood and fire; after a fierce struggle, when the elephant had punctured the dragon’s belly with its tusks, out flowed a thick, foul, red liquid, from which was made a pigment used to paint all the shades of red considered evil. A Brief History of Red: How Artists Made the Elusive Color


Dam It All

Super-soaker: Atmospheric River taking aim on beleaguered #OrovilleDam | Watts Up With That?
The long-term forecast has rainfall totals within the watershed that are showing the exact spot where Lake Oroville watershed is located will get 11.62 inches of rain over the next 10 days, the most accumulated rainfall in the entire western USA:
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19 miles downhill from my home on the Paradise ridge.


Desirable It Is That You Luxuriate in the Octopoid Embrace of These Legal Postulations

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After 570 pages, Judge Amitava Roy steps forward to add what we would call a “concurrence,”
in which a judge who agrees with the result writes separately because he or she feels there is something more to be said. Or, as Judge Roy puts it (in passive voice), “A few disquieting thoughts that have lingered and languished in distressed silence in mentation demand expression at the parting with a pulpit touch. Hence, this supplement.” | Lowering the Bar


Okay, Oroville, everybody remember where we parked the kangarooo.

Found: An Albino Kangaroo Abandoned in a Dam Evacuation
When residents were ordered to evacuate on Sunday, many left in haste, including some, in Sutton County, California who left behind a few of their pets, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. And not just any pets: an albino kangaroo, a red kangaroo, and a muntjac, a type of small deer -- named Kenzie, Dottie, and Mary, respectively.  The animals were found safe == if perhaps a little traumatized -- by the California Highway Patrol, officials said Tuesday, and, for now, are staying with a California family that has cared for abandoned animals in the past. The animals' owners were not named, but, hopefully, they'll be reunited soon. Their temporary caretakers said that Kenzie, in particular, was used to sleeping in bed with her owner. 


"If I can come up with this off the cuff, so can five hundred thousand other people. Some already have. Bet your ass on that."

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"Weapons free. Weapons free." Inside the two vans, the shooters began plinking through their 25-round magazines.
The rounds might kill, maim, or just leave a painful but survivable wound, but in less than half a minute, they were all on their way. Inside the vans, the rounds tick-tick-ticked off, and the brass went into catch-pouches. The mob was careening around the intersection now. Panic set in with a vengeance as people started to go down. The herd started to stampede back the way they'd come when the first vehicle's gas tank went up with a "Whoompph!", and sent them in new directions. - - Raconteur Report: Tomorrow


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