"All of the victims were shot in their heads
and all but McGowan were shot in their beds,"
"The beds were undisturbed.
The house itself was undisturbed,"
"There were no signs
of a break-in,"
-- No Motive Found in California Murders
Above, the unintentional "found poetry" of a local murder in Garner Valley, California. Exceptional enough to be brought to the ever shortening attention span of the nation because the toll was unusually high: David, Father, age 42 -- believed dead by his own hand; Chase, son, age 14; Paige, daughter, age 10; Raine, daughter, age 8; Karen, wife and mother, age 42; Karen's mother, no name or age given in the report.
We learn that a "911 dispatcher didn't hear any voices on the line, but was able to identify the sounds of the telephone hitting the wall and a gunshot." We learn that the father's body was found next to a handgun and a phone. We learn that "this community is in no danger. We are not at this time looking for a suspect." We learn that the town is really quiet and that, "A lot could happen right next door and you wouldn't even know it."
We don't learn if the standard spontaneous shrine of flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and children's art and crayoned notes has been erected at the edge of the police tape in front of the home, but we know it will be, and it will remain until the rains wash away.
We won't learn, unless we live in that small town, the "why" of it all.
We probably could know, in time, the why of it all if we became interested in this common killing, exceptional only for its body count. We could learn if we followed the ever-shrinking national news reports down to the local level. We could, we think, learn why if we followed the reports on through the inquest and into the six graves that wait after all the bodies are autopsied by the men who spend their lives
"Working on mysteries
Without any clues.."
We could know why, but we won't bother to find out. No need really. We already think two things that keep us from needing to know. First, we think that we do know what happened in the house. Second, we know -- because it happened in that house -- it will never happen in our house.
We know it will never happen in our house because, as humans, we have an almost limitless ability to forget any hint of 'could' when it comes to horror. In those few moments when our forgetfulness fails us, we remain secure in our belief that we would never do such things to those we love. We know to an absolute certainty that anyone who could must not have been "in his right mind."
That's a common but still strange phrase -- "not in his right mind." Everyone uses it as shorthand for things people do that are, large or small, somehow far outside what we normally expect them to do. Nobody that I know of takes it to the other side of that common phrase and looks at what a person does when he's "in his wrong mind."
Our right mind doesn't like to think it's got a wrong mind. It doesn't like to think it because it does indeed have one, and it is hardwired. Each of our right minds has a wrong mind and we are, with good reason, very, very frightened of it. So frightened that we don't think of it because to even think of our wrong mind gives it power, and it has far too much of that already. It has so much power that, once the wrong mind starts to control us, it takes, as they say, "a power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity."
I grow increasingly uncertain about many things in this life, but of that one thing I once became, and today remain, certain of without a scintilla of smidgen of a doubt. Like most men, I tend to forget about that greater power when mucking about in the detritus of daily life. That really doesn't matter. Sooner or later I am always given a miraculous moment on the small scale of ordinary life that lets me know in no uncertain terms that, for human beings, only "a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity."
I know that this invisible power exists because I have seen it.
You might think that this encounter with a "greater power" is a "drinking thing," but for me it was a "feeling thing." Except for a few years when I was young and it was the style, plus a brief passage later, I've never been much of a drinking man. My default state, when it comes to drinking is that I find I can drink as much as I want, but that I don't want to drink all that much.
My problem and one of my many flaws is this "feeling thing." I can very easily feel too much and have a problem stopping the feeling of feeling too much.
It's not easy being an empath. You learn early to just shut down emotions; to keep them caged with silence. You learn later, much later, that keeping feelings caged with silence is like putting your wrong mind on steroids. It only makes it stronger. Much stronger. At some point you lose the power to keep your right mind in control of your wrong mind. And that's when very bad things can start to happen.
One day in June many years ago in a universe far, far away, in a small town on the other side of this continent, bad things started to happen in me.
It was at the end of the usual long banal litany of love gone off the tracks -- secrets, lies, scorn, and selfishness. There were years of too little money followed by far too much money coming too quickly, until people could finally afford the favorite American fantasy of dumping the old and tried to get to the new and better for the sake of "personal growth."
Her need for personal growth and "more space" had been building for over a year, as had my own silent rage of feelings. She'd gone into the city for a late meeting and "dinner with a client." It would "probably run late" so she'd just be "sensible" and "take a hotel room and come back in the morning." How perfectly sensible that was. What could I do but agree?
"A lot could happen right next door and you wouldn't even know it."
She got dressed for the city and packed an overnight case and got in her new Saab and drove off down the hill towards the city. I watched her car disappear around the bend in the road by the school. I waited by the window for five minutes and then went and searched her bathroom. I didn't find what I was looking for. She'd packed her diaphragm. Standard equipment for "dinner with a client" in those days.
I checked my six in my soul and found, naturally, no real emotions roaming about. They were safely caged and there was no key. So, without really thinking about it all that much, I did what any normal American would do under such circumstances. I got into my wrong mind and went shopping.
I backed my gold '72 Cadillac out of my garage and drove down the hill to Highway One and turned right in the direction of the city she'd gone to. I drove less than half a mile to the store that stood alone in the trees and turned left into the parking lot and went inside.
An hour or so later I drove back to my house and pulled into the garage feeling, as the song says, "comfortably numb." I set the brake and went to move my right hand off the steering wheel to turn off the ignition key.
But I could not move my hand off the steering wheel and onto the key.
You never really think about how you move your hand until you can't move it. The hand is the mind and soul's interface with the world. It's working that way right now as I press the keys that make these words and this period.
When you find, suddenly, that your hand won't obey your brain, that you've lost the power to make it do your bidding, it brings everything else in you to a full stop. It did with me that afternoon in my garage.
Even though the house was in a very quiet area on a side road above the town, everything seemed to get much quieter still in those moments when I couldn't move my hand. So quiet in fact that the white noise that had whined in my mind all afternoon faded out until I heard a voice whisper in my ear, quite calmly and distinctly, "You shall return that stuff in the trunk right now."
The stuff in the trunk was a brand-new shotgun and a carton of shells "for home defense."
Whatever it was that was telling me to return "that stuff" wasn't making a suggestion. It was giving me an order that, because God was not yet done with me, I could not refuse. I knew it, my right mind knew it, and my wrong mind knew it and was taken, in that instant, by that power, and put back in its place deep beneath the light.
And then I could move my hand, not to turn off the ignition -- that was still not allowed -- but to put the car into reverse, back out of the garage, drive back to the Gun Shop, and return "that stuff in the trunk."
When I walked in with the stuff and laid it on the counter to get my money back I said, "I decided I don't really need this after all."
The man who sold the stuff to me gave me a straight look and said, "I guess you don't."
He was right. What I did need, I decided, was a drink. And since that need's solution is always ready to hand in America, I drove across Highway One and directly to the local dive bar back from the road next to the on-ramp to I-95.
I'd seen far too much of this scuzzy joint in the last few months and I was destined to see a lot more of it in the months to come. It was one of those 'great bad places' in American life; one of those spaces where they're selling, morning, noon and far into the night, eight kinds of despair on tap and a wide selection of numb on the shelves behind the bar; mixed, on-the-rocks, or "neat."
"The Tip-Top" had been through a lot of owners, each of whom was determined to get more money out of it by putting less into it. It wasn't quite to the stage where you could get a shot and a beer while standing in rubble up to your knees, but it was getting there. It had the requisite thick smoke from stubbed out, lipstick stained L&Ms for standard atmosphere, but it had something extra as well. It always seemed to me that, in some strange way, the management had managed to inject into the haze of blue-gray smoke a fine particulate of black specks. It seemed to give it ... character.
It was one of those bars whose main attraction was that, no matter how down you were and no matter how ugly you were and no matter how crazy you were, there was always someone there late at night that was more depressed, ugly and crazy than you could ever be. That made you feel good in a very bad sort of way. To amp up this quality feeling, the jukebox -- on those evenings it worked -- was dedicated to country and western songs. Did I mention that it was called the "Tip-Top?" It was and it was just the bar for me; my own very down market version of the cocktail lounge in "The Shining." The only real difference was that at the Tip-Top I always had to pay.
Like I said, I've never been a drinking man, but in those days I did drink more than I have before or since. Sometimes much more. The extra advantage of going to the Tip-Top was that I could drive back to my house about a mile away along back roads where, late at night, the police only came when they were called. A perfect situation. What a brilliant bar it was.
After leaving the Gun Shop and walking into the Tip-Top with cash in hand, my first move was a shot of Irish whiskey with a beer back so I could toast whatever power it had been that had forced me to take the stuff in the trunk back to the dealer. I had no idea what the power was, but I knew I felt stronger for it. I was again in perfect control of my feelings. I was so much in control of my feelings that I felt the need to celebrate that achievement with an aperitif, which in this case was another shot of Irish whiskey. Tillamore Dew -- top shelf stuff, no well bottles for me.
By the time that was down I was feeling hungry, so I took a look at the fly specked bar menu at the Tip-Top and ordered their daily special, a pint of Guiness at half-price. Very nutritious.
Not quite full, I decided on dessert which, being a double Kahlua on the rocks, was far too sweet for my tastes and needed a night-cap of Cognac, served neat in a snifter, the better to get a quality case of the vapors.
Having taken all necessary measures to feel no feelings at all, I left and got in my car and drove carefully on the back roads with all the windows open -- for the refreshing breeze -- until I pulled into my garage. This time I had no trouble at all with my hand and shut off the ignition.
I got out of the car, leaving the driver's door open, and walked back and pulled the garage door down. The garage was under the house and, because the house was built to keep everyone warm through the New England winters, the garage door had flanges that sealed it tightly against the cold winds and snow. I'd installed a new bottom seal the autumn before so I knew it was in good shape, even Tip-Top.
I turned from the door and walked back along the car intending to go up the stairs and into the house and to bed. Instead, I found myself getting back into the driver's seat. I sat there for a moment and stared at the back wall of the garage with its collection of rakes, shovels, and other tools. There was a dingy storage compartment off to the right and I remember thinking that I really had to give it a new coat of paint.
Then it came to me that it would be a really good idea, a perfect idea, a shiningly stunning idea, if I would simply reach out my hand and turn the engine on. A glance at the gauge on the way home had informed me I had over half a tank. That would certainly be enough to get me where I had to go. It was a warm summer night and I could even leave the windows down. Better still, I didn't need to worry about being a little drunk and getting pulled over and having to breathe in a tube since I wouldn't be driving on any roads at all. I looked at this plan from a lot of angles and I could find no flaw in it.
Okay, I thought, lets get on with it. So I told my hand to reach out and turn the key. Gentlemen, start your engine.
And for the second time that day, I couldn't move my hand.
I mean, I really could not move my hand. I told it to move with my mind in no uncertain terms over and over to no effect. It just stayed in my lap in that limp and unresponsive state your limbs get to if you sleep on them and cut off the circulation. When I thought about reaching across with my left hand to do the duty of my right hand, that entire arm stopped working. That made me angry enough to talk to my hand out loud, "Just get with it. Quit screwing around and turn the damn key!"
Which is when I wept, very loudly and for a very long time, but not for the last time. It was okay to weep though because, as I thought at the time, I was the only one there.
When that was over, I got out of the car and up the stairs to the kitchen and then up to bed where I indulged myself in the luxury of passing out with my clothes on.
I woke up in a patch of sunlight the next morning, stripped, took a shower, six aspirin, a lot of orange juice, and three cups of coffee sitting outside at the picnic table I'd built next to the rope swing I'd hung from the oak, close by the small platform tree house I'd put up in the willow. All that was over now, and there'd be years of bad days ahead, but they'd all -- no matter how bad -- be better than the day I'd just passed through.
Somehow I'd gotten into my "wrong mind." Somehow, I thought then, I'd gotten back into my "right mind." The thing with the hand not working bothered me quite a bit, but I didn't have any ready explanation for it and, being a man who just loves rational explanations, I put it aside until I could 'study the phenomenon' from some book that certainly had the answer.
I didn't know then that the only sensible and rational answer was that "a power greater than ourselves had restored us to sanity." I think I know that now, even if I forget from time to time.
But I remember it anew when, like this morning, I read the common, garden variety headline, No Motive Found in California Murders. That could have been my headline many years ago, and we all know the motive behind "No Motive Found."
Over the years, I've told a couple of therapists and a few friends about sitting in my car in my garage with the door closed on that June night. I've never told anyone about the stuff that was in the trunk earlier that day. Until the end of my days, I'll always be grateful and humbled by the power that stayed my hand and made me return that stuff.
A man named Poretto told me recently that Grace is something that is always waiting and knocking quietly at the door of your life. In California, yesterday, somebody forgot to answer the door. In Connecticut years ago, I couldn't answer so something just kicked mine down, walked right in, and took over.
"A lot could happen right next door and you wouldn't even know it."
First published 2005
Every warning we ignored
Drifting in from distant shores
The wind presents a change of course
A second reckoning of sorts
We were wasted waiting for
A comedown over revolving doors....
When you see these at your door.... run.
Click Here to Continue
Crumbling is not an instant's Act
A fundamental pause
Are organized Decays —
'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust —
Ruin is formal — Devil's work
Consecutive and slow —
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping — is Crashe's law —
Historical Painting with Wikipedia Links & Mouse Over Tagging. Chinese Artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An, 2006, oil on canvas.
When Chou En Lai was asked what he thought of the French Revolution he allegedly replied “it’s too early to say”. However others are willing to make a judgment on history. Chinese artists Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An painted a fascinating panorama of 103 persons in 2006 they considered famous. The selection reflects their point of view. It contains many more Chinese and Asian figures than might figure in an American choice. It is understandably a Sinocentric view of the world; where Hitler strikes an indifferent pose but it is Hideki Tojo who is singled out for torment. Movie stars and sports stars have more prominence than would be expected. It’s cavalcade of fame as seen from the international news pages.
Since the painting was done in 2006 there is one conspicuous omission. Is it a fatal shortcoming? And have the artists failed to anticipate the most significant historical figure of all? Belmont Club » Three Portraits
You can see the painting if you....Click Here to Continue
The Lockheed Martin-led industry team launched the nation's seventh Littoral Combat Ship into the Menominee River on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The future LCS Detroit was formally christened prior to her launch by Mrs. Barbara Levin.
"Side-launches are always interesting because of the drop; and the ship is always light being launched. The ship gets most of its equipment and weight after launch, in fitting-out. Many steamships would not have the boilers fitted during launch, those would be lowered in afterwards. So "ohmigosh it rolls" is normal.* What these corvettes will be able to do - heck, I don't know. I don't think anyone can say for certain. I do know, however, that I am looking forward to her commissioning.**
*There are a lot of videos of side-launches and they are really dramatic - as in standing directly across a narrow water from one is a good way to take a bath! I think there is one of launching the new USCGC Mackinaw that shows the wave going across to spectators.
**I do surface patrols for the USCG Auxiliary, most in the Detroit River, and as USS Detroit is to be commissioned in Detroit, I am looking forward to those security patrols for the fun and the photos.
PS: I remember back in the late 1970's-early 1980's how many commenters said the advanced tech US and NATO allies equipment would break down and be unusable if the Soviets invaded and other equipment should be bought, and so on. And then, after Gulf War I, all that talk went away as the US and NATO equipment held up and did what it was advertised to do. Now when I hear complaints about something I keep a salt cellar on hand because I really do not know enough to know how something will turn out. I lost my sure belief in my correctness."Comment by Michael Jorris Click Here to Continue
"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." Washington's Farewell Address
America: "I am big, it's the dollars that got small!"
Imagine you could go shopping for food and groceries in the 1930's. These are some of the foods you may have bought to feed a family.
Shoulder of Ohio Spring lamb 17 cents per pound Ohio 1932
Sliced Baked Ham 39 cents per pound Ohio 1932
Dozen Eggs 18 Cents Ohio 1932
Coconut Macaroons 27 cents per pound Ohio 1932
Bananas 19 cents for 4 Pounds Ohio 1932
Peanut Butter 23 cents QT Ohio 1932
Bran Flakes 10 cents Maryland 1939
Jumbo Sliced Loaf of Bread 5 cents Maryland 1939
Spinach 5 cents a pound Maryland 1939
Clifton Toilet Tissue 9 cents for 2 rolls Ohio 1932
Camay Soap 6 cents bar Ohio 1932
Cod Liver Oil 44 cents pint Wisconsin 1933
Tooth paste 27 cents Wisconsin 1933
Lux Laundry Soap 22 cents Indiana 1935
Suntan Oil 25 cents Pennsylvania 1938
Talcum Powder 13 cents Maryland 1939
Noxzema Medicated Cream for Pimples 49 cents Texas 1935
Applesauce 20 cents for 3 cans New Jersey
Bacon, 38 cents per pound New Jersey
Bread, white, 8 cents per loaf New Jersey
Ham, 27 cents can New Jersey
Ketchup, 9 cents New Jersey
Lettuce, iceberg, 7 cents head New Jersey
Potatoes, 18 cents for 10 pounds New Jersey
Sugar, 49 cents for 10 pounds New Jersey
Soap, Lifebuoy, 17 cents for 3 bars New Jersey
Sugar $1.25 per 25LB Sack Ohio 1932
Pork and Beans 5 cents can Ohio 1932
Oranges 14 for 25 cents Ohio 1932
Chuck Roast 15 cents per pound Ohio 1932
White Potatoes 19 cents for 10LBs Ohio 1932
Heinz Beans 13 cents for 25oz can Ohio 1932
Spring Chickens 20 cents per pound Ohio 1932
Wieners 8 cents per pound Ohio 1932
Best Steak 22 cents per pound Ohio 1935
Pure lard 15 cents per pound Wisconsin 1935
Hot Cross Buns 16 Cents per dozen Texas 1939
Campbells Tomato Soup 4 cans for 25 cents Indiana 1937
Oranges 2 dozen 25 cents Indiana 1937
Kellogs Corn Flakes 3 Pkgs 25 cents Indiana 1937
Mixed Nuts 19 Cents per pound Indiana 1937
Pork Loin Roast 15 cents per pound Indiana 1937
Channel Cat Fish 28 cents per pound Missouri 1938
Fresh Peas 4 cents per pound Maryland 1939
Cabbage 3 cents per pound Maryland 1939
Sharp Wisconsin Cheese 23 cents per pound Maryland 1939
Pull up a chair and sit a spell. Death's in residence on my block
Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die
To cease upon the midnight with no pain....
-- Keats, Ode to a Nightingale
Once upon a time, when Europe could be had at $5 a day, I found myself hitchhiking on the freezing plains of Spain just outside of Madrid. Car after car swept past me, the winds in their wakes chilling me further. This was very disconcerting since I had with me my fail-safe ride generator, a hot hippie girlfriend (Think a good-looking Janis Joplin.) My ride generator had never failed me before but on this day she was generating zero rides even though the traffic on the road was heavy. Then I noticed two things.
First there seemed to be no trucks on the road. Second, the cars that huffed past us were filled to the gills with whole Spanish families bearing vast bouquets of flowers. And all those Spaniards looked, to the last, very grim.
After a few futile hours, we made our way -- walking -- a few kilometers down the road to a truck stop where, using my pidgin Spanish, the mystery of the ride drought was solved. It seemed that we were trying to get to Barcelona on one of the most holy days of the Spanish year -- All Saints Day, or as we have it here in America, Halloween.
The Spanish tradition on this day is for the whole family to load up the car with flowers and other offerings and haul off to the local graveyard for a visit and picnic with the dearly departed. After that many go off to a traditional performance of Spain's Faustian epic Don Juan Tenario in which the final act takes place in a cemetery. On this holy day in Spain we had almost zero chance of getting a ride anywhere other than the local graveyard. Chastened, we made our way back to Madrid by bus and set out the next day with much better luck.
What remains in my memory from watching the parade of cars on that long-lost Spanish highway is just how dour and serious the Spanish were on their Halloween. They weren't fooling around with death, but taking it at its word. They not only believed in death they also, in their prayers and rituals and their traditional play, believed that what you do in life determines how you will be treated in the afterlife. They had, at bottom, that adamantine belief that is the pearl beyond price of the Catholics. But even if you were to strip away the 2000 years of dogma, these people still had the one thing that more and more Americans lack at the core of their lives: a belief in something greater than themselves, a belief in something greater than man, greater than death.
Disillusioned words like bullets bark
As human gods aim for their mark
Made everything from toy guns that spark
To flesh-colored Christs that glow in the dark
It's easy to see without looking too far
That not much
Is really sacred.
In my neighborhood in Seattle many don't believe in anything sacred other than, at best, Obama. Their entire belief system centers on that tin god then on themselves and their "only one life to live, live, live!." All of which makes for an empty skin sack of existential desolation that they try to fill every Halloween with the greatest of American secular concepts: fun.
"Fun" is a curiously American concept that seems to have begun its invasion of all aspects of our shared life shortly after the end of WWII. I suppose that after the Great Depression and the war, the nation felt it could use a little fun. And, as usual, that great American axiom, "If it is worth doing, it is worth overdoing," came into play. Nowhere do we see the idea that life should be "fun" pumped up into bigger balloons of pure vanity than on Halloween.
From a minor tradition of sending kids out for to pick up some free candy, Halloween has mushroomed into a major American auto-fornication festival in which we regularly -- and with increasing intensity -- celebrate the meat state of life while pretending to vaguely celebrate the spiritual part. If you've noted, as I have, the increasing lust for gruesomeness in costumes at every new Halloween, you might have reflected that dark humor has taken a back seat to darker fascinations. One new costume around this year allows you to dress us as a corpse in a body bag complete with wounds and autopsy slashes. And that's a mild one.
Added on to costumes depicting violent death, mutilation, and the corruption of the grave, we have the increasing trend to freak show street events and private parties where this week's perversion is served as bubbling punch; as a witch's brew we are only too pleased, dressed as dregs, to drink to the dregs. In Seattle, of course, freak show street events and perversion parties are pretty much the order of the day, if not the daily spectacle on many blocks. But there's something about Halloween that brings out the horror show of many inner lives like no other event. The only thing that saves us from seeing ghouls and goblins parading naked about the streets with their full-body tattoos and multiple genital piercings on display is the colder temperature, but there are clubs that specialize in that all about the city so you can see it if you wish.
It seems strange that a day for the contemplation of mortality has been turned into a carnival of corruption in this country, but perhaps not all that strange. I'd suggest that, as the country becomes more secular; as it ceases to believe in anything other than the here and now, the moment in the meat, it becomes increasingly terrified of the extinction of the self by death. It is one thing to profess a belief in the Great Nothingness, it is quite another to have to face it. The only weak weapon that can be raised up against it is its denial.
Ernest Becker's The Denial of Death touches on why this is so:
Becker argues that a basic duality in human life exists between the physical world of objects and a symbolic world of human meaning. Thus, since man has a dualistic nature consisting of a physical self and a symbolic self, man is able to transcend the dilemma of mortality through heroism, a concept involving his symbolic half. By embarking on what Becker refers to as an "immortality project" (or causa sui), in which he creates or becomes part of something which he feels will outlast him, man feels he has "become" heroic and, henceforth, part of something eternal; something that will never die, compared to his physical body that will die one day. This, in turn, gives man the feeling that his life has meaning; a purpose; significance in the grand scheme of things.
Of course, absent religion and the perception of the vertical in the universe, science and the deep belief in the Great Nothingness is a poor substitute. As Becker notes, without something larger than yourself, the "heroic project fails."
O dark dark dark. They all go into the dark,
The vacant interstellar spaces, the vacant into the vacant,
The captains, merchant bankers, eminent men of letters,
The generous patrons of art, the statesmen and the rulers,
Distinguished civil servants, chairmen of many committees,
Industrial lords and petty contractors, all go into the dark...
-- Eliot, Four Quartets
We aren't accustomed to failure in our ceaseless search to find a meaning in the Great Nothingness. But fail we do because the nature of the Great Nothingness that we so admire is exactly that, Nothing; death as a black hole with despair as the free-candy in your skin sack.
What the empty among us are compelled to do when confronted by death is a bit of mass-culture symbolic magic. We dress as what we fear most, and we deck our halls with symbols of death and decay. We pretend that shaking these shibboleths and feathered fetishes against the dark will protect us much as hiding under the covers kept us safe from the monster under the bed. It's a child's response to fear and it is not at all surprising that, as the worship of the Great Nothingness grows and festers among us, the ever escalating morbid gestures of Halloween do nothing to fill the Great Nothingness that roils the souls of many of our fellow citizens. It's a bit like the ceaseless urge to "keep ourselves in shape" that obsesses so many.
Alas, it will not avail us. You can drape yourself with the rubber raiments of Zombies all you want, the world will always, in time, eat your flesh down to dust. And without faith, that fate is the hard-core horror of existence as mere meat. Without faith, more and more of us find ourselves hitchhiking on the cold plains with no chance of being picked up. Without faith, the vehicles that pass us on the high road just aren't going our way.
[Republished from October 2008. New this year, the ante goes up with these hyper-realistic hacked up chunks of human meat. There really is no bottom. Is there?]
And this year comes word of "The fake “dismembered human” meat packages from a fake butcher called The Chop Shop were discount store Europris’ way of getting into the Halloween spirit." Norway Pulls Hands Why not? Halloween is "for the children!"
Yes it is very indulgent. I make no excuses for this one for the simple reason that what possible excuse could there be?
The Ruling Class cared enough about their [perverted] view of what America should be for at least the last 50 years, and spent that time organizing and successfully promoting their termitic attack on our foundations.
We the "Drooling Crass" were too dumb, fat, happy, and hardworking to understand and care enough to stop the betrayal.
Here are some bottom-ups suggestions for reversing the descent into tyranny; expect a 10-year effort, at least:
1. Find others in your community (Tea Party folk, patriots of any label) and organize to pressure all your state legislatures to permit recall votes of Federal Reps and Senators. Some states have these laws.
2. Demand, via your concerned group, regular meetings with your Federal Reps and Senators.
Kick their "buts" and "butts" as necessary.
3. Organize letter writing to your local newspaper editorial boards, demanding their support for public policy discussions with your Congress people, at local libraries or school auditoriums. Demand objective detailed coverage of those 'town hall' meetings by the newspapers in a timely fashion. Threaten boycott of the papers if your reasonable citizen demands are not met quickly and consistently -- indicate you will be contacting the papers' advertisers regarding your demands and boycott plans.
4. Get to your local school boards and examine the textbooks and curricula being purveyed. Do you agree with the lessons being promoted? Are they promoting or denigrating our founding principles? Get involved. Attend school board meetings and make your views, with printed handouts, known. Call your newspapers so that they have non-sycophantic, competent reporters present.
5. As above, ask for a personal meeting with your Rep/Senator to express your concern and outrage, and ask "What and when will you be doing to correct the situation." At the least, write a letter describing your concerns and asking for answers to your questions. When you get the replies, send a copy of the Q & A to your local newspapers for comment.
6. WTF are your local community college and state universities, and private universities' political science, journalism, and legal departments doing to help you in your efforts?
Yes, yes I know most schools are liberal [libertine] oriented, still assistance to your group may earn senior students thesis credits for assisting local citizen groups, or whatever satisfaction as citizens.
You are the friggin' taxpayers supporting the schools [especially if they don't have a football team funding the school]. Let the school president know you need the school's support for certain things and demand support, or else! You are still allowed to picket schools in this country. Do it or rue it!
How the hell do you think worthwhile things got done by the citizenry in days gone by, in days of mine and yore? I suspect truly concerned patriots got off their broad backsides and contested and protested in the streets, at newspaper offices, government offices, as well as by letter and boycott.
Cripes! When I was a lot younger I was activist enough to do much of the above, with beneficial effect, in getting some justice for a 7-year old kid 'crucified' for playing in school with a piece of paper torn into the shape of a gun, and helped in getting some justice for others brutalized by thuggish police. I was rewarded with a visit from the the U.S. Marshals department for a letter I'd written to the judge presiding over one of these police brutality cases; I'd dared to invoke the name of Robert Jackson, one of our judges at the Nuremberg Trials, and suggesting that he adhere to the testimony and evidence presented, as had Jackson.
'We are our problem,' as that Peanuts cartoonist said so long ago, or maybe it was Mark Twain.
Have you forgotten our national credo, "Take No Crap."
Teach your children well, lest they become as inactive and slouching, whining slaves as their parents. Present company excluded?]
Posted by: Howard Nelson at October 25, 2014 4:12 PM
Mr. Nelson: Letter-writing campaigns? School board meetings?
No disrespect to your personally, but you might as well address those letters to Bonnie Prince Charlie. You'll get results faster that way.
My friend, we are long past the point where letter-writing campaigns, voting, or any of those other Leave It To Beaver shenanigans will work. You can write all the letters you want, vote Republican all you want, and walk around with a Gadsden Flag in your hands all you want, and the next day abortion will still be legal, invaders will still be streaming across the border, and a man will still be able to pretend he is married to another man.
And no amount of voting, school-board elections, or letter-writing is going to change that.
"But what will change that?"
The answer: turning your back on the Founders, democracy, representative government, John Locke -- the whole Enlightenment narrative. The answer is Madrid, July 1936.
Not a good answer? Don't like it? Me, either. Reality isn't always pleasant -- but one either faces Reality or dies.
I know you mean well, and if I have offended you by these words I sincerely apologize. But Reality is as it is and we do ourselves no favor by pretending. That is why it's time we all took off the Mayberry-colored glasses and faced the reality of politics in America.
Posted by: B Lewis at October 25, 2014 6:12 PM
B. Lewis, no umbrage taken. I know your comments come from a raging heart and educated mind.
Well, insurrection, rebellion, and revolution sound good but won't get rolling before the armed rebels are all placed in detention centers [concentration camps]as dangerous kooks, like the madmen militia types that blew up that mid-west government building 10-15 years ago. Government surveillance would have those rebels picked up long before they were organized in sufficient numbers to pose an imminent threat to anything but a small town police force.
Our imagination and sense of history is failing us and disheartening us for the state by state, municipality by municipality effort that's possible and necessary.
The doomsday scenario of uncivil war:
half the citizenry that hates the government, half the citizenry that would vote for Obama a 3rd time, and at best a divided military -- a part loyal to the existing government and president and another part in rebellion. Be assured in such an event ALL electronic and electrical systems will be sabotaged, food distribution and water supplies disrupted, criminal street gangs rampant -- this would be the norm. I believe we are far from that kind of necessity and situation.
If you are correct, we should expect to see violent protests in the streets by 1000's of 'white' participants all over the country being opposed by 'blacks' and 'browns' who, tho being raped by Obama and the Democrats still support him in vast percentages.
No chance of that confrontation for a long, long time; things are still too good and durable in the USA today. With even Democrats, parts of the MSM, and talk show liberals distancing themselves from Obama, and Black-American support reportedly down from 95% to 85% it may be the downtrend in the culture is slowing if not yet turning upward.
Various states are already rejecting the 'core curriculum' put out by the Feds. How'd that happen without popular support? It didn't. The popular rejection happened WITH citizen support. Some citizens are not as lazy and uncaring as they are portrayed to be by the despairing.
The children of today will be the adults tomorrow. Will their schooling adulterate them or will WE ensure they are educated as critical thinkers instead of clueless pawns?
Had the 10-year effort started 10 years ago we'd be on the upturn by now. What will we say 10 years hence, "Oh, we should have started this at least 10 or 20 years ago"?
Vote early and often and recall any slimeball in office that deserves burial in a shit pit. That kind of message will quickly go viral and activate the non-dead.
Regarding Prince Charlie, he doesn't read English any more; he reads subservience to Islam. I might get a quicker response from him, but I prefer the 10-year response from effective Americans.
Posted by: Howard Nelson at October 25, 2014 7:12 PM
Meet Maddie, one of the best unrestored, original paint & interior examples known of the rare & iconic 1955 Belair Nomad wagon.
Out of nearly a million Chevy Belairs built in 1955, only about 8100 Nomads were ever produced; this example is in the most desirable regal turquoise with India ivory top. First year of Chevy's small block V8, the 265, it is mated to a 2-speed cast iron powerglide automatic transmission. All mechanical components are original to the car as it left the factory. All 55 Nomad bodies were produced at the Cleveland plant then assembled & finished at various plants around the country; this one in Oakland California. Born Aug. 15, 1955, it is one of the last 55 Nomads off the assembly line before production switched over to the 56 model in September of that year. In astonishingly clean condition, Maddie will turn 60 years old this coming year. She looks pretty damn good for an old girl. Enjoy!The seller had left me alone with the car to look it over.
I was sitting in the driver’s seat, just taking it in, and it was dead silent except for a faint ‘tick, tick, tick.’ I looked over and realized that not only was the original dash clock ticking, but the time was correct! I just about lost my mind, and decided at that moment I had to have that car.”Factory-Fresh 1955 Chevy Nomad Emerges From 40-Year Hibernation | Collectors Weekly
"Those are old men. Eric Clapton, playing the black Stratocaster, has his hair mussed just so as a sop to youth, but they're old farts. Old farts playing rock music are lame. Cream is not. Here's why: [ .... ] Cream is a part of a tradition of adult music. they listened to music from America's black musical tradition, where it is was plenty acceptable to be an adult, and to consider adult themes. When they were young, they were striving to be old. Now they are old, and need not strive. [ .... ] They sit in the chair in the excavator, their knobby hands move the levers just so, and they move the bucket with the delicacy of the teaspoon. They wake up tired, and yet they never fade while working, because they husband their energies where the young and strong and dumb flail away and drop out. They stand in the shade whenever possible, and rest when it is offered, but do not flag; and they smile at one another at the end of the day's work, exactly the same smile exchanged at the end of this song, a knowing smile among those who have earned the respect of a fellow adult man."
--- Sippican Cottage's Jack Bruce RIP
Click Here to Continue
...... But then again there is always the original...... something that was another order of being altogether.
Everyone who thinks his or her vote against the machine doesn't count or doesn't matter because no alternative is possible needs to watch this five minute argument against their moral vacuity. Pay attention because it will be on the final.
World Championship Rototiller Races in Emmerson, Arkansas.
The mind is brushed by sparrow wings;
Numbers, rebuffed by asphalt, crowd
The margins of the day, accent the curbs,
Convoying divers dawns on every corner
To druggist, barber and tobacconist,
Until the graduate opacities of evening
Take them away as suddenly to somewhere
Virginal perhaps, less fragmentary, cool.
There is the world dimensional for
those untwisted by the love of things
It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.
The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. - - Washington's Farewell Address
While I do not wish these young dead, I can do nothing to stop them, and it is not my problem. Are black children growing up illiterate? This gives me no pleasure, and I have various reasons both selfish and moral to wish it were not so. But perhaps the solution is for their parents, or parent, to see that they do their homework, or even to teach them. I cannot do this for them, and it isn’t my problem.Fred On Everything
Things that ought to be unbelievable, and once were, have become routine. Still, there it was: Don’t expect a junior-high teacher to have the level of literacy I had in the fourth grade. Instead, make it dangerous to notice her stupidity. Fred On Everything
Yo want a good amount of caramelization on them and they’ll cook hella fast. 2) Right when the chicken fried steaks come out of the hot oil, as per the recipe above, throw a slice of American cheese food on each so it melts. 3) Slice a brioche bun in half and toast that sum’bitch. Assemble your sandwich in this order. Botton bun, sausage thousand island, chicken fried steaks, grilled onions, tomato, lettuce, and a whole lot more sausage gravy thousand island. The goal is to make it look exactly like a double-double, but, like, way better because it’s chicken fried.- - Culinary Bro-Down
They organized boycotts aimed at liberal nitwits who would then join in and force normals to go along with whatever the gays were demanding. The harassment of Christian bakers is the most recent example of the petty and nasty habits of the “gay rights” crowd. Seeing the tables tuned on them and their fellow travelers in the anti-humanism wing of the Cult of Modern Liberalism is just too funny.The End Of The Homo-Verse at The Z Blog
can be so thick and bulbous that they look like patches of mushrooms sprouting out of the deer’s head or like thick growths of coral, surfaced from the sea. Sometimes the antlers will have errant branches that drip towards the ground like candlewax. Sometimes they’re just huge.... The largest of these, on wild deer, come in over 300 inches. The antlers that are being produced on deer farms grow much, much larger. In the past five years, farmers have produced non-typical antlers with scores of more than 500 — even more than 600 — inches.— re:form — Medium
Of course, American Jews have not noticed. Since they happily voted Jeremiah Wright’s protégé into the White House, they have a vested interest in blinding themselves to the obvious.Had Enough Therapy?: Who's Really Chickenshit?
They've all gone home for the day. Stop calling. If you go out behind the dumpster at the Justice Office Building, there's a small door. That's where you should go. That's where Comeuppance keeps his office. You're dealing with him now. He has friends all over. Even bus drivers.- - The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys
growing up in a $6.25 million Tribeca apartment; attending a selection of elite private schools; renting a home in Hollywood Hills well before having anything quite resembling a job and complaining that the home is insufficiently “chic”; the habitual education of the men in her family at Andover; the services of a string of foreign nannies; being referred to a homework therapist when she refused to do her homework and being referred to a relationship therapist when she fought with her mother; constant visits to homeopathic doctors, and visits to child psychologists three times a week; having a summer home on a lake in Connecticut, and complaining about it; writing a “voice of her generation” memoir in which ordinary life events among members of her generation, such as making student-loan payments or worrying about the rent or health insurance, never come up; making casual trips to Malibu; her grandparents’ having taken seven-week trips to Europe during her mother’s childhood; spending a summer at a camp at which the costs can total almost as much as the median American family’s annual rent; being histrionically miserable at said camp and demanding to be brought home early; demanding to be sent back to the same expensive camp the next year.Pathetic Privilege | National Review Online
That incident took place around 3:00 a.m. in Western Europe on Wednesday, when four Tu-95 long-range strategic nuclear bombers and four Il-78 tanker aircraft flew over the Norwegian Sea. Norwegian F-16 fighter jets scrambled to intercept them. Six of the planes returned to Russia, but two of the bombers skirted the Norwegian coast, flew past Britain — sending Typhoon fighter jets to scramble in response — and then finally looped west of Spain and Portugal, attracting Portuguese F-16s. Then the two bombers appeared to return to Russia, Janzen said.
And the replacement process must, in practise, be quick and dirty; crude and complete. If the process is strung out, powerful bureaucrats (and by definition these bureaucrats are powerful, or there would not be a problem) will entrench, will mobilize mass media opinion, will employ legal and procedural delays, will recruit the support of political parties (who will always welcome any powerful interest group).Bruce Charlton's Miscellany: Introducing The teacher-free college
Gen Shimizu tackled it on a mountain unicycle! With a mission to raise money for Polaris Project and bring awareness to the modern day slavery that is human trafficking, he spent 88 days on the trail and documented his journal entries each night on his blog.On his blog? Wowser, Gen!
Petrusich: Paramount is this incredible label that was born from a company called the Wisconsin Chair Company, which was making chairs, obviously. The company had started building phonograph cabinets to contain turntables, which they also were licensing. And they developed, like many furniture companies, an arm that was a record label so that they could make records to sell with the cabinets. This was before a time in which record stores existed. People bought their records at the furniture store, because they were things you needed to make your furniture work. So the Wisconsin Chair Company, based in the Grafton-Port Washington area of Wisconsin, started the Paramount label. And they accidentally ended up recording whom I believe to be some of the most incredible performers in American musical history.- - - Collectors Weekly
They should take a page from Michael Jackson’s book,** and take a look at the Man in the Mirror. That would really take place in an unprecedented climate of transparency. But this won’t happen. Instead, the hi-tech industry will be loaded down with the intestinal parasites of Rainbow-Push, Feminist Frequency and any other colony of loathesome loafing liver-flukes who feel the world owes them a living for things that transpired years and decades before they were ever born. This is how excellence in America dies....How the Worm Crawls Into the Apple | RedState
micro-lettuce leaves, shaved beetroot, and Parmesan tuiles, all floating or semi-submerged in a cucumber-basil Martini and served in a Martini glass. (Kanvinde made a modified version, with boneless chicken breast, for a guest from Arkansas who had a shellfish allergy.) That course was followed by three soups served in small teacups, and Kanvinde explained that a key to preparing one of them—a “lemon-scented pea soup with Alaskan crab-leg meat”—was to grate just the very outermost layer of the lemon peel for the zest that provided the first note in its aroma.Floating Feasts
Yet something about being at sea must weaken the inhibitions that normally prevent people from topping off a huge restaurant meal by sprawling on their bed and calling room service. A person who, on land, can walk past an auction of Thomas Kinkade prints without regret may be helplessly drawn to one in the Boleros Lounge, on Deck 5, across from Starbuck’s. Maybe oceans exert a powerful transformative force that affects you even when you can’t see or feel or smell the water, and makes you hungry.- - Floating Feasts
It isn’t.The feds—whatever the intention of individuals—are setting up the machinery of a totalitarianism beyond anything yet known on the earth. It falls rapidly into place. You can argue, if you are optimistic enough to make Pollyanna look like a Schopenhaurian gloom-monger, that they would never use such powers. They already do. The only question is how far they will push. What cannot be argued is that they have the powers.- - Fred On Everything
What they’re doing is showing us the moves to a sort of dance. Put your left foot here, put your right foot there, ObamaCare is working great, the Washington quote is spurious, the border is secure. It is the message itself, not the content of it or the support for it, that matters. It is the kind of warped thinking that arises, in a naturally consequential way, from valuing consensus as proof. The next step in the fallacious thinking is to try to shape reality by shaping the consensus.House of Eratosthenes
Is Romanticism a meme? Is the idea of evolution itself a meme, jumping unbidden from brain to brain? My suspicion is that the entire “theory” amounts to not much more than a misplaced metaphor.An Appetite for Wonder Review: The Closed Mind of Richard Dawkins
where police on Saturday night arrested 14 teenagers dressed as the pranksters, carrying pistols, knives and baseball bats. A police source said the teens were arrested in the parking lot of a secondary school in the port town of Agde, as several other complaints poured in over "armed clowns" in the region over the weekend. In the Mediterranean city of Montpellier a man disguised as a clown was arrested after beating up a pedestrian with an iron bar, while three motorists in different towns complained about "scary clowns" threatening them.
This figure includes Liberian residents that have a temporary status, and American of Liberian descent. The metropolitan areas with the largest Liberian immigrant populations are New York and Washington, D.C.; other cities with significant numbers of Liberians include Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Houston and Fort Worth (Texas), Hartford (Connecticut), Los Angeles and Oakland (California), Miami, Minneapolis and Philadelphia. So, as states such as Rhode Island and New Jersey.- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
If you didn’t, people would assume you were a fool who knew nothing about modern science. So what makes the Ebola outbreak different? The difference is simple. Quarantining means that light-skinned people will be detaining dark-skinned people. So we just can’t do it. Because? Because.The White Man’s Burden - The Unz Review
Spare a thought for the stay-at-home voter
His empty eyes gaze at strange beauty shows
And a parade of the gray suited grafters
A choice of cancer or polio
-- Rolling Stones
leaving the bricks pockmarked and brittle. It was easy to avoid the most damaged masonry, but sometimes even solid-looking stonework was unreliable. As he neared the roofline forty feet up, the pressure from his foot disintegrated a brick almost instantly. He fumbled for a moment — a fall at this height would be deadly. Brick shards plummeted to the cobblestones below and echoed in the alley. But Pipino had been scaling the sides of Venice’s palazzos for more than three decades. He’d hung from rusted rainspouts and rotted wooden shutters. By now, he was accustomed to the risk. He took a breath, regained his balance, looked up, and started climbing again.— EPIC MAGAZINE — Medium
schooled in Islam in his youth, tutored in his teen years by a revolutionary Marxist and convicted pedophile, an adoring student of a black supremacy cult in adulthood, whose political career was kick started by a violent extremist with Final Solution ambitions for tens of millions of us, and whose administration features suspiciously large numbers of covert jihadists, race warriors and other deranged extremists. These enterovirus D68 outbreaks aren't accidental, they're the equivalent of a broad front biological attack, coordinated and carried out by agencies in DC best equipped to predict the results of what they've done. DC is taking multiculturalism to insane, homicidal levels. If there's an explanation that better fits the facts than intentional ethnic attrition, it hasn't appeared yet.ol remus and the woodpile report
He had holes bored through both his hands and feet, and, when seated in a specially constructed chair, copper tubes were fed through the wounds. Water flowed through them at a high pressure, making Mortado a “human fountain”. When he was not performing, he plugged his wounds with corks to keep them from healing. He occasionally also performed in biblical Crucifixion reenactments, placing small “blood bags” in his wounds for realism, which his assistant would puncture when he nailed him. He is pictured here at Coney Island’s Dreamland Circus in 1930.
I think I have just seen a new low in the thinking of my fellow conservatives.
The people who refuse to vote are going to give this election to the liberals for no other reason than their refusal to vote in a "corrupt system" (most likely), thereby corrupting the system they are against. I use to think people who said they wouldn't vote if there wasn't a perfect conservative candidate running for office were grandstanding. Now I know that they really aren't voting, and thereby allowing the liberals to take over their vote by default. In my book, if you don't vote for or against a candidate, you allowed another person to vote in your stead. It makes me sick to think that zero won because those who apposed him decided that their best course of action was to sit out the vote for no other reason that they were throwing a hissy fit over their choice of candidates.Mike comment at [Bumped] Bill Whittle -- Make Him Own It: Why You Must Vote in the Midterms
are worth more than a link in my latest column. These are the remarks of a humanitarian political leader, the like of which the world has not seen in my lifetime. Compare Putin to the corrupt war criminal in the White House or to his puppets in office in Germany, UK, France, Japan, Canada, Australia, and you will see the difference between a criminal clique and a leader striving for a humane and livable world in which the interests of all peoples are respected.-- Paul Roberts- The Unz Review
Yes. Though I am a son of the Southland, I will not lie. The truth is the truth. I bow my head in shame. And I am further forced to own that, while the black population of the North prospers, and mingles easily with its white brethren in casual but sincere amity, in the South the Negro huddles in the slums, denied schooling, and living on the meager charity of whites. Should you doubt this, look to Newark, Trenton, Camden, Detroit, Chicago, Flint, Gary. The flowering of blacks in the North a century and a half after the end of the Civil War, the rise in scholarly achievement, the frequent and accepted intermarriage of the races—here we have irrefutable proof of the superior moral culture of the North.Fred Reed: A Southerner Repents
but they are nevertheless what Chesterton calls "psychological Christians" even when they aren't "theological ones." They are the form without the content, the intelligence without the wisdom, and especially the sentiment without the substance. I mean, consider our children's Soup Nazi, Michelle Obama. ( I just knew that if I googled it, it would be there waiting for me --> )One Cʘsmos:
This is where Garibaldi is moving the traditional grill master role into unchartered territory. They start at 30 days, then increase to 45 and 60. You can taste the collagen breaking down a little bit more with each cut, resulting in more nuanced flavors. Each is muskier and funkier than the last. He finishes some by holding them directly over the flames. Others he sits right in the charcoal and covers in ash. He moves on to a steak aged 120 days, and then, for the grand finale, a 160-day-old piece of Wagyu. Over the course of nearly six months of aging, natural enzymes in the protein break down and the carbohydrates are converted into sugar, so the flavors are richer and more concentrated. The sizzling beef smells like buttered popcorn. Every bite tastes of pure umami.| Roads & Kingdoms