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Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

The view from above

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer’s art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam’s curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood—
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

From East Coker

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The Hand in the Pocket

Washington, D.C., circa 1911. “National Photo Co. postcard shipment.” A very young-looking Herbert French on the left with his associate “Artie” Leonard at their H Street studio. 8×10 glass negative.

Daily life, as recorded on 8×10 glass negatives fromShorpy Historical Photo Archive :: The Young Entrepreneurs: 1911, is often seen in more detail than our faux-vintage Instagram age.

How Many Digital Photos Will Be Taken in 2017 ?   It’s predicted there will be 7.5 billion people in the world in 2017, and about 5 billion of them will have a mobile phone. Let’s say roughly 80% of those phones have a built-in camera: around 4 billion people. And let’s say they take 10 photos per day – that’s 3,650 photos per year, per person. That adds up to more than 14 trillion photos annually (14,600,000,000,000).

One of the persistent pleasures in very old photographs is that they hold a lot of detail if you but care to look; details that tell you the things behind these images lived. I went into this — in some detail — myself in The Summer of Our Content. I notice it again here in one telling detail from the photo cited above from Shorpy. Only this time it is a detail in the hands of the men pictured. With the man on the left, his left hand casually grasps a claw hammer as he strikes the casual pose of a man taking a brief portrait break. [click to continue…]

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Love must see all things that are
But not with any eye.
Dreams must rise from darkling waters,
Yet still gloss clear and dry.

The heart must mimic life lived large
In its sentences and fate;
Accepting time without an end,
And enter at the gateless gate.

The body, all it’s time undone,
Must yield itself to air.
The soul, a dream no longer dreamed,
Must freeze upon the spiral stairs,

That lead up to that heart of light
Which circles in that storm;
Where One eye sees all things that are,
Where that which is, is born.


for Tom Mandel [click to continue…]

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Notre Dame: An Omen –Dennis Prager I don’t know if a worker accident or a radical Muslim set fire to Notre Dame Cathedral (as they have scores of other churches around Europe). In terms of what the fire represented, it doesn’t much matter. What matters is the omen: Europe is burning, just as Notre Dame was.

Not so very long ago, Paris was widely considered the heart of Western civilization and culture. And at its heart was the Cathedral of Notre Dame. In recent decades, as the number of Muslims in greater Paris has risen into the millions, and the city has gained notoriety for its no-go zones and car burnings, that sometime capital of Western civilization has instead become, for many, a symbol of Western civilization’s decline. So it is that when one hears talk of  the construction of new Notre Dame that will be “more modern” or “more beautiful” than the original, it’s only natural –“ especially given that the cathedral, like all such structures in France, belongs not to the Catholic Church but to the French state –“  to picture a building that, in the eyes of national and municipal officials, their interfaith advisors, and whatever cockamamie commission of postmodernism-loving architectural experts they end up putting together, ends up being some multipurpose multicultural monstrosity centered on a non-denominational worship area and/or containing different spaces for different faiths, with plenty of prayer rugs, wudu units, etc., for Muslims. — Holy Smoke 

Comey: ‘We Did Not Spy—We Just Observed And Reported Secretly Without The Subject’s Knowledge Or Consent’

Erasing the Banned   The creators of The Simpsons recently pulled the episode featuring Michael Jackson and all of Bill Cosby’s television offerings have been removed from syndication, as have reruns of Roseanne and 7th Heaven. When the digital sub-network Bounce returned Cosby’s show to their rotation they were inundated with criticism. œGood to know where your corporation stands on rapists I guess,  wrote one viewer. So it’s no longer enough to ignore the offerings of those you deem unacceptable, you must deny their creative talents to others. And you must deny those residual checks to innocent colleagues who had the unfortunate luck to be associated with them.

How to increase your chances of finding a hidden camera

Civilization Wins in ‘The Highwaymen’ “It’s never easy, and it’s never pretty. And there’s always blood at the end of the road—you know that. Weakness right now is just going to get more good men killed.”

Everything nowadays is run by committees – and committees are intrinsically left wing and atheist; because personal responsibility is eliminated, hence there is ‘no morality’ in committee decisions – which is another way of saying that they are always and intrinsically immoral; which is another way of stating the plain fact that Committees Are Evil.

Students at the University of California, Davis protested a photo of a heroic slain woman police officer holding a Thin Blue Line flag as “anti-black” and “disrespectful.” For some, nothing is sacred, and to those lusting after another opportunity to be offended, everything is a provocation. Leftist protestors pepper-sprayed a group of high school kids meeting about free markets and the Constitution. Though many were hospitalized, the media ignored the event.

WALSH: The LGBT Lobby Has Been Trying To Exact Revenge On A Chicken Restaurant For Seven Years. This Is Not Normal. [click to continue…]

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“All rise and then leave in silence.”


The principal Tenebrae ceremony is the gradual extinguishing of candles upon a stand in the sanctuary called a hearse….

Six altar candles are put out during the Benedictus, gradually reducing also the lighting in the church throughout the chanting of the canticle. Then any remaining lights in the church are extinguished and the last candle on the hearse is hidden behind the altar, ending the service in total darkness. The strepitus (Latin for “great noise”), made by slamming a book shut, banging a hymnal or breviary against the pew, or stomping on the floor, symbolizes the earthquake that followed Christ’s death, although it may have originated as a simple signal to depart. After the candle has been shown to the people, it is extinguished, and then put “on the credence table,” or simply taken to the sacristy. All rise and then leave in silence. — Tenebrae

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Boomer Lullabyes: In the Days Before Rock and Roll

Justin, gentler than a man
I am down on my knees
At the wireless knobs
I am down on my knees
At those wireless knobs
Telefunken, Telefunken
And I’m searching for
Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Athlone, Budapest, AFN
Hilversum, Helvetia
In the days before rock ‘n’ roll

In the days before rock ‘n’ roll
In the days before rock ‘n’ roll
When we let, then we bet
On Lester Piggott when we met
We let the goldfish go
In the days before rock ‘n’ roll

Fats
Fats did not come in
Without those wireless knobs
Fats did not come in
Without those wireless knobs
Elvis did not come in
Without those wireless knobs
Nor Fats, nor Elvis
Nor Sonny, nor Lightning
Nor Muddy, nor John Lee [click to continue…]

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“If we believed in omens….”Notre Dame fire: Smoke billows out of historic cathedral in Paris

Who Burned Down Notre Dame? 
Some people did something.
According to the French police, 875 of France’s 42,258 churches were vandalized in 2018. And who is being blamed? “Militant Secularism.” The Morning Rant:

“If we believed in omens….”

UPDATE: Twelve French Churches Attacked, Vandalized in One Week

The recent spate of church profanations has puzzled both police and ecclesiastical leaders, who have mostly remained silent as the violations have spread up and down France.

Last Sunday, marauders set fire to the church of Saint-Sulpice” one of Paris’ largest and most important churches” shortly after the twelve-o’clock Mass.

Police have concluded that the fire was the result of arson and are now looking for possible suspects. The restoration of the church from the damage caused by the fire will reportedly cost several hundred million euros.

In Nimes (department of the Gard), near the border with Spain, the church of Notre-Dame des Enfants was desecrated in a particularly odious way, with vandals painting a cross with human excrement, looting the main altar and the tabernacle, and stealing the consecrated hosts, which were discovered later among piles of garbage.

Likewise, the church of Notre-Dame in Dijon, in the east of the country, suffered the sacking of the high altar and the hosts were also taken from the tabernacle, scattered on the ground, and trampled.

In Lavaur, in the southern department of the Tarn, the village church was assaulted by young men, who twisted one arm of a representation of the crucified Christ to make it appear that he was making an obscene gesture.

In the peripheries of Paris, in the department of Yvelines, several churches have suffered profanations of varying importance, in Maisons-Laffitte and in Houilles.

Although commentators have been reluctant to attach a particular religious or cultural origin to the profanations, they all share an evident anti-Christian character.

In recent months, anti-Semitic gangs have desecrated Jewish cemeteries, signing their actions with swastikas. In the case of the desecration of Catholic churches, the vandalism has spoken for itself: ridicule of the figure of Christ on the cross and desecration of major altars.

The Catholic hierarchy has kept silent about the episodes, limited themselves to highlighting that anti-Christian threat and expressing hope that politicians and police will get to the bottom of the crimes.

Reports indicate that 80 percent of the desecration of places of worship in France concerns Christian churches and in the year 2018 this meant the profanation of an average of two Christian churches per day in France, even though these actions rarely make the headlines.

In 2018, the Ministry of the Interior recorded 541 anti-Semitic acts, 100 anti-Muslim acts, and 1063 anti-Christian acts.

UPDATE FROM THE RECENT PAST: TWO YEARS AGO IN 2016:  Cell of French women guided by Isis behind failed Notre Dame attack   The Guardian

The group’s first attempted attack involved parking a Peugeot 607 car packed with gas cylinders near the cathedral in the heart of Paris and trying to blow it up. The car was also found to have contained diesel canisters and a barely-smoked cigarette had been thrown into the car near a canister with traces of hydrocarbons. Molins said the perpetrators had clearly tried to blow the car up and if they had succeeded it would have led to the explosion of the whole vehicle.

UPDATE ON OMENS: No Words: In Paris, as Notre Dame burned | City Journal

Everyone murmured what you’d expect them to murmur. “It’s not just our cathedral, it’s the world’s.” “It’s our heritage.” “Eight hundred years.” “It’s a friend.” “It’s unspeakable.” “There are no words for it.”

There are no words for it. I said to my father that the cathedral is always the metaphor; we compare things to cathedrals; what do you say when the cathedral itself burns before your eyes?

“It’s a bad omen.”

French Churches Vandalized in 2018:

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“A man’s got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job.” — John Wayne

Once upon a time, there was “The Code of the West.” [Original here] That was long ago, far away and in another country. Now there is only, “The Code of the Left.” I’ve compared the two here. The Code of the West is in plain text. The Code of the Left is in italics because, well, it is just so damned important!

It’s time for our biannual check in on how these two dueling codes are faring in America. When last we looked the Progressive Banditos were riding roughshod over the people. Now, the Banditos seem to be in retreat and at our feet pleading for “Socialism Done Right”. But since the leftist Banditio is always either at your feet or at your throat it can’t last. What’s next? We’re open for updates, additions, and deletions.

*WEST CODE: Don’t inquire into a person’s past. Take the measure of a man for what he is today.

* LEFT CODE: There are no “people,” only “social policies.” Don’t inquire into a social policy’s past or that policy’s likely consequences for the future. Take the measure of a policy by how closely it maps to the Socialist Utopia that has already killed and crippled hundreds of millions of people. Dream big nightmares.

* Never steal another man’s horse. A horse thief pays with his life.

* Always look to steal another man’s money with a “tax.” Always ask your fellow citizen to reach for his wallet. All tax thieves are rewarded with a fat government pension and fatter health plan.

* Defend yourself whenever necessary.

* Do not defend yourself or the country under any circumstances. Killers are just grown-up kids who were abused. Terrorists are just people who haven’t had their issues listened to with compassion. Make sure nobody else can defend themselves. Use only diplomacy to defend your country. Armies are raised only to place sandbags around towns about to be flooded for the fifth time. When that happens use government money to enable the fools who built them to rebuild them.

* Look out for your own.

* Look out, first, last and always, for any other people numerous enough to declare themselves an oppressed group (The minimum number is 3) – except if the group is an actual family, in which case seek to disband it by any means necessary.

* Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.

* Ban guns. Anytime, anywhere. The Second Amendment is a misprint. Erase it in the original. Burn all copies.

* Never order anything weaker than whiskey.

* Never order anything stronger than a decaf double latte made with soy milk. Yes, that drink will shrink your testicles and/or ovaries to the size of peas, but you weren’t using them anyway. Make it a double. [click to continue…]

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American life today is troubled by three great questions: What is love? What is truth? And who is Jesus Christ? The secular world has answers to each of those great questions. And they’re false.

Today, for secular culture, love boils down to emotional and sexual compatibility; a special kind of friendship between two sovereign and equal partners. It can be very beautiful. But in the end, so the argument goes, it’s the result of our genetic programming. We fall in love because our biochemistries blend well. We care for our children because our instincts tell us to.

In like manner, truth is a matter of individual experience and preference, differing from individual to individual, and grounded in the self — not some over-arching reality. What really matters are facts, the kind of hard, measurable data we can see and taste. The only real “truths” we can know about life – again, so the argument goes — are things that material facts tell us. Colors like blue and red don’t really exist, for example; they’re simply our perception of certain variations in the material refraction of light. The “meaning” of events is not inherent in the events themselves or grounded in some higher order, but imagined and imposed by us.

And as for Jesus Christ: Well, Jesus was a good and holy man, one in a long line of great ethical teachers. And he’s important in the sense that most Americans still describe themselves as in some way “Christian.” But the “Son of God” and “Savior of the World” — that kind of supernaturalist thinking about a First Century minor Jewish prophet is pre-scientific and amounts to superstition.

The key thing about all these secular answers is this: They’re not only false, but dangerous. They reduce our human spirit to our appetites. They lower the human imagination and the search for meaning to what we can consume. And because the human heart hungers for a meaning that secular culture can’t provide, we anesthetize that hunger with noise and drugs and sex and distractions. But the hunger always comes back.

The most deeply human questions we can ask – and many of you are asking them right now — are things like, why am I here, what does my life mean, why do the people I love grow old and die, and will I ever see them again? The secular world has no satisfying answer to any of these questions. Nor does it even want us to ask such questions because of its self-imposed blindness; it cannot tolerate a higher order than itself — to do so would obligate it to behave in ways it does not want to behave. And so it hates, as Cain did, those who seek to live otherwise.

The Word of God tells us several key things. First, love is more than a feeling or instinct. It’s an act of the will. And it always has a cost in some form of suffering for the sake of others. It involves the free gift of ourselves to another person even at the risk of being hurt. This is why marriage is a covenant and not simply a contract. Contracts always have an escape clause. Love freely refuses an escape clause. Marriage is not a negotiated settlement between two sovereign parties, but two persons irreversibly submitting themselves to each other and becoming one flesh. And what results? New life in children. But in fact, all love, married or celibate, results in new life in one form or another. Just as Christ’s death on the cross watered the earth with his blood to redeem and renew the world, so every act of selfless love bears fruit in new life.

from  Archbishop Chaput’s Address at Vocations Jamboree  
Via Archbishop Chaput on Vocations @ Maggie’s Farm

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Eye See You


Members of the media are seen reflected in the eye of President Donald Trump

Sanctuary cities and Trump the Alinskyite What Trump is doing here is what he’s done many times before, following Alinsky’s Rule #4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.” Actually, he’s following #5 and #6 as well, to a certain extent: “”Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon” and “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.” He might need to worry about #7 at some point, “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag,” but that point has not yet been reached, and Trump is usually rather good at switching things up anyway.

Trump is an Alinskyite, a term describing his tactics rather than anything about his political orientation. Whether Trump’s a natural at it or whether he’s purposely studied it I don’t know, but I think his use of Alinskyite methods is something that ties the left in knots, because although they are also practitioners of the Alinsky art, they have long considered that they own it and are rather unused to anyone on the right using it against them. It miffs them.

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Lucid Dreaming

Empty is only the warp of our tapestry,
Part of God's pattern, is only the interval,
Only the silence that shapes His pale music
Remembered, recorded, when drifting from dreams
In that sleep-darkened tent where our souls
Slake their thirst for the new, for the novel,
And the stone still rolls down the million-year cliff
From the beginning of dreams, the red heat of the plains,
The quest for safe shelter, the consuming of carrion....

Yet if dreams hold an answer, as flowers hold fog,
They must answer with breath, and, if they answer,
Must dance among stars, and have their own songs
Of the body and blood, and must sing them.

[click to continue…]

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True but Forbidden 17: Oneliners

”Our comforting conviction that the world makes sense rests on a secure foundation: our almost unlimited ability to ignore our ignorance.” – -Daniel Kahneman

File items below under “Stories that make you go… wtf!?”

Dolphin Clitorises Like Human Clitorises, But Better Placed |

Saddest headline of the month. (So Far.) Elizabeth Warren is the intellectual powerhouse of the Democratic party

REVENGE IS a meal lions eat alive: Rhino poacher stomped by elephant and eaten by lions in South African park

Go west and stop in the middle:  One-sixth of the U.S. population lives in this megalopolis

Zitman: Now THAT’S a caveman! Neanderthal who fell down sinkhole 150,000 years ago starved to death and FUSED with its walls

The Incredible Teamwork Behind the First Ever Image of a Black Hole [click to continue…]

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Small Towns: 2 Comments from the Chateau

Postcards From Bygone America

RAY: I was born in the late fifties into the same small Kansas town where my mother and father grew up.

My grandparents all lived in that same town. Everyone was basically German, with a smattering of other northern European ethnicities thrown into the mix. The Main Street had everything anyone could possibly need to buy, from groceries to hardware. There were several Protestant churches that were always packed on Sundays, and one Catholic church on the edge of town, as well. There was no crime to speak of… we had one policeman, who spent most of his time bringing groceries to shut-ins. (He was a friend of my father’s, and my dad would joke about it.) We kids (and there were tons of us!) were outside from sun up to sun down, playing and fishing and riding bikes and building things. Every family had a garden out back, and sometimes a small orchard, and some folks raised a steer for winter beef, or kept chickens. That was in town! Every holiday was an opportunity for everyone in the family to get together and have some fun and good food. It was a warm, safe, sunny, idyllic way to grow up.

That all began to change in the seventies. People became much more materialistic, thanks in part to Mom taking a job outside the home and having all that extra cash. The new color television encouraged people to buy buy buy. Parents began divorcing and all my friends’ families disintegrated. People began staying inside from sun up to sun down. Where were all the kids? Inside, playing those new video games! The gardens went to weeds.The first black family moved into town. Hey, where’s my bike?

After college, I moved to another state for a job. When I returned home for a funeral last summer, I didn’t recognize the place. It was like that scene from “It’s a Wonderful Life,” when George Bailey gets to see what his small town was like without him in it. The streets had all been widened, there were cars everywhere, and the town had become mile after mile of shopping and fast food joints. Main Street was dead and boarded up. There was a new GIGANTIC shopping Mall, though. It had been built on top of the land where my grandparents’ farm had been.

I sat at a table outside of one of the Mall’s restaurants, sipping a coffee and watching the people as they came and went. Most were fat, poorly dressed, and had a generally unhealthy appearance. They all looked so sad and stressed.

I thought of that YouTube video “Never Forget,” showing archival footage of daily life in a small town in South Dakota in 1938. A town filled with happy, healthy, well-dressed people. My home town used to be that way, too.

But now it is gone. The modern way of life is a curse, for sure.


DETER NATURALIST: We grew up in the same town, or nearby.

Your reference to Pottersville (It’s a Wonderful Life without George Bailey) is razor-sharp. My “home town” grew 800% since the mid-1960s and now looks like it’s the back-lot where every single TV commercial is now filmed. In my old neighborhood literally every eighth 1950’s vintage house has been torn down, replaced by a “mansion” whose walls extend to the utility easements.

I remember climbing a fire escape on a downtown building with Jr. HS classmates and watching a parade from the roof. Imagine trying that now.

I remember buying rocket engines and cannon fuse with cash at the downtown hobby store (rode there on my bike) at 11 or 12 years of age. Imagine trying that now. We launched rockets at an open field near a grade school and a college. No one bothered us. When I tried to launch rockets at a county-owned field with my kids 15 years ago we got hounded by a deputy sheriff.

When I was a kid my home town had TWO stoplights. When I moved out 30 years ago it took literally 45 minutes of stop-and-go to drive from a house on the south edge of town to the north edge of town on a Saturday morning. How many “new Americans” have joined us since then?

An ice age cometh.

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Logging may be part of Paradise, Magalia fire cleanup

The Fire Safe Council conducted a survey based on a number of datum points throughout Paradise and Magalia, and determined 81 percent of the large conifers — 12 inches or more in diameter at breast height — were killed by the fire. That amounts to 443,000 dead trees, and that’s just the larger hazard trees, within 300 feet of residences.

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The beauty parlor is filled with sailors.
The circus is in town.

Bob Dylan | Desolation Row

The frozen rain that would not stop drove me out of Seattle. I took shelter at a friend’s house deep in the Florida Keys. No rain. No chill. Turquoise waters. Long bridges and longer sunsets. A half an hour north from Key West. Fish sandwiches, large flocks of snowy egrets, Tiki bars specializing in Rumrunners with a dark rum float. Hammocks and sunshine. Powerboats and new yachts and boat drinks and running up on plane past Little Palm Island and out into the Gulf Stream with twin Cats putting out a perfect wake.

In a word, “Paradise.” Right?

Yes. If you don’t track in for the close-up.

Because, as much as the boosters of Florida want you to believe it, Florida is no longer “ready for its close-up.” Florida is still pretty from the air and also in the middle-distance. But a close-up examination of Florida, in the Keys or elsewhere, is like a close-up of a once beautiful woman that time is beginning to dissolve into age lines, lank hair, and too many calories in too many visible places.

Like that fabled great beauty, Florida is going to great lengths to keep anybody from noticing. The brochures have increasing amounts of make-up slathered on in the form of retouching. The flab is being trussed up in Spandex or draped with new clothes cleverly cut for the “ample.” Most of all, the fact that large sections of the Keys and the Florida coastline are really quite dead is being hushed up at every opportunity, and new shades of rouge are being applied to the corpse to keep the money rolling in. [click to continue…]

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One way or another this sh*t has got to stop:

“If I could express all of our country’s problems into one word, I’d say that word is sh*t. We’ve got sh*tty schools filling students’ heads full of progressive sh*t, and when the sh*theads graduate, they start voting for sh*tbird politicians who implement sh*t policies that turn their cities and states into sh*tty sh*tholes. And then, after a few years, when their sh*thole cities get so completely filled with sh*t that it flows through the streets, the sh*theads say, ‘hey, I can’t live here any more, it’s a sh*thole.’ So then the sh*theads move to some other part of the country that’s not a sh*thole, but then, because they’re sh*theads, and not well-versed on the whole cause-and-effect thing, they vote for the same sh*tbirds who implement the same sh*t policies that have turned the places they came from into sh*tholes and their new homes gradually turn into sh*tholes that look just like the old sh*tholes, and they never seem to figure out why. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why our country is turning into sh*t.”  — The Morning Rant

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Shamelessly stolen from Darci Lynne does opera by The New Neo who notes, I ordinarily have no particular fondness for ventriloquists, but this kid’s got mad skills. She’s right and the kid’s barely 15 years old and only started ventriloquism at age 10. Whew! That’s a lot of time in her room.

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6 Bizarre Stories From People Who Boarded a UFO

The Bad Poetry and Ravings of Psychedelic Warlord BETO O’Rourke @ L’Ombre de l’Olivier

To The Book Community: Go Fuck Yourself. An Anti-Apology. You people aren’t a “community”. You are a fucking cancer. Fuck you. Fuck your feelings. And fuck your ridiculous claims. Fuck your perpetual offense. Take your smug, entitled ignorance, and cram it up your ass sideways, you worthless sacks of crap. You goose stepping morons should try reading books instead of burning them.

HMB while I try this slingshot from r/holdmybeer

Father Allegedly Staged Home Invasion to Cover Up Stealing Daughter’s Girl Scouts Cookie Sales [click to continue…]

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Colorized Colorado 120 Years Ago

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Actor Felicity Huffman leaves the federal courthouse after facing charges in a nationwide college admissions cheating scheme in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S., April 3, 2019.

I don’t really remember taking the SATs back in 1962. And I certainly have no idea of my scores. Still, they must have been okay since I got into the University of California and wound up on the Berkeley campus. But if they hadn’t been okay I sure can’t see my father reaching for his highly-limited checkbook and saying, “OK then, what’s the number that will get my kid into that school past all those Asians and other more worthy still people of color.” Instead, I can see him sitting me down at the kitchen table, as he often did, for a full and frank discussion of my failure to attain at least a “B” in everything including woodshop. To paraphrase Dirty Harry, “A man’s gotta know his kids’ limitations.” This fascinating article, written from first-hand knowledge of how demented the parents of kids are, tells the tale of those who just buy kid add-ons until they get the bragging rights they so deeply desire.


They Had It Coming
The parents indicted in the college-admissions scandal were responding to a changing America, with rage at being robbed of what they believed was rightfully theirs. BY CAITLIN FLANAGAN

At every parent coffee, silent auction, dinner party, Clippers game, book club, and wine tasting, someone is bitching about admissions. And some of these parents, it turns out, haven’t just been bitching; some of them decided to go MAGA.

And so it was that at 5:59 on the morning of March 12 in the sacramentally beautiful section of the Hollywood Hills called Outpost Estates, all was quiet, save for the sounds of the natural world. In the mid-century modern house of a beloved actress—a champion of progressive values, as is her husband—and two lovely daughters, everyone slept. But at the strike of 6:00, there was the kind of unholy pounding at the door that must have sounded more like an earthquake than a visitor: FBI agents, guns drawn, there to apprehend … Felicity Huffman? Felicity “Congress is attempting to eviscerate women’s health care. Like many women across America, I am outraged” Huffman? For the crime of … paying to get her daughter an extra 400 points on the SAT?

Down, down, down she went in the FBI car, in her handcuffs and athleisure, down below Outpost, down below Lake Hollywood, down below the Dolby Theatre where she had been so many times—in a beautiful gown, with her famous husband, William H. Macy, beside her—to watch the Academy Awards, once as a nominee. All the way down to—my God!—the downest place of all: Spring Street. The federal courthouse! This was where Donald Trump was supposed to go, not Felicity Huffman. …

Let’s back up.

Thirty years ago, having tapped out of a Ph.D. program, I moved to Los Angeles (long story) and got hired at the top boys’ school in the city, which would soon become co-educational. For the first four years, I taught English. Best job I’ve ever had. For the next three, I was a college counselor. Worst job I’ve ever had.

Before each meeting, I prepared a list of good colleges that the kid had a strong chance of getting into, but these parents didn’t want colleges their kids had a strong chance of getting into; they wanted colleges their kids didn’t have a chance in hell of getting into. A successful first meeting often consisted of walking them back from the crack pipe of Harvard to the Adderall crash of Middlebury and then scheduling a follow-up meeting to douse them with the bong water of Denison….

I just about got an ulcer sitting in that office listening to rich people complaining bitterly about an “unfair” or a “rigged” system. Sometimes they would say things so outlandish that I would just stare at them, trying to beam into their mind the question, Can you hear yourself? That so many of them were (literal) limousine liberals lent the meetings an element of radical chic. They were down for the revolution, but there was no way their kid was going to settle for Lehigh.

RTWT @ What the College-Admissions Scandal Reveals – The Atlantic

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The Smell of Space


“Deep space is not for the faint of heart, and neither is this bold, new fragrance for the people of Earth. Humans have always dreamt of exploring our universe and today we make part of that dream a reality. Created by the engineers at Lockheed Martin, this out-of-this-world scent blends metallic notes to create a clean scent with a sterile feel, balanced by subtle, fiery undertones that burn off like vapor in the atmosphere.”

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In the Cascades

Above the trail to the summit
Clouds muzzle the mountains —
Palms of sky water, fingers of rain,
Smoke in dreams — and steps accumulate,
Placing first one foot, then the other,
Pacing out the long-gone rip-rap of the years.

Below the snow ghosts bloom beneath
Drifts of leaf-shimmer and billowed veils
Of a wind whose whispers echo back
Across the stone distances singing
To the tempo of your gasping breath:
“Once only, once only, once only, only once.”

You rest above the stream’s ravine,
Flanked by sentinels of stone, of fir,
Of trees so tall their tops dissolve
Into the breath of the mountains
Where ebony glints of Ravens’ wings
Fade to green on darker green.

Below it’s all been settled long ago.
Only on foot, stone step by stone step,
Can you climb up, climb beyond,
Climb Out of time — except for what
You carry on your back; that gossamer
Thread spooling you back to the Maze.

At the Crest, looking back, looking deep down below,
Mountainsides of mule deer graze beneath burnt pylons
Where a survey crew maps out their sad stunted river
For a grid made of maybes, of glassine and coiled copper,
To power their Matrix that melts into shadow and fades.

Above, the mountains’ stone shoulders shatter the rain.

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Like you I have never heard of this Korean Girl Group, this “BlackPink” in all long and winding years of my dotage. But these numbers got my attention. It speaks to the deeply interwoven global reach of YouTube’s “cultural” offerings.

Now this song, the risibly named “Kill My Love”, will be pretty much forgotten forever by most within two years, but that really doesn’t matter. 99 and 44 100ths of all pop cult items are in the dustbin of history within two years. ( Remember Korean Rapper ( PSY’s – GANGNAM STYLE(강남스타일)   ?  Of course you don’t but it’s clocked more than three and a third billion views since July 2012.)

What is interesting is the velocity with which these offerings can take off simultanelously across the globe if the right number of GloboDiverso boxes are checked by the producers of pop cult. This ones got it all and is a candidate for my expanding my category of “The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough” to include the Korean peninsula.

BLACKPINK – ‘Kill This Love’ M/V 86,358,338 views [Which probably earns BlackPink around $300,000 from YouTube.So far.]
Premiered Apr 4, 2019
877,288 Comments (And YouTube autodeleted about 100,000 comments suspected of being bots.)

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Cat Wisdom Sought

Okay… my cat has recently lost her mind. Olive (aka “Owlie” and “Knucklehead” )has become convinced that a very small trickle of water from the bathroom sink’s tap is actually some sort of silver water trickle snake that needs to be killed with paw swipes. She will swipe and swipe to kill this thing and go so far as to stick her head under the trickle and paw at the runoff from her jaw. She will, at any time I make a move towards the bathroom, dash ahead, make two quick laps around the tub, spring out onto the toilet tank and then sit expectantly by the sink waiting for the silver snaky thing. If that doesn’t happen and I am standing next to the sink easing my (ahem) bladder she starts to eye that stream with serious intent and start to hunch her body as if to make the leap towards the bowl as I mumble “Don’t you dare. Don’t you dare.”

Of late I’ve taken to kicking her out of the bathroom but she sulks and pouts about the apartment afterward. Yesterday, just as a test, I left the silver water trickle snake slithering on as I went out to the store for an hour. When I came back she was still on swiping at it and her head was soaked. Clearly a case of felinesanity. How can I break her of this cat cul-de-sac? We can’t possibly do years of her sitting by the sink. Please advise.

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