Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

ELECTION 2004

I Am the Very Model of A Modern Kerry Democrat
I am the very model of a modern Kerry-Democrat, I'm an information animal, a medal-dripping technocrat, I know the Kennedys of Camelot, and hide my votes historical, While my Deaniac supporters consult the Usenet Oracle; I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters matrimonial, I understand rich heiresses, and lust for figures patrimonial, About Republican recessions I'm steaming up my views, With many bogus facts about the bad news in the better news.... American Digest: I Am the Very Model of A Modern Kerry Democrat

By Their Bumper Stickers Shall Ye Know Them
April 28, 2004 An interesting announcement appeared on The Daily Kos yesterday. It seems that, after many years and many bazillions of words by Kos and his Kosocrat Cohorts, a publisher has decided to publish a book of the best -- in bumper stickers. Ten to be precise. Yes, of all the screeds, analysis, commentary and fearless insight, the "ideas" that a publisher deems worthy of preserving from The Daily Kos are ten for a total of 45 words. Now that's a data compression algorithm that Stuffit's Aladdin Systems might want to emulate. More at: American Digest: By Their Bumper Stickers Shall Ye Know Them

"Desperation Politics:" Revenge of DemNerds
November 03, 2003 Driving through a host of dying rural towns out west last September, one of constants were the community-based wall murals that decorated this or that building on vacant Main Streets. In a town in Nevada where the mines had died, there was an art gallery called, fittingly, "Desperation Arts." Next to Desperation Arts was a parking lot and on the wall was a 80 foot by 30 foot mural depicting the glory days of the town. Down the main drag there were about five other murals with the same sort of community spirit themes. My traveling companion, who had seen a lot more of small western towns than I had, gave a nod to the last one we passed heading out and said, "When the big murals show up, the town has pretty much had it.".... More at:American Digest: "Desperation Politics:" Revenge of DemNerds

And the Bleat Goes On
January 27, 2004 Today, the Junior Varsity is at their never-ending rumble in the jungle in New Hampshire. The voters go in and the exit poles come out, merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, to see which dreamboat will still float. It is our way and our ritual. But at this point, wake me when it's over and include me out.... More at: American Digest: And the Bleat Goes On

The Democratic Candidate Cartoon Laws of Motion
January 30, 2004 Candidate Cartoon Law I : Any hopeless Democratic candidate in the race will remain in suspended in the race until made aware of personal bankruptcy by his campaign finance manager. Howard the Duck steps off a cliff on the plains of Iowa, expecting to run along in front until the nomination. He loiters in midair, soliloquizing flippantly, until he chances to speak to his supporters. At this point, the familiar principle of 32 feet per second per second takes over.... More at: American Digest: The Democratic Candidate Cartoon Laws of Motion

Walter Cronkite's 10 Point Plan to Destroy the Democrats
One of the most distressing things about our retired pundits is that they fail to retire. Just when you'd hope that somebody who made millions blathering into a camera would just finally fade away to a robe, slippers and a hot, steaming cup of STFU, here they come again telling you to "leave your delusions at the door, sit down, open up wide for a big ole' slice of truth, with a side of wisdom." Today we have Walter Cronkite with his mind-numbing "Ten propositions for the Democrats...." More at: American Digest: Walter Cronkite's 10 Point Plan to Destroy the Democrats

The BlogBorg Candidate
December 31, 2003 Why all the guessing about the high RPM Lazy-Susan smorgasbord of Howard Deans positions these days? Whats up with the professed puzzlement of mainline Democrats about Deans need to commit public seppuku with his mouth over and over again? Theres no mystery about where Howards coming from. All you have to do is follow the money to find out whats manipulating Howard Dean. Dean is a creature of the BlogBorg; a man thrown up by the Matrix; a Matrix Reloaded and a Matrix Revolution.... More at:American Digest: The BlogBorg Candidate

Animal White House: How Clark Decided to Run
September 26, 2003 Our far flung correspondents have finished reviewing the set of tapes made by the Committee to ReElect the President, 2003 (aka Creep, the Return) and have supplied American Digest with the following transcript. We take no position on its credibility. August 15, 2003 Little Rock: Bill Clinton and Wesley Clark are knocking back a few while pouring over Clinton's collection of Oval Office Polaroids at the Clinton Library. Clinton: ...now this one's name was Amanda. They never even got a whiff of her. Worked in the kitchen. Man, she could put quite a froth on your latte. Clark: C. U. T. E. ! Bill. You old hush puppy.... More at: American Digest: Animal White House: How Clark Decided to Run

House of Sand and Fog and Septic Issues
If you've ever lived in the country you know that there's only one result from years of flushing toxic wastes into your septic tank -- sooner or later it fills up, flows over and begins to percolate up to foul everything in and around the your house. Democratic spewfests like the one today at MLK's tomb underscore the bad maintenance the Democratic Party has been doing on its house for decades.... More at: American Digest: House of Sand and Fog and Septic Issues

ESSAYS

THE SACRIFICE AND THE RECKONING
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown Till human voices wake us, and we drown. -- Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
I. The Sleepwalkers
"We haven't had a real-time nuclear demo since Japan, 1945, and that was with one of the prototypes. We've never had a real-time nuclear demo live on TV, but it is on their scheduling. What we can't face is that the next time, many more than 3,000 will die and a lot of the dead will be our children. Just what do you think our mood will be the morning after they slaughter not only thousands of adults at their desks like they did on the 11th, but thousands of our children as well?" -- In conversation, July, 2004
A foolish people grown fat in the long peace
THE RUTHLESS DEDICATION OF OUR ENEMIES TO OUR DESTRUCTION was written across our sky with two pillars of flame and smoke in our largest city. We've seen that dedication continue, punctuated by car bombs, mortars, and random attacks against our soldiers. Our unluckiest citizens have had their heads severed from their bodies as pilot episodes of what promises to be a long running reality television series in which American heads are held up, to our horror and for the delight of those many millions that support those that take the heads. The message beyond this madness is that they would be pleased to extend this television series to 300 million beheadings in which each of us would have his "star" turn. Our enemy has not yet taken a woman or a child for a beheading, but both clearly on their programming schedule. All these things we know. We know the nature and goals of our enemy well. Our army is at the ready and in the field. And yet we hesitate. We hesitate because we are having an election in which we think the outcome will somehow determine what actions our enemy will pursue. We are a foolish people grown fat and fearful during the long peace. We stay our hand and hobble our warriors and walk on wrapped in our suburban slumber. Our President and the man who would be President cruise about the country on buses or play electric guitars surrounded by doting egoists whose own celebrity removes them from the sense of their doom. MORE AT: American Digest: The Sacrifice and the Reckoning: Part One


The Degeneration of the Democratic Party
April 13, 2004 In a way, what the Democratic party is now is somewhat like a first wife thought about at a safe distance from the divorce. You know you loved her at some point but you can't really remember why. You know she was beautiful to you then, but now you can only see the ruins of that beauty, and you are glad you got the best years. You know that, yes, you must have been happy with her and had a lot of good times. But now you can't remember where or when. In fact, when you think about her now you can't really believe you wasted all those declining years with here just because you believed that somehow, some time, she would grow sane, beautiful, and young again.... More at: American Digest: The Degeneration of the Democratic Party

Small Moves, the Spirit of America, and Doing What You Can
April 29, 2004 On the radio news at 3 AM this morning, the phrase "Camp Pendleton Marines today in Fallujah...." It's early and dark, but I'm awake and sitting down with coffee when I hear those words. I hear them often these days. News of a brutal firefight in and around that forsaken city on the far side of the world is always attached to that phrase. Less often, but more distressing, the phrase includes "...were killed in action." I always wonder if among those killed were any of the young marines I stood next to for a day last January.... More at: American Digest: Small Moves, the Spirit of America, and Doing What You Can

Small Moves
January 23, 2004 Organized chaos amidst organized clutter and the distinct sense that somewhere there was a war on. Driving from the main gate to the mustering area you glance in your side mirror and notice two Apache attack helicopters cruising just above you right down the center line. Very persuasive looking machines. You're glad they're on your side and you are on theirs. Just before you park you pass a road sign reading, "Drive Carefully. Tank Crossing".... More at: American Digest: Small Moves

AIN'T IT COOL?: A Tale of Two Cultures
April 11, 2004 We were two and a half years into the war and none of the kids of Orange County would fight in it unless they asked for it. All of the parents in Orange County knew their kids were crazy. After all, they were teenagers in high school. Few thought any of their kids were that crazy. Less than 20 miles south of where we sat last Friday, there was another kind of youth culture. I saw it for a day last January. You don't see it very often around here because it doesn't hang out at the malls. You can't see it from the freeways because its center is far back in the hills. It has its own malls and towns and sporting and educational complexes. It doesn't deal in "the culture of cool." It deals in the culture of carnage. It's the Camp Pendelton Marine Base.... More at: American Digest: AIN'T IT COOL?: A Tale of Two Cultures

The Wound
February 10, 2004 Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke. You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow's shawl as the fires burned on for months. You don't know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River. You supress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being "held for police activity at Penn Station." Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks you barely knew it was there.... More at: American Digest: The Wound

The Subconscious Yearning for American Defeat
December 11, 2003 American media personalities and American celebrities with nostalgie pour la dfaite are derived from decades of beliefs in an America that is best as a "pitiful, helpless Giant." It is literally the only America they know and their entire professional and personal lives, from the New York Times to the Los Angeles Times, from the Hamptons to Beverly Hills are based on this grand assumption. They've had Presidents that, commuting to and from these locales, have confirmed it to them. Their coworkers in their jobs confirm it to them. Their significant others, drawn from the same ranks, confirm it to them. The parties they attend, the awards they give and receive, the places they vacation, the books they read and the films they make and see, all confirm it to them over and over again. It is not only the only America they know, it is the only America they can know. More at: American Digest: The Subconscious Yearning for American Defeat

On Abortion in America
April 26, 2004 Like most serious people in America today, I've had to struggle with my "views" on abortion. You are required, in this deadlocked and soul-locked society to have a view on this issue. "Don't know" just won't cut it. You've got to know. It says so right here in "America: The Instructions." But what *do* I know? Here's what I thought I knew then and what I think I know now. Why today? Because I read the news today. Oh boy. More at: American Digest: On Abortion in America

Mars: "Man, You Gotta Go"
February 1, 2004 For quite a few years now, I've been a bit unpopular when I suggest that we need to consider the fact that we might, indeed, be all alone; that we might be a fluke or a seed or simply something of no purpose struggling to no avail and heading towards an ignominious ending in a backwater of a third-rate galaxy.... More at: American Digest: Mars: "Man, You Gotta Go"

The First Terrorist War
October 1, 2003 In war, language is a strategic asset. Indeed, we see daily how language, here and abroad, is used to weaken the resolve of the United States. The central problem in calling The First Terrorist War the "war on terror" is that the phrase soothes us into accepting less than victory, and resolves the war to a new normality where terror is accepted as the status quo. This is the state in which Israel has existed for decades as terrorist violence becomes the scrimscreen against which life goes on. Although our present foreign policy may impose this on Israel, it may, over time, prove less popular at home. We are not yet the kind of country that easily accepts The Forever War. More at: American Digest: The First Terrorist War

Happy at Last in Israel
September 21, 2003 Louis was a radical. Louis smoked a lot of weed. Louis dropped a lot of acid. Louis started, and had no little success with, a publishing company that printed up a lot of radical images that proved very popular. As a result, Louis was paranoid. He was paranoid about his politics. He was paranoid about his stash. He was paranoid about his money. He was paranoid that "they must bust in early May,/ Orders from the D.A."Louis was a history major, and Louis was an American Jew with communist parents. As Louis said, "I've got my reasons to be paranoid and they're not little ones...." More at: American Digest: Happy at Last in Israel

Patience Please: An American Empire Takes Time
November 25, 2003 And yet who can blame this multitude of wafflerers among us. We've all been feeding on flesh of the opium honeydew for too many decades. Sweet and soft mush has been the mainstay of our cultural diet since the rise of the Monkees. Not only that, but a generation that has been drenched in the moist sop of the marijuana and psychedelic cultures, has schooled yet another two generations in the value of tofu over Toynbee and to admire Gurdjieff far above Gibbon. We've been, in essence, on a binge of soft-thinking, soft-hoping, and soft Tofutti covered philosophical slop for so long it is little wonder we haven't the patience of a June Bug in heat when it comes to having, holding and controlling this empire that has fallen to us.... More at: American Digest: Patience Please: An American Empire Takes Time

Memo from Israel to Palestine
August 22, 2003 From time to time we have accepted your written word that, given adequate resources, you would be working to resolve "your issues." We note, for the record, that at no time has your word proven to be worth the paper which we both so ceremoniously signed. Indeed, it has been our bitter experience that the working out of "your issues" most often involves explosive episodes on the streets of our country. It has come to our attention, through a continuing rain of the body parts of our citizens onto our streets, that "your issues" do not seem to be resolvable through considered and mutually agreeable negotiations. The outcome of these 'negotiations' in the recent past seems to us to be one of we give and you take and then you kill us. We have decided that this is not a program that we wish to continue.... More at: American Digest: Memo from Israel to Palestine

On American Liberty and Destiny
October 20, 2003 One would think that with 3,000 dead and the nation's economy suffering a body blow from which it has taken two years recover, Americans of all political persuasions would still possess an adamantine unity. We all know this is not the case. Our politics of faction grows more bitter and divisive by the day and, absent another blow from terrorism, will continue in this wise through the 2004 elections and beyond.... More at: American Digest: On American Liberty and Destiny

A Quiet Rage: On Slaughter, Bad Americans, and Vile Iraqis
November 23, 2003 Before he became a simpering dottard the once lucid Norman Mailer wrote a book entitled: "Why Are We in Vietnam?" The snide defeatism of that title and the content spewed after it are, for the moment, out of fashion with the majority of Americans. But should the apologists and appeasers among us have their way, this will not always be the case. Still, that will be then and this is the now. For now, were I to take the time to pen a short treatise in the Mailer vein, mine would be titled, "Why Are We Not Killing More of Our Enemies Wholesale?...." More at: American Digest: A Quiet Rage

On the Most Ancient Virus to Infect the Soul
October 15, 2003 Following the publication a couple of days ago of a particularly shocking attack on Hollywood Jews by Greg Easterbrook at the New Republic, Hollywood screenwriter Roger Simon has been particularly outspoken against Easterbrook%u2019s small chunk of anti-Semitism. Simon believes that small eruptions like Easterbrooks signal a larger breakout of anti-Semitism in the world at large. He's correct. But the metaphoric cause he ascribes it too is "something in the air (residual Cyclon-b)." I agree on the situation but not on the cause... More at: American Digest: On the Most Ancient Virus to Infect the Soul


MEDIA NOTES

The Plague of Big Media's Increasing Attention Deficit Disorder
Media types are, by heredity and training, unemployable in any other industry you can think of except, perhaps, sanitation and politics. It takes a special kind of team to design a program that requires the talking head to say: "In Iraq today, yet another innocent, much-loved American soldier was shot in the head by a member of the Resistance. Is this another step into the deepening quagmire of an administration with yellowcake on its face? We'll interview the soldier's weeping grandmother in just a few minutes. But right now, is fast food fat food?...." More at: American Digest: The Plague of Big Media's Increasing Attention Deficit Disorder

An Actual Majority Do Feel This Way
With rare exceptions, people in publishing, like, I suppose, many in academe, are not in it for the money, but for the status. I've been to Park Avenue dinner parties thrown by the likes of Bob Bernstein, founder of Human Rights Watch, where never is heard a conservative word. Don't get me wrong, Bob's a fine fellow, but you'd no more find any other than carefully vetted liberals at his table than you'd find a magic mushroom in the soup course at the White House. And you have to reflect that for decades, Bob was the head of Random House. Much has changed during the years since he headed the house, but third generation hires directly descended from Bob's reign persist in bringing like-minded souls onto the payroll.... More at: American Digest: An Actual Majority Do Feel This Way

The Myths of Eric Alterman
Alterman is a type you come across often in the New York Media World - the 'pleasing ideologue.' He doesn't please everyone, he doesn't have to. He merely has to locate a patron in some postion of power who has friends in other positions of power, and please that single person. If that person is pleased than so are the others, and that's how media careers are born. Indeed, that's how many different careers are born, but we just don't have to read about them or witness them on a semi-regular basis. More at: American Digest: The Myths of Eric Alterman

Gore, "Liberal TV", and the Salon.com Investment Method
But perhaps this was Gore's plan all along. He's working the Salon.com Investment Method That's the method that says the only way to the only way to winkle seed money out of liberals with far too much of it is to assure them that: 1) It is for a "good cause", 2) It is a sure fire bet to lose money 3) It will, dare I say it?, SAVE THE PLANET! Only under these perverse circumstances, are certain folks willing to open their checkbooks.... More at: American Digest: Gore, "Liberal TV", and the Salon.com Investment Method

The Sunday New York Times Lite
Let's face it. You've got better things to do with a summer Sunday than wade through this hulking block of over-thought, over-wrought, over-written, and over-weight newsprint. Take a quick look here and you'll know all you need to know about this Sunday's massive emission from 43rd street.... More at: American Digest: The Sunday New York Times Lite

The Salon Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Bitter Fruit
One could go on at great length on the question of "Whatever happened to Salon?" Many have, more will. The real story on Salon can be given in just a few paragraphs.The decay of Salon parallels the decay of the Left, the liberal establishment, and the Democratic Party since 9/11. Once the shock wore off and time passed, the process of laughter and forgetting took hold and the old obsessions came swarming back. As Gary Snyder wrote, "Once a bear is hooked on garbage, there's no cure." More at: American Digest: The Salon Book of Laughter and Forgetting and Bitter Fruit

Maureen Dowd: The Jimmy Olson of the New York Times
The decline of Dowd into dotage has been painful to watch. At first, many years ago, she could easily match such comic giants as Bill Maher quip for quip. And she had the added advantage, unlike Maher, of actually being an attractive person. But the years and the unrelenting stress of -- can you imagine? -- 1200 words a week for six figures a year has taken a toll even Botox cannot burnish. And while this toll can be hidden behind the flattering picture that has been consciously not updated for years, it cannot be hidden from those readers in search of something, anything, that signals Ms. Dowd is on the cutting edge of anything other than the shared spleen of the disenfranchised.... More at: American Digest: Maureen Dowd: The Jimmy Olson of the New York Times

Down the K-Hole of K-Street
It isn't news that Carville revels in his standing as Lizard King of DC. What is shocking is discovering that he is actually looking more and more like a lizard with every passing year. The camera isn't doing the shaved head look any favors, and of his on-screen persona the less said... well, suffice it to say that it is little wonder that his wife, Mary Matalin, spends a lot of time away from home. Even if that means she has to hang with career Republicans. More at: American Digest: Down the K-Hole of K-Street

Bozo Speaks: Mouth. Foot. Maher
The problem with being a bad comedian is that the more your jokes bomb, the more you start to think they are "serious ideas." Bill Maher, the man known for TV shows in which he proves again and again that he is not funny, has taken to writing "think pieces" in order to keep his hand from attacking him between bombs.... More at: American Digest: Bozo Speaks: Mouth. Foot. Maher.

Praise the New York Times but Pass the Ammunition
[T]hose in the media that continue to wish for and work for the downfall of this country are the least likely to see themselves as others see them. They cannot. They exist in a bubble of mutual self-regard and congratulation that is, in the end, impervious to outside correction. They see themselves as 'patriots of the human race and citizens of the world.' They exist in the pampered realms of international ease and, being surrounded with others like themselves and their sycophants, they cannot perceive any other universe. East Side, West Side, Hamptons, Bel Air, Vail, the Colony. It is a rarified air they breathe and they depend on lesser mortals to keep them in oxygen and their friends and toadies to keep them in certainty.... More at: American Digest: Praise the New York Times but Pass the Ammunition

Busting Greg Easterbrook
Of course, the fact that Disney "silenced" this "great sports writer" [and repentant Jew-baiter], quickly became a corporate attack on "free speech," an example of the crass vindictiveness of Michael Eisner, and a shining example of the continuing evil kingdom that is Disney. This is, of course, all complete and utter hogwash... More at: American Digest: Busting Greg Easterbrook

The Poets of Popular Science
In today's wild, wild world of new age magazine design, it is always difficult to tell whether or not a known and trusted magazine is trying to become cutting edge, or is merely sinking into functional illiteracy... More at: American Digest: The Poets of Popular Science


OBSERVATIONS

THE GREATEST SHOW OFF EARTH
SEVEN YEARS AND 2.2 BILLION MILES IN THE MAKING
Saturn's peaceful beauty invites the Cassini spacecraft for a closer look.... NASA TV/webcast coverage of Cassini's arrival at Saturn begins June 30, 6:30 pm Pacific time. Check this page frequently for mission updates.
My up-close and personal relationship with Saturn is brand new. Sure, I'd seen the pictures and the "artist's conceptions" all my life. I'd read the stories, both science and fiction, and I believed. I had faith. I had faith that Saturn existed and that it had the rings that made it the single most miraculous object in the solar system, save Earth -- which may also be, except for our belief and faith in numbers, the single most miraculous place in the universe. But my belief in Saturn and its rings was just that, "belief." After all, I had never actually seen Saturn -- only pictures and paintings. Saturn to me was only hearsay. That all changed a month ago thanks a friend with a passion for astronomy and actual possession of a serious telescope, coupled with a moonless night at the edge of the pacific here in Laguna Beach. MORE AT: American Digest: The Greatest Show Off Earth


COIN OF THE PC REALM
CHAD EVERETT @ Don't Back Down: Rustle or Jingle is asking about the fact that the dollar coin has not replaced the dollar bill.
The long term cost [of the Sacagawea Dollar coin] is lower, the hassle factor is lower, the speed is faster. Yet dollar bills are still far more prevalent in the US than dollar coins. Why is that, exactly?
He's gathered a few interesting responses in his comments and yet they don't quite get to the real reason: People just don't like them. Case in point: While waiting in line at the Laguna Beach Post Office to speak to a clerk, a woman came in and rustled to the front to ask a question. She was clutching this bronze object that at first glance seemed to be a quarter, but was of course the dreaded dollar coin. She'd been purchasing stamps from the PO's vending machine with paper money and had been given several dollar coins in change from the machine. She then decided that she needed a few more stamps and had tried to use the dollar coins. But of course the machine that gave them to her wasn't configured to accept them. This, needless to say, peeved her. But since today the US Post Office exists only to drive customers away and put itself out of business by 2010, the clerks only shrugged and went back to their SOP of imitating every slo-mo work film you've ever seen. The hapless woman interrupted them again and asked if she could please have some dollar bills for the coins so she could use the stamp machine. The clerk said, "We're not supposed to give bills for the coins, but we can give coins for the bills." There were about 12 people waiting in the snake line for the clerk and I think I saw each and every one slump down and despair at this perfect government employee epiphany. The woman just shook her head and made for the exit. MORE AT: American Digest: Coin of the PC Realm


Thom Gunn
I remember the craggy, pitted face easily moved to laughter and a sensibility moved to kind despair when he was forced to experience a particularly bad line. I remember that the class was formed of about 12 students and that on any given day at least ten were baked to a crisp. But that didn%u2019t mean Gunn didn%u2019t get our attention. How could he not? He was not only an elegant poet, an inheritor of the Tennysonian tradition in English poetry, but he was an elegant man.... More at: American Digest: Thom Gunn 1929-2004

The Hubble: Saving a National Spiritual Strategic Asset
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, If so, the Hubble speaks volumes daily ... indeed, it speaks whole libraries. It is our eye turned to gaze, with all the power at our command, as far out into the deep and as far back towards the origins of the universe as we can look. It is not too much to say that the Hubble reads the face of God, and in small bits and bytes, shows it to us. Should we allow this eye to be put out, to be blinded?... More at: American Digest: The Hubble: Saving a National Spiritual Strategic Asset

Cruising Off Baja
But should you have a taste for tedium, should boredom be like mother's milk and daily bread (lots of it) to you, you will be surfeited by this otherwise antiquated mode of travel. Indeed, for sheer, mind obliterating tedium, for the kind of vacancy induced only by event horizons with no events and fewer horizons; for a feeling that arises in no experience other than incarceration, there is nothing that can beat the tedium induced by that modern masterpiece of torpor, stupor and pointlessness, the Cruise Ship. More at: American Digest: Cruising Off Baja

The Creche By The Side of the Road
Small moments in long journeys, like small lights in a large darkness, often linger in the memory. They come unbidden, occur when you are not ready for them, and are gone before you understand them. You "have the experience, but miss the meaning." All you can do is hold them and hope that understanding will, in time, come to you.... More at: American Digest: The Creche By The Side of the Road

Small Fires on the Surface of the Deep
These days my wife Sheryl wakes before dawn. The sound of the automatic coffee grinder and the aroma of the dark brew is her alarm. Today, out on the deck overlooking the Pacific, she was gazing at the sea and saw, across the flat miles of ocean stretching out to Catalina, bright flashes come and go like wet fireworks exploding under the waves. Binoculars brought the flashes closer but didn't explain them. They were scattered all across the wide water except where the full moon sliding down the sky towards the western horizon lay a bright white band down on the dark sea. More at: American Digest: Small Fires on the Surface of the Deep

Something to See
This morning before dawn I had drifted back for the third time to a series of disturbing dreams. Dreams always disturb when they take place in some distorted mindmap of Las Vegas -- even if you are winning, which I was not. More at: American Digest: Something to See

Fear of Fritterware: The Nightmare Before Christmas
The truth is that, over the last 20 years that personal computers have been a part of our lives, we have been trained to expect computers to fail. We've accepted that they will screw around with our lives and our fortunes. We have slowly and without any organized protest, been suckered into being the Beta Testers for new software and hardware that not only screws up in predictable ways, but is known by the manufacturers to screw up in predictable ways ("The inability for the program to connect with the Internet? Oh yes, that's a known bug. We'll have a patch soon. Just connect to Internet and download it.").... More at: American Digest: Fear of Fritterware: The Nightmare Before Christmas

New York Life
They will be snapshots of his personal celebrations; the birthdays, anniversaries, shared summer houses, days in the park and nights on the town. He'll be in some of them. Friends will proliferate in others. And the city will persist, implied, either in the background or intruding in the middle distance; like the air, unnoticed until absent. When you leave her, this is what you will carry away. It will fit in a medium-sized cardboard box. We've all packed this box. Mine was labeled, "New York...." More at: American Digest: New York Life: An Exhibition and Open Invitation


ON AMERICA

The Name in the Stone
Awebstonenames.jpg MY NAME, "GERARD VAN DER LEUN," IS AN UNUSUAL ONE. So unusual, I've never met anyone else with the same name. I do know of one other man with the name, but we've never met. I've seen his name in an unusual place. This is the story of how that happened. It was an August Sunday in New York City in 1975. I'd decided to bicycle from my apartment on East 86th and York to Battery Park at the southern tip of the island. I'd nothing else to do and, since I hadn't been to the park since moving to the city in 1974, it seemed like a destination that would be interesting. Just how interesting, I had no way of knowing when I left. August Sundays in New York can be the best times for the city. The psychotherapists are all on vacation -- as are their clients and most of the other professional classes. The city seems almost deserted, the traffic light and, as you move down into Wall Street and the surrounding areas, it becomes virtually non-existent. On a bicycle you own the streets that form the bottom of the narrow canyons of buildings where, even at mid-day, it is still cool with shade. Then you emerge from the streets into the bright open space at Battery Park. More at: American Digest: The Name in the Stone

Goodbye to the Way We Were
We were young. And we were very, very stupid for college kids. Check that. We were stupid because we were college kids. Many of us, decades later, are still there and even dumber. We're professors now and our ability to be dumb has never been deeper. Others of us are well ensconced in the various parts of what passes for the media. We're there with a lot of others just like us and, even if we thought differently, we'd never say it for fear of losing regard, position, grants, or promotion. Besides, we've been around others who think like us for so long its no problem at all to top up the latte and nod in blind agreement. We never sold out. We bought in. But we kept the Che poster in our hearts.... More at: American Digest: Goodbye to the Way We Were

The Aliens Among Us
Ok, you've read it all. Roswell. Crop Circles. Close Encounters. Slashdot. All of the hubs of Alien Conspiracy. You've parsed it out, you know it all, and you've made your call. Well, you're wrong. The Aliens are here, and blending into your everyday life in ways so insidious you regard them as .... should I say it ... annoyances. Here is a brief guide to three of the many Alien races you meet every day and don't even know it.... More at: American Digest: The Aliens Among Us

The Age of Miracles and Wonders and Bunless Whoppers
We have in America, right now, what all other cultures and nations and empires have dreamed of since before the dawn of time. We have, finally, created a society that produces Way-Too-Much-Food (TM). After aeons of the nightmare of Never-Enough-Food we now awake into the brave new Bunless Whopper World. We are the kings and queens of the Global Food Court, and our national sport is double dipping at the salad bar as we supersize everything from soup to nuts. In fact, we are now so firmly established in the way-too-much-food universe that we are about to pass through a chronosynclasticinfandibulem into the alternate universe where a kid at the cash register says, "Would you like to downsize these fries?" More at: American Digest: The Age of Miracles and Wonders and Bunless Whoppers

Contrails
In a valley hidden in the foothills of the La Sal mountains, my old friend and I sat on his stone porch in the fading light and watched the sun disappear behind the soaring red rock of the Maob Wall ten miles to the west. As always from this perch along the fault line between range and basin, the view revealed four different American landscapes: desert, farmland, rolling ranch land and high mountains.... More at: American Digest: Contrails

The Brand Extension Blight
OREOS -- This was, without a doubt, America's greatest store bought cookie ever. And it dominated the market. But was that good enough for the sleazoid 90s "marketing" department? No. They wanted more and even more. As a result they have 'New-Coked' this cookie into oblivion with endless variations on the theme. The heresy began with "Double Stuffed" Oreos. This simple-minded d-oh moment came when somebody thought, hey, let's double the stuffing! It did not matter to them that the perfect proportion of white cream stuffing had already been achieved. Nope, this is the DoublePattyWhopper school of marketing drool: 'If one is good, two is twice as good.' Actually, if one is good, two in the same bun or cookie wafers is a bloody mess.... More at: American Digest: The Brand Extension Blight

Sherman to Sunni Triangle: Leave Now
You might as well appeal against the thunder-storm as against these terrible hardships of war. They are inevitable, and the only way the people of Iraq can hope once more to live in peace and quiet at home, is to stop terrorism, which can only be done by admitting that it began in error and is perpetuated in pride. We do not want your oil, or your houses, or your lands, or any thing you have, but we do want and will have an end to terrorism. That we will have, and if it involved the destruction of your improvements, we cannot help it.... More at: American Digest: Sherman to Sunni Triangle: Leave Now

On the Field of Life, On the Battlefield of Truth
Was Frederick Turner the only one of our poets who felt a wave of revulsion sweep over him when the "herd of independent minds" that fancy themselves as 'important' American poets formed a viscous slab of drivel around opposition to the war?.... More at: American Digest: On the Field of Life, on the Battlefield of Truth.

Self-Inflicted Terrorism Evident in Blackout
What we have here is, absent terrorism, is a case of slow and "self-inflicted terrorism." It is what is bound to happen, on any summer day, when you run a power grid that has been strangled for years by the awful NO-MEN of our society.... More at: American Digest: Self-Inflicted Terrorism Evident in Blackout


POEMS

Origins of the Faith
They expose the unwanted infant On a hot, flat stone or throw it, By the feet, whirling into the ravine For the ravens' obscene brunch, And walk back down The barren brindle hill To the village of rocks, Hearing the mother moan, Noting the father's stern smile. All male, the state demands, And sound.

The Interface
--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun 1. The empty rituals and dusty opulence of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle, and the sounds of departing automobiles fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac. Inside the house my mother sits quietly, surrounded by the plates of finger food that everybody brought and no one ate, and wonders if she should begin to take clothes from the closet, call the Goodwill. Some blocks away, the Methodist minister hangs his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch. Later, I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise, park the car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out at the far mountains where, in June, the winter lingers. On the seat beside me, a well-taped cardboard cube contains what remains of my father. I climb out and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below. The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I, beside the snow-chilled stream. The place we have come to is where the pines lean out from the boulders at the edge of the stream, where what the stream carries builds up in the backwater, making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year: rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds, diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings, laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees, gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles, the rasping windwish of leaf fall crushed to dust, the thunk of bone on bark, of earth on wood, the silence of ash on water. And in such silence, he fades forever. 2. The stream, its waters revolving round through river, ocean, clouds, and rain, bears away the hands and eyes, but still the memory remains, answering in pantomime the questions never asked: Are these reflections but the world without, carried on but never borne, onward, westward, towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh? Or are such frail forms shaped upon this water all the things that are, and we, immersed above in air, the forms that fade, mere mirrors of the stream? Is this life all that is and, once lost, the end of all that was, with nothing left to be, with no pine wind to taste, nor sun to dapple mind with dream? Is all that is but ash dissolving, our lives but rain in circles falling? Or are we yet the center of such circles, our fall the final fall of night because we are contained within that single soul, held within that heart of stars, that place where sun and water meet, that golden hand whose wounded palm, once we have shimmered into sunlight, remains forever open in the coldest light of day? American Digest: The Interface

Atlantis
Beneath my sea, my tongue was tied by lies That said I loved you not when love lay still, And that false tongue denied your clearer eyes That saw that love will always conquer will. But now, as our first year in time has turned To moments honed from diamonds, now I find My love for you refracted and returned In samite nights beside you in that blind Dark within which only one light burns. Which is your love, and in such love I sleep The deeper sleep of one to whom Love turns When, gasping like some being from the deep, I first was flung upon your wave-smoothed strand, And shown beneath your present sea my future land. American Digest: Atlantis

Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve
Throughout the night, the cold loomed close, And wrapped the house in shawls of frost. Within, four candles gave us light, And returned to us all that was lost. Around us, all the village slept. It's children safe, their breathing slow. Four candles gleamed beside our tree, Their flames burned long, burned low. More at: American Digest: Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve


POLITICS

Preparing for the American Political Priesthood
No, to be elected today a man (or a woman) must prepare at an early age to either leave no trace of a human existence, or determine never to have one in the first place. Like the pagan religions of antiquity or the cloistered Catholic orders that persist into our era, today%u2019s politicians must be -- according to our media -- the last surviving virgins over 18 in the United States of America.... More at: American Digest: Preparing for the American Political Priesthood

Improving the Pledge of Allegiance
At your command Newspeak Central has spent some time reviewing the "old and in the way" Pledge of Allegiance. The result, below, is what we have -- after six months of multicultural diversity focus groups and self-criticism sessions -- come up with. It's just a start but we think it is in the right direction. We hope you give us hugs for it.... More at: American Digest: Improving the Pledge of Allegiance

California Recall Row
Now the deficit's exploding The Democrats are beginning to hide The Letterman and Leno Shows Are working up their monologues inside. All except for Coleman and Gallagher And that aging porno dame Everybody is laying odds Or else expecting fame And the Terminator, he's dressing He's getting ready for the show He's orchestrating the Carnival On California Recall Row.... More at: American Digest: California Recall Row

Let Moore Be More Moore
Leftists and liberals and Democrats throughout the country suck down these lies because they are, by now, addicted to The World According to Michael Moore. Like heroin addicts, they constantly need Moore to feel 'normal.' Even more, they need Michael to up the dose by providing ever more outrageous lies for them to skin-pop or mainline. It's the only way they can get off.... More at: American Digest: Let Moore Be More Moore

Something Strange in the Neighborhood
There are a lot of people here in 21st century America who are fed up with a political structure built in 19th century America. Worse than that, much worse than that, they are bored with it. Bored, numb, disbelieving, untrusting, unenchanted and retroactively neither amused nor entertained. They know in their bones, and have known since September 11, 2001, that joke time is over. Up until now the popular way of expressing this deeply disgusted feeling with American politics was, whenever we have an election, to stay away in droves. And for the waning decades of the 20th century, this implicit "None-of-the-Above" vote grew larger.... More at:American Digest: There's Something Strange in the Neighborhood

On Democrats and Pollywogs
When I was a boy I lived in a rural town in Northern California. Behind our house was a fallow field with a small stream cutting through it. In that stream, at certain times of the year, frogs mated and laid eggs which, in time, became pollywogs (aka "tadpoles"). Collecting a group of tadpoles was a simple matter of quick hands or a small net. Either way, my brother and I, in the manner of wanton boys, would collect a dozens in a jar on idle summer afternoons, and transfer them to a small pond we'd scooped out of the dirt a yard or so from the main stream and filled with water. Since there were a lot of pollywogs in the stream we always had a lot of pollywogs in our ponds. Once there, we'd sit down and watch what they did.... More at: American Digest: On Democrats and Pollywogs

Where Bush Hate is Heading
Bush Hate, at the rate of festering intensity currently observable, is headed towards only one singular event: An attempt on the life of George W. Bush by an American citizen.... More at: American Digest: Where Bush Hate is Heading

Traitors' Grate
It seems to me that I can, or you can, or any person can call another a traitor, or say that his or her behavior is treasonous, at any time and on any pretext. At most the speaker risks a suit for libel or slander from his target. Thus it would seem that it is the accuser that is much more at risk here than the accused. The accuser, in this case Anne Coulter, is not - at least as far as I am aware - a lawfully empowered agent of the Federal Government. She is as free to call any individual or group a traitor as, say, James Carville would be to call Coulter a "whacked out bimbo with the political morals of a ferret and an inexplicable attraction to unbald Republicans." Not that such a southern gentleman as Carville would ever utter such a sentiment.... More at: American Digest: Traitors' Grate


PUBLISHING

No More Letters to the Editor

Quit Being a Chump and Start Being Effective: Here's How to Make Your Views Matter to the Mass Media

EDITORS LOVE IT when you write outraged letters to them, but not for the reasons you might think. Editors love your outraged letters because it tells they you're reading them. They love your letters, even when you scold them, because it shows you care. Editors love printing your letter that takes them to task because it shows they are pleased to balance a large chunk of airtime or copy with a few seconds or inches of dissent. But the dirty little secret beneath the editors' love for your outraged letter is that means, almost all of the time, that you didn't send that letter to one of the editors' advertisers. Editors hate it when people write to the advertisers. If enough people write, editors have to have a conversation with their advertising director. Not that anything will come of it, but they hate the casual watercooler conversation that begins, "We're getting some heat from Nike about that dingbat Robert Scheer, can't you get him to..." "Now, now, you know there's a wall between news and advertising." "Sure, but I just want you to know that Nike is..." If you don't think conversations like that happen, you just don't know the "media business." If enough letters get written not to editors but to advertisers, the editor then gets to have a conversation he really hates -- a conversation with the publisher.
"When the advertisers get nervous, the publisher gets nervous."
MORE AT: American Digest: No More Letters to the Editor


The Toolbar Times
--Or -- "Everything I need to know I learn from my toolbar" nytgraffiti.jpg AFTER THE NICHOLAS BERG BEHEADING was shelved (to make room for the new major media show called "All Abu Ghraib Apprentice/Survivor All the Time"), disgust with traditional media reached tsunamic proportions across the Internet, as well as in the population at large. On the Internet this revulsion was expressed by a plethora of commentary, fact-checking, and pointers. Still, it all has a "been there, done that, have the T-shirt" feeling to it. And it masks what the continuing failure of the major media are doing to themselves, every day in every way, as -- following their benighted blisss -- they become worse and worse. There's another quieter way, in which users are, day-by-day, having their say about the sealed fate of the moral and ethically compromised major media, the evolution of The Toolbar Times. To paraphrase John Gilmore, "Users are seeing the work of traditional news media as system damage and routing around it." Like Scoop Nisker, we'd don't like the news so we're going out and making some of our own. Somewhere someone is updating a graph. The graph has two lines. The first line depicts traditional media (a combination of audience numbers for television and radio news and the circulation of newspapers and magazines). It is a line in decline. The second line depicts the use of the Internet to gather information, news and opinion. This line is ascending. At some point, perhaps not too distant, the two lines will cross. At that point the angles of decline and ascent will steepen until, at some other point, the line for traditional media will drop off the significant part of the chart forever. MORE AT: American Digest: The Toolbar Times

Woodpulp, Ink, and Glue
1) No "advanced" technology required. Ability to manufacture present in all areas of the globe. 2 ) Crude but functioning units can be made by kindergartners with pencil, paper and glue.... More at: American Digest: WOODPULP, INK AND GLUE: A MATURE INFORMATION RETREIVAL SYSTEM

THE HORROR, THE HORROR
All around you are booksellers with full size shopping carts jamming every freebie they can get their hands on. Posters, buttons, stuffed animals.....Simon is publishing CATMOPOLITAN, a slavish bid for the cat market, a send up of some magazine, and booksellers can duck behind a large six foot blowup of a cover, stick their faces in a hole and get a free Polaroid of themselves as the cover cat of Catmopoliton. A thrill, a real thrill! There's a line.... More at: American Digest: THE HORROR, THE HORROR

O'Reilly's Last .Wav
American Digest has located a complete transcript deep within the cached pages of Google itself and presents it here without comment. We note that this is one of those rare documents in which you can actually hear the voice of Google by clicking on its links.... More at: American Digest: O'REILLY'S LAST .WAV: The Voice of Google

Salon's Dollar Dave
SALON'S PRECARIOUS FISCAL STATE has obviously become dire. The "premium" subscriptions which began at, I believe, $35 a year have now been discounted down to a dollar a year. Today, this email has been making the rounds.... More at: American Digest: DAVID TALBOT: SALON'S "DOLLAR DAVE"

Books of Lies
Interesting also that Mr. Simon will continue to sell Wright's first book with the elimination of the Introduction. I suppose that means the log rolling boosts written for Wright by Howard Zinn and Kurt Vonnegut will stay. One might ask what they are doing there in the first place? Why would writers with the stature of Zinn and Vonnegut weigh in on a book that only displays political bile photoshopped onto public domain images? In turns out that the logs do not roll far from the tree. Zinn and Vonnegut both have books published by Simon's grisley little house.... More at: American Digest: Micah Wright's Second Book of Lies Canned. First Book of Lies Lives.

Royalties?
"Vision" books have a long history of being dogs from pub. date to remainder bin. This is somewhat confirmed by the fact that Kerry's book is 5,696 in the Amazon sales rankings as of this writing; a shabby showing for the standard bearer of a major party that is currently driving several tomes onto the bestseller lists. So, how much did Viking pay Kerry for this dog? It%u2019s not readily known, but I'd say the likely figure would be $250,000 to $300,000 as an advance. More at: American Digest: "Royalties? They Don't Got to Pay Him No Stinking Royalties"

Modern Book Doomed by Antique Industry
What could go wrong is that this is a book that is being published with a list price of $50.00. And, like so many others of its ilk, it can run aground on the shoals of instant remainderism due to the single fact that the entire trade book publishing industry simply cannot and will not look at in the clear light of day: the price of books fare exceeds their perceived value. Perceived value is the key to the buying of books by ordinary people, and ordinary people not only think that books are overpriced, they are taught that they are overpriced by the publishing industry itself. More at: American Digest: Modern Book Doomed by Antique Industry


SMALL SATIRES

Psychedelic Slang
ACED:"We aced him out!" AX:"He blows a bad ax." BAAAD:"Hey, I checked out yer old lady today.She's baaad,man." BARF:"You barf after the peyote milkshakes, bro, but, hey, it's beautiful." BALLSY:"She is one ballsy chick." More at: American Digest: Psychedelic Slang

Liberalosis: A Disease Killing and Crippling Millions of Our Fellow Americans
Liberalosis is a psychiatric classification for a mental state in which the perception of political reality is distorted. Persons experiencing a "Liberal episode" may experience hallucinations (often Clintonesque or Deantastic hallucinations), hold paranoid hate of the United States and/or its President or delusional beliefs in Utopia, and exhibit disorganized thinking such as "...it would be better to let America's enemies strike first", and "...a Democrat can be elected President by promising to raise taxes and pin a big "Kick Me" sign on America." This is often accompanied by a lack of insight into the unusual or bizarre nature of their behaviour and a compulsion to give money to any number of Democratic losers.... More at: American Digest: Liberalosis: A Disease Killing and Crippling Millions of Our Fellow Americans

The Last Word on Word
I despaired over Microsoft Office. I wanted to end my years of servitude to Microsoft. When I married OS X I thought I had at last made a clean break with the past, but "Just when you think you're OUT, they pull you back in." Using Word from Classic required me to boot Classic on a daily basis and, just as it had in the past, Word would crash in Classic at least once a day for no reason at all other than Word's deep inner perversity. It was like getting a daily harassing phone call and hang up from an old girl friend in the midst of a happy second marriage -- you're not happy, your new OS is not happy, the only happy thing is some deeply antisocial nerd in the Microsoft basement who wrote the deepest code inside of Word that instructed it to leave you high and dry with no warning if you hadn't purchased any Microsoft products within the last 14 days.... More at: American Digest: The Last Word on Word

On First Looking Out of NASA's Rover
Much have I imagined the arcing vaults of space, And many fiery launches and cold orbits seen; Round the darksided moon have I been And raised a flag above Tranquility base. Oft on one Red Planet would I place Dreams of deep-brow'd Bradbury's Morning Green Yet did I never breathe its pure serene Till I saw Spirit gaze upon our brother's face: Then felt I like some sentinel in strange skies When a new planet swims into his ken; Or like those at NASA, when the Spirit's eyes Delivered them an image through the stars, Look'd at each other with a wild surmise-- "All green" upon the dusty plains of Mars.... More at: American Digest: On First Looking Out of NASA's Rover

Father Forgive Me for I Must Fisk
The thing known as "The Daily Kos" continues his limp attempts at revisionism. Today he poses as the victim in his latest attempt to obscure the fact he revealed his soul to be a very ugly place last week. His latest report on the state of his existence is even weaker than his vapid pseudo-apology of yesterday. But not so weak that I can resist an idle afternoon's fisking of his "status report:" .... More at: American Digest: Father Forgive Me for I Must Fisk

Mario Savio's Speech Before the 2004 Democratic Convention
"There is a time when the operation of the Democratic Party becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part; you can't even passively take part, and you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the phony baloney party online apparatus, and you've got to make it stop. And you've got to indicate to the idiots that are crashing this once great party into the center of the sun, to the morons who've manipulated this conventions, that unless you're free to be a real Democrat, the Party will be prevented from existing at all! ".... More at: American Digest: Mario Savio's Speech Before the 2004 Democratic Convention

Beatles Songbook, Revised
You say you want a War of Civilizations Well, you know Everybody wants to rule the world You tell me to join Allah's Nation Well, you know Every god wants to rule the world.... More at: American Digest: Beatles Songbook, Revised

Frequently Answered Questions
Everywhere you go you see "Frequently Asked Questions" scattered about to help you find out what everybody else apparently knows. Nobody, as far as we know, is helping you with the essential questions of life, the Frequently Answered Questions (tm).... More at: American Digest: Frequently Answered Questions: I


TERRORISM

Redrawing the Middle-East
The Situation in the Middle East in 2004 - Click for larger view === Note: This is a repost from a February 2, 2004 item -- American Digest: The Facts on the Ground

Sitting in the Same Room, Inhabiting Different Universes
FOR MANY YEARS I LABORED under the impression that being a columnist for the New York Times meant, at the very least, you were somewhere north of blood simple. But I was young and blood simple myself. Blood simple is, it would seem, part of the job description for many Times columnists. It may have something to do with the dyslexia of the Publisher or it may simply be post-mortem effects as the Times, having lost large chunks of circulation thanks to bias and bogus reporting that is woven deep into its corporate culture, strives to hang on to the true believers that are left it. In any case, one simply cannot take on all the blood simple pap that these scribblers spew. Life is too short and lunch is too long. Still, every so often, there's a real poser that creeps through the shields and lands on the retina with a resounding d'oh -- a hit, a palpable hit. Exhibit A from today is Bob Herbert's The Real Enemy Staring Us in the Face in which he is not referencing the mirror. MORE AT: American Digest: Sitting in the Same Room, Inhabiting Different Universes

Notes Made on 11 September 2001
Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07 Saw the first tower collapse from the Promeade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down. Military jets overhead every five minutes or so. Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles. Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water -- fully loaded. This is monstrous.... More at: American Digest: Notes Made on 11 September 2001

I try to become more cynical...
In the vein of trying to "become more cynical," I'd say that this country does not yet have it's game face on for what it really confronts. I'd say that this country is still happy to be having a busman's holiday of a "war on terror" that does not really involve 99.99% of the population in anything other than lip service, be it for or against. I'd say that we still have not, as a people, looked into the face of the monster that confronts us and taken the full measure of what defeating it may involve.... More at: American Digest: "I try to become more cynical every year, but lately I just can't keep up."

The Killing Father of Two
Try to imagine, if for only a moment, the insect mindset that gibbers and crawls behind the smiling and proud face above. He's getting ready to "live the dream," to 'Just Do It,' to launch himself on "a mission from God." His calling? To strap on a belt of explosives, kiss his two children on the forehead, bid his wife goodbye, and head downtown to kill Jews. Men, women, children, infants, babes in the womb .. it is all grist to the chittering insect soul of this man and his supporters and compatriots. Who is he? Why he is a "a man of God", an exponent of the religion of submission and peace. He is the father of two children, but that doesn't stop him from viewing other chidren as just so many vermin to be exterminated.... More at: American Digest: The Killing Father of Two

Plan? There Is No Plan.
Instead of the hundreds of thousands of people pictured walking across the bridges, we would have seen more running across the bridges in fear of their lives. Traffic, wedged as it was, would have become immovable. The tunnels to New Jersey and Long Island would have been overwhelmed by people on foot struggling to leave the city; to find refuge at home or anywhere else that was not in Manhattan. The panic, like the power failure, would have cascaded to the boroughs and the bedroom communities. The overall situation would have been a riot as big as the city itself where the stronger would seek to get to the front of the "save your life" line at all costs. Assuming you could muster the National Guard, they would be days away from controlling the situation in terms of basic logistics alone.... More at: American Digest: Running Home: Plan? There Is No Plan.

Killing Fields Witout Borders
If we have learned anything in the past century it is this: The longer genocidal tyrannies are allowed to exist the more lethal they become. When they can they expand their territory and export their virus of sadistic killing to any country that cannot stand against them. They feed on expanding populations. When they cannot expand, they turn inward and gnaw at the bones of their own people.... More at: American Digest: Killing Fields Without Borders

The War of Two Religions
Through the violent attacks of a Radical Islam, two religions have been brought into conflict. The first is that of Islam, a faith that at its core requires absolute submission from its adherents, and looks towards the subjugation of the world as its ultimate apotheosis. As the youngest of the monotheistic religions, Islam is at a point in its development that Christianity passed through centuries ago. And it is not with Christianity that Islam is currently at war. Islam is saving that for the mopping up phase of its current campaign. The religion that Islam has engaged is a much younger one, the religion of Freedom.... More at: American Digest: The War of Two Religions

Condition Orange Forever?
It is no longer a question of whether or not thousands or tens of thousands of Americans will die here upon our soil, it is a question of which Americans they shall be. If not this year, next year or the year after. It is a "when" not an "if." It will happen in a major city or a major suburb. Yours? Theirs? Near or elsewhere? No real sacrifice equal to that asked of our Armed Forces has yet been asked of American civilians. We have been left pretty much undisturbed in our urban stupor. But our day is approaching. The question of why our leaders have not "made America safe" from this day of reckoning is a fair one but the answer is a hard truth. They have not made America safe from the next catastrophic attack because we have not yet, as Americans, been ready for them to do so. Strange as it may seem, 3,000 of us slaughtered at their desks has not been enough to stir us. As a society we have become so sodden with peace and so frightened of history that we require more deaths among us before we can act. And so we shall have them.... More at: American Digest: Condition Orange Forever?

What It Would Take -- A Simple Scenario
In the wake of the Spanish outrage, an email asks what it would take for the global terrorists to take the next step in the United States.It turns out that, as in Spain, it wouldn't take much at all. Here's what you'd need and how it could be done. But it is just one way. There are many.... More at: American Digest: What It Would Take -- A Simple Scenario

Dear Sec. Rumsfeld, Regarding Your Memo
The stork brought me your memo on the Global War on Terrorism this morning. I don't know why but it seems that everyone in America received a copy of it -- either from the stork or cranked out on some illegal mimeograph machine and stuffed into the morning paper with a note attached that read "Courtesy of Bill and Hill, 2004. Smooches and Don't Stop Thinking About Tomorrow..." More at: American Digest: Dear Sec. Rumsfeld, Regarding Your Memo on The War

Autumn of the Mid-East Process Queens:
Over the years, the Process Queens who strut on the runway of the International Arena have made successful and comfortable careers out of "The Peace Process." As long as there is a "process" the vast establishment in the middle east and Europe and the United States that battens of the Neverending Peace Story has secure jobs and access to the fountain of funding from various sources. A Peace Settlement would close this showroom of Process Queens overnight and their next jobs would neither be as lucrative nor as fulfilling.... More at: American Digest: Autumn of the Mid-East Process Queens:

When the War on Terror Goes Wholesale
The terrorist mindset is no more to be admired or suffered to live than the flickering thought patterns that wink and die in the neural networks of a scorpion. Indeed, the scorpion may possess a higher kind of morality than a terrorist. The spider, at least, kills out of a need rather than a twisted compulsion. The spider, at least, does not know what death is.... More at: American Digest: When the War on Terror Goes Wholesale

These Clowns Set My Teeth On Fire
"Nobody, but nobody, outside of about 50 Islam-addled whackjobs high on burning donkey dung, would have been able to believe on September 10, that a cadre of crazed fanatics were going to hijack four airliners and drive them into three buildings and a field. "Nobody stopped it because nobody could imagine it other than those that did it, and those that ordered it done. It was, and is, an act of sheer evil so large and so outside the ability of a rational and civilized mind to entertain that we just couldn't see it coming. I resent that both of us have to sit here strapped into these drool cups and pretend somebody should have...." More at: American Digest: These Clowns Set My Teeth On Fire

Courage
Try to imagine, for only a moment, what those actions entail. Try to put yourself, if for only a moment, on the ground and in the boots of Capt. Chontosh. Try to envision what it is to walk down a trench filled with people whose only mission is to kill you. They number more than 20. You are one. They are all armed. You have one rifle and one pistol. When you run out of ammunition, you have to take up the arms of the enemy. You don%u2019t know if they are loaded or to what extent. But you keep going. In time, after you have killed 20 soldiers and wounded others, the shooting finally stops. Somehow, you are still alive. Somehow, your comrades are still alive. For now.... More at: American Digest: Courage

Wilsonian Dreams, Jacksonian Realities
The overarcing rules or policies of engagement are based on two long standing fantasies of the United States government, its military and its people. The first fantasy is that we can be victorious and still minimize casualties among our troops. The second fantasy is that we can be victorious and avoid any significant collateral damage. While either one of these fantasies alone might have some reality, both together add up to pure delusion. A delusion that flatters us and our vision of ourself as a kind and caring nation, but a delusion just the same. Our shared delusion is that, with enough planning and care, you can have a war where only the enemy dies; that you can have cake all around and on the house and the same cake tomorrow. A new American dream.... More at: American Digest: Wilsonian Dreams, Jacksonian Realities


WEB NOTES

New and Notable
MichaelYon-Online.com

DAILY AFFIRMATIONS FOR BLOGGERS
When I post under an assumed name or funky handle, I can get in closer touch with my Inner Sociopath. I have the power to channel my perceptions of my enemies into ever-soaring levels of suspicion and paranoia. I assume full responsibility for my posts, especially the good ones that are just links to someone else's. I no longer need to punish, deceive, compromise or reveal either the extent of my blogging or the URL of my secret blog where I post the truth about my co-workers' bodily functions. Unless, of course, I want to stay employed. At either Indymedia or Little Green Footballs, most of what I post would be considered normal. I honor my grammatical flaws, for without them I would have no writing style at all.
MORE AT: American Digest: DAILY AFFIRMATIONS FOR BLOGGERS


Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat
JOHN BATTELLE'S INSIGHTFUL ARTICLE Toward the Endemic: What's missing in PPC/Behavioral/Contextual Ad Nets has a lot to say about why advertisers and blogs just don't understand each other. More at: Why Blogs and Advertising Miss Each Other's Boat

Brain Jazz
We don't fill in a formula of departments and features every week, we're jamming. We just make up our content on the fly. No going back. No edits. Mainlining others thoughts. It's like an endless assortment of brain musicians high on brain jazz. If you can type and have something to say, you can sit in and jam. You can play. ANY NUMBER can play a number and that number is always an unknown number. But if you can play unknown numbers you can sit in on the session. If not, you can just login and kick back and watch the others go at it.... More at: American Digest: Brain Jazz Across the Decades

The Solitary CyberCrowd
Going online and being online are not solitary experiences. If they were, few would bother with them.Quite the contrary, online is a state that evolves from the wish not to be solitary. It arises from the desire to be "connected" on a new level of abstraction to others -- to their knowledge, their businesses, their tastes as they choose to reveal them, to their personalities as they choose to construct them. That's the draw to people who are online -- other people.... More at: American Digest: The Solitary CyberCrowd

When You're A Blog
I appreciate the longing for a kinder, gentler nation; for simpler times. for a world like yesterday but with broadband connections on the house. I just don't see it happening until a few very large issues spelled, for starters, "Korea," "Africa," "AIDS," "Globalism," "Global Freemarket Capitalism," "Global Terrorism," and "Global Thermonuclear War" are put to bed with visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads. Like Gay Marriage in the near and far term, Big Government is a done deal for the duration. A lot of people don't like it, but a lot more accept it than pine for its demise. And in a Democracy, numbers count.... More at: American Digest: When You're A Blog Every Blogging Pol Looks Like a Winner

Milking the Digital Divide
Joi Ito, a man who's been to lunch with everyone and everything online, and whose blog is becoming the society page for geeks, is on yet another mission to make the world safe for Technocracy. His cause this time out is the always widening, ever-threatening, yawning wider and seldom closing "digital divide..." More at: American Digest: Milking the Digital Divide

Raymond's Rules of Cosmic Order
Years of online communication with jef gave me some insight into the kind of personality that is either drawn to Unix and to programming, or is shaped by Unix and programming. I've come to believe it is a symbiotic relationship, at best. So, even though I can't code, I was interested to see what lay at the core of Raymond's Unix epic.... More at: American Digest: Raymond's Rules of Cosmic Order

Stop the Spaminsanity
The Zero-Spam Tolerance cult is just another manifestation of the Nanny Culture where individuals want someone, somewhere (aka "The Government") to solve their quite stupidly simple and simply stupid problems by "passing a law," "making a regulation," and then "enforcing it" across the World Wide Wimpdom. This from a group of users who can actually go in and wade through the process of correcting the Windows Registry? Simps and weaklings the lot of them. Cowboy up, dudes and dudettes!.... More at: American Digest: Stop the Spaminsanity

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"The truth is too holy, too sacred for words."

Former Marine and author Steven Pressfield put it this way in Gates of Fire:
What can be more noble than to slay oneself? Not literally. ... But to extinguish the selfish self within, that part which looks only to its own preservation, to save its own skin. ... When a warrior fights not for himself, but for his brothers, when his most passionately sought goal is neither glory nor his own life’s preservation, but to spend his substance for them, his comrades, not to abandon them, not to prove unworthy of them, then his heart truly has achieved contempt for death, and with that he transcends himself and his actions touch the sublime. That is why the true warrior cannot speak of battle save to his brothers who have been there with him. The truth is too holy, too sacred for words. Posted by: Donald Sensing


“The issue is now quite clear,”

said G.K. Chesterton on his deathbed. “It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.” -- The Rolling Road of Wonder
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"The infantryman hates shells more than anything else," Bill Mauldin wrote about the front lines in Italy.

His phrasing makes it sound like the men were expressing an aesthetic preference, like a choice among distasteful rations.
But "shells" weren't a few rounds of artillery floating in at odd intervals. They were deafening, unrelenting, maddening, terrifying. One fortified American position in the Pacific recorded being hit in a single day by 16,000 shells. In the middle of an artillery barrage hardened veterans would hug each other and sob helplessly. Men caught in a direct hit were unraveled by the blast, blown apart into shards of flying skeleton that would maim or kill anyone nearby. Afterward the survivors would sometimes discover one of their buddies so badly mangled they couldn't understand how he could still be breathing; all they could do was give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an "M" for "morphine" on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose. (One soldier marked with that "M" was Bob Dole, wounded in Italy in 1945; he wasn't released from the hospital until 1948.) Commanders came to prefer leading green troops into combat, because the veterans were far more scared. They knew what was coming. Losing the War - by Lee Sandlin


CONSUMER ALERT: 'CAN YOU HEAR ME' SCAMS

The scam begins when a consumer answers a call and the person at the end of the line asks, “Can you hear me?” The caller then records the consumer's "Yes" response and thus obtains a voice signature.

This signature can later be used by the scammers to pretend to be the consumer and authorize fraudulent charges via telephone. If you receive this type of call, immediately hang up. If you have already responded to this type of call, review all of your statements such as those from your bank, credit card lender, or telephone company for unauthorized charges. If you notice unauthorized charges on these and other types of statements, you have likely been a victim of “cramming,” the practice of placing unauthorized charges on a telecommunication subscriber's home or mobile telephone bill. - City of Palo Alto [HT: Dog @ Maggies]



C'est tout. Finis.End of show.

"Effective as of Dec. 31, 2017, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is repealed, and the provisions of law amended or repealed by such Act are restored or revived as if such Act had not been enacted." Is Mo Brooks Our Lord Brougham? | Roger’s Rules

An item published in The Lebanon Express, in 1893, describes state legislation introduced to combat “fake news.”

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Elvis: The (Very) Early Years

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Academic “scientists” are required to pledge allegiance to groupthink dogmas and political correctness

— things which should not be a part of a professional “scientists'” portfolio.
Modern educational systems have become an integral part of decadent mainstream culture, drawn to the celebrity mainstream. Such a “status culture” leads its adherents to cut corners in the quest for celebrity status. Woodpile Report


The absolute-zero cold statistical truth is the majority of terrorist attacks kill a majority of people in western civilization who voted this stuff in. Namely leftists.

It's hard to attack and kill conservatives in large numbers because those ignorant hick bastards are spread out over rural and suburbanite areas.
They don't congregate in downtown areas to "party." And the major metro centers with the richest targets for terrorists tend to have heavily dense populations of leftists. And while on a human side I do mourn the innocent worker in Mumbai, or the innocent tourist in the twin towers, on the whole I just can't give a fuck when the majority of people who are dying in these attacks are the ones who voted it in. And I REALLY can't give a fuck when for the past 30 years of my life these people are the ones who call me racist, sexist, evil, fascist and "privileged," blame me for all their problems, and likely hate me more than the terrorists themselves do. Captain Capitalism: Why I Just Don't Care About the London Attack


Clickbait: The Early Years

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“Socialism or Death”. Turns out Venezuela got both.

Venezuela After the Politics | Joel D. Hirst's Blog The politics has become for Venezuelans like an albatross; and folks are looking back to remember what it was like before with lamentations.
Days at the beach. Parties in their humble homes – to be sure they might not have had black label whiskey, but they did have beer. They might not have had imported salmon but they did have pernil and cachitos and arepas. But more than that they remember when their nation still had a soul – brotherly love to a measure – the pride in a beautiful country that didn’t come from its political prominence but from good baseball and beautiful Miss Universe contestants and lovely scenery; from the freedom of life lived for family and get-togethers and religious festivals that existed independent of the politics of the season. That’s the reason that we fight the socialism so much – that political ideology demands a monopoly on national life. It is in the shower with you, in your cereal in the morning and in your soup at night. It demands subservience; it demands thought and focus and action; it demands attention – even when your intention is to fight it. Venezuela learned this – and deconstructing the mess is proving to be hard. Totalitarian regimes have a reach that is not only broad but deep.


Customizing Grandma's Remote

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Another bright soul notices how awful The Big Bang Theory Has Become

This blog post is brought to you by a recent bad experience I had watching a 5-minute clip from Big Bang Theory on the recommendation of a friend who thought I might find it amusing.
Bleagh. This is supposed to be a show about geniuses? It’s not. It’s a show about a dimwit’s idea of what bright people are like. The slowest person in my peer group could out-think and out-create any of these sad-sack imitations of “smart” on any day of the week. These actors are not bright, and don’t know how to fake it on screen. How to act like you’re bright | Armed and Dangerous


And so say we all....

Did anybody else not pay any attention to what happened over the weekend?
I found myself uninterested in March Madness, couldn’t summon the energy required to watch the Sunday Showboats spout off on why RyanCare was a disaster for whoever they were opposed to, not in the mood for Donald J.Trump’s tweets and couldn’t even manage to get appropriately agitated about the black-hooded New World Order Obots who showed up at the Trump rally to pepper spray the attendees. MOTUS A.D.: Guaranteed 100% Gender-Fluid


A new category of cloud called the “undulatus asperatus.”

Earth’s newest cloud is terrifying - - Yesterday, on World Meteorological Day — nine years after the classification was first submitted — the World Meteorological Organization finally recognized Pretor-Pinney’s clouds in the updated version of the International Cloud Atlas, though the name has been tweaked to “asperitas.” They’re the first new addition to the Atlas in over half a century.

Is this an alien?

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Tardigrade in Moss
Probably not, but of all the animals on Earth, the tardigrade might be the best candidate. That's because tardigrades are known to be able to go for decades without food or water, to survive temperatures from near absolute zero to well above the boiling point of water, to survive pressures from near zero to well above that on ocean floors, and to survive direct exposure to dangerous radiations.


You remember the Democrats, don’t you?

They were the party who for decades would gaslight anyone concerned about Soviet communism
as being some paranoid dupe of propaganda, sneering at them coastal-elite-style as some low-info true believer in the “Red Scare.” Mind you, this was when Russians actually were infiltrating US government and media. It’s also when they were slaughtering millions of their own citizens and injecting psychiatric medication into anyone whose brain even dared to burp up the mildest “reactionary” thought. The Russian Deflection - Taki's Magazine


Because diversity is our strength.

On Wednesday, Khalid Masood, a Muslim convert,
rents a car in a town near Birmingham from an Enterprise rent-a-car shop sandwiched between a Staples and a beauty salon offering walk-in eyebrow waxing. Over a fifth of Birmingham is Muslim and by the time the bloodshed was over and Masood was in the hospital, police raided a flat over a restaurant advertising “A Taste of Persia”. Sultan Knish: A Week of Diversity and Terror


Lessons From Fahrenheit 451 for the Modern Day

“Cram them full of non-combustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.”| The Art of Manliness

“No, you cannot have it”

This is an iron law of economics. All goods and services are rationed. This is true for health care too. There are no exceptions to this law. Thus, the First Truth of Health Care: No health care plan or system can ever be taken seriously unless it addresses, up front, how it will say “No, you cannot have it” to people who want it. At some point, someone has to tell the patient they cannot have whatever it is they want or need. The Truth About Health Care



Black like... er, white like.... er, black like.... oh to hell with it crank that tanning bed up to 11! [Bumped]

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The story of Rachel Dolezal gets even more bizarre
“I’d stir the water from the hose into the earth … and make thin, soupy mud, which I would then rub on my hands, arms, feet, and legs,” Dolezal writes. “I would pretend to be a dark-skinned princess in the Sahara Desert or one of the Bantu women living in the Congo … imagining I was a different person living in a different place was one of the few ways … that I could escape the oppressive environment I was raised in.”


As I sit in my study and write this by the light of an incandescent bulb

I'm very appreciative of electric lighting. My father grew up before rural electric coops brought light into farm homes.
The marvel of lighting a room with the flip of a switch wasn't lost on him. Nor on me. I hadn't heard of this Earth Hour thing before. Too bad it takes something as contrived as this seems to be to remind us of the pleasure and mystery of darkness at night.

I live in rural Minnesota, about three miles from the nearest town. The ambient glow of lighting is dim but ever present. But I am fortunate that the starry welken isn't overpowered by it. On a clear night the sky here is astounding. I'm truly sorry for those of you who don't get it. Darkness and silence are two of the scarcest commodities on earth.

The problem is not that we are able to have lighting where and when we want it. The problem is the wretched excess of lighting where and when we don't need it. Look out the window the next time you fly at night. Almost everywhere, even in the middle of the night, our world is glowing. You will see acres of empty parking lots lit up brighter than a high school football field on Friday night.

Where I live even abandoned farms have multiple security lights burning from dusk to dawn, a vestigial carry-over from when gypsies and hobos might steal a chicken or a fresh pie of the window sill. How thoughtlessly stupid.

I'm not going to get into climate change, global warming or energy consumption. I have opinions but no expertise, specialized knowledge or insights. What I do know is the pleasure of stepping outside in the middle of a July night and listening to the pulse a world that I can't see. The magic of sitting in a canoe in the Boundary Waters wilderness listening to the cries of loons announcing their presence on a moonlit lake The atavistic sensation of letting my feet find a path in the night woods.

If you don't know and don't care then its going to take more than an Earth Hour to enlighten you. Posted by: Snowgoose Earth Hour: Click to Fade @ AMERICAN DIGEST


Antonello da Messina: Portrait of a Man (detail), 1472-76

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The Cullinan Diamond:

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The nine largest stones after the rough Cullinan diamond was split

The largest gem-quality rough diamond ever found was cut into many pieces and dispersed, but all are now in possession of Queen Elizabeth II
The Great Star of Africa diamond is mounted on the Sovereign’s Scepter with Cross, and the Second Star of Africa, cut from the same rough diamond, is mounted on the Imperial State Crown. Both of these diamonds are part of the British Crown Jewels. Seven more major diamonds and ninety-six minor stones were also cut from the original rough diamond. All are owned by Queen Elizabeth II, who inherited them from her grandmother, Queen Mary.


“Billy, come now – his breathing has changed.”

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It has slowed to just three or four breaths per minute – long silences in between. He is no longer conscious. He is stretched out on his bed diagonally and looks comfortable.
Maurine, who has been at the side of many patients as they die, tells us this is the last phase, but that it could go on for many hours, days maybe. A little while ago, I looked around the room, crowded with bedsheets, towels, pads, medications, an oxygen tank and other medical equipment, and I began clearing it out, all of it. First, I brought in stacks of all of O’s books, cleared a bedside table, and put them there. I brought in a cycad plant and a fern. Kate joined me, and we cleared more space, making room on another table for some of O’s beloved minerals and elements, his fountain pens, a ginkgo fossil, his pocket watch. Elsewhere, a few books by his heroes – Darwin, Freud, Luria, Edelman, Thom Gunn – and photos – his father, Auden, his mother as a girl with her 17 siblings, his aunts and uncles, his brothers. We brought in flowers, candles. I am heartbroken but at peace. Last night, before getting some sleep, I came in to see if he needed anything. “Do you know how much I love you?” I said. “No.” His eyes were closed. He was smiling, as if seeing beautiful things. My life with Oliver Sacks: ‘He was the most unusual person I had ever known’ | Books | The Guardian


Joking or not, he isn’t wrong…

A gentleman at work, from Pakistan, was bewildered by the events reported from “Day Without a Woman.”
Taking a broader view of the protests leading up to it, and likely sputtering along afterward, he asked in a jocular sort of way if the United States is heading toward a new reality in which every single day is a “day of” something, with constant protesting by someone or another. Now I have to wonder, what am I supposed to say to that? House of Eratosthenes


When Earth's Last Selfie is Taken...

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15 Mid-Century Modern Dream Homes that will Kill Your Children

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Someone needs to call protective services on this place, because this stylish modern mother is too absorbed in her reading to notice that all her children have fallen into the living room garden. - - | projectophile

Coyote Gravity

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The spate of silly comparisons between Trump and the Mule from Asimov’s Foundation series are right in one respect.
Trump is an element that our social planners did not foresee. Not because of mutant mind-powers, but because of an intellectual blindspot on the part of those who thought they were charting the destiny of the nation. He couldn’t possibly win, they thought. Our media propaganda machine is just too strong, they thought. Now they’re scrambling to figure out how they got it so completely wrong. Or they should be. Instead, too many on the Left are doubling-down on the same kind of clueless snobbery and basket-full-of-deplorables rhetoric that cost them the election to begin with. The problem can’t be with them, oh no. It must The People who let them down. Instead of behaving like the good little Marxist automatons that they’re supposed to, they went and elected the Worst Candidate Ever, seeming embodiment of everything the Left despises capped off with an obvious toupee. Now after eight years of Hope and Change and post-racial utopias, it’s back to Amerikkka being the source of all evil in the world, with rich white male Christian Republicans at the root of it all. - - Christopher M. Chupik | According To Hoyt


Not a dog? Nothing to see here. Move on.

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We were raised to not be afraid,

to be responsible, and have the ability to handle our own problems.
We learned that the society we lived in had laws and we were taught to adhere to those laws or face the consequences. There were also the unspoken rules, respect your elders, hold a door open for the ladies, don’t hit girls, and don’t swear in front of Mom.

We lived by the rules, didn’t seem that difficult. Crossing Guards


There's a Wire Above Manhattan That You've Probably Never Noticed

It's hard to imagine that anything literally hanging from utility poles across Manhattan could be considered "hidden," but throughout the borough, about 18 miles of translucent wire stretches around the skyline, and most people have likely never noticed. It's called an eruv (plural eruvin), and its existence is thanks to the Jewish Sabbath.

On the Sabbath, which is viewed as a day of rest, observant Jewish people aren't allowed to carry anything—books, groceries, even children—in public places (doing so is considered "work"). The eruv encircles much of Manhattan, acting as a symbolic boundary that turns the very public streets of the city into a private space, much like one's own home. This allows people to freely communicate and socialize on the Sabbath—and carry whatever they please—without having to worry about breaking Jewish law. | Mental Floss



Lucky is better than smart. Luck is a kind of smart.

Then there was the neighbor kid that stuck all his ships in the middle of the board, all touching each other.
He didn’t have any strategy, and didn’t care what yours was. He’d just guess, and his guessing was better than your strategy. Once he had you, you were done, because subterfuge doesn’t work on people that don’t use it on their end. Pointing and Laughing at Your Defeated Opponent. It’s the American Way – BSBFB


We shall pile wood upon our living room bonfire and line the walls with asbestos!

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Because lighting domestic demographic fires is a religious form of noblesse oblige
and every Western leader keeps striking the match while making sure it’s some other poor fuck who ends up in a hearse. And that’s not cheap. A massive security apparatus must be erected and maintained as a prophylactic to prevent important people from being burned and unimportant people from complaining about it. The Virtue Inferno | The Kakistocracy


Such events have by this point almost become unworthy of the 12 hours media organs now allocate to them.

The blood of invasion victims striking the pavement is starting to take on the narcoleptic patter of rainfall.
That it is a thing of gruesome regularity makes it no less regular. And eventually muslim violence in Europe will attract as much publicity as black violence does in America–which is to say two sentences on page 12.

The logic isn’t entirely unsound. The news is for things that are actually news. And Europeans being slaughtered in their own capital cities by foreign infantry is not at all novel, in this age or those prior. The fact that this time they’ve voluntarily imported (and resolutely continue to import) their antagonists is the noteworthy aspect. Though not so much as to warrant the public’s input. - - The Virtue Inferno | The Kakistocracy


The Useful and the Useless

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Among the analyses of the election, few noted an obvious dividing line.
Trump’s supporters by and large do useful things, or are angry because they’re prevented from doing useful things. They build, engineer, manufacture, plant, grow, operate, maintain, repair, transport, and sell the things we find useful or essential.

When we ram the iceberg, their skills, brains, and adaptability will be sorely needed. Politicians and bureaucrats and the millions dependent on them for their fake jobs, income, food, shelter, transportation, and medical care will find little demand for their skills, such as they are.

The useful may well conclude that keeping them alive is more trouble than it’s worth.

There will be those who are too young, old, or infirm to produce, but whom the useful will support out of friendship or kinship. However, it would be surprising if they felt anything but contempt for the faceless hordes demanding that someone, anyone, take care of them.

Take away the undeserved from the undeserving and you get a tantrum. Steal the earned from those who earned it and you get righteous rage. One’s a firecracker, the other a volcano. by Robert Gore @ STRAIGHT LINE LOGIC


Attacked Again

For some reason, there is a great reluctance to discuss the link between terrorism and immigration.
Instead, we get appeals not to blame Muslims for a few bad or mentally ill people in their midst.

So much mental illness these days.

Next will come candles, a hashtag, someone will pull off a girl’s headscarf and Islamophobia will become the story.

You can make planes secure, but not the queues to go through security.

You can bring in laws to restrict gun ownership, but terrorists use cars or lorries as weapons.

You can surround Parliament with armed policemen, but you can’t prevent people from using nearby streets or bridges. Or if you do so you just move the security barrier farther away. Eventually you have to make national borders a tight security barrier. Unless you are part of Schengen or believe, as Hillary and Bill Clinton do, in a borderless world. - - Paul Wood


The questions for South Africa are a) How long before the blacks decide it is time to kill all the whites,

b) How many blacks will the whites be willing to kill in order to survive? and c) How will the West respond?
The most likely answer to the first question is soon. Zuma will follow the Mugabe formula and keep ratcheting up the violence incrementally. Given that he is the moderate at the moment, he will play the triangulation game where he will promise to hold off the more insane elements of the black leadership, in order to get concessions from the white population. This will roll along until Zuma is killed, or decides he has to go for it in order to maintain his position. South Africa | The Z Blog


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The journalists have constructed for themselves a little wooden chapel, which they also call the Temple of Fame, in which they put up and take down portraits all day long and make such a hammering you can't hear yourself speak. - - Lichtenberg



Pray for Sanity: "Because they can’t run you over, if you don’t let them in."

Pray that your government doesn’t decide to open the borders to as many migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and any other terror state as can make their way over.
Pray that the next government doesn’t do it either. And pray that if it does, they don’t move in near you. Because they can’t run you over, if you don’t let them in. They can’t stab you while shouting, “Allahu Akbar” if they never get a visa. They can’t shove you into the water, if they get deported. They can’t blow you up if they can’t get in. Pray that the local diplomats actually do some basic checks of the visa application for the next terrorist showing up at the local consulate. Pray that they do a better job than they did before September 11. - - Sultan Knish


The Haunting Face of a Man Who Lived 700 Years Ago

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He was just slightly over 40 years old when he died.
His skeleton showed signs of considerable wear-and-tear, so he likely lead a tough and hard working life. His tooth enamel stopped growing during two occasions in his youth, suggesting he likely lived through bouts of famine or sickness when he was young. The archaeologists found traces of blunt force trauma inflicted to the back of his head, which healed over before he died. The researchers aren’t sure what he did for a living, but they think he was a working-class person who specialized in some kind of trade. - - Gizmodo


The Obama people started spying on Trump once he had the nomination or perhaps even earlier.

They may have started earlier with an eye on helping the Republicans knock him off in the primary, but that’s not clear.
They figured that Clinton was a lock so they were not careful about covering their tracks. The Clinton people are as dirty as it gets so they were not going to be ratting on anyone over it. If anything, they would expand on it. This is where the Russian hacking story comes into the picture. Once disaster struck and Team Obama realized they had a problem, they needed cover, so they started with the Russian hacking nonsense. They would then claim that it was all an accident and they were just trying to prevent Boris Badenov and Natasha Fatale from attacking our democracy! It’s also why Obama signed a retroactive Executive Order giving cover to the intel agencies for their domestic spying activities. They were creating a cover story. The Political Class Murders Itself | The Z Blog


Implement the nuclear option and completely eliminate the filibuster immediately.

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The filibuster only works if you have the balls to make it benefit your side and it seems that only Democrats and Newt possess such a pair.
Once it’s gone we can “Repeal and Replace” Obamacare and confirm Neil Gorsuch to SCOTUS within a week. Then we can move on to pass tax reform, build the border wall, actually reform immigration (I’m not talking amnesty or any of the amnesty-light plans), fix our bad trade deals and Make America Great Again! All this year! MOTUS A.D.: What’s So Hard About Repeal and Replace


Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802 by William Wordsworth

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Earth has not anything to show more fair:

Dull would he be of soul who could pass by

A sight so touching in its majesty:

This City now doth, like a garment, wear

The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,

Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie

Open unto the fields, and to the sky;

All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.

Never did sun more beautifully steep

In his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill;

Ne'er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!

The river glideth at his own sweet will:

Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;

And all that mighty heart is lying still!

Coming Soon to a City Near You, YES YOU:

French Muslim tries to drive a car into a crowd in Antwerp |
A French -Tunisian has been arrested after trying to drive a car loaded with liquid gas, assault rifles and knives into a crowd of shoppers in Antwerp in an attempted terror attack. Belgian police, who confirmed the bomb squad had been sent to the area, said the car was being driven at high speed and that pedestrians had to jump out of the way to avoid being injured.Authorities found knives, a shotgun and a gas can with an unknown liquid in the car prompting officers who usually deal with extremist attacks to take over the case.


From time to time I'm called simple minded.

I take it as a compliment and thank my accuser for noticing.
Few things are as complicated as they're made out to be. Examples: before ObamaCare there was no ObamaCare. Duh. It made things worse. Repeal it and make things better instantly.

Nullify and denounce every federal, state and municipal gun control act, law and regulation ever passed, including the commerce clause stuff. The Constitution prohibits government from interfering, in any way, with our right to keep and bear arms. So stop doing it.

And illegal aliens. They have to go. It's the law. Don't like it? Change the law. Until then it's the will of the people, duly enacted. Either enforce it or stop saying 'representative democracy' and 'rule of law'. => Insert "it's not that simple" and pictures of baby seals here <=. Woodpile Report


The world has lost a truly great entomologist, perhaps its greatest collector of beetles, with the death of David A. Rockefeller

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on Monday at the age of one hundred and one, among the cabinets of his specimens at Pocantico Hills: each impeccably labelled and mounted.
Rockefeller’s dwarfed the collections of Darwin and Wallace, the accumulated stores in Oxford University, the holdings of natural history museums in many sizeable European countries. At the age of seven, this young David discovered his calling — or was called, by an elegant, an elongate Parandra, glittering dark caramel, the full inch long, with its formidable pinching mandibles. It was trespassing in the foliage on his father’s estate. Veritably, a Parandra brunneus. Bravely lifting it by its sides, the lad dropped it into a bottle, the first of his hundred thousand catches, by one means or another. The rest is silence : Essays in Idleness


How America’s Obsession With Hula Girls Almost Wrecked Hawai’i

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In ancient hula, the movements were secondary to the poetry or songs being chanted, which were known as mele.
“Hula was the history book, children’s literature, and sacred text of a people with no written language,” Hale writes in The Natives Are Restless. “It maintained the relationship between gods and mortals. It preserved the greatness of the chiefly lines. It honored the race and encouraged procreation, and it traced the subtleties of the natural world: the rolling of waves onshore; the tumbling of waterfalls; the distinctions between tropical mists, showers, and rains.” According to Hale, the hula “is said to have originated with the goddess Laka, who is identified with hula, fertility, the forest, and various blossoms and ferns.” Before performing their ritual, the dancers would build an altar to Laka in the sacred space known as a hālau, a long meeting house where Hawaiians would also study canoe-making, featherwork, and other traditional arts. | Collectors Weekly


Facebook and Google, so the saying goes, make their users into their products

—the real customer is the advertiser or data speculator preying on the information generated by the companies’ free services.
But things are bound to get even weirder than that. When automobiles drive themselves, for example, their human passengers will not become masters of a new form of urban freedom, but rather a fuel to drive the expansion of connected cities, in order to spread further the gospel of computerized automation. If artificial intelligence ends up running the news, it will not do so in order to improve citizen’s access to information necessary to make choices in a democracy, but to further cement the supremacy of machine automation over human editorial in establishing what is relevant. Why Nothing Works Anymore - The Atlantic


Testicle Festival

American Legion's Testicle Festival urges you to 'come have a ball' | Rau said the Legion will start serving dinner around noon "until they run out of nuts." Beer and mixed drinks are $2 a pop and there is no cover charge. "You get baked beans, coleslaw and a roll with dinner, plus the nuts and the gizzards," Rau said. "They taste like chicken."

There’s also something called The Sapien Paradox, which means, why did humans become smart so late?

We know that the human brain evolved to its current state about 60,000 years ago.

It took 50,000 years for humans to figure out agriculture. Over the last 10,000 years, humans developed symbolic concepts like notions of value, number and measure. Abstract social concepts like status and power, along with the symbols associated with them are, relatively speaking, very recent developments.Space Aliens & Talking Monkeys | The Z Blog



If you want to know how successful something will be on the internet, judge it solely on how creepy it is.

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The creepier and more degenerate it is, the more likely it is to prosper....
Twitter is really, really creepy. Uber was creepy long before you found out exactly how it was creepy. The only human thing about anyone who worked there was their hamhanded attempts to grope the help, now that I think of it. When that's the top of your interpersonal heap, Dante Alighieri should write your yearly reports. Facebook, and the avaricious little twerp that runs it, is the creepiest thing I've ever encountered on this world, and I've renovated apartments that had a dead body in them. Google is creepy turtles, all the way down.Sippican Cottage: Chef, Or The Greater Creep Theory of Internet Success


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Cooking for Him [Bumped]

What interests me more is that its men who seem to be doing most of the cooking.
Recent research actually showed that men like cooking more than women; probably because it appeals to the male tendency to like goal-oriented tasks and building. But its also possible that a generation of women raised to think any traditionally female role is demeaning, oppressive, and inferior have been trained to think of cooking as bad. Word Around the Net: Food in the New Century


Got a Tumblr Takedown Lawyer's Letter on This KA-CHING item

Dear Tom Hanks, It must be nice to be able to afford a $26 Million shack and a lawyer to scour the Internet to hide your extravagance.

KA-CHING! • The Green Mile of Green Bullshit: Environmentally The Green Mile of Green Bullshit: Environmentally Conscious Actor Buys $26 Million, 14,500 Square Foot, 5 Bathroom House : The Powers That Be In yet another story trying to pin down the biggest home sale of 2009, the LA Times reports that Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson (no, that headline is not a Cast Away joke) have set an early benchmark in the 2010 contest. Last month they bought New York-based Gwathmey Siegel & Associates’ San Onofre Residence in Pacific Palisades, from producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall, for more than $26 million.

Fuck you. Go bother somebody with money.
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Overthinking Eternity

“I fear that eventually throughout eternity
I will eventually reach a point where I have experienced everything, learned everything, done everything, met everyone, and eventually I am gonna be stuck being bored of being in existence, but I’m gonna have no way out no matter how much I want it to be so,” apeirophobia sufferer Paul wrote. Apeirophobia - The Fear of Eternal Life and Infinity


They'd prefer the exact kind of bad they're sure to receive to an outside chance of better.

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Why do people eat at McDonald's?
It's because they know exactly what they're going to get, and what it's going to cost. There are no surprises. Well-to-do people sneer at McDonald's because they don't understand the concept of no do-overs. Their budgets allow them to experiment. Regular people know they have one shot, so they take no chances. They'd prefer the exact kind of bad they're sure to receive to an outside chance of better. This explains second presidential terms as well. Sippican Cottage: Getting Fresh and Familiar


There is the world dimensional

for those untwisted by the love of things irreconcilable...- - Hart Crane



Hix Nix Starbuckx Pix

Hire 10,000 Refugees? Americans BFYTW.
The Backlash Against Starbucks Is Real, And It Isn't Going Away For comparison, McDonald’s customer happiness has averaged around 67-69% consistently. This means Starbucks went from 4-5 points better than McDonald’s to 3 points worse, which means poor comparisons for the company. Even worse, it’s the kind of data we see when consumers are in the process of making behavioral shifts that could have lasting impact on same store sales and revenue reports into the future.


New 'Safe Space' Guidelines at University of Arizona Treat Students Like Preschoolers

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"If a student feels hurt or offended by another student's comment, the hurt student can say ‘ouch,'" the university said. "In acknowledgment, the student who made the hurtful comment says ‘oops.'" - Washington Free Beacon [HT– Knowledge is Power]

Tales from the Steroid Bunker

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The Power and the Gory Bronx Banter“Once I was on Hempstead Turnpike, on my way to the gym, when some guy in a pickup gave me the finger.
That’s it, lights out. I chased him doing ninety in my new Corvette, and did a three-sixty in heavy traffic right in front of him. I jumped out, ripped the door off his truck, and caved in his face with one punch. The other guy in the cab, who had done nothing to me, jumps out and starts running down the divider to get away from me. I chased him on foot and was pounding the shit out of him on the side of the road when the cops pulled up in two cruisers. ‘Michalik, get outta here, ya crazy fuck,’ they go, ‘this is the last goddamn time we’re lettin’ you slide.’” .... The bad news, said the surgeon after a battery of X-rays, was that Michalik would never walk again. The good news was that with a couple of operations, the pain could be substantially mitigated. Michalik told him to get the fuck out of his room. For months he lay in traction, refusing medication, and with his free arm went on injecting himself with testosterone, which had with him in a black bag at the time of the accident, and which the hospital had so thoughtfully put on his bedside table.


So just what does “failed” billionaire mean? And how do I become one?

Some of their words make sense but simply don't compute, as when the Liberals describe President Trump as a “failed billionaire.” The man flew everywhere in his own 757, he owned golf courses and hotels all over the world and before he moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, lived in in a gold-encrusted four-story penthouse atop the gleaming skyscraper he owned overlooking Central Park. Articles: Shrugging Off the Liberal 'Resistance'



Malibu sure loves them some slaves

Malibu becomes a sanctuary city — in solidarity with its gardeners, cooks and others in the U.S. illegally Malibu is about 92% white and one of L.A. County’s wealthiest cities. Everyone agrees the city has workers who are not authorized to be in the United States, and they tend to serve the food at upscale eateries, clean the beachside mansions, look after children and keep the landscaping looking lush.



Dinner consisted in a succession of complicated small things,

with microscopic ingredients and contrasting tastes that forced you to concentrate as if you were taking some type of exam.
You were not eating, rather visiting some type of museum with an affected English major lecturing you on some artistic dimension you would have never considered on your own. There was so little that was familiar and so little that fit my taste buds: once something on the occasion tasted like something real, there was no chance to have more as we moved on to the next dish. Trudging through the dishes and listening to some b***t by the sommelier about the paired wine, I was afraid of losing concentration. I costs a lot of energy to fake that I was not bored. In fact I discovered an optimization in the wrong place: the only thing I cared about, bread, was not warm. It appears that this is not a Michelin requirement. Only The Rich Are Poisoned: The Preference of Others – INCERTO – Medium


The environmentalist utopia, in which by 2030 or 2050 or 2100 all or most energy comes from solar power and wind power?

If leftists were serious about reducing CO2 emissions without inflicting energy poverty on the developed and developing world alike,
they would favor temporarily switching from coal to lower-carbon natural gas, while rapidly building zero-carbon-emission nuclear power plants, whose limited risks would surely be tolerable if the alternative is catastrophic global warming.But no, natural gas is evil and nuclear energy is evil. Solar power and wind power are good, even though realistically they cannot be scaled up to meet present and future global energy demands. Most environmentalists are not open to debate on energy. They are crusaders who view hydrocarbons and nuclear power the way the old Prohibitionists viewed alcohol. There can be no compromise with sin. The Fantasy Worlds of Politics | The Smart Set


I’m Not Stuck in a Liberal Bubble Anymore Because I Just Watched All Five Seasons of Friday Night Lights

They’re not all that different from us.
They like football like we like Hamilton. They eat barbecue while we eat artisanal bagel hybrids. They revere Panthers’ players the way we revere Elizabeth Warren. They keep indoor furniture on the lawn and patio furniture in the living room, while we tend to do the opposite. No one lifestyle is better than the other; they’re simply different. - McSweeney’s Internet Tendency


One More Reason We Should Carpet-Bomb American Colleges & Universities

"It may be objected that parents' desire to have their own biological children is so strong that they would be blind to the public good, that they would have babies and bring them up in secret.
But those babies would not have birth certificates, they would not be citizens, they could not vote, serve in public office and so forth. If discovered, the children might be taken away after the strong bonds of psychological (as opposed to biological) parenthood had been formed. Few Americans would risk these penalties." Never Yet Melted »


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