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"All the good ones are taken."- Harris


Some say that snow is sleep. I say
That snow is but the rest
Of clouds upon earth's surface laid
To soothe the forest's breast,
To calm the souls that linger there
Beneath an age of leaf
That hides within it's brindle flesh
Whole galaxies of seed.

Some say that snow is chill. I say
That snow is but a shawl
Draped over stones of silence,
That such silence shelter all.
And in such silence seal within
The brook beneath the glass,
That when the spring shall set it free
All dreams to sea shall pass.

Some say that snow is death. I say
That snow is but the prayer
Said when soul in winter's glade
Calls the body from its lair,
To stand within the last of light,
Becoming less than air,
To leave behind what came before
In the shadows dawn prepares.

Vanderleun : January 28, 15  |  Your Say (33)  | PermaLink: Permalink

In State Dept.: Beheadings not "religious" Donald Sensing notes: "It is becoming impossible to satirize this administration any more because it keeps outpacing my satiric abilities. For example:"


The "@stengel" creature is the "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs" and spends a lot of time sucking up to John Kerry who spends a lot of time sucking up to Obama who spends a lot of time sucking up to Islam. Hence, he's low man on that daisy chain.

Still, it is illuminating to see the amount of intellectual sewage these professional sewage guzzlers will spew. Toadies like Stengel would need a white hot bullet in the center of their forehead to clear their minds about the relationship between Islam and terrorism.

Not seeing what is smacking you in the face seems to be a hallmark of those who Davos up these days.

The brilliant Richard Fernandez notes this disease and its lethal effects: Anyway the Islamist enemy, as per our intellectual establishment, doesn’t even exist.

“You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists,” former DIA Chief Michael Flynn told a conference in Washington. Flynn:
[Flynn] said the administration is unwilling to admit the scope of the problem, naively clinging to the hope that limited counterterrorist intervention will head off the ideological juggernaut of religious militancy. “There are many sincere people in our government who frankly are paralyzed by this complexity,” said Flynn, so they “accept a defensive posture, reasoning that passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.”
Enemies, shenemies. We don’t want to get into “winning” and “losing”. We want to play the Davos game. If only they would too. But in fairness it’s not just the administration that thinks like this. Passivity has now become the ethos of our civilization. Robert Beckhausen at War is Boring writes that 44 Filipino police officers are dead because the Philippine government didn’t want to defend itself because it might break the ceasefire.

I wonder what it will take to break the West's tacit ceasefire with Islam. Hundreds dead in "lone wolf attacks" on various shopping malls on some fine Sunday afternoon? Three thousand dead from flying airliners into skyscrapers? A hundred thousand dead in an American city incinerated by a Nork or Iranian nuclear weapon hidden in a shipping container and triggered by a $20 cellphone?

Whatever it will take you can be sure that on the day after there will still be government sewage guzzlers insisting that these acts have "nothing to do with Islam."

gerardvanderleun : January 28, 15  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

American Studies

Or, "The Ninja Nibbler of the Night"


As a friend of mine recently pointed out, "Women shop. Men resupply."

Too true. Whenever I find myself in one of our current Cathedrals of Food (AKA: "Whole Foods -- Why Pay Less?"), I don't buy meals, I buy components. Though I've lived alone for some time, I buy like I'm supplying a small tribe. I've tried to control this by selecting the "little" cart. You know, that half-pint shopping vehicle, that grocery Miata, that let's you believe you're not really buying as much as you are. It doesn't work. I come home, unpack my "kills" -- at about $69 a bag -- and mumble, "Who's going to eat all this?"

House guests are the God's answer to "Who's going to eat this?" They are. That's okay. I love to cook for people. I'm good at it and it gets boring cooking for one; expensive too since I loathe leftovers.

Problems return when your house guests are stealth eaters. You know who I mean. Yes, you. Stealth eaters never, ever overeat -- except on the sly. They are the Merrill's Marauders of the post-midnight refrigerator.

Ordinary stealth eaters can be dealt with because the damage done by their pillage is obvious. You had half of a banana cream pie in the frig at sunset but by dawn it is gone. Vanished. Evaporated. Kaput. Never to be heard from again. Not so much as a ransom note, just a crumpled tin husk folded and stuffed down the side of the garbage bag beneath the camouflage of a crumpled milk carton.

Not pleasing, especially when you were planning on banana cream pie for breakfast. Still you suck up your sorrow, move on, and resupply.

No so with the worst sort of stealth eater -- the dreaded food eroder.

The food eroder is so stealthy he or she can even conceal their eating from themselves. The food eroder wishes to eat but not be seen eating nor to be known to have eaten. The food eroder can make your entire refrigerator into a Potemkin village where you think you have a LOT of food, but actually have almost none. A food eroder deals in cuisine disinformation.

Case in point:

Some weeks back I had a house guest. This house guest was a very careful eater -- someone cognizant of the fine points of nutrition; someone who knew the calories in a twice-baked potato down to the last bacon bit swimming in a dollop of sour cream. This nameless but shameless someone also had a finely tuned economic indicator and never met a leftover that was not loved, caressed, and consumed -- even when the original meal was lost to recorded history.

I once had a kind of grudging respect for this guest who was so much more disciplined about food than I could ever hope to be. But that was before I discovered -- after the guest's departure -- that I had been sharing my home and sacred refrigerator with a food eroder, a late-night Ninja nibbler.

You see, in order to fulfill my male mission of re-supply, I need to know what supplies are actually on hand. With a food eroder, this cannot be known since -- if you do not actually hand inspect every item in your larder -- you can never be sure of the quantity. What you can be sure of, I now know, is that a food eroder will guarantee you have less than you think.

The clearest example of this is -- as I have discovered today -- the most often decimated target of any self-respecting food eroder, ice cream.

About a month ago I noted that the house had no ice-cream in the freezer. This is not good -- especially should an after-midnight-ice-cream emergency break out while watching, say, "I Got the Hook-Up."

To prepare for such an emergency, and thus avert an ice cream crisis, I resupplied the freezer with a full half-gallon of French Vanilla. Since my house guest was looking a bit peckish at the time I offered to make a couple of sundaes (carmel sauce, shaved almonds, etc.). My guest gracefully accepted and the half gallon of ice-cream supply was reduced by perhaps a pint overall. This left around three pints. Such was the state of the ice cream three weeks ago at last check. Need for resupply? Negligible.

Fast forward to today when I was suddenly stricken with an ice-cream-emergency (While watching, yet again, "I Got the Hook-Up.") and staggered to the supply in the freezer. As I removed it I noted it felt strangely light for a container that should have contained about three-pints. You can only imagine my shock when upon opening it I discovered that it contained only about a half-inch thickness of ice cream covering the now far distant bottom.

But that was not the worst of it.

On closer examination, the surface of that razor-thin level of ice cream was scored by a series of small parallel grooves across it from side to side. It was as if somebody had gone back and forth over the ice cream with a teaspoon like a lawn mower.

I knew then I had been hit by the food eroder. I knew that, over several nights, my ice cream had be hit again and again and again.

Just a little this time. Just a little more that time. Then a bit again when the compulsion struck. And all, it was clear, in a shameful and furtive way as I slept.

This degradation probably went on and on until the food eroder could no longer avoid the terrible truth that nearly a half a gallon of ice cream had been consumed whilst standing at the refrigerator with spoon in hand. At that point shame overcame the eroder and the container was placed carefully back in the refrigerator so that it would appear to be undisturbed.

The food eroder escaped without ever having to face the shame. I'm off to resupply and thus avoid a post-midnight ice cream crisis. My only solace is that I know that the food eroder, now back home and faced with a refrigerator stocked only with the desiccating remnants of cantaloupe and celery is still having to walk an extra two miles every day in penance. Ice cream giveth, but ice cream doth not taketh away.

Meanwhile, my stock is back to normal. But I am taking steps to avoid future shock. I'm installing a state of the art motion-sensing alarm on the refrigerator instead of my previous sign that said, "Too late. Already here."

[Republished because..... because.... because.... The Food Eroder has returned. This time with teeny-tiny storage units. ]

Vanderleun : January 27, 15  |  Your Say (27)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Proof -- Dateline: Moab, Utah Taken at Site

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vanderleun : January 26, 15  | PermaLink: Permalink

Then: In June, 1965 it begins its journey...

The Riff

"Richards recorded the rough version of the riff in a hotel room. He ran through it once before falling asleep. He said when he listened back to it in the morning, there was about two minutes of acoustic guitar before you could hear him drop the pick and "then me snoring for the next forty minutes".

"The Rolling Stones first recorded the track on 10 May 1965 at Chess Studios in Chicago – a version featuring Brian Jones on harmonica. The group re-recorded it two days later at RCA Studios in Hollywood, with a different beat and the Gibson Maestro fuzzbox adding sustain to the sound of the guitar riff.

"Richards envisioned redoing the track later with a horn section playing the riff: "this was just a little sketch, because, to my mind, the fuzz tone was really there to denote what the horns would be doing." The other Rolling Stones, as well as producer and manager Andrew Loog Oldham and sound engineer David Hassinger eventually outvoted Richards and Jagger so the track was selected for release as a single. The song's success boosted sales of the Gibson fuzzbox so that the entire available stock sold out by the end of 1965." -- La Wik

Now: 50 years later it continues to rule its world....

"It sounded like a folk song when we first started working on it and Keith didn't like it much, he didn't want it to be a single, he didn't think it would do very well... I think Keith thought it was a bit basic. I don't think he really listened to it properly. He was too close to it and just felt it was a silly kind of riff... (We wrote it in) Tampa, Florida, by a swimming pool. Keith wrote the lick. I think he had this lyric, I can't get no satisfaction, which, actually, is a line in a Chuck Berry song called 30 Days... I can't get no satisfaction from the judge... (T)hat was just one line, and then I wrote the rest of it. There was no melody, really. - Mick Jagger, 1995

gerardvanderleun : January 25, 15  |  Your Say (10)  | PermaLink: Permalink

This image, captured with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, is the largest and sharpest image ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy — otherwise known as M31.

This is a cropped version of the full image and has 1.5 billion pixels. You would need more than 600 HD television screens to display the whole image.

It is the biggest Hubble image ever released and shows over 100 million stars and thousands of star clusters embedded in a section of the galaxy’s pancake-shaped disc stretching across over 40 000 light-years.

This image is too large to be easily displayed at full resolution and is best appreciated using the zoom tool available at this link: Sharpest ever view of the Andromeda Galaxy | ESA/Hubble

And then..... on the other end of the scale....

gerardvanderleun : January 25, 15  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

gerardvanderleun : January 23, 15  |  Your Say (12)  | PermaLink: Permalink


Bioluminescent bacteria occur nearly everywhere, and probably most spectacularly as the rare "milky sea" phenomenon, particularly in the Indian Ocean where mariners report steaming for hours through a sea glowing with a soft white light as far as the eye can see. -- The Bioluminescence Page

There is another world above this one; or outside of this one; the way to it is thru the smoke of this one, & the hole that smoke goes through. The ladder is the way through the smoke hole; the ladder holds up, some say, the world above; it might have been a tree or pole; I think it is merely a way. -- Gary Snyder- Through the Smoke Hole

These days she wakes before dawn. The sound of the automatic coffee grinder and its aroma is her alarm. Before first light 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 smoothed a bright white band across the slate sea.

Later, when he woke, she brought him out on the deck to see the place where she'd witnessed this strange antediluvian light show. After a few more minutes he noticed that, in the rising light, large patches of the sea were dark, as if secret islands had risen just beneath the surface. Secret until his 'compulsion to explain the mysterious' arose.

"It's most likely a large algae bloom," he claimed. "When it was dark and the algae was stirred up by waves, breaking combers probably excited and concentrated the algae. What you saw was bioluminescence."

"Bioluminescence," she said. "That's such a fine, soft word."

They watched the dark islands under the surface of the sea for awhile longer and he wished he'd seen the flashes in the pre-dawn dark.

Toward the end of his life, Carl Sagan wrote a book about how most of humanity still lives in a "demon-haunted world;" and how science drives us relentlessly out of the dark oceans of our ignorance until, like some stump-legged fish, we scramble gasping onto the thin, dry strands of our knowledge about the truth of this world.

One of those strands in his mind was 'knowing' that the miracle of rush lights within the ocean was caused by the phenomenon we label "bioluminescence."

Mystery seen, mystery solved.

Wonder summed by science, our youngest and most robust religion. A religion whose prime attraction is to transubstantiate the miraculous with the dependable; whose creed reverses the Eucharist by rendering the body and blood of God into bland bread and indifferent wine.

He'd long been a lay member of this fresh, muscular faith whose liturgies are written in arcane symbols of mathematics rather than arcane phrases of Latin. As a lay member and mere acolyte his understanding of science is as shallow as his faith in science is adamantine. He has worshiped the Saints Einstein, Darwin, Newton, and Bohr. He has believed that in time all will be known and, when all is known, all will be explained and all mystery resolved. He has not yet read The Testament of the Unified Field, but he hopes to before he dies and rejoins that Unified Field as empty matter glowing in the dark. Some of our current priests growing old in the quest assure him that he will. They currently hope to hunt Higgs-Boson to its burrow.

Yet still he wonders. Still he persists in his scientific heresy.

He wonders, "When we explain what we experience in life in the steel language of science, do we drive the mystery out or merely mix more mystery in?"

Sometimes he answers, "Perhaps neither. Perhaps what we do, through our relentless human need to explain, is to simply dive, as blindly as fish born deep below the light, ever deeper into the miracle. Perhaps we dive deep in the hope that the light from our minds and souls will, on some immensely distant day, grow large enough and bright enough to illuminate one crest of one wave rising once only out of the darkness. And that something, somewhere else in the immense darkness in which we dwell, will see our small fire and answer."


gerardvanderleun : January 22, 15  |  Your Say (10)  | PermaLink: Permalink


A 16th century view of North America in the Vallard Atlas

The scene above shows the second American map, which is of the East Coast of North America, and is one of the most significant of the Vallard Atlas. It is again oriented to the South and has the latitude markers and distance scales in the left and right margins. In the Atlantic, almost in the center of the map, is one beautiful ship, partially surrounded by compass roses, exuding rhumb lines.



But what makes this map particularly important is its display of the geographical information brought back from the New World by the expeditions of Jacques Cartier in 1534, 1535-1536, and 1541-1542. Detailed are the Gulf of St Lawrence and the St Lawrence River and some of the wilderness beyond them, discovered and explored by Cartier in search of the elusive Northwest Passage to the Orient and who gave Canada its name. The meticulous representation of the coastlines with their numerous inlets underscores Canada’s potential for fishing and trade. He also reported fully on the Indians of the many tribes that he encountered. Shown in the forests of the mainland in an exquisite, almost late Medieval manner are Cartier, his well armed explorer-colonists, and the winter fort of Sainte-Croix. The Indians, who clearly are overshadowed by the Europeans, also are present observing them, hunting deer, and warring with each other. In addition to the deer, other fauna such as dogs, bears, and possums or foxes are present as well.


Video about the Vallard Atlas and larger map if you

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gerardvanderleun : January 22, 15  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Impressive but a mere shadow of the balls of the original Lawn Chair Aviator:

"Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver[1] who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship. Dubbed Inspiration I, the "flying machine" consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California, into controlled airspace near Los Angeles International Airport. His flight was widely reported."

The Larry Waters Story:

"Now let me tell you about Larry Walters, my hero. Walters is a truck driver, thirty-three years old. He is sitting in his lawn chair in his backyard, wishing he could fly. For as long as he could remember, he wanted to go /up/. To be able to just rise right up in the air and see for a long way. The time, money, education, and opportunity to be a pilot were not his. Hang gliding was too dangerous, and any good place for gliding was too far away. So he spent a lot of summer afternoons sitting in his backyard in his ordinary old aluminum lawn chair - the kind with the webbing and rivets. Just like the one you've got in your backyard.

"The next chapter in this story is carried by the newspapers and television. There's old Larry Walters up in the air over Los Angeles. Flying at last. Really getting UP there. Still sitting in his aluminum lawn chair, but it's hooked on to forty-five helium-filled surplus weather balloons. Larry has a parachute on, a CB radio, a six-pack of beer, some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a BB gun to pop some of the balloons to come down. And instead of being just a couple of hundred feet over his neighborhood, he shot up eleven thousand feet, right through the approach corridor to the Los Angeles International Airport.

"Walters is a taciturn man. When asked by the press why he did it, he said: "You can't just sit there." When asked if he was scared, he answered: "Wonderfully so." When asked if he would do it again, he said: "Nope." And asked if he was glad that he did it, he grinned from ear to ear and said: "Oh, yes."

"The human race sits in its chair. On the one hand is the message that says there's nothing left to do. And the Larry Walterses of the earth are busy tying balloons to their chairs, directed by dreams and imagination to do their thing.

"The human race sits in its chair. On the one hand is the message that the human situation is hopeless. And the Larry Walterses of the earth soar upward knowing anything is possible, sending back the message from eleven thousand feet: "I did it, I really did it. I'm FLYING!"

"It's the spirit here that counts. The time may be long, the vehicle may be strange or unexpected. But if the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied to what there is close at hand, everything is still possible.

"But wait! Some cynic from the edge of the crowd insists that human beings still /can't really/ fly. Not like birds, anyway. True. But somewhere in some little garage, some maniac with a gleam in his eye is scarfing vitamins and mineral supplements, and practicing flapping his arms faster and faster."

-- From Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Waters, July 2, 1982

gerardvanderleun : January 21, 15  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

She was so happy to see him when he got back unexpectedly from his business trip that he snapped this picture of her joy.


Later it became exhibit A when he filed for divorce. Can you see why?

Answer if you should choose to...

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gerardvanderleun : January 21, 15  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink

American Studies


The Government's 100-Mile "Border" Zone - Map | ACLU
"This is what it means to me: Look for Waco-like events

followed by a cascade of smaller operations; show trials of prominent dissidents and Breitbarting of others; a blizzard of draconian regulations; confiscation of weapons and wealth; and rule through intimidation and Soviet-style terror. Expect successive waves of state-sponsored urban riots, deflation and inflation and revaluation, price controls, closing of international borders; internal travel restrictions, closing the internet to civilians, a fully captured news media ... Think Martial Law, Executive Orders, UN involvement. And that's the optimistic part. I don't think people understand what they're up against. Chasmatic @ Spillers of Soup: CONSTITUTION-FREE ZONE

gerardvanderleun : January 20, 15  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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gerardvanderleun : January 19, 15  |  Your Say (8)  | PermaLink: Permalink

So calm. So quiet. So considered.

As a friend of mine (and Porsche owner) once succintly explained it: "When the Germans make the cars, the rest of the world can just sit down."

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gerardvanderleun : January 19, 15  |  Your Say (11)  | PermaLink: Permalink


Harrison loves my country too,
But wants it all made over new.
He’s Freudian Viennese by night.
By day he’s Marxian Muscovite.
It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew.
He’s Puritan Yankee through and through.
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.

- - 1947

gerardvanderleun : January 18, 15  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Betsy, "Maga's Daughter," 1966

"On Andrew Wyeth’s 22nd birthday he ventured to Cushing, Maine to meet the artist Merle James but instead met James’ 17-year old daughter Betsy. Instantly smitten, he asked her to show him around town and she was more than happy to oblige. She thought “I’ll show him a real Maine building” and as something of a test took him to the Hathorne Point home of her friends Christina and Alvaro Olson.

Mrs. Andrew Wyeth 'Corner of Woods' 1954

"Throughout his life Andrew had a rather contentious relationship with women; indeed with anyone who didn’t in some way directly support his painting, but on that day in July 1939 he met what would become two of the most important women in his life.

Christina, 1967

"Christina Olson, who had an undiagnosed neuromuscular disease (likely polio) was reduced to crawling and urinating on stacks of discarded newspapers. Andrew however felt that “she was so much bigger than all the little idiosyncrasies.” and found her a symbol of fierce independance - an extraordinary conquest of life. The result of this friendship was Christina’s World, one of the iconic paintings of the 20th century.

Christina's World, 1948

"Christina’s death in January 1968 deeply affected Andrew and marked the end of a seminal two decade long period in his painting.

Siri Erickson

"Faced with a blank canvas – as it were – it was time for a reappraisal of his art. It was then that he met Siri, the daughter of the Cushing farmer George Erickson. Siri was exotic, untouched and had an electrifying effect on his work. “A burst of life,” he later said, “like spring coming through the ground, a rebirth of something fresh out of death.”

Siri, Sauna, 1969

"Wyeth painted Siri for ten years, until Betsy – worried that their relationship had turned sexual – put a stop to it. She told Andrew “If you do this again, don’t tell me.” Her request would have rather far-reaching consequences because Andrew had just met Helga."

Helga, 1972

-- Text from Codex99// Betsy, Christina, Siri and Helga

Marriage, 1993

Andrew and Betsy Wyeth, October, 2008.

The great men [ Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy] forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of an artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event. I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect—to score a hit—does not know what he is missing! Letterto Andrew fromhis father, the great illustrator N.C. Wyeth


gerardvanderleun : January 18, 15  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink


Long before the modern lie detector and its harmlessly jittering graphs and wires were invented, the superstitious and untruthful faced a much more severe fate between the jaws of the Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Fate, an ancient carving which is said to bite the hands off of liars.....

While the origin is up for debate the one unifying legend surrounding the stone carving is that if one were to stick their hand inside the disc's mouth and tell a lie, the rocky maw would bite the offending hand off. This belief seems to have originated during the Middle Ages when the disc was supposedly used during trials having the accused put their hand in the slot and if found to be untruthful a hidden axeman would lop off the appendage. While this use seems to be apocryphal, the superstition persists to this day. The Mouth of Truth, which now rests outside the doors of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, has been used as a whimsical lie detector in a number of movies and video games, most famously in the 1953 romance, Roman Holiday, in which the carving was a major plot device.
Via Atlas Obscura


gerardvanderleun : January 16, 15  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

American Studies


Hemingway and the Cocktail

Ernest Hemingway (21 Jul 1899 – 2 July 1961) was, among other things, a war correspondant, bullfighting aficionado, American expatriate, novelist, cat-fancier, fisherman, sub-chaser, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner and, for our purposes here, a rather serious drinker. Ernest, or Papa, began drinking as a teenager in his cub reporter days and continued, unabated, throughout his life. Toward the end of his life he was reportedly drinking the equivalent of a quart of whiskey a day.



Charles Baker, in his 1939 classic The Gentleman’s Companion included this drink prepared for him by Papa during a Jan 1937 visit to the author in Key West. Hemingway described it as a “picker-upper” Baker writes: “It’s tartness and its bitterness are its chief charm.” In other words – a typical Hemingway cocktail.
2 oz. Lucas Bols Oude Genever
4 dashes Angostura
1 lime
Add crushed ice to a thin tumbler.
Lace the ice with 4 dashes of Angostura.
Add the juice and crushed peel of 1 lime.
Nearly fill the tumbler with Genever.

gerardvanderleun : January 16, 15  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Map via VinePair

Larger image if you choose to....

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gerardvanderleun : January 16, 15  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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

The Blizzard of Oz. (Good test run for martial law.)

We have become a soft people. Kids once might walk great distances to school, men marched a hundred miles to fight bloody battles, and,

believe it or not, for most of history, no one had modern medical care. Now a winter storm means we hunker down as if a Viking raid is nigh. An even larger issue here is the safety-freak mentality sweeping our secular society and dominating the craniums of callow neo-communists coast to coast. It's reflected in Michelle Obama's food-Nazi agenda, the banning of trans fats and big sodas, child-seat and helmet laws, and the new commandment, "Thou shalt ensconce thy progeny in bubble wrap." .... Let's get something straight: in a supposedly free country, you don't tell people they can't travel because of some snow. (Good test run for martial law, though.)
-- American Thinker

Let's look around the world, and ask "Who is not an Islamophobe?"

The world is full to the rafters with Islamophobes.

I wonder if the people slaughtered at Charlie Hebdo and in the kosher market had a bout of Islamophobia just before the AK rounds put an end to those thoughts? What the about people in the Westgate Mall in Nairobi or in the villages of Nigeria? Guess what? Huge numbers of Islamophobes live lives of utter misery and horror in the Islamic world. I lived for years in Muslim countries, and met countless Muslims terrified of Islam, especially women and budding intellectuals. Let us not forget that in the long and bloody history of the Religion of Peace, the greatest number, by far, of Islam's victims have come from the ranks of Muslims. Nobody massacres Muslims as frequently and as copiously as do other Muslims following the dictates of Islam.
The question, however, and in truth, that we should be examining is not "Who fears Islam?" Everybody does. Yes, everybody, or at least any person who has the capacity for rational thought. It is not whether we fear Islam, but what are going to do about the threat that it poses.
The DiploMad 2.0: Islamophobia


Flip Your Steaks Multiple Times For Better Results

Flipping your steak often during grilling or pan-searing will result in the best, most evenly cooked meat.
Okay, it's probably not a big spoiler to anyone around here anymore. But it's the why that really make the statement interesting. We multi-flippers are a sad, often-marginalized lot. Mocked at backyard cookouts. Disparaged on internet forums. Made fun of to our faces when we express our belief that nervously flipping your meat as often as every 30 seconds will not only NOT ruin it, but will actually improve it.
-- Serious Eats

Leftists of the Right

The conservative may be friendly and kind.

He may support a progressive shibboleth or two like “gay marriage” or legalized abortion. He may even be speaking as a black, homosexual, or Jewish conservative. No matter to the leftist — anything short of total memetic submission is unacceptable. Until the conservative walks, talks and thinks like the leftist, he is holding back the cause of progress, and must be destroyed. In frank terms, the leftist wants the conservative assimilated — or dead.
| Ara Maxima

The day they took the Cheese out of Cheez Whiz

Southworth had been part of the team that created Cheez Whiz in the early 1950s.
The mission had been to come up with a speedy alternative to the cheese sauce used in making Welsh rarebit, a popular but laborious dish that required a half-hour or more of cooking before it could be poured over toast. It took them a year and a half of sustained effort to get the flavor right, but when they did, they succeeded in creating one of the first megahits in convenience foods. Southworth and his wife, Betty, became lifelong fans and made it part of their daily routine. “We used it on toast, muffins, baked potatoes,” he told me. “It was a nice spreadable, with a nice flavor. And it went well at night with crackers and a little martini. It went down very, very nicely, if you wanted to be civilized.”
So it was with considerable alarm that he turned to his wife one evening in 2001, having just sampled a jar of Cheez Whiz he’d picked up at the local Winn-Dixie supermarket. “I said, ‘Holy God, it tastes like axle grease.’ I looked at the label and I said, ‘What the hell did they do?’ I called up Kraft, using the 800 number for consumer complaints, and I told them, ‘You are putting out a goddamn axle grease!’ ”
| National Post

The Japanese: "Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?"

And now the skirt with lights underneath to illuminate the thighs. The "Hikaru Skirt"Absolutely region expansion plan "shiny skirt" "By light, from the inside of the skirt, In light the absolute area, Emphasizes the mysterious space, Whatever is leap to Sunlight area."

Davos Man Needs to Be Extinctified

Convening to ring the alarm about global warming, our putative betters and would-be rulers gathered in Davos, Switzerland, filling the local general-aviation hangars with some 1,700 private jets.

Taking an international commercial flight is one of the most carbon-intensive things the typical person does in his life, but if you’re comparing carbon footprints between your average traveler squeezed into coach on American and Davos Man quaffing Pol Roger in his cashmere-carpeted intercontinental air limousine, you’re talking Smurfette vs. Sasquatch. The Bombardier’s Global 6000 may be a technical marvel, but it still runs on antique plankton juice. The emissions from heating all those sprawling hotel suites in the Alps in winter surely makes baby polar bears weep bitter and copious baby-polar-bear tears.
Davos’s Destructive Elites

The Temperature at Which Global Warming Freezes

And walking along a path in the Ramble, I heard a woman lecturing her children on the dangers of what else, but Global Warming.

There is a madness to walking through a blizzard and discussing Global Warming. A theory according to which we should be sliding toward the tropics, awash in fleeing polar bears and Florida style temperatures, instead of frantically shoveling our driveways. To believe in Global Warming while stamping the snow off your boots is not a matter of science. It is a matter of faith. The scientist sees what is, while the believer has faith in what he cannot see. The scientist does not see Global Warming in a blizzard. The Warmist does. To see Global Warming while walking through a blizzard, is itself an act of faith.
Sultan Knish:

World’s Largest Barbecue Is 76-Feet-Long, Can Cook Four Tonnes of Meat at a Time

“It has 24 doors – 12 on this side, 12 on the other,”
said owner Terry Folsom, proudly describing his prized possession. The pit can cook four tons of meat at a time, and also has a walk-in cooler with space for kegs attached to beer taps on the outside. Surprisingly, the heat that powers the beauty comes from a small fire that burns only a couple of cords of wood. A tube carries the heat along the length of the entire pit.
- Collecting Oddities

The Doobie Underground

Medical marijuana is currently imported from the Netherlands,
and tax and transport costs have driven the price up to nearly double what it originally sells for. A gram can go for 38 euros ($49). Depending on how much is needed, a patient can easily pay up to 1,000 euros ($1,200) a month for treatment. As a result, only about 60 patients have signed up for the program. For those who want cheap and easy access to weed to alleviate their medical symptoms, the restrictions put in place by the government are at best a nuisance and at worst, dehumanizing.
| Roads & Kingdoms

I am the Fucking Managing Editor of the Homepage.

I can’t help but notice that you seem to be staring in bemused wonderment at my most spectacular creation: the homepage of I assume you went to a website with only one word, WEATHER, because you are interested in how the aforementioned subject will relate to your day. You are shit out of luck. Now, please excuse Daddy while he snorts a bump of cocaine. McSweeney’s Internet Tendency: Monologue

26 January 1945: Audie Muphy’s single handed battle, kills 50, holds the line

I seize my carbine and start sniping. The advance wave of infantrymen is within two hundred yards of my position.
The telephone rings. “How close are they?” “50 over. Keep it coming.” Dropping the receiver, I grab the carbine and fire until I give out of ammunition. As I turn to run, I notice the burning tank destroyer. On its turret is a perfectly good machine gun and several cases of ammunition. The German tanks have suddenly veered to the left.
WW2 Today

Not by acts but by faith

20 And, behold, a woman, which was diseased with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment: 21 For she said within herself, If I may but touch his garment, I shall be whole. 22But Jesus turned him about, and when he saw her, he said, Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour. Matthew 9


If the door is locked, smash the window and try to open it from the outside.
Or make your escape out of the window (like a luge champion). Otherwise, open the door and, as you leave, push out just enough to clear the car. You need to exit with your back facing the direction you’re travelling. Jump out with your right shoulder (remember, we’re on the left-hand side of the car) closest to the ground, and roll over your left shoulder.
How To Escape From A Moving Car

Tastes like piña coladas”, he quipped. “That’s got do with global warming for sure.”

A Record-Setting Winter on Lake Superior Sprung hull plates, mangled propeller blades, and the sight of an axe-wielding deckhand sent out to hack at the hundreds of tons of ice thrown on deck by freezing spray were commonplace until April. Massive delays persisted until the end of May. Icebergs could be spotted floating in Marquette Harbor on Memorial Day weekend.


New York City: National Weather Service Watch Warning Advisory Summary


A full on tyrant?

This is unlikely for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that the man behind the “Arab Spring” is totally incapable of any such effort.

Obama is simply too incompetent to bring it off. His admiration for tyrants is well known, and he has no doubt reflected on the career of his largely overlooked political hero, Suharto, who obtained office in exactly that way. As generalissimo of Indonesia, Suharto loomed over Barry Soetero’s boyhood like a colossus. Much of Obama’s practical politics -- cronyism, government by decree, turning one ethnicity against another -- is derived directly from Suharto. But looking closely at Obama -- at his record, his personality, the way he walks -- we see that this man is clearly not one to embark on a coup d’etat. He can’t even throw a baseball right.
Articles: The President as Pest

To any Open Carriers reading this: this ain’t no tyranny.

You can own tons of guns, including military weapons suitable for resisting government forces.

You can criticize anything you want in public or online. You can travel as you wish. You can spout ridiculous, nonsensical accusations (“The Sandy Hook Massacre was faked by the government! The Boston Bombing was a false flag operation!”). And until you idiots f**ked it up, you could have carried a weapon into Washington’s state capitol. That’s not tyranny. That’s life in free-as-hell America. You think this is tyranny, try walking into a restaurant with an AK in some of the places I’ve served. Around two seconds after walking in, right around the time you’d get shot, you’d probably realize America isn’t such a dictatorship after all.
Saved from “Tyrants”, by Open Carry Douchebags | chrishernandezauthor

And I Quote....

Sigh. It's Come to This.


"Fear no more the heat o' the sun;
Nor the furious winter's rages,
Thou thy worldly task hast done,
Home art gone, and ta'en thy wages;
Golden lads and girls all must,
As chimney sweepers come to dust."

Who killed the Enlightenment? We did.

To hold Islamism, and the Western fools who apologize for it, responsible for the moral and spiritual disarray of the West is to ignore the funk our societies had sunk into long before 9/11.

In fact, it gets things the wrong way round. The medieval death-wishers with planes and bombs are not the authors of the Enlightenment’s demise—they are the beneficiaries of it, coming after it, and from it. Who killed the Enlightenment? We did. Universities did. Relativists did. Multiculturalists did. Environmentalists did. Schools did. Politicians did. No external cancer was needed to pollute the Western body; it was already sick.
Who Killed the Enlightenment? - Taki's Magazine


To walk about. "During our vacation, my wife and I would wake up early and obambulate around the empty beach." Word Warriors' 2015 top 10

We begin with the “hottest year ever” absurdity.

How does anyone know? We are talking about tenths of a degree F, over centuries.

From all the historical records it was warmer in the Northern hemisphere in the Viking time, but of course we don’t KNOW, nor do we know how much warmer – or cooler — it was then. But it is absurd to say we know the average temperature of the Earth in 1900. Ocean temperatures then were taken with a bucket and a mercury thermometer and were no more than 1 degree of accuracy if that. Remember when we were young with mercury thermometers under the tongue? No one worried about tenths of a degree. It would be pointless. Even in space program days with anal probe thermisters which we calibrated daily we could be sure of 1 degree accuracy, and this of body temperature of a single subject. So now suddenly it is warmer on all Earth than it was in dust bowl times – and we know with certainty.  
Mail: Climate, solidarity, humor, etc. - Chaos Manor - Jerry Pournelle

"To an ever-greater degree the “free man” of the West is an unarmed, frightened, policed and browbeaten cipher whose first reaction to any crisis is to ‘shelter in place’."

-- The Part of Yourself You Used to Own | Belmont Club

Tens of Thousands of Invisible Men March In DC

My question for the reader is this: why can the Morlocks not even admit the size and vehemence of the opposition here?

What is gained by pretending we do not exist? Or, to ask a more precise question, would not striking the pose that they are opposing such a large and bold movement allow them to portray themselves as heroes, and gain them more? They cower before the weather, and before the Koch Brothers, which do not threaten them at all, but these marches display the strength of a society that bids fair to abolish abortion in our lifetimes.
The young and highly motivated survivors of the antinatal holocaust are gathering, and they see the economic disaster overpopulation scaremongers have done them, they can see the demographic disaster of Europe. Why do the Left pretend real threats to their hellish hegemony do not exist, but flaunt in comical excesses of emotion their pantomimes gestures of exaggerated opposition to utterly unreal and imaginary dangers?
| John C. Wright's Journal

Forty-two years after Roe v. Wade, it is imagined that Americans are still “having a debate."

But this is nonsense. There never has been a debate, and in the nature of the case, there never could be.

Perhaps a debate is possible over capital punishment. But you cannot debate about killing babies. Either one grasps that this is invariably morally abhorent, or one does not. That only three in five should be opposed to abortion — instead of five in five — is a national scandal. (The scandal up here in Canada is worse.) That many even of those against abortion would consider exceptions, let alone make them sticking points, reveals a society depraved.
Marching to nowhere : Essays in Idleness

A New Rallying Cry For Men: “Who Bitch This Is?”

During a recent video gaming tournament, one of the competitors, a man known as Shinblade, celebrated a tough win.

A particularly dumpy female in attendance took offense to his victory dance, and attempted to physically push him back down into his chair. He resisted, then realized he was being assaulted by a woman and addressed the crowd with four mighty words that shall echo through history: “WHO BITCH THIS IS?”
-- Chateau Heartiste

Always a King

Not only is there always a state religion, but there is always a king of some sort, a father of the country.

Likewise there is always a class of priests and judges, always a class of warrior nobles, always a class of merchants, always monastics and hermits, a market, a language, families, patriarchs, prophets, sex roles, etc. These things are built into man. They can be suppressed for a while, or injured, but not permanently eliminated from the constitution of human society. You can’t get rid of them, any more than you can get rid of the pancreas or the spleen. The functions they mediate must be mediated, and one way or another they will be mediated.
Homeostasis & Cultural Health | The Orthosphere

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