Contact me HERE

"If a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed."- Thomas Wolfe

Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard: Still standing after all these years.

It’s all going to pot
Whether we like it or not
As far as I can tell
The world’s gone to hell
And we’re sure gonna miss it a lot

All the whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Just doesn’t hit the spot
I gotta hundred dollar bill
You can keep your pills, friend
Cause it’s all going to pot

That cackle-bobble-head-in-a-box
Must think I'm dumb as a rock
Readin' the daily news
While I'm kickin' off my shoes
It's scarin' me outta my socks

The Red Headed Stranger I'm not
But buddy, let me tell you what
Ask ol' Will, he'll tell ya here's the deal
Friends, it's all goin' to pot

Well, it’s all going to pot
Whether we like it or not
Best I can tell
The world’s gone to hell
And we’re all gonna miss it a lot

All the whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Just doesn’t hit the spot
I gotta hundred dollar bill
You can keep your pills, friend
Cause it’s all goin' to pot

Well I thought I had found me a girl
Sweetest little thing in the world
But all my jokes went up in smoke
When I caught her makin eyes at Merle

He said, sweet little honey
With her eye on your money
She's gonna take every penny you got
I said she's never gonna get it
Cause I've already spent it
Merle, It's all goin' to pot

It’s all going to pot
Whether we like it or not
Best I can tell
The world’s gone to hell
And we’re all gonna miss it a lot

All the whiskey in Lynchburg, Tennessee
Just doesn’t hit the spot
I gotta hundred dollar bill
You can keep your pills, friend
Cause it’s all going to pot
I gotta hundred dollar bill
You can keep your pills, friend
Cause it’s all goin' to pot

Songwriters: Buddy Cannon
Jamey Johnson and Larry Shell

gerardvanderleun : April 21, 15  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share


"The rules apply to everyone..."

The statespersons of Europe seem baffled over what to do to prevent a large fraction of the 1.1 billion people of Africa from climbing into boats and inundating the heart of Christendom.

One possibility, however, is to do what the Australian government has done with a fair degree of success: post a video on Youtube telling would be Camp of Saintsers that they won’t be let into Australia, so don’t bother trying. It’s so crazy it just seems to be working! from Steve Sailer - The Unz Review

Displaced Persons | Belmont Club

According to EU’s border chief, up to one million refugees are waiting on the Libyan beach waiting to board ship for Europe. “Up to one million migrants could reach Europe from Libya amid collapsing security in the northern African country, the European Union’s border agency chief has warned.”

Frontex executive director Fabrice Leggeri said he expects asylum seekers’ crossings to skyrocket in 2015 and urged EU governments to ready themselves to “face a way more difficult situation than last year”.

“We are told there are between 500,000 and one million migrants ready to leave from Libya,” Leggeri told Italian news agency Ansa. “We have to be aware of the risks”.

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

Bookmark and Share

Mama Angus: We had mothers to raise us. They raised us to be women. Raise our own children. A woman has to be a woman. A woman’s place is in the home. A man’s place is to provide and if he don’t provide that you don’t need him….I’ve been cooking since I was 4 1/2 and these women today all they know is McDonalds, fast foods and stuff. They don’t know nothing about cooking and feeding no man. A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. Get your behind in there and cook, and feed him, and make sure he get up off his but and go to work!

Off camera: Is there something that’s missing in this community?

Mama Angus: The women’s soft. Now they might not like me for saying it but these young women today, they don’t even raise their children. Their children are raising them. Look, a woman’s place is to raise her children and at the end of the day tell their husbands which one they had to almost kill. That’s how that goes. That’s why the juvenile center is so full and why they’re expanding the jails, because mothers don’t raise their children and putting the blame on the man!

…I’m telling the truth. And I can’t stand it, cuz I’m 72 years old and I still don’t mind working. I ain’t scared of work. They stay in the system and use up the elderly money. They stay out there in the system and go out there and get all those children and expect us to help them take care of them. I’m sick of it!

gerardvanderleun : April 21, 15  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

Imagine ghosts, gods and devils.

Imagine hells and heavens, cities floating in the sky and cities sunken in the sea

Unicorns and centaurs. Witches, warlocks, jinns and banshees.

Angels and harpies. Charms and incantations. Elementals, farmiliars, demons.

Easy to imagine all of those things: mankind has been imagining them for thousands of years.

Imagine spaceships and the future.

Easy to imagine; the future is really coming and there'll be spaceships in it.

Is there then anything that's really hard to imagine?

Of course there is.

Imagine a piece of matter and yourself inside it, yourself, aware, thinking and therefore knowing you exist, able to move that piece of matter that you're in," to make it sleep or wake, make love or walk uphill.

Imagine a universe-infinite or not, as you wish to picture it- with a billion, billion, billion suns in it.

Imagine a blob of mud whirling madly around one of those suns.

Imagine yourself standing on that blob of mud, whirling with it, whirling through time and space to an unknown destination.

Imagine!

Written by Fredric Brown, 1955

gerardvanderleun : April 20, 15  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

Sane and thoughtful people upon viewing this quite naturally say, "Get me a gun. No, the bigger one."

Vanderleun : April 20, 15  |  Your Say (35)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

Transcript follows:

"We're so self-important. So self-important. Everybody's going to save something now. "Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails." And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don't even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven't learned how to care for one another, we're gonna save the fucking planet?

"I'm getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I'm tired of fucking Earth Day, I'm tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren't enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world save for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don't give a shit about the planet. They don't care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don't. Not in the abstract they don't. You know what they're interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They're worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn't impress me.

"Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We've been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we've only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we're a threat? That somehow we're gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that's just a-floatin' around the sun?

"The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles...hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages...And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet...the planet...the planet isn't going anywhere. WE ARE!

"We're going away. Pack your shit, folks. We're going away. And we won't leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet'll be here and we'll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet'll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

"You wanna know how the planet's doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet's doing. You wanna know if the planet's all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilowaia, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

"The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we're gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, 'cause that's what it does. It's a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it's true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn't share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn't know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, "Why are we here?" Plastic...asshole.

"So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that's begun. Don't you think that's already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let's see... Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh...viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

"Well, that's a poetic note. And it's a start. And I can dream, can't I? See I don't worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we're part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron...whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn't punish, it doesn't reward, it doesn't judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while."

earthdaytrash2015.jpg

gerardvanderleun : April 19, 15  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

"Those who put their faith in fire, in fire their faith shall be repaid."

1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.

3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Click Here to Continue
gerardvanderleun : April 19, 15  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

milky_way_over_erupting_volcano_.jpg

"The view was worth the trip.

Battling high winds, cold temperatures, and low oxygen, the trek to near the top of the volcano Santa Maria in Guatemala -- while carrying sensitive camera equipment -- was lonely and difficult. Once set up, though, the camera captured this breathtaking vista during the early morning hours of February 28. Visible on the ground are six volcanoes of the Central America Volcanic Arc, including Fuego, the Volcano of Fire, which is seen erupting in the distance. Visible in the sky, in separate exposures taken a few minutes later, are many stars much further in the distance, as well as the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy situated horizontally overhead."APOD: 2015 April 13


Iceland’s Volcanic Pollution Dwarfs All of Europe’s Human Emissions
To demonise element number six in the periodic table is amusing. Why not promethium? Carbon dioxide is an odourless, colourless, harmless natural gas. It is plant food. Without carbon, there would be no life on Earth.
The original source of atmospheric CO2 is volcanoes. The Earth's early atmosphere had a thousand times the CO2 of today's atmosphere. This CO2 was recycled through rocks, life and the oceans. Through time, this CO2 has been sequestered into plants, coal, petroleum, minerals and carbonate rocks, resulting in a decrease in atmospheric CO2.
The atmosphere now contains 800 billion tonnes of carbon as CO2. Soils and plants contain 2000 billion tonnes, oceans 39,000 billion tonnes and limestone 65,000,000 billion tonnes. The atmosphere contains only 0.001 per cent of the total carbon in the top few kilometres of the Earth. Deeper in Earth, there are huge volumes of CO2 yet to be leaked into the atmosphere. So depleted is the atmosphere in CO2, that horticulturalists pump warm CO2 into glasshouses to accelerate plant growth.
Our planet has about 1,000 volcanoes on land, such as Holuhraun and Bardarbunga, but most of our volcanoes are under the sea. “Some 85 per cent of volcanoes are unseen and unmeasured yet these heat the oceans and add monstrous amounts of CO2 to the oceans,” notes Dr. Plimer. “Why have these been ignored?,” he asks.

gerardvanderleun : April 18, 15  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

American Studies

Communism is alive and well on the streets of Seattle....

communism_by_rapierwitt2.jpg
Illustration by RapierWitt

THESE DAYS its not often that you see a member of the Despairing Classes being seduced by classic Communism on a city street, but it does happen.

Sidewalk Snapshot: It's a warm Spring evening on Pine Street in Seattle. Lengthening shadows and brightening light brings everything into sharp relief including the random collection of lay-abouts, short-order poets, tattoo artistes, and students a decade between degrees that take up the tables outside the Cafe Laddro on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Hill is one of those neighborhoods in Seattle that compiles a mainstream lifestyle out of alternatives. Even though it is indeed a hill, it has suspended the normal laws of gravity and everything loose in Seattle rolls up to the top of it. That includes, on this evening, me.

I'm stepping out of your "one-every-block" Seattle espresso slop shop with my machiatto when I notice the odd couple at the table just outside the door. That's not too odd since odd couples, like spiked bright blue hair, are pretty much the norm on Capitol Hill. I notice them at first because the youngest is wearing a Motorhead t-shirt with the mantra "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" on it in that faux German Black gothic font that got old when Auschwitz was in flower, and so had to be made new again back when heavy-metal was a fresh idea.

Glancing over Motorhead's shoulder I note that the man across from him is giving him an ideological lap-dance complete with a whole raft of tracts, papers and books being brought out and waved about and placed, with a muffled thwang, one after the other on the thin black metal of the table: Trotsky's "Marxism and Terrorism," (thwang!); the ever-popular Marx and Engels "Communist Manifesto," (thwang!); Lenin's greatest hit "What Is To Be Done?," (thwang!), Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks," (thunk!), Zinn's "People's History of the United States,"(clunk!).

One by one, they come out of the worn back pack and pile up on the table. All in all, a larger pile of ideological dung would be hard to imagine, and harder to handle even with meat hooks and thick rubber gloves.

The man making his pile of "roadmaps to a more perfect world" is quite a bit older than Motorhead with a slim, somewhat furtive look to him. There's the vibe coming off him that you sometimes sense when someone old is trying to pick up somebody far too young for him.

In the intense light of the evening, you can see a faint cloud of dust motes rising from him as he keeps slapping the tracts down. Greying hair in moist ringlets covers his head except for a monk's tonsure on the back of his skull. He's got a mustache and a beard that, with a little care, could be brought to a Van Dyke point. He sports small round rimmed glasses in front of thin blue eyes. His eyes, although they never waver from his prey, carry within them a permanent 1,000 yard stare -- as if he's always looking outside of the present moment at something in the distance that never gets nearer. Overall the face reminds one, as these faces so often do, of a watered down Leon Trotsky, the Christ of Communism, crucified with an ice axe but still twitching in his tomb.

Trotsky is resurrect this evening on Capitol Hill though, and I linger at the table next to them writing down a few notes about their conversation. Except it is not exactly a conversation so much as a monologue as my Trotsky keeps, in smiling and soft tones, returning to the subject at hand which is the inevitable collapse of the evil American Empire ("Long past its expiry date..."), and the inevitable rise of world Socialism ("Everyone will have more than enough, but nobody will have it all.")

Trotsky's sporting, as all good Trotskys must, a collection of slogan buttons and a sheaf of free tracts and newspapers. The button that is the largest is pinned to his faded plaid flannel shirt and proclaims him to be a member in good standing of the ISO (International Socialist Organization, good Latter-Day Trotskyites all. )

He passes the tracts and newspapers over to his intended, "Free, all free," and points out the more salient injustices they outline: eternal racism, eternal slavery of women, eternal repression of the working man by capitalists, eternal imperialism by the United States -- the whole catastrophe. He underscores that the only escape is through the ever-imminent but forever delayed Rapture of the Left, The Revolution.

After several minutes of his soft chants, Motorhead is nodding like the drinking bird over the glass. He's looking a bit dazed. I wonder if Trotsky has slipped a roofy into Motorhead's machiatto and is just waiting for it to kick in.

Trotsky's tales are the sad sotto voce sagas that underscore all the old nightmares of the Gulag, the Killing Fields, and every other massacre done in the name of the Marxist Utopia. It's a litany proving, once again, that some lies lodge so deep in man's hopes they will not die, no matter the murders they require to live.

Today's fresh lie is that if only Motorhead will attend the "event" tomorrow, Trotsky will be pleased to take him to the exclusive "Cadre" meeting that follows so he can meet the "Comrade of Honor," one Ahmed Shawki.

In soft tones salted with a quick twinkling smile that comes and goes like the red queen in three-card monte, Trotsky continues his spiel, his seduction. Motorhead is "obviously a man of no little intelligence" -- even if his five facial piercings (ears, left eyebrow, lip stud and nose-ring) might make one wonder.

Motorhead "needs to live in a system where social justice is the rule for all, not just the rich." Given Motorhead's ripped black jeans, worn black boots and general air of someone not likely to be hired by any business whose work involves meeting the public, this is probably more true than either of them realize. Motorhead nods again to this last proposition, and observes that he yearns for a social order that is more just to his lifestyle than can easily be found outside the subcultural hamlets of Seattle.

Much has been made of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "The banality of evil," and I suppose I'm witnessing a small satori of that kind here on the sidewalks of Seattle. But it seems to me to be a more insidious event than that.

After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil. It is, after all, only speech and the strength of the American system is to protect all forms of speech, especially the idle blather of a coffee house revolutionary. There's nothing, really nothing, in this overheard conversation that threatens the existence of the United States. The mere fact that it can be had, five years into the First Terrorist War, underscores just how strong this nation adherence to its founding principles remains. Here on Capitol Hill dissent of even the most egregious sort, is not only tolerated but celebrated.

The conversation bothers me at the same time it fascinates me. It strikes me that what I am auditing is not so much "the banality of evil," but "the banality of sedition;" a banality we see acted out daily on our television screens and on the op-ed pages of our newspapers.

The banality of sedition is now so well established that it is, well, banal and goes forward without a great deal of remark or trouble. In the last few years, the phrase that has arisen to describe this phenomenon is "The Culture of Treason." I'm not sure who originated the phrase, but its use is proliferating across the Internet for the reason that all such phrases proliferate when the time is ripe; it somehow rings true.

Of late, it iseems that large sections of the better educated and the most privileged among us have decided that the Constitution is, after all, a suicide pact and have determined to preach this death gospel to us all:

"This way to the gas, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up into the van carrying you all away into the perfect freedom of the perfect world. Don't worry about those canisters of gas dropping in through the top. It's just to delouse you of your old, traditional ideas of what being an American is all about.

"In just a few painless minutes you'll all be, as we are now, citizens of the world. And in that world to which we are all going you'll forget the old dream of America. You'll forget, at the last, everything that was good about America. You'll also forget the true and the beautiful. In the end, you'll forget about God himself.
"All those old dreams and visions will fade into a gray sameness. And then you'll all be, at the last, perfect citizens of our brave new world. We've breathed deeply of this gas before you and find it is the perfect blend of platitudes, freshly roasted, for the killing of your soul. After all, you weren't using it much. So step right up. First ride's free."

The long evening light was fading down into a warm dusk outside the coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Motorhead, in a moment of awakening, said, "Well, I should probably get grocery shopping."

Having gotten Motorhead's assent to attend the "event," Trotsky the Comrade becomes Trotsky the Closer and skins twenty bucks out of Motorhead's wallet for Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks" ($14.95 at Amazon). The tracts and, of course, the newspaper are free. Such a deal.

The threadbare backpack is repacked with Trotsky's portable library. He and Motorhead set off up the hill and, turning the corner, move out of sight.

I fold up the scrap of paper on the back of which I've made my notes of their meeting. The front side invites all and sundry to a "Solidarity Gathering" at the 45th Street Overpass: "We Support the Rape Survivor at Duke... and the Countless Others Everywhere. Come and join us in solidarity to bear witness to this terrorism against women." I make a mental note to, somehow, manage to be elsewhere.

Walking back to the Century Ballroom, I notice a large flyer that announces the "event" that Motorhead has agreed to attend. Ahmed Shawki, editor of the International Socialist Review, will speak, it seems, on "Black Liberation and Socialism."

Shaki's image dominates the flyer and looks, for all the world, like a Malcom X returned to life. The look is, of course, a carefully studied one since black socialist saints are hard to come by these days.** The Clenched Fist logo is in the lower left hand corner of the flyer. There are other details but I have a hard time making them out. It is, I discover, hard to read a flyer that is lying in the gutter. Especially when the light has failed.


In "Celebration" of May Day, 2008. HT: Cynr who created the art.

**Written in April, 2006

"I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;"

Vanderleun : April 18, 15  |  Your Say (76)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

"How do the elders, lacking the vitality to last indeterminably into the succeeding generations, send their positive messages?
Not the negative ones. Negativity is easy. It always has been easy. How do we recharge the batteries? How do we let the younger generation know that, even though the U-boat has vanished with the Ark of the Covenant in its hold, it’s still possible to stow-away? To stage yet another confrontation? Even when all seems lost…" -- Morgan @ House of Eratosthenes
gerardvanderleun : April 17, 15  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

Grace Notes

colors-web.jpg
By Grant Snider: INCIDENTAL COMICS: Colors

gerardvanderleun : April 16, 15  |  Your Say (2)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

aa_a_tolerance.jpg

Darleen Click Via bluebird of bitterness


And in 2007....
As I got up to leave the family of six at the long table across from me was served with the quick flourish and satisfied air of presentation that is the style of serving these days. The was food steaming in front of them, but none of them made a move towards it. Instead, they talked quietly amongst themselves and seemed to come to a decision. They made their selection from among them. It was to be one of the daughters, a girl of about 17 I guessed. The din in the restaurant rose and fell, but the family of six sat quietly and then bowed their heads as one. Then they said grace.
I stood motionless at my table. I had, I thought, never seen this before in a restaurant. I'd seen it in private homes to be sure, but upon reflection I realized that I'd not seen it there in quite sometime. And I was quite sure this was, for me, a rare event. I'd probably not been paying attention since it no doubt went on all the time, but still it was a startling moment. Perhaps I'd just been too long in Seattle where the only manifestations of spirit are flimsy; where the invocations are raised to a watery Buddhism or bloodless Unitarianism where God is impossibly distant if at all extant. Be that as it may, this simple act of saying grace did not so much shock me as still me. I paused to listen in. And the daughter did not disappoint. Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains @ AMERICAN DIGEST

gerardvanderleun : April 14, 15  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

aaa_cuckoo-clocks-_-zemzina.jpg

“I have never seen a more sublime demonstration of the totalitarian mind, a mind which might be linked unto a system of gears where teeth have been filed off at random. Such snaggle-toothed thought machine, driven by a standard or even by a substandard libido, whirls with the jerky, noisy, gaudy pointlessness of a cuckoo clock in Hell.

"The boss G-man concluded wrongly that there were no teeth on the gears in the mind of Jones. 'You're completely crazy,' he said.

"Jones wasn't completely crazy. The dismaying thing about classic totalitarian mind is that any given gear, thought mutilated, will have at its circumference unbroken sequences of teeth that are immaculately maintained, that are exquisitely machined.

a-brokencookoclock.jpg

"Hence the cuckoo clock in Hell - keeping perfect time for eight minutes and twenty-three seconds, jumping ahead fourteen minutes, keeping perfect time for six seconds, jumping ahead two seconds, keeping perfect time for two hours and one second, then jumping ahead a year.

"The missing teeth, of course, are simple, obvious truths, truths available and comprehensible even to ten-year-olds, in most cases.

"The willful filling off a gear teeth, the willful doing without certain obvious pieces of information....

"That was how Rudolf Hess, Commandant of Auschwitz, could alternate over the loudspeakers of Auschwitz great music and calls for corpse-carriers -

"That was how Nazi Germany sense no important difference between civilization and hydrophobia -

"That is the closest I can come to explaining the legions, the nations of lunatics I've seen in my time.” ― Kurt Vonnegut, Mother Night


aa-sideleft-george-orwell-who-controls-the-past-controls.jpgWritten by George Orwell:

"Fifteen years ago, when one defended the freedom of the intellect, one had to defend it against Conservatives, against Catholics, and to some extent — for they were not of great importance in England — against Fascists. Today one has to defend it against Communists and ‘fellow-travelers’....

"But however it may be with the physical sciences, or with music, painting and architecture, it is — as I have tried to show — certain that literature is doomed if liberty of thought perishes.

"Not only is it doomed in any country which retains a totalitarian structure; but any writer who adopts the totalitarian outlook, who finds excuses for persecution and the falsification of reality, thereby destroys himself as a writer.

"There is no way out of this. No tirades against ‘individualism’ and the ‘ivory tower’, no pious platitudes to the effect that ‘true individuality is only attained through identification with the community’, can get over the fact that a bought mind is a spoiled mind.

"Unless spontaneity enters at some point or another, literary creation is impossible, and language itself becomes something totally different from what it is now, we may learn to separate literary creation from intellectual honesty.

"At present we know only that the imagination, like certain wild animals, will not breed in captivity. Any writer or journalist who denies that fact — and nearly all the current praise of the Soviet Union contains or implies such a denial — is, in effect, demanding his own destruction. The Prevention of Literature - Wikilivres

gerardvanderleun : April 14, 15  |  Your Say (6)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

5-Minute Arguments

Falstaff_41.jpg

Scene:
FALSTAFF, sitting upon the ground telling sad stories of the deaths of kings
.... some poison'd by their wives.

Enter FOOL.

FOOL: Good Sir John, how fare thee.

FALSTAFF: I fare well but soon must fare thee well.

FOOL: Nay. Take thy shadow off thyself.
Do but drink this bottle down and we shall merry be.

FALSTAFF: Merry? Me? Falstaff shall no more merry be.

FOOL: But thou art known from Land's End to John O'Groats
as the merriest of Harry’s merry band.
And I stand witness from our revels past
that all such tales are true.

FALSTAFF: Oh, fine Fool, if you seek one
who would be merry with you
you seek not old Sir John.

FOOL: Posh and bother, good Sir John,
with these sweet cakes
and this good ale
how can you not merry be?

FALSTAFF: I may not now make merry
because I have made myself marry.

FOOL: Merry? The very stones echo back
your merry laughter from across the years.

FALSTAFF: You hear me amiss.
I am not merry because I married am.

FOOL: Ah. Now I have your measure.
You say you married are?
Well, there's the rub that raises up
the blister on the foot of all men's souls.
How say you of this married state
in which you are not merry?

FALSTAFF: It is much of a muchness
and on it have I meditated mightily
this past fortnight far beyond the chimes of midnight.
Follow me, my Fool, in this:

The unmarried man, being merry,
seeks to marry from merriment in his cups.
For in this muddled state his merry mind
reminds him that to marry may mount
his present merriment in his maid to highest heaven,
and hence his maid,
marking he is merry at the thought of marriage,
moves maidenhead to make him yet
more merry still.
Do you follow my stormy petrel's seaward path, my Fool?

FOOL: Indeed I do e'en though it pricks my feet with shards of ice.

FALSTAFF: I'll dance you deeper still
into those darker seas
where many merry men have drowned:

Upon his marriage the merry man's merriment
doth decline until he can only merry be
when apart from, or in full flight from,
his unmerry married maid and marriage.
Is this not the very unmerry truth?"

FOOL: 'Sooth it is. For all our sages and finer fools
do of marriage make unmerry merry fun."

FALSTAFF: Then follow deeper into my unmerry depths
for hidden waters flow
from questions never made by maids.

If to marry is to be unmerry,
why should then the merry man marry?
Has he not, while merry, laughed that to marry
is to lose all merriment?
How then can he not know in marriage
he places his merriment in ceaseless servitude
not to the maid he married, but to her merry nest
and the ever mounting money pit
the maid's married plan requires
if the maid he married, after marriage,
is to ever be made merry?

FOOL: How can he not, good Sir John,
whose present wisdom would confound the waves,
and send them rolling always teeter never totter?"

FALSTAFF: My meaning I draw out as this:

I find that the merry man wearies of being merry.
He marries then because his merry life
has become burdened by being merry,
and his deeper miseries,
being mushed under his higher merriments,
grow lonely for that company such misery must seek.
I find that this lonely misery
in the midst of merriment
grows more mighty than all such married misery.

In short, good Fool, he wants not a wife
-- as wives are all too seldom spied
in the barren landscapes of our brave new world –
but wishes for a witness to his willful fall
from merry into marriage.
And in this we find that are all our maids
are merrily full willing to comply.

FOOL: But surely, good Sir John,
you slander all our modern maids.
Do they not say, in whispers and in wails,
that only marriage makes them merry?
And if so they say, do they not also wish it true?"

FALSTAFF: No slander sling I at our maids,
but only seek to see them straight,
not touted up with rouged ideas
that in their pates our stunted scribblers doth instill.

I have known many maids
and maids may, as maids,
make merry mock of marriage.
But mark me well, my Fool, once married,
maids are no more maids but wives,
and wives have but one wifely will
which is to make no merriment
in marriage unless they in houses dwell.
Deny them house and no merry love is found
in married maids for they no longer maids remain.

FOOL: So if we then would merry stay,
then marry not we must?

FALSTAFF: You have the nub and core of me proud Fool.
Here begins our brave ascent from Fools' dark depths
to the merry realms of men unmarried.
Mark well this mantled moment when you first knew
that to be merry you must never married be.

'Swounds! The growling hounds of heaven sound the dawn
and I must away to wife unmerry.

Exeunt omnes... followed by a bear.



[Note: Almost a year after I wrote the following a note of thanks arrives from a reader: "It was posted just a week after I learned my wife had been having an affair, and it gave me the first real laugh since the news broke. I bookmarked that post and have referred to it regularly, especially throughout the divorce and custody battle (believe it or not, I won). " What can one say other than, "At American Digest, the pleasure is to serve." ]

Vanderleun : April 13, 15  |  Your Say (26)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

dali-cross.jpg

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

Click Here to Continue
gerardvanderleun : April 12, 15  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

wayne__john_01.jpg
"A man's got to have a code, a creed to live by, no matter his job." -- John Wayne

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Defend yourself whenever necessary.

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

* Look out for your own.

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

* Remove your guns before sitting at the dining table.

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

* Never order anything weaker than whiskey.

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

* Don't make a threat without expecting dire consequences.

* Threaten everyone and every behavior you think does not square with an organic, green, globally-warmed new-age life-style. They will fold. There will be no consequences. There never are.

* Never pass anyone on the trail without saying "Howdy".

* Never pass anyone on the street without muttering "Bush lied."

* When approaching someone from behind, give a loud greeting before you get within shooting range.

* When approaching someone from behind, try to determine if they are a Republican-Christianist before picking their pocket and denigrating their beliefs with impunity.

* Don't wave at a man on a horse, as it might spook the horse. A nod is the proper greeting.

* Don't wave at a blind man with a seeing-eye dog as it might confuse/abuse the dog. Lead them both into a disabled parking space and leave them there with a pocket full of kibble and food stamps.

* After you pass someone on the trail, don't look back at him. It implies you don't trust him.

* After you pass anti-Christian laws, don't look back. God will turn you into a pillar of salt and there is no salt tax.... Yet.

* Riding another man's horse without his permission is nearly as bad as making love to his wife. Never even bother another man's horse.

* Riding another man's wife or significant other is not only okay, but a qualification for high office. Gay or straight, you are allowed to have anyone you want without consequences to the family since soon there won't be any. Medicines for STDs will be free and will soon consume 92% of federal research funds (7% goes to embryonic stem cell research), dedicated to finding a sex vaccine so you can get back to the level of random sex with random strangers you enjoyed in the early 1970s.

* Always fill your whiskey glass to the brim.

* Always buy and carry the really big bottle of Fuji mineral water everywhere so people can know that while you object to Big Oil making windfall profits on $3.00 a gallon gasoline, you have no problem with windfall profits on $10 a gallon bottled water.

* A Cowboy is pleasant even when out of sorts. Complaining is what quitters do, and Cowboys hate quitters.

* A Leftist is mean and bitter even when in office. Complaining and turning small complaints into laws is what Leftists at all levels do. Leftists love making new laws from old whines.

* Always be courageous. Cowards aren't tolerated in any outfit worth its salt.

* Never exhibit courage when it comes to defending your country. Cowardice is a Leftist pre-requisite for running for office on any level. Your constituents are cowards to the core and don't expect any less from you.

* A Cowboy always helps someone in need, even a stranger or an enemy.

* A Leftist only helps those in need when helping them will condemn them to being in need for all eternity. Enemies are to be helped only if they will promise to first vote for and then behead Leftists. In that way both the need to rule and the need to expunge guilt can be satisfied.

* Never try on another man's hat.

* Never try on another man's condom or use his needle - without asking permmisson which will naturally be forthcoming. Free condoms and free needles are a basic right and will replace the present Second Amendment as soon as possible. Draft text: "An unregulated and unrestrained sex and drugs and rock and roll lifestyle, being the necessary opiate of the masses, the right of the people to free condoms and free needles, shall not be infringed."

* Be hospitable to strangers. Anyone who wanders in, including an enemy, is welcome at the dinner table. The same was true for riders who joined Cowboys on the range.

* Be hospitable to those who "wander" into your country illegally. Anyone who "wanders" into the United States, including an enemy, is welcome at the welfare table. This is especially true for those who will do the voting sane Americans won't - voting for you.

* Give your enemy a fighting chance.

* Give all enemies a really good fighting chance always. Make the Armed Forces fight with both hands behind their back. Roll back all arms programs to the environmentally sensitive bow and arrow era. Marines are to be especially despised for their general Gung Ho militaristic attitude. Make up rules of engagement that ensure all wars will be fought on the cheap and without weapons that are more lethal than megaphones. In war, Love is all you need.

* Never wake another man by shaking or touching him, as he might wake suddenly and shoot you.

* But if he does, pass more laws restricting guns and apologize to him before dying.

* Real Cowboys are modest. A braggart who is "all gurgle and no guts" is not tolerated.

* Real Leftists are the first to tell you what wonderful human beings they are. A Leftist who is "all gurgle and no guts" can be easily nominated for high office. See "Edwards, John."

* A Cowboy doesn't talk much; he saves his breath for breathing.

* A Leftist does nothing but talk. Talk is mother's milk without the annoying lactation. Leftist talk is a three-foot length of numbing rebar pounded down the center of your spine. A Leftist will save his breath for Yoga class.

* No matter how weary and hungry you are after a long day in the saddle, always tend to your horse's needs before your own, and get your horse some feed before you eat.

* No matter how weary and frustrated you are after a long day of lying and pandering on the campaign trail, always tend to your political machine's needs before your own. Get your machine some more money (cash if possible) for moveon.org or Media Matters. Don't skim more than 55% of the cash for yourself. Remember that if you are elected you can feed at the public trough for life, and earn millions for blathering after you retire.

* Cuss all you want, but only around men, horses and cows.

* Cuss all you want, constantly and without restraint, especially when you hear the obscenity-triggering words, "President Bush." Be sure to teach the F-word to your children early and reward them for using it.

* Complain about the cooking and you become the cook.

* Complain about earmarks unless they are your earmarks and remember to vote for all earmarks so that others will vote for yours.

* Always drink your whiskey with your gun hand, to show your friendly intentions.

* Always sip your chai with the pinky finger crooked, to show your rainbow intentions.

* Be there for a friend when he needs you.

* Be there with a handout for a voter when you think that you can pander enough and promise enough free stuff to buy that vote. Pander early and pander often. Offer $5,000 just for being born. Be sure you put that idea forward before a group of people with a history of getting (and an undying thirst for more) handouts. Always infantalize.

* Drinking on duty is grounds for instant dismissal and blacklisting.

* Drinking and smoking dope in office is grounds for instant lionizing, a safe seat, and a free pass should you drive off a bridge on the way home and leave someone who was giving you sex at the wheel behind to drown.

* A Cowboy is loyal to his "brand," to his friends, and those he rides with.

* A Leftist is loyal to the nightmares of Marx, Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot and Fidel Castro - all of whom knew how to run billions of lives for the better. They may be gone but their song remains the same. Dance to it and make sure everyone else does too. Or else.

* Never shoot an unarmed or unwarned enemy. This was also known as "the rattlesnake code": always warn before you strike. However, if a man was being stalked, this could be ignored.

* Always smear a blameless or dangerous political enemy. Lying and innuendo is okay. Be the rattlesnake. Unless the man is stalking the same office you are. In that case smear early and smear often. Lie big and lie long.

* Never shoot a woman no matter what.

* Never seek to make love to a woman unless there are no other alternatives - including shrubs - or unless you are a woman.

* Consideration for others is central to the code, such as: Don't stir up dust around the chuck-wagon, don't wake up the wrong man for herd duty, etc.

* Being inconsiderate of personal God-given liberty is central to the code of the Left. There is no God, there is only the Party and the dream of a socialist utopia. Always stir up dust and regulations around the free market -- it can and does donate money to your opponents. Don't wake up those who depend on government hand-outs for everything. Promise more and keep them comatose.

* Respect the land and the environment by not smoking in hazardous fire areas, disfiguring rocks, trees, or other natural areas.

* Respect the small, endless fears of everyone in the environment by not smoking anywhere at anytime unless it is copious amounts of really righteous dope. Remember the first commandment of the Leftist: "Tobacco and Fox News bad. Dope and the New York Times good." Seek to have laws passed enabling everyone to smoke as much dope as they want. Then they will be too stoned to see through your insane plans. They will even think that more taxes on the rich means higher government revenues. Praise those who are disfiguring rocks, walls, and buildings with graffiti as "artistes." Return forests and farmland to their natural state -- especially if you can get them cheap via takings or public domain. Let the surviving population live like the sheep they are and eat grass.

* Honesty is absolute - your word is your bond, a handshake is more binding than a contract.

* Lies are your friend. Never let facts obfuscate falsehoods. Your word is only good for those your are speaking to at the time you are speaking. After you've promised something, forget about it. A handshake and a contract are simply lies waiting for laws to make them inoperative. If caught in a lie and under oath remember to always ask what the meaning of "is" is.

* Live by the Golden Rule.

* Live by the Rule of the Gold: If you run across anyone with gold, make them convert it to paper money and give 98% of that to the state or your re-election campaign. Require the other 2% to be donated to a charity of your choice for a tax deduction. Live the dream by buying your way into the government which will be, when that great getting-up morning arrives, the only thing on earth with any money or privilege.

[Note: I'm also looking to add to this list. The last time it came around we got this prescient statement in the comments:

West: "Never shoot a woman no matter what."
Left: "Unless she is the Republican Governor of Alaska. In which case, blast away. Be sure to remove her orange hunting vest afterwards so you can claim it was 'just an accident' and you mistook her for a caribou."]

Vanderleun : April 9, 15  |  Your Say (32)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

2 (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) -- 2 Corinthians 6

"Why is God landing in this enemy-occupied world in disguise and starting a sort of secret society to undermine the devil? Why is He not landing in force, invading it? Is it that He is not strong enough?

"Well, Christians think He is going to land in force; we do not know when. But we can guess why He is delaying. He wants to give us the chance of joining His side freely. I do not suppose you and I would have thought much of a Frenchman who waited till the Allies were marching into Germany and then announced he was on our side.

"God will invade. But I wonder whether people who ask God to interfere openly and directly in our world quite realize what it will be like when He does. When that happens, it is the end of the world. When the author walks on to the stage the play is over. God is going to invade, all right: but what is the good of saying you are on His side then, when you see the whole natural universe melting away like a dream and something else — something it never entered your head to conceive — comes crashing in; something so beautiful to some of us and so terrible to others that none of us will have any choice left?

"This time it will be God without disguise; something so overwhelming that it will strike either irresistible love or irresistible horror into every creature. It will be too late then to choose your side. There is no use saying you choose to lie down when it has become impossible to stand up. That will not be the time for choosing; it will be the time when we discover which side we really have chosen, whether we realized it before or not. Now, today, this moment, is our chance to choose the right side. God is holding back to give us that chance. It will not last forever. We must take it or leave it.

"Every time you make a choice you are turning the central part of you, the part of you that chooses, into something a little different from what it was before. And taking your life as a whole, with all your innumerable choices, all your life long you are slowly turning this central thing either into a heavenly creature or into a hellish creature: either into a creature that is in harmony with God, and with other creatures, and with itself, or else into one that is in a state of war and hatred with God, and with its fellow-creatures, and with itself. To be the one kind of creature is heaven: that is, it is joy and peace and knowledge and power. To be the other means madness, horror, idiocy, rage, impotence, and eternal loneliness. Each of us at each moment is progressing to the one state or the other."

-- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

gerardvanderleun : April 5, 15  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

      "If I take the wings of the morning,
      and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea...."
-- Psalm 138

climboutair.jpg
WE RISE in a banking curve of pure velocity
over fallow fields and grids of neighborhoods,
arcing over ponds painted with slick scum oozing
-- from the oil pans of countless sunken cars,
-- from punctured sacks of toxic trash,
-- from fleshless graves of abandoned murders,
of missing persons filed in muck.

contrails.jpg
WE RISE embraced by first-class armchairs,
pondering the crisply printed histories
of yesterday's most meaningless events.
We rise up above our lives and lies,
above, alone, away, alas, good-bye
to families and to friends, to all terrestrial ties.
Our very cellulars, by strict law silenced
so that our murmurs not disturb
the delicate electronics on which so much
at this tremulous moment depends
that we dare not think on it, and so select
music of our choice from mid-heaven's jukebox.

mistmountains.jpg
WE RISE in the faltering dark
into the pale flicker of a cosseted sun
slatted in flashes through fingers of cloud,
up into the white blood of the sinewed sky,
and so our day and world slips by.

earthfromapace.jpg
WE RISE UP to where all breath is snow,
so far that all above becomes below,
up until the sky is seen as vapor,
smeared white on blue construction paper
and framed by dark remorseless space.

Click Here to Continue
Vanderleun : April 5, 15  |  Your Say (36)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

aaathe_dead_christ_-_wga4706.jpg

"Why seek ye the living among the dead?" -- Luke 24 KJV

Beginning on October 13th of 2011 I spent 3 days among the dead and then was returned to life. Why and for what I still cannot say. What I can say is that, in some brief and infinitesimal way, I have had a small shimmer of resurrection shine upon my dead shadow and raise me back into the light. It was a tiny touch and yet it would seem that was all it took. This time. Next time I have no doubt it will require divine intervention. Perhaps it did this time. I have no way of knowing.

Nor can I say that I know what it "was like" to be dead because of my death I have neither shred of memory, nor the slightest sense of a blank space between one moment of life and the next moment of life. My mind holds only two instants; the one enjambed against the other.

In the first I am standing on the front porch of my house looking across the road at the playground sometime on the afternoon of October 13, 2011. There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.

Then, in the very next instant, I am cold. I am lying in a bed covered with only a sheet. I am looking past my feet in a room ringed with drapes hanging on rails from a ceiling. At the foot of the bed a man in a blue tunic is sitting in a pose similar to Rodin's "The Thinker." His arm is bare to the shoulder and he has a Maori tattoo on it. I think, for a moment, that someone is speaking to me from the side, something about being in a coma. Then I am gone again.

Those are the two moments. One is right next to the other. There is nothing in between.

I lose track of what happens next and come to know it is not an instant between memories but 3 days and that I have spent that time in a medically induced coma after spending some unspecified number of minutes dead. It was nothing so dramatic as a crucifixion. It was simply a ceasing to be of which I had no awareness. What followed, as dramatic as it was for those around me, was a blank to me; something available to my soul only via hearsay. There were, it would seem, heroic measures involving tubes, machines, drugs, and methods of lowering the temperature of the human body and maintaining it lower for some days. For some minutes I was, it would seem, dead and for some days after that I was, it would seem, as good as dead. I was kept cold and under the stone of coma. Then, after 3 days, that cold stone was rolled away and I was returned to life. It was, I suppose, a kind of cut-rate resurrection. Yet it was mine and I was, and am, glad to have it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

I’ve spent no small amount of time wondering what it is I am to do with this “resurrection.” It seems as if I should do something; something more than I was doing before, something that is somehow “better.”

I ask about this "purpose" in passing in the daylight and more formally in prayer, but I have to date received no answer, no voice out of the whirlwind or the burning bush. I don’t expect such although I would not be utterly unprepared if it happened. I’m used to the mysteries of the universe or the tricks of the monkey mind at this point. Still, it would be nice to get a message neatly laid out, sent in from God’s great cosmic sign factory in the clear and in a crisp typeface. It would be nice but it is clearly asking too much. “Still not satisfied” is not a good attitude to have if one has been resurrected. As they say in meetings, “The attitude is gratitude.” I had that for a long time. It slipped away. Maybe I should try to get it back.

Or maybe I should not.

Maybe I should just drop all that and drop the searching for the BIG MESSAGE. Maybe, just maybe, I should try to see again what we always forget, the here and now of the miracle. Maybe, just maybe, on this day, I should strive always to recall that Christ is not just the Resurrection, but “the Resurrection and the Life.”

Today, resurrected, I sit here and look through my front window, across my porch, to the playground across the street:

“There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.”

That was both then and , [two/ three / four] years later, now. There is “the Resurrection and the Life.” Of the two it is the latter that remains the larger miracle.


Easter Sunday, 2012
Easter Sunday, 2013
October 13, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2015

gerardvanderleun : April 5, 15  |  Your Say (45)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share

a_a_veiled-christ-above.jpg

And as for Jesus: He is dead at this liturgical moment, the Nietzschean position in the Christian calendar, when one might even say that, “God is dead.”

This gives us a chance to consider what is implicit in that proposition. We are in mourning for a Christ who has been judicially murdered. But, too, for a Christ who caught even His own Apostles by surprise, as we will recollect tonight.

If liberals did not love death, they would not so consistently encourage it.

If God did not hate death, He would not have defeated it.

Holy Saturday : Essays in Idleness


She hears, upon that water without sound,
A voice that cries, “The tomb in Palestine
Is not the porch of spirits lingering.
It is the grave of Jesus, where he lay.”
We live in an old chaos of the sun,
Or old dependency of day and night,
Or island solitude, unsponsored, free,
Of that wide water, inescapable.
Deer walk upon our mountains, and the quail
Whistle about us their spontaneous cries;
Sweet berries ripen in the wilderness;
And, in the isolation of the sky,
At evening, casual flocks of pigeons make
Ambiguous undulations as they sink,
Downward to darkness, on extended wings

Sunday Morning by Wallace Stevens

amarytear.jpg

gerardvanderleun : April 4, 15  |  Your Say (6)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bookmark and Share
Search American Digest

The Top 40


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

The Quest for the Chocolate Savior

There’s a sacramental quality to the worship of non-whites and foreigners.
I hear this from otherwise sensible people regarding Hispanics in California. They believe the state will turn around when a suitably conservative Hispanic wins the governorship. To my ears, this sounds a lot like ancients believing the right sacrifices could result in a good harvest. It’s magical thinking. In the case of Americans, my sense is many white people think that their sins can only be scrubbed from their soul if they fully and complete submit to those who their ancestors harmed. Racism has taken up the place of original sin. Christians believe you must completely submit to God. The anti-racists think they can only be cleansed by submitting completely to non-whites. -- | The Z Blog
fake-jesus-19.jpg


Meet Boston Corbett, the self-castrated hatmaker who was John Wilkes Booth’s Jack Ruby.

2015.03.25.lincoln9-635b.jpg

Corbett was watching Booth intently from his unit’s formation around the barn.
Through the cracks in the wall, he could see the fugitive shift in and out of view, a gun in hand. As the flames rose, Corbett trained his pistol on the image, even though the word from Washington was clear—Booth was to be taken alive. Corbett, you see, wasn’t the kind of soldier who followed orders easily, unless they came from God. | Washingtonian


Twinkie's Miracle Comeback: The Untold, Inside Story of a $2 Billion Feast

Twinkie-Cover.jpg

But while you wouldn’t find Twinkies on Whole Foods’ shelves or in Gwyneth Paltrow’s pantry, Hostess had something you can’t find in a locally sourced, chia–seed snack–millions of nostalgic fans.
“The brand awareness was unbelievable,” says Jhawar. “It’s not every day you have an opportunity to acquire a brand that is ubiquitous, that had $1 billion in revenue before the bankruptcy and 80–plus years of legacy.” Acquire they did, plunking down $410 million for the cake brands and promising to inject another $250 million to rehabilitate the business. Now, just two years after buying the shuttered company, they sit atop what will likely be a $2 billion win. - Forbes [HT: Maggies Farm]


Woodrow Wilson, Lloyd George, and Georges Clémenceau

Woodrow_Wilson%2C_David_Lloyd_George_e_Georges_Clemenceau.jpg

I think of them as the “Three Stooges of the Apocalypse.”
They were themselves not causes but symptoms of a disease, which for a word we might call post-modernism. President Wilson did the most permanent damage. He was the Barack Obama of that historical moment, enjoying an immense charismatic popularity in Europe. A moral and intellectual simpleton, he had handy to his lips a short list of glib progressive nostrums that appealed to great masses of the war weary. The valour deficit : Essays in Idleness


Roseanne Barr on Losing Her Sight, Smoking Weed, Rejecting Feminism, and Not Voting For Hillary

1429556247987.cached.jpg

"I might run again for the Peace and Freedom Party, but they’d have to get rid of a lot of their platform—it’s obsolete.
I thought about starting my own party, the Green Tea Party, a hybrid of freedom and safety net. That’s what I think the future is all about: a limit to government size and power, government made efficient. There’s a party called the National Woman’s Party, which started about 100 years ago: That would be a great party to run with.” - The Daily Beast


JUST GO AWAY: The Case Against Jeb Bush for President

Giving Jeb the nomination neutralizes some of the best arguments against Hillary.
She’s a relic from the 20th century? So is Jeb. She’s a longtime member of the political ruling class who thinks she’s entitled to the presidency because of her last name? So is Jeb. She supports an immigration policy that rewards lawbreakers and dilutes our cultural identity? So does Jeb. She’s charisma-challenged and is propped up not by grassroots enthusiasm but rather by the largesse of big money donors? So is–you get the idea. Doug Giles | #ClashDaily


On our marks.... getting set....

Pew Shows Highest Support for Gun Rights Ever Pew Research released a poll showing their highest documented support for gun rights, and 63% of their respondents said the best way to protect yourself against crime was with a gun. The survey also specifically says that Americans do not believe that more gun control will keep them safe.

Otis Taylor, Nasty Letter: "If the devil come I've been wrongly, wrongly accused"

A face, and a voice, and a song that have all been down a thousand miles of rough roads.

If you liked "Global Warming" and Climate "Change," you'll love "Sustainability."

Global warming had a mortal weakness.
It was testable. Sustainability does not suffer from the same fault. It need never meet reality.  No matter what any individual or organization does, its activities can always be labeled "€œunsustainable." This is because there is no definition of what sustainability is. It always means just what someone claiming to be more eco-holy than thou wants it to mean. True sustainability is a goal ever disappearing into the distance, one which can never be reached, but which must be pursued with ever increasing vigor --€” and funded by ever burgeoning taxes. -- Breitbart


Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night”

astarrynight.jpg

“The Starry Night” is a simple, small oil painting, 29 in. by 36 in. It portrays a landscape consisting of a village tucked in among some hills, a night sky with stars and an exaggerated crescent moon, and a tall tree. There is no activity, no people, and no animals. Described like this, you would hardly think the picture was worth a second look. So what makes it so special? - Neatorama

I have seen money. Felt it in my hand.

I have wasted it one day and built temples to my fellow man the next with money, with no good reason to do either.
I have watched it slumber in a bank book with my name on it waiting for nothing more than a notion and a signature. All gone. Gone for good, I think but must not say. She hears everything I say. I utter the sounds but I don’t listen to what I’m saying. What is the line? I must remember the line. Strut and fret upon the stage, I think. Sippican Cottage: I Must Not Do It


Understanding The Fear Of Self-Defense And Revolution

The great lie being injected into the movement over the past few years is that removal of the elites will solve nothing

because the “real problem” is the corrupt nature of humanity in general and that if we remove one set of elites, they will simply be replaced with another set, as if society is fatally predisposed to develop an elitist class. This is the most vapid form of defeatist garbage ever regurgitated by nihilists. First, we have no idea whatsoever what life would be like without the globalist network because we have never lived in a society in which they have been removed, even for a single generation. I think early America after the revolution is the only example I can find of a society free from most elitist controls, and the prosperity that developed in that environment leads me to believe that removal of the entire elitist framework would result in undeniable positive changes for the world. Why else would the globalists spend the past two centuries attempting to dismantle the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?
Guest Post: | Zero Hedge



The slave class is entirely dependent on the activities in the modern bureaucratic courts

They’re skimmers, financiers, rule-makers, centralizers, standardizers, administrators, teachers, technologists, and cultural manipulators.
They usually turn their noses up at independence, even in matters of business, preferring to raise paper money for grand projects with social missions from their oligarchical superiors. They’ll happily trade autonomy for a recognized position within the court, even if it makes them soft and dependent on the system. Hand such a man a gun, and he will tend to feel frightened of the idea of shooting it. About the Corporate Slave Class - Henry Dampier


It's not cheap to be poor anymore.

peasantdress.jpg

Printed Cotton Peasant Dress US $375.00 == La Garrenne

"About the Size of a Grain of Rice:" This is the world's smallest computer

temperature-sensing.jpg
At just one millimeter cubed, the Michigan Micro Mote (M^3) is the smallest autonomous computer in the world....
Despite its tiny size, the M^3 has the ability to take pictures, read temperatures and record pressure readings. Researchers hope to implement the microcomputer into a variety of applications ranging from medical to industrial purposes. Due to its micro-size, the M^3 can actually be injected into the body, where it can then perform ECGs and also take pressure and temperature readings. The oil industry is also interested in inserting the Micro Mote into oil wells to help detect pockets of oil that can still be extracted before moving on to new sources. - CBS News


The left is winning, but for the left winning is indistinguishable from dying.

The West didn’t defeat Communism; it held it at bay long enough for it to defeat itself.
The Soviet Union and the People’s Republic of China crushed Communism more decisively than Goldwater could have ever dreamed of. The embargo didn’t turn Cuba into a hellhole whose main tourism industry is inviting progressive Canadian pedophiles to rape its children. Castro did that with help from the dead guy on the red t-shirts. Sultan Knish: The Death of the Left


I said to Gandolfini, the bell rings and you look up.

dgaqshottoremembersopranos13.jpg

That last shot of Tony ends on 'don't stop,' it's mid-song.
I'm not going to go into [if that's Tony's POV]. I thought the possibility would go through a lot of people's minds or maybe everybody's mind that he was killed. He might have gotten shot three years ago in that situation. But he didn't. Whether this is the end here, or not, it's going to come at some point for the rest of us. Hopefully we're not going to get shot by some rival gang mob or anything like that. I'm not saying that [happened]. But obviously he stood more of a chance of getting shot by a rival gang mob than you or I do because he put himself in that situation. All I know is the end is coming for all of us. This Magic Moment - The Sopranos


Kids Today: Dumb and Dumb-De-Dumb-Dumb

American Millennials are among the world's least skilled - Fortune When the results were analyzed by age group and nationality, ETS got a shock.
It turns out, says a new report, that Millennials in the U.S. fall short when it comes to the skills employers want most: literacy (including the ability to follow simple instructions), practical math, and — hold on to your hat — a category called “problem-solving in technology-rich environments.” Not only do Gen Y Americans lag far behind their overseas peers by every measure, but they even score lower than other age groups of Americans.


It was as if some Faustian fire took Europe in one fell swoop

from barbarism, “a time when people believe the laws of their own village are the laws of nature”, to civilization “where people continue to believe in the justice of their ways but harbor openness to the idea they might be in error”, straight to final and fatal phase: decadence “in which people come to believe there is no truth, or that all lies are equally true.” The Thirty One Years | Belmont Club

The strangest moon in the Solar System

astrangemoon.jpeg
Cassini made many great discoveries about this planet, including the divisions between the rings and a number of Saturn’s moons.
In fact, the second of Saturn’s moons ever discovered, Iapetus, presented a tremendous mystery to Cassini. While it clearly orbited Saturn like the other moons, it was only visible during half its orbit, remaining completely invisible during the other half. As telescope technology improved, we discovered why: one half of Iapetus is only about one-fifth as bright as the other!
— Starts With A Bang! — Medium

The U.S. in Afghanistan: A Fractally Stupid War

Like a fractal, the stupidity exists at every single zoom level: from the tactics of the soliders patrolling the streets, to the mission of the platoons taking a city, to the overall theater strategy, all the way up to the objectives of America herself. -- Devon Helton

When true Christian faith in a culture is weak-to-absent, superstition fills in that vacuum.

aa_servers-waiters-allergies-bs.jpg

One of the main vectors of superstition in the post-modern, post-Christian west is this business of obsessing about food.
Since people no longer worship God or believe in the concept of sin or penance, they instead embrace superstitious faux-penances to feel like they are engaging in something “religious” and “penitential”, and make sure that EVERYONE SEES THEM PUT ON THEIR LITTLE DIETARY SHOW, like the Pharisees praying on the street corners for show in Matthew 6. I’m sorry, but I’ve had just about enough of that crap. And have you ever noticed that the people who are constantly refusing to eat perfectly good food for these complete bee-ess reasons are the same people who are always “sick”? Notes on Food | Barnhardt


Not Everyone's Internal Clock Is Set for the 9-to-5

Maggie isn't lazy; she suffers from delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS)—a disorder that affects one in 750 adults that causes them to be somewhat nocturnal.

By that estimate, DSPS affects over 400,000 Americans. Essentially, DSPS means a person's internal clock is set differently. These clocks, called circadian rhythms, are innate and often change over the course of a person’s life—which is why little kids wake up so early, and teenagers prefer to sleep in. DSPS sufferers have internal clocks that run at least two hours slower than normal, giving them "social jet lag" which is pretty much what it sounds like: They’re out of sync with the rest of society. They struggle to keep their eyes open during morning business meetings because their bodies are convinced it's the middle of the night. DSPS can wreak havoc on their health and careers, causing depression, anxiety, brain damage, heart disease, drug addiction, and a myriad of other afflictions due to sleep deprivation.
- The Atlantic



To exercise your right of free speech you have to fight against economic pressure and against strong sections of public opinion,

censorship.jpg

but not, as yet, against a secret police force.
You can say or print almost anything so long as you are willing to do it in a hole-and-corner way. But what is sinister, as I said at the beginning of this essay, is that the conscious enemies of liberty are those to whom liberty ought to mean most. The big public do not care about the matter one way or the other. They are not in favour of persecuting the heretic, and they will not exert themselves to defend him. They are at once too sane and too stupid to acquire the totalitarian outlook. The direct, conscious attack on intellectual decency comes from the intellectuals themselves. George Orwell, The Prevention of Literature


Remember when Feminism was fun? Me neither.

1977-1st-issue.jpg

It all started out so promising.
 The cover to the first issue of Ms. Marvel is full of potential: a superheroine that kicks ass and takes names.  It even proclaims: “This Female Fights Back!” – a tagline you could imagine being attached to a Pam Grier movieFeminism Fail: Ms. Marvel Comics in the 1970s | Flashbak


The Underclass

Underclassers did not grow up in homes where parents instilled middle class culture and values.

They may have never learned to dress for a job interview, to show up at work on time day after day, and to follow the rules set by the boss. Decades of hood life have bred in vulgar language and a contempt for authority. The underclass street culture has an honor culture. A man must show strength and retaliate for slights or else he becomes an easy target and attracts more abuse. In any confrontation, you have to stand your ground and not show weakness. This attitude does not work well with managers. As the economy shifts to a service economy, worker traits such as appearance and attitude matter more than physical skill. Underlcass workers with their attitude problems provide negative value to employers, and thus may not be employable at any wage. Great Problems: The Economic Classes and their Respective Plights



[Biumped] A significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded

Phrenology-bust-010.jpg

[Bumped] The probability of entering and remaining in an intellectually elite profession such as Physician, Judge, Professor, Scientist, Corporate Executive, etc. increases with IQ to about 133.
It then falls about 1/3 by 140. By 150 IQ the probability has fallen by 97%! In other words, a significant percentage of people with IQs over 140 are being systematically and, most likely inappropriately, excluded from the population that addresses the biggest problems of our time or who are responsible for assuring the efficient operation of social, scientific, political and economic institutions. This benefits neither the excluded group nor society in general. For society, it is a horrendous waste of a very valuable resource. For the high IQ person it is a personal tragedy commonly resulting in unrealized social, educational and productive potential.The Polymath Archives: The Inappropriately Excluded


The current Democratic party needs four more years of power the way an addict needs a fix.

That Hillary should be considered indispensable is proof of how desperate the need is.
‘Where was it.’ Raskolnikov thought, as he walked on, ‘where was it that I read of how a condemned man, just before he died, said, or thought, that if he had to live on some high crag, on a ledge so small that there was no more than room for his two feet, with all about him the abyss, the ocean, eternal night, eternal solitude, eternal storm, and there he must remain, on a hand’s-breadth of ground, all this life, a thousand years, through all eternity– it would be better to live so, than die within the hour? Only to live, to live! No matter how–only to live!’ – Crime and Punishment, Fyodor Dostoevsky
Avoiding the Unthinkable | Belmont Club

After the Civil War, Yankees continued, as they do today, their encouragement of integration for everyone else.

Yankees are always sure of what someone else ought to do.
Since most blacks were in the South, it was safe to be for racial amity as the North would not have to practice it. When blacks migrated north, the Yanks contained them in poor parts of the cities, as they do today (consult the list of cities foregoing). There were occasional adventures such as the Harlem Renaissance, when fashionable Northerners could go to the Cotton Club and mingle, barely, with real blacks. “Why, they are just like people, almost. Look at them dance!” Uptown, they might keep a few trained and gelded blacks around as ornaments. That was the extent of it. Fred On Everything


“It was about eleven o’clock in the morning, mid October,

Big_Sleep_02.jpg

with the sun not shining and a look of hard wet rain in the clearness of the foothills.
I was wearing my powder-blue suit, with dark blue shirt, tie and display handkerchief, black brogues, black wool socks with dark blue clocks on them. I was neat, clean, shaved and sober, and I didn’t care who knew it. I was everything the well-dressed private detective ought to be. I was calling on four million dollars. The main hallway of the Sternwood place was two stories high. Over the entrance doors, which would have let in a troop of Indian elephants, there was a broad stained-glass panel showing a knight in dark armor rescuing a lady who was tied to a tree and didn’t have any clothes on but some very long and convenient hair”. -- Raymond Chandler, The Big Sleep


"Beige. I think I'll paint the ceiling beige." Look Up

Ceiling_04.jpg
On a recent trip to Europe, my husband and I missed our early morning connecting flight from Frankfurt to Nice.
We had hoped that there would be another plane leaving within a couple of hours, but that was a misguided thought. The next flight wouldn’t leave for another 8 hours or so. Not bad in the scheme of airport delays, but long enough for a kind of boredom to set in. And that was mostly as a result of jet lag. I am one of those people who actually enjoy airports. Between reading and watching fellow travelers pass by, I am happy. Add to that some fancy ductwork and I’m really set. I couldn’t decide if leaving the ceiling exposed was a design decision or whether there were ongoing repairs happening. No matter… Mrs. Easton


Everything you suspect about the TSA is true....

Former TSA Screener: Groping Plot Was "€˜Just A Game"€™ « CBS DenverWhen an attractive male passenger would enter the security scanner,
the agent would press a button indicating the passenger was female, triggering an alarm and then allowing her male colleague to conduct a pat down search on the genitals of passengers he deemed “attractive.” In February, a TSA investigator said he witnessed the plot firsthand, watching as the male agent gave a signal to his female co-worker, who then rigged the system so it would allow the male to fondle the crotch of a male passenger.


Pets Looking at Food

looking12.jpg

MORE ==> Pets Looking at Food



Nixon in a Pantsuit

ahillarynixon.jpg

Like Nixon, Hillary has a well defined brand. That brand is not a flattering one.
Even the most stalwart of Clinton supporters acknowledges that she is physically incapable of telling the truth. They laugh about it and treated as a quirk, but it says something when your best friends think you are a sociopath. Nixon people used to joke about their boss’s reputation for skullduggery, but it was never a compliment. The differences are there too. Nixon was a very smart man, maybe one of the smartest presidents in the modern era. Nixon was also a foe of liberalism at a cultural level. This was as much personal as anything else, but he really hated the hippies. He could plausibly run as an antidote to the excesses of the Progressives. Clinton is in a very different position as sort of an old school lefty throwback and a member of the Democrat Party. Nixon in a Pantsuit | The Z Blog


The Bird Cage

aa2015-04-16-the-bird-cage.jpg
“It is not an unfrequent occurrence in the game of base-ball for a player to be severely injured in the face by a ball thrown against it,” he wrote in the patent application.
“With my face-guard such an accident cannot happen.” When catcher Jim Tyng first wore Thayer’s mask on April 12, 1877, it was roundly derided. Spectators yelled “Mad dog!” and “Muzzle ‘em!”, and opposing players greeted Tyng with “good natured though somewhat derisive pity.” The Portland, Maine, Sunday Telegram wrote, “There is a great deal of beastly humbug in contrivances to protect men from things which do not happen. There is about as much sense in putting a lightning rod on a catcher as there is a mask.” -- Futility Closet


Google Searches Dangerous to Your Mental Health: “Poodle Grooming Art”

poodle-art-grooming-11.jpg
- BOOOOOOOM!

I'm not usually taken aback by the folks at my local Walmart, but.....

alocalwamartshopper.jpg


We Will Feast in the House of Zion

Chorus
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

We will not be burned by the fire
He is the LORD our God
We are not consumed, by the flood
Upheld, protected, gathered up (Chorus)

In the dark of night, before the dawn
My soul, be not afraid
For the promised morning, oh how long?
Oh God of Jacob, be my strength (Chorus)

Every vow we’ve broken and betrayed
You are the Faithful one
And from the garden to the grave
Bind us together, bring shalom. (Chorus)

From Psalms | Sandra McCracken

[Bumped] Is it possible for the United States to break up, either de facto or formally?

The country is not a happy place. Today it is more consciously and resentfully divided,
politically, regionally, racially and by sex and class than perhaps ever before. The rich prosper and the middle class sink. Three major racial blocs eye each other with fear and hostility. The hard left controls the media and government against the desires of much of the country, enforcing social engineering that is deeply disliked. Feminists make war on men, and destroy the schools and universities. Washington is widely loathed. Rules, laws, and regulations never voted on grow ever more burdensome and intrusive. Many quietly want out. The question is how to get there. Fred On Everything


☛ Thinking Right Archives