Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
The Political Art and the Art of Politics

THE CLASSICAL THEMES of art have always been -- virtue, nobility, patriotism.

Since I practiced none of these in my youth, and throughout much of my career worked actively or passively to under-mind them, I came -- at last -- to yearn to discover what they could possibly be in this blighted age. After all, I was not alone in my abnegation. My entire generation, one way or another, had tossed virtue, nobility, and patriotism over the side of our Ship of Fools thinking to lighten the vessel and keep it upright and afloat. As the Not-So-Great Generation, we did not understand the physics behind removing the ballast when all aboard were struggling to climb over each other to get as high as the very top of the top gallants.

Since the beginning of this century, the more I surveyed the vast and troubled social sea on which I had finally awakened adrift with the rest of the wreckage, the more I saw that these virtues -- in a shriveled and shrunken form -- seemed only to be found in the scattered sanctuaries of the Church and what remained to the Republican


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 30, 2005 5:10 AM | Comments (34)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The One and the Many

IT IS SAID, for either comfort or confidence, that God so orders the world that there is "someone for everyone." It is said, by some latter-day Calvinists, that God has assigned this selected one to you from the master moment of Creation; that you will be taken to cleave to them, and only to them, if only your faith allows His will to be done.... on Earth as it is in Heaven.

On our Earth, however, it seems that a power other than God has intervened in this order. It seems that now a different metric is in play in our lives with the advent of the new and updated Devil's workshop made modern, the Internet.

Here, should you wish to push through the endless forms, filings, fittings and radio


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 30, 2005 4:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Uptown Date

"Original Dating are holding another speed dating event at Oblivion Bar on Monday the 27th June. You will meet up to 20 new people in one great night out! Dates last just four minutes each. Long enough to work out if you want to
see someone again and not too long if you don't!" -- Announcement, June, 2005

      [with apologies to Alexander Pope]

WITHIN OLD GOTHAM'S canyons there dwells a shallow race,
That is only moved to mark and then pursue the face
Whose pursed lips promise much, and yet deliver little,
Except more cash and fame to the various lickspittles
Whose manipulation of the young is really quite refined,
And whose underwear is personally hand-signed by Calvin Klein.

Presented daily with an echo shrouded in a choice,
It surprises none among us that some presume a voice
That yaps and apes authority, and urges happiness
Can be possessed by the possession of a new designer dress
Designed and sold by Donna, or her many fawning friends,
That such a tiny swatch of fabric may yet cover bigger ends.

Armed with such frail weapons, these creatures nightly strive
To convince themselves and others they're vibrantly alive
To life and wit and wealth, and not just sunk in shame,
As in the bistros of the night they play the dating game.
This game is played by two who always seek to measure
The shortest distance now between self-esteem and pleasure.

The entrance fees are steep, yet still these fools rush in --
Each to take their turn, each to have their spin,
Upon a wheel of fortune made of money and of mist,


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 27, 2005 11:23 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wonderful, funny, moving and deeply human

Matt Harding of Seattle made this: Where the Hell is Matt?

[Note to self: write something here about the indomitable nature of the human spirit. On second thought, just watch it again.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 23, 2005 5:03 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Christians of Convenience

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
-- Matthew 5, 44

DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU the spirit of Christ is not being made manifest in American media today. If you wish to see it in action pick up almost any newspaper on any day. Reading the headlines and the editorial concerns, you will be able to discern a core Christian precept in every edition.

Nearly four years into a war that began with the death of 3,000 of our fellow citizens, a situation has evolved within these United States that is without precedence in the annals of war and religion. It would seem that, even with our troops engaging the enemy wherever he can be found, and even with our troops dying daily from enemy action, that a large and substantial portion of the American population has learned to truly "love thy enemy."


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 20, 2005 8:30 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Kids Today


THEY SAY IT IS AN INTELLECTUAL FLAW to let things go "in one ear and out the other," but at my age it is merely a question of deciding what to admit onto the hard drive of my brain. It's a limited drive and at this point it is pretty much full. To write something new to it means I often have to delete something else. So I don't view this in one ear thing as a flaw but a necessity.

A much more common variation of this phenomenon is the deplorable habit of letting something go in one ear and out your mouth without first striking either a reflective surface or being passed through a BS filter -- preferably both. Once you realize that "in-ear-out-mouth" (IEOM) is an affliction of epidemic proporations in contemporary America you can spot it maiming and killing brain cells everywhere.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 15, 2005 3:31 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Let Us Now Praise Remarkable Bloggers - 1

#1: On The Doctor Is In

DURING THE YEARS I SPENT AS A MAGAZINE AND BOOK EDITOR, the most rewarding and exciting moments were when I'd open a manuscript by someone I'd never heard of and find a new and compelling voice. Over time I got so I'd know that voice was there within the first three paragraphs. I was never disappointed. Once I knew it, I would do everything in my power to see it was published and in this, I don't think I ever failed.

I knew it when I first read the manuscript for a short story called "The Ledge" by a young guy named Steve King. I knew it when I read an essay on the cell by a doctor


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2005 10:01 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In the Town Hall's Graveyard

In the hayed field thick with dusted mist,
As the noon whistle of the village hissed,
We noted how the dead were neatly placed,
How all lay labeled, how all were given space.

We remarked the craft of marble wreath,
And supposed that those who lay beneath
Were, like us, clad in the fashion of their day,
Some fitting shroud in which to greet an eternity of clay.

Nearby we saw the fruits of Arbor Day and said
How lovely were the trees; how well pruned and fed.
The trees ignored our gaze, as was their right,
And spawned a host of shadows, imitating night.

The hill beyond, round and mirrored as a globe,
Climbed once in spring, above us hovered
On high and wind smoothed walls of slate
On which trees' naked branches scraped

An etching of themselves slashed onto sky.
But we wandered late into our day and birds' cries
Made us spy the gray and shaken sheets of storm,
That sheathed us soon and drove us down

Into the brambles where the ancient Indians lay,
Separated by the weeds' time from the weather of the day,
And resolved at last to, sightless, calmly wait
Upon the last night's opening of the gateless gate.

"The slashing brambles took our eyes away.
The rain in sheaves removed our clay.
Our dried skin, in husks, remains asleep.
To awaken us, you must dig deep

"Beneath the earth of whittled leaves
Beneath the grief that no longer grieves;
To awaken us you need a careful touch,
For dig you must, but never dig too much."

We turned from the field and its rustle of birds,
Where once sunlight played on summer words,
Playing now only to the chiseled stones,
And to the silence of the abandoned bones.

That stillness slashed the grass with scythes of wind,
And made us wish we could a thousand acts rescind,
But we knew our wishes were for naught,
For what is easily sold is dearly bought.

Instead, we startled life in a whirr of wings,
And in that moment came to present things.
We went home, made tea, and sat together,
Held hands at evening and talked about the weather.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 10, 2005 9:11 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"And guess what, it's not about the oil."

Michael Bowen @ Cobb wisely points to this insightful article at Stratfor New Orleans: A Geopolitical Prize, which establishes that there are other, deeper reasons for valuing New Orleans beyond the oil industry.

A city is a complex and ongoing process - one that requires physical infrastructure to support the people who live in it and people to operate that physical infrastructure. We don't simply mean power plants or sewage treatment facilities, although they are critical. Someone has to be able to sell a bottle of milk or a new shirt. Someone has to be able to repair a car or do surgery. And the people who do those things, along with the infrastructure that supports them, are gone -- and they are not coming back anytime soon.

It is in this sense, then, that it seems almost as if a nuclear weapon went off in New Orleans. The people mostly have fled rather than died, but they are gone. Not all of the facilities are destroyed, but most are. It appears to us that New Orleans and its environs have passed the point of recoverability. The area can recover, to be sure, but only with the commitment of massive resources from outside -- and those resources would always be at risk to another Katrina.

The displacement of population is the crisis that New Orleans faces. It is also a national crisis, because the largest port in the United States cannot function without a city around it. The physical and business processes of a port cannot occur in a ghost town, and right now, that is what New Orleans is. It is not about the facilities, and it is not about the oil. It is about the loss of a city's population and the paralysis of the largest port in the United States.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2005 9:00 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
And the 2,000,000th Visitor Was Mr. or Ms. ....

.... at 4:13 PM Pacific Time, June 4, 2005. The IP address locater tells me this visitor came from Calgary in Canada via Shaw Communications.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2005 4:15 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
6 DAYS LATER: "We couldn't rush to failure..."

JUST BACK FROM THE GULF COAST, presents a Lt. Gen. H. Steven BlumDefense Department Briefing on the Ongoing National Guard Response to Hurricane Katrina. Up to date numbers and plans for mitigating the disaster. And this exchange which puts a little reality back into the picture:

Q: Across the disaster zone our reporters have consistently run into people over the past week, victims who have asked where's the National Guard, why aren't they here, why aren't they helping us? I know it's not your job to decide where and when aid is delivered. You have to provide these forces. But as a general who's been there and a commander with a can-do reputation, I just wanted to ask your opinion. Do you think in retrospect that more creativity, more ingenuity could have been employed early on to use the military to deliver more aid to people sooner?

GEN. BLUM: It would be easy to draw that conclusion, Jamie, but if you've ever been to Gulfport, remember the highway that runs along the coast was a four lane super highway. It was impassable. So where you could -- if a normal infrastructure existed, no question, you could have saturated the area with more, faster. But we were putting forces in in very degraded infrastructure. Airports had reduced capability. Roads, in some cases we had only one road in because of lack of bridges, flooding, loss of infrastructure, or the structures were too unsafe to cross or we would become casualties ourselves.

So we couldn't rush to failure on this thing and we had to take a more measured approach than any of us wanted. But to call this response late to need, if you're talking about the National Guard response, that would be a low blow to some incredible individuals who were on watch before the storm, harbored during the storm, on the scene immediately after the storm cleared. Just think about it. When was the storm? When did it hit? How many days ago?

Q: Early Monday.

GEN. BLUM: And today is what?

Q: Saturday.

GEN. BLUM: In that short time we're talking numbers of 40,000. This is just military. You're talking about being able to provide food, fuel, water for an unknown number of people that we have to first fine and discover in lots of cases, and then immediately care for with extremely high expectations.

I think the response of the National Guard is nothing less than unbelievably sensational. It's actually better than any planner could ever expect.

When I first laid out the numbers of reinforcements that would be coming into theater and then I went down there to ensure that they arrived so that the plan was in fact being executed, I was very surprised to find that every single projection that we had made had been exceeded because of the magnificent response that we're getting from all over this nation. Puerto Rico, in the height of hurricane season, is sending 1,000 soldiers to the relief effort. Think about what that means. One of the first forces in there were coming in from Oregon, Washington, Alaska. Forty states have soldiers there. Others are lined up to come in later because they have different skill sets that we think we'll need down the road, particularly as we get some of these roads uncovered and we have to start with reconstruction and rehabilitation of the area, rather than just getting in and getting the necessities in, the essentials.

[Emphasis added.]

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2005 9:27 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Excuse

DAVID WARREN tracks the evolution, or rather 'devolution' on really bad ideas in Bad Gumbo:

"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," said a certain Mike Franklin, glibly explaining the scene before the cameras to the Associated Press.

How wonderfully that sentence encapsulates the spirit of postmodern liberalism. In complete ignorance of his intellectual ancestry, this simple clod repeats an idea that has descended from arcane roots in Descartes, to Rousseau, and through Marx, to Frantz Fanon, and through the sociology departments of the universities, to daytime television, and out into popular cliche, till it has finally settled in the sewers of New Orleans. It is the idea of "victimhood"; the idea that a man is not responsible for his acts; that he is instead a victim of the oppression of some abstraction called "society" -- because he is black, or on welfare, or whatever. And everyone who isn't can be held guilty, regardless of how they have actually behaved.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2005 7:49 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Renewing New Orleans

DAVID WARREN says it best in "New Orleans:"

In the end, of course, we all die. And all our cities will disintegrate, and their ruins finally dissolve like sugar. As Prospero puts it in the Tempest, "The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, the solemn temples, the great globe itself, yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, and leave ... not a rack behind."

But that is to get ahead of the plot. It is for us to be creators not destroyers, and to build and rebuild against the impossibility that anything we touch can outlast time. And this is something that cannot be argued with: the immutable command of our Maker.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2005 7:40 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
In Coldest Type: Crack Addiction in American Publishing

"There are two things cowboys know nothing about. Cows and horses."

IN 1982 THE FIRST BOOK I EVER EDITED AND PUBLISHED during my career as a book editor at Houghton Mifflin Company was publishing consultant Leonard Shatzkin's In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis.   I loved working on this book and working with Shatzkin, but others around me were growing colder to the project as it progressed.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 3, 2005 8:17 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Summing Up

THIS WEEK'S EDITORIAL FROM The Federalist Patriot / Top of the Fold is one of the best overviews on the New Orleans disaster to date.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2005 2:47 PM | QuickLink: Permalink

The Kevin Roderick says, "Guests at Wednesday night's fundraiser for Sen. Hillary Clinton at the Hollywood Hills home of producer Roland Emmerich are being warned not to speak with any reporters. It's part of their written instructions."

The P.J. O'Rourke says, "I suggest a Celebrity Tax with a low-end base rate of, mmm, 100 percent.... Given the modest talent of current celebrities and the immodest example they set for impressionable youth, we'll call it a 'Value Subtracted Tax.' "


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2005 10:28 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Support Michael Yon in Iraq Today

Photo by Michael Yon

IN OVER TWO YEARS, I HAVE NOT ASKED FOR ANYTHING FROM MY READERS. That changes today. Today I want you to do something right now.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 2, 2005 5:59 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bigfoot Talks About the Real Situation in the Dome

MORE FIRSTHAND REPORTING from Indictor at Outpost Crystal in New Orleans:
"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.

Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.

==== endquote====

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 11:27 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Heard On the Radio

THE ONLY GOOD REASON to abandon and flood New Orleans so that it can return to nature would be if we were going to give it back to the French.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 8:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Earth to Race Hustler Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson

Dear Sir: Respectfully, I submit that you should shut the hell up. Looting and lawlessness IS the problem. The National Guard choppers are BEING SHOT AT. The NOPD are BEING SHOT AT. You want to focus on the levee? So do they, but check this out: THEY CAN'T UNTIL THE MOB STOPS ATTACKING THE RESCUE OPERATION.

I know you're looking at this situation with concern for the racial implications of the deterioration of civilization out here, but this is bigger than whether people are going to be racists after this is over. This is about rescuing the masses i.e. life and death.

I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and blame your stupid comments on your lack of knowledge of the situation. Don't prove me a fool for doing so.

Michael Barnett @ the Survival of New Orleans blog

Somewhere tonight, Al Sharpton is abusing his staff for letting Jackson get from South America to New Orleans before him. After the ditch in Crawford, below sea-level is the only new low left to him.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 6:44 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Four Levels of Hell

ANN GERHART reports in'And Now We Are in Hell'

Level 1: "On the artificial-turf field and in the lower-level seats where Montrel sat sweltering with her family, a form of civilization had taken hold -- smelly, messy, dark and dank, but with a structure. Families with cots used their beds as boundaries for personal space and kept their areas orderly, a cooler on one corner, the toys on another, almost as if they had come for fireworks and stayed too long."

Level 2: "In the men's, the urinal troughs were overflowing. In the women's, the bowls were to the brim. A slime of excrement and urine made the walkway slick. "You don't even go there anymore," said Dee Ford, 37, who was pushed in a wading pool from her flooded house to the shelter. "You just go somewhere in a corner where you can. In the dark, you are going to step in poo anyway."

Level 3: "Within the skyboxes, on the third level of hell, life was dark 24 hours a day, a place for abandonment and coupling. Also up there was "a sort of speakeasy," said Michael Childs, who had some beer in an empty Dannon water bottle. "You got to know where to go," he said, and grinned."

Level 4: "On the fourth level, the darkest and highest of all, the lurkers lived, scary in the shadows. The fourth level, people explained, was for the gangsters and the druggies. The rumors sprang from there: Two girls had been raped; one girl had been raped and one killed. Someone was abducting newborns. A man had jumped from there and died. A murder had occurred."

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 3:22 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Screw the Whiners, the Appeasers, the Explainers and the Apologists. Time to Cowboy Up.

The Forces of Decomposition and The War on Terror
By William J. Bennett

A grievance culture has taken hold in the West, both in England and America-and at exactly the wrong time. Where not long after 9/11 we were angry, we now have become sad, or depressed and confused; and too many have replaced our concept of evil with all manner of diagnoses of syndromes and root causes. We are at war, and yet we are indulging a culture of grievance. My friend Debra Burlingame -- whose brother, Chick, was the pilot of flight 77 that was hijacked and smashed into the Pentagon -- was recently asked if she missed the post-9/11 commonsense. She answered: "Truthfully, what I miss the most is the anger." I do too.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 2:54 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We Need the Military in here NOW."

OUTPOST CRYSTAL aka "THE SURVIVAL OF NEW ORLEANS PAGE" is posting in real time from New Orleans and issues this call for help:

In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained. I'm here to help in anyway I can, but my capabilities are limited and dropping. Please get the military here to maintain order before this city is lost.
If it hasn't already begun, the shooting of looters is right around the corner. Or, if reports are correct, the shooting back at looters is right around the corner. Faster please.


Situtation is critical.

I'm not leaving, so stop asking. I'm staying. I am staying until this shitstorm has blown itself out. Period. End of discussion.

Now for some updates:

1. Been too busy to debrief the police officer, so that will come later. Low priority now.

2. Buses loading people up on Camp Street to take refugees to Dallas, or so the word on the street (literally) is.

3. Dead bodies everywhere: convention center, down camp street, all over.

4. National Guard shoving water off the backs of trucks. They're just pushing it off without stopping, people don't even know it's there at first -- they drop it on the side in debris, there's no sign or distribution point -- people are scared to go near it at first, because the drop points are guarded by troops or federal agents with assault rifles who don't let people come near them, which scares people off. It is a mess. When people actually get to the water, they are in such a rush to get it that one family left their small child behind and forget about him until Sig carried him back to the family.

5. Lots of pics coming soon when Sig has time to update.

It's raining now and I guess that's a relief from the heat. It's hot as hell down there in the sun. Crime is absolutely rampant: rapes, murders, rape-murder combinations.


"THE REAL MILITARY IS NOW FLOWING IN. National Guard is being replaced before our eyes. Watch the feed.

Word is that the Marines are at 1515 Poydras where our OC4s are. I think we're coming back online in force shortly.

On another note: I've just been told that we're being monitored in Iraq! To all the troops there, from one soldier to another, we're hanging tough here and you hang tough too. No matter what you're hearing, we love you guys and want you to know that we know how hard you've got it. Stay strong!"

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 2:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
When You Do Have to Live Like a Refugee

VIA A FRIEND'S EMAIL comes a pointer to Michael Tisserand's moving personal memoir of New Orleans, "Submerged."

Together that night, we watched the same show that all who'd gotten out were watching. The straight line for our city. The familiar "Cat-4" and "Cat-5." And for those of us who thought we'd seen this before, the much-hoped-for right turn.

It didn't matter. It hit. Even those who could read the tea leaves in John McPhee's Forces of Nature or John Barry's Rising Tide, or who had seen the diagrams of a bowl-shaped city, are in disbelief. New Orleans is gone, along with the newspaper where I work, the home where I live, my kids' beloved school, my neighborhood sno-ball stand, my neighborhood anything.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 11:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Landslide in Laguna: There Goes the Neighborhood

Cubist speed sculpture by nature in Laguna Beach

Slide Area via Mapquest
Area from orbit via ACME mapper
Google Satellite Shot of Area in Color
Topographical map of area via ACME Mapper Yes, it is that steep.

FIRST IT IS JUST ONE HELICOPTER HOVERING, then two, then four, then seven. Up over the house here on Arch Beach Heights above Bluebird Canyon in Laguna Beach.

The choppers are all set on hover and they are not going away. How annoying. Call the police department to complain. "Why in the devil are there all these helicopters over my house?"

"Bluebird Canyon's had a major landslide. 20 homes wiped out. We're evacuating the canyon. Turn on your TV."

"Which channel?"

"All of them."

Disaster zone is about 400 yards away from this house.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 1, 2005 9:44 AM | Comments (71)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH




By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | 6616-D Clark Road #176 | Paradise, CA 95969

Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty

It’s not just about the showerhead.
The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure. | Foundation for Economic Education [HT: Never Yet Melted]

In 2016 the Western political system had a stroke.

The American political system is operating in the curious condition of being an impaired state.
It's not really thinking -- about China, Russia, Syria, Kurdistan. It's not really thinking about anything except half remembered slogans from 1968. Like a person afflicted by a stroke, it can't take a consistent view of external reality because it's regressing into atavisms by a loss of brain function. Impaired

Fake News. At the same time of the political putsch, the mainstream media outlets,

in particular the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks, via broadcasts and social media, began an orchestrated campaign of defamation and delegitimization.
The crazier and more diverse the media mythologies, the better. Melania Trump was a former call girl and illegal alien. Ivanka Trump was peddling her business wares from the West Wing. Jared Kushner was a profiteering collusionist. Steve Bannon was a racist, Sebastian Gorka an unrepentant Nazi. Baron Trump was a spoiled, autistic child. The late elder Trump had run a racist campaign for mayor. And on and on. Resistance & Regime Change: Any Means Necessary – Lies, Leaks, Violence | National Review

Crime simply does not pay as well as politics or banking.

That may be the way to look at something like the Clinton Foundation and, coming soon, the Obama Foundation.
These are not explicitly criminal organizations, but they certainly play outside the spirit of the laws. Obama is out of office and prohibited from running again, but he still controls the Democratic party. The Clintons would be in charge, if not for the fact that the voters took their under boss out in the Tuesday Night Massacre, otherwise known as the presidential election. Even so, the Clinton Family is still a player. Late Phase Capitalism | The Z Blog

Bodymore, Murderville”

Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world.
Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored. The Killing Season | The Z Blog

New Blog Arriving Soon

Some have asked, "Gee whiz, Unca Gerard, where is that thar new blog you keeps a promisin'?"

I am hoping for sometime tonight. Hoping. We've been having some issues getting this winged dinosaur landed.

Drink Tea


Drink tea, together with your friends; pay attention to the tea, and to your friends, and pay attention to your friends paying attention to the tea. Therein lies the meaning of life. The Essence of Peopling

We would love to cut a deal with the noble indigenous peoples across the Earth—

you can have your Navajo panties and aboriginal dot paintings and every last freaking burrito on the planet so long as you give us back our computers and cell phones and cars and indoor plumbing and electricity and air conditioners. Deal?

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left.

As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a "progressive" future by Hillary Clinton;
an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination. Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History. Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome. A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a "progressive" world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. Opportunity

Trump, Julius Caesar, and killing tyrants

The Roman lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had sacrificed Caesar. -- neoneocon

Execute Trump? Nah, You First.

Draining the swamp means not only ejecting Trump from the presidency,
but also bringing himself and everyone assisting in his agenda up on charges of treason. They must be convicted (there is little room to doubt their guilt). And then — upon receiving guilty verdicts — they must all be executed under the law. Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice | HuffPost [Retreived from GoogleCache after it was expunged from the Huffington Post]

A bee in her bonnet


Thousands of bees took over a car in the UK and beekeepers are struggling to make them leave -
At first it wasn't clear why the bees chose the blue Nissan car and he and a colleague were trying to determine whether this was just a temporary stop or a new nesting site. But as the bees moved to the inside of the bonnet, filling every nook and cranny, things got more serious. "They're building a lot of wax in there now, and of course once they start doing that, they're reluctant to leave it, because it's the start of building a house. They put a lot of effort into producing the wax," Coulson told Hull Daily Mail. "I've got a feeling this might be their chosen permanent home."

[Bumped] "They send one of ours to the hospital, we send two of theirs to the morgue."

Baseball Shooter a Big Wake-Up Call for the Left | Roger L. SimonRobespierre is alive and well in 2017 USA.

This pathetic character in Alexandria is, now was, the left's ungoverned id. By any means necessary -- that's for sure. They will undoubtedly try to shove him under the rug as quickly as possible, just one more aberrant individual to be forgotten, just one obscure Bernie volunteer gone bad. Sanders did his best to separate himself within minutes of the revelation. Yes, it's undoubtedly true that this was just one rotten apple, but it's also true that only five years ago Bernie was recommending Venezuela -- now ground zero for starvation, kidnapping and murder -- as a path for us to emulate.

Greatest antitheft device when the thieves are millenials:

Man leads Jeffco deputies on low-speed chase in stolen flatbed truck after unable to get out of 1st gear The driver - later identified as 29-year-old Randy Dewayne Vert - refused to stop and continued driving south on Center Point Parkway, Christian said. Vert was apparently unfamiliar with the complexities of a modern manual transmission.

The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in.

Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation.
NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past. Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff. They are here to lead us back to 1968. Stuck

The Japanese. Nuked Too Much... or Trying to Get Their Mouths Around Fujiyama Volcano Plate


We put Japan's most phallic-looking roast beef meal into our mouth at VolcanoKitchen | SoraNews24
Since we’d already become somewhat desensitized to the initially unsettling sensation of peeling strips of meat off the top of the shaft, we mercilessly crushed the egg, sending viscous, gooey liquid running down to the base of the meat rod.

The power of the press is a figment of the imagination -- humbug --

Oscar Diggs behind the curtain projecting the image of Oz the Great and Powerful!
The Internet did not kill the power of the newspapers. It was suicide. And not just because most of them had Marxist editorials, editors, and reporters. Newspapers lost their sense of community -- and their credibility -- when the heirs to hometown publishers didn't want the paper, sold it to a chain for $1,000 per subscriber to a chain -- Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Thomson -- and moved on. Don Surber: Craigslist killed newspapers

When terrorists enter your children’s school and begin to execute them...

will the gun ban (you favored) in school that prevented abiding staff and teachers from saving your child, come to mind as a good idea?
If the answer to any or all of these and many more reasonable questions, is 'yes,' then you may be a delusional liberal, and likely a coward, and almost as big a threat to our nation as the terrorists who are at war with us." - Morgan K. Freeberg

"Happy birthday, Mr. President...."


First truth which has been grounded into dust, must spring forth from the earth again.

At the present time . . .he who practices loving-kindness is esteemed and sought after, while he who champions the truth in word and in deed is persecuted and shunned. 
For men desire to base their affairs on everything except the one incorruptible truth which has been set down before us by God , and therefore these affairs have no permanent value . . . only when love and truth meet together, only when men come to understand that the highest act of loving-kindness is to bring men to know and practice the truth, only then will the marriage of love and truth produce that condition on earth in which everyone and everything will occupy the place which has been assigned to it by the will of God. Truth and Peace - Men Of The West

What happened to Nuclear Winter?


As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive;
John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring. A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened. Raconteur Report: Aliens Cause Global Warming by Michael Crichton

If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. - - Woodpile Report

Joe Biden’s niece dodges jail after $100K credit card scam

She walks on a major felony? Of course she did. And who believes she'll keep her end of the deal? In her defense, we're assured she's "a very complicated girl who has a lot of feelings and a lot of issues." Oh ... okay. That explains everything. Hugs from all the little people. Woodpile Report

Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?

There is exactly one language on Earth whose present tense requires a special ending only in the third‑person singular.
I’m writing in it. I talk, you talk, he/she talk-s – why just that? The present‑tense verbs of a normal language have either no endings or a bunch of different ones (Spanish: hablo, hablas, habla). And try naming another language where you have to slip do into sentences to negate or question something. Do you find that difficult? | Aeon Essays

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