Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: The Blue Bottle

timebottle.jpgSome years back I wrote about my bottle of blue gotten in Pelom's Time Shop in Black Mountain, North Carolina:

In time, if the time is right, Pellom will glance up at you from behind his bench, his green eyeshade shadowing his eyes, and say, "What can I get you?"

Not "What are you looking for?," or "How can I help you?," but "What can I get you?"

You'd be well advised to take him at his word and say, "I'd like to buy some more time.
If your request is timely, Pellom will nod and fetch that small cloud-blue glass-stoppered bottle from the shelf behind him and bring it over to the counter and put it down in front of you with a sharp, satisfying clack on the glass of the counter. Looking into it all you will see is, towards the center, the faintest mist made from the color out of space and inside that, towards the core of the mist, a shovel of stars.

It was an odd bottle with odder contents as you can see. Or perhaps, as you might remember. Don Sensing remembered a few weeks ago when he found himself in Black Mountain, North Carolina. He walked into Pelom's Time Shop:
There Mr. Pellom was, just as expected. And as you can see, one thing he has plenty of is time.

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Time is everywhere in the Time Shop. (It is a real place, you know.) A gray-headed man was standing near the door facing the right wall, manipulating some time when I walked in. He turned slightly toward me and said hello.
They chatted a bit, as people do in small shops of small towns, and then as Sensing turned to go Pelom asked him:
"What can I get you?"

I said nothing for two heartbeats, then spoke slowly. "I'd like to buy some more time."

There was no shelf behind him. He reached into his pocket and produced a small, cloud-blue, glass-stoppered bottle. "Take this," he said, "and look inside."

What happened when Sensing looked inside his blue bottle?

Something wonderful. I'll let him tell you the rest at Sense of Events: The time of your life. It will make your time better.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 31, 2011 2:08 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Shine, Perishing Republic (or Not)


"These people are not unusual.

It is not their fault they have been gelded and made useless. They did as they were told. I find them interesting, because they appear to my eye to be about average. They have participated fully in American public life, and it has made them useless to themselves and to others. The reaction necessary to shine is missing, and the ingredients have collapsed in on themselves, and they only have the slowly fading appearance of the citizenry they sprang from. God bless them, they're got enough mettle to try to squeeze something from the raw material of their lives: Maybe I can be crowned the king or queen of the shiftless, and appear as a Reality Sideshow geek, displaying my underdeveloped limbs and the stubs of my intellect for a few pennies." -- More at Sippican Cottage: My Children Will Not Be Appearing On White Dwarf Star Search, Thank You Very Much



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 30, 2011 12:59 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Marlboro Marine: 2004 and Today

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This just in from the intelligent, insightful and marvelous "Iconic Photos," a look at one of the most striking photos of the Iraq war: The Marlboro Marine

The dirt-smeared, battle-weary face with a cigarette languidly dangling from the lips belonged to Lance Corporal James Blake Miller, who would be quickly dubbed "The Marlboro Man" or "Marlboro Marine".

The photo was taken by Luis Sinco of Los Angeles Times on 10 November, 2004; Miller told the intruding photographer, "If you want to write something, tell Marlboro I'm down to four packs, and I'm here in Fallujah till who knows when. Maybe they can send some. And they can bring down the price a bit." The photo was depicted on the cover of more than 150 newspapers and magazines, including the New York Post, whose headline read, "Marlboro Men kick butt in Fallujah." ...

Because of his struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, Miller is now separated from his wife and family and currently lives alone. He is unable to discuss certain things that happened in Fallujah. Read Sinco's touching tribute to Miller here.

The reaction from the feeble Eloi at the time was best summed up by the excrable Naomi Klein in Smoking while Iraq burns:
For a country that just elected a wannabe Marlboro man as its president, Miller is an icon and, as if to prove it, he has ignited his very own controversy. "Lots of children, particularly boys, play army, and like to imitate this young man. The clear message of the photo is that the way to relax after a battle is with a cigarette," wrote Daniel Maloney in a scolding letter to the Houston Chronicle. Linda Ortman made the same point to the editors of the Dallas Morning News: "Are there no photos of non-smoking soldiers?" A reader of the New York Post helpfully suggested more politically correct propaganda imagery: "Maybe showing a marine in a tank, helping another GI or drinking water would have a more positive impact on your readers."
Fretting always about tobacco because their minds are both empty and colonized. Shameful and disgusting people, really.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 28, 2011 11:41 AM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Still Small Voice Says, "Are Your Kidding Me?"

Daphne says, "I love this guy." I'm with her.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 27, 2011 9:40 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Natural

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Son and Sippican

Roy Hobbs: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.
Pop Fisher: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.

The Devil’s in the Cows by Sippican Cottage

One of the benchmarks of our culture’s decline is that our best writers are barely known and our worst writers are widely celebrated. One of the hopeful thoughts that springs from this is that the celebration of bad writers is an artifact of the final era in which publishers and editors were the gatekeepers of what passed for our literature. In those years getting a new writer launched and established was often a project that required at least four books and half a decade. The process had a little to do with the technology of publishing and lot more to do with the “New York Literary Mafia.” (Which everyone said didn’t exist and which was how you knew it did exist. Especially if you were part of it. Which, at one time, I was.)

Random Selection 1: “Roll over easy, like you might not get up, to get the right buffer. Then stand up, and put your fist one inch behind that feller’s head. The beer is gettin’ warm.”

Since launching my first magazine in 1971 I’ve made my living off of writers and, by and large, they’ve been good to me. As a book and magazine editor I’ve published well over 250 books and so many thousands of magazine articles that I’ve long ago lost track.

Along the way I’ve found a few authors that nobody knew at the time I found them and soon after everybody knew. Luck of the draw really. If you keep rolling the dice, sooner or later you’ll have run of luck. But lucky or not I’ve developed a sixth sense about writers. I know when a writer is marketable, when a writer can be made marketable, and when a writer is capable of writing not books but “properties.” Most of all I know when a writer is “A Natural.”

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 26, 2011 2:23 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Someone Wonderful: Janis "Didn't I make you feel like you were the only man —yeah!"

Radio Paradise today has been running through the [limited] greatest hits of Amy [Who?] Winehouse, who celebrates her third day of sobriety today. Doesn't mean nuttin' to me. I heard a couple of cuts and knew, as Bill, the Radio Paradise DJ did, that Winehouse was just another wannabe Janis. So he sequed into Summertime at the same time I thought of it. I love that synchronicty.

There was one Janis. There won't be another. Same fate but different and far deeper chops and a heart always broken and always healing. When Janis, poor shy Janis, sang, she meant it and she meant "you."

For reasons purely personal, I still miss her like I miss white nights.

Here she is in the year she died, 1970:

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 25, 2011 6:34 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Life and Death On a Summer Afternoon

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The jade green winged butterfly settles on my shin as it dangles in a pool of shade on the deck. I hold my leg stock still watching the slow beat of it’s wings come and go like the breath of a sleeping child.

A sparrow comes off the telephone line above the fence and slashes into it like a rapier, pin small claws spiking into my skin. The butterfly beats its wings in the bird's beak at the same slow tempo as before. I shake my leg an inch or so and the sparrow skips off onto the bricks next to my foot, still keeping the butterfly locked in its beak.

“Hey,” I say. “Don’t be so greedy.”

The sparrow cocks its head to the sound of my voice and gives what might be a shrug and then it's off. Even on a lazy summer afternoon its got no time for my morality.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 24, 2011 5:42 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Time to Update an Old Proverb

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"On an island of unarmed people, the one armed man is king." -- The Fourth Checkraise



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 23, 2011 10:40 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bring Me My Gun. No. The Bigger One.

David Thompson, a discerning connoisseur of the crapulous in the world today brings us this assault on the senses and soul in Meanwhile, in the Arts...

"Here’s Austrian artist and choreographer Doris Uhlich, whose “vigorous and critical” hour-long performance More Than Enough “takes ironic revenge on the standardisation of the body.” It’s a “bodily and textual discussion of flesh and opulence,” in which Uhlich “asks herself and her audience how the body can become a trademark and what this means.” This radical feat is achieved by reciting Baudelaire, throwing talcum powder around and making several phone calls: 'I’m calling you because I’m fat...' Brace yourselves for the finale."
Brace yourself indeed. As one of his astute commenters remarks, "Worst. Nudity. Ever."

You have been warned, but when has that ever stopped you?

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 21, 2011 10:35 AM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "The eagle couldn't have picked a better person"

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Photo: Frank Glick

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 18, 2011 7:09 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Racist ReElectO Gambit: “If I could find a black man who had the white sound and the white feel, I could make a billion dollars.”

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You used to ride on the chrome horse with your diplomat
Who carried on his shoulder a Siamese cat
Ain't it hard when you discover that
He really wasn't where it's at
After he took from you everything he could steal.
How does it feel?

-- Dylan, Like a Rolling Stone

At some point in the next nine months, depending on the level of Democrat desperation, the ReElectO’s will advance the following proposition: ‘Obama MUST be re-elected to CONFIRM AND SANCTIFY post-racial America.’

This ReElectO position will assert that giving their token but a single term will throw the entire nation back to Jim Crow or even before; that the South will rise again; and that no ReElectO will transform all citizens of the Caucasian or Asian persuasion into Grand Dragons of Klu Klux Klan. Without a sweeping ReElectO victory and “Four More Years!”, America will become a vast slave ship from which those of African descent will be forever trapped in the Middle Passage, fed through funnels and confined, in chains, below decks. This vision, this furred and feathered witch-doctor shibboleth, will be shaken in the face of the nation to reignite the shame that sent their slick-suited symbol to the White House in the first instance.

The assertion that the nation’s failure to go with the ReElectOs confirms its racist soul would be risible if it were not so despicable. The current term -- gained on the pretty promise of a post-racial America -- has been stained and scarred by programs and policies that have done more to ramp up racism in this country since the days of Bull Conner. It is a mark of indelible shame that the one president elected for his ostensible capability to bind up the nation’s wounds has been at the forefront of exacerbating them; of repeatedly “pulling off the Band-Aid”. If one were to scour the landscape of America in the summer of 2011 for a single person who could assume the crown of Racist-In-Chief looking in the Oval Office would assure a short search and a quick coronation.


The racist realities of this administration and its chief are things the ReElectOs will struggle to obfuscate under their "new and improved" program: “Give the Kid Another Chance Already.” For the ReElectOs a second term is essential. It is essential not shore up “The Story of O,” but because, in truth, the entire racial gambit the progressive left has ridden on for more than six decades hangs in the balance.

In the final analysis the progressive program rests on O being seen to be living proof of their essential premise: “African Americans are just as good, even better; just as equal, even more equal; just as smart and even smarter than all other Americans regardless of race, class, creed or national origin.” Thus is division disguised, as it always is, by "diversity."

Politically this premise is fundamental since it secures significant political bases for progressives across the board.

Economically this premise is mission critical since it secures private and public funding and payrolls for tens of millions of voters.

The one-term failure of this premise at the level of The O implies that the premise itself is flawed or, worse still, false. A collapse of the premise at the level of The O could instigate a cascade of failure that threatens to undo, not the achievement of individual African Americans, but the entire Voodoo edifice of the African-American Race Hustling Industry. There are tens of millions of gold-plated rice bowls set for smashing if The O should “faw down and go boom,” and the owners of those bowls will not readily see them shattered. The economic implosion of the Race Hustling Industry in America would be much worse that the housing implosion.

The O may believe that the ReElectOs are “all about him,” but they are really “all about themselves.” Race hustling, from the ancient 1960s era of Radical Chic and MauMauing the Flak-Catchers has been a rich vein that people of low character, cheap morals and thug tendencies have not been slow to exploit in the United States. In fact it is entirely probable that everything sacred about the African-American quest for nobility died on a motel balcony in Memphis with Martin Luther King, and rose clad in a hand-daubed bloody turtleneck in the form of the quintessential race-hustler and extortionist role-model, Jesse Jackson. From there the shape of the hustle was codified until today we all, black, white, Asian, indian recognize the type in a twinkling. The O was merely the race-hustler’s apotheosis.

Indeed, The O was to the manor born for his present station. All the pieces were in place without the need for a conscious conspiracy or an obfuscated birth. Utterly unnecessary. He was the "Affirmative Action Elvis." The O was quite simply the inverse of Sun Records owner Sam Phillip’s famous statement: “If I could find a white man who had the Negro sound and the Negro feel, I could make a billion dollars.” Flip that around and extend it to read “make a trillion dollars and, dare I say it?, rule the world,” and you’ve pretty much got The O career trajectory. Merit and achievement were, in 2008, quite beside the point. The Story of O was always about “look and feel” and never about what was real. In short, in 2008 was time for an O and the most perfect O appeared. The rest, as they say, is history.

The problem today is, however, that the history of O is bad history. The look is fading and he’s lost that loving feeling. No matter. The ReElectOs will wail, “He just hasn’t had enough time! He needs more time and a freer hand. You can’t reject him. He’s black and rejecting him just proves you’re racist, again and again and again, racist world without end always.”

In a way, they’re right. This coming election will be, unlike the last election, all about race and racism. But it won’t be because of the deeds and the dreams of America to move into a post-racial society, it will be because of the deeds and the policies of a man who, in the final analysis, has done everything in his power to keep America racially polarized. It will be about the token who, after all was said and done, didn’t have the right stuff to be the champion of African Americans, to be “The One they had been waiting for.” He just had the timing. Vote for him anyway, the ReElectOs will say. Vote for him because he’s black and tan and rested and.... this time we promise... finally ready.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 18, 2011 12:10 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Religion of Peace at Work Making Converts: These the Savages That The Administration is Pursuing a Truce With In Afghanistan

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Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 18, 2011 10:28 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: It seems to me that the greatest wonder of Creation is that there is alway more wonder to discover.
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 17, 2011 11:57 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The City of Brass by Rudyard Kipling

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Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 17, 2011 12:53 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Marilyn

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“Ah, but a boy's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 16, 2011 6:06 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cruising for a Bruising: The Nation/Nieuw Amsterdam Adventure
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 16, 2011 1:08 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
China's Ghost Cities and Malls: Yes This "Miracle [Command] Economy" Has Also Screwed the Pooch
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 16, 2011 12:48 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pellom's Time Shop (A 2008 Item Updated with Photo from Today)

Note on the pleasures of blogging: The item below was from a soujourn I made to Black Mountain, North Carolina in 2008. Today, via email Donald (Sense of Events) Sensing (who remembered the item sent me the photograph below.) Very gratifying... not to mention flattering. And of course good to see that Pellom's Time is still open for business.

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2011 w/ Sensing Reflected

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2008 w/ Van der Leun Reflected

It's the oldest shop in Black Mountain, North Carolina. None of the other shop keepers can remember a time when it wasn't here. Nobody in town can remember a time when Pellom himself wasn't here. The Time Shop and Pellom may well have been here before the town was here; before even the Cherokee were here. Nobody can say.

These days Pellom isn't the Pellom he once was. If you want him to come and deal with your time in your space you have to pick him up and bring him back at the appointed time. If your time is more flexible you can bring it in to him if it breaks. He might well have that part of time you need in his shop. He's got all sorts of spare time parts from times past if precious little from time present and even less from time future. Still sometimes he's got time.

Most people look into the cluttered and dust-layered window of the Time Shop and walk on by. The stores full of crafts made the old-time way lure them on. After all, most of those who walk up and down this street in Black Mountain are retired and have, they think, all the time in the world.

Pellom doesn't mind. He knows what time it is. He also knows what can happen to time. How it can come unsprung. How it can run slow and still run fast. How time runs down. How time goes by. How time runs out. That's why he's careful, when he can, to save time.

You can, if he decides he likes you, buy some time at the Time Shop. All you have to do is to step through the seldom used door of the Time Shop and say "Good afternoon, Mr. Pellom." Then you need to look around the shop carefully and slowly. You need, most of all, to take your time.

In time, if the time is right, Pellom will glance up at you from behind his bench, his green eyeshade shadowing his eyes, and say, "What can I get you?"

Not "What are you looking for?," or "How can I help you?," but "What can I get you?"

You'd be well advised to take him at his word and say, "I'd like to buy some more time."

Then, if your request is timely, Pellom will nod and fetch that small cloud-blue glass-stoppered bottle from the shelf behind him and bring it over to the counter and put it down in front of you with a sharp, satisfying clack on the glass of the counter. Looking into it all you will see is, towards the center, the faintest mist made from the color out of space and inside that, towards the core of the mist, a shovel of stars.

"Very good, sir," Pellom will say. "How much time would you like?"

I'd advise you to buy as much time as you can afford, as often as you can afford it, time after time.

Just because Pellom has some extra time today doesn't mean he won't be out of time tomorrow. Most of the time, time is always in short supply. Tonight, while you sleep, your government will be awake printing more money. Nobody is printing more time. Which is why you should be careful how you spend time in the first place. Just ask Pellom down at the Time Shop.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 16, 2011 12:17 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
An Icon of the Times: The Garden of Earthly Delights Without the Party in the Middle
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 15, 2011 10:34 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Charlie Rose Interviews Charlie Rose
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 15, 2011 9:20 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wicked This Way Comes

"Hello Suckers!" was the greeting Texas Guinan# used to shout out to the swells and the elite when they came into her speakeasy, the 300 Club during Prohibition. They loved it and New Yorkers who are wealthy continue to love being insulted by the help and the whores of Manhattan. The help and the whores don't mind. They get their big hits on their tips jars and the band plays on. Lately though the band playing on in the New York and DC speakeasys seems more and more like the band playing "Nearer My God to Thee" on the stern of the Titanic.

There's been a lot of metaphor slapped onto the ObamaDrama playing out in DC in the last week. It's been called Kabuki, it's been called Noh, it's been called a Chinese shadow puppet production. It's none of those.

Instead it's something we've seen before headlining the floor show wherever flagons of Lethe and bonghits of Oblivion are being sold. Watching Obama and John Boehner and Eric Cantor and trying to figure out who's going to come out on top is like trying to figure out who is best at recapitulating the sold out performances of Le Petomane "playing O Sole Mio and La Marseillaise on an ocarina through a rubber tube in his anus" at the Moulin Rouge in Paris back in 1892. The only difference is that Le Petomane could flatulate on key. Washington is just playing musical chairs with Poo-Poo Cushions.

In case you haven't noticed, none of this current Fart Festival is about actually "reducing" the size of the government. It is about reducing the rate at which government will grow. The Republican plan is "Same shit. Smaller cups." Any recovering alcoholic will tell you that you can drink a pint of whiskey in an hour out of a pint jar or out of a shot glass to the same effect.

This bongo beating Bullshit Shriners Parade on the Potomac goes on, and on, and on, and on.... and to tell you the truth it's getting as numbing as having a two-foot piece of rebar nailed down the center of your spine. What this Clown Convention really needs to get some attention is a good old fashioned auto-da-fe with everyone involved dumped inside the Wicker Man.

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Via Ann Barnhardt

At the very least it's enough to make one regret that tar, feathers and riding out of town on a rail has gone out of fashion.

And they still have a lot of chumps on their side. People still dumb enough and depraved enough to warrant shaming and shunning by all right thinking Americans whenever they show their face and open their mouths.

What a bunch of chumps these morons who voted Obama and the Crimocrats into power turned out to be. And now all those chumps (along with the rest of us who had to endure their bullshit) are about to feel the Government's teeth clamp onto their buttocks and chew straight up through to their esophagus. In the hope and change era of their crack-pipe dreams, government seem like a solution, the ultimate solution. They forgot the previous meaning of "ultimate solution."

The con that's still unfolding in Washington ain't no Kabuki on steroids. Instead it reminds me of that scene in Goodfellas where a desperate businessman, looking for hope and change in his fortunes, makes a deal with a known mobster. It went something like this:


Government said, You run the joint. Maybe I'll try to help you.

And the chumps agreed, God bless you, Government. You've always been fair with me.

Now the chumps have got everyone the Government as a partner. Any problems, they goes to the Government. Trouble with a bill, to the Government. Trouble with jobs, liquidity, healthcare, they calls the Government.

But now the chumps have to pay the Government... every week no matter what.

"Business bad? Fuck you, pay me."

"Had a fire? Fuck you, pay me."

"The place got hit by lightning? Fuck you, pay me."

Also, now the Government could do anything. Like run up bills on the joint's credit. And why not? Nobody will pay for it anyway.

Take deliveries at the front door and sell it out the back at a discount.

Take a case of booze and sell it.

It doesn't matter. It's all profit.

Then finally, when there's nothing left... when you can't borrow
another buck from the Chinese... you bust the joint out.

You light a match.


"Hello suckers! Fuck you pay me."



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 14, 2011 10:51 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mila Kunis Scores Big This Week in 3 Ways

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1) She's going to attend a Marine Ball with a real Marine. (Yes, contrary to malicious rumors she's going to be there.)

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2) She's exposed (in passing) the unremitting failures of Communism:

GQ: Your new movie is called Friends with Benefits. Ever been in one of those relationships?
Mila Kunis: Oy. I haven’t, but I can give you my stance on it: It’s like communism—good in theory, in execution it fails. Friends of mine have done it, and it never ends well. Why do people put themselves through that torture?
Having been born under Communism she probably has, through her family at least, some understanding of how awful it is.

3) Her forthright and patriotic actions give me an excuse to post more hot pictures of her.

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Posted by Vanderleun Jul 14, 2011 1:42 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You've Got Questions. Cobb's Got The Answers.

"For Christmas I managed to get my hands on the Republican and Democrat plans for mobilizing the black community and a shredder."

Will. Make. Your. Day.



Elsewhen on Cobb: Irksome Nosy Moral Dainty Persons
"I want you to imagine that you are a millionaire and that you don't care about patriotism - rather like George Soros but not so extreme. Some terrorist destroys the Statue of Liberty. Your reaction is indifference. What you will be is one vote in favor of not engaging the wrath of 150 million Americans. Do you get it? The Statue of Liberty means nothing to you because you don't need it. You need almost nothing from those things America promises to Jane Doe. Your identity is not wrapped up in such small gifts. Your byline is 'What do you mean we?' "



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 13, 2011 1:54 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Word

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Posted by Vanderleun Jul 13, 2011 10:24 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Chinese General to America: Please Cut Military Expenditures... Suckers
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Posted by Vanderleun Jul 12, 2011 11:44 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Happy UnBirthday to Me: I Almost Forgot to Mention That American Digest is 9 Years Old

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American Digest became nine-years-old back in May. At least that's far back as the Wayback Machine tracks it in the year of Our Lord 2002: The New America - Dispatches. It is a bit older than that but I no longer remember exactly how much. Early 2002 in post 9/11 New York City was, as they say, "a life in interesting times."

The first incarnation of the page (shown above) was in another space and another time.

To date my counters show 6,311 posts in the main column and + 5,768 posts in "Thinking Right." That's 12,000 items and change. I've really got to tidy that up someday and move this whole endeavor to a newer and spiffier platform. Tasks I keep putting off until tomorrow.

Maybe I'll get to it someday. For now, thanks for stopping by and putting up with me. God knows I wouldn't.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 12, 2011 10:37 PM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: 2D Photography's Rube Goldberg Promo
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 12, 2011 10:34 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Celestial and Terrestrial: A Total Lunar Eclipse Over Tajikistan
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 12, 2011 2:00 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What the Revenue Debate is About: "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs!"
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Posted by Vanderleun Jul 11, 2011 7:04 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Mila Kunis Says Yes to Marine in Afghanistan
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Posted by Vanderleun Jul 11, 2011 5:20 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama Declares Golden Showers All Around: "Time to Eat Our Pees"?

It was my own private mondegreen moment, but I heard "pees" when he almost certainly meant "peas." Didn't he?

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 11, 2011 9:56 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Salvator Mundi: The 15th Leonardo

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Lost Leonardo da Vinci painting discovered

There are a grand total of 14 oil paintings in the world known to have been painted by Leonardo da Vinci, or rather there were 14. Now there are 15 because a Leonardo that was lost centuries ago has been authenticated by experts from the US and UK. The painting depicts Christ as the Salvator Mundi, the Savior of the World, facing forwards with two fingers of his right hand raised in blessing and a crystal globe in his left hand.
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 10, 2011 11:09 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We have reached a crisis when upon their action depends the preservation of the Union according to the letter and spirit of the constitution, and this once gone all is lost." -- Buchanan

Life and liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour in the United States, 1858 by Charles Mackay

As the venerable statesman truly observes, the United States incur no danger from foreign aggressions; there is no one to injure them but themselves; and they have nothing to fear but "the just judgments of God." But this is only a portion of the subject, and the questions still remain, Will they not injure themselves? And, will they not incur the judgments of God by contravention of his moral laws, and by their lust of territory—bringing them into collision with foreign Powers? That the people will increase and multiply and replenish the whole continent no one can doubt: and that in the course of ages North America will be as populous as Europe, and reach a far higher civilization than Asia ever attained even in the pre-historic ages, which have left us no other records but their marvellous architectural ruins, it would be a want of faith in the civilizing influences of freedom and Christianity to deny. But in speculating upon the future of a people the mind clings to the idea of Empire and Government—and we ask ourselves whether Empire in this noble region will be one or many—central or local—imperial or republican? Whether the great Republic shall exist undivided, or whether it will fall to pieces from its own weight and unwieldiness, or from some weakness in the chain which shall be the measure and the test of its strength? Or whether for mutual convenience, and by common consent, these AngloSaxon commonwealths—when they have doubled, trebled, or quintupled their numbers by the subjugation of the entire wilderness—shall not re-arrange themselves into new combinations, and form a binary or a trinary system, such as the telescope shows us in the heavens? Or whether, in consequence of internal strife, some new Alexander, Charlemagne, or Napoleon of the West, shall arise to make himself lord absolute and hereditary? and at his death leave the inheritance to be scrambled for and divided by his generals? Though it may be folly to attempt to look too far into the future, or for a statesman to legislate with a view to what may or what may not happen a hundred and fifty years hence, still true wisdom requires that men charged with the destinies of great nations, and having the power to influence the course of events by their deeds and their opinions, should not confine themselves to the things of to-day, but calculate by aid of the experience of history, and by knowledge and study of human nature, how the deeds of to-day may influence the thoughts of to-morrow, and how the thoughts of to-morrow may produce deeds in endless succession through all future time.

That the Union may be disturbed or disrupted at some period near or remote, is an idea familiar to the mind of every inquirer and observer; and were it not so the very threats of the North or South, meaningless as they may be at the present tune, would serve to make it so. Mr. Buchanan, the actual President, whose perceptions have beea enlarged by European travel and residence, and whose mind is not entirely enclosed within an American wall, as the minds of some of his countrymen are, is among the number of statesmen in the Union whose eyes are opened to the dangers which it may incur hereafter when population lias largely increased, and when the struggle for existence—now so light in such a boundless and fertile region—has become as fierce and bitter as in Europe. It is, after all, the hungry belly of the people, and not the heads of legislators, that tries the strength of political systems: and when all the land is occupied, and has become too dear for the struggling fanner or artizan to purchase; when the starving man or the pauper has a vote equally with the well-fed and the contented proprietor; and when the criminal counts at an election for as much as an honest man—what may be the result of universal suffrage on the constitution of the Republic and the stability of the Union?....

But a greater danger even than this—the most formidable of all the rocks that are ahead—is the growth of peculation and corruption, and the decay of public virtue. A republic is, theoretically, the purest and most perfect form of Government, but it requires eminently pure men to work it. A corrupt monarchy or despotism may last for a long time without fatal results to the body politic, just as a man may live a long time, and be a very satisfactory citizen, with only one arm, one leg, or one eye. In despotic countries the people may be virtuous, though the Government is vicious; but a corrupt republic is tainted in its blood, and bears the seeds of death in every pulsation. And on this point Mr. Buchanan seems to have a clearer vision than many of his countrymen. The Presidential chair, like the tripod of the Pythoness, gives an insight into things. He knows by the daily and hourly solicitations of political mendicancy—by the clerkship demanded for this man's son, or for that man's cousin—by the consulship required for this brawler at a meeting,and the ambassadorship to London or Paris, or a place in the Ministry claimed by this indomitable partizan or that indefatigable knocker and ringer at the door of promotion—how corrupt are the agencies at work. He knows, too, what personal humiliation he himself had to undergo before reaching the White House, and which he must daily suffer, if he would please his party. He knows, as every President must know, no matter who or what he is, or what his antecedents may have been, what a vast amount of venality has to be conciliated and paid—one way or another—before the hungry maw of Universal Suffrage can be fed and satisfied, and the wheels of the great car of the Republic be sufficiently greased. In reference to this fever in the blood of the State, he thus solemnly warns the citizens in the letter from which quotation has already been made:— "I shall assume the privilege of advancing years in reference to another growing and dangerous evil. In the last age, although our fathers, like ourselves, were divided into political parties which often had severe conflicts with each other, yet we never heard until within a recent period of the employment of money to carry elections. Should this practice increase until the voters and their representatives in the State and National Legislatures shall become infected, the fountain of free government will be poisoned at its source, and we must end, as history proves, in a military despotism. A democratic republic, all agree, cannot long survive unless sustained by public virtue. When this is corrupted, and the people become venal, there is a canker at the root of the tree of liberty which will cause it to wither and to die."

For the utterance of truths like these, and as if to prove, without intending it, and by a very roundabout method, that they are truths, although unpalateable, Mr. Buchanan has been held up to ridicule by his party opponents, condemned as an "old fogey," and proclaimed to be too slow for the age in which he lives. But if corruption have attained its present growth with a population so scant, in a country by the cultivation of which ten times the number could live honestly and independently, if they trusted to hard work, and not to intrigue, for the means of subsistence; what will be the extent of corruption fifty years hence? Shall a despotism attempt a remedy worse than the disease? Or will the patient be warned of the evil of his ways, and amend his life in time? Life and liberty in America: or ... - Google Books




Posted by Vanderleun Jul 10, 2011 10:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Say Yes to Endless Campaigning: Let Obama Be Obama

AD_Obama_aow.jpgNothing is so distasteful and clogging as abundance. -- Montaigne

Of late there’s been no end of criticism of the president for leaving his desk and his oval office to campaign. In so doing, it is said, he leaves a lot of the “important and pressing” business of the nation unaccomplished. Such criticism is, to my mind, not only unwarranted but counterproductive at best and disastrous at worst.

Wise Americans of all persuasions want to keep this president as far away from the “important and pressing” business of the nation as possible, for as long as possible. Every second, every minute, every hour, and every day Obama is kept out of his office is a net positive for the nation as a whole. Every moment he’s out there on a smile and shoeshine selling his next four years of nostrums to whatever liberal and progressive suckers he can bugger is one less moment he can spend actively buggering the nation at large.

Remember, right now it’s not really time to play “Capture the Flag.” That’s for next year. Right now it’s time to play “Run out the clock.”

And what better way to play “Run out the clock” then by appealing to this man’s core competency, campaigning?

It’s time we faced the fact, as Obama has long since known, that the only thing this man does well is to campaign. Indeed a brief glance at his record before and after attaining the presidency as “The Candidate from Central Casting” shows that campaigning is not only what he does best, it is the only thing he has ever done. Campaigning is the alpha and the omega of this man’s thin resume. Always has been. Always will be.

So to all those pundits cluck-clucking about Obama’s campaigning crimping his productivity, I say: “Just. Shut. Up.”

Pundits, please stifle all those statements about what the president “should be doing to bind up the nation’s wounds.” He is the nation’s wound. Kindly let him suppurate in peace.

Encourage him to have many spontaneous meetings with his ever dwindling group of key supporters.

Chivvy him to make ever more inane and insane promises.

Goad him into running his Gaffomatic at full power.

Titillate him with tee-time at every top golf course.

Inundate him with opportunities for extended indolence.

Bolster his bravado and let him spread ever more bafflement with his bullshit.

Get him to “Give ‘em Hell, Barry” when it comes to insulting every American to the beige side of the coffee-colored complexion.

Rage at him to ramp up his racism. Let as many Americans as possible see the sham up close and personal.

Persuade him to party without pause.

Assure him that when Bob Dylan sang, "Even the president of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked" he was dedicating it to Obama.

In short do anything you can to keep Obama out of his office until you can get him out of office permanently. Just let those “While You Were Out” pink slips pile up to 9.2, 9.5, 10.2, 10.5 percent.

You’ll thank me in 2012.



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 9, 2011 2:41 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
$5,000 Bullets: Chris Rock Now Advising Obama On Gun Control

45ausaphirepave.jpg
This 45 ACP hollow-point made of 14-karat white gold.
Mounted within the hollow-point are ninety diamonds surrounding a sparkling amethyst.

The Obama Method: When you can't get something through Congress and the vast majority of the people are going to hate it, just write out an executive order and send it in. [**] This is also, in Obama's formerly nicotine stained fingers, known as a Ukase [A ukase (Russian: указ, formally "imposition"), in Imperial Russia, was a proclamation of the tsar, government, or a religious leader (patriarch) that had the force of law.]

Ann Barnhardt's got the range on this move by Obama

I think they are going to after ammunition. The legal argument will be that you can keep your guns, which is all that is legally covered by the word "ARMS", you just can't have any ammunition, and the Second Amendment does not prohibit the Federal Government from banning or outlawing ammunition in any way - or so they will argue.

But it's clear to me that all those down-low late-night trysts with Chris Rock in the Rose Garden are now bearing fruit:

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 9, 2011 11:53 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Get Out of a Space Shuttle on the Pad in an Emergency

-or- The Pre-Launch Abort Ritual [From February 2009. For now, God bless Atlantis. Come home safe.]

discoveryonpad.jpg
Discovery on launching pad

carrierskennedyspace.jpg
Two M113 Armored Personnel Carriers (Remember these, they'll come in later)

A couple of weeks ago I was on a bus tour of the space shuttle launch area at the Kennedy Space Center Florida. For $58 you can ride a bus past some of the outlying security barriers and get within about a mile of the Discovery on the pad. This is about as close as an ordinary citizen can get without being asked serious questions by men with automatic weapons.

It was an impressive tour in all respects, but this story today brought back a part of the tour related by the guide: NASA Delays Discovery Launch Fourth Time

An all-day review of the craft's readiness for launch left managers still under-confident about the operations of three hydrogen control valves thatchannel gaseous hydrogen from the main engines to the external fuel tank. Engineering teams have been working to identify what caused damage to a flow control valve on shuttle Endeavour during its November 2008 flight. NASA managers decided Friday more data and possible testing are required before launch can proceed.
That's a good call. We can all remember what happens to a shuttle when damage to the surface of the shuttle reacts to the incredible heat and stress of re-entry: it becomes a very unpleasant low-earth orbit comet, kills everyone on board, and litters a vast swath of the southwest.

But what happens when something goes wrong while the crew is in the shuttle but the shuttle has not yet been launched?

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 8, 2011 12:36 PM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "She Got Dimples, She Got Voice, She Got Cup"

So simple. So pretty. So charming. Via Jewel @ Jaded Haven



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 8, 2011 11:50 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How Hot Is It? This Hot.

110706UsaTodayWeatherSnapshot02.jpg

File Under: "Hands on weather reporting." Some newspapers will do anything to get your attention back.

It's from the USA Today weather page, of course. It ran last Friday, July 1. Click for a larger look. If you need a larger look. -- From You need a dirty mind to be an editor in this business by Charles Apple @ copydesk.org



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 8, 2011 11:18 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Attractions: July 15 for Sure. November 2012?
Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jul 7, 2011 7:12 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Obama "Legacy" So Far: Let's Review

How you like us now? Sharp, concise, to the point and you can dance to it! Get it and spread it at YouTube - ‪The Obama Legacy‬‏



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 7, 2011 5:00 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Punch Lines and Party Lines


niemann-sterotypes-custom1.jpg



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 7, 2011 12:27 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
CIA 'John:' Is this a photo of the man who really got Bin Laden?

Cryptome thinks so.

ciajohn.jpg

Caption: [Note the unusually tall man at rear with tie pattern .... This photo is taken in the principal space of the Situation Room complex.] President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011. Gen. James Cartwright, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is seen on the screen. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

CIA John Who Hunted Osama bin Laden Photos

CIA John was at Alec Station for many years, maybe for all its existence. Then after Alec Station was allegedly dissolved in 2006, he probably moved to the CTC and on to the NCTC, chasing OBL with a bevy of cohorts. There may still be a hidden remnant of Alex Station at Gloucester (or the nearby Stafford building) -- the CIA never fully joins with the other natsec players, just pretends to do so, keeping its hardcore CTC going in contempt of PR-driven NCTC.

HT: Iconic Photos



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 7, 2011 11:15 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Terrifying: The Dust Storm That Ate Phoenix on July 5th, 2011

Timelapse Sequence by Mike Olbinski



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 6, 2011 8:28 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Have a Muppety 4th!

It's not the 1st beer that makes you a Muppet, it's the 4th.

HT: Jose



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 4, 2011 4:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future

adeclaration-of-independence.jpg

Ann Barnhardt:

"The Obama regime continues to illegally impose “laws”, edicts and executive fiats that are in direct violation of the Constitution and of fundamental human rights, and they have declared their intention to impose more of these intrinsically invalid laws, such as disarmament laws. And it isn’t just the Obama regime. These sorts of tyrannical “laws” are being passed all throughout the land. Valedictorians are forbidden from praying or mentioning God in their speeches. A National Cemetery has forbidden the utterance of the word “God” during FUNERALS. The good people of Chicago are forbidden from arming and protecting themselves and their families. A police chief has been fired for refusing to attend a musloid “worship service”. A bank is forced by regulators to remove all Christmas decorations. The federal government through “Obamacare” intends to tax human beings on their EXISTENCE by demanding that they either buy a specific service commodity or pay a penalty tax.
"I don’t marvel at the actions of these Marxist usurpers. They are entirely predictable. What I marvel at is the unending parade of Americans who simply roll over and comply with these violations of their human rights. People, you don’t have to comply with laws that are intrinsically in violation of your human rights. I don’t care what the superintendant says, if you want to give glory to God and witness to His love and His centrality in your life in your graduation speech, then Kid, YOU DO IT. And if they cut your mike, well then you just SHOUT IT AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS. Make them physically drag you off the stage if that is what they want to do, and then put it on YouTube. If you want your Dad to have a Christian burial at the National Cemetery, then YOU DO IT. Make them arrest you, your family and the clergyman for daring to utter the word, “God”. -- Barnhardt.biz - Commodity Brokerage



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 4, 2011 4:11 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Homage to a Government" by Philip Larkin, 1969

afghansoldierkid.jpg

Next year we are to bring all the soldiers home
For lack of money, and it is all right.
Places they guarded, or kept orderly,
We want the money for ourselves at home
Instead of working. And this is all right.

It's hard to say who wanted it to happen,
But now it's been decided nobody minds.
The places are a long way off, not here,
Which is all right, and from what we hear
The soldiers there only made trouble happen.
Next year we shall be easier in our minds.

Next year we shall be living in a country
That brought its soldiers home for lack of money.
The statues will be standing in the same
Tree-muffled squares, and look nearly the same.
Our children will not know it's a different country.
All we can hope to leave them now is money.

Via Katz



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 2, 2011 2:49 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Plot Device

Plot Device from Red Giant on Vimeo.

HT: Sippican's Borderline



Posted by Vanderleun Jul 2, 2011 8:58 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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