Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Comment of the Month (So far): Sherlock's "The Shit List"

flickr-510672745-hd.jpg

Reacting to [The Cowardly] US President Barack Obama has apologised for the Koran-burning incident, Sherlock brings us up to speed on his advanced foreign policy for Muslim countries:

The Shit List. Ah yes. I put forward the idea several years ago in these pages and in others. Here's how I would explain it to the world.
First, the way you initially get on the Shit List is by having your society based on the inherently xenophobic and violent Muslim law. Unfair? Yes indeed, and I am sorry for you, I really am - you have drawn the short straw of history. Tough titty.
But good news - there is an easy way to get off the Shit List! You just have to renounce the parts of Muslim law that make it easy for you to do bad things to me and mine. Those would be the parts where I am considered no more than an animal because I am not a Muslim like you, and also the parts where even your own women aren't either. Free and educated women could exert a calming and civilizing influence over the hordes of sexually frustrated young men your societies seem uniquely adept at producing. Oh, and adopt democracy - that helps too. Democracies (real ones) don't tend to attack each other. Do I hear you say there are exceptions to that? Sure - but you see, it is no longer our job to be perfect, slick. No, siree.
So there is an Easy Way of getting off the Shit List, but there is also a Hard Way. Imagine for example the FBI's "10 Most Wanted" list. The Easy Way to get off it is to turn yourself in, serve your time, and then stay out of trouble. Simple - maybe not so easy if you are a habitual, addicted, criminal, but at least easy to understand, no?
The Hard Way to get off the FBI's List is like how Bonnie and Clyde got off it. Think of it as the way where there is zero recidivism.
Getting off our Shit List the Hard Way is similar. Say you don't clean up your act, and then somebody busts a cap on us. We trace them to you, bingo, you're off the Shit List the Hard Way. Or say we can't trace them, but we are so pissed, we just guess. You could get off that way too.
So I think we should offer this deal to every Muslim country in the world. It's a fair deal - we aren't dictating to them what to do. We are just telling them the new rules, just like they have been in the habit of doing unto others for thousands of years.
Rule 1: Play nice, or enter the big lottery where becoming the world's largest expanse of glass is the prize, and the odds are good.
Rule 2: Avoid breaking Rule 1.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 26, 2012 5:02 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Wedding Vows

           ....Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.

             --- Shakespeare -- Sonnet 116.

THE FIRST TIME I WAS MARRIED I was married to over 200 naked people. We weren't quite buck naked. The men had crudely made laurel wreathes on their heads, sometimes just a wad of weeds, while the women had wreathes of flowers around their brows and, for those old enough to have any, small bouquets of blossoms lodged in their pubic hair. All the men had large clubs and all the women large breasts. It was the butt end of the 60s and people in my set tended to have that kind of equipment. What children there were tended to be either infants or toddlers, all still nursing at will.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 26, 2012 1:46 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"One Who Sings with His Tongue on Fire" World's First Rapper: Bob Dylan

My life, the short form: "If my thought-dreams could be seen / They’d probably put my head in a guillotine"

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 26, 2012 1:27 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
in Just- spring when the world is mud- luscious

aEnd%20of%20Winter.jpg

Loomings. Every year, sometime between the fade of Indian summer and the rise of white drifts, I find myself entering the forgetting. Underneath the rain and the packed ice my world goes brown and brittle, sodden with leaf mulch, sad with weed sighs, and the mind fills with all the past gone years.

The weather becomes predictable and hence I pay more attention to the predictions -- a kind of confirmation bias of gloom; sought to bolster my own pessimism of this time, of that place,

Of things ill done and done to others' harm
Which once you took for exercise of virtue.

In the forgetting time the sunlight hours of the day seem to drain rapidly away until you mark well, and others underscore for you, the shortest day of the year. But once that passes, the adding of sunlight to the day seems to come on with agonizing slowness and you note, ruefully, on a January Sunday, that at 7:15 it is still dark.

And then, on that same Sunday, only four hours later you open the door and step out into your little corner of the world. And you smell it. You smell it every year and every year you forget until it comes back again.

You smell that faint, distant, almost ineffable, sweetness coming in on a breeze from the south. You look to the north and you see the slate sky swirling away, almost ablating before your eyes, and the washed teal blue revealed. Not the winter's blue of stark ice, but a shade like that seen in a cast-off jay's feather.

It's the hint, the first faint far-off hint. It's a memory's whisper behind the breeze. You remember that to see what's really the news of the day you have to LOOK and look carefully. And so you look and you see what even yesterday you did not.

You see that the green of the pines has gotten brighter and taken on a faint shine. You see that the moss seems to be ringed round and shot through with small shoots of grass. You look and look more closely at the weeping birch and you see, as small as a butterfly's eyes, the buds beginning to push through the bark.

You see what was the rank and sodden leaf-mulch and sad decayed weeds and you think, "Compost. I really have to plant something now."

You pause on the street corner of your little corner of the world and you feel, see, hear, smell and, yes, faintly on the tip of your tongue, taste the return of the world. It's back from winter as the abiding earth swings again closer to our home star. It is today and today is Just-spring.

And in spite of yourself you remember the plaque on the wall at your daughter's school somewhere in all those past gone years:

This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it -- Psalm 118


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2012 3:38 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Golden Spiders' Invisibility Cloak

aaa%2Bgolden%2Bspider%2Bsilk%2Bcape.jpg

O, wonder!
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in't!

-- The Tempest

As is my cynical wont I first tended to scoff at this project. But then, as the amazing level of obsession matched with beauty started to reveal itself I became fascinated. "O brave new world that has such people in it," indeed.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 24, 2012 11:23 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mondegreen Moments

hearthook.jpgThis week I have been bedeviled by the tricks of the hooks and the hearts of popular music. I keep telling myself that most popular songs are not written to be true, but glib; that they run on what's call 'the hook.'

Distracted by numerous lyrics that all seemed to sending me a secret message, I decided to investigate the functioning of "the hook" and came in my Googling to a song by Blues Traveler from their album "Four."

"Four" is an album I've had for many years (A memoir of a brief, but doomed, May -- September romance some eight years back.) which has a song on it called "The Hook." Looking up the lyrics, I saw -- for the first time -- what the refrain actually says:

"Because the hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely."

It's a common problem with the lyrics to pop songs that they are often misheard by the listeners. These ear blips are called mondegreens. Neo has written about this in an illuminating manner @ neo-neocon: Mondegreens

I have a old friend who has bought apartments in New York City by exploiting the phenomenon in books. Mondegreens are commonly explained by the facts of loose recordings, production choices, and the volume at which all the instruments play and the singers sing. It is more simply explained by the fact, as noted by my old friend Ethan Russell about Mick Jagger many years ago, "Well, you know, he does slur a lot."

And he does, and they all do. Singing words requires, as we learn in the sacred book of Bob Dylan, that you bend and shape the words to the measure of the music. Success in pop music is found, after all, in the singer not the song.

The other thing that drives the hearing of a song is the mood of the listener. You hear things in songs that aren't ever there just as you see things about your house that are long gone. In each, what we hear and see in down times is essentially the ghosts of ... love, etcetera. And coming or going, love has a lot of etcetera attached to it that it pulls along behind it like the chains on Marley's ghost.

All of this is a periphrastic way of coming to what I had heard sung in the refrain to "The Hook" for many years. I never heard the word 'hook.' Instead I heard the word 'heart,' as in:

"Because the heart brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The heart brings you back
On that you can rely."

I've listened to that song, with attention or just as background, probably around a hundred times over the years. I've even been to a Blues Traveler concert in New York City that had it on the set list. In all those iterations I've never heard 'hook,' but always heard 'heart.' Now I know the truth of the lyric, but frankly, I'd rather not have known.

Seen whole the lyrics to 'The Hook' are all about the plight and pain of being a pop star. One of thousands of such screeds in which our celebrities bemoan the curse of wealth and fame their rise has brought to them -- the endless angst of those who fear they had to 'sell-out' in order to 'buy-in.' I try, but somehow I just can't feel this pampered pain.

"Heart over hook" is one of the many lessons of the Susan Boyle phenomenon that stormed the world this week. In the end, we really don't want the hook to bring us back. We want the heart to bring us back:

"Because the heart brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The heart brings you back
On that you can rely."

It might be a mere mondegreen, but it makes a much better song.



Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2012 2:38 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
John Fairfax: Pirate in a Rowboat

rowingwithcook.jpg
"He crossed the Atlantic because it was there, and the Pacific because it was also there. He made both crossings in a rowboat because it, too, was there:" John Fairfax, Who Rowed Across Oceans, Dies at 74

The obit at the link gives you a bit of a resume most men, if they are men, would die for.

Pistol packing kid who shot up his Boy Scout campground? Check.

Off to commit suicide by feeding himself to a jaguar and then shooting the jaguar instead? Check.

Self-employed as a trapper in a South American jungle with a specialty in jaguar and ocelot skins? Check.

Literature and philosophy student? Check.

Apprentice pirate? Check.

Row alone across the Atlantic in a rowboat from the Canary Islands to Florida in 180 days? Check.

Row with a girlfriend for company and recreation across the Pacific from San Francisco to Australia in 361 days? Check.

Finish out your days as a professional baccarat player and die of a heart attack at 74 in Nevada?

Check and double-check.




Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 19, 2012 2:54 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beatniks: Gone but Not Forgotten
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 19, 2012 9:31 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Conservatives, Sharpen Your Shank and Shove It In [Bumped]

sniperknife2.jpg

ScottM notes in a comment to: Humiliation was, in fact, their only aim, and malice, their motive.

"This is the point of commie-lib politics. They will use their power to take your power. The commie-libs make demands, not because of the facts and the "progress" toward their utopia, but because if you do what they want you will be weaker and vulnerable to the next demand. Yet, the guileless Conservatives debate the merits of the details of the commie-lib demand, or they'll point out this latest demand is inconsistent with some past demand. The details and the consistency matter only to the Conservatives, yet that is what they spend 98% of their energy discussing. You might as well tell the con-men running the Three Card Monte you've detected the card switch or that taking someone's money isn't nice.

"When you debate the details with a commie-lib you are putting the "kick me" sign on your chest and back. You are signalling you still haven't cought on and you are still an easy target. Just because you prefer to discuss the details and the rules and the underlying principle doesn't mean that's effective. It's only when you recognize the commie-libs are engaged in a naked power grab and this fight is about power, not the details of their latest charge, can you effectively resist their tactic.

"Stop being willfully naive and be an effective soldier for your views. Stop rushing to talk radio so the conservative host can try and convince you not to raise taxes in a recession, not interfere in children's lunches, not break up families, not advance the goals of America's enemies. I know this is lost on most Conservatives because the world around the one characteristic of the Conservatives is a determined avoidance of conflict with the liberals. Better to discuss what the commie-libs are doing than to risk a fight with the commie-libs. It's Conservatives students and employees that hide their views in school or at work. You can't win while on defense. Commie-lilbs are always on offense, that's why they control so much. If our tactic was working we would run their institutions, we don't.

"You can return to Mayberry Rules when we win the fight. Right now we must play by Prison Rules, or lose."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 18, 2012 8:05 AM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Once the Needle Goes In It Never Comes Out

ameixcanmethtons15.jpg
"Meth In Mexico: A soldier stood in a room full of barrels containing powder after the seizure of a small ranch in Tlajomulco de Zuniga, Mexico, Thursday. According to the Mexican army, 15 tons of pure methamphetamine were seized at the ranch."

15... Fifteen?... TONS? of meth were seized? A bit of calculation tells me that 1 short ton = 907,184 grams. Let's say that one gram of meth = one to four hits to a tweeker.*** That means that in one (1!) raid the Mexicans seized between 14 and 56 million hits of crank. Can that be real? Can that be true? Can that be what one Mexican meth operation is cranking out?

That exceeds the mind's capacity to boggle. Is everybody in this country wired except me? Is it really that out of control? Doesn't seem possible. Can the government of Mexico be lying? Can our government be lying? How can I think such a thing? I must be sleeping. I need something to wake me up from this nightmare.



***How much meth did you use?
Tweeker 1: "When I started, it was about 1/4 gram per day. I was still able to "sleep" (or at least pretend to), go to work, be an activist, and do a lot of mentally demanding things very well."

Tweeker 2: "At my worst, I was using a teener a day. (1.75 grams) I was utterly incoherent by that point. The only time I felt any clarity was when I was getting that rush."

Tweeker 3: I've done a gram in one day. I don't know if it is because it wasn't working like it should or if it was because I was just brain damaged.

anewagedrugs.jpg



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 15, 2012 9:06 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Small Satori: (a+b)²=a²+2ab+b² - But Why?

I was taught it until I knew it well enough to parrot it, but I never knew why. Until now.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 14, 2012 9:55 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Heart in Hands

Life-Sized-Needle-Felted-Heart.jpg

Thunder
Don't go under the sheets
Lightning
Under a tree
In the rain and snow
I'll be your fireside
Come running to me
When things get out of hand
Running to me
When it's more than you can stand

I said I'm strong
Straight
Willing
To be a shelter
In a storm
Your willow
Oh willow
When the sun is out



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 13, 2012 10:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

praywake.jpg

Most children are afraid of the dark. I know that I was. Parents who are too tough deny you the nightlight or the cracked door letting in a distant glow from the front room or from downstairs. Parents who are too kind leave the door ajar or plug in the nightlight. A lot of parents, tough or kind, help you learn a prayer familiar to hundreds of millions of people:

“Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake....”

It is not clear that the prayer helps allay the fear of the dark and of death in the dark, but as children we learn it anyway. It is probably the first prayer that is learned. Its lesson is that, parent or child, we are hostage to fortune or His will. It is one of the most fundamental calisthenics of faith.

Most children remain afraid of the dark but learn not to admit it. At some point you grow out of it. You become an adult and no longer a slave to childish fears without foundations. You tell yourself, “I’m not afraid of the dark.” You’re lying but, like so many other lies that let you get through the day, you lie so long that you forget it is what it is, a lie.

I feared the dark as a child and when I grew to be a man I still felt uneasy when consigned to a room that was “too dark.” I developed some manly and not-so-manly methods for mitigating the dark -- light curtains, dim baseboard night lights in the hallway, falling asleep with the television on a timer, votive candles, the whole inventory. After some years of sleeping safe within these rituals and relics I forgot that I was, in the core of my being, still afraid of the dark; afraid that “I should die before I wake.” And then I did.

The thing about dying and then being returned to life is that, like a ghost half-seen out of the corner of the eye or in a shadow on the stairs, the experience keeps coming back. You think you’ve pretty much exhausted what you think about it -- exhausted all there is to think about it -- and then you are presented with a new moment, a new cause for reflection.

A bit over a week ago, at around midnight, I decided to go to bed. I went through all my rituals and dressed in my pajamas and went into the bedroom and lay down on the bed. As I lay there the old prayer from childhood appeared in my mind after many years of not being thought of at all,

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord my soul to keep.

If I shall die before I wake,

I pray the Lord my soul to take.

It appeared so vividly it was as if an alien, almost feminine, voice had recited it to my ears in that room. I lay there feeling anything but sleepy and thought about this prayer.

The prayer itself is a classic from the 18th century and it was included in most basic texts for centuries including The New England Primer. Like many other things from the 18th century it has been shortened to make it “more efficient.” The full prayer is:

Matthew, Mark, Luke and John,
Bless the bed that I lie on.
The are four corners to my bed,
Four angels round my head,
One to watch, and one to pray,
And two to bear my soul away.
Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

And, as I looked into the origins of the prayer I discovered that a “kinder, gentler” variant has lately been introduced as:

Now I lay me down to sleep,

I pray the Lord, my soul to keep;

Guide and guard me through the night,

And wake me with the morning's light.

I suppose that’s a way of making the poem fit for a more secular society in which nothing fatal ever happens to children. Until, of course, it does. But that’s for another, younger, and more clueless generation. I’m stuck with the original in my memory.

As such it is one of my earliest memories. It was almost as certainly the very first rhyme or poem that I memorized. It would have been taught to me by my mother as she tucked me in in my childhood and calmed me for the night. I know that she, and hundreds of millions of other parents who have taught it to their children, wanted it to comfort me and I suppose it did. Thinking about it in my bed on that night last week, however, it didn’t seem to be comforting. Instead it seemed like a horror sandwiched into the middle of a plea for rescue:

“...my soul to keep.”
“If I should die” “before” “I wake.”
“... my soul to take.”

At most times and in most places, this prayer was simply a tradition, not a reality. But I wasn’t in most times or in most places and it was terrifying.

It was terrifying because, as it occured to me then, I had experienced the reality of the prayer. I had actually died before I could wake. I continued in death for some unknown minutes and then was revived and kept in a deathlike coma for 13 days; a time that I, gratefully, have no memory of whatsoever. And, it came to me, I had died in the bed I was currently lying down in and thinking of this old childhood prayer. I had, without realizing it, gotten used to sleeping in my deathbed.

For awhile that evening this was a very disturbing realization. But then, as now happens to me daily, in time I drifted off to sleep in my deathbed. In time we all drift off there if we are lucky enough to find our way for out time of dying. I’d like to say that as I drifted off my final thought was,

If I should die before I wake,
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

but I can’t. Like my first death, I don’t remember anything about those last moments, or the ones that came after. So I can’t say I said a prayer. I can only pray I did.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 12, 2012 9:57 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Whitney: Didn't We Almost Have It All? (1987)
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 11, 2012 6:04 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Facebook Parenting:" 3 4 Days, 15 19 Million Views, 100,000 Comments

Well, this seems to have touched a nerve.

"That right there is your laptop. You see it right there on the ground. This right here... is my 45.

lasptopfirstround.jpg
"That was the first round. These are exploding hollow point rounds, and you have to pay me back for these too, because these are a dollar apiece.

"1,2,3,4,5,6... Oh yeah, after that comment you made about your mom your mom told me to put one there for her. So that one's from her and if i got one left.... Oh I got two left... Now I'm out....


laptopparent.jpg
"So, just for the record, whenever you're not grounded --whatever year that happens to be -- you can have a new laptop when you buy a new laptop.... and when you pay me back the $128 I spent on your laptop yesterday."
Now playing at:Facebook Parenting: For the troubled teen. - YouTube

UPDATE: Attention Media Outlets "If we have anything to say, we'll say it here on Facebook, and we'll say it publicly, but we won't say it to a microphone or a camera. There are too many other REAL issues out there that could use this attention you're giving us. My daughter isn't hurt, emotionally scarred, or otherwise damaged, but that kind of publicity has never seemed to be to have a positive effect on any child or family." [HT: Joan]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 11, 2012 9:40 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Conservative American Hallucinations #1: Reversing Illegal Immigration

Speedy%20Gonzales.jpg

American conservatives during the run-up to elections love to diddle themselves silly with all sorts of waking hallucinations about just what, for once, a really, really conservative candidate could do when finally elected president. These silly, silly people actually think that conservatism as a dreamscape can reverse the reality of decades of hard work on the part of the American left. One of the most cherished hallucinations of these couch dwelling conservatives is the idea that a pure conservative president can actually stop and then somehow reverse illegal immigration. To this proposition the most concise, rational response is, "Har-de-har-har."

I know that, like visions of sugarplums, visions of some sort of "fence" protecting America from the hordes of marching Mexicans dance in the heads of Americans who just want them all to turn around and march back. Alas, that thought can just be filed under, "It Ain't Gonna Happen."

As a rabid reactionary who is sometimes mistaken for a conservative, I know, believe me, all the designs for a kinder and gentler fence that will have hi-tech detectors and some sort of ready interdiction corps sitting on helicopter scramble pads across the southern border. I know all the arguments for expanding the ever-so-effective techniques used to stop the flow of illegal drugs to stop the flow of illegal aliens. None of these will prove any more effective than "The War on Some Drugs" we've be squandering billions on over the decades.

What would work would be some sort of East German wall 1,969 miles long. This monstrosity would have guard towers, mine fields, attack Dobermans, armored cars, and about 100,000 armed border guards with a shoot on sight policy (3 shifts of 17 guards per mile). After around 3,000 Mexican civilians were shot dead, this might have some effect on reducing the flow. I'm not quite ready for this draconian a solution. Are you?

Then there is the extended policy of finding those illegals already here and then, well, "Just deport them!"

Another 25-watt idea.

Deportation? Okay let's follow that concept home with the vision of hundreds of buses chock full of thousands of illegals (rounded up in armed swoops through the US barrios) departing daily for Juarez, Tijuana and all points south. To begin this process you actually have to get the said illegal Mexicans on the fleets of buses. Right? Right.

The first problem is finding and then imprisoning said illegals. That would mean raids into homes and apartment buildings around the country as well as stop and frisk identity checks on the street for the freshly minted crime of "looking Mexican." Then you'll have to refurbish those Japanese internment camps in the Owens valley and elsewhere as holding pens. Think the Manzanar Concentration Camp to the 10th power on the outskirts of every major American city. You start opening those up and the actual deportation Mexicans are going to be the least of your problems.

Your more immediate problem is going to be armed resistance in most of your major cities. Unlike cowed white people, Mexicans will not go gentle into that old blight. Male members of La Raza are not known for their submissiveness. The females are pretty tough too. No, not many of official armed roundups would be met with a tug of the forelock submission. This assumes that in said cities where you'd want the 'roundups' to take place you can get a trust-worthy fraction of the police departments (notable fraction is Hispanic) or a trust-worthy fraction of the Army and National Guard (notable fraction is Hispanic) to go along with the policy.

When attempting to implement fascist policies, it is best to remember that America is, first and foremost, a heavily armed country -- especially in the barrios. Are you ready for gun fights in cities across the US? I'm not sure I am. But that's what we'd get since many illegals, faced with internment and deportation on a mass scale, would decide they "don't got to show you no steenking badges."

Next, let's suppose that somehow the "roundups" succeeded but only after countless "regrettable" deaths (Each one of which is given the full "Pobre Maria Treatment" on NPR and in the New York Times. Yes, your head will explode.). Then let's suppose that after these deaths hundreds of thousands of Mexicans did indeed show up at the border one fine day in surplus Greyhound buses. (Don't kid yourself, we're going to need a lot of buses.) What if Mexico decided, "Hey, we don't recognize any of these people as ours, and just what do you mean 'looks' Mexican? We're the Mexican government/oligarchy and we've looked Castilian Caucasian Spanish for over three centuries."

Are we then going to use the armed forces to force Mexico to take back their huddled masses? And even if they did, do we really want a country as corrupt and unstable as Mexico to become even more unstable?

If you want to see a wall come up on the southern border overnight, just wait until a full-scale revolution breaks out in Mexico. Think "American Civil War" X 2 with automatic weapons and plastique explosives. If one side wins you get Nazi Germany to the south. If the other side wins you get Communist China during "The Great Leap Forward." Neither is what you'd call a "desirable outcome."

Either will make you wish for the status quo ante when decent yard work and tasty tacos everywhere were a staple of American life.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 10, 2012 1:04 PM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Find a Need and Fill It"

ghettolife.jpg

From "drive-by" to "drive-through." The phrase "located in Compton" is, shall we say, a dead giveaway: Inside LA's drive-thru (and bulletproof) funeral home

"The mortuary, located in Compton, claims to offer an efficient way for prominent members of the community to be viewed en masse. Elderly who have a hard time walking don't have to leave their cars. One possible reason for the drive-thru's success could stem back to the 1980s, when Compton was a hotbed for gang violence. The LA Times reported that cemetery shootouts made gang members reluctant to gather for graveside services. And since the glass partition of the Robert L. Adam's funeral parlor is bulletproof, it became a popular location for gang funerals."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2012 11:00 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Go Ahead. Make My Halftime..." Eastwood and Obama Get Theirs Today from Limbaugh

"Here's the pitch. He swings. It's a long one..... a long one..... it's..... OUTAHERE!"

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 7, 2012 10:21 AM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Street Legal Objets d'Art: The Derelicts by ICON

"The Derelicts by ICON are known for being vintage classics refashioned into stylish modern vehicles. The hand made classics are one offs that boast a fully patina'd exterior. Jonathan Ward's upgrades and attention combined with a modern Art Morrison powder-coated chassis, unique interiors, and all new electrical components are what make the Derelicts so desirable. The 1952 Chevy Deluxe Business Man's coupe has a 430hp Camaro 6.2 LS3 engine while the 1952 Chrysler Town and Country custom wagon has a DeSoto front end with the power from a late model Hemi engine." -- Via eGarage - VIDEO

Here's more detail on one of the derelicts, a 52 Chevy coupe that is nearly identical to one that I owned in 1970. Could be the same one. I think I sold it for $250.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 6, 2012 9:20 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Monsters from the Id: Good-bye to All That's Democrat

Come now, gentleman, your love is all I crave.
You'll still be in the circus when I'm laughing, laughing on my grave.

-- Memo From Turner

The monsters from the id that now control the Democrat Party have transformed that party into a mob of undead extras from The Dawn of the Dead. It's an indecent and disgusting spectacle and I suspect there's more than a few million long-time Democrats who are revolted by it. That certainly seems to be creeping into the polls. No matter the good it once did, the Democrats today present as sick and crazed political party that is so greedy and hungry for power that it will do anything, including selling its country down the drain, to get it back.

Regardless of the race of the Democrats' current leader and failed president, Martin Luther King's dream of judging people by the content of their character and not the color of their skin has been transformed into a tawdry thing; a dried husk in which they wrap their skeletal remains, a hollow phrase spewed by the ascendent race hustlers of the party and lapped up by their acolytes.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2012 2:24 AM | Comments (107)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Littlest Ice Age: Europeans Beg for the Return of "Global Warming"

Severe cold continues in Europe

icecars.jpg
"A man walks past an ice covered car on the frozen waterside promenade at Lake Geneva in Versoix, near Geneva, Switzerland, early Feb. 5. The death toll from the vicious cold snap across Europe has risen to more than 260, with the winter misery set to hit thousands of those seeking to escape it as air traffic was hit."

How cold is the Winter of 2010-2011 in Great Britain and Ireland? Well, it has been "referred to as The Big Freeze by national media. In the UK it was the coldest December ever, since Met Office records began in 1910, with a mean temperature of -1°C. It broke the previous record of 0.1°C in December 1981."

And it obviously broke records for cold set before the "Met Office records began in 1910" as indicated in this souvenir:

printedonice.jpg

Or this bookplate made in 1740,

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 5, 2012 7:40 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We declare him ... anathema; we judge him damned!" -- If the Catholic Church Had Any Stones Left This Is What You'd See at Sunday Services This Week

"In that Obama has rendered no act of contrition or repentance, and is at the moment, at liberty in the land, we do, here and now, separate him from the precious body and blood of Christ, and from the society of all Christians. We exclude him from our Holy Mother Church and all her sacraments, in heaven, or on Earth. We declare him excommunicate and anathema. We cast him into the outer darkness. We judge him damned with the devil and his fallen angels and all the reprobate, to eternal fire and everlasting pain!"

HT: Mabuse



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 4, 2012 11:05 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Velveteen Hearts and Groundhog Day: How Movies Become Real

shot_1290146047.jpg
If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you
I will be waiting
Time after time
-- Cyndi Lauper

You can set out to make “great art,” but that’s almost always the wrong tack. Set out in that direction and it usually won’t happen. You'll often end up having to come about on a lee shore. “Great art,” art that endures and grows over time, is almost always a gift. One of its hallmarks is that the creators really aren’t that aware of what they’re doing when they do it. Greater forces than individuals are at play when great art is made. It’s that kind of thing that sort of dawns on you in the classical sense of light coming up slowly out of the dark.

It’s that way with Groundhog Day. Slowly and yet surely this initially unassuming although initially successful film comedy has been revealing itself to be one of the greatest American films. It’s certain that none of the principles set out to make that happen no matter how much its director, Harold Ramis, might like that to be the case. With this film, unlike a number of others, the greatness of it occurs not only through its creation but from what its hundreds of millions of viewers help anneal to the film itself. It’s through this strange symbiosis between creators and audience that the film has become what it is today. It’s the Velveteen Rabbit effect.

In Margery Williams childrens' classic, The Velveteen Rabbit a toy rabbit becomes real through the love of the boy who owns the toy. With Groundhog Day, the film has become real through the love of the people who've seen it; many over and over again. To take another literary metaphor, the reality of Groundhog Day is like Topsy: "I s'pect I growed. Don't think nobody never made me.” No, nobody did. Everybody did.

There are lots of theories being tossed about concerning Groundhog Day. It seems that many philosophers and most major religions want to make the film their own:

In the years since its release the film has been taken up by Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, and followers of the oppressed Chinese Falun Gong movement. Meanwhile, the Internet brims with weighty philosophical treatises on the deep Platonist, Aristotelian, and existentialist themes providing the skin and bones beneath the film’s clown makeup.... Countless professors use it to teach ethics and a host of philosophical approaches. --A Movie for All Time - National Review Online

But that all seems to me to be just much of a muchness. Internet pundits, as well as pontifical human beings of all sorts, are famous for blowing things, simple things, all out of proportion.

To my mind, Groundhog Day is a great film because it is a simple film; because it takes up, once again, “the supreme theme of art and song” as stated clearly by Yeats:

Bodily decrepitude is wisdom; young
We loved each other and were ignorant.

After Long Silence

The film, of course, takes this insight and inverts it. Wisdom enough to love is allowed to come, finally, to Phil Connors after a long time spent in the same day. How long a time? That’s subject to some dispute, but the best estimate for the timespan of Groundhog Day is “eight years, eight months, and 16 days, based on him spending three years learning to play the piano, three years learning to ice sculpt, two years learning French, and six months learning to throw cards into a hat.”

It’s nice we have the Internet to help figure timelines like that out, but to me the "actual" time is also beside the point. The real point of Groundhog Day is that in life you will, sooner or later, have to learn to love, learn to really love, and the lesson on how to love will be repeated until you learn it. How long is that? As Groundhog Day shows us, and one of the reasons we continue to love it more, that time is “as. long. as. it. take.”

Learning, at long, long last to love is why people everywhere love this film. What makes it great, however, is that in the end we do in fact see Connors, and by extension ourselves, learn this lesson. We find that, in the end, after a long time, love arrives. Sometimes in just one day.

Here’s the best video summation of the film I can find. It’s really the whole show in a time capsule.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 2, 2012 11:52 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH

MONTHLY ARCHIVES


SIDELINES

Warning: include(): http:// wrapper is disabled in the server configuration by allow_url_include=0 in /home/boswell/public_html/mt-archives/2012_02.php on line 904

Warning: include(http://americandigest.org/sidelines/index.php): failed to open stream: no suitable wrapper could be found in /home/boswell/public_html/mt-archives/2012_02.php on line 904

Warning: include(): Failed opening 'http://americandigest.org/sidelines/index.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/lib/php:/usr/local/lib/php') in /home/boswell/public_html/mt-archives/2012_02.php on line 904

FIND


BACKMATTER

RECENT ITEMS