Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Flight Level 390 and Captain Dave: Status

As so many others have asked me in comments or in email: "Off topic: Does anyone know what happened To Capt. Dave? Flight Level 390 has disappeared from the blogosphere. I miss him."

Here's what I know: I've been in a brief email exchange with Capt. Dave and he tells me that he may well be back in the future with Flight Level 390 but with another blogging platform.

When I know more, you'll know too.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 30, 2012 2:54 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Kids, start your wishlists.

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This morning my email brings the list above and this note:

I'm a long-time reader and very occasional commenter at AD. I thought you might enjoy the Christmas wish list my seven year-old son handed me last night.

A very merry Christmas season to you

I don't know about you, but the "Model Unicorn Painting Set" is something I wouldn't mind getting or giving. It would come in handy over the years to come. That and the fifty bucks.

Later: Rob DeWitt adds this in the comments. I can't disagree.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 30, 2012 10:40 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Bob Dylan Subterranean Homesick Blues - A HAND LETTERING EXPERIENCE

Created by Leandro Senna who notes:

Inspired by Bob Dylan´s Subterranean Homesick Blues video, where he flips cards with the lyrics as the song plays, I decided to recreate those cards with handmade type. I ended up doing all the lyrics, and not just some of the words, as Dylan did.
There are 66 cards done in one month during my spare time using only pencil, black tint pens and brushes. The challenge was not to use the computer, no retouching was allowed. Getting a letter wrong meant starting the page over
.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 30, 2012 10:18 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Truth, The Whole Truth.... : 15 Minutes with Bill Whittle

If Mitt Romney could think like this and speak like this he'd be the president elect.

So good you'll listen to it twice.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 29, 2012 8:17 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Pizza, New York's Finest - Hungry In... East Village

Warning: If you are not hungry now, you will be in six minutes and forty seconds from click.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 29, 2012 12:21 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fifth Horseman Trotteth (Gangnam Style)

A little over a month ago my old friend remarks out of nowhere ..... (He makes a lot of remarks out of nowhere since his can be a random -- although highly analytic -- mind) ... out of nowhere he says, "So this new dance craze is becoming so big it's a signal something bad is about to happen to the planet. What do you think? Nuclear war or asteroid strike?"

In my typical way of responding to his numerous observations of this kind I said, ".... Huh?"

"You know, this pudgy Korean guy with his metrosexoid boyfriend humping and pumping and pretending to ride ponies rather than each other..... what's it called?..... Gangbang Style?"

"Gangnam Style. Gangnam!"

"GangNam. GangBang. Whatever. All I know is that when one of these humpty-pumpty, krunk-punk, mutual masturbathon dances gets to this craze level something bad, something very bad, is about to happen to the world."

"Get real."

"This is real. Stark raving reality. Check it out. The Twist gave us the Sixties. Disaster. The Hustle equals the agony of disco in the Seventies and on into the last huge inflationary period, the Eighties. Then you have the line-dancing blight of the early Nineties followed by the real ideological plague of the Macarena."

"The Macarena? An ideological plague? Just step away from the bong and put down the Ball jar of moonshine, please."

"I'm as sober and straight as I get. I remind you that the Macarena unleashed the second Clinton era and also that at the 1996 convention Al Gore famously danced to the Macarena while standing still."

"Humm, double disaster for sure."

"Correctamente. And now we've got this Korean chubbette trotting towards global dance domination. I'm telling you this bodes ill for the world. I'd move but I think whatever's coming is going to make the extinction of the dinosaurs look like the Westminster Dog Show's tea reception."

"Yeah. Right. I'll keep my eye on it."

Fast forward five weeks and PSY - GANGNAM STYLE (강남스타일) M/V on YouTube has smashed through all records with a gobstopping 840,131,442 views. Not only that, the velocity of views seems to be increasing:

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A billion views is clearly within reach and soon. Chillingly soon.

Because, putting aside what this says about about the death of taste, intelligence, spirituality, sperm count and prefrontal lobes in the human race, the real chilling effect of the rise of Gangnam Style is found in.... drum roll.... may I have the envelope please.... the work of..... Nostrodamus!

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And there you have it. The End.

That's not completely depressing though. Think of all the money you'll save on Christmas presents this year. And, oh, by the way. Forget the diet. Take the cannoli.

[World-Ending Video and lyrics after the jump.]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 28, 2012 8:42 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Gripping: That's Democracy [Bumped and Updated with a comment from Jonathan Mitchell, the Director]

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A teacher gives his students lesson about democracy that they'll never forget.

Give it four and a half minutes and you'll listen for twelve and a half minutes.

Made by the brilliant ensemble at The Truth: Movies for Your Ears


The director of this work, Jonathan Mitchell, discusses the origins and shaping of this story in a comment on Something Gripping: That's Democracy:

I didn't write the story, it came form an outline by Louis Kornfeld, which we developed collaboratively through brainstorming and improvisation. I directed and produced the story, so I'm the author of it in the way a film director is the author of a film.

The idea was to make a horror story that was set in the world of electoral politics. We wanted to create a situation in which there was a monster threatening a group of people, and the people has to use democracy to solve their problem. We thought it was an interesting twist to set it in a classroom, and make the teacher the monster.

What interests me most is putting characters in compelling situations, and learning about who those characters are through how they react to the situation. I like it best when stories can have many layers of meaning, and when the meaning is a bit abstract and dependent on each audience member's perspective. So really, whatever meaning you get from it as an individual is fine with me.

Having said that, I don't feel that this is a recommendation against democracy. In the story, I'd argue that democracy worked, in that the students were all saved. Also, it's worth pointing out that the students were given the option of voting for a pacifist approach, which would've required much more bravery and faith in that position. What would've happened had Margaret been chosen? Would the teacher really have killed them all? Or would he have stuck to his word (as he did by killing himself) and let the representative decide the fate of the class? Pacifism takes faith, and faith does not come easy. And I think the perspective of this story is that pacifism would've been the best approach, but it's often not chosen out of fear that it won't work.

I think of the speech at the end as a postscript -- this character went on to use the situation to his advantage, to get into a good college. This is a cynical comment on how politicians often use their positions for personal gain. For me, this is not the main point of the story, but a twisting of the knife. It's meant to be a horror story, after all. -- Posted by Jonathan Mitchell at November 28, 2012 5:51 AM

Having produced a number of radio dramas for the Pacifica radio network in the 1970s, I've long had a place in my heart for this most evocative of dramatic mediums. This one is in the finest traditions of that art.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 28, 2012 8:19 AM | Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Open Your Warm Hearts: Radi-Aid Africa For Norway - New charity single out now!
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 26, 2012 3:31 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Book of Love

".... and too late wise."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 25, 2012 3:03 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
See Machu Picchu in 16 Gigapixels

How detailed is a photograph rendered in 16 gigapixels?

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 25, 2012 1:59 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Twenty-Two Famous Beauties Stuffing Their Faces

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Sigourney Weaver, 1983

Via - The Cut

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 24, 2012 8:08 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Inner-City Wizard School: They should do this in a full length movie
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 24, 2012 7:08 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: S' Wonderful by George Gershwin. Performed by Ethan Uslan.

Ragtime now.

HT: Camera Lucida

More about Ethan Uslan:

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 23, 2012 1:09 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Afterburner with Bill Whittle: The Gods of Wisdom and Virtue

"The gods of wisdom and virtue have had enough. And now... they want their stuff back."

As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man
There are only four things certain since Social Progress began.
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire,
And the burnt Fool's bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins
When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,
As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 22, 2012 4:22 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Thanksgiving’s First Rifle: The Mayflower Wheel-lock Carbine
From: Articles on the Gun World at Guns.com

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Story by: Kristin Alberts

What’s even more American than turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie these days? An Italian gun, that’s what. The only known surviving firearm that crossed the wild Atlantic aboard the good ship Mayflower, settled with the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony and ultimately helped the first colonists not only survive, but prosper. Meet the Mayflower Gun.

The Gun

Affectionately dubbed the Mayflower Gun and thought of as an American icon, the gun is actually an Italian-made wheel-lock carbine. This single-shot musket was originally chambered in .50 caliber rifle, though ages of heavy use have worn away the majority of the rifling. Given the combination of natural wear, repairs and modifications, if the gun were to be loaded and fired today, it would require a .66 caliber.

According to curators at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum—where the gun has found a most comfortable home—markings recorded on both the barrel and lockplate demonstrate a connection with the Beretta family of armorers.

One of the features making this musket instantly recognizable is its namesake. The surviving detail of the actual wheel-lock device—the rotating mechanism, which provides spark and ignition, not unlike that of our modern day cigarette lighters—is a thing of fine craftsmanship and beauty. The wheel-lock’s engineering, execution and efficacy far exceed those of its predecessor, the matchlock.

The man: John Alden

Without the adventuresome spirit of one young man with an eye for quality arms, the Mayflower Gun would not be a part of our American history today. Enter, John Alden. Alden was around 20 to 21 years of age at the ship’s departure. However, his original intent was never really to set sail. John AldenHe was simply hired as a ships cooper—a barrel maker by trade—at the yard where ships docked. But being a young man with much hope and courage, he decided to board the Mayflower for its daunting passage. Sometime near debarkation, it is speculated that Alden purchased the firearm used, perhaps from a traveler or mercenary as was common in those days. Of the guns widely available at that time, this was one of the finest and most expensive, so certainly young Alden was wise beyond his years.

Following an arduous three-month winter passage at sea, battered by the north Atlantic’s gales, the Mayflower reached its destination in 1620. History recognizes John Alden as the first man to step ashore, and when Alden’s feet hit terra firma, this gun was most likely his sole means of protection. Though the early years at the new settlement were marked with many tribulations, Alden prospered. Along with the other men who made the passage, he was one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact, documenting the freedoms and liberties of the new colony. Among his many ventures, Alden is remembered for his service under Capt. Miles Standish, with whom he is rumored to rivaled over the courtship of the woman who eventually became Alden’s wife.

Part of this story is recounted in Longfellow’s poem “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Between the years 1633 to 1675, Alden served not only as assistant governor of the Plymouth Colony, but often, due to absence, fulfilled governor duties. He was known to have served on many juries including participation in at least one witch trial. Through all this time, including a move inland and away from the original colony, the Mayflower Gun remained in Alden’s possession. At the time of his death in 1687, the gun began its long succession of Alden family ownership.

The History

The Alden family dwelling, like the gun, has survived for nearly 400 years. The Mayflower gun was discovered—still loaded, nonetheless—in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home during a 1924 renovation. The Alden home, which was occupied by family members until the mid-1890’s, is currently a National Historic Landmark in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Though it is certain that other settlers would have carried similar arms, this is indeed the only known surviving piece, likely because it was tucked away and forgotten after its years of service had ended.

Because the gun was something of a large caliber at the time, it would likely have been used to take down deer and other large game as well as birds—perhaps even a Thanksgiving longbeard. Naturally, the original stock was fashioned of fine European walnut, though sometime in the gun’s history, a worn portion of the front stock was replaced with American walnut. There is great beauty in the wear patterns of the wood, simply for knowing the many hands and circumstances that have handled this weapon. The Mayflower Gun is currently on display at the NRA Museum.Oh, the stories it could tell of game hunted, lives taken and families saved! This tool was at once a protector and a provider. In fact, the Mayflower Gun may well have been present—or at least played a role—at the 1621 birth of the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today. The gun, in fact, is one of the few surviving pieces known to have made the trip aboard the Mayflower.

On Display

Those near Fairfax, Virginia can visit this amazing and well-traveled weapon at its home in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum. It is currently being featured on display as part of the “Old Guns in a New World” gallery, an exhibit in which firearms bridge the gap between the Old World and the new colonies. In addition to this one, the Museum is home to 14 other galleries housing more than 2,700 firearms of remarkable significance. Admission is free and the museum is open daily. For those interested in learning more without making a physical visit, detailed virtual tours are easily navigated at their website.

In Thanksgiving

Nearly 400 years have passed since the Mayflower Gun traversed the Atlantic to forever become a priceless, tangible slice of American history. In the spirit of Thanksgiving celebration, the time is right to remember not only all those who came before us, but also the hardships they faced to get us where we are today. In reminiscing on this beautiful Mayflower Gun, we here at Guns.com are thankful for our first amendment freedoms. So with a nod of the clichéd black pilgrim hats, take some special time this holiday to enjoy family, friends, freedoms and of course, firearms.

From Gun News at Guns.com HT: The Incredible Story Of The Mayflower Gun @ Waznmentobe



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 22, 2012 11:29 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Remedial Thanksgiving: Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven

1.Start drinking early.

2. Make sure your oven is on.

3. "Just Put the F*cking Turkey in the Oven"

4. Go for a walk.

And now, to make this item even more useful: The Butcher Carves a Turkey

Ray Venezia, the manager of the meat department at New York's Fairway Market, shows his technique for effectively carving a turkey.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 20, 2012 6:03 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dust in the Air Suspended

Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today

-- Antigonish

How odd. A man who had been making a daily impression on my mind across several years has now simply evaporated from my memory. It's not that I don't know his name and, in very general terms, what he looked like but, even knowing, I find it harder and harder with every passing hour to visualize what he looks like. Hair? Okay. I get the hair impression. But only in general shape and it keeps melding into that hair logo they keep trotting out for the Howdy Doody of late night, Conan O'Brian. And I know it is black hair. A gleaming black hair helmet.

Black hair helmet which grew on the head of somebody who wanted some sort of top job in the government. Ran around looking for the job since before 2006. Spent hundreds of millions of dollars. Said a lot of things. A lot of things. But didn't really have the gift of gab since it now seems I can't remember a damn thing he said. Strange because I have the impression that he said the same things over and over and over. Weren't that catchy.

Nice guy. I think. I think so. I'm pretty sure. Seemed that way. Had a pretty wife. Real MILF actually. Have a more vivid impression of her, but only just. Has a family too. A BIG family. Saw them a lot in the background getting on and off a big bus like these road shows do these days. But again, can't really remember them very vividly. Like a ghost circus in a phantom ring inside of a tent of shadows. Fading hurdy-gurdy tunes.

He wanted something. Something me. I wasn't always sure what he wanted and pretty sure I didn't have it on hand. Bumped into him again and again down different streets. Always seemed to be around over in the corner with a band and a fountain of balloons behind him. I agreed with him. I guess I did but I can't really remember any vivid plans he had. Again, not a guy who with words a way had.

It went on for years. Years. Day in and day out. Always there. Always just in the background. Movements reported. Here it is. Here it is again. Here once again sort of the same as all the times before. Let's go to the video tape. Could have used the same 10 tapes of campaign moments rich in blather and pose set on shuffle. Would have had as much impact.

I can summon up the guy and the babe from 2008.... no problem. The weird old guy with the shiny pate and the odd arm made stiff with honor. And the babe... Oh yes, the babe. She was hot. Got my attention. Now she's losing the body that made her hot and is doing some kind of fitness video. Sad. Really. But still I can visualize her. Can't with the new/old guy and his rollicking kid sidekick with nice economic ideas that can never happen.

Trying. But. Just. Can't. Visualize. Them. Maybe if they'd been just a tint more... dusky... cocoa.... hispanic... .... had some sort of identifying mark, scar, full-body tattoo, facial piercing...

Like voting for a phantom; for a wisp of smoke -- tendrils tangling in the trees and then -- vapor --- from wetware to vaporware ... in less than two weeks. Must be some sort of record. Maybe it was all just, you know, one of those optical illusions where you think you see something but you don't. Perhaps it was just negative space made up to resemble a face.

"Whatever you wanted
What could it be?
Did somebody tell you
That you could get it from me?
Is it something that comes natural?
Is it easy to say?
Why do you want it?
Who are you anyway?"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 19, 2012 4:28 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Memo from Israel to Palestine

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[Note: Republished again from 2003 in what has become almost an annual event. "The peace is not winnable, the war is, and only war can bring about some kind of manageable peace." -- Dan Greenfield @ Sultan KnishFaster please.]

To: The Palestinian People
From: The People of Israel
Re: Final Notice Before the Termination of Our Relationship
Date: "To Be Determined"
(To be filed in your "Permanent Conduct Record")

AS YOU KNOW from our repeated meetings over many years, we have repeatedly done our best to accommodate your incessant demands regarding employment, compensation, housing allowances, health benefits, and other items of mutual interest as we have endeavored to work together on "Project Peace in the Middle East."

We have, with your agreement and assurances of a better performance, given you time, money, professional help, medication and a more than reasonable offer of land for you to live in while you work out "your issues." In the course of these meetings we feel we have been more than forthcoming in our attendance to your "special needs."

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 19, 2012 9:25 AM | Comments (76)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why Pay Less? Price Inflation = Food Deflation: “What really irritates people is that the sizes almost never go back up.”

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"Look out kid / They keep it all hid" -- Subterranean Homesick Blues

Some companies try to bluff their way past shoppers’ rip-off radar.

Mueller’s 25 percent downsize of its spaghetti packages, from a pound to 12 ounces, features a box design that flags its “NEW — 6 servings” quantity. Of course, that’s two fewer servings than the old box contained. Those classic stacks of Premium saltine crackers proved too easy to count when Nabisco tried marketing smaller packages, and consumers protested. So the company rolled out a line of round saltines, packed loose in a bag. -- Package size changes mask product price increases

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"Sugar lost the fifth pound at least ten years ago. Hubby just now noticed this.

"Cereal boxes with less cereal, but packaged in taller---but narrower---cartons to make it look like we're getting more.

"And Kleenexes! Over a year ago, I noted that the small box that goes in our craft fair holder seemed smaller. Because I stockpile, I could go to the closet and compare it to a box purchased months before: yup . . . old one had 110 tissues, now we get 100. And the lotion ones went down to 70 count! But price is the same.

"Oh, and each Kleenex is also about 1/4" narrower all the way around; don't even get me started on how thin they've become.

"Tuna dropped two ounces about two years ago. And almost anything else in a 16-ounce package has shed 1-2 ounces and now weighs 14-15.2 oz." -- Comment Posted by: NeeNee toSide-Lines: "And what to my wondering eyes should appear but a 4 lb bag of sugar. "

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 18, 2012 10:52 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Charles Mackay, 1858: “A corrupt republic is tainted in its blood, and bears the seeds of death in every pulsation.”

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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. -- President James Buchanan, 1858, as quoted in Life and liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour in the United States, 1858 by Charles Mackay which continues:

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? ....

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.... 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, 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? ...

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.... 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.... 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."

If corruption have attained its present growth with a population so scant in 1858, 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?

[Taken from -- Life and liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour in the United States, 1858 by Charles Mackay. Mackay was also the author of the more widely known Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds]



Posted by Vanderleun Nov 18, 2012 8:26 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
15 seconds is a long time. Or is it? [UPDATE: With missile attack on Tel Aviv]

Rockets over Tel Aviv - YouTube

"Watch the sky as the Iron Dome shoots down a rocket over Tel Aviv. Note: this video was sent to me by a friend immediately following the sirens in Tel Aviv by MMS. I did not film it, I was in shelter."

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2012 3:52 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Me Worry?

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The aftermath of Benghazigate is turning the central question of Watergate on it's head: "What didn't the president know and when didn't he know it?"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 17, 2012 1:17 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"A Kind of Progress"

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They used to float the logs down the river in a big wooden scrum, and collect them at the big falls just downriver. I think of it now and again as I pause at the window in the kitchen in the starlight. The hollow thunk of the boles jostling for position in their languid race down the river must have been something. Mainers thought it was too hard on the river to have trees floating down it, so we travel half a world and get oil to make gasoline to feed a chrome horse and buggy and drag the trees on a ribbon of nasty congealed tar from Venezuela next to the river no one uses any more. It's a kind of progress.
-- Read all and improve your day @ Sippican Cottage: It's Not Ordinary

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 16, 2012 2:26 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Kids Today

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They say it is a mental 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. Mine is a large but, alas, limited hard drive, and at this point it is pretty much full. To save something new to it means I often have to delete something else from it. Often what I am deleting is not known to me until later when I search for it. At my age I don't view this "in one ear thing" as a flaw but rather a necessity. I don't forget a thing so much as I let it just "slip my mind."

A common variation of this slippage is our deplorable habit of letting something slip "in one ear and out of the mouth" without first striking either a reflective surface or passing through a BS filter -- preferably both. Once you realize that "In-Ear-Out-Mouth" (IEOM) is an affliction of epidemic proportions in contemporary America you can spot it maiming and killing brain cells everywhere.

The latest notable example of IEOM showed up a few nights ago at a meeting of troubled Americans that I, being troubled by Americans, often attend. A woman of middle years was -- yet again -- bemoaning the fact that she is just, well, nuts. Being nuts is, according to her, part of "Being all I can be!" Even though being crazy makes her unhappy, she seems as determined to hold onto her nuttiness as she is to "let go" of her girlish figure "and let God" bring on the burritos.

It is not that she is nuts that is the problem. The problem is that she has a burning need to "share" her insights. These reflections on her part often give way, as such reflections do, to the nostalgic and idealistic:

"Things were better when...,"
"If only I had what I had when....,"
"Don't you all think I should have now what I had then.....?"

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 15, 2012 9:31 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Okay, some of you didn't all like the fat, dying Elvis. Here's an earlier version, Elvis 2.0

Often imitated. Never duplicated. And strangely gets better the more he recedes into the past. Funny how that works, isn't it?

Sippican knows more and knows the important things:

Sippican Cottage: Still Dead Not Fat Elvis The Fat Elvis costume has become as recognizable as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Hell, Uncle Sam. It screams: AMERICA. And not fussy America, or political America, or The New York Times Book Review America, either. He's strip mall/chrome fin/corn dog/hayseed/ghetto blaster/swimming hole/fried chicken/AM radio/concrete block church/Vegas whore America. He's the whole ball of earwax in Jesusland.
But I knew Elvis because I knew rockabilly. Elvis Presley arguably invented it; at the very least he personified it before he went Hollywood. He was the sun around which Sun records revolved in the fifties. Long before Elvis become the guy that showed up in adjustable waistbands and spangles, and was Elvis, he was great. Not just great. Important.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 15, 2012 11:03 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mapping Morbidity: "The permanent sunset of the Republican party has begun."

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This county-by-county electoral map of Nov. 6's results illustrates it perfectly. Rather than coloring a county pure red or pure blue, based on which candidate got the majority, it blends red and blue together based on the number of 100-set votes percandidateper county. Veryrevealing.
This map also shows the relative population densities across the country; white areas have very low densities. On a usual election map, the white spaces are solid red, but it actually means little to the electoral result. I don't think anyRepublicancan consider this map seriously and still maintain that America is really center-right. Even if the Republicans recapture the White House in 2016 (doubtful), their candidate will be farther to the left than any previous Republican, including even G.W. Bush, who was probably the most liberal Republican to sit in the Oval Office. -- Sense of Events: America is a leftwing nation
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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 15, 2012 9:24 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"America is always outnumbered:" Sadly, some among you seem to have all but given up.

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"Old Glory doesn’t mean anything, simply because you woke up last Wednesday to a measly 4 millions popular votes difference?

A battle of nearly 121 million voters finds you outnumbered by four and hear, hear: the Republic is dead and the war is lost?
"Try and tell that to those Americans who found themselves outnumbered and outgunned by far more disadvantageous enemy ratios, whether in a forest in the Ardennes, a hill in Korea, a valley in Vietnam or a mountain in Afghanistan. Try and tell them you’re considering giving up and burning the flag in despair.
"Even though I am just a French, I am quite certain I can predict their reaction.
"Once again, you don’t need a lecture from this Frenchman, but it seems to me that some of you, in the emotion of that unexpected electoral defeat, forgot this simple fact: America is always outnumbered....
"Yet it doesn’t matter: America’s strength isn’t in numbers, it’s in her soul.
"Hear this final prophecy America: only one man can kill the Republic, and it isn’t Barack Obama. The one man who will kill your Republic is the one man who will last give up and renounce it.
"Don’t you dare be that man.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2012 12:52 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bat Caves for Billionaires
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Last week a furore erupted when plans were released for a four-storey basement beneath a 19th-century schoolhouse in Knightsbridge, for Canadian former TV mogul David Graham.
Tripling the size of the property, this gargantuan pleasure cave would house a ballroom and swimming pool, with hot tub, sauna and massage room, as well as 15 bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 20 toilets, plunging deeper into the earth than the height of neighbouring homes.... In a surreal competition of keeping up with the Joneses, billionaire-style, Hunt went one step further into the realms of fantasy. He proposed to dig a 22m-deep hole beneath his garden to house a tennis court, pool and gym, as well as a private museum for his collection of vintage Ferraris. The cavernous chamber would be illuminated from above, through the glass floor of a glistening rooftop infinity pool. -- | The Guardian


Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 14, 2012 10:09 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Oooooh ... Shiny!: One of the most wonderfully front-loaded distraction campaigns in recent memory

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"In retrospect, Ambassador Chris Stevens would have gotten more attention sending snotty e-mails to random citizens." -- small dead animals

Over here we have this here general person. He’s a kind of hero type because.... well... because -- in ancient times when America led the world -- he led something called “The Surge;” which is to say he knew where to spend a billion bucks in Mesopotamia.

This here general's a good looking Gary Cooper type with the slim and rangy physique that comes from running miles and miles every day. Like Cassius he's got that lean and hungry look. And he has his hungers. He spends a lot of time away on Rome’s business in the far provinces and he needs a little stress relief from time to time. Now he might take his wife of more than three decades along but let’s face it. She has, as everyone is in a hurry to show you, let herself slide a bit across the years. Formerly cute she now looks like Barney Frank in a fright wig. Not at all the kind of thing to give the lean and mean fighting machine general the stress relief he needs at war or at his new job -- which is overseeing the failures of the finest spies a devalued dollar can buy.

Send in the babe with the big shoulders, fat lips, easily dislocatable jaw, large worshipping eyes, and the ability to run with the general across the desert sands to the little uparmored HumVee secured oasis under the Mesopotamian moon. Cue hippy girls with unrestrained breasts...

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 13, 2012 9:31 AM | Comments (25)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: It's not over until the fat king sings

From Elvis live in Rapid City, 21st June 1977. He'd be dead within two months.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 11, 2012 10:42 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Little Bridge That Could

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Undefeated - The Toughest Bridge in the World

The Durham train trestle has stood its ground for the last 100 years. This fact doesn't deter some drivers from challanging the bridge about once a month. all of them fail.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 10, 2012 12:11 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sandy Daze Sees The Future: "They will move faster now.... They are not bound by any law."

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From the film "Speed"

[Commenter Sandy Daze reacts to Occulus Dissents @ AMERICAN DIGEST ]

9 November 2012

When this administration was sworn in I was comforting myself with belief that there are laws to prevent the most gross outrages. Then came GM bailout, offshore drilling ban, Obamacare pass by reconciliation. With the 2010 win of the House, I was hopeful that the spending would be slowed or stopped, and that house investigations will at least give the gangsters a pause. That worked out well, too.

They will move faster now because our side is shellshocked and completely underestimate their intentions and tactics. The sky won't fall tomorrow but each day will be a little harder, little darker, little more hopeless. This is not to say we need to give up; just the opposite, but know this, yesterday's rules no longer apply.

1. Obama and his minions will spend the next four years undermining, if not destroying, the potential for another fair election.

2. Obama and his minions will spend the next four years institutionalizing graft, corruption, and cronyism to a point where people will be afraid to cross them. Businesses who either will not, or cannot financially demonstrate their loyalty to the proper officials and party will be taxed and regulated out of existence.

3. Obama and his minions will put in place the policies and conditions by which more of America receive some or all of their income through government handouts, ensuring that people will be forced to vote from fear and envy, rather than ideals.

4. Obama and his minions will solidify their hold on the education system, to make sure that subsequent generations see things through a collectivist lens.

5. The Constitution, US Code, tradition, morality and common sense will be ignored when inconvenient, dissent will be ridiculed or crushed, and the court systems will be packed to ensure that there will be no successful legal challenge. Republican "leadership" will be nothing more than a speedbump initially, and eventually cave completely in order to maintain a place at the table, because that's what really matters to them.

We must stick together and help each other. There will be challenges as never before. Between ourselves and on several on-line forums there are enough brilliant and experienced people from all walks of life to out-think, outwit and find ways to go around lots if not most of what is going to hit us. I would rather spend my mental energies in other ways, but this is a new reality and we better deal with cold facts.

Hope is not a sound basis for planning. Wishful thinking is a certain road to ruin.

The sooner we realize that they are not bound by any law that is inconvenient to them the better we will be able to resist. And resist we must, even if is only reorganizing our lives toward black market. We cannot sacrifice principles to pandering. I agree -- strongly -- with these sentiments from another correspondent who wrote, in part:

... We have to hit bottom FAST.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 9, 2012 8:35 AM | Comments (48)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Occulus Dissents

[Note: Robert Oculus has written a long responsive comment on the AMERICAN DIGEST item "The Common Sense Resistance" -- Tonight was the Night That Freed America. Unlike many others in the discussion thread, he doesn't buy it. His is a different take on the matter. It's presented here in full. I don't think he's speaking only for himself.]

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LOL. You folks didn't realize how many Young Pioneers we have in this country, did you? Well, you know now. Now that the Party has seized control of the Winter Palace, all the little Bolsheviks can take off their masks and wave high the blood-red banner. (Guess what the word "bolshevik" means in Russian?)

The Revolution is over. With Black Lenin's unimpeachable power (heh), they will now proceed to construct the socialist order.

For what it's worth, folks, any political approach we might take -- even the one outlined in the video -- is pointless.

If the recent election has shown anything it's that ideology isn't going to save us. What's going to save us is Christianity and nationalism. That's not Amurrrican "nationalism", the kind dependent on a piece of ink-stained parchment or an ideology, but real, ethnic nationalism, as in ancestry, language, and culture. And that's not that wishy-washy guidance-counselor ersatz Christianity, but the kind that isn't "nice" -- the kind that Jesus Himself taught and the kind that men like Saint Louis and King Jan Sobieski practiced.

I know many of you think Christianity and nationalism are stupid, but historically the combination is the only force that has ever defeated the twin demons of Islam (Spain, 1492) and communism (Spain, 1936), and it's the only force that will defeat them now. Now, I know some of you think God is a fairy tale, and I know most of you sincerely believe that men of good will united by the Constitution can live in peace, but please believe me when I tell you that you are wrong on both counts. We are in a racial and spiritual war -- and we had better recognize that fact if we wish to survive.

"Racial war". I know you don't like the sound of that. I don't like it, either. We have all been trained from birth in the dogma that "people are people", that "we're all the same under the skin", and that "all men are equal in God's eyes." Fine sentiments -- but they don't track with reality as observed. Only the last of these is true. We are about to find out the other two were lies -- and we'll find it out the hard way. There are many fine folk among the members of every race, of course, but the fact that some individual members of a given race are simpatico does not erase the fact that races as such exist, and that these races have divergent and often-incompatible interests.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 8, 2012 9:19 AM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Common Sense Resistance" -- Tonight was the Night That Freed America

A New Beginning... Bill Whittle on the Virtuous Citizens and How to Ignore the Parasites.

This is a fascinating and inspiring off the top of the head rap by Bill Whittle. Yes, it is almost one and a half hours long. Yes, I listened to all of it. And, yes, if you can't you will really miss out of beginning to figure out where free men and women go from here. Too bad. But like Whittle says, "We're not going to waste another second of our time with these people."

You say you are looking for a path forward? Here's 90 minutes of insights and plans. Do you have to agree with all of it? No. It's open source.

Some excerpts and notes:

I'm tired of looking backward.

If 5 million put in $9.95 a month for three years....

We have to build parallel structures.

Now you start getting into things that nobody talks about. But I'm going to talk about them.

What is going to come after this age of giant government.

The public changes and then the politics follows.

When you have a horizontally dispersed economy, you will -- and you must have -- have a horizontally dispersed government.

It's time to stop thinking about winning elections. It's time to stop thinking about Republicans and Democrats and liberals and conservatives. It's time to stop putting money and energy into the government because the government is not the country and the government has never been the country. Ever. This country was founded on the principle of being opposed to a government. So if Barack Obama won control of the government it does not mean he won control of America. He won control of what is preventing us from being America.

The Common-Sense Resistance is a self selecting group of people who understand that hard work should be rewarded, that nothing is free, and that solutions are available and obvious.

I'm tired of looking backward. I'm tired of complaining about media bias. They don't get another gram of our energy. They don't get a penny past what we owe them.

We're not going to waste another second of our time with these people.

The Republican brand is permanently tarnished. The word "conservative" is in many ways not indicative of the way many of us think.

The world breaks down into people who are "problem solvers" and those people who are problems.

Barack Obama was just elected to be the captain of the Titanic.

These people have inherited ashes.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 7, 2012 1:53 PM | Comments (57)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ship of State

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“Strait times come in history. Our time is such a time, millennial, full of fast currents, tossing, eddied, dangerous to pass through.” -- John Fowles, “The Aristos"

The thing is under the boat. The crew suspects as much but can't know for sure exactly where it is. They won't know where Leviathan is until it rises, inevitable and unstoppable, from the deep directly beneath them.

Can you feel it lurking just under the surface? I can and I think you can as well. The Greeks knew it as "Nemesis." Melville's Ahab knew it as "thou damned whale" and he struck at it from Hell's heart. Unperturbed it gathered him up and took him down. Then it took the boat and after that the ship. All save one followed. The whale beneath the surface of America's life is still there and all signs point to its breaching soon. Exactly where and exactly how are still unknown, but soon.

I feel the thing beneath the boat and I think others of my fellow citizens in ever growing millions feel it as well. We do not feel good about it and what it augers for the near and far future.

The jobs are not coming back. To know that you need to get off the inter-states; off the scenic blue highways that lead to your summer beach retreats. You need to get into the towns that have been passed by; the towns whose main industry has become food stamps and "assistance." These towns are growing in number daily and will continue to grow.

There is no work in these towns. The factories that supported them are long dead or dying. They, like the people they supported, are carbon based life forms and the strange insects that govern us seem to be united in making sure they never return. The checks and the food stamps come, but that's not enough to paint the houses or put in the gardens or do much more than eat too many pizzas and drink too much watery beer. The young would leave but more and more there's no place to go. They spend their time instead deciding on what sort of new tattoo will go well with the previous twenty.

The building of new houses and malls and condos and other large construction projects are not coming back. And even if they did where would we find the workers trained to build them? Old carpenters have moved on to making a living at something other than construction. There's not enough work to bring young ones onto the job and help them to master the skills needed. When a nation stops building it stops having the jobs that can train the next generation of builders. Mexicans, working cheap and off the books, are still in some demand, but there's a limit to repainting and the kind of minor brickwork that makes for a pleasant garden.

The money isn't coming back except at something worth less with every passing day. It begins to seem like mere slips of paper or a meaningless string of numbers that always seems to decrease. The stock market moves in fits and starts but doesn't seem to inspire the confidence needed to boost what once was the middle class. The debt looms ahead and consumes everything even as the argument is over whether or not to increase the debt rather than pay it down.

It's large and it's under the boat and it is beginning to rise. The crew is confused and flailing about. And the captain is insane but convinced he's on the right course. During the boom years it was commonly said, "A rising tide lifts all boats." True enough, but the rising of Leviathan can break the spine of our boat and send it down into the Maelstrom. And the thing is under the boat.

[Republished from November 2011]



Posted by Vanderleun Nov 7, 2012 7:17 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sultan Knish: Game Called on Account of Darkness

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"Every time people ask me why the left has such a grip on this country, my answer is because they worked for it. It's the answer that most people don't want to hear, but it's true. The left has been planning this for a while. They have been playing the long game, building the infrastructure and indoctrinating generations. And to beat them, we will have to do the same thing.
The right is 40 years behind the left and it remains a disorganized collection of potentials seeking a compass point. The "right" that got behind Mitt Romney consists of millionaires who want fewer regulations and easier imports from China, of social conservatives who are mainly ignored, except when voter turnout becomes an issue, libertarians who want more freedoms, and the non-ideological small business middle class and the struggling working class sensing their country and way of life slipping away from them.
-- Read it all and begin to understand the concept of The Long March @ Sultan Knish: Game Called on Account of Darkness

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 6, 2012 10:28 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"What a Revoltin' Development This Is"

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 6, 2012 9:43 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
From Lincoln to Instagram: Photography and the presidential campaign

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Presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln is photographed by Matthew Brady before delivering his Cooper Union address in New York City on Feb. 27, 1860.

Lincoln was the first presidential candidate to embrace photography, recognizing its ability to help propel his image and message.

As a presidential candidate, his photo was actively used as part of his campaign. “Lincoln was the first president in which they made prints of his photographs and during the convention, fluttered them down like confetti,” says Kiku Adatto, a scholar at Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center, who has researched the history of image use in culture and wrote the book “Picture Perfect: Life in the Age of the Photo Op.” - PhotoBlog

Fast forward 100 years: A view from the control room as Kennedy and Richard Nixon participate in the first televised presidential debate in Chicago on Sept. 26, 1960.
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Fifty-two more years and you have: Through Instagram, #aponthetrail offers glimpses of the sidelines of the campaign.
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What's next in, say, half that time again -- 26 years?

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 5, 2012 4:27 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: And Suddenly It Occurred To Us To Put A Microphone In Front Of The Nine-Year-Old. Oh, Boy!

What's gotten into some kids these days? Suddenly they're decent, talented, and entertaining.

The little one is haunted. He listened to the song once, then sat down and played it just like that, and when we put a microphone in front of him on a lark, he immediately sang the Crickets part without hesitation. The video is not only more or less the first take of the song, but it's the first time he ever sang anything. And he can sing and play at the same time, effortlessly. Some people never get the hang of that. I always found it deuced difficult. The really sad part for people like me is that he's thinking of playing Minecraft the whole time.

If you didn't enjoy this, you're dead. Be sure to click through to Sippican Cottage and donate to the band fund and your future



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 5, 2012 8:06 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Race of Race

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Pump Up the Hate

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds.... Abraham Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address

As the policies, plans and promises of both parties fade, the supreme theme of this election remains, to no one’s surprise, race. One side asserts that, policies and ability aside, it would be, as they asserted in 2008, racist not to elect the current president. The opposition denies the race is about race at all but is instead about the ability to govern and the need for more effective policies. Hence the current president, lacking both, must go. Both sides promulgate their lie of choice. The nation is not fooled. Tuesday will determine which lie the nation will tolerate for the next four years.

Both positions are lies because while the defeat of Obama would not be racist, his defeat would indeed turn on his race. Every advantage taken by Obama during his rise depended on his race. This continues to this day. His promoters deny this but we have had enough peeks behind their curtains of political prevarication to know that their denials, while useful and soothing to the masses, are lies and are known by them to be so.

Without his African-American veneer Obama would never have risen above a minor ward-heeler, if that. Without his race is doubtful whether or not his matriculation to Occidental college would have been assured. Harvard Law would have been only a dream in a rising plume of reefer smoke. If Obama has just been another white kid with a deep tan on the beaches of Hawaii some today might vote him the best bong maker on Maui, but nobody would be voting for him as president of the United States. It was because of his race and, quite literally, by hook and by crook that he rose to be the right man in the right place at the right time with the right advisors and the right supporters and the right opponents to be able to step, as he did, into history.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 3, 2012 4:07 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Francis Cabrel Le Pas Des Ballerines

Wait for it.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 3, 2012 11:02 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Making It Easy for Monroe



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 1, 2012 7:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"West Virginia, Mount Your Mama. Padded Bra!"

We built this city on a dog camel, so scuze me while I kiss this guy!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 1, 2012 1:46 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coolidge: The Last President of the Republic of 1789

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Silent Cal was modest in six languages. He was the last President of the Republic of 1789.

"…About the Declaration there is a finality that is exceedingly restful. It is often asserted that the world has made a great deal of progress since 1776, that we have had new thoughts and new experiences which have given us a great advance over the people of that day, and that we may therefore very well discard their conclusions for something more modern. But that reasoning can not be applied to this great charter. If all men are created equal, that is final. If they are endowed with inalienable rights, that is final. If governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, that is final. No advance, no progress can be made beyond these propositions. If anyone wishes to deny their truth or their soundness, the only direction in which he can proceed historically is not forward, but backward toward the time when there was no equality, no rights of the individual, no rule of the people. Those who wish to proceed in that direction can not lay claim to progress. They are reactionary. Their ideas are not more modern, but more ancient, than those of the Revolutionary fathers….” -- James Wilson quoting in Side-Lines: Calvin Coolidge for President

FULLTEXT: Speech on the Occasion of the One Hundred and Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence by Calvin Coolidge



Posted by gerardvanderleun Nov 1, 2012 11:56 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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