Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Food Free Food

It is truly said that "America is so rich our poor people are obese." That seems to grow more true by the moment for the poor, low-information eaters teetering among us on wobbling platform heels or swooping past us in those little electric carts in the supermarkets.

Conversely is also said that "you can never be to rich or too thin." To confirm that the rich among us are always fooling around with their intake in a binge/purge self-fornication festival. On the one hand many among our rich of pallor have chosen to feed on the lard-laden excrement doled out daily by the current administration and are lining up to by more. On the other hand it would seem that the same wan affluent are lining up to buy food that is so refined and uptight that it has been entirely stripped of what any other culture, any other era, would recognize as... well... food itself. So deep is the affluent American's longing for thin that we have now arrived at "food free food."

It is no surprise to anyone paying attention to the long and unwinding national nutrition neurosis that we need to have some new mountain of diet bullshit to climb every five years of so.

Mount Organic.
Mount Sustainable.
Mount Lo-Fat No-Fat.
Mount Creamy No-Fat.

Yes, it is a libidinal landscape made of featureless false and phony foods. It is a dietary desert of drifting sans. Sans lactose. Sans meat. Sans chicken. Sans land animal. Sans face. Salt free. Sugar free. Gluten free. And, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be, Kosher.

Up and up the bullshit steams in a never ending inward spinning gyre of dietary dreck and nutritional nuttiness so complicated and so intertwined in morality and self-image that there seems to be, at times, nothing left to eat in a country that has more food per capita than any other nation in the history of the world. To quote that great American philosopher, Chester A. Riley, "What a revoltin' development this is."

It now seems to be the case that the food fetish factories of the world, in an effort to separate the American rich from their extra money, have pushed the pedal to the metal now that it is clear the American dollar is about to go the way of the Zimbabwe dollar. Just last month I noticed the store in my neighborhood was selling bags of crispy kelp flakes. That's right. Kelp aka "Seaweed." A bag of these unfrosted flakes weighing in at less than an ounce was being offered up "on sale" for $4.99. A quick bit of grocery store math tells you that some company in collusion with the store seemed to feel it could retail its product for $60 a pound. Sixty smackers a pound. For.... Kelp aka "Seaweed." Weed from the sea..... An offer beyond bogglement.

But I only wandered in that brave new kelpflaked world beyond bogglement for a bit before I came across, just this afternoon, a new product that offered me even less food for more money. It was something called "Crispibread" and its selling points were proudly displayed on the box:

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There you have it. To say this food is "vegan" (as it does) is to underestimate its nothingness. Free of nuts. Free of soy. Free of gluten, wheat, dairy, eggs, and that evil life form, yeast. Free of it all. Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free of food at last!

Our long national nightmare is over.

Let's eat.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 28, 2013 7:12 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Extreme Cures for Boredom
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 27, 2013 4:17 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Loomings: "And down we went."

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In the mountains, there you feel free.
I read, much of the night, and go south in the winter.

The Waste Land

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HT: Bird dog



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 27, 2013 4:06 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bungee Dating in New York City

abungee.jpgNo, not "blind dating" where the danger is in the dated one, but "bungee dating" where the danger lurks in the date itself. "Bungee dating" because one finds oneself jumping into a situation that is 100 feet deep with a bungee cord that extends to 101 feet.

Thus it was with this sorry pilgrim, this old and true friend, who called my West Coast retreat from New York this morning, tattered and battered from his bungee date of the previous evening, telling his tale of testosterone-powered urban woe.

He will be distressed that I have related it here, but it is for the greater good I do so. Men, take heed. Ladies are advised to avert their delicate eyes.

* * *

So I'm having this telephone relationship with her, see? You know, the kind of relationship where you're doing this long dance to the tune of "Getting to Know You," and its going pretty well.

I mean, I like it the way it is. We don't see each other a lot because of jobs, errands, New York yadda-yadda, and all that sort of thing. But also its neat, unusual, to spend hours on the telephone just sort of chatting away.

I *never* talk on the phone this long with anyone, but she's clever with questions and sort of keeps me blathering away. I don't feel weird about it until after when I notice that she's winkled all this information about me out of me, but I still don't know a lot about her.

She's a reporter type. I keep feeling I'm getting my notes taken, you know. But still I like it. I mean, hey, it's all about me so who wouldn't?

Still, we are really not having enough face time. She's getting all these weird ideas about me -- which just aren't true. Or maybe they are and I don't like being in such total disclosure with a telephone relationship.

Anyway, she's been under a lot of stress -- job, sick loved ones, hangovers, insecurity, the whole mini-catastrophe. She's sounding fried on the phone and I'm getting the 'let me help you' impulse big time. So when she mentions how uptight her body is, I say, utterly innocently, "I know just how you feel. We need a spa night with major shiatsu massages. That'll tune us up."

The next thing that should have gone through my mind was a dum-dum bullet, but sadly that did not happen.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2013 4:31 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Victory Corps: 1942

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August 1942.

"Training in marksmanship helps girls at Roosevelt High School in Los Angeles develop into responsible women. Part of Victory Corps activities there, rifle practice encourages girls to be accurate in handling firearms. Practicing on the rifle range in the school's basement." -- -- Shorpy Historical Photo Archive



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 25, 2013 12:48 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Sarah Jarosz - Annabel Lee

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 24, 2013 5:40 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
1 Samuel 8: This will be the manner of the king that shall reign over you:

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He will take your sons, and appoint them for himself, for his chariots, and to be his horsemen; and some shall run before his chariots.

12 And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains over fifties; and will set them to ear his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and instruments of his chariots.

13 And he will take your daughters to be confectionaries, and to be cooks, and to be bakers.

14 And he will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your oliveyards, even the best of them, and give them to his servants.

15 And he will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give to his officers, and to his servants.

16 And he will take your menservants, and your maidservants, and your goodliest young men, and your asses, and put them to his work.

17 He will take the tenth of your sheep: and ye shall be his servants.

18 And ye shall cry out in that day because of your king which ye shall have chosen you; and the Lord will not hear you in that day.

1 Samuel 8 KJV - And it came to pass

Howso' great their clamour, whatsoe'er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!
Here is naught unproven--here is naught to learn.
It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom's name.
He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall change our gold for arms--arms we may not bear.

-- orkut - Rudyard Kipling "The Old Issue"
HT: Bobbye



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 24, 2013 1:01 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
12 Steps to World Government

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1. We admitted we were powerless over spending—that our deficit had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that increasing taxes two times greater than all those currently levied could restore us to solvency.

3. Made a decision to turn our nation and our lives over to the care of Socialism as we understood it.

4. Made a searching and fearless inventory of all the gold actually left in the vaults of the Fed and Fort Knox and found two nuggets worth $325.99.

5. Admitted to voters, to the Federal Reserve, and to all eternal Government bureaucracies the exact nature of our bankruptcy and appeared in a barrel on The View.

6. Were entirely ready to have the Fed print infinite money on whatever paper they could get at a case discount down at Staples.

7. Humbly asked the voters to give us all their money, their IRAs, and title to their vacation homes.

8. Made a list of all persons that still had something squirreled away, and became willing to make send in the National Guard to dig up their backyards and basements.

9. Made direct promises to replace any precious metals or gems found with paper money, ten cents on the dollar, to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would require a cash award of more than $49.98.

10. Continued to search for hidden assets and when we found them promptly seized them.

11. Sought through Universal Health Care and reducing the military to improve our nation until it resembled Great Britain in real power and influence, and confiscated all guns and ammunition we could lay our hands on to keep pesky disagreements with the National Guard on a name-calling basis, praying only for a disarmed, dispirited, depressed and Universally Medicated citizenry and for the power to rule over them.

12. Having had a rebirth of the Soviet Union under Stalin as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to any remaining free societies, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 22, 2013 11:58 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Assignment

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INT. UNDERGROUND DC PARKING GARAGE. BOTTOM LEVEL. NIGHT.

Libra's footsteps echo off the walls. Flickering neon light buzzes. In the corner of the garage a whole sector of lights has gone dark. Shadows thicken. A lighter flickers in the darkness as a cigar is lit.

LIBRA: Carthago. Countersign?

CENTURION: Delenda est. Sort of overly dramatic don't you think?

LIBRA: Not paid to think. What is the assignment?

CENTURION: The Wing thinks it's time to lay a little blue smoke between the mirrors. Take the heat off our team and torch the other side. That's your job.

LIBRA: Fine. How wet does the Wing want it to get?

CENTURION: We project that if three team members are put down it should put a stop to any attrition in 2014.

LIBRA: Wouldn't taking out just one serve the same purpose?

CENTURION: No. It has to look like a pattern.

LIBRA: Fine. Any particular team members you need erased?

CENTURION: Nobody from Chicago or San Francisco. And from safe seats only. We need to preserve the count. Renegade's very keen on that.

LIBRA: Level of obfuscation?

CENTURION: None. Public and messy. "Accidents" would be counter productive. But no families. Renaissance would be upset.

LIBRA: Timing?

CENTURION: Within the next 10 days. It would be best if all three were within the same day.

LIBRA: You want target clearance and notification?

CENTURION: No. This will be the last contact for this contract.

LIBRA: Half to the Bahamas account by noon tomorrow and the half on completion to our friend in Costa Rica.

CENTURION: Done.

LIBRA: Anything else?

CENTURION: No. If we need you again we can always find you.

LIBRA: That's what you people always think. Oh, by the way, was that stuff about you getting naked with Renegade over the golf weekend the real deal?

CENTURION: Just get it done.

FADE TO BLACK



Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2013 10:49 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something (Eternally) Wonderful: "The Most Astounding Fact..."
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 21, 2013 11:41 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obamaweed: Why do you think they call it "dope?"

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For all you do / This bud's for you.

On sale in Seattle something that will lower your information, voter:

Obama | Green Ambrosia Patient Network Our Strain of the Union is here! A leader in it’s own right. Obama, is a heavy indica strain that is great for late afternoon or night time medication. This hard to find quintessential strain is sweet and pungent. The inhalation is smooth, resulting in a full body warmth and strong mental high. All hail as you chief! Type: Indica (70%) / Sativa (30%) Affect: Full body warmth with a strong mental high. Genetics: OG Kush x Skunk #1 Suggested Donation: $12 / gram. $45 / eighth. $85 / quarter. $160 / half. $270 / full.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 21, 2013 9:18 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Is this the face that launched a thousand photoshops? UPDATED

 Faust.  Was this the face that launched a thousand ships
And burnt the topless  towers of Ilium?
Sweet, make me immortal with a kiss.  [Kisses her.]
Her lips suck forth my soul; see where it flies! --
Come, come, give me my soul again.

-- Marlowe, Christopher. Doctor Faustus.

One is speaking, of course, of our latter day Helen of Troy, ye right honorable first beard first lady of the Disunited States, Michelle Obama. Her "official" second term portrait was just released and is provided here as source material. (Standard "can't unsee the seen" warning applies.) Play nice.

Updated with a fresh spread from Michelle La Vaughn's Secret Diary via Cripes Suzette -- Dear Diary – BANGS! |

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 20, 2013 2:27 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beneath the Aegean

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When all Earth's seas shall Levitate,
Dark shawled within the skies,
Upon our eyes will Starfish dance
Their waltz of Blind surprise.

The sun will Rise within wine Dark
As Argonauts imbibed,
Whose drunken arms embrace that sleep
Where Phaeton's horses Stride.

Upon all of Earth's wind-sanded shores,
As dolphins Learn to soar,
All we once were on the land
Shall be sealed behind the door

Of Ivory and Chastened Gold,
That the Mystery solved complete
Shall never til the seas' Long fall
Wake mariners from their sleep.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 20, 2013 1:09 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Deep Inside: A Link I Know Nobody Will Be Clicking

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Big Data comes to Professional Porn: Deep Inside - A Study of 10,000 Porn Stars by Jon Millward.

They seem to be light and lively:

The average male and female performer are the same height as the average American man and woman: 5’10″ and 5’5″ respectively.2 However, porn stars are quite a bit lighter. At 117 lbs, the average female performer is a considerable 48 lbs under the national average for women, and the average male, at 167.5 lbs, weighs 27 lbs less than the national average for men.

And, no, they don't have bodacious tatas:

The most common bra size for a female porn star is a surprisingly handleable 34B. Not double-D, not even a D. Double-D actually came in 4th, behind B, C and D. The most common set of measurements for the women was 34-€“24-34.

And, yes, porn looks like America:

The proportions of each race match the general American population almost exactly, despite the fact that race is still heavily fetishized in porn.

At the same time, traditionalists will be pleased to know that porn stars make a nice couple: "Nikki Lee and David Lee—the most common first and last names of porn stars."

Much more safe for work than you think.

PS Blondes evidently do not have more fun: "Dark-haired porn stars outnumber blonde ones almost 2-to-1."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 20, 2013 10:20 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Furniture for Uncertain Times
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 20, 2013 12:21 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cruising Off Baja

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[Note: Last week's cruising debacle resulted in thousands of articles and comments including this one: 7 Reasons to Never Ever Ever Vacation on a Cruise Ship It also caused me to revisit my own brief flirtation with cruising some years back and add the 8th reason: It's BOR-ING!]

"A life on the ocean waves,
A home on the rolling deep..."

-- Sea Shanty

In travel I once thought there were only three levels of tedium that overtake one between departure to destination. If you go by car, your tedium level is light. You have the power to interrupt your journey at any point as well as a changing view and a task, driving, for diversion. Travel by rail or bus introduces you to the second level of tedium when only scheduled stops enable you to break the journey, but the scenery remains in the middle distance as a diversion. Should you go by air, your despair and terror are lessened by the knowledge that, except for extreme distances, your powerlessness and lack of view will at least last no more than a day.

The three levels of tedium. Each more or less equal to the others and each part of what you pay for wanting to indulge in the mindlessness of modern travel. But I have, this week discovered, a fourth level and this level contains all the horrors of travel plus the horrors of actually being there. This is a level of tedium previously unexplored by me, but rumored to exist by sensible travelers who have gone and returned to tell the tale. I should have believed them but, like the fool I have always been, I had to experience it myself. Right now I am still trapped within the confines of the experience but it isn"t too soon to send out a warning in the hopes that there are others out there who will not be the fool I was; who will turn back before committing themselves to this constantly renewing fresh hell on the ocean waves.

But should you have a taste for tedium, should boredom be like mother"s milk and daily bread (lots of it) to you, you will be surfeited by this otherwise antiquated mode of travel. Indeed, for sheer, mind obliterating tedium, for the kind of vacancy induced only by event horizons with no events and fewer horizons; for a feeling that arises in no experience other than incarceration, there is nothing that can beat the tedium induced by that modern masterpiece of torpor, stupor and pointlessness, the Cruise Ship.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 19, 2013 12:45 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
IWO: 19 February – 26 March 1945
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 19, 2013 9:13 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Updating "First They Came For...."

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"First they came for the blacks, and I spoke up because it was wrong, even though I'm not black.

"Then they came for the gays, and I spoke up, even though I'm not gay.

"Then they came for the Muslims, and I spoke up, because it was wrong, even though I'm an atheist.

"When they came for illegal aliens, I spoke up, even though I'm a legal immigrant.

"Then they came for the pornographers, rebels and dissenters and their speech and flag burning, and I spoke up, because rights are not only for the establishment.

"Then they came for the gun owners, and you liberal shitbags threw me under the bus, even though I'd done nothing wrong. So when they come to put you on the train, you can fucking choke and die.

"Or you can commit seppuku with a chainsaw. I really don't care anymore. This is the end of my support for any liberal cause, because liberals have become anything but."

[Written by The Sacred Cow Slaughterhouse サ The Post in Which I Piss Off EVERYBODY.]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 19, 2013 2:29 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Meanwhile, the Doers:" Comment of the Year So Far

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"I wonder if at some point, those who get things done just get tired of all this and give all of the idiots a sort of separate, but parallel world where they can spend valueless money on worthless crap, compete with each other for meaningless honors, and attempt to impose preposterous narratives on one another through an unending parade of news shows, talking points, and blog posts. Meanwhile, the doers build and repair the infrastructure, pioneer innovations, bear and raise kids with a good shot at becoming perfectly decent human beings, and run the real financial system according to sound principles.

"Perhaps Kornbluth's Marching Morons [FullText] already covers this ground, but today we don't have to worry about the idiots out-reproducing the doers. Sufficient access to birth control, abortion on demand, not-especially socially costly diversions, inflated credentials and titles, food, and a few hundred square feet of living space in a "cool" urban setting will keep them content for a lifetime. In a few generations they will have chatted and partied themselves out of existence. The solution need need not have a eugenic dimension. Those children of idiots who show a strong desire to create (in the real, material sense), who like children, who want to raise them responsibly, and who believe that wealth is to be earned through toil could always be invited to the other side.

"Contempt is an important part of the scheme. Not of the doers for the idiots, but for the idiots for the doers. As the last idiot couple pops the last viagra and copulates for the last time to some life desecrating lyrics played on a sound system they could never understand, and as they die of simultaneous orgasms/strokes, they must die with contempt on their wrinkled lips for the doers. They must always be absolutely convinced of their superiority (that sound system would never have been built without us... you didn't build it... we did!). Given their hubris, I don't think that is a hard goal to achieve.

"And to be honest, I really don't think that we are that far from being able to put this plan into practice. Not that far at all."

Posted by: el baboso as a comment on Modern Love



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 18, 2013 10:40 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A Dance to Spring!

Some people like ballet but I've always been one for the subtleties and wistful nuance of interpretive dance. This brief example is surely one of the finest of that wistful genre of deeper insight and feeling when it comes to the dance. Indeed, discerning connoisseurs of dance will rejoice at seeing, once again, the most moving moment in the history of dance coming in at 1:22.

Indeed, so wonderful and universal is this moment that scholars of the dance may want to study it closely a few times. In that way they can deepen their understanding of the manner in which the dancer's restrained and even, deconstructively speaking, [airquote]chained[unairquote] angst and fin-de-siecle malaise can be released into an ever evolving gyre of praise to freedom emerging like a reluctant toadstool through the elemental torrent that is released upon her. As well as wanting to get her a towel for a stimulating rubdown. I am not sure if a dissertation on this theme and moment has been written but I am sure that, if one is written, it will be an original contribution to knowledge.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 18, 2013 10:19 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Modern Love

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“I’m no yenta, but I think this is going to work." - Jim Rogers

"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments..."

Submitted for your consideration an item most notable for its soothing palliative tone in which the unusual is normalized. As the age's intellectual insanity assumes the proportions of a plague, the experience of reading the herald of these plague years, the New York Times, becomes more and more like reading dispatches from the alternate universe of "hoping these changes stick." That the changes can only stick if the core of the more normative America holds both economically and militarily (even as the 'changy' culture struggles to destroy it) is where the hoping enters in.

Still it is an item imbued with sweetness in the coyly named "Weddings & Celebrations" section of the Times. It really has it all when it comes to the modern nature of love in a time of cultural cholera: Vows - Kate Adamick and Kay Diaz - Weddings and Celebrations - NYTimes.com [Emphasis carefully added]

"The two women were introduced Feb. 4, 2008, via an e-mail message from their mutual friend, Jim Rogers, the New York State deputy attorney general in the social justice division, for which Ms. Diaz, 45, is a senior trial counsel....

On Valentine’s Day the women exchanged photographs. “It’s an absolute bonus she is as beautiful as she is,” Ms. Adamick said. They scheduled their first phone call four days later. Lengthy, nightly conversations ensued....

The next day Ms. Adamick flew back to New York from California. To her surprise, Ms. Diaz was waiting for her at Newark Liberty airport with two dozen roses. The connection was instantaneous. “She dropped the flowers on the ground and kissed me,” Ms. Adamick said. “We were making out in the car like two teenagers,” Ms. Diaz said. By the following morning they were engaged. 'It just came out of my mouth...' "

A little more than a year later, on May 8, the couple were legally married by Jeanne Laughlin, a Connecticut justice of the peace, in a conference room at the Stamford Government Center.

They exchanged yellow pipe-cleaner rings, saving their engraved gold bands for their public ceremony the next day, when Mr. Rogers — who had introduced them — led them through their vows in the three-story atrium of 632 on Hudson, an event space in a 19th-century New York town house.

“All my life I searched for you, but never thought I’d find you,” Ms. Adamick said. “All my life I dreamed of you, but never dreamed you were real.”

Mr. Rogers said, “You may both kiss the bride,” and their 96 friends and family cheered as the couple smiled exuberantly.

"And," as Walter Cronkite would totalled up the whole passel of perfection if he'd attended, "That's the way it is."

Having not been invited, all I can say is that they seem like a nice, attractive couple and that I wish them all the happiness they can garner from the world. Life's tough enough on the denizens of this relentlessly advancing and evolving world, and tougher still without love.

And yet for all that it seems to me that the report of the affair as scribbled by the oddly yet predictably named "Devan Sipher" in the 'paper of [the broken] record' is trying too hard to retain a deadpan affect; a state in which the writing does not "dumb it down" so much as it "blands it out."

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 18, 2013 2:04 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Headline of the Year (So Far)

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Who says a major in English Lit is wasted? The Boston Globe decided to use the first line from Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow: See the whole front page here.

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"A screaming comes across the sky. It has happened before, but there is nothing to compare it to now.

"It is too late. The Evacuation still proceeds, but it's all theatre. There are no lights inside the cars. No light anywhere. Above him lift girders old as an iron queen, and glass somewhere far above that would let the light of day through. But it's night. He's afraid of the way the glass will fall--soon--it will be a spectacle: the fall of a crystal palace. But coming down in total blackout, without one glint of light, only great invisible crashing." -- Thomas Pynchon: Gravity's Rainbow (opening)



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 17, 2013 11:47 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The World's Largest Tree House

"Picture yourself in the 80's. In rural Tennessee. You're a Vietnam vet. You've been partying ever since you got back.

"Now picture yourself waking up from a drug overdose. And you're lying on the floor of a wood structure. It's sixty feet off the ground and there's no one else around. It's a treehouse.

"So you tell God if he lets you live, you'll change your ways.

"Soon after, you burn the treehouse to the ground.

"And then the vision comes. God wants you to build another treehouse. The largest treehouse that's ever been.

"And so you do.

"If that is you, then your name is Horace Burgess of Crossville, Tennessee.

"What does your creation look like? See it here."

The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys: I've Been In So Many Places I Shouldn't Have Been -- The State of Tennessee says it's not safe, you can't go in there. The State of Tennessee can shove a rope up a drainpipe.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 16, 2013 10:37 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who Says There's No Good News?: "The likelihood in this century of an asteroid impact with 700 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima A-bomb: 30%."

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Whew. What a relief!......

Wait..... wait..... Oh Damn!

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Sigh. Keep comin' back. We're sure to get a winner one of these days.....

Like... maybe.... tomorrow?

About 1,100 injured as meteorite hits Russia with force of atomic bomb | Fox News

A problem that is bigger than global warming | Watts Up With That?

Asteroid 2012 DA14 makes its closest approach at 2:24 p.m. EST/1924 GMT today. .... The likelihood in this century of an asteroid impact with 700 times the destructive power of the Hiroshima A-bomb: 30%.... While politicians, their activist friends, and pundits caterwaul over a few tenths of a degree change in the global temperature over the last 100 years, with some Ehrlich-like nutballs even claiming it will cause extinction of humanity, today might be a good day to recognize a real extinction level challenge humanity faces. One wonders if yesterday’s meteor in Russia wasn’t some parts of the asteroid fragmented in a deep space collision eons ago and in a similar trajectory hours ahead. It may also be simply coincidence.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 15, 2013 1:53 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Begin Again | The Piano Guys with Megan Nicole and Alex Goot

In which we note the growth and coming together of stars raised up on YouTube into FlashStars. Who needs the rolling failure of American Idol. Idols are everywhere.

The Lazy Song-Bruno Mars (cover) Megan Nicole | Views 36,438,654

Alex Goot | "Good Time" 9,840,441 views

ThePianoGuys One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful | 17,610,947 views

That's taken from Taylor Swift's "Begin Again" whose much more schmaltzy, "Look I'm in Paris!" version goes like this:

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 15, 2013 12:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
I taste a liquor never brewed

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 14, 2013 1:54 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Flying People in New York City



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 14, 2013 1:38 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Rappin' for Jesus

I'm just putting it out there because that racist Rob sent it in. Talk amongst yourselves.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 13, 2013 1:04 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
God Made a Farmer: Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial with Paul Harvey

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"The late Paul Harvey was a masterful throaty narrator in the romantic age

before the onset of America's now ubiquitous metrosexual nasal intonation. Harvey just didn't sound different from the present generation, but from what we suspect, he sounded different from most generations to come as well. One reason that our age cannot make a Shane, High Noon, or The Searchers is that most of our suburban Hollywood actors cannot even fake the accent of either the frontier or the tragic hero anymore. When Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall go, so goes too the last link to the cinema's Westerner. There are no more voices like Slim Pickens or Ben Johnson. One of the successes of the commercial is that the photographed farmers did not speak, and left the impression of mute superiority." --Works and Days | The Super Bowl Farmers

Video Next

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 13, 2013 2:57 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Two Topics from Tuesday

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Created by @notoserfdom.

Obama SOTU/Chris Dorner Manhunt Open Thread: Ace of Spades HQ

"Yes, alas, it's an Open Thread, and not a liveblog. I don't really feel like listening to this imbecilic gasbag. I asked around but no one else has much interest, either.

"CNN/Chris Dorner Update: No, Anderson Cooper did not ask if it's harder to find a black man at night. See the "red flag" at the end."

Meanwhile Morgan is happy to give you a translated synopsis. Excerpt:

Too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Four years without a budget is not holding our economy back, and bizarre new health care regulatoins aren’t holding our economy back, and the constant threat of ever-increasing taxes on “millionaires and billionaires” is not holding our economy back. It’s those darn banks telling people no.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 13, 2013 2:50 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
STATE OF THE UNION: Life During Wartime

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Best number from the finest pop concert film ever made, Stop Making Sense. [Full film is HERE.]

David Byrne: I've got a tape I want to play.

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
We blended in with the crowd,
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines,
I know that ain't allowed.
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
Or in a suit and a tie.
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
Don't know what I look like!

You make me shiver. I feel so tender.
We make a pretty good team.
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving.
You ought to get you some sleep.
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive.
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace.
The burning keeps me alive.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 12, 2013 7:45 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Don't Hate Them Because They're Beautiful. Hate Them Because They Live on Another Planet.

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Kate Upton fills out the cover for a second year because... well... because... because the editors were shackled by the ankles to the Upton Entity three years ago and have not yet been rescued. 2013 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue - A Full Look • Highsnobiety The full 39 (thirty-nine) photographs.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 12, 2013 12:04 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gekas and Daughter: An Unfolding Collabortation

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Photography @ 1x.com by Bill Gekas More work showcased @Bill Gekas Photography | The Gallery



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 12, 2013 10:35 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "The ugliest, ricketiest, most obnoxious best car ever."

Presenting, via The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys, The Zero F**ks Given RX7

Twelve minutes of automotive nirvana. Highly recommended. "Never a dull moment here."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 12, 2013 8:47 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Death from Above: Your Advance Information Sheet

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Created by the strange brain in the jar at Tom the Dancing Bug Blog.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 11, 2013 10:39 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: I, Pencil

There is no "Mastermind."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 11, 2013 9:53 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hillary Clinton to Play Boss in New Season of 'The Office'

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The wildly popular comedy series "The Office" has just been given an injection of hilarity with Hillary Clinton's decision to show off her talents as "World's Best Boss" in the tenth season of the multi-award-winning show. Producers believe that the previously organic succession of Dunder Mifflin's incompetent but lovable managers - from Michael Scott to Robert California to Andy Bernard - will be seamlessly completed by the former Secretary of State, who is expected to bring with her plenty of baggage and surprising international connections. -- People's Cube

Contact Hillary with any questions of concerns right HERE. YES, you can leave a note sharing your feelings.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 10, 2013 6:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Sounds Simple and It Is: Red Hot Nickel Ball On Ice

Because we can, okay?

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 10, 2013 5:44 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Meditation: "When Will I Ever Learn To Live In God?" and "Sure on This Shining Night"

You brought it to my attention everything that was made in God
Down through centuries of great writings and paintings
Everything lives in God
Seen through architecture of great cathedrals
Down through the history of time
Is and was in the beginning and evermore shall be

When will I ever learn to live in God?
When will I ever learn?
He gives me everything I need and more
When will I ever learn?

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 10, 2013 4:23 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Vintage Firearms Collection

It's large. And so....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2013 11:20 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Song: Wintertime Clouds Over Durango, Colorado

Contrail at 1:40.

"Same old tales ain't nothing new
What the hell's a soul to do
But maybe you can help me through
Giving me one dance with you
One dance with you
One dance with you
One dance with you
One dance with you...."

"Woody Guthrie carves a sign into his guitar
'This machine kills fascists', Ani Difranco says
'Every tool is a weapon if you hold it right'
I say, 'Here's a monkey wrench
Bop me on the head long enough....
Maybe I'll wake up for a second.'"

-- Dan Bern - One Dance



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2013 7:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Send in the Clowns: Fanner and Signer Work the Room at Mass Gov Blizzard Presser

More and more watching these government creatures strut their stilted stuff yields only bitter laughter. Here's the classic example of buffoons on parade has His High Blomeness Gov. Deval Patrick of Massachusetts blathers along framed by an obese fanner and a butch signer. This buffo comedy works best if you drop the sound and watch the craploa spew in the silence.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2013 5:07 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cops Gone Wild: Sometimes You Really Want the Police to Be Minutes Away. And Stay There.

LAPD Had "No Idea" Who They Were Shooting At In Dorner Pursuit, Says Victims' Attorney - Reason.com
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"It's 100 percent clear that they had no idea who was in that vehicle and just lit it up.... This could have been anyone. It could have been you. It could have been me."

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2013 11:17 AM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Little Rover That Could

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Opportunity Passes 9 Years on Mars NASA's Mars rover Opportunity just celebrated its ninth anniversary on Mars - a mission that was originally meant to last just 90 days.

Although recently eclipsed in the news by its bigger brother Curiosity, Opportunity is still going strong and making valuable scientific discoveries. Launched into space in 2003, Opportunity bounced to a hole-in-one landing in a small crater on Mars' Meridiani Planum on January 25, 2004. It has since spent 3,212 Martian days, or sols, on the surface, slowly moving from target to target, exploring craters, meteorites, unusual rock formations, and finding evidence of past water activity. Over the past 108 months, Opportunity has driven a total of 35.48 kilometers (22.05 miles) across Mars -- not bad for a mission designed to last only three months.

On First Looking Out of NASA's Rover
Written on January 25, 2004

Much have I imagined the arcing vaults of space,
And many fiery launches and cold orbits seen;
Round the darksided moon have I been
And raised a flag above Tranquility base.
Oft on one Red Planet would I place
Dreams of deep-brow'd Bradbury's Morning Green
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I saw Opportunity gaze upon our brother's face:
Then felt I like some sentinel in strange skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like those at JPL, when the Opportunity's eyes
Delivered them an image through the stars,
Look'd at each other with a wild surmise--
"All green" upon the dusty plains of Mars.

(Apologies to Keats. who would understand)



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 9, 2013 10:06 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Leonard Cohen - Show Me The Place

"The troubles came.
I saved what I could save.
A thread of light.
A particle, a wave."

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 8, 2013 2:48 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Things Are Looking UP!: A Depression Song Book for Our Time

After all, why rewrite what's been done before?

An Associated Press article Monday declared a healthy jobs market, fantastic auto sales, a surging housing market, and a stock market rocketing to new all-time highs. What’s not to love? ***
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 8, 2013 10:15 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
So God Made A Liberal...

Who says the Supreme Being doesn't have a sense of black humor?

[From the dependably demented Sooper. Mexy. CONservative. | SOOPERMEXICAN]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 7, 2013 8:13 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Old Regime

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" Six tumbrils carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine."


The tumbril creaks and rumbles on
Upon the road of Slate,
Retracing rutted years of sand
Whose Distance storms Debate.

Its passengers stand fixed as stone
While faces cheer from Snow.
The blade awaits it's midday meal,
When Above becomes Below.

Innovations carved from clouds
Give despair and dance New measures.
The blade reflects its evening meal
When kings slake lower pleasures.

Arrived at Hope they gaze on mist
Where granite horses roam.
Their schedules as fixed as Dark.
Their future -- White as bone.

The head within the basket sees
Vast Parliaments of sky.
Its ears hear only fading surf
Where all past gone years reply.



Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2013 5:28 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Muses: "An arrest of attention in the midst of distraction."

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"Today most people don't believe in the Muses any more. Not in the sense that the ancients did.

The three -- the goddesses of literature, science and the arts --€” were at one time supposed to command men to speak. They have largely been replaced by the single all purpose modern deity: the Job. In modern political orthodoxy we do things for one rational reason only, which is to get paid. We write when the Boss tells us to. We craft a speech of talking points that the committee has approved. But of the muses we heard no more. Until recently. If any spiritual debt is owed to the informational technology revolution it has been in the resurrection of the Muses. For no one familiar with the programming world will believe for a minute that its best developers. For no one familiar with the programming world will believe for a minute that its best developers write code to be paid." -- Richard Fernandez / The House that Roger Built



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 7, 2013 1:36 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: THE VIRTUAL INAUGURAL 2013 -- An America for the Rest of Us

"Everything is amazing and nobody's happy. We're not happy because for the first time in our history we're not allowed to be happy."

C'mon, invest the 20 minutes. You've got nothing more important to do in the next half hour.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 7, 2013 9:03 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The U.S. Postal "Service": How It Works in the 21st Century

[ At last I'm getting Saturdays off!: Postal Service to Cut Saturday Mail Whew! Just in time.]

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1. Somewhere in this great land a concerned and responsible corporation is having their twice weekly colorful and compelling advertising supplement printed on 100% recycled paper.

2. As soon as they are completed millions of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements are shipped by truck to the various regional receiving centers of the U. S. Post Office.

3. From those centers, any number of allocated pallets of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements are broken out, put on U.S. post office trucks and delivered to local postal carrier destinations inside Seattle.

4. My postal carrier and hundreds of others report for work at local postal carrier centers throughout Seattle, and load up their vans with enough of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements to deliver one or more to each and every house on their route.

5. My very polite postal carrier parks her van at the end of my block and loads her sack with these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements.

6. She comes up my walk, up the porch stairs, and deposits my full share of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements into my mailbox with a clang every day between one and three in the afternoon.

7. Hearing the clang I wend my weary way to the front door and open my mailbox and pluck out said colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements.

8. With a sigh I go back in, trudge through my house, out my back door to the alley, and place the colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements into my Recycling bin.

9. Tomorrow the huge, lumbering Seattle Recycling garbage truck will stop and empty my Recycling bin into its maw and haul what is in it off to the Seattle Recycling center.

10. The collected colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements will then be shipped, by truck, to the center for turning recyclable paper into..... recycled paper which will then be used by a concerned and responsible corporation for their twice weekly colorful and compelling advertising supplements printed on 100% recycled paper.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Next year postage will increase because the U.S. Postal "Service" will need more money to keep this thing going.



On the other hand.... why bother?

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"A rural mailman travels up a creek bed toward Morris Fork near Jackson, Ky., in August 1940.; K. Ng rides a Segway on his mail route in July 2002 in San Francisco."



Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2013 12:42 PM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Don't Ask. Don't Peel.

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Newly-recruited female marines take their lunch with fellow Filipino soldiers after undergoing drills inside the marine headquarters in the town of Ternate, south of Manila on Tuesday. -- PhotoBlog

And after lunch? .... Training!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 6, 2013 9:11 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Brave New 1984: We Live in the Orwell|Huxley Hybrid

“What Orwell feared were those who would ban books.

What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one.

Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information.

Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egotism.

Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us.

Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance.

Orwell feared we would become a captive culture.

Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy.

As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.”

In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain.

In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure.

In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that our desire will ruin us.” – Neil Postman – Amusing Ourselves to Death

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 5, 2013 5:07 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Four Whore Years! Four Whore Years!

Obama Supporter Interviews Her 2008 Self....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 5, 2013 4:04 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Seems Legit

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File under: "Moon Landing. Yeah, right."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 4, 2013 5:05 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Digging Up Richard III: A Man for Our Season

Now is the parking lot of our discontent: The History Blog's Liveblogging the Richard III announcement is the best of many, many sites and news sources covering this.

"Dearly beloved, we are gathered here at this ungodly hour to find out as soon as humanly possible whether the skeleton discovered underneath a Leicester parking lot can be conclusively identified by a combination of DNA analysis, radiocarbon dating and forensic analysis as the remains of King Richard III."

As Richard III is now:

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As Shakespeare had him:

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 4, 2013 4:45 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Santa Ana Winds, Raymond Chandler, and the Ghost of William Faulkner

"There was a desert wind blowing that night. It was one of those hot dry Santa Ana's that come down through the mountain passes and curl your hair and make your nerves jump and your skin itch. On nights like that every booze party ends in a fight. Meek little wives feel the edge of the carving knife and study their husbands' necks. Anything can happen. You can even get a full glass of beer at a cocktail lounge." -- Red Wind -- Raymond Chandler

Sometimes I almost think that there's hope for pop music after all. This is one of those times. Of course, I could be wrong.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 4, 2013 3:15 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Greenly Efficient Abnormalities

1. To make this the greenest Super Bowl, the New Orleans Host Committee has partnered with fans and the community to offset energy use across the major Super Bowl venues. The exterior of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome features more than 26,000 LED lights on 96 full-color graphic display panels, designed to wash the building in a spectrum of animated colors, patterns and images. The system draws only 10 kilowatts of electricity -- equivalent to the amount of energy used by a small home -- and the lights are expected to last for many years before needing replacement. -- Energy.gov's Department of Energy

2. Officials from Entergy, the utility company supplying power to the Superdome, said the outage occurred when sensing equipment detected an "abnormality" in the system. A statement from Entergy and the Superdome said that a piece of equipment monitoring electrical load sensed the abnormality and opened a breaker, partially cutting power. -- Power outage stops game at Super Bowl XLVII - ESPN



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 4, 2013 10:46 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Zombie Man in Shoppingland

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Gazing out the window on a February Saturday deep in the winter of our discontent. Overcast, cold, rainy-- then....

SUNBREAK! Quick! Get dressed!...

Too late... rain ... as per usual in Seattle. If any city could use "climate change" right now, it's Seattle. Indeed, if you listen to the Orwellian bleaters that infest this city the current Seattle catechism for the "climate change" religion is the catch phrase, "Colder is warmer."

Seattle on a February Saturday. Boring.

So, because I am an American, I took refuge in the American mantra, "When the going gets boring, the bored go shopping."

Shopping, our shared cultural catatonia. ....

Just say shop!.... Just do it!.... Get out there and ....buy, buy, BUY.... something you don't need. Then buy some accessories for it. You'll need those to make the thing you don't need work like you don’t need it to.
....Then you haul the unneeded crap back home and add to the other crap you don't need. Finding what we don't need and piling it up is what we do, I guess. Like many others I can resist it in my normal state, but not, I find, when I'm bored. You have a similar problem.

Result? I found myself driving in a fugue state through the used-to-be-industrial maze of south Seattle in the rain. I'd been to where I was going once before and was trying, like a half-blind man with a short white stick, to triangulate my way by driving the highways and flyovers that shoot along the fringes of this once muscular, once thriving industrial district. Now the glazed green alien gaze of the Starbucks queen looks down on it from Starbucks Galactic Headquarters as the aliens within plot how they can possibly put a Mini-Me-Starbucks into your bedroom closet.

And the big box stores grow all around and around, and the big box grows all around....

For some strange reason, the destination that formed in my mind for this shopping excursion was "CostCo." A vague mention of a friend about the "great deals on small televisions" put it in my mind like a BuyMe earworm. This small mental disorder was even stranger since the last thing I need in my life is another, smaller television. On second thought, the absence of a real need was probably why I really wanted one. In America, as noted above, if you don't need it, you gotta have it.

After a few blind alleyways and false turns I pulled into the CostCo parking lot. If I hadn't been in a Internet-overload hypnotic state this move alone would have immediately struck me as a bad idea. The sign certain? Cars shadowing shoppers slowly back to wherever they happen to be parked. Pick the wrong shopper flock and you can find yourself far, far away from the store entrance observing a spontaneous tailgate party featuring cold burritos. I got lucky and, shadowing a gaggle of shoppers, found a slot near the entrance. It was the end of my luck.

Like Rick who came to Casablanca for the waters, I'd joined CostCo for the tires. It makes a certain amount of sense since the savings on these plebeian but necessary items can be substantial. Since buying the tires, I hadn't been back and hadn't been exposed to the red kryptonite in the main cavern. Grabbing an abandoned cart, I entered the cavern of CostCo, flashing my card to the autonod of the otherwise unemployable person at the entrance.

Remember the haunting Cooleridge poem "Kubla Khan" that he wrote on the downside of an opium jag?

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Well forget it. Except for "caverns measureless" and the opiate effect, Costco's nothing like that.

I don't know why Wal-Mart is taking all the heat for box-store degradation of truth, justice and the American Way of Really Rich Americans. A brief tour of Costco reveals it is a much cheesier organization with the exploitation of the aged, the infirm, the alien, and the disabled more obviously on display. But who knows why some companies become fashionable to disparage while others get a semi-pass? It probably has to do with the jerking knee that says either, "Biggest is baddest," or "The deepest pocket is the easiest to pick." It may also have something to do with Costco's founder jamming his overflowing sewer pipe from his money bin deep into the gaping orifices at the eternal Obama campaign..... but I digress.

The Wal-Mart stores that I've been in have the charm of a Swiss village compared to the Gulag atmosphere of CostCo. Oh, Costco has a look. The look is as if the Costco "Decor" vice president decreed, ”Hey, just pour a slab of concrete, drop bunches of crap here and there on the grid, and be done with it. Huh? Oh, okay slap up some industrial shelves so the bodegas of the world can find their salsa stock. And bolt some airport landing lights on the ceiling so you need to put on sunscreen before entering. Just light that sucker up so that nobody can smuggle a buttload of pretzels out the door.”

It is also evident to a single person in CostCo -- in about two nanoseconds -- that he or she needs to rent a family of 12 illegal aliens to get any real value out of the place. I mean, I like pickle relish on hot dogs just fine, but a two gallon container is probably enough that I can pass some on to my heirs even if I live another twenty years.

But all this carping arises from, as Wordsworth decreed, "Emotion recollected in tranquility." The truth is that the moment I entered the measureless cavern of Costco my brain was colonized by its Conquistaconsumadoros and I was plunged into a fugue state.

I glanced at the recommended "small televisions" and rapidly lost interest. Still, my reptile consumer brain said, "You've come all this way and the bargains abound around you. You have to get something. Shop, shop, shop, my precious.... your eyelids are getting heavy, your wallet is getting light..... shop.... shop....."

In this brain-wiped state I rolled my cart about the wasteland eating this or that small bite of a food sample offered by one person or another for whom English was neither the first, second, nor third language. All the samples were, as I imagine most of the food "bargains" were, markedly mediocre. It was as if Costco had decided to make all the food previously "Not Available in Stores" available in their stores. The idea here is that if you take a bite of "Hoosegow Chili" you incur an obligation to by a large vat of the stuff. What you can do with a vat of Hoosegow Chili, I don't know. Maybe open up a scrotum vulcanization stand on a dark desert highway.

At some point in my trance I must have put things in my cart although I kept wandering away and losing it, and then spending five minutes finding it again. I remember noticing, in some vague way, that the crowd and their gigantic carts was growing denser and denser as the minutes ticked away, but I did not yet understand the deeper more horrible meaning of the hordes on this particular Saturday.

Then, just as my degradation deepened, I was saved. Saved by the bell. My cell-phone rang.... loudly and vibrating at the same time. (Hard to ignore the vibrating ring in your pants.) I answered it. It was a fellow Pajamaista (who assumes that I am always in front of the screen) about a detail on the home page. He was startled when I told him I wasn't in front of the computer and could only mumble, "I... must... shop... must... shop... must.”

He said, “Man, you’re in Costco on this Saturday? Are you crazy? Flee. FLEE!”

He hung up and I found that, suddenly, I'd been slapped back into reality. And it was grim.

The horror. The horror. I realized that I had, in my fugue state, placed myself in the back of a gigantic box-store with minor in big screen TVs and a major in massive portions of food on the Saturday before the Superbowl.

Such a deep ring of hell is not where you want to be unless you have a burning-down football habit, which I do not. I barely know that the football, baseball, or basketball season is on; except for the fact that the basketball season is pretty much always on. (That's the running, jumping, hanging on goalposts, very tan tall-guys game, right?)

Still, there I was, blind and gulping like a cave fish in the deepest depths of the Costco caverns, the part back by the topless temple of toilet paper, 24 hours before kick-off, and around me countless hordes were preparing to feed even larger hordes.

I shoved my way through the cartlock around the beer and hot dogs to the center aisle where I could see, barely, the front of the store. In one horrified glance I saw that the Superbowlers were clogging the register lanes to a depth of about 500 fathoms. A quick consultation of my check-out line algorithm determined that if I joined the line at that very moment with my cart I might reach the parking lot with my crap around the end of the second Obama administration.

This is the kind of blood-simple shopping moment that makes grown men ask, "How bad do you want the stuff you've got?"

Hard to answer since, frankly, I wasn't sure exactly what I'd put in the cart in the first place. A glance down into the cart let me see my shame. It seems that in my shopping daze I'd decided I needed, out of everything on offer in Costco, two large Orchid plants and eight low-energy light bulbs. I have no idea why I put them in. Perhaps because the orchid plants made it easy to spot the cart in order to put nothing else in it.

Two orchid plants and eight light bulbs in a cart at the back of Costco equals one abandoned shopping cart, and me back in the car and heading to the nearest south Seattle dive bar in order to clear my mind.

But first I called my colleague back to thank him for snapping me out of it.

As I left the parking lot I had to drive carefully between the endless hordes pushing large carts filled with mountains of mediocre food and very large television screens. There would be a lot of cooking and assembly and swearing far into the night in Seattle. I wished them well.

Now I'm back online and much more interested in what's going on today. It's so calm here. Just me and you... and you're pretty quiet.

Soon the Superbowl kickoff will roll around and everyone who went to Costco and all the other stores yesterday will be at home for hours this afternoon. The only thing more boring than the much-touted and now utterly predictable ads will be the game itself.

Want to go shopping? I know where you can get a great deal on orchids and light bulbs this afternoon. Best of all, there'll be nobody there.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 2, 2013 6:54 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Demand A Plan

"Demand a plan to ban massacres. I can't believe those are still legal."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 2, 2013 6:19 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The future's so bright I gotta wear shades....

In 1955, Life magazine looked into its crystal ball to imagine “what life may be like in A.D. 1980.”

Unhappy about the weather? Everybody talking but nobody doing anything about it? Well, just get in touch with the Atomic Weather Commission. A flick of the nuclear switch, and presto! — the North Pole melts, the vast continent of Antarctica thaws into productive use, Greenland grows bananas, Vermont grows oranges, and everybody’s heating bill vanishes. Not fantastic at all, according to mathematician John von Neumann, who also predicts that energy may be just about as “free as the unmetered air.” So, no light bills. -- The utopia of global warming | ROUGH TYPE

Well, by the 1980s things were indeed looking up as exemplified by the one-hit wonder Timbuk3's one-hit "The Future's So Bright I Gotta Wear Shades".

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 2, 2013 1:38 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful (And Amazing): Katelyn Francis competing at the Fallen Brethren 3 Gun Challenge Stage 1

Meanwhile, in the real America far from the malls and the maddening crowd....

One minute and thirteen seconds. Whew! I couldn't do this. Could you?

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 1, 2013 5:12 PM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
'Back It UP' TaserMan Update: This fund is for Darien Long. Kick Ass Mall cop.

logo_large.jpg

Darien Long Kick Ass Mall cop was recently in the news for his single handed stand against drug dealers near his mall. His videos went viral and may people applauded him for his great work. People would like to donate to enable him to get better and more gear Current Amount: $21,376.64 -- -- Donations at Crowdtilt.com



Posted by gerardvanderleun Feb 1, 2013 10:59 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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