Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: A Cutting Edge Exposition on and Digram of the Human Brain

In this video, Jeff Lichtman, a neuroscientist at Harvard, talks about his project to see everything in the brain, with some of the mind-blowing visualizations he and his colleagues have created. I think these images are the clearest proof of just how big a task neuroscientists have taken on in trying to map the brain and understand how it works.

Let your mind soak in this for five minutes and your mind will be (How shall we put it?) by the visualizations blown.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 9:00 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We are a fat nation, this is true. But why?"


Well, because the average American spends over 34 hours a week watching TV. And because Dunkin’ Donuts had so much success when they market-tested their Donut Sandwich that now they’re taking it national. And because Taco Bell has a Doritos Taco, and it sells like crazy no matter how many Taco Bell employees are photographed defiling food in the back of the store. And because we are so hell-bent on instant gratification that diet pills (or “speed,” as most drug addicts call it) are a billion dollar industry. And because millions of people have milk shakes and cake for breakfast, but they feel OK about it because we call them “Frappuccinos” and “muffins.” And because Mountain Dew. And because funnel cake. And because most Americans haven’t done a crunch since middle school, not counting the Crunchwrap Supreme they ate this afternoon. And because we consume a ton of food a year while drinking 53 gallons of soda. And because microwaves. And because processed-and-packaged-and-wrapped-in-plastic food.

I don’t discount other serious factors that make it very difficult for some people to shed the pounds, but to label obesity a disease is to ignore ALL of the things I just listed.

I hear a lot about genetics, but people in the 19th century had genetics, didn’t they? Yet they didn’t have an obesity epidemic. You know what else they didn’t have back then? Cinnabon. Coincidence? Probably not.

Do my genetics stop me from exercising? Do my genetics sneak into my bedroom at night and inject sugar and grease into my bloodstream? I ate a double beef burger and fries for lunch this afternoon. Did my genetics make that choice? Inspiring message of the day: obesity is not a disease and you do have free will | The Matt Walsh Blog



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 3:24 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It Never Stops! First the Alien Invasion and Now Tumbleweeds!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 3:07 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Map of the Internet 1.0. by The9988 on deviantART

Map of the Internet - First of its kind on such a scale, this map aims for succesful compendation of The Internet to scale suitable for standartized online navigation. This project is still underway, new versions of this map will be available in ulterior months.
Due to the immense size of the Net, only a miniscule portion of it was chosen to represent it on the map. Otherwise, this map would be unreadable and probably undrawable in entire lifespan of average human being.
This poster includes one full map of the internet, 4 minimaps showcasing NSA surveillance, most used social networks, most used internet browser, and worldwide internet penetration, list of Alexa Top 500 websites, quick timeline of the Internet History, top software companies and much more!
By Martin Vargic/Jay Jason Simons



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 11:22 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama’s impressive list of accomplishments

I know I do not, as a general rule, praise the current president of the United States. It's a flaw that I struggle to overcome daily.

Hence I was pleased to receive this handy list of the man's uncontested achievements via email this morning. I am placing them here so that all my readers will be able to benefit from it was well.

Enjoy.



First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.

First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.

First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States.

First President to violate the War Powers Act.

First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.

First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.

First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.

First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as ‘shovel-ready’ jobs.

First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.

First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat.

First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the US, including former convicts.

First President to demand a company hand over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.

First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.

First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.

First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional and refuse to enforce it.

First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke out on the reasons for their rate increases.

First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state they are allowed to locate a factory.

First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).

First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.

First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.

First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office.

First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office, 90 to date.

First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.

First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize one month into his first term.

First President to go on multiple global ‘apology tours’.

First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for his friends; paid for by us.

First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.

First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 10:00 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"It was a miracle of rare device, / A sunny pleasure-dome with caves of ice!"

Record Temperatures Freeze a Path to the Spectacular Lake Superior Ice Caves | Colossal

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2014 8:40 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Middle Class Liberal Well Intentioned Blue

Written over 30 years ago, but there's nothing quite as timeless as liberal guilt. From Gold Turkey: National Lampoon Radio Hour/Greatest Hits:

I wish I was a Negro
With lots of Negro songs
So I could stay true to my ethnic roots
And still play rock 'n' roll

If I was a funky Negro
Eating soul food barbeques
I wouldn't have to sing
The middle-class liberal well-intentioned blues

Intentioned blues
Intentioned blues . . .

I wish I was an Indian
A grown-up Sioux papoose
So when I get drunk on a beer and a half
I'd have a good excuse

I'd be a noble savage
Wouldn't ever wear no shoes
And I wouldn't have to sing
The middle-class liberal well-intentioned blues

Intentioned blues
Intentioned blues . . .

I wish I was a Wetback
On strike in a lettuce patch
Or a slant-eyed peasant with Viet Cong
Stashed underneath my thatch

I only ever cross a picket line
To pay my union dues
To keep on singing
The middle-class liberal well-intentioned blues

Intentioned blues
Intentioned blues . . .

But I am not a Negro (c'mon!)
Not a Red Man nor a Mex (join me kids!)
I'm a member of the oppressing color
Language, age, and sex

I sympathize with the Arab cause
I feel for the put-upon Jews
And I keep singing
The middle-class liberal
Humanitarian
Meaningful dialogue
We are all responsible
Well-intentioned blues

Intentioned blues
Intentioned blues . . .



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 30, 2014 9:39 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Davy Crockett and One Week's Pay: "Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity."

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David Crockett Member of Congress 1827-31, 1832-35

One day in the House of Representatives, a bill was taken up appropriating money for the benefit of a widow of a distinguished naval officer. Several beautiful speeches had been made in it's support. The Speaker was just about to put the question when Crockett arose:

"Mr. Speaker-- I have as much respect for the memory of the deceased, and as much sympathy for the suffering of the living, if suffering there be, as any man in this House, but we must not permit our respect for the dead or our sympathy for a part of the living to lead us into an act of injustice to the balance of the living. I will not go into an argument to prove that Congress has no power to appropriate this money as an act of charity. Every member upon this floor knows it. We have the right, as individuals, to give away as much of our own money as we please in charity; but as members of Congress we have no right so to appropriate a dollar of the public money. Some eloquent appeals have been made to us upon the ground that it is debt due the deceased. Mr. Speaker, the deceased lived long after the close of the war; he was in office to the day of his death, and I have never heard that the government was in arrears to him. Every man in this House knows it is not a debt. We cannot, without the grossest corruption, appropriate this money as the payment of a debt. We have not the semblance of authority to appropriate it as a charity. Mr. Speaker, I have said we have the right to give as much money of our own as we please. I am the poorest man on this floor. I cannot vote for this bill, but I will give one week's pay to the object, and if every member of Congress will do the same, it will amount to more than the bill asks."

He took his seat. Nobody replied. The bill was put upon its passage, and, instead of passing unanimously, as was generally supposed, and as, no doubt it would, but for that speech, it received but few votes, and, of course, was lost.

Later, when asked by a friend why he had opposed the appropriation, Crockett gave this explanation:

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 30, 2014 3:43 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Draft Horse -- Robert Frost

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Vanderleun

With a lantern that wouldn’t burn
In too frail a buggy we drove
Behind too heavy a horse
Through a pitch-dark limitless grove.

And a man came out of the trees
And took our horse by the head
And reaching back to his ribs
Deliberately stabbed him dead.

The ponderous beast went down
With a crack of a broken shaft.
And the night drew through the trees
In one long invidious draft.

The most unquestioning pair
That ever accepted fate
And the least disposed to ascribe
Any more than we had to to hate,

We assumed that the man himself
Or someone he had to obey
Wanted us to get down
And walk the rest of the way.

—Robert Frost



Posted by Vanderleun Jan 30, 2014 12:43 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Killed in a bar when he was only three!"

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May 1955. "Actor Fess Parker on a 22 city promotional tour as Davy Crockett. Includes public appearances at department stores." From photos by Maurice Terrell for the Look magazine assignment "Meet Davy Crockett." Shorpy Historical Photo Archive

And, yes, I had the hat. Did you?

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 29, 2014 9:38 PM | Comments (24)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Instant Analysis of Comments @ Ace's

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For insight into the dark heart of an Obama blatherthon there's no group better at it that the commenters at Ace of Spade's I Just Can't Listen To This Jagoff's Smugly Droning Voice Anymore Thread. These people has got the beat. Here are a few, just a few, pretty random selections from a comment thread of over 1,500 entries. Whew!

486 Looking at this chamber full of clown penises, all I can say is "know what was cool? The end of The Sum of all Fears ."

669 Holy crap. Watching Plugs smile made me realize why some people are afraid of clowns.

39 I got a pen and a phone........ Good I'll take a large sausage and onion thin crust. Now make it fucking snappy Barky. And tell Mechelle, don't go putting any fucking arugula on it. K?

53 He's losing to al Qaeda, abandoned Iraq, trashed Libya, supported Ikhwan in Egypt, cluster f'ed Afghanistan, and meddled ineffectively in Syria. But he would use overwhelming force to kick America's ass.

85 Who's going to count the number of I's he uses tonight? Fucker has more eyes than than a house fly.

86 I long for the days of yore, when an actual American gave this bullshit speech.

1109 All Aboard The Douchebag express is leaving on track 9

1110 i think it would be best if I muted this shit, i am running out of wine.

1145 As God is my witness, I thought this turkey of a SOTU speech would fly!

1175 is he gonna talk about Justin Bieber or not?

1212 "...bigger camels...with larger, more water-retentive humps...that can also carry solar panels...the next generation...women...olympic abortion-diving..."

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2014 9:08 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
My Fellow Americans

"The annual State of the Union pageant is a hideous, dispiriting, ugly, monotonous, un-American, un-republican, anti-democratic, dreary, backward, monarchical, retch-inducing, depressing, shameful, crypto-imperial display of official self-aggrandizement and piteous toadying, a black Mass during which every unholy order of teacup totalitarian and cringing courtier gathers under the towering dome of a faux-Roman temple to listen to a speech with no content given by a man with no content, to rise and to be seated as is called for by the order of worship — it is a wonder they have not started genuflecting — with one wretched representative of their number squirreled away in some well-upholstered Washington hidey-hole in order to preserve the illusion that those gathered constitute a special class of humanity without whom we could not live." -- Kevin Williamson, Great Caesar's Ghost



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2014 8:26 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What will Google look like in 10 years?

Top answer to What will Google look like in 10 years? @ Quora

Apart from the schedule described below, there will be fewer accidents (due to self-driving cars), fewer deaths due to medical emergencies (Google with its body sensors can predict emergencies and suggest course of action), fewer deaths due to natural calamities (Google would predict tornado course, earthquake warnings and necessary course of action), less crimes etc.

A typical day with Google would look something like this:

1. Morning: Google on your phone wakes you up at appropriate time taking into consideration your morning preparation time, commute time (depending on weather and traffic conditions of the day).

2. Google has already set your water heater before waking you up so that no time is wasted in waiting for it.

3. Google calculates and decides the duration and rigorousness of your workout (needed be you).

3. Google robot brings you breakfast and coffee (depending on your body type, calories needed and medical history assuming you've shared your medical history with Google).

4. After you've finished breakfast, Google will bring your self-driving car to doorstep.

5. During commute, Google on your phone will update you on current affairs or celebrity gossips or sports (depending on your reading habits) After finishing with news, Google can brief you on today's work schedule, history of the people you're going to meet, any birthdays/special occasions of work colleagues.

6. In office, depending on your work, Google can provide contextual and historical data on it (depending on how much information you're willing to divulge).

7. During Lunch, Google suggests dishes you can have and still be within your diet plan.

8. After Lunch, Google calculates how much calories you've consumed and would suggest whether you should work with standing desk or not and for much time.

9. In evening Google suggests movies and places for recreation. If you're going to be out, you can ask your Google TV to record programs for you and set the room temperature in advance.

10. On way back home, Google would suggest which groceries to pick up. With Google Phone, you can now detect which fruits/vegetables are fresh and best to eat.

11. On reaching the house is already at right temperature. You give groceries to Google Bot, which during the day has cleaned up home, and goes to prepare your dinner as suggested by Google Food Service.

End of the day, Google plays soothing music to help you sleep.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2014 7:49 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Under the Arctic Blanket

This NOAA GOES-East satellite image was captured at 1445 UTC/9:45 a.m. EST on January 28,

and between the clouds and the snow on the ground with cold air overhead, it appears as if much of the U.S. has been covered by an "Arctic Blanket." Arctic air has surged into the U.S. pushing into the Southeastern states and dropping high temperatures there into the 20s with colder wind chills. -- NASA Goddard / Satellite Shows an "Arctic Blanket" Over the U.S.

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2014 4:30 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Little Pete: 1921 | Pete Seeger Passes 2014

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May 23, 1921. Washington, D.C. "Professor Charles Louis Seeger and family." Charles Seeger, wife Constance de Clyver Edson and their 2-year-old son Pete, of future folkie fame.

Neo-neocon Pete Seeger: dead at 94 -- My feelings about Seeger are mixed, to say the least. First, the bad: he was an activist Communist, and even a Stalinist back in the day. Let’s not whitewash that....

"Seeger was a member of the Communist Party from the 1930s through the 1950s. He left the party but never gave up the faith. He told the Washington Post in 1995 “I am still a communist.” Like his comrades and fellow travelers Seeger twisted and turned with every pronouncement from Moscow…Seeger’s sycophancy for murderous communist tyrants didn’t end with Stalin. During the Cold War he praised Ho Chi Minh and provided a hearty jacket endorsement for Tomas Borges’ the brutal Sandinista thug’s book…To be fair Seeger did eventually get around to realizing the horrors of Stalinism, albeit 50 years too late…"

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2014 12:26 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Condensed State of the Union

Update: Greg Gutfeld's State of the Union drinking game. [HT: ahem]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 27, 2014 5:54 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Big Dick" A Kinder, Gentler Magazine Subscription Incentive

It is rightly said that subscriptions to magazines are falling off to a disastrous extent. Most blame the internet. But isn't it also possible that magazine publishers simply don't know how to motivate boys to sell subscriptions any more? I mean with an offer like this what boy could resist?

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Transcript:

Every boy has heard of the big rapid fire machine guns. “Big Dick” is modeled as closely as a toy can be after its big brother at the front. It shoots with remarkable accuracy. After a little practice you will be able to hit any object you wish as a considerable distance. It is a powerful yet harmless gun. It shoots thrity-six bullet-shaped wooden slugs as fast as you can turn the crank.

“Big Dick” is 23 inches long, 9 inches high, and made of iron, with a strong wooden barrel. This is the largest, finest made, and strongest toy gun we have ever seen.

“Big Dick” is a gun that will be enjoyed both indoors and out. It will be a great gun to use behind a sand or dirt fort. Extra shots can be purchased at any time.

HOW TO GET “BIG DICK” FREE

“Big Dick” will be given to any boy sending six new yearly subscriptions to LITTLE FOLKS at $1.50 each. Will be sold alone for $3.50. Sent express collect.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 27, 2014 11:42 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I can't believe we made it!"

I can't believe we made it. from Bart Mitchum on Vimeo.

There’s a new day at dawn and I’ve finally arrived
If I’m there in the morning, baby, you’ll know I’ve survived
I can’t believe it, I can’t believe I’m alive!

-- Where Are You Tonight?

Thanks to Morgan @ House of Eratosthenes



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 26, 2014 6:39 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Taking Requests: The Band, "It Makes No Difference"

Just when you think the heartache can't get deeper.... up steps Garth Hudson with a saxophone....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2014 9:34 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Chronicle of a Death Foretold

From Frédéric Bastiat in 1850:



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From Doug Ross @ Journal: A Warning Straight Out of 1850



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2014 6:22 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Louis Armstrong Introduces and Sings "What A Wonderful World"

"Some of you young folks been saying to me
" Hey Pops, what you mean 'What a wonderful world'?

How about all them wars all over the place?
You call them wonderful?

And how about hunger and pollution?
That ain't so wonderful either."

Well how about listening to old Pops for a minute.
Seems to me, it aint the world that's so bad
but what we're doin' to it.

And all I'm saying is see what a wonderful world
It would be if only we'd give it a chance.
Love baby, love. That's the secret, yeah.
If lots more of us loved each other
we'd solve lots more problems.
And then this world would be gasser.

That's wha' ol' Pops keeps saying."

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom, for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue, and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces, of people going by
I see friends shaking hands, sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin', "I love you"

I hear babies cryin', I watch them grow
They'll learn much more, than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself
What a wonderful world
Oh yeah!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2014 12:45 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
True Love Tester: Once again we must ask, "The Japanese. Nuked too much or not enough?"

Redefining one night stands – The worlds most high tech bra which only unhooks on detecting true love:

To commemorate its 10th anniversary Japanese lingerie manufacturer Ravijour has released a bra which has the potential to change hook ups and possibly put an end to the ‘walk of shame’. The ‘True Love tester’ as it is called is no ordinary bra, it is more like a chastity belt of the 21st century. The bra comprises of a sensor which monitors your heart rate and other vitals, the data is constantly transmitted via Bluetooth to a mobile phone which processes the data using a special app and measures the heart rate elevation using special algorithms and preset data and it is only when your heart has truly found that special someone would it beat in a way that the app would recognize and wirelessly unhook the bra.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2014 11:19 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Guns in Hollywood by Chicks on the Right



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 9:01 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Red Marilyn

March 1955. "Women posed in fashions influenced by the Orient. Unpublished photograph shows Marilyn Monroe, wearing a black Chinese coat, posed with Pekingese dogs." Color transparency by Milton Greene for the Look magazine assignment "Translations From the Orient." Shorpy Historical Photo Archive

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[Detail]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 7:54 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Never Trust a Computer Over 30.... like the Apple Macintosh

The Lost 1984 Video: young Steve Jobs introduces the Macintosh

THEN:

NOW:
Apple - Thirty Years of Mac



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 3:01 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lip Reading the NFL: "I wonder if there's a rodent out there."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 2:47 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Knock Off a Bag

"Are you looking for a shortcut to success? Watch this "How To" video and learn all of the shortcuts and tricks others already use to bypass quality. And you too can make loads of money knocking off our Saddleback Leather Briefcases. Riches untold!!! And If you do it just right, the people who buy your copies, and reward ethically challenged and creatively bankrupt people, will never know... for about a year!!! Think of all the drugs and women and alcohol you'll be able to buy before they start complaining!!! Today is your lucky day. "



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 11:12 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: 18055 SW Seiffert Rd, Sherwood, Oregon

"This wonderful estate on 19.67 acres is for sale with a working scale railroad on Looney Listing and it's like some kid who never grew up built it. The train tracks loop around the whole spacious property, there are tunnels and trestles to make it look even more legit and a whole train station dedicated to the mini trains..... et's pool our money to buy it. It's running for $3.5 million. Yeah, I know... WORTH IT." - - Sploid

[Redfin Listing: 18055 SW SEIFFERT Rd, Sherwood, OR 97140 | MLS# 13571619 | Redfin]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2014 10:12 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
So Many Open Tabs. So Little Scroll Space.

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The image that, if used religiously, will keep Chris Christie out of the White House for the rest of eternity.

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1839: SELF PORTRAIT: Daguerreotype. Cornelius, a young American chemist turned daguerreotypist, took this image of himself in approximately 1200 seconds using a silver-plated copper sheet treated with the vapors of both iodine and bromine to accelerate the imaging process. Photographing Time - Nautilus

Dumb appoints dumber: Obama's Ambassador to Norway Fumbles Basic Questions About Norway | The Norwegian newspaper The Local commented, “Future US envoy displays total ignorance of Norway.”

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Retired Senior Citizens Recreate Movie Scenes Blues Brothers Lothar Wischnewski 76; Margarete Schmidt, 77

KLAVAN: Why I Changed My Mind About Abortion | Truth Revolt The only relevant question about abortion is whether an unborn child is or is not a human being. If she is, I do not see how you have the moral right to kill her except in extreme circumstances.

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Getty Publications Virtual Library Over 200 free digital backlist titles from the Getty Publications Archives. Titles like: Cézanne in the Studio: Still Life in Watercolors

Oleaginous Abundance | So here’s the thing: shrimp is a good protein, low in calories. But shrimp is bland. On the other hand, olive oil is delicious. And when you infuse olive oil, you had an extra layer of deliciousness.

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Bob Dylan is either the most public private man in the world or the most private public one. He has a reputation for being silent and reclusive; he is neither. He has been giving interviews—albeit contentious ones—for as long as he's been making music, and he's been making music for more than fifty years.

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The Sumter County Does – Futility Closet No one has ever explained who the pair were, how they came there, who might have killed them, or why.

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From Hummingbird Heads to Poison Rings: Indulging Our Antique Jewelry Obsession | Collectors Weekly

‘What we’re gonna do is turn Detroit into an Indian reservation, where we herd all the Indians into the city, build a fence around it, and then throw in the blankets and corn.” | The Detroit News

Michelle Obama's Mirror: Sundance Film Review #1: Afronauts set in 1969 of the newly independent nation of Zambia’s unofficial efforts to beat the U.S. and U.S.S.R. to the moon.

“When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.” — Harry S. Truman



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 23, 2014 11:15 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - John the Revelator, Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!, and the Higgs Boson Blues

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In the sidebar is a small item from Metropolitan magazine with a middle-aged Nick Cave on the cover. A commenter asks, "Nick Cave who?"

Well, he's not Van Morrison, but who is? These days not even Van Morrison is Van Morrison.

Still, as we used to say way back on the floor of The Avalon Ballroom in 1967:

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In fairness, Cave is an acquired taste. Here's some samples. You've been warned.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 23, 2014 9:09 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bundle up, America! Naked Cowboy keeps on truckin' through snowstorm

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Robert Burck, the original 'Naked Cowboy', performs in a snowstorm in New York's Times Square on Tuesday. Burck, who started performing in Times Square in 1998, claims to make up to $150,000 a year in tips alone. Via PhotoBlog



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2014 7:18 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Meet the New Russia. Same as the Old Disney.

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Russia's "Severodinsk"

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Disney's "Nautilus"

Nuclear Cruiser of New Generation: "While the testing of “Severodvinsk” nuclear cruiser is about to finish, many experts believe that Russia has got the superior position in the development of submarine technologies. The Russian submarine may hit enemy ships, other submarines and shore targets. It will start to operate in the Arctic soon."

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Russia's "Severodinsk"
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Disney's "Nautilus"

“Severodvinsk” launched cruise missile

Nuclear weapons arms control was easier in the old days when a strategic missile was the one that could hit a target far away and a tactical weapon had a near-battle field range. Not so any more after Russia’s successful launch of the submarine based Caliber cruise missile in the White Sea yesterday.
The new supersonic missile hit its target, reports Rossiskaya Gazeta. The Calibr missile has a flight range that exceeds 2,500 kilometer, according to the portal NavalToday. With such range, the cruise missile can be defined as a strategic weapon if tipped with a nuclear warhead. The new START agreement between Russia and USA does, however, not include long-range cruise missiles into account, a fact said to weaken the deal.
Another cruise missile the submarine is believed to carry has an even longer range, 5,000 kilometer according to an infographic posted by RIA Novosti.
Cruise missiles tipped with nuclear warheads were officially removed from all the Northern fleet’s multi-purpose and attach submarines in 1992. An agreement between President Mikhail Gorbachev and George Bush (the older) from October 1991 stipulated such removal. This was two months before the breakup of the USSR. In January 1992 Russian President Boris Yeltsin confirmed the deal to remove all non-strategic nuclear weapons from naval vessels and scrap 1/3 of them. The rest were put into onshore storage facilities.
Since then, multi-purpose and attack submarines sailing in the Barents Sea and other world oceans have not been armed with nuclear weapons. At least not officially. .....

There. Now don't you feel better?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2014 1:05 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Comment of the Month: "Life is precious and the soul is God-breathed"

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Comment #78 on Abortion in America: A Personal Journey --

"I am a converted Catholic; meaning I converted from Protestant to Catholic as an adult. I believe abortion is wrong, but I also believe it is and will be forever impossible to determine "viability", "otherness". An infant is not viable outside the womb until the age of 26, if O-liar-care is correct, and some people never develop a sense of otherness, even after the ripe age of 26. Picture Julia and Pajama-boy coming together in Hippa-space.

"The "my own body" argument is also specious; what part of the DNA is yours and what part is owned by the father and what part is owned by the baby?

"The "brain activity" argument also breaks down in the face of the elderly and a child who cannot bear to part with the now senile parent who once cared for them.

"All the arguments for and against abortion at some point break down, except for the argument, when is this child a child? When and where do we protect the innocent?

"I was a CPS Social Worker before I retired. How many mothers avoid the legal consequences of taking meth up to the fourth day before delivery of their child, because they know the drug is gone from their system by the fourth day? Fetal alcohol effects also come to mind, but those effects don't go away. I once interviewed a young mother who aborted her child even after his/her left arm had reached out from her womb, which by the way was the third time she decided to abort. No, she did not want and did not hold a funeral. I have also heard the primal screams of infants born addicted to heroin, then mitigated by IV morphine drips.

"Life is precious and the soul is God-breathed, I have come to believe. Who am I to decide when and where life or soul or humanity begins? Grace and Forgiveness is Divine. Pray, meditate, chant, or do whatever floats your boat, but let "Abba" hear from you, then try to be quiet and listen, turn off the text messages too.

"Our wonderful post-modern government will now protect a turtle egg with a potential prison sentence. Goodness gracious great balls of fire, what hath Gaia wrought?"

Posted by Dan at January 22, 2014 8:53 AM



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2014 9:48 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Peter Freuchen, six foot seven, lived inside the cave of his breath. "

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"That's Peter Freuchen and his wife Dagmar Freuchen-Gale, in a photo taken by Irving Penn. Freuchen is a top candidate for the Most Interesting Man in the World.

Standing six feet seven inches, Freuchen was an arctic explorer, journalist, author, and anthropologist. He participated in several arctic journeys (including a 1000-mile dogsled trip across Greenland), starred in an Oscar-winning film, wrote more than a dozen books (novels and nonfiction, including his Famous Book of the Eskimos), had a peg leg (he lost his leg to frostbite in 1926; he amputated his gangrenous toes himself), was involved in the Danish resistance against Germany, was imprisoned and sentenced to death by the Nazis before escaping to Sweden, studied to be a doctor at university, his first wife was Inuit and his second was a Danish margarine heiress, became friends with Jean Harlow and Mae West, once escaped from a blizzard shelter by cutting his way out of it with a knife fashioned from his own feces, and, last but certainly not least, won $64,000 on The $64,000 Question. -- Kottke, Peter Freuchen
It was so cold that even inside his cabin, even with the small coal stove, the moisture in his breath condensed into ice on the walls and ceiling. He kept breathing. The house got smaller and smaller. Early on, he wrote, two men could not pass without brushing elbows. Eventually after he was alone and the coal—“the one factor that had kept the house from growing in upon me”—was gone, he threw out the stove to make more room inside. (He still had a spirit lamp for light and boiling water.) Before winter and his task ended and relief came, he was living inside an ice cave made of his own breath that hardly left him room to stretch out to sleep. Peter Freuchen, six foot seven, lived inside the cave of his breath. In the Borderlands: The Danish-Jewish explorer Peter Freuchen was...



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2014 4:53 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Abortion in America: A Personal Journey

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Four and a half months

Did you ever have to make up your mind?
Pick up on one and leave the other behind.
It's not often easy and not often kind.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?

-- The Loving Spoonful

No Answers Here. Just Observations and Anecdotes

Like most serious people in America today, I've had to struggle with my views on abortion. You are required, in this deadlocked and soul-locked society to have a view on this issue. "I don't know" just wont cut it. You've got to know. It says so right here in America: The Instructions.

But what do I know about Abortion? Here's what I thought I knew then and what I think I know now. Why today? Because I read the news today (Oh boy). And the news is only too happy to tell me that January 22, 2009, is the 36th Anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that released the crushing Abortion juggernaut to roll over the soul of America.

Abortion is, as we all know, one of the 25 or 30 third rails of American politics. So what? A President must prove to the American people that, from time to time, he can reach out and touch a few of these rails with both hands. This can be, as I am sure George W. Bush discovered and Barack Obama will find, a shocking experience, but I wouldn't want a man as President who couldn't do it.

Like it or not the issue of abortion is one of those rails. Bush grasped it to his cost and benefit, but it is clear he did so out of personal conviction and not political expediency. Whether or not you like his choice depends on your choice. But grasp it he did. I'm pretty clear where he stood on abortion. Obama is on record, where record there is, of being pro-abortion, even in its most odious forms. But it seems that Obama is more a man of expediency than conviction and such men are always malleable. Decisions from Obama, always have the whiff of Prufrockian diffidence about them:
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

This Prufrockian posture in civic life clothed in the skin and expressions of some smooth operator is one of the main reasons Obama has been able to feed his legions -- so far-- on the thin political gruel of "hope." Now that he has entered the realm of his every syllable being recorded and his every move being examined like auguries, his long stroll on the beach is over. He is now expected to serve up the bitter and chafing gall of "change" and convince his legions it tastes of ambrosia. Somewhere on the list of ingredients in this dish is "abortion."

The Vexation and the Fear. The Abstract Issue and the Real Child

Abortion is one of our most vexing issues. Like a satanic Energizer Bunny it just keeps going... and going... and going. There's no good in it and no good end to it.

It is currently resolved one way, in favor of choice, but the palpable, visceral fear of those who support choice no matter what has been that one Supreme Court appointment could overturn Roe v. Wade. The fear from the other side is now that one Supreme Court appointment the other way could set Abortion in stone. I'm not so sure about that, not sure at all, but the energy source here is fear and fear is a big motivator, especially if you are on the Left in America these days. Indeed, fear and hate seem to be driving most of the concepts coming out of the Left lately which is why I distrust them so deeply.

On abortion, my view has shifted over time. It shifted most palpably after the birth of my daughter. Something about birth makes you realize the stakes involved in the abortion issue in a way that was merely abstract before.

It seems to me that if the issue remains, or is contained, as an abstract notion (What would you do if...) then "choice" -- given the agnostic temper of the times -- remains paramount. In the abstract. we'd all like to be given a choice and not a mandate -- from the state, from God, from our society, or from ourselves. We'd all like to go through life doing what we want, when we want, with no consequences. You know - "No judgments, man," "Hey, no blame, Dude," "No problem. It's all good." Alas, abortion is not an abstract procedure or some harmless gedankenexperiment, although many of the more virulent Pro-Choice people would like it to be thought of in that way.

My own experience has been that when you are confronted with the abortion issue after having nurtured a child, abortion is no longer an abstraction -- i.e. "Resolved, all women should be able to control their bodies without interference" -- but becomes more concrete -- i.e. "Resolved, all women should be able to control their bodies without interference including ending a life within them at will."

It seems to me that (absent the usual banal disclaimers involving crime, rape, incest, danger to the mother, etc.) the abortion issue splits between those who base their position on the abstract notion of choice, and those with more concrete experience -- parents. This is not to say that those with children who remain pro-choice are caught in an abstraction, quite the opposite. I place them in the latter camp. It is to say that, no matter where they stand on the issue, the opinion of people with children has more standing, to me at least, than those without children. Parents have, to use an expression not without irony, "Real skin in the game."

Beginnings: Life and Human Life

Evidence that life begins at conception is obvious and conclusive. If an egg has become a zygote that zygote is alive that life is on the path to a person. This is how babies are built. Once fertilized and viable, a zygote will become -- barring misadventure or intervention -- a blastula, a gastrula, a pharyngula and so on, but always alive. Life is a property both the egg and sperm possessed and the result of that union possesses life by definition and will grow. No life, it does not grow. With life, it grows. Life begins at conception. Full stop. Period. End of discussion.

When human life begins is harder to know.

Certain lower life forms can already be grown to term from zygotes in artificial environments by our scientists, and it is foolish to think that human life will be immune from our technologies in this regard, unless by decree -- and even that is foolish. American policy may currently be squeamish and retrograde in this regard, but other cultures are neither so religious nor so delicate. And there is every indication that an Obama administration will want to play catch up with this ghoulish science. The Left's love affair with eugenics is an ancient and fundamental perversion in a political philosophy that is no stranger to perversion, but rather seeks to embrace it in all its forms.

The crux of the abortion dispute is, as mentioned above, the question of when human life begins. At this point, we all know the opposing political and religious positions. At some point, human life begins and the fate of the fetus is either at the absolute will of the mother or it is not. Nevertheless, it is still hard to say exactly when humanness happens since:
1) We do not agree on the term "human," and
2) as a result, all evidence on this issue remains anecdotal once you strip away the slant of the "research" that supports your preferred result.

A Small Island of Agreement

Still, a modicum of progress in this politically-religious or religiously-political cleft stick has been made.

We seem to have found some small island of agreement in the fact that children who can survive premature birth are good indicators that human life began sometime previous to the time they were delivered. This is an inch of progress, but I don't look for people to set a date certain for "human life begins" anytime soon.

The two sides now seem to be that, on the one hand, all human zygotes are human life in potentia, ergo all zygotes are babies. This treads awfully close to the "every sperm is sacred" territory and I'm not sold.

On the other hand, the extreme opposite side seems to be saying that up until the moment a woman delivers a child it is but a fetus and remains her sole property to dispose of at will. I'm not ready to buy this either, nor do I think most women would endorse a proposition that seems to argue from the concept of human slaves and chattel. This is a concept women have been pretty vigorous getting rid of when it comes to women.

Either way, I'm left not knowing, but knowing that I'm not alone in my ignorance. Yes, we do know a certain amount about when higher brain functions arise, but is a higher brain function some sort of real sign of human life, or a concept that is merely attractive to the intellectually insane? It seems to me that wise people also know, first and foremost (and what the last 10 decades of our tremendous expansion of knowledge are a testament to) is that what we know most certainly is that we do not know very much at all. And I don't mean that to be a cute little circular statement, but the foundation of wisdom - the highest form of knowledge.

Abortion: The Buckminster Fuller Gambit

Some time ago, in another online venue, a thoughtful person advanced Buckminster Fuller's proposition: "'the status of an 'individual' [is] established as soon as there is 'consciousness of otherness.'" I'll allow that Buckminster Fuller was a brilliant man, if not the one I'd turn to for his track record of being right (As anyone who has lived in a dome can attest.). But for politeness sake, our discussion went on from there. My remarks were:

'Otherness' strikes me as a bit fuzzy. Almost as fuzzy as 'consciousness' but I'll say I accept it for the present. Suppose the fetus that, in its development, recapitulates the fetus forms of lesser orders and at some point comes to a 'consciousness of otherness.' We really do not know, and we really, as far as I can see, cannot know what the instant of such an awareness would be. If the ambiguity of life and a human beings general development once born is any guide it could be at any random moment within a certain time range. The fetus as embryo might have a knowing of otherness -- that which is not what it is -- but it is a purely poetic exercise to suppose this. Indeed, it nothing but a leap of faith.

Does a fetus only achieve the knowing of otherness when, as an infant, it says 'mama,' or does it know it at some point in the womb? That point would be the nub. Since after that point the abortion would amount to the ending of a human life and before that point it would be, what?, a mere medical procedure? I can realize that rationally, but I don't have to like it. Indeed, I do not like it.

And my visceral dislike of it signals to me that what I really feel is that, regardless of any right to freedom of choice what is happening in an abortion is still wrong.

The "wrongness" of abortion does not put it beyond that pale or make it into something that is de facto illegal. We do many wrong things for a 'better' result in life, but that doesn't eliminate the wrongness of the action. It is mere mitigation of doing evil for the sake of some future good, where the good is not foreordained as the outcome, but only theorized.

To argue that everyone must stand up and assert that there is nothing wrong with the "right to choose" seems to be asking for vindication rather than toleration. I don't think it is wrong to pursue your rights, but don't think the pursuit of this right leads you to right action. While having the right to choose may be one of those derivative rights constantly being discovered by those that mine the subtext of the Constitution, that doesn't mean you get to have a pat on the back and a big cheer from society. Unless, of course, you want to have the kinds of medals and awards that were once given out in socialist dictatorships for following the instructions of the state to limit your children to one (and throw away the girl children while you're at it.)

My own experience tells me that the child knows the other in the womb before birth. The movements of the child in the womb. The reactions of the unborn child to music or other external stimuli all tend towards this. I'd say, without really knowing, that the fetus knows "otherness" certainly at some point within the last trimester. I suppose that most reasonable people who have been through a pregnancy to term would agree with me.

Okay, it knows other in the last trimester. How do we know? We know only because the child is at that point capable doing something that *we* perceive as knowing the other. But is it capable of this knowing before it can exhibit behavior we can perceive? Is it in some sort of coma state where its knowledge is in advance of its ability to act on it? Probably. And if so, how far back into gestation does this ability to know go? Is it possible to know the other before being a viable fetus that can live outside the mother? This we do not yet know and we may never know.

The Death Camp Book

But.... but... something persists in me from a book read long, long ago concerning the Death Camps during the Holocaust. I read this history more than forty years ago as a teenager and have not read it since. I read it so long ago that I cannot remember the title but retain trace memories the photographs of Dachau in the center that shocked me out of childhood. I also remembere one particular passage. I find it strange that, given my youth at the time, and the thousands and thousands of books since, that this passage should stay with me.

I cannot quote it but its import went something like this:

The person being interviewed was a female concentration camp survivor. She survived by being 'of use' to the camp. This use was to take the unborn, the aborted, the babies, the infants and the small children (dead or alive, I'm no longer sure), and throw their bodies into the ovens. At the end of this passage she reflected (in paraphrase): "Were we throwing another Mozart or Moses into the flames? We'll never know." And that not knowing was her enduring hell.

The Lost Children I'll Never Know

Early in my first marriage, involved in my career and my first wife involved in hers, she became pregnant. Because we still thought of children in the abstract, we "agreed" to have it aborted. It seemed like the "sensible" choice at the time. We told ourselves we "weren't ready" (Who is?). We went ahead with the abortion of our first child and, after a short recuperation, life went on as before. At least it felt as if went on as before.

Two years later, my first wife became pregnant again and this time we "were ready." We moved back from Europe, got jobs, got settled, and had a little girl.

Being at the birth of your child is an amazing thing. Stunning. You feel your whole previous life close like a giant circle coming together. You feel another circle begin.

Two years after my daughter's birth that my wife told me one day that she was pregnant again. She had been raising our daughter for two years and was not, she said, 'ready' for another. This time, though, my mind and soul had changed. I was not in such an abstract frame of mind about abortion.

Money was short, my future uncertain and I was fearful of another responsibility as large as another child, but I loved the daughter I had. I hung back. I wasn't sure. But then my wife reminded me that it was her body and she had "a right to choose." My choice was not to be a hypocrite-- a churlish choice as I now realize -- but really the only one open to me, as I was only the father.

And so, with my support, she went ahead at a hospital in Massachusetts on what I remember as a particularly raw late Autumn day. Although it was her right to choose, the decision was ours and I was fully complicit. Perhaps if I had earned more money or been more confident of my future, she would not have seen it as a necessity. I don't know. I just know that that is the way in which I participated in what I have come to think of the loss of my third child. "Loss" makes what was done sound less awful even if it was not. That it was shameful and wrong is attested to by the fact that, once done, we never spoke of it again.

All this was long ago and far away, but still, today, here on a different coast and in a different life, I think at times, usually late at night, about those two "losses," those two choices, to which I agreed. And in those dark nights I can almost see the ghosts of what those two children might have been, might have become.

Were they, maybe, another Mozart or Moses? Not likely. Almost certainly not. Be that as it may, at some point they would have become two of my children, and I do not know, still, at what point that would have been. I do know that ending those lives was right and wrong, and rightly and wrongly, I was complicit in their destruction. It was my choice too.

If I knew them, would I miss them, would I mourn them? The question is absurd. With abortion, you never get to know what you are missing. That's part of the deal.

And that, leaving aside all our abstract notions and the tidy ideas about consciousness and otherness, is the private hell everyone involved in an abortion enters. Its not a hell you're in and then walk out of, but a hell that burns within you forever. There are no fire escapes.



Posted by Vanderleun Jan 21, 2014 9:06 AM | Comments (82)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Miniature body parts": No Fire Escapes In Hell

Samyukta Mullangi: "I should tell my readers right off the bat that I am pro-choice, and that I believe strongly in female autonomy and control over her own body.

But I’ll be the first to agree that it’s difficult to argue with those who believe that life begins at conception, for even if those fused cells represent potential and nothing more, potential is all-important, all we often ever have. When I stood in my sterile gown, watching the resident dilate the cervix and then introduce a little plastic tube through the opening to suction to the contents of the uterus out, I was a little on edge. And when we then took the jar of liquid and tissue to the sink and rinsed it out with a sieve, to count the little dismembered fetal parts with a forceps, I have to admit that I was shaken. Here was a little arm. And here was a little thigh. And here we were, putting them together like little puzzle pieces to make sure we hadn’t left anything behind. Never in my life did I think I would bear witness to this. I put a finger to my own pulse.
Just a few nights prior, I had been part of a long argument with friends at a local bar about this very subject. “If you don’t like it, don’t perform abortions! Don’t get one yourself!” I had said, impassioned. “But quit judging something that you will never know yourself.”
"I spoke as if I was in the know, and the others weren’t. But now, standing in the clinic, I had to confront myself with the fact that I really had had no idea what I’d been talking about either. Before this day, I too had not a clue about what a termination really entailed. And I never thought I’d ever find myself looking at a sieve full of miniature body parts. - - Samyukta Mullangi, The First Pass Effect, Scientific American



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 21, 2014 8:27 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Seattle: Mama said there'd be days like this....
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 20, 2014 5:09 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The West

Journey Part 1 from Andrew Walker on Vimeo.

"This timelapse video is a collection of footage shot over the last year and a half around the western half of the United States. The shots ranged from very different locations. From Montana to Arizona and most weren't easy to get to but of course that makes them worth going to. The locations captured ranged in temps of 100 degrees to -9 degrees and in elevations of 12,000 feet to 225 feet below sea level. It took over 15,000 captured still images to make this video."

Music: "Journey to the Line"

Artist: Hans Zimmer



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 20, 2014 1:40 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro" and Progressive Dreams

Prosperity Anxiety and Racial Romanticism: 80 Years Ago

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RING ANY BELLS? A cover from a 1928 magazine, SURVEY GRAPHIC, that I came across this morning in one of my bottomless image collections. Surprising how the concerns of 80 years ago seem parallel today. But then, the habits of the liberal ("progressive") mind haven't changed all that much....

SURVEY GRAPHIC was a progressive magazine "covering a wide range of important social issues, including race, anti-semitism, housing, labor, educational reform, and nutrition, to name a few." It had laudable goals for the time, but its look was -- for the era-- startling and innovative. It prefigured, in many ways, the work of Edward Tufte.

Chief among the goals of Survey Graphic was to communicate information visually through the use of charts, graphs, illustrations, cartoons and photographs. Paul Kellogg hoped to "engage the attention of a wide audience by use of graphic and literary arts in partnership with the social sciences, to catch the eye and heart as well as the intellect."
As you can see above, it did "catch the eye as well as the intellect" in a way that today's fluff and puff magazines can never hope to emulate.

Another glimpse of the issues that concerned the magazine that are still not resolved today is this cover from a women's issue:

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SURVEY GRAPHIC thrived in the 30s but slowly died off after WWII. An excellent essay on the history of this influential magazine is found HERE.

One complete issue, Harlem: Mecca of the New Negro, is online HERE.

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Cover by Winold Reiss

This issue was probably assembled by the distinguished Alain Locke ("Father of the Harlem Renaissance"), or at the very least anchored around his three contributions to it. In any case, it certainly owes much of its attitude if not its content to Locke's "The New Negro: An Interpretation" also published in 1925.

Politically revolutionary for its time (1925), the issue appears somewhat more ambiguous in today's eyes with articles like "Harlem Types" -- a meditation on the then residents on Harlem that would get anyone attempting it today imprisoned in "Racist Jail" for life.

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Illustrations by Winold Reiss

Even then, the editors knew they were treading on sensitive ground. Witness their copy that accompanies the article:

"Harlem, or any Negro community, spreads a rich and novel palette for the serious artist. It needs but enlightenment of mind and eye to make its intriguing problems and promising resources available for the stimulation and enrichment of American art.

CONVENTIONS stand doubly in the way of artistic portrayal of Negro folk; certain narrowly arbitrary conventions of physical beauty, and as well, that inevitable inscrutability of things seen but not understood. Caricature has put upon the countenance of the Negro the mask of the comic and the grotesque, whereas in deeper truth and comprehension, nature or experience have put there the stamp of the very opposite, the serious, the tragic, the wistful. At times, too, there is a quality of soul that can only be called brooding and mystical. Here they are to be seen as we know them to be in fact. While it is a revealing interpretation for all, for the Negro artist, still for the most part confronting timidly his own material, there is certainly a particular stimulus and inspiration in this redeeming vision. Through it in all likelihood must come his best development in the field of the pictorial arts, for his capacity to express beauty depends vitally upon the capacity to see it in his own life and to generate it out of his own experience."

Today, it is a commonplace to deny that there is any sort of "Plantation Mentality" working within the progressive political community. That may be so, but there's little doubt that a certain heart-felt and "wistful" romanticism worked its magic for poor little white boys lost in the blues in decades now gone by.



Posted by Vanderleun Jan 20, 2014 1:32 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A 100-Riff History Of Rock N' Roll

Beginning with Chet Akins’ signature Nashville picking style and ending with the avant-garde industrial shredding a la St. Vincent, this history of rock music will leave your head spinning. Oh, and this was shot in one take.

For those interested in the featured selections, the full list can be seen below. Just after the details on the guitar, the pedalboard, and the speaker. - - All That Is Interesting

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 20, 2014 12:07 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
‘This is not the first film to use the ‘secret clues tattooed on women’s behinds’ gag…’

Or so says Kathy Shaidle. Who should know.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 19, 2014 4:57 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Jerry Seinfeld here. I will give you an answer."

Q: Where did the idea of, in Seinfeld, your character being a comedian for a profession, but be the straight man for your friends, come from? I always thought that juxtapositioning for the show was genius.

Seinfeld: Very good observation and analysis on your part, Baxter.

You are truly exhibiting a good comedic eye. The reason I would play straight was it was funnier for the scene. And very few people have ever remarked on this, because it was a conscious choice of mine, only because I knew it would make the show better, and I didn't care who was funny as long as somebody was funny and that the show was funny. So you have hit upon one of the great secret weapons of the Seinfeld series, was that I had no issue with that. Reditt's IAmA feature



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 19, 2014 12:36 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fly and the Eye



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2014 4:53 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Soon to a Nation Near You

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Via KA-CHING!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2014 11:16 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Thinking Like a Mountain"

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We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes.

I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes — something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.
Since then I have lived to see state after state extirpate its wolves. I have watched the face of many a newly wolfless mountain, and seen the south-facing slopes wrinkle with a maze of new deer trails. I have seen every edible bush and seedling browsed, first to anemic desuetude, and then to death. I have seen every edible tree defoliated to the height of a saddlehorn. Such a mountain looks as if someone had given God a new pruning shears, and forbidden Him all other exercise. ... I now suspect that just as a deer herd lives in mortal fear of its wolves, so does a mountain live in mortal fear of its deer. -- “Arizona and New Mexico: Thinking Like a Mountain”, pages 130-132

We all strive for safety, prosperity, comfort, long life, and dullness.

The deer strives with his supple legs, the cowman with trap and poison, the statesman with pen, the most of us with machines, votes, and dollars, but it all comes to the same thing: peace in our time. A measure of success in this is all well enough, and perhaps is a requisite to objective thinking, but too much safety seems to yield only danger in the long run. Perhaps this is behind Thoreau’s dictum: In wildness is the salvation of the world. Perhaps this is the hidden meaning in the howl of the wolf, long known among mountains, but seldom perceived among men. -- “Arizona and New Mexico: Thinking Like a Mountain”, page 133

Thinking Like A Mountain: Full Text in PDF



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2014 10:17 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Rating Obama’s NSA Reform Plan: EFF Scorecard Explained | Electronic Frontier Foundation

We’ve put together a scorecard showing how Obama’s announcements stack up against 12 common sense fixes that should be a minimum for reforming NSA surveillance. Each necessary reform was worth 1 point, and we were willing to award partial credit for steps in the right direction. On that scale, President Obama racked up 3.5 points out of a possible 12.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2014 12:10 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
San Francisco Just Before the Earthquake of 1906. Now with Sound

Twelve minutes of life before disaster taken over one hundred years ago. It takes you all the way to the turnaround for the streetcar at the Ferry building where the breeze from San Francisco Bay, at that moment, blows a man's full beard to the right.

"Shot on April 14, 1906, four days before the San Francisco earthquake and fire, to which the negative was nearly lost.

It was produced by moving picture photographers the Miles brothers: Harry, Herbert, Earle and Joe. Harry J. Miles cranked the Bell & Howell camera which was placed on the front of a streetcar during filming from Market Street from 8th, in front of the Miles Studios, to the Ferry building. The Miles brothers were en route to New York when they heard news of the earthquake. The sent the negative to NY and returned to San Francisco to discover that their studios were destroyed.
The film was long thought to have been shot in September of 1905, after being dated as such by the Library of Congress based on the state of construction of several buildings.
However, in 2009 and 2010, film historian David Kiehn, co-founder of Niles Film Museum in Niles, California, dated the film to the spring of 1906 from automobile registrations and weather records. Kiehn and eventually found promotional materials from the film's original release and dated the film to April 14th, 1906. "

A few days later....

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"Clearing away the debris, California Street, San Francisco." Aftermath of the earthquake and fire of April 18, 1906.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2014 10:46 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
MARIJUANA!! The Truth! [Bumped]

As usual, it's complicated. Too complicated for the wake and bake set....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2014 10:40 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The power of Christ compels you!"

As some here know, I keep a Tumblr called KA-CHING! which is like a commonplace book of images and observations I find compelling. It currently has over 16, 200 entries going back a number of years. One of the elements that has led to the status of Tumblr on the Internet is the ability to, in a simple, frictionless manner, like and/or reblog an item to one's own Tumblr. Some of these reblogs of images can become so popular that they are shared hundreds of thousands of times. My little page is not one of those whose items are regularly picked up like that. A bit too odd and random I think.

So it was a surprise to me when the following image seemed to have gotten out of my little online ghetto and into shares that currently exceed 15,600. A surprise but still in its own way heartening. Maybe Christians are beginning, at long last, to toughen up.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2014 10:23 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Signs of the Apocalypse: Shotgun Gardening

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And they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their shotguns into seed spreaders: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. Isaiah 2:4

Really? Seriously? You wouldn't be putting us on, would you? Shirley, you jest.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2014 9:19 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Weiner Mobile

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"The 'Wienermobile' may be one

of the most famous promotional cars in America, having been on the road in one form or another since 1936. Shaped like hot dogs on a bun, a fleet of Wienermobiles is used to promote Oscar Mayer products across the US. Oscar Mayer’s nephew, Carl, designed the original version, and over the years the vehicles have evolved and developed.

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"In 1995, a Wienermobile was created

that measured 27 feet in length and stood 11 feet tall; meanwhile, a 2004 version featured a voice-activated GPS system. Touring fleet crewmembers are known as “hotdoggers,” and in 2013 the company even developed an app to keep them all connected. Eight of the vehicles are currently operational, and they remain seriously popular. A 2004 competition offering the winner the use of a Wienermobile for one day reportedly prompted more than 15,000 entries in a month." - - Oscar Mayer

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UPDATE: The Wiener Crash

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That Wienermobile crash photo on Facebook? It's from 2008 - TwinCities.com

Does this hot dog look familiar? It should. It's the same hot dog, and the same snowstorm, and the same ditch.

A photograph of an Oscar Mayer Wienermobile in a ditch popped up Monday and Tuesday -- following a brief Wisconsin snowstorm -- on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. It trailed an infinite supply of puns.

The photo, however, is not current.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2014 6:04 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Now for Your Moment of Math Zen: The sum of 1 + 2 + 3 + 4 + 5 + ... until infinity is somehow -1/12


We know its not mathematical hocus-pocus because this sums shows up all the time in physics and in physics we don’t get infinite answers.

"What's fascinating is that this idea that the sum of all natural numbers is -1/12 actually popped up way back in 1735.

B ut seeing all those numbers actually come out to -1/12 is a whole 'nother story. So watch physicists Tony Padilla and Ed Copeland from the University of Nottingham walk through the process of getting -1/12. The video by Numberphile is fascinating because it's mind-blowing but also because you can see the real joy from the wonderful people proving this. I love it. I love them. I like math a little more. " Chasy Chan at The Sploid

He's right. This is a highly lucid and very rewarding seven minute tour of mathematical thinking. Take it.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2014 7:01 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Remember, Rome wasn't burned in a day and

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by Brad Holland @ Poor Bradfords Wise Sayings 2014



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2014 6:38 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Just In from 1983

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2014 11:09 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Revelation 6, Prophecy, and Gun Trucks

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"I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."

The isolated mountain road was bordered in some places by wide-open fields and in other places, heavy woods, making ideal ambush sites. In some areas the grade was very steep with winding hairpin turns, causing the heavily laden trucks to drive even slower. There were two major mountain passes - An Khe and Mang Giang - which quickly became known as "Ambush Alley."

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The only preserved Vietnam guntruck is Eve of Destruction, that can be seen at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum (Fort Eustis, Virginia)

Gun trucks in Vietnam:

In the event of an ambush, their role was to drive into the kill zone during the first few minutes of the attack, and saturate the attackers with their firepower.
Early designs proved flawed, as the sandbag protections quickly became waterlogged in the frequent rains, weighing down the whole vehicle. They were later replaced with ad hoc steel armor plating, salvaged from scrap yards.
The crew consisted of a driver, two gunners, a non-commissioned officer, and sometimes a grenadier armed with an M79 grenade launcher.
On November 24, 1967, during an engagement in "Ambush Alley", a group of gun trucks managed to thwart an ambush. The convoy lost six transport trucks and four gun trucks damaged or destroyed, and several drivers were killed and wounded, but the Viet Cong lost 41 KIA and were forced to withdraw. ...
In all, an estimated 300 to 400 trucks were transformed in this way.

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[Some of the other names given them were: Steppin Wolf, The Abortion, The Baby Sitters, The Boss, The Creeper, The Hawk, The Mercenary, The Misfits, The Pallbearers, The Protector, The Rebel, The Saint, The Smiling Death]

They were intended as a temporary solution, but the Transportation Corps never received enough of their proposed replacement, the V-100 armoured car, so the gun trucks continued to serve until the end of the American involvement in Vietnam, in 1973.
With the end of the Vietnam War, the need for such vehicles disappeared and most were either scrapped or returned to cargo carrying. One truck, an M54 named by its crew "Eve of Destruction," has been restored and is on display at the Army Transportation Museum at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
But then..... they came back!

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"Necessity is a mother."

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A gun truck damaged by an IED in Iraq. All the crew members survived.



Next Gun Truck Gathering #12 August 5th to 9th, 2014 :
Holiday Inn Columbus North
2800 Manchester Expressway Columbus, GA 31904
706-324-0231

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2014 10:59 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wind from the Sea: "I walked up into the dry, attic room one day."

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Of all my work at Olsons this seems to me to be the one that expresses a great deal without too much in it. I walked up into the dry, attic room one day. It was a hot summer day in August, so hot that I went over to that window, pushed it up about six inches and as I stood there, looking out, all of a sudden this curtain that had been lying there stale for years, God knows how long, began slowly to rise, and the birds crocheted on it began to move. My hair about stood on end. So I drew it very quickly and incisively and I didn't get a west wind for a month and a half after that either. I did many drawings for it because I was so moved by that sudden thing. ” - - Andrew Wyeth

Wind from the Sea, painted a year before Christina's World, captures a moment on a hot summer day when Wyeth opened the seldom used window in an attic room. National Gallery, Wind from the Sea

For a larger view and a detail....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2014 8:36 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New Obamacare Ads Aimed at Young People

I'm so pleased to see my cohort is still getting work in advertising.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 15, 2014 9:53 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Dog Kenneller

Pssst, time to go into your kennel....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 15, 2014 8:36 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Slow Film for Fast Times: Waiting for a Train

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Adam Magyar - Stainless, 42 Street (excerpt)

Instead of standing on a platform shooting passengers speeding past him, Magyar now positioned himself inside the moving subway car, recording stationary commuters on the platform as train and camera rolled into the station. Magyar shot the footage at 56 times normal speed, turning 12-second blurs into nearly 12-minute films of excruciating slowness. His commuters stand, together yet apart, with the studied, three-dimensional grace of statues—only the twitch of a lip or a finger drawn toward an iPhone indicating that these people were caught in hyper-slow motion, inhabiting an elongated moment.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 15, 2014 8:28 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bang, Zoom 1955: Very Large Image of Today ( VLIOT )

April 1955. "Entertainers Jackie Gleason and Art Carney, in costume, posed as their 'Honeymooners' characters Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton."

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 14, 2014 12:54 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When are you people going to start believing me when I tell you not to click on a link?

It's called Devil Baby Attack and it's about an animatronic "devil baby" in a remote controlled stroller that goes on a rampage through the streets of New York City. It uses hidden cameras to record people's reactions. There is no way in hell that you want to ....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 14, 2014 12:34 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I Need a Radio Inside My Hand:" How Boomboxes Got So Badass

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"And if you don't like that music, I'm going to play it louder and play it louder..."

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"Compared to today’s sleek micro-gadgets, boomboxes

are like electronic dinosaurs, dated as much by their ludicrous size as their outmoded technology. Beginning in the late 1970s, companies recognized that buyers wanted their radios louder and more dynamic, so they made sure each model could project a solid mix of treble, midrange, and bass, while offering options for recording and editing, too. This was what made the analog boxes so big, requiring huge speakers, cassette decks, a radio receiver, and up to 10 D-sized batteries, all wrapped in heavy-duty casing."

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The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name:
The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly

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Collectors Weekly: Where did the boombox originate?

Miles Lightwood: "The boombox by its typical definition—a handled, portable, radio cassette deck with one or more speakers—was actually invented in the Netherlands by Philips in 1969. The one considered the first boombox was made so that you could record from the radio onto the cassette without having any external cables for a microphone. All of a sudden, you’ve got a very easy music-sharing culture, and the Japanese companies basically took that idea and ran with it.

"In my mind, the first device that’s like the urban boombox of popular culture is the JVC RC-550, which was a monster box. It’s got a 10-inch woofer, it looks mean, and it’s got lights and the whole package. That was made in ’75.
The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name: The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly

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Lyle Owerko's favorite is the GF9696. "It's absolutely my most mint box," Owerko says. "It's incredibly shiny; it's 40 watts. The speaker grilles detach, which makes it look really mean." A Eulogy For The Boombox : NPR

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Progress: Today's Boombox

[A Tumblr for the Boombox would beBoomboxラジカセ Creators]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 14, 2014 10:15 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The poet laureate of the United States should also be the best poet in the country; if he isn’t, then the job is meaningless. "

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"Make of your fingerprints the first draft of a revolt, when the follicles of capitalism’s hips falls on your school like angel dust, an army of unbranded jungle mouths will shout... "Youth Poet Laureate - Ramya Ramana - New York City Campaign Finance Board HT: Rob

"The current American poet laureateship is marked —marred, is more precise— not only by the kiss of death of being an official job but also by political correctness. As one runs down the list of American poets laureate, the only explanation for certain names appearing there is that they are women or black or otherwise “with the show,” as they say on the carnival grounds. Make the ostensibly sweet bow in the direction of political correctness, and art, like reality in the face of a social science concept, leaves the room. The list of American poets laureate has included the good, the mediocre, and the merely acceptable. But nobody who has uttered any truly heterodox views is asked to play at laureate. Heterodoxy is one of the things serious poetry is, or at least ought to be, about. The poet laureate of the United States should also be the best poet in the country; if he isn’t, then the job is meaningless.....

"What the good poets have always done, I believe, which is to take care of business. Business for the poet is to write as well as possible and leave the job of promoting poetry in a manner sure to vulgarize, if not utterly trivialize, it alone. The least one can do in this regard is, if offered the job of poet laureate of the United States, to turn it down, preferably in a wittily obstreperous way. More money and self-respect is to be earned selling ladies handkerchiefs." -- Thank You, No by Joseph Epstein



The current disappointment as poet laureate is one Natasha Trethewey who is predicably PC to the gunwales: Tretheway, 46, is a southerner through and through. She was born in Gulfport, Miss., which was also her mother's hometown. Her mother, Gwendolyn Ann Turnbough, was a social worker, a black woman who'd fallen in love with a Canadian emigre and poet, Eric Trethewey, while at college in Kentucky. Tretheway's parents had to cross into Ohio to get married in 1965. In her poem "Miscegenation...." Natasha Trethewey @ The Poetry Foundation



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 13, 2014 9:18 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Song For Zula

The moon is bright in that treetop night.
I see the shadows that we cast in the cold, clean light.
My feet are gold. My heart is white.
And we race out on the desert plains all night...."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 12, 2014 2:04 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hand of God Probably Only Looks This Way from Earth. But What Does That Tell You?

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Giant 'Hand' Reaches Across Space

"The scene, which spans 150 light-years, is about 17,000 light years away, so what we see now is how it actually looked 17,000 years ago."
That was 2009. Now, nearly five years later, the same story is back with this droll drip of the deepening dullness:
"We don't know if the hand shape is an optical illusion," said Hongjun An of McGill University, Montreal, Canada. -- 'Hand of God' captured in NASA image

How quaint. How wonderfully secular the measurements and the standard pop quotes around 'Hand.' Sort of like dropping the word 'allegedly' in front of the name of someone who was caught on tape boosting a fifth of Maker's Mark in the back of the store. I love the unremitting pressure to qualify the obvious in 21st century life. It's so high minded and sensitive. It's a pose that makes everyone who assumes it appear so advanced, so non-judgmental, especially when it comes to "the facts."

It's a funny thing about 'fact.' We've spun so far off center we've actually used fact to replace truth.

Indeed, there are whole industries dedicated to expunging truth with facts. This isn't really what the Enlightenment was hoping for when it set out to enlarge the edifice of fact in the search for truth, but facts are funny that way. Pile up enough into a "great complexity" and they can bury simple truths. Not that facts aren't an element of truth. They are. But they're not, as they say, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. If you wish to see lies built of facts, you have only to look about you.

"We had the experience but missed the meaning." We look upon the lies of fact in order to miss the miracle. It's part of our disease, our Adam's Curse, that we can see the miracle whole, obvious, and manifest, and strive, immediately and with all our might, to shrink it down into "facts." Our tragedy is that this base struggle to evict the soul from its vessel does not avail us. At bottom we simply lack the power to disengage the soul and erase the miracle. Our struggle to do so only deforms us. It does not release us.

The miracle persists. It persists right in front of our eyes, in all that we see in every moment of life. It persists, infusing everything from the farthest roof beams spanning the vault of heaven deep down into the vibrating phase-changes of the atom, and deeper in still until, in either direction, the great chain of being seems to have no top and no bottom, but like the Ouroboros locked in a Möbius that spins into a circle ever returning to the self-same spot.

Many of those who spend their lives studying cosmology, as well as many of those whose lives are spent studying subatomic particles, strings, charm, quarks and the ever expanding pantheon of mini-matter, have noted, sometimes only in passing and without pause, how close our most cutting-edge physics come to our most ancient metaphysics. And so, beneath all the vast drifts of data and the oceans of facts, we always seek, with instruments always more powerful, to look deeper in and further out. Suspecting, only sometimes and only in passing, that it is the same direction; that as Heraclitus knew, "The way up and the way down are one and the same."

We have always looked to the heavens for signs. It is what we do. And we have always sought to understand those signs to the best of our always limited ability;
"And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating...."

This photograph gleaned from one of our most powerful, modern, and oh-so-technical instruments is just the latest emblem out of a million years of signs from the heavens. And in the end it is seen, as it is seen here by me and by you, through the oldest of our instruments, the soul.

Do I, an exemplar of the most advanced culture in history, actually believe that this is the image, the manifestation, the fading photograph of the hand of God, the Supreme Being? Of course not. Not for a moment do I think that what I see in this image is that. I believe... no... I know for a fact that what I am seeing is merely gas and stars in a seemingly random arrangement shining in a narrow, very narrow, part of the spectrum so that, to my deeper mind and imagination, I pull together some vague shapes in the play of color on the void and relate it to what I have seen elsewhere, felt elsewhen -- and out of that produce a feeling, thought, in my mind that makes my eyes see what appears to be an impossible hand reaching across space long ago in exactly nowhere. It's a cosmic Rorschach image, a glowing gasblot somewhere in limitless space. That it is a 'hand' is impossible. It is even more impossible that it is even an image of a hand.

But that is not the most impossible thing about this image.

What is even more impossible than this utter impossibility is the fact that you see it too.

I know, from all the facts that I have learned, that if the Earth itself were positioned in relative space a few degrees this way or that, moving at a slightly different relative speed towards a slightly different point in the sky, with its local group of stars slightly tilted a bit this way or a bit that way, that the purely imaginary impression of this being a hand would disappear utterly. It might look like a dagger. It might look like a flower. It might look like nothing other than the random assortment of gas clouds that it most assuredly is. What it would not look like, given just a few minor (on the cosmic scale) variations is 'The Hand of God.'

And that's a stone cold fact. Note it. File it. Toss it to the top of the always rising mountain range of facts that we love to build as bulwarks against the dark.

But is it the truth?

Well, it is a true fact. But here's another.

After all the facts are filed, here I am and there you are. We're spinning about an immense ball of thermonuclear fire on the third stone out from the Sun. We're the end product, as of today, of a great chain of being stretching backwards in time for billions of years to a primordial spark that we do not know or understand. That spark created life here and began the long process to us. It began life that is -- as far as we know today for a fact -- the only life anywhere in the billions of light years we can see. (Yes, I know it is unlikely we are alone, but until we know differently for a fact, that's the fact.) We do not know the why of it all even though the persistence of the miracle whispers there must be a why. At the same time, it is highly likely that beings as limited as we obviously are will never know the why. The why is pretty much outside of science, barely within metaphysics, and above our evolution grade.

What we do know is that, because of how we are made and what we have become, through suffering, striving, effort and, yes, grace, that there are some six billion of us that can look at this strange image of gas and stars and somehow understand it as a hand. And that, at will, we can move our hands to write words such as these to reach across space and time and make others like us understand that although it looks like a hand it cannot possibly be one; that such a thing is utterly impossible.

If you don't think that's a miracle that surpasses all understanding, you simply don't have all the facts.



Posted by Vanderleun Jan 12, 2014 12:14 PM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Holy Ghost Power: 'The devil thought he had the keys.'

Robert Duvall: "One Sunday as I strolled down the main drag I noticed people flocking to a simple white clapboard building, the local Pentecostal church. All sorts of folks, young and old, were going inside, where I could hear the clink of tambourines, the rap of a snare drum and organ music rising. Might as well check this out, I thought. I slipped in and sat in back....

"I had never seen such an extraordinary outward expression of faith as I witnessed in that Pentecostal church. I had never seen church like that. People could barely contain the joy of their faith. Their faces were alive with it, imbued. Folks were on their feet, singing praise and clapping, shouting to God! The air crackled with the Spirit. It was nearly impossible to be a mere observer. I wanted to sing and shout with them. I couldn't explain it, but I knew the people in that church had a gift, a story to share. Somehow, someday, I would tell that story.

"What was most important to me was to make a movie where Christianity was treated on its own terms, with the respect it deserves. Hollywood usually shows preachers as hucksters and hypocrites, and I was sick and tired of that. I wanted to show the joy and vitality I had seen with my own eyes and felt in my heart and in my life, the sheer, extraordinary excitement of faith. I especially wanted to capture the rich flavor, the infectious cadences and rhythm of good, down-home, no-holds-barred preaching. The story seemed to flow from me. I wrote everywhere, in airports and hotels, on set between scenes, even in meetings. But writing a screenplay is one thing. Getting it produced is something else altogether. I took my script to Hollywood producers, and was met with the same response: "Bob, religion is not a subject our audiences want to watch." I disagreed. Why wouldn't audiences want to watch a movie about something that is foremost in so many people's lives?" How Robert Duvall Discovered His Faith While Making 'The Apostle'

HT HappyAcres

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 12, 2014 10:45 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Frontier Fields

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THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed.
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins 1918

Released as the first "Frontier Fields" view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the new images mark the deepest-ever observations of a cluster of galaxies. The photos center on Abell 2744, a group of several hundred galaxies found 3.5 billion light-years away from Earth.

Using Director's Discretionary (DD) observing time, HST is undertaking a revolutionary deep field observing program to peer deeper into the Universe than ever before and provide a first glimpse of JWST's universe.

These Frontier Fields will combine the power of HST with the natural gravitational telescopes of high-magnification clusters of galaxies. Using both the Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys in parallel, HST will produce the deepest observations of clusters and their lensed galaxies ever obtained, and the second-deepest observations of blank fields (located near the clusters). These images will reveal distant galaxy populations ~10-100 times fainter than any previously observed, improve our statistical understanding of galaxies during the epoch of reionization, and provide unprecedented measurements of the dark matter within massive clusters. Details at Hubble Space Telescope



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 11, 2014 10:00 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If I die before I wake I humbly request to be reincarnated as hula hoop for the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders

Why? Because.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 11, 2014 5:14 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Your Next Nightmare

Animatronic Band Programmed To Rap | Incredible Things

Nightmares don’t grow on trees, but they can be found right here on the internet. Take this video for example! Give it a watch and your subconcious will reward you with all the scaries as you drift off to sleep. The vid was directed by Joe Paull and features a Chuck E Cheese-esque animatronic band performing Huey’s Pop, Lock and Drop It. And boy is it something. Something that should come with a warning. A warning that says “WARNING: Do not watch if you ever hope to sleep again.”



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 11, 2014 1:35 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Derelict: DeSoto Chrysler 1952 Wagon

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On the Road

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From the rear

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Semi-chrome

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Interior

DERELICT: "As found vintage body structure, reinvigorated with modern chassis and creature comforts. Versatile daily drivers, under the radar. The art of patina." More @ ICON



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 11, 2014 10:47 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Green Hills of Earth

Let the sweet fresh breezes heal me
As they rove around the girth
Of our lovely mother planet
Of the cool, green hills of Earth.

We rot in the moulds of Venus,
We retch at her tainted breath.
Foul are her flooded jungles,
Crawling with unclean death.

We've tried each spinning space mote
And reckoned its true worth:
Take us back again to the homes of men
On the cool, green hills of Earth.

The arching sky is calling
Spacemen back to their trade.
ALL HANDS! STAND BY! FREE FALLING!
And the lights below us fade.

Out ride the sons of Terra,
Far drives the thundering jet,
Up leaps a race of Earthmen,
Out, far, and onward yet ---

We pray for one last landing
On the globe that gave us birth;
Let us rest our eyes on the friendly skies
And the cool, green hills of Earth.

-- The Wondering Minstrels: The Green Hills of Earth -- Robert A Heinlein



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 10, 2014 11:55 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why Can't We All Just Get Along..... At the Redddd House!

Cynics will think this is a parody. They will be wrong....

Red House Furniture is your local retail furniture store in High Point, NC specializing in quality furniture. We have couches, lounge suites, desks, dressers, and a range of other quality pieces in our furniture store. Everything your customers need to furnish their home is offered at our store.

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 10, 2014 11:11 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Spengler's Universal Laws

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The thoughts of "Spengler" aka David P. Goldman as extracted from Asia Times Online :: The Complete Spengler Via Thoughts and Ideas

Spengler's Universal Law #1: A man or a nation at the brink of death does not have a "rational self-interest."

Spengler's Universal Law #2: When the nations of the world see their demise not as a distant prospect over the horizon, but as a foreseeable outcome, they perish of despair.

Spengler's Universal Law #3: Contrary to what you may have heard from the sociologists, the human mortality rate is still 100 percent.

Spengler's Universal Law #4: The history of the world is the history of mankind's search for immortality.

Spengler's Universal Law #5: Humankind cannot bear mortality without the hope of immortality.

Spengler's Universal Law #6 (courtesy of Warren Buffett): You don't know who's naked until the tide goes out.

Spengler's Universal Law #7: Political models are like automobile models: you can't have them unless you can pay for them.

Spengler's Universal Law #8: Wars are won by destroying the enemy's will to fight. A nation is never really beaten until it sells its women.

Spengler's Universal Law #9: A country isn't beaten until it sells its women, but it's damned when its women sell themselves.

Spengler's Universal Law #10: There's a world of difference between a lunatic and a lunatic who has won the lottery.

Spengler's Universal Law #11: At all times and in all places, the men and women of every culture deserve each other.

Spengler's Universal Law #12: Nothing is more dangerous than a civilization that has only just discovered it is dying.

Spengler's Universal Law #13: Across epochs and culture, blood has flown in inverse proportion to the hope of victory.

Spengler's Universal Law #14: Stick around long enough, and you turn into a theme park.

Spengler's Universal Law #15: When we worship ourselves, eventually we become the god that failed.

Spengler's Universal Law #16: Small civilizations perish for any number of reasons, but great civilizations die only when they no longer want to live.

Spengler's Universal Law #17: If you stay in the same place and do the same thing long enough, some empire eventually will overrun you.

Spengler's Universal Law #18: Maybe we would be better off if we never had been born, but who has such luck? Not one in a thousand.

Spengler's Universal Law #19: Pagan faith, however powerful, turns into Stygian nihilism when disappointed.

Spengler's Universal Law #20: Democracy only gives people the kind of government they deserve.

Spengler's Universal Law #21: If you believe in yourself, you're probably whoring after strange gods.

Spengler's Universal Law #22: Optimism is cowardice, at least when the subject is Muslim democracy.

Spengler's Universal Law #23: The best thing you can do for zombie cultures is, don't be one of them.

HT: Happy Acres



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 9, 2014 5:50 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Learned Helplessness:" Comment of the Month at the Turn of the Year [Archived Thread]

[Note: The Archived thread for The Top 40: "Learned Helplessness:" Comment of the Month at the Turn of the Year [Bumped 3] with comments in the extended entry. A discussion held between the first and the sixth of January.]

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As found in Side-Lines: How Come?
The "learned helplessness" is so deep it shows up even in our fantasy life. This is why I beg people to find ANY way to fight back. Stop looking for The One way to fight back. To make up for not fighting back we imagine we, or someone that will fight on our behalf, will find the one unguarded and vital target where we can attack and win in an instant. Politically, we fantasize about finding the weak spot in The Death Star and firing a kill shot.

The Left didn't bring the country under their control that way. The Left has published books on how to fight the system. They fought the system. They now own the system. The Left waged a Long March through the culture. We keep engaging in Short Retreats to the next "gated-community" that we hope will protect us from liberal domination.

Start fighting in small ways, anywhere, and it will give you confidence to fight more and the tide will turn IF liberals find they can't rely on never finding opposition. Use direct language. Call them communists, racists, sexist, traitors, etc. You don't gain respect by speaking in moderate language about the people that are setting fire to this country. This isn't Sunday School. This is a Civil War. The Left already knows it. They already fight like it's a Civil War. You might as well face up to it. Posted by: Scott M at December 31, 2013 1:14 PM
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 9, 2014 4:03 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Danger: Humans -- My Favorite Life Form Ever

Tom Scott explains how terrifyingly dangerous human beings are, in the form of a educational safety video for interstellar travelers who aren't humans. - - Neatorama



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 9, 2014 11:39 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Long Last Losing March of Barack Obama

A losing general “forgets” about the last battle he lost because he’s losing another one today.

That doesn’t mean he’s winning the campaign. On the contrary, here’s Charles Minard’s classic graph which illustrates the the progress of Napoleon’s Grand Army during the Russian Campaign.

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Attaque à outrance
The width of the line is the remaining size of Napoleon’s remaining troops. The Grand Armee “moved on” but that did it no good. It was still annihilated by the time it got back to where it began.
When President Obama started his term the Democrats controlled both houses and the presidency. He made soaring promises about ending the war on terror where it began; pledged to reach out to Muslims and make America loved. He was going to bring a new era of prosperity to the country. And now he’s reduced to hoping that some scandal will displace Obamacare from the headlines. If this is victory, what does defeat look like? Belmont Club » Three Charts Plus One



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2014 9:23 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Adele, I Can't Make You Love Me Live

Sneaks up on you.... and then she just fetches you home.



"I Can't Make You Love Me"
(originally by Bonnie Raitt)

Turn down the lights
Turn down the bed
Turn down these voices
Inside my head
Lay down with me
Tell me no lies
Just hold me closely
Don't patronize
Don't patronize me

Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel
Somethin' that it won’t
And here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart
And I will feel the power but you won't
No you won't
'Cause I can't make you love me
When you don't
When you don't

I'll close my eyes
'Cause then I won't see
The love you don't feel
When you're home with me
Morning will come
And I’ll do what's right
Just give me till then
To give up this fight
And I will give up this fight

'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel
Somethin' that it won’t
And here in the dark, in these final hours
I will lay down my heart
I will feel the power but you won't
No you won't
'Cause I can't make you love me
When you don't
When you don't



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2014 3:27 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary Classics: Twist and Shout

August 15, 1965 Live at Shea Stadium "Ladies and Gentlemen, The BEATLES!" Wait for it. Full screen and cranked speakers for two and a half minutes will be time well spent.



“Honored in their country, decorated by their Queen, and loved here in America, here are THE BEATLES.”

At this distant remove, it’s difficult to grasp what an impact this tour, by this group, at that time, in that summer of 1965, as the war was beginning for real, had on the American nation. But it was profound and penetrating. It was one of the hinges on which the history of then and of now turned.

Evocative and iconic, this clip from nearly 50 years back remains both powerful through its haunted previousness and its reach still beyond the present, still able to signal somewhere in the future. The now aged, slightly blurred, and tinted quality of the original technicolor contributes to this impression, giving the performance a mythic sheen. One can both extrapolate and project layers and shadows explicit and implied in this short film, but somewhere chief among them has to be the awareness that one of the most profound reasons the democracies fought and won the Second World War was so that mass cultural expressions and confirmations like this, celebrating liberty and freedom, would be able to continue without end.

Looking back, that's been worth at least 55 years so far. Not bad when you think about it. Not bad at all.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2014 2:57 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Armyin' Is Hard, Yo

"You've got to go through basic training before you slay any dragons, dude or dudette. You have to sit on the bus and talk about shrimp first, Napoleon. It has always been thus.

Eisenhower had to get MacArthur's coffee for a good long time before they let him up on the furniture. And no offense, but you're no Eisenhower. So just try to hold the pin and throw the grenade, not the other way around, and do whatever the fellow with all the stripes and the stentorian voice tells you, and you'll do fine." | The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2014 2:09 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Dubai New Year Fireworks 2014

Dubai 2014 fireworks display breaks Guinness world record:

DUBAI: Dubai has ushered in 2014 with more than half a million fireworks spectacle, breaking the world record for the largest such display ever, Guinness World records said today.

Ten months in planning, over 500,000 fireworks were used during the display on the New Year's Eve which lasted around six minutes, with Guinness adjudicators on hand to confirm that a new record had been set.

Covering a distance of over 94km of the city's seafront, the display incorporated some of Dubai's top landmarks, including Palm Jumeirah, World Islands, the Burj Khalifa and Burj Al Arab, Guinness said.

The spectacle's final salvo of fireworks created an artificial "sunrise" along the seafront, with the highest fireworks reaching more than one kilometre in height.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 7, 2014 12:59 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Victory at Sea: "In Our Lifetime we have won the War on Global Warming"

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Where are the ticker tape parades?HappyAcres



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 6, 2014 9:25 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Remind me to keep myself and everyone I love far, far away from Old Spice body spray

Quietly and relentlessly and increasingly perverse and creepy. A real achievement in the sewer that forms most of today's "advertisements."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 6, 2014 2:55 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"With Usura"

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The Court of Gonzaga (detail): Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506), 1465-74, walnut oil on plaster

With usura hath no man a house of good stone
each block cut smooth and well fitting
that design might cover their face,
with usura
hath no man a painted paradise on his church wall
harpes et luthes
or where virgin receiveth message
and halo projects from incision,
with usura
seeth no man Gonzaga his heirs and his concubines
no picture is made to endure nor to live with
but it is made to sell and sell quickly

Ezra Pound, from Canto XLV (1936)

TOM CLARK: "...seeth no man Gonzaga...": Andrea Mantegna: The Court of Gonzaga / Ezra Pound: from Canto XLV

Update: A link worth following as noted in the comments by Mark

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 6, 2014 12:33 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Lull at the Turn of the Year

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"A boy waits to receive winter aid, donated by Muslim Hands, a U.K.-registered international aid organization, in Kabul, on January 5, 2014." -- Afghanistan: December 2013 - In Focus - The Atlantic

Soon....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 6, 2014 12:28 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dreams of the Sonora Aero Club

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It turns out that the drawings/watercolors were the work of one Charles August Albert Dellschau (1830 - 1923).

Dellschau was a butcher for most of his life and only after his retirement in 1899 did he begin his incredible career as a self-taught artist. He began with three books entitled Recollections which purported to describe a secret organization called the Sonora Aero Club. Dellschau described his duties in the club as that of the draftsman. Within his collaged watercolors were newspaper clippings (he called them “press blooms”) of early attempts at flight overlapped with his own fantastic drawings of airships of all kind. Powered by a secret formula he cryptically referred to as “NB Gas” or “Suppa” — the “aeros” (as Dellscahu called them) were steampunk like contraptions with multiple propellers, wheels, viewing decks and secret compartments. More examples and information at Accidental Mysteries

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 5, 2014 2:05 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
1938 Plymouth: "The cheapest car on the lot"

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The term "recession" was recruited to gloss over the fact 1938 was a re-Depression year.

Once again people bought the cheapest car on the lot, which in Plymouth's lineup was the six cylinder, two-door, ultra-spartan Business model. The right hand tail light and a windshield wiper—singular—were among the optional extras. Plymouth was a well built, reliable, low-price car so customers bought despite disliking its bloaty, bug-eyed look . When Plymouth realized what was going on, they renamed it the Roadking. The two-door shown below was priced at $11,323 in 2013 dollars. - - ol remus and the woodpile report



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 5, 2014 9:33 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Arctic Chill in LA

HT: Scott M.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 5, 2014 1:30 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Time to Run the Progressives Into the River

Because.... it's time.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 4, 2014 9:24 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Regarding the Cats

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"Cats should be thrown into the Styx by Charon on his evening trips.... Which of the two causes is most worthy of preservation? While the ladies have been the greatest champions of the birds, and leaders in the movement for protective laws, they sometimes let their feelings get the better of their judgment, and it requires man’s clear-cut power of decision to settle the question which the ladies are still debating. Get rid of the cats!" -- Observant, Englewood, N.J. , July 15, 1914.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 4, 2014 11:21 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Under The Hood: Donald Duck's Car [Bumped]

[I've bumped this because I feel more people need to see the schmatic to the Donald Duck care. In case there is a quiz.]

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Everything You Urgently Need To Know About Donald Duck's Car

"In fact, a really, really detailed cutaway of the 313 was produced in 1998 by Claude Lacroix in a French journal, and here we can see all kinds of details about the car. It's an inline twin engine with an overhead cam, driving the rear wheels via a four-speed manual transmission. There appears to be a solid live axle at the rear, and pretty basic suspension design, but it does seem to have rack-and-pinion steering. I think those are drum brakes all around, and the seats look very well-sprung."

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 4, 2014 10:33 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
January 3 2014: So, how cold is it tonight inside some random hotel in Minnesota?

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 3, 2014 10:43 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mother of Mercy, Is There Anything Kim Jong Un Cannot Do?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 3, 2014 10:20 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Some Say That Snow

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Some say that snow is sleep. I say
That snow is but the rest
Of clouds upon earth's surface laid
To soothe the forest's breast,
To calm the souls that linger there
Beneath an age of leaf
That hides within it's brindle flesh
Whole galaxies of seed.

Some say that snow is chill. I say
That snow is but a shawl
Draped over stones of silence,
That such silence shelter all.
And in such silence seal within
The brook beneath the glass,
That when the spring shall set it free
All dreams to sea shall pass.

Some say that snow is death. I say
That snow is but the prayer
Said when soul in winter's glade
Calls the body from its lair,
To stand within the last of light,
Becoming less than air,
To leave behind what came before
In the shadows dawn prepares.



Posted by Vanderleun Jan 3, 2014 12:21 PM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Door

Photograph by James Hilgenberg @ The Foghorn / Impressions | inconsistency ....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 3, 2014 11:59 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary American Classics: Rhapsody In Blue

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When Rhapsody in Blue premiered at New York's Aeolian Hall on February 12, 1924, most people couldn't wait for the evening to be over.

The piece was scheduled near the end of a long program called "An Experiment in Modern Music." After two sluggish hours, the audience was bored, restless, and drenched in sweat due to the hall's broken ventilation system. But then, a lone clarinet pierced through the orchestra, fizzing upward like a fountain of champagne. Suddenly, everyone was riveted.
For the next 17 minutes, George Gershwin, an unknown 26-year-old composer, caressed and pounded the piano at center stage, chasing the orchestra through a thrill ride of skyrocketing notes. It was an unforgettable debut -one that brought new respect to jazz and helped redefine classical music. Today, Rhapsody in Blue is one of the 10 most-performed works of the 20th century, right up there with "Happy Birthday" and "White Christmas." Much more at George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue - Neatorama



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 3, 2014 7:53 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Because Racist

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From all the blather and spew concerning the Romneys' adopted black grandchild over the recent holiday break a few things worth noting have emerged in the clear and serene present. Mark Steyn -- as a guest host for the "Rush Limbaugh I’m-Always-On-Vacation" radio show -- framed the first by observing that the real meaning of the mocking of the adopted child was that the professional racist Pecksniffs among us are now out of a job. And that is a good sign for the nation as a whole.

[A “Pecksniff,” is a hypocritically benevolent; sanctimonious person of sneering meign after Seth Pecksniff, a character in Dickens’ Martin Chuzzlewit . The nation is, of course, currrently suffering a plague of pecksniffs which ooze across our landscape from the central point of infection, the chair behind the desk in the Oval Office. But that rhoid in time shall, like balloons of opium in the guts of drug mules, pass. In the meantime, in-between time, we shall have to listen to the president’s pecksniffs of MSNBC proclaim “racism” at any moment when their minds go empty of thought. Meaning... alas... a lot.]

Steyn’s point when it came to the adoption by the Romneys of a black child was quite astute. He observed that the United States how now become such a completely non-racist society, a country so utterly devoid of classical racism, of hate for and denigration of, its African American citizens, that the entire pecksniffian racism locating industry is so utterly bereft of “proofs” of racism that it has to center on one small black baby on one white knee in a large family holiday photograph. That’s it. That’s the very best these professional race hustlers can manage at the beginning of 2014 as somehow “”proving” the racist nature of the United States. That’s it. That’s all they’ve got.

And if that is all they have they have, in short, NOTHING. The last vestiges of significant racism in the United States died with 2013 and a Christmas card from a large Mormon family.

Of course the cottage industry of race hustlers didn’t die with racism. They continue to strut and fret their hour upon the stage long after the lights have dimmed on them. In a way it is like watching the last surviving lepers of the world wave their stumps and ask for alms and notice long after leprosy has been eradicated. We see them and pity them but we move on. They linger behind us and insist, hold their fetid breath and stamp their little toeless feet and, by all that is Obama, INSIST that racism is still alive and well in this fair land. They can’t find any to show you but they do have one thing left strapped to the end of their gangrenous stumps, a pointer. And they use that pointer to do what moral lepers have always done when accusing others of their sin, misdirect.

You may have noticed, and you will notice, this misdirection being used by the racism lepers more and more. It works like this.

Someone or something is labeled “raaaaacist” and the pointer is extended. But the pointer never really points at the person or thing labeled but at something else back in the deep shadows of history. The pointer points at a lynching. The pointer points at a drinking fountain labelled “colored.” The pointer points at a “minstrel show.” The pointer points at the scars on the back of a man born a slave who was dead before the end of the 19th century. The pointer always points elsewhere and elsewhen. It points to that which has been dead and buried for at least five decades. Which is where racism is. And what racism is. Today racism is one thing and one thing mostly and mainly.... and that is gone.Gone, long gone, from the mainstream and the main mind and oversoul of the nation.

I know that it is possible to pull up dozens of racist website and thousands of web forums deeply drenched in racism and race baiting and race reveling. I know you can pulls this dreck up and run about showing every one that your hands are full of sewage, but that only proves you've been diving into our sewers and need to be hosed off and scrubbed down before we let you into the house. You can do the same with any dark shadow found in the human soul. But all of these lumped together do not have one iota of a tittle of a jot of real power over the nature of America in 2014 as a nation that is 99.9999999% racism free.

In fact, if you want to look at the real truth about racism in the United States it would have to be that the only things keeping even the last smidgens of race hate alive in the United States are the MSNBC professional racism pecksniffs and their ilk and the current resident of the Oval Office. If they want to see the real racists among us, they need only raise their hand mirrors.


[Main baby mocker] Melissa Harris-Perry would never mock the fact that a Mormon family lovingly embraced a little black child, as she herself was “a black child born into a large white Mormon family.” I’m just guessing that she may still be a bit conflicted over this however,as her birth mother is white butt MHP has been quoted as saying: “I’ve never thought of myself as biracial. I’m black.” Michelle Obama's Mirror

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Sorry Mom: you’re white and I’m not.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2014 11:11 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dead to Me Too: Red Eye Does the Heavy Lifting So I Don't Have To



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2014 10:06 AM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fire and Ice by Robert Frost

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Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2014 9:49 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"This ocean, humiliating in its disguises"

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This ocean, humiliating in its disguises
Tougher than anything.
No one listens to poetry. The ocean
Does not mean to be listened to. A drop
Or crash of water. It means
Nothing.
It
Is bread and butter
Pepper and salt. The death
That young men hope for. Aimlessly
It pounds the shore. White and aimless signals. No
One listens to poetry.

- - Jack Spicer



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2014 3:39 PM | Comments (0)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In the Beginng.....

Last night..... and, in September, be on the lookout for...



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2014 2:52 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Touchstone 1 for 2014: "In skies infinitely remote, there is a small star"

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"Far away in some strange constellation in skies infinitely remote, there is a small star, which astronomers may some day discover. At least I could never observe in the faces or demeanor of most astronomers or men of science any evidence that they had discovered it; though as a matter of fact they were walking about on it all the time. It is a star that brings forth out of itself very strange plants and very strange animals; and none stranger than the men of science.

"That at least is the way in which I should begin a history of the world if I had to follow the scientific custom of beginning with an account of the astronomical universe.

"I should try to see even this earth from the outside, not by the hackneyed insistence of its relative position to the sun, but by some imaginative effort to conceive its remote position for the dehumanized spectator.

"Only I do not believe in being dehumanized in order to study humanity.

"I do not believe in dwelling upon the distances that are supposed to dwarf the world; I think there is even something a trifle vulgar about this idea of trying to rebuke spirit by size.

"And as the first idea is not feasible, that of making the earth a strange planet so as to make it significant, I will not stoop to the other trick of making it a small planet in order to make it insignificant.

"I would rather insist that we do not even know that it is a planet at all, in the sense in which we know that it is a place; and a very extraordinary place too." -- Chesterton, The Everlasting Man



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2014 10:21 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Touchstone 2 for 2014: The Wreck and the Raft

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"19. The old myth that his raft, his world, is especially favoured and protected now seems ridiculous. He has seen and understood the message from the distant supernovae; he knows the sun is growing larger and hotter and that his world will one day be a white-hot ball in a sea of flames; and he knows that the hydrogen bombs waiting and closer at hand. Inwards and outwards the prospect before him is terrifying. (Fowles, 1964)

"23. Hazard has conditioned us to live in hazard. All our pleasures are dependant upon it. Even though I arrange for a pleasure; and look forward to it, my eventual enjoyment of it is still a matter of hazard. Wherever time passes, there is hazard. You may die before you turn the next page. (Fowles, 1964)

"32. The whole is not a pharaonic cosmos; a blind obsession with pyramids, assembling, slaves. Our pyramid has not apex; is not a pyramid. We are not slaves that will never see the summit, because there is no summit. Life may be less imperfect in a hundred years' time than it it today; but it will be even less imperfect a hundred years after that. Perfectibility is meaningless because whatever we enter the infinite processes we can look forward with a wind of nostalgia for the future, and imagine a better age. It is also evil, because a terminus of perfection breeds a cancer of the now. For perfectibilitarians, perfect ends tomorrow justify very imperfect means today. (Fowles, 1964)

"33. We build towards nothing; we build (Fowles, 1964)

1280px-the_raft_of_the_medusa_-_louvre.jpg

FROM The Aristos - A Self Portrait In Ideas: John Fowles



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2014 9:29 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Earthrise 2014

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In December of 1968, the crew of Apollo 8 became the first people to leave our home planet and travel to another body in space. But as crew members Frank Borman, James Lovell, and William Anders all later recalled, the most important thing they discovered was Earth.

Using photo mosaics and elevation data from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), this video commemorates the 45th anniversary of Apollo 8's historic flight by recreating the moment when the crew first saw and photographed the Earth rising from behind the Moon.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2014 1:01 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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