Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
27 DAILY AFFIRMATIONS FOR BLOGGERS

thesunmother.jpg1. When I post under an assumed name, I can get in closer touch with my Inner Sociopath.

2. Through block-quotes and fisking I have the power to transform even the most harmless statements of my enemies into concrete evidence of their evil plans to enslave mankind and rule the world.

3. In all humility I do not seek to rule the world. I seek only complete agreement and total capitulation.

4. I assume full responsibility for my posts, especially the good ones that are just links to someone else's.

5. If, after publication, one of my posts should, through no fault of my own, appear to be irresponsible, I will be responsible enough to make it disappear, along with the Google cache of it.

6. Being more confused about the First Amendment than I am about copyright, I am free to reveal the obscene number of hours I blog at work, and the URL of my secret blog where I post the truth about my coworkers' hygiene, bodily functions, porn-surfing habits, and gender reassignment surgeries. I know my rights.

7. At either The Daily Kos or Little Green Footballs, most of what I post would be considered normal. In fact, it is.

8. I celebrate my compulsive flaws for grammar and syntax of sins, for without them I would have no writing style sowhatever.

9. My seething cranium does not need to writhe in silence while I can still troll my own comments.

10. It is regrettable that I do not know who I have to bribe to get a spot on Instapundit's blogroll. Maybe if I clicked on his Amazon links enough?

11. As I learn to accept the wheezing servers and brain-dead coding of Memeorandum, I no longer need to carry a gun to its developers' meetings.

12. I have also come to understand that it really isn't necessary to check Matt Drudge 25 times a day for new leads.

13. All my posts are beautiful and valuable, even the ugly, stupid, and disgusting ones that are, frankly, made mostly of links to other people's posts.

14. I honor all facets of my blather and freely express my spew, regardless of federal, state and local laws, or common standards of civility and decency.

15. I maintain careful and detailed notes in a large database of everything my fellow bloggers have posted since 1999, for there are no sweeter words than "I told you so."

16. False rumors are better for traffic than no rumors at all, for, lo, people will believe anything about Barack Obama.

17. I accept that I will never outgrow my compulsion to fisk Paul Krugman with a chain saw until every part of him is reduced to steaming gobbets of bloody flesh.

18. A good flamewar in the comments is nearly as good for traffic as hosting a film clip of Michelle Obama trying on bathing suits.

19. It is a far, far better thing to be able to edit comments than to make them.

20. Why should I waste my time posting about whatever political fornication festival is at the top of Memeorandum when I can spend it worrying about what tomorrow's sitemeter will show?

21. I have accepted the fact that the only thing BlogAds, Google Adsense Ads, Federated Media Ads, and the PayPal Donation button have given me are slower loading times.

22. I am learning that trolling is not nearly as effective against my enemies as showing up at their front door with grenades.

23. I have conquered my shame at having, for about 10 minutes in the early morning hours of June 14, 2006, lusted after a three-way with Arianna Huffington and Anne Coulter. And I have deleted the photoshopped images.

24. I take solace in knowing that to read the entire blogsphere is not nearly as terrifying as having to write it.

25. I sleep soundly at night knowing that the complete lack of evidence behind what I write is the surest sign that I have posted the truth.

26. Joan of Arc heard voices too, but she was wise enough to have herself set on fire before she logged on.

27. I listened attentively to my friends and family when they told me to get a life. I did and this is it.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 29, 2014 5:48 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"All animals are equal...." [Fresh Link Update]

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“Animal Farm has seen off all the opposition. It’s as valid today as it was fifty years ago.” – Ralph Steadman George Orwell’s Animal Farm Illustrated by Ralph Steadman | Brain Pickings [Buzzfeed item taken down.]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 29, 2014 10:03 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Papers, please

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"As in all things, in all times, stay away from crowds.

The photo is from 1943, a rainy day in Marseille in the south of France. The occupation forces have cordoned off part of the city and rounded up the civilians. The Reich is desperately short of workers, these people will be separated from their children and sent to labor in Germany—completely legal under their War Powers Act. Working conditions will be harsh, they'll be all but unbearable before war's end. Many will die or be debilitated from abuse, hunger, overwork, disease or in Allied bombings. Those in good health, wearing durable shoes and clothing, are the most likely to survive. Those who are elsewhere on this rainy day in 1943 have the best chance of all." ol remus and the woodpile report



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2014 11:11 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Being Nice by Scott M

This is the model for today. You and I should play by the rules UNTIL the people trying to enslave us demonstrate they will not play by any rules. THEN we stop and deliver justice and win. I'm not saying it is time for violence. I don't think it is. In fact, right now, resorting to violence is the worst possible action we can take. But I am begging all of the nice people that dream about how things were back in Mayberry, stop playing by Mayberry Rules when we are faced with officials and supporters that will not limit their actions against us by any rule other than "just win baby."

Being nice isn't nice. It's sacrificing nice people to evil people. The sooner we break out of this preemptive resignation to future defeats the more good we will save in the system and the less harm will be done to the system. Choosing to play nice or waiting for future outrages before we start implementing "direct action" like showing up in large numbers at people's offices and homes and flooding hearing rooms, etc is letting the people that "shoot at helpless people in parachutes" return to base, reload, and come back to shoot more people in parachutes.

There is no nice path forward. There is no magic candidate around, or possible, that can fix things who won't require more conflict. Our situation is one that will either become a Leftist Tyranny or will demand civil strife and drive the Leftists out or underground. If you think smart people can find some other alternative you are choosing to be the weak link in the chain and you put the rest of us at risk. You have no right to throw the rest of us away simply because you want to believe in a fantasy.

The Left will come after you and the other nice people just as they will persecute anyone they see as a threat. The Left will lie about their enemy and nice people on our side will stand aside and watch the target destroyed simply because the target may/may not be in violation of some Mayberry Code of Conduct. You can just as easily be isolated, slandered, and destroyed. The facts won't protect you. Only group resistance will save you.

You must choose fighters and accept the fight so that one day we can return to Mayberry Rules. Stop choosing grey men who seem comfortable, but fail to change the system. The Left is brittle and a little mass resistance will go a long way. But, don't fool yourself, without active resistance there will be no change. This habit of retreating from The Left will ruin us all, you included. Putting off this fight only increases the numbers of us that must fight and the destruction from that fight.

I propose we strongly urge state legislators to support Mark Levin's Article 5 Convention of the States. We elect only people with a history of fighting, not working within the system. And we tie up elected official's offices with phone calls, emails, office visits such that regular business comes to a halt. The system isn't going to change itself and the usual suspects will not upset the system. Pick a fighter, not a comfortable dinner guest.

The greatest Generation had to go to war to save the world. We are only being asked to visit offices, makes some phone calls, donate some money, and keep doing it.

Posted by: Scott M in The Top 40: Don't shoot at men in parachutes



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2014 2:59 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Homeschooling by Ghostsniper

Our son was in the 6th grade at a public school in Florida. An envious female employee at my wife's job called our sons school and represented herself as my wife. Over the phone she had our son transferred to another school and we knew nothing about it. Until I got the call at my office telling me our son had been out processed and I could come pick him up.

Let that sink in for a moment and put yourself in my place. I trusted this place with the most valuable thing I will ever own. If the envious employee had a mind to she could have had anyone pick up our son.

I laid rubber all the way to the school and into the principals office and got exactly waist deep in his ass and in his face. I never seen such terror on a grown mans face ever. He literally begged me to let him make things right. I came within millimeters of beating his ass right on the spot.

I took our son home and never again did he attend public school.

Not only did we home school him, but in the 24 years hence we have assisted thousands of people worldwide in educating their own kids and continue to do so today.

One more time, "The worst thing this rotten assed gov't did was to hijack the education system for that has allowed all other societal ills to expand."

Now, what sane parent would want their kids to associate in an environment such as the public schools? Ignorant parents, like we were way back then. We were involved, constantly, and we were frustrated, constantly, but we didn't know there was another way to get this job done. Until the public school our son was enrolled in demonstrated that it was not capable of doing the job it was being lucratively paid to do. Only then did we understand that the role of running our sons life until his adulthood was ours and ours alone, no matter what.

Over the next 5 years we bent our lives to accommodate our son but not uncomfortably so.

Educating your kid(s) is completely doable for ANY parent, no exceptions. But first, the parent has to care. I mean REALLY care. Not this mamby pamby bullshit care you hear parents blubbering about everywhere. Walk it, don't talk it.

We aren't wealthy, and we aren't supermen. We are normal everyday people that found out the public schools don't give one damn about the students and we did what we had to to scale this hurdle and we enjoyed every minute of it.

Our son is 35 years old now, completed his high school 1 year early, completed a 4 year degree in 3 years and has been working as an advanced computer programmer responsible for the Tampa division of the New York Times website and recently started his own business and in 2 months he and his wife are giving us our first grandchild. We couldn't be more proud.

Question of the day:
Why do the public schools take 12 years to teach things that take 2 years to learn?

Roll that around upstairs for awhile.

(most people use the public school system as a free daycare center)

Posted by: ghostsniper at April 25, 2014 11:58 AM in The Top 40: 2) You say that homeschooled kids aren’t properly socialized.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2014 1:34 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Go-Along to Get Along Is Wrong, Wrong, Wrong, Wrong by Ray Van Dune

Many years ago I was working for a small office of a major IT consulting firm. "George" was a new consultant who wasn't working out. Several clients had asked for him to be replaced. Older hands like me had tried to mentor him, but truth be known he just was not a fan of hard work, and tended to blame everyone and everything except himself for his lack of success. So one day I was called in to have a chat about him with our "HR guy", Joe. Joe was reluctant to let George go, because Joe wanted to be everybody's friend and I think he wanted me to tell him to pull the trigger, so he didn't have to feel so guilty about it. Well, I did and in no uncertain terms.

Joe says to me "You're a hard man, Ray." I replied to him "No Joe, I am not hard guy, I am actually pretty sentimental. When I see George screwing the pooch, I worry about all the new guys whose jobs might be at risk because of how George is dragging down the numbers. And you know how we get premium rates because we say to our clients that we have only the best people? Well, I want to be telling the truth about that, because I really care about our clients getting their money's worth - I am kind of old fashioned about things like that too. So I see that if we keep carrying George, we are screwing our clients and our good performers, because we won't do the right thing and protect them, and instead we focus on protecting George!"

George cleaned out his desk that afternoon, and as long as I worked with him, I understood that Joe lacked the clarity of thought to really do his job well, and never really trusted him after that.

That's how I feel about the go-along to get-along leaders of the Republican Party - they lack the clarity and integrity to act on the principles required to protect those who have placed their trust in them. They are worse than George, they are Joe. And they gotta go.

Posted by: Ray Van Dune at April 25, 2014 6:40 PM in The Top 40: Don't shoot at men in parachutes



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2014 1:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Largest Cross in the World

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Photos by Van der Leun

Just off the interstate in Groom, Texas. You see it coming along the horizon for maybe ten miles. If you've got any sense and any time, you get off the Interstate to see what it is all about. It's about 190 feet tall and, aluminum clad, weighs in at about 75 tons -- a burden enough for anyone.

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Bronze statues representing the stations of the Cross circle the base and a path on one side leads to a monument to children who have been aborted since Roe v. Wade.

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To the south-west is an artificial Golgotha with three crosses holding life-size bronze statues of Christ and the two thieves.

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When you get to the top, the feet of Christ are just above eye-level and you've got a view beyond of flat fields of hay going on forever across the earth sea of Texas. About a quarter mile away on your right, the Interstate hums with the endless convoys of trucks moving east and west.

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Underneath the artificial hill an empty tomb is carved into the rock. Nothing in it. Very quiet.

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Outside next to the large and empty parking lot is a small gift shop (10x10) and another room that holds a replica of the Shroud of Turin. Except for the woman reading quietly in the gift shop, there was nobody else visible on the weekday afternoon I stopped by in November of 2002. Then I got back in my car and drove off toward the West. I thought I was going somewhere at the time. I was going nowhere. Fast.

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Posted by Vanderleun Apr 27, 2014 2:11 AM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Excesses Of God by Robinson Jeffers

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Is it not by his high superfluousness we know
Our God? For to be equal a need
Is natural, animal, mineral: but to fling
Rainbows over the rain
And beauty above the moon, and secret rainbows
On the domes of deep sea-shells,
And make the necessary embrace of breeding
Beautiful also as fire,
Not even the weeds to multiply without blossom
Nor the birds without music:
There is the great humaneness at the heart of things,
The extravagant kindness, the fountain
Humanity can understand, and would flow likewise
If power and desire were perch-mates.

Posted by: Skorpion at April 23



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 26, 2014 3:13 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Web Above Us

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Through a circle that ever returneth in
To the self-same spot,
And much of Madness, and more of Sin,
And Horror the soul of the plot.

       -- Poe, The Conqueror Worm

At the Seattle houseboat where I write, it's either spider mating season or a spider building boom. Unlike the rest of the builders in this burg, there's no slump in the spider building boom. Here no bubble has burst. All about this floating world on the lake, spiders big and small are weaving elaborate webs in all the angles a host of houseboats offer.

In fact, so many spiders are getting so busy that it behooves you to begin the day waving a straw broom across your doorways and walkways lest you end up wearing a web. Getting your face slapped and your mouth filled with web is no way to start the day. I know. So sweeping the air with a broom like some latter day sorcerer's apprentice is required. That's my current ritual and it works, most of the time. But webs, I've found, come in all sorts of shapes and diameters and not all are easily seen and swept. Miss one and you get a face full of web and the spider gets, I imagine, very ticked off seeing his long night's labor wiped out in a split second. If you both get very unlucky, you get a mouth full of web with a crunchy spider filling. Not my idea of a crisp morning's memorable moment. Certainly not the spider's.

At the same time, you don't want to be too enthusiastic about web wipeouts. I know how beneficial it is to have spiders at work in a wet environment like a houseboat community. Where spiders weave mosquito populations are severely reduced, flies too. If you want insect life kept down to a dull buzz, you don't want to destroy any webs that aren't directly in your way. Besides, after a fog or a light rain at dawn, or in the slanting late afternoon light, you are can see dozens of gleaming diadem-dappled webs moving ever so gently in the light breeze off Lake Union. Regardless of how you feel about spiders, their work and their webs are both beneficial and beautiful.


Webs, as we know, are not so wonderful for flies. For flies, a spider's web is, in the full meaning of the phrase, a dead end. Touch even one silken strand and you can't shake it off.

The nature of the spider's web is that once touched by a single strand, your struggles to shake it off enmesh you ever more securely in others until escape is hopeless. In the end you are held not just by the single strand you started with, but by all the others that lie just to this side or the other. The spider will be along soon enough to wrap things up. The only safe way to escape the spider's web is not to touch it in the first place.

At least that's what I told the small fly that landed under the web next to my foot this morning as I stood outside on the railing with my coffee. I'd noted the web between the two uprights when I'd first stepped out earlier brandishing my broom like Shiva the Destroyer, but since the web wasn't going to interfere with me, I wasn't going to interfere with it. Live and let be, I thought. I could have brushed it into oblivion with the broom to my right, but it was both beautiful and functional, so why destroy it? Why interfere? Live and let be. What a good Buddha I am. Or is it "Oh what a good Jainist am I?" I forget.

Then I noticed the fly. For a fly it was kind of cute. It wasn't a big buzzer that can batter on a window. It was a small fly, insignificant even by fly standards, a pipsqueak. It sat, bobbing slightly up and down as flies at rest often do, on the decking just below the web above. From my giant's vantage point, it seemed to be scanning the green water and moored boats for whatever it is flies scan for with their ommatidium eyes. Being a fly it had no real knowledge that just overhead death lurked with its many invisible strands. Touch just one, fly up into just one, and that would be the end of my little fly's all too short history.

That's when I got the idea that I could help this small fly avoid destruction with the slightest of gestures. I could see it was courting an unpleasant and lingering death but it could not. The fly sensed no danger at all. Why would it? It didn't have that powerful frame of reference we humans believe we have in the 21st century. It lacked our overweening certitude and preening "knowledge" that we finally know, to a certainty, all the important facts about the Universe -- its size, its age, our place in it, and all the other hubristic crap we tell ourselves because, in the final analysis, we are still afraid of the great dark that we've done our best to make larger and darker.

No, the fly was just moving in the world according to its instincts and programming. It was not at all like us. It was, I suppose, doing whatever felt either necessary or good to it at the time. Not at all like us. Or perhaps it was doing what it was doing because it had to do it. How can we ever understand what happens in the mind of a fly, when - for all our pride - we do not know the what happens in our secret hearts; when we do not even know how we move our hands to make our gestures. If the fly got caught in the web above, it wouldn't matter. It would be just one of the billions of small natural tragedies that happen every minute of every day in our brave new world where -- so many of us seem to have decided -- "purposeless matter hovers in the dark." What right had I to interfere in the unfolding of nature?

Every right. I was not outside of nature but part of it too. And I was there at that time and that place. I could see the danger. The fly, for all the facets of its eyes, could not. A butterfly beats its wings in a garden in Peking, a fly settles to rest under a web on a houseboat in Seattle. God's plan, Fate, Chaos Theory, or a minuscule meaningless moment? Probably a bit of all of the above. Plus the chance for a minuscule godlike moment for me.

I know, through repeated experience, that you cannot save people from themselves, but, I thought, I could at least save one small fly from her own foolishness. A small gesture, affirming life, but mine own. A tiny prayer sent up from a simple act here on this morning in my floating world.

I gestured towards the fly with my shoe. It took alarm and flew off a foot or two. And then it hovered and came back to land at the self-same spot. I gestured again, closer and with more vigor. Same reaction -- a small box-shaped moment of flight and then right back to the self-same spot. Again with the shoe and yet again the stubborn pattern of escape and return on the part of the fly to the self-same spot.

Curious, I bent down and looked closer. It was then I saw a faint, thin strand of web above had already attached itself to the fly. Loose and long, the strand, a single strand barely whiter than the air around it, had already adhered to the fly's shoulders. I guess it had been there all along but from far off and high above I hadn't been able to see it.

Determined now to complete my mission of saving this fly from its fate, I waved my finger over the fly severing the strand. Alarmed, the fly flew away.

But it only flew a little way. Then it came back and settled roughly in the self-same spot.

In the same way it didn't know it was trapped, the fly didn't realize that it was free; that some omnipotent being beyond its ken had granted it grace. Instead, in response to some deeper programming, the fly returned again to its pre-ordained place in this infinitesimal corner of the universe. There it courted the same fate I'd tried to save it from, lifting up to fly about in the strange right-angled way that flies do as if seeking the strand I'd severed. And always returning to the self-same spot.

I finished my coffee and walked back into the room, leaving the fly to whatever fate may, in time, have befallen it. Like so many human beings I've known, the fly was, I guess, fated to be there. All it would take would be one small move, one firm decision, the flight of a moment out over the calm water, and it would live. It couldn't do it. It was tied to its place in the loom of life by strands too fine for me to see and far too strong for me to sever.

From where I sit now, another fly crawls along the inside of my window. Through the glass I can see the spider, who owns the web under which my fly sits. Something, some faint tremor from a single strand, has alerted it and it is starting to scuttle, ever so carefully, from that shadow it waits in towards the center of its web.

I refill my cup and settle into my morning reading. Today it's Pope's "Essay on Man" where, after a few minutes, I read:

Oh blindness to the future! kindly giv'n,
That each may fill the circle mark'd by heav'n:
Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall,
Atoms or systems into ruin hurl'd,
And now a bubble burst, and now a world.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 25, 2014 2:35 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The manufactory



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 24, 2014 1:04 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Suffer not the old King under any name!

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From The Old Issue by Rudyard Kipling [Emphasis added lest the point be missed.]


"All we have of freedom, all we use or know -
This our fathers bought for us long and long ago."

They that beg us barter—wait his yielding mood—
Pledge the years we hold in trust—pawn our brother's blood—

Howso' great their clamour, whatsoe'er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!

Here is naught unproven—here is naught to learn.
It is written what shall fall if the King return.

He shall mark our goings, question whence we came,
Set his guards about us, as in Freedom's name.

He shall take a tribute, toll of all our ware;
He shall change our gold for arms—arms we may not bear.

He shall break his judges if they cross his word;
He shall rule above the Law calling on the Lord.

He shall peep and mutter; and the night shall bring
Watchers 'neath our window, lest we mock the King

Hate and all division; hosts of hurrying spies;
Money poured in secret, carrion breeding flies.

Strangers of his counsel, hirelings of his pay,
These shall deal our Justice: sell—deny—delay.

We shall drink dishonour, we shall eat abuse
For the Land we look to—for the Tongue we use.

We shall take our station, dirt beneath his feet,
While his hired captains jeer us in the street.

Cruel in the shadow, crafty in the sun,
Far beyond his borders shall his teachings run.

Sloven, sullen, savage, secret, uncontrolled,
Laying on a new land evil of the old—

Long-forgotten bondage, dwarfing heart and brain—
All our fathers died to loose he shall bind again.

Here is naught at venture, random nor untrue—
Swings the wheel full-circle, brims the cup anew.

Here is naught unproven, here is nothing hid:
Step for step and word for word—so the old Kings did!

Step by step, and word by word: who is ruled may read.
Suffer not the old Kings: for we know the breed—

All the right they promise—all the wrong they bring.
Stewards of the Judgment, suffer not this King!

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Posted by Vanderleun Apr 23, 2014 11:06 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One of Ten Thousand Reasons Nobody Is Ever Nostalgic About the 80s

And nobody never ever says, "Hey, whatever happened to Neil?"

Well... almost never...

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Nigel Planer, the actor and writer, 60, in the living room of his central London flat: "After appearing as Neil in The Young Ones, I recorded a version of him singing Traffic’s classic Hole In My Shoe in 1984 – and every now and then I still give the record a spin. The single got to No 2 in the charts, earned me a silver disc and was only kept off the top spot by Frankie Goes to Hollywood. I got to appear on Top of the Pops a few times and thought I’d make a fortune, but you don’t make much if you’re a one-hit wonder!"



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 23, 2014 3:00 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
To a Poet a Thousand Years Hence

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 23, 2014 8:32 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

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. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

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And for all this, nature is never spent;
There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;
And though the last lights off the black West went
Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs —
Because the Holy Ghost over the bent
World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 23, 2014 8:23 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
To Vacuum the Vacuum Use the Vacuum

vacuum-cleaner-diagram.jpgThanks to the unremitting efforts of two wives and a number of concerned girlfriends I have, over the years, become a fully domesticated man. I cook. I iron. I put the seat down out of pure reflex.

And I clean.

Yes, I clean the house. I have a wide variety of products and tools for floors, ceilings, window, toilets, and counter tops (I’m especially good on counter tops since I not only have cleaning spritzers in plain acid wash and foaming bleach blaster, I also have a compound that renews the polish once the sanitizing has been completed.) I am the very model of the modern major traife buster.

I am, however, a bit sketchy on floors. That is not to say you couldn’t eat off my floors. You could because you’d find a host of food shreds there on any given afternoon. This is not because I like floors configured as mouse buffets but only because, being 6’1”, the floors are so far away I don’t really focus on them. My solution? The world’s most rapacious vacuum cleaner, “The Kirby.”

Actually, I have 2 (two!) solutions since I own 2 (two!) vacuum cleaners. The first is a kind of cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum bought at some box store because it was cheap. Like all metrosexual items, it performs in a manner that lets you know all cheap things are worth much less than you spent on them. It sucks by not sucking as a sucker of floor dirt should. Very sucky. It is, at the best, back-up. Bags and parts for it are sold everywhere.

Then there’s “The Kirby” weighing in are over twenty pounds of solid chromed steel, titanium bristles that can skin a black rhino, and a woven cloth bag wrapped around the vacuum bag that could be made into an outdoor area rug. The motor in this bad boy is so powerful it can suck kittens out of my basement through the floorboards in the living room. It is the chopped Harley Hog of vacuums.

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The bags for this hoovering T-Rex are built to blast stresses and are rare as dinosaur eggs. Finding them always calls for an expedition to a far-away strip malls and into some Norwegian albino's small appliance parts shop sandwiched between a sketchy Malaysian smoke shop and a lap-dance rec room. It’s a chore.

So much of a chore that when The Kirby’s bag filled up about six months back I was too lazy to pack a lunch and go find new ones. My solution? Pure genius!

I took out the old bag which was almost rock solid with dust mites, hair, and the bones of desiccated kittens and, holding it over the toxic waste recycling bin behind the garage, cut the bottom open and shook the contents into the bin. Then, because there is nothing it cannot do, I duct-taped the bottom of the bag and slapped it back in The Kirby.

“There. I fixed it.”

Fast forward half a year and I am found manhandling The Kirby over the current mouse buffet and noticing that for a super-sucker its sucking sucks. So I say to myself, “Self, check it out.”

I open the military gauge zipper on the back of the bag and instantly a fibrous tumor of hair and dust mites oozes out. I retreat and don Haz-Mat suit. I inspect the superfund site that is my kitchen.

It would seem that my duct-tape resealing of the bag had, well, failed to hold the bag’s universe together some months back and that all creatures great and small that had been sucked off my floors was now compressed into a hair ball that threatened to expand into all of known space.

Seeing everything that has come off your floors in the last six months in one wad is a unique experience but I resisted the urge to perform an archeological dig on the site. Instead, I deployed a very large garbage back and, grimacing, transferred the dust mite condo from the bag into the bag. It was only the beginning.

Upon inspection of the inside of The Kirby’s bag I found that at least an inch of detritus was still impacted into the cloth on all surfaces. I scraped at it a bit but the dust cloud just deepened around me and drifted out onto the previously pristine floors. Disaster loomed. Then I remembered.

“I own two vacuums. I shall vacuum this vacuum with a vacuum!” Sooper-Genius!

In no time I had deployed vacuum two -- the previously mentioned “cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum” -- attached the hose with the special little attachment that is used for sucking coins and popcorn kernels out of deep crevices in the couch, and switched it on.

Its puny little motor wound up and went to its wheezing limit. I tested the nozzle on my hand and felt the feeble suck but knew it would be better than scraping The Kirby’s inner bag surface with my fingernails. I deployed it inside the clogged bag and carefully and thoroughly went over all the surfaces until they seemed, well, “clean enough for government work.” Then I shut it down and carefully swept the dust and other detritus on the floor into a pile and sucked that up too. Then I mopped the floor of the kitchen. Twice. Until it gleamed.

I took a shower. I mixed a celebratory cocktail. I went to Amazon, found a pack of 12 bags for The Kirby, and ordered them on two day delivery. I went into the kitchen and thought to myself, “A wise man would now replace the bag in the weak little vacuum that has all the leavings from The Kirby in it.”

I opened the “cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum” and knew instantly that many moons ago I had taken a bag out of that vacuum and somehow failed, FAILED, to install a new one. A cloud of hair, dust, dust mites and the bones of small animals exploded from the case and drifted across the gleaming kitchen floor and the carefully polished counter tops. I stood in the cloud at ground zero and felt the dust of ages settle on me.

They say that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Nature’s got nothing on me.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 23, 2014 1:09 AM | Comments (45)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If it is true that only I can prevent forest fires,

I'm taking Earth Day off.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 22, 2014 7:58 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"If I wanted America to fail" .... A list of the lies.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 22, 2014 4:56 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Psychopath Checklist

"Hi. Got a tape I want to play you."

1. Look for glib and superficial charm. A psychopath will also put on what professionals refer to as a 'mask of sanity' that is likable and pleasant.   It is a thin veneer.

2. Look for a grandiose self perception. Psychopaths will often believe they are smarter or more powerful than they actually are.

3. Watch for a constant need for stimulation. Stillness, quiet and reflection are not things embraced by psychopaths. They need constant entertainment and activity.

4. Determine if there is pathological lying. A psychopath will tell all sorts of lies; little white lies as well as huge stories intended to mislead. Psychopaths are gifted or dull, high functioning or low performing like other people. An untalented psychopath may harm a few; a highly talented psychopath may lay waste to nations. The difference between the psychopath and others lies in their organic lack of conscience and empathy for others. The sociopath is trained to lack empathy and conscience. The psychopath is a natural.

5. Evaluate the level of manipulation. All psychopaths are identified as cunning and able to get people to do things they might not normally do. They can use guilt, force and other methods to manipulate.

6. Look for any feelings of guilt. An absence of any guilt or remorse is a sign of psychopathy.  They will often blame the victim.

7. Consider the level of emotional response a person has. Psychopaths demonstrate shallow emotional reactions to deaths, injuries, trauma or other events that would otherwise cause a deeper response. Other people are satisfaction suppliers, nothing more.

8. Look for a lack of empathy. Psychopaths are callous and have no way of relating to others in non-exploitative ways. They may find a temporary kinship with other psychopaths and sociopaths that is strictly utilitarian and goal-oriented.

9. Psychopaths are often parasitic. They live off other people, emotionally, physically, and financially. Their modus operandi is domination and control.  They will claim to be maligned or misunderstood to gain your sympathy.

10. Look for obsessive risk taking and lack of self-control. The Hare Checklist includes three behavior indicators; poor behavior control, sexual promiscuity, and behavioral problems.

11. Psychopaths have unrealistic goals or none at all for the long term. Either there are no goals at all, or they are unattainable and based on the exaggerated sense of one's own accomplishments and abilities.

12. Psychopaths will often be shockingly impulsive or irresponsible. Their shamelessness knows no bounds. You will ask, what were they thinking? And the answer was, they weren't because they did not care.

13. A psychopath will not genuinely accept personal responsibility. A psychopath will never admit to being wrong or owning up to mistakes and errors in judgment, except as part of a manipulative ploy.   They will despise and denigrate their victims once they are done with them.  If they have any regret it is that their source of satisfaction supply has ended and they must seek another.

14. Psychopaths lack long term personal relationships. If there have been many short term marriages, broken friendships, purely transactional relationships, the chances the person is a psychopath increase. Watch especially how they treat other people in weaker positions and even animals. 

15. Psychopaths are often versatile in their criminality. Psychopaths are able to get away with a lot, and while they might sometimes get caught, the ability to be flexible and adaptable when committing crimes is indicative.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 22, 2014 1:14 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Increasing the Dose: Progressives, Junkies, and Their Mutual Mental/Spiritual Disease

"There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when the man is tired at playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares." -- Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

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"I tell you boys, I've heard some tired conversation but no other OCCUPATION GROUP can approximate that old thermodynamic junk Slow-DOWN. Now your heroin addict does not say hardly anything and that I can stand. But your Opium "Smoker'' is more active since he still has a tent and a Lamp . . . and maybe 7-9-10 lying up in there like hibernating reptiles keep the temperature up to Talking Level: How low the other junkies are ``whereas We--WE have this tent and this lamp and this tent and this lamp and this tent and nice and warm in here nice and warm nice and IN HERE and nice and OUTSIDE ITS COLD. . . . ITS COLD OUTSIDE where the dross eaters and the needle boys won't last two years not six months hardly won't last stumble bum around and there is no class in them. . . . But WE SIT HERE and never increase the DOSE . . . never-never increase the dose never except TONIGHT is a SPECIAL OCCASION." -- Testimony Concerning A Sickness, William S. Burroughs



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 21, 2014 9:32 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Meanwhile in Japan the Genetic Damage from Radiation Goes On and On and On and On and....

World Order: "Have a Nice Day"

This one goes out to any space aliens that are even thinking about invading the Earth.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 21, 2014 1:21 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Climbout on Easter Sunday

      "If I take the wings of the morning,
      and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea...."
-- Psalm 138

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WE RISE in a banking curve of pure velocity
over fallow fields and grids of neighborhoods,
arcing over ponds painted with slick scum oozing
-- from the oil pans of countless sunken cars,
-- from punctured sacks of toxic trash,
-- from fleshless graves of abandoned murders,
of missing persons filed in muck.

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WE RISE embraced by first-class armchairs,
pondering the crisply printed histories
of yesterday's most meaningless events.
We rise up above our lives and lies,
above, alone, away, alas, good-bye
to families and to friends, to all terrestrial ties.
Our very cellulars, by strict law silenced
so that our murmurs not disturb
the delicate electronics on which so much
at this tremulous moment depends
that we dare not think on it, and so select
music of our choice from mid-heaven's jukebox.

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WE RISE in the faltering dark
into the pale flicker of a cosseted sun
slatted in flashes through fingers of cloud,
up into the white blood of the sinewed sky,
and so our day and world slips by.

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WE RISE UP to where all breath is snow,
so far that all above becomes below,
up until the sky is seen as vapor,
smeared white on blue construction paper
and framed by dark remorseless space.

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WE RISE UP until from Earth we seem
only a fading gesture, some echoed trace
of fog, distinguished only by our direction,
out over arid ancient seas, past all reflection.

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AND STILL WE RISE, our lush ascent
powered by ageless diatoms' descent
into the ooze between the fossiled stones,
the shattered crypts of shells and bones;
above the planned sere autumn fields
of pasture, silage, grain that yields
the bread we break in this, our floating world.

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AND STILL we rise, resurrected,
through the thinning strands of sky reflected,
until the edge of day the stars deny,
where all the worlds we knew slip by,
tangled in a mapless maze of rivers,
our passing but a whisper that shivers
the dream of a drowsing owl, a silver splinter
caught in a facet of the eye of winter,
and, unremarked or written, quickly glides
beyond the reach of records or of guides.

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WE RISE until at last held still
in that blue hand which grasps all sky,
awake within our tube of paper steel,
our long ascent levels and we slide
onto a gleaming lake of granite ink,
reflecting now the empty gaze of God,
beyond warm hands and done with Earth.

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NEVER NOW to stagger or to slip
back into the shadows and the rain,
back into the warm musk of the day,
but, keen as an iron blade
touched to the tongue,
we sail forever on these slate seas
out to the far edge of imagine,
and on, and still on beyond
into the heart of the stars,
into the silence of their song.

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Posted by Vanderleun Apr 20, 2014 1:43 AM | Comments (34)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Mountain of the Holy Cross: "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

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Thomas Moran, The Mountain of the Holy Cross, 1875 7'x5' Oil

There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.

-- Longfellow, "The Cross of Snow"

The Mountain of the Holy Cross began as a myth and became a rumor. Then it became a report, a photograph, and a painting. In time it became a destination for pilgrims and tourists. Shortly after that it ceased to exist....

In the beginning Americans who heard of, travelled to, and documented the Mountain of the Holy Cross believed in omens, signs and symbols. By the time the sign collapsed and disappeared, those beliefs too were eroded but not lost. We still have the expedition records, the memoirs, the photographs and the paintings and can sense, distantly, what our ancestors felt when first glimpsing this strange vision that could only be see from the east covering a mountainside in the far west.

The sign / vision / illusion (choose which one makes sense to you) is easy to explain. On the stone face of a certain mountain deep in the Colorado Rockies over aeons of time a pattern of cracks and crevasses held against the melting snow -- under ideal conditions and from a certain point of view for 2 to 3 months a year -- a large white cross below its summit. It was one of those natural coincidences where happenstance runs into the human mind in search of meaning. It was seen because it was there on the mountain but its meaning bloomed in the minds of the faithful. To them the sign on the side of the mountain said, among other things, "In hoc signo vinces" ("with this sign you shall conquer"). It was, after all, the era of Manifest Destiny.

Although it was a persistent whisper from the mountain men and others who had pushed deep into the Rockies, the Mountain of the Holy Cross was first written about by Samuel Bowles in his 1869 book, The Switzerland of America. He saw the mountain from Gray's Peak at a distance of about 40 miles:

"...Over one of the largest and finest, the snow fields lay in the form of an immense cross, and by this it is known in all the mountain views of the territory. It is as if God has set His sign, His seal, His promise there--a beacon upon the very center and height of the Continent to all its people and all its generations..."

Much of the Colorado Rockies were still terra incognita to "the land vaguely realizing westward" in the 1860s, and a report of something strange or miraculous was often followed by an expedition. The exact location of The Mountain of the Holy Cross was not known and was mismarked of what maps existed. In 1869 an expedition headed by Ferdinand Hayden under the auspices of the U.S. Geological Service set out to find and record the illusive mountain. A photographer William Henry Jackson was a member of the team. He made the first photograph of the Holy Cross from the summit of Notch Mountain to the east.

Getting into position to take the photograph wasn't a walk in the park or an easy shot. Nothing was in the days long before planes, trains, automobiles, cell-phones, GPS and digital cameras. W. H. Holmes, a member of "the Hayden Survey of the Territories, 1873" wrote up his memoir about the conditions of "The First Ascent of the Mountain of the Holy Cross" at a later date:

"This was to be the field of our labors, and we set about the task of identifying such great landmarks as would be necessary to guide us in our future wanderings. An indefinite number of high, ragged ranges could be traced by their lines of lofty summits as far away to the north and south as the eye could reach. But one among all these summits caught the eye and fixed the attention. Far away to the westward, rose a lofty peak that bore aloft upon its dark face a great white cross, so perfect, so grand in proportions, that at a distance of sixty miles, it was plainly seen even with the naked eye."

Plainly seen but not so quickly gotten to. It took the expedition two months to advance to the mountain's more immediate neighborhood. Once there they faced more days of trying to find a vantage point from which could make his exposures. What resulted was, for the time, proof in a picture that the Mountain of the Holy Cross existed.

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But a black and white photograph from the far west only whetted the public's appetite for a work that would evoke the spell of the place as well as the look. For that it would take the painter Thomas Moran of the Hudson River School. He accompanied the next Hayden expedition to the mountain in 1873. Upon his return to the studio he created a large oil landscape from memory, a few coarse sketches made on location, and a desire to communicate the feeling of seeing the mountain rather than the mountain itself. He called this kind of painting the making of a "true impression."

In an attempt to capture the "true impression" of the scene rather than a topographical view, Moran freely invented the foreground waterfall in his painting. Forthright about his approach, Moran declared, "I place no value upon literal transcripts from Nature. My general scope is not realistic; all my tendencies are toward idealization.... Topography in art is valueless."

The resulting "impression" was the 7 by 5 foot painting seen reproduced at the beginning of this essay. It was an impression that impressed hundreds of thousands with the indelible image of a "Sign from God" blessing America in the heart of the West.

The painting was first exhibited in New York to high praise from the public and the critics. It then spent years touring the major cities of the United States and Europe before being purchased by wealthy Irish/Canadian doctor who hung it in his Manitou Springs, Colorado mansion. The mansion caught fire in 1886 but the painting was saved by being cut from its frame, rolled up, and passed out of the burning building through a window. From there the painting passed through a number of hands until today it resides in the collection of the Museum of the American West, part of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California.

Moran's masterpiece was the height of an artist encountering the Mountain of the Holy Cross. From the level Moran's painting images of the mountain quickly descended to prints, posters and post cards. As it did the vision of the Mountain in the popular imagination went from the marvelous to the mundane:

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Postcard from the early 20th century with the following on the back:

"Colorado Mountain Scenery. Published by W. G. Chamberlain.--Cor. Larimer & 15th Streets,--Denver. The Holy Cross. No. 601. The form of the Cross near the summit of the Peak, is caused by immense seams in the rocky formation which cut one another on their face at nearly right angles. The perpendicular arm of the cross is 1200 feet in length and fully fifty in breadth, the snow lying in the crevice from fifty to one hundred feet in depth. The horizontal arm varies with the seasons, but average 700 feet. The mountain is not precisely in the main range, but striking off to the north west forms the most northern spur of the Sawatch range. Altitude of the peak 17614 feet.--Distance from Denver about 175 miles."

As the country and Colorado grew, however, the Mountain of the Holy Cross still remained a pilgrimage for those that wanted to see for themselves. In the normal course of events, travelers became, for a time, pilgrims some of whom reported they were being cured of ailments by proximity to the mountain. The Denver Post reported in 1930 that:

"There is an unusual number of persons this year who are afflicted with serious maladies that have defied the best efforts of medical science: they hope that a sight of the Holy Cross, coupled with firm faith in divine power, will accomplish cures. Certainly such cures have resulted from the pilgrimages of the last two years..."

President Herbert Hoover finally designated the site the Mountain of the Holy Cross National Monument in 1929. This lasted as long as the Holy Cross on the mountain itself. Over the years both visitation to the Mountain and the right arm of the cross fell off and the Federal designation was revoked in 1950.

Today the mountain is still a destination for hikers and climbers in the Notch Mountains but the feeling of any sort of sign,symbol or sanctity has long departed with the collapse of the cross:

holycrosstoday.jpg
The Mountain of the Holy Cross today:

Then, behind Moe, about 50 yards away, the craziest and coolest thing I've seen yet on a 14er happened. Two girls, maybe in their early twenties, were standing there on Mountain of the Holy Cross, BUTT NAKED, with their arms in the air and their rear ends shining on the crowd as they flashed the Bowl of Tears Basin. Another lady was taking their picture, and a couple other people with cameras got in on the action. WHY OH WHY did I not bring a camera this day?!!! It was hilarious.

Why wouldn't it be "hilarious"? It's the way of the world and the country these days. What would the two girls know about the landscape that once led their ancestors across a raw and demanding continent? To them the visit was a day-trip to yet another beautiful but non-descript location. They might text about it or get a couple shots of their mooning emailed to their phones for their Facebook page.

The Holy Cross of the Mountain of the Holy Cross was gone now. All that remained were a series of photographs and a large painting from a long dead school of landscape painters.

Long gone too was that moment of first coming into the country; that moment when the land was new:

We stood on the ocean divide, from which the waters to the east are carried by the Arkansas down to the Gulf, while those to the west sink away and are lost in the mysterious gorges of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. On the one side a narrow valley stretched away to the southeast in a seemingly endless vista, while on the other, the streams and valleys are almost immediately obscured by a mass of irregular mountains. The course chosen would lead us, first, down the Pacific slope into a deep and rugged canyon which we must descend for 20 miles or more, thence by means of one of the great creek valleys, that come down from the range to the west, we hoped to be able to reach the base of the peak.

They did reach the base of The Mountain of the Holy Cross and brought back proof of its existence from which millions of Americans once divined a deep purpose. Along with the right arm of that cross, that awareness of a deep purpose to the nation has seemingly dissolved. But then of course the Holy Cross of the Mountain of the Holy Cross was never the Cross itself but the Mountain itself. It still abides in myth, in art, and in a hard to reach part of the Colorado Rockies. In time we will know it again as it once was. Maybe next year in Jerusalem.

holycrosswatercolor.jpg
Thomas Moran, The Mountain of the Holy Cross, 1874, watercolor



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 19, 2014 8:12 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Three Crosses of Easter

The Cross of Moab


from The Eternal City

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

    Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

    The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

    The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

    The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood --
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

Eliot -- from Four Quartets

The Cross of the Anchoress


from The Eternal City

Men's curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by daemonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.

-- Eliot -- from Four Quartets


The Cross of Saturn


from The Eternal City

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

-- Eliot, from Four Quartets



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 19, 2014 1:52 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Good Friday: "You say I am repeating something I have said before. I shall say it again."

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 18, 2014 10:18 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Judas: A Saint for Our Seasons

If we betray the people who love us, what's to stop us from betraying the country that makes us possible?

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Did you ever break a promise?
Did you ever break a vow?
Have you traded love for money,
And are you happy now?

Did you kiss him in the garden,
And then abandon him to fate?
Is your final sin forgiven,
Or is it far too late?

WHEN IT COMES TO DISCOVERING new ways to cheapen the human soul, the "professional intellectuals" of our society have cornered the market. So it was in 2006 when, timed carefully to cash in on the Easter holiday, the "serious" editors of National Geographic chose to release their gleanings from a sheaf of rags and call them "The Gospel of Judas."

Having risen through the echo chamber of "higher" education and survived the ruthless but quiet vetting process of their "profession," these editors knew full well that what they were putting out into the world was not a "gospel." They also knew that calling it a "gospel" would ensure greater attention and greater sales. Beyond that, the editors, secular cultists all, also got a quiet little tingle by having, in their minds, "stuck it" to the Christian church once again. As usual, such secularists love to stick it to Christianity. Addicts of auto-erotic spiritual asphyxiation, their onanistic pleasure in these deeds is only enhanced if they can be performed during the most holy days of the Christian calendar. Only then can maximum profit and pleasure be assured.

This dark thrill of denigration has the immediate benefit of pleasingly confirming them in their own Church of Zero, and the secondary benefit of being much, much safer than, say, sticking it to Islam, a faith that enforces its demands for respect with bombs and beheadings, and whose central message to all cowards is "Don't mess with Muhammad." The sad fact of our modern era is that if you denigrate Islam, you often have to bag up body parts and hose down the sidewalk, but when you denigrate Christianity the most you need to clean up after yourself is a warm washcloth.

Your gedankenexperiment for today is to ask yourself, regardless of your religious beliefs, if the editors of National Geographic, being given an ancient manuscript that "proved" the Koran was nothing more than the blatherings of some ergot-besotted Bedouin who had munched one too many hallucinogenic plants while hanging out in a cave near Mecca, would have published the same "proof" as loudly and as broadly? Would they have done so, or would they have issued a Press Release citing concerns for the "provenance" of the manuscript and their employees' safety? Regardless of your religious beliefs, you know the shameful answer.

But beyond these considerations, the publication of the "Gospel" of Judas has another, deeper and more lasting benefit to our neophytes of nihilism. It puts one of the final elements of their anti-morality play at center stage. It seeks to sanctify treason.

It was never a question of "if," but only a question of "when" our contemporary society would discover an avatar who would make treason acceptable. It only codifies the realities of their secular belief system. Treason against others or one's country has long been as common as adultery in this country. Like adultery the rate of treason is on the rise because, like adultery and similar forms of personal betrayal, it no longer has any consequences at all.

It is true that the federal crime of treason is not easily established and is rarely if ever charged. But the formal crime of treason is not what I am discussing here. Rather the more common, garden variety of treason as understood by plain people -- the rabid and unremitting hatred, expressed in word or deed, of the country that gives you the freedom express your hatred. It is the treason of the ingrate, the soul-dead, the politically perverted, and the bitter; it is, as Roger Kimball at The New Criterion discusses, the treason of the intellectuals and "the undoing of thought."

It's a fact of our self-centered contemporary existence that betrayal has become one of the common forces that shape our lives. For when our own desires ride us like a drunken demon lodged on our shoulders, betrayal is the first order of the day when others seek to thwart our desires, or even when others become a mere inconvenience to our wants and whims.

We've long permitted greater and greater levels of betrayal in our society. We've codified them as law, policy and custom as far as the wishes of the individual are concerned. It is no longer sophisticated or fashionable to speak of selfishness as betrayal. That word is so harsh when, after all, we are only speaking of "differing needs," aren't we. When the betrayal of others is glossed over with phrases such as "I needed to be me," or "I needed my space," or "I needed more money,"or "We were just on different paths," then the elevation of this disease of the soul from the betrayal of another into the larger realm of treason against all is only a question of degree.

The problem is that shame, a vestigial thing in many shrunken souls, persists, and shame must be driven out of the soul if the secular is to thrive. Both betrayal and treason are still weighted down by a lingering sense of shame within at the same time they are made safe from the onus of blame without. Both are permitted by our cults of personal freedom and "sensible" selfishness, but both are formed of dark matter and not easily expunged from one's soul no matter how reduced it may have become.

There was, perhaps, only one moment in history when humans "knew not what they did." In all other times we know, at the deepest level, exactly what we do when we betray another, or others, or ourselves, or our country. We know it clearly and so we bury the ugly deed deeply. Still it persists, remains and rots in the tomb of our souls. A wiser culture called this "sin" and sought to have it confessed and forgiven as meaningless in the shadow of the greatest sacrifice. Our therapeutic culture calls it "guilt" and seeks to palliate and expunge it so that we may live a guilt-free life regardless of our acts. More and more of us live in the latter culture and seek a life forever free from sin, from guilt, from the consequences of our betrayals. And yet this final freedom eludes us.

What is needed, in this secular age of self-intoxication, is a Saint who will remit our sins of betrayal; who will by his very existence sanctify treason. And who better fits this role than the man who betrayed the greatest love for the smallest change, Judas?

The worshipers of the Church of the Self need Judas today more than they need Christ, and they need Christ more than they can know. They need Him so much that they are compelled to reject Him utterly lest their shabby Church be seen as it is, a hovel made of mud and wattle, of empty objects, shabby dreams and promises broken. A statue of Judas would blend right into the niche above their television; a household god whose only requirement is an offering of silver, from time to time, or a shopping spree at the mall to secure his love and blessing; our "Saint Judas of Perpetual Extortion."

Betrayal is a common catechism in the Church of the Self. Hymns to Me are the hosannas it hurls at an empty heaven. The politics of such a church require as First Things a rejection of all things not of, by, and for the self. A religion or a country of the people, by the people, and for the people is high on the list of things to be abhorred since it requires an allegiance that is other than to the self. The Church of the Self effectively mandates treason, and we see it now manifested daily in the bright robes of "unstiffled dissent" which shroud an increasingly vicious anti-Americanism that has its roots, not in reasoned criticism, but in unreasoned hate. We hear the hate but what we have not been allowed to see is the treason behind it.

That is now "changed, changed utterly."

Now our traitors to God and Country have found a sheaf of rags that "prove" that the greatest treason was really "all good;" that Judas was really the greatest friend Jesus ever had and was, with a kiss, doing him the greatest favor ever done.

Treason, done with the kiss of "my personal freedom," proves that you do not really hate your country, you love it. You are, in the final analysis, your country's best friend. In these "new" old tales about Jesus we read that Judas betrayed the Son of God because Jesus told him to do it. Really? Or did his betrayal come, not from any request that may or may not have been made, but from humanity's persistant lust to sin freely and without even the thin penalty of remorse? Was this final treason done because this sin had been secretly blessed by God, or for the sheer dark thrill of asserting the self at the expense of life in the light?

"I betrayed my friend, because he gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for him."

"I betrayed my country because it gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for it."

Black is white. Hate is Love. Slavery is Freedom. Treason is Loyalty. That last phrase fits right in to the secular catechism, doesn't it? All it needs to become holy writ is an avatar, a solid historical personage with the power to turn darkness into light, lies into truth, and betrayal into something that was, in the final analysis, "all good."

Saint Judas, step right up to the Gates, ring that bell, and don your halo -- you the man.


First published 2006



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 18, 2014 1:58 AM | Comments (101)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hot Off the Press!

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 16, 2014 5:22 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Benton Performance

Because I love seeing '66 911s moving on tarmac.

John Benton has been passionately restoring, racing and maintaining Porsches

since the moment he bought his first 912 in 1984. With Benton Performance, he's created a distinct approach to Porsche restoration which keeps true to the original while pushing the famed german engineering to even greater heights.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 16, 2014 5:20 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary American Classics: East Bound and Down

"I'm gonna bar-b-que your ass in molasses!"

Ol' Smokey's got them ears on and he's hot on your trail.
He aint gonna rest 'til you're in jail.
So you got to dodge'im and you got to duck'im,
You got to keep that diesel truckin'.
Just put that hammer down and give it hell.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm east bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.


{HT: Mikey NTH}



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 15, 2014 8:37 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On the Most Ancient Virus to Infect the Soul

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"With the advent of the "Palestinian cause" becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially."

It's baaack! But no, that's not right. Say rather it never really leaves. NeoNeoCon today notes the latest eruption of the disease:

Anti-Semitic drawings and the San Francisco anti-circumcision campaign Zombie illustrates that an anti-Semitic cartoon has been pressed into service in the San Francisco fight to ban circumcision. It was only a matter of time.

Antisemitism is not a sign, a symbol, a bullet or a gas. It is a Virus. It is the oldest known virus to infest the human soul. In those infected, the virus is clever enough to mask it's existence by renaming itself as "anti-Zionism." Through the renaming of this ancient disease as a “political problem,” infected souls can transmit the virus to their friends, families. They can spread their disease at their schools and in their their community, church, or nation. The virus is also transmitted by exchanging infected fantasies with infected ideologues. By changing it's name the disease made it possible for many to deny that they have contracted the virus, and that their souls are chancre-ridden and rotting. This facilitates the current outbreak.

Yes, antisemitism is a clever virus and this shape-shifting is one of its oldest methods of perpetuating itself. Like other viruses currently feasting on humans, this one always has a pleasure principle associated with it. It feels good to get it and we live in the plague years of "If it feels good, do it." Those whose moral immune systems have been previously compromised by other pleasure-born diseases have souls which are particularly susceptible to this virus.

The origin of the virus is unknown, but many suspect the area to be Bablyon and Sumur with an early leap across borders into Egypt. It was later transmitted through not-so-casual contact to much of the world by traders out of Northern Africa and the Roman Empire.

During the period following the fall of Rome, the virus found traction in early Christianity as a common carrier. In this host it thrived, and was able to survive and spread for many centuries. Of late, many parts of Christianity, now that it has become fragmented, have rejected the virus and those who host it, but strains of the virus can still be found at the center of many subsets of the Christian faith today.

Islam, of course, is the not-that-new major religion to not only host the virus, but to celebrate being infected with it, and to actively take measures to make sure that, within the body of Islam, the virus can thrive and expand. What to do about this new and virulent strain of the virus is something that is now consuming a great deal of the attention and treasure of Western Civilization.

In the past, treatment of the virus involved the application of large amounts of steel and fire, but this age is still experimenting with targeted surgery of the infected parts of Islam to see if a less Draconian cure is possible. Recent events confirm that this sort of microsurgery will probably be ineffective since the virus seems to have become the host.

Flare-ups of the virus have been common across Europe throughout the last 2 millennia, but an overwhelming series of eruptions in Europe from England through the lands controlled by the USSR, required a global intervention before the conflagration was deemed to be put out. This, of course was an illusion, since like the root burns engendered by forest fires, it only smoldered underground in the human and social hosts for decades before erupting once again in the vast Petri dish of the Middle East.

With the advent of the "Palestinian cause" becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles -- driven at first by Socialist Progressive romanticism in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially in certain ways. Indeed, in many circles and societies, having the virus has lately become a highly prized fashion accessory to popular academic, media, and state ideologies. It is now actually a badge of pride in many Western circles to appear at various events wearing gold-plated buboes inset with multi-faceted Kaposi's sarcoma that contain the virus at their core. Many now believe this intellectual adornment to actually be beautiful.

In a recent mutation, the virus has shown that it can leap the blood/brain barrier and actually infect Jews -- if they feel safe within their "advanced" society. The current term for this mutation is "Juicebox Mafia" in which self-styled "intellectuals" of Jewish lineage actually feel it is "intelligent" to call for a world in which it is easier for Arabs and other Islamic groups to kill Jews wholesale. This sort of strange host to the virus is replacing the previous host termed "the self-hating Jew." The reason for the rise of the Juicebox Mafia is unclear, but it may well have to do with desires for celebrity and paychecks that exceed the desire to live.

The virus, because it is an ancient and clever virus, can lie dormant for years, and like HIV, can mutate around a lot of therapies designed to destroy it.

As noted above, in the recent past, it has been shown that large doses of steel and fire can eradicate the virus in some populations, but only for a time. A cure is promised, but seems to be always delayed. The only measures that work are, at best, prophylactic. Another strategy is strict monitoring to prevent the spread of the virus. This seemed to be holding the virus at bay for decades. Lately, however, this method has broken down. The virus, like terrorism, has recently been able to piggy-back on the world-circling data-stream, and infect individuals and groups previously deemed immune. The current strain has indeed become so virulent that large blocks of Jewish people, in Europe, America and even Israel, have become infested.

As history demonstrates, there is no immunity to be had from the virus. The only strategy that seems to work is abstinence. This is accomplished by a rigorous rejection of all attempts by the virus to establish itself within an individual host. Constant monitoring and the suppression through education or other means of outbreaks in groups or ideologies or nations is also required.

Since the virus has been present in human hosts for well over 4,000 years, hopes for eradication in our lifetime are slim. Hopes for eradication in the future are better in civilized countries if, and only if, members of the generations now living and infected with the virus become dedicated to not passing it on to future generations. The virus is found nowhere else in nature except within the human host. If it is denied transmission to the young, it can be eliminated from the world in three generations. If... but only if.

Outlook? Not favorable.


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[First version posted in 2003.]



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 15, 2014 3:17 PM | Comments (42)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Milk Taxes

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Matt Walsh: "

CarolBeth Hawn on Facebook reminds me that my list of taxes you pay in the morning was woefully incomplete: You forgot to mention that the milk (taxed) you put into your coffee (taxed) had the following tax-line: Farmer (income tax) has land (property tax) on which he grazes his cows (tax on grass seed, tax on fertilizer spread by tractor, tax to buy tractor, which was also taxed in its production, tax on gas for tractor, tax on replacement tires and parts for tractor, which were also taxed in production), the cows were raised from calves produced on farm (capital gains) and visited by vet (tax on products, vet is also taxed ad nauseum) from semen purchased from an exchange (taxed), which are raised and milked in a milk shed or barn (more property tax) using equipment purchased (taxed, both on purchase and on production) and bottled (more equipment taxed on purchase and in production), sold to Meadow Gold (taxed ad nauseum), trucked to the grocery store in a refrigerated truck (taxed, taxed, taxed, gas tax), sold to store (sale is taxed, store is taxed ad nauseum) where it sits in big, taxed refrigerators, until you go to the store (gas tax, tax on vehicle) and purchase the milk (taxed) for your coffee (taxed). This is, of course, an abbreviated list. We’d need a flow chart to do it justice. The amazing thing isn’t that things cost so much, it is that they cost so LITTLE, being taxed on every level as they are!

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 15, 2014 12:03 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Maccabeats - Les Misérables - Passover

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the song of angry men
It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again
For the wretched of the earth there is a flame that never dies.
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.

They will live again in freedom in the garden of the Lord.
They will walk behind the ploughshed, the will put away the sword.
The chain will be broken and all men will have their reward!
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?

Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes.
Will you join in our crusade? Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade is there a world you long to see?
Do you hear the people sing? Say do you hear the distant drums?
It is the future that they bring when tomorrow comes!

Via Passover Lessons - Maggie's Farm



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2014 9:51 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man."

Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever?

I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights and powers they held while in the form of men? A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Maj. John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes — our ancestors.

It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.

– G.K. Chesterton



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 12, 2014 6:36 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If we thought of life as a gift

"If we thought of life as a gift, we might not demand nearly as much from it. And if we lived more graciously, giving of ourselves more freely to the well-being of others, many of our personal concerns would disappear, and life would become easier for all."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 12, 2014 1:12 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Hey Abbott!" Email from Our Minnesota Outpost

COSTELLO: I want to talk to you about the unemployment rate in America ..

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how they get it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our govt. doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.

COSTELLO: That would be tough on those running for REELECTION

ABBOTT: Absolutely!

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an ECONOMIST!

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like our CONGRESS!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 12, 2014 10:15 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Here's What I Would Have Said at Brandeis

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On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being "Islamophobic." Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus....

Read the rest of this remarkable speech at Ayaan Hirsi Ali - - The Wall Street Journal



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2014 11:41 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Short and Stout

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If you had to guess what is considered to be one of the most collected archetypal forms in the craft world, what would it be?

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Before you spend too much time with that question, I will tell you.

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It’s the teapot.

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While the traditional teapot should be at the very least functional — that is, have the ability to hold and pour a liquid, I recently viewed an exhibition that turns all that on end with the “idea of a teapot.”

If you take the most basic functional elements of what defines a teapot, it boils down to three things: a vessel-like shape with an opening at the top, a handle, and a spout.

Take those elements (and throw in a lid if you like) and you have the essence of a teapot. -- Design Observer

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2014 9:43 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Disarming the Warriors

"We are defanging our military. What's more, is that we are taking away their basic human rights to defend themselves, their Second Amendment rights to bear arms in their own self-defense, while asking them to volunteer to defend us. Moreover, we are choosing time and time again to deny them the mental health and veterans' benefits, while giving more money to entitlements for other communities. Meanwhile, shootings on bases have occurred now multiple times, and 22 people in our armed services commit suicide daily. This is unacceptable -- hear why in this Afterburner with Bill Whittle."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2014 1:42 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gary Busey: "I talk to the trees but they don't listen to me."

File under "Demented White Guys Who'll Do Anything for Money:"

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Because who doesn't think that a whacked out actor with bad dentures who looks like Jim Carrey's father isn't a great spokesmen for all those for whom working a remote has become just too damn much trouble?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2014 11:51 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "Unsung Hero"

"This is what a nation values when its culture is ruled by the iron fist of the Patriarchy." - - Unorthodoxy



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 10, 2014 9:24 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
First Time in a Drive-Through Car Wash



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 10, 2014 11:21 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I'll show you the life of the mind!"

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 10, 2014 10:08 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Deep Pings

The depth of the problem -as illustrated in the Washington Post: After an Australian vessel, Ocean Shield, again detected deep-sea signals consistent with those from an airplane’s black box, the official leading a multination search expressed hope Wednesday that crews will begin to find wreckage of a missing Malaysian airliner “within a matter of days.”

“I believe we’re searching in the right area,” Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.
Yeah. Right. Here's the beginning, only the beginning, of where that box might, we repeat, might be....

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It goes on down, very far down, from there. As you can see HERE.

[HT: Morgan]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 10, 2014 10:05 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Rosebud

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Dust swirls around citizens of Black Rock City as they peek into the "Black Rock Bijou Theatre" at the 2013 Burning Man festival. Photographed by Mark Kaplan of Carrollton, Texas. Smithsonian Magazine's 2013 Photo Contest - In Focus - The Atlantic



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 9, 2014 5:59 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Rest in Peace Ultimate Warrior ( June 16, 1959 – April 8, 2014 )

Springtime for the Ultimate Warrior:

We shall not see your like again. We're not even sure we saw it in the first place.

The Ultimate Warrior in Winter, Apr 7, 2014:

“No WWE talent becomes a legend on their own.

Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat. His lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life what makes the blood pulse through the body of others and makes them bleed deeper and something larger than life then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalized. By the story tellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honor him and make the running the man did live forever. You, you, you, you, you, you are the legend makers of Ultimate Warrior. In the back I see many potential legends. Some of them with warrior spirits. And you will do the same for them. You will decide if they lived with the passion and intensity. So much so that you will tell your stories and you will make them legends, as well. I am The Ultimate Warrior. You are the Ultimate Warrior fans and the spirit of Ultimate Warrior will run forever.”

[NOTE: Those for whom all this is, well, opaque might want to spend an hour with David Lee Roth for his causal and off-the-cuff "tutorial" on Post WWII Wrestling.]

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 9, 2014 4:07 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This is going out as a deeply felt "Thank you" to all those at Swedish Medical that made yesterday so memorable....

with a very special shout out to the anestheologist who made me completely forget all the detailsthis stirring memoir by David (I got one too) Barry;

You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven't. Here are your reasons: 1. You've been busy. 2. You don't have a history of cancer in your family. 3. You haven't noticed any problems. 4. You don't want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
Let's examine these reasons one at a time. No, wait, let's not. Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your ''behindular zone'' gives you the creeping willies.
I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It's much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor's office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.....
My friend the doctor the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ``HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!''....
On the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes -- and here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
.....When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was Dancing Queen by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, Dancing Queen has to be the least appropriate.

Which is, as far as I can tell, pretty much how it went for me. I think. After I woke up and was taken home by a dear friend it took me about ten more hours to remember that I didn't remember I woke up and was taken home by a dear friend. As for the aftermath, well, we'll see. But for now just let me stay that with that procedure behind me I am again sitting pretty. And not in the smallest room in my house.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 9, 2014 9:59 AM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ramming Speed!

First This:

"And when I say the rubes who got snookered by all this, I don’t mean me, of course, or the Conservative, Tea Party people like me.

I mean you: you people who believed him. You believed him because you didn’t know any better. You believed him because the people who you pay to tell you the truth are worse liars than these people are. And let’s cut to the chase here: you believed him, when all was said and done, because he is black – and because he, and they, and the press, told you that if you doubted him that made you a racist.
And the people they are laughing at the hardest are you young people, and you black people, and you liberal people, and especially you women. "

Then This:



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 8, 2014 3:02 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Checked Out

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If you can't read the writing in the red box, this is what it says...

"In all honesty, I am already bored with this topic. It is far less interesting than I had hoped and I really don't want to finish this essay. I'm fairly sure you don't really read these so I'm just going to put enough words down to make it seem like I wrote a lot while I kill time. Wanna hear some words that rhyme with time?

Crime, dime, mime, (haha mimes are funny), chime, lime. Aw dude you know what has lime in it? Sprite, it like lemon lime. I could really go for one of those about now, but not sierra mist, that just isn't the same. It tries too hard to be sprite but it just cant pull it off. It should just try to be itself and stop trying to measure up to other sodas."

What Happens When "The Workers" Just Don't Care Anymore? | Zero Hedge



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 7, 2014 11:31 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ted Cruz: Obamacare… It’s kind of like this

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Twitter / tedcruz:



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 7, 2014 1:05 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mickey Rooney: Moving On at 93

If we shadows have offended,
Think but this, and all is mended,
That you have but slumber’d here
While these visions did appear.
And this weak and idle theme,
No more yielding but a dream,
Gentles, do not reprehend:
If you pardon, we will mend.
And, as I’m an honest Puck,
If we have unearned luck
Now to ’scape the serpent’s tongue,
We will make amends ere long;
Else the Puck a liar call:
So, good night unto you all.

From A Midsummer Night's Dream - 1935 (End Scene) made when he was 15. [HT: Neoneocon, who has more.]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 7, 2014 8:51 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Valley of Shells and Bones

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Chichen Itza

"What scaled and feathered fetish shakes awake our loamy sleep
in these sealed vaults where dust and sand enrobe our golden masks
that hover over dreaming faces drowned in tinted musk?
Here where the spider curls and chitters in the crystal locket.
Here as time's mouth leeches blood and brain and bids
the leather skin to tighten in on the empty, staring socket,
and bind the breath that fading far once laughed within the dusk?"

Here is your thin tin trowel,
And here your sable brush,
For prying loose these mitered stones,
And sweeping off the dust
That sifts between these shaded souls
Like paling ebony snow,
As you squat above the site
Where you worshiped once below.
Come thrust your torch
Through these shattered walls,
And map the stains on stone,
And explicate these distant deaths
From strewn patterns of bone.

a_apatternbones.jpg

The distance that such deaths define
Is measured by that ageless path
That winds up from the sea's last limb
Meandering to the blood's demands,
And, rolling over shells' sharp rims,
Finally finds its well-trod way
To midnight's flaming brands
Where vacant, lusting faces grin
Within masks of whitened clay.

awhiteclaymasks.jpg

This path slopes through the stunted woods
Where the mantis ruts and broods,
Then spirals down to the sacred caves
Where men in twitching files repeat
The witless chants of wind and waves.

"Thick curds of rancid smoke performed our genuflections.
Our flayed limbs writhed, then steamed in screams of light.
Our lidless eyes became one daring crow's confections.
Our shriveled nerves shrank back from the chittering coal's delight.
Our marrow melted fast as flames licked up our blackened bones.
Our gaping mouths spewed rancid smoke as if they would relate
the secret magic flint and steel on tethered flesh create."

Here is your iron pick,
And here your crested spoon.
Not silver, true, but still
The emblem of your art,
Which is, to wit,
To lay these bodies bare;
Explain their ritual agonies,
Deduce their sorry fate,
Describe their diet, sex,
The colors of their hair,
And tell how long
Their ashen lair
Has lain beneath
Our present pleasant State.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 6, 2014 7:05 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Monday Should Be "Call Mozilla Monday"

Let this company of fascist cowards hear from you: hear from everyone: Mozilla Corporation - Mountain View, CA 650 Castro St Mountain View, CA 94041

Phone number (650) 903-0800

Current acting CEO is Mitchell Burke. Let her (yes "her") know where you stand on the issue.

Monday's Conference Call at Mozilla

Dial-in: conference# 8600
US/California/Mountain View: +1 650 903 0800, x92 Conf# 8600
US/California/San Francisco: +1 415 762 5700, x92 Conf# 8600
US/Oregon/Portland: +1 971 544 8000, x92 Conf# 8600
CA/Vancouver: +1 778 785 1540, x92 Conf# 8600
CA/Toronto: +1 416 848 3114, x92 Conf# 8600
UK/London: +44 (0)207 855 3000, x92 Conf# 8600
FR/Paris: +33 1 44 79 34 80, x92 Conf# 8600
US/Toll-free: +1 800 707 2533, (pin 369) Conf# 8600

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 6, 2014 6:45 PM | Comments (41)  | QuickLink: Permalink
He Wrote the Book of the Seven Seals

1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.

2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.

3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.

4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.

5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.

7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.

8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.

9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.

10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,

11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.

12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.

13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.

14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.

16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.

18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.

19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.

21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.

Revelation 16



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 6, 2014 2:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Signs of Spring

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 5, 2014 10:55 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Address: Seven Score and Seven Years Ago

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For Lincoln -- "His Truth is Marching On"

To be born an American, or to become an American, you need only know and understand four things that we have written down. Our founding document, The Declaration of Independence. Our agreement with ourselves and our government that specifies and protects the self-evident truths and freedoms of the Declaration, The Constitution. Our national motto:  "In God we trust." And our credo, "The Gettysburg Address."

A credo is a short and straightforward statement of beliefs or principles. A credo has no fixed length but lies somewhere between a motto and a manifesto. The most widely known traditional credo would be "The Apostles Creed."

Although it is not often thought of as such, Lincoln's brief oration at Gettysburg at noon on that long ago November day is, in all its elements, our national credo. Although shaped as prose fit to be cut, as it has been, into stone, The Gettysburg Address is also a lyrical poem as polished as a crystal prism. Through it, all that we had been up until that day midway through our most terrible conflict passed and was transformed into the multifaceted nation we have become today. And it is still not finished with us, nor we with it. 

The Address shows us first how we came into existence as "the last best hope of Earth." It echoes the opening refrain of the Declaration's notes of liberty and equality. It reminds us of our original goals of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness;" goals to which our founding fathers pledged their "lives, fortunes, and sacred honor." It implies that all generations of Americans must, if the nation is to endure, pledge the same.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

The poem then brings the credo into the present. Not just the present moment of November 19, 1863, but all the present moments that came after right up to this very day in November in 2010. Then the argument between Americans had become so pitched that civil war between the contending factions had torn the nation asunder. We have come close to similar passes since then several times, but have -- remembering "the better angels of our nature" -- always turned aside and found a way to move forward together as a great nation of a greater people. Now may be another such moment; another such turning. Lincoln could not know our moment, but in his credo he indicates his belief that the test of his moment will be passed and that the nation will long endure. He also knows the cost of that test for those who "gave their lives that that nation might live." 

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation, so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

From that moment in that long ago November, Lincoln's credo casts a cold eye on the ultimate costs of liberty whenever men determine that liberty, for themselves and their posterity, is worth whatever sacrifice is asked of them. Out of that vision he tells us what the duty of all future generations of Americans must be. 

In the closing of the Address, Lincoln is at once a President, a poet, a seer, and an American. As such, he closes the credo to which all future Americans must cleave. The credo requires us to be constantly renewing the work of liberty. The credo tells us that we -- if we are to bear true faith and allegiance to all those who have built, stone by stone, poem by poem, word by word, and life by life, the city on the hill that is America -- must always be dedicated to the unfinished work that is always before us. The credo requires that we "highly resolve" to leave our nation in a greater state of liberty than we found it. And to leave our Union entire and intact as "the last best hope of Earth."

The most successful revolution in history was not the Russian Revolution or the Chinese Revolution. It was the American Revolution. It began more than two centuries ago and it continues to this day. It is not over yet. This is its credo.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

 


Dateline: Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. November 19, 1863 

The only confirmed photo of Abraham Lincoln (circled) at Gettysburg, taken about noon, just after Lincoln arrived and some three hours before the speech. To Lincoln's right is his bodyguard, Ward Hill Lamon.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 5, 2014 2:10 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’

Neo-neocon drops by the place where George W. Bush exhibits his paintings | George W. Bush:

“As you know, our dear dog Barney, who had a special place in my heart — Putin dissed him and said, ‘You call it a dog?’” Bush recalled. “A year later, your mom and I go to visit and Vladimir says, ‘Would you like to meet my dog?’ Out bounds this huge hound, obviously much bigger than a Scottish terrier, and Putin looks at me and says, ‘Bigger, stronger and faster than Barney.’ I just took it in. I didn’t react,” Bush continued. “I just said, ‘Wow. Anybody who thinks ‘my dog is bigger than your dog’ is an interesting character.’ And that painting kind of reflects that.”
Here's a close-up of Bush'€™s portrait of Putin (the NBC logo is not part of the painting), which I think is quite fine, as well as revealing of Putin'€™s character:"
a_bushputin.jpg

Bush: I looked in his eyes and saw his soul.

Bush told Putin he had warned him that the Georgian leader, President Mikhail Saakashvili, was “hot-blooded.”

“I’m hot-blooded too,” Putin said.

“I stared back at him,” Bush writes in his book. “‘No Vladimir,’ I said. ‘You’re cold-blooded.”



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 4, 2014 10:27 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Bunny in Winter

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Headshots, taken at the Former Playboy Bunny Reunion in Las Vegas by photographer Robyn Twomey

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 4, 2014 3:58 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Why can’t you be nicer to your brother?"

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Elinor Carucci's Beautiful, Unflinching Images of Motherhood | "NYC-based photographer Elinor Carucci‘s Mother is an intimate and powerful document of her transition from pregnancy to motherhood, begun almost a decade ago when she was pregnant with her now nine-year-old twins. Turning the camera on both herself and her children, Carucci bares it all in rich and dramatic images that depict a myriad of emotions and realities—the highs and lows, the pure joy and equal difficulty of raising kids."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 4, 2014 2:12 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Regular Car Reviews: 1988 Chrysler New Yorker

The '88 New Yorker: An Autobot that transforms into a dish of Werther's Originals. This car, for all its silly faults, proved the genius of Lee Iacocca.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 4, 2014 6:29 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Big Daddy Vlad would like to send this one out to Barry

The wind in the willow played
Love's sweet melody
But all of those vows we made
Were never to be

Though we're apart, you're part of me still,
For you were my thrill on Blueberry Hill.

Clapping along with Vlad in 2010 we have those lovely Americans Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Costner, and Kurt Russell.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 2, 2014 7:42 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
His Master's Voice: It's All Sounding Too Familiar

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A lie told often enough becomes the truth.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Give me four years to teach the children and the seed I have sown will never be uprooted.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Destroy the family, you destroy the country.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

He who now talks about the "freedom of the press" goes backward, and halts our headlong course towards Socialism.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

We do not have time to play at “oppositions” at “conferences.” We will keep our political opponents… whether open or disguised as “nonparty,” in prison.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

One of the basic conditions for the victory of socialism is the arming of the workers and the disarming of the bourgeoisie (the middle class).
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

One man with a gun can control 100 without one.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

A system of licensing and registration is the perfect device to deny gun ownership to the bourgeoisie.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The goal of socialism is communism.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

Freedom in capitalist society always remains about the same as it was in ancient Greek republics: Freedom for slave owners.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The bourgeoisie is many times stronger than we. To give it the weapon of freedom of the press is to ease the enemy’s cause, to help the class enemy. We do not desire to end in suicide, so we will not do this.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

All our lives we fought against exalting the individual, against the elevation of the single person, and long ago we were over and done with the business of a hero, and here it comes up again: the glorification of one personality. This is not good at all. I am just like everybody else.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

The Capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.
-- Vladimir Ilyich Lenin



Lenin's Hanging Order:

1. Hang (and make sure that the hanging takes place in full view of the people) no fewer than one hundred known landlords, rich men, bloodsuckers.
2. Publish their names.
3. Seize all their grain from them.
4. Designate hostages in accordance with yesterday's telegram.
Do it in such a fashion that for hundreds of kilometres around the people might see, tremble, know, shout: "they are strangling, and will strangle to death, the bloodsucking kulaks".
Telegraph receipt and implementation.
Yours, Lenin.
Find some truly hard people

That.

And now this:

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 2, 2014 10:22 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Opening Day: When Life Imitates Norman Rockwell

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"I got it!" "No, I got it!" "No, we got it!"

"The New York Yankees’ Nick Swisher climbed a wall to try and catch a ball in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series..." (via Photo Journal - WSJ )

As long as we have Opening Day every Spring and the World Series every Autumn, I will continue to believe to the adamantine rock bottom of my soul that God blesses America and has an exceptional plan for this nation.

Look at the moment above captured in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series. It could be hung in the Norman Rockwell Museum and not be a tittle of a jot out of place. In every face (except Swisher's) is an expression of pure joy as they all realize that on its way to them, at that very moment, is every baseball fan's most cherished dream from childhood: The chance to catch a fly ball in a World Series game in the stands.

In another few instants only one fan will come up with it, but in this moment all have a chance at it and all are transported at the opportunity to transcend themselves and enter into something bigger, brighter, and finer than their lives would otherwise be.

And that's the way it is in America. That's why we see many footprints leading in and few coming out. For with all our quarrels, our disagreements, our struggles, and our incessant bickering, this remains a land where you can always get another turn at bat, where you can always, right up until six months after death, get another chance to swing for the bleachers. And where, even if you aren't a player in "The Show," you can buy a seat out on the right field line and wait there for the crack of the bat, the rise of the ball against the sky, and... it's coming, it's coming.... and whap, you got it. You're in "The Show."

And in that moment life, the universe, and everything else comes down to one great roar of joy from yourself and the rest of the crowd.

Baseball, from a hot grounder on Opening Day to the World Series and a high fly ball in an Autumn sky is the arc of the essential America. Nothing else like them ever was. "I got it!" "No, I got it!" "No, we got it!"



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 1, 2014 8:43 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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