But darlin', those days are gone
And live on in the future
But darlin', a-don't look back
Don't look back
-- John Lee Hooker
Ah, but we do, don't we? We always look back. Seeing the shapes, getting the measure, going the distance and finding -- if only for a moment -- the safe harbors of your life requires a spiritual sextant for sighting the fixed stars. It's a ghost ship's voyage with what lies ahead a blank white screen while what is behind fades into the smoke of the world well lost. There are shallows, shoals and the fatal allure of Sirens and the lee shore. Times in irons, then storms, then stretches of clear open ocean on a broad reach, but always with the sense of hidden reefs and an unknowable destination. It helps to track others' voyages, to follow similar arcs, to watch if they pass, or seem to pass, the same checkpoints. Some are siblings. Others are friends and lovers. Still others are artists that, at some point, strike us as sharing if not a life then at least a similar trajectory.
Everybody has a different set of charts, but some overlap. Among these are the singer-songwriter / poets of our era. These are our troubadours, the most influential of which in our time, is Bob Dylan. Indeed, I've often thought that it must gall the endless pile of disposable poets stashed in the academy that, for all their pallid effort, the greatest American poet of this era is Dylan. But Dylan, for all his protean output and achievement, misses the music as much as he hooks the mind.
For my money, the singer-songwriter-poet among my contemporaries, that both hooks the ear and brings the music is Van Morrison.
Not only for his ability to play his voice like some transoceanic jazz choir, nor his manner of mining the blues and jazz traditions and his own life, but also because -- like Dylan -- he endures. Not only that, but he reports back. And like a few others in music, painting and writing, the arc of his life seems to resonate with mine. It may be just a fluke of years lived in the same unfolding history, but it seems larger. It seems, as it always seems with the great souls, that there's an emotional and spiritual concordance happening, as one bell might pick up the tone of another nearby even though it has not itself been struck.
"Take me back, there, take me way back there..."
But that was later, and this is earlier, much earlier. Before there really was "Van Morrison." When he was just a singer. When he was one of THEM.
Comes a-walkin' down my street
When she comes to my house
She knocks upon my door
And then she comes in my room
Yeah, an' she make me feel alright
Remembering that song the first thought is "Who, but who, was ever that young?" But of course we all were. And the number of times that the 45s of Mystic Eyes and Gloria were spun on the turntables in those years pretty much surpass memory. I do recall they made for some long and fine white nights. Gloria, played at the right time, could pretty much close the deal.
"The cool room, Lord, is a fool's room."
Make-out songs weren't the only thing in Van Morrison's bag, even in those years. Something else was there. Something that lived in the deep and would insist upon rising.
Within two years Morrison left "Them" and soloed, releasing the trendily titled Blowin' Your Mind! from Bang Records. The hit on that album was "Brown-Eyed Girl" and it has, thanks to the continuing and increasing supply of brown-eyed girls in the world, stayed pretty much a perennial since then. Boomers used it first for seduction and later for lullabies.
But there was another song on that first album that foreshadowed Morrison's work much more deeply, "T. B. Sheets." This is a dark and haunting evocation of death and sickness. Junkies like to think it's about them, but junkies think everything is about them. It's bigger than that. Much bigger. And it is, in its provenance as well as it's lyrics, nothing like any pop song that came before, and very little like any that came after. In the other songs on Blowin' Your Mind! you hear a young singer pulling out everything he knows in quest of a hit, any hit. But "T. B. Sheets" is vastly different. In it you hear the song of an old soul, one that has been here before; one that knows the deal and has paid the bill.
The origin of "T. B. Sheets" is, figuratively and literally, in nightmare.
His mother, Violet Morrison said that the song originally had emerged from a nightmare her son had and that he had felt it so strongly that he couldn't tell it to her but sang it instead with verses lasting for an hour.An hour? The song on the album runs nearly 10 minutes, twice the length of any of the others, and an eternity for a pop album of the mid-60s. But an hour? Just to stay in that mental space for 10 minutes is enough for most people. (The song did not chart.) But an hour is inconceivable.
Still, I'd like to hear it. It's a song that first insinuates itself deep into your lungs and then crawls down your bones:
So open up the window and let me breathe,
I said, open up the window and let me breathe
I'm looking down to the street below
Lord, I cried for you, Oh, Lord.
The cool room, Lord, is a fool's room,
The cool room, Lord, is a fool's room,
And I can almost smell your T.B. sheets
And I can almost smell your T.B. sheets, on your sick bed.
I gotta go, l gotta,
And you said, please stay.
I want, I want a drink of water,
I want a drink of water,
I went to the kitchen to get me a drink of water,
I gotta go baby.
I send, I send, I send somebody around here later,
You know we got John comin' around
Later with a bottle of wine for you, babe.
So much for the easy pop songs from a handsome young jazz singer who had gotten mixed up in rock-and-roll. There's Milton's "darkness visible" writhing at the center of that song, something seldom seen in pop music -- especially in the days of "Do you believe in magic/ in a young girl's eyes?"
"Darkness visible." That was to be a recurring image in Van Morrison's work. That and a search for the light as well.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.
-- Traditional hymn, recorded in Hymns to the Silence, 1991
Light seen sometimes in the present, and sometimes in the past. But always with a sense of trying to learn, in the end, what he hears from John Lee Hooker:
Don't look back
To the days of yesteryear
You cannot live on in the past
Ah, but we do. Don't we?
[Bird Dog @ Maggie's reminds us that today is....Van Morrison's birthday - Maggie's Farm He's only 69. Looks 79. Acts 89. We appreciate his work, though.]Continued...
Stunning satellite images show summer ice cap is thicker and covers 1.7million square kilometres MORE than 2 years ago...despite Al Gore's prediction it would be ICE-FREE by now: The speech by former US Vice-President Al Gore was apocalyptic.
‘The North Polar ice cap is falling off a cliff,’ he said. ‘It could be completely gone in summer in as little as seven years. Seven years from now.’ Those comments came in 2007 as Mr Gore accepted the Nobel Peace Prize for his campaigning on climate change. But seven years after his warning, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that, far from vanishing, the Arctic ice cap has expanded for the second year in succession – with a surge, depending on how you measure it, of between 43 and 63 per cent since 2012.
When you move your home the most important tool turns out to be a twenty dollar bill. Lots of them. Collecting a stack from the bank yesterday, this one turned up.
What's in your wallet?
Look at these happy little green robots and admire how carefully they were selected to represent all genders and demographics
Head robot of Portland, Mayor Sam Adams (oh the shame he attaches to that illustrious name!) tells his fellow green robots to shape the fuck up: "I want to thank my City Council colleagues for passing a measure today that makes food scrap composting possible. We’re currently sending 29,000 tons of useful food scraps to landfills each year. Beginning October 31, the new waste collection program will let you throw these food scraps in the green yard debris roll cart so they can be turned into useful compost. In addition, your collection schedule will change as less of what you throw away goes in the trash. The green yard debris cart will now be picked up weekly – just like the blue recycling cart and yellow bin – and trash will be picked up every-other-week."
The little green bin is proliferating everywhere these days. Just one more task that the green fascists have gotten all the citizens to pitch in and do. Plus you pay extra for the privilege of doing the work for the state. What a deal!
You'll recall how this make-work state project started. First you were told to bundle your newspapers and put them out in a stack. (Magazines in coated paper in a separate bundle, thank you.) This led, over time, to a glut of newsprint that put pulp mills in Maine out of business; then to such a tsunami of glut that the newspapers were going into landfills just the same. Just on separate trucks purchased and manned by the city for that purpose.
Then you were told to separate out the glass from the trash and put it in those open blue bins. Small at first but now these bins are gigundo in size and cost. This led, in pretty much no time at all, to a glut in recycled glass that led to huge mountains of glass trash growing quietly outside of all major cities. After all, there are only so many glass tiles and glass blocks that the market can absorb. Then it's right into the landfills again. On new separate trucks, of course.
Then came the plastic bins for plastic. Then the consolidation of the plastic and glass bins -- since it was all really going into the landfill it really didn't matter.
Then came the "Yard Waste" bins because, well, in large cities large cities were suppose to compost all this crap from yards into rich humus. This of course led to humus mountains outside of all large cities and programs where the cities would give you some compost if you picked it up. That you were hauling the composted yard waste back to the yard after it had been hauled to the compost heap from the yard was, well, sort of glossed over. But the compost mountains grew anyway.
At this point you had, behind your house or to the side, a trash can, a glass and plastic recycling bin, and a yard waste bin... minimum. But you do not, it seems, have enough bins behind your house since the city can, it seems, charge you for picking up each and every bin as well as sell you the bin in the first place.
This is a good deal for the city and now it seems the cities want to extend it to yet another bin. This is the small green bin for the "organic kitchen waste" previously known as "garbage" that previously went into, well, your "garbage can."
The deal here is that you are supposed to pick through your garbage with your hands and put into the new tiny green bin only the choicest bits of pre-compost compost. Then you set that bin out on the day for it's collection after a week of pawing through the crap.
That makes four (count 'em) 4 bins to keep track of and to pay for, each one more foul than the one before.
You'd think that an operation that had a monopoly on such a rich resource of salvage could make money operating it. You'd be right. It makes money by charging you more for doing its work for it. And by selling you yet another bin.
But there is hope for the guerrillas among us. These new green bins, being vile and odiferous, are the perfect means of smuggling toxic chemicals out of the house and into the landfills without paying for Hazmat service.
Let's say that, after the forced retirement of the incandescent bulb, and the forced import of mercury filled bulbs into your house you actually break one. (Hey, it could happen.) With the little green bin you can just hide the shards under the kitty litter and avoid the $2,500 clean-up fee from the EPA.
I know that lots of cities are meeting their budget shortfalls not by firing staff but by actually hiring Garbage Cops to patrol your bins, but I'm willing to bet these dolts are not going to be digging into kitty litter and kitchen waste. I'm betting they'll be the number one cops in the doughnut shops for 95% of their shifts.
So, you know that pile of old dead fluorescent tubes you've got in the garage because you're not willing to pay the city the $50 for the "special pickup?" Get yourself a teeny-weeny green bin and some kitty litter.
While this America settles in the mould of its vulgarity, heavily thickening to empire,
And protest, only a bubble in the molten mass, pops and sighs out, and the mass hardens,
I sadly smiling remember that the flower fades to make fruit, the fruit rots to make earth.
Out of the mother; and through the spring exultances, ripeness and decadence; and home to the mother.
You making haste, haste on decay: not blameworthy; life is good, be it stubbornly long or suddenly
A mortal splendor: meteors are not needed less than mountains: shine, perishing republic.
But for my children, I would have them keep their distance from the thickening center; corruption
Never has been compulsory, when the cities lie at the monster's feet there are left the mountains.
And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught -- they say -- God, when he walked on earth.
-- Robinson Jeffers
We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness.
-- Eliot, The Dry Salvages
Following a memory of my own, I "found" this video shortly after it was posted to YouTube around three years ago. It struck me then as enormously powerful in that offhand, out-of-left-field way that found objects can be. The power of this short window into 1977 is that it captures, without intent, the elements of memory. It melds the plaintive almost psalmic acoustic hit by Kansas with an imagery whose sheer faded quality adds to an overall impression of other times once lived and now gone beyond recall. It is the essence of "time in a bottle."
Ordinary when made the film aged into something beyond itself. The better memories do that. They seem, if we think of them at all at the time we have the experience we will later remember, to be just barely beyond the cusp of ordinary. Often we don't even discover them as memories until years later when they emerge, not as they were, but as they have become as our souls expand enough to value what we thought at the time was dross as the real gold of our lives.
The fact that it was viewable by me at all was one of those strange conjunctions of love and fate that the Web has made possible. The video is under the YouTube account of "uselessdirector" who has in the years since he posted this posted only two other personal bits in his account. The response to those is what it should be. Negligible. But the response to this video is now above
3,640,000 6,277,000 views with fresh comments still coming in almost hourly.
What is the provenance of this video? Uselessdirector states only, "Filmed in 1977 by my dad, this music video nearly became "dust in the wind" until it was restored from its failing 8mm format." His role was to see the film as it was made, 8MM or 16MM, and to save it as a video before time faded the film to invisibility. He caught it just in time and in doing so caught time itself. Then because he knew it had a value beyond itself and because he could, he placed it on YouTube where, in time, it was discovered.
From the video itself, we learn the names of the "Cast" in the credits and also see a list of "The Tribe." Aside from that there are other hints to the spring or summer in which this was made. We discover it was made in Findley Lake, New York, a small rural community up near the shore of Lake Erie. Was "The Tribe" a group of friends or a small commune of the kind that were still common in those years? Did the young man and young woman paired as "Adam" and "Eve" have a relationship outside the film or was it only for the purposes of the film? Somehow I doubt it was the latter.
Looking a little deeper into the Net I found a few things worth noting. For one thing it is possible, through the odd but wonderful Google Street View to compare "Then" with "Now" and confirm, as if we did not know it with every cell of our being, that "Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky."
An interesting exercise in contrasting the present to a memory. But "interesting" is pretty much the finish of the exercise. In mere aesthetic terms it is obvious that the "Then" as evoked by the film image is far superior to the glimpse of "Now" gleaned by a Google Street View car sweeping by and capturing a slice of that particular road during the particular minute it passed that otherwise nondescript place on the edge of Findley Lake. The former is gold, the latter dross.
What was the memory I was following when I first found this film? It was the memory of that song heard first in the summer of 1977 somewhere in London, New York, or Burgundy. I loved the summer of 1977. It was one of my favorite years. It was one of those luminous years when everything seemed to fall right and come together into something you could assign to happiness. I'd wait 26 years for the next one.
I heard the song once again in memory. It was in a suburban mall parking lot in Connecticut on a chill winter evening during one of those years when it all went smash.
If I have to choose between memories I'll take the one contained in this ineffable bit of short film saved from the fade and the fog of time. It's one of those strange artifacts that evokes among those alive in the time it was made the cliched thought, "Dear God, were we ever that young?" Made on a whim during an afternoon, the film answers, "Yes, you were. Yes, we all were. And in time, with the grace of God, we will be again."
So far this month, the president's approval rating has averaged just 42 percent, his lowest August rating since 2011. For Obama, August Is The Cruelest Month : NPR
Reading that took me back about seven years to an evening out in Seattle with a friend. He's a long-gone liberal who's never coming back. He's gifted in many ways except, alas, for politics. When it comes to that he has a fully colonized mind and a solid Democrat record of supporting hustlers, losers, con-artists and criminals from Louisiana to New Jersey. Like all slaves on that ideological plantation he thinks it makes him more free and believes everyone he knows will forget about his many decades of picking the worst his party has to offer.
I've long returned from that dark tunnel, but I admire and respect him and our friendship of long standing. Our default position on politics is that "it doesn't come up."
Meeting him were a couple of his friends which are only acquaintances of mine. As such, this being Seattle, they did not suspect, even for a moment, that I happen to be "one of 'THEM'." (Indeed whenever a Seattle acquaintance discovers my politics -- as happened last week at the airport -- the reaction is invariably along the lines of "I never knew you were THAT WAY." )
Into the bar came his friends, one of them walking with a swagger as if he'd just been sprinkled with holy water by the Messiah himself. He ordered a round of drinks and when they were put up lifted his glass, smacked his lips, and said, "Forty-three percent!" This was in reference to the approval rating of George W. Bush that had been announced that day.
Three glasses clinked but mine remained on the bar. The back of my hand brushed it back towards the bartender and left it there.
The man who ordered the drinks looked at me quizzically. I looked at him and, because I am blessed with an English Major and a large mental file of American poetry, said, “there is some shit i will not eat."
An awkward silence ensued from which all were saved by the start of the show we'd come to see.
My friend and I still see each other.
Less now than before as the elephant of Obama’s failure has moved from the lawn to the porch with its trunk in the room.
I never saw his friends again. Never had to refuse another drink. I'm okay with that but they came to mind today when these new disapproval numbers of their tin god were released.
I wonder what they do now. Do they still order drinks to make toasts to Obama's numbers as they sink below Bush, or do they just grab the whiskey and CHUG-A-LUG it straight from bottle?
"Three moves equals one house fire."
Because of a series of events too strange to tell, the house I rent is being put on the market. As a result I have to clear it of all my possessions over the coming labor day weekend and find another place to live. Even with the help of dear friends it's a daunting task and I do not, as of this writing, know exactly where I will find my next home. It will, however, not be in Seattle but rather in a town much closer to my mother in Northern California who, as she turns 100, is happy to hear of the prodigal's return.
The consequence of all this is that posting on American Digest will be a much less regular thing than in the past ten years. This note will be pinned to the top of American Digest for the next month. Regular ranting will resume when I am packed, moved, and settled.
Speaking at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Monday, the space agency outlined a plan to search for alien life using current telescope technology, and announced the launch of the Transiting Exoplanet Surveying Satellite in 2017. The NASA administrators and scientists estimate that humans will be able to locate alien life within the next 20 years. “Just imagine the moment, when we find potential signatures of life. Imagine the moment when the world wakes up and the human race realizes that its long loneliness in time and space may be over — the possibility we’re no longer alone in the universe,” said Matt Mountain, director and Webb telescope scientist at the Space Telescope. Science Institute in Baltimore, which plans to launch the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018. “What we didn’t know five years ago is that perhaps 10 to 20 per cent of stars around us have Earth-size planets in the habitable zone,” added Mountain. “It’s within our grasp to pull off a discovery that will change the world forever.” Describing their own estimates as “conservative,” the NASA planet hunters calculate that 100 million worlds within the Milky Way galaxy are able to sustain complex alien life forms. The estimate accounts for the 17 billion Earth-sized worlds scientists believe to be orbiting the galaxy’s 100 billion stars.
Oh yeah? I call that sort of number-blather not "searching for life" as much as NASA's standard search for the fountain of perpetual funding.
The more we know, the bigger deal the Fermi Paradox becomes.50,000 years is a blink of an eye, evolutionarily speaking. So there is quite a decent chance that we have simply been experiencing the explosive growth of a brand-new species, which is at some relatively soon point going to flat-line -- the species will have reached maturity, and like the chimps and horses, develop no further, achieve nothing greater in its technology. Is that now? Maybe. Maybe not. We could go on for centuries longer, millenia even, and this would still count as our infancy. But it seems very unlikely to me that we will continue our straight-line growth for 500,000 or 1 million years. It also seems likely the growth rate will decline smoothly to zero.
So it is entirely possible that our present capacity for interstellar travel and communication is near or even already at the greatest level we can achieve as a species. It may not change in the next 1,000 years, or even the next 10 million. And if we represent the best intelligence allowed by the structure of the universe, then no other species has or ever will achieve any better technological sophistication either. The reason we don't hear from them is simple: they're no more sophisticated than we are, and never will be.
Once again men of Faith and of the West face the swords of the heretics. Once again, those who oppose Thy divine Order surround the remnant of Christian Civilization like wolves against prey. Once again, dear God, we turn our eyes to You and beg Thy gracious aid. If it be thy will, dear Lord, save us. If it be Thy will, raise up a great Leader to inspire Christian hearts in this country and in all the world. If it be Thy will, O Lord, send us a leader, a man to shore up our sagging spirits and rally us to the defense of our faith, our posterity, and our patrimony.
We ask Thee, O Lord, to raise us up a Leader of men like Your servant Emperor Constantine, who, in obeying Your command in hoc Signo vinces, turned the Roman Empire to Your service at the Milvian Bridge; send us a dauntless hero like King Pelayo at Covadonga; send us a uniter and propagator of civilization like Emperor Charlemagne; a daring cavalier like King Jan Sobieski; a triumphant Conquistador like the Servant of God Isabella, Queen of Castile, and her royal husband Ferdinand King of Aragon; an implacable defender of the Church and the West like their grandson Emperor Charles V. Send us a soldier like Charles Martel; a warrior like Don John of Austria; a grim defender of Faith and Nation like Gmo. Francisco Franco. Lord God of Hosts, send Thy people a man of war who will take up the sword of Christendom and crusade against the enemies of Christ and His Church.
If it be Thy Will, send us too a crusading Vicar of Christ like Your servant Pope Saint Leo the Great, who will ride boldly out to meet the Hun in Your Name; a Pope like Your servant Saint Pius V, who assembled the Holy League and rallied the fighting forces of Christendom to smite the Muslim at Lepanto; a Pope like Your servant Urban II at the Council of Clermont, who will stand before the might of Europe-in-arms, point to the Holy Land groaning under the tyranny of the Crescent, and cry "Deus Vult!"
Lord, we pray that you smite the filthy heresy of Islam wherever its ugly stench may waft, and by Thy divine Hand bring into the fold of Your Church all those of that creed who truly seek Thy Face. In this we ask the intercession of Saint James of Compostela, and the spirit of Charles
Martel, the Hammer. We beg you to use us today as you used Pope Innocent III and the strong arm of Thy Church against the Cathar and the Albegensian so long ago. May God rebuke the soi-disant prophet Muhammad and all those who preach his error throughout the world.
God of Nations, restore to the men of Europe and of all nations their true identities as members and protectors of their diverse nationalities, and with a mighty Hand crush the evil global Revolution that seeks to destroy nation, ethny, tribe, clan, sept, and the natural human family and amalgamate all into a corrupt and infernal "new order of the ages". Teach us to live in peace with one another, each color and race in its own sovereign space, each nation united not by artificial propositions or constitutions but the the natural and lasting ties of ancestry, language, culture, and creed; and teach us to recognize as unique the only form of universal human brotherhood that exists: the brotherhood of men separated by nationality but united in Your Church.
Dear God, restore our civilization. Bring all of Your servants to the happy renaissance of a robust, lively, orthodox, and crusading faith.
And, if such be not Your Will, we beg Thee to take the mantle of Christian leadership from us, your unworthy servants of the West, and lay it upon the men of China, or Korea, or Japan, or whatever such nation You deem fit to carry the banner of the Cross down through the ages remaining before you subjugate death, hell, and all worldly powers unto Thyself.
If any of these petitions are unworthy in Your sight, may we come to know Your displeasure through your gracious and loving correction, and may Our Lady's prayers be efficacious on our behalf, now and at the hour of our death, Amen.
- S.M., August A.D. 2014
"That's my boy!"
Well, I sailed through the storm
Strapped to the mast
But the time has come
And I’m seeing the real you at last -- Dylan
The chittering insects that scuttle across the wastes of the middle east under the black flag of ISIS are masters of the maniac’s use of “social media." They make videos of the pleasure they take in laying hundreds of prisoners down and riddling them with machine gun bullets. They provide Facebook pages with photographs of the children’s heads they have impaled on stakes in the land where they hold sway. They pass around the Instagram moment of a man holding up the dress draped body of a little girl with her head taken off and her neck a bloodless stump. They “tweet” the 'That's my boy' image of an Australian member of their hive getting his son to hold up the head of someone, among thousands, that they have killed and killed filthy.
In all this they have done an invaluable service to the feckless and cowardly western world of the 21st century. They have not only killed those who have come under their rule and power. They have killed, now and forever, any wisp of an argument that the religion of Islam contains within it any significant “moderate" elements who are devoted to the idea of devout peace. There is no such “moderate Islam." There never was a “Moderate Islam.”
Islam is ISIS and ISIS is Islam. There is no other Islam.
Islam is religious Ebola and its only cure is fire.
Once the question was ”How can we help the moderate Islamics to help the others to a peaceful transition into the modern, multicultural world.” Now the question has become, "Can we find the leadership and the political will to burn this disease out of the human race root and branch?"
Those that seek to persuade you that somewhere within the foaming psychosis of Islam there is a moderate, peaceful religion struggling to get out, striving to be heard, are those that want you -- and your loved ones and your children -- to lie down in the shallow trench in the dry dust and have your children beheaded before you just before the sword slices through your supine and surrendered neck.
Lately there have been a plethora of posts scattered around concerning the kindly provision of Islam that if you like your religion you can keep your religion. All you have to do is pay a tax, set by Islam, on an annual basis. Deal or no deal? Either way it is a lie. What Islam wants is what is has always wanted; the enslavement and death of the infidel.
You cannot negotiate with psychopaths. There are no deals to be made or negotiations to be had with Islam. It is, first, last, and always, a perverted and vile system that has no spirit in it whatsoever. God? God’s got nothing to do with it.
Some weak and wet slaves of Islam still say, as they said to me after 9/11, “There are a billion muslims in the world. You can’t kill them all.” A billion you say? Big job. Well begun is half done.
"There is nothing more dangerous than the conviction that diplomats should be America's first line of defense. ...America will get tough or it will get terminal." --Norman LiebmannContinued...
"Then Jason lighted the pile, and burnt the carcass of the bull; and they went to their ship and sailed eastward, like men who have a work to do. Three thousand years and more they sailed away, into the unknown Eastern seas; and great nations have come and gone since then, and many a storm has swept the earth; and many a mighty armament, to which Argo would be but one small boat; English and French, Turkish and Russian, have sailed those waters since; yet the fame of that small Argo lives forever, and her name is a proverb among men. "
This is what sixth graders were reading one hundred years ago, in 1914, but if a college kid today graduated with a full and complete understanding of that one single paragraph they would be better educated than they are after a quarter-million dollars or so of student debt.
Place: Southport, Connecticut.
Time: Somewhere in the late 1980s.
Mood: Pissed off.
It was one of those arguments that, if they don't end a marriage outright, threaten it with premature extinction. Like most, it was my fault. Like most, it probably started over a small thing in the way that explosions start with a spark in a primer. Whatever it was, like an explosion, it quickly escalated to the well-worn phrase that those who are wrong always use at the end, "Okay, that's it. I'm out of here!"
And out the door I went. Down to the driveway I went. Into the car I went. Out of the driveway and into the road I drove taking a hard left that would lead me down the right curve, then the left curve, then onto the main road. Halfway down this road I pulled the car over, turned off the engine and sat there listening to the crickets in the summer evening.
Well, I thought, that'll show her. I'm gone.
At which point it dawned on my small reptile brain, as it must have to countless husbands, that although I was gone I had no place to go.
Of course that wasn't quite true. In theory I had everyplace to go. Everyplace except back to the house I'd just left. I was parked close to the I-95 and the Boston Post Road on coastal Connecticut. I could go west-north-south wherever.... but I couldn't go back. At least not right then. That would be too humiliating.... too much like a Monty Python sketch. So I chose the solution that countless husbands have taken, I headed to the nearest hotel/motel.
In this case the nearest hotel/motel was an extensive establishment just off the Post Road. I pulled in front of the entrance and went inside. The check-in clerk visibly brightened as I walked in and gave me an effusive welcome. It didn't really lighten my mood to be greeted so warmly. I just asked for a quiet room where I could relax and take stock.
"A quiet room? We have a fine quiet room for you just across the parking lot. I'm sure you'll find it most satisfactory."
If the word "Whatever" had been in use then, I'm sure I would have spoken it. As it was I wasn't paying that much attention. He took my registration and credit card information and passed me the key. "Just pull across the way. It's on the ground floor. Do you need any help with your luggage?"
I needed no help at all with my luggage since I didn't have any luggage. Storming out of a house loses its impact if you pause to do anything sane like, say, pack a bag. I took the key and paused a bit looking at the indoor swimming pool that was just off the lobby. I didn't note the clerk pick up the phone and mumble into it.
The exhaustion, the adrenaline jag, that sets in after anger passes was beginning to overwhelm me. I left the lobby and drove the car about twenty yards to park in front of the my room, my rented refuge. I was looking forward to the solace of television and a fully stocked mini-bar. If I got hungry later there was a Greek Diner about a hundred yards down the road with "Breakfast All Day." It was not a good plan but it was the only plan I had. Maybe later I'd admit I'd become an extraterrestrial in my own town and "Phone home" seeking forgiveness. Maybe.
Stupefied I walked up to the motel room door, put the key in the lock, turned it and opened the door.
There were dim lights on in the room so I stood in the doorway and scanned the room left to right for a moment. Wall, bathroom entrance, wall with flocked green wallpaper and bad seascape (at least it wasn't clowns), bed, night table, donkey eating a bale of hay.
"Hold it. Scan room again please," said brain.
Wall, bathroom, seascape, bed, table, donkey eating a bale of hay. A small donkey. A large bale of hay. In the night and in the dim hotel room in the corner. A calm and not too big donkey eating hay.
Check nose. Yup, smells like a fairly clean donkey in there.
One more time. Situation same. Wall, picture, bed, donkey.... wait.... wall.... slightly at an angle instead of flat a portion of the wall where there should have been a sharp corner. Look more closely and see a thin place in the wallpaper. Hear a soft whirring noise. Then the phone rings.
The phone is on the table next to the bed and the donkey. I am in the doorway. It rings and it rings. I do not move. It stops ringing and the door of the room next to mine opens and Alan Funt's son Peter walks over to me with a clip-board, a pasted on smile and his hand held out.
"Hi, I'm Peter Funt. Smile, you're on Candid Camera!"
Candid Camera was an ancient staple of TV running from 1948 until it petered out at the end of the 1980s with a few brief returns since then. It is now virtually extinct, but it was big "laff-riot" TV in its day.
"The premise of the show involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank."In my case, it would seem that the gag was that random travelers of the Boston Post Road who'd come to the hotel/motel for refuge would be treated to a donkey in their room and filmed from behind a blind next to the wall. It probably seemed like a fine premise for a gag show into it's fourth decade, but I -- for one -- was not exactly in the mood.
Instead of being the good-sport the show depended on I gave Peter Funt a look that caused him to take two careful steps back and lower his hand. I reached forward and slowly closed the door to the donkey room noting that, across the way, the check-in clerk and others are in the entrance to the lobby watching what happens next. They were all, of course, in on the gag.
In the next minute or so, Peter Funt brings me into their little circle of funsters. I remember that he seemed most concerned I sign the release form he had on his clipboard. I refused and asked, "Am I going to be charged for this."
"No, of course not, the room's on us and we'll stand you for a new one for tonight with no donkey if you prefer, and dinner's on us. Just sign this and..."
He was talking to the air. I was in the car and out of the parking lot and gone up the Boston Post Road and home. Long before they'd reset the room and walked the donkey, I was softly knocking on my front door seeking forgiveness and a room for the night. Without farm animals.
I was very tired. I was glad to be home.
I am sick to death of hearing about Robin Williams. Funny guy. Sad guy. Rich guy. Famous guy. Dead guy. Buh Bye.
While it doesn't take a literary genius to understand John Donne's Meditation 17 ("No man is an island..." ), I'm pretty sure that when Donne penned:
Each man's death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
the poet was not watching some blonde bimbette and her beta boys in blue blazers blather without stop about the endless amusement to be found in somebody who got his big break breaking out of a giant egg and then went on to a brief and hilarious classic comedy career of cocaine abuse. (Known forever after as, "When Robin Williams was really funny.")
Suffice it to say that if Robin Williams was not suicidal before his suicide, watching the reporting of it would have sent him running towards the clown throwing the cyanide pies screaming, "Me! Hit me with ten pies! Now! Dear God... Oh the humanity!".
My good friend off in the kitchen perusing the regrigerator offers the only rational explanation for this tsunami of Robin Williams, Robin Williams, and, oh by the way, here's more about Robin Williams!, "Given all else that's going on in the world right now, Robin Williams killing himself is -- strangely enough -- the 'feel good' story of the day."Continued...
Regarding the assertion that "The solution begins with buying the wood for the gallows to be built on the Mall in Washington. It’s only then that we have truly faced up to what we have to do to fix our country." as found in The Top 40: America’s Colonial Class AGoyAndHisBlog says:
Sorry, but I'm finding that I can no longer abide this fantastical, "Hang 'Em High" bluster.
First, an untouchable oligarchy wielding the full might and technology of the most powerful military machine ever conceived by Man simply chuckles at such empty threats, assuming such threats are acknowledged at all.
Second, and more importantly, any viable - constitutional - solution to the dilemma we face can only begin once we understand who the "pod people" really are, what made them the way they are (or, more accurately, what has permitted them to remain the way they are), and what has facilitated their ascendancy over virtually all of society.Continued...
May 1943. "Keysville, Virginia. Randolph Henry High School cafeteria. Typical lunch for 15 cents: candied yams, macaroni and cheese, fruit salad, deviled eggs, dessert and milk. Milk is free and children can have as much as they want." Shorpy Historical Photo Archive :: Cafeteria Cuisine: 1943
The Gods of the Copybook Headings
AS I PASS through my incarnations in every age and race,
I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market Place.
Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all.
When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.
In the early morning hours of August 5, 1962, legendary screen goddess Marilyn Monroe was found dead in the bedroom of her Los Angeles home at the age of 36.
From the moment her body was discovered, her death became as much of a media circus as most of her life had been, rife with sordid speculation and half-truths. Marilyn’s life had never been an easy one. Born Norma Jeane Mortenson on June 1, 1926, her mother Gladys was mentally unstable so Norma spent the bulk of her childhood in orphanages and foster homes. She married in 1942, and while her husband was serving in World War II she began modeling. By 1946, her marriage was over, but her movie career was just beginning. She was signed by Twentieth Century Fox and changed her name to Marilyn Monroe.
|How Islam Built The Very Fabric of America After the Revolution, we wrote the Constitution, which opens with "We, the subjects of the Caliphate…" What's more, the first amendment to the Constitution clearly reads, "Congress shall make laws coercing compliance with Sharia, and prohibiting the free exercise of any of the religions of the infidels; and defining freedom of speech, and of the press; and the right of the people peaceably to assemble to burn private property in protests, and to accept whatever the Grand Mufti decrees for a redress of grievances."|
|US Announces New Plan To Destabilize Middle East In Hopes Of Failure Kerry then turned over the briefing to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to discuss some of the plan’s military aspects. “As we speak, cruise missiles are in the air targeting the Wailing Wall, Dome of the Rock, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and Al Aqsa Mosque,” said Hagel. “In order to prevent any of them from being rebuilt, the entire Temple Mount will be resettled with tigers displaced by habitat loss. We debated using lions, but decided that a non-indigenous predator would cause greater instability. Close behind the wave of missiles, 200,000 American soldiers and Marines are now en route to the Middle East. They have not been briefed on their strategic objectives, because there are none. They do not even know their destinations, which are being drawn from top hats by their pilots while in the air. This will likely cause at least some of the planes to conduct crash landings due to lack of fuel, which we hope will only add to the chaos.”|
|There will be a FU*K! SH*T! test MOTHERF**KING C**TBREATH! BA**S! soon:A Brief Overview of Tourette Syndrome Although some suffer from the well-publicized outbursts and swearing, many with Tourette have less severe tics. These may include vocalizations like grunting, throat clearing, sniffing and snorting, as well as movements like eye blinking, nose scrunching, jaw thrusting, grimacing, shrugging and jerking.|
|17 Excellent Animal Illustrations from a 16th Century Book | Mental Floss The first written description of a unicorn—which, unfortunately, is not real—appeared in the writings of Greek physician Ctesius, and it doesn't resemble the animal we've come to think of at all:There are in India certain wild asses which are as large as horses, and larger. Their bodies are white, their heads dark red, and their eyes dark blue. They have a horn on the forehead which is about a foot and a half in length. The base of this horn, for some two hands'-breadth above the brow, is pure white; the upper part is sharp and of a vivid crimson; and the remainder, or middle portion, is black. Those who drink out of these horns, made into drinking vessels, are not subject, they say, to convulsions or to the holy disease [epilepsy]. Indeed, they are immune even to poisons…This is the only way to capture them: when they take their young to pasture, you must surround them with many men and horses. They will not desert their offspring and fights with horns, teeth and heels; and they kill many horses and men. They are themselves brought down by arrows and spears. They cannot be caught alive.|
|Articles: Seniors Out Now! Another rationale for deporting seniors is that they are so often considered of little use here.They cannot increase the population, pick fruit, mow lawns, slaughter animals, or build infrastructure. Most are electronically challenged, to put it kindly. You rarely see seniors sitting around and texting, for example, so they could hardly be credited with adding much of a contribution to the ubiquitous “social network.” So why, indeed, keep them around?|
|Wealth, risk, and stuff When rich people present the idea that they’ve learned to live lightly as a paradoxical insight, they have the idea of wealth backwards. You can only have that kind of lightness through wealth. If you buy food in bulk, you need a big fridge. If you can’t afford to replace all the appliances in your house, you need several junk drawers. If you can’t afford car repairs, you might need a half-gutted second car of a similar model up on blocks, where certain people will make fun of it and call you trailer trash.|
|Terrorist Armies Fight Smarter And Deadlier Than Ever | We see Islamist fighters becoming skilled soldiers. The thrust of the Islamic State down the Euphrates River illustrates a style of warfare that melds old and new. U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq used to say: “Thank God they can’t shoot.” Well, now they can. They maneuver in reasonably disciplined formations, often aboard pickup trucks and captured Iraqi Humvees. They employ mortars and rockets in deadly barrages. To be sure, parts of the old terrorist playbook remain:They butcher and execute prisoners to make unambiguously clear the terrible consequences of resistance. They continue to display an eager willingness for death and the media savvy of the “propaganda of the deed.”|
|The Wilderness Survival Skills Everyone Should Know As for primitive toilet paper, in the winter, a snowball is actually quite invigorating, but most of the time, leaves of a plant like mullein are the go-to method. Sometimes an unopened pine cone will work, but ouch! One of the keys to this is to squat not sit. This forces the cheeks apart and means that there will be far less cleaning necessary.|
|Mind in the Mound: How Do Termites Build Their Huge Structures? Contrary to common notions, termite mounds are not high-rise residence halls. Rather, they are "accessory organs of gas exchange," in Turner's words, designed to serve the respiratory needs of the subterranean colony located several feet (a meter or two) below the mound. For many years, researchers looked at termite mounds and supposed that the spires worked like chimneys, drawing hot air up and out. But Turner discovered that mounds function more like lungs, inhaling and exhaling through walls that appear impenetrable but are actually quite porous.|
|Rabbit, jumpThe bunnies varied greatly in size and certainly in energy and eagerness. Some were quite—jumpy. Some dug in like mules and just could not be successfully prodded by their young owners to get off their duffs. The winner cleared a barrier six hurdles high. Each hurdle looked to be about an inch or an inch and a half, which doesn’t sound impressive until you look at it with bunny eyes.|
|Leonardo’s smile | BestQuest Because he was so influential a painter it is all the easier to forget how Leonardo shocked and distressed his contemporaries by the revolutionary nature of his art, as astoundingly original as his soon to be amassed scientific ideas explored in the Notebooks. The peculiar eyes of the women he painted were just the result of a Florentine fashion. At the end of the 15th century aristocratic women just had to shave off their eyebrows and eyelashes, and pluck out the hair at the centre of their hairline. Don’t ask.|
|The mirage of Russian power: Contrary to what Western observers tend to believe (or tell the public), Russia is simply not capable of large-scale military aggression. Comparisons with the machinations of Nazi Germany in the Sudetenland abound, but these comparisons do not testify to much historical insight. Nazi Germany in 1939 had a larger economy than either the United Kingdom or France, and had secured the alliance or neutrality of two other powers. The Russian economy, on the contrary, is only one fifth the size of that of the EU or the USA.|
|The Problem With Minimalism | The great irony of minimalism is that while it purports to free you from a focus on stuff, it still makes stuff the focus of your life! The materialist concentrates on how to accumulate things, while the minimalist concentrates on how to get rid of those things…ultimately they’re both centering their thoughts on stuff. It’s like a compulsive overeater and a bulimic. One thoroughly enjoys eating, and stuffs his face whenever and wherever he can. The other eats, hates himself for eating, and then purges it out. But they’re both obsessed with food.|
|888,246 Ceramic Poppies Surround the Tower of London to Commemorate WWI | Colossal To commemorate the centennial of Britain’s involvement in the First World War, ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper conceived of a staggering installation of ceramic poppies planted in the famous dry moat around the Tower of London. Titled “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red,” the final work will consist of 888,246 red ceramic flowers—each representing a British or Colonial military fatality—that flow through grounds around the tower.|
|Begging, with Camel: An employee talks with a beggar kneeling in front of a restaurant to beg for money with a camel in Shaoxing, Zhejiang province, on November 25, 2013. Several beggars with their camels showed up at a business area in the city, kneeling down store after store to beg for money Scenes From 21st-Century China - In Focus - The Atlantic|
DREAMS OF MY TWO FATHERS: World's Most Important Autobiography Revised and Uncloseted
GLIDE PATHS AND PORK CHOPS: Principles of Porcine Aviation
REVOLUTIONARY RELAXATION: How to Unwind with Small Shooting Sprees
COMPROMISE ECOLOGY: The Handbook of "The Friends of the Sierra Club and Halliburton's Earth."
STIFFED: Around the World in 80 Lapdances
LOOK MOO, NO THUMBS: A Cow's Guide to Instant Messaging
BOYFOOT BEAR WITH TEAKS OF CHAN: Zen Puns for Every Occasion
FUELISH: The Future of Electrosolarlunamethanecorn-powered Vehicles
SEX MIT SCHLAG: The Tangled Histories of Love and Dairy Products
THE 7 COMPULSIONS OF HIGHLY DEFECTIVE PEOPLE
WE'RE TWELVE STEPPING: 12 Foolproof Square Dances for AA Shindigs in Rural America
THE SPEED OF DARK: Measuring the Slowest Thing in the Universe
GENDERLENDING: Same Sex Marriage for Heterosexuals
DUCT-TAPE DROMEDARIES: Beyond Balloon Animals
MY GIRL: The Life of Jenna Bush, 46th President of the United States As Told by Her Father
PRONE YOGA: Asanas for People Too Pooped to Sit Up
THE PEOPLE, MAYBE: The Progressive Professor's Guide to Making Sure Only Smart People Vote
THE I-CHANGE: Fortune Telling with the New Commemorative Quarters
YO, GOD: The Revised Standard Hip-Hop Version of the Gospels
But just because somebody decided to actually import known carriers of Ebola into the United States is no reason to be concerned. After all the Federal Government and the military have this all under control. "The country's in the very best of hands."Continued...
"Did I ever tell you
about the man who taught his asshole to talk? His whole abdomen would move up and down you dig farting out the words. It was unlike anything I ever heard.
This ass talk had sort of a gut frequency. It hit you right down there like you gotta go. You know when the old colon gives you the elbow and it feels sorta cold inside, and you know all you have to do is turn loose? Well this talking hit you right down there, a bubbly, thick stagnant sound, a sound you could smell.
This man worked for a carnival you dig, and to start with it was like a novelty ventriliquist act. Real funny, too, at first. He had a number he called “The Better ‘Ole” that was a scream, I tell you. I forget most of it but it was clever. Like, “Oh I say, are you still down there, old thing?” -- William Burroughs @ RealityStudio »