First lady Michelle Obama hugs former President George W. Bush during the dedication ceremony for the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, on September 24, 2016.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. -- Matthew 16:18
[Emphasis Added] In the great journal of things happening under the sun, we, the American people, find our account running under date of the nineteenth century of the Christian era. We find ourselves in the peaceful possession of the fairest portion of the earth as regards extent of territory, fertility of soil, and salubrity of climate.
We find ourselves under the government of a system of political institutions conducing more essentially to the ends of civil and religious liberty than any of which the history of former times tells us.
We, when mounting the stage of existence, found ourselves the legal inheritors of these fundamental blessings. We toiled not in the acquirement or establishment of them; they are a legacy bequeathed us by a once hardy, brave, and patriotic, but now lamented and departed, race of ancestors. Theirs was the task (and nobly they performed it) to possess themselves, and through themselves us, of this goodly land, and to uprear upon its hills and its valleys a political edifice of liberty and equal rights; 'tis ours only to transmit these—the former unprofaned by the foot of an invader, the latter undecayed by the lapse of time and untorn by usurpation—to the latest generation that fate shall permit the world to know. This task gratitude to our fathers, justice to ourselves, duty to posterity, and love for our species in general, all imperatively require us faithfully to perform.
How then shall we perform it? At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it? Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant to step the ocean and crush us at a blow? Never!
All the armies of Europe, Asia, and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest, with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of a thousand years.
At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.
....I know the American people are much attached to their government; I know they would suffer much for its sake; I know they would endure evils long and patiently before they would ever think of exchanging it for another,—yet, notwithstanding all this, if the laws be continually despised and disregarded, if their rights to be secure in their persons and property are held by no better tenure than the caprice of a mob, the alienation of their affections from the government is the natural consequence; and to that, sooner or later, it must come.
.... There are now, and will hereafter be, many causes, dangerous in their tendency, which have not existed heretofore, and which are not too insignificant to merit attention. That our government should have been maintained in its original form, from its establishment until now, is not much to be wondered at.
It had many props to support it through that period, which now are decayed and crumbled away. ....
But those histories are gone. They can be read no more forever. They were a fortress of strength; but what invading foeman could never do, the silent artillery of time has done—the leveling of its walls..... They were pillars of the temple of liberty; and now that they have crumbled away that temple must fall unless we, their descendants, supply their places with other pillars, hewn from the solid quarry of sober reason.
Passion has helped us, but can do so no more. It will in future be our enemy. Reason—cold, calculating, unimpassioned reason—must furnish all the materials for our future support and defense. Let those materials be molded into general intelligence, sound morality, and, in particular, a reverence for the Constitution and laws; and that we improved to the last, that we remained free to the last, that we revered his name to the last, that during his long sleep we permitted no hostile foot to pass over or desecrate his resting place, shall be that which to learn the last trump shall awaken our Washington.
Upon these let the proud fabric of freedom rest, as the rock of its basis; and as truly as has been said of the only greater institution, "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." -- Abraham Lincoln -- The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions 1837
Lucille Mulhall was known as the first—or original—cowgirl. She introduced countless audiences to the idea that a woman could rope and ride better than men. "Although she weighs only 90 pounds she can break a broncho, lasso and brand a steer and shoot a coyote at 500 yards," wrote one reporter. Mulhall became a symbol of the Old West as it ebbed away with the turn of the century. With her ranching background and daring rodeo performances, Mulhall linked herself to open spaces and the freedom found riding astride in a divided skirt and Western saddle. T | Atlas Obscura
[EXCERPT]From the primary season’s outset, the Democratic Party’s candidates promised even more radical “transformations.” When, rarely, they have been asked what gives them the right to do such things they have acted as if the only answer were Nancy Pelosi’s reply to whether the Constitution allows the government to force us into Obamacare: “Are you kidding? Are you kidding?”
On the Republican side, 17 hopefuls promised much, without dealing with the primordial fact that, in today’s America, those in power basically do what they please. Executive orders, phone calls, and the right judge mean a lot more than laws. They even trump state referenda. Over the past half-century, presidents have ruled not by enforcing laws but increasingly through agencies that write their own rules, interpret them, and punish unaccountably—the administrative state. As for the Supreme Court, the American people have seen it invent rights where there were none—e.g., abortion—while trammeling ones that had been the republic’s spine, such as the free exercise of religion and freedom of speech. The Court taught Americans that the word “public” can mean “private” (Kelo v. City of New London), that “penalty” can mean “tax” (King v. Burwell), and that holding an opinion contrary to its own can only be due to an “irrational animus” (Obergefell v. Hodges).
What goes by the name “constitutional law” has been eclipsing the U.S. Constitution for a long time. But when the 1964 Civil Rights Act substituted a wholly open-ended mandate to oppose “discrimination” for any and all fundamental rights, it became the little law that ate the Constitution. Now, because the Act pretended that the commerce clause trumps the freedom of persons to associate or not with whomever they wish, and is being taken to mean that it trumps the free exercise of religion as well, bakers and photographers are forced to take part in homosexual weddings. A commission in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts reported that even a church may be forced to operate its bathrooms according to gender self-identification because it “could be seen as a place of public accommodation if it holds a secular event, such as a spaghetti supper, that is open to the general public.” California came very close to mandating that Catholic schools admit homosexual and transgender students or close down. The Justice Department is studying how to prosecute on-line transactions such as vacation home rental site Airbnb, Inc., that fall afoul of its evolving anti-discrimination standards.
This arbitrary power, whose rabid guard-dog growls and barks: “Racist! Sexist! Homophobic!” has transformed our lives by removing restraints on government. The American Bar Association’s new professional guidelines expose lawyers to penalties for insufficient political correctness. Performing abortions or at least training to perform them may be imposed as a requirement for licensing doctors, nurses, and hospitals that offer services to the general public.
Addressing what it would take to reestablish the primacy of fundamental rights would have required Republican candidates to reset the Civil Rights movement on sound constitutional roots. Surprised they didn’t do it?
No one running for the GOP nomination discussed the greatest violation of popular government’s norms—never mind the Constitution—to have occurred in two hundred years, namely, the practice, agreed upon by mainstream Republicans and Democrats, of rolling all of the government’s expenditures into a single bill. This eliminates elected officials’ responsibility for any of the government’s actions, and reduces them either to approving all that the government does without reservation, or the allegedly revolutionary, disloyal act of “shutting down the government.”
Rather than talk about how to restrain or shrink government, Republican candidates talked about how to do more with government. The Wall Street Journal called that “having a positive agenda.” Hence, Republicans by and large joined the Democrats in relegating the U.S. Constitution to history’s dustbin.
Because Republicans largely agree with Democrats that they need not take seriously the founders’ Constitution, today’s American regime is now what Max Weber had called the Tsarist regime on the eve of the Revolution: “fake constitutionalism.” Because such fakery is self-discrediting and removes anyone’s obligation to restrain his passions, it is a harbinger of revolution and of imperial power.
The ruling class having chosen raw power over law and persuasion, the American people reasonably concluded that raw power is the only way to counter it, and looked for candidates who would do that. Hence, even constitutional scholar Ted Cruz stopped talking about the constitutional implications of President Obama’s actions after polls told him that the public was more interested in what he would do to reverse them, niceties notwithstanding. Had Cruz become the main alternative to the Democratic Party’s dominion, the American people might have been presented with the option of reverting to the rule of law. But that did not happen. Both of the choices before us presuppose force, not law.[/EXCERPT]
Read the rest of this brilliant essay at After the Republic
Adrift on seas of wine
Off the coasts of slate,
The golden bells of mermaids rang
Night's changes by the Gates
Of Hercules. The wind stood up
And danced upon our sheets.
A ship sailed through our window,
Its cold crew robed in sleet.
Among them brave Ulysses,
Captain Ahab and his crew.
Stormtossed, they'd slept in silt
For an age, then sailed anew,
Northward to those seas of ice
Where iron seagulls rust.
From pole to pole they seek their homes
Long since turned to dust.
Above them fishing ships in fleets
Still strain the sea for gold,
While at their table Homer's wine
Refuses to grow old.
At times they shade our reefs of dream,
And we sense them as they pass --
Like shadows thrown by the moon,
Like whispers heard through glass.
Crossing the Saronic Gulf
My brown Greek sandled feet hang down
From the Argonaut’s bow, flying low
Above the white churned foam.
Before me the Aegean scintillates
Stretching flat as wine-dark glass
To Hydra’s hills of haze and smoke
Where they're burning the hay
To flat black stubble.
To the west, a sarcophagus of islands
Etches the edges of the Peloponnesian sky,
And is consumed in the burnt orange mist
Of the sun's long day’s journey
Into the star-soaked blood slashed sea.
Beside me dolphins crest the claret swells,
Surfing the wake of our ship,
Synchronous and to the side of time.
I live in Paradise. Paradise, California, that is.
Paradise is a small town in the foothills of the Sierras in northern California. The population hovers around 26,000. Paradise is served by four good-sized supermarkets. Because of my need for a hard-to-find ingredient I had occasion this afternoon to go to all four.
Each supermarket was busier this Monday afternoon than I can remember seeing them on any day in the past two years that I've lived here. Shoppers moving up and down the aisles and stacking up five to ten deep at the open registers which were running in the "All-Hands-On-Deck" mode.
It was strange. Very unusual. Almost spooky.
It was almost as if the entire town of 26,000 people had decided to eat in tonight and then kickback and watch a little television....
Flatulating "Famous Faces" fulsomely fucked. Courtesy of The Brilliant Basket of Deplorables
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: - - Deuteronomy 30
Jed Gradisen, 13, is lucky to escape with his life after a huge DOLPHIN takes a flying leap and lands on top of him as he catches a wave, spearing its nose through his board Gradisen, 13, was surfing near the WA town of Kalbarri. A dolphin launched itself out of the water and landed on his surfboard. The huge mammal speared its nose clean through his board. Gradisen had just enough time to jump clear before impact
Five and a half terrifying minutes of a home invasion in Atlanta on September 16, 2016.
"She exercised her right to defend her livelihood and property," Cpl. Deon Washington with the Gwinnett County Police Department told Channel 2’s Nicole Carr. Surveillance video from inside the home shows the Gwinnett County woman rush from her bedroom and then unloads all her bullets on the three men who kicked in her front door. The woman is a local restaurant manager who was staying in a housemate's Spring Drive home for work-related reasons. She heard the three intruders break into the home around 4 a.m. Friday. Video shows the men have guns clearly in hand. Police said the men were looking for cash when they met their match. As they exchange fire with drywall debris clouding the dark home, the video shows one man run through a glass door. Another man died of his injuries in the driveway.
Review carefully and tell me again if you don't want to have a gun for self-defense in your home.Continued...
The 1968 Original from Marvin Gaye:
Then as used in over the titles of the generation defining film, The Big Chill:
And yes, this is how we looked and dressed and drove and went off to work in the 80s. At least, that's how I looked and dressed and drove when I worked for the Cosmodemonic Magazine Company and Ye Olde American Book Publisher in Boston.
At the time Richard Corliss of Time described The Big Chill as a "funny and ferociously smart movie," stating:
“These Americans are in their 30s today, but back then they were the Now Generation. Right Now: give me peace, give me justice, gimme good lovin'. For them, in the voluptuous bloom of youth, the '60s was a banner you could carry aloft or wrap yourself inside. A verdant anarchy of politics, sex, drugs and style carpeted the landscape. And each impulse was scored to the rollick of the new music: folk, rock, pop, R&B. The armies of the night marched to Washington, but they boogied to Liverpool and Motown. Now, in 1983, Harold & Sarah & Sam & Karen & Michael & Meg & Nick—classmates all from the University of Michigan at the end of our last interesting decade—have come to the funeral of a friend who has slashed his wrists. Alex was a charismatic prodigy of science and friendship and progressive hell raising who opted out of academe to try social work, then manual labor, then suicide. He is presented as a victim of terminal decompression from the orbital flight of his college years: a worst-case scenario his friends must ponder, probing themselves for symptoms of the disease.For once, Corliss was on the money.
Then....the 1970 Upgrade. Creedence's 11 Minute cut. Used the world over when the love light was on, replacing the Doors' "Light My Fire" as the numero uno "getting it on" music.
In the 3D world of persuasion, however, the election is already over. There is still some mystery about how large the margin will be, but Trump is already the President of the United States unless something big happens in the next few weeks. How do I know that? Listen to this clip in which Clinton asks why she isn’t leading by 50 points. Ignore the content of what she says, because no one cares about content. Just feel it.
And see the future.
The look of lose
Is in your eyes
A look your smile can't
The look of lose
Is saying so much more than
Just words could every say
And what my heart has heard
Well it takes my breath away
Add in the hectoring voice, the crazy Eddie eyes, and well.....
Then there's the annotated version via Twitter....Continued...
A friend told me about this, but I thought I'd go see for myself. It's a bench above a grave in Seattle's Lakeview Cemetary. It's just about 20 yards above the graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. In this age of vapid celebrity those graves still receive a constant flow of visitors immersed in vanity. The remains of these celluloid heroes, these men whose life's work was mere pretending, still have tokens, incense, flowers and other offerings heaped upon them. It's as if the people who come, not knowing these men in life, seek a deeper unknowing of them in death. It's not about who they were but who their long trail of mourners were not.
It seems to me that the hundreds of millions now addicted to "celebrity" are addicted to a heroin of the soul. Like heroin, "celebrity" must be taken in ever increasing doses to fill a hole in the user's soul. And just like heroin, "celebrity" doesn't fill anything but only increases the emptiness. Which, of course, only increases the need and requires an ever larger dose of the illusion; of the shrieking unquiet voices.
Standing above the Lee graves you can watch their worshipers come and go. They leave their tokens and then pose in groups beside the stones for one last photograph of their brush with dead celebrity.
This grave, on a rise above, is quieter but bears a simple poem on the sides of the bench as you walk around it. There's no name on the bench itself. That marker is small and off to the side a yard or two. The bench itself is not a monument to vanity, but a simple gift left behind for any who may chance upon it.
If you like you can sit down and rest for awhile on the poem cut into the stone. It's in sun and shade; a pleasant spot to watch the clouds scud across the sound and shred themselves into rain and vapor on the tops of the mountains to the west and to the east.
You might even bring a book and, opening it to a remembered passage, read,
.... For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
An elaborate thought and true enough. But somehow, in this place, the simpler poem on which you rest seems better and more apt even as, below you, the still living fans of Bruce and Brandon Lee pull up in their cars, leave their offerings, and drive away.
"West lies the Sound. South a great tree.
North is the university.
East the mighty Cascades run free.
All these places were loved by me."
"I'm fine. Really, I'm fine. Thank you for asking. I'm fine. I am better than 100 percent."
One reason for the "Forever War" is because winning has become optional.
Unlike WW2 when Roosevelt and Truman were under pressure to win the war and bring the boys home, Obama's America can sustainably fight major conflicts without putting masses of voters under arms. Whenever things get dicey, the administration can just send a B-1 over to restore the balance so Kerry can go back to the nth doomed ceasefire.
Today with the draft abolished and in possession of gee-whiz weapons which are orders of magnitude more powerful than anything Assad or ISIS has, Obama can avoid the hard question of ends with endless procrastination. Freed from the risk of actual defeat by a crushing military superiority, Washington doesn't have to identify the enemy or seek victory. It can devote itself to the ends-free activity of pursuing the Process.Chronic Virtue | Fernandez
Vox Popoli: Why the Left hates HP LovecraftThey hate Lovecraft because he saw the future, and the evil that the immigrants would commit, and the harm they would do to America, much more clearly than any of the vaunted science fiction writers ever
There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself, but I will tell of The Street.
Men of strength and honour fashioned that Street; good, valiant men of our blood who had come from the Blessed Isles across the sea. At first it was but a path trodden by bearers of water from the woodland spring to the cluster of houses by the beach. Then, as more men came to the growing cluster of houses and looked about for places to dwell, they built cabins along the north side; cabins of stout oaken logs with masonry on the side toward the forest, for many Indians lurked there with fire-arrows. And in a few years more, men built cabins on the south side of The Street.
Up and down The Street walked grave men in conical hats, who most of the time carried muskets or fowling pieces. And there were also their bonneted wives and sober children. In the evening these men with their wives and children would sit about gigantic hearths and read and speak. Very simple were the things of which they read and spoke, yet things which gave them courage and goodness and helped them by day to subdue the forest and till the fields. And the children would listen, and learn of the laws and deeds of old, and of that dear England which they had never seen, or could not remember.
There was war, and thereafter no more Indians troubled The Street. The men, busy with labour, waxed prosperous and as happy as they knew how to be. And the children grew up comfortably, and more families came from the Mother Land to dwell on The Street. And the children’s children, and the newcomers’ children, grew up. The town was now a city, and one by one the cabins gave place to houses; simple, beautiful houses of brick and wood, with stone steps and iron railings and fanlights over the doors. No flimsy creations were these houses, for they were made to serve many a generation. Within there were carven mantels and graceful stairs, and sensible, pleasing furniture, china, and silver, brought from the Mother Land.
So The Street drank in the dreams of a young people, and rejoiced as its dwellers became more graceful and happy. Where once had been only strength and honour, taste and learning now abode as well. Books and paintings and music came to the houses, and the young men went to the university which rose above the plain to the north. In the place of conical hats and muskets there were three-cornered hats and small-swords, and lace and snowy periwigs. And there were cobblestones over which clattered many a blooded horse and rumbled many a gilded coach; and brick sidewalks with horse blocks and hitching-posts.
There were in that Street many trees; elms and oaks and maples of dignity; so that in the summer the scene was all soft verdure and twittering bird-song. And behind the houses were walled rose-gardens with hedged paths and sundials, where at evening the moon and stars would shine bewitchingly while fragrant blossoms glistened with dew.
So The Street dreamed on, past wars, calamities, and changes. Once most of the young men went away, and some never came back. That was when they furled the Old Flag and put up a new Banner of Stripes and Stars. But though men talked of great changes, The Street felt them not; for its folk were still the same, speaking of the old familiar things in the old familiar accents. And the trees still sheltered singing birds, and at evening the moon and stars looked down upon dewy blossoms in the walled rose-gardens.
In time there were no more swords, three-cornered hats, or periwigs in The Street. How strange seemed the denizens with their walking-sticks, tall beavers, and cropped heads! New sounds came from the distance—first strange puffings and shrieks from the river a mile away, and then, many years later, strange puffings and shrieks and rumblings from other directions. The air was not quite so pure as before, but the spirit of the place had not changed. The blood and soul of the people were as the blood and soul of their ancestors who had fashioned The Street. Nor did the spirit change when they tore open the earth to lay down strange pipes, or when they set up tall posts bearing weird wires. There was so much ancient lore in that Street, that the past could not easily be forgotten.
Then came days of evil, when many who had known The Street of old knew it no more; and many knew it, who had not known it before. And those who came were never as those who went away; for their accents were coarse and strident, and their mien and faces unpleasing. Their thoughts, too, fought with the wise, just spirit of The Street, so that The street pined silently as its houses fell into decay, and its trees died one by one, and its rose-gardens grew rank with weeds and waste. But it felt a stir of pride one day when again marched forth young men, some of whom never came back. These young men were clad in blue.
With the years worse fortune came to The Street. Its trees were all gone now, and its rose-gardens were displaced by the backs of cheap, ugly new buildings on parallel streets. Yet the houses remained, despite the ravages of the years and the storms and worms, for they had been made to serve many a generation. New kinds of faces appeared in The Street; swarthy, sinister faces with furtive eyes and odd features, whose owners spoke unfamiliar words and placed signs in known and unknown characters upon most of the musty houses. Push-carts crowded the gutters. A sordid, undefinable stench settled over the place, and the ancient spirit slept.
Great excitement once came to The Street. War and revolution were raging across the seas; a dynasty had collapsed, and its degenerate subjects were flocking with dubious intent to the Western Land. Many of these took lodgings in the battered houses that had once known the songs of birds and the scent of roses. Then the Western Land itself awoke, and joined the Mother Land in her titanic struggle for civilisation. Over the cities once more floated the Old Flag, companioned by the New Flag and by a plainer yet glorious Tri-colour. But not many flags floated over The Street, for therein brooded only fear and hatred and ignorance. Again young men went forth, but not quite as did the young men of those other days. Something was lacking. And the sons of those young men of other days, who did indeed go forth in olive-drab with the true spirit of their ancestors, went from distant places and knew not The Street and its ancient spirit.
Over the seas there was a great victory, and in triumph most of the young men returned. Those who had lacked something lacked it no longer, yet did fear and hatred and ignorance still brood over The Street; for many had stayed behind, and many strangers had come from distant places to the ancient houses. And the young men who had returned dwelt there no longer. Swarthy and sinister were most of the strangers, yet among them one might find a few faces like those who fashioned The Street and moulded its spirit. Like and yet unlike, for there was in the eyes of all a weird, unhealthy glitter as of greed, ambition, vindictiveness, or misguided zeal. Unrest and treason were abroad amongst an evil few who plotted to strike the Western Land its death-blow, that they might mount to power over its ruins; even as assassins had mounted in that unhappy, frozen land from whence most of them had come. And the heart of that plotting was in The Street, whose crumbling houses teemed with alien makers of discord and echoed with the plans and speeches of those who yearned for the appointed day of blood, flame, and crime.
Of the various odd assemblages in The Street, the law said much but could prove little. With great diligence did men of hidden badges linger and listen about such places as Petrovitch’s Bakery, the squalid Rifkin School of Modern Economics, the Circle Social Club, and the Liberty Café. There congregated sinister men in great numbers, yet always was their speech guarded or in a foreign tongue. And still the old houses stood, with their forgotten lore of nobler, departed centuries; of sturdy colonial tenants and dewy rose-gardens in the moonlight. Sometimes a lone poet or traveller would come to view them, and would try to picture them in their vanished glory; yet of such travellers and poets there were not many.
The rumour now spread widely that these houses contained the leaders of a vast band of terrorists, who on a designated day were to launch an orgy of slaughter for the extermination of America and of all the fine old traditions which The Street had loved. Handbills and papers fluttered about filthy gutters; handbills and papers printed in many tongues and in many characters, yet all bearing messages of crime and rebellion. In these writings the people were urged to tear down the laws and virtues that our fathers had exalted; to stamp out the soul of the old America—the soul that was bequeathed through a thousand and a half years of Anglo-Saxon freedom, justice, and moderation. It was said that the swart men who dwelt in The Street and congregated in its rotting edifices were the brains of a hideous revolution; that at their word of command many millions of brainless, besotted beasts would stretch forth their noisome talons from the slums of a thousand cities, burning, slaying, and destroying till the land of our fathers should be no more. All this was said and repeated, and many looked forward in dread to the fourth day of July, about which the strange writings hinted much; yet could nothing be found to place the guilt. None could tell just whose arrest might cut off the damnable plotting at its source. Many times came bands of blue-coated police to search the shaky houses, though at last they ceased to come; for they too had grown tired of law and order, and had abandoned all the city to its fate. Then men in olive-drab came, bearing muskets; till it seemed as if in its sad sleep The Street must have some haunting dreams of those other days, when musket-bearing men in conical hats walked along it from the woodland spring to the cluster of houses by the beach. Yet could no act be performed to check the impending cataclysm; for the swart, sinister men were old in cunning.
So The Street slept uneasily on, till one night there gathered in Petrovitch’s Bakery and the Rifkin School of Modern Economics, and the Circle Social Club, and Liberty Café, and in other places as well, vast hordes of men whose eyes were big with horrible triumph and expectation. Over hidden wires strange messages travelled, and much was said of still stranger messages yet to travel; but most of this was not guessed till afterward,when the Western Land was safe from the peril. The men in olive-drab could not tell what was happening, or what they ought to do; for the swart, sinister men were skilled in subtlety and concealment.
And yet the men in olive-drab will always remember that night, and will speak of The Street as they tell of it to their grandchildren; for many of them were sent there toward morning on a mission unlike that which they had expected. It was known that this nest of anarchy was old, and that the houses were tottering from the ravages of the years and the storms and the worms; yet was the happening of that summer night a surprise because of its very queer uniformity. It was, indeed, an exceedingly singular happening; though after all a simple one. For without warning, in one of the small hours beyond midnight, all the ravages of the years and the storms and the worms came to a tremendous climax; and after the crash there was nothing left standing in The Street save two ancient chimneys and part of a stout brick wall. Nor did anything that had been alive come alive from the ruins.
A poet and a traveller, who came with the mighty crowd that sought the scene, tell odd stories. The poet says that all through the hours before dawn he beheld sordid ruins but indistinctly in the glare of the arc-lights; that there loomed above the wreckage another picture wherein he could descry moonlight and fair houses and elms and oaks and maples of dignity. And the traveller declares that instead of the place’s wonted stench there lingered a delicate fragrance as of roses in full bloom. But are not the dreams of poets and the tales of travellers notoriously false?
There be those who say that things and places have souls, and there be those who say they have not; I dare not say, myself, but I have told you of The Street.
AG: Michael Walsh, the PJMedia columnist and author of The Devil’s Pleasure Palace, notes that the most vociferous in the conservative NeverTrump camp tend to be those under 50. Do you think there is a generation gap among conservatives and, if so, what accounts for it?
It does seem that, the younger a (nominal) conservative is, the more likely he is to be against Trump. I think this is owing to two things, at least. This will sound like an old man being cranky, so take it with due allowances.
The first is that the young are not educated. Not that I got the greatest education, but it was pretty good. Still the people who taught me were far more educated than I am now, and the oldest ones were the best educated of the bunch. And my sense is that their teachers—most of whom I never met, or were even dead before I was born—were better educated than even they were. So in terms of education and knowledge, we’re on a downward trend and have been for a while.
What that means is that young conservatives learn conservatism as a checklist. They don’t really read books, except recent “conservative” bestsellers. They read excerpts from the Federalist at a summer fellowship and think that’s an education. Not to knock summer fellowships, but they are supposed to be gateways, not complete educations. And they don’t really read anything harder or deeper than the Federalist (not to knock it, either, but the Founders read Aristotle, Cicero, Locke, Sidney, Montesquieu and more).
So on the basis of a rather flimsy education, they think they know what conservatism is, but it’s just a catechism for them, a hymnal. And they compare Trump’s policy positions to their hymnal and they see discrepancies and they just default to “Heretic! Not conservative!”
Which points to the second, which is that older conservative intellectuals tend to have better educations and read more widely so they have a broader perspective. They also have the benefit of hard-won experience and an understanding that compromise, course changes, tactical adjustments and so on are sometimes necessary. They’re less “idealistic” in the sense of uncompromisingly foolish. And—speculating here—they have seen America at its best, or when it was much better, so they know we’ve fallen and they don’t want to see us fall further.
The kidlets, as I call them, were raised on a diet of racism-this and equality-that and that’s-not-who-we-are, so they can’t process anything that seems to contradict the narrative. To them “conservatism” is the 1980 campaign’s economic platform spot-welded to Millennial identity politics and sexual libertarianism. Freedom! An Interview with Decius - American Greatness
Baking Bread in Hot Sand
A driving crew on the river wanted to move camp, but the cook objected as he had started to bake. One of the party suggested using a modified form of the method of baking in vogue more than a century ago, which was to place the dough in the hot earth where a fire had been burning. The Boy Mechanic Vol. 2 1000 Things for Boys to DoContinued...
And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them
But he himself was broken, long before the sky would open
Forsaken, almost human, he sank beneath your wisdom like a stone
And you want to travel with him, and you want to travel blind
And you think you maybe you'll trust him
For he's touched your perfect body with her mind
The Intellectual Yet Idiot (IYI) is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today,
along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in many countries, the government’s role is ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and rarely seen outside specialized outlets, social media, and universities?—?most people have proper jobs and there are not many opening for the IYI. Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite.
The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When Plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools, and PhDs as these are needed in the club.
These self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons....
The IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver. Those in the U.K. have been taken for a ride by Tony Blair. The modern IYI has attended more than one TEDx talks in person or watched more than two TED talks on Youtube. Not only will he vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable and some other such circular reasoning, but holds that anyone who doesn’t do so is mentally ill.- - by Nassim Nicholas (The Black Swan) Taleb Read the entire, whole, complete without excisions bloody thing at Medium or be known throughout all eternity and the twelve heavens as an intellectual piker.
The 2016 edition of Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report covers today's Internet growth and an in-depth look at the following:
• Global Internet users have surpassed 3B; India has supplanted the US as the world’s second-largest Internet market.
• Internet user growth remains consistent (led by acceleration in India), while smartphone user and shipment growth have slowed.
• In the face of a slowing global economy, key macro growth drivers from the past 2 decades are less certain.
• Internet advertising (particularly via mobile) continues to grow, but so does ad-blocking, pushing the envelope on development of more innovative ad formats.
• New online-first brands have rapidly grown in popularity for the millennial generation with their focus on omni-channel and personalized distribution strategies.
• In communication, video and images shared are growing as a means of storytelling; creators, consumers, and advertisers are taking part.
• Messaging has evolved from simple, expressive conversation to business-focused use cases, with Asian platforms often leading the way.
• More efficient and often more convenient than typing, voice-based interfaces are ramping quickly and creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction.
• Transportation is being re-imagined, as the rise of car computerization, autonomous driving, and sharing transform our understanding of mobility.
• Looking to China, Internet leadership continues, as the country boasts global innovation powerhouses in e-commerce, messaging, travel, financial services, and on-demand transportation.
• The proliferation of data generated by a multitude of devices has fostered tremendous business opportunity, but privacy concerns abound.
What'll you do when you get lonely
And nobody's waiting by your side?
You've been running and hiding much too long.
You know it's just your foolish pride.
Layla, you've got me on my knees.
Layla, I'm begging, darling please.
Layla, darling won't you ease my worried mind.
The song was inspired by a love story that originated as a poem
The Story of Layla and Majnun in 5th-Century Iran, was later adopted by the Persian poet Nizami Ganjavi, a copy of which Ian Dallas had given to Clapton. The book moved Clapton profoundly, because it was the tale of a young man who fell hopelessly in love with a beautiful, unavailable woman and went crazy because he could not marry her. In his autobiography, Clapton states, "Ian Dallas told me the tale of Layla and Manjun, a romantic Persian love story in which a young man, Manjun, falls passionately in love with the beautiful Layla, but is forbidden by her father to marry her and goes crazy with desire." The song was further inspired by Clapton's then unrequited love for Pattie Boyd, the wife of his friend and fellow musician George Harrison of The Beatles. -- La Wik
"Has not the human race learned anything in the last few thousand years?
It would seem not, for we struggle just as the ancients did: Shall we order our lives according to the transcendent, the holy and the righteous or the power and control of other mortals? Shall we hold certain truths as self-evident, that human beings are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, or shall we suborn our rights, hence freedoms, to Great Politics, which the last 100 years have been ample proof that Nietzsche was right?
"The ancient Jews never answered this to their own satisfaction. Their history, as they recorded it themselves, was one of faithfulness to the Covenant of Sinai and abandonment of it. To and fro, back and forth. And over and over they learned what St. Paul wrote to the church in Galatia: "God can't be disregarded. You will harvest what you plant."
And brothers and sisters, the harvest is coming in. It is coming in, good and hard, for the worst punishment God ever hands out to us is to let us have what we want. - Donald Sensing, The story of mankind is the tale of someone who wakes up in Paradise and decides to burn it down.
Bardack listed Clinton’s current medications as Armorthyroid, Coumadin dosed as directed, Levaquin (for a total of ten days), Clarinex, and B-12 as needed. Hillary's Physician’s Detailed Letter Of Clinton's Condition
This cute little script for "B-12 as needed," written by Hillary's very private doctor, makes me nostalgic for the old days in New York City in the 70s. In those days you recovered from the abuse of “Vitamin C”ocaine with a shot of Vitamin B-12 (with extras) from the man we always knew as Dr. Feelgood.
Dr. Feelgood was the man you'd see if you had used too much "Creative Push." He'd also give you the shot if you were just fagged out either from 36-hours of work or 36-hours of the bathhouses. My gay pals at The Cosmodemonic Magazine Company had a standing office appointment with our Dr. Feelgood every Monday morning at 10.He was a very popular doctor and he was always ready, for money, to stuff his ethics in a garbage can and make house calls with a portable pharmacy that not only contained the cure for cocaine but cocaine as well. As a doctor he could get pharmaceutical grade cocaine. He was a very general practitioner and extremely popular.
You either know or have heard of this Dr. Feelgood... or the whole tribe of Dr. Feelgoods that is spread out from NYC to Hollywood and Frisco. The Dr. Feelgood's of our age are so necessary for the staffs of those who are 'powering through' there have even been songs about them.
Don't send me no doctor.
Filling me up with all of those pills.
I got me a man name Dr. Feelgood.
Oh! Yeah! That man takes care of all of my pains and my ills.
His name is Dr. Feelgood in the morning.
And taking care of business
is really this man's game.
-- Aretha Franklin
Jimmy's got it wired, law's for hire
Got it make in the shade
Got a little hideaway, does business all day
But at night he'll always be found
Selling sugar to the sweet
People on the street
Call this Jimmy's town
He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He's the one that makes ya feel alright
He's the one they call Dr. Feelgood
He's gonna be your Frankenstein
In any case, as a veteran of Dr. Feelgood’s morning after shots, I am here to tell you they can turn you from the sick politician on top to the happy and healthly pol on the bottom. Yup, Dr. Feelgood’s B-12 concoctions can sure perk a girl up.
But then again, I wasn’t in the Chelsea Clinton
shooting gallery apartment where the falling candidate was carted to be “reset” instead of the Secret Service mandated visit to the much more public emergency room. So, do I really know what happened in there and what Clinton was given to perk her up besides lots of water? Not at all. I wonder if she had to be manhandled into the building once the handicap/black ambulence van ditched they NYPD escort. Iwonder if anyone on the street or adjoining stores saw that? Real reporters would have followed up but there are no real reporters. They have been hunted to extinction.
So do I know she took a shot in the butt from her traveling
dealer doctor? No. But I know junkies and I know that once the needle goes in it never comes out. Don’t take my word for it. Check out JFK, another Democratic Saint who needed a little “creative push” from the original Dr. Feelgood:
New book reveals how Marilyn Monroe, JFK and Liz Taylor were in thrall to shady German Dr Max Jacobson After studying under Freud and Jung, he began to experiment with methamphetamine — speed in today’s terminology — a drug that enhanced moods and stimulated the emotions. Bizarrely, he took to mixing it with vitamins, enzymes, animal placentas, blood serum and hormones to produce elixirs that he tested out on himself and then prescribed to private patients.
The Kennedy meth Ditching his Secret Service handlers to meet Jacobson in private, Kennedy told him that the rigors of the campaign had him feeling weak and muscle-achy to the point where he was “almost crippled by the pain.” The first shot Jacobson ever gave Kennedy left him a changed man. “Suddenly JFK, who had entered the office tired and weak, had a bounce in his step and could move more easily, despite the pain that he lived with every day of his life. He felt stronger, cool, focused and very alert . . . almost as if the patient had become another person.”
Of course that was all long ago. But have the famous and the driven and the celebrated and the merely fashionably thin forgotten about these B-12 cocktails? Not in the least. Their love for the mystery molecule remains strong: Seeing Red: Do B12 Injections Work?
B12 shots are massive doses of the water-soluble vitamin—found in foods such as shellfish, beef liver, and fortified breakfast cereals—that is essential for neurological function, red blood cell formation, and DNA synthesis. .... The typical injection, a vial of neon red liquid that resembles the dyed sugar water I put in my hummingbird feeder, contains 1,000 micrograms of B12, or in excess of 400 times more than what the average person requires. Proponents of B12 shots claim they turbocharge the metabolism (read: make you thinner), strengthen the immune system, and help cure fatigue, insomnia, even depression.Sound familiar?
Mix in some special little extra chemicals and for Hillary Clinton it would be, well, “just what the doctor ordered.”
It’s easy to do when your ‘doctor’ is also your ‘dealer.’Continued...
Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.
-- Christina Rossetti
10,000 FEARED DEAD
-- Headline, New York Post, September 12, 2001
AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY I lived in Brooklyn Heights in, of course, Brooklyn. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24 of 1883 transformed the high bluff just to the south of the bridge into America's first suburb. It became possible for affluent businessmen from the tip of Manhattan which lay just over the East River to commute across the bridge easily and build their stately mansions and townhouses high above the slapdash docks below. Growth and change would wash around the Heights in the 117 years that followed, but secure on their bluff, on their high ground, the Heights would remain a repository old and new money, power, and some of the finest examples of 19th and early 20th century homes found in New York City.
When I moved to Brooklyn Heights from the suburbs of Westport, Connecticut in the late 90s, it was a revelation to me that such a neighborhood still existed. Small side streets and cul-de-sacs were shaded over by large oaks and maple that made it cool even in the summer doldrums. Street names such as Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple let you know you were off the grid of numbered streets and avenues. Families were everywhere and the streets on evenings and on weekends were full of the one thing you rarely see in Manhattan, children.
Brooklyn Heights had looked down on Wall Street and the tip of Manhattan from almost the beginning. It hosted the retreat of Washington from New York City during the Battle of Long Island, the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. To be in the Heights was to hold the high ground and all the advantages that position affords.
Brooklyn Heights today enjoys a kind of armed hamlet existence in New York. Outside influences such as crime, poverty and ghetto life don't really intrude. Since it has long been a neighborhood of the rich and the powerful of the city, it has been spared some of the more doleful effects of city life. It doesn't have walls that you can see, but they are there, strong, high and well guarded.
Traffic, that bane of New York life, is controlled in the Heights. To the west, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, once planned to cut through the Heights directly to the Brooklyn Bridge, was rerouted by a deft application of money and power; placed below along the harbor. To the east, all traffic coming off the Bridge is pushed along Cadman Plaza to Court Street and off to Atlantic. This forms the eastern border of the Heights whose edge is further delineated by the ramparts of Brooklyn City Hall, Courts of all flavors and a rag-tag collection of government structures that exemplify the Fascist Overbuilding movement of the early 70s when, expecting 'The Revolution,' governments built towards gun-slits rather than windows. The south of the Heights is sharply drawn with Atlantic Avenue, a street given over to a long strip of fringe businesses and a corridor of Islamic-American mosques and souks and restaurants. The north is quite simply the Brooklyn Bridge and its approaches that shelter the now slowly evolving sector devoted to overpriced raw loft spaces and bad art known as DUMBO, for "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass."
The best thing about the Heights is the Promenade. This is a long pedestrian strolling area that runs from Remsen on the south to Cranberry on the north end. It's a brick walk high on the bluff above the Expressway below. Over the baroque railing you can see far out into the harbor, beyond the Financial District and Wall Street on the tip of Manhattan, beyond the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to the distant silhouettes of the cranes and wharfs on the Jersey Shore. You can see north up the East River past the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge to, maybe, the merest wisp of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across from the railings are a selection of gardens and backyards with water fountains and shaded benches. It is one of those hidden, off-to-the-side areas of respite that are secreted across all the seven boroughs of the city. You discover it by being taken to it by someone else who has already been there.
The Promenade is a fine place on any day but best on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is clear. Then you can stroll with your fellow citizens and catch a bit of the constant breeze or a bracing wind. Under most conditions, this wind is one of the best elements of Brooklyn Heights. Usually you just take it for granted -- as you do all the small mercies of life in New York City.
When the wind came from the south off the harbor those who lived on the Heights got to breathe the sea air first before the rest of the city had its way with it. And it usually did blow from the south even if there were days when it blew in from the west across the southern tip of Manhattan. At least, I think that it did on numerous days even if I only remember it from one.
I don't remember the wind from that day because it blew hard and long. The winter, spring and fall brought many blizzards and storms to the Heights with winds that would howl over the roofs and pulse in the chimney of my parlor floor apartment. In winter it would slam against the stones of the facade and rattle the windows while rolling snow so fine against the door that a dusty drift would work its way through the weather stripping and into the foyer by morning.
So if I think about the storms I can say they always came to the Heights on the big shoulders of a bigger wind, but I don't really remember any one of those winds. In my memory, I just assume they were there, a part of the storm. Winds always are a part of any storm. Just as the French say "Never a rose without a thorn," so "Never a storm without a wind."
Except once and then the storm came later. And even if that wind has now become a faint foreign breeze moving over a distant landscape of sand and rubble and blood, it rolls along still and will in time make its way back to where it began.
The wind came when the pillar of fire became, in what seemed a moment outside of time, a pillar of smoke. We had been standing on the Promenade that morning in our thousands watching death rage at the center of a beautiful September morning. It was a morning with a clear and washed blue sky; the kind of rare New York morning when you can believe, again, that anything is possible in that city of dreams that so often dissolve into disappointment.
Anything, of course, except the two towers whose peaks were engulfed in flames.
Anything, it would seem, but what we were seeing.
And it was a morning, as I recall, that had no wind at all. That was why the flames and the smoke from the flames went almost straight up into the sky, a long sooted streak that bisected one side of the blue sky from the other.
It was, except for this one insane thing happening in the middle of our panoramic view from the Promenade, a most beautiful day; made even more so by the absence of any irritating noise from passenger jets overhead.
The last two jets into New York airspace that morning would be the last for days to come. In New York you become so used to the sound of jets overhead in New York that you don't really hear them. What you did hear on that day was the silence of their absence. When the sound of jets came back later that afternoon it was not the sound of passenger jets but of F-16 fighters, and we were glad to hear them.
But in that mid-morning all we could see and think about were the souls trapped in the twin torches about a quarter of a mile away from us on the other side of the East River.
At a certain point in that timeless time you noticed that specks were arcing out from the sides of the buildings from just above or just below or just within the part that was in flames. Looking again you saw that the specks were people flying out from the building and plunging down the sides to disappear behind the shorter buildings that ringed the towers. You tried to imagine what must have been going on in the offices and rooms of that building that made leaping from 100 floors or more above the ground the "better" option, but you didn't have that kind of space left in your imagination. And so you looked on and watched them leap and distantly, silently fall, locked within that morning that had no time, in which all of what you had known, believed, and trusted in came, at once and forever, to a sudden frozen halt.
And then the first tower came down.
We've all seen, most of us on television, what happened next. We've all seen the dropping of the top floors into the smoke and then the shuddering impact and then the rolling and immense cloud of ash that exploded up the island of Manhattan overtaking thousands running north and laying thick slabs of ash over everything in its wake. The tape was played and replayed until, by order or consensus, it stopped being played. World Trade Center and north up the island -- center stage in death's carnival on that day.
That wasn't for me. I was part of the sideshow in Brooklyn Heights.
Lower Manhattan is a welter of thin 17th century streets lined with tall 19th and 20th century buildings. When you take the mass of two buildings the size of the Twin Towers, heat it to the point that steel bends, and drop it straight down into the center of this maze, it does not all go just one direction even if that's where the video cameras are. It moves out radially in all directions. Standing on the Promenade you are in front of many different channels for this atomized mass and the plumes of smoke and what it holds will come at you. And it did, very fast and very dark.
It seemed to come out of the streets that opened onto the South Street Seaport like some Titan's grime clotted fingers, and roiled across the river as if the distance was a few hundred feet rather than a few thousand yards. You saw what was coming and you turned to flee from this black wind with no storm, but there were thousands of others who had come to watch and they too were turning to run out of the exits from the Promenade that had, moments before seemed broad, but now impossibly narrow.
As the wind-driven cloud came over us and things became murky then dark, panic began and shouts and screams could be heard inside the dense smoke. Through some miracle, the crowd ordered itself and those who had brought children with them were eased out in the sudden darkness and others followed in a rapid order. The cloud lightened and then darkened again and the wind rose and fell away and came back. It rippled your clothing, and the smoke must have had a smell to it because it hurt the lungs when you breathed, but I don't remember the smell only the sensation of small needles in my lungs and the gray mucus that came up when I coughed.
The wind pummeled my back for the five minutes it took me to make my way to my apartment, get inside and shut the windows. I stood there at the windows and watched the others rush by, blurs in the smoke, and noticed when, as suddenly as it had come up, the wind died away and the air was almost still. The smoke and the ash still moved in the street outside and high overhead. The day was still darkened but the initial violence of the blast and the wind had passed.
In time, everyone had passed by as well and the street was empty except for the settling smoke. I looked outside the window where a Japanese maple grew and noticed that its wine-dark leaves were covered with small yellow flecks. I looked down at the sill outside the windows and saw the yellow flecks there as well.
At some point in the next few minutes it dawned on me that there would be few bodies found in the incinerating rubble across the river. I knew then -- as certainly as I have even known anything -- that all those who had still been in the towers had now gone into the flame and the smoke and that, in some way, the gleaming bits of yellow ash were their tokens, were what they had become in that plunging crematorium.
And I knew that all they had become had fallen upon us as we ran in the smoke; that we had breathed them in when the wind reached us; that they were covering the houses and the sills and the cars and the sidewalks and the benches and the shrubs and the trees all about us.
What they had become was what the wind without a storm had left behind. Now that the wind had passed everything was, again, silent and calm. The blue sky above the houses on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights were beginning to emerge from the fading smoke as the breeze of the harbor shifted the plume away from us, moving it north, uptown, into Manhattan, leaving the Heights again as an elite enclave, above and to the side of New York City.
The yellow flecks remained, resting like small stars on the surface of everything in the Heights for three days until the first rains came on a late afternoon to wash them away. I walked out into that rain and back down Pierrepont Street to the Promenade where for months yet to come the fires would burn across the river.
The rain came straight down that day. There was no wind. As I walked down the sidewalk I noticed the rainwater washing those yellow flecks off the trees and the buildings and moving down the gutter to the drains that would take it on to the harbor and on to the sea. And that water was -- for only a minute or so before it ran clear -- golden.
Why take a walk on the Champs Elysees when you can take a walk on the wild side? Too bad about Paris. It had nice ideals.Continued...
Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.
He's one hundred years old and his long hands, once strong, are growing translucent. He does not so much sit in his wheelchair as he is held upright and at a slight slant by straps. Even awake his eyes are shut against the glare and the blur of the florescent lights in the roof of the home.
His meals of pureed food are spoon fed to him by attendants who speak to him in the tones he once used, long ago, on his infant children. When the drapes in his room are partially opened they reveal a view of a gravel roof, exhaust fans, and the brick facade of the opposite wing of the home. It's not a view but he doesn't mind. His eyes are shut against the glare and the blur of the present, and he's gone off on a fishing trip in the summer of 1949 where he will say to no one in particular, "Jesus, the fish are thick on the ground."
Don't make the mistake of thinking he's not in the here and now, because he'll surprise you now and then. He'll come out for a bit if it is worth it, but it seldom is. And then only for a moment.
He's my mother's brother, my uncle, and his life has now spanned a full century.
In the year of his birth, 1909, the NAACP was founded as was Tel Aviv while the keel of what was to become the Titanic was laid in Belfast. Taft took over the Presidency from Roosevelt (Theodore) and "Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey, became the first woman to drive across the United States." Airplanes were only six years old but the Germans were already working on the anti-aircraft gun. Wisely so since the United States Army Signal Corp Division purchased the world's first military airplane from the Wright brothers in that same year. Not to be outdone, the US Navy decided it needed a central base in the Pacific and thought Pearl Harbor made strategic sense.
In the year of his birth Geronimo died, Barry Goldwater was born, and Guglielmo Marconi received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of radio. There's a radio in his room next to his bed but it's never turned on. Neither is the television that hangs from the ceiling and if his phone rings, it's a mistake. But in his mind, there are signals still coming in from elsewhere, from elsewhen, from out there, and if you sit with him quietly, without trying to engage him and without expectation; if you sit with him "where here and now cease to matter" you can sometimes sense where he really lives in this his hundredth year.Continued...
Now. Now. Don't be impatient. She gets there. And there. And there....
Howso' great their clamour, whatsoe'er their claim,
Suffer not the old King under any name!
-- Kipling, The Old Issue
And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably put my head in a guillotine
-- Bob Dylan
For some it shall always be "2008!":
My colleagues in the humanities support Barack Obama nearly unanimously, some of them still believing the salvation narrative that developed in 2008 whereby the junior senator from Illinois would rescue the nation from the hell of the previous eight years—not to mention four centuries of white supremacy. -- Humanities: doomed to lose? by Mark Bauerlein - The New Criterion
Their infernal machine lops and trims the green upstarts, the single emerald sprouts, the high stalk topped with the blue cornflower down to the level of the dull brown mass.
Their minds are the godless grave of words from which no living meanings can ever hope for resurrection.
Their secular "green" religion has its bad rap but no hymns.
Their dreams of a "better world" will become their children's small and shrunken lives on a nightmare planet where all men, finally equalized, will live like insects.
And yet, like zombies lashed to a dying animal, they persist in their death-in-life existence, seeking only the freedom of an approved and "assisted" suicide as their reward.
They call themselves "progressives" and flatter themselves that their thoughts and actions are "revolutionary" when they are as reactionary as any that can be remembered from history.
What happened to all those who, in my youth, marched and sang for "freedom?" How did they become so old, so hidebound, so mired in the past? When did they become stuck in "suppose?" How, from once striving so hard against colonialism in all its guises, did they allow their minds to become so utterly colonized by a matted mass of dim and discredited notions?
They chain themselves deep in the pit of pretend, and celebrate their servitude by bending heaven and earth to get you down in the hole that they're in.
They believe that the individual should become the mass, and that the mass should worship its apotheosis; that one who best reflects their ossified visions on which the anointing oil has long since dried to a brown crust of thought.
They are the monarchists of the mass. They seek a state in which the head that wears the crown may change but where the crown itself grows forever larger.
[What follows is a slightly edited transcript of what I saw and how I felt on the 11th of September, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights in New York City. On that day I was posting to a West Coast Computer Conferencing system known as The Well. As a result, even though I was writing from Brooklyn Heights directly across the river from the Towers, the time stamp reflects PST. Real time is +3 hours.]
Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07
Saw the first tower collapse from the Promenade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower Manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down.
Military jets overhead every five minutes or so.
Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles.
Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water fully loaded.
This is monstrous.
Deaths in the thousands in New York.
My body is trembling with sorrow and rage. I saw the first tower fall. Everyone in it would have been killed. This, all this, must be stopped. Those who have done this must be wiped out to the last.
War with whom?
Any and all terrorist organizations, foreign or domestic, must now be brought to a swift and complete halt no matter where they are located.
I watched this happen. The enormity of it cannot be communicated. Vile and bestial.
We need to destroy any and all capacity of anyone living anywhere to do anything like this ever again. There were thousands in those buildings. Thousands.
There is no justice swift enough or sure enough.
All that we have must be brought forward and used without restraint. This is an act of war beyond Pearl Harbor.
Military jets overhead again.
More ash on the street. I am cooled down. Way down.
This is pure evil.
*Tue 11 Sep 01 12:33 *
There is no World Trade Center visible from the Promenade. But you can smell it from there -- a sort of burnt stench as if someone lit newspaper in a trash can and then poured water on it. That kind of wet, burnt stench.
It is bright in the sunshine now except for where the Trade Centers stood, and there is still a plume of thick brown smoke smouldering up from there making the sun behind it look dim and oily.
Just now I saw three large military helicopters land across the river from the Heights on the big pad at the foot of Wall Street. People on the streets are talking quietly -- many of them on cells now that some of those nets are back up.
Everything is as quiet as it was this morning when I got up and began to take a shower.Continued...
Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within that smoke their ash still falls as snow,
To settle on our flesh like fading stars
Dissolve into sharp sparks at break of day.
At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the flight of fire into steel,
The shaking not of subways underground,
But screams from inside flowers made of flame.
We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death’s ballet
Too far removed to hear their falling cry.
By noon that band of smoke loomed low
Upon the harbor’s skin and made us gasp;
A hand of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its lethal grasp.
The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who’d screaming run beneath the paws of death,
Like dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
If they lived in light or only for a breath.
They’d writhed and spun within that storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river’s further shore
No sanctuary other than despair.
The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
That marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver'd stood.
By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all of what could not be clean again.
We breathed that smoke that bent and crawled.
We learned to hate that smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go but not to go.
Within that city shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where our grief would best anneal.
Upon our walls and trees their faces loomed
To gaze at us from time beyond repeal.
Their last lost summer faded into ash.
Their faces faded into name scratched stones.
Our years flowed into endless desert seas
Where warplanes prowled in search of bones.
In time their smoke and ash became but words
In stories told at dinner, told by rote,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the "larger issues" were of note.
In time their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But still beneath clear plastic they endure
Reminding us that we have not escaped.
Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.
He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
A terrible beauty is born.
-- Easter, 1916 by William Butler Yeats
I've been trying to remember September 10 but it's no go.
I know what I must have been doing, but I don't remember what I did. I kept no notes on that most ordinary of September days. I kept many notes on the day that followed and the days, weeks, months and years that followed that day. What I do know is that whatever might have followed September 10 was taken from us all that day never to be returned or recaptured only avenged. What I do know is that "justice being served" has no part in it, and never did.
I can, of course, assume what I did -- what I must have done -- on a routine Monday in Brooklyn Heights. I would have gotten up and showered in my strange bathroom with half a tub. I would have dressed for work; maybe a white shirt and a tie and a suit. I would have walked a block and a half to the Clark Street Station and taken an elevator 11 floors beneath the surface of the earth, ridden a train deeper still under the East River, and gotten out at Penn Station, walked across the street and taken the elevator up to the eleventh floor, and worked my way through my day before repeating the journey back to Brooklyn Heights. I must have done those things and done them without knowing it would be the last time I would do them in a heedless fashion. It was just the pattern my life had come to in all the long New York years leading to September 10.
I can, of course, look and see what the nation and the world was concerned with on September 10. John O'Neil, the FBI's leading counterterrorism expert was dining at Elaine's Restaurant on the Upper East Side, and telling his fellow diners, “We're due. And we're due for something big. Some things have happened in Afghanistan...." O'Neill would be dead within 24 hours when the South Tower collapsed. On the same day, Iran denied, not for the first or last time, that it was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Down on Wall Street the Dow Jones index remained flat at the close of business and the New York Times wrote, not for the first or last time, of “the darkening economic outlook” while noting that most economists didn't "anticipate a full-blown recession." Overall the hottest news story in the nation concerned Michael Jordan's pending return to professional basketball. The news that day was a case of the banal overshadowing the mundane.
It was against that background of works and days that the doors of history swung open and we all walked through them forgetting to ask, "What fresh hell is this?"
We were soon to know the nature of the new hell and we were all thrust into it without repeal. The days turned to months and the months turned to years and now we have turned around and a decade is gone. What might have been ours, for good or ill, in that decade was forever stolen from us. Stolen from us not -- never doubt this -- by one man alone, but by a host of savages and throwbacks spread around the world and here among us and dedicated to our destruction. A host that will use any means necessary to destroy this nation while this nation "serves justice" up in spoonfuls and creates "Rules of Engagement" with which to hamper those who would defend it with their very lives.
What the nation has become, through death by fire, bravado, war, forgetfulness, treason, and blunt stupidity could not have been foretold on September 10, but here we are -- a lurching ship of state captained by a malicious hater of the American soil. That same captain, maddened by his own stunted heritage, will today disgrace the soil of Ground Zero. It is a difficult reality that has been dealt by the hands of fate; one that is still being played out.
Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death.
-- SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 W.H. Auden
Now over a decade has passed, "a low dishonest decade," since the day after September 10 and the thing that looked like a man, the monster that set the events of the 11th in motion, has been expunged from the Book of Life. Too easily and too quickly for my tastes but my tastes in these matters are rooted in Scots' blood, and that blood demands punishments too severe to write down here or to hold in the mind for long.
Some would say that his death with a bullet to the brain and then the use of the body as food for crabs and worm on the bottom of the ocean means "Debt paid" and "War over" and "Victory." Let that be to them as it will be, but my blood says that it is not paid, not over and not a victory.
My blood says that all of those in his line need to be expunged, and that all of those who emulate and revere his manner of thinking need to be expunged, and all of those in his part of the gene pool need to be drained away and destroyed, root and branch. My blood says, "Carthago delenda est."
From what little I know of history, what little I know of our enemies, I know in the marrow of my bones that there will come a terrible day in which that final judgment will be rendered and that final act shall be done. And as it was on the day after September 10, I remain relentlessly for this reckoning; a reckoning that is still to come, but like September 11 itself, certain to arrive.Continued...
One must have a mind of winter
To regard the frost and the boughs
Of the pine-trees crusted with snow;
And have been cold a long time
To behold the junipers shagged with ice,
The spruces rough in the distant glitter
Of the January sun; and not to think
Of any misery in the sound of the wind,
In the sound of a few leaves,
Which is the sound of the land
Full of the same wind
That is blowing in the same bare place
For the listener, who listens in the snow,
And, nothing himself, beholds
Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
What can I say? We had nice ideals. We had comforting delusions.
We've been traveling far
Without a home
But not without a star
Only want to be free
We huddle close
Hang on to a dream
On the boats and on the planes
They're coming to America
Never looking back again,
They're coming to America
Don't it seem so far away
Oh, we're traveling light today
In the eye of the storm
In the eye of the storm
In two acts, by two artists, separated by 450 years......
This 10 minute film is a collage of music and imagery set down by two artists who lived 450 years apart in history. The unexpected union of these visionaries was a chance encounter late one night while perusing through an old book of engravings by the Flemish artist, Peter Bruegel the Elder while listening to the song "Desolation Row" by Bob Dylan."Puppets?" you say. "PUPPETS?" Seems fitting in a time where everything changes and nothing changes, and where we are all but playthings on strings held by the gods of history, aren't we?
"As flies to wanton boys, are we to the gods.
They kill us for their sport."
Praise be to Nero’s Neptune
The Titanic sails at dawn
And everybody’s shouting
“Which Side Are You On?”
And Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot
Fighting in the captain’s tower
While calypso singers laugh at them
And fishermen hold flowers
Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row
Up on "The Ridge", as natives refer to Paradise, California area, you don't keep a weather eye on the horizon, you keep a fire eye. This morning this was the news from my town. Cal Fire issues new round of evacuation orders, road closures as Saddle Fire burns 600 acres
The Saddle Fire, that burned throughout the night near Paradise and forced the closure of most of Pentz road and many of its cross streets, has a new round of evacuation orders in place this morning. Pentz Road remains closed from Malibu Drive to Mesilla Valley Road and all roads that connect to Pentz. Concow Road has been closed from Highway 70, which includes Jordan Hill Road, Granite Ridge Road and Deadwood Road. Pinkston Canyon Road and all roads that connect to Pinkston Canyon Road was the newest closure that was issued overnight. Nelson Bar Road also remains on the list of mandatorily evacuated areas. Evacuation warnings remains in effect this morning for Pentz Road from Malibu Drive to Canyon View Drive
This is five miles and an entire township away from my place, but you learn quickly in this town to stay informed about the position and the pace of any fire. Driving up the Skyway into Paradise I have noted at least 5 fresh spot fires by the side of the Skyway in the past week. Once I came by as Cal Fire crews were mopping up a small one. Further up the Skyway I also pass the now madrone and manzanita covered scars and burned stumps of the much more frightening 2008 Paradise fire:
74 Paradise homes destroyed by Humboldt Fire Furious winds and unusually dry conditions had fueled a fire that raced up ridgelines and surrounded the southern end of Paradise, giving this town just east of Chico its greatest threat in modern times. The flames engulfed two of the three escape routes out of Paradise - and the third was threatened as well. Firefighters ordered the evacuation of more than a third of the 26,000 residents, including a large number of retirees. With only one two-lane route out of town, it took more than two hours for residents to drive 10 miles. Some panicked. The one fatality involved an elderly woman who tried to flee even though her neighborhood wasn't being evacuated. She died of a heart attack. "The greatest fear is fire on the ridge," said Shauna Robbins, 37, who grew up in Paradise. "There's no way out. You're trapped. If the fires jump, you're in a mess."
It's a town of lava cliffs, deep ravines, and tendrils of mesas covered in dry grass and pitch pine at this season of the year. The views afforded also mean that there are, as noted above, not a lot of ways out of the town. Unlike 2008 when there were three roads out, the Skyway, which once ended at Sterling City, has been extended north east for miles to Lake Almanor, so now there are 4 escape routes. As I once did when I lived in Laguna Beach where the houses have a tendency to slide off the sides of the cliffs, I keep a "Go-Bag" in the trunk of my car. I don't think I'll need it today, but I'm keeping my fire eye on the horizon.
After all, the key part of the term "wildfire" is "wild."Continued...
The lies we see in the media, the Muslim terrorists who are all lone wolves, herds and herds of lone wolves roaming our cities, the Islamic terrorists who all have psychiatric problems, are not a cause, they’re a symptom. The lies, the ones referenced by many of the other fine speakers today, get worse as the problem gets worse. Because they’re a desperate effort by the deniers, the deniers of Islamic terrorism, the deniers of Islam, the defenders of the failed multicultural model, to stop the inevitable.
To many of you it might look like they’re winning. We’re isolated and they control the media. They are the official experts and the authorities. They are in charge.But they’re losing. And they know they’re losing. That’s why the lies are getting desperate. As Muslim terrorism gets worse, we rise and they fall. The bad news is that Islamic terrorism is going to get worse. And the good news is that it’s going to get worse.
No I’m not confused. The two are one and the same. Think about it. America isn’t weak. So how come we can’t beat the terrorists? Why are we still fighting and dying? We’re not weak. We’re indecisive. The terrorists shock us and play on our sympathies. They disguise themselves, they walk among us and then when they get caught, the media says they’re misunderstood. The stronger the terrorists become, the weaker they get.
Their greatest strength is weakness. In our society, monsters who claim to be weak, oppressed or misunderstood get away with murder. When they take off their masks and stop pretending to be victims and come out of the closet as oppressors, that is when they become really vulnerable.
And when the lies aren’t enough. You have to censor and criminalize. You have to lock people up.Continued...
That is where Europe is, as some of today’s courageous speakers have told us. It’s where Australia has ended up. It’s where America is heading. Don’t kid yourself. They will begin locking people up if they get the chance. You’ve seen it with the Innocence of Muslims. Like the bosses of the Soviet Union, they will go to the wall before they lose.
And they will lose.
The entire narrative is built on hiding the truth. Don’t talk about Islamic terrorists or you’ll create them. Don’t call ISIS, Islamic. Pretend that we can compromise and triangulate our way to some settlement. Blame Israel. Blame Islamophobia. Blame anyone who tells the truth about terrorism.
The façade is really impressive. When you watch politicians and the entire media reciting the same talking points day in and day out like lobotomized parrots, it’s daunting. But this is what’s going on behind the curtain. The big lie is dying. Everything you see, the foreign policy of this administration, is an effort to keep the lie alive at any cost. And they’ve failed over and over again.
Withdrawing from Iraq. The Arab Spring. Negotiating with the Taliban. The Iran Deal. Everything they’ve done only accelerated the process that they were trying to suppress.
Found in the always on the mark WrathOfGnon
As Will Durant famously said, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself within.”
In his 1899 classic Roman Society in the Last Century of the Western Empire, Samuel Dill described some of the signs of this internal decline. The signs listed in the following paragraph eerily mirror some of the same things America is currently struggling with:
“In this chapter we shall try to discover the more deep-seated causes which, far more than the violent intrusion of the German invaders, produced the collapse of society which is known as the fall of the Empire of the West. A careful study of the [Theodosian] Code will correct many a popular and antiquated misconception of that great event. It will reveal the fact that, long before the invasions of the reign of Honorius, the fabric of Roman society and administration was honeycombed by moral and economic vices, which made the belief in the eternity of Rome a vain delusion. The municipal system, once the great glory of Roman organising power, had in the fourth century fallen almost into ruin. The governing class of the municipalities, called curiales, on whom the burdens of the Empire had been accumulated, were diminishing in number, and in the ability to bear an ever-increasing load of obligations. At the same time, the upper class were increasing in wealth and power, partly from natural economic causes, partly from a determined effort to evade their proper share of the imperial imposts, and to absorb and reduce to dependence their unfortunate neighbours. In this selfish policy they were aided by the tyranny and venality of the officials of the treasury, whose exactions, chicanery, and corrupt favouritism seem to have become more shameless and cruel in proportion to the weakness of their victims and the difficulties of the times. And while the aristocratic class were becoming more selfish, and the civil service more oppressive and corrupt, the central government was growing feebler. It saw the evils which were imperilling the stability of society, and making provincial administration a synonym for organised brigandage. Its enactments abound with full and accurate descriptions of these disorders, and fierce threats of punishment against the criminals. But the endless repetition of commands, which were constantly being disobeyed, was the surest sign of impotence.The decay of the middle class, the aggrandisement of the aristocracy, and the defiant tyranny and venality of the tax-gatherer—these are the ominous facts to which almost every page of the later Code bears witness.”
After the jump Stefan Molyneux gives you two and a half hours brilliant hours on The Truth About The Fall of Rome: Modern Parallels. main parallels: "Western civilization hangs by a thread - to rescue it, we must delve deep into the past to find out how to save the future. The fall of the Roman Empire closely mirrors the challenges currently facing Europe and North America – toxic multiculturalism, rampant immigration, runaway feminism, debt, currency corruption, wildly antagonistic politics – everything we need to know to save everything we love is written deep in the history of ancient Rome – all we need to do is look."Continued...
Frank Reade is a forgotten superhero of American sci-fi history.
The world’s first science fiction periodical, Frank Reade dime-novels had helicopters and airships before Jules Verne, but while the famous French adventure novelist is still considered a major literary author around the world today, who’s ever heard of Frank Reade?
Published under the anonymous pseudonym, “No Name”, during the 19th century boom of boys’ cheap fiction, the series followed the adventures of the Reade family: Frank Reade; his son, Frank Reade Jr., and grandson Frank Reade III. While the first five stories starred Frank Reade, Sr, adventurer and inventor of steam-robots, most of the 184 stories featured the second generation of the Reade clan, a teenage hero-inventor who travelled the globe in his electric machines. - - Messy nessy
Of course, all of these were just fanciful inventions of the steampunk age....
The mother lode is at Frank Reade Library (Science Fiction) - Comic Book Plus
UPDATE: Take Note: School's in Session -- First published in 2005, this item seems to get linked to various student sites whenever the colleges come back into session. So here it is again as part of our public service.
Taking better notes requires having better tools. Of all the various note taking systems I've used over the years, the best, by far, is "The Cornell Note Taking System" which was created by Walter Pauk, an emeritus professor at Cornell.
Deceptively simple, the Cornell System supplies an armature that both organizes notes and encourages review and summarization. I use it for reading, research, and for planning and organizing projects from the simple to the complex.
As an added advantage, I find that rigorous use of the Cornell system also aids and improves memory.
For a long time, I've used the templates here as the basis of notes. When I run low, I just have my laser printed spew out a few dozen. Having a pre-printed form for notes creates, I've discovered, better notes in the long run -- and it makes them more useful when you need to refer to them.
I'm making my templates available for free on the Web today in downloadable PDF format. You can use them as you wish and distribute them as you will. All I ask is that you pass them along as is.
The three files are:
1) CornellNoteSystem.pdf <--- (40kb) This is the classic explanation how the note forms are used and in what order complete with graphic examples. This is essential if the system is to work for you. If you post these forms on another site, make sure this file is always included, otherwise the forms won't make immediate sense to the user.
2) CornellNotesPlain.pdf <--- (16kb) The Cornell Note System formatted for printing on blank paper. US Letter Size. Make sure to select "Fit to Page" from the Adobe Reader Print Menu.
3) CornellNotesGraph.pdf <--- (16kb) The same structure but with a light 1/4" graph background for those who like some structure behind the structure. US Letter Size. Make sure to select "Fit to Page" from the Adobe Reader Print Menu.
That's it. And, take note, the gift must move. Pass them on.
It is a kind of behavior to which the present climate of opinion is wholly favorable.
Bishops air their opinions about economics; biologists, about metaphysics; inorganic chemists, about theology; the most irrelevant people are appointed to highly technical ministries; and plain, blunt men write to the papers to say that Epstein and Picasso do not know how to draw. Up to a certain point, and provided the criticisms are made with a reasonable modesty, these activities are commendable. Too much specialization is not a good thing. There is also one excellent reason why the veriest amateur may feel entitled to have an opinion about education. For if we are not all professional teachers, we have all, at some time or another, been taught. Even if we learnt nothing--perhaps in particular if we learnt nothing--our contribution to the discussion may have a potential value.
However, it is in the highest degree improbable that the reforms I propose will ever be carried into effect. Neither the parents, nor the training colleges, nor the examination boards, nor the boards of governors, nor the ministries of education, would countenance them for a moment. For they amount to this: that if we are to produce a society of educated people, fitted to preserve their intellectual freedom amid the complex pressures of our modern society, we must turn back the wheel of progress some four or five hundred years, to the point at which education began to lose sight of its true object, towards the end of the Middle Ages.
When we think about the remarkably early age at which the young men went up to university in, let us say, Tudor times, and thereafter were held fit to assume responsibility for the conduct of their own affairs, are we altogether comfortable about that artificial prolongation of intellectual childhood and adolescence into the years of physical maturity which is so marked in our own day? To postpone the acceptance of responsibility to a late date brings with it a number of psychological complications which, while they may interest the psychiatrist, are scarcely beneficial either to the individual or to society. The stock argument in favor of postponing the school-leaving age and prolonging the period of education generally is there is now so much more to learn than there was in the Middle Ages. This is partly true, but not wholly. The modern boy and girl are certainly taught more subjects--but does that always mean that they actually know more?
Has it ever struck you as odd, or unfortunate, that today, when the proportion of literacy throughout Western Europe is higher than it has ever been, people should have become susceptible to the influence of advertisement and mass propaganda to an extent hitherto unheard of and unimagined? Do you put this down to the mere mechanical fact that the press and the radio and so on have made propaganda much easier to distribute over a wide area? Or do you sometimes have an uneasy suspicion that the product of modern educational methods is less good than he or she might be at disentangling fact from opinion and the proven from the plausible?
Have you ever, in listening to a debate among adult and presumably responsible people, been fretted by the extraordinary inability of the average debater to speak to the question, or to meet and refute the arguments of speakers on the other side? Or have you ever pondered upon the extremely high incidence of irrelevant matter which crops up at committee meetings, and upon the very great rarity of persons capable of acting as chairmen of committees? And when you think of this, and think that most of our public affairs are settled by debates and committees, have you ever felt a certain sinking of the heart?.....
Interested in education? Read the whole thing The Lost Tools of Learning by by Dorothy L. Sayers - A renowned English crime writer, poet, playwright, essayist, translator, and Christian humanist. She was also a student of classical and modern languages.
[ True North is posting THE family cookie recipe ... yes chocolate chip! This of course brings the following to mind from the dark ages of American Digest in.... 2005! ]
On the greatest chocolate-chip cookie in the known universe, with recipe....
The Critical American Issue of the Day
This issue is not, as many would have you believe, whether or not the Constitution is a "living document" (It will be a living document on the day that it breaks out of its case and takes the current Supreme Court out for a drink, a toke, a smoke, and a poke -- assuming Justice Ginsberg stays home.), but is centered instead on the much more important and utterly American question: "Just what is the finest chocolate chip cookie in the known universe?"
One night in the Hood River Hotel in Hood River, Oregon on the banks of the Columbia, I had a chance to examine that question again just before the cataleptic sugar shock of nine home-made chocolate chip cookies knocked me sideways for eight hours like a poleaxed pound puppy.
When this coma finally released me, I thought more deeply on the question of the Holy Cookie and what makes for greatness. I would have liked to hand the baker of the cookies that conked me the laurels but I cannot.
I shall explain the nature of my judgment, the history behind it, and also, should you choose to stay with me, provide you and you alone with the recipe for, "the finest chocolate chip cookie in the known universe."
First of all, anything that can be purchased in a supermarket is not fit to be called a cookie, much less a chocolate chip cookie, no matter how thick the BS on the package may be. Especially any with the word "artisan" on the package which must be incinerated in situ. We're all agreed on that, right? Right.
Second, do not be fooled by "boutique" chocolate chip cookies. They are all from Satan's Workshop and are, therefore, instruments of the Enemy who is out to weaken the intellectual and moral fiber of America. Consumption of these cookies leads, inevitably to "a profound sense of fatigue... a feeling of emptiness [and] loss of essence." You may, in a moment of weakness after, say, a friendly strip search at the air port, find that you cannot "avoid" these cookies, but under no circumstances are you to give them your essence.
Eat Not the Cookie of Satan
Yes, ever since Mrs. Fields rightly determined that her days of getting on the covers of the Adam and Eve and Victoria's Secret catalogues were over and she went into the sidewalk-blower bakery business, these evil simulacra of chocolate chip cookies have spread over the American landscape like the Eighth Plague of Egypt. The results are murder, insanity, death and an obesity so monumental that the victims do not so much walk our streets as teeter through them -- a threat to passersby, lost pets and unreinforced brick structures.
Do not, I repeat, consume boutique chocolate chip cookies. Pass by these scented and seductive venues of the Fifth Horseman. Deny them, I say, your essence.
Instead, know that small batch, by hand, and home-made chocolate chip cookies are the only chocolate chip cookies that may even begin to aspire to the realm of the Sacred and the Holy. A realm in which, like wives, many are cold but none are frozen. Indeed, if Nestles, dairy farms and refrigeration had existed at the time of the Last Supper the entire menu of Holy Communion would be different today.
Partake Only of the Holy Cookie
Like American Christianity today, the Church of the Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookie has many branches, subsets and sects. And, like American Christianity, these various factions contend mightily over the question of which, in the eyes of God, is the true gospel of the Chocolate Chip, the Recipe of the Word.
I do not pretend to know the mind of God. Indeed, I am still unclear about the workings of the will of God in my life. But I am clear about what is the true gospel of the Chocolate Chip. I know beyond a scintilla of a speck of an iota of a jot of a doubt that single Cookie which is now and forever shall be the Greatest Chocolate Chip Cookie in America and the Known Universe, yea even unto that alien planet of the hard-bodied and the homeless, San Francisco.
This Cookie Given by the Hand of God would be, beyond question, of my sainted mother's chocolate chip cookies. These and these alone are the good, the true, and the blessed -- the Holy Cookies. All others crumble before them and return to the dust and detritus of the earth from which they were mistakenly called forth by the unconverted, the heathen and the apostates.
The Advent of the Holy Cookie
I was converted to the Holy Cookie soon after my teeth came in. For several years thereafter I lived in heavenly bliss since the only person in the house with whom I had to contend for ALL the cookies was my father and, even though he was much larger than I was as a toddler, he had to work and sleep sometime. This left me free to range about the kitchen in search of yet one more Holy Cookie. Something I did at all hours until my mother saw fit to deploy a leg shackle along with my fresh pajamas.
Alas, Eden was not to endure forever since I had a couple of brothers coming along in the years that followed. With the advent of these "cookie competitors" the leg shackle was retired, but I was required to learn the always difficult lesson of "Share."
As the eldest and hence the largest, my capacity to "share" the plate of Holy Cookies my mother would set out for us diminished in direct proportion to the distance between that plate and my mother and/or father, or both. Sharing was on as long as they were in the room, but if they stepped out my little inner Hitler would emerge and endeavor to take all the cookies and the Rhineland as well.
This dictatorial method of getting all the cookies only served me well for a few years. It fell apart on the day it came to my attention that my "little" brother had at last grown large enough to literally kick my ass when it came to taking more than my share of cookies.
Day of the Judgment of the Father
On that day I was also foolish enough to kick back in an effort to retain my rightful share of all the cookies. A small war broke out in the kitchen which caused my mother to come in from the laundry room, break us up, take all the cookies away and cast both my brother and I into the slough of despond by uttering the phrase no child ever, ever wishes to hear from his mother: "Wait till your father gets home."
An afternoon longer than eternity squared ensued. Our father did get home and subsequently gave instructions to my brother and myself, in turns, on why it was a bad idea to have a fist fight over chocolate chip cookies in his house. He reminded us both of his first and only commandment, "Thou shalt not upset thy mother." It was a lesson that is "seared, SEARED!, into my memory."
Like all sinners, this lesson made us repent briefly but did not actually reform. Instead we made an alliance in order to ensure our survival and advance our quest for the Holy Cookie. Sensing, as she always did, this shift in the order of things, my mother took to hiding the Holy Cookies about the house.
She knew that my father favored the cookies, and that if they were not hidden from us, the chances he would have any upon 'getting home' would range from slim to somewhere below absolute zero. She became, as all mothers of boys must, sneaky. She began to bake the cookies while we were at school, hide them before we got home. She'd also take care to destroy all evidence that the Holy Cookies had been baked and would carefully air out the house. She always was a clever woman.
Quest for the Holy Cookie
But we were two to her one; the smallest band of brothers on a mission from God. In no time, we found ourselves cowlick deep in a war of spying and surveillance against our own mother. It was a cold war that escalated over time as our methods of sensing and locating the hidden cookies became increasingly sophisticated. Towards the end, these methods became so refined that we could have found a single small Weapon of Mass Destruction under the shifting sands of the Sahara if it happened to have a Holy Cookie in the war head.
But we never were required to go that far afield, even if we once found them in the garage of the people who lived next door. (Their kid, our mole, tipped us off for a paltry three cookies.) Over the years we found them at the bottom of the clothes hamper in the master bath, behind a box of motor oil in the garage, in the trunk of her car, under the camouflage of towels in the dryer, behind the set of World Book Encyclopedias in the den, even taped in coffee cans and stuck up under the kitchen counter concealed behind the disposal unit.
Once, in her despair, she actually sealed them in a large container and buried them behind the shrubs in the back yard. We found them by checking carefully for disturbed earth, and that night snuck out after our parents were asleep, disinterred them with a trowel, ate them all on the spot, and then buried the container again with a Crayoned note that said, "Delicious, The Avengers." We were bludgeoned with meatloaf sandwiches in our school lunchboxes for a week after that one.
Spies in the House of the Holy Cookie
Mothers know a lot of secrets about their children, but not all secrets. My mother's favorite way of finding out our secrets was a simple psyche-war method of asserting that she knew what she didn't know in order to elicit a confession. She'd give us "that look" and say, "Well, you might as well know that I know."
"Know? Know what?"
"You know what, so you might as well tell me."
It shames me now to admit that this simple ploy worked on more than one occasion. What never worked, and what she was never to figure out, was how we knew when the Holy Cookies had been made.
Early on it dawned on her that we were watching the house supply of Nestle's Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. When those bags were used or diminished, it would be a dead give-away that there were cookies to be located and my brother and I would, as a team, work the grid. Using step-stools, ladders, and a mirror attached to a broom-handle that I kept taped above the door in my closet, there was no area of the home we could not scan. Sooner or later, once we knew they were around, we'd find them. Kids don't have many resources, but they do have oceans of time.
Her solution, so she thought, was to buy replacement bags of chocolate chips before baking a batch. In that way, she foolishly assumed we'd assume -- seeing a full bag undisturbed -- that no cookies had been baked that day. What she did not know, and was never to learn, was that each bag of chocolate chips in the house was marked with a small dot of ink on the lower right hand corner of the back of the bag as soon as we could get to it in stealth mode. We'd check the bag daily after that and when it did not have that mark we would know the truth.
We also, as a back-up, used faint pencil marks, not on the level of Scotch in my father's bottle (that was to come later), but on the canister of Quaker Oats which were another essential ingredient of the Holy Cookie. She bought the economy sized canister and we discovered that using a red pencil on the red part of the package was almost undetectable unless you were looking for it, which we always were.
The Holy Cookie Cold War
The Holy Cookie Cold War of stealth and surveillance continued across the years until my second brother and I left the home for college. My mother breathed a sigh of relief at our departures. Little did she know that before we left we had passed on the full Holy Cookie Finder File to our little brother ten years my junior. He carried on the tradition until he too left. At which point my mother brought out the apple shaped cookie jar which had been stored away for decades and began to enjoy the long peace as well as a cookie or two from time to time.
Except, of course, there would be no peace. The begging letters and phone calls came in from colleges, apartments and houses across the country and down through the years. From time to time, these pathetic screeds and whines would elicit a package of the Holy Cookie, but only at the kind of interval that makes the Pavlovian Rat press the pellet bar that much more compulsively. As long as she held the keys to the Holy Cookie, my mother knew she would hear from us frequently.
But the technology of the time was working against us and the Holy Cookie. This was the pre-eBay era when packing and shipping were still lost arts to most Americans. Lost most of all, I regret to say, to our mother.
East of Eden and the Problem of the Post Office
For while she could bake, she could not ship. As a result of this and the less-than-reverent attitude of the United States Postal Service, the shipments of the Holy Cookies would arrive transmogrified into the Holy Cookie Crumbs. It is, I have discovered, very difficult to dunk a crumb into a glass of cold milk to any sort of meaningful effect other than crummy milk.
After suffering our complaints for longer than anyone other than a mother would, she finally took drastic action. She had to. After all, she had a life to live, friends to see, places to go and tennis sets to play. We were grown men now with fully dysfunctional families of our own, and she was no longer going to allow herself to be crucified on the golden cross of the Holy Cookie.
And so it was that on one faithful day, her three sons received in the mail, not the Holy Cookies for which they begged, but the Holy Cookie recipe and instructions that they learn to cook. I love my mother, but she can be a cold woman once she makes up her mind.
The Torch is Passed to a New Generation
On the other hand, my need was great and my understanding of the gap between desire and gratification scant. And so I learned, at last, to cook. It was one of my mother's many fine and enduring gifts, perhaps the finest next to, of course, life itself.
First, out of sheer necessity, I learned the Holy Cookie and, when that turned out well after only a few disasters, I went on to learning to cook other things. Things like entrees, side dishes, bread and desert right down to and including a Chocolate Souffle.
As my confidence grew I took to exotic dishes and found myself in a Chinese cooking course. Other cuisines followed. I even, during my stint as a book editor for Houghton Mifflin, published one cookbook ( Fear of Cooking: The Absolutely Foolproof Cookbook for Beginners (And Everyone Else) by Robert Scher Amazon rank: 1,332,536 which is not that bad for a book published in 1984).
And so, from a cookie recipe, I grew to have one of the basic life skills that everyone should have; a skill no longer taught in our schools since it is much more important that our children learn the Inner Meaning of the Inner Child of the Maori-Americans than how to do anything with food other than pick a number at the drive-through window. I learned it from my mother who taught it to me not by doing, but by standing out of the way and not doing; by letting me discover how to do it myself. That's always the path to the real higher education in life. It's a path never taught in our crippled schools but always open to everyone regardless of age, color, creed, national origin. All you have to have to get on the path is the need to learn something and the passion to do it yourself.
That and a recipe. Here it is. What are you waiting for? Gentlemen, start your ovens.
BEHOLD I BRING YOU TIDINGS OF GREAT JOY
MOM'S (Lois Lucille McNair Van der Leun's ) CLASSIC OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES
Please note: It is not to be made merely by combing the ingredients but by following the procedure, the sacred ritual.
Combine: 3/4 Cup brown sugar with 3/4 Cup white sugar.
Mix in until smooth but gritty 1 cup shortening ( Crisco [classic] or butter/marge + Crisco in varying proportions )* This, and other mixing moments, can be done with your hands if a) you have washed them, and b) nobody's around to see you do it. Maintain plausible deniability.
Add 2 eggs -- Beaten-- plus 1 teaspoon vanilla.
Combine One and 1/2 Cups flour with 1 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon soda and then work into sugar, shortening and egg mixture until smooth.
Add two cups of rolled oats and work into the dough. Add one 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips (No more. Resist temptation.) and (optional) 1 cup chopped black walnuts**. Shape into medium-sized (no more than 3" in diameter, baked) cookies and bake on a greased cookie sheet
Bake in a 350 oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Monitor at around 8 minutes.
The recipe is usually good for 2-3 standard size cookie sheets. When baking, it is best to start one tray in the lower rack of the oven and after eight minutes move it to the upper.
Allow to cool. You will snake three to five and burn your lip on the first bite, but try to show a little restraint after this, okay?
Yield: 4-5 Dozen
Note: The Holy Cookie, when baked to perfection, should not be chewy or soft but possess, upon being cooled, a toothsome quality and a certain proportion of crisp-walled open cells throughout the cookie that absorb milk when dunked, but do not become a milk sodden mush. The milk should be present within the cells of the cookie, but the cookie itself, providing one has not be lazy and let it just slosh around in the glass, should still retain a certain crispness and emit a distinct crunch when consumed.
* Yes, Crisco. This ancient pure product of Amerca can still be found in the baking aisle. The Holy Cookies cannot achieve their proper milk absorbing properties without its presence. If you have some sort of issue with Crisco, get over it and just cowboy up. While butter or margarine can be used in combination with Crisco, their proportions are problematical. One stick is probably the maximum.
** Black Walnuts are optional but not, strictly speaking, classic. Still, they add an extra texture which is appealing, unless, of course, you are allergic to walnuts in which case you eat them and you die -- happy and with an enhanced skill set.
[ UPDATED FROM 5 YEARS AGO]