Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
London Calling

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London calling to the faraway towns
Now war is declared and battle come down
London calling to the underworld
Come out of the cupboard, you boys and girls
London calling, now don't look to us
Phony Beatlemania has bitten the dust
London calling, see we ain't got no swing
'Cept for the ring of that truncheon thing

The ice age is coming, the sun is zooming in
Meltdown expected, the wheat is growin' thin
Engines stop running, but I have no fear
'Cause London is drowning, and I, I live by the river

- - London Calling, The Clash

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 24, 2017 10:45 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Phases of the Moon

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Please....

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 24, 2017 10:21 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Today in Awwwwwwwwwwwwww!

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Today is National Puppy Day - The Atlantic

Hey, every day is National Puppy Day!

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 23, 2017 1:02 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Welcome to London: We can say we’re not afraid, light candles and make hearts of our hands but the truth is that we can’t go on like this

[ Excerpts from Reaction by Katie Hopkins on the London terror attack ]

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This is us now.

This is our country now.

This is what we have become.

To this, we have been reduced.

Because all the while those forgiving fools in Brussels stood with their stupid hands raised in hearts to the sky, another mischief was in the making. More death was in the pipeline.

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As the last life-blood of a police officer ran out across the cobbles, the attacker was being stretchered away in an attempt to save his life.

London is a city so desperate to be seen as tolerant, no news of the injured was released. No clue about who was safe or not.

Liberals convince themselves multiculturalism works because we all die together, too.

An entire city of monkeys: see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil. Blind. Deaf. And dumb.

These people may have left their lands. But they have brought every tension, every conflict, every bit of fight here with them.

The Afghans hate the Somalias who loathe the Eritreans. As it was before, it is now. London is a city of ghettos behind a thin veneer of civility kept polished by a Muslim mayor whose greatest validation is his father's old job.

Son-of-a-bus-driver Sadiq.

I see him now, penning a missive about how London is a beautiful and tolerant city, how we are united by shared values and understanding, and how we will not be cowed by terror.

Sure enough, there he was, saying exactly that, just now. Fool.

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Please, no hashtag, no vigil, no tea lights. I am begging you not to light up Parliament in the colours of the Union.

Because we are not united. We are wrenched asunder.

The patriots of the rest of England versus the liberals in this city. The endless tolerance to those who harm us, (while the Home Office tries to shift the focus of public fear to white terror) — versus the millions like me who face the truth, with worried families and hopeless hearts, who feel the country sinking.

We are taken under the cold water by this heavy right foot in the south, a city of lead, so desperately wedded to the multicultural illusion that it can only fight those who love the country the most, blame those who are most proud to be British, and shout racist at the 52%.

Please, no hashtag, no vigil, no tea lights. I am begging you not to light up Parliament in the colours of the Union.

Because we are not united. We are wrenched asunder.

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The patriots of the rest of England versus the liberals in this city. The endless tolerance to those who harm us, (while the Home Office tries to shift the focus of public fear to white terror) — versus the millions like me who face the truth, with worried families and hopeless hearts, who feel the country sinking.

We are taken under the cold water by this heavy right foot in the south, a city of lead, so desperately wedded to the multicultural illusion that it can only fight those who love the country the most, blame those who are most proud to be British, and shout racist at the 52%.

This is why there is no anger from me this time, no rage. No nod for those who pretend we will not be cowed, even as they rush home to text their mum they are safe. No surprise that the city of which I was so proud is now punctured by fear, and demarcated even more formally by places we cannot tread; there were always parts in which a white woman could not safely walk.

Now I feel only sadness, overwhelming sadness.

I will walk over the river tonight and look to the Thames, to the Union flag lowered at half mast, and the Parliament below, and I will wonder, just how much longer we can go on like this.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 23, 2017 9:22 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Into the Silence [For "World Poetry Day, March 21, 2017"]

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1.
The last sound heard before the silence
Wrapped around my flesh in wisps,
Was the shriek of frozen ambulances
Carved in sharp, revolving red.
Then two holes in my skull sealed shut,
And on my tongue I heard the tang of brass.

At first a ringing whine rose high and faded far,
Then bells began, each dun and laced with smoke,
And merged with walls of wind on water raised,
Bloomed high in white, white only, drifts
Of falling snow that falling softly
Blurred beneath all shapes of sound and speech.

Music's memory remained, and moving lips
Became the only signs of sound that I could see
And all my mind stormed not with silence,
But with dark brushed deep on deeper dark
Within which all stars died, and dying threw
A single trace of song beyond all song.

It moaned and chittered, groaned and sighed.
It grinned at me, inscrutable and blank
As shells evicted by the sea are spurned
By waves and parch above the sand,
Polished first by dust, then honed by rain,
Into white basilicas of bone.

2.
Made new, I loved large gestures.
Marked furrowed face and curl of lip.
Memorized the signing hands that stripped
My half-guessed comprehension bare,
And learned at last to wait upon a glance,
Upon small words scratched on slate.

As days to years enlarged their rule,
All records writ within my skull were smudged,
All songs and music drifted off to send
Pale emblems of their realms as tribute
To that stone that once had formed a throne,
Crowned now with unsensed pleasures shrugged.

All treasure spent, all gems decayed,
All metals melded into dust, all trace of walls
Where once the filigreed firebird sang,
And drums of heroes' skins were stunned,
Were now but shadows strewn as faint
As lines of light on planets seen from space.

And then, with time, all that ... erased,
And sands and seas swarmed over all,
And ruled at last alone a globe of frost,
Of ice, of snow, of sheaves of glass,
Until along that farthest strip of polished shore
One distant crystal glinted, gleamed, and chimed.



Posted by Vanderleun Mar 21, 2017 5:33 PM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ginsburg Rule

Or Judge Neil GorsucH could just employ the new acronym that explains so much to the butt-hurt among us: "BFYTW."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 21, 2017 3:24 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Boomer generation is going out in a fit of frenzied self-recognition

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"When we all wish to be victims, there are too few oppressors to go around.

Or perhaps the Boomer generation is going out in a fit of frenzied self-recognition: It enjoyed all that was given to it, did not accomplish much itself, and left a mess to its successors. Its metaphor is California’s Oroville dam: Aging greens believe that it never should have been built; but since it was, it came in handy for the good life; but no one should spend any money on its repair; but when it nearly fails, we were all warned that it was never a good idea. And so no more dams will be built for our children." - - Victor Hanson, Americans Retreat When There’s No Escaping Politics



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 21, 2017 11:39 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No Atheists in Foxholes. No Feminists in Ice-Storms. But Who's Counting?
It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world. Only a tiny number of women want to enter the trades where most of the nitty-gritty physical work is actually going on—plumbing, electricity, construction. Women have played virtually no role in the erection of those magnificent towers in every major city in the world. It’s men who operate the cranes or set the foundations or wash windows on the 85th floor. It’s men who troop out at 2:00 AM during an ice storm to restore power to neighborhoods where falling trees have brought down live wires. It’s men who mix the stinking, toxic cauldrons to spread steaming hot tar on city roofs. Last year in a nearby town, I drove by a huge, chaotic scene where emergency workers in hazmat suits were struggling with a giant pipe break, as raw sewage was pouring into the street. Of course all those workers up to their knees in a torrent of thick brown water were men! I’ve seen figures indicating that 92 per cent of people killed on the job are men—and it’s precisely because men are heroically doing most of the dangerous jobs in modern society.... The bourgeois blindness of feminist leaders to low-status working-class labor by men is morally corrupt! Gay men, on the other hand, have always shown their awed admiration of working-class masculinity and fortitude. It's no coincidence that a buff construction worker in a hard hat was one of the iconic personae of the gay disco group, the Village People, during the Studio 54 era!
Much More at Camille Paglia Discusses Her War on 'Elitist Garbage' and Contemporary Feminism | Broadly

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 20, 2017 11:55 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Golden: Not only the best rectangle in the world, it's the schematic on which the layout for this page was made.

I not only love this rectangle, I used it 14 years ago. Right here.

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UPDATED [as per Eskyman]:

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Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 20, 2017 10:51 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Chuck Berry: You were a magnificent mean weird wonderful hack genius AMERICAN.

Chuck Berry's dead. He was 90. Bonne chance at Saint Peter's gate, Chuck, you're going to need it. You were a magnificent mean weird wonderful hack genius AMERICAN.

He was all those things, surely. He wasn't American. He was AMERICAN. Only America could possibly produce him. The rest of the world loved him, as you can see by watching this video from France in 1965. Europe loved him, but they could never cobble a guy like that together. The important part of his career was already over when this video was made, though few knew it at the time, including Chuck. Europe was already an off Broadway production.

Europeans sent us a bronze broad to stand in the granite harbor outside Ellis Island. It was allegedly a gift, but I suspect they sent it so they'd have something familiar to look at after they bolted the doors on their dusty museum of cultures and fled. We sent them Chuck Berry records in return as a way to show them This is how we roll. ..... To Europe, America has always been a bad man. The pecksniff attitude their governments have always heaped on us has a dash of cowardice in it. Chuck was a bad man. It made him all the more American to a toff, I imagine. I don't mean he was a bad man in just the figurative sense, though. Chuck was a real live criminal. If you read Chuck's bios, you're bound to find fans desperately trying to pooh-pooh his criminal background. The gun he used in a carjacking was broken, so it doesn't matter........ RTWT, no, READ THE WHOLE THING AT Sippican Cottage: Chuck Berry Has No Particular Place To Go ... BECAUSE.... Sipp knows.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 19, 2017 10:35 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Mountain of the Holy Cross: "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

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

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

-- Longfellow, "The Cross of Snow"

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

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

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

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

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 19, 2017 8:12 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Sermonette: Unstoppable "Love it can weather any storm / Bring you back to being born.... again."

Like a river keeps on rolling
Like the north wind blowing
Don’t it feel good knowing

You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what’s been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don’t give in
It’ll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does
Love is unstoppable



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 19, 2017 12:27 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Extreme Yo-Yo-ing

Oh yeah, it's easy to tie your yoyo string in knots

. The real challenge is to get it untangled without dropping the beat! The European Yoyo Championship was held over the weekend in Bratislava, Slovakia. American Evan Nagao took first place in the open finals division, and deservedly so. Evan Nagao Takes European Yoyo Championship - Neatorama

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2017 4:37 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Review

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Realistic Anatomical Paintings Reveal The Structures That Lie Beneath Our Skin

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10 Of The Most Adorable Animal “Mlems” Ever Still, the prize for the longest tongue in relation to the body size goes to the chameleon. This tiny fellow can stretch its tongue up to 1.5 times to its body length when trying to reach the sweet nectar of flowers.

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Monsanto House of the Future: When Our Future Was Made of Plastics Built in Disneyland in 1957 as a joint project between Disneyland, Monsanto, and MIT, the House of the Future was constructed of 16 identical plastic shells that were fabricated off-site and then shipped to the building site for assembly. The home was meant to display technological marvels, such as the microwave oven and speaker phone, but mainly showed the many ways that plastics could be incorporated into home-building of the future. Materials included: Acrylon, melamine, rayon, vinyl (flooring), and even plywood. Each of the four wings was capable of supporting 13 tons.

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Calvin Coolidge: Address at the Celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia, Pa. It is the product of the spiritual insight of the people. We live in an age of science and of abounding accumulation of material things. These did not create our Declaration. Our Declaration created them. The things of the spirit come first. Unless we cling to that, all our material prosperity, overwhelming though it may appear, will turn to a barren scepter in our grasp. If we are to maintain the great heritage which has been bequeathed to us, we must be like-minded as the fathers who created it. We must not sink into a pagan materialism. We must cultivate the reverence which they had for the things that are holy. We must follow the spiritual and moral leadership which they showed. We must keep replenished, that they may glow with a more compelling flame, the altar fires before which they worshiped.

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Dynamic Duo “What entranced me was the pride with which the twins showed off their matching outfits.” After reading about the pair in a story on Retro Renovation, Kevin Howard located them in an online yearbook from Denison. He discovered that Maurine Elizabeth Everett and her sister Noreene Dodd died within four months of each other around 2004, at ages 88 and 89, respectively. He also learned that their mother was a seamstress, which explained all the matching outfits.

Before Smartphones And Computers Kids Had Real Fun

Assault Trombone:

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This is the oldest known photograph of a human in America
The story behind the first selfie in the world Since daguerreotype needed a lot of light, Robert had to work outdoors. The famous first selfie was taken in October 1893, outside the lamp and chandelier store which was owned by his family. For the photo, Robert used a box fitted with a lens from an opera glass. Since thedaguerreotype needed 3-15 minutes to be taken, the young photographer had enough time to uncover the lens, run into the shot, stay there as long as necessary or more, and then replace the lens cap. In the self-portrait, Robert's image appears off center, showing a man with tousled hair and his arms crossed, looking at the camera with uncertainty.

A cynic might argue the world is better off having North Korea collapse now while it only has about a dozen nukes than waiting until 2020 when the number will be nearer a hundred.

The Einsteins in the federal government thought they had to warn America that not paying for abortions will mean fewer abortions.

No one saw an almost unimaginably huge and powerful wave crest at 600 feet and sweep down the inlet.

Sunshine Yogurt’s Roadmap to Global Market Domination – Eleven New Yogurts

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2017 3:27 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
White Rabbit: Grace Slick A Cappella

"I'm not a singer. I'm a shouter." -- Grace Slick

Slick wrote White Rabbit at home in Marin County a year earlier, on an upright piano with missing keys, at the end of an acid trip during which she listened to Miles Davis’s Sketches Of Spain for 24 hours straight. Then she presented it to her then bandmates, San Francisco raga-folk avatars the Great Society. "They'd read us all these stories where you'd take some kind of chemical and have a great adventure. Alice in Wonderland is blatant; she gets literally high, too big for the room, while the caterpillar sits on a psychedelic mushroom smoking opium. In the Wizard of Oz, they land in a field of opium poppies, wake up and see this Emerald City. Peter Pan? Sprinkle some white dust-cocaine-on your head and you can fly."

And now... complete with lyrics and her backing band...

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2017 1:37 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
An American Working in Mexico [Verified]

agodtomexico.jpg Like most over-forwarded Internet emails this one was too good to be true. Except that this one was, as it turned out, all too true.

We've all gotten the multi-forwarded emails. We get more of them all the time. They all arrive with the same format: headers on top of headers, stacks of email addresses from previous forwards, the ever increasing ">>>>>>'s" characters marching down the left margin, all topped off with the standard "I just knew you'd find this (interesting) (essential) (Important!) (a sign that WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!)." And, on occasion, I do find them interesting [See: Be Very Afraid: Avian Bush Derangement Syndrome Outbreak @ AMERICAN DIGEST ].

Today I got one of these from a woman I know in Laguna Beach entitled "Fw: American working In Mexico " which I reproduce in its entirety below. It was, as I said, so perfect for this time and for this issue that I doubted, immediately, the authenticity of the message. The email told the tale of how an American manages to work legally in Mexico. It read like the perfect 'You've really got to read this!' counter-argument to the the utterly loose and unregulated situation that Mexicans who come to America to work find for themselves. Because it was "perfect," it set off my BS detector.

A quick search of the DEW line for these messages, Free Republic , showed me that the item appeared there on April 21st. But Free Republic is not always to be trusted in these matters, so I checked the blogosphere via Technorati and found that blogs beat out Free Republic by one day, on April 20th .

Still, so what? Neither attested to the truth of the message. And so, before I passed it on via American Digest, I decided to do some digging to see if I could locate the original author, one Mr. Tom O'Malley, and speak with him to see if the message was true.

As it happened I did locate O'Malley and it is true, or, as he says "It certainly was true when I worked in Mexico. I can't speak for current conditions, but things don't change much in that country."

O'Malley was also amazed at how far his letter had gotten around the Internet. "I originally sent it to only 6 friends. Last week, somebody else I knew sent it to me with a line that said, 'You've really got to read this!' I had to tell him that I was the one that wrote it."

Where Mr. O'Malley is, and how I located and spoke with him, I've agreed to withhold. We spoke for over half an hour. O'Malley knows his stuff, knows Mexico, is a fascinating man to speak with on the issue, and is not shy (as you will see) about sharing his knowledge and insights.

Some people, reading his email, may think he is in some way being "anti-Mexican." Nothing could be less true. "The people there," he said during our interview, "are wonderful people. Each and every one of them. They're kind and polite and considerate to a fault. But their situation in Mexico is terrible. And still, they tolerate it. I guess they don't have any choice."

Why is that?

"The government they endure is pretty much fixed in the way it has always done things. Plus it has an ongoing program of intimidation against its own people. Once a year they have a very large parade in Mexico City where the government brings out all the military gear we've sold them and runs it through the streets. Tanks, trucks, artillery. Fighter jets above and machine guns paraded below. It's all designed to remind and intimidate the population."

I asked him if he saw any way that Mexico itself could improve.

"It breaks your heart to see how exploited these people are. Not only in Mexico, but when they come up here for work. Can it be changed? Maybe if we were to make Mexico a 51st state and export our system of laws and somehow reduce the overwhelming level of corruption in that country. If not, it may well be what our Spanish teachers in Mexico told us whenever the subject of The Mexican Revolution came up, 'We need another one, a second Mexican Revolution.' "

I spent five years working in Mexico.

I worked under a tourist visa for three months and could legally renew it for three more months. After that you were working illegally. I was technically illegal for three weeks waiting on the FM3 approval.

During that six months our Mexican and US Attorneys were working to secure a permanent work visa called a FM3. It was in addition to my US passport that I had to show each time I entered and left the country. Barbara's was the same except hers did not permit her to work.

To apply for the FM3 I needed to submit the following notarized originals (not copies) of my:

1. Birth certificates for Barbara and me.

2. Marriage certificate.

3. High school transcripts and proof of graduation.

4. College transcripts for every college I attended and proof of graduation.

5. Two letters of recommendation from supervisors I had worked for at least one year.

6. A letter from The ST. Louis Chief of Police indicating I had no arrest record in the US and no outstanding warrants and was "a citizen in good standing."

7. Finally; I had to write a letter about myself that clearly stated why there was no Mexican citizen with my skills and why my skills were important to Mexico. We called it our "I am the greatest person on earth" letter. It was fun to write.

All of the above were in English that had to be translated into Spanish and be certified as legal translations and our signatures notarized. It produced a folder about 1.5 inches thick with English on the left side and Spanish on the right.

Once they were completed Barbara and I spent about five hours accompanied by a Mexican attorney touring Mexican government office locations and being photographed and fingerprinted at least three times. At each location (and we remember at least four locations) we were instructed on Mexican tax, labor, housing, and criminal law and that we were required to obey their laws or face the consequences.

We could not protest any of the government's actions or we would be committing a felony.

We paid out four thousand dollars in fees and gratuities to complete the process. When this was done we could legally bring in our household goods that were held by US customs in Loredo Texas. This meant we rented furniture in Mexico while awaiting our goods. There were extensive fees involved here that the company paid.

We could not buy a home and were required to rent at very high rates and under contract and compliance with Mexican law.

We were required to get a Mexican drivers license. This was an amazing process. The company arranged for the licensing agency to come to our headquarters location with their photography and finger print equipment and the laminating machine. We showed our US license, were photographed and fingerprinted again and issued the license instantly after paying out a six dollar fee. We did not take a written or driving test and never received instructions on the rules of the road. Our only instruction was never give a policeman your license if stopped and asked. We were instructed to hold it against the inside window away from his grasp. If he got his hands on it you would have to pay ransom to get it back.

We then had to pay and file Mexican income tax annually using the number of our FM3 as our ID number. The company's Mexican accountants did this for us and we just signed what they prepared. It was about twenty legal size pages annually.

The FM 3 was good for three years and renewable for two more after paying more fees.

Leaving the country meant turning in the FM 3 and certifying we were leaving no debts behind and no outstanding legal affairs (warrants, tickets or liens) before our household goods were released to customs.

It was a real adventure and If any of our senators or congressmen went through it once they would have a different attitude toward Mexico.

The Mexican Government uses its vast military and police forces to keep its citizens intimidated and compliant.

They never protest at their White House or government offices but do protest daily in front of the United States Embassy. The US embassy looks like a strongly reinforced fortress and during most protests the Mexican Military surround the block with their men standing shoulder to shoulder in full riot gear to protect the Embassy. These protests are never shown on US or Mexican TV. There is a large public park across the street where they do their protesting. Anything can cause a protest such as proposed law changes in California or Texas.

Please feel free to share this with everyone who thinks we are being hard on illegal immigrants. - - Tom O'Malley



[First published: 2006-05-06 which shows you that the more things change the more they stay insane.]



Posted by Vanderleun Mar 17, 2017 11:51 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"He's a Russian with confirmed ties to chickens."

The Late Show has acquired a long-awaited joke that has Americans on the edge of their seats. He's going to share it with the world. Shortly. Keep watching.

Maddow told the AP that she never misrepresented what she had.

“Because I have information about the president doesn’t mean that it’s necessarily a scandal,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that it’s damning information. If other people leapt to that conclusion without me indicating that it was, that hype is external to what we did.” Of COURSE! Guess who Rachel Maddow blames for her Trump tax dud



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 16, 2017 10:49 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Japanese: Nuked too much or not enough? Presents The Man Who Was Godzilla


Haruo Nakajima is perhaps Japan’s most famous actor, but you wouldn’t necessarily recognize his face.

That’s because from 1954 to 1972, he was the man inside the Godzilla costume for 12 consecutive films. At 87 years old, many now consider Nakajima among the most iconic suit actors in film history. We caught up with the legend who gave life to the "King of the Monsters" to find out how he took on the challenge in the original groundbreaking movie.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 15, 2017 6:04 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Truckin'

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"Truckin'" was originally a dance move.

There are several theories about where it came from, but the most likely is that it was invented in Harlem during the late 1920's. It was done to a shuffle rhythm and involved moving away from your partner while strutting and waggling your index finger.

It was popularized in the late sixties by cartoonist Robert Crumb. His "Keep on Truckin'" cartoon in Zap comics (1968), featuring a guy leaning way back with his index finger up and his foot thrust forward. It was a popular subject of poster art in the late sixties.

Line by line explication at The Annotated "Truckin'"

Truckin' got my chips cashed in, keep truckin', like the do-dah man
Together, more or less in line, just keep truckin' on

Arrows of neon and flashing marquees out on Main Street
Chicago, New York, Detroit and it's all on the same street
Your typical city involved in a typical daydream
Hang it up and see what tomorrow brings

Dallas, got a soft machine; Houston, too close to New Orleans,
New York's got the ways and means; but just won't let you be, oh no

Most of the cats that you meet on the streets speak of true love,
Most of the time they're sittin' and cryin' at home
One of these days they know they better get goin'
Out of the door and down on the streets all alone

Truckin', like the do-dah man Once told me "You've got to play your hand"
Sometimes your cards ain't worth a dime, if you don't lay'em down,

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been

What in the world ever became of sweet Jane?
She lost her sparkle, you know she isn't the same
Livin' on reds, vitamin C, and cocaine,
All a friend can say is "Ain't it a shame?"

Truckin', up to Buffalo Been thinkin', you got to mellow slow
Takes time, you pick a place to go, and just keep truckin' on

Sittin' and starin' out of the hotel window
Got a tip they're gonna kick the door in again
I'd like to get some sleep before I travel,
But if you got a warrant, I guess you're gonna come in

Busted, down on Bourbon Street, set up, like a bowlin' pin
Knocked down, it get's to wearin' thin They just won't let you be, oh no

You're sick of hangin' around and you'd like to travel,
Get tired of travelin' and you want to settle down
I guess they can't revoke your soul for tryin',
Get out of the door and light out and look all around

Sometimes the light's all shinin' on me,
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it's been

Truckin', I'm a goin' home Whoa whoa baby, back where I belong
Back home, sit down and patch my bones, and get back truckin' on



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2017 5:57 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Postcards to the President: Experimenting with Democracy

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FYI:Current results of our latest experiment in Democracy can be seen HERE. Not, repeat NOT, encouraging.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2017 2:07 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Turn Backward, Turn Backward, Time in Thy Flight / And Take Us to Healthcare Dot Gov Just for Tonight

Now the rainman gave me two cures
Then he said, “Jump right in”
The one was Texas medicine
The other was just railroad gin
An’ like a fool I mixed them
An’ it strangled up my mind
An’ now people just get uglier
An’ I have no sense of time
....
An’ here I sit so patiently
Waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of
Going through all these things twice

-- Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again


How quickly we forget the overwhelming horror of the first time government really fixed health care. And now, for the real BOHICA moment, get ready for the first time government really unfixes health care.

Wake me when it's over.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2017 12:52 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Finally the Cure for T.I.A.D.: Trump Induced Anxiety Disorder Has Been Found

"When taking Impeachara make sure you have disabled instant news alerts on all your devices."

[HT:Never Yet Melted]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2017 12:41 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Marching Morons on Campus

Madison University "Students" Stumped By Insanely Simple and Obvious Hypothetical

"Alliance Defending Freedom," an advocacy group for conscience rights, asks some students if they support a dress designer's right to refuse to dress Melania Trump, or of the right of a Muslim singer to refuse a Christian Church's request to sing at an Easter mass. Of course they immediately agree that these creative professionals have that right, and must have that right, because -- Because Of Course. What other way could it possibly be? Then they're asked if a Christian photographer should have the right to refuse to take photos at a gay wedding.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 13, 2017 1:46 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
1054 Anno Dominai


1054 A.D.

I.

Titanium skaters on lakes of metallic hydrogen
Etch constant curves of crystalline
Isotopes of orange uranium
All about the vacant house.

Enigmas of equations
Slide lattices to rest
In beds of powdered strontium,
Molding energy as form suggests.

In the place of flux we find new forms,
For flux-formed spaces enfold
Charms of magnet's fever
That conduct the core from pole to pole.

II.

The whiteness of Earth's silences
Are eyes that stare on space.
Orbits chart them ceaselessly,
Etching irises of lace.

The inner of Earth's outer
Is a torus twisted twice.
Balloons ascend within it
Painting shadows in the room.

III.

What can the mind of silence hear
Other than a whiteness past revision, past review?

It evolves from epicenters,
Stretches measureless as sound,

Or is seen as the floor of the void
Where the whine of protons stills....

In the drifts of chromium snow,
and gazes on the bones of matter bare.

At times, men in aluminum cloaks
Descend the neutron ladder,

And move in a sleet of particles
Too scintillating for instruments to record.

At times, men in groups descend
Through the smoke of the universe,

To tend the embers, imprison flame.
Their cascading movements sparkle.

We taste the afterimage of events.
Below us, pale and infinitely silent,

The plutonium leaves arabesque
Through radiant silences of solid helium.

IV.

Sometimes it seems I had a dream, and, as a dreamer woke immersed in mineral baths closed within a cool, dark chamber fed by streams flowing in from the center of nowhere.

Hanging from the granite ceiling a kerosene lantern cast shards of light through the pale steam rising from the surface of the pools.

Ripples radiated outwards from the edges of my body and tapping faintly on the rock revealed the edges of the chamber.

Outside I could hear the wind slide across the spine of the mountains, speaking in a language that I remembered but could no longer understand.

Steam filled my nostrils and heat penetrated my bones until, after a time, I had no body, only a sense of silence and distance and calm.

As if I had just woken from all water into dream.

-- Tassajara Zen Mountain Center, 1973

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 12, 2017 8:43 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Abide with Yo Yo Ma Now and Then
Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 12, 2017 1:19 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Punch, Brothers, Punch: The Original Ear Worm as Told by Mark Twain

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The poem "Punch Brothers Punch" (also known as "The Horror! The Horror!")was not composed by Mark Twain, but by a group of people in 1876.

It was the brainchild of Messrs. Isaac Bromley, Noah Brooks, W. C. Wyckoff, and Moses W. Handy. Bromley and Brooks, while riding a tram one night, had taken notice of a sign informing passengers about the fare:
A Blue Trip Slip for an 8-cents fare.
A Buff Trip Slip for a 6-cents fare.
A Pink Trip Slip for a 3-cents fare.
For Coupon and Transfer, punch the Tickets.

Bromley had reportedly exclaimed,

"Brooks, it's poetry. By George, it's poetry!" The two spent the remainder of their trip composing the poem, giving it its jingle-like character, and adding improvements such as the chorus. Upon arrival at the offices of the New York Tribune, they showed the poem to their friends, scientific editor W. C. Wyckoff and Moses Handy, who assisted them in completing it. They published their result in the Tribune, the same newspaper which Mark Twain had chanced upon. The poem gained popularity rapidly, taking over the minds of numerous people; it was assisted by Twain, who let it loose upon the world in his story.

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Will the reader please to cast his eye over the following lines, and see if he can discover anything harmful in them?

Conductor, when you receive a fare,
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!
A blue trip slip for an eight-cent fare,
A buff trip slip for a six-cent fare,
A pink trip slip for a three-cent fare,
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!

CHORUS

Punch, brothers! punch with care!
Punch in the presence of the passenjare!

I came across these jingling rhymes in a newspaper, a little while ago, and read them a couple of times. They took instant and entire possession of me. All through breakfast they went waltzing through my brain; and when, at last, I rolled up my napkin, I could not tell whether I had eaten anything or not. I had carefully laid out my day's work the day before--thrilling tragedy in the novel which I am writing. I went to my den to begin my deed of blood. I took up my pen, but all I could get it to say was, "Punch in the presence of the passenjare.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 10, 2017 8:06 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Hat



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 9, 2017 10:44 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Get Ready... Get Set... Spring!

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How to Prepare for Spring, 1528

"Of prymtyme, and what it is. The prymtyme is hote & moyst temperatly as the ayre. This season the blode moeueth and spredeth to all the membres of the body, and the body is parfyte in temperate complexyon. In this season chekyns, kyddes, and poched egges ought to be eaten, with letuses & gotes mylke in these thre monethes. Prymetyme begynneth whan the sonne entreth the sygne of Aryes and lasteth .xcii. dayes, an houre and a halfe fro the .x. day of Marche to the .x. day of June. In this season is the best letyng of blode of ony tyme. And than is good to trauayle and to be laxatyfe. And to be bathed. And to eate suche thynges as wyll purge the bely." -- Secretum secretorum, tr. Robert Copland / Are you ready for primetime? Nothing makes for a festive spring like lettuce, bloodletting, and laxatives.



Posted by gvanderleun Mar 9, 2017 9:48 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Got Government?: "For Your Enjoyment and Protection"

Captain Monroe, always on the lookout for excess, sends this sign caught live in Florida under the rubric: "Best Sign Yet!"

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If you know anyone who claims we need more laws and regulations, please have them sit quietly and contemplate this sign and the immense wheezing bureaucratic entropy it epitomizes for a full half-hour.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 9, 2017 4:12 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Around here we pass on useful tips. "

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[Note: There are always many things to illuminate and educate and entertain at the venerable Woodpile Report with Ol' Remus. Chief among these are the pocket essays written by Remus. This is one of them from the latest Woodpile.]

Around here we pass on useful tips. How to identify Tulip Poplar for absolute sure in the wintertime, where not to be while chuck hunting, how to touch up chain saw teeth with a hand-held round file, identifying rare critters, like the Fisher, and sounds heard only occasionally, like the Vixen Scream, and so forth. As for finding water, the problem in Appalachian hill country is how to cross it or avoid it—hint: when your dowser goes up, camp there.

By the time a kid is in his teens he's a walking Foxfire magazine, without knowing it. It's fully the equal of urban "street smarts" in terms of value for its setting. I've hosted people from cities who have never, literally never, been outside their urban confines, i.e., they're "cosmopolitan". Their assumptions and anxieties are often touchingly hilarious but, you know, courtesy precludes being dismissive.

They're exceptionally good walkers on level ground, with admirable stamina, but they're dangerously inept in wooded hills and have a dogged preference for doing everything the hard way. While refreshingly enthusiastic about some things they commonly look without seeing, have little sense of direction—being landmark navigators suddenly without landmarks, grossly over or underestimate distance and have an annoying tendency to walk in aimless loops.

They see it all as a Disney production, or a sort of walk-in painting, so unless a need arises, and one day with another no need arises, I take care not to mention rabid raccoons, poison ivy, underground hornet nests, bears, ticks and other unsettling notions.

There is an up side. When they see, perhaps for the first time, an inky black sky full of stars, when they hear real silence or the tinkly murmur of a little creek, when we step into the back yard and shoot wiley coffee cans—"can we really do this?"—when they listen to owls trading insults at night, when they savor fresh eggs from hens wandering at will, when they come in of a chilly evening and bask in woodstove heat corpuscles, I take pleasure in their pleasure.



Down valley a smoke haze
Three days heat, after five days rain
Pitch glows on the fir-cones
Across rocks and meadows
Swarms of new flies.

I cannot remember things I once read
A few friends, but they are in cities.
Drinking cold snow-water from a tin cup
Looking down for miles
Through high still air.

- - Mid-August at Sourdough Mountain Lookout by Gary Snyder


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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 8, 2017 10:09 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Brain Jazz

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“Jazz is often described as being an extremely individualistic art form. You can figure out which jazz musician is playing because one person’s improvisation sounds only like him or her. “What we think is happening is when you’re telling your own musical story, you’re shutting down impulses that might impede the flow of novel ideas.” - - ScienceDaily
We don't fill in a formula of departments and features and tips and quips every hour every day every week.

We're jamming.

We just make up our content on the fly. No going back. No edits. Mainlining others' thoughts.

Lock and Load. Fire and forget.

It's like an endless orchestra of brain musicians high on brain jazz.

If you can type and have something to say, you can sit in on the session and jam.

If you can take it high, if you can take it low, if you can tie it in a knot, if you can tie it in a bow. If you can throw it o'er your shoulder like a continental soldier...

You. Can. Play.

You can play. Any number can play. ANY NUMBER can play a number and that number is always an unknown number. But if you can play unknown numbers you can sit in on the session and jam.

If not, you can just login and kick back and watch the others go at it.

You never know what you're going to get, or which way the next person is going to bend the thread in your head.

You're just there, in real time, and saying, really, whatever comes into your head.

Sometimes its flat, even more often predictable, and, yes, it can get really boring.... just like a lot of modern jazz.

But still, there are times -- rarer now to be sure -- when the whole thing....

Just. Takes. Off....

And you find yourself thinking things you never thought you'd think remembering licks long forgotten and saying things you never planned to say to a lot of people who are coming right back at you, jamming harder and seeing if you can all somehow take it higher.

Not to be profound, just to take it around. It's like being in a Doctor Strange far out on the range in an intellectual groove and you've got lift off.

Have this happen a couple of time and you're hooked, man. Like me, man.

I've been hooked for years, man....

but it doesn't rule my life,

.... man.

First published here in 2003, but written for The Well in 1989.



Posted by Vanderleun Mar 8, 2017 9:59 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: If Millennials Were Lumberjacks

Via Never Yet Melted サ If Millennials Were Lumberjacks

So, of course, cue Monty Python!

I cut down trees, I wear high heels
Suspendies and a bra.
I wish I'd been a girlie, just like my dear pappa.

He cuts down trees, he wears high heels?
Suspendies...and a bra?

...He's a lumberjack and he's OK
He sleeps all night and he works all day.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 6, 2017 11:36 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Core Samples

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Kellyanne's World via Never Yet Melted

7 Major Experiments That Still Haven’t Found What They’re Looking For Super-Kamiokande—and its planned upgrade, Hyper-Kamiokande—located a kilometer under a mountain in the Kamioka laboratory in central Japan, have been charged with looking for (among other things) the tell-tale signatures of such extremely rare proton decays in gargantuan tanks of super pure water.

TSA rolls out new, 'more intimate' airport pat-downs For those who were hoping to have a closer relationship with their TSA prober.

Oh, put a sock in it! Moral Outrage Is Self-Serving, Say Psychologists

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Intricate Fruit & Vegetable Carvings by Japanese Artist Gaku

Dr. Patrick Moore was right: @Greenpeace IS full of sh*t "Greenpeace Claims Immunity from Lawsuits Because Its Claims Are ‘Hyperbole’"

The science of “hangry”—why some people get grumpy when they’re hungry

Why pay less? Luxury Iceberg Water at $100 a Pop “It’s extremely pure right off the bat. It has no pollutants or contaminants whatsoever naturally. So, we don’t have to do anything to touch the chemistry of the water,” he adds. “It also has an incredibly light taste, that is why we call our tag line, 'the taste of snow and air.'”

American Shale Ready to Take On Petrostates

At last,Case closed on the Rosenbergs - latimes Julius and ethel Rosenberg were executed 55 years ago, on June 19, 1953. But last week, they were back in the headlines when Morton Sobell, the co-defendant in their famous espionage trial, finally admitted that he and his friend, Julius, had both been Soviet agents.

Burn Voyage: Schoolchildren give goldfish Freddy and Bubbles Viking funeral Both fish were pushed out to Valhalla in longships that they made out of cereal boxes and egg cartons in small group

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The Eternal Question:Do Zebras Have Stripes On Their Skin?



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 5, 2017 7:55 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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The Asheville, North Carolina restaurant was one of those common to our post-post-modern world. Open and airy with a wall of windows framing hanging plants. Casual to the point of paper napkins. Sporting a list of local beers and -- surprise -- local wines. Tarted up with the kind of overtly ironic art on the walls where the painter has one statement and one image in his repertoire and repeats it ad nauseam. This time it seemed that the sensibility being trotted out was one of Hieronymous Bosch meets Hello Kitty.

The menu, a litany of updated regional classics such as black-eyed pea cakes, was relentlessly "improved" by garnishes such as avocados and Basmati rice. The joint's "philosophy" -- since all new restaurants must now publish a justifying manifesto along with their menu -- centered on the now tedious homage to "local" "organic" produce and a dedication to "reviving tradition" -- plus the removal of trans-fats. Collard greens, sweetened lima beans, and salty sweet potatoes bracketed the entrees. In the center you'd find rib-eyes under slathers of sauteed onions, broiled slabs of local fish dusted with some orange spice, chickens with a roasted-on glaze, pork in five different variations, and dried cranberries slipped into cakes on the sly just when you thought it was safe.

It was a boutique version of the kind of food once common to the region, but that now survived either in roadside diners named "Granny's" and "Hubert and Sal's,"or at upscale nostalgic eateries such as this one. I suppose you could call it a "cuisine" -- as the local magazines and guides are wont to do -- but that word has too many curlicues. Call it "eats" and get on with it.

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The diners seemed to agree and were not slow about getting on with their meals. One man to my right hulked over his plate like a Turkish sumo and ate mechanically as if his hands were back hoes in some mountain grave yard, the coffin inbound on the midnight train and the kinfolk getting antsy. Across from him, a slim woman ate in a punctuated manner and talked at him at the same time, her hand gestures angular and as precise as scalpels. He nodded dully as if barely feeling her opinions and just put his head down and ate right on through them, looking up just often enough and nodding just slightly enough that she might believe he was actually hearing her.

Hearing anyone was a sometimes thing in this room. It was one of those restaurants whose hard ceilings, walls, and floors made for a constant din and clatter and clang. You had to raise your voice to be heard over it, and -- since raising your voice added to the din -- it made you and everyone else speak ever louder until the yabble peaked, then plunged into brief silence as everyone lapsed back into murmurs. Then it began building, again, inevitably to shouts, and so on.

It was a down-home yuppified place with a pretty good kitchen and fine intentions. It was a place where you could get the same meal you could get at "Granny's Country Kitchen" out along the highway, but you could rest assured that none of the boys from the hills -- those with flag decals on the pick-up's bumper and a deer rifle on a rack in the rear window -- would be smoking or farting or telling tales next to you. This privilege only cost you about three times as much.

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This was downtown Asheville in the heart of the freshly gentrified, cosmopolitan zone and instead of pick-ups rattling down the streets, Porsches prowled growling in the night outside the rock-climbing gym. This was an armed cultural hamlet in the New South, guarded by down-home decorating parlors ready to give your custom log-cabin that shabby chic lived-in look; where the sentries were hair salons called "The People" with mirrors in front of each station resembling nothing so much as the guillotines that "The People" of France once used so effectively in solving their aristocracy problem. The difference here was that the new aristocracy of this region was busy admiring themselves in the mirrors of these guillotines with nary a Marat or Robespierre in sight. Instead, downtown Asheville -- or at least some small section at the top of the hills -- was relentlessly promoting our new secular religion of senseless and endless shopping opportunities.

Down in the gulch streets below the mini-Madison Avenue of Asheville a wide variety of ethnic restaurants from the Jerusalem Cafe to Mela Indian foods jostles with used book stores and the ubiquitous tattoo parlors. Antique stores have arrived with a vengeance as have poodles and other toy breeds that bring with them shops devoted to "canine cuisine". After all, once you've got a whole generation of 20 or 30 and sometimes 40 somethings that have elected to raise dogs rather than children, nothing is too good for your fur-faced kids, is it?

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And where there are bakeries for dogs, there are restaurants whose owners handle regional foods as carefully as curators in a museum. In this, I admit, they do not do half-bad at the Early Girl Eatery where quick bread can be had at breakfast for three bucks a plate, and slow-cooked pork in the evening for fifteen. It's not quite the roadside diner down in the hollar, but that land's been bulldozed for one of the endless gated communities sprouting across the landscape in these parts like dubious toadstools. At least at the Early Girl you're pretty sure the pork isn't road kill. And even if it was, the sauces and seasoning would make up for it.

The check had come and I'd paid it. They'd filled the restaurant and turned it once since we'd been there. A popular place. A post-post- modern place, a place that was a sterling example of how we live now -- the real and the regional reduced to a remembrance, the communities gated, the homes "maintenance -free." History in a bottle, cleaned, pressed and with the trans-fats removed. Just the way we like it. Traditional in style but tradition-free in content. The experience without the meaning and not missing it.

As I got up to leave the family of six at the long table across from me was served with the quick flourish and satisfied air of presentation that is the style of serving these days. The was food steaming in front of them, but none of them made a move towards it. Instead, they talked quietly amongst themselves and seemed to come to a decision. They made their selection from among them. It was to be one of the daughters, a girl of about 17 I guessed. The din in the restaurant rose and fell, but the family of six sat quietly and then bowed their heads as one. Then they said grace.

I stood motionless at my table. I had, I thought, never seen this before in a restaurant. I'd seen it in private homes to be sure, but upon reflection I realized that I'd not seen it there in quite sometime. And I was quite sure this was, for me, a rare event. I'd probably not been paying attention since it no doubt went on all the time, but still it was a startling moment. Perhaps I'd just been too long in Seattle where the only manifestations of spirit are flimsy; where the invocations are raised to a watery Buddhism or bloodless Unitarianism where God is impossibly distant if at all extant. Be that as it may, this simple act of saying grace did not so much shock me as still me. I paused to listen in. And the daughter did not disappoint.

Her's was no gestural grace -- "Bless this food. Amen. Let's eat." -- but an extended meditation on the good fortune to find oneself among family and before a rich selection of food; an acknowledgment of an unusual level of being blessed by God, and a calling down of God's grace on members of the family present and not present, and ending with a wish that God continue to bless the family, the community, the state and the country. Then, and only then, was "Amen" spoken and the meal begun.

Outside along the Asheville streets, it was a balmy evening. Down the block another restaurant offered "Exceptional International Vegetarian Food," and a shop on the corner sold items imported from Africa whose purchase was purported to help suffering children here and there in that blighted continent. A local freebie paper picked off a stack had decided that a photo of a tribal protest in Santiago, Chile on the Dia de la Raza was important information for the citizens of this part of town. Down in the Asheville hipster-dopester-homeless gulch at a more cut-rate vegetarian restaurant, citizens with shaved heads, "message" t-shirts, multiple facial piercing and full-body tattoos were climbing the stairs in search of a bran muffin, bitching about George Bush, global warming, and their personal collection of STDs while complaining of residual racism in a city that seems more white than Seattle.

The road back to the house in the hills was dark and winding and you had to take it slow. Going back it was nice to know that somewhere, somehow, and for reasons that sometimes challenge all understanding, there were people still asking God to bless America.

For now, that's the big headline news of the day here in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

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[First published October 2007]



Posted by Vanderleun Mar 4, 2017 11:21 PM | Comments (62)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We told them, and we told them, and we told them that this open-admissions transexual bathroom bullshit was going to get out of hand, but did they listen? Nooooooooo.....

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 3, 2017 1:33 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Global War by Lee Sandlin

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By the time of Pearl Harbor the war had erupted in Norway and Mongolia, on Crete and in the Dutch East Indies; the Italian Army had marched on Egypt, and the German army was pushing into the outskirts of Moscow; there had been savage fighting in Finland north of the Arctic Circle and sea battles off the coast of Argentina. The United States was one of the last secluded places left on earth.

But the depths of that seclusion were still profound. This is one of the things about America in those days that's hardest for us to imagine now: how impossibly far away people thought the problems of the world were. It's not just that there was no TV, and thus no live satellite feed from the current crisis zone. America didn't even have a decent road system back then. Any long trip across the country was a fearsomely ambitious undertaking -- and foreign travel was as fanciful as an opium dream. People grew up with the assumption that anything not immediately within reach was inconceivably far away. It wasn't unusual for them to spend every moment of their lives within walking distance of the place where they were born -- and to die thinking they hadn't missed a thing.


[ Note: Another Excerpt from a long read on the realities of World War II: Losing the War - by Lee Sandlin]

There's a phrase people sometimes use about a nation's collective reaction to events like Pearl Harbor -- war fever. We don't know what a true war fever feels like today, since nothing in our recent history compares with it; even a popular war like the gulf war was preceded by months of solemn debate and a narrow vote in Congress approving military action. World War II came to America like an epidemic from overseas. Immediately after Pearl Harbor, recruitment offices all over America swarmed with long lines of enlistees; flags and patriotic posters popped up on every street and store window; wild and hysterical cheers greeted the national anthem at every rally and concert and sporting event. Overnight the war was the only subject of conversation in the country; it was the only subject of the movies you could see at the local theater (Blondie and Dagwood were absorbed into the war effort in Blondie for Victory; Sherlock Holmes came out of retirement to chase Nazi spies in Sherlock Holmes in Washington). War was the only acceptable motif in advertising: for years after Pearl Harbor every manufacturer of spark plugs and orange juice routinely proclaimed that its product was essential to an Allied victory.

In an earlier time poet Rupert Brooke had written that people hurried into war out of the moral griminess of civilian life "like swimmers into cleanness leaping." In World War II the leap was perfect, complete, and profound. To the end there were none of the signs of disaffection we've come to expect from Americans over the course of a long war: no peace rallies, no antiescalation petition drives, no moves in Congress for compromise or a negotiated settlement. Men who appeared able-bodied found themselves harassed on the street by strangers demanding to know why they weren't in uniform; baseball players who hadn't yet enlisted, godlike figures like DiMaggio and Williams, were loudly booed by the hometown crowd when they came out on the field.



American soldiers early on grew accustomed to the idea that the truth of their experience wasn't going to be told to the folks back home. They knew the score: despite the drone of triumph surrounding their every deed, the American entry into the war was a gory fiasco. The military had been caught wholly unprepared and was rushing troops into battle all over the world with a minimum of training and a maximum of chaos. To this day, if you ask any veteran for war stories, what you're likely to hear first is some appalling epic of American military incompetence. Every unit rapidly accumulated its share of grim legends. There was the arrogant lieutenant fresh out of officer school who was assigned to lead troops into battle and turned coward under fire or was fatally befuddled by ambiguous orders. There was the murderous stupidity of a supply clerk up the line who contemptuously mishandled an urgent request for emergency provisions -- on Guadalcanal, for instance, desperately needed drinking water arrived in used oil drums nobody had thought to wash out first. And there was the almost daily occurrence of the routine patrol turned into a nightmare by friendly fire. Friendly fire was a worse problem in World War II than in any other American war before or since. American troops on the ground were so frequently bombed by their own planes that they were known to shoot back with their heaviest guns.

The folks at home learned none of this. The news was being censored of course: American reporters in the field, like those of every combatant nation, had to submit all stories for official clearance, and reporters who tried to describe the war honestly would quickly find their stories going unapproved and their press credentials in doubt. But the First Amendment was still in force back home; unlike the newspapers of the Axis, which were wholly given over to government-enforced fantasies of imminent global triumph, American newspapers were still free, at least in theory, to publish whatever they liked. Some of them did so: the Library of America's Reporting World War II anthology contains reasonably honest and critical pieces from major newspapers and magazines on conditions in the internment camps, on the lack of enthusiasm for the war in African-American ghettos, and on the institutionalized racism of the military. But when it came to what was happening on the battlefields themselves the unbreakable silence closed in.

Losing the War - by Lee Sandlin]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 3, 2017 1:12 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ash Wednesday by T.. Eliot

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Because I do not hope to turn again
Because I do not hope
Because I do not hope to turn
Desiring this man's gift and that man's scope
I no longer strive to strive towards such things
(Why should the aged eagle stretch its wings?)
Why should I mourn
The vanished power of the usual reign?

Because I do not hope to know again
The infirm glory of the positive hour
Because I do not think
Because I know I shall not know
The one veritable transitory power
Because I cannot drink
There, where trees flower, and springs flow, for there is nothing again

Because I know that time is always time
And place is always and only place
And what is actual is actual only for one time
And only for one place
I rejoice that things are as they are and
I renounce the blessed face
And renounce the voice
Because I cannot hope to turn again
Consequently I rejoice, having to construct something
Upon which to rejoice

And pray to God to have mercy upon us
And pray that I may forget
These matters that with myself I too much discuss
Too much explain
Because I do not hope to turn again
Let these words answer
For what is done, not to be done again
May the judgement not be too heavy upon us

Because these wings are no longer wings to fly
But merely vans to beat the air
The air which is now thoroughly small and dry
Smaller and dryer than the will
Teach us to care and not to care
Teach us to sit still.

Pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death
Pray for us now and at the hour of our death.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2017 7:11 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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