Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Boomer Anthems: Nights on Broadway

While recording this, the producer Arif Martin asked if one of the Bee Gees could do some screaming during the main chorus to make the song more exciting.

In response, Barry Gibb began singing higher and higher, eventually singing it in a falsetto that was unexpectedly powerful. He had never known he had such an ability and Barry's falsetto became a trademark of the Bee Gees. Barry Gibb recalled in a May 2001 interview with Mojo magazine: "Arif said to me, 'Can you scream?' I said, Under certain circumstances. He said, 'Can you scream in tune?' I said, Well, I'll try." Nights On Broadway by Bee Gees Songfacts



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 30, 2017 7:45 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Sick Birch
The tale of a tree from Summer 2007: ""Like other things in this city, this country, and this era, "the solution" to "the problem" is not exactly crisp and effective, but it sounds nice and feels good."

asickbirch.jpgIn mid-July the tree in my front yard is losing its leaves. It's a weeping birch some fifty feet high. It doesn't so much shade the house as stand guardian to it. On its trunk the black and white patches have merged together and long ebony tendrils of branches dangle down festooned with dark forest-green leaves like emerald fireworks frozen above the lawn.

The shade pool from the tree covers my neighbor's yard to the north. He sits under it on his lawn on hot days. He's a quiet neighbor and a nice man. Speaks two languages and has a few political ideas which are a bit too socialist for my taste, but it's Seattle and he doesn't push them too hard so we live in harmony. He has a nice little house and spends a lot of time keeping it tidy.

The shade from my tree doesn't quite reach my neighbor to the south who admires it much more than I admire his fence, which is old and full of holes. Often time's he's told me how he wishes he could lounge in the shade, but he'd have to move his chair onto my lawn to do so. He's hinting about permisson. I suppose I could issue an open invitation for him to enjoy my shade, but given the way he keeps up his house and his fence I fear he'd soon be camped out on my lawn with a lot of friends and family. His whole operation is one step away from old appliances and rusted cars as lawn decorations. Then again I don't like cutting my lawn or weeding my garden, so maybe if I let him hang out under the tree he'll do the job that I won't do.

The tree began to shed leaves in early June. Just a few fell at first. A couple here and a some more there. I enjoyed their chance patterns on the grass and the flower beds. They were small and tan and had an almost Zen effect when seen among the blossoms; little bits of punctuation, small notes of color. The tree had so many leaves that the few that fell didn't diminish it. I didn't notice any thinning and I certainly didn't think the tree was ill. After all, it was a large tree and it had sheltered the house for a long time. The trunk was thick and strong. It's roots ran deep into the soil. It had been there longer than the house.

I went away for some weeks in June and into July and when I returned my lawn looked as if it was not high summer but late autumn. The grass was covered with small tan leaves, and even though the tree above was still thick with dark green leaves it was obvious that something was amiss. It was even more obvious when you walked on the lawn and came away with clots of leaves stuck to the bottom of your shoes.

I took my ladder from the garage and set it against the trunk. I climbed up to where the branches dangled down and looked closely at the leaves. They were dark green as always but had an unhealthy sheen to them as if they had become overheated and begun to sweat. Touching them left a sticky, unpleasant residue on my hands.

I looked more closely at the trunk and saw a host of small black bugs on the surface of the white bark and even more against the black patches. There didn't seem to be any of those bugs on the leaves that I could reach, but all those leaves were coated with the same tacky sheen. It had the consistency of the adhesive side of Scotch tape.

I'm no arborist. I didn't know what was making my tree sick but it was not thriving. Fortunately Seattle is a city where more inhabitants worship trees than worship God. I put a few twigs and leaves in one Ziploc bag and some of the black bugs in another and drove off to a nearby plant cathedral to ask one of their many priests.

He looked at the bags, ran his fingers over the outside, and didn't even bother to open them. "Aphids. Lots and lots of aphids. And since aphids are born pregnant you're going to have a lot more."

I looked closely at the bags. Very closely. I'd noticed a plant in the back yard that had been stricken with aphids in early June. Those had been thick colonies of lice sized insects. I carpet-bombed them with insecticide from an altitude of eight feet. They never knew what hit them. But I couldn't see any aphids inside the bag, just sticky leaves. "There's no bugs in there," I remarked to the priest of plants.

"Nope. The bugs are higher up in the tree. This is honeydew coating the leaves. A lot of honeydew. And that means a lot of bugs."

My far-too-literary mind immediately delivered the closing lines of Coleridge's "Kubla Kahn,"
"For he on honeydew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."

I'd always thought those lines very evocative and alluring. "Honeydew?" I asked.

"It's what the bugs excrete after they suck out the sap from the tree," he said.

Score one more metaphor forever ruined.

"What do I do to stop it?"

"You have to get it sprayed or injected. Probably both. Spray and inject is probably best. That's what we do here. I'll give you the number of an eco-friendly tree care company. No toxins... biodegradable sprays... all that jazz."

"Is that the best way?" I asked and gave him a straight look.

He glanced about him to check that we were alone at the tree altar in the plant cathedral. "Not really," he said in a confidential tone, "but that's all the company allows me to recommend. Otherwise we'd have a picket line of eco-nuts in front of the parking lot in a twinkling and that would be very bad for business. You want anything stronger, stuff that will really get the job done, get out your phone book and... call around."

I felt like we were two guys whispering on a street corner about where to score "the hard stuff." I thanked him for the information, took the eco-friendly number, and left.

Back home I stood in the yard and gazed up at my sheltering tree. Then I raked the yard and hosed off the walkway. It took a long time since all the leaves were coated with the crap of "aphid honeydew" and stuck to the grass and the pavement. Nature's Super-Glue.

As I was finishing my neighbor from the south came out and strolled through the hole in his fence and across the lawn to where I was working. It was a hot day and he held an iced Corona. (He favors that brand but never offers me one, just kind of toasts me from his porch. If he wasn't obviously Norwegian I'd expect him to say, "Hola mano. Que tal?")

"What's up with your tree?" he asked. "Those leaves are falling all over my yard and they're a mess."

I told him the tree was sick. "There's an infestation of aphids high up in the crown sucking the sap out of the tree and dripping their crap all over anything below."

"Heh, sounds like a Bush/Cheny disease and that's always bad," he offered, leaning against his part of the fence that still stood while watching me rake and clean. (Nearly everybody in Seattle's Queen Anne is a Democrat and assumes you are as well -- it's an "innocent until stated guilty" place.)

"It is bad. I'll have to get an arborist in to spray it and inject it."

"Whoa. Be sure and tell me when that happens so I can close my windows. And be sure to use those companies that don't use toxins. They'll cost you more but you don't want to risk real poisons."

As usual my neighbor was more than happy to suggest any solution at all to my infestation problem that involved extra hassle and me reaching for my wallet.

"I'll let you know," I said. "I'll let you know."

I've made the calls and I've tried to be a good citizen. I got the arborist from "In Harmony" tree service to come by. She said it will take 8 injections and cost about $300. She gave me a brochure printed in bio-degradable inks on recycled paper too. It explains the benefits to the entire planet of their methods in somewhat fuzzy type. It doesn't explain why it costs $300 to give a tree eight shots. Like other things in this city, this country, and this era, "the solution" to "the problem" is not exactly crisp and effective, but it sounds nice and feels good.

Still, there's no question that the stately tree that shelters me is sick, sticky and a mess. I've got to stop the insects infesting the top from crapping all over everything below. Organic's too slow and too expensive by half. I think I'm going to have to start hanging out in the shadier places of the Seattle tree scene, trying to make a connection with people who can really "Git-R-Done!"



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 30, 2017 9:49 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Brawny Paper Towel Goes Full Libtard in New Ad Campaign

Anyone seen the new "Brawny" paper towels ad on TeeVee or uTube?

They have gone full SJW and replaced the male lumberjack with four "PowerSkirts" in the red plaid flannel shirts. Ya know, the "I'm Womyn. Hear Me Roar" "Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better" bullshit. And, of course, they have disabled comments about the ad on their site. Good reason to go for an "Irish Boycott". Bounty is, by far, the better product anyway. Look what's happened to Target Corp. Stock prices are now down in the high 40's to low 50's from the mid 80's after their transgender bathroom nonsense was foisted on their customers. The "Boycott Target" petition now has 1.5 million sigs. I haven't spent on thin dime since when I used to spend over $300/ month. Same thing is happening to ESPN. They just laid off over 100, but none of the Leftists nor PowerSkirts. They are bleeding Disney dry, losing money hand-over-fist due to this and cord-cutting in general. Sooner, rather than later Disney will have to cut them loose. Never, ever, go full SJW retard. Posted by: Fuel Filter in Jell-O Finally Comes Out @ AMERICAN DIGEST

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If you are not married to any of these women you have dodged four bullets.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 30, 2017 9:21 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Leprosy, long imagined extinct, reappeared:" This and That

aalepers.jpg

THIS:

There were land riots as the jaunting poor deserted slums to squat in plains and forests, raiding the livestock and wildlife.

There was a revolution in home and office building: labyrinths and masking devices had to be introduced to prevent unlawful entry by jaunting. There were crashes and panics and strikes and famines as pre-jaunte industries failed.

Plagues and pandemics raged as jaunting vagrants carried disease and vermin into defenseless countries. Malaria, elephantiasis, and the breakbone fever came north to Greenland; rabies returned to England after an absence of three hundred years. The Japanese beetle, the citrous scale, the chestnut blight, and the elm borer spread to every corner of the world, and from one forgotten pesthole in Borneo, leprosy, long imagined extinct, reappeared. -- THE STARS MY DESTINATION Alfred Bester. Published in 1956

THAT:

Report: Measles Outbreak in Minnesota Somali Community Imported by Traveler from Foreign Country

The measles outbreak within Minnesota’s Somali community continues to spread to more parts of the state. “Officials . . . believe it was imported by a traveler from a foreign country, since measles no longer occurs naturally in the United States,” the Star Tribune reports. Late Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced that the total number of cases has now grown to 32, and “28 of the cases are Somali Minnesotan.”

The recent outbreak has set a 20-year record high for the number of measles cases reported in Minnesota. Between 1997, when MDH began tracking reported cases of measles on its website, and 2016, the record number of reported cases of measles in the state was 26, which happened in 2011. The current number of reported cases of measles at the four-month mark of 2017, 32, is already six cases more than that 2011 previous record.

Measles Outbreak Widens in Minnesota

The U.S. isn’t the only region reporting measles outbreaks. Gaps in vaccination coverage has also led to a surge in European incidents of this infectious disease in the past few months. During the first two months of 2017, more than 1,500 measles cases were reported from 14 European countries due to “an accumulation of unvaccinated individuals”, said officials from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

In 10 countries — Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and Sweden — the number of cases reported in January-February 2017 was more than double that of the first two months of 2016.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 30, 2017 8:20 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Shades of Green in the Green Shade.

aa_agardenofeden.jpg

Set and Setting

"I am the Guardian of the Gates of the Emerald City. May I inquire who you are, and what is your business?" -- Oz

When the winter is long and the sun declines to shine I find my mind begins to glide on green. It’s then that the unquiet ghost of Andrew Marvel appears

“Annihilating all that’s made
To a green thought in a green shade,”

and I attend to the world that is rather than the world as I would wish it. There’s comfort in the “world dimensional” -- cold though it may be, green as it has become. The comfort comes from attending, from paying attention to the shades of green in the green shade.

If you attend you can catch the quick blue crocus jumping over the damp moss tendrils -- bright cups of cerulean with slashes of yellow and orange in the center -- bursting in a day and flash-frozen and slumped to a sigh in one night. Slumped against the earth’s daubed quilt of green which in a motley of hues endures.

Here high on this hill above Seattle, the blocks below form an island of Ireland where green is the keynote color of this time in this place. What lawn I have that is still unconquered by armies of weed is a symphony of greens painted by the tireless fingers of grass, lichen, mold and moss, punctuated by a single errant crocus with a tip of vermillion gleaming at the top of its jade tower at the edge of the walk where no hand planted it. Out on the everdamp peninsula of my postage stamp backyard the slab of aggregate and concrete has taken on an ebony green sheen from an algae bloom on its misted surface. All the flower pots and buckets brim with water waiting for the lotus and the lily pads.

Strolling the sidewalks one sees that this or that car, left too long parked, sports on paint and trim, on safety glass, a dusting of moss. Looking up you see that the roofs of the houses display mainly moss in small gardens on cedar or asphalt shingles. Where their walls touch concrete slabs clots of moss cluster ringed with miniature moats. Behind the moats they seem to make their own soil through some strange alchemy of rain and air and rise in small hillocks higher by the day.

It is early in the year but late in the long winter of 2013/14 and the Great Northwest is the Empire of Ice Green. It is that storied Great Green Room, sans telephone, sans red balloon, lacking comb and brush and mush, where Someone unseen is whispering, “Hush.”

Bridge
Of green, the color out of space.

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.”
-- Frost

If not for the tyranny of the color wheel green would be “primary” color. There is nothing “secondary” about green. Green seen holds good and ill, death and life, upon one tether. Green is growth in stalks, shelter in boughs, splendor in the grass. Seen around the gills green is the sign of sickness, the promise of decay and death. In the realm of the mammal, green bodes ill. In the realm of the vegetable, green foreshadows or announces the edible. In the realm of the mineral, green gleams shows the emerald, glows from the jade, and as patina on copper’s conductivity delivers transmitted, transmutable energy with the sting and the speed of light from sun to socket.

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Green. Secondary on the wheel of color, primary within the world. Green. The sheen between seed and grain, between the sowing and the harvest, the premise of bread, where waves of green turn amber and from that fruit we form the holy wafer that once blessed becomes the flesh of God -- “This is My body.”

acommunion-wafer.jpg

And in the ages before, in the time after Eden -- previous, previous -- when the ice sheets receded and the green man stirred, and decked in boughs walked the paths in Druid echoes, uprooted and ambulatory along the spine of life, of years, the ancient of days when trees and flowers spoke in glades

thegreenmansign.jpg

Of asphodel, that greeny flower,
    like a buttercup
       upon its branching stem-
save that it's green and wooden-
    I come, my sweet,
       to sing to you.

Coda

Of green. Protean, fecund, Leviathan of colors.

“... in a green shade.” Say, rather, shades -- when through enough green leaf the light is rendered as light, light green when seen in shadow on the skin -- for in its sliver of the spectrum the shades of green proliferate beyond the eye’s ability to discern them. There are the greens seen in the light, the light greens. There are the greens seen in darkness, the dark greens. Between? The greens of yellow, black and blue; the greens of the haunted groves, the swollen rivers, the swaths of green seen in the wine-dark sea. The greens on which our games are played. The greens we grind to gray salted dust in our wars. The greens of lovers’ glades.

arousseau.jpg

Green is shy of no colors except the red. In the heat of red times, in the halls of the red death, we seek the cool greens. In the midst of the vast blue, hovering above the deep, we maintain lookouts to call out the first hints of green on the far horizon. Green is either the bass note of our lives in the verdant forested spaces of the Earth, or the high cry sounded when seeing the longed for oases that accent our deserts, inner or outer, of sand, dust, desolation, ocean. Even faring far forward, voyaging beyond now, when we’ve gone out from this home at one AU from our star and scanned the stars with eyes of beasts our bodies space bound will yearn to return; to recline on the slopes of green:

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

coolhillsearth.jpg



2012-02-11



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 29, 2017 12:05 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Take my Suzuki Vitara '96, Please:" Aunt, Uncle, Father, and Mother of all used car ads.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2017 11:28 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
I think that I shall never see / A billboard lovely as a tree

aabillboard.jpg

Indeed, unless the billboards fall
I'll never see a tree at all.

- - Ogden Nash

Along Gene Autry Trail, viewers will encounter a series of billboards featuring photographs of the very mountains towards which they are heading.  

Each photograph is unique to its position along this route and at a certain point as one approaches each billboard, perfect alignment with the horizon will occur thus reconnecting the space that the rectangle of the billboard has interrupted.  In the language of billboard advertising this kind of reading is referred to as a Burma-Shave after the shaving cream company of the same name who used sequential placement to create messaging that could be read only from a moving vehicle. Jennifer Bolande -- Desert x 2017

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 28, 2017 8:53 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Japanese: Nuked too much or not enough?

Premise: we’re going to roll tires down a ski jump.

Because you've got to do something to recoup the bribes that got the Olympics to Nagano in the first place:

"The Nagano Olympic bid committee spent approximately $14 million to entertain the 62 International Olympic Committee members and many of their companions. The precise figures are unknown since Nagano, after the IOC asked that the entertainment expenditures not be made public, destroyed the financial records."

The tires taking part in the competition come from a kei car (Japanese minicars), sedan, sports car, dump truck, Formula One car and bulldozer.

Each tire is sent down a steep slope covered in AstroTurf. For added science, they are shoved off by a man in a white lab coat and gloves. After launching off a ramp, the tires land on a marked section of the track before rolling into a crash barrier.

Which one do you think will take home the coveted prize of...Ski Jumping Champion Tire?

Here are the competitors:

skitirejump.jpg

Place your bets.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 27, 2017 4:56 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems and The Two Americas: "Won't Get Fooled Again"

There's nothing in the streets
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Are now parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

At 7 AM in California’s rural Central Valley, not long before the recent presidential election, I stopped to talk with an elderly irrigator on the shared border alleyway of my farm.

His face was a wrinkled latticework, his false teeth yellow. His truck smelled of cigarettes, its cab overflowing with flotsam and jetsam: butts, scribbled notes, drip-irrigation parts, and empty soda cans. He rolled down the window and muttered something about the plunging water-table level and whether a weak front would bring any rain. And then, this dinosaur put one finger up on the wheel as a salutation and drove off in a dust cloud.

Five hours later, and just 180 miles distant, I bought a coffee at a Starbucks on University Avenue in Palo Alto, the heart of Silicon Valley, the spawn of Stanford University. Two young men sat at the table next to me, tight “high-water” pants rising above their ankles, coat cuffs drawn up their forearms, and shirts buttoned all the way to the top, in retro-nerd style. Their voices were nasal, their conversation rapid-fire— politics, cars, houses, vacations, fashion, and restaurants all came up. They were speaking English, but of a very different kind from the irrigator’s, accentuating a sense of being on the move and upbeat about the booming reality surrounding them. Victor Hanson on Trump and the American Divide



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 27, 2017 10:21 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Jell-O Finally Comes Out

And it seems to have targeted kindergarten telling them to "Go gay with Jell-O today!" I feel a boycott coming on.

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[HT: vintage everyday: 16 Vintage “Gay” Ads That Weren’t Actually About Gay People But Should Be Now]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 27, 2017 10:06 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Abortion in America: A Personal Journey

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Four and a half months

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

-- The Loving Spoonful

No Answers Here. Just Observations and Anecdotes

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

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

Abortion is, as we all know, one of the 25 or 30 third rails of American politics. So what? A President must prove to the American people that, from time to time, he can reach out and touch a few of these rails with both hands. I wouldn't want a man as President who couldn't do it. And yet....

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Apr 27, 2017 2:06 AM | Comments (87)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bill Nye the Perverted Guy

Watch when you need to be more repulsed at this little cockroach than you already are:

Everything wrong with this video:

1. Nye ironically genders his audience with "guys" in the first sentence.

2. No one knows this girl from Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

3. Humans are now apparently referred to as "bipeds" which is ableist against war vets with 1 leg.

4. "World of ours" implies the earth belongs to humans, which is western chauvinism and not environmentally friendly.

5. If she has a vagina, she does not have the option of "hard"...she's stuck with "moist."

6. Her vagina does not have a voice; that's gross. If it makes a sound it is actually air escaping and is rude.

7. When she sings about her vagina she holds her stomach not her vagina. Anatomy error.

8. "Metaphorical voice" is 6 syllables and she crams it into a 3 syllable section of the music.

9. The woman is so out of shape she can't do a proper front kick her and looks like an elephant trying to walk up steps.

10. "Butt stuff" is not highly related to evolution. Any mammal that does "butt stuff" routinely will actually be selected out. It's evolution in the same sense that extinction is evolution.

11. Sex "stew" assuming it refers to bisexual orgies actually are taboo in most societies. Anthropology error.

12. This is Gerard Depardieu

13. Singer declares that she will have sex with anything. And is proud of this.

14. No one is boxing in her box.

15. She recommends jerking off strangers.

16. After 1:30 minutes of singing she is out of breath. This is pathetic.

17. Sexuality is not a spectrum. See evolution of mammalian sex. The book Red Queen gives a good description (by Matt or Mark Ridley...I forgot).

18. 1:38 Bill Nye grooving is sexually repulsive.

19. No one uses a Fleshlight outdoors. It is used inside, with appropriate shame.

20. Bill Nye grooving again.

21. 2:03 Watch her try to kick. It's like watching someone on their first day of training.

22. 2:10 - Ironically tells normal people who are going about their business to get off THEIR soapbox while lecturing Americans from a position of ignorance.

23. Bagels with lox are disgusting...and so maybe her box is better than that.

24. 2:20 The face of Satan appears.

25. Ignorant non-scientist calls this "exactly the right message."

Thank you for re-electing President Trump.
BY
darwinkilledgod @ My Sex Junk - Rachel Bloom - Bill Nye Saves The World - YouTube

[HT: Never Yet Meltedr Yet Melted ]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 26, 2017 9:31 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Can You Imagine?: On the American "Elites"

[Republished from 2007]

“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” — André Gide

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But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou owest;
Nor shall Death brag thou wander'st in his shade,

-- Sonnet 18

In the end, it is not our failure to learn from history that condemns us to repeat it, but our mind's turning away from even the briefest glimpse of what the dark passages of history were like that damns us. We may know, but we refuse to see. We blind our own mind's eye. It is our inability to imagine the most evil things that all men are capable of that corrupts us.

No, do not say "our inability" to imagine. Say rather, "our refusal" to imagine since the imagination itself -- if we were honest -- can indeed visualize carnage and depravity with ourselves as the actor and never the acted-upon. Our mind can and does see things that we cannot stand to admit we see. Our imagination can bring to itself an image -- and hold in our mind's eye things -- of infinite vileness.

And in such images we see, most of all, ourself. And so we turn away, turn away, and assign what we may have imagined, might have seen, if only briefly, as but a bad dream, a short nightmare; something that will pass at dawn when 'the sleep of our reason no longer breeds nightmares.' It is how we live. Now and again when we tire of our wars not because they are wrong but because they endure.


In America, the only depraved things that actually happen -- we are assured daily -- are those of individual criminals, they are never the responsibility, the known and foreseen result, of the crimes of a whole people that "could not" imagine, that "refused" to imagine, and so turned away, turned away. A portion of a people that granted, if only they were left alone, permission to be vile to another more animalistic portion of the same people.

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Many years ago, when I was a book editor in Boston, I spent a day with the distinguished Israeli author Aharon Appelfeld. My purpose was to, as we said then, "woo the author" and acquire him and his books for the house. Aharon Appelfeld had just won the Israeli Prize for literature and was considered, if not a "hot property," at least one that would, as we also used to say, "add luster to the list." Since my publisher, Houghton Mifflin, was the publisher that had given the English-speaking world Mein Kampf in 1939 and continued to sell it at the time, the addition of a celebrated Israeli author writing in Hebrew was a luster devoutly to be wished.

I had dutifully read all of Appelfeld's works available in English (translated from his chosen language of Hebrew) and put on my very best suit, my very best tie, and my very best Bahston editorial manner. Since he had won prizes and high critical regard the house had no problem with taking him for a lunch at Loch Ober, a Victorian era restaurant with a menu the size of a small town phone book and prices that were, even then, astronomical. I was pulling out all the stops in the "designed-to-impress-editorial-express." Appelfeld was, as I now dimly recall, not the sort of man to be at all impressed by the vanities of the world.

Today the Internet entries for Appelfeld give his pre-Israel life a short entry. The Jewish Virtual Library states:

"Aharon Appelfeld was born in Czernowitz, Rumania, and deported to a concentration camp at the age of eight. He escaped and spent three years hiding in the Ukraine before joining the Russian army. A post-war refugee, he made his way to Italy and immigrated to Eretz Israel in 1946. He currently resides in Jerusalem."
Short with no sweetness about it, that paragraph sums up an experience that most living Americans can only dimly perceive; that most living Americans know nothing about and about which, if the truth were told, most living Americans wish to know less than nothing; something we "refuse" to imagine. It is a very short story about a boy's life taken out of its halcyon first years, plunged into the deepest dark bloodpools of genocide, and left there to steep.

Wikipedia's brief entry for Appelfeld notes:

"In 1940, the Nazis invaded his hometown. His mother was killed and Appelfeld, a boy of eight, was deported with his father to a concentration camp in Ukraine He escaped and hid for three years before joining the Soviet Army as a cook. After World War II, Appelfeld spent several months in a displaced persons camp in Italy before immigrating to Palestine in 1946, two years before Israel's independence...... Aharon Appelfeld is one of the foremost living Hebrew-language authors, despite the fact that he did not learn the language until he was a teenager. His mother tongue is German, but he also speaks Yiddish, Ukrainian, Russian, English and Italian. With his subject matter revolving around the Holocaust and the sufferings of the Jews in Europe, he could not bring himself to write in German."

At my lunch, and subsequent afternoon spent with Appelfeld, some of the brief details in the biographical facts of his life were filled in.

There were the years in hiding, the years when he pretended to be an orphan, a refugee, a Gentile -- anything other than what he was, a Jew escaped from the camps. There was his passage as "a cook for the Soviet Army." As a cook of around 13 at the time one wonders what his actual duties were.

After the war the entry notes that Appelfeld "made his way to Italy." According to him this 'making of way' entailed walking for over three months across the entire landscape of a shattered and gutted Europe. What he saw on this tour of the ashes of that culture is something that recurs in his books, as are the things he did to survive that time and reach Israel as a survivor. To know what he saw and suffered and did to survive you need to read across the whole of his work since they appear only in flashes, like snatches of bad dreams and nightmares fitfully remembered.

At the time we met, I'd read Badenheim, 1939, the story of how upper middle class Jews in Germany came, by stages, to their doom. It is a book in which the horrors do not unfold on stage, but like the great Greek tragedies, wait off stage in the wings of history to gather up and destroy a whole people who, like so many now, "refuse" to imagine what awaits them; "refuse" to imagine how their "Happy World" can ever change.

Little of my conversation with Appelfeld remains in my memory save for one question and answer. I asked him what he thought his single message and driving force behind his writing was. His answer was essentially and in paraphrase, "As a Jew no matter how safe you think you are, no matter how assimilated you think you and your family might be, you aren't. You are never safe and you are never assimilated. You know could always happen again. You know it will."

From time to time his statement comes back to me when I'm faced with the inexplicable actions, the weak thinking, the unfathomable ignorance, and the cultural cringing of my fellow countrymen in our present era. Yesterday [ July 8, 2007 ] it was the bizarre editorial from the New York Times calling for immediate retreat and surrender in Iraq. Entitled somewhat poetically "The Road Home" the editorial is a monument to "the refusal to imagine" mindset that has overtaken so many Americans after years of the unremitting media water torture on the issue of Iraq. It's key passage reads:

"It is time for the United States to leave Iraq, without any more delay than the Pentagon needs to organize an orderly exit.... Iraq, and the region around it, could be even bloodier and more chaotic after Americans leave. There could be reprisals against those who worked with American forces, further ethnic cleansing, even genocide."

When I first read this blithe gush issuing -- without heart or care or conscience -- from whatever mind originated it, and passed by whatever chortling editorial process approved it, I felt the twinge of nausea that I often feel when reading the carefully crafted and anonymous twitterings of that paper's editorial pronouncements. But, like most of those moments, I stopped ingesting it and, in time, my nausea passed.

Later that day I was speaking with a friend and the subject of the editorial came up. My friend was mystified by it, hard pressed to understand how a paper like the Times, a paper filled with intelligent people whose families had had no little experience with genocide, could so blithely advocate a policy which would, if carried out, condemn hundreds of thousands if not millions of Iraqis to death in a thousand brutal ways that we all would "refuse" to imagine. What could possibly be the motivation, the obsession, the vile-on-the-face-of-it commitment to such a policy? Didn't they understand what it would mean?

My answer at the time was that while the editorial board, the publisher, and the Finzi-Contini owners of the New York Times knew full well what it would mean, they didn't care. The settling of political scores and the advancement of their internal political agenda was what mattered. It was indeed the only thing that mattered and their agenda was simple -- they sought "The Restoration" of The Floating World.

The inevitable genocide of the Iraqis would take place off their stage and would not trouble their sleep on beds made plush by three inches of Memory Foam. Of course, their media companies and their minions would report the killings in due course and in the appropriate tone -- taking care not of offend whatever entities were their reporters' hosts for the viewing of the slaughter -- but the slaughter itself would not matter. Their bubble would not be pierced. Their catered dinner parties would go on undisturbed. Their parades would roll through the Village without rain. Their dogs would be walked for them and their dogs' droppings scooped and disposed of for them. Their hands would not touch the droppings.

Their summer homes in the Hamptons would be cleaned and buffed for them. Their waiters at their beach clubs would bring them their beverages on a tray and they would sign for them. Their drivers would always be waiting at the door for them, cars washed, polished and swept. Their power tables at breakfast and lunch would always be set and reserved for them. They would again be welcomed at White House fetes and the bedrooms there would be prepared for them.

It would all be as if George Bush and September 11, and Afghanistan, and Iraq had never happened. There would even be Bill Again -- playing that cool saxophone, smoking those big cigars, and laughing into the long and languid summer nights in the Rose Garden. All would be as it once was. This they could imagine.

Whatever might or might not be happening in Iraq then would be reported as the reports of summer storms in the Midwest tracked as green and red blurs by radar are seen on the Weather Channel -- distant thunder never coming closer. They would "refuse" to imagine it had anything to do with them, that it was anything that could happen to them. After all, the new New York Times Building was several miles from Ground Zero. That was Downtown, they were Midtown.

No. They were safe at last. They were fully assimilated into the safest country on Earth; the Finzi-Continis of our time. They were, once again, fully-vested members of the power elite of the United States of America. They weren't running some dying newspaper on the West Side of Manhattan. They were back. Whatever happened elsewhere was the fault of the previous lost years. History could never happen to them. History, once again, was at an end. History was, once again and this time for good, something that they actually "could not imagine."



First published July 9, 2007 and lo, five years later, they have learned exactly nothing: Yesterday in the wake of the massacres in Syria we have the New York Times whining little editorial, The Massacre at Houla , which seems to feel the opponent of Obama is the point of the story and "sanctions" the only solution:
Sanctions imposed by the United States, the European Union and others are having an effect. Still, a United Nations arms embargo and the toughest possible comprehensive economic sanctions are long overdue. Russia has the most leverage, but, inexcusably, it still sells arms and coal to Syria and uses its Mediterranean port of Tartus. We can see no easy solutions to Syria, despite Mitt Romney’s facile criticism of President Obama. In a campaign statement issued on Tuesday, Mr. Romney called for “more assertive measures to end the Assad regime.”
What small and contemptible minds.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 26, 2017 1:11 AM | Comments (43)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fried Gnocchi: Don't Try This at Home. Or Anywhere.

Wait for it.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 24, 2017 3:49 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Imagine a Future Planetary Exploration"

lookingatmars.jpg

By B. Lewis

Imagine a future planetary exploration team is surveying the surface of Mars. During an excavation, they are astonished to discover what appears to be a computer chip embedded in the rock. Further investigation reveals the object to be a functional integrated circuit device.

"This is the most momentous discovery in the history of science, " says the team leader. "Finally, proof positive that an intelligent creature has existed on Mars at some point in the past. We are not alone!"

"Not so fast," says the chief scientist. "Just because we found a piece of silica that happens to be in the form of a computer chip doesn't necessarily imply that any extraterrestrial intelligence exists."

"It certainly does," says the team leader. "Micrographs show definitively that this is an integrated circuit chip. Since no human beings have ever been to Mars, and none of our probes have penetrated to this area, logic dictates that an extraterrestrial intelligence exists."

"Nope," says the scientist. "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. What evidence have you that this 'chip' was made my an intelligent being?"

The Team Leader is nonplussed. "I -- it's a circuit, Chief. A functional electronic circuit! The computer says it could be made to run like any IC chip. Integrated circuits don't just create themselves. Someone designed this!"

"That's an interesting statement of belief," replies the Chief Scientist, "But not a demonstrable fact." He examines his nails nonchalantly. "I can't accept your faith in some invisible sky person as a scientific theory, Team Leader. All I can know from what we have here is that we have found a functional circuit chip. Where it comes from, how it came to be -- all of this remains unknown."

"But somebody had to make it!" The Team Leader is incredulous. "It's obviously an artifact. Complex structures like computer chips don't just appear out of thin air!"

"Sure they do, Team Leader," says the Chief Scientist. "Biological cells. A single living cell is billions of times more complex than this chip we've found, and yet cells just 'appeared', without the aid of some fantastic 'designer' in the sky." He looks up from his nails. "Like a living cell, this chip merely appears to be the product of an intelligent designer. In fact, it's complexity is probably just the result of the random actions of wind, water, and radiation upon local geology over eons of time."

He stands, looks the Team Leader in the eye. "Just as we have learned that we need not invoke the supernatural to explain life, we need not posit a race of chip-designing Martians to explain this object. Like us, this chip was produced by the action of natural forces upon natural materials over billions of years of time. It, for lack of a better word, evolved into its present state." He points toward the airlock. "In fact, there are probably ancestors of this chip -- transitional forms -- buried in the rock beneath us right now."

"Sir!" cries a nearby technician. "We've finished the circuit analysis. The computer says this is a data storage chip -- and the data is readable!"

"What's it contain?" the Team Leader asks.

"A raster image sir," says the tech. "I'm calling it up now." On a nearby screen, an image appears: a creature utterly inhuman in form, but wearing what can only be the Martian equivalent of a clean-room suit. In one hand -- tentacle -- the creature holds a small box containing a duplicate of the found IC chip.

"Holy cow," says the Team Leader. "It's a photo. A photo of a Martian -- and he's holding the chip. I just won a freaking Nobel Prize!"

"Coincidence," scoffs the Chief Scientist. "Over billions of years, local radiation probably flipped the bits on that chip randomly into this configuration. It only appears to our pattern-sensitive brains to be a clear, color image of a blue-eyed extraterrestrial creature in a clean room suit holding in its appendage a copy of the so-called 'chip' we've found."

The tech and the Team Leader stare at the Chief Scientist open-mouthed.

"What?" asks the Chief Scientist. "It's Science 101: extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I see no reason to believe in any Martians."

No one speaks for a handful of moments. "What," asks the Team Leader quietly, "would it take to make you believe?"

"Proof," responds the Chief Scientist primly. "I'm a scientist, Team Leader. If I can't poke it with a stick, it ain't real." The Chief Scientist grins ironically. "Call me Doubting Thomas. 'Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.'"

By B. Lewis commenting on Something Wonderful: Molecular Visualizations of DNA @ AMERICAN DIGEST



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 24, 2017 9:40 AM | Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Molecular Visualizations of DNA

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipoténtem, factorem cæli et terræ, visibílium ómnium et invisibílium.
["I believe in one God, the Father Almighty Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible."]-- Anne Barnhardt

God's Grandeur
by Gerard Manly Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

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

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 23, 2017 11:35 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
God's Grandeur by Gerard Manley Hopkins

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?
Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;
And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;
And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil
Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

gods-grandeur.jpg

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

a%20ahbrightwings.jpg

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 23, 2017 2:23 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful for "Earth Day": George Carlin, the Arrogance of Mankind, and the Big Electron

Lest we forget how minuscule we really are.

CARLIN: "Let me tell you about endangered species, all right? Saving endangered species is just one more arrogant attempt by humans to control nature. It's arrogant meddling. It's what got us in trouble in the first place. Doesn't anybody understand that? Interfering with nature. Over 90%, way over 90% of all the species that have ever lived on this planet, ever lived, are gone. They're extinct. We didn't kill them all. They just disappeared. That's what nature does.

"We’re so self-important. So self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now. “Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. What? Are these fucking people kidding me? Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. We haven’t learned how to care for one another, we’re gonna save the fucking planet?

“I’m getting tired of that shit. Tired of that shit. I’m tired of fucking Earth Day, I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for their Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. They don’t care about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t.  You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future, they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.

“Besides, there is nothing wrong with the planet. Nothing wrong with the planet. The planet is fine. The PEOPLE are fucked. Difference. Difference. The planet is fine. Compared to the people, the planet is doing great. Been here four and a half billion years. Did you ever think about the arithmetic? The planet has been here four and a half billion years. We’ve been here, what, a hundred thousand? Maybe two hundred thousand? And we’ve only been engaged in heavy industry for a little over two hundred years. Two hundred years versus four and a half billion. And we have the CONCEIT to think that somehow we’re a threat? That somehow we’re gonna put in jeopardy this beautiful little blue-green ball that’s just a-floatin’ around the sun?

“The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through all kinds of things worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles…hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worlwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages…And we think some plastic bags, and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet…the planet…the planet isn’t going anywhere. WE ARE!

“We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Thank God for that. Maybe a little styrofoam. Maybe. A little styrofoam. The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. A surface nuisance.

“You wanna know how the planet’s doing? Ask those people at Pompeii, who are frozen into position from volcanic ash, how the planet’s doing. You wanna know if the planet’s all right, ask those people in Mexico City or Armenia or a hundred other places buried under thousands of tons of earthquake rubble, if they feel like a threat to the planet this week. Or how about those people in Kilauea, Hawaii, who built their homes right next to an active volcano, and then wonder why they have lava in the living room.

“The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed, and if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new pardigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice towards plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” Plastic…asshole.

“So, the plastic is here, our job is done, we can be phased out now. And I think that’s begun. Don’t you think that’s already started? I think, to be fair, the planet sees us as a mild threat. Something to be dealt with. And the planet can defend itself in an organized, collective way, the way a beehive or an ant colony can. A collective defense mechanism. The planet will think of something. What would you do if you were the planet? How would you defend yourself against this troublesome, pesky species? Let’s see… Viruses. Viruses might be good. They seem vulnerable to viruses. And, uh…viruses are tricky, always mutating and forming new strains whenever a vaccine is developed. Perhaps, this first virus could be one that compromises the immune system of these creatures. Perhaps a human immunodeficiency virus, making them vulnerable to all sorts of other diseases and infections that might come along. And maybe it could be spread sexually, making them a little reluctant to engage in the act of reproduction.

“Well, that’s a poetic note. And it’s a start. And I can dream, can’t I? See I don’t worry about the little things: bees, trees, whales, snails. I think we’re part of a greater wisdom than we will ever understand. A higher order. Call it what you want. Know what I call it? The Big Electron. The Big Electron…whoooa. Whoooa. Whoooa. It doesn’t punish, it doesn’t reward, it doesn’t judge at all. It just is. And so are we. For a little while."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 22, 2017 6:04 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dance Like Nobody's Watching and the Whole World Will
Nellia Ehrentraut, 64, and husband Dietmar, 70, are drawing accolades online after a YouTube video showed them energetically dancing to Johan Blohm & The Refreshments. The video was filmed at an event called the Boogie Woogie Veterans Tournament in Landshut, Germany. The couple, who married in 1070, said they have been dancing together for more than 30 years, and have won numerous awards for dancing in styles from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s. "We still have a lot of fun," the couple told ABC News.

That's the news of the day and the week and we are out of here for a beautiful Friday afternoon. Hope you have one too. Come back when you can. We'll be here all week month year decade.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 21, 2017 12:39 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
PEWSLAG: The American Progressive’s Monopoly on the Seven Deadly Sins

Bosch_7%20Deadly%20Sins_Hell.jpg

“We are all lying in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” -- Oscar Wilde

If you could pick up the Northwestern US by the southeast corner of Idaho and shake it, everything loose would roll down into Seattle. So many loose bipeds have rolled into town over the years that the city boasts not one angry and twisted little “alternative paper” but two: The Seattle Weekly and The Stranger. Of the two, The Stranger is the stranger, the more angry, and the more spiteful. Strangely, The Stranger -- in this age of Obama and “springtime for progressive Hitlers" -- grows more angry and peevish every week since the November elections. It no longer competes with the Seattle Weekly to see who can be more revolting. It won that dubious contest long ago. These days The Stranger seems to mostly compete with itself; trying every week to put out more slime and bile than the week before. Most weeks, it wins. This week was no exception.

No matter what the standard Democrat/Progressive line may be, it is never quite good enough for The Stranger. This may be because of it’s editor, one Dan Savage by name, a man who seems to live to reveal that for some, when it comes to being intellectually twisted, there really is no bottom. It may be because The Stranger’s infected bloodlines run from from the ancient wheezings of The Daily Worker, down through The East Village Other, and out onto the news stands of Planet Moonbat with classifieds courtesy of The Berkeley Barb. Or it may be because the editor is simply an awful person with a full load of obsessive-compulsive disorders.It’s difficult to know when it comes to this perfect storm of spit, spite, and smut.

All one can know is that, with The Stranger, you see deeper into the soul of today’s post-modern American quisling than any other “alternative” weekly. And what you see is the utter lock this mindset has on what once we called “The Seven Deadly Sins.” It is positive for all of them and takes no medication. Instead, it showcases them in order to effectively infect every freshman class that arrives in Seattle looking for an “education” in how to be fashionably depraved in worn fleece. I read the paper every so often to keep in touch with how dementia, depravity and degradation are progressing in progressive America.

These days it would seem that the 7 deadly sins are now the 7 cardinal virtues of the progressive left. As I shall demonstrate....

Indeed, the progressive left has cast off all pretense of “progress” and simply reverted to a rag-tag slop bucket brimming over with Americans that hate children, success, happiness, liberty, and life itself. All the local “progressive heroes” will sooner of later get their close-up in The Stranger. Their faces and their ever-extending list of physical and mental diseases will unfailingly reveal the state of souls that have committed to personal and social devolution. Along the way, they've bagged the seven deadly sins with the zeal of hunters, never knowing that it was themselves that was the hunted. Theirs is the socialist Utopian view of life fueled with poppers and propaganda.

Those who have the tragic view of life accept that all humans are flawed. We all, to a greater of lesser extent, have touched on all of the 7 deadly sins. It is in our nature. But those with the tragic view at least struggle against this and strive to leave the world brighter and better than when we came into it, not more depraved and darker.

I see this split and this struggle in myself and hold myself more guilty of the 7 sins than is perhaps strictly true, for I know that when you put yourself on trial the verdict is always “guilty.” At the same time, I think I struggle in my small way to overcome these tendencies in myself and if I do not succeed, I still struggle. What I do not do is revel in them and constantly seek to live out the more extreme expressions of the same. That seeking can be seen in almost every progressive position and policy of the last several decades. From the celebration of abortion and treason to the exaltation of perversion and penury, it seems that every step taken by the progressive strain of American politics over the last few decades has been to go deeper into the pit and to glory in the mire.

For most Americans, the 7 deadly sins are things we struggle against. For progressives, the 7 sins have become the touchstones of their plans and policies. So extreme has their dedication to degradation become that they have become proud in their achievements. We’ve long had to bear witness to the progressives' preening pride in their "achievements," from the slaughter of the unborn to the feckless squandering of the local, state, and federal purse. Now their goal seems to be to pull the rest of us down into the cesspit that they're in. As we saw in November, most Americans, when the choice is stark and immediate, decline to join them in the muck. But as we have seen since then, rejection at the polls does not dissuade them but rather energizes them to new depths of depravity. It isn't an accident that a popular cultural meme this season is that of Zombies, the walking dead who seek to feast off and then convert the living to their living death.

At one point the classical American liberalism might have avoided this cultural and ideological degradation, but that was before they left shame behind. Then it was full speed ahead. After all, once you’ve expunged shame from your conscious mind, Pride is what is left.

Pride, as we know, is the first and most deadly sin. It’s the one that makes all the others possible. When the self and it’s immediate needs have become the individual's brave new god, humility is impossible. Humility is, well, so human that the brave new gods of the Left cannot abide it. Instead the must worship Ego Uber Alles. Pride must take its place at the head of their lemmings' parade over the cliffs of nihilism into the waters of oblivion.

Long ago, there was a mnemonic for the seven deadly sins, PEWSLAG. In order it meant Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Lust, Avarice, and Gluttony. All of these are on display weekly in “The Stranger,” as they are daily across the nation wherever progressives have gained a voice or power. They prance about in the half-time shows at the Superbowl. They never fail to make the nightly network news or grace the editorial pages of our leading "papers of record." So common have the elements of PEWSLAG become in our time that they can no longer be considered as ‘The 7 Deadly Sins,” but rather as the PPAF, The Progressive Platform for America’s Future.

Let's review the PPAF in greater detail:

Progressive PRIDE: It’s no accident that this word comes up again and again in their writings. It is essential for the Progressive to internalize extreme amounts of Pride. Pride in the self is the single most important element the freed will needs to move God out of the universe entirely and Self into the center. Once Self is in the center and the feeding of Self the most important element of existence, there is effectively no limit on what the Will can demand for the Self.

We’ve seen how societies based on The Triumph of the Will sweep across the world in the last century. These Self and Will centered social experiments all seem to have the worship of a single man at their center and the word “Socialist” in their name. Their core concept at the apex of their terrible arc is a National or Group Pride in a single individual as an excuse for the most horrible crimes committed on citizens and other innocents. The words “Nazi” and “Communist” both slide nicely into the old slogan, “Say it loud / I ______ and I’m proud.” Wisdom tells us what comes after pride, but wisdom is not a progressive value.

Progressive ENVY: This is an ancient organizing tool that uses those with less than everything as tools against those who have, well, more. It doesn’t matter if “more” is an second goat, or an extra billion dollars. Thou shalt covet is the commandment here. For once you can convince a person to envy another there is no limit to what they will want to take since what they want is not a goat or a billion dollars, but simply and eternally “more.” In the final analysis, those who at some point refuse to give “more” will be required to give all, including life itself. Envy always ends in guns.

Progressive WRATH: All those who point out, even in the slightest way, that the Progressive plan for Utopian improvement never seems to arrive at an end point but is always seeking “more,” are sure to feel increasing amounts of Wrath directed against them. It begins in a mild reproach as the doubter is made to feel the chill from his or her closest associates, but it quickly escalates to anger if the doubter does not immediately lie down and become submissive. For those that stand clearly outside the Progressive circle of approved behavior, wrath is constant and unremitting and ever growing in its intensity. To test this all you need to do is to utter the magic words, “Sarah Palin” to a progressive. Better yet, utter them to a group of calm Progressives. Record the reaction.

Progressive SLOTH: One of the pleasures of being a Progressive is the one never has to actually produce anything of use in the form of innovation and invention. Progressives need only put in place things that impede innovation and invention in the form of excessive laws and continuing and complex regulations and false customs. It is remarkable in this century that one can spend a lifetime making these impediments to prosperity in the media, in academic life, in unions, and in a bureaucratic career, and only rise from reward to greater reward by making those and other careers safer for slackers and lay-abouts. In the process, the position of those that enable slackers is made ever more secure through increasing the dependency of the hard-core unemployable among us on the slacker state. While doing nothing is a waste of life, there seems to be no shortage of the non-abled among us that are dedicated to this as a career path.

Progressive LUST: As the progressives institutionalize and subsidize sloth, whole oceans of time open for the non-abled and non-thinking and non-feeling in the mass of the intentionally under-educated in the nation. What better way to spend the brief time between the progressive-worshiped states of unbeing than in the constant pursuit of the sating of the senses? For although there is a puritan stain that oozes from all Progressive alphas, the alphas have found that the best way to control, to placate, the betas is to let them live lives devoted to lust.

Hence there are endless fully-supported programs that enable sex without any chance of pregnancy and, should avoiding pregnancy prove to be beyond the mental capabilities of the betas, there are subsidized programs for terminating any inconveniences. Should the inconveniences seem to be convenient, there are programs to support and warehouse them. Should the lusts of the body lead to disease, there is no end of programs to cure or at least palliate them should they be resistant to a cure. In all cases, everything is done to enable and promote lust as the booby prize for the betas. The more rubble in the masses, the less trouble for the elites.

Progressive AVARICE: The old joke of the two line IRS form that reads,

HOW MUCH DID YOU MAKE? __________________.
SEND IT IN.

seems less and less amusing as it becomes more and more clear that Progressivism is merely the stalking horse for the complete control of private property and assets of the middle class. (Graduation to the “political class” aka “The Party” or “Politburo” grants you and your family a waiver.)

Progressivism in the United States has seen the truth of the Thatcher observation that “The trouble with socialism is that sooner or later you run out of other people’s money.” The solution, driven by the greed of the political class, is simply to get their hands on all the money. Once that is achieved, the pie can be doled out from the private-jet sky. The size of your slice? Well, as we know only too well, the Progressive plan is “From each according to their ability. To each according to their need.”

Unbridled Progressive AVARICE is the only way to overcome GREED "for the greater good." Only when the state has it all can the machinery of the state at last thrive. Only then can the endless compassion of the state come into play in a gentle redistribution in which no citizen has more than any other citizen, except for those citizens connected enough to get a waiver. The current state-of-the-players in the embryonic healthcare establishment is a testament to this.

Progressive GLUTTONY: A funny thing happened to the political animals of the sixties as they wormed their Progressive way into the national establishment in their dotage. These radical retreads discovered they liked to eat well and, at times, strangely. Hence we have the endless passions of the Progressive foodies for organic, for local, for “sustainable,” for ethnic, for vegan, for raw, for everything that can be eaten on the face of the earth combined with a catechism for the masses of the fast cheap food that is “bad” for them. It’s no accident that the biggest fetish for the Baby-Boomers that comprise the mass of the Progressive alphas is a food fetish. They like to eat... everything in sight. Unborn lamb today. The unborn tomorrow. Start with the stem cells and move up from there.

And their gluttony does not stop at food items, it extends to all other spheres of human behavior. They like to eat traditions. They like to eat values. They like to eat nuclear families. They like to eat real history. They like to eat real rights. They like to eat the Founding documents of the nation. They like to eat the rule of law. They like to eat the living. They like to eat souls.

The progressives are gluttons for everything and they will continue to eat everything until they are stopped. Until then, their platform and program, their PPAF, is summed up in the simple mnemonic, PEWSLAG, where Pride is the beginning and Gluttony the end of their endeavors. And the fruits of the Progressives’ Gluttony will always be that which is always emitted the morning after a long night of unrestrained feasting on the living by the zombies among us.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 19, 2017 12:34 PM | Comments (46)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Instructions For Wayfarers

They will declare:Every journey has been taken.
You shall respond: I have not been to see myself.
They will insist: Everything has been spoken.
You shall reply: I have not had my say.
They will tell you: Everything has been done.
You shall reply: My way is not complete.
You are warned: Any way is long, any way is hard.
Fear not. You are the gate – you, the gatekeeper.
And you shall go through and on . . .

Alexandros Evangelou Xenopouloudakis



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 18, 2017 6:35 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Mr. T's Waltz

In the episode called “Most Memorable Year Week,” the celebrity participants chose the most important year in their lives and danced to a song that represents that year for them. The sixty-four-year-old Mr. T (“My first name is ‘Mr,’ my middle name is ‘period,’ last name is ‘T.’”) chose 1995, the year he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

The scowling ex-boxer and ex-bodyguard—real name Lawrence Tureaud—grew up in a Chicago ghetto, became a college athlete, then a pro wrestling personality before going on to star in Rocky III and The A-Team TV series. His signature Mohawk haircut, gold chains, and lines like “I pity the fool!” and “Prediction: pain!” turned him into a lovable pop culture icon of gruff masculinity.

Then came the cancer diagnosis. “Back in the day, I had money, cars,” he said in the introductory video to the DWTS performance. “I had achieved what I wanted to achieve and then everything really stopped.”

He suddenly found himself helpless in the face of an antagonist he didn’t know how to fight. “I called on God,” Mr. T says in the video. “I said, ‘God, give me strength to do your will.’ That’s when it really hit me: What’s really real? My faith in God. That was real, because only God could save me.” It worked, because twenty years later he stands as a humble testament to his faith, courage, and perseverance. - - ‘Tough and Tender’ Mr. T’s Amazing Grace

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 17, 2017 12:50 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pre-Owned Jeans [For Less Than $500]

apreownedjeanshot.jpg

The PRPS NOIR Collection is not about black denim. Noir utilizes the best selvedge denim fabrics available anywhere in the world– with incredibly extensive washes and old school wear, tear & repair details that are authentic to genuine vintage jeans painstakingly collected over the years worn by real miners, mechanics, and laborers alike. Each jean is handmade and can take up to a week to produce. [Price: $300 -- $500]-- The Selvedge Yard

One of the small economies about living in New York City for years and relocating to the West Coast is to be had in clothing costs. If one of your jobs in New York was being a men's fashion editor for a magazine, you find that you don't buy clothes so much as have them.

In any case, I dumped clothes by the cartload before I moved, and I still had far too many when I arrived. Since I don't ski, the usefulness of items that would put Nanook of the North into a sweat during January in Greenland are pretty dubious. As a result, I've been pretty much out of the clothing shopping cycle for years and I find it, to say the least, refreshing.

In Seattle if you hold some fleece jackets, a couple of hooded sweatshirts, a few work shirts and two pairs of jeans for "formal occasions," you're pretty much done. But "wear happens" and I've noted that my Levis have been getting -- even for Levis -- fairly grotty in the last couple of months. Yesterday, I decided they about to be redefined as "rags," and I so set off to purchase my first new pair of jeans in at least six years.

Since I'm a hit-and-run shopper I did what any American male in search of jeans-to-go would do, I turned left into the parking lot of the first Gap I saw and sauntered inside confident of my mission. Unlike women of my acquaintance who practice "catch and release shopping" in order to increase their collection of designer shopping bags, I knew what I wanted. I also knew how much I was going to spend. This was in sharp contrast to many women who never really spend any money on clothes, but only "save" money on clothes. [ Me: "You look great in that new outfit with the shoes and the hat. How much did they cost?" Her: "Would you believe I saved over $800 on this? How great is that?" Me: "That's really great."]

I firmly believe that if you have to spend more than 15 minutes in a clothing store, you don't need what you think you need. My list was short. I wanted one pair of five pocket denim jeans, blue, crisp, and coming in at no more than $50. The Gap was the place for me.

Fool. Yes, fool. For if you want to find a pair of crisp, new blue jeans in trendy grunge Seattle, you'd better pack a lunch, because you are about to find yourself trapped inside an episode of "Shop Trek."

It's not that you can't buy some new jeans at the Gap, it is just that you can't buy any new new jeans.

Yes, it would seem that sometime in the last decade, the American people have become so fat and so happy and so inordinately lazy that they no longer want to put their own wear, sweat and stress into their Levis. Nope, it seems that the entire country will only buy jeans that have already been worn into a shambles, reduced, as new, to the rags I already had at home.

You've got new jeans at the Gap that look like they've had non-union and unlucky sweatshop employees of Sri Lanka of all shapes and sizes stuffed into them and then dragged for miles along country roads. They've got jeans with the off -the-rack look as if they've been sandblasted at a construction site in Tijuana -- after Happy Hour.

You've got jeans that look as if the person inside them was persuaded to run through a scene of "Dirty Dancing" with a belt-sander .

You've got jeans that seem to have been stolen out of a wedding reception in Afghanistan after a predator strike went terribly wrong.

And you've got jeans that I swear have the finish and light golden color stained deep into the blue that you could only get if you buried them in a Chicago feedlot and let several herds of cattle rain down on them for a month.

Pre-shredded, pre-torn, pre-raveled at the seams, pre-faded, pre-pissed upon and a dozen other industrial or inhuman processes all combined to give me a section of men's jeans at the Gap that looked like the changing room right next to a mass grave. All displayed proudly and marked and priced as "New."

I'd long been aware of a certain market on eBay, Eastern Europe, and Japan among the tragically hip for vintage worn Levis. I'd accepted that as one accepts the fact that there will always be a market real and facsimile shrunken heads. I'd been vaguely conscious of the "stone-washed" process in denim, but thought that was only popular among Suburban housewives of the expanding midriff. But I'd just not caught up with the fact that it was no longer necessary, or fashionable, to break-in your own Levis when you could have a process or a prisoner or a refugee do it for you.

It was once the case that when you bought a pair of Levis they were not only board stiff, they were two sizes large so you could "shrink to fit." The other miracle about them was that they could turn any laundry within two blocks of your house blue for the first five washings. Wear? Wear happened -- slowly, over years, like the mellowing of a fine Bordeaux. Long gone. Where are the Levis of yesteryear? In the Ginzo district in Tokyo selling for $1,110 a pair.

Where are the Levis and Gap jeans of next year? Probably on the ass of some hapless bastards in lock-down at a prison in either Arizona or Bangladesh. After all, if my web host can outsource his service calls to India, surely it is only a matter of time before our Levi pre-wearing is outsourced as well.

Did I buy any new jeans? Of course not. I came home and looked at the two half-rotten pair I own, frayed at the cuff, a hole in one knee, and stained from five years hard-riding. I slipped a pair on, chose an Hawaiian shirt that would be ashamed if it was a tie, slapped a fleece hoody over that, and took a turn in front of the mirror.

Ah, that Tropical-Balkan-Refugee-Gansta look. The very glass of fashion.



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 17, 2017 9:50 AM | Comments (50)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Sea of Faith

aaseaoffaith.jpg

The Sea of Faith
Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore
Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled.
But now I only hear
Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar,
Retreating, to the breath
Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear
And naked shingles of the world.

Ah, love, let us be true
To one another! for the world, which seems
To lie before us like a land of dreams,
So various, so beautiful, so new,
Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light,
Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain;
And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night

-- Mathew Arnold

aaondoverbeach.jpg



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 17, 2017 9:31 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Three Crosses of Easter

The Cross of Moab


from The Eternal City

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

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

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

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

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

Eliot -- from Four Quartets

The Cross of the Anchoress


from The Eternal City

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

-- Eliot -- from Four Quartets


The Cross of Saturn


from The Eternal City

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

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

-- Eliot, from Four Quartets



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 16, 2017 12:52 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Climbout on Easter Sunday

      "If I take the wings of the morning,
      and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea...."
-- Psalm 139

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

godhand2.jpg
WE RISE until at last held still
in that blue hand which grasps all sky,
awake within our tube of paper steel,
our long ascent levels and we slide
onto a gleaming lake of granite ink,
reflecting now the empty gaze of God,
beyond warm hands and done with Earth.

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

stonelite2A.jpg



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 16, 2017 12:43 AM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Cut-Rate Resurrection

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"Why seek ye the living among the dead?" -- Luke 24 KJV

Beginning on October 13th of 2011 I spent eleven days among the dead and then was returned to life. Why and for what I still cannot say. What I can say is that, in some brief and infinitesimal way, I have had a small shimmer of resurrection shine upon my dead shadow and raise me back into the light. It was a tiny touch and yet it would seem that was all it took. This time. Next time I have no doubt it will require divine intervention. Perhaps it did this time. I have no way of knowing.

Nor can I say that I know what it "was like" to be dead because of my death I have neither shred of memory, nor the slightest sense of a blank space between one moment of life and the next moment of life. My mind holds only two instants; the one enjambed against the other.

In the first I am standing on the front porch of my house looking across the road at the playground sometime on the afternoon of October 13, 2011. There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.

Then, in the very next instant, I am cold. I am lying in a bed covered with only a sheet. I am looking past my feet in a room ringed with drapes hanging on rails from a ceiling. At the foot of the bed a man in a blue tunic is sitting in a pose similar to Rodin's "The Thinker." His arm is bare to the shoulder and he has a Maori tattoo on it. I think, for a moment, that someone is speaking to me from the side, something about being in a coma. Then I am gone again.

Those are the two moments.

One is right next to the other.

There is nothing in between.

I lose track of what happens next and come to know it is not an instant between memories but eleven days and that I have spent that time in a medically induced coma after spending some unspecified number of minutes dead. It was nothing so dramatic as a crucifixion. It was simply a ceasing to be of which I had no awareness. What followed, as dramatic as it was for those around me, was a blank to me; something available to my soul only via hearsay. There were, it would seem, heroic measures involving tubes, machines, drugs, and methods of lowering the temperature of the human body and maintaining it lower for some days. For some minutes I was, it would seem, dead and for some days after that I was, it would seem, as good as dead. I was kept cold and under the stone of coma. Then, after eleven days, that cold stone was rolled away and I was returned to life. It was, I suppose, a kind of cut-rate resurrection. Yet it was mine and I was, and am, glad to have it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in this world.

I’ve spent no small amount of time wondering what it is I am to do with this “resurrection.” It seems as if I should do something; something more than I was doing before, something that is somehow “better.”

I ask about this "purpose" in passing in the daylight and more formally in prayer, but I have to date received no answer, no voice out of the whirlwind or the burning bush. I don’t expect such although I would not be utterly unprepared if it happened. I’m used to the mysteries of the universe or the tricks of the monkey mind at this point. Still, it would be nice to get a message neatly laid out, sent in from God’s great cosmic sign factory in the clear and in a crisp typeface. It would be nice but it is clearly asking too much. “Still not satisfied” is not a good attitude to have if one has been resurrected. As they say in meetings, “The attitude is gratitude.” I had that for a long time. It slipped away. Maybe I should try to get it back.

Or maybe I should not.

Maybe I should just drop all that and drop the searching for the BIG MESSAGE. Maybe, just maybe, I should try to see again what we always forget: the Here and the Now of the Miracle. Maybe, just maybe, on this day, I should strive always to recall that Christ is not just the Resurrection, but “the Resurrection and the Life.”

Today, resurrected, I sit here and look through my front window, across my porch, to the playground across the street:

“There is the impression of small children running about in bright clothing. The sky is clear and there is sunlight from overhead. Shadows are small pools moving beneath the children. It is in the high 50s neither warm nor cold.”

That was both then and [two/ three / four/ five / six years later] now.

There is “the Resurrection and the Life.”

Of the two it is the latter that remains the larger miracle.



October 13, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2012
Easter Sunday, 2013
Easter Sunday, 2015
Easter Sunday, 2016
Easter Sunday, 2017



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 16, 2017 12:05 AM | Comments (52)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Holy Saturday: When This World Waits On the Next

Magnified, sanctified
Be thy holy name
Vilified, crucified
In the human frame
A million candles burning
For the love that never came
You want it darker
We kill the flame



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 15, 2017 8:49 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The News of the Day

nevernothingbutterfly.jpg

There is a world dimensional

For those untwisted

By the love of things irreconcilable.

--Hart Crane

Sometimes, far too seldom, I like to go out into my neighborhood of Queen Anne in Seattle. I like to go out and see what the world dimensional is up to; to exercise my far-too-sedentary body. The problem is I don't do it enough. It never seems compelling. Jogging, walking, reps of all sorts for exercise's sake fill my spirit with inertia. To the sleeping mind all walks seem the same -- pretty flower, overgrown lawn, cute little house, sad big McMansion, jogger with perky breasts, jogger with miles to go hanging from her thighs. As the song says, "All in all, it's all the same. / Just call me if there's any change."

But, from time to time, out I go. And recently when I went out the mantra, "There's never nothing happening," echoed in my mind. I decided to test it. I decided to wake up and take a look around.

Waking up when you're already awake is something that takes constant effort and a life to learn. You first need to wake up to the fact that you are sleep-living; a state that most humans inhabit every waking second of their life. Just knowing you're asleep isn't enough though. You have to decide to wake up, to be present in the present; to inhabit the present moment no matter what lullaby your monkey mind may sing to return you to slumber. It only does that to drown you in regrets for the past and fear for the future. Your monkey mind is a liar, but clever and it gives no quarter. When you put yourself on trial the verdict is always "Guilty.... but with an explanation."

It doesn't take a sage to glance at the current political and social and entertainment landscape of America to tell you that many prefer sleep-living to wakefulness. Not only that, the sleepers have a growing resentment towards those who continue to insist on wakefulness. It is as if much of our nation has fallen "half in love with easeful death;" with freedom and government set on cruise control. That's only one reason why it is more important than ever to know and to act in the world every moment in the belief, "There's never nothing happening."

Looking out into my little world up above Seattle on the crest of Queen Anne Hill, I got Yogi Berraized and "saw a lot just by observing." Then I took a walk.

I recorded it all on my mental video: Here are some jump cuts, zooms, slo-mo and freeze frames:

Couple having coffee outside Bustle. He's expounding. She's listening, smiling a false smile and pretending to be fascinated. Not married. They will marry; him out of a need for love, her out of a greed for things. It will last until his need is not met and/or her greed not satisfied. Written on the wind.

"No good. No bueno. Hustling myself." Wake up!

Pause. And begin again. Look around and look deeper. This moment. This step. This one. The next. Once and once only.

Mixed race couple holding hands and walking with their two beautiful children, boy and girl, the coffee-colored compromise of America made real, heading to the Safeway. Their love as strong and lithe as their children.

Hipster couple coming back from the Safeway. He hasn't shaved. She doesn't care. Their little girl in the stroller is pumping her chubby pink legs trying to kick off her new pink flip-flops.

Trendy young girl with spider-web tattoo on shoulder listens intently on her cell-phone to a friend and then complains that their numbers may be recorded by the NSA. Crosses the street unconsciously confident that no car within ten thousand miles will explode. Resenting the reasons why.

Homeless man sitting half in the street reading a thumbed paperback he's plucked from the garbage can next to him. It's a page turner and he's turning the page.

Couple lounging outside the laundromat. At ease with each other and waiting for their tumbling, mixed laundry to finish drying. Her hand brushes lightly along his thigh. He pushes his thigh against her hand. May their clothes dry quickly.

One overwhelming orange bloom of an Opium poppy growing alone out of a heap of rich black compost in a back alley.

On a half-blown lilac bush a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly with one tip of one wing torn off. The scent of the lilacs.

Scrawled sign above a raft of reeking garbage cans in same alley, "Get Out! Police have been called."

Whirring slapzap of a weed-whacker shaving a small man's small patch of lawn. Scent of the fresh cut grass blowing across the road past the corner house which sports a skull and cross-bones flag on a pole, and a line of worn Tibetan prayer flags strung along the porch.

A sleek jogger swoops by across the street, her bare shoulders pale in the sun, her bright red hair lifting in the lambent light behind her as she runs into a wind of her own making.

The cell phone sounds the opening bars of the 9th Symphony. An old friend reveals a moment of God's grace and the ending of a pain that has been with him daily for decades.

Listening to his relief and happiness, I turn a corner towards my own home and come face to face with a small gray house festooned, roof to lawn, in a thick drenching of lilac blossoms that tumble my mind into blankness with the tsunami of their perfume.

I walk onto my own lawn and stand for a moment under the 40 foot willow shimmering above me and glance into the play ground across the way where a basketball game played by one man flows back and forth across the blacktop. Pass, catch, run, jump, shoot, rebound, nothing but net.

nevernothing.jpg

The light of life and the hand of God lie gently across all of Queen Anne on this April afternoon.

"There's never nothing happening."

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Apr 15, 2017 2:19 AM | Comments (48)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Four minutes and sixteen seconds. Stop. Watch. And be healed.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2017 9:01 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Rube Goldberg's House

I am so pleased that the closeted psychotics of BSBFB – The Borderline Sociopathic Blog for Boys (A subset of Sipplican Cottage) are BACK BABY! Here's their latest offering.

So I’m watching this Rube Goldberg contraption. It’s the shizzle. It rifles through Newton’s wastebasket, looking for new Laws of Motion after the first three aren’t enough to get the job done. It uses hydraulics, and electromotive force, and combustion, and every darn thing they can lay their hands on in the modern snouthouse. If it’s available at the mall, it’s integrated into the action. The hammer blow to turn on the power strip and start the fan is inspired.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2017 8:40 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I said to my soul, be still, and let the dark come upon you / Which shall be the darkness of God."

earthspark.jpg

t-17.jpghe wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

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

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

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

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

Eliot -- East Coker / The Four Quartets

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2017 2:03 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Out of the Great Tribulation

11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God,

12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.

13 And one of the elders answered, saying unto me, What are these which are arrayed in white robes? and whence came they?

14 And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

15 Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sitteth on the throne shall dwell among them.

16 They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat.

17 For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. - - Revelation 7

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Of Tribulation, these are They,
Denoted by the White—
The Spangled Gowns, a lesser Rank
Of Victors—designate—

All these—did conquer—
But the ones who overcame most times—
Wear nothing commoner than Snow—
No Ornament, but Palms—

Surrender—is a sort unknown—
On this superior soil—
Defeat—an outgrown Anguish—
Remembered, as the Mile

Our panting Ankle barely passed—
When Night devoured the Road—
But we—stood whispering in the House—
And all we said—was "Saved"!

--- Emily Dickinson



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2017 1:14 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
In a Handful of Dust

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What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow
Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,
You cannot say, or guess, for you know only
A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,
And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,
And the dry stone no sound of water. Only
There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

-- from The Waste Land by T. S. Eliot

"It is too little to call man a little world; except God, man is a diminutive to nothing.

Man consists of more pieces, more parts, than the world; than the world doth, nay, than the world is. And if those pieces were extended, and stretched out in man as they are in the world, man would be the giant, and the world the dwarf; the world but the map, and the man the world. .... Man hath not that innate instinct, to apply those natural medicines to his present danger, as those inferior creatures have; he is not his own apothecary, his own physician, as they are. Call back therefore thy meditation again, and bring it down: what's become of man's great extent and proportion, when himself shrinks himself and consumes himself to a handful of dust; what's become of his soaring thoughts, his compassing thoughts, when himself brings himself to the ignorance, to the thoughtlessness, of the grave?"Meditation IV by John Donne.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 14, 2017 12:28 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
There's MOAB and then there's FOAB

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Mother

Father



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 13, 2017 6:43 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"In remembrance of me"

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23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, that the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:

24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.

25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

- - 1 Corinthians 11

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 13, 2017 8:52 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Eternal Irony of "The Friendly Skies"

A catchphrase that will live in infamy!

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"Extra care is doing things nobody tells us to do, or maybe even expects us to do."

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"You get this kind of 'extra care' every time you fly with us."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 13, 2017 8:15 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And now a few moments of North Korean Zen

What a shame it would beif the world should happen to incinerate Earth's foremost producer of lichen and human fertilizer!

[HT: Western Rifle Shooters Association]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 12, 2017 5:50 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Disturbing



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2017 10:20 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fly the Thuggish Skies

Thugs and goons working for United and the airport drag a slight Asian man off a plane and bloody him... with all that that implies.

How big a deal is it that a bunch of thugs threw an Asian off a United Plane? It's the main thing on the Internet right now to judge by Memeorandum. Here's their page from thirty minutes ago.

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This incident is on track to be picked up tonight and tomorrow and be featured in the Week In Review by every single American news program on radio and television and most newspapers right down to the Pennysaver of Podunk.

People holding United stock need to short it.

People holding United tickets or reservations need to return and cancel them.

People about to board a United airplane need to turn around and walk away. People on a United Flight with the door still open need to deplane now.

If there was ever a boycott that all sides of the American argument can agree on, this is it.

United Airlines needs to auger nose first into the ground at max speed. It's a criminal operation and never to be trusted again.

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 11, 2017 12:58 AM | Comments (48)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When the Future Was Plastics

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Once upon a time they all said the future was going to be dominated by plastics.

For once "they" told the truth.

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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.  Besides showing off the wonders of plastic, this was an attempt to build a home of fewer but large parts rather than the current (and still current) method of building homes of many small parts. Monsanto House of the Future: When Our Future Was Made of Plastics

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 10, 2017 11:16 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Palm Sunday #1: Before Brunch

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Matthew 21 - And when they drew nigh unto Jerusalem....

10 And when he was come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, Who is this?

11 And the multitude said, This is Jesus the prophet of Nazareth of Galilee.

12 And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves,

13 And said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

14 And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple; and he healed them.

15 And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple, and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased,

16 And said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea; have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?

17 And he left them, and went out of the city into Bethany; and he lodged there.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 9, 2017 1:36 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Under the Shadow of This Red Rock: Along the Colorado from Moab to Castle Valley | April 2011

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There is shadow under this red rock,
(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),
And I will show you something different from either
Your shadow at morning striding behind you
Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;
I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

                                 - - The Waste Land

The river gouges its way down into the rock as the stoneland around it surges upwards. The cracked stacks of strata rise towards the vault of sky at a pace that makes the growth of glaciers seem a sprint. When the river's downward adze works through the strata's lift the walls of the chasm soar thousands of feet up until all they frame is a slim ribbon of blue slashed with contrails.

The road -- smooth two lane blacktop on top of an amalgam of granite, grit, arrowheads and dinosaur bones -- runs beside the roiling green muck of the Colorado whose banks are fringed with the sharp slate branches of tamarisk ringing patches of lime green cottonwood groves. Along this road mostly carved out of the cliff and still studded at times with sandstone boulders the size of a large house cars and semis scuttle like bronzed beetles catching glints of sun on their carapaces as they slide in and out of the chasm's shadow.

Across the river or beside the road the vast slabs of rust tinted sandstone tower and, towards dark, close in above you like hands beneath the sky closing in prayer. The red rock marches for miles along the river, unpurposed cathedrals of stone for titans long gone down into earth.

Along the face of the red stone acre upon acre of slick black vertical pools of desert varnish expand at a pace outside of time. Their blank black panels spread like blotches of the space between the stars. Red lines scratch their surface and sketch designs of random shapes that only emphasize the black sheen that frames these indecipherable notes; notes written in the alphabet of stone and time; notes you can learn to limn but never decipher.

As on other roads in the southwest your first response is "how beautiful." Your second response is "how spectacular." And then, after a time, your last and lasting impression is of how monumentally indifferent the land is and shall remain. It's then that you see how the long, long life of this land has and shall endure; how all that we are, all that we have been, all that we hope or fear to become, is only -- added all together and recalculated for its sum -- equal to at most an inch of time.

Along this river run you've come to the place where the bones of the earth are bare and where you know, in your own birdlike bones, the vast, the eternal, the extreme and the utter blank indifference of the land to the plans of man.

Steeped as we are in our idle affluence and a cultural boredom that seems to be relieved only by a ceaseless celebration of the most base of us, our fully indoctrinated and colonized minds of the "intellectual" class are prone to many cheap and loosely laminated intellectual fads. One fad popular now for a few decades is that humans should somehow "care" for and about the Earth. The attitude of "caring about the Earth" must be accompanied by a ceaseless preening and pursuit of the expression of that care in word, deed, policy, and even prayer to some imaginary spirit of the planet. The reward is the "Good Person" medal of Caring. Alas, in the reality of the universe that lies outside of time and outside of our Institutions of Higher Mind Colonization such posturing is all mere bosh and piffle.

Along the river road, under the bones of the rock, where the Earth is seen stripped bare there is no caring to be had and no caring that is needed. The stones hold no intent or emotion that man can fathom; he is not that strong and not that wise and not that deep. All he can do is hear, if he listens long and closely, the fading bass note of the Earth's eternal indifference in a land that, like the God of the oldest testaments. is formed of stones utterly silent and forever outside of time.

Suffer us not to mock ourselves with falsehood

Teach us to care and not to care

Teach us to sit still

Even among these rocks....


-- Eliot, Ash Wednesday



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 9, 2017 2:38 AM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Birth Of A Dugout Canoe

This is a documentary movie uncovering the difficult and time consuming process of making traditional expanded dugout canoe using mostly traditional hand tools and techniques.

The master woodworker in this movie is Richard (Rihards Vidzickis) - an experienced green wood worker, wood sculptor and dugout canoe maker. Richard’s passion to green wood and solid wood creations has grown together with him since his childhood days. Richard’s father is also a wood worker and carpenter and has led his son into the beautiful world of working with wood. Richard has gone through all the traditional steps of becoming a master woodworker - starting from an apprentice, then journeyman and then receiving his Master degree in Latvian chamber of crafts. Richard’s passion to wood is not only sculpturing and carving it but also knowing the wood in a scientific level. So Richard has studied in Technical university as a student and reached his degree of Doctor in engineering materials science, so he has combined the craft, nature and science in his life and work. While working in furniture making during the studies, with making different kinds of difficult wood carving for Jugend, Barrocal, Renesance design style furniture, Richard has discovered that he tends to get back to more rustic, robust and natural forms of wood, so he created a park of massive wooden sculptures, wood crafts museum and live workshop where Richard lives and creates wooden bowls, plates, boats and accepts visitors to share his work and lifestyle.

Music - Alan Gogoll, Jason Lowe “When a River Parts”.

Sound - Gints Sola

Camera, edit - Jacob (Northmen Guild)

Revive the guild! by Northmen on Vimeo


Northmen Guild We use our hands to create things that will live on, telling their story in the hands of the craftsmen and people after us. Each thing we create is born with energy and personality – a love and care that will be felt daily by each craftsman; a resonance from the heart of the creation. Towering factories and belching chimneys are not our game. All of our makings are created in our small workshops, using equally traditional methods and techniques. Each craftsman is working in his own workshop, that is located on his own farmland.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 8, 2017 2:20 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
To See the Cherry Hung With Snow

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Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

"It is only comparatively late in my life, I am ashamed to say, that I have learned truly to appreciate the small beauties of the world, such as lichen on the bark of trees, moss and ivy growing on ancient stone walls, and so forth. Housman wrote his poem (or rather published it) when he was only 37, and put it in the mouth of a 20-year-old boy, much wiser than I." Look Around

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 8, 2017 11:39 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fatso the Cat

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"In the past if someone was famous or notorious, it was for something—as a writer or an actor or a criminal; for some talent or distinction or abomination. Today one is famous for being famous." -- Malcolm Muggeridge

I’m a man who doesn’t like cats. I don’t understand why women and certain men don’t get the simple axiom: “Dogs? Cool. Cats? Not.” It is one of the universal truths that no sane man can deny. And yet the chicks and chestless men persist in promoting this most useless of animals which steadfastly resists domestication, becoming an agreeable amusement, and is next to useless if not downright nauseating when sauteed or roasted, grilled or boiled, or even deep-fried.

There was one cat, however, that I did come to admire; Fatso.

Fatso arrived in my life like most cats arrive in the lives of men -- attached to a woman. Indeed, Fatso was one of three cats attached to this woman, and he was the least promising at the outset. The other two cats were: 1) “Spotty” -- an utterly coal black cat whose only “spot” was directly under his tail, and 2) “Oswald LeWinter” -- a cat who was so utterly gay that he could have been the reincarnation of Liberace. And then there was.... “Fatso” -- a cat so utterly beaten down and scabrous that on him a sucking chest wound would have looked good. When this particular woman arrived in my life the cats were all firmly established in hers so it was a done deal if I wanted her to stick around which, at the time, I did.

Fatso was not only a fat cat -- from eating anything no matter how vile and rotten, -- he was a loser cat. He was continually wandering off into the neighborhood and getting into screeching, yowling, spitting, clawing, gnawing fights with every other cat whose food bowl he tried to hoover. And he always, but always, lost and came dragging home with this flap hanging off him, that long slash in his side, and claw marks slanting across his face. His fur would be matted with urine, spit, drool, feces and blood. Fatso was one ugly beaten down fat cat.

The woman who owned him was, obviously, committed to him in the way that women get committed to hurt things, battered things, stupid things, and things that don’t really run on all cylinders. It’s their training for putting up with men, I guess. She’d hold him down and squirt this fine yellow powdered sulphur into his wounds to promote healing or at least hold off gangrene. After a day or so of recuperating around the house, Fatso would haul himself out the window and start catting about the neighborhood looking for food and finding a fight. Then, after a day or so, he’d come limping back with yet more of his body turning into scar tissue.

I put up with Spotty since he was a black cat and I didn’t want to alienate any black cat lest he put some bad juju and mean mojo on me. As for Oswald LeWinter, the gay cat, I said, early on, “Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” -- even though I suspected, with cats at least, there might be. As for Fatso, well, he disgusted me. I had no use for him. I was even starting to measure him for a river diving bag.

And so it went until..... until.... until the hippy girl arrived.

In those years hippy girls were always arriving. It was what they did. They came and then... they went. And they all had.... they all had to have.... a handicraft. Some did tie-dyes. Others did very heavy and clumsy pottery. Some chipped arrowheads out of flint. Some made teepees in the back yard. Still others wove macramé diaphragms.

This particular hippy girl did beaded belts and chokers. And, needless to say, methamphetamine. She had several egg cartons holding a mass of teeny-tiny beads and a kind of wire frame loom. She’d wire up the loom, smoke a lot of dope, pop a little meth, and then crack open the egg cartons and bead up a bunch of stuff she hoped to sell somewhere along the edges of Telegraph Avenue. I once figured she was making about a dime an hour and when I told her this she said, “That much? Groovy.”

She lived in the apartment behind ours and one day, while setting up her loom, Fatso wandered by her and wiped the latest blood from his wounds on her tie-dye skirt. She glanced down and said, “Oh, Fatso. Uncool.” Then she went to work her hippy girl fingers flying lightly over her bead loom as only the young, stoned, female speedfreak can manage.

Within two hours she had finished a large cat-sized collar in beads. She called Fatso over and strapped it on him. He tossed his head a little bit since the collar was over an inch in width and must have pinched a bit on his neck, but then he seemed to accept it. He sauntered over and has he passed me I glanced down. The hippy girl had woven and arranged a collection of bright red beads against a black background to read, in capitol letters, “FATSO!” (Exclamation mark included.) You could read it from six feet away. The cat, supremely indifferent to this gift, wandered through my legs, into the back garden and hobbled out of sight. “Good riddance,” I thought and hoped he’d try to kill a large delivery truck with his teeth at thirty miles an hour.

It was not to be. Instead we heard, for over a week, a whole chorus of yelps, screeches, yowls and other indications of a virtual tom cat war breaking out across the back yards of the neighborhoods with nary a sign of Fatso limping home for repair. A few days into the week some neighbors would, walking by, remark, “Hey, I saw your cat Fatso kicking some ass the other day. Slipped him some tuna. Cool cat, man.” Other praise kept coming our way. It would seem that Fatso was becoming, if you were of a feline persuasion, a force to be reckoned with in the neighborhood.

Then late one afternoon a changed Fatso sauntered casually back into our house. It was, of course, just at feeding time and he immediately walked up to Spotty and knocked him away from his bowl. Then he turned to Oswald LeWinter and knocked him away from his bowl. Both cats began to make aggressive gestures and take on puffed up postures, but a single glance from Fatso and both shrank away and went to a far corner of the kitchen where they made faint mewling noises. He ate from each of their bowls and then his own. Then he sauntered back to the door and down the stoop and walked slowly away up the center of the sidewalk.

The woman and I, stunned, followed him at a discrete distance. All along the way as he was being passed by people, they’d glance down and, taking note of his collar, say “Hey, Fatso! What’s happening?” Some would even stop to pet him until he purred. Then Fatso would seem to give a feline shrug then and saunter on.

At his approach, other cats would disappear until he passed. Fatso had, by virtue of his collar, become known by name to the entire neighborhood. He had become famous by being famous. He'd become a celebri-cat, the first I’ve ever known.

All it took was a collar and a name and Fatso was never beaten up again and certainly never went hungry ever again. In time his saunter became a strut. You couldn’t help but like Fatso since liking him was what Fatso was all about.

In a year or so the woman and I decided to move up into the hills above the town. We packed up Spotty and Oswald LeWinter, but when it came time for Fatso he was nowhere to be found. He’d decided to stick to the old neighborhood. With nearly twenty women putting out food for him and with all the other cats living in fear of him there was no motivation to move with us. We were now “little people.” He was.... well, he was “FATSO!”

For all I know he's still there to this day, kicking fur-butt and flaunting his name; master of his domain, King of Kats. All he needed was what we all need.... a little name recognition.

[Republished for Geoff: Hello Kitty Captain of Queen Anne]



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 8, 2017 2:36 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Trump to Assad: "You had five airbases. Now you have four. Would you like to try for three?"

Mark Steyn Has Excellent Analysis on Trump’s Syria Action…

"Idiot MSM pundits like Jake Tapper, though it’s not exclusive to Tapper, keep pointing out the 2013 tweet by President Trump warning Obama about action in Syria and framing their narrative about “what changed?” etc.

Just for clarity. Between the 2013 tweet by non candidate Trump and the 2017 action by President Trump, there was a 2014 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) voted and approved by congress permitting military action in Syria against the backdrop of chemical weapon use and terrorism. I swear sometimes the MSM are flippin’ idiots, then I remind myself of the David Mamet principle: 'In order for left-wing ideologues to keep espousing their cognitively disconnected talking points they need to pretend they don’t know things.'



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 7, 2017 3:06 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Finally. I can get me ....some satisfaction.

Ahhhhhhh..... now that's satisfying!

As opposed to THIS! This ATROCITY! from a few days back.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 6, 2017 11:06 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Goat Crossfit: I'm making this my new gym routine!



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 4, 2017 8:53 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Opening Day [2017]: When Life Imitates Norman Rockwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Posted by Vanderleun Apr 2, 2017 11:43 AM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Known Universe

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe,

Continued...

Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 2, 2017 3:11 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Nurse who responded to 1% demand

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This site is a free photo material site of a nurse who responded to the demand of 1% maniac customers. Even those who were not satisfied with the material site so far are satisfied lineup! Please use it if you can use it. -- Scima nurse

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Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 1, 2017 9:07 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Somethng Wonderful: FSU makes its campus animal friendly

Making their campus safe for special snowflakes and their fur babies.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Apr 1, 2017 8:46 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH

MONTHLY ARCHIVES


SIDELINES

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By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | 6616-D Clark Road #176 | Paradise, CA 95969

In 2016 the Western political system had a stroke.

The American political system is operating in the curious condition of being an impaired state.
It's not really thinking -- about China, Russia, Syria, Kurdistan. It's not really thinking about anything except half remembered slogans from 1968. Like a person afflicted by a stroke, it can't take a consistent view of external reality because it's regressing into atavisms by a loss of brain function. Impaired


Fake News. At the same time of the political putsch, the mainstream media outlets,

in particular the Washington Post, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, and the major networks, via broadcasts and social media, began an orchestrated campaign of defamation and delegitimization.
The crazier and more diverse the media mythologies, the better. Melania Trump was a former call girl and illegal alien. Ivanka Trump was peddling her business wares from the West Wing. Jared Kushner was a profiteering collusionist. Steve Bannon was a racist, Sebastian Gorka an unrepentant Nazi. Baron Trump was a spoiled, autistic child. The late elder Trump had run a racist campaign for mayor. And on and on. Resistance & Regime Change: Any Means Necessary – Lies, Leaks, Violence | National Review


Crime simply does not pay as well as politics or banking.

That may be the way to look at something like the Clinton Foundation and, coming soon, the Obama Foundation.
These are not explicitly criminal organizations, but they certainly play outside the spirit of the laws. Obama is out of office and prohibited from running again, but he still controls the Democratic party. The Clintons would be in charge, if not for the fact that the voters took their under boss out in the Tuesday Night Massacre, otherwise known as the presidential election. Even so, the Clinton Family is still a player. Late Phase Capitalism | The Z Blog


Bodymore, Murderville”

Most whites have become habituated to the reality of life in this part of the world.
Everyone, white and black, knows the reality on the street. The blacks with anything on the ball do exactly like the whites and that’s put distance between themselves and the black ghetto. That does not stop the Progressive maniacs from ranting about racism, but they do it from high up in the towers of their whites-only neighborhoods. As a result, no one hears them and so they can be ignored. The Killing Season | The Z Blog


New Blog Arriving Soon

Some have asked, "Gee whiz, Unca Gerard, where is that thar new blog you keeps a promisin'?"

I am hoping for sometime tonight. Hoping. We've been having some issues getting this winged dinosaur landed.


Drink Tea

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Drink tea, together with your friends; pay attention to the tea, and to your friends, and pay attention to your friends paying attention to the tea. Therein lies the meaning of life. The Essence of Peopling

We would love to cut a deal with the noble indigenous peoples across the Earth—

you can have your Navajo panties and aboriginal dot paintings and every last freaking burrito on the planet so long as you give us back our computers and cell phones and cars and indoor plumbing and electricity and air conditioners. Deal?

If people go their separate ways such a divorce would be an astonishing defeat for the Left.

As late as 2016 it was possible to imagine an America led to a "progressive" future by Hillary Clinton;
an EU guiding all of Europe to a similar destiny and the G20 taking the whole world to the same destination. Indeed everyone told they were fated to follow an Arc of History. Yet after Brexit, Trump and G-Zero it is no longer possible to visualize this outcome. A blue-red division would confirm the failure to create a "progressive" world. No conceivable rollback will ever put Humpty Dumpty together again. Opportunity


Trump, Julius Caesar, and killing tyrants

The Roman lower classes, with whom Caesar was popular, became enraged that a small group of aristocrats had sacrificed Caesar. -- neoneocon

Execute Trump? Nah, You First.

Draining the swamp means not only ejecting Trump from the presidency,
but also bringing himself and everyone assisting in his agenda up on charges of treason. They must be convicted (there is little room to doubt their guilt). And then — upon receiving guilty verdicts — they must all be executed under the law. Impeachment Is No Longer Enough; Donald Trump Must Face Justice | HuffPost [Retreived from GoogleCache after it was expunged from the Huffington Post]


A bee in her bonnet

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Thousands of bees took over a car in the UK and beekeepers are struggling to make them leave -
At first it wasn't clear why the bees chose the blue Nissan car and he and a colleague were trying to determine whether this was just a temporary stop or a new nesting site. But as the bees moved to the inside of the bonnet, filling every nook and cranny, things got more serious. "They're building a lot of wax in there now, and of course once they start doing that, they're reluctant to leave it, because it's the start of building a house. They put a lot of effort into producing the wax," Coulson told Hull Daily Mail. "I've got a feeling this might be their chosen permanent home."


[Bumped] "They send one of ours to the hospital, we send two of theirs to the morgue."

Baseball Shooter a Big Wake-Up Call for the Left | Roger L. SimonRobespierre is alive and well in 2017 USA.

This pathetic character in Alexandria is, now was, the left's ungoverned id. By any means necessary -- that's for sure. They will undoubtedly try to shove him under the rug as quickly as possible, just one more aberrant individual to be forgotten, just one obscure Bernie volunteer gone bad. Sanders did his best to separate himself within minutes of the revelation. Yes, it's undoubtedly true that this was just one rotten apple, but it's also true that only five years ago Bernie was recommending Venezuela -- now ground zero for starvation, kidnapping and murder -- as a path for us to emulate.



Greatest antitheft device when the thieves are millenials:

Man leads Jeffco deputies on low-speed chase in stolen flatbed truck after unable to get out of 1st gear The driver - later identified as 29-year-old Randy Dewayne Vert - refused to stop and continued driving south on Center Point Parkway, Christian said. Vert was apparently unfamiliar with the complexities of a modern manual transmission.

The natural impulse of a political system in institutional crisis is to dig in.

Too many institutions in the West remain decades after their birth, frozen in the moment of their creation.
NASA, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the university system and the United Nations rule us from the past. Public life has become a museum of memes from which nothing can escape without a mummy hand dragging the fugitive back into the darkened interior. It is perhaps no coincidence the two most popular leaders of the Western left, Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders, might credibly impersonate Boris Karloff. They are here to lead us back to 1968. Stuck


The Japanese. Nuked Too Much... or Trying to Get Their Mouths Around Fujiyama Volcano Plate

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We put Japan's most phallic-looking roast beef meal into our mouth at VolcanoKitchen | SoraNews24
Since we’d already become somewhat desensitized to the initially unsettling sensation of peeling strips of meat off the top of the shaft, we mercilessly crushed the egg, sending viscous, gooey liquid running down to the base of the meat rod.
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The power of the press is a figment of the imagination -- humbug --

Oscar Diggs behind the curtain projecting the image of Oz the Great and Powerful!
The Internet did not kill the power of the newspapers. It was suicide. And not just because most of them had Marxist editorials, editors, and reporters. Newspapers lost their sense of community -- and their credibility -- when the heirs to hometown publishers didn't want the paper, sold it to a chain for $1,000 per subscriber to a chain -- Gannett, Knight-Ridder, Thomson -- and moved on. Don Surber: Craigslist killed newspapers


When terrorists enter your children’s school and begin to execute them...

will the gun ban (you favored) in school that prevented abiding staff and teachers from saving your child, come to mind as a good idea?
If the answer to any or all of these and many more reasonable questions, is 'yes,' then you may be a delusional liberal, and likely a coward, and almost as big a threat to our nation as the terrorists who are at war with us." - Morgan K. Freeberg


"Happy birthday, Mr. President...."

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First truth which has been grounded into dust, must spring forth from the earth again.

At the present time . . .he who practices loving-kindness is esteemed and sought after, while he who champions the truth in word and in deed is persecuted and shunned. 
For men desire to base their affairs on everything except the one incorruptible truth which has been set down before us by God , and therefore these affairs have no permanent value . . . only when love and truth meet together, only when men come to understand that the highest act of loving-kindness is to bring men to know and practice the truth, only then will the marriage of love and truth produce that condition on earth in which everyone and everything will occupy the place which has been assigned to it by the will of God. Truth and Peace - Men Of The West


What happened to Nuclear Winter?

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As the media glare faded, its robust scenario appeared less persuasive;
John Maddox, editor of Nature, repeatedly criticized its claims; within a year, Stephen Schneider, one of the leading figures in the climate model, began to speak of "nuclear autumn." It just didn't have the same ring. A final media embarrassment came in 1991, when Carl Sagan predicted on Nightline that Kuwaiti oil fires would produce a nuclear winter effect, causing a "year without a summer," and endangering crops around the world. Sagan stressed this outcome was so likely that "it should affect the war plans." None of it happened. Raconteur Report: Aliens Cause Global Warming by Michael Crichton


If it's consensus, it isn't science. If it's science, it isn't consensus.

I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that ought to be stopped cold in its tracks.
Historically, the claim of consensus has been the first refuge of scoundrels; it is a way to avoid debate by claiming that the matter is already settled. Consensus is the business of politics. Science, on the contrary, requires only one investigator who happens to be right, which means that he or she has results that are verifiable by reference to the real world. The greatest scientists in history are great precisely because they broke with the consensus. - - Woodpile Report


Joe Biden’s niece dodges jail after $100K credit card scam

She walks on a major felony? Of course she did. And who believes she'll keep her end of the deal? In her defense, we're assured she's "a very complicated girl who has a lot of feelings and a lot of issues." Oh ... okay. That explains everything. Hugs from all the little people. Woodpile Report

Why is English so weirdly different from other languages?

There is exactly one language on Earth whose present tense requires a special ending only in the third‑person singular.
I’m writing in it. I talk, you talk, he/she talk-s – why just that? The present‑tense verbs of a normal language have either no endings or a bunch of different ones (Spanish: hablo, hablas, habla). And try naming another language where you have to slip do into sentences to negate or question something. Do you find that difficult? | Aeon Essays



The “incident” is the mass shooting by a Muslim fanatic at an Orlando homosexual club that resulted in hundreds wounded and 49 dead.

A year ago, the life force of 49 carbon based life forms ceased somewhere on planet earth.
Memorial services were planned comewhere to let Hate know that he or she, the sex and gender preference of Hate is unknown, that it was not going to win, whatever winning means, in the context of a war against an abstract concept. Media operations have posted stories about the triggering incident along with images of the faithful shaking their fist at Hate, which they appear to hate a lot, but in the good way, not the hateful way. The “incident” is the mass shooting by a Muslim fanatic at an Orlando homosexual club that resulted in hundreds wounded and 49 dead. Reading the Progressive media, you would not know that. The Irrationality Of It All | The Z Blog



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