Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

American Studies

How To Get Offended

[HT: DeAnn]


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 19, 2017 8:05 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dairy Queen Princess

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When I get hot and sweaty from workin' in the sun,
I head down to her corner for a tall, cold, frosty one.
When I'm with my DQ princess I'm never there alone.
For just another dollar, she'll gladly dip my cone.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a smooth vanilla softy. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.


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My baby makes me order my big banana frozen.
The boys line up to see her. She's the one that's chosen.
She's just a small town mama but still an ice cream star.
She's the only one around who'll grab your Dilly Bar.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a steamed hot chocolate malted. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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She 's got a long blonde pony tail, wears tight white shorts,
With a polka dot bikini top. She plays all the midnight sports,
And she'll whip you up a sundae, maybe top it with a cherry,
But tomorrow she'll be serving it to Curly, Moe, or Larry.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's deep-fried tofu toffee. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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Down at her DQ she's some games that you can play,
Like "Ninja Warrior Pinball," or "CyberRoad to Mandalay."
She's workin' hard for tips all the big boys wanna slip her.
She'll gladly change your dollars and let you pump the flippers.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a deep dip Dilly Bar. She's the Blizzard Breeze supreme.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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She's the town's roadside attraction.
She's the center of the summer's action.
It's just a little job -- pumping soda for the jerks.
It don't pay all that much, but she's never out of work.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a hot fudge filly. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 16, 2017 12:40 PM |  Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Barrel of GoogleRands

barrelbricksheader.jpgDear Congress or armed IRS agent with a no-knock:

I am writing in response to your request for additional money via the "WTF!? Cough It UP! Re-Financing America Extortion Act of 2010: IRS Form 259B Error" Page I was led to while filing my taxes electronically last night. It noted that I had not paid the full amount of estimated re-tax double blind anticipatory VAT levy for the "care and feeding of citizens who pay no taxes." I had put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my overnight insolvency in Line 42b of sub-paragraph A of Form 259B-subC. Your database asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a taxpayer by trade. During the last year of the recent mortgage "accident," I was working alone on the roof of a broken-down six-story building in West LA, laying down slate shingles and edging it with solid copper gutters, hoping to flip it to some fortunate soul who has recently landed a $13.25 hour job with the Census Bureau. When I completed the paperwork to purchase this pig, I found I had some cash on hand thanks to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" section of the "No-Money-Needed Mortgages" still available secretly from Fannie Mae under certain "conditions" (I swear my assertion of 10% Inuit-Kenyan ancestry was true, and not just something I made up in a tanning booth.)

This money, after I converted it to seemingly solid gold GoogleRands, weighed 240 lbs. This was delivered to me on demand by a bank-insured black helicopter drop onto the roof of the building I was hoping to flip. Talk about your "windfall profts!" This was money for nothing. Rather than carry the gold GoogleRands down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor. To do so I had the helicopter lift me off the roof and deposit me on the ground. It was all part of their "customer servicing."

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 3, 2017 9:32 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Must Love Bugs

"Entomologists Charlie and Lois O’Brien have the largest private collection of insects in the world.

In their 55 years of marriage, these real life “love bugs” have traveled the world gathering specimens for their unique collection. Now in their 80s, the couple plans to donate the 1.25 million bugs carefully catalogued in their Arizona home to a research university. Even without their insects, the love they built on little legs, wings and stingers will live on."


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 3, 2017 8:08 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Small Flags

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Army Capt. Ed Arntson, of Chicago, kissed the grave of Staff Sgt. Henry Linck in Arlington, Va., National Cemetery Thursday. Staff Sgt. Linck was killed in Iraq in 2006. Armed forces placed flags at more than 300,000 gravestones ahead of Memorial Day.

The cemetery at the top of Queen Anne in Seattle is busy this weekend. This even though a cemetery under all circumstances is seldom thought of as a busy place. We haven't had busy cemeteries since 1945. Since then the long peace and its sleep was only briefly, for a few years every now and then, interrupted by a small war. The cemeteries fill up more slowly now than ever before. And our sleep, regardless of continuing alarms, deepens.

These days we resent, it seems, having them fill at all, clinging to our tiny lives with a passion that passes all understanding; clinging to our large liberty with the belief that all payments on such a loan will be interest-free and deferred for at least 100 years.

Still, the cemetery at the top of Queen Anne does tend to take on a calm, resigned bustle over Memorial Day weekend, as the decreasing number of families who have lost members to war come to decorate the graves of those we now so delicately refer to as "The Fallen." They are not, of course, fallen in the sense that they will, suddenly and to our utter surprise, get up. That they will never do in this world. For they are not "The Fallen," they are "The Dead."

In the cemetery at the end of my street , of course, all the permanent residents are dead. But those who are among the war dead, or among those who served in a war, are easily found on this day by the small American flags their loved ones who still survive place and refresh. In this cemetery atop Queen Anne hill in Seattle, the small flags grow fewer and smaller with each passing year. It is not, of course, that the size of the sacrifice has been reduced. That remains the largest gift one free man may give to the country that sustained him. It is instead the regard of the country for whom the sacrifices were made that has gotten smaller, eroded by the self-love that the secular celebrate above all other values.

As you walk about the green lawn and weave among the markers, the slight breeze moves the small three-colored flags. Some are tattered and faded. Some are wound around the small gold sticks that hold them up. You straighten these out almost as an afterthought. Then the breeze unfurls them.

Here and there, people tend the grave of this or that loved one; weeding, washing, or otherwise making the gradually fading marks in the stone clear under the sky. Cars pull in and wind slow, careful on the curves, and park almost at random. An old woman emerges from one, a father and son from another, an entire family from yet another. They carry flowers in bunches or potted and, at times, gardening implements and a bucket for carrying away the weeds. It's a quiet morning. Nobody is in a hurry to arrive and once arrived to leave.

When I lived in Villers-Cotteret , between Compaigne and Soissons, along the Western Front in France, the cemeteries were as quiet but on a scale difficult to imagine unless they were seen.

In the Battle of Soissons in July of 1918, 12,000 men (Americans and Germans) were killed in four days. Vast crops of white crosses sprouted from the fields their rows and columns fading into the distance as they marched back from the roadside like an army of the dead called to attention until the end of time. American cemeteries merged with French cemeteries that merged with German cemeteries; their only distinction being the flags that flew over what one took to be the center of the arrangement. I suppose one could find out the number of graves in these serried ranks. Somewhere they keep the count. Governments are especially good at counting. But it is enough to know they are beyond numbering by an individual; that the mind would cease before the final number was reached.

To have even a hundredth of those cemeteries in the United States now would be more than we, as a nation, could bear. It would not be so much the dead within it, but the truth that made it happen that would be unbearable. This is, of course, what we are as a nation fiddling about with on this Memorial Day. We count our war dead daily now, but we count mostly on the fingers of one hand, at times on two. Never in numbers now beyond our ability to imagine. This is not because we cannot die daily in large numbers in a war. September 11th proved to us that we still die in the thousands, but many among us cannot now hold that number as a reality, but only as a "tragic" exception that need not have happened and will -- most likely -- never happen again.

That, at least, is the mind set that I assume when I read how the "War on Terror" is but a bumper strip. In a way, that's preferable to the the mind set that now, in increasing numbers among us, prefers to take refuge in the unbalanced belief that 9/11 was actually something planned and executed by the American government. Why many of my fellow Americans prefer this "explanation" is something that I once felt was beyond comprehension. Now I see it is just another comfortable position taken up by those for whom the habits of automatic treason have become just another fashionable denigration of the country that has made their liberty to believe the worst of it not only possible but popular.

Like the graves in my local cemetery, these souls too bear within them a small flag, but that flag -- unlike their souls -- is white and, in its increasing rootedness in our body politic signals not sacrifice for the advancement of the American experiment, but the abject surrender of their lives to small spites and the tiny victories of lifestyle liberation.

In the cemetery at the end of my street, there are a few small flags. There are many more graves with no flag at all, but they are the ones that the small flags made possible. Should the terrible forests of white crosses ever bloom across our landscape -- as once they did during the Civil War -- it will not be because we had too few of those small, three-colored flags, but because we became a nation with far too many white ones.

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The grave of James A. Wilmot, Pvt 49th Spruce Squadron, World War I. Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Queen Anne, Seattle

[Originally published Memorial Day, 2007]


Posted by Vanderleun at May 29, 2017 6:35 AM |  Comments (70)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stranger in Paradise: Clean Up in the Clean Up Aisle!

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Paradise California is a working man’s town. People here work; work hard at tough physical jobs. If they don’t work they either run meth labs and get all their skin tattooed, or are retired -- usually from the military. It been this way since I first moved here in 1953 even though I left for 60 years.

As a result Paradise is generally Republican by birth and inclination and experience. Every morning at around 7 am the traffic floods down the Skyway into the moonbat metropolis of Chico to turn on that town by opening the shops and baking the doughnuts and starting the coffee. Still, since Paradise is home to over 26,000 it boasts a Safeway market. And it was to that market I went yesterday in order to pick up some laundry detergent for the laundromat down the road.

Picked up a cart and pushed it to the back of the store. Made a right. Made another right at cleaning aisle and almost ran over a woman who was kneeling down with her back leg fully extended across the aisle.

“Excuse me please,” I said.

“Sorry,” she said as she moved her leg.

I went past her noting a woman in her early 60s knocking on the door of that old age which I currently inhabit. She wore a somewhat sheer flowered pantsuit showing more cleavage than was appropriate for her, her greyed hair was dyed a false red, her fallen face sported brave amounts of rouge.

But it was only a glance and I moved on down the aisle to the far end and the detergents. This put me about 10 yards away from the woman.

At that point the fifth day of my cold kicked in and I had a coughing attack. It was a loud one.

From the far end of the aisle the woman said, “God bless you.”

“Thank you,” I said and turned back to my scanning of the shelves looking for fragrance-free Tide. I thought our pleasant exchange was politely over.

Then, standing at the far end of the aisle and raising her voice to assure all heard her, she said, “I said ‘God Bless You’ even though you probably voted for Trump and have given control of the atomic weapons to a man that will use them to end the world and kill you and your family!”

A few seconds ticked away as I checked to see what planet I had been beamed down on. Or if I had unknowingly donned my MAGA hat, or had ‘666’ tattooed on my forehead in invisible ink.

“I beg your pardon?”

“I can see you voted for Trump like all the rest of the bigots in this town.”

“Excuse me?”

“You know what I mean. You want everyone of color to be enslaved by Trump and the white resistance to be imprisoned. I know what you think. You know what you did. You ALL know what you did!”

People behind her are now avoiding the cleaning aisle and pushing their carts away... slowly. Listening.

In my mind I am counting... slowly, “One potato, two potato, three potato....”

“Admit it. Admit what you’ve done!”

That’s it.

“Listen, lady, old, fat, ugly, alone, and insane is no way for you to go through the rest of your life. Get your head straight and your mouth shut or get out of Paradise. The moonbat colony is twenty miles away down the Skyway. Bitch.”

(Faint laughter comes to my ears from the next aisle over. People pushing their carts behind her have stopped.)

“What did you say? WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

I reach deep into my bottomless mental garbage can of pop cultural references: “Let me put it to you in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson, ‘ Where do they teach you to talk like this? In some Panama City "Sailor wanna hump-hump" bar, or is it getaway day and your last shot at his whiskey? Sell crazy someplace else, we're all stocked up here.’

I take my scentless detergent off the shelf and exit to the cashier.

“What was that all about?” she asks.

“Clean up in the cleaning aisle,” I tell her.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 26, 2017 11:04 AM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Argument for the Targeted Elimination of Anti-American Activists [Bumped]

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For the radical, murder becomes a sacrament.

When Turreau inquired about the limits of what he could do to pacify the region, the answer from the committee was “eliminate the brigands to the last man, there is your duty.”

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This is something to keep in mind when thinking about the present crisis. The revolt that put Trump in office is a revolt of the provincials. Plenty of Trump voters went to college or have office work. It’s not the old class divide. It is the new class divide. The revolution over the last 25 years has been led by a cosmopolitan elite, based in the coastal cities of America. These are the people dreaming up gay marriage and transgenders, not because they make any sense, but because they offend the sensible provincials out in the suburbs.
It’s comforting to think that the pendulum is swinging back toward normalcy, but it could simply be a rearguard action. The radicals running the American “republic” are no less bloodthirsty and malevolent than those who razed the Vendée. They may not unleash genocidal infernal columns on the suburbs, but they are plenty enthusiastic about importing hordes of foreign peasants to wreak havoc on the people. They are also smart and savvy, masters of the tools of power. But most of all, they have no sense of restraint.

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They are plenty enthusiastic about importing hordes of foreign peasants to wreak havoc on the people. They are also smart and savvy, masters of the tools of power. But most of all, they have no sense of restraint. - - The American Vendée
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Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 22, 2017 9:46 AM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On The Time, This Time, of Our Lives

In his essay : This problem will only get worse at Sense of Events Donald Sensing directs our attention away from the freak show issues of the day to more immediate things, to First Things....

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By Donald Sensing
More people are living longer than ever and this particular situation will become more and more problematic.

The article is from the UK's Times newspaper. The circumstances in Britain do not exactly correspond to those of the US, mainly because Britain has socialized medicine and elder care. What the judge objected to was the government coercively separating couples when they wanted to remain together.

As a minister I deal with this situation more frequently than I wish I did. Only here in the U.S., the separation is not from compulsion but from necessity. One spouse becomes physically or mentally unable to live at home because of the constancy and level of care required. So the healthier spouse finally accedes to the other being moved to a care facility. But this is always a wrenching decision.

In generations past, this was not a big problem because when someone got to "threescore and ten" s/he was pretty close to life's end. My grandfathers both died about then, one at 71 and the other at 72. No one thought they died young. Today when you hear someone died at 71, you ask, "Oh, my, what happened?" One of my grandmothers died at 76. The other lived until 90 but for her generation she was an exception, not the rule.

This is not the case any more. Both my dad and my wife's are still living. Her dad will turn 98 next month, mine 90 in September. My mom died at 87, hers at 86 - well beyond the expectancy of their parents' generation. My generation, the Boomers, is the first in which caring for aged parents is normative even after we are retired from our careers. I know couples in their mid-70s who are both dealing with parents in their 90s.

I know that "dealing with" is a bad way to put it, but many people in their mid- to latter-70s are starting to cope with their own aging issues. The stresses of that plus trying to look after one or two very elderly parents can be pretty stout. And it is aggravated if one or both parents are living in care facilities....

Read the rest and continue at Sense of Events: This problem will only get worse


Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 11, 2017 5:08 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Banality of Sedition

It's May Day again and Communism is still alive and well on the streets of Seattle....

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Illustration by RapierWitt

THESE DAYS its not often that you see a member of the Despairing Classes being seduced by classic Communism on a city street, but it does happen.

Sidewalk Snapshot: It's a warm Spring evening on Pine Street in Seattle. Lengthening shadows and brightening light brings everything into sharp relief including the random collection of lay-abouts, short-order poets, tattoo artistes, and students a decade between degrees that take up the tables outside the Cafe Laddro on Capitol Hill.

Capitol Hill is one of those neighborhoods in Seattle that compiles a mainstream lifestyle out of alternatives. Even though it is indeed a hill, it has suspended the normal laws of gravity and everything loose in Seattle rolls up to the top of it. That includes, on this evening, me.

I'm stepping out of your "one-every-block" Seattle espresso slop shop with my machiatto when I notice the odd couple at the table just outside the door. That's not too odd since odd couples, like spiked bright blue hair, are pretty much the norm on Capitol Hill. I notice them at first because the youngest is wearing a Motorhead t-shirt with the mantra "Everything Louder Than Everything Else" on it in that faux German Black gothic font that got old when Auschwitz was in flower, and so had to be made new again back when heavy-metal was a fresh idea.

Glancing over Motorhead's shoulder I note that the man across from him is giving him an ideological lap-dance complete with a whole raft of tracts, papers and books being brought out and waved about and placed, with a muffled thwang, one after the other on the thin black metal of the table: Trotsky's "Marxism and Terrorism," (thwang!); the ever-popular Marx and Engels "Communist Manifesto," (thwang!); Lenin's greatest hit "What Is To Be Done?," (thwang!), Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks," (thunk!), Zinn's "People's History of the United States,"(clunk!).

One by one, they come out of the worn back pack and pile up on the table. All in all, a larger pile of ideological dung would be hard to imagine, and harder to handle even with meat hooks and thick rubber gloves.

The man making his pile of "roadmaps to a more perfect world" is quite a bit older than Motorhead with a slim, somewhat furtive look to him. There's the vibe coming off him that you sometimes sense when someone old is trying to pick up somebody far too young for him.

In the intense light of the evening, you can see a faint cloud of dust motes rising from him as he keeps slapping the tracts down. Greying hair in moist ringlets covers his head except for a monk's tonsure on the back of his skull. He's got a mustache and a beard that, with a little care, could be brought to a Van Dyke point. He sports small round rimmed glasses in front of thin blue eyes. His eyes, although they never waver from his prey, carry within them a permanent 1,000 yard stare -- as if he's always looking outside of the present moment at something in the distance that never gets nearer. Overall the face reminds one, as these faces so often do, of a watered down Leon Trotsky, the Christ of Communism, crucified with an ice axe but still twitching in his tomb.

Trotsky is resurrect this evening on Capitol Hill though, and I linger at the table next to them writing down a few notes about their conversation. Except it is not exactly a conversation so much as a monologue as my Trotsky keeps, in smiling and soft tones, returning to the subject at hand which is the inevitable collapse of the evil American Empire ("Long past its expiry date..."), and the inevitable rise of world Socialism ("Everyone will have more than enough, but nobody will have it all.")

Trotsky's sporting, as all good Trotskys must, a collection of slogan buttons and a sheaf of free tracts and newspapers. The button that is the largest is pinned to his faded plaid flannel shirt and proclaims him to be a member in good standing of the ISO (International Socialist Organization, good Latter-Day Trotskyites all. )

He passes the tracts and newspapers over to his intended, "Free, all free," and points out the more salient injustices they outline: eternal racism, eternal slavery of women, eternal repression of the working man by capitalists, eternal imperialism by the United States -- the whole catastrophe. He underscores that the only escape is through the ever-imminent but forever delayed Rapture of the Left, The Revolution.

After several minutes of his soft chants, Motorhead is nodding like the drinking bird over the glass. He's looking a bit dazed. I wonder if Trotsky has slipped a roofy into Motorhead's machiatto and is just waiting for it to kick in.

Trotsky's tales are the sad sotto voce sagas that underscore all the old nightmares of the Gulag, the Killing Fields, and every other massacre done in the name of the Marxist Utopia. It's a litany proving, once again, that some lies lodge so deep in man's hopes they will not die, no matter the murders they require to live.

Today's fresh lie is that if only Motorhead will attend the "event" tomorrow, Trotsky will be pleased to take him to the exclusive "Cadre" meeting that follows so he can meet the "Comrade of Honor," one Ahmed Shawki.

In soft tones salted with a quick twinkling smile that comes and goes like the red queen in three-card monte, Trotsky continues his spiel, his seduction. Motorhead is "obviously a man of no little intelligence" -- even if his five facial piercings (ears, left eyebrow, lip stud and nose-ring) might make one wonder.

Motorhead "needs to live in a system where social justice is the rule for all, not just the rich." Given Motorhead's ripped black jeans, worn black boots and general air of someone not likely to be hired by any business whose work involves meeting the public, this is probably more true than either of them realize. Motorhead nods again to this last proposition, and observes that he yearns for a social order that is more just to his lifestyle than can easily be found outside the subcultural hamlets of Seattle.

Much has been made of Hannah Arendt's phrase, "The banality of evil," and I suppose I'm witnessing a small satori of that kind here on the sidewalks of Seattle. But it seems to me to be a more insidious event than that.

After all, there's nothing evil in speech that argues for ideas that have proven, without exception, to be evil. It is, after all, only speech and the strength of the American system is to protect all forms of speech, especially the idle blather of a coffee house revolutionary. There's nothing, really nothing, in this overheard conversation that threatens the existence of the United States. The mere fact that it can be had, five years into the First Terrorist War, underscores just how strong this nation adherence to its founding principles remains. Here on Capitol Hill dissent of even the most egregious sort, is not only tolerated but celebrated.

The conversation bothers me at the same time it fascinates me. It strikes me that what I am auditing is not so much "the banality of evil," but "the banality of sedition;" a banality we see acted out daily on our television screens and on the op-ed pages of our newspapers.

The banality of sedition is now so well established that it is, well, banal and goes forward without a great deal of remark or trouble. In the last few years, the phrase that has arisen to describe this phenomenon is "The Culture of Treason." I'm not sure who originated the phrase, but its use is proliferating across the Internet for the reason that all such phrases proliferate when the time is ripe; it somehow rings true.

Of late, it iseems that large sections of the better educated and the most privileged among us have decided that the Constitution is, after all, a suicide pact and have determined to preach this death gospel to us all:

"This way to the gas, ladies and gentlemen. Step right up into the van carrying you all away into the perfect freedom of the perfect world. Don't worry about those canisters of gas dropping in through the top. It's just to delouse you of your old, traditional ideas of what being an American is all about.

"In just a few painless minutes you'll all be, as we are now, citizens of the world. And in that world to which we are all going you'll forget the old dream of America. You'll forget, at the last, everything that was good about America. You'll also forget the true and the beautiful. In the end, you'll forget about God himself.
"All those old dreams and visions will fade into a gray sameness. And then you'll all be, at the last, perfect citizens of our brave new world. We've breathed deeply of this gas before you and find it is the perfect blend of platitudes, freshly roasted, for the killing of your soul. After all, you weren't using it much. So step right up. First ride's free."

The long evening light was fading down into a warm dusk outside the coffee shop on Capitol Hill. Motorhead, in a moment of awakening, said, "Well, I should probably get grocery shopping."

Having gotten Motorhead's assent to attend the "event," Trotsky the Comrade becomes Trotsky the Closer and skins twenty bucks out of Motorhead's wallet for Gramsci's "Prison Notebooks" ($14.95 at Amazon). The tracts and, of course, the newspaper are free. Such a deal.

The threadbare backpack is repacked with Trotsky's portable library. He and Motorhead set off up the hill and, turning the corner, move out of sight.

I fold up the scrap of paper on the back of which I've made my notes of their meeting. The front side invites all and sundry to a "Solidarity Gathering" at the 45th Street Overpass: "We Support the Rape Survivor at Duke... and the Countless Others Everywhere. Come and join us in solidarity to bear witness to this terrorism against women." I make a mental note to, somehow, manage to be elsewhere.

Walking back to the Century Ballroom, I notice a large flyer that announces the "event" that Motorhead has agreed to attend. Ahmed Shawki, editor of the International Socialist Review, will speak, it seems, on "Black Liberation and Socialism."

Shaki's image dominates the flyer and looks, for all the world, like a Malcom X returned to life. The look is, of course, a carefully studied one since black socialist saints are hard to come by these days.** The Clenched Fist logo is in the lower left hand corner of the flyer. There are other details but I have a hard time making them out. It is, I discover, hard to read a flyer that is lying in the gutter. Especially when the light has failed.


In "Celebration" of May Day, 2008. HT: Cynr who created the art.

**Written in April, 2006

"I am no prophet—and here’s no great matter;"


Posted by Vanderleun at May 1, 2017 1:47 AM |  Comments (76)  | 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 at 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 at Apr 30, 2017 9:21 AM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Leprosy, long imagined extinct, reappeared:" This and That

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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 at Apr 30, 2017 8:20 AM |  Comments (2)  | 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 at 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 at 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 at Apr 27, 2017 2:06 AM |  Comments (87)  | 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 at Apr 26, 2017 1:11 AM |  Comments (43)  | QuickLink: Permalink
PEWSLAG: The American Progressive’s Monopoly on the Seven Deadly Sins

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“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 at Apr 19, 2017 12:34 PM |  Comments (46)  | 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 at Apr 10, 2017 11:16 PM |  Comments (11)  | 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 at Apr 9, 2017 2:38 AM |  Comments (18)  | 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 at Apr 8, 2017 2:36 AM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Somethng Wonderful: FSU makes its campus animal friendly

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


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Apr 1, 2017 8:46 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Errand Gleanings

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Sunday afternoon is the time I spend shopping for the week's basic groceries, as well as for those items that have to be prepared from ingredients as fresh as can be obtained in the present day supermarkets. These present day supermarkets are, if you've been on the planet longer four decades, breathtaking in the kinds of packaged foods, fresh meat and seafood, and fresh produce.

In these cathedrals of commerce it seems that every month more and more items from throughout the world are on offer. Ghee! You can now buy ghee in jars. It is true that some special cheeses seem to be coming in at $40 per pound and that the one ounce package of sliced dried mandarin oranges works out to $65 a pound. These items are there if you are so drenched in disposable income that nary a thought of the price to value absurdity of it all can emerge to shimmer the surface of your seething cranium.

From blackberries air-dropped from Peru and pre-stuffed Turducken's in the freezer rows to the "local sustainable organic" food items that are four times the price of their more plebeian corporate varieties, the sheer variety is staggering to someone who can remember when an orange in the toe of one's Christmas stocking was a very hard to obtain and expensive fruit for that season.

Besides these somewhat obvious but always striking impressions of how America fares in its current position as the top of the food chain, three other things struck me as I went to three, yes three, different supermarkets on this fine Seattle afternoon in late Spring of the year of our Lord 2014.

First, as a friend remarked a couple of weeks ago, "Every woman in America seems to have gotten the personally addressed memo concerning very tight jeans and/or leggings. This includes the 90% of American women who, if caught dead in them, would die; and yet they too seem to have joined the Cult."

Second, while a warming Spring brings out a very fine parade of nubile ladies in various stages of revealing and "en déshabillé" clothing, it also reveals Winter's crop of thoughtless, tasteless, and usually revolting fresh tattoos on areas of the body heretofore thought untattoable. One unfortunately memorable one seemed to be located at above the "tramp stamp" position and was a kind of winged velociraptor baby with a bloody beak breaking out of an egg. It gave one pause. And then one walked on.

Third was the advent of a new parting phrase from supermarket cashiers. Usually they inguire as to the manner in which your day is going, something to which I invariably answer with an upbeat "Great. Thanks for asking" just to be polite. The ringing up of one's groceries then takes place and one pays, as one pays for most things in today's suddenly cashless society, with a debit card. Then the receipt whirrs out of the machine at the end, after it has transmitted the contents of your cart to the supermarket's headquarters, the local police, and the host of three letter interested parties in the government, and the cashier usually just thanks you by name after glancing at the receipt.

Today this was as it always is but with the addition of the trenchant phrase, "Thanks for coming in."

Three different cashiers at three different supermarkets on three different levels of retail demography -- working class, middle class, and upper middle class -- all saw fit to say the exact same phrase, "Thanks for coming in."

An alien visitor to our planet might think that's simply a coincidence of phrasing, but I take it to be the beginning of some bit of customer-stroking fluff that depraved retail consultants started telling their corporate customers in order to have something to justify their many, many thousands in annual billings. They probably came up with some study that showed that of every 100 customers that you said "Thank you for coming in" 15% more came in again.

It's bullshit of course, but retail and marketing in the food industry needs a constant stream of fresh bullshit if it is to keep its profit line up. Just as things done to transmogrify kale work as this year's chipotle, so does "Thanks for coming in" operate as the new "Have a nice day."

Listen for it at a supermarket near you.

Soon to be a major motion picture.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 30, 2017 5:00 PM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Formed by Megafloods, This Place Fooled Scientists for Decades

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In the middle of eastern Washington, in a desert that gets less than eight inches of rain a year, stands what was once the largest waterfall in the world. It is three miles wide and 400 feet high—ten times the size of Niagara Falls—with plunge pools at its base suggesting the erosive power of an immense flow of water. Today there is not so much as a trickle running over the cataract’s lip. It is completely dry.

Dry Falls is not the only curiosity in what geologists call the Columbia Plateau. Spread over 16,000 square miles are hundreds of other dry waterfalls, canyons without rivers that might have carved them (called “coulees”), mounds of gravel as tall as skyscrapers, deep holes in the bedrock that would swallow entire city blocks, and countless oddly placed boulders. All across southeast Washington, fertile rolling hills border eroded tracts of volcanic basalt, as if Kansas farmland and Utah canyon land had been chopped up and sewed together into a topographic Frankenstein.

The first farmers in the region named the rocky parts “scablands” and dismissed them as useless as they planted their wheat on the silt-rich hills. But geologists were not so dismissive; to them, the scablands were an enigma. What could have caused this landscape? It was a question hotly debated for several decades, and the answer was as surprising and dramatic as Dry Falls itself.

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For that matter, so was the source of that answer: a high school science teacher named Harley Bretz. In 1909, the Seattle teacher visited the University of Washington to see the U.S. Geological Survey’s new topographic map of the Quincy Basin, a large area on the west side of the Columbia Plateau. He was 27, with no formal training in geology, but when he looked at the map, he noticed a striking feature: a huge cataract (much like Dry Falls) on the western edge of the basin, a place where water appeared to spill out of the basin and into the Columbia River, gouging a canyon several hundred feet deep. The falls would have been bigger than Niagara, but there was no apparent source of water for them—no signs whatsoever of a river leading to the cataract.

Bretz asked faculty in the department about the feature, called Potholes Coulee, but they had no answers for him. Nor could they explain many of the other unusual features of the region. That’s when, as legend has it, Bretz decided to become a geologist. He earned his Ph.D. in geology from the University of Chicago four years later, changed his professional name from Harley to “J Harlen” to sound more respectable, and in 1922 returned to eastern Washington to take a closer look at the plateau and its scablands. And after two seasons in the field, his conclusions shocked even himself: The only possible explanation for the all the region’s features was a massive flood, perhaps the largest in the Earth’s history—“a debacle which swept the Columbia Plateau,” ripping soil and rock from the landscape, carving canyons and cataracts in a matter of days. “All other hypotheses meet fatal objections,” he wrote in a 1923 paper.

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Much more.Read the whole thing @ -- National Geographic


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 28, 2017 10:20 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Boomer generation is going out in a fit of frenzied self-recognition

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

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


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 21, 2017 11:39 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No Atheists in Foxholes. No Feminists in Ice-Storms. But Who's Counting?
It is an absolute outrage how so many pampered, affluent, upper-middle-class professional women chronically spout snide anti-male feminist rhetoric, while they remain completely blind to the constant labor and sacrifices going on all around them as working-class men create and maintain the fabulous infrastructure that makes modern life possible in the Western world. Only a tiny number of women want to enter the trades where most of the nitty-gritty physical work is actually going on—plumbing, electricity, construction. Women have played virtually no role in the erection of those magnificent towers in every major city in the world. It’s men who operate the cranes or set the foundations or wash windows on the 85th floor. It’s men who troop out at 2:00 AM during an ice storm to restore power to neighborhoods where falling trees have brought down live wires. It’s men who mix the stinking, toxic cauldrons to spread steaming hot tar on city roofs. Last year in a nearby town, I drove by a huge, chaotic scene where emergency workers in hazmat suits were struggling with a giant pipe break, as raw sewage was pouring into the street. Of course all those workers up to their knees in a torrent of thick brown water were men! I’ve seen figures indicating that 92 per cent of people killed on the job are men—and it’s precisely because men are heroically doing most of the dangerous jobs in modern society.... The bourgeois blindness of feminist leaders to low-status working-class labor by men is morally corrupt! Gay men, on the other hand, have always shown their awed admiration of working-class masculinity and fortitude. It's no coincidence that a buff construction worker in a hard hat was one of the iconic personae of the gay disco group, the Village People, during the Studio 54 era!
Much More at Camille Paglia Discusses Her War on 'Elitist Garbage' and Contemporary Feminism | Broadly
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 20, 2017 11:55 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Truckin'

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"Truckin'" was originally a dance move.

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

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

Line by line explication at The Annotated "Truckin'"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 14, 2017 5:57 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Punch, Brothers, Punch: The Original Ear Worm as Told by Mark Twain

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

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

Bromley had reportedly exclaimed,

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

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

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

CHORUS

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

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

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


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 9, 2017 10:44 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Got Government?: "For Your Enjoyment and Protection"

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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


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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 8, 2017 10:09 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Grace in the Blue Ridge Mountains

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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[First published October 2007]


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

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

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

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


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

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

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



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

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

Losing the War - by Lee Sandlin]


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 3, 2017 1:12 PM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Keeping America Great [and Fueled and Fed and Fulfilled]: If Our Trucks Stop Rolling the Guns Come Out Inside a Week

They pull the thread that keeps America stitched together.

[10]


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 2, 2017 12:59 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
[AD One Year Ago Today:] Bigger Tents: On Rebranding "CONSERVATIVE" and "REPUBLICAN" with "AMERICAN"

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An American, one of the roughs, a kosmos,... No sentimentalist .... no stander above men and women or apart from them...
-- Whitman, Leaves of Grass (1855)

“I am not an American, I am THE American.”
-– Mark Twain

Remember when Hillary Clinton, during her last attempt to rule the world, stopped calling herself a “liberal” and rebranded herself as a “progressive?”

I do.

It was Clinton's desperate attempt to crawl out from under the vast heap of crap she and all the other “liberals” had piled on themselves -– notably during her own husband's administration. And who, when trying to run, wanted to have that old "liberal" ball and chain around her thick ankles? Not Hillary.

By 2007 “Liberal” had become so drenched in sewage liberals could only clean it through “rebranding.”

The new/old brand name chosen was 'progressive.'

And it worked for them -- and for Obama -- just long enough to get them elected the first time by a credulous public who had seemingly never heard "progressive" before.

“Progressive...” it sounded so, well, hopeful. It was, after all, not "trans-" but "pro-"gressive.

After all, who can be against “progress?” Who is not pro "pro?"

Who, that is, except the vast majority of older Americans who had seen the wreckage that the progressives' “progress” had wrought wherever it touched down on the American landscape.

Still, the recloaking of ye olde “liberal” wolves inside of the “Progressive Sheeps' Clothing” worked well enough with the young and stupid as well as the old and malicious.

"Progressive" caught on because it junked “liberal” but didn't say “socialist.” At least not in so many syllables.

That was then. Now, of course, “progressive” as a brand has become synonymous with cheats, control-addicts, the walking brain-dead, lying Social Justice Warriors, and the power junkies that want to tell you all about the bad McDonalds Happy Meals in condom chewing San Francisco.

Today "Progressive" is as dead as Hitler's charred corpse smoldering in a ditch outside the bunker on Pennsylvania Avenue. But “progressives” don't know they're crispy critters because they can't entertain any ideas that weren't minted in ye olde Soviet Union. So let's let them keep it.

Let those bitter aging boomers cling to their Darwins and their "progressive" programs and labels. Progressives, after all, are the queens of worthless labels.

What we need to do is a little “rebranding” of our own in order to blunt the brain-dead attacks that keep coming from the attack poodles of the left. Attacks that when examined are all aimed at the label “Conservative” or “Republican.”

"Conservative." "Liberals." These two categories are not the same. Not all “Conservatives” are “Republicans,” and – unfortunately for the life expectancy of the Republican party – not all “Republicans” are “Conservative.”

Let's dump both brands.

I don't know about you, but I do not consider myself either a “Conservative” or a “Republican.” Never have. I consider myself to be one thing and one thing only:

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I AM AN AMERICAN.

Always have been.

Always will be.

Nothing less.

Couldn't be anything more.

To call me a Conservative is to miss the point.

To call me a Republican is to mistake me by a mile.

To call me an AMERICAN is to know me down to the bone. I suspect this blunt fact is true of all those who term themselves “Independents,” all those who call themselves “Conservative,” all those who joined the Tea Party, they and all the others who,

Came from the hills and mountains, 

The valleys and the plains
,
Some were kind and gentle, 

And some too wild to tame.

That's who we are and that's who we shall always remain -- Americans.

A single, obvious, and overarching word to cover a wide, wide tent:

Americans.

Americans all regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin.

Let's rebrand ourselves from this point forward:

When you are called a Conservative, you reply, “No, I am an AMERICAN.”

If someone tries to tar you with the label “Republican,” you must correct them by saying, “No, I am an AMERICAN.”

If they say you are arguing from Republican or Conservative views, point out to them that you are arguing from AMERICAN views only.

Do that consistently and we can all look forward to future disputes and elections that pit the “Progressives” against the AMERICANS. I know which way I'd bet.

It's a big country. If we call ourselves "AMERICANS" we're going to need a bigger tent.

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Failing to fetch me me at first keep encouraged,
Missing me one place search another,
I stop some where waiting for you

Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass [1855]

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 28, 2017 11:38 PM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You"

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Mike at Cold Fury's New day dawning fires both barrels and then reloads:


Here’s the deal: for a long, long time, but really getting cranked into high gear eight years ago,
you people have been picking the pockets of the people who do the actual work in this country—as George Bailey had it, “the people who do most of the working and the paying and the living and the dying in this community”—to pay for liberal-fascist social-engineering projects they were neither asked their opinion about nor approved of. You did this as though you assumed it was your God-given right, a fundamental assertion of your supposedly superior intellect, morality, and sensitivity. They were neither consulted about nor agreed with that assertion either, and you brooked absolutely no examination of it.
You fleeced them for a huge percentage of their income, itself steadily dwindling because of those self-same socialist policies you advocated for and implemented—policies that any fool can see have never worked, that have failed every time and everywhere they’ve been tried. You made it impossible for them to eke out a living with your meddlesome, intrusive government and its regulatory overreach, which stifled the creation of new small business, the lifeblood of the American economy.
They were supposed to sit back quietly and watch without complaint as you stole freedom after freedom from them, until they were surrounded by no-smoking zones, no-free-speech zones, gun-free zones, no-liberty zones. You surveilled them with cameras on every street corner and bugs in their personal computers at home; you tracked their whereabouts via their cell phones and the GPS units in their cars, all of which was ostensibly put there to defend against an Islamist terrorism you won’t even call by its name, much less fight, because of an “Islamophobia” that is not only undefined, but which doesn’t even demonstrably exist.
Everything that was not mandatory was forbidden, according exclusively to you, in consultation with absolutely no one else, with no other input either sought or accepted.
You inhabit cities that are festering cesspools of crime, lawlessness, and disease, then start sniping our police as a direct result of the riots you ginned up in response to a handful of violent thugs being justly taken down in the process of assaults against the cops committed with deadly intent. You sit idly in a squalor, muck, and rot with which the rest of us have no desire to surround ourselves, busily trying to export it to people who don’t want it, acting as if it conferred some sort of regal, high-minded, man-bunned eminence instead of just making you look foolish for willingly sitting in a pile of shit you claim doesn’t stink.
A mere handful of years ago, you yourselves were opposed to the idea of gay marriage; both Hillary and Obama explicitly stated their opposition to it, and Bill Clinton signed into law the Defense Of Marriage Act, which you now present as an evil anathema to everything right and good about America since its founding. The idea of upending an entire civilization to accommodate a minuscule, statistically insignificant class of mentally-disturbed individuals tragically confused about their actual gender wasn’t even on anybody’s radar at all. Suddenly, with a quickness that seems absolutely incredible in hindsight, those things were a cause celebre with you, and they were quickly rammed down American throats because who we (including most of you) once were is now deemed—by you, and you alone—to be “not who we are.”


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 28, 2017 2:48 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Perpetual childhood is learned from perpetual parents

HT: Sense of Events


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 23, 2017 11:30 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Total War? You Can't Handle Total War

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

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For the Vikings, this was the essence of war: it's a mystery that comes out of nowhere and grows for reasons nobody can control, until it shakes the whole world apart. Njal's saga ends with a vision of war as the underlying horror of the world, always waiting underneath the frail mirage of peace. In a final dream image, spectral women are seen working an occult and horrible loom: "Men's heads were used in place of weights, and men's intestines for the weft and warp; a sword served as the beater, and the shuttle was an arrow. And these were the words the women were chanting:

Blood rains
From the cloudy web
On the broad loom
Of slaughter.
The web of man
Gray as armor
Is being woven.

This is as good a description as is available for the course of World War II from the fall of 1944 on -- after the Allies at last acknowledged that, despite the decisive battles of the previous summer, the Axis was never going to surrender. That was when the Allies changed their strategy. They set out to make an Axis surrender irrelevant.

From that winter into the next spring the civilians of Germany and Japan were helpless before a new Allied campaign of systematic aerial bombardment. The air forces and air defense systems of the Axis were in ruins by then. Allied planes flew where they pleased, day or night -- 500 at a time, then 1,000 at a time, indiscriminately dumping avalanches of bombs on every city and town in Axis territory that had a military installation or a railroad yard or a factory.

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By the end of the winter most of Germany's industrial base had been bombed repeatedly in saturation attacks; by the end of the following spring Allied firebombing raids had burned more than 60 percent of Japan's urban surface area to the ground.

There was no precedent even in this war for destruction on so ferocious a scale. It was the largest berserker rage in history. The Allies routinely dropped incendiary bombs in such great numbers that they created firestorms in cities throughout the Axis countries. These weren't simply large fires. A true firestorm is a freak event, where a large central core of flame heats up explosively to more than 1,500 degrees, and everything within it goes up by spontaneous combustion -- buildings erupt, the water boils out of rivers and canals, and the asphalt in the pavement ignites. Immense intake vortices spring up around the core and begin sucking in oxygen from the surrounding atmosphere at hurricane speeds. The Allied raids reduced cities in minutes to miles of smoldering debris. Hundreds of thousands of people were killed -- about 20 percent of them children. Tens of thousands suffocated, because in the area around a firestorm there's no oxygen left to breathe....

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Such was the discipline of the Axis armies that they went on fighting even in the midst of these cataclysms. But the homelands they were defending disintegrated into anarchy and rubble. Tens of millions of Germans and Japanese were driven from the wreckage of their homes to join the hundreds of millions of people already flooding the roads of Europe and Asia. They were seen everywhere, trudging away from smoking villages and along the ruined autobahns, across cratered fields and through burned forests. "DPs," they were called, displaced persons: interminable lines of refugees carrying a few possessions (a bag of tools, a handful of books, a house cat, a crying baby) in an anonymous stream. Amid the chaotic flux of collapsing empires, no one could sort out what side the latest flood of DPs had been on or where they wanted to go now; their movements were as unpredictable as tidal waves. Millions of Japanese came pouring back into the home islands from the dwindling fringes of the "coprosperity sphere," but there was nowhere to house them, with so many millions already on the streets because of the firebombings. In the eastern provinces of Germany a wave of terror and panic spread through the population as the Red Army at last approached. Overnight more than ten million people bolted for the west, abandoning land that had been cultivated and treasured by Germans for more than a thousand years, since before the time of Die Meistersinger, since before an anonymous poet in a royal court had first written down the legends of the Nibelung's ring. Not everyone joined the stampede, but those who stayed to protect their homes learned that their worst fears had been wholly justified. The Red Army murdered more than a million civilians in the eastern provinces of Germany as it marched toward Berlin.

Meanwhile the crimes the Axis had so long fought to conceal were coming to light. Every day brought news of some large-scale atrocity or revealed years of bottomless despair -- even now, historians examining newly discovered archives are finding evidence that the Axis occupation was much worse than had been previously imagined. When the three-year siege of Leningrad was at last broken, it was learned that more than a million people had died of starvation; they'd killed their house pets for food, and before the end there were pervasive rumors of cannibalism. The collapse of the Japanese empire revealed famine throughout China; more than ten million people in provinces once controlled by the Japanese were dying or dead. And in April 1945 the line of German defenses finally shrank back far enough that the death camps were discovered by Allied troops. "A crime beyond the imagination of man," the first news reports called it. People who thought they'd been permanently numbed to horror found they were wrong.

But by then the Holocaust seemed almost lost in the universal destruction. The deaths are still being counted. In the decades after the war it was believed that between 15 million and 20 million people had died in the war, but historians now believe the real number was at least three times higher, and some recent estimates (based on studies of newly declassified archives in Russia and China) put the total at close to 75 million. The extent of the material damage was incalculable. The civilian economies of Europe and Asia were a shambles. Most industries not related to war production had been shut down or destroyed outright. Basic commodities were unobtainable, even on the black market. Roads and bridges throughout two continents had been blown up, ports had been wrecked, and commercial shipping had stopped. The submarine war had sent rivers of oil into the ocean -- a torrent that made the great postwar spills look like irrelevant trickles; oil from torpedoed tankers was washing up on beaches all over the world. Nobody knew enough to care about environmental damage in those days; what mattered to them was that their essential fuel source had become as rare as gold. The unavailability of fuel was what finally broke the last German armies still fighting in the field. The Japanese government, its supply of oil cut off, had ordered civilians to dig up every pine tree on the home islands so that a synthetic oil could be distilled from the roots (it didn't work).

Food too was desperately scarce -- not only because the armies had commandeered so much of the supply, but because the war had ruined agricultural production in much of the world. There had been rationing for years on all sides. "Hitler butter" was what the Germans had called their foul-smelling margarine substitute, the only kind available; the British had learned to expect the promising-looking morsels of beef in their stew to have the unique, disgustingly sweet taste of horse meat. But even these delicacies vanished in the war's final fury. Hundreds of millions of acres of farmland were left fallow or destroyed by the movement of the combat zones. Countless herds died of starvation, were slaughtered by troops for food, or were killed by the universal, indiscriminate shelling. With no safe transport, thousands of tons of fresh fruits and vegetables were left unharvested or rotted in the warehouses of blockaded ports. The standard food ration in Japan fell far below the subsistence level, and in Europe fresh meat and fruit, when they could be had at all, were found only in the black markets -- which were officially discouraged but universally tolerated because they helped stave off the growing threat of famine.

Even in America, which had been the least damaged of any combatant nation, the final year of the war at last eroded the basic textures of life. Rationing, after that giddy summer of expectancy was over, was reimposed more stringently than before. The black market dried up, and beef was scarce for the first time since the war began. There was a serious shortage of heating oil by the end of the year, in the middle of the coldest winter in a decade. Blackouts were still in effect on both coasts, and to conserve fuel the government ordered brownouts in midwestern cities -- all businesses were to close at dusk. For the first time since the war began the lights of Chicago, like those of all the major cities of the Northern Hemisphere, went dark.

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


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 23, 2017 11:13 AM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Farewell from the Greatest President America Ever Had

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"In looking forward to the moment, which is intended to terminate the career of my public life, my feelings do not permit me to suspend the deep acknowledgment of that debt of gratitude, which I owe to my beloved country for the many honors it has conferred upon me; still more for the steadfast confidence with which it has supported me; and for the opportunities I have thence enjoyed of manifesting my inviolable attachment, by services faithful and persevering, though in usefulness unequal to my zeal.

"If benefits have resulted to our country from these services, let it always be remembered to your praise, and as an instructive example in our annals, that under circumstances in which the passions, agitated in every direction, were liable to mislead, amidst appearances sometimes dubious, vicissitudes of fortune often discouraging, in situations in which not unfrequently want of success has countenanced the spirit of criticism, the constancy of your support was the essential prop of the efforts, and a guarantee of the plans by which they were effected. Profoundly penetrated with this idea, I shall carry it with me to my grave, as a strong incitement to unceasing vows that Heaven may continue to you the choicest tokens of its beneficence; that your union and brotherly affection may be perpetual; that the free constitution, which is the work of your hands, may be sacredly maintained; that its administration in every department may be stamped with wisdom and virtue; than, in fine, the happiness of the people of these States, under the auspices of liberty, may be made complete, by so careful a preservation and so prudent a use of this blessing, as will acquire to them the glory of recommending it to the applause, the affection, and adoption of every nation, which is yet a stranger to it.....

"One of the expedients of party to acquire influence, within particular districts, is to misrepresent the opinions and aims of other districts. You cannot shield yourselves too much against the jealousies and heart-burnings, which spring from these misrepresentations; they tend to render alien to each other those, who ought to be bound together by fraternal affection....

"I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the state, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party, generally.

"This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy.

"The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries, which result, gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of Public Liberty.

"Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind, (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight,) the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it.

"It serves always to distract the Public Councils, and enfeeble the Public Administration. It agitates the Community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms; kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which find a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another....

"Relying on its kindness in this as in other things, and actuated by that fervent love towards it, which is so natural to a man, who views it in the native soil of himself and his progenitors for several generations; I anticipate with pleasing expectation that retreat, in which I promise myself to realize, without alloy, the sweet enjoyment of partaking, in the midst of my fellow-citizens, the benign influence of good laws under a free government, the ever favorite object of my heart, and the happy reward, as I trust, of our mutual cares, labors, and dangers."

George Washington
United States - September 17, 1796

Washington's Farewell Address - Wikisource, the free online library


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 22, 2017 12:32 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Making Mount Rushmore

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It began in 1923, when South Dakota historian Doane Robinson had the idea to carve larger-than-life figures into the state's Black Hills.

Robinson wanted to honor Western heroes — both Native Americans and pioneers — but it was his sculptor, Gutzon Borglum, who suggested the monument go national, spotlighting George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Robinson appealed to Congress for funds and permission, but only permission was granted. Amid outspoken opposition to the project, planning and fundraising began in 1925. But it wouldn't have gotten very far without President Calvin Coolidge who, in one of his last executive acts, signed a bill approving funding. Borglum broke ground in 1927.

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The workers were paid $8 an hour, which is more than $100 an hour by today's standards.

But the work was brutal and dangerous. They had to endure blazing hot summers and bitter cold winters. Just to clock in each morning, they had to climb more than 500 stairs and maneuver over 45 ramps to the top of the mountain. Drillers and carvers strapped into leather harnesses dangled on the side of the mountain, hundreds of feet off the ground. Anytime they needed to change position or come up for the day, a worker hand-cranked the cable. Incredibly, not a single person died in the process, thanks to the intricate, and stringent, infrastructure Borglum designed.

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--- More at The Week


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 21, 2017 9:07 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Road Tales: Where the Buffalo Roam

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Proof -- Dateline: Moab, Utah Taken at Site

He'd hunted big game for years all over the United States. Hunting was a way of life to him. But, in all those years, he'd never shot a buffalo. He'd put his name in for the lottery that gave out yearly licenses to shoot buffalo, but year after year the winning number had eluded him. As he failed, again and again, his need to add a buffalo, an American bison, to his life bag grew to obsessive proportions. Finally, he could stand it no longer. He determined that he would buy a couple of young buffalo, raise them, and then shoot them. It seemed like a plan.

When the buffalo purchase was completed the question arose about where these buffalo were to be raised. He wasn't a rich man and the cost to two baby buffalo maxed out his credit cards. The only viable option was to raise them on his front lawn in Moab, Utah. Accordingly, the buffalo were delivered and put out to pasture, or "out to lawn" as the case may be.

Besides grass the lawn also contained, courtesy of his kids, a couple of soccer balls. Shortly after the buffalo became his lawn ornaments, he was out walking among them when one of them discovered a soccer ball and butted it over to him with its nose. Without thinking he kicked it back towards the other buffalo, who passed it to the first buffalo who butted it back to him. An hour or so of passing and kicking the soccer ball between man and buffalo ensued.

When he went out on his lawn the next morning, they were waiting for him. One seemed to be playing midlawn while the other hung back by the water trough which had become some sort of goal. The forward buffalo butted the ball towards him. Without thinking he returned the kick over the head of the forward. No good. With a speed belying its bulk, the defensive buffalo moved quickly and butted it through his legs to the porch. When it bounced off the barbecue, they seemed to do a brief victory prance. The game was afoot.

Day after day, week after week, the strange lawn ritual with the soccer ball went on and on. In truth, he had long since pulled far ahead of the buffalo in goals, but what do buffalo know about keeping score?

In time, however, the hunting season came around. He looked out of his house on the first morning and saw the buffalo waiting for him, the soccer ball in front of the forward, the defensive buffalo pacing slowly back and forth by the water trough. It came to him then that he could never shoot them. It would spoil the season -- and the soccer season, in the deserts of Utah, is never really over.

On a hot afternoon soon after, he looked out his window and discovered, much to his delight and his neighbors' shock, that the two buffalo on his lawn were indeed male and female.

Now it is two years later and he has four buffalo on his lawn. He doesn't hunt anything anymore. Says he's lost the taste for it. His old hunting buddies come by every so often and razz him about the buffalo.

"You started with two and couldn't shoot them," one said. "Now you got four, and next year you're gonna have five. What are you going to do then?"

He went to his garage and came back with a basketball.


Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 18, 2017 2:35 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Olympic Peninsula at the Vernal Equinox

Too much winter? Too much rain? Two words: "Road Trip"

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THE FIRST THING YOU LEARN IS your don't go "into" the Olympic Peninsula. You go around it. Although Seattle has the feel of being on a coast, it's really an interior city protected from the lashing storms of the Northwest Pacific by a vast up-welling of mountains, as much as it is protected from the cutting edge of our political storms by its removal to the far corner of the nation. One of the advantages of the city is that it sits at the bottom of a vast bowl of straits, lakes and mountains. When the rain clears out and you take in the western view from the top of Queen Anne Hill (the highest hill in Seattle) you see the barrier of the Olympic Mountains that seems to wrap around half the horizon. After seeing this a number of time, two words appear in the mind: Road Trip.

So it was with Spring a day away and, for once, a promising weather forecast I set out for a short trip to the Olympic Peninsula since I had had enough, for a few days at least of:

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But, as I said, there is no "into" when it comes to the Olympic Peninsula, only "around."

It was not promising when, in my effort to get to the ferry that would take me out to the jumping off point, I ran afoul of three detours and two Sunday afternoon traffic jams. What should have been a fifteen minute drive to the ferry turned into an hour and a half. Enough time to take me off my original plan of staying at the Kalaloch Lodge. Instead, I only managed to make the town of Forks in time to participate in the town's annual scholarship auction. You had no choice but to participate since every sound system in every store and restaurant was tuned to the broadcast of the auction and turned up loud. I took shelter by going to the auction itself.

It was one of those small town events that puts your faith in the essential goodness of people back into your soul. Everyone in this town of some 1,300 souls had evidently donated something (From a $1600 Alaskan Fishing Trip to a plate of 6 brownies baked by the Brownies -- $22 and delicious). And everyone in the town was buying something. Furniture, art, baked goods, embroidered guest towels, exercise equipment... a hodgepodge of a town wide garage sale. The purpose? A fund to send some kids from Forks to college. And in Forks getting to college was very, very important because it meant those kids that made it had a chance to get out of Forks.

Not that it is a bad town. Not at all. It is just that it is a dying town. The curtailing of logging and fishing in the Olympic Peninsula may have gone over well in Seattle where people are concerned that they won't have any natural, unspoiled environments in which to ride their horsies and mossy woods to hike about in. In Seattle, the only thing more popular for a politician to say than "It's for the children" is "It's for the environment." Some of the brighter politicians have taken to working in the phrase, "It's for the children's environment!" This always plays to rousing ovations and cheers, especially from the childless.

Things are not so happy in Forks which has had to deal with the loss of thousands of jobs as a result of various "popular" [in the cities] measures. Forks, by any measure, is struggling to keep its head above water. You can feel it in the forced cheer and the determined pride shown at this one small auction where, against all odds, they have managed to raise more than $50,000 for the Forks Escape Fund.

One of my local correspondents, much more knowledgeable about the shameful political history that killed Forks related this small tale that pretty much sums up the relationship of city and town in Washington state:

Our US Senators, Patty Murray (D) who we rightfully detest and Slade Gorton (Republican and now defeated by Maria Cantwell) were on opposite sides of a timber debate on the floor of the senate. Listening to the floor action on the squawk box, we heard Patty nattering about how she was totally in tune with the people of Washington on timber issues, why in fact the lumbermen of Forks were some of her best sources of information and strongest supporters, The staffer turned to me and said "Seattle liberal greenies may love Patty, but not the good folks in Forks. She's cost hundreds, maybe thousands of timber people their jobs. If you handcuffed her to the stop sign in the middle of Forks at 3 AM, come morning she'd be gone and they would never be able to find her body."

True enough. I looked. And she wasn't there. There are many hungry crab pots in these waters.

After an amazingly indifferent meal, I put up at the Pacific Inn Motel to wait for dawn and pray for sun.

Which, amazingly, arrived with the dawn. I wanted to go south towards the Hoh Rain Forest, but since La Push was nearby I decided to head there. Big mistake. Even though my correspondent, who had been so prescient about Forks, declared that she "grew up hiking, camping, trying to drown myself and poaching salmon, crabs and clams off all these beaches and I love every stinking piece of seaweed on every slippery barnacle befouled rock, " I found that I could not share the love enough to find it in La Push. La Push is an indian village and like most of these sad places, seems determined not to let money from casinos work against decades of squalor. Whenever I find myself in these towns I always have to wonder where all those millions are going. Certainly not for paint or decent housing. I beat a quick retreat.

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La Push, the only scenic view

About an hour later, I took a left and came to one of the roads I was looking for.

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This let me know that I was well on my way to what is probably the greatest collection of moss in the Northern Hemisphere, the Hoh Rain Forest.

I stopped in a small store on the way in where the woman behind the counter had been waiting patiently for at least a week to sell something to somebody. She sold me a rain coat. "You'll probably need it seeing that you are going to a rain forest." What could I do but agree? Besides, it was lined with the holy fabric of the Pacific Northwest, fleece, and it doubled my holdings.

Correctly attired, waterproof, I pushed on up the road past local inhabitants --

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--- and signage betraying local attitudes that seemed as eager to say "Goodbye" as "Howdy tourista!"

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But it was worth it because, once beyond the mysteriously deserted entrance to the Hoh Rain Forest, --

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-- I found myself alone in the location where they will shoot the Freddy Kruger epic, Nightmare in the National Parks.

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Walking the Hall of Mosses trail alone on a Monday morning brings you quickly in touch with the overwhelming beauty of this carefully preserved and presented part of the forest. The signs along the way and the slow rise into deeper and deeper groves of moss obliterated trees is like walking through a live Powerpoint slide show on "the value of preserving our national parks at all costs. No matter who has to pay."

At the same time, this particular show, by the time you get to the core of it, starts to present your subconscious mind with all sorts of disturbing back chatter. For all the beauty of it, you still understand that you are also seeing a parasite run wild across a very large chunk of forest. And you see, time and again, how a very small organism such as a spore of moss can topple very large forms of life such as a 300 foot tall spruce. I've always liked moss but I have noticed that various treatments to kill it are quite popular at the local Home Depots. Perhaps, just perhaps, even a good thing can get a little out of hand.

From the Hoh Rain Forest I finally found my way to Kalaloch Lodge. I'd made this my destination since it seemed to promise all the things I need in the way of a retreat from the world, that vision of Edna St. Vincent Millay of:

.... a little shanty on the sand

In such a way that the extremest band

Of brittle seaweed shall escape my door

But by a yard or two ...

and closer still to an acceptable restaurant

serving three meals a day

compete with an adequate wine list

and a nearby store fully stocked

with a vast assortment of

classic American snack foods.

And so I was forced to hunker down with plank-grilled salmon and a few glasses of crisp Riesling. And there I sat until, as it will, the last light came and got me.

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It not only fetched me out of the cabin, it fetched the entire lodge as if a lodestone had, on the very cusp of the vernal equinox, of Spring, taken hold of our rain-soaked, mossy souls and dragged us out of our pastoral stupor, back into the world dimensional.

All along the cabins strung down the bluff doors opened and men, women, children and dogs came tumbling out onto the wet lawn to hover and stare as far out to sea as they could while the sun came down from beneath the curtain of cloud and lit the world and made it new.

It was only about five hours steady drive back to Seattle, but nobody was leaving. Behind us you had the impenetrable escarpment of the Olympic Peninsula.

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In front of us you had the slow Pacific swell illuminated by the hand of God.

Tomorrow would be the first full day of Spring. It would rain again. It would always rain again.

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For now, nobody was going anywhere.


Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 16, 2017 12:38 PM |  Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why Free Speech Is All That Matters

"If there had not been freedom of speech in the 19th century, I can guarantee you that we would still have slavery today. Powerful voices would have silenced the abolitionists arguments and the modern world would never have come into being. We have labor saving devices because labor became expensive. And labor became expensive because slavery was ended...."

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 16, 2017 7:43 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lansburgh Girls Win Style Prize

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Five Models Gain Cup at Tidal Bathing Beach Costume Show.

With five models displaying the most modern bathing costumes, Lansburgh & Brother won the prize cup at the first annual style show, held yesterday afternoon at the Tidal bathing beach. The models who represented Lansburgh's -- all local girls -- were Mary Lee, Iola Swinnerton, Thelma Spencer, Hattie Spencer and Julia Cunningham. The suits which they wore were special importations, brought to Washington for exhibition at this show ... -- Washington Post, 6/26/1921


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 8, 2017 5:59 PM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Green House and Berkeley in the Sixties

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But what of the green house?

If that house was not real, if it was not true, if it did not exist, what then did exist? What exists now? Where is the street beside the pale green house on the bright green lawn ringed with violet crocuses in the spring, shaded by three elms near the sidewalk and a rambling blackberry vine that clambered up the outside of the stairs and porches that linked the four apartments? That house where a few of the dreamers lived and others met, ate, loved, slept or passed through. What happened there between those ghosts made not of shadows but sudden shafts of sunlight?

Could they be called up? Brought back from the distances?

Could they be made to emerge from the dream and inhabit this present waking world amid the gaudy tokens and worn rewards of our despised surrender?

Would such ghosts, if caught in a web of words, stand and unfold themselves as they were, as more than they were, as emblems of the dream, wavering like rushlights in rooms made from mist, running along beaches smeared with seadrift and sunset, lounging against phantom trees on those parched and lawn-lined streets, talking and laughing in whispering echoes on porches through the warm, dusky evenings when the falling light caressed the harps of bridges across the bay and the music was made of its light, and the clouds flowing in from the sea over the shadowed hills moved to the music through all the past lost years like ships setting out for the Fortunate Isles beneath the burnt orange strings of the sun’s lyre stretched across the mouth of the bay?

Ah, but that lyre is an old lie. And there was no truth. And without truth, there was no foundation, and, hence, no enduring reality. There was only America, only one dream of America. No better or worse, no more or less real, than a thousand other dreams of America. It was a dream woven on the loom of the stars and the ocean that enmeshed that western city on seven hills which we watched at night from the green house on the flatlands across the bay. A thousand and one nights watching and telling tales which were, in the final analysis, but variations on a single theme of light reclaimed and held against the flooding dark for but a moment.

And then the distant guns coming closer, the bells, the sirens, the chopping whir of helicopters, the boots falling in lockstep, the thud of nightsticks, the crackling orders on two-way radios, metallic clicks, shotgun fire, the screaming…

We awoke in a metal dawn. The air tasted of rust. The smell of burning automobiles and tear gas was woven in the morning breeze and we slowly came to understand that the dreams were gone and only the nightmare was left. It was a slow nightmare which—if not exactly true, for truth in the nightmare was only propaganda—was at its bottom as real as the black neoprene bags on the tarmac in Saigon. And this reality in time revealed to us the final face of fear—a fear that was not a fear of death, but of continuing failure; of our failure to sustain the dream, to make it real, to constantly renew it. And this fear, a fear seldom spoken by any but known to all, kept us awake through all the years that followed and forced us, in the end, to deny not only the dream, but the very possibility of dream.

And in time we became like all the others before us although we had, like all the others before us, sworn that we would not.

We forgot the dream. We sold most of the records and purchased color televisions with cable hookups. We sold all the books and subscribed to a news weekly. We moved from the rented rooms, leaving the mattress, rug, and cat to shift for themselves, and made from what was real our cold comfort.

These days there is money to be made and property to be acquired. Now there is important work to be done. Now we have responsibilities to meet and, oh, that was all long ago. The green house is gone and we are changed, changed utterly. We no longer remember.

“Time,” she sang, “keeps movin’ on.”

No.

Do not go.

Rest easy here with me.

I have not forgotten, nor have you. Together, we will remember. Together we will recall it all, as it was or as it should have been; it makes little difference. We shall walk back and raise it up; a testament to foolish desire, mistaken ideals, strong hopes, and wild nights; a place where there will be light and warmth and we will abide forever together as we were and as we wished to become. A small green house where there is always room for one more, if memory serve.

And memory shall serve. It is ours to command. It is the one thing of value which can be given but not taken. It is our past, our common history. We know it is beyond price. Why else have we been such haste to pawn it? Because it lends light to our present lives and hence we fear it?

Who among us does not secretly despise what we have made of our dreams? Who among us does not secretly loathe what we have become for the sake of this dubious reality?

It was better, clearer, cleaner and more strangely beautiful when we slept in the green house.

It was not a special place. It was ordinary. The most ordinary place in the world. If it was neither real nor natural, it was fraught with a strange excitement, fecund with endless possibility. It was built of a metaphysic so loose that the most absurd accident could happen and it would only be a part of the Grand Design. It was a place where revelation and prophecy were daily events, the Second Coming scheduled for tomorrow after lunch, magic considered merely another, older branch of science, poetry an acceptable mode of speech, and caricature a widely appreciated attitude. As far as we know Rasputin, William Blake, St. Teresa, and Walt Whitman had never lived in the green house, but they would have been welcome if they had wandered in.

Let’s go then and knock on the door.

All you’ve got to do is step right up.

All you’ve got to do is ring that bell.

You can come as you are.

There’s nothing to be hung about.

There is some wine for the asking, music always playing, pipes forever smouldering. Perhaps there will be some hashish, or the more exotic opium. Perhaps there will someone to meet and take home later. Perhaps there will be a chance for love among these phantoms—among these phantoms we have set to sleep in music that our dreams remind us.

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 7, 2017 10:03 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Up: Ye Olde Roof Korean Moments

"The progressive wing of the statists look to have learned very little from the Trump victory in November and absolutely refuse to acknowledge their version of reality is not measuring up to the facts of the situation.

A more stark example of the Dunning-Kruger effect I cannot think of. The people protesting have the misplaced idea that Newton’s third law does not translate on a sociological level. The election most are so upset over is proof positive that a segment of America feels very attacked and very marginalized, and over the last eight years has not only showed up to the voting booth but showed up to the gun store as well. I don’t pretend to be able to read the tea leaves. However, there will come a point when the violence will elicit a reaction from either a state actor or non-state actors, or both. Starbucks and Berkley may not bother to defend their private property, but there will inevitably be a Korean shopkeeper moment....

"The crisis of identity has been a generation in the making, and inconvenient facts will not reverse a generation raised on political tribalism. Escalation is inevitable because it is the only course left. Trump was the third way Glenn Beck is so obsessed with, a peaceful, albeit crude, stopgap. Unlike peace, war only requires one party to acknowledge the fact. People will die at some point, as a beating gets out of control or a building catches on fire. Trump will feel the need to respond and will likely involve federal agents or possibly the National Guard if the situation escalates even further. The echoes of Kent State are strong here. The moment boots on the ground show up the movement is legitimized and the color revolution has the optics they need. What happens after that is anyone’s guess. One thing is for sure, it will not go away." - - - Inevitable – The Virginia Freeman's Society


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 7, 2017 8:44 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“We’ll have so much winning, you’ll get bored with winning.”

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The Brady Bunch

"The #NeverBrady cabal was supposed to ensure that the hated Patriots lost yesterday’s battle. Gaia was supposed to be appeased by Brady’s complete and utter defeat, and the earth would once again begin to heal itself.

"And it looked really good for Team #NeverBrady for awhile: after all, no team in Super Bowl history has ever come back after being down more than 10 points to win! Until they did.

"The Super Bowl has NEVER gone into overtime! Until it did.

"And nobody has EVER won 5 Super Bowl rings! Until somebody did:

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"And so, against all odds, the Patriots won. How can that be? The fix was in! The #NeverBrady cabal immediately sprung into action: they declared that since Atlanta had accumulated more yards rushing they had actually won the game. They demanded that officials review all of the game tapes, looking for any uncalled penalties against the Patriots. They circulated internet rumors of Russian hackers on the sidelines, moving the yard line markers. They called Brady and Belichick and Kraft “haters.” And I hear that the FBI director called for a reopening of the Deflategate investigation.

"But in the end it was all to no avail: like Trump, Brady and the Patriots won fair and square. And they did it the old fashioned way: they earned it.

"And no, I’m not tired of winning yet." MOTUS A.D.: Brady and the Patriot’s Win: Let The Memes Begin


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 6, 2017 2:37 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Your Super Bowl Half-Time-Show Refuge

Oh yes, this is mighty fine and mighty filling. It is far more entertaining than anything our decayed mainstream showculture can present.

Do a shot, smoke 'em if you got 'em, crack a cold one and deploy the lawn chair.

Take it away, Joe Dan....


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 5, 2017 3:23 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Is it just me or are things getting just a wee bit out of hand?

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"Cui bono?" Lucius Cassius, whom the Roman people used to regard as a very honest and wise judge, was in the habit of asking, time and again, "To whose benefit?"

"Worse is better."In place of the Old Order of "bourgeois capitalism" and "imperialism," Lenin offered a sweeping New Order of socialism, socialist discipline, a global crusade for a new world order. He insisted that any means could be used -- in the amoralistic times -- to attain the goals: labor camps, secret police, one- party dictatorship, civil and international war, the most lethal weapons. Lenin , the quintessence of self-discipline and advocate of strict discipline within his own party and society, commended the spreading of disorder and discord within "bourgeois" societies, which were at a "lower level" of historical development. "Worse is better" was his slogan.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 3, 2017 6:01 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
UC Berkeley: From Free Speech Zone to No-Speech Zone

[Note: The riots on the UC Berkeley Campus to shut down a speaker took place in front of Sproul Hall; the place where I, along with hundreds of others, demonstrated for free speech back in 1964. It brought to mind my tiny role in that history.

"I knew a lad who went to sea and left the shore behind him.
I knew him well the lad was me and now I cannot find him."
]

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There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can't take part. You can't even passively take part! And you've got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you've got to make it stop! And you've got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it — that unless you're free, the [Fascist Progressive] machine will be prevented from working at all!
-- Mario Savio Speech, Sproul Hall, University of California, Berkeley (1964-12-02).

If you look closely at the radical Democrat/Progressive Diet for a Diminished America you see a familiar list of "ingredients." The list is composed of the ideological stock and trade of a significant segment of Americans to whom this nation, as conceived by our founders, and struggled for for more than 200 years is merely one long, large joke.

And I should know. After all, that boy in the picture up there -- that boy that thought Communism was "something we could live with" -- that young boy was me.

In my small way, I took part in the crafting of The Joke on America. For years I thought there was nothing funnier. Conceived during the waning months of World War II, I had no idea I was a Baby Boomer, but that, in the end, was what I was. And being a member of this large and fortunate generation gave me the leisure to develop quite a sense of humor when it came to basic human values.

When I was a student at the University of California at Berkeley in the late 1960s, we were the brave new world's social engineers. We were the innovators. We were busy innovating the brave new world where everything about the old world of our parents seemed either hilarious or evil.

Our program was quite clear early on and it hasn't changed a jot, it has simply gotten more pervasive and elaborate. After all, we're older now and we're in control. We can finally fund these things. With your money.

God, if he didn't emerge from 500 mikes of pure Sandoz LSD, was just a funny old guy a little bit like Santa Claus but with less of a user base.

The Bill of Rights was okay as long as you could figure out someway to erase a few of the amendments involving guns and add a host of new ones involving groups.

The Constitution? Too long and too arcane to really read with care. It was a given so what did we care?

History? The only really happening history was the future, man. Ours.

The United States? They were really "AmeriKKKa" -- Satan incarnate.

The US Military? Baby killers and agents of Satan.

The Police? Pigs.

The Viet Cong, Fidel Castro, and a host of other evil dictators and fascists? Heroes of "The People."

The People? Really wonderful as long as you didn't really have to hang out with them.

Voting in political parties? Stupid. We were into "participatory democracy" which involved really long meetings. ( This is now known as "emergent democracy" and involves really long online discussion threads.)

We believed in sex and drugs and rock and roll.

We were determined to resist "the man" on all levels.

We were young.

And we were very, very stupid for college kids. Check that. We were stupid because we were college kids.

Many of the most committed of us, decades later, are still in college and even dumber. We're professors now and our ability to be dumb has never been deeper.

Others of us are well ensconced in the various parts of what passes for the media. We're there with a lot of others just like us and, even if we thought differently, we'd never say it for fear of losing regard, position, grants, or promotion. Besides, we've been around others who think like us for so long its no problem at all to top up the latte and nod in blind agreement.

Nope, we never sold out. We bought in. But we kept the Che poster pinned up forever in our hearts.

And now, we've arrived at our rendezvous with history.

In our aging but fitness-crazed hearts, we hate what we've become and, like any good group of neurotics, transfer that hate to the country that gave us everything including the Long Peace in which to enjoy it.

We're the first in line to bitch and moan and hate a country that makes our freedom possible. More than that we're also in love with the privilege, comfort, money and safety that makes it possible for us to mouth off without limit. And finally, we're coming to understand that we are not our parents' generation, we're "The Not-So-Great" Generation and deep down we're cowards.

We say we're 'afraid' of losing our cherished 'freedom' to the jackbooted legions of Conservative Brownshirts that might stifle our dissent from every street corner. That's really what a lot of us think. That's really just how bull-goose looney we've become.

Excerpted From Goodbye to the Way We Were @ AMERICAN DIGEST


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 3, 2017 9:40 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Days of Rage: Your Long... Long (But Worth It) Reading Assignment

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The Left is far better at allowing its people, esp radicals, to rise and mainstream. As a result, way more new Lefties attain prominence and effective leadership status than Righties.

This makes for a deeper activist bench. With a sea of effective, prominent Lefties, Lefties who are lost will be mourned but not irreplaceable. This is emphatically not the case for Righties. To be perfectly blunt: the Right would be extremely easy to disrupt with targeted assassinations. The Left would not.

Once political violence starts, the smart move is to keep your violence low-level and try to provoke the other guys into serious violence. This, as with everything else, favors the Left. The Left can absorb a hell of a lot of serious violence.

Martyrs are fuel for Leftism. Look at the history of unions. So these are the tactics I see the Left using for early political violence:

  • use as many different nonmurderous but disruptive-to-violent tactics as possible
  • "shut it down," occupations, property damage, riots
  • weaponize Institutions against Righties, when possible
  • drag events out — long, very low-level conflict works in Lefties’ favor
  • target individual Righties for intimidation/disemployment, to discourage others
  • target the most effective Righties for Unpersoning, lawfare,.... and (only if absolutely necessary; this would be very rare)
  • assassination

Yes, the Left is doing almost all of this stuff already. But it could be ramped up.

Take disemployment: Lefties clamoring to get somebody fired. The way it works now is reactive, news-cycle driven. It doesn't have to be. Political donations are public record. So are voter registrations. It would be trivial to set up a Disemployment Committee to scrape these. HR departments tend to have a lot of Lefties in them. They could bring back a coordinated blacklist. You'd never know it.

[SNIP]

ADAYRAGECOPY.jpgEver wonder why the American public got behind the idea of mandatory minimums and stiff sentences? The Seventies. The Seventies are why!

As BLA attacks continued, a lone wolf perp in New Orleans, a black radical named Mark Essex, shot 19 people, killing 9, 5 of them cops. Then NYC saw two BLA attacks on cops in 53 hours, and people started thinking that there was a nationwide conspiracy. (It wasn’t that huge.)

In 1973, Chesimard was shot and captured following a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in which a policeman was killed. Not much later, the police finally landed an informant, and after a few stakeouts and gunfights they arrested or killed BLA’s shooters. Sekou Odinga got away. But that’s basically the end of the BLA. Except…

Except this flurry of activity and press has all the radicals who weren’t involved thinking, “Dang, I missed out!” And guess where there’s been a ton of radicalization? In U.S. prisons!

Weatherman had tried to rally the working class. No luck. They weren’t into being radicalized. But black prisoners really, really were.

And white radicals — many the kind who’d be really into privilege confession today — started getting into the idea of black leadership. I mean: really into the idea of black leadership. To the point of fetishizing it. Fetishizing black convicts, especially.

I told you this gets crazy, right? Well, here’s a little taste of the stuff Burrough gets into. Check this out:

In 1972, a group called Venceremos, from the Bay Area, literally broke out a black convict named Ronald Beaty during a prison transport so he could train them in guerrilla tactics and lead a revolution.

That was their actual plan. That was their entire actual plan.

Exactly that one bit from South Park, but a bunch of ’70s white Bay Area radicals going, “Token, you’re black; you know guerrilla tactics.” (Spoiler: when Beaty got arrested again, he promptly rolled over on the white radicals.)

But where there’s a demand, a supply will surface, and in 1973, a black inmate named Donald DeFreeze capitalized on the trend. To better explain Donald DeFreeze: imagine that Eldridge Cleaver & George Jackson are YouTube stars, ok? Well, DeFreeze is the comments.

DeFreeze escaped prison and hooked up with a Berkeley, CA radical named Patricia “Mizmoon” Soltysik. DeFreeze and Mizmoon assembled a small cell of eight men and women. Say hello to the Symbionese Liberation Army. Slogan: “Death to the fascist insect that preys on the blood of the people!”

So their first target, of course, is Oakland’s first black school administrator, superintendent Marcus Foster!

I know. You’re thinking, “Wait, what?”

Foster had dared suggest ID cards for kids and using police to curb in-school violence. For this, the SLA murdered him, on November 6, 1973. In 1974, the SLA kidnapped 19yo heiress Patty Hearst, demanding her family do massive food giveaways (which they did). The food giveaways actually got the SLA some favorable attention in the radical press, for forcing the rich to give to the poor. Meanwhile, the SLA was indoctrinating Hearst and raping her repeatedly. Then the SLA offered her a choice: to join them, or be released.

Let me ask you a question: in the shoes of 19-year-old Patty Hearst, how much would you trust the assurances of Donald DeFreeze and the SLA? That’s exactly how much Hearst trusted them when they said they’d let her go. So she said of course she’d join them. Hearst famously robbed a bank with the SLA and went on the run with them. The account I’ve given of her decision is hers, which I believe.

Read the whole thing at Days of Rage | Status 451. THERE WILL BE A TEST.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 1, 2017 7:35 AM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Not-So-Great Generation: "We didn't sell out. We bought in."


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 29, 2017 9:47 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Back to School

Yesterday I heard of a young mother who came downstairs early in the morning to find her fifth-grade son dressed for school but flat on his back in the middle of the living room staring in despair at the ceiling.

MOM: "What on Earth do you think you're doing?"

BOY: "I can't do it. I just can't go to school any more."

We all know how that small strike ended. Management made an offer ("Go to school or else."), and the union of one caved in with a few plaintive "But mom's.... "

I first thought that there was rough justice in that. After all, the thought of actually going on a ten-minute "I-won't-go-to-school" strike never would have entered my ten-year old mind. If it had I would not have heard the dreaded promise, "Wait until your father gets home." No, I would have heard the thermonuclear announcement, "I'm calling your father at work and telling him to come home right now." That one always alerted me that I had only one half-hour to get my affairs in order.

Today, after mulling the lie-down strike a little more, it seems to me there's more than a little to be said on the side of the fifth-grader's strike. After twenty years of schooling and more than thirty on the day shift, those early grades seem -- looked at through society's grubby glasses -- to be an idyllic time. After all, weren't they?

No real worries. No problems with the opposite or the same sex. No goals other than getting to Christmas break, Easter break or the long and endless summer. No money to make. No money, in fact, to speak of at all. All your expenses covered. No taxes. No sense of mortality. In short, the lost and golden land of childhood. We all think of it, once far removed from it, as some distant Edenic idyll.

But if we try and shift our point of view a bit, and if we try to remember all those things the haze of our twice-told childhood fairy-tales hides from us, we might see it -- just a bit and just for an instant -- from the point of view of the fifth-grade boy flat on his back in the living room staring at the ceiling in utter despair.

Here he lays. He's been going to this job of his for as long as he can remember. Unlike my experience which didn't start until kindergarten, today's boy has probably been working in the education industry since age 3.

They started him out on basic blocks and why he shouldn't nail somebody who took his cookie. Those are hard lessons. How to stack something up so it doesn't collapse in a heap at the first shudder in the earth. How to "share" your very limited and very personal resources. Why you don't just whack anyone who irritates you with the nearest blunt object.

These are basic lessons, and we forget how hard they are. Some of us don't learn them at all. Those people are either in prison, assembling bombs, or CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Still, that's your entry level position in the educational-industrial complex at age 3. It's all downhill from there.

For years you get up at an ungodly hour and don't even get a chance to read the paper. Plus, no coffee at all. Not. A. Drop.

You are then pushed out of your home and either driven to your "office-complex" by a cranky chauffeur with complete control over you, or you get to ride with a few dozen of your more-or-less peers with different ideas of hygiene and levels of intelligence in a shaking tin box with no seatbelts, driven by some of the least intelligent members of your community. I'd be a nervous wreck by the time I got to the office, I'll tell you.

Once you do get to the office, your time to just goof off is extremely limited. No leisurely stints by the water cooler for you. No coffee cart with tasty pastries coming by after only an hour. Bladder issue? Raise your hand and get a note. Other than that you are never alone.

You get one break out in the dirt, with, I might add, no coffee. A couple of hours later you get a quick hit of really bad food that is the same this Wednesday as it was last Wednesday. After that, it's back to your office where they don't even have a little cube for you, but slam you together with 15 to 30 other slaves to the clock in a room fit only for 10.

In some huge gesture to your youth, they let your out of this joint at 3 in the afternoon. They tell you it's a "school day," but if you've been up since 7 and out at three, that's a full eight hours in my book.

Oh, and no chatting with your friends. Yes, you, pipe down. If not it's off to the CEO's antechamber for a quick and humiliating performance review. Daily if you don't snap out of it. If you really don't snap out of it, we're calling your father AND your mother to come here from work right now.

Perhaps you get to enjoy the mastery of your skills? Don't make me laugh. Master one thing and boom here comes another.

Comprehend fractions? That was so last week. Now do long division. Made a volcano that blew up on cue last week? Big deal. This week you are going to construct an Algonquin winter lodge diorama from scratch --- and it better have plenty of cotton balls for snow.

One o'clock. Your project for this hour is the basic structure of the cell. Okay, two o'clock, everybody stand up and turn to the person next to them and say, "Hola, como se llama..."

Day in day out, week in week out, year in year out ... you trudge off to this room crammed to the brim with bird's nests, flash cards, trilobites, pilgrim hats, Indian headresses, drawings and paintings in which the proportion of the head to the body is never right, but looks for all the world like an exhibit by demented Fauvists with no drawing skills whatsoever and a very garish color sense. Twice a day, everybody in this room is let out. Is it any wonder they run screaming into the sunshine?

You have no veto whatsoever over your co-workers, your working conditions, your hours, or your choice of when to do what tasks. Everyone does the same tasks at the same time for 55 minutes and then it is on to something new.

Did I mention the fact that you can't quit? If you try to quit they send the Gestapo to your home and track you down and haul you back.

There is, however, judgment. Oh, the judgment. Constantly tested. Constantly graded. Constantly up for criticism with your single allowable plea being, "Guilty. But with an explanation." It's like an annual review every week with no raises, ever.

And nothing, nothing you do, is ever quite good enough, is it? Except for that four-eyes up in the front row who always gets it done perfectly. No mistakes ever. You know, the kid who will be pantsed and then smothered with 30 co-workers backpacks out behind the backstop one rainy afternoon.

By the fifth grade, you've been in this dead end job for about seven years. If you're lucky, your pay has gone from a dollar to ten dollars a week. Get straight A's and you might get a bonus of one day at the local "Magic Kingdom." Then it's, "Okay, break's over. Everybody back on their heads."

I don't know about you, but that sounds like one of the worst jobs in the world. In fact, the more I think about it the more I want to lie down with that kid in the middle of the living room and say, "I just can't do it any more either."

It took me about 30 years to get to that point. I guess I'm not as smart as I was in the fifth grade. In fact, I'm sure of it.


Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 28, 2017 2:29 AM |  Comments (39)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Trump Hatches the Egg

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Last week (thanks to an unexpected generosity) I flew to Seattle, to celebrate the birthday of one of my best friends. This man and his wife had been on the Trump Train from the start and actively worked (phone banks, door belling, organizing) to ensure his election. They were indefatigable. With them and with other friends in that over-tattooed and pierced moonbat metropolis we drank champagne, ate good food, scarfed down some fine birthday cake, and watched the events of the Inaugural Day -- and the days after -- and proclaimed it all, "BEST WEEKEND EVER!" Back home I tell my friends ( and my Facebook faux friends,) "I am enjoying this far too much, but I feel your pain." I also find I have developed an addiction to the evening shows on Fox News.

This morning I note the various policy announcements regarding Mexico and the shrinking of the federal government and the other items streaming live from the Oval Office. I note the Enemy Media (for so they have positioned themselves) and various other enemies of America being flabbergasted that Trump is actually DOING what he said he WOULD DO. The Enemy Media loses yet again. They have bet against Trump at every turn and yet here they are. They have lost consistently in these bets and they are losing again.

What we have here is not "a failure to communicate" but a "a failure to believe what was clearly communicated again and again."

Perhaps these dense members of the Enemy Media need things explained in a simpler, more memorable fashion. You know, something a child could memorize. Something along the lines of the ever-popular Seussian Horton Hatches the Egg. Recall that...

The book centers on Horton, a genial elephant, who is convinced by Mayzie, a lazy, irresponsible bird, to sit on her egg while she takes a short "break", which turns into her permanent relocation to Palm Beach.

Naturally, the absurd sight of an elephant sitting atop a tree makes quite a scene - Horton is exposed to the elements, laughed at by his jungle friends, captured by hunters, forced to endure a terrible sea voyage, and finally placed in a traveling circus. However, despite his hardships and Mayzie's clear intent not to return, Horton refuses to leave the nest because he insists on keeping his word, often repeating, "I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. An elephant's faithful, one hundred per cent!"

The traveling circus ends up visiting near Mayzie's new Palm Beach residence. She visits the circus just as the egg is due to hatch (after 51 weeks in Palm Beach) and demands that Horton should return it, without offering him a reward. However, when the egg hatches, the creature that emerges is an "elephant-bird", a cross between Horton and Mayzie, and Horton and the baby are returned happily to the jungle, rewarding Horton for his persistence, while Mayzie is punished for her laziness by ending up with nothing.

"Ending up with nothing" pretty much describes the hole that the Democrats and their Moonbat members have dug for themselves. Now that they're down in it it only remains for us to bring out the backhoes and fill it in.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 26, 2017 11:23 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"My Little Old Sod Shanty on the Plains"

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The Chrisman Sisters, 1886: Lizzie Chrisman filed the first of the sisters' homestead claims in 1887. Lutie Chrisman filed the following year and the other two sisters, Jennie Ruth and Hattie, had to wait until 1892, when they came of age, to file.

One of the most striking features of these photos is the pride the homesteaders show.

Many of those photographed were the first landowners in their family. Homesteaders often lined up their most prized possessions in the photos to show the scope of their ownership.

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One woman, reportedly embarrassed by her sod house,

requested that the family be photographed with her pump organ instead. They dragged the organ out into the yard — farm animals and wagons can be seen in the background — then dragged it back into the house after the photo was taken.

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Ned Dunlap, known as Kearney, Nebraska's only real cowboy, 1902.

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The Shores family, near Westerville, Custer County, Nebraska, 1887. Jerry Shores was one of a number of former slaves to settle in Custer County. He took a claim adjacent his brothers’, Moses Speese and Henry Webb (each had taken the name of his former owner).

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Sylvester Rawding brought his family to Nebraska in the 1880s. In 1886, they brought their lunch outside on a muddy day so that photographer Solomon Butcher could capture the family on film. Sylvester was a Union Army Civil War veteran, wounded during a skirmish near Mobile, Alabama.

More images at The Week - America’s pivotal move West

"Oh the hinges are of leather
And the windows have no glass
While the board roof
Lets the howling blizzards in
And I hear the hungry coyote
As he slinks up through the grass
Round the little old sod shanty
On my claim"


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 24, 2017 9:05 AM |  Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Modest Proposal for the Reform of the American Penis

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Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

"Fear not, the Resurrection is close at hand."

The Obvious Truth

SIGMUND FREUD has established for all time that a cigar can be a penis substitute. At about the same time Rudyard Kipling observed that while a woman was only a woman, "a good cigar was a smoke." Lighting up and reflecting on this, Sigmund Freud agreed that a cigar could, in certain places, be "only a cigar." For nearly three decades now, millions of American men, including even politicians such as Nancy Pelosi, have been unable to make this fundamental distinction.

In any reasonable society this signal failure of perception would be a tragedy shared by both sexes. But fortunately for the future of the country, millions of American women have lately come to prefer cigars to penises. Their decision is not utterly without a sunny side since millions of American men have decided - faced with this doleful feminine reality and subsequent weight gain - to prefer penises to both cigars and women.

Both of these responses are islands of light in an era of increasing darkness, but the central tragedy still remains. If things are not clearly out of hand in America's sexual circus (And indeed the declining birth rate and rising divorce rate demonstrates that things are probably all too often in hand), then they are at least at sixes and nines. In this paper we will study the reasons for the decline of the American Penis, and what can be done to hasten its resurrection.

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 23, 2017 11:42 PM |  Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hero


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 23, 2017 8:07 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Battle Hymn of the Republic

I have read a fiery gospel writ in burnish`d rows of steel,
"As ye deal with my contemners, So with you my grace shall deal;"
Let the Hero, born of woman, crush the serpent with his heel
Since God is marching on.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free,
While God is marching on.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 20, 2017 12:18 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
January 19, 2017: The Arrival (584 Days After Starting to Run)

We. Are. Family. Noted in passing: First salute received and returned.

Concept by Abigail Adams.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 19, 2017 5:24 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
June 16, 2015: "So ladies and gentlemen…I am officially running… for president of the United States, and we are going to make our country great again."

June 16, 2015 Donald Trump’s Presidential Announcement Speech way back in the mists of political history. It was all there at the very beginning....


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Wow. Whoa. That is some group of people. Thousands.

So nice, thank you very much. That’s really nice. Thank you. It’s great to be at Trump Tower. It’s great to be in a wonderful city, New York. And it’s an honor to have everybody here. This is beyond anybody’s expectations. There’s been no crowd like this.

And, I can tell, some of the candidates, they went in. They didn’t know the air-conditioner didn’t work. They sweated like dogs.

They didn’t know the room was too big, because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS? I don’t think it’s gonna happen.

Our country is in serious trouble. We don’t have victories anymore. We used to have victories, but we don’t have them. When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.

When did we beat Japan at anything? They send their cars over by the millions, and what do we do? When was the last time you saw a Chevrolet in Tokyo? It doesn’t exist, folks. They beat us all the time.

When do we beat Mexico at the border? They’re laughing at us, at our stupidity. And now they are beating us economically. They are not our friend, believe me. But they’re killing us economically.

The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems.

Thank you. It’s true, and these are the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.

But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people.

It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.

[Read the rest and watch the video if you]

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 19, 2017 4:57 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
AIN'T IT COOL?: A Tale of Two Cultures

[From My Back Pages]

It's Easter Sunday and we are two and a half years into the Iraq war. Good Friday evening was one of those nights when, in Southern California, the weather and the combine to create what are rightly called "balmy conditions." Balm, as in a kind of salve to the soul and the skin. The air is warm but not too warm. The skies are clear and the stars seem closer. My wife and I had just seen some current comic book confection at one of the 20 screen multiplexes that are so numerous in this area that you can see the same movies 15 times within a ten mile radius.

We sat by a large sandstone and marble fountain in the stone circle between the vast theater and the vaster parking lot. It was date night and the beginning of Spring Break for the schools of Orange County. All around us kids from 11 to 18 were whooping and laughing and forming clusters of friends. They were dressed according to the upscale Goth-Surfer/Balkan Refugee dress-code common to the kid culture here on the coast. Most were too young to have tattoos or piercing, but you could see some were already planning where those lifestyle statements would go. They were slim, energetic and heedless of the future. In short, they were just reasonably rich kids in America in 2003.

We are two and a half years into the war, but the war is not and will probably never be these kids' concern. It isn't even something they consider outside of, perhaps, a few classroom exercises of dubious intent or merit. There is no reason they should consider war, nor do I wish that upon them. It isn't, in any real sense, their war. War isn't being asked of us or the affluent kids of Orange County, nor does it seem likely to be. Besides, war isn't what they're into.

They're into creating their own layer on top of our culture of cool. Their variation would be, as these things are these days, a kind of slap-dash cultural collage. It would have a bit of the Beatnik, a Hint of the hippy, a shred of the Skateboarder, an ounce of Outlaw, a portion of Punk, a hunk of Hip-Hop, and, because we were on the California coast, more than a soupcon of Surfer. It would be a melange of the old and outdated that would assert it was unique and brand new. When they were done cooking up their "culture of cool" they would all agree among themselves, "Ain't it cool?"

Their parents, as parents now do, would sigh and pour another drink or drop another Ambien, and hope that their children would get through this phase without a drug arrest, a school suspension, a permanent piercing, or a lethal accident on the highways or in the ocean. It was all they asked of them. We were two and a half years into the war and none of the kids of Orange County would fight in it unless they asked for it. All of the parents in Orange County knew their kids were crazy. After all, they were teenagers in high school. Few thought any of their kids were that crazy.

Less than 20 miles south of where we sat last Friday, there was another kind of youth culture. I saw it for a day last January. You don't see it very often around here because it doesn't hang out at the malls. You can't see it from the freeways because its center is far back in the hills. It has its own malls and towns and sporting and educational complexes. It doesn't deal in "the culture of cool." It deals in the culture of carnage. It's the Camp Pendelton Marine Base.

There are many young people here, some the same age as the kids at the malls to the north, but none of these young people are kids. There's something about daily training with tanks, rifles, heavy machine guns and artillery that puts your childhood as far behind you as the kids at the malls have their childhood still in front of them. Instead of worrying if their dad is going to pay for the new mag-chrome rims for their Escalade, this youth culture worries about the state of readiness of their Apache attack helicopters.

The culture of Camp Pendelton isn't cool in the way political fundraisers today feature hip-hop groups and background music from the golden age of Fleetwood Mac. The culture here despises the culture of cool. The culture here is composed of deeper, abiding and more fundamental things: God, Country and The Corps. There are a lot of people in America and elsewhere that would like nothing better than to deconstruct this culture into oblivion, but, as courageous as they might be in proclaiming this elsewhere, they don't seem to be showing up at the gates or on the grounds of Camp Pendleton to press the issue. They wouldn't because, according to their worldview that arises from spending decades as adolescents, the Marines are just so uncool. Aren't they?

The young men and women that come to this culture do not, we are told, come in the main from the affluent suburbs of America. They come from the ghettos and the working class parts of the country. They come to get a leg up and a ticket out of their origins. They come because they see the Marines as either a career or a means to an education that leads to a career. Most have had little given to them because they come from families with little to give. Some come to prove themselves. Some come because members of their family came before. Some come because the only other path open to them led to a cell. Some even come out of a deep faith and a deeper sense of duty. Not all that come will be accepted, but none come because it is cool. Before they came they too were once kids in America. They got the big and repeated message that the military in America these days is uncool. They knew it was uncool and they came anyway. Some because they had no other choice. Many because they didn't care about being cool if being cool meant being a kid forever.

There aren't many rich Orange County mall rats that come to the Marines out of high school. Rich kids no longer have this calling. Instead they wander on in their extended childhood though college. Then they drift into the arena where all they will have will be a six-figure income and a few "great moments at work." They will learn, if they do not already know, how to play golf and how to drive themselves deep into "middle management." In time, they will form one or two or more families in one or two or more cities or suburbs. Their roots will be shallow, but they will take lots of interesting two-week vacations to comfortable enclaves in Europe or pacified third-world countries. Towards the end, they'll spend a lot on cruise ships where they will be treated 'like royalty.' They'll acquire real estate and hope for "a nice appreciation ride." They will have little to show that they existed but that will be all right. They will use the word 'cool' in conversation and evaluation well into their seventh decade. One of the central social anxieties of their lives will be being discovered being or doing something that their peers will say is "uncool."

In short, they will be such cool Americans that, two and a half years into a war, nothing will be asked of them. That would be, you see, very uncool.

Twenty miles south at Camp Pendelton, everything is being asked of the Americans there. It is asked for in Iraq daily and paid there daily. Our very cool media's job is clear. It is to tell us in hundreds of big and little ways daily of how uncool it is to ask everything of someone. Our media is very cool indeed.

Our media is by default not a "liberal media," but a melange of many businesses and institutions that are staffed by generations of the coolest of the cool in our aging culture of cool. Our media, as every MTV-addled mall rat learns by age 5, is where the really cool jobs are. Rock star or record producer, movie star or director, reporter, anchorman, editor, publisher, video-game designer, web-monkey, DJ, photographer, pundit, columnist -- the positions go on and on and everybody knows, EVERYBODY knows, that the media's where the cool people are.

If you have a job in the media you go to the cool parties. You live in the cool towns driving the cool cars. You eat the cool foods in the cool restaurants where everybody knows your name and you get the cool table next to what passes for this week's cool celebrity du jour. You subscribe to the cool magazines and if you haven't had your picture in one yet, your turn is on the way. You have the cool summer place. Your haircut is cool. Your computer is cool. Your friends are cool. Even your dog is cool. You wear the cool clothes, and you are absolutely up-to-the-nanosecond on what is cool now and what will be cooler tomorrow. And you also know that that which is not of the culture of cool is uncool.

What is uncool today, two and a half years into the war, is, of course, the war. War's been uncool to these eternal cool kids and their kids since about 1962 and, except for a brief six month period after September 11, 2001, war is uncool now. War's uncool because, well, it is "unhealthy for children and other living things" goes the party line in the culture of cool. This war is especially uncool because it is being run by uncool people and the uncoolest President ever. But really, war is uncool because it is one of the big things that threatens to undo all the great parties and smooth lifestyles promised and delivered by the media-made culture of cool. And how does war threaten this? War, real war, actually asks something of the people of a nation as a whole people. It asks them to sacrifice their blood and their treasure and their cool attitudes and their endless summers. It asks, in the parlance of the Marine Corps, that "all give some and that some give all."

The American culture of cool has become a nation apart, an alternate-America that looks to the real America as merely some mechanism set up to deliver the many features and benefits of America to the culture of cool without question, by divine right of media. This culture is not into giving back anything they have taken from the culture at large. The culture of cool is not a giving culture, it is an taking culture. Anything it chooses to have is taken in and used to improve the lot of those within the culture of cool. That which is not cool it seeks to either use or destroy depending on whether or not it advances the culture of cool and the lifestyles of those that exist within it. It sees itself as the real soul and real intelligence of America, even as it actually rides on the broad shoulders of America like some strangling old man of the sea that, once taken up, refuses to get down. It sees itself as the engine responsible for making the culture of America continually new, even as it only recycles one empty cultural container after another through the battered green bins of its rigid internal codes and fashions to pop them out as 'new, improved and even more impossibly hip.'

Regardless of the shiny gift wrap of the cool advertising and marketing agencies that have taken to spotwelding vintage rock and roll and the latest pop or sports sensation's face onto their shabby garage sale goods, we seldom see, hear, or read anything today that is not either a remake, a sequel, or an allusion to the cool things of yesteryear. The same holds true for the politics of cool. This is confirmed in a brief review of the lamentable Democratic primaries of this year. During the months of this excruciating ritual, what was once a proud and progressive party offered up nearly a dozen cardboard candidates. When it was all over, the party chose the one candidate that sounded the most like, looked the most like, and sported the haircut and even the initials of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Camelot Redux because JFK was, as the culture of cool constantly reminds us, the coolest President ever.

John F. Kerry is, in many ways, the perfect candidate for today's graying culture of cool. He snowboards at sixty. How cool is that? He goes to great parties with hip-hop stars. Too cool. He's got lots of money that he didn't earn. So cool. He can hold opposite positions on difficult issues and lie about it with a straight face. Very cool way of getting out of middle management into upper management. He can fight in a war and throw another man's medals away. Cool career move. He can promise 10 million jobs to the 8 million unemployed. Super cool to make more jobs than workers. If he can tax those jobs that have no workers, he can probably cool out the deficit. He can talk to and cajole the alienated country of France into amour encore. This is extremely cool since it makes renting summer villas in France and trips to Paris acceptable again. Besides France is the coolest country in Europe as every member of the culture of cool will attest. His Africa-born white wife is so cool she calls herself an "African-American." Most of all, Kerry is cool because he thinks the war is uncool and is saying so in a cool kind of way. Even more than that, the members of the culture of cool know that Kerry will never ask anything of them. And the culture of cool is not a giving culture, but a taking one. If Kerry would only learn to play the saxophone he would be cooler than JFK.

Yesterday I saw a photograph fresh from the war in Iraq. There are many photographs from Iraq these days. It's an uncool country in an uncool part of the world where American soldiers are fighting and dying to cool it out. It's uncool to be a soldier there, but it is very cool to be a photographer, so we have a lot of photographers and a lot of photographs. Some taken by being on call to and hanging out with the people who are killing Americans. How cool is that?

The photograph was taken in a hanger at a military base. It shows a group of young, uncool American Marines kneeling in a tight circle on the ground in prayer. Prayer. How totally uncool.

When you look closer at the photograph you notice that extending out from within the circle of kneeling and praying Marines are the legs of a dying or dead comrade in arms. Probably a very young comrade, not too distant in age from the kids laughing and playing in front of the multiplex on a balmy night in Orange County a world away.

How uncool this man was to die for his country and his comrades. How uncool is the effort to liberate a country mired in the morass of the middle ages, when you could just stay home and play video games. How uncool to take the war to an enemy that has sworn to kill Americans wholesale and has done so. How very, very uncool.

Now this Marine will never have a shot at working in the mail room of a movie studio, a record company, or a publishing house. All this Marine has now as he recedes into death are the prayers of those Marines who trained and fought beside him. That and a military funeral and a folded flag given to his family. Prayers. Funerals. Folded flags. These things are very uncool as the media-made captions on these photographs will seek to remind you. Very uncool.

At the same time that this Marine lay dying in Iraq, the current senior spokesman for the Democratic Party, Senator Ted Kennedy (a man whose cool, credibility and courage are equal in measure) was busy condemning the effort that cost this uncool Marine his life by waving the bloody shirt of Vietnam under the nose of the nation. His words and image were duly broadcast across America by all his life-long compatriots in the culture of cool. It's a shirt faded and frayed by many decades of constant handling, wringing and waving, but the bloody shirt of Vietnam has a lot of buttons, patches, fringe, and embroidered flowers on it. It's vintage clothing. Ain't it cool?


Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 11, 2017 11:11 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
White Guilt In A Box

The Safety Pin came into its own right after the election. Now it is proving, not for the first time, that "There's a [white] sucker born every minute."

It was worn by guilt-ridden white liberals who wanted to show their friends of color that they weren’t just ordinary white people… they were white people who cared. Or something.

But two Black Lives Matter activists decided that it wasn’t enough for white people to just wear a little diaper pin poked through your clothes. They needed to give money.

So Leslie Mac and Marissa Jenae Johnson created a “Safety Pin Box” so white people could give money. To them.

And even better: You can give money to them every month. As little as $25 per month and as much as $100.

“We believe giving Black people your money is essential to being a useful ally,” they proclaim on their FAQ page. They sure do! By “Black people” they mean them. They’re not a charity, they’re a business, they claim.


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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 10, 2017 8:00 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fireborn Are At Home In the Fire

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This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers.
There are men who can't be bought.
The fireborn are at home in fire.
The stars make no noise,
You can't hinder the wind from blowing.
Time is a great teacher.
Who can live without hope?

In the darkness with a great bundle of grief
the people march.
In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people
march:
"Where to? what next?"
- - Carl Sandburg: The People Yes (excerpt)

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 7, 2017 9:43 AM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Things Cost in the U.S. in 1836--How Much WAS a One Pound Bladder of Snuff?

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In case you've wondered how much four barrels of gin cost in the U.S. in 1836

I have provided the following list of What Stuff Cost, found tucked away in a book-keeping section of a very well used pocket-sized copy ofRoswell C. Smith's Practical and Mental Arithmetic on a New Plan..., which was published in Hartford in 1836. The answer to the gin question is $75, and if a barrel meant 42 gallons back then as it does now then the gin would cost about 60 cents a gallon. That of course sounds like a tiny price, but compared to what? That 60 cents would be about two-thirds of a day's wages for the average non-farm white male worker (actually between 50 cents and $1.00), while girl/women textile workers in Lowell Mass worked for about $3-4 per six day week. So if you considered working for most of theday in exchange for a bottle of (average, nothing special) gin, then it would seem a little on the expensive side. Or consider the prices of stuff as expensive or not based on a yearly salary of $300 or so and getting by on about a dollar a day.

Many varieties of food and drink in this imaginary store's stock would have come in barrels (abbreviated "bbl"): gin, vinegar, brandy, pork, and beef (probably salted). Rum and molasses were tallied in hogsheads ("hhd"), a standard measure of volume usually used for alcoholic beverages.

This hypothetical clerk also stocked cloth, hats, shoes, axes, kettles, textbooks, and knives—all the items a 19th-century country clientele might have relied upon such a store to provide, in a time before widespread availability of mail-order goods.Via the Venerable JF Ptak Science Books


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 4, 2017 12:42 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Required Reading: Rules for Righties -- a War-Winning Manifesto for 2017

"One of the best things about 2016 for me was the way it gave the lie to the weaselish and wet aphorism – so often repeated by so many of our impeccably reasonable, sensible and balanced TV and newspaper pundits – that elections are “won in the centre ground.”

"This was the Belial philosophy that gave us, in the U.S., that hideous continuum from the Bushes and the Clintons to Obama; and in Britain, the grotesque and malign Third Way squishery that took us from Tony Blair through to his (self-admitted heir) David Cameron and beyond. (It’s also the mindset which invented the disgraceful, sell-out concept of “soft Brexit”.)

"No wonder so many of us had become so fed up with politics: no matter which party you voted for, whether the notionally left-wing one or the notionally right-wing one you still seemed to end up up with the same old vested interests, the same old liberal Establishment elite.

"Of course we should always despise the liberal-left because their philosophy is morally bankrupt, dangerous and wrong. But I sometimes think that the people we should despise most of all are the squishes who pretend to be on our side of the argument but forever betray our cause. Sometimes they do this by throwing the more outspoken among us to the wolves in order to signal how tolerant and virtuous they are; sometimes they do this by endorsing some fatuous liberal position in order to show their willingness to compromise.

"I call the latter approach the “dogshit yogurt fallacy.”

"If conservatives like fruit or honey in their yogurt and liberals prefer to eat it with dogshit, it is NOT a sensible accommodation – much as our centrist conservative columnists might wish it so – to say: “All right. How about we eat our yogurt with a little bit of both?” We need to understand, very clearly, that there are such things as right and wrong; and that, furthermore, it is always worth fighting to the bitter end for the right thing rather than accepting second best because a bunch of lawyers and politicians and hairdressers from Brazil and squishy newspaper columnists and other members of the liberal elite have told us that second best is the best we can hope for."

by James Delingpole. Now finish your assignment and read the whole thing. And remember.... NO PRISONERS!


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 3, 2017 10:08 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Off the Grid... Way Off the Grid

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If you, like me, have ever wanted to live off the grid, then the up for auction Utah Cliff House near Moab, Utah is the place for you. Lord knows that if I had the money I'd buy it in a heartbeat.

Located just 20 minutes outside Monticello, Utah in Montezuma Canyon, Cliff Haven is rich in Anasazi history with artifacts throughout the property. Watch the video above to get the full details and see how this cliff house is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.

This property includes 12 acres, a garage, room for expansion and more. There’s wifi and phone line on the property so you can stay connected, work from home, keep in touch with family and let Amazon deliver to your front door.

Property details

Property Size: 2,100 sq ft
Property Lot Size: 12 acres
Rooms: 9
Bedrooms: 3
Bathrooms: 2
Year Built: 1986
Garages: 3
Garage Size: 900 sq ft


The auction is on the 21st. Start your liquidations now.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 2, 2017 8:05 AM |  Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Top 13 Things that Didn't Happen in 2016

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-- People's Cube


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 31, 2016 6:00 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
They Know

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“ Why do we not consider what contradictions we find in our own judgments; how many things were yesterday articles of our faith, that to-day appear no other than fables?” -- Montaigne
They know now. They all know. All of them who are not racially bonded, or leftist dead-enders, or spiritually or mentally deficient, or a combination of all those fatal factors, all except those, finally know. They hide their knowing.... from each other, from us, and from themselves, but they still know that they know.

And they know that we know that they know.

Yet still they persist. They persist in ignoring all that the golem they put into the White House actually is -- and what he is burrowing away at in his every-day more robotic manner. They know what It is but many cannot yet know that they know. It is too horrible to contemplate, too revolting to admit.

They get up in the morning and cast a glance at the television news and.... there It is, yammering and stammering about “inequality” as Its future net worth soars well above $500 million dollars. They hear Its voice and the very timbre makes them throw up a little in their throat. They know. They know what they have done, most of them twice, and the nausea has now risen inside them and never really leaves. Does it?

African-Americans, professional parasites, the slow or low information ones, those with diminished capacity, and those whose perversions seep into and permeate their politics are, in a sense, lucky. They have lashed themselves to this dying animal so tightly that they still see only the glow of what once others saw in their millions. Except now the glow is a little light, a rushlight; a faint flame powered by the flatulent and slowly burning swamp fumes of the fraud farm. To them it still yields enough light to still say, with deep sighs and passionate yearning for a glance or a touch from Him, “We can still believe. Yes, we can.”

Taken as a whole these are the twenty to twenty five percent of citizens that form Its' irreducible base of panty-waists, parasites, perverts, and poltroons. They will never know anything other than the fable they told themselves long long ago. The truth will be out there but forever beyond their withered reach. If they could know what all the others now know, they would also know how vile their entire life has been; how colonized their minds; how enslaved their souls. And so they cannot know -- or allow themselves to know -- or permit others to tell them. Like the lost children of Hamelin they will follow their Piper into the cleft in the mountain and the cleft will, in time, snap shut behind them. They cannot be rescued or redeemed. Let them go. They are known as “”dead enders” because, in the end, they are as dead as all their pretty lies.

As for the rest -- the ones that know and know that they know or are coming now to know that they know -- treat them carefully. It will be like watching many millions slowly awaken to the horror of what they’ve done to themselves and to their countrymen. They will be ashamed of themselves and not a little sickened and weakened from their extended experience with political depravity. Not all of them will make it out of the mire. Some will be unable to bear the knowing and so will return to the unknowing; will go slide back into the muck.

But that will be, I hope, only a small fraction of “The Returned.” Most will know that to overcome what has happened to them “only a power greater than themselves” can restore them to sanity. Recognizing this we can only, as gently as possible, welcome them back from the lost years of their dark delusion.

Perhaps the best we can do is to look them in the eye as soon as we see that they know and say, with the poet Thom Gunn,

“I hardly hope for happy thoughts, although
In a most happy sleeping time I dreamt
We did not hold each other in contempt.
Then lifting from my lids night’s penny weights
I saw that lack of love contaminates.
You know I know you know I know you know.

Abandon me to stammering, and go;
If you have tears, prepare to cry elsewhere –
I know of no emotion we can share.
Your intellectual protests are a bore
And even now I pose, so now go, for
I know you know.”

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 26, 2016 10:51 PM |  Comments (40)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Creche by the Side of the Road

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A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.

--Eliot, Journey of the Magi

Small moments in long journeys, like small lights in a large darkness, often linger in the memory. They come unbidden, occur when you are not ready for them, and are gone before you understand them. You "had the experience, but missed the meaning." All you can do is hold them and hope that understanding will, in time, come to you.

To drive from Laguna Beach, California to Sacramento. California the only feasible route takes you through Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. If you go after dark in this season of the year, you speed through an unbroken crescendo of lights accentuated by even more holiday lights. In the American spirit of "If it's worth doing, it's worth overdoing," the decking of the landscape with lights has finally gotten utterly out of hand.

Airports, malls, oil refineries, the towers along Wilshire and the vast suburbs of the valley put up extra displays to celebrate what has come to be known as "The Season." All the lights flung up by the hive of more than 10 million souls shine on brightly and bravely, but the exact nature of "The Season" seems more difficult for us to define with every passing year.

For hours the lights of the Los Angeles metroplex surround you as if they have no end. But they do end. In time, the valley narrows and you come to the stark edge of the lights. Then you drive into a dark section of highway known as the Grapevine.

The Grapevine snakes up over the mountains that ring the Los Angeles Basin to swirl down the far side into the endless flatland of the Great Central Valley. From entrance to exit is about 50 miles.

So steep is the ascent to the top of the Grapevine that the summit makes its own weather. Comfortable valley nights can turn into snow flurries, sudden fog banks and high winds that shake the car. Every transit of the Grapevine promises (and nearly always delivers) at least one accident seen along the roadside if you are lucky, or directly in front of you if you are not. If you are very unlucky, the accident is yours.

Virtually all traffic to and from Los Angeles endures the Grapevine. It is a dangerous and demanding road, made more intimidating by the swarms of trucks that haul freight up the spine of California. Even in broad daylight the Grapevine seems dark. It is an unloved and unlovely stretch of highway.

It was long past sunset when the Christmas pilgrimage to our families around Sacramento sent us climbing up the Grapevine. My wife of that year was driving because my eyes don't adjust quickly to oncoming headlights and because she is, by far, the better driver. My stepson was wedged within a small mountain of bags and presents in the back seat, his cherubic face illuminated by the gray-blue glow of his Gameboy.

I gazed out the window at the churning wall of trucks and the slate black slopes. Heavy cloud cover made everything more obscure. Only the streams of headlights coming on and the endless red flares of brake lights in front of us broke the darkness. It was the nadir of the year, two days before Christmas, climbing between dark mountains with millions of others, most aiming at some destination filled with the rituals of the season; rituals that seemed, as they often do, only a blunt repetition of some sharper but now dim vision.

It came up fast and passed faster as things often do up on the Grapevine. It was vague at first. A dim smudge of light in the middle of a looming dark hillside. Then it resolved itself as we sped up on it at around 70 miles per hour. We came abreast and I saw it clearly for only a few brief seconds. It was that rarest of all this seasons sights, a roadside Nativity scene.

Wrapped in a ring of floodlights near the crest was the classic creche. Nothing fancy but all the elements. The manger was indicated by a backdrop of shingles, scrap lumber and palm fronds. The life-size colored figures of the Magi, Joseph and Mary, a few amazed shepherds, three camels, an assortment of barn animals, an angel perched a bit precariously on the roofbeam, a Bethlehem star nailed to a pole, and a bunch of hay bales thrown in for atmosphere. Miles from any sign of human habitation, there to be seen only from the road and at a high speed, some anonymous person had placed this endangered sign of an endangered season.

Why had it been done? As a reminder to motorists of why they were going where they were going? As a defiant gesture towards the ACLU and all those who have now not only taken the Christ out of Christmas but the Christmas out of Christmas as well? As an assertion that God still loved an America that has increasingly chosen to ignore Him? As an expression, a pure expression, of faith?

Perhaps all of these things and perhaps none. Perhaps for that most American of all reasons -- simply because it could be done.

I pointed it out to my Gameboy-entranced stepson who looked up and back only to see a faint trace of it. His entirely sensible question was, "How did they light it all the way up there?" I answered that I didn't know but they might have used a very long extension cord. He shrugged and went back to the more compelling challenges of Super Mario 3.

In a moment it was past. In 20 seconds we'd rounded a curve and the light from it was gone. There was no going back. We rushed down the slope and out of the Grapevine onto Highway 5 where a bitter storm wind drove clouds of tumbleweed into our headlights.

In a few hours, we stopped for the night. For us there was room at the inn -- reserved at the Harris Ranch inn; a oasis sporting an Olympic sized swimming pool and overpriced steaks in the midst of the valley's orchards and deserts. As distant in comfort from the creche in the mountains as, perhaps, 2000 years.

The next day we reached Sacramento and the first of our sets of in-laws. Then the holidays (Since this is how America has decided to name this time of the year.) began with a vengeance.

Absurd objects were exchanged. Eternal assurances of love and affection were delivered. Children received, as usual, far too many things to appreciate any one thing. Much loved faces were seen and small pageants were performed.

The eating began and went on with no quarter; lavish meals that left one yearning for the simplicity of a salad bar.

In the background, bowl games with no purpose were played. People went to three hour movies celebrating pagan fantasies, and paid drive-by holiday greetings in the last busy days. Photographs and video tapes were made to be looked at ... when?

It was a time of busy moments blurring together. Strangely, of all the moments, I was most moved by the small ritual of grace before meals performed at my in-laws. In these rare moments, the central meaning of these days was acknowledged in the phrase, "We thank you, Lord, for your gift, your Son." And then, like all good Americans, we got on with the getting of our gifts.

Before we could be anyplace at all we found ourselves going south over the Grapevine heading home. I didn't see the creche on the return trip. Perhaps you couldn't see it from the southbound lanes, perhaps I slept. I'm really not sure.

Some days after returning, the three of us took in the annual Christmas Pageant performed at the Crystal Cathedral in Orange County. This pageant always receives rave reviews, due to its incorporation of live camels, lavish costumes, a serious pipe organ, and a bevy of angels flung about the vaulted interior of the church on wires. It's a blend of high kitsch and sincere belief; the sort of spectacle you should see at least once if you live in the area.

The show promised the apotheosis of the real meaning of Christmas in a secure setting; a kind of armed hamlet redoubt of contemporary Christianity besieged by the secular. The show delivered. It had lights, camels, action. It told the old tale in the old way using all the new tricks of the Las Vegas strip. It was spectacle incarnate.

At the climactic moment, angels sang while swooping overhead on their wires, Magi with jeweled headdresses the size of small ottomans adored Him from beside kneeling camels, shepherds abided, the organ groaned, six heralds sounded their trumpets, Mary and Joseph framed by a backlit scrim of stars gazed with awe down into a straw rimmed basin under the worlds largest Bethlehem star ornament, and an airport landing light blasted up out of the cradle, through the glass ceiling and out into the indifferent night.

Houselights. Magi bow. Romans bow. Mary and Joseph bow. Exit camels stage left.

And I thought, "Now, that's entertainment."

But I also thought of the other nativity scene. Halfway over the Grapevine, up along the slope of the dark mountains, an island of light in the midst of a vast and expanding darkness. A little light arranged by the small hands of faith to mirror a larger light moved by the inconceivable hand of God. I'll look for it next year when we drive north. It's so far out of the way, it should still be there. But then, you never know. Do you?

[Republished from December, 2003 ]


Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 22, 2016 8:57 PM |  Comments (30)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Gift of the WalMagi

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In New England in December the cold does not come in on little cat feet. Instead some mountain god of the great north woods throws open the door to Canada late one night. When you step out the next morning your scrotum promptly goes into hibernation somewhere around your arm pit. The cold gets hammered down tight. And it stays that way. Until, oh, somewhere in the middle of March.

I’d come to New England after many years away and, in Seattle, thought I’d packed well for the trip. I’d made a point to bring my very warm Seattle jacket. I stepped outside into the New England winter this morning and between the door and the car I knew, based on testicle retraction velocity, that my coat had nothing to say to this winter. I might as well have packed and dressed in a Speedo. At least I would have been rapidly arrested and taken to a warm jail cell until my need for medication could be determined.

In the car, having cranked the heat to fat end of the red stripe on the dial, my thawing reptile brain hissed, “Get a coat or die, monkeyboy.”

But where? I was only going to be here for a few weeks before going back to the temperate zone of Seattle. I knew that various stores around this township would have vast stocks of sensible and warm winter coats but I didn’t really feel like investing somewhere north of $100 in some multiple layered goose-down body blimp that would warm you even within fifteen yards of Al Gore. I just needed a warm and dependable coat at not too much money… $75 to $85 … that would get me through the New England nights without frostbite.

Then I remembered that this town has something that Seattle didn’t because Seattle is just far too “smart” to have one – A Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart, the greatest thing to happen for working people in the United States since trade unions and, today, a lot more beneficial to them as well. This town had two vast Wal-Mart’s. It was bracketed with them. I set off confident I could get a temporary coat at an affordable price. Little did I know.

I pulled into the vast parking lot and got out. Between the car and the door my core temperature dropped about ten degrees and I shivered as I took the warm cart and got the warm “Welcome to Wal-Mart” from the silver haired grandma at the door.

Inside the store stretched out before me like a land of dreams so wonderful so various so new…. Everything new. And shiny. And, well, cheap.

I got distracted at first in the food area of the store that could have held six of my local Seattle market inside it. I picked up a half-gallon of milk, a couple of bottles of club soda, and a jar of imported cherry jam ($3.00 less than what I paid for the same thing in Seattle). Then I pushed the cart off into the deeper realms of the store where banners proclaiming “UNBEATABLE” and “ROLLBACK!” loomed out of every aisle.

sevendollarcoat.jpgI found the basketball court sized area marked ‘MEN’ and turned in. Fleece coats, fleece vests, overcoats, Dickie work coats, and then winter coats in the quilted style that simply shouts, “You’ll stay toasty inside even in Nome!” And, amidst three or four circular racks, I saw a selection in blue, grey, black, green, and red of bright and shiny new winter coats. Above the racks was the simple sign in red and it said: “$7”.

Yes, I blinked and looked away. I looked back. It still said: “$7”. Above it a smaller sign said, almost in apology, “Was $15.”

Among dozens of these coats I found my size. Perfect fit. Smoothly made. Ample pockets. Serious zipper for closing. Nice shade of blue. And reversible to another nice shade of lighter blue with ample pockets on that side as well. I zipped it up and felt my temperature rise until it was uncomfortable to keep on.

I placed it in my cart and rapidly made my way to the register in order to get out of the store with it before they realized they’d left a zero off the back sides of the $7 and the $15. As I checked out I noted that the milk, water and jam had cost more than the winter coat. I put it on in the doorway and walked back across the lot to the car not feeling the cold at all from my thighs to my neck.

I can’t get over it. A winter coat for $7? The Goodwill won’t sell you a dead man’s old winter coat for $7.

And yes, it was “Made in / Hecho en China,” but…. well… how? Is there some darkened cavern that stretches for miles under the Gobi desert in which harvested brains in wired jars control robotic Chinese infant arms that stitch endless winter coats from the sheets of polyester that flow in a dark river beneath the factory floor? And then they’ve got to pack them up and ship them from the wastes of the Gobi to the racks of stores in New England. And then they price them at less than a small bag of groceries? How? Is? That? Possible?

It’s not. It’s a miracle. It’s a manufacturing, wholesale, supply chain, retail miracle on such a staggering scale that we can’t even begin to perceive it up close. We just walk into any one of the thousands of Wal-Mart stores and buy a winter coat for what it would take a homeless beggar about thirty minutes to cadge out of passing people on a downtown street on an average afternoon. It’s more than amazing. It’s a magical gift of modern American corporate capitalism.

It’s the gift of the WalMagi. It’s keeping me warm this Christmas season. And tens of thousand of other people too.

[First published.... last Christmas]


Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 20, 2016 1:44 AM |  Comments (77)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Rex Tillerson: Eagle Scout

Eagle Scout and chairman, president, and CEO of Exxon Mobil Corporation, Rex Tillerson, addresses the audience at the Orange County Council Leadership Breakfast, Boy Scouts of America. October 13, 2016 at the Hotel Irvine in Irvine, California.

"My whole life is defined because I was a boy scout.

There’s no other reason a 64 year old CEO with a lot of things on his mind can recite the words to the Scout Vesper. Because every night, before we went into our tents, our scoutmaster had us recite the Scout Vesper....
Softly falls the light of day,
While our campfire fades away.
Silently each Scout should ask
Have I done my daily task?
Have I kept my honor bright?
Can I guiltless sleep tonight?
Have I done and have I dared
Everything to be prepared?


His oath:

"I Rex Tillerson
reaffirm my allegiance
to the three promises of the Scout Oath.

I will do my best to do my duty to God
And my country and to obey the Scout Law.
I will help other people at all times
And keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself
The obligations and responsibilities
Of the rank of Eagle Scout.
I will at all times do my best
To assist other Scouts climbing the Eagle Trail,
Especially those of my own Troop, Team an Post.

I will help build America on the solid foundation
Of clean living, honest work and reverence to God.
I promise to make my training and example,
My rank and my influence
Count strongly for better Scouting
And for better citizenship in my family,
Church, community and country
And with my contacts with all people.

I realize that the Eagle rank
Is not the end but the beginning
To this I pledge my sacred honor!"

[HT: Abigail Adams]


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 13, 2016 7:22 PM |  Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Victor Davis Hanson - The Mythologies of the 2016 Election

Hanson sums it up elegantly. Yes, it's 44 minutes and everyone pure gold.

The video runs about 45 minutes. The final 20 minutes are questions and answers, but some of his most pointed comments come in the final 20 minutes. I think this is worth your time if you, like me, continue to try to sort things out. | Power Line

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 11, 2016 7:20 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Smokey the Bear Sutra by Gary Snyder

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Once in the Jurassic about 150 million years ago, the Great Sun Buddha in this corner of the Infinite Void gave a discourse to all the assembled elements and energies: to the standing beings, the walking beings, the flying beings, and the sitting beings--even the grasses, to the number of thirteen billion, each one born from a seed, assembled there: a Discourse concerning Enlightenment on the planet Earth.

"In some future time, there will be a continent called America. It will have great centers of power called such as Pyramid Lake, Walden Pond, Mt. Rainier, Big Sur, Everglades, and so forth; and powerful nerves and channels such as Columbia River, Mississippi River, and Grand Canyon. The human race in that era will get into troubles all over its head, and practically wreck everything in spite of its own strong intelligent Buddha-nature."

"The twisting strata of the great mountains and the pulsings of volcanoes are my love burning deep in the earth. My obstinate compassion is schist and basalt and granite, to be mountains, to bring down the rain. In that future American Era I shall enter a new form; to cure the world of loveless knowledge that seeks with blind hunger: and mindless rage eating food that will not fill it."

And he showed himself in his true form of

SMOKEY THE BEAR

A handsome smokey-colored brown bear standing on his hind legs, showing that he is aroused and watchful.

Bearing in his right paw the Shovel that digs to the truth beneath appearances; cuts the roots of useless attachments, and flings damp sand on the fires of greed and war;

His left paw in the mudra of Comradely Display--indicating that all creatures have the full right to live to their limits and that of deer, rabbits, chipmunks, snakes, dandelions, and lizards all grow in the realm of the Dharma;

Wearing the blue work overalls symbolic of slaves and laborers, the countless men oppressed by a civilization that claims to save but often destroys;

Wearing the broad-brimmed hat of the west, symbolic of the forces that guard the wilderness, which is the Natural State of the Dharma and the true path of man on Earth:

all true paths lead through mountains--

With a halo of smoke and flame behind, the forest fires of the kali-yuga, fires caused by the stupidity of those who think things can be gained and lost whereas in truth all is contained vast and free in the Blue Sky and Green Earth of One Mind;

Round-bellied to show his kind nature and that the great earth has food enough for everyone who loves her and trusts her;

Trampling underfoot wasteful freeways and needless suburbs, smashing the worms of capitalism and totalitarianism;

Indicating the task: his followers, becoming free of cars, houses, canned foods, universities, and shoes, master the Three Mysteries of their own Body, Speech, and Mind; and fearlessly chop down the rotten trees and prune out the sick limbs of this country America and then burn the leftover trash.

Wrathful but calm. Austere but Comic. Smokey the Bear will Illuminate those who would help him; but for those who would hinder or slander him...

HE WILL PUT THEM OUT.

Thus his great Mantra:

Namah samanta vajranam chanda maharoshana Sphataya hum traka ham mam

"I DEDICATE MYSELF TO THE UNIVERSAL DIAMOND BE THIS RAGING FURY BE DESTROYED"

And he will protect those who love the woods and rivers, Gods and animals, hobos and madmen, prisoners and sick people, musicians, playful women, and hopeful children:

And if anyone is threatened by advertising, air pollution, television, or the police, they should chant SMOKEY THE BEAR'S WAR SPELL:

DROWN THEIR BUTTS

CRUSH THEIR BUTTS

DROWN THEIR BUTTS

CRUSH THEIR BUTTS

And SMOKEY THE BEAR will surely appear to put the enemy out with his vajra-shovel.

Now those who recite this Sutra and then try to put it in practice will accumulate merit as countless as the sands of Arizona and Nevada.

Will help save the planet Earth from total oil slick.
Will enter the age of harmony of man and nature.
Will win the tender love and caresses of men, women, and beasts.
Will always have ripened blackberries to eat and a sunny spot under a pine tree to sit at.
AND IN THE END WILL WIN HIGHEST PERFECT ENLIGHTENMENT

...thus we have heard...

(may be reproduced free forever)

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HT: Hyland who gave me Smokey the Bear Sutra by Gary Snyder


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 11, 2016 10:44 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Day We Killed John Lennon

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We'd finished filming John and Yoko for the video a day or so before he was shot to death. It was their last video, but of course we didn't know it at the time. There was film of them holding hands and walking in Central Park in the place that would later become "Strawberry Fields." We'd filmed them rolling naked in bed together in a Soho Art Gallery where she looked healthy and ample and he looked small and slight, with skin that was almost transluscent. I remember being slightly surprised by the fact that Lennon's need for Ono was so constant and palpable. He was seldom more than two feet away from her side and had the disconcerting habit of calling her "Mommy" whenever they spoke.

My role was as "executive producer" which really meant that I was to stand around with a roll of hundred dollar bills and pay-off the teamsters and solve other problems with copious applications of money. It was an odd job in more ways than one, but I was grateful to have it at the time.

We'd sent the last of the film to the lab, and the director, Ethan Russell, had gone back to Los Angeles to begin editing. The crew had dispersed and I'd taken to my bed racked with pain. The job, this time, had been so tough and high stress that my neck had gone out. I could barely turn my head without feeling as if a sledge was hammering a hot-needle into the cervical vertebrae. I was lying carefully propped on the bed eating Bufferin as if they were Tic-Tacs and trying not to move. My neck was held in one of those tight foam collars. Not moving was the best thing to do at the time and I was doing it with all my might.

It was a small one-bedroom apartment on the East Side of Manhattan. My first wife and I were there after three years of living in London, Paris, the Algarve and other European locations. She was eight months pregnant with our daughter and looked as if she was trying to smuggle a basketball across state lines for immoral purposes. Her mood, never really cheerful, was not improved by her situation.

The apartment was on loan from her uncle's girlfriend. I was down to my last few thousand dollars and was looking for a job. The film gig had been a gift from my old friend Ethan, and I'd been glad to get it. But it was over and, with a baby banging on the door of the world, things were not looking up. At the time, the only thing looking up was me since my neck required me to lie flat and gaze at the ceiling. It had been a rough two weeks but I thought things would certainly improve.

And of course, that's when things got worse. It got worse in the way most things do, the phone rang and my wife called out, "It's for you."

Some New York wag once said, "Age fourteen is the last time in your life when you're glad the phone is for you."

I groped blindly to the side of the bed and picked up the extension. It was Ethan calling from an editing room in Los Angeles. "John's been shot. He's dead."

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 8, 2016 12:30 PM |  Comments (72)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Fewer than 200 survivors of the attacks... Hawaii are still alive."

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It has been 75 years, but U.S. Navy veteran James Leavelle can still recall watching with horror as Japanese warplanes rained bombs down on his fellow sailors in the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War Two.

Bullets bounced off the steel deck of his own ship, the USS Whitney, anchored just outside Honolulu harbor, but a worse fate befell those aboard the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS Utah and others that capsized in an attack that killed 2,400 people.

"The way the Japanese planes were coming in, when they dropped bombs, they'd drop them and then circle back," said Leavelle, a 21-year-old Navy Storekeeper Second Class at the time of the attack.

Leavelle, now 96, was among 30 Pearl Harbor survivors honored at a reception in Los Angeles before heading to Honolulu to mark Wednesday's 75th anniversary of the attack.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor took place at 7:55 a.m. Honolulu time on Dec. 7, 1941, famously dubbed "a date which will live in infamy" by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. Fewer than 200 survivors of the attacks there and on other military bases in Hawaii are still alive.


Pearl Harbor Hero Returns Home After 75 Years in an Unknown Grave "For decades their bones lay forgotten until a Pearl Harbor survivor uncovered their story."

My Sad Captains by Thom Gunn

One by one they appear in
the darkness: a few friends, and
a few with historical
names. How late they start to shine!
but before they fade they stand
perfectly embodied, all

the past lapping them like a
cloak of chaos. They were men
who, I thought, lived only to
renew the wasteful force they
spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,
but now that they are indeed
apart, winnowed from failures,
they withdraw to an orbit
and turn with disinterested
hard energy, like the stars.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 7, 2016 7:21 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ten Part Trump Tweet Pattern That Won the West

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PIERS MORGAN: Twitter helped Trump's campaign triumph, so we'd better get used to government by 140-characters. And if the press and political elite hate it, then tough Twitty!

Since the election, Trump has continued to Tweet away. He's called for Hamilton to be boycotted and flag-burning to be criminalised, and every time the same 10-part pattern unfolds and the whole thing starts again.

Each episode followed a familiar 10-part pattern:

1) Trump posts an inflammatory, highly opinionated tweet.

2) The media goes nuts.

3) Trump’s tweet then dominates the news all day.

4) The media demands he stops tweeting because it’s ‘un-presidential.’

5) Trump ignores them.

6) Conventional politicians demand he stops tweeting because it’s un-presidential.’

7) Trump ignores them too.

8) Trump wakes up next morning to every paper and cable news show talking about his tweet.

9) Trump chuckles to himself.

10) Trump tweets again.

Repeat.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 6, 2016 9:57 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Goodbye to the Way We Were

Reaffirmation Post: In which I discuss how I got from "there" to "here" back in April, 2006....

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My Back Pages: Debating on the step of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, 1966. (Left to right:) Me (Somewhat younger but just as strident), An Iranian friend named "Jaz" -- worked with me in the UC library, a refugee from the Shah's Iran -- probably went back after the fall of the Shah, (foreground right) He lost his eye in the Hungarian Uprising and had to run for the border and on into the West to stay alive. In this picture he's attempting to convince me that Communism is an evil ideology. I'm not buying it then, but I buy it now. (Click to enlarge)

Well, I try my best
To be just like I am,
But everybody wants you
To be just like them.
They sing while you slave and I just get bored.
I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more.

-- Maggie's Farm

A friend with whom I have a daily correspondence takes great pleasure in needling me on my, shall we say, adamantine position that we need to start fighting the First Terrorist War to win it and not as if we are engaged in a game of patty-cake. In March of 2004, after the Madrid bombings, while I was trapped on a Cruise Ship somewhere deep inside the sixth circle of Hell, he decided it was an ideal time convert me to his policy of "reasonable accommodation." It was the moment in which, as he put it, "...the common citizens of Spain and France are saying 'Tell us again what this got us, other than lots of angry teenagers with bombs?' "

I replied that I'd lived for years in France, with months in and about Spain, and most of the 'common citizens' of those countries would surrender to anything and sell out anyone if it meant they could shop in peace for a few more years. Vichy and Franco came to mind as examples.

Yesterday, in Tel Aviv, the angry teenager with a bomb on his body came again, as he has so many times over the last few years, and as he will in the years to come. Maybe Spain was right to see the effort as futile. Maybe Europe as a whole should just roll over and not just play dead, but be dead. Perhaps Israel should just shrug and say, "Okay, you win. We'll move or we'll die. You tell us."

After all, what's really in all this fighting and dying for anyone? None of the countries that are engaged in this war against terror seems to be ready to do the terrible things necessary to end terror. ("Don't you see? That would make us just like them!" "Perhaps, but we would be alive to repent and reform.")

I once admired the subtle thought, the careful parsing, the diplomatic pas-de-deux of policy, but lately I seem to have gotten a taste for straight talk. It seems to me that if you don't go to war ready to achieve victory by any means necessary -- by any means necessary -- why would you bother to go at all? And of late, I'm only hearing the weasel word "win." I'm not hearing a lot about "victory," which is quite a different thing.

It seems to me that if you are actually "in" a war, victories, big and small, are what you seek to achieve. Once you have the final victory, and that means that the enemy and all that supports the enemy, is so destroyed and laid waste that there's no fight left in him, then and only then can you say you have "won." Absent a drive for victory, there seems to be nothing in this war for any one fighting terror on any front other than pain and death -- and the added insult of an unremitting disparagement from many of the citizens for whom they fight.

That's certainly true when it comes to the United States of late. We seem stalled at the stage of the struggle that brings to mind Churchill's proclamation that he had nothing to offer except, "blood, sweat and tears." We've had those three things constantly for years -- as our media are so keen to remind us every three minutes of every day.

Another factor in the dumb-show called "Bringing Democracy to the Middle East" seems to be that our leadership has become, shall we say, less than inspiring and more like Monty Hall emceeing "Let's Make A Deal" with contestants and a studio audience packed with crazed and crapulous mullahs. Finally, we're seeing a host of our fellow citizens so immersed in their hatred of George Bush that the impression we are hip-deep in demented traitors is getting hard to shake.

All of these things conspire, on a daily basis, to shake our belief in ourselves, our institutions and our commitment to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism. Lately we seem to be living on a daily drip-feed of despair for our future and estrangement from our past. It's not a new diet in this country, but it is starting to assume the proportions of a runaway fad diet, a political Pritikins. And yet this thin gruel is what's being poured into us from Seattle, Washington to Washington, D.C.

If you look closely at this diet for a diminished America you see a familiar list of "ingredients." The list is composed of the ideological stock and trade of a significant segment of Americans to whom this nation, as conceived by our founders, and struggled for for more than 200 years is merely one long, large joke.

And I should know. After all, that boy in the picture up there -- that boy that thought Communism was "something we could live with" -- that young boy was me.

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 6, 2016 7:57 AM |  Comments (62)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sometimes Just a Small Makeover Changes Everything

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Ladies and Gentlemen, a new look for the President of the United States. It's time to see who we are really dealing with.

The above image is, of course, a photoshop. A minor adjustment of outward elements that make up Trumps face and, as a result, give him a strikingly different aspect than the more colorful and animated personality that appears in public daily now.

Still, this is not the only time we've seen the aspect of Trump that is represented in this photoshop. We can see it in some otherwise offhand photographs from unguarded moments. By that I mean those moments when the subject is not aware that he is being photographed and, hence, does not have his photographic personality suffusing his face and body.

A case in point is the photo below. It was taken just moments before Trump made his entrance on election night to inform the nation and the world that Hillary Clinton had conceded and he was now the President-Elect. Here we see Trump in the wings of the stage and in a moment in which his face makes manifest the enormous weight that had finally, after 18 months, settled on him. It's a sober moment and you can see it in the close-up below.

The eyes, as always, are the windows to the soul. At least in those moments when the man does not have his shades drawn.

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 4, 2016 6:39 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Funnies: "I have not yet begun to gloat"

"You know what, as painful and as excruciatingly long as it was... in retrospect this was the most fun election ever."

Just when Democrats and Moonbats think it's safe to go back in the political waters, Joe Dan Gorman releases, on IntellectualFroglegs.com, "No Rules for Radicals." Funny and insightful and with a down home and homespun flavor that should be bottled and poured over your Moonbat Babyback Ribs at your January celebration barbecues. Joe Dan takes us back over the campaign trail and into the dawning of the age of Trump. With this caveat:

"Now while we are rooting for President-Elect Trump to succeed wildly—we are sycophants of no one. We will hold Trump’s feet to the fire, but only when needed. We are not going to scrutinize and micromanage his every move.

"We knew Trump was apolitical and unpredictable…and no doubt he will have us all scratching our heads at times. But with a history of success that is second to none— Donald Trump for lack of a better word— backs up his bullsh*t like no other.

"So for now… Donald Trump has earned my trust— until he doesn’t.

Popcorn. Full screen. Sit back and enjoy as much as you enjoyed The Buster Brown Show with Froggie and his rollicking sidekick Andy Devine.

"It's the holidays. Enjoy them. Turn off the idiots in the media and bask in the glorious fact that Hillary Clinton will NEVER be our President."


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 3, 2016 8:14 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Kicking Off the Christmas Season! “It’s The Most Wonderful Time in 8 Years”

Here's the lyrics just in case you want to add this to your caroling around the neighborhood.

It's the most wonderful time in 8 years
Yet some kids are protesting
while Trump fans investing their time with good cheer
Sing It's the most wonderful time in 8 years

It's the hap-happiest voting season of all
With each staff member Trump picks, Democrats up to their old tricks …Just trashing them all
but It's the hap- happiest election season of all

There’ll be one party hosting All three branches toasting
but how low now will the press go
There'll spin misguided stories Trying to steal Trump’s glory
from a playbook written, long long ago

It's the most wonderful time in 8 years
There'll be much more enjoyment a lot less unemployment
Cuz Trump will be near
It's the most wonderful time in 8 years (go up)

Hillary’s party’s not hosting they’re no longer toasting,
Beyonce, Kanye, Cop Killers, Racists and the Muslim Brotherhood
They ignored true stories of Hillary who wasn’t sorry
for her crimes now and long ago

Now It's the most wonderful time in 8 Years
We’ll deport all the criminals, Taxes will be minimal
Bad trade deals disappear
It's the most wonderful time
yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time… in 8 years!


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 1, 2016 6:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
My Mother at 97 98 99 ... and now 100 101 102

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Her earliest memory is being held on the shoulders of her father, watching the men who lived through the First World War parade down the main street of Fargo, North Dakota in 1918. She would have been just four years old then. Now she's 90 years old and she comes to her birthday party wearing a chic black and white silk dress, shiny black shoes with three inch heels, and a six foot long purple boa. She's threatening to sing Kurt Weill's 'The Saga of Jenny" and dance on the table one more time .

She'll sing the Kurt Weill song, but we draw the line at her dancing on the table this year. Other than that, it is pretty much her night, and she gets to call the shots. Which is what you get when you reach 90 97 and are still managing to make it out to the tennis courts three to four times a week. "If it wasn't for my knees I'd still have a good backcourt game, but now I pretty much like to play up at the net." [Note: Alas she had to give up tennis two years back when her knees finally gave up. She didn't. Water walking twice a week. She gave all a scare a couple of years ago but came roaring back after major surgery and is more or less back to the regular schedule.]

She plays Bridge once or twice a week, winning often, and has been known to have a cocktail or two on occasion. After her operation she gave up driving much to the relief of my brother who fretted over it for several decades.

She keeps a small two-bedroom apartment in a complex favored by young families and college students from Chico State and, invariably, has a host of fans during any given semester. She's thought about moving to the "senior apartments" out by the mall, but as she says, "I'm just not sure I could downsize that much and everyone there is so old."

She was born deep in the heartland at the beginning of the Great War, the youngest of five children. She grew up and into the Roaring 20s, through the Great Depression, taught school at a one room school house at Lake of the Woods Minnesota, roamed west out to California in the Second World War and met the man she married.

They stayed married until he died some 30 years ago. Together they raised three boys, and none of them came to any more grief than most and a lot more happiness than many.

After her husband died at the end of a protracted illness, she was never really interested in another man and filled her life with family, close friends (some stretching back to childhood), and was, for 15 years, a housemother to college girls. She recently retired from her day job where she worked three mornings a week as a teacher and companion to young children at a local day-care and elementary school.

She has always been a small and lovely woman -- some would say beautiful. I know I would. An Episcopalian, she's been known to go to church, but isn't devoted to the practice, missing more Sundays than she attends. She's given to finding the best in people and letting the rest pass, but has been known to let fools pass at high speed.

Born towards the beginning of the 20th century, she now lives fully in the 21st. Nearly 10 years ago we gave her a 90th birthday party. It was attended by over 200 people from 2 to 97, many of whom told tales about her, some taller than others.

We didn't believe the man who told about the time in her early seventies that she danced on his bar. He brought the pictures of the bar with her high-heel marks in it to prove the point.

Other stories are told, some serious, some funny, all loving. But they all can only go back so far since she has only been living in Chico, California for 30 years. I can go back further, and so, without planning to, I took my turn and told my story about her. It went something like this.

"Because I'm the oldest son, I can go back further in time. I can go back before Clinton, before Reagan, before Nixon, before Kennedy, before Eisenhower. We'll go back to the time of Truman.

"It must be the summer of 1949 and she's taking my brother and I back home to her family in Fargo for the first time. I would be almost four and he'd be two and a half. The war's been over for some time and everyone is now back home and settled in. My father's family lost a son, but -- except for some wounds -- everyone else came out all right.

"We're living in Los Angeles and her home is Fargo, North Dakota, half a continent away. So we do what you did then. We took the train. Starting in Los Angeles we went north to San Francisco where we boarded the newest form of luxury land transportation available that year, the California Zephyr.

"Out from the bay and up over the Sierras and down across the wastes until we wove our way up the spine of the Rockies and down again to the vast land sea that stretched out east in a swath of corn and wheat that I remember more than the pitched curves and plunging cliffs of the mountains. On the Zephyr you sat in a plush chair among others in a long transparent dome at the top of the car and it seemed all Earth from horizon to the zenith flowed past you.

"There was the smell of bread and cooking in the Pullman cars that I can still capture in my mind, and the lulling rhythm of the wheels over the rails that I can still hear singing me down into sleep.

"At some point we changed trains to go north into the Fargo Station and, as we pulled into Fargo in mid-morning, my mother's family met us with their usual humble dignity -- they brought a full brass band that worked its way down through the John Philip Sousa set list with severe dedication. They also brought me more family members than there were people living on our entire block in Los Angeles. There may also have been a couple of Barbershop Quartets to serenade us during the band breaks, but I'm not sure about that.

"My mother and brother and I were swept away in the maelstrom of aunts, uncles, cousins by the dozens, and assorted folks from the neighborhood on 8th Avenue South.

"The day rolled into a huge lunch at a vast dining room table where my grandmother ruled with an iron ladle. Then, after a suitable post-prandial stupor, my entire family rose as one and headed out to the nearby park for their favorite activity -- trying to crush each other in tennis. When this family hit the courts, it was like a tournament had come to town. Other would-be players just took one look and headed for another set of courts elsewhere.

"I was still too young to play, although my mother would have a racquet custom-made for me within the year, so instead I would have been exhausting myself at some playground or in one of the sandboxes under the eyes of my older cousins. Then, at dusk, I made my way back to the courts.

"In the Fargo summers the twilights linger long and fade slowly. And as they fade the lights on the courts come up illuminating them in the gathering dark. And I sat, not quite four, as the night grew dark around me and my mother and her family played on below.

"Now it is all more than sixty years gone but still, in my earliest memories, they all play on in that endless twilight. I see them sweeping back and forth in the fading light. Taunting and laughing together. Calling balls out that are clearly in. Arguing and laughing and playing on forever long after the last light of day has fled across the horizon and the stars spread out high above the lights.

"Service. Return. Lob. Forehand. Volley. Backhand. Volley. Love All."

momasyounggirl2.jpg   momnow.jpg
Lois Lucille McNair Van der Leun -- then and now

November, 2004 -- Chico & Laguna Beach, California


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 30, 2016 1:59 AM |  Comments (63)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Thanksgiving’s First Rifle: The Mayflower Wheel-lock Carbine

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Story by: Kristin Alberts

What’s even more American than turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie these days? An Italian gun, that’s what. The only known surviving firearm that crossed the wild Atlantic aboard the good ship Mayflower, settled with the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony and ultimately helped the first colonists not only survive, but prosper. Meet the Mayflower Gun.

The Gun

Affectionately dubbed the Mayflower Gun and thought of as an American icon, the gun is actually an Italian-made wheel-lock carbine. This single-shot musket was originally chambered in .50 caliber rifle, though ages of heavy use have worn away the majority of the rifling. Given the combination of natural wear, repairs and modifications, if the gun were to be loaded and fired today, it would require a .66 caliber.

According to curators at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum—where the gun has found a most comfortable home—markings recorded on both the barrel and lockplate demonstrate a connection with the Beretta family of armorers.

One of the features making this musket instantly recognizable is its namesake. The surviving detail of the actual wheel-lock device—the rotating mechanism, which provides spark and ignition, not unlike that of our modern day cigarette lighters—is a thing of fine craftsmanship and beauty. The wheel-lock’s engineering, execution and efficacy far exceed those of its predecessor, the matchlock.

The man: John Alden

Without the adventuresome spirit of one young man with an eye for quality arms, the Mayflower Gun would not be a part of our American history today. Enter, John Alden. Alden was around 20 to 21 years of age at the ship’s departure. However, his original intent was never really to set sail. John AldenHe was simply hired as a ships cooper—a barrel maker by trade—at the yard where ships docked. But being a young man with much hope and courage, he decided to board the Mayflower for its daunting passage. Sometime near debarkation, it is speculated that Alden purchased the firearm used, perhaps from a traveler or mercenary as was common in those days. Of the guns widely available at that time, this was one of the finest and most expensive, so certainly young Alden was wise beyond his years.

Following an arduous three-month winter passage at sea, battered by the north Atlantic’s gales, the Mayflower reached its destination in 1620. History recognizes John Alden as the first man to step ashore, and when Alden’s feet hit terra firma, this gun was most likely his sole means of protection. Though the early years at the new settlement were marked with many tribulations, Alden prospered. Along with the other men who made the passage, he was one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact, documenting the freedoms and liberties of the new colony. Among his many ventures, Alden is remembered for his service under Capt. Miles Standish, with whom he is rumored to rivaled over the courtship of the woman who eventually became Alden’s wife.

Part of this story is recounted in Longfellow’s poem “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Between the years 1633 to 1675, Alden served not only as assistant governor of the Plymouth Colony, but often, due to absence, fulfilled governor duties. He was known to have served on many juries including participation in at least one witch trial. Through all this time, including a move inland and away from the original colony, the Mayflower Gun remained in Alden’s possession. At the time of his death in 1687, the gun began its long succession of Alden family ownership.

The History

The Alden family dwelling, like the gun, has survived for nearly 400 years. The Mayflower gun was discovered—still loaded, nonetheless—in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home during a 1924 renovation. The Alden home, which was occupied by family members until the mid-1890’s, is currently a National Historic Landmark in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Though it is certain that other settlers would have carried similar arms, this is indeed the only known surviving piece, likely because it was tucked away and forgotten after its years of service had ended.

Because the gun was something of a large caliber at the time, it would likely have been used to take down deer and other large game as well as birds—perhaps even a Thanksgiving longbeard. Naturally, the original stock was fashioned of fine European walnut, though sometime in the gun’s history, a worn portion of the front stock was replaced with American walnut. There is great beauty in the wear patterns of the wood, simply for knowing the many hands and circumstances that have handled this weapon. The Mayflower Gun is currently on display at the NRA Museum.Oh, the stories it could tell of game hunted, lives taken and families saved! This tool was at once a protector and a provider. In fact, the Mayflower Gun may well have been present—or at least played a role—at the 1621 birth of the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today. The gun, in fact, is one of the few surviving pieces known to have made the trip aboard the Mayflower.

On Display

Those near Fairfax, Virginia can visit this amazing and well-traveled weapon at its home in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum. It is currently being featured on display as part of the “Old Guns in a New World” gallery, an exhibit in which firearms bridge the gap between the Old World and the new colonies. In addition to this one, the Museum is home to 14 other galleries housing more than 2,700 firearms of remarkable significance. Admission is free and the museum is open daily. For those interested in learning more without making a physical visit, detailed virtual tours are easily navigated at their website.

In Thanksgiving

Nearly 400 years have passed since the Mayflower Gun traversed the Atlantic to forever become a priceless, tangible slice of American history. In the spirit of Thanksgiving celebration, the time is right to remember not only all those who came before us, but also the hardships they faced to get us where we are today. In reminiscing on this beautiful Mayflower Gun, we here at Guns.com are thankful for our first amendment freedoms. So with a nod of the clichéd black pilgrim hats, take some special time this holiday to enjoy family, friends, freedoms and of course, firearms.

From Gun News at Guns.com HT: The Incredible Story Of The Mayflower Gun @ Waznmentobe


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 24, 2016 2:29 AM |  Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"MADAME PRESIDENT" The Iconic Front Page the New York Times Had to Toss in the Crapper

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And so, in the heart of The Times’s newsroom, long before the exit polls hinted at an upset — and hours before the news media confirmed Mr. Trump’s earthshaking win — Tom Bodkin, The Times’s design director, quietly looked over one such draft.

“MADAM PRESIDENT,” the would-be headline read.

-- Front Page That Wasn’t to Be - The New York Times


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 23, 2016 2:00 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You Are Still Crying Wolf" by Scott Alexander : Required Reading
It would take me too long to explain why this article about Trump, by Scott Alexander, is so important to you and to the country. Stop whatever you are doing and give it ten minutes. Seriously. Stop what you are doing. Give this ten minutes. It’s more important that almost anything you were going to do today. Then save the link for later sharing. Show it to all of your friends who think Trump is a racist monster. This ends it.-- Scott Adams' Blog

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"You Still Crying Wolf" is, by far, the best look back and look ahead at the Trump phenomena. You owe it to yourself to read it and to pass it along... especially to the Trump deniers.

I notice that people accusing Trump of racism use the word “openly” like a tic. He’s never just “racist” or “white supremacist”. He’s always “openly racist” and “openly white supremacist”. Trump is openly racist, openly racist, openly racist, openly racist, openly racist, openly racist, openly racist. Trump is running on pure white supremacy, has thrown off the last pretense that his campaign is not about bigotry, has the slogan Make American Openly White Supremacist Again, is an openly white supremacist nominee, etc, etc, etc. And I’ve seen a few dozen articles like this where people say that “the bright side of a Trump victory is that finally America admitted its racism out in the open so nobody can pretend it’s not there anymore.”

This, I think, is the first level of crying wolf. What if, one day, there is a candidate who hates black people so much that he doesn’t go on a campaign stop to a traditionally black church in Detroit, talk about all of the contributions black people have made to America, promise to fight for black people, and say that his campaign is about opposing racism in all its forms? What if there’s a candidate who does something more like, say, go to a KKK meeting and say that black people are inferior and only whites are real Americans?

We might want to use words like “openly racist” or “openly white supremacist” to describe him. And at that point, nobody will listen, because we wasted “openly white supremacist” on the guy who tweets pictures of himself eating a taco on Cinco de Mayo while saying “I love Hispanics!”....

Dog whistling seems to be the theory that if you want to know what someone really believes, you have to throw away decades of consistent statements supporting the side of an issue that everyone else in the world supports, and instead pay attention only to one weird out-of-character non-statement which implies he supports a totally taboo position which is perhaps literally the most unpopular thing it is possible to think.

And then you have to imagine some of the most brilliant rhetoricians and persuaders in the world are calculating that it’s worth risking exposure this taboo belief in order to win support from a tiny group with five-digit membership whose support nobody wants, by sending a secret message, which inevitably every single media outlet in the world instantly picks up on and makes the focus of all their coverage for the rest of the election.

Finally, no, none of this suggests that Donald Trump is courting the white supremacist vote. Anybody can endorse anybody with or without their consent. Did you know that the head of the US Communist Party endorsed Hillary, and Hillary never (as far as I know) “renounced” their endorsement? Does that mean Hillary is a Communist? Did you know that a leader of a murderous black supremacist cult supported Donald Trump and Trump said that he “loved” him? Does that mean Trump is a black supremacist? The only time this weird “X endorsed Y, that means Y must support X” thing is brought out, is in favor of the media narrative painting Trump to be a racist.

7. What about the border wall? Doesn’t that mean Trump must hate Mexicans?

As multiple sources point out, both Hillary and Obama voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which put up a 700 mile fence along the US-Mexican border. Politifact says that Hillary and Obama wanted a 700 mile fence but Trump wants a 1000 mile wall, so these are totally different. But really? Support a 700 mile fence, and you’re the champion of diversity and all that is right in the world; support a 1000 mile wall and there’s no possible explanation besides white nationalism?

READ IT ALL AT You Are Still Crying Wolf | Slate Star Codex


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 17, 2016 7:54 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl....

“No reason to get excited,” the thief, he kindly spoke,

“There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.

But you and I, we’ve been through that, and this is not our fate

So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late”


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 7, 2016 10:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Your America (1945)

"The U.S. War Department described this film in the following words: "An American soldier, during his combat career, realizes the greatness of his country and determines to assume his share of the responsibilities of good citizenship upon his return to civilian life."

Contains "seized enemy material." Starring Arthur Kennedy and (probably) directed by John Ford, this film was shown to soldiers departing service immediately after World War II. It is well scripted and features several recognizable character actors of the late 30s and 40s, most notably Walter Sande of "To Have and Have Not". Interestingly, the script includes moderate swearing and a benign "tush" shot which was included to punctuate a humorous sequence. To include such elements today would not be worth mentioning, but back then it was unheard of. To offset the inclusion, the film office included a warning card at the end of the film: "NOT TO BE SHOWN TO AMERICAN AUDIENCES WITHOUT PERMISSION OF THE U. S. GOVERNMENT". Oddly, it appeared on some prints and not others.

"It's Your America" dramatically hits home with it's message: "Participate in running your country by voting. Don't take freedom and democracy for granted.". The film ends with a stirring up-tempo version of "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and a surprise and poignant pull-back shot of our soldier as he ends his narrative. It's a well-made film with high production values, thanks to (probable) assistance by a major studio, most likely Warner Bros."


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 5, 2016 11:32 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Trump the Closer: Last Ad Standing

Here’s what makes this ad so special:

1. Trump delivers his lines perfectly, like an experienced actor. We haven’t heard him like this before. You probably didn’t think he had this in him. He stays calm and assured, but not cocky. That is an effective counter-framing to Clinton’s framing of Trump as an unpredictable madman. Here Trump comes off as perfectly reasonable and deeply empathetic.

2. The timing is perfect. This race went so low that even the trolls were starting to gasp for oxygen. Trump made us wait for relief – Hollywood style. He made us crave civility and sanity. And just when we thought it was out of reach, he goes ultra-positive.

But here’s the best part. Clinton has no good options to counter this message. If she stays dark, Trump finishes as the inspirational one. If she tries to match his positive message, she has little chance of doing it this well...... More at | Scott Adams' Blog


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 5, 2016 10:26 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Religion of the Left

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There is a world dimensional
For those untwisted
by the love of things irreconcilable.

--Hart Crane

I've written elsewhere that one of the "things you can't say about the First Terrorist War" is that it is, at bottom, a war of two religions. So it is with the culture wars in America today. It too is, and you are not supposed to say this either, a war of TWO religions.

Then again, that is not quite right. Try it this way.

We are fighting a war of two religions in which only one side is allowed to be designated as a religion -- the Right. "The Right" in these terms is always code for "The Religious Right", which is, in turn, code for "Christianity." This is sometimes, by the legion of scribblers ready to push out the party line at the drop of a hat, modified for form's sake into "Christian Fundamentalism." But realistic observers of this game are not fooled and know it to be the same sort of bearded shorthand by which "Islamic Fundamentalism" is made to stand in for Islam, pure and simple.

In whatever form the attack takes, we have seen -- and will continue to see -- an attack on Religious Americans by another group of Americans that previously identified themselves as "secular," but who lately are trying to wrap themselves in the raiment of religion to a greater or lesser extent. I am expecting a plethora of punditry soon that includes the phrase, "Some of my best friends are Christians, but...." at every opportunity.

But this tactic will, in the end, not suffice. It will fail because those of real faith easily see through those of false faith. And to profess a faith is worse than to remain simply agnostic. Still, it will be tried because bare atheism reveals that the Religion of the Liberal/Left is not a religion of the people, but of those who would be master. In the coming years, the acolytes of this Religion may attempt to don the fleece of the flock, but the Shepherd will always be able to tell between the quick and the dead.

The real religious disaster for the Liberal/Left in the last 16-years was not that George Bush was religious, but that Bush's religion was not the Liberal/Left's approved religion; the Religion of the Self. They now have their new apotheosis in Obama, a man whose professed faith is plain to see -- through. And gleaming on his inner altar is a nice little statue of Himself in obsidian.

The Religion of the Self is the most ancient religion. Indeed, many faiths were created, revealed, and promulgated to contain the Religion of the Self.

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 4, 2016 2:01 PM |  Comments (49)  | QuickLink: Permalink
There Are 319 Million American Dreams. This Is One of Them.

That night I had a dream. I dreamt I was as light as the ether- a floating spirit visiting things to come.

The shades and shadows of the people in my life rassled their way their way into my slumber. I dreamed that Gale and Evelle had decided to return to prison. Probably that's just as well. I don't mean to sound superior, and they're a swell couple of guys, but maybe they weren't ready yet to come out into the world. And then I dreamed on, into the future, to a Christmas morn in the Arizona home where Nathan Junior was opening a present from a kindly couple who preferred to remain unknown. I saw Glen a few years later, still having no luck getting the cops to listen to his wild tales about me and Ed. Maybe he threw in one Polack joke too many. I don't know. And still I dreamed on, further into the future than I had ever dreamed before, watching Nathan Junior's progress from afar, taking pride in his accomplishments as if he were our own. Wondering if he ever thought of us and hoping that maybe we'd broadened his horizons a little even if he couldn't remember just how they got broadened. But still I hadn't dreamt nothing about me and Ed until the end. And this was cloudier cause it was years, years away. But I saw an old couple being visited by their children, and all their grandchildren too. The old couple weren't screwed up. And neither were their kids or their grandkids. And I don't know. You tell me. This whole dream, was it wishful thinking? Was I just fleeing reality like I know I'm liable to do? But me and Ed, we can be good too. And it seemed real. It seemed like us and it seemed like, well, our home. If not Arizona, then a land not too far away. Where all parents are strong and wise and capable and all children are happy and beloved. I don't know. Maybe it was Utah.-- Raising Arizona

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Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 3, 2016 7:11 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Once Upon a Time I Had a Daughter


Please repost, retweet, share, email, and promulgate everywhere you can. Thanks.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 1, 2016 4:45 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something's Happening Here. What It Is Ain't Exactly Clear.

The election of 2016 seems like a scene inside a larger event.

There is the sense that something significant is happening though no one seems can say exactly what. Robert Kagan called the United States the world's "most dangerous nation". It's a place where the idealistic and the cynical, the tawdry and the sublime, the brilliant and the stupid routinely rub shoulders in public life. The Most Dangerous Nation is now apparently in the process of resolving a political crisis in its own inimitable way. What it will do next is anybody's guess. It might be wonderful. It might be horrifying. It will probably be a little of both. -- Wretchard @ Belmont Club

"There's something happening here
But what it is ain't exactly clear
There's a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware

I think it's time we stop
Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look - what's going down? "


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 1, 2016 10:25 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dubious Halloween Costumes

When you see these at your door.... run.

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Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 31, 2016 3:15 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hitchhiking in the Land of the Dead

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Pull up a chair and sit a spell. Death's in residence on my block

Darkling I listen; and, for many a time
I have been half in love with easeful Death,
Call’d him soft names in many a mused rhyme,
To take into the air my quiet breath;
Now more than ever seems it rich to die
To cease upon the midnight with no pain....

-- Keats, Ode to a Nightingale

Once upon a time, when Europe could be had at $5 a day, I found myself hitchhiking on the freezing plains of Spain just outside of Madrid. Car after car swept past me, the winds in their wakes chilling me further. This was very disconcerting since I had with me my fail-safe ride generator, a hot hippie girlfriend (Think a good-looking Janis Joplin.) My ride generator had never failed me before but on this day she was generating zero rides even though the traffic on the road was heavy. Then I noticed two things.

First there seemed to be no trucks on the road. Second, the cars that huffed past us were filled to the gills with whole Spanish families bearing vast bouquets of flowers. And all those Spaniards looked, to the last, very grim.

After a few futile hours, we made our way -- walking -- a few kilometers down the road to a truck stop where, using my pidgin Spanish, the mystery of the ride drought was solved. It seemed that we were trying to get to Barcelona on one of the most holy days of the Spanish year -- All Saints Day, or as we have it here in America, Halloween.

The Spanish tradition on this day is for the whole family to load up the car with flowers and other offerings and haul off to the local graveyard for a visit and picnic with the dearly departed. After that many go off to a traditional performance of Spain's Faustian epic Don Juan Tenario in which the final act takes place in a cemetery. On this holy day in Spain we had almost zero chance of getting a ride anywhere other than the local graveyard. Chastened, we made our way back to Madrid by bus and set out the next day with much better luck.

What remains in my memory from watching the parade of cars on that long-lost Spanish highway is just how dour and serious the Spanish were on their Halloween. They weren't fooling around with death, but taking it at its word. They not only believed in death they also, in their prayers and rituals and their traditional play, believed that what you do in life determines how you will be treated in the afterlife. They had, at bottom, that adamantine belief that is the pearl beyond price of the Catholics. But even if you were to strip away the 2000 years of dogma, these people still had the one thing that more and more Americans lack at the core of their lives: a belief in something greater than themselves, a belief in something greater than man, greater than death.

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 31, 2016 2:40 AM |  Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Bitch

bitchinsidewhite_819342_thumb.jpgThey didn’t want to turn her on but they did. I never want to turn her on but I do. After they had turned her on for awhile they grew tired of listening to her. After listening to her for even ten seconds I’m enraged by her. Somewhere along the long road to their duck hunting camp they named her “The Bitch” and turned her off. At random points on any road I drive I want to throw “The Bitch” out the window and run over her until she’s nothing but a flat black splotch on the asphalt.

“The Bitch” has her uses. She’s helped me find my way to unknown destinations and out of places where I’m hopelessly lost. It doesn’t matter. I hate the very thought of her. She’s the worst nag since Eve made Adam slap on the fig leaf and remarked on how small it was. She’s Lilith and Delilah and the “What-ever Girl.” She’s the most passive-aggressive talker since the last speech by Barack Obama. She’s “The Bitch.”

It’s not what "The Bitch" does and doesn’t do but the voice of "The Bitch" that instantly sets my teeth on fire. It’s so pale and distantly grating that it draws me into a conversation even though I’ve got nothing to say to "The Bitch" and she isn’t listening.

“In sixth tenths of a mile, turn right on Mac Graw Av-en-you.”

“Got it.”

“In two tenths of a mile turn right on Mac Graw Av-en-you.”

“I said I’ve got it.”

“Turn right on Mac Graw Av-en-you.”

“Shut up. Just SHUT UP! I GOT IT. I GOT IT! Here, just to show you I’ll turn LEFT on ‘Mac Graw Av-en-you,’ bitch.”

And I turn left just to spite her and get about ten yards up the street when I hear her say the one thing that makes me want to strangle her with her charging cord:

“Re-cal-que-lating….”

Recalculating? Shit. Here it comes….

“In two tenths of a mile turn left on Harper and then turn left to Queen Anne Av-en-you… In sixth tenths of a mile, turn right on Mac Graw Av-en-you….”

Nag, nag, nag…. Short of pulling the plug nothing, but nothing, will shut “The Bitch” up. I don’t know what sort of market research came up with the voice of “The Bitch” as the optimum voice for a GPS unit, but I suspect knew what they were doing all along. They were looking for the optimum voice that would drive men out of their minds. And they succeeded. Sadists.

For added insanity, try handing the bitch to a woman who's driving with you and have her tell you what “The Bitch” is saying at the same time “The Bitch” is saying it. No jury of 12 men would convict.

And don't tell me to reset “The Bitch” to that English Accent choice. She's just bitchier with the bright tang of British smarm smeared on top. She's “The Brit Bitch.”

I hate “The Bitch.” I hate her every time I hear her say “Re-cal-que-lating….” I’ve been known to set her destination to “Home,” and then get on the freeway and drive fifty miles in the other direction… just to hear her ever more passive-aggressive and faintly irritated plaint of “Re-cal-que-lating….” every time I pass an off-ramp.

She’s “The Bitch” now and forever. No other female voice can even hope to come close to her voice. It is seared, SEARED, into my memory.

One of these days I’m going to take a very long drive into the heart of Death Valley and dump her. I’d do it today if I didn’t need her so much.

A summer rerun from 2009


Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 29, 2016 6:41 AM |  Comments (49)  | QuickLink: Permalink
America's Moment Of Truth


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 28, 2016 6:39 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Plato's 'Tyranny'

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In Book VIII of his Republic, Plato uses a fictitious conversation between his teacher Socrates and Adeimantus to explain how democracies devolve into tyrannies:

Socrates continues by claiming that democracies are transformed into tyrannies when the city becomes “drunk” with freedom; and that unless the leaders are able to provide more and more of it, they are punished by the people, and become accused of being “accursed oligarchs”.
He further states that the city “insults those who obey the rulers as willing slaves and good-for-nothings, and praises and honors, both in public and in private, rulers who behave like subjects and subjects who behave as rulers.” And once freedom has been extended to all lengths of the city, and makes its way into the private households, it ends up breeding anarchy throughout, even among the animals.
It causes a father to behave “like a child and fear his sons, while the son behaves like a father, feeling neither shame nor fear in front of his parents, in order to be free.” Furthermore, “a resident alien or a foreign visitor is made equal to a citizen, and he is their equal.”
Socrates goes on to say that, “a teacher in such a community is afraid of his students and flatters them, while the students despise their teachers or tutors. And in general, the young imitate their elders and compete with them in word or deed, while the old stoop to the level of the young and are full of play and pleasantry imitating the young for fear of appearing disagreeable and authoritarian.”
When freedom is extended to its utmost lengths, there is no inequality between parents and their children, teachers and their students, and ruler and their subjects; nor is there any inequality between men and women, or masters and slaves. Even the animals become free, for as Socrates states, “no one who hasn’t experienced it would believe how much freer domestic animals are in a democratic city than anywhere else.”
He sums up his characterization of how far freedom comes to be extended in a democracy by saying that the citizens’ souls become so sensitive that, “if anyone even puts upon himself the least degree of slavery, they become angry and cannot endure it. And in the end… they take no notice of the laws, whether written, or unwritten, in order to avoid having any master at all.”
This, then, is the “fine and impetuous origin from which tyranny seems to evolve.” As such, “extreme freedom can’t be expected to lead to anything but a change to extreme slavery, whether for a private individual or for a city.” An entitled population that makes increasing demands of their leaders? Check. WOW! ! | Intellectual Takeout


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 28, 2016 3:07 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Please Re-Elect Gerald

With all the national insanity, we sometimes forget that local campaigns have ads too.

"Gerald really doesn't have any hobbies...."


[HT: Between the Radials]


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 26, 2016 9:24 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Awe Gone

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The word “unbelievable” has lost all force. That's why the kiddies and their adult imitators invented the word awesome. -- Commentor BillH, 2014

Moments of real awe that overwhelm the soul are rare, but if you look closely at the miracle of creation in the macro or micro cosmos you can create such a moment almost at will. Real awe is front-loaded into the universe.

At the same time, those things of man that inspire awe diminish moment by moment under the unstoppable onslaught of the word "awesome." The descent of the word "awesome" from a valuable modifier when describing an experience to the status of a brain fart is a classic example of how our "educated" illiterates destroy literacy.

I've had a few moments in my life where genuine awe shook me to the roots of my soul. Holding my daughter in my arms a moment after she was born comes to mind as does a time when I was very young, lying a field and looking up at the sky and the high cirrus glowing burnt orange in the fading rays of day. There were others as well, gifts given and grace notes. Common to all were an intake of breath and a feeling as if your heart had been grazed by a thought of God and forgot, for that moment, to beat. Matched up against all the torrent and cascade of moments though, this genuine awe was rare; it was one of the pearls beyond price, the shining instant of "Ah ha, so that's what it's all about."

Not so today. Today awe is as common as clay. Today all things of man possesses the awe of someness. The movie is awesome. The SmartCar is awesome. The candy bar is awesome. The cheeseburger is awesome. Today it would seem that every slice of tripe spun out of the crap factories of pop culture is awesome even though one note of the 9th Symphony would crush the entire oeuvre of Arrowsmith. My morning latte was described by the barrista as "awesome" when, like all our cornucopia of crapulous things described as such, it was quite mediocre, thank you.

I'm not sure when "awesome" died, but it was sometime in the very late, not-so-great, 20th century. You'd think it would be mummified by now, but no. Whenever someone so forgets to drive their mouth responsibly that the word "awesome" emerges it carries with it the stench of that slaughterhouse where perfectly good words go to die.

In a time when moments of true awe are needed to slake the parched post-modern lost souls, the intense trivialization of awe by the neutered generation is awesome.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 23, 2016 12:12 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
ROAD TRIP to a HAMMER FACTORY

Woke up this morning in a foul mood and nauseated by the election. You too? Try this palette cleanser. It's casual, real, and utterly lacking in artifice on every level.

As described by one of my new favorite sites, HappyAcres

Educational: as in, should be shown to every schoolchild (and adult) as a reality check

Want to know where the stuff at Home Depot comes from? Jump to the 4:00 minute mark to enter the factory.

As a machinist, Tubal visits as curiosity seeker, marveling at the practical solutions that make a piece-part factory work. It is a marvel to be sure, that man can so organize himself and the material world.

A viewer with soft hands, though, may marvel at Blake’s dark satanic mill surviving into our own age, surviving because it works, because it provides a paycheck to rough tough people with no illusions, because it gives you a cheap high-quality hammer.

The working class… is it really a thing? What does a working class person look like? What does a working class person do for the paycheck he takes home to his family?

And those factories that newspapers say are disappearing from America… what do they look like, can you give me an image?

You’ll never think about hammers or white trash the same again. You’ll have a real image.

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 21, 2016 9:25 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Charles Mackay, 1858: “A corrupt republic is tainted in its blood, and bears the seeds of death in every pulsation.”

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We have reached a crisis when upon their action depends the preservation of the Union, according to the letter and spirit of the Constitution; and this once gone, all is lost. -- President James Buchanan, 1858, as quoted in Life and liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour in the United States, 1858 by Charles Mackay which continues:

As the venerable statesman truly observes, the United States incur no danger from foreign aggressions; there is no one to injure them but themselves; and they have nothing to fear but "the just judgments of God." But this is only a portion of the subject, and the questions still remain, Will they not injure themselves? ....

That the people will increase and multiply and replenish the whole continent no one can doubt: and that in the course of ages North America will be as populous as Europe.... But in speculating upon the future of a people the mind clings to the idea of Empire and Government — and we ask ourselves whether Empire in this noble region will be one or many — central or local — imperial or republican?

Whether the great Republic shall exist undivided, or whether it will fall to pieces from its own weight and unwieldiness, or from some weakness in the chain which shall be the measure and the test of its strength? ...

Or whether, in consequence of internal strife, some new Alexander, Charlemagne, or Napoleon of the West, shall arise to make himself lord absolute and hereditary, and at his death leave the inheritance to be scrambled for and divided by his generals? ...

That the Union may be disturbed or disrupted at some period near or remote, is an idea familiar to the mind of every inquirer and observer.... It is, after all, the hungry belly of the people, and not the heads of legislators, that tries the strength of political systems: and when all the land is occupied, and has become too dear for the struggling fanner or artizan to purchase; when the starving man or the pauper has a vote equally with the well-fed and the contented proprietor; and when the criminal counts at an election for as much as an honest man — what may be the result of universal suffrage on the constitution of the Republic and the stability of the Union?....

But a greater danger even than this — the most formidable of all the rocks that are ahead — is the growth of peculation and corruption, and the decay of public virtue.

A republic is, theoretically, the purest and most perfect form of Government, but it requires eminently pure men to work it. A corrupt monarchy or despotism may last for a long time without fatal results to the body politic, just as a man may live a long time, and be a very satisfactory citizen, with only one arm, one leg, or one eye.

In despotic countries the people may be virtuous, though the Government is vicious; but a corrupt republic is tainted in its blood, and bears the seeds of death in every pulsation. And on this point Mr. Buchanan seems to have a clearer vision than many of his countrymen.... In reference to this fever in the blood of the State, he thus solemnly warns the citizens in the letter from which quotation has already been made: —

"I shall assume the privilege of advancing years in reference to another growing and dangerous evil. In the last age, although our fathers, like ourselves, were divided into political parties which often had severe conflicts with each other, yet we never heard until within a recent period of the employment of money to carry elections. Should this practice increase until the voters and their representatives in the State and National Legislatures shall become infected, the fountain of free government will be poisoned at its source, and we must end, as history proves, in a military despotism. A democratic republic, all agree, cannot long survive unless sustained by public virtue. When this is corrupted, and the people become venal, there is a canker at the root of the tree of liberty which will cause it to wither and to die."

If corruption have attained its present growth with a population so scant in 1858, in a country by the cultivation of which ten times the number could live honestly and independently, if they trusted to hard work, and not to intrigue, for the means of subsistence; what will be the extent of corruption fifty years hence? Shall a despotism attempt a remedy worse than the disease? Or will the patient be warned of the evil of his ways, and amend his life in time?

[Taken from -- Life and liberty in America: or Sketches of a Tour in the United States, 1858 by Charles Mackay. Mackay was also the author of the more widely known Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds]


Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 19, 2016 1:26 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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SIDELINES

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

Your Shower Is Lame, Your Dishwasher Doesn’t Work, and Your Clothes are Dirty

It’s not just about the showerhead.
The water pressure in our homes and apartments has been gradually getting worse for two decades, thanks to EPA mandates on state and local governments. This has meant that even with a good showerhead, the shower is not as good as it might be. It also means that less water is running through our pipes, causing lines to clog and homes to stink just slightly like the sewer. This problem is much more difficult to fix, especially because plumbers are forbidden by law from hacking your water pressure. | Foundation for Economic Education [HT: Never Yet Melted]


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



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