Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Frequently Answered Questions

Algae & Saving the Planet Redux: Carlin and Ghostsniper
The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are! ....We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas. George Carlin: “We’re so self-important.”

"Almost exactly 9 years ago me and one other guy built with our own hands the very building I am sitting in right now. To do this meant to first clear about 60'x60' of heavily wooded land. After clearing and grading there was not a blade of grass left standing.

"Now, 9 years later, the building is showing a little wear and tear and there are 30' tall sycamore, tulipwood, and a few other types of trees on 3 sides of it that weren't there before and nobody planted them there.

"How did they get there?

"If you look close at the white lap siding on the north side of the building you will see a slight greenish hue, what is that? It is algae that I didn't clean off this summer like I normally do ever summer. If I never clean that algae off it will continue to accumulate and eventually the siding will succumb to it. The algae will consume the siding and everything it encounters. It's what algae does.

"In time those 30' trees will grow to be 80' tall and then die and some will fall on this building unless they are maintained some how. If they fall on the building it will continue to succumb to natures journey. Just like everything else does.

"All human activity on earth is merely a very thin film on the surface with almost no impact over the whole.

"People have difficulty grasping this concept because of their inability to weigh the scale of the thing as it is compared to the puny nothingness that occupies most of their daily worthless lives.

"All things will pass eventually except the earth, it is here for good and always will be here, doing what it has done for billions of years.

"That's it's purpose, it's reason for being. It is what it is, as they say.

"It is nothing but bare arrogant narcissism for anyone to believe they will have any effect at all on anything to do with this enormous and unbelievably old earth.

"It just ain't gonna happen.

"No matter what humans do to this earth, within that thin surface film, can be considered just moving the furniture around in the living room as it has no effect on the larger picture. Or maybe even just wiping the dust off the end tables in the living room. It won't change the whole neighborhood let along the city, country, or gasp, the earth itself.

"When you see people like Gates and Branson go on and on with their silliness consider the scale and then laugh loudly and openly in their direction then go on about your merry way safe in the knowledge that the earth you have always known will always be right where it always has been and always will be.

"In the end the earth will be here, but the humans may not as they may get wiped off that siding with the algae, as they deserve."

Posted by: ghostsniper The Top 40: Bill Gates and Richard Branson

Continued...
Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 13, 2015 1:05 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Van der Leun's 330 Word Guide to Writing Book Proposals

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Once upon a time in a land far, far away, I was a book editor (200 titles), a magazine editor (1,000 + articles) and, briefly, a literary agent. During that time I saw proposals and manuscripts without number. Most failed to even engage my attention because they failed to tell me what I, as an editor, really needed to know.

When I became an agent I developed the following document for my clients who were having trouble writing a simple proposal. Typically, they'd get bogged down in creating a long, drawn out monster that was too turgid and too worked over to be of use.

A writer new to the game of publishing (and it is a game and a clumsy and ugly one) would always spend far too much time getting to yes or no. My writers would have a lot to say about their subjects and they seemed to feel that by saying a lot in the proposal they were improving their odds. Wrong. Less is more in this game, trust me.

And besides, a proposal is just that. A proposal. There's no sense in investing a huge amount of time in something that isn't going to be published and for which a writer is not going to be paid.

Contract first. Book second. Hear me now or hear me later after you've wasted a year or more of your life.

At any rate, I had an email exchange today with a writer who is struggling with the proposal. I sent that writer this document I dredged up from the depths of my back-up hard drive. It struck me that it might be of use to other suffering writers. And so, here it is.

Some may scoff and say that "books are over," but don't you believe it. The plain fact is that even now, in the ever so advanced 21st century, if the human race really values knowledge, books are where we put it.

The 330 Word Book Proposal Schematic in 5 Parts

1) What the Book is About (1 -2 Pages)

Start with the title and subtitle. Make these two elements as attention grabbing as possible. They will be the "handle" the editor uses for pitching the book to the acquisition committee.

Single-spaced, this section sets out the condensed form of the book. Think of it as expanded jacket copy.

What's it about? What's its point of view. What is the arc and shape of the book? What patterns will it reveal? How will it educate, illuminate, amuse or inspire? Why is the book important now?

Function: This section gives the acquiring editor reasons for recommending the book for publication.

2) Chapter by Chapter Outline of the Book

Each chapter is given a title and then one or two paragraphs that set out what will be covered in the chapter when written.

Function: The allows the editor understand the structure of the book.

3) Sample Chapter

Pick one chapter from the outline and write it start to finish.

Function: This allows the editor to know how the author will write the book and, indeed, if the author can in fact write.

4) Core Market for the Book (1 Page)

Who is going to buy the book?

Who are the people who will be interested in the book?

Be fairly specific here. It's not a "There are 300 million people in the United States and they all eat, therefore my cook book...." argument. Editors want to have some idea of the "hard-core" market of buyers' the people who have to have it.

Indicate other similar and/or complimentary books and influential magazine / web articles on the subject.

Function: Helps the editor identify and quantify the possible market for the book.

5) Why the Author is Qualified to Write This Book. (1 Page)

Why you? What are the author's particular qualifications for writing this book? Include degrees, writing experience, web credentials, background.

Function: Allows the editor to know that the author has the expertise to write the book.


Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 27, 2010 12:39 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Memorial Day Planting Project at White House

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Posted by Vanderleun at May 22, 2009 3:28 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gay Is Busting Our All O-O-Ver....!

The semi-pro gay outer (Republican Gays Only) David Corn continues to promote his "List of Gays to Be Outed Agenda" with

Copies of The List (see below) have been sent by gay politicos to a variety of social conservative groups that look to the Republican Party to make their religious right dreams come true.
I must admit that it was only recently that I thought of Corn as a man more fit than any other to fly the Rainbow flag from the top of his pole; of a man ready to fight the good fight for gay freedom, gay justice, gay marriage, and the gay American way. This latest obsession of his to make sure

Continued...
Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 6, 2006 1:06 PM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Site Notes

WHEN SOMETHING CAN GO WRONG it usually waits until you are in no position to fix it. That's what been happening here for a week or so. But I think that it is, for the moment, corrected. Thanks for your patience.

What went wrong with the site? In the end, it was obvious. Well, it was obvious once it became obvious. It was about space, or rather the lack of it. Of course, I'd always thought space was infinite. Silly me.


Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 16, 2006 6:11 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On the Consumption of Scarce Resources in the Democratic Party

"The problem with having Kerry lingering around the party like an old rejected boy friend who still thinks he has a chance is the effort it takes to shoo him away. ... Why even worry about Kerry, I asked a Democratic friend yesterday. "He takes up oxygen," was the answer. "
-- Mickey Kaus

And besides, just how much room is there in a political oxygen tent in the ICU?


Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 11, 2005 12:21 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
American Values According To Google

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The things Americans were interested in
during last month as reflected in Google
search requests. Compiled by
Google Press Center: Zeitgeist


Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 20, 2004 8:52 AM |  Comments (1)  | 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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