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Roadside Distractions: John Margolie’s Roadside America

Because nothing says “Eat Me!” more than a giant well-armed crustacean.

The John Margolies Roadside America Photograph Archive is one of the most comprehensive documentary studies of vernacular commercial structures along main streets, byways, and highways throughout the United States in the twentieth century.

Photographed over a span of forty years (1969-2008) by architectural critic and curator John Margolies (1940-2016), the collection consists of 11,710 color slides (35mm film transparencies). Frequent subjects include restaurants, gas stations, movie theaters, motels, signage, miniature golf courses, and beach and mountain vacation resorts. Approximately half of the slides show sites in California, Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, South Carolina, and Texas, but all 48 contiguous states are represented.The Library of Congress began to acquire portions of the archive in 2007, with the bulk of the materials arriving in 2015. These holdings form the core of what Margolies considered the exemplary images of his subject matter.

Margolies’ Roadside America work chronicled a period of American history defined by the automobile and the ease of travel it allowed. Emerging with the prosperity of the post-WWII era, roadside and commercial structures spread with the boom of suburbanization and the expansion of paved roads across the United States. Yet, in many instances, the only remaining record of these buildings is on Margolies’ film, because tourist architecture was endangered by the expansion of the interstate system and changing travel desires. Margolies’ work was influential in the addition of roadside buildings to the National Register of Historic Places beginning in the late 1970s.

In his photography, Margolies utilized a straightforward, unsentimental approach that emphasized the form of the buildings. These structures were usually isolated in the frame and photographed head-on or at an oblique angle to provide descriptive details. Given the breadth of his subject matter, common typologies and motifs in vernacular architecture can be identified through their repetition. While environmental context is only occasionally provided, Margolies’ eye was often drawn to signage or other graphic elements of buildings that expressed the ingenuity or eccentricity of their makers.

This one’s about seven miles from me en route to Corning which is, guess, “The Olive Capitol of the World”

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True but Forbidden #42: Dog Days to DNA

Dog Identifies As Genderfluid To Avoid Getting Neutered

Then there’s the “Front Runner” amongst the other unelectable DemoProgs: We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It’s not that they don’t want to help, they don’t want — they don’t know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television — excuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the phone — make sure that kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school — a very poor background — will hear 4 million words fewer spoken by the time they get there. Joe Biden’s Racist Answer on the Legacy of Slavery

We allegedly have a 2nd Amendment which states The right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. There are literally thousands of gun laws on the books that prevent keeping and bearing of certain arms in certain places by certain persons, criminalizing mere possession of certain common firearms.  Every one of those laws is flatly unconstitutional and yet the government not only won’t remove them it keeps adding to them. The latest are “Red Flag” laws — one of which the government just used to steal guns from a man who said if Antifa attacked him he would resist using deadly force. Resisting someone trying to kill you is a basic, pre-political right.   The FBI just took all of his guns — not for a threat of initiating violence but for stating in public that he would defend himself if attacked.  He was not charged with a crime (because he didn’t commit one, I note.)

We have the spectacle of entire nations self-destructing under the onslaught of “refugees”, suspiciously all military-aged males, minus women and children, streaming from every not-at-war Turd World Shitholia and Trashcanistan, raping entire populations in plain sight, for decades, with the full approval of the authorities, and pillaging the cultural heritage of the entire civilized world.

And Stockholm Syndrome times Battered Wives’ Syndrome is alive and well; but not just in Stockholm, but in Berlinistan, Londonistan, Paristan, Romistan, Rotherham, Chemnitz, and every other future no-go zone in the caliphate that’s spreading like cancer from Spitzbergen to Sicily.
To Syracuse.
To San Diego.
Let me know when realization dawns for you.
By their own doctrine, they’re either fanatics, or apostates.
Moderate is a western invention, like unicorns and the Easter Bunny.
You could look it up.

Vegan Activists Segregate Hens From Roosters ‘So The Hens Aren’t Raped’   [continue reading…]

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The Wound


Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries / Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building 2

“Well, it was only 3,000 people and we’ve moved on. Why can’t you? Carpe diem, man.”

The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak,
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient still.

— Thom Gunn, The Wound

EVERYONE WHO WAS IN NEW YORK ON on “The Day” will tell you their stories about “The Day.” I could stun you with an eight-figure number by running a Google on 9/11, but you can do that as well.

“The Day,” even at this close remove, has ascended into that shared museum of the mind to be placed in the diorama captioned, “Where Were You When.” The site has long since been cleared and scrubbed clean. There is even an agreement on the memorial which will, I see, use a lot of water and trees. “The Day” has become both memorial and myth.

Less is heard about the aftermath. Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke.

You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow’s shawl as the fires burned on for months.

You don’t know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River.

You suppress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being “held for police activity at Penn Station.” Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks, you barely knew it was there. [continue reading…]

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Of a Fire in a Field and a Hole in the Sky

The Tower of Voices, a roughly 93-foot-tall concrete and steel structure, contains a wind chime for each of the 40 passengers and crew members who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and represents the final phase of the Flight 93 National Memorial. Each chime will generate its own distinctive sound.

At the end of April in 2006 a couple of friends asked me to go with them to see “United 93,” but I declined both offers saying I wasn’t sure that I needed any reminders other than what I saw in New York on that day. In the end, though, I went to it as I went to the funerals, alone.

When people who were in New York on that day talk about it, it always seems to be focused on the day itself. Nobody talks much about the days and the weeks and the months that came after that day in New York City.

In a way, that’s understandable because what happened for days and weeks and months after was pretty much a slowly diminishing repeat of that day. Things got better, got back to the new “normal.” The wax from the candled shrines was scraped away, and in time — quite a long time actually — even the walls and fences full of fading flyers asking if you had seen one or the other of those we came to call “the missing” were gone.

Most of these ghastly portrait galleries were simply washed away by the snows and rains that followed that autumn day. Some were covered in long sheets of clear plastic duct-taped and sealed.

I pose you your question: “What would you do, an ordinary person in an extraordinary moment when life and death, good and evil, were as clear as the skies over America on September 11? “

It was as if somehow preserving them for a long as possible would in some way preserve the hope that those in the towers who had been turned to ash and dust were, somewhere, somehow, still merely missing. Some were even laminated and replaced more than once on a chain-link fence that ringed Ground Zero forming a patchwork of Kinkos-copied faces framed by wire and the hole in the sky. [continue reading…]

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Rantomatic #11: Dave Chappelle Jokes for Me

7) Black people never feel sorry for the police, but this time, we even felt sorry for the police. Can you imagine if you was a police veteran taking this kid’s police report? “Okay, Mr. Smollett. Please, tell me what happened.” “All right, you… 2:00 a.m. You left the house at 2:00 a.m. It was minus 16 degrees and… – All right. You were walking? You were walking. All right. And… and where were you going? Subway? Sandwiches? That’s when the men approached you? Did you see them? Do you have any – Okay, what did they have on? MAGA hats? MAGA hats on in Chicago? Excuse me, one second, Mr. Smollett. Frank, come here for a second. Find out where Kanye West was last night.” Such a f*cking outrageous story. He said they put a rope around his neck. Has anyone here ever been to Chicago? Yes! All right. All right, so you’ve been there. Now, tell me, how much rope do you remember seeing? Who the f*ck is carrying rope? Like, when did you get mugged, n*gga, in 1850? – Who’s got rope? – Who’s got rope? Man, that sh*t was awful.

6) But, you see, what I didn’t realize at the time and what Kevin had to learn the hard way is we were breaking an unwritten and unspoken rule of show business. And if I say it, you’ll know that I’m telling you the truth. The rule is that no matter what you do in your artistic expression, you are never, ever, allowed to upset… the alphabet people. You know who I mean. Those people that took 20% of the alphabet for themselves. I’d say the letters, but I don’t want to conjure their anger. Ah, it’s too late now. I’m talking about them L’s and them B’s and them G’s and the T’s. [continue reading…]

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Dems Desperately Seeking First Loser

Seems the Democrats are still struggling to choose “First Loser.” Me? I’m trying to stay in the now and not let them spin me up. How about you?

“Roll tape…”

“Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me”

[Thanks, MOTUS.]

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And it is always good to look deep into the crazzzzzy eyes….

Hillary Clinton Reads Her Emails at Venice Art Show After Mrs. Clinton’s appearance at the exhibition, which was built into a balcony jutting out over a supermarket, she called the email episode one of the “strangest” and most “absurd” events in American political history.

“Anyone can go in and look at them,” she said during remarks to the Italian news media. “There is nothing there.”

“There is nothing that should have been so controversial,” she added.

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The Wind in the Heights

New York, NY- WTC heavy winds cause a wind swept dust storm around the ring of honor at the bottom of ground zero during the one year anniversary of the tragic event. Photo: David Ryan

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I.
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

— Christina Rossetti

10,000 FEARED DEAD
— Headline, New York Post, September 12, 2001

AT THE TURN OF THE CENTURY I lived in Brooklyn Heights in, of course, Brooklyn. The opening of the Brooklyn Bridge on May 24 of 1883 transformed the high bluff just to the south of the bridge into America’s first suburb. It became possible for affluent businessmen from the tip of Manhattan which lay just over the East River to commute across the bridge easily and build their stately mansions and townhouses high above the slapdash docks below. Growth and change would wash around the Heights in the 117 years that followed, but secure on their bluff, on their high ground, the Heights would remain a repository old and new money, power, and some of the finest examples of 19th and early 20th-century homes found in New York City.

When I moved to Brooklyn Heights from the suburbs of Westport, Connecticut in the late 90s, it was a revelation to me that such a neighborhood still existed. Small side streets and cul-de-sacs were shaded over by large oaks and maple that made it cool even in the summer doldrums. Street names such as Cranberry, Orange and Pineapple let you know you were off the grid of numbered streets and avenues. Families were everywhere and the streets on evenings and on weekends were full of the one thing you rarely see in Manhattan, children.

Brooklyn Heights had looked down on Wall Street and the tip of Manhattan from almost the beginning. It hosted the retreat of Washington from New York City during the Battle of Long Island, the first major engagement of the Revolutionary War. To be in the Heights was to hold the high ground and all the advantages that position affords.

Brooklyn Heights today enjoys a kind of armed hamlet existence in New York. Outside influences such as crime, poverty and ghetto life don’t really intrude. Since it has long been a neighborhood of the rich and the powerful of the city, it has been spared some of the more doleful effects of city life. It doesn’t have walls that you can see, but they are there, strong, high and well guarded.

Traffic, that bane of New York life, is controlled in the Heights. To the west, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, once planned to cut through the Heights directly to the Brooklyn Bridge, was rerouted by a deft application of money and power; placed below along the harbor. To the east, all traffic coming off the Bridge is pushed along Cadman Plaza to Court Street and off to Atlantic. This forms the eastern border of the Heights whose edge is further delineated by the ramparts of Brooklyn City Hall, Courts of all flavors and a rag-tag collection of government structures that exemplify the Fascist Overbuilding movement of the early 70s when, expecting ‘The Revolution,’ governments built towards gun-slits rather than windows. The south of the Heights is sharply drawn with Atlantic Avenue, a street given over to a long strip of fringe businesses and a corridor of Islamic-American mosques and souks and restaurants. The north is quite simply the Brooklyn Bridge and its approaches that shelter the now slowly evolving sector devoted to overpriced raw loft spaces and bad art known as DUMBO, for “Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass.” [continue reading…]

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The Missing

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know
Within that smoke their ash still falls as snow,
To settle on our flesh like fading stars
Dissolve into sharp sparks at break of day.

At dawn a distant shudder in the earth
Disclosed the flight of fire into steel,
The shaking not of subways underground,
But screams from inside flowers made of flame.

We stood upon the Heights like men of straw
Transfixed by flames that started in the sky,
And watched them plunging down in death’s ballet
Too far removed to hear their falling cry.

By noon that band of smoke loomed low
Upon the harbor’s skin and made us gasp;
A hand of smoke that in its curdled crawl
Kept reaching to extend its lethal grasp.

The harp strung bridge held up ten thousand souls
Who’d screaming run beneath the paws of death,
Like dusted ghosts that lived but were not sure
If they lived in light or only for a breath.

They’d writhed and spun within that storm of smoke
And stumbled out to light and clearer air,
To find upon the river’s further shore
No sanctuary other than despair.

The sirens scraped the sky and jets carved arcs
Within a heaven empty of all hope,
That marked its epicenter with one streak
Of black on polished bone where silver’d stood.

By evening all their ash had settled so
That on the leaves outside my window glowed
Their souls in small bright stars until the rain
Cleaned all of what could not be clean again.

We breathed that smoke that bent and crawled.
We learned to hate that smoke that lingered so.
We knew that blood could only answer blood,
And so we yearned to go but not to go.

Within that city shrines were our resolve.
We placed them where our grief would best anneal.
Upon our walls and trees their faces loomed
To gaze at us from time beyond repeal.

Their last lost summer faded into ash.
Their faces faded into name scratched stones.
Our years flowed into endless desert seas
Where warplanes prowled in search of bones.

In time their smoke and ash became but words
In stories told at dinner, told by rote,
Or in the comments made by magazines
For whom the “larger issues” were of note.

In time their faces faded with the rains,
The little altars thick with wax were scraped,
But still beneath clear plastic they endure
Reminding us that we have not escaped.

Their silence keeps me sleepless for I know.

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[What follows is a slightly edited transcript of what I saw and how I felt on the 11th of September, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights in New York City. On that day I was posting to a West Coast Computer Conferencing system known as The Well. As a result, even though I was writing from Brooklyn Heights directly across the river from the Towers, the time stamp reflects PST. Real time is +3 hours.]

Tue 11 Sep 01 08:07

Saw the first tower collapse from the Promenade across the river in Brooklyn. Fine white and pale yellow ash everywhere. Lower Manhattan covered in smoke with ash still drifting down.

Military jets overhead every five minutes or so.

Lower span of Brooklyn Bridge jammed with people walking out of the city, many covered with white ash. Ghosts. The Living Dead. BQE empty except for convoys of emergency vehicles.

Sirens in all directions. Ferry ships emerging from the smoke heading to the Brooklyn shore riding low in the water fully loaded.

This is monstrous.

Deaths in the thousands in New York.

My body is trembling with sorrow and rage. I saw the first tower fall. Everyone in it would have been killed. This, all this, must be stopped. Those who have done this must be wiped out to the last.

War with whom?

Any and all terrorist organizations, foreign or domestic, must now be brought to a swift and complete halt no matter where they are located.

I watched this happen. The enormity of it cannot be communicated. Vile and bestial.

We need to destroy any and all capacity of anyone living anywhere to do anything like this ever again. There were thousands in those buildings. Thousands.

There is no justice swift enough or sure enough.

All that we have must be brought forward and used without restraint. This is an act of war beyond Pearl Harbor.

Military jets overhead again.

More ash on the street. I am cooled down. Way down.

This is pure evil.

*Tue 11 Sep 01 12:33 *

There is no World Trade Center visible from the Promenade. But you can smell it from there — a sort of burnt stench as if someone lit newspaper in a trash can and then poured water on it. That kind of wet, burnt stench.

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Snapshots: Today He’d Be About 21 Years Old

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He, too, has resigned his part
In the casual comedy;
He, too, has been changed in his turn,
Transformed utterly:
A terrible beauty is born.

Easter, 1916 by William Butler Yeats

I’ve been trying to remember September 10 but it’s no go.

I know what I must have been doing, but I don’t remember what I did. I kept no notes on that most ordinary of September days. I kept many notes on the day that followed and the days, weeks, months and years that followed that day. What I do know is that whatever might have followed September 10 was taken from us all that day never to be returned or recaptured only avenged. What I do know is that “justice being served” has no part in it, and never did.

I can, of course, assume what I did — what I must have done — on a routine Monday in Brooklyn Heights. I would have gotten up and showered in my strange bathroom with half a tub. I would have dressed for work; maybe a white shirt and a tie and a suit. I would have walked a block and a half to the Clark Street Station and taken an elevator 11 floors beneath the surface of the earth, ridden a train deeper still under the East River, and gotten out at Penn Station, walked across the street and taken the elevator up to the eleventh floor, and worked my way through my day before repeating the journey back to Brooklyn Heights. I must have done those things and done them without knowing it would be the last time I would do them in a heedless fashion. It was just the pattern my life had come to in all the long New York years leading to September 10.

I can, of course, look and see what the nation and the world was concerned with on September 10. John O’Neil, the FBI’s leading counterterrorism expert was dining at Elaine’s Restaurant on the Upper East Side, and telling his fellow diners, “We’re due. And we’re due for something big. Some things have happened in Afghanistan….” O’Neill would be dead within 24 hours when the South Tower collapsed. On the same day, Iran denied, not for the first or last time, that it was trying to develop nuclear weapons. Down on Wall Street the Dow Jones index remained flat at the close of business and the New York Times wrote, not for the first or last time, of “the darkening economic outlook” while noting that most economists didn’t “anticipate a full-blown recession.” Overall the hottest news story in the nation concerned Michael Jordan’s pending return to professional basketball. The news that day was a case of the banal overshadowing the mundane.

It was against that background of works and days that the doors of history swung open and we all walked through them forgetting to ask, “What fresh hell is this?” [continue reading…]

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And All That Boomer Jazz: Take Five


Nominations are now open for other great Boomer Jazz hits.

 

Brubeck had been playing in odd time signatures back in the late 1940s, but it wasn’t until he returned from a trip to Turkey in 1958 that he thought about doing an entire album in different time signatures, like six-four, three-four, nine-eight and, in “Take Five,” five-four. Brubeck’s label at the time, Columbia, didn’t know about his plans. When he finally let them in on what he was doing, the marketing department became nervous about releasing the album, and not just because of the strange meters.

“I had a painting on the cover, and that hadn’t happened in jazz,” Brubeck said. “It may have happened in classical, I don’t know. And also, it was all originals, and they were against that. If you did all original compositions, you usually couldn’t do that. You just weren’t allowed to do that. They wanted you to do standard Broadway shows and standard tunes from the love songs of the day or the hits of the day.”… The quartet recorded the tune in two takes, and when it was done, Paul Desmond thought the song was a throwaway — so much so that he once joked about using his entire share of royalties from the song to buy a new electric shaver. The title “Take Five” was Brubeck’s idea; Desmond wasn’t crazy about the title, but Brubeck persisted.

“So I said, ‘Well, we got to have a title. Why don’t you want to use it?’ And he said, ‘Nobody knows what it means.’ And I said, ‘Paul, you’re the only person probably in the country that doesn’t know what it means.'”

This take is from a session in Belgium. The entire masterpiece, allbum , Time Out, is here [continue reading…]

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So here’s how 2020 unfolds.

Elizabeth Warren is now, as we know, actively colluding with Hillary Clinton. This collusion will bear strange fruit when, as a result of Clinton’s collusion connections, Warren clinches the nomination and gives Hillary the VP slot after the primaries but before the convention. Clinton is an obvious choice for VP; she would “balance the ticket” by being the “moderating middle of the road” influence that would ameliorate the wild and whacky kill the country on day one policies of Warren.

Such a quick-drying humid hotflash of a ticket would have an irresistible allure to formerly-cute women of all ages, races, and sexes.

Warren/Clinton would be too much testosterone for Trump to beat and he just might have to settle for a happyending rather than a second term. “Sorry to keep you waiting, Passion Flower. Complicated business.”

Fast forward January 2021 and it is President Warren and Vice President Clinton together at last. The only lingering (very) small issue is that getting there involved Warren colluding with the Mother of All Collusions Clinton who had colluded with the Russians to get Trump impeached for colluding with Putin. As such Warren was colluding with the Russian Colluding Establishment RCE, and her acceptance of RCE’s assistance indicated that Russia itself (aka “VAL”) could have again colluded to secure her election.

Loyal Democrat though she may be, this collusion allegation against Warren was so serious that Clinton had to initiate an investigation into Warren’s collusion with Russia. “I’m doing it for the little people,” she stated. “I gave Liz that 800-ROO-SKIE number one late night at the bottom of four bottles of Chardonnay and a little face time. I told her to call the Rooskies if she needed a few extra electorals. I didn’t think she’d actually do it. Then again I didn’t think I’d have to replace my rug either.”

This time the Clinton collusion investigation was headed up the Notorious RBG from her retirement condo at the Ted Kennedy Memorial Organ Farm and Health SPA. In short order, RBG’s Report confirmed that Warren had colluded with the Russians. Warren was then led to resign by the Head of her Secret Service detachment who confronted her with the RBG Report and said, “Plata o plomo.”

Exit Warren Oval Office Right.

Enter Clinton Oval Office Left with Notorious RBG and a Bible:

“Home at last, girlfriend. Home at last.”

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Boomer Recessionals: Don’t Let the Old Man In


Toby Keith Explains How Clint Eastwood Inspired ‘Don’t Let the Old Man In’  

Toby Keith knows a good hook when he hears one. And no one weaves a tale quite like Clint Eastwood.

That the two were sharing a golf cart last year at Eastwood’s charity tournament in Pebble Beach, Calif. is both a testament to their friendship and a stroke of good fortune. The encounter led Keith to pen the beautifully haunting song that lingers at the end of The Mule. The Eastwood-directed and starring film, in theaters now, is based on the true story of a WWII veteran in his 80s who takes a job as a courier for a Mexican drug cartel.

Out on the green, Eastwood shared that he’d be starting work on The Mule in two days, which also happened to be his 88th birthday. Struck by Eastwood’s relentless energy at an age when many are content to sit and reflect, Keith asked how he keeps going.

He said, “I just get up every morning and go out. And I don’t let the old man in,” Keith recounts.

[continue reading…]

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Octave Uzanne’s “The End of Books” (1894) The Bibliophile— is asked his opinion on the future of books. He replies as follows: If by books you are to be understood as referring to our innumerable collections of paper, printed, sewed, and bound in a cover announcing the title of the work, I own to you frankly that I do not believe (and the progress of electricity and modern mechanism forbids me to believe) that Gutenberg’s invention can do otherwise than sooner or later fall into desuetude as a means of current interpretation of our mental products. Printing is…threatened with death by the various devices for registering sound which have lately been invented, and which little by little will go on to perfection.”

Warren is not just a less corrupt and less repulsive version of Hillary Clinton. She captures the seething rage of that demographic. Hell hath no fury like a scorned, menopausal feminist clutching her dream catcher.

The Last Communist City | Havana Outside its small tourist sector, the rest of the city looks as though it suffered a catastrophe on the scale of Hurricane Katrina or the Indonesian tsunami. Roofs have collapsed. Walls are splitting apart. Window glass is missing. Paint has long vanished. It’s eerily dark at night, almost entirely free of automobile traffic. I walked for miles through an enormous swath of destruction without seeing a single tourist. Most foreigners don’t know that this other Havana exists, though it makes up most of the city—tourist buses avoid it, as do taxis arriving from the airport. It is filled with people struggling to eke out a life in the ruins. [continue reading…]

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Don’t Get Fooled by Dems


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AIDS and the Green River Camp

He wore coke bottle bottom spectacles over his eyes and a floppy sun hat during our days drifting down the river. No gloves though. That was for his lab and we were a long way from his lab.

We were camped somewhere on the Green River in Utah. In a shallow canyon down near the Green’s confluence with the Colorado. We were seven days into a nine-day canoe drift down the river. It was night. We’d eaten, smoked, had some cups of grog and were lying back on our sleeping bags with the stars as close as a tent’s roof. The night was warm and we were talking about the things we did when we were back in the world.

He was a scientist. A biochemist. When he wasn’t drifting down a river in the vast American outback he was working behind several levels of barriers against biohazards in a hazmat suit at some megapharma company whose name has now been washed down the Green River with so many other moments from that trip. Everything was gone except the memory of his short monologue about his line of work. He was working with the live AIDS virus. And to him, it wasn’t just another chunk of strange almost-alive/almost-dead tiny bit of matter. No. Not at all. To him, the AIDS virus was very much alive. It had a purpose and a personality.

“What I worry about sometimes,” he said, “is that it’s so lively for a virus. It’s mutating all the time.”

“Well, that’s what makes it interesting,” I said. “Isn’t that what a virus does? Mutate? And besides, don’t you have to have long and direct contact to contract AIDS?”

“Yes, now you do. But don’t always count on that. It could always figure out how to get airborne. Then you’ve got a real problem.”

“Okay, but isn’t that very difficult and very unlikely?”

“Maybe,” he said sounding sleepy. “Maybe, but from what I see in the lab I have to say that this virus is a very clever virus. Very clever and getting smarter all the time. It knows how to go around things. Someday it could decide to do what everyone believes it is impossible for it to do. The virus doesn’t listen to the scientists that study it. The only thing it would know about us is that we’re all potential hosts and therefore desirable. Like I said, it knows how to get around things in its path. Like us.”

But that was just some fading campfire conversation soon subsumed by sleep. It was just some random observation. It was a long, long time ago, in another life, down on the Green River. Nothing to worry about. Nothing at all.


Tombstone shadow, stretchin’ across my path.
Tombstone shadow, stretchin’ across my path.
Ev’ry time I get some good news, Ooh,
There’s a shadow on my back. — Creedence Clearwater

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Misanthropic Humanitarian
at Ace says “You might not ever look at mayo the same way again…”

Me? I’m calling this display something out of the chemically crazed and compulsive mind-set of this hard-core crack-smoking bitch and leaving it right there. Except for the observation that consuming three plump and, dare I say, tumescent hot dogs followed by a white glopping mayo inhalation moves this video closer to PornHub than YouTube.

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Rantomatic #10: Dachau Does Not Believe in Tears

To say Trump is Hitler, America is Germany in 1933, or a grimy detention facility is a concentration camp means you have never been to Dachau.

You think, after all that reading and those museum exhibits (and it is a thorough education, much more than an Instagram collection of artifacts, and oh look, a real prisoner’s uniform, honey!) you understand something. But not yet. You have really just arrived and in front of you is Dachau itself, the ground, the air — the same ground they saw and air they breathed — and you have a choice. Many visitors turn back toward the snack bar, falsely satiated after an hour thinking they saw Dachau and anxiously trying to remember if the shuttle bus runs back to the station on the hour or the half-hour.

But if you wait for them to leave, now you can see Dachau.

Most of the place is empty, acres of crushed stone with flat markers showing where the now-missing barracks where. The trees lining the central road bisecting the camp are old. They were here when Dachau was working. You can match up an individual tree from a 1942 photo with the one in front of you and touch it. The sun is warm this day, a beautiful late summer afternoon with those wonderful tickles of early fall around it. A day to be alive grandpa would have called it. There must have been days just like this in 1942 here. Were there afternoon moments when for the length of time one could close one’s eyes the prisoners left the camp?

Yet while CNN works to convince viewers silver mylar blankets instead of comfy quilts for migrants means there are concentration camps in America, Dachau reminds physicians here dissected human beings alive as part of medical experiments. Just as is taught in beginning writing courses, truth comes from showing not just telling. For those who think there is little significant difference between Germany 1933 and America today, there is Dachau to visit….

RTWT AT Dachau Does Not Believe in Tears | Hooper’s War – Peter Van Buren

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The Dizzying Hillside Cemeteries of Hong Kong in 12 Photographs
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A situation too weird for 99.999% of people to adequately explain. “They have that big gang of enforcers. I guess we’d better comply…. How could hundreds of millions of people have power over that tiny dot?”

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Pre-Owned Jeans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me prov’d,
I never writ, nor no man ever lov’d.
— WS

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The Rolling Stones have given all of us decades of pleasure and joy … and hot sex after the show. But all those things are not going to be happening apres les Stones any longer. Below are three clips from the audience of the end of their latest tour and they are, well, scary.

Without any distance, sound reengineering, or snappy edits and filters you see exactly what the Stones can bring to the stage. It’s not a pretty picture. In fact, it would be better if these images could be retracted from the infinite image bank of the planet and then scrubbed from the cache. Alas, the same goes for the singing and the playing and the sound as well.

On the one hand, it is gratifying to see the Stones still trying to get up in The Groove. After all, they’ve helped make The Groove for so long. No longer. With this tour it’s clear to see that the Stones have not only lost a step, they’ve lost half the length of a football pitch.

I certainly hope they finally got the Satisfaction they needed from this tour, but it’s time for the caravan of “The Greatest Rock and Roll Band” to pack up its tents and silently fade away. The only thing they can do that is more damaging to their image and images than this tour would be another tour.

And… scene.

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