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Had I left this life when I fell out of it, I’d never have heard this variation on Beethoven — on Moonlight — played over there on this electric cello and then over here on that piano, played in this way, vamped with that vision and vogued in this variation far out on those vast Salt Flats of Utah…. even though I have walked those very flats in the searing light of midday– salt and sun sans cello and notes of moonlight spun into a sonnet.

If I’d left this life when I fell out of it, if I had not been buoyed up out of oblivion’s waters by electric shocks and hands compressing my chest 2 inches at a time to the beat of the BeeGees “Staying Alive”, I would not have been here for the last two new moons waxing full and passing through the vast shadow of the earth above the bridges that span the golden gates.

If I’d left this life when I fell out of it, kept on going towards unseen horizons, I would have missed my small Thanksgiving with dear friends and not been around to complain, yet again, about the over-commercialization of Christmas on the one hand and the war upon it on the other — not been around to care and not to care about the preening peacocks of our pathetic politics.

If I’d left this life when I fell out of it, I’d never have had the chance to learn the tempo of the slow road, the pace of the slow down; to learn the inner meaning of the poet’s counsel of patience formed from Milton’s lines:

“God doth not need
Either man’s work or his own gifts. Who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best. His state
Is kingly: thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o’er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.”

…. “Who only stand and wait.”….

I stand and wait a lot more these days than I did before I fell out of this life. Things do not roll by as fast and, because I must be mindful of how I move, how much, and at what pace, I do not roll by things as fast as I once did.

I’ve had to learn to go slow, much slower, to take things at the pace of prayer; to stand and to wait. And slowly, since things come slow, I’ve come to understand what the wait is about.   It is not “waiting for” anything. It is waiting in place, waiting in peace. It is waiting in the afterimage of grace — mindful of mortality; mindful that, even in this Seattle of highly advanced 911 response teams, out of every hundred people whose hearts, like mine, suddenly stop only seven are returned to life.

You can assume, as sometimes people I speak with about this strange state assume, that if you are returned to life you are waiting to find out what God has ordained for you to do with His gift regifted. Surely they assume, as — for a while — I assumed, that God would not have pulled me back into life after I fell out of it without a plan for me; that God had some need, some master plan that only I can fulfill. Like some many other things in these slow days — that thin assumption fades fast into falsity.

Repeat after Milton:

“God doth not need”

I need. You need. They need. We need.

…. “God. doth. not. need.” ….

Hard to understand that “not need” — but how could it be otherwise? Harder even to comprehend than the notion of an interventionist God; a God that has no needs but yet intervenes in the micro level of His Creation. A God who can from His creation and without need form ….say…. a Beethoven. Form such a soul that Beethoven can — from somewhere inside himself — create, in a shadowplay of creatio ex nihilo, a Moonlight Sonata. And then later, if ‘later’ carries any meaning at all to God, God forms another man — centuries distant | perhaps intended ages before –previous, previous — who can see and comprehend black marks on a lined sheet of bleached wood pulp and cause the music, variegated, to bloom on a salt flat halfway around the angel-girdled globe; where above such sad and lowly plains they bend on hovering wing.

And if it was not, to my dim understanding, an angel-girdled globe at the beginning of this season, it is so now in the waiting wonder world of second life. The scientists of the continent Cynic would have this globe seen as a “demon-haunted world,” but that seems to me to be something they’ve seen in the fun-house mirrors of their own over-taxed and under-nourished intellects. Why would the world need to be haunted by demons when it is populated by men? At the very least it would seem for the sake of symmetry that any haunting must be done by angels. If only to smack down the smuggery. If only to thicken the plot.

If I had left this life when I fell out of it, I wouldn’t have heard, at the beginning of my 66th journey around our star, how

“It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old
From angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold…”

Nor would I have felt the touch of such harps on my shoulder when I fell out of this life; felt the tap of gold on my chest, the tap of gold on my shoulder, the tapping that turned me around and guided me back into this

“World dimensional for those untwisted by a love of things irreconcilable…”

They tell me there are no angels in their world of one dimension, in their flatland, in their palaces of no positions, and I suppose if I could hear them clearly I might nod and tell them with Calderon, “Right you are if you think you are.”

Out here though, waiting in the world dimensional, I can see the shimmer of angels sliding in and out of human souls like wind riffling within waterfalls. When I fell out of life my angels came at the run with a roar and restored me with two inches of compression at a hundred beats a minute to the tune of “Staying Alive.” My angels do 24-hour shifts over at Engine 8 on the top of Queen Anne Hill. On Wednesday I shook their hands.

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So Where’s Your Bitchin’ Camero?

Finest political ad in the zone.

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Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? Job 38 17

When people find out I dropped dead on October 13 of 2011, they often ask me if I saw “the white light.” They are disappointed when I tell them I did not. They’ve come to believe in the light, believe in it in a very literal way. They’ve heard the light is seen and they’d like continuing confirmations of this sighting. My report always, as I said, disappoints. It would seem for some, even though I was dead, I was not dead enough. Still, I was dead and I am sorry to disappoint in not being able to report anything other than a timeless blank between two moments; a dark with no dimension or duration between a light and a light. In fact, there was not even the dark.

The light of life left me in one swift instant much as the light goes out when you flip the switch to “off.” The light of life returned to me in the very next instant as if someone slowly turned up a dimmer switch in a small room.

One moment I was standing on my front porch looking at children running about in the playground across the street. The very next moment I was looking up from my bed at the sound-muffled ceiling of the ICU in Harbor View Hospital in Seattle. A voice like footsteps coming closer down a long hallway was repeating and repeating, “You are in Harbor View Hospital. You’ve had a heart attack. It’s daytime….

Thus, after being held in a coma for 11 days, I was returned to life.

Thus, tick became tock. [click to continue…]

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Let’s Review 128: Mormon Pencils and Moths of Beauty

The LDS Church Uses Pencils – I was in the temple* yesterday and it occurred to me that we were still using pencils and paper. To get in, we show a piece of paper; to participate in an ordinance, we use a piece of paper; when the ordinance is complete, we show that with a red checkmark from a pencil. I think there are a few reasons for this. 1) There isn’t anything distracting about a piece of paper and a pencil. This allows focus to be placed elsewhere, while still ensuring accurate record keeping. 2) There are few points of failure in the system. If the paper arrives at the recorders desk with a red check mark, then it is recorded as complete. If not, then it isn’t. Paper also never runs out of batteries. 3) If a failure does happen, it is obvious. If a patron proceeds through the ceremony, it will quickly be apparent if they don’t have the paper, in which case the ceremony can’t be completed for them. There isn’t any ambiguity, it provides a binary situation of success/failure. 4) There is no delay in transmission. It is as fast as reading what is on the paper and verifying the check mark.

Who Had One Of These?

Scientists Slowly Reintroducing Small Group Of Normal, Well-Adjusted Humans Into Society

Why fake miniatures depicting Islamic science are everywhere Besides the colours being a bit too vivid, and the brushstrokes a little too clean, what perturbed me were the telescopes. The telescope was known in the Middle East after Galileo developed it in the 17th century, but almost no illustrations or miniatures ever depicted such an object. When I tracked down the full image, two more figures emerged: one also looking through a telescope, while the other jotted down notes while his handspun a globe – another instrument that was rarely drawn. The starkest contradiction, however, was the quill in the fourth figure’s hand. Middle Eastern scholars had always used reed pens to write. By now there was no denying it: the cover illustration was a modern-day forgery, masquerading as a medieval illustration.

1st, 2nd and 3rd Place in the Miss Correct Posture Contest pose with trophies and their X-rays (1956)   [click to continue…]

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If you’ve forgotten what the word “Performance” means, check out this over the top demonstration by Meatloaf.

[Full screen. Speakers up. BTW… you’ll need stamina — or a double vodka martini — or a bong hit.]

Some days I pray for silence
Some days I pray for soul
Some days I just pray to the god of sex and drums and rock ‘n’ roll

[click to continue…]

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The President: A Man In Full

EXCERPT: Here are the lessons and winners of this epic, historic battle over the Brett Kavanaugh nomination: [click to continue…]

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Rick Stein: A Man for All Seasons and My Kind of Guy

For a very long time, I have claimed that the way I wanted to go was simple: “I’d like to be more than 80 years old, a respected man in my community, and I want to shoot it out in the woods with Federal Agents.” For a long time that was a weak joke. These daze it is not quite so funny as it once was.

Today, my colleague at Never Yet Melted points me at a new obit, one that outlines the kind of life we’d all like to live and a way, or ways, of leaving it all good men would find, if not inspiring,  at least attractive.



 Rick Stein, 71, of Wilmington was reported missing and presumed dead on September 27, 2018, when investigators say the single-engine plane he was piloting, The Northrop, suddenly lost communication with air traffic control and disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Rehoboth Beach. Philadelphia police confirm Stein had been a patient at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital where he was being treated for a rare form of cancer. Hospital spokesman Walter Heisenberg says doctors from Stein’s surgical team went to visit him on rounds when they discovered his room was empty. Security footage shows Stein leaving the building at approximately 3:30 Thursday afternoon, but then the video feed mysteriously cuts off. Authorities say they believe Stein took an Uber to the Philadelphia airport where they assume he somehow gained access to the aircraft.

“The sea was angry that day,” said NTSB lead investigator Greg Fields in a press conference. “We have no idea where Mr. Stein may be, but any hope for a rescue is unlikely.”

Stein’s location isn’t the only mystery. It seems no one in his life knew his exact occupation.

His daughter, Alex Walsh of Wilmington appeared shocked by the news. “My dad couldn’t even fly a plane. He owned restaurants in Boulder, Colorado and knew every answer on Jeopardy. He did the New York Times crossword in pen. I talked to him that day and he told me he was going out to get some grappa. All he ever wanted was a glass of grappa.”

Stein’s brother, Jim echoed similar confusion. “Rick and I owned Stuart Kingston Galleries together. He was a jeweler and oriental rug dealer, not a pilot.” Meanwhile, Missel Leddington of Charlottesville claimed her brother was a cartoonist and freelance television critic for the New Yorker.

David Walsh, Stein’s son-in-law, said he was certain Stein was a political satirist for the Huffington Post while grandsons Drake and Sam said they believed Stein wrote an internet sports column for ESPN covering Duke basketball, FC Barcelona soccer, the Denver Broncos, and the Tour de France. Stein’s granddaughter Evangeline claims he was a YouTube sensation who had just signed a seven-figure deal with Netflix.

When told of his uncle’s disappearance, Edward Stein said he was baffled since he believed Stein worked as a trail guide in Rocky Mountain National Park. “He took me on a hike up the Lily Peak Trail back in the 90s. He knew every berry, bush and tree on that trail.” Nephew James Stein of Los Angeles claimed his uncle was an A&R consultant for Bad Boy records and ran a chain of legal recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado called Casablunta. Niece Courtney Stein, a former Hollywood agent, said her uncle had worked as a contributing writer for Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm and was currently consulting on a new series with Larry David.

People who knew Stein have reported his occupation as everything from gourmet chef and sommelier to botanist, electrician, mechanic and even spy novelist. Police say the volume of contradictory information will make it nearly impossible to pinpoint Stein’s exact location.

In fact, the only person who might be able to answer the question, who is the real Rick Stein is his wife and constant companion for the past 14 years, Susan Stein. Detectives say they were unable to interview Mrs. Stein, however, neighbors say they witnessed her leaving the home the couple shared wearing dark sunglasses and a fedora, loading multiple suitcases into her car. FAA records show she purchased a pair of one-way tickets to Rome which was Mr. Stein’s favorite city. An anonymous source with the airline reports the name used to book the other ticket was Juan Morefore DeRoad, which, according to the FBI, was an alias Stein used for many years.

That is one story.

Another story is that Rick never left the hospital and died peacefully with his wife and his daughter holding tightly to his hands.

You can choose which version you want to believe or share your own story about Rick with us at the Greenville Country Club on Friday, November 9, 2018 from 3:00-6:00pm.

HT: Never Yet Melted Good Obituary

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Civil War Thread’s Interesting Comment by Mtnforge

Last week we had a good old time kicking around the notion and probable effects of a second Civil War in Civil War? If It Starts It Will Be Uglier Than Anyone Can Imagine. There were numerous excellent comments and a couple of virtual dustups, but that is just the way of these times. The comment below caught my eye.



Commenting on Civil War? If It Starts It Will Be Uglier Than Anyone Can Imagine mtnforge notes:

“I believe in the end America,  as people who believe in what we are as a Republic, in our basic decency, and our great prudence and tolerance, we prevail against evil. I think we surprise everyone, including our selves. We are made of better stuff than our enemies, and just because they have remained unaccountable and essentially untouchable does not make us weak or cowards, we are just people who want to live and let live at heart. Who isn’t like this reading these words?

That same dynamic doesn’t automatically confer on us an inability to fight, fight well, and win. Quite the contrary or I wasn’t born a natural Patriotic American.

And I can say this because I’m not the kind of guy who will let others die for my natural rights, my family, my tribe, my community and not my Republic, which still exists at the least in hearts, minds, preserved in history and documents. It does not stop existing because the Marxists say it doesn’t. Fuck. You.

I look around me and see many things, the 1st is within the sphere of my entire life I know not one single cultural marxist. Not one person who poo poo’s MAGA, or what Mr. Trump has accomplished and promises. There is no one I have even heard of who intends the destruction of America as we know it. [click to continue…]

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In the US, there is a gigantic supermarket seemingly everywhere you look. A Wal-Mart Super-Center on one corner, a Costco on the other… but it wasn’t always this way. The transition from small town grocer or big-city corner market to the massive mega-stores of today took decades, and the ramifications changed our world more than you might think.

GENESIS: GENERAL STORE TO SUPERMARKET

At the start of the twentieth century, grocery shopping meant walking up to the counter and telling the store clerk what you wanted. It also meant going to several different establishments to get what you needed: the butcher, the general store, the baker, etc.

The “self-service” grocery store, where you could pull items off the shelf yourself, and had a bakery, butcher shop, and general store all in one place, didn’t come along until around 1915. Vincent Astor sunk a lot of money into his vision of the new food market on Broadway, but it was an abysmal failure. In 1916, Clarence Saunders brought Piggly Wiggly to the waiting world. It was a big success, and more franchises soon followed. But these were still just grocery stores – not “supermarkets”.

If you define a supermarket as containing “self-service, separate product departments, discount pricing, marketing and volume selling”, then it’s generally agreed that the first was King Kullen. It was started by a former Kroger employee, and opened in Jamaica Queens on August 4th, 1930. Their slogan was “”Pile it high. Sell it low.”

Kroger, Ralph’s and Safeway were quick to follow King Kullen’s lead; with Kroger being the first to surround its store with a big parking lot. The Great Depression actually helped spur supermarket growth since the prices could be reduced. There was a natural public backlash since “mom and pop” grocery stores were being run out business, but the spread of supermarkets continued unabated.

The wave of new supermarkets, each bigger than the last, is the object of jest in this Woody Woodpecker cartoon.

POST-WAR BOOM

And so, here we are in Mid-Century. The war is over and the US economy is skyrocketing through the stratosphere. The supermarket was perfectly at home in booming Cold War America…..

RTWT AT ‘Pile it High, Sell it Low’: The Saga of the Supermarket – Flashbak

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Why This Is Rembrandt’s Masterpiece

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“And the Lord looked down and beheld the Amerikites and muttered irritably to himself, and wondered, all things considered, whether it was worth shedding any more of his grace upon them.”

And it came to pass that the sons of men elected them a king, and his name was Trump.

And Trump said unto the Amerikites, Go to, we shall be great again, and shall build a great wall. We’ll be so great you’ll get tired of being great, believe me.

And the Lord came down and beheld the Amerikites and their king and he saw that nothing was restrained from him.

And the Lord said, Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language and their ideas, one from another, and the tribes of the Amerikites shall dwell in enmity and confusion, for Babel means confusion.

And so it was.

Now the Feminites and Progressivites in their multitudes were sore with Trump, and they warned him, Touch not Roe.

And it came to pass, there opened up a vacancy on the Court, and Trump named Kavanaugh.

The Deplorabites were good with that, but the Feminites and Progressivites gnashed their teeth, and they schemed against him, for that if he were sent to the Court, he might touch Roe, albeit he said it was settled law. They trusted Kavanaugh not.

Now in those days there were talk shows, and the curse of Babel fell heavily upon them, and even Stephanopoulos of ABC sat with sheepish grin as contending overtalkers yakked and yakked and cried out like needy, spoiled children, and waved their hands, and cried, “Me, me, me,” so that the words of none were heard at all, or understood, until the yakkers subsided into little puddles of spittle and wrath.

The confusion of Babel was abroad even in all the networks. Fox News proffered one language with its universe of values, and MSNBC proffered a different language and universe, and they wot not one the other. And their voices rose to different gods in different heavens.

And the tribes on Facebook and Twitter posted and tweeted, hip and thigh, to the number of six billion posts and tweets of wrath. And all were mutually uncomprehending. And they cursed and damned one another, and made of each other cartoons and devils and all manner of evil things.

For the Amerikites had become as angry children.

Now for a hundred years, almost, the American Civil Liberties Union had defended due process and the rule of law, which are the ways of grown-ups. But now the ACLU abdicated the burdens of adulthood and repudiated even its own founding thought and the rule of law, and turned against everything it had ever stood for. It ran an ad, entirely without justice, damning Kavanaugh, that he was exactly like unto Weinstein and Cosby. Such were the devolutions and betrayals in those days, and retrogressions to the ways of shame.

At Georgetown University a professor, one of the Feminites, laid down on Twitter that white men should be killed, and their corpses castrated, and fed to pigs. And Georgetown condemned her not.

There arose a great cry in restaurants where tribunes of the Deplorabites went to dinner, so that they fled before the steaks arrived, and there arose the hue of indignation even in the elevators so that Flake could not ride up and down until he listened to the spiel.

And anchors in their pundit chairs attended to such footage and nodded and said, “Heartbreaking,” hoping, as they said it, to be spared the rage of the Feminites.

So all eyes and hearts among the Amerikites became hardened with the enamel of fanaticism and the glaze of hysteria. No more was heard the Progressivites’ sweet Esperanto of Goodspeak.

All was raw political emotion now—or, worse than emotion, bitter political calculation and the spirit of a long revenge—and a state of war coalesced, and the mind’s better and subtler ways of understanding the world were set aside.

So it was that the old amiable race of Amerikites parted in their ideas and went their ways, and gloom fell upon the land, and lightning and thunder, and other aspects of the global warming and symptoms of Last Days.

All was confusion, and a gnashing of teeth, and a shaking of fists, and the clouds of civil war.

The Amerikites could not see that they peered fiercely through the wrong end of the telescope, even as they wondered withal how everything had become so small, and how the historic majesty that they had assigned to themselves and their mighty ways in the world had devolved to beer and adolescent sex grapplings at the long-ago Sodom and Gomorrah of Georgetown Prep.

And so the Amerikites revealed themselves, one to another, and it was not a pretty sight.

And the Lord looked down and beheld the Amerikites and muttered irritably to himself, and wondered, all things considered, whether it was worth shedding any more of his grace upon them.

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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 translucent. 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 my old friend and 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.”

I think my reaction then was my reaction now when I wrote out the phrase above. I just stopped doing and thinking whatever I was doing or thinking and stared at the rough plaster ceiling above and blinked slowly in the silence.

Then I said whatever I said. I’m sure I expressed shock, disbelief, and something about how alive he’d been at the filming session the day before, or two days before… whatever it may have been. But Ethan, ever the professional, brought the call back to the reason for it.

“Here’s what has to be done and done now. The footage we shot in the park is now the last footage ever taken of John. It is sitting in a film lab in Manhattan. We’ve got to get control of it, all of it, and secure it until everything is sorted out. There can’t be a bootleg copy floating around for the tabloids and the television shows. It’s probably the property of Yoko but we’ll sort that out later. For now, you’ve got to get it out and safe.”

The call ended and I stood up. Slowly. Dressed even more slowly and watched, as I dressed, the unfolding of the end of Lennon’s life as reported, beat by beat, by all the television stations on the dial.

The next 24 hours are a blur. I remember sitting rigidly in the back of a limo learning to hate the potholes of the New York streets with a passion as each one slammed another heated needle deep into my neck. I somehow got the film out of the lab and took it to a midtown bank and placed it in a safe-deposit box. There were lawyers and paperwork to deal with, phone calls and more instructions.

The street in front of the Dakota was packed with people along both sidewalks and the crowd spilled into the street. The police were keeping it moving in a quiet way. Small seas of flowers flowed across the sidewalk and up the walls and gates of the Dakota. Pictures and scrawled messages of love and loss were taped to the walls and flung into the flowers. Widening puddles of melted wax where hundreds of candles burned lapped at the edges of the flowers. Some people held each other, others walked and wept openly. Some stood to the side and sobbed quietly. A path through the offerings had been cleared at the entrance to the Dakota and to get in you had to wade through the grief.

This spontaneous shrine was a harbinger, as so many things in John’s life and death were. The same motif of flowers, pictures, candles, weeping, and grief would be repeated on a vast scale across the entire city and country some 21 years later on 9/11, but that sort of thing could not have been imagined in December of 1980. This was the largest grief that could then be conceived by us – the killing of one of the Gods of music. “Our music.” Which the “Man can’t bust,” but, as had just been proven by one of our lunatics, we could kill.

Taken large, this was the death of the music in the death of a man in whom we’d invested much of our misplaced faith. Taken larger it was the death of the 60s and all that we once “imagined” it might mean, might become. And all of it happening in a way that would be echoed in later years as the 60s died again and again – and always at the hands of those that lived it. I might have seen it then, if then I could have seen clearly, as a portent of so much that sprung from those fertile blindingly optimistic years that would go wrong and twisted in the years ahead, but “I am no prophet and here’s no great matter.”

On that day, I didn’t see anything clearly — nor would I for decades. I just walked into the courtyard of the Dakota, took the elevator up to the apartment, said some words to the small and aging Asian woman in the white room, dropped off legal papers and keys and went down the elevator, out to the car and had it drive me back to bed across the park.

That’s what I did on that day. Just another walk-on part in the war.

Some days later there was a memorial service for John in Central Park. I went with an old friend from Berkeley, Jon Cott, who’d interviewed Lennon once or twice over the years for Rolling Stone. I don’t remember much about the service. I’m sure “Imagine,” that anthem of dubious distinction, was sung by all of us, and that there were more flowers and candles and crying as is the way of these things.

When it was over, I walked out of Central Park with Cott, one of my amigos from those diamond sky nights in Berkeley, the Haight, “swinging” London, and all the other scenes we’d flowed through in the 60s and 70s. I walked East out of the park towards what would soon become not just my first wife, but my family for 12 years — a whole new life containing all the seeds, good and bad, of the old dead life.

I said goodbye to Jon Cott at the entrance to the subway that would take him downtown to the Village where he’d put aside writing about rock and roll and was now writing a book about children’s fairy tales. Cott was always just ahead of the curve. I watched from the street as he went down under the ground.

I’d never see him again. But then I’d never see the 60s again either. On that day, it all went down under the ground.


The video contains autumn footage that was shot by Russell and our crew just before Lennon’s assassination.

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‘That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
‘Has it begun to sprout? Will it bloom this year?
‘Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
‘O keep the Dog far hence, that’s friend to men, 74
‘Or with his nails he’ll dig it up again!
‘You! Hypocrite lecteur! – mon semblable, – mon frère!’
— Eliot, The Wasteland

“Mine is a peaceable disposition,” Heinrich Heine writes in his journals, declaring simple wishes: a humble cottage, some fine trees out front. But “if God wants to make my happiness complete,” he adds, “he will grant me the joy of seeing some six or seven of my enemies hanging from those trees. Before their death I shall, moved in my heart, forgive them all the wrong they did me in their lifetime. One must, it is true, forgive one’s enemies—but not before they have been hanged.”

“Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy.” — Ray Bradbury

A creepy tunnel: She found a mile-long tunnel flanked with drawings of spooky ghouls underneath her apartment building. Nicknames for the tunnel included the “Death Tunnel” and “The Tunnel of Nightmares.”

How to Stealthly Adapt a Common Orthopedic Cane for Self Defense: 5 Steps

A ranger stumbled upon a mysterious cabin in the middle of the woods:  What made the cabin even more mysterious was that no footpaths or trails led to it. Mark also noted that there didn’t appear to be any sort of environmental abuse or littering, which commonly accompanies this sort of thing. Whoever lived there clearly respected nature… [click to continue…]

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The Simple Reason Why They Hate Columbus Day

“He brought civilization to a new world. That is why they hate him.” — Don Surber

Christopher Columbus – As I saw that they were very friendly to us, and perceived that they could be much more easily converted to our holy faith by gentle means than by force, I presented them with some red caps, and strings of beads to wear upon the neck, and many other trifles of small value, wherewith they were much delighted, and became wonderfully attached to us.

Afterwards they came swimming to the boats, bringing parrots, balls of cotton thread, javelins, and many other things which they exchanged for articles we gave them, such as glass beads, and hawk’s bells; which trade was carried on with the utmost good will. But they seemed on the whole to me, to be a very poor people. They all go completely naked, even the women, though I saw but one girl. All whom I saw were young, not above thirty years of age, well made, with fine shapes and faces; their hair short, and coarse like that of a horse’s tail, combed toward the forehead, except a small portion which they suffer to hang down behind, and never cut.

Some paint themselves with black, which makes them appear like those of the Canaries, neither black nor white; others with white, others with red, and others with such colors as they can find. Some paint the face, and some the whole body; others only the eyes, and others the nose.

Weapons they have none, nor are acquainted with them, for I showed them swords which they grasped by the blades, and cut themselves through ignorance. They have no iron, their javelins being without it, and nothing more than sticks, though some have fish-bones or other things at the ends.

They are all of a good size and stature, and handsomely formed. I saw some with scars of wounds upon their bodies, and demanded by signs the of them; they answered me in the same way, that there came people from the other islands in the neighborhood who endeavored to make prisoners of them, and they defended themselves. I thought then, and still believe, that these were from the continent.

It appears to me, that the people are ingenious, and would be good servants and I am of opinion that they would very readily become Christians, as they appear to have no religion. They very quickly learn such words as are spoken to them. If it please our Lord, I intend at my return to carry home six of them to your Highnesses, that they may learn our language. I saw no beasts in the island, nor any sort of animals except parrots.

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by Laird Wilcox (written in 1990)

Defamation is the destruction or attempted destruction of the reputation, status, character or standing in the community of a person or group of persons by unfair, wrongful, or malicious speech or publication. For the purposes of this essay, the central element is defamation in retaliation for the real or imagined attitudes, opinions or beliefs of the victim, with the intention of silencing or neutralizing his or her influence, and/or making an example of them so as to discourage similar independence and “insensitivity” or non-observance of taboos. It is different in nature and degree from simple criticism or disagreement in that it is aggressive, organized and skillfully applied, often by an organization or representative of a special interest group, and in that it consists of several characteristic elements.

Ritual Defamation is not ritualistic because it follows any prescribed religious or mystical doctrine, nor is it embraced in any particular document or scripture. Rather, it is ritualistic because it follows a predictable, stereotyped pattern which embraces a number of elements, as in a ritual.

The elements of a Ritual Defamation are these:

1. In a ritual defamation, the victim must have violated a particular taboo in some way, usually by expressing or identifying with a forbidden attitude, opinion or belief. It is not necessary that he “do” anything about it or undertake any particular course of action, only that he engage in some form of communication or expression.
2. The method of attack in a ritual defamation is to assail the character of the victim, and never to offer more than a perfunctory challenge to the particular attitudes, opinions or beliefs expressed or implied. Character assassination is its primary tool. [click to continue…]

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“Unlike most of Joel’s songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song. The song was a huge commercial success and was Joel’s third Billboard No. 1 hit. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said “Okay, what’s happened in my life?” I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 […]. It’s one of the worst melodies I’ve ever written. I kind of like the lyric though

UPDATE: 1990 to 2012 Edition:
— La Wik

LYRICS AND INTERVIEW WITH JOEL FOLLOW: [click to continue…]

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