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Flattops, Facebook, Fyre, Damsels, Hate, Hillary



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When a flattop is viewed from the front, varying degrees of squarish appearance are achieved by the design of the upper sides as they approach and round or angle on to the flat deck. Possibilities are somewhat limited by skull shape, the density of the hair and the diameter of the individual shafts of hair, but may include: boxy upper sides with rounded corners; boxy upper sides with sharp corners; rounded upper sides with rounded corners; rounded upper sides with sharp corners. The hair on the sides and back of the head is usually tapered short, semi-short, or medium.

Since the haircut is short and quickly grows out of its precisely-cut shape, maintenance haircuts are required at least every few weeks, and some flattop wearers get haircuts as often as once a week. Flattops have almost exclusively been worn by men and boys, being most popular among military men, athletes and blue collar workers.

The flattop has maintained a contingent of dedicated wearers since it was introduced. It was very popular in the 1950s, but faded in popularity with the emergence of longer hair styles in the late 1960s and 1970s. It had a brief reappearance in the 1980s and early 1990s, before dropping off again.  30 Best Photos of 1960s Flattops 

[click to continue…]


It Should Happen to a Dog


Waking at Dawn

It is so silent here that the softest of noises can wake me. This morning it was the rush of wings and mutterings from the two doves that seem to have taken up residence in the foliage outside my bedroom window. In the half-life between dream and waking it seemed I was back in a bedchamber in that small town north of Paris where two doves had nested in the tree just beyond our balcony where my beautiful daughter was conceived in that past, gone year.

It was just after first light, 5:45 by the red numerals on the coffee pot in the kitchen. I took the pot and filled it with water, put in the beans, and started the device. As it whirred and chuffled away, I walked out onto my deck that looks out over the brindle hills and down to the Pacific a mile or so away.

The sea seemed ruffled in large smooth circles, slate in the fading shadow of the hills but, as it rolled out towards the horizon, shading up into a charcoaled blue, then to a gray-blue haze at the horizon rising up into rose that gave off abruptly into clear and fresh blue.

Hanging just above the line of rose was the full moon gleaming gold in the exact center of all that I could see.

I watched it slide down the sky for some time, then I went back into the kitchen for coffee. When I came out to look again, the moon was gone.

Unexpected beauty rising in the center of all you can see.

Take your eyes away and then look again and it’s gone.

But the day goes on and the light rises around you and you know, with an abiding faith, that beauty will astonish you again when you least expect or deserve it; that it will come to you out of the dark on a rush of wings. There are many ways of this world and that one is not the least of them.

I thought for a moment about turning on the news to see what had transpired in the rest of the world while I slept.

I decided against it.

Held halfway between a death and a life, I’d already learned the news of the day.

“Advertising signs they con
You into thinking you’re the one
That can do what’s never been done
That can win what’s never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you”


At Lindbergh’s Grave

Charles Augustus Lindbergh was born on February 4, 1902 in Detroit, Michigan. On May 20, 1927, Lindbergh took off in the Spirit of St. Louis from Roosevelt Field, near New York City, at 7:52 A.M. He landed at Le Bourget Field, near Paris, on May 21 at 10:21 P.M. Paris time (5:21 P.M. New York time).

“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

— Psalm 139

That long green swell that sears my eyes
As I drowse on this bed of black stones,
Is it the Irish coast rising in the dawn
Beyond the brushed silver of my cowling
Where, throughout the night, I trusted
Not in some desert God’s directions,
But, like all fools who dreamed my flight,
In the calibrated compasses of man?

That rushing sound, is it the crowd at Le Bourget,
Swarming past the barriers and lights
To scavenge my Spirit; to lift me up
Into the air that only heroes breathe?
Or is it the age-old sigh of sea on stones,
Known to those who pace the shingle
And the swirled black sands that wrap
These impossible islands in a shawl of waves? [click to continue…]


More Than Just Words


I watch one (ONE!) football game a year and I can’t even get through 5 minutes of the halftime show without envying the dead.

Good gadzooks but this “game,” this event, this romp through the leftovers of a botched civilization, is nothing but (How can I put this?) [click to continue…]


Super Bowl Saturday vs Super Bowl Sunday Shopping

I was sitting around one Saturday a few years back becoming exceedingly bored with the sick and the slop of winter.  Because I am an American, I overcame my malaise with the American mantra, “When the going gets boring, the bored go shopping.”

Shopping, our shared cultural catatonia. ….

Just say shop!…. Just do it!…. Get out there and ….buy, buy, BUY…. something you don’t need. Then buy some accessories for it. You’ll need those to make the thing you don’t need work like you don’t need it to.

….Then you haul your not needed crap back home and add it to the other crap you don’t need. You know, all that stuff in the spare closet, room, storage bay, house, what have you; that “place for your stuff.” Finding what we don’t need and piling it up is what we do. Like many others I can resist getting “stuff you don’t need” in my normal state, but not, I find, when I’m bored. You have a similar problem.

All the little piles of stuff. And when you leave your house, you gotta lock it up. Wouldn’t want somebody to come by and take some of your stuff. They always take the good stuff. They never bother with that crap you’re saving. All they want is the shiny stuff. That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? No room for your stuff anymore. — George Carlin

For some strange reason, the destination that formed in my mind for this shopping excursion was “CostCo.” A vague mention of a friend about the “great deals on small televisions” put it in my mind like a BuyMe earworm. This small mental disorder was even stranger since the last thing I need in my life is another, smaller television. On second thought, the absence of a real need was probably why I really wanted one. In America, as noted above, if you don’t need it, you gotta have it.

After a few blind alleyways and false turns I pulled into the CostCo parking lot. If I hadn’t been in a Internet-overload hypnotic state this move alone would have immediately struck me as a bad idea. The sign certain? Cars shadowing shoppers slowly back to wherever they happen to be parked. Pick the wrong shopper flock and you can find yourself far, far away from the store entrance observing a spontaneous tailgate party featuring cold burritos. I got lucky and, shadowing a gaggle of shoppers, found a slot near the entrance. It was the end of my luck. [click to continue…]


Super-Senior Moments

She’s been back in her apartment for several weeks and is improving in strength and stamina every day. There’s a lot of physical and occupational therapy involved of which she says, “The nurse just worked me out so hard I feel like an old mule.” But still, every day, she answers the bell. Some days she answers it more happily than others but she always answers. Since I live very close by I drop over several times a day to help with meals or to just chat and check on the general welfare.

Her eyesight is not what it was but at 104 few things are what they were. The latest irritating sputter in the machine concerns her hearing. For a few weeks she was convinced that her hearing was fading because she had wax in her ears, but after an appointment with the nurse practitioner revealed no wax at all in the ears, it was off to a visit with the ear doctor. There, after a very extensive hearing test, the good doctor delivered his diagnosis. “You’re 104 years old…”



“What should I do?”



So the appointment is made to get the hearing aid.

Fast forward two days and I drop by her place to find her sitting in her chair fuming at the TV.

“That’s it! Now it has happened!”

“What’s happened, Mom,” I ask in a calm and quiet voice.

“He told me I was going deaf and now I am! Look at that! Look at the TV! I’ve got the volume up all the way and I can’t hear a word they say! Not a word!”

I glance at the screen.

“You’ve got it on mute.”


How Cold Is It?

Meanwhile in Minnesota:

Meanwhile in Wisconsin:

If Minnesota and Wisconsin ever merge, their combined populations will have to relocate to Canada every morning.

The New-Age Evil Clown Explanation? Well, you see all that global warming in Asia just flows up through Russia. (That’s cause warm air rises south to north, right? Right.) And after the tropical paradise of Russia it flows over the North Pole and the Arctic Ocean (Those places have been melting and getting warmer, right? Right.) and it gets really, really cold by sweeping along those less than vast and rapidly melting arctic ice fields, (Those  winds from far away blow mainly through the very very cold stratosphere, right? Shut up.) and so when it skips across Canada these vast waves of global warming are actually refrigerated and made super-cold, and that’s how global warming is really very cold except when it’s warm. Right? Right.


Pictures from the Gone World: Two Children with Toys

c. 1855 Unidentified Photographer America, 19th century


“The Symbols of Labor. The Symbols of Work.”


Sourdough Mountain Lookout by Gary Snyder

Once Upon a Time On the Ridge

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

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

— from Riprap / Gary Snyder


The Family Plan

The Pelosi Family

Many Conservatives and even Republicans, drenched in despair after the ascension of the pale puff adder Pelosi are asking, “What difference can a few years of Nancy Pelosi and friends make? It can’t get worse.”

Really? Are you new? Were you just born in a cabbage patch? We are dealing with Leftoids, ObamaZombies, Hillary’s Whores, Bone In The Nose Bozos, and evil clowns here and the ruling rule of the Left is always: “It. Gets. Worse.” The United America-haters of America (aka “Democrans and Republicrats”) have been checking off items from their “ToDo” List for some time. Here are the items still left on it that they will be rolling out in the next two years.

Abortions R’ US (also know as “MA1.5”): Dear Dems, Let’s get to the point before you roll another joint… What the country wants to see is where you really stand on this issue. Here’s the program: Mandatory abortions after 1.5 children (MA1.5) for everybody except special congresspeople and high-net-worth Democratic donors who can buy one or two more kids. All Democrats in the House and Senate will receive funding to open abortion clinics in their home state’s congressional offices and traditional polling places.

Eco-rider to “Abortions R’ US ” (MA1.5): To conserve the scarce resources of our eternally-endangered Planet, all aborted fetuses will be harvested into beer coolers, packed with dry ice, and dispersed by means of Lear Jets to Federal tissue and organ banks for the future use of important Americans such as politicians, film-stars, dot-com billionaires, and FTM trannies in good standing with the DNC.   [click to continue…]


You Never Had It So Good

You cruise your local Dollar Store
Trying to buy wine in a box.
You’re saving like they all said you should.
You get Hamburger Helper
Instead of Gravlox.
Yeah, you never had it so good.

You’ve got two dirty jobs
That don’t add up to one.
You’re a hard working man of the hood.
You work eighteen hours but you’re never done.
Yeah, you never had it so good.

You never had it,
But you heard that it’s good.
You never had it
But you think you should.
You never had it,
So you’re breaking bad at it.
Yeah, you never had it so good.

If you’re black just get back,
Just know that you’re free,
Just pull on this hoodie
For your next shooting spree.

If you’re white
You’re not right
So you gotta pay more
Of that nothing you make
To even the score

With the slaves at the rave,
Or they’ll break down your door,
Throw you down on the floor,
Then empty their gun
(Hey, they’re just having fun.)
Saying you never had it so good.

Yeah, you never had it so good.


Who Says There’s No Good News?

Faster Please: A small team of Israeli scientists think they might have found the first complete cure for cancer.

“We believe we will offer in a year’s time a complete cure for cancer,” said Dan Aridor, of a new treatment being developed by his company, Accelerated Evolution Biotechnologies Ltd. (AEBi), which was founded in 2000 in the ITEK incubator in the Weizmann Science Park. AEBi developed the SoAP platform, which provides functional leads to very difficult targets.

“Our cancer cure will be effective from day one, will last a duration of a few weeks and will have no or minimal side-effects at a much lower cost than most other treatments on the market,” Aridor said. “Our solution will be both generic and personal.”

It sounds fantastical, especially considering that an estimated 18.1 million new cancer cases are diagnosed worldwide each year, according to reports by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Further, every sixth death in the world is due to cancer, making it the second leading cause of death (second only to cardiovascular disease).

Aridor, chairman of the board of AEBi and CEO Dr. Ilan Morad, say their treatment, which they call MuTaTo (multi-target toxin) is essentially on the scale of a cancer antibiotic – a disruption technology of the highest order.

The potentially game-changing anti-cancer drug is based on SoAP technology, which belongs to the phage display group of technologies. It involves the introduction of DNA coding for a protein, such as an antibody, into a bacteriophage – a virus that infects bacteria. That protein is then displayed on the surface of the phage. Researchers can use these protein-displaying phages to screen for interactions with other proteins, DNA sequences and small molecules.

(RTWT @ A cure for cancer? Israeli scientists say they think they found one )


Lots of dancing, singing, video games and the selling of noodles. Complete with a Surfing Tommy Lee Jones working for a BIG payday at 3:16


On Disposable Friends

“I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live.
— Deuteronomy

At some point between the fall of the towers and Christmas of 2001, it became clear to me that I needed to conduct a searching inventory of my soul and rebuild, almost from the ground up, my sense of who I was and how I thought about the world and the life I was leading. At the time, I knew only that I had been mistaken about a great many things for a very long time and I was long overdue for an extreme makeover of the self.

To do that I used the only set of skills I was ever any good at, writing and reading, and began — in fits and starts at first but then with more dedication — changing into someone different from the person I had been for many years. This is nothing either unusual or dramatic. The reinvention of the self is something deeply American and mordantly dependable. Still, it seemed to me at the time, and it still seems to me today, that I have no choice but to begin and continue with my slapdash renovation until such time that it seems to me to be finished.

All of this is a worn out way of saying that it has become my discipline over the past few years to try and write my way to a new kind of liberty I still only vaguely see. This again is neither unusual nor dramatic. Many others do it. Many more use other tools to accomplish a similar goal; career-change, relocation, materialism, spiritualism, conversion, drugs, alcohol, rehabilitation, Jesus. As Americans, our options for reinvention are numerous with more being minted daily.

We are a restless people in America, a yondering race that seldom finds the here and now good for more than a few years in any one place — in our hearts or on the land. We meet and we part, promising to see each other ‘down the road a piece’, and often we do, but much more often we do not. Christmas card lists grow shorter until we get to the last name and then many go ahead and cross Christ off.

And as we move across the land and through our lives, so we move within our hearts and souls, in our persuasions and in our politics. In so doing, we often come to the belief that people we once thought of as significant are, indeed, disposable in the pursuit of our own personal satisfaction and goals.

Disposable people are just another product of our disposable culture. And the stark truth of this matter is that disposable people are the case much more often than it is not.

We like to say that there is one special person on the earth for each of us, but the truth is that there are probably 10,000 special people on earth for each one of us. It’s not romantic to say so, but with more than five billion people on the planet, the odds loom large against such romanticism. Instead, we come to the realization that there are lots of people hanging about that will do and, in the words of Molly Bloom, “Well, as well you as another.”

But what is desirable to the individual can become disastrous to society. It is a commonplace in our disposable culture to contend that a divorce between two people is a solution to the recurring problem of incompatibility. And this is true. The problem is that when millions upon millions avail themselves of this personal solution, it becomes a disaster to the society. It becomes normality. Divorce, especially the risibly named “no-fault divorce” underscores the disposability of people and demonstrates it to all, old and young. Thus the whole cycle begins anew, growing ever larger than before until it displaces a society built on faith and trust with one founded on little more than a tweet or a share, the thin gruel of iThings, and the desire to be admired through possessions rather than works and deeds. Our souls become smaller than our smartphones data plans and hard drives. We have only so much room in them and to bring others in, some must be disposed of.

Once this disposability is realized inside the self, it is only a small step to the kind of culture that compulsively and without reflection puts material things above people as the real goals in life. After all, you will have lots of people in your life, but only one life — so you’d best grab what you can on the material plane while you can. “You take what you need and you leave the rest.”

One of the crucial questions of our blighted age is whether or not we are correct in regarding human life as something which is, under the proper conditions and self-ascribed definitions, something that really is “disposable” whenever it becomes inconvenient? And in our answer to this, we drop into the “No Fault” bucket not only automobile accidents but divorce, abortion, and euthanasia. This is how we pretend to live now, but it is just life made the slave of death. [click to continue…]


True but Forbidden 2

I was accused of pride by my peripheral friend; my new unfriend – people who with a click of a mouse are excluded from your life forever, with no impact except perhaps a sigh of relief and a nagging, irritating question “why didn’t I do that sooner?” Pride because I dare to write thoughtfully. I am not a mocker by nature, an idiot jester or buffoon. And while I do rage, I try not to write those thoughts down; they do me no good at all, much less anybody who stumbles onto one of my reflections. Plus when I am angry, without the tranquility I so crave, my words become poison.   A Reason, A Season, or a Lifetime | Joel D. Hirst’s Blog

What do you do if your life’s ambition – to become a pilot with the US Air Force – gets shot down by poor eyesight? If you’re Larry Walters, you take matters into your own hands. In 1982 the California truck-driver, unperturbed by the stringent recruitment standards of the USAF, decided to take to the air in his own unique way: by attaching a large cluster of weather balloons to a lawn chair… The plan was to float 30 feet (9 m) above the Mojave Desert for a few hours, then effect a pleasant and gradual descent. To Larry’s horror, however, the chair rose from his yard in San Pedro much faster than expected – he was eventually to reach a maximum altitude of 15,000 feet (4,600 m) – and was soon drifting over Los Angeles and into the primary approach corridor for Long Beach Airport, where he was spotted by several commercial airliners.  The Odysseum: Larry ‘Lawnchair’ Walters (1949-1993) 

Word Around the Net: THE RURAL FUTURE? This sort of feels like Medieval times, with the lord in his castle surrounded by peasants that he protects and allegedly cares for like children, taking from them what he desires to survive with. Feudalism never really has gone away, but its been modified with the times; people still cluster around cities to live off the government’s handouts and pay heavy taxes to the state in exchange for protection and goodies.

The Best Thing That Happened This Week: Emotional Support Chickens for All! [click to continue…]



This is the work ofstephen mcmennamy
⚡️I like to combine stuff⚡️


Elegy Found in a Seattle Churchyard

A friend told me about this, but I thought I’d go see for myself. It’s a bench above a grave in Seattle’s Lakeview Cemetary. It’s just about 20 yards above the graves of Bruce Lee and Brandon Lee. In this age of vapid celebrity, those graves still receive a constant flow of visitors immersed in vanity. The remains of these celluloid heroes, these men whose life’s work was mere pretending, still have tokens, incense, flowers and other offerings heaped upon them. It’s as if the people who come, not knowing these men in life, seek a deeper unknowing of them in death. It’s not about who they were but who their long trail of mourners were not.

It seems to me that the hundreds of millions now addicted to “celebrity” are addicted to a heroin of the soul. Like heroin, “celebrity” must be taken in ever increasing doses to fill a hole in the user’s soul. And just like heroin, “celebrity” doesn’t fill anything but only increases the emptiness. Which, of course, only increases the need and requires ever larger doses of the illusion; of the shrieking unquiet voices.

Standing above the Lee graves you can watch their worshipers come and go. They leave their tokens and then pose in groups beside the stones for one last photograph of their brush with dead celebrity.

This grave, on a rise above, is quieter but bears a simple poem on the sides of the bench as you walk around it. There’s no name on the bench itself. That marker is small and off to the side a yard or two. The bench itself is not a monument to vanity, but a simple gift left behind for any who may chance upon it.

If you like you can sit down and rest for a while on the poem cut into the stone. It’s in sun and shade; a pleasant spot to watch the clouds scud across the sound and shred themselves into rain and vapor on the tops of the mountains to the west and to the east.

You might even bring a book and, opening it to a remembered passage, read,

…. For within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear’d and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour’d thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!

An elaborate thought and true enough. But somehow, in this place, the simpler poem on which you rest seems better and more apt even as, below you, the still living fans of Bruce and Brandon Lee pull up in their cars, leave their offerings, and drive away.

“West lies the Sound. South a great tree.
North is the university.
East the mighty Cascades run free.
All these places were loved by me.”


The Post-Totalitarian Greengrocer’s Window

from Vaclav Havel’s
“The Power of the Powerless”

The manager of a fruit-and-vegetable shop places in his window, among the onions and carrots, the slogan: “Workers of the world, unite!” Why does he do it? What is he trying to communicate to the world? Is he genuinely enthusiastic about the idea of unity among the workers of the world? Is his enthusiasm so great that he feels an irrepressible impulse to acquaint the public with his ideals? Has he really given more than a moment’s thought to how such a unification might occur and what it would mean?

I think it can safely be assumed that the overwhelming majority of shopkeepers never think about the slogans they put in their windows, nor do they use them to express their real opinions. That poster was delivered to our greengrocer from the enterprise headquarters along with the onions and carrots. He put them all into the window simply because it has been done that way for years, because everyone does it, and because that is the way it has to be. If he were to refuse, there could be trouble. He could be reproached for not having the proper decoration in his window; someone might even accuse him of disloyalty. He does it because these things must be done if one is to get along in life. It is one of the thousands of details that guarantee him a relatively tranquil life “in harmony with society,” as they say.

Obviously the greengrocer . . . does not put the slogan in his window from any personal desire to acquaint the public with the ideal it expresses. This, of course, does not mean that his action has no motive or significance at all, or that the slogan communicates nothing to anyone. The slogan is really a sign, and as such it contains a subliminal but very definite message.

Verbally, it might be expressed this way: “I, the greengrocer XY, live here and I know what I must do. I behave in the manner expected of me. I can be depended upon and am beyond reproach. I am obedient and therefore I have the right to be left in peace.” This message, of course, has an addressee: it is directed above, to the greengrocer’s superior, and at the same time it is a shield that protects the greengrocer from potential informers. The slogan’s real meaning, therefore, is rooted firmly in the greengrocer’s existence. It reflects his vital interests. But what are those vital interests?

Let us take note: if the greengrocer had been instructed to display the slogan “I am afraid and therefore unquestioningly obedient;’ he would not be nearly as indifferent to its semantics, even though the statement would reflect the truth. The greengrocer would be embarrassed and ashamed to put such an unequivocal statement of his own degradation in the shop window, and quite naturally so, for he is a human being and thus has a sense of his own dignity. To overcome this complication, his expression of loyalty must take the form of a sign which, at least on its textual surface, indicates a level of disinterested conviction. It must allow the greengrocer to say, “What’s wrong with the workers of the world uniting?” Thus the sign helps the greengrocer to conceal from himself the low foundations of his obedience, at the same time concealing the low foundations of power. It hides them behind the facade of something high. And that something is ideology. [click to continue…]



It’s appropriate that Oumuamua, the first “starship” sent to our system by some alien race, arrives in the form of a turd. It’s an important “holy relic” for the large cult of humans that seem to believe that intelligent life abounds in the universe and regularly sends various pie plates and cigars and turds to the Earth or through the Solar System; flying objects that never seem to identify themselves via satellite radio and HD television.

Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, co-wrote a paper (with a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, Shmuel Bialy) that examined ‘Oumuamua’s “peculiar acceleration” and suggested that the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.” Loeb has long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life, and he recently made further headlines by suggesting that we might communicate with the civilization that sent the probe. “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them,” he told Der Spiegel. About the Mysterious Interstellar Object ‘Oumuamua 

Oh blah, blah, blah…

Photographs of Oumuamua and thousands of other objects either do not exist, witness the “artist’s concept above,” or somehow dodge the automatic focal point in photo after photo. Take them all and all and add in this  latest masturbatory fantasy and I’d have to say, “Close but no cigar.” You can go right on believing that there have to be (Dammint, there just have to be..) billions and billions of planets with intelligent life in the universe, but until you find proof of planet number two there is still only one that we know — or at least suspect — has intelligent life. That would be this one.

Anthony Brode’s still got the best UFO explanation to mollify both sides in this silly story:

I accept the existence of saucers,
I concede there’s a case
To be made for believing that something’s achieving
the conquest of space;

I find it completely convincing
Whenever I hear
That creatures from Venus were recently seen
As a spaceship drew near:

And yet there’s a problem remaining
That baffles me still.
I’m not disagreeing that some super being
Can wander at will

From one universe to another-
But if it be thus why on earth (so to speak)
Should he bother to seek
Any contact with us?”

— Anthony Brode


I Likes Me Some Trains by ghostsniper

I likes me some trains. Always have. Rode em to death when I lived in Europe. They sway, back n forth, back n forth. Soothing. Specially at night time. You almost can’t NOT sleep at night on a train. Trains lull you to slumberland. That’s their job. That’s why no train has ever been robbed at night. The intentional robbers fall asleep against their will. Happens every time. Fact. Look it up.

And the clicking. The wheels going over the cracks between the rails. It disappears after a while, as you back burner it, but it’s always there. Just waiting for you to drop your guard, then the clicking starts all over again, then disappears again as your mind wanders. Trains make you think. Can’t help it. And remember. Can’t help that neither. One more thing on the trains resume.

The European trains were divided into little compartments with an aisle down 1 side. You could go into a compartment and slide the pocket door shut. Peace. As long as you had it to yourself which I frequently did. The big window occupied almost the whole wall, down to about 2 feet above the floor. It was like flying, about 8 feet above the ground. And backward if you preferred as there was a bench seat on either side.

I sat on the back porch of a caboose one time on a little stool the conductor placed there. Watching the track disappear in the distance. I broke out the sketchpad and drew what I saw. The track started as a dot at the top center of the page and spread out into a triangle as it got to the bottom. I filled the page with the landscape I saw and flipped that page over and continued on the next page. This time the triangle was truncated, the top was cut off, and it still kept spreading and I kept drawing. The top of the railing was at the top of the page and the thin steel pickets below it and down at the bottom of that page was the stretched steel fencing floor and my feets so I turned the page again and kept sketching. Page 3 showed the back of me with the railing in front of me and the landscaping from page 1 smaller and getting distant. the view was through the window in the rear door looking out onto the porch. The up-close woodgrain of the door and, using artistic leeway, I drew the much lower latch mechanism higher so that it would be in the scene, but most of the action was out through the small round cornered window. Flip to sheet 4 and the rearmost seats were visible and also the topmost part of my skull through the now smaller door window. There was a young fraulein in one of the seats and she held a cat and wore typical traditional Deutch attire. Lederhosen, etc. I did about a dozen pages altogether, changing seats frequently and drinking dark brews slowly.

Many years later I scanned those sketches into the computer and after making copies I reduced them in size to 240×240 and printed them out. I cut them out with scissors, stacked them on top of each other in reverse order and stapled them together. Now, the pages could be fanned from the bottom (like the bottom right corners of the pages in “The Whole Earth Catalog”) and a “movie” could be seen of what I seen that day 30 years prior. It’s best to view it while sitting down for when viewing it it appears you are moving backwards and more than 1 person I have showed it to has lost their balance.

Yes, I likes me some trains. In 2000 I went into a train store and purchased an MTH O gauge Christmas train and a bunch of accessories, spending far more than I imagined trains cost. I had never owned a train before cept maybe a cheap battery powered one when I was little. This MTH train was BIG. The locomotive is a 4-8-8-4 and is about 14 inches long. The tender is another foot long. And they talk to each other and there’s an internal computer chip involved and a remote control. It plugs into the wall, makes smoke, rings the bell, does the whistle, and plays train station sounds. And from a wireless source, it will play Christmas or any other type of music or sounds that I want. I’ve added to this set over the years and though I only set it up at Christmas time it takes all day to get it right. 27 cars as of this writing, some buildings, a bridge, a snow-covered lake with skaters I made from a scrap piece of mirror. And on and on. It circles the tree several times, up, up, and finally over the fireplace hearth then down, down, down, the other side. Smokin and chuggin the whole way. The cats are mesmerized when seeing it. The first time they were terrified and flew but then they slowly got used to it and started coming around. Caramel is the most drawn to it. I have to keep her back. Know how I do that? When she gets too close I hold the bell button down on the remote then hit the bellowing whistle button and she lays skid marks out of here. Careful though. Caramel is a big gurl, about 22 lbs, so when she ignites Christmas trees can teeter. Careful.

Then about a week after Christmas the whole thing reverses. Takes all day, cause I do it right. All the cars are put back in their boxes, wires are wound up and zip tied, trees are pulled backwards down their plastic tubes, batteries removed from the remote, etc. It’s a teary day when the train goes away….until next year.

I likes me some trains and we live about a mile from one and I hear it 2 times a day. On winter days, and nights, when the leaves are gone, I can stand on the back porch on the 2nd floor and peer through the skeletonized trees into the valley below and see the train and hear it’s mournful moan as it crosses the highway, goes around the curve, and disappears into the distance, like that track in my sketches so long ago. I likes me some trains.

— ghostsniper January 22, 2019, 9:11 AM



Five musicians you can see and at least ten more that are forever invisible.