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Letters Lost in the Labyrinth

Alien beast: Sea monster washes up on Texas beach | Daily Star Debbie Wasserman Schultz call your office!

The Golden State: Latest census stats show a fifth of Californians in poverty

Mexico dispatches top official to help Mexicans…avoid living in Mexico

In 1859, the United States and Britain Almost Went to War Over a Pig – Atlas Obscura

Not a selling point: Artist Turns Your Most Nostalgic Childhood Pics Into Stylish Tattoos So You Always Have Them On Your Skin
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The Class of the Ass

“Finally, just before noon, the crowd erupted, chanting “HILL-AR-EE! HILL-AR-EE!” as Clinton sauntered in, casually absorbing the adulation, giving the crowd her patented smile and royal wave.

Amid wild applause, Clinton made her way up to a raised platform, and then . . . she sat down and started signing. No hello to the crowd, no thanks for the hours of waiting — let alone decades of support — no apology for or acknowledgment of being an hour late, or losing the most consequential election in American history. Not a single word. She just started signing.

Waiting patiently to Hillary’s right, mere feet from her stage, was a line of wheelchair-bound seniors. “Hey guys, I need everybody to move over this way,” one staffer directed, as if that were so easy. Another staffer hijacked a fan’s wheelchair, saying, “We’re going for a ride,” while moving the fan aside.

Another attendee approached the officials. “She’s not going to speak?”

“This is all you’re getting,” came the reply.

RTWT @ Hillary Clinton’s book signing was as insufferable as you’d expect


Limbosticks in the Labyrinth

The fact is, no one will care if Mark Zuckerberg drowns in his bathtub, other than his mail order wife. The same is true of Jeff Bezos. The billionaire class is no more essential to society than any other luxury good. They are tolerable unless they become a burden. The BQ | The Z Blog

Yesterday a friend of mine was saying that after 9/11 the country pulled together for a while. And it did. But my response to the remark was that the pulling-together lasted just a few days and even at the outset there were many dissenting (mostly leftist) voices blaming America or even rejoicing that America got its comeuppance. 9/11: Sixteen years

Trump Follows Poon Commandment VII | Chateau Heartiste Trump is doing exactly what I predicted he would do after eight months of the GOPe thwarting him at every turn: dissociating himself from Congressional recucklicans and threatening their 2018 midterm prospects by reaching out to Dems. This is CLASSIC push/pull Game. Works on girls, works on cucks.
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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

— 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.”

The best thing about the Heights is the Promenade. This is a long pedestrian strolling area that runs from Remsen on the south to Cranberry on the north end. It’s a brick walk high on the bluff above the Expressway below. Over the baroque railing you can see far out into the harbor, beyond the Financial District and Wall Street on the tip of Manhattan, beyond the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island to the distant silhouettes of the cranes and wharfs on the Jersey Shore. You can see north up the East River past the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan Bridge to, maybe, the merest wisp of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across from the railings are a selection of gardens and backyards with water fountains and shaded benches. It is one of those hidden, off-to-the-side areas of respite that are secreted across all the seven boroughs of the city. You discover it by being taken to it by someone else who has already been there.

The Promenade is a fine place on any day but best on a Sunday afternoon when the weather is clear. Then you can stroll with your fellow citizens and catch a bit of the constant breeze or a bracing wind. Under most conditions, this wind is one of the best elements of Brooklyn Heights. Usually you just take it for granted — as you do all the small mercies of life in New York City.

When the wind came from the south off the harbor those who lived on the Heights got to breathe the sea air first before the rest of the city had its way with it. And it usually did blow from the south even if there were days when it blew in from the west across the southern tip of Manhattan. At least, I think that it did on numerous days even if I only remember it from one.

I don’t remember the wind from that day because it blew hard and long. The winter, spring and fall brought many blizzards and storms to the Heights with winds that would howl over the roofs and pulse in the chimney of my parlor floor apartment. In winter it would slam against the stones of the facade and rattle the windows while rolling snow so fine against the door that a dusty drift would work its way through the weather stripping and into the foyer by morning.

So if I think about the storms I can say they always came to the Heights on the big shoulders of a bigger wind, but I don’t really remember any one of those winds. In my memory, I just assume they were there, a part of the storm. Winds always are a part of any storm. Just as the French say “Never a rose without a thorn,” so “Never a storm without a wind.”

Except once and then the storm came later. And even if that wind has now become a faint foreign breeze moving over a distant landscape of sand and rubble and blood, it rolls along still and will in time make its way back to where it began.

The wind came when the pillar of fire became, in what seemed a moment outside of time, a pillar of smoke. We had been standing on the Promenade that morning in our thousands watching death rage at the center of a beautiful September morning. It was a morning with a clear and washed blue sky; the kind of rare New York morning when you can believe, again, that anything is possible in that city of dreams that so often dissolve into disappointment.

Anything, of course, except the two towers whose peaks were engulfed in flames.

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Lines Etched into the Face of the Labyrinth

Newton by William Blake

“As to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” — Issac Newton

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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.

* For the process of how this came to be written see The Arrival @ AMERICAN DIGEST

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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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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?”

We were soon to know the nature of the new hell and we were all thrust into it without repeal. The days turned to months and the months turned to years and now we have turned around and a decade is gone. What might have been ours, for good or ill, in that decade was forever stolen from us. Stolen from us not — never doubt this — by one man alone, but by a host of savages and throwbacks spread around the world and here among us and dedicated to our destruction. A host that will use any means necessary to destroy this nation while this nation “serves justice” up in spoonfuls and creates “Rules of Engagement” with which to hamper those who would defend it with their very lives.

What the nation has become, through death by fire, bravado, war, forgetfulness, treason, and blunt stupidity could not have been foretold on September 10, but here we are — a lurching ship of state captained by a malicious hater of the American soil. That same captain, maddened by his own stunted heritage, will today disgrace the soil of Ground Zero. It is a difficult reality that has been dealt by the hands of fate; one that is still being played out.

Uncertain and afraid
As the clever hopes expire
Of a low dishonest decade:
Waves of anger and fear
Circulate over the bright
And darkened lands of the earth,
Obsessing our private lives;
The unmentionable odour of death.

SEPTEMBER 1, 1939 W.H. Auden

Now over a decade and a half has passed, “a low dishonest decade,” since the day after September 10 and the thing that looked like a man, the monster that set the events of the 11th in motion, has been expunged from the Book of Life. Too easily and too quickly for my tastes but my tastes in these matters are rooted in Scots’ blood, and that blood demands punishments too severe to write down here or to hold in the mind for long.

Some would say that his death with a bullet to the brain and then the use of the body as food for crabs and worm on the bottom of the ocean means “Debt paid” and “War over” and “Victory.” Let that be to them as it will be, but my blood says that it is not paid, not over and not a victory.

My blood says that all of those in his line need to be expunged, and that all of those who emulate and revere his manner of thinking need to be expunged, and all of those in his part of the gene pool need to be drained away and destroyed, root and branch. My blood says, “Carthago delenda est.”

From what little I know of history, what little I know of our enemies, I know in the marrow of my bones that there will come a terrible day in which that final judgment will be rendered and that final act shall be done. And as it was on the day after September 10, I remain relentlessly for this reckoning; a reckoning that is still to come, but like September 11 itself, certain to arrive.



There are storms….

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Smooth and lucid and well-informed, Sealls gives a great briefing even if it is 3 days old. This indeed is “News you can use.”

And then there is always this classic hurricane warning:

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Everything mold is phew again….

“. . . The new alchemical dream is: changing one’s personality—remaking, remodeling, elevating, and polishing one’s very self . . . and observing, studying, and doting on it. (Me!) . . .”

By Tom Wolfe

From the August 23, 1976 issue of New York Magazine.

I. Me and My Hemorrhoids

The trainer said, “Take your finger off the repress button.” Everybody was supposed to let go, let all the vile stuff come up and gush out. They even provided vomit bags, like the ones on a 747, in case you literally let it gush out! Then the trainer told everybody to think of “the one thing you would most like to eliminate from your life.” And so what does our girl blurt over the microphone?


Just so!

That was how she ended up in her present state . . . stretched out on the wall-to-wall carpet of the banquet hall of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles with her eyes closed and her face pressed into the stubble of the carpet, which is a thick commercial weave and feels like clothes-brush bristles against her face and smells a bit high from cleaning solvent. That was how she ended up lying here concentrating on her hemorrhoids.

Eyes shut! deep in her own space! her hemorrhoids! the grisly peanut—

Many others are stretched out on the carpet all around her; some 249 other souls, in fact. They’re all strewn across the floor of the banquet hall with their eyes closed, just as she is. But Christ, the others are concentrating on things that sound serious and deep when you talk about them. And how they had talked about them! They had all marched right up to the microphone and “shared,” as the trainer called it. What did they want to eliminate from their lives? Why, they took their fingers right off the old repress button and told the whole room. My husband! my wife! my homosexuality! my inability to communicate, my self-hatred, self-destructiveness, craven fears, puling weaknesses, primordial horrors, premature ejaculation, impotence, frigidity, rigidity, subservience, laziness, alcoholism, major vices, minor vices, grim habits, twisted psyches, tortured souls—and then it had been her turn, and she had said, “Hemorrhoids.”

You can imagine what that sounded like. That broke the place up. The trainer looked like a cocky little bastard up there on the podium with his deep tan, white tennis shirt, and peach-colored sweater, a dynamite color combination, all very casual and spontaneous—after about two hours of trying on different outfits in front of a mirror, that kind of casual and spontaneous, if her guess was right. And yet she found him attractive. Commanding was the word. He probably wondered if she were playing the wiseacre, with her “hemorrhoids,” but he rolled with it. Maybe she was being playful. Just looking at him made her feel mischievous. In any event, hemorrhoids was what had bubbled up into her brain.

Then the trainer had told them to stack their folding chairs in the back of the banquet hall and lie down on the floor and close their eyes and get deep into their own spaces and concentrate on that one item they wanted to get rid of the most—and really feel it and let the feeling gush out.

So now she’s lying here concentrating on her hemorrhoids. The strange thing is . . . it’s no joke after all! She begins to feel her hemorrhoids in all their morbid presence. She can actually feel them. The sieges always began with her having the sensation that a peanut was caught in her anal sphincter. That meant a section of swollen varicose vein had pushed its way out of her intestines and was actually coming out of her bottom. It was as hard as a peanut and felt bigger and grislier than a peanut. Well—for God’s sake!—in her daily life, even at work, especially at work, and she works for a movie distributor, her whole picture of herself was of her . . . seductive physical presence. She was not the most successful businesswoman in Los Angeles, but she was certainly successful enough, and quite in addition to that, she was . . . the main sexual presence in the office. When she walked into the office each morning, everyone, women as well as men, checked her out. She knew that. She could feel her sexual presence go through the place like an invisible chemical, like a hormone, a scent, a universal solvent.

The most beautiful moments came when she would be in her office or in a conference room or at Mr. Chow’s taking a meeting—nobody “had” meetings anymore, they “took” them—with two or three men, men she had never met before or barely knew. The overt subject was, inevitably, eternally, “the deal.” She always said there should be only one credit line up on the screen for any movie: “Deal by. . . .” But the meeting would also have a subplot. The overt plot would be “The Deal.” The subplot would be “The Men Get Turned On by Me.” Pretty soon, even though the conversation had not strayed overtly from “The Deal,” the men would be swaying in unison like dune grass at the beach. And she was the wind, of course. And then one of the men would say something and smile and at the same time reach over and touch her . . . on top of the hand or on the side of the arm . . . as if it meant nothing . . . as if it were just a gesture for emphasis . . . but in fact a man is usually deathly afraid of reaching out and touching a woman he doesn’t know . . . and she knew it meant she had hypnotized him sexually. . . .

Thou may now go forth and RTWT @   Tom Wolfe on the ‘Me’ Decade in America — New York Magazine


Life Preservers in the Labyrinth

‘Fire up Thunder Creek and the mountain
— troy’s burning!
The cloud mutters 
The mountains are your mind.’
 – –  Gary Snyder (‘Burning 17,’ Myths and Texts, p. 53).

Hurricanes, Nightclubs, and Logic Traps    There are many ways out of kafkatraps. But for me, the easiest is this: the operator is a liar. The operator has his own agenda, and is attempting to use you to achieve it. Whatever he claims to care about, be it the plight of poor black people, or the children, or religious liberty, or economic equality, the claim is a lie. Either it is his own lie, or he is in service to someone else’s lie. Whatever the case, the entire kafkatrap can be dismissed on that basis.

Stuff That Scares Black People, Ranked 3. Large Crowds of Other Black People Don’t get me wrong—black people love other black people. It’s just that when it’s too many black people in one place at one time for no apparent reason, that can cause some concern. Especially if they’re all running in one direction. I know—it’s uncomfortable—but find the lie.

Total Information War   Ours is the information age, so the wars will be information wars, especially the civil wars. The corruption of the internet by global corporations on behalf of the emerging global elite is an obvious example. In fact, the corruption of the registrars by companies like Google should be read as a phase change in the information war. The globalists have moved onto a new tactic, as the old tactics have failed. Our rulers have decided they must abandon that principle.

The response from the dissidents, to the attack on speech by Big Tech, has been an effort to create separate platforms. Gab is an alternative social media platform and others are now in the works. A parallel internet is slowly starting to sprout up with people looking into creating new registrars, new search engines and new funding mechanisms. It is a slow process, and as the attack on Gab shows, one that will be met with escalating attacks from Silicon Valley. We are into a total information war now.

Bone Zones    Why would female beauty emerge anywhere? Because there is a shortage of men, and women have to compete for men, which is not the usual thing. Where do women have to compete for men? Where the men are engaging extremely dangerous occupations and lots of them get killed, occurred in Northwestern Europe over the centuries. Working in the mountains, logging, mining, fishing in the North Sea, all very dangerous ways to make a living. Or in places where there has been sustained violent conflict and huge numbers of men were killed off. Beautiful women in Kiev? World War I, Red Revolution, Holodomor, Great Purge, Barbarossa, Nazi occupation … . All of Eastern Europe is similar. The Baltics were especially hard hit.

Female beauty is nature reasserting life and fertility in the face of bloodshed and slaughter.

That’s a great final insight. Beauty is the flower of bloodshed.

Hunting the “Nazi Hunters”  ProPublica is a fraud. If the people who work there are “journalists,” I’m an NBA first-round draft pick. ProPublica is run by a charlatan who exemplifies everything that’s bad about his supposed profession. It’s a foul enterprise run by foul people. A “journalistic institution” funded by Democrat billionaires tried to shutter a publishing house (one that even some of its harshest critics agree is beneficial). This would be big news if the world of American journalism were populated by actual investigative reporters, rather than sock puppets dancing at the end of the strings that accompany their big fat welfare checks.

‘Party of Lincoln’ No More – American Greatness     “America was a land for individuals,” Ken Masugi has written, “not of, by, and for castes, whether of class or race, and thus it was a land of opportunity for those who cherished work, character, and faith.”

And finally, just how extreme is the Irma prep? People are evacuating their chickens.


Of course, your Uncle Rob might not really be your uncle. He might just be that guy that lives in a trailer down by the smelter. You know, that guy that your mother told you to stay away from. That guy everyone says to avoid at Halloween. That guy with girls sunbathing topless in his yard all the time. That guy with all the gasoline, and a hankering to use it. That guy.

All Hail Uncle Rob – BSBFB


They vividly remember many of the major events of the 20th century, from her first time spotting an airplane, during the Great Depression, to his wonder at watching Neil Armstrong walk on the moon. In a recent phone interview, Mrs. Schluter even recalled the weather near her home in Spokane, Wash., on the day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. (Cool and cloudy.)

But never before have they seen two major hurricanes bearing their names threaten the United States.

“I don’t know how they’ve done that, to have a Harvey and Irma,” Mrs. Schluter said Wednesday. “I don’t know how that worked out.”

Harvey and Irma, Married 75 Years, Marvel at the Storms Bearing Their Names – The New York Times


“One very notable pathology is a form of argument that, reduced to essence, runs like this: “Your refusal to acknowledge that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…} confirms that you are guilty of {sin,racism,sexism, homophobia,oppression…}.” I’ve been presented with enough instances of this recently that I’ve decided that it needs a name. I call this general style of argument “kafkatrapping”, and the above the Model A kafkatrap. In this essay, I will show that the kafkatrap is a form of argument that is so fallacious and manipulative that those subjected to it are entitled to reject it based entirely on the form of the argument, without reference to whatever particular sin or thoughtcrime is being alleged. I will also attempt to show that kafkatrapping is so self-destructive to the causes that employ it that change activists should root it out of their own speech and thoughts.

“My reference, of course, is to Franz Kafka’s “The Trial”, in which the protagonist Josef K. is accused of crimes the nature of which are never actually specified, and enmeshed in a process designed to degrade, humiliate, and destroy him whether or not he has in fact committed any crime at all. The only way out of the trap is for him to acquiesce in his own destruction; indeed, forcing him to that point of acquiescence and the collapse of his will to live as a free human being seems to be the only point of the process, if it has one at all.

“This is almost exactly the way the kafkatrap operates in religious and political argument. Real crimes – actual transgressions against flesh-and-blood individuals – are generally not specified. The aim of the kafkatrap is to produce a kind of free-floating guilt in the subject, a conviction of sinfulness that can be manipulated by the operator to make the subject say and do things that are convenient to the operator’s personal, political, or religious goals. Ideally, the subject will then internalize these demands, and then become complicit in the kafkatrapping of others.”

There’s more at Eric Raymond’s <strong>Kafkatrapping | Armed and Dangerous


Riding Out Hurricane Charley, 2004 by Ghostsniper

We went through hurricane Charley back in 2004 and food wasn’t on my agenda for the 9 days we did without power. Ice + water. That was my only concern.

Our house was only 2 years old. It was designed and built by me (Yes with my own hands – and about 100 other people’s hands. ), and sustained zero damage even though Charley’s eye passed within just a couple miles. But our 6′ high estate fence and most of the pool enclosure were completely gone as they are designed to be torn loose in small sections that FEMA describes as being “non-threatening to adjacent structures,” of which there were none.

All our freezer food was grilled in 24 hours then stored in coolers that were rapidly loosing their cool in the 100 degree, 90% humidity. After 3 days our water was getting low and there was no ice anywhere. I jury-rigged a cord to charge up our well equipment (220v) off my generator (110v), which I did every 12 hours. But it was ice I craved and there was no way to get any. There was an ice maker in the fridge but I wasn’t going to run the generator for hours to make that paltry amount of ice because fuel was also at a premium.

Hurricane Charley was the first hurricane to make landfall in our area in the 40 years I had lived there. It sort of caught us off guard. The numerous false alarms over the decades by the media had jaded us and we believed Charlie would pass us by. But in the last 2 hours it did a 180 in the gulf and came straight toward us.

Charley came NE from the gulf up Pine Island Sound and stormed across the land mass of Bokeelia Island then diagonally up Charlotte Harbor toward Punta Gorda, passing only a few miles NW of our home in the NW Cape Coral. Many roofs and large sections of walls were detached and deposited into Pine Island Sound.

I criss-crossed that Sound almost daily as most of my work then and still was the design of large scale custom homes on the islands of Useppa, Cayo Costa, Captiva, and Sanibel. Once, after Charley, while crossing the sound in a 32′ Donzi with twin 454 chevy V-8’s at about 50 mph, the boat hit a submerged roof breaking one of the lower units completely off and bringing the boat to a dead stop. I was standing and wrenched both shoulders out of the sockets – very painful. The driver slammed his face into the dash knocking out all his front teeth and another guy did a 50 mph somersault off the front of the boat and skidded 100 feet across a shell shoal and was bleeding from square yards of shaved flesh. We got back to the dock on a trolling motor as the computer wouldn’t let 1 engine fire up.

Charley caused the largest single residential claim in State Farm Insurance’s history in Florida. I did the restoration work on that home. It was on Upper Captiva and faced directly on the gulf, less than 200 unprotected feet from the home to the waterline. A massive custom 3 story on top of driven wooden pilings.

A 16′ wide sliding glass door on the 3rd floor failed and acted like an air scoop to Charley’s 300mph core velocities. Inside, the air pressure equalized and then over inflated the entire structure – it literally exploded. From the top down. The structural framework for the 3rd floor collapsed into the 2nd floor. Amazingly enough a large structural corner beam configuration that supported the 3rd floor dropped and landed on a Corian countered kitchen island that took and sustained the full weight. Kitchen island intact, the weight and wind force caused the 2nd floor to collapse into the 1st floor. All of this happened in mere seconds. The weight of 3 collapsed floors then caused 47 of the 48 10″x10″ pressure treated wood pilings to snap clean off. Only 1 was left undamaged. The snapped pilings caused the whole thing to collapse onto the ground like a giant pile of kindling wood in pastel Florida colors.

It was my job to wade into that trap and find out why the structure failed and that is how you now know the story you just read. As I said, at 3.5 million dollars, a total loss, it was the largest single residential claim in State Farms 100+ year history in Florida.

The owners were not present when the disaster occurred, having previously left to another island they also had a residence on (very wealthy, very nice – unlike all the lies you hear about wealthy people uttered through curled envious lips by the american communists). They decided they had loved the home and wanted it rebuilt just as it was before. So now my job was to reconstitute the home but in such a way that it would now be capable of sustaining 300mph continuous wind velocity.

It took a year to clear the property of the debris (there are no bridges to Upper Captiva so all things must be barged back and forth) and reconstruct the home. The only remaining original aspect being the 1 wooden piling that was not damaged. That piling was not incorporated into the structure as I questioned it’s structural validity, but a local guy chainsaw art effected it and turned it into a multiple ring toss game for drunkards. You know, the 3″ rusty steel ring on a long fiberglass masonry twine and you try to swing it to hook onto a small wooden peg. I think it had about 5 of them on that carved totem. I just looked at the place on Google Earth. It is alive and well and we still get a Christmas card from the owners each year.

Irma’s on it’s way to that area right now. I expect to get another Christmas card from those wonderful people this year.


Listalactites of the Labyrinth

Onward, my noble steed! The story behind the woodpecker-riding weasel “The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst,” says Le-May. “I guess our presence, maybe 25 metres away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self-respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry.”

The Biggest Things Ever to be Transported by Sea (With Pics)

Ken Jennings Finds the Biggest Waterfall in the World The amazing thing about the Denmark Strait cataract is that it dwarfs anything you’€™d see above the waves. Its water drops almost 11,500 feet, more than three times the height of Angel Falls in Venezuela, normally considered Earth’€™s tallest waterfall. And the amount of water it carries is estimated at 175 million cubic feet of water per second. That’s equivalent to almost two thousand Niagaras at their peak flow.

Blue Marlin, the Ship That Ships Shipping Ships

The First Joke

Someone Made 18 Stereotypical Maps Of Europe, And Some Of Them Will Probably Offend You | Bored Panda

Ad Hominem: This is the best logical fallacy, and if you disagree with me, well, you suck. McGroarty’s Logical Fallacies — fun list – Stephen Hicks, Ph.D.

Top 10 Unsolved Mysteries In Physics  Since then, many black holes have been observed, including a huge, supermassive one at the heart of our own galaxy. (Don’t worry. It won’t swallow up the Sun any time soon.)But the mystery of what occurs at the heart of a black hole is still unsolved. Some physicists thought that there might be a “singularity”—a point of infinite density with some mass concentrated down into an infinitely small space. It’s difficult to imagine. Worse yet, any singularity leads to a black hole in this theory, so there’s no way we could observe a singularity directly.

All This ‘True Conservative’ Talk About ‘Principles’ Is Just Another Lie    Let’s take the latest in a seemingly endless series of #fails from that smarmy dope Paul Ryan, King of the Fredocons. First, he rushed to help out the liberals with their ridiculous narrative about how Donald Trump is a “Nazi” (Wait, I thought the narrative memo had him being a Russian fifth columnist – damn, our president sure is versatile!). You couldn’t keep Ryan from eagerly jumping in with his usual more-in-sorrow-than-in-anger-about-Trump thing to help the left push its latest meme. Antifa though? Not so fast! Ryan, the poodle that he is, obediently waited until Nancy Pelosi led the way and offered some tepid words about these commie blackshirts and their thirst for blood before Brave Sir Ryan ran out and offered some tepid words about these commie blackshirts and their thirst for blood.

It’s Sea Slug Census Time Again! – Atlas Obscura

Gun-Controlled Chicago: At Least 45 Shot, Seven Killed over Labor Day Weekend

France Adopts Law That Uses Informants To Monitor Private Conversations For “Hate Speech”     The device used to relay the “insult” is confiscated. Phones, computer, tablets will be held by the state. It is evident that the device will be investigated for evidence of additional “hate speech.” If found, heavier charges can be made.

The hanging of train robber Black Jack Ketchum didn’t go as planned

Theia, the unknown planetary object devoured to form the Earth and Moon as known today

A View of Saturn’s Rings From the Inside, Courtesy of Cassini – Atlas Obscura

The city of the future could lie below your feet |   In a metropolis like Los Angeles. With limited space, people are building in-fill housing in backyards and garages. A key concern around the world is immigration: when cities are planned, the living space for immigrant populations is often overlooked.

Bohemia’s Strange Trip | City Journal     Heroin, opioids, and crime are on the rise again in Fog City. Homelessness has again become a plague, and not only in the Haight. Billionaires step over sleeping bags and dodge dog feces on sidewalks to enter some of the nation’s most expensive restaurants. A city with more dogs than children, San Francisco has become, like New York, a city of extremes of wealth and poverty, with too few of the middle-class adults upon whom urban cultural and economic vibrancy ultimately depend.

People Are the Design Margin |    ‘Cajun navies’ are also useful because there are also things government does not know how to do, like keeping existing supply chains running. The story of how the H.E.B. grocery chain kept 60 of its 83 stores open and stocked in the face of one the worst storms in centuries is management case study material. They tracked the storm to determine which cities it would most likely hit. They drew down on frozen food and upped their inventory of canned goods. They organized car, boat, truck and even helicopter pools. They sacrificed variety for quantity. In a word they did what only grocery people would know and the average bureaucrat would not.

Richard Bong State Recreation Area – Kansasville, Wisconsin – Atlas Obscura The Bong-area park police have asked visitors to please, stop sealing the signs.


The inside story of what it took to keep a Texas grocery chain running in the chaos of Hurricane Harvey

[Note: In any large scale disaster such as Harvey and now Irma the key to recovery is to keep the food supply chain open. If the people manning and managing the grocery chains falter it is about three days, maximum, until the guns come out.]

The largest grocer in the state is H-E-B, with about 350 stores scattered throughout Texas and Mexico. At a time when retail watchers question the future of brick-and-mortar stores due to Amazon’s continued ascendance, the 112-year-old retailer is drawing widespread praise after managing to open 60 of its 83 stores in Houston last Sunday, hours after Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas as a Category 4 storm. (Now, 79 of the 83 stores are open.)

When employees couldn’t get to work, some stores still operated with as few as five people: one stationed at the door as crowd control and four working the registers, trying to get people out as quickly as possible.

On Saturday morning, I spoke with Scott McClelland, a 27-year H-E-B veteran who is president of the chain’s Houston division. For much of the week, he had worked from 5 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., with days blurring together.

The behind-the-scenes operation, as he told me, is a complicated dance involving multiple command centers, a helicopter, private planes, military style vehicles and frequent calls to suppliers, urging them to send toilet paper — and to skip the Funyuns.

McClelland, in his own words:

One thing about a hurricane is you never know exactly where it’s going to hit. They call them spaghetti models. They make their best guesstimate.

Historically, hurricanes hit one city. A hurricane is going to hit Houston. Or a hurricane is going to hit Corpus Christi. But because of the size of this one and the uncertainty of the route it was going to take, every area had to prep. That meant the drawdown on our distribution centers was huge. It really made it challenging for us.

We first knew the storm was coming last Tuesday. You begin to put plans into motion. We began shipping water and bread into the effected areas. Those are the two categories people buy first.

When you go into a hurricane, nobody buys frozen food. You want milk, bread, water. You want batteries, you want canned meat. You want tuna.

Coming out of a hurricane, if there’s been flooding, they’re going to want stick goods: mops and bleach. I’ll take all the bread I can possibly get right now. Then you’re going to start to get produce. The guy who runs floral at H-E-B calls everyday: Can I start to ship floral? We don’t care about floral. People do not buy flowers in the middle of a hurricane. You only have so many trucks and so much space.

RTWT and pass it on to Florida and environs @ The inside story of what it took to keep a Texas grocery chain running in the chaos of Hurricane Harvey


Liner Notes for “The Labyrinth”

The bulk of Western civilization was built on the courage of men who were willing to brave the mysteries of the sea.

Today, everyone in Silicon Valley has to subscribe to the ninety-five theses of the social justice warrior’s creed, beginning with certain dogmas about race, sexuality, and the essential lovableness of jihadist Muslims.

So people are uploading the equivalent of 193 million copies of War and Peace books, or 75,000 copies of War and Peace movies, every single day.

Hillary announces new computer scheme, gets hacked right out the gate

The Limits Of Honesty–Even Tucker Carlson Can’t Say The Looters Are Black

Record-breaking Triceratops fossil found in Denver

Why North Korea and the United States are Near War | Scott Adams’ Blog

Bad Places to Hide: Atlantic Ocean | You can just make out something that’s clearly not a wave. It is, in fact, a shark.
[click to continue…]


BREAKING! Trump Steals Food from Black Kid 

This time he’s clearly GONE TOO FAR!

HT: Never Yet Melted