Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Don't Worry. Be Happy About Iran

If I listened long enough to you,
I'd find a way to believe that it's all true.
Knowing that you lied, straight-faced, while I cried,
Still I'd look to find a reason to believe.

-- "A Reason To Believe"

IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK that a rich and powerful organ grinder like the New York Times spend a little money and hire a "Stupidity Editor" (SE) ? No, not an internal SE, since just riding herd on the anonymous Editorial scribblers would be a full time job for at least five Pulitzer finalists, but simply an external SE to play "Katie, bar the door!" for all the gunk that consistently seeps onto the OP portion of the OP/ED page.

An old friend who works at the New York Times once confessed to me, not without a certain shame, that the overarching game plan of the Times was to become "the national newspaper of teachers and college professors." And in this they are, beyond a doubt, succeeding. But that does not mean they have to give space every other day to the kind of sludge seeping from the hyperbolic sump pumps that ceaselessly churn in the petrified forests of the Groves of Academe.

Today's seepage is entitled, in a heart warming and positive manner, We Can Live With a Nuclear Iran . It was pumped out of the fervid mind of one Barry R. Posen, a professor of political "science" at MIT. It is a soothing, calming item that, blithely overlooking the unremitting dementia that has ruled Iran for decades, purports to prove that a nuclear Iran would simply be a 'management' problem for the Western Elites to 'handle.' On the one hand, the message of the essay is "Don't worry. Be happy," while on the other it is the parallel message of "What? Me worry?"

While there may in some alternate universe be a cogent argument for simply kicking back and letting events in Iran unfold as they will, there's nothing resembling it in Mr. Posen's article. The unstated premise is that an Islamic nuclear weapon developed by the world's leading Radical Islamic state would forever remain specific to that state. This concept evolves from the idea that nation states are still the only social structures of significance in the 21st century. It's a tidy concept, but it is wrong. The globalization of ideology driven by instant communication and the ability of men and material to be anywhere on earth within 48 hours, makes Posen's premise of nation states as the only significant actors on the world stage quaint to say the least.

What the "What? Me worry?" intellectuals in our universities fail to see, or, seeing, fail to credit, is the fact that Islamic Fascism is a global virus which is replicating with all the speed of other viruses in the modern age. Indeed, it is currently outpacing avian flu. While it may take the resources of a state controlled by religious fanatics and fat with oil funds to create a nuclear weapon, the distribution network for such devices is already in place use them.

For example: If we can only monitor 5% of the containers coming into US ports, how many containers can Mexico monitor? Indeed, to deliver a nuclear weapon to Mexico, you don't need a container or a port of entry at all. A fast boat and a beach in the Yucatan will do quite nicely, thank you. Once that's done, you don't have to control a US port to attack the US with a nuclear weapon, or even drive it into the country. You


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2006 8:37 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Devolution: The Video

" UNERTAN SYNDROME consists of quadrupedal gait, severe mental retardation, and primitive language. -- From NeuroQuantology: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Neuroscience and Quantum Physics

Elsewhere: Human Hand-Walkers: Five Siblings Who Never Stood Up ; Claim of reversed human evolution provokes skepticism, interest ; "Backward evolution" spawns ape-like people (Oh, Dawkins where is thy sting? Oh, Darwin, where is thy victory? )

Via The Artyom Reader

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2006 6:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dress Just Like Steve Jobs

Live the Bazillionaire Lifestyle for less than $470.00 !

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2006 5:36 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saddam Lied. On Tape.

MISSING, SOMEHOW, from your morning newspaper: Investor's Business Daily: Saddam Had WMD


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2006 4:04 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Just In

From Point Five .... which is on a roll, baby.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 28, 2006 3:48 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Warning
Even after the experience of the Great War, and the Depression, people on the eve of the Hitler war could not appreciate what was coming. It is only in retrospect that we understand what happened as the 1930s progressed -- when a spineless political class, eager at any price to preserve a peace that was no longer available, performed endless demeaning acts of appeasement to the Nazis; while the Nazis created additional grievances to extract more.

This is precisely what is happening now, as we are confronted by the Islamist fanatics, whose views and demands are already being parroted by fearful “mainstream” Muslim politicians. We will do anything to preserve a peace that ceased to exist on 9/11. Not one of our prominent politicians dares even to name the enemy.

-- David Warren, "Oncoming"

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 27, 2006 11:53 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Breaking Points

hillary punch-1.jpg


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 26, 2006 10:19 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Once You Learn to Fake Sincerity, the Rest is Easy


"The more obscure and uncertain the cause, the greater the effect: the greater the number of idlers one could count in a family, the more illustrious it was held to be....

"It is to this desire of being talked about, and this unremitting rage of distinguishing ourselves, that we owe the best and the worst things we possess, both our virtues and our vices, our science and our errors, our conquerors and our philosophers; that is to say, a great many bad things, and a very few good ones. In a word, I could prove that, if we have a few rich and powerful men on the pinnacle of fortune and grandeur, while the crowd grovels in want and obscurity, it is because the former prize what they enjoy only in so far as others are destitute of it; and because, without changing their condition, they would cease to be happy the moment the people ceased to be wretched." -- Rousseau, "On the Origin of Inequality"

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 26, 2006 2:48 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Dulcet Tones of the Iranian Fascist

Hassan Bolkhari: "If you study European history, you will see who was the main power to hoard money and wealth, in the 19th century. In most cases, it is the Jews. Perhaps that was one of the reasons which caused Hitler to begin the anti-Semitic trend...."

FROM LGF comes this Memri video with subtitles .

It's important to watch this short video because it shows Professor Hassan Bolkhari, Iranian "mass media expert" and cultural advisor to the Iranian Education Ministry speaking calmly and in a soothing and persuasive voice to a group of what appear to be students. Among the things he is saying in explaining the deeper cultural subtext of "Tom & Jerry" is this:

Every Jew was forced to wear a yellow star on his clothing. The Jews were degraded and termed "dirty mice." Tom and Jerry was made in order to change the Europeans' perception of mice. One of terms used was "dirty mice."

I'd like to tell you that... It should be noted that mice are very cunning... and dirty.

Now we will pass over this "Iranian expert's" stated belief that Tom & Jerry is a product of "the evil Jewish Walt Disney company." After all, the cartoon's producer MGM was also a Jewish company ( Louis B. Mayer / Walt Disney -- what's the difference, really? ). Instead, the video gives you a chilling view of the Fascist mind at work. Taking in the tone of voice, the calm demeanor, the slick look and the deadpan delivery, you might almost think this person believes every word he says.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2006 6:37 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"It's the Pictures That Got Smaller"


Well, maybe not the pictures, but certainly the Oscars are getting smaller.Marketwatch reports that, "If the past two years is any indication, it won't be good for Oscar viewer-ship and may cut into future revenue. For


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2006 12:54 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Former President Learns Too Late. Thank God.

BILL CLINTON IN a speech he gave at the Global Business Forum held in Sydney this week. Refering to Tiananmen Square, Clinton remarks:

They said: "Quit denying this. Tell the truth. Turn it around."

And what could have been a cataclysmic epidemic was turned around."

If he knew then what he claims to know now, Al Gore would be President today.

Who say's God does not watch over America?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2006 11:53 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Why I Write and Publish Here

Gerard Van der Leun, 1942

FROM MY EMAILl this morning:

Because my age and view of the world are similar to yours, I was especially moved by the essay you wrote a couple of years ago on your uncle Gerard Vanderleun and the family fuss about your name.
[ The Name in the Stone ]

I sent it then to my two sons (26 and 28) with a comment to the effect that that was how young men like me in the 1960's looked at our parents' world in our oblivious way.

I was on a business trip with one of my sons to New York last Tuesday.  While we were passing time in Battery Park before a meeting, my son remembered the essay and wanted to look for your uncle's name on the monument.

Still there, too tall to touch.

Thank you for the essay and the moment with my son.

Gerard Van der Leun, 2002 (second from bottom)

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2006 9:27 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One Year Ago Today -- "West Wing Dot Gov:" The White House Blogger

[EXACTLY ONE YEAR AGO TODAY, I wrote the small item below the extract from Glenn Reynolds' article in today's Wall Street Journal. As the Bush Administration more and more comes to resemble "The Gang That Couldn't Think Straight," they might -- if they can pull a crisp moment together -- consider both suggestions very, very seriously. ]

Glenn Reynolds - Early Warning System

As I write this, it's not clear where the rest of the debate is headed, but there are already some useful lessons for the White House. First, blogs make an excellent early warning system. The White House, unaccountably, seems to have been blindsided by the furor over this deal, though most people's gut reaction was negative. As with the many bloggers like me who changed their minds, gut reactions can be overcome by evidence -- but the White House should have taken advantage of this early warning to have its arguments in order. It didn't.

That's the second lesson: The White House should not only have read blogs, but responded to them with information and arguments, rather than waiting for blog readers to weigh in. As Rich Galen observed on Wednesday, "It is an issue of this administration having a continuing problem with understanding how these things will play in the public's mind and not taking steps to set the stage so these things don't come as a shock and are presented in their worst possible light." Paying more attention to the blogs won't solve that problem. But it will help.

First published -- February 25, 2005
ONCE AGAIN I COMMEND TO YOUR ATTENTION, the item by Donald Sensing @ One Hand Clapping -- "Bush failing to keep the public in the loop." Read the item and the ensuing discussion as to why the administration could do a much better job of presenting their case daily, and why that may or may not be difficult.

In the course of following this discussion and participating to some small extent, the following idea crossed my mind:

Here's a thought. Some might recall the pick-up and wide promulgation of a series of photographs of the President and his days right after the 11th. In addition, there was I seem to recall, a series of television programs which essentially followed the President around through his days.

What if there were an official Presidential blogger who had clearance for fly-on-the-wall access in the White House, within limits, but generally free to talk to and wander about and pickup information and impressions of what is going on. I realize that this sort of thing runs the very high risk of running into government walls at every turn, but really, so what?

Even if it was just blogging the public aspects of the day with an occasional chat with aides and with visitors it would still be fascinating to millions. My guess is that the hit count would soon dwarf Glenn, Kos and the next two hundred blogs combined.

Impossible? It seems like only two years ago many were saying that most newspapers would never allow their reporters to run blogs. Oh, wait, it was only two years ago. Yet, here we are.

It seems to me axiomatic that better ideas require better arguments, and that better arguments require better writers.

Of course, the idea of a White House blogger is not new. It has been suggested numerous times over the years by many bloggers. But as usual, the ideas of the blogsphere run ahead of their time. Perhaps that time is now.

One of Sensing's readers remarks, "The Bush administration has failed, miserably, in its attempts to make the quite legitimate and deserving case for this war. Reagan and Deaver would have done much better." True, but Reagan had Peggy Noonan and if you don't look for them you rely on luck to bring you that sort of talent. Especially in the days before the rise of the Web and the surge of the Blogs.

Today, locating a blogger who could be Bush's "online Samuel Tobias Seaborn-Ziegler" wouldn't be all that hard. A week's scan of about 100 blogs would yield at least 100 candidates who would move heaven and earth for the job of blogging "The West Wing" in real time.

My hat's in the ring. Yours?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 25, 2006 9:25 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Breaking the Sound Barrier -- Underwater


THIS GIVES NEW MEANING TO THE PHRASE, "You'll never even hear them coming."

Torpedoes and the Next Generation of Undersea Weapons

Anti-torpedo torpedoes will provide our future platforms with an additional defense capability. Their primary mission is to destroy incoming torpedo threats that may have gotten through a countermeasure field. Based on technology under development at ONR, a 6.25 inch-diameter self-protection weapon is under study for the defense of surface ships and submarines using supercavitation technology. The Advanced High Speed Underwater Munition (AHSUM) program has already demonstrated the effectiveness of such high-speed underwater bullets. Fired from an underwater gun, these projectiles have successfully broken the speed of sound in water (1,500 meters per second), bringing their future application much closer to reality. [Powerpoint graphics at link.]

Exactly how is this accomplished? It may have something to do with this description: "Using supercavitation techniques, the torpedo becomes an underwater missile… the water near the tip of the projectile – or torpedo – literally vaporizes from the high speed, producing a pocket in which to "fly" the weapon underwater."

More on supercavitation @ Warpdrive Underwater by Stephen Ashley in Scientific American, May, 2001.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2006 7:41 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sustainable, Renewable Energy from Bugs

The fuel in your foundation

WHY DRILL IN THE ARCTIC when you can drill into the DNA of termites for future fuels?

Tapping Bushes and Bugs to Fuel Our Energy Future

Another target of JGI's bioenergy efforts is the termite, which is capable of cranking out two liters of hydrogen from fermenting just one sheet of paper, making it one of the planet's most efficient bioreactors. Termites accomplish this by exploiting the metabolic capabilities of about 200 different species of microbes that inhabit their hindguts.

"Termites have spread throughout the world and play a critical role in recycling wooden biomass," Rubin said. "They are so successful in eating our houses from underneath us that they cause more than $1 billion in damage in the United States annually."

"It's not as if we are going to put termites in our tank, but if we can harness the termite microbe enzymes that break down lignocellulose and make hydrogen, we may end up with a commercially viable process," Hugenholtz said.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 24, 2006 6:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less. Take a deep breath....

by Eric Schulman

Quantum fluctuation. Inflation. Expansion. Strong nuclear interaction. Particle-antiparticle annihilation. Deuterium and helium production. Density perturbations. Recombination. Blackbody radiation. Local contraction. Cluster formation. Reionization? Violent relaxation. Virialization. Biased galaxy formation? Turbulent fragmentation. Contraction. Ionization. Compression. Opaque hydrogen. Massive star formation. Deuterium ignition. Hydrogen fusion. Hydrogen depletion. Core contraction. Envelope expansion. Helium fusion. Carbon, oxygen, and silicon fusion. Iron production. Implosion. Supernova explosion. Metals injection. Star formation. Supernova explosions. Star formation. Condensation. Planetesimal accretion. Planetary differentiation. Crust solidification. Volatile gas expulsion. Water condensation. Water dissociation. Ozone production. Ultraviolet absorption. Photosynthetic unicellular organisms. Oxidation. Mutation. Natural selection and evolution. Respiration. Cell differentiation. Sexual reproduction. Fossilization. Land exploration. Dinosaur extinction. Mammal expansion. Glaciation. Homo sapiens manifestation. Animal domestication. Food surplus production. Civilization! Innovation. Exploration. Religion. Warring nations. Empire creation and destruction. Exploration. Colonization. Taxation without representation. Revolution. Constitution. Election. Expansion. Industrialization. Rebellion. Emancipation Proclamation. Invention. Mass production. Urbanization. Immigration. World conflagration. League of Nations. Suffrage extension. Depression. World conflagration. Fission explosions. United Nations. Space exploration. Assassinations. Lunar excursions. Resignation. Computerization. World Trade Organization. Terrorism. Internet expansion. Reunification. Dissolution. World-Wide Web creation. Composition. Extrapolation?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 23, 2006 10:08 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Crisp Clickables

Forget the flesh eating bacteria, here's a fungus that eats dynamite.

Mac Alerts: Are there now two worms in your Apple?


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 23, 2006 9:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Number 7 in Top 10 Signs That the United States is About to Bomb Iran

7. -- Increased delivery of Pizza to Pentagon

-- Strategy Page

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 23, 2006 8:47 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
An Undiscovered and New Source of Eternal Energy

FROM AN OLD FRIEND'S EMAIL discussing the absurb amounts of stuff put online at places like Flickr:

"Someday aliens will be rooting through this stuff like we shovel fossils in good ol' Ordovician Ohio.

Alien One will be saying, 'Jesus, this Internet shit must be 50 feet deep! How many millions of years of midnight downloads did it take to make this much digital sediment? Does it eventually turn into petroleum deposits?"

"And Alien Two will reply, 'Only if they're all pictures of dinosaurs and who is Jesus anyway?' "

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 22, 2006 12:39 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Congressional Reinforcements Surge Into Iraq

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2006 9:15 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Beclowning Begins

abeclowned.jpgGiven Obama's successful raid on the Clinton rice-bowl in Hollywood last night, auto-beclowning was only a matter of time. But in this day and age, "a matter of time" is measured in minute fractions of a news cycle. This is not always "good" for the candidate on the "reactive" part of the current kerfuffle since taking a few deep breaths in politics is probably the wisest course of action.

No such luck for the Clintons who have, again, beclowned themselves by taking David Geffen's characterization of Hillary Clinton as "ambitious" as a personal insult against their sainted candidate. There are few things that strike me as genuinely "non-partisan" in this day and age, but saying Hillary is "ambitious" has got to be one of them. It is a statement well within the range of factual observations bounded on the one side by 2+2=4 and on the other by the Pythagorean Theorem.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2006 2:08 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Poster Child for Pap

This coming Christmas' Must-Have Stocking Stuffer for the Republicans on Your List.

I SOMETIMES WISH I COULD BE A DEMOCRAT ONCE MORE . It was a good party in its time, it had nice ideals once, and, to tell the truth, I'm not at all easy being labeled as a Republican especially since I'm not. At the same time, I have to admit it is just too embarrassing these days to be a Democrat.

It's not so much that they are wrong. Sometimes they are not wrong. It is not so much that so many of them are demented by the very existence of George W. Bush in the same universe. Not all are demented. Chiefly, I think that it is hard for men to be a Democrats these days because the Party has taken on an ever-growing blob of ur-male members who have run up a catastrophical overdraft at The Bank of Testosterone. That wouldn't be so bad in itself, but it seems that a symptom of this syndrome is for the man involved to become, well, moist.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2006 10:13 AM | Comments (38)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The BS Stops Here

ASKMOM'S TAKING ME UP ON my modest proposal, It's Past Time to Blow Off the "Receipt Check" with a program called Mature Civil Disobedience

We do not owe it to retailers to have our property and persons inspected routinely upon leaving their premises. As I thought more, I realized that receipt checks are simply one of a large number of condescending slights to our dignity, honesty and convenience that I can no longer accept. Beginning today, I will not:

- Consent to property and body searches by retail or other establishments unless and until they call the police in pursuit of theft charges against me.

She also has a few choice things to say about bagging it after your dog and stealing handicap parking spaces. Any other items we might want to pursue in our war against the New American Buttinsky Party?

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 21, 2006 9:40 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Past Time to Blow Off the "Receipt Check"

THIS INCIDENT FROM Aaron Hopkins at -- Best Buy Receipt Check -- suggests it is time for honest people to stop going along with the proliferating "receipt check" routine.

So when I'm faced with the prospect of standing in a long line at the exit to have yet another person rifle through my property, I dodge the line and head for an unused automatic door, countering an insistent "Sir, can I see your receipt?" with a polite "No, thank you."

I've gotten so used to this trick at Fry's Electronics that I don't really think twice about it. You see, Fry's doesn't trust their underpaid staff manning the cash registers to actually do their jobs right, so they post a door guard to ask people walking away from the registers carrying plastic bags to let them verify that all of the items in the bag were rung up on the receipt.

But this verification step is purely voluntary. Merchants basically have two rights covering people entering and exiting their stores. They can refuse to let you enter the premises and/or to sell you anything, and they can place you under citizens arrest for attempting to leave the premises with any property that you haven't paid for. But the second you hand over the appropriate amount of cash, they lose all rights to the items. They can't legally impair you from leaving the store with your property.

He's right. This retailers' move is odious. Even more odious that making the receipt checkers into the people who "Welcome" you to the store. Oh, wait, they're usually one and the same.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 20, 2006 11:01 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Noted in Passing

SPENGLER ON WHY THE WEST WILL ATTACK IRAN:".... if Washington waits another year to deliver an ultimatum to Iran, the results will be civil war to the death in Iraq, the direct engagement of Israel in a regional war through Hezbollah and Hamas, and extensive terrorist action throughout the West, with extensive loss of American life. There are no good outcomes, only less terrible ones. The West will attack Iran, but only when such an attack will do the least good and the most harm. "

MEANWHILE BACK IN 1662: "This day I read the King’s speech to the Parliament yesterday; which is very short, and not very obliging; but only telling them his desire to have a power of indulging tender consciences, not that he will yield to have any mixture in the uniformity of the Church’s discipline; and says the same for the Papists, but declares against their ever being admitted to have any offices or places of trust in the kingdom; but, God knows, too many have."
-- Samuel Pepys' Diary: Thursday 19 February 1662/63

DAVID WARREN: "We cling to things that cannot last, out of our curious panic; to things like Porsches, and the nanny state. We ignore, in this panic, anything that isn’t hard to the touch -- the verities of God, nature, and our nature. Yet in so doing we select what is transient, over what is eternal."

DAVID STOWE ASKS So You Think You Are a Darwinian? "Most educated people nowadays, I believe, think of themselves as Darwinians. If they do, however, it can only be from ignorance: from not knowing enough about what Darwinism says. For Darwinism says many things, especially about our species, which are too obviously false to be believed by any educated person; or at least by an educated person who retains any capacity at all for critical thought on the subject of Darwinism."

TIME FOR SOME ANGER MANAGEMENT in our politics:"....there is abundant evidence that extreme political opinions lead to the personal demonization of fellow citizens."

BUT SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO DEAL WITH The Logic of the Paranoid:"KILL THE JEWS!" "BEHEAD THOSE WHO INSULT ISLAM" --these slogans are merely the expressions of inescapable and contorted logic of the paranoid."

WHICH CAN LEAD TO SEVERE ANGER MANAGEMENT ISSUES: "We will not accept less than severing the heads of those responsible."
VICTOR HANSON LOOKS AT: What Will Europe Really Do?in response to Islamic Paranoia: "First will come a radical departure from past immigration practices. Islam will be praised; the Middle East assured that Europe is tolerant—but very few newcomers from across the Mediterranean let in."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 20, 2006 8:56 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Now, A Rap from Our Sponsor:

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 19, 2006 10:01 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Carressing the Matrix

HYPNOTIC, BEAUTIFUL AND AMAZING. You really have to see this to believe it. And you WILL want one:Multi-Touch Interaction Research
[HT from the always on-target Ole Eichhorn @ Critical Section ]

ON THE OTHER HAND, for something completely different, try the ever-popular KOREAN SCHOOLGIRLS!

ON THE THIRD HAND, you can observe and analyze two chinese boys:fairy . But be careful. It's the kind of thing that will have you converting to Islam in a twinkle.

ON THE LAST HAND: Via reader Jim Bass comes this weighty matter. Now you may ask yourself what's so special about the Beatles, three balls, and the juggler Chris Bliss. Doesn't sound too hard, does it? Really? Take a look. Like the Brits say, "It'll gobsmack you."

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 18, 2006 9:25 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Global Muslim Position on Everything in One Image


More photos from FROM the Muslim No-Cartoons-Ever Demonstration in New York .

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 18, 2006 9:00 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Things to do in Seattle when you're bored

IT'S BONE-NUMBINGLY COLD AS YOU STROLL INTO the local Cuban espresso bar and note that the evening's entertainment is by a nordic looking "Seattle Songwriter with German-Brazilian Roots."

Remark to the owner who is clearly well past 30, "Does that mean he's one of The Boys from Brazil ?"

Blank stare.

Whip out your pen, take a flyer and sketch a small bar mustache on the lip of the man in the photo. Even though his head is shaved, the resemblance is striking. "There."

Hostile stare and much clattering of cups ensues.

Watch carefully to make sure that nothing foreign makes in into your cappuccino.

Saunter from there down to the Queen Anne independent book store with a sprawling table display of the collected works of Noam Chomsky and several shelves of books best thought of as the "Bush Lies," "Bush Lies Again," "Son of Bush Lies," "George Bush Is a Dum and Dummer Fascist Pig," and "Bush Should Just Shut Up and Die Right Now or I'm Going to Hold My Breath and Stamp My Foot" collection.

Study these offerings for a bit and then glance about and ask the woman at the register, "Do you have any copies of the new best-seller, 'Women Who Make the World Worse?' "

Long pause and face setting into stone. "I'll look." Much tapping of keys ensues. "No."

"Can you order it?"


"How about any books by Anne Coulter?"

"You're new to Seattle, aren't you?"

Time for a haircut so you amble down to the new, improved Counterbalance Barber Shop where Christine, a pretty, slim and vibrant soul with two lazy dogs rules her realm.

An older man is in the chair. You fall into a very neutral conversation concerning the absence of compelling candidates in either party and how uncivil our politics has become.

Agreement all around.

You remark that the Democrats have to get beyond "Bush Derangement Syndrome" and offer up some policies that make people feel better rather than angry. Again much agreement all around.

Fifteen seconds later, the man in the chair offers up the insight that George Bush is an utter idiot. You observe that utter idiots seldom beat all opponents in state and national elections time after time and that, in the first place, the Constitution does not specify an IQ level in order to become President.

"You obviously don't know about the secret brain trust from Texas and Halliburton that has been manipulating elections and stealing them for George Bush, do you?" he asks.

You admit that you have missed that, and could never quite make out the men on the Grassy Knoll in Dallas either.

Christine suggests we discuss why you should never let a barber younger than 55 near you with a straight razor and fingers her leather strop. She's much younger than 55. Agreement all around.

Haircut done you walk down the hill towards home and, in passing, note that the marble fountain across the street has sheathed itself in gleaming shards of ice that scintillate in the clear late afternoon light. It is is very beautiful but it also reminds you that it is very, very cold in Seattle. So cold that the rumors of global warming seem as distant as the moon. Mysteriously and suspiciously cold.

You decide to blame that idiot George Bush for controlling the weather yet again. "Katrina-gate," you think. "When will we learn the secret truth about the flooded knolls of Katrina-gate?"

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 18, 2006 8:03 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Falstaff Dialogues

The instances that second marriage move
Are base respects of thrift, but none of love.

(Hamlet 3.2.185-6)

[A previously unpublished fragment found in the rubbish pit under the London lane where Shakespeare's First Folio was printed. Scholars dispute the reasons why it was not included. The more learned point to the printer's wife.]

FALSTAFF, sitting upon the ground telling sad stories of the deaths of kings.... some poison'd by their wives.

Enter FOOL.

FOOL: Good Sir John, how fare thee.

FALSTAFF: I fare well enough but soon, I fear, must fare thee well.

FOOL: How so, Sir John? Be not downcast, and take the shadow off thyself. Do but drink this bottle down, screw thy courage to the sticking post, abide awhile, and we shall merry be.

FALSTAFF: Merry? Me? Not this old dobbin. Falstaff shall no more merry be.

FOOL: Nay, good Sir John. Bite not your thumb at me for, sooth, thou art known from Land's End to John O'Groats as the merriest of that merry band that did Prince Harry harry. I mark well the tales that Falstaff is never more merry than when a boon companion, such as myself, will ever stand you cakes and a cup or two of ale. And I stand witness from our revels past that all such tales are true.

FALSTAFF: (Aside: Like all lost fools he sees not my inner state, but only this outer self of a former shell. Stand off and scry my larger outline. Behold how it blots out my former merry stars like the moon held out before the sun. )

Oh, fine Fool, if you seek one who would be merry with you you seek not old Sir John.

FOOL: Posh and bother, good Sir John, with these sweet cakes and this good ale how can you not merry be?

FALSTAFF: I may not now make merry because I have made myself marry.

FOOL: Merry? Why certainly you merry are. The very stones echo back your merry laughter from across the years.

FALSTAFF: You hear me amiss. I am not merry because I married am.

FOOL: Ah. Now I have your measure. You say you married are? Well, there's the rub that raises up the blister on the foot of all men's souls. How say you of this married state in which you are not merry?

FALSTAFF: It is all one and of a muchness. Indeed, it is much of a muchness and on it have I meditated mightily this past fornight far beyond the chimes of midnight. Follow me, my Fool, in this:

The unmarried man, being merry, seeks to marry from merriment mainly while in his cups. For in this muddled state his merry mind reminds him that to marry may mount his present merriment in his maid to highest heaven, and hence his maid, marking he is merry at the thought of marriage, moves maidenhead to make him yet more merry still. Do you follow well my stormy petrel's seaward path, my Fool?

FOOL: Indeed I do e'en though it pricks my feet with shards of ice.

FALSTAFF: I'll dance you deeper still into those darker seas where many our merry men have drowned.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2006 12:33 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Are You a Player?

ROBERT FULGHUM offers some examples of those who are and those who are not.

This lady with a shopping cart full of oddball stuff standing beside me in front of the cheese counter at the grocery story. My invitation: "I like the groceries in your cart better than mine. Want to trade? You take mine and I'll take yours. Could be interesting when we get home."

She smiles. Checks out my cart. "You've got a deal,"she says. We take each other's carts and roll away.

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 17, 2006 10:07 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What "Bush Doctrine"?

I DEEPLY ADMIRE Peggy Noonan and her ruminations today on replacing Dick Cheney certainly have their point, but when she gets to the kicker and asks, "Who would it be? Someone who's a strong supporter of Iraq, and, presumably, the Bush doctrine." I have to admit that last phrase, "the Bush Doctrine" gives me pause.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2006 4:49 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Japanese Princesses on the Bridge at Harajuku Station

Iced Beauty

ANTIPIXEL IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PERSONAL PAGES. Coming from Japan, it seldom fails to provide a break of beauty in a sea of sites dedicated to the ugliness of the world.

Today's item "Cosplay girls in Harajuku" is a case in point as is the author's collection of photos from this Japanese sub-culture on Flickr: Harajuku Girls

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2006 4:33 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Rebuild New Orleans in One Year, With Money Left Over

"A Sabbatical Year for the United States [File Under: Proposals, Modest]"

Given the fresh and very big item on our ToDo List, it's obviously time for US to consider taking some time off. But we shouldn't rush into it. We should take, say, 90 days to prepare.

The first order of business will be to finish the relief efforts undertaken with the rest of the world to alleviate and help rebuild the shattered lives throughout the tsunami-shredded lands. When that is completed, the second order of business will be for the United States of America to take a well-earned and restorative sabbatical from the rest of the world.

I imagine our announcement would go something like this:

Dear World,
Greetings. It has come to our attention that we haven't really been at the top of your Christmas list for some time now. Like some spouse that has become too used to having the good life, you've decided you need your space. And we are here to give it to you.

We gave you a lot during the last 50 years in terms of direct aid, the Marshall Plan, the continuing defense of Europe during the Cold War, all sorts of loans never paid back, and many billions and billions more in private charity and donations above and beyond what our government has done for you with our money.

Alas, it wasn't enough for you. Like a teenage stoner with an unlimited American Express card, you've always needed more.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2006 3:24 PM | Comments (110)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Site Notes

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

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

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 16, 2006 6:11 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Freedom, and Gasoline, Ain't Free

A FINELY DISTILLED VINTAGE RANT from AskMom: Freedom, per Gallon

Here's but a small sip:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2006 4:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 15, 2006 10:38 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When Vice-Presidents Run Amok Nobody is Safe Anywhere

I hate to think what could happen when the New York Times lets out.

[Courtesy of the ever-vigiliant Tom Parker, who is also armed.]

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2006 1:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Was It Something He Said?

And may God strike me dead
if I'm not telling the truth....

Plane carrying Sen. Kennedy struck by lightning "A small jet carrying U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy from a commencement speech in western Massachusetts to his Cape Cod home on Saturday was struck by lightning and had to be diverted to New Haven."

In his address to the graduates of the redunantly named "Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts," Kennedy said: "In our country today and in nations throughout the world, young Americans are doing


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 14, 2006 12:08 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In Shades, Top Row, Center

Together at last!
Move over, Glenn Reynolds.

I LIKE IT BECAUSE I'M IN IT: Blogs with a Face

See if you can find your favorite blogger.... or even yourself.

Now, if I could just get moved over next to Michelle....

UPDATE: Ah, the Power of the Net! I'm there and Blogs with a Face has grown. Almost 150 faces, with links to their sites, and some reflections about mothers too.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 13, 2006 5:06 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Happiness Is Flying Commercial

Pelosi May Decline Air Force Flights Over Plane Issue

"I have said that I am happy to ride commercial if the plane they have doesn't go coast to coast,'' Pelosi said today.

Scene: Speaker Pelosi finally reaches the head of the security line.

"We're sorry, Mrs. Speaker, but you will have to put all those lotions in a plastic bag and limit them to the 2 oz Traveler size."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 9, 2006 11:16 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Bad for Bloggers, Bad for Everybody:

I lived out the Stone Age of the Internet "blind as a cave fish" in the depths of that prototype of all subsequent online communities, The WELL. I was there for over 10 years during the time when it was more balanced than unbalanced.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 9, 2006 8:13 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Osama at Night

Posted by Vanderleun Feb 7, 2006 8:43 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
William Arkin -- Responsible Crybaby

It would appear that the Washington Post's Arkin is taking six of the best in a real time tutorial about free-speech in the Internet Age, something they didn't cover in in the all "All Good Dogs Go to Heaven" welcome speech to the posh profession of Journalism:


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2006 4:50 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sometimes You've Got to Trust Your Friends to Do the Right Thing at Exactly the Right Time

THE VIDEO BELOW exemplifies "trust" in an extreme manner. When it was sent to me by Tom Parker, I immediately wanted to know where he got it. Alas, like some many important artifacts on the Net, its origins are lost in the quadrillion item shuffle.

I have no clue where that came from. It was on my desktop when my friend Joy made a crack about the "interesting" file names visible on my desktop during a recent Powerpoint presentation. Gasp. There it was, a file entitled, "StallionBrunchStunt."

Trying desperately to remember any recent luncheon occasion involving either 1) the Village People or 2) a stage with brass poles, I was forced, in an act of macho brinksmanship, to say, "What. Oh this?"

And click it.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2006 11:02 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Kids Are Not All Right

A CARTOON is published in Denmark and embassies are stormed and torched throughout the world to the shrieking cacophonies of Muslim mobs. Just another dutiful day in the sunny realms of Islam. These predictable tantrums grow by turns more disturbing and irritating. It is as if civilization has, in its efforts to be ever more civilized, nurtured a slight skin rash into a full blown case of adolescent acne and decided to treat it with a variety of homeopathic and ineffective nostrums that only seem to encourage its spread, even when more effective palliatives are at hand.

Seriously, for serious we shall some day become about this matter, what are we to do about these children of a younger god? For, looked at from any adult perspective, children is what these acolytes of Islam are, and children is what they will remain -- growing ever stronger and more dangerous in the absence of any effective discipline -- until such time as they are instructed, in no uncertain terms, to sit down, shut up, go to their rooms and sleep off the spiritual intoxication which has become a danger to others and, most of all, themselves.

And yet, no such intervention seems readily at hand from the "leaders" of Western Civilization. With numbing regularity, we are reminded daily that Islam is the youngest of the world's monotheisms and hence, I suppose, we all need to cut it a bit of slack. We are reminded of this much as clever lawyers for adolescent school serial killers remind the juries of their clients' tender years in hopes they will ignore the bodies, the collections of weapons, and the hand-crafted web sites promising death daily to all those who will not respect their deadly dementias.

Our elected "leaders" -- interested as always in preserving the status quo ante that elected them and a smooth ride through the always approaching next elections -- are tireless in their tepid promotion of Islam as merely a moderate grouping of one billion misunderstood kids. In this our leaders' dinner party guests, vacation partners, celebrity intellectuals, pundits and entertainers join them in the maudlin plaint "What's wrong with peace, love and understanding?" It is the kind of bromide that those Krazy Kolumbine Kidz would have dismissed as "lame" and go on shooting. But consequences matter little to the private jet elite. Once you've an assured seat on a G5 you cease to inhabit a country and exist only in your own private fantasy island. The consequences of your political philosophies seldom visit this island. You can just emit gaseous slogans and fly, fly away.

Wouldn't it be refreshing for those of us left at the commercial aviation security gates to hear, just once, a bit of straight talk about Islam, the MTV religion that is devoted to getting its latest Gangsta video played in heavy rotation on the news around the world?

Just once wouldn't it be immensely gratifying to get hit with just a jot of a smidgen of the truth about this lethal spiritual confection? Just one time wouldn't you listen with rapt attention to one political pundit stepping up to the microphone and keeping it real about Islam; bringing it out from behind the smoke machine of it's current greatest hit, "A Peaceful, Loving Religion," by Cool Allah and the Gang? "Peaceful" and "Loving" might be the refrain but what we see in the videos is quite a different story. An honest politician might narrate it thus:

"Hey, kick back, relax and chill. These Muslims are just the teenagers of faith. It's a phase. We all went through it. What's a few bombings, stonings, riots, wars, clitorectomies, mass murders, honor killings, kidnappings, subway slaughters, car burnings, skyscraper demolitions, the odd beheading here and there and the fooling about with nerve gas and weapons grade plutonium? They're kids. They'll grow out of it. Love is all they need."


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 6, 2006 9:39 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
NBC "Internets" Ex-Girlfriend

Couric to NBC: "I'll be leaving Today at the end of May."
NBC to Couric: "Kate, you ignorant slut!"

BREAKUPS ALWAYS HAVE FALLOUT, and it usually isn't very attractive. The poster child for "ugly out takes that somehow make the wire" this morning is this picture released by NBC of Katie Couric. Hair lanky, overdone eyes slightly askew and with a nutso-putso cast to them, and most of all the droopy mouth that might drool at any moment. I'd wager real folding money you wouldn't find an "unglamor" shot like this in last month's media packet from NBC. But now that she's gone, its time to get the image of the "real" Couric out there.

Nothing says "Door. Ass. Bang." more than taking a really unflattering picture of your "Ex" (And we all have them.) and splattering it all over the Internet. Especially when, no matter how much he or she


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 5, 2006 7:19 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Time Traverler's Tale

An excerpt from Dan Simmons' April message:

The Time Traveler shook his head. "You've understood nothing I've said. Nothing. Athens failed in Syracuse -- and doomed their democracy -- not because they fought in the wrong place and at the wrong time, but because they weren't ruthless enough. They had grown soft since their slaughter of every combat-age man and boy on the island of Melos, the enslavement of every woman and girl there. The democratic Athenians, in regards to Syracuse, thought that once engaged they could win without absolute commitment to winning, claim victory without being as ruthless and merciless as their Spartan and Syracusan enemies. The Athenians, once defeat loomed, turned against their own generals and political leaders -- and their official soothsayers. If General Nicias or Demosthenes had survived their captivity and returned home, the people who sent them off with parades and strewn flower petals in their path would have ripped them limb from limb. They blamed their own leaders like a sun-maddened dog ripping and chewing at its own belly."

I thought about this. I had no idea what the hell he was saying or how it related to the future.

"You came back in time to lecture me about Thucydides?" I said. "Athens? Syracuse? Sun-Tzu? No offense, Mr. Time Traveler, but who gives a damn?"


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 4, 2006 3:15 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
He Wasn't in His Right Mind

"All of the victims were shot in their heads
and all but McGowan were shot in their beds,"
Doyle said.

"The beds were undisturbed.
The house itself was undisturbed,"
Doyle said.

"There were no signs
of a break-in,"
Doyle said.

-- No Motive Found in California Murders*

ABOVE, THE UNINTENTIONAL "FOUND POETRY" of a local murder in Garner Valley, California. Exceptional enough to be bought to the ever shortening attention span of the nation because the toll was unusually high:
David, Father, age 42 -- believed dead by his own hand.
Chase, son, age 14
Paige, daughter, age 10
Raine, daughter, age 8
Karen, wife and mother, age 42
Karen's mother, no name or age given in the report.

We learn that a "911 dispatcher didn't hear any voices on the line, but was able to identify the sounds of the telephone hitting the wall and a gunshot." We learn that the father's body was found next to a handgun and a phone. We learn that "this community is in no danger. We are not at this time looking for a suspect." We learn that the town is really quiet and that, "A lot could happen right next door and you wouldn't even know it."

We don't learn if the standard spontaneous shrine of flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and children's art and crayoned notes has been erected at the edge of the police tape in front of the home, but we know it will be and will remain until the rains wash it all away.

We won't learn, unless we live in that small town, the why of it all.

We probably could know, in time, the why of it all if we became interested in this common killing exceptional only for its body count. We could learn if we followed the ever-shrinking national news reports down to the local level. We could, we think, learn why if we followed the reports on through the inquest and into the six graves that wait after all the bodies are autopsied by the men who spend their lives
"Working on mysteries
Without any clues.
Working on their night moves."

We could know but we won't bother to find out. No need really. We already think two things that keep us from needing to know. First, we think that we do know what happened in the house. Second, we know -- because it happened in that house -- it will never happen in our house.

We know it will never happen in our house because, as humans, we have an almost limitless ability to forget any hint of 'could' when it comes to horror. In those few moments when our forgetfulness fails us, we remain secure in our belief that we would never do such things to those we love. We know to an absolute certainty that anyone who could must not have been "in his right mind."

That's a common but still strange phrase -- "in his right mind." Everyone uses it as shorthand for things people do that are, large or small, somehow far outside what we normally expect them to do. Nobody that I know of takes it to the other side of that common phrase and looks at what a person does when he's "in his wrong mind."

Our right mind doesn't like to think it's got a wrong mind. It doesn't like to think it because it does indeed have one, and it is hardwired. Each of our right minds has a wrong mind and we are, with good reason, very, very frightened of it. So frightened that we don't think of it because to even think of our wrong mind gives it power, and it has far too much of that already. It has so much power that, once the wrong mind starts to control us, it takes, as they say, "a power greater than ourselves to restore us to sanity."

I grow increasingly uncertain about a growing number of things in this life, but of that one thing I once became, and today remain, certain of without a scintilla of a doubt. Like most men, I tend to forget about that power when mucking about in the detritus of daily life. That really doesn't matter. Sooner or later I am always given a miraculous moment on the small scale of ordinary life that lets me know in no uncertain terms that, for human beings, only "a power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity." I know that this invisible thing exists because I have seen it.

You might think that this encounter with a "greater power" is a "drinking thing," but for me it was a "feeling thing." Except for a few years when I was young and it was the style, plus a brief passage later, I've never been much of a drinking man. My default state, when it comes to drinking is that I find I can drink as much as I want, but that I don't want to drink all that much.

My problem and one of my many flaws is this "feeling thing." I can very easily feel too much and have a problem stopping the feeling of feeling too much. It's not easy being an empath. You learn early to just shut down emotions; to keep them caged with silence. You learn later, much later, that keeping feelings caged with silence is like putting your wrong mind on steroids. It only makes it stronger. Much stronger. At some point you lose the power to keep your right mind in control of your wrong mind. And that's when very bad things can start to happen.

One day in June many years ago in a universe far, far away, in a small town on the other side of this continent, bad things started to happen for me.


Posted by Vanderleun Feb 4, 2006 2:55 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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