Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Global Warming Fear? Less Than Zero

Global Warming Mug When you pour in a hot beverage,
the mug heats up and the oceans begin to rise...
Land mass disappears before your very eyes!

To responsibly recycle Glenn Reynolds on the issue: "I'll believe global warming is a crisis when the people who tell me it's a crisis start behaving like it is a crisis." Alas for poor politicians who are working tirelessly to suck billions and trillions out of the world's piggy bank in the coming decades, Iowans care, well, less than nothing.

Global warming ranked at the bottom in the Post's poll of Democratic voters in Iowa who were asked, "What is the single most important issue in your choice for the Democratic candidate for president?"


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 30, 2007 9:30 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
These Just In

Can't sleep? Just tense up and repeat after me... "the"........ "the" ...."the" ................... "the"

"Repeating a simple word like "the" at irregular interval blocks other thoughts coming into your head."

(Conversely, you could record a Democrat or Republican Presidential "debate" and just play it back on infinite loop until your head implodes.)


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 27, 2007 10:53 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Draft Laura! Time to Go Mano-A-Mano On the Clintonista!

Mrsbush-20060206.jpgSometimes the great ideas are so obvious, you can't see them. Martin @ MVRWC has an Interesting thought

"At what point will a Clinton candidacy prompt the following question of Laura Bush 'Do you feel qualified to run for President, after eight years as First Lady?'"
He answers his own question with:
What would be the reaction if she said "being First Lady doesn't qualify you to be President"?
Which, to my mind, would be exactly the wrong answer.

Instead, Laura Bush should answer, "My current experience, to judge from those supporting Mrs. Clinton, is exactly the experience one needs. As a result I am announcing today that I am a candidate for President of the United States."


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 26, 2007 8:06 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Once Upon A Time There Were Real Candidates

Ronald Reagan-A Time for Choosing, October 27, 1964


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 24, 2007 7:48 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Country & Western Song Cleverly Disguised as

.... a personal ad in the London Review of Books:

"The man with a genius

For picking losers

Is ready for the next in line."

Sort of writes itself, doesn't it?

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 23, 2007 10:26 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Shortest Country & Western Song Ever

"I can't live without you,
So I'm leaving today."

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 23, 2007 10:23 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Top Ten Reasons to Procrastinate:


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 21, 2007 10:23 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The News About Newspapers Is "not that bad, it's worse"

deep%2Bdive.jpgTim Oren's Due Diligence notes in The Newspaper Biz: From 'Controlled Flight into Terrain' to 'Flat Spin'

Having grown up in a General Motors family during the 60's and early 70's, this sounds familiar. Arrogance on the part of both management and labor, a belief the customers have no alternative but to keep paying increasing costs and accept the (low) quality on offer, followed by the arrival of competition to feast on the disgruntled customer base.

Silicon Alley Insider piles on with Newspaper Ads Tank Again, Industry Shrinking Fast

"Newspapers did a brilliant job of ramping their sales smoothly throughout the 1990s by boosting ad rates at will. Those remarkably consistent and predictable sales gains were derailed by the arrival of Internet and other disruptive, new technologies that give readers and advertisers unprecedented media alternatives. Seemingly dumbfounded by the arrival of serious competition for their audiences and advertising revenues, newspapers have been struggling for more than a decade, with meager success, to regain their relevance and economic vitality."
Say goodnight Gracie.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 21, 2007 11:09 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
To Serve Children: Science Says No Just In Time for Thanksgiving

Ah, what would we do without science to keep us on the moral path? cannibalidss.jpg"When to care for, abandon, or eat your offspring: the evolution of parental care and filial cannibalism,"

....highlights the potential importance of a range of factors in the evolution of filial cannibalism using a mathematical model of analysis. It is potentially affected by the ability to selectively consume lower quality offspring, preferences associated with mate choice, density-mediated survival, and population dynamics. Professor Michael Bonsall, a Royal Society Research Fellow and University Lecturer in Mathematical Biology at Oxford University, said: 'This sort of behaviour - cannibalising your offspring - is widespread amongst different animal groups. We show that there is not a single benefit to eating your offspring, and it depends on several factors and explanations.'
Unless, of course, you are stranded with a kindergarten class on a desert island in Colorado after global warming kicks in.
Plus bonus science fact: Good news for worms ".... a drug used to treat [human] depression can extend the lifespan of adult roundworms."

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 21, 2007 10:49 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Success in Iraq? Just Not Good Enough!

In a WaPo triple thumb-sucker today ("quagmire" returns in the first graph), you've got Clintonista John Podesta and a couple of his rollicking sidekicks taking Bush to task for succeeding at the surge. Success in a strategy that has reduced violence and brought a semblance of peace back to large sections of Iraq is.... well.... just not good enough.


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 20, 2007 11:58 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Louie, Louie:" Decoded

At last! At long, long last! Okay, that's it. Western Civilization is a wrap. Over to you, Allah.

[Michael @ 2 Blowhards]

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 20, 2007 7:11 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
SphincterCam Florida: The Most Paranoid State in the Union

"Your photo has just been taken and we will use this photograph to prosecute you. Leave now!"

Where on Earth are they developing virtual emergencies that will improve how first responders deal with real ones?
Where on Earth are they creating underwater systems that can detect explosives on ships entering U.S. harbors
Where on Earth have they developed Fiber optic biosensors capable of rapidly detecting contaminated food and water?
Where on Earth are they developing tiny drones that can zip around obstacles in dense urban environments?

All questions asked (and answered) at the Florida boosting web site with the tag line: "Florida. Innovation Hub of the Americas."


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 20, 2007 9:49 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Widgets from the Id

If you are about to struggle with the air transport system, just contemplate this new private plane for Congress. "The C-40C, jam-packed with 40 seats by luxury-jet specialists at Greenpoint Technologies, is the third and last of a batch ordered in 2005." Your air travel taxes at work. Sucker.

Victor Davis Hanson has been given the Humanities Medal by President Bush. Earned and much deserved.

Radio too predictable for you? Check out Talking Head David Byrne's Streaming playlist. Unusual Contemporary Pop Songs is this month's theme.

The Kindle is kindling. Lileks on Amazon's new ebook:"... it looks like a 1996 web page. Grey and black. Make it color, give me free versions of books I already bought from Amazon, and we'll talk. And even then I'll probably say no. If I'm going to buy something to replace books, it has to be Books Plus."

Keeping score? Bush 32, Congress 20

Embryonic stem cells? That's so 2006!

A Nation of Cowards: "By any rational measure, nearly all gun control proposals are hokum." [via The Green Report]

Telstar Logistics: How to Turn NASA Space Shuttles into Modern Artwork

Two Great Stores: 1) "At Nordstrom's we just like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time." Kudos to Nordstrom! via of Accordion Guy 2) Sears' standard policy: "In September 2004, the company extended its military pay differential (fills the gap between military pay and employer pay) and benefits continuation to 60 months for eligible employees called to duty in the Reserves or National Guard."

In "Google vs. Apple" Google loses: "The iPhone has that carnivorous killer edge. It really is insanely great. Unless my initial impressions are wrong, Android isn't. Unqualified Reservations: Five problems with Google Android

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 20, 2007 9:18 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The "Sacred Trust" of the First Amendment

"Trusted" "Independent" "Objective" Yeah, right. Next.

In what is now a common collection of bitching and moaning wafting out of newspaper editorial rooms, The Seattle Times published a cri de coeur Sunday in The Handoff: Newspapers in the Digital Age that quotes this sad bastard child of Prince Don De Lusion:

"While the newspaper is expendable, the tradition it represents and the information it supplies are not. The evolution from Gutenberg to Gates may be irreversible, but as new media replace the old ones there's no official passing of the torch of responsibility, no automatic transfer of the sacred trust the First Amendment placed upon the free press and its proprietors." -- Hal Crowther, columnist, The Independent Weekly (North Carolina)
The always unctuous James Vesley of the ST uses this to end his "editorial" because, I guess, he couldn't come up with a zinger for the standard "O woe is us at the newspapers because the Internet ate our lunch" blatherfest. It's the sort of thumb-sucker you see all the time in newspapers from clapped-out hacks who are goin' down slow. They all seem to think that because "they" care about protecting, in the words of Governor William J. Le Petomane, their "phony baloney jobs" that we care if they are employed as a "journalists" or as an overfed hamsters in an Eastern Washington windfarm.

Vesley's chief villain in all this is craigslist:

"I see Craigslist as a negative-editorial product. Why? Because it claims the profits normally shifted to the newsroom. Without the obligations of journalism, e-commerce becomes the anti-newspaper."

Well, God bless Craig Newmark's little cotton socks say I. Long ago, when I and Newmark were both members of the WELL, Newmark took a bare bones budget, an idea, a crappy but now classic interface, and a couple of insights into the uses of the net and the elements of trust in online relationship and built them out into something that performs real and vital services for millions of people every day. And for the most part for free. It is now hard to think of a world of transactions of all sorts between individuals that would operate smoothly without craigslist.


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 19, 2007 12:13 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All I Want for Christmas is About a Dozen of These
Johnson CO2 Generator
Fertilizes greenhouse air - easy and inexpensive to install
The Johnson CO2 Generator automatically provides the carbon dioxide to meet maximum growing potentials - and operates for only pennies a day. The Johnson Generator can easily be installed in any greenhouse. No expensive ductwork is necessary and CO2 is diffused evenly without supplemental fans.

Plants must absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) in combination with water, soil nutrients and sunlight to produce the sugars vital for growth. A shortage of any of these requirements will retard the growing process. Normally there are approximately 300 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere; when this level is increased to over 1 ,000 ppm, results are higher production and better plant quality. The Johnson Generator provides up to 1,500 ppm per unit in an average 24' x 200' greenhouse or an equivalent 50,000 cu. ft. volume based on one air change per hour.

Yes, 12 of these placed around my front yard with a large sign of features and benefits (for educational purposes) would certainly be just the thing for inducing coronary arrest among my neighbors here on Queen Anne in Seattle.

[Via Tim Blair]

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 19, 2007 9:19 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New CNN Debate Format

The good Dr Sanity @ Dr. Sanity: CARNIVAL OF THE INSANITIES - Turkey Day Edition confesses to being "easily amused" at this:

Well, so say we all. All the "message" of the current crop of Donk candidates with three times the rythum and ten times the melody. And without all the annoying planted questions from CNN's version of "ordinary people, undecided voters."

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 19, 2007 8:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Proving That Liberals Don't Have a Lock on "Stupid"

This little kidploitation video has been making the rounds, claiming to be "just a goof."

It ain't no goof. It's a bit of sleazy politics pretending to be "a joke, just a joke."

Now I'm all for down in the ditches dirty political humor between consenting adults. This isn't it. This is getting a bunch of kids to repeat after their parents or their handlers. For many good and solid reasons I am a liberal no more and haven't been for nearly a decade. This little item of political degradation reminds me why I'm not a card-carrying conservative either.

Don't get me wrong. I think Hillary is just a brand extension of the Classic Clinton Con-Job. That doesn't mean I'm going to start enlisting kids to tell grown-ups about it. That's why I'm give the makers of this bit of merde the "Bad Americans" award of the week.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 16, 2007 9:36 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Brain Jazz: Great Performances of the Blogsphere, 1

brainjazz2-thumb.jpgI follow more than 360 different blogs and websites on a daily basis (Curse you, Google Reader!). As a result I -- at the least -- scan many prominent writers and find much to admire as well as more that is predictably pedestrian. It would be the same if I was flipping through 360+ daily magazines.

Every so often, one writer that I follow finds "the flow," gets "on a roll," and simply dazzles you. These writers go from being merely interesting to something more. At the moment, I'm noting a stunning series of posts by Robert Godwin at One Cosmos.

For the past week, Godwin has been reading from, arguing with, and augmenting a book. In this case it is God and Gold: Britain, America, and the Making of the Modern World by Walter Russell Mead. Mead's a protean thinker and engaging writer. I've previously enjoyed and been challenged by his book, Power, Terror, Peace, and War: America's Grand Strategy in a World at Risk.

Godwin's meditations and riffs on Mead certainly made me hit the one-click "buy" button at Amazon. That's pretty much a foregone conclusion. The interest and fascination in his series of posts, however, does not arise from a straight review of Mead's book, but from Godwin's palpable interaction with Mead's mind that create his own idiosyncratic riffs of what Godwin is, is not, and might have been saying.

The result of the series is summed up best by a phenomenon that I've noted before that takes place only on the web: BRAIN JAZZ .

Here's a few cuts from Godwin's long serenade in several parts. You might want to spend the time and brain-listen to the whole thing.

I Had Too Much to Dream Last Night

There are three primary dreams in competition for who will Dream history 1) American classical liberalism (i.e., conservatism), 2) European statist secular leftism (including its American variety), and 3) Islamism. The world is not big enough for all of these dreams, and yet, only one of these dreams is big enough for the world.


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 15, 2007 1:07 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Words Fail"
From Fresh Meat @ THE RYSKIND SKETCHBOOK / Pointer via Wheat & Weeds

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 15, 2007 10:57 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fifth Beatle of the 17th Century

Golden Slumbers Kiss Your Eyes

GOLDEN slumbers kiss your eyes,
Smiles awake you when you rise.
Sleep pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby;
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

Care is heavy, therefore sleep you;
You are care, and care must keep you.
Sleep pretty wantons, do not cry,
And I will sing a lullaby;
Rock them, rock them, lullaby.

-- Thomas Dekker, 1570-1632

HT: Patrick Krup @ Anecdotal Evidence: `In Poetry the Immediate Pleasure is Physical'

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 15, 2007 9:58 AM | QuickLink: Permalink

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 14, 2007 10:38 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Got War If Ya Want It

nukesilob2.jpgDavid Wong hits one out of Cyberspace Park with The Ultimate War Simulation Game @

6. Speaking of innocents, I want a war sim where native townsfolk stand shoulder-to-shoulder on every inch of the map and not a single bomb can be dropped without blowing 200 of them into chunks. Forget about the abandoned building wallpaper in games like the Red Alert series. I want to have to choose between sending marines door-to-door to be killed in the streets or leveling the block from afar, Nuns and all. I want to have to choose between 40 dead troops or 400 dead children, and be damned to hell by chubby pundits from the safety of their studios regardless of which way I go.
Play the whole thing.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 14, 2007 8:52 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Acquainted with the Blight, Seattle 2007

Back in Seattle after a month's idyll in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am reminded why -- although there's no place like home -- there's also no place like home.

Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina view last Monday.

Seattle, Washington view this Monday.

A Seattle friend emails:
"I've been out in the rain. It was awful. I think I'd rather get wet while walking than get wet while bearing the futility of waiting for buses."

Shuddering at such pain, I recall this effort of mine to make Robert Frost rotate in his grave:

Acquainted with the Blight

I have been one acquainted with the blight.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain,
(And out in rain -- and back in rain,
And out in rain -- and back in rain,
And out in rain -- and .... you get the picture.)
I have been skinsoaked under every city light.

I have looked down every moss-choked city lane.
I have passed drowned dolphins on my lawn
And splashed them with galoshes unwilling to explain.

I have stood up to my kiester in the ceaseless plop of drops
When over head an scheduled cloud's deluge
Sloshed the houses with a mound of mist,

But not to call me back but slather me with slops;
And further still at an unearthly height
One more damned raincloud against the sky

Proclaimed Seattle was neither dry nor Right.
I have been one acquainted with the blight.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 12, 2007 10:36 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ebony and Ivory

... live together in perfect harmony.
"Michael Jackson granted Ebony Magazine exclusive access for the first U.S. interview he's done in years. The response has been overwhelming!" -- Ebony

Jackson, a twice-divorced father of three, says he has not changed much since releasing his blockbuster album Thriller nearly 25 years ago."That Michael is probably the same Michael here," he says in the magazine's December issue, out on Monday. "I just wanted to get certain things accomplished first. But I always had this tug in the back of my head, the things I wanted to do, to raise children, have children. I'm enjoying it very much." -- Jackson ignores 'freak' reputation

Okay, that's it. Race is officially over in the United States. Nothing to see here. Move along...

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 11, 2007 7:39 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Name in the Stone


On Living with the Loss of a Son in Wartime. Written and first published on Memorial Day, 2003

MY NAME, "GERARD VAN DER LEUN," IS AN UNUSUAL ONE. So unusual, I've never met anyone else with the same name. I do know of one other man with the name, but we've never met. I've seen his name in an unusual place. This is the story of how that happened.


Posted by Vanderleun Nov 11, 2007 5:29 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Autumn in the Blue Ridge Mountains

For the past month, I've taken the lease at The Glass Mountain Treehouse. An amazing time of nearly perfect weather and an autumn that would defeat Seurat and challenge Monet.

The house on arrival.

The house now.

Let one tree stand for untold billions in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 6, 2007 6:46 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Guilty Pleasures

I know I am probably the only one who gets an inner thrill when I read headlines like: Hundreds of lawyers arrested

Yes, yes, I know there are greater issues afoot here, and even more trouble and tragedy ahead for Pakistan. Still, I just can't help divorcing that headline from it's content and reading for the sheer, abstract pleasure.

That's just the kind of shallow, uncaring person I am. I am certain I'm the only one.

Posted by Vanderleun Nov 5, 2007 3:07 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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