Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
A True Image from False Kiva

Taken by Wally Pacholka. Click to enlarge.

"Is there any place in the world you could see a real sight like this? Yes. Pictured above is single exposure image spectacular near, far, and in between. Diving into the Earth far in the distance is part of the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy, taken with a long duration exposure. Much closer, the planet Jupiter is visible as the bright point just to band's left. Closer still are picturesque buttes and mesas of the Canyonlands National Park in Utah, USA, lit by a crescent moon. In the foreground is a cave housing a stone circle of unknown origin named False Kiva. The cave was briefly lit by flashlight during the long exposure. Astrophotographer Wally Pacholka reports that getting to the cave to take this image was no easy trek. Also, mountain lions were a concern while waiting alone in the dark for just the right exposure." - From APOD @ NASA

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 30, 2008 8:42 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Private Labyrinth

Seen in Google Maps, this structure is a step up from the inground swimming pool for exercise. Instead we have a private labyrinth for spiritual exercise.

View Larger Map


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 28, 2008 7:53 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Executive Summaries

The Falls at Kaaterskill, Cole, 1826

Why most contemporary painting is crap: Hudson River Schooled by James Panero - The New Criterion

The original Hudson River School was full of secrets—perhaps more than any other movement in American art. So the prospect of a genuine revival giving way to false profundities couched in technique is a serious concern. The original Hudson River School artists did not go into the wilderness to paint illustrations of the natural world. They went to paint the God they saw manifest in the natural world.

Startrek Socialism: The Western Chauvinist: Is Modern Liberalism Gene Roddenberry's Fault?

Capitalism or socialism? How primitive. As far as I can tell, no currency ever changes hands. Everyone in the Federation seems to "work" for the Federation (is this the U.N.?). And, of course, they're perfectly matched to their positions. I mean, Scotty was born an engineer. You get your food from this nifty device called a replicator - no charge! Housing, clothing, transportation, child care, education - all provided by the Federation. Whoopee!


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 28, 2008 10:29 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Barrel of GoogleRands

barrelbricksheader.jpgDear Congress:

I am writing in response to your request for additional money via the "WTF!? Re-Financing America Extortion Act of 2008." I put "Poor Planning" as the cause of my overnight insolvency. You asked for a fuller explanation and I trust the following details will be sufficient.

I am a taxpayer by trade. During the last year of the recent mortgage "accident," I was working alone on the roof of a broken-down six-storey building in West LA, laying down slate shingles and edging it with solid copper gutters, hoping to flip it to "Flip This House" at the Steal It Yourself cable francise. When I completed the paperwork to purchase this pig, I found I had some cash on hand thanks to the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" section of the "No-Money-Needed Mortgage."

This money, after I converted it to seemingly solid gold GoogleRands, weighed 240 lbs. This was delivered to me on demand by a bank-insured helicopter drop onto the roof of the building I was hoping to flip. Talk about your "windfall profts!" This was money for nothing. Rather than carry the gold GoogleRands down by hand, I decided to lower them in a barrel by using a pulley attached to the side of the building at the sixth floor. To do so I had the helicopter lift me off the roof and deposit me on the ground. It was all part of their "customer servicing."

Securing the rope at ground level, I went up to the roof, swung the barrel out and


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 25, 2008 5:15 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Michelle Obama's Makeover for America by Daniel Edwards

If you've been playing the new game "Where in the World is Michelle Obama?" you'll be pleased to know she hasn't just been at home baking cookies. Indeed, it is even possible she's been sitting for the first bust of the proposed O-Admin, 2009.

Or perhaps our more demented artists have been mistaking eggs for chickens. In these days of artists taking leave of their senses in a manner not seen since Andy Warhol quit illustrating shoe catalogues it is difficult to know the bathos from the bathwater.

Submitted for your approval: The latest glob of bathos to hit the fan, Daniel Edwards' overheated and possibly premature hunk-o-hooey, Michelle Obama’s Makeover for America

mobamart.jpg mobamaleft.jpg
[Click to enlarge]

For the salacious details of this new Nefertiti of the Windy City, we must turn to some steaming hot artsy bullshit from the Leo Kesting Gallery:


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 22, 2008 8:25 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Palin Should Give the Kid a Get Out of Jail Free Card



Posted by Vanderleun Sep 18, 2008 3:49 PM | Comments (64)  | QuickLink: Permalink





release it if your side won.

If your side did not win,







Posted by Vanderleun Sep 17, 2008 10:04 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama's War

mandrakemag-1.jpg Christopher Hitchens notes, not without irony, that

"American liberals can't quite face the fact that if their man does win in November, and if he has meant a single serious word he's ever said, it means more war, and more bitter and protracted war at that—not less." -Pakistan is the problem. Slate Magazine

Of course, that may not be so much of a problem since so much of Obama's allure depends on either not meaning exactly what he says, or not meaning anything he says. Obama communicates to his supporters in the "beyond the linear-verbal mode." What he says is not what you get, it is what you see that you get. But you are only buying the visual not the verbal.

His supporters "believe." They believe that after he is elected, the "real Obama" will emerge from behind the curtain and lead them to the promised land. The real policies of Obama are not to be spoken before the election, but left to come along after in classic Manchurian Candidate mode. Mandrake the Magician has done less hypnotic gesturing in his whole career than we have seen from Obama in this campaign.

At the same time, the thing for his supporters to worry about when it comes to Afghanistan-Pakistan is


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 17, 2008 11:22 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Atlantic Mechanics: What Did the Atlantic Know and When Did It Know It?

[Illustration by Doug Ross Click to scare yourself.]

On Monday James Bennet, editor of The Atlantic, ate piping hot crow during his required ritual humiliation segment on Fox. [*Scroll down for video clip.] He did so as The Atlantic, in full-damage control mode, strove to underscore that The Atlantic did not know what it was getting when it hired Jill Greenberg to defraud Senator McCain. What he says makes a certain amount of sense -- "We didn't know the gun was loaded!" -- but not complete sense. Especially if you know a bit about how magazine issues are planned.

As a result, I'm not buying the Bennet/Atlantic line that the magazine did not know what they were getting. Indeed, his argument pretty much boils down to a plea of "Guilty -- but with an explanation." I can accept that Bennet himself may not have known about Greenberg's peculiar political pretensions. (Note that he is careful to use "I" throughout the clip below -- as in "I have not had any correspondence with her..."), but Jason Treat, the art director of The Atlantic must have known. And it is Treat that's probably in the hot seat at the present time.

Jill Greenberg's politics and style are well-known to any one who pays attention to the work of "editorial" photographers. They are especially well-known to the art directors of magazines since it is their job to know. It is a very small world.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 16, 2008 7:06 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Out-Takes: Behind The Atlantic's McCain Cover [Bumped]

[ UPDATE: Monday - Video: Atlantic editor James Bennet takes a turn in the Fox barrel saying, in essence, "Who knew?." Magazine and article author are just "victims." Atlantic to apologize to McCain, suspend payment to Greenberg, contemplating lawsuit. Details at bottom of post. Scroll down.]

"Some of my artwork has been pretty anti-Bush, so maybe it was somewhat irresponsible for them [The Atlantic] to hire me.” - Jill Greenberg

The Atlantic Monthly's current cover by Beverly Hills photographer Jill Greenberg looks like this:


Not really Annie Leibovitz quality, but not even Annie's delivering that these days. ["One sees such portaits, and what can one say but...”Salieri."]

As far as it goes it is workmanlike enough and presents McCain, unlike the Obama covers we are used to seeing, without the halo. Given the level to which the owner and the staff of the Atlantic are in the tank for Obama -- the owner's wife, Katherine Brittain Bradley, is on record in one instance for $28,500.00 to committees supporting Barack Obama-- even the cover-lines are not half-bad if a bit half-hearted. I'd only remark that it is no accident that the Atlantic's editor approved the upper red slash bar with the words "Porn" and "Adultery" in it. Editors, especially those whose paycheck depends on displaying their bias for their boss, love those little gotcha games. I know. I played them too.

But that's not where the Atlantic cover story stops.

It's a question, you see, of the disposition of all the McCain "out-takes" from this shoot. Out-takes are images taken of a subject at a photo shoot that are not used for publication by the client commissioning them. Typically, when you hire a photographer for a shoot -- and I have hired dozens over the years -- the photographer delivers all the film or digital images taken to the editor and art director for their review and selection. In a professional shoot these can easily be dozens if not hundreds of images.

[Greenberg NSFW, children and other living things now on continued page]


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 15, 2008 7:18 PM | Comments (153)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Beautiful Candidate

Where have we seen the Sarah Palin look before? Here's one comparison.

Attractiveness is a quality generally found in the political classes. Not always, of course, but more often than in most other lines of work. And while a certain intelligence plus an ability to immediately make a direct connection to another person are probably more important qualities, attractiveness doesn't hurt.

What is highly unusual, however, is for a candidate for office to be actually beautiful. To even the most passing glance of anyone not poisoned by ideology, it is immediately obvious that Sarah Palin possesses classic beauty. The last day's flap over the attempt of her opponent, Barrack Obama, to attach the label of "pig" to Ms. Palin not only fails because it is coarse and rude, it also fails because it is not true. I might also suggest that, inside Obama' mind, he plunged into his gaffe because he knows he does not possess "beauty."


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 10, 2008 4:42 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It Really Is Just This Simple: #2


[Personal Note: A shout-out to my Harley-dude brother Tom and his sidekick Kim in Grass Valley -- and his pals at the secret Peets' coffee shop. Guys, for all you do, this Harley Babe's for you!]


HT: Media Blog

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 9, 2008 9:49 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Democrat Palin Hate: There Really Is No Bottom

By last Friday, I'd gotten used to the idea that the children of Republican candidates had become, for many in the media and in the dark web of Obamatrons, fair game. I thought with that we had finally reach the bottom of the slime that support Barack Obama. But as always I was wrong. It would seem that for many of Obama's supporters there really is no bottom.

If you know anybody who is still considering a vote for this man, show them this and ask how any decent human being can align themselves with this sort of political machine? No matter how you might feel about Obama, his supporters -- at this point -- have sucked all the honor out of the man and his campaign and his party. It's like watching a monstrous post-modern inside-out version of the Klu Klux Klan ooze out along the edges of the Democrat Party.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 8, 2008 1:24 PM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Hand me the gun. No, the bigger one." -- David Thompson

In the tradition of "Leave Britney Alone!": Watching this two -minute clip will be either the funniest or most disgusting two-minutes of your day. Probably both.

Via davidthompson: When Hippies Weep

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 5, 2008 2:48 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sheer All-American Genius!


Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories' Five Minute Project: Hot Dog Bun Grilling Jig solves one of my most persistent grilling issues.

Cooking hot dogs (and similarly shaped things) on the backyard grill is one of those classic American summer traditions. One of the weaker parts of this scheme is preparing the hot dog buns. I happen to like mine toasty and warm and crunchy, and without the hinges broken!

Detailed instructions at the link. I'm making four this weekend.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 5, 2008 11:08 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It Really Is Just This Simple


Any Questions?

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 4, 2008 9:05 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sarah the Knife

Oh, the Biden, babe, has such teeth, dear
And it shows them pearly white.
Just a stilleto has Sarah Palin,
And she keeps it … ah … out of sight.
Ya know when that Biden bites, with his teeth, babe
Scarlet blather sinks down like lead.
Fancy gloves, though, wears Sarah Palin, babe,
So there’s nevah, nevah a trace of red.

Now on the sidewalk … sunny mornin’
Lies a Democrat just oozin' and walin' … eeek!
And someone’s sneakin' ‘round the corner...
Could that someone be Sarah Palin?

Ah - there's a band wagon …rollin' off the road don’tcha know,
Where Obama's runs’s just a'droopin' on down.
Oh, that speed bump's, it's knocked 'em off, dear.
Five'll get ya ten Sarah Palin's back in town.

Now, d'ja hear ‘bout Mainstream Media? They disappeared, babe,
Lyin', jivin' ... and just talkin' trash.
And now McCain spends just like a sailor...
Could it be Sarah Palin's raising cash?
Now … Barack Obama … buh-bye now dude …      
Miss Nancy Palosi... lookin' like Charlie Brown
Oh, the votes surge to the right, babe,
Now that Palin’s... back in town.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 4, 2008 8:18 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Everything You Really Need to Know About the Palin Family

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 4, 2008 9:07 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
MEMO TO FILE: The American Left and the Democrats are now 80% the same

The Way It Is

One of the realities of contemporary American political life that has been brought into sharp relief by the Web-Wide Palin flamewar that has broken out in the last week is the nearly complete absorption of the Democrats into the American Left. Outside observers have long known this to be the case, but as the days go by this is becoming increasingly clear to unaligned and unhypnotized Americans.

I've looked at how this happened and what it means in: Radical Roots and the Conquest of the Democratic Party where I note:


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 3, 2008 10:48 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Biden: 'I Didn't Inhaler'

509px-AsthmaInhaler.jpgBiden received 5 deferments before being declared medically ineligible for Vietnam

"According to the documents, Biden, 65, received several deferments while he was an undergraduate at the University of Delaware and later as a law student at Syracuse University. A month after undergoing a physical exam in April 1968, Biden received a Selective Service classification of 1-Y, meaning he was available for service only in the event of national emergency.

"As a result of a physical exam on April 5, 1968, Joe Biden was classified 1-Y and disqualified from service because of asthma as a teenager," said David Wade, a campaign spokesman.

"In "Promises to Keep," a memoir that was published last year and became an instant best-seller after he was tapped as Obama's running mate, Biden never mentions his asthma, recounting an active childhood, work as a lifeguard and football exploits in high school."

Speaking as someone who remembers well the endless University discussions -- in private and in large meetings -- about how best to get a 1-Y deferment if you couldn't get a 4-F, I can only say that I applaud Biden for being awarded, at such a young age, the Asthma Get-Out-of-Vietnam-Free card. By 1968 that was a particularly hard sell. It had simply been used too much. I got my 1-Y at about the same time, but asthma was not an option for me. I had to go all the way to an Air Force Base outside of London to make it happen.

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 1, 2008 11:14 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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