Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
The Leap of Faith


Made for Richard Fernandez, il miglior fabbro, who suggested it with, The crisis of unfaith:

"In my own view, man’s search for meaning, or his denial of it, are so deeply embedded in human nature that it seems fantastic in retrospect that sociologists would assume that populations, given a little public housing, a small welfare check and a tot of rum, would stop asking the ultimate questions. It seems far more likely that in the long run, they would return to the eternal questions with a vengeance. Whether or not one agrees with Micklethwait, the idea that atheism is the wave of the future must answer the empirical question of why God may now be a global growth industry."

Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2009 10:58 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Oports and Repinions: Updated Frequently


    Follow EdgeNotes on Twitter


    Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2009 10:28 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Awwww! Single Unwed Mother of the Year


    "Lin Hui, 7, guarded her newborn cub at Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand Friday. The adult female panda, on loan from China, gave birth after being artificially inseminated." The name of the father was not released, but he is believed to have been a panda.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2009 4:28 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Promise of Obama

    YouTube - 300 - Xerxes' Tent

    Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2009 9:04 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Checklist for the Next 4 Years - Illustrated


    Text via anonymous email this AM. First two already checked off. More to come. Keep track. There will be a test.

    (X) -- Government takes control of the banks

    (X) -- Government takes control of the car companies


    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2009 11:06 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Barry Obama: Stoned Again


    At first worried these images could be used against President Obama, Jack realized they were not incriminating of anything other than being young and self-conscious, and that they offered a unique glimpse into how the man who made history went from being “Barry” to Barack. This exhibition marks the first time these rare photographs have ever been printed and on display.

    As described in his memoir Dreams from My Father, Barack Obama’s time at “Oxy” (Occidental College) was one of confusion and self-searching.  He was chided by his mother for being friends with someone who was arrested on a drug possession charge, having so-so grades and, worst of all, being undeclared. 

    Being herself a young undergrad, her interests did not lie at the time with questions of identity and selfhood, but rather she secretly hoped that “Barry” would ask her out afterward. He did not, and although pleased with the photographs, they did not maintain contact afterwards, until a random chance encounter 28 years later in Washington DC. Lisa Jack ceased photographing and went on to pursue psychology and is currently a professor of Counseling Psychology at Augsburg College. After having her one roll of film from that day sit neglected for almost thirty years, Jack now offers up these images “so that others may see a side to him [she has] yet to observe captured in the maelstrom of contemporary media”.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2009 10:05 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Jumping More Than a Mere Shark


    YEEHAW! Jeff Fehr jumped over a cowboy settlement at the historic Bar U Ranch in Alberta, Canada, with the Rocky Mountains in the background Wednesday.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2009 5:01 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Marijuana Country


    This sporting note just in from that section of Northern California that produces some of the finest American dope known to man or stoner.

    Contestants in the 40th annual Kinetic Grand Championship raced their people-powered kinetic sculpture, “The Kinetic Chicken,” across the beach in Manila, Calif., Saturday. The championship is a three-day, 42-mile race over land, sand, mud and water from Arcata to Ferndale.
    The tax-free produce of this fertile region probably produces the only section of California that isn't bankrupt.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2009 10:04 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    So Lucky to Be an American

    Poet Baxter Black speaks for me. And for you.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2009 11:11 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Goode Family: Appointment Television

    I've already got my Tivo set on "Record Series." What are you waiting for?

    HT: El Morgano who also asks "Does Wonder Woman’s Costume Undermine Her Portrayal as a Strong Female Character?" [Illustrated]

    Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2009 12:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Memorial Day Planting Project at White House


    Posted by Vanderleun May 22, 2009 3:28 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Turkish Advertising Ready for Membership in the EU

    Make peace with the world. Anti-stress tea from Rasayana.

    Ah, Turkey. Smells like European spirit, what? Advertising Agency Art Grup of Istanbul, Turkey thinks this ad for Rasayana Tea is just the thing to get sales simmering. They're probably right. Soon Rasayana Tea will be as popular in Turkey as their perennial bestseller, Mein Kampf.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 21, 2009 7:34 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Lindbergh's Leap of Faith: May 20–21, 1927

    Flight Level 390 reminds us of a great achievement's anniversary today with The Spirit

    Eighty-two years ago... Think about that for a second. Eighty-two years!

    This beautiful aircraft carried a young air mail pilot into the clouds of Olympus. That young air mail pilot has been gone for 35 years, but the Spirit is still with us. Is not that the way of life? Our stuff stays long after we are gone.

    Yep, in my view, the most important aviation artifact ever. I have stood underneath the Spirit numerous times and am always astonished by the essence of glory that still radiates from the airframe. It is simply amazing.

    [Note: Captain Dave graciously honors me by reproducing my own thoughts on Lindbergh republished below.]

    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2009 3:55 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Leader of the Pack


    [SiteNotes: At some point in the near future, this site will roll over to a new Wordpress / Thesis format. (Currently Movable Type.)There's a lot to be done in the background so posting will be light. In addition, many items in the 6,000 entries deep archives are going to be expunged as well. Fair warning.]

    Posted by Vanderleun May 20, 2009 3:14 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Julie Henderson Has Had It with the Sisters

    Model Julie Henderson, having felt the stings and arrows of the new, improved "post-racist" America, wants to clear the air:

    "I have been spending "special time" with Russell [Simmons] for about 4 months and in that time I have learned some subtle things about some in the black community that have surprised me. Just for the record, I am nobody’s white b*tch, gold digger or fame chaser."

    Well, you go girl. I, for one, can see how some might feel slighted by this budding relationship, seeing that Russell Simmons "is the third richest figure in hip hop , having a net-worth estimate of $325 million." But he is also a talented and energetic man and I can see what a young woman, in need of guidance, might find alluring in him.

    And indeed, Ms. Henderson does. And has strong feelings about the recent whispered criticism, saying:

    "I just wanna say that Russell has been a great "special" friend and I'm sure as sh*t not giving him up cause some in America object to our friendship. I wanna close by saying, what Russell always says, Namaste. (That means the goddess in me recognizes the goddess in you)....Or, b*tch get your own man."

    So I guess that's pretty clear. What is a mystery to me is Russell Simmons in this relationship. As an elder statesman of the immense boon to our national culture that is Hip-Hop, I would think he would approach his declining years full of wisdom and insight. Hence, it is a mystery to me exactly what such a distinguished gentleman would see in such a young and impressionable woman.

    I have searched the video record on Ms. Henderson's achievements and have only managed to come up with this.

    What can possibly be the attraction here? Can someone explain it to me?

    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2009 9:22 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Fastest Man on Earth

    You could watch him break the world record four times in one minute.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2009 1:30 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sunday Worship Service: John the Revelator

    Nick Cave will make the Baby Jesus open your mind and shut your mouth.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2009 9:59 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Libbing Tree

    Sheer brilliance by Cranky @ Six Meat Buffet, With Apologies to Shel Silverstein

    Pointer via the exceptional Doug Ross.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 17, 2009 1:30 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    What Did Kipling Know and When Did He Know It?

    He knew more than our entire government when it comes to the Middle-East and Asia. And he knew it before any in our government were born.

    Now it is not good for the Christian's health to hustle the Aryan brown,
    For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
    And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
    And the epitaph drear: "A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East."

    -- The Naulahka

    Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2009 1:25 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Space Shuttle Against the Sun: Despite Interruptions the Age of Miracles and Wonders Continues


    What a piece of work is a man, how noble in reason, how
    infinite in faculties, in form and moving how express and
    admirable, in action how like an angel, in apprehension how like
    a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals—and yet,
    to me, what is this quintessence of dust?"
    -- Hamlet

    With all the squabbles and bickering that make up our present perverted polity, it's easy to miss the real achievements of the nation. The image above of the shuttle against the sun is today's emblem of real achievement.

    Although chained to my day and age, I still maintain that in a thousand years the main moment remembered that occurred in my lifetime will be everything that led up to and away from this moment:

    Footprint on the Moon On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong put his left foot on the rocky Moon. It was the first human footprint on the Moon.

    Today's images will be lost in the sands of time, but will, for now, stand in as a reminder of what extraordinary and exceptional beings we are. As someone once said, "We are all lying in the mud, but some of us are looking at the stars."

    One of those stargazers is the photographer, Thierry Legault **, an engineer famed for his pictures of space taken in his yard in Paris who took these images in Florida, 60 miles south of the Kennedy Space Centre.

    Not widely published today are other shots Legault took, such as these in which both the shuttle and the Hubble space telescope can be seen just before the rendezvous in which a ship from the Earth took the greatest scientific instrument in history into its cargo bay for "repairs."



    And so, while the petty politicians bleat, and the small and not so small wars rage on in fits and starts, almost everyone on the Earth will sleep tonight with someone they don't really mind all that much. And tomorrow the kids in the playground across the street will run and skip and jump at recess. And tomorrow our planet, one of many like it or perhaps alone in the universe, will turn full of much more goodness and grace than hate and suffering.

    And tomorrow, somewhere in mid-heaven, floating weightless between the Earth and the Sun, men and women will carefully repair and refurbish a telescope so that we might see ever deeper into the whole of creation, and perhaps even, just a bit, into the mind and purposes of God.

    These are the days of miracle and wonder,
    This is the long distance call,
    The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
    The way we look to us all o-yeah,
    The way we look to a distant constellation
    That's dying in a corner of the sky,
    These are the days of miracle and wonder
    And don't cry baby don't cry
    Don't cry don't cry

    ** Other high definition shots by Thierry Legault of Transit of Atlantis and Hubble in front of the Sun.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2009 3:56 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Taxing Matters: Monty Python Explains It All for You

    Why not "put a tax on thingy?"

    Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2009 11:43 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A 'perfect' iTunes equalizer setting

    And now for something actually useful. I'm restarting my long ago DJ career over at, so it was time to bring this reminder to myself and others back from the Archives.


    Works like a charm. Here's how to set it up.


    Posted by Vanderleun May 14, 2009 7:54 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Drudge Done Right: Don Surber and Jules Crittenden


    Don Surber

    Jules Crittenden

    Posted by Vanderleun May 13, 2009 3:37 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Blogrolling in Our Time -or- 6 Reasons to Read "Jaded Heaven"

    First, because you get to ponder this mysterious banner graphic, which never seems to get old, on a daily basis.


    Posted by Vanderleun May 13, 2009 2:06 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Greatest Cocktail Party in History

    Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante, 2006 by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An(Detail)

    Art meets Knowledge. This is the sort of intellectual apotheosis only possible with the web. It's one of those things that makes you stop and admire the endless creativity of people in all walks of life. Three Chinese artists create a painting incorporating many of history's most interesting and influential people. A bit later someone on the Web combines the image with links to the Wikipedia entries for each person he can identify and off it goes. In only a glance you get the concept and think, "Imagine the conversations at that house party."

    In his seminal work, "Aspects of the Novel," E.M. Forster offers the compelling image of all the great novelists in English writing, not each in their proper time, but "as seated together in a room, a circular room, a sort of British Museum reading-room — all writing their novels simultaneously." We see much the same sort of thing here, with the advantage of being able to fill ourselves in on the people represented.

    If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to spend some time with: Famous People Painting with Wiki Links | Historical Figures With Image Mapping (Painting by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An, 2006, oil on canvas - Image mapping with titles and wikipedia links) Background on the painting itself @ China News: 103 Famous Faces in One Painting

    Posted by Vanderleun May 12, 2009 1:34 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Corn-Pone Opinions: "We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking."

    twainmarkhead.jpgIn a 1901 essay not published until 1923, years after his death, Mark Twain examines the effects of social pressures on our thoughts and beliefs.

    A political emergency brings out the corn-pone opinion in fine force in its two chief varieties--the pocketbook variety, which has its origin in self-interest, and the bigger variety, the sentimental variety--the one which can't bear to be outside the pale; can't bear to be in disfavor; can't endure the averted face and the cold shoulder; wants to stand well with his friends, wants to be smiled upon, wants to be welcome, wants to hear the precious words, "He's on the right track!" Uttered, perhaps by an ass, but still an ass of high degree, an ass whose approval is gold and diamonds to a smaller ass, and confers glory and honor and happiness, and membership in the herd. For these gauds many a man will dump his lifelong principles into the street, and his conscience along with them. We have seen it happen. In some millions of instances....
    In our late canvass half of the nation passionately believed that in silver lay salvation, the other half as passionately believed that that way lay destruction. Do you believe that a tenth part of the people, on either side, had any rational excuse for having an opinion about the matter at all? I studied that mighty question to the bottom--and came out empty. Half of our people passionately believe in high tariff, the other half believe otherwise. Does this mean study and examination, or only feeling? The latter, I think. I have deeply studied that question, too--and didn't arrive. We all do no end of feeling, and we mistake it for thinking. And out of it we get an aggregation which we consider a Boon. Its name is Public Opinion. It is held in reverence. It settles everything. Some think it the Voice of God. Pr'aps.
    I suppose that in more cases than we should like to admit, we have two sets of opinions: one private, the other public; one secret and sincere, the other corn-pone, and more or less tainted. -- "Corn-Pone Opinions," by Mark Twain

    Posted by Vanderleun May 12, 2009 10:13 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Irving Berlin, a Great American, sings his hymn to America

    Pamela at Atlas Shrugs says Happy Birthday Irving! And so say we all.

    Berlin originally wrote the song in 1918 while serving in the U.S. Army at Camp Upton in Yaphank, New York.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2009 3:27 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The $357,012 Air Force One Photo

    YOUR GOVERNMENT AT WORK: RELEASED TODAY and a worse photograph is hard to imagine. Focus, composition, color balance. Just about everything that can be wrong, is wrong. The smartkidz at the White House might want to spring for something other than a disposable camera. Oh, yeah, Photoshop Elements is still only about $100.

    Here you White House cyberwhiz kids. Elements + 2 minutes:


    Not great, but I'm working with crap to begin with.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 8, 2009 2:12 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Blade Runner: The Penultimate Scene Made New

    Posted by Vanderleun May 6, 2009 3:41 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Slipstream Media: Creating a New American Network - Part 1

    “Strait times come in history. Our time is such a time, millennial, full of fast currents, tossing, eddied, dangerous to pass through.” – John Fowles, The Aristos


    The Media is how America fights its civil wars. In this war at least half the country is both under-served and is painfully aware it is being under-served and lied to. In pop culture parlance, “We’re going to need bigger guns.”

    Seen as the 4th branch of government, the unelected and self-selected Mainstream Media, in cultural and political collusion with the present government, knows this and – even as it dies – will do everything it can to prevent the arming of the people with more and better media.

    To control the medium is to control the message. And control of the message means control of the hearts, minds, and votes of the people. To bring a better, clearer, and brighter message to the American people, we must have media that, like the Internet itself, “sees censorship as system damage and routes around it.” To accomplish this we must, in a network of small pieces loosely joined together, work to create a pervasive new media across America. Many of these pieces are already in place. Many more need to be created. All need to be joined in an affiliation. Mainstream media already knows how to do this and we must, to paraphrase Abby Hoffman, "Steal Their Book." Media not busy being born is busy dying.

    This is the first in a series of articles on how to go about building a new American media; a media composed of newspapers, television, radio, film, music, publishing, and the multi-media capabilities of the Internet; an American media open to all and founded on the five bedrock principles of “Duty, Honor, Country, Truth, God.”

    When dinosaurs die large opportunities for growth bloom within the ecosystem. The death of the old media is such an opportunity. It affords a wide range of possibilities to create a new media, a media that runs to the side of the mainstream media, but ultimately supplants it by slipping by it. For now I call it, The Slipstream Media.

    By “The Slipstream Media” I mean the use of all forms of media currently in use to inform and persuade the public that "There is another system."

    This series of articles will be composed of theoretical and practical observations on the content, forms, principles, funding, and business structures involved in creating a new media network in the rapidly changing marketplace of today and the foreseeable future. It will focus on, in Lenin’s phrase, “What is to be done,” as well as what can be done, and how the creation of the Slipstream Media might be accomplished.

    What is to be done.

    The Premise: Better ideas require not only better arguments, but also better means of distribution.

    To survive and thrive, better ideas also require funding, a sound business model based on the realities of the present, and a path to positive cash flow.


    Posted by Vanderleun May 5, 2009 8:34 PM | Comments (29)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Caption Me!: We have a winner!

    It's Mr. Snitch who grabs the gold in our CAPTION ME! contest with his instant classic: The Emperor's New Clubs

    Once upon a time there lived a vain President whose only worries in life were to dress in elegant clothes, and own the most wonderful set of golf clubs in the world...
    Read on OVER HERE.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2009 11:06 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Items Not Moving Well in Seattle Supermarkets This Week


    Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2009 2:13 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Midtown Manhattan Takes Extreme Anti-Swine Flu Measures

    Mayor Bloomberg: "There just weren't enough masks to go around so we stiched all our Macy's Parade balloons together and got everyone to breathe out at once."

    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2009 11:34 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    "War, No War, Sorta War?"

    An Afghan man gave tea to a U.S. solider during a search operation for members of Taliban in the Nerkh district of the Wardak province, west of Kabul, Afghanistan, Friday.

    Victor Hanson asks, in Questions from Oceania,

    What exactly is the current status of the war on terror? (1) Obama has so demonized the Bush administration (despite 8 years of successful homeland security and freedom from 9/11-like attack), and so rejected its very protocols, that he even has changed the very nomenclature of the fight: terrorism is now '€œman-caused disasters', enemy combatants at Guantanamo are '€œdetainees', '€œOverseas Contingency Operations' mean the '€œwar on terror'; OR (2) Nothing has changed: renditions, wiretaps, email intercepts, Predator attacks, wars in Afghanistan and Iraq continue and Guantanamo is still open; he's simply Bush III, pacifying his leftwing base with apologies abroad and euphemism at home; OR (3) He has no idea of what he's doing, and sort of makes it up as he goes, screaming '€œBush did it' now, and then ordering '€œFollow what Bush did'. He simply assumes that whatever he does and whoever dies in the ongoing conflict, the media most certainly is not going to scream, as it did the last eight years, '€œmurder' and 'shredding the Constitution.'€ The days of movies, plays, and novels slurring the President are over.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2009 12:16 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Michelle to Bring the Supremes Back Together!


    Somebody new for the Supremes? Don Surber's got the inside pick:

    Why not Michelle Obama? Sure. She is a Harvard-educated lawyer and I think she supported the ticket.

    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2009 10:42 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Europe Explained: The Biggest Jonestown on the Planet


    Years back, when Europe was not further into deep space than Europa, there was a severe storm in the English Channel. A British tabloid summed it up with a head line that said, STORM CLOSES CHANNEL. CONTINENT CUT OFF. Now that the UK has decided to join Europe in their continent sized Jonestown ending, this map is closer to the sad reality of Europe. Created by ArtWerk on Flickr who says his inspiration was a BBC report in January headlined Europeans 'afraid of tomorrow.' They should be. Starting today.

    [Click to enlarge, or click the link to see the flickr page with notes left by users.]

    Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2009 9:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    G2E Media GmbH