Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: Sunday Piano Meditation for Memorial Day Weekend

HT: Belmont Club's Memory and Survival

Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2010 11:48 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"He was every color that runs through that flag."

Sippican Cottage: Have A Pleasant Memorial Day. Try Not To Forget What It's About


Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2010 6:32 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: His Mother's Voice in These Days of Miracle and Wonder

And, lest we forget,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry....

[HT: Patvann]

Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2010 11:34 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Landscape Game [with answers and bumped]


Once Only

almost at the equator
almost at the equinox
exactly at midnight
from a ship
the full


in the center of the sky.
--- Gary Snyder, 1958

I don't remember who first played "The Landscape Game" with me. It would have been many, many years ago. I also don't remember what my answers were to the game's ten questions, but I wish I had written them down. Played once the game is played forever. Once the first answers are lost, they are lost forever.

You can only play The Landscape Game once in your life. Once you know the questions and the interpretations any chance of replying honestly and openly is gone. It is one of those things that, if you know the "solution," makes any further revelation impossible. "The Landscape Game" is true once and once only.

So no peeking by any means. There's no "win" in the game and the only player you can cheat is yourself.

On Friday you will see why.

The good thing about the game is that once it has been played with you, you can then play it with others. The only provision is that those you play it with can never have played it before. If that has happened, the game is not just spoiled, there's no real point to it.

That is because "The Landscape Game" is all about getting to the Real Point; about the revelation of yourself to yourself and to one another. It can be played in groups if the group is trusting of all the people in it. It is often good for there to be a glass or two of wine before playing, but that's not strictly speaking necessary -- giving a massage or making love will do just fine in the absence of wine.

I don't really know the provenance and the origins of "The Landscape Game" with any certainty. I can only repeat here what I was told when it was first given to me. It sounds a bit pat and I'm sure others will know better where it came from, or even the other names by which the game is known. But it is very much a part of the oral tradition, so all I can do is pass along what I know.

"The Landscape Game" is a variation of an ancient Chinese "thought experiment," or means of self-examination and revelation. It is thought to predate the I-Ching ( +/- 2700 BC ), perhaps as a precursor, but nobody is sure exactly when it came into being. It is seldom written down, but is instead passed from person to person across the generations. Those with whom it is played take it and play it with others. And so it goes on.

Like many of the deeper things in this life, "The Landscape Game" is very simple on the surface, but like a stone dropped into the center of a still pond its ripples will spread out.

It takes a minimum of two to play but beyond that any number can play. It could, conceivably, be played in a stadium holding a hundred thousand if one person led and none of the 99,999 others had ever played the game before and were each equipped with a pencil and an index card. (Which you might think about getting for yourself just about now.)

The game consists of ten questions which are always asked in the same order.

The one being asked the questions should think calmly about the answers to each and respond in a detailed manner giving the first clear thought that enters his or her mind. These answers can be written down or simply remembered by those playing the game.

Each question must be answered before the next question is given. There is, however, no clock used in "The Landscape Game" so it can be played across hours, days, weeks, etc.

The only rule is that the person being asked the questions must never have been asked the questions before. In this, the questioner relies on the honesty of the person receiving the questions.

Ready? No? No problem. I'll wait.

Ready? Good. Let's play.


Posted by Vanderleun May 28, 2010 10:32 AM | Comments (46)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Stars My Destination


Not for everyone, but those who, as I do, recognize this as the beginning of the finest science fiction novel ever written will like it. YouTube - "The Stars my Destination", Chapter 1. by Alfred Bester It is found on the extraordinary YouTube channel, Spoken Verse by Tom O'Bedlam

Another segment of the book can be found at "Freak Men:" Gully Foyle Interviews a Robot Bartender @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Posted by Vanderleun May 26, 2010 9:37 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful


One of life's better moments: Found at Christopher Taylor's Word Around the Net: Picture of the Day where Taylor notes:

"What I love about the picture most is that this is gonna hurt dad. She's coming at him knees-first and even with how little she weighs, this is gonna sting. And he's not even wincing; he either has no clue what's coming or he knows and doesn't care because that's his baby and he won't get to do this kind of thing with her much longer."

I know what he means now. Wish I'd known it then.

Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2010 3:56 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
KA-BOOM! What a difference a day makes

MAY 17, 1980

MAY 18, 1980

On May 18th, 1980, thirty years ago today, at 8:32 a.m., the ground shook beneath Mount St. Helens in Washington state as a magnitude 5.1 earthquake struck, setting off one of the largest landslides in recorded history - the entire north slope of the volcano slid away. As the land moved, it exposed the superheated core of the volcano setting off gigantic explosions and eruptions of steam, ash and rock debris. The blast was heard hundreds of miles away, the pressure wave flattened entire forests, the heat melted glaciers and set off destructive mudflows, and 57 people lost their lives. The erupting ash column shot up 80,000 feet into the atmosphere for over 10 hours, depositing ash across Eastern Washington and 10 other states. Collected here are photos of the volcano and its fateful 1980 eruption. -- The Big Picture

The finest, clearest days in Seattle are those when the inhabitants remark, "The Mountain is out." The Mountain is Mount Rainier, a peak so looming and solitary on the edge of the Puget Sound basin that it makes its own weather. Here's a peek at the mountain I took last week from I-5 inside Seattle city limits.


Posted by Vanderleun May 18, 2010 12:48 AM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Uncapped Sources Spew. Threaten States. No End in Sight.

Alas, the source of the threatening spew is nothing so simple as an oil spill off the southern coast. Instead, the source spews everywhere. It spurts up when you least expect it so dependably that you begin to expect it everywhere. Toxic, dark, and odious it sweeps in waves across the land staining and besmirching all it touches. A clean-up at this point would probably cost more money than there is money. Indeed it would only exacerbate the crisis since it is, for the most part, made of money. The toxic spew, uncapped and surging at more than 100,000 gallons per hour is.... bullshit.

Yes, after years of unremitting bullshit the bullshit spew shows no signs of lessening. It builds by the day, hour, minute. The most recent example of bullshit hit when I was on guard against it at the local source of contemporary American bullshit, the weekly "Farmers" market.

Everybody loves "Farmers" markets in America. They are everywhere now. They metastasize in our urban cores like eczema in a teenager's armpits. Every snoburbia has to have one or more in order to be a bona-fide snoburbia. Where else, I ask you, can white people go to be reassured of the proposition that small, local, "sustainable," and oh-so-organic farms can feed a nation of more than 300 million people for only three times to cost of current farming methods? Farmers Markets are malls for morons and we all love them. Pass the drool cup and the goat cheese samples, thank you.

I'm primed for the ordinary and established catechism of the Church of Eternal American Bullshit whenever I go to the "Farmers" markets, but I was unprepared for this fresh sign in an empty storefront on the hip Ballard side-street that supports merchants selling nut-butters at $50 a pound every Sunday. It promised levels of bullshit previously thought impossible:

Click on and study this sign of impending bullshit in detail. It's got everything.

Just for fun let's count the Lumps of Bullshit embedded in this "exciting" business plan.

1. Artisanal This is now federally mandated bullshit. Everything is "artisanal" these days, except, for only a moment, toilet paper. And that's coming.
2. Gelato Actually soft ice cream but we don't want anybody with just a high-school education coming in our store, our block, our neighborhood, our city and looking for a scoop.
3. "from scratch" Yes, we raise the free-range dairy cows ourselves.
4. "on site" And milk them in the back room.
5. "University certified" One of our investors is a UW professor of advanced anti-American studies and he certifies all people associated with this business are registered Democrats. Who is this moron disguising himself as in the "Fish Named Wanda" ice cream parlor?
6. Master Gelatiere Enzo D'Ambrosio Also known as "Master Fucking Gelatiere Enzo Fucking D'Ambrosio." As in "D'Ambrosio my ass."
7. Organic and Natural Because "organic" is not natural enough and "natural" is not organic enough.
8. traditional In the tradition of hippy rip-off artists since 1968.
9. Imported Those cows we're milking in the back room? Rustled them in Mexico and had six coyotes drive them across the border in the dead of night.
10. No additives and a catalog of same We add nothing except the finest bullshit. Taste the flava!
11. Low in Fat Have two!
12. Low in calories Fuck it, have ten!
13. churned Hard to get ice cream without churning, so okay we'll do it.
14. slow But we'll do it real slow so that your don't think you're buying a Happy Meal.
15. authentic As opposed to what?
16. experience! Oh the experience you get when you pay $10 a scoop is not one you will soon forget.

and of course the biggest stinkiest chunk of bullshit:

17. Italian Name: Gelateria Artigianele: Say that outloud three times and people will think you're gargling.

It's staggering that people crank out this crap when what they are up to is opening an ice-cream store in which they will sell you flavored churned curds at around one dollar a bite. But is the way these things get done these days. There has to be a thick layer of bullshit smeared on any new business opening around these "Farmers" market sections of our snoburbias and there is. And it does.

It works in these zones because they are thick with educated and intellectually insane white people. The business plan here is the one that we've been running from the control towers of the country since 2008. It is predicated on one simple notion; People dumb enough to vote in the Democrats and Obama will eat any bullshit you can serve.

Gelateria Artigianele? Just one little wavelet in the tsunami of bullshit sweeping across our land. If it keeps up you'll have to move onto a houseboat in the center of the oil slick in the gulf just to have a reasonably clean place to live.

Posted by Vanderleun May 16, 2010 5:07 PM | Comments (32)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Hobby

I've been dealing with dental issues and as a result I get to experiment with various prescription drugs with the suffix "din". As a result, my mind comes up with strange activities. One of them was to print up and post this flier around the neighborhood.


As you can see, I'm getting results!

Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2010 5:04 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Don't Stop Believing Goes On and On and On....

Lady Gaga's gotta be thinking, "Made it, ma. Top of the world!"

Unbelievable: "Don't Stop Believin'" - Lady Gaga, Elton John, Springsteen, Sting, Blondie, Shirley Bassey  

Let me repeat that: "Lady Gaga, Elton John, Springsteen, Sting, Blondie, Shirley Bassey sing Don't Stop Believing"

Got it? Good. Now shut up and watch it.

And no snarking about this or that moonbat's politics. As I noted elsewhere, if we vetted musicians today for their politics we'd be stuck with John Philip Sousa.

Posted by Vanderleun May 15, 2010 9:54 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Politician Speaks Truth to Cower

Gov Christie calls S-L columnist thin-skinned for inquiring about his 'confrontational tone'

Dear Lord, please let us elect a host of men and women like this to every office in the land. And, dear Lord, please let them all crush the insects of the media as completely as this one is crushed:

Via Matt Rooney @ The Save Jersey Blog who writes:

The antics of liberal columnist Tom Moran (and the anti-Christie curmudgeon Paul Mulshine Moonshine) are topics of regular discussion here at Save Jersey. Until now, however, no one else has had the intestinal fortitude to put them in their place except for your beloved and revered Blogger-in-Chief.

Then came along Governor Christopher J. Christie! Check out the INCREDIBLE (and entertaining) exchange he had with Moran at yesterday's "33 bills" press conference. When was the last time we saw a Republican elected official display this much backbone with the media, Save Jerseyans? Not since Reagan...

Makes you want to move to New Jersey just to campaign and vote for this man.

HT: James Simpson

Posted by Vanderleun May 13, 2010 9:47 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Emma-Watson-Richard-Dawkin's Hot Secret


Wikipedia: Richard Dawkins "British ethologist, evolutionary biologist, popular science author and transexual in transition.

Wikipedia: Emma Watson "a British actress, creationist, and model who rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger in drag."

Admit it, nobody's ever seen them together.

Posted by Vanderleun May 12, 2010 12:14 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Roots of the Democrat Party


Flyer from the Democrats for the election of 1864

Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2010 10:34 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Arizona and the Line in the Sand

How long has this carping bullshit about a simple and constitutional law passed in Arizona been going on? One week? Two? Three? No matter. The usual "insulted/outraged" gang of quislings and traitors from the White House to the out house have long since shot their bolt and are now in the lebenty-lebenth reiteration of their blathering bombast. The tiny gaggle of people persuadable on the issue have long since been persuaded. Unlike wine, bullshit does not improve with age, it just becomes flammable. The manufacturers of it grow tedious and tiresome. They need to put a gas-soaked sock in it and light up.

The problem in Arizona can be seen by anyone with access to Google Maps in satillite view. Here's one small section of the border a number of miles to the east of Nogales and near nothing in particular. You can see for yourself going to Buena Vista, Mexico HERE and scrolling east along the line. [Set the map to satellite view.]


Click the image to enlarge it and savor the detail of existential distress in trying to "control" such a border. Note that the scale in the lower left is set at 200 feet. That's 200 feet. As you look at this map you'll note not only the road on the Mexican side running along the border but the trunk road running across the border and into Arizona.


Posted by Vanderleun May 11, 2010 5:59 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

This is the word that year by year
While in her place the School is set
Every one of her sons must hear,
And none that hears it dare forget.
This they all with a joyful mind
Bear through life like a torch in flame,
And falling fling to the host behind -
"Play up! play up! and play the game!"

-- Vitai Lampada - Sir Henry Newbolt

When the world is too much with you, take a walk through the back streets and alleys of the neighborhood to the field behind the old school. There in a lake of early evening sunlight ringed round by blossoms in the shade, then and now, and far into the future, the game always comes back.

Pitcher, Queen Anne, Seattle May 7, 2010 [Click to enlarge]

Batter, Queen Anne, Seattle May 7, 2010 [Click to enlarge]

Posted by Vanderleun May 8, 2010 4:41 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When Ka-Ching Speaks, Feminists Get a Thrill Up Their Leg

Everyday, it's "We've got your 5 to 50 Odd Internet Items per day RIGHT HERE!" at KA-CHING!, my tumblr page (**). Yes, it's work, work, work -- but every so often something comes up that makes it all worthwhile. Today that's this little take-down of your nuttier than the av-er-age feminist's new "book" which "celebrates" this bit of never-was "feminist technology" on the cover:


Speculum, nutcracker, or tallywhacker. You decide. If "speculum" it saddens me to point out to the Feminist editors and authors that the speculum is not "feminist technology," but was invented by a man, one J. Marion Sims, the father of gynecology. So, to coin a phrase, "Put that up your pipe and smoke it."

Heather Ault, turn in your "Sisterhood is Powerful" t-shirt.


Here’s the new cover for the volume I co-edited.  Thanks Heather Ault for the artwork!

At this rate, "Feminist Technology" is going to be in a race with "Italian War Heroes" and "Islam's Greatest Inventions" for world's thinest book.

(**) Speaking of Tumblr, I don't see why everyone doesn't have a Tumblr. Taken all in all, it has to be the world's simplest blogging platform. It's like having your own personal scrapbook of things you like on the web as quotes, photos, videos, essays, and songs. I'm up to over 4,000 items in an easy to search form.

It just doesn't get easier. Check it out and get your own for free @ TUMBLR. Sign up, pick a theme, and then grab the bookmarklet for your bookmarks bar and Bob's yer uncle.

Posted by Vanderleun May 7, 2010 8:00 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Distance by Cake

What can I say? This soloist will ROCK YOUR WORLD!

As they speed thru the finish the flags go down.
The fans get up, and get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can

The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup,
But he's driving and striving and hugging the turns,
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He's going the distance.
He's going for speed.
She's all alone, all alone in her time of need.

Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2010 6:04 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
New Words for the Grinding of Dull Old Axes

hatchet-2.jpgMorgan @ House of Eratosthenes wants to work up some new names for old things:

"We have a lot of things infesting us that seem to hang around from one year to the next, because nobody puts together an organized campaign to make ‘em go away. And it isn’t possible to put together such a campaign if these things aren’t named. I thought, without taking the time to actually invent the names, I should start a little list of what they are."

Interesting. Here's my free-association "off-the-pop-of-my-head" names for the infestations collected on Morgan's list. Add or subtract at will.

1. Vaginism: That branch of feminism that seeks to divide privilege from responsibility, so that all gender disparities having to do with privilege can be ended, but disparities dealing with responsibility can endure indefinitely.

2. The Apocolyptics: That sect of Christianity that seeks to win converts through fear and threats, by linking random disasters to the vengeance of an angry, spurned God.

3. Fellatioration: Excessive adoration for a public figure based not on the sensibilities of his ideas, or their likely success, but rather on the uneducated perception that he would be a close and dear friend if only his acquaintance could be made somehow.


Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2010 12:11 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Killing New York: What It Would Take, A Simple Scenario


A car bomb is parked in Times Square but fails to go off. Result: Preening and "It's no big deal. Amateur stuff. Not to worry. Move along. Nothing to see here." Others take it seriously. Very seriously. As they should.

There's an old Beyond the Fringe routine concerning the end of the world. The Fringers climb to the top of the mountain to observe the end of the world, but when the appointed moment comes, the world goes on -- nothing happens. The last stinging line of the routine is, "No matter. We'll come back tomorrow. We're sure to get a winner one of these days."

Neoneocon cites Steve Coll whistling through his New Yorker graveyard with Think Tank: Terrorism : The New Yorker

There will be more of this sort of low-level terrorism in the United States in the years ahead, not only from self-styled jihadis but possibly also from the extreme right.
Never any shortage of fools at The New Yorker, yes, The New Yorker. I especially love how he conflates "extreme right" with Islamic terrorism. Seems he's forgotten who exactly killed 3,000 of his fellow New Yorkers. Fine. If he sticks around New York long enough, he'll get his lesson again. A fool and his head are sooner or later parted.

Back in 2004, I wrote the following "scenario" of what it would take to kill New York. I've updated it once or twice since, but it still works. I see that currently terrorists are thinking a bit smaller and simpler. And if they miss, they all think:

"No matter. We'll come back tomorrow. We're sure to get a winner one of these days."

cloverfield1.jpgTHIS JUST IN:

SEPTEMBER 16, 2009: FBI agents with bomb-sniffing dogs Wednesday raided the Colorado apartment of an Afghan national linked to Al Qaeda and a plot to attack the New York City subway system.... In the past three days, the NYPD increased its attention to the subway system and its 5.2 million daily riders. Officers were warned to keep an eye out for vans near transportation hubs such as Grand Central, police sources said. The safety zone around subway and commuter stations also was expanded by two blocks, the sources said.

-- FBI unit set for more anti-terror raids in Queens; Colorado home raided

LEADS TO THIS:From the AD Archives, Written March 13, 2004

In the wake of the Spanish outrage, [11 March 2004] an email asks what it would take for the Islamic terrorists to take the next step in the United States.

It turns out that, as in Spain, it wouldn't take much at all. Here's what you'd need and how it could be done. But it is just one way. There are many.

The Elements:

One City: New York

Three Locations: The Brooklyn Bridge, Union Square, Penn Station

Terrorists: 4


Plastique explosives (15 pounds)
Backpacks: 2
Ten penny nails and ball bearings: 4 pounds
Anthrax: 2 Liters
Machine Guns: 4 (Small) with 2 extra clips each

Time: Late September to Early November when the weather makes wearing coats common.

Intellectual Equipment: An understanding of the New York subway and bridge system, an understanding of symbolism in America, a willingness to die.

The Method:


Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2010 2:41 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Great Souls of Our Era: Leonard Cohen Sings "Anthem"

Deeply moving. See him now. We shall not see his like again.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can't run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they've summoned,
they've summoned up
a thundercloud
and they're going to hear from me.

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Posted by Vanderleun May 2, 2010 2:26 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Vital -- "Airport"

Directed by takcom™ -- Taka Fumitsuchiya

vitalphoto-4web.jpgBio: Duranta D. Cook (born December 31 1980 in Vallejo, California, USA), is an indie singer-songwriter that goes by his artist name Vital. Vital was born in Vallejo, California in 1980. He was raised by his mother, Theresa McCall, a struggling parent who raised Vital and his sister Shalon by herself. Vital’s first performance came at the age of six, singing and acting in a local church play entitled “The Return of The Messiah.” Less than one year later, when Vital was only seven, his mom was shot. Luckily she survived the tragic incident, however, the circumstances forced the three of them to move to Chicago to stay with relatives and friends.

Vital moved back and forth between the two cities until he was twelve-years-old when he moved back to California to attend junior high school.

Vital currently resides in Atlanta, GA. However, he will be moving back home to the Bay Area, Calif. this summer.

Download this and five other songs for free @ Songs from the upcoming Vital EP

Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2010 8:52 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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