Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
The Snazz of Socks or "Okay, who's letting H.W. dress himself again?"


Seen (unfortunately) at PhotoBlog - Former President George W. Bush and family join President Obama for portrait unveiling at White House

Meanwhile, the two presidents exchange quiet confidences:


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 31, 2012 2:39 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wicked This Way Comes: 29/31 or The "Victory" of Feminism

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2012 4:02 PM | Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Someone Wonderful: Doc Watson (1923 - 2012)


So long, Doc. We'll see you a little further down the road.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 29, 2012 7:27 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ceci N'est Pas Une Bong

hope-bong-743955.jpgSo my old friend Mr. Stephen Jones and I are doing some urban spelunking deep within the "University District" of Seattle on a rainy Friday night. A couple of movie art houses are presenting bills that offer an ancient Louis Malle flick alongside the towering cinematic achievement of "Saw 2." The corner curry houses are doing a desultory business in over-spiced stews, and in the various coffee houses with free WiFi young couples who used to sit and have "intellectual" conversations over cappuccinos are sitting together staring at their laptop screens. Perhaps they're having "intellectual" instant messaging with each other.

The streets, though damp, boast roving clumps and clusters of drunken or stoned students, and the drunker and more stoned human detritus that takes shelter under the ever forgiving wing of what passes for institutions of "higher learning" in our cities. One young woman with a white marble complexion and wearing a hooded Eskimo coat is mistaken, in the mist, for a storefront mannequin. Hilarity and apologies ensue after a young fellow carelessly shakes his umbrella in her direction.

It's an aimless night on University Way and, aside from Twice-Sold Tales, a musty and chaotic used book store, very few shops are open except those that will give you caffeine, pho and facial piercings. Why no Seattle shop has broken down and offered all three of these things under one roof is beyond me. For a moment, I dream of starting a new international chain, StarPhoTats, to fill this obvious need of a nation with far too much time and money on its hands, but then my attention is distracted by a shop up the street that seems to be open.

I say "seems" because the entryway is dimly lit and the store name above the lintel is not lit at all. Still, the door is slightly ajar with bright white light spilling out onto the wet sidewalk. I look up and find out this emporium (since it seems to be a recycled Five and Dime ) is called "Off the Wall." It's not clear from the contents of the window what this store is selling. The window shows you only a worn and broken mannequin slumped in an ancient chair with a gas mask pulled over its head. It's the kind of display that either sucks you in or makes you turn, set your hair on fire, and run down the misted streets screaming "I got the fear!"

Naturally, we go in.


Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2012 1:43 AM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal


"On Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012, I told my girlfriend to meet me at my parent's house for dinner. When she arrived I had stationed my brother to sit her in the back of an open Honda CRV and give her some headphones. He "wanted to play her a song"... What she got instead was the world's first Live Lip-Dub Proposal. --on Vimeo

Watch this and you will believe that everything, EVERY THING, will be all right. It's only been around for a couple of days and already there's not a dry eye coast to coast.

Note: If you've got full screen, hit it.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 26, 2012 10:51 AM | Comments (34)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Not dark yet | Power Line

A few years back I visited Dylan’s old home at 2425 7th Avenue East in Hibbing. The house is a small two-story residence with a one-car attached garage on the side. The house is exactly two blocks from Hibbing High School, Dylan’s alma mater. A Dylan fan must be somewhere in the chain of title. The garage door has the cover of Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks album painted on it.

“I read all of Lord Byron’s Don Juan and concentrated fully from start to finish,” he wrote later [in Chronicles, Volume 1]. “Also Coleridge’s ‘Kubla Khan.’ I began cramming my brain with all kinds of deep poems. It seemed like I’d been pulling an empty wagon for a long time and now I was beginning to fill it up and would have to pull harder. I felt like I was coming out of the back pasture.”

Gogol, Balzac, Hugo, Dickens, Thucydides (“a narrative which would give you chills”), Tennessee Williams, Bertolt Brecht, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells: all were piled into the wagon, alongside the music of Woody Guthrie and Hank Williams, and the films of Marlon Brando and James Dean. He spent nights studying the American Civil War at New York public library and consuming newspapers: “What was swinging, topical, up to date for me was stuff like the Titanic sinking, the Galveston flood, John Henry driving steel…this was the news that I considered, followed and kept tabs on.”

I got this graveyard woman, you know she keeps my kid
But my soulful mama, you know she keeps me hid
She’s a junkyard angel and she always gives me bread
Well, if I go down dyin’, you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.

Well, when the pipeline gets broken and I’m lost on the river bridge
I’m cracked up on the highway and on the water’s edge
She comes down the thruway ready to sew me up with thread
Well, if I go down dyin’, you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.

Well, she don’t make me nervous, she don’t talk too much
She walks like Bo Diddley and she don’t need no crutch
She keeps this four-ten all loaded with lead
Well, if I go down dyin’, you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.

Well, you know I need a steam shovel mama to keep away the dead
I need a dump truck mama to unload my head
She brings me everything and more, and just like I said
Well, if I go down dyin’, you know she bound to put a blanket on my bed.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 25, 2012 3:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Getting Stoned with Barry O: The MSM is Only 4 Years Late on This


Stop the Presses! This just in: A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama.

Yes, oh so timely. Except that....

[First Published: 2008-12-18 01:14:25]

Vintage Postcard, 1969

Cause I'm a picker
I'm a grinner
I'm a lover
And I'm a sinner
I play my music in the sun.
I'm a joker
I'm a smoker
I'm a midnight toker
Steve Miller, The Joker

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for a little toke every now and then. Somewhere legal, like, man, say in Amsterdam. Not that I see, smell, or smoke the "Devil's weed wherein lurks murder, insanity, death" frequently, if at all, any more. I don't look for it, but if some smouldering spliff comes my way, well....

All the same as a (reformed) card-carrying member of the original Berkeley/Haight Hippies, I have had my share of smoke so powerful it could, as we once said, cause "the baby Jesus to open your mind and shut your mouth." I have been in rooms in Paris where the leaders of the Columbia student protests of 1968 stuffed up all the windows and doors of a cheap hotel room and lit an entire kilo on fire. And then we all stood in the smoke until it drove us out of the room. I've known people who smuggled 5 keys of Afghan hash into the country disguised as a carved wooden table. We worked on that one with a cabinet-maker's plane for about six months. I've done radio shows where the fans would mail us joints to make the music that much more interesting. I've sat on a floor with a man so stoned and yet so adept that he took about twenty papers and rolled, perfectly, an entire orange right down to the twisted ends. I've been to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Twice. I can't even talk about the entire front garden of weed that we accidently planted in Venice, California. It grew to about six feet tall before anybody got straight enough to notice it wasn't "calendula." We hung the plants head down in the garage for a month waiting for them to dry. We spent a lot of time in that garage. We wired it for sound.


Posted by Vanderleun May 25, 2012 11:14 AM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Bob Dylan Turns 71 Today "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now."

This gets my vote as the anthem for all those from those past, gone years who had the vision and the guts to uncolonize their colonized minds.


Posted by Vanderleun May 24, 2012 3:35 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dear Whole Foods: We're through. It's not me. It's you.


You know how it is, Whole. You know. And I know you know. We just can't pretend it is what it was any longer.

Bad things have been happening between us whenever I've tried to get into your sack for quite some time. It's time to face the fact that we just don't have that old natural spark between us any longer. We've faded from organic to conventional. It's time to move on to fresh fruits and vegetables new -- elsewhere. Ditto your firm, moist and alluring meats of many flavors. None of what you're doing to me is doing it for me any more.

I ignored a lot of your irritating habits, Whole -- like keeping that entire wing of the dairy case jammed with your revoltingly raw vegan pastes and six flavors of tofu, those sloppy seconds of soy. I rationalized you were just trying to keep your green ass from getting so fat you couldn't get into that tacky green apron you insist on wearing all the time, because "they go with my Earth shoes".

I put up with your petulant insistence on "helping me" find things I wasn't looking for whenever I paused in an aisle to ask myself "Johnson Grass and Brayla Suet Sausage? What the hell is that and what life form eats it?"

I put up with your plucking money from my wallet while I slept, so you could blow it on wind power and floats in the Green Pride Parades. I figured that every Whole needs a hobby.


Posted by Vanderleun May 23, 2012 2:30 PM | Comments (65)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Here Now, A Superb Short and Bittersweet Film about Baseball Legend Pete Rose

"If you want to put something on my tombstone that was very important to me: it’s 1,972. That’s how many winning games I’ve played in, so that makes me the biggest winner in the history of sports."


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 22, 2012 7:52 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Built to Last


Upstream they've allowed the water level of the river to fall until the dam's top blocks can be seen as the waterfall retreats. The river's bottom emerges and a spring shorebird skitters along the edge of the green muck, its beak probing the dirt. Three pigeons pace on and peck at the drying granite blocks. Each block in the slightly curved dam wall under their feet is an easy ton of stone. The dam spans the river and, when the water is allowed to rise, it vanishes under a sheen of falling water. But now the water is low even though the river still flows.


Posted by Vanderleun May 19, 2012 9:21 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Clutter and the Arrogance of Science: Bill Whittle Explains It All to You

A very smart man who is also wise.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 18, 2012 11:25 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wicked This Way Comes: The Rowdy Raccoon Radical Cheerleaders

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 5, 2012 9:04 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Obama's Courage? The Coward Hasn't Got a Gram of It


'The thing about heroes, they don't brag' -- John McCain on Bin Laden raid

I've always been a physical coward. At least as far as I know. My own physical courage hasn't really been called upon or tested since the early years of high school, but I did not distinguish myself and have no reason to think I've changed. I've never been one of those who believed in "running away to live to fight another day." Instead I'm more like those who believe in "running away to live to run away another day."

When it comes to performing valorous acts my totem is "The Cowardly Lion:"


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 1, 2012 2:33 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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