Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Tutorial: Many Uses of an AK Magazine

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 31, 2014 6:29 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boring Military Graduations Vs Not Boring Military Graduations

This year, Air Force trounces Army:


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 31, 2014 1:39 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Unreading List


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2014 9:37 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On that lasting contribution to American culture from Mexicans and Mexican-Americans: The Bouncy Car.

Photographer Nathanael Turner Takes A Little Trip to a Lowrider Convention in Los Angeles - Feature Shoot

Festivities include vendors selling chrome parts, airbrushed t-shirts, food trucks and live concerts blasting away over the crowds. Though easily seen as a boastful ego-trip, show car owners frequently craft their automobiles in honor of some one close to them. Whether a lavish semi-nude portrait of a beloved wife on the hood or a gilded tribute to a deceased family member, each vehicle represents the hard work and dedication of a craftsman unlike no other.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2014 6:15 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Ross Sisters - 1944

Such a dance!


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2014 4:55 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Detroit Dissolving: "A Hurricane Without Water"

Contrast and compare the years since 2009 in Detroit according to Google and Bing: GooBing Detroit


Survey: Detroit Needs $850 Million Just to Clear Abandoned Homes

With a new wide-ranging survey of every lot and building in Detroit, the once burgeoning Motor City is being told that it will have to spend $850 million to dig itself out of the blight infesting the city. And that is just the first step.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2014 11:48 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Big Pictures

The Many Ghosts Of Bokor Hill Station Fewer than 20 years had passed before the town was abandoned once again, with the Khmer Rouge as Bokor Hill Station’s new tenants. Despite a Vietnamese invasion in the late 1970s, the Khmer Rouge refused to vacate Bokor Hill, keeping the old resort town as one of their last communist strongholds.

Maggie's Farm Deer Stand

Borges' Book of Imaginary Beings:The book is to be read "as with all miscellanies... not... straight through... Rather we would like the reader to dip into the pages at random, just as one plays with the shifting patterns of a kaleidoscope"; and that "legends of men taking the shapes of animals" have been omitted.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 30, 2014 11:28 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Dark Matter


Dark Matter

for Tom Mandel (1946-1995)

Love must see all things that are,
But not with any eye.
Dream must rise from darkling waters,
Yet still gloss clear and dry.

The heart must mimic life lived large
In its sentences and fate;
Accepting time must finally halt,
And enter through the gateless gate.

The body, all its time undone,
Must yield itself to air.
The soul, a dream no longer dreamed,
Must rise upon the spiral stairs,

That lead up to that heart of light
Which circles in that storm;
Where one eye sees all things that are,
Where that which is, is born.

Posted by Vanderleun May 30, 2014 1:54 AM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
All Dogs Go to Heaven: Dean Potter BASE Jumps With His Dog

Good dog. Very good dog.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 29, 2014 8:49 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
America: The New Anthem

And afterwards ..... with any luck......

.... but never forget....

The past is a bucket of ashes.


The woman named Tomorrow
sits with a hairpin in her teeth
and takes her time
and does her hair the way she wants it
and fastens at last the last braid and coil
and puts the hairpin where it belongs
and turns and drawls: Well, what of it?
My grandmother, Yesterday, is gone.
What of it? Let the dead be dead.


The doors were cedar
and the panels strips of gold
and the girls were golden girls
and the panels read and the girls chanted:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.

The doors are twisted on broken hinges.
Sheets of rain swish through on the wind
where the golden girls ran and the panels read:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.


It has happened before.
Strong men put up a city and got
a nation together,
And paid singers to sing and women
to warble: We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation,
nothing like us ever was.

And while the singers sang
and the strong men listened
and paid the singers well
and felt good about it all,
there were rats and lizards who listened
… and the only listeners left now
… are … the rats … and the lizards.

And there are black crows
crying, “Caw, caw,"
bringing mud and sticks
building a nest
over the words carved
on the doors where the panels were cedar
and the strips on the panels were gold
and the golden girls came singing:
We are the greatest city,
the greatest nation:
nothing like us ever was.

The only singers now are crows crying, “Caw, caw,"
And the sheets of rain whine in the wind and doorways.
And the only listeners now are … the rats … and the lizards.


The feet of the rats
scribble on the door sills;
the hieroglyphs of the rat footprints
chatter the pedigrees of the rats
and babble of the blood
and gabble of the breed
of the grandfathers and the great-grandfathers
of the rats.

And the wind shifts
and the dust on a door sill shifts
and even the writing of the rat footprints
tells us nothing, nothing at all
about the greatest city, the greatest nation
where the strong men listened
and the women warbled: Nothing like us ever was.

-- Carl Sandburg, Four Preludes on Playthings of the Wind

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 29, 2014 6:33 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Pumping Iron with Marilyn Monroe

Working out evidently always came first for Miss Monroe. Here you can see her strenuous set of bench presses and the result. We present these images in the hopes of inspiring our fellow Americans to a greater awareness of the necessity of fitness.





In this widely familiar portrait, Marilyn Monroe wears a white evening gown and stands with her back against two walls,

one dark, the other light, her eyes half closed and her dark, lipsticked mouth partly open. Yet Halsman deftly avoided any explicit representation of the true subject of the picture. Using the euphemistic language of the time, Halsman’s assistant admired the photographer’s ability to make “suggestive” pictures of beautiful women which still showed “good taste,” emphasizing “expression” rather than “physical assets.” And then the assistant added, “Halsman is very adept at provoking the expression he wants.”
MARILYN MONROE by Halsman @ The Selvedge Yard

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 29, 2014 10:00 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It begins in the Ukraine. It ends in the nuclear immolation of Washington D.C.

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate
As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize
As the dead carcasses of unburied men
That do corrupt my air, I banish you;
And here remain with your uncertainty!
Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!
Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,
Fan you into despair! Have the power still
To banish your defenders; till at length
Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,
Making not reservation of yourselves,
Still your own foes, deliver you as most
Abated captives to some nation
That won you without blows! Despising,
For you, the city, thus I turn my back:
There is a world elsewhere.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 29, 2014 8:46 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Everything You Cannot Know About Obama Is In This Photograph

What are ordinary Americans to make of this strange man-child who has, through sloth and design in the media, sloth and inattention among the body politic, and cupidity, corruption and chicanery within his dark political machine, risen to dominate the landscape? What are ordinary Americans to make of this most un-American of all our erstwhile leaders; a man profoundly ungrounded in the American earth? It is a protean question, painful and difficult to contemplate, to which ordinary Americans will give but a partial answer this November.

In the meantime, there will be an ever increasing addition of possible answers and pondering added to the already towering tsunami of non-information available on the subject of Obama. It is by now a commonplace that never has so little been known about so pivotal a figure in our history. In this case partial ignorance leads not to bliss but rather an opera buffa that is sung in the key of existential distress and portends a finale that is not "a comedy tonight," but a Roman Tragedy replete with fire and blood.

Conspiracy abhors a vacuum and we've had more than our share of theories, speculations, dire warnings, and dark murmurings about a leader's life that is, in many ways, less documented than the undocumented Democrats oozing across our southern borders.

  • He is /is not a natural-born citizen.
  • His mother was / was not a harlot.
  • His father was / was not a man named Obama.
  • His mentor was a black Communist pornographer/poet.
  • His mentor was a crazed, race-hustling preacher on the make in Chicago.
  • His mentor was a bitter Red agitator with an sheaf of techniques for destroying the country.
  • If we knew his college grades we'd see how brilliant he is.
  • We don't know his college grades because he's much less brilliant that he seems.
  • He wrote his books.
  • He couldn't write a rubber check.
  • His books are the accurate transcript of his life.
  • His books are carefully crafted legends.
  • He's out to rule the world.
  • He's just another hack politician in the iron mold of corrupt Chicago pols since time immemorial.

With Obama the best that can be said is, "All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned." We simply do not know enough, even now, to know who this stranger among us is. We sense, dimly at first, but with increasing conviction that he does not mean us well and that he is controlled by some strange amalgam of interior compulsions. The hallmarks of his administration's actions and his speeches seem to be to do many small but insidious things in deep background, a few large and destructive moves in the foreground, give as few details as possible, take no questions, and, if a question is taken, to give no answer. It is an administration that sees no foreign enemies, only domestic ones. Theories about his history and his current character and motives abound as facts fade. The chances are that when he departs the stage most will still say, "Who was that masked man?"

We could ask, in the words of Sinatra, whether this man with the power is "a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn or a king?" But we'd get no answer that would satisfy. We might as well read tea leaves, read auguries from the flights of flocks, divine answers from sheep's entrails, or descend into the subways and read the words of the prophets on the walls between the stations.

Or, in the spirit of divination that has lately gripped the nation, we can simply look at a photograph from a simple time in the man-child's life. As the writer said in Everything I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, "Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school."

Or in the sand on a beach in Hawaii:


A toddler sitting and laughing on the shoulders of his grandfather, who would become the only father figure the child would ever know. Perhaps it was while looking at this picture that Obama or his ghost writer came up with, in Dreams From My Father, “One of my earliest memories is of sitting on my grandfather's shoulders as the astronauts from one of the Apollo missions arrived at Hickam Air Force Base after a successful splashdown." The shoulders of the grandfather seem to loom large in the legend.

The photograph holds, as so many people’s photographs do, one of the happy moments. But I’d like to see the next few moments. I’d like to see what happened next after the laugh. I’d like to see what that boy in the background with the stick raised as if to throw it at the heads of the toddler and grandfather in the foreground did. Did he let it fly? Did it strike the laughing toddler in the back of the head? Did an abrupt attack from behind form a lasting impression? Or did it miss? Or was it merely a brief gesture signifying nothing?

One can imagine all sorts of next moments but know none of them. Which is, of course, the problem with the burgeoning field of “Obama Historical Studies.” This man’s personal history is simply a collection of small tokens separated by vast swathes of time empty of data and detail. The one thing we can be certain of is that these empty spaces, these profound absences without leave, are not due to happenstance but due to design.

Later in the dubious “autobiography,” the aptly short-titled Dreams, we stumble across this statement: "I’d arrived at an unspoken pact with my grandparents: I could live with them and they'd leave me alone so long as I kept my trouble out of sight."

Maybe that’s how it works still. Maybe that's at the root of the grand bargain made between this man and the media and those that voted him power. He keeps his trouble hidden and many decide to just leave him alone and live with him. That would explain the curious silence that soaks sheaves of his erstwhile supporters that are not currently getting checks cut by the Obama Booster Industry. It’s the policy of a profound invert, “I don’t tell so you don’t ask.”

At this point, trying to understand who or what Obama was is like peeling an onion. You unwrap layer after layer and when you reach the core you have nothing; you have the Oakland of American politicians, a man who has no there there.

This is the central fallacy and futility of "Obama Studies." You cannot, in the end, understand a person as carefully crafted as Obama by examining the past. He has no past. He’s the man upon the stair that was not there. You can only understand Obama in the present by looking at what he and his minions do.

Once your attention is directed away from the past and into the present it all becomes as simple as that snapshot from the beach. What one sees is a man of dubious ancestry rising on the shoulders of a previous generation, stalked by a paranoid fantasy , and becoming, as a result, a bad man with an evil intent, supported by a rag-tag collection of apparatchiks, with a megalomaniac design for a bleak future; a man that does not stand with his feet planted in the American soil, but forever in the backwash of the slow Pacific swell on its most distant shore.

But in the end it is also clear that this man is not wholly someone who has been invented by himself or others in the shadows, but by us as a country and a culture. Simply put, this leader who cannot lead is the fruit of our more than 50 years of downward drift and rising degeneracy. In this we are like the happy toddler on the beach waiting for a stick in the back of the head to wake us up or put us down like an old dog; like, as Ezra Pound wrote so long ago, "an old bitch gone in the teeth, a botched civilization."

Posted by Vanderleun May 29, 2014 1:50 AM | Comments (42)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Revelations 6:12: "Ghostbusters"-Ray and Winston Talk Religion

Revelation 6 12 And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;

"Ray, has it ever occurred to you that the reason we've been so busy lately is because the dead have been rising from their graves...." (Fade up music, out on a pan shot showing the twin towers of the World Trade Center.)

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 28, 2014 4:41 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cosmos On Weed with Neil deGrasse Tyson + The New "Scientific Method"

HT: HappyAcres

Meanwhile, elsewhere in "Science Today:" Never Yet Melted » The 97% Myth

In the Wall Street Journal, Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer look at the evidence, and find that the oft-repeated claim that “97% of climate scientists” subscribe to a belief in Catastrophist Anthropogenic Warmism is just as empty a claim as the newspaper headlines about melting glacier and Polar icecaps.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 27, 2014 8:57 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
See America by Steve Thomas



Posted by gerardvanderleun May 26, 2014 11:38 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: ”If you want to change the world....” Ten Lessons from Seals Training

“If you want to change the world don’t ever, ever ring the bell.”

Remarks by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven, ninth commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, at the University-wide Commencement at The University of Texas at Austin on May 17:

To me basic SEAL training was a life time of challenges crammed into six months.

So, here are the ten lesson’s I learned from basic SEAL training that hopefully will be of value to you as you move forward in life.

Every morning in basic SEAL training, my instructors, who at the time were all Viet Nam veterans, would show up in my barracks room and the first thing they would inspect was your bed.

If you did it right, the corners would be square, the covers pulled tight, the pillow centered just under the headboard and the extra blanket folded neatly at the foot of the rack—rack—that’s Navy talk for bed.

It was a simple task—mundane at best. But every morning we were required to make our bed to perfection.  It seemed a little ridiculous at the time, particularly in light of the fact that were aspiring to be real warriors, tough battle hardened SEALs—but the wisdom of this simple act has been proven to me many times over.

If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another.

By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter.

If you can’t do the little things right, you will never do the big things right.

And, if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made—that you made—and a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.

If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.

During SEAL training the students are broken down into boat crews.  Each crew is seven students—three on each side of a small rubber boat and one coxswain to help guide the dingy.

Every day your boat crew forms up on the beach and is instructed to get through the surfzone and paddle several miles down the coast.

In the winter, the surf off San Diego can get to be 8 to 10 feet high and it is exceedingly difficult to paddle through the plunging surf unless everyone digs in.

Every paddle must be synchronized to the stroke count of the coxswain.  Everyone must exert equal effort or the boat will turn against the wave and be unceremoniously tossed back on the beach.

For the boat to make it to its destination, everyone must paddle.

You can’t change the world alone—you will need some help— and to truly get from your starting point to your destination takes friends, colleagues, the good will of strangers and a strong coxswain to guide them.

If you want to change the world, find someone to help you paddle.

Over a few weeks of difficult training my SEAL class which started with 150 men was down to just 35.  There were now six boat crews of seven men each.

I was in the boat with the tall guys, but the best boat crew we had was made up of the the little guys—the munchkin crew we called them—no one was over about 5-foot five.

The munchkin boat crew had one American Indian, one African American, one Polish America, one Greek American, one Italian American, and two tough kids from the mid-west.

They out paddled, out-ran, and out swam all the other boat crews.

The big men in the other boat crews would always make good natured fun of the tiny little flippers the munchkins put on their tiny little feet prior to every swim.

But somehow these little guys, from every corner of the Nation and the world, always had the last laugh— swimming faster than everyone and reaching the shore long before the rest of us.

SEAL training was a great equalizer.  Nothing mattered but your will to succeed.  Not your color, not your ethnic background, not your education and not your social status.

If you want to change the world, measure a person by the size of their heart, not the size of their flippers.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 26, 2014 9:35 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Story of My Life - ThePianoGuys

To have had these moments, all these moments, no matter what came before or what came after.... was to be blessed.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 23, 2014 4:05 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Mirror Mirror

IS981-067.jpgThose damn Chinese commies are at it again! We all know that the omnipresent tag on goods "Made in China" means cheaper, shoddier, and at times dangerous to small animals, children, morons and democrats. But since cheaper trumps shoddy and risky, we swipe the debit card and take them away regardless of what may be their hidden intent, which is to undermine the American way of life. Nowhere is this more apparent than in that most insidious product now coming out of the slave cloning pens of Peking and roboticized neuro-protein vats of the Matrix caverns beneath the Gobi desert, the Chinese mirror.

It seems that, when I wasn't looking, secret Chinese agents replaced my trusted and faithful American bathroom mirrors with a mirror "Made in China." It is a hideous substitution and one that would go unnoticed except for the fact that from time to time I look in my mirror for this or that grooming ritual. When I do I know that the mirror has become a Chinese mirror because the effect is immediately and consistently horrifying. Briefly put, the person in the mirror is someone that does not resemble me at all. I don't know how he got in my mirror but he's got to go.

Like all of us, I have a perfectly good idea of what I look like in my mind's eye. It is, indeed, so perfect that I haven't had any good reason to renovate it for over thirty years. Unlike the Chinese mirrors in my house, my mind's eye knows that I have a well-cut chin, assertive full-face and sharp in profile. It does not add the two or three secondary chins that the Chinese mirror, through some Fu Manchu optical magic, slaps on.

In my mind, I am quite safe in the knowledge that my brow is unfurrowed and that the lines around my eyes are only there for a brief moment during laughter. The Chinese mirror seems, especially in the morning, to be able to carve in the brow lines with a dull chain saw and make the lines around the eyes resemble the cracks seen in ill-maintained Dutch portraits from the age of Rembrandt. How the Chinese manage timed optics in ordinary cheap mirrors is beyond me, but they probably stole it from an American inventor and professional sadist.

Another power of the cheap Chinese mirror is the ability to actually amplify gravity. I know to a certainty that my face is as it was 30 years ago (the last time I really checked) well structured and taut as a snare drum in a high school marching band. The Chinese mirror in my bathroom seems to emit some sort of force field that actually makes it appear that my face has fallen towards the center of the earth. If a Chinese mirror can do that to my face I hate to think of what the similar technology could do to the fighters and bombers of the USAF. Not only that but the mirror can also puff one's face outward while dropping it at the same time. Sheer twisted genius!

Finally, the Chinese mirror, through some sort of uncanny symbiosis between its fun-house surface and advanced microchips grown in the organ banks of Chinese prisons, actually has the power to project brown age spots onto my skin and have them follow me around in the mirror no matter how I twist and turn my face. Very spooky and very persistent since no matter how much I scrub my face and the mirror the spots seem to stay exactly where the mirror places them on first glance in the morning.

I've considered scrapping the Chinese mirror and spending the monumental sums that a high-quality French mirror would cost so that I could see myself again as I know I am, but I am a cheap bastard and have decided not to give the French the money or the Chinese the satisfaction. I've looked around for an American mirror but I've discovered there are only two areas of the country that manufacture them any more; five blocks in the West Village near "The Ramrod," and the Castro District in San Francisco. Made by the Rainbow Glass Blowers and known as The Dorian Gray in New York and The Oscar Wilde in the Castro, the mirrors ar more affordable but do no reflect you as you are but only as you would be if you were more fabulous.

Since I'm now about as fabulous as I get I'm sticking with the lying, cheating Chinese mirror.

But I do have some standards.

I recently crossed a picket line of impossibly rich progressive busybodies at Walmart and bought a full length Chinese mirror. I did so because of complaints that it was impossible in my house to see if what one was wearing matched one's accessories. Why seeing yourself full-length before going out is important I don't really understand. I've always thought that if you have your shirt, shoes, boxers and pants on you're pretty much good to go. (Socks optional.) Nevertheless I am reliably informed by GynoAmericans of all persuasions that a full-length mirror is something no home should be without.

So, I broke down and got the full-length Chinese mirror from the Walmart toxic waste dump department, carried it home and installed it in my closet where it seemed it would do the most good.

It did not occur to me that this mirror, being four times the size of the bathroom Chinese mirror, would have four times the power. Indeed, it seems to have the power of teleportation. I say this because the very next morning when I opened the closet to dress I discovered that the mirror had somehow brought into my home a strange man who seemed, in the midsection at least, to be six months pregnant.

That mirror and the stranger it held is now in the recycling bin marked "Hazardous Waste." Me? I'm writing to some contacts at Disney to see if I can get one of those Mirror Mirror On the Wall items from Snow White. After all, if it worked for the Queen....

Posted by Vanderleun May 23, 2014 3:39 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Almost missed my flight out of Seattle this morning....


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 23, 2014 2:57 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Problem with White Folks Is -or- "29 Pitfalls of Working With White People"

More racial "healing" from those fine, fine folks who call themselves "progressives."


Published by The Beyond Diversity Resource Center

The Red Box Diversity System offers an approach to learning about workplace diversity that is unique and available only from the Beyond Diversity Resource Center:

Engaging and enjoyable program
Exercises completed in 30 minutes
In-depth exploration on diversity concepts
No lectures or training seminars
Adapts to fit each organization and each employee
Low cost per employee
Proven effective for teaching essential diversity skills
Employees will learn and practice the following diversity skills:

Cultural self-awareness
Empathizing with others
Learning by interaction
Avoiding Stereotypes
Relating to others who are different
Being more flexible
Tolerating cultural ambiguity
Knowledge of how culture shapes world view
Learning about other cultures
Being less judgmental
Communicating more effectively
Listening and observing others
Adjusting to feedback from others
Being appropriately consistent

Group That Made Anti-White Pamphlet Received DOJ Grants | The Daily Caller

In fiscal year 2011, the center received a $250,000 grant from the Office on Violence Against Women, which falls under the DOJ.

In Aug. 2012, they received a $249,479 grant from the Office for Victims of Crimes to conduct “National field-generated training, technical assistance, and demonstration noncompetitive continuation projects.”

According to the DOJ’s 2012 program plan, Beyond Diversity Resource Center partnered with the school of social work at Rutgers University on a “demonstration project” that involved providers of victim services from across the country.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 22, 2014 11:24 PM | Comments (38)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Alternative Energy Breakthrough

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 22, 2014 10:41 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Should Obama Blow The Silver Horn The Founding Fathers Left In Case The Country Ever Needed Them?

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 22, 2014 9:27 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In Their Own ****ing Words: This Perverted ****ing Administration

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 21, 2014 4:57 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Internet Machine / Internet Archive

In this film I wanted to look beyond the childish myth of ‘the cloud’,

to investigate what the infrastructures of the internet actually look like. It felt important to be able to see and hear the energy that goes into powering these machines, and the associated systems for securing, cooling and maintaining them. What we find, after being led through layers of identification and security far higher than any airport, are deafeningly noisy rooms cocooning racks of servers and routers. In these spaces you are buffeted by hot and cold air that blusters through everything.
Internet machine – Timo Arnall


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 21, 2014 12:04 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Essential Innovations: Can These $20,000 Houses Save the American Dream?

Built in 2009 in Newbern, Hale County, Alabama. Dave’s House, a shotgun vernacular with gables over the short ends, derives from Frank’s House; monthly utility bills average $35.

Rural Studio builds brand new $20,000 houses in Alabama. "Rural Studio launched its affordable housing program in 2005.

We were eager to make our work more relevant to the needs of west Alabama, the Southeast, and possibly the entire country. We looked at the omnipresent American trailer park, where homes, counterintuitively, depreciate each year they are occupied. We wanted to create an attractive small house that would appreciate in value while accommodating residents who are unable to qualify for credit....Our goal was to design a market-rate model house that could be built by a contractor for $20,000 ($12,000 for materials and $8,000 for labor and profit)—the 20K House, a house for everybody and everyone. We chose $20,000 because it would be the most expensive mortgage a person receiving today’s median Social Security check of $758 a month can realistically repay. A $108 monthly mortgage payment is doable if you consider other monthly expenditures. Our calculations are based on a single house owner, because 43 percent of below-poverty households in Hale County are made up of people living alone. That translates to a potential market of 800 people in our county..... So far Rural Studio has designed 12 versions of the 20K House. The houses that we build each year are academic experiments, given away to local residents in need. We find the clients for 20K Houses the same way we do for our client houses. We hear about people in need from mail carriers, church pastors, local officials, and others. In deciding who to choose, we trust our gut. Our clients are always down on their luck and often elderly, and our homes add immensely to their quality of life. As with our client houses, the 20K House instructors maintain strong relationships with the new homeowners. In order to improve the 20K Houses each year, we observe how our clients inhabit and use their new homes. Their homes, as with client houses, carry their names."

Built in 2008 in Greensboro, Hale County, Alabama, Roundwood House was an experiment in building the structure of a small, affordable house with locally sourced loblolly pine thinnings. At 532 square feet, it includes a 110-square-foot porch.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 20, 2014 11:05 AM | Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Proof that in America anything worth doing is worth overdoing.


Fortunately for me everything here is on my diet. Unfortunately for me it will also turn me into the Ghostbusters' Stay Puft marshmallow man just before they cross the streams and reduce me into a gigantic 'smore. (Which is also on my diet.)


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 20, 2014 10:02 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Wear Sunscreen" [And Lubricant] **

Congratulations, class of 2014: You’re totally screwed! In sum, you paid nearly sixty grand a year to attend some place with a classy WASP name

and ivy growing on its fake medieval walls. You paid for the best, and now you are the best, an honorary classy WASP entitled to all the privileges of the club. That education your parents got, even if it was at the same school as yours, cost them far less and was thus not as good as yours. That’s the way progress works, right?
Actually, the opposite is closer to the truth: college costs more and more even as it gets objectively worse and worse. Yes, I know, universities today offer luxuries unimaginable in the 1960s: fine gymnasiums, gourmet dining halls, disturbing architecture. But when it comes to generating and communicating knowledge—the essential business of higher ed—they are, almost all of them, in a frantic race to the bottom.

**"Wear Sunscreen": The Story Behind the Commencement Speech That Kurt Vonnegut Never Gave: Mary Schmich, Chicago Tribune columnist and Brenda Starr cartoonist, wrote a column entitled “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.” In her introduction to the column she described it as the commencement speech she would give to the class of ’97 if she were asked to give one.... a column that was written, according to Schmich, “while high on coffee and M&Ms.”

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 19, 2014 11:19 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Six Days of Creation by M. C. Escher


"And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. "


“Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.”


“Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”


“Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth.”


“Let the waters abound with an abundance of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the face of the firmament of the heavens.”


“Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Background: At the end of 1924, Escher and his new bride purchased a house under construction in Frascati, a small town outside of Rome.
The house was finished in March, 1925, but the couple did not move in until October. Shortly after Escher moved into his new home outside of Rome, his brother was killed in a mountaineering accident, and Escher had to go to the site to identify the body. After this tragedy, Escher produced his famous Days of Creation woodcuts.
M.C. Escher Biography

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 18, 2014 12:05 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Saturday Matinee: Roy Rogers - Hoppy, Gene And Me We Taught You How to Shoot Straight

Well the prairie sky is just as blue
And life's like a rainbow
Just like you, he'll be a saddle pal
To Hoppy, Gene and Me

Hoppy, Gene and Me
We taught you how to shoot straight
You were going to be a cowboy
That's how it had to be

Your stories from the silver screen
Now most of them forgotten
Double feature Saturday's
With Hoppy, Gene and Me

(Yodel to end)

"Hoppy, Gene and Me" (1974) peaked at number 65 on the Billboard Hot 100.

As for Roy Rogers (aka Leonard Franklin Slye), Dale Evans, Trigger, Bullet, Nelly Belle,and the Sons of the Pioneers it was all a "Yodel to the end" for them.



Posted by gerardvanderleun May 17, 2014 2:02 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How We Live Now #325

What we do.


How it was done.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 16, 2014 11:15 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bill Whittle: Gaslighting

You're not crazy. The Obama Administration will just keep GASLIGHTING you until you think you are.

"Psychologist Martha Stout states that sociopaths frequently use gaslighting tactics. Sociopaths consistently transgress social mores, break laws, and exploit others, but are also typically charming and convincing liars who consistently deny wrongdoing. Thus, some who have been victimized by sociopaths may doubt their perceptions.

"In the movie, Ingrid Bergman’s character is saved when a sympathetic detective notices the gaslights are being dimmed as well. That’s all it takes, you see: one other person to see and hear what you are being told you are crazy for claiming to see and hear. That’s why – as in the movie – the victim (that would be us) has to be isolated from other people with different perspectives because all it takes is ONE independent verification of the gaslights dimming and the entire evil, larcenous, cruel, murderous scam falls away to dust.

"So here’s your verification, so go forth and spread the word. You’re not nuts.

"He’s nuts." - - Transcript @ Truth Revolt


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 15, 2014 8:57 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Evolution Of Visual Effects

1878-2014: in chronological order (More or less.)


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 14, 2014 9:58 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Want to See the Real "New Normal?"

This is the real "new normal." Accept no cheap substitutions raised up out of shadow.

"Barefoot Blue Jean Night"

A full moon shinin' bright
Edge of the water; we were feelin' alright
Back down a country road
The girls are always hot, and the beer is ice cold

Cadillac, horns on the hood
My buddy Frankie had his dad hook him up good
Girls smile when we roll by
They hop in the back, and we cruise to the river side

Never gonna grow up
Never gonna slow down
We were shinin' like lighters in the dark
In the middle of a rock show
We were doin' it right
We were comin' alive
Yeah, caught up in a Southern summer, a barefoot, blue jean night

Blue eyes and auburn hair
Sittin' lookin' pretty by the fire in a lawn chair
New to town, and new to me
Her ruby red lips was sippin' on sweet tea
Shot me in love like a shootin' star
So, I grabbed a beer and my ol' guitar
Then we sat around till the break of dawn
Howlin' and singin' our favorite song

Never gonna grow up
Never gonna slow down
We were shinin' like lighters in the dark
In the middle of a rock show
We were doin' it right
We were comin' alive
Yeah, caught up in a Southern summer, a barefoot, blue jean night.....


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 14, 2014 3:49 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Outer Dark

Imogen Holst recalls a 1918 performance by the London Symphony Orchestra: “But it was the end of Neptune that was unforgettable, with its hidden chorus of women’s voices growing fainter and fainter in the distance, until the imagination knew no difference between sound and silence.” - – Futility Closet

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 14, 2014 2:00 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lieutenant Reagan


"Ronald Reagan enrolled in a series of home study courses sponsored by the U.S. Army as early as 1935

and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves in April 1937 and was posted as a Private with the 322nd Cavalry (Reserve) at Des Moines, Iowa. Due to his studies prior to enlistment he was quickly promoted to Second Lieutenant in May of the same year. Reagan moved to Southern California not long after this to pursue his acting career and transferred to the 323rd Cavalry. Both the 322nd and 323rd were part of the U.S. Army Reserve’s 66th Cavalry Division.
"Reagan’s acting career was at its height when the United States entered World War Two and as a member of the Reserves he was not eligible for the draft since it was only a matter of time before he would be called to active duty. This occurred in April of 1942. Activation subjected Reagan to a more stringent physical examination than the Reserves and his eyesight proved bad enough to prevent his service overseas. Many of Reagan’s critics imply that somehow he managed to avoid being sent overseas during the war but this is either due to ignorance of how the Army actually operates or outright vindictiveness. The Army decides what they need you to do and where they want you and there you go."
サ Blog Archive サ Two for the Gipper

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 13, 2014 11:57 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Must See TV

"Whatever happened to a loyal opposition? Boehner and McConnell just seem to be loyal, without the fervency and drive to oppose Obama's recklessness. Bill Whittle is tired of seeing our country's oldest tenets left hanging from a thread with no major leadership there to save them. It's time for a new group of young leaders to takeover."


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 13, 2014 7:20 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"We'll Meet Again:" U.S. Conducts Nuclear Response Exercises


"U.S. Strategic Command this week is conducting a massive nuclear arms drill designed to “deter and detect strategic attacks” on the United States and allies.

A Sunday press release announcing the May 12-16 “Global Lightning” exercise explicitly noted that the event’s timing is “unrelated to real-world events.” Observers of ongoing East-West tensions will note, however, that Russia on Thursday conducted its own large-scale nuclear response drill under the supervision of President Vladimir Putin. That exercise was widely promoted in Russian media and included the test launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile and submarine-fired ballistic missiles. “Exercise Global Lightning 14 has been planned for more than a year and is based on a notional scenario,” U.S. Strategic Command said." - Defense One

"Planned for more than a year?" Oh, that makes me feel so much more relaxed and secure than otherwise. I guess I'll just put some lawn chairs out in the back yard, pop a cold one, and throw some shrimp on the barbie. Probably won't even have to light it.


Shucks, at this rate, a ten megaton airburst over 1900 Pennsylvania Avenue during a joint session of congress down the block might be just what the country needs to, shall we say, snap out of it! After all, isn't it truly said that every mushroom cloud has a silver lining?

"Fireball radius: 1.53 mi. Maximum size of the nuclear fireball; relevance to lived effects depends on height of detonation. If it touches the ground, the amount of radioactive fallout is significantly increased. Minimum burst height for negligible fallout: 1.38 mi."


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 12, 2014 6:20 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Sequoia in a Snowstorm


The world's second-largest known tree, the President, in Sequoia National Park is photographed by National Geographic magazine photographer Michael "Nick" Nichols for the December 2012 issue. The final photograph is a mosaic of 126 images.

Portrait after the jump:


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 11, 2014 4:55 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink

California School Asks 8th Graders To Debate the Holocaust – Tablet Magazine

After decades spent in the sewers of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, I don’t horrify easily. But yesterday I learned that a school district in Rialto, California, assigned 2,000 8th-grade students to write an essay on whether or not they believe the Holocaust was “an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme.”

Put simply, this is the greatest victory for Holocaust denial in well over a decade, if not more.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 11, 2014 10:23 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Mr. Wonderful's Bad Day

11174.jpgSo my pal and I are standing in line in a sandwich shop waiting to see if two chicken salad sandwiches, chips, and cokes will yield any change from a $20 (They don't), when this guy my pal knows staggers in the door and joins the line. He's the blonde, aging and pear-shaped frat boy type on a life pension from his grandparents common in these parts. He's an elite member of the Maynard G. Krebs Zero-Work Brigade.

It's possible to see he is a reasonably good looking man, but just. This is because, besides a distinct wobbling lurch in his step, he also appears to have gone ten rounds with Mike Tyson in his prime.

His nose is thickened along with the rest of his face, and not just from a lifetime's love affair with single malt. There's a huge nasty scab across the bridge of his nose and a larger one running along the side of his jaw and under his chin giving off a rusty red gleam like some speed strawberry birthmark. Both his eyes have large, dark circles around them as if they've gotten special attention from a ball-peen hammer, and their expression is that of a man who's just walked out of a fire-fight in the Afghan hills.

My pal knows him and introduces me. I shake his hand and say, as anyone would, "What happened to you?"

"I had a bad day on Wednesday."

"Obviously," said my pal.

"Do you want me to tell you about it?," the walking wounded asked.

"Obviously," said my pal.

"Well, I get up in the morning and go out to the garage for my car. That's when it starts.

"Its got a flat and the tire that's flat is the spare that I put on the week before that I haven't gotten around to getting fixed. So I have no spare for the spare, and have to get the tow truck to come out and take the car to Discount Tire and me to Budget Rent a Car for some wheels. They rent me a car and I drive away for the rest of my day intending to pick my car up in the late afternoon. I do some errands and go home and hang around there for a few hours.

"Finally it's time to pick up the car and take the rental back. I call the tire shop and they tell me I'm good to go. So I pick up the keys and go out to the car that's parked at the top of my driveway.

"At some point in my walk, I notice there's a bee buzzing around my head. Then I notice three bees and then an entire swarm and they are all swooping and diving at me and trying to sting me."

At this point, the sandwich line and the entire sandwich shop has slowed to a crawl, listening.

"I get stung three times on the forehead, four times on one arm, twice on the other and six times on my right leg." (Polo shirts and shorts are the uniform of choice in this town.)

"I'm whirling around, waving my arms, and trying to get to my rental car. That's when I notice that the bee swarm is thickest between me and the car.

"I decide to do one thing. Flee! I turn around and still waving my arms all around me begin to run at top speed down the slope of my driveway towards the street about thirty yards away down the slope.

"Running downhill at speed in flip-flops isn't, I'm here to tell you, a great idea since at some point I feel my hip give and, boom, I perform a perfect face plant in the asphalt.

"The good news is that this seems to throw the bees off since they leave me alone. The bad news is this face. The worse news is that just when I think that I'll just lie there, phone 911 on my cell, and wait for the paramedics since I can't walk, my hip pops back in and I'm able to sneak around the house and into the rental and drive myself to the emergency room."

My pal and I murmur our condolences and gather up our sandwiches.

"Thanks," he says. "But that's not the best part."


"Nope. When I came out this morning to go to work, another tire was flat. I walked here and now I'm afraid to go home."

Posted by Vanderleun May 9, 2014 3:38 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
De oppresso liber: The Gun Maker

De oppresso liber is the motto of the United States Army Special Forces.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 9, 2014 11:49 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Godwin's Rocket: Grandpa Drone Goes On Sale at Bonhams


Is it just me or is a lot of stuff going on around here starting to resemble Nazi Germany at the height of the Marxist Leninest Stalinist Maoist Cultural Revolution led by Idi Amin in pants with sharp creases?

Bonhams : A 1945 Republic Aircraft-Ford JB-2 Loon "Buzz Bomb": A rare example of a WWII Jet Bomb and one of the first American self-guided weapons. The technology would form the basis of postwar rocket development. Nicely restored display piece. The United States had discovered the existence of the top secret German V-1 when a unit crashed in Sweden in 1942. A detailed analysis of the wreck was made and in 1943 the US decided to begin the development of a similar Jet Bomb. The advantage of the self-flown and self-guided bomb was obvious. It could inflict huge damages with almost no risk of lives to the operating side. The Germans exploited the weapon and unleashed huge damages with zero harm to their forces.

A contract to produce the JB-1 (Jet Bomb) was given to Northrup Aircraft in July 1944. The Northrup design was complex and a team at Wright Field were simultaneously reverse-engineering a German V-2 pulse jet engine. This design system would be the basis for the JB-2 Loon and it would replace the unsuccessful JB-1 design.

There were 1,391 Jb-2s built by Willys Overland (on subcontract from Republic Aircraft) and The Ford Motor Company produced the power plants. Ultimately the machines were too late to contribute to the War effort, but the development was still considered a technological success which laid the groundwork for many important projects.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 9, 2014 8:53 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Good Morning: "I’m Andrew Klavan and this is the Revolting Truth."

TRANSCRIPT: The debate is over! The science is settled! Any other point of view in this day and age is hateful. It’s racism straight up. It’s like the civil rights movement never happened! It’s a war on women. Women in this country are under fire as if this were a war. It’s Islamophobic too. And as for gays... well, the debate is over. The time for talking is past. The experts have reached a consensus. We’ve come too far to go back now. The people have decided. The toothpaste is out of the tube. We’re not going to return to the bad old days. Sure, there are some who insist on being anti-science. There are people who are still clinging to their Bibles and their guns. I don’t know why they’re working so hard to keep folks from having health insurance. They want to put y’all back in chains. They want to put women in binders. Don’t they know this is the 21st century? The debate is over. If you disagree, well, you are not welcome here. We’ll sue. We’ll boycott. We’ll get you fired. We’ll revoke your invitation to speak. Because we support diversity. So get on the bandwagon. Fall in line. The debate is over. It’s over! O for o. Ver for ver. Over.

Ap... Ah... up-up-up-up-up. Debate, equal sign, over. Finished. Done. Ssh. The science is settled. The time for talking is past. Any other point of view, well, it’s Fox News. Fox News! It’s Rush Limbaugh. It’s Rush Fox Limbaugh News! It’s old white men. It’s the Koch Brothers. It’s an Islamo-homo-phobic-racist war on women stuck into binders by Rush Limbaugh on Fox News. And the person who made that offensive video will be punished I promise you. The future does not belong to those who have any other point of view. Because we have bi-partisan agreement. The science is settled. The experts have reached a consensus. The time for talking is past. The debate is over.

This message has been brought to you by Barack Obama, the Democrat party, an assorted collection of Marxist knuckleheads, but I repeat myself, the news media, but I repeat myself repeating myself, and Brandeis University. And Rutgers University. And ACT UP. And Planned Parenthood. And Barack Obama. Again. Visit us at the debate-is-over-you’re-being-audited-you’

I’m Andrew Klavan with the revolting truth.

[Brought to you by Truth Revolt]


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 8, 2014 7:55 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hello Cowgirl in the Sand


American Cowgirls of the 1940's Here's a collection of unseen photographs of cowgirls were taken by LIFE photographers Nina Leen, Peter Stackpole and Cornell Capa between 1947-48 at the University of Arizona Rodeo and the opening of the Flying L Ranch in Texas, which included a celebratory cowgirl fashion event.






Thou still unravished bride of quietness,
Thou foster child of silence and slow time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both....

- - John Keats: Ode On A Grecian Urn


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 7, 2014 9:10 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Just In and Out


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 7, 2014 8:47 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
A Generation of Idiots; Smart Phones and Dumb People

A poem that rhymes. Online 13 days. Screen views? Closing on 27,000,000. (And he has something to say about that at the end.)

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 7, 2014 7:13 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Teac A-4010's Mellow Music Video: The most soothing "Light My Fire" in the known universe.

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 6, 2014 6:25 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And then ... just when the Left thinks it is safe for it to come out of the closet.....



Posted by gerardvanderleun May 6, 2014 3:28 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You will be very, very sorry if you actually watch the hidden video. I know I am.

As John Farrier says at Neatorama: "There is little information available about this video,

presumably because everyone associated with it has attempted to destroy all evidence of it, then changed their identities, and disappeared. But I surmise that during the 1990s, there was a direct-to-video production company called Mystic Fire Video. According to co-founder Sheldon Rochlin, it was "very concerned with the transformation of consciousness, not only through spiritual teaching but through art, music, poetry and film."
If you are stupid enough to click the link please do not operate heavy machinery while watching.


Posted by gerardvanderleun May 5, 2014 8:11 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
May 5th -or- Cinco de Amnesty!

- The People's Cube

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 5, 2014 11:50 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hallelujah Anyway

Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding. -- Job 38

So elsewhere I've been drawn into, for the X times infinityest time, yet another discussion about God. You know, the ones that go...

Is He this? Is She that?
Is God's "morality" thin or fat?
Does He wear a halo or a hat?
Does He care if you crush a gnat?
Can you see Him?
Could you be Him?
If He tells you to kill your kid
Would you do what Abraham did?

All the usual suspects show up
With all their suspect notions.
Some come to sell you a Bible.
Some come to sell you a potion.
Some come to sell you a bottle
Of the very best Atheist lotion.

In short, when it comes to God -- as we learn in the Holy Book of Dylan -- "Everybody wants to get you down in the hole that they're in."

Me? I'm a believer because... well because I've really got Nothing Better to do. That's because measuring myself against even the smallest, most finite, and bounded idea of God I can conceive I'm about gnat size in relation to that. I wish others saw it that way, but among the smart monkeys most of us think of ourselves as some sort of gigantic intellect -- at least in comparison to, say, a clam. Interesting that the "intelligent" who are long on stupidity are always short on humility.

The point is that smart monkeys like us are, deep down, stupid and shallow in anything that even starts to compare us to the Creator. At best we've been granted a small, dim sense of the shadow of the afterimage of Creation and are forever limited to that. We cannot go beyond it. For us there is no outside looking in. We simply don't have the wetware.

For many this vague, haunting sense is such an insult to their monkey mind's ego that they cannot endure the humiliation. And so they deny what little light they have and turn, turn away. It's futile of course but so many now are so afflicted that they find, with each other, small and cold comfort in numbers.

It's a shame that in this brief Grace-granted glimpse of the Immense Light between a sleep and a sleep that so many shut their eyes to the unfolding Miracle of each Moment, and think, poor little monkeys, that since none of it is about them none of it needs to be seen as it is -- glorious, compassionate and indifferent. They actually think ... no "believe"... that the Creator should not be beyond their good and evil; that the moral life of Creation should reflect our dim and limited mind.

Given the Gift they use it to curse the Giver.

Poor fools. Poor prideful fools. Poor little limited semi-smart monkeys. Pick a fight with God? All their puny arms together are still too short to box with God.


Posted by Vanderleun May 4, 2014 11:32 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Wheat Field


From each one in the harsh soil a myriad are spun.
Sheaves of gold on bronze in files beneath the sun.
Is it towards the whiteness of the wafer
The field bends on autumn winds;
Towards the body which is breath not flesh

That the body which is only flesh
Scuffs its limbs upon the soil,
And fears at night tomorrow’s toil,
And sees in dreams the shade of musk
The trumpets rising in the dusk?

Or is the seed of wheat enough,
Its own bronze parable of blood,
Enorbing in its nucleus
The architecture of the Ark,
The constant covenant of bread?

On the Thirtieth Meridian, at the pivot of the Earth,
A fan spreads out in silted twists
Pinned by five gold inches to the river’s wrist,
And clasped by five white fingers of that marble hand.
Between the rise and fall of speech

The pulse is felt throughout the land,
Its rhythms mimicked by the priests,
Its regulations etched on sleep
In circles, trisects, lines and cubes
Of numbers and of wheat,

Of incantations scratched on stone
That from their power we may eat
The bread, for we have tasted of the fruit,
And found it, if not sweet, of use
In surveying tombs and gardens that will suit.

The wilderness yields only flesh
Of fruit, or fowl, or hunted beast.
It cannot give us wheat and bread,
Though our bodies be of infirm flesh,
It is of bread that we would eat.

Though our thoughts are slaves to blood and heat,
Though we scan the skies with eyes of beasts,
Still we would walk in fields of wheat,
And from such sheaves deduce the laws
Of war and wealth and God, and pause

To build our towns and temples, our avenues and streets,
To gird the very globe with grids,
And make our maps, and take our measures,
And strew the stars with our fields’ myriad,
Grown from one, in the harsh soil, our single treasure.


[from The Book of Hours The Algarve, Portugal, 1979 -- British Columbia, 2005]

Posted by Vanderleun May 3, 2014 11:06 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Illustrated, Odd and True Tale of Dave's Killer Bread



[Then jail.... then jail shrink.... then jail meds..... then out and back to the bakery where Dave invents "vegan loaf" and others..... then a rise to huge success... then...]


The whole loaf can be seen at Modern Farmer

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 3, 2014 4:13 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Firebase Cobra in Afghanistan: Americans with Beards Who Are Not Members of the Pussified Hipster Tribe

AN OPEN LETTER TO BEARDED HIPSTERS | The following is a blog entry from Nicki Daniels:

"Look, I get it. I really do. I understand the motivation behind your beardedness. In fact, I even pity you. Thousands of years of evolution priming you guys to kill stuff, and chase stuff, and fuck stuff….and now what? You’re stuck at a desk all day. No battles to fight. No wars to wage. So you assert your masculinity the only way you know how. You brew beer. You grow some hair on your face. I’ve seen you, hipsters, sitting in downtown eateries, with your rock chick girlfriends, dipping your truffle fries, trying not to get the aioli in your mustache. I’ve seen the quiet desperation in your eyes. I know you’re screaming into the void.
"But I still hate you for it. You’re confusing me. It’s now on me to suss out who is the real man and who is the poseur. Sadly, I fear most of you are the latter. Before this explosion of whiskers on trendy men everywhere, if I saw a bearded man it was safe to assume certain things about him. Like, he probably owned a hammer. Or washed his hair with a bar of Irish Spring. His beard was probably scented with motor oil and probably had remnants of last night’s chili in it."

Posted by gerardvanderleun May 3, 2014 8:34 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hands


"Look at his hands, Bobby." Dad said.

Ten year old Bobby had been staring at the imposing face of Abraham Lincoln feeling that he had been silently judged and that Abe had found him unworthy.

"The hands, Bobby. That is the mark of a great artist. Too many people get focused on the face, but the hands...that's where the skill of the artist truly shows.

Bobby looked at his father. Dad looked like the typical summer tourist in D.C. Knee-length walking shorts, oversized shirt and sandals with black socks. But his dad looked different somehow at that moment. He was lost in thought. A far different look than he had while yelling at the TV during news casts or sports shows.

"Those hands. Those hands that wrote the Gettysburg Address. Those hands held this country together at it's most dark and desperate hours almost by sheer force of will."

Bobby looked again at the statue trying to see it as his dad did. He supposed that the hands were OK... only he was impatient to go to the Air and Space Museum so the impact of his dad's words were mostly lost on him. Somehow, though, he remembered them.

Years passed. Bobby became Rob and then Robert. He had used a version of the Hands speech a few times in college to impress girls at museums. One of those girls eventually gave him her hand in marriage.

Robert had nearly forgot his father's words from that day long ago. Robert became enmeshed in climbing the corporate ladder and keeping up with the Joneses as all men do to a greater or lesser extent.

His dad's words came back to him though one Autumn afternoon as he stood beside his wife's bed in the maternity ward.

Robert saw the finest example of an artist's work. A masterpiece of the greatest caliber.

He looked at his newborn son.

His hands were perfect.

Note: In response to this item on my sidebar yesterday I received the "comment" below by Mumblix Grumph, who when I wrote to ask him where he got it replied, "From my own head.  I thought it up while driving home from work yesterday." I've moved it here so that it not be missed.

Posted by Vanderleun May 1, 2014 2:16 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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