Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Crumbling is not an instant's Act


Crumbling is not an instant's Act
A fundamental pause
Dilapidation's processes
Are organized Decays —

'Tis first a Cobweb on the Soul
A Cuticle of Dust
A Borer in the Axis
An Elemental Rust —

Ruin is formal — Devil's work
Consecutive and slow —
Fail in an instant, no man did
Slipping — is Crashe's law —

by Emily Dickinson : The Poetry Foundation

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 29, 2014 10:19 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
[UPDATED] Anchors Aweigh and to the side

The Lockheed Martin-led industry team launched the nation's seventh Littoral Combat Ship into the Menominee River on Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014. The future LCS Detroit was formally christened prior to her launch by Mrs. Barbara Levin.


"Side-launches are always interesting because of the drop; and the ship is always light being launched. The ship gets most of its equipment and weight after launch, in fitting-out. Many steamships would not have the boilers fitted during launch, those would be lowered in afterwards. So "ohmigosh it rolls" is normal.* What these corvettes will be able to do - heck, I don't know. I don't think anyone can say for certain. I do know, however, that I am looking forward to her commissioning.**
*There are a lot of videos of side-launches and they are really dramatic - as in standing directly across a narrow water from one is a good way to take a bath! I think there is one of launching the new USCGC Mackinaw that shows the wave going across to spectators.
**I do surface patrols for the USCG Auxiliary, most in the Detroit River, and as USS Detroit is to be commissioned in Detroit, I am looking forward to those security patrols for the fun and the photos.
PS: I remember back in the late 1970's-early 1980's how many commenters said the advanced tech US and NATO allies equipment would break down and be unusable if the Soviets invaded and other equipment should be bought, and so on. And then, after Gulf War I, all that talk went away as the US and NATO equipment held up and did what it was advertised to do. Now when I hear complaints about something I keep a salt cellar on hand because I really do not know enough to know how something will turn out. I lost my sure belief in my correctness."
Comment by Michael Jorris


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 29, 2014 11:38 AM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion."


"Of all the dispositions and habits, which lead to political prosperity, Religion and Morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of Patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of Men and Citizens. The mere Politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connexions with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, Where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if the sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in Courts of Justice? And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect, that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle." Washington's Farewell Address

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 29, 2014 8:38 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Inflation? What Inflation?


America: "I am big, it's the dollars that got small!"

Imagine you could go shopping for food and groceries in the 1930's. These are some of the foods you may have bought to feed a family.

Shoulder of Ohio Spring lamb 17 cents per pound Ohio 1932

Sliced Baked Ham 39 cents per pound Ohio 1932

Dozen Eggs 18 Cents Ohio 1932

Coconut Macaroons 27 cents per pound Ohio 1932

Bananas 19 cents for 4 Pounds Ohio 1932

Peanut Butter 23 cents QT Ohio 1932

Bran Flakes 10 cents Maryland 1939

Jumbo Sliced Loaf of Bread 5 cents Maryland 1939

Spinach 5 cents a pound Maryland 1939

Clifton Toilet Tissue 9 cents for 2 rolls Ohio 1932

Camay Soap 6 cents bar Ohio 1932

Cod Liver Oil 44 cents pint   Wisconsin    1933

Tooth paste 27 cents Wisconsin 1933

Lux Laundry Soap 22 cents Indiana 1935

Suntan Oil 25 cents Pennsylvania 1938

Talcum Powder 13 cents Maryland 1939

Noxzema Medicated Cream for Pimples 49 cents Texas 1935

Applesauce 20 cents for 3 cans New Jersey

Bacon, 38 cents per pound New Jersey

Bread, white, 8 cents per loaf New Jersey

Ham, 27 cents can New Jersey

Ketchup, 9 cents New Jersey

Lettuce, iceberg, 7 cents head New Jersey

Potatoes, 18 cents for 10 pounds New Jersey

Sugar, 49 cents for 10 pounds New Jersey

Soap, Lifebuoy, 17 cents for 3 bars New Jersey

Sugar $1.25 per 25LB Sack   Ohio    1932

Pork and Beans 5 cents can Ohio 1932

Oranges 14 for 25 cents Ohio 1932

Chuck Roast 15 cents per pound Ohio 1932

White Potatoes 19 cents for 10LBs Ohio 1932

Heinz Beans 13 cents for 25oz can Ohio 1932

Spring Chickens 20 cents per pound Ohio 1932

Wieners 8 cents per pound Ohio 1932

Best Steak 22 cents per pound Ohio 1935

Pure lard 15 cents per pound Wisconsin 1935

Hot Cross Buns 16 Cents per dozen Texas 1939

Campbells Tomato Soup 4 cans for 25 cents Indiana 1937

Oranges 2 dozen 25 cents Indiana 1937

Kellogs Corn Flakes 3 Pkgs 25 cents Indiana 1937

Mixed Nuts 19 Cents per pound Indiana 1937

Pork Loin Roast 15 cents per pound Indiana 1937

Channel Cat Fish 28 cents per pound Missouri 1938

Fresh Peas 4 cents per pound Maryland 1939

Cabbage 3 cents per pound Maryland 1939

Sharp Wisconsin Cheese 23 cents per pound Maryland 1939

From The People History Site HT: Remus

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 28, 2014 7:38 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When Mama Isn't Home Remix

Yes it is very indulgent. I make no excuses for this one for the simple reason that what possible excuse could there be?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 27, 2014 9:04 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"What's this talk of the 'Ruling Class?' :" An Exchange Between Two Readers on Voting

a_vote.jpg a_stupidvoteers.jpg

The Ruling Class cared enough about their [perverted] view of what America should be for at least the last 50 years, and spent that time organizing and successfully promoting their termitic attack on our foundations.

We the "Drooling Crass" were too dumb, fat, happy, and hardworking to understand and care enough to stop the betrayal.

Here are some bottom-ups suggestions for reversing the descent into tyranny; expect a 10-year effort, at least:

1. Find others in your community (Tea Party folk, patriots of any label) and organize to pressure all your state legislatures to permit recall votes of Federal Reps and Senators. Some states have these laws.

2. Demand, via your concerned group, regular meetings with your Federal Reps and Senators.

Kick their "buts" and "butts" as necessary.

3. Organize letter writing to your local newspaper editorial boards, demanding their support for public policy discussions with your Congress people, at local libraries or school auditoriums. Demand objective detailed coverage of those 'town hall' meetings by the newspapers in a timely fashion. Threaten boycott of the papers if your reasonable citizen demands are not met quickly and consistently -- indicate you will be contacting the papers' advertisers regarding your demands and boycott plans.

4. Get to your local school boards and examine the textbooks and curricula being purveyed. Do you agree with the lessons being promoted? Are they promoting or denigrating our founding principles? Get involved. Attend school board meetings and make your views, with printed handouts, known. Call your newspapers so that they have non-sycophantic, competent reporters present.

5. As above, ask for a personal meeting with your Rep/Senator to express your concern and outrage, and ask "What and when will you be doing to correct the situation." At the least, write a letter describing your concerns and asking for answers to your questions. When you get the replies, send a copy of the Q & A to your local newspapers for comment.

6. WTF are your local community college and state universities, and private universities' political science, journalism, and legal departments doing to help you in your efforts?

Yes, yes I know most schools are liberal [libertine] oriented, still assistance to your group may earn senior students thesis credits for assisting local citizen groups, or whatever satisfaction as citizens.

You are the friggin' taxpayers supporting the schools [especially if they don't have a football team funding the school]. Let the school president know you need the school's support for certain things and demand support, or else! You are still allowed to picket schools in this country. Do it or rue it!

How the hell do you think worthwhile things got done by the citizenry in days gone by, in days of mine and yore? I suspect truly concerned patriots got off their broad backsides and contested and protested in the streets, at newspaper offices, government offices, as well as by letter and boycott.

Cripes! When I was a lot younger I was activist enough to do much of the above, with beneficial effect, in getting some justice for a 7-year old kid 'crucified' for playing in school with a piece of paper torn into the shape of a gun, and helped in getting some justice for others brutalized by thuggish police. I was rewarded with a visit from the the U.S. Marshals department for a letter I'd written to the judge presiding over one of these police brutality cases; I'd dared to invoke the name of Robert Jackson, one of our judges at the Nuremberg Trials, and suggesting that he adhere to the testimony and evidence presented, as had Jackson.

'We are our problem,' as that Peanuts cartoonist said so long ago, or maybe it was Mark Twain.

Have you forgotten our national credo, "Take No Crap."

Teach your children well, lest they become as inactive and slouching, whining slaves as their parents. Present company excluded?]

Posted by: Howard Nelson at October 25, 2014 4:12 PM

Mr. Nelson: Letter-writing campaigns? School board meetings?

No disrespect to your personally, but you might as well address those letters to Bonnie Prince Charlie. You'll get results faster that way.

My friend, we are long past the point where letter-writing campaigns, voting, or any of those other Leave It To Beaver shenanigans will work. You can write all the letters you want, vote Republican all you want, and walk around with a Gadsden Flag in your hands all you want, and the next day abortion will still be legal, invaders will still be streaming across the border, and a man will still be able to pretend he is married to another man.

And no amount of voting, school-board elections, or letter-writing is going to change that.

"But what will change that?"

The answer: turning your back on the Founders, democracy, representative government, John Locke -- the whole Enlightenment narrative. The answer is Madrid, July 1936.

Not a good answer? Don't like it? Me, either. Reality isn't always pleasant -- but one either faces Reality or dies.

I know you mean well, and if I have offended you by these words I sincerely apologize. But Reality is as it is and we do ourselves no favor by pretending. That is why it's time we all took off the Mayberry-colored glasses and faced the reality of politics in America.

Posted by: B Lewis at October 25, 2014 6:12 PM

B. Lewis, no umbrage taken. I know your comments come from a raging heart and educated mind.

Well, insurrection, rebellion, and revolution sound good but won't get rolling before the armed rebels are all placed in detention centers [concentration camps]as dangerous kooks, like the madmen militia types that blew up that mid-west government building 10-15 years ago. Government surveillance would have those rebels picked up long before they were organized in sufficient numbers to pose an imminent threat to anything but a small town police force.

Our imagination and sense of history is failing us and disheartening us for the state by state, municipality by municipality effort that's possible and necessary.

The doomsday scenario of uncivil war:

half the citizenry that hates the government, half the citizenry that would vote for Obama a 3rd time, and at best a divided military -- a part loyal to the existing government and president and another part in rebellion. Be assured in such an event ALL electronic and electrical systems will be sabotaged, food distribution and water supplies disrupted, criminal street gangs rampant -- this would be the norm. I believe we are far from that kind of necessity and situation.

If you are correct, we should expect to see violent protests in the streets by 1000's of 'white' participants all over the country being opposed by 'blacks' and 'browns' who, tho being raped by Obama and the Democrats still support him in vast percentages.

No chance of that confrontation for a long, long time; things are still too good and durable in the USA today. With even Democrats, parts of the MSM, and talk show liberals distancing themselves from Obama, and Black-American support reportedly down from 95% to 85% it may be the downtrend in the culture is slowing if not yet turning upward.

Various states are already rejecting the 'core curriculum' put out by the Feds. How'd that happen without popular support? It didn't. The popular rejection happened WITH citizen support. Some citizens are not as lazy and uncaring as they are portrayed to be by the despairing.

The children of today will be the adults tomorrow. Will their schooling adulterate them or will WE ensure they are educated as critical thinkers instead of clueless pawns?

Had the 10-year effort started 10 years ago we'd be on the upturn by now. What will we say 10 years hence, "Oh, we should have started this at least 10 or 20 years ago"?

Vote early and often and recall any slimeball in office that deserves burial in a shit pit. That kind of message will quickly go viral and activate the non-dead.

Regarding Prince Charlie, he doesn't read English any more; he reads subservience to Islam. I might get a quicker response from him, but I prefer the 10-year response from effective Americans.

Posted by: Howard Nelson at October 25, 2014 7:12 PM

-- Comments on "Bill Whittle -- Make Him Own It: Why You Must Vote in the Midterms @ AMERICAN DIGEST"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 27, 2014 7:47 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And on the President's Calendar Today We Find....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 27, 2014 7:43 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Maddie the last surviving Original 1955 Nomad

Meet Maddie, one of the best unrestored, original paint & interior examples known of the rare & iconic 1955 Belair Nomad wagon.

Out of nearly a million Chevy Belairs built in 1955, only about 8100 Nomads were ever produced; this example is in the most desirable regal turquoise with India ivory top. First year of Chevy's small block V8, the 265, it is mated to a 2-speed cast iron powerglide automatic transmission. All mechanical components are original to the car as it left the factory. All 55 Nomad bodies were produced at the Cleveland plant then assembled & finished at various plants around the country; this one in Oakland California. Born Aug. 15, 1955, it is one of the last 55 Nomads off the assembly line before production switched over to the 56 model in September of that year. In astonishingly clean condition, Maddie will turn 60 years old this coming year. She looks pretty damn good for an old girl. Enjoy!

The seller had left me alone with the car to look it over.
I was sitting in the driver’s seat, just taking it in, and it was dead silent except for a faint ‘tick, tick, tick.’ I looked over and realized that not only was the original dash clock ticking, but the time was correct! I just about lost my mind, and decided at that moment I had to have that car.”
Factory-Fresh 1955 Chevy Nomad Emerges From 40-Year Hibernation | Collectors Weekly

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 26, 2014 11:00 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
2014 National Geographic Photo Contest, Part II


More at - In Focus - The Atlantic

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 26, 2014 4:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"That's Cream, re-united and performing "White Room," probably their best-known song."

Cream - White room 2005 by hunter27

"Those are old men. Eric Clapton, playing the black Stratocaster, has his hair mussed just so as a sop to youth, but they're old farts. Old farts playing rock music are lame. Cream is not. Here's why: [ .... ] Cream is a part of a tradition of adult music. they listened to music from America's black musical tradition, where it is was plenty acceptable to be an adult, and to consider adult themes. When they were young, they were striving to be old. Now they are old, and need not strive. [ .... ] They sit in the chair in the excavator, their knobby hands move the levers just so, and they move the bucket with the delicacy of the teaspoon. They wake up tired, and yet they never fade while working, because they husband their energies where the young and strong and dumb flail away and drop out. They stand in the shade whenever possible, and rest when it is offered, but do not flag; and they smile at one another at the end of the day's work, exactly the same smile exchanged at the end of this song, a knowing smile among those who have earned the respect of a fellow adult man."
--- Sippican Cottage's Jack Bruce RIP

...... But then again there is always the original...... something that was another order of being altogether.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 26, 2014 2:56 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
[Bumped] Bill Whittle -- Make Him Own It: Why You Must Vote in the Midterms

Everyone who thinks his or her vote against the machine doesn't count or doesn't matter because no alternative is possible needs to watch this five minute argument against their moral vacuity. Pay attention because it will be on the final.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 26, 2014 6:25 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Rototiller Races

World Championship Rototiller Races in Emmerson, Arkansas.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 25, 2014 4:36 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
There is the world dimensional for those untwisted by the love of things irreconcilable ...



The mind is brushed by sparrow wings;
Numbers, rebuffed by asphalt, crowd
The margins of the day, accent the curbs,
Convoying divers dawns on every corner
To druggist, barber and tobacconist,
Until the graduate opacities of evening
Take them away as suddenly to somewhere
Virginal perhaps, less fragmentary, cool.

There is the world dimensional for
those untwisted by the love of things
irreconcilable ...

For The Marriage of Faustus and Helen by Hart Crane

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 25, 2014 1:56 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Let there be no change by usurpation"


It is important, likewise, that the habits of thinking in a free country should inspire caution, in those intrusted with its administration, to confine themselves within their respective constitutional spheres, avoiding in the exercise of the powers of one department to encroach upon another.

The spirit of encroachment tends to consolidate the powers of all the departments in one, and thus to create, whatever the form of government, a real despotism. A just estimate of that love of power, and proneness to abuse it, which predominates in the human heart, is sufficient to satisfy us of the truth of this position. The necessity of reciprocal checks in the exercise of political power, by dividing and distributing it into different depositories, and constituting each the Guardian of the Public Weal against invasions by the others, has been evinced by experiments ancient and modern; some of them in our country and under our own eyes. To preserve them must be as necessary as to institute them. If, in the opinion of the people, the distribution or modification of the constitutional powers be in any particular wrong, let it be corrected by an amendment in the way, which the constitution designates. But let there be no change by usurpation; for, though this, in one instance, may be the instrument of good, it is the customary weapon by which free governments are destroyed. - - Washington's Farewell Address

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 25, 2014 1:52 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
FRONT DRIVER's Last Port of Call -- Gadani Beach Pakistan Where Greenpeace Is Nowhere to Be Seen



At Gadani Beach, 40 kilometers west of Karachi City, where men with saws made of fire come every day to do a job of work.

Shipbreaking: How it begins.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 25, 2014 11:23 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary Classics: Heavy Fuel

Music to unpack everything you own by.....

Last time I was sober, man I felt bad
Worst hangover that I ever had
It took six hamburgers and scotch all night
Nicotine for breakfast just to put me right
Cause if you wanna run cool
If you wanna run cool
If you wanna run cool, you got to run
On heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel

My life makes perfect sense
Lust and food and violence
Sex and money are my major kicks
Get me in a fight I like dirty tricks
Cause if you wanna run cool
If you wanna run cool
Yes if you wanna run cool, you got to run
On heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel

My chick loves a man who's strong
The things she'll do to turn me on
I love the babes, don't get me wrong
Hey, that's why I wrote this song

I don't care if my liver is hanging by a thread
Don't care if my doctor says I ought to be dead
When my ugly big car wont climb this hill
I'll write a suicide note on a hundred dollar bill
Cause if you wanna run cool
If you wanna run cool
Yes if you wanna run cool, you got to run
On heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel

On heavy, heavy fuel
Heavy, heavy fuel

[If it is late at night
then you just might
Want to hit full screen
And crank up the speakers,
If you know what I mean.

Wait for the saxophone....
wait for it.]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 22, 2014 10:41 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Not-So-Contemporary Classics: Man Of Constant Sorrow [Updated]

As sung by Bob Dylan, Roscoe Holcomb, The Foggy Mountain Boys, The New Lost City Ramblers, Dan Tyminski and... wait for it... Limbotheque.

"I am a man of constant sorrow
I've seen trouble all my days
I'll say goodbye to Colorado
Where I was born and partly raised.

Your mother says I'm a stranger
My face you'll never see no more
But there's one promise, darling
I'll see you on God's golden shore.

Through this open world I'm about to ramble
Through ice and snow, sleet and rain
I'm about to ride that morning railroad
Perhaps I'll die on that train.

I'm going back to Colorado
The place that I started from
If I knowed how bad you'd treat me
Honey, I never would have come."

History of this traditional American folk song.

"It was first recorded by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. "Man of Constant Sorrow" is a traditional American folk song first recorded by Dick Burnett, a partially blind fiddler from Kentucky. Although he song was originally recorded by Burnett as "Farewell Song" printed in a Richard Burnett songbook, c. 1913. An early version was recorded by Emry Arthur in 1928 (Vocalion Vo 5208).
"On October 13, 2009 on the Diane Rehm Show, Dr. Ralph Stanley of the Stanley Brothers, born in 1927, discussed the song, its origin, and his effort to revive it: "Man of Constant Sorrow" is probably two or three hundred years old. But the first time I heard it when I was y'know, like a small boy, my daddy -- my father -- he had some of the words to it, and I heard him sing it, and we -- my brother and me -- we put a few more words to it, and brought it back in existence. I guess if it hadn't been for that it'd have been gone forever. I'm proud to be the one that brought that song back, because I think it's wonderful."
"There is some uncertainty whether Dick Burnett himself wrote the song. One claim is that it was sung by the Mackin clan in 1888 in Ireland and that Cameron O'Mackin emigrated to Tennessee, brought the song with him, and performed it. In an interview he gave toward the end of his life, Burnett himself indicated that he could not remember:
Charles Wolfe: "What about this "Farewell Song" -- 'I am a man of constant sorrow' -- did you write it?"

Richard Burnett: "No, I think I got the ballad from somebody -- I dunno. It may be my song..."

"If Burnett wrote the song, the date of its composition, or at least of the editing of certain lyrics by Burnett, can be fixed at about 1913. Since it is known that Burnett was born in 1883, married in 1905, and blinded in 1907, the dating of two of these texts can be made on the basis of internal evidence. The second stanza of "Farewell Song" mentions that the singer has been blind six years, which put the date at 1913. According to the Country Music Annual, Burnett "probably tailored a pre-existing song to fit his blindness" and may have adapted a hymn. Charles Wolfe argues that "Burnett probably based his melody on an old Baptist hymn called "Wandering Boy".

Bob Dylan stated,

"Roscoe Holcomb has a certain untamed sense of control, which makes him one of the best." Eric Clapton called Holcomb "my favorite [country] musician." Holcomb's white-knuckle performances reflect a time before radio told musicians how to play, and these recordings make other music seem watered-down in comparison. His high, tense voice inspired the term "high lonesome sound." Self-accompanied on banjo, fiddle, guitar, or harmonica, these songs express the hard life he lived and the tradition in which he was raised. Includes his vintage 1961 "Man of Constant Sorrow."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 22, 2014 12:56 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Constitution which at any time exists, till changed by an explicit and authentic act of the whole people, is sacredly obligatory upon all."

Number One

17 All obstructions to the execution of the Laws, all combinations and associations,

under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation, the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels, and modified by mutual interests.
18 However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people, and to usurp for themselves the reins of government; destroying afterwards the very engines, which have lifted them to unjust dominion. Washington's Farewell Address

Number Nothing

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 22, 2014 8:52 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Art: Raids on the Inarticulate


And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate
— but there is no competition —
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business.

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 22, 2014 7:53 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink

"Your great-great grandfather was the one who cleared the soil

Your great-grandfather was the one who worked the soil

And your grandfather turned a profit on the land

And your father was the one who sold the land

To become a government functionary

And as for you my young lad,

You don’t know what you will do

In your little 1 bedroom,

Too expensive and cold in the winter

Sometimes a vague desire comes to you

To own something of your own

Dreaming at night

Of having your own little acre of land…”


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 21, 2014 10:53 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 2015 Social Justice Kittens Calendar




Unlike bland, privileged garbage kittens chosen for nothing more than shallow good looks, Social Justice Kittens radiate fierce strength in the face of untold adversity, and all are gifted with a dazzling array of genders and orientations to go with their tiny, oh-so-kissable faces! THE STATUS QUO WILL NEVER FULLY ACCEPT THESE KITTENS! Calendar from LiarTownUSA | Square Market

HT: the ever valuable davidthompson

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 21, 2014 6:55 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Sane Man Speaks on Ebola: "If West Africa is a gas can that was waiting for a match, the rest of Central Africa is a gasoline tanker waiting for a match, and nobody anywhere has a Plan B for what happens if this gets out further...."

This is the most honest and most lucid 28 minutes on the status of Ebola on the Planet Earth at this moment that exists today.

It is summed up at Raconteur Report: Ebola: This Is What Science Sounds Like

Highlight thoughts:

1) "The more I study about Ebola, the less I know about it."

2) "Reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled."
(Tom Frieden, Anthony Fauci, call your office.")

3) Everything we know about Ebola so far is based on a total of 2400 patients from the past24 outbreaks over 40 years. the longest set of generations has been 5. (For reference, we are at 9000-20000 patients, and we're on generation 20-25, this time around).

4) People are never frightened by statements like "I don't know, but this is what I'm doing to learn." But they do get scared if you tell them A or B with certainty, and it doesn't happen; or if dueling experts tell you A and Z simultaneously.

5) We don't know what will really work. We should try everything we can. @ 9:46 "I believe the only thing we can do today is continue to try the treatment bed approach, to try to do as much as we can to isolate infected individuals,and quarantine and so forth...we've gotta do what we can."

6) It's time to reconsider our response, and if we hadn't been so dogmatic about things we didn't know, that wouldn't be so hard.

7) There's no Plan "B". If West Africa is a gas can that was waiting for a match, the rest of Central Africa is a gasoline tanker waiting for a match, and nobody anywhere has a Plan B for what happens if this gets out further, and they're not even thinking about it. We need to start thinking about those answers now. Can we fight it on two fronts if it gets out? We can't even fight it on one front now.

8) I believe we can have an effective vaccine; but there's a big difference between getting a vaccine, and actually how and where we're going to make it, how we're going to get it there, andwho's going to get it into Africans now. We need to imagine that Kinshasa is on fire tomorrow, and do all of these things at the same time, not doing one after the other.

9) We have a problem with couching things in certainty for which certainty does not exist.

10) Some Ebola patients don't present with fever, ever. Now is the time to tell people that, instead of waiting until that explodes, and the media asks you "Why didn't you tell us the complete truth?"

11) Aerosols are created, and research has indicated that with Ebola, airborne transmission has been observed between laboratory animal species. We shouldn't not tell people about this, because top Ebola virologists have studied this, seen it, and are very concerned about the possibility. What are we going to do ("Plan B") if we do have an airborne transmission, and we suddenly have a reason to be very concerned about airplane cabin transmission? We need to start making that plan before it's a problem.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 20, 2014 8:52 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Waking by Theodore Roethke


I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I feel my fate in what I cannot fear.
I learn by going where I have to go.

We think by feeling. What is there to know?
I hear my being dance from ear to ear.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Of those so close beside me, which are you?
God bless the Ground! I shall walk softly there,
And learn by going where I have to go.

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.

Great Nature has another thing to do
To you and me; so take the lively air,
And, lovely, learn by going where to go.

This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 20, 2014 12:07 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something wicked this way comes....

A radio-controlled flying witch makes a test flight past a moon setting into clouds along the pacific ocean in Carlsbad, California, on October 8, 2014.

SCENE I. A cavern. In the middle, a boiling cauldron.

Thunder. Enter the three Witches

First Witch
Thrice the brinded cat hath mew'd.

Second Witch
Thrice and once the hedge-pig whined.

Third Witch
Harpier cries 'Tis time, 'tis time.

First Witch
Round about the cauldron go;
In the poison'd entrails throw.
Toad, that under cold stone
Days and nights has thirty-one
Swelter'd venom sleeping got,
Boil thou first i' the charmed pot.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Fillet of a fenny snake,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of newt and toe of frog,
Wool of bat and tongue of dog,
Adder's fork and blind-worm's sting,
Lizard's leg and owlet's wing,
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Third Witch
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.

Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn and cauldron bubble.

Second Witch
Cool it with a baboon's blood,
Then the charm is firm and good.

Second Witch
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks!

Enter Barack Hussain Obola....


Obama Plans to Let Ebola-infected Foreigners Into U.S. for Treatment - The Obama administration is actively formulating plans to admit Ebola-infected non-U.S. citizens into the United States for treatment.

Specifically, the goal of the administration is to bring Ebola patients into the United States for treatment within the first days of diagnosis. It is unclear who would bear the high costs of transporting and treating non-citizen Ebola patients. The plans include special waivers of laws and regulations that ban the admission of non-citizens with a communicable disease as dangerous as Ebola. One source tells us that the Obama administration is keeping this plan secret from Congress. The source is concerned that the proposal is illegal; endangers the public health and welfare; and should require the approval of Congress. -- Judicial Watch

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 20, 2014 12:57 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Moving In


After more than 60 days in the wilderness of California, the next few days will be taken up with the final steps of my move from Seattle.

As a consequence internet access and overall energy may cause a momentary interruption in this page which has, I note, already survived one wife, one death, two long distance moves, and ten years.

I'm sure I'll be fit as a fiddle by next week and not at all undone by this particular ordeal.....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 18, 2014 7:08 AM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
24 Kinds of Mental Disease Passing as Normal


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 15, 2014 8:35 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Masque of the Red Death by Edgar Allan Poe (read by Tom O'Bedlam)


THE "Red Death" had long devastated the country.

No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood. There were sharp pains, and sudden dizziness, and then profuse bleeding at the pores, with dissolution. The scarlet stains upon the body and especially upon the face of the victim, were the pest ban which shut him out from the aid and from the sympathy of his fellow-men. And the whole seizure, progress and termination of the disease, were the incidents of half an hour.
But the Prince Prospero was happy and dauntless and sagacious. When his dominions were half depopulated, he summoned to his presence a thousand hale and light-hearted friends from among the knights and dames of his court, and with these retired to the deep seclusion of one of his castellated abbeys....
And the life of the ebony clock went out with that of the last of the gay. And the flames of the tripods expired. And Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all. -- The Masque of the Red Death

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 11:14 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You Will Not Make Australia Your Home"

Australia: No Visa? You Are Not Welcome Here | Truth Revolt

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 8:48 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"It's Not That Contagious...."

The gift of the clip that just keeps on giving.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 8:36 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
[All] Road Trip

A Couple’s Incredible 550,000-Mile Odyssey Through 177 Countries Over 26 Years. In a Single Car. In moments of peak stress, boredom, or desperation for change, we’ve probably all shared the same dream: why not just drop everything and travel. Many are lucky do it for a few months, or even a couple of years, but perhaps no modern travelers have been more ambitious than Gunther and Christine Holtorf, who set out in 1990 on a tour of Africa in a Mercedes Benz G Wagon named ‘Otto,’ and never looked back. Over the next 20 years the trio would rack up almost 550,000 miles (885,139km) across some 177 countries. They never once slept in a hotel, preferring to string up hammocks or sleep inside Otto, a car that required a stockpile of 400 spare parts lashed to the roof for emergency repairs.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 7:50 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Old Regime

There are hundreds of nineteenth-century photographs of severed heads.

Severed heads posed alone on tables, severed heads positioned at the foot of a headless bodies, decapitated heads of accomplices posed together—the possible arrangements seems endless. Between the severed heads, photographs of executions, portraits of criminals, and portraits of guillotine victims, what is the nineteenth century if not, as Daniel Arasse has suggested, a “extended series of heads cut off and cut up”?

Antoine Wiertz, Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Head (1853).

“I asked Monsieur D to put me in rapport with the cut-off head,” Wiertz recounted, “by means of whatever new procedures seemed appropriate to him. Monsieur D acquiesced. He made some preparations and then we waited not without excitement for the fall of a human head.” Wiertz’s magnetopathic experience paid off in the most macabre manner: “The head of the executed man, saw, thought, and suffered,” the painter wrote, “And I saw what he saw, understood what he thought, and felt what he suffered.”

“Four hours in advance,” reported the International Herald Tribune, “six hundred persons pressed toward the Place Louis-Barthou.

There were catcalls and jests with the Mobile Guard and occasionally a wave of cheering and whistling. In two brightly lighted cafes waiters joked and perspired and piles of sausage sandwiches, prepared in advance, went steadily down.” A little after 4 a.m. Weidmann emerged from his cell “eyes…tightly shut, his face flushed and his cheeks sunken.” His blue, prison-issued shirt had already been cut away from his neck and shoulders. Weidmann was placed in the awaiting guillotine, “his shoulders…startlingly white against the dark polished wood of the machine.” — Photographing the Guillotine —The Appendix

The Old Regime

The tumbrils creak and rumble back
Along the roads of slate,
Retracing rutted years of sand
Whose distance storms debate.

The passengers stand fixed as stone
While faces cheer from snow.
The blade awaits it's midday meal,
When those above become below.

Innovations carved from clouds
Give despair and dance new measures.
The blade reflects its evening meal
When kings slake lower pleasures.

Arrived at Now they gaze at mist
Where granite horses roam.
Their schedules as fixed as dark.
Their future -- structured foam.

The head within the basket sees
Vast parliaments of sky.
The ears hear but the fading surf
As the past gone years drift by.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 7:24 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Low-Info MoFos: Random Interviews with Your Fellow Citizens Who Still Support Obama

Yes, you do have to be "special" to still support Obama. Yes, these are your fellow citizens. Yes, they do have the right to vote. Yes, you can now set yourself on fire.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 14, 2014 1:04 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Sunday and I Miss My Church

"Science says it's all just circumstance
Like this whole world's just an accident.
But if you want to shoot that theory down,
Look around.

Just look around.

There is a God.
There is a God.
There is a God.
How much proof do you need? "

The Seattle Church of Christ — Located in the Queen Anne district of Seattle (Westside) and downtown Bellevue (Eastside), The Seattle Church of Christ is a congregation committed to celebrating the work of God in our lives, and becoming a light to those around us.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 12, 2014 1:46 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 80s: Big Babes with Big Hair, Big Shoulders, and Big Sounds. Guys in The Big Suit

Ah, the 80s. Ronald Reagan for the Right and Leather Bars for the Left. Talking Heads fitness videos for everyone else. What was not to like? Except PC, AIDS, mortgage rates north of 12% and its rollicking sidekick, an inflation calculated to give you a permanent facial twitch.

All that and the rise of the Psycho Killer as cultural icon.

"Hi. I got a tape I wanna play."

"Whoa, you like to think that you're immune to the stuff, oh yeah...."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 11, 2014 10:19 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Last Minute Appeal from the All-Purpose Either-Party Candidate for November Elections


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 11, 2014 4:45 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Living on a Prayer: Dance like the whole world isn't actually watching....

Tommy used to work on the docks
Union's been on strike
He's down on his's tough, so tough

Gina works the diner all day
Working for her man, she brings home her pay
For love - for love

She says we've got to hold on to what we've got
it doesn't make a difference
If we make it or not
We've got each other and that's a lot
For love - we'll give it a shot

Whooaaaaaa! We're half way there
Whooooaaaa! Livin' on a prayer
Take my hand- we'll make it - I swear
Whooaaaa! Livin' on a prayer!

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 11, 2014 8:24 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Blue Ghost Fireflies in Brevard, North Carolina


Blue Ghost fireflies are unique because they stay lit and only hover about a foot off the ground. 2014 National Geographic Photo Contest

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 10, 2014 9:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
How It's Done: "It Was a Very Good Year"

"What's the time on that? 3:12? 4:20? That's longer than the first act of Hamlet."

You have to get to the short days to really understand that it never, ever, gets better than this.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 10, 2014 12:41 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Light Pillars and Human Errors

Light pillars scrape the night sky over Alaska. It may look as if an alien invasion force is beaming down to overrun our little planet but, in fact, this is a purely natural phenomenon. Light and water is all that is needed to produce this remarkable special effect.When light, either natural or man-made comes in to contact with the facets of ice crystals in the air (usually close to the ground) it does one thing: bounce.  When the source of light is close to or on the ground the light pillar will appear above the floating crystals. ~ Kuriositas

The Canine Sacrifice: Excalibur, the dog of the Spanish nurse infected with Ebola, barks from her balcony in Madrid, Spain, on October 8, 2014. Authorities captured the dog and euthanized it, drawing protests from some who asked that the dog be quarantined rather than destroyed. Photos of the Week: 10/4-10/10 - In Focus - The Atlantic

The Eyes! The Eyes!Slublog on Twitter: "Made this a couple of years ago. Totally not a cult.

“Some men aren’t looking for anything logical like money. They can’t be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.” – Alfred, in "The Dark Knight” For some reason this concept always tends to catch some people by surprise. Take the New York Times for example, their headline today reads: WASHINGTON — Darkness is enveloping American politics. Hard to dispute, as it turns out, butt isn’t that, uh…racist? Michelle Obama's Mirror: The October Surprise: Our Best Efforts Are Not Good Enough

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 10, 2014 9:42 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How is it possible to enjoy sadness?

Samuel Barber - Adagio for Strings, op. 11 by Leonard Bernstein

During the funeral service for Princess Grace of Monaco in 1982, the New York Times noted,

“while a part of Samuel Barber’s soaring Adagio for Strings was being played, Prince Albert, who is 24, covered his face in his black-gloved hands. Princess Caroline, who wept, turned towards her father, who sat next to her by the altar, but the Prince [Rainier], partly slumped, eyes half-closed, did not raise his head.” A friend of the prince described him as experiencing “one of the most deep, most total sadnesses” at the loss of his wife.
Barber’s “Adagio” was played at the prince’s own funeral in 2005, and it memorialized the deaths of Sen. Robert A. Taft in 1953, Albert Einstein in 1955, and John Kennedy in 1963. One friend of Barber’s said he heard the music on the radio within 10 minutes of Kennedy’s assassination.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Life is already full of pain; why do we design art to exacerbate it? “If we enjoy the sadness that we claim to feel, then it is not plainly sadness that we are talking of, because sadness is not an enjoyable experience,” writes philosopher Stephen Davies. “On the other hand, if the sadness is unpleasant, we would not seek out, as we do, artworks leading us to feel sad.” How is it possible to enjoy sadness? Sound and Sorrow – Futility Closet

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 10, 2014 7:14 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pixel Perfect


The Magic of Michelle Obama:

The before and after pictures above were taken within days of one another, rather underscoring the miraculous transformation. The first was at an event where Michelle was speaking to sick youngsters at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital (see? We're reporting good news!) and thoughtfully she did something severe and unexplainable with her hair to give it sort of a chemo-chic look to help fit in with the sick kids. And that was a very, very nice thing to do.... In her subsequent Redbook picture, the first lady has grown a remarkably full head of remarkably straight hair in a remarkably short time, her chin has narrowed to a point, she's shed about 40 pounds, and her smiling face is as unlined as a mirror from which her husband, in his younger and less serious days, had vigorously snorted cocaine. Hope n' Change Cartoons:

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 9, 2014 11:26 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Home, Prelude: The Hive and the Town


During my years in the cities, returning to New York by air at night mesmerized me during the long approach. Sliding down over the Alleghenies from the west, curving in over the Atlantic from the South, or throttling back and easing off the Great Circle Route from Europe, the emergence of the vast sprawl of lights that defined the Hive always enraptured me.

On moonless nights, after the humming hours held in that aluminum cylinder hoisted into mid-heaven, you saw the long continents of dark water or land dissolve into shimmering white-gold strands connecting to clusters of earth-anchored constellations that merged to expanding galaxies of towns, suburbs, and cities until all below was a shimmering web of man-made stars.

As you swept down still lower, these massive meadows of stars resolved to highways and streets, boroughs and neighborhoods, houses and buildings and the yellow prongs of headlights darting under the streetlights. Then you were over the boundary, the runway blurring just beneath your seat. A bump and a bounce, engines reversing, weight shifting forward then back, and you were returned to earth and rolling towards the gate. If you were coming in from the Caribbean there was grateful applause for the pilot for the miracle of a safe landing.

You deplaned, grabbed your bags, hailed a cab and soon were bumping along the Long Island Expressway, one pair of headlights hazed beneath streetlights you'd looked down on only minutes before. The meter clicked past $30.00, the skyline of Manhattan rose behind the gravestones of the vast cemetery, a bridge and a toll and you were back in the Hive.

I loved the Hive across all the long years I lived within it. It was at once exciting and exasperating, densely communal and achingly lonely, empowering and eviscerating, inspiring and degrading.

The Hive was always present, its sirens faint and rising roiled your sleep. The Hive never stopped coming at you and, on those days when your mental defenses were weak and your emotional shields wavered, it could splatter your soul.

The same random evening stroll through downtown that would show you six people ambling along dressed as gigantic baked potatoes (complete with a pat of butter, gob of sour cream and chives), would also show you a wizened bum so diminished that he would drop his trousers, squat, and defecate in the middle of the sidewalk as bond traders in bespoke suits and handmade English shoes stepped carefully around the spectacle seeing nothing, nothing at all.

An old friend with little use for it describes the Hive as, "Hell with good restaurants."

But Hell has its charms no less than Heaven; more it would seem than mere Heaven for how else does the Hive hold so many in thrall for so long? Did not Milton, who being blind saw so deeply, declare, "Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heaven?"

In the Hive as in Hell, there's always someone lower in the ranking than you, until, of course, you become the defecating bum or another one of the soul-gutted homeless set out randomly on the streets as both warnings and talismans of what can happen should you fail to toe the line, talk the talk, and walk the walk that the Hive demands in exchange for your small but continuing prosperity.

These small skills of toeing, talking and walking I mastered in my first days in the Hive. I continued to deploy them with some modest success across all the long years after. I say "modest" since, just as there was always no shortage of those beneath you in the Hive, so too did the heap of souls piled in the Hive rise far above you. Exactly how far their relative altitude was above yours was always measured only by the cold metric of gold. And if the Hive is long on anything, it is gold.

Except of course that no matter how gold much you acquire, you only have a little of all that there is to be had; a fact that keeps people in the Hive long after there's any real human need for being there. In the Hive there's always more gold to be had. The only thing the Hive asks of you in exchange is your time. The Hive never has enough "time," since to be in the Hive is to squander your time at a greater rate than you realize until you turn around, three decades are gone, and at long last you know -- you know to a certainty -- that you're running short.

Soon it will be fifteen years since I left the Hive and I've no inclination to return. It's easy to say that my love affair with the life of the Hive ended in fire, smoke, ash and falling bodies on the crisp and clear morning of September 11, 2001, but that's only a convenient peg on which to hang the more complicated dissolution of an unwritten pact.

It more probably began in a house northeast of the city some ten years before 2001. Or perhaps it began in a hundred other equally mundane moments. In truth, you are either growing into a thing or growing out of a thing and towards something else, some other phase of this long series of repeated lessons handed out by existence for what you hope is some purpose, although what purpose that might be is always obscure; always emerging from the smoke of the world but never seen until you are past it. No matter. As the early Portuguese explorers knew, "It is important to travel. It is not important to arrive."

By the time I left the Hive, whatever had once bound me to it had long since frayed away. The upward pace of a "career" seemed more and more like a pointless marathon, a mere job. Long days spent striving to "exceed corporate goals" came to resemble a game of pick-up-sticks played with cows. Efforts to save an enterprise that one didn't own came down to admitting that the enterprise had no intrinsic worth other than maintaining the vulgar lifestyle of an aging monomaniac who could no longer reason his way through two and two to four. It all combined into a vast cloud of wind-spun detritus that obscured the plain and simple fact that while government employees were working 24 hours a day printing more money, nobody anywhere was printing more time.

And so, at last, "Man, you gotta go."

Jack Kerouac, Bard of the Road, wrote "Man, you gotta go." Then he went home, lived with his mother again, and died a drunk. Not my road.

Okay. Fair enough. But go where? Here? Maybe. But where, exactly, is "here?"

Today, for a week or so, "here" turns out to be a small town up on the northwest edge of the nation. In size and composition, architecture and attitude, it is just about the exact polar opposite of the Hive.

Where Central Park in the Hive is a large, long oblong of struggling overused green in the center of an immense slab of asphalt, steel and concrete, the central park of this town is about 25 yards on a side. It's a pleasant patch of cool grass studded with picnic tables and ringed with oaks that drape it in a shawl of shade. At the east end is a brick and cedar bandstand where banjos, guitars and fiddles sing out on odd afternoons and evenings. You'll hear some country and some rock, but mostly you'll hear the strains of bluegrass brought down out of the old Alleghenies and carried far west to these higher, more distant and demanding mountains.

On the west side of the park is a five-foot by three-foot marble faced granite slab in the shape of two tablets donated and erected there by the local chapter of the Eagles. Carved into the marble face in polished script are the Ten Commandments, King James version.

It would seem that whatever local chapter of the ACLU exists in these parts has chosen to ignore this blatant eruption of the Christian tradition in the secular town park. One might suppose the ACLU has done this simply because it hasn't gotten around to it. It would, however, be much more likely that the organization is aware that in this town an ACLU suit to remove the Ten Commandments would be answered not with a five year legal argument, but with 30 rounds of semi-automatic rifle fire into the offices and automobiles of those seeking its removal. Since, for all its posturing, the ACLU has devolved into a refuge for moral and physical cowards with law degrees, it's not difficult to see why this stone, largely unread and unnoticed, has been given a pass.

This is a heavily armed part of the nation and, as a result, it is a very civil and polite part as well. The local army surplus store, called "Army Surplus," offers a selection of 40 MM artillery rounds (disarmed) to those locals who collect vintage ammunition or simply to those in need of a paper weight with authority.

The local classified bargain hunter newspaper ("Nickel's Worth – One Copy Free") offers free rabbits (with hutch), free pigs (no accommodations included) and free kindling ("2 cords U haul"). On the same page you're offered such amusements as a 50 pound keg of black powder ($75.00) and a pistol grip pump-action Mossburg shotgun with a short 20 inch barrel ("Used twice, like new, make offer.") There are rumors that some folks outside of town own used Army tanks, but these are not listed in the paper although large tanks for storing diesel and gasoline on your land are, along with military level first aid kits. Just the thing for a sucking chest wound.

As I get up and walk away from the shaded picnic table where I've been writing, a man sitting on the bandstand with a lunch sack and a large bottle of Mountain Dew smiles and asks, "Are you vacating that table?"

Like I said, when the people are well armed people are very polite.

But of course, that's not the driving reason for civility, only a part of the general community background coloring. Another reason in this town of about 6,500 souls is that -- for all the locals complain about the summer traffic -- the town is not very crowded at all. Yet another reason is that the town is very, very white; so white that even the Native Americans here are, well, sort of pale.

Currents concerns and tensions over ethnic diversity make it to the town via television, radio, and the puffed-up editorials scribbled in the distant Spokane newspaper. A shabby local rag parrots the received line of the American Left, but it is largely ignored except by the 20 odd people listed on its gigantic masthead. The love of diversity is probably taught in the schools along with the other two vital educational truths of our era -- Tobacco, bad; New York Times, good -- but other than that diversity and the other tendentious tenets of these times are just a wisps of smoke on far distant waters. In this town, being white is simply what you are.

If you had any doubt of this, a haircut at the local barber shop ("The Last Male Outpost") would trim your notion shorter than a Marine flat-top. Although sporting a red, white, and blue barber pole outside the shop boasts a Confederate Stars and Bars barber pole on the inside. Taking a seat you can leaf through vintage copies of "Field & Stream," "Guns & Ammo," and the long defunct "The Mother Earth News" ("Build a Compost Tumbler from Your Hot Water Tank!").

There's no New-Age elevator music here, but an always on police scanner so you can be among the first to know "when it all goes down." If you listen while the clippers are whirring in your ear, your barber will tell you that what all women secretly and shamefully want is the one thing they can't have, "The natural power of the male." He'll also reveal that he's trying to get this power working on his third wife.

If you said the right things and listened harder and came by for haircuts at regular intervals for a year or so, you might find out a few other things concerning high-caliber automatic weapons and ammunition stockpiles against that fateful day "when it all goes down," but blunt inquiries from a casual summer drop-in would probably be met with silence and a very bad, very close haircut.

From all of this, if you live in the Hive, you might think you have a clear impression of this town up along the northwest edge of the nation, and file it with similar impressions of other towns out on the edges of the grid and far from the maddening crowd in the Hive. You'd have that impression but it would be a false impression. Not because of anything I've put in, but because of what I've left out. Like any other place, the town has many faces.

It's a town of small houses and tin roofs ("So the snow slides off easy.") A town where the teenagers drive the five block main drag with rap music blaring from their parent's cars. It's a town where there's comedy and tragedy inside a small house with five kids and a hand lettered sign on the fence welcoming the father back from Iraq. It's a town with the plagues of drugs and festering resentments. In that, it's like a hundred thousand other towns and not so unlike the giant Hives of our cities. Looking at only into the shadows of these towns, you'd miss the many other things that there are to see.

You'd miss a lot.

You'd miss the rope swing hanging down from the tree over the river and the line of teenagers in tight bodies and tighter swim suits arcing out from the bank and then up and letting go with a shriek at the top of the arc and plunging down into the clear, chill water, laughing and scrambling up the dirt bank to go again, an update of Thomas Eakins great painting, "The Swimming Hole," in real life and real time, right now on an endless summer afternoon.

You'd miss the sweeping panorama of the long lake clasped between the ranges of hills and mountains daubed with vast swathes of pine and cedar; the mountains seeming to hold back the piles of white cumulus far to the north and the west leaving the town and the lake warm under a bright clear sky all down the slope of the day and into the lingering twilight.

You'd miss the small farmer's market setting up around me in the park now as I make these notes. A market presenting for those who wander by hand-fashioned bread loaves with thick crusts still cooling in the reed baskets on the table, fresh cut wildflowers in large bouquets, the seven varieties of garlic with soil still on their roots offered up by the "Two Ponies Organic Farm" -- plowed by, yes, two tired-looking ponies hitched to a harrow. You wouldn't see and taste the "Heirloom" tomatoes, the pickling cukes, the golden beets and the mounds of other produce all centered about the local Cult of the Huckleberry and the several dozen different products derived from this fruit.

You'd miss the ever increasing overlay of people migrating in from other, larger places, other Hives, bringing along with them the omnipresent espresso and pastry shops, the Ahi-tuna centered restaurants, the downtown rock and salsa nightclub where the sign in front proclaims, "It's a great place to be gay... or not!"

You'd miss this latest demographic's obsessive concern with a wide and constant availability of mildly superior California wines in their almost infinite sameness.

Following close behind this influx of aging tomb-boomers you'd see the proliferation of shops specializing in giving an antlered, worn-pine, Indian blanket, Western feel to the $500,000 vacation condos and the $2,000,000 lakefront McMansions with floating boat docks sporting 25' Sea Rays.

Driving just beyond the town limits, you'd find the immense alien landing sites of Home Depot and Wal-Mart, which haven't managed to kill off the local merchants. Yet. And in all of this you'd rest secure that once in town you'd never be more than five minutes from a Starbucks since, once in town, you're never more than five minutes from anything. Walking.

You'd miss the much-bemoaned (unless you're buying) real estate slump, and the whines about "all those damned Californians that've invaded since that damned Sunset article naming us as the best town in the Northwest." Years back that and, in the manner of magazines that must publish the "same article, only different" time after time, other "best towns" have been named since, but the beat of the boom goes on, and prices out those that must work in the Wal Mart in favor of the aging geezers who shop at Neiman Marcus -- via the Internet with free shipping and no sales tax, thank you.

You'd miss the postman actually walking his route through the town clad in regulation shorts, uniform shirt, official US mail sack and baseball cap, with goatee, sleek Nikes, and Blades shades, strolling door to door right down the Oak Street sidewalk where the concrete slabs narrow down to round stepping stones that curve across the shaggy, shaded lawn to the vine-drowned porch of the small yellow house where, at last and quite literally, the sidewalk ends.

You'd miss lounging back on the wide expanse of lawn in the town's Little League field where the peaked white tent has been set up for the music festival like a thousand other small town music festivals, and you'd drink your cold white local wine from a plastic cup as the burning banjos and mandolins of a Bluegrass group you'd never heard of went to work, brought it on, and played their hearts out while the sunlight faded off the hills and dusk rose up by the lake, and they still played on as hundreds bobbed and turned and beat their feet in the looming dark while the red hawk settled down out of the sky onto his nest on the street light above the water.

And you'd miss, late into that same crisp summer night, when the freight train rumbles over the long bridge across the lake on the edge of the town and the sliver of the new moon jumps up over the ridgeline and the train fades off down the tracks and the dark deepens in the yard, you'd miss lying on the cool grass a long, long way from the fine restaurants of Hell, looking straight up forever into an infinite hive of stars.

Posted by Vanderleun Oct 8, 2014 2:39 AM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Birth, copulation, and death. That's all the facts when you come to brass tacks...."


Via Bracken Sends | Western Rifle Shooters Association

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 7, 2014 9:29 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“Creed” By Steve Turner

We believe in Marx, Freud,and Darwin.

We believe everything is OK as long as you don’t hurt anyone to the best of your definition of hurt, and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and after marriage. We believe in the therapy of sin. We believe that adultery is fun. We believe that sodomy’s OK. We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everything’s getting better despite evidence to the contrary. The evidence must be investigated. And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe there’s something in horoscopes, UFO’s. and bent spoons.

Jesus was a good man just like Buddha, Muhammed, and ourselves. He was a good moral teacher though we think His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same-at least the one that we read was. They all believe in love and goodness. They only differ on matters of creation, sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing because when you ask the dead what happens they say nothing. If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its compulsory heaven for all excepting perhaps Hitler, Stalin, and Genghis Kahn

We believe in Masters and Johnson.

What’s selected is average. What’s average is normal. What’s normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament. We believe there are direct links between warfare and bloodshed. Americans should beat their guns into tractors. And the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good. It’s only his behavior that lets him down. This is the fault of society. Society is the fault of conditions. Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that is right for him. Reality will adapt accordingly. The universe will readjust. History will alter. We believe that there is no absolute truth excepting the truth that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds, And the flowering of individual thought.

If chance be the Father of all flesh, disaster is his rainbow in the sky and when you hear

State of Emergency! Sniper Kills Ten! Troops on Rampage! Whites go Looting! Bomb Blasts School!

It is but the sound of man worshiping his maker.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 7, 2014 8:29 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"This is how you win."

Elbert Guillory: Mary Landrieu is Not Helping Blacks

HT: The Zman

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 6, 2014 6:47 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Seattle.... you gotta love the rain....


Via late night Putzmail.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 6, 2014 4:48 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
40 Pictures 40 Years [Updated]

Four sisters have their picture taken together every year for 40 years (1975-2014)



Time that is intolerant
Of the brave and the innocent,
And indifferent in a week
To a beautiful physique,

Worships language and forgives
Everyone by whom it lives;
Pardons cowardice, conceit,
Lays its honours at their feet.

Time that with this strange excuse
Pardoned Kipling and his views,
And will pardon Paul Claudel,
Pardons him for writing well.

-- Auden

Forty Portraits in Forty Years Nicholas Nixon was visiting his wife’s family when, “on a whim,” he said,

he asked her and her three sisters if he could take their picture. It was summer 1975, and a black-and-white photograph of four young women — elbows casually attenuated, in summer shorts and pants, standing pale and luminous against a velvety background of trees and lawn — was the result. A year later, at the graduation of one of the sisters, while readying a shot of them, he suggested they line up in the same order. After he saw the image, he asked them if they might do it every year. “They seemed O.K. with it,” he said; thus began a project that has spanned almost his whole career. The series, which has been shown around the world over the past four decades, will be on view at the Museum of Modern Art, coinciding with the museum’s publication of the book “The Brown Sisters: Forty Years” in November.
Who are these sisters? We’re never told (though we know their names: from left, Heather, Mimi, Bebe and Laurie; Bebe, of the penetrating gaze, is Nixon’s wife).
.... As we come to the last pictures, we feel the final inevitability that, as Nixon says, “Everyone won’t be here forever.” The implication hovers in the darkening of the palette and in the figures drawing together, huddling as if to stay afloat. To watch a person change over time can trick us into thinking we share an intimacy, and yet somehow we don’t believe that these poses and expressions are the final reflection of the Brown sisters. The sisters allow us to observe them, but we are not allowed in. The reluctance shows particularly in the early pictures: the wary lowered brow, the pressed line of a mouth. Sometimes a body’s stance or the angle of the jaw is downright grudging. These subjects are not after attention, a rare quality in this age when everyone is not only a photographer but often his own favorite subject.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 5, 2014 11:09 PM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot

Time the destroyer is time the preserver,
Like the river with its cargo of dead negroes, cows and chicken coops,
The bitter apple, and the bite in the apple.
And the ragged rock in the restless waters,
Waves wash over it, fogs conceal it;
On a halcyon day it is merely a monument,
In navigable weather it is always a seamark
To lay a course by, but in the sombre season
Or the sudden fury, is what it always was.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 5, 2014 9:33 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Lady of Shallot

Walter CRANE The Lady of Shalott 1862

Yes, it takes time. The finer things always do, don't they? Take the time. Enlarge the soul.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 5, 2014 8:58 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Sounds of Aerobatic Paragliding

First: put on your headphones or turn up the volume, otherwise the beauty of this clip might be lost.

Sounds of Paragliding is a new video from director Shams (previously), and sound engineer Thibaut Darscotte who took special equipment into the skies above France to record the sounds of Théo de Blic’s aerobatic paragliding. Instead of amping up the music and intensity like so many high-speed stunt/wingsuit/skydiving videos these days, Shams instead slows everything down to focus on only the sounds created by Blic’s parasail whipping through the air at incredible speed. It doesn’t really get going until after 2:00, but is completely worth it. Colossal | An art, design, and visual culture blog.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 4, 2014 9:06 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
James Kelly - Burn It Down

What a ride! Stick with it. He did.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 3, 2014 8:25 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You Are Kind of a Big Deal

"You're small in this world, but spiritually, you're MASSIVE! Can an ocean love, a mountain know, or a galaxy chose to change directions? No, but you can. And you'll still be around long after all this has passed."

HT: The Immortal Morgan @ House of Eratosthenes

Play this full screen. Seriously.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 2, 2014 12:43 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Plague Doctor on the Green River


"Dress for success!" 1656

Plague doctors in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries :

Some doctors wore a beak-like mask which was filled with aromatic items. The masks were designed to protect them from putrid air, which (according to the miasmatic theory of disease) was seen as the cause of infection. Thus: The nose half a foot long, shaped like a beak, filled with perfume with only two holes, one on each side near the nostrils, but that can suffice to breathe and to carry along with the air one breathes the impression of the drugs enclosed further along in the beak. Under the coat we wear boots made in Moroccan leather (goat leather) from the front of the breeches in smooth skin that are attached to said boots and a short-sleeved blouse in smooth skin, the bottom of which is tucked into the breeches. The hat and gloves are also made of the same skin… with spectacles over the eyes.

He wore spectacles over his eyes and a floppy sun hat during our days drifting down the river. No gloves though. That was for his lab and we were a long way from his lab.

We were camped somewhere on the Green River in Utah. In a shallow canyon down near the Green's Confluence with the Colorado. We were seven days into a nine day canoe drift down the river. It was night. We'd eaten, smoked, had some cups of grog and were lying back on our sleeping bags with the stars as close as a tent's roof. The night was warm and we were talking about the things we did when we were back in the world.

He was a scientist. A biochemist. When he wasn't drifting down a river in the vast American outback he was working behind several levels of barriers against biohazards at some megacompany whose name has now been washed down the Green River with so many other moments. Everything except his short monologue about his line of work. He was working with the live AIDS virus. And to him it wasn't just another chunk of strange almost alive almost dead tiny bit of matter. No. Not at all. To him the AIDS virus was very much alive. It had a purpose and a personality.

"What I worry about sometimes," he said, "is that it's so lively for a virus. It's mutating all the time."

"Well, that's what makes it interesting," I said. "Isn't that what a virus does? And besides, don't you have to have long and direct contact to contract AIDS?"

"Yes, now you do. But don't always count on that. It could always figure out how to get airborne. Then you've got a real problem."

"Okay, but isn't that very difficult and very unlikely?"

"Maybe," he said sounding sleepy. "Maybe, but from what I see in the lab I have to say that this virus is a very clever virus. Very clever and getting smarter all the time."

But that was just some fading campfire conversation soon subsumed by sleep. It was a long, long time ago, in another life, down on the Green River.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 2, 2014 7:53 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
These days it takes a lot to get me into a movie theater, but this December I'll be there.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 1, 2014 9:08 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Clean Desk

Via Best Reviews

Posted by gerardvanderleun Oct 1, 2014 9:11 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH