Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
1915: The Past Is Prologue


"History doesn't repeat itself, but it does rhyme."

January 19 Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.


WWI: German Zeppelins bomb the coastal towns of Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn in England for the first time, killing more than 20.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 31, 2014 6:51 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
J. Alfred Prufrock is 100 Years Old


And still on point after all these years....The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock by T. S. Eliot

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be;
Am an attendant lord, one that will do
To swell a progress, start a scene or two,
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool,
Deferential, glad to be of use,
Politic, cautious, and meticulous;
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse;
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous—
Almost, at times, the Fool.

I grow old ... I grow old ...
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each.

I do not think that they will sing to me.

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back
When the wind blows the water white and black.
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Source: Poetry (June 1915).

"Prufrock's reception in London can be gauged from an unsigned review in The Times Literary Supplement on 21 June 1917. "The fact that these things occurred to the mind of Mr. Eliot is surely of the very smallest importance to anyone, even to himself. They certainly have no relation to poetry."

"Till human voices wake us, and we drown." Underway and with many surprises in store was World War One; a war so shocking to the human soul that within Eliot's mentor and partner in poetic crimes of the 20th century would write in Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

There died a myriad,
And of the best, among them,
For an old bitch gone in the teeth,
For a botched civilization.

Charm, smiling at the good mouth,
Quick eyes gone under earth’s lid,

For two gross of broken statues,
For a few thousand battered books.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 31, 2014 8:50 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Not About Hugging Trees

“It’s not about hugging trees. It’s not about being wasteful either. Just gotta find that balance.”


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 30, 2014 6:17 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Time of Disturbance by Robinson Jeffers


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 30, 2014 2:55 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Deep North


This is actually the art installation of Chris Larson, a native of Minnesota, where of course no one is a stranger to a little chill.  A few years ago in his hometown of St.Paul, he decided to build this small cabin, and then waited for winter when the temperatures drop as low as -13 °C/ 7 °F . He then proceeded to spray it with hundreds of gallons of water, resulting in this apocalyptic scene. You know, just because … Winter is Coming! Oh, and he called it “Deep North”. The Ice Age came early for this Winter Cabin | Messy Nessy Chic


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 30, 2014 8:01 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who Says There's No Good News?: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God


by Eric Metaxas Author of Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life and, among others, Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics"

[An extended excerpt from the Wall Street Journal]

"With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

"What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

"Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

"As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

"Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

"Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being? From the WSJ

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 28, 2014 4:36 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Creation by James Weldon Johnson, 1871 - 1928

And God stepped out on space,
And he looked around and said:
I’m lonely—
I’ll make me a world.

And far as the eye of God could see
Darkness covered everything,
Blacker than a hundred midnights
Down in a cypress swamp.

Then God smiled,
And the light broke,
And the darkness rolled up on one side,
And the light stood shining on the other,
And God said: That’s good!

Then God reached out and took the light in his hands,
And God rolled the light around in his hands
Until he made the sun;
And he set that sun a-blazing in the heavens.
And the light that was left from making the sun
God gathered it up in a shining ball
And flung it against the darkness,
Spangling the night with the moon and stars.
Then down between
The darkness and the light
He hurled the world;
And God said: That’s good!

Then God himself stepped down—
And the sun was on his right hand,
And the moon was on his left;
The stars were clustered about his head,
And the earth was under his feet.
And God walked, and where he trod
His footsteps hollowed the valleys out
And bulged the mountains up.

Then he stopped and looked and saw
That the earth was hot and barren.
So God stepped over to the edge of the world
And he spat out the seven seas—
He batted his eyes, and the lightnings flashed—
He clapped his hands, and the thunders rolled—
And the waters above the earth came down,
The cooling waters came down.

Then the green grass sprouted,
And the little red flowers blossomed,
The pine tree pointed his finger to the sky,
And the oak spread out his arms,
The lakes cuddled down in the hollows of the ground,
And the rivers ran down to the sea;
And God smiled again,
And the rainbow appeared,
And curled itself around his shoulder.

Then God raised his arm and he waved his hand
Over the sea and over the land,
And he said: Bring forth! Bring forth!
And quicker than God could drop his hand,
Fishes and fowls
And beasts and birds
Swam the rivers and the seas,
Roamed the forests and the woods,
And split the air with their wings.
And God said: That’s good!

Then God walked around,
And God looked around
On all that he had made.
He looked at his sun,
And he looked at his moon,
And he looked at his little stars;
He looked on his world
With all its living things,
And God said: I’m lonely still.

Then God sat down—
On the side of a hill where he could think;
By a deep, wide river he sat down;
With his head in his hands,
God thought and thought,
Till he thought: I’ll make me a man!

Up from the bed of the river
God scooped the clay;
And by the bank of the river
He kneeled him down;
And there the great God Almighty
Who lit the sun and fixed it in the sky,
Who flung the stars to the most far corner of the night,
Who rounded the earth in the middle of his hand;
This great God,
Like a mammy bending over her baby,
Kneeled down in the dust
Toiling over a lump of clay
Till he shaped it in is his own image;

Then into it he blew the breath of life,
And man became a living soul.
Amen. Amen.

-- 1922

From God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse A 1927 book of poems by James Weldon Johnson patterned after traditional African-American religious oratory.

[HT: Geoff]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 28, 2014 2:34 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sermons in Stoned: Who's that writin'? -- John the Revelator / Nick Cave

Who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

And what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah, what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

O Babe, a thousands cried O holy
A mountain of fulsome, son of god
Daughter of Zion, Judah the lion
The redeemer said he bought us with our blood

Now who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Yeah, who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

And what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah, what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

John the revelator, straight advocator
Catch'em at the battle of Zion
Tell'em the story, writing the glory
O God, O Lord, so love him from our heart

So who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Yeah who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Yeah, who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

And what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah, what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

Moses to Moses, watching the flock
He saw the bush where they had to stop
God told Moses pull off your shoes
Out of the flock, now you I choose

Now who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
Yeah, who's that writin'? ( John the revelator)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

What's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah, what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
Yeah what's John writin'? ('bout the revelation)
He wrote the book of the seven seals

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 28, 2014 9:31 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Roger Scruton's "Why Beauty Matters": In One Piece

Beginning:At any time between 1750 and 1930 if you asked educated people to describe the aim of poetry, art or music, they would have replied “beauty.”

And if you had asked for the point of that you would have learned that beauty is a value, as important as truth and goodness. Then in the 20th century beauty stopped being important. Art increasingly aimed to disturb and to break moral taboos. It was not beauty but originality however achieved and at whatever moral cost that won the prizes. Not only has art made a cult of ugliness. Architecture too has become soul-less and sterile. And it is not just our physical surroundings that have become ugly. Our language, our music and our manners are increasingly raucous, self-centered and offensive as though beauty and good taste have no real place in our lives. One word is written large on all these ugly things and that word is “Me.” My profits, my desires, my pleasures. And art has nothing to say in response to this except “Yeah, go for it!”
I think we are losing beauty and there is a danger that with it we will lose the meaning of life. I’m Roger Scruton, philosopher and writer. My trade is to ask questions. During the last few years I have been asking questions about beauty. Beauty has been central to our civilisation for over 2000 years. From its beginnings in ancient Greece philosophy has reflected on the place of beauty in art, poetry, music, architecture and everyday life. Philosophers have argued that through the pursuit of beauty we shape the world as a home. We also come to understand our own nature as spiritual beings. But our world has turned its back on beauty and because of that we find ourselves surrounded by ugliness and alienation.
I want to persuade you that beauty matters; that it is not just a subjective thing, but a universal need of human beings. If we ignore this need we find ourselves in a spiritual desert. I want to show you the path out of that desert. It is a path that leads to home....... Full Transcript Here

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 27, 2014 7:26 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Christmas Moment


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 26, 2014 9:54 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Sun: "All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my X-ray close-up."


The Sun Shines in High-Energy X-rays

X-rays stream off the sun in this image showing observations from by NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, overlaid on a picture taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This is the first picture of the sun taken by NuSTAR. The field of view covers the west limb of the sun.

A blonde, a brunette, and a redhead, all working for NASA, were trying to figure out where to go on the next trip.

The brunette said, "We should go to Mars."

The redhead said, "We should go to the Moon."

The brunette and the redhead sat there arguing for a while. Suddenly, the blonde shouts, "Stop arguing! I know where the next expedition should be to ... the Sun!"

The brunette and the redhead looked at each other and started laughing. The brunette finally said, "You can't go to the Sun. You would melt or burn up before you even got close!"

The blonde said, "DUH... Not if you go at night!"

{And.... by the way.... happy birthday to me.}

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 26, 2014 12:23 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What is Christmas All About?

"And that's the fact, Jack."

HT: Big Fur Hat

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 24, 2014 10:11 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One Thousand Angels

All angels in the final nativity formation are real, NOT computer generated. No angels were added or subtracted.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 24, 2014 10:23 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink


“A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again.

He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” -- Joyce, Dubliners


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 23, 2014 4:38 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 23, 2014 7:23 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Up Where We Belong

The road is long, there are mountains in our way
But we climb a step every day

Love lift us up where we belong
Where the eagles cry on a mountain high
Love lift us up where we belong
Far from the world we know, up where the clear winds blow

So long, Joe. See you a little further down the road.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 22, 2014 11:18 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Christmas: Behind the Scenes

Has Christmas really become too commercialized? Why would anybody say that?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 22, 2014 9:24 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sitting in Darkness


The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up. -- Matthew 4:16

Dear Lord,

On this Sunday before Christmas in the year 2014 I find my mind and heart consumed with rage and despair at the evil across the face of the Earth and in my nation. Gazing upon and knowing of the world of men and the vileness of many men's deeds has plunged my soul into darkness. I grow short with those I love. I am spiteful towards those who have offended me. My soul feels blighted and shrunken. It can no longer find true north and I have wandered from the way.

In this darkness, on this longest and darkest night of the year, this dark night of the soul, I know I am not prepared or worthy to welcome the advent of your Son and the return of light and the miracle of Your creation. Dear Lord, in these final days of advent, take this darkness from my heart. Lead me, Lord, out of shadow. Show me, again, my Lord, Your great light. O come, O come, Emmanuel.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 21, 2014 4:25 PM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Beretta

Bird Dog: "For all you do, this one's for you."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 20, 2014 6:29 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Merry Woofmas!

Any resemblance to my family's Christmas dinners is a slur on our reputations and will be answered by lawsuits that will give our enemies a permanent facial twitch.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 18, 2014 2:07 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Crown of Creation: Best of Web Videos | 2014

Luc Bergeron (aka Zapatou)

has put a gigantic sampling together for his annual supercut “Best of Web”. This year he’s stitched together a whopping 233 viral video clips to create 6 minutes of non-stop action.

What were they all? Go here for the Official list of Best of Web 7

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 18, 2014 12:20 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beslan: Pieta for the 41st Photograph

Note: This essay was written September 4, 2004 -- In another life. In another place. In another time. But then, given Pakistan today, not really another place or another time after all.


handwithcrucifixbeslan.jpgThe boy that lies in his father's lap covered with crusts of blood gazing upward at nothing, nothing at all except his own pain.

The soldier with the unlit cigarette carrying the little girl in filthy underwear with a long smear of blood across her nose and down her chin.

The child's small hand with the dry pool of blood in the palm and the small gold crucifix lying in it.

The stretcher being run past the camera carrying what might, under the burns and the blood, be a young girl.... and another, and another, and another, and another, and another....

I began to gather these images yesterday, I think. Or was it the day before? I'm not really sure. The cascade of outrages, the piling of atrocity on top of atrocity, has become so unremitting that it is sometimes difficult to know where one episode of evil ends and another begins.

The waves keep coming and, because they are always to your back, they keep slamming you down into the hardpacked sand. You pick yourself up and spin around to face the next wave, but this sea of evil is cunning and the next wave will always come from behind your back no matter which direction you face. All you can know now is that there will be another one, and it will come at your back in the way the bullets came for the backs of the children in Russia.

Because I am both too old and too distant to either pick up a weapon to defend, or offer help and comfort to the wounded or the dying, I am forced back on silly, futile, small gestures such as gathering images of the atrocities. In this I disgust myself and, like those who did not stand with Henry V, hold my manhood cheap.

I thought that, perhaps, I could gather enough of them and arrange a kind of gallery as a testament, my own small memorial, to the children who were shot in the back or otherwise slaughtered by the diseased "militants" who thought nothing of these lives taken for their vile cause and their vile god. Somehow I would, I imagined, at least bear my own small witness among the millions of others doing the same around the world tonight.

And so I collected the images. I selected ones that showed the fascist smirk that always rises dark above any slaughter of innocents. I selected ones that revealed the courage of those who would try to rescue them. I found and saved some that revealed the chaos and sharp edge of the moment when all that a child may have in front of him is ripped out of him. I saved 10 images, saved 20, saved 40 and then came to the 41st photograph and stopped.

I stopped because in that one image, grainy, indistinct and from the far side of the world in a situation I could not imagine, I saw the one thing I was not expecting to see at all.

No, that's not it. It was not what I saw but what I recognized.

What I recognized was something that I could not see in the picture, but a recognition that came to me through the picture. I knew it immediately and at such a deep level that my first reaction was to look away, to go on to the next picture no matter what it was, to determine to never look at the 41st picture again.

But of course I did. I did because I had no choice. I had no choice because within this one picture I could see two separate episodes of my own life somehow together in one image that depicted an outcome that terrified me to the core of my being.

This is the picture I could not look at. This is the picture I must look at. I will try to explain -- not really to you, but to myself -- why it terrifies me more than all the other pictures.

She kneels among the dead children. She has long black hair pulled back and dresses in a loose black dress as she kneels at the head of her dead boy. She reaches out to touch, or perhaps arrange the hair, of her dead child. Her dark hair is parted in the middle and her arm seems to also be downed with dark hair. Her eyebrows too are dark and her skin olive. If I were to see this woman in another context, in a different and less death dominated photograph, at this focus and at this distance, I would think, for at least a long moment, that I was looking at my first wife.

She had this build, this coloring, the predilection for black clothing, and even an echo of the features of this woman since her ancestors came to America from the Balkans. She too would pull her hair back so. And she had, as I recall, the same ability to make a gesture that was at once strong and yet gentle when reaching out to touch our daughter when she was as young as the small dead boy that this woman caresses.

The life I had with my first wife was all long ago, and now I live far away in time, space and spirit from that woman as well as from that daughter. Now my life's setting is a small town, an ocean to the west, and a woman as different from my first wife as the sun is from the moon. And someone else as well.

In this life there is, to my continuing delight, a child. He's bright and funny and breathtakingly striking ten-year old boy so topped off with life and joy that he can stop your heart. At the present time, my step-son is fond of Nintendo, not at all fond of girls, keen for a swordfight about every ten minutes of his waking life, and both depressed and elated at the advent of the 5th grade at the opening of his school next week. If I could show you a picture of him you'd agree that he's a very promising young man.

And I can show you a picture of him.

He's up there, just above, my first wife's hand is touching him. Look carefully. You'll see him and her both. Together in one instant, in one impossible image.

If you are a parent, you know as all parents know, the single darkest and most secret fear of all. You know what I mean. Yes, that one. The one we never mention. The fear that it is forbidden to speak of. The one we don't speak of ... ever. The one that we push out of our thoughts before it even finishes forming. It is the fear you see there in that photograph. The photograph that shows you looking down at your murdered child.

That's what I saw in the photograph. I saw a wife and a son -- not mine, I knew, but mine just the same -- frozen forever in an instant that I prayed would never come to me, that would remain just what it was, a photograph of a woman and a child I recognized but did not know.

At some point in the last few days, I put my arms around my wife as we both looked out the kitchen window. From our small window you can see across the green and brindle hills down to the ocean where the slow Pacific swells roll onto Main Beach where a volleyball game is always on the schedule and the seagulls and surfers share the waves.

"Every single day," I said, " I thank God above that we are all here, in this good place, close to each other and still kept safe from things like those going on in Russia."

Next week my stepson will walk up the hill and take the bus to his first day of school. Seats will be assigned. He'll be given books and lists of supplies he must have. Nothing unusual will happen. In the afternoon, he will come home. My wife and I will have dinner with him, he'll do his homework and go to bed. It will be like that day after day. An ordinary life in an ordinary town in an ordinary time.

And the years will flow by and he'll go from strength to strength, from one bright moment to the next. His mother and I will watch him move ever upward into life as he gradually grows away from us and into his own life. This is how it was meant to be and how it will be. He will never be found in a photograph like the one I saw today. There's no place for him in the 41st photograph, the one I couldn't look at but saw just the same.

I am willing to do anything, anything at all, no matter what it may be, to keep him out of that photograph. That's my answer to what I saw. My question is, "Are you?"

Posted by Vanderleun Dec 17, 2014 2:01 AM | Comments (30)  | QuickLink: Permalink
'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them' -- Pakistini Taliban attack school, kill 140+

Coming soon enough to a city near you. Because.... "it's judgment that defeats us."

132 children shot dead as Taliban gunmen storm military-run school in Peshawar in Pakistan The young boy described how, after they burst in shouting 'Allah-o-Akbar' - which means 'God is greatest' - one of them shouted: 'There are so many children beneath the benches, go and get them'.

He said: 'I saw a pair of big black boots coming towards me, this guy was probably hunting for students hiding beneath the benches.' Khan said he felt searing pain as he was shot in both his legs just below the knee. He decided to play dead, adding: 'I folded my tie and pushed it into my mouth so that I wouldn't scream. 'The man with big boots kept on looking for students and pumping bullets into their bodies. I lay as still as I could and closed my eyes, waiting to get shot again. 'My body was shivering. I saw death so close and I will never forget the black boots approaching me -- I felt as though it was death that was approaching me.'

Kurtz: I've seen horrors... horrors that you've seen.

But you have no right to call me a murderer. You have a right to kill me. You have a right to do that... but you have no right to judge me. It's impossible for words to describe what is necessary to those who do not know what horror means. Horror... Horror has a face... and you must make a friend of horror. Horror and moral terror are your friends. If they are not, then they are enemies to be feared. They are truly enemies! I remember when I was with Special Forces... seems a thousand centuries ago. We went into a camp to inoculate some children. We left the camp after we had inoculated the children for polio, and this old man came running after us and he was crying. He couldn't see. We went back there, and they had come and hacked off every inoculated arm. There they were in a pile. A pile of little arms. And I remember... I... I... I cried, I wept like some grandmother. I wanted to tear my teeth out; I didn't know what I wanted to do! And I want to remember it. I never want to forget it... I never want to forget. And then I realized... like I was shot... like I was shot with a diamond... a diamond bullet right through my forehead. And I thought, my God... the genius of that! The genius! The will to do that! Perfect, genuine, complete, crystalline, pure. And then I realized they were stronger than we, because they could stand that these were not monsters, these were men... trained cadres. These men who fought with their hearts, who had families, who had children, who were filled with love... but they had the strength... the strength... to do that. If I had ten divisions of those men, our troubles here would be over very quickly. You have to have men who are moral... and at the same time who are able to utilize their primordial instincts to kill without feeling... without passion... without judgment... without judgment! Because it's judgment that defeats us. Apocalypse Now (1979) - Quotes - IMDb

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 16, 2014 1:35 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Amazing Grace and Celtic Woman: When It Comes to 21st Century Strapless Ball Gown Pop Culture This Is Pretty Much the Pinnacle

I'll see whatever diversity twerking pop culture you got and raise you three Celtic women.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 16, 2014 1:20 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Land of Sleep

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 15, 2014 8:52 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In America Anything Worth Doing Is Worth Overdoing

Okay, this holiday lights thing might just be getting a wee bit out of hand.

"Welcome to the houses on Manning Street.
We have 16 houses with Christmas lights coordinated to music. Christmas songs will change and be added through the weeks. We are also playing the music throughout the neighborhood so people can walk or you can tune your car radio to 92.5."
Yucaipa Christmas


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 14, 2014 7:40 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"On any street in any town / In any state if any clown"

Seems some people in Berkeley want to have the army in their city ..... Oh really? Is that what they want? Well, they need to be careful what they wish for.

Speaking as someone who has been in Berkeley when the army showed up; someone who's been shot at, chased through the streets, and then gassed from helicopters, everybody out and about in Berkeley might want to just shut up, go home, sit down and chill out.

This is how the army in the cities rolls. And it gets worse.

Well, I seen the fires burnin'
And the local people turnin'
On the merchants and the shops
Who used to sell their brooms and mops
And every other household item
Watched the mob just turn and bite 'em
And they say it served 'em right
Because a few of them are white,
And it's the same across the nation
Black and white discrimination
Yellin' "You can't understand me!"
'N all that other jazz they hand me
In the papers and TV and
All that mass stupidity
That seems to grow more every day
Each time you hear some nitwit say
He wants to go and do you in
Because the color of your skin
Just don't appeal to him
(No matter if it's black or white)
Because he's out for blood tonight

You know we got to sit around at home
And watch this thing begin
But I bet there won't be many live
To see it really end
'Cause the fire in the street
Ain't like the fire in the heart
And in the eyes of all these people
Don't you know that this could start
On any street in any town
In any state if any clown
Decides that now's the time to fight
For some ideal he thinks is right
And if a million more agree
There ain't no Great Society

Blow your harmonica, son!

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 12, 2014 3:03 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Jefferson Airplane - White Rabbit (Grace Slick, Woodstock, aug 17 1969)

"I'm not a singer. I'm a shouter." -- Grace Slick

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 11, 2014 6:41 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Winner and Still Champion After 10 Years Even Though It Has Ceased to Exist

The Amazing Grace Christmas House was located in Pleasant Grove, Utah and designed and programmed by Richard Holdman. A small little charity box placed in front of the display has raised more than $40,000 for the Utah Make-a-Wish Foundation. The display started in 2006 but traffic became too much of an issue and is no longer running.

You doubt me? Here's the complete show from 2010 in all its 15 glorious minutes of relentless inevitability. You can see why it had traffic backed up on the interstate all the way to Salt Lake City:


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 11, 2014 2:36 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And Warming Up in the Christmas Bullpen..... Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

The best. Just the best! A group of high school students gave the crowd a treat when they imagined how a group of monks under a vow of silence might put on a Christmas program.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 11, 2014 2:23 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I'll have a submarine sandwich with a side of fresh guacamole."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 10, 2014 8:19 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Days of Capitalist Miracles and Wonders


In only 30 years capitalism made everything in this picture fit into your pocket.

It’s a turnaround jump shot
It’s everybody jumpstart
It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts
Medicine is magical and magical is art
Thinking of the Boy in the Bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart.....

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 9, 2014 10:35 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“Use the Whole Damn Egg”

Discovered in the House of Eratosthenes "This clip didn’t make it on to SNL this weekend…it was, as they say, 'cut for time'."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 9, 2014 7:20 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Harvard Prof: If you take away religion, you can't hire enough police

HT Sensing aySense of Events:

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 8, 2014 8:49 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
At least this is more realistic than that Rolling Stone gang rape story...

Mindboggling Haut Mexican Cultural Artifact. From the same culture that brought the world the bouncy car. On the other hand it is refreshingly direct and without a smidgen of political correctness. HT:Stever Sailer

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 8, 2014 8:07 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Advance look at the cover of Rolling Stone's "Rape Fantasies" Issue


With Jann Wenner's special report on Gay Rape Fantasies. -- Twitter

Street Artist Sabo Blasts Lena Dunham, Bill Clinton in Fake Rolling Stone Covers - The Hollywood Reporter

A former U.S. Marine, Sabo has recently been scrutinized by the Secret Servicefor a series of tweets that appeared to threaten President Barack Obama. (His video of his encounter with two Secret Service agents at his apartment has received more than 200,000 views on YouTube.)
In addition to posting banners on utility boxes on the Westside, Saboplaced smaller versions of the spoofed Rolling Stone covers among magazines at various Los Angeles newsstands.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 8, 2014 10:02 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Technical Difficulties


I regret that the new entries have fallen off, but I am dealing with some problems involving my left eye that make it difficult to type. These should be cleared up soon.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 6, 2014 7:21 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
WorkHarder: A Non-Funding Online Platform For Creative Projects

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 6, 2014 3:36 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Whistling Through the Graveyard: United State of Pop 2014 (Do What You Wanna Do)

A mashup of the 25 biggest hits during 2014 in the U.S. You'll probably think it's gotten worse since last year. You'll be right. After all, what do most of these monotonal blatherfests have in common? It's acceptable to turn down your speakers and click off after about 30 seconds. It's all the same.


A Great Big World feat. Christina Aguilera - Say Something
Ariana Grande feat. Iggy Azalea - Problem
Bastille - Pompeii
Dj Snake & Lil Jon - Turn Down For What
Hozier - Take Me to Church
Idina Menzel - Let It Go
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - Fancy
Iggy Azalea feat. Rita Ora - Black Widow
Jason Derulo feat. 2 Chainz - Talk Dirty
Jeremih feat. YG - Don't Tell 'Em
Jessie J feat. Ariana Grande & Nicki Minaj - Bang Bang
John Legend - All Of Me
Katy Perry feat. Juicy J - Dark Horse
Lorde - Team
Magic! - Rude
Maroon 5 - Animals
Meghan Trainor - All About That Bass
Nico & Vinz - Am I Wrong
One Direction - Story of My Life
Passenger - Let Her Go
Pharrell Williams - Happy
Pitbull feat. Ke$ha - Timber
Sam Smith - stay with me
Taylor Swift - Shake It Off
Tove Lo - Habits

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 6, 2014 12:23 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
George Carlin on "Saving" the Planet

“We’re so self-important. Everybody’s going to save something now.

“Save the trees, save the bees, save the whales, save those snails.” And the greatest arrogance of all: save the planet. Save the planet, we don’t even know how to take care of ourselves yet. I’m tired of this shit. I’m tired of f-ing Earth Day. I’m tired of these self-righteous environmentalists, these white, bourgeois liberals who think the only thing wrong with this country is that there aren’t enough bicycle paths. People trying to make the world safe for Volvos. Besides, environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet. Not in the abstract they don’t. You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced. Narrow, unenlightened self-interest doesn’t impress me.
The planet has been through a lot worse than us. Been through earthquakes, volcanoes, plate tectonics, continental drift, solar flares, sun spots, magnetic storms, the magnetic reversal of the poles … hundreds of thousands of years of bombardment by comets and asteroids and meteors, worldwide floods, tidal waves, worldwide fires, erosion, cosmic rays, recurring ice ages … And we think some plastic bags and some aluminum cans are going to make a difference? The planet isn’t going anywhere. WE are!
We’re going away. Pack your shit, folks. We’re going away. And we won’t leave much of a trace, either. Maybe a little Styrofoam … The planet’ll be here and we’ll be long gone. Just another failed mutation. Just another closed-end biological mistake. An evolutionary cul-de-sac. The planet’ll shake us off like a bad case of fleas.
The planet will be here for a long, long, LONG time after we’re gone, and it will heal itself, it will cleanse itself, ’cause that’s what it does. It’s a self-correcting system. The air and the water will recover, the earth will be renewed. And if it’s true that plastic is not degradable, well, the planet will simply incorporate plastic into a new paradigm: the earth plus plastic. The earth doesn’t share our prejudice toward plastic. Plastic came out of the earth. The earth probably sees plastic as just another one of its children. Could be the only reason the earth allowed us to be spawned from it in the first place. It wanted plastic for itself. Didn’t know how to make it. Needed us. Could be the answer to our age-old egocentric philosophical question, “Why are we here?” “Plastic… asshole.” -George Carlin

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 6, 2014 11:40 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Let's Review: How Not To Get Your Ass Kicked By The Police

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 6, 2014 10:44 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Because Gay Love Has NO Pride!

I warn you all this this video can induce projectile vomiting as well as set back equality for cowgirls in cowboy hats and beard stubble a hundred years. Only the strong -- and those who have not recently eaten -- should press play for a sample of the JATO-assist bullshit launch of this stroke victim in a walker as a candidate for president because.... because.... "Because Vagina!"

The Annotated Lyrics of That Incredible Hillary 2016 Song

I've been thinkin' about one great lady like the women in my life ["Women" ≠ "one great lady"]
She's a mother, a daughter, and through it all, she's a lovin' wife [Are these really the first credentials you want to cite for supporting someone running for president?]
Oh, there is something about her, this great lady, caring, hard-working, once a First Lady [expertly rhymes "lady" with "lady"]
She fights for country and my family, now it's time for us to stand up
*BOOM BOOM CLAP* [very "We Will Rock You"!]
With Hillary
Stand up
With Hillary

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 4, 2014 11:44 AM | Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Little Redder Schoolhouse: "We have come for your children. Again."

"That's my last socialist there on the wall...."

Once a socialist gets hooked on child molesting there's no cure. Obama Administration to Launch Global Warming Education Initiative - US News

Perhaps unable to convince older Americans of the severity of global warming, President Barack Obama is hoping to have better luck with the next generation by turning to the classroom. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy on Wednesday announced it will launch a new initiative aimed at climate education and literacy that will distribute science-based information – in line with the administration's position on the issue – to students, teachers and the broader public.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 3, 2014 11:23 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sheriff Clarke ~ Irresponsible Groups Descended on Ferguson MO Like Vultures on a Roadside Carcass


Sheriff Clarke talks about Ferguson Missouri and how politicians and irresponsible groups came like vultures on a roadside carcass to exploit the situation. Eric Holder made a bad situation worse with self-serving rhetoric. Clarke is a lifelong resident of the City of Milwaukee and in March 2002 was appointed Sheriff by Governor Scott McCallum, and eight months later was elected to his first four-year term, earning 64%of the vote. Sheriff Clarke is now in his third term, having been re-elected in November 2006 and 2010, increasing his victory margins to 73% and 74%.
HT: Michelle Obama's Mirror: Attention All Coppers: Prepare to Go-Pro


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 3, 2014 12:22 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Andrea Pozzo 1650 Mural: This Ceiling Is Flat

Andrea Pozzo The St Ignatius' Church

His masterpiece, the illusory perspectives in frescoes [1] of the dome, the apse and the ceiling of Rome's Jesuit church of Sant'Ignazio (illustrations right and below) were painted between 1685–1694 and are emblematic of the dramatic conceits of High Roman Baroque. For several generations, they set the standard for the decoration of Late Baroque ceiling frescos throughhout Catholic Europe. Compare this work to Gaulli's masterpiece in the other major Jesuit church in Rome, Il Gesù.
The church of Sant'Ignazio remained unfinished with bare ceilings even after its consecration in 1642. Disputes with the original donors, the Ludovisi, prevented the completion of the planned dome. Pozzo expediently proposed to make an illusionistic dome, when viewed from inside, by painting on canvas. It was impressive to viewers, but controversial; some feared the canvas would soon darken.
On the flat ceiling he painted an allegory of the Apotheosis of S. Ignatius, in breathtaking perspective. The painting, 17 m in diameter, is devised to make an observer, looking from a spot marked by a brass disc set into the floor of the nave, seem to see a lofty vaulted roof decorated by statues, while in fact the ceiling is flat.
".... And it's deep too."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 2, 2014 9:06 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Japanese: "Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?" -- 3 seconds Cooking detonation velocity fried shrimp

Since this recipe is dangerous, please do not imitate absolutely.

"Today's theme is fried shrimp to cook in 3 seconds. Heck, how Will finish in 3 seconds to.

Please pay attention to wonders of the cooking speed. Order to represent the characteristics of the full-LTE called "two bands LTE only", developed / manufactured all cooking apparatus such as shrimp pop out two lanes for the current imaging was.... and speed shrimp pops out, wheat flour, the timing of egg, bread crumbs, flame, each out wipe is all a careful calculation, has been programmed by verification. Also, cooking the landscape without using the CG, gave a shot in live action. Come in this video, please experience the speed of full LTE! After the end of the ingredients that were used photography, staff gave delicious."
Got that? Good.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 2, 2014 8:59 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Finding Out Who Your Friends Are

A little more than ten days ago, having found myself behind ye olde 8-Ball I put out a call for donations for the first time in the over ten years I've been using American Digest to record and catalogue the changing fortunes of my own life and this nation.

I'd hoped to raise a bit of cash to help ameliorate the unexpected costs of moving from Seattle to California. Anything at all would be a boost, I thought. How much could it possibly be?

What has happened since has filled me with a deep and abiding gratitude for all of my readers and their -- literally -- unbelievable generosity. To say I am overwhelmed by your many gestures of kindness is to only place my hand lightly onto the cool and deep surface of the water of human kindness I have experienced since the 19th of November.

There's a song about this experience,but I never thought I'd have the great good fortune and God's grace to experience it. Now I have and I'm sending it back out tonight to all my readers, to my friends, with my deepest thanks.

This is where the rubber meets the road
This is where the cream is gonna rise
This is what you really didn't know
This is where the truth don't lie
You find out who your friends are....

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 1, 2014 10:29 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The sign in the middle's gotta be photoshopped, right? Right?

-- Twitter

Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 1, 2014 9:19 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sippican Cottage: Here's Wishing You An Adequate Generic Christmas

"The wonder of Generic Christmas Song is that it's the only recording by Unorganized Hancock

that you can purchase and download for your MP3 player, or your iPod, or whatever those things with the fruit on them are called. Just 0.99, and all the proceeds go to a good cause: Us. You can pay more if you like, or you can listen to it for free on YouTube if you're broke losers like we are. It's all good. Merry Christmas! Tell a friend."

Unorganized Hancock on Bandcamp "Unorganized Hancock is a Homeschooled Pop Duo from Western Maine. The drummer is only 10 years old and he's still better than you. He also has Perfect Pitch, which is completely useless since he's the drummer. The Guitar player and Drummer claim to be brothers, but have not yet released their long-form birth certificates."

Sippican Cottage: Here's Wishing You An Adequate Generic Christmas

[We approve this message!]


Posted by gerardvanderleun Dec 1, 2014 7:04 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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