Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Family Unboxing

It's come to this. Nothing but neuters all the way down.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2015 5:05 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who are the liberals? by James Panero on Dec 02, 2005


Just take James Burnham’s simple test. The test, which appears in Burnham’s Suicide of the West, comes by way of Roger Kimball, who wrote on Burnham last year for TNC. Answer these 39 statements yes or no; information on scoring after.

1. All forms of racial segregation and discrimination are wrong.
2. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion.
3. Everyone has a right to free, public education.
4. Political, economic or social discrimination based on religious belief is wrong.
5. In political or military conflict it is wrong to use methods of torture and physical terror.
6. A popular movement or revolt against a tyranny or dictatorship is right, and deserves approval.
7. The government has a duty to provide for the ill, aged, unemployed and poor if they cannot take care of themselves.
8. Progressive income and inheritance taxes are the fairest form of taxation.
9. If reasonable compensation is made, the government of a nation has the legal and moral right to expropriate private property within its borders, whether owned by citizens or foreigners.
10. We have a duty to mankind; that is, to men in general.
11. The United Nations, even if limited in accomplishment, is a step in the right direction.
12. Any interference with free speech and free assembly, except for cases of immediate public danger or juvenile corruption, is wrong.
13. Wealthy nations, like the United States, have a duty to aid the less privileged portions of mankind.
14. Colonialism and imperialism are wrong.
15. Hotels, motels, stores and restaurants in southern United States ought to be obliged by law to allow Negroes to use all of their facilities on the same basis as whites.
16. The chief sources of delinquency and crime are ignorance, discrimination, poverty and exploitation.
17. Communists have a right to express their opinions.
18. We should always be ready to negotiate with the Soviet Union and other communist nations.
19. Corporal punishment, except possibly for small children, is wrong.
20. All nations and peoples, including the nations and peoples of Asia and Africa, have a right to political independence when a majority of the population wants it.
21. We always ought to respect the religious beliefs of others.
22. The primary goal of international policy in the nuclear age ought to be peace.
23. Except in cases of a clear threat to national security or, possibly, to juvenile morals, censorship is wrong.
24. Congressional investigating committees are dangerous institutions, and need to be watched and curbed if they are not to become a serious threat to freedom.
25. The money amount of school and university scholarships ought to be decided primarily by need.
26. Qualified teachers, at least at the university level, are entitled to academic freedom: that is, the right to express their own beliefs and opinions, in or out of the classroom, without interference from administrators, trustees, parents or public bodies.
27. In determining who is to be admitted to schools and universities, quota systems based on color, religion, family or similar factors are wrong.
28. The national government should guarantee that all adult citizens, except for criminals and the insane, should have the right to vote.
29. Joseph McCarthy was probably the most dangerous man in American public life during the fifteen years following the Second World War.
30. There are no significant differences in intellectual, moral or civilizing capacity among human races and ethnic types.
31. Steps toward world disarmament would be a good thing.
32. Everyone is entitled to political and social rights without distinction of any kind, such as race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
33. Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and expression.
34. Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
35. The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government.
36. Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security.
37. Everyone has the right to equal pay for equal work.
38. Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions.
39. Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 31, 2015 11:06 AM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Song For Zula

Some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a fading thing
Just as fickle as a feather in a stream
See, honey, I saw love. You see, it came to me
It put its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing

See, the cage, it called. I said, “Come on in”
I will not open myself up this way again
Nor lay my face to the soil, nor my teeth to the sand
I will not lay like this for days now upon end
You will not see me fall, nor see me struggle to stand
To be acknowledge by some touch from his gnarled hands
You see, the cage, it called. I said, “Come on in”
I will not open myself up this way again

You see, the moon is bright in that treetop night
I see the shadows that we cast in the cold, clean light
My feet are gold. My heart is white
And we race out on the desert plains all night
See, honey, I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night

So some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a caging thing
Just a killer come to call from some awful dream
O and all you folks, you come to see
You just stand there in the glass looking at me
But my heart is wild. And my bones are steam
And I could kill you with my bare hands if I was free

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 30, 2015 2:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
I Need a #Hashtag! :"It's both a mnemonic and a catastrophic extremist-destroying device..."

Like a Chris Brown fan or girlfriend
free speech is under attack
and so like Hannah Storm folks are
trying to find the best way to push back

But I won't care tomorrow
and I did not care yesterday
Is there anything I can do to pretend
that I care today?

I need a hashtag
I need a hashtag on display
Yeah I'll tweet to the world
and Boko Haram will be like "okay!"

I need a hashtag
I need a hashtag for today
to show that I care
when I really don't care
and that's just what I'm doing today
faking outrage

Sure there are lots of people
who really care about the fight
but anyone who tweeted these
should probably be disqualified

Should we try to fight for change?
Embrace more freedom here at home?
Or should we use the most effective
tool mankind has ever known?

We need a hashtag
How about a hashtag and call it a night?
it's both a mnemonic and a catastrophic
extremist-destroying device

We need a hashtag
A hashtag will bring them to their knees
Even though it's been said that
the First Amendment wasn't
written to protect pleasantries

[HT: Powerline]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 29, 2015 10:33 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Steel Boils at About This Temperature:" Global Warming Comes Back with a Vengence

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 29, 2015 10:27 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Firsts

Although it has been more than 30 years since my own experiences with many of these "firsts" I would be less than candid if I didn't also mention the best "last" of those years.

It was sometime in the late Spring between two and two and a half years since many of those "firsts." I was walking home from work at Houghton Mifflin across the Boston Public Gardens. The trees were all in leaf, the grass newly green, and the Swan Boats swirling in their little lake. I'd stopped at the upscale market on Charles Street at the behest of my wife to pick up a few things. One of these was a box of Pampers.

As I strode through the Public Gardens on the way to my apartment on Marlborough Street my heart was full of song and my steps just shy of dancing.


Because at long last I knew, to an absolute certainty, that the box of Pampers I carried was the last box of Pampers.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 29, 2015 5:01 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hive and the Town


During my years in the cities, returning to New York by air at night mezmerized 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 down 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 lurched along the Long Island Expressway, part of those 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. It 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 it 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 early during my time in the Hive. I continued to deploy them with some modest success. 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 there 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 asked for in exchange is time, of which the Hive never has enough 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 last you know you're running low.

Soon it will be three years since I left the Hive and I've no inclination to return. It's easy to say that my love affair with that life ended in fire, smoke and ash 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 car northeast of the city some ten years before when my first wife decided to redefine the word "normal" for my 11-year-old daughter.

Or perhaps it began in a hundred other equally mundane moments. In truth, you are either growing into a thing or growing out of it 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. 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. Add to that the compulsion to continue connections with past friends and present family that only seemed to use and never to give, and it all combined into a vast fog of disappointment 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, you've got to go.

Yes, as Jack Kerouac, Bard of the Road, wrote "Man, you gotta go." Then he went home.

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 15 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"). One 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.

Current 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 the darker parts 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 "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 selling) real estate boom, 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, 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 as 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.

August, 2005. Sandpoint, Idaho

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 29, 2015 3:54 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Does Islam Have Anything to do With Islam?"

In State Dept.: Beheadings not "religious" Donald Sensing notes: "It is becoming impossible to satirize this administration any more because it keeps outpacing my satiric abilities. For example:"


The "@stengel" creature is the "Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs" and spends a lot of time sucking up to John Kerry who spends a lot of time sucking up to Obama who spends a lot of time sucking up to Islam. Hence, he's low man on that daisy chain.

Still, it is illuminating to see the amount of intellectual sewage these professional sewage guzzlers will spew. Toadies like Stengel would need a white hot bullet in the center of their forehead to clear their minds about the relationship between Islam and terrorism.

Not seeing what is smacking you in the face seems to be a hallmark of those who Davos up these days.

The brilliant Richard Fernandez notes this disease and its lethal effects: Anyway the Islamist enemy, as per our intellectual establishment, doesn’t even exist.

“You cannot defeat an enemy you do not admit exists,” former DIA Chief Michael Flynn told a conference in Washington. Flynn:
[Flynn] said the administration is unwilling to admit the scope of the problem, naively clinging to the hope that limited counterterrorist intervention will head off the ideological juggernaut of religious militancy. “There are many sincere people in our government who frankly are paralyzed by this complexity,” said Flynn, so they “accept a defensive posture, reasoning that passivity is less likely to provoke our enemies.”
Enemies, shenemies. We don’t want to get into “winning” and “losing”. We want to play the Davos game. If only they would too. But in fairness it’s not just the administration that thinks like this. Passivity has now become the ethos of our civilization. Robert Beckhausen at War is Boring writes that 44 Filipino police officers are dead because the Philippine government didn’t want to defend itself because it might break the ceasefire.

I wonder what it will take to break the West's tacit ceasefire with Islam. Hundreds dead in "lone wolf attacks" on various shopping malls on some fine Sunday afternoon? Three thousand dead from flying airliners into skyscrapers? A hundred thousand dead in an American city incinerated by a Nork or Iranian nuclear weapon hidden in a shipping container and triggered by a $20 cellphone?

Whatever it will take you can be sure that on the day after there will still be government sewage guzzlers insisting that these acts have "nothing to do with Islam."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 28, 2015 9:05 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Attack of The Food Eroder

Or, "The Ninja Nibbler of the Night"


As a friend of mine recently pointed out, "Women shop. Men resupply."

Too true. Whenever I find myself in one of our current Cathedrals of Food (AKA: "Whole Foods -- Why Pay Less?"), I don't buy meals, I buy components. Though I've lived alone for some time, I buy like I'm supplying a small tribe. I've tried to control this by selecting the "little" cart. You know, that half-pint shopping vehicle, that grocery Miata, that let's you believe you're not really buying as much as you are. It doesn't work. I come home, unpack my "kills" -- at about $69 a bag -- and mumble, "Who's going to eat all this?"

House guests are the God's answer to "Who's going to eat this?" They are. That's okay. I love to cook for people. I'm good at it and it gets boring cooking for one; expensive too since I loathe leftovers.

Problems return when your house guests are stealth eaters. You know who I mean. Yes, you. Stealth eaters never, ever overeat -- except on the sly. They are the Merrill's Marauders of the post-midnight refrigerator.

Ordinary stealth eaters can be dealt with because the damage done by their pillage is obvious. You had half of a banana cream pie in the frig at sunset but by dawn it is gone. Vanished. Evaporated. Kaput. Never to be heard from again. Not so much as a ransom note, just a crumpled tin husk folded and stuffed down the side of the garbage bag beneath the camouflage of a crumpled milk carton.

Not pleasing, especially when you were planning on banana cream pie for breakfast. Still you suck up your sorrow, move on, and resupply.

No so with the worst sort of stealth eater -- the dreaded food eroder.

The food eroder is so stealthy he or she can even conceal their eating from themselves. The food eroder wishes to eat but not be seen eating nor to be known to have eaten. The food eroder can make your entire refrigerator into a Potemkin village where you think you have a LOT of food, but actually have almost none. A food eroder deals in cuisine disinformation.

Case in point:

Some weeks back I had a house guest. This house guest was a very careful eater -- someone cognizant of the fine points of nutrition; someone who knew the calories in a twice-baked potato down to the last bacon bit swimming in a dollop of sour cream. This nameless but shameless someone also had a finely tuned economic indicator and never met a leftover that was not loved, caressed, and consumed -- even when the original meal was lost to recorded history.

I once had a kind of grudging respect for this guest who was so much more disciplined about food than I could ever hope to be. But that was before I discovered -- after the guest's departure -- that I had been sharing my home and sacred refrigerator with a food eroder, a late-night Ninja nibbler.

You see, in order to fulfill my male mission of re-supply, I need to know what supplies are actually on hand. With a food eroder, this cannot be known since -- if you do not actually hand inspect every item in your larder -- you can never be sure of the quantity. What you can be sure of, I now know, is that a food eroder will guarantee you have less than you think.

The clearest example of this is -- as I have discovered today -- the most often decimated target of any self-respecting food eroder, ice cream.

About a month ago I noted that the house had no ice-cream in the freezer. This is not good -- especially should an after-midnight-ice-cream emergency break out while watching, say, "I Got the Hook-Up."

To prepare for such an emergency, and thus avert an ice cream crisis, I resupplied the freezer with a full half-gallon of French Vanilla. Since my house guest was looking a bit peckish at the time I offered to make a couple of sundaes (carmel sauce, shaved almonds, etc.). My guest gracefully accepted and the half gallon of ice-cream supply was reduced by perhaps a pint overall. This left around three pints. Such was the state of the ice cream three weeks ago at last check. Need for resupply? Negligible.

Fast forward to today when I was suddenly stricken with an ice-cream-emergency (While watching, yet again, "I Got the Hook-Up.") and staggered to the supply in the freezer. As I removed it I noted it felt strangely light for a container that should have contained about three-pints. You can only imagine my shock when upon opening it I discovered that it contained only about a half-inch thickness of ice cream covering the now far distant bottom.

But that was not the worst of it.

On closer examination, the surface of that razor-thin level of ice cream was scored by a series of small parallel grooves across it from side to side. It was as if somebody had gone back and forth over the ice cream with a teaspoon like a lawn mower.

I knew then I had been hit by the food eroder. I knew that, over several nights, my ice cream had be hit again and again and again.

Just a little this time. Just a little more that time. Then a bit again when the compulsion struck. And all, it was clear, in a shameful and furtive way as I slept.

This degradation probably went on and on until the food eroder could no longer avoid the terrible truth that nearly a half a gallon of ice cream had been consumed whilst standing at the refrigerator with spoon in hand. At that point shame overcame the eroder and the container was placed carefully back in the refrigerator so that it would appear to be undisturbed.

The food eroder escaped without ever having to face the shame. I'm off to resupply and thus avoid a post-midnight ice cream crisis. My only solace is that I know that the food eroder, now back home and faced with a refrigerator stocked only with the desiccating remnants of cantaloupe and celery is still having to walk an extra two miles every day in penance. Ice cream giveth, but ice cream doth not taketh away.

Meanwhile, my stock is back to normal. But I am taking steps to avoid future shock. I'm installing a state of the art motion-sensing alarm on the refrigerator instead of my previous sign that said, "Too late. Already here."

[Republished because..... because.... because.... The Food Eroder has returned. This time with teeny-tiny storage units. ]

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 27, 2015 12:39 AM | Comments (29)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "Satisfaction" is 50 Years Old

Then: In June, 1965 it begins its journey...


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2015 10:46 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Andromeda: "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 25, 2015 12:23 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If I were the devil ~ Paul Harvey

"If I were the Prince of Darkness, I would want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I would have one-third of the real estate and four-fifths of the population , but I wouldn't be happy until I had the ripest apple on the tree. Thee.

"So I'd set about to take over the United States.

"I'd subvert the churches first; I'd begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: "Do as you please."

"To the youth I would whisper, "The Bible is a myth."

"I would convince them that man made God instead of the other way around.

"I would confide that what's bad is good and what's good is "square."

"In the ears of the young married I would whisper that work is debasing, that cocktail parties are good for you.

"And to the old I would teach to pray after me: "Our Father, who art in Washington..."

"And then I'd get organized...."

1964 and 1996

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 24, 2015 8:07 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: This Is Water

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 23, 2015 11:00 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Rich and Strange: The Sensorium of B. H. Obama

Obama: "We are Americans but we are also brains connected to various sensory input sources..... And that was it. He never made it back to the White House.

"Meanwhile, Michelle Obama was busy hosting Let's Move Annual Hide and Go Seek Week."

Published on Jan 16, 2015
Friar Edgar's Globe of Wonders ( invites you to feast in the Globe's premiere wonder: a look back at Year 7 of the Obama presidency, presented by the award-winning documentarians of "America Past." In the early months of 2015, a young United States President named Barack Obama made a fateful decision. Frustrated by the endless pressures of his thankless, dead-end, white-collar job, Obama delivered his State of the Union speech and disappeared-- to America's heartland - Lawrence, Kansas - where he began the great work of which he'd always dreamed. But with the lamestream media and the forces of Washington politics-as-usual hot on his tail, could this plucky POTUS deliver the change he believed in?

Contact Globe of Wonders researchers Dr. P. Van Koughnett and Dr. P. Davis at
Learn more about the legacy of Friar Edgar of Taunton at .

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 23, 2015 11:09 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Small Fires In the Deep


Bioluminescent bacteria occur nearly everywhere, and probably most spectacularly as the rare "milky sea" phenomenon, particularly in the Indian Ocean where mariners report steaming for hours through a sea glowing with a soft white light as far as the eye can see. -- The Bioluminescence Page

There is another world above this one; or outside of this one; the way to it is thru the smoke of this one, & the hole that smoke goes through. The ladder is the way through the smoke hole; the ladder holds up, some say, the world above; it might have been a tree or pole; I think it is merely a way. -- Gary Snyder- Through the Smoke Hole

These days she wakes before dawn. The sound of the automatic coffee grinder and its aroma is her alarm. Before first light today, out on the deck overlooking the Pacific, she was gazing at the sea and saw, across the flat miles of ocean stretching out to Catalina, bright flashes come and go like wet fireworks exploding under the waves. Binoculars brought the flashes closer but didn't explain them. They were scattered all across the wide water except where the full moon sliding down the sky towards the western horizon smoothed a bright white band across the slate sea.

Later, when he woke, she brought him out on the deck to see the place where she'd witnessed this strange antediluvian light show. After a few more minutes he noticed that, in the rising light, large patches of the sea were dark, as if secret islands had risen just beneath the surface. Secret until his 'compulsion to explain the mysterious' arose.

"It's most likely a large algae bloom," he claimed. "When it was dark and the algae was stirred up by waves, breaking combers probably excited and concentrated the algae. What you saw was bioluminescence."

"Bioluminescence," she said. "That's such a fine, soft word."

They watched the dark islands under the surface of the sea for awhile longer and he wished he'd seen the flashes in the pre-dawn dark.

Toward the end of his life, Carl Sagan wrote a book about how most of humanity still lives in a "demon-haunted world;" and how science drives us relentlessly out of the dark oceans of our ignorance until, like some stump-legged fish, we scramble gasping onto the thin, dry strands of our knowledge about the truth of this world.

One of those strands in his mind was 'knowing' that the miracle of rush lights within the ocean was caused by the phenomenon we label "bioluminescence."

Mystery seen, mystery solved.

Wonder summed by science, our youngest and most robust religion. A religion whose prime attraction is to transubstantiate the miraculous with the dependable; whose creed reverses the Eucharist by rendering the body and blood of God into bland bread and indifferent wine.

He'd long been a lay member of this fresh, muscular faith whose liturgies are written in arcane symbols of mathematics rather than arcane phrases of Latin. As a lay member and mere acolyte his understanding of science is as shallow as his faith in science is adamantine. He has worshiped the Saints Einstein, Darwin, Newton, and Bohr. He has believed that in time all will be known and, when all is known, all will be explained and all mystery resolved. He has not yet read The Testament of the Unified Field, but he hopes to before he dies and rejoins that Unified Field as empty matter glowing in the dark. Some of our current priests growing old in the quest assure him that he will. They currently hope to hunt Higgs-Boson to its burrow.

Yet still he wonders. Still he persists in his scientific heresy.

He wonders, "When we explain what we experience in life in the steel language of science, do we drive the mystery out or merely mix more mystery in?"

Sometimes he answers, "Perhaps neither. Perhaps what we do, through our relentless human need to explain, is to simply dive, as blindly as fish born deep below the light, ever deeper into the miracle. Perhaps we dive deep in the hope that the light from our minds and souls will, on some immensely distant day, grow large enough and bright enough to illuminate one crest of one wave rising once only out of the darkness. And that something, somewhere else in the immense darkness in which we dwell, will see our small fire and answer."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2015 11:46 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"North is at the bottom:" Once Again We Learn That the Map is Not the Territory


A 16th century view of North America in the Vallard Atlas

The scene above shows the second American map, which is of the East Coast of North America, and is one of the most significant of the Vallard Atlas. It is again oriented to the South and has the latitude markers and distance scales in the left and right margins. In the Atlantic, almost in the center of the map, is one beautiful ship, partially surrounded by compass roses, exuding rhumb lines.



But what makes this map particularly important is its display of the geographical information brought back from the New World by the expeditions of Jacques Cartier in 1534, 1535-1536, and 1541-1542. Detailed are the Gulf of St Lawrence and the St Lawrence River and some of the wilderness beyond them, discovered and explored by Cartier in search of the elusive Northwest Passage to the Orient and who gave Canada its name. The meticulous representation of the coastlines with their numerous inlets underscores Canada’s potential for fishing and trade. He also reported fully on the Indians of the many tribes that he encountered. Shown in the forests of the mainland in an exquisite, almost late Medieval manner are Cartier, his well armed explorer-colonists, and the winter fort of Sainte-Croix. The Indians, who clearly are overshadowed by the Europeans, also are present observing them, hunting deer, and warring with each other. In addition to the deer, other fauna such as dogs, bears, and possums or foxes are present as well.


Video about the Vallard Atlas and larger map if you


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 22, 2015 11:04 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Keeping You Up to Date on Advances in Lawn Chair Aviation

Impressive but a mere shadow of the balls of the original Lawn Chair Aviator:

"Lawrence Richard Walters, nicknamed "Lawnchair Larry" or the "Lawn Chair Pilot", (April 19, 1949 – October 6, 1993) was an American truck driver[1] who took flight on July 2, 1982, in a homemade airship. Dubbed Inspiration I, the "flying machine" consisted of an ordinary patio chair with 45 helium-filled weather balloons attached to it. Walters rose to an altitude of over 15,000 feet (4,600 m) and floated from his point of origin in San Pedro, California, into controlled airspace near Los Angeles International Airport. His flight was widely reported."

The Larry Waters Story:

"Now let me tell you about Larry Walters, my hero. Walters is a truck driver, thirty-three years old. He is sitting in his lawn chair in his backyard, wishing he could fly. For as long as he could remember, he wanted to go /up/. To be able to just rise right up in the air and see for a long way. The time, money, education, and opportunity to be a pilot were not his. Hang gliding was too dangerous, and any good place for gliding was too far away. So he spent a lot of summer afternoons sitting in his backyard in his ordinary old aluminum lawn chair - the kind with the webbing and rivets. Just like the one you've got in your backyard.

"The next chapter in this story is carried by the newspapers and television. There's old Larry Walters up in the air over Los Angeles. Flying at last. Really getting UP there. Still sitting in his aluminum lawn chair, but it's hooked on to forty-five helium-filled surplus weather balloons. Larry has a parachute on, a CB radio, a six-pack of beer, some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and a BB gun to pop some of the balloons to come down. And instead of being just a couple of hundred feet over his neighborhood, he shot up eleven thousand feet, right through the approach corridor to the Los Angeles International Airport.

"Walters is a taciturn man. When asked by the press why he did it, he said: "You can't just sit there." When asked if he was scared, he answered: "Wonderfully so." When asked if he would do it again, he said: "Nope." And asked if he was glad that he did it, he grinned from ear to ear and said: "Oh, yes."

"The human race sits in its chair. On the one hand is the message that says there's nothing left to do. And the Larry Walterses of the earth are busy tying balloons to their chairs, directed by dreams and imagination to do their thing.

"The human race sits in its chair. On the one hand is the message that the human situation is hopeless. And the Larry Walterses of the earth soar upward knowing anything is possible, sending back the message from eleven thousand feet: "I did it, I really did it. I'm FLYING!"

"It's the spirit here that counts. The time may be long, the vehicle may be strange or unexpected. But if the dream is held close to the heart, and imagination is applied to what there is close at hand, everything is still possible.

"But wait! Some cynic from the edge of the crowd insists that human beings still /can't really/ fly. Not like birds, anyway. True. But somewhere in some little garage, some maniac with a gleam in his eye is scarfing vitamins and mineral supplements, and practicing flapping his arms faster and faster."

-- From Robert Fulghum's All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten

Waters, July 2, 1982


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 21, 2015 8:51 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Grounds for Divorce

She was so happy to see him when he got back unexpectedly from his business trip that he snapped this picture of her joy.


Later it became exhibit A when he filed for divorce. Can you see why?

Answer if you should choose to...


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 21, 2015 7:35 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What a Real Speech Is and Does

Echoes and portents to our present moment abound.

Bill Kristol:

And if you want to be reminded of what a speech can be, here’s a link to the conclusion of Churchill’s great June 18, 1940 address to the House of Commons, which you can listen to in honor of the 50th anniversary of his death later this week. The clip is only two minutes, but more worth listening to than Obama’s sixty-plus minutes.

"If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands.

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, 'This was their finest hour.' "

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 20, 2015 12:41 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Constitution Free Zone


The Government's 100-Mile "Border" Zone - Map | ACLU
"This is what it means to me: Look for Waco-like events

followed by a cascade of smaller operations; show trials of prominent dissidents and Breitbarting of others; a blizzard of draconian regulations; confiscation of weapons and wealth; and rule through intimidation and Soviet-style terror. Expect successive waves of state-sponsored urban riots, deflation and inflation and revaluation, price controls, closing of international borders; internal travel restrictions, closing the internet to civilians, a fully captured news media ... Think Martial Law, Executive Orders, UN involvement. And that's the optimistic part. I don't think people understand what they're up against. Chasmatic @ Spillers of Soup: CONSTITUTION-FREE ZONE

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 20, 2015 10:33 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Nothing to Do with Islam. Move Along.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 19, 2015 1:17 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Porsche 911 Engine Plant, Assembly Line Zuffenhausen

So calm. So quiet. So considered.

As a friend of mine (and Porsche owner) once succintly explained it: "When the Germans make the cars, the rest of the world can just sit down."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 19, 2015 12:56 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Case for Jefferson by Robert Frost


Harrison loves my country too,
But wants it all made over new.
He’s Freudian Viennese by night.
By day he’s Marxian Muscovite.
It isn’t because he’s Russian Jew.
He’s Puritan Yankee through and through.
He dotes on Saturday pork and beans.
But his mind is hardly out of his teens:
With him the love of country means
Blowing it all to smithereens
And having it all made over new.

- - 1947

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2015 10:26 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wyeth's Women: Betsy, Christina, Siri and Helga

Betsy, "Maga's Daughter," 1966

"On Andrew Wyeth’s 22nd birthday he ventured to Cushing, Maine to meet the artist Merle James but instead met James’ 17-year old daughter Betsy. Instantly smitten, he asked her to show him around town and she was more than happy to oblige. She thought “I’ll show him a real Maine building” and as something of a test took him to the Hathorne Point home of her friends Christina and Alvaro Olson.

Mrs. Andrew Wyeth 'Corner of Woods' 1954

"Throughout his life Andrew had a rather contentious relationship with women; indeed with anyone who didn’t in some way directly support his painting, but on that day in July 1939 he met what would become two of the most important women in his life.

Christina, 1967

"Christina Olson, who had an undiagnosed neuromuscular disease (likely polio) was reduced to crawling and urinating on stacks of discarded newspapers. Andrew however felt that “she was so much bigger than all the little idiosyncrasies.” and found her a symbol of fierce independance - an extraordinary conquest of life. The result of this friendship was Christina’s World, one of the iconic paintings of the 20th century.

Christina's World, 1948

"Christina’s death in January 1968 deeply affected Andrew and marked the end of a seminal two decade long period in his painting.

Siri Erickson

"Faced with a blank canvas – as it were – it was time for a reappraisal of his art. It was then that he met Siri, the daughter of the Cushing farmer George Erickson. Siri was exotic, untouched and had an electrifying effect on his work. “A burst of life,” he later said, “like spring coming through the ground, a rebirth of something fresh out of death.”

Siri, Sauna, 1969

"Wyeth painted Siri for ten years, until Betsy – worried that their relationship had turned sexual – put a stop to it. She told Andrew “If you do this again, don’t tell me.” Her request would have rather far-reaching consequences because Andrew had just met Helga."

Helga, 1972

-- Text from Codex99// Betsy, Christina, Siri and Helga

Marriage, 1993

Andrew and Betsy Wyeth, October, 2008.

The great men [ Thoreau, Goethe, Emerson, Tolstoy] forever radiate a sharp sense of that profound requirement of an artist, to fully understand that consequences of what he creates are unimportant. Let the motive for action be in the action itself and not in the event. I know from my own experience that when I create with any degree of strength and beauty I have no thought of consequences. Anyone who creates for effect—to score a hit—does not know what he is missing! Letterto Andrew fromhis father, the great illustrator N.C. Wyeth


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2015 6:15 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The War of Two Religions

EXCERPTED FROM The First Terrorist War

4. The Goal of Radical Islam is Our Destruction

The consequences of a political and military stand-down would be to allow our enemies the time, basing and mobility to grow in numbers, advance in training, achieve greater tactical position within and about our borders, and acquire ever more sophisticated and powerful weapons. Once they have advanced to the next level of lethality they will strike us again with an effect on our lives, liberties, property and economy more extreme than 9/11.

The goals of the Radical Islamic forces arrayed against us are the same as their factotums, the Palestinians, have for Israel. In the jihad against Israel we can see what the Islamic forces have in mind for us: the complete destruction of our systems, the occupation of our land, the usurpation of our government, and the death or conversion of all our citizens. These are the goals of Radical Islam as understood by their fundamentalists and as tolerated by the vast majority of believers.

Much has been written about these goals. Most of our scholars conclude they are only fantasies, but a nuclear weapon detonated in Seattle does not care if a fantasy set it off.

Whether the goals of Radical Islam can be achieved is a matter for history to determine. It is the belief that they can be achieved that brings the First Terrorist War upon us. To the extent that we fail to recognize the intensity and commitment of our enemies in this war; to the extent we fail to match their passion for our destruction with our passion for victory; to the extent we cast our lot with process as they cast their lot with their God, we weaken our ability to decisively defeat them.

Ours is a "war on terror" while theirs is a "Jihad." Our efforts are a process. Theirs are directed by divine mandate. Whether you are of a secular or religious persuasion, it is well to remember that if you go to war you'd best have God on your side.

As such it is time to put away the frayed and weak designation of our actions as the "war on terror" for it is not "terror" that shooting wars engage. Wars engage combatants, armies, populations, institutions, nations and religions. It is unpopular, almost unsayable, to designate the First Terrorist War as a religious war, yet all serious people know that this is the case and that this, in the end, is what it shall come to.

5. The War of Two Religions

Through the violent attacks of a Radical Islam, two religions have been brought into conflict. The first is that of Islam, a faith that at its core requires absolute submission from its adherents, and looks towards the subjugation of the world as its ultimate apotheosis. As the youngest of the monotheistic religions, Islam is at a point in its development that Christianity passed through centuries ago. And it is not with Christianity that Islam is currently at war. Islam is saving that for the mopping up phase of its current campaign. The religion that Islam has engaged is a much younger one, the religion of Freedom.

As a religion Freedom has been gaining converts since the success of the American Revolution enabled it to go forth and be preached to the world. Freedom is easily the most popular of the new religions and historically converts nearly 100% of all populations in which it is allowed to take firm root. This is the religion which we have lately brought to Iraq.

The genius of the religion of Freedom is that it allows all other religions, from the venerable to the trivial, to exist without fear of censure or destruction. Indeed, the only thing that the religion of Freedom firmly forbids is the destruction of Freedom itself. "Thou shalt not destroy Freedom" seems to be the only commandment. And Freedom has been shown to resist efforts to destroy it in the most ferocious way. It's enemies would do well to ponder the fate of previous attempts to do so.

On September 11, the agents of Radical Islam began their attempt to destroy Freedom by attacking it at its core. The reaction of Freedom to this assault has been, once you consider the destructive power of the weapons systems it possesses, measured, deliberate and cautious. This is because Freedom, although sorely wounded, does not yet feel that its very existence is threatened. A more serious attack at any time in the future will put paid to that specious notion.

Following a second attack at a level equal to or exceeding September 11, any political opposition to pursuing our enemies with all means at our disposal will be swept off the table. The First Terrorist War will begin in earnest and it will not be a series of small wars with long lead times and a careful consultation of allies. The war will become, virtually overnight, a global war of violent preemption and merciless attack towards the spiritual and geographic centers of our enemy. Arguments revolving around the true meaning of "imminent" will be seen as they are -- so much factional prattle. Due to the nature of the enemy, the First Terrorist War will be fought here and there and everywhere. It does not matter when or where the second serious strike on the American homeland takes place, it only matters that on the day after this country will be at war far beyond the current level of conflict.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 18, 2015 5:37 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Land

The Land is a forthcoming documentary film about the nature of play, risk and hazard set in The

Land, a Welsh "adventure” playground. Here, children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails in a play-space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own. The Land (Teaser) on Vimeo
Dear Lord, I love this whole concept. Childhood regained.

Michelle Obama's Mirror: How to teach your child to play with fire rather than curse the darkness. In a town in northern Wales an “adventure” playground was built by filling an empty lot with sticks, nails, old tools, tires and empty oil drums: what most people would consider a junk yard. Here kids are allowed to hammer, saw, build stuff, swing across a creek, and even start fires – all with as little adult supervision as possible. It’s messy, dirty and - by most Western parents standards - “insane.”
“Today, these playgrounds are so out of sync with affluent and middle-class parenting norms that when I showed fellow parents back home a video of kids crouched in the dark lighting fires, the most common sentence I heard from them was ‘This is insane.’”
Of course, what’s considered “insane” today was part of a normal childhood just a generation or so ago. It was called “play” not “play dates.” It was how kids learned about the world, how to overcome both physical and mental obstacles, stretch their imagination, explore the unknown, solve seemingly impossible problems; and they did it all in the real world where they would reside for the rest of their lives, not the virtual world of video games.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2015 12:53 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Sermonette 2: Phil Robertson: We Lost Jesus As A Nation

“No Jesus with Hitler, with the Nazis. No Jesus. They wanted to dominate the world and they were famous for murder.

The Shintoists came along. No Jesus there, Sean. They were famous for murder. They wanted to conquer the world. Look at the blood that was spilled with those two. Then comes Communism. No Jesus with them either and they wanted to conquer the world and they slaughtered millions. So you have murder, murder, murder.”
“Then this latest crop pops their head up.
It’s just an ideology under the guise of a religion. They want to conquer the world. There’s no Jesus with them either, and they’re famous for murder.”

The Duck Dynasty star cited the “no Jesus” and “murder” similarities with the political correctness crowd in the White House, Hollywood, and universities. “And they have killed about 55 million of their own children over the last 30 years.”

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 18, 2015 12:36 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Life in the Fast Lane

Going Down: Candide Thovex's commute is not to the job, it is the job.

[Note: You don't want to think to much about 3:50-4:10.]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 17, 2015 9:25 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Amazing: Gravity Glue

More by Michael Grab HERE @ YouTube

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 10:28 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bocca della Verità: The Mouth of Truth


Long before the modern lie detector and its harmlessly jittering graphs and wires were invented, the superstitious and untruthful faced a much more severe fate between the jaws of the Bocca della Verità, or Mouth of Fate, an ancient carving which is said to bite the hands off of liars.....

While the origin is up for debate the one unifying legend surrounding the stone carving is that if one were to stick their hand inside the disc's mouth and tell a lie, the rocky maw would bite the offending hand off. This belief seems to have originated during the Middle Ages when the disc was supposedly used during trials having the accused put their hand in the slot and if found to be untruthful a hidden axeman would lop off the appendage. While this use seems to be apocryphal, the superstition persists to this day. The Mouth of Truth, which now rests outside the doors of the Santa Maria in Cosmedin church, has been used as a whimsical lie detector in a number of movies and video games, most famously in the 1953 romance, Roman Holiday, in which the carving was a major plot device.
Via Atlas Obscura


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 6:36 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "Lately it occurs to me / What a long strange trip it's been..."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 4:59 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink


Hemingway and the Cocktail

Ernest Hemingway (21 Jul 1899 – 2 July 1961) was, among other things, a war correspondant, bullfighting aficionado, American expatriate, novelist, cat-fancier, fisherman, sub-chaser, Pulitzer and Nobel Prize winner and, for our purposes here, a rather serious drinker. Ernest, or Papa, began drinking as a teenager in his cub reporter days and continued, unabated, throughout his life. Toward the end of his life he was reportedly drinking the equivalent of a quart of whiskey a day.



Charles Baker, in his 1939 classic The Gentleman’s Companion included this drink prepared for him by Papa during a Jan 1937 visit to the author in Key West. Hemingway described it as a “picker-upper” Baker writes: “It’s tartness and its bitterness are its chief charm.” In other words – a typical Hemingway cocktail.
2 oz. Lucas Bols Oude Genever
4 dashes Angostura
1 lime
Add crushed ice to a thin tumbler.
Lace the ice with 4 dashes of Angostura.
Add the juice and crushed peel of 1 lime.
Nearly fill the tumbler with Genever.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 4:36 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
MAP: The United States Of Alcohol

Map via VinePair

Larger image if you choose to....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 4:24 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If this keeps up I'm going to have to create a category called; "The Japanese. Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?" **

100 Sizzling Japanese maids in Action

[** Phrase coined by Kathy Shaidle ]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 16, 2015 12:08 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Patience: The ‘Inception’ of Artists’ Books by Randi Parkhurst

"Watch as book artist and paper maker Randi Parkhurst slowly unveils her 2007 creation Patience, a meticulously organized collection of some 20 self-contained handmade paper books.

It really pays off to not skip ahead and watch as each inconceivably smaller box is revealed. This must have taken months and months to make." | Colossal

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 15, 2015 10:44 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When God lets...

Mysselhøj, a Danish gravemound from the early bronze age.

when god lets my body be

from each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit that dangles therefrom

the purpled world will dance upon
between my lips which did sing

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passion wastes

will lay between their little breasts
my strong fingers beneath the snow

into strenuous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with her face
and all the while shall my heart be
with the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

E. E. Cummings

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 15, 2015 9:11 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
War in the Absence of Strategic Clarity By: Mark Helprin Posted: September 17, 2003

True in 2003. Even more true today....

The enemy must and can be defined. That he is the terrorist himself almost everyone agrees, but in the same way that the United States extended blame beyond the pilots who attacked Pearl Harbor, it must now reach far back into the structures of enablement for the sake of deciding who and what must be fought. And given the enormity of a war against civilians, and the attacks upon our warships, embassies, economy, capital, government, and most populous city, this determination must be liberal and free-flowing rather than cautious and constrained, both by necessity and by right. The enemy has embarked upon a particular form of warfare with the intent of shielding his center of mass from counterattack, but he must not be allowed such a baseless privilege. For as much as he is the terrorist who executes the strategy, he is the intelligence service in aid of it, the nation that harbors his training camps, the country that finances him, the press filled with adulation, the people who dance in the streets when there is a slaughter, and the regime that turns a blind eye.
Not surprisingly, militant Islam arises from and makes its base in the Arab Middle East. The first objective of the war, therefore, must be to offer every state in the area this choice: eradicate all support for terrorism within your borders or forfeit existence as a state. That individual terrorists will subsequently flee to the periphery is certain, but the first step must be to deny them their heartland and their citadels.
An excerpt from War in the Absence of Strategic Clarity

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 14, 2015 3:52 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Pleasures of Merely Circulating"


The garden flew round with the angel,
The angel flew round with the cloud.
And the clouds flew round and the clouds flew round
And the clouds flew round with the clouds.

-- Wallace Stevens

A clear day and a long road running south out of Nelson in British Columbia towards the US border. Lakes loom on the left embraced by the forested mountains that rise up displaying more greens than can be counted. The air, as it slips by the window, is crisp even in July. Somewhere up past the first two ranges of mountains, snow lingers. It's a perfect day and the road goes on forever.

We come over a rise in my red Mercedes 560 SEL and see curling out before us between the forests a rolling S-curve of smooth asphalt arcing down the valley and then up and over the hill far beyond and gone. My passenger, skilled in racing very large motorcycles very well, looks at it and says, "That's the road motorcyclists dream of. Perfectly banked and perfectly curved with a long, long sight line and no oncoming traffic."

I nod and give it the gas. The turbocharger kicks in. The car leaps forward with a growl. The forest outside becomes a green blur. We sweep down and around, up and over the hill.

We pin the speedometer.

And we're gone.

I pity the future for a lot of reasons, but I really pity that future that will no longer be able to know the pure pleasures of personal speed. As Jack Kerouac knew,

"Man, you gotta go."

Say what you like about our poor beaten-down gas guzzlers, they've given us over a century of thrills for everyman.

I pity that future that won't ever experience the sweet feeling of motoring in a vehicle with a large internal-combustion engine running on heavy fuel. A vehicle with a glutton's diet of pure petrochemical byproducts. A car that turns the sunshine that fell to Earth on some antediluvian day 500 million summers gone into a surge of pure speed on this fine July afternoon.

I pity my descendants who will never be able to look out at some sweeping mountain road, perfectly curved, perfectly banked, with no oncoming traffic and just "Give it the gas."

"Give it the photons" just doesn't have the same cachet.

HT to The Dipso Chronicles: Literary Antacid for bringing this back.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 14, 2015 2:22 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: ลูกชายคนกวาดขยะ Garbage Man

Every so often I need something like this to sit me down quietly and remind me -- one more time again and yet again and again!-- that for every 100 evil acts of man against humanity in this life, there are 100 million other, brighter, higher and finer acts that redeem us.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 14, 2015 12:45 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People


"Turns out great minds don’t think alike.

Discover how some of the world’s most original artists, writers and musicians structured their day, based on ‘Daily Rituals’ by Mason Currey. Filter the different categories by toggling on or off, and hover over the colored bars to learn more about the daily routines." See Daily Routines @ Podio for the full interactive experience.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 13, 2015 10:52 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Bioluminescent Forest

Projections in the Forest from 3hund on Vimeo.

Patience please.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 13, 2015 10:22 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Repulsive Islam


Daphne from 2008-11-29 at the now gone and much missed Jaded Haven : "Scheherazade Needs A New Tale:"

"I find myself increasingly repulsed by Muslim practices and beliefs. Middle Eastern, African, Asian, American, the country of origin makes no difference. Women and children treated as chattel, genital mutilation, child brides, honor killings, culturally accepted pedophilia, the black drapes and head coverings, no rights, no votes, little to non-existent educational opportunities, no voice, no choices, no recourse. Persecution of homosexuals. Imprisonment, stoning and whipping for morality crimes. Lack of free speech. The foul treatment of non-Muslims in Islamic countries. The demented hatred of Jews. Sharia Law. Wahhabism. Madrasas. Blind obedience to Mullahs.Praying towards Mecca - a place on the map few will ever see. Individuality is shut down, originality and freedom of the mind discouraged. Islam pisses on human talents that fall outside the dark walls of its faith. Hell, I even dislike their dislike of dogs....
My lip curls at their love of theocracies, a willingness to subjugate themselves to the whims of dissolute rulers along side an ancient text they can’t even begin to comprehend, subsuming their divine individuality to a tide of dogmatic mandates. I have no use, or respect, for the people who follow this religion. I’m past tired of their bombing, shooting, acid throwing, coup d’etat loving, rioting asses and it looks like the rest of the world could stand a break from these murdering bastards, too.

Posted by Vanderleun Jan 13, 2015 8:13 PM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Rich and Strange: Saw Hero

Sippican Cottage: I Set Up A Web Camera To Document The Building Of My Last End Table

As you can see from the screen capture thumbnail, three of the fingers on my hands are webbed. Comes in handy when I'm trying to hold on to screws while using my cordless drill. It's not supposed to be cordless, I just cut the cord off accidentally when I was using the chop saw; but those buggers are expensive, so I keep using it that way.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 12, 2015 5:45 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And now a word from American Digest's New Sponsor!

HT: G& J

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 9, 2015 5:58 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Slow Life

Slow Life from Daniel Stoupin on Vimeo.

Psalm 19 1: The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 9, 2015 9:10 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ten Steps to a Lasting Pax Americana by Shibes Meadow

1. Amend Constitution; reword First Amendment to exclude Islam.

2. Pass enabling legislation forbidding the practice of Islam in the U.S.

3. Shutter all mosques, masjids, and madrassas in the U.S.

4. Round up all members of same; place in former Japanese-American internment camps

5. Deport all internees who openly profess Islam.

6. Set up shibboleth, e.g., a copy of the Koran in a bucket. Force each remaining internee to piss on the Koran. Immediately deport those that refuse to do so.

7. Issue Ausweispapiere to remaining internees, who must present them monthly at the local police station or on demand

8. Strip all internees of U.S. citizenship; remaining internees are visa holders, renewable annually upon pain of deportation.

9. Create Christian Expeditionary Force of 500,000 volunteer infantry, plus artillery, armor, and support units.

10. Upon occasion of next Islamic attack, declare war on all nations with Islamic governments; invade and conquer same; install puppet governments in each; outlaw Islam as Shinto was outlawed in Japan and Nazism in Germany post-WW2; maintain occupation for ten years or until all occupied nations are Christianized.

But we won't -- not until the U.S., Britain, France, etc. are first re-Christianized.

Posted by Shibes Meadow as a comment to AMERICAN DIGEST: Comment on No More Vigils. Vengeance: After Paris

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2015 10:13 PM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No More Vigils. Vengeance: After Paris I, more than ever, feel the same way I felt on the afternoon of 9/11/


The Muslim Insects: Shoot On Sight

Below is an excerpt from What I Saw: Notes Made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights. Nearly a decade and a half later it remains true. How many more have to die from these insects and their vile belief systems called "Islam" before we begin to scrub it off the face of the Earth? Dozens in Paris. Thousands in NYC. None of this seems to be enough to raise our blood up beyond another "vigil;" beyond pathetic piles of flowers and candles. What will it take? Will it be an entire city? Perhaps but.... sooner or later.... Better it be sooner.

What do I feel? I don' t know what I feel --- except that I want vengeance. I want everything this country possesses put onto the people who did this, and the people who supported this act, and the people who believe this is the way in which political ends are achieved.

I want there to be war until these people are eradicated whoever they are, and where ever they are. I want it made clear that anything even approaching this evil act will be met with utter destruction -- people, families, villages, cities, nations. This is an act of war and war must be the response.

We will be having a long series of mass funerals for many weeks. I only hope that this country finds the stomach and the resolve to carry retribution forward until it is complete.

That is what I feel, now, today. And I 'm not alone. I' m not alone at all.

Too bloody minded? Not by half. We're way beyond "love, peace and understanding."

An item from 2006 tells me there were at that time "751 No-Go Zones in France." Today there are doubtless many more. This means zones in which the French police do not enter. Time to go into those zones with the military. Here too. Everywhere this blight on humanity has taken root with its black mold.

World Wars do not end by talking your enemy to death. They end by decimating his armies, his roving bands of guerrilla, and his population base.

Well-begun is half done.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2015 9:25 AM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald"

He said, "Fellas, it's been good to know you."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 8, 2015 8:27 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Marilyn at the Beach: Thy Eternal Summer Shall Not Fade


Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimmed,
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course untrimmed:
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall death brag thou wander'st in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st,
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Shakespeare, Sonnet XVIII


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 6, 2015 9:07 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Crazy Place: "Sexual derangement, Shooting of daughter, Smallpox, Snuff" 125 reasons you'll get sent to the lunatic asylum

Once upon a time, any of these would be reason enough to send you to the Crazy Place for life:

Amenorrhea, Asthma, Bad company, Bad habits & political excitement, Bad whiskey, Bite of a rattle snake, Bloody flux, Brain fever, Business nerves, Carbonic acid gas, Carbuncle, Cerebral softening, Cold, Congetion of brain, Constitutional, Crime, Death of sons in the war, Decoyed into the army, Deranged masturbation, Desertion by husband, Diptheria, Disappointed affection, Disappointed love, Disappointment, Dissipation of nerves, Dissolute habits, Dog bite, Domestic affliction, Domestic trouble, Doubt about mother’s ancestors, Dropsy, Effusion on the brain, Egotism, Epileptic fits, Excessive sexual abuse, Excitement as officer, Explosion of shell nearby, Exposure & hereditary, Exposure & quackery, Exposure in army, Fall from horse, False confinement, Feebleness of intellect, Fell from horse, Female disease, Fever, Fever & loss of law suit, Fever & nerved, Fighting fire, Fits & desertion of husband, Gastritis, Gathering in the head, Greediness, Grief, Gunshot wound, Hard study, Hereditary predisposition, Ill treatment by husband, Imaginary female trouble, Immoral life, Imprisonment, Indigestion, Intemperance, Interference, Jealousy, Jealousy & religion, Kick of horse, Kicked in the head by a horse, Laziness, Liver and social disease, Loss of arm, Marriage of son, Masturbation & syphilis, Masturbation for 30 years, Medicine to prevent conception, Menstrual deranged, Mental excitement, Milk fever, Moral sanity, Novel reading, Nymphomania, Opium habit, Over action on the mind, Over heat, Over study of religion, Over taxing mental powers, Parents were cousins, Pecuniary losses: worms, Periodical fits, Political excitement, Politics, Puerperal, Religious enthusiasm, Religious excitement, Remorse, Rumor of husband’s murder or desertion, Salvation army, Scarlatina, Seduction, Seduction & dissappointment, Self abuse, Severe labor, Sexual abuse and stimulants, Sexual derangement, Shooting of daughter, Smallpox, Snuff, Snuff eating for two years, Softening of the brain, Spinal irritation, Sun stroke, Sunstroke, Superstition, Suppressed masturbation, Suppression of menses, Tobacco & masturbation: hysteria, The war, Time of life, Trouble.
Today they merely make you an "interesting individual" and electable.

Haunting History at an Old W.Va. Hospital - Washington Post

Doug pointed out the thick metal ring embedded deep in the wall, to which a patient would have been shackled so nurses could attend to him without fear of injury. He had me test the heavy metal mesh of the inner door by pushing against it with all my might. I couldn't budge it. Then he ever so subtly stepped slightly aside, and it was clear from his stance I was meant to step inside. Like the clueless blonde in all the slasher movies, I did.

Weston State Hospital

Imagine constructing a building with 9 acres of floorspace and a clock tower two hundred feet tall. With 921 windows, 906 doors, and 1,295 feet long. Imagine building this structure that is covered with three and a half acres of slate roof, uses fifteen miles of steam pipe, and twenty miles of telephone wire. Now imagine it is 1858 and you must build this new hospital from the ground without power tools, without machines, and without modern technology. All you have is man power, rock from the area, wagons to haul it, and strong determination.

Weston Hospital in Lewis County, WV, officially named the West Virginia Hospital for the Insane upon completion of the facility shown here in 1880, was typical of the many that were established throughout the country. Its design reflected the Kirkbride plan in action. This design called for long, rambling wings, that provided therapeutic sunlight and air to comfortable living quarters so that the building itself promoted a curative effect, or as Kirkbride put it, “a special apparatus for lunacy.” 125 reasons you'll get sent to the lunatic asylum | Appalachian History

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 5, 2015 8:01 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The National Mood: "I still owe money to the money to the money I owe"

"I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
I never thought about love when I thought about home
I still owe money to the money to the money I owe
The floors are falling out from everybody I know."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 5, 2015 1:51 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Sermonette1: Mighty To Save Mighty To Save- [A New Hallelujah]

As we grow older
The world becomes stranger, the pattern more complicated
Of dead and living. Not the intense moment
Isolated, with no before and after,
But a lifetime burning in every moment
And not the lifetime of one man only
But of old stones that cannot be deciphered.

T. S. Eliot: "East Coker"

They say....

"The grave is cold."

I know this is true. I have been sent down to abide in it. I have felt its chill winds wrap my bones.

They say...

"There is life after death."

I know that is true because I have felt, faintly, far off, and long away, the warmth of that refiner's fire. And I was returned to this life by some power beyond my ken. Before death I was a man of doubts and denials. I was proud of my "tough minded" philosophy. Then I dropped down into the dark and, through grace and grace alone, was returned to light.

And now, every day, in the cashier's line at the store, or stalled in traffic, or simply walking to corner in the skyfall of sunlight, I see the inscape of His power in all things, in all faces, as if the vision of the elder prophets was given to me in the most mundane moments.

"Here I stand. I can do no other"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 4, 2015 8:34 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Everything Wrong with Feminism in 8 Minutes or Less

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2015 3:47 PM | Comments (21)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors

The Voice of The New York Subway System from Vici Shaweddy on Vimeo.

"Charlie Pellett is a veteran news anchor and reporter for Bloomberg Radio.

He is based in New York City. Pellett joined Bloomberg in 1992, serving as a member of the original Bloomberg Radio and Bloomberg Television anchor teams. Pellett's voice has been designated as the official "voice" of the New York City subway system. Every day, riders can hear him imploring them to "stand clear of the closing doors.""

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2015 3:19 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Want to Lose Weight in the New Year? Eat at Home

Right on time for 2015 comes this tale of diet and calories. Lord knows I need to take it to heart. You probably do too. Check out What 2,000 Calories Looks Like -

Ye Olde 2000+ Standby

Here, we show you what roughly 2,000 calories looks like at some large chains.

(Depending on age and gender, most adults should eat between 1,600 and 2,400 calories a day.) Researchers have long understood that people are more likely to finish what’s on their plate than to stop eating because they’ve consumed a given amount of food. It’s “the completion compulsion,” a phrase coined in the 1950s by the psychologist Paul S. Siegel. Combine that compulsion with the rising number of restaurant meals Americans eat and the substance of those meals, and you start to understand why we’ve put on so much weight. But there is some good news: As you’ll see below, it’s not so hard to eat bountifully and stay under 2,000 calories. It’s just hard to do so at most restaurants.

But if you must feast on fast food be a Jared.

But if you really want to eat something worthwhile more than once a day, stay home.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 2, 2015 9:04 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Luckily for me everything on this taco is on my New Year's Resolution Diet!

HT: That ravenous gourmand NeoNeoCon.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2015 1:52 PM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2015 1:13 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Welcome to the 15th Year of the 21st Century

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jan 1, 2015 12:29 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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