Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Obama Resigns


Early morning television viewers were surprised to find their programs interrupted for an emergency announcement, during which the ashen-faced and possibly drug-fueled president spoke in rambling, frequently cryptic sentence fragments about "the sweet, sweet call to prayer," "dog-flavored shave ice," the merits of Titleist golf balls and, most puzzlingly, his declaration that "Mike is done pretending to be Michelle." He then told America to go (and we paraphrase here) fornicate itself, and capped his brief resignation with "Allah Akbar - I'm out of here, suckers!"

In a scene reminiscent of America's departure from Vietnam, Obama scrambled aboard a George Soros-owned helicopter hovering just about the White House roof. Newly appointed President Biden celebrated his unexpected promotion by rushing onto the White House balcony in his pajamas and firing a shotgun into the sky, before being tackled and disappearing under a pile of Secret Service agents. Sadly, the shotgun blast was thought to have done only minor damage to Mr. Obama's helicopter.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 31, 2015 10:46 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Richard Feynman: fire is stored sunshine

Okay, listen up at Richard Feynman explains how fire is just stored sunshine. But then how did we get the sun to give the sunlight to store in the first place? "I gotta stop somewhere...."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 31, 2015 1:57 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Delete "Hook." Insert "Heart"

John Popper of Blues Traveller belting out The Hook

This morning I have been bedeviled by the earworms, hooks, and heart tricks of popular music. I keep telling myself that most popular songs are not written to be true, but glib; that they run on what's call 'The Hook.'

Distracted by numerous lyrics that all seemed to sending me a secret message, I decided to investigate the inner nature of 'The Hook.' and came in my Googling to a song by Blues Traveler from their album "Four."

"Four" is an album I've had for many years (A memoir of a brief, but doomed, May -- September romance a decade or so back back.) which has a song on it called "The Hook." Looking up the lyrics, I saw -- for the first time -- what the refrain actually says:

"Because the hook brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The hook brings you back
On that you can rely."

It's a common problem with the lyrics to pop songs that they are often misheard by the listeners. These ear blips are called "mondegreens." I have a old friend who has bought apartments in New York City by exploiting and cataloguing the phenomenon in books. ('Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy and He's Got the Whole World in His Pants , among others.)

Mondegreens are commonly explained by the facts of loose recording standards, production choices, and the volume at which all the instruments play and the singers sing. It is more simply explained by the fact, as noted by my old friend Ethan Russell about Mick Jagger many years ago, "Well, you know, he does slur a lot."

And he does, and they all do. Singing words requires, as we learn in the sacred book of Bob Dylan, that you bend and shape the song's words to the measure of the song's music. Success in pop music is always found, after the last note fades, in the singer not the song.

The other thing that drives the hearing of a song is the mood of the listener. You hear things in songs that aren't ever there just as you see things about your house that are long gone. In each, what we hear and see in down times is essentially the ghosts of ... love, etcetera. And coming or going, love has a lot of etcetera attached to it that it pulls along behind it like the chains on Marley's ghost.

All of this is a periphrastic way of coming to what I had heard sung in the refrain to 'The Hook.' for many years. I never heard the word 'hook.' Instead I heard the word 'heart,' as in:

"Because the heart brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The heart brings you back
On that you can rely."

I've listened to 'The Hook.', with attention or just as background, probably around a hundred times over the years. I've trance danced to it. I've even been to a Blues Traveler concert in New York City that had it on the set list. In all those iterations I've never heard 'hook,' but always heard 'heart.' Now I know different .... but not better.

Seen whole the lyrics to 'The Hook' are all about the plight and pain of being a pop star. One of thousands of such screeds in which our celebrities bemoan the curse of wealth and fame their rise has brought to them -- the endless angst of those who fear they had to 'sell-out' in order to 'buy-in.' I try, but somehow I just can't feel this pampered pain.

In the end, I really don't want 'The Hook.' to bring me back. I want 'The Heart' to bring me back:

"Because the heart brings you back
I ain't tellin' you no lie
The heart brings you back
On that you can rely."

It might be a mondegreen, but it makes a much better song.

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 31, 2015 2:24 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The SPAM aisle in Hawaii

It's everything you hoped it would be....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 28, 2015 11:36 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It was a muggy day.... in Guangxi province, just to the south of the Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China.


"It was a muggy day, the sort where you feel your t-shirt sticking to you before you even realize it. We hired some local guides, who then hired some even more local guides to help show the way to the spire we wanted to ascend. Boy was it grueling! Jagged rocks, thorny bushes, all-fours most of the way. Sometimes the only thing to hold onto was a thorn bush or a glassy-evil-jaded rock. At the top, I looked down to see all kinds of grisly lacerations... but gathered my wits to get this photo! My bff Tom Anderson was very smart and wore more clothes than me to keep his skin baby-smooth. This photo is a panorama, which I don't normally do, but the Dr. Seuss countryside there is so vast and overpowering, it was kind of the only way to bring it all together." -- Trey Ratcliff

Photographer's web site: Stuck In Customs | HDR Photography

Check out this very large image. You can zoom and pan.

Large image here if you...


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 28, 2015 10:51 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Many a slip twixt the paw and the lip."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 28, 2015 9:22 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Big Life of Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr., 60: Not the Years in Your Life but the Life in Your Years

don-malcolm.jpgTaking the award for Obituary of the Decade has got to be this one of €“ Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr. from March 25 in the Homer Tribune

Captain Donald Alexander Malcolm Jr., 60, died Feb. 28, 2015, nestled in the bosom of his family, while smoking, drinking whiskey and telling lies. He died from complications resulting from being stubborn, refusing to go to the doctor, and raising hell for six decades. Stomach cancer also played a minor role in his demise.

Don cherished family above all else, and was a beloved husband, father and grandfather. He met his future wife, Maureen (Moe) Belisle Malcolm, after months at sea, crab fishing. He found her in his bed and decided to keep her.

Their daughter Melissa was born “early” six months later. They decided to have a boy a couple years later, and ended up with another daughter, Megan.

He taught his girls how to hold their liquor, filet a fish and change a tire. He took pride in his daughters, but his greatest joy in life was the birth of his grandson Marley, a child to whom he could impart all of his wisdom that his daughters ignored.

After spending his formative years in Kirkland, Wash. with a fishing pole in hand, Don decided his life’s calling was to yell at deckhands on commercial fishing boats in Alaska. As a strapping young man of 19, he moved to Dutch Harbor to fulfill this dream.

Over the next 40 years, Don was a boat cook, mechanic, deckhand, captain and boat owner. Although Don worked nearly every fishery in the Pacific Northwest at one time or another, his main hunting ground was the Bering Sea. He cut his teeth crabbing; kept his family fed by longlining halibut and black cod; then retired as a salmon gillnetter in Southeast Alaska.

Don had a life-time love affair with Patsy Cline, Rainier beer, iceberg lettuce salads and the History Channel (which allowed him to call his wife and daughters everyday in order to relay the latest WWII facts he learned).

He excelled at attempting home improvement projects, outsmarting rabbits, annoying the women in his life and reading every book he could get his hands on.

He thought everyone could, and should, live on a strict diet of salmon, canned peas and rice pilaf, and took extreme pride in the fact that he had a freezer stocked full of wild game and seafood.

His life goal was to beat his wife at Scrabble, and although he never succeeded, his dream lives on in the family he left behind.

Don is survived not only by his wife, daughters and grandson, but by his father, Donald Malcolm Sr; brothers Howard and Mike Malcolm; sisters Lisa Shumaker, Nicki White, Melinda Borg and Patsi Solano.

He also has many nieces, nephews, aunts and cousins who love him dearly, and deckhands who knew him.

He will be having an extended family reunion with his mother, Winifred Thorton; foster parents Marvel and Dutch Roth, brothers Larry and Steve Malcolm, sister Doodie Cake, and other assorted family and friends who died too young.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 27, 2015 9:35 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When "Body by Fisher" Meant Body


The Plexiglas Pontiac Deluxe Six "Ghost Car," which sold at auction a few years ago for $308,000, June 11, 1940. "General Motors exhibit at Golden Gate International Exposition, San Francisco. Transparent Car with Pontiac Chassis and Body by Fisher." -- Shorpy Historic Picture Archive

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 26, 2015 9:58 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sleight of Hand or Sleight of Mind

HT: Curmudgeonly and Skeptical.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 26, 2015 10:26 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Fourth Reich by V.S. Naipaul "In the absence of the cat, the rats ran riot."

Required reading: How ISIS is the reincarnation of the Nazis by V.S. Naipul.


Isis is dedicated to a contemporary holocaust. It has pledged itself to the murder of Shias, Jews, Christians, Copts, Yazidis and anyone it can, however fancifully, accuse of being a spy. It has wiped out the civilian populations of whole regions and towns. Isis could very credibly abandon the label of Caliphate and call itself the Fourth Reich.

Like the Nazis, Isis fanatics are anti-semitic, with a belief in their own racial superiority. They are anti-democratic: the Islamic State is a totalitarian state, absolute in its authority. There is even the same self-regarding love of symbolism, presentation and propaganda; terror is spread to millions through films and videos created to professional standards of which Goebbels would have been proud.

Just as the Third Reich did, Isis categorises its enemies as worthy of particular means of execution from decapitation to crucifixion and death by fire.

Whereas the Nazis pretended to be the guardians of civilisation in so far as they stole art works to preserve them and kept Jewish musicians alive to entertain them, Isis destroys everything that arises from the human impulse to beauty.

Such barbarism is not new to history and every nation has suffered mass murder and barbaric cruelty in the past. That a European country in the 20th Century launched a holocaust on the basis of race is a matter of the deepest shame.

That Isis has revived the religious dogmas and deadly rivalries between Sunnis and Shias, Sunnis and Jews and Christians is a giant step into darkness.


Islamism is simpler. There are rules to obey, a jihad to fight against the civilisation you can’t comprehend, a heaven to go to when you martyr yourself and now a real fighting force in the world which you can join to simplify and solve your existence: no history to complicate your self-awareness, no art to distract you, no ambivalence and choices that ‘Western’ civilisation offers you, no doubt about the fruits of martyrdom, no allegiance to the country in which you were brought up and which gave you a free education and perhaps welfare benefits. A gun, a half-understood prayer and the simplicity that a simple and singular upbringing craves.

That is why they go. And volunteer for death, and die.


Isis has to be seen as the most potent threat to the world since the Third Reich.
Its military annihilation as an anti-civilisational force has to now be the objective of a world that wants its ideological and material freedoms.

The entire essay is at V.S. NAIPAUL writing in the Daily Mail

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 24, 2015 9:33 AM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"A Very American Question"


From “Small World: An Academic Romance” (1984) by David Lodge. In the novel, Morris Zapp is a professor of English at an American university. Fulvia Morgana is an Italian leftist:

“There’s something I must ask you, Fulvia,” said Morris Zapp, as he sipped Scotch on the rocks poured from a crystal decanter brought on a silver tray by a black-uniformed, white-aproned maid to the first-floor drawing-room of the magnificent eighteenth-century house just off the Villa Napoleone, which they had reached after a drive so terrifyingly fast that the streets and boulevards of Milan were just a pale grey blur in his memory. “It may sound naive, and even rude, but I can’t suppress it any longer.”

Fulvia arched her eyebrows above her formidable nose. They had both rested, showered, and changed, she into a long, loose flowing robe of fine white wool, which made her look more than ever like a Roman empress. They faced each other, sunk deep in soft, yielding, hide-covered armchairs, across a Persian rug laid on the honey-coloured waxed wooden floor. Morris looked around the spacious room, in which a few choice items of antique furniture had been tastefully integrated with the finest specimens of modern Italian design, and whose off-white walls bore, he had ascertained by close-range inspection, original paintings by Chagall, Mark Rothko and Francis Bacon. “I just want to know,” said Morris Zapp, “how you manage to reconcile living like a millionaire with being a Marxist.”

Fulvia, who was smoking a cigarette in an ivory holder, waved it dismissively in the air. “A very American question, if I may say so, Morris. Of course I recognize the contradictions in our way of life, but those are the very contradictions characteristic of the last phase of bourgeois capitalism, which will eventually cause it to collapse. By renouncing our own little bit of privilege”—here Fulvia spread her hands in a modest proprietorial gesture which implied that she and her husband enjoyed a standard of living only a notch or two higher than that of, say, a Puerto Rican family living on welfare in the Bowery—“we should not accelerate by one minute the consummation of that process, which has its own inexorable rhythm and momentum, and is determined by the pressure of mass movements, not by the puny actions of individuals. Since in terms of dialectical materialism it makes no difference to the ’istorical process whether Ernesto and I, as individuals, are rich or poor, we might as well be rich, because it is a role that we know ’ow to perform with a certain dignity. Whereas to be poor with dignity, poor as our Italian peasants are poor, is something not easily learned, something bred in the bone, through generations.”

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 23, 2015 10:00 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Ballads: "Just Walk Away Renee"

Oh my, oh sigh, oh goodbye: Michael Brown, Keyboardist for The Left Banke, Dies at 65 - Michael Brown, a keyboardist and songwriter who at 16 was a writer of the 1966 hit “Walk Away Renee” for his band the Left Banke and composed “Pretty Ballerina” for it as well, died on Thursday at his home in Englewood, N.J. He was 65.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 21, 2015 1:19 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Tibet from Space


The International Space Station viewed from the approaching Space Shuttle. View is southeast. The bow tie shaped lake is Peko Tso in southern Tibet. Kathmandu is to the south of it. The Mustang region of Nepal is visible in the lower centre of the image.


Looking west, north-west across the the Tibetan Plateau and Himalaya. Bhutan is in the lower right. Nam Tso is in middle right of the photo. The odd-shaped lake is Yamdrok Tso. Lhasa is located between the two lakes. December 20, 2014.

An enthralling photo/history/personal essay on the ancient nation as see from high above at Tibet from Space キ Maptia

These are the days of miracle and wonder,
This is the long distance call,
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all o-yeah,
The way we look to a distant constellation
That's dying in a corner of the sky,
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don't cry baby don't cry
Don't cry don't cry

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 20, 2015 9:34 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Happiness Cure


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 19, 2015 12:38 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Don't Blink

This one goes out to my mother, still running deep and clear in the midst of her 100th year.

"Best start putting first things first."

"Trust me friend a hundred years
Goes faster than you think
So don't blink"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2015 11:49 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cannabis as Godzilla

It's.... alive. ALIVE!

And even at this stage it's very strange.

[And, to make it even more ominous, the soundtrack is from Aliens: Face Huggers by James Horner]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2015 7:01 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I am seething with self hatred for not thinking if this headline myself. "

Don Surber's Tweet of the day

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2015 5:40 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
How to Become Gluten Intolerant

A wise guide to this year's food fad fascism.

"Pretend to enjoy gluten-free alternatives. Let's say you are given some gluten-free bread. How are you supposed to enjoy this coagulation of mysterious flours that form a brick with the density of a black hole and the dryness of a desert? Answer: You're not. "

HT: The ever popular Maggie's Farm.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 18, 2015 9:53 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
ESSAY OF THE DAY: What Conservatives Suffer in a Mad World Run By Fools


"Imagine that you are sane. Now, imagine that you wake up one day, and almost all of the rest of the world has gone insane. Not 'wow things are crazy' but actually, clinically raving lunatics. They're mentally damaged - nearly everyone - and so many are so that they declare this totally normal.

"So now having mumbled conversations with yourself or your dog, seeing things, deciding you are an important historical figure and living that out, etc, that's all perfectly normal and the average person is this way.

"Now imagine you have to try to work and live among these people all the time. They argue down is up, that they are swimming in the ocean instead of driving a car, that they are a talking goose, that women are actually made of small bits of straw, that cats are the highest being and should be venerated and protected, pretty much every day some new insanity is insisted upon. Not just by a few people, but by many, in places of authority, education, entertainment, and in the news.

"These ideas aren't argued for, they are simply assumed, insisted upon, and forced upon everyone else. Movies and TV suddenly take one of these ideas and present it not just as normal, but so normal and right that anyone who differs is portrayed as not confused or wrong but evil, as a horrific person that must be stopped.

"Imagine that you're part of a small group that sees how crazy this is, how foolish the world has become, and all around you it keeps getting randomly and irrationally worse. That each day you wonder what lunacy you're going to have to deal with...."

That's only the beginning of a masterful essay by Christopher Taylor @ Word Around the Net: A MAD WORLD RUN BY FOOLS. If you are sane you will want to read THE WHOLE. It might not make you feel better but you will understand, more clearly, the roots of your suffering.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 16, 2015 10:12 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"NO!" or "Privacy Please"

Or my favorite "Do Not Disturb" phrase the concise and insistent "Ne Pas Deranger" aka "Do not derange!"


The Art of Making People Go Away

“The first widespread use was probably in the beginning of the 20th century, mostly in the U.S., in some of the more prestigious hotels where discretion was the better part of value,” he says. “DND signs have also been known for covering up crimes, or at least, delaying the discovery.”
Do Not Disturb signs are most commonly made out of paper or card stock—they either hang on the door knob or insert into the electric lock. Some are die-cut into shapes like locks, keys, animals, or seashells. In places where the door opens to the outside, the Do Not Disturb sign may be a small sand bag that hangs on the door knob by a rope. While many DND signs have a “make-up room” message on the back, not all do. Signs that have “Do Not Disturb” messaging in multiple languages can have hilarious errors.
Paper signs can feature gorgeous designs or silly comics. In the United Kingdom and the United States, the focus seems to be on wordplay or witty text, using phrases like “My bed is so comfortable that I’m still in it,” “Beauty sleep in progress,” “Leave me alone,” “Taking a post-lobster buffet nap,” “Constructing a pillow fort,” or “Go away.” For example, a door hanger for Clarion Hotels, part of the Choice Hotels group in the U.S., gives a checklist of reasons “Why I Can’t Be Disturbed.” The list includes being tired from food, exercise, and business, but the option that’s already checked is “I’m trying to call myself on the two-line phone while surfing the Internet in my underwear.”

dnd_words_germany_michelbergerEDIT-e1420244660295.jpg dnd_mcdonaldsad_unknownEDIT-e1420244384492.jpg


dnd_zzz_leave_stolen_uk_zetterEDIT-e1420244713282.jpg dnd_face_thailand_centara-e1420244235177.jpg


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 16, 2015 10:08 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And now, just when you thought it was safe to return to planet Earth, here's Hillary!

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2015 10:38 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Not a National Holiday An Irrational Holiday


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 14, 2015 9:26 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink

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?.... Eric Metaxas: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God - WSJ

HT: Sense of Events

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 11, 2015 4:32 AM | Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Truth is what you can make the voter think it is:" The Carville Spew Returns!

"Does anyone do faux outrage as well as James Carville? So far he’s the only thing completely transparent in the Hillary camp. Like they say: "If you drag a hundred dollar bill through a trailer park, you never know what you'll find." In this case a low-class political hustler who will do stupid people tricks for food." Michelle Obama's Mirror


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 10, 2015 1:12 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
They’ve got nothing. Their model, the USSR, collapsed ugly. Their policies are failing. Making conservatives go third party(s) is their ONLY chance.


The question of the moment is: "Are you going to LET them?"

Sarah Hoyt answers eloquently and correctly at Winter At Valley Forge | According To Hoyt


For a hundred years, they’ve patiently been working. They took over one of the major parties. They took over education. They took over the mass media and entertainment and the arts. They had a whole wall of coordinated messages and it all imploded. Clinton? Don’t make me laugh. Should they manage to elect her, her disastrous incompetence will be obvious. Bill Clinton only had a patina of glitz because there was no internet, no dissident voices. Now? Pah.

Net Neutrality? Bah. Six months. Like their attempts at gun grabbing being squelched by 3-d printing and horse sense, give our bright boys six months and net neutrality will be circumvented. Built around, built under, ignored.

Their only hope is division in our ranks.

I say we don’t give it to them. I say we keep taking over the GOP. We’ve been at this for what? Optimistically 20 years. Not a fraction of their (at least) 100.

Yeah, we’ll eat live eels sometimes. Like, say, we couldn’t counter the veto on the Keystone pipeline. However the people claiming that as another reason to defect CAN’T be even “I’ll hold my nose and vote republican” people. NONE of the GOP defected on that. Not one. And some democrats defected to the GOP side. It is not a sign to despair, but a sign of hope.

As for those other democrats? The stooges of a long-dead system? Putin’s best buds? Yeah. We’re coming for them too.

And then, once we’ve pulled our ship off the rocks, once we’ve made the dems into a wreck, or alternately into an American party again, THEN we can have a grand fight Libertarians against Socons. I’m looking forward to it! I’ll be seventy or so, and if I run like my family, a little old lady scary beyond all reason.

But right now? Right now people are trying to destroy us, and our civilization and world.

In the end we win, they lose. Reality is on our side. But the “end” can be a long ways away.

The question is, are you going to cave into their games and let them destroy a third of the world and send civilization into the dark for hundreds of years or not?

I vote not. I understand your impulse.

But this is no time to get wobbly. Keep Calm and Keep Taking Over the GOP.

[The whole thing. Read it you will. At Winter At Valley Forge | According To Hoyt ]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 10, 2015 12:49 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hard Men: "These guys were by no means exceptional or heavy-duty. They were just regular fellas"


"Called "The Greatest Generation" and for good reason.

"What all these fellas had in common was morals, sense of community, honor, strength, the good old virtues. They vibed calm, deadly if necessary; do the right thing always, no speaking falsely, word is my bond. No showboating or colorful language tossed around just to hear themselves talk, no hey look at me how important I am sort of conduct.

"The Polack that ran the junkyard, he still dressed like a Polack even though he came home from the Pacific with a sack full of ears and a face full of shrapnel. "Wat? Wat? I went dere. I done some tings, I come home. Dat's it."

"These guys were by no means exceptional or heavy-duty. They were just regular fellas, living life and doing things the right way, same as all over the country, men of that generation, Americans to their last breath. What they didn’t do was talk like some kinda punks that had paper assholes. They didn’t have to. They knew their strength and were secure with it.


"Do you think them guys back in the 30s, they worried about the cultural mix? As if what was happening in some yocky-dock country in the Balkans - ooh, the Muslims are this, the commies are that - as if that was gonna affect them having a roof over their heads and food on the table for their families?


"If you didn't work you didn't eat. That's pretty basic. Didn't have to think about injustices to migrant workers or whether women were getting paid the same or whether queers could get married. They weren't reluctant about calling some folks deadbeats, moochers, parasites, like, gee, it's gonna hurt their feelings. People back then (including the women folk who were a hell of a lot stronger than the men sometimes) people had some clear understanding of morals, civic duty, work together-ness."

Posted by: chasmatic commenting on The Top 40: "Hot dog . . .this will bust ‘em wide open. Shove everything you can across!" -- Gen. Omar Bradley


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 9, 2015 2:57 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beethoven's 5 Secrets - OneRepublic (Cello/Orchestral Cover) - ThePianoGuys

"Don't only practice your art, but force your way into its secrets." -- Beethoven

"The American Heritage Lyceum Philharmonic (Youth Orchestra) and its director, Kayson Brown, approached us with this idea.

We loved it. It combined two of the things we are working to accomplish -- inviting people to classical music and inspiring young musicians. Steven Sharp Nelson had soloed with the orchestra the previous year and loved the spirit and the talent that the orchestra showed at such young ages (ages 13-18!) Together we developed the concept of "Beethoven's 5 Secrets," combining OneRepublic's tune "Secrets" with melodies and moments from all four movements of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.

We used 5 different melodies from the 4 movements of Beethoven's 5th Symphony (not including the "bridge" the orchestra plays in the middle)."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 8, 2015 9:51 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Green Alarmism


"Green Alarmism does not derive from science. It comes from a religion, the faux pagan worship of Gaia, the earth goddess. She is angry and must be propitiated by the sacrifice of human babies. The white liberals who are votaries of this religion have chosen brown and black babies to be the victims of the rituals of "population control", "zero population growth" and "reproductive choice".

"Why has this bizarre cult arisen among what are supposed to be our most intelligent and skeptical class?

"First we must observe the collapse of Christian belief in this class.

"They are all Marxists now, not industrial grade Stalinists, but cultural Marxists theorized by Adorno, and Gramisci, and the French lumpen-philosopes such as Foucault and Derrida. But, even those variants of Marxism demands atheism.

"Also atheism, especially, the nasty anti-intellectual atheism of Dawkins et. al., allows them to indulge their favorite passion -- Contempt for the unwashed masses of Americans -- the obese bitter clingers who inhabit fly-over country and cling to their guns and religion.

"Having chosen atheism does not mean that they believe nothing. As Umberto Eco wrote:

"G K Chesterton is often credited with observing: "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything." Whoever said it - he was right. We are supposed to live in a sceptical age. In fact, we live in an age of outrageous credulity.

"The "death of God", or at least the dying of the Christian God, has been accompanied by the birth of a plethora of new idols. They have multiplied like bacteria on the corpse of the Christian Church ..."

-- Posted by: Fat Man in comments on The Top 40: The Green Left's Fascist Roots

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 7, 2015 7:36 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Dante's Prayer

"Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me"


Posted by Vanderleun Mar 6, 2015 11:35 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This Is a Generic Brand Video: "Our policies could be related to these panoramic views of Costa Rica"

Lest you think we’re a faceless entity,
Look at all these attractive people.
Here’s some of them talking and laughing
And close-ups of hands passing canned goods to each other
In a setting that evokes community service.

And advancement
Are all words we chose from a list.

Our profits
are awe-inspiring.
Like this guy who’s looking up and pointing
At a skyscraper or a kite
While smiling and explaining something to his child.

Using a specific ratio
of Asian people to Black people to Women to White men
We want to make sure we represent your needs and interests
Or at least a version of your skin color
In our ads.

Did we put a baby in here?
What about an ethnic old man whose wrinkled smile represents
the happiness and wisdom of the poor?

-- McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

And melding the following from the Sippican item we are shamelessly ripping off .... Excuse Me While I Monotonectally Maximize Cross-Functional Portals to Leverage Our B2B Synergies in a Real-Time Customizable Platform

*No purchase necessary. Some assembly required. Tax, title,license and dealer fees extra. Do not exceed 4 doses in a 24-hour period. You will get wet on this ride. One size fits most. Batteries not included. The white zone is for the immediate loading and unloading of passengers only. There is no parking in the red zone. Dramatization. Proof of mailing does not constitute proof of delivery. Shake well before opening. Contains eggs. Also available left-handed. Before posting, please take a minute to review our posting rules and our legal/privacy policy. All lyrics by Hammerstein, not Rodgers. Hours may vary by location. No smoking or open flames. Professional driver. Closed course. Any similarities between the characters, locations or events depicted herein and actual persons, living or dead, locations or events is purely coincidental and unintentional. Use as directed. Must be 18 to enter. Positive identification required. Handle with care. Do not pass on right. Not responsible for lost or stolen articles. User assumes all risks. No right turn on red. If you can read this, you're too close. Ass, grass, or cash; no one rides for free. Occupancy by more than 135 persons is dangerous and unlawful but kinda fun. Interior is genuine rich, Corinthian leather. Viewer discretion is advised but not anticipated. Not available in stores. Do not feed the animals. Available for Windows, Mac, and the seven people running Linux. 70% cotton, 30% nylon. Nos falamos Portugues. Please allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. The cake is a lie. Limit one per customer per visit. No trespassing. No loitering. No soliciting. Please don't eat the daisies. Objects in mirror are closer than they appear. Ensure equipment is properly grounded prior to operation. Registration required. Not recommended for women who are nursing, pregnant or may become pregnant. Ladies drink free. Apply directly to forehead. Closed Sundays and holidays. Filmed before a live studio audience. Available only for a limited time. Follow the yellow brick road. Lights on for safety. Made in China. Do not use as a flotation device. Stay off the grass. Offer void where prohibited. Installation extra. The rain in Spain should be expected to fall mainly on the plain. All sales final. Two-Year service agreement required. Non-toxic. HTML enabled. Don't try this at home. Your ad here. Tamper-resistant packaging. Expect delays. Refrigerate after opening. Restrictions apply. See store for details. No shirt, no shoes, no service. Have a nice day.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 6, 2015 5:13 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Maxim from the Sea: "Even a bad shell is better than being homeless...."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 6, 2015 1:18 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Never Happy


When I lived in Manhattan, I never needed to know when winter officially arrived. I could count on one particular coworker to announce it. The official date changed every year, but he never failed to signify it by dropping by my office first thing in the morning, a Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, and saying, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how cold it is? Damn!"

Having just peeled off watch cap, ear muffs, scarf, gloves, and a ten pound top coat, I could -- while watching the sleet moving horizontally across the windows -- say with some conviction, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do believe how cold it is."

With this exchange, the first of a daily ritual that would be repeated between us for months without variation, I knew that winter had been declared open.

In New York City, there are really only two seasons -- "Winter" and "Street Repair." Winter was cold and inconvenient. "Street Repair" was hot and inconvenient. My coworker wasn't happy with either. Yet he never failed to announce the beginning of "Road Work." The official date changed every year, but he never failed to signify it by dropping by my office first thing in the morning, his Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, and saying, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how hot it is? Damn!"

He was a living, breathing, mind-numbing example of why the number two fantasy of people who work in offices is the ruthless slaughter of one or more of their coworkers. (The number one fantasy? I don't have to tell you. You know. And you should be ashamed of yourself.)

When I moved to southern California, this was one little daily irritation I was happy to leave behind along with "Winter" and "Road Work." Instead, I got only one season, "Traffic," but since you have to go to "Traffic" in order to be in that was okay. I no longer needed to kill my coworker, so that was a win.

In the hills above Laguna, however, I discovered another two seasons -- "No birds" and "Birds." That's otherwise known as "Not Spring" and "Spring." When the birds leave sometime around the Christmas holidays, you don't really notice it. At least I didn't until I passed a neighbor, a Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, on his daily constitutional and he said, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how quiet it is? Damn! Sure wish the birds would come back."

He walked on but I stopped and turned slowly to look at him. Brief memories of fantasized mayhem washed over my mind until I shook my head and thought, "No. Can't be. Just your imagination," and went on my way.

But, of course, what couldn't be, was. Over the course of the next few months, I'd pass this neighbor on our overlapping walks and he'd invariably say, just to be neighborly, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how quiet it is? Damn! Sure wish the birds would come back."

In time, of course, the birds, as birds will, did come back. I noticed it one day when, just at dawn, a bird woke me with a Bachesque series of trills and calls. A day or so later, when passing my neighbor on the hill, he said, "Boy, oh, boy, did you hear that bird this morning? Terrific!"

But nature is not decorative no matter how much we might wish it would be. Where you have one bird, you get two. When you have two, you get ten. And ten is just the prelude to a hundred or even more, as Alfred Hitchcock knew.

About a month after the first return of the birds, I was awakened by a cacophony of bird calls hooting and screeching at the first crack of light. I shrugged it off and went outside to get the paper from the drive way. My bird-loving neighbor lives diagonally across the intersection. I picked up the paper to go inside when I heard the sliding door to his deck open. I looked across and saw him in his underwear stagger sleepily out into the rising and falling cloud of colorful bird calls, wipe the sleep from his sad eyes, and shout out into the pristine morning, "Shut... UP!"

Even in paradise it seems that some people are never really happy. Must be the traffic.

Posted by Vanderleun Mar 5, 2015 12:49 AM | Comments (32)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "Look, Yo-Yo Ma, No Hands!"

Leonard Bernstein "conducting."

"Computer engineers are working on facial control for those who are disabled. I somehow doubt that they will ever get to match the precision and control Bernstein has with the Vienna Philharmonic."

Posted by gvanderleun Mar 4, 2015 5:43 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"150 years ago today, the greatest speech in the history of the world was delivered by Abraham Lincoln"


"Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."

With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations." Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address. 1865.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 4, 2015 9:54 AM | Comments (33)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Reading Assignment: "“ISIS is no worse than the KKK” "

“ISIS is no worse than the KKK” | Chris Hernandez

A certain strain exists within American society, a portion of our population who believes evil’s root causes are all white, male and Christian. This culminates in the amazing belief that Muslim terrorist organizations like ISIS, responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent people over just the last several years, warrant no special attention. Adherents of this belief continually downplay the blatant and obvious international threat posed by ISIS and its ilk, while simultaneously bringing up long-ago atrocities in a desperate attempt to find moral equivalence between Islamic terrorism and American culture. This desire to find something, anything, comparable to ISIS evil led even our own President to talk about the Crusades during a recent prayer breakfast.
Consider that for a moment. An army of Muslim fanatics is killing thousands of people, invading an allied country, executing prisoners in unspeakable ways and even televising the brutal decapitations of American citizens. And for no reason I can think of, our President brings up events hundreds of years old. Maybe in an attempt to convince us, “We’re just as bad.”
A few days ago the Huffington Post, mouthpiece of the “we’re evil too” crowd, published something – and I know this is nearly impossible to believe – far more ridiculous than normal. This is the title of their article:
KKK Was Terrorizing America Decades Before Islamic State Appeared
Continue HERE

Posted by gvanderleun Mar 3, 2015 6:24 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Life and death upon one tether / And running beautiful together."


East London resident Martin Le-May captured this incredible photo of a baby weasel on the back of a green woodpecker in Essex, England, on Monday

As much as we’d all like to believe this is a wondrous tale of friendship wherein two mates go on an epic adventure featuring a baby weasel and his magnificent flying steed, sadly it’s NOT. It’s a photo of a weasel trying to kill a woodpecker. …

“As we walked we heard a distressed squawking and I saw that flash of green. So hurriedly I pointed out to Ann the bird and it settled into the grass behind a couple of small silver birch trees. Both of us trained our binoculars and it occurred that the woodpecker was unnaturally hopping about like it was treading on a hot surface.

Lots of wing flapping showing that gloriously yellow/white colour interspersed with the flash of red head feathers. Just after I switched from my binoculars to my camera the bird flew across us and slightly in our direction; suddenly it was obvious it had a small mammal on its back and this was a struggle for life.

The woodpecker landed in front of us and I feared the worst. I guess though our presence, maybe 25 meters away, momentarily distracted the weasel. The woodpecker seized the opportunity and flew up and away into some bushes away to our left. Quickly the bird gathered its self respect and flew up into the trees and away from our sight.

The woodpecker left with its life. The weasel just disappeared into the long grass, hungry."

Via Never Yet Melted サ Photo of the Week

Crystal Moment

by Robert P. T. Coffin (1892–1955)

Once or twice this side of death
Things can make one hold his breath.

From my boyhood I remember
A crystal moment of September.

A wooded island rang with sounds
Of church bells in the throats of hounds.

A buck leaped out and took the tide
With jewels flowing past each side.

With his head high like a tree
He swam within a yard of me.

I saw the golden drop of light
In his eyes turned dark with fright.

I saw the forest’s holiness
On him like a fierce caress.

Fear made him lovely past belief,
My heart was trembling like a leaf.

He leans towards the land and life
With need above him like a knife.

In his wake the hot hounds churned
They stretched their muzzles out and yearned.

They bayed no more, but swam and throbbed
Hunger drove them till they sobbed.

Pursued, pursuers reached the shore
And vanished. I saw nothing more.

So they passed, a pageant such
As only gods could witness much,

Life and death upon one tether
And running beautiful together.

Posted by gvanderleun Mar 3, 2015 2:46 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Millennials Anthems: Here Come the Boom

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 3, 2015 1:20 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "Fortunate Son"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 3, 2015 1:18 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Your 2015 Prancercise Pony Girl Is In Da House!

Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Get a New Workout

"I’m going to give you more
Of what you’ve been asking for,
But... Oh....
With a little less camel toe.
I’m uninhibited,
As I’ve already exhibited,
So let them stare and gawk,
I’m going to do my Prancercise walk...."

In the beginning there was.... Prancercise: The exercise sensation that's sweeping the nation @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 2, 2015 11:11 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Orbital

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 11:41 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
White Privilege is Open for Business


It's always seemed to me that, no matter where I've gone in the world, any sane man of even modest intelligence who has gotten the merest shred of a slice of the white privileged lifestyle has enjoyed it immensely.

And wanted more.

This seems to be the case regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, or sexuality.

Especially when they realize that there really is no color bar to white privilege, and hasn't been for some time.

Cash is king.

And has been for a long time.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 11:24 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Trolling before it was cool by Queeditch



Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 11:13 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Kaboom! Anunka-hunka burning love.

"Meet Rich and Dee Gibson, an unusual couple who have spent their entire relationship literally playing with fire.

Sparks first flew when the couple met while skydiving. Rich (a Vietnam vet) was the pilot and Dee (formerly employed by the Army Corps of Engineers) was jumping. By 1981 they founded a pyrotechnic business out of Rockford, Illinois and for the next three decades designed orchestrated explosions for air shows."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 12:27 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Supplement: A Few of My Favorite Things

Girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes
Snowflakes that stay on my nose and eyelashes
Silver white winters that melt into springs
These are a few of my favorite things

Crashing Ocean Waves Frozen in Time by Pierre Carreau | Colossal
Winter is icumen in,
Lhude sing Goddamm,
Raineth drop and staineth slop,
And how the wind doth ramm!
Sing: Goddamm.
Skiddeth bus and sloppeth us,
An ague hath my ham.
Freezeth river, turneth liver,
Damm you; Sing: Goddamm.
Goddamm, Goddamm, 'tis why I am, Goddamm,
So 'gainst the winter's balm.
Sing goddamm, damm, sing goddamm,
Sing goddamm, sing goddamm, DAMM.

-- Ezra Pound

Sin City 10.8K by Vincent Laforet And then there is the central "Strip" of buildings and hotels - it actually looks like a Monopoly board game of sorts with hotels and little "Eiffel Towers" fit to scale... In some ways Vegas is just that: a place where people play big bets with real estate and property. Where riches are made and lost with a roll of the dice - both in the casinos and in the game of real estate and the never ending competition to have "The" Hotel or Casino.

13 Salmon Recipes to Add to Your Regular Rotation The first recipe every salmon lover should master is one for simple, crisp-skinned fillets. These take a dip in a marinade of parsley, lemon, and olive oil before being pan-seared and finished off with a garlic-caper butter sauce.

MG Midgets of the Track It wasn’t until post WWII, when MG introduced their MGA as a more streamlined modern sports car that they began to gain international acclaim. The long nose and tight design were still intact, but the car now packed a sharp modern look, rather than the drawn-out country look of past MG’s. In 1962, MG took this shape even further with the MGB, which was a faster, more comfortable iteration of the MGA silhouette. The lightweight MGB was like a rabbit, tiny and yet quick, making it perfect for quick jaunts around the crowded city streets.

Shambala @ Top 10 Most Mysterious Lost Lands - Shambala was introduced to the Western world by Lost Horizon, James Hilton’s 1933 novel about Shangri-La, a fictional paradise based on the myth of Shambala. While spiritualists believed it was a real location, most scientists and historians doubted that it was anything more than a myth. However, in 2007 a team of archaeologists exploring the ancient kingdom of Mustang in Nepal found a series of caves and valleys that contained a treasure trove of ancient religious texts and art.

Los Angeles Murders and Homicides If you are looking for a white man to blame for blacks behaving badly, how about starting with music executive Jimmy Iovine (net worth $970 million)? Back in 1988 Iovine managed the initial gangsta rap album, N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton, which did much to glamorize crack dealing among impressionable black youths with low IQs. (Iovine recently bought a $60 million Malibu mansion, so go gentle on him.) - - Wasted Advantages

Nap Like Salvador Dali: To accomplish this micro nap, Dali would sit in a chair with his arms resting on the armrests and his wrists dangling over them. He held a heavy metal key between the thumb and forefinger of his left hand, and placed an upside-down plate on the floor directly below the key. The instant Dali dozed off, the key would slip through his fingers, clang the plate, and awaken him from his nascent slumber. In that moment, Dali observed, one walked “in equilibrium on the taut and invisible wire that separates sleep from waking.” The artist recommended this practice to anyone who worked with their mind, believing that the tiny nap “revivified” one’s whole “physical and physic being” and left you invigorated and inspired for an afternoon of creative labor.

For the Mac, Kare designed the first proportionally spaced digital font family that allowed text to breathe as naturally on the Mac’s white screen as it does in the pages of a book. The distinctive Jobs touch was upgrading the original monikers of these elegant typefaces from the names of train stations near Philadelphia — like Rosemont and Ardmore — to those of world-class cities like Geneva, Chicago, and New York. -- Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face

Perpetual Pizza .... That's right. Per-pet-ual.

A 1950s Kitchen, Locked Away Since It Was Built Like walking back in time, furniture designer Nathan Chandler opened the door on a home he bought in 2010 and found the kitchen in nearly original condition from when it was built in 1956. For some reason the original owners built the house but never lived in it, keeping it sealed away and rarely using the pastel pink General Electric appliances that were installed from the start.

The Dynamic Ebbinghaus:1st prize winner of the 2014 Best Illusion of The Year Contest

The Oldest Species on Earth - The Horseshoe Shrimp | The Ark In Space It was almost bound to be small and seemingly insignificant but the oldest species of earth is a shrimp, ironic given the connotations of its name in the English language.  Rather than being the runt, the squirt and the general nobody its name implies, this little guy (the Horseshoe shrimp to friends but Triops cancriformis rather more formally) has staying power.  It is almost the same now as it was two hundred million years ago.

The Great Moon Hoax and the Christian Philosopher: The first article gave little more away, simply describing Herschel’s telescope. Over the following days, however, the articles included increasingly lavish descriptions of planets, the lunar landscape, “several new specimens of animals” and, ultimately, in the last paragraph of the 6th and final part, the bat-like “Vespertilio-homo”, which appeared “scarcely less lovely than the general representations of angels by the more imaginative schools of painters.”

The Top 10 Secrets of Grand Central Terminal You can play tennis in Grand Central. A little known space called the Annex houses a tennis court that is accessible to the public (as long as you can get a reservation). Originally installed by a Hungarian immigrant Geza A. Gazdag in the 1960s, it was taken over by Donald Trump, who brought the likes of John McEnroe and the Williams sisters onto its clay courts.

An employee for Japanese character goods maker Sanrio displays a prototype model of a Hello Kitty branded toilet seat at Sanrio's headquarters in Tokyo on February 2, 2015. The device has seat heating and warm water shower functions. - The Atlantic

voyagers.jpg catalogs the active human-made machines that freckle our solar system and dot our galaxy from Voyager I (19.56 billion km from Earth) to the Artemis probes (358,000 km away).

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 12:09 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink


Michelle Obama's Mirror: Missing Breitbart – Still

Three years after his death, and we’re still missing Breitbart. Why? Many reasons: because he was so good at exposing lies, half-truths and obfuscation, because nobody has stepped in to fill the void. Butt mostly because he was such a symbol of what we inherently know we need to beat back our generation’s evil empires, both foreign and domestic: a fighter, a no-holds-barred, take no prisoners sort of warrior.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 8:56 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Zachary Quinto vs. Leonard Nimoy: "The Challenge"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Mar 1, 2015 8:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
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