Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Something Wonderful: Blue Whale Spotted Live at Moss Landing

Live interview interrupted by Blue Whale

To see the same video twice as large....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 31, 2015 5:14 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: We Didn't Start the Fire

"Unlike most of Joel's songs, the lyrics were written before the melody, owing to the somewhat unusual style of the song. The song was a huge commercial success and was Joel's third Billboard No. 1 hit. It was nominated for the Grammy Award for Record of the Year.

I had turned forty. It was 1989 and I said "Okay, what's happened in my life?" I wrote down the year 1949. Okay, Harry Truman was president. Popular singer of the day, Doris Day. China went Communist. Another popular singer, Johnnie Ray. Big Broadway show, South Pacific. Journalist, Walter Winchell. Athlete, Joe DiMaggio. Then I went on to 1950 [...]. It's one of the worst melodies I've ever written. I kind of like the lyric though -- La Wik

Harry Truman, Doris Day, Red China, Johnny Ray
South Pacific, Walter Winchell, Joe DiMaggio

Joe McCarthy, Richard Nixon, Studebaker, Television
North Korea, South Korea, Marilyn Monroe

Rosenbergs, H Bomb, Sugar Ray, Panmunjom
Brando, The King And I, and The Catcher In The Rye

Eisenhower, Vaccine, England's got a new queen
Maciano, Liberace, Santayana goodbye

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Joseph Stalin, Malenkov, Nasser and Prokofiev
Rockefeller, Campanella, Communist Bloc

Roy Cohn, Juan Peron, Toscanini, Dancron
Dien Bien Phu Falls, Rock Around the Clock

Einstein, James Dean, Brooklyn's got a winning team
Davy Crockett, Peter Pan, Elvis Presley, Disneyland

Bardot, Budapest, Alabama, Khrushchev
Princess Grace, Peyton Place, Trouble in the Suez

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Little Rock, Pasternak, Mickey Mantle, Kerouac
Sputnik, Chou En-Lai, Bridge On The River Kwai

Lebanon, Charles de Gaulle, California baseball
Starkwether, Homicide, Children of Thalidomide
Buddy Holly, Ben Hur, Space Monkey, Mafia
Hula Hoops, Castro, Edsel is a no-go

U2, Syngman Rhee, payola and Kennedy
Chubby Checker, Psycho, Belgians in the Congo

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Hemingway, Eichman, Stranger in a Strange Land
Dylan, Berlin, Bay of Pigs invasion

Lawrence of Arabia, British Beatlemania
Ole Miss, John Glenn, Liston beats Patterson

Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British Politician sex
J.F.K. blown away, what else do I have to say

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

Birth control, Ho Chi Minh, Richard Nixon back again
Moonshot, Woodstock, Watergate, punk rock
Begin, Reagan, Palestine, Terror on the airline
Ayatollah's in Iran, Russians in Afghanistan

Wheel of Fortune, Sally Ride, heavy metal, suicide
Foreign debts, homeless Vets, AIDS, Crack, Bernie Goetz
Hypodermics on the shores, China's under martial law
Rock and Roller cola wars, I can't take it anymore

We didn't start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world's been turning
We didn't start the fire
No we didn't light it
But we tried to fight it

And now, Billy Joel explains it all.....

Billy Joel - Q&A: Tell Us About "We Didn't Start The Fire"? (Oxford 1994)

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 31, 2015 9:58 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Three Poets On the Effect of Changing One's Politics in MidLife

"A second time? why? man of ill star,
Facing the sunless dead and this joyless region?
Stand from the fosse, leave me my bloody bever
For soothsay."

And I stepped back,
And he stong with the blood, said then: "Odysseus
Shalt return through spiteful Neptune, over dark seas,
Lose all companions."
-- Ezra Pound: Canto I

"So here I am, in the middle way, having had twenty years,
Twenty years largely wasted, the years of l'entre deux guerres
Trying to learn to use words, and every attempt
Is a wholly new start, and a different kind of failure
Because one has only learnt to get the better of words
For the thing one no longer has to say, or the way in which
One is no longer disposed to say it. And so each venture
Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate
With shabby equipment always deteriorating
In the general mess of imprecision of feeling,
Undisciplined squads of emotion. And what there is to conquer
By strength and submission, has already been discovered
Once or twice, or several times, by men whom one cannot hope
To emulate -- but there is no competition --
There is only the fight to recover what has been lost
And found and lost again and again: and now, under conditions
That seem unpropitious. But perhaps neither gain nor loss.
For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business."
-- T. S. Eliot: "East Coker"

Between the windows of the sea
Where lovely mermaids flow
And nobody has to think too much
About Desolation Row

Yes, I received your letter yesterday
(About the time the doorknob broke)
When you asked how I was doing
Was that some kind of joke?
All these people that you mention
Yes, I know them, they’re quite lame
I had to rearrange their faces
And give them all another name
Right now I can’t read too good
Don’t send me no more letters, no
Not unless you mail them
From Desolation Row
-- Desolation Row Bob Dylan

Posted by Vanderleun Aug 27, 2015 1:50 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lo-Tech vs. Hi-Tech


School slate Used by Australian school students up until the mid 20th century, the slate has a black flat honed surface in a sturdy timber frame. It is light, slim and portable and can be used with chalk for writing alphabetic text, performing calculations or for free illustration. Characters and illustrations can be saved indefinitely but should the slate be required for another image or text the existing work must be erased using a wet or dry cloth. This can be done ad infinitum.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 26, 2015 11:17 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: "Born to Run" Released this day in 1975.


In which Clarence Clemmons proves once and for all there is no rock and roll song that can't be made great with a saxophone.

One, two, three, four!

The highway's jammed with broken heroes on a last chance power drive
Everybody's out on the run tonight
But there's no place left to hide
Together Wendy we can live with the sadness
I'll love you with all the madness in my soul
H-Oh, Someday girl I don't know when
We're gonna get to that place
Where we really wanna go
And we'll walk in the sun
But till then tramps like us
Baby we were born to run

Yes, 1975. What can I say? Turn around, a decade's gone. Sometimes even four.... but then.... again....

Don't run back inside, darling, you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking that maybe we ain't that young anymore

Show a little faith, there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty but, hey, you're alright

Oh, and that's alright with me....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 25, 2015 10:32 AM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Way to Win" with the Better Angels of Our Nature

Note: Received in email from commenter Fat Man


News got you down? Stock Market crashing? Hillary? The Donald? Fortunately, there is some good news. Sometimes the good guys win. Case in point: this week's story about the three Americans who tackled the Muzzie with the AK on the train in France.

Americans Who Thwarted French Train Attack Were Childhood Friends - WSJ

"The three American men whom French authorities credit with disrupting a potential terror attack on a Paris-bound high-speed train Friday are childhood friends who had all attended California’s Freedom Christian School and often played military games together growing up.
"Airman First Class Spencer Stone, Oregon National Guard member Alek Skarlatos, and college student Anthony Sadler were tourists trekking through Europe on a planned three-week vacation. They will return home as decorated heroes, following a scheduled visit with French President François Hollande at Élysée Palace, after authorities say they bravely took down a man they say was armed with boxcutters and several guns. ...
“We believe God’s providential will worked its way out,” said Mr. Sadler’s father, Anthony Sadler, a Baptist pastor."

But wait, it gets better.

Look at their pictures.


Three good looking American kids. Two white, one black. Boyhood friends.

What does this have to do with politics? Simple.

Obama is not just wrong about America. He and his hench-creatures are evil. They are trying to tribalize us, so that they can divide us and rule a demoralized and defeated country forever.

This is what we must fight.

The way to win is to not accept tribalization. The way to win is to state that these three young men are what America is really all about.

This needs to be our message: "We are Americans, We are neighbors, We are friends, We are brothers. This is what makes us the exceptional nation. This is what makes us the Last Best Hope of Earth. We will unite and we defeat America's enemies wherever we find them."

#AllLivesMatter. #GodBlessAmerica

"Crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."

The way to win is not to nurture grievances and salve them with unfulfillable promises. The way to win is to call people to be their highest and best selves.

Republican Presidential Candidates: Forget Hillary. Forget the Donald. Forget Obama. The ads, the speeches, write themselves. Appeal to to our highest selves. Draw the contrast with the tactics of tribalism and division. Don't be afraid to be sappy and sentimental.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 25, 2015 9:42 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Banality of (Aprés) Evil: Berlin in July 1945

It all seems so quiet and hushed and strangely calm now that the shooting has stopped and only the rubble remains.

4:35-- The entrance to the Führerbunker and the surrounding ruins. The inspection of the junk-filled ditch where the monster burned in a pool of gasoline.

And then the aftermath.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 24, 2015 9:55 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful for Sunday Evening: Shenandoah Violin Solo - Mairead Nesbitt

I don't know about you but I could watch fiddle playing like this for days.....


Shenandoah: One of America's most popular folk songs, is known as a "short haul shanty" and is said to be the true story of a white trader who courted the daughter of an Indian chieftain. The song apparently originated among American or Canadian voyagers on the Missouri River - sometimes called the "Miz-zoo".


The old Miz-zoo has friendly waters
Away! You rolling river
The Indians camp along its border
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

A white man loved an Indian lady
Away! You rolling river
The daughter of Chief Shenandoah
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away! You rolling river
Oh Shenandoah, I long to hear you
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Oh Shenandoah, I love your daughter
Away! You rolling river
I bring you tools and fire water
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

'Tis seven years since first I knew her
Away! You rolling river
She's in full bloom for a man to woo her
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Oh Shenandoah, with gifts I'm laden
Away! You rolling river
Give me the hand of this young maiden
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Then Shenandoah said - Go! Forsake her!
Away! You rolling river
An Indian brave has come to take her
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Farewell, my love - I'm bound to leave you
Away! You rolling river
Oh Shenandoah, I'll not deceive you
Away! We're bound away
'Cross the wide Missouri.

Posted by gvanderleun Aug 23, 2015 5:21 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Money for Nothing

Get your money for nothin' get your chicks for free.

And in the fullness of time, in the beginning of the first Boomer mid-life crisis, we woke up, looked around, and it was the Eighties.

The Sixties were sleeping in their vampire coffins waiting to rise again and destroy the world in the early 21st Century.

The Seventies were in the rearview mirror as the long Cocaine-Disco-All-Night-Orgy faded down into AIDS funerals and herpes.

And lo and behold the survivors suddenly had families, and found themselves in jobs that had somehow become careers.

At long last, the Boomers were buckling down and getting serious. After all, we'd bought homes, had children, and were living through 18% interest rates and hyper-inflation. Face it, we needed the money. Yes, we were all just about to grow up. And then....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 22, 2015 7:13 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Ballads: "Heartbreak Hotel"

Well, the bellhop's tears keep flowin'
And the desk clerk's dressed in black
Well, they've been so long on Lonely Street
Well, they'll never, they'll never get back
And they'll be so, where they'll be so lonely, baby
Well, they're so lonely
They'll be so lonely, they could die

Well now, if your baby leaves you
And you have a sad tale to tell
Just take a walk down Lonely Street
To Heartbreak Hotel....

"It was written by Tommy Durden and Mae Boren Axton.

The lyrics were based on a report in The Miami Herald about a man who had destroyed all his identity papers and jumped to his death from a hotel window, leaving a suicide note with the single line, "I walk a lonely street". Axton and Durden give different accounts of how the song was written. Durden's account is that he had already written the song and performed it with his band the Swing Billys before he presented it to Axton. Axton's account is that Durden had only penned a few lines of the song, and asked her to help him finish it. She says that the report of the suicide "stunned" her, and she told Durden, "Everybody in the world has someone who cares. Let's put a Heartbreak Hotel at the end of this lonely street." They were interrupted by the arrival of Glen Reeves, a local performer who had previously worked with Axton. The duo asked Reeves to help with the song, but after hearing the title he remarked that it was "the silliest thing I've ever heard", and left them to finish it themselves.
Rumors had been circulating in the press for several weeks that Presley, who had begun his career at Sun Records, was ready to move to RCA Victor to help launch him nationally. Axton played the demo to him in his room at the Andrew Jackson Hotel on November 10, 1955. Upon hearing the demo, Presley exclaimed "Hot dog, Mae, play that again!", and listened to it ten times, memorizing the song.
The Rolling Stones' guitarist Keith Richards wrote in his 2010 autobiography that "Heartbreak Hotel" had had a huge effect on him. Beyond Presley's singing itself, it was the total effect of his sound and his silence that so totally affected Richards: "Since my baby left me"—it was just the sound...That was the first rock and roll I heard. It was a totally different way of delivering a song, a totally different sound, stripped down, no bullshit, no violins and ladies' choruses and schmaltz, totally different. It was bare right to the roots that you had a feeling were there but hadn't yet heard. I've got to take my hat off to Elvis. The silence is your canvas, that's your frame, that's what you work on; don't try and deafen it out. That's what "Heartbreak Hotel" did to me. It was the first time I'd heard something so stark. -- La Wik

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 21, 2015 2:05 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Armies of the Blight: Men Seeking Work. Anything Accepted. Cash Only. Illegal Not a Problem.


"Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With silver bells and cockleshells
And Mexicans working the rows."

Last June I was visiting an old friend in San Rafael, California. He lives the classic Marin county life high on a brindle California hillside. His house is reached by driving the blind curves of one of those thin hill roads. He's got open land and long views next to his house. And a beautiful and extensive garden. A Sunset Magazine garden.

And like most homeowners in Marin, he's got his own personal Mexican as the rich white guy's answer to "How does your garden grow?". Yard work, it's what most of the Mexicans of Marin do. That and construction, and cooking, and cleaning, and any other kind of scut work that brings them cash.

From what I could see, this yard worker gets about $85 a day. Maybe more, maybe less. Maybe for that day only. Maybe for two days a week. Hard to imagine it could be for three. But I have no way of knowing. In Marin it would be the height of political insensitivity to ask, "By the way, how much do you pay your own personal Mexican?"

My pal's personal Mexican doesn't speak much English. Just enough to get by. The home owners treat him with respect and a strange deference, lapsing in a kind of Spanglish in order to talk to him. They ferry their personal Mexican from their house high on the hill to his home -- somewhere in the rambling and beaten down apartment complexes east of the freeway in San Rafael.

It's probably that way for most of the working illegal Mexicans in San Rafael. They are, after all, here to "do the jobs that Americans won't do." or can't do because they are so busy working to pay for all the extras of the current American dream. Including servants.

This personal servant was working on a Friday and did a good job. And then he was taken east of the freeway and dropped off. He'd be back next week. For 85, 170, or maybe, if he was lucky, 250 tax-free bucks. When I ran the web site for the Cosmodemonic Magazine Company back in 2002, I'd clear that drinking a cup of coffee in the morning.

On Saturday I drove from my hotel near the Frank Lloyd Wright Marin Civic Center back up to my friend's home high on the hill. I took the freeway but missed the main exit to San Rafael and had to take the next one. That off-ramp emptied down near the strip of big box stores, right at the edge of Home Depot.

Home Depots are, among other big-box construction hardware stores, the default shape-up spot of pick-up Mexican labor in the US. We all know that. When you need something done you just drive out to the nearest Home Depot, get your materials, and then pick up your emergency Mexicans as you exit. Everybody knows this. Everybody sees this. Everybody does this.

In the now long established day-labor Home Depot areas we even have a permanent place for the ubiquitous taco wagon to set up shop. If local authorities or border control officials really wanted to cut back on illegals, they'd just sweep these areas. But local political institutions and local police -- and all of us too -- seem to have agreed to lay off these zones. We let them be lest America's ready supply of "We do anything for almost any pay" labor be disrupted. It's the shadow realm. It's the black, no-taxes, "If we've got the cash, they've got the backs they'll break for it" economy.

It's how we live now.

When I came off the freeway exit it was about noon on a Saturday. By noon on a Saturday, anybody in Marin who has a project that requires emergency Mexicans has already been to the Home Depot shape-up, chosen the number they need, negotiated what the pay would be, and driven away with them. Those still left have little hope for a job. But they remain because a small hope for half a day's meager pay is better than no hope at all.

The traffic halted at the intersection and I looked ahead and around and in the rear view mirror. Standing there, many of them looking at me and waving their hands to signal their availability, was a small battalion of around 300 out-of-work Mexican males, mostly young. I thought, "Well, they may be here to 'do the jobs Americans won't do,' but there is clearly not enough work."

Then I thought, "What happens to these men if we arrive at a point, in a recession, where there is a lot less work for them in their many millions? What happens when the American dream starts contracting from the edges and the extra cash that allows us to employ them starts to dry up? They won't be counted as 'unemployed' since they were never legally 'employable' in the first place. Where will they go? Back to a Mexico where a recession in the US will breed a depression in that 3rd World country? Unlikely. Their best shot would still be to stay here. But if they did, what would they do? And how many would there really be? And how hungry and desperate would they get?"

This was just one intersection at one exit from the freeway in San Rafael, California 500 miles north of the Mexican border. And there were about 300 temporarily unemployed illegal residents of San Rafael simply standing about. That would be okay for a day, a week, maybe a month. As long as it was only 300 Mexican males. But if a slump in black-market cash employment became longer, spread and deepened throughout the country, and the numbers of our shadow armies of the blight grew, then.... Well, what then?

The cold fact is that we don't know what "what then" would look like. The issue has not surfaced in the present campaign because it cannot surface. The reality of off-setting our indolence with kindness and cash is too frightening to think about when the extra cash runs dry; when Americans will again do any job just to have a job and woe betide any non-American who seeks to take that job away.

Perhaps we'll discover that we'll have to pay a very large bill for our indolence. And that the bill will not be paid with cash. It will be paid, not for the first time, with the last thing we want to see - the Army in our cities. I don't think we are prepared for that. I don't think we want to find out. I pray we never have to.

But it's how we live now.

[First published October 2008. Look how far we've come.]

Posted by Vanderleun Aug 20, 2015 4:58 AM | Comments (47)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who Ended the War in Iraq? Who? Me?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 18, 2015 5:31 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The John Feathers Map Collection

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 17, 2015 1:11 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
With American Digest Pretty Much Splitting the Middle at 155, We Present

for your dining and dancing pleasure..... Doug Ross @ Journal: The Top 300 Conservative Websites, August 2015

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 15, 2015 5:47 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The 500 Foot Sky Ladder

Sky Ladder,” a pyrotechnic artwork by Cai Guoqiang, a Chinese contemporary artist currently living and working in New York City. Cai is best known for using gunpowder in his spectacular works.

"May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young"

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 15, 2015 10:40 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"Currency for the Next Millennium:" New Business for the 21st Century Opens in My Town

Coming back from the Farmers' Market in Paradise yesterday, I noticed the opening of this brand new business on Clark Road.


Americans: Some see problems. Others see opportunities.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 15, 2015 9:53 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"On the 70th Anniversary of VJ Day, Eugene B. Sledge Puts Your First World Problems Into Perspective"

Since landing on the beaches of Peleliu on September 15, 1944, Sledge and his company had continually been under either actual attack, or the threat of it. Both conditions taxed the mental and physical capacities of the men to their limits.

During the day, the Japanese poured mortars, grenades, and machine gun fire into the Marines’ positions. As Sledge remembers, it was the heavy shelling which was “by far the most unbearable”:

“There was nothing subtle or intimate about the approach and explosion of an artillery shell. When I heard the whistle of an approaching one in the distance, every muscle in my body contracted. I braced myself in a puny effort to keep from being swept away. I felt utterly helpless.

As the fiendish whistle grew louder, my teeth ground against each other, my heart pounded, my mouth dried, my eyes narrowed, sweat poured over me, my breath came in short irregular gasps, and I was afraid to swallow lest I choke. I always prayed, sometimes out loud.

Under certain conditions of range and terrain, I could hear the shell approaching from a considerable distance, thus prolonging the suspense into seemingly unending torture. At the instant the voice of the shell grew the loudest, it terminated in a flash and a deafening explosion similar to the crash of a loud clap of thunder. The ground shook and the concussion hurt my ears. Shell fragments tore the air apart as they rushed out, whirring and ripping. Rocks and dirt clattered onto the deck as smoke of the exploded shell dissipated.

To be under a barrage of prolonged shelling simply magnified all the terrible physical and emotional effects of one shell. To me, artillery was an invention of hell. The onrushing whistle and scream of the big steel package of destruction was the pinnacle of violent fury and the embodiment of pent-up evil. It was the essence of violence and of man’s inhumanity to man. I developed a passionate hatred for shells. To be killed by a bullet seemed so clean and surgical. But shells would not only tear and rip the body, they tortured one’s mind almost beyond the brink of sanity. After each shell I was wrung out, limp and exhausted.”

Compounding this manmade assault was a climate and landscape that proved equally inhospitable. During the day, a blazing hot sun constantly “bore down like a giant heat lamp” as the men patrolled, took cover, and spent hours hauling giant crates of ammo and supplies from drop points to their positions. Temperatures soared to 115 degrees, and the unrelenting heat brought even the strongest Marines to their knees. The men were perpetually soaked with sweat, and Sledge’s pack “felt like a steaming-hot wet compress on my shoulders and upper back.” When the perspiration dried, it left behind swatches of fine white salt that stiffened his uniform. One part of the body, the feet, unfortunately never dried. Because Sledge never knew when he would have to scramble over the rugged terrain, he could rarely remove his boots, though they grew so full of sweat that if he lifted his foot in the air while lying on his back, water literally poured out of each shoe. With every step, his soggy feet squished inside their casings.

As seen in greater detail on The Art of Manliness

The mud was knee deep in some places, probably deeper in others if one dared venture there. For several feet around every corpse [and there were thousands of those], maggots crawled about in the muck and then were washed away by the runoff of the rain. . .The scene was nothing but mud; shell fire; flooded craters with their silent, pathetic, rotting occupants; knocked-out tanks and amtracs; and discarded equipment - utter desolation.

The stench of death was overpowering. The only way I could bear the monstrous horror of it all was to look upward away from the earthly reality surrounding us, watch the leaden gray clouds go skudding over, and repeat over and over to myself that the situation was unreal - just a nightmare - that I would soon awake and find myself somewhere else.

I existed from moment to moment, sometimes thinking death would have been preferable. We were in the depths of the abyss, the ultimate horror of war. . . Men struggled and fought and bled in an environment so degrading I believed we had been flung into hell's own cesspool. (Sledge, With the Old Breed, page 253.)

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 14, 2015 6:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Obamavilles: Coming Soon to Suburbs Coast to Coast

Remember "ObamaPhone"? Of course you do.


Remember "Cash for Clunkers"? Of course you do.


Remember "Cash for Clunkers" meets "ObamaCare"? Of course you do.


Well, now it's "Cash for Clunkers" meets Dumpsters...


For a brand new lifestyle; for a brand new way of living! Housing for all. View optional.


Here's how the magic happens via this Oakland "artiste:"


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 14, 2015 10:13 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Only the Black Flag Will Bring Our Enemies to Their Senses

Stonewall Jackson and J.E.B. Stuart, 1861:

"Colonel Stuart, if I had my way we would show no quarter to the enemy. No more than the redskins showed your troopers. The black flag, sir.

"If the North triumphs, it is not alone the destruction of our property. It is the prelude to anarchy, infidelity ... ... the loss of free and responsible government. It is the triumph of commerce. The banks, factories.

"We should meet the invader on the verge of just defense... ...and raise the black flag. No quarter to the violators of our homes and firesides. Our political leadership is too timid to face the reality of this coming war. They should look to the Bible. It is full of such wars. Only the black flag will bring the North to its senses and rapidly end the war."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 12, 2015 1:56 PM | Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Blue Moon Halo over Antarctica


Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon?

Such 22 degree rings around the Moon -- caused by ice crystals falling in the Earth's atmosphere -- are somewhat rare. OK, but have you ever seen a blue moon? Given the modern definition of blue moon -- the second full moon occurring in a calendar month -- these are also rare. What is featured above might therefore be considered doubly rare -- a halo surrounding a blue moon. The featured image was taken late last month near Zhongshan Station in Antarctica. Visible in the foreground are a power generating house and a snowmobile. What might seem to be stars in the background are actually illuminated snowflakes near the camera. --APOD: 2015 August 11 -

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 11, 2015 8:56 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Hey, there's a hell of a good universe next door. Let's go.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 10, 2015 4:54 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Valley of Shells and Bones

Chichen Itza

"What scaled and feathered fetish shakes awake our loamy sleep
in these sealed vaults where dust and sand enrobe our golden masks
that hover over dreaming faces drowned in tinted musk?
Here where the spider curls and chitters in the crystal locket.
Here as time's mouth leeches blood and brain and bids
the leather skin to tighten in on the empty, staring socket,
and bind the breath that fading far once laughed within the dusk?"

Here is your thin tin trowel,
And here your sable brush,
For prying loose these mitered stones,
And sweeping off the dust
That sifts between these shaded souls
Like paling ebony snow,
As you squat above the site
Where you worshiped once below.
Come thrust your torch
Through these shattered walls,
And map the stains on stone,
And explicate these distant deaths
From strewn patterns of bone.


The distance that such deaths define
Is measured by that ageless path
That winds up from the sea's last limb
Meandering to the blood's demands,
And, rolling over shells' sharp rims,
Finally finds its well-trod way
To midnight's flaming brands
Where vacant, lusting faces grin
Within masks of whitened clay.


This path slopes through the stunted woods
Where the mantis ruts and broods,
Then spirals down to the sacred caves
Where men in twitching files repeat
The witless chants of wind and waves.

"Thick curds of rancid smoke performed our genuflections.
Our flayed limbs writhed, then steamed in screams of light.
Our lidless eyes became one daring crow's confections.
Our shriveled nerves shrank back from the chittering coal's delight.
Our marrow melted fast as flames licked up our blackened bones.
Our gaping mouths spewed rancid smoke as if they would relate
the secret magic flint and steel on tethered flesh create."

Here is your iron pick,
And here your crested spoon.
Not silver, true, but still
The emblem of your art,
Which is, to wit,
To lay these bodies bare;
Explain their ritual agonies,
Deduce their sorry fate,
Describe their diet, sex,
The colors of their hair,
And tell how long
Their ashen lair
Has lain beneath
Our present pleasant State.

Posted by Vanderleun Aug 10, 2015 1:05 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Shit Just Got Real

"Just leave Donald Trump alone. Period."

[Unorthodoxy] 1:45 PM

Updated: Now promoted on Drudge 5:20 PM


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 9, 2015 1:48 PM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
in (point of) fact: Robot Rob lays out information anti gun people do not bring up

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 7, 2015 9:18 PM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Hey Republicans, Maybe We Should Consider Electing Someone With Integrity"

As proposed by Semper spes est:

I believe that Dr. Carson is a good man. I can’t really know for sure, but based on everything I’ve seen, including the fact that he’s been married to the same woman for 40 years, and the fact that he hasn’t flip flopped on every imaginable issue, and the fact that he’s the only guy in the field who’s literally saved the lives of countless people, especially children, I have arrived at the rather safe theory that Ben Carson is a man of character and integrity.

For some reason, we don’t talk about character and integrity when discussing our presidential picks. Maybe it’s because we just assume they’re all scumbags, but I think it’s more that we, as a culture, have grown quite shallow and childish in recent years. I’m sure this isn’t a new phenomenon, but it’s evident that most Americans vote entirely based on which man or woman repeats their own views back to them the loudest. We call this “voting on the issues,” but we forget that we’re not voting for some abstract, disembodied collection of opinions. We are voting for a human being. And all of those opinions are meaningless if the human being articulating them is, despite his ability to soothe you with the sound of your own ideas, actually a lying, cheating, conniving, degenerate phony.

I think we ought to start considering a person’s character as we contemplate making them the most powerful mortal creature in the known universe. If they have no character, then all of their words are guaranteed to lead to nothing but more tyranny and despair. It would take, at this point, an exceptionally virtuous person to inherit the vast powers of the modern presidency and not be morally destroyed by them. But if the person is already corrupt and comprised going in, we’re screwed. There’s no chance of anything good coming of it.

So, character. I like Dr. Carson because he has character. I think Ted Cruz is the best choice — he has integrity, the conservative bona fides, a command of the issues, and a great chance at winning — but I like having Carson on that stage.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 7, 2015 5:28 PM | Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Zombie Man in Shoppingland


Gazing out the window on a February Saturday deep in the winter of our discontent. Overcast, cold, rainy-- then....

SUNBREAK! Quick! Get dressed!...

Too late... rain ... as per usual in Seattle. If any city could use "climate change" right now, it's Seattle. Indeed, if you listen to the Orwellian bleaters that infest this city the current Seattle catechism for the "climate change" religion is the catch phrase, "Colder is warmer."

Seattle on a February Saturday. Boring.

So, because I am an American, I took refuge in the American mantra, "When the going gets boring, the bored go shopping."

Shopping, our shared cultural catatonia. ....

Just say shop!.... Just do it!.... Get out there and, buy, BUY.... something you don't need. Then buy some accessories for it. You'll need those to make the thing you don't need work like you don’t need it to.
....Then you haul the unneeded crap back home and add to the other crap you don't need. Finding what we don't need and piling it up is what we do, I guess. Like many others I can resist it in my normal state, but not, I find, when I'm bored. You have a similar problem.

Result? I found myself driving in a fugue state through the used-to-be-industrial maze of south Seattle in the rain. I'd been to where I was going once before and was trying, like a half-blind man with a short white stick, to triangulate my way by driving the highways and flyovers that shoot along the fringes of this once muscular, once thriving industrial district. Now the glazed green alien gaze of the Starbucks queen looks down on it from Starbucks Galactic Headquarters as the aliens within plot how they can possibly put a Mini-Me-Starbucks into your bedroom closet.

And the big box stores grow all around and around, and the big box grows all around....

For some strange reason, the destination that formed in my mind for this shopping excursion was "CostCo." A vague mention of a friend about the "great deals on small televisions" put it in my mind like a BuyMe earworm. This small mental disorder was even stranger since the last thing I need in my life is another, smaller television. On second thought, the absence of a real need was probably why I really wanted one. In America, as noted above, if you don't need it, you gotta have it.

After a few blind alleyways and false turns I pulled into the CostCo parking lot. If I hadn't been in a Internet-overload hypnotic state this move alone would have immediately struck me as a bad idea. The sign certain? Cars shadowing shoppers slowly back to wherever they happen to be parked. Pick the wrong shopper flock and you can find yourself far, far away from the store entrance observing a spontaneous tailgate party featuring cold burritos. I got lucky and, shadowing a gaggle of shoppers, found a slot near the entrance. It was the end of my luck.

Like Rick who came to Casablanca for the waters, I'd joined CostCo for the tires. It makes a certain amount of sense since the savings on these plebeian but necessary items can be substantial. Since buying the tires, I hadn't been back and hadn't been exposed to the red kryptonite in the main cavern. Grabbing an abandoned cart, I entered the cavern of CostCo, flashing my card to the autonod of the otherwise unemployable person at the entrance.

Remember the haunting Cooleridge poem "Kubla Khan" that he wrote on the downside of an opium jag?

In Xanadu did Kubla Khan
A stately pleasure-dome decree :
Where Alph, the sacred river, ran
Through caverns measureless to man
Down to a sunless sea.

Well forget it. Except for "caverns measureless" and the opiate effect, Costco's nothing like that.

I don't know why Wal-Mart is taking all the heat for box-store degradation of truth, justice and the American Way of Really Rich Americans. A brief tour of Costco reveals it is a much cheesier organization with the exploitation of the aged, the infirm, the alien, and the disabled more obviously on display. But who knows why some companies become fashionable to disparage while others get a semi-pass? It probably has to do with the jerking knee that says either, "Biggest is baddest," or "The deepest pocket is the easiest to pick." It may also have something to do with Costco's founder jamming his overflowing sewer pipe from his money bin deep into the gaping orifices at the eternal Obama campaign..... but I digress.

The Wal-Mart stores that I've been in have the charm of a Swiss village compared to the Gulag atmosphere of CostCo. Oh, Costco has a look. The look is as if the Costco "Decor" vice president decreed, ”Hey, just pour a slab of concrete, drop bunches of crap here and there on the grid, and be done with it. Huh? Oh, okay slap up some industrial shelves so the bodegas of the world can find their salsa stock. And bolt some airport landing lights on the ceiling so you need to put on sunscreen before entering. Just light that sucker up so that nobody can smuggle a buttload of pretzels out the door.”

It is also evident to a single person in CostCo -- in about two nanoseconds -- that he or she needs to rent a family of 12 illegal aliens to get any real value out of the place. I mean, I like pickle relish on hot dogs just fine, but a two gallon container is probably enough that I can pass some on to my heirs even if I live another twenty years.

But all this carping arises from, as Wordsworth decreed, "Emotion recollected in tranquility." The truth is that the moment I entered the measureless cavern of Costco my brain was colonized by its Conquistaconsumadoros and I was plunged into a fugue state.

I glanced at the recommended "small televisions" and rapidly lost interest. Still, my reptile consumer brain said, "You've come all this way and the bargains abound around you. You have to get something. Shop, shop, shop, my precious.... your eyelids are getting heavy, your wallet is getting light..... shop.... shop....."

In this brain-wiped state I rolled my cart about the wasteland eating this or that small bite of a food sample offered by one person or another for whom English was neither the first, second, nor third language. All the samples were, as I imagine most of the food "bargains" were, markedly mediocre. It was as if Costco had decided to make all the food previously "Not Available in Stores" available in their stores. The idea here is that if you take a bite of "Hoosegow Chili" you incur an obligation to by a large vat of the stuff. What you can do with a vat of Hoosegow Chili, I don't know. Maybe open up a scrotum vulcanization stand on a dark desert highway.

At some point in my trance I must have put things in my cart although I kept wandering away and losing it, and then spending five minutes finding it again. I remember noticing, in some vague way, that the crowd and their gigantic carts was growing denser and denser as the minutes ticked away, but I did not yet understand the deeper more horrible meaning of the hordes on this particular Saturday.

Then, just as my degradation deepened, I was saved. Saved by the bell. My cell-phone rang.... loudly and vibrating at the same time. (Hard to ignore the vibrating ring in your pants.) I answered it. It was a fellow Pajamaista (who assumes that I am always in front of the screen) about a detail on the home page. He was startled when I told him I wasn't in front of the computer and could only mumble, "I... must... shop... must... shop... must.”

He said, “Man, you’re in Costco on this Saturday? Are you crazy? Flee. FLEE!”

He hung up and I found that, suddenly, I'd been slapped back into reality. And it was grim.

The horror. The horror. I realized that I had, in my fugue state, placed myself in the back of a gigantic box-store with minor in big screen TVs and a major in massive portions of food on the Saturday before the Superbowl.

Such a deep ring of hell is not where you want to be unless you have a burning-down football habit, which I do not. I barely know that the football, baseball, or basketball season is on; except for the fact that the basketball season is pretty much always on. (That's the running, jumping, hanging on goalposts, very tan tall-guys game, right?)

Still, there I was, blind and gulping like a cave fish in the deepest depths of the Costco caverns, the part back by the topless temple of toilet paper, 24 hours before kick-off, and around me countless hordes were preparing to feed even larger hordes.

I shoved my way through the cartlock around the beer and hot dogs to the center aisle where I could see, barely, the front of the store. In one horrified glance I saw that the Superbowlers were clogging the register lanes to a depth of about 500 fathoms. A quick consultation of my check-out line algorithm determined that if I joined the line at that very moment with my cart I might reach the parking lot with my crap around the end of the second Obama administration.

This is the kind of blood-simple shopping moment that makes grown men ask, "How bad do you want the stuff you've got?"

Hard to answer since, frankly, I wasn't sure exactly what I'd put in the cart in the first place. A glance down into the cart let me see my shame. It seems that in my shopping daze I'd decided I needed, out of everything on offer in Costco, two large Orchid plants and eight low-energy light bulbs. I have no idea why I put them in. Perhaps because the orchid plants made it easy to spot the cart in order to put nothing else in it.

Two orchid plants and eight light bulbs in a cart at the back of Costco equals one abandoned shopping cart, and me back in the car and heading to the nearest south Seattle dive bar in order to clear my mind.

But first I called my colleague back to thank him for snapping me out of it.

As I left the parking lot I had to drive carefully between the endless hordes pushing large carts filled with mountains of mediocre food and very large television screens. There would be a lot of cooking and assembly and swearing far into the night in Seattle. I wished them well.

Now I'm back online and much more interested in what's going on today. It's so calm here. Just me and you... and you're pretty quiet.

Soon the Superbowl kickoff will roll around and everyone who went to Costco and all the other stores yesterday will be at home for hours this afternoon. The only thing more boring than the much-touted and now utterly predictable ads will be the game itself.

Want to go shopping? I know where you can get a great deal on orchids and light bulbs this afternoon. Best of all, there'll be nobody there.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 6, 2015 11:54 PM | Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Ah, but I was so much older then I’m younger than that now

"A self-ordained professor’s tongue
Too serious to fool
Spouted out that liberty
Is just equality in school
“Equality,” I spoke the word
As if a wedding vow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now"

Once I was the least radical of all my radical friends. Now I'm the most radical by so many orders of magnitude we don't even speak of it when we speak at all.

I'm still here. Where did all the rest of them go?

Are they so ashamed of what they've built or given permission to build that they're hiding out in the better restaurants discussing how much to pay their Hispanic servants?

Did they sell out or just buy in?

I swear there are some days when I just want to stand on top of the highest mountain in America and shout:

"All in free! All in free! Come out, come out, wherever you are!"


Posted by Vanderleun Aug 6, 2015 1:40 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Never Forget: "The World is a Business"

Arthur Jensen:
I started as a salesman, Mr. Beale.
I sold sewing machines and automobile
parts, hair brushes and electronic
equipment. They say I can sell
anything. I'd like to try and sell
something to you --


Posted by gerardvanderleun Aug 5, 2015 7:51 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH