Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Sarah Bernhardt The Invention of Celebrity


This photo of Sarah Bernhardt was taken by Nadar (Gaspard-Félix Tournachon) at his Boulevard des Capucines atelier in 1864.

The sensual black drapery over her bare shoulder was – by design – rather suggestive. It also – again by design – conveniently concealed her illegitimate pregnancy. Even at the young age of 20 Bernhardt was already becoming the master génie de la réclame and was perfecting her greatest role – the role of Sarah Bernhardt....
Her stardom owed as much to her eccentric, flamboyant and scandalous personal life as it did to her acting. She had public affairs with playwrights, actors and artists.2 She travelled with a menagerie of exotic animals, including a boa and an aligator named Ali-Gaga.3 She dressed in Byzantine and Oriental gowns and perhaps most bizarrely, slept in a coffin and performed with a human skull. To her detractors she was completely unapologetic and said simply “Quand même” (So what). “My fame,” she wrote, “had become annoying for my enemies, and a little trying, I confess, for my friends.”....
She reportedly had affairs with Napoleon III, Edward, Prince of Wales, Victor Hugo (who gave her a human skull after her 1877 performance in Hernani), Charles Haas, Jean Mounet-Sully, Gustave Dore, Jean Richepin and Louise Abbéma. She also had “lifelong habit of automatically sleeping with her leading men,” often in the dressing room after performances. She was even inexplicably, albeit briefly, married to Greek military officer/actor Aristides Damala (who died at age 34 from his morphine addiction).
Her personal zoo, which she travelled with, included at various times Ali-Gaga, the alligator that died after too much milk and champagne, a boa constrictor that she shot herself after it swallowed a pillow, Cross-ci Cross-ça, the Chinese chameleon, a cheetah, a leopard, a pair of lion cubs, a lynx, Bizibouzou the monkey and Darwin the dog.
In 1905 Sarah left for her farewell tour of the Americas and while performing La Tosca in Rio de Janeiro she injured her knee. She continued to tour and perform but the knee never properly healed and she was in constant pain. At the age of 71, despite the objections of those around her, she had the leg amputated.6 Eight months later she was performing La dame aux camélias in a wheelchair. - - Codex 99

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 29, 2015 9:30 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coffee Breaks: A Report on the Route


So I went out to take a two-mile walking tour of my old neighborhood in Seattle's Queen Anne. This was mostly because of the elemental concept that I should get at least some exercise on a daily basis. It's also because of my long held belief that even with a route that is well worn and well traveled and well known, you can, if you open your mind discover something new every day.

And it is true. Today for example I discovered that if I turn left at the nearest corner it is possible to have one shot of espresso at Ken's market. Which I did.

Walking down and then up a hill and turning right, it is then possible to have a shot of espresso at Cafe Lladro on Queen Anne Street. Which I did.

Moving down the street two and a half blocks at a rapid clip, you can then have a shot of espresso at Cafe Diablo. Which I did.

Out the door and down the street two more blocks gets you to Cafe Appassionata where you can have, yes, a shot of espresso. Which I did.

From there you can go down the hill, making towards home, and as you do you come face to face with Cafe Florian where you can have a shot of espresso. Which I did.

Completing the route I made sure to stop at Bustle where I could order a soothing cappucino. Which I did.

After that I made my way home and I'm here to tell you thatttttttttttttttttttttttt........


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 28, 2015 10:25 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Philadelphia Story


Via HappyAcres

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 27, 2015 9:26 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Last

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 27, 2015 5:57 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Is he Muslim? Is he a traitor? The question is absurd: / Had anything been wrong, we should certainly have heard.


Created at Chris Muir's brilliant Day By Day

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 27, 2015 9:38 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bass on a Barbie Pole

No matter who you are seeing this will make you a better person.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 25, 2015 7:27 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: How Today's Centenarians Spent Their Wayward Youth

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 25, 2015 12:20 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Education Dogmas


Current religious beliefs held by the demented satanists of the petrified groves of academe as deliniated by George Yancey at Dogma is defined by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.” Interestingly, the second definition provided by Merriam-Webster as “a belief or set of beliefs that is taught by a religious organization.” Below is a non-exhaustive list of beliefs accepted as dogma in higher education. It is not my intention to capture all possible education dogmatic beliefs but to provide a sampling of these beliefs. While people may quibble with a few of them, overall it is pretty clear to those of us on college campuses, and who do not accept this dogma, that these beliefs are accepted without question among many college students and professors.

1. There is a campus rape culture that encourages the sexual assault of women.

2. A woman accusing a man of rape has vastly more credibility than a man who claims his innocence.

3. The earth is getting dramatically warmer due to human activity and altering that activity can stop or slow this trend.

4. Israelites settlers and the Israel government are as bad as or worse than Palestinian terrorists.

5. Fundamentalist Christians are morally the same as Muslim terrorists.

6. Military action in the Middle East creates more problems than it solves.

7. Criticism of Islam as a religion of terrorism is an example of Islamophobia.

8. Religious freedom is not as important as acceptance of sexual minorities.

9. Society would generally be better if traditional religion disappeared.

10. Marriage between those of the same sex should be seen as the same as marriage between those of different sexes.

11. Trans women should be allowed to use the same facilities as biological women.

12. The physical differences between men and women play no role in economic disparities between the sexes.

13. A woman has a right to an abortion for whatever reason she chooses.

14. Black men are targeted by the police.

15. Anti-Hispanic racism is an important part of what motivates those who oppose immigration reform.

16. President Obama is criticized more than previous presidents because of his race.
17. Raising taxes on the wealthy will improve our economy.

18. Political conservatives are either greedy manipulators exploiting the marginalized or sincere dupes voting against their own economic interests.

19. There is little, if any, correlation between hard work and economic success.

20. The United States is more damaging to the world than other western industrialized nations.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 25, 2015 11:09 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Just 15 minutes after its closest approach to Pluto on July 14, 2015, NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft looked back toward the sun and captured this near-sunset view of the rugged, icy mountains and flat ice plains extending to Pluto’s horizon.

The smooth expanse of the informally named icy plain Sputnik Planum (right) is flanked to the west (left) by rugged mountains up to 11,000 feet (3,500 meters) high, including the informally named Norgay Montes in the foreground and Hillary Montes on the skyline. To the right, east of Sputnik, rougher terrain is cut by apparent glaciers. The backlighting highlights more than a dozen layers of haze in Pluto’s tenuous but distended atmosphere. The image was taken from a distance of 11,000 miles (18,000 kilometers) to Pluto; the scene is 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) wide. Images From Offworld


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 23, 2015 6:41 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Nano Niagara

Joerg Daiber of Little Big World gives Niagara falls the tilt-shift/timelapse treatment, turning the popular tourist destination into a miniature version of itself.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 23, 2015 10:44 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The U.S. Postal "Service": How It Works in the 21st Century

Just announced to nobody's surprise:

U.S. Postal Service Has Not Earned a Profit in Almost a Decade: The United States Postal Service has lost $51.7 billion between 2007 and 2014 and has not earned a profit since 2006, according to a report from the Tax Foundation. “There is no turnaround in sight,” states the report. “The Postal Service will almost certainly register another multibillion dollar loss in 2015; for the first two quarters of 2015, it suffered a net loss of $2.8 billion.”

One day's worth of "mail" at my house.

1. Somewhere in this great land a concerned and responsible corporation is having their twice weekly colorful and compelling advertising supplement printed on 100% recycled paper.

2. As soon as they are completed millions of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements are shipped by truck to the various regional receiving centers of the U. S. Post Office.

3. From those centers, any number of allocated pallets of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements are broken out, put on U.S. post office trucks and delivered to local postal carrier destinations inside Seattle.

4. My postal carrier and hundreds of others report for work at local postal carrier centers throughout Seattle, and load up their vans with enough of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements to deliver one or more to each and every house on their route.

5. My very polite postal carrier parks her van at the end of my block and loads her sack with these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements.

6. She comes up my walk, up the porch stairs, and deposits my full share of these colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements into my mailbox with a clang every day between one and three in the afternoon.

7. Hearing the clang I wend my weary way to the front door and open my mailbox and pluck out said colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements.

8. With a sigh I go back in, trudge through my house, out my back door to the alley, and place the colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements into my Recycling bin.

9. Tomorrow the huge, lumbering Seattle Recycling garbage truck will stop and empty my Recycling bin into its maw and haul what is in it off to the Seattle Recycling center.

10. The collected colorful and compelling 100% recyclable advertising supplements will then be shipped, by truck, to the center for turning recyclable paper into..... recycled paper which will then be used by a concerned and responsible corporation for their twice weekly colorful and compelling advertising supplements printed on 100% recycled paper.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Next year postage will increase because the U.S. Postal "Service" will need more money to keep this thing going.

On the other hand.... why bother?

"A rural mailman travels up a creek bed toward Morris Fork near Jackson, Ky., in August 1940.; K. Ng rides a Segway on his mail route in July 2002 in San Francisco."

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 22, 2015 3:42 PM | Comments (29)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Brocken Spectre


“I have seen many halos in the mountains, beautiful storm clouds, incredible sun rays, but this was my first time seeing the Brocken Spectre,” she said. “It's truly a spectacular sight to see.” A "Brocken Spectre" occurs when a person is standing above the horizon, causing a shadow to be cast on the mist or cloud below. As a result, a circular rainbow halo forms around the shadow or "Spectre." Hikers Capture Photo of Rare Optical Illusion on Mount Rainier - ABC News

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 22, 2015 12:09 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
TwoThings Wonderful: Legs

What a piece of work is a woman!....
In form and moving how express and admirable!
In action how like an Angel!
In apprehension how like a goddess!
The beauty of the world!
The paragon of animals!

A compilation of beautiful and sexy television & film actresses of the past and present with Legs by ZZ Top. Actresses include Raquel Welch (Bedazzled), Ann-Margret (Viva Las Vegas), Marilyn Monroe (Seven Year Itch), Sophia Loren (Yesterday Today & Tomorrow), Cameron Diaz (The Mask), Jamie Lee Curtis (Trading Places), Anne Bancroft (The Graduate), Cyd Charisse (Singing in the Rain), Sharon Stone (Basic Instinct), Julie Newmar (Lil Abner), Salma Hayek (From Dusk till Dawn), Jocelyn Lane (Hell's Belles), Christina Applegate (Married with Children), Madeline Kahn (Blazing Saddles), Donna Dixon (Bosom Buddies), Cynthia Wood (Apocalypse Now), Pamela Anderson (Baywatch), Angela Featherstone (The Wedding Singer), Jessica Rabbit (Who Framed Roger Rabbit), Claudette Colbert (It Happened One Night), Anne Francis (Forbidden Planet), Jennifer Tilly (Let it Ride), Julie Benz (Desperate Housewives), Natalie Wood (The Great Race), Elizabeth Taylor (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), Kathleen Turner (Man with Two Brains), Kim Basinger (My Stepmother is an Alien), Jennifer Garner (Alias), Catherine Bach (Dukes of Hazzard) and Kelly LeBrock (The Woman in Red).

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 21, 2015 7:23 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Assimilation in America. The Early Years


Via HappyAcres

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 21, 2015 9:48 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Hidden Psalm in "A Love Supreme"

"The final movement on John Coltrane’s 1965 album A Love Supreme is a “musical narration” of a devotional poem that Coltrane included in the album’s liner notes — he put the handwritten poem on a music stand and “played” it as if it were music.

“Coltrane’s hushed delivery sounds deliberately speechlike,” write Ashley Kahn in his 2003 history of the album. “He hangs on to the ends of phrases, repeats them as if for emphasis. He is in fact ‘reading’ through his horn.”
"The hidden psalm was marked by New York musicians for decades before Rutgers University musicologist Lewis Porter presented a formal analysis to the American Musicological Society in 1980. “You will find that he plays right to the final ‘Amen’ and then finishes,” he writes in his 1997 biography of the saxophonist. “There are no extra notes up to that point. You will have to make a few adjustments in the poem, however: Near the beginning where it reads, ‘Help us resolve our fears and weaknesses,’ he skips the next line, goes on to ‘In you all things are possible,’ then plays ‘Thank you God’ … towards the end he leaves out ‘I have seen God.'”
“I think music can make the world better and, if I’m qualified, I want to do it,” Coltrane had said. “I’d like to point out to people the divine in a musical language that transcends words. I want to speak to their souls.”

Rare: Coltrane performs "A Love Supreme" live.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 19, 2015 11:56 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: Sultans of Swing

Referencing, in lyrics or in riffs, every pop music move from old time Dixieland to cool jazz in the Dave Brubeck era to garage bands to the long, long, outro fade at high tempo.... this gets any group, big or small, out of their chairs and into the aisles.

You get a shiver in the dark,
It's a raining in the park but meantime-
South of the river you stop and you hold everything
A band is blowing Dixie, double four time
You feel alright when you hear the music ring
Well now you step inside but you don't see too many faces
Coming in out of the rain they hear the jazz go down
Competition in other places
Uh but the horns they blowin' that sound
Way on downsouth
Way on downsouth
London town

Check out guitar george, he knows-all the chords
Mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't want to make them cry or sing
They said an old guitar is all, he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing

And Harry doesn't mind, if he doesn't, make the scene
He's got a daytime job, he's doing alright
He can play the honky tonk like anything
Savin' it up, for Friday night
With the Sultans
We're the Sultans of Swing

Then a crowd a young boys they're a foolin' around in the corner
Drunk and dressed in their best brown baggies and their platform soles
They don't give a damn about any trumpet playin' band
It ain't what they call rock and roll
Then the Sultans
Yeah the Sultans they play creole,

And then the man he steps right up to the microphone
And says at last just as the time bell rings
Goodnight, now it's time to go home
And he makes it fast with one more thing

We are the Sultans
We are the Sultans of Swing

Sultans was the song, recorded as a demo, that got Dire Straits a record deal after it was first played and climbed into heavy rotation on Radio London in July of 1977.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 19, 2015 3:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink

Via - - Never Yet Melted

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 19, 2015 9:43 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If Trump sticks to the Message and does not indulge in personal attacks (Fiorina, Kelly), he has a winning hand.


"The Democrats, the mainstream media, neocons, liberals, and college kids are all part of the same hive.

They want to fight but they don’t want to win. They’re like that crazy Latina girlfriend in a screaming panic who won’t shut up until you grab her by the wrists and say, “Shut the fuck up. I got this.”

We need to throw her onto the couch, grab a beer, and get back to work. That’s ultimately what she wants too. She just doesn’t realize it yet."


The psychology in this article has left my head spinning. Gonna have to think about what was said here as it seems so... right about the leftists. They've really, really screwed up this country and they've boxed themselves into a corner with their crazy ideas. They may want to have us pull them back from this yawning abyss.

Problem is that if we do, the education system, the liberal monopoly on the media, the welfare system and the broken immigration system, and the massive over encroaching government ALL need to be dismantled - of which these people will shriek in anger when it happens.

No matter what... there's alot of pain coming to this country in the near future.

They began mocking Trump because hubris is amusing to them...Then, in August, shit got real, and they came out with “Donald Trump Just Stopped Being Funny: Win or lose, Trump’s campaign threatens to unleash the Great American Stupid.” A month later, they took the gloves off and printed “Trump Seriously: On the Trail With the GOP’s Tough Guy.”

"First they ignore you,then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win" -- Gandhi

If Trump sticks to the Message and does not indulge in personal attacks (Fiorina, Kelly), he has a winning hand. The Press Knows it. The Liberals Know it, The GOP Knows it.

Posted by: John Condon in The Top 40: For the first time in decades, we have a presidential election that gets into what real Americans care about.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 18, 2015 4:32 PM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
SNL "Turlington's Lower Back Tattoo Remover"

HT: Bird Dog @ Maggie's Farm


Posted by gvanderleun Sep 17, 2015 8:19 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Donald: What Bill Whittle Loves About Donald Trump...

"Look, I've said it before and I'll say it again, 'I don't think Donald Trump is a conservative. I don't know what he is. But there does seem to be one thing he isn't, and that's afraid."

HT: Never Yet Melted


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 16, 2015 11:36 PM | Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Boomer Anthems: The Ballad of the Green Berets

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America's best
One hundred men we'll test today
But only three win the Green Beret

The song was the No. 1 hit in the U.S. for the five weeks encompassing March 1966 and the No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100's end of the year chart for 1966, despite the competing "California Dreamin'", sharply dividing the popular music market, and the No. 21 song of the 1960s, even though the Vietnam War later became unpopular. The rivalry between "Green Berets" and "California Dreamin'" was so fierce that the two records tied for the No. 1 record of 1966, according to Cashbox. "Green Berets" has sold over nine million singles and albums and was the top single of a year in which the British Invasion, led by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, continued to dominate the U.S. charts. For comparison, according to Billboard, The Beatles' top hit in 1966 was "We Can Work It Out" (No. 16), while the Stones' top hit in 1966 was "Paint It, Black" (No. 21).... The lyrics were written in honor of Green Beret James Gabriel, Jr., the first native Hawaiian who died in Vietnam, who was executed by the Viet Cong while on a training mission on April 8, 1962. One verse was written in honor of Gabriel, but it never made it into the final version." -- La Wik



Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 16, 2015 10:14 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"So you're burning 'The Man' ? "

Burning Man sues Quiznos over YouTube parody of the desert festival

It is called 'Out of the maze and into the playa' - another term for the desert basin where the festival takes place.

At the start of the clip, a man informs a group of young people who have just arrived at the festival: 'The world outside is hanging on by a very thin, non-GMO, cruelty-free, organic hemp thread.

'Beyond this tent flap lies the beginning of your new lives as Burners [the nickname for festival goers].'

At one point, the man asks one of the new 'Burners', called Thomas, what he knows about the festival.

Thomas says: 'I know you have to trade a back rub to be gifted a Quiznos sub.

While the group is walking around the playa, one member says: 'I just saw a Google exec fire-jousting with P. Diddy!'

Then Thomas says of the festival: 'They lied to us. They said it's an anti-establishment society based on radical self-expression. 'It's become a place for rich people to check off their bucket list.'

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 16, 2015 9:06 AM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You'll see a shadow move through the blade. That's the steel transforming."

Anthony Bourdain heads to Olympia, Washington to see firsthand how master bladesmith, Bob Kramer crafts the perfect kitchen knife from melted meteorite.

Bob Kramer | Kramer Knives - My Story

The primitive world of beating on hot steel and making tools that surpassed any knives I had ever sharpened was fantastic. The art of sharpening knives was no longer enough, I had to make them. And I needed to make them for the world I knew - kitchens.

That was 1994. Since then I have become one of 120 Master Bladesmiths in the US. To earn this title from the American Bladesmith Society, one must undergo years of study and then pass a Master's Test. The test required building a 10" Bowie knife made of 300 layers of steel. This one knife had to cut through a 1" free hanging rope in one swing, chop through a two-by-four twice, shave a swatch of arm hair (after the two-by-four), and finally, bend the blade at a 90 degree angle without the blade breaking. If you succeed, then you submit five flawless knives (including a 15th century Quillion dagger, a very difficult knife to make) to a panel of judges.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 14, 2015 10:39 AM | Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Evan Sayet as a 9/13 Republican


EVAN SAYET: "I call myself a 9/13 Republican. I grew up a liberal New York Jew; you don't get much more liberal than that--although it was lower-case "l," not what's considered Liberal today. I graduated from high school knowing only one thing about politics: that Democrats are good and Republicans are evil.

"I tell a story. It's not a true story, but it helps crystallize my thinking that brought me to become a conservative. I say: Imagine being in a restaurant with an old friend, and you're catching up, and suddenly he blurts out, "I hate my wife." You chuckle to yourself because he says it every time you're together, and you know he doesn't hate his wife; they've been together for 35 years. He loves his daughters, and they're just like her. No, he doesn't hate his wife.

"So you're having dinner, and you look out the window and spot his wife, and she's being beaten up right outside the restaurant. You grab your friend and say, "Come on, let's help her. Let's help your wife," and he says, "Nah, I'm sure she deserves it." At that moment, it dawns on you: He really does hate his wife.

"That's what 9/11 was to me. For years and years I'd hear my friends from the Left say how evil and horrible and racist and imperialistic and oppressive America is, and I'd chuckle to myself and think, "Oh, they always say that; they love America." Then on 9/11, we were beaten up, and when I grabbed them by the collar, and I said, "Come on, let's help her. Let's help America," and they said, "Nah, she deserves it."

"At that moment, I realized: They really do hate America. And that began me on what's now a five-plus-year quest to try to understand the mindset. How could you possibly live in the freest nation in the history of the world and see only oppression? How could you live in the least imperialist power in human history and see us as the ultimate in imperi­alism? How could you live in the least bigoted nation in human history and, as Joe Biden said, "see racism lurking in every dark shadow"?

.... "What you have is people who think that the best way to eliminate rational thought, the best way to eliminate the attempt to be right, is to work always to prove that right isn't right and to prove that wrong isn't wrong. You see this in John Lennon's song "Imagine": "Imagine there's no countries." Not imagine great countries, not imagine defeat the Nazis, but imagine no religions, and the key line is imagine a time when anything and everything that mankind values is devalued to the point where there's nothing left to kill or die for.

"Obviously, this is not going to happen overnight. There are still going to be religions, but they are going to do their best to denigrate them. There are still going to be countries, but they will do what they can to give our national sovereignty to one-world bodies. In the meantime, everything that they teach in our schools, everything they make into movies, the messages of the movies, the TV shows, the newspaper stories that they pick and how they spin them have but one criterion for truth, beauty, honesty, etc., and that is: Does it tear down what is good and elevate what is evil? Does it tear down what is right and elevate what is wrong? Does it tear down the behaviors that lead to success and elevate the ones that lead to failure so that there is nothing left to believe in?"

- - Regurgitating the Apple: How Modern Liberals "Think"


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 14, 2015 8:25 AM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Wound
"Well, it was only 3,000 people and we've moved on. Why can't you? Carpe diem, man."

The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak,
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient still.

-- Thom Gunn, The Wound


Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries / Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building 2

EVERYONE WHO WAS IN NEW YORK ON on "The Day" will tell you their stories about "The Day." I could stun you with an eight figure number by running a Google on 9/11, but you can do that as well.

"The Day," even at this close remove, has ascended into that shared museum of the mind to be placed in the diorama captioned, "Where Were You When." The site has long since been cleared and scrubbed clean. There is even an agreement on the memorial which will, I see, use a lot of water and trees. "The Day" has become both memorial and myth.

Less is heard about the aftermath. Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke. You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow's shawl as the fires burned on for months. You don't know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River. You supress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being "held for police activity at Penn Station." Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks you barely knew it was there.

If someone tells you that the melted wax from the candle shrines at Union Square had a radius of 20 feet and a depth of 4 inches at some points before it was scraped away, that's just a data point.

If someone mentions that there were pictures of those we called 'the missing' put up on walls about the city, you might recall that. What you won't recall is that they appeared everywhere and grew in numbers on nearly every surface on the island until there was no block and no main station that didn't host a grim and large gallery of these images.

You've forgotten about the shrines, large and small, that appeared at the door of every fire and police station of the city overnight. You don't remember how they grew and then shrank until only a few vases of flowers and faded flags remained.

I could show you the Post's headline from the 12th declaring: 10,000 FEARED DEAD. Many of you would now say, "Well, it was only 3,000 people and we've moved on. Why can't you? Carpe diem, man."

Wounds, as noted in the poem above, heal. Lots of Americans like this fact. Many now make their living from the process. Explainers, obfuscators, politicians, pundits -- they're all part of yet another bogus new-age industry, grief counseling. Let some disaster, small or large, occur and these locusts descend from wherever they spend their off-hours to feed on the fear and pain of that other bogus group, "the survivors." Many of us are proud to be members of this group. I'm sure somewhere someone is selling t-shirts and badges that say "I'm the Proud Survivor of ______" (Insert disease or disaster of choice).

Wounds heal. Those that don't become "mortal wounds." All others heal. That's the nature of wounds. What isn't often mentioned is that wounds, in healing, leave a scar. A scar is different kind of skin that covered the wound and, because it is stronger than the original skin, it is called "proud flesh."

Along with grief, scars are another thing our brave new age sets out to eliminate. With the application of money and skill most scars in time can be made to disappear, to be made beautiful. Americans approve of this process. We like to make new fresh flesh appear where old proud flesh once was. All smoothed out. All traces eradicated. We move on. We get over it. We wear white trousers and walk upon the beach. Tomorrow is another day and we will never be hungry again.

Wounds do not heal, they only seal themselves up and we erase the scars with myths and monuments. Unless we are required to, every so often, go back and look at what was without sham or falsity.

Selecting a few images from a very bad year takes you back into that time. Because you fear opening the wound, you work at some remove from what the images return to you. Until you come to one that takes you back and you find yourself there, in that time, in those weeks and months after 'The Day.'

Mine was a picture of a flyer posted around the city. One of the thousands of flyers posted everywhere. I'd hardly noted it at the time, but kept it in a folder called "September." It shows three pictures of Simon Dedvukaj. He's in a tuxedo with the jacket tossed over his shoulder in one shot. Another shows him wearing the cap and gown of a high school graduate. The third is a candid snap taken, I imagine, in his room with some out of focus possessions in the background. There's a prayer at the bottom and at the top the information: "February 15, 1975 -- September 11, 2001.

Three strips of wrinkled tape fasten this to a black metal surface. The photo, I know, was taken somewhere in lower Manhattan at 9:18 on September 11, 2002. The flyer is crisp and the tape fresh so someone must have spent time over the previous days printing the flyer up and sticking it to surfaces around the city. His family? His friends? Certainly one of those groups. Did they do it again on September 11, 2003? I don't know. I wasn't there to look.

What can I know about Simon Dedvukaj? I can know what you can know if you run another Google search. It's an unusual name and you won't get many hits. What I can know is this: "Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building "

That's from an early list. One of many put up to track the dead -- "26" "janitorial," "foreman," "confirmed dead," "at/in building.2" There are thousands of other listings just as stark.

It is no wonder we move on from these facts, that we work to heal the wound and erase the scar. These are things too grim to carry. We have to put them down. Unless we know more than the stark facts above. Then we carry them with us. Forever.

I can know more about Simon Dedvukaj, a man whom in his janitor's uniform, would have never been more than another member of that faceless crew of New Yorkers who take the subways in at 4 AM to turn on the city, or take them home after midnight having cleaned up and shut down the city. I would have passed him without seeing him. I still would. So would you. But still I can know a lot more about Simon Dedvukaj. I can know about it from his sister Lisa:

July, 2002
From:Lisa Dedvukaj, submitted: 07/31/2002 5:45:28 PM
Simon is my brother. He worked in the World Trade Center, North Tower 1. He was and still is a great guy. Simon will always be remembered as that thoughtful person who always did good for everyone else and thought of himself last. Simon gave everyone strength and Simon made you smile and laugh like never before. Simon what a man you were. That smile you just couldn't resist it, you had to smile back. Simon I know you are in a better place and I know that you are watching over us. Please be there for us always and guide and comfort us through our needest times. I LOVE YOU!
Your Sister,
September, 2002
From: Lisa Dedvukaj, submitted: 11/13/2002 3:59:23 PM
It's been a while since I wrote in here but I wanted to let you know that I'm still thinking of you.. I can't seem to understand the negativeness that still surrounds us. Simon you are my life and it just hurts me so much to see that you are not here, I want to see you walk through that door again and sometimes I wonder if this was for the best. But I what I do know is that God has you with him and that you and the others are looking out for us and I feel you around me alot and it comforts me to know that you are holding me while I cry for you. I miss you Simon and I will always love you. Please be with us always like you are now, give us the strength and the love that we need. Protect our family and always keep us within your reach..
Last month
From: Lisa V., submitted: 01/11/2004 10:47:44 PM
I haven't written in here in a long time! I miss you so much and life will never be the same.. Reading all these posts here makes me cry, I always cry thinking of how life changed it is and how different we are without you here. I miss you so much.. I love you.
Love your sister,
Just a janitor. Just turned on the city and cleaned it up. "How different we are without you here...."

I called for armor, rose, and did not reel.
But, when I thought, rage at his noble pain
Flew to my head, and turning I could feel
My wound break open wide. Over again
I had to let those storm lit valleys heal.

-- Thom Gunn, "The Wound"

[Written SEPTEMBER 13, 2009]

Posted by Vanderleun Sep 14, 2015 2:36 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Maker Series: Artisanal Firewood

This Is That profiles Smoke & Flame, a Vancouver artisanal firewood company that is selling bundles of kindling for $1000.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 14, 2015 12:47 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Of a Fire in a Field and a Hole in the Sky


At the end of April in 2006 a couple of friends asked me to go with them to see "United 93," but I declined both offers saying I wasn't sure that I needed any reminders other than what I saw in New York on that day. In the end, though, I went to it as I went to the funerals, alone.

When people who were in New York on that day talk about it, it always seems to be focused on the day itself. Nobody talks much about the days and the weeks and the months that came after that day in New York City.

In a way, that's understandable because what happened for days and weeks and months after was pretty much a slowly diminishing repeat of that day. Things got better, got back to the new "normal." The wax from the candled shrines was scraped away, and in time -- quite a long time actually -- even the walls and fences full of fading flyers asking if you had seen one or the other of those we came to call "the missing" were gone.

Most of these ghastly portrait galleries were simply washed away by the snows and rains that followed that autumn day. Some were covered in long sheets of clear plastic duct-taped and sealed.


Posted by Vanderleun Sep 13, 2015 12:32 AM | Comments (59)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Donald Trump Interviews Himself

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 12, 2015 7:17 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
9/11 conspiracies debunked by explosives expert/firefighter

Pass this along.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 11, 2015 3:06 PM | Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
If We Believed in Omens....


Dateline: 9/11 Mecca:87 dead after crane collapses at world’s holiest mosque in Mecca

2For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

-- 1 Thessalonians 5

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 11, 2015 2:13 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Hard Day on the Planet

The dollar went down and the President said
Who's in charge, now? I don't know, take your pick.
A new disease every day and the old ones are coming back
Things are looking kind of gray, like they're going to black

Don't turn on the TV, don't show me the paper
I don't want to know he got kidnapped or why they all raped her
I want to go on vacation 'till the pressure lets up
But they keep hijacking airplanes and blowing them up

It's been a hard day on the planet
How much is it all worth?
It's getting harder to understand it
Things are tough all over on Earth.

It's hot in December and cold in July
When it rains it pours out of a poisonous sky
In California the body counts keep getting higher
It's evil out there, man that state is always on fire.

Everyone has a system, but they can't seem to win
Even Bob Geldorf looks alarmingly thin
I got to get on that shuttle get me out of this place
But there's gonna be warfare up there in outer space


I've got clothes on my back and shoes on my feet
A roof over my head and something to eat
My kids are all healthy and my folks are alive
You know, it's amazing but sometimes I think I'll survive

I've got all of my fingers and all of my toes
I'm pretty well off I guess, I suppose
So how come I feel bad so much of the time?
A man ain't an island John Donne wasn't lying


It's business as usual; some things never change
It's unfair, it's tough, unkind and it's strange
We don't seem to learn; we can't seem to stop
Maybe some explosions would close up the shop

You know, maybe that would be fine: we would be off the hook
We resolved all our problems, never mind what it took
And it all would be over, finito, the end
Until the survivors started up all over again

It's been a hard day on the planet
How much is it all worth?
It's getting harder to understand it
Things are tough all over on Earth.

[For a live performance recorded at Peabody's Down Under in Cleveland Ohio on April 27, 1993,]


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 10, 2015 10:09 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Shock of the Real: Ghetto life in North Philly

Presented for your enlightenment, this real-time walk-through of the North Philly ghetto by a resident. Today.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 9, 2015 7:01 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Why is Modern Art so Bad?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 9, 2015 3:16 PM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
TRUMP COMIX: Panic Attack at NRO!!!


Via the invaluable [and curiously persistent] Doug Ross @ Journal:

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 9, 2015 10:53 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
H.M.The Queen: Elizabeth II Today Becomes the Longest Reigning Monarch of England

From Our gracious Queen by David Warren:

All of her prime ministers (and there have been hundreds of them) can attest, and most have attested, to the remarkable mastery of her brief; many have been embarrassed to discover that the Queen is better informed than they are, on the very topics they have come to discuss. Such is her presence that, regardless of political party, it is doubtful that any politician has gone back to see her, not thoroughly prepared, a second time.

We call her a “constitutional” monarch, in the sense that the power to make and pass legislation resides, in British realms, entirely with Parliament; and so she is obliged to give royal assent to their various, typically foolish schemes. The Speech from the Throne in every House, modelled on Westminster, is written in the office of the Prime Minister of the day, not in the Palace. This is a great pity, but is the result nevertheless of a long, mostly unwritten, constitutional history that cannot easily be undone, nor should be except gradually, with abundant caution. Happily no one, who is not insane, holds our Queen responsible for the nonsense she must read and sign.

In their memoirs, I think every British prime minister since her first (Winston Churchill), has credited her useful contributions, simply from asking questions or making suggestions that no one else had thought of. For she is in possession of a fine political mind, able to compass details that lie beyond the reach of most politicians.

A very intelligent, elderly, constitutional monarch is of inestimable value in this regard. She serves, in a sense, as a living institutional memory. Even a young one has the advantage of a family history, and an upbringing, of value as a corrective to men who can think only of immediate personal advantage — risen as they are from the gutter, up the greasy pole. She is there to remind, or even to teach them, in a place where their vulgarity will not be exposed: behind those closed palace doors.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 9, 2015 12:12 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: The Birds of Paradise Project

Birds-of-Paradise Project: It took 8 years and 18 expeditions to New Guinea, Australia, and nearby islands, but Cornell Lab scientist Ed Scholes and National Geographic photographer Tim Laman succeeded in capturing images of all 39 species in the bird-of-paradise family for the first time ever.

This video gives a sense of their monumental undertaking and the spectacular footage that resulted.... Filming all 39 birds-of-paradise required crisscrossing New Guinea to find each species’ particular region and favored habitat. For each one Ed and Tim had to hike in, find a male and his display perch, build a blind, and then come back at the crack of dawn to wait and watch. In the Arfak Mountains their hard work paid off with the first images ever captured of the little-known Arfak Astrapia.

How was it done?


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 8, 2015 2:02 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"You're going to need a bigger boat."

Aussie TV hosts react to giant shark clip

The shark is big – massive, even – and is shown diving out of the water to look even bigger. Karl’s first reaction? Silence. Then, ‘I am never going back in the water’. Once Lisa agrees with her co-host, Karl says what we’re all thinking at home: ‘Let’s go to the local pool. Anyhow… like that little cage is gonna help ya’.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 7, 2015 10:31 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Man. Burns. Again. Again. Again.
Photos From Burning Man 2015
Every year, participants in the Burning Man Festival descend on the playa of Nevada's Black Rock Desert to form a temporary city—a self-reliant community populated by performers, artists, free spirits, and more. An estimated 70,000 people came to Burning Man 2015 "Carnival of Mirrors" from all over the world to dance, express themselves, and take in the spectacle.

During the time in the late 60s and early 70s when we invented this kind of thing, we at least had the good sense to do Woodstock only three or four times. These poor Shmoos are condemned to this sandbox year in and year out until the Burning Man burns in his walker.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 7, 2015 10:15 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Holland on Suicide Watch: Amateur Dutch choir sings song of welcome to the illegal muslims who throng the shores

Basically this is that scene from Independence Day where idiots party and chant welcome to the aliens from a rooftop right till they get blasted.

Via Here you are safe. All your worries will be gone. | Gates of Vienna The Dutch Patriot’s explanatory email (with the translated lyrics) is below.

These people wrote a welcoming song for the “ refugees” who made it across all the safe parts of Europe straight into the honey pots of Apeldoorn, The Netherlands. It’s in a building called the America Hall.

I made a translation of what they are singing. The whole scene reminded me of the movie Independence Day. The scene with these naïve people on top of a building welcoming not-so-nice aliens. The clip speaks for itself. Many women in the party!

What they sing is this:

You are welcome!
Welcome in my country.

You are welcome!
Stranded here all of a sudden [?]

I want to learn about you!
I want to know who you are!
Tell me all your stories.
I want to understand [you should]

I saw you on a boat.
I saw you on the news and in the papers.

Fear only on your face.
Your daughter in your arms.

So many died…
[Can’t hear what they sing in the next line]

But you made it!
And now I feel your pain.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 7, 2015 12:07 PM | Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything."


Robert Lewis Dabney on Conservatism in 1897:

"It may be inferred again that the present movement for women’s rights will certainly prevail from the history of its only opponent: Northern conservatism. This is a party which never conserves anything. Its history has been that it demurs to each aggression of the progressive party, and aims to save its credit by a respectable amount of growling, but always acquiesces at last in the innovation. What was the resisted novelty of yesterday is today one of the accepted principles of conservatism; it is now conservative only in affecting to resist the next innovation, which will tomorrow be forced upon its timidity and will be succeeded by some third revolution; to be denounced and then adopted in its turn. American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition. It remains behind it, but never retards it, and always advances near its leader. . . . Its impotency is not hard, indeed, to explain. It is worthless because it is the conservatism of expediency only, and not of sturdy principle. It intends to risk nothing serious for the sake of the truth, and has no idea of being guilty of the folly of martyrdom. It always when about to enter a protest very blandly informs the wild beast whose path it essays to stop, that its “bark is worse than its bite,” and that it only means to save its manners by enacting its decent role of resistance: The only practical purpose which it now serves in American politics is to give enough exercise to Radicalism to keep it “in wind,” and to prevent its becoming pursy and lazy, from having nothing to whip. No doubt, after a few years, when women’s suffrage shall have become an accomplished fact, conservatism will tacitly admit it into its creed, and thenceforward plume itself upon its wise firmness in opposing with similar weapons the extreme of baby suffrage; and when that too shall have been won, it will be heard declaring that the integrity of the American Constitution requires at least the refusal of suffrage to asses. There it will assume, with great dignity, its final position."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 7, 2015 9:32 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Songs from the Choir Invisible: Unstoppable

You find your faith has been lost and shaken
You take back what's been taken
Get on your knees and dig down deep
You can do what you think is impossible
Keep on believing, don't give in
It'll come and make you whole again
It always will, it always does
Love is unstoppable

Sent out to G. & J.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 6, 2015 10:34 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Sermonette: "God doesn't have to punish us. All He has to do is let us feel the full weight of our sins."

"Some consider Glenn Beck a fringe loony.
I don’t.
Some dismiss Beck as a right-wing scaremonger.
I don’t.
Some claim Beck promotes apocalypticism as a marketing tool.
I don’t.

Watch, listen, and reflect."

From Porretto at Liberty's Torch

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 6, 2015 1:27 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Animal Logic


"Work by New York-based Photographer Richard Barnes has been shown in solo exhibitions at such institutions as the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, the Carpenter Center at Harvard University, Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, and the University of Michigan Art Museum. His works can be found in numerous public and private collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Hirshhorm Museum and Sculpture Garden. Barnes has lectured extensively, including at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, Parsons School of Art and Design in Manhattan, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. He served as adjunct professor/visiting artist at the San Francisco Art Institute and has taught at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

"Barnes was a recipient of the Rome Prize 2005-2006 and his photographs of the cabin of Ted Kaczynski, aka the "Unabomber," were featured in the 2006 Whitney Biennial and awarded the Alfred Eisenstadt Award for Photography. He was the 2009 recipient of the Sidman Fellow for the Arts from the Institute for the Humanities at the University of Michigan. In 2010 completed a residency from Lightwork/Syracuse University.

"A monograph of his work entitled Animal Logic, published 2009, has received favorable reviews and was included in the American Institute of Graphic Arts juried competition/exhibition 50 books/50 covers in 2010. Projects Exhibitions — Richard Barnes .... or......


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 5, 2015 11:15 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Diversions for the Long Weekend: 91 -- Yes 91 -- Shots

Sit back with a beverage, this takes a few minutes.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 5, 2015 11:03 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderfully Whacko: The Swarm

Sir, a woman’s preaching is like a dog’s walking on his hind-legs. It is not done well, but you are surprised to find it done at all. -- Johnson

"The Swarm man carrying multi-rotor airborne flight testing montage. 54 counter-rotation propellers, six grouped control channels with KK2.15 stabilization. Take off weight 148kg, max lift, approx. 164kg. Endurance10 minutes. Power approx. 22KW.

Just a bit of fun for my self, never intended for making a significant journey or flying much above head height. Approx cost £6000.

Props at 18 in were the largest I could find with contra rotating pitches and so defines much of the layout. Also the fine pitch allows them to turn at high speed which reduces motor weight for a given power. Motor KV chosen to work with 4 cell batteries with 20% or so control margin. This low margin maximises the ESC efficiency, higher margin results in higher circulating current losses in the ESC and motor, reducing endurance.

54 chosen as this fits the hexagonal close pack layout. 6 more could be added in the centre. 18 in props at 5000 rpm though hazardous, are still much less so than 6, 5 ft ones. Where could you get a low power 5ft prop from weighing less than 1Kg with opposite pitches? The 54 gives good redundancy as mechanical and power electronic systems are the main failure areas. I have had one ESC randomly fail already. Controls could be made fully redundant (9 x KK2.15s) so only the control sticks (and pilot) are single failure points. Redundancy increases the likely hood of failure but reduces the consequences.

Props are standard RC aircraft types used at a relatively low fraction of their thrust/rpm capability. So should be reliable though needlessly heavy. Being inline with my head the polycarbonate dome is for protection. The polythene bubble balloons up catching some ground effect pressure rise contributing to lift. It also doubles as a rain shelter...

Batteries, ESC and motor are close together to minimise wiring weight which is significant because of the high current 30A. Also the battery damps vibration. Individual batteries does mean some may run down a little quicker than others. The front and rear groups are used for pitching, a more common manoeuvre so far than roll.

No one has spotted the biggest flaw! That is the large number of props running at high speed means the net torque reactions are relatively low, so the craft has little yaw authority. So it probably needs a tail rotor for spot turns."

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 4, 2015 10:10 AM | Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Don Does Standup: "I knew Weiner before they caught him with the bing-bing-bing."

Via Celestial Junk:

Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 3, 2015 9:02 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Road to Moocherville (Complete with Color TV and Internet Porn)


Posted by gerardvanderleun Sep 1, 2015 4:50 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
G2E Media GmbH