Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Bounty for Beginners

Pay attention. It will be on The Final.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 30, 2016 6:35 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: It's a Book

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 30, 2016 5:27 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No More Civis Romanus: the protection with which Americans assume their country is surrounded by is -- or was at least in this instance -- a sham.

As with so many other issues, the brilliant Richard Fernandez brings a focus like a laser beam:

The true story of Benghazi is in many ways more disturbing than the wildest conspiracy theories can be. It suggests that the protection with which Americans assume their country is surrounded by is -- or was at least in this instance -- a sham. The assumption undergirdingall the theories alleging the administration withheldhelp assumed the existence of that relief force. The real scandal was there was no provision for the help or that any would be needed, at least not on September 11, 2012.

The Washington Post observed it will take the entire police force of France to monitor the Jihadi suspects they have have in-country now. The military has been battered by cuts, political correctness and many calls upon its strength. It is any wonder it can't be everywhere at once?

And when one comes to think of it the Benghazi response times are in line with those the public can observe. The data fits. In Paris and Orlando the victims probably thought the police would come within minutes. In actuality decisive help took as long as 3 hours to arrive even in the middle of a big city with ample police forces all around. It's no surprise that 8 hours after Obama directed action nothing had come to the aid of the beleaguered Americans in distant Libya. Benghazi shows the true expectation of help is rather longer than advertised, given the defense choices society has made and the vulnerabilities it has accepted.

Help is what is you can generate yourself until relief can be organized. And that could be some time. The Enemy Doesn't Coordinate With Your Narrative | PJ Media

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 30, 2016 1:46 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
First they go green, then they go insane, then they sit down to pee, then we win


The Swedes, always on top of anything that confirms their men have two-inch dicks and sit to pee, have now given the world what it will need after cap and trade goes global, a pot to piss in. THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS brings us GREEN ECO-NUTSIES JUMP SHARK: MARKETING CHAMBER-POT/WATERING CAN

Check out these features:

Ergonomic design makes The Towa easy to carry and easy to use.
Hygienic and comfortable to sit on.
Capacity, approx. 10 liters.
Able to withstand weight up to 150 kilos (approx. 300 pounds)
Seals tightly -- the urine stays in the container to protect the nitrogen and guard against odor.
Made in Sweden of recyclable and durable Polypropylene (PP) plastic , without any materials that are considered dangerous to health or the environment.

As the master of all things American and digestible, this item with it's features describes, almost to perfection, the gelded modern and progressive American male and his colonized by feminists mind.

He's ergonomic and easy to use.

He's comfortable to sit on and can, fortunately, withstand weight of up to 300 pounds so there's no need for his PC wife to diet no matter how many Twinkies she wants to deny others. (A kind of "Jack Spratt" couple we now see so clearly in the First Family, n'cest pas?)

Then again, the modern progressive male seals tightly and all his inner bile and urine is contained to guard against the always pungent odor of sanctity.

He's recyclable .... for the next male drone willing to fund his mate's need for disposable income... and yet durable enough to ride into the grave if necessary.

He's never a danger to health or the environment. He don't smoke and he don't chew and he don't hang with the boys that do.

He is the very model of a modern major progressive. His lid's on tight and his essence available for organic vegan garden watering on demand.

Oh paragon of progressive animals! Oh progressive male on the road to demographic extinction. Take a break and just sit down.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 29, 2016 9:25 AM | Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“We shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us.”

El Greco, Oil, 1600-1604

“Mankind as a whole has always striven to organize a universal state. There have been many great nations with great histories, but the more highly they were developed the more unhappy they were, for they felt more acutely than other people the craving for world-wide union.

“The great conquerors, Timours and Ghenghis-Khans, whirled like hurricanes over the face of the earth striving to subdue its people, and they too were but the unconscious expression of the same craving for universal unity. Hadst Thou taken the world and Caesar's purple, Thou wouldst have founded the universal state and have given universal peace. For who can rule men if not he who holds their conscience and their bread in his hands?

“We have taken the sword of Caesar, and in taking it, of course, have rejected Thee and followed him. Oh, ages are yet to come of the confusion of free thought, of their science and cannibalism. For having begun to build their tower of Babel without us, they will end, of course, with cannibalism.

“But then the beast will crawl to us and lick our feet and spatter them with tears of blood. And we shall sit upon the beast and raise the cup, and on it will be written, "Mystery."

“But then, and only then, the reign of peace and happiness will come for men.

“Thou art proud of Thine elect, but Thou hast only the elect, while we give rest to all. And besides, how many of those elect, those mighty ones who could become elect, have grown weary waiting for Thee, and have transferred and will transfer the powers of their spirit and the warmth of their heart to the other camp, and end by raising their free banner against Thee.

“Thou didst Thyself lift up that banner. But with us all will be happy and will no more rebel nor destroy one another as under Thy freedom.

“Oh, we shall persuade them that they will only become free when they renounce their freedom to us and submit to us. And shall we be right or shall we be lying?

“They will be convinced that we are right, for they will remember the horrors of slavery and confusion to which Thy freedom brought them.

“Freedom, free thought, and science will lead them into such straits and will bring them face to face with such marvels and insoluble mysteries, that some of them, the fierce and rebellious, will destroy themselves, others, rebellious but weak, will destroy one another, while the rest, weak and unhappy, will crawl fawning to our feet and whine to us: "Yes, you were right, you alone possess His mystery, and we come back to you, save us from ourselves!" From The Grand Inquisitor in The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 29, 2016 2:49 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"They Laughed When I Sat Down to Play:"

Nigel Farage: 20 years ago you laughed at me, you are not laughing now.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 28, 2016 12:22 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Soft Language

"And we have no more old people in this country. No more old people.

We shipped them all away, and we brought in these senior citizens. Isn't that a typically American twentieth century phrase? Bloodless, lifeless, no pulse in one of them. A senior citizen. But I've accepted that one, I've come to terms with it. I know it's to stay. We'll never get rid of it. That's what they're going to be called, so I'll relax on that, but the one I do resist. The one I keep resisting is when they look at an old guy and they'll say, "Look at him Dan! He's ninety years young." Imagine the fear of aging that reveals. To not even be able to use the word "old" to describe somebody. To have to use an antonym. And fear of aging is natural. It's universal. Isn't it? We all have that. No one wants to get old. No one wants to die, but we do! So we bullshit ourselves. I started bullshitting myself when I got to my forties. As soon as I got into my forties I'd look in the mirror and I'd say, "well, I...I guess I'm getting...older." Older sounds a little better than old doesn't it? Sounds like it might even last a little longer. Bullshit, I'm getting old! And it's okay, because thanks to our fear of death in this country, I won't have to die...I'll pass away. Or I'll expire like a magazine subscription. If it happens in the hospital, they'll call it a terminal episode. The insurance company will refer to it as negative patient-care outcome. And if it's the result of malpractice, they'll say it was a therapeutic misadventure. I'm telling you, some of this language makes me want to vomit. Well, maybe not vomit. Makes me want to engage in an involuntary personal protein spill."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 26, 2016 1:03 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
SkySlide? Include Me..... Out!


Angela Cox,

takes a photo with her phone as she takes a ride down a glass slide during a media preview day at the U.S. Bank Tower building in downtown Los Angeles, on June 23, 2016. Starting this weekend, thrill-seekers can begin taking the “Skyslide,” a 1,000 feet high slide perched on the outside of the tallest skyscraper west of the Mississippi. All that separates riders from the dizzying space below is a piece of glass just 1.25 inches thick. Photos of the Week: 6/18-6/24 - The Atlantic

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 26, 2016 12:56 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A trillion here, a trillion there, pretty soon you're talking about no money.

World's debt share by country - Business Insider

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 26, 2016 11:02 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Brexit, The Background

Daniel Hannan MEP spoke for 12 minutes at the Oxford Union last week making the case for Brexit in one of the most eloquent speeches in recent memory. [HT: Commenter Cris ]


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 25, 2016 5:32 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hand in the Pocket

Washington, D.C., circa 1911. "National Photo Co. post card shipment." A very young-looking Herbert French on the left with his associate "Artie" Leonard at their H Street studio. 8x10 glass negative.

Daily life, as recorded on 8x10 glass negatives fromShorpy Historical Photo Archive :: The Young Entrepreneurs: 1911, is often seen in more detail than our faux-vintage Instagram age.

One of the persistant pleasures in very old photographs is that they hold a lot of detail if you but care to look; details that tell you the things behind these images lived. I went into this -- in some detail -- myself in The Summer of Our Content. I notice it again here in one telling detail from the photo cited above from Shorpy. Only this time it is a detail in the hands of the men pictured. With the man on the left, his left hand casually grasps a claw hammer as he strikes the casual pose of a man taking a brief portrait break.


This is not at all that remarkable. Hands holding tools are common in all photography of the men from a time when men actively built the nation. But if we look closely at the man on the right we can see the small confirmation of this lost moment in time in Washington DC over a century past. We see this:


It's by way of this kind of detail that these sections of times lost beyond recall hold their fascination. That momnt when time had a stop and we can see down into the marrow of things; into the weight and the heft of the fabric of trousers stretched over the knuckles of a now long dead hand. For all the trillions of images that we capture now, we won't leave that much of mark.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 25, 2016 11:32 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Tolkien and Tennyson and the Men of Albion bid you stand, Men of the West!

A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends, and break all bonds of fellowship; but it is not this day!

An hour of wolves, and shattered shields, when the Age of Men comes crashing down; but it is not this day! This day we fight! By all that you hold dear on this good earth, I bid you stand, Men of the West!"

Tho' much is taken, much abides; and tho'
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2016 2:09 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: It's..... SummertimeSummertime SumSum Summertime!

Ladies and Gentlemen, a Tribute to the Most Influential Musician of All Time at the ever-popular BSBFB

Yeah, the rope swing was fun. Sure. Whatever. They’re having the best kind of fun. Buncha friends ditching school or work at the old swimming hole. They’ve got more nerve than sense. Chicks dig that, and will join in if you let them. I’m not interested in any of that.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2016 9:02 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The Wrath of the Awakened Saxon:" England to EU, Buh-Bye!

For the second time in 80 years that little Island has bought the world a space in which others could rediscover their own hardihood. And rediscover it doubtless they will, as the New World did of old. Today the Brexit rebellion showed that daring could prevail against bullying, truth could win against prestige, plain speech could trump celebrity and long odds were vincible provided you never, never gave in. Richard Fernandez, Alone | PJ Media

Nigel Farage's life's work comes to fruition with a Brexit vote

'An opinion poll in the Netherlands said that a majority there now want to leave, so we may well be close perhaps to Nexit.

'Similarly in Denmark a majority there are in favour of leaving so we could be quite close to Dexit.

'And I'm told the same may apply to Sweden and perhaps Austria and perhaps even Italy too.

'The EU is failing, the EU is dying, I hope that we've got the first brick out of the wall.'

He added: 'We need the negotiations to start as soon as humanly possible, we need to start thinking globally about our future, and the other thing I think that needs to happen is that June 23 needs to become a national bank holiday and we will call it independence day.'


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2016 8:23 AM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Faux-Utopian Propaganda Never Stops

Family Hallucination Not Included:"The Home is a small round gadget with microphones and speakers that's always listening for your questions and commands.... **"

Your entire life. 24/7/365
That’s how long you’ve been subjected to this creepy political propaganda.

It’s like the air you breathe by now.

You’re a rat trained by electrical shocks to not believe its lying eyes; remarkable if you still insist 2 2=4

From the moment you wake in the morning until you lay your head on the pillow at night, the Big Lie is screamed at you - newspaper, book, movie, workplace training sessions!… it’s the subtext of all political speech, the buried premise of schoolbook & classroom lesson

It goes on until “everybody” knows “diversity is our strength” - perhaps the most bald-faced oxymoronic whopper ever crafted. HappyAcres

** ... It will plumb into home automation, including Google's own Nest, and it will broadcast video and audio to Chromecast sticks; this is all driven by an always-listening voice interface.

Google's conversational assistant is in the same vein as Cortana and Siri. Google Assistant will be on phones and wearables, too, and Google says that it will be better at picking out the context of what you're doing than any of its competitors. For example, when standing near Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean, in Chicago, you can ask Google Assistant "Who designed this?" Based on your location alone, Assistant will understand that you're probably referring to the large shiny sculpture in front of you and answer "Anish Kapoor."

Voice won't be the only way you can use Assistant. Google showed a textual conversation with Assistant in its new Allo chat service. Assistant can answer questions and perform searches, and it also supports some games.

Initially, Google says that it will not be creating APIs for Assistant and Home and that as such, any integrations with services and other devices will have to come from Google first. This approach is a contrast with the Echo, which is designed to be extensible.

The Home will be available later this year, though no pricing or availability have been announced yet."



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 24, 2016 6:11 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Covert Classics: "I'm Your Worst Nightmare. I am a BAD Republican."

monopoly-man%20%281%29.jpgI like big cars, big cigars and naturally big racks. I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some mid-level governmental functionary with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts squirting out babies.

I don't care about appearing compassionate. I think playing with guns doesn't make you a killer. I believe its called the Boy Scouts for a reason. I think I'm better than the homeless.

I am not the real Slim Shady, so I think that I’m gonna stay seated right here in this damn comfy chair. I don't think being a minority makes you noble or victimized. I don't care if you call me a racist, a homophobe or a misogynist. I am not tolerant of others because they are different. I know that no matter how big Jennifer Lopez’s toilet gets, I’ll still want to see it.

I don't celebrate Kwanzaa.

I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, you do it in English. I like my porn without silicon. I don't use the excuse "it's for the children" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions. I want to know when MTV became such crap.

I think getting a hummer is sex, and every man is entitled to at least one extremely sloppy one per month. I know what the definition of is is. I think Oprah's eyes are way too far apart. I didn't take the initiative in inventing the Internet. I thought the Taco Bell dog was funny.

I want them to bring back safe and sane fireworks.

I believe no one ever died because of something Ozzy Osbourne, Ice-T or Marilyn Manson sang. I think that being a student doesn’t give you any more enlightenment than working at Starbucks. I’ve never mourned a dead goldfish.

I don’t want to eat or drink anything with the words light, lite or fat-free on the package. I believe everyone has a right to pray to their God or gods, while I pray that the test results come back negative. I think the Clippers should play in the WNBA. My heroes are Abraham Lincoln, Orson Wells, Ronald Reagan and whoever canceled Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.

I think creative violence makes movies more interesting and ISIS more dead.

I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor.

I know wrestling is fake, but I still think The Rock could kick my butt.

I think global warming is junk science.

I’ve never owned or was a slave. I didn't wander forty years in the desert after getting chased out of Egypt. I haven’t burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks and neither have you, so shut-the-f-up already.

South Park still makes me laugh. I want to know which church is it exactly where the Rev. Jessie Jackson preaches. I think explosions are cool. I don't care where Ellen puts her tongue. I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you’re running from them. I thought Spinal Tap was great, but Rob Reiner can still kiss my backside.

I worry about dying before I get even.

I like the convenience of buying oranges while I'm waiting at a stop-light, and I'm pretty sure the Latina midget selling them to me is glad she no longer lives in a refrigerator packing carton outside Ensenada.

I figured out Bruce Willis was dead midway through The Sixth Sense but enjoyed it anyway. I think turkey bacon sucks. I want somebody to explain to me exactly why it's wrong to point out that when I watch a freeway chase, I know the losers the police eventually pull out of the car are gonna be a gang-banging hommies or vatos.

I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a parent. I think tattoos and piercings are fine if you want them, but please don’t pretend they are a political statement.

I like hard women, hard liquor and a hard bowel movement first thing in the morning.

I'll admit that the only movie that ever made me cry was Field of Dreams. I didn't realize Dr. Seuss was a genius until I had a kid.

I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings.

Sometimes I throw my soft drink can in the trash, even when the recycle bin is just a few more steps.

Making love is fine, but sometimes I wanna get laid.

I'm neither angry nor disenfranchised, no matter how desperately the mainstream media would like the world to believe otherwise.

Yes, I'm a bad Republican. And I vote... even if it rains.

Who wrote this? It's not clear. George Carlin 'Bad American'.....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 23, 2016 8:24 PM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Misplaced Antarctic Snow Cruiser


As Rolled out of the Chicago construction yards in October, 1939

In 1939, scientists and engineers at Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology designed and built a massive new vehicle intended for use in Antarctic exploration.

The Antarctic Snow Cruiser measured 55 feet long, weighed more than 37 tons fully loaded, and rolled on four smooth 10-foot-tall tires designed to retract and allow part of the vehicle to scoot across crevasses. The Institute loaned the $150,000 machine to the U.S. government for its upcoming Antarctic expedition headed by Rear Admiral Richard Byrd, and had the Snow Cruiser driven from Chicago to Boston (at a top speed of 30 mph) to be loaded on the ship the North Star.


The crew managed to deliver the Snow Cruiser to the Antarctic ice, but the design proved faulty, and the vehicle was soon converted to a stationary crew quarters, never to leave Antarctica again. The diesel-electric hybrid powertrain was severely underpowered, and the smooth tires, designed for swampy terrain, offered very little traction, sinking into the snow. More than 75 years later, the world is still unsure where it is—the Antarctic Snow Cruiser could remain buried somewhere under sheets of ice, or it could have broken off with an ice floe, eventually sinking to the bottom of the ocean. —Updated - The Atlantic

On duty in Antarctica with its crew in September, 1940

The Snow Cruiser arrived at Little America in the Bay of Whales, Antarctica with United States Antarctic Service Expedition in early January 1940 and experienced many problems.

It was necessary to construct a ramp from timber to unload the vehicle. As the vehicle was unloaded from the ship, one of the wheels broke though the ramp.

The crew cheered when Poulter powered the vehicle free from the ramp but the cheers fell silent when the vehicle failed to move through the snow and ice. The large, smooth, tread-less tires were originally designed for a large swamp vehicle; they spun freely and provided very little forward movement, sinking as much a 3 feet (0.91 m) into the snow. The crew attached the two spare tires to the front wheels of the vehicle and installed chains on the rear wheels, but were unable to overcome the lack of traction. The crew later found that the tires produced more traction when driven backwards. The longest trek was 92 miles (148 km) – driven completely in reverse.
During Operation Highjump in late 1946, an expedition team found the vehicle and discovered it needed only air in the tires and some servicing to make it operational. In 1958, an international expedition uncovered the snow cruiser using a bulldozer. It was covered by several feet of snow but a long bamboo pole marked its position. They were able to dig down to the location of the bottom of the wheels and accurately measure the amount of snowfall since it was abandoned. Inside, the vehicle was exactly as the crew had left it, with papers, magazines, and cigarettes scattered all around.
Later expeditions reported no trace of the vehicle. Although there was some unsubstantiated speculation that the (traction-less) Snow Cruiser was taken by the Soviet Union during the Cold War, the vehicle most likely is either at the bottom of the Southern Ocean or buried deep under snow and ice. Antarctic ice is in constant motion and the ice shelf is constantly moving out to sea. In the mid-1960s, a large chunk of the Ross Ice Shelf broke off and drifted away; the break occurred right through Little America. It is not known on which side of the ice shelf the Snow Cruiser was located. The Antarctic Snow Cruiser

As it was abandoned in December, 1940

Just because a big idea turned sour is no reason to forget about it....



Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 23, 2016 10:18 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Creation Never Sleeps
A Jellyfish So Surreal That It Looks Unreal Is Discovered on the Enigma Seamount - If I ever worried that I’d run out of weird and wonderful new life to blog about, that fear has long been laid to rest. Take, for instance, this stunning jellyfish, discovered just four days ago by NOAA’s ship Okeanos Explorer and its ROV Deep Discoverer on the Enigma Seamount near the Mariana Trench 2.3 miles beneath the surface (3,700 meters).

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 22, 2016 12:04 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Include Me Out: It's Not Just a "New" Reality, It's a "Hyper-Reality"


For I dipt into the future, far as human eye could see,
Saw the Vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be;

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails,
Pilots of the purple twilight dropping down with costly bales;

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rain'd a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south-wind rushing warm,
With the standards of the peoples plunging thro' the thunder-storm;

Till the war-drum throbb'd no longer, and the battle-flags were furl'd
In the Parliament of man, the Federation of the world.

There the common sense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,
And the kindly earth shall slumber, lapt in universal law.

Locksley Hall -- Tennyson


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 21, 2016 2:43 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Today, from Monty Python: "Never Be Rude To An Arab" The New Official Anthem of the World

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2016 1:34 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Pisses Me Off About "See Something, Say Something" -- If You Have to Keep Saying "Intelligence" You Might Be Covering Up Stupidity

Gun Shop Reported 'Suspicious' Omar Mateen to FBI - Breitbart

Robbie Abell, owner of a Florida gun shop, says he alerted authorities that a suspicious man had come in asking about body armor. Five weeks later, Omar Mateen – equipped with weapons he bought at a different shop after Abell’s employees refused to sell to him – killed 49 people and injured as many at Pulse night club in Orlando. UPDATE: Abell has since confirmed the agency he contact was the FBI. nThe Wall Street Journal quotes Abell as telling them that his store, Lotus Gunworks of South Florida, “shut him down on all sales” after be began asking bizarre questions about body armor and bulk ammunition. “The questions he was asking were not the normal questions a normal person would be asking… He just seemed very odd,” Abell said. The armor Mateen asked about is not traditionally available to civilians.
Abell noted that he made a phone call during his time in the store, and appeared to be speaking in Arabic. Mateen is from an Afghan family, and his father – a prolific pro-Taliban Youtuber – is known to speak at least two Afghan languages, Dari and Pashto. Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman, identifies as “Palestinian,” which would make her a likely Arabic speaker. She has confessed to shopping for weapons with Mateen.
Abell says his store alerted authorities to the suspicious man, though he did not say which authorities– whether he spoke to local police, FBI, or Homeland Security. Local CBS 12 notes that Abell’s store appeared to be following the procedures “in line with the FBI’s push for people to ‘see something, say something,‘ if they witness anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.”


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2016 1:19 PM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunrise Solstice over Stonehenge


"Today the Sun reaches its northernmost point in planet Earth's sky.

Called a solstice, the date traditionally marks a change of seasons -- from spring to summer in Earth's Northern Hemisphere and from fall to winter in Earth's Southern Hemisphere. The featured image was taken during the week of the 2008 summer solstice at Stonehenge in United Kingdom, and captures a picturesque sunrise involving fog, trees, clouds, stones placed about 4,500 years ago, and a 4.5 billion year old large glowing orb. Even given the precession of the Earth's rotational axis over the millennia, the Sun continues to rise over Stonehenge in an astronomically significant way." APOD: 2016 June 20 -

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 20, 2016 10:15 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Only By Fire is Fascism Finished


Year upon year in this world's dark forests,
Heaped at the foot of the trees,
The tangles and bundles of dead brush increase
Which sunlight shall never seize.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

The ash that descends in the clearest of skies?
The leapers that swam down the stones?
Best answered by bombs from mid-heaven at prayer
With the fire that hollows the bones.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

If their god decrees war, God's war shall prevail.
His lessons are seared in the stone.
No dreams shall defer, nor wishes erase,
The answer that's burned in the bone.

The vampire by sunlight or stake.
The wolfman by silver in bone.
The demon by book, chant and pentagram.
The fascist by fire alone.

Only by fire is fascism finished.
This sin is demanded that your line may live.
Only through fire is freedom reborn.
Each generation pulls the sword from the stone.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2016 11:00 PM | Comments (44)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Japanese: Nuked Too Much or Not Enough?

I think we've reached Peak Trump.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 18, 2016 9:40 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Blue Sway | Paul McCartney

I'd go for an evening viewing with a glass of wine or whatever, speakers up, full screen...... but what do I know?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 18, 2016 1:55 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
This is not the droid you were looking for....

A new version of Atlas, designed to operate outdoors and inside buildings. It is specialized for mobile manipulation. It is electrically powered and hydraulically actuated. It uses sensors in its body and legs to balance and LIDAR and stereo sensors in its head to avoid obstacles, assess the terrain, help with navigation and manipulate objects. This version of Atlas is about 5' 9" tall (about a head shorter than the DRC Atlas) and weighs 180 lbs.

This version, along with a reluctance to get on the Google bus, has led Google to sell this rather recent acquistion.

Robot wars: Boston Dynamics fell out with Google over humanoid Atlas "At the end of day what I saw was a sense of us and them instead of a we — we weren't part of Google; we were sort of a separate thing."

According to Bloomberg, internal emails show Google feared the general public to be unreceptive to the teaming of the powerful Atlas humanoid with Google's impressive AI technologies – that perhaps it would associate the robot with the terrifying Skynet robots in Terminator.
Fast forward to 2016, and it looks likely that Boston Dynamics will be sold to Toyota Research Institute which, according to Nikkei, has welcomed several Google and Boston Dynamics veterans into its fold. Toyota might also take the Japanese robotics firm Schaft – which also recently announced a bipedal robot that can handle rough terrain – off Google's hands.

But even with new masters, the question is, "Can the robots forget their early abuse at human hands?"

Sadly, even with this advanced technology, Atlas is still subject to varying levels of abuse by human trainers, who push the robot over and knock boxes out of its hands. When the AI revolution begins and squishy organic lifeforms are hunted to the ends of the earth, remember this video. Boston Dynamics presents the 'next generation' Atlas robot

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 18, 2016 1:46 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Joy of Painting Muhammad

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 17, 2016 12:43 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Against Compassion

sentient_beings_are_numberless_i_vow_to_save_tshirt-p235527916675852797q6wh_400.jpgOutside the ancient offices of the Cosmoangelic Book Publishers that I once worked in at 2 Park Street in Boston, an old lady stood with her back to the old bricks on every working day. A square yard of sidewalk was her office. Eyes behind thick glasses were watery-gray. She stood hunched in a permanent flinch like some dog who'd been struck too many times for nothing. She dressed in clean, shabby, but not too shabby, clothing -- warm enough for the winters and cool enough when summer came around at last. To all who passed by her office she repeated her Bostonian-inflected mantra:
"Spare a quarta?"
"Spare a quarta?"
"Spare a quarta?"

She stood to the left of the entrance for part of the day and to the right for the remainder. You didn't know when she'd shift, but she always seemed to be in your path as you came out of the building.

Going for some coffee?

"Spare a quarta?"

Going to lunch?

"Spare a quarta?"

Going to skip out on the afternoon and catch a matinee?

"Spare a quarta?"

I once spared her a quarta and went into the Boston Commons with a newspaper and watched her work at her job.

"Spare a quarta?"
"Spare a quarta?"
"Spare a quarta?"

She asked everyone. It was the secret to whatever success she had. Since Park Street led from the Park Street MTA stop to the Massachusetts capital building and other large skyscrapers several thousand people a day had to pass by her and hear "Spare a quarta?"

She got a quarter out of about every fifth person. I once estimated she made about $75 a day, tax free. That worked out to a take homeless of $18,750 a year in 1983. Not bad when you considered that she had zero overhead.

No matter how you look at it old "Spare a quarta?" was doing all right and, to tell the truth, I contributed my share. She looked like what everyone fears their mother might become if she fell on hard time, but she wasn't scary. And she had perfect pitch. "Spare a quarta?" was slightly sing-song but never too whining. Just always said with an uplifting lilt right at the end of the opening note of desperation.

If you can't be really good at anything without 10,000 hours of practice "Spare a quarta?" had put in her time and paid her dues in full.

As beggars go she was "The Fantastiks" of street hustlers. Her performance ran uninterrupted and packed her pockets with quarters for years. She's probably long gone to her reward -- be that in Potters Field or in a small house in the hinterlands that she bought for cash. But I like to think that she's still there as the busy people of our era bustle up and down Park Street still shelling out to the refrain:

Try to remember the kind of September
"Spare a quarta?"
When life was slow and oh, so mellow.
"Spare a quarta?"
Try to remember when life was so tender
"Spare a quarta?"
That dreams were kept beside your pillow.
"Spare a quarta?"

I remember that in those days I had two things for her and those like her, compassion and a quarta. These days I'm fresh out of the former and I never get asked for just a quarta.

On the streets today they've decided they've got to entertain; that they've gotta have a gimmick and if they're gonna bump it, they're gonna bump it with a trumpet." They offer me stories, crazy ramblings, scrawled signs of despair, signs that mock their begging ("Checks No Longer Accepted from These People"), vague threats and mumbles. They sell poems scrawled in a methadone daze, or make blunt demands for smokes now that smokes are half a buck.

I once gave to all who asked. Now I give to none. Once a year I write checks to funds for widows and orphans of police, firemen, and soldiers killed in the line of duty. Beyond that, I find I can no longer spare a quarta. And when I hear, in the back of my mind, the old Depression anthem "Brother Can You Spare a Dime" I find that although I can spare it, I no longer want to give it.

It has taken decades of ceaseless hectoring but at long last my compassion account in the Bank of Human Kindness is overdrawn. I'm tapped out. I still try to care but I find, if I am honest, I couldn't care less.

I suppose this makes me a bad person. In the land that is more and more ruled by those eager to cadge money from me or pick my pockets "for the common good" I'm just no damned good to any of them. It doesn't bother me any more. I have become, as the song says, "comfortably numb."

I've been told, so often and so stridently, to feel this and to feel that and to feel for the downtrodden of the world, that I find I no longer feel anything at all. I don't think I'm alone in not caring. I think caring and compassion, now that it has been institutionalized enough to demand caring and compassion, has finally found its limit.

In a world dimensional, a world of limits, caring finds itself flummoxed by its own best impulses. If we could inhabit any one of the endless utopias proposed to us by the dreamers and schemers among us, all would be well and all manner of things would be well. But we live in the world of sun, rain, dirt, steel and flesh where all that is needed for evil to triumph is that good men remain distracted by snake-oil hallucinations of perfection. And that they follow the instructions of their betters to feed these hallucinations of perfection in the fond hope that these toys of the mind will become real. The only thing that becomes real when you reach for Utopia is that those few who crave power over many become perpetual seekers of indulgences.

These indulgences of wish would remain harmless and essentially admirable as long as nothing more imperative or noble calls us. That which calls to us is not the world that may be, but the world that is as we make it day by day. We may, from time to time, be able to spare a quarta only so long as all our quartas are not constantly demanded of us. Quartas to spare can only come from surpluses.

Of late, those surpluses have been converted by events and history into deficits. Put simply, we can, at the present time, no longer afford to fund our ever expanding compassionate state. Compassion can never be made compulsory and cash-flow positive at the same time. Whenever and wherever compassion has been made compulsory the people soon find they no longer have care or quartas to spare.

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 17, 2016 1:25 AM | Comments (54)  | QuickLink: Permalink

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 16, 2016 1:40 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Marshall McLuhan 1977 Interview - Violence as a Quest for Identity

[McManus]Way back in the early fifties you predicted that the world was becoming a global Village.

[McLuhan]We are going back into the bicameral mind that is tribal, collective, without any individual consciousness.

[McManus]But, it seems, Dr. McLuhan, that this tribal world is not friendly.

[McLuhan]No, tribal people, one of their main kinds of sport is butchering each other. It is a full-time sport in tribal societies.

[McManus]But, I had some idea as we got global and tribal we were going to try to -

[McLuhan]The closer you get together, the more you like each other? There is no evidence of that in any situation that we have ever heard of. When people get close together, they get more and more savage and impatient with each other.

[McManus]Why is it? Is it because of the nature of man?

[McLuhan]His tolerance is tested in those narrow circumstances very much. Village people are not that much in love with each other. The global village is a place of a very arduous interfaces and very abrasive situations.

[McManus]Do you see any pattern of this in, for example the desires of Quebec to separate?

[McLuhan]I should think that they are feeling very abrasive about the English community and about the way the American south felt about the Yankee north a hundred years ago.

[McManus]Is this going to be a pattern right around the world?

[McLuhan]Apparently, separatisms are very frequent all over the globe at the present time. Every country in the world is loaded with regionalistic and nationalistic little groups.

[McManus]But in Quebec for example, like do you define it as the quest for identity?

[McLuhan]Yes, all forms of violence are quests for identity. When you live out on the frontier, you have no identity. You are a nobody. Therefore, you get very tough. You have to prove that you are somebody. So you become very violent. Identity is always accompanied by violence. This seems paradoxical to you? Ordinary people find the need for violence as they lose their identities. It is only the threat to people’s identity that makes them violent. Terrorists, hijackers - these are people minus identity. They are determined to make it somehow, to get coverage, to get noticed....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 16, 2016 11:25 AM | Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Gearhead Special: 17 Minutes of Pure Relaxation

I really can't take much more of the "news of the day" this week so I'll just take the rest of the day off with "How to Build a 3.8L Porsche Track Monster." You can too if you choose to....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 15, 2016 7:37 PM | Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"What took place in Orlando, Florida wasn’t because of a gun"


What took place in Orlando happened because of the ideology that pulled the trigger.

The ideology sought the weapon, the ideology fired the rounds, round after round, until 49 were killed and over 50 more wounded. It was the same ideology that hijacked our planes on 9/11 and flew them into the twin towers and the Pentagon, it’s the same ideology that exploded 2 pressure cooker bombs filled with nails at the Boston marathon, the same ideology that slaughtered Americans attending a Christmas party in California. It’s that same ideology that has never changed, nor will it ever change no matter what kind of weapons it uses. Nor is its ideology concerned with class distinctions, economics, or the means of production. Today our enemy fights not for earthly reasons to serve a tangible here-and-now but to serve a transcendent reality, to serve Allah in the name of Islam.
Yet, we continue to ignore this ideology at our own peril and as I wrote back in November following the terrorist attacks that took place in Paris killing 130 and injuring another 350 others, the strategic incoherence in the Wests’ ability to counter jihadist attacks will, in the future, be increasingly measured by news stories and reports that reveal the governments inability to answer basic questions about the nature of the enemy and his environment. Future jihadist attacks will come to manifest themselves in official responses to such attacks that are progressively less reality-based as those professionally and constitutionally tasked with keeping citizens safe continue to lack awareness, understanding, and even professional curiosity about the doctrines that drive the enemy to action.
On Sunday morning over 100 Americans suffered the consequences....

READ THE REST AT - - – Nick Short's Politically Short

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 15, 2016 10:19 AM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Extraordinary Popular Political Delusions and the Madness of Crowds ...

Oh the gangster looks so fright'ning
With his Luger in his hand
When he gets home to his children
He's a family man
But when it comes to the nitty-gritty
He can shove in his knife
Yes he really looks quite religious
He's been an outlaw all his life

Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore

- - Rolling Stones - Jig-saw Puzzle

Here lived the terrorist who took 49 innocent lives

The property for terrorist "oozing normality," writes Aftenposten US correspondent for the visit to the apartment of Omar Mateen.

You try to get your mind around it, but it's no go. You've seen the photos of the blood-sloshed killing floor from the Paris concert hall, blood waves smeared over high velocity spatter onto the floor like some sloppy imitation of a second-rate Jackson Pollack. You've seen that and you should be able to at least partially envision the aftermath of the atrocity, where the dead are frozen in place and the soon to be dead move fitfully as the a hundred or more cell-phones' ringtones make a pop-cult cacophony no DJ mixmaster can hope to emulate... now that the wall is breached and the survivors removed and the shooting is finally, finally stopped and then you read, in the first fitful reports of the last texts coming out of the phones...

"Call them mommy
"He's coming
"I'm gonna die


.... and so yes you try to get your head around this -- to get , at least, the faint sense of an echo of what this horror must have been like for those trapped with such implacable evil and you try to understand this, to at least, to somehow get your head around it but like trying to find an end to this sentence it is no go....

[This was the beginning of something I wanted to say about how this year and this world is shaping up; something about how the Madness of the Crowd has suddenly this summer come upon us all -- a shared nightmare from which we struggle to escape. But it is late in a long day and I will have to try to return to this tomorrow. Or perhaps the next day. Or perhaps the next decade.]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2016 10:10 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Soon to a City Near You

"Well, there’s fistfights in the kitchen
They’re enough to make me cry
The mailman comes in
Even he’s gotta take a side
Even the butler
He’s got something to prove
Then you ask why I don’t live here
Honey, how come you don’t move?"

- - - On The Road Again Bob Dylan

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2016 10:37 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Walt Whitman's Caution.

The Left loves to talk, and talk, and talk, and talk without ceasing about their "freedom." Free to be.... "Me." Freedom to indulge me, myself, and I in anything our whim might dictate... except to be critical of the philosophy of "personal freedom" while wearing the "mind-forg'd manacles" of the State.

But it is not about "freedom." It is about "liberty." It is always about "liberty" and how much liberty people are willing to give up in order to taste the sweet sins of "freedom." Whitman, a man who indulged in a lot of personal sexual freedom, knew this.


To The States, or any one of
       them, or any city of The
       States, Resist much, Obey
Once unquestioning obedience,
       once fully enslaved,
Once fully enslaved, no nation,
       race, city, of this earth,
       ever afterward resumes
       its liberty.—

HT: Michelle Obama's Mirror: I Hear America Singing Too: STFU!!!

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 14, 2016 9:11 AM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Adam Carolla on Donald Trump and the 2016 Election - Twenty Minutes and Worth It

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2016 6:29 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
This "Thought Leader" Will Make You Think

Self proclaimed “thought leader,” Pat Kelly gives his talk on “thought leadership” at the annual This Is That Talks in Whistler, B.C. In the seminar, Kelly covers: How to talk with your hands, how to get a standing ovation, and how to inspire people by saying nothing at all.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2016 3:11 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What Pisses Me Off About The Orlando Terrorist Attack

Stefan Molyneux rants for me.The "official narrative" and the unending progtard propaganda is getting to me. Again.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 13, 2016 8:58 AM | Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The First Terrorist War - Five Ten Eleven Fifteen Years Later -- and counting....

'I heard 20, 40, 50 shots,' Alamo said. 'The music stopped.'
'They were kissing each other and touching each other and he said, "Look at that. In front of my son they are doing that". And then we were in the men's bathroom and men were kissing each other.' Seddique said Mateen had a job in security and attended Indian River State College, as well as having an associates degree in criminal justice. He was 'on the radar' of U.S. officials for some time, law enforcement officials told ABC News. However hewas not the target of a specific investigation. Manteen had a Statewide Firearms License and was trained in firearms, according to Fox News. Assistant FBI Agent in Charge Ronald Hopper said Mateen made 'threats in the past that he has ties to terrorist organizations'. Several ISIS-linked Twitter accounts have praised Mateen's actions, although there has been no official claim of responsibility. -- Daily Mail


'Humm, where shall I go tonight to have fun and let off some steam against these gay infidels?'

Cancel my subscription to the Resurrection
Send my credentials to the House of Detention
I got some friends inside

When the music's over
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights
Turn out the lights, yeah

Doors, When The Music's Over


[Originally published @ American Digest in it's first year, October, 2003 ]

"Beyond victory in the First Terrorist War is a greater goal. What we must seek is not merely the "control" and "containment" of terror, for terror in this guise cannot be controlled or contained. We must come to the deeper understanding that only a complete victory over the global Radical Islamic forces can prevent the onset of a confrontation more terrible than the current war." -- AD, 2003


Sections of "The First Terrorist War"

1. Calling the War By the Right Name.
2. Not Process But Victory Restores Freedom
3. Playing for Time is Playing to Lose
4. The Goal of Radical Islam is Our Destruction
5. The War of Two Religions
6. The Unspoken Role of the Ballistic Missile Submarines
7. Avoiding the Islamic War by Winning the Terrorist War

"[Arabs] were incorrigibly children of the idea, feckless and colour-blind, to whom body and spirit were for ever and inevitably opposed. Their mind was strange and dark, full of depressions and exaltations, lacking in rule, but with more of ardour and more fertile in belief than any other in the world. They were a people of starts, for whom the abstract was the strongest motive, the process of infinite courage and variety, and the end nothing. They were as unstable as water, and like water would perhaps finally prevail." -- T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

1. Calling the War By the Right Name.
In a war, "Know your enemy" is one of the first axioms in formulating a strategy for victory. It is an axiom the United States has ignored for over two seven years. Instead we’ve seen a host of euphemisms and slogans thrown up in the belief that, having had many decades of a life where ugly things are given pretty or neutral names, Americans can no longer "bear very much reality."

In the years between September 2001 and today, the public has had little asked of it and seen nothing happen on our soil that alarms it. All is quiet on the western front. [Update April 2013. This is no longer true.]

Foggy thinking, attractive in politics, means defeat in war. War requires "a mind of winter;" a mind that is precise, cold, and unrelenting. War requires that we call things what they are and cease to skirt issues that make us, "uncomfortable." Vague names create fluffy policies, hamstrung strategies, and wishful thinking. This is where we are drifting.

To say we are "involved" in a "war on terror" extends our infatuation with euphemism and obfuscation into dangerous territory. The phrase lulls us into a state where all dangers seem unclear and distant. The "war on terror" joins an expanding list of "wars on..." such as drugs, poverty, or profuse paperwork in government. The "war on terror" implies a "process" rather than a campaign; an indeterminate series of unresolved encounters rather than decisive actions that lead to an end, to peace.

Peace is the goal of war. To accept a perpetual "war on terror" is to accept a plan for mere "management" rather than victory. The failure to plan for victory is the construction of a plan for defeat.

To those with a clear vision of this war and a knowledge of history, it is a lie that we are "involved in a war on terror." Our presidents, pundits and policy wonks may prefer it that way, but war is not the same as being "involved in a business slump" or "involved in a troubled relationship."

Wishful souls in the West may see the war as a "process;" as an exercise in supply chain management. Our many millions of avowed enemies do not. Our enemies have no truck with vague thinking and phrases front-loaded with vacillation and pusillanimous wishing. Their thinking is driven by an ancient religious doctrine designed to manipulate, exploit and harness societies into servitude.

Our enemies commitment to our destruction is adamantine. It is no accident that many of their spiritual leaders speaking from the centers of their faith call for the death of the "Crusaders." Obfuscation has no place in their plans except as if creates confusion and doubt among us. Our enemies' goals are the same goals they have held for more than 500 years. They are the goals announced several times a week in tens of thousands of mosques throughout the world. For our enemies, the wars of the Crusades and the wars surrounding the rise and fall of the Ottoman Empire were merely prologues to this war.

One such wave (and not the least) I raised and rolled before the breath of an idea, till it reached its crest, and toppled over and fell at Damascus. The wash of that wave, thrown back by the resistance of vested things, will provide the matter of the following wave, when in fullness of time the sea shall be raised once more." - T. E. Lawrence, Seven Pillars of Wisdom

Our present reality, brought home to us in the cataclysm of September 11 (and last week in Mumbai), is that we are now fighting The First Terrorist War. We had best know it by that name. When we persist in calling it the "war on terror" our implied goal is control and containment; a "management problem". This is a lethal illusion.


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2016 7:21 AM | Comments (38)  | QuickLink: Permalink
American Digest is 13 Years Old

American Digest: 10,000 entries.
"The Top 40" / SideLines: 19,200 entries.

Well, turn around and a decade plus is gone. Or, to put in another way, I've been trapped inside this thing for nearly 5,000 days. Which was pretty much as long as The Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned at Château d'If before digging his way out. I'd do the same at this point but all I've got is this little rock hammer I keep inside my Shawshank Bible.

Yes, indeed, every year about this time my aging brain goes, "Hasn't this thing been going on for awhile now?" And I look deep, DEEP, DEEP into my archives and there it is. At least in this iteration.

In a previous iteration American Digest goes back to the first half of 2002 and was spurred on by 9/11. The Wayback Machine has a couple of captures from that time:


Of interest from that era are the names in the sidebar. Arts and Letters Daily is still going as one of the original "curated and aggregated" pages although it has outlived its creator. Andrew Sullivan seems to have disappeared into his odd gay marriage and the ravages AIDs battles can wreak on a body. He still shows up from time to time on the web as a "consultant" on various "TrumpVeryEvil" pages. Best of the Web rides on lashed to the Wall St. Journal. Instapundit still looms over the center-right blogsphere like the Colossus of Rhodes. Lileks, James is still cranking out pop culture commentary with the best of them even if I miss his rants. Jonah Goldberg continues at his high-paid sinecure at National Review as the Pillsbury Posterdoughboy for Cuckservatives. Kaus is still about and still working against illegal immigration still without making the inner neural network connections with conservatism. The rest fall into the categories of "I don't know" and "I don't care."

The second oldest post in American Digest's current incarnation is this one from June 2003 starring Michael Totten (still current and working after all these years) and Roger Simon (also still going strong even if his tennis game isn't improving.)

Small Satori: Zen Moments for Democrats @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Over on Roger Simon's comment boards the thoughtful and articulate Michael Totten is working his way through the current flavor of Democratic Party Angst:
Do I want a Democrat to win the next election? In the abstract, yes, but in the real world, it depends. I've never voted for a Republican president in my life, and it would be physically difficult for me to do it. But I can't vote for a peacenik. If the Democrats pick a peacenik in the primary who wishes Saddam Hussein were still in power, I will have no choice but to vote for Bush. I'm not going to get on the wrong side of this issue. I would rather break party ranks.
I would choose Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt over Bush. I would probably pick John Edwards over Bush, too. I will not vote for Howard Dean or John Kerry, and especially not for Al Sharpton.
It's good to hear someone like Totten looking about for a viable Democrat to vote for. I'll be looking too since I too don't know if I want to break a life long voting record of never voting Republican. Check that. I just lied. I looked into my heart and realized that right now, today, I desperately want to vote for Bush. And I suspect that there are other deep and secret longings among lifelong Democrats like myself. And I suspect that no matter who the Democrats run there will be a goodly number of people who talk the Demo talk but won't walk the Demo walk when the curtains close behind them on election day. I looked at Totten's list of likely candidates (two) and realized that old and deep truth of electoral politics: "You gotta beat somebody with somebody."
I would think, at this point and with this year's offering of the ClintonThing that Totten is well over his yearning to find a Democrat.

Also back at the beginning I was given over to posting my photos from my massive photo project "1,000 Photos of New York City." This was one of them from June, 2003,

Street Scenes: On 14th Street. @ AMERICAN DIGEST

At that time I was hearing Bob Dylan in "Like a Rolling Stone" sing:
Once upon a time you dressed so fine
Threw the bums a dime in your prime, didn't you?
People call say 'beware doll, you're bound to fall'
You thought they were all kidding you

These days, looking at the bills, what I hear is more like:
You used to laugh about
Everybody that was hanging out
Now you don't talk so loud
Now you don't seem so proud
About having to be scrounging your next meal

Ah well, we didn't get into this line of work to become rich.

So it's been 13 years with more at the door. I guess the most I can say at this point I feel (even if I do not dress) exactly like Lili VonSchtup from Blazing Saddles:

And the other thing I can say is to thank you, past and present readers all, for tuning in. Thank you all very much.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2016 2:03 PM | Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Winter is not endless – it might seem so, and this time it might outlast me, and most of you, but it is not endless.

In the depths of winter, work towards spring.

In any way you can, keep building, keep the idea of freedom alive. Stay true to what true liberty is. Remember that what these people are doing in curing socialism with socialism is no part of America. It is an European thing, where both sides of the “political spectrum” are socialist. (In the ROJIVYV, their colour stops at red. You can have any color you want provided it’s pink, red or crimson.) Remember the constitution even when honored in the breach. Remember we are the fruits of a radical experiment, and in radical experiments there are set backs. Work. Believe. Create. Form community. Teach your children well. Winter IS coming According To Hoyt

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2016 3:48 AM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Russia's America Killer: The coming deployment of the Sarmat ICBM


Okay, the primary election break is over. Everyone back on their heads.

I note that while the Obamaesque United States is consumed with 1) choosing between a billionaire reality star and a shop-worn harridan with a brain tumor, and 2) the burning issue of where .00003% of its citizens shall go to the bathroom, Putinesque Russia has been busy perfecting Sarmat, aka "Son of Satan."

Pleasant dreams....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 10, 2016 12:04 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Do you live in a bubble?


There exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large, argues Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author.

Take this 25-question quiz, based on a similar one published in Murray’s 2012 book, “Coming Apart: The State of White America 1960-2010,” to find out just how thick your bubble is.

Do you live in a bubble? A quiz

[For the record, I scored 43]

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

And I believe
These are the days of lasers in the jungle
Lasers in the jungle somewhere
Staccato signals of constant information
a loose affiliation of millionaires
And billionaires....


We'll be as happy and contented as birds upon a tree.
High above the mountains and the sea.
We'll bill and we'll coo-oo-oo
And sorrow will never come,
Oh, will it ever come true,
Our room with a view?

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 9, 2016 11:41 AM | Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
“This is the stupidest idea I’ve ever had,” yelled at the top of his voice. Magnificent.

I Suspect These Are Not, I Repeat, NOT, Engineering Students

There is a kind of beauty in their farmboy practicality. It has a hint of baling wire kludge to it that I find endearing. I also love the Intertunnel for turning “Benghazi” into the term for, as the Urban Dictionary defines it: An attempt to cover a screw up so bad that it will cost you everything, then lie, get caught, & continue to lie to try & cover the lies.


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 7, 2016 3:00 PM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Fence in Laramie, Wyoming, June 2016

He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors.
-- Frost


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 7, 2016 12:01 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
John Oliver Buys $15M In Medical Debt, Then Forgives It

“With little more to go on than that website,” says Oliver, “we were soon offered a portfolio of nearly $15 million of out-of-statute medical debt from Texas.” The asking price was less than $60,000 for $14,922,261.76 in this zombie debt — or around $.004 for every dollar of debt owed.

Purchasing the debt would give CARP the names, current addresses, Social Security numbers, and amount owed (or previously owed, as the statute of limitations had expired) for nearly 9,000 individuals.
“So, we bought it, which is absolutely terrifying,” admits Oliver. “Because it means if I wanted to, I could legally have CARP take possession of that list and have employees start calling people, turning their lives upside down over medical debt they no longer had to pay. There would be absolutely nothing wrong with that, except for the fact that absolutely everything is wrong with that.”

Thus, rather than try to collect on the debt, Oliver decided to stage the “largest one-time giveaway in television history,” nearly doubling the estimated value of that time Oprah gave everyone in her audience a new Pontiac G6, a moment that has been a gift for meme-makers, but didn’t do much to save the Pontiac brand. – Consumerist


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 7, 2016 10:13 AM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We rode Big Wheels. It was back when gods walked the Earth.

Big Wheel Keep on Turning – BSBFB

We played hockey. In the street. We played Frisbee. In the street. We played Wiffle Ball. In the Street. We played Knock-Down with our baseball cards. Against the curb. In the street. We went outside until the streetlights came on. We played lawn darts. Nobody died. We rode our bicycles everywhere without a helmet. We played baseball without uniforms. We played football without pads. We rode Big Wheels. It was back when gods walked the Earth.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 6, 2016 9:03 AM | Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Serving Size:" Food and Its Discontents

“Fig Newtons’ serving size? Two cookies. Who the hell eats two cookies? I eat Fig Newtons by the sleeve.”

Right now Brian Regan is my favorite stand-up comic. Endlessly funny and strongly grounded in the truth but with nary a four-letter word or cheap sex or defecation reference to be found. Truly masterful in these days when most stand-ups -- men, women, or unaffiliated freak -- simply shovel the mire of their souls from their side of the footlights to yours where you are expected to laugh at your own degradation.

Here he's taking a swipe at our current cult of food fanaticism. You know, the unquenchable lust to consume ever bizarre items that are fair-traded, organic, sustainable, local, and somehow crafted by artisans. In short stuff in bags where the BS goes on before the food goes in. Looking at some of the latest bags of BS spun into the stores by "marketing" I always wonder, "If it is this flipped out now, how can this BS still be going on ten or twenty years? Surely they can't continue to find new food items on a planet that's been explored for food from the high-mountain meadows to the Mariana Trench."

But of course they can. Absent a long overdue incineration of the planet the marketing droids will be showing up for their jobs day in and day out until the last ding-dong of doom and coming up with fresh BS for the same tired crapola.

I was reminded of this yesterday while making my way through Trader Joes and pausing at the "New Items" shelves. I'm always window-shopping but never stopping to buy at the "New Items" shelves, but I do find them to be an interesting place to track how the secretive, neo-German and almost fascist Trader Joes company is coming in the endless realm of product extension. I was not disappointed.

They were clustered on their own New Items shelf and clad in bright, gleaming, shimmering orange foil packets. They were the "Crispy Jeju Mandarin Orange Slices -- Nothing Added -- 1 oz." Oh frabjuous day!


Picking up the package I knew instantly of the truth of the hot marketing phrase "Nothing Added." At one ounce the package itself felt as if there were nothing in it at all; just puffed foil. Shaking it, however, there was a faint rustle as if the freeze-dried ghost of an orange's shadow was trapped within and whispering to be released.

Intrigued by this shiny package and its come-on blather about the contents within being fashioned from some rare orange grown only on the graves of ancient sacrificed virgins on some desolate island off the coast of Korea, I made a move to put the bag in my cart. But then I saw something that made me freeze:


Yes, $3.29. Three. Dollars. And. Twenty. Nine. Cents. For. One. Ounce. Or, to put it another way, just a hair above $52.00 a pound. For oranges. For oranges without the orange juice. For a slice of citrus dust. Crunch. Poof. Gone.

Yummy, yummy, yummy,
I've got dust in my tummy!

It's highly unlikely that I will be around in 20 years to marvel at whatever ramped-up BS the "marketing" droids come up with to sell new slices of crap to old palates. In a way, that's fortunate. At that point all food will be at $20 a bite, a serving size will be one dried slice, it will take a half an hour to read the FDA warning label, and your personal government overseer will give you an hour's exam to see if you've understood the label before you will be allowed to taste it.

Oh brave new world that has such dried up fruits in it!


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 5, 2016 7:40 PM | Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Prayers for the Champ


"I handcuffed lightning, throwed thunder in jail."


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 4, 2016 8:36 PM | Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Millennial song

HT: Morgan's Wife.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 4, 2016 6:45 PM | Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Greatest Show Off Earth


My up-close and personal relationship with Saturn is brand new. Sure, I'd seen the pictures and the "artist's conceptions" all my life. I'd read the stories, both science and fiction, and I believed. I believed in Saturn. I had faith.

I had faith that Saturn existed and that it had the rings that made it the single most miraculous object in the solar system, save Earth -- which may also be, except for our belief and faith in numbers, the single most miraculous place in the universe.

But my belief in Saturn and its rings was just that, "belief." After all, I had never actually seen Saturn -- only pictures and paintings. Saturn to me was only hearsay. That all changed a month ago thanks a friend with a passion for astronomy and actual possession of a serious telescope, coupled with a moonless night at the edge of the pacific here in Laguna Beach.

With the events of the last year, I've often taken to mouthing a phrase picked up from someone else to give people a snapshot of my current take on our world in 2004. It goes, "I try to become more cynical every month but lately I just can't keep up." It's so arch, so deftly faux-ironic yet yielding a bouquet redolent with a whiff of the flaneur and just a smidgen of edge. It's a fine whine of recent vintage that's just about as toxic to the truth about my inner life as a fresh, chilled pitcher of Jonestown Kool-Aid.

We often take up catch-phrases like the one above and use them as an Etch-A-Sketch display of our souls; our means to signify ourselves to others without really having to engage them. If we do it too much, who we are fades out of sight to others and we are like the sailor on the far horizon flapping out semaphore code about our inner self. Then we become distressed when others only see the code and not the man in full. But it is of our own doing and sometimes we get so far inside the code that we can't step out of it, step closer into the light, stand and unfold ourselves. Sometimes, it takes something the size of a planet to knock us out of orbit and back down to the surface of the planet we inhabit.

I needed a planet, and for my sins, I got one.

My friend and I had had one of those solid guy meals composed of a good wine and a choice of pizza. Then we went outside on the terrace where a shrouded shape stretched up against the backdrop of ocean and night. His house is on the edge of the town overlooking the beach and the sea so it affords, except for the part of the sky taken up by the house, a fair chance of seeing what's up there.

Light pollution is a problem I suppose since we are surrounded by a busy highway and a town whose other houses and street lights stretch up the hills around and behind, but the seeing is better than it would be in, say, my last home in Brooklyn Heights. Besides, it didn't have a serious telescope pointed up at heaven. Telescopes are popular in New York, but they are seldom pointed up.

The evening haze had peeled off the sky and there was no moon. I looked out at the sea as he took the covering off the telescope and went through the rituals required to prepare the instrument. If this had been a decade or so ago, there would have been a long period of lining the telescope up, but this is the computer/GPS age and it was merely a matter of him entering some figures into a keypad and pressing "Enter." The instrument hummed and swung across the sky through a small arc and stopped.

He bent over the eyepiece and moved the focus knob, then he stepped aside and let me take a look.

I pressed my eye against the mounting and saw.... well, I saw a pale, yellow smudge in the center a dark circle. Then I moved my thumb and forefinger just a bit and in an instant the smudge became a sharp, golden shape. And then, because it had rings, what the shape was became known to my mind -- the planet Saturn. Real time. Real sky. Real life.

Saturn seen at last not as a picture taken by someone else and printed in a magazine or a book; an image passed on and fobbed off as the real deal. Not a drawing or a painting, a sketch or a story, but Saturn itself. And not Saturn with a ring around it, but Saturn with multiple rings that you could see with your own eye; Saturn streaked with colored bands of gas that wrapped across the surface of the planet. Saturn seen with the naked eyes. My eyes.

Saturn. Right there in the exact center of the sky.

There's a time when you start to approach the near side of fifty when you begin to suspect, if you've lived a reasonably active life, that you don't have as many "Firsts" in front of you as you have behind. When you pass fifty and close on sixty, you're sure of it. That's probably what compels a lot of people to travel compulsively about the world -- the thought that if you can move around a lot, you can somehow pile more "Firsts" into your experience and somehow extend your "Life List of Things To Do Before...."

This can work, but more often than not you are simply seeing things that are new versions of other things, but not Firsts. Firsts are rare because once you've had them, everything like them that comes along later are simply seconds; sometimes better than the Firsts, but seconds all the same, and you make you peace with that.

First love, first car, first child.... these are the pearls of great price on the string of your life and that's why you remember them and cherish them. And you use them up, one at a time. Although they came in a cascade at the start, they become more rare as the road winds on. When you get one, especially when you don't expect it, it makes you take a break by the side of the road to make sure you remember and value the gift.

The moments after Saturn first swam into focus were like that. Absent repeating some varieties of dubious experience, I'd thought I was immune to actually feeling something intellectual that can only be described as a physical thrill, but I was wrong.

As I gazed on Saturn I felt everything I had ever read, or seen or thought about the planet come racing back out of places in my mind long discarded or left behind with a jolt. The books read in childhood, the films seen, the cornball space operas like "Tom Corbett, Space Cadet" or "Space Patrol" that were the most essential part of my childhood's television hours, all the fact and the fantasy, the lectures and the lessons in which Saturn figured came tumbling up out of my memory at a rate of speed I hadn't thought possible. And my body felt as if something had reached effortlessly out across two billion miles and run an electrical charge right down the center of my spine.

I imagine this is what people mean when they talk about a conversion experience.. a sharp, clear moment when faith becomes real, becomes concrete. If your god has become science, there's nothing like a big hit of real science to make you rethink what you think you know about God.

It's easy to say, "Well, of course Saturn was really there. Everyone told you it was and showed you the pictures for decades. Did you think they were kidding you? Did you think it was all some sort of nifty mural painted on a black backdrop and that sooner or later it was all going to be turned around to see that, well, we were just kidding?"

Of course not, but it does remind me that the essence of science, the foundation of all our knowledge that is as sure and certain as we can make it, rests on the simple act of going where we need to go and seeing for ourselves. In "The Waking," poet Theodore Roethke sums up the inner sense of this going with,

Light takes the Tree; but who can tell us how?
The lowly worm climbs up a winding stair;
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow....
I learn by going where I have to go.

If we can't see for ourselves, we then set to work figuring out how to make instruments and theories and technologies that allow us to, ultimately, just see for ourselves.

In the end, this need, this ceaseless drive, is what makes us who we are -- the smart monkey that figures out how to see for itself, the upright ape made in the image of the inconceivable that follows a solitary path that leads us... where?

I like to think that if we can only look out far enough and look in deep enough, we'll finally see for ourselves the proof of the miracle, and understand that miracle enough to know that its worth hanging around to see more of it unfold, day after day and night after night.

After all, what are we looking for down all the years if not the place when we cease to believe and come to know? Many people like to believe that we'll know after we die, but many others would rather have the information just a bit sooner.

The land may vary more;
But wherever the truth may be---
The water comes ashore,
And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.
They cannot look in deep.
But when was that ever a bar
To any watch they keep?

-- Robert Frost


Posted by Vanderleun Jun 4, 2016 7:50 AM | Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: "Smoke and Flame" Artisanal Firewood

Slowing down. Putting in the time and the craftsmanship to make a quality, quality product....


Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 3, 2016 12:57 PM | Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Evidence of Things Not Seen 2

Anti-Trump protesters surround one woman and throw eggs at her head and watermelon straight into her face. These anti-Trump protesters are much worse than the Wisconsin protesters. They have devolved into outright violence, including mob attacks on lone individuals.

The 128 foot wide telescope mirror: Europe's staggeringly large telescope project takes a step forward An astronomy organization consisting of 15 European countries, as well as Chile and Brazil, has signed a ($450 million) contract to move forward with the construction of a large dome and structure to support a massive optical telescope that will have a 39-meter wide main mirror.

Extra AOL CD's also used as coasters: U.S. is still using floppy disks to run its nuclear program - That's according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), which found that the Pentagon was still using 1970s-era computing systems that require "eight-inch floppy disks."

Really? Who could have guessed? A Major Malaise of Climatology is Pervasive in Science |

In Search For Cures, Scientists Create Embryos That Are Both Animal And Human : "We're not trying to make a chimera just because we want to see some kind of monstrous creature," says Pablo Ross, a reproductive biologist at the University of California, Davis. "We're doing this for a biomedical purpose." Yeah, right.

Zoom! Experimental hypersonic craft hits Mach 7.5 = 5,700 miles per hour.

How a Single Car, Inadvertently Braking, Causes a Traffic Jam You always knew it was that geezer in front of you!

Boring: World's longest railway tunnel in Switzerland will travel at 155mph for 35 miles Travel times between Zurich and Milan will be down to two hours and forty minutes, roughly an hour quicker than current times

Could There Be A Fifth Fundamental Force Of Nature?

The World’s Largest Solar Plant Just Torched Itself Mistaeks wur maid.

Drone Catches Incredible 70-Shark Feeding Frenzy

Oh my, totally didn't see that coming! Obamacare's 13th Co-Op Is Closing. Why More Could Follow.

Peak Whiteman: The lavish life of the 'preppiest man on Instagram' Kiel James Patrick |

The Envelope Please.... The Worst Airport in the U.S. for Delays Is... The worst airport, by this measure, is Newark Liberty International Airport, with a misery score of 95, earned by having the lowest on time ranking, being among the five worst for on-time departures, and ranking in the ten worst for getting planes to the gate at their scheduled arrival time. New York’s other two airports—LaGuardia and JFK—didn’t fare much better with a score of 94, a dubious metric they share with Chicago O’Hare.

On your mark, get set, bang! Beware what you wish for: Russia is ready for war If push comes to nuclear shove, the S-400 and especially the S-500 anti-missile missiles would block all incoming US ICBMs, cruise missiles and stealth aircraft. Offensive drones would be blocked by drone defenses. The S-500 practically consigns to the dustbin stealth warplanes such as the F-22, F-35 and the B-2.

[HT: Remus and BirdDog ]

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 3, 2016 10:44 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Why the New BBC Top Gear Will Fail Without The Talent of the Old Top Gear

Meanwhile, at the lame replacement foisted on the audience by the BBC: What The Hell, Top Gear?  At one point, three quarters into the film, LeBlanc’s voice-over said “Morale had hit rock bottom.” Keep in mind, this wasn’t in regards to the presenters crossing impossibly harsh deserts or digging cars out of stinky mud ruts for hours. This was in in reference to driving two cars from one British city to another via a goddamn highway. They get to Blackpool under an archway that says “Welcome To LeBlancpool” and the film ends.

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 2, 2016 6:00 PM | Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Civilizational Death Dance

Brannon asks what could be the burning question of the century: How could an entire generation get so cucked to give their entire nation & values away like this.


Via | Chateau Heartiste

Posted by gerardvanderleun Jun 2, 2016 9:09 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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