Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Coasts & Heartland

The Gift Outright "(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)"


The Gift Outright
by Robert Frost

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

-- Delivered at the Kennedy Inauguration

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 24, 2016 10:19 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Snowpocalyptic: Greatest Weatherman Forecast Evah!

When they tell you the Earth is warming, send them this link.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 8, 2010 11:11 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
See You All a Little Further Down the Road

THE ROOM IS SMALL and kept dim, at night it is lit only by the glow of the screen. Outside, from the deck, the hill slopes down to the sea and the sea rolls out to Catalina hazy on the horizon.

At my hosting site, American page views crack 200,000 this month, up from 20,000 last July. Not all that bad, but still......

On my hard-drive there are three large folders of three book projects, and I am falling far behind in my promises to others. There's also a notebook with notes on topics I would really like to write about. Right now, there are 438 such notes.

Behind me a stack of some 15 books ordered in from Amazon and barely

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 31, 2004 2:27 PM |  Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Coming Soon to a Supermarket Near You: Spy Chips

You know those "loyalty cards" you carry around to get a buck or two off at the supermarket? Well, the same folks who are watching everything you buy from the store, will soon be able to watch everything you handle in the store. Relax, what could possible go wrong? Who would possibly misuse the knowledge of what's in your hands and shopping cart? Well, there's a little list in the fascinating article Card Games by Joab Jackson in the Baltimore City Paper.

CASPIAN's McIntyre paints a picture of a consumer-friendly Orwellian nightmare in an RFID world. For instance, she postulates, it would be possible, if not probable, for some fiendish corporation or government agency to collect a list of every item you own, using the tag numbers of the items you purchased. Then it could track you down, merely by scanning the landscape for those tag numbers. With such tags sprinkled about your person, a retail store could identify you the moment you enter the front door, identifying you from previous purchases you're wearing or carrying. "Immediately you can be tracked," McIntyre says. "They will know where you're going and how long you linger. How much comparison shopping you do."

Posted by Van der Leun at Oct 3, 2003 9:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
We're Not in Kansas Any Longer but is...

Kansas Flatter Than a Pancake?

In this report, we apply basic scientific techniques to answer the question "Is Kansas as flat as a pancake?

While driving across the American Midwest, it is common to hear travelers remark, "This state is as flat as a pancake." To the authors, this adage seems to qualitatively capture some characteristic of a topographic geodetic survey

This obvious question "how flat is a pancake" spurned our analytical interest, and we set out to find the "flatness" of both a pancake and one particular state: Kansas.

For the startling answer and the methodology used to arrive at it, please refer to the house scientists at The Annals of Improbable Research.


Figure 1. (a)A well-cooked pancake; and (b)Kansas.

Posted by Van der Leun at Aug 20, 2003 7:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Buck is Back!

Goliath's Back Where He Once Belonged

The owners of a buck with some 50 to 60 tips on its antlers and worth hundreds of thousand of dollars believe they have the animal back after it was stolen four years ago. While a representative of a deer farm where the buck believed to be Goliath was found a week ago isn't conceding that the animal is the same one "Goliath's owner. Rodney Miller says he's sure it's his buck.
We're with Miller. Hard to forget a rack like that.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 11, 2003 1:38 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Words Worth a View

Laguna Beach
July, 2003

Photograph by Sheryl Van der Leun

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 19, 2003 12:05 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Lubec Street

A portion of a memoir from the luminous field notes by Lisa Thompson:

Lubec Street was an almost parentless place as I remember it. The parents were in the background, feeding us, arranging overnights, buying our toys and tucking us in. The pools were cleaned, meals cooked, mortgages paid and birthday parties thrown. I remember one pool party though: a little kid was in the middle of the pool being held under by a struggling toddler. For long moments, we watched. Then my mom, glamour queen, threw off her wig and sunglasses, dove in and saved them. I remember her rigid determination, the set of her mouth. Life had prepared her for a moment like that. Ocassionally a parent would star in our world for a moment, but they always sat back down with their magazines and their drinks and their chatter so we could get on with the important commerce of neighborhoods: occupying the small spaces, the hollows under hedges, the shaded places between houses, the underwater Marco Polo worlds, places where adults didn't ever go, didn't want to know.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 15, 2003 11:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
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