Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Critical Mass

Boomer Anthems: Venus by Bananarama

Extra Points for Chinese Red Latex Satan Cat Suit.


Goddess on the mountain top
Burning like a silver flame
The summit of beauty and love
And Venus was her name

She's got it
Yeah, baby, she's got it
I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire
Well, I'm your Venus, I'm your fire
At your desire

And what's more... they're coming back.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 7, 2017 11:25 PM |  Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Leonardo's Resume


In the early 1480s, many years before he painted the world-famous pieces for which he is now best known—the Mona Lisa being just one—Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci sought a job at the court of Ludovico Sforza, the then de facto ruler of Milan. Fully aware that Sforza was looking to employ military engineers, Leonardo drafted an application letter that put his seemingly endless engineering talents front and centre, by way of a 10-point list of his abilities; interestingly, his artistic genius is merely hinted at towards the very end.


TRANSLATION: I shall endeavour, while intending no discredit to anyone else, to make myself understood to Your Excellency for the purpose of unfolding to you my secrets, and thereafter offering them at your complete disposal, and when the time is right bringing into effective operation all those things which are in part briefly listed below:

1. I have plans for very light, strong and easily portable bridges with which to pursue and, on some occasions, flee the enemy, and others, sturdy and indestructible either by fire or in battle, easy and convenient to lift and place in position. Also means of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

2. I know how, in the course of the siege of a terrain, to remove water from the moats and how to make an infinite number of bridges, mantlets and scaling ladders and other instruments necessary to such an enterprise.

3. Also, if one cannot, when besieging a terrain, proceed by bombardment either because of the height of the glacis or the strength of its situation and location, I have methods for destroying every fortress or other stranglehold unless it has been founded upon a rock or so forth.

4. I have also types of cannon, most convenient and easily portable, with which to hurl small stones almost like a hail-storm; and the smoke from the cannon will instil a great fear in the enemy on account of the grave damage and confusion.

5. Also, I have means of arriving at a designated spot through mines and secret winding passages constructed completely without noise, even if it should be necessary to pass underneath moats or any river.

6. Also, I will make covered vehicles, safe and unassailable, which will penetrate the enemy and their artillery, and there is no host of armed men so great that they would not break through it. And behind these the infantry will be able to follow, quite uninjured and unimpeded.

7. Also, should the need arise, I will make cannon, mortar and light ordnance of very beautiful and functional design that are quite out of the ordinary.

8. Where the use of cannon is impracticable, I will assemble catapults, mangonels, trebuckets and other instruments of wonderful efficiency not in general use. In short, as the variety of circumstances dictate, I will make an infinite number of items for attack and defence.

9. And should a sea battle be occasioned, I have examples of many instruments which are highly suitable either in attack or defence, and craft which will resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon and powder and smoke.

10. In time of peace I believe I can give as complete satisfaction as any other in the field of architecture, and the construction of both public and private buildings, and in conducting water from one place to another.

Also I can execute sculpture in marble, bronze and clay. Likewise in painting, I can do everything possible as well as any other, whosoever he may be.

Moreover, work could be undertaken on the bronze horse which will be to the immortal glory and eternal honour of the auspicious memory of His Lordship your father, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-mentioned things seem impossible or impracticable to anyone, I am most readily disposed to demonstrate them in your park or in whatsoever place shall please Your Excellency, to whom I commend myself with all possible humility. Letters of Note: The Skills of Leonardo da Vinci

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 2, 2017 10:28 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The State of the Net, 2016


The 2016 edition of Mary Meeker's annual Internet Trends report covers today's Internet growth and an in-depth look at the following:

• Global Internet users have surpassed 3B; India has supplanted the US as the world’s second-largest Internet market.

• Internet user growth remains consistent (led by acceleration in India), while smartphone user and shipment growth have slowed.

• In the face of a slowing global economy, key macro growth drivers from the past 2 decades are less certain.

• Internet advertising (particularly via mobile) continues to grow, but so does ad-blocking, pushing the envelope on development of more innovative ad formats.

• New online-first brands have rapidly grown in popularity for the millennial generation with their focus on omni-channel and personalized distribution strategies.

• In communication, video and images shared are growing as a means of storytelling; creators, consumers, and advertisers are taking part.

• Messaging has evolved from simple, expressive conversation to business-focused use cases, with Asian platforms often leading the way.

• More efficient and often more convenient than typing, voice-based interfaces are ramping quickly and creating a new paradigm for human-computer interaction.

• Transportation is being re-imagined, as the rise of car computerization, autonomous driving, and sharing transform our understanding of mobility.

• Looking to China, Internet leadership continues, as the country boasts global innovation powerhouses in e-commerce, messaging, travel, financial services, and on-demand transportation.

• The proliferation of data generated by a multitude of devices has fostered tremendous business opportunity, but privacy concerns abound.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Sep 17, 2016 12:36 PM |  Comments (1)  | 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 at 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 at Jun 29, 2016 2:49 AM |  Comments (1)  | 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 at Jun 24, 2016 8:23 AM |  Comments (5)  | 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 at Jun 21, 2016 2:43 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Vaclav Havel for Our Times

"Only the idiots, only absolute idiots are incapable of comprehending that for the relatively quick pumping of millions of people across thousands of kilometers a minimum of ten billion dollars of financial backing is needed."

"The Hungarian-language video is subtitled. I transcribed the English-language subtitles below." -- PA World|

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 17, 2016 1:00 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 7 Defects of Highly Secular Societies


1. Over-abstraction: the literature of the theorists routinely spoke of "differentiation," "autonomization," "privatization," and other abstract, if not abstruse, dynamics disengaged from concrete factors of social change such as interests, ideologies, institutions, and power conflicts.

2. Lack of human agency: the theory was big on process without protagonists. It depicted secularization without secularizers. According to the theory, secularization just happens.

3. Overdeterministic inevitability: "Religion's marginalization from public life is portrayed as a natural or inevitable process like cell mitosis or adolescent puberty." Secularization theory reflects a view of linear social evolution in the tradition of Comte and Spencer. "If there is one truth that history teaches us beyond doubt," wrote the great Durkheim, "it is that religion tends to embrace a smaller and smaller portion of social life." Any questions, class?

4. Idealist intellectual history: here the history of ideas is determinative. "Culture, philosophy, and intellectual systems certainly matter. But they cannot be abstracted from the real historical, social, political, legal, and institutional dynamics through which they worked and were worked upon."

5. Romanticized history: there was in the view of secularization theorists an "age of faith" --for instance, the thirteenth century -- which was succeeded and displaced by the age of reason and modernity. Then everything was religious; now everything, or at least everything that matters in public, is secular.

6. An overemphasis on religious self-destruction: Berger's 1967 The Sacred Canopy suggested that the Judeo-Christian tradition "carried the seeds of secularization within itself."

7. Underspecified causal mechanisms: "Exactly how did industrialization and immigration work to produce religious privatization? Why should we treat these as some kind of 'great gears of history' that inexorably grind their way toward religious privatization? Rather than all nodding our scholarly heads together in what could be premature analytical closure, we need to go back and force ourselves to answer these questions again."

-- -- Richard John Neuhaus,Secularization Doesn't Just Happen

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 17, 2015 10:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
CHOPPER! The Saudi method reduces crime AND prison populations AND witches!


UPDATE: Who Says There's No Good News?: Beheadings are surging in Saudi Arabia in 2015. Wanted in Saudi Arabia: Executioners -

Job seekers in Saudi Arabia who have a strong constitution and endorse strict Islamic law might consider new opportunities carrying out public beheadings and amputating the hands of convicted thieves. The eight positions, as advertised on the website of the Ministry of Civil Service, require no specific skills or educational background for “carrying out the death sentence according to Islamic Shariah after it is ordered by a legal ruling.” But given the grisly nature of the job, a scarcity of qualified swordsmen in some regions of the country and a rise in the frequency of executions, candidates might face a heavy workload.

Previously in 2013: Just when you think that beheadings in the kingdom of SA are one solid bit of land in a sea of chaos, this comes out!

Reduced Beheadings in the Religion of Pieces:

It's Come to This Saudi Arabia may stop beheadings over shortage of swordsmen | Fox News
Needless to say this threatens the wonderful world of CHOPPER!

Wiccans, don't let the sun set on you in Saudi Arabia!

A man named Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri was beheaded in Saudi Arabia this week after being found in possession of spell books and talismans. Beheading is "God's punishment" for "sorcerers and charlatans," according to a statement that the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice issued in March.
Al-Asiri's execution was the latest accomplishment of Saudi Arabia's Anti-Witchcraft Unit, an elite police force specifically trained to track down and arrest practitioners of magic.... The Anti-Witchcraft Unit received almost 600 reports of witchcraft in the past few years. Whether or not these are actual cases of people purporting to practice the occult or just a pretext, the government clearly takes the problem seriously. --Saudi Witch Hunt | FP Passport

I don't know why the Supreme Court and the 50 states don't get behind the beheading sensation that's sweeping the Saudi nation. Yes, it may be "sharia law," but it's still "law." And it would reduce the plague of wiccans currently sweeping the nation.

But if they did, how would it all go down?

Here's a quick graphic novel I made in 2006 from screen grabs of an interview on Saudi Television with their Lord High Executioner.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 19, 2015 12:41 PM |  Comments (53)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Unbearable Heaviness of Light Rail & Public Transport

Seattle Light Rail: Not All Aboard

I actually tried Seattle's much touted new light rail system a few weeks ago as an alternate method of getting to Seafair. I was, to say the least, underwhelmed with this multi-billion dollar boondoggle. A toy for rich white people to look at lovingly and feel good about as they drive by it in their large cars.

The system in Seattle, since the political core seems to hate cars, is to link the rail to the bus lines. But the bus lines, of course, are already too skeletal to really work. To really make the new rail system utterly inefficient, the system has no feeder parking lots for the main stations. You are, it seems, supposed to take the bus to the train even if there is no bus line near you. The entire effort puts the lie to the old saw that "You can't gold plate a turd." In Seattle it would seem, you can. And you can ever sugar coat it enough that many people will say, 'Mmmm, good!"

AskMom, in a comment to Hope for Seattle Change Now That Nickels' Out? Elect Me! sums up much of my discontent with light rail and local public transport in general. If more people would listen to these human, all-too-human, points the folly of light rail might, just might, be avoided.

It's tedious listening to the Obamoids droning about walking, biking, bussing, light railing or even heavy railing. Were they ever parents, ever disabled, ever need to do errands, ever want to buy more than half a bag of groceries?

Try being an older person with decreased mobility and/or vision. Now try walking a few blocks to get to your bus stop.

Now wait - standing - for 20 minutes in the heat, rain, wind or snow.

Now sit on a bus with no armrests to hold, no back support, no cushioning for your arthritic hip. Hope the bus driver is in a good mood and remembers to yell at you when you are at your stop, since your hearing is not good and your poor eyesight won't let you read the readerboard or the street signs outside.

Transfer to another bus, waiting 15 minutes again and worrying about the punks eying your tote bag. Arrive at your destination, 7 miles from your home, 2 hours after you left. Repeat for return trip.

Forget about errands on the way, you are too tired. And the places you need to go are not on either of the bus lines. Groceries are out of the question, as you cannot carry the bags from the store to the bus stop or from the bus stop to your home.

Forget about going anywhere after dark. Or on weekends when the bus service is limited.

Forget about going anywhere outside your own city. Write off anything more than a block or two from the bus lines. Forget about spontaneous anything: the transfers, weather exposure, waiting and walking and anxiety about finding toilet facilities are just too much to cope with.

But maybe you are young. So you gather up the baby, the four year old, the dog who can't be left alone any longer, the library books, the dry cleaning, the videos to return to blockbuster, the earth-friendly reusable grocery bags, and you load them all on your bike or onto the bus ... oops ... maybe not.

But suppose you are single. So you get a bike and plan the route and you ride to work and it's all just great until the day it rains. And there is no place at work to change, and no place to hang your damp bike clothes until you ride home. Or it's hot, and you smell like....well....after a few days of the boss's comments on hygiene, you realize that you can be employed or you can be a bike rider, but not both.

But maybe it all works for you. You walk to work and you ride the bus to your sweetie's condo, stopping at the Pike Place Market for some organic arugula and a latte, and you both walk to the bistro and take a cab home, and in the morning you both take the bus to work...

... then you are about one-hundredth of one percent of the population and Seattle is YOUR TOWN.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 6, 2014 3:42 PM |  Comments (30)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Draft Horse -- Robert Frost


With a lantern that wouldn’t burn
In too frail a buggy we drove
Behind too heavy a horse
Through a pitch-dark limitless grove.

And a man came out of the trees
And took our horse by the head
And reaching back to his ribs
Deliberately stabbed him dead.

The ponderous beast went down
With a crack of a broken shaft.
And the night drew through the trees
In one long invidious draft.

The most unquestioning pair
That ever accepted fate
And the least disposed to ascribe
Any more than we had to to hate,

We assumed that the man himself
Or someone he had to obey
Wanted us to get down
And walk the rest of the way.

—Robert Frost

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 30, 2014 12:43 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Midnight Masterpieces: Moondance

Van Morrison & The Caledonia Soul Orchestra Live At Rainbow Theatre London 1973**

"It’s useful to consider Moondance as a perfect work of art.

It’s unassailable. In the classic rock canon. Beyond anyone’s opinion. One for the ages. And as I was saying above, you can project a lot onto it emotionally (like you can with, say, Blood on the Tracks), so it’s very dear to a lot of people’s hearts. I think of Moondance like Leaves of Grass, except that Walt Whitman went about refining his transcendental masterpiece, literally, for four decades (up to the time he was on his deathbed) while Morrison laid his down in a matter of days when he was just 24 years old and left it to be mixed by someone else." = = Richard Metzger / Dangerous Minds

[ ** The Caledonia Soul Orchestra was the band created by Northern Irish singer-songwriter Van Morrison in 1973. The band is often considered one of the tightest performing backup groups of the 1970s. The band was named after an eighteen minute instrumental outtake on the His Band and the Street Choir album.
In 1973 Van Morrison and the Caledonia Soul Orchestra went on a three-month tour of the United States, and Europe with the result of which was the seminal live double album It's Too Late to Stop Now. The title is taken from the last line in the lyrics in one of Morrison's songs: "Into the Mystic" from the 1970 Moondance album. In live performances with The Caledonia Soul Orchestra, he would close the concert with a dynamic, stretched out version of the Astral Weeks song, "Cyprus Avenue" and then shout out "IT'S TOO LATE TO STOP NOW!" as he quickly exited stage. -- schuerbuikske / youtube]

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 18, 2013 11:45 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hitchhiker


During my recent tour of the Southwest I seem to have pulled over to the side of the road and picked up a cold. As near as I can figure it, the cold climbed aboard my body just outside of Bluff, Utah at the border of the Navajo reservation. It was probably dressed in dogwood and sagebrush camo inside of a cloud of pollen. It announced itself in the form of gargantuan sneezing fits so explosive that the car's safety glass shivered and my fellow passengers began to use their smartphones to order Hazmat suits for overnight delivery.

Not content with carpet-bombing the passenger compartment and surrounding landscapes with hell-fire sneezes, the cold immediately sat itself behind my eyes and began to pump out every bit of moisture there through my tear ducts. It seems that it amused my new and unwanted passenger to reduce me to a shaking, shambling, wheezing, sneezing, watery wreck of a man as quickly as possible. It was as if I could almost here it mumble under its foetid breath, "Now that's entertainment."

All colds behave like this. Rude and intrusive and overwhelming without so much as a "pretty please." We try to shake them off at the first sign we've picked them up. We consume vast amounts of zinc tablets, old wives' remedies, pills, ointments, potions, powders, and prayers. And the reaction of this cold was like the reaction of all the other colds I've picked up over the years. It just sits comfy in the passenger seat in your head and sneers.

"Where you heading?" I ask, hoping it just wants a lift to the next Navaho hogan down the road.

"Depends," says the cold. "Thought I'd just ride around with you for two weeks or fourteen days and see where it gets me."

"You know," I say, bargaining, "I haven't had any of your sort in the cab in long time. Can't say I've really enjoyed the company. How about I drop you at the next truck stop. I can hook you up with a semi full of laytex gloves and Handi-Wipes heading for the Dugway CBW Proving Grounds in upstate Utah. I hear they're doing great things with sexy, hot viruses up there."

"Just drive, sucker. You don't want me to use my little friends here." The cold opens up its backpack and shows me two containers. One is labeled "Bronchitus," and the other, "Pneumonia."

I sneeze explosively raising cries of alarm from my fellow passengers as a fine mist fills the cab. Then a sheet of water sluices from my eyes. I fumble at a small brick of "Personal Kleenex," the first of many. I say, "You make bunny cry," and off we roll on the rest of my grand tour of the Great Southwest.

It's been more than a week since that tour ended, but the cold from the side of the road continues its grand tour of my body. Although its Wagnerian entrance draped in sneezes and tears was unique, it quickly settled into the standard routines of resident colds. Like some dubious guest of consistently malevolent intent it resists all efforts at eviction. Instead it seems determined to inhabit, in turn, all the major organs of my body.

My once commodious nose and my previously spacious sinuses are, of course, the first favored location. This sojourn allows the cold to lay in vast stocks of mucus and associated detritus that brick up the sally ports of your breathing. Strange that you don't realize how convenient the nose is for breathing until yours has been sealed with what has to be a heady blend of damp concrete and gummy bears. You move to evict the cold from the nose with the forces of crude expulsion ("Better lay in that aloe soaked Kleenex with the steel mesh core in Costco quantities...") and intense infusion ("Excuse me, do you have the gallon sized 12 Hour Afrin pump with napalm chaser?"). After a time, these seem to succeed, but only because the cold has moved leaving you to shampoo your mustache repeatedly.

Having cleared the nose sector in the same hopeful manner that the Marines clear sectors in Afghanistan of the Taliban, the cold retaliates (Much like the Taliban) by simply shifting its residence across the border and digging in deeper. It moves to the lungs and sets up camp in the deepest, most out of the way section where it barricades itself behind vast berms of phlegm, settles in for siege warfare, and taunts you. It is going to be awhile. Like it said when you picked it up, "Two weeks or fourteen days, whichever comes first."

I've lost track of exactly how many days the siege has been going on since my sleeping has been a sometime thing. It would seem that the cold grew bored with my mere sneezing, sniffling, wheezing, hacking, snarfling, and snorting. At some point, to keep itself interested, it went to its big gun -- the cough. Since then it has launched a continuous barrage of coughs of such intensity that, after a day and a night of these attacks the cumulative effect of their impact is such that I seem to have pulled a set of muscles just below my left ribcage. This means that not only do I have the experience of a racking cough of such intensity that it startles small children in the street, I also have the simultaneous pleasure of feeling a stone axe pound against my ribs with every reverberation. If I ran some sort of commercial dungeon I could see this to masochists for a premium until their Visa card was reduced to a charred cinder.

Ah travel! The places you'll go! The sights that you'll see! The things you'll pick up!

This morning, however, here in the sunlight by the old mill stream, things seem to have quieted down a bit. The coughing barrages are coming in less frequently and the ribs are no longer reminding me of their cracked existence. The nose seems to be opening slowly like a spring blossom. Slight sniffles come and go with little bunny sneezes. Perhaps, just perhaps, the cold that I picked up among the Navajo is packing up, decamping, and getting ready to hitch a new ride with someone else.

I hope you'll forgive me if I don't shake hands.

[And this week, this lost week of 2013, this hitchhiker is baaaaaack!]

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 2, 2013 2:18 PM |  Comments (22)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Serious People Know How To Respond To Serious Threats

Meanwhile, at an elementary school in Israel…

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 14, 2012 5:40 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Endless 2-Minute Hate and the Long Lie

The Minimum Web Wage workers at Buzzfeed gathered together what they termed,"The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2012." Among them was #33 captioned: A Palestinian girl tries to punch an Israeli soldier during a protest against the expansion of the nearby Jewish settlement of Halamish.


What is really going on:

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 4, 2012 3:18 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Concertiny: Dire Straits "They don't give a damn about any trumpet playing band. It ain't what they call rock and roll" [UPDATED]

"He do the song about the sweet lovin' woman;
He do the song about the knife.
He do the walk, he do the walk of life, yeah he do the walk of life."

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 16, 2011 7:01 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Is London Burning? You Don't Miss Your Water Till Your Well Runs Dry


They're rioting in Tottenham.
They're flat-broke in Spain.
There's hurricanes on Wall Street,
And Texas needs rain.
The whole world is festering
With unhappy souls.
The French hate the Germans,
The Germans hate the Poles.
Italians hate Yugoslavs,
South Africans hate the Dutch.
And I don't like anybody very much!

Once upon a time, for two years, I was the “Managing Director” of a magazine publishing company based in London. “Managing Director” is Brit for CEO and I had a pretty soft time of it.

I lived in a spacious flat on Eaton Place in Belgravia. It was the block you see in the lead in to the classic Masterpiece Theatre warhorse, Upstairs Downstairs. It had a couple of upscale pubs hidden round the Mews and a shopping street full of upscale merchants not far away. Belgravia itself backed up onto the back yard of Buckingham Palace. It was a posh and tony section inhabited by the posh and tony. Johnny Apple of the New York Times was putting in his stint in London just next door and we’d go over every so often to sample his cooking.

Every so often you’d see the local Belgravia Bobby take a stroll down the block; not because he was needed but because it was, well, local color. He had the classic Peeler helmet of the Bobby of yore, the whistle, the sap and the come-along voice of command. Not that he ever had to use it in the toffs Belgravia.

Toward closing time in the pubs you'd hear upper-class accents complaining about "the wogs" and the arabs which were then arriving in ever increasing numbers but such chat, when I first moved in, quickly slid off into mumbling about grouse hunting and other country life concerns of the rich and pampered of Belgravia. By the time I left two years later, the chat about wogs and Arabs was much more strident and tended to dominate the evening. The elite were clearly feeling just a bit pressed by these early harbingers of the multi-cult cult. Still, they seemed confident that their upper-class enclave was pretty much wog-proofed and that "There'll always be an England," etc., and so forth. Upper-class twits, they had no clue that they were on Darwin's count-down clock, and the Mob's midnight menu.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 9, 2011 9:36 AM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bush on 9/11: The Real Story
Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 1, 2011 11:00 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Natural

Son and Sippican

Roy Hobbs: My dad wanted me to be a baseball player.
Pop Fisher: Well you're better than any player I ever had. And you're the best God damn hitter I ever saw. Suit up.

The Devil’s in the Cows by Sippican Cottage

One of the benchmarks of our culture’s decline is that our best writers are barely known and our worst writers are widely celebrated. One of the hopeful thoughts that springs from this is that the celebration of bad writers is an artifact of the final era in which publishers and editors were the gatekeepers of what passed for our literature. In those years getting a new writer launched and established was often a project that required at least four books and half a decade. The process had a little to do with the technology of publishing and lot more to do with the “New York Literary Mafia.” (Which everyone said didn’t exist and which was how you knew it did exist. Especially if you were part of it. Which, at one time, I was.)

Random Selection 1: “Roll over easy, like you might not get up, to get the right buffer. Then stand up, and put your fist one inch behind that feller’s head. The beer is gettin’ warm.”

Since launching my first magazine in 1971 I’ve made my living off of writers and, by and large, they’ve been good to me. As a book and magazine editor I’ve published well over 250 books and so many thousands of magazine articles that I’ve long ago lost track.

Along the way I’ve found a few authors that nobody knew at the time I found them and soon after everybody knew. Luck of the draw really. If you keep rolling the dice, sooner or later you’ll have run of luck. But lucky or not I’ve developed a sixth sense about writers. I know when a writer is marketable, when a writer can be made marketable, and when a writer is capable of writing not books but “properties.” Most of all I know when a writer is “A Natural.”

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 26, 2011 2:23 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: 2D Photography's Rube Goldberg Promo
Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 12, 2011 10:34 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A Brief History of Film Title Design

A Brief History of Title Design from Ian Albinson on Vimeo.

HT: David Thompson

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 19, 2011 1:54 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Camels? WTF? Camels?

Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak, riding camels and horses, fight with anti-Mubarak protesters in Cairo Wednesday. Several thousand Mubarak supporters, including some riding horses and camels and wielding whips, clashed with anti-government protesters as Egypt's upheaval took a dangerous new turn.

"Yo, Hassam, somebody's gotta remind the Bedouin of the deal. We were supposed to have a deal with the Bedouin. It was supposed to be, "Hey, you want to ride around on that flatulence factory and whip people on the ground, okay, but you do it out in the desert, and keep it in the family. Okay? Got it?

"What you don't do is ride those stinky, honking, off-brand, SUV-sized version of cranky horses into the friggin' city, and start whaling on everybody's ass. It just looks bad, not to say smells bad. It's not stylin' and it definitely ain't lowriding. You feel me?

"I mean, here I am -- an educated, mild-mannered Egypster trying to get my democracy on in the square with my homies. We're rolling around with some signs and some chants and a few dummies of that Mubarak geezer hanging around as lamp post decorations, and then he sends in his Bedouins, puts camels in the mix, and gets all medieval on my ass?

"Dude, that is not how things go down in the Twitterverse. I'm supposed to #hashtag my way to freedom and "friend" my way to democracy. Didn't that B. Hussain O. guy in the belly of the Great Satan just say, “It is my belief that an orderly transition must be meaningful, it must be peaceful and it must begin now.” Didn't these camel jockey's get the memo? I mean whips, razors, and friggin' machetes? I don't know what either side has in mind, but I'm beginning to think it won't look like the 21st century when it's over.

"And camels. Camels? I bet they don't have any Bedouin riding camels into DC and whipping people. If they did, they'd be shot off the hump in a nano-second.

"Camels. Makes me want to swap this SmartPhone for a shotgun. Makes me sorry I forgot to shop when I had a chance."

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 2, 2011 5:41 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Can you text with it?

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 5, 2010 8:34 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Troubles in Threes: Yet Another Toyota Recall

Mark H reports: Hasn't been officially announced yet, but there's a new recall on electric mowers made by a Toyota subsidiary....

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 5, 2010 10:52 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Hey, Party at the Fed. Get Down!

"In Fear the Boom and Bust, John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek, two of the great economists of the 20th century, come back to life to attend an economics conference on the economic crisis. Before the conference begins, and at the insistence of Lord Keynes, they go out for a night on the town and sing about why there's a "boom and bust" cycle in modern economies and good reason to fear it."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 25, 2010 4:49 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderfully Expensive: Conan Runs Up the Expense Account

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 21, 2010 9:25 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Run Scared

Memo to conservatives: "Don't read the rave reviews coming from the Bay State.

No doubt the needle has swung to the right in the Massachusetts senate race. Still, it's only enough to make it a very tight election. But this is too big to fail if you live in the White House or anywhere along the liberal food chain, and the fear of losing is going to inflame the left's cadres. They're going to use every dirt bag trick in the book - and make up some new ones in the days ahead. It may not be Ted Kennedy's seat but it is Barney Frank's state and David Axelrod's world. Don't put the champagne on ice yet, friends. Don't even buy it. If you want to win, take nothing for granted. Run scared too." -- Dan Friedman

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 17, 2010 2:11 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Scott Brown, Another God Damned Republican!

Yes, you do want to embed this in any web site you control, and yes you will email Scott Brown, Republican to everybody on your list.... especially those really irritating Democrats in your family.

HT: Neoneocon

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 14, 2010 2:58 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The N-Word of the Narcissus
Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 9, 2010 7:59 PM |  Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The New Apostles Creed: "I believe in the Holy Goric Church"


Have you noticed a subtle shift among some of the acolytes of the Holy Church of Global Warming Climate Change? I have.

In the wake of the scam's exposure -- and the collapse of the Holy See of "Climate Science" from a god to a cult -- many of the faithful have begun to hedge their bets, their Pascalian wagers, on the received truth of "Global Warming." Many have begun to admit, yes, there is something to the idea that the "scientists" at Hadley CRU are a bunch of criminal liars, data cheats, and self-aggrandizing charlatans.... but (and there is always this but) the "prudent" thing to do is to act as if the hoax is true. And it is very important to these acolytes that the disclaimer is always presented in the clear, usually in its own paragraph, so it can be cited in case there's trouble from the faithful.

Case in point.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 14, 2009 5:55 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Libbing Tree

Sheer brilliance by Cranky @ Six Meat Buffet, With Apologies to Shel Silverstein

Pointer via the exceptional Doug Ross.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 17, 2009 1:30 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Just When You've Regained Your Faith in Humanity, Satan Invents This

The "Sigorney:" When baby needs changing, you'll be the first to know!

"Uncle Gerard, at what point did the drowning of Western Civilization in an ocean of hellfire become inevitable?"

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 5, 2009 12:17 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Shamanism and the "Middle Class"
"Both, alike, confuse words with things, and imagine by manipulating words they can manipulate reality. They believe things like public order and safety just happen without human intervention -- that they grow on trees, like money. And that the source of all evil is the unfair distribution, of money in particular. They are given to magical invocations when things go wrong, and to other behaviour that would be more clearly identified as shamanistic, were it not instead identified as "liberal" and "progressive."
"Unable to fathom the mysterious reality of evil, and its contamination of all human nature, they create scapegoats who can be blamed for any disturbance of their peace, and then ritually cast them out. For instance, when suddenly impinged upon by terrorists, or by bank failures for that matter, they consult the entrails of birds (or equivalent), and select "Bush" and "Cheney" to be demonized, assigning them qualities worse even than those of the perpetrators of such things. Then a shaman, named Barack Obama, is selected for his charismatic personal qualities, to purify the public domain. -- David Warren

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 26, 2009 1:12 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We're All Billionaires Now!


From the simple but wicked xkcd - A Webcomic - Alternate Currency

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 3, 2008 10:51 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
"When is it my turn? When can I destroy humanity?"

"An animation with Jules, a biologically designed robot. This animation was created to test the limitations of his servos and experiment what he can and cannot do."

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 12, 2008 8:41 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Visions of Obama

Ain't it just like the Left to play tricks when you're tryin' not to riot?

We sit here stranded though we're all doin' our best to deny it
The Dems claim a mandate for change, temptin' you to defy it
Hope blossoms on the opposite side
In our camps the flamewars abide
The talk radio station plays nice,

But it's got nothing, really nothing, to entice.

Just Limbaugh and Hannity so entwined
And these visions of Obama that conquer my mind....

In our empty treasury the pols play blindman's bluff with the supply chain

And the leftoid bloggers they whisper of escapades on the Palin Campaign

We can hear Abe Lincoln slap his forehead

Ask himself if it's him or us that's really insane

Neoneocon, she's all right, she's stayed clear

She's delicate as she posts to the 'sphere

But she just makes it all too concise and too clear

That Obama's not here

The ghost of 'lectricity howls in the comments at her blog

Where these visions of Obama have come up from the bog

Now, little boy Ace, he takes himself so seriously

He slags Andrew Sullivan, he likes to post dangerously

And when bringing O's name up

He speaks of a farewell finger to thee

He's sure got a lotta gall to be so scrappy and all

Hosting open thread squawks for recall while America's at the mall

Oh, how can I explain?

It's so hard to rant on

And these visions of Obama, they kept me up past the dawn

Contemplatin' congress, your sanity goes up on trial

Voices blather this is what lobotomy must be like after a while

But Pelosi musta had the Biden Botox blues

You can tell by the way she smiles

See the Little Green Footballs all freeze

When the jelly-faced Kossacks all sleaze

Hear the ones with dementia say, "Jeeze

Find us more killers to appease."

Oh, tax-hikes and deficits swarm in our new head of state
Where these visions of Obama are not up for debate.

This blogger now speaks to the Anchoress who's trying hard to pray for him

Sayin', "Name me a politician who's not a parasite and I'll go out and I'll campaign for him"

But like Michelle always says

"Can't find a decent Dem much, can ya man?"

As she, herself, prepares to napalm them

And the real Messiah, He still has not showed

We see the Cross we emptied now corrode

Where Liberty and belief once had glowed

Mr. Death, he now steps to the road

He writes they're coming for more money than they're owed

On the back of the Jihad truck that loads

While the next 9/11 explodes

The harmonicas play high fading blues for John McCain
And these visions of Obama are now all that remain.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 10, 2008 12:20 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Here's the Wind-Up... the Pitch...
Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 29, 2008 9:03 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In Digg Nation - The Number Game


Digg fall down and go boom.

It was the number that launched 24,552 31,523 Diggs -- most of those Diggs were directed at Digg itself. It was also a number that launched thousands of copies of itself across the Internet. What is this number? It's a secret... or rather was a secret. It is also a "copyrighted" number that has now been "copylefted" or "copylifted" depending on your point of view. It is a number that unlocks copy protection on HD-DVDs. To the movie industry it is a number worth untold millions of dollars if people don't know it, and one that could cost the industry untold millions of dollars if people do know it. Which they do. Now. In the millions.

Google probably won't tell you the number. They've received a "cease and desist" order from the owners of the number. But Digg can tell you even though for a bit yesterday they decided they couldn't and began to delete every page and posting on Digg that contained the number. That was the policy then:

"We've been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights. In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key that have been brought to our attention."

But live by the users, die by the users. Digg, a site whose content is created by over a million users, quickly became the focus of the Digg users who believe, in the core of their being, that "Information wants to be free." They instantly reacted to the "policy" by flooding Digg with thousands of postings containing the number, together with cross-postings to blogs and forums by thousands. Flowing right behind this first wave was a tsunami of rage directed at Digg itself. By the mornings light, Digg founders had "heard the users" and changed course 180 degrees. In a pure Hail Mary play they decided to go all in on the side of the users:

"We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code," according to the posting. "...You've made it clear. You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying."

Digg may indeed die from this decision since the large media companies like to make examples of people and companies that thwart their will -- although it usually doesn't involve companies that can ship bits by the tanker load like Digg and the online behemoth Google. Still, once the lawyers start their billing clocks the only limit is the depth of pockets on all sides of the argument. Digg seems to feel that it has to placate the users who "made it clear."

But just who is the you that "has made it clear?" Charles Johnson calls it bowing to the mob, " a virtual lynch mob," and he has reason to know about the Digg mob. Allah at Hot Air pronounced it a riot as in "laff riot." The action has created one of the largest Blogpiles even seen on Techmeme as hundreds of blogs weighed in. Other sites and voices call what happened "an example of 21st century digital revolt." But is it?

Not at all. One of the constants of the Internet since the Stone Ages when hypertext standards were but a gleam in Tim Berners-Lee eye, is the conflict between the "Information wants to be free" crowd and the "Yes, but people need to get paid" set has been a staple on the Net. (Think "Discussions about what 'fair use' really means.")

Both then and now the nature of the living Web is that everything scrolls off. Because of this, everything is repeated.

An Internet Stone Age parallel to today's "sekrit" number kerfuffle was first seen on a massive scale in the "Scientology versus the Internet" Usenet wars of the early 1990s. In this long running flare up, the publication of "secret internal documents of the 'Church' of Scientology" were promulgated across the internet via the Usenet group alt.religion.scientology by one Dennis Erlich, a disaffected one-time high ranking member of Scientology.

Because the posting of these documents placed Scientology in an unfavorable light and revealed "trade secrets," the group moved to expunge the both documents and the newsgroup. Scientology used a host of methods, legal and spam based, to try and stop these documents from being available at all. But the ubergeeks of the newsgroups answered them with mirror sites, document files held on servers in foreign countries, and a "make my day" attitude. The result was that many millions more people grabbed and read the documents exposing the "secrets" of Scientology than ever would have if Scientology has just let sleeping newsgroups be.

Today's "sekrit number" case is a close parallel. You may not care about defeating a copy-protection scheme on your HD-DVD. You may not even know how to begin. But if somebody tells you a number is a closely guarded secret that is now being widely told, you might just be curious enough to look and save a copy of the number to your hard drive. Just in case.

What is that number again? We forget, but you can find out if you really want to Digg it.

[Pssst.... Be careful with that click. It leads to a Digg post with over 1,300 comments and could take a looooooooong time to load.]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 3, 2006 1:49 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Free All-Purpose Apology for All Mankind

Your sorry excuses suitable for framing.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 25, 2006 4:38 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Some Dare Call It Grace

THERE'S A NEW BLOG ON THE BLOCK that you should be paying attention to: One Cosmos: The Innersection of Lumin Development, Mental Gymgnostics, Paleoliberal Futurism, Leftist Noise Abatement, Supernatural Election, Darwinian Revelation, Isness Ministration, Orthonoetic Logomystique, Stand-up Cosmology, Escatological Upunishantics, and Dilettantric Yoga. Quite a mouthful and that doesn't even begin to cover it.

On second thought, maybe it does.

I was put wise to One Cosmos by the always excellent The Doctor Is In who notes: "OK, this is a site worthy of browsing -- especially if you want your higher consciousness expanded in ways you never imagined possible." And it is, indeed, just what the doctor ordered.

Here's a brief excerpt from : Pornographic Liberalism and The Last Men

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 21, 2006 10:11 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
You Don't Have to Be Jewish...

Click to enlarge

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 11, 2006 4:09 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Penguin Movie for Guys

Oh my, one more Saturday night.

OKAY, OKAY, OKAY... as a guy, you have either seen The Penguin Movie , will see The Penguin Movie , or been told to see The Penguin Movie , and have decided to ignore all that because you're just not that into her, or into seeing The Penguin Movie which is, after all, about a bunch of birds at the bottom of the world.

If so, this one's for you guys out there just so you can know what this film is all about. Now some, girls or girly men, will tell you that The Penguin Movie is about how "In the harshest place on Earth, love finds a way," and my yes that is so true. Others, arguing for intelligent design will state that The Penguin Movie proves through the sheer magnificence of these creatures that a hidden hand moves always behind the veil of mere existence. Still others, more sodden, will argue that The Penguin Movie proves Darwin was a very smart man. These things are also true, but they are not the real, deeper purpose of The Penguin Movie .

The real purpose of The Penguin Movie is to establish once and for all how fortunate all men are to be born MEN and not male Penguins.

Here's how the life of a Penguin of the male persuasion unfolds according to The Penguin Movie.

First you live on the edge of an ice-sheet in Antarctica and, for the most part, hang around holes in the ice. When the mood strikes you, you plunge headfirst into these holes and into the just-barely-above-freezing slush to try and snag some sashimi on the fin that has not even been descaled and cleaned. You diet is sashimi, sashimi, and more sashimi with nary a hot bottle of Sake for about 3,000 miles minimum.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 27, 2005 1:57 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And the 2,000,000th Visitor Was Mr. or Ms. ....

.... at 4:13 PM Pacific Time, June 4, 2005. The IP address locater tells me this visitor came from Calgary in Canada via Shaw Communications.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 4, 2005 4:15 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In Coldest Type: Crack Addiction in American Publishing

"There are two things cowboys know nothing about. Cows and horses."

IN 1982 THE FIRST BOOK I EVER EDITED AND PUBLISHED during my career as a book editor at Houghton Mifflin Company was publishing consultant Leonard Shatzkin's In Cold Type: Overcoming the Book Crisis.   I loved working on this book and working with Shatzkin, but others around me were growing colder to the project as it progressed.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 3, 2005 8:17 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Bigfoot Talks About the Real Situation in the Dome

MORE FIRSTHAND REPORTING from Indictor at Outpost Crystal in New Orleans:
"Bigfoot" is a bar manager and DJ on Bourbon Street, and is a local personality and icon in the city. He is a lifelong resident of the city, born and raised. He rode out the storm itself in the Iberville Projects because he knew he would be above any flood waters. Here is his story as told to me moments ago. I took notes while he talked and then I asked some questions:

Three days ago, police and national guard troops told citizens to head toward the Crescent City Connection Bridge to await transportation out of the area. The citizens trekked over to the Convention Center and waited for the buses which they were told would take them to Houston or Alabama or somewhere else, out of this area.

It's been 3 days, and the buses have yet to appear.

Although obviously he has no exact count, he estimates more than 10,000 people are packed into and around and outside the convention center still waiting for the buses. They had no food, no water, and no medicine for the last three days, until today, when the National Guard drove over the bridge above them, and tossed out supplies over the side crashing down to the ground below. Much of the supplies were destroyed from the drop. Many people tried to catch the supplies to protect them before they hit the ground. Some offered to walk all the way around up the bridge and bring the supplies down, but any attempt to approach the police or national guard resulted in weapons being aimed at them.

There are many infants and elderly people among them, as well as many people who were injured jumping out of windows to escape flood water and the like -- all of them in dire straights.

Any attempt to flag down police results in being told to get away at gunpoint. Hour after hour they watch buses pass by filled with people from other areas. Tensions are very high, and there has been at least one murder and several fights. 8 or 9 dead people have been stored in a freezer in the area, and 2 of these dead people are kids.

The people are so desperate that they're doing anything they can think of to impress the authorities enough to bring some buses. These things include standing in single file lines with the eldery in front, women and children next; sweeping up the area and cleaning the windows and anything else that would show the people are not barbarians.

The buses never stop.

Before the supplies were pitched off the bridge today, people had to break into buildings in the area to try to find food and water for their families. There was not enough. This spurred many families to break into cars to try to escape the city. There was no police response to the auto thefts until the mob reached the rich area -- Saulet Condos -- once they tried to get cars from there... well then the whole swat teams began showing up with rifles pointed. Snipers got on the roof and told people to get back.

He reports that the conditions are horrendous. Heat, mosquitoes and utter misery. The smell, he says, is "horrific."

He says it's the slowest mandatory evacuation ever, and he wants to know why they were told to go to the Convention Center area in the first place; furthermore, he reports that many of them with cell phones have contacts willing to come rescue them, but people are not being allowed through to pick them up.

I have "Bigfoot"'s phone number and will gladly give it to any city or state official who would like to tell him how everything is under control.

Addendum: Bigfoot just called to report that "they" (the authorities) are cleaning up the dead bodies at the Convention Center right now.

==== endquote====

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2005 11:27 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Heard On the Radio

THE ONLY GOOD REASON to abandon and flood New Orleans so that it can return to nature would be if we were going to give it back to the French.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2005 8:30 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Backstage: Thanks for the 2,000,000 Visits

AT SOME POINT THIS WEEK, my trusty Site Meter will register 2,000,000 visits to this page since June 9, 2003. This point will be reached about a fortnight short of the second anniversary of American Digest. I don't really understand 2 million anything other than, while it is not a lot of money any longer, I could certainly use the dollar version in order to devote the rest of my life to finishing my decades long argument with Dante. (Don't ask. You don't want or need to know.)

A previous version of this page -- ( American Digest - Dispatches from the New America) was begun in early 2002 in reaction to the events of 9/11, but the only extant pages from that in the at the Way Back Machine date from May of that year. It is

Posted by Vanderleun at May 23, 2005 8:05 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
California Dreaming

LET'S REVIEW. Torrential rains, massive mudslides, local dry-weather landslides, desert earthquakes, and now California quake triggers tsunami warning

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 15, 2005 8:25 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pop Goes the Real Estate $500,000 Challenge

YOU HAVE HALF A MILLION, $500,000, Five-Hundred-Thousand-Dollars cash in hand to buy your home.

Do you:
A. Buy a house outright for $499,000 in the red hot dead center of Silicon Valley, Palo Alto, California?
B: Buy two thirds of a house for $740,000 in the fabulous and sophisticated community of Redwood City, California?
C. Buy a house outright somewhere on the fringes of Ozark, Missouri?

Whichever house you choose, you will have to live in it for at least five years. Made up your mind? Good. Click "Continued" and see how you'll do.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 13, 2005 12:09 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
I Repeat, "No More Letters to the Editor!"

[TODAY'S FUROR OVER THE AWFUL LA TIMES LOVE TYRST WITH NORTH KOREA -- N. Korea, Without the Rancor -- is neither surprising nor unexpected. What is somewhat upsetting is that the blogosphere seems to be stuck in an outmoded model of complaint. Even the sage Hugh Hewitt falls back on an exhaustive list of Korean-American organizations to contact while canceling the subscription to the Times you gave up long ago.

Well, let me tell you that venting spleen into a phone or canceling a sub JUST DOESN'T CUT IT when it comes to getting the editorial attention of the LA Times. They DON'T CARE. They have NEVER CARED. They won't CARE IN THE FUTURE. They will all still receive their checks and benefits no matter how many times you write, call or cancel. Why? Because your opinion and your subscription DOESN'T REALLY MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

What makes a difference to these papers is one thing, and one thing only, THEIR ADVERTISING REVENUE. To get their attention you've got to cost them ad dollars, you've got to get advertisers to cancel their ad orders. I know full well that circulation at the LA Times is sliding down, but that's a slow attrition. A hundred or thousand subscribers bowing out over a single bad story doesn't make an impression. One advertiser yanking $50,000 worth of ads makes a meeting and an unpleasant one at that in which the Publisher asks why the idiots in the editorial chambers are pushing him into bankruptcy again.

If you want to be effective this time, it would be a good thing to put a BlogSquad on the case of going over the last month's worth of LA Times and pulling out every ad that speaks to or is owned by Korean-Americans. I would, but I cancelled my subscription years ago.

Here's an item from my back pages of May 2004 that spells it out in more detail.]

Quit Being a Chump and Start Being Effective: Here's How to Make Your Views Matter to the Mass Media

EDITORS LOVE IT when you write outraged letters to them, but not for the reasons you might think.

Editors love your outraged letters because it tells they you're reading them. They love your letters, even when you scold them, because it shows you care.

Editors love printing your letter that takes them to task because it shows they are pleased to balance a large chunk of airtime or copy with a few seconds or inches of dissent.

But the dirty little secret beneath the editors' love for your outraged letter is that means, almost all of the time, that you didn't send that letter to one of the editors' advertisers.

Editors hate it when people write to the advertisers. If enough people write, editors have to have a conversation with their advertising director. Not that anything will come of it, but they hate the casual watercooler conversation that begins, "We're getting some heat from Nike about that dingbat Robert Scheer, can't you get him to..."

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 3, 2005 2:21 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Secrets of the Mainstream Media

Herewith some exclusive American Digest late night photographs of The Associated Press' Fact Checking Offices

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 1, 2005 9:14 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Rush Limbaugh Reading from American Digest

YOU WILL ALL, I HOPE, pardon me if I take a moment out to preen. I promise it won't become a habit. For those that missed this small page's moment in the sun when Rush Limbaugh read and extended excerpt from my essay, "The Voice of the Neuter is Heard Throughout the Land," I have made and placed on the site that particular excerpt from this morning's radio show. To listen to the "Voce del Oro" read just click the link below:

Play Rush

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 27, 2005 3:30 PM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Shameless Scribblers of the New York Times: An Endless Series

Sarah Boxer, 2001
Attitude: Check.
Trendy Hair: Check.
Transgressive; Check.
Good to go.

Jeff Jarvis takes hard look at the latest clueless twit of The New York Times, one Sarah Boxer, for endangering the lives of the Iraqi brothers who run Iraq The Model:

So here is a reporter from The New York Times -- let's repeat that, The New York Times -- speculating in print on whether an Iraqi citizen, whose only apparent weirdness and sin in her eyes is (a) publishing and (b) supporting America, is a CIA or Defense Department plant or an American.

Ms. Boxer, don't you think you could be putting the life of that person at risk with that kind of speculation? In your own story, you quote Ali -- one of the three blogging brothers who started IraqTheModel -- saying that "here some people would kill you for just writing to an American." And yet you go so much farther -- blithely, glibly speculating about this same man working for the CIA or the DoD -- to sex up your lead and get your story atop the front of the Arts section (I'm in the biz, Boxer, I know how the game is played).

How dare you? Have you no sense of responsibility? Have you no shame?
-- Jarvis

The answer is, of course, that Ms. Boxer has neither shame nor a sense of responsibility. Not only does the ham-handed manner in which she approaches this story attest to that, but her entire body of work -- such as it is. Shame is something that, if taught to her in her childhood, has been ruthlessly expunged by her education and "career." Instead of being shamed by having risked the lives of people she has never met, I'd bet real folding money that Boxer will spend the next few weeks preening in the attention her article brings her. Pats on the back and free lunches at Michaels will be her reward.

Jarvis rightly takes Boxer to task for her abysmal lack of basic Googling skills ( Something that seems to afflict The New York Times en masse. ):

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 18, 2005 1:05 PM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Jimmy-John Carter-Kerry Reveals Cornerstone of 2008 Campaign

"I was in the Catholic church before I went to Vietnam"

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 14, 2005 11:25 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Getting Sideways on "Sideways" -- Less Here Than Meets the Critical Eye

Schlub, nebbish, or heart throb?

Having been under house arrest via a nasty cold, I've had some time to think about "Sideways," the 'serious' movie that is being pushed on America from a distressingly increasing number of movie screens. My problem is that the more I think about "Sideways" the more I discover how little there is in it to think about.

Not that we'd stop others from praising this movie. In fact, our own film critic, Jeremiah Lewis is already proclaiming it a sure thing for the best picture Oscar: ".... this year it's Alexander Payne with Sideways, there's no doubt in my mind." Sigh.

Having seen "Sideways," I agree that he may well prove to be depressingly right. After all, the last time we've seen critical opinion as united on a film was "Gigli." And we all know how that turned out.

The only thing our critics like more than a universal bomb with big

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 7, 2005 2:48 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink

If you pay even a smidgen of attention to the ever-expanding "Literature" of the blogsphere you've had to notice this week's unremitting flogging of Hugh Hewitt's "Blog --The Book." Currently this item has more links to it on blogs than The Flaming Pants of George Bush and Michael Moore: Pig or Swine? combined.

Alas Hewitt's hope of achieving Earth Station Amazon 1 deflated today when the most unrelenting and insightful literary critic in America today, Gnat Lileks, picked up the tome and slammed it hard. The video of this scathing review can be found here at "Big Log."

Devastating. Just devastating. It will make your day.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 5, 2005 2:34 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Great Wave


The Breaking Wave Off Kanagawa. Also called The Great Wave. Woodblock print from Hokusai's series Thirty-six Views of Fuji, which are the high point of Japanese prints. The original is at the Hakone Museum in Japan.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 4, 2005 8:20 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Slate, WaPo, and the Blogosphere

The purchase of the Microsoft vanity blog, Slate, by the Washington Post today has the b-sphere in a moderate lather. Best summed up by Hugh Hewitt with the rimshot, "[It] boils down to buying Kaus and some office furniture," the transaction points towards a trend. But what sort of a trend?

I looked about for someone to interview on this question and, since I hate to be on the phone or to travel, I decided to quote myself from my December 6 essay Building the Perfect Beast: What Is to Be Done in the Blogosphere

We've seen the standard axe jobs against the Blogosphere proliferate for a bit in the wake of the election, but those will pass. More important is the tendency of mainstream media to assimilate that which it cannot control.

Already we see corporate blogs beginning and more than a few mainstream media are beginning to assign internal bloggers and Blogosphere patrols.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 21, 2004 6:06 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Brilliant Idea, But That's Just Me

This just in from Chris Lynch, our sports editor from his site,A Large Regular

"Independent Websites"
I want to change the way we talk. I would like to see the words "Independent Website" used in more formal settings or in discussions instead of the word "blog."

Recently I started contributing as Sports Editor for the American Digest. Now the American Digest is in the top 200 sites in the TTLB Ecosystem but saying "it's one of the top 200 blogs on the Internet" just doesn't sound as impressive as saying "it's one of the top 200 independent websites on the Internet."

I know this is like calling a garbageman a sanitation engineer but it works. I have friends who are journalists and trust me if I say that I now write for one of the top 200 independent websites on the Internet - they are impressed. However biased and ignorant it is on their part - they still hold their noses when the word "blog" is mentioned....
Well, I'm impressed. So much so that I am not only going to become an "independant website," I'm also bringing back my self-designation as "The Official Weblog of the Internet ©  ."

Of course, if you think this means I'm getting out of my pajamas, you'd be dead wrong. I might, however, start wearing a tie.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 20, 2004 10:07 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Christmas Rereading: Fictional Messiahs and Jihads

American Digest Book Editor
[Note: Our new book editor, Pat Cummings, constant reader, also reviews books at his site Paper Frigate, and at Blogcritics as well. He can be emailed here.]

Heinlein's Stranger In a Strange Land tops my Christmas rereading list because it considers the making of a messiah. For those who have not encountered this novel in either the original release or the 1991 uncut version (all three of you), Stranger is the story of a young man raised by the puissant Old Ones of Mars, who then returns to Earth to spread the Gospel (and related powers) they taught him. Heinlein uses the story to jab at the tabloid and main-stream press, fringe and established churches, courts and lawyers, and (of course) the government.

But along the way, the story—maybe inadvertantly, although I doubt anything ever appeared in Heinlein's work that he didn't plan with glee—underscores the original message of the Christ: love each other; and tells us in a less-brutal (because fictional) way than Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, the consequences of preaching love to those focused on money, power—or scripture.

The original novel Dune reveals Herbert's empathy with the nomadic Arab of pre-mandate Palestine. (Remember, Herbert was British.) But to reread this book today is to experience the spooky realization that the Fremen are eco-terrorists.

More to the point, the conversion of Paul Atreides to the messianic Mu'adib—conservative ruling-class heir to fundamentalist jihad leader—maps the slippery path of proselytic education, leading to the vision of all who believe differently as evil and deserving of death. Whether you see mujahideen or red state/blue state bomb-throwers may depend on today's headlines more than Frank Herbert's words.

Nevil Shute himself thought Round the Bend was his best novel. The messiah-figure of this story is Connie Shaklin, a Western-educated Malayan aircraft mechanic, whose message is the moral imperative of good maintenance of machines upon which others' lives depend;

"...Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need..."
(Rudyard Kipling, The Sons of Martha)
The religious movement that grows up around this inoffensive and admirable dictum eventually leads to Shaklin's martyrdom—and the quiet growth of a new religion. The story shows the way a religious meme grows; in seemingly-barren soil, fertilized by the religions that precede it—and watered by the blood of martyrs.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 19, 2004 2:17 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink


Heidi of Coudal Partners came up with this snappy little solution to dealing with obnoxious cell phone users. The .pdf includes several different versions of a card that you can print, cut out and hand to cell yellers. Brought to you by SHHH! The Society for HandHeld Hushing.

(Via Cool Hunting.)

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 18, 2004 8:09 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Sunday Meditation

"We live in an age whose chief moral value has been determined, by overwhelming consensus, to be the absolute liberty of personal volition, the power of each of us to choose what he or she believes, wants, needs, or must possess; our culturally most persuasive models of human freedom are unambiguously voluntarist and, in a rather debased and degraded way, Promethean; the will, we believe, is sovereign because unpremised, free because spontaneous, and this is the highest good. And a society that believes this must, at least implicitly, embrace and subtly advocate a very particular moral metaphysics: the unreality of any 'value' higher than choice, or of any transcendent Good ordering desire towards a higher end. Desire is free to propose, seize, accept or reject, want or not want -- but not to obey.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 5, 2004 11:48 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Inside Blogball: Unfortunate HTML Formatting of the Day

There's an arcanel dust-up going on today with Jeff Jarvis and the esteemed Doc Searls putting the smackdown on Seth Godin for his web-breaking worship of the "very special and they don't suck" PDF files handed out by ChangeThis.

Yes, yes, I know that's it is all just a bit too much "inside-blogball," but bear with me. Seth makes much of the muchness about why the Change This PDFs don't suck because "We spent weeks meticulously designing a PDF layout that is specifically designed to look beautiful on the screen. A layout that is a joy to read." He's right. But then again, he should be paying more attention to the Change This main page and its layout where today we see:

I trust Ms. Suitt is a calm person, otherwise I'm thinking LawSuitt.

I remain agnostic on the PDF vs. HTML issue, but I don't think this would have happened in PDF.
UPDATE: Results!

The text in the graphic above now reads:
30-November | The Art of Alpha Female Blogging
Halley Suitt | As blogging has crept into the mainstream, the question's no more "what's a blog", but why or how... more »

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 1, 2004 3:39 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Days of Future Past

From the Department of "Be Careful What You Wish For," comes this 8-Minute film concerning EPIC 2014.


In 2014, what will you have in your wallet? Will it be one of these?

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 24, 2004 9:36 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dear Jon Stewart, I Want You To Be Honest Too

I actually caught Jon Stewart's on-air evisceration of 'Crossfire' last week, and I have to admit I enjoyed the discomfort and confusion he brought to the dual tools of that broadcast. At the same time I also noted what a large, self-impressed tool Stewart has become.

I don't know about you but my gorge rises when a TV personality who's made his bones with long ironic sighs and sideglances starts to speak phrase like "We need you to be honest!" And that was only the center cut from Stewart's Tripe Store. I was especially taken by Stewart's reference to himself as one of the guys who is out "mowing his lawn"" while "Crossfire" fails to protect the Republic. Hey, I need Stewart to be honest. The closest people like Stewart come to mowing their lawn is telling their personal assistant to drive to some Southern California crossroads and hire an illegal alien to work the Weedwhacker.

All of which is why I was pleased to note The Daily Show's ratings were tanking . Not because I don't think Stewart is a funny-enough guy (even if his faux-serious pose is becoming a bit much), but because I think Stewart, like most other celebrities, is far too full of himself for his, or our, good.

But why, you might wonder, would The Daily Show tank? Well, one of my favorite curmudgeons, Uncle Mikey's , got it all figured out:

I just couldn't stand the not-so-veiled implication that I must be a real moron to want to vote for Bush any more, regardless of his and Kerry's relative merits. It's not funny. Stewart pretends to be unbiased in his assaults on the candidates, but he can't hide his distaste for W and his crew, and neither can he hide his admiration for John Kerry. Like the mainstream press, he thinks the 200 Swift Boat Vets for Truth are liars and Republican shills, but Richard Clarke and the nine Swift Vets who support Kerry are honest men who speak their consciences. In short, he's delusional and paddling as hard as he can to get the Kerry boat to the other side of the river, and in that he is no different from Dan Rather and Newsweek editor Evan "the media wants Kerry to win" Thomas. Nobody they know thinks any different from them, so when they encounter those who do, they must be crazy, or stupid, or just mean.
Stewart, like Bill Maher and a hundred other celebs, have seen the "Kerry Wavelet " as a kind of "Come out, come out, wherever you are " yodel for the cosseted intellectually insane "stars" of our besotted media age.

It's as if people like Stewart at MSM and elsewhere have had this secret meeting and decided they can do whatever they want to influence the elections and never have to pay any penalty. After all, why should they? If we take the famous Newsweek editor's admission that the "media" was going to to "put a glow" around Kerry/Edwards that would be worth 15 points, it's pretty clear to see why Stewart, Rather, Springsteen, and all the rest of this cozy little club is in panic mode.

Here they've given their boys a 15 point edge and they're still lagging, and lagging seriously. It's like betting on a shaggy nag in a horse race because you can put the fix in and then standing there and seeing your "sure-thing" horse come out the far turn and into the home stretch with only one leg. That while the cowboy on the Pinto is way out in front and opening up the distance with every stride. Not only is that no way to run a fixed-horse race, but it also seems that there's going to be a price to pay for fixing the race to begin with.

As I alluded to in the brief essay yesterday about "Intelligence" most celebrities seem to have a built-in contempt for the very people that hand our celebrities their wealth and fame. This kind of contempt was once called "noblesse oblige" - the obligation of those of high rank to be honorable and generous, but like everything else with a French connotation this concept has been perverted. In the bald hectoring and pot-kettle-black attacks by people like Stewart on his counterparts at CNN all we can see is an exercise in vaingloriousness that is much more often the mark of these talking heads than anything remotely generous or noble.

Now you might say this is because we've stopped expecting them to be noble and generous, but that doesn't seem to be the case. If the Stewart ratings tank is anything to go by, when a celebrity is seen to betray his bias openly, and when that in turn betrays his his own small-mind, the audience will turn away. Not that Stewart has any real worry about putting food on the table. That's what those guest slots at Las Vegas strip mall casinos are for. And if that fails him, I'm sure he'll be able to find work telling his peers in 2010 how to dial up their perfect sleep number.

Update: I note a strange sort of Blogsphere mind-meld on the Stewart issue today. Check protein wisdom ; Ghost of a Flea ; Jim Treacher ; Hog on Ice , and INDC Journal. Probably only scratches the surface, but I love it when this sort of thing happens.

Plus: Jeff Goldstein pops in this ancient link from, like last month, Twenty-first in a series of real-time empirical observations and calls it "Related." Whatever happened to the word "prescient?"

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 18, 2004 2:19 PM |  Comments (28)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Reviewing the Review Sites

Kevin Kelly's -- Cool Tools is one of the most consistently interesting and useful sites around. He's just moved that up a notch with his new project that reviews the reviewers. And he's asking you for suggestions.

My model of the ideal review site then is one built on a broad base of user reviews, in addition to a field of experts conducting uniform and comparative reviews, and ends up with an extract of top picks or other recommendations of what to get. I have not yet seen a perfect site. What doesn't work for me is a site sporting a vast matrix of all products and their features, or a site recommending a few products --ones that they happen to also sell, or a site with evaluations of gear they happen to get free from cooperative manufacturers, or heaven forbid, a site that has a few feeble reviews and is supported by a zillion ads.
Examples given at the link above. Take a look and give him a hand. On the web you can never be too meta.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 7, 2004 2:47 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Brain Jazz

Image by Van der Leun

WE DON'T FILL IN A FORMULA of departments and features every week. We're jamming.

We just make up our content on the fly. No going back. No edits. Mainlining other's thoughts.

It's an infinite combo of brain musicians high on brain jazz.

If you can type and have something to say, you can sit in and jam.

You can play.

ANY NUMBER can play a number and that number is always an unknown number. But if you can play unknown numbers you can sit in on the session.

If not, you can just login and kick back and watch the others go at it.

You never know what you're going to get, or which way the next person is going to bend the thread.

You're just there, in real time, and saying, really, whatever comes into your head.

Sometimes its flat, even more often predictable, and, yes, it can get really boring, just like a lot of modern jazz.

But still, there are times -- rarer now to be sure -- when the thing just takes off

And you find yourself thinking things you never thought you'd think and saying things you never planned to say to a lot of people who are coming right back at you, jamming harder, seeing if you can all, somehow, take it higher.

Not to be profound, just to take it around. Your in a Doctor Strange brain groove and you've got lift-off.

Have this happen a couple of time and you're hooked, man. Like me, man. I've been hooked for years, man, but it doesn't rule my life, man.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 31, 2004 11:16 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Qwiet, We're Hunting Wabbits and Kerry Quotes


I'm John Kerry and I Approve This Message

is soliciting contributions from the currently target rich environment:
We're collecting the approved messages of, and quotes by, John F. Kerry and his Crew. If you've got one to contribute, send it -- along with a link to the original source (No, you can't just make them up. You don't have to.). Just click the Email Me and fire away.
Check it out and fire at will.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 27, 2004 11:22 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
And 7% Were Very Confused Science Fiction Fans
Of those who have seen "Fahrenheit 9/11," 78% identified themselves as Democrats, 9% as independents and 6% as Republicans.
-- The Kerry Spot
Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 23, 2004 8:48 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
If You Hate Jesus, You'll Love Michael Moore

SUMMING UP THE CRITICS, Jeff @ Beautiful Atrocities reviews the reviewers of two movies that have shall we say two different messages. In A TALE OF TWO MOVIES: FAHRENHEIT 9/11 vs PASSION OF THE CHRIST, Jeff juxtaposes the money quotes from the nation's "top" film reviewers.

Amusing and, alas, just about what you'd expect. Is it any wonder that the "influence" of film reviewing is dwindling in the country's mass media?

Of course, not that online is always doing much better:

David Edelstein, Slate:
F9/11: After the screening, a friend railed that Moore was exploiting a mother's grief. I suggested that the scene made moral sense in the context of the director's universe, that the exploitation is justified if it saves the lives of other mothers' sons.

Passion: A two-hour-and-six-minute snuff movieThe Jesus Chainsaw Massacrethat thinks it's an act of faith.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 10, 2004 8:13 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
When Poets Collide

A TESTY EXCHANGE BETWEEN POETS stimulate by William Logan's artful evisceration of the purile Pulitizer Prize winning poety of Franz Wright:

To the Editors:
I have to concur with Charles Simic: I would have to consider myself a complete failure, both as a writer and as a human being, if a grotesquely mean-spirited mediocrity like William Logan liked my work. But that aside--aren't you even a little ashamed at how badly he writes (or to put it another way, how badly he seems to want to be British)?
Franz Wright

William Logan replies:
I suppose that winning the Pulitzer does unbalance a man. Mr. Wright has been very busy scribbling letters. I received one myself, which I quote in full:

If there is ever the slightest possibility of our finding ourselves in the same room or general vicinity, I want to advise and plead with you to get away from that place, fast, because if I find out about it, I assure you it is distinctly possible that I will not be able to resist giving you the crippling beating you so clearly masochistically desire. I do not wish to kill you or hurt you, and so I beg you to get away from me, without delay, if you realize we are in the same room somewhere.
Best, Franz.

If Franz Wright believes such threats will intimidate anyone, he is to be pitied. I assure him that I will come and go as I please, and would be glad to provide him with an itinerary. If the sight of me will send him off the deep end, he must do his best to avoid me. Though I would like to gratify his violent fantasies, for a man of his character all I can think to offer is pies at ten paces.
William Logan


This is ye olde punch-in-the-nose kind of literary dustup we see all to rarely these days. Pies at ten paces is a reasonable response to the gored ox groans coming from Franz Wright. He has passion, he has committment. The only thing he lacks is a leg to stand on. He is, deep down, a shallow poet as Logan notes:

"Most of Wrights poems are nasty, brutish, and shortits an old joke, but Wright really is Hobbesian man, consoling himself with second-hand religious formulae and the salve of salvation:
Oh build a special city
for everyone who wishes

to die, where
they might help one another out

and never feel ashamed
maybe make a friend,

Maybe make a friend! (This is how Mr. Rogers would talk, if he were an ex-junkie.) Yet for all the tabloid-style anguish, Wrights minimalism is deft and effective, with the emotional pressure of Louise Glck. These damaged and tormented poets (if they were to collaborate on Passive-Aggression for Dummies, Id hardly be surprised) have refined the poetic act to short prosaic sentences, brimful with resentment, seething with a rage for which words are inadequate. Behind every poem stands an entourage of nurses, shrinks, and self-help counselors."

That has to hurt and hence the truncheon of the aggreived letter to the editor comes out of the scabbard.

Alas, poor Wright, he has yet to learn that if critics say anything nice about you, your best move is to shut up and sit down -- but if critics say anything bad about you, your best move is to shut up and sit down.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 7, 2004 4:08 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
We are Just Loving...


THIS INSIGHTFUL REVIEW OF THE RECENT FIRE IN LONDON that put paid to millions of dollars of really rotten art: via artburn:

A controversial display of burnt work has divided the world of art into non-identical halves, like a dead bisected animal.

The exhibition, London Fire Brigade Incident: L05/1143, features more than 100 incinerated conceptual pieces by some of Britain's best-known artists, including Tracey Emin, Damien Hirst, Phil and Grant Mitchell, Guto Uhu, Dan Collins, Mark Woods, Alex Johnson and Fanny Ciabatta.

Some critics have praised the boldness of the show's 'anti-curatorial' approach to contemporary art, which challenges public perceptions of what ash really is, and how much it may be worth, both in terms of cultural meta-narrative and the insurance.

Others say it could have been an accident, or arson.

The fire transformed London's Saatchi Warehouse into a searing indictment of ordinary objects, space, form, flammable material and structure. Works lost include The Mitchell Brothers' Glued Airfixion and an embroidered hammock - All The Slags Who Have Slagged Me Off This Week So Fucking Far - by Emin.

Firefighters on overtime and a postponed 3.5% pay rise struggled for four hours to bring the blaze under control. Many wore breathing apparatus, slashed frocks and transplanted penises.

A fire brigade spokesman said: "We think the fire started in an adjoining factory unit at about 0400 hours. When we arrive at the scene, however, these first thoughts are displaced by feelings of existential nausea. We seem to be observing a kind of claustrophobic, personal apocalypse. Yet at the same time we cannot avoid a sense that somehow the fire is looking at us..."

Also on the scene were several specialist units of video installation artists. A selection of short filmed pieces with doleful, confessional voiceovers will be screened later this year in a mini-season at the ICA.

Darcy Farquear'say of the Creative on Sunday believes the destruction of so many iconic, tinder-dry works of art is made more tragic by a slightly nasty, or comical, sub-text. "Future generations will not now have the opportunity to see for themselves what these pieces were like. It will certainly add to their mystique, as they aren't actually there any more".

He believes further art fires will follow. "Charles Saatchi is a trend-setter. If he now owns a collection of iconic art reduced to cinders, other collectors will follow. I think - certainly for the purposes of Radio 4's Today programme - we may be witnessing the birth of a new movement. Post-Materialism, possibly. Or something with 'phoenix' in it."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 24, 2004 3:19 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Advanced Coffee Making Techniques

NOTE TO SELF: The coffee would probably improve if I removed yesterday's grounds from the machine before adding fresh beans and pushing the "Grind and Brew" button.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 16, 2004 4:33 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
An Agreeable Person Is One Who Agrees With Me.... Sooner or Later

THE SHARP-EYED ACE OF SPADES has made what is, to me at least, an interesting catch and comparison:

Compare the quotes. And compare the dates.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 28, 2004 8:00 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Good Question

MICKEY KAUS STEPS UP with an obvious question:

Where do you go to sign a living will saying you want them to leave the tube in? I somehow don't think such a document is as readily available in handy preprinted form as the other kind. Nor do I think it would get all that much respect from the courts.
He's right you know.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 25, 2004 11:25 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Guiding Light of Liberal Logic

FROM STEVE H. COMES THIS Comment on Snatching the Trivial from the Profound

With the guiding light of liberal logic shining bright in this case, we can now see clearly how to move forward.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 24, 2004 12:50 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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Science Made Stupid
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The Americans
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Useful Idiots
What's Just So Wrong With This Picture?
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