Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Culture & Civilization

Updating Orwell [2007 - 2015]


"They say the next big thing is here,
that the revolution's near,
but to me it seems quite clear
that it's all just a little bit of history repeating."

Reading through George Orwell's essay of 1941, The Lion and the Unicorn, I came across the passage quoted below. Updating it was a simple matter of "Search and Replace" commands for a few words, deleting 8 and adding 12. Other than that, it reads like it was written yesterday on any one of 15,365,763 conservative blogs.

I omit this blog because, to paraphrase Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia:

Officer: Lawrence, you're conservative, I shall put you under arrest.
Lawrence: It's my manner.
Officer: Your what?
Lawrence: My manner. It looks conservative,but it isn't.
Disclaimer done, I turn to Orwell writing from the depths of the Second World War in 1941. As I said, only lightly touched with Search and Replace.

The mentality of the American left-wing intelligentsia can be studied in half a dozen weekly and monthly surviving newspapers, five cable channels, and 15,365,764 blogs. The immediately striking thing about all these info-dumps is their generally negative, querulous attitude, their complete lack at all times of any constructive suggestion. There is little in them except the irresponsible carping of people who have never been and never expect to be in a position of power.

Another marked characteristic is the emotional shallowness of people who live in a world of ideas and have little contact with physical reality. Many intellectuals of the Left were flabbily pacifist up to 2001, shrieked for war against Islam in the years 2001-2, and then promptly cooled off when the Iraq war started. It is broadly though not precisely true that the people who were most 'anti-Fascist' during the Bosnian Civil War are most defeatist now. And underlying this is the really important fact about so many of the American intelligentsia—their severance from the common culture of the country.

In intention, at any rate, the American intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from The New York Times.

In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island off the coast of New Jersey of dissident thought. America is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an American and that it is a duty to snigger at every American institution, from Nascar to Wal*Mart.

It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any American intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during 'The Star Spangled Banner' than hiring an illegal alien to do their laundry at $3.00 an hour.

All through the critical years many left-wingers were chipping away at American morale, trying to spread an outlook that was sometimes squashily pacifist, sometimes violently pro-Muslim, but always anti-Bush.

It is questionable how much effect this had, but it certainly had some.

If the American people suffered for several years a real weakening of morale, so that the Fascist nations judged that they were 'decadent' and that it was safe to plunge into war, the intellectual sabotage from the Left was partly responsible. Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times cried out against the Iraq War, but even they had done something to make it possible. Five years of systematic Bush-baiting affected even the Bushs themselves and made it harder than it had been before to get intelligent young men to enter the armed forces. Given the spiritual stagnation of the country, the military middle class must have decayed in any case, but the spread of a shallow Leftism hastened the process.

It is clear that the special position of the American intellectuals during the past ten years, as purely negative creatures, mere anti-Bushs, was a by-product of ruling-class stupidity.

Society could not use them, and they had not got it in them to see that devotion to one's country implies 'for better, for worse'. Both Republicans and Democrats in the ruling circles took for granted, as though it were a law of nature, the divorce between patriotism and intelligence. If you were a patriot you read Fox News and publicly thanked God that you were 'not brainy'. If you were an intellectual you sniggered at the stars and stripes and regarded physical courage as barbarous.

It is obvious that this preposterous convention cannot continue. The post-sixties boomer highbrow, with his mechanical snigger, is as out-of-date as the career Pentagon desk jockey. A modern nation cannot afford either of them. Patriotism and intelligence will have to come together again. It is the fact that we are fighting a war, and a very peculiar kind of war, that may make this possible.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 17, 2015 8:33 AM |  Comments (47)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The lord is a very very busy man..."

When you walk through the garden
You gotta watch your back
Well I beg your pardon
Walk the straight and narrow track
When you walk with Jesus
He's gonna save your soul
You got to keep the devil
You gotta keep him
Down in the hole

He's got the fire people
He's got the fury
At his command
You don't have to worry
Hold on to hold on to Jesus' hand
We'll all be safe from Satan when the thunder
When the thunder starts to roll
We got to keep the devil keep him on down
Down in the hole

That red horned lousy low life
Underneath our boots

Praise the Lord

I don't know what it is

Two dollar

That demon meister

Three dollar

That prince devil
Just see if you can come up with a figure
That matches your faith
You say how much has Jesus done for you
And we got to go in with our
Hydraulic system and blast him out

People can I get an amen

All the angels
They start to sing
All about Jesus' mighty sword
And they'll shield you with their wings
People they'll keep you close to the Lord
Now don't pay heed to temptation
For his hands are so cold
You gotta keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole

Well people I got to speak about something
Can I get an amen
Can I get a hallelujah
Praise the lord
Have mercy

The lord is a very very busy man
I do what I can

But Jesus is always going for the big picture
But he's always there to help us out of the little jams too

Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Down in the hole
Keep him down in the hole
We got to keep the Devil
Down in the hole

We got to keep the Devil
Keep him on down in the hole

Down down down
Mighty devil

I send you down below my boots

Down down

Filling my life
With anger and strife
Go down mighty Devil
Find a place to live

Down down down

Tom Waits

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 7, 2014 1:16 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Proof that in America anything worth doing is worth overdoing.


Fortunately for me everything here is on my diet. Unfortunately for me it will also turn me into the Ghostbusters' Stay Puft marshmallow man just before they cross the streams and reduce me into a gigantic 'smore. (Which is also on my diet.)

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 20, 2014 10:02 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Judas: A Saint for Our Seasons

If we betray the people who love us, what's to stop us from betraying the country that makes us possible?


Did you ever break a promise?
Did you ever break a vow?
Have you traded love for money,
And are you happy now?

Did you kiss him in the garden,
And then abandon him to fate?
Is your final sin forgiven,
Or is it far too late?

WHEN IT COMES TO DISCOVERING new ways to cheapen the human soul, the "professional intellectuals" of our society have cornered the market. So it was in 2006 when, timed carefully to cash in on the Easter holiday, the "serious" editors of National Geographic chose to release their gleanings from a sheaf of rags and call them "The Gospel of Judas."

Having risen through the echo chamber of "higher" education and survived the ruthless but quiet vetting process of their "profession," these editors knew full well that what they were putting out into the world was not a "gospel." They also knew that calling it a "gospel" would ensure greater attention and greater sales. Beyond that, the editors, secular cultists all, also got a quiet little tingle by having, in their minds, "stuck it" to the Christian church once again. As usual, such secularists love to stick it to Christianity. Addicts of auto-erotic spiritual asphyxiation, their onanistic pleasure in these deeds is only enhanced if they can be performed during the most holy days of the Christian calendar. Only then can maximum profit and pleasure be assured.

This dark thrill of denigration has the immediate benefit of pleasingly confirming them in their own Church of Zero, and the secondary benefit of being much, much safer than, say, sticking it to Islam, a faith that enforces its demands for respect with bombs and beheadings, and whose central message to all cowards is "Don't mess with Muhammad." The sad fact of our modern era is that if you denigrate Islam, you often have to bag up body parts and hose down the sidewalk, but when you denigrate Christianity the most you need to clean up after yourself is a warm washcloth.

Your gedankenexperiment for today is to ask yourself, regardless of your religious beliefs, if the editors of National Geographic, being given an ancient manuscript that "proved" the Koran was nothing more than the blatherings of some ergot-besotted Bedouin who had munched one too many hallucinogenic plants while hanging out in a cave near Mecca, would have published the same "proof" as loudly and as broadly? Would they have done so, or would they have issued a Press Release citing concerns for the "provenance" of the manuscript and their employees' safety? Regardless of your religious beliefs, you know the shameful answer.

But beyond these considerations, the publication of the "Gospel" of Judas has another, deeper and more lasting benefit to our neophytes of nihilism. It puts one of the final elements of their anti-morality play at center stage. It seeks to sanctify treason.

It was never a question of "if," but only a question of "when" our contemporary society would discover an avatar who would make treason acceptable. It only codifies the realities of their secular belief system. Treason against others or one's country has long been as common as adultery in this country. Like adultery the rate of treason is on the rise because, like adultery and similar forms of personal betrayal, it no longer has any consequences at all.

It is true that the federal crime of treason is not easily established and is rarely if ever charged. But the formal crime of treason is not what I am discussing here. Rather the more common, garden variety of treason as understood by plain people -- the rabid and unremitting hatred, expressed in word or deed, of the country that gives you the freedom express your hatred. It is the treason of the ingrate, the soul-dead, the politically perverted, and the bitter; it is, as Roger Kimball at The New Criterion discusses, the treason of the intellectuals and "the undoing of thought."

It's a fact of our self-centered contemporary existence that betrayal has become one of the common forces that shape our lives. For when our own desires ride us like a drunken demon lodged on our shoulders, betrayal is the first order of the day when others seek to thwart our desires, or even when others become a mere inconvenience to our wants and whims.

We've long permitted greater and greater levels of betrayal in our society. We've codified them as law, policy and custom as far as the wishes of the individual are concerned. It is no longer sophisticated or fashionable to speak of selfishness as betrayal. That word is so harsh when, after all, we are only speaking of "differing needs," aren't we. When the betrayal of others is glossed over with phrases such as "I needed to be me," or "I needed my space," or "I needed more money,"or "We were just on different paths," then the elevation of this disease of the soul from the betrayal of another into the larger realm of treason against all is only a question of degree.

The problem is that shame, a vestigial thing in many shrunken souls, persists, and shame must be driven out of the soul if the secular is to thrive. Both betrayal and treason are still weighted down by a lingering sense of shame within at the same time they are made safe from the onus of blame without. Both are permitted by our cults of personal freedom and "sensible" selfishness, but both are formed of dark matter and not easily expunged from one's soul no matter how reduced it may have become.

There was, perhaps, only one moment in history when humans "knew not what they did." In all other times we know, at the deepest level, exactly what we do when we betray another, or others, or ourselves, or our country. We know it clearly and so we bury the ugly deed deeply. Still it persists, remains and rots in the tomb of our souls. A wiser culture called this "sin" and sought to have it confessed and forgiven as meaningless in the shadow of the greatest sacrifice. Our therapeutic culture calls it "guilt" and seeks to palliate and expunge it so that we may live a guilt-free life regardless of our acts. More and more of us live in the latter culture and seek a life forever free from sin, from guilt, from the consequences of our betrayals. And yet this final freedom eludes us.

What is needed, in this secular age of self-intoxication, is a Saint who will remit our sins of betrayal; who will by his very existence sanctify treason. And who better fits this role than the man who betrayed the greatest love for the smallest change, Judas?

The worshipers of the Church of the Self need Judas today more than they need Christ, and they need Christ more than they can know. They need Him so much that they are compelled to reject Him utterly lest their shabby Church be seen as it is, a hovel made of mud and wattle, of empty objects, shabby dreams and promises broken. A statue of Judas would blend right into the niche above their television; a household god whose only requirement is an offering of silver, from time to time, or a shopping spree at the mall to secure his love and blessing; our "Saint Judas of Perpetual Extortion."

Betrayal is a common catechism in the Church of the Self. Hymns to Me are the hosannas it hurls at an empty heaven. The politics of such a church require as First Things a rejection of all things not of, by, and for the self. A religion or a country of the people, by the people, and for the people is high on the list of things to be abhorred since it requires an allegiance that is other than to the self. The Church of the Self effectively mandates treason, and we see it now manifested daily in the bright robes of "unstiffled dissent" which shroud an increasingly vicious anti-Americanism that has its roots, not in reasoned criticism, but in unreasoned hate. We hear the hate but what we have not been allowed to see is the treason behind it.

That is now "changed, changed utterly."

Now our traitors to God and Country have found a sheaf of rags that "prove" that the greatest treason was really "all good;" that Judas was really the greatest friend Jesus ever had and was, with a kiss, doing him the greatest favor ever done.

Treason, done with the kiss of "my personal freedom," proves that you do not really hate your country, you love it. You are, in the final analysis, your country's best friend. In these "new" old tales about Jesus we read that Judas betrayed the Son of God because Jesus told him to do it. Really? Or did his betrayal come, not from any request that may or may not have been made, but from humanity's persistant lust to sin freely and without even the thin penalty of remorse? Was this final treason done because this sin had been secretly blessed by God, or for the sheer dark thrill of asserting the self at the expense of life in the light?

"I betrayed my friend, because he gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for him."

"I betrayed my country because it gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for it."

Black is white. Hate is Love. Slavery is Freedom. Treason is Loyalty. That last phrase fits right in to the secular catechism, doesn't it? All it needs to become holy writ is an avatar, a solid historical personage with the power to turn darkness into light, lies into truth, and betrayal into something that was, in the final analysis, "all good."

Saint Judas, step right up to the Gates, ring that bell, and don your halo -- you the man.

First published 2006

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 18, 2014 1:58 AM |  Comments (101)  | QuickLink: Permalink
IDENTIFIED! For Some Men in the 1970s a Bad Hair Day Lasted a Decade [Bumped]


B. Lewis states, "I know these dudes!" and then identifies them.

(Left to Right, Top to Bottom)

Toby Witchett: semi-literate white trash kid who lived down the block from our house. Once borrowed my notebook in ninth-grade English class for the sole purpose of writing "YOU ARE A PECKOR HEAD" in it. Worked for the same car dealership in Texarkana for thirty-five years. Now retired, fat, and bald.

Elvin "the Brow" Bisshop: scary junior-high loner; huffed Krylon out of a paper Things Remembred shopping bag in the parking lot every morning before school. Proudly and un-ironically drove his grandmother's car -- a Salem-reeking, harvest gold 1972 Caddy Eldorado -- to school. Big fan of REO Speedwagon. I assumed he was a burnout, but, surprisingly, he went on to be a successful accountant. His hair is gray and much shorter now.

Todd van Kamp: the King of the Drama Department -- with all that entails. Liked punk; wore Vans and Panama Jack exculsively. Died 1984.

Barry Norstrom: Aspiring guitarist and oil-change guy at his dad's lube shop. Quiet, studious, non-drinker/non-druggie. Ga-ga for Amy Grant. 48-year-old bachelor with two illegitimate children. Now Assistant Pastor (Youth Ministries) at the Summer Road Assembly of God.

Robert Nordstrom (no relation): Tenth-grade Casanova. Nicknamed "Bob the Knob" after being called to stand and read in junior-year British Lit class (Jane Eyre) while sporting a painfully-visible boner. Involved in a physical relationship with Mrs. Vanessa Delano, his zaftig, Linda-Lavinesque ninth-grade art teacher, for all four years of high school. Shot at the E-Z Mart out on Highway 71 by Mr. Delano in late 1983, but did not die. Currently the nighttime/fill-in jock for KOTX-FM Country Gold in Hooks, Texas.

Francis "Fan" Tudyk: unabashed jocksniff and Sabrematics guru. Knew everything about every sport, pro, college, or high school, despite total lack of athletic ability. Obsessed with Ferguson Jenkins. Baylor grad (B.S. Mathematics, '84) and enthusiastic Sig Eps; singlehandedly justified Waco's nickname ("Sodom on the Brazos"). Now, unsurprisingly, the regular 6:00 p.m. sportscaster for KJIM-TV in Fort Worth.

Ethan Joe Pechard. Coonass immigrant from "Nack-A-Dish, Looziana". Perfect hair; worst breath in school. Mormon. Lead vocalist in locally-succesful garage band Ape Drape in eleventh grade. Died one year after graduation from "alcohol poisoning"; bullet-perforated body found beneath floorboards of Dizzy's, an unlicensed but well-known poolhall in Wamba, Tex. the local "Darktown".

Danny del Vecchio: Surprisingly sensitive busboy; worked at Hot TomMolly's Irish/Mexican Bistro out on FM 559 from age 15 to age 22. Soft-spoken yet tough as nails; he once broke a customer's arm for yelling at a waitress. Left Texarkana without fanfare in 1988 after several of his poems were published in The Paris Review. Moved to New York. Framed photo c. 1987 from New York magazine of him drinking cocktails with George Plympton at "21" still hangs on the wall over the buffet line at TomMolly's. Current whereabouts unknown.

Ruben Reilly: Evil half-Mick, half-Jew son of local stationer. Used his dad's money and City Council membership to full advantage when pursuing chicks. Texas High's #1 pot dealer and DEVO fan. Captain of Debate Team '82-'83, UIL 14-5A Varsity Cross-X Forensics Champion 1983. Arrested while selling weed to an underage Rolling Stones groupie at a concert in the Cotton Bowl in 1987. Reformed after prison and converted/reverted to Christianity; returned to the family stationery business in 1992. Downtown store closed after construction of Office Depot out on the Interstate; now lives alone in his parents' empty home and works at the paper mill as a forklift driver.

Joshua Crumb: Nicknamed "J.C." for obvious reasons. Harmless stoner with an encyclopedic knowledge of Yes lyrics. His brass shop-class-made bongs were standard equipment for all THS dopers. Inherited his dad's Firestone dealership; now a major donor to the Texas Republican Party and one of the wealthiest men in the Ark-La-Tex region, yet still looks like a G__d___ned hippie. Loyal fan of original-rules Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (Gary Gygax version only). Straight, but never married.

John Babcock: Nicknamed "John the Baptist" for obvious reasons (not the least of which was that he really was Joshua Crumb's first cousin). A brooding, hot-tempered fellow, he kept his distance from most people. Beheaded in 1985 while riding his motorcycle on Hayrod Road (two ten-year-olds had strung a nearly-invisible steel cable across the right-of-way "just for fun".)

Nigel Burk: exchange student from Sheffield, UK. Groovy hair + near-incomprehensible Yorks dialect = teen pussy machine. Good-natured and cheerful; devotee of Celtic and Rod Stewart. Expelled and sent home after giving syphilis to his host family's mother. Now a paraplegic and living in a residence hospital in Bristol after being severely injured whilst acting as an extra during the filming of the BBC's 1984 TV movie Threads.

Lonnie Dale Pirkle: Cartoonist, charcoal sketch king; the best artist in school. Ironically, did not take art class (he took the music elective instead). Nice, but undistinguished personality; dated my girlfriend's second cousin Lisa MacKay. Spent his time building 386-based PCs instead of partying. Now married to Lisa and a father of four. Catholic (ex-holy roller). Works as a systems analyst at EDS in Plano. Harmless.

Billy Post: Varsity QB, Arkansas High Razorbacks, '82-'83. Hated "arkie", known to me only because he was dating Eva Kristoffersen (hottest chick at Texas High), a girl who by some incredible coincidence sat directly in front of me in one class or another from eighth grade through graduation. Proud owner of a red 1978 Pontiac Firebird with T-Tops. Loved Winstons, Billy Squier, mini dirt track racing. Passed over by the college scouts, he majored in Agriculture at Austin College in Sherman, Tex. (B.S. Ag, '88) and pursued an unsuccessful career as a singer of Christian praise/worship songs. Now the Minister of Music, the Church in the Shed, Royce City, Tex.

Travis Lee Hooker: The school's #1 source of recreational RX meds (his dad was a gynecologist). Made a fortune selling speed to junior high kids; got away with it scot-free. Comic book nerd (Legion of Super-Heroes collector) and Star Wars nut. After college (NYU: B.A., Radio and Television, '87) he became an A&R guy for Atlantic Records, but his career ended in failure after an unsuccessful attempt to revive the career of New Wae/NuRo singer Limahl/Kajagoogoo in 1989. Now a concert promoter for Hirsch Memorial Coliseum in Shreveport, La.

Antonio "Guapito" Ximenez: Exchange student from Ferrol, Galicia, Spain. Owned a Russian sniper rifle "taken by my father from the filthy hands of a dead Communist". Current whereabouts unknown.

Identifications by B Lewis at January 31 For Some Men in the 1970s a Bad Hair Day Lasted a Decade @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 4, 2014 10:10 AM |  Comments (36)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A 100-Riff History Of Rock N' Roll

Beginning with Chet Akins’ signature Nashville picking style and ending with the avant-garde industrial shredding a la St. Vincent, this history of rock music will leave your head spinning. Oh, and this was shot in one take.

For those interested in the featured selections, the full list can be seen below. Just after the details on the guitar, the pedalboard, and the speaker. - - All That Is Interesting

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 20, 2014 12:07 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"The power of Christ compels you!"

As some here know, I keep a Tumblr called KA-CHING! which is like a commonplace book of images and observations I find compelling. It currently has over 16, 200 entries going back a number of years. One of the elements that has led to the status of Tumblr on the Internet is the ability to, in a simple, frictionless manner, like and/or reblog an item to one's own Tumblr. Some of these reblogs of images can become so popular that they are shared hundreds of thousands of times. My little page is not one of those whose items are regularly picked up like that. A bit too odd and random I think.

So it was a surprise to me when the following image seemed to have gotten out of my little online ghetto and into shares that currently exceed 15,600. A surprise but still in its own way heartening. Maybe Christians are beginning, at long last, to toughen up.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 17, 2014 10:23 AM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"I Need a Radio Inside My Hand:" How Boomboxes Got So Badass

"And if you don't like that music, I'm going to play it louder and play it louder..."


"Compared to today’s sleek micro-gadgets, boomboxes

are like electronic dinosaurs, dated as much by their ludicrous size as their outmoded technology. Beginning in the late 1970s, companies recognized that buyers wanted their radios louder and more dynamic, so they made sure each model could project a solid mix of treble, midrange, and bass, while offering options for recording and editing, too. This was what made the analog boxes so big, requiring huge speakers, cassette decks, a radio receiver, and up to 10 D-sized batteries, all wrapped in heavy-duty casing."

The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name:
The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly


Collectors Weekly: Where did the boombox originate?

Miles Lightwood: "The boombox by its typical definition—a handled, portable, radio cassette deck with one or more speakers—was actually invented in the Netherlands by Philips in 1969. The one considered the first boombox was made so that you could record from the radio onto the cassette without having any external cables for a microphone. All of a sudden, you’ve got a very easy music-sharing culture, and the Japanese companies basically took that idea and ran with it.

"In my mind, the first device that’s like the urban boombox of popular culture is the JVC RC-550, which was a monster box. It’s got a 10-inch woofer, it looks mean, and it’s got lights and the whole package. That was made in ’75.
The oversized radio-and-cassette-player combos quickly became a sign of status among urban youth, who knew their models by name: The JVC RC-550; the Panasonic RX-7200; the Sharp VZ-2000. Eventually they included features like detachable speakers and keyboard synthesizers, allowing for even greater mixing capability. These monster boxes grew so large and expensive that one model, the Conion C-100F, actually included a motion detector that sounded an alarm if the box was moved. - - Collectors Weekly


Lyle Owerko's favorite is the GF9696. "It's absolutely my most mint box," Owerko says. "It's incredibly shiny; it's 40 watts. The speaker grilles detach, which makes it look really mean." A Eulogy For The Boombox : NPR

Progress: Today's Boombox

[A Tumblr for the Boombox would beBoomboxラジカセ Creators]

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 14, 2014 10:15 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Contemporary American Classics: "The Wichita Lineman"

A visual hymn to the song and its subject. This cut is from the original in 1968. How does Campbell handle it 43 years later? Not bad. Not bad at all as you can see and hear in the video of his performance on Jools Holland in 2011 after the jump.

"Wichita Lineman" is a popular song written by Jimmy Webb in 1968, first recorded by Glen Campbell and widely covered by other artists. Campbell's version, which appeared on his 1968 album of the same name, reached #3 on the U.S. pop chart, remaining in the Top 100 for 15 weeks. In addition, the song also topped the American country music chart for two weeks, and the adult contemporary chart for six weeks. It was certified gold by the RIAA in January 1969. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine's list of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" ranked "Wichita Lineman" at #192. It has been referred to as 'the first existential country song'.

"Webb was inspired to write the lyrics when he saw a solitary lineman in rural northern Oklahoma] The lyric describes the longing that a lonely telephone or electric power lineman feels for an absent lover who he imagines he can hear "singing in the wire" that he is working on. Such a sonic vibration is commonly induced by wind blowing across small conductors. There is uncertainty as to which "Wichita" is intended; Wichita, Kansas, Wichita County, Kansas (which is over 250 road miles away), Wichita Falls, Texas, and Wichita County, Texas have all been suggested as possibilities. In his Wichita, Kansas concert, Glen Campbell announced that the song referred to Wichita County, in western Kansas.

"In the first recording, by Glen Campbell, a notable feature of Al de Lory's orchestral arrangement is that the violins and a Gulbransen Synthesizer mimic the sounds that a lineman might hear when attaching a telephone earpiece to a long stretch of raw telephone or telegraph line, i.e. without typical line equalisation and filtering. One would be aware of high-frequency tones fading in and out, caused by the accidental rectification (the rusty bolt effect) of heterodynes between many radio stations (the violins play this sound); and occasional snatches of Morse Code from radio amateurs or utility stations (this is heard after the line of lyric, "is still on the line"). Heterodynes are also referenced in the lyric, "I can hear you through the whine".

"The bass solo was played by Campbell himself on a Danelectro six-string bass borrowed from friend and session bassist Carol Kaye; the pulsing effect is tremolo from a Fender amplifier. On a 1969 appearance on the Smothers Brothers TV show, Campbell played the solo on a Fender Bass VI six-string bass guitar." -- La Wik

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jul 7, 2013 10:14 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
STATE OF THE UNION: Life During Wartime

Best number from the finest pop concert film ever made, Stop Making Sense. [Full film is HERE.]

David Byrne: I've got a tape I want to play.

Trouble in transit, got through the roadblock,
We blended in with the crowd,
We got computers, we're tapping phone lines,
I know that ain't allowed.
We dress like students, we dress like housewives
Or in a suit and a tie.
I changed my hairstyle so many times now
Don't know what I look like!

You make me shiver. I feel so tender.
We make a pretty good team.
Don't get exhausted, I'll do some driving.
You ought to get you some sleep.
Burned all my notebooks, what good are notebooks?
They won't help me survive.
My chest is aching, burns like a furnace.
The burning keeps me alive.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 12, 2013 7:45 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Nessun Dorma (Pavarotti, NY 1980)

When it comes to song and Pavarotti, everyone else in the world can just sit down.

For reasons obscure, filmic, youtubish, and temporal the visual quality of this piece gives it all a 19th century painterly look that only enhances the song and the singer.

Once upon a time in another life in another universe I was in a tony, noisy New York Restaurant late, late at night when Pavoratti came in dressed in a tux. The whole joint shut up as he made his way across the floor with a Spanish shawl wrapped around his commodious midriff. Here and there men and women stood up at their tables. As he brushed past my table my dinner companion leaned over and whispered to me, "He looks just like... just like... a Pavoratti." Indeed he did. Indeed he was.

HT: Ed @ Thunder Tales

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 5, 2011 11:43 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"What’s going to happen to the children when there aren’t any more grown-ups?" Noel Coward's Question for the 21st Century


"Illegitimi non carborundum!"

If you're getting the impression that we've got a lot more little bastards scampering about these days, you're right.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 29, 2011 8:56 AM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Being There in a 40-gigapixel, 360-degree image of Prague's Philosophical Hall that weighs in at 283 GB

Making the list of the Seven Wonders of the Internet for the immediate future is Jeffrey Martin and his robotic camera's massive and interactive photo of Philosophical Hall, a Baroque reading room in the Prague's Strahov monastery library. How amazing is this image that you can fly your mouse through?

What can you see? Here are three small screen shots from my tour:

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 30, 2011 10:09 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Miss Arkansas' Got Talent!

Continuing with our video weekend here at American Digest: I join with BigFurHat @ -- She Got Robbed "How did Miss Arkansas NOT win last night's Miss America Pageant?"

I mean, just suppose, you actually -- somehow -- managed to marry this woman without knowing her "special talent...." Then, on your wedding night, she opens those two cases that were carried to the honeymoon suite with the rest of her baggage.... and it begins....

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 15, 2011 8:32 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's good to be the President.... of Kazazhstan

Nursultan_Nazarbayev_27092007.jpgWikileaks, something for everyone, a comedy tonight! SUBJECT: LIFESTYLES OF THE KAZAZHSTANI LEADERSHIP

7. (C) In 2007, President Nazarbayev's son-in-law, Timur Kulibayev, celebrated his 41st birthday in grand style. At a small venue in Almaty, he hosted a private concert with some of Russia's biggest pop-stars. The headliner, however, was Elton John, to whom he reportedly paid one million pounds for this one-time appearance. (Note: The British Ambassador relayed a slightly different story, with an unknown but obviously well-heeled friend arranging and paying for Sir Elton's gig. End Comment.) There have been separate reports that Nelly Furtado performed at the August 2007 birthday bash for Kulibayev's wife, Dinara Nazarbayeva. Kulibayev also appears willing to spend his fortune on others. According to Turkish diplomat Isik, when the Kempinski group recently built luxury villas in Bodrum, Turkey, Kulibayev bought up a number of them -- at a cost of 4-5 million dollars each -- and doled them out as gifts to friends and family.

Elton John. He's not just for Rush Limbaugh anymore!

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 30, 2010 12:32 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: You Can Go Home Again. Especially If It's Not Yours

Jerry Stiller of 'Seinfeld' visits the house in Astoria, Queens which was used for exterior shots of the Costanza residence.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 27, 2010 11:56 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Photograph of Inigo Montoya's Father Discovered


How many times have we heard:
and wondered, "Okay, but just what did Inigo Montoya's father look like?"

Many, many times, I'll wager.

Wonder no longer, dear reader. Our crack research time here at American Digest has discovered during a dataspelunking trip into the Dark Web the only known photograph of Inigo Montoya's parents, Ted and Ethel.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 1, 2010 9:54 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Some Things It Seems Are Not for Sale

And while Salinger lived the movie rights to Catcher in the Rye were among them. Here's an interesting Letter of Note: Holden Caulfield is unactable.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 18, 2010 1:46 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
American Digest Comment of the Month Year

Created by JWM in Thinking Right: Working in the Green Slime

Go green. Lower quality, higher prices. Get less for your money. Cleaners that don't clean. Paint that doesn't stick to anything. Harsh, retina grating light bulbs full of toxic chemicals. Electric vehicles that ultimately use more energy than they save. Wind powered turbines that destroy acres of land for a minuscule few kilowatts of unreliable power. Equally unreliable solar grids more poisonous than a cyanide farm. And don't forget the endangered species. Outlaw surfing because it might annoy some life form somewhere under water. Forget about trout streams, and surf fishing. Shut down the water for California's agriculture to prevent a negligible risk to a tiny fish while billions of acre feet flow out to sea unused. Don't worry. All your produce is coming from Mexico, Chile, and Peru anyway. Forget about the energy it takes to move it those thousands of miles. In the mean time, tax Co2 emissions until your winter heating bills run higher than your mortgage- in Southern California. And lower emissions standards until the internal combustion engine is outlawed altogether. We'll all get around on high speed railways that don't go anywhere anyone wants to go. There's a great future in bicycles. Made in China.
I gotta put that on a poster.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 12, 2010 12:40 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Then & Now


Any questions?

First seen atThe Diamond Age

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 10, 2010 12:04 AM |  Comments (27)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Art Rocks
Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 3, 2010 2:43 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wearing "Those Pants" How It's Done

You are not alone. You are just one of many millions of your fellow citizens who have asked, "How is THIS possible?"


Well, now it can be revealed....

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 13, 2010 4:23 PM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Vangelis - Tears in Rain (A Blade Runner Tribute)
Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 10, 2010 7:41 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful

Video for Fagottron's track 'Expialidocious'. The track is composed of a sine wave bass, custom drum sequences, and sounds recorded from the Disney film 'Mary Poppins'.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 17, 2009 12:45 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Life in the Necropolis

necropolis.jpgWe can't say we weren't told. An important essay by Dr, Bob:

"With the loss of the notion that man is a reflection of a divine Creator, and accountable to a higher Being or Law, the individual must compensate for his devaluation (for we are, after all, just cosmic accidents) by becoming ever more outlandish and outrageous in ways self-destructive, offensive to others, and hideous. Michael Jackson becomes our Dorian Gray — as the rotting necropolis of the spirit seeps through the grave clothes we have so carefully wrapped, having whitewashed the entombed soul with plastic surgery, slick production, Photoshop edits and high fashion. Our Ferragamos and facelifts, our tattoos and painted toes, are but weathered signposts on the rutted road to the expansive wasteland of our inner desolation."

Read the rest at Life in the Necropolis | The Doctor Is In

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 9, 2009 12:48 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Times Are Tough for Terrorists Too

Via: Lady, That's My Skull: Local News

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 17, 2009 1:26 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
From Torturing the CIA to the Latest Member of the Dead Kennedys, It's Been a Week That Was

Tim Hawkins, take us outta here!

See you all on the flipped spin side.

HT: IronyCurtain @ said we'd be a fan in 3:04. IronyCurtain was right.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 28, 2009 8:02 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Parsing the Wee-Weed-Up Man

Ah, the great orator unleashed at last! A man with a common, perhaps all too common, pattern of speech.

Of course, like most of Obama's bon-mots, it has a distinct flavor of ambiguity to it. To say some one is "wee-weed up" does not tell us the exact state of his or her Washington micturation situation. No, it leaves us in the dark with someone who may well be "wee-weed-up." A dangerous position, you will agree. One in which you would not want to feel a spill going up your leg unless you were Chris Matthews.

And so we have questions of the great and "Linconesque" communicator.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 20, 2009 10:23 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Johnnie Walker's Walk: The Spirits of Free Enterprise

An ad? Five minutes? Yes. And worth every second.

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 6, 2009 6:14 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
[Leading] Men in [US] Film History

This morning Sippican Cottage points this way:

by Philip Scott Johnson

Observing this long slow morphing of our male icons you can also discern the evolution of the country from Doug Fairbanks to George Clooney. You're going to wait a while for Samuel L. Jackson.

In order: Douglas Fairbanks Sr., Rudolph Valentino, Charlie Chaplin, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Errol Flynn, Fred Astaire, Clark Gable, Laurence Olivier, Gary Cooper, Humphrey Bogart, James Stewart, Tyrone Power, Cary Grant, Henry Fonda, Robert Mitchum, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas, Gene Kelly, Burt Lancaster, William Holden, Marlon Brando, James Dean, Rock Hudson, Montgomery Clift, Anthony Quinn, Gregory Peck, Richard Burton, Jack Lemmon, Sean Connery, Sidney Poitier, Charlton Heston, Steve McQueen, Peter O'Toole, Paul Newman, Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Roy Scheider, Warren Beatty, Dennis Hopper, Al Pacino, Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Harrison Ford, Kevin Kline, Kevin Costner, Michael Douglas, Christopher Walken, Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, John Travolta, Antonio Banderas, Tim Robbins, Samuel L. Jackson, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Leonardo DiCaprio, Johnny Depp, Matt Damon, George Clooney

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 6, 2009 1:48 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Taxing Matters: Monty Python Explains It All for You

Why not "put a tax on thingy?"

Posted by Vanderleun at May 15, 2009 11:43 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Europe Explained: The Biggest Jonestown on the Planet


Years back, when Europe was not further into deep space than Europa, there was a severe storm in the English Channel. A British tabloid summed it up with a head line that said, STORM CLOSES CHANNEL. CONTINENT CUT OFF. Now that the UK has decided to join Europe in their continent sized Jonestown ending, this map is closer to the sad reality of Europe. Created by ArtWerk on Flickr who says his inspiration was a BBC report in January headlined Europeans 'afraid of tomorrow.' They should be. Starting today.

[Click to enlarge, or click the link to see the flickr page with notes left by users.]

Posted by Vanderleun at May 1, 2009 9:06 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Regretfully, American Digest Has Had to Add Another Sponsor


Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 20, 2009 12:32 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
No Failure: It Just Didn't Work the First 10,000 Times

A lesson that we often fail to learn is the lesson of failure. Here's an inspiring reminder of the value of failure from Honda Motors, a company built on failure and built well.

The video, titled "Failure: The Secret to Success," provides insight into the thought process of company founder Soichiro Honda, and how he viewed failure as a means to winning. It also shows how much Honda, a successful car company by all accounts, has failed in the past and what it's learned from those missteps. Have you ever seen an orange 1996 Civic? Neither have we, and you'll know why when you watch the video after the jump. - Autoblog
HT: The astute Ole Eichhorn

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 2, 2009 1:29 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Dirty Jobs" Mike Rowe Talks About the War on Hard Work

Daphne @ Jaded Haven urged me to spend 20 minutes with this video. I started, but after 5 minutes of his graphic description of gelding lambs with his teeth I had to click off. That was a mistake. This is 20 minutes of brilliance from a man who's been in the trenches with the people that actually make the things and do the work that makes the world revolve.

If you've spent 3 minutes gobstoppered at that tool and fool Corinne Brown in the House (see below) and come to despair, this will restore you to life.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 25, 2009 11:48 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In an Changing World, Some Things Never Change has made it's archives free and searchable. This includes over 21,000 Peanuts @ The Peanuts free online library

Here's Peanuts #2 from October 3, 1950:

Here's today's strip:

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 6, 2008 12:50 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Wind Cities: When They Thought Big About Alternative Energy


As the 1930s drew to a close with global depressions, wars and rumors of war, there were a few people in charge of the future, the utopian future. And those people saw that maybe, just maybe, coal and oil might play themselves out and other sources of energy might have to be found. And in England it would seem that some creative editors and artists at Modern Wonder magazine looked up into the sky and decided it might be wise to catch the wind. They were publishing a magazine for boys and they didn't have to be right, they just had to be inspiring. It was an era in which publications for kids routinely tried to inspire them.

And they weren't small minded about it as these pictures will attest. They thought big... very BIG. And believed in the far future. Which was a good thing because, in September of 1938, much as it is now at the beginning of 2008, the immediate future was looking grim. Indeed, when this issue was published in September of 1938, War in Europe was only one year away.

Legos would have to wait until after the war, but most boys had Erector or Meccano Sets, so that became means by which these behemoths of the breeze would be built.

Here's the less than modest wind-farm plan of 1938:

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 19, 2008 2:08 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Louie, Louie:" Decoded

At last! At long, long last! Okay, that's it. Western Civilization is a wrap. Over to you, Allah.

[Michael @ 2 Blowhards]

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 20, 2007 7:11 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Just Brilliant. Period.

The terse and graceful Sippican Cottage on newspapers "I'm Not Interested. Period."

The New York Times et al., like to tell people that the internet is killing their business. Please. I can't be the only one that noticed that the front page is the editorial section now, and the editorial page has the quality and usefulness of unhinged rants. I'm not really in the market for either. And I'm too young to read the obituaries.

You will read the whole thing.

What are you still here?

Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 20, 2007 11:45 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Born Alive But Not For Long


Every so often the news, which is built around a lot of numbers, delivers a number that makes your happy world come to a screeching halt. A day ago that number was: One in 30 aborted foetuses lives.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 22, 2007 1:41 PM |  Comments (20)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Pajamas Fashion Thread


In comments to another posting, AskMom asks

What pajamas are most suitable for our most or least favorite bloggers and other personalities? We stipulate of course that less than full cover-up is not in the spirit, and try to express through design, fabric and color the essence of the pajama wearer.

I can start by admitting that one of my own favorite pairs is a flannel sock monkey print in Williamsburg Blue. I see Ace in black silk with crossed swords embroidered all over. DailyKos of course wears Hello Kitty in noxious lime green to help him be in touch with his lickspittle gay-friendly little girl vulnerabilities. Neo, maybe some patriotic red white and blue plaid flannel, so impossible for a good liberal Jewish Girl and so right for her now.

I'm not brave enough to put forth any ideas about Gerard here on his own turf. Except to note that Winston Churchill wore a fabulous imperial burgundy wool robe of classic design and stately proportions, with hand turned corded edges and silk lining, and that if writing were pajamas......

I shall not divulge here the actual nature of my pajamas except to note that I own five pairs and for some odd reason I cannot find the bottoms to any of them at present. I think I'd best check out the dryer in the basement.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 14, 2006 5:21 PM |  Comments (31)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Toaster Helmets Down Through the Ages

IT'S THE FASHION SENSATION that's sweeping the nation....

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 7, 2006 12:52 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Hollywood Hymnal

"It's a hundred and six miles to the Oscars, we've got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses." -- The Blues Brothers...

WHEN I MOVED TO SEATTLE I declined the opportunity to get cable TV. As a result I shall miss seeing our annual "Superbowl for Girls" (AKA: The Oscars) this evening. Still, in this besotted society just opting out of the Oscars doesn't mean you can opt out of being bludgeoned by them. The tsunami of BS surrounding this fornication festival of preening plutocrats grows higher and sweeps across our land with more devastation every year. Think of it as a Katrina of Cornpone.

Having proven itself to be politically impotent in the last two national elections, Hollywood still likes to strut its stuff when it comes to the realm where it is still pre-eminent -- pretending. And like all other industries that deal in the lower pleasures, they are very good at pushing their product. Although they

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 5, 2006 8:36 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Japanese Princesses on the Bridge at Harajuku Station

Iced Beauty

ANTIPIXEL IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE PERSONAL PAGES. Coming from Japan, it seldom fails to provide a break of beauty in a sea of sites dedicated to the ugliness of the world.

Today's item "Cosplay girls in Harajuku" is a case in point as is the author's collection of photos from this Japanese sub-culture on Flickr: Harajuku Girls

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 16, 2006 4:33 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Housing Slump? What Housing Slump?


ONE OF MY COCK-EYED OPTIMIST REALTOR FRIENDS, sends me the following listing: Corona Del Mar/ Newport Beach "Fixer-Upper" .

"The Portabello Estate, an art form complementing its natural environment. 8 bedrooms, 10 baths and 5 half baths. Beyond five star resort luxury, private, triple oceanfront lot in Corona del Mar and amenities beyond your wildest dreams. Locations of this uniqueness not available anywhere.�""

Price? A humble $75,000,000. Step right up and be the last in before the big quake and the nuking of San Diego. I'll be right behind you.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 16, 2006 2:36 PM |  Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Unbearable Heaviness of Being Islamic

Lilkes, James, has a dream. No, not a Martin Luther King kind of dream.... Well, not exactly, but one that could lead to a Martin Luther King kind of dream.

I was a Burqa Quality Control inspector. I am not kidding. I had to go around in Cairo, knocking on doors, making sure everything was covered up. At one point I found myself in a grim small flat full of cooking odors, looking at the peeling paint, hearing the sounds of the streets -- cars, horns, crowds, beeps, barking dogs -- and feeling immense sadness for the person who had to live in this room, swathed in sheets. The most haunting part of the dream came at the end: all the apartment doors opened to a balcony, and when I’d left the floor, the balcony retracted so no one inside could leave.

A few year back the best answer I could come up with to "Why do they hate us?" was: "They hate us because we've got the groove, and because its is such a drag being them."

Still works for me.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 5, 2006 5:24 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Unremitting Stupidity of 21st Century "Civilized" Man

THERE'S REALLY NO ESCAPE from the abiding stupidity of what currently passes for "Western Culture." We have, it would seem, crossed some ghastly Rubicon of sensibility in which many among us have no frame of reference by which to measure evil. Instead these stunted souls seem determined to wallow in the banal and the trivial, asserting that only these tiny concerns have any meaning. It is the zero-sum "philosophy" of moral relativism branded into actual lives. And the afflicted seem to enjoy running the red-hot iron of nullity into their brains over and over. An addiction to absolute zero that no drug other than Nihilism can sate.

Today's exhibit #1 of our decline in which our fellow Westerners seem to rejoice is the utterly fabricated hue and cry over some snapshots of a monster in his underwear.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 21, 2005 6:20 PM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ancient Virus

FOUR DAYS AGO, I noticed a small news item that told me the virus had found another host. It is a clever virus, wise enough to mutate but still remain the same. It thrives in oppressive states and lately has found the means to thrive in an oppressive state that appears to be not oppressive but democratic. As I said, it is a clever virus.

"Struggling to remain at the cutting edge of anti-semitism, Canada is issuing, or, rather, re-issuing, politically correct passports for its Israel born Jewish citizens: Canadian Jews born in Jerusalem are having their passports recalled in order to erase the word "Israel" from beside the name of the Jewish State's capital."
Not really the sort of thing you'd expect from one of the West's liberal democracy, is it. But the virus is very clever because the virus is very old.

Anti-Semitism is our most ancient spiritual virus. It is the oldest known virus that attacks, replicates within, and then destroys the human soul. The existence of Israel masks the existence of the virus in many infected souls, institutions, and, yes, liberal democracies by renaming itself as Anti-Zionism. This is especially clever since the renaming has survived the political movment it refers to. Through the renaming of this ancient disease as a “political problem,” many people now become infected through their friends, families, at their schools, from their community, church, or nation, or from exchanging infected fantasies with infected ideologues. (This is especially evident in the increasing support given to the virus by the Left here and abroad.) By changing the name of the disease it has become possible for many to deny that they have contracted the virus. This facilitates the current outbreak. Yes, it is a clever virus and this eerie shape-shifting is one of its oldest methods of perpetuating itself. A contemporary Christian might say it is one of the oldest "Faces of the Enemy." It is what it is.

The origin of the virus is unknown, but many suspect the area to be Bablyon and Sumur with an early leap across borders into Egypt. It was later transmitted through not-so-casual contact to much of the world by traders out of Northern Africa and the Roman Empire.

During the period following the fall of Rome, the virus found traction in early Christianity as a common carrier. In this host it thrived, and was able to survive and spread for many centuries. Of late, many parts of Christianity, now that it has become fragmented, have rejected the virus and those who host it, but strains of the virus can still be found at the center of many subsets of the Christian faith today.

Islam, of course, is the not-that-new major religion to not only host the virus, but to celebrate being infected with it, and to actively take measures to make sure that, within the body of Islam, the virus can thrive and expand and continue its contamination of souls almost unchecked. What to do about this new and virulent strain of the virus is something that is now consuming a great deal of the attention and treasure of Western Civilization.

In our recent past, treatment of the virus, once it had taken over whole nations, was first sought through the application of "the talking cure." This only fed it and let it grow stronger and more virulent. Ultimately, measures were taken similar to those that once dealt with the Black Plague. The cure required a large sacrifice in human life across the face of the Earth and dealt in the application of large amounts of steel and fire on the sites of the infection.

Our more enlightened age is still experimenting with a regimen that mixes "the talking cure" with a small application of highly targeted micro-surgery on some of the infected parts of Islam. It is hoped that this less Draconian cure will work; that it will not be necessary to use radiation treatments. To date, the prognosis seems positive if guarded. A virus-induced flare-up of any significant size within the United States would be a setback and the radiation option would be seriously and immediately considered. Would there be such a flare up? Recent history is not comforting.

Flare-ups of the virus have been common across civilization throughout the last 2 millennia, but an overwhelming series of eruptions in centered in Germany but infecting most contiguous nations and then seething in the lands controlled by the USSR, required a global intervention before the conflagration was deemed to be put out. For a time, like smallpox, the virus was declared, if not extinct, certainly on the wane.

This, of course was an illusion, since like root fires, the virus only smoldered underground in the human and social hosts for a few decades before flaring up once again in the petrified social forests of the Middle East. It short order the flare-ups were repeated, more politely, in the centers of a now Unified Europe. Given the new, improved vectors of communication and air travel, the virus leaped oceans quite nimbly and began its work anew across the face of the planet. As always, the infection started quietly -- a nod, a wink, a small editorial of the most reasoned sort that no reasonable person could possibly object to -- but it came to the same thing in the end. It became, again, acceptable. The virus needs assent to enter the host. Any assent, no matter how small, will do.

With the advent of the "Palestinian cause" becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles -- fed at first by Socialist Progressive romanticism in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially in certain ways. Indeed, in many circles and societies, having the virus has lately become a highly prized fashion accessory to popular academic, media, and state ideologies. More clever still is one of the most ancient disguises of the virus made new again. This disguise is the one where the virus tells you it does not exist and has never existed. Cyclon-B was for delousing and those ovens were only for baking bread.

The virus, because it is an ancient and clever virus, can lie dormant for years, and like HIV, can mutate around a lot of therapies designed to destroy it.

As noted above, in the recent past, it has been shown that large doses of steel and fire can eradicate the virus in some populations, but only for a time. A cure is promised, but seems to be always delayed. The only measures that work are, at best, prophylactic. Another strategy is strict monitoring to prevent the spread of the virus. This seemed to be holding the virus at bay for decades. Lately, however, this method has broken down. The virus, like terrorism, has recently been able to piggy-back on the world-circling data-stream, and infect individuals and groups previously deemed immune.

But there is, as history demonstrates, no immunity to be had from the virus. The only strategy that seems to work is abstinence. This is accomplished by a rigorous rejection of all attempts by the virus to establish itself within an individual host. Constant monitoring and the suppression through education or other means of outbreaks in groups or ideologies or nations is also required. There can be no assent. There can be no reasonable reason. There can be no forgetting.

Since the virus has been present in human hosts for well over 4,000 years, hopes for eradication in our lifetime are slim. Hopes for eradication in the future are better in civilized countries if, and only if, members of the generations now living and infected with the virus become dedicated to not transmitting to future generations. The virus is found nowhere else in nature except within the human host. If it is denied transmission to the young, the virus, clever though it may be, can be eliminated from the world in three generations. But only if.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 26, 2005 12:37 AM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Cojoined and in Need of the Operation

FROM: Journalism: Power without responsibility by Kenneth Minogue

A pseudo-philosophical commitment to evade partisanship turns at this level into a partisanship of its own. And not the least of the paradoxes we find in examining journalism is that this most Western of all practices should embrace so anti-Western a stance. The logical problem journalists face parallels that of liberals who embrace all lawful forms of freedom, only to be told that this apparent openness is itself a form of concealed partisanship. Liberalism and journalism, we might say, are virtually Siamese twins among the commitments of our civilization, and their fates are bound up together.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 14, 2005 11:58 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"This Makes Any Civilized Person Absolutely Sick"

I've long held a poor opinion of Geraldo Rivera, but this brief video redeems him in my eyes.

See if you don't agree. Watch Geraldo Rivera reports on a civilian casualty.

This is the result of the insurgent action.

A young woman, a civilian, ...just torn to pieces by an insurgent shell.

What's the point of this insurgency?

What are they fighting for?

To kill an innocent woman who wants to go vote?

What's the point of this?

What are these "heroes" after?

This makes any civilized person absolutely sick.

This... God rest her soul... this is deplorable.

Courtesy of: johnny dollar's place

[HT: Trey Jackson / Olbermann Watch ]

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 30, 2005 11:22 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink


"This game was invented because it seems like when you know someone well enough, 75-80% of any Rock-Paper-Scissors games you play with that person end up in a tie. " -- Whipped up by Sam Kass

HT: The Accordion Guy

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 11, 2005 8:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Most Brilliant Set of Links on the Web

Luke Jones' Periodic Table of the Elements.

Of the Blogsphere, that is.

And the second most brilliant set is Here.

Put them together and it is all ye know of the Web and all ye need to know.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 11, 2004 9:36 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
What I Got for Father's Day

JAMES LILEKS, EAT YOUR SHORTS! They say you can get anything on Ebay, but if that's true I would have preferred one with a dust jacket. "Oh, well, you can't have everything. Where would you keep it?"

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 20, 2004 9:22 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Born to Mow

The Curmudgeon and his "Snapper"

WHAT MAKES AMERICA GREAT? Aside from the big things which we argue about endlessly, it strikes me the country's greatness is more often seen in the aggregate of little things. We each have our list, but for Francis W. Porretto today it seems to be cup holders on lawn tractors. He's got a point.

Your Curmudgeon recently found himself "in the chips" sufficiently to indulge in a new lawn tractor. His old Snapper tractor isn't that old -- nine years -- but it's been losing power, which has made cutting his acre of grass more irritating than it ought to be, especially in the spring fast-growth season. Also, it vibrates enough that an hour on it leaves unpleasant after-effects on your Curmudgeon's balance, hearing, vision and grip. So a few weeks ago, he sallied forth and purchased a new unit: a 22 horsepower Cub Cadet 1022, with a 46 inch mower deck.

Cub has been spoken of as the Cadillac of consumer grade lawn tractors. After a couple of weeks of using this one, it's easy to see why. The frame absorbs nearly all the vibration produced by the engine, transmission and mower blades. The overall design is elegant; everything is easily accessible, both for use and for maintenance. The 22 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine is equal to any need a noncommercial user might face. The wide deck has reduced the cutting time here at the Fortress of Crankitude from an hour and a half to about forty-five minutes. Last but not least, the lawn looks better, which might just be about the sharpness of new blades, though your Curmudgeon thinks not.

But let us not pass over the feature that has the C. S. O. hypnotized: the cup holder.

Cars have had cup holders for half of forever, but lawn tractors? Nevertheless. Cub left a large circular dimple in a convenient place, so that the homeowner can bring his Mai Tai or Pina Colada with him on his journey across his lawn. Not that your Curmudgeon would ever do such a thing. Never drink and mow: you might hit a rock and spill your drink!

If you think this is silly and frivolous, you have never had a large lawn on your To Do list.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 13, 2004 10:09 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The News of This Day as Seen from 1995



"[A] new cultural climate is developing and taking hold, which gives crimes against life a new and—if possible—even more sinister character, giving rise to further grave concern: broad sectors of public opinion justify certain crimes against life in the name of the rights of individual freedom, and on this basis they claim not only exemption from punishment but even authorization by the State, so that these things can be done with total freedom and indeed with the free assistance of health-care systems.

"All this is causing a profound change in the way in which life and relationships between people are considered. The fact that legislation in many countries, perhaps even departing from basic principles of their Constitutions, has determined not to punish these practices against life, and even to make them altogether legal, is both a disturbing symptom and a significant cause of grave moral decline.

"Choices once unanimously considered criminal and rejected by the common moral sense are gradually becoming socially acceptable.

"Even certain sectors of the medical profession, which by its calling is directed to the defence and care of human life, are increasingly willing to carry out these acts against the person.

"In this way the very nature of the medical profession is distorted and contradicted, and the dignity of those who practise it is degraded.

"In such a cultural and legislative situation, the serious demographic, social and family problems which weigh upon many of the world's peoples and which require responsible and effective attention from national and international bodies, are left open to false and deceptive solutions, opposed to the truth and the good of persons and nations.

"The end result of this is tragic: not only is the fact of the destruction of so many human lives still to be born or in their final stage extremely grave and disturbing, but no less grave and disturbing is the fact that conscience itself, darkened as it were by such widespread conditioning, is finding it increasingly difficult to distinguish between good and evil in what concerns the basic value of human life.

From March 7, 2005: The Passion of the Pope @ AMERICAN DIGEST

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 31, 2004 11:39 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Secret of Bananas Is...


Yes, another one of my simple pleasures (See below) can be found via this educational video at The Sneeze.

Watch it and learn something new about bananas.

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 30, 2004 12:32 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
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