Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun


The Known Universe

The Known Universe takes viewers from the Himalayas through our atmosphere and the inky black of space to the afterglow of the Big Bang. Every star, planet, and quasar seen in the film is possible because of the world's most complete four-dimensional map of the universe, the Digital Universe Atlas that is maintained and updated by astrophysicists at the American Museum of Natural History. The new film, created by the Museum, is part of an exhibition, Visions of the Cosmos: From the Milky Ocean to an Evolving Universe,

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Apr 2, 2017 3:11 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Moving Images 2016



Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 9, 2016 12:08 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Earth to Mars

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 11, 2016 1:18 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Ninth Planet


Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;

-- - - Keats.

It Was Discovered By The Guy Who Killed Pluto

It‘s An Unbelievably Long Way Away: Even in astronomical terms, Planet Nine is staggeringly far away—its average distance from the Sun is 56 billion miles, over 20 times the distance from the Sun to Neptune, the most distant of the current planets. To put it another way, NASA’s New Horizons probe, which recently reached Pluto after a journey of nine years, would have taken at least 54 years to reach Planet Nine.

10 Amazing Facts About The New Ninth Planet - Listverse

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Feb 27, 2016 9:10 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Scenes From the American West, 150 Years Ago

Driving the Golden Spike, Promentory, Utah

In the late 1860s, photographer Andrew J. Russell traveled west to document the construction of the Union Pacific Railway in Wyoming and Utah, including the famous “golden spike” moment on May 10, 1869, when the Union Pacific and Central Pacific railroads were joined in Promontory, Utah, creating the nation’s first transcontinental railroad. Russell captured images of the railway construction as well as the wide-open landscape of the American West and its inhabitants. - The Atlantic

Skullrock Rock, Wyoming. “The name of this rock is derived from the peculiar formation of the boulders lying at its base. It is situated three miles south of the railroad, in the mining district of Dale Creek Canyon.”

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 23, 2015 11:26 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: A Girl and Her (Extremely Patient and Unnaturally Photogenic) Best Friend


"We had a million pets when I was a child. Cats, rats, dogs, salamanders… and if we got one we wanted it to have a friend.

One cat turned into five, rats came in pairs, a turtle lived in our bathtub because someone broke the tank while cleaning it. I used the rats in a drunk driving PSA I made in a high school film class. We had a Doberman that ate $500 worth of Girl Scout cookies. I was mad because I was eight and wanted to eat $500 of Girl Scout cookies myself. I still do. So it makes sense that I wanted a dog of my own when I went off to college. A big rescue dog that I would train to do impressive things and name after a First Lady. I loved a boxer I saw at the shelter. It was the color of red clay with muscles like a real boxer. I looked at collies and rottweilers online. However, as most love stories go, it didn’t turn out as planned. I ended up with a three-pound pomeranian puppy from a pet store. He was on sale because he was too tall and had scraggly fur. I named him Tito Jackson. That was twelve years ago. -- Read it all at Narratively | Human stories, boldly told.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 18, 2015 8:52 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's all in the timing....


Keyhole Rock in Big Sur, California. "This phenomenon occurs a few days a year during the winter solstice and when weather conditions are perfect for the alignment to happen. With my pure luck I got to experience a truly magical sunset. It felt like volcanic eruption through natural light." -- Bachir Badaoui 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest, Part II - The Atlantic

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 4, 2015 1:30 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Selections from Early Entries Into 2015 National Geographic Photo Contest

Via Alan Taylor's In Focus at The Atlantic

But first, a little traveling music Professor.

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 6, 2015 6:21 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Blue Moon Halo over Antarctica


Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon?

Such 22 degree rings around the Moon -- caused by ice crystals falling in the Earth's atmosphere -- are somewhat rare. OK, but have you ever seen a blue moon? Given the modern definition of blue moon -- the second full moon occurring in a calendar month -- these are also rare. What is featured above might therefore be considered doubly rare -- a halo surrounding a blue moon. The featured image was taken late last month near Zhongshan Station in Antarctica. Visible in the foreground are a power generating house and a snowmobile. What might seem to be stars in the background are actually illuminated snowflakes near the camera. --APOD: 2015 August 11 -

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Aug 11, 2015 8:56 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Beneath your feet right now there might be up to 10 oceans worth of water. Want to take a swim?

Halemaumau crater on the Kilauea Volcano shows a tiny sliver of this water cycle. A gas cloud is rising from the active Overlook crater, leading to the question “where is the gas in those clouds coming from?”

In other words, over geologic time, the planet recycles water.

The earth’s mantle is enormous, so even a tiny bit of water dissolved in the minerals of the mantle represents a huge amount of water. When gas comes out of a volcano like Kilauea, it is tapping this reservoir of water and releasing it to the atmosphere. When a bit of oceanic crust sinks into the mantle, it is restoring that reservoir of water.
We don’t know exactly how big the reservoir of water in the mantle is, but based on evidence like that diamond it is probably huge. The mantle must hold at least as much water as the oceans on the surface do today and probably several times more – the mantle might even hold 10x as much water as is found in the oceans today. -- Earth's Story

Water, water, every where,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, every where,
Nor any drop to drink.

The very deep did rot: O Christ!
That ever this should be!
Yea, slimy things did crawl with legs
Upon the slimy sea.

About, about, in reel and rout
The death-fires danced at night;
The water, like a witch's oils,
Burnt green, and blue and white.

-- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 14, 2015 3:50 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It was a muggy day.... in Guangxi province, just to the south of the Guizhou and Hunan provinces of China.


"It was a muggy day, the sort where you feel your t-shirt sticking to you before you even realize it. We hired some local guides, who then hired some even more local guides to help show the way to the spire we wanted to ascend. Boy was it grueling! Jagged rocks, thorny bushes, all-fours most of the way. Sometimes the only thing to hold onto was a thorn bush or a glassy-evil-jaded rock. At the top, I looked down to see all kinds of grisly lacerations... but gathered my wits to get this photo! My bff Tom Anderson was very smart and wore more clothes than me to keep his skin baby-smooth. This photo is a panorama, which I don't normally do, but the Dr. Seuss countryside there is so vast and overpowering, it was kind of the only way to bring it all together." -- Trey Ratcliff

Photographer's web site: Stuck In Customs | HDR Photography

Check out this very large image. You can zoom and pan.

Large image here if you...

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Mar 28, 2015 10:51 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Patience: The ‘Inception’ of Artists’ Books by Randi Parkhurst

"Watch as book artist and paper maker Randi Parkhurst slowly unveils her 2007 creation Patience, a meticulously organized collection of some 20 self-contained handmade paper books.

It really pays off to not skip ahead and watch as each inconceivably smaller box is revealed. This must have taken months and months to make." | Colossal

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 15, 2015 10:44 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Something Wonderful: Beretta

Bird Dog: "For all you do, this one's for you."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 20, 2014 6:29 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Andrea Pozzo 1650 Mural: This Ceiling Is Flat

Andrea Pozzo The St Ignatius' Church

His masterpiece, the illusory perspectives in frescoes [1] of the dome, the apse and the ceiling of Rome's Jesuit church of Sant'Ignazio (illustrations right and below) were painted between 1685–1694 and are emblematic of the dramatic conceits of High Roman Baroque. For several generations, they set the standard for the decoration of Late Baroque ceiling frescos throughhout Catholic Europe. Compare this work to Gaulli's masterpiece in the other major Jesuit church in Rome, Il Gesù.
The church of Sant'Ignazio remained unfinished with bare ceilings even after its consecration in 1642. Disputes with the original donors, the Ludovisi, prevented the completion of the planned dome. Pozzo expediently proposed to make an illusionistic dome, when viewed from inside, by painting on canvas. It was impressive to viewers, but controversial; some feared the canvas would soon darken.
On the flat ceiling he painted an allegory of the Apotheosis of S. Ignatius, in breathtaking perspective. The painting, 17 m in diameter, is devised to make an observer, looking from a spot marked by a brass disc set into the floor of the nave, seem to see a lofty vaulted roof decorated by statues, while in fact the ceiling is flat.
".... And it's deep too."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Dec 2, 2014 9:06 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Sweet Dreams in the Olympics


"Avalanche lilies (Erythronium montanum) signal the short season of plenty in the coastal mountains of Olympic National Park. I found this field of dreams along Obstruction Point Road." Sweet Dreams by Gary Luhm / 500px

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Nov 19, 2014 9:19 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
2014 National Geographic Photo Contest, Part II


More at - In Focus - The Atlantic

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 26, 2014 4:05 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Stanley Kubrick’s Photos of New York Life in the 40s

Self portrait with showgirl Rosemary Williams 1948

Before he became famous for directing films like A Clockwork Orange, Lolita, and Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick was a poor kid from the Bronx who worked as a photojournalist for Look magazine. (He was their youngest staff photographer on record.) Kubrick’s striking black and white images of 1940s New York City — which were often shot on the sly, his camera concealed in a paper bag with a hole in it — hint at the dark beauty and psychological drama of his later creative output. Stanley Kubrick’s Dramatic Photos of 1940s New York City – Flavorwire





More at TwistedSifter

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Sep 25, 2014 9:52 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
And now for something completely refreshing....

Red by Anastasia Galaktionova

"With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world."

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 28, 2014 4:22 PM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Largest Cross in the World

Photos by Van der Leun

Just off the interstate in Groom, Texas. You see it coming along the horizon for maybe ten miles. If you've got any sense and any time, you get off the Interstate to see what it is all about. It's about 190 feet tall and, aluminum clad, weighs in at about 75 tons -- a burden enough for anyone.


Bronze statues representing the stations of the Cross circle the base and a path on one side leads to a monument to children who have been aborted since Roe v. Wade.


To the south-west is an artificial Golgotha with three crosses holding life-size bronze statues of Christ and the two thieves.


When you get to the top, the feet of Christ are just above eye-level and you've got a view beyond of flat fields of hay going on forever across the earth sea of Texas. About a quarter mile away on your right, the Interstate hums with the endless convoys of trucks moving east and west.


Underneath the artificial hill an empty tomb is carved into the rock. Nothing in it. Very quiet.


Outside next to the large and empty parking lot is a small gift shop (10x10) and another room that holds a replica of the Shroud of Turin. Except for the woman reading quietly in the gift shop, there was nobody else visible on the weekday afternoon I stopped by in November of 2002. Then I got back in my car and drove off toward the West. I thought I was going somewhere at the time. I was going nowhere. Fast.


Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 27, 2014 2:11 AM |  Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Red Marilyn

March 1955. "Women posed in fashions influenced by the Orient. Unpublished photograph shows Marilyn Monroe, wearing a black Chinese coat, posed with Pekingese dogs." Color transparency by Milton Greene for the Look magazine assignment "Translations From the Orient." Shorpy Historical Photo Archive



Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 24, 2014 7:54 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Frontier Fields


THE WORLD is charged with the grandeur of God.
It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;
It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins 1918

Released as the first "Frontier Fields" view from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope, the new images mark the deepest-ever observations of a cluster of galaxies. The photos center on Abell 2744, a group of several hundred galaxies found 3.5 billion light-years away from Earth.

Using Director's Discretionary (DD) observing time, HST is undertaking a revolutionary deep field observing program to peer deeper into the Universe than ever before and provide a first glimpse of JWST's universe.

These Frontier Fields will combine the power of HST with the natural gravitational telescopes of high-magnification clusters of galaxies. Using both the Wide Field Camera 3 and Advanced Camera for Surveys in parallel, HST will produce the deepest observations of clusters and their lensed galaxies ever obtained, and the second-deepest observations of blank fields (located near the clusters). These images will reveal distant galaxy populations ~10-100 times fainter than any previously observed, improve our statistical understanding of galaxies during the epoch of reionization, and provide unprecedented measurements of the dark matter within massive clusters. Details at Hubble Space Telescope

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 11, 2014 10:00 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Jelly Doughnut in Lyra: Hubble reveals the Ring Nebula’s true shape,"Things are not as simple as we previously thought."

Well, are they ever?

The Ring Nebula's distinctive shape makes it a popular illustration for astronomy books. But new observations by NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of the glowing gas shroud around an old, dying, sun-like star reveal a new twist. "The nebula is not like a bagel, but rather, it's like a jelly doughnut, because it's filled with material in the middle," said C. Robert O'Dell of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He leads a research team that used Hubble and several ground-based telescopes to obtain the best view yet of the iconic nebula. The images show a more complex structure than astronomers once thought and have allowed them to construct the most precise 3-D model of the nebula. -- NASA -

Bland Old RingNebula:


New Jelly Doughnut Nebula:

Posted by gerardvanderleun at May 24, 2013 6:58 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink

“Ah, but a boy's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for?”

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 16, 2011 6:06 PM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
BikeNaked: Seattle, the Solstice, and Bare Naked Ladies (and Gents))
Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 23, 2011 8:22 AM |  Comments (56)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Seattle "Style"

And Cobain said, "Let there be Grunge" and, lo, it stuck.

"Sauron's baleful influence spreads from Mordor... people are turning themselves into Orcs." -- Osprey | The Tat Queen of Capitol Hill, Seattle Public Market, Easter Sunday, 2010

Fashion in Seattle is a sometime thing. Lately I've been making excursions to various tribal gathering sites and documenting the look that says "Seattle." Around 100 of them can be seen @ Seattle "Style" - a set on Flickr

Others in large format are currently somewhere towards the top of the scroll on KA-CHING!

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 5, 2010 9:48 PM |  Comments (29)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Dante's Internet


Via Discovery::Открытие

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 2, 2010 9:57 PM |  Comments (8)  | QuickLink: Permalink
What's Happening in the Virtual World Right Now?


Source: Gary's Social Media Count @ PERSONALIZE MEDIA

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 16, 2009 2:22 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Scenes in the City: A Selection of Photographs

The Storyboard. He carried, for most of the day, a large wooden cross and stood near an entrance to Penn Station. Mute, his message read:

Police name is Cartwright and 2 other police rape sodomize my wife in the mid town south precint tues january 21 1986 . My daughter was torture and murder at bith in the hosp 5 more children missing nurse l miller use sciorggies and gut the child no operation no surgery my-leg-broken-police...
As far as I could tell, no one ever stopped to ask him about it. God knows I didn't.

Peace, Love, Sales. If John Lennon crawled out of the grave without a cent, this is the job he'd take. Maybe it was him. What did I know about instant karma? It was a profitable hustle for a bit because it was so, well, creative. On hot summer days, the rose colored granny glasses brought out the dollars for pot research because we were all glad someone was doing it while we were at work. When the basket filled up his "sidekick" would drift over and be flicked back. One day they were gone. I imagine they'd finally raised enough to continue the research elsewhere before the big bong hits of winter slapped them stiff on the heating grates.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 1, 2009 11:29 PM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Enigmatic Image of the Day: Discuss



Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 1, 2009 1:07 AM |  Comments (24)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Manic Maniac Monday: Just When You Thought the World Was Safe from Tom DeLay

WARNING! That which is seen cannot be unseen.

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 28, 2009 1:58 AM |  Comments (16)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Destinations: Trip Out... Way Out


The Stone Trees of Yakutsk

"Then from there the only way to go to this place is by a boat. Armed native individuals can offer you a "cheap" $500 trip on a small boat, so in three days you can be on spot. They can show you the fields of wild hemp flower around which, as some tourists say, often can be picked up by your guide while you are exploring the stone forest, and then boiled together with some milk to meet you when you are back in camp with some mind blowing mixture. And they are all armed there, those natives...."
More photos at Oddity Central

Where in the world is it?: Location via Google Maps

Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 22, 2009 2:01 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
State Fair

Midway | Puyallup, Washington | Saturday September 12, 2009 8:08: 30 PM


Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 17, 2009 2:52 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Arcs of the Divers

Tania Cagnotto of Italy competes in the 1m Womens Springboard Diving at the Stadio del Nuoto

A must see collection of how people get into the swim: Dive right in @ The Big Picture

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 30, 2009 9:24 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Freedom's Walk


'Who sees with equal eye, as God of all,
A hero perish, or a sparrow fall....

Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 27, 2009 6:52 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
IOD: Israel Now


Children of Israeli settlers play in a bouncy castle next to the ruins of the illegal outpost of Maoz Ester, near Kokhav Ha Shahar settlement, east of Ramallah on June 4, 2009. The wildcat outpost has been dismantled by Israeli authorities several times over the past few months, only to be re-erected within hours by zealous settlers. -Israeli Settlements in the West Bank @ The Big Picture

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 17, 2009 12:40 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Signage in Seattle


Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 15, 2009 12:02 PM |  Comments (9)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Toronto Reaches Out for Diversity Tourists

File under "Unintended Subtexts of Photoshop"

The images above show the source image and published cover of the Toronto Fun Guide. Can you spot the difference? -- Toronto Fun Guide @ The Inquisitr

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 13, 2009 11:24 AM |  Comments (10)  | QuickLink: Permalink
There's a blonde joke here...

and I'm sure I'll think of it as soon as I escape from Fantasy Island....

[Humm...Seattle Riga airfare, $1,300. Hotels: $2,000. Gifts and dinners and drinks and flowers and fur coats: $56,859.65. Running with the Blondes: Priceless -- and besides you still have 2 kidneys and you really only need one. ]

"Blondes walked though the streets of Riga, Latvia, Sunday for Blonde Weekend."

Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2009 8:08 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Awwww! Single Unwed Mother of the Year


"Lin Hui, 7, guarded her newborn cub at Chiang Mai Zoo in Thailand Friday. The adult female panda, on loan from China, gave birth after being artificially inseminated." The name of the father was not released, but he is believed to have been a panda.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 29, 2009 4:28 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Jumping More Than a Mere Shark


YEEHAW! Jeff Fehr jumped over a cowboy settlement at the historic Bar U Ranch in Alberta, Canada, with the Rocky Mountains in the background Wednesday.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 28, 2009 5:01 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Greatest Cocktail Party in History

Discussing the Divine Comedy with Dante, 2006 by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An(Detail)

Art meets Knowledge. This is the sort of intellectual apotheosis only possible with the web. It's one of those things that makes you stop and admire the endless creativity of people in all walks of life. Three Chinese artists create a painting incorporating many of history's most interesting and influential people. A bit later someone on the Web combines the image with links to the Wikipedia entries for each person he can identify and off it goes. In only a glance you get the concept and think, "Imagine the conversations at that house party."

In his seminal work, "Aspects of the Novel," E.M. Forster offers the compelling image of all the great novelists in English writing, not each in their proper time, but "as seated together in a room, a circular room, a sort of British Museum reading-room — all writing their novels simultaneously." We see much the same sort of thing here, with the advantage of being able to fill ourselves in on the people represented.

If you haven't seen it yet, you owe it to yourself to spend some time with: Famous People Painting with Wiki Links | Historical Figures With Image Mapping (Painting by Dai Dudu, Li Tiezi, and Zhang An, 2006, oil on canvas - Image mapping with titles and wikipedia links) Background on the painting itself @ China News: 103 Famous Faces in One Painting

Posted by Vanderleun at May 12, 2009 1:34 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Poster of the Week (So Far)


OK, now we're getting to the point on the Monty Python planet where the Brit walks in and says, "Too silly. New sketch." At Cobb: Change

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 27, 2009 1:04 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
"By the pricking of my thumbs something wicked this way comes."

"Energy crisis, severe recession, now Swine Flu - did someone insert a line of code that said GOTO 1975?" - James Lileks (Lileks) on Twitter

Ah, Distopia, disaster and death. It seems we are half in love with all three easeful states. But don't panic, because as you can see here Gary Sinise of CSI:NY is on the case. And when Mac Taylor gets his forensic team and gigantic lab on the job, you can at least look longingly at Melina Kanakaredes as you expire. There are worse ways to go.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 26, 2009 10:38 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Perez Hilton: Parents, gay or straight, would you want your son engaged to this man?

Invader from Mars Hilton: Yes, he does have the chip implanted in the back of his neck.

Read more on "the shameful intolerance from the tyrannical left and gay totalitarians." @ The Western Experience. "Shameful?" Oh, they left the Planet of Shame aeons ago.

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 21, 2009 9:18 AM |  Comments (11)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In Musa Qala, the Poppies Grow: Picture of the Day

Poppy field in Musa Qala, Helmand province. Recent scenes from Afghanistan - The Big Picture -

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 1, 2009 5:49 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
A Tale of Two Giftings: Obama vs Bush

Fee. Fi. Fo. Fum.

Confirmed: The Obamas are Tacky, Tasteless, and Cheap The gifting gaffes roll on. First you had a cheap set of American movie DVDs that couldn't be played in England and now, when meeting the Queen of England,

Barack Obama's gift for the Queen: an iPod, your Majesty Barack Obama met the Queen at Buckingham Palace today and gave her a gift of an iPod loaded with video footage and photographs of her 2007 visit to the United States. [but...] The Queen already has an iPod, a 6GB silver Mini version she bought in 2005 at the suggestion of Prince Andrew.
What is it with these two Clampets? We they born in a barn? This is getting embarrassing. What are they going to give the rulers of China? Taiwan or a poo-poo cushion?

A commenter at Ace says, "Wow, we were really lucky to get rid of that Texas hillbilly, and miss out on that Alaskan chick, huh?

Up next, his gift to Angela Merkel: copies of "The World at War" and "Schindler's List" on DVD along with a first edition of "The Diary of Anne Frank"

UPDATE: What did the George and Laura Bush give to the Queen when she visited in

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 1, 2009 11:06 AM |  Comments (53)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Picture of the Day from Pictures of the Day


Cherry trees bloomed in front of the Jefferson Memorial in Washington Tuesday. The annual Cherry Blossom Festival runs April 4 to April 12 -- Pictures of the Day

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 31, 2009 6:07 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Perfect Gift for Patriots: "The First and Second Amendment Combined"

A Substantial Stocking Stuffer: Nokia's "2 Rights in 1." Just the thing for those among your friends and family who like to shoot their mouths off.


VIA: Strategy Page

A direct descendant from this stealthy weapon:

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 19, 2008 12:03 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
Progressive Charities Look for the Silver Lining in Massive Funds Chokepoint

Look for the silver lining

Who says there's no good news about Bernie Madoff?

"Madoff, single-handedly, has done more harm to the Progressive cause than almost anyone yet realizes. And, that's because The JEHT Foundation, one of the leading providers of grants for all things Progressive, has just abruptly announced they're shutting their doors at the end of January as a result of having come to the realization that they've lost virtually all their money because it was all under Madoff's management." -- Daily Kos: State of the Nation [VIA The Belmont Club's They Got Took, which notes: "'Activists' have a curious relationship with money. They don’t make it, but they need to spend it. They need what they loathe. What can I tell you?"]
Less money=Less Mischief. Unless the O-Admin launches a bailout for Progressive Charities. Wait for it.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 17, 2008 1:28 PM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Five Found Objects - Hipsters, Tricksters, Mutants, Nymphettes, and the First Hundred Days


The kids are not all right: Hipster: The Dead End of Western Civilization | Adbusters

We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us. The hipster represents the end of Western civilization – a culture so detached and disconnected that it has stopped giving birth to anything new.

Photoshop: For Real
Click to enlarge

Via Design You Trust. World's Most Famous Social Inspiration. On Flickr - HOW IT WAS MADE.


Fluffball of the Future: Admit it, you knew that all this genetic engineering stuff would come to this. Ball o fluff by *HumanDescent on deviantART


Alice, Updated. I approve. From the Lee Moyer interview @ LCSV4 The Illustration News Portal

From FDR to GWB: GOOD Sheet: The First 100 Days» "I pledge you, I pledge myself, to a new deal for the American people," Franklin D. Roosevelt told supporters in 1932 while accepting the presidential nomination. When he took office the following year, he spent his first 100 days enacting a dizzying number of reforms designed to stabilize an economically depressed nation. Since then, a president's first 100 days have been an indicator of what he is able to accomplish. In January 2009, the clock starts again.

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 8, 2008 9:36 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
It's Just This Simple

Essential Graphs from 4-Block World



Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 6, 2008 11:51 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The State of the Creation in the Constellation of Cetus

How small we arein our petty arguments (See below. See always below.), and yet how wonderfully made. Perhaps our only real purpose is to create the instruments that reveal to our eyes and souls the unfathomable wonder that is the Creation. Perhaps we are here only to be the witnesses.

An image taken by Hubble Space telescope showed a pair of gravitationally interacting galaxies called Arp 147, photographed on October 27-28, 2008. Arp 147 lies in the constellation of Cetus, more than 400 million light-years away from Earth. - Photo Journal : Pictures of the Day

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 30, 2008 7:00 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink

  • The Sinking of the MSM Titanic -Best Day by Day Cartoon by Chris Muir ... Ever.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 26, 2008 11:53 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
  • The Weight


    I pulled into Nazareth, I was feelin' about half past dead;
    I just need some place where I can lay my head.
    "Hey, mister, can you tell me where a man might find a bed?"
    He just grinned and shook my hand, and "No!", was all he said.

    -- The Band

    Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 19, 2008 12:07 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Pitch *


    It's late in the winter of 2005. Hillary and Obama are having lunch in the Senate Dining Room, brainstorming campaign ideas to pitch to the Democratic National Committee.

    Obama: Why don't they have salsa on the table?

    Hillary: What do you need salsa for?

    Obama: Salsa is now the number one condiment in America.

    Hillary: You know why? Because people like to say "salsa." "Excuse me, do you have salsa?" "We need more salsa." "Where is the salsa? No salsa?"

    Obama: You know it must be impossible for a Spanish person to order seltzer and not get salsa. (Angry) "I wanted seltzer, not salsa."

    Hillary: "Don't you know the difference between seltzer and salsa?? You have the seltzer after the salsa!"

    Obama: (Just throwing it out there): This should be the campaign.

    Hillary: What?

    Obama: This. Just arguing. Arguing about nothing.

    Hillary (Dismissing): Yeah, right.

    Obama: No I'm serious. That sounds like a good idea.

    Hillary: Just arguing? What's the campaign about?

    Obama: It's about nothing.

    Hillary: No real policies?

    Obama: No, forget the policies.

    Hillary: You've got to have policies.

    Obama: Who says you gotta have policies? Remember when we were voting for... for that Senate resolution that proclaimed 'making good people feel good is a good thing' that time? That could be a whole presidential campaign.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 13, 2008 11:11 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    A Tank That Cries Out to Be Blown Up!

    From Shape, a firm that manufactures Inflatable Military Decoys and Camouflage Dummy Targets

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 7, 2008 4:50 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Passion of the Obama


    "Here he is in El Paso meeting with some schoolkids. This was right after he fed an entire auditorium with just a single stick of French bread and a pack of hot dogs" - The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs: Barry is rocking the world down in Texas
    Posted at 11:18 AM

    -- Two hours later, second thoughts. --

    The original title for this entry was "Suffer the little children to come unto me in Texas." That was, it seemed to me in the moment, a light enough touch for the illustration supplied this morning by "The Secret Steve Jobs." Over at that site I also entered a glib, cheap comment:

    Does this mean we are headed to the passion, the crucifixion,and the subsequent ascending into heaven stuff? And will this be before or after the election?

    Now the web draws out the cheap shot and the glib comment like no other medium, and I find myself guilty as charged across all the 20 years I've been a part of it.

    But after a moment's reflection the chilling subtext of that glib rim-shot started to occur to me as I recalled recent reports of lax security at Obama appearances. ( ABC News: As Obama Security Rises, Lapses Remain ) And since I am of an age where I can remember the 1960s, I was chilled even more as images from the more violent of those days came back to me. Chief among them were November 22, 1963, April 4, 1968, and June 6, 1968. These are, as I'm sure you know from the first date, the days on which John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, and Robert Kennedy were assassinated.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 29, 2008 11:18 AM |  Comments (31)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Acquainted with the Blight, Seattle 2007

    Back in Seattle after a month's idyll in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am reminded why -- although there's no place like home -- there's also no place like home.

    Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina view last Monday.

    Seattle, Washington view this Monday.

    A Seattle friend emails:
    "I've been out in the rain. It was awful. I think I'd rather get wet while walking than get wet while bearing the futility of waiting for buses."

    Shuddering at such pain, I recall this effort of mine to make Robert Frost rotate in his grave:

    Acquainted with the Blight

    I have been one acquainted with the blight.
    I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain,
    (And out in rain -- and back in rain,
    And out in rain -- and back in rain,
    And out in rain -- and .... you get the picture.)
    I have been skinsoaked under every city light.

    I have looked down every moss-choked city lane.
    I have passed drowned dolphins on my lawn
    And splashed them with galoshes unwilling to explain.

    I have stood up to my kiester in the ceaseless plop of drops
    When over head an scheduled cloud's deluge
    Sloshed the houses with a mound of mist,

    But not to call me back but slather me with slops;
    And further still at an unearthly height
    One more damned raincloud against the sky

    Proclaimed Seattle was neither dry nor Right.
    I have been one acquainted with the blight.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 12, 2007 10:36 AM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Oh Beautiful for Rainbowed Skies: Rare Horizontal Rainbow Over Oregon

    Seen outside of Elgin, Oregon on the Hell's Canyon Scenic Byway, spanning the sky, this rare horizontal rainbow.

    Here's a close up.

    Here's another.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 3, 2007 9:48 PM |  Comments (15)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Global Warming Closes in on Seattle


    "Orwell missed one:
    War is Peace
    Freedom is Slavery
    Ignorance is Strength
    Colder is Warmer"
    -- Riki in the Comments

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 14, 2007 8:27 PM |  Comments (23)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Camo Testing in Urban Environments


    Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 10, 2006 9:28 PM |  Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    In Seattle, Global Warming is on Hold


    Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 7, 2006 12:38 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink

    Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 16, 2006 6:52 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink


    Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 16, 2006 6:45 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Weegee's Space Patrol

    The International Center of Photography has a new show up The Unknown Weegee. For those who don't know about Weegee, one of the great American photographers of the 20th Centry, go here. and learn. Yes, there will be a test.

    For my part, the most arresting image available on line is this one:
    Why? Because I had that Space Patrol helmet. At the time, it was my favorite item in the world and "Space Patrol" was my favorite TV show. Once I got it I would wear it while watching the show.

    Time, of course, keeps moving on, but still today whenever I see a particularly strange bit of behavior in others or myself, the first words that pop into my mind are, "Space patrol." And, alas, I no longer have the hat, but I wish I did. It would come in quite handy for things like political conventions.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 11, 2006 9:46 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sleeping in Seattle

    "Spring is in the Air"

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2006 9:03 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    This Just In

    From Point Five .... which is on a roll, baby.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 28, 2006 3:48 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Photo of the Year, So Far


    From Dick Jones' Patteran Pages

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 26, 2006 11:38 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    American Digest: Irritating Liberals Since 2002


    tick.... tick..... tick.... tick.... -- 30 minutes pass ---


    Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 6, 2006 5:53 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why Everybody in Florida Locks Their Doors at Night

    Taken by the resident's very foolish neighbor.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 1, 2005 12:17 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    This Is My Rifle, This Is My Gun

    General Barnicke: Where have you been soldier?
    John Winger: Training, sir.
    Soldiers: Training, sir.
    General Barnicke: What kind of training?
    John Winger: Army training, sir.
    Soldiers: Army training, sir.
    -- Stripes

    Yes, "Army Training!" as seen in the small film @ Boots & Sabers: Artillery 101.

    [via Donald Sensing's "Take it from an old artillery guy – this is not the way to fire a howitzer." @ One Hand Clapping ]

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 26, 2005 12:10 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Want to Know What a Million Looks Like?

    FOR YOUR SENIOR NERD MOMENT OF THE DAY: Pi to 1,000,000 places

    Via Solarvoid

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 21, 2005 11:02 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Dreadful Persistance of the Patriarchy

    Click to Enlarge

    "Yesterday we noted that nostalgic feminists had met at the Florida State Capitol in an attempt to revive the moribund Equal Rights Amendment."
    -- OpinionJournal - Best of the Web Today

    [Image pointer via the always interesting Coyote Blog ]

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 17, 2005 12:57 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Me or Your Lying Eyes? Redux


    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 14, 2005 10:06 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Me or Your Lying Eyes?

    Remember, both his feet in reality are flat on the pavement

    -- Impact Lab - Amazing 3D Sidewalk Art Photos

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 10, 2005 3:51 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Vacation Explorations We Would Not Have Thought of On Our Own

    From Travelocity's home page:


    When you click "More" things get really wild for the whole family.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 8, 2005 7:49 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    New Rules of Asymetrical Warfare #679

    JIM GERAGHTY ROLLS HIS OWN @ TKS on National Review Online:

    "On the other hand, considering how effective these young women have been in garnering attention from the (COUGHmaleCOUGH) blogs, we may be witnessing a revolution in asymetrical warfare: The side that can deploy the most attractive young women in front of the media cameras wins."

    Which would lead one to imaging the plea from somewhere in Sharia tonight, "Most honorable mullah, I regret to report that these floor-to-ceiling burkas just aren't getting it done. We need a fatwa to allow us to deploy the Martha Stewart Poncho."

    marthaburka.jpg marthaponcho.jpg
    Martha Stewart and daughter Alexis, before and after fatwa

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 6, 2005 11:52 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Coupling

    Photo: GVdL

    For What Binds Us
    by Jane Hirschfield

    There are names for what binds us:
    strong forces, weak forces.
    Look around, you can see them:
    the skin that forms in a half-empty cup,
    nails rusting into the places they join,
    joints dovetailed on their own weight.
    The way things stay so solidly
    wherever they've been set down-
    and gravity, scientists say, is weak.

    And see how the flesh grows back
    across a wound, with a great vehemence,
    more strong
    than the simple, untested surface before.
    There's a name for it on horses,
    when it comes back darker and raised: proud flesh,

    as all flesh
    is proud of its wounds, wears them
    as honors given out after battle,
    small triumphs pinned to the chest-

    And when two people have loved each other
    see how it is like a
    scar between their bodies,
    stronger, darker, and proud;
    how the black cord makes of them a single fabric
    that nothing can tear or mend.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 5, 2005 3:53 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Man Versus Doofus: The Body Language Says It All

    PHOTO COLLECTION OF MEMORABLE MOMENTS IN ELECTION, 2004: You'll laugh, you'll laugh til you cry, and you'll know the reason why.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 1, 2005 11:46 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Life Amidst the Ruins

    FROM THE AMAZING PHOTOPAGES @ "Outpost Crystal" by Sigmund Solares-- Katrina Aftermath - Stench, Stragglers, and Stagnant Water.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 7, 2005 12:08 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Find License Plate HN-HG-41

    The largest digital photo in the world contains this:


    inside of this:


    Find it. I did.

    To try your skills at looking for 21,465 pixels in a pile of 2,500,000,000 pixels, go here:TNO TPD - GigaPix UK

    TNO has produced the largest digital panoramic photo in the world. So, what do we mean by large? After all, modern consumer cameras can easily take a picture with 5 million pixels. Well, we are talking about a photo of completely different dimensions. One with 2.5 billion pixels - that's 500 times more pixels. If this photo were printed, it would measure 6.67 m by 2.67 m (300 dpi). The photograph shows Delft and its surroundings in the autumn of 2004. It was taken from the top of the Electrical Engineering faculty of Delft University, at a height of about 100 m, by TNO.
    Found at Optical Illusions Etc... via THE STEEL DEAL

    Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 1, 2005 12:41 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Passport Control

    Scrutiny with No Profiling. It's a wonderful thing.
    Via reader "forebob1." [1.1 megabytes. Windows Media Player.]

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 25, 2005 9:50 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Freeze-Dried Images. Just Add Fresh Clicks.




    Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 8, 2005 2:44 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Home from Above -- World as a Blog

    [Click to Enlarge]

    A less romantic but more mind-boggling view of my home via satellite imagery. Courtesy of the amazing ACME Mapper @ N 33.530609 W 117.76394, 1 m/p

    But why?

    To participate in this amazing visualization of the Blogosphere: The World as a Blog

    [Click to Enlarge]

    What? Real time & updating display of weblog postings, around the world

    How? geocoding RSS Flash Earth

    Check it out. Add yours. Cover the Earth.

    UPDATE: "How" to add your blog to World As A Blog is a bit obscure. Go to the world as a blog via the link above and click on "more info" for instructions. Simple and straight forward. If I can figure it out, anyone can.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 19, 2004 10:06 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Final and Ultimate Electoral Map

    Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 10, 2004 5:19 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    News Untouched By Human Hands

    At any rate, that's what 10x10 / 100 Words and Pictures that Define the Time / by Jonathan J. Harris claims to be providing.

    Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.
    The feeds currently being scanned are Reuters, BBC World, and New York Times International, so I think we can assumed there's human input in there somewhere.

    Still, this is an amazing tool to look at and play with. Well executed and elegant. [Requires Flash]

    Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 9, 2004 9:34 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Phases of the Eclipse

    When most American eyes were focused on the nation, a few took notes on the heavens. One note was this time-lapse photograph of the recent Lunar Eclipse by Forrest Egan @ Digital Astro! [Larger images at the site.]

    Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 9, 2004 9:13 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Kerry Draft, Part 2

    by Harry122 at

    The New Non-Action Army.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 20, 2004 11:14 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Politics is Just Chess in Four Dimensions

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 19, 2004 11:01 AM |  Comments (2)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Small Ironies Involving Captions on the Campaign Trail


    "US Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry walks toward a crowd of supporters after delivering a speech .... "In the end, George Bush and I just have fundamentally different approaches to jobs and the economy," Kerry said."

    Via: LILEKS (James)

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 17, 2004 8:19 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    The Origamic Architecture of Chatami Meets Escher

    Paper. Scissors. Escher.

    An amazing confluence of two strange sensibilities.

    And what is Origamic Architecture?

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 5, 2004 11:59 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    VJ Day, September 2, 1945

    Times Square Then Photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt

    Times Square Now: Was it worth it? Photo by Van der Leun

    Donald Sensing reminds us that history is "what happened when" and why it means something more than "today is the first day of the rest of your life." At One Hand Clapping he reminds us that: On this date in 1945, the Empire of Japan surrendered almost without conditions to the United States and our allied nations, ending World War II.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Sep 2, 2004 4:20 PM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Tone Deaf

    YET ANOTHER CELEBRITY missing the double entendre.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 21, 2004 7:31 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Sign of the Times
    Posted by Vanderleun at Aug 16, 2004 11:24 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    At the Beach

    Laguna Beach, California

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 29, 2004 5:43 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Today in Google History

    KEVIN FOX @ has decided to donate this vintage 1960 Google query to a computer museum near you:

    (Click to enlarge)

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 25, 2004 11:27 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Redrawing the Middle-East Map: 2000-2004


    I have always considered the Iraq war, coupled with Afghanistan, as a strategy against IRAN, and that the benefits which came along with it (seed of democracy, Saddam on trial, etc.), secondary. I think to any halfway informed individual, Iran is the ultimate reforming goal. I do believe, the strategy has been "misunderstimated".
    To which Professor Reynolds remarks:"It is interesting to put this stuff on a map...."

    Like these: [Note: red=hostile to the United States, white=non-hostile, controlled by, or allied with the United States.

    The Situation in the Middle East in 2000 - Click for larger view

    The Situation in the Middle East in 2004 - Click for larger view

    Note: This is a repost from a February 2, 2004 item -- American Digest: The Facts on the Ground

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 19, 2004 11:21 AM |  Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink


    At the "Drive-Thru Espresso" in Laguna Beach, California.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 16, 2004 11:13 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Confident of Victory Kerry-Edwards Order "New Air Force One for the New America"

    Kerry-Edwards Air Force One Global Victory Tour, 2005 (Artist's Conception)

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 12, 2004 11:04 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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