Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun

Truth @ Slant

The Resume of Captain Kink


I'm Captain Kink. I'm Mister Scratch.
I'm your smiling, deathless dentist, Doctor Pain.
I've owned the Earth since Adam's birth,
And co-authored the book on raising Cain.

But you learned too well my old hard sell,
How I used to tempt your souls with sin and tonic.
And since out-of-date spells don't populate Hell,
I'm gone post-modern, solid-state, and ultra-sonic.

I'm that modern manufacturer
Who swung Liz Borden's ax for her.
I gave you Neutron Bombs and Asian Flu.
I've got old friends in the Senate
(Why, so many I may just rent it,
And, for my summer place, the Kremlin too.).

So when your puny little wars get out of hand,
Just sign in blood and , baby, I'm your man.
Don't you look for any favors from the blessed.
God's angels will just confuse you,
Shame you, bore you, and abuse you.
(They might even convince you life's a mess.)

I'm never that judgmental.
In fact, I'm rather sentimental.
When time's get tough I'll be your only hope.
I'll hold your hand and guide you,
In that darkest dawn I'm right beside you.
(And you know I've always got the finest dope.)

So if doing good is looking...
Rather pale,
And being sweet is tasting...
A bit stale,
And you've got the yen to try...
A little starkness,
Just give me one short call,
You'll have no worries left at all,
When you sign on with Kink,
the Prince of Darkness....

Posted by Vanderleun at May 17, 2017 1:53 AM |  Comments (18)  | QuickLink: Permalink
On Advent: "We Are All Lying in the Mud, But Some of Us Are Looking at the Stars"


The caption at NASA's "Astronomy Picture of the Day" page reads: "Atlantis to Orbit."

The filename of the picture reads: nightlaunch.

And I am moved by the poetry of this most modern of images, not by the triumph of Reason which it seems to enshrine, but by that which is beyond Reason yet within this nightlaunch all the same.

In thinking about this brief essay I could not help but think of a longer one by Doctor Bob at The Doctor Is In about a "civilized" European nation that cannot stop itself from taking the next step down into the pit; its people driven, as "reasonable" people always are, by the inexorable demands of "what is reasonable."

In the work of Goya we see how that great soul, having walked the carnage cloaked landscapes of his era, came to understand the deepest cry of the Enlightenment: El sueño de la razon produce monstruos. ["The sleep of reason breeds monsters."]


Ah well, the bones of the Enlightenment lie buried in a shallow grave somewhere along the Western Front. It had some nice ideals, but left us living rapt in the spell of Reason.

And now we are a "reasonable" society. Now we are a "scientific people" swaddled in a million theories of management -- convinced that all of creation can be, somehow, managed through the limitless employment of Reason. Many of us, as we have seen in the past month, worship "intelligence uber alles," that strange and deadly viral god of the mad mind that kills the soul long before it kills the nations that embrace it. We see the apotheosis of this worship leap up from the dazed lands of Europe. We see it arc across our own skies. We feel the sting of its acid rain on our upturned, stunned faces.

Reason. Its gifts are many. It enables us to raise "Atlantis to Orbit." The poetry of that is only exceeded by the reality of it; by all that lies behind the sheer raw ability of the smart monkey to organize itself to achieve it -- the mathematics and the metallurgy, the pulses in the silicon chips that hold and control the fire that slices up and beyond the sky. And the systems and wires and waves that bring these thoughts from my fingertips to your eyes now.

All these, and whole Alps of others, are the gifts of Reason.

But there are darker gifts of Reason; gifts revealed by the languor with which a whole people fall "half in love with easeful death."

Why? Why abort this child? Because it is reasonable.

Why kill this old and feeble person? Because it is reasonable.

Why take from them according to ability and give to others according to need? Always because it is "reasonable."

Reason commands it and Reason has, in this modern era, become a vengeful and a jealous god.

If it is true that the sleep of reason breeds monsters, can it not also be true that the constant wakefulness of Reason breeds its own peculiar hallucinations; its walking horrors?

We depend on Reason when we flip a switch, step on a brake, or seat ourselves in pressurized thin metal tubes that hover 40,000 feet above the earth and move at 500 miles an hour. This power would seem to argue that Reason should be trusted in all things, that the intelligence that runs up and down the synapses of our brains in an endless flickering web of electo-chemical space-time events is the ultimate arbiter, the final judge, the self-obsessed lodestone of our lives.

And yet... and yet...

And yet, hovering outside of Reason, we still somehow sense Immanence; we sense there is something more going on here, something vaster unfolding all about us, no matter how sternly Reason rules.

We sense Immanence, no matter how many times we are told the opposite; we sense that myth, legend, soul, magic, miracle and mystery still hold us, and that

The palm at the end of the mind,
Beyond the last thought, rises
In the bronze decor,

And that,

The palm stands on the edge of space.
The wind moves slowly in the branches.
The bird's fire-fangled feathers dangle down.

As we now move more deeply into Advent, we move -- in our long sweeping orbit about our home star -- closer to the moments when that which is most deeply our gift and most certainly our curse is made manifest in the music of our being in a manner beyond all reason. And no matter what our faith -- even if that faith is that there is no faith to be had -- this turn of the year, this Advent, will inexorably bring us once again to the memory of the miracle made manifest all about us in every moment if we could but pause to see the forever present revelation.

Our Here.

Our Now.

Our miracle.

Impossible but actual.

Our actual existence on this most unlikely melding of earth, air, fire and water, fused far ago in a forgotten eternity from starstuff, and now circling a single sun swimming in some out-of-the-way arm of a second-class galaxy, where we lift Atlantis into orbit; where we seek to populate the stars in our searching.

On the one hand, it is clear that Reason demands that "We shall not cease from exploration," while on the other it may well be that:

"... the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time."

And while nothing in our Book of Reason can tell us why, its endless banal chapters on irony would need to be excised were we to discover that all "Enlightenment," all our "Age of Reason" has wrought is but a frail and flimsy ladder to the stars where we could at last put out our feeble hands "to touch the face of God."

For Donald Sensing who put it in my mind, and for Solomonia who pointed me to the picture.

First published 2006-11-27

Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 27, 2016 1:50 AM |  Comments (26)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Devolution of Stupid People: Joe Rogan's Classic Standup Rant


That’s the scariest thing about life, it’s that dumb people are out-breeding smart people at a staggering pace. And nobody ever even talks about it! We all kinda know it’s happening, and the real problem is; most of us are dumb. We don’t want to admit it, but really, how many of us are really smart? Look, I know I’m stupid. I know. I know I’m stupid, yet I’m smarter than almost everybody I meet! And the real problem with dumb people is, they don’t even know they’re dumb. That’s a part of being dumb, you’re not aware!

There should be a way to tell, like a home pregnancy test type thing. Some shit you take at home and you lick it and you go “Oh, I’m a idiot! It’s broken, gimme another one!” Dudes would never believe it, idiots would have boxes stacked to the ceiling. “LIAR! NO!”

The real problem is, most of us are idiots! We just like to think that we’re not idiots because we use stuff that smart people have figured out. But how many of us understand any of that stuff? Think about the technological level the world operates on, how many of us really understand that? What if everybody out there died, and we had to take over the world? How well would you think we’d do?

[Crowd starts cheering]

“Yeah, terrific! We would do awesome!” Yeah, does anybody really know how any of this stuff works?

[Taps microphone]

Why’s that loud, any idea? I’ve been a comedian for sixteen years, I have no idea what’s in there! I don’t know, some loud stuff? I don’t know.

[Points at spotlight]

What makes that bright, bright light? I don’t know. Think about all the stuff you need to run your life. Computers and palm pilots and cell phones, how many of you know how to make any of that ? I mean, if I left you alone in the woods with a hatchet, how long before you can send me an email?

We are not smart! We buy stuff from smart people! I don’t have a camera on my phone because I’m smart! If you left me on an island for a million years I could never figure out how to put a camera on a phone! I don’t even know what a camera is! I know that I press a button and a picture shows up. What happens between me pressing the button and the picture showing up is anybody’s fucking guess! There might be leprechauns with spray paints up the ass!

All I know is “megapixel”! Yeah, you gotta say that to get the good stuff. I don’t even know what a megapixel is! It’s like a noise you make with your mouth. “Megapixel! Ohhh, you’re clever! You are clever!”

Who knows of people who know that shit? Does anybody know anyone that’s invented anything? Who are they? Is anybody watching them? Making sure they’re alive? Making sure that somebody mixed kids with them? No! No one’s paying attention! I think what’s going to happen is that one day smart people are just gonna die and they’re gonna leave us with a bunch of stuff we don’t understand. I think there’s gonna be no warning!

We’re just gonna be sitting around, having a good time, having a couple of drinks, power’s just going to shut off. Everybody’s gonna get out their lighters “Way to go, you idiots! Can’t even keep the power on, what the hell…” And what do you do when the power goes out? I don’t know what you do, what I do usually is that I sit around and I wait. Cause I figure “There’s a guy fixing that stuff. Probably working out it right now…” How long will it take before you figure out all the smart people are dead? It would take years. You would have to run out of batteries, “Dude I don’t know how to make a battery, what do we do?”

“Listen, just get together with a torch, okay? Get a torch, we’re all gonna meet in the street and we’re all gonna work this out. It’s gonna be cool.”

Standing out in the street with a torch, “What’sup?”

“Dude, you know how to get the power on?”

“I thought you did!”

“No… alright, keep me posted.”

“You too!”

We’d just be sitting in our houses with out torches. That would work. ‘Till the animals realize we don’t have electricity any more and they start sneaking around, checking stuff out. And they realize there’s no loud noises to scare them off any more and bears just start grabbing people.

[Imitating bear attack]

They just realize we’re fat and slow, they don’t even have to catch us. They scare us, we’ll just black out. It’s a matter of time before they start eating us! More evolution! But not me motherfucker, I’ve got guns! I’ve got bullets, I’m gonna be fine! …until I run out of bullets

“I don’t know how to make a fucking bullet, do you? Dude, there’s bears out there, we don’t even have any bullets, what do we do?!”

“Listen man, we’re gotta get out of the city, we’re sitting ducks. This is what we should do; we should move back into the caves!” People will live in the caves again!

“Dude, it’s safer in the caves, bro! Just guard the entrance with sharp, pointy sticks!”



We would just get down to a core group of survivors, fighting off the bears. And within one or two generations we would forget EVERYTHING! Trigonometry, calculus, all that's gone! Science, the ‘Net, it’s gone! It’s never gonna happen again! It would take thousands of years, you would have to reinvent electricity… Within one hundred years would think the world’s flat and the sun is seventeen miles away.



We would just devolve to a core group of survivors and let them re-evolve and re-discover the earth. How crazy would that be? How crazy would a caveman discovering downtown Phoenix be? Just coming out of the cave with his fucking club, with his buddies.

“Dude, who built all this?”

“Bro, it had to be aliens!”

“YEAH! Yeah it’s aliens! I can’t do that, you do that?”

“Neither can I! What the fuck?”

See, I think this has happened before. I think it explains the pyramids. And yeah, I was really high when I thought this up. But it makes sense!

If you ever watch a documentary on how they built the pyramids, they have no idea how they made those things.

“Well, we believe they used levers”, but this is all that you really need to know. They know they’re there, so they know somebody made them. But all you need to know about the Great Pyramid of Giza; there’s two million, three hundred thousand stones that weigh between two and 80 tonnes – some of them were cut form a quarry that was that was five hundred miles away! No machines, no trucks, no steel, they had copper tools and they were perfectly cut, you couldn’t even get a razor blade in between these rocks and they were perfectly aligned, true North, South, East and West. And if you cut and place ten of these monstrous stones a day it would take you six hundred and sixty for years to make one pyramid! All brought to you by people who thought the god Ra took the sun across the sky in a canoe and returned later that evening with the moon. They had sixteen year old queens! Cleopatra was sixteen years old when she was running Egypt. That’s like Lindsay Lohan being Queen of the world!

And they built that?! They built that? Are you sure? Are you sure? Okay, because I have another theory. I think people used to be really, really, really fuckin’ smart! But the dumb ones just out-bred the smart ones! That’s what I think! I think that we are all the bastard children of the idiot stone workers of Egypt! I think that at one point there was a master race and they were reading each other’s minds and they were free of ego and they were totally honest and they were mapping out the cosmos and behind them, the stone workers just fucked away.

[Mimics stone workers having sex, and giving birth to a child]

“Oh look, he look just like me! That’s my fella right there!”

They just took over. And one day the smart people just die. There’s probably no warning. Just one day the idiots show up at the pyramids “Hello?! Anybody in there?! We’re supposed to get our checks on Friday! Hello?! The boy’s have got overtime coming! The holidays’ just around the corner, have you no heart?”

Then eventually they just realize the smart people are all dead.

“What do you want to do?”

“I think for now we should just move into the pyramids then we’ll figure it all out.”

And that’s what they did, they just moved in. Then they just started lying about it. After a couple of generations, “Who built this?”

“WE DID! We’re the best, we’re number one! Egypt! Egypt! Egypt! Look at that beautiful flat wall! That’s craftsmanship, son! I think I will draw stick figures on it!

[Mimics drawing]

“This.. is a woman… she’s carrying food upon her head… that’s important to document! And this… is a man… but, he has a head of a dog! And he’s evil!”

You sure they made that? They wrote in stick figures, dude.


Found at Joe Rogan - Wikiquote

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jan 22, 2016 11:57 AM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Frequently Answered Questions

matthew-Lesko23.jpg Everywhere you go you see "Frequently Asked Questions" scattered about to help you find out what everybody else apparently knows. Nobody, as far as we know, is helping you with the essential questions of life, the Frequently Answered Questions ®.

These are the questions you ask or answer hundreds of times in your life. But do you answer them correctly? Sadly, millions of people do not.

As a public service we present the first in our ongoing series of answers to Frequently Answered Questions ®.

If you have any Frequently Answered Questions® you'd like help with, pop them in the comments and our crack staff of out-of-work philosophers, professional wise-guys, cut-rate gurus, and grief counselors between assignments will be happy to enlighten you.

Of course the number-one-with-bullet Frequently Answered Question® in today's post-racial America is:

Are you a racist?
Well, if the truth were told, who isn't? But say either "No," or "Who you calling a racist?" or "Get out of my face you dumb chunk of human garbage!"

As we all know, this question is never answered in the affirmative -- except by white liberals seeking to curry favor, get a date, or be declared legally black.

Indeed, this question doesn't have to be answered. The fact that you are being asked the question establishes that you are, indeed, a racist. This is primarily true if you happen to be of the white persuasion, but can also be true is you are of a member of a majority-minority. This means any minority which is larger than any other minority present.

Hence, a Native American gets to ask an African-American if he is a racist because the Native American is from a minority-minority (unless the encounter is happening in a Casino). However, the "once-was-a-slave" rule comes into play here since the minority-minority was only conquered and subjugated, rather than captured and subjugated and made to take a long, unpleasant sea voyage. By invoking the "once-was-a-slave" rule an African-American, even if one of the majority-minority, can reasonably deny racism since, having invented the "Are you a racist?" gambit, African-Americans cannot, ipso facto, be racist. Got it? Good. There will be a spot quiz on this question when you least expect it for the next 50 years so you'd better get crisp about it.

Was George Bush legally elected president the first time?
Only ask this question if you've got the next five hours to burn.

Is it still George Bush's fault?
Silly Rabbit, studies have shown that everything since and including the Crucifixion of Christ is George Bush's fault.

Posted by Vanderleun at Dec 6, 2015 2:02 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
The Old Regime

There are hundreds of nineteenth-century photographs of severed heads.

Severed heads posed alone on tables, severed heads positioned at the foot of a headless bodies, decapitated heads of accomplices posed together—the possible arrangements seems endless. Between the severed heads, photographs of executions, portraits of criminals, and portraits of guillotine victims, what is the nineteenth century if not, as Daniel Arasse has suggested, a “extended series of heads cut off and cut up”?

Antoine Wiertz, Thoughts and Visions of a Severed Head (1853).

“I asked Monsieur D to put me in rapport with the cut-off head,” Wiertz recounted, “by means of whatever new procedures seemed appropriate to him. Monsieur D acquiesced. He made some preparations and then we waited not without excitement for the fall of a human head.” Wiertz’s magnetopathic experience paid off in the most macabre manner: “The head of the executed man, saw, thought, and suffered,” the painter wrote, “And I saw what he saw, understood what he thought, and felt what he suffered.”

“Four hours in advance,” reported the International Herald Tribune, “six hundred persons pressed toward the Place Louis-Barthou.

There were catcalls and jests with the Mobile Guard and occasionally a wave of cheering and whistling. In two brightly lighted cafes waiters joked and perspired and piles of sausage sandwiches, prepared in advance, went steadily down.” A little after 4 a.m. Weidmann emerged from his cell “eyes…tightly shut, his face flushed and his cheeks sunken.” His blue, prison-issued shirt had already been cut away from his neck and shoulders. Weidmann was placed in the awaiting guillotine, “his shoulders…startlingly white against the dark polished wood of the machine.” — Photographing the Guillotine —The Appendix

The Old Regime

The tumbrils creak and rumble back
Along the roads of slate,
Retracing rutted years of sand
Whose distance storms debate.

The passengers stand fixed as stone
While faces cheer from snow.
The blade awaits it's midday meal,
When those above become below.

Innovations carved from clouds
Give despair and dance new measures.
The blade reflects its evening meal
When kings slake lower pleasures.

Arrived at Now they gaze at mist
Where granite horses roam.
Their schedules as fixed as dark.
Their future -- structured foam.

The head within the basket sees
Vast parliaments of sky.
The ears hear but the fading surf
As the past gone years drift by.


Posted by gerardvanderleun at Oct 14, 2014 7:24 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
BEAUTY by Scott Burdick | "If you don't feel anything when looking at a painting it is a failure as a work of art."

Presented as a public service and discovered at John C. Wright’s Journal. Most will pass this item by feeling that an hour is just too much time to waste on 4 videos about "Beauty." They will be wrong. But they'll never know it and go on mistaking the ugly for the beautiful; a much larger waste of time in today's world.

Oh well, all the more scarce beauty for the rest of us.

Part 1

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jul 25, 2014 10:49 AM |  Comments (19)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Who shut up the sea with doors, when it brake forth, as if it had issued out of the womb? - Job 38


Massive 'ocean' discovered towards Earth's core | A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth's surface. The finding could help explain where Earth's seas came from.

The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth's surface and its core.

The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth's water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.

"It's good evidence the Earth's water came from within," says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.


6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. Genesis 1:6-8 KJV - And God said, Let there be a firmament - Bible Gateway

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...
Water dissolving...and water removing
There is water at the bottom of the ocean
Carry the water at the bottom of the ocean
Remove the water at the bottom of the ocean!

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

12 Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance? Isaiah 40

Posted by gerardvanderleun at Jun 17, 2014 2:16 AM |  Comments (17)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Getting Stoned with Barry O: The MSM is Only 4 Years Late on This


Stop the Presses! This just in: A User's Guide To Smoking Pot With Barack Obama.

Yes, oh so timely. Except that....

[First Published: 2008-12-18 01:14:25]

Vintage Postcard, 1969

Cause I'm a picker
I'm a grinner
I'm a lover
And I'm a sinner
I play my music in the sun.
I'm a joker
I'm a smoker
I'm a midnight toker
Steve Miller, The Joker

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for a little toke every now and then. Somewhere legal, like, man, say in Amsterdam. Not that I see, smell, or smoke the "Devil's weed wherein lurks murder, insanity, death" frequently, if at all, any more. I don't look for it, but if some smouldering spliff comes my way, well....

All the same as a (reformed) card-carrying member of the original Berkeley/Haight Hippies, I have had my share of smoke so powerful it could, as we once said, cause "the baby Jesus to open your mind and shut your mouth." I have been in rooms in Paris where the leaders of the Columbia student protests of 1968 stuffed up all the windows and doors of a cheap hotel room and lit an entire kilo on fire. And then we all stood in the smoke until it drove us out of the room. I've known people who smuggled 5 keys of Afghan hash into the country disguised as a carved wooden table. We worked on that one with a cabinet-maker's plane for about six months. I've done radio shows where the fans would mail us joints to make the music that much more interesting. I've sat on a floor with a man so stoned and yet so adept that he took about twenty papers and rolled, perfectly, an entire orange right down to the twisted ends. I've been to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam. Twice. I can't even talk about the entire front garden of weed that we accidently planted in Venice, California. It grew to about six feet tall before anybody got straight enough to notice it wasn't "calendula." We hung the plants head down in the garage for a month waiting for them to dry. We spent a lot of time in that garage. We wired it for sound.

Posted by Vanderleun at May 25, 2012 11:14 AM |  Comments (37)  | QuickLink: Permalink
In the Ruins of Yesterday


"You know what blood looks like in a black and white video?
Shadows, Shadows..."

-- John Prine

The pictures stream as always. The suffering they display, like meat in a butcher's window, is as it always is. A people with measly mean nothing at the beginning of their day greet the night with less than nothing.

The disaster is so perverse that the shabbier your dwelling was the safer you were. Those that lived in walls of sticks driven into mud and roofed with leaves had a better chance at life than those who dwelt in concrete and brick or wattle and daub. When the tremors stopped the hut dwellers dug out those who were at least one rung up on the ladder of what passed, until just the other day in Haiti, for "the good life."

Within the electronic stream of reports, the reporters report as they always do. The albino wraith of Anderson Cooper gestures in the dust, shining white and well-coifed against a sea of black survivors. Cooper and his colleagues lack the soul necessary to narrate what is unfolding before their eyes. Instead they stumble towards a hyperbole commensurate with what they see and smell as they glide through the rubble in their bubble of privilege.

Blessed by the news stars' presence "the Get" in Haiti streams up to the satellites and out over the roof of the world. Especially gripping footage taken from above or from a passing jeep is looped over and over to add images to the reporters' reports of the unimaginable. The frantic digging in the rubble with hands and sticks. The dead limbs and faces mottled with blood and dust. The child with the makeshift bandage wrapped around her jaw. The father carrying the limp young boy in his arms along the shattered street. The grainy 30 seconds of surveillance footage in which the earth begins to bob and leap and jump about as small human figures scuttle towards any place other than where they are; towards someplace safe when nowhere is safe.

The prayers and pleas are prayed and pled as they always are. "Give till it hurts." "Give until you drop." "The need is without bottom." "These are the charities with 'good track records' at getting the most of your dollar to those in the most need." These are the voices that remind Americans about "how generous Americans are; how generous Americans always are."

The president, grateful that the story of the day is not about him, stands with his strange and useless vice-president and his stranger still secretary of state, and promises that America will assist, as America always assists, and that Americans will give as Americans always have given. His factotums on either side bob their heads up and down in assent like two drinking birds over the glass.

We know the drill by now and we know what we shall see. Large airplanes landing and taking off. Perhaps a carrier task force and a landing that doesn't look too much like an amphibious invasion by the Marines. All these will bring in aid and help and comfort and, after a time, all these will leave. And after some time later, America will be back to being hated by all those in Haiti and elsewhere who have always hated it and who have no ability to alleviate suffering themselves, only extend it.

That's how it will be and how it always is. Still, a certain tomorrow is not reason not to act today to stop the suffering in the ruins of yesterday. And so we shall go on until this particular task is done. We're Americans. It is what we do in these times of crisis. It is what we do while working hard to reduce ourselves to the status of the third world where, no nation being exceptional, all nations shall be equal in squalor and suffering.

Before then, there will be a point when -- if the numbers killed are as we have been told -- the dead will be stacked like cord word somewhere in the deforested fields of Haiti. Then they'll be soaked with diesel fuel and burned like so much trash. You'll smell the smoke for miles. Footage of these "funerals" will most likely not be streamed but clips will find their way to LiveLeak or other sites of dubious distinction. At some point fairly soon, cholera will appear and there will be more fuel for the pyres. This will go on until the dead are burned out.

And then, in a few months, the world will again forget about Haiti. It's a place long beyond recall and it takes a disaster this size to make the world remember. The impulse then is to "fix" Haiti as soon as possible and then return to the forgetting.

This morning I saw, as did you, the whole cascade of horror streaming from the television. I stepped outside into a crisp and clear winter's morning and saw in the high blue above a jet climbing towards mid-heaven with a long white contrail slashing behind. Somewhere, I thought a surviving Haitian may have looked up and seen, high overhead, a jet trailing contrails across the blue heading out from somewhere near to somewhere very, very far away. How much would he pay to be on that jet on this morning? Everything he had and more. And when this is all over you can sense that the soul of such a man caught in his deathtrap nation would fill with either despair or a terrible resolve.

Posted by Vanderleun at Jan 14, 2010 3:21 PM |  Comments (6)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Nationalize the Money Machines!


When cutting a porn film for maximum impact, there's an old bromide that the folks in the editing room know only too well: "Cut to the f**king." It seems to me that getting from here to there is taking entirely too long for this adminustration. It's time they quit diddling around will bailouts, TARPS, and Zombie banks, and just give the people what they want -- money machines that will never, ever, run dry.

You may be worried about your 501K. I may be concerned about my position in US steel. But the hard core of the Obama constituency is fretting over one thing and one thing only, the terrible specter of a Government check that hits the bank but doesn't come out the business end of an ATM.

You think you've seen trouble when the stock market augers into the ground like a poleaxed pigeon? Wait until a day arrives when the ATMs don't stand and deliver. That's when canned goods and ammo will seem like manna from heaven.

So the Omen might as well "cut to the f**king" and get the ATMs firmly under government control. Once that happens, who needs banks?

Posted by Vanderleun at Apr 9, 2009 8:24 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
My name is Barack Hussein Obama, one of the sons of Barack Obama, Sr., a Luo from Nyang’oma Kogelo, Nyanza Province, Kenya, and of Ann Dunham Soetoro.

As a result of my recent election to a high government post, I have come into possession of $3,550,000,000,000 ($3.55 trillion of U.S. dollars), that I wish to transfer to various agents in the states and abroad during the years 2009 and 2010.... -- LEAK: Budget Email to Obama’s 13-Million ‘Buddies’

HT: Sensing

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 24, 2009 11:54 AM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stealth Reparations: "Mouth Full of Gimme and a Hand Full of 'Much Obliged' "

reparations-can_web.jpgJohn Derbyshire @ The Corner relates this sage observation:

I was giving him my usual rap about Caracas on the Hudson, and how cardboard box cities will spring up in Miami, Houston and Los Angeles over the coming decade. "It's the poor who always suffer worst from inflation." I said.
"Not in this case," said my friend, "because all the poor in this country are deeply in debt. They'll all have the relative value of that debt wiped away while the middle class will end up bearing the brunt of the burden. All Obama has to do is dilute the currency and he'll be responsible for one of the greatest transfers of wealth in human history without firing a shot."

I submit that there are elements lurking in the Obama legislative offensive even more craven and hypocritical than that. Smarter too.

Suppose, just suppose, you were a politician whose most fervent supporters were looking for a check, a fat check, from the government for wrongs done to their great-great-great-grandparents through slavery. This yearning for unearned money is what has been dubbed, Reparations. It's been a popular dream in and out of the surviving urban ghettos for decades. Nothing focuses the mind of the professionally indigent -- and those set up to serve them -- more than the vision of globs of money descending upon them from the Great Father in Washington.

But at the same time you are a smart politician. You know that just pounding a gigantic honeypot labeled "Reparations" down the throats of the taxpayers would create a firestorm of argument. Not only about the money but about the recipients as well. You want Americans to have a full and frank, no-holds-barred "conversation" about race? Just announce you're going to pay one race off.

The quest for reparations goes back long before the Civil War, and emerged after in the concept of "40 acres and a mule" that were given and sometimes taken back from freed slaves. It has been kept alive up to this day through a series of groups whose special pleading has grown sharper as the distance in time from slavery has increased. The issue slipped beneath the surface of American political life during the recent campaign as did so many others but that does not mean it has sunk. As a quest, reparations is always ready to resurface.

It's hard to encapsulate what is wrong, deeply wrong, with reparations, but Thomas Sowell comes close with:

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 5, 2009 11:38 AM |  Comments (12)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Stimulus Economics Simplified

The Final Stimulus Package Explained

Posted by Vanderleun at Mar 4, 2009 7:47 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
How Cold Is It In Florida This February?

Just about this cold.

Fountain in the courtyard of Casa de Solana, St. Augustine, Florida. February 6 @ about two in the afternoon.

Posted by Vanderleun at Feb 6, 2009 1:48 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
Zimbabwe: Hey, how's that wealth-spreading thing working out?

Do you fear "inflation?" Do you even know what it looks like? Here's a little photo-essay that brings the real meaning of government by printing press home. What the real crisis is like!

On the plus side, the use of this technique can mean that America can have just about as many billionaires as it has citizens.

Spreading the wealth!

What the spread wealth buys.

Paying for dinner. The tip is in there, somewhere.

Moral: Those who do not remember the present are condemned to pay for it.

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 28, 2008 12:59 PM |  Comments (5)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The 9 Plagues of Western Snivilization
In annotated outline:
  • 1960s: The Population Bomb. Too many people yields global famines and cannibalism. [Long pig -- the other white meat -- still not on any local restaurant's menu, except for that movie joint serving Fried Green Tomatoes.]
  • 1970s: No oil by 2000. [Still pumping and there's more wherever we look.]
  • 1970s: The new Ice Age. Just when the oil wells ran dry, the glaciers would begin.... [Good thing the polar bears will thrive. We'll need the fur coats.]
  • 1980s: AIDS. You're all going to die, YES YOU.... [Who me? Even if I don't share needles and body slam 15 guys a night at the bath houses which will never ever close? YES YOU-- and give us a lot of money too.]
  • 1990s: BSE. Eat beef? You're going to end up a drooling victim of Mad Cow Disease. [Better that than a member of Daily Kos. Saner and healthier as well. Bring on the rib-eye and let's get this over with.]
  • 1990s-present: Global Warming. Well, the Ice Age didn't emerge. [Good thing the polar bears are still thriving. We can feed the Eco-Nazi's to them.]
  • 2000s: Terrorism. We're facing a 9/11 every week from bombers who plan to destroy planes with weapons hidden in shampoo bottles. [Not if we adopt the secret TSA master plan and all fly naked with a box of sanitary wipes for the seats.]
  • 2000s: Bird Flu. [If the Chicken Blood Drinking Decathlon at the 2008 Beijing Olympics didn't spread this around the world nothing will.]
  • 2008: The credit crunch. Recession, depression or financial apocalypse? [I'm going long on canned goods and ammo. Especially Dinty Moore Polar Bear Stew. Hey, you gotta cut somewhere.]

Outline expanded @ Seconds To Doomsday

Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 12, 2008 10:28 AM |  Comments (13)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Top Ten Reasons to Procrastinate:


Posted by Vanderleun at Nov 21, 2007 10:23 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Happy at Last in Israel

Thought provoking as always, the insightful Michael J. Totten writing on The Paradox of Terror tries to come to terms with an unsettling recent poll.

Three different countries were recently polled, and respondents were asked whether or not they were satisfied with their lives. The three countries were Israel, the United States, and Canada.

Now. Ask yourself which of these three countries is probably the happiest, and which is the most distraught. I would have guessed Canadians would be happiest, followed by Americans, and then Israelis. And I would have gotten it exactly backward.

In Israel 83 percent say they are happy.

In the United States 64 percent say they are happy.

In Canada only 45 percent say they are happy.

Totten speculates briefly on why this should be so and reaches the conclusion that terrorism is an utter failure if it seeks to create unhappiness in a society.

That is as it may be, but the item made me remember Louis.

Louis was a close friend in college when I was at Berkeley during the mid to late Sixties. And yes, it was all that you've heard about it and more. There are those that say that if you remember the Sixties, you weren't there. That is as it may be, but I remember them all too clearly. One of the things I remember is Louis' paranoia.

Louis was a radical. Louis smoked a lot of weed. Louis dropped a lot of acid. Louis started, and had no little success with, a publishing company that printed up a lot of radical images that proved very popular. As a result, Louis was paranoid. He was paranoid about his politics. He was paranoid about his stash. He was paranoid about his money. He was paranoid that "they must bust in early May,/ Orders from the D.A."

Louis was a history major, and Louis was an American Jew with communist parents. As Louis said, "I've got my reasons to be paranoid and they're not little ones."

These were paranoid times, with reason, but we all agreed that in terms of the Paranoia Olympics, Louis took the gold in a very crowded field in Berkeley.

Time moved on and, as usually happens, everyone in our little radical set drifted apart. I moved to New York and lost track of everybody. Then, one day at my magazine job, my phone rang. It was Louis, checking in after about 10 years.

We arranged to have lunch and catch up. "Where can I take you? I've got a killer expense account." "Doesn't matter," Louis said, "as long as it's kosher." "Kosher?" "Kosher. You know I'm a Jew, but now I'm really a Jew."

We met somewhere down near Hester Street at some blintz palace. Louis walked in looking tanned, rested, ready and decidedly unparanoid. In fact, he looked confident and happy for the first time in living memory.

He guided me through the menu and told me about his life since leaving Berkeley. In short, he'd gone back to Israel under the law of return and was living in Tel Aviv working for the Jerusalem Post.

I was flabergasted. "Louis,' I said, "let me see if I've got this straight. You are the most paranoid person I've ever known."


"Okay, but you were, right?"


"So, as a paranoid, pot-smoking, acid-head, radical communist Jew, you've moved to the one place in the world where it is most dangerous to be a Jew?"

"You got that right."

"Louis, have you gone finally insane?"

'No. I've gone sane. Israel is the best place to be if you're a paranoid Jew."

"Really. How come?"

"It's simple really. Isreal is the one place on earth where, if you are a Jew, you really KNOW who your enemies are. It's not vague. They're right there. You know where they live. At last, I'm someplace where I know what is what and who is who. Plus there's an extra benefit."

"Oh yeah? What's that?"

"They give you a machine gun."

Posted by Van der Leun at Mar 15, 2005 10:10 AM |  Comments (3)  | QuickLink: Permalink
The Inevitable Bush Blowout

[Republished from American Digest, July 29, 2004 as a Homage to Hugh "It's gonna be a blow-out" Hewitt]

kansas-4 2.jpg
Democratic Party Electorial Prospects Post-Convention: Pick One


  • It will cause my DITS (Democrat Induced Tourette's Syndrome)to kick in and I will have to be put in restraints.
  • It will induce coma and I shall become one with millions of other sufferers
  • It will be a waste of life because, no matter what is said or done by Kerry or his true believers, there's no way to delay that Bush blowout coming every day.

    Yup, it doesn't matter what he says or does from this point forward. Kerry and the Democrats are about to transform themselves from people into smouldering slabs of toast come November. The good part is that they're going to spend lots of money doing it.

    So before the formal canonization of Kerry, I'd like to go on record as saying, along with a few other brave souls, that it is no longer a question of Kerry and the Democrats losing in November, but only one of how great and lasting their humiliation and degredation is going to be.

    As far as I can see it is going to be massive: a Tsunami of rejection; a battering of the Bozos with no ref to stop the fight in the sixth round; a comet impacting dead center in the Democratic Fantasy World and smothering all but the deepest burrowing small rodents in a layer of ash half a mile thick; a landslide in which the entire north face of Mount Everest decides to take a vacation on the shores of the Indian ocean; a blowout equal to the hotspot under Yellowstone deciding to displace Krakatoa as the loudest implosion heard in recorded history; an "L" branded on the forehead of the Democratic party so large and so deep that travel agencies from Japan will divert a whole season of Grand Canyon tours to the nearest Kerry Compound just so they can marvel and photograph themselves standing at the brink.

    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 19, 2004 9:24 PM |  Comments (58)  | QuickLink: Permalink
  • The Coming Draft


    Posted by Vanderleun at Oct 16, 2004 12:57 PM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Bush the Wuss
    The 9/11 report catalogues, and embodies, the bureaucratization of that effort, its transformation into a defensive action in which vast resources are deployed to guard against the possibility of pinpoint strikes -- the expense further increased by the need to maintain legal niceties and economic normality while the country is under threat. The attempt to be simultaneously at peace, and at war, is not sustainable.

    AS IS OFTEN THE CASE, DAVID WARREN, Canadian, is closer to the core of what the 911 Report actually exposes; a lack of resolve and a languid approach to what is a state of war.

    Call Mr. Bush a war-monger if you will; in my eyes he's beginning to look like a wuss. His great strength to date has been doing what he says he will do, thus making his demands credible. In the immediate aftermath of the Iraq invasion, a much higher level of co-operation was obtained from Libya, Sudan, Pakistan, and even Saudi Arabia and Iran. But the advantage has been frittered away, as the Bush administration has gone "all multilateral" in response to continuing criticism over Iraq. I myself underestimated the ability of the Western media to turn the victory in Iraq into an apparent defeat through selective reporting and sheer verbiage.

    While the current relaxation of Washington's belligerency may be attributed to the U.S. election cycle -- in the absence of another huge terror hit on the U.S. itself, the voters are getting bored with foreign wars -- I detect a deeper pusillanimity. In retrospect, it took much too long to invade Iraq, and the

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jul 25, 2004 7:58 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Special Offer

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 24, 2004 8:12 AM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Translating Tina Brown

    Tina in her signature "thoughtful
    pondering hand hiding the double chin"

    Gothamist Interviews: Tina Brown, Editor/Writer/TV Host

    Gothamist: Now you host a talk show on CNBC called "Topic A with Tina Brown." My question to you: Why television, why now?
    Tina Brown: There is no magazine I want to edit now.

    Translation: "After my professional sepuku with Talk Magazine, there is no magazine crazy enough to have me edit it. Most magazines still want to make money. And I have to do something to pass the time until Hillary is elected."

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 22, 2004 6:35 PM | QuickLink: Permalink
    Why They Hate Us #12,435

    Kaliber10000 :. Wulffmorgenthaler

    Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2004 6:32 PM |  Comments (1)  | QuickLink: Permalink
    Just Because. That's Why.
    But the older I get the more I add to my personal list of things you just do, because you're supposed to. You dress up for church. You wear nice clothes on the airplane. You don't swear in public. You don't kick dogs. You fly the flag on Memorial Day and the Fourth. Is this so hard?
    -- James Lileks, Writer
    Posted by Vanderleun at Jun 1, 2004 8:10 AM |  Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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