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Dust in the Wind and the Summer of 77

We had the experience but missed the meaning,
And  approach to the meaning restores the experience
In a different form, beyond any meaning
We can assign to happiness.

— Eliot, The Dry Salvages

Following a memory of my own, I “found” this video shortly after it was posted to YouTube over ten years ago. It struck me then as powerful in that offhand, out-of-left-field way that found objects can be. The power of this short window into 1977 is that it captures, without intent, the elements of memory. It melds the plaintive almost psalmic acoustic hit by Kansas with an imagery whose sheer faded quality adds to an overall impression of other times once lived and now gone beyond recall. It is the essence of “time in a bottle.”

Ordinary when made the film has aged into something beyond itself. Our better memories do that. They seem, if we think of them at all at the time we have the experience we will later remember, to be just barely beyond the cusp of the work-a-day patterns of our lives; of the ordinary. Often we don’t even discover them as memories until years later when they emerge, not as they were, but as they have become  – – as our aging souls expand enough to value what we thought at the time was dross — become the real gold of our lives.

The fact that it was viewable by me at all was one of those strange conjunctions of love and fate that the Web has made possible. The video is under the YouTube account of “uselessdirector” who has in the years since he posted this posted only two other personal bits in his account. The response to those is what it should be. Negligible. But the response to this video is now above 3,640,000 6,277,000 9,363,832 views with fresh comments still coming in almost hourly.

What is the provenance of this video? Uselessdirector states only, “Filmed in 1977 by my dad, this music video nearly became “dust in the wind” until it was restored from its failing 8mm format.” His role was to see the film as it was made, 8MM or 16MM, and to save it as a video before time faded the film to invisibility. He caught it just in time and in doing so caught time itself. Then, because he knew it had a value beyond itself and because he could, he placed it on YouTube where, in time, it was discovered.

From the video itself, we learn the names of the “Cast” in the credits and also see a list of “The Tribe.” Aside from that there are other hints to the spring or summer in which this was made. We discover it was made in Findley Lake, New York, a small rural community up near the shore of Lake Erie. Was “The Tribe” a group of friends or a small commune of the kind that were still common in those years? Did the young man and young woman paired as “Adam” and “Eve” have a relationship outside the film or was it only for the purposes of the film? Somehow I doubt it was the latter.

Looking a little deeper into the Net I found a few things worth noting. For one thing it is possible, through the odd but wonderful Google Street View to compare “Then” with “Now” and confirm, as if we did not know it with every cell of our being, that “Nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky.”



An interesting exercise in contrasting the present to a memory. But “interesting” is pretty much the finish of the exercise. In mere aesthetic terms it is obvious that the “Then” as evoked by the film image is far superior to the glimpse of “Now” gleaned by a Google Street View car sweeping by and capturing a slice of that particular road during the particular minute it passed that otherwise nondescript place on the edge of Findley Lake. The former is gold, the latter dross.

What was the memory I was following when I first found this film? It was my own memory of that song heard first in the summer of 1977 somewhere in London, New York, or Burgundy in France. I loved the summer of 1977. It was one of my favorite years. ’77 was one of those luminous years when everything in my life seemed to fall right and come together into something you could assign to happiness. After ’77 I’d wait 26 years for the next one.

I heard the song once again in memory. It was in a suburban mall parking lot in Connecticut on a chill winter evening during one of those years in my life when it all went smash.

If I have to choose between memories I’ll take the one contained in this ineffable bit of short film saved from the fade and the fog of time. It’s one of those strange artifacts that evokes  — among those alive in the time it was made — the cliched thought, “Dear God, were we ever that young?”

Made on a whim during an afternoon, the film answers, “Yes, you were. Yes, we all were. And in time, with the grace of God, we will be again.”


Two employees of Boston Properties demonstrated proper safe distancing in an elevator at the Prudential Center in Boston.  Going Up? Not So Fast: Strict New Rules to Govern Elevator Culture – The New York Times

Repeat After Me:



A Whale of a Tale

We are not alone on the Earth, we just don’t know how to communicate with the others. Yet.

[HT: The Sailor]




In a hidden valley in the foothills of Utah’s La Sal mountains, my old friend and I sat on his stone porch in the fading light and watched the sun disappear behind the soaring red rock of the Moab Wall ten miles to the west. As always from this perch along the fault line between basin and range, the view revealed four different American landscapes: desert, farmland, rolling ranch land, and high mountains.

In the pasture to our right, the wranglers were bedding down the ranch’s horses for the night. Up along the pine dotted cliffs on our left the last hunting hawks were circling. In front of us, the impossible burnt orange of a Moab sunset swarmed up the side of the western sky.

As we sat there, cigars burning low and the Metaxa in the stoneware cups sipped slowly, our conversation ebbed into the long silences that wrap around you when the world puts on its very best end-of-day displays.

Then from very far away over the mountains behind us, a faint, rising whoosh arced high overhead. Leaning our heads back we marked the contrails of an airliner slicing across the sky.

Through that still air the line of flight was drawn in a single stroke from somewhere far to the east (Chicago? New York City? That far? Further still?), and slanted down the slope of the sky towards somewhere far to the southwest (Phoenix? Los Angeles? Far beyond?).

In the following moments, while the night rose over the mountain behind us, more contrails appeared from the east before arcing down behind the tinted thunderheads that moved towards us from the high desert. Before full dark, we’d marked over a dozen. They lingered, gradually expanded, and then dissolved across all that empty sky.

“One of the things I remember about Seattle in the days following the Eleventh.” my friend offered as the day faded out, “was the emptiness of the skies. No planes. For the first time I can remember, days with no planes.”

“In New York,” I replied, “we had planes. Fighters cut across the sky at all altitudes. You’d hear their sharp sounds slice through the air above you at all hours. You were glad to hear them. You slept better when you slept at all.”

“It was sort of peaceful in Seattle during those days,” he replied. “Peaceful in an unnerving way. No noise from the air. No contrails.”

He paused as the last light in the valley faded and the contrails high above still marked the sky like broad smudges on a blackboard.

“Well, they’re back now,” he said as the stars came on.

“Yes,” I agreed. “They’re back. For now.”


Saving Slowly Strangling Seals… One at a Time

In California, the masked zombies moan and march but on the long sandy shores of Nambia faith in humanity is restored. Watch these. They will cleanse and refresh your soul. They did mine.

Namibia has a precious Cape fur seal population of roughly 1.5 million individuals all along its coast. These seals are exposed to illegally abandoned fishing gear and other marine debris that entangle, torture and kill them.

Naude and Katja Dreyer established Ocean Conservation Namibia in 2020 with the primary objective to help entangled seals and other marine animals along the Namibian coast. Through observation, direct action, exposure and education OCN hopes to motivate individuals all over the world to change their own behaviour towards a sustainable future.

In 2020, Naude and his team rescued over 600 seals from entanglement. In 2021, OCN has already done over 500 seal rescues.

The OCN team consists of several dedicated activists led by Namibian conservationist Naude Dreyer, who started rescuing seals more than nine years ago at Pelican Point. — Ocean Conservation Namibia | Seal Rescues — Welcome to Ocean Conservation Namibia!

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Wish I could be there.

The second and final open house will be

Friday September 17th and Saturday September 18th, 2021.

We will be there from 10:00am to 5:00pm.

Address: 3044 Daysha, Roseburg, Oregon

You can park anywhere on the street, or on the lot next to the house.

We look forward to seeing you there! 

The Daysha House project began three years ago with Episode One with channel subscribers around 60,000: [continue reading…]


Steel to Stone

“Show me the way that you would have me follow. Teach me the path on which you would have me walk… Lord what would you have me do this day?”  I have stone. I have steel. Once the sun is up, I’m gonna’ take me a wake n’ bake, and put the steel to the stone. Make something pretty. I got nothing else.JWM

To The Stone-Cutters
                by Robinson Jeffers

Stone-cutters fighting time with marble, you fore-defeated
Challengers of oblivion
Eat cynical earnings, knowing rock splits, records fall down,
The square-limbed Roman letters
Scale in the thaws, wear in the rain. The poet as well
Builds his monument mockingly:
For man will be blotted out, the blithe earth dies, the brave sun
Die blind, his heart blackening:
Yet stones have stood for a thousand years, and pained thoughts found
The honey peace in old poems.


[HT: Pete]




Garbage odyssey: San Francisco’s bizarre, costly quest for the perfect trash can –   The perfect can for the “Cans of San Francisco” would be low to the with a toilet seat on top a hole below and a stick for a roll of recycled toilet paper. Only for “Organic and recyclable matter.” It could be like those oriental toilets that gather “night soil.” Old hippies could use it on their organic gardens.

What The Right Needs Now Is The Courage To Fight Even If It Costs Us It’s not enough, though, that someone fights. The fight must be smart and tactical. While we are clearly entering an era where dissidents will be required, there’s no value in secular martyrdom or being just another victim of the regime. The fight must be supplemented by prudence and strategy. Be bold and defiant, but we must also know where to aim our fire. On the other hand, figuring out where to aim our fire is not that difficult right now. It brings to mind a quote from legendary Marine Chesty Puller: “They are in front of us, behind us, and we are flanked on both sides by an enemy that outnumbers us 29:1. They can’t get away from us now!” It’s a target-rich environment. Now go out and pick one.

Mob Justice Is Trampling Democratic Discourse – A journalist told me that after he was summarily fired, his acquaintances sorted themselves into three groups. First, the “heroes,” very small in number, who “insist on due process before damaging another person’s life and who stick by their friends.” Second, the “villains,” who think you should “immediately lose your livelihood as soon as the allegation is made.” Some old friends, or people he thought were old friends, even joined the public attack. But the majority were in a third category: “good but useless. They don’t necessarily think the worst of you, and they would like you to get due process, but, you know, they haven’t looked into it. They have reasons to think charitably of you, maybe, but they’re too busy to help. Or they have too much to lose.” One friend told him that she would happily write a defense of him, but she had a book proposal in the works. “I said, ‘Thank you for your candor.’ ”

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Noted In Passing: Ann

9/11 hurts worse this year because many Americans are looking at the pictures of the burning buildings, the jumpers, and the piles of debris and saying to themselves for the first time, “Lucky…” Sit in stillness with that. | — Barnhardt

Slowly, gradually, in the near-silent whispers of the internal dialogue of millions of Americans, scripture and prophecy are being fulfilled. The living envy the dead. It was thought unthinkable for Americans to ever be in such a state in any significant numbers just a few months ago, and even in the days after 9/11 there was no sense of suicidal despair.

Now? As the inevitable civil war looms, and a murderous kakistocracy is the only organized force that is visible, with fully half the populace ready to call for the internment and blood of their own family members, the death of a civilization is visible like the towers burning on the New York Skyline.

And I praised the dead rather than the living:

And I judged him happier than them both, that is not yet born, nor hath seen the evils that are done under the sun.

et laudavi magis mortuos quam viventes;
et feliciorem utroque judicavi qui necdum natus est, nec vidit mala quae sub sole fiunt.

Ecclesiastes 4: 2-3

The truth is that it couldn’t go on. The abortion. The sodomy. The open hatred of Jesus Christ and His Holy Church. The relentless spreading of everything bad and poisonous and EVIL throughout the entire world through its anti-culture, its media, its governmental and financial corruption and coercion. It cannot go on. The evil cannot go on. And it won’t. Like the burning Towers, it can only end now with collapse. Will it hurt? Of course. Will people die? Yes, probably millions. But anyone who is still morally sane knows that it can’t go on. That it MUST not go on.

But don’t despair. Get yourself to safety, and if you have a proverbial boat, get to Lower Manhattan and help with the evacuation. Don’t envy the dead because for them it was “quick”. Thank God every day that you get to live, to help others, to fight the good fight, and to be able to praise God on earth, even through suffering, for one more day.


No Time for Moonbats: The Phrase That Pays

Every so often in moving around Chico I wade hip-deep through the swamp of moonbats that any California college automatically generates around itself.

Down at the Saturday Farmers Market, there have been the inevitable moonbat card tables of their communist causes. One of them is staffed by insane people who want to convert others into their strange “Contrails are killing us” conspiracy church. They are easy to bypass.

Not so the “Stop the Republicans’ Power Grab” table manned by some of the worst socialist nomenklatura in town. Last Saturday they had one of their bipedal insects standing in front of the entrance willing to tell anyone how wonderful Gavin Newsom really is. He’d tell you this as the smoke sodden stench of a burned to the bone California blooms in the wind.

He stopped me and started to blather. I needed to buy a loaf of bread and some fresh peaches before spending an hour at the range and had no time for moonbats. I held up a hand in a brief pause in his blather, looked into his eyes, and said (I don’t know why),

“You don’t want to be someone we remember.”

Shut him up and increased his blink rate.


Noted in Passing: “Never Forget” … the bullshit


The Wound

Simon Dedvukaj, 26, Mohegan Lake, N.Y. janitorial, foreman, ABM Industries / Confirmed dead, World Trade Center, at/in building 2

“Well, it was only 3,000 people and we’ve moved on. Why can’t you? Carpe diem, man.”

The huge wound in my head began to heal
About the beginning of the seventh week.
Its valleys darkened, its villages became still:
For joy I did not move and dared not speak,
Not doctors would cure it, but time, its patient still.

— Thom Gunn, The Wound

EVERYONE WHO WAS IN NEW YORK ON on “The Day” will tell you their stories about “The Day.” I could stun you with an eight-figure number by running a Google on 9/11, but you can do that as well.

“The Day,” even at this close remove, has ascended into that shared museum of the mind to be placed in the diorama captioned, “Where Were You When.” The site has long since been cleared and scrubbed clean. There is even an agreement on the memorial which will, I see, use a lot of water and trees. “The Day” has become both memorial and myth.

Less is heard about the aftermath. Less is said about the weeks and months that spun out from that stunningly clear and bright September morning whose sky was slashed by a towering fist of flame and smoke.

You forget the smoke that hung over the city like a widow’s shawl as the fires burned on for months.

You don’t know about the daily commutes by subway wondering if some new horror was being swept towards you as the train came to a stop deep beneath the East River.

You suppress hearing over the loudspeaker, always unclearly, that the train was being “held for police activity at Penn Station.” Was that a bomb, poison gas, a mass shooting, a strike on the Empire State building? You were never sure. You carried a flashlight in case you had to walk out of the tunnels that ran deep beneath the river. Terror was your quiet companion. After the first six weeks, you barely knew it was there. [continue reading…]