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Update to the update

It turns out that Gerard’s return home was premature.  He went back into the hospital for some fine-tuning of his oxygen levels, which are much improved now.  He’s staying there for the moment, though, in order to get stronger enough to return home on his own.  The main problem holding him back right now is fairly severe back pain from what appears to be a back spasm, which makes it nearly impossible for him to walk and build up his stamina.  The plan is for an interim stay in a better rehab facility than he was in before, to get him more reliably on his feet.  He sends greetings.



RESCUED from the Court of the Covid Kings by three large and amazingly strong Christian Soldiers. A very near thing. Legs, back, and eye still very weak. Made it home where I will heal and grow stronger. Very hard at present but will get better.

God bless all of you. More later this is still difficult.


Good news

I think you’ll be happy to hear that Gerard is out of the hospital and in a rehab place so he can get stronger before returning home.  He’s relieved to be away from the hospital, and has his own room and even a view. He thanks everyone for your well-wishes and prayers, and hopes to be back home in the not-too-distant future. He’ll probably have quite a bit to say about his experience.



Gerard has asked me to post this message for him.  I’m a friend with whom he’s been in touch.  He was hospitalized a couple of days ago with COVID, because his oxygen levels were somewhat low.  Fortunately that’s now been stabilized.  He would have been released from the hospital over the weekend, except for the fact that he’s now in a lot of back pain that they’re investigating.   Prayers and good wishes are welcome, and Gerard or I will keep you updated.



Dispatches #3

The Blue Mandarin Coat (The Blue Kimono) –  Among the most sought-after portraitists in New England, Joseph DeCamp concentrated on formal portraits of men and decorative images of women set in tasteful interiors. The Blue Mandarin Coat is a decorative piece, yet the model possesses a regal bearing typical of DeCamp’s male subjects.

“Reddy” Pearson, an Irishwoman who served as DeCamp’s model and secretary in his final years, is shown draped in a stunning Japanese kimono—a bold and exotic choice of costume that, along with her assertive pose, contradicted contemporary models of femininity.

Art Contrarian: 1949 Frazer’s Unusual Advertising Art America’s only major new post-World War 2 automobile maker was Kaiser-Frazer Corporation.  There were two brands: Kaiser, a lower mid-range car, and Frazer, an upper mid-range car.  Kaisers competed with the likes of Pontiac and Frazers with upper-range Oldsmobiles. Frazer advertising was usually conventional.   But for the 1949 model year, it was given a set of unusual ads — visually unusual for the times.

Photos of The Biggest Family in 1920s Boston – 13 Children And Counting 

Class Struggle – The Board Game of Revolution, 1978 –  In an article published in Texas newspaper The Eagle on 24 May 1978, we learn that Class Struggle was being sold in outlets from bookstores to Bloomingdale’s for $9.99.

The game was translated into Italian, German, French and Spanish.

Over 230,00 units were sold.

As the paper quips: “Since the game came out, the professor has been learning about capitalism first hand.”

According to Board Game Geek, “the Workers move around a board while trying to survive against the Capitalist who control everything. As the Workers unite they take power from the Capitalist players but if they do not succeed in uniting the Capitalist will win.”

More, much more, for members of Dispatches at The New American Digest



Subpoena? Subpoena Myass!



Looks like the only thing the Jan 6 clownshow got rid of in DC was Cheney.

Keep up the good work!


Noted in Passing: A Good Walk Spoiled

Seems like every time you look around. . . .

. . . .some group of well-meaning Karenholes is conspiring to transform something that takes real balls to accomplish into something that only requires imaginary balls. (And a hard hat and a tether and a ticket-taking guard to evaluate your girly man quotient.)

The original.  Knocked off one or two hikers a year. No prisoners!

The Pussified. Next up? Access for the disabled and those identifying as a wheelchair.


Monkey in a Box: Best long read of the year so far

TIM TATE: The time is the mid-’60s. The place, anywhere suburban USA. My brother is 8, I am 9 years old. We love a magazine called Monster Magazine, which we read religiously every single month. This month, in the back of Monster Magazine besides itching powder and x-ray glasses, you could purchase a monkey. Not a sea monkey, not a stuffed monkey, an actual squirrel monkey the size of a cat – a big cat and you only had to send $19.95. And we had $19.95 because we washed cars, we mowed lawns.

So my brother and I think, this would be the best – the best idea we’ve ever had because not only will he do our chores for us and we will love him and he will love us, but also he will go to school with us. Everybody at school will love us because we have a monkey on our shoulders. It was going to treat all of our ills. So we decide that this would be the best idea we ever had, but we knew from experience that if we asked my mom in advance, there was but one outcome – the answer would be no.

But we also knew that any half-dead kind of bedraggled, moth-eaten animal we drag home, she would let us keep ’cause she was a big softy. So with both those pieces of knowledge, we set off for our own monkey. We decide his name will be Pepe. We make him a little hat and a cape. And we will dress him when he comes and everyone will know him because his name will be Pepe. So we send off the money and we wait.

About three weeks go by and back then women had bridge tournaments with the women from the country club. This was one of those days. So my mom’s having a big bridge party. We’ve been, you know, squeezed into our plaid jackets, little red bowties, and our hair’s been slicked down and we look very nice – we look like twins. And we’re just kind of sitting there smiling so we don’t embarrass anybody and they’re just pointing and pinching our cheeks. By the way, the cardinal rule in our house is you never ever embarrass your mother in front of the bridge club.

That is the worst thing you can do. So as we sit there petrified that we might embarrass our mother, there’s a knock at the door, it’s the postman. And the postman has a box addressed to me and my brother. And it’s the size of a shoebox. And in the front of the shoebox is a little, tiny metal grill. And on the little metal grill, what we see is a little monkey’s mouth going (monkey breathing) up against this thing. So when my mother, seeing this monkey, and seeing it’s from Monkey Island or wherever it was from – and she says, oh my god. I don’t care what the boys have ordered. Take this thing back, it’s not coming to my house. Take it back to where you got it from. I don’t want this thing in my home. [continue reading…]


Barnes & Noble is no tech startup, and is about as un-cool as retailers get. It’s like The Gap, but for books. The company was founded in 1886, and it flourished during the 20th century. But the digital age caught the company by surprise.

For a while, Barnes & Noble tried to imitate Amazon. It ramped up online sales, and introduced its own eBook reader (the Nook), but with little success.

Even after its leading bricks-and-mortar competitor Borders shut down in 2011, B&N still couldn’t find a winning strategy. By 2018 the company was in total collapse. Barnes & Noble lost $18 million that year, and fired 1,800 full time employees—in essence shifting almost all store operations to part time staff. Around that same time, the company fired its CEO due to sexual harassment claims.

Every indicator was miserable. Same-store sales were down. Online sales were down. The share price was down more than 80%.. . . .

[THEN they fired the CEO and hired James Daunt]

Daunt refused to play this game. He wanted to put the best books in the window. He wanted to display the most exciting books by the front door. Even more amazing, he let the people working in the stores make these decisions.

This is James Daunt’s super power: He loves books.

“Staff are now in control of their own shops,” he explained. “Hopefully they’re enjoying their work more. They’re creating something very different in each store.”

This crazy strategy proved so successful at Waterstones, that returns fell almost to zero—97% of the books placed on the shelves were purchased by customers. That’s an amazing figure in the book business.

On the basis of this success, Daunt was put in charge of Barnes & Noble in August 2019. But could he really bring that dinosaur, on the brink of extinction, back to life?. . . .

Of course, there’s a lesson here. And it’s not just for books. You could also apply it to music, newspapers, films, and a host of other media.

But I almost hate to say it, because the lesson is so simple.

If you want to sell music, you must love those songs. If you want to succeed in journalism, you must love those newspapers. If you want to succeed in movies, you must love the cinema.

But this kind of love is rare nowadays. I often see record labels promote new artists for all sorts of gimmicky reasons—even labels I once trusted such as Deutsche Grammophon or Concord. I’ve come to doubt whether the people in charge really love the music.. . .

RTWT AT What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble’s Surprising Turnaround?



The Centenarian: Arthur Warner McNair

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

— Eliot

He’s one hundred years old and his long hands, once strong, are growing translucent. He does not so much sit in his wheelchair as he is held upright and at a slight slant by straps. Even awake his eyes are shut against the glare and the blur of the fluorescent lights in the roof of the home.

His meals of pureed food are spoon-fed to him by attendants who speak to him in the tones he once used, long ago, on his infant children. When the drapes in his room are partially opened they reveal a view of a gravel roof, exhaust fans, and the brick facade of the opposite wing of the home. It’s not a view but he doesn’t mind. His eyes are shut against the glare and the blur of the present, and he’s gone off on a fishing trip in the summer of 1949 where he will say to no one in particular, “Jesus, the fish are thick on the ground.”

Don’t make the mistake of thinking he’s not in the here and now, because he’ll surprise you now and then. He’ll come out for a bit if it is worth it, but it seldom is. And then only for a moment.

He’s my mother’s brother, my uncle, and his life has now spanned a full century.

In the year of his birth, 1909, the NAACP was founded as was Tel Aviv while the keel of what was to become the Titanic was laid in Belfast. Taft took over the Presidency from Roosevelt (Theodore) and “Alice Huyler Ramsey, a 22-year-old housewife, and mother from Hackensack, New Jersey, became the first woman to drive across the United States.” Airplanes were only six years old but the Germans were already working on the anti-aircraft gun. Wisely so since the United States Army Signal Corp Division purchased the world’s first military airplane from the Wright brothers in that same year. Not to be outdone, the US Navy decided it needed a central base in the Pacific and thought Pearl Harbor made strategic sense.

In the year of his birth Geronimo died, Barry Goldwater was born, and Guglielmo Marconi received the Nobel Prize in Physics for the invention of radio. There’s a radio in his room next to his bed but it’s never turned on. Neither is the television that hangs from the ceiling and if his phone rings, it’s a mistake. But in his mind, there are signals still coming in from elsewhere, from elsewhen, from out there, and if you sit with him quietly, without trying to engage him and without expectation; if you sit with him “where here and now cease to matter” you can sometimes sense where he really lives in this his hundredth year.

C. S. Lewis observed “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” Live long enough and your body slowly betrays you and sometimes takes your mind and soul with it.

Many of my uncle’s relatives seem to think that’s what has happened to him. And perhaps they are correct. Alzheimer’s, senile dementia, and other associated afflictions are the terror of the elderly and their families. Indeed, they are the things we fear most about growing old next to unremitting pain from a degenerating disease. As one of my cousins said, “It’s about ‘quality of life.’

Dementia might well be the overriding problem that afflicts my uncle as he waits in his room with his name on a card in a slotted holder next to the door. “Dementia” is what we all assume when the elderly become less and less present to us as we perform our dutiful visits. We reintroduce ourselves and then carefully monitor how long they can hold who we are (son, daughter, sister, brother, friend) in their minds, and measure that against how long they held that knowledge the year before. It is almost always for a shorter time and that calculation distresses us.

So we call for more care, for more or different drugs. After all, their care is expensive and we need to get the value for money spent on our aged relatives knowing. We want them to know at least, who we are for more than five minutes. Their forgetfulness distresses us because it cuts us off from them just when our need to remind them of our love is greatest. It also upsets us because it is a portent of what waits for us when it is our name on the card in the slotted holder next to the door. Dementia.

Maybe. Maybe not. [continue reading…]


Tatum unloads both barrels on these blathering fools.


Dispatches #2

“The Grifting goes in before the name goes on.”

House of Eratosthenes That would be our U.S. election system. I keep hearing all sorts of bad things about me that apply if I question this system or the results it produces, which suggests there should be some solid evidence available that would make me feel better about all of it. But I’ve come across no such thing.

When the rubber meets the road, the argument that our elections should earn my trust, is based on usurpation of the benefit of the doubt. Apologists for the status quo get it, because they want it. I’m to prove my skepticism, or shut up, for some reason. But how much of a status quo is this? We’re living in a post pandemic world. Our elections have been reformed, hastily, and not entirely very well, out of our frantic reaction to the virus that came from China. If I want to be fair about it, I should maintain confidence in the system that’s directly proportionate to the rigor of the challenges and questions that were posed to the new system while it was in its developmental stages. Well, we were never allowed to ask any, and we’re still not allowed.

I look around and see — you know what? Everything is like this. Everything.

It’s almost 2023 and I’m still seeing people running around out there wearing masks. Driving in their cars, wearing masks. Alone. They are not presenting themselves as what they truly are, and what they look like, to me, is something different entirely.

It’s a simple wish. I’m gathering I’m not the only one that has it. As we bid good-bye to 2022, which I will recall only slightly more fondly than 2021 and 2020 — I want less bullshit. Less deception.

Say what you mean. Be what you are. See yourself as I see you, and correct things accordingly before you pop up on my radar, so I don’t have to do it for you.

And don’t ever lie to me. It’s not because it upsets me. You’re not succeeding the way you think. You’re actually amusing, in an annoying way.

Best way to get started going down that road, is not to do it. Everyone should insist on it. Less nonsense, less excrement.

And get off my lawn.

Never Yet Melted サ It Is No Longer the America I Grew Up In The American establishment was Country Club Republican, liberal but with some moderation and common sense. The establishment today is a Marxist devotedly treasonous clerisy that hates the rest of America and that has every inclination to impose its positions by force. The liberals have been purged.

Chung Ling Soo: The Magician Who Led a Double Life And Got Shot on Stage |   Soo’s most famous act, which he also stole from Foo and copied to near perfection, was “Condemned to Death by the Boxers.” In this trick, Soo’s assistants appeared on stage dressed as members of the Chinese secret society known as the Yihequan (“Righteous and Harmonious Fists”) or, as the English called them, “Boxers”. Several members of the audience were called upon the stage to mark a bullet that was loaded into a muzzle-loaded gun. The gun was then fired at Soo, who appeared to catch the bullet from the air and drop it into a plate. An audience member would inspect the bullet and declare that it was the same bullet that was marked and dropped into the barrel. In reality, the marked bullet never went into the gun but was slipped into Soo’s palm. What went into the muzzle was a substitute. The gun was also specially built to have two chambers, one that was loaded and the empty chamber below, which was ignited.

Zelensky Spotted Ringing Bell Next To Red Bucket Outside U.S. Capitol |   WASHINGTON, DC — Only a day after his address to Congress, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky was seen ringing a bell next to a red donation bucket while standing outside the entrance to the U.S. Capitol building. Sources say it’s yet another attempt to seek money for his nation’s war effort against Russia.

“Every dollar is vital to our righteous cause,” Zelensky was heard telling lawmakers and other staffers as they entered the Capitol. “The tens of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars you have sent thus far is simply not enough. We require more funding for munitions, vehicles, government salaries, and my wife’s shopping trips in Paris. Please, this is of the utmost importance.”



Happy Birthday to Me: In My Extreme Age

Turn around, more than half a decade evaporates. 70?71?727374 75 76  77? It doesn’t feel so old. I’m told that it is but it doesn’t feel that old. At the same time, I confess I’m not exactly sure who this geezer is who shows up in the mirror every morning — or where he came from. The thing is he keeps writing notes like this and leaving them where I can’t help finding them:

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Skin planed to glassine,
Bone buffed to crystal,
Light locked in the marrow,
And memory melded to images only…

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme

In my extreme age —
In my age extreme —
Thoughts thinned to one
And dreams dimmed to soul;
To that one shred of thread
Which stitches the shroud

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In that age extreme,
That extreme edge of age,
There shall still
In such stillness
Ring in my ears
One echo of now;

Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

In our age extreme
Your echo shall glimmer
Ever on the river that streams
Through time’s silted canyons
Of my extreme age —
In my age extreme.

Of our extreme age —
In our age extreme.

— Vanderleun for Emma Jean.



The best gift I’ve received in the last few years was a small wooden box, fashioned by hand, and containing a number of carefully selected small objects each with a personal meaning. It has no commercial value. It is a gift of the hand that is filled with the heart. I keep it nearby in my home and, from time to time, I open it and take out each object and hold them briefly before putting them back in their box and the box back on the shelf.

In another time and in another place I once saw the most Christmas gifts I’ve ever seen in a single home. It was in a place where the hands had gone astray and the heart been misplaced. It was the struggle of quantity to overcome quality made manifest.

It was at a home of some people I once knew in a town where I once lived in another life in another time long, long ago. They had the required large house of many rooms. As a family of four they had about five rooms for every person. It was a house they could all hide in and they did. They hid from each other and they hid all year. On Christmas, however, they came out and pretended they were still a family.

The tree was set up in what these days we call “the family room” even though the room was really just a pass-through for the other rooms. The tree was, as these things had to be in that land at that time, very large and professionally decorated in whatever theme was deemed to be “in” that year. The star at the tip touched and was bent down by the ceiling. The ornaments were so thick that they obscured the green boughs that supported them. The lights were so numerous that the whole tree could have been hauled out and found a place among the approach lights to an airport.

It was good it was a big tree since it needed to be strong to support the wild pile of gifts that started where the two stairs down into the sunken family room bottomed out. The gifts then rose, in a tumult of wrapping paper, in a riot of colored ribbons, to a level of at least two and a half feet by the time they reached the outer boughs. For the family of four there were literally hundreds of presents all wrapped and tossed into the room like some third-world garbage heap until they filled the family room corner to corner.

To pass through this room you had to step carefully along the edges and most people who’d come to the party just went down the adjoining hallway.

In the larger rooms on that day before Christmas the family of four was holding their party for their friends and acquaintances. At that time and in that land the people attending still had lots of young children and their laughter and chatter gave a nice Christmasesque soundtrack to the drinking and eating that went on and on and on.

Our hosts were, to say the least, not getting along that year. Alcohol was taking its toll on the couple, as were the standard infidelities and betrayals common to that set in that land at that time. The hosts tried to put their war into a state of truce on this day so they could pretend, for a little longer, that everything was picture perfect in their world. But as the drinks kicked in their bickering became more and more bitter and I finally sought refuge from the ill spirits and moved off into the house. [continue reading…]



For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.


Hanukkah Candles on Christmas Eve

And the Light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it. — John 1:5

Throughout the night, the cold drew close,
And wrapped our home in shrouds of frost.
Within eight candles lent us light,
Returning to us all we’d lost.

Around us, all our village slept.
Our children safe, their breathing slow.
Eight candles gleamed beside our tree,
Their flames burned long, burned low.

Then all fell silent round my house.
The snow shone blue, the shadows, slate.
You could almost hear the planet turn.
I stood alone beside my gate.

Behind me, those I loved slept warm,
Protected by God’s endless grace.
Below me lay the village streets,
Wrapped in winter’s chill embrace.

The darkness waned, the morning loomed,
Within my house, the fire grew bright.
Outside I walked on fragile snow,
And prayed for greater light.

As a child, I’d lived in dreams of stars,
Of Peace on Earth –life’s golden seal–
And This Night seemed, of all those nights,
The one when all such dreams were real.

Tonight I know this is not so.
The world is not as we would wish,
But as we make it, day by day,
And this the mystery and the Gift.

The candles whisper of His Gift.
The stars reflect them high above.
The Gift is given to us again,
That we remember how to love.

for Justine Van der Leun — Mill Hill Drive, Southport, Connecticut, 1990


“This just in. . . .”


A Message from the Moon -Christmas Eve, 1968