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Strange Daze

“We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful.” —C.S. Lewis

Protection of freedom of thought requires that no group should be permitted by law to express an opinion. For when a group starts having opinions, it inevitably tends to impose them on its members. Sooner or later, these individuals find themselves debarred, with a greater or lesser degree of severity, and on a number of problems of greater or lesser importance, from expressing opinions opposed to those of the group, unless they care to leave it. But a break with any group to which one belongs always involves suffering—at any rate of a sentimental kind. And just as danger, exposure to suffering are healthy and necessary elements in the sphere of action, so are they unhealthy influences in the exercise of intelligence. A fear, even a passing one, always provokes either a weakening or a tautening, depending on the degree of courage, and that is all that is required to damage the extremely delicate and fragile instrument of precision which constitutes our intelligence. Even friendship is, from this point of view, a great danger. The intelligence is defeated as soon as the expression of one’s thoughts is preceded, explicitly or implicitly, by the little word  “we”. And when the light of the intelligence grows dim, it is not very long before the love of good becomes lost. — Simone Weil, The Need for RootsEssex: Firefighters rescue three men trapped in a tumble dryer. The men are all thought to be in their late teens and were left in the care of paramedics.

“Wars never make much sense if you try to find fancy causes for them,” his father Charles had said. “No country is morally much superior to any other, if you think of history, the battles over religion and politics always seem ridiculous in retrospect. One fact remains: it’s the nature of any human society to expand until it collides with another. It then is repulsed or swallows the other. A nation without enough good fighting men is bound to be swallowed. In times of peace no one likes fighting men — they are a reproach to our morality. But when the bugle blows as it does and will in almost every generation, a nation stands or falls according to the strength of its fighting men. Nowadays industry and science have a lot to do with the fighting of wars, but they would be useless without the cutting edge of fighting men. Never be ashamed that all your people have been fighting men.” — Never Yet Melted 


Our science is like a store filled with the most subtle intellectual devices for solving the most complex problems, and yet we are almost incapable of applying the elementary principles of rational thought. In every sphere, we seem to have lost the very elements of intelligence: the ideas of limit, measure, degree, proportion, relation, comparison, contingency, interdependence, interrelation of means and ends. To keep to the social level, our political universe is peopled exclusively by myths and monsters; all it contains is absolutes and abstract entities. This is illustrated by all the words of our political and social vocabulary: nation, security, capitalism, communism, fascism, order, authority, property, democracy. We never use them in phrases such as: There is democracy to the extent that… or: There is capitalism in so far as… The use of expressions like  — to the extent that – is beyond our intellectual capacity. Each of these words seems to represent for us an absolute reality, unaffected by conditions, or an absolute objective, independent of methods of action, or an absolute evil; and at the same time we make all these words mean, successively or simultaneously, anything whatsoever.   — Simone Weil, from The Power of Words

KEITH RICHARDS, TIME TRAVELER OR VAMPIRE? VIA KA-CHING! William Terrill Bradby. A Pamunkey man and Union veteran from the American civil war and one of the most badass faces i’ve seen. 1899

What is responsible for the nationwide surge in violence? The most obvious answer, one from which even prosecutors are not shying away, is the lockdowns themselves. This is what I meant when I wrote back in April that social distancing was going to get darker. Pollyannish talk about working through Proust or learning to knit was a fantasy for the privileged. The reality of lockdown for millions of Americans was always going to be economic deprivation, neglect of physical and mental health, less exercise, less sunlight, worse diets, the absence of meaningful human interaction, the almost total suspension of children’s education, and, especially for those most vulnerable, an increased threat of violence. — Matthew Walther, “The Dark Days Are Here”


i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday;this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings:and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any—lifted from the no
of all nothing—human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

— E.E. Cummings

We go so far, we work so hard, to sow unease and uncertainty into our world. To undermine our harmony and placidity. We harvest woe, we band great sheaves of blight. We pack our silos with spores of fear, to be spread against times of abundance and health. — The PVP Diaries #81 – Andy Havens

Never Yet Melted » Richard Avedon, Marilyn Monroe, and the ‘Blonde Moment’ [Marilyn Monroe] was the skillful illusionist of her own image: the deliberate construction of her persona is underscored with an anecdote often recounted by Susan Strasberg in which she and Marilyn were walking down a Manhattan street in the mid-1950s, Marilyn in her civilian clothes — jeans, a baggy sweater, and sunglasses, hair covered with a scarf; no one noticed them until Marilyn turned to her friend and asked, “Want to see me do her?”

Simply by removing the scarf, revealing her blond hair, and shifting her body rhythm, the anonymous pedestrian became Marilyn Monroe and, immediately, a rushing crowd surrounded them.

Art Contrarian: Maxfield Parrish 1940s Landscapes Parrish took a long time to complete a painting.  Not counting pre-painting preparation (composition, color studies and such), he often began with a monochrome underpainting, as can be found in the right side of the image above.  To that he added layers of oil glazing and perhaps regular oil paints layer by layer with time out for each layer to dry — perhaps weeks, depending on the nature of the layer.  Thanks to this practice, he worked on several paintings at any given time, adding paint to those whose upper layers had dried.

As He Died To Make Men Holy – Christians, this is all in the future. The near future, I hasten to add, but still, it’s not happening just yet. As Christians we can, and should, speculate on how we would make out individually and collectively under persecution — things like suffering job loss, institutional shutdown, and social ostracism, as well as more serious forms involving physical violence or imprisonment.

Hating Your Mama Over Politics | A country in which people despise their family members and end friendships over politics is a country ripening itself for tyranny. I was talking at church yesterday with a friend who, I think, is going to vote for Biden. So what? I love him as a brother in Christ, and I cherish his friendship. We never talk about politics, and probably won’t again, until the next election rolls around. If the mob ever comes for me, I know he will stand at my side, as I will stand by his. That’s what America should be about. That’s what the America I live in will remain, no matter what happens tomorrow, and in the months and years to come. I will never forsake a friend of a family member over politics.

The cabin was vacant and musty, but it still held the faint aromas I remembered from my childhood. The damp charry clay smell from the fireplace. The cracked corn dust from the bin in the pantry where they’d kept bird feed. That peculiar scent of their enameled cast-iron wash basin in the kitchen. If I closed my eyes, I could recall absent smells: cut jonquils and paperwhites in a Mason jar; the Keri lotion Lois kept by her rocking chair to keep her hands moist; the nutty, buttery pecan cookies baking in the kitchen, or golden cupcakes from Loisie’s 3-2-1 recipe. I would sit on her lap at her table in the kitchen and stir the batter in her pale green 1940s Fire-King mixing bowl. Batter. Loisie taught me that word. I loved saying it, and licking the spoon when we were done mixing, feeling the grains of sugar with my tongue against the roof of my mouth.

There, as a grown man, I stood in the dark, cobwebbed kitchen, wondering where it all had gone. There, on a board above the washbasin that served as a shelf, sat a relic: — Loisie’s Fire-King mixing bowl. I held it in my hands, a totem of my youth. It had once seemed as big as a foot tub in my lap. In truth, it wasn’t much bigger than an oversized cereal bowl. – Daily Dreher


Casablanca 2020 If you thought comedy was dead because of woke hysteria, fear no longer. Hollywood has come to the rescue. The Academy—a misnomer if there ever was one—has decreed that a movie can no longer be eligible for an Academy Award unless it meets certain criteria. A group of greedy lowlifes will now decide what’s good for us to view, but such are the joys of La La Land nowadays. (Surely you’ve read about it: In order to be considered for prizes, movies have to include blacks, homosexuals, lesbians, transsexuals, queers, and the disabled, the latter preferably of mixed race.) Ticking all the boxes while casting a movie will now also come under Oscar consideration, while the rest of us enjoy a well-deserved laugh. Just think of it: Lacking in originality since the late ’50s, Hollywood has always depended on recycling past triumphs. When the remake of Casablanca is shot in the studio, as the original also was, Rick will be played by a black actor, Idris Elba, and Ilsa by an Arab lesbian. (She’s yet to be discovered.) The new script will have Rick stuck in Casablanca after a failed drug deal, stalked by Major Strasser, a DEA agent of Hawaiian background with a fetish for Nazi uniforms. The only white person in the movie will be the piano player, who tickles the ivories and plays “As Time Goes By” with his toes, having burnt his two hands to a crisp while stoking the embers in his coal-fired boiler. Victor Laszlo, Ilsa’s hubby, is a sensitivity-training expert who used to pimp her out to women until transformed by reading the Koran. He, a Saudi, and Ilsa began their affair at university in Riyadh; then the religious police came after them, and they separated while he was arrested but were reunited in Beirut and ended up in Casablanca. Captain Renault will be played by the incarcerated R&B star R. Kelly, furloughed from prison where he resides at present for the duration of the shoot. (The love of underage girls by the R&B star and the character he plays make this casting a natural and very popular with fans.)

The book trade in America is badly screwed up, as it is everywhere. In part this is because many publishing houses seem to think that their role is not to give the public the books they want, but rather the books the publishing houses think the would be best instructed by. It is the nature of the publishing industry, and the way it hires, that the viewpoint diversity in the sector is narrow, blinkered and parochial.

That same viewpoint is now replicated on the frontline. Increasingly bookstores are places where customer are force-fed books that the store’s employees think will be good for them. In recent months in particular bookstores in the US have decided that if they push certain products on the public hard enough then all those who work there will be doing their bit to defeat white supremacy/embedded racism/patriarchy/cisheteronormativity/Donald Trump and more. The joy of bookshops used to be that they offered an opportunity for the reader to open their mind up to many worlds. Today many bookstores seem to think that their role is to force-feed their customers with only one view of the world: one that the retailers honestly seem to believe is the only worldview a literate or thinking person could possibly have.

Perils of Professors Today we are seeing similar perils of professors in our own culture. Critical Race Theory means the US is by nature racist. Never mind the strides we have made in the past fifty years. Never mind the fact that women have more rights today than ever before. Never mind that the US is one of the leaders in gay rights in the entire world. In the minds of many “educated” youths all old white men are tainted no matter even if their names happen to be George Washington or Abraham Lincoln. When you look at who is participating in the rioting and looting in the liberal cities in flames these past few months – it is not the poor and downtrodden. It is mostly white children of privilege. Victims of brainwashing from their teachers just as the youth in Germany prior to World War I or the youth of Japan prior to World War II.

Never Yet Melted サ Who Says Art Is a Luxury?

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ghostsniper November 13, 2020, 11:41 AM

    What’s gonna snap first?

  • James ONeil November 13, 2020, 2:03 PM

    Just went outside and checked.
    Yep, the sky’s still up there.
    However I do admit
    I was a bit surprised
    to find it so.

  • Phil in Englewood November 13, 2020, 3:23 PM

    Song of the day:
    “Why get up?
    Why get up?
    How can I get up?
    Why should I get up?

    This whole world’s gone crazy
    Think I’ve seen enough
    I’m gonna sleep forever
    Why get up?”

  • Snakepit Kansas November 13, 2020, 5:03 PM

    RE: Hating yo Mama over politics.
    We are not in the old(er) days where we could agree to disagree with a neighbor and call it a day. The left wants to stomp us out, squelch us and manipulate the government to effectively make a one party dominant society. Clearly the IRS, FBI, CIA, military etc. have been compromised. They are almost as political, shamelessly as the major news outlets. Many of us are still Americans, remember what we came from and will take action when pushed. This frog knows the temperature is slowly increasing. I have no long term intention of sitting still and being boiled.

  • Anne November 13, 2020, 8:09 PM

    Dear Gerard:

    I know the pain must be heavy for you. I do not know how to help. I am so grateful for your return. Every one of us here at AD need you so much. It’s not because we cannot deal with the every day. It is because we are in terrible times with no leadership to guide us. It is also because we have not heard directly from our leader President Trump in many days. It is also because we have fear we have lost the most precious treasure of all–FREEDOM. LIBERTY was a gift we always assumed until these last few days. Being without even just one whom we respect makes it even more difficult. I am so sorry for the loss of your brother. I am so grateful for you willingness to come back full throat.

  • Anonymous November 14, 2020, 7:08 AM

    I couldn’t say it better than Anne. And yes, thank you for your “willingness to come back full throat”. So much would be lost to the enormity of the internet if not for your highlights.
    God bless,

  • Dirk November 14, 2020, 7:36 AM

    I’m amused at perceptions of our world. For the record, absolutely nothing has changed in my county. Winter arrived on time, thanksgiving will be on its regularly scheduled day, with Christmas and a New Year to follow.

    The most amusing is this,,,,,,, people are having a cow over an election a rigged election. Did my part, if I thought my boohooing would effect change, I’d join em. What I think is moot. Don’t believe me ask DC!.

    As a young man I learned the strength of being able to say, NO!. To understand rules only work for the lawful, and govt is not about to police themselves.

    Heard a strong rumor that the Monster Browns were feeding heavily in the high creeks. For those willing to brave the single digit temps a wonderful opportunity. Think I’ll dust off my bamboo fly rod and spend a day re introducing myself to those magnificent glorious bastards!. The bamboo Rod, just seems to work better in the cold, not sure why. Much more tip feeling for me.

    Never underestimate the intellect of the trout. Actually smarter then most people. A brain the size of a grape seed, yet many live long lives unmolested by humans. A ” native trout” is not to be underestimated ever!

    Tic Toc!


  • Mike Anderson November 14, 2020, 8:50 AM

    Either something Orwellian is going on, or I’m seriously off my meds. Were there not two great ‘spoldey posts here a couple days back? One about the Great Oregon Whale Dynamiting, and another about the 1963 Medina Base Not-a-Nuke Accident? I know I just read about the second one, ’cause I showed it to my wife, and she said “So that’s the story, I remember it blowing out my sister’s picture window.”

  • Vanderleun November 14, 2020, 9:05 AM

    Not Orwellian, Mike, but Vanderleunian. Took them down because of some code problems on the back end of the page. Put them back up. See?

    [Of course a real Orwellian move would be to remove them now before Mike can look for them….]