≡ Menu

Strange Daze: The Overshare — “The fairies marry not; but there be amongst them incubi that have copulation with flesh and blood.”

The Death of Pennsylvania’s Forgotten Funeral Pie Of all the parties to crash, a funeral in the traditionally parsimonious Mennonite community doesn’t seem like an obvious choice. But the funerary feast was a rare opportunity for extravagance among Pennsylvania Germans. Instead of the usual cabbage and dumplings, there was beef, ham, or chicken. Instead of the usual coarse rye bread, there was white or wheat. The fixation on funeral food even made its way into slang: In 1907, a grandmother recounted how “thoughtless youngsters” called funerals weissbrot-frolics, or “white bread frolics.”

But the sweet star of the funeral banquet was raisin pie, a dish so tied to the event that it became a euphemism for death itself. When an ailing member of the community took a turn for the worse, it was not uncommon to hear someone solemnly declare, “There will be raisin pie soon.”

14 Warning Signs That You Are Living in a Society Without a Counterculture: 

  1. A sense of sameness pervades the creative world
  2. The dominant themes feel static and repetitive, not dynamic and impactful
  3. Imitation of the conventional is rewarded
  4. Movies, music, and other creative pursuits are increasingly evaluated on financial and corporate metrics, with all other considerations having little influence
  5. Alternative voices exist — in fact, they are everywhere –but are rarely heard, and their cultural impact is negligible
  6. Every year the same stories are retold, and this sameness is considered a plus
  7. Creative work is increasingly embedded in genres that feel rigid, not flexible
  8. Even avant-garde work often feels like a rehash of 50-60 years ago
  9. Etc.

from Hobbes Leviathan/The Fourth Part  (1651)- This considered, the kingdom of darkness, as it is set forth in these and other places of the Scripture, is nothing else but a confederacy of deceivers that, to obtain dominion over men in this present world, endeavour, by dark and erroneous doctrines, to extinguish in them the light, both of nature and of the gospel; and so to disprepare them for the kingdom of God to come. . . .

Secondly, by introducing the demonology of the heathen poets, that is to say, their fabulous doctrine concerning demons, which are but idols, or phantasms of the brain, without any real nature of their own, distinct from human fancy; such as are dead men’s ghosts, and fairies, and other matter of old wives’ tales. Thirdly, by mixing with the Scripture diverse relics of the religion, and much of the vain and erroneous philosophy of the Greeks, especially of Aristotle. Fourthly, by mingling with both these, false or uncertain traditions, and feigned or uncertain history. And so we come to err, by giving heed to seducing spirits, and the demonology of such as speak lies in hypocrisy, or, as it is in the original, “of those that play the part of liars,”* with a seared conscience, that is, contrary to their own knowledge.

The ecclesiastics take from young men the use of reason, by certain charms compounded of metaphysics, and miracles, and traditions, and abused Scripture, whereby they are good for nothing else but to execute what they command them. The fairies likewise are said to take young children out of their cradles, and to change them into natural fools, which common people do therefore call elves, and are apt to mischief.

In what shop or operatory the fairies make their enchantment, the old wives have not determined. But the operatories of the clergy are well enough known to be the universities, that received their discipline from authority pontifical.

When the fairies are displeased with anybody, they are said to send their elves to pinch them. The ecclesiastics, when they are displeased with any civil state, make also their elves, that is, superstitious, enchanted subjects, to pinch their princes, by preaching sedition; or one prince, enchanted with promises, to pinch another.

The fairies marry not; but there be amongst them incubi that have copulation with flesh and blood.


Family Tree: Scot Sothern’s Portraits of America (1975)

Meanwhile in Iran:

KA-CHING!: via-appia: Memento mori mosaic from Pompeii…    Roman, 1st century BC


Red Dog Saloon – Virginia City, Nevada – 

A Serious Critic for Unserious Times |||      Matisse was, for Kramer, the greatest painter of the twentieth century. Matisse sought what the artist called “an art of balance, of purity and serenity, an art devoid of troubling or depressing subject matter.” Kramer loved The Red Studio (1911), which hangs at MoMA. He loved Matisse’s palette and considered him a brilliant colorist but also admired his quiet sense of order. Most early critics of Matisse thought that he was too decorative, in contrast with Picasso’s strength and passion. Kramer saw him as the ultimate heir of Giotto, Piero della Francesca, and Raphael. Matisse’s quest for balance, purity, and tranquility was the most egalitarian of journeys, spanning centuries and the full range of human emotion. For Kramer, Picasso and Matisse were the twentieth century’s two Modernist giants—standing at opposite poles.

Gold Hill Hotel – Virginia City, Nevada 

Geesje Kwak was a model of the Dutch painter and photographer George Breitner. She became known for the famous series of seven paintings (and accompanying photo studies) that Breitner made of her in 1893 and 1894 (when she was 17) as the girl in a red and white kimono lying on a sofa and standing in front of a mirror in an oriental interior.

Breitner had visited an exhibition of Japanese prints in The Hague in 1892, and subsequently purchased several Japanese kimonos and a few folding screens. Kwak, a hat seller and a seamstress, soon became his main model. She walked around the studio and Breitner took pictures and sketches of her. This is how the series of paintings of Kwak in kimono was created, of which Girl in a white kimono and Girl in red kimono is the best known. However, Kwak did not pose for Breitner for very long. In 1895 she emigrated to South Africa … There she died of tuberculosis in 1899 aged 22. Kwak was paid for her work, and the relationship between her and Breitner appears to have been strictly businesslike. Breitner kept a meticulous note in a preserved notebook about when and how long she had posed for him, and what amount of money he had given her for it.


Amazing behind the scenes photos from the making of the film ‘Jaws’, 1975

Fishmonger By Marsden Hartley

 I HAVE taken scales from off
The cheeks of the moon.
I have made fins from bluejay’ wings,
I have made eyes from damsons in the shadow.
I have taken flushes from the peachlips in the sun.        
From all these, I have made a fish of heaven for you,
Set it swimming on a young October sky.
I sit on the bank of the stream and watch
The grasses in amazement
As they turn to ashy gold.       
Are the fishes from the rainbow
Still beautiful to you,
For whom they are made,
For whom I have set them,

Oregon Greaser: 1942 |     “Grant County, Oregon. Malheur National Forest. Greasing a logging truck.”

Montaigne’s Rule for Reading: The Promiscuous Pursuit of Pleasure –    We can also get a glimpse of the kind of reader Montaigne considered himself: A pretty lazy one.

I leaf through now one book, now another,’ he wrote,’ without order and without plan, by disconnected fragments.’ He could sound positively cross if he thought anyone might suspect him of careful scholarship. Once, catching himself having said that books offer consolation, he hastily added, ‘Actually I use them scarcely any more than those who do not know them at all.’ And one of his sentences starts, ‘We who have little contact with books…’

His rule in reading remained the one he had learned from Ovid: pursue pleasure. ‘If I encounter difficulties in reading,’ he wrote, ‘I do not gnaw my nails over them; I leave them there. I do nothing without gaiety.’

The uniform mob of smiling humanoid mice seen here were gathered for an early meeting of the Mickey Mouse Club in Ocean Park, California, circa 1930

“The infantryman hates shells more than anything else,” Bill Mauldin wrote about the front lines in Italy. His phrasing makes it sound like the men were expressing an aesthetic preference, like a choice among distasteful rations. But “shells” weren’t a few rounds of artillery floating in at odd intervals. They were deafening, unrelenting, maddening, terrifying. One fortified American position in the Pacific recorded being hit in a single day by 16,000 shells. In the middle of an artillery barrage hardened veterans would hug each other and sob helplessly. Men caught in a direct hit were unraveled by the blast, blown apart into shards of flying skeleton that would maim or kill anyone nearby. Afterward the survivors would sometimes discover one of their buddies so badly mangled they couldn’t understand how he could still be breathing; all they could do was give him the largest dose of morphine they dared and write an “M” for “morphine” on his forehead in his own blood, so that nobody else who found him would give him a second, fatal dose. (One soldier marked with that “M” was Bob Dole, wounded in Italy in 1945; he wasn’t released from the hospital until 1948.) Commanders came to prefer leading green troops into combat, because the veterans were far more scared. They knew what was coming.


Memes are information objects that are in some sense alive, able to morph and become sufficiently viral to take over a host and produce copies of itself from its resources. Just as melodies can reproduce so can perversion. Such a thing would act like Barron’s demon, turning “seminaries into ‘cesspits’” or converting ancient universities into foundries of civilizational destruction as the case may be. Working on the hypothesis that the liberal project was temporarily stymied by a random rogue fad, the social media companies took energetic steps to both contain it and prevent it from going viral. This was accomplished by suspending accounts, censoring “hate speech” and algorithmically shadow banning ideas whose replication they wanted to prevent. This would theoretically limit the hostile ideas to a backwater where they would stagnate, wither and die. Theoretically.

On Flight Decks. — When boarding a commercial flight, passengers often get the chance to peer into an open flight deck to see the pilots running through pre-flight checklists. The flight deck (more commonly known as the cockpit) is about as cramped as a typical walk-in closet. Inside this tiny control room are two pilot seats, one or more jump seats, and short walkways much narrower than the aisles in the passenger cabin. Within arm’s reach of each pilot is a dazzling array of switches, levers, buttons, and screens – hundreds of user interface elements, packed tightly together with only the tiniest of labels.

How does a slave fulfill his will to power, then, if he lacks agency? Through vicarious cruelty. The dependency of the natural slave on cruelty comes as a direct result of his own lack of agency. Whereas the will to power of the master is fulfilled by seeing his influence on the world around him, and especially on the lives of others, the slave can enjoy no such feeling for he lacks influence –the world does not move for him. What he can depend on are sensations that arise due to sympathetic connection, for they require no input from the slave. Cruelty, like empathy, is a sympathetic sentiment– whereas empathy arouses feelings of pain in those who witness someone in pain, cruelty arouses feelings of power and joy instead. And whereas empathy requires identification with the sufferer, cruelty requires instead identification with the tormentor.

“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.” H.L. Mencken

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • OneGuy September 23, 2022, 2:08 PM

    Memes are usually delicious irony in a visual format.

  • jwm September 23, 2022, 2:12 PM

    I looked at the photos of Bernini’s work over on Tumbler, and then looked up more on line. His composition and execution are super human, bordering on the divine. I cannot even wrap my mind around genius on that level. I can’t even imagine how he did what he did. I often finish a piece, pat myself on the back, and say, “Not bad. Not bad at all.” Then I see Bernini, and I feel like a retarded kid making mud pies.


    • Casey Klahn September 23, 2022, 3:20 PM

      You’re in the same universe as Bernini. Be happy. I was watching the Simon Schama thing on Bernini, and his Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is other-worldly. I was telling my wife that the Form (big-F of form) of statuary is space (around the statue and under the arms and between the knees) and mass expressed as weight. Bernini confounds both things in Theresa, and ascends into the heavens of genius by doing so. Just that your eye admires him so honors your own vision, John.

      • ghostsniper September 23, 2022, 6:15 PM

        Sort of amazing that thing could even have been created.

  • Casey Klahn September 23, 2022, 3:43 PM

    Certainly this post is a tour de force, and I will study it with joy and wide-open eyes. Might take me days.

    Henri Matisse is my patron saint of art, and is in fact my number one guy in art. His biggest fan was Picasso, and that says something. He certainly was the greatest French artist of the 20th Century. I have traveled with great pains to see as many of his artworks as possible in person. When it feels safe to get back on an airplane, I’ll go East and see some more.

    I’ll do you one better, on Matisse. What I’m about to say you won’t find on the internet. The pursuit of art throughout human history is broken up many different ways, into schools and movements and divisions of civilization and of the centuries. My wife asked me to summarize art history so she could wrap her brain around it. I had already written and spoken on the nuances of the time from Impressionism through the next couple of movements, but now we were thinking about the whole history of art. Follows is the briefest of summaries of art history.

    From the dawn of man’s history until the Renaissance, man gave you skill in art. Drawing, painting, sculpture, the arts in general. Craftsman artists showed mankind how to draw and make art. Then, the Renaissance was Earth-shaking, with Leonardo da Vinci and the artists of the day giving mankind: Artists. Remember Vasari wrote The Lives of the Artists, and artists ascended from skilled men to geniuses of various sorts. They had status and wanted you to see perfected things but with each his own signature style. Like Bernini. Like Sargent. Like Velasquez. By the 19th Century art was at the apex of naturalism and artists were performing at peak levels.

    OK, you ask: what’s next? The mild mannered and bespectacled rebel Henri Matisse comes along, in 1905, and paints the first Modern painting (Woman with a Hat), which does nothing short of pulling man into the third epoch of art. Man now gives you: Art. Art that is self-interested. Not politics, not naturalism, not selfishne,ss and stardom (although the Modernists did achieve great stardom). The art itself was now the thing. Take color, for instance. How do you make color the thing of a painting? Odd, isn’t it?

    Skill, then Artists, then Art. What Matisse, the Lion King of 20th Century art gave us has not been surpassed. We’re still in that third epoch. By the way, 60 years after Matisse died, he opened in London and New York with the monumental Cut Outs exhibition. Which I saw. I went in poor and dark, and walked out with white hair.

    If his Venetian Red Red Studio painting is meaningless to you, it’s because you cannot see it. Your eyes are those of an infant. Nothing to be ashamed of, but when you do go to heaven, try to make entry into the Valhalla of artists and say hello to the bespectacled guy speaking French with cutting wit. He’ll be one sitting on an intensely colored throne.

  • jwm September 23, 2022, 6:58 PM

    The photo of Phylis. She is an American archetype. How long has it been since I smelled cigarette smoke in a coffee shop? I remember walking into Jacks on Whittier Boulevard, sayin’ high to Jack, and joining Cooper and Mike at the far end of the counter. Phylis would bring me a cup before I even asked for it. Order a club sand on whole wheat and spark a Marlboro. I’d finish the sandwich, and many cups and cigs later I’d still be shootin’ the shit with the gang at the far end of the counter.
    The the cigarette Nazi’s outlawed all that. Mike used to sneak one in the restroom, but that got too much like high school. Within a year of the smoking ban that whole little “counter culture” went the way of all nostalgia. Now you go there, eat your food, and leave. No point in hanging out at all.


    • Harry Dean Stanton September 23, 2022, 8:02 PM

      …made an entire movie on exactly this premise. It was titled: Lucky.

    • Kerry September 24, 2022, 12:15 PM

      I recognized Phyllis, too. She’s good people.

  • ThisIsNotNutella September 24, 2022, 3:21 AM

    Even stranger days if this is true:


    Might just be the usual Epoch Times / Gordon Chang Copeium Hopeium or Shanghai (Jiang) Faction smoke and mirrors… or might not be. I’m fresh out of Fortune Cookies so have no idea either way.

    • Jack September 24, 2022, 7:34 AM

      I’m a casual observer of China, probably because I’m lousy when it comes to remembering the names of the players. Never had much of an ear or memory for that kind of thing.

      If this is a fact, why is this occurring?

      • Mike Austin September 24, 2022, 9:32 AM

        Who can say about such things? The Middle Kingdom is not exactly forthcoming about its internal affairs. Even if Xi is deposed, nothing will change there. Meet the New Boss. Same as the Old Boss.

      • ThisIsNotNutella September 24, 2022, 11:34 AM

        Foreign names and expressions, no matter how alien the language, are easy enough to remember if one learns the pronunciation rules — in the Chinese case it’s ‘good enough’ to know how to sound out the Pinyin Roman alphabet transliteration without really bothering about the tones. There are no really weird phonemes in Putonghua (Mandarin) — in fact far fewer than English — part of the reason the language ‘needs’ tones… so the basic sounds are easy — unlike *(say) Thai.

        I’ve got more problem talking about Chinese proper names with Hong Kong locals or Japanese or Koreans than with foreigners — remember that the same Chinese characters have different readings/pronunciations in different languages/dialects and people tend to think in theirs — even when they also speak Putonghua.

        That being said, I only learned to sound out Cyrillic and get syllable stress correct in Russian this year (wonder why). Can’t speak a word of Russian. But it’s helpful when looking at maps in Telegram.

        For the rest. China is not monolithic. The CCP is not monolithic. Just like the Republicucks and the Demonrats are two wings of the same Uniparty cum Punch and Judy Show.

        If you want to play at politics and power in China, you join the CCP (if they’ll have you) and do it from within one of the several factions within the CCP. Within those factions there exist patronage networks which compete with each other and with those from other factions. Similarly you go to the Ivies (if they’ll have you) and join one of the two clown suit parties in the USA and hopefully a faction that’s going somewhere. Clintons, Obamas, Squad… Kagan Cabal, Friends of Raytheon, Langley NAMBLA Montessori Institute, Silicon Valley South Indian Brahmin Lonely Hearts Club, Whatever the Bush Faction is these days, etc., etc. Dang… almost forgot the Congressional Ooga Booga Caucus.

        Nobody really knows precisely how many factions and patronage groups exist within the CCP (but that goes for the USA, and Rest of the West, too). Roughly there are three:

        Princelings – Lead by Xi Jinping. Grandchildren of the first generation post-1949 leadership. Their parents were Big Swinging Dicks in the party going back to the 30s. And survivors of the Japanese, the KMT, and then Mao and Gang of Four. They are corrupt like all wielders of power, but have their eyes on the nation’s survival uber allies and are keen on not being looted by the usual globalist rootless cosmopolitan Usual Suspects. Given that the Usual Suspects largely control public discourse in the West and decide the ‘moral’ (it is to laugh) tone, this means that Xi Jinping is obviously (dum dum dum…) A Fascist Yellow Slanty-Eyed Mid-Century Moustache Man. Bit like Putin who also doesn’t want his Nation looted by outsiders. Funny that. Just a coincidence.

        Shanghai Faction – Lead by Jiang Zemin (successor to Deng Xiaoping — who was a Prince, not a Princeling). Headquartered in (you guessed it) Shanghai. Old Sovietologists will recall that the Leningrad Party (Kirov, e.g, being a man who coulda been a contender) was always a bit different than the Moscow Party — which is why Stalin gave it a few good purging. Shanghai Faction ran the join from before death of Deng Xiaoping and until Xi and the Princelings took over. Long story about differences in outlook between these guys and the Princeling Faction, but short version is that Shanghai Faction is more keen on less bridled free-for-all graft and a bit more at home on Martha’s Vineyard or at Davos. Princeling Faction rode to power under Xi largely due to the perception that too much more of the Shanghai Faction running China would result in Larry Fink and his buddies calling the shots almost imperceptibly until one morning they all woke up as his bitches — just the way you all here are — no offence. Just facts.

        Third Faction — gets called the Communist Youth League Faction — but basically it’s the up-and-coming strivers who weren’t born as Princelings or children of Made Men in the Shanghai Faction Mafia. More likely to side with Princelings than others.

        Then there are various other lines of graft and regional groupings and lobby groups — all within the Party — but pushing their own agendas.

        Pace Mike Austin below, Who Rules at any given time can make a very big difference both inside and outside China. Not being deracinated alien bug people ruled Americans / Five-Eyers, or EU’ers, Nationalism is a natural given no matter who rules. How it’s expressed can vary a bit, of course.

        Enough of my blah blah. We’ll all just have to wait and see. Regardless of whether something changes or nothing changes this time, can be sure that Foggy Bottom and Soggy Bottom Himself will flub it. The Chinese, however, will still be Chinese in a thousand years. Who of us can say that?

        • Mike Austin September 24, 2022, 3:51 PM

          True, the Chinese will always be Chinese. Go back into their 4000 years of History, and—surprise, surprise—one always finds Chinese just as they are today. That is to say: In the entirety of the History of China one never finds a Hobbes, a Socrates, a Jefferson, a Locke—in fact, one cannot find anything but hundreds of millions of slaves and a tiny ruling class of warlords and psychopaths and mass-murderers. If the Chinese had never existed—if all of Asia had never existed—the world of today would neither notice nor care.

          • ThisIsNotNutella September 24, 2022, 5:55 PM

            A Mister Joseph Needham for you on Line 3.


            I find it hilarious that you’d make a statement like this on the cusp of China retaking the technological lead over the West which it led until ca. 1600.

            Much has been written about how and why the Chinese stagnated. Much more needs to be written about how we of the West are collapsing into stagnation and worse in world record time.

            I like a damning blanket statement and dismissal of an entire race as much as the next fellow. Or perhaps even more.

            But to quote Pauli, You’re Not Even Wrong.

            Let my try my hand at a blanket statement/dismissal:

            Locke, Hume, Jefferson, all the rest in our firmament got us to HERE. TODAY. Yes, that went through landing on the moon and Monet… but now we’re here. And here is a feature, not a bug of where their ideas end up. Even I don’t blame the Usual Suspects for it all. There’s something wrong in our civilizational code. It behooves us to look at people who have Lindy survival characteristics and who have weathered their own bouts of madnesss (mainly caused by exposure to Western Ideas — e.g. Taipings, early stage CCP rule) and still managed to thrive.

            • Mike Austin September 24, 2022, 6:05 PM

              China is a country of the future—and always will be.

              You take the side of a nation that since 1949 murdered 100,000,000 of her own people. Nice company you keep.

          • james wilson September 25, 2022, 12:42 AM

            From 1835
            “When Europeans landed in China three hundred years ago, they found there that almost all the arts had reached a certain degree of perfection and were surprised that they had not improved beyond that point. It was an industrial nation where most scientific processes had been preserved, while science itself was dead. That explained the unusually static quality of mind of this nation. The Chinese, in following the path of their ancestors, had mislaid the reasons for the direction the latter had chosen. They still used the formula without asking why; they kept the tool but they had lost the skills to adapt or replace it. The Chinese were, therefore, not able to change anything and had to abandon any notion of improvement. The well of human knowledge had dried up and although the flow still ran, it could neither increase its volume nor change its course.
            We should not, therefore, complacently think that the barbarians are still far away for, if some nations allow the torch to be snatched from their hands, others stamp it out themselves.”

            We are democratically stamping it out.

  • ghostsniper September 24, 2022, 7:02 AM

    It’s a good idea to take note of the political signs in your AO as to where the future targets live. When the shit goes down they will try to flee and your job is to make sure that doesn’t happen. Poison needs to be destroyed no matter what. The noose is tightening now.

    • Mike Austin September 24, 2022, 9:30 AM

      Good advice. Leave no cancer cells around. Leave no rabid dog alive. The American body politic is sick unto death. The cure will be terrible but necessary.

      • ghostsniper September 24, 2022, 12:18 PM

        I’m tellin’ ya man. October Surprise is right around the corner. Then after that, who knows? Personally, I’m expecting a red swell (legal) and a blue tsunami (illegal) and either during or after, all bets are off. It could go Game-On at any time. I am so glad I live in a red county, but I am nervous there are blue counties on 3 sides. I’m readying up my winter gear cause I think the cold is coming early this year and I may end up out in it quite a bit in the coming months.

        • John September 24, 2022, 4:53 PM

          I’m still expecting a presidential funeral the third week in October.

  • Harry September 24, 2022, 12:14 PM

    14 Warning Signs That You Are Living in a Society Without a Counterculture, by Ted Gioia at The Honest Broker. https://tedgioia.substack.com/p/14-warning-signs-that-you-are-living
    He’s worth reading.

    • Vanderleun September 24, 2022, 2:59 PM

      I agree that’s why theres another link at the top of this Strange Daze… but it is worth reading five times if not more.

  • jwm September 24, 2022, 4:03 PM

    On the movie poster in the 14 signs post: I remember the NuArt theater out on the West side. They had second run films, always double feature for three bucks, and they changed the marquee three times a week. Pink Flamingos with Divine every Saturday at midnight. What a hoot! We had a spinoff, The Wilshire, nearby in Fullerton. You could show up there with all your buddies, a pizza, and a gallon of Red Mountain, and the staff was fine with it. Of course, you had to smoke outside. We did.