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"He writes the worst English that I have ever encountered.It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of dogs barking through endless nights.It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.It drags itself out of the dark abyss of pish and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh.It is flap and doodle.It is balder and dash." - H.Mencken, on Warren G.Harding

Popular Mechanics wrote in 1954,

“We all know someone who works harder doing nothing than most of us work doing something, but we can’t possibly know anything that works harder at nothing that a machine built by a California hobbyist. The machine has over 700 working parts that rotate, twist, oscillate and reciprocate — all for no purpose except movement.”

Ye Olde Web 1.0 Page Sayeth:Lawrence Wahlstrom and the Do Nothing machine

gerardvanderleun : December 2, 16  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Here's the lyrics just in case you want to add this to your caroling around the neighborhood.

It's the most wonderful time in 8 years
Yet some kids are protesting
while Trump fans investing their time with good cheer
Sing It's the most wonderful time in 8 years

It's the hap-happiest voting season of all
With each staff member Trump picks, Democrats up to their old tricks …Just trashing them all
but It's the hap- happiest election season of all

There’ll be one party hosting All three branches toasting
but how low now will the press go
There'll spin misguided stories Trying to steal Trump’s glory
from a playbook written, long long ago

It's the most wonderful time in 8 years
There'll be much more enjoyment a lot less unemployment
Cuz Trump will be near
It's the most wonderful time in 8 years (go up)

Hillary’s party’s not hosting they’re no longer toasting,
Beyonce, Kanye, Cop Killers, Racists and the Muslim Brotherhood
They ignored true stories of Hillary who wasn’t sorry
for her crimes now and long ago

Now It's the most wonderful time in 8 Years
We’ll deport all the criminals, Taxes will be minimal
Bad trade deals disappear
It's the most wonderful time
yes the most wonderful time
Oh the most wonderful time… in 8 years!

gerardvanderleun : December 1, 16  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"Gary Snyder, the Zen poet, lives on a hundred backcountry acres in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, meditates mornings, and thanks his food before he eats it, clapping his hands together and saying “Itadakimasu,” which is Japanese for “Thank you very much.”

He likes a boilermaker at dinnertime (a shot of bourbon and a tall glass of beer) and, on occasion, the bullfrogs from his pond. “I follow the ‘Joy of Cooking,’ “ he says. “You’ve got to skin them and brine them overnight. She recommends rolling them in bread crumbs and frying them.” He finds that vulture feathers make the best pens for calligraphy, and collects them when he hikes. Some nights, he takes a blanket and a thermos of sake and a star map, walks along a gravel riverbed not far from his house to a spot among the mounded diggings left by the gold-mining ventures of the past two centuries, and, by the light of a red torch, works on the constellations....."
“Throughout human history and prehistory, the trail was only to get you somewhere,” he said. “What was important was what was off the trail. Food, roots, berries, dye plants, glue plants, poisonous plants, recreational-drug plants, squirrel nests, bird nests, everything you might think you’d need. What’s way off the trail are the places you go to be alone and have a vision and your own spiritual trip, maybe with some of those recreational plants”—knowing snickers from the kids—“and then you come back.” -- Zen Master - The New Yorker

Excerpts from Myths & Texts - Gary Snyder

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Gary Snyder's bio, poems, and articles at the Poetry Foundation

Paris Review Interview - Gary Snyder, The Art of Poetry No. 74

gerardvanderleun : December 1, 16  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Up to November 8 it was a very stressful year. Now it's time to go and get your opossums de-stressed.

gerardvanderleun : November 30, 16  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"At length, I found myself at the foot of a sheer drop in the bed of the avalanche channel, which seemed to bar all further progress. The tried dangers beneath seemed even greater than that of the cliff in front; therefore, after scanning its face again and again, I commenced to scale it, picking my holds with intense caution.

"After gaining a point about half-way to the top, I was brought to a dead stop, with arms outspread, clinging close to the face of the rock, unable to move hand or foot either up or down. My doom appeared fixed. I must fall. There would be a moment of bewilderment, and then a lifeless tumble down the once general precipice to the glacier below.

"When this final danger flashed in upon me, I became nerve-shaken for the first time since setting foot on the mountain, and my mind seemed to fill with a stifling smoke. But the terrible eclipse lasted only a moment, when life burst forth again with preternatural clearness.

"I seemed suddenly to become possessed of a new sense. The other self -- the ghost of by-gone experiences, instinct, or Guardian Angel -- call it what you will -- came forward and assumed control. Then my trembling muscles became firm again, every rift and flaw was seen as through a microscope, and my limbs moved with a positiveness and precision with which I seemed to have nothing at all to do."

gerardvanderleun : November 30, 16  |  Your Say (9)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Her earliest memory is being held on the shoulders of her father, watching the men who lived through the First World War parade down the main street of Fargo, North Dakota in 1918. She would have been just four years old then. Now she's 90 years old and she comes to her birthday party wearing a chic black and white silk dress, shiny black shoes with three inch heels, and a six foot long purple boa. She's threatening to sing Kurt Weill's 'The Saga of Jenny" and dance on the table one more time .

She'll sing the Kurt Weill song, but we draw the line at her dancing on the table this year. Other than that, it is pretty much her night, and she gets to call the shots. Which is what you get when you reach 90 97 and are still managing to make it out to the tennis courts three to four times a week. "If it wasn't for my knees I'd still have a good backcourt game, but now I pretty much like to play up at the net." [Note: Alas she had to give up tennis two years back when her knees finally gave up. She didn't. Water walking twice a week. She gave all a scare a couple of years ago but came roaring back after major surgery and is more or less back to the regular schedule.]

She plays Bridge once or twice a week, winning often, and has been known to have a cocktail or two on occasion. After her operation she gave up driving much to the relief of my brother who fretted over it for several decades.

She keeps a small two-bedroom apartment in a complex favored by young families and college students from Chico State and, invariably, has a host of fans during any given semester. She's thought about moving to the "senior apartments" out by the mall, but as she says, "I'm just not sure I could downsize that much and everyone there is so old."

She was born deep in the heartland at the beginning of the Great War, the youngest of five children. She grew up and into the Roaring 20s, through the Great Depression, taught school at a one room school house at Lake of the Woods Minnesota, roamed west out to California in the Second World War and met the man she married.

They stayed married until he died some 30 years ago. Together they raised three boys, and none of them came to any more grief than most and a lot more happiness than many.

After her husband died at the end of a protracted illness, she was never really interested in another man and filled her life with family, close friends (some stretching back to childhood), and was, for 15 years, a housemother to college girls. She recently retired from her day job where she worked three mornings a week as a teacher and companion to young children at a local day-care and elementary school.

She has always been a small and lovely woman -- some would say beautiful. I know I would. An Episcopalian, she's been known to go to church, but isn't devoted to the practice, missing more Sundays than she attends. She's given to finding the best in people and letting the rest pass, but has been known to let fools pass at high speed.

Born towards the beginning of the 20th century, she now lives fully in the 21st. Nearly 10 years ago we gave her a 90th birthday party. It was attended by over 200 people from 2 to 97, many of whom told tales about her, some taller than others.

We didn't believe the man who told about the time in her early seventies that she danced on his bar. He brought the pictures of the bar with her high-heel marks in it to prove the point.

Other stories are told, some serious, some funny, all loving. But they all can only go back so far since she has only been living in Chico, California for 30 years. I can go back further, and so, without planning to, I took my turn and told my story about her. It went something like this.

"Because I'm the oldest son, I can go back further in time. I can go back before Clinton, before Reagan, before Nixon, before Kennedy, before Eisenhower. We'll go back to the time of Truman.

"It must be the summer of 1949 and she's taking my brother and I back home to her family in Fargo for the first time. I would be almost four and he'd be two and a half. The war's been over for some time and everyone is now back home and settled in. My father's family lost a son, but -- except for some wounds -- everyone else came out all right.

"We're living in Los Angeles and her home is Fargo, North Dakota, half a continent away. So we do what you did then. We took the train. Starting in Los Angeles we went north to San Francisco where we boarded the newest form of luxury land transportation available that year, the California Zephyr.

"Out from the bay and up over the Sierras and down across the wastes until we wove our way up the spine of the Rockies and down again to the vast land sea that stretched out east in a swath of corn and wheat that I remember more than the pitched curves and plunging cliffs of the mountains. On the Zephyr you sat in a plush chair among others in a long transparent dome at the top of the car and it seemed all Earth from horizon to the zenith flowed past you.

"There was the smell of bread and cooking in the Pullman cars that I can still capture in my mind, and the lulling rhythm of the wheels over the rails that I can still hear singing me down into sleep.

"At some point we changed trains to go north into the Fargo Station and, as we pulled into Fargo in mid-morning, my mother's family met us with their usual humble dignity -- they brought a full brass band that worked its way down through the John Philip Sousa set list with severe dedication. They also brought me more family members than there were people living on our entire block in Los Angeles. There may also have been a couple of Barbershop Quartets to serenade us during the band breaks, but I'm not sure about that.

"My mother and brother and I were swept away in the maelstrom of aunts, uncles, cousins by the dozens, and assorted folks from the neighborhood on 8th Avenue South.

"The day rolled into a huge lunch at a vast dining room table where my grandmother ruled with an iron ladle. Then, after a suitable post-prandial stupor, my entire family rose as one and headed out to the nearby park for their favorite activity -- trying to crush each other in tennis. When this family hit the courts, it was like a tournament had come to town. Other would-be players just took one look and headed for another set of courts elsewhere.

"I was still too young to play, although my mother would have a racquet custom-made for me within the year, so instead I would have been exhausting myself at some playground or in one of the sandboxes under the eyes of my older cousins. Then, at dusk, I made my way back to the courts.

"In the Fargo summers the twilights linger long and fade slowly. And as they fade the lights on the courts come up illuminating them in the gathering dark. And I sat, not quite four, as the night grew dark around me and my mother and her family played on below.

"Now it is all more than sixty years gone but still, in my earliest memories, they all play on in that endless twilight. I see them sweeping back and forth in the fading light. Taunting and laughing together. Calling balls out that are clearly in. Arguing and laughing and playing on forever long after the last light of day has fled across the horizon and the stars spread out high above the lights.

"Service. Return. Lob. Forehand. Volley. Backhand. Volley. Love All."

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Lois Lucille McNair Van der Leun -- then and now

November, 2004 -- Chico & Laguna Beach, California

Vanderleun : November 30, 16  |  Your Say (63)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"We acknowledge that the placing of the incendiary devices under the truck was a bad idea from start to finish."

gerardvanderleun : November 29, 16  |  Your Say (9)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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***


"You gotta keep up with the times." It would seem that large parts of the future have been postponed....

Everyone’s Cuba Curious | Primordial Slack It’s been around 20 years since I left, weeping bitterly that I had to, so hard had I fallen in love with Cuba. The land is so fertile that the fence posts bloom, but there was no food to eat. The despair is as thick as the wafting smoke from their marijuana, and drowned in their rum.

Robot dolphins, turtles and shellfish used as underwater spies in the deep blue sea - Each radio-controlled swimming model is fitted with HD cameras to capture unique footage of the unsuspecting marine mammals.
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In 1918, California Drafted Children Into a War On Squirrels | There were over 100,000 casualties.

Scientists have found the world's largest cluster of sinkholes, and it spans 4 counties - ScienceAlert To give you an idea of how big they were, the biggest sinkhole is deeper than the Eiffel Tower is tall, and its diameter is wider than the height of the Empire State Building.

The Devil’s Tower: US’ Mysterious Sightseeing Spot | Unusual Places

Conclusion – Sexuality and Gender - The New AtlantisSome of the most widely held views about sexual orientation, such as the “born that way” hypothesis, simply are not supported by science.

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Portland 'Adulting' School Teaches Millennials How to Be Functional Grownups | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities “Credit card stuff, which I didn’t think I would have at this age,” a 29-year-old “student” said. “And I really don’t have the skill set, how to pay for our rent, and our food, on top of paying off that debt.”

Opera Boeuf |The star draw is the 72-ounce steak challenge: a diner (several volunteer each night, I’m told) sits on an elevated platform—to an opera singer, a stage—under a large digital clock that begins to tick when his four-and-a-half pound steak and accompanying dishes are presented to him. He (almost always a he, I gather) commences eating, and if he finishes eating the steak—and importantly, all the side dishes—in under 60 minutes, his meal is free of charge; otherwise, he pays $72. Plus tax and tip. [We've been there too. As I note in one of the earliest posts on American Digest from June, 2003. The Cowgirl and the Four Pound Steak @ AMERICAN DIGEST]


gerardvanderleun : November 29, 16  |  Your Say (6)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Moving Images

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gerardvanderleun : November 28, 16  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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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."]

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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

Vanderleun : November 27, 16  |  Your Say (26)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Black Friday Zombie shoppers lined up by the hundreds at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and other Box Box retailers. Have a look at these parasitic consumers who can't wait to buy more flatscreen televisions, tablets, and toasters, while they go deeper into credit card debt. Media analyst Mark Dice has the story

gerardvanderleun : November 25, 16  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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The Gift Outright
by Robert Frost

The land was ours before we were the land's.
She was our land more than a hundred years
Before we were her people. She was ours
In Massachusetts, in Virginia,
But we were England's, still colonials,
Possessing what we still were unpossessed by,
Possessed by what we now no more possessed.
Something we were withholding made us weak
Until we found out that it was ourselves
We were withholding from our land of living,
And forthwith found salvation in surrender.
Such as we were we gave ourselves outright
(The deed of gift was many deeds of war)
To the land vaguely realizing westward,
But still unstoried, artless, unenhanced,
Such as she was, such as she would become.

-- Delivered at the Kennedy Inauguration

Vanderleun : November 24, 16  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Story by: Kristin Alberts

What’s even more American than turkey, cranberries and pumpkin pie these days? An Italian gun, that’s what. The only known surviving firearm that crossed the wild Atlantic aboard the good ship Mayflower, settled with the pilgrims at Plymouth Colony and ultimately helped the first colonists not only survive, but prosper. Meet the Mayflower Gun.

The Gun

Affectionately dubbed the Mayflower Gun and thought of as an American icon, the gun is actually an Italian-made wheel-lock carbine. This single-shot musket was originally chambered in .50 caliber rifle, though ages of heavy use have worn away the majority of the rifling. Given the combination of natural wear, repairs and modifications, if the gun were to be loaded and fired today, it would require a .66 caliber.

According to curators at the NRA’s National Firearms Museum—where the gun has found a most comfortable home—markings recorded on both the barrel and lockplate demonstrate a connection with the Beretta family of armorers.

One of the features making this musket instantly recognizable is its namesake. The surviving detail of the actual wheel-lock device—the rotating mechanism, which provides spark and ignition, not unlike that of our modern day cigarette lighters—is a thing of fine craftsmanship and beauty. The wheel-lock’s engineering, execution and efficacy far exceed those of its predecessor, the matchlock.

The man: John Alden

Without the adventuresome spirit of one young man with an eye for quality arms, the Mayflower Gun would not be a part of our American history today. Enter, John Alden. Alden was around 20 to 21 years of age at the ship’s departure. However, his original intent was never really to set sail. John AldenHe was simply hired as a ships cooper—a barrel maker by trade—at the yard where ships docked. But being a young man with much hope and courage, he decided to board the Mayflower for its daunting passage. Sometime near debarkation, it is speculated that Alden purchased the firearm used, perhaps from a traveler or mercenary as was common in those days. Of the guns widely available at that time, this was one of the finest and most expensive, so certainly young Alden was wise beyond his years.

Following an arduous three-month winter passage at sea, battered by the north Atlantic’s gales, the Mayflower reached its destination in 1620. History recognizes John Alden as the first man to step ashore, and when Alden’s feet hit terra firma, this gun was most likely his sole means of protection. Though the early years at the new settlement were marked with many tribulations, Alden prospered. Along with the other men who made the passage, he was one of the signatories of the Mayflower Compact, documenting the freedoms and liberties of the new colony. Among his many ventures, Alden is remembered for his service under Capt. Miles Standish, with whom he is rumored to rivaled over the courtship of the woman who eventually became Alden’s wife.

Part of this story is recounted in Longfellow’s poem “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” Between the years 1633 to 1675, Alden served not only as assistant governor of the Plymouth Colony, but often, due to absence, fulfilled governor duties. He was known to have served on many juries including participation in at least one witch trial. Through all this time, including a move inland and away from the original colony, the Mayflower Gun remained in Alden’s possession. At the time of his death in 1687, the gun began its long succession of Alden family ownership.

The History

The Alden family dwelling, like the gun, has survived for nearly 400 years. The Mayflower gun was discovered—still loaded, nonetheless—in a secret protective cubbyhole near the front door of the home during a 1924 renovation. The Alden home, which was occupied by family members until the mid-1890’s, is currently a National Historic Landmark in Duxbury, Massachusetts. Though it is certain that other settlers would have carried similar arms, this is indeed the only known surviving piece, likely because it was tucked away and forgotten after its years of service had ended.

Because the gun was something of a large caliber at the time, it would likely have been used to take down deer and other large game as well as birds—perhaps even a Thanksgiving longbeard. Naturally, the original stock was fashioned of fine European walnut, though sometime in the gun’s history, a worn portion of the front stock was replaced with American walnut. There is great beauty in the wear patterns of the wood, simply for knowing the many hands and circumstances that have handled this weapon. The Mayflower Gun is currently on display at the NRA Museum.Oh, the stories it could tell of game hunted, lives taken and families saved! This tool was at once a protector and a provider. In fact, the Mayflower Gun may well have been present—or at least played a role—at the 1621 birth of the Thanksgiving holiday we celebrate today. The gun, in fact, is one of the few surviving pieces known to have made the trip aboard the Mayflower.

On Display

Those near Fairfax, Virginia can visit this amazing and well-traveled weapon at its home in the NRA’s National Firearms Museum. It is currently being featured on display as part of the “Old Guns in a New World” gallery, an exhibit in which firearms bridge the gap between the Old World and the new colonies. In addition to this one, the Museum is home to 14 other galleries housing more than 2,700 firearms of remarkable significance. Admission is free and the museum is open daily. For those interested in learning more without making a physical visit, detailed virtual tours are easily navigated at their website.

In Thanksgiving

Nearly 400 years have passed since the Mayflower Gun traversed the Atlantic to forever become a priceless, tangible slice of American history. In the spirit of Thanksgiving celebration, the time is right to remember not only all those who came before us, but also the hardships they faced to get us where we are today. In reminiscing on this beautiful Mayflower Gun, we here at Guns.com are thankful for our first amendment freedoms. So with a nod of the clichéd black pilgrim hats, take some special time this holiday to enjoy family, friends, freedoms and of course, firearms.

From Gun News at Guns.com HT: The Incredible Story Of The Mayflower Gun @ Waznmentobe

gerardvanderleun : November 24, 16  |  Your Say (16)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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And so, in the heart of The Times’s newsroom, long before the exit polls hinted at an upset — and hours before the news media confirmed Mr. Trump’s earthshaking win — Tom Bodkin, The Times’s design director, quietly looked over one such draft.

“MADAM PRESIDENT,” the would-be headline read.

-- Front Page That Wasn’t to Be - The New York Times

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Arlo Guthrie Featuring paintings by Albert Bierstadt, George Catlin, Frederick Remington, Howard Terpning, and visual arts by Spadecaller.

There are no "official" or traditional hymns of praise for Thanksgiving. This one, however, will do and do nicely.

"The lyrics tell the story of a roving trader in love with the daughter of an Indian chief; in this interpretation, the rover tells the chief of his intent to take the girl with him far to the west, across the Missouri River. Other interpretations tell of a pioneer's nostalgia for the Shenandoah River Valley in Virginia, or of a Confederate soldier in the American Civil War, dreaming of his country home in Virginia. The provenance of the song is unclear."

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gerardvanderleun : November 23, 16  |  Your Say (15)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Happy Thanksgiving. I’m a big fan of this holiday because few things are more American than boozing up and chowing down ’til your ankles swell and your corduroys pop. In between, you get to watch some football and share your thoughts on the trainwreck presidency of Barack Hussein Obama (hint hint).

I consider myself a knowledgable debater because I read up on the blogs and I’m typically one of the most “liked” commenters on the articles. The reason I’m writing this is because my brother’s dumb kid likes to get chatty with me. I’ve never seen anyone bring so many printouts to the dinner table. His “talking points,” he says.

Reminds me of my last divorce, all those friggin’ printouts. This kid, my nephew, will never admit to being a communist, it’s always this “moderate independent” crap. But his Facebook feed is full of Bernie Sandinista, if you know what I mean, and he recently tweeted some gibberish about riding the bus in Czechoslovakia and identifying as a “human being” instead of what he is, an American.

He’s been a “student” at some Ivy League circlejerk for the better part of a decade. I think he’s 29, who the hell even cares? If he’s the future, this country’s digging its own grave and I’m glad I won’t be there when it finally kicks the bucket.

When I was his age, I was flying Ranger battalions into Grenada in ’83. I spent Thanksgiving there, and believe me, we didn’t have any damn printouts. We had a war, son. A lot of my buddies have similar situations in their families, and they’re always asking me for advice on how to put up with this left-wing propaganda.

Well, I’ll give you a taste. He’s gonna be all like “you’re just giving ISIS what they want.” I’ll come back at him with something like:

“You know, you raise an interesting point there, Brayden. I’ll tell you what, why don’t you invite one of your ISIS pals around the house and we’ll see how much he likes it when I slash his guts out with the turkey knife. You think that’s what he wants? They want us to crush them?

"Tell me something, how did you feel when your Little League team got mercy-ruled by those country boys in the district finals? Is that what you wanted? Were you just phoning it in for the “participant” trophy? Is that why you’re too afraid to shave that pathetic beard? Because that’s what ISIS wants?

"Am I bothering you right now? Did I carpet bomb your safe space? Maybe, just maybe, what ISIS really wants is a world with fewer people like me, who’ve looked evil in the eye and given a few titty-twisters in our day, and more people like the skinny jean cycle jockeys you pal around with at Yale, with your ska music and your websites and “fantasy” sports.

"Maybe what ISIS wants is your dental floss forearms that can barely hold a selfie stick, much less a BAR. Do those Vox cards have a talking point for that?

"Oh, really? Because I was under the impression that in A-m-e-r-i-c-a, the proper way to usher in the holiday season is with a stiff Rusty Nail, not a “dialogue” about small pox and genocide, unless you want to share your feelings about the mass murder ISIS wants to bring down on your ass? Is that a topic we can let marinate?

"I bet you had to print out the lyrics to our national anthem when you went to sing it in the quad the night we elected President Hopey Change.

"No, you listen. You listen, Brayden.

"When’s the last time you got a blister on those hands? Don’t mention the time you tried eating the vegan hotdog at the WNBA game you made me take you to out of “fairness.” You didn’t even watch the game. You just tweeted about sexism on your iPad. You know, that little computer screen made by Apple, which last I checked was a corporation, Mr. Occupy. Don’t deny it, I was watching you.

"You only looked up when Taylor Swift came over the PA system. How do you think that made Brittney Griner feel?

"Remind me: What’s the name of the union for people who Twitter all day from an air conditioned office? Because I don’t think “amateur food photographer” counts as a real job.”

I plan to say this to the little pansy in a firm but slightly mocking tone as I pour another bourbon while eating processed turkey and holding a lit cigarette.

GUEST COLUMN: How to Talk to Your Pansy Marxist Nephew at Thanksgiving - Washington Free Beacon HT: The dependably interesting Never Yet Melted

Then there's always....

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gerardvanderleun : November 23, 16  |  Your Say (18)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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You might think, looking at the title of this video, that I'm pushing the envelope by posting this before Thanksgiving, but there is so much to be thankful for this year it is never too early for something this wonderful. It may irritate your eyes for a moment, but it's worth it. You'll see.

gerardvanderleun : November 22, 16  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Civil government being the sole object of forming societies, its administration must be conducted by common consent.

Every species of government has its specific principles. Ours perhaps are more peculiar than those of any other in the universe. It is a composition of the freest principles of the English constitution, with others derived from natural right and natural reason.

To these nothing can be more opposed than the maxims of absolute monarchies. Yet from such we are to expect the greatest number of emigrants. They will bring with them the principles of the governments they leave, imbibed in their early youth; or, if able to throw them off, it will be in exchange for an unbounded licentiousness, passing, as is usual, from one extreme to another. It would be a miracle were they to stop precisely at the point of temperate liberty.

These principles, with their language, they will transmit to their children. In proportion to their numbers, they will share with us the legislation. They will infuse into it their spirit, warp and bias its directions, and render it a heterogeneous, incoherent, distracted mass.

I may appeal to experience, during the present contest, for a verification of these conjectures. But, if they be not certain in event; are they not possible, are they not probable? Is it not safer to wait with patience 27 years and three months longer, for the attainment of any degree of population desired or expected? May not our government be more homogeneous, more peaceable, more durable?

Suppose 20 millions of republican Americans thrown all of a sudden into France, what would be the condition of that kingdom? If it would be more turbulent, less happy, less strong, we may believe that the addition of half a million of foreigners to our present numbers would produce a similar effect here. - - (Notes on Virginia I, Correspondence 1780-1782)

gerardvanderleun : November 21, 16  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Turn backwards, turn backwards, time in thy flight....

I came across this famous clip of Clinton and the 50 points tonight. Looking at it now it seems imbued with an almost mythic and tragi-comic glow. Here is someone in desperation; someone both wrapped and rapt in the final stages of a long delusion which was soon to blossom into pure bad craziness. This is the chrysalis containing the full cat-lady.

In the eyes you can see her not-so-carefully-concealed defectiveness more clearly now than you did when the video first started to be seen. The freeze-frame at the beginning of the clip is much more arresting now.

Because of this, I've made the video larger and placed it one click away in the continued section. That and to keep it from scaring small children and the horses.

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gerardvanderleun : November 20, 16  |  Your Say (10)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Yes, it is silly. Yes, you may scoff freely as did I for a moment, but then it became.... wonderful.

HT:neo-neocon A pas de deux

gerardvanderleun : November 18, 16  |  Your Say (18)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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MONDO BIZARRO


Passing the Hat

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By Mail: Gerard Van der Leun | c/o Lake Union Mail | 117 East Louisa, #380 | Seattle, WA 98102

And now I have a message of my own for these students.

Stabbing a bunch of people for not believing the same things that you do is the very definition of hatred and intolerance, yet you self-absorbed little shits dare project the guilt for this heinous act upon the rest of us?
No. Here's the deal. The disgusting piece of trash who attempted this slaughter was here in this country as a guest, funded by taxpayers like me who've been in the workforce for 20 years. We literally rescued him and his family, and this is how he repaid us--by whining about oppression and microaggressions as he plotted a murderous act of terrorism against innocent people.
We will not let you make this about your self-centered agenda. This is not your show. Your callow sloganeering "thoughts" on tolerance, diversity, microaggressions and general butthurtedness are unwelcome at this time, precious snowflakes. Never, ever presume to lecture the rest of us again. Ace of Spades HQ


If you occupied what was considered the ideological / moral centre ground in 1966,

and went to sleep for 50 years and woke up in 2016 you'd find yourself occupying the ideological /moral 'far right'.
You didn't have to budge one inch ideologically to find yourself there. The whizzing sound you heard was the ideological / cultural centre ground zooming over to the Cultural Marxist hard left. Everything that was considered mainstream, obvious, common sense, logical and moral in 1966 is now considered by our political, academic and media elite to be bigoted, ignorant, hateful, xenophobic, racist, extremist and some form of moral abnormality. In other words, within the space of 50 years, morality, right, wrong, evil, good, normal, obvious, extreme, sanity, truth, beneficial, dangerous and the instinct for group preservation, has been inverted and stood upside down on its head. Never before in the entire course of human history has an entire culture, race and civilisation decided to hand over its lands, social capital, heritage and identities to competing and intruding alien cultures without a fight, and even worse, to evolve an ideology that morally justifies and glorifies it as proof of their moral supremacy.European man is in a civilisational death dance.What a difference fifty years makes.... | Boards[HT Happy Acres]


"Mom: "We're leaving now, go give Grandma a kiss goodbye."

Child: "No! Stop forcing rape culture on me!"

Grandma: "God, just kill me..."

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Amazon reveals AWS Snowmobile, a 45-foot semi-trailer that moves exabytes of data to the cloud
LAS VEGAS — Snowball, a physical device introduced by Amazon last year to quickly move 50 TB of data out of a data center into AWS’s cloud, has proved extremely popular.But now, organizations are seeking a way to move more data. Much more data. In response, Amazon today unveiled AWS Snowmobile, a semi-trailer that will come to your facility and literally pick up an exabyte of data (1 million terabytes).


"Press 1 for English and 2 through 86 for every other language jabbering away in Buffalo, NY

The Insanity Reaches New and Undreamed of Levels: 85 languages spoken in Buffalo schools as 'New Americans' enter classrooms --

The City of Buffalo has taken in thousands of immigrants and refugees in recent years, and it’s reflected in many of its schools. More than 85 different languages are spoken throughout the district, but that number can change by the day....But last year, Buffalo – forced by necessity and new mandates – began making some long overdue changes at central registration intended to address its large customer base of students from foreign lands. Chief among them is a new team of multilingual staffers who can speak to the students in their own language – and thus are able to sign them up for school, test their English, detail their prior education, and discuss with parents what to expect in the classroom.
Excuse me, "teachers," but is there a hole here for me to get sick in?
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Excuse me, but do you speak 'Teeterer'?



I wonder how much we are willing to spend on "compassion"

... what ever that amount is, I would like for it to be spent on American servicemen/women and their families (and cops actually).

If there is compassion money left over after that, I'd like to see it go towards projects that benefit our country. I think immigrants should be assigned to "people of that particular compassion" who want to help immigrants assimilate in to American norms. Let those folks host immigrates in their homes as one might a foreign exchange student - let them be accountable to their neighbors for what that community thinks is right. I don't want to spend my compassion on soldiers intent on harming this Country. I don't think that is compassion well spent.True North:notes on COMPASSION



They reduce the argument to something like “I love love and I hate hate,” and if you disagree, you love hate. Please share this article by using the link below. When you cut and paste an article, Taki's Magazine misses out on traffic, and our writer

The next thing you know, they’re holding up signs that say, “Love trumps hate,” like anyone would have a problem with that.
I know a guy who was arrested on election night and he got the news Trump was the next president while in the Tombs. He said some of the black inmates were convinced they wouldn’t be allowed out now. What kind of logic is that? All black people go to jail? That’s simply not possible. Therefore, your hypothesis is incorrect. Play it through logically. Trump is going to deport legal immigrants? How? He’s going to imprison all his opponents? Who? He’s going to make it illegal to burn the flag? What? He’s going to repeal Roe v. Wade? When? He’s going to start a nuclear war? Where? He’s going to dissolve gay marriages? Why? Your belief system can’t make it past one question? - - Reality Bites


See, This Is Why We Can’t Have White Things

“The most toxic brand in political history.”
That’s a damn good line. I’d encourage people on the alt-right to take it to heart, but I know they won’t. Because, regarding the Third Reich, you essentially have two types of “thinkers” on (or around) the alt-right. You have the trolls, who care not about the toxicity of Hitler and the Nazis, because being hip and edgy with things that are taboo is their entire goal. And then you have the true believers, the ones who dismiss the Third Reich’s bad rep because they don’t think Hitler did anything wrong. To them, the toxicity is unfair. Much like how the fast-food chain Wendy’s suffered a torrent of bad press after an indolent mouth-breather faked finding a human finger in a bowl of chili, Hitler is only noxious because other people, other entities, framed him and “hoaxed” the world. - David Cole


Still, it is a good reminder that you can be highly intelligent and also have a head full of nonsense.

The most prominent libertarians live on the adult day care centers we call the college campus.
Others live in the satellite version called the think tank. Most of their friends are in the Cult and often quite passionate about it. As a result, the most prominent libertarians spend their days trying to carve out an exception for themselves that does not vex their peers. Going in for the lunacy of NeverTrump was a cheap way to earn piety points with the nut jobs on campus. The Power of Belief | The Z Blog


Our presidential election system has, in effect, 51 elections--

46 states, four Commonwealths, and one District of Columbia.
Each one of those "little" elections has electors assigned to it equal to the number of representatives it has in both houses of Congress; each state (in general) grants it electors to the winning candidate within its boundaries. Since we currently have 538 members in that Congress, a winning candidate needs 270 electoral votes to win. The idea of the now much-maligned electoral college is to serve as part of the intricate system of checks-and-balances that this really, really smart Brits instituted to avoid tyrannies by either a minority OR by a majority. Everybody gets a voice, regardless of whether they are big or little. Dear progs, please look at the UN that you love so much: every country there gets the same vote regardless of size: Luxembourg gets the same vote as China. Should we change that? The DiploMad 2.0: Tough Times to be a Progressive


The Long, Politically Fraught History of Seeds in the U.S.

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For nearly a century, the federal government was organized around the reality of the economy, which is that it was still strongly agrarian.
Many early post offices were hubs for picking up seeds. It wasn’t a cheap program, either: At one point in the late 1800s, roughly a third of the USDA’s budget was dedicated to distributing seeds around the country. And some political parties wanted the seed program to go even further. | Atlas Obscura


Who Says There's No Good News?

In the last two months, ESPN has lost 1,176,000 subscribers, a subscriber loss nearly the size of the city of Dallas, Texas.

ESPN currently has just over 88 million domestic subscribers. In 2013, a mere three years ago, ESPN had 99 million subscribers. That’s right, in the last three years, ESPN lost somewhere in the neighborhood of ten million subscribers, the rough equivalent of the combined populations of New York City and Phoenix. ESPN Loses Over a Half Million Subscribers - Breitbart



Undead

James Riffel’s 1991 film
Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Alien, Flesh Eating, Hellbound, Zombified Living Dead Part 2 in Shocking 2-D spawned three sequels: Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Living Dead, Part 3 (2005), Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating Subhumanoid Zombified Living Dead, Part 4 (2005), and Night Of The Day Of The Dawn Of The Son Of The Bride Of The Return Of The Revenge Of The Terror Of The Attack Of The Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating, Crawling, Alien, Zombified, Subhumanoid Living Dead — Part 5 (2011). - - Futility Closet


Job Exodus Cooling

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Everybody Needs A Hobby

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It's all in the diet. Isn't it?

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World’s oldest living person celebrates 117th birthday: Morano lives alone and has outlived all her eight brothers and sisters, including one who died at 102.
She has thrived despite an unorthodox, unbalanced diet. "When I first knew her she used to eat three eggs a day. Two raw, and one fried. Today she has slowed down a bit, reducing the number to two some days because she says three can be too much," her doctor Carlo Bava told Reuters TV. "She has never eaten much fruit or vegetables. Her characteristic is that she always eats the same thing, every day, every week, every month and every year."
Tomorrow, my mother turns 102 years of age. Her diet includes, well, everything. She's discovered tempura and sushi in the last year and craves them.

The End of the High Church

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Part of what has destroyed the mainline Protestant churches is their full-throated embrace of Progressive lunacy
. At my friend’s ordination, three of the people ordained were woman. Judging by the haircuts, all three were lesbians. Gay marriage is a huge issue in these churches, driving off the sensible and leaving only those who see Christianity as a vehicle for Progressive activism. Many of these churches are no longer Christian, as a theological matter. They are just Progressive meeting houses for the deranged. | The Z Blog


To be imprisoned-by-emancipation is the fate of those who define their being in terms of time.

People who are so bound to our moment and cannot think or live outside it, congratulate themselves on being emancipated from “their land or place, their race or ethnic group, their traditions or their gods.”
They believe they are free, but in fact they have exchanged defining structures that can (and often do) offer security and meaning for a defining abstraction that can offer neither — a home for a prison. This helps to explain why people who believe they are emancipated nevertheless tend to seek, with an intensity born of unacknowledged nostalgia, compensatory stories set in fantastic realms where the longed-for structures are firmly in place. To be imprisoned-by-emancipation is the fate of those who define their being in terms of time. Modernity is thus temporal self-exile — though it may be other things as well. modernity as temporal self-exile - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis


From Breakbulk To The Container

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The shipping container, the vessels that carry them and the land vehicles that carry them

represent a revolution in the way cargo gets moved across the world. The full impact of that revolution is still being felt.  The one thing that is certain is, that like it or not the world is going to be more connected than it has ever been in history as getting stuff from point “A” to point “B” has never been cheaper. To understand the full impact of the revolution We need to start at the beginning. | The Arts Mechanical



Small Scraps Holding Gigantic Thoughts

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Emily Dickinson’s Singular Scrap Poetry - Only ten of her poems were published in her lifetime, all anonymously;
publication was, as she put it, as “foreign to my thought, as Firmament to Fin.” Not that she intended her poems to go unread—she often sent them in letters to friends, sometimes with other enclosures: dried flowers, a three-cent stamp, a dead cricket. She also tried a form of self-publishing: from around 1858 until roughly 1864, she gathered her poems into forty homemade books, known as “fascicles,” by folding single sheets of blank paper in half to form four consecutive pages, which she then wrote on and, later, bound, one folded sheet on another, with red-and-white thread strung through crudely punched holes. These books were found in Dickinson’s room after her death, in 1886, by her sister, Lavinia, along with hundreds more poems in various states of composition, plus, intriguingly, the “scraps,” a cache of lines that Dickinson wrote on scavenged paper: the flap of a manila envelope, the backs of letters, chocolate wrappers, bits of newspaper.


ISIS Calls for Random Knife Attacks in Alleys, Forests, Beaches, 'Quiet Neighborhoods'

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A new magazine issued by the Islamic State advises lone jihadists to get over any squeamishness about using knives and embrace sharp objects as "widely available" weapons of jihad in nighttime stabbing campaigns. - - | PJ Media

Immigration. Here Hillary and Obama did great work for Donald.

As Obama frantically brought in as many "refugees" as possible from everywhere, anywhere that might not be compatible with the people upon whom he would force them, Hillary promised to import huge numbers of Muslims.
It was luminously stupid politics, but politically she was luminously stupid, so it fit.

It is why she is not President.

She knew that the backward peoples of Flyover Land ought to want hundreds of thousands of Somalis and Pakistanis and who-knew-what to live with, and if they didn't, she would force them and it didn't matter because she had big donors and everybody in the media loved her.

However incoherent and ignorant Trump was, the Establishment was determined to elect him. Elect him it did. Uniquely Talented: Only the Democrats Could Have Lost to Trump | Fred On Everything




Poem Before Birth

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water, water,
flesh-cord feeding
taut bundle
of woman's belly.

the brow of the child
is first to form,
while gills still
pulse in the jostled quiet.

the long sleep
before birth hypnotizes
until shock of tongs and thrusting thighs
obliterates

the song of falling haze,
blue-red
veins, translucent
skin,

breath, heartbeat
and hunger.
tears and a sometimes
return to the quiet

hearth of stars in their cool
pond, bright blankness.
the depths
and the old remembering.

the waves
without the water.

-- Berkeley, California, 1966



Why the Office Needs a Typewriter Revolution

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How can we insert the common sense of the typewriter -- and other pre-digital equipment -- into the modern office?
Basically, there are three strategies. The most radical is to replace all our digital devices by mechanical ones, and replace all dataservers with paper stacked in vertical filing cabinets, in other words we could go back in time.
This would surely lower energy use, and it's the most resilient option: for all their wonders, computers serve absolutely no purpose when there's no electricity. Nevertheless, this is not an optimal strategy, because we would lose all the good things that the computer has to offer. "The enemy isn't computers themselves: it's an all-embracing, exclusive computing mentality", writes Richard Polt in The Typewriter Revolution. - LOW-TECH MAGAZINE


Neolithic Female or Sophia Loren?: We report. You decide.

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Archaeologists in Turkey Find Neolithic Female Statuette Intact
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Social Justice Warrior, Syria Edition

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Was the Scarab an Original Minivan?

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Ron Schneider of Milwaukee bought and restored a 1936 Stout Scarab. The car, so radical and expensive for its time (about $5,000, which would be about $85,000 today), didn’t catch on.
I paid $12,000 for one, and bought another for parts, then began a two-year restoration. Once done, I drove the Scarab across country twice. Along the way, I found Bill Stout’s grandson, living in Phoenix. I asked if the car was like what he remembered as a boy. He said it was, down to the finger and nose prints on the windows, from people wanting to see inside. - - WSJ


On Working Shitty Jobs

Working shitty jobs has enabled me to travel all over the country and all over the world in a unique and almost legendary manner.

Working shitty jobs has given me a perspective on life that few people in my position, as a relatively privileged white boy, are able to have. Working shitty jobs has helped me to be grateful for the opportunities that I have earned for myself over the years. Working shitty jobs has shaped my sense of self, my sense of humor, and my sense of soul in a deeply profound manner. Working shitty jobs has opened up social networks to me that are otherwise inaccessible to American WASPs. Working shitty jobs has reinforced with grit my stubborn, indomitable dignity. – My Blog



White Liberal, Who Are You?

1980s: [cue Mr. Van Driessen’s voice] “Reagan is a dangerous warmonger. It’s cruel to deport California’s illegal immigrants. The environment should be protected from greedy developers. Homeless people need shelters. Be more open to life’s experiences.”

1990s: “Gay people have the right to serve in the military. Her body, her choice. I never signed your mean-spirited Contract with America. Immigrants enrich us with wonderful restaurants, you ignorant loser. We’d make progress on racism if not for Jesse fucking Helms!"

2000s: “Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush no war no profiling Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush open borders you bigot Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush islamophobe Fuck Bush Fuck Bush 911 was an inside job Fuck Bush Fuck Bush Fuck Bush!”

Today: “I’m gonna get your ass fired, you fucking transphobic asshole. Drone the Bundys. Trump hates women. Racist bitches oughtta be raped. Go back to whatever rock Mike Pence crawled out from under.” – PA


Most of these happy proximities have produced bloodbaths, actual genocide or attempts at it

What have been the relations between:

In Germany, Germans and Moslems. In Canada, Frogs, Anglos, and Indians. In the US, blacks, whites, browns, and Moslems. In Sri Lanka, Tamils and Sinhalese. In Sweden, Swedes and Moslems. In Ireland, Prots and Catholics. In Rwanda, Hutus and Tutsis, or maybe Tutus and Hutsis. In India, Hindus and Moslems among others. In Israel, Jews and Arabs. In France, French and Moslems. In Sudan, Moslems and Christians. In South Africa, Xhosa, Bantus, and whites. In Iraq and elsewhere, Shias and Sunnis. In Xian Jiang, Chinese and Moslems. In Spain, Basques, Catalans, and the rest. In Germany, Jews and Germans. In Turkey, Turks and Armenians and Kurds. In ISIS-land, Moslems and Christians, Sunnis and Shias. In Indonesia, Indonesians and Chinese. In Holland, Dtuch and Moslems. Diversity: A Civilizational Nightmare | Fred On Everything



There's a lot of magic in that moonlight.

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The most luminous moonlight painting I've ever seen is this illustration by N.C. Wyeth, at the Brandywine Museum in Pennsylvania ILLUSTRATION ART: MOONLIGHT MAGIC

[Bumped] The decision of modern man to live in the here and now

is reflected in the neglect of aging parents, whom proper sentiment once kept in positions of honor and authority. There was a time when the elder generation was cherished because it represented the past; now it is avoided and thrust out of sight for the same reason. -- Ideas Have Consequences

"Fear, Craft, and Avarice / Cannot rear a State...."

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Cuba and "The life that was not lived."

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Forget the gulags and the concentration camps and the firing squads.
Those are the stories that made the papers at least – stories that were told. No – the most important part of this tragedy is not what happened, but what didn’t happen. The novels that were not written, stories of beach and mountain and freedom and loss; the beautiful paintings that did not come to be, which in turn did not inspire abounding love – the love of storybooks. The cuisine that was not refined; the businesses that did not provide for families; inventions that do not help humanity; diseases that were not cured.

The life that was not lived.The Untold Story of Cuba | Joel D. Hirst's Blog



Papa's Got a Brand New Bag.

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This is a yellow-headed jawfish male that incubates its eggs (or its brood) in its mouth.
That’s right-the male carries the babies. In the beginning, the jawfish is able to swallow the eggs, keeping them hidden, and occasionally spits them out to grab a bite, then sucks them back in, all in one gulp. It is fascinating to watch, and quite a challenge. The challenge gets tougher as the brood develops and gets larger. What was so sweet though was that after about an hour of observation with this little fish, he accepted that I was not a predator and that my presence could actually protect him. Soon he became comfortable and almost even proud to show off his family to be. Photographed by Suzan Meldonian near the Blue Heron Bridge in Florida. Smithsonian Magazine's 2015 Photo Contest - The Atlantic


So what really was Fidel’s Cuba?

A huge tick – sucking blood for sixty years.
First, during the years of the Soviet Union, turning the country into a client state of that defunct system for a few billion dollars a year; enough to keep people fed, well mostly. Then the USSR fell and the tick crawled elsewhere in the desperate search of lifeblood – and those were terrible years, called the “Periodo Especial” in Cuban nomenclature (google it). Rickets, nutritional-deficiency-induced blindness. Starvation. Then along came Hugo – a product of the temper tantrum that paid huge dividends, and the tick latched on. Until Venezuela dried up Fidel is Dead | Joel D. Hirst's Blog


Easy divorce was one of the worst things to hit the working classes, but it was not the only rich man fad to wash through the lower ranks.

Casual drug use is one obvious example. The sexual revolution is another. These are things that are tolerable when you are immune from the want of money. They are a disaster when you must maintain the delicate balance required of the lower classes. White City Fighting | The Z Blog


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