Contact me HERE

We study the methods of improving our business as we would a science. We imitate no one. - A. Montgomery Ward

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gerardvanderleun : April 23, 14  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

vacuum-cleaner-diagram.jpgThanks to the unremitting efforts of two wives and a number of concerned girlfriends I have, over the years, become a fully domesticated man. I cook. I iron. I put the seat down out of pure reflex.

And I clean.

Yes, I clean the house. I have a wide variety of products and tools for floors, ceilings, window, toilets, and counter tops (I’m especially good on counter tops since I not only have cleaning spritzers in plain acid wash and foaming bleach blaster, I also have a compound that renews the polish once the sanitizing has been completed.) I am the very model of the modern major traife buster.

I am, however, a bit sketchy on floors. That is not to say you couldn’t eat off my floors. You could because you’d find a host of food shreds there on any given afternoon. This is not because I like floors configured as mouse buffets but only because, being 6’1”, the floors are so far away I don’t really focus on them. My solution? The world’s most rapacious vacuum cleaner, “The Kirby.”

Actually, I have 2 (two!) solutions since I own 2 (two!) vacuum cleaners. The first is a kind of cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum bought at some box store because it was cheap. Like all metrosexual items, it performs in a manner that lets you know all cheap things are worth much less than you spent on them. It sucks by not sucking as a sucker of floor dirt should. Very sucky. It is, at the best, back-up. Bags and parts for it are sold everywhere.

Then there’s “The Kirby” weighing in are over twenty pounds of solid chromed steel, titanium bristles that can skin a black rhino, and a woven cloth bag wrapped around the vacuum bag that could be made into an outdoor area rug. The motor in this bad boy is so powerful it can suck kittens out of my basement through the floorboards in the living room. It is the chopped Harley Hog of vacuums.

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The bags for this hoovering T-Rex are built to blast stresses and are rare as dinosaur eggs. Finding them always calls for an expedition to a far-away strip malls and into some Norwegian albino's small appliance parts shop sandwiched between a sketchy Malaysian smoke shop and a lap-dance rec room. It’s a chore.

So much of a chore that when The Kirby’s bag filled up about six months back I was too lazy to pack a lunch and go find new ones. My solution? Pure genius!

I took out the old bag which was almost rock solid with dust mites, hair, and the bones of desiccated kittens and, holding it over the toxic waste recycling bin behind the garage, cut the bottom open and shook the contents into the bin. Then, because there is nothing it cannot do, I duct-taped the bottom of the bag and slapped it back in The Kirby.

“There. I fixed it.”

Fast forward half a year and I am found manhandling The Kirby over the current mouse buffet and noticing that for a super-sucker its sucking sucks. So I say to myself, “Self, check it out.”

I open the military gauge zipper on the back of the bag and instantly a fibrous tumor of hair and dust mites oozes out. I retreat and don Haz-Mat suit. I inspect the superfund site that is my kitchen.

It would seem that my duct-tape resealing of the bag had, well, failed to hold the bag’s universe together some months back and that all creatures great and small that had been sucked off my floors was now compressed into a hair ball that threatened to expand into all of known space.

Seeing everything that has come off your floors in the last six months in one wad is a unique experience but I resisted the urge to perform an archeological dig on the site. Instead, I deployed a very large garbage back and, grimacing, transferred the dust mite condo from the bag into the bag. It was only the beginning.

Upon inspection of the inside of The Kirby’s bag I found that at least an inch of detritus was still impacted into the cloth on all surfaces. I scraped at it a bit but the dust cloud just deepened around me and drifted out onto the previously pristine floors. Disaster loomed. Then I remembered.

“I own two vacuums. I shall vacuum this vacuum with a vacuum!” Sooper-Genius!

In no time I had deployed vacuum two -- the previously mentioned “cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum” -- attached the hose with the special little attachment that is used for sucking coins and popcorn kernels out of deep crevices in the couch, and switched it on.

Its puny little motor wound up and went to its wheezing limit. I tested the nozzle on my hand and felt the feeble suck but knew it would be better than scraping The Kirby’s inner bag surface with my fingernails. I deployed it inside the clogged bag and carefully and thoroughly went over all the surfaces until they seemed, well, “clean enough for government work.” Then I shut it down and carefully swept the dust and other detritus on the floor into a pile and sucked that up too. Then I mopped the floor of the kitchen. Twice. Until it gleamed.

I took a shower. I mixed a celebratory cocktail. I went to Amazon, found a pack of 12 bags for The Kirby, and ordered them on two day delivery. I went into the kitchen and thought to myself, “A wise man would now replace the bag in the weak little vacuum that has all the leavings from The Kirby in it.”

I opened the “cheap, plastic metrosexual’s vacuum” and knew instantly that many moons ago I had taken a bag out of that vacuum and somehow failed, FAILED, to install a new one. A cloud of hair, dust, dust mites and the bones of small animals exploded from the case and drifted across the gleaming kitchen floor and the carefully polished counter tops. I stood in the cloud at ground zero and felt the dust of ages settle on me.

They say that “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Nature’s got nothing on me.

Vanderleun : April 23, 14  |  Your Say (40)  | PermaLink: Permalink

I'm taking Earth Day off.

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gerardvanderleun : April 22, 14  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

gerardvanderleun : April 22, 14  |  Your Say (5)  | PermaLink: Permalink

American Studies

"Hi. Got a tape I want to play you."

1. Look for glib and superficial charm. A psychopath will also put on what professionals refer to as a 'mask of sanity' that is likable and pleasant.   It is a thin veneer.

2. Look for a grandiose self perception. Psychopaths will often believe they are smarter or more powerful than they actually are.

3. Watch for a constant need for stimulation. Stillness, quiet and reflection are not things embraced by psychopaths. They need constant entertainment and activity.

4. Determine if there is pathological lying. A psychopath will tell all sorts of lies; little white lies as well as huge stories intended to mislead. Psychopaths are gifted or dull, high functioning or low performing like other people. An untalented psychopath may harm a few; a highly talented psychopath may lay waste to nations. The difference between the psychopath and others lies in their organic lack of conscience and empathy for others. The sociopath is trained to lack empathy and conscience. The psychopath is a natural.

5. Evaluate the level of manipulation. All psychopaths are identified as cunning and able to get people to do things they might not normally do. They can use guilt, force and other methods to manipulate.

6. Look for any feelings of guilt. An absence of any guilt or remorse is a sign of psychopathy.  They will often blame the victim.

7. Consider the level of emotional response a person has. Psychopaths demonstrate shallow emotional reactions to deaths, injuries, trauma or other events that would otherwise cause a deeper response. Other people are satisfaction suppliers, nothing more.

8. Look for a lack of empathy. Psychopaths are callous and have no way of relating to others in non-exploitative ways. They may find a temporary kinship with other psychopaths and sociopaths that is strictly utilitarian and goal-oriented.

9. Psychopaths are often parasitic. They live off other people, emotionally, physically, and financially. Their modus operandi is domination and control.  They will claim to be maligned or misunderstood to gain your sympathy.

10. Look for obsessive risk taking and lack of self-control. The Hare Checklist includes three behavior indicators; poor behavior control, sexual promiscuity, and behavioral problems.

11. Psychopaths have unrealistic goals or none at all for the long term. Either there are no goals at all, or they are unattainable and based on the exaggerated sense of one's own accomplishments and abilities.

12. Psychopaths will often be shockingly impulsive or irresponsible. Their shamelessness knows no bounds. You will ask, what were they thinking? And the answer was, they weren't because they did not care.

13. A psychopath will not genuinely accept personal responsibility. A psychopath will never admit to being wrong or owning up to mistakes and errors in judgment, except as part of a manipulative ploy.   They will despise and denigrate their victims once they are done with them.  If they have any regret it is that their source of satisfaction supply has ended and they must seek another.

14. Psychopaths lack long term personal relationships. If there have been many short term marriages, broken friendships, purely transactional relationships, the chances the person is a psychopath increase. Watch especially how they treat other people in weaker positions and even animals. 

15. Psychopaths are often versatile in their criminality. Psychopaths are able to get away with a lot, and while they might sometimes get caught, the ability to be flexible and adaptable when committing crimes is indicative.

gerardvanderleun : April 22, 14  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

"There comes a time in the routine of an ordered civilization when the man is tired at playing at mythology and pretending that a tree is a maiden or that the moon made love to a man. The effect of this staleness is the same everywhere; it is seen in all drug-taking and dram-drinking and every form of the tendency to increase the dose. Men seek stranger sins or more startling obscenities as stimulants to their jaded sense. They seek after mad oriental religions for the same reason. They try to stab their nerves to life, if it were with the knives of the priests of Baal. They are walking in their sleep and try to wake themselves up with nightmares." -- Chesterton, The Everlasting Man

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"I tell you boys, I've heard some tired conversation but no other OCCUPATION GROUP can approximate that old thermodynamic junk Slow-DOWN. Now your heroin addict does not say hardly anything and that I can stand. But your Opium "Smoker'' is more active since he still has a tent and a Lamp . . . and maybe 7-9-10 lying up in there like hibernating reptiles keep the temperature up to Talking Level: How low the other junkies are ``whereas We--WE have this tent and this lamp and this tent and this lamp and this tent and nice and warm in here nice and warm nice and IN HERE and nice and OUTSIDE ITS COLD. . . . ITS COLD OUTSIDE where the dross eaters and the needle boys won't last two years not six months hardly won't last stumble bum around and there is no class in them. . . . But WE SIT HERE and never increase the DOSE . . . never-never increase the dose never except TONIGHT is a SPECIAL OCCASION." -- Testimony Concerning A Sickness, William S. Burroughs

gerardvanderleun : April 21, 14  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

World Order: "Have a Nice Day"

This one goes out to any space aliens that are even thinking about invading the Earth.

gerardvanderleun : April 21, 14  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Dear Readers,

There is a tsunami of spam sweeping this and other sites right now. I'm going to take a break from it for the next 14 hours. If I don't I'll spend an hour weeding.

Comments will be on for selected recent items in the coming hours.

gerardvanderleun : April 20, 14  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

      "If I take the wings of the morning,
      and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea...."
-- Psalm 138

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WE RISE in a banking curve of pure velocity
over fallow fields and grids of neighborhoods,
arcing over ponds painted with slick scum oozing
-- from the oil pans of countless sunken cars,
-- from punctured sacks of toxic trash,
-- from fleshless graves of abandoned murders,
of missing persons filed in muck.

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WE RISE embraced by first-class armchairs,
pondering the crisply printed histories
of yesterday's most meaningless events.
We rise up above our lives and lies,
above, alone, away, alas, good-bye
to families and to friends, to all terrestrial ties.
Our very cellulars, by strict law silenced
so that our murmurs not disturb
the delicate electronics on which so much
at this tremulous moment depends
that we dare not think on it, and so select
music of our choice from mid-heaven's jukebox.

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WE RISE in the faltering dark
into the pale flicker of a cosseted sun
slatted in flashes through fingers of cloud,
up into the white blood of the sinewed sky,
and so our day and world slips by.

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WE RISE UP to where all breath is snow,
so far that all above becomes below,
up until the sky is seen as vapor,
smeared white on blue construction paper
and framed by dark remorseless space.

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WE RISE UP until from Earth we seem
only a fading gesture, some echoed trace
of fog, distinguished only by our direction,
out over arid ancient seas, past all reflection.

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AND STILL WE RISE, our lush ascent
powered by ageless diatoms' descent
into the ooze between the fossiled stones,
the shattered crypts of shells and bones;
above the planned sere autumn fields
of pasture, silage, grain that yields
the bread we break in this, our floating world.

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AND STILL we rise, resurrected,
through the thinning strands of sky reflected,
until the edge of day the stars deny,
where all the worlds we knew slip by,
tangled in a mapless maze of rivers,
our passing but a whisper that shivers
the dream of a drowsing owl, a silver splinter
caught in a facet of the eye of winter,
and, unremarked or written, quickly glides
beyond the reach of records or of guides.

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WE RISE until at last held still
in that blue hand which grasps all sky,
awake within our tube of paper steel,
our long ascent levels and we slide
onto a gleaming lake of granite ink,
reflecting now the empty gaze of God,
beyond warm hands and done with Earth.

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NEVER NOW to stagger or to slip
back into the shadows and the rain,
back into the warm musk of the day,
but, keen as an iron blade
touched to the tongue,
we sail forever on these slate seas
out to the far edge of imagine,
and on, and still on beyond
into the heart of the stars,
into the silence of their song.

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Vanderleun : April 20, 14  |  Your Say (34)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Thomas Moran, The Mountain of the Holy Cross, 1875 7'x5' Oil

There is a mountain in the distant West
That, sun-defying, in its deep ravines
Displays a cross of snow upon its side.

-- Longfellow, "The Cross of Snow"

The Mountain of the Holy Cross began as a myth and became a rumor. Then it became a report, a photograph, and a painting. In time it became a destination for pilgrims and tourists. Shortly after that it ceased to exist....

In the beginning Americans who heard of, travelled to, and documented the Mountain of the Holy Cross believed in omens, signs and symbols. By the time the sign collapsed and disappeared, those beliefs too were eroded but not lost. We still have the expedition records, the memoirs, the photographs and the paintings and can sense, distantly, what our ancestors felt when first glimpsing this strange vision that could only be see from the east covering a mountainside in the far west.

The sign / vision / illusion (choose which one makes sense to you) is easy to explain. On the stone face of a certain mountain deep in the Colorado Rockies over aeons of time a pattern of cracks and crevasses held against the melting snow -- under ideal conditions and from a certain point of view for 2 to 3 months a year -- a large white cross below its summit. It was one of those natural coincidences where happenstance runs into the human mind in search of meaning. It was seen because it was there on the mountain but its meaning bloomed in the minds of the faithful. To them the sign on the side of the mountain said, among other things, "In hoc signo vinces" ("with this sign you shall conquer"). It was, after all, the era of Manifest Destiny.

Although it was a persistent whisper from the mountain men and others who had pushed deep into the Rockies, the Mountain of the Holy Cross was first written about by Samuel Bowles in his 1869 book, The Switzerland of America. He saw the mountain from Gray's Peak at a distance of about 40 miles:

"...Over one of the largest and finest, the snow fields lay in the form of an immense cross, and by this it is known in all the mountain views of the territory. It is as if God has set His sign, His seal, His promise there--a beacon upon the very center and height of the Continent to all its people and all its generations..."

Much of the Colorado Rockies were still terra incognita to "the land vaguely realizing westward" in the 1860s, and a report of something strange or miraculous was often followed by an expedition. The exact location of The Mountain of the Holy Cross was not known and was mismarked of what maps existed. In 1869 an expedition headed by Ferdinand Hayden under the auspices of the U.S. Geological Service set out to find and record the illusive mountain. A photographer William Henry Jackson was a member of the team. He made the first photograph of the Holy Cross from the summit of Notch Mountain to the east.

Getting into position to take the photograph wasn't a walk in the park or an easy shot. Nothing was in the days long before planes, trains, automobiles, cell-phones, GPS and digital cameras. W. H. Holmes, a member of "the Hayden Survey of the Territories, 1873" wrote up his memoir about the conditions of "The First Ascent of the Mountain of the Holy Cross" at a later date:

"This was to be the field of our labors, and we set about the task of identifying such great landmarks as would be necessary to guide us in our future wanderings. An indefinite number of high, ragged ranges could be traced by their lines of lofty summits as far away to the north and south as the eye could reach. But one among all these summits caught the eye and fixed the attention. Far away to the westward, rose a lofty peak that bore aloft upon its dark face a great white cross, so perfect, so grand in proportions, that at a distance of sixty miles, it was plainly seen even with the naked eye."

Plainly seen but not so quickly gotten to. It took the expedition two months to advance to the mountain's more immediate neighborhood. Once there they faced more days of trying to find a vantage point from which could make his exposures. What resulted was, for the time, proof in a picture that the Mountain of the Holy Cross existed.

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But a black and white photograph from the far west only whetted the public's appetite for a work that would evoke the spell of the place as well as the look. For that it would take the painter Thomas Moran of the Hudson River School. He accompanied the next Hayden expedition to the mountain in 1873. Upon his return to the studio he created a large oil landscape from memory, a few coarse sketches made on location, and a desire to communicate the feeling of seeing the mountain rather than the mountain itself. He called this kind of painting the making of a "true impression."

In an attempt to capture the "true impression" of the scene rather than a topographical view, Moran freely invented the foreground waterfall in his painting. Forthright about his approach, Moran declared, "I place no value upon literal transcripts from Nature. My general scope is not realistic; all my tendencies are toward idealization.... Topography in art is valueless."

The resulting "impression" was the 7 by 5 foot painting seen reproduced at the beginning of this essay. It was an impression that impressed hundreds of thousands with the indelible image of a "Sign from God" blessing America in the heart of the West.

The painting was first exhibited in New York to high praise from the public and the critics. It then spent years touring the major cities of the United States and Europe before being purchased by wealthy Irish/Canadian doctor who hung it in his Manitou Springs, Colorado mansion. The mansion caught fire in 1886 but the painting was saved by being cut from its frame, rolled up, and passed out of the burning building through a window. From there the painting passed through a number of hands until today it resides in the collection of the Museum of the American West, part of the Autry National Center in Los Angeles, California.

Moran's masterpiece was the height of an artist encountering the Mountain of the Holy Cross. From the level Moran's painting images of the mountain quickly descended to prints, posters and post cards. As it did the vision of the Mountain in the popular imagination went from the marvelous to the mundane:

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Postcard from the early 20th century with the following on the back:

"Colorado Mountain Scenery. Published by W. G. Chamberlain.--Cor. Larimer & 15th Streets,--Denver. The Holy Cross. No. 601. The form of the Cross near the summit of the Peak, is caused by immense seams in the rocky formation which cut one another on their face at nearly right angles. The perpendicular arm of the cross is 1200 feet in length and fully fifty in breadth, the snow lying in the crevice from fifty to one hundred feet in depth. The horizontal arm varies with the seasons, but average 700 feet. The mountain is not precisely in the main range, but striking off to the north west forms the most northern spur of the Sawatch range. Altitude of the peak 17614 feet.--Distance from Denver about 175 miles."

As the country and Colorado grew, however, the Mountain of the Holy Cross still remained a pilgrimage for those that wanted to see for themselves. In the normal course of events, travelers became, for a time, pilgrims some of whom reported they were being cured of ailments by proximity to the mountain. The Denver Post reported in 1930 that:

"There is an unusual number of persons this year who are afflicted with serious maladies that have defied the best efforts of medical science: they hope that a sight of the Holy Cross, coupled with firm faith in divine power, will accomplish cures. Certainly such cures have resulted from the pilgrimages of the last two years..."

President Herbert Hoover finally designated the site the Mountain of the Holy Cross National Monument in 1929. This lasted as long as the Holy Cross on the mountain itself. Over the years both visitation to the Mountain and the right arm of the cross fell off and the Federal designation was revoked in 1950.

Today the mountain is still a destination for hikers and climbers in the Notch Mountains but the feeling of any sort of sign,symbol or sanctity has long departed with the collapse of the cross:

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The Mountain of the Holy Cross today:

Then, behind Moe, about 50 yards away, the craziest and coolest thing I've seen yet on a 14er happened. Two girls, maybe in their early twenties, were standing there on Mountain of the Holy Cross, BUTT NAKED, with their arms in the air and their rear ends shining on the crowd as they flashed the Bowl of Tears Basin. Another lady was taking their picture, and a couple other people with cameras got in on the action. WHY OH WHY did I not bring a camera this day?!!! It was hilarious.

Why wouldn't it be "hilarious"? It's the way of the world and the country these days. What would the two girls know about the landscape that once led their ancestors across a raw and demanding continent? To them the visit was a day-trip to yet another beautiful but non-descript location. They might text about it or get a couple shots of their mooning emailed to their phones for their Facebook page.

The Holy Cross of the Mountain of the Holy Cross was gone now. All that remained were a series of photographs and a large painting from a long dead school of landscape painters.

Long gone too was that moment of first coming into the country; that moment when the land was new:

We stood on the ocean divide, from which the waters to the east are carried by the Arkansas down to the Gulf, while those to the west sink away and are lost in the mysterious gorges of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado. On the one side a narrow valley stretched away to the southeast in a seemingly endless vista, while on the other, the streams and valleys are almost immediately obscured by a mass of irregular mountains. The course chosen would lead us, first, down the Pacific slope into a deep and rugged canyon which we must descend for 20 miles or more, thence by means of one of the great creek valleys, that come down from the range to the west, we hoped to be able to reach the base of the peak.

They did reach the base of The Mountain of the Holy Cross and brought back proof of its existence from which millions of Americans once divined a deep purpose. Along with the right arm of that cross, that awareness of a deep purpose to the nation has seemingly dissolved. But then of course the Holy Cross of the Mountain of the Holy Cross was never the Cross itself but the Mountain itself. It still abides in myth, in art, and in a hard to reach part of the Colorado Rockies. In time we will know it again as it once was. Maybe next year in Jerusalem.

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Thomas Moran, The Mountain of the Holy Cross, 1874, watercolor

Vanderleun : April 19, 14  |  Your Say (26)  | PermaLink: Permalink

The Cross of Moab


from The Eternal City

The wounded surgeon plies the steel
That questions the distempered part;
Beneath the bleeding hands we feel
The sharp compassion of the healer's art
Resolving the enigma of the fever chart.

    Our only health is the disease
If we obey the dying nurse
Whose constant care is not to please
But to remind of our, and Adam's curse,
And that, to be restored, our sickness must grow worse.

    The whole earth is our hospital
Endowed by the ruined millionaire,
Wherein, if we do well, we shall
Die of the absolute paternal care
That will not leave us, but prevents us everywhere.

    The chill ascends from feet to knees,
The fever sings in mental wires.
If to be warmed, then I must freeze
And quake in frigid purgatorial fires
Of which the flame is roses, and the smoke is briars.

    The dripping blood our only drink,
The bloody flesh our only food:
In spite of which we like to think
That we are sound, substantial flesh and blood --
Again, in spite of that, we call this Friday good.

Eliot -- from Four Quartets

The Cross of the Anchoress


from The Eternal City

Men's curiosity searches past and future
And clings to that dimension. But to apprehend
The point of intersection of the timeless
With time, is an occupation for the saint—
No occupation either, but something given
And taken, in a lifetime's death in love,
Ardour and selflessness and self-surrender.
For most of us, there is only the unattended
Moment, the moment in and out of time,
The distraction fit, lost in a shaft of sunlight,
The wild thyme unseen, or the winter lightning
Or the waterfall, or music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses; and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
Here the impossible union
Of spheres of existence is actual,
Here the past and future
Are conquered, and reconciled,
Where action were otherwise movement
Of that which is only moved
And has in it no source of movement—
Driven by daemonic, chthonic
Powers. And right action is freedom
From past and future also.
For most of us, this is the aim
Never here to be realised;
Who are only undefeated
Because we have gone on trying;
We, content at the last
If our temporal reversion nourish
(Not too far from the yew-tree)
The life of significant soil.

-- Eliot -- from Four Quartets


The Cross of Saturn


from The Eternal City

With the drawing of this Love and the voice of this Calling

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
Through the unknown, unremembered gate
When the last of earth left to discover
Is that which was the beginning;
At the source of the longest river
The voice of the hidden waterfall
And the children in the apple-tree
Not known, because not looked for
But heard, half-heard, in the stillness
Between two waves of the sea.
Quick now, here, now, always—
A condition of complete simplicity
(Costing not less than everything)
And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flame are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

-- Eliot, from Four Quartets

Vanderleun : April 19, 14  |  Your Say (0)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Culture & Civilization

If we betray the people who love us, what's to stop us from betraying the country that makes us possible?

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Did you ever break a promise?
Did you ever break a vow?
Have you traded love for money,
And are you happy now?

Did you kiss him in the garden,
And then abandon him to fate?
Is your final sin forgiven,
Or is it far too late?

WHEN IT COMES TO DISCOVERING new ways to cheapen the human soul, the "professional intellectuals" of our society have cornered the market. So it was in 2006 when, timed carefully to cash in on the Easter holiday, the "serious" editors of National Geographic chose to release their gleanings from a sheaf of rags and call them "The Gospel of Judas."

Having risen through the echo chamber of "higher" education and survived the ruthless but quiet vetting process of their "profession," these editors knew full well that what they were putting out into the world was not a "gospel." They also knew that calling it a "gospel" would ensure greater attention and greater sales. Beyond that, the editors, secular cultists all, also got a quiet little tingle by having, in their minds, "stuck it" to the Christian church once again. As usual, such secularists love to stick it to Christianity. Addicts of auto-erotic spiritual asphyxiation, their onanistic pleasure in these deeds is only enhanced if they can be performed during the most holy days of the Christian calendar. Only then can maximum profit and pleasure be assured.

This dark thrill of denigration has the immediate benefit of pleasingly confirming them in their own Church of Zero, and the secondary benefit of being much, much safer than, say, sticking it to Islam, a faith that enforces its demands for respect with bombs and beheadings, and whose central message to all cowards is "Don't mess with Muhammad." The sad fact of our modern era is that if you denigrate Islam, you often have to bag up body parts and hose down the sidewalk, but when you denigrate Christianity the most you need to clean up after yourself is a warm washcloth.

Your gedankenexperiment for today is to ask yourself, regardless of your religious beliefs, if the editors of National Geographic, being given an ancient manuscript that "proved" the Koran was nothing more than the blatherings of some ergot-besotted Bedouin who had munched one too many hallucinogenic plants while hanging out in a cave near Mecca, would have published the same "proof" as loudly and as broadly? Would they have done so, or would they have issued a Press Release citing concerns for the "provenance" of the manuscript and their employees' safety? Regardless of your religious beliefs, you know the shameful answer.

But beyond these considerations, the publication of the "Gospel" of Judas has another, deeper and more lasting benefit to our neophytes of nihilism. It puts one of the final elements of their anti-morality play at center stage. It seeks to sanctify treason.

It was never a question of "if," but only a question of "when" our contemporary society would discover an avatar who would make treason acceptable. It only codifies the realities of their secular belief system. Treason against others or one's country has long been as common as adultery in this country. Like adultery the rate of treason is on the rise because, like adultery and similar forms of personal betrayal, it no longer has any consequences at all.

It is true that the federal crime of treason is not easily established and is rarely if ever charged. But the formal crime of treason is not what I am discussing here. Rather the more common, garden variety of treason as understood by plain people -- the rabid and unremitting hatred, expressed in word or deed, of the country that gives you the freedom express your hatred. It is the treason of the ingrate, the soul-dead, the politically perverted, and the bitter; it is, as Roger Kimball at The New Criterion discusses, the treason of the intellectuals and "the undoing of thought."

It's a fact of our self-centered contemporary existence that betrayal has become one of the common forces that shape our lives. For when our own desires ride us like a drunken demon lodged on our shoulders, betrayal is the first order of the day when others seek to thwart our desires, or even when others become a mere inconvenience to our wants and whims.

We've long permitted greater and greater levels of betrayal in our society. We've codified them as law, policy and custom as far as the wishes of the individual are concerned. It is no longer sophisticated or fashionable to speak of selfishness as betrayal. That word is so harsh when, after all, we are only speaking of "differing needs," aren't we. When the betrayal of others is glossed over with phrases such as "I needed to be me," or "I needed my space," or "I needed more money,"or "We were just on different paths," then the elevation of this disease of the soul from the betrayal of another into the larger realm of treason against all is only a question of degree.

The problem is that shame, a vestigial thing in many shrunken souls, persists, and shame must be driven out of the soul if the secular is to thrive. Both betrayal and treason are still weighted down by a lingering sense of shame within at the same time they are made safe from the onus of blame without. Both are permitted by our cults of personal freedom and "sensible" selfishness, but both are formed of dark matter and not easily expunged from one's soul no matter how reduced it may have become.

There was, perhaps, only one moment in history when humans "knew not what they did." In all other times we know, at the deepest level, exactly what we do when we betray another, or others, or ourselves, or our country. We know it clearly and so we bury the ugly deed deeply. Still it persists, remains and rots in the tomb of our souls. A wiser culture called this "sin" and sought to have it confessed and forgiven as meaningless in the shadow of the greatest sacrifice. Our therapeutic culture calls it "guilt" and seeks to palliate and expunge it so that we may live a guilt-free life regardless of our acts. More and more of us live in the latter culture and seek a life forever free from sin, from guilt, from the consequences of our betrayals. And yet this final freedom eludes us.

What is needed, in this secular age of self-intoxication, is a Saint who will remit our sins of betrayal; who will by his very existence sanctify treason. And who better fits this role than the man who betrayed the greatest love for the smallest change, Judas?

The worshipers of the Church of the Self need Judas today more than they need Christ, and they need Christ more than they can know. They need Him so much that they are compelled to reject Him utterly lest their shabby Church be seen as it is, a hovel made of mud and wattle, of empty objects, shabby dreams and promises broken. A statue of Judas would blend right into the niche above their television; a household god whose only requirement is an offering of silver, from time to time, or a shopping spree at the mall to secure his love and blessing; our "Saint Judas of Perpetual Extortion."

Betrayal is a common catechism in the Church of the Self. Hymns to Me are the hosannas it hurls at an empty heaven. The politics of such a church require as First Things a rejection of all things not of, by, and for the self. A religion or a country of the people, by the people, and for the people is high on the list of things to be abhorred since it requires an allegiance that is other than to the self. The Church of the Self effectively mandates treason, and we see it now manifested daily in the bright robes of "unstiffled dissent" which shroud an increasingly vicious anti-Americanism that has its roots, not in reasoned criticism, but in unreasoned hate. We hear the hate but what we have not been allowed to see is the treason behind it.

That is now "changed, changed utterly."

Now our traitors to God and Country have found a sheaf of rags that "prove" that the greatest treason was really "all good;" that Judas was really the greatest friend Jesus ever had and was, with a kiss, doing him the greatest favor ever done.

Treason, done with the kiss of "my personal freedom," proves that you do not really hate your country, you love it. You are, in the final analysis, your country's best friend. In these "new" old tales about Jesus we read that Judas betrayed the Son of God because Jesus told him to do it. Really? Or did his betrayal come, not from any request that may or may not have been made, but from humanity's persistant lust to sin freely and without even the thin penalty of remorse? Was this final treason done because this sin had been secretly blessed by God, or for the sheer dark thrill of asserting the self at the expense of life in the light?

"I betrayed my friend, because he gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for him."

"I betrayed my country because it gave me the freedom to do so. Feel my love for it."

Black is white. Hate is Love. Slavery is Freedom. Treason is Loyalty. That last phrase fits right in to the secular catechism, doesn't it? All it needs to become holy writ is an avatar, a solid historical personage with the power to turn darkness into light, lies into truth, and betrayal into something that was, in the final analysis, "all good."

Saint Judas, step right up to the Gates, ring that bell, and don your halo -- you the man.


First published 2006

Vanderleun : April 18, 14  |  Your Say (101)  | PermaLink: Permalink

5-Minute Arguments

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gerardvanderleun : April 16, 14  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Because I love seeing '66 911s moving on tarmac.

John Benton has been passionately restoring, racing and maintaining Porsches

since the moment he bought his first 912 in 1984. With Benton Performance, he's created a distinct approach to Porsche restoration which keeps true to the original while pushing the famed german engineering to even greater heights.

gerardvanderleun : April 16, 14  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

"I'm gonna bar-b-que your ass in molasses!"

Ol' Smokey's got them ears on and he's hot on your trail.
He aint gonna rest 'til you're in jail.
So you got to dodge'im and you got to duck'im,
You got to keep that diesel truckin'.
Just put that hammer down and give it hell.

East bound and down, loaded up and truckin',
We're gonna do what they say can't be done.
We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there.
I'm east bound, just watch ol' "Bandit" run.


{HT: Mikey NTH}

gerardvanderleun : April 15, 14  |  Your Say (4)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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"With the advent of the "Palestinian cause" becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially."

It's baaack! But no, that's not right. Say rather it never really leaves. NeoNeoCon today notes the latest eruption of the disease:

Anti-Semitic drawings and the San Francisco anti-circumcision campaign Zombie illustrates that an anti-Semitic cartoon has been pressed into service in the San Francisco fight to ban circumcision. It was only a matter of time.

Antisemitism is not a sign, a symbol, a bullet or a gas. It is a Virus. It is the oldest known virus to infest the human soul. In those infected, the virus is clever enough to mask it's existence by renaming itself as "anti-Zionism." Through the renaming of this ancient disease as a “political problem,” infected souls can transmit the virus to their friends, families. They can spread their disease at their schools and in their their community, church, or nation. The virus is also transmitted by exchanging infected fantasies with infected ideologues. By changing it's name the disease made it possible for many to deny that they have contracted the virus, and that their souls are chancre-ridden and rotting. This facilitates the current outbreak.

Yes, antisemitism is a clever virus and this shape-shifting is one of its oldest methods of perpetuating itself. Like other viruses currently feasting on humans, this one always has a pleasure principle associated with it. It feels good to get it and we live in the plague years of "If it feels good, do it." Those whose moral immune systems have been previously compromised by other pleasure-born diseases have souls which are particularly susceptible to this virus.

The origin of the virus is unknown, but many suspect the area to be Bablyon and Sumur with an early leap across borders into Egypt. It was later transmitted through not-so-casual contact to much of the world by traders out of Northern Africa and the Roman Empire.

During the period following the fall of Rome, the virus found traction in early Christianity as a common carrier. In this host it thrived, and was able to survive and spread for many centuries. Of late, many parts of Christianity, now that it has become fragmented, have rejected the virus and those who host it, but strains of the virus can still be found at the center of many subsets of the Christian faith today.

Islam, of course, is the not-that-new major religion to not only host the virus, but to celebrate being infected with it, and to actively take measures to make sure that, within the body of Islam, the virus can thrive and expand. What to do about this new and virulent strain of the virus is something that is now consuming a great deal of the attention and treasure of Western Civilization.

In the past, treatment of the virus involved the application of large amounts of steel and fire, but this age is still experimenting with targeted surgery of the infected parts of Islam to see if a less Draconian cure is possible. Recent events confirm that this sort of microsurgery will probably be ineffective since the virus seems to have become the host.

Flare-ups of the virus have been common across Europe throughout the last 2 millennia, but an overwhelming series of eruptions in Europe from England through the lands controlled by the USSR, required a global intervention before the conflagration was deemed to be put out. This, of course was an illusion, since like the root burns engendered by forest fires, it only smoldered underground in the human and social hosts for decades before erupting once again in the vast Petri dish of the Middle East.

With the advent of the "Palestinian cause" becoming chic in Western, European, and Liberal circles -- driven at first by Socialist Progressive romanticism in the late 1960s and early 1970s -- being infected by virus has once more become acceptable to exhibit socially in certain ways. Indeed, in many circles and societies, having the virus has lately become a highly prized fashion accessory to popular academic, media, and state ideologies. It is now actually a badge of pride in many Western circles to appear at various events wearing gold-plated buboes inset with multi-faceted Kaposi's sarcoma that contain the virus at their core. Many now believe this intellectual adornment to actually be beautiful.

In a recent mutation, the virus has shown that it can leap the blood/brain barrier and actually infect Jews -- if they feel safe within their "advanced" society. The current term for this mutation is "Juicebox Mafia" in which self-styled "intellectuals" of Jewish lineage actually feel it is "intelligent" to call for a world in which it is easier for Arabs and other Islamic groups to kill Jews wholesale. This sort of strange host to the virus is replacing the previous host termed "the self-hating Jew." The reason for the rise of the Juicebox Mafia is unclear, but it may well have to do with desires for celebrity and paychecks that exceed the desire to live.

The virus, because it is an ancient and clever virus, can lie dormant for years, and like HIV, can mutate around a lot of therapies designed to destroy it.

As noted above, in the recent past, it has been shown that large doses of steel and fire can eradicate the virus in some populations, but only for a time. A cure is promised, but seems to be always delayed. The only measures that work are, at best, prophylactic. Another strategy is strict monitoring to prevent the spread of the virus. This seemed to be holding the virus at bay for decades. Lately, however, this method has broken down. The virus, like terrorism, has recently been able to piggy-back on the world-circling data-stream, and infect individuals and groups previously deemed immune. The current strain has indeed become so virulent that large blocks of Jewish people, in Europe, America and even Israel, have become infested.

As history demonstrates, there is no immunity to be had from the virus. The only strategy that seems to work is abstinence. This is accomplished by a rigorous rejection of all attempts by the virus to establish itself within an individual host. Constant monitoring and the suppression through education or other means of outbreaks in groups or ideologies or nations is also required.

Since the virus has been present in human hosts for well over 4,000 years, hopes for eradication in our lifetime are slim. Hopes for eradication in the future are better in civilized countries if, and only if, members of the generations now living and infected with the virus become dedicated to not passing it on to future generations. The virus is found nowhere else in nature except within the human host. If it is denied transmission to the young, it can be eliminated from the world in three generations. If... but only if.

Outlook? Not favorable.


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[First version posted in 2003.]

Vanderleun : April 15, 14  |  Your Say (40)  | PermaLink: Permalink

5-Minute Arguments

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Matt Walsh: "

CarolBeth Hawn on Facebook reminds me that my list of taxes you pay in the morning was woefully incomplete: You forgot to mention that the milk (taxed) you put into your coffee (taxed) had the following tax-line: Farmer (income tax) has land (property tax) on which he grazes his cows (tax on grass seed, tax on fertilizer spread by tractor, tax to buy tractor, which was also taxed in its production, tax on gas for tractor, tax on replacement tires and parts for tractor, which were also taxed in production), the cows were raised from calves produced on farm (capital gains) and visited by vet (tax on products, vet is also taxed ad nauseum) from semen purchased from an exchange (taxed), which are raised and milked in a milk shed or barn (more property tax) using equipment purchased (taxed, both on purchase and on production) and bottled (more equipment taxed on purchase and in production), sold to Meadow Gold (taxed ad nauseum), trucked to the grocery store in a refrigerated truck (taxed, taxed, taxed, gas tax), sold to store (sale is taxed, store is taxed ad nauseum) where it sits in big, taxed refrigerators, until you go to the store (gas tax, tax on vehicle) and purchase the milk (taxed) for your coffee (taxed). This is, of course, an abbreviated list. We’d need a flow chart to do it justice. The amazing thing isn’t that things cost so much, it is that they cost so LITTLE, being taxed on every level as they are!

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gerardvanderleun : April 15, 14  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Can one generation bind another, and all others, in succession forever?

I think not. The Creator has made the earth for the living, not the dead. Rights and powers can only belong to persons, not to things, not to mere matter, unendowed with will. The dead are not even things. The particles of matter which composed their bodies, make part now of the bodies of other animals, vegetables, or minerals, of a thousand forms. To what then are attached the rights and powers they held while in the form of men? A generation may bind itself as long as its majority continues in life; when that has disappeared, another majority is in place, holds all the rights and powers their predecessors once held, and may change their laws and institutions to suit themselves. Nothing then is unchangeable but the inherent and unalienable rights of man.

– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Maj. John Cartwright, June 5, 1824

Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes — our ancestors.

It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking around.

– G.K. Chesterton

gerardvanderleun : April 12, 14  |  Your Say (9)  | PermaLink: Permalink

COSTELLO: I want to talk to you about the unemployment rate in America ..

ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%

COSTELLO: You just said 7.8%.

ABBOTT: 7.8% Unemployed.

COSTELLO: Right 7.8% out of work.

ABBOTT: No, that's 14.7%.

COSTELLO: Okay, so it's 14.7% unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, that's 7.8%.

COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE! Is it 7.8% or 14.7%?

ABBOTT: 7.8% are unemployed. 14.7% are out of work.

COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed.

ABBOTT: No, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.

COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!

ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.

COSTELLO: What point?

ABBOTT: Someone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair.

COSTELLO: To whom?

ABBOTT: The unemployed.

COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.

ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.

COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment rolls that would count as less unemployment?

ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!

COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?

ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That's how they get it to 7.8%. Otherwise it would be 14.7%. Our govt. doesn't want you to read about 14.7% unemployment.

COSTELLO: That would be tough on those running for REELECTION

ABBOTT: Absolutely!

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?

ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.

COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?

ABBOTT: Correct.

COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?

ABBOTT: Bingo.

COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an ECONOMIST!

COSTELLO: I don't even know what the hell I just said!

ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like our CONGRESS!

gerardvanderleun : April 12, 14  |  Your Say (6)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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On Tuesday, after protests by students, faculty and outside groups, Brandeis University revoked its invitation to Ayaan Hirsi Ali to receive an honorary degree at its commencement ceremonies in May. The protesters accused Ms. Hirsi Ali, an advocate for the rights of women and girls, of being "Islamophobic." Here is an abridged version of the remarks she planned to deliver.

One year ago, the city and suburbs of Boston were still in mourning. Families who only weeks earlier had children and siblings to hug were left with only photographs and memories. Still others were hovering over bedsides, watching as young men, women, and children endured painful surgeries and permanent disfiguration. All because two brothers, radicalized by jihadist websites, decided to place homemade bombs in backpacks near the finish line of one of the most prominent events in American sports, the Boston Marathon.

All of you in the Class of 2014 will never forget that day and the days that followed. You will never forget when you heard the news, where you were, or what you were doing. And when you return here, 10, 15 or 25 years from now, you will be reminded of it. The bombs exploded just 10 miles from this campus....

Read the rest of this remarkable speech at Ayaan Hirsi Ali - - The Wall Street Journal

gerardvanderleun : April 11, 14  |  Your Say (12)  | PermaLink: Permalink

American Studies

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If you had to guess what is considered to be one of the most collected archetypal forms in the craft world, what would it be?

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Before you spend too much time with that question, I will tell you.

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It’s the teapot.

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While the traditional teapot should be at the very least functional — that is, have the ability to hold and pour a liquid, I recently viewed an exhibition that turns all that on end with the “idea of a teapot.”

If you take the most basic functional elements of what defines a teapot, it boils down to three things: a vessel-like shape with an opening at the top, a handle, and a spout.

Take those elements (and throw in a lid if you like) and you have the essence of a teapot. -- Design Observer

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gerardvanderleun : April 11, 14  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

"This is what a nation values when its culture is ruled by the iron fist of the Patriarchy." - - Unorthodoxy

gerardvanderleun : April 10, 14  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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gerardvanderleun : April 10, 14  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Drive-By

The depth of the problem -as illustrated in the Washington Post: After an Australian vessel, Ocean Shield, again detected deep-sea signals consistent with those from an airplane’s black box, the official leading a multination search expressed hope Wednesday that crews will begin to find wreckage of a missing Malaysian airliner “within a matter of days.”

“I believe we’re searching in the right area,” Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.
Yeah. Right. Here's the beginning, only the beginning, of where that box might, we repeat, might be....

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It goes on down, very far down, from there. As you can see HERE.

[HT: Morgan]

gerardvanderleun : April 10, 14  |  Your Say (3)  | PermaLink: Permalink

with a very special shout out to the anestheologist who made me completely forget all the detailsthis stirring memoir by David (I got one too) Barry;

You know you're supposed to get a colonoscopy. But you haven't. Here are your reasons: 1. You've been busy. 2. You don't have a history of cancer in your family. 3. You haven't noticed any problems. 4. You don't want a doctor to stick a tube 17,000 feet up your butt.
Let's examine these reasons one at a time. No, wait, let's not. Because you and I both know that the only real reason is No. 4. This is natural. The idea of having another human, even a medical human, becoming deeply involved in what is technically known as your ''behindular zone'' gives you the creeping willies.
I know this because I am like you, except worse. I yield to nobody in the field of being a pathetic weenie medical coward. I become faint and nauseous during even very minor medical procedures, such as making an appointment by phone. It's much worse when I come into physical contact with the medical profession. More than one doctor's office has a dent in the floor caused by my forehead striking it seconds after I got a shot.....
My friend the doctor the colonoscopy procedure to me in a thorough, reassuring and patient manner. I nodded thoughtfully, but I didn't really hear anything he said, because my brain was shrieking, quote, ``HE'S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR BUTT!''....
On the day before my colonoscopy, I began my preparation. In accordance with my instructions, I didn't eat any solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth, which is basically water, only with less flavor. Then, in the evening, I took the MoviPrep. You mix two packets of powder together in a one-liter plastic jug, then you fill it with lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons.) Then you have to drink the whole jug. This takes about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes -- and here I am being kind -- like a mixture of goat spit and urinal cleanser, with just a hint of lemon.
MoviPrep is a nuclear laxative. I don't want to be too graphic, here, but: Have you ever seen a space shuttle launch? This is pretty much the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle. There are times when you wish the commode had a seat belt. You spend several hours pretty much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently. You eliminate everything. And then, when you figure you must be totally empty, you have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel into the future and start eliminating food that you have not even eaten yet.
.....When everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a nurse and an anesthesiologist. I did not see the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it hidden around there somewhere. I was seriously nervous at this point. Andy had me roll over on my left side, and the anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the needle in my hand. There was music playing in the room, and I realized that the song was Dancing Queen by Abba. I remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could be playing during this particular procedure, Dancing Queen has to be the least appropriate.

Which is, as far as I can tell, pretty much how it went for me. I think. After I woke up and was taken home by a dear friend it took me about ten more hours to remember that I didn't remember I woke up and was taken home by a dear friend. As for the aftermath, well, we'll see. But for now just let me stay that with that procedure behind me I am again sitting pretty. And not in the smallest room in my house.

gerardvanderleun : April 9, 14  |  Your Say (21)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Bad Americans

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If you can't read the writing in the red box, this is what it says...

"In all honesty, I am already bored with this topic. It is far less interesting than I had hoped and I really don't want to finish this essay. I'm fairly sure you don't really read these so I'm just going to put enough words down to make it seem like I wrote a lot while I kill time. Wanna hear some words that rhyme with time?

Crime, dime, mime, (haha mimes are funny), chime, lime. Aw dude you know what has lime in it? Sprite, it like lemon lime. I could really go for one of those about now, but not sierra mist, that just isn't the same. It tries too hard to be sprite but it just cant pull it off. It should just try to be itself and stop trying to measure up to other sodas."

What Happens When "The Workers" Just Don't Care Anymore? | Zero Hedge

gerardvanderleun : April 7, 14  |  Your Say (12)  | PermaLink: Permalink

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Chichen Itza

"What scaled and feathered fetish shakes awake our loamy sleep
in these sealed vaults where dust and sand enrobe our golden masks
that hover over dreaming faces drowned in tinted musk?
Here where the spider curls and chitters in the crystal locket.
Here as time's mouth leeches blood and brain and bids
the leather skin to tighten in on the empty, staring socket,
and bind the breath that fading far once laughed within the dusk?"

Here is your thin tin trowel,
And here your sable brush,
For prying loose these mitered stones,
And sweeping off the dust
That sifts between these shaded souls
Like paling ebony snow,
As you squat above the site
Where you worshiped once below.
Come thrust your torch
Through these shattered walls,
And map the stains on stone,
And explicate these distant deaths
From strewn patterns of bone.

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The distance that such deaths define
Is measured by that ageless path
That winds up from the sea's last limb
Meandering to the blood's demands,
And, rolling over shells' sharp rims,
Finally finds its well-trod way
To midnight's flaming brands
Where vacant, lusting faces grin
Within masks of whitened clay.

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This path slopes through the stunted woods
Where the mantis ruts and broods,
Then spirals down to the sacred caves
Where men in twitching files repeat
The witless chants of wind and waves.

"Thick curds of rancid smoke performed our genuflections.
Our flayed limbs writhed, then steamed in screams of light.
Our lidless eyes became one daring crow's confections.
Our shriveled nerves shrank back from the chittering coal's delight.
Our marrow melted fast as flames licked up our blackened bones.
Our gaping mouths spewed rancid smoke as if they would relate
the secret magic flint and steel on tethered flesh create."

Here is your iron pick,
And here your crested spoon.
Not silver, true, but still
The emblem of your art,
Which is, to wit,
To lay these bodies bare;
Explain their ritual agonies,
Deduce their sorry fate,
Describe their diet, sex,
The colors of their hair,
And tell how long
Their ashen lair
Has lain beneath
Our present pleasant State.

Vanderleun : April 6, 14  |  Your Say (7)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Drive-By

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gerardvanderleun : April 5, 14  |  Your Say (1)  | PermaLink: Permalink

Search American Digest

The Top 40


"For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds; / Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds."

Obama the Sweet-Smelling Flower: Carl Scott once accurately described Obama’s role in Illinois politics as that of the “sweet -smelling flower.” He doesn’t get anywhere near breaking any laws himself and takes a high tone about ethics in politics and public service, but he directs his specific attacks on the opposition.

No meaningful public debate over belief and unbelief is possible.

Not only do convinced secularists no longer understand what the issue is;
they are incapable of even suspecting that they do not understand, or of caring whether they do. The logical and imaginative grammars of belief, which still informed the thinking of earlier generations of atheists and skeptics, are no longer there. In their place, there is now—where questions of the divine, the supernatural, or the religious are concerned—only a kind of habitual intellectual listlessness. -- Gods and Gopniks by David Bentley Hart | Articles | First Things


An open letter to Chelsea Clinton’s unborn child

You get to be that real-life prince or princess, in a real-life castle where Mommy Chelsea is also a princess,
Grandma is about to be crowned Queen, and Grandpa Bill is a retired ex-King . Inside the castle towers you will find that Mommy, Mommy’s mommy and Mommy’s daddy Bill are all really good at make-believe games. So you get to pretend all the time! Mommy’s mommy and Mommy’s daddy even pretend to still be married even though they’ve been living hundreds of miles apart for 14 years! | New York Post


If it is true that only I can prevent forest fires,

I'm taking Earth Day off.

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Cool culture is death culture.

It’s cool to do heroin, which must mean it’s cool to O.D. because that is how most junkies end up.
If you have cancer, useless natural medicine is in and effective chemotherapy is out. It’s cool to be pro-choice which means it’s cool to wipe out the black population. Euthanasia is cool. Preserving life is not. Old age isn’t cool. You’re supposed to “live fast, die young, and leave a beautiful corpse.” Gavin McIness: It's Cool to Love "Not Cool" | Truth Revolt


100 Items to Disappear First

1. Generators - Good ones cost dearly; diesel generators are the best - more run time per fuel volume.
Fuel storage is risky; and a generator's noise attracts thieves. 2. Water Filters/Purifiers 3. Portable Toilets 4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 - 12 months to become dried, for home uses.... - - Sean Linnane


We are federally admonished not to choose our own friends and neighbors as if our lives were our own business.

No. Instead we must follow the social directives of the Potomac Soviet, whether anyone wants to or not. Few do.
In Washington, on the Hill, upper Connecticut, the inner suburbs, the outer suburbs, everywhere, clubs and restaurants are either almost perfectly white or perfectly black. Whites happily patronize Latin American restaurants intended for the general trade, yet in mini-barrios many venues tacitly are for browns only. So what? It is how people want it. If freedom of association is racism, I am for it. So what? - - Fred On Everything


Crazy people hear voices, right?

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In Washington everybody hears them.
At the airport of course the gurgley over-enunciated “security” announcements by some dimwit elocution major who sounds like she wants to lick the microphone. On the subway we are urged by other recorded Mommies to watch each other and report suspicious behavior. What behavior isn’t suspicious late at night on an urban train system? “Yeah, officer, they’re like, swarthy and got beards and funny clothes and talk some weird language….”

Voices, instructions, warnings. We are the Admonished People.
Free? No. Brave? No. Watched, warned, told, herded, yes. Urban robots. Just what Georgey Wash and Tommy Jefferson had in mind, I think. - - Fred On Everything


Everything You Hate About D.C. Is in the Podesta Divorce

After 11 years of marriage, and charges of Heather’s unfaithfulness,
their contentious divorce is centered on who gets the $5.6 million mansion in Washington, as well as homes in Virginia, Italy, and Australia. Then there is the “world famous” art collection with 1,300 pieces estimated to be worth hundreds of millions, in addition to the jewelry, investments, and both businesses with prestigious Fortune 500 clients. Most intriguing will be the valuing of the “Podesta brand” that Heather insists she helped build. Splitting these assets will buy the best divorce lawyers in the city their “new vacation homes.” - - PJ Media »


On the [Longest] Road

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Owning a Toyota Landcruiser HJ47 is a dream.
Turning that HJ47 into a adventure mobile with custom plumbing, bedding, and solar panels, then driving from Bend, Oregon to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, well—that's living the dream. With the hope to inspire others as they once were, Colby and Alita are on one hell of a trip. - - Huckberry | Wander With Me


The Gay Fashion Accessory

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Over the last two decades, having a homosexual on your piety bracelet has been the hallmark of progressive fashion.
It is so well established now that it is inconceivable to them that any civilized person would have a contrary opinion on homosexual marriage, homosexual rights and so forth. It is why young males today work so hard to adopt bathhouse fashion, going so far as to get beard transplants so they can look like a young George Michael. The Z Blog › The New Russia


When the Civil War ended, thousands of Confederates chose

to leave the United States entirely and settle in Brazil.
About 10,000 Southerners made the trip to Brazil, where most settled in the state of São Paulo. Today their descendants form an ethic subgroup. In the city of Americana, the 300-member Fraternity of American Descendants holds an annual festival with Confederate flags, uniforms, and music, and a local cemetery holds the remains of W.S. Wise, the great-uncle of former First Lady Rosalynn Carter. - - Confederados – Futility Closet


The Ultimate Self-Help Book: Dante's 'Divine Comedy'

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Reading Dante uncovered the sin most responsible for my immediate crisis. Family and home ought to have been for me icons of the good—that is, windows into the divine—but without meaning to, I had loved them too much, seeing them as absolute goods, thereby rendering them into idols. They had to be cast down, or at least put in their proper place, if I was going to be free. - - WSJ.com

"I've come a long way. Baby."

LIZ JONES: Hooray for sexual liberation! Now I can die lonely and poor: I am a feminist,
I really am (I’ve never let a man pay for anything), but feel the current generation of women in their 60s, the first to abandon the way of life of their mothers, which meant they pursued careers, married and had children late, had affairs then got divorced, all in the name of liberation, are now imprisoned in debt, alcohol abuse and loneliness, wishing they could die, and do it soon.
HT @ Small Dead Animals

The old Bill of Rights extended rights irrespective of group membership.

The new one wipes out universal rights and replaces them with particular privileges.
Entire amendments may sink beneath the waves, but a few groups get comfortable deck chairs on the Titanic. Why is one group protected rather than another? Why do gay activists get a government-bonded right, complete with Federal enforcement, while polygamy is outlawed? The only answers are rationalizations. Sultan Knish: Wrong is the New Right


Truth In Packaging

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7. Google Home Page on Easter.

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He is Risen.

Google is Evil.

EVIL.

Don Surber: Daily Scoreboard: April 21, 2014



Do you trust GM?

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It is not a stretch to state that probably millions of people now believe that GM is capable of almost any form of skullduggery.
Such people will never buy a GM car -- €“ no matter how rave the reviews, no matter how otherwise appealing they may be. Mistakes are one thing. But when people associate you -- or your brand --€“ with serial and deliberate assholeness, it'€™s a bridge burned that can'€™t be rebuilt. Untergang for GM? » Eric Peters Autos


A racist is one who approves

of rigorous education, good English, civilized manners, minimal criminality, and responsible parenthood, among other things. I am, then, a racist. I see no reason to grovel about it. I decided long ago that if, while I was doing a radio interview, a caller-in told me, “You a racist!” I would hesitate as if puzzled, and say “…So what?” - - Fred On Everything

Default

The world will soon wake up to the reality that everyone is broke and can collect nothing from the bankrupt, who are owed unlimited amounts by the insolvent, who are attempting to make late payments on a bank holiday in the wrong country, with an unacceptable currency, against defaulted collateral, of which nobody is sure who holds title. -- the woodpile report

Cooking the Books

Now no lie is "too big to tell:"The Truth About Chicago’s Crime Rates For the case of Tiara Groves is not an isolated one.
Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.


Attack helicopter confiscation

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The Apache helicopter makes for a formidable weapon.
192 of them which currently are in possession of various state governors across America are about to be transferred to active duty military. That number represents every Apache which is currently assigned to National Guard units. ol remus and the woodpile report


Mohammed Pedro Whitaker ID'd as Kansas City Highway Shooter; Charged With 18 Felonies

A shooter named "We'd rather not say:" Police Chief Darryl Forte said at a news conference that the suspect is male and lives in Grandview,
a suburb south of the city that is home to the Grandview Triangle, where several highways intersect and where at least six of the reported shootings happened. Forte didn’t release the name or age of the suspect.... - - Epoch Times


Notes on the Devolution of Flying

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In the beginning
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The Seventies
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Today


The perfect jelly bean

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Traditionally fruit-flavored, made with smooth and succulent pectin, with a lovely and slightly translucent sheen, they go down easy. Maybe too easy; it is possible to eat quite a few before realizing what’s happening. Take it from one who knows. neo-neocon サ Blog Archive サ

Wargame out the Second Civil War [Bumped]

“These people are playing with matches… I don’t think they understand the scope and scale of the wildfire they are flirting with.
They are fucking around with a civil war that could last a decade and cause millions of deaths… and the sad truth is that 95% of the problems we have in this country could be solved tomorrow, by noon… simply by dragging 100 people out in the street and shooting them in the fucking head.” And lemme tell ya, he had the list… - - The Pig Trap « Taxicab Depressions


Christianity Rising... in China

Surely, it is more than passing strange.
A nation that is still ruled by the Communist Party seems to have fostered free enterprise and Christian worship. It is happening while so-called free nations have been running away from free enterprise and from religion. Had Enough Therapy?:


"Comma"

Christ’s resurrection reveals that we do not die, “period”; we die, “comma.” On Easter God turns pain to power; God transforms tragedy to triumph and pushes through crucifixion to resurrection.... Sense of Events: He is risen! He is risen, indeed!



Governments and kingdoms of men have tried to exterminate the Truth, but all have failed.

No religion has accomplished what Christianity has accomplished. No ideology. No school of thought. No idea, no government, no political system. Nobody else, nothing else has ever lit the world on fire like the Gospel. Hallelujah, Happy Easter | The Matt Walsh Blog

First World Frozen Yogurt Problem

"There's zero room for error."

Picture, if you will, the Russian Fire station.

The phone is ringing off the hook. There is a wide assortment of supermarkets, apartment buildings,
buses, trains, planes, trucks, cars, scooters, nuclear power plants, and mulecarts fully aflame all over the immediate area. There are pools of flammable hazardous waste leaking out of everything, and even the infants smoke. The Dalmation has three legs left from the last time they all got a notion to do something fun. Great Moments In Cyrillic Firefighting | The Borderline Sociopathic Blog For Boys


Scalia and Ginsburg Chat

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Scalia: [The Bill of Rights] should not be painted as the foundation of the American democracy… Don’t forget the Bill of Rights was an afterthought. It was not what they debated about in Philadelphia in 1787… What they thought would preserve a free society was the structure of government — that’s what they debated about in 1787. And if you think that’s false, just look around the world. Every tin-horn dictator in the world today has a bill of rights. It isn’t a bill of rights that produces freedom. It is the structure of government that prevents anybody from seizing all the power.

Ginsburg: I do not think the rest of the world is regarding our legislature at the current moment as a model to be followed. - - About Snowden, Twitter - Law Blog - WSJ

The West didn't lose Ukraine,

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an independent nation of 45 million people. It simply let it go.
According to this newspaper Tuesday: "The White House reiterated that no lethal assistance was planned" to help Ukraine defend itself. The U.S., however, did send ready-to-eat meals. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney's comments were antiseptic: "The Ukrainian government has a responsibility to provide law and order." It is fitting that churchgoers the world over this week are hearing the story of Pontius Pilate. Henninger: Cold War 2.0, the Videogame - WSJ.com


$79 billion and 20 years later, no scientific correlation between man's activity and global warming.

Think of what $79 billion would have done for pancreatic cancer research. - - Don Surber: Daily Scoreboard

“You live in a deranged age,

more deranged than usual, because in spite of great scientific and technological advances, man has not the faintest idea of who he is or what he is doing.” Walker Percy [HappyAcres]

Putin Isn'€™t a Genius - We Are Complete Idiots

Americans play Monopoly, Russians chess: We landed on Park Place fair and square, and that gave us the right to put down a hotel.
Never mind that Ukraine is a basket case with a per capital income a tenth that of the European Community, whose best young people (along with some of its worst) have left the country, with a ruined economy and a declining population. Putin isn’t playing by the rules printed on the inside top cover of the board game. He’s another Hitler! Where is our Churchill? It’s a Monty Python remake of Dr. Strangelove. A few provocateurs holding a Russian flag pass out handbills demanding that Jews in Eastern Ukraine register with the authorities, and the whole of the media as well as the Obama administration hyperventilates, until the affair is exposed as a hoax.Spengler »


Why does the BLM have guys with rifles and mechanized infantry?

The whole militarization of the federal government is disturbing.
These guys don't swear allegiance to the US Constitution, they don't come from a culture of patriotism like most military volunteers do. They aren't barred by US law from being active on American soil. Its like an end run around the military by the executive department, who apparently wants its own private army it can use against Americans. - - Word Around the Net: WHAT A WEEK


Modern feminism has become fascism and it’s making women miserable.

Feminist Fallout: A Roll Call of Regrets Deborah is in her early 40s and just had a miscarriage.
After waiting for Mr. Right well into her late 30s, she dumped her boyfriend and decided to become a single mom. He panicked and proposed and now they have a kid. This is pretty much the only way a woman in New York can have a family. She has to marriage rape her boyfriend.


Hey, just because you're a Gay-Hollywood-Democrat scheduled to hang out with Joe Biden it doesn't mean you can't be a pervert....

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'I had drugs put in my drink, liquor poured down my throat,
(I was) raped numerous times in that house, various times (I was) sexually abused,' he said. 'There was a policy of no clothes by the poolside area. I was a piece of meat to these people.' Singer's attorney, Marty Singer, called the claims 'without merit' and 'absurd and defamatory'. - - Mail Online


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