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Last Build Date: Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:39:19 -0800

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Strange Site News

Tue, 27 Jun 2017 19:39:19 -0800

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For reasons unknown to me the old website is coming up when my readers are trying to go to the new site. I'm working with Hosting Matters to figure out this FOO.




How To Get Offended

Mon, 19 Jun 2017 08:05:34 -0800

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[HT: DeAnn]




Okay, who turned on the sun? -or- "Never Happy"

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 22:09:15 -0800

Things are starting to get out of hand here in northern California. width="640" height="360" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y2he3gF5uSM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Oh! We're having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave The temperature's rising, it isn't surprising, She certainly can can-can She started a heatwave by letting her seat wave, In such a way that the customers say That she certainly can can-can Gee, gee! Her anatomy makes the mercury rise to 93! Having a heatwave, a tropical heatwave, the way that she moves, That thermometer proves that she certainly can... (What's your name honey? Pablo).Certainly can.. (Chico, Miguelito, Pablo, Chico, Miguelito)...oh, can-can. I don't know about anybody else but my life has come down to one concept: FLEE! FLEE TO THE OCEAN! [Of course, the above bitching brings to mind this observation from all the way back in 2005:] Never Happy When I lived in Manhattan, I never needed to know when winter officially arrived. I could count on one particular coworker to announce it. The official date changed every year, but he never failed to signify it by dropping by my office first thing in the morning, a Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, and saying, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how cold it is? Damn!" Having just peeled off watch cap, ear muffs, scarf, gloves, and a ten pound top coat, I could -- while watching the sleet moving horizontally across the windows -- say with some conviction, "Yes, as a matter of fact, I do believe how cold it is." With this exchange, the first of a daily ritual that would be repeated between us for months without variation, I knew that winter had been declared open. In New York City, there are really only two seasons -- "Winter" and "Street Repair." Winter was cold and inconvenient. "Street Repair" was hot and inconvenient. My coworker wasn't happy with either. Yet he never failed to announce the beginning of "Road Work." The official date changed every year, but he never failed to signify it by dropping by my office first thing in the morning, his Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, and saying, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how hot it is? Damn!" He was a living, breathing, mind-numbing example of why the number two fantasy of people who work in offices is the ruthless slaughter of one or more of their coworkers. (The number one fantasy? I don't have to tell you. You know. And you should be ashamed of yourself.) When I moved to southern California, this was one little daily irritation I was happy to leave behind along with "Winter" and "Road Work." Instead, I got only one season, "Traffic," but since you have to go to "Traffic" in order to be in that was okay. I no longer needed to kill my coworker, so that was a win. In the hills above Laguna, however, I discovered another two seasons -- "No birds" and "Birds." That's otherwise known as "Not Spring" and "Spring." When the birds leave sometime around the Christmas holidays, you don't really notice it. At least I didn't until I passed a neighbor, a Starbucks commuting coffee mug in his hand, on his daily constitutional and he said, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how quiet it is? Damn! Sure wish the birds would come back." He walked on but I stopped and turned slowly to look at him. Brief memories of fantasized mayhem washed over my mind until I shook my head and thought, "No. Can't be. Just your imagination," and went on my way. But, of course, what couldn't be, was. Over the course of the next few months, I'd pass this neighbor on our overlapping walks and he'd invariably say, just to be neighborly, "Boy, oh, boy, do you believe how quiet it is? Damn! Sure wish the birds would come back." In time, of course, the birds, as birds will, did come back. I noticed it one day when, just at dawn, a bird woke me with a Bachesque series of trills and calls. A day or so later, when passing my neighbor on the hill, he said, "Boy, oh, boy, did you hear that bird this morning? Terrific!" But nature is not decorativ[...]



My Father

Sun, 18 Jun 2017 00:08:22 -0800

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The Interface
--for my father, Albert John Van der Leun

1.
The empty rituals and dusty opulence
of the nightmare's obvious ending dwindle,
and the sounds of departing automobiles
fade into the humm beyond the cul-de-sac.
Inside the house my mother sits quietly,
surrounded by the plates of finger food
that everybody brought and no one ate,
and wonders if she should begin to take
his clothes from the closet and call the Goodwill.
Some blocks away, the minister hangs
his vestments on a peg, and goes to lunch.

I drive the Skyway to the town named Paradise,
park his car at the canyon's rim, and sit awhile
in the hot silence of the afternoon looking out
at the far Sierras where, in June, the winter lingers.
On the seat beside me a well-taped cardboard cube
contains what remains of my father. I climb out
and, taking the cube under my arm, begin to climb
down the canyon's lava wall to the stream below.
The going is slow, but we get to the bottom by and by
and sitting on some moss, we rest awhile, the cube and I,
beside the snow-chilled stream.

The place we have come to is where the pines lean out
from the rounded boulders lodged above the stream;
where what the stream saves builds up in the backwater,
making in the mounds of matter an inventory of the year:
Rusted tins slumped under the fallen sighs of weeds,
diminishing echoes of the blackbird's gliding wings,
laughs buoyed in the hollow belly of stunted trees,
gears, tires, the bones of birds, brilliant pebbles,
the rasping whoosh of leaf fall crushed to dust,
the thunk of bone on bark, the thud of earth on wood,
the silence of soft ash scattered on chill waters.

And in such silence, he fades forever.

2.
The stream, its waters revolving round
through river, ocean, clouds, and rain,
bears away the hands and eyes,
but still the memory remains,
answering, in pantomime,
the questions never asked:

Are these reflections but the world without,
carried on but never borne onward, westward,
towards sunlight glazed on sea's thigh?
Or are such frail forms shaped upon the waters all
the things that are, and we above immersed in air
the forms that fade, only the mere mirrors of the stream?

Is this life all that is and, once life lost,
the end of all that was, with nothing
left to be, with no pine wind to taste,
nor sun to dapple mind with dream?
Is all that is but ash dissolving,
our lives mere rain in circles falling?

Or are we still the center of such circles,
our fall a rise above the shawl of night,
where all shall shine contained within
that single soul, that heart of stars;
that interface where souls and suns
and Earth's far scattered waters meet?

Meet in that one hand whose palm
still remains held out forever,
held out and for forever open
even in the coldest light of day.




"Men Like My Father Cannot Die"

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 09:26:47 -0800

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"They are with me still, real in memory as they were in flesh, loving and beloved forever."




Albert John ('Van') Van der Leun: A Sharp Man

Sat, 17 Jun 2017 00:01:27 -0800

My father liked sharp. He was a Gillette kind of man. He liked to look sharp, feel sharp and be sharp. I never saw him unshaven except very early in the morning before he’d had a chance to lather up. Beards? He was a child of the hard parts of the Depression and beards were for bums. My father favored the flat-top for himself and his sons. Butch Wax was a staple in our house and four males could go through a jar a week. He grudgingly accepted my 3-inch “Ivy League” cut once I went off to the university, but was never reconciled to the longer and longer hair that came later. My father was a sharp-dressed man. He liked the snap of a freshly laundered, starched and ironed white shirt. His suits were always cleaned and pressed and his shoes shined to a military gloss. I still have many of his gold and silver tie-tacks and cuff-links and although I seldom wear them, I do wear them. They make me feel sharp. My father was a car salesman and a good one. He was a sharp salesman; one that was always looking for what the customer actually wanted as well as what the customer could really afford. For every minute selling, he spent five qualifying. He didn’t boast about being the top salesman at the lot, although he usually was. He did boast that he had the fewest repos of all the salesmen, and the most repeat customers. He liked to sell people cars that he knew they could afford. His most repeated instruction to me was, “Never try to profit off of another’s misfortune.” My father hated smooth. He liked plain talk and despised euphemism and manipulation, especially among salesmen. He’d fire car salesmen working under him if he caught them lying or even shading the truth to make a sale. He looked at every deal brought to him for approval that the buyer didn’t have the credit for as a failed sale and wouldn’t approve them. “A man that will lie to a customer will lie to you,” he’d say. “Bad for the buyer and worse for the business,” he’d say. “If you let a man buy what he can’t afford on credit, you’re going to be taking the car back and making an enemy. We’re here to get cars off the lot, not see them come back after repossession. A man who can’t make his car payments is a man who can’t maintain his car. A salesman who’s so smooth he’s selling people cars bigger than they can afford is a salesman who’s taking a kickback from the repoman.” My father was a man for whom honor was essential. Did my father sell as many cars as he could have? Probably not, but he raised three boys well and without want. My mother worked hard, day in and day out, as my mother and did, in the final analysis, a pretty good job of it. My father saved carefully and retired all debt as quickly as possible. When he died, a relatively young man after years of expensive medical treatments, my mother was still set up comfortably for life. My father despised debt and avoided credit. Educated by himself, he’d seen the worst of the depression and, during one hard winter in Pittsburgh in the 30s, had to hang out by the railroad tracks to pick up lumps of coal fallen from the trains in order to heat his home. My father was a life-long Democrat, and despised Richard Nixon for his five-o’clock shadow, his smooth palaver, and his treatment of Helen Gahagan Douglas in an early California election. He felt the same way about Kennedy. “He looks sharp but when you listen to him he’s just too smooth a talker.” What would my father think about a President who was a both a sharp-dressed man and was smoothly talking the country into buying trillions of dollars in deficits and entitlements? Like he said, “A salesman who’s so smooth he’s selling people cars bigger than they can afford is a salesman who’s taking a kickback from the repoman.”[...]



Dairy Queen Princess

Fri, 16 Jun 2017 12:40:15 -0800

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When I get hot and sweaty from workin' in the sun,
I head down to her corner for a tall, cold, frosty one.
When I'm with my DQ princess I'm never there alone.
For just another dollar, she'll gladly dip my cone.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a smooth vanilla softy. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.


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My baby makes me order my big banana frozen.
The boys line up to see her. She's the one that's chosen.
She's just a small town mama but still an ice cream star.
She's the only one around who'll grab your Dilly Bar.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a steamed hot chocolate malted. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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She 's got a long blonde pony tail, wears tight white shorts,
With a polka dot bikini top. She plays all the midnight sports,
And she'll whip you up a sundae, maybe top it with a cherry,
But tomorrow she'll be serving it to Curly, Moe, or Larry.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's deep-fried tofu toffee. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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Down at her DQ she's some games that you can play,
Like "Ninja Warrior Pinball," or "CyberRoad to Mandalay."
She's workin' hard for tips all the big boys wanna slip her.
She'll gladly change your dollars and let you pump the flippers.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a deep dip Dilly Bar. She's the Blizzard Breeze supreme.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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She's the town's roadside attraction.
She's the center of the summer's action.
It's just a little job -- pumping soda for the jerks.
It don't pay all that much, but she's never out of work.

My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.
I crave her flavor. She don't treat me mean.
She's a hot fudge filly. She's the center of the scene.
My baby's a Princess of the Dairy Queen.

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New American Digest Is On Final Approach

Thu, 15 Jun 2017 11:24:52 -0800

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I am finally coming to grips with the new Wordpress American Digest and getting it ready. Basic design is done and the basic templates formed. It will be a day or so more since I have yet to figure out how safely transfer the 30,000 MovableType American Digest entries over to the new site.

I am however feeling confident that the new version will be viewable on tablets, pads, phones, and bones.

===

Update by azlibertarian I've mentioned this here before, but in my meat-space life, I am a Captain at a major national airline. Allow me to inject some inside baseball to that video.....

* The procedures we fly--the departures (which we call SIDs--Standard Instrument Departure), the arrivals (STARs--Standard Terminal Arrival), and the approaches (which take you to the landing runway)--are constantly changing. Sometimes the changes are major and sometimes they're minor. The video begins with an "arrival" called the SADDE6. We now fly the SADDE7, which has only minor changes from the SADDE6.

* The turn right after coming over the beach is over the Santa Monica VOR (a type of navigational aid), and almost always to a air-traffic-control-directed heading of 070ー.

* The camera doesn't do this, but right before the downtown L.A. label, if I turn my head to the left I can see the Hollywood sign, and then later on downwind, right after passing the downtown area, and again on the left is Dodger Stadium.

* The video touches on one of the scariest parts of my professional day: If you look at the google map image of LAX, on both the north and south sides of the airport, you can see two parallel taxiways, just north and south of the terminals. In between those parallel taxiways is a roadway (which is where the plane holds position to allow the fire trucks to pass). I'm pretty sure that a fireman wouldn't run into my plane, but the guys who drive the baggage carts, catering trucks, etc don't inspire my confidence. Those guys drive around airplanes all day, every day, and I think that some of them get inured to the idea that that other vehicle crossing in front of them is a 737/747/757/767/777. Years ago, I once saw a fuel truck (!) with a fender-bender crease in the tank. Who drives a fuel truck like it isn't made of glass?

* And here is my final point: I suspect that some airline pilot got a new Go-Pro, and mounted it to the dash to take this beautifully-done video and then post it to YouTube. Why he would do this is more than I know. I get it that the view from my "office window" is a special sight and one that someone might want to share. I get it that someone without access to the view I routinely have might be interested in seeing it. But taking that video and sharing it on YouTube is a potentially career-ending move.

Imagine yourself on the surgeon's table, and your surgeon, or the anesthesiologist, or one of the nurses is fiddling with their cell phone looking at Facebook. That cell phone is at the very minimum, a potential distraction from the important work that they're being paid to pay attention to. The FAA sees that Go-Pro on the dash in the same light. Those guys driving those catering trucks are supposed to yield to airplanes, but if one of them ran through an intersection and into my plane, and I had a Go-Pro on the dash, it would be all my fault.




Life Comes at You Fast

Wed, 14 Jun 2017 07:52:24 -0800

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Congressman Mike Bishop called into Paul W Smith on WJR Detroit - here were the highlights:

- Bishop was at first base; jump to the ground while shots went overhead.
- Lots of shots fired - well over 50 - rapid fire successions. (Definitely sounded to me like a leftist who is a really bad shot and just played vidya games.)
- Scalise at second base was the target; they really went after him
- Scalise shot in the hip; didn't look fatal
- One GOP staffer shot in the chest; looks real bad
- One GOP staffer shot somewhere else; doesn't look as bad
- Multiple magazines and time to change between them
- Bishop estimated 8-10 minutes total
- Scalise's security men were outside the diamond; came in; had revolvers (he originally said pistols but said they were just service revolvers); the security men charged the shooter who was very keen on Scalise; they took some hits themselves but also brought him down with far fewer shots.
- The other Congressman and staffers, including somebody's 11 year old boy, were in the dugout or batting box - whatever is the structure as he kept saying there was just one structure they could get into, but if the gunman had gotten to it, it would have been over since there was just one entrance.
- And the diamond had a backstop so they could not flee; only one exit; the guy had clearly planned this and scouted it out before hand. Vox Popoli: Assassination attempt on House Republican

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On the Porch by Ghost Sniper

Mon, 12 Jun 2017 12:28:58 -0800

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Sat on a friend's porch yesterday and watched a charm of hummingbirds, maybe 15-20 , buzz bombing each other with pit stops at the many feeders to reload on sucrose.

It was hot, dry, and the shade was nice. Sometimes we'd speak but usually not, just look and observe and think.

My friend's two big dobermans, Kai (male 165 lbs) and Riley (female 130 lbs) stretched out on the cool deck boards. In front of the porch there is maybe 100 feet of green well-manicured lawn ending in dense, lush forest and who knows what beyond. The house is 1/2 mile off the road so the couple vehicles per hour of traffic was barely heard and never seen.

It was time to go so I reached in my pocket and drew out a cookie for Kai and another for Riley. Then I walked the 3/4 mile downhill to our house.

I sat in my desk chair and my own Shannon came to me. She wanted a cookie too and she got one. She smelled the neighbor's mutts on me and was not jealous, just curious. I hit the send and receive button and an email from my neighbor said that 5 minutes after I left Kai dropped over dead from a heart attack. He'd been doing poorly for the past month but seemed chipper when I came around. Before I left I knelt down on the deck and stroked Kai's enormous head and looked into his yellow eyes and saw his soul. I told him he was a good boy and to stay well. Then I left, and so did he.

Later we used the Kubota to dig the hole and lowered Kai into it wrapped in his favorite blanky. The wife and 8 year old son weeped. I said a few words and walked home, plopped down in my porch chair and just sat there.

The birds, the squirrels, the chipmunks, the pileateds, the raccoons and the bunnies did their floor show but I was lost in thought. Out here there is little difference between our 2 legged and 4 legged friends. When one leaves a void is left. It starts filling with memories but there is no satisfaction . In time the memories and dissatisfaction will fade but never disappear. Across the way I hear the great horned owl emerging.

Posted by: ghostsniper in Window gazing is best done with music in the background.




Boomer Anthems: Into the Mystic by Van Morrison (with an assist by Gregg Allman)

Sun, 11 Jun 2017 14:43:46 -0800

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[Complete with a classic four minute break/riff right in the middle.]

Music is my life's blood. I love music, I love to play good music, and I love to play music for people who appreciate it. And when it's all said and done, I'll go to my grave and my brother will greet me, saying, "Nice work, little brother—you did all right." I must have said this a million times, but if I died today, I have had me a blast.

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I want to rock your gypsy soul / Just like way back in the days of old / And together we will float into the mystic - - Gregg Allman (December 8, 1947 – May 27, 2017)

"'Into the Mystic' is another one like 'Madame Joy' and 'Brown Eyed Girl'. Originally I wrote it as 'Into the Misty'. But later I thought that it had something of an ethereal feeling to it so I called it 'Into the Mystic'. That song is kind of funny because when it came time to send the lyrics in WB Music, I couldn't figure out what to send them. Because really the song has two sets of lyrics. For example, there's 'I was born before the wind' and 'I was borne before the wind', and also 'Also younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was one' and 'All so younger than the son, Ere the bonny boat was won' ... I guess the song is just about being part of the universe." -- Van Morrison




TAB/loid

Sat, 10 Jun 2017 08:55:18 -0800

The Moral Meaning of ‘The Sopranos,’ Ten Years Later - Acculturated It is impossible for a person to compartmentalize evil acts and separate them from the rest of his or her life. In the case of a gangland boss like Tony Soprano, it is impossible to maintain a real family and a Mafia family without having the latter corrupt and threaten the former. No way out Globalism has made it possible to fund disorder from the profits of order. Qatar, for example has recently been accused of being the Switzerland of Terrorism. Yet it receives a vast income not only from the sale ofnatural gas but from holdings in the West. The BBC remarks that "Qatar owns more land in London than the Queen." Marxism: A Cross Between Mean Girls & Lord of the Flies | Declination Deep down in their bones, they are afraid of us. Because that is the instant reset button. They immediately lose the second it comes to that. With Marxists, it is perpetual high school politics. View them through this lens, and a lot starts to make sense. Their tactics, their methods… it’s all straight out of school. Moral high ground, in their world, is straight-up popularity, and nothing more. You wonder why mountains of bodies surround every major Marxist regime? Imagine if you gave a bunch of catty valley girl teenagers absolute power over life and death. What would happen? How many would die? Basic Economy Flights Exist To Make You Pay More For Air Travel – Consumerist American Airlines found that in test markets for the Basic Economy fare, it was able to raise the prices for regular economy fares. Customers were willing to pay more for a regular economy seat if there were something worse available. Like Basic Economy. Denver Decriminalizes Public Defecation To Protect Illegal Aliens This new law, or lack thereof, has the ACLU seal of approval so you know it’s bullshit:Denver Colorado is about to smell worse than piss-soaked shit-stained San Francisco. The city voted to essentially decriminalize public urination and defecation and the reason is as liberal as it gets. The city is now becoming a giant toilet to help protect illegal aliens from deportation. Denver is not only a sanctuary city for criminal immigrant scumbags but also now a sanctuary for human waste. Cancer Isn’t a Logic Problem Cancer cells are not simply a disorder or breakdown in a mechanism, but an organism going on a full-tilt offensive, using multiple, often shifting strategies to produce and use molecular fuel, win resources, and evade the immune system. If so, then the rules of the game may change—these insights suggest that the war on cancer may be endless. Still, we can get better at treating it as an evolving entity within the context on its ecology, through the idea of “living drugs,” such as engineering the body’s own immune cells to sense and mobilize an attack on cancer. It Turns Out That Paving a Road with Unwashed Clams Is Not a Good Idea | Oddity Central - Collecting Oddities A few days ago, David Rose unloaded several truckloads of unwashed clam shells onto the access road to his property, as a cheaper alternative to gravel. As soon as they saw what was going on, Rose’s neighbors told him to use washed shells instead, as the ones he was unloading still had visible clam meat on them that would start to rot. He apparently declined and carried on with his original plan. After three rainy days, the sun came out over Tiverton, and with it came maggots, flies and a stench that neighbors describe as unbearable. The Worst Ever First Day on the Job | Literary HubIn the preunion days, lunch would always be at a bar. On particularly tough jobs, John Callahan himself was known to show up late in the day with a case of beer for the crew. On road trips, it was t[...]



Moving Daze

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 11:14:39 -0800

With the duct tape and chewing gum wads of the MovableType software that holds this site together slowly falling apart, I've no choice but to move the type here to another platform: Wordpress. This means that I have to do what nobody my age ever wants to do; learn a new program. Result? Posting here shall be light through the weekend as I try to set up a new home in space.

All I have to do is move over 30,000 items from one planet to another. Confidence is high. Repeat: Confidence is high.

What I think I'm building:

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What I am probably building:

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The Curse Carved Into the Cursing Stone

Thu, 08 Jun 2017 04:52:33 -0800

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Carlisle: The Cursing Stone:The cursing stone, which stands in a subway linking Carlisle castle and the Tullie house museum, is inscribed with a curse first invoked by the Archbishop of Glasgow in 1525 against cross border families, known as the "reivers", who lived by stealing cattle, rape and pillage. The stone, designed by artist Gordon Young, consists of a 14-tonne lump of granite carved with the 1,069-word 16th Century curse.

That curse is as follows:

I curse their head and all the hairs of their head; I curse their face, their brain, their mouth, their nose, their tongue, their teeth, their forehead, their shoulders, their breast, their heart, their stomach, their back, their womb, their arms, their legs, their hands, their feet, and every part of their body, from the top of their head to the soles of their feet, before and behind, within and without.
I curse them going and I curse them riding; I curse them standing and I curse them sitting; I curse them eating and I curse them drinking; I curse them rising, and I curse them lying; I curse them at home, I curse them away from home; I curse them within the house, I curse them outside of the house; I curse their wives, their children, and their servants who participate in their deeds; their crops, their cattle, their wool, their sheep, their horses, their swine, their geese, their hens, and all their livestock; their halls, their chambers, their kitchens, their stanchions, their barns, their cowsheds, their barnyards, their cabbage patches, their plows, their harrows, and the goods and houses that are necessary for their sustenance and welfare.

There's more. Much, much, much more. But you get the general idea and.... Well... if you insist.




Never a shoulder-fired surface-to-air missile around when the right private jet goes over...

Wed, 07 Jun 2017 17:55:03 -0800

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"And what carbon emissions come from my trips... are offset. I live a carbon-free lifestyle, to the maximum extent possible."

Gore's idea of what is possible is so ludicrously crabbed that I don't know why he has any hope of solving any problems at all. He's already hit the maximum by buying carbon offsets?!! Well, he's got the money. And by the way, doesn't Al Gore make money from people buying carbon offsets??Althouse: "Second, we need to ban taxpayer-funded air travel to conferences."