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AMERICAN DIGEST





Last Build Date: Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:08:26 -0800

Copyright: Copyright 2016
 



Moving Images 2016

Fri, 09 Dec 2016 12:08:26 -0800

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Supermoon




Something Wonderful: English for Beginners

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 16:02:59 -0800

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John Glenn (1921-2016): Now He Is Starlight

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 13:02:20 -0800

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"I pray every day and I think everybody should.

I don't think you can be up here and look out the window as I did the first day and look out at the Earth from this vantage point. We're not so high compared to people who went to the moon and back. But to look out at this kind of creation out here and not believe in God is, to me, impossible. It just strengthens my faith."

Old men ought to be explorers
Here or there does not matter
We must be still and still moving
Into another intensity
For a further union, a deeper communion
Through the dark cold and the empty desolation,
The wave cry, the wind cry, the vast waters
Of the petrel and the porpoise. In my end is my beginning.

Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot




The Day We Killed John Lennon

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 12:30:54 -0800

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We'd finished filming John and Yoko for the video a day or so before he was shot to death. It was their last video, but of course we didn't know it at the time. There was film of them holding hands and walking in Central Park in the place that would later become "Strawberry Fields." We'd filmed them rolling naked in bed together in a Soho Art Gallery where she looked healthy and ample and he looked small and slight, with skin that was almost transluscent. I remember being slightly surprised by the fact that Lennon's need for Ono was so constant and palpable. He was seldom more than two feet away from her side and had the disconcerting habit of calling her "Mommy" whenever they spoke.

My role was as "executive producer" which really meant that I was to stand around with a roll of hundred dollar bills and pay-off the teamsters and solve other problems with copious applications of money. It was an odd job in more ways than one, but I was grateful to have it at the time.

We'd sent the last of the film to the lab, and the director, Ethan Russell, had gone back to Los Angeles to begin editing. The crew had dispersed and I'd taken to my bed racked with pain. The job, this time, had been so tough and high stress that my neck had gone out. I could barely turn my head without feeling as if a sledge was hammering a hot-needle into the cervical vertebrae. I was lying carefully propped on the bed eating Bufferin as if they were Tic-Tacs and trying not to move. My neck was held in one of those tight foam collars. Not moving was the best thing to do at the time and I was doing it with all my might.

It was a small one-bedroom apartment on the East Side of Manhattan. My first wife and I were there after three years of living in London, Paris, the Algarve and other European locations. She was eight months pregnant with our daughter and looked as if she was trying to smuggle a basketball across state lines for immoral purposes. Her mood, never really cheerful, was not improved by her situation.

The apartment was on loan from her uncle's girlfriend. I was down to my last few thousand dollars and was looking for a job. The film gig had been a gift from my old friend Ethan, and I'd been glad to get it. But it was over and, with a baby banging on the door of the world, things were not looking up. At the time, the only thing looking up was me since my neck required me to lie flat and gaze at the ceiling. It had been a rough two weeks but I thought things would certainly improve.

And of course, that's when things got worse. It got worse in the way most things do, the phone rang and my wife called out, "It's for you."

Some New York wag once said, "Age fourteen is the last time in your life when you're glad the phone is for you."

I groped blindly to the side of the bed and picked up the extension. It was Ethan calling from an editing room in Los Angeles. "John's been shot. He's dead."




Dark Matter

Thu, 08 Dec 2016 01:33:52 -0800

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Dark Matter

for Tom Mandel (1946-1995)

Love must see all things that are,
But not with any eye.
Dream must rise from darkling waters,
Yet still gloss clear and dry.

The heart must mimic life lived large
In its sentences and fate;
Accepting time must finally halt,
And enter through the gateless gate.

The body, all its time undone,
Must yield itself to air.
The soul, a dream no longer dreamed,
Must rise upon the spiral stairs,

That lead up to that heart of light
Which circles in that storm;
Where one eye sees all things that are,
Where that which is, is born.

The Case Against Dark Matter: A proposed theory of gravity does away with dark matter, even as new astrophysical findings challenge the need for galaxies full of the invisible mystery particles.

For 80 years, scientists have puzzled over the way galaxies and other cosmic structures appear to gravitate toward something they cannot see. This hypothetical “dark matter” seems to outweigh all visible matter by a startling ratio of five to one, suggesting that we barely know our own universe. Thousands of physicists are doggedly searching for these invisible particles. But the dark matter hypothesis assumes scientists know how matter in the sky ought to move in the first place. This month, a series of developments has revived a long-disfavored argument that dark matter doesn’t exist after all. In this view, no missing matter is needed to explain the errant motions of the heavenly bodies; rather, on cosmic scales, gravity itself works in a different way than either Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein predicted.

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Boomer Anthems:Aquarius

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 09:27:56 -0800

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"When the moon is in the seventh house...."




"Fewer than 200 survivors of the attacks... Hawaii are still alive."

Wed, 07 Dec 2016 07:21:17 -0800

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It has been 75 years, but U.S. Navy veteran James Leavelle can still recall watching with horror as Japanese warplanes rained bombs down on his fellow sailors in the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War Two.

Bullets bounced off the steel deck of his own ship, the USS Whitney, anchored just outside Honolulu harbor, but a worse fate befell those aboard the USS Arizona, USS Oklahoma, USS Utah and others that capsized in an attack that killed 2,400 people.

"The way the Japanese planes were coming in, when they dropped bombs, they'd drop them and then circle back," said Leavelle, a 21-year-old Navy Storekeeper Second Class at the time of the attack.

Leavelle, now 96, was among 30 Pearl Harbor survivors honored at a reception in Los Angeles before heading to Honolulu to mark Wednesday's 75th anniversary of the attack.

The bombing of Pearl Harbor took place at 7:55 a.m. Honolulu time on Dec. 7, 1941, famously dubbed "a date which will live in infamy" by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt. Fewer than 200 survivors of the attacks there and on other military bases in Hawaii are still alive.

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Pearl Harbor Hero Returns Home After 75 Years in an Unknown Grave "For decades their bones lay forgotten until a Pearl Harbor survivor uncovered their story."

My Sad Captains by Thom Gunn

One by one they appear in
the darkness: a few friends, and
a few with historical
names. How late they start to shine!
but before they fade they stand
perfectly embodied, all

the past lapping them like a
cloak of chaos. They were men
who, I thought, lived only to
renew the wasteful force they
spent with each hot convulsion.
They remind me, distant now.

True, they are not at rest yet,
but now that they are indeed
apart, winnowed from failures,
they withdraw to an orbit
and turn with disinterested
hard energy, like the stars.

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The Ten Part Trump Tweet Pattern That Won the West

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 09:57:53 -0800

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PIERS MORGAN: Twitter helped Trump's campaign triumph, so we'd better get used to government by 140-characters. And if the press and political elite hate it, then tough Twitty!

Since the election, Trump has continued to Tweet away. He's called for Hamilton to be boycotted and flag-burning to be criminalised, and every time the same 10-part pattern unfolds and the whole thing starts again.

Each episode followed a familiar 10-part pattern:

1) Trump posts an inflammatory, highly opinionated tweet.

2) The media goes nuts.

3) Trump’s tweet then dominates the news all day.

4) The media demands he stops tweeting because it’s ‘un-presidential.’

5) Trump ignores them.

6) Conventional politicians demand he stops tweeting because it’s un-presidential.’

7) Trump ignores them too.

8) Trump wakes up next morning to every paper and cable news show talking about his tweet.

9) Trump chuckles to himself.

10) Trump tweets again.

Repeat.




Goodbye to the Way We Were

Tue, 06 Dec 2016 07:57:21 -0800

Reaffirmation Post: In which I discuss how I got from "there" to "here" back in April, 2006.... My Back Pages: Debating on the step of Sproul Hall, UC Berkeley, 1966. (Left to right:) Me (Somewhat younger but just as strident), An Iranian friend named "Jaz" -- worked with me in the UC library, a refugee from the Shah's Iran -- probably went back after the fall of the Shah, (foreground right) He lost his eye in the Hungarian Uprising and had to run for the border and on into the West to stay alive. In this picture he's attempting to convince me that Communism is an evil ideology. I'm not buying it then, but I buy it now. (Click to enlarge) Well, I try my best To be just like I am, But everybody wants you To be just like them. They sing while you slave and I just get bored. I ain't gonna work on Maggie's farm no more. -- Maggie's Farm A friend with whom I have a daily correspondence takes great pleasure in needling me on my, shall we say, adamantine position that we need to start fighting the First Terrorist War to win it and not as if we are engaged in a game of patty-cake. In March of 2004, after the Madrid bombings, while I was trapped on a Cruise Ship somewhere deep inside the sixth circle of Hell, he decided it was an ideal time convert me to his policy of "reasonable accommodation." It was the moment in which, as he put it, "...the common citizens of Spain and France are saying 'Tell us again what this got us, other than lots of angry teenagers with bombs?' " I replied that I'd lived for years in France, with months in and about Spain, and most of the 'common citizens' of those countries would surrender to anything and sell out anyone if it meant they could shop in peace for a few more years. Vichy and Franco came to mind as examples. Yesterday, in Tel Aviv, the angry teenager with a bomb on his body came again, as he has so many times over the last few years, and as he will in the years to come. Maybe Spain was right to see the effort as futile. Maybe Europe as a whole should just roll over and not just play dead, but be dead. Perhaps Israel should just shrug and say, "Okay, you win. We'll move or we'll die. You tell us." After all, what's really in all this fighting and dying for anyone? None of the countries that are engaged in this war against terror seems to be ready to do the terrible things necessary to end terror. ("Don't you see? That would make us just like them!" "Perhaps, but we would be alive to repent and reform.") I once admired the subtle thought, the careful parsing, the diplomatic pas-de-deux of policy, but lately I seem to have gotten a taste for straight talk. It seems to me that if you don't go to war ready to achieve victory by any means necessary -- by any means necessary -- why would you bother to go at all? And of late, I'm only hearing the weasel word "win." I'm not hearing a lot about "victory," which is quite a different thing. It seems to me that if you are actually "in" a war, victories, big and small, are what you seek to achieve. Once you have the final victory, and that means that the enemy and all that supports the enemy, is so destroyed and laid waste that there's no fight left in him, then and only then can you say you have "won." Absent a drive for victory, there seems to be nothing in this war for any one fighting terror on any front other than pain and death -- and the added insult of an unremitting disparagement from many of the citizens for whom they fight. That's certainly true when it comes to the United States of late. We seem stalled at the stage of the struggle that brings to mind Churchill's proclamation that he had nothing to offer except, "blood, sweat and tears." We've had those three things constantly for years -- as our media are so keen to remind us every three minutes of every day. Another factor in the dumb-show called "Brin[...]



Adam Carolla's Epic Rant on the War on Christmas

Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:59:13 -0800

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"All you asswipes out there who have declared war on Christmas (You know who you are.), considering everything in this world that needs to be done. There's weeds by the side of the freeway that need to be pulled. When you come to your deathbed are you going to be saying 'In my life I was able to remove symbols for Christmas from this college in Portland? But please go to work on Ramadan so the Muslims will behead you and we won't have to listen to your douchey crap any longer."




Sometimes Just a Small Makeover Changes Everything

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 18:39:50 -0800

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Ladies and Gentlemen, a new look for the President of the United States. It's time to see who we are really dealing with.

The above image is, of course, a photoshop. A minor adjustment of outward elements that make up Trumps face and, as a result, give him a strikingly different aspect than the more colorful and animated personality that appears in public daily now.

Still, this is not the only time we've seen the aspect of Trump that is represented in this photoshop. We can see it in some otherwise offhand photographs from unguarded moments. By that I mean those moments when the subject is not aware that he is being photographed and, hence, does not have his photographic personality suffusing his face and body.

A case in point is the photo below. It was taken just moments before Trump made his entrance on election night to inform the nation and the world that Hillary Clinton had conceded and he was now the President-Elect. Here we see Trump in the wings of the stage and in a moment in which his face makes manifest the enormous weight that had finally, after 18 months, settled on him. It's a sober moment and you can see it in the close-up below.

The eyes, as always, are the windows to the soul. At least in those moments when the man does not have his shades drawn.

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"With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. "

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 12:09:53 -0800

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when god lets my body be

from each brave eye shall sprout a tree
fruit that dangles therefrom

the purpled world will dance upon
between my lips which did sing

a rose shall beget the spring
that maidens whom passion wastes

will lay between their little breasts
my strong fingers beneath the snow

into strenuous birds shall go
my love walking in the grass

their wings will touch with her face
and all the while shall my heart be
with the bulge and nuzzle of the sea

---by e. e. cummings

"I've had a lot of luck to have such a life. I wish there was some way to pass on with what I've learned of. My God, I was learning fast there at the end." -- Islands in the Stream

UPDATED for the (somewhat) less athletically inclined........

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The Constant Murmur from the Mind

Sun, 04 Dec 2016 01:55:45 -0800

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“White clouds encircle the mountain waist like a sash,
Stone steps mount high into the void where the narrow path leads far.
Alone, leaning on my rustic staff I gaze idly into the distance.
My longing for the notes of a flute is answered in the murmurings of the gorge.”

-- Shen Zhou, Poet on a Mountain c. 1500. Painting and poem by Shen Zhou



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In The Cascades

Above the trail to the summit
Clouds climb the mountains --
Hands through water, fingers of rain,
Smoke in dreams, as steps accumulate,
Placing first one foot, then the other,
Pacing out the rip-rap of the years.

Below the snow ghosts swirl behind
Drifts of leaf-shimmer, billowed veils
Of wind whose whispers echo back
Across the distant silence singing
To the tempo of the breath:
"Once only, once only, only once."

Above the stream in the ravine.
Watched by sentinels of stone, of fir,
Of trees so tall their tops dissolve
Into the breath of the mountains.
Ebony glints of ravens' wings
Banking into green on darker green.

Below it's all been settled long ago.
Only on foot, step by step,
Can you climb up, beyond,
And out of time -- except for the weight
You carry on your back; gossamer
Thread spinning down into the Labyrinth.

At the crest, looking back, looking below,
Herds of mule deer graze beneath pylons
Where a survey crew measures the steel river,
For a grid of concrete and copper cables
Connecting the Matrix coiled on the coast.
Above, the mountains' shoulders shatter the rain.




On Extra-Terrestrial Life

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 19:55:53 -0800

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I accept the existence of saucers,
I concede there's a case
To be made for believing that something's achieving
the conquest of space;

I find it completely convincing
Whenever I hear
That creatures from Venus were recently seen
As a spaceship drew near:

And yet there's a problem remaining
That baffles me still.
I'm not disagreeing that some super being
Can wander at will

From one universe to another-
But if it be thus why on earth (so to speak)
Should he bother to seek
Any contact with us?"

-- Anthony Brode




Saturday Funnies: "I have not yet begun to gloat"

Sat, 03 Dec 2016 08:14:06 -0800

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"You know what, as painful and as excruciatingly long as it was... in retrospect this was the most fun election ever."

Just when Democrats and Moonbats think it's safe to go back in the political waters, Joe Dan Gorman releases, on IntellectualFroglegs.com, "No Rules for Radicals." Funny and insightful and with a down home and homespun flavor that should be bottled and poured over your Moonbat Babyback Ribs at your January celebration barbecues. Joe Dan takes us back over the campaign trail and into the dawning of the age of Trump. With this caveat:

"Now while we are rooting for President-Elect Trump to succeed wildly—we are sycophants of no one. We will hold Trump’s feet to the fire, but only when needed. We are not going to scrutinize and micromanage his every move.

"We knew Trump was apolitical and unpredictable…and no doubt he will have us all scratching our heads at times. But with a history of success that is second to none— Donald Trump for lack of a better word— backs up his bullsh*t like no other.

"So for now… Donald Trump has earned my trust— until he doesn’t.

Popcorn. Full screen. Sit back and enjoy as much as you enjoyed The Buster Brown Show with Froggie and his rollicking sidekick Andy Devine.

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"It's the holidays. Enjoy them. Turn off the idiots in the media and bask in the glorious fact that Hillary Clinton will NEVER be our President."