Sunday, 07/24/2016

Splashdown! Apollo has splashdown.

Hornet, copy. Understand splashdown.


July 24, 11:38 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

I want to fake my death on Facebook. I want a pony.


I want Rattawut Lapcharoensap to write my biography.
I want him to come to my apartment when my boyfriend’s
not home. I want to make him coffee. I know that he
will want to tape record all of our sessions, and
after I die I want these tapes catalogued and archived
in the temperature controlled basement of an ivy league
university library. Additionally, I would like
my biography to have a neon purple dust jacket and
I would like Nancy Milford to grant us permission
to call the book Zelda even though there is already
a book called Zelda because it is about the life of Zelda
Fitzgerald. Maybe because it is just one word and
that word is a name we won’t need permission; I’m
not a lawyer. Also: I would like Martin Scorsese to direct
the movie based on the book based on my real life.

Leigh Stein,


July 24, 10:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, 07/21/2016

Ascent, Descent

July 21 was busy for NASA: Apollo 11 went up, Liberty Bell went up and down, and the Shuttle program ended.


July 21, 11:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Angry, Angry Penguins


It is necessary to understand
That a poet may not exist, that his writings
Are the incomplete circle and straight drop
Of a question mark
And yet I know I shall be raised up
On the vertical banners of praise.

Ern Malley.


July 21, 11:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Iceberg, Right Ahead!

TURNNNNN! (Posted with permission.)


July 21, 11:04 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Geraldine Jones Made Me Do It

The Gray Lady, July 21, 1863:

For the persecution of the negro there is divided responsibility. The hostility of Irishmen to Africans is unworthy of men who themselves seek and find, in America, an asylum from oppression. Yet this hostility would not culminate in murder and arson, but for the stimulants supplied by fanatics.

Journalists who persistently inflame and exasperate the ignorant and lawless against the negro, are morally responsible for these outrages. But what cares WENDELL PHILLIPS how many negroes are murdered, if their blood furnishes material for agitation?

There is abundant occasion for the public abhorrence of mob violence. But when all the circumstances have been reviewed, the popular condemnation of those who, while the nation is struggling for existence, thrust the unoffending negro forward as a target for infuriated mobs, will become general and emphatic.

Ultra-Abolitionists were hailed in South Carolina as the "best friends" of secession. Practically, they are the worst enemies of the colored man. But for the "malign influence" of these howling demagogues in Congress and with the President, rebellion would not, in the beginning, have assumed such formidable proportions; nor in its progress would the North have been divided, or the Government crippled.

Sexism?  Hillary's fault.  Plagiarism?  Michelle's fault.  Racism?  Barack's fault.  Slavery?  Abolitionists' fault.  Always the same song...


July 21, 10:37 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Not Since The Dark Days Of 1777

Some historical hot takes on a hot day.  By July 21, Congress got Gen'l St Clair's explanation of some unpleasantness that went down at Ticonderoga at the beginning of the month:

A letter, of the 18, from General Washington, enclosing a copy of a letter, of the 14, to him from General Schuyler, Fort Edward, also, a letter of the 14th from General St. Clair, at Fort Edward, with a copy of the proceedings of a council of war for evacuating Ticonderoga and Mount Independence, were read...

Ordered, That the letter from General St. Clair, with the paper enclosed, be referred for publication to the Committee of Intelligence; and, then, that the same, together with the letter from General Washington and the papers enclosed, be referred to the Board of War.

He wrote:

I called the General Officers together, to take their sentiments. They were unanimously of opinion that the places should be evacuated without the least loss of time; and it was accordingly set about that night, the 5th instant, after embarking in boats as much of our cannon, provision and stores, as was possible.
The body of the army reached Castle-Town the next evening, thirty miles from Ticonderoga, and twelve from Skeensborough; but the rear guard, under the command of Colonel Warner, which, with the stragglers and infirm, amounted to near 1200, stopped short of that place six miles, and were next morning attacked by a strong detachment the enemy had sent to hang upon our rear and retard our march. Two regiments of militia, who had left us the evening before, and halted about two miles from Colonel Warner, were immediately ordered to his assistance; but, to my great surprize, they marched directly down to me. 

At the same time I received information that the enemy were in possession of Skeensborough, and had cut off all our boats and armed vessels. This obliged me to change my route, that I might not be put betwixt two fires, and at the same time be able to bring off Colonel Warner, to whom I sent orders, if he found the enemy too strong, to retreat to Rutland, where he would find me to cover him, that place lying nearly at an equal distance from both. Before my orders reached him his party was dispersed [readers might remember that from earlier this month], after having for a considerable time sustained a very warm engagement, in which the enemy suffered so much, that they pursued but a very small distance.
I have the utmost confidence in the candour of Congress, and persuade myself, notwithstanding the loss they have sustained, when they have impartially considered that I was posted, with little more than 2000 men, in a place that required 10,000 to defend it--that these 2000 were ill equipped and worse armed, not above one bayonet in ten, an arm essential in the defence of lines--that with these 2000 I have made good a retreat from under the nose of an army at least four times their numbers, and have them now betwixt the enemy and the country, ready to act against them that my conduct will appear at least not deserving censure.

Sounds a bit defensive, eh?  Congress seems to have been displeased.  John Adams wrote to Abigail in August:

I think We shall never defend a Post, untill We shoot a General. After that We shall defend Posts, and this Event in my Opinion is not far off. No other Fort will ever be evacuated without anEnquiry, nor any Officer come off without a Court Martial. We must trifle no more

Yikes.  Well, St Clair and Schuyler both were exonerated by court martial the following year.  In the meantime, Gates took over and kicked Burgoyne's butt at Saratoga some weeks later, finally wiping off the disgrace.


July 21, 9:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, 07/20/2016

Woodstock Base Here, The Soul Sacrifice Has Landed

"We had plugged in to a whole lot of hearts..."


July 20, 11:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Francesco Base Here, The Petrarca Has Landed

A qualunque animale alberga in terra:

When the evening drives out daylight's clarity,
and our shadow makes another's dawn,
I gaze pensively at cruel stars,
that have created me of sentient earth:
and I curse the day I saw the sun,
that makes me in aspect like a wild man of the woods.

I do not think that any creature so harsh
grazed the woods, either by night or day,
as she, through whom I weep in sun or shade:
and I am not wearied by first sleep or dawn:
for though I am mortal body of this earth,
my fixed desire comes from the stars.



July 20, 10:38 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tranquility Base Here, The Punch Has Landed

Not fake.  Nor this.  But this is.


July 20, 8:55 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tranquility Base Here, The Sadie Has Landed



July 20, 7:13 PM in Family Life | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, 07/19/2016

With the disc activity lights out, it's less dangerous

Here geeks are now, entertain us!


July 19, 11:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

My work is like any other work

A Talk with a Tax Collector:

Citizen tax collector!
                                        Excuse me for disturbing you.
Thank you...
                        don't bother...
                                                    I'll stand...
I have here
                    a business
                                        of a delicate nature:
about the place
                            of the poet
                                                in the workers society...

Vladimir Mayakovsky.


July 19, 11:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Still Pink After All These Years

Pilgrims in an unholy land:

On Monday, Code Pink carried their message inside the Quickens Loan Arena, disrupting speeches throughout the day. Alli McCracken, the organization’s co-director, initiated the effort. She stood with a banner that reads “Yes We Can End War!” during Senator Jeff Session’s speech, counteracting the rhetoric of the convention with Code Pink’s message.

“Trump’s hate makes us unsafe!” she yelled. “Stop Trump’s Islamophobia! Stop Mike Pence’s war on women!” She resisted those who attempted to wrestle away her banner — the man seated in front of her gave the cloth an especially violent tug.
Both McCracken and [a] second protestor were removed by security. The Hillreports that as the latter left with her “Refugees Welcome” banner, former Mayor Rudy Giuliani—at the podium during her protest—said, “It means we are getting to them.”

Naturally Mayor Nounverb911 has it backwards...


July 19, 10:34 PM in Pax Americana | Permalink | Comments (1)

If you're fixing to go to the Moon

What a groovy thing:

Between the Moon and Earth, there came a point where the gravity of the approaching body became stronger than that of the receding body. When this point of gravitational equality was reached, it was customary for mission control, and especially those concerned with flight dynamics, to switch their frame of reference from one world to another.

However, because the Moon itself was in motion around Earth, the numbers representing the spacecraft‘s speed and position appeared to jump. Journalists, more used to figuring out the trajectories of political figures rather than those of spacecraft, found it difficult to make sense of this change in the velocity figures being fed to them by the NASA public affairs people, and some got the impression that a ‘barrier’ was being crossed and that this must surely be felt by the crew.

Mike Collins later related how Phil Shaffer, one of the flight dynamics controllers in the MOCR struggled to explain the truth to reporters as Apollo 8 entered the lunar sphere of influence: “Never has the gulf between the non-technical journalist and the non-journalistic technician been more apparent. The harder Phil tried to dispel the notion, the more he convinced some of the reporters that the spacecraft actually would jiggle or jump as it passed into the lunar sphere. The rest of us smirked and tittered as poor Phil puffed and laboured, and thereafter we tried to discuss the lunar sphere of influence with Phil as often as we could, especially when outsiders were present.”

As a homeward-bound Apollo 11 crossed the imaginary line between the gravitational spheres of influence of the two worlds, Capcom Bruce McCandless called the spacecraft to inform the crew: “Apollo 11, this is Houston. Stand by for a ‘mark’ leaving the lunar sphere of influence." He then indicated the moment’s passing, “Mark. You’re leaving the lunar sphere of influence. Over.”

Collins saw a chance for some mischief. “Roger. Is Phil Shaffer down there?“ The FIDO console was being manned by Dave Reed rather than Shaffer. “Negative.” said McCandless, “but we've got a highly qualified team on in his stead.”

“Roger. I wanted to hear him explain it again to the press conference," teased Collins. “Tell him the spacecraft [definitely] gave a little jump as it went through the [equigravisphere].“

“Okay. I'll pass it on to him. Thanks a lot," said McCandless, “and Dave Reed is sort of burying his head in his arms right now.”

One line that's always bugged me in the otherwise generally excellent From the Earth to the Moon:

It is the biggest rocket anyone has ever seen, a behemoth intended to transport men beyond the influence of the Earth.

What, the Moon isn't under the influence of the Earth?  Anyway, NASA defined the equigravisphere as 40,000 statute miles (64,374 kilometers) from the center of the Moon.  Earth's gravity is still there, just a little less than it is in Houston.  A frame of reference to help them figure out where they're going, is all...


July 19, 10:06 PM in Mars, Bitches! | Permalink | Comments (0)

I Never Doff My Cleveland Baseball Cap

Friends Journal posted on FB:

When a new visitor brings up Quaker cereal, Andrew uses it as an opportunity to talk about the black hat as a demonstration of the equality testimony: "at one time two-thirds of Quaker English men were in prison because they would not tip their hats to the Lords when seeing them on the street."

Yes, we're a rude people known for our hats and cereal, which is why even memorial services become teachable moments for you fucking heathens.


July 19, 8:52 PM in And Fuck... | Permalink | Comments (2)

We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love

For our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimmage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!

 - Mark Twain, The War Prayer

Welcome to the new reality TV show, America's Top Pastor:

On Monday night, South Carolina pastor Rev. Mark Burns took the stage to deliver the benediction for the convention’s first afternoon session. Although a relatively unknown Trump campaign surrogate, his scheduled prayer had created some buzz: Burns is a preacher of the so-called “prosperity gospel,” a deeply capitalist — and highly controversial — form of Christianity that has traditionally championed money and wealth but shied away from politics.

Last night, however, Burns shattered any misconception that prosperity preachers cannot be political. Instead, he delivered a prayer that unapologetically asked God to side with Republicans over Democrats, a move that sharply broke from the long legacy of relatively non-partisan prayers at conventions.
Even before he finished, Burns’ prayer sparked fierce criticism on social media from liberal and conservative Christians alike. Yahoo News senior editor and storied religion reporter Amy Sullivan called it “the most explicitly partisan prayer heard at a major party convention in modern times.” Eric Teetsel, former faith outreach director for Marco Rubio’s campaign, tweeted that it was “shameful,” saying it was “a disgusting and disturbing misuse of God's name and lies.” And the Interfaith Alliance, a group that “celebrates religious freedom,” released a sharply worded statement condemning the prayer.

“I have rarely heard a more inappropriate contribution to political proceedings as the benediction by Pastor Mark Burns at the opening session of the Republican National Convention,” Interfaith Alliance President Rabbi Jack Moline said. “The idea that a member of the clergy would invoke his God’s name and, in the next breath, declare the candidate from the other party to be the enemy seems to be an attempt to replace ‘nomination’ with ‘ordination.’ However, invoking religion to launch such attacks devalues faith and disrespects the people of the United States who are hoping for a debate on the issues, not an ‘ex cathedra’ pronouncement. Republican delegates should decline to respond ‘amen.’”

Cthulhu is sorry for being late...


July 19, 6:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Look At The Amplitude!

Yup, I watched the Games as a young lad, and fell in love with an older woman...


July 19, 12:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, 07/18/2016

And maybe I’ll be loved by the people for this

On The Question Of Freedom:

You talk to me of freedom? Empty question
under umbrellas of bombs in the sky
It’s a disgrace to be free of your own age
A hundred times more shameful than to be its slave

Yes I’m enslaved to Tashkent women
and to Dallas bullets and Peking slogans
and Vietnam widows and Russian women
with picks beside the tracks and kerchiefs over their eyes

Yes I’m not free of Pushkin and Blok
Not free of the State of Maryland and Zima Station
Not free of the Devil and God
Not free of earth’s beauty and its shit

Yes I’m enslaved to a thirst for taking a wet-mop
to the heads of all the bickerers & butchers of the world
Yes I’m enslaved to the honor of busting the mugs
of all the bastards on earth

Yevgeny Yevtushenko.


July 18, 11:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Give 'em Hell, 54th!

Can't not remark on the 54th's famous failed assault on Wagner:

FTR, the Fort was eventually abandoned by the Rebs, though I guess the film Glory isn't entirely inaccurate saying it was never actually taken.


July 18, 10:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)