Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Michelle Bachmann Goes Bye Bye

Lest we forget why we lost the last election....

Now that it's over, it's so obvious.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.

(From Left to Right: Sexless, Dickless, Witless, Faithless, Brainless, Saneless, and Nameless.....)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

"I fought for the Shire and the Shire has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger; someone has to give them up — lose them — so that others may keep them." - The Return of the King

Sunday, May 26, 2013


The following is satire.


Although it almost isn't.

One Bryan J. Fischer, a columnist for "Renew America dot com" (at wrote a rant that called for stopping all Muslim immigration.

All I did was take his article and replace the word "Muslim" with Catholic, "Sharia" with "Vatican," and Islam with "Christianity" (as appropriate). Took 30 seconds tops. And yes, it's legal for me to do this.

Yes, this disgusts me.  It should disgust you.

Mr. Fischer? One word:
anathema sit. (I know, that's two words.)


Suspend Catholic immigration, Catholic military service, building of "Churches"
By Bryan Faschister
Follow me on Twitter: @BryanJFaschister, on Facebook at "Focal Point"

Somebody has to be the first to say it.

It's time, for the sake of the security of the United States of America, to immediately suspend Catholic immigration, to preclude Catholics from service in our military and to stop the building of Catholic "Churches".

(The matters of Catholic military service and the building of Catholic "Churches"kwill need to be subjects of future columns.)

It should go without saying that I am speaking just for myself here. But these possibilities must be addressed and discussed in a sober fashion. The reality is that we will wind up doing these three things out of necessity if we do not do them out of wisdom. We need to make these adjustments before it's too late rather than after it's too late.

We should suspend Catholic immigration into the United States immediately. Why? Because Catholics bring with them a totalitarian ideology that calls for the submission of the United States to Catholicism and Vatican law.

Pew released its findings yesterday on its worldwide survey of Catholics, and revealed that two-thirds of Catholics believe in the death penalty for any Catholic who converts to Christianity, and one-third believe in suicide bombings. This is not a religion of peace or liberty. Every tenet of Catholicism is fundamentally, irreversibly, subversively and implacably hostile to every value we cherish in America.

Catholic immigrants bring with them a totalitarian ideology whose holy book calls for the followers of "Jesus" to view all true Christians as "anathema". The more devout a Catholic becomes, the more likely he is to obey such a command, as Guy Fawkes illustrates, and the more of a threat he becomes to the security of the United States and the safety of the American people.

When I first began calling for an end to Catholic immigration in 2009, I was virtually a lone voice crying in the wilderness. But Andy McCarthy has since called for the suspension of immigration from Catholic majority nations, and Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy has called for precluding "Church-adherent Catholics" from our shores, in a fashion similar to our post WWII ban on immigrants who adhered to communist ideology.

Since the Boston Catholic Massacre, Laura Ingraham has called for a ban on Catholic immigration, and more significantly, John McCain just yesterday suggested restrictions on immigration from countries with a "significant influence of radical Catholic extremism." Both Marco Rubio and Rand Paul have openly called for considering the suspension of student visas to Catholic males.

Suspending Catholic immigration to the United States is an idea whose time has come.

Dutch politician William the Silent, based on Europe's bitter experience with virtually unrestricted Catholic immigration, has been calling for this for years, and imploring America to wake up and smell the Vatican before we become we seal our doom.

Of course, the majority of Catholic immigrants do not want to kill us, but they are not the Catholics we have to worry about. The problem is we have no way of distinguishing the Catholics we do have to worry about from the ones we don't. And we can't watch them all.

Guy Fawkes is a case in point. All of his friends and classmates said he was quiet, fun, one of us, and so forth. They all expressed shock that he wanted to bomb Parliament. The only way to have prevented him from participating in the Boston Catholic Massacre would have been not to allow him in the country in the first place.

While this may seem unfair to Catholics who have no hostile intentions toward us, that is not our fault. The blame for such a blanket policy lies with the Catholics who do have hostile intentions toward us and have been responsible for no less than 55 terrorist attempts on our soil since the Popish Plot. If friendly Catholics are looking for someone to blame for being unable to enter the U.S., that is where their finger should point.

Is banning Catholic immigration constitutional? Of course it is. No one has a right, constitutional or otherwise, to immigrate to the United States. In our system of government, immigration rules are the exclusive province of Congress. One of its express powers of action, as set forth in Article I, Section 8, is "To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization."

In Kleindienst v. Mandel (1972), (Mandel was a Marxist ideologue) the Supreme Court affirmed that "the power to exclude aliens is 'inherent in sovereignty, necessary for maintaining normal international relations and defending the country against foreign encroachments and dangers – a power to be exercised exclusively by the political branches of government' . . . .The Court without exception has sustained Congress' 'plenary power to make rules for the admission of aliens and to exclude those who possess those characteristics which Congress has forbidden'...[O]ver no conceivable subject is the legislative power of Congress more complete than it is over the admission of aliens'...The power of Congress to exclude aliens altogether from the United States, or to prescribe the terms and conditions upon which they may come to this country, and to have its declared policy in that regard enforced exclusively through executive officers, without judicial intervention, is settled by our previous adjudications." (Emphasis mine.)

Bottom line: Congress can ban Catholic immigration if it wants to. And it should.


Just kidding.


Sunday, May 12, 2013

(or, Raiders of the Lost Art)

In honor of Mother's Day...

I would like to rerun this gem, which for some reason is one of the most popular bits on this blog--almost 4000 hits to the original version,which ran in October 2010.


I love album covers. I totally love album covers, and the cheesier they are the better they are.....

Album art is lost to us; it was shrunk to irrelevance when the CD became the dominant form of music distribution; now it's disappeared completely now that we legally (I should hope) download music via ITunes or whatever. Back in the day, though, the images on those 12'' x 12'' squares would burn into the brain.

Back when I was in school I'd sit on the floor of the living room at my home at 28300 Gladstone, listening to LPs while holding a stack of three or four in my lap, using them as a desk for writing school assignments while I cranked jams. Even today, my lovingly preserved LP collection has what can best be described as embossed artifacts of my handwriting from those days 35+(!) years ago.

Some of those albums possessed art which are still so impressed in my memory that I was able to pick a good solid dozen off of the top of my head as purely awesome. Here they are, in no particular order....


Let's start with an unabashed classic. This moebus strip of a cover--the light beam exiting the one edge reenters the same edge at the same spot on the back, giving your average teenaged burnout the incentive to keep turning the album in his hands while the acid kicks in--is a classic of its kind. Simple, clean, plain, with a striking design. Only the really, really annoying sticker in the upper right (which thankfully came off with the cover plastic) detracted from the effect. A great cover to the greatest album ever made.

The original, ur-ELP band, King Crimson, produced only one memorable song, but that song is the brilliant title track, which manages to evoke a score or more archetypal fairy-tale characters with a single line of description each. And this horror is either one of the greatest covers ever created, or one of the worst: I still haven't decided which yet.


The art on the cover supposedly was connected with the names of the songs on the album within; the armadillo-tank thingie with the guns is the Tarkus; and as Wikipedia usefully states, "The inner gatefold sleeve features a sequence of pictures depicting battles between Tarkus and other half-mechanical creatures, until its eventual defeat by a manticore - the only creature in the tale that is wholly organic. "Tarkus" is then shown as a defeated shell in "Aquatarkus". The band later named its own record company Manticore Records."

I always thought these critters would have made awesome AD&D monsters. Maybe they did.


HR Giger created what is probably one of the most disturbing album covers ever made. The following from his web site puts it very well:
The album cover is considered one of the most memorable (and often disturbing) of its time. It features distinctive Giger monochromatic biomechanical artwork, integrating an industrial mechanism with a human skull and the new ELP logo (created by Giger). The lower part of the skull's face is covered by a circular 'screen', which shows the mouth and lower face in its flesh-covered state. In the original LP release, the front cover was split in half down the center, except for the circular screen section (which was attached to the right half). Opening the halves revealed a painting of the complete face: a human female (modelled after Giger's wife), with 'alien' hair and multiple scars, including the infinity symbol and a scar from a frontal lobotomy. The two images of the woman are very similar, but the outer image (in the circle) contains what appears to be the top of a phallus below her chin, arising from the 'ELP' column below (the second painting originally had the complete phallus, but this was removed at the insistence of the record company).
"At the insistence of the record company"? Yikes. Yathink??!?!! Until I started doing this article, I had no idea that 'Brain Salad Surgery' was 70s slang for what we now call 'The Full Monica.' Apparently the phrase is also used in the Dr. John classic, "Right Place Wrong Time." You learn something every day, although you can't always share that something with your kids....


I remember seeing a movie somewhere about a heavy metal rock group that was described as "not bad for a two umlaut band." Molly Hatchet, though certifiably umlaut-free, likely qualifies on that score. The album cover above, however, is unforgettable--the horse-riding baddie obviously being the unnatural love child of Conan the Bavarian and the King of the Nazgul. Scary dude.

I make a point of including the Jim Steinman part simply because the best part of Meat Loaf songs were always the surprisingly intelligent lyrics. Steinman deserved rock stardom but never quite got the credit he deserved for his creations on his own. Like another lost genius, Lester Bangs, he should be remembered. And the cover above certainly leaves an impression.



One of Cal Schenckel's earliest creations, this brilliant parody of the Dr. Pepper's cover was so spot on that a judge supposedly ordered the album to be released with the inner cover on the outside so that nobody would buy it thinking it was The Beatles. (As if....)

My brother's copy had a second voice balloon added to Frank's sneering "Is This Phase One Of Lumpy Gravy?" The added voice balloon read as follows: "No but this album belongs to MARK R and nameless maladictions shall pursue the unauthorized malapropriator!" He gave it to me as a present; today, somewhere in Lansing, Michigan, that copy languishes in someone else's album collection. I had to sell it to a collector store in 1986 because I wanted to eat. I've regretted it ever since.


For pure strangeness, little or nothing can top this one. The intergalactic sofa, the clockwork planets, the finger of God setting Saturn to spin--pure Frank (and Cal Schenkel) at their finest.


Technically this doesn't count (it's from the tape version and I don't know if this album was released on vinyl.) Still: his final and IMHO greatest album; I include the otherwise ordinary cover picture as it clearly shows Frank in the last days of his cancer. You can see the suffering etched into his face. (I saw a TV interview with him, available here on Youtube, which shows how the cancer had changed him--and had transformed him to something I would almost describe as angelic if it weren't so Zappaesque to describe Frank as an angel.) One of the greatest disappointments of my life is that I will never see him play with the New York Philharmonic at Kennedy Center in his 80s.


Easily the second most obscene album cover ever made (the first one is the notorious original BLIND FAITH album cover; no, I'm not going to post it as I don't want to go to prison in today's paranoid day and age). I'm surprised this one got by the censors. You don't have to be Freud to figure out why. (Although it is depressing to consider that the model, Dolores Erickson, is now 73 and certainly collecting Social Security....)


Supposedly an album honoring man's landing on the moon. Brillian concept, caveman painting on a wall an image of a man carrying a rifle. What would reduce us to such a state where cave painting is again an active art? Beautiful.


Supertramp's magnum opus had also their greatest album cover. I never imagined you could reproduce the New York skyline with the contents of the breakfast section of your local grocery store, and the image of the Statue of Liberty as an orange juice carrying waitress-of-a-certain-age is a wonderful conceit. The background Twin Towers as a couple of flimsy cerial boxes is painfully prophetic--alas.


And finally, the album cover that inspired this otherwise pointless collection. A HIPGNOSIS special, it portrays a woman who is, ahem, fixated on felines. I especially like the cat logo in the lower lefthand corner.
Anyway. I'm sure my readers have their faves. Send 'em in (except the one of the girl with the airplane!); I'll be glad to do a followup entry.....

A Grand Mother's Day

These are my grandmothers, Loretta Dueweke Remski (1900-1978) and Jennie F. O'Brien Kent (1888-1973). Loretta was the mother of ten children, of whom eight are still living. Jennie had seven children, losing one in infancy.

This being Mother's Day, I would also like to salute Elizabeth Martin, mother of Loretta. She found herself pregnant with her twelfth child--Loretta--at the age of 46. Knowing the risk, she decided to have Loretta, and died in childbirth. Through Loretta, she has had over 100 descendants alone.

Jenny's mother was Ellen Henry (1867-1910). She lost two boys--Jenny's brothers--while the boys were in elementary school, in almost identical freak accidents exactly a year apart.

Thank you, to brother Jerry, for posting this to Facebook. I've never seen this photograph before until today.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

On Charles Ramsey,
Ray Vivier....
and the Tattered Remnant

Charles Ramsey is reveling in his well earned brief instant of fame.

Let him, I say. He's a great guy, and did a wonderful thing. I might not share his taste in, um, colorful metaphors, but his head and heart is surely in the right place.

He certainly is one of the Tattered Remnant.

Let me talk about another man much like him.... and let me cite the indispensable Bill Whittle, who inspired this blog.

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ray Vivier.


I have been, and remain, a staunchly anti-elitist individual. I find the idea of belonging to a special group the most dangerous philosophical ground you can stand on. But what is remarkable about this Remnant is that the people that compose it seem to be drawn completely at random. It is not a philosophy. It is a frequency. You are on it or you are not. And this is not a million-dollar lottery win, either: it is a call to face unpleasant facts and impending hardship. It is a quiet summons to duty. It often makes one uncomfortable, and, most often, this unfocused, vague desire – this need – to do something useful most often makes one feel very much alone.

What’s remarkable about the Remnant — to me, anyway – is the sheer unpredictability of its composition. Perhaps that homeless drug addict, panhandling under the overpass… perhaps he will be the one to run into a burning building while other decent and good people stand idle, waiting for something to happen.

Waiting for someone to happen.

--Bill Whittle, You Are Not Alone, Part 1, the essay that inspired the Tattered Remnants series.

His name was Ray and he was a homeless wreck.

He had been fighting alcohol for years. He had spent most of the previous months living beneath a bridge in Cleveland, Ohio. When young, he had been a United States Marine, once, but had only lasted a year. He wandered the Left Coast of our country, never quite settling down. He hadn't seen his ex-wife for more than two decades. His children had lost touch with him; no word had been received from him for fifteen years. He was sixty one years old and had nobody--nobody except his fellows in the boarding house. They didn't even know his right name.

And yet, when he died, an unidentified man in a Cleveland boarding house blaze, he died in glory.

The fire, in November 2009, was caused by arson--two men deliberately set fire to the building for undisclosed reasons. At the time of the fire, there were nine in the home.

Three within the building were trapped and burned to death. But the others were awakened and removed from the building by Ray. He repeatedly went back into the building and carried his housemates out.

He saved five.

But he was gravely injured in his efforts. He was taken to a hospital, suffering from severe smoke inhalation and burns from his efforts. He died in agony.

And he lay in the hospital morgue for weeks as nobody knew his true name or his next of kin; it seemed likely that this anonymous hero would be buried in a pauper's grave, unmarked and unremembered.

After some old friends heard word of the fire–-friends who went back to Cleveland from Pennsylvania to identify his body--he was given a name. He was identified as Ray Vivier.

He was inurned on January 23, 2010, in Arlington National Cemetery, his ashes placed in a columbarium overlooking the Potomac, within sight of the Mall, after a funeral attended by more than a hundred of his family, his friends–and those who admired him, his ashes in a gold urn.

When he was laid to rest, he received full military honors.

"I am proud of the man he was becoming," his daughter said. And it could be said that, no matter his struggles, in the end, he succeeded.

There can be no better epitaph for any of us.

I do not have a picture of Ray Vivier.

But God knows him well. May he sing His glory forever.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

From the 'Stans

To my site pest: reread as often as necessary!