Archive for December, 2014


“…abortion has over a 99 percent safety record.”

“…Politicians are not medical experts–but politicians have written these types of laws with the ultimate goal of making safe, legal abortion hard or even impossible to access.”

–Planned Parenthood of Florida




The following is from Destiny: From Paul Harvey’s The Rest of the Story,  by Paul Aurandt:

The Ghosts of the Paris Boulevard

IN THE PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION of the Bavarian National Museum in Munich, Germany, is a daguerreotype dated 1839.  It was taken by Louis Daguerre himself, apparently from the highest window of a Paris building.

The scene is one of a beautiful boulevard stretching into the distance.  On the sidewalk below, a man stands with one foot up on a bootblack’s platform.  A tiny, blurry image.

This is the first human figure ever photographed.

There is something else intriguing about this Paris cityscape.  Something almost unearthly.  Looking at the picture, one slowly becomes aware of it.  Then one is haunted by the desire to learn THE REST OF THE STORY.

Louis Daguerre was an opera scenery painter with an unquenchable scientific curiosity.  For many years he worked with photographic pioneer Niepce toward the perfection of so-called “heliographic” reproduction.  After Neipce’s death Daguerre continued to experiment, ultimately discovering the process that was to bear his name.

The early daguerreotype we’ve been discussing is entitled “Paris Boulevard”.

One appreciates the exquisite detail in the picture from that distance, even the brickwork in the buildings, the tilework on the roofs, the individual cobblestones in the street.  In the windows across the way one sees the wooden mullions and muntins clearly defined.  The pleats in the curtains are easily counted.

Yet, with the exception of that one tiny, lonely figure on the corner, the entire boulevard, a half-mile or more plainly visible in the gleaming sunshine, is utterly devoid of life!

The shadows cast by the slender trees suggest that it is neither early morning nor late afternoon.  The boulevard should be bustling with strollers and shoppers and horse-drawn carriages, delivery wagons, perhaps even romping dogs and children.

But no one, save that one man on the corner, is anywhere in this downtown Paris scene.

Pervading the ancient daguerreotype is an eerie calm, as though someone had just dropped the neutron bomb.

The glorious Paris daylight, praised as unique by generations of artists, shimmers everywhere, illuminating the intricacies of the ubiquitous lifeless objects.  As we observe, we are convinced if there were life to be seen, we would see it.

Down through the ages it has been said in various ways that all around us is an unseen world.  Many say they feel its presence; others claim to have parted the curtain and peered inside.  The skeptics cling to a claim of their own:  no camera ever lied.

So now it ought to be told.

That Paris boulevard photographed by Louis Daguerre was, during the moments the daguerreotype was taken, teaming with flesh-and-blood phantoms, people roaming the sidewalks, horses pulling carriages.  And yet that early daguerreotype process was so slow that only stationary objects could be captured on the plate, like that one man patiently waiting for his boots to be brushed.

History honors him as the first man ever photographed, only because he was standing still!



Okay–I watched a segment on the PBS Newshour broadcast yesterday on the topic of Sony’s decision to pull the plug on “The Interview”.  The arguments for and against Sony’s action were equally valid.

But I thought surely Sony would release this movie on Blu-ray and/or DVD.  Now I read that it has no plans to do so.

Why?  Would Kim Jong Un personally bomb my house?

I listened to another commentator on NPR two days ago.  He pointed out that, for a film, any publicity–negative or positive–is good publicity.  And he’s right.  I wouldn’t have particularly wanted to watch “The Interview” at all, were it not for this bizarre chain of events surrounding it.


The following is from MORE OF PAUL HARVEY’S THE REST OF THE STORY, by Paul Aurandt:

The Goat-Man of Juan Fernandez

There is a print of a rather detailed eighteenth-century drawing, pastoral setting, the focus of which is a scruffy-looking fellow dancing with a goat.

The ragged character in the portrait really lived.  His name was Alexander Selkirk, and he was the Goat-Man of Juan Fernandez.

As for many young men in the dawning eighteenth century, life on land was not agreeable to Alexander Selkirk.

Back home in Scotland it seemed he was always in some sort of trouble.  Indeed, parish records show that he was cited more than once for misbehavior in church.

In May of 1703, Alex, now twenty-seven, said good-bye to all that, joined a privateering expedition to the South Seas.

Privateers, pirates for hire.

Sixteen months later the ship came to a small island four hundred miles off the coast of Chile.  The island was named for Juan Fernandez, the sixteenth-century mariner who had discovered it and had tried unsuccessfully to colonize it.

Anyway, there was Alex, twenty-eight years old, the appointed sailing master of the privateer.   As the ship was about to leave, Alex and the captain got into an argument.

Tempers flared; Alex gathered his possessions and demanded to be put ashore.  He  was.

“Now what do you say?” We can still hear him shouting from the shore.  “You don’t dare sail without me!”

But the captain standing on the bridge ignored Alex, issued the command to hoist anchor.

Alex’s dramatic ploy had backfired.

Having considered himself indispensable, he was now wading out to his armpits, calling after the ship, pleading for the captain’s forgiveness.

But the stubborn captain had sailed away, never to return.

Thus began THE REST OF THE STORY, the real-life legend of the Goat-Man of Juan Fernandez.  For the explorer Fernandez, upon evacuating the island two centuries before, had left a few goats behind.

The goats would multiply, thrive.  And because they did, abandoned Alexander Selkirk stayed alive.

The wild goats provided meat and milk and skins for clothing.  Those he tamed became his friends.

Four years and four months would pass before Alex was rescued.  He barely remembered how to speak.

He returned to England, became page-one news.  Books were written about him, including one by Alex himself.

Thus this comic eighteenth-century drawing.  A pastoral setting, trees in the background.  And a thatched hut.  And in the foreground, a ragged, bearded, long-haired man, dancing with a goat.

For Alexander Selkirk, the imperiled privateer, the Scottish seaman whose temper got him stranded on a dot of soil in the Pacific–the Goat-Man of Juan Fernandez–was the flesh-and-blood model for fiction author Daniel Defoe.

He was the original, the real-life, Robinson Crusoe.






For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.  For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55 : 8-9


I just want out of this goddamned time–not this place, this time.


It was a slow day

And the sun was beating

On the soldiers by the side of the road

There was a bright light

A shattering of shop windows

The bomb in the baby carriage

Was wired to the radio


These are the days of miracle and wonder

This is the long distance call

The way the camera follows us in slo-mo

The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation

That’s dying in a corner of the sky

These are the days of miracle and wonder

And don’t cry baby, don’t cry

Don’t cry


It was a dry wind

And it swept across the desert

And it curled into the circle of birth

And the dead sand

Falling on the children

The mothers and the fathers

And the automatic earth


These are the days of miracle and wonder

This is the long distance call

The way the camera follows us in slo-mo

The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation

That’s dying in a corner of the sky

These are the days of miracle and wonder

And don’t cry baby, don’t cry

Don’t cry


It’s a turn-around jump shot

It’s everybody jump start

It’s every generation throws a hero up the pop charts

Medicine is magical and magical is art

The Boy in the Bubble

And the baby with the baboon heart


And I believe

These are the days of lasers in the jungle

Lasers in the jungle somewhere

Staccato signals of constant information

A loose affiliation of millionaires

And billionaires and baby

These are the days of miracle and wonder

This is the long distance call

The way the camera follows us in slo-mo

The way we look to us all

The way we look to a distant constellation

That’s dying in a corner of the sky

These are the days of miracle and wonder

And don’t cry baby, don’t cry

Don’t cry


The Boy in the Bubble

Lyrics by Paul Simon