Tuesday, August 01, 2006

How humid is it?

I have the AC on. When I just stepped outside for a moment, my glasses fogged up.

Name that nail polish

I managed to email Starburst today. It took three times before it would take my message. I had to take out all the extraneous punctuation that I love to use in order to get it sent. Then I thought I would jump right in and contact OPI about naming the nail polish after Rob Smith. I was trying to figure out how to pitch it so I did some more research on the company. I might note I discovered that there a consumer action against them for using some kind of really toxic ingredients in the US manufacture that they don't use for their European version because they're outlawed there, but I decided to let that rest and just concentrate on the name problem.

Actually the names arise out of an interesting process. The VP, Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, who happens to be the sister-in-law of the owner, creates the names of the new lines with a handful of other company insiders. They generally introduce a new line with a geographic theme and they love to use puns. They're also are open to long names, such as their long time favorite -- I'm not really a waitress -- a red which was part of their Hollywood themed line.

I ended not contacting them yet. While I still think it's useful to email them, I think we need to follow up with a written letter to Suzi at this mailing address:

OPI PRODUCTS INC.
13034 Saticoy Street
N. Hollywood, CA 91605
TEL:818.759.2400 in CA
800.341.9999

And I think we'll have a better chance of success if we also suggest a theme for a whole new line of polish. I suppose we could go with a Savannah theme but I'm wondering if there's a way to pitch it as a Blogtopia theme. Maybe we could all get a color named after us...

In any event, I'm going to think about it a little longer before I write them. My muse is not with me today and I'm convinced if we could come up with some pun-ny names for a whole line of colors, we might just pull this off.

People are strange...

It's been one of those days. I was trying to sleep in after my horrific day yesterday but my doctor's office called me this morning -- twice -- before 8:20. Bad enough they had two different people call me within 15 minutes of each other at that ungodly hour on my day off, but worse, they we calling to tell me there's nothing wrong with me. I mean bejus, if you're going to wake me up at least do it because I'm in imminent of danger of dropping dead. Otherwise, let me sleep dammit.

After the second call I was too irritated to go back to bed and I've been out of sorts all day. I never quite wake up fully when I'm interrupted from a dream. Not to mention, it's hotter than Hades today and the air is not fit for breathing. I managed to drag myself outside to get the mail and retreive my garbage can and that was enough outdoor time for me.

It wasn't a total loss though. I spent the day at the computer and my little bird friend has been pecking away at the spider's stash outside my window off and on all day. Of course as soon as I lifted the blinds to try to get a shot of him, he took one look from the branch of the bush and disappeared. Camera shy I guess.

And I got a surprise phone call from my friend Dave in Key Largo that sends me the tapes of old time music. The conversation was a bit odd but it was nice to hear from him. Which reminds me, I suppose I should email my ex, who recently invited me to visit his new house in Atlanta and figure out if I'm going to take him up on the offer. It would be really good for me to get out of town but you know how it is -- these things can get so complicated. Sometimes it just feels easier to be a hermit.

The collector

Some people collect stamps, some prefer to go for the more estoeric and collect empty heroin bags. Personally I've always found branding of illegal drugs fascinating. I don't know much about the powder drugs but I remember buying ounces of hash in the 60s that was packaged in muslin sacks with printed logos. As I recall my all time favorite was the Red Lady. That was some good hash. A thick reddish brick that resembled sandstone and crumbled up really easily.

So I can relate to Clayton Patterson's attraction to the smack bags and appreciate that he's preserving a little bit of history that might otherwise go unchronicled. I hope he manages to put together the book. Not that I would buy it necessarily, but I wouldn't mind having a look at it.

Monday, July 31, 2006

Big hug...

...and a kiss to the sweet soul who left me my first tip today. I really appreciate the encouragement and I'm glad to know the link works. And it's a really big help this month when I unexpected found myself with some hefty expenses.

Thank you darlin. I'll never forget it.

Fun with referrals

Oy, what a day. Fifteen hours and it's wasn't easy. It's weird, I can't really talk about what I do out of respect for my family's desire for privacy, but trust me, it was an especially difficult shift. I'm cooked, so I'm just going to post the best searches of the night.

I was #10 for "one hitter marijuana buy a dug out online." I was surprised the person followed the link since it was obvious I wasn't talking about a dug out. I didn't even know what it was until I read the other links ahead of me. In case you're interested, it appears to be some kind of fancy one hit pipe.

My favorite was "crack and judge and sentence and skydiving" though, that came in from New Zealand. I was #21 on this one. You have to wonder what the guy was looking for. I mean, do you think he was searching for an old skydiving buddy who was busted for smoking crack on a jump plane?

What's in a name?

This is an language I would love to learn but I'm still struggling to master Spanish. But for those who have a facility for linguistics, theorectically you can learn to write your name in Elvish in ten minutes.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]

Learning to fly

I got up before dawn this morning and it's been a tough day at work so I won't be posting anything real until tonight, but here's a quick link to a funny post. You might have to like airplanes to appreciate it but it had me laughing out loud several times. It's an allegedly real list of problems with aircraft as reported by pilots and the engineers' solutions. To tempt you to click, here's two of my favorites.
Problem: Number 3 engine missing.
Solution: Engine found on right wing after brief search.

Problem: Suspected crack in windshield.
Solution: Suspect you’re right.
Read the rest for yourself.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Down on the farm

I finally managed to drag myself to the farmer's market yesterday. I was psyched for fresh veggies. I even brought my camera to capture the colorful crowds. I'm afraid it was something of a letdown.

Maybe it was because I didn't get there until almost noon, right before they closed and it was hotter than Hades but there were only about five actual farmers among the dozen or so booths and the selection left something to be desired. No squash, no melons, only one stand with a few pathetic ears of corn left that had been sitting in the sun for hours...

I ended up only buying the three tomatos and the three peppers and I thought I paid a lot -- almost four dollars -- considering it was a farmer's mart. Nonetheless, I tried the vintage tomato today, that's the odd color red one and it was really good so I suppose it was worth the trek.

If I was in the market for breads and cakes I would have been all set. There were at least five booths with those and there were odd booths with jewlery and paper arts and such. The most interesting vendors were the two poor musicians sweating in the sun and playing their guitars. I didn't have heart to take their picture. They looked so unhappy.

It's funny. All the local musicians around here seem to be seasoned guys in their late middle age. So unlike Noho where they were mostly earnest young bucks with a lot of enthusiam. How my life has changed.

Officer, police thyself

If there is any clearer sign that the war on some drugs is a failure than this, I don't know what it is. 75 officers failed city drug tests.
Since Boston police started annual drug testing in 1999, 75 officers have failed the tests, and 26 of them flunked a second test and were fired, newly released statistics show.

Acting Police Commissioner Albert Goslin said an additional 20 of the officers who tested positive left the department on their own, which he said is because they could not handle the frequent follow-up checks.

Of the 75 officers, 61 tested positive for cocaine, 14 for marijuana, two for ecstasy, and one for heroin, according to the figures, obtained by the Globe through a public records request. (Some officers had more than one drug in their system).
As I often say, chances are someone you know and respect as an otherwise law-abiding citizen is probably using illegal drugs. Isn't it time we focused on preventing addiction rather than criminalizing responsible consumers?

[hat tip Sharon Secor].

Saturday, July 29, 2006


Fungi of the Week

This thing looked like someone had tossed a brain into the yard from the front door. I swear it popped up like overnight. I didn't see a sign of it before then.

Last year there were a couple of dozen of these little yellow guys. So far this year, this is only one I've seen but maybe he'll propagate. We're due for some more rain soon.

I continue to be amazed at how many different varieties of mushrooms I have in this yard. I often think on damp days, that walking out the door feels like stepping right inside of one.

I wonder if maybe it's all the spores in the air. Who knows where they come from. And it's odd that they're so different from the other house. They get mostly puffballs up there.

You never see anything like these orange guys around that yard. This one was up earlier in the week. I never got out there again to see what it looked like when it fully opened and it disappeared since.

And this is what passes for excitement out here in the bucolic hitherlands. Yep, I can hardly wait to see what pops up next week.

Blogging for dollars

Well after three years of blogging, I've finally installed the bleg button on the sidebar. I'm such a technodope, I'm not sure I did it right, but then again I don't have any great expectation that anyone who reads me really has any extra cash. But, just in case George Soros or Bill Gates or some other philanthropist types happen to stumble on my humble little place and want to help a blogger out, I figure I'd make it easy for them to donate. I could certainly use a little help right now.

Latest White House ploy to destroy our rights

This new bill being pushed by the White House is frightening in its implications for drug consumers. It proposes to strip an US civilian suspected of terrorist ties of any rights to due process. Considering the long standing propensity of the drug war warriors to conflate drugs with terrorism, you can be sure the first place they will erroneously use this power will be in ordinary drug offenses.

Pete at Drug WarRant connects the dots on how just how easily it can (and will) be done. As I always say, if they can do it to us, it's only a matter of time before they'll do it to everybody.

Job offer of the week

Registered medical cannabis consumers in Canada have been complaining about the poor quality of the product delivered by the current producer for the government, Prairie Plant Systems, which grows its schwag in an abandoned copper mine where the soil is loaded with toxic residue from the former mining operations. In response, Health Canada plans to invite interested companies and individuals to submit bids for a pot-growing contract. It will then try to choose the one offering top quality and value for taxpayers.

Considering the Canadian government pays Prairie Plant Systems, I believe, in the neighborhood of $5 million a year for their substandard weed, this sounds like a dream job for someone already skilled in cultivation.

Taking a world view on drugs

Norm Stamper posting at Alternet has a good column on legalization using the deteriorating situation in Mexico as example. He makes his case in the usual eloquent manner but here's the money quote.
The violence does not end with the capture or the killing of major players like the Arellano brothers. (Ramon was shot and killed by the federales in February of 2002; Benjamín was captured a month later. Francisco has been in prison for years.) As with the illicit drug scene in the United States, thousands of low-level drug-dealing wannabes are marking time -- waiting for today's kingpin to fall so they can move up.
Meanwhile, David Borden at DRC Net weighs in this week with an editorial on Afghanistan's similar struggle with the heroin trade. Noting support for sensible drug policy in England he writes:
What some of the Tories are saying is that it's unrealistic to think we can be effective against an industry that makes up 50% of the struggling nation's economy, that when eradication efforts happen, they drive farmers into the Taliban's corner and seem correlated with outbreaks of violence, that instituting a legal opium crop (which could be used and is actually somewhat needed for the legal medical market) would reduce the illicit market and deal a blow to evil-doers by bringing the money above-board and reducing their access to it.
Unfortunately in all countries, even the mildest attempts at sensible policy reform are thwarted under pressure by the US prohibitionists who depend on the war on some drugs for their living and their status. So we must fight for a sane approach against those who claim to protect us, even though the answer could not be clearer. You want to eliminate black market drug dealers and keep drugs out of the hands of children? Legalize and regulate. It's that simple.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Quick hits

It's 9:00 and I'm ready for dumb TV. I'm off to watch Monk. It's a new episode I haven't seen. I didn't make it very far into the blogroll but these posts amused me while I could still focus on the screen.

Dax found a new blog of great interest. He's got the link to the naked shot, but I went over and checked out the rest of the blog and this post was hilarious. You have to click over to the housesitting post she did and don't miss the comment section. I'm a new fan of Erin O'Brien.

And I just love astronomy. Kees puts the universe into perspective.

Meanwhile, Smoke on the Water ponders the Web of Trust.

You oughta be in pictures

It's been a long week. I'm burned out so I'm going with the Friday meme thing. I liked this one. It had interesting questions. And I like the artist.

Who Should Paint You: Roy Lichtenstein

Larger than life, your personality overshadows everyone in the room
A painter would tend to portray you with a bit of added flair!


Shamelessly stolen from here.

Legislators seek to close divide on crack and powder cocaine penalties

This is long overdue. A bi-partisan group of Senators, all of them former state's Attorney Generals, have introduced a bill to eliminate the gross disparity in sentencing between crack cocaine and the traditional powered coke. Born at the height of frenzy over the "crack epidemic" and the legislative love affair with mandatory sentencing designed to make candidates appear to be "tough on drugs", this gap has been ignored for all too long.

The fact of the matter is, there is no real difference between crack and powder cocaine. It's the same drug but crack is cheaper and was associated more with the black community. It has also resulted in draconian sentencing for relatively mild drug offenses, mainly within the black community -- although its proponents deny any racial bias to the law.

It's the not the first time some brave legislators have attempted to address this injustice. They have failed in the past to crack the overwhelming fear on Capitol Hill of appearing "soft on drug crimes" but one lives in hope that this time common sense and humanity will prevail.

Working for change

The Committee to Regulate and Control Marijuana is pushing an initiative on the ballot this November in Nevada to tax and regulate marijuana, removing penalties for adults 21 and older. With a little more than three months away from the big day, they need help raising funds to redo their website and for outreach to the voters. I believe they've been working on this for several election cycles and they get closer to passage every time, as the public becomes more educated on the subject, through their efforts.

If you live in Nevada, you should certainly donate money and time if you have it. If you don't live there and you have any spare cash, please donate anyway. Thanks.

Just eleven

I'm so blah this week. Working does that to me. I got nothing of interest to say. I can't even work up to whole 11:11 meme, but here's half a meme for you this morning. Eleven of my favorite cartoon characters.
Clyde Crashcup

Dudley Dooright

Bullwinkle J Moose

Boris Badenov

Dudley Nightshade

Tom Terrific

The King and Odie

Mighty Mouse

Heckle and Jeckle

George Jetson

And I don't know why I'm adding Hercules to this list since it was a terrible cartoon but it had such a great theme song:

Hercules, hero of song and story!
Hercules, winner of ancient glory!
Fighting for the right, fighting with his might;
With the strength of ten, ordinary men!
Hercules, people are safe when near him!
Hercules, only the evil fear him!
Softness in his eyes, iron in his thighs;
Virtue in his heart, fire in every part of
The Mighty Hercules!
Anyway, I'm off to work but I have the weekend off so maybe I'll find some more entertaining blog fodder then.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Save the Starburst flavors....

...and help a blogger out. While I've been whining about my petty little problems, the lovely Maeve has been having a really horrendous week. Besides dealing with an influx of crazy patrons at her bartending gig, she's been in a auto accident and had a SWAT team descend next door to her. But that's not the worst of it. She just found out Starburst is dropping the only two flavors her son likes.

Now this may not seem to be such an earthshaking problem to you, but her son is autistic and Starburst was an extraordinarily effective reward that he responded well to in terms of his therapy -- but only the two dropped flavors worked.. He doesn't like the other flavors at all. Contacting Starburst could help save those flavors -- tropical punch and kiwi strawberry -- from oblivion. Thanks to the ever alert Lisa, here's the link to write to Starburst or if you prefer to call, the number is 1-800-551-0683.

Please take a moment to help this mom and her son and ask Starburst to bring those flavors back.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

What's going on...

I didn't call the DMV today because it's already been a weird week. I've managed to piss off more people than usual. It must be the planets. I bet there's something going on with Jupiter and the stupid Mercury retrograde. My life is always chaos when that happens.

This referral off the top of the log kinds of sums up the week so far. I'm hit number three for hypochrondiac after anxiety attack. Couldn't be more apt.

Anyway, I have a really early call so I think I'll just call it a day and hope the planets turn tomorrow.

Congratulations due for Emery

Good news from Canada. Marc Emery and his co-defendants's case have taken a turn for the better with a new Canadian court decision, ruling that in extradition cases, a Canadian court must review the prosecution's case and decide whether it could result in a guilty verdict in Canada. Until now the Canadian court was unable to function as anything more than a rubberstamp for a extradition request.

Since Mark conducted his business openly for years without being prosecuted under Canadian law, one assumes the court will rule the US' scheme to drag him across the border to face decades in jail is an invalid criteria for extradition. One hopes it will put an end to the DEA's meddling in Canadian drug policy as well.

Meanwhile, Marc finally married his long-time assistant Jodie Giesz-Ramsay.The article is subscription only so here's some excerpts.
Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, married his long-time assistant at Cannabis Culture Magazine Sunday under a tent in Queen Elizabeth Park's rose garden. In a traditional ceremony rather than the expected counterculture blow-out, the 48-year-old Emery wed Jodie Joanna Giesz-Ramsay, 21, quietly and with reverence.

A harpist played airs in the sunshine as they tied the knot in a landscape blurred only by clouds of cannabis and iridescent soap bubbles. The couple and their friends celebrated at a reception afterwards at Heritage Hall on Main Street. Emery, with a yellow rose in his lapel, said he was overjoyed at the union that was witnessed by about 50 people.
When co-defendant Michelle Rainey was asked if the Emery's had a gift registry, she roared with laughter. "Registered?" she howled. "Don't give him anything but cash or pot. . . . They've got everything -- appliances, kitchen stuff. Trust me, pot or money."

Oh, and if you can arrange it, an acquittal, she added.

[hat tip JackL]

Looking for love in all the wrong places

I'm still cleaning out the old inbox and this one is worth passing on for the amusement value. I wonder if I'm on some Yentl list somewhere? Certainly it's not my own success at love that would be drawing lonely hearts to ask for my advice.
Harritte
Hello and how are you doing over there and hope fine.I am a simple going lady,nice,caring,sincere,faithful,honest,loving, and with a sense of humour.love and believe in reality alot. I believe in a true love as well. I will like to meet a man, that will love me for whom i am, someone with atleast half of the qualities I have though no one is perfect at all. This is all i could say for now. and if you dont mind here is my email address harritte2007@yahoo.com . I hope to read from you as soon as posible.
Take Good Care Of Yourself.
Harritte
If anyone can help poor Harritte find a man, that's the real email address she left. Sounds like she will make someone a fine wife.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Little wing

Absolutely nothing interesting happened to me today, at least that I can talk about. The biggest thrill was being buzzed by a giant yellow swallowtail butterfly when I ventured out into the steam bath after the rain. It was a really big butterfly, as big as my hand I swear, but unfortunately it didn't stick around.

And I have early call so I'm calling it an early night. I have to figure the car stuff tomorrow. Ought to be some blog fodder in that.

Good case for drug legalization

I'm back on the rotation for the week but here's an especially good LTE, notable in that it appeared in the ultra-conservative Washington Times. Read it all, it's short, but here's my favoraite graf.
None of that argues for use of psychoactives of any kind, legal or currently illegal, particularly by young people with unformed intellectual and emotional lives. But it makes a powerful case for bringing other substances out of the shadows with decriminalization and legalization, and for spending some of those wasted billions on education, harm reduction, and, when needed, addiction treatment. The obsession of drug warriors with cutting off supplies of softer drugs has pushed thousands to try the bathtub gin of Neo-Prohibitionism, crystal methamphetamine.
The author is speaking about Orrin Hatch's recent intervention in a Dubai drug case where he rescued his friend from a prison term there. As he notes, if Hatch could do it in Dubai, he should certainly be working for reform here so American drug defendants can enjoy the same benefit of the doubt.

Nall in for the long haul in Alabama

Loretta Nall may have been blocked from the printed ballot but she's still very much in the race for Alabama governor and continues to garner press. Although she couldn't manage to collect the over 40,000 signatures needed to get on the printed form, there's every reason to believe her message is resonating among the working class people of her home state and they will put their signatures on the ballot where it counts, with a write-in vote for her.

For myself, I have faith that a Nall upset is in the cards. Loretta is not a quitter and I still have my dress ready to be donned for her inauguration. Maybe I should start working on finding a date for the party. That's likely to take a while.....

Monday, July 24, 2006

First responder

The universe clearly works in mysterious ways. I was supposed to have today off, but I ended working all day. So I came home rather late and I'm opening my doors and I saw something orange in the lawn I wanted to check out. It was a mushroom of course, but while I'm looking at it, I hear my neighbor shouting, "Corky come help me." I look over I see somebody lying under a SUV and assume they're working on the thing and need a screwdriver or something but I keep watching anyway. And the hollering doesn't stop.

So I watch a while longer, and I see this person, rolling around on the ground and it strikes me that something just ain't right. So I walk down my driveway, I'm still not sure she's just not calling someone in the house but at this angle I can finally see, she's not working on the car. So I run over and ask her if she's alright. She starts sobbing with relief because somebody finally answered her call. Apparently she had fallen out of her SUV onto her head.

She's not bleeding badly but she's pretty banged up. Had a hell of shiner already started and she smelled of alcohol. She tells me she thinks she had a "sugar attack" and wants me to help her get up. I'm feeling like a deer caught in headlights. I don't know her story, she's elderly and she's got at least 60 pounds on me. I don't want to leave her alone. I'm thinking if it's really a sugar attack I should be giving her juice or something and I don't have my cell with me to call 911 and I'm not sure I need or want to call them since I'm pretty sure she's just drunk. And in any event, there's no way I'm picking her up on my own. Thankfully, the next door neighbors arrived home at that moment, a youngish woman with her teenage daughter so I called them over to help me.

In the interim, another older woman shows up who knows her. Just happened to be driving by unexpectedly. I let them take charge and just waited with the old lady until the paramedics showed up. The odd thing is, if I hadn't had gone out in that one moment to look at the mushroom I may never have noticed she was down. Heck of a strange way to meet the neighbors.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fan mail from some spammer

I'm cleaning out my inbox and this is one of the better offers that managed to get past the spam guard.
Hi there lovely,
I was searching the net few days ago. I am new to this thing. and saw your profile. I decided to email you cause I found you attractive. I might come down to your city in few weeks. Let me know if we can meet each other in person. I am attraactive girl. I am sure you won't regret it.
bReplay to my personal email at [some fake address]
And to think, she's willing to come all the way from Korea just to meet me...

Unity08 - the Un-Third Party

I try to keep this blog focused on drug policy reform and my dull life so I don't often post about general politics here but I've been invited to guest post on a new project, Unity08, that I think offers the best hope for the people to take back the system from the special interests that are currently running it.

If you want more on my take, you can read my posts here and here. Otherwise just check out the site itself. I think drug policy reformers could have an opportunity here to add the ending of the war on some drugs to their platform of crucial issues. At the least we could ally to shake up the system and ripen it for reform.

Fun with referrals

Well all the cool kids seem to be doing this lately so I figured I would check my search referrals and see what comes up. Here's my best ones from the last couple of days.

last nail in the coffin puzzle solution - I've never heard of this puzzle but I'm not sure I would have posted the solution if I did know it. It doesn't sound like the kind of game you want to win.

relations with basil leaf and marijuana - I like this one. Sounds kind of kinky.

Porn Sites Border Jumpers - Who knows what this means but I'm pretty sure I never blogged about it. It's funny though that I used the key words at different times and came up so high in the search

"Hilton Kaderly" - I regularly get hits for good old Hilton. I think he just retired recently but he is my favorite weatherman - ever.

cannabis holidays - There's a probably a joke in there about pot smokers but you'll have to supply it yourself.

Narraganssett, RI grocery store - For the record, I've never been to a grocery store in Narranganssett.

buying 2-ct-2 - I had to read the post to remember what this was. It sounds like a dangerous new designer drug. Last One Speaks does not endorse its use and recommends you avoid it.

coors dwi song - Obviously someone has already thrown up a parody on the Coors heir who was busted for DWI the other day. If anybody finds it, please send me the link.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Painting the toes red

The Red Toe Project has begun. Check out the recent entries -- my tootsies are in there -- and please help by emailing the company and requesting they name a shade of bright red nail polish Gut Rumbles, in honor of Rob. I think I'll also offer Acidman's Delight as a second choice.

And all you slackards who painted your toes and didn't send a photo, send the girl your link. I know there's a lot more of "wimmim" out there who painted their toes for Rob's amusement. Let's make this happen. I can't think of a better tribute.

The plant is not the problem

These studies that perpetuate the myth of cannabis dependence piss me off. While there are people who abuse marijuana, it's not the plant that causes habitual overuse, it's an underlying psychological condition that creates the problem. The overuse of the plant is the symptom, not the cause. This piece makes one important statement though, that makes it worth linking to it.
People often fail to notice that a friend or neighbor has a marijuana problem because the consequences of cannabis use are less striking than those associated with other drugs, according to Dr. Alan J. Budney of the University of Vermont’s Treatment Research Center. “You don’t see the severe acute consequences you get with alcohol or cocaine,” Budney said.
Now wouldn't that suggest to you that the plant is thus less harmful than alcohol and perhaps on a par with habitual coffee consumption? Both alcohol and caffeine can cause health problems that greatly exceeds any proven adverse consequences of habitual cannabis use when overused, but you don't see the government spending billions every year to end those "crises." I mean should they be eradicating the coffee fields of South America in order to prevent people from drinking too much coffee? Jail every alcoholic, no matter whether or not they cause public harm in some way?

It's time we demand our government stop preventing meaningful research into the benefits of this plant and cease pouring billions of tax dollars into a futile effort to vilify and/or eliminate a naturally growing herb that has many benefits and does minimal harm to those few who actually abuse it.

Way to go Joe

My pal Joe White of Change the Climate has hit the big time with his new company that sells fake marijuana plants. Until now he's been selling them mostly to law enforcement agencies who use them for training purposes but the silk and wood replicas are of such high quality that the TV show Weeds has purchased $40,000 worth of the pseudo-weed to dress up their program.

Ironically, under the heading, life imitates art, the show will use the plants to represent $1 million worth of pot. That's about how overvalued it is by law enforcement in real life busts.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Radioactive

The cartoid scan was pretty cool. It didn't hurt and I got to see some of it. It was all pretty fast too.

When I got there, there was a waiting room full of people. It was so full a couple of people in wheelchairs had to wait in the hall. But I got through the check in quickly and was assigned a hostess to immediately escort me to my scanning room. It was very cute, sort of like being escorted to your room at a fancy hotel. They even have a button in the little waiting area in case you want to order room service.

For the procedure, you lay down in a dark room on a fairly comfortable gurney and the tech runs a little scanner over your neck. You have to turn your head, so I didn't see the first half but on the second I could watch the screen. It starts with some cool graphic where it shows the blood pouring through and then it just goes to a grey screen where you can see the actual cartoid pumping. I didn't watch that long cause it I had to strain my eyes to get the right angle but I did watch again when she did the echoes. You get to hear your blood pumping and there's a little occilliscope like graphic on the bottom of the screen. I watched it long enough to decide there was nothing wrong with me and took the occassion to zone out.

I guess I was right since the radiologist signed me off in mere minutes and although I utterly failed to complete my first cell phone call, my ride pulled up just as I hit the sidewalk. As these things go, it was easy. Wish I could say the same for transferring the car. I couldn't do it today because it's clear it's going take a least a whole day to get the paperwork done. The DMV regs here are just the worst.

I'm working next week so I won't be able to deal with it until August. That might work out for the best though. I'm not sure, since their regs are clear as mud, but I may save fifteen bucks for doing it that way.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Time won't let me

Well getting the holter monitor taken off, which essentially involves yanking off the three leads, took a lot longer today now that computer system is up again at the doc's office. I had to wait half an hour for a nurse. Silly since I could have just ripped the thing off myself and left it on the desk in two minutes but it apparently needs to be certified or something.

They all also entered into an unholy alliance over there to force me to go to the radiologist tomorrow and get the cartoid scan done. They doubled teamed me with the appointment women. I've never had a doctor's office that had a special person just to make outside appointments. You have to wait for her too. They blamed the new girl for making an appointment for tomorrow without asking me first. The hell of it is, I've been putting it off for so long, I didn't have a good excuse ready to avoid it and I didn't want her to get more rattled than she already was. She was a nervous little thing. Anyway, I guess I'll be glad when it's done and they're off my back about it.

I somehow managed to send my water bill payment to myself instead of to the town hall so I had to go into town as well. That's twice this month already. A new record. It was hotter than Hades on those sidewalks but I took a stroll around the block to pick up the local weekly anyway. The myrtle trees were so inviting. They're in full bloom and starting to drop their teeny little flowers in the slightest breeze. The guy ahead of me at the bank, the bouncer from the blues bar, was dressed all in black as usual. He's a really big guy, very Irish looking. Fair skinned with real red hair. I spent the time waiting staring at a string of little white myrtle blooms clinging to his shirt, strung out in a chain across his broad back.

Behind me there was another young guy leaning deep over the counter, filling out his deposit slip. He had really thick hair, a deep rich auburn, and two perfect little pink myrtles were caught in the tousles. Something about the light and the colors was so exquisite -- I wanted to take a picture -- but I thought it would be too weird.

Meanwhile, I now have a "new" car sitting in my yard. I'm glad I know it well or it would be too spooky to see it sitting there outside of the window. This of course also means that tomorrow is shot between the doctor and getting it on the road.

I guess I'm going to sell the Ford. I've never sold a car before. I have no idea what to do. Luckily my neighbors seem to know a lot about it. The next time they're out there doing car stuff, I guess I'll ask them.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Carnival of the Vanities celebrates 200th

That's a lot of carnivals and it seems a small miracle of Blogtopia that Silflay's meme has lasted so long and maintained its quality, not to mention having spawned dozens of others over almost four years.

Jay at Accidental Verbosity hosts this week's event with style and posts COTV- The Acidman Memorial Edition. Starting with a most appropriate graphic of the red tinged toes of the Rumbler that became his wife -- she painted them for the Aman and won Jay's heart in the process -- Jay collects the rest of us motley crew of Acidfans and weaves our reminiscences into a celebration of Rob Smith's life. Go give the man some clicky love for a job well done. [graphic gratitude]

First they came for the drug defendants.....

Radley Balko has published a new report for the CATO Institute. From the executive summary of Overkill: The Rise of Paramilitary Police Raids in America:
...Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.

These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.
Radley has been following this slow slide into fascist tactics in the drug war with his long time series, The Militarization of Mayberry, at his blog The Agitator. In this work he chronicles 150 examples of documented botched raids, more than three dozen examples of completely innocent people killed in mistaken raids, twenty cases of nonviolent offenders who've been killed, and more than a dozen cases of police officers killed by suspects or mistakenly targeted civilians who thought the police were criminal intruders. More importantly he offers solutions.

You can get a copy for yourself with the fancy interactive map, as a pdf file at this link. It's long but it's always worth the time to read what Radley has to say about the war on some drugs.

Wired

I got the holter monitor put on today. Easiest doctor's appointment I ever had. I didn't have to see a doctor, just the nurse. Wait time was negligible and I didn't have to wait around to check out and sign a bunch of papers either because their computer system was down.

Lisa was right. It's not bad to be wearing the thing. Only three contacts and a little box the size of a pager. It does kind of feel like a walkman but I was glad she marked the leads with the color wire that goes to them since the first thing I did when I got home was rip all the wires off when I changed my clothes.

I expect this will all be an exercise in futility since the dizzy spells have pretty much subsided since I went off the beta blocker but I guess it will be worth it for the peace of mind when they tell me for the forty-fifth time that there is nothing wrong with my heart. And besides, this one doesn't cost me any co-pay because it's just a nurse's visit, so what the heck.

Meanwhile, I think my doctor is starting to like me. They were having some kind of doctor's powwow in the lobby when I arrived. He noticed when I walked in and nodded and smiled at me. I suppose he was surprised I showed up. I'm a notorious no-show when it comes to follow-up visits. Unless I think I'm in imminent danger of dropping dead, I'd just as soon not be there.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Acid Flashback

I never remember what they all are, but they say there's seven stages to grief. It appears I'vealready blogged through six of them. I think I've now reached the final stage -- acceptance. It doesn't hurt so much to know I'll never get another email or another Acidbath and my foray into the archives of Gut Rumbles to assemble this post for the COTV didn't wrench as it did only a couple of weeks ago. But I still really miss him.

Yeah, in the end, he was just a guy, a flawed man with a broken body and a shattered heart but he had an original voice and I don't think I've ever read a more painfully honest writer. Rob didn't hold anything back and he was proud of it.
I don't expect everybody to agree with what I write, or I wouldn't call myself "Acidman." Sometimes I DELIBERATELY pen screeds just to see how many people I CAN piss off. I'm outrageous sometimes. But it's MY goddam blog, and I can do whatever I want with it.
And piss us off he did -- regularly. But it's hard to stay mad at a guy who coined the term computer fucktard to describe himself and who else but Rob Smith could get 26 replies to the question, Does YOUR ass itch when you sit around in wet underwear?

I once told him that I always considered my life an open book on the internets but his blogging made me look like a locked diary. And it did. He laid himself so bare that you got invested in his troubles. If you read him long enough, you were right there rooting for him to "get his shit all in one sock," whatever that really means. For a while there, it looked like he was really going to do it.

If he had lived a little longer, I think he would have. But I don't think he ever really believed he was going to live a long life. Perhaps that's what emboldened him to share the life he had so unstintingly. In an eerily prescient post in January, he said, "Don't ask ME about the secret to a long, happy, healthy life. I'm more qualified to speak of the nasty, brutish aspects and the key to burning out your mortal coil in a brilliant, smoking flash. Ask someone who knows more than I do."

And so he flashed out of our lives as suddenly as a spent firecracker, but one can hardly say it wasn't a life well lived. It was a hard life in many ways, but not many men leave behind a legacy of thousands of bright red toe nails painted just for them and a legion of grieving strangers.

As he often said, "If it was easy, any asshole could do it," and he surely wasn't just any asshole. He was ours and I think I'm going to miss him for a long, long time.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Knotty problem

This is outrageous. Don Knotts' hometown of Morgantown, WVA won't be getting a statute of Barney Fife apparently because his widow objects to his depiction as the bumbling deputy he was most famous for portraying. She wants his statute to be more dignified.

Mt. Airy, NC, the town used as a model for Mayberry won't be getting a statute of Barney Fife either, although they already have one of Andy Taylor and Opie. Apparently no one complained about those. As if Andy Griffith and Ron Howard didn't do more important work as well? And geez, they were just as goofy on the show. And how about Jackie Gleason? NYC put up a statue of Ralph Cramden and he certainly played greater characters. You don't see anyone in his family complaining about dignity.

I appreciate the widow wants her departed husband to be shown respect, but let's face it, Knotts entire career was based on playing bumbling idiots and Barney Fife was his most beloved and revered character that became a huge part of the Americana of the day. I think she should consider it an honor, not an insult.

Meanwhile, the poor guy who commissioned the statue is left holding a half finished and homeless art piece. He's willing to give it to anyone who can talk the widow into allowing it to be displayed.

Kids on drugs -- by court order

Here's a sad story about how the mental health industry overmedicates children with pharmaceuticals. Alex P. is a kid who was diagnosed with ADD at the age of 11 and put on Ritalin. By the time he was 15 he had been forced by court order to be regularly dosed with Fioricet with codeine, Klonopin, Ativan, Dilaudid, Prozac, Paxil, Maxalt, Immitrex, Depacote, Phenergan, Inderal, Thorazine, Amitriptaline, Buspar, Vicodin, Seroquel, Risperdal, Zyprexa, Clozaril, Norco, and Oxycodone. In this time frame, he suffered gross insomnia, a suicide attempt, rampaging behavior and got into various minor scrapes with the law.

And what did they arrest and send him to rehab three times for? Marijuana -- the only "drug" that helped his condition.

Alex was lucky. Thanks to his mother's persistence, he eventually escaped his court mandated incarceration by medication and in 2005 medicated exclusively with marijuana. He smokes, under a doctor's prescription, approximately one ounce per week. A year later, Alex reported dramatically improved mood and functionality... He is in an independent study program at a small public school and getting straight As and Bs. His mother reports... He sleeps well, he's not on any of the other medications... ...He's been totally fine. He walks the dog, cleans up his room, does chores for the family. And I know that he's going to be okay.

Alex is a success story, he was saved from pharmaceutical hell, but there are all too many other young victims of the new trend towards medicating young people. Prescription drugs have taken precedence over real therapy for one reason. The insurance companies will pay for drugs but limit the in person sessions with the therapist who thus becomes little more than a vendor for the pharma companies. Natural marijuana, an herbal medicine with almost no negative side effects, is being ignored as a medicine for only one reason. The pharmas don't control it and they can't charge outrageous sums under the guise of R&D for it when anyone with a flowerpot can grow it for themselves.

The only greater travesty in the war on some drugs than the criminalization of a naturally occurring weed with such beneficial properties is that our government spends over $9 billion a year putting people in jail for using it. And how insulting to civil society that they claim to wasting this money on "protecting our children" from this evil weed while they actively mandate the drugging of kids with powerful psychotropic pharmaceutical medications designed for adults.

[hat tip Vig]

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trompe l'oeil

So I was leaving the bank drive up window about three weeks ago and I noticed this plant growing at the corner of the veranda at the back of the string of little shops along the main drag. It was smaller then, and a different shade of green. Sitting right next to it was this Rasta guy smoking a hand rolled cigarette and I mean he was really rasta. Very black, dressed in rainbow colors and really long dreads with beads and everything. I couldn't help but think he had inadvertently tossed a seed and didn't notice it had grown into a plant or maybe he was just hoping nobody else noticed, including anyone at the police station across the parking lot. I had to check it out closer when I was there the other day.


As you can see, it's merely a butterfly bush, but with a leaf configuration I've never seen before. I'll tell you one thing though, I wouldn't grow these on a bet in my yard, knowing how many times an innocent gardener has been raided for cannabis look-alikes. Too bad, because it's an attractive plant, and I like to attract butterflies, but I just don't fancy the local SWAT team knocking down my door.

Domestication

I don't usually read relationship help articles. My love matches are perfectly able to fail without any help, but I had to read about how Amy Sutherland trained her husband when I heard it's been on the NYT's most emailed list for the last three weeks and has thousands of Technorati links.

I have to admit it was kind of funny and probably true. I use the same techniques in dealing with three year olds. Come to think of it, there's not much difference between three years olds, exotic wild animals and most men. Maybe I should save the article just in case I lose my grip on sanity and get into a relationship again.

Find your inner artist

Lil Toni is posting again. Adult content warning on this one too. Always tasteful but not always safe to open in front of the kiddies. This post however is safe for all ages, although it may be a danger to your sanity.

Don't go here if you want to get anything else done today. I spent an hour playing with this toy this morning and I haven't been been able to figure out how to save the picture so I can post it. I made some real keepers too. Hours of fun for the easily amused like myself.

Addendum:It wasn't my best effort, but I finally figured out a way to save the art. It's really convoluted. There's got to be an easier way.

Lest we forget

So I get up at the crack of dawn, I've had my coffee, I'm in the shower and the phone rings. Yeah, I get the day off but I now I'm awake at an ungodly hour so what do I do? Too late to go back to bed, so I went a little tour of the Rumblesphere. Judging from my emails, nobody is "getting" my early morning befuddled sense of humor in the comment sections. I have to stop leaving comments before I gain full consciousness level.... but then again nobody but my dear friend Karen ever understands my jokes anyway.

In any event, the Acidman continues to occupy our thoughts. Marcus and Yabu have had enough of the mourning period. They declare it's time to delink and move on. I'm cool with that for them, they're probably right, but I'm just a sentimental old fool. I won't delink Gut Rumbles as long as the archives remain on line. I'm with Elisson, I'm not ready to remove all traces of my departed friends. I have at least three dead people in my email address book that I'll never delete. It's all about the momentos for me.

Speaking of Elisson, he gets the quote of the day with, "Anal retentive? Hell, I’m anal-acquisitive." Know just what you're talking about El. He also kindly posts the interview Rob did with a local TV station about blogging via the magic of YouTube. I don't know if Rob got to see it before he died, but if there is wifi in heaven, he's surely pleased to see it going out to the world at large.

Meanwhile, I don't know why I haven't connected with James Hooker before this. I see him in the comment sections occassionally but never followed his link until now I guess. He wrote a beautiful song in Rob's memory. He's a great musician and will be going on the blogroll. Maybe I can get him to do something with my lyrics, if I ever finish them. I added a couple of more lines the other day.

And the tributes continue. Accidental Verbosity will be hosting a special Carnival of the Vanities with an Acidman theme. I think I'll probably contribute something. It will the first time I've entered the carnival since I hosted the Gilligan's Isle COTV ages ago. I think it was carnival #77 or something and they're up to #200 now. The deadline on this one is coming right up so get your entries in right away if you want to join in.

I think in the end, because Rob left us too damn suddenly and too soon, it's going to take a long time to say goodbye.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Media Bytes

My friends at Change the Climate have a new video out. Imagine is definitely targeted to a particular audience, but as The Marijuana Policy Project points out, "If you're a supporter of small government, just imagine that the video could just as easily present a number of options for cutting taxes and/or cutting government programs as a result of ending marijuana prohibition."

I think it's a good format, and a good idea for a campaign but my favorite will always be tonight's graphic. If you know of high traffic venue willing to put that poster up, Change the Climate pays to rent the space.

Meanwhile, if you're interested in the mysterious African herb ibogaine and its mystical properties that are said to cause visions and cure addictions, our pal Preston Peet can be seen in this video sharing his vast knowledge of the plant and describing his several experiences with ingesting it.

I've read some of his written accounts. It makes LSD look tame.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Slow and Steady Wins the Race



We had a hell of twenty minute thunderstorm right before I went home tonight. It was pretty impressive. Lots of crashing lightning and the deluge was magnificent. The water was spraying like fountains out of the storm drains and an impromtu river gushed between the two houses across the street. I thought the little car on the roadside might go down the hill for a moment there. The water was half up the hub caps for a while. Oddly our side of the street barely registered the rain.

The detritus was most impressive on the way home. Waves of cedar shavings and small twigs with the occassional paper cup or plastic bottle from the construction sites. As I picked my way aroung the corner I saw this guy in the middle of the road. At first I thought it was a drowned squirrel but Mr. Turtle was quite alive and looked somewhat confused. Bad time to be in the middle of the road, with the commuters all coming home. I immediately reached for the camera of course, and ran interference with the cars behind me while I figured out what to do.

He was clearly trying to figure out how to get off the road. I figure he may have been washed out of the woods in the deluge. I wasn't sure if he would bite so I waved a stick around in his little face. He didn't try to bite it so I picked him up and he immediately retreated into his shell. I had a moment when I thought it might be fun to keep him but I set him on the verge of the woods instead. Hope he found his way home.

Coors heir busted for DWI

Okay, I don't condone drunk driving and I'm certainly no fan of the Coors family, but this is such a bogus bust. The guy is coming home from a wedding, just barely over the limit, one block from his house and he gets hauled in? Okay he ran a stop sign. Was he speeding? I'd bet he rolled through it like everyone in his exclusive neighborhood does. He didn't hurt anyone. They could have let him leave the car there and walk the block home.

Even more ridiculous is that MADD is sighing that he got such special treatment. They hauled him into jail from a block away from his home. Any normal Jake would have likely caught a break in a situation like that. They hauled him in because he was well known and they didn't want to be accused of favoritism.

Personally, unless they have proof he was driving to endanger on the major roads, I don't think he should he been arrested at all.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Cooking with grass in SA

Being that I don't cook anything much, it's not often I have an opportunity to food blog, but thanks to Kees, I have the perfect additions to any self respecting foodphile's cookbook library. For the purist, who must have the authentic recipes, "there’s the South African self-publishing success story to which even writers represented by mainstream publishers must aspire: Mrs IJ de Villiers, whose self-published Kook en Geniet, (Cook and Enjoy) , was such a runaway success, Human & Roussouw took over its publishing after a few years and the book has now sold over a million copies. It took 65 years (it was first published in 1941)."

For those with a more adventuresome palate, there's Rook en Geniet, (Smoke and Enjoy), that takes the recipes to, shall we say, a "higher" level. I'm told it's the cannabis cookbook and is causing quite a stir in South Africa as the cookbook is quite popular but cannabis is illegal. It's said to available online for free, however, the big problem seems to be that there's not an English translation. You have to speak Afrikaaner to use it.

Looks to me like a prime opportunity for some enterprising translator to corner the US market. I'd bet a slick quality paperback with some nice photos would sell like the proverbial hotcakes (or would that be potcakes?) here.

Blogroll update

I did some minor repair to the blogroll. I added Maeve the bartending witch to the Rumblers Girl Talk, an addition that is long overdue. I also moved DaGoddess into that category. I've had Joanie on the blogroll since my Carnival days way back when I started blogging. I added her because she takes stunning photos but I discovered recently that she's by rights a Rumbler, so it seems only proper to move her to the Rumbler girls.

I also fixed Dogsnot Diary's link. In case you were thinking he never posts, I had inadvertently linked to a permapost instead of the blog URL. He updates pretty much daily so give him another try. He's another one of those Yankees that ended up in the good graces of the Jawja Crackers and he hails from my old home state, so I guess there's still hope for me to end up as an honorary cracker myself.

Souder pushes for eye-eating fungicide

My old acquaintance from the School of Authentic Journalism, Jeremy Bigwood, is the man on fusarium, the deadly bioherbicide that is currently being pushed for use as a tactic in the failing on war on some drugs by the depraved and probably deranged Mark Souder (R-IN). Souder has built his political power on prohibition and is desperate to prove the war on some drugs can be "won." Jeremy points out the gross inhumanity of Souder's latest pet project so well, I'm just going to quote his short piece liberally.
On April 16, the New York Times ran a full-page ad from contact lens producer Bausch and Lomb, announcing the recall of its “ReNu with MoistureLoc” rewetting solution, and warning the 30 million American wearers of soft contact lenses about Fusarium keratitis. This infection, first detected in Asia, has rapidly spread across the United States. It is caused by a mold-like fungus that can penetrate the cornea of soft contact lens wearers, causing redness and pain that can lead to blindness—requiring a corneal replacement.

That same week, the House of Representatives passed a provision to a bill requiring that the very same fungus be sprayed in “a major drug-producing country,” such as Colombia. The bill’s sponsor was Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.) and its most vocal supporter was his colleague Dan Burton (R-Ind.), who has been promoting the fungus for almost a decade as key to winning the drug war.

The Colombian government has come out against it. And those entities of the U.S. government that have studied the use of Fusarium for more than 30 years don’t recommend it either: The Office of National Drug Control Policy, also known as the Drug Czar’s office, CIA, DEA, the State Department and the USDA have all concluded that the fungus is unsafe for humans and the environment.

“Fusarium species are capable of evolving rapidly. … Mutagenicity is by far the most disturbing factor in attempting to use a Fusarium species as a bioherbicide,” wrote David Struhs, then secretary of Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, in a 1999 letter rejecting the use of the fungus against Florida’s outdoor marijuana crop. “It is difficult, if not impossible, to control the spread of Fusarium species.”

[...]

The DEA stopped funding Fusarium research in the United States during the early ’90s after it learned that Fusarium infections can be deadly in “immunocompromised” people—not only AIDS patients and those with other illnesses, but also those who are severely malnourished. The University of the Andes in Bogotá has recently reported that 12 percent of Colombian children suffer from chronic malnutrition. Spraying this fungus on a vulnerable population could be perceived as using a biological weapon.

The CIA has been against the use of Fusarium to kill drug crops since at least 2000. At that time, one official told the Times, “I don’t support using a product on a bunch of Colombian peasants that you wouldn’t use against a bunch of rednecks growing marijuana in Kentucky.”
The mutation of the fungus is apparently what is now causing the eye problems in contact lens wearers. The USDA is against its use under any circumstances. The Andean Community of Nations, an organization comprising Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, banned it within their territories. Yet Souder and his prohibition profiteers want to mandate it's use against innocent and vulnerable Colombian peasants simply in order to make themselves and their idiotic drug war policies appear successful.

Souder's bill has already passed the House. The Senate removed the language when they passed a similar bill but it could be restored in joint committee negotiations. I have to ask what kind of heartless morons would even consider endangering entire populations of innocent people with such a dangerous scheme simply to punish a handful of dirt poor peasants trying to make enough money to feed their families?

Contact your Congressmen and Senators and ask them to kill this proposed genocide before it destroys us all. [hat tip Vig]

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I want to live here

You know how much I love origami. I can't even make a simple crane but I love paper art. So you know why I'm so impressed by this little Origami land.

I'm serious about the header. Wouldn't it be fun to be a little paper person and live in this magical little colorful land? It would be like living in a kid's storybook.

Baby you can drive my car...

It was a long day and tomorrow's going to be longer. I have a feeling it's going to be a very long week. It appears I'm about to get a new car. Well my family is giving me an old car because they're buying a new one. It will no doubt change my life.

I'm not thrilled about going back to a stick, but I'll actually be able to drive out of this little town once in while and figure out what's going on in the big city. However, it's a bad week to be figuring out how to transfer titles and insurance and stuff and that's my job. The DMV site is not a lot of help. I'm hoping my insurance agent will just be able to tell me what needs to be done. The worst part is, I'm giving them the Ford to use as a trade in so I'll have to clean it up before I give it to them. I didn't drive it enough to get it really trashy but still it's still a chore I don't need on a work week.

Nonetheless, I'm looking forward to the trade. I loved the Ford really and it served me well. I didn't put more than $600 in it in six years. But the trip down here took its toll, it was never the same and I never drove it enough to get that attached to it. It will be good to have a dependable vehicle again.

The deal appears to be imminent and I had an omen about it on the way home tonight. When I got to the end of the neighborhood, there was a deer just standing in the road. She stood there for a long time but not long enough for me to get the camera out of the bag. I drove down that way anyway, in hopes that she was lingering in the thin brush but no luck. However I saw a bunny hanging out on the roadside in the same spot. He was camera shy as well but he looked right at me for good long moment before he hopped off. I took it as good sign.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

This phone may be monitored...

I just got my first cell phone. My family put me on their family plan and got me a cute little camera phone and everything. I've had it for a week and half. I've managed to charge the battery and turn it on and off. I've been reading the quick reference to learn the buttons and figure out the functions. I think I could probably make a call if I had to but I wouldn't bet the farm on it if I didn't have the book with me. It's a complicated little unit and it appears it can store an substantial amount of information. So this story particularly resonated with me this week.
FRAMINGHAM -- Fearing their wireless freedom may be in jeopardy, students at Framingham High School were fuming over a new school policy that allows administrators to seize cell phones and search their contents. ...School officials "reserve the right to look through the cell phone," when they suspect a student has drugs or stolen goods, according to Principal Michael Welch.
The students, of course, rightfully consider it an outrageous invasion of privacy. It is. Unfortunately, under the insanity known as the war on some drugs, it's not against the law. I've said this often, but bears repeating.

If you treat teenagers with disrespect for their rights and their privacy, they will not grow up respecting authority. And these strong arm tactics don't make them safer nor will it prevent teen drug use. Rebellious teens are going to live down to expectations. If they're going to automatically be treated as guilty, when they're innocent, they're more likely to then do something to deserve it.

[hat tip Tim Meehan] [graphic gratitude]

Strange days have found us

I've had that Doors song in my head all day. Life has taken on a strange synchronicity this week. The odd chain of propane leaks had me thinking of Revelations. And last night I had a sex dream about one of my old bosses at the law firm. I probably have had one or two a year for the 20 years I've know him. The weird part is he emailed me this afternoon and I haven't heard from him in weeks.

I think this is an omen that it's time for a new boyfriend. Or at least some semblence of a social life that would include people in the real world. I suppose I should at least keep my resolution to get to the blues club in town for a couple of gigs. I haven't made one yet and there's some good shows coming up. It's well past time for me to get over losing the convenience of living in lovely downtown Noho, where I could just walk out the door and meet up with people by the time I got to the end of the block.

Working for a living

I'm working all day. In fact I'm working for the next seven days so we're back to evening blogging. I expect to be back tonight if the Blogger shutdown for maintainence doesn't screw up the platform.

Monday, July 10, 2006

What's up Doc?

Going to the doctor exhausts me, even when it's a relatively good visit. My blood pressure was 134 today. That's the best reading I've had in a year so upping the drug I was already taking is working. And I'm seriously trying to eat better food. I made tuna fish with celery twice in the last couple of weeks. This is for me counts as actual cooking. My old doc told me if I ate enough celery I could stop taking drugs.

Easy to say you know? I only like the real hearts of celery. The skinny little stalks with leaves still on them. It would cost more than the medicine to eat it that way since when they sell you celery hearts in the store for two bucks a pop, there's seventeen vulgar stalks I'm not going to eat for the four I will. Who could eat that much celery anyway, even if it was cheap? I mean I just don't like it that much.

But the big thing is I'm not eating so much cheese and frozen dinners. Consequently, I'm losing weight since those are the only things I feel like eating. I'm been skipping a lot of meals because the healthy stuff doesn't appeal to me. That and the Zocor seems to kill my apetite. Not entirely a bad thing. I lost another two pounds in the last week. If I lose another fifteen, I'll be feeling a lot better I bet. And presumably my cholesterol will be better too.

I'm trying to work up to eating cereal for breakfast. I bought some oatmeal but that a disaster. I can't eat that in the summer. It feels like lead in the belly. So I bought some cold heart-healthy cereal this week. The trouble with it, you need to use milk. I hate milk unless it's ice cream or cheese. I can't face it in the morning. I thinking I'm going to try to eat cereal for dinner. But probably not today. I can't make all these changes at once. Too much health at once isn't that good for a decadent soul like me.

Meanwhile, I got him to give me the Wellbutrin. He asked me about the Zoloft.

I looked at him and said, "Doc, forget it. I took one and to put it bluntly, it made me feel like absolute shit. If you don't want to give me the Wellbutrin I would rather be depressed. "

I think I'm beginning to amuse him. I could tell he wanted to laugh.

He said, "I'm not sure I want to make that part of your permanent medical record. Patient said medication made her feel like shit. Could you elaborate...?"

Bottom line is he gave me the script. He also insists that I go get the cartoid scan and wear the stupid halter monitor thingy for 24 hours. And he wants to send me to a neurologist.

And you wonder why I hate to go the doctor? You go once, they never let you go and they start sending you all over the place to other doctors who want to do more stuff to you. Before you know it you're spending all your time in doctor's offices. It's no way to live.

Mystery photo


I have to go to the doctor's office today so just a quick post this morning. I kind of like this shot. What does it look like to you? (I'll post the answer in comments later today).

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Yo Ho, Blow the man down...

GOP drug war warrior Orrin Hatch, long time critic of drug policy reform [via], has seen the light.
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (AP) -- U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a musician in his own right, helped secure the release of Atlanta R&B producer Dallas Austin from a United Arab Emirates jail after a drug conviction, the senator's office confirmed Saturday.
The guy was sentenced to four years in a Dubai jail with immediate deportment thereafter. Orrin pulled some strings and got them to skip the jail part and go straight to kicking him out of the country. Seems they owed old Orrin a favor.
Austin's attorneys said they enlisted Hatch's help because he has influence with Dubai, the paper reported. Hatch this year supported the Dubai-based DP World in its bid to manage several American ports. In his statement, Hatch said he was "grateful to the leaders of Dubai for agreeing to provide a workable and compassionate solution for this situation."

He also said he was confident Austin "will learn from this experience."
As Outside the Beltway notes, "Perhaps the next time Hatch talks to President Bush, he might suggest similar leniency for the tens of thousands of non-violent drug offenders in federal prison in this country, but I won’t be holding my breath."

Yeah, I'm not holding mine either. I'm betting Hatch's enlightenment will last about as long as the blow he'll be sharing with his buddy in celebration and he will be colloborating with Mark Souder on the latest escalation of the drug war within weeks. It is an election year and all that "tough on drugs" talk sells well you know. And heck how many voters will remember this in November if nobody reminds them?

Man, if there was a law against hypocrisy, all these bozos would be jail. As usual, Heretik nails the graphic.

Life's little miracles

My old hometown paper is ridiculous. They charge hundreds of dollars to get access to their on-line version so I can only read the blog they post during the week and look at the photo galleries. I still go and read the headlines and the obits. But I think it's really dumb for such a small paper to have a paywall. I would link to them a lot if they didn't.

I see they did a feature this week on my old boss. I can't even steal the photo because it's protected but that's Jonathan Zachary Souweine in the striped shirt. Yes, the very same Souweine that Tracy Kidder wrote the book House about.

JZ was diagnosed with leukemia shortly before I left the Valley. It was a long haul to recovery but I think he's looking pretty darn good and he's back to work. The story is about the anonymous donor who saved his life with a blood transfusion. They discovered his identity just about when the recovery process was complete. A miracle really and a reminder to enjoy the moment because you never know when your expiration date will be up.

I'm sorry I missed that party and my chance to thank the donor -- once again the pocketbook and the schedule didn't work -- but I'm always there in spirit.

It's party time....

I've never met this guy but any man that calls himself Beer for Brains is on my list of bloggers I'd like to meet some day. His friends are throwing him a party for his birthday today and the gifts are hard to top but I think I managed to find something appropriate that he didn't already get.

You gotta do something with all those empties and this looks like a good hobby for him to take up. Meanwhile, it's not a party without party girls. I couldn't decide which one he'd like better, so I'm sending the whole crew for him to peruse at leisure. Warning: this second link is not safe for work. Heck it's not safe for home use. Hard to believe it's a Blogger blog. I thought they had rules about this.... but I figure a Marine should be able to handle it.

Have a happy one Joe and many happy returns.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Jury nullification

Somehow I missed this story.
A federal appeals court overturned the pot-growing convictions of Ed Rosenthal Wednesday because of a juror's phone call to an attorney friend, who told her to follow the judge's instructions or she could get in trouble.

"Jurors cannot fairly determine the outcome of a case if they believe they will face 'trouble' for a conclusion they reach as jurors," said the opinion by Judge Betty Fletcher. "The threat of punishment works a coercive influence on the jury's independence."

Rosenthal's lawyer, Dennis Riordan, said "There would not have been a conviction but for this outside influence" of the attorney's advice, Riordan said. "Jurors never can be told they can get in trouble for what they say during deliberations."
Of course the reality is, as the article goes on to detail, jurors do get punished for exercising their right to jury nullification and they are threatened regularly for even suggesting the concept should be employed. In fact, anyone who expresses this knowledge during the selection process is unlikely to be seated and if they do manage to slip in and use that power, the consequences are costly.

If you're not familiar with the concept, it's basically that as a juror you are not obligated to follow the judge's instructions. You do have to right not to convict, even if the law would require you to do so, because you can't in good conscience vote to uphold the law. But God help you if you decide to use it.

It's a double edged sword, since jurors could also convict when the fine points of law would protect a defendant, but it seems a chance worth taking to restore the citizen's proper role in the justice process. If juries have been reduced to merely rubberstamping the judge's decision in criminal cases, then it seems pointless to bother us with jury duty. We should drop the charade and simply go to all bench trials. [hat tip Mad Maxx]

Best intentions

I started the day with them and have been feeling pretty good for a few days since I dropped the beta blocker but I decided to walk the one block to the store this afternoon and had a godawful dizzy spell on the street. I wasn't sure whether to go home or keep going. I kept going because I figured if I was going to pass out it would be better to do it where there were people around. I had to sit down there for a good few minutes before I could even buy my lottery ticket.

I didn't pass out but I've been feeling really weird since, even after taking a tranq and laying down for an hour. I hope to be back a little later once I'm feeling more myself again. For the moment I think I'll try taking a shower just in case I drop dead. At least I'll be clean with good underwear on.

Sometimes it's scary when you live alone....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Heard it through the grapevine....

Elisson is celebrating his second blogiversary so go on over and wish him a happy. I love his blog. He's a great storyteller and he's so Jewish but so Jawja Cracker too. I just adore that improbable combination. And he's so dependable. He does his iPod shuffle just about Friday.

A lot of people do that meme. I always feel kind of bad that I can't participate in these things. But I realized tonight, just because I'm low tech doesn't keep me out of the running. They have iPods. I have Pandora. So here's what slipped out of my Pandora's Box tonight.
Let's Go Get Stoned - Joe Cocker - Mad Dogs and Englishmen

Hill Country Rain - Jerry Jeff Walker

I'm One of You - Hank Williams

Tonight's the Night - Neil Young

Sam Stone - John Prine

My Heart Would Know - Hank Williams

The Hobo Song - John Prine

Get Together - Youngbloods

Gettin By - Jerry Jeff Walker

Talkin About You - Sawyer Brown
I thought it was a somewhat cosmic song list. It suited my mood and it seemed to be a fitting soundtrack for the epilogue of the blog drama that everyone bitched about, but followed closely. I say good for them. It was time to close the curtain on that show and I like the way they handled the final act.

Yeah shrinking violet, that's me....

Working again this morning but just found out I have the weekend off. Yeah. Here's a little morning meme for you that I didn't get around to posting.





Your Aura is Violet



Idealistic and thoughtful, you have the mind and ideas to change the world.

And you have the charisma of a great leader, even if you don't always use it!



The purpose of your life: saying truths that other people dare not say



Famous purples include: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., Susan B. Anthony



Careers for you to try: Political Activist, Inventor, Life Coach



I don't know about life coach, I'm not great at managing my own life but political activist certainly fits and I am very inventive....

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sands of time



Blazing heat and stinging sand. This is kind of like what the Rumblers bloggerhood feels like to me today. Thanks to Mycos, here's the link to the whole gallery. Incredible photos and even more awe inspiring when you realize our troops are living with this scene, if not every day, at least often.

I imagine it feels like being caught at the bottom of an hourglass.

Just weird

I'm back on the work rotation and so it's back to evening blogging, not that you'll notice since even when I'm home I haven't managed to post particularly early anyway. Anyway to amuse you this morning, it seemed appropriate to post this meme on weirdness. I thought I scored surprisingly low considering how truly weird I really am.



You Are 50% Weird



Normal enough to know that you're weird...

But too damn weird to do anything about it!



Found via Lisa who cribbed it from Who Tends the Fires. They sure do know a lot about computers over there....