Monday, April 30, 2007

How technodumb am I?

It just took me an hour to figure out how to change the farookin battery in the smoke detector. Now in my own defense, I'm really whipped. Or course my back was totally out when I got up and I had to work all day. Then I had to finish the cleaning at the old house so I could leave the last trash for the pick up tomorrow. Then I had to stop at the grocery store because I had no food.

So by the time I get home, I'm feeling pretty good about sitting out on my balcony having a beer and the cursed detector starts beeping. Now the agent I work with discussed the smoke detectors with me at great length when I signed the papers. It's a hard wired system and there's no way to turn it off if the backup battery goes dead. So you need to keep a 9volt battery around. The spiel was more to cover their liability. You know - if you rip it off the wall and if the place burns down, you're liable. I didn't pay that much attention to the instructions. I figured how hard can it be to change a battery?

So I took her advice and knew exactly where my batteries were. I even bought two of them in case they both go out at once. I feeling pretty nonchalant about the whole thing until I see that it's not so simple to get the door open for the battery. And then when I finally got it open the battery didn't want to come out. And it's this brittle plastic so you don't want to force anything.

Finally I had to unscrew the whole blessed thing, which wasn't as easy as it sounds and I was careful to notice which way the terminal were situated. It wasn't written on the panel. It was weird setup altogether because you had to fit a sqare battery into a curved hole and I can't get the new battery in properly. I could get it in well enough to close it but it didn't feel right.

So I inspect the terminals of the old and the new battery and discover they're different. My batteries are only four sided, so I'm thinking, I'll go get a new battery with the right shape. I can hear the damn thing beeping from my car. But I scored the right shape battery and I came home with new hope. Hope that was quickly dashed when it still didn't stop beeping.

I could get the battery in a little more easily, but it still didn't work. I'm thinking there's something wrong with the wiring and I'm tempted to just rip the cursed thing off the ceiling but I try pushing buttons instead. At one point I managed to set off the alarm. I hoped that would reset it or something, but no luck. It kept beeping. At this point I'm swearing rather loudly and then I hear my upstairs neighbor walking around. I'm pretty sure they heard me.

All this time, I was convinced I had remembered the right orientation for the battery and that it was just hard to get in because it was hard to get out. Finally in a last act of desperation, I tried it the other way. It worked. It effin' worked. It went in easy and it stopped beeping. I felt like an idiot but at least a victorious one. It worked.

Then I heard the other beep. Something else was still beeping and it wasn't the other smoke detector. I'm thinking great -- it's probably the stupid alarm system. I eyed the motion detector suspiciously. The system wasn't armed an it was staring back at me with that guilty red glare. But no, the beep was still coming from the bedroom.

So I'm madly searching for possible sources when it finally dawns on me -- and regular readers who remember my beeping stove story will appreciate this -- I left my cell phone home today. It was trying to tell me I had a bleeping message...

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Moving day

I'm 99% moved. All my worldly possessions that weren't too mold ridden to keep are here and the old place is almost clean. I have to go back tomorrow night and take out the trash barrel for the last time and do a quick once over on the bathroom and kitchen and I'll be done. It was a pretty easy move all things considered. Moving across town is like that. I carried over the stuff I would need right away in open boxes and so far I was able to find most of what I need without having to rip stuff apart. Which is good because nothing is marked.

Ortega showed an hour early this morning. It's a good thing I crashed out last night and decided to get up early to finish the last of the packing so I could get on the computer for a little while before they arrived. I had just turned it on to check my email when they showed up. I can't get used to how punctual people are down here. Up north, they would have been two hours late.

They did a great job. They didn't have to take anything apart so it went quick and they put everything where I wanted it. That's the up side of a smaller place. These big box apartments are set up in a way that it's rather apparent where everything needs to go.

So here I am surrounded by boxes but of course the first thing I did was set up the computer. The unpacking can wait. I'm happy with the signal I'm getting here. It seems to be quicker than it was at the old place and there was no problem getting on line. I was thrilled to see I get morning sun on my deck. It should do wonders for my plants and even better, the sun is gone by 1:00 so I won't fry out there in the afternoons.

So far, I'm pretty much loving the place. Being on the second floor gives you a measure of privacy and the deck is recessed so it feels extra private. There's always a breeze here as well. Maybe because it's on top of the hill. I kind of feel like I'm at a condo on the beach. No salt air, but the traffic on the highway kind of sounds like surf and I saw a hawk this afternoon when I was taking a break out there. I thought that was a good omen.

The complex is big and there's a lot of kids but it's not too noisy. Or course, it's only the first day so I suppose that could change but so far it's just the right amount of hubbub for me. I loved the privacy at the old house but somehow I'm finding having people around somewhat comforting. So far so good anyway.

Now if I can just figure out how to work the fancy appliances. It took a while to figure out to make the oven work to reheat my pizza and the nuker is so fancy I can't quite figure out what I'm supposed to do with it. It has a turntable and a little steel rack in it. I've never seen that before. I didn't think you could even have a metal rack in a nuker. I'm going to have get an instruction booklet from the office.

Friday, April 27, 2007

On the move

Mother of God what a day. I took possession of the new apartment this afternoon. Of course it always looks smaller when you go back to move in but it's actually the perfect amount of space for the few possessions I still hold in this world. I brought in the first load of odd items that are light enough to carry that I don't trust to the movers, like my four surviving plants, my ancient globe that still shows the Belgian Congo and my plaster grotto sculpture.

I expected to be done in a hour. It took four by the time I resolved the initial issues. I got into the place and there was no electricity. The electric company told me it was on. Of course they're short staffed in the office this afternoon and really busy because it's Friday so you can't reach them by phone so I had to drive over to the office to find out why. Turns out it was the breakers were off. Duh. Leave it to me not to even think of checking.

So I get the power on and the stupid alarm system is beeping and I have no idea how to turn it off. So I drive back to the office again. Then I have to go back to the apartment and wait for the maintainence guy to show me what to do. In the interim, I started punching buttons on the cursed thing and got it to stop beeping. Lucky guess that the default code would be 1234.

Meanwhile, while I'm doing the paperwork, I got a look at some potential neighbors. It was less than reassuring. One young woman walked in and wanted to get an apartment that hot minute because her abusive husband kicked her out of the house. More comforting was that they wouldn't do it. I also got a look at some of my building neighbors. It looks like an old lady on the first floor and my immediate next door neighbor is a really fat guy with a kid. There was another woman about my age who looked normal though. I think she's on the first floor.

Overall though, I'm happy enough with it. The apartments seem to be pretty well soundproofed. I love my deck. The windows work well and the water pressure looks good. The place wasn't at all hot even though it was a warm day and it's been closed up for a while. The maintainence guy is pretty cool and he installed my modem so I'll ready to rock when I move in on Sunday and even better, they're running some kind of special so I get six months of free internet access on top of my senior citizen discount on the rent.

Overall it's probably the least expensive move I've ever made even though the electric company made me leave a $300 deposit before they would give me an account. I'm actually looking forward to being there.

That's my girl...

They grow up so fast. I've known Jo Newman for most of her life and still think of her as the kid who collected horse figurines and used to tell me she was the perfect child. Actually she really was. Even at ten years old she had star quality and a sense of purpose way beyond her years.

She sure did grow up to be a beautiful and accomplished woman and how exciting to see her get her first big break as a guest star on the Sopranos.

I hope that link works. I got it from google but you may have be a subscriber to see the piece. If you can't access it, you can see more about her here and see the info about the episode she appeared in here. I'm expecting someday to see her accepting an Oscar.

Way to go darlin...

[thanks to Karen for the tip]

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A big haul

This is what 20 tons of coke looks like. It sounds like a lot. It looks like a lot, but it translates to 40,000 pounds of cocaine. Sure, it will make a temporary dent in supply but it's still just a tiny amount compared to what gets through and will end up on the streets.

And such is the profit level in the black market that this is a sustainable loss. At best it might possibly take one dealer out of the market and could temporarily drive up the price. This will surely benefit the cartels that didn't get busted but it won't destroy the industry and will in effect endanger the public more by allowing the remaining cartels to become more powerful.

Not to mention, if our Coast Guard wasn't so busy "protecting" us from drugs, they could be patrolling to keep us safer from terrorist attacks by sea. Which would make you feel safer?

[graphic - Jeff Chiu/AP]

Monday, April 23, 2007

A little night music

I'm fried to a crisp from the moving thing so via Truffle, who left a comment at my other place and has a delicious blog of her own, this is the only thing I'm going to post tonight.

I loved Lawrence Welk as a kid. The bubbles alone had me hooked and I adored the Lennon Sisters. I don't remember this skit but I definitely want Welk as a hippie in my archives.

On the move

Sorry posting was so non-existent this weekend. Like an idiot I told the landlord they could show the place this week so I had to madly pack and clean so they could do it. It always takes longer than you think it will.

The good news is the place looks great. Cleaning will be a breeze at the end and the packing is 80% done and I still have a week to go. The downside is that the packing was quicker since I lost so much stuff to mold. All my leathers are gone. I lost my favorite coat. And I discovered all my cashmere sweaters were eaten by moths. I've never even seen a moth in the house and you would have thought all the spiders would have kept them away anyway but they were eaten to death. Oddly they didn't eat the wool ones. GO figure.

On the bright side, it's less to carry and my leather days are probably over anyway. I'm back on the work rotation this week but I should have a little more time and energy to blog in the evenings. Nonetheless, expect me when you see me.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A little British humor

Supply your own punchline. Extra points for incorporating the phrase, "stiff upper lip." [h/t JZS]

Wheel of Fortune

I should have posted this yesterday for the holiday but thanks to Tits McGee for catching the link to this historic grow-op that remains to this day, one of the most ingenious grow systems ever invented.

Oh by the way, since 4/20 fell on a Friday this year, it's traditional to celebrate the holiday all weekend long. Smoke em if you got em....

How was your 4/20?

Well, it's been a crazy week. I was too busy at work to be able to post during the day and came home pretty well burnt out. I haven't even read my emails in days and lost track of the date so I just realized that I missed 4/20 this year. Hope everyone who celebrates the event had a wonderful time.

One person for sure who marked the occassion in a particularly splendid manner was my pal Loretta Nall, who in a moment of supreme irony had her five year old marijuana case officially dismissed by the courts yesterday. Needless to say Loretta is thrilled about the outcome but she's not about to let the system off the hook for unlawfully harassing her and her family for the last five years. She emails:
I want a federal investigation into the Tallapoosa County DA's office, the Tallapoosa County Narcotics Task Force, the Tallapoosa County Sheriff's Office, the Alexander City Police Department and into Judge Kim Taylor's office. I want to know how many people are in jail on bullshit charges like mine. I know that I cannot be the only one. I want the Alabama Bar Association to investigate the complaints I am in the process of filing against the DA and Deputy DA of Tallapoosa County. I'd like both E. Paul Jones and Damon Lewis's license to practice law hanging on my wall. I want them arrested, prosecuted and jailed. I have to "make an example out of them" and "send a strong message" that there will be "zero tolerance" for this kind of prosecutorial misconduct.
And that's just the beginning. The LEOs of Tallapoosa County thought they had an easy target and would intimidate Loretta into shutting up by pursuing these trumped up charges against her and I remind you this all started simply because Loretta wrote a letter to the editor of her little local paper advocating for the legalization of marijuana. They're going to find out they bought themselves a formidable adversary and a tireless fighter for justice.

Congrats Loretta for the win and good luck in running these abusers of our legal system to ground.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Easy to be brave...

Sorry I haven't made it here in the last couple of days. Things have been crazy busy and I've been crashing early. I will try to get back with some news but in the interim, I've posted a couple of times on the horrible mass shooting at Virigina Tech of course. There's been a couple of macho jerks out there blaming the victims for not taking down the gunman before he killed so many people.

As I said in this post at Newshoggers, it's easy to talk big if you've never faced down a gunman. I have -- twice in my life. If you're interested in the details, I describe the experiences at some length in that post.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Power out

Well I had hoped to post something interesting tonight but we had a big ass windstorm here this morning and the power was out in my neighborhood all day. I haven't heard the wind howl like that since I left New England and its nor'easters. It was so strong it literally uprooted a huge tree in my neighbor's yard and I mean a huge fully branched and healthy tree. It fell across the entire yard and blocked her driveway. It made my last tree down look like a mere twig.

Last I heard the power is likely to be out through tomorrow, so I'm at the family homestead tonight. I don't think they've lost power here even once in the last two years, while I've been through at least a dozen outages. Another reason, I'll be happy to move to this side of town.

In any event, I'm off to bed because I'm back to work and have an early call in the morning. I'll be back as I can.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The persecution of Ed Rosenthal

By now drug war readers probably heard this story and I did a post on it last night so I won't repeat all the details here. For those of you who come for the gossip, here's the really short version.

Ed Rosental is a marijuana activist who was growing pot for the City of Oakland after a state law was passed legalizing medical marijuana. There is no person on earth more qualified than Ed Rosenthal for the job. He literally wrote the book. I had dinner with him once in New York, back in 1971. I doubt he would remember me, but I never forgot him. By no stretch of the imagination could this man be considered a danger to society.

The feds came in and arrested him for culitvation under federal law. The trial was ugly but Ed was eventually sentenced to one day in jail and his conviction was later overturned on a technicality. The feds are now retrying him on the exact same charges, even though he can't go to jail because he already served the sentence. They're going to spend tens of thousands of your tax dollars simply to harass Ed and intimidate reformers and medical marijuana patients.

Not to mention, while they're wasting our government's limited resources on persecuting a gardener, thieves, con artists, murderous bigots and corrupt politicians will go free because they don't have the manpower to investigate and prosecute them. And they call the potheads crazy?


I just ran across this item and boy does it look like fun.
I'm talking about ziplines. For those of you without the fond childhood memories I bring to this, a zipline is a cable strung up between two poles on a slope of some kind. The intrepid zipliner grabs onto a couple of handles welded onto a pulley and slides down. Braking usually consists of falling off before you hit the pole, or dragging one's heels on the ground if you're big enough.
Click the link to check out the pictures. I feel like running down to Mexico and giving it a try.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

The BLT Defense

This story is too funny.
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - A Pullman landlord notified police about a grow lamp in a closet, and police got a search warrant for a drug raid.
I wish there was video, there isn't, but I can picture the scene. The local SWAT team arrives in bullet proof vests and with all their other cool equipment they purchased with forfeiture funds and busts in the door with great fanfare and ....
Eight officers with guns drawn surprised three roommates in the apartment last weekend and discovered they were growing tomatoes.
We'll leave aside that eight cops with drawn guns seems like a little bit of overkill for one closet, even if they were growing pot. Somehow I feel sure, this could have handled by two cops who knocked on the door and asked to be let in to see for themselves what was in there. And ignoring that even if it was pot, one closet does not a grow-op make. They couldn't possibly grow much more than they would smoke themselves and it would take a little business away from organized cartels.

This is what the drug war has wrought. The landlord, no doubt in fear of losing his property to forfeiture laws if the kids were caught growing pot in his house, turns it over to the police rather than asking them himself what the hell is in the closet. The police's first line of investigation is to bust the door down, rather than take a look themselves. The raid cost thousands of tax dollars, and tied up a lot of cops. Thirty years ago, the landlord would have either just asked, or pretended he didn't see it and the cops would have been out there busting property thieves and rapists. Which sounds like the better scenario to you?

Wherever you stand on the legalization of all drugs, surely it's time to admit that the enforcement of marijuana laws is doing more harm than good.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Things I learned today...
I had no idea that the London Bridge really fell down. It's not even in London anymore. It's in Arizona. Something about that doesn't feel quite right to me. I mean, how could London sell its legendary bridge, subject of the song near and dear to every toddler's heart?

On the other hand, I kind of want to go to Arizona and walk on it. I really love bridges and that's one I always wanted to visit.

Punk rocker busted for cleanliness

Here's today's silly war on some drugs story. You have this punk rocker from Germ, who I've never heard of but is apparently famous who got busted of carrying a bottle of Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap. Apparently hemp oil is one of the ingredients but he wasn't busted for THC but rather GHB, the date-rape drug which the LEOs said was in the bottle after testing it at the scene.

I'd like to know why the cops are doing drug searches over a routine broken tail light stop in the first place. You think it was because the guy looked like a punk rocker and they were looking for an easy drug bust? Because somehow I doubt they would have digging through your average soccer mom's toiletries on the same kind of stop.

What a waste of resources. While they're shaking down the musician, who knows how many drunk or otherwise reckless drivers passed by? Not to mention the time it took to haul him in and the time the cops will spend in court to testify. This is all keeping your law enforcement from solving real crimes.

And it also goes to show how little the field testing can be trusted. Bolles denies the charge and I'd bet the lab tests will back him up. It seems unlikely a famous punk star would need help in getting girls to sleep with him. This is why the war on some drugs is everybody's problem. While the cops are busy "protecting" you from drugs, the real criminals are getting away.

Update: Thanks to Drugsense, here's a copy of the press release from Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Soap. Needless to say they're outraged by the incident, but hey the press coverage isn't hurting sales. They're available for comment.

I've used this soap by the way. I didn't like it because I don't like the smell of peppermint but it's good soap. It doesn't lather that well but it does leave you feeling kind of tingly.

[thanks to Memeorandum for the link]

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

I got the music in me...

It's a rare day when I would send you to my poliblogs on purpose, but I've been in a storytelling mood these last couple of days and I'm spreading them around. It started when I read this WaPo piece about how they sent in a world class violinist to busk in a DC metro station. I looked at it from the busker's point of view.

I couldn't stop thinking about it and then I remembered the best busker I ever saw, which happened to be when I went to my first Red Sox game. Those few minutes inside the T-station is still in the top ten of my experiences in life.

I don't remember who played the Red Sox that night. It may have been the Jays. But I'll never forget that old street musician.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Narcocorrido - It's a YouTube world

Narcocorrido, ballad of the drug dealer. I saw something on television a few months ago about one of the balladeers, Valentín Elizalde, a singer known as the "Golden Rooster." He was playing in some dive bar and had a bunch of macha machachas hanging around him. The story was premised on his drug dealing connections, which he denied of course. I dismissed it at the time as so much hype, but it appears I was wrong.
"The Internet has turned into a toy for Mexican organized crime," Clark said. "It's a toy, a toy to have fun with, a toy to scare people."
Elizalde is now dead, having been shot 20 times and a mocking YouTube of his autoposy intermittently pops up on the site. Other YouTube videos pop up all the time and the comment sections fill with vague threats. Apparently the big Mexican cartel guys are using the internets to taunt each other and the police. It's like some macabre version of Clue. Meanwhile, Elizalde couldn't get a gig outside a dive bar when he was alive but his video is now a best seller.

Go figure. Times have certainly changed. I remember when drug dealers kept a lower profile.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Easter candy

Hope everyone had a Happy Easter, or a pleasant Passover or just managed to stay warm and be with loved ones on this day. For myself, my family left for vacation this afternoon so I spent a quiet day at home. Since I didn't replace the nuker in anticipation of moving, I feasted on a can of Chef Boyardee twisty macaroni. The stuff isn't half bad actually. I threw some hot sauce in it and felt quite festive.

Meanwhile, I didn't forget your Easter baskets. I have something for you. It's bright pink, tastes like candy and has a cute name. Strawberry Quick. It's right there in the graphic, so help yourself to the latest fad in designer drugs -- flavored meth. It also comes in cola, cherry and orange flavors.

Needless to say the law enforcement types are spinning this as a gimmick to attract young users. They say "[i]ts sweet flavors help mask the usually bitter taste of methamphetamine when snorted, making it more attractive to new users, rather than to seasoned addicts."

I think they underestimate the whimiscal nature of drug addicts. Seasoned users, as they call them, would enjoy the novelty and everyone would want to try it. It's a marketing device, not unlike the stamps they used to make blotter acid. The dealers aren't going for kids. They're going for each other's clients.

[h/t Jules Siegel]

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy birthday LSD

Via d at Lawyers, Guns and Money, I see that LSD is 69 years old today. Click over there to read Abbie Hoffman's reminiscences about his first trip "when Hoffman turned on and tuned in with 250 micrograms -- ten times the threshold dosage in humans." That reminds me of the time I dropped the four-way orange barrel by mistake at the Who concert that I mentioned briefly before.

As I told you at one point in life I dropped LSD in small doses, just about every day. But on special occassions, I would drop a whole tab for the full psychedelic experience. So here I was at Tanglewood in Stockbridge, MA for a Who concert. They were doing their famous rock opera, Tommy, on tour. I went with my friends from school, Eddie and Jake. Eddie was from Bristol and didn't really do drugs. He was more of an alcoholic. And Jake was a pill man. He always had a pocket full of seconals and nebutals - reds and yellow jackets I think we called them - but he never dropped acid either. Usually he just fell asleep.

Tanglewood was about a hour away from where we lived and we arrived early. We had tickets for seats inside the shed but I had come without any drugs so I set off to tour the lawn "seats" in search of some LSD. The lawn was filled with a sea of hippies and it didn't take long to score. You could always spot the trippers by the shit-eatin' grins on their faces. A guy with really long black hair and a beard handed me an orange barrel. He didn't even want any money for it and I thought what luck and popped it in my mouth and swallowed. I figured I would be peaking just about when the opening band ended.

Then the guy looked at me and said, That was a "four way barrel you know. You were supposed to split it."

Oh great, I thought to myself. Now he tells me. What was I going to do, short of vomiting? I couldn't see wasting the trip so I decided to just hold on for the ride. I thanked him and moved on. I never made it back to my seat.

The acid came on fast. My skin took on that distinct rubbery feeling within 20 minutes and the inevitable acid grin felt so big I thought it must be splitting my head in half, but no one was looking at me in horror so I wandered the grounds as long as the daylight held.

At some point, I hooked up with a group of girls that were going to try to get backstage. In fact, we did but it was so dark when we got inside, I felt like I was struck blind. I headed towards the one beam of light I could still see. It was probably the stage, because before I got there a roadie popped up out of the ground like a mushroom and took me back outdoors. Probably a good thing because my mind had become too large to be confined in such a closed space. I don't know what ever happened to those girls.

I remember walking and walking through all the hippies. Everyone looked so beautiful, like living tableaus of saints in Spanish cathedrals and the whole world looked like the sharp edges of sunlight coming through a stained glass window. I talked to people without using words and when I used words I felt like I was speaking in tongues. I wondered how we could possibly communicate so easily but I don't remember what we said.

I was at the edge of the lawn when the sun went down and the colors were so clean and beautiful, the very air was rose colored and I felt like I had stepped inside the flower. No I felt like I was the inside of a flower. I felt tears running out of my eyes like beams of light but my face wasn't wet. When it got dark I headed for the shed just as Tommy was starting but with all the rows of seats I couldn't find mine again. I just sat in an empty one that eventually someone came to claim.

So I moved on the next one and the next one and found myself close to the front row by the time the concert was nearly over. I remember sitting there watching, I think it was Roger Daltry who had on the jacket with the foot long fringe, swinging his microphone in a circular motion that made it look like a blazing tunnel to my acid-ridden eyes. Despite the constant seat changing, or maybe because of it, because I didn't really want to sit still, it was a fabulous concert and somehow I managed to get outside the shed again just before it ended.

I just stood there in the dark and made myself into a ball of light, waiting for Eddie and Jake to find me. Of course they did, they had to -- I had the car keys. They looked worried and relieved at the same time. I was still peaking like crazy. In fact it felt like I had just started peaking when normally I would have been coming down already. I could hear the grass bend as the crowd made their way to the parking lots. I handed to the keys to Eddie. "I can't drive," I said. It was the last thing I said for about eight hours.

Eddie and Jake each took a hand and walked me to the car. I don't think I ever felt so safe or protected. I remember enjoying the ride home. The lights on the passing cars lingered in the dark and made trails like slow motion fireworks. I listened to the headlights click off the reflectors on the guardrails and when we occassionally passed through the little villages with street lights, it felt like stepping for moment into a richly illustrated fairytale book, where everything is tidy and perfect. And still the acid kept coming on.

When we finally got home, I just went into my room and laid on my bed in the dark. Of course, I couldn't sleep. I lay there motionless on my side and stared at the wall until it melted away and I stepped into a place in my mind where normal boundaries of perception didn't apply. There aren't words in any human language to describe where I went for those hours. All I can say is when they tell you we live on only one plane out of millions of possible universes - believe them. I think I saw them all that night.

It was late morning the next day before I came down enough to wander back into human company. But I felt great. I lingered in the giggle stage of the trip, where the most mundane occurence could elicit peals of laughter, for a whole day and it took a whole other day and a half before every stray jutxaposition stopped feeling utterly profound - like an omen pointing to my future. I was glad in one way, because at one point I wondered if I would ever come down but when I finally did, I felt a faint pang of regret that it over.

Did it change me forever? Probably. I never looked at this world in quite the same way again.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Goodbye Clay

I got some sad news today. My dear friend Victoria's dad died a few days ago. I didn't cry because he was pretty sick and I think he probably hated it but I feel the loss sharply, like a knife slice across my heart. He was such an alive man, an intellectual , not an athlete, but still always projected a certain air of fitness right up to the end. Infirmity didn't suit him well. I remember the last time I saw him, how shocking it was to see how he physically diminished he had become.

I don't normally get attached to my friend's parents but Clay was an exception. He felt like a friend too, or maybe a favorite uncle. He had a warmth and an accepting nature and always made you feel welcome. He was the kind of person who gave you his undivided attention when he spoke with you. He was kind of a bigshot you know, but he was always clearly engaged and interested in what you had to say, no matter who you were. And Lord knows Victoria often dragged home some, shall we say, unusual charaters -- like myself for instance.

I loved Clay. I worked for a while at his magazine. We shared a love for world travel. We laughed together. We drank together. We shared a joint once at a party. In many ways we were kindred souls. He was an attractive and charming man. Trite as it may sound he was one of the truly nicest human beings I've ever met in my life.

I haven't seen either him or Victoria in all too many years, but I'll miss him. The world is sadder place without him traveling somewhere in it.

Rest in peace, Clay Hubbs

Oh yeah, about that drug war...

It still sucks. I actually did some drug war blogging but I did it on other blogs so I'm not going to repost here except to give you the links. Jeralyn had a story about a woman just sentenced to 9 years for selling 8 pain pills that had me about mad enough to spit nails but I collected myself enough to post something reasonable about it at the Detroit News. This is your government on drugs.

Meanwhile, Arianna Huffington posted a long screed haranguing the Democratic 08 hopefuls for ignoring the war on some drugs. She made the racial inequity equation but I connected the dots to terrorists at Newshog.

And for friends who haven't made over to Cadillac Tight lately, now that our pal is a big exec and all, he's starting blogging with his real name, D.G. Hall, and had a good drug war post on Florida having restored voting rights to felons. He notes a lot of people get on the felon rolls on account of drug offenses. I blogged on his post here.

If you only read one of these links, read Arianna's post. That's the big one in terms of exposure to the non-consuming community and to the candidate's directly. She's a pretty big time DC insider and if they're reading anyone - it's her. It's good news when she starts prodding the politicians in public.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Say what?

Sorry kids, I know I promised an amusing story today but I was tied up at work much longer than expected and I'm done for the day. I really need to crawl into bed and reset the old internal clock to a better schedule, but this this piece may entertain you in the interim. The best and worst drivers in America.

I can't speak to the best drivers, since I've never lived anywhere where the majority of people knew how to drive properly, but I really can't believe that Atlanta and Boston didn't make the top two of the worst. All I can say is if Colombia, South Carolina is worse than those two, I sure as hell don't be driving through that town.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Life is funny - but it's not a joke

Well I'm just a mess tonight folks I couldn't fall asleep last night until dawn and dragged myself out of bed after four hours so I could get to sleep at a reasonable hour tonight because I have to get up in the morning since I promised to help out at work tomorrow. Of course it took me two hours to wake up enough to check my email and discover that my newest blog was in the midst of a traffic spike from a good link and I was compelled to try to post something coherent.

Not to mention, I now feel guilty if I don't post to the Reaction too, so I had to compose something worth cross posting, plus I was deeply engaged in a pissing contest at the Detroit News with another blogger and just had to respond to the last rebuttal which required some time consuming collecting of links. Then I found out I was punk'd and had to issue a correction. At least I finally figured out what punk'd means though. I've been wondering about that for a while. Heck, if this keeps up, maybe I'll learn what some of those other kool kidz words mean.

So this is a long way of saying I got nothing tonight for this blog. I'm too tired to deal with the drug war and I've barely left the computer all day so I missed a beautiful afternoon outside. I do have a somewhat amusing story about picking up my last prescription of tranqs last night, but I'm afraid that will have to wait until tomorrow. As they say around here - God willin and the crick don't rise, I'll be back.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Am I crazy?

I know you all are going to think I am but I've accepted yet another co-blogging gig. I'm very excited about this one too. I love Cernig and the team is really cool.

It's odd to feel so popular. I've never really been in the in crowd. That's what I love about the internets. You're judged on your work and not on your looks or your clothes or your station in life. It's kind of nice once you get used to it.

Happy blogiversary Annie

I'm way, way late with this one, and she doesn't seem to have comments on her blog so I'm wishing Annie Annuals a terribly belated Happy Four Year Blogiversary. Go check out the post. Turns out she's not just cool - she's beautiful too.

All the best Annie. Here's to another four years of fine blogging.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Moving on...

It's going to be a busy month with the moving thing. I'm glad to have a chunk of time off to deal with the details because the move itself is likely to be ugly. It's not that I have much stuff but because the schedule is so light at the top by the time I move I'll be on a brutal rotation again. I have to call the landlord today and start looking for local movers. I figure at least that part should be pretty cheap since I'm not moving far away. I'll be glad when it's over.

It's looking like it's going a steamy day here but at least the sun is out. I couldn't get going yesterday because it was so dreary. The sun always helps me get moving. Good thing because I have a lot to do. As if moving prep is not enough, I also have to get my paperwork together for the taxes. If you could see my filing system, you would understand what a challenge that's going to be. It was a lot easier before I became self-employed. Itemizing is a bitch but I'm glad at least I don't have to do the actual forms.

Oh, and I didn't tell you about my little sojourn to the Easter egg hunt. As I told you I had about four hours of sleep when the phone call came but I can't resist cute tots so I went and it turned out to be a beautiful morning for it. In fact it was almost too hot and I was overdressed. But it was worth it to watch the kids. It's a regional deal so there were hundreds of little tykes, each one cuter than the other and it was amazingly well organized. They split them up into age groups and most parents follow the rules so it didn't get as ugly as some I've been to. Still there's always a few that spoil the fun.

I mean what would possess a grown person to knock a three year old aside in order to grab a dollar's worth of free candy off the ground for their kid? I know there's a prize thing too, but from I could see the prizes weren't so good that it's worth risking injury to a tiny tot to get it. People can be so crazy.

Unfortunately, I don't have pix to share because wouldn't you know it, my chip ran out of memory when I got there. It's too bad because the park they held it was quite beautiful and I missed some nice shots. But the whole town is quite gorgeous now so I'll try to get some of the local flora this week. Meanwhile, I'm off to shuffle through papers.

Blair to legalize poppy production?

This is so sensible a proposition that I thought at first it was an April Fool's joke but it appears real. Tony Blair is apparently ready to legalize poppy production in Afghanistan. Word has it, Blair is seriously considering the Senlis Council's long standing call to buy up the crop and use it to alleviate the shortage of legal morphine. I guess they don't suffer the same pressure from the US pharma corps to keep profit levels high through artificially reduced supplies. It makes sense on so many levels.
The links between drug warlords, terrorism and the Taliban are clear. Traffickers hold poor farmers in a form of bondage through the supply of credit, paid back in opium. Many of those fighting British troops during the winter months will return to their villages to harvest poppy crops in the spring and summer. The traffickers' huge profits help to fund the fight against Nato troops.

The White House has consistently rejected the idea that opium could help to solve Afghanistan's chronic poverty. But there are clear signs of a shift in international opinion towards allowing a legal trade. Pervez Musharraf, the President of Pakistan, has said that "buying the crop is an idea we could explore". He added: "We would need money from the US or the UN. But we could buy the whole crop and destroy it. In that way the poor growers would not suffer."

The Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, who has opposed the idea in the past, is said privately to have changed his mind - as long as the international community takes on any licensing scheme.
The Bush administration will no doubt fight this tooth and nail, because it would likely succeed and make a mockery of their favored eradication approach. But one can only hope the international community could band together and exert enough pressure to force our US prohibs into compliance with a common sense idea for a change.