Friday, November 30, 2007

View from the deck

This was from about a week or two ago. The clouds do that a lot here, mass right outside the McCompound. Sometimes it feels like living on the top of glass mountain in a fairy tale.

It's been an odd week, much of which I can't really talk about. I can tell you I lost a friend this week. Peta Morey died at the ripe old age of 87. I haven't seen her for many years but she was a huge part of my life for over a decade. With the energy she had at 70, I was sure she was going to outlive me. I'm sad that she's gone.

I was going to post an old picture of my Sweet Williams in remembrance, she loved Sweet Williams, but I can't find it so I'm posting this shot of my Christmas cactus, that as you can see survived the transition to the indoors quite well.

Both of those plants started as single sprigs. One was given to me. One I picked up on the stairs of Thorne's Market years ago. Their abundance of blossoms reminds me of Peta's spirit. Rest in peace, Pete.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Fives and twos

Five things

I had a good Thanksgiving. I hope you all did too. I ate too much turkey though. It took two days to digest it and get over the tryptohaze.

My flowering catcus are blooming.

It's been really cold here since Friday. My impatiens froze to death on Saturday.

I finally caved in and changed my clocks this morning. I didn't synchronize them. They still all tell a different time.

I've been hearing from a lot of people that I haven't heard from in a long time. I love when that happens.

Two links

The Eighth Wonder of the World. [via]

A really fun gallery of quirky photograhs. [via]

Friday, November 23, 2007

Flying High

This is so cool. This is a picture of a new world record CRW jump. "The formation was about 200 feet wide and 200 feet tall and was large enough to be seen on radar in Miami. The jump was seven years in the making, according to Mike Lewis, one of its organizers."

This is one of the hardest and most dangerous skydiving manuevers. These jumpers are literally standing on each other's parachutes with their feet hooked into the steering lines of the guy under them. The longest stack I've seen in person is five and it takes time to build them. Amazing that they managed to get a 100 man figure. Boy will that look impressive in the logbook.

But as I say it is dangerous. Unfortunately, one of the team died when a practice run went wrong the day before and he apparently wasn't able to deploy his emergency chute. I expect that a put a bit of a damper on the festivities after the jump. I'm guessing there were a lot of drunken toasts that night.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thank a soldier

Before you settle down in a trypto haze for the football games, I'd ask that you remember the troops who will be far from family gatherings. No matter how you feel about the war, the folks who are stuck fighting it deserve a little extra cheer and Captain Ed points us to an easy way to send a message of support.

The major cell carriers have agreed to participate in The Giving Thanks Campaign, which asks Americans to text a message of support that will get delivered to men and women all over the world wearing the US uniform. All you have to do is send a text message from your cellphone to 89279 to brighten someone's day -- and it won't cost a penny.
If you're wondering what to say, Ed also has a widget on his post that shows the messages as they're being sent. Me, I still haven't figured out how to send a text and my attempts at answering one were rather dismal, so I'm just going to try to send a simple "Thanks."

I hope everyone has a warm and wonderful holiday and thanks to all of you dear readers for your support and company over the years.

Graphic kindly provided by a dear old friend who happens to be the best photograher I've ever known, John W. Farrell.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Yes, I still do drug war blogging and other fun links

Obviously, I don't do drug war stuff here anymore. Since I expanded my blogging empire, this blog has slowly morphed into my private hideaway where I stay in touch with you my dear friends and readers who have been with me for so long. But don't think I gave up on trying to end the war on some drugs. I do most of my drug war posts at the Newshoggers these days because I have a bigger audience there and some of those folks are actually in position to make legislation happen. Anyway, for those of you who are still interested in the subject, here's some links to what I've done lately.

It's been a year since the poor old lady in Atlanta died in the botched drug raid and I rant on no knock warrants.

For those of you who look forward to my annual harvest rant on moronic marijuana policies, the comment section at this post is funny.

This one is worth reading to see what happens when you ban substances. See if you can guess what this teenager was selling.

This piece got picked up at the UK Guardian. I suggested how to solve the narco-state problem in Afghanistan.

Want to know what the pharma corps are doing? Nothing good, I promise you.

And now for the fun...
The link here is to a really funny post about cell phones and if you were a fan of Laugh In be sure to click on the Ernestine link too.

Sex toys are the new Gideon's bible at upscale hotels.

And this YouTube about condoms from India is just hysterical.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Five things about my life

The engine light went off today. I guess I finally had enough driving events. I'm thinking it was either the gas cap or the pollution stuff. I hadn't taken the car on a real ride for almost a month and finally got it on the highway today for half an hour or so. Whatever, it's out and I'm back in motorific bliss.

It was nice to go out for a ride. I took back roads for half the trip and the colors were great on the small roads. The country is pretty. The highways are ugly. Everybody takes the highway. You only save five minutes. It's weird.

I brought my houseplants inside and the Christmas catcus are doing great. The buds didn't drop off and they're growing. I should have flowers by Thanksgiving.

Right before I brought in the treeish plant, there was a bluebird sitting on it looking in my window.

It's freezing here tonight. They say it will go into the 20s. The McPartment feels cozy. I didn't bring in my ornamental plants.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Feel like I'm falling for fall

I tried to find a link to the video for the Noggin song that I stole the title from but it's not on the website anymore. All I could find is the lyrics. You'll have to imagine the vid but it's in the style of this one, another all time great, Are We There Yet.

Meanwhile, it was a gorgeous day here so I took a walk around the periphery of the McCompound and found a couple of decent shots of the colors. This tree was the only one catching the late sun in the whole grove. It looked like a candle in the woods.

This one I found tucked away down at the bottom of the ridge. From far away it looked like a sugar maple.

And this hill was completely green two days ago. It turned overnight.

The shorter tower is actually some kind of lookout station. That zigzag thing is the stairs. I want to figure out how to get into that place.

Monday, November 12, 2007

If you don't remember...

This or this, you're probably not old enough to ask me out on a date.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Autumn Leaves

My sister gets better colors up in the mountains.

Veterans Day

It's no secret I'm against wars but I do appreciate those who have entered into the service of our country at risk to their own lives. So to all the veterans and to all those currently serving in our military -- Thanks.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Oh.... Fiddlesticks!

So I'm cruising through the parking lot last evening, the car is running great and all of sudden the engine warning light came on. And stayed on. And it's still on. I do not like it when the engine warning light comes on. I want to turn the key and go where I have to go. I do not want to go to the mechanic.

I discovered I don't have an owners manual in my glove compartment to explain the ramifications of little light show. Needless to say, I immediately freaked out. The car is running great but I'm wondering if I'm going to make it the mile or so to get home. It was too dark to investigate under the hood so I spent yesterday night imagining the possible horrifying scenarios. It didn't occur to me until the morning that I could find the explanations on line.

So this morning I screw up my courage and go investigate -- under the hood. I've owned this car for over a year and I've never had occassion to look under the hood before but I'm feeling pretty confident when I find the inside the car latch release on the first try. The outside latch proved more daunting. It took a while to find it but I'm doing okay and now I'm confronted with -- the engine. The dipstick wasn't in the right place.

It was an adventure in learning, I'll tell you but I successfully identified all the vital fluids that might have caused this rude interuption of my formerly blissful driving experience. I've established that none of them are short of perfect and all are beautifully hued. I even checked the radiator fluid. That at least was its customary place in the front. And I checked my gas cap, which I discovered in my research could trigger this automotive code blue.

That didn't work. The good news is it could be one of about a thousand things, not all of them horrible. The bad news is I have to take it to the autoshop to get a diagnosis. Oy.

[graphic via]

Friday, November 09, 2007


I'm still out of sorts about the time change. It just takes me forever to adjust and I feel groggy all damn day. I'm honoring tradition with my annual protest by refusing to change my clocks. Not that you would notice much. I have four clocks in this one bedroom McPartment and they all show a different time anyway even when I'm not protesting.

In other news, I've determined that it is the Oriental couple on the first floor who had the police visit the other night. Funny I never noticed before I saw him being frogmarched out that the guy has a little bald spot on the back of his head.

I'm figuring it was a domestic dispute of some kind. The next morning, their cars didn't leave at the customary time and she went out twice and came right back. He eventually left for work and a cop showed up in the afternoon to talk to her apparently. It seems to be over now though and they're both still here so I guess they worked it out.

Meanwhile, I wonder what it says about my life that I'm reduced to spying on the neighbors? I really need to get out more.

Are these people crazy?

Of course. They're base jumpers.

They make skydivers look like bungee jumpers. [via]

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A dilemma

Both my Christmas cactus are setting buds. They're still out on the deck. I guess they're going to be Thanksgiving cactus this year.

I'm afraid if I bring them inside the buds will drop off. But it's starting to get really cold at night. Heck it's pretty darn cold during the day. I wonder if it's better to bring them inside now while the buds are still small or better to wait until they're bigger and more set?

I have a feeling I'm going to lose the flowers either way and it's probably better to save the plant.

Well that was weird

One of my neighbors just got arrested. Three cop cars but no sirens and no lights. I wouldn't even have known it was going down except I happened to step out on the deck to check out the stars just as they were taking him away. I didn't have my glasses on so I'm not sure who it was but I think it might have been the Oriental guy who just moved in with his wife and who always takes my parking spot.

One of the cops wasn't in uniform and he came in a SUV. Very strange.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

View from the deck

There aren't many places here where the trees turn red in the fall. How cool is it that I live in one of them? It's not quite like New England of course, but it does feel a little like home.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

For the voyeurs

I got your webcams of the week from both sides of the planet. First this funky traffic cam from Hong Kong and then a really good live stream from Key West. You know those people have no idea they're being taped. I expect that one must get amusing when the drunks start hitting the streets.

I finally YouTubed my Igor video, so either click here or scroll down to see my little rubber guy in action.

And I've been looking for this for a long time and someone finally posted a YouTube of one of my all time favorite cartoons.

Clyde Crashcup and his sidekick Leonardo.

Drug war bytes

It's been so cold, I've barely left the house. I guess fall has finally arrived around here and I'm missing those 75 degree days already but I'm happy to report the McPartment is cozy and warm and I haven't had to turn the heat on much yet. I'm betting the old lady downstairs cranks hers up and I'm benefitting from the overflow. I'll tell you one thing else, living on the second level has one huge advantage that I didn't anticipate. The floor never gets cold. In my old one story ranch, the floor would be so cold by this time of year, my toes would go numb if I wasn't wearing shoes. Here I can go barefoot.

Anyway, in a vain attempt to keep this blog nominally relevant to the war on some drugs, here's a couple of links. I've been doing most of my posting on the issues at Newshoggers and here's the latest news on sentencing guidelines for crack. The Commission revised them to at least conform with the mandatory minimums. Now if we could just get rid of mandatory sentencing, we'd be getting somewhere.

Meanwhile, I didn't even know my pal Howard Wooldridge had a brother, but he does and Frosty posts a good interview with Howard on how the war on some drugs corrupts cops. Worth a read.

Thursday, November 01, 2007


Thanks to my friend Irma for sending me the link to Joe Braun's gallery, Gorges of the Finger Lakes. I want to go there immediately and be surrounded by falling water. That's the one thing I really miss being in the south. The noisy and clear running brooks and rivers. The water is brown and sluggish down here.

Give me one reason to stay here...

I guess you noticed the video uplink didn't work on the Halloween post. I'm going to try to YouTube it instead. That works better although my cheezy camera doesn't take high resolution shots so the video is a little fuzzy in that format. I'm going to try to get to it tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Reason has a new TV feature hosted by Drew Carey. This segment on medical marijuana is great.

I'm seeing a flurry of policy reform talk lately. Dodd said something about decriminalization at the debate. It's going to be addressed at least in this election. I predicted four and a half years ago that we would make marijuana legal in five years. We might still make it, give or take a year or so.