Saturday, March 31, 2007

Here comes Peter Cottontail

Arrgh. I didn't get to sleep until 3:30am last night and I got a call at 8:30 this morning inviting me to an Easter egg hunt. Of course I dragged myself out of bed and it was rather pleasant but I ended spending most of the day out so I'm off to dreamland and I'm going to unplug the phone so no one can tempt me with precious little tots tomorrow morning. I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Friday, March 30, 2007

The DEA is everywhere

Thanks to Richard Lake for catching DEA chief Karen Tandy's latest speech.

And DEA in particular has had the opportunity to work with many of you and with other countries around the globe to play our part in that global cure. We are in 60 countries across the globe. We have been here in Hong Kong since 1963 – one of our earliest offices, and in Beijing since 1999. We are so fortunate to have the Hong Kong SAR and China as partners. We are very pleased to see the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police working with our global law enforcement partners also.

DEA offices in sixty countries and Ms. Tandy jet-setting around making speeches at all of them. Wonder what that's costing the taxpayer?

Happy belated blogiversary to me...

Actually I missed it by a day but this is closest I've ever come to remembering. I started this one on the 29th four years ago and oddly I started The Impolitic on the 25th two years ago and I started at the Detroit News on April 2nd three years ago. Something about this week and blogs I guess.

This joint has morphed several times since then but the place feels like home. I couldn't possibly thank everyone who has offered company and encouragement along the way but I do have to give a special shout out to my dear friend Karen and my sister Annie who for a long time were my only readers and to Pete at Drug WarRant who for a long time was the only other voice in Blogtopia talking about the war on some drugs and contributed significantly to my early success.

Four years is a long time in Blogtopia and I've wanted to quit more than once. If it wasn't for all of you, my dear and cherished readers, I might have given up. Thanks to every one of you, new and old who have stuck with me, many of whom I consider friends though we've never met. I love you all dearly and I hope you're still here when number five rolls around.

Drug talk

So you want to cop some pot and it's been so long you forgot the street lingo? Your government wants to help with a handy guide (pdf) of 39 pages of the most obscure terms I've ever seen. If it wasn't created for DEA agent training, I would think it's a plot to get potheads killed by street dealers. If they're serious, it's no wonder the war on drugs is failing. [h/t Newsroom-1]

On a brighter note, you have to be conversant in Portugese to understand anything on this site about Rio's Million Marijuana March but if you click the video in the top right corner, you'll see my handsome friend Luiz being interviewed. He's the guy in the orange shirt and sunglasses.

Luiz and I met on an airplane when we were both going to the same drug war conference. Coincidentally we sat next to each other and discovered within ten minutes we were heading to the same place. By the time we got to Cancun, I had adopted him and took him with me to the School of Authentic Journalism that was also going on in conjunction with the conference.

My host wasn't all that pleased initially, but the look on my boss's face -- he was also attending the conference but we went on different planes and coincidentally arrived at exactly the same time -- when Luiz and I came strolling down pratically holding hands, was worth it. And in the end Luiz turned out to be a good friend to the movement and to all of us.

I love that some of us who made friends at that conference have still managed to stay in touch.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

A house is not a home

Major life choices exhaust me. I went out for a couple of hours to do the paperwork on the Mcpartment and I'm ready for bed. I continue to like the vibe of the place. It feels kind of like a hotel. I really like my sales agent. Very interesting young woman. Her grandfather was a diplomat. But I was really fascinated with the visiting agent who was filling in for the day. He was an older guy, at least my age. Really deep tan and really white hair and he couldn't have been more blatantly gay if he had been wearing a sign. I figured it was a good omen.

There were more tenant type people wandering around this time and everyone looks respectable, as they should. The screening process is pretty damn rigourous. I haven't had to come up with this much paper since I opened a bank account in Atlanta. Anyway it's done now. I have a new address. Now all I have to do is every other odious thing that comes with moving. I'm not at all prepared to move. I really hate this part, but I won't think about that today. I'll think about that tomorrow...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Working for a living

Kees has a fun meme that's going around the Rumblers. You make an alphabetical list of the jobs you've had over the years. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was going to be. Since I'm so old, I've had a lot of jobs, many only lasted a few days and I didn't cover them all by a long shot, but these were the more interesting ones.
Artist's model
Blogger, balloonist
Cocktail waitress
Dog sitter
Elegant bartender
Grant writer
House sitter
Inelegant bartender
Joint roller - it only paid in pot, but the most fun job I ever had.

Kid (both goats and children) caretaker
Legal researcher
Marijuana transporter
Newspaper survey taker
Office manager
Playground director
Quirky behavior counselor
Snack bar manager
Telephone operator
Universal Life Church minister
Vegetable picker
X-ray transporter
Yenta - that one only paid in satisfaction but my matches almost all worked out well.

Zebra tracker
Okay, so I made that last one up because I had nothing for Z, but all the rest are real.

Bob Barr Flip-Flops on Pot

Well thank the Gods for that. Despite the snarky title this is pretty positive piece. Former prohibitionist Bob Barr, who as a Georgia congressman authored a successful amendment that blocked D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana initiative, has switched sides and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project. He says since 9/11 he's had a change of heart and thinks the government is meddling in our lives too much and in a moment of supreme irony will be lobbying for the same medar measure he helped defeat in DC. He's also going after the lame and expensive ONDCP anti-drug ads.

On a hopeful note, he remarks that "[a] lot of conservatives have expressed great concern over the taxpayer money that is being wasted on this poorly run advertising campaign.”

As Radley so succinctly puts it, "Welcome aboard Bob."

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Little things

Well, today was crash day. The Impolitic is still attracting some high profile links so I've been favoring that blog and spent the day on politics. I was moving so slow that it took forever to compose content today so I see I'm really late getting here tonight.

There's been thunderstorms rolling all around me this evening. It's been rather pleasant to sit out on the screen porch enjoying the breeze and watching the lightning which has literally been flashing all around the house. Usually it only comes from one direction. The storms though are far enough away that the thunder is just a faint rumbling that speaks of rain but promises none for my flowers.

And flowers I have. The daffodils are long past but the azelea and the other weird shrub is blooming and the yard is full of bluets and violets and other hardy flowering weeds that I still don't know the names for. And all around me the flowering trees are beginning to peak, forming wide swaths of white and pink framed against the red bud maples that are threatening to bust out in bloom.

I really like this time of year at this house but nonetheless, I called the Mcpartments and commited to moving today. I'll do the paperwork in the next couple of days and then I'll have to move. I hate the idea of actually doing it, but it's really time to make a shift and I already feel a vague sense of relief that the yardwork won't be my responsibility anymore.

Meanwhile I managed to slice my finger open on a farookin weed a couple of days ago and it's still bleeding. It was the weirdest thing. I was yanking on what I thought was just ordinary dried alfalfa of some kind but the husk around it was still alive at the bottom and when I yanked at it, it sort of split and curled and bit me. It's one of those strange cuts that's really deep but on the surface so it made a good sized flap on my index finger. It didn't bleed profusely even when it happened but it opens up again every time it gets wet. If I don't keep a bandaid on it, it starts up bleeding again.

Very strange. I usually heal quicker than that.

Obama overstates his youthful drug use?

Sorry kids. I was just wiped out last night. I couldn't even see the screen anymore so I went to bed insanely early and listened to dumb TV until I fell asleep. I say listened because I can't really watch it anymore. The wiggly thing it does since the power surge gives me a headache.

Meanwhile, in an attempt to justify continuing to call this a drug policy blog, here's a bit of trivia that I loved. I wonder if this is a sign of the times? Has the drug policy reform movement made enough headway with the non-consuming public that it's now politically advantageous to overemphasize one's adolescent drug use?

One might think so after reading this story. According to people who "knew him when," it appears Obama may have exaggerrated his youthful drug use. Folks who knew him as a teenager in Hawaii say they never noticed he was taking any drugs at all.

I find that a little amusing since candidates usually try to minimize their youthful indiscretions. In fact I just saw a reference to some kerfluffle about Hillary denying she ever smoked pot and some college roommate calling her out on it. Maybe Hill should take a lesson from Barak.

[hat tip Jules Siegel]

Sunday, March 25, 2007

More reasons to move to the Mcpartment

I have to run out to work this afternoon for a few hours and I have a 5:30am call tomorrow but after this, I will have about three weeks off, so I really will be around more starting Tuesday but for now, I just read the full list of perks that come with the Mcpartment and it's looking better all the time.

My absolute favorite is they offer free helium balloon bouquets. It appears you can just request them for no apparent reason and they'll give you six balloons. That should come in handy for when I forget a special occassion until the last minute. They also offer free faxing and copies, something I took for granted when I worked for the law firm but have come to realize is quite expensive when you pay for it at the copy center. The office center also offers internet access and is open 24/7 just in case the old computer suddenly broke down.

There's other perks you might not expect. They will loan you a carpet cleaner, a vacuum cleaner, jumper cables and a small toolbox with the customary tools including a stud finder which I don't have, that you might need to hang a picture or do some tiny repair. They do package acceptance and pickup at the office and they sell stamps. And along with the coffee bar they bake fresh cookies every day. Not to mention their monthly socials, which is actually sort of customary for these sort of complexes.

I'm beginning to really warm up to the idea of moving....

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Home hunting

I looked at the other apartment today. The good news is I didn't love it. It had some serious defects, including only one door and that door had a crack in it you could see daylight through. I think I'm going to go ahead and move into the Mcpartments. The the pluses balance the downside the best and it just makes sense for where my life is right now. A big bland box that doesn't grow mildew works for me. And the balcony and the pool balance out the other negatives enough to make the worth the trouble I think.

The only thing I'll really miss here is the carport. It's amazing to me how of a difference that makes in the winter.

Meanwhile, my schedule went to pieces and I had to work all day and will probably have to work tomorrow and definitely have to work on Monday. So I'm off to bed. I really will start blogging here regularly again here someday.

Tobacco and booze worse than pot and ecstasy

Of course we drug policy reformers have been pointing this out for years, but a new study confirms it.

LONDON -- New "landmark" research finds that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than some illegal drugs like marijuana or Ecstasy and should be classified as such in legal systems, according to a new British study.

Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was Ecstasy.
On a more sober note, this could very well be the first sign that the nanny government types will start calling for a new prohibition against the currently legal drugs.

While experts agreed that criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be challenging, they said that governments should review the penalties imposed for drug abuse and try to make them more reflective of the actual risks and damages involved.

Nutt called for more education so that people were aware of the risks of various drugs. "All drugs are dangerous," he said. "Even the ones people know and love and use every day."
In fact, everything is dangerous if consumed to excess - even water, as those who recall the recent death of a radio show contestant in California will remember. The point is once you start the slide down the slippery slope of allowing nanny government to dictate non-infringing personal behavior, it's extraordinarily difficult to get back up that hill to common sense.

As I've often said, once they were done with the potheads, they would be coming after your vice next. That's why it's important for non-consumers to join in the fight against government nannyism, even if they don't indulge in the wrongly criminalized behaviors.

[h/t Tits McGee]

Friday, March 23, 2007

Time for a change

The weather is crazy warm right now. I still have my doors open at 10:00pm and tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. It's like the middle of summer. They issued a pollen alert this morning and the big fat bees came out of hibernation this afternoon. And all the pink trees simultaneously busted out into bloom. I love this time of year here.

Seemed like a good day to look at apartments. I went to the big complex and checked out their digs today. Surprisingly, it was better than it looked on line. The complex is so big it's relatively anonymous. The place is brand new so everything is still shiny and it's actually spacious. The square footage is better than most and set up efficiently. They have a really nice pool and the other amenities. And I would get a senior citizen discount on the rent. It has a lot to recommend it and few negatives. I had about convinced myself that I was going to live there if the place lived up to its online promise.

However, my life is never that simple. Coincidentally, an apartment just opened up in the very heart of downtown. I did a walk by this afternoon, after I looked at the other place and from the outside, it reminds me a lot of my place in Noho. Not to mention, it's the very place I envisioned living in when I moved here in the first place.

It's a little apartment in a house that dates to the civil war. I mean the house has a historic name plaque and everything. Someone famous lived there. The apartment is in the back and with the hedges in front, you hardly even notice you're downtown. And I've discovered in my emails with the owner that I think I've met my neighbors at one of my half dozen soujourns to the Irish bar in the last two years and really liked them. I have an appointment to go inside tomorrow. I just know it's going to be quirky with odd spaces and more problems than the other place but I'm going to love it have to decide between the two places.

I hate when this happens. I'm not good at these major life decisions.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Might as well be walking on the sun

Bear with me dear readers. It's been a hellish work week and I need to go to bed now, but I'm looking at three weeks off soon, so I will make it up to you. In the meantime, here's today's celestial wonder. A Japanese space mission is sending back some incredible footage from the sun. It's changing everything we thought we knew about how it works.

What a tease...

So I got a letter from the Commonwealth of Mass, forwarded from my old law firm, saying I had some unclaimed money. That reminded me of what a great post office we had in lovely downtown Noho. It's a town of 30,000+ people that explodes by tens of thousands during the school year on account of the five colleges and of course there's a lot of transients. Yet, to this day, somebody there remembers who I am and will forward the most misdirected mail to the old firm, knowing they can find me. Maybe that's why I find the post office here so irritating. It's a tiny little town and they're always screwing up my deliveries. But I digress.

So I was pretty excited I was going to get some found money and went to the website to check. They don't tell you how much money you have coming, but there was my name and old hometown listed in the database. For a day or two I contemplated where this money might have come from. I was pretty sure I wouldn't have forgotten to cash any checks and the only abandoned property I could think of was a checking account with under ten dollars in it that I never bothered to close out completely because it involved more paperwork than the few bucks was worth.

Well, it didn't take a day to reject my claim and say I wasn't the right Libby Spencer, but I have to wonder who the heck it was then. In all the years I lived there, I was the only Libby Spencer in Northampton. Maybe I should call them and find out why they rejected me. It occurs to me that an unscrupulous reviewer could take the dough, knowing I would never follow up since I moved out of state.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Walking on air

I'm still alive but barely. It's been a tough work week and I've been putting a lot of energy into The Impolitic. I've had an incredible launch over there in the last couple of days. Five major sites have linked to me and I'm trying to keep the content up while the spike is on, so I'm afraid I'm neglecting you here.

But I'm always thinking of you my dear readers and this is what caught my eye tonight. I know it's touristy and I understand why the locals would hate it, but I love the idea and I want to walk on that glass bridge. It sounds totally cool to me.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Technical difficulties

I had the best of intentions to post here today but I had major connectivity problems all day long. Now everything seems to finally be working really well again but I have to go to bed for a really early wake up call. But it was so cold here this weekend, I didn't do anything of interest anyway.

Well except cut my hair. I got really bold this afternoon and decided to hack about three inches off the bottom. I was way overdue for a chop. I'll be hacking away at the stray ends for another day or two but basically it came out well. I like it. It's on the short side but it's got some bounce again. I think it might make me look younger.

It's funny. All my life I had really long hair but now I can't stand it when it gets to a place I would have considered near bald back in the day. I don't know. There's something about grey hair. It just looks better when it's short.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Luck of the Irish to you

St Paddy's Day has always been my favorite holiday. I'm not Irish but I might as well have been. I've been hanging with Irishmen all my life. The greatest love of my life is Irish. Fully half of my best friends are Irish and I look terrific in kelly green.

The holiday is lot different for me down here. For many years this night would find me as the bar formerly known as City Cafe. The name changed but a McColgan is still running it. My dear friend Harry, gave it to his son along with a new partner and now it's called Tully O'Reillys. But whatever it's called, it's the best place in the world to spend St. Paddy's Day. The place is centered around the holiday. They have a countdown calendar, like they have for Christmas, so many days until... and everybody in town comes for the festivities.

You see people you only see once a year. You hang with drunken dignitaries of all stripes from judges to politicians to business owners wearing green beads and other cheesy party favors provided by the Guiness supplier and the local radio station, who broadcasts live. And if all that got boring you could go next door to the place formerly known as Harry's, now called The Elevens, and see some kickbutt Irish band.

I never quite warmed up to that side of the place after they changed the name for a lot of reasons, even though I loved a lot of the bands that played there. One of them being when I first met Harry, the place functioned as his private downtown bar. It was only open when he was around and most of the time the door was locked. I spent many a night there with just Harry and Sully and Smitty and maybe a few other old friends, just drinking and thinking. Mostly drinking. Once it turned into a real business, it wasn't the same.

But if I still lived in lovely downtown Noho, I'd be drinking with those bad boys tonight. Ah the blog fodder I could have scored. I suppose I should have gone into town to the Irish bar here but it's not the same when you have to drive home. And the boys won't be there. So instead I'm sitting here alone, drinking a Guinness and remembering my glory days. Somehow it feels right.

I'll take What are the Odds for $200 Alex...

I don't watch it much anymore but I used to watch it ritually with different sets of friends, at different times in my life. My second husband and I watched it almost every night and in later years, I often would go to my friend Karen's house after work for a couple of brews and our at-home contest. Karen was so good, she should have been an actual contestant. I'm speaking of course, of Jeopardy. Every trivia hounds favorite game show.

They just hit a landmark on the program. For the first time in 23 years, Jeopardy ended with a three way tie. I know what you're wondering and the answer is: one in 25 million. The question of course is, "What are the statisical odds of that happening?"

Alex Trebeck, if he's still hosting, must have been beside himself. I wish I had seen the program.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Celebrating the Green

Attention all Texans. Tomorrow Houston NORML will have a float in the St. Patrick's Day Parade downtown. We will meet at 10:30am near the watchtower of Minute Maid Park and will do an impromptu on the spot decoration of the float with silk pot leaf leis, posters and other stuff. Cannabis Flower will be bringing this poster.

I predict a good time will be had by all and I bet if you bring something marijuana related, they would even let you ride the float. If I lived at all close to Houston, I know I would be there.

Blogroll - yin yang edition

Well this sucks. Lisa is shutting down her blog. But she says it's because something good happened so it only sucks for her readers I guess. I'm betting she'll be back though. It's not as easy to quit as it looks.

On a brighter note, this rocks. My old pal Jed at Freedom Sight is back in business. Jed and I go way back to when I first started. He's one of the first ten people to blogroll me. I tried to enter a blog carnival or something that was only for Colorado bloggers but he was kind enough to link to me anyway and we bonded over the drug war and guns. Speaking of which, those readers who enjoy gun blogging take note. Jed knows a lot about guns.

This is the synchronicity of the blogiverse in action folks. Lisa quits, Jed comes back. Someday, someone else will quit and Lisa will be back too.

Update: It appears Lisa's blog, Lemons & Lollipops has already been hijacked by some kind of redirect malware so I'm reluctantly removing the links immediately.

The agony and the Ecstasy

Some of you know I've started co-blogging at another poliblog, The Reaction. The owner, Michael J.W. Stickings, who lives there, has a great post on a recent big ecstasy bust in Canada and makes some really good points on legalization and how the tactics of the war on some drugs is contributing to a police state mentality in our societies. Go read.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Extreme substance abuse

I'm not surprised the binge drinking and prescription abuse rate is rising for college kids. This is the other side of the Dare Generation. These are the kids that have been subjected to random drug tests and intermittent drug sweeps by the local cops and their sniff dogs. A lot of those kids bought into the message that illegal drugs are bad and they also inferred that legal drugs must be okay, so they use more harmful legal drugs instead.

The prohibs at NIDA say the colleges should "fight" this scourge and that the schools need to get tougher on "drugs." Of course, the reason they're in this current mess is because the schools listened to them and got tough on marijuana. They were better off when the campus was overrun with potheads. Stoned hippies don't form unruly mobs who overturn cars and throw rocks and bottles at law enforcement. But this sort of drunken mayhem has now become customary after major sporting events.

It's ridiculous to think the college can stop it. Kids are going to experiment with drugs. Always have and always will. Call me crazy but I don't see this current development as an improvement on potheads.

Court shoots down Angel

Thanks to Lisa for sending me a link to sad story. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals shot down Angel Raich and ruled she is not immune from federal prosecution on drug charges, despite the fact that medical marijuana is the only "drug" that helps her and it's legal in California where she resides.
Because of a prior high court ruling, the issue before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was narrowed to the so-called right to life theory: that marijuana should be allowed if it is the only viable option to keep a patient alive.
Raich, 41, began sobbing when she was told of the decision and said she would continue using the drug.

No small confession on her part. I'm willing to bet money that in light of this ruling. the feds will be arresting her soon to make an example of her on account of her activism for medical marijuana patients.

Faith and Begorrah, say it ain't so

Sales of the defining drink of Ireland, Guinness is on the wane in the Emerald Isle. The Irish are drinking wine and imported beer instead? Oh the sacrilege. How could they forsake a drink that's not just a beer, but a virtual meal in a glass?

When I think about how hard we worked to get the local bars in lovely downtown Noho to carry it on tap... Sure it's heavy and bitter but it's a refreshment that expands your consciouness more like LSD, than a drink that leaves you unconscious at the end of the night.

Fortunately, it doesn't appear the brewer is much trouble. Sales at home may be flat as a two hour old pint of Budweiser, but foreign demand is likely to keep the muddy brown beer trickling agonizingly slowly out of the tap for the foreseeable future.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Signs, signs, everywhere there's signs...

It was a busy day and while I can't tell you about it, I can say I spent a lot of it outdoors on a gloriously warm afternoon. I even took off my fleece. I liked that and they say tomorrow is going to be even warmer.

Meanwhile, I did the lazy electronic thing last night and threw this tarot spread. I normally use the Celtic Cross but I screwed up somehow and ended up with this cross and triangle thing that I've never seen before. If you know anything about Tarot, check out these cards. I haven't seen that many Major Arcana in one spread in a very long time.

Then when I came home from work there were seven hawks circling the neighbor's backyard. You often see two or three together here but seven is unusual and they were circling really low while some tiny little dog was yapping away. For a minute I thought he was a goner but when I came out with my camera, one hawk broke away and flew straight over me and the rest just sort of disappeared.

What does it mean? Damned if I know, but it feels like the universe has something big in store for me soon. I just hope it's good.

Word games

Yikes. I spent so much time catching up on The Rumblers that I ran out of time to post. I have to get up in the morning, but thankfully not at the crack of dawn. I'm just going to link to Richard and Elisson who both have this list up that's going around Blogtopia. It's the 50 most influential sci-fi books.

I've read about half of them and there were some I didn't recognize although I think of myself as a pretty big sci-fi fan. LOTR was and is my lifelong favorite and it taught me to love the fantasy genre. I've always thought that was the most brilliantly drawn world. I mean the man invented languages to go with the characters. How cool is that?

Maybe it was because it's the first book I ever read while I was stoned, but he was a real inspiration to me. I've read everything written by Tolkien and most everything written about him. If you like fantasy I'd recommend Terry Brooks who was on the list. I've read most of his work. He did a number of series novels and also designed a credible world. I'd also recommend Mists of Avalon if you like the Arthur legend. I've probably read every interpretation of that story and that was a good one as I recall.

For something more traditionally sci-fi but with a fantasy edge I'd recommend Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman's The Death Gate Cycle. That ran seven books and I was reading them as they came out. Great series. I was also watching for the latest arrival on that one. I can't believe they didn't make the list but it was light on that genre anyway and maybe Weis isn't high brow enough for the list.

Anyway, for something a little more fun, Parkway Jim has a hilarious set of winners of word contests. One invents new words by changing a letter and the other invents new meanings for existing words. Funny stuff. It left me agrog - (laughing uproariously while drinking adult beverages).

Monday, March 12, 2007

Can't complain about the weather

Well, it's a beautiful afternoon in the northern south so I'm going outside for a couple of hours to enjoy the weather since I unexpectedly got the day off. I'd like to at least work on the bagging the remaining pile of leaves some more. That's what did me in yesterday and why I didn't make it here but I figure if I keep plugging away a little bit every day, I'll get it done without totally ruining my back.

Meanwhile, some strange guys with chainsaws came and took the killer tree away this morning. I love when that happens. Good thing I got the picture when I did.

And to hold you until I get back and I do intend to get back here tonight, the Editor just sent me some funny thoughts so I'm posting a few for your amusement.
1. I planted some bird seed. A bird came up. Now I don't know what to feed it.

2. Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

3. All I ask is a chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

4. If the world was a logical place, men would be the ones who ride horses sidesaddle.

5. Teach a child to be polite and courteous at home and, when he grows up, he'll never be able to merge his car onto the freeway.
Hope you're all having a sunny day as well.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

On a blogroll

Since I'm was forced to work on the template tonight, I'm adding another blog to the old roll. Say hey to Editor from the Deer Camp Blog. I don't know him that well yet. I'm supposing he arrived via my recent gun blogging but he's going into Drunks and Poets at his request. From what I've read of his blog, he's going to fit in there just fine.

It was his birthday yesterday so click on over and make a wish for him.

Killer Tree

I finally started reading through the blogroll again and it's a slow crawl because it's been so long since I've made the rounds, there's a lot of reading to do - well except for Zonker and Key who post four times a year whether they feel like it or not. But jebus, the world has changed a lot since I was last abroad. I've only been through a dozen or so and I've seen three broken marriages, a sad deployment, and the kid that was a baby the last time I looked is now graduating high school. Okay I made that last one up but three people did move their blogs and now I have to update my template. You know how much I hate going in there.

Anyway, figuring this is going to take a lot longer than I thought, I'm taking a break and putting a quick post before midnight myself. I finally managed to remember to take a picture of the tree that killed my nuker. Man, I really miss the nuker. It's so much work to eat without it that I've been skipping meals and I'm forced to drink cold coffee now that I can't reheat it. Usually takes me all day to drink one cup.

As you can see it's not that big a tree but the power line is right above it and although you can't really appreciate it in the photo, it was a really long tree.

If they had taken the effer out when they took down the other one, I would still have a nuker right now. I shouldn't complain though because it did force me to get the plumbing fixed and that was pretty good tradeoff. It's great to have water that runs well in the kitchen and that doesn't run all the time in the toilet. Better zen to that combo for sure.

Random Friday Photoblogging

I found this disk when I was cleaning up and had no idea what was on it. This was a really good party. It was Independence Day 04 at the marina. This is my friend's houseboat and their little runabout right next to it. The music was a nonstop jam session. That's my bro Mark Herschler on the guitar and my old friend Vast Ed Vadas sitting on the dock. Both are on the blogroll as musicmakers. And that's my dear pal Mark Bode on the accordian. Somehow he's not on the roll but I'll fix that tomorrow.

Hoisting the beer bottle on the right is our indefatigable host Jamie, holding court with the beautiful Annie and her latest conquest whose name I don't remember and whom I suspect is no longer going to parties with her anyway.

And last but not least our charming hostess Maki carrying the basket of bug repellant for the guests who were staying for the fireworks. Fourth of July at the marina was always great for fireworks. The different parties would compete to have the best show and everyone staggered their shots so you had fireworks for hours. It was fun to find the shots but it reminds me how much I really miss my friends.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Time won't let me...

I really lost track of time today. I passed out cold last night at 9:30 last night and I mean I was so tired that I fell asleep without brushing my teeth or taking my tranq. I slept until 8:30 this morning and I had dreams. Too many to remember but I woke up with a sense of having spent a lot of time traveling to resolve some dilemma. Of course I was groggy for hours from too much sleep so I got a slow start to the day and then the Friday news dump was big that I spent hours on the poliblogs.

But I have nothing of great import to tell in any event. I notice I'm already getting a tan from being outdoors more on the these lovely afternoons. I saw my first bluets in the yard the other day. I forgot to take a picture of the fallen down tree again and I have a couple of tufted titmice who have been visiting my window ledge regularly. My biggest event was seeing the hawk in a tree.

I was on my way out for an errand and it flew down and sat in this little tiny new tree on the neighbor's front lawn. Of course I didn't have my camera but I took a shot with my cell phone and watched it until it flew away.

You notice I said I took the shot with my phone? Yes, I've learned how to use that function but I haven't figured out how to get it from the phone to the computer. Actually I haven't even figured out how to look at the gallery but I have enough shots on there now that I would like to know.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Well, I guess you all figured out that I didn't post yesterday. My dream of ten hours days turned out to be a fool's hope and I've spent a lot of time outdoors in the last couple of days in the wind so I've been pretty well beat when I got home. What is about being out in the wind that makes you more tired? Still, I feel like a jerk for complaining about 50 degree days knowing that my friends up north are going through the annual arctic blast. I'm sending you all thoughts of warmth and spring my dears. Hold on and stay warm. It really won't be long until spring. Even as I type this I hear the geese flying north again.

Anyway, I couldn't see the screen last night by 9:00 and just crawled into bed and slept like the proverbial rock. I was in the middle of the weirdest dream when the alarm went off. I was out in the country somewhere, driving around in an airplane -- driving mind you because even in my dreams I don't know how to fly a fixed wing -- and for some reason I had one of my former co-workers, in the plane with me. Who knows what that means since I simply loathed that lying, cheating goldbricker. When the alarm went off I was meeting with my former boss and his friends and family trying to figure out how I was going to get the airplane home. I wished the alarm hadn't woken me up. Even on the ground, airplanes are fun.

Meanwhile, I discovered my schedule is not going to be quite as brutal as I expected. Sometimes just thinking about my schedule makes me tired but it turns out I'm going to get my weekends off in addition to whatever few weekdays I have free and I actually have a big block of time off at the end of the month. That bit of news did wonders for my outlook. However I am looking at a busy day so I probably won't be back until this evening.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Doctors say don't drug test kids

This is really good news. the American Academy of Pediatrics came out against drug testing kids. "[U]pdating its decade-old policy statement on the issue, said screening for illicit drugs is a complicated process prone to errors and cheating, and has not been shown to curtail youngsters’ drug use."

They note "drug testing creates a counterproductive climate of “resentment, distrust and suspicion” between children and their parents or school administrators" and false positives are common. Not to mention teenagers are not so stupid they can't find ways to beat the test on the internets. But this is the most important point they make.
In addition, several illegal drugs are undetectable in urine more than 72 hours after use, and standard tests do not detect often abused substances such as alcohol, Ecstasy and inhalants. Some youngsters may respond to testing by avoiding drugs such as marijuana and instead abuse less-detectable, but more dangerous, drugs, the statement said.
Everybody wants to protect their kids from drug abuse and speaking as a parent who raised a drug free kid, I'm telling you the only way to protect them is to talk to them honestly and make sure they believe if they screw up and find themselves in trouble, they can come to you for help and won't be punished for it. Then you have to -- and this is the really hard part -- trust them to make the right choices.

Random drug testing to scare them into compliance is simply not going to build that trust. It's going to imply you don't trust them and they're more likely to act out their inevitable teenage rebellion by trying drugs.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Just another lazy Sunday

Somehow I lost a whole day again dicking around with politics and other odd tangents. Forgive me friends for not visiting blogs instead. I miss you all terribly and I'm wondering what everyone is up to but I just lost track of time. I have little to report in any event. I forgot to go out and get a picture of the tree for your amusement but I tested my camera dock and that thankfully still works. I wasn't sure because that wasn't plugged into the surge protector either but it was connected to the computer. And I saw part of the lunar eclipse last night.

I don't get a good view of the rising moon here because of the trees but it was still going when the moon came up. I saw the last of it in the grocery store parking lot. I had nothing to eat that didn't need a nuker and I needed non-nukable food. I almost forgot what you eat if you don't have a nuker. I opted out for sandwiches and cans of soup.

I didn't get a nuker today either. I'm not sure I'm going to because the place I'm thinking of moving to comes with a built in one. I think it's an omen that I should move into that complex. I'm going to think about what I want to do about both for a few days. I won't have time now to get one anyway because I'm back on the work rotation again in the morning. I'm definitely not getting enough time off but the per day schedule should be a little less brutal. I'm hoping they'll be ten hours days instead of fourteen.

Meanwhile. I see that fixing the archive malfunction seems to have fixed the template as well and my posts are now publishing all the way down the page again. This makes me happy. I had no idea how I was going to fix that. I didn't have clue where to even start to look for the problem. I love it when things work out easily.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

My Hero

A million thanks to Annie of Annie's Annuals for sending my lazy butt the actual code that restored the archive access. I think the box is a little ugly but it works. Actually it's probably easier to use than the old archive system.

We're coming up on four years and 3,000 posts here at Last One Speaks and Annie has been with me for most of them. I believe she may have been the first person to link to me. In any event, she one of the first and I remember how excited I was find out someone I had never met liked my stuff enough to link to it.

And once again, Annie's support has cheered me immensely on a bleary day. To borrow her meme -- the song in my head is: I just want to thank you, for letting me be myself ... again.

New measure comes to life out of granny's death

You remember of course, the 92 year old granny Kathryn Johnston, who died in a police shootout that stemmed from a fraudulently obtained no-knock warrant. The good that has come of her untimely death is that a group of Georgia legislators are looking to clamp down on the warrants. Quote of the day on this comes from conservative Liberatian blogger McQ.
I agree wholeheartedly that such a warrant should be an exception, and the evidence for such a warrant should be exceptional as well.
Right on. It's time we put the "protect and serve" back into law enforcement. Knocking some sense into no-knock warrants would go a long way towards that end.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Surging through disaster

I guess I slept through a helluva storm last night. I woke up this morning and there was no electricity, or so I thought. This is not unusual here so I didn't think much of it. But as I staggered into the kitchen wondering what I was going to do about coffee I noticed the store was still up and running. They usually lose power if I do so I became a little suspicious and started investigating.

I discovered a big ass tree fell down and the electrical line was nearly pulled off the house. So I called the electric company. Little did I realize what disaster lay ahead. I suppose I should have made a connection when I opened the refrigerator to get some water and the light bulb went on and then popped, that something bigger was amiss but it wasn't until I talked to my neighbor, who was picking up the pieces of the tree that fell in his yard, that I discovered the true extent of what had befallen me.

"Power surge," he said. "My Dad's on his way down now to check it out."

He then went on to explain a lot of stuff about volts and amperage that meant nothing to me. I stopped listening when he said it had fried all his computers and other electronics. I'm standing there in my pajamas and I couldn't hear anything over the Oh Shit ringing in my head. Then I came in and smelled burning wires in the kitchen. I called the landlord.

So picture me, at the height of this head cold, sniffling and miserable, doing the quick clean on the bathroom and madly swiffering the floors before the landlord arrives. The electric company arrived first. The guy didn't really want to talk to me and did nothing for my anxiety when he asked if I had renter's insurance. I knew it was going to be bad then.

The indoor electrician arrived next. He took apart the fuse box and waited around for the electricity to come back on. I was so already so overwrought at this point I had to go lie down for ten minutes or pass out. He whistled while he worked. It was the most beautiful whistle I'd ever heard but a song I didn't know. Nonetheless it was very calming. It probably saved me from having a nervous breakdown.

The landlord arrived shortly thereafter. I've spoken to him exactly three times in two years but I love the guy. He's also very calm and kind of soothing in a favorite uncle kind of way. And he takes care of things so promptly and efficiently. We established that the refrigerator was dead.

They brought me a brand new one within the hour. He didn't mind when I pointed the plumbing problems I had been avoiding dealing with since I already had him here. He got a plumber to come in the afternoon. He even decided to replace the horrible drip pans under the burners on the stove for me. I hadn't been able to find the right model. He took off with the electrician.

In the interim I discovered that my computer was still working, God bless the fifty dollar surge protector I cursed Kevin for making me buy. I take back all the cranky things I said. The blessed thing came with a 22 page instruction booklet that I never understood but it saved the old 'puter and more importantly all the stuff on the hard drive I've never backed up. I also discovered my heat wasn't working.

Miraculously, the cable company sent the tech right out. John barely had time to get here with a new power strip so I could make sure the connection worked before I let the tech go. At this point it was 3:00 and I hadn't had coffee, much less food. John and I walked over to the store for that but when we returned, all the trucks were gone and I still didn't have drip pans or heat or a working toilet.

Momentary anxiety ensued but the plumbers arrived shortly thereafter so full fledged panic was once again averted. I was just about to freak out again when the landlord arrived with the drip pans and the news that the heating guy would come to fix the heater. At this point it was 4:40 and I had another attack of nerves when they all pulled out leaving me alone in a cold house, but the heating guy arrived just as they were leaving. He fixed the heater in ten minutes.

It was almost five when I discovered I still didn't have real computer connectivity. I was getting a screen that I didn't get when it was first installed and I couldn't get onto the internets. I had visions of a tech nightmare but one phone call to support fixed it from their end and I was finally in business again.

So I sit here tonight with the smell of burning wires still lingering in the air. I lost my television. It works but the picture wiggles. I didn't discover until I went to nuke some food at around 7:00 that my nuker died in the battle against the amps. But I got a brand new modem which seems to have improved the performance of the 'puter a little. I've got a brand new refrigerator. My stove looks new and shiny, my plumbing works again and my house is pretty clean.

As disasters go, I've been through worse but I hope under the law of averages I won't have to go through another one for a long time.

Welcome to the world Xavier John

I had such a day. We had a power surge last night and it fried my whole house. It's going to take a while to write it all out so I'm just going to start by posting this photo of my friend Irma's new grandbaby. Isn't he gorgeous?

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Drugs are still winning the drug war

Well, there appears to be a pedestrian explanation for my low energy this week. I came down with a miserable cold today complete with scratchy throat and a non-stop runny nose. In a way this is a good thing because presuambly I'll feel much better in a couple of days and I have the next three off so I'll be able to rest and recover. All in all it's pretty good timing because the weather is supposed to tank a little as well. I don't think we'll get to sixty for a couple of days and it's going to rain.

Meanwhile, the US State Dept released its annual assessment of their drug war and had to admit it was still failing. Well actually they didn't really admit it but as usual they blamed everybody and everything except their own shortsighted, ineffective and in fact counterproductive policies. I put my post on this one up at the Detroit News for the drug war readers that are interested in my analysis.