Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Your Weekly Pitty-Party, with TYR

Name: TYR (here since 9/5/08)
DOB: September 2004 approx
Gender: male
Size: about 75 lbs.
Other dogs: NO
Cats: NO
Kids: to be determined, but we think great!

Profile: This over sized lap dog has been through hell and back. Picked up as a stray by the shelter, it was apparent that he was the victim of illegal dog fighting (why do they call it illegal? Of course it's illegal !!) His face, head and chest were chewed up like hamburger meat. So it's no wonder that he's dog aggressive. But HE LOVES PEOPLE! Non stop licking, kissing and slobbering. But I"m sure with time he'll settle down and become a well behaved doggie citizen. If you're looking for a bed buddy, a couch buddy, then Tyr is your guy!
I will reiterate the usual admonitions: Villalobos Rescue Center doesn't invite casual visitors, doesn't like to adopt its clients out-of-state, and won't place an animal in any home in which there's already a canine resident. Here's a vid of TYR, our featured Pit-Pal of the week...

Friday, December 25, 2009

The THC Shake: Meditation Medicine

Better'n egg-nog!!! It is pretty interesting to read the comments, just in case you thought intolerance was a native Murkin phenomenon...

I heard hiim exclaim, FOLLOW THE LINK

My sincerest thanks and best wishes to the good folks at Villalobos Rescue Center, and to ALL who look after and care for our furry friends!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hector, the Survivor

This good boy is on a "Vick-tory" tour...

DOTOF™ to Villalobos Rescue Center for this and their tireless efforts to rescue these wonderful, loving, smart, loyal, friendly (to people, anyway), dogs...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Do You REALLY Need To Bring Fideaux To The Fambly Gathering?

From the blog-site, The Other End Leash:
Trainers and behaviorists can all tell stories about the calls they get around the holidays. Those of you who are trainers can no doubt tell some of your own. (I’d love to hear them!) Not uncommonly, we hear “Aunt Polly is coming tomorrow and she hates dogs and I have seven of them and they’ve never been alone in a room or in a crate and I can’t board them and I was wondering if you could tell me what to do.” (Answer: Pack dogs into car, drive elsewhere, leave note on front door for Aunt Polly that you’ve been abducted by aliens?)

From the other side of the equation, I’ve heard lots of dog lovers struggle over what to do when company comes and their dog doesn’t do well with visitors. One holiday season, years ago, I had five “do I have to kill my dog cases?,” all serious bites to visitors, on December 23rd and 24th. So sad.

Here’s my generic advice about holidays and dogs and visitors. I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve come up with for yourself or advised for others....

In general:
Start carefully (dog in crate when visitors enter?),

Observe carefully (watch interactions like a hawk at first),

Manage obsessively (know your dog and minimize the potential of any problems),

Give everyone a break (why not crate Fido up after an hour with the guests? why wait until after he’s tired?) Note that MANY of the cases I’ve seen have occured after the dog has been with the ‘kids’ or company all day, is tired and finally snaps/bites at the end of the day. Being an introvert (truly), I can sympathize. I love company and being with people, but I get tired after hours of it and need to go to my crate so that I don’t get cranky and bite someone.
This probably sounds excessive, but a dear dear friend just had his beloved dog bite a guest (equally beloved) during Thanksgiving dinner. “Why didn’t I put her in her crate?” he asked, after the bite and the trauma. “Because you’re an optimist and not a prof’l trainer” I said, but in the future, management is going to have to be Job #1 in his treatment plan. This kind of management becomes second nature to trainers, doesn’t it? But we had to learn it, and anything we can do to let people know that it’s OKAY to separate dogs and guests sometimes, the better.

...And BEER!

Take the "Beer Geography" quiz.

I got 8/9 (Missed "Tusker)

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Dog Story, from Kabul

There are few things in the journalistic repertoire more inviting, and more difficult, to write well than a "good" dog story. My pal Seamus, our man in Kabul, has pulled it off with the following story of Skinny Minnie.
Despite her emaciated condition, she tore through the two plastic bags before I had a chance to take out the piece of chicken. By the time I got to the second piece, she had the devoured the first: two gulps, maybe three.

I had quickly defrosted to two chicken breasts in the microwave before left my home and boarded the van to take me to my designated running spot. I wasn’t too confident that she would be alive when I got to the barren plot of land where she and five or six other dogs made home, more than likely to escape the taunts and attacks of the people who in many cases lives only a little better than them.

I had doubled wrapped the chicken to prevent the smell from reaching the driver, escort and guard who accompanied me to the several-acre site where the university will someday build a new campus. How could I explain to them, who in many cases support families on salaries of $250 per month, that I was taking two skinless, boneless chicken breasts to feed a mangy dog that was already on death’s door. But it was the only suitable food I could located in the short time I had. A week earlier, I had asked the guards of the largely undeveloped lot whether they had any bones I could give the dog. They replied with straight faces that they couldn’t afford meat for themselves, so, no, they didn’t have any bones for a dog. No, I thought, I just meant bones, the remains of a meal that was headed for the garbage anyway, then realized I had already dug myself a deep enough hole.

Minnie, as in Skinny Minnie, was by herself in the corner of the lot where a couple of months earlier stood the remains of some bombed-out buildings that provided marginal shelter for families of squatters. Sometime during the summer, when I was away from Kabul, the buildings were razed, the families, which included many children, were pushed out or left on their own to make room for the new construction. The only sign of what will someday be built is a few guard shacks, a gated wall surrounding the perimeter of the property, and a new field for football (or soccer for my fellow yanks). There was a net on either end of the field when it was inaugurated a couple of weeks earlier for the benefit of the university’s board of trustees, but the nets were gone by the next morning, apparently shredded by the dogs.

There’s nothing for the dogs to eat on the lot, save for a few ground rodents, and the guards who there around the clock are unlikely to feed them anything. In dirt-poor Islamic countries like Afghanistan, dogs are considered “unclean.” Touching one is sufficient reason to wash one’s hands. The vast majority of Kabul’s dogs wander the streets, feeding themselves from the piles of garbage that also sustain herds of goats and sheep. During the day, the dogs are largely ignored as long as they stay away from people, but if they get to close they are typically yelled at or stoned. Not with out some reason, I might add. When any animal is cold, hungry and ignored, it is seldom on its best behavior. At night, many of the dogs roam in packs, where they have strength in numbers and the advantage of surprise.

Minnie is the black sheep of the canine community at the new campus and is routinely attacked by the other dogs. After scarfing down the chicken, she followed me for a while, loping along at an enfeebled pace, staying on the inside my circular loops to stay close to me with having to cover as much distance. When we got near to some of the other dogs, who are relatively better shape, they ran her down. Minnie just laid down and cowered, perhaps realizing she didn’t have enough strength to outrun them anyway. I threw stones at her assailants and they quickly scattered, as though they accepted that there was no real sport in battling a dog to weak to put up a fight. I went to Minnie and scratched her head and muzzle. It had taken weeks for her to accept my gestures, to believe that I would not harm her.

Afterward, riding home in the university van, the day before I left Kabul for a month-long break, I wondered what the odds were that Minnie would be alive when I returned. Not very high, I thought.
Good man, Seamus. We cannot save 'em all, as my mother on her deathbed told me. But we can try to help...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Homeless Pitbulls, a Two-fer: "Dave" & "Frenchie"

Name: DAVE
DOB: approx. Jan. 2003 (here since 1/15/05)
Gender: male
Size: approx. 90 lbs.
Other dogs: decent, but will need to be the only dog in the home.
Cats: no
Kids: to be determined

Profile: Poor Dave just adds to the never ending number of stray dogs in South Los Angeles. I mean c'mon this is one cute dog. Someone out there must need a Dave in their life. He is a volunteer favorite!!! 90 lbs of love on your lap!

Name: FRENCHIE (here since Feb. 9, 2009)
DOB: Jun 1. 2008 approx.
Gender: female
Size: petite, but still growing
Other dogs: Great
Cats: Good
Kids: to be determined, but we think great

Profile: If not for the kind heart of her guardian angelFrench (Frenchie) would've probably died of cold and hunger as she lay in the gutter and rain on a cold winter night in Los Angeles. She was just a tiny puppy then and no one either noticed or cared that she lay there helpless. It took the compassion of a young girl to reach out and forget that she was a "Pit Bull". Frenchie loves her stuffed animals and would nothing more than to curl up in bed with her new "sister" or even a "brother"...a two legged one that is.

(*Frenchie will absolutely require a home with a HIGH fence, as this girl can jump like no other:)
To repeat my previous injunctions: The Villalobos Rescue Center will not adopt a dog into any home which already has dogs. They do not welcome tourists, but you can arrange to visit. They do not like to adopt their dogs out-of-state.

I have all of everything that's non-consumable that I'll need for a long time. SO, anyone who might be harboring generous instincts in my direction this Holiday Season, I'd be plumb tickled if you'd instead donate the amount you might spend to VRC.

How Closely Are/Were "We" Related To Neanderthalers

I just hope it is a LITTLE bit, and the shock wave of all the exploding Jeebus/Fundie/Fucktards will cover the world in splattered Xian "grey-matter" such as it is...Via The New Scientist and my old Exchaton pal, Moonboo, who finds an alarming number of these very interesting pieces:
Do we have a little Neanderthal in us? That's not a reference to your behaviour at the end-of-year office party, but to the genes of our extinct cousins. With the imminent publication of the genome sequence of Homo neanderthalis, that question may finally be answered.

So far no one has uncovered evidence of any cross-species romps - at least none that left a trace in our DNA. The 3-billion-nucleotide Neanderthal genome is our best chance yet of finding out.

Whether they did or didn't will make the headlines next year, but the importance of the Neanderthal genome reaches much further. For a start, any sign of interbreeding will force us to rethink our place among our ancestors. The researchers working on the genome have already discovered some details of the hominin's nature: a few individuals were pale-skinned redheads; others couldn't taste bitter vegetables; they may have spoken a complex language. But a complete genome means our closest ancestors can be analysed in far more detail, even revealing such information as their population size.

As it stands, the animal closest to humans that we know most about genetically is the chimpanzee. We shared an ancestor with chimps about 6 million years ago - and a lot has happened since.

With the Neanderthal genome, geneticists will get a twig that split from the Homo sapiens branch only 500,000 or so years ago. That twig could reveal the changes that make humans human, potentially explaining why some of us go mad, others get fat and far too many contract malaria. For scientists, at least, that's far more interesting than a little hanky-panky in a prehistoric cave.
Please, little baby jeebus, let us have just a tiny bit of Neanderthaler DNA...PLEASE! And the thunder of the exploding heads will redound to thy eternal glory!

The Hound and the Orang: Good Friends

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Denver Claims The Right To Kill Your Dog

At least somebody is keeping the debate--and some of the dogs--alive. Mostly I like Denver, but this law alone would prohibit me from ever living there. There's no such thing as a "bad" dog. They are made what they become, by the people who take them.
If experts cannot ID dog breeds, how can cities?
By Bill Johnson
Denver Post Columnist
POSTED: 12/16/2009 01:00:00 AM MST
UPDATED: 12/16/2009 02:22:00 AM MST

So you think you know about dogs?

Sorry, you do not.

I break this news to you only because I got put to such a test Tuesday, along with about two dozen animal-shelter directors, volunteers, dog trainers and others who make a dog-related living.

The task was simple: View 20 dogs on a videotape and identify each one. Is it purebred or mixed? If believed a mix, what is the mixture of each?

How hard could it be?

All I know about dogs, I quickly learned, is that one lives with me. Of the 20 dogs shown, I got the breed correct one time, but only because it looked like Lupe, my mutt.

I did only slightly worse than the professionals.

"I was completely wrong. I probably got three to four out of the 20," claimed Laurie Buffington, a Berthoud dog trainer, as we left a classroom at the Longmont Humane Society.

"Think you can tell just by looking?" was the teaser for the breed identification study we participated in. It was run by Victoria L. Voith, a professor of animal behavior in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Western University in Pomona, Calif.

What I and the others ultimately learned is you cannot simply look at a dog and know what it is.

Shelter workers, she explained, are generally 75 percent wrong when they list or tell you the breed of a dog. The only sure-fire way of knowing, she said, is DNA testing.

"I started this study," Voith said, "because I am a lover of German shepherds and was appalled that every short-haired breed with brown hair was called a German shepherd. It simply isn't so."

Outside of the Lupe-looking Chihuahua-mix, I thought every dog looked like a pit bull or a shepherd-mix.

"So what in the hell is Lupe?" I jotted in frustration in my notebook about halfway through the session. I was not getting even remotely close.

My favorite of all was the 20th dog, a three-legged cutie that had been thrown from a car. She was not the English sheepdog I suspected, but a shih-tzu. Everyone else misidentified her too.

Through her work, Voith hopes to put to the lie two things: studies on which dogs bite the most, and the wisdom of municipal breed-specific bans, such as Denver's, where hundreds of suspected pit bulls have been put to death.

"Visual identification simply is not in high agreement with DNA analysis," she said when I protested that a dog I had falsely, dead-to-rights identified as a pit bull turned out through DNA testing to be mostly Dalmatian. "Dogs in Denver may be dying needlessly," she said.

She hopes that her work, which she expects to be published in a year, will better inform cities and statistics gatherers on breeds most likely to bite.

"We really don't know yet. I don't think we have ever really known," she said.

The professionals all walked out scratching their heads, each mumbling something akin to "that was very informative!"

"I always thought I was really good at identifying breeds," a chastened Shantel Southwick, another Berthoud trainer, moaned. "And cities are killing dogs based on uninformed visual identification? That's pretty scary. It's heartbreaking, really."

(Bill Johnson writes Mondays, Wednes- days and Fridays. Reach him at 303- 954-2763 or wjohnson@denverpost.com. Read more: http://www.denverpost.com/ci_14005785?source=sb-facebook#ixzz0Zsc3tAM7)
If the State, in this case, the City, can kill your dog and there's nothing in the world you can do about it, there's just about nothing the State cannot do with impunity.

Taken from Vance Gerard on Vimeo.

The dirty secret is that it's not the dawgs these fascist fux want to punish, it is the people who have them.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

...And Waves

"Eddie would go..."

So they held the Eddie Aikau Contest on the North Shore last week. They don't even hold the contest unless the waves are over 20'. They start the Eddie watch on Nov.1, and big-wave riders the world over set aside an any-time airline reservation for Honoulu and wait. Some years there just aren't waves big enough.

Not this year. The call went out Dec 7, and the surfers flew in over-night. Dec. 8 dawned HUGE: 40-50 feet, some sets. Fuukin CRAZY waves.

Greg Long, from Long Beach, and a former Mavericks' big wave master (2008), and who I think lives in Santa Cruz, won. His winning ride is the last one you see on the sECOND vid...Ramon Navarro won for "Insane Drop, survived."

More Surfing >>

(Ignore the hideous trailer)

More Surfing >>

Your Musical Advent Calendar, Day 12: (Unknown performers)

Cross-posted on my blog Woody Guthrie's Guitar; my only question: Only 12 drugs?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

How I Got To Meet Igor Stravinsky

(Below, high-class tail-gaiters party down on pre-Opera fare,
awaiting sundown and the forthcoming performance.
The view is east. The snowy-browed mountain
in the extreme background is Truchas Peak Santa Fe Baldy.)

I was reminded of this today when, on Facebook, a correspondent mentioned she was watching the ballet "Firebird."

I got to meet Stravinsky when he was an old man. I worked at the Santa Fe Opera, back in the old days, in the first theater. It was my first "job," for which I needed a Social Security card. It was the year the Opera staged a Stravinsky summer, including a couple of American premiers of one-acts. Opera director John Crosby invited the Maestro to attend, and he agreed.

Stravinsky was a long-time friend of the SFO, and his Rake's Progress (Stravinsky's Don Giovanni) was among the pieces performed in the first season, in '57. At the time in question, in '62, my first summer there, they performed six Stravinsky pieces--Mavra, Rake's Progress, Renard, Le Rossignol, Persephone, and Oedipus-- all in one season, and the old man (in '62, he was 80) conducted Rake. He might have conducted in '57, in fact I think he did; but I wasn't there.

The best thing about the Santa Fe Opera (other than the money), if you were a kid building sets and then moving them around for performances, is that in those days, it was all just one big happy, crazy family, high on sex and drugs and expensive champagne, and they didn't check ID at the opera party bars, to which the WHOLE COMPANY, stage hands included, were always invited. It was pretty a much constant orgy. Liquor flowed freely, all the time. There was pot, I know for fact; and probably cocaine, and heroin and opium, along with lots of pills; singers and such arty types can get pretty neurotic... I wasn't in that circle. The crafts guys--stage, sets, lights, sound--drank a lot, smoked weed, and all smoked cigarettes constantly. There was a tradition to leave a mixed case of one-shots backstage for the crew every performance.

I was 16 the first year I worked there, in '62. At one such party that year--it happened to have been held at my grandmother's house, and was a somewhat more subdued affair--folks prevailed upon the Maestro to play the piano. He played the only score in the house at the time: Porgy & Bess, and singers in attendance--I remember George Shirley, a tenor, and John Reardon, a baritone (they were Mario and Scarpia in Tosca, either that year or in another), and a soprano whose name I no longer recall--sang the lyrics...and he asked me to turn pages of the score for him. I didn't read music, but he said he'd kick my foot to get ready, and nod at me when it was time. It worked.

I worked the stage crew again in '63; and in '64, they moved me to lighting: I ran an arc-lamp spotlight for nighttime performances and rehearsals. (I had a day-job that summer: lifeguard at the (tiny) La Fonda Hotel swimming pool; life was hard.) At wild party one night way out up Canyon Road, that last year, I caught the attention of a 29-year-old apprentice, a mezzo named Eilene (or Elaine?), who drove a spiffy little Alfa roadster, which later she would allow me to drive when we went out...It was a wonderful way for a young man to "become a man."

Autumn of '64, I entered the USAF and my opera career was thereby truncated. But it was fun "while it lasted," I learned a lot (understatement! thank you Elaine/Eilene) about life and music and work. The old 'house' I worked in burned down in '67, and I have only attended a few performances in the new theater.

Aside: John Crosby, the founder, decided on the "perfect" acoustic spot to build his stage by shooting rifles into sandbanks on the mesa, and judging the qualities of the sound.

Dogs' Drives and Personal Body Language

Pack, Prey, and Defense Drives

Learn how your body language can help or hurt your dog training efforts. Discover simple steps you can take to improve your dog training.

Please leave a comment and you can get a free ebook "101 Ways To Improve Your Dog's Behavior." Go to http://www.amazingdogtrainingman.com

Then, training your AmStaf...

Three kinds of "Pit Bull" dogs: American Pitbull Terrier ("Pitties"), American Staffordshire Bull Terrier ("AmStaf"), and Staffordshire Bull Terriers ("Staffy's"). Turn off the sound, you don't ned it.

Finally: In praise of Pit-bulls, Part 1:

Part 2:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Monday, December 7, 2009

Women Consuming Pot Display "A Bigger Amygdala"

There is a quite long, quite thorough, quite detailed though only anecdotally, quite (seemingly) professional piece up since Saturday on Alternet--

The Secret to Legal Marijuana? Women
By Daniela Perdomo, AlterNet. Posted December 5, 2009.

Why women have signed onto marijuana reform -- and why they could be the movement's game-changers.
--the gist of which is that an upswing in women's (admitted) pot consumption is apparently co-incident with emerging evidence of relations of pot consumption to significant "positive" effects for users across an array of different treatment regimes for a variety of afflictions and illnesses. Such information and the growing use of weed by women may, the author speculates, provide the necessary popular impetus to the efforts to "legalize it...."

Cherchez la femme, nest paw?

Speaking of which, a lady-friend asked if there were vids on this subject, and I said I'd look, and sure enough, there 's a whole lot of entertaining and informative vids on the subject. I selected this one because I think the guy doing it is Dutch, and I figger, if anybody should know anything about growing something from seeds, it'd be a Nederlander--think "tulips":

Friday, December 4, 2009

Ladybug: The Pit-baby of the Week

Name: LADYBUG (here since 9/29/08)
DOB: Sept. 2002 approx.
Gender: female
Size: Big gal
Other dogs: Good, but needs to be the only dog in the home.
Cats: to be determined
Kids: great

Profile: This gal has won my heart. I absolutely adore her. She is the true story of survival. Police raided the property she was on and when they saw a "vicious" Pit Bull mix waddling out, they pumped 3 bullets into her!!!! Somehow this gal survived after having emergency life saving surgery. LadyBug has gotten to be one of the most grateful dogs I've ever encountered. She is PERFECT in the house never making a mess or even a peep. She loves to roll on her back and wiggle and waggle until she scratches that itch. We want to thank Ladybug's guardian angel, actor Michael Berryman for saving her life. She is absolutely a treasure.
Doncha just LOVE the ears? She's such a sweetie!

Repeating my usual admonitions: The folks at the Villalobos Rescue Center discourage tourists, and don't like to place their charges in homes out of state. They will not place a dog in a home where there is another dog of any kind.

If anyone may be harboring plans to gimme prezzies this year/season, please donate the price to the Villalobos Rescue Center, Temecula, CA.


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Franchise Opportunity: Grow Your Own

This weekend, in Sacramento, there's a workshop/meeting to instruct growers and dealers in the intricacies of opening a marijuana apothecary. I wish there were one closer, but I'm already committed to do a Santa gig Saturday...
Learn how to be a registered Medicinal Marijuana Provider under state law, and how to form a Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collective, you will also learn How To Start A Medical Marijuana Dispensary and a Medical Marijuana Delivery Service so you can safely distribute medicine to patients.

You will hear all about the legal issues surrounding operating a Medical Marijuana Business from attorneys who specialize in Medical Marijuana Law and have a proven track record, ask them any questions you may have.

You will learn about Medical Marijuana Business Licenses, Marijuana Business Permits, what are the start up costs of a Marijuana Business and how long it takes to start a Marijuana Dispensary or any other Medical Marijuana Business.
It's just bidness...:
If you hired an attorney for consultation, you would pay $500 to $2,500 just for them to teach you the laws and how to start up your business. The C.C.I. Main Seminar will have two attorneys who specialize in medical marijuana law that have helped hundreds of people to open marijuana businesses teaching parts of the course, that is a minimum $2,500 value that you get with your payment of $250. The greatest asset of all, you can call us back with any and all questions that you may and we'll be glad to assist you as much as we can. This is a terrific opportunity for anyone who is interested in starting a legitimate business in medical marijuana. Not to mention, all the extras that you'll get--such as the professional medical marijuana grower's info, medical marijuana cooking instructions, edible and concentrate recipes, connecting you with people who are already in business to help you along. You will get handouts to take with you to refer to if you need that will have all the instructions in detail written for you and most of the forms that you'll need to file, an up to $500 value and saving you valuable time.
The course covers:
  • 1) Marijuana Law: Learn from expert lawyers that help people start Medical Marijuana Dispensaries and Non-Profit Medical Marijuana Collectives everyday.
  • 2) Starting a business in cannabis: If you would like to start a Marijuana Dispensary, Non-Profit Collective, Marijuana Delivery Service, Marijuana Co-op and Marijuana Grow Operation, these classes are for you.
  • 3) Growing: Take lessons from professional growers. Objective: learn how to produce medicine flowers from starter plants through harvest.
  • 4) Cooking, Edibles And Extracts: Use your medicine by other means. Objective: you will learn about the hundreds of edible cannabis products that are now available.
  • 5) Mixer And Resources: get off on the right foot. Objective: to insure that students feel comfortable and confident before leaving the two day workshop, to assist one another finding people that have knowledge and resources to help you in your goal of working within the cannabis industry.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Famous Last Words: Oscar Wilde Uttered His This Date In 1900

in a dingy hotel room in Paris, broke, dishonored, and mostly alone. His last words: "Either this wallpaper goes, or I do."

Being reminded of this today by some note somewhere on the web, I determined to seek out some few more gems in the vernacular "sang froid" (coincidentally, yet another circumstance for which the French do not possess an expression; who gnu?).

Hollywood 'stars' have a way with (last) words. For example, and one of my favorites, is Humphrey Bogart's last sortee: "I should never have switched from Scotch to martinis." The comic actor Ed Gwynne happened to be answering a question with his last breath. The questioner asked if dying was tough. Gwynne answered, classically: "Yeah, but not as tough as doing comedy." Tallulah Bankhead muttered "Codeine...bourbon..." Joan Crawford heard her nurse begin to pray for her and said "Dammit! Don't you DARE ask God to help me!" John Barrymore claims the marquee, though: "Die? Why my dear fellow. No Barrymore would ever endure something so conventional."

Romantics swoon when reminded that, in excruciating pain from arsenic poisoning, Napoleon still muttered the name of his beloved "Josephine" as he expired. The French do seem to have a gift for this sort of thing. Rabelais' last instruction to his posterity is iconic: "I owe much, I have nothing. The rest I leave to the poor." True to the death to his calling, the French grammarian Bouhours expounded: "I am about to -- or I am going to -- die: either expression is correct."

The foregoing, of course are examples of people who were at least aware they were in extremis. All in all, it's hard to top General John Sedgwick, Union Commander, killed in battle in 1864, whose last words (swear to gawd) were "They couldn't hit an elephant at this dis..."

Friday, November 27, 2009

This Week's Good Dog In Need Of A Home: "Tigger"

Name: TIGGER (here since 1/07/07)
DOB: May 2006 (approx)
Gender: ALL BOY!
Size: a compact 65 lbs. approx
Other dogs: No, at least not now
Cats: no
Kids: good
Profile: Like so many of our dogs, Tigger had to be brought to our facility because his owner was deployed to Iraq. It was a heartbreaking day as Tigger's owner told us it was his third tour of duty. He looked back and Tigger, "hope to see you again boy." Our best wishes are with PFC Anthony Jesse Aguilar...
Another of the big puppies at the Villalobos Rescue Center who would sure like to have a home. VRC does NOT adopt dogs to any applicant who already has a dog. They do NOT like to place their clients out-of-state, and they do NOT like unannounced visitors.

In lieu of X-mas/holiday presents, if anyone would want to send me any, please make a donation to these wonderful, amazing beasts and the good folks who care for them so mindfully..

Thursday, November 26, 2009

WKRP: "Turkeys Aweigh!"

Profound thanks/DOTOF&Trade; to Eli Cates, the indefatigable video surfer, for finding and then reminding me of this. This episode is, to me, the comic equivalent of Jean Shepard's "A Christmas Story."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Skateboarding Bulldog (English) Takes A Wii

I dunno if this is fixed, or if it's real. I have seen enough vid of skateboarding 'bullies' to believe this is true...But who cares, it's way kewl!

Uncle Woody, Your Friendly Handyman Explains Your Friend, The "Angle Stops"

In your home, under every sink and behind every toilet where there's running water, there's a simple valve that controls the flow of water to the faucet or tank-refiller. This valve is called an angle-stop. Paying occasional attention to these devices is a good way to prevent the necessity of spending many hours (and/or dollars) replacing them when they cease to function properly, and it also becomes necessary to repair or replace the fixtures the water supply of which they control.

Especially if they water in your system is "hard"--rich with minerals, salts, etc.--it is a good idea, every so often, to simply twist the valve from the open position to closed, and then open them again.

Unfortunately, if you have left this go for a while, when you endeavor to turn the stem of the valve, it may be frozen open--likely due to mineral build-up inside the valve. This will be evident if, when you try to turn the handle, it is stuck, or resists hand-loosening or tightening.

If this is the case, REMOVE the screw holding the 'handle' to the valve-stem, remove the handle itself (which is cheap-o, pot-metal at best, and too fragile to withstand the torque of a wrench), and turn the stem with a pair of channel-lock/slip-joint pliers.

Operate the valve frequently enough that it seems easy to turn. Do not lubricate. (In many, especially older homes, the valve is soldered ("sweated") to the supply line; in newer appliances, the valves are threaded.)

Do this for every angle-stop in your house, twice yearly (I do it when the clocks change).

Remember: "Righty = Tighty; Lefty = Loosy" for all threaded equipment except that which regulates gas-flow, which is always the reverse...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Homeless Pit: "Blue" Willow Needs a Home...

Name: WILLOW (here since 5/19/09)
DOB: July. 2008 approx.
Gender: male
Size: he's a very BIG boy, very tall.
Other dogs: good
Cats: no
Kids: to be determined

Profile: Poor Willow has now become another L.A. statistic. A stray dog and one of those "rare" blue dogs, he was found wandering in a not so good part of town. If not for the kindess of a woman walking her Cocker Spaniel, this gorgeous guy would have probably died on the street. Willow is a very affectionate dog but will also need a strong willed owner. He still has alot to learn as he acts like a typical teenager. But one thing that is for sure, he's ready to make your home a place to plant his roots. Afterall he is a "Willow"...

What a glorious looking beast! They're SO noble.

The folks at Villalobos Rescue Center do not like to adopt their dogs out-of-state, and do NOT place their dogs with anyone who already owns dogs, either.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Worked to Death: A video

I was not always an effete academic. Back in the late '70s and early '80s, I was in the construction bidness, a journeyman, Class A (non-residential) carpenter, working on bridges and high-rises. During that period of about 6 years, I nearly got killed on the job on three occasions that I know of. So the following has a special poignancy for me.

Lucky me! Just a few close calls:
#1: 1978--Climbing onto a scaffolding with my tools to go hang fascia board on the MicroSoft campus, my foot slipped on a patch of ice and I fell about 25 feet. I landed in a partially-frozen mud puddle that was about a foot deep, which absorbed most of the energy of the fall. It knocked the wind outta me, but in a little while, I got up, and picked up my tools, and went back up.

#2: 1979--Working on a bank in Bellevue Wa, the boom of a concrete-pumping crane over-balanced on it's pads, and toppled almost on top of me. I was tied-off, and jumped out of the way into space. I got a little cut up on rebar wire, and contused by the sudden stop against a column, but otherwise was okay.

#3: 1981: On a bridge outside of Santa Barbara, on the hiway over the mountains, I was jacking-up the bridge's falsework to grade, when the jack shifted an 1/8th of an inch and spat the 2-foot-square of half-inch steel that was between the load and the stud of the jack in my direction. It missed me by less than a foot. It sailed across the canyon like a deadly frisbee, close on 200 feet, and dug out a big chunk of sandstone. It happened so fast, if it had hit me, I'd have been dead before I knew what happened. I quit that job after that one...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Good Info: How To Connect your Computer to your Stereo...


This process can be significantly simplified by purchasing a cable of sufficient length that has a male 1/8" mini jack (headphones style) connector on one end and two male RCA connectors on the other end. This decreases the number of components required and also saves you a couple bucks.

Make sure to start with the lowest volume on both systems or you could damage your speakers.
While it is not necessary on modern systems, to be safe, turn off the computer and stereo until you're done connecting the cables.

Things You'll Need

RCA Cable

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Well, THAT Was Fun!

The Ancient Order of the Aging Curmudgeonly Librul Bloggers of the Middle Valley of the Rio Grande del Norte (AOACLBMVRGN) once again conducted one of its irregularly unscheduled gatherings to quaff suds, gnosh bar food, and to regale one another with war stories of the blogging variety.

Attending were:
Pat, one of the local/regulars, a high-school social studies teacher who manages two blogs, Family & Friends for political-educational-social chitchat, and one--Optimus-- whereupon he flogs his novel of the same name;

Russ, another of the local/regulars, who is a retired mathematician, and has one blog --Private Buffoon--but spends most of his time looking after his seriously ill wife;

OneFly, a visitor from Colorado, who maintains a golf-course and presides over a blog called Out of the Cornfield, where he posts notes and comments on the passing scene in/around Steamboat Springs, as well as his quite remarkable photographs; OF (Tom) brought two of his pals down along with him, and, naturally

Y'r O'b'd't S'v't --whose bloggy enterprises comprise an ever-expanding empire devoted to banality and trivia.
Our little froup (WAAAIT) comprises a wide variety of interests and experience, and is focussed on the demonstrable fact that truth and facts have a Liberal bias.

This was our third or fourth meeting. We'd happily expand the membership, for which there are no other requirement than that aspiring participant be 1) moderately conversant in the important issues of the day/week/month/year/decade, and 2) a convivial conversationalist 3) with a taste for libational spirits.

If you'd like to be notified of the next gathering of the AOACLBMVRGN, leave word in the comments, and I'll inform you of future plans.

All of which was a cap to an interesting experience: a 90-minute session in which Y'O'S posed "nekkid" for an art-photographer --www.jocelynlee.com-- from NYC, whose project as I understand it is to catalog in some way the many shapes and stages of physiological decline and decay among middle-aged (and older) males. I am, of course, ideally suited for such a display...

The fotog shot with real 6"x6" color film with a pretty nice Mamiya camera. After developing them, she then digitizes the negatives (iirc). She said she'll send me jpegs.

The fee she paid me for posing covered the beer and chile-cheez fries consumed later at Spins--a sort of sports bar that bragged they have 'just about every beer under the sun, but which, upon inquiry, turned out NOT to have Bass Ale...So, staying in character, I drank Arrogant Bastard, a nice, bitter, hoppy Ale by the Stone Brewing Company.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take Pity on A Pit-bull! What's Not To Love?

Name: BUTTERCUP (here since 10/12/08)
DOB: approx. October 2005
Gender: female
Size: not too big and not too small
Other dogs: decent, but may need to be the only dog in the home.
Cats: to be determined
Kids: to be determined, but we think good.

Profile: Firstly don't shoot us for the name. A Pit Bull named Buttercup? But honestly she is one. Talk about sweet and cute and cuddly. Despite her ordeal surviving through yet another disaster in Louisiana, this little blue brindle cuddle bug is happy with life. She would make a great play time buddy yet a great lay around the house dog. Click here to visit a page where there are photos and bios of Buttercup's kennel-mates.
If you're a dog-lover, and especially if a Pitbull has ever stolen your heart (at which they are incredibly adept), your heart has to go out to the folks a Villalobos Tescue Center. Among the many good deeds for these misunderstood and noble beast-companions, the Center took in 40 abandoned dogs from the wreckage and turmoil and loss of Hurrican Katrina, in 2005.
Villalobos Rescue Center works ceaselessly to give pitbulls another chance in life. Each and every dog taken in gets spayed or neutered and is given any medical treatment necessary. We work patiently to reacclimatize fearful dogs to the loving care of a human, so that they may eventually be adopted. In some cases, these dogs have never had a kind word or touch, and it is a slow process. After determining temperaments and compatibility factors, we begin that long search for the perfect home.

The placement process is extremely slow. Unfortunately, pit bulls are their own worst enemy — their loyalty and devotion make them the perfect victim. Have we already forgotten about Petey? He was the loyal ring-eyed dog of the Little Rascals. Yes, Petey was a pit bull! You see the dogs themselves haven't changed — we have!

We've turned these all-American family dogs into the killing machines. It is our responsibility to turn this around. We owe it to them. After all, aren't they man's best friend?

On any given day, VRC cares for between 150 and 200 pit bulls here at our 10-acre facility. As you can imagine, the costs associated with running an operation of this magnitude are overwhelming. Our monthly operating expenses have now increased to $15,000, and our vet bills stay at an average of $5,000.

Here nestled in the hills of the high desert, dogs who have suffered in silence will never hear another gun shot or the siren of a pursuing police car. Every night they will fall asleep to the yipping of coyotes and the soothing hoot of the owl. They are safe and content. The only thing missing is a home of their own. Please help us to help them.
Click here to donate or learn how to help.

And watch the story all this week on Animal Planet...

Pit Bulls and Parolees : TV : Animal Planet

Pit-bull and pit-mixes account for almost 60% of all dogs euthanized every year. They are sweet, smart, affectionate, loyal, and loving.

There's no such thing as a "bad" dog. They get made that way.

Handy Information: How To Chug A Beer

Do your friends make disparaging remarks about your masculinity whenever you fail to chug a beer? Do you feel the need to prove your virility by downing beers faster than any of your buddies? Well read on, and discover secret techniques to humiliate your friends and reclaim your manhood.

The Basics:
Buy some beer. Only do this if you're of legal age (21 in America, 20 in Japan and Iceland, 18 or 19 in Canada depending on province, and around 18-19 most everywhere else... Except France, Netherlands and Denmark, which is 16). Don't bother with good (expensive) beer. If you're drinking it this way, you probably don't care about taste. If you care about taste, this article may not be for you. Read How to Drink Beer.
Practice with water. Your "training" will be more effective if you have your wits about you.
Let the beer warm up a little. It helps if the beer is not ice-cold (talk about brain freeze) but don't drink warm beer, either, or you'll end up with a stomach full of foam.[1]
Let the beer build up bubble if you pour it. Then wait for the bubbles to subside. You want to get rid of as many bubbles as possible because that'll make the beer easier to drink quickly. While you're waiting, the beer will warm up a bit (see previous step).
Right before drinking, hit the bottom of the glass on the table. This releases more carbon dioxide.
Lean your head back slightly. Open your throat, take a half breath right before drinking, and then swing the glass or can quickly so the beer rushes to the back of your throat. Swallow right before the beer actually hits your throat (see video above). Then let gravity take over; the beer should essentially pour down your throat. Try to keep your tongue low and out of the way. Alternatively, you can take a big breath and breathe all your oxygen out of your lungs. Once your throat is clear, tilt back.
Crush the can. If you're chugging from a can, crush it from back to front, as if you're squeezing a tube of toothpaste. This should help you push the beer out of the can and into your mouth faster than it would normally flow. If you squeeze too early or too close to your mouth, you'll trap some beer in the can. Twist the beer can as you crush it.[2]
Slam the empty container down, letting your friends know that you drank a beer faster than they did.
Lagniappe: (For the Advanced Chugger, there are more variations on the page...)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Coming Home

This day, commemorating the armistice ending the carnage of WW I, SHOULD be celebrated as International Peace Day!" Please, don't "thank" us veterans. Remember the ones who didn't come home, and help the ones coming back injured. But don't thank us. Just be glad to see us.

And work for peace...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What's in a name?

My blog-crush, the redoubtable, charming and loquacious PENolan, the Menopausal Stoner, had this up on on her blog today in a wholly different context. My family sur-name, in its ur-original language out on the western Steppes, would have been understood as vernacular equivalent of "Hempster." On the family crest, there's a little bird--the 'konopi'-- which feeds on the pests that might attack the hemp plants. Which might explain my personal proclivities...

Without hemp, the whole regimen of trans-oceanic exploration and conquest of the rest of the planet from Europe would/could never have occurred...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Meet Budreau

He's an American Pit Bull Terrier. Via Wiki:
The American Pit Bull Terrier is the product of interbreeding between terriers and a now-extinct breed of bulldogs to produce a dog that combined the gameness of the terrier with the strength and athleticism of the bulldog. These dogs were initially bred in England, Ireland, and Scotland, and arrived in the United States with immigrants from these countries. In the United States these dogs were used as catch dogs for semi-wild cattle and hogs, to hunt, to drive livestock, and as family companions;[1] however, some were selectively bred for their fighting prowess,[2] and starting in the early 20th century, they began to replace the bull terrier as the "dog of choice" for dog fighting in the United States.[3]

The United Kennel Club (UKC) was the first registry to recognize the American Pit Bull Terrier. UKC founder C. Z. Bennett assigned UKC registration number 1 to his own dog, "Bennett’s Ring", as an American Pit Bull Terrier in 1898.[1]
(I'll leave tthe curiosity of the reader making the remaining links to which the end-note numbers refer. They're on the Wiki page--W)
American pit bull terriers today successfully fill the role of companion dog, police dog,[4][5][6] and therapy dog;[7] however, American pit bull terriers in general have a higher tendency towards dog aggression[8] and constitute the majority of dogs used for illegal dog fighting in the United States.[9] The fighting reputation of pit bull-type dogs led the San Francisco Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in 1996 to relabel pit bull terriers as "St. Francis Terriers" (not to be confused with the "Terrier" mascot of St. Francis College in New York) so that they might be more readily adopted;[10] 60 temperament-screened dogs were adopted until the program was halted after several of the newly adopted dogs killed cats.[11] The New York City Center for Animal Care and Control tried a similar approach in 2004 by relabeling their pit bull terriers as "New Yorkies", but dropped the idea in the face of overwhelming public opposition.[12]

Budreau's a handsome, tawny, noble, head-out-the-window, 75-lb lap-dog. He loves the car and especially the truck. He sits beside me 'girl-friend close' at times. He seems to crave the contact and proximity. He loves to be UP, too, looking down. He'll rest atop the tallest accessible space available. They're enthusiastic dogs, and energetic, and they love to SPRING off their hind legs. If Budreau's leg had not been damaged (before he came to me; I don't know how it happened), I doubt I could keep him inside a six-foot concrete fence.

I will attest that, although he is the sweetest, most loving, most attentive dog I have ever had, and if I vet you, he'll be friends with all people, he's not good about other dogs.

So I have to keep him and Hanna seperate. And that is another story...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

High Anxiety

From LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) comes a petition of some immediacy:
Don't Let Congress Censor Discussion of Legalization

As soon as this Thursday, November 5, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee could vote on an amendment that will legally prevent some of the government's top advisers from even discussing the idea of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs as a solution to the failed "war on drugs."

Yes, you read that right. The Senate just might censor its own policy advisers from giving science-based advice.

The censorship amendment's author, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), is trying to attach the speech prohibition onto an otherwise positive bill that will create a blue ribbon commission to study our nation's failed criminal justice and drug policies.

The commission is supposed to make recommendations for ways to improve the system, but how can they do that with the blindfold that Sen. Grassley wants to put on them?

Please take action below and tell your senators to oppose the censorship amendment!
You'd KNOW that that ancient, tooth-sucking, censorious shitbag Grassley was in in on this, wouldn't you?

Follow the link to the petition. Sign UP!


Friday, October 30, 2009

All Soul's Eve / All Saints' Day: A Memoir

For any kid between the age of about 6 and maybe 14, Halloween is just about the best day of the year that doesn't involve getting or giving presents. Who doesn't like to get dressed up in outlandish get-up, to disguise oneself, and then to invest the nighttime with at least the whiff of mischief? Well into my 20s, I ran with a group of folks who dressed up, and visited each others' and others' houses on explicit missions to "Drink or Trick." I always liked Halloween.

Someone on a blog today was complaining that the "Churches" were trying to appropriate Halloween, on the theory one supposes that if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. The jist of the complaint was that they were trying to take the "fun" out. This struck me as a new approach. Official criticism of the holiday was muted in my youth. Then the Church had an ambivalent relation with All Hallows' Eve.

Now, my father was profoundly--and to his dying breath, afaik--agnostic in all things 'religious.' He had promised, as a condition of his being 'allowed' by the Church to marry my mother--whom he adored, and for whom he would have promised anything-- that he would see that the children of the union would receive a "Catholic" education. He was faithful to that pledge; I attended Catholic school grades 1-9, and finished high school in a Catholic boys' academy. My sister, two years junior, was similarly schooled.

As a 2nd or 3rd grader in around 1954, we attended a Catholic parish school--St. Mark's, on the far west side of Cleveland, OH. At that school, on Nov. 1--which is "All Saints' Day" (a kind of portmanteau Church holy day of obligation)--all the kids were encouraged to attend in costumes which represented their favorite Saints of the Church. (Also, in a way that I later learned smacked of sub-Arctic, aboriginal potlaches, we were instructed to bring candy TO school, to exchange with our fellows. But i digress...) In our household, where my mother, being a strict Catholic, set great store by following the dictates of the Church, far more effort was spent on imagining and constructing All Saints' costumes than was ever expended on Halloween rigs. One year, they made me a "coat of armor by wrapping laundry shirt-stiffeners in foil, and joining them with twine. I couldn't move fast, but I could move in it...

Our Pop had a mordant and wry sense of humor. Plus, I think in retrospect he may have reached a certain "point." Whatever the provocation, this certain year the costume he devised for me was a "platter" crafted from the side of a stiff, cardboard box, and wrapped with aluminum foil, rigged it with a hole in the center, where my head went. Red paint puddled and dried looked gory. My face was also made up with mascara to simulate a beard, and with lipstick to represent blood (funny how that works out, nest paw?).

In that costume, I went to school as "the Martyrdom of St. John, the baptist..."

The kids voted it best costume...But the nuns at St. Mark's were not amused--they seldom were with my deportment, or anything else pertaining to the youthful Y'rOb'd'tS'v't--and they thereafter suspended the All Saints' Day dress-ups.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Please Come To Albuquerque (To Visit)

Every two years drug policy reformers from across the United States and around the world come together to listen, learn, network and strategize. If you’re working to bring about drug policies based on science, compassion, health and human rights, you can’t afford to miss this extraordinary gathering!
Laern MORE, here. If you do, gimme a buzz; the first cerveza's on me!

Going to Pot

Monday, October 26, 2009

"Tony's Law" Would Require Marijuana Users To Inform Interested Neighbors

WASHINGTON, DC (TONS)—Citizens spoke before Congress Monday in support of Tony's Law, a Senate measure that would require all marijuana-law offenders to inform their neighbors if they're holding.

"Right now, countless Americans are living on the very same blocks as convicted illegal-drug users," said Sharon Logan of the Weed For Tony Coalition. "Without a federal mandate requiring full disclosure, how are unsuspecting residents supposed to find any decent weed?"

Designed to protect Americans from dry spells, Tony's Law was named after 19-year-old New Jersey resident Tony DiCenzo, who went nine months without getting high before discovering that he lived in the same apartment building as a reliable marijuana source.

"Can you imagine the shock and anger Tony must have felt when he found out that the guy on the second floor possessed the Schedule I federal controlled substance?" Logan said. "The offender could have invited poor Tony into his apartment to smoke some at any time. It's heartbreaking."

Tony's Law would create a national public registry of drug-law offenders' names, addresses, and pager numbers. Additionally, offenders charged with dealing marijuana would be required to either post signs or go door-to-door and let neighbors know when they're holding.

Privacy-rights groups oppose the legislation on the grounds that it violates the individual's right to a stash, but Austin, TX's James W. Clancy is one of many stoner-rights lawyers who traveled to Washington to rally in favor of the law's passage.

"Millions of Americans love to be high," Clancy said. "Unfortunately, their neighbors often keep them in the dark about what kind of shit is going around."

Clancy and other proponents of Tony's Law argued that the bill would result in increased domestic trade in consumer snack products and a heightened sense of community and well-being.

More powerful, perhaps, were the personal testimonials of hundreds of drug-drought victims, who stood before lawmakers to share their experiences with dope deprivation.

"As a parent, I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to finding weed," Minneapolis resident Kyle Berman said. "All my wife and I wanted to be able to do was get Tina and Tyler to bed, put on a movie, and smoke a joint. It wasn't until the police busted the guy across the street for growing marijuana that we realized how close we'd come to actually finding some pot. A whole set-up with lamps and everything was less than 50 feet from our living room. It sickens me to think about it."

Several lawmakers have spoken out in opposition to Tony's Law, largely due to what Rep. Chris Chocola (R-IN) called "complications stemming from the illegality of marijuana."

Nonetheless, the bill's many devoted supporters said they'll continue their fight.

"After nine months of hell, Tony eventually found a hook-up through the friend of a guy whose brother met someone at a former girlfriend's birthday party," activist Stephen Miller said. "In spite of the nightmare he was going through, Tony didn't give up...and neither will we."

Woody's Bloggy Bloggy Dewings Top ONE HUNDRED THOUSANDTH Hit!

Last evening, at around 6:20 local time, we got out first six-digit hit!

Everyone was quite pleased, as you can see...

P.S.: There is only one possible reason to host a vid featuring the reprehensible, vapid Ben Stein: For the Furs

Friday, October 23, 2009

Joey Mars: One-Man Show in Provincetown

Joey's an old blog pal from days of yore. If you're in the neighborhood, drop on in and give the boy some love:

Saith the flyer:
Paintings and drawings by Joey Mars. Freaked out ghosts return from wars to trick or treat in soup kitchens of mass destruction. Burnt and still smoldering they are reassembled and sewn back together with laser guided space age technology. Graffiti tagged robots search for signs of life. Zombie rabbits haunting dream pastures from another dimension look at time from another side. The data rolls cross the screen. Mushroom Jesus moved the rock. Mushroom Jesus moved to Iraq. Knock, knock, knock the aliens are at the back door. Will you let them in?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Condom Ads You Won't See Here In The USofA

Via Treehugger.com, here's a couple of the 10 featured ads. They're not at all rude or even racy, once granting the legitimacy of the product itself:

So if you're looking for adventure of a new and different kind,
and you come across a Girl Scout who is similarly inclined,
Don't be nervous, don't be flustered, don't be scared...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"ApaCHEEEESY"!--(Tommy Seebach)

Web-pal, the peripatetic and indefatigable Tubez-miner, eagle-eyed photog and quipster, Eli somewhere unearthed an up-graded/improved version of this classic ("We are aware of ALL Internet traditions!") vid which seems to me just about the apotheosis of music-video kitsch!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Obama Orders DoJ To Exercise Discretion On Medical Pot Busts

(Fyeieio: There's a neat article along these same lines in the October number of Harper's Magazine.

Via AP/Yahoo:

Feds to issue new medical marijuana policy
WASHINGTON – Federal drug agents won't pursue pot-smoking patients or their sanctioned suppliers in states that allow medical marijuana, under new legal guidelines to be issued Monday by the Obama administration.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state law.

The guidelines to be issued by the department do, however, make it clear that agents will go after people whose marijuana distribution goes beyond what is permitted under state law or use medical marijuana as a cover for other crimes, the officials said.

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.

Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

California is unique among those for the widespread presence of dispensaries — businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that promotes the decriminalization of marijuana use.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but it has not been clear how that goal would be put into practice.

A three-page memo spelling out the policy is expected to be sent Monday to federal prosecutors in the 14 states, and also to top officials at the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration.

The memo, the officials said, emphasizes that prosecutors have wide discretion in choosing which cases to pursue, and says it is not a good use of federal manpower to prosecute those who are without a doubt in compliance with state law.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the legal guidance before it is issued.

"This is a major step forward," said Bruce Mirken, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "This change in policy moves the federal government dramatically toward respecting scientific and practical reality."

At the same time, the officials said, the government will still prosecute those who use medical marijuana as a cover for other illegal activity. The memo particularly warns that some suspects may hide old-fashioned drug dealing or other crimes behind a medical marijuana business.

In particular, the memo urges prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases which involve violence, the illegal use of firearms, selling pot to minors, money laundering or involvement in other crimes.

And while the policy memo describes a change in priorities away from prosecuting medical marijuana cases, it does not rule out the possibility that the federal government could still prosecute someone whose activities are allowed under state law.

The memo, officials said, is designed to give a sense of prosecutorial priorities to U.S. attorneys in the states that allow medical marijuana. It notes that pot sales in the United States are the largest source of money for violent Mexican drug cartels, but adds that federal law enforcement agencies have limited resources.

Medical marijuana advocates have been anxious to see exactly how the administration would implement candidate Barack Obama's repeated promises to change the policy in situations in which state laws allow the use of medical marijuana.

Soon after Obama took office, DEA agents raided four dispensaries in Los Angeles, prompting confusion about the government's plans. (Emphases supplied. W.)

Friday, October 16, 2009

"...Kill It Before It Grows..."

From Alternet:
Defiant Hemp Farmers Plant Seeds at DEA
Headquarters to Protest Government Interference

By Phillip S. Smith, Drug War Chronicle. Posted October 16, 2009.

Hoping to focus the attention of the Obama administration on the DEA's bad policies, leading activists were willing to get arrested to make their point.

Fresh from the Hemp Industries Association (HIA) annual convention last weekend in Washington, DC, a pair of real life farmers who want to be hemp farmers joined with hemp industry figures and spokesmen to travel across the Potomac River to DEA headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, where, in an act of civil disobedience, they took shovels to the lawn and planted hemp seeds. Within a few minutes, they were arrested and charged with trespassing.

Hoping to focus the attention of the Obama administration on halting DEA interference, North Dakota farmer Wayne Hauge, Vermont farmer Will Allen, HIA President Steve Levine, hemp-based soap producer and Vote Hemp director David Bronner, Vote Hemp communications director Adam Eidinger, and hemp clothing company owner Isaac Nichelson were arrested in the action as another dozen or so supporters and puzzled DEA employees looked on.

"Who has a permit?" demanded a DEA security official. "A permit -- that's what we want from the DEA," Bronner responded.
Read on...