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, 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...

PhD: Pug has Degree--A Dog's Life (Experience) Rewarded

Dog Gets Online MBA

By GetEducated Consumer Reporting Team | September 21, 2009

"Chester Ludlow," a pug dog from Vermont, has been awarded an online MBA (Masters in Business Administration) by Rochville University—an online college that offers distance learning degrees based on life and career experience.

Chester is believed to be the first dog to be awarded a (ADVANCED) college degree based on life experience.

But did he earn it—or did he buy it?

“The difference between earning a college degree online or buying one is key,” says Vicky Phillips, founder of

Chester is GetEducated’s mascot. In May, he submitted his resume—along with $499—to Rochville University online. A week later, on June 5, 2009, an express packet arrived from a post office box in Dubai.

The package contained Chester’s MBA diploma, two sets of college transcripts, a certificate of distinction in finance, and a certificate of membership in the student council.

The paperwork says the pug “earned” a GPA of 3.19 (for an additional $100, he could have graduated with honors).

All documents were issued in the dog’s AKC pedigree name: Chester Ludlow. Chester also received a Rochville University window decal for his car (though reportedly the canine does not drive).

Rochville University is one of scores of online universities operating from foreign post office boxes that advertise college diplomas fast—for a flat fee. The university claims accreditation by the “Board of Online Universities Accreditation” and the “Universal Council for Online Education Accreditation.”

The catch? Neither of these agencies is recognized as a college accreditor by the U.S. Department of Education or the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.
“It matters which agency accredits your online college,” explains Phillips. “Want to ensure your fellow alumni aren’t real dogs? Make sure your online college is accredited by a recognized agency.”

To help combat credential fraud, operates a free service, The Diploma Mill Police. This service allows consumers to verify the accreditation status of any online college. It also helps employers screen resumes for fraudulent college credentials.

“Degree mills represent a billion dollar industry worldwide,” warns Phillips. “If you define a degree mill as any agency willing to award educational credentials without concern as to whether or not learning actually occurred, then it appears Chester the pug has been the victim of a degree mill.”

Chester is currently starring in’s educational video: “Dog Earns Online MBA: A Cautionary Tail.” (above) In this video, Chester and his sidekick Bixby, a rescue puggle, dramatize the canine quest for credible online education.
The video has been produced by to help online students understand the importance of college accreditation and to warn them of the rapid spread of online college degree mills.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Don't let the glasses fool ya..."

David Bromberg, the unchallenged RULER of 'subtle" picking: "A Demon In Disguise"

I don't think Bromberg EVER got the respect he deserves...

Oh? Did I leave "guitar blues" off the list of staples? Sorree...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Two outta three ain't bad...

Whiskey and dogs together, I mean...

"James Buchanan began his whisky career in 1879 as a London agent, but it didn't take long for this savvy businessman to venture out on his own. He soon produced Buchanan Blend which became relied upon by many for its consistency and quality. It was marketed in a black bottle with a white label and customers simply started referring to Buchanan Blend as "that black and white whisky". Before the name of the blend was officially changed, another name was introduced. James won a contract to supply the House of Commons with whisky, hence the short-lived, new name of Buchanan's House of Commons Scotch Whisky."

Damnedest thing is I do not recall the last time I saw an actual bottle of Black & White scotch. My last memory seems to be lodged sometime in the '60s when, if one asked for 'whisky' in a German dance-hall, Black&White was what they served you (and charged out the ass for). I remember it being "light," and not very 'peaty.'

Cute pups, nest paw? The "black" one is a "Scottie," while the white one is a "Westie," just fyeieio...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

"HONK Festival": Brass Band-itry

This truly looks like fun!

DOTOF™ to Dan Williams, on FB, for the tip.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Micro-Pigs: Too Cute For Bacon

Too small, too, unless for bacon bits...

DOTOF™ to Susan Jordan (aka Moonboo) @ facebook.
Micro pigs are much smaller than a standard farm pig and weigh 9oz, about the size of a tea cup when they are born.

At two years old they are fully grown and weigh in around 40-65 lb and are around knee height at 12-16in tall. They can live for up to 18 years, but make popular pets as they are low maintenance, quiet and surprisingly clean.

"Micro pigs make fantastic pets as they are very low maintenance. You don't have to take them for walks and they have very few health issues," said Mrs Croft, who runs Little Pig Farm in Christchurch, Cambridgeshire.

"They don't make much noise, they are easy to lavatory train and once they have bonded with you they are very loving.

"They are actually very clean and never mess in their bedding and are just so adorable.

"They are also highly intelligent and are the fourth most intelligent species after man, monkey and dolphin.

"They really are the perfect pets, I don't know why people haven't thought of them before."

Micro pigs are also good alternative pets for people with allergies.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"Beer Wars" --- The Trailer

It's not beer, it's fermented, industrial sludge. It's NOT beer!

DOTOF™ to the estimable Steve Simels: The "Big Three" USer "beer" manufacturers--Anheuser-Busch, Coors, and Miller--don't make "beer." They make mildly alcoholic "malt beverages." Proof of this assertion came irrefutably during the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany when the Germans invoked the "Reihheits" (purity) laws to prohibit "Budweiser" kiosks from advertizing "beer."

..."Ducks in a Row Entertainment's DVD of Beer Wars: Brewed in America, an eye-opening, funny and righteously infuriating documentary by first-time filmmaker Anat Baron.

Baron was the former general manager for Mike's Hard Lemonade (sort of the Bartles and Jaymes or Zima of the new century) so she obviously knows a little something about the spirits biz, and her film (think of it as Suds: A Love Story) is a sort of Michael Moore-ish look at how three gigantic corporate entities -- Anheuser/Busch, Miller and Coors -- not only sell a demonstrably crappy product but use their enormous monopolistic clout to squeeze out smaller entrepeneurs who try to challenge their hegemony. It's your basic David and Goliath story (told through the eyes of two of the aforementioned small entrepeneurs) with Baron as its peripatetic narrator and conscience, and while it's a tad heavy-handed at times it's also a pretty damning indictment of not just the beer industry but contemporary unfettered unregulated capitalism's disturbing excesses. Given our current economic climate (not to mention the health care debate -- the beer companies will definitely remind you of some of the current players in that little brouhaha) this is a film with all sorts of resonances beyond its immediate subject.

The trailer to give you an idea of its at times cheerfully bemused agit-prop approach.
Addendum: This is one of the FUNNIEST beer ads EVER!