Thursday, July 31, 2008


So do something about it!

Yesterday I discussed HIV and how it is affecting the black members of our community. Dr. Bambi Gaddist decided to do something about it. She started the South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council which:
South Carolina HIV/AIDS Council (SCHAC) is an organization dedicated to developing strategies to reduce the rate of HIV/AIDS and improve the quality of life of African Americans and citizens throughout South Carolina impacted by the human immunodeficiency virus.
Congrats to Bambi and her team for doing something about this horrible epidemic that affects us all.

J and I will be traveling towards STL to join our family in the marriage of my little brother to a lovely woman (who most of us haven't met). It should be a great time and HOT, but at least we're used to that. There should be pictures and I might even slip a few Gatlinburg pics in.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008


If you're hitting the sheets, then wrap it up tight!

That's Q-tip's advice from the Knee High Park skit of the Chapelle's Show. There's a clip of it here and it must be from someone's DVD cuz they don't bleep shit. My favorite is Charlie Murphy's puppet song "Fuck It" but the line "I beat my dick like it owes me money," gets me every damn time. Ah Dave, we miss you but I understand.

Q-tip's tip (He was the leader of A Tribe Called Quest) is spot on. If you're planning on having sex, whip out that condom and put it on. It isn't difficult and it might just save your life. Or at least your penis. If you don't have a penis, then it just might save your vagina. Especially since a report released on Tuesday noted that almost 50% of those infected with HIV is black. That's in THIS country. I know we don't have the most easily accessible healthcare but that is just scary.
• AIDS remains the leading cause of death among black women between ages 25 and 34. It's the second-leading cause of death in black men 35-44.
Wow. I had no idea. I knew AIDS wasn't the "popular" disease to raise money for thanks to cancer, but didn't know it was that prevalent in American society. Roland S. Martin, columnist with CNN, had an interesting commentary on it today. He said that McCain and Obama need to bring it up as they're campaigning because I'm sure most Americans don't know those cold hard facts either. AIDS might still be unknown but how it spreads is very well known: unprotected sex (all kinds, oral, anal and vaginal), blood transfusions, tattoos, ear piercing, intravenous drug use and mother passing it to her child.

The safest way to not get AIDS is pretty simple: DON'T HAVE SEX. However, if you choose to have sex, use a condom properly. Weird, did you know egg whites are a condom safe lubricant? I didn't. Sounds messy though.

Phill Wilson's, head of the Black AIDS Institute, article from blog.

I'll add my voice to Roland's. Please Senators Obama and McCain, talk about AIDS.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


Oh no! Not Crocs and Heelys!

Recently I signed up for Dr. Housing Bubble's posts to be emailed to me. They're great and I feel like I'm learning about housing and economics in general. His post today was Part XVI in Lessons from the Great Depression: Items that Sold in the Credit Bubble. Before the Great Depression it was crossword puzzle books and before "whatever we're going to call what we're in the midst of right now", Crocs and Heelys were selling like hotcakes! Crocs publicly traded stock actually sold for $75/share! I hope to Mother Earth you sold at that price because today it's back down to $4.95 for CROX. Yikes. Also Heelys (those shoes with the wheels that the kids love) went from a high of almost $39 to $4.50 for a share of HLYS. I have really enjoyed his post, this one wasn't terrible but the one that gave me chills was this post on IndyMac's bank foreclosure. Gyah! I was shocked. That post is not for the faint of heart.

Okay, off to work so I can graduate and then wade out into this failing economy of ours. I wonder if Europe is hiring?

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Friday, July 25, 2008


We have a plan!

Once I'm done here, J will apply to grad school for wildlife conservation (because she loves animals and wants to help them but doesn't want to be a vet) and I will follow her to wherever she winds up and find a job there. This plan might change but since J has been sacrificing by staying in South Carolina while I get my degree, it will be my turn to sacrifice and follow her to her school of choice.

This season of Weeds is moving along quite well. I can't believe Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker's character) went through the tunnel. Where did she think it went? To a goldmine? Buried treasure? Canada? A tunnel in the back of your store near the Mexican border goes to MEXICO and the guy who employs Guillermo (the always amazing Guillermo Diaz) and more importantly you to be the face of the store that is clearly a front bringing fresh packed bricks of mota into this country. (Yes, the government could tax it and cut the bad drug dealers out of the picture, but they don't want to do that) But you had to go and venture into the tunnel and got in big trouble.

I can't wait for Andy (Justin Kirk) and Doug (Kevin Nealon) to become coyotes. Of course, neither one of them speaks Spanish well, if at all, so this should be a hilarious storyline.

Yes it comes on Monday nights but we didn't watch it until yesterday. If you don't get Showtime, I would highly recommend finding a friend who does, renting or buying the DVD sets. It's a great show that doesn't glorify the drug business at all. It's a fairly realistic take on it, I guess, not being a SoCal dealer myself.

Back to work!


Thursday, July 24, 2008


Which of these button calls your parents to pick you up?

- Triumph the Insult Dog, from the Conan O'Brien show during his hilarious interviews of people waiting to see one of the Star Wars prequels. There you go, it's 10 min. long but very funny.

So with my vegetarianish diet, I haven't seen the weight come flying off but I do feel better and can feel the heart disease and diabetes draining away from me. Basically I need to get off my ass and do more cardio. If only I had an actor's schedule and was paid to be in shape. I love the first thing workout. I reveled in it during college. First class wasn't until 11 am so you could sleep in till 9-9:30, go workout, shower, catch a quick snack for breakfast and make your way to class, energized, focused and ready to take on the world! Now, it's struggle out of bed at 6:30, feed the cats, make lunch, make and eat breakfast, clothes then work around 8-8:30. I really miss that morning endorphin fest. Why don't you wake up earlier? I might have to when I get a real job but for now, I'm not willing to go earlier. A 5 am wake up routine would definitely allow a morning jog and (quick check of shows sunrise at 6:30, so it might be light enough at 6. Maybe a 6 am jog isn't out of the question. Hmmmm, I might have to look into that. Also every Southerner will tell you that the only time to do outdoor activity is early morning or late evening. Only crazies jog in the early afternoon with peak humidity and peak temperature, that's a good recipe for heat stroke. Ok, enough of my "exercise regime".

Thanks to Cynical Chris, I found a link to the Funky Ghetto Hijabi and her confessions. She's a Nigerian Canadian who comprised a list of 50 mixed race actors, musicians, writers and models. Very interesting list and a couple surprises. Of course J knew already, but I didn't know that Rob Schneider was mixed (Filipino/European American) or Tera Patrick (Thai/European Jewish) was also (porn star link, so probably NSFW). As some of you know, I'm in an interracial marriage and at least one of our kids (others will be adopted) will be mixed (Euro American[white!]/Korean) so I have a vested interest in seeing how society views them. Thankfully they are more and more accepted everyday and aren't subject to as much ridicule as before. I even saw a "mixed" box under the race section last time I donated blood, hooray! In the future those boxes will dwindle to "mixed" or "inbred". Yeah, it's only a matter of time.

But Funky Ghetto Hijabi has a very interesting background and point of view when it comes to racism (which she says didn't affect her too much) but especially classism. Read her post White Trash Pride for her point of view.

Through her website, I wandered over to Saudi Stepford Wife:
American/Saudi with a dash of religiosity, a pinch of realistic feminism, and usually with humorous overtones.
She hasn't posted in a bit but her archives are pretty interesting.

Also, I've been reading through Rantings of an Arab Chick's archives. She is an Arab who married an American and is now a special education teacher. I like her blog for her common sense approach to teaching and discipline and her outsiderish views of our nation and education system and she's racing a mixed race daughter as well.

Okay, off to read a bit more then to work!

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in.

- Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, apparently from Kenny's "hippie" days from Wikipedia:
Feeling that the Minstrels were not offering the success they wanted, Rogers and fellow members Mike Settle, Terry Williams and Thelma Camacho left the group. They formed The First Edition in 1967 (later renamed "Kenny Rogers and The First Edition"). They chalked up a string of hits on both the pop and country charts, including "Somethings Burnin", "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town", "Reuben James" and "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)." In his First Edition days, Rogers had something of a hippie image, with long brown hair, an earring, and pink sunglasses. Known affectionately in retrospect as "Hippie Kenny", Rogers had a much smoother vocal style than in his later career.
I've never tried his chicken but I hear he makes a mean bird. Youtube of the song from a Smothers Brothers appearance.

Have you still not seen Futurama? Seriously? Fine, I get that you saw a couple episodes and they weren't that funny. Not all of them are non-stop laughs. If you enjoy laughing then please set your Tivo to record the "Roswell that Ends Well" episode. I, and the Emmy folks, love it! It won the Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program (less than one hour). Plus the episode lays ground work for future (yes I know, past) Futurama episodes. I know I've talked about Futurama and this episode before, but it's great.

J and I went to go see the 2004 Tony award winning musical Avenue Q at the Peace Center on Saturday. Thanks to Craigslist and the nice lady for selling us her tickets and that they were real. Really great seats too, orchestra level, row O (15th row) and right smack dab in the middle. It's a tale of an English major trying to make it in NYC, finding a job, a place to live, love and its trials, and the whole cast of characters too. Gary Coleman as the superintendent was particularly funny. Gary receiving a motorboat from a slutty puppet was one of my personal highlights from the show. The touring cast did a great job although they were hard to hear at times. My personal favorite was Seth Rettberg and yes that's just because his name is Seth. Here are photos for the cast. Kelli Sawyer also impressed when she had a dialog by herself using two voices and two puppets. Since it was a 2004 production, the references were a hair outdated but still funny and they even got in a Dubya jab right there at the end which was received very well in this bastion of die hard republicans (although with a 26% approval rating, I can see why). We even ran into some friends before the show and then went out for drinks afterward. They live in Greenville (where the Peace Center is) so it isn't really strange but we always run into them during events, like the Art is Fear (okay, it's really Artisphere but I like my way better) show. I'm not sure if I ever gave them car nicknames but we'll see.

Off to write, analyze, process and work!

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I knew this day would come.

Estelle Getty of "Golden Girls" and "Stop or My Mom Will Shoot" fame passed away this morning at 5:30 am. She is survived by her son Carl Gettleman, son Barry Gettleman of Miami, Florida; a brother, David Scher of London, England; and a sister, Rosilyn Howard of Las Vegas, Nevada.

CNN article


Friday, July 18, 2008


Woo-hoo! Alabama!

Aw yeah! Congratulations fat asses! You helped take Alabama to the #2 fattest state in the country! Yee-haw! How about another deep fried Twinkie?
Why is the South so heavy? The traditional Southern diet -- high in fat and fried food -- may be part of the answer, said Dr. William Dietz, who heads CDC's nutrition, physical activity and obesity division.

The South also has a large concentration of rural residents and black women -- two groups that tend to have higher obesity rates, he said.
Who knew the CDC was so racists? All black women are not fat and your precious stats and surveys don't give you the right to go around calling black women and rural folk fat. Besides, they're not fat, they're just big-boned. Sorry to say I'm not helping matters. I just googled a BMI calculator and I'm obese too! Oh no! Well, I do live in the South and am American so it isn't my fault! Hooray! Hehe, but isn't that what's wrong with this country in the first place? No one wants to take responsibility for their actions anymore. Well don't lump me in together with those jerks. It is 100% my fault that I'm fat. At 68 inches and 227 pounds, I had a feeling I was no Mr. Lance "Enlarged Heart" Armstrong, but I still feel pretty good. My mental health is alright (getting out of grad school would help a shit-ton). My exercise regiment is decent but obviously I might need to take up my cardio a bit. I'm slowly cutting out dairy (on a temporary basis, I'm not sure I could never eat another grilled cheese sandwich again [wait, what? holy double negative. I'm sure I will have to eat another grilled cheese sandwich again]) And that vegan cheese we bought melts like a champ but tastes like nothing. It sort of tastes like melted orange but certainly not cheese, and yes the color orange not the fruit. I drank the last of our Happy Cow whole milk last night. My meat intake has decreased. I haven't bought lunch meat in weeks. My wine intake could go up. So many freakin' studies have shown that a glass of wine a day helps in every way. That's a good idea. I'll start drinking a small amount of wine a day, in addition to everything else. The meat reduction strategy is an entire life thing but the dairy thing is just to see how I feel after 2 weeks of no dairy.

Also South Carolina is 7th on the list.

My dream last night was J and I hanging out at the Playboy Mansion during Casablanca Night. Hef was a very charming host, Holly and Bridget were funny and enchanting and I don't specifically remember Kendra but I'm sure she was around somewhere. I'm fairly certain the Captain Morgan's Rum contest to attend the Playboy Mansion's Halloween party inspired that particular dream, which reminds me, I'm off to register for Captain Morgan's contest to go to the Playboy Mansion's Halloween party. I would provide the link but I don't want to make it easy for you to enter the contest and blow my chances.

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Thursday, July 17, 2008


More like LameStoryDeviceWorld

I just finished reading #10 Bloodworld by Laurence M. Janifer from the Top 10 Most Obscure but Superb Science Fiction Novels from List Universe. We'll get to that in a second but first a story.

It's an idyllic morning in the valley. A fresh snowfall has left the surrounding mountains and valley village bathed in a quiet white blanket. Vlad asks if I know my way around my guns. Of course I do, I mutter and then explain the safety and where to insert the bullets and we shoot through a clip or two. Bah, I forgot to pack extra ammo! My house sits down in the valley about 200 feet down from where we are now. Be right back. Once in my house (which is identical to the one we lived in here) I get the bullets and start to make my way back when I get a bad feeling. Something's wrong. The lights are off and I slowly creep my way around then windows, then I see it. A massive grey wolf. Shit. It hasn't caught my scent so I follow it as it circles the house. It comes to the back where screen covers the upper half of the door. He could tear through that in a heartbeat, I think to myself. I haven't had time to reload the clips so my guns are worthless. The wolf stands up on its hindlegs, peering and sniffing through the screen door. Aaaaaaaah! I shriek hoping to scare it away so it never comes back. My scream momentarily startles the wolf and I beat it in the head with a hammer. Nothing gruesome. It's like I'm beating the animatronic wolf, The Nothing, from the Never Ending Story.

Then I switch dreams to something I can't remember.

That scream woke me up. This morning I found out it woke J up too. I don't usually talk or scream in my dreams but I guess I really wanted that wolf gone. Also only in dreams do I condone the killing of wolves by beating them. Feel free to beat all the animatronic things you want in real life. The theme park might not like it though.

So Bloodworld. It's told from the protagonist's viewpoint as he's relaying the story to inhabitants of another planet (presumably ours or one similar) about how his home world was destroyed and his customs. I suppose in 1967 it was shocking but not so much by today's standard and he spends entirely too much time convincing us that it's okay where he comes from. Gah! I believe you already, stop interrupting the story! Basically there are 2 classes of people, Lords and Ladies, and the Bound men and women. The Lords and Ladies are very polite and refined and rule their world sanely. Apparently they can only do this by ordering around the Bound and occasionally torturing them. Yeah. At one point, Jo, the main guy, gets pissed at his mom so he sets off to one of their "remand houses", goes through the formal commands, selects a Bound girl who kind of resembles her and wants "Style B" (there is a Style A but people are shocked when it's asked for so it must be really messed up), then is led to an empty metal room which contains the Bound girl who is tied up, a fire with a bucket full of tools with insulated handles over it, and a chair. He then proceeds to brand the Bound girl and then explains to the Doctors "oh you sane men" about how their medicines are advanced and they are able to heal the Bound very quickly. They take joy in the pain of the Bound. That's a few chapters in, so no big spoilers.

*Spoiler alert* Don't scroll down if you plan to read Bloodworld*

He then falls in love with Elaine, his favorite Bound girl who he never tortured, and devises a way for them to be together but can't really come up with anything, nor does it sound like he tried. There are 2 murders on their city streets, then 2 more, which is unheard of in their Lord and Lady polite society, so a bunch of his friends decide they can do a better job of keeping the city safe than the current Council, they stage a coup, it doesn't work and are banned from the city, then they burn down the city and pretty much end their entire civilization.

I guess the message is if you beat someone enough, you lose the spark and then have to beat them more and beat different important people. I don't know. I'm just glad I can move on to the next one. The List Universe recommends it to Gene Wolfe fans and according to this Wikipedia quote:
Wolfe frequently creates an unreliable narrator to tell his stories. According to Wolfe, "Real people really are unreliable narrators all the time, even if they try to be reliable narrators."[2] Sometimes this is a person who is simply naïve (Pandora by Holly Hollander, The Knight), or is not particularly intelligent (There Are Doors) or is not always truthful (The Book of the New Sun), or is suffering from serious illness (Latro in Soldier of the Mist, who forgets everything within 24 hours).
So maybe that's true if they like less than perfect narrators.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Welcome to the Smokeys!

Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a bustling little tourist destination nestled about 40 yards from the Great Smokey Mountain National Park. There is one main road in and out of the park and if you drive it on the weekend, especially in the summer, you will hit traffic, traffic will be slow, you might go crazy.

We left Clemson around 9 am Fri. morning since J had the 4th off and I wasn't going in to work that day (yes technically the university was closed but that doesn't stop grad students!). So we set off towards Greenville, which is the wrong way but J had to stop by work for a second, we ate lunch at Jersey Mike's (non-vegetarian, sorry animals!) and then headed out! I'll spare you the details but we went through some gorgeous scenery and followed some incredibly slow cars, SUVs, and motorcycles. Coasting downhill, I would usually put it in 3rd and literally only use the brakes. I had no need for the accelerator, gravity was my accelerator! I would normally use the gas but traffic prevented any of that nonsense.

Up through South Carolina, past Caesar's Head State Park, into North Carolina through lonely Cruso, NC and stopped for lunch and snacks in Waynesville, NC at their Bi-Lo. The downtown area was packed with pedestrians and shoppers! I suppose it was July 4th related but as soon as we set foot in Zaxby's for lunch, the bottom fell out and it rained pretty hard; not for very long but long enough to spoil a few people's day.

Back on the road and the last town we went through was Cherokee, NC. It was bumper to bumper traffic. It was nice though getting to see what the modern day Cherokee Indians have done with their land and town. We just saw the main strip but they have decided to allow Harrah's to open a casino on their land and it seemed to be doing well.

As we passed through the Smokeys, we detoured and hiked the half mile up to Clingman's Dome, the highest point in the Smokeys. Lovely views and the Appalachian Trail goes right past it, so we hiked about 80 feet of the 2000 miles of the AT. Hooray for us! We didn't see any thru-hikers on their way up or down but they were out there somewhere.

We made it without me going crazy or smashing into the rear end of a car in front of us and check into the Americana Gazebo Inn, which was just bought by the Super 8 Motel (a quick google makes it seem like this is a new Super 8 location, but the one we stayed at is by traffic light #8). We missed the turn but luckily had their number in my recent calls list and got directions to turn at traffic light #8. Huh? #8? Oh wait, this traffic light has a number, #6, so I turn right and whip a u-turn real quick. I really liked the numbering of the traffic lights. More towns with one main road should do that. Driving on the main road in Gatlinburg is pretty crazy. It's slow bumper to bumper with no turn lanes, so you have to get a little nuts to turn across traffic. I expertly threaded through traffic and pedestrians to make the turn.

We checked in and since the 3 hour drive took at least 5 1/2 hours with traffic, I decided to hop in the pool to cool off. J grabbed some local attractions books and I grabbed my beach towel and we enjoyed the cool mountain weather for a while. We changed clothes and walked around G'burg checking out the sights and shops and people. A healthy mix of white trash, foreigners and they all looked like tourists, as were we. We walked down to the aquarium (traffic light #5 if you're wondering) because we heard rumors of a fireworks show. We weren't really sure where they were happening so the bench we picked out didn't feel right to us so we kept walking down (east I think). We stopped near a big group of people and it turned out that we had a pretty good view! Some of the lower ones were blocked by a building so we went to the sidewalk in front of that building and it seemed like the entire sky would light up! Their display put Clemson's to shame. So many colors and shapes and late cracklers and random spark directions and the smoke during the grand finale was so thick, we couldn't even make out the last few. Wonderful! Great job Gatlinburg! With all the hotels emptied of occupants for the fireworks, the walk to dinner and back to the hotel reminded me of New Orleans, lots of people moving slowly, but less nudity, vomiting and public urination. We found a wonderful little pizzeria to grab dinner. We ordered a large half cheese, half pineapple to go and carried it back. Blast! I can't remember the name, Julian's? I think it was Julian's Pizza in an out of the way, but still right off the strip, plaza. It's actually for sale if you've ever wanted to own a pizza place in a popular tourist destination right next to a national park. Ha! It was Julian's pizza! Don't be swayed by the $3.99/slice. It's literally a quarter of a pizza.

We walked back to the hotel, up the stairs, through the sickly sweet cloud emanating from a room about 7 down from us (get 'em DEA!) and into our room for some rest and pizza. The hotel only had double bed rooms left so J and I actually slept in separate beds for that night. It was weird but we both enjoyed the extra room to sprawl out.

When checking in I asked the desk clerk if they had Speed. He said they did! I didn't really believe him but there it was! You know what that means right? Yes, I woke up about 7:30 am (my natural alarm goes off around then), I throw on some shorts, shirt, and flip-flops and make my way to the continental breakfast! Woo-hoo! Big money bagels! And they had bagels! The smorgasbord entailed donuts, bagels with cream cheese, mini muffins (blueberry and chocolate), 2 types of cereal, OJ, apple juice and coffee! Hooray! So I popped 2 bagels in the toaster and made some coffee while I waited patiently. Grabbed a couple mini muffins and an apple (they had apples too), a couple knives, 2 packets of cream cheese, DING!, grabbed my toasted bagels and went back to the room because.... Qualifying for the British Gran Prix at Silverstone! F1 on vacation! With bagels!

J woke up when she heard me come in and grabbed her bagel and a muffin and went back to sleep. I watched Heikki Kovaleinen of Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes nab pole, but even better Mark Webber of Red Bull Renault was second! That's incredible! Kimi Raikkonen sealed up 3rd in his Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa had some car issues so they qualified their BMW Sauber 10th and Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 9th. Full qualifying results.

After that I got some work done and then shared a couple Marlboros with our Harley Davidson riding neighbors. They had already ridden 1400 miles through 5 states and had another 400 or so to get back home to Ohio. Nice guys. We chatted about motorcycles, why people ride trikes (for stability but they're much slower in turns because they can't tilt), what kind of gas mileage they get (around mid 40s to low 50s depending on how giddy they get with their right hand). As it neared 10:30, I bid them farewell and went inside to take a shower and pack up. And wake J up too. If you didn't know J was a sleeper, she is, I put her sleeping ability up against anyone. I used to be able to sleep like that but just can't do it anymore.

We moved Focus from the hotel to the Aquarium of the Smokies parking deck, behind traffic light #5 but instead of the packed main strip I took the super secret parallel road and saved a few minutes. We parked and then walked around some more and had brunch at Shoney's. There is also some Pancake Cabin or something but I heard it gets a bit crowded. A little more shopping and then to the aquarium! Hooray! It was really cool and I'll share more once we get pictures uploaded but the one with me and the horseshoe crab is pretty cool.

The drive home was straight toward Clemson so we stayed on 441 all the way and once you get past Cherokee, it's 4 lane pretty much all the way, which was nice for making good time but lame for driving pleasure.

We should've hiked in the Smokies but didn't because we're lame. Next time though.

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Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Wake and cupcake

I wonder if bakers use the term "wake and bake" also. As I cut through our neighboring apartment complex and trudged through the grass glistening with the morning dew, I rounded the corner and stopped in my tracks. Sniff, sniff. What is that pungent, intoxicating aroma? Of course! Our old dear enchantress, Mary Jane. I peer back over my shoulder to the basement balcony, nope no one there, then move my eyes to the first floor balcony where I spy half a body hidden behind a grill. I can only assume they were high because it was a terrible hiding job. I smile and make a remark about that smelling very good and continue on my way whilst they hide and probably freak out behind the grill. The warmth of my vegetarian breakfast sandwich feels good in my hands and the double fiber honey wheat english muffin still feels soft after coming out of the microwave just a few minutes prior. Walking towards the CATbus I replayed what just happened and what it all means. First, that person (wasn't able to ID a gender so maybe it wasn't the worst hiding job) is truly fighting some stereotypical stoner behavior by being up so early in the morning. 8 am is early for most and non-existent for others. 2nd, the DEA (who just celebrated their 35th birthday) clearly is not doing its job and has let this hoodlum slip through the cracks, I guess they need more money and time to win this "war on drugs". Please note extreme sarcasm. Thirdly, even though the federal government keeps telling us that marijuana is horrible and kills babies, that college students still think for themselves and experiment with that mostly harmless, definitely less harmful than alcohol, plant.

So the Drug Enforcement Agency turned 35. Nixon passed the bill and 35 years later, here we are. Let's check some stats shall we?
“At its outset, the DEA had 1,470 Special Agents, a budget of less than $75 million, and a presence in 31 countries. Today, the DEA has 5,235 Special Agents, a budget of more than $2.4 billion and 87 foreign offices in 63 countries.”
Truly a testament to government's ability to take an idea, good or bad, run with it and never look back. Why should they? They're the government for crying out loud! They're never wrong! The article quoted above is by Russ Belville who has a XM radio show and a local AM radio show in Portland. He also happens to run the NORML podcasts and is chair of Portland's NORML branch. You can read the whole article here, courtesy of Lew Rockwell.

So maybe it's time to reevaluate the war on drugs. Don't worry government, you won't have to admit you were wrong. "Times have changed, drugs have changed, drug users have changed so our tactic in the war on drugs must change also. And we're going to legalize marijuana, tax it and sell it in ABC stores all over the country to see how much money we can make and to see if the use of herb sky-rockets." That's just a suggestion, I'm sure your speech writers can really jazz it up with some statistics and figures and, ooooh, insert one of those "Faces of Meth" presentations, if that doesn't keep you off crank, nothing will.

We'll see what happens, but I did notice that the DEA's 35th anniversary wasn't really covered by The Media. I guess no news is better than bad news.

By the way, I'm not a hardcore vegetarian. For the benefit of mistreated animals, J and I are attempting to have as many meat free meals as possible. Humanely treated, free range, grass fed livestock meat is fine with us and delicious!

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Friday, July 11, 2008


The Bonecrusher

No Gatlinburg stories just yet, just a couple NY Times articles. You do have log in to the NYTimes so use Bugmenot if you don't want to but they send you daily news emails and other cool things, so I would recommend becoming a member.

The first is an Op-Ed piece from John R. Miller
a public policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute, is the former State Department ambassador at large on modern slavery.
It details how G Dub Bush wants to leave a positive legacy by reducing the modern slave trade. I don't know how many other positive legacies he'll leave but modern slavery is a damn good start. Except for the fact that his Justice Department is trying to file down the teeth of a new anti-human trafficking bill. It's a quick 2 page read but very interesting. Basically Bush's own Justice Department is fighting against his supposed legacy like this excerpt:
Should the State Department’s annual report on trafficking, which grades governments on how well they are combating modern slavery, consider whether governments put traffickers in jail? The Justice Department says no. Should the Homeland Security and Health and Human Services Departments streamline their efforts to help foreign trafficking victims get visas and care? No. Should the Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, State and Justice Departments pool their data on human trafficking to help devise strategies to prevent it? Amazingly, no.
Seems pretty cut and dry to me and the notion that some of these people (mostly women if you can call an average age of 14 a "woman") choose to be traded is ludicrous. Yes there are whores who choose to be whores and work in brothels but I can't imagine a 12 year old making the same decision. And what about the sex slave tourists?
Should the department prosecute the American sex tourists who create demand for adult human-trafficking victims in foreign countries? No. Should Congress make clear that there should be increased penalties for Americans who sexually abuse children abroad? No way. Should we give our courts jurisdiction over Americans who traffic human beings abroad? Certainly not. Should the attorney general include information in his annual report on his department’s efforts to enforce anti-trafficking laws against federal contractors and employees? No. Too “burdensome,” says the Justice Department.
Yikes. This is horrible and if Dubya wants to actually leave a positive legacy, he better head over to the Justice Department and break out some Texas style justice, via Connecticut and Yale of course.

The second is about a certain sport that is particularly crazy. The locals call it jumping. The most accepted name for the sport is rock jumping. As in jumping from rock to rock. But not just any rocks. These are Czech rocks and are very far away and tall. Marketa Hulpachova writes an article about rock jumping and California climber Cedar Wright who ventures over to follow in the footsteps of Oxygen and Petr Kops, who jump quite far and gracefully. The article is good but the video is much more impressive. You get to see some of the jumps performed by these athletes. Some might call them lunatics. I call it pretty damn cool.

I should be around this weekend but no promises. Happy Friday!

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Tuesday, July 08, 2008


...for the next 30 days

We all know Morgan Spurlock. He showed the world what McDonald's food would do if you ate nothing but McFood for 30 days. A little movie called Super Size Me.

Morgan also has a show on FX called 30 Days. It takes people out of their comfort zone to see how someone else lives for 30 days. I believe this is the 2nd season but it might be the 3rd.

So far we're on the 4th episode. Episode #1 involved Morgan moving from NYC back home to West Virginia to become a coal miner for 30 days. Getting up at 5:30 am, shoveling coal onto the belt that carries it out of the depths of the mine and up to the surface. It was very interesting and where a majority of our nation's energy comes from. At this point it's a necessary evil. We need to come up with a way to get the coal easier and safer or completely replace it. This solution also needs to keep in mind the West Virginians and the other coal miners so they'll have new jobs. I'm a Morgan fan and enjoyed him stepping up for the first test.

In episode #2 we met Ray Crockett, two time Super Bowl winner and all around great guy. He is an active athlete and in great health. He for Baylor from 198-1988, if you were wondering. He agreed to spend 30 days in a wheelchair. Ray witnessed teammate Mike Utley take a vicious hit and become paralyzed and realized that it just as easily could've been him. He understandably has a tough time adjusting and his whole family and friends also had a hard time adjusting. In rehab we meet a girl who is paralyzed from a car accident and follow her struggle as she copes with the realization that she is paralyzed for the rest of her life. Fortunately for Ray he has the ability to retrofit his Escalade with hand controls and his house with ramps. He befriends a counselor who has lost the use of his legs but has a super pimped out truck and is an all around cool guy. Ray also gets the chance to meet Mark "Nobody Fucks Wid Da" Zupan, of Murderball fame and captain of the US quadriplegic wheelchair rugby team, but who would call a sport "wheelchair rugby" when you could call it murderball? Also check out Zupan's Wiki page. Basically Ray learns that being in a wheelchair is incredibly difficult but if that you give up and stop fighting for a normal life, you'll never have one. And a big house and lots of money helps the transition. Crap. I found a really cool place that advertised in Road & Track and had some wicked retrofitted vehicles and not just stupid minivans but they had a Scion xB and other cool SUVs that were wheelchair accessible. Ha! Found it! They're Freedom Motors Inc. and have some of the most bad ass wheelchair accessible whips around. Scion xB? PT Cruiser? Honda Element? All check. The xB even has rear entry so if you can't find a van friendly handicap spot, you can pretty much use any spot you want and zoom out the back. Freedom Motor's Scion xB, and another article from Aaron's car blog, and Freedom Motor's main website.

In episode #3 we meet an avid hunter who agrees to move from NC to SoCal for 30 days and become an animal rights activist with PETA. He comes in thinking they're all crazy and looney tunes. He dresses up as a chicken to demonstrate against Colonel Sanders and KFC and gets "attacked" and abused and presumably deep fried, extra crispy style. He also gets to work at a farm for animals that have been saved from the corporate meat farms and even goes out to save a baby cow who is diseased and was thrown onto the road by the farm. He also watches some video of chickens getting abused by the workers and the horrid conditions that most farms keep their animals in. He nurses the calf back to health and in doing so, has his eyes opened to what qualifies as meat for the majority of this country. He still plans to eat meat but now has the knowledge about what he can do to improve farm conditions and what types of meat he should never eat (KFC and most fast food) and what meat he should eat (grass fed, free range!). I assume he'll still hunt but I think he'll appreciate the life he takes and how much better wild deer meat is than mass produced force fed grain sedentary cow meat.

Same sex parenting is the focus for episode #4 and it was a good one. A little country role reversal though. Morgan finds a SoCal Mormon who agrees to live with a gay couple and their 4 adopted boys in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Our Mormon mother clearly hadn't given much thought to her "homos are bad" stance beyond "the Church said so" and gets pretty flustered when having discussions with her hosts and one 80 yr. old lesbian in particular. It's pretty funny when she keeps saying "it's nothing personal but I don't think gays should adopt" when she's sitting in front of gays who have adopted. That's a bit like hanging out with Nelson Mandela and saying, nothing personal but I hate black people. We're left with her questioning her beliefs but I'm sure it's nothing the Church can't handle; they've dealt with questions and doubt for hundreds of years.

We haven't finished episode #5 yet but it's a Boston hip hop aerobics instructor Pia going to leave in Ohio with a former Marine and his son who love and enjoy guns. Pia hates guns. She says she's actually afraid with all the guns in the house. Whether she's scared of the father or son shooting her, someone breaking in and stealing a gun then shooting her, or a gun spontaneously going off and shooting her is unclear. Personally I would feel pretty safe in the middle of nowhere with a Marine but maybe that's just me and some of my best friends are Marines. I'll let you know how it ends up.

Edit: Post originally started on 6/26/08 at 9:22 pm

Gatlinburg happenings on the next post!

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Monday, July 07, 2008


How did you celebrate your freedom?

J and I celebrated by driving our Focus to Gatlinburg, TN, walking around, buying souvenirs, eating, sleeping, and enjoying the Aquarium of the Smokies.

More on all that later. A decent post will soon be comin' atcha!

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Thursday, July 03, 2008


At least I came back

So I took a few days off. Big deal. No I'm not done with the 30 Days post yet either. The 5th show that aired this Tues. was 30 days for an urban staunchly anti-gun Bostonian to live with a gun loving rural family in Ohio. So far it's pretty interesting. She states that she doesn't feel safe with so many guns in the house; the owner has quite a collection, but luckily for Pia (yes that's really her name) the gun owner is a Marine and was trained by the US government to safely operate and own firearms. Hooray! So does she think the owners will try and shoot her or that someone will break in, steal a gun and then shoot her? We're only one commercial break in and it should be a good one.

Our garden isn't doing so hot. It's our second attempt at container gardening and I don't think our containers are big enough. So instead of buying lots of dirt and larger containers, I'm just going to throw the plants into the ground and hope for the best. Hopefully that will work and we'll finally get some homegrown squash.

J and I will be enduring the highest gas prices yet for the 4th (coincidence? Not bloody likely) and traveling. We're heading up to Gatlinburg for a couple days to check out Ripley's aquarium. I'm of course expecting mermaids, catfish, ratfish, jellydog fish, shark whales, duck turtles and all sorts of abominations that will be unbelievable or not. J really wants to see the Babies in Incubators exhibit. She loves all things tiny and baby. The tinier the better in her book.

I'm looking forward to driving through the mountains and the Smokey Mountains. We're leaving fairly early tomorrow so I'm hoping we can stop along the way and go for a hike. Clingman's Dome is right off the road we'll be traveling and how can we pass up the highest point in the Smokeys? I just saw the Appalachian Trail goes right by there too so maybe we can cheer on some thru-hikers.

We're taking J's new laptop. It's pink and new and nice. It's our first computer purchase in 7 years (8 or 9 for J) and so far is really nice and fast. We splurged for Photoshop so I look forward to playing with that.

If you're lucky the hotel will have wireless and you'll get a special Tennessee mountain post or two.


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