Saturday, July 17, 2010

Bummer: New Mexico faces medical marijuana shortage

Larry Love

State's small number of providers can't grow enough to meet demand

Len Goodman can't grow enough marijuana to keep up with demand.

He is one of just 11 growers approved by New Mexico to produce pot for all of the state's 2,000 registered medical marijuana patients, and his customers routinely wipe out his supply. Once a strain of marijuana is harvested, dried and cured, he sends an announcement that patients can place orders, and the pot is usually gone in 24 hours.

Tale of the monkey terrorists who shoot at American uniforms

The Taliban's training monkeys to gun down Americans? It's a bogus claim that's sparked some serious (and not-that-serious) fact-checking.

People's Daily Online started the monkeyshines in China a couple of weeks ago, with a report claiming that the Afghan Taliban was using bananas and peanuts in an experiment to teach monkeys how to fire machine guns and mortar rounds at soldiers wearing U.S. military uniforms.

The report even said the program was modeled after a CIA effort to train "monkey soldiers" during the Vietnam War, and quoted an unnamed U.S. military source as confirming the existence of the Taliban monkeys.

The fallout has been as hilarious as the original story: Taiwan-based Next Media Animation, which churns out CGI parodies like The Onion on ginseng, put together a video report on the killer monkeys. Over at Stars and Stripes, Jeff Schogol (the Rumor Doctor) went so far as to check with NATO officials, Chinese Embassy officials and a primatologist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison. Schogol turned up no hard evidence of monkey mayhem, although primatologist Christopher Coe said he had heard unsubstantiated reports of monkeys being trained to jump into enemy trenches carrying grenades when India and Pakistan were at war.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Warning for Pet Owners: short-snouted dogs most likely to die on planes

Capturekk  Image: Bulldog

Bulldogs, pugs, similar breeds made up about half of deaths in past 5 years

That cinches it! I was never comfortable with the idea of putting dogs in the cargo bay of a plane. When I read this article I immediately thought of my Pug Millie. Oh the horror!

Anyone that has read any of my stuff over the last three years knows that; one, I have a Pug named Millie, and two, I hate traveling by plane. Here’s one column to give you an idea of how I feel about planes: “Traveling by airplane, or fear and loathing in the not so ‘friendly’ skies” 

PHOTOS: left, Millie the Pug, and on the right there’s an unidentified Bull Dog via AP wire.


Get fired up for the next ‘Burning Man’ happening

I found a great resource for all things to do with the ‘Burning Man’ event. The name of the site is “Brave New Traveler”  and it has a lot of information and great photos by Ian MacKenzie.

 I’ve never been to this interesting event in the Black Rock Desert, but I read about it every summer. If it wasn’t so darn hot I think I’d consider going to it – at least once. I’m an old 60s era hippie (who’s 60) who still digs happenings like this.  

Golden State Warriors sold for record $450 million

Capture of logo

Golden State Warriors owner Chris Cohan reached an agreement Thursday to sell the franchise for a record $450 million to Boston Celtics minority partner Joe Lacob and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber.

I doubt this ownership change will make any difference. Just look at the starting lineup for next year. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them finish in the league cellar again – something they’ve been doing regularly for decades. Who knows? Maybe they’ll win more games than last year just because there’s new owners to impress.

See early Kodachrome Images from the Great Depression

When we think of America during the Great Depression, we often picture it in shades of grey.  It was a grim era and nearly all of the photographs we see are in black and white.Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Color presents an entirely different image. Go here to see numerous color photos taken during the Great Depression. It’ll take a couple of minutes to read the captions and view all of the photos, but it’s worth it for nostalgia nuts like me.

This is one of Dorothea Lange’s most famous photographs - a destitute mother in a migrant farm worker camp in California.

Lange was one of the many talented WPA photographers who recorded the history and conditions of the Depression across the United States.

Porky Pig allegedly beaten up at Six Flags theme park

Off-duty Six Flag employees accused of attacking dressed-up co-worker

Is nothing sacred? How could someone attack an iconic pig?

The clowns who attacked the worker wearing the Porky Pig outfit tried to lie their way out of it, but witnesses busted them.

Tha..tha..tha…That’s all folks!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Forget the war on marijuana - prescription drug abuse skyrocketing

prescription_drugs.jpg image by parttake

400 percent rise in those admitted for treatment, government study says

U.S. officials reported a 400 percent increase over 10 years in the proportion of Americans treated for prescription painkiller abuse and said on Thursday the problem cut across age groups, geography and income.

The dramatic jump was higher than treatment admission rates for methamphetamine abuse, which doubled, and marijuana, which increased by almost half, according to figures from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Liar! Liar! Pants on Fire – Researcher says McInnis lying about plagiarism

Image: Scott McInnis

A researcher whom Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott McInnis blamed for plagiarism allegations said Wednesday he won't sign a letter from the campaign owning up to what happened because he claims McInnis is lying.

The claim by 82-year-old Rolly Fischer is the latest to plague McInnis after the plagiarism allegations against him surfaced this week. Fischer told KMGH-TV that McInnis' campaign sent him a letter to sign in which Fischer would say the alleged plagiarism was his fault.

Colorado gubernatorial candidate (right) Scott McInnis.

Wall Street accountability increased by Senate bill - sweeping reform predicted

Image: Sen. Debbie Stabenow

Massive 2,300-page bill is aimed at averting another financial crisis

Congress on Thursday passed the stiffest restrictions on banks and Wall Street since the Great Depression, clamping down on lending practices and expanding consumer protections to prevent a repeat of the 2008 meltdown that knocked the economy to its knees.

Sources: U.S. paid Iran scientist $5 million, but account is frozen

I wonder what the real story is? Did we get any important information or is this all a dog and pony show? 

Image: Iranian Nuclear Scientist Returns To Tehran

'We've got the information and the money,' one official tells NBC

Iran scientist returns home, claims U.S. torture


Iranian scientist Shahram Amiri arrives at Tehran's airport on Thursday. He claimed he was offered $50 million to remain in the U.S.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Fair warning: CSPI Says Food Dyes Pose Rainbow of Risks

I always suspected food dyes could pose a health risk, but had no idea how serious a threat until I read they cause:

Cancer, Hyperactivity, Allergic Reactions

Food dyes—used in everything from M&Ms to Manischewitz Matzo Balls to Kraft salad dressings—pose risks of cancer, hyperactivity in children, and allergies, and should be banned, according to a new report by the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

A top government scientist agrees, and says that food dyes present unnecessary risks to the public.

The three most widely used dyes, Red 40, Yellow 5, and Yellow 6, are contaminated with known carcinogens, says CSPI. Another dye, Red 3, has been acknowledged for years by the Food and Drug Administration to be a carcinogen, yet is still in the food supply.

Wealthy rip-off majority of Americans – why do we continue to put up with it?

I’m firmly convinced that the American people haven’t learned anything from history. The Great Depression and our current Great Recession have one thing in common; the richest 1 percent pull in nearly a quarter of the nation’s income.

To prove we haven’t learned a damn thing, we got ourselves involved in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both unwinnable wars. Just like Vietnam and Korea. How do the rich manage to get more than their fair share of the nation’s income? 

It's All About the Wages -- Our Economy Would Be Fine If Everyone Made Their Fair Share

“Each of America's two biggest economic downturns over the last century has followed the same pattern. Consider: in 1928 the richest 1 percent of Americans received 23.9 percent of the nation's total income.

After that, the share going to the richest 1 percent steadily declined. New Deal reforms, followed by World War II, the GI Bill and the Great Society expanded the circle of prosperity. By the late 1970s the top 1 percent raked in only 8 to 9 percent of America's total annual income.

But after that, inequality began to widen again, and income concentrated at the top. By 2007 the richest 1 percent were back to where they were in 1928 -- with 23.5 percent of the total.”

Clowns in Politics: an ongoing ‘two-ring’ circus in Washington, DC

Hi there everyone!

As usual there’s been some tricky acts to follow in the Main Tent. Seems like there’s an all out effort lately to see who’s going to be the Clown of the Year. Here’s some of the latest high-wire acts, and clownish lawmakers will leave you rolling in the aisles!


White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs learned an important -- and unfortunate -- lesson: In politics, telling the truth can get you in trouble.

COLLAGE PHOTO BELOW: Republican Clown College


Republican Sen. Scott Brown says he will cast a critical vote against a bill Democrats hoped he would support as they try to nullify a recent Supreme Court decision on political fundraising.

The Massachusetts senator said in a letter to five advocacy groups that bill "changes the rules in the middle of the game." He says it will give "a tactical and political advantage" to labor unions little more than 100 days before an election.






Fraud? Sen. Al Franken in Minnesota May Have Benefited from Voter Fraud, Findings Show Convicted Felons Voted in Election

The Best Fake Teabagger Signs at the Boston Common Tea Party

Fake Teabaggers (sane/normal people) have begun infiltrating tea parties with their own signs. Here are the best signs from yesterday's rally in Boston.

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The scientific and philosophical mystery was purportedly unraveled by researchers at Sheffield and Warwick universities, according to the Daily Mail newspaper.Image: Chickens and eggs

British scientists claim to have solved the scientific, philosophical mystery

It is an age-old riddle that has perplexed generations: Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Now British scientists claim to have finally come up with the definitive answer: The chicken.

The scientists found that a protein found only in a chicken's ovaries is necessary for the formation of the egg, according to the paper Wednesday. The egg can therefore only exist if it has been created inside a chicken.

5 things you need to know about antioxidants

Fresh blueberries spilling out of a pail close up

These nutrients fight poisons in your body, but how can you get enough of the right kind in your diet?

It's billed as an epic story of good versus evil — biology in comic-book form. The villains: free radicals, those nefarious DNA-attacking poisons of modern life.Our fearless defenders:antioxidants, poised to protect us from—well, everything, right?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Carl’s Corner: coming in for a crash landing or a visit?


My friend Carl Young likes to play with his fancy camera and every now and then I’m going to feature what he captures on film. These snapshots will all be filed under ‘Carl’s Corner’ in the future. Enjoy…

Mark your calendar - civil rights groups set for showdown with Tea Party on MLK march anniversary

Civil rights groups set for showdown with Tea Party on MLK march anniversary

Excuse my irreverence, but Aug.28th is shaping up to be a real 3-ring circus.

When you look at the players, Glenn Beck, and the Rev.Al Sharpton, there’s only one logical conclusion; it’s going to be ugly.

Expect high drama, mobs of pissed off people, and some real interesting speech’s. I hear the darling of the drilling crowd, Sarah Palin, will be yapping about her dream…to make a lot of money. May I suggest to all those who attend one of these dueling events that you bring your cameras (cell phones will do in a pinch).

I suspect it will be an historical day; a demonstration of intolerance for the 21st Century. Doesn’t it make you proud just thinking about it?   

Read More: Glenn Beck, Marc Morial, March on Washington, Martin Luther King Jr, NAACP, Rev. Al Sharpton, Tea Party

African-American leaders denounced TV and radio pundit Glenn Beck's Tea Party rally next month that will occur on the same date and at the same spot where the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech nearly 50 years ago.

A 2001 military training guide: ‘Homosexual Conduct Policy’


A new addition to Ethan Persoff's fantastic Comics with Problems collection: A U.S. Army comic book from 2001 explaining "Don't Ask Don't Tell," or what they call "Homosexual Conduct Policy".

The publication was very likely used as a test document with little distribution. I dig the art, and I think the back cover is my favorite part.

Sweet baby Dorothy in a wig, does this ever beg for a Photoshop remix.


Emma (Jane) Hack is an artist that combines body art and camouflage

Emma Hacks Camouflage Art Emma Hacks Camouflage Art

GO HERE to see more of her fantastic work.

Popular medical marijuana strains and their highs











Positions on the medical use of marijuana vary, but thousands of patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, and other diseases claim marijuana provides them relief from devastating symptoms such as intractable nausea, vomiting.

Go here to see, and read about, 13 different strains.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Birds of a feather flock together for today’s last post

Birds of a feather flock together optical illusion

Image source

Save the 'Vermontasaurus' – neighbors and government seek to send it back to the scap heap

Image: Vermontasaurus25-foot scrap-wood dinosaur faces extinction

Brian Boland, 61, a former teacher, hot-air balloon designer and balloon pilot who runs the rural Post Mills Airport in Thetford, Vt., stands with his "Vermontasaurus."

Republican senator says he backs birther lawsuits

Don’t you just love politicians who will do or say anything to cater to extreme conservative wingnuts who vote?

Republican Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana says he supports conservative organizations challenging President Barack Obama's citizenship in court. His spokesman did not immediately respond to a question about whether the senator doubts Obama's citizenship

This announcement is designed to get the Tea Baggers attention, along with other clusters of dissatisfied rich white people who resent an African American/Caucasian president. You know the ones I’m talking about. They want to turn the clock back to 1954 – to the “good old days.” These conservative pillars in our nation want their country back.  

Now Vitter is the kind of guy who the wackaloons respect. I’m mean, he’s got a track record. Let’s see. How about some of his exploits:

Just three years ago…

Louisiana senator David Vitters was the big story at the beginning of this week. First, his name came out on the DC Madam's list. Then, a pair of New Orleans brothels maintained he visited them with some frequency.

And, Wonkette reported that Vitters's particular fetish was diaper wearing.

All this was especially laughable due to its hypocrisy, what with Vitters being one of those Republicans that got into office on the family values, God-gays-guns platform.

 Vitter has, once again demonstrating what a sleasy kinda guy he is by sucking up to racists conspirators. The Birthers are as about as credible as the KKK or the Ayran Nation Network. Come to think of it, he may attract a wide following of crazed white conservative supremists, but I don’t think they have the numbers to make that much of an impact. You never know though. This country is getting scary.

"Zombies" crash on Portland Hwy I-84 near Lloyd exit

The car flipped over and then the horrified onlookers saw them…ZOMBIES!

This shocking report just hit the mainstream media, as one news service after another follows the mayhem…

Do you know the differences between Ravens versus Crows?

A lady down the street from me feeds the local crows everyday. They hang around, those special few who’ve discovered her generosity, on the electrical lines in the front of her house. 
For some silly reason I always think of those two British speaking Crows, Heckel and Jeckel, in the cartoons.   

While on one of my daily walks with my pug, I had my 3-year-old granddaughter with me.
She was delighted with those black birdies, and I told her they were Crows.
I also told her that there were other black birdies bigger than Crows called Ravens.
In the delightful manner of a know-everything 3-year old, she nodded her head and said, “I know.” A snap shot moment.
For those who don’t know all the differences between these two intelligent birds, I’ve listed some differences below on the American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) and the common raven (Corvus corax).
Physical Differences: Crows average around 17 inches long, and ravens about 24-27.
  • A raven weighs about four times that of a crow.
  • Crows have a wing span around 2.5 ft., and ravens about 3.5-4 ft.
    • A raven's wing sometimes makes a prominent "swish, swish" sound, while a crow's wingbeat is usually silient.
  • Ravens have pointed wings, while crows have a more blunt and splayed wing tip.
  • Crows have a fan-shaped tail (squared-off), while raven tails are long and wege-shaped.
  • Besides having a bigger, more powerful bill, a raven's bill is curved, while a crow has a more-or-less flat bill. Additionally, atop a raven's bill is a tuft of hairs absent on crows.
    • As a result of being larger and more powerful, ravens are the more efficient predator. (Predation is a very small percentage of crow and raven diets.)
    • Crows are more at home in the urban landscape, given their ability to be more socially inclined than ravens.
    • Diet: While both are commited to being vociferous omnivores, ravens are drawn to carrion (especially sheep), while crows may be less picky
    • Ravens probably find food faster in the wild, considering anecdotes from tappers about how fast ravens could find the carrion in their traps.
  • Vocalizations: For the sake of basic reference, a crow's call is a "caw" and a raven's is a low and slow croak.
  • Crows exhibit at least two dozen differnt calls, while ravens can express themselves with 20-100's of different vocalizations, depending on the expert cited.
Time for me to walk on down the road...

Charlie Brown just wants some…

Charlie Brown Subliminal Optical Illusion

Have you heard about subliminal messages, and methods big companies (or authors) do to insert them into their products? They were quite popular few decades ago, and you can still see number of instances where hidden stuff is implemented in such a way that not everyone will notice. One of the spoofs that references these was made by Brad Pitt in Fight Club blockbuster (when they’ve inserted a photo of male genitalia as a single frame into family movie screening).

Theory says that people unconsciously notice the subliminal message, which triggers an action desired it would by its author. For example, there is a legend theaters used to insert short frames of food and drinks into their movie rolls, hoping to awaken hunger and thirst among audience, eventually resulting with higher sales of their fast-food products. One such subliminal thing is supposedly hidden in Charlie Brown’s portrait. I’m not exactly sure where this came from, or whether it’s just a coincidence, but if you spot it – it should perfectly fit with the title of this article. Happy hunting!

Consumer Reports won't recommend iPhone 4

Image: Apple Announces New iPhone At Developers Conference

'There is a problem with its reception,' publication says

The highly regarded publication said its engineers tested three iPhone 4s, and found that complaints by others about the phone's reception are valid. Apple, contacted for comment, did not respond.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

As It Stands: Channeling Ian Fleming: Spy story perfect stuff for a thriller

Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard

Posted: 07/11/2010 01:30:21 AM PDT

Holy red scare in suburbia, Batman!

A network of Russian spies in America!

Tabloid editors are ecstatically churning out fascinating details, such as the photogenic quality of one of the spies, Anna Chapman. Newspapers across the country breathlessly follow the stunning story of the spies among us.

Eleven people, 10 in the U.S. and one last seen in Cyprus, have been charged with being unregistered foreign agents. The cops are still looking for the one who was arrested in Cyprus but disappeared after a Cypriot judge freed him on $32,500 bail and embarrassed the Cyprus government in the process. The man went by the name Christopher Metsos and allegedly supplied money to the spy ring in America.

Ian Fleming, British author and journalist best remembered for his character James Bond in 12 novels and nine short stories, would really have a jolly go with this story.

The setting:

Richard and Cynthia Murphy, with their two children, live on a quiet street in suburban New Jersey in a beautifully maintained colonial house with maroon shutters. Cynthia is vice president of a financial service firm and loves to tend the hydrangeas in the front of the house.

The children, Katie, 11, and Lisa, 7, can safely ride their bikes in the nearby cul-de-sac in this serene upper-middle-class neighborhood. But like any good spy novel, this family isn't what it appears to be.

Their home, on Marquette Road, is owned by the “Moscow Center,” an intelligence arm of the Russian government. These seemingly ordinary Americans are actually Russians reporting to their handlers in Moscow. Go here to read the rest.


Attorney general: Russian spies posed threat to US

Biden tells Leno US did fine in Russian spy swap


A web site called News and More in Just In Cyprus picked up today’s column on spies.

And on Twitter Spy Guy is tweeting this column

Blog Break Until Presidential Election is Over

I finally hit the wall today. I can't think of what to say about all of the madness going on in this country right now. I'm a writer...