Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why can’t I find a real Picasso on a thrift-store shelf?

Video still of Zach Bodish with his thrift store Picasso find (© The Columbus Dispatch/http://aka.ms/dispatch)

My wife and I enjoy watching shows like American Pickers, Auction Kings, Storage Wars, and the series Pawn Shop. (Chumley is the man!) Checking out thrift stores is also one of our pastimes.

We both dream of going to a garage sale, a flea market, or thrift store, and finding a hidden treasure.

That’s just what happened for one lucky thrift store regular – Zack Bodish: 

“Zach Bodish, a thrift store regular, paid $14.14 for a framed Picasso "poster" at the Clintonville, Ohio, Volunteers of America outlet. But after some online research, he learned that the red signature in the corner had probably come from the artist's own pen and that it might be worth $6,000 -- or about 428 more thrift-store shopping sprees. Ohio State art professor Lisa Florman examined it, declares it is not a poster but a signed print and said Picasso created it for a 1958 exhibition of his ceramic works. Bodish is already debating what to do with his bargain-priced Picasso. "There's a good chance I'll probably sell it," he told the Columbus Dispatch. "I want to keep it, but money is tight."

Trayvon Martin tragedy: now his death is being marketed

I often wonder how low some people can go when it comes to making money off of other’s misfortunes. The Trayvon Martin story is tragic for a number of reasons, but there’s one in particular that is pissing me off!

His own mother, Sybrina Fulton, filed to trademark “Justice for Trayvon,” on March 21st. She wants to use the phrase in connection with CDs, DVDs, and other digital products. She may be the first to file, but there’s someone else who filed days later on March 23rd:

Marcus Singletary, a 36-year-old musician, is seeking to cash in on the phrase, “Justice for Trayvon.” His United States Patent and Trademark Office filing notes that he wants to solely use the phrase for “Hooded sweatshirts.”

He submitted his application online and it cost $275. It’s excerpted here. A rock guitarist, he is pictured right in a photo off a 2008 album cover.

In my mind’s eye, I see jackals and hyenas chewing on Martin’s memory like ghouls.

To sleep…to dream…and to have odd sleep disorders

nightsleeps

     Good Day Humboldt County!

In the course of our lives we have to step off off our daily path, and get some sleep.

When I was young (grade school), I walked in my sleep a lot. I also talked in my sleep, usually relating the day’s events to an unseen listener.

I know this because there was a listener, my Mother, who would check in on me at night and tell me about what I said the next day. As you can imagine this bothered me. I talked about everything! Luckily this period of my life didn’t last long or it would have gone harder on me as I was confessing things like gambling - throwing dice in the boys bathroom or pitching pennies!

Because of my PTSD, and the nightmares I battle with, I take a large dose of Trazodone before bed to knock myself out. The result: No dreams, or nightmares. I generally wake up rested after five or six hours sleep and I’m ready to go for the day.

I feel pretty lucky that I’m able to get that deep sleep these days. There was a time it wasn’t possible. For years after I came back from Vietnam I couldn’t sleep more than an hour or two because I was always on the alert. Those were hard years where I didn’t get any help for my condition.

Enough about me though! Here’s eight sleep disorders that will leave you happy that you don’t have them!  

                             Sleep Paralysis: people who become immobile even after they are awake:

During REM sleep, dream activity revs up and the voluntary muscles of the body become immobile. This temporary paralysis keeps us from acting out our dreams and hurting ourselves. Sometimes, though, the paralysis persists even after the person wakes up. "You know you're awake and you want to move," Kline said, "but you just can't."
Even worse, sleep paralysis often coincides with hallucinations. In one 1999 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, 75 percent of college students who'd experienced sleep paralysis reported simultaneous hallucinations. And these hallucinations, when they occur with sleep paralysis, are no picnic; people commonly report sensing an evil presence, along with a feeling of being crushed or choked. That sensation has given sleep paralysis a place in folklore worldwide. Newfoundlanders know it as the "Old Hag." In China, it's the "ghost pressing down on you." And in Mexico, it's known as the idiom "subirse el muerto," or "the dead climb on top of you." Even today, some researchers suspect that tales of alien abduction may be explained by episodes of sleep paralysis. (Link)

Read about the other seven  Bizarre Sleep Disorders here

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

International Drug Lords should celebrate drug prohibition day

It would be a gas to see some people actually do this!

Host A Satire Drug Lord Party In Your Area

This video is from last year, but Oregon SSDP Coordinator Sam Chapman pointed out that it would be amazing to do it this year at state capitols around the nation. It’s satire of course, but it really shows people how ludicrous the war on drugs is.

Thanks to the Weed Blog!

I recently wrote a column -

The bottom line: most of the UN nation’s are continuing their senseless war on drugs. They follow party lines established by the US,which is the real culprit in preventing drug reform policies.

Is it just me or does flying seem like a good way to meet people having mental breakdowns?

Erratic Pilot Diverts Flight: FAA    Good Day Humboldt County!

  In our life travels we have opportunities to go by plane, train, automobile, motorcycle, skate board, roller skates, skis, and on artificial knees.

Taking a plane these days seems to be a good opportunity for meeting people having mental meltdowns.

News Snippet:

“Screaming "They're going to take us down!" a JetBlue pilot stormed through his plane rambling about a bomb and threats from Iraq Tuesday until passengers on the Las Vegas-bound flight tackled him to the ground just outside the cockpit, passengers said.

The captain of JetBlue Airways Flight 191 from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport was taken to a hospital after suffering a "medical situation" on board that forced the co-pilot to take over the plane and land it in Amarillo, Texas, the airline said.” (Source)

The good news is how quickly and efficiently the passengers took down their crazed captain who was reportedly foaming at the mouth. The four passengers who stopped him from getting back into the cockpit, sat on him until the plane landed. But it wasn’t that long ago since a stewardess had a mid flight mental meltdown too.

Two months ago, an American Airlines flight attendant took over the public-address system on a flight bound for Chicago and spoke for 15 minutes about Sept. 11 and the safety of their plane, saying "I'm not responsible for this plane crashing," several passengers said.

Passengers wrestled the flight attendant into a seat while the plane was grounded at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport; the flight attendant was hospitalized. The whole experience of flying anywhere is becoming more stressful all the time. From invasive check in’s, to long lines of really pissed off travelers at ticket counters, there’s no more flying the stress-free friendly airways – if they ever were!

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Related Story - Civil Aviation Incivility

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From deep in the grickle-grass, Lorax statue stolen from Dr. Seuss estate

On this pathetic note – who would steal a Lorax anyway? 

I bring a close to my long day…

Perhaps he ventured off to warn other Once-lers about threats to the environment.

But more likely, the Lorax -- in this case a 2-foot-tall, 300-pound bronze statue that resided in La Jolla, Calif., on the estate of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss -- was stolen.

Property manager Carl Romero told the San Diego Union Tribune that he and Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss’ 90-year-old widow, discovered the statue was missing on Monday morning as they were walking through the garden.

Romero saw footprints in the garden, a sign that a thief had dragged the statue to the road and lifted it over a fence, the Tribune reported. Perhaps he ventured off to warn other Once-lers about threats to the environment.

But more likely, the Lorax -- in this case a 2-foot-tall, 300-pound bronze statue that resided in La Jolla, Calif., on the estate of Theodor Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss -- was stolen. Property manager Carl Romero told the San Diego Union Tribune that he and Audrey Geisel, Dr. Seuss’ 90-year-old widow, discovered the statue was missing on Monday morning as they were walking through the garden.

The statue stood beneath a century-old Italian Stone Pine, according to LATimes.com. Romero told the Times that the pine inspired the tree from the book “Horton Hears a Who.” In the story, Horton, an elephant, sits on a branch of the tree. The incident recalled an early passage from the Lorax, the book: "And deep in the Grickle-grass, some people say, if you look deep enough you can still see, today, where the Lorax once stood just as long as it could before somebody lifted the Lorax away."

The only Seuss character at the Geisel estate, it was cast and created by Lark Grey Dimond-Cates, Audrey Geisel's daughter and Dr. Seuss' stepdaughter. “I want very badly to get our little Lorax back home where he belongs,” Dimond-Cates told the Tribune. “Wherever he is, he’s scared, lonely and hungry. He’s not just a hunk of metal to us. He was a family pet.”

The statue, valued at $10,000, featured the Lorax, a squat, orange-whiskered creature, standing atop a wooden stump. The word “Unless” was inscribed at its base, a reference to Lorax's warning that “unless” someone plants the last remaining tree seed, they will disappear from the world. (source)

High cost of movie theater snacks spurs class action lawsuit

The exorbitant prices for popcorn, soda and candy at the movies fueled Michigan resident Joshua Thompson to file a class action lawsuit against his local AMC Theater.

The 20-something’s buttons were pushed when his movie house did not allow him to bring in his own supply of soda and candy which is an alleged violation of his state’s Consumer Protection Act, reports the Detroit Free Press.

His lawyer is saying the prices for goodies are extreme and in violation of Michigan’s Consumer Protection Act which is designed to prevent price gouging.

Theatres have traditionally charged three to four times the cost for their goodies. A profit center, within a profit center, so to speak. This has been going on since I first walked into a theatre in 1958. Theater owners have come to count on that extra money.

I’m going to keep on eye on this case. It may have huge implications for the entertainment industry. Oh yeah, and consumers may get a break on the price of popcorn someday. But don’t hold your breath. The chances are slim  according to Ian Lyngklip, a nationally known consumer lawyer in Southfield. ”Movie theaters are regulated, so the lawsuit won’t go anywhere,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

Sadly, he’s probably right. Still, I’m awarding a thumbs up to Mr. Thompson’s effort to challenge the status quo.

Real Men Don’t Sit Around Analyzing Global Warming – Real Men make It happen!

  Good day Humboldt County!

Paths of resistance leads to dead ends when it comes to really solving the planet’s problems.

You can’t mention the subject of Global Warming (or the slew of other tags meaning the same thing like Climate Change) without being labeled conservative, or liberal, effectively polarizing any chance for cooperation.

Once it becomes all about protecting the brand – Republicans or Democrats – and not about addressing the rapidly changing climate – the people are left without solutions because of ideologies. 

There’s been over 3,000 weather records set thus far this year. Worldwide weather patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable and destructive. Rather than detail every drastic example, you can fill in the blanks. I’d like to move on to something more positive – like using science to help predict Mother Nature’s future movements. But there’s this problem… 

                                                                    Fact

              Japan has built a computer twenty times faster than the fastest American machine.

Here’s one reason why:

“The accomplishment is also a vivid statement of contrasting scientific and technology priorities in the United States and Japan. The Japanese machine was built to analyze climate change, including global warming, as well as weather and earthquake patterns. By contrast, the United States has predominantly focused its efforts on building powerful computers for simulating weapons, while its efforts have lagged in scientific areas like climate modeling.”                                           (The New York Times, April 20, 2002)

My solution, which will be roundly ignored by government contractors for the military, the Pentagon, and every Hawk in Washington, is to cut back on our bloated Defense Budget and invest the money saved into weather research that may save millions of people’s lives in the coming years. A common sense approach like that doesn’t seem to have a chance in our toxic political climate.

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Monday, March 26, 2012

I never realized how dangerous playing pool can be…

I haven’t played pool in a few years, but there was a time I played it regularly. I don’t claim to be a great shooter, or even an above average player…but I did win a game now and then.

At no time did I ever feel like I was in danger while playing pool. The closest I came to concern was when I was stationed at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro, with the 101st MPs, in 1971.

I road around in a patrol car with a crazed Irish giant seeking confrontations with just about anyone, and we had to go into bars where GI’s were fighting and break up the fracas. During the course of arresting a drunken soldier, I was smacked from behind with a pool stick! It’s lucky I have a thick skull and the blow didn’t kill me.

As it were, I had trouble walking in a straight line for the rest of the day. That’s the closest I ever came to experiencing violence connected to a game of pool. Note, I wasn’t playing it at the time. Now, I have to rethink the whole issue of danger and playing pool after reading about this fellow:

A British man has had the tip of a pool cue removed from his brain after skewering himself through the eye when he slipped over during a game.

Doctors in Leeds, northern England, initially thought Andy Parsons (photo right), 31, was only hurt superficially after the accident and stitched his eyelid. But his eye failed to reopen properly after three months and an MRI scan revealed the pool cue tip was embedded in his brain.

A team of surgeons spent ten hours removing part of his skull, following the entry route of the cue and removing the tip, before rebuilding the top of his nose and brow. Parsons, from Knaresborough, told The Sun, "I know I'm lucky to be alive. I never thought pool was such a dangerous game." (source)

When the Apocalypse strikes: ‘New Agers’ wait for Aliens to come out of mountain in France this December

                       Good Day Humboldt County!

At some point in our personal travels we are all confronted with people who believe the end is near and we’re all going to die or disappear.

I thought all the hippies shed the sixties and mainstreamed. But apparently there is a new age of hippies who aren’t all about peace and love. More like death and trips to new worlds or “cycles.” They’re gathering in a little village in France as you read this. I really think the Mayan Calendar thing isn’t as cool as these aliens coming out of mountains and whisking us all off to space.

There’s other visionaries with different dates for our destruction this year, but they don’t seem to have large followings. For some reason the French locals are expecting up to 100,000 hippies to show up so they can be captured by aliens in December. The upside is it really gives tourism a boost during a tough economy in France.     

                             Straight from the news:

“BUGARACH, France, (UPI) -- Hundreds of hippies have made their way to the French village of Bugarach to await aliens they say will emerge from inside a mountain when apocalypse strikes.

About 200 New Age believers have taken up residency at the base of the Pic de Bugarach mountain, The Independent reported Sunday. Upward of 100,000 people are expected to visit the mountain before Dec. 21 when the group believes the world will come to an end. Already this year, about 20,000 people have made their way to the peak -- about twice the number of hikers all of last year.

The group believes that on its date for the apocalypse, aliens will come out of the mountain and take with them any nearby humans.

"The apocalypse we believe in is the end of a certain world and the beginning of another," said a man called Jean, who has lived in a wooded area near the forest for several years.

"A new spiritual world. The year 2012 is the end of a cycle of suffering. Bugarach is one of the major chakras [energy centers] of the Earth, a place devoted to welcoming the energies of tomorrow."

Bugarach Mayor Jean-Pierre Delord has alerted national authorities of the situation in fear of a mass suicide.”

Time for me to walk on down the road…

Sunday, March 25, 2012

As It Stands: Forced multiple combat tours takes toll

            By Dave Stancliff/For the Times-Standard
                       It was bound to happen.
  After 10 years of war in Afghanistan, a massacre brings back memories of the horrors committed against civilians during the Vietnam war - in particular, My Lai.  I’m not surprised. The military’s policy of multiple combat tours virtually assured it. How could it not have occurred?
  When I was in Vietnam (1970), only one tour was required. People did re-up voluntarily, going back for more combat tours. They didn’t have to, however. Today’s warriors have no choice about multiple combat tours. 
  I’ve heard people say because we have an all volunteer military, anyone who goes in should be ready for those multiple tours. The attitude being, “they asked for it.”  Well, yes and no.
Let’s put this whole issue in perspective. One combat tour is more than enough to cause Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). We learned that in Vietnam. Why was one tour sufficient back then?
Partly, because there was a draft and lots of young men were available for cannon fodder. If the military had a multiple tour policy during the Vietnam war, it would have ended long before it did. I suspect military planners knew that. Men were leaving the country to avoid serving in the military and going to Vietnam.
The medical community “in Country” during the Vietnam war, generally thought their patients were just trying to avoid doing their job. That they were cowards. Most of the time the shrinks sent their patients back to the boonies after a short “rest” period.
Imposing multiple tours back then would have been considered sheer madness. That was before anyone knew about PTSD.

We sure know about it today. The awareness about PTSD is at an all time high. That’s why it’s so maddening to see our warmongers demand multiple tours from both active duty personnel and Reservists. During Vietnam, Reservists weren’t sent into combat for even one tour.

 The only excuse for repeated tours today is there are not enough bodies to go around. By all accounts, there are record number of soldiers who served in Iraqi and Afghanistan with PTSD. The numbers are growing at an alarming rate. Programs have been implemented to deal with these cases, but for the most part, it’s been business as usual.
That tells me our military planners know the odds of getting PTSD are extremely high, even from one tour. Still, they’ve chosen to sacrifice our volunteers on the alter of their global ambitions and ideologies.
So why should anyone be surprised when highly decorated Staff Sgt. Robert Bales snapped and allegedly went on a murderous rampage?

Imagine, if you will, what this veteran of three combat tours thought when he was suddenly (with no warning of any kind) sent to Afghanistan after living safely stateside with his family. The military was even training him to be a recruiter. A well-deserved stateside break.
Reportedly, days before he suffered his breakdown, he was standing next to a friend who got his leg blown off - a critical wound.  It must have been a shock. Bales had already suffered a "concussive head injury," and lost part of his foot during his deployments in Iraq, according to a recent Associated Press report.
The New York Times reported that a senior American official said Staff Sgt. Bales had been drinking alcohol the night of the massacre. Other reports say he has financial problems. What sparked this atrocity will be argued about for months and years to come.
Those innocent women, children, and old men were more victims of our military’s insane policy of pushing people until they break, than Staff Sgt. Bale’s allegedly senseless attack.
It could have been anyone from the 3rd (Stryker) Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, stationed at Lewis-McChord in Washington state. Bales had been screened for PTSD after the head injury and had been cleared, but characterized the testing as "minimal," according to his lawyer, John Henry Browne.

Interestingly, the base's medical center is being investigated for allegedly down-grading post traumatic stress diagnoses to other mental illnesses that do not prevent deployment or qualify soldiers for disability payments. Lewis-McChord is reputedly the most troubled base in the US military. (see http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2012/0317/Did-soldier-said-to-have-killed-Afghan-civilians-come-from-most-troubled-base ).

It’s too late for those innocent people, and for Staff Sgt. Bales. We never should have gone to war in Afghanistan. Nothing has been accomplished other than garnering the absolute hatred of nearly every man, woman, and child there.

Unless, of course, you want to count a new generation of American soldiers suffering from PTSD.
As It Stands, you have to go to the source of a problem to solve it. Treating the symptoms is a waste of time…and lives.

                                                               Websites carrying this column: 
1.) Military Lawyer Reviews

2.) Multiple Choice

3.) Luxury hotel in Vietnam

4.) Law News – Gary C. Eto

5.) World News – Asia – Vietnam

6.) Notion Core

7.) Mental Breakdown

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