- The newest, most shocking, and “scientifically proven” danger from legal cannabis! Stoned bunny rabbits! Srsly. Not from The Onion. (H/T JW)
- “The Envy of Frank Underwood.” Is Netflix the prime mover (and prime beneficiary) behind federal control of the Internet?
- Ever call your credit card company’s customer service line? They might have secretly voice fingerprinted you. If it’s such a great idea to prevent fraud, why aren’t they being upfront about it?
- Seems all that shrill weirdness coming from the hoplophobe ranks recently isn’t just a side-effect of “gun control.” Even some of the most major distracting drivel is apparently directly planned and paid for by Bloomberg. This is sophisticated psychological warfare in the guise of unsophisticated jibberish.
- Ilana Mercer on Hillary and her village idiots. ADDED: Tom Knapp has a different view on Hillary’s “emailgate.”
- Hm. I knew it existed but I never knew there was an “official” science governing it. This is even cooler than the “science” governing stoned bunnies — although come to think of it, this probably also applies to stoned bunnies. Not to mention wily coyotes.
Archive for the ‘War on Some Drugs’ Category
- The Lt. Gov. of Texas asked the Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System to weigh in on campus carry of firearms. Pretty good response (pdf) for a bureaucrat. He nails the central issue: trust. (H/T LarryA)
- The legalization of pot and “drugged” drivers who aren’t.
- The rich and the poor. Which in this case also seems to extend to the powerful and the powerless. They both cheat but from very different motives.
- Bovard on Obama’s rosy belief that the U.S. can squander its way to prosperity.
- The Freedom Feens say that effective libertarians (blush) study Claire Wolfe. (That one got me so flustered I just spelled my own name wrong.)
- The Atlantic prints the politically incorrect (but useful) fact: ISIS is genuinely, indisputably Islamic.
- How one domino the size of a Tic Tac could topple a whole building. I’d like to think this makes a great metaphor for freedom, but even if it doesn’t, it’s a great fun physics fact.
- In Washington state and in Colorado, banks (caught between state opportunity and federal terror tactics) struggle to deal with new cannabis businesses.
- Well, now those who won’t comply with the outrages of I-594 are not just “extremists” (per Gottlieb) but “a clique of gadflies” (per a Gottlieb henchman). Remember people: if you want a seat at the table so you can help Our Masters arrange the terms of our extermination, always comply-comply-comply with the law. Any law. We don’t care what law. It’s the LAW!
- Where oh where is Germany’s gold?
- Jim Bovard looks back on redneck ethnic cleansing that happened in his own neighborhood. (A review of Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal.)
- Do these 7700-year-old bones tell a sad story — and give the first historic evidence of twins?
- Michael Bane wants to be a network anchor exactly like Brian Williams. :-)
A month ago, some “interesting” discussion developed around my mini-review of Vin Suprynowicz’s (highly recommended) new book The Testament of James. Religious sensibilities were offended by the thought of finding God via chemical assistance. (Never mind that trying out those unfamiliar mushrooms or leaves probably informed all the world’s religions at some point.)
Now, with support from some very important biochemists, Vin answers one commenter’s most vehement objections.
Feel free to comment here or at Vin’s place. But this time (unlike last) trolls, if any, will be spotted and ejected more quickly.
- Are mass shootings due to “entitlement culture”? Don’t say it; we all know they’re due to the individual murderers. And yes, the article is anti-gun in a so-soish sort of way. Nevertheless, interesting article that makes good points.
- Beware, beware of the “commonsense” cry to prevent the mentally ill from owning firearms. ‘Cause since 2013, crazy has been the new normal.
- Twenty photos that put the Holocaust in a different light. (H/T Y.B.b.A.)
- That DEA surveillance program I linked in the last post? It is/was aimed in part at gun buyers. Even the usually anti-gun ACLU is alarmed.
- The anti-
Second AmendmentFirst Amendment crowd wants Emily Miller to be fired. Sign the petition to say no to this crass attempt to silence a journalist. (H/T 12)
- “Je suis Charlie” — except when it suits Mr. Zuckerberg to be otherwise.
- At what age do creative minds peak? Subjective, of course. But still fascinating.
- “The Doughty Swiss” and their fabulous franc.
- If you thought the Obama administration and fed ‘crats had backed off on using banks to try to shut down gun stores, think again.
- In one California city citizens take direct action to try to get justice against brutal cops.
- The emergency room: a microcosm for misplaced priorities. We see this in animal rescue/welfare work, too, in the form people who can afford pricey tattoos, cigarettes, and weekly lotto tickets and scratch cards — but “can’t” come up with $25 to keep their pets from producing endless, unhealthy litters year after year.
- In legalizing recreational cannabis, Alaska faces some unique hurdles. Well, one unique hurdle, mainly: that hurdle we all know and love so well, the fedgov.
- Fresh guacamole! Delightful video via A.G. in comments.
- I’ve been watching the Elio with lots of anticipation though I still can’t decide whether it’s all hype or something gonna-be cool. Might be time to start watching the Local Motors Strati, too. 3D printed car.
- “The Myth of Washington Gun Rights Groups.” a monster take-down of Gottlieb’s newest
sock puppetproxy, the “honorable” Adina Hicks.* (Via Mike V. who asks “where’s her bow tie?”)
- One year after: Colorado and pot are doing well.
- The Obama administration’s idea of cool-and-groovy solidarity: Sweet Baby James Taylor.
- The nanny state picked the wrong family to hassle this time.
- 10 reasons the Mafia is better than the state.” :-) (Via Wendy McElroy)
*The article gets JPFO’s name slightly wrong and says I was an employee when I was always an independent contractor. Minor details, but I couldn’t find a way to contact the author to give him a non-public heads-up. Very good article nevertheless.
- What is time? It rules our lives, but who can define it? Here are 10 mind-blowing attempts at explaining time. (H/T ML)
- Dear Boston: Please say hell no to hosting the Olympics.
- Oh my. Such a problem to have! Washington state pot growers and retailers face a glut of legal product. (Tip o’ hat to jed.)
- Albuquerque cops finally facing murder charges for one of their most horrible caught-on-camera moments.
- In the rage over Islamist attacks on the west and western values, let us not forget that the worst and most helpless victims are Muslims and those who live in Muslim countries.
- Lovely, starkly designed cabins from around the world But who lives in these things and how do they get by without bathrooms?
- Thanks, terrorists. From now on no more Mr. Wiseguy. :-)
- Three more hopeful looks at Western-Islamic relations: An imam says Muslims must reject violence and governments must change course; Glenn Harlan Reynolds points out that Muslim leaders are finally realizing that their “brand” is tarnished by the acceptance of intolerance; author Irshad Manji is optimistic about the future between Islam and the West.
For your reading “pleasure.” How a gang of borderland narco cops just loooooved their jobs so much they became major narcotics thieves. And of course used their cop power, cop equipment, and cop cover to do it all.
You kinda get the impression they’d happily do it all again, too.
Vice wars. They corrupt everybody they touch. Always have, always will. Long, but interesting article.
Part I of the interview and my mini-review of Vin’s new book, The Testament of James is here.
Q. I found the resolution of TToJ more interesting, and certainly more relevant, than the resolution of The DaVinci Code, but surely some readers will see similarities. Were you in any way inspired by that book?
A. I have to be careful not to seem scornful of Mr. Brown and his books, or Steve Berry or whoever. Here are these guys who have sold millions of books and entertained a lot of people and made a fortune, and I’m some little guy selling books in the thousands. Nor do I have the excuse that my stuff is meant to be “academic,” because it’s not — frankly, I hope to entertain, as well. So I don’t want to sound like the midget razzing the elephants. But no, honestly, these books that read a lot like film treatments, a couple of paragraphs of dialogue about the secrets of the Knights Templar and then “What’s that?! Flashing red lights, Oh No, the police are coming! Quick, let’s escape through my secret underground tunnel to the secret hangar where my secret helicopter waits to waft us away in just such an emergency as this!” aren’t quite what I’m trying for.
Yes, I get the fact that The Testament of James discusses Jesus and so does The Da Vinci Code. But frankly I find these scenarios designed to enhance the mythical bloodlines of the kings of France to be a bit labored. Do we really care about the legitimacy of the Bourbon bloodline? Are they planning to re-assume the throne? Whereas I get VERY interested when Hugh Schonfield asks, and here I paraphrase, “Wait a minute, Jesus was this brilliant dynamic fellow, always calculating the effect of his actions, and then suddenly he gets arrested and he just sits there like a mope, like some sad sack, he stumbles into Jerusalem with no idea that’s likely to get him arrested and he’s got no PLAN? That makes no sense! Especially when the gospels indicate he clearly had some specific reason for wanting to be arrested on a Thursday night, he turns to Judas, the most trusted disciple, late on Thursday evening, and says “What you have to do, go now and do quickly.”
Q. It’s pretty clear you’re planning sequels. How’s the next one coming along and any idea when we can expect to see it? (Yeah, yeah, I know; you’re barely recovered from writing this one … )
A. I don’t write from outlines, as I’ve said. I put myself in a zone where scenes can come to me, they’re largely aural, I hear them and I write them down. Not in any particular order. Then the last stage is consolidating, streamlining, weaving the fabric together so it looks relatively seamless. So I can’t set an exact schedule. I may be a quarter of the way into “The Miskatonic Manuscript.” It’s going to have a somewhat larger scope.
The germ of the idea is very simple. These days, people with cheap electronic cameras -– the cheap ones are often best because their lenses don’t have a lot of fancy coatings designed to block “flare” and “diffraction,” light effects that Aunt Mimi objects to when she takes snapshots of her cat Fluffie who happens to be backlit by the sun; I’m told you can test for this with a laser pointer — people can go outside in the evening and aim up at the treetops and flash their strobes and capture images of things you can’t see with the naked eye, colorful orbs and veils and vortexes, lots of stuff. Not every time, but fairly frequently.
The response of supposed “scientists” to these images is very interesting. They remind me of Galileo’s contemporaries, refusing to look through his telescope. You’d think they’d be going, “Wow! What are these things?! They appear to have an internal structure kind of like amoebae and they appear to be about the size of softballs and they seem to have some means of propulsion and staying up in the air, they can move up as well as down, they can move against the wind. Why can’t we see them within the visible spectrum? Do they have mass? Can we calculate their maximum speed? Can we characterize their behaviors; what attracts or repels them?” Instead they all yawn: “Obviously dust particles on your lens; water droplets on your lens; you need your camera repaired; maybe you need cataract surgery,” if pressed they’ll threaten psychiatric intervention. That works, that makes the problem go away. They lump these phenomena in with crop circles, whatever, “Another loony on the phone, must be a full moon, ho ho.”
Well, back in 1920 H.P. Lovecraft wrote a short story about a scientist who developed a resonator that could activate the pineal gland and allow people to see things not normally visible, including creatures swimming or floating in the air. Now go look up recent studies of the effects of activating the pineal gland through the use of chanting or other sonic stimuli at certain frequencies, and the relationship of the pineal gland with the optic nerve, and the growing consensus that one of the functions of the long human childhood is teaching children how to SHUT OUT a lot of their sensory input in order to concentrate just on what we need to gather food and avoid predators and jump to our feet when the bell rings in the government youth propaganda camp, which is why people consuming psychoactive plant sacraments talk of being “re-awakened,” seeing the world in a way that can make our workaday drudgery, fighting our way up the corporate ladder, going into debt to buy a better Entertainment Center, seem downright silly. Which is what really frightens the dominator culture, of course, the idea that we might stop this race to borrow and spend and “consume” — that people might wake up, look around, escape their control.
Instead of consuming these sacraments to see what it’s all about, far too many of your anthropologists write about how the indigenous tribesmen light the fire and where they sit and the fact they chant for hours, but they never grasp what the chanting is about, that we’re a thin-skulled species and our brains and our pineal glands can respond to musical vibrations at certain frequencies, which is why Tibet is full of temple bells. Read Terrence McKenna.
Well, I asked myself, what if there really was a resonator? What if Lovecraft left a notebook telling where it could be found and re-activated? What if it revealed something about the 31 parallel dimensions that quantum physicists now tell us may be layered like ribbons all around us? Do the creatures there love us just the way we are, or would they prefer us with a little ketchup?
Q. You’ve been relatively quiet the last few years. Even before your departure from the Las Vegas Review-Journal, you seemed to have switched to a focus on Nevada issues more than national ones (not that Nevada hasn’t had a big national issue or three with Cliven Bundy!). Was this by choice? A regrouping, a desire to be less in the fray? Or was it something else?
A. Recruiting and motivating young Libertarians is easy in a way but you start to wonder if you’re actually helping, or if you’re diverting them from more useful pursuits. Young people come to the movement when they realize government screws up everything it touches, that freedom is the answer. As Ernie Hancock says down in Phoenix, “Freedom is the answer; what’s your question?” Government “health care” isn’t about allowing you choices over your own body or even saving money, it’s about state power over a vast new constituency that can’t escape because, after all, everyone wants “free health care.”
Eager young Libertarians are convinced if we just find the right candidate, the right slogan, paint enough yard signs, the American people will hear the message of less government and more freedom and we’re going to turn this thing around. But of course the great strategy of the socialists to see to it the majority of Americans either receive government benefits or get paid more than $100,000 a year to ADMINISTER government benefits has finally succeeded, so it’s now true that if voting could change anything they’d ban it. Election night comes and everybody votes AGAINST the guy they’re more afraid of, AGAINST Republican Tweedle-Dumb but FOR interchangeable Democrat Tweedle-Dumber, and meantime they’re telling you “I can’t vote for someone as different as a Libertarian because you guys can’t win so I’d be throwing away my vote, and besides, you want to legalize drugs.” And our guy gets 2 percent of the vote, and at the next party meeting 90 percent of your gung ho young campaigners are gone, gone for good.
So you’ve got a movement that has to grow by a factor of ten every four years to remain the same size. You’re not just running up the “down” escalator, in the rigged game of American electoral politics you’re trying to run up a “down” elevator shaft.
To sell 5,000 or 8,000 copies of a trade paperback on our issues you’ve got to hit the road, travel all across the country, speaking and signing books at conventions of Libertarians and gun owners, “Yay, Vin, you’re great, why don’t you run for office?” Right, run for office and come home two years later and tell them, “We’re going to get around to those good Libertarian issues, trust me, we’re going to legalize drugs and machine guns and get rid of the income tax and the Federal Reserve, but you’ve got to understand how the political process works, first I’ve got to accrue some seniority . . .” Insert masturbatory gesture here. It eats up your time and your energy, it’s pretty exhausting and meantime the blue-gloved goons are groping you coming and going, it starts to feel like a bit of a treadmill. You’re the paid entertainment, really, not so much different from the guys who set up down at the local Holiday Inn on Saturday night and play “Brandy, You’re a Fine Girl.” They enjoy it, the fans enjoy it, it’s groceries on the table, but pretty soon you realize the world is moving on without you.
And of course my day job WAS at a daily newspaper and the Internet started to destroy the daily newspapers, which they probably deserve for becoming so calcified. Especially after 2006 they all down-sized. Some closed and the rest retrenched, increasingly their mantra was “Concentrate on local. They can get their national news from TV and the Internet for free; all we’ve got left to sell that they can’t get anywhere else is local high-school sports and the local water board rate-hike hearing. So you try to be loyal employee, you try to pitch in and help out, though I did draw the line at “Stop writing this radical stuff that offends all those new Obama voters out there,” and of course the whole effort was doomed, anyway. They put the ad guys in charge and their idea of editorial content is some gray stuff in between the ads that won’t offend anyone. But advertisers aren’t going to pay higher rates for fewer readers reading a shrinking newspaper full of oatmeal with no raisins. Before long they’ll all be free twice-a-week tabloids that they throw in your driveway; some ads and the TV listings and Mrs. Smith’s Sixth Grade class taking a field trip to the Alamo or the local sewage treatment plant.
And the paper where I was employed happened to be the Las Vegas Review-Journal and that particular newspaper made a unique and very bad strategic decision in 2010 to hire this outfit called Righthaven to sue people for using their content online without permission, a decision I had nothing to do with, by the way. Their corporate counsel assured me it wouldn’t affect people who ran my syndicated column but a lot of Web sites including the Lew Rockwell site dropped me like a hot potato, they figured “Why take a chance on getting sued?” so years of gradual progress in getting my Libertarian stuff out there to a wider readership was gone, just like that, within a month or two, in the year 2010. My attitude has been “It happened; move on,” while Cat feels it was huge.
But mostly I think it goes back to that not wanting to be Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits singing oldies at the senior center. I hope I don’t get hate mail from Herman’s Hermits and their fans, that music was a lot of fun in 1966, OK? I also loved Edison Lighthouse and Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders and Tommy James and the Shondells, “I Think We’re Alone Now,” OK? Love it, really. But I wanted to break out and use whatever talent I’ve been given as a writer to go a little further. After 20 years it started to feel like I could dig out an old column, graft this week’s news peg on the top, run it out there, all the regulars would say, “Yay, Vin, that’s the stuff!” So if anything I probably stayed in daily newspapering too long. They whined my columns were too long when they hit a thousand words but it’s like being the guy who serves up the little Vienna sausages and shrimp on toothpicks and you never get to cook the entree, the main course.
Q. Writing books is hard, often unrewarding work. TToJ is good, but you’re likely to face an uphill battle, first to get it noticed by readers who don’t know your work and second to get it accepted by those who do know your work but don’t want you going in a new direction. What keeps you going in the face of all that inertia?
Q. The work is its own reward. I suppose those not lucky enough to ever feel a call think we’re making it up, but I pretty much have to write these books, it’s a calling. What’s important is to get centered, to get clear, whatever the trendy term might be now, to listen closely to that inner tone or voice and write what I’m supposed to write. Then the stuff flows, it’s not a battle, because you’re doing what comes naturally. Parts of it are what they call automatic writing, it comes in bursts. No outlines, outlines are deadly.
Where did they get this “outline” idea? I think the faculty advisors who supervise people trying to get their Masters in English literature teach them to present an outline because that makes the advisor’s job simpler, instead of slogging through pages of drivel you spend 60 seconds looking at the outline and you tell them “OK, your thesis is that Emily Bronte was left-handed, that’s good. All this stuff about how learning-disabled children were mistreated in Victorian England takes you too far afield, the faculty committee won’t be comfortable with that because they won’t be familiar with your source material, leave that to the History Department; just stick with the left-handed stuff and you’ll be fine.”
So all our English teachers teach all the kids to write from outlines and where does that leave you? It’s time to write Chapter Four and your outline says you have to pick up your characters who are starting to look like dead cockroaches tied to marionette strings and dance them from Point D to Point E, where the outline says they have to end up 20 pages later, and they damned well better not “come to life” and say or do anything unplanned or unexpected because it’ll knock the whole outline for a loop, and you’re no longer a writer, you’re a mortician trying to pose the embalmed corpses in realistic tableaux mordant. Is that French or did I just make that up?
I had a literary agent, years ago, signed a contract and everything. He later got famous, wrote some book about how to write a blockbuster novel, said the most important thing was to work from an outline, of course. He’d have lunch with someone from a publishing house, get in touch with me and say, “They want a fictionalized biography of David Bowie; right up your alley given that you play in that rock band and you’ve got that part-time radio show and the way you know pop music and all; send me an outline.”
So I’d do some research on Davy Jones, which was Bowie’s real name long before they cast a really short kid from the chorus line in the Broadway Show “Oliver!” to be one of the Monkees and kind of tied up that “Davy Jones” name. Then I’d agonize over what I could bring, what part of my personal vision could somehow be made to intersect with this assignment, so I wouldn’t be a candidate for the loony bin, suicidal with frustration if I spent the next nine months working on this project that some editor dreamed up over a corned beef sandwich on 23rd Street. Finally I’d send in the outline and Al’s response would be, “That was weeks ago! That train left the station! They were looking for a quickie paperback but now they’ve changed their minds! Can you do me some kind of horror thing that involves plastic surgery? Need an outline; tomorrow would be good.”
Only years later did another author point out to me that, since this guy never sent me any reports from publishing houses on the actual manuscripts I sent him, on my own writings, he wasn’t really circulating my stuff at all, he just had me as part of this bevy of hip young hopefuls who he was going to try and pair up with the right story idea until something clicked.
And of course they ALSO love to work from outlines because when you’re pitching a concept at a story meeting it’s got to be quick, between the pickle and the coffee.
So eventually you have to make a decision, are you going to schmooze up to the right people and hope you can convince them you’re fast enough and cynical enough to grind out this formulaic crap, or not? They’re always looking for last year’s hit, only slightly different. If last year’s hit was a cop buddy movie with a white cop and a black cop, this time let’s try a straight cop and a queer cop, or a male chauvinist cop who gets assigned a feminist lady partner who should look a lot like Tyne Daly. Of course it always leaves them behind the curve when something really new comes along, then they go chasing after spinoffs of THAT big hit; if “Andy Griffith” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” struck gold, let’s try “Petticoat Junction” or “Green Acres” or “Gomer Pyle.”
I used to try and play the game, we printed up softbound Advance Review Copies of “The Black Arrow” at least 90 days before the official release date and shipped them off to Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly and a hundred other trade publications and book review editors who set up all these complicated rules for how to get a book reviewed, but it’s a rigged game. If you’re not Doubleday or HarperCollins, if you don’t already have a contract with Baker & Taylor to get your books into Barnes & Noble, none of those people are going to review a book from a small publishing house. Why should they bother? Their whole protection racket fortunately appears to be collapsing now, a lot of them are going bankrupt and being bought out by the Germans and they all richly deserve it, calcified dinosaurs thudding to the ground left and right.
The time is right for these books about Matthew Hunter and Chantal Stevens and the gang at Books on Benefit and their unusual friends. The re-awakening of interest in these psychoactive agents, these entheogens, is huge, thanks to the Internet. It’s amazing to me that it’s been almost 50 years since Frank Herbert dealt with some of these same themes in “Dune,” which was hugely popular, it resonated with a generation. There should be a whole literature on this topic by now, but where is it?
It’s Online, for the most part. Readers can find a lot of interesting information on this stuff at sites like Maps.org or Erowid.org or The-Nexian. But fiction can bring new people to the discussion, and the fiction has been lacking. We hope to kick-start that, Cat and I are hoping we’ll generate a little discussion on our Web site, VinSuprynowicz.com.
The book will be there for those who are ready for it, who are supposed to find it. As the first in the series, I wanted it to be compact, accessible, something people could enjoy and easily follow. Not a sprawling epic, we may head more in that direction with the next one, but “Testament” has a limited cast of characters operating in a limited setting over a period of a few successive days. It’s complete in itself and only you and the readers can tell me if it’s potent enough, if it’s satisfying. But it also says, “OK, did you get that? Are you with me so far? Good. Now hang onto your hats, kids, because here comes ‘The Miskatonic Manuscript,’ the road signs warn there may be dinosaurs, and we’re not going to be slowing down to go back over the introductory material; no one allowed on this ride who’s not at least THIS tall.” :-)
Vin Suprynowicz interview will continue as scheduled sometime tomorrow. Meantime, some tab clearing …
- The dangers of tasers. Better late than never, I guess, and the info about the post-tase brain fog is something to think about.
- Very impressive, resourceful, and brave little girl. Her father taught her well. It’s too bad her hell is just beginning.
- Speaking of a child’s (and a family’s) hell, the Washington Post has an unusually even-handed story about how that Idaho toddler shot his mother to death. It being a story about Idaho and guns, I note that the D.C.-ites (without apparent irony) assigned it to a foreign affairs correspondent. (H/T. LA)
- My first response to that widely reported claim that 2/3 of all cancers just come out of nowhere, sorry, complete coincidence, no way to prevent them, was okay, so the initial mutation might come out of nowhere, but what is your body equipped to do about it? I’m not the only one asking such questions.
- The liberation of aging.
- Cops try to bust man for smoking pot. Crowd forms a human shield to prevent them. (Via Wendy)
- Kevin Wilmeth resolves to continue to remain in “outrage fatigue recovery mode” in 2015. Good resolution, Kevin. 2014 was a rough one for too many people hereabouts.
The Testament of James
By Vin Suprynowicz
December 2014, Mountain Media
The Testament of James begins, as good mysteries often do, with a death. Actually, TToJ begins with an imposing figure in a black cape sweeping in through the door of a rare book dealer, which may be even better.
The death? Well, that may have been from natural causes, though in unnatural circumstances. The caped, cultured Mediterranean man enters the scene to inquire about a book. A book that may have had something to do with the death. A book that may or may not even exist.