Saturday, December 22, 2007

What Kind of Lonely

SHAMELESSLY, WITHOUT POPULAR DEMAND, I RE-POST THIS FOR CHRISTMAS !!

My son, Keith brought some groceries tonight, and when he left me, I was lonelier than I had been since just after Betts removed to the True World.

A painful, shuddering moment of emptiness---was it mixed with a sort of worthlessness ?---spread through me.

I longed for something, urgently, actually, sorrowfully. In my octogenarian confusion, I could not get a handle on what was displacing the optimism of “Absolute Confidence” that I usually feel, deeply and exhibit without embarrassment.

Ah! That was it! My favorite page in “God Calling”, where the two British ladies, starving in a bombed-out flat announced, amid an air raid: “God values one thing much more than all praise, song and attempts at Piety, and it is Absolute Confidence !”

I first saw those words in a small book in a twelve step meeting room. That ended my confusion and explained the interruption of my self-pitying lurch.

I was not “lonely”. I was sinfully afloat in Grand Envy.

Keith couldn’t stay and joke or chat or gossip. He had to go meet Joe immediately. Joe had a close friend who had a bad liver when he advanced into sober recovery.

Now Joe’s friend was bleeding...hemorrhaging..from his backsides. The man needed Joe. Joe needed Keith. Together, the three of them could conquer...what? Probably not pancreatitis, probably not cancer or permutations of a liver transplant.

But they could battle and subdue fear, despair, self-hatred, needless remorse and shame. They could battle the Devil and his Demons, and win. Yes, actually win.

THAT was what I missed. That was the hateful envy that blacked me out.

For 31 years, day and night any and every hour of every day, that’s what
Betts and I did, and Keith could still do it.

When one survives being addicted to some ingestion that promises “painless” existence or “tranquility”...that one recovers and actually replaces the addiction to mind killers with an addiction to bad smells, screaming fits, crying jags, vomit, diarrhea, convulsions and hallucinations.

Those beautiful things are missing from my life. Other than my dreams of my Betts, they are the only provocateurs of wistful longing.

Two things I remember that characterize my transcendental and redemptive addiction to the chronically “Lost Ones”.

They may seem self laudatory. But God knows, nothing could be farther from the truth.

I was sitting in a shack near the Turtle River in the outskirts of Brunswick, talking to Hal D.’s wife, watching him in his skiff, down at the water’s edge.

“He’s drinking again, Mrs. D”, I murmured. “We call it relapse. I need to get him around the Group. I’ll take him to a meeting...Ride .around before..Maybe eat something. Look! See? He’s hid a vodka bottle in the boat...”

“Them meetins ain’t done him no good,” she stomped her foot, eyeing Hal as he tipped the jug. “He stays okay for a month or so, then its worse...What HE needs is some bitch’s milk !!”

“Whaaaaa???” with wide open mouth.

“Duh Witchwoman uver there”, she pointed her shoulder at a mouldering ruin of a mobile home across the street. “She squeezed some milk from the teat of an ol’ bitch under her floor. I got it right here, see?” And she pushed a medicine bottle at me.

“I’m gone pour this in his vodka bottle. THAT’ll fix his ass. That’ll CURE him. You never mind. Jus’ go on, now an ‘ I’ll tend to it.....”



I mourned to Ruth, my sponsor. She laughed:

“Just go on, SweePea,” she said, “he kept you sober for nine months !”

Next time I saw Hal, two years after I had moved to Florida from Glynn County, he was laughing it up at my old meeting at the small Episcopal church.
on Altama.

“Why, Hal’s sober!” I said to Ruth. “Damn! He was supposed to be MINE!”

“He’s Ours”, she smiled and drilled me with those steely blue eyes.

******
The other story is about an old fellow named Doc who rode a bicycle all over Baker County, Florida and fell off quite occasionally. The very last time he was dismounted by a huge crape myrtle bush, I took him to Detox in Jacksonville and then to a residential recovery center.

We were waiting outside the admissions office for quite a while. I joked and talked to him, and tried to allay his fears. Finally, we got the paperwork done, and they had someone come up to take him to his room.

Before he went on his way, I removed his baseball cap and smooched him on his fuzzy bald head. It was a green John Deere cap, I remember now.

Doc never drank again, and he did more good with his parading, pioneering bicycle, in the next few years than all the preachers in Baker County. And, Baker County has the highest per-capita ratio-concentration of preachers of any governmental sub-unit in this country.

But the most amazing thing that happened is that the former Vietnam Gunnery sergeant with a Master’s degree who ran the residential center called me and offered me a job as a counselor.

That led me to a Master’s degree of my own and two decades of immersion in the lives of afflicted families. I had the best partner and the best therapist I ever could have dreamed of, too: Betts.


“But, why?!”, I asked the former Gunny as we ate Rocky Road ice cream after work, and after a meeting one night. “Why did you offer me that job ?”

“Well,” Brad said, “I had heard all this stuff about LOVING drunks sober...about loving them and teaching families how to love again.” He paused and looked at me with a firm and faraway look, but looking in my eyes, and said: “When you kissed that smelly old man on the head outside my office, well...I knew I had my hands on at least ONE fellow who loved drunks....”

So, sue me. That’s where my sinful envy lies. I can’t see. I can’t hear. That’s a great boon, most of the time. I miss a lot of evil, rotten, and poorly produced television.

But I will find a way . I am addicted, you see.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Cartoochejaye

John Slagle had two boys and a girl.

They all helped him in his woodworking shop and in just about everything else he did.. But he still had a hired hand named Whid, who helped Miss Lucy Slagle around the house and yard.

The Slagle house was in a mountain cove in the Cartoochejaye valley between chunky gal and Wayah Bald near Franklin North Carolina, and the headquarters of the Nantahala River.

At the time of this story – in the 1940s – there is only a little bit of a paved road near Franklin and the valley was wild country.

There are paved three and four lane roads in that area now and it’s still wild country.

John made a deal with the Forest Service one April for some old downed chestnut logs up on the Wayah Bald. He gathered up sons Luke and Ed and put Whid on the bed of his two- ton truck. They left at daybreak after Lucy served shredded sausage, many eggs and cathead biscuits.

They didn’t have anything but crosscut saws back then, so John planned two to rest while two sawed. It took them a good hour to get out the old switchback Road on the bald two when John had the dead chestnut located and marked.

Then while they were trying to get up the bank , they burst a tire on the old truck’s rear wheel I got stuck in a ditch to boot . There wasn’t a spare, so John sent went back to the house for a tube and a tire and a ,come-along chain.

“He’ll make a lot better time afoot than we did in the damn’ truck comin’’’ up,” Slagle told his sons. “Now, lets git that wood sawed....”

They worked with a short break for cathead biscuits stuffed with sausage and some spring water, until about four in the afternoon. They had the precious wormy chestnut stacked for loading and were beginning to wonder about Whid.

“Oh,” the elder Slagle said, confidently, “Whid’ll COME, alright...But WHEN is sumpin else...”

So they all looked over the steep cliffside of the logging road, down upon the vista of switchbacks, stair-stepping up the mountain side. Far down, just a small speck in motion, was a red spotty figure in overalls. It was Whid.

He had a huge load of chain, with a come-along around his neck. He stopped, put the chain down in the roadbed, retraced his steps back down the road almost out of sight. Then, he bent down, pulled a huge wheel and inflated tire upright and rolled it to the next switchback curve and laid it in its side, and picked up the heavy load of chain and hardware and hump it on to the next switchback curve, then return and roll the tire to the chain.

They watched him for a quarter of and hour, then Old man Slagle hollered:

“Hayoo, Whid !!!”

“Hah now !” hollered Whid back at him, puffing a little, and spitting some tobacco juice at the roadside weeds.

“Where in HAIL y’ been Whid !!!???” hollered Slagle.

“Dam-A-Mighty, man!” sang back Whid. “Cantcha see ??? I been a-comin’ BiGod !!!”


Monday, November 05, 2007

Grenier's Denier'

Does the name Robert Grenier mean anything to you?

Well, you COULD “Google” him, I guess....

He interests me because I was reading the Jerusalem Post (ye, THAT Jerusalem) simply because I wanted to know what the AP, Reuters, NYTimes, and the news networks were withholding ...and voila ! THERE it was !

This Grenier fellow was quoted as telling a group conference in Mexico City that those loveable Middle East philanthropists, Hamas and Hezbollah are organizing in Mexico at a firm rate.

Hamas, as you must know, is now filly in charge of Palestinian Gaza and working on the West Bank. Hamas is a Syrian based terrorist organization with the avowed (and demonstrated) desire to end the existence of Israel. Hamas INVENTED the suicide-bomb-as-political-statement concept, y’ know...

Hezbollah (Hizbolla) is an Iranian-subsidized movement, also active in Syria and inciter of the. Last Lebanon-Israel conflict, through use of assassination and kidnaping.

Grenier says the two outfits have long sought entry into the United States to apply tried and true bloody terror tactics up close and personal in U.S. citizens the way they are used in Israel and Iran and Jordan against their “enemies”.

Well, that figures. I must admit without humility that I had thought of that.

Grenier said that the flood of illegal immigrants and the free flow of illegal narcotics from Mexico to the U.S. is ripe to be exploited by these terrorists, and that Hamas and Hezbollah are very optimistic. Well, how the HAIL would he know...Who IS Grenier, anyway???

Why, he is the immediate former chief of te U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) counter-terrorism task force. That’s who he is !

Stay Tuned.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Foxfire: Eyes in the Night

One of my first grand memories of the mountains was the sound of a hissing and spitting cat and the sight of two slanted, glimmering eyes, green-yellow in the dark of a camp tent.

I was about twelve, and it was my first away-from-home experience with a battalion of boys bound for any prank, messy, squirmy or spooky.

This spinechulling experience was acted out by a boy from Mannassas, VA named Pat Bradley, with two fragments of luminescent rotting wood fungus: foxfire !

I hadn’t roamed the Appalachians so many miles, then, though I preferred everything about them—especially the trout fishing–to my foothills home on the clay-laden Chattahoochee River where Lake Lanier is situated today.

Many hours were spent by my sons and me in the mountain woods looking for foxfire. The most satisfying advent of the radiance was one evening in February when we had been tracking squirrels in eight inch snow, marveling at. The way they were able to go from the roots of a tree trunk in a beeline to their acorn cache without rummaging around mindlessly as we did for a pair of gloves or socks. How did they know EXACTLY where the larder was under seven or wight inches of ice and sleet?

As we were leaving the mountainside at the gap where the pickup awaited, Mike gripped my wrist and said: “Look, Daddy...FOXFIRE !” And, sure enough, in the gloom, there was barely visible, a remnant of rotted, fungus infected wood, just inside a log mouth.

T would have thought it was too cold. But there had been repeated thaws and snows for nearly two weeks.

In Rabun County, a veritable library of Mountain Craft and Legend was collected in the Foxfire books, unique in their encyclopedic sprawl of information.

It was very exciting, also, to find that there was a Foxfire, NC. But the hamlet is 300-plus miles from Hendersonville...close to the field trial grounds I used to frequent near Pinehurst and Hoffmann.

If you favorite pre adolescent has not had the treat, hunting for foxfire may be a family treat.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Bee EYE Bee !!!

I was visiting my Marine veteran grandson’s new house and got thirsty, so I went to the refrigerator to help myself to some iced tea...or whatever I could find.

Behold! A beautifully sculptured chocolate and raspberry cheesecake wedge glistened in a snaplock vinyl pie dish.

Prominently displayed on the top of the container were the broad, black, felt-tipped indelible CAPITAL letters: “B I B”

“John,” I yelled to the newest member of the local police force, my bachelor sportsfan, engrossed in a telecast. “You know the B I B story, huh ?”

“Everybody in my outfit in Iraq knows the B I B story”, he laughed. “It kept us all civilized.....”

*—*—*—*
The B I B story:

One day, ‘way back in the mountains, squirrel hunting, Hoover McConnell and I and our first squirrel dog, Spot, stopped to rest under a big Tulip Poplar. The two of us–not including Spot–could not touch hands around it.

This was a long time ago, before the virgin poplar was gone and there were cherry trees and white oaks that you, nowadays, would not believe.

It was “fence-law days” when the stock ran wild and there were just ear notches for “brands” so everybody could settle arguments over calf and shoat ownership without bloodshed.

We were just hunkerd down, smoking and lying about the size of trout and the acuity of Ol’ Baldy’s tracking on coon, when Hoover peered out across the autumn strewn woods floor and said:

“Looky Yonder...”

“Whut,” I asked, “d’ y’ see?”

“That red writin’ up there !”

“Oh, I see it now,” I said, “It’s a big wide barrel stave...”

We stood and walked through the brush to a bright yellow-pink clad sassafrass sapling on which the rude sign was nailed. Painted in highway department off-red were three capital letters:

“ B. I. B. ”

They needed no exclamation point. The anger and emphasis was in the calligraphy.

“Wonder what that means,” I said, remembering the word “Excelsior” from a snowy poem in school.

“Hail Far !” Hollered a new voice from a ledge just above the sign, half hidden by the sassafrass top foliage , and a scattering of laurel. “Kaint chew see?”

“Well, Hallo, Com!”, grinned Hoover. “That yore sign ?”

“Yessir,” said the grizzled old mountain man, identified by Hoover as Commodore Helton. “Painted it my own self !”

“Well, whut does it say? “ Hoover asked. “Looks like jus’ bee-eye-bee tuh me...”

“Naw, NAW, N A W!” screamed Old Helton. “Read it ! I mean jus’ READ IT, Boy !!! It sez:

BE DAM KEERFUL WHOSE PIGS YOU’RE A-STEALIN BIGOD!!!”
So forever after to all Allens and all McConnels, B I B means everything from “Back Off” to “This Seat is Taken”.

Do you have, for instance, a B.I.B. purse or pocketknife?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Lady Slipper Lore

A revelation in my young life was my first glimpse of a Lady’s Slipper in the rich humus alongside a long-dead chestnut log in a shady cove of an Appalachian forest.

It was bright yellow with delicate leaves and it appeared to have come to where it was nestling from....from absolutely nowhere !

My fellow trout-killer, Ross Lloyd said, “Oh, yes, Bill. That’s a Moccasin Flower...It’s a kinda orchid, y’ know....”

Well, no... I didn’t know at all. And Ross would not let me take it as a treasure to give to my bride, Betts. He said the rhizomes were too rare.

“They’ve ‘bout been ‘stincted !” Ross exclaimed. “You jus’ need to bring her and show her.”

So, I did. This was in the 1950s, and as we tramped through the North Carolina, East Tennessee and North Georgia mountains, we saw quite a few more cypripedium.

First pink one we saw was in Whiteoak Bottoms, on the head of the Nantahala, when Betts ripped her new waders and was too waterlogged to fish, and she almost squished the specimen while she was divesting in the lee of a huge Hemlock. (That’s another tale.)

Nowadays, since I cannot see, and therefore no one invites me to a mountain trail-trek, I do not know how “rare” the beautiful terrestrial orchids are in my Beloved Appalachians, but I would not be surprised if someone who reads this finds or sees one.

There have been about fifty kinds of terrestrial (ground-bound) cypripedium in the world. They grow in cooler places, including Alaska, Lower Siberia and in the Himalayas, certainly.

Betts and I thought we had seen just about every Lady’s Slipper we could ever see. And, yes, she did collect one pink one and “press” it in our favorite botany book.

It was one that grew out by the edge of the road near our farm located where Tennessee, Georgia and North Carolina meet. My four horses had broken out of my small pasture, and I was herding them home, bareback with halter only) after being roundly cursed by an old man with a cleft palate. (A Pow’ful Cussin’, I Swear!!!) The horses had damaged his Roas’n’ Ears Patch.

Anyway, I had things well in hand when I looked down to my left,off the dirt road and THERE !!, shining from a low spot near an old oak stump, just off the road, was a big, fat Lady’s Slipper orchid !

I marked the place with a pine branch, and raced to get Betts. We rode back–(saddled properly this time) and that was the “specimen” that got pressed. We just KNEW some of those budding Richard Petty boys would clip it or mash it sooner or later. So, we SALVAGED it.

But the most exciting thing that ever happened in our Lady’s Slipper history was when we camped out one evening at Rice Lake in Minnesota, near the headwaters of the Mississippi. We were “camping” in the back of our station wagon...(and a jolly romp it was, I can confide !)

Some Chippewa, well heeled and well oiled , occupied an adjacent area playing cards and drinking. They were pretty loud, but not exactly threatening. Still, we moved our station wagon several hundred feet along the trail, saw a table looming in the pitch dark and just parked there.

The next morning, when she slid out to make coffee, Betts shrieked. I though she...we..were being attacked.

“LOOK ! Look !” she giggled. And when I did, I saw a WHITE cypripedium, a ghostly pale, slightly veined, delicate bloom.

Well, we took pictures. I wrote a column about it for the Atlanta Constitution (never printed because the Outdoor report was...” NOT the place for botany or horticulture, no matter HOW wild !!!”

But we didn’t care. It crowned our young lives of looking.

And, did you know...that Lady’s Slipper was the State Flower of Minnesota !!!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vick's Hotel

One summer when I was about eight, my grandfather, Victor Allen piled his best friend, Major John S. Cohen and me into his big sedan, driven by Bud Nuckolls, my grandfather’s childhood friend and now chauffeur.

Bud was what is now appellated as "african-american", but Bud would have been appalled at that. He thought of himself as "A Georgia Man."

We were to go to Andrews, NC, where the Allens had friends in the same sort of business...Leather manufacturing. I think their name was Cofer. The name "Bill Cofer rattles around in my ancient skull.

Roads through the blue ridge mountains in Georgia and western North Carolina were not great in 1933. I know, however, that to get to Andrews, we had to go through either Murphy or Franklin, North Carolina, and I am not sure which way we went.

So I am not sure which town this happened in.

We stopped at a large four-story structure with a rambling veranda all around the first floor. Big Brumby rocking chairs, just like the ones at Vick’s house, where I lived, in Buford, Georgia, dotted the front veranda.

(I always called my Grandfather "Vick", which pleased him immensely, and horrified all the white employees at the factory in Buford, and delighted all the black citizens.)

Well, it was in the middle of the day, and since there was no hostelry in Andrews, Vick wanted to get all the overnight arrangements settled before we went on to Andrews to see the Cofers.

He and Major Cohen and I went in the hotel’s lobby and Vick went to the desk.

"We want to register for tonight," he said. "We’re going to Andrews and we’ll be back late. There’ll be Major Cohen, and Me, and GloryBoy there (he nodded at me) and I want a cot or a pallet in one of the rooms for my chauffeur Bud Nuckolls...."

"Nope!", the skinny bald man in the Calvin Coolidge collar interrupted:

"We don’t cater to Jews and Niggers!" He barked emphatically.

"Uh...I beg your pardon," Vick said, suppressing his redheaded temper with a purpling face.
"But," Vick went on, levelly, "Major Cohen is editor of the Atlanta Journal newspaper...and Bud Nuckolls and I grew up together. He’s NOT a ...."

"I don’t give a damn if he’s the king of Siberia, and your nigger is Hailie Selassie’s brother," (Italy’s Mussolini was planning to invade Selassie’s Ethiopia at the time) I done told you now..We ain’t having no Jews and niggers in this hotel...."

And he was still frothing and spewing as Vick grabbed me by the hand and pushed Major Cohen out onto the veranda, and down the steps and into the Buick.

Then he went to the courthouse, went inside, and came back out and gave Bud some directions. Then, he went into a brick building and stayed in there for what to me seemed like a long time.
Major Cohen smoked a cheroot, and hummed and told me a story about a bank robbery he covered as a reporter. Bud was sweating, mopping his brow.

When he came back, Vick was singing "Shall We Gather at The River", but not the words, really. Vick always sang all of his songs and hymns with the words "DOH-RAY-MEE" placed in exactly the right places. You had to be there, I guess.

Anyway, he was as happy as I ever saw him.

He got in the car, cut and lit an Antonio y Cleopatra cigar (pure Cuban, made by Pennino, in those days).

"Back to the hotel, Bud" he ordered, puffing eagerly, an grinning.

Bud Nuckolls turned and glared at Vick silently. "Let’s go... NOW", he said firmly.

When we got there, Vick herded us up the veranda again, insisting that Bud Nuckolls accompany us into the lobby.

The skinny hotel man started actually shouting: "I Told you, Mister. No Jews and no niggers in my hotel...Can’t you..."

Vick placed his left hand on the scrawny wrist of the innkeeper. I knew that iron grip well, from when his right hand wielded a very small, limber peachtree switch when I hid a thumbtack in his favorite "throne".

"This is not YOUR hotel anymore, sir!" Vick laughed gleefully, waving a blue-clad official document before the fellow in his grip."I just bought it from the bank. You are in arrears and I am foreclosing right now!"

(It was, you remember, 1933. Everyone everywhere in America was "in arrears"

"Now, how about those rooms, and a cot for Bud Nuckolls?" Vick asked amiably.

That was the trip to the mountains that shaped my life. I always wished Vick hadn’t sold that hotel back before he died six years later. I had to find my own place in Hiawassee in 1949.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Solid Pot Poison Validation

This is reprinted from the London (UK) DAILY MAIL. It has shaken Europe, especially the Prime Minister of the UK, Gorfon Brown. It validates 30 years of professional and personal clinical experience by this Blogger.

By FIONA MACRAE and EMILY ANDREWS - More by this author » Last updated at 23:57pm on 26th July 2007
Comments (1)

There are great risks in smoking cannabis, a new report has revealedA single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.
The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.
Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports.
The grim statistics - the latest to link teenage cannabis use with mental illness in later life - come only days after Gordon Brown ordered a review of the decision to downgrade cannabis to class C, the least serious category.
The Prime Minister is said to have a 'personal instinct' that the change should be reversed, with more arrests and stiffer penalties for users.
Cannabis has been implicated in a string of vicious killings, including the recent stabbing of fashion designer Lucy Braham.
The authors of the latest study, the most comprehensive of its kind and commissioned by the Department of Health, said: 'Policymakers need to provide the public with advice about this widely-used drug.
'We believe there is now enough evidence to inform people that using cannabis could increase their risk of developing a psychotic illness later in life.'
The analysis does not look at the age at which schizophrenia is likely to develop. However, previous studies have shown that smoking the drug as a teenager raises the risk of developing schizophrenia in one's twenties or thirties.
The researchers, from four British universities, analysed the results of 35 studies into cannabis use from around the world. This suggested that trying cannabis only once was enough to raise the risk of schizophrenia by 41 per cent.
At greatest risk, however, were heavy users, with those who took cannabis over 100 times having more than double the risk of those who never touched the drug.
With up to 40 per cent of teenagers and young adults in the UK believed to have tried cannabis, the researchers estimate that the drug could be behind 14 per cent of cases of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.
'Although individual lifetime risk of chronic psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, even in people who use cannabis regularly, is likely to be low - less than three per cent - cannabis use can be expected to have a substantial effect on psychotic disorders at a population level because exposure to this drug is so common.'
Cardiff University researcher Dr Stanley Zammit added: 'Even if cannabis does cause an increased risk of developing psychosis, most people who use cannabis will not develop such an illness.
'Nevertheless, we would still advise people to avoid or limit their use of this drug, especially if they start to develop any mental health symptoms, or if they have relatives with psychotic illnesses.'
In an accompanying editorial in the Lancet, Dutch psychiatrists said the focus on heroin, cocaine and other Class A drugs meant the dangers of cannabis had been overlooked.
'In the public debate, cannabis has been considered a more or less harmless drug compared with alcohol, central stimulants and opioids.
'However, the potential long-term hazardous effects of cannabis with regard to psychosis seem to have been overlooked, and there is a need to warn the public of these dangers, as well as to establish a treatment to help young frequent cannabis users.'
Previous studies have shown a clear link between cannabis use in the teenage years and mental illness in later life.
Research completed by leading psychiatrist Professor Robin Murray in 2005 showed that those who smoked the drug regularly at 18 were 1.6 times more likely to suffer serious psychiatric problems, including schizophrenia, by their mid-20s.
For those who were regular users at 15, the stakes were even higher, with their risk of mental illness by the age of 26 being 4.5 times greater than normal.
It is thought that, used during teenage years, the drug can cause permanent damage to the developing brain.
Professor Robin Murray, of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, warned yesterday that the risks were likely to be heightened by the increasing use of powerful skunk cannabis.
'My own experience suggest to me that the risk with skunk is higher. Therefore their estimate that 14 per cent of cases of schizophrenia in the UK are due to cannabis is now probably an understatement.'
Marjorie Wallace, chief executive of the mental health charity SANE, said: 'This analysis should act as a serious warning of the dangers of regular or heavy cannabis use, doubling the risk of developing schizophrenia - a condition in which a person may hear voices and experience strange thoughts and paranoid delusions.
'The debate about classification should not founder on statistics but take into account the potential damage to hundreds of people who without cannabis would not develop mental illness.
'While the majority can take the drug with no mind-altering effects, it is estimated that 10 per cent are at risk.
'You only need to see one person whose mind has been altered and life irreparably damaged, or talk to their family, to realise that the headlines are not scaremongering but reflect a daily, and preventable, tragedy.'
However, others questioned the link, pointing out there has been little change in rates of schizophrenia in recent years despite the rise in cannabis use and the increasing strength of the drug. _____________________________________________________________________
Three heavy drug users and their horrific killings:

Prolific cannabis user and killer: William JaggsWilliam Jaggs, a 23-year-old Oxford University student and prolific cannabis user, stabbed fashion designer Lucy Braham 66 times at her home near Harrow, the public school in North-West London.
The paranoid schizophrenic was found covered in blood beside Lucy's body, having plunged the knife into his own chest last September.
The former Harrow pupil, whose father is a teacher at the school, started using drugs when he was 14, moving on from cannabis to cocaine.
He was sent to Broadmoor secure hospital this month for an unlimited period after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Drug-crazed killer: Richard Cazaly
Drug-crazed drifter Richard Cazaly is believed to have stabbed pregnant Abigail Witchalls in Surrey, in April 2005.
Cazaly, 23, who killed himself five days after the stabbing, had a history of heavy drug use dating back at least four years.
His girlfriend, Vanessa MacKenzie, told police both she and Cazaly were regular cannabis users, smoking 'a couple of joints a day'.
Surrey police said Cazaly became psychotic and violent as a result of long-term abuse of drugs and the alcohol he had consumed on the day of the random stabbing.
Miraculously, Mrs Witchalls and her unborn baby survived the attack. Her young son - who she was pushing in a pram when she was set upon by Cazaly - was unhurt.

Mind warped by smoking skunk: Thomas Palmer
Son of a nurse at Broadmoor Thomas Palmer butchered two of his friends during a woodland walk after his mind was warped by smoking skunk - a particularly potent form of cannabis.
Then aged 18, he virtually beheaded 16-year-old Steven Bayliss and repeatedly stabbed Nuttawut Nadauld, 14, near their homes in Wokingham, Berkshire in September 2005.
Palmer had started using the drug at 14. He told doctors he had not been smoking on the day of the killings but admitted to using skunk regularly in the weeks before the brutal attack.
In March this year, he was given a minimum 20 years in prison for the double murder.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

History Shock...Deprivation in America ?!

When there were more than eight million people in England and only about 1,750,000 in the Atlantic seaboard’s 13 original colonies on the North American continent, a test of wills came before a test of arms secured the liberties we now enjoy.

When, in London Parliament passed the Sugar Act which effectively prevented the Americans from buying Caribbean molasses from which the new Englanders distilled rum, and the Stamp Act which taxed everything except use of the privy, the unimaginable and unbelievable happened.

Flying in the face of a smug prediction in the English Parliament that "The colones will always be at one another’s throats"— tinkers, tailors, cabinetmakers and wealthy merchants joined forces in common cause for freedom and individual Liberty.

First, they formed the first chamber of commerce in New York City. Then, virtually unknown to one another, Thomas Paine in Virginia and Samuel Adams in the Massachusetts Bay colony (Boston) both came up with the same idea and the fact that it was revolutionary shocked British politicians to their entrails.

Boycott All English goods !!!

Unthinkable ! But it took hold and spawned the first great Republican Revolution in history.

Just about every citizen of every persuasion in each of the 13 states quit buying British goods.
Ladies did without tea, and consumed bitter brew of wildflower leaves. They made their own buttons, and bolts of British cloth faded and rotted on the shelves of stores. None was imported for years.

Funerals, usually outlandish and lavish even for the poor, were stripped of all the black clothing and drapery that depended on English imports and were limited to hymns and a sermon.

The boycott actually spawned a number of great American traditions in the manufacture of glass, cutlery, firearms and conveyances.

It was as if America in 1770 reached back to the Puritan ethic of 1630: Bradford, Winslow, et al.

And though it slowed for a year, when Parliament acted more nastily, the economic boycott finally stuck. It became habit. Preparation for war existence.

Self deprivation, from Savannah to Charleston, to Portsmouth, to New York, to Philadelphia, and Boston, became popular – indeed, heroic in proportion.
It prepared a people to engage in a struggle and for the weight of History’s greatest political experiment.

Now my question is:

Where is the love for freedom and personal liberty that pervaded those souls – less than 2 million – in our 300 million Americans of 2007 ?

"Is life so dear,eace so sweet that we should choose tyranny and terror?"

That was Patrick Henry’s query then. It should be our heartsearch now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Three Glimmers.....

Some things actually brightened my weekend-and-Monday as I approach another birthday in the 80s.

The first thing was watching two United States senators, Trent Lott and Dianne Feinstein blame their own ineptitude on us, the peepul and what they called "talk radio".

These two usually articulate hustlers got their tongues caught in their bridgework and could only come up with a condescending view that the immigration legislation is "too complicated" for most people, and certainly too complicated to be correctly described by a talk radio host.

"Well simplify it, then, you arrogant ciphers! " Was my first reaction. "And admit you’ve been caught red-handed. By the Peepul and not the radio waves."

*----*----*

My next great pleasure came when the Supreme Court slapped a convicted drug seller upside the head and agreed that his "Bongs 4 Jesus" banner was sufficient grounds for his expulsion from high school when he was a senior in Juneau.

He is 23 now and has been convicted of selling dope. I’m sure the justices did not know about that. But it’s a good thing they are reinstating some principal control over student silliness that deteriorated during Vietnam era rulings.

And then there was another Supreme Court ruling that knocked out the stupid McCain-Feingold bar against corporations and unions and other entities advertising their political opinions within 30 days of an election.

That was a sinister insult to the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights and, like the scurvy thug in Sweetcreek, Texas...it "needed killin’."

Maybe the basic tenets of Western civilization are creeping back into cogency. Selah !

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

English Officially Spoken...WHERE ???

Tooling around the net in what Globaloney slicers and Algoreans would call a "Xenophopic, Jingoistic attitude, I thought I might validate something a very wise young confidante had "laid on" me in a Bull Session.

"Why isn't OUR national, Official Language, when it is the official language in most of Sub-Sahara Afr ica, and the Pacific Ocean ?"

"Is it?" I exclaimed..."Is it, REALLY ? !!!"

"Oh, yassss! " he chuckled smugly..."Check Google, or just go straight to Wikipedia...."

So I did. And here's what I found:

A nation's official language is designated as having a unique legal status in the state, typically the language used by a nation's legislative bodies and official government business. NATIONAL language is one that uniquely represents the nation's identity or the nation and country. Some my be technically minority languages, but efficiency dictates their designation.
Here are the countries where English is the national OFFICIAL language:

Antigua and Barbuda
Australia (de facto)
Bahamas
Barbados
Belize
Bhutan
Botswana (primarily)
Cameroon
Canada (along with French)
Domenica
Timor (working language)
Fiji (preferred over Figian and Hindustani)
Gambia
Ghana
Grenada
Guyana
India (only statewide, many local tomgues)
Ireland
Jamaica
Kenya
Lesotho
Liberia
Madagascar
Malta
Marshall Islands
Mauritius
Micronesia (except in Kosrae)
Nigeria you
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Rwanda
St. Kitts and Nevis
St. Lucia
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Samoa
Seychelle
Sierra LeĆ³ne
Singapore
Solomon Islands
South Africa (Afrikaans also)
Swaziland
Tanzania
Tonga
Trinidad and Tobago
Tuvalu
Uganda
United Kingdom (de facto)

United States(de facto only – no official language nationwide but English OFFICIAL by statute in: Alabama, American Samoa, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, the Northern Mariannas Islands, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, the Virgin Islands, Utah, Virginia, and Wyoming.)

Zambia
Zimbabwe


I think the United States should join up. English has already eclipsed French as the de rigeur Diplomatic Tongue.

Now, let's make it a National thing.

It seems to be Infra Dig in the 21st century.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Two Afterthoughts on Blacksburg

I :
One Answer Here...What is the Question?

You are cringing in the sunlight.

And do you fear the birdssong?
Why do you tremble? Are those tears in your eyes?
And you punish yourself, grinding your teeth, clawing at your breast...
What is this? What is that word you repeat... To me?... To yourself?

Oh! I see you direct the monosyllable to God.. A query!
Of course, it rhymes with “I ”.. The word is “Why?”

Here’s one answer. What’s the question ?

Behold the egocentric questioning of Deities by the clueless of millennia.

Why, me?... Why My Friends?

“How, indeed, can a good God punish so many innocents?

“I... We.. They... none deserves such horror!”

It must be true, but must each soul have its private “just desserts”?

Not in the scheme and context of God’s greatest gift to mortals:

Freedom!

Free will,, Invested by Creator in every living soul

So that we may shine brighter than all the angel auras...
Or sink to a depravity below the Lost: Satan and his Demon horde.

And yet we must live together.While uncountable Aeons ask us why we cannot.

-- --Fair question, that.

II :

The After-Action Colloquy Review

“Why did you haste to spread your heart and loins against the bursting door?”

“Evil I saw there. The others did not know.. .. Not even the word.”

“You recognize evil?... It was familiar to you?”

“Oh yes, I watched as all Librescus, yes, and other Jews were wasted by it, obliterated!”

“So, you would say it’s best to suffer evil.... best to be fore-armed?...”

“Of course not. But All should have the definition, not necessarily the shock, the pain of meeting it incarnate.”

“You’ve found a void?”

“Well, yes. Europe passes laws to force memory of Evil and criminalize forgetting it. In Israel, we need no legislation tweaking memory, for Moses branded us.”

“Then tell me, Livio Librescu, what’s your prescription?”

“All mortals should know what Evil is...and that IT IS! And then, endowment with true Freedom... not so prevalent in these ‘correct’ days !”

Saturday, April 14, 2007

FREE or "Fair" ???

"Fair" is in the eye of the beholder.

"FREE" is the verdict of the market.

(The word "free" is used three times in the Declaration of Independence and once in the First Amendment to the Constitution, along with "freedom".
The word "fair’" is not used in either of our founding documents.)


It will be well for all of us to remember these words
written by the late Milton Friedman in the Wall Street Journal in 1998.

During the next few weeks, months and, as Andy Griffith used to say, "I don’t know
WHUT-ALL!!", we will be hearing a lot about "fairness".

It is nearly a year until the first presidential primaries/caucuses... And no facet of "fairness"will be left unexamined or unplumbed.

The first shrill cry will be for a return to the "fairness doctrine" which has been (thank the Lord) dormant---not only out of style but out of practice--- since the late 1980s.

The fairness doctrine required that if anyone anywhere made a paid-for political statement on radio or television then an opponent to that opinion would be entitled to free air time to express opposition..

My reaction to this? Does Pope Benedict invite Satan to St. Peter’s?

Vachel Lindsay once wrote a poem wherein the Mexican communist painter Diego Rivera splashed Stalin’s and Lenin’s faces on the sacred walls of Rockefeller Center. In the last stanza of the poem, John D.’s grandson Nelson whimpered to Rivera:

"After all, it’s MY wall !!"

"We’ll see if it is!!" Said Rivera.

What I’m predicting is that the spiritual and political inheritors of Rivera are going to hammer the American people... with the robust conspiracy of the mainstream media... in a veritable cataract of "Fairfairfairfairfairfair !!!!" In a cacophony of kindergarten mewling and puking the likes of which Billy Shakespeare never saw or dreamed.

Brace yourself. You’re going to be shocked at how many people do not know the meaning or the proper utility of the word "fair". (Baseball, marbles, hpscotch, spelling bees and so on).

I wouldn’t be surprised if the Islamo fascists asked for equal time on Bishop Ted Jakes’ Sunday presentation.

Not to belabor the point too much but stop and consider the thought, and depth, and a the sculptured meaning of that old phrase:

"All is fair in love and war".

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Lost in Surreal Horror

The New York middle-school teacher saw a thoroughly objectioable object on the fifth grader's metal desk, and demanded the child remove it and hide it or "face consequences".

The child burst into tears, and the tears did not stop until she was home in her mother's arms.

"I don't understand", the little girl said.

I don't either," her mpther said.

In the subsequent uproar...or in its aftermath...the teacher and the principal and the superintendent and the teachers' union representative all agreed on remedial action:

NO MORE "OBJECTS" other than work materials will be tolerated on students' desks. A safe deal, see?

The "offending object?

It was a "refrigerator" magnet saying "SMILE ! JESUS LOVES YOU ! "

Now, let us look in at the Disney Corporation and the American Broadcasting Company, where Rosie O'Donnell is free to call one entire political party butchers and / or killers and enabled to accuse the Unites States government of blowing up the World Trade center and the Pentagon on Sepotember 11, 2001 for "political advantage".

Is there anything wrong with this picture ?

Are Lewis Carroll and Bram Stoker collaborating on the script for appropriate behaviour and tolerable, sensible personal expression in 20007?

Write me and tell me what YOU think....

Monday, March 19, 2007

Paper Clips

I have not seen a really great documentary motion picture since I stopped making them.

Until Now.

It's Paper Clips, produced by Eliot Berlin and Bob Johnston, and you should see it even if you must buy it from Amazon. I wish I could give EVERYONE a DVD !!

It's about a small town, Whitwell, Tennessee (POP. 1,400) and a succession of middle schoolers between 1998 and 2002, who decide to collect one paper clip for every Jew gassed or cremated by Hitler's Naziz in Dachau, Auschwitz, Terblinka and the other deatrh camps.

Paper clips, you know, were invented in Norway, and during the Dark Years, the Norwegian Undrerground, fighting Nazi Soldiers in Norway, saved thousands of Jews headed for slaughter, and used the paper clip as a symbol of Hope.

These Appalacian children from hard laboring families left adrift economically when the coal mine closed, don't even know what a Jew is, Why they Are, or What is Different about them. But they learn so much more than Those Things.

If I told you what happened, who wrote them and sent paper clips for every slaughtered family member, who came to Whitwell and what the final outcome was it would spoil the story. You MUST see it.

If you want to cheat, you can look it all up on the internet. But everyone iun America should see this motion Picture.

Hell ! Everyone in Am,erica should emulate Whitwell, Tennessee.

I'll give you a hint. They amassed a number of paper clips to represent not only the martyred six million Jews Hitler annihilated, but the five million homosexuals, Gypsies and Jehovah's Witnesses gassed and burned in the Killing Camps...Plus enough to account for Stalin's Pogroms, too !

And then...they did something even more ennobling....Write if you care to know !

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Darkest ? When ?

The gloom is always internal;
Produced by what one feels, not sees.
And, darkest hours come apace with lapse
Of memories and gratitude for Life, just Life.

It is not ever darkest "just before the dawn"
As some cute Pollyanna poet said.
Dark floods the unforgiving, graceless Soul
Embittered by discomfort, pain and guile
Suffusing light, eclipsing memory.

The darkest time is any time we choose
To not remember all the poignant joyful hours
We never understood or treasured.
And we’re empowered to change the meaning of it all.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Choose CHOICE !

Lets put aside the "rubber-stamping" for a moment.

Lets see if we can get by without labels.

The United States faces more trouble than it has at any time since Abraham Lincoln’s days in the White House during the Civil War.

And the most frightening aspect of our sticky wicket is that our main conduit to the truth of what is going on in the world has chosen sides and donned a label.

The Media are predominately what academics used to call "DOCTRINAIRE"--meaning a marriage to prejudice rather than a partnership with rational Truth.

Ninety-one percent of the people in America want to keep "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. Nearly the same number of Americans want it said in public schools, as it has ever been.

But, the Ass Press still bends and tortures its reportage to highlight and magnify the anti-American atheists who want any mention of God suppressed. The broadcast networks fall in lockstep.

United States senators go to Europe to proclaim the United States id an "international pariah" and everyone on earth knows it in 10 seconds.

Airheaded Hollywood socialists and peaceniks gather and spray paint obscenities on the U.S. Capitol building, and all the mainstream media multiply their attendance from about 9,000 to "hundreds of thousands". And this canard is accepted as truth throughout the world, mainly because Hanoi Jane Fonda was there.

But theft of classified documents from the National Archives, and the broken promise by the convicted thief to take a polygraph test...these go unreported, except by Bloggers on the Internet, and a bit by Fox News channel.

The wisdom of those Americans who still reason and cogitate for themselves nudges implacably against the mighty arrogant Lords of the Press and TV.
Facts are that all the left wing non-cable news shows are losing audience every year, and Katie Couric and CBS are the humonguos losers. Couric has a loquacious co-host now, and the audience still melts.

Media layoffs are at an all time high, percentage wise. Newsweek and TIME are shrinking weekly. No ad increase. The money is all heading for the Internet.

Maybe I won’t live to see it, but that huge percentage of Americans with historically proven values will, like the drip-drip-drip of the water torture or the sculpting of Gibraltar, overtake the liars and the God-haters.

They can ALL have their "labels". I’ll choose CHOICE.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Back to Basics

Browsing around the 'net this morning, I ran across some disgruntled Pennsylvania citizens who are extremely upset about their new electronic voting machines.

The way I understand it, these electronic marvels of the New Millenium can be invaded, perused and manipulated from a parking lot near the polling site by any laptop geek.

This is much more evil than a pregnant chad.

Since I have been reading about pre-Civil War elections in the United States (in which people like John Marshall and John Quincy Adams were elected to congress) this subversive activity via wireless technology knocked me for a loop.

I can remember in my youth, during the Dirty Thirties, my grandfather was always extolling the virtues of the "new Austrralian Secret Ballot".

It was, truly, a revolutionary idea then.

Up until the conclusion of the American Civil War, all
elections were heldin the open, with no secrets.

The contestants stood by at a long table where the qualified voters were accomodated, passed on, and then each voter declared his choice in front of the several hundred attendant voters and officials.

The tally was kept incrementally and when the last qualified voter got his lick in, everyone knew the winner.

Of course, they openly quaffed the ale and spirits all day...never mind WHOSE ale and spirits !

So, I say: 'What's the Big Durn Hurry ??'

Down with punch machines, electronic tallies, wireless schemes and abacus-like processes.

Let's let everyone just write down the name of their favorite candidate---just scrawl it however illegibly---and then count the paper ballots.

It can't be as bad as the hanging chads that Algore claimed beat him in 2000.

It would be impregnable to the crooked geeks who invade the electronic machines with slave sattelite aid.

And, to the great delight oif many of us, the old, long drawn out methhod of tallying paper ballots would drive the Mainstream Media absolutely Bonkers!!!

Of course, what we really need is an electorate totally dedicated and responsible...a population of electors unashamed and fearless in their decisions.

It would be rally nice to have THAT first.