Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Thanksgiving 2005

I would like to take this opportunity to give thanks. I cannot say that I am religious, nor do I believe in a god. I do, though, believe that people mold, shape and influence each other's lives in ways that we do not understand and cannot fathom. Everyone in my life has had some sort of effect, some more profound than others. I would like to thank my grandfather, for providing me with the best male role that anyone could ask for. I would like to thank my parents for giving me life. My family for giving me a strong moral base, though I haven't always followed it. I would like to thank my friends for providing color, support, love, companionship, acceptance and criticism- for without these things I would be less of a man. I would like to thank my dog and my cat for the blind love and allegiance that they give me. I would like to thank my dog's breeder, for taking a chance on me.

Even though at times I can be quite an ass, prone to outbursts and a bad temper, always remember that I love all of you, and that once you are family-you will always be family.

Semper Fidelis

Monday, November 21, 2005

Jarhead, the movie

I saw "Jarhead" the other day. I found it to be a good movie, true to life, and it brought back many memories for me.

I think the most compelling memory for me was the memory of the "upside-down V" that was painted on coalition forces vehicles. The reason I remember this is because I remember painting those numbers on our unit's vehicles. My unit was a Marine Expeditionary Unit, formerly known as a Marine Amphibious Unit. These units are deployed 6 months of every year, or at least they were when I first joined the unit. Soon after my first deployment they changed to an 18 month rotation instead of a 12 month rotation. This background is just to say that my unit deployed in July of 1990 for a six-month tour. My unit was highly trained, highly motivated and prepared for any contingency that we would be asked to face.

That being said, we were in Subic Bay, RoP when we got word that Saddam had invaded Kuwait. So we went. Along the way we were given word that our vehicles needed a special paint job, apparently jungle camo doesn't work in the desert. So we deserted them up. Then they sent word that all vehicles needed that special "V" on them. So we stenciled it on all of our vehicles.

That's really all I can say about what we did, and where we went. My unit was kept seperate from the rest of the units and we participated in various missions throughout the Theater at the behest of the coalition forces commanders.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Being Sick

Being sick is the worst, the absolute worst. I have been sick for the last week, effectively fighting off the majority of the symptoms until Sunday night. My symptoms: fever, sore scratchy throat, massive headache, blurred vision, body aches-pains, chest wracking coughs and of course sinus and bronchial drainage. (And acute paranoia that this is some sort of avian flu, even though I don't raise chickens.)

I've been going stir crazy at home, what with the cat and the dog both sensing that there's something wrong-but all I want is to be left alone. Of course I still have responsibilities to them-food, exercise and loving. They got what they needed and more. I can't count the times that the cat took a nap onn my chest, while the dog snuggled close to my legs.

I did discover two really cool things: a sore throat remedy that is all natural and though short lived, works brilliantly, and the easiest chicken soup ever. The sore throat remedy is simple, easy to make and healthy; take a lemon and a lime, microwave for 12 seconds-cut in half-juice both of them, microwave honey-comb honey for 15 seconds, mix with juice, microwave this for 15 seconds-stir well-drink it down. Very soothing mixture and you can't beat the vitamin C nor that pleasing honey aftertaste.

Second: Chicken soup, the easist I've ever known. Take whatever vegetables you like, in my case it was carrots, garlic, and frozen green beans, put them into a pot filled with water. Take one of those pre-roasted chickens you can get from the grocery store, put that into the water as well. Allow to come to a rolling boil, add 1tsp. kosher salt, 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper, simmer for about 45 minutes. Voila! You have a hearty broth with chicken meat that literally falls off the bird. If you wanted to get more creative with this, I suppose you could add a bit of sage or rosemary, possibly onions for a more hearty, earthy taste. I know it's not a "low-fat" chicken soup, but who really counts calories when they're feeling ill?

That's all- I'm out.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

The world is going to Pot

The world is going to pot
Denver Votes to End Marijuana Use and Possession Penalties

Are we seeing, as one prominent activist predicts, "the beginning of
the end of marijuana prohibition in the U.S."?

On November 1, Denver became the second major city in less than a
year to eliminate all civil and criminal penalties for the possession
of up to one ounce of marijuana by citizens age 21 and older.

Fully 54 percent of voters passed "I-100: The Alcohol-Marijuana
Equalization Initiative." This initiative, led by the organization
SAFER (Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation), argued that local
laws should treat the private adult use and possession of marijuana
in a manner similar to alcohol, and that its use by adults should not
be subject to criminal penalties.

There's more.

Last fall Oakland, California voters approved a similar initiative
to "tax and regulate the sale of cannabis for adult use."

And on November 1 a proposal in Telluride, Colorado to make "the
investigation, arrest, and prosecution of marijuana offenses ... the
town's lowest law enforcement priority" missed winning by only 24

"A few years from now, this [Denver] vote may well be seen as the
proverbial 'tipping point,' the beginning of the end of marijuana
prohibition in the U.S.," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the
Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. "Replacing the failed
policy of prohibition with common-sense taxation and regulation of
marijuana has become a thoroughly mainstream issue, with the voters
of two major U.S. cities endorsing such an approach within one year.

"Last year, there were more than three-quarters of a million
marijuana arrests, an all-time record," Kampia added. "That's
equivalent to arresting every man, woman, and child in the state of
Wyoming plus every man, woman, and child in St. Paul, Minnesota.

"The public understands that this simply makes no sense. Regulating
marijuana will take money out of the pockets of criminals and free
police to go after violent crime, and the voters of Denver took their
first step in that direction today."

Ironically, Denver was the site of the very first federal marijuana
arrest in American history. On October 2, 1937, Samuel R. Caldwell, a
58-year-old unemployed laborer, was arrested by the FBI and Denver
police for selling two marijuana cigarettes to a 26-year-old man. For
this dastardly act, Caldwell was sentenced to four years' hard labor
at Leavenworth Prison, and fined the then-enormous sum of $1,000.
Caldwell served every day of the sentence, and died a year after

Of course, local measures like the Denver one don't override state
and federal prohibitions against marijuana. But they give citizens
enormous and very real protection at the local level. Such measures
also very strongly catch the ear of federal politicians.

This may be part of a growing trend: pro-liberty communities defying
unjust federal laws by passing local legislation. It's quite similar
to the nationwide revolt against the Patriot Act by local and state
governments, which we've reported on in past issues.

Which city is next?

(Sources: Marijuana Policy Project (MPP):
NORML on the Samuel Caldwell tragedy: )