Stray Thoughts That Stuck in Andy's Brain in 2003

"Imagine an alien suddenly dropped into the 21st century America. He goes to a Monday night football game and witnesses thousands of people guzzling a liquid refreshment as fast as vendors can supply it. Observing the spectacle of the game itself, the alien is constantly distracted by fans whose behavior seems to become more and more bizarre. He watches as fights break out between half-naked fans with painted bodies. By the end of the contest, on the playing field, he notes that most of the people around him seem to have lost their ability to walk and for some reason, their speech has changed. Words are less audible. They seem to be talking in slow motion. Once the game is over, he watches the fans stumbling toward their cars, cursing and threatening other fans. Clearly, the alien observes, something has caused these fans to have a mind-altering experience. But whatever is going on, it seems to be acceptable behavior for this society, because all the while, many police officers observe the behavior, but remain at a distance and don't interfere. The next day, the alien attends a lecture on a college campus. After the lecture, he's invited by some students to a party. At the party, students are sitting around drawing smoke from a bottle-like structure with water in it. The smoke is inhaled into their bodies, the conversation is friendly, calm and respectful, and music is playing in the background. But all of a sudden, many police officers arrive with guns, grab the water-filled bottle, put handcuffs on everyone in the room, and take them off to jail. The alien is totally confused. Welcome to the United States of America, the land of hypocrisy." -- Jesse Ventura, on his talk show
"[John Lennon] was a counterrevolutionary and was very dangerous to the government. If he had said 'Bomb the White House tomorrow,' there would have been 10,000 people who would have done it. The pacifist revolutionaries are historically killed by the government, and anybody who thinks Mark Chapman was just some crazy guy who killed my dad for his own personal interest is insane or very naive. It was in the best interest of the United States to have my dad killed." -- John Lennon's son, Sean, quoted in Salvador Astucia's article, "Rethinking John Lennon's Assassination: The FBI's War on Rock Stars" "The core of my interest in fascism is closely connected to my work in trying to understand the motivations of right-wing extremists, because my experience was that in most regards many of these folks were seemingly ordinary people. And I was furthermore intrigued by the historical phenomenon of the Holocaust, particularly the problem of how a nation full of ordinary people could allow such a monstrosity to happen. I'm interested in fascism as a real-world phenomenon and not an abstract and distant concept." -- David Neiwert, "Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis"
"Many of us remember spending the summer of 1973 glued to the television, watching Sam Erwin's Watergate hearings. They were public, unrehearsed and very effective. They spotlighted a conspiracy orchestrated by the Oval Office. They helped the public see what was going on in the shadows. Will we ever see such a robust, no-holds-barred inquiry into 9/11?" -- "Where's the Watchdog?" by Danny Schechter and Colleen Kelly "Congress wants to run anti-marijuana ads with your tax money, while at the same time banning you from using your own money to run ads in support of marijuana law reform. They want to prohibit you from spending money on things you believe in, while taking money out of your paycheck to spend on things you don't believe in." -- email from the Drug Policy Alliance about an attempt by Congress to ban private marijuana reform advertising on public transportation
"Excuse me, but I have 30 million muscles." -- non-sequitur statement by my nephew James (now nearly 7 years old), at the Mellow Mushroom pizzeria in Charlottesville last Saturday night "Fall smells like emu baking." -- line from a poem about fall by my niece Sharon (James' twin sister), revealing my brother's family's odd new tradition of feasting on roast emu for Thanksgiving (apparently it tastes just like... beef!)

If ever you're sending me email, don't make the subject "hi"... I now delete all such messages without reading them, thanks to the spammers... "The war on Iraq and the war on terror are two different struggles. Tackled separately, either would have taken us years to win. Tackling them simultaneously was tragic foolishness on a very large scale, no matter how much the president claims otherwise." -- Jay Bookman, "This War Not Against Terrorists"
"I'm always rooting for our side, but how come, when we kill them, it's war, but when they kill us, it's terrorism? I mean, we're all shooting at each other over there now, it does seem a little hair-splitting, especially since now it's soldiers who are mainly under attack. Also, I thought we said terrorism was when people target civilians, like Sherman in the South, or Hiroshima, but aiming at people in uniforms was kosher." -- Bill Maher's blog, on Iraq, Nov 14, 2003 "On ethical grounds, do we have the right to use the machinery of government to prevent an individual from becoming an alcoholic or a drug addict? For children, almost everyone would answer at least a qualified yes. But for responsible adults, I, for one, would answer no. Reason with the potential addict, yes. Tell him the consequences, yes. Pray for and with him, yes. But I believe that we have no right to use force, directly or indirectly, to prevent a fellow man from committing suicide, let alone from drinking alcohol or taking drugs." -- Nobel economist Milton Friedman, in 1972

If it's really the "myth of the decade" that ordinary pot-smokers go to jail, then it shouldn't be a problem for someone who never has more than a "small amount of drugs" to admit to being a pot-smoker. And yet, it's terrifying. But as Keith Stroup says, it would make all the difference if more people did like Jeff and Tracy, so here goes: My name is Andrew James Looney, and yes, I smoke pot. Please don't arrest me. "It's really a myth of the decade that we're locking up the user. We do not put people in jail for small amounts of drugs; that's not the priority of the federal government." -- Drug Enforcement Agency Director Asa Hutchinson, on the Phil Donahue Show, July 17, 2002
"If we are to succeed in this goal, there is nothing more important that any one of us can do than to be honest -- to our friends, to our families and to the public -- about our own marijuana-smoking. We must educate those who have historically been afraid to hear it, and we must reeducate those who have been victimized by decades of government propaganda. For too long, the marijuana-law-reform movement has been hesitant to talk about the positive aspects of marijuana. Yet if we don't, who will? It's time to come out with the truth about pot and those who use it." -- Keith Stroup, Esq., NORML Executive Director, in High Times magazine Oct 2002 "Experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman reveal that, when a person watches television, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. The left hemisphere is the seat of logical thought. Here, information is broken down into its component parts and critically analyzed. The right brain, however, treats incoming data uncritically, processing information in wholes, leading to emotional, rather than logical, responses. The shift from left to right brain activity also causes the release of endorphins, the body's own natural opiates--thus, it is possible to become physically addicted to watching television, a hypothesis borne out by numerous studies which have shown that very few people are able to kick the television habit." -- Mack White, "Television And The Hive Mind"

Anti-drug preachers will always readily admit that peer pressure is a powerful force, and that it takes a lot of courage to say No to drugs. Well, I said No until I was 30, and I'm here to say, it takes a lot more courage to admit to the world that you've smoked marijuana. Kudos to the three democratic presidential candidates (Dean, Kerry, and Edwards) who acknowledged saying Yes in a debate on CNN last week. "George Bush, he does remind me sometimes of the kind of salesman who sells you something, and you don't realize it doesn't work or is gonna break until after he's gone. In the case of a politician, 'after he's gone' is 'after he's elected.'" -- Bill Maher's blog, on The Bush Economy, Nov 12, 2003
"A Scheme always trumps a Plan! Remember that, Hooper!" -- Fred Willard's character on the first episode of "A Minute with Stan Hooper" (after previously telling Stan that his own Plan was actually a Scheme)   "At last, the homeland is secure from Chong, a 65-year-old comic whose merchandise spared potheads from fumbling with rolling papers. Could there be any greater triumph for public safety than that? And in this peaceful world and placid nation, taxpayers can rest assured that officials are using their hard-earned cash as wisely as possible. Recall that Chong and 54 others were busted in Operation Pipe Dreams, a Feb.  24 crackdown on the drug paraphernalia industry. That project involved 1,200 local, state and federal authorities, the Drug Enforcement Administration estimates.  These professional sleuths could have pursued al-Qaida instead, but what would that have accomplished?" -- Deroy Murdock, "Arresting Tommy Chong Won't Boost Support For Faltering War On Drugs"
"We must now move on, in order to maximize our Experience Potential." -- a remark from Russell that became our mantra in Amsterdam as we went from one coffeehouse to the next
"Our people have evolved beyond the need for toast." -- Russell, in the context of a game of Homeworlds, at the Grey Area coffeeshop in Amsterdam

Russell and I played a lot of games during our trip to Europe, but mostly we played Homeworlds. (I estimate we played it about 20 times.) I like it best as a 2-player game, but with one little rules modification: you should limit the number of pieces available of each size to 3 instead of 5. Also, a Volcano board makes an excellent storage/organization tray for the bank of unplayed pieces.

We ate dinner one night at a Chinese Restaurant in Germany who had English language menus for us, which had obviously been translated from the German version of the menu, with humorous results: Chicken Breast became Chicken Chest, Wan-Tan soup was described as "paste bags with meat", plus the menu included Sea-tongue (whatever that might be) and the wonderfully named "8 Preciousnesses."
"America's drug warriors are shameless hypocrites who believe in one standard of justice for ordinary Americans and another for themselves, their families and their political allies. That alone should completely discredit them. But there's an even more disturbing possibility: that the people who are prosecuting the Drug War don't even believe in its central premise -- which is that public safety requires that drug users be jailed. The Bushes and Ashcrofts and McCaffreys of the world may believe, correctly, that individuals fighting a drug addiction deserve medical, not criminal treatment. That would explain why they're not demanding that Limbaugh be jailed. But if that's the case, these politicians have spent decades tearing apart American families for their own political gain. And that's an unforgivable crime." -- Joe Seehusen, "America owes talk host Rush Limbaugh a debt of gratitude, Libertarians say" "BTW: I ordered a bag for my games with my first order last year, but Agents of the DEA decided to steal it when my car was unlawfully seized and searched without my knowledge or consent... luckily they didn't steal the hundred dollars worth of Looney Labs games which it contained :)" -- Andrew of Louisville, CO

The Space Race has a new competitor! China just sent their first man into space, and I've heard they want to go to the moon, by 2020! I wonder if watching Chinese explorers visit the moon will inspire us to finally go back there...
"If people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up." -- Rush Limbaugh, on his own radio show, 10/5/95
[Florida law provides for sentences of up to 5 years for illegally purchasing prescription drugs, a crime Rush Limbaugh admitted to on the radio 8 years later... shouldn't he be going to jail then, instead of rehab?]
"You guys know who Philo Farnsworth was? He invented the television, in a little house in Provo, Utah, at a time when the idea of transmitting moving pictures through the air would be like me saying I had figured out a way to beam us aboard the Starship Enterprise. He was a visionary. He died broke, and without fanfare. The guy I really like though, was his brother-in-law, Cliff Gardner. He said 'Philo, I know everyone thinks you're crazy, but I want to be a part of this. I don't have your head for science, so I'm not going to be able to help much with the design and the mechanics of the invention, but it sounds like you're going to need glass tubes.' You see, Philo was inventing the cathode receptor, and even though Cliff didn't know what that meant or how it worked, he'd seen Philo's drawings, and he knew that he was gonna need glass tubes! And since television hadn't been invented yet, it's not like you could get them at the local TV repair shop. 'I want to be part of this,' Cliff said, 'and I don't have your head for science. How would it be if I were to teach myself to be a glass-blower, and I could set up a little shop, in the backyard, and I could make all the tubes you'll need for testing.' There ought to be congressional medals for people like that. [Anyway...] I can help. I can make glass tubes. That's what they need." -- William Macy's character on an episode of "SportsNight" I accidentally taped
"If he comes out of rehab and says, 'I was wrong about our approach to drugs,' he could single handedly change the way America looks at this problem... But he's gotta keep it real when he gets out. If he starts living the morally indefensible double standard he has been defending his whole career, game over. He learned nothing, or is too weak to admit it. That would be a shame, because I think he has it in him to do this, and the power and accomplishment from turning this battleship around would be, well - a rush." -- Bill Maher, in his blog entry for 10/13/3, regarding Rush Limbaugh
"To call the U.S. the 'freest and most democratic nation in the world' strains credulity. As the global community knows full well, this 'free nation' exercises absolute sovereignty over a number of disenfranchised colonies, including Guam, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico -- where 4 million U.S. citizens lack both the presidential vote and voting representation in Congress. And speaking of democratic embarrassments, it just so happens that citizens living in Washington D.C. are also governed without their consent, as they too lack representation in the House and Senate. One needn't even get into the Florida electoral fiasco to see the gaping holes in U.S. democracy. That the Heritage Foundation invokes such a cheerleading mantra about the United States demonstrates its dangerously nationalist blinders." -- Chris Mooney, "We Aren't the World: The Right Takes on the United Nations" "People in Blue America, which is my part of America, tend to live around big cities on the coasts. People in Red America tend to live on farms or in small towns or small cities far away from the coasts. Things are different there. Everything that people in my neighborhood do without motors, the people in Red America do with motors. We sail; they powerboat. We cross-country ski; they snowmobile. We hike; they drive ATVs. We have vineyard tours; they have tractor pulls. When it comes to yard work, they have rider mowers; we have illegal aliens." -- David Brooks, "One Nation, Slightly Divisible"
  "2003 was not the first time that dissent -- *the* American virtue, *the* unique right of us Americans -- suddenly became an ugly word. It happens every few decades, like when they passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, around 1800. Hell, in a way, the Civil War was about stifling dissent; the laws said slavery was just fine The people who changed that were dissenters. And you had your Palmer raids in the twenties, and your communist blacklists in the forties and fifties... All the witch-hunts against political contrary-ness in our history have ended the same way. The American political system was strong enough to prevail against mistaken ideologies; when the dissenters were wrong, the country got stronger. When the dissenters were right, the country got stronger. And everybody who ever tried to shut the dissenters up wound up hated and reviled, their accomplishments overshadowed by their lack of faith in Freedom of Speech." -- Keith Olbermann, on his MSNBC show "Countdown w/ Keith Olbermann," 9/29/3 "I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives." -- Tolstoy (seen quoted at

A few weeks ago, I lamented the news I'd read, about the prospect of losing our bananas. Well, Snopes says the problem has been greatly exaggerated! Yay! Banana Splits for everyone!

And the Free State is (or will be)... New Hampshire! Cool, that's within driving distance! It'll be fascinating to watch this project unfold...

"Nothing says 'I'm an idiot with a pointless opinion' like a window sticker of Calvin peeing on something." -- kilwag of

I have fond memories of a Kraft dinner product called Noodles Almondine. It came in a box just like the blue "cheesiest" box, except it was brown. So now I sometimes make an ersatz version of what I remember, by combining a packet of Lipton's chicken-flavored Noodles & Sauce with an unused packet of sliced almonds from a Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad. (Now if I could just find a replacement for Lipton's Noodles Romanoff...)

"The 'We Don't Trust You' political party in America has two wings. They are generally referred to as the left and the right. The left doesn't trust you with your money or your self defense. Wealth and guns drive them nuts. For them taxes are not high enough because the rich are still rich and there are too many armed citizens. The right doesn't trust you to follow the right moral code. Drugs and abortion drive them nuts. The first because the government can't do anything and the second because it won't." -- M. Simon, "People Can't Be Trusted", Sat, 11 May 2002, the Rock River Times

"Those who came before us risked their property, their reputations, their freedom, and their lives to push the boundaries of democracy for us. Inhale a bit of our country's pungent, brawling, inspiring history, from the suffragists to the civil rights movement, then tell me that battling the bastards today is too hard, too uphill, or takes too long. What else are you doing that is more worthy of your efforts than trying to establish the moral principles of fairness, justice, and equality for all?" -- Jim Hightower, from his book Thieves in High Places, as quoted in the October 2003 issue of Utne Reader

"Next time, please try to control your excitement long enough to include the comments of those of us who oppose these ridiculous drug laws. ...please stop reporting on the drug war as if it were the most normal thing in the world to jail people for what they choose to ingest into their own bodies.  Please wake up and begin reporting on drug prohibition as the Hitler-like horror it is." -- Alan Randell, to the Editor of the Quesnel Cariboo Observer, Re: "Police Bust Huge Pot Farm," September 3

Our military apparently has huge piles of radioactive shell casings! "Cobalt jackets will not likely ever be used. They're for a situation where the U.S. government is crumbling during a time of war, and foreign takeover is imminent. We won't capitulate. We basically have a scorched earth policy. If we are going to lose, we arm everything with cobalt -- and I mean everything; we have jackets at nearly every missile magazine in the world, on land or at sea -- and contaminate the world. If we can't have it, nobody can." -- an anonymous clearance-holder, as reported by Paul Krassner in "The Heavy Stuff"

"Ricaurte called the mistake 'a simple human error.' He said, 'We're scientists, not politicians,' and later: 'We're not chemists. We get hundreds of chemicals here. It is not customary to check them.' OK, slow down. Read that again. We get hundreds of chemicals in here, in this scientific laboratory where we analyze the effect of chemicals on primate subjects, and we do not bother to check the chemicals. Nope, we just read the labels, get out the syringes, and hello monkey want some whatever-this-is? It may be that drugs like ecstasy and marijuana have some medical uses. There is already some evidence that this is true, but there's been no follow- up because the government will not allow it. The government is afraid of the answers, so it refuses to ask the questions. Meantime, lapdogs like this Ricaurte dude get gazillions of dollars to injure monkeys in various ways to prove that the people who think they are having a good time aren't. This is medieval science, intellectually bankrupt and breathtakingly stupid." -- Jon Carroll, "It'll kill you -- wait, no it won't"

"Scientists at Johns Hopkins University who last year published a frightening and controversial report suggesting that a single evening's use of the illicit drug ecstasy could cause permanent brain damage and Parkinson's disease are retracting their research in its entirety, saying the drug they used in their experiments was not ecstasy after all."

"The only reason we give Dean an F+ and not a straight F is because the latter grade should be reserved for Bush, who is as cruel and heartless as anyone could possibly be on the medical marijuana issue." -- A Medical Marijuana Campaign Report Card, by the Granite Staters for Medical Marijuana (Kucinich got an A+!)

At Dragon*Con, I gave a Chrononauts deck to actor Tom Wilson (who played Biff in the Back to the Future movies) and got his autograph on a Sports Almanac card! (The plot of the second film centers around Biff giving a younger version of himself a Sports Almanac from the Future...)

"The EPA has just admitted that they lied for all this time.... My friend Dan Collins, whose office is on Broadway, only yards up from the site, said he has not taken a good breath for two years. 'They tell me it's good and I know it's bad,' he said. This lying with the lives of the people of the nation is not solely the habit of Bush and his crew, although it is more widespread and being done in so many cases by so many of their people that it looks like a generation of liars. This war with Iraq started with the full government standing right up and looking you in the eye and openly lying about why we had to invade Iraq immediately. Bush said the Iraqis had weapons of mass destruction. Why, they were starting to make nuclear bombs. He had a statement about this in his State of the Union speech. When it was shown to be a lie, Bush had people like Condoleezza Rice say, Why are you so worried about 26 words in a speech? That the 26 words were about nuclear weapons seemed beyond her. Out in the streets, you can scare people with only three words: 'Stick 'em up.' I sit here in New York and I don't believe one single solitary word of what the government says." -- Jimmy Breslin, The Air Is Thick With Lies

"With the Mission Launch, the group agrees on an official Mission Launch Time and then everyone works together to achieve the objective. E.g. the Launch Coordinator says, 'we have all agreed on a Mission Launch at 5:15, which is in 20 minutes. At 5:15 we will leave for the movie. Anyone who is not out the door at 5:15 has decided not to go.' The Mission Launch model is extremely effective when brandished unmercifully. All 'mission specialists' know that the launch time is serious, and therefore they all work together to achieve a perfect launch. Group stagnation disappears." -- John Cooper, in the GinohnNews, August 27, 2003

"How exactly did it come about that, in a world of Aids, global warming, 30-plus active wars, several famines, cloning, genetic engineering, and two billion people in poverty, practically the only thing we all talked about for a year was Iraq and Saddam Hussein? Was it really that big a problem? Or were we somehow manipulated into believing the Iraq issue was important and had to be fixed right now - even though a few months before few had mentioned it, and nothing had changed in the interim." -- Brian Eno, "Lessons in how to lie about Iraq"

"The dramatic change of view is the result of clinical experience.  Doctors and nurses have seen that for many patients cannabis is more useful, less toxic, and less expensive than the conventional medicines prescribed for diverse syndromes and symptoms, including multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, migraine headaches, severe nausea and vomiting, convulsive disorders, the AIDS wasting syndrome, chronic pain, and many others. A mountain of anecdotal evidence speaks to marijuana's medical versatility and striking lack of toxicity.  Even the federally sponsored Institute of Medicine has grudgingly acknowledged that marijuana has medical uses. However, the government itself refuses to learn." -- Dr. Lester Grinspoon, "The Shifting Medical View on Marijuana"

"The coolest thing about the spaceship (other than having an "open-air" deck), was that Andy Looney was there, with the two little girls who were with him at Origins. I got to apologize to him in person for not keeping touch over email." [Then the spaceship turned into a school, and a test was being missed...] "I wish Andy Looney was my dad. He was so cool to talk to in person." -- description of a dream in Laura Marsh's blog, from the entry dated Aug. 7th, 2003

"I wanna be like Uncle Andy! I want a job where I don't have to work a lot... and I'll live in a big house with a bunch of my friends, and we'll play video games and we'll watch a lot of ballgames on TV!" -- Joe, a cartoon character, answering the question "What do you want to be when you grow up?" in a "One Big Happy" strip by Rick Detorie

"We know you'll agree, when it comes to believing in your business' potential, we're second only to you." -- closing sentence of a letter inviting us to apply for a business loan, which we just got from the Vice President at the Business Loan Center of our Bank (yes, the same bank which has consistently been turning down our business loan requests)

"In total, based on all the data from the research and the testimony heard regarding the effects and consequences of cannabis use, the committee concludes that the state of knowledge supports the belief that, for the vast majority of recreational users, cannabis use presents no harmful consequences for physical, psychological or social well-being in either the short or the long term." -- Canadian Senate Report on Marijuana Policy, Volume One, circa 2002, page 165

"While the Bush Administration may think it can fight a war on terror and run an occupation of Iraq while also cutting taxes and continuing the drug-war imprisonment boom, states are dealing with a more bitter reality.  The Administration may want to devote resources to shutting down medical-marijuana buyers' clubs set up legally under new state laws, but states are no longer so enthusiastic.  They are realizing that their budgets, buffeted by declining tax revenues, simply can't support major domestic-security spending and, at the same time, continued high expenditures on drug-war policing and mass incarceration." -- Sasha Abramsky, "The Drug War Goes Up in Smoke"

"How in God's name should one then devote oneself to a party which aims to abandon the poor to their poverty, cut school lunch programs, cut foreign aid, keep out immigrants, deny government assistance to legal and tax-paying immigrants, cut medical aid to the poor and the sick, and put more people in prison than any other industrial democracy? This is why I say the pro-life activist who gets into bed with the Republicans is compromised. He thinks he has stood firm on abortion (we'll get back to that), but he has completely compromised on justice." -- Mark Rosenfelder, "Have Evangelicals Sold Their Souls To The Devil?"

We may be losing our bananas! In as little as 10 years, the banana as we know it could be a thing of the past, and it sounds like Science is powerless to stop it!

"If the 28 pages were to be made public, I have no question that the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia would change overnight." -- an unnamed official quoted in The New Republic who has supposedly read the censored section (entitled "Certain Sensitive National Security Matters") of the report by the congressional committee investigating 9/11

I recently learned that my siblings and I never got to visit Glen Echo during the days when it was an operating amusement park (complete with a roller coaster), because my mother wouldn't stand for it. Why? Because at the time, the park was open only to white people. Yay Mom!

"This jail-care policy has stripped 240,000 Alabama residents of the right to vote. Fourteen percent of the voting-age population of blacks is disenfranchised. Lock them up to lock them out. The drug war has replaced the poll tax as the way to keep blacks from voting." -- Jesse Jackson, "Old South Holds Back New South's Potential"

"Unless you are a drug user or know somebody in the joint, all this may seem far removed from your life. It's not. They're taking money away from your kids' schools to pay for all this, from helping people who are mentally retarded and mentally ill, from mass transit and public housing and more parkland..." -- Molly Ivins, "Fear Of Crack Worse Than Drug Itself"

"I know you're very busy so I'm gonna get right to the point." -- an empty sentence that does nothing but waste my time at the start of a piece of spam... if these people were actually concerned with the fact that I'm busy, they wouldn't send me spam at all, and if they did, it would actually get to the point instead of wasting a sentence talking about getting to the point

"This was wishful thinking. Not only has there been no lasting effect on the drug trade, resentment of outside law enforcement in Benton Harbor recently has exploded into riots.  Residents of the crime-ridden and depressed city see police as an occupying force. Outsiders find it hard to believe that residents of dangerous communities -- those most in need of police services -- can be anti-police. Our drug laws create this paradox. The problems that lead to riots stem from the drug trade. Eighty years of failed drug prohibition have destroyed swaths of urban America." -- Peter Moskos, former Baltimore City police officer, "Change Strategy In The War On Drugs"

"Despite billions spent yearly on the drug war, addiction is up. Our country must rethink a policy that produces many casualties, but benefits only the prison-industrial complex. Non-violent drug offenders often receive Draconian sentences, tearing apart families." -- Dennis Kucinich, Democratic Presidential Candidate, on his website

"AS THE .... 4 HRS THE VICTIMS OF THE ... YOU FORWARDED TO THE ... AT FORT WORTH, TEX. ... THE "CRASH" "STORY" ... FOR 0984 ACKNOWLEDGES ... EMERGENCY POWERS ARE NEEDED SITE TWO SW OF MAGDALENA, NMEX ... SAFE TALK ... FOR MEANING OF STORY AND MISSION ... WEATHER BALLOONS SENT ON THE ... AND LAND ... ROVER CREWS ... SIGNED ... TEMPLE" -- supposed text of a telegram held in the hand of General Ramey in a photo taken during the press conference in 1947, held to announce that the "flying disk" which supposedly crashed near Roswell was actually just a weather balloon

"Those who played board games had a 74 percent lower risk and those who played an instrument had a 69 percent lower risk. Doing crossword puzzles cut the risk by 38 percent." -- Shankar Vedantam, reporting for the Washington Post (June 19th, 2003) on a comprehensive study of the benefits of intellectual stimulation among the aging, which found that exercising the brain regularly can greatly reduces your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease and other dementias

Even if you are a total skeptic about UFOs, you have to admit that the government has gone to a great deal of trouble and expense to keep *something* secret from us out there at Area 51. What is it? When will we be told? And what's that 6-mile-long runway for?

The Supreme Court has struck down laws against homosexuality! While I'm not gay, I have many close friends who are, and I share in their happiness about this ruling. Moreover, as a freedom fighter, I regard anti-sodomy laws as being just as blatantly unconstitutional as drug prohibition, so I'm pleased to see them finally getting tossed out!

"When I wrote Wasted, the story of my son's drug addiction, I thought marijuana was a stepping-stone to heavier drugs. I'm now convinced that pot had nothing to do with it. Marijuana: Not Guilty as Charged is a valuable and honest book -- a "must read" for anyone who wants to know the truth. David Ford also presents ample evidence that marijuana is medicine. It's a compelling book, and it often reads like a spicy novel." -- William Chapin, as quoted on the dust jacket of Marijuana: Not Guilty as Charged

"If it is OK to have sex with the consenting adult mate of your choice, why then is prostitution still illegal? If person A wants to give person B money for an act that is legal when money does not change hands, then A nor B should go to jail when money is exchanged. Moreover, if the Supreme Court contends that the Constitution is best served by allowing us to do peaceful things in private, why can't people who want to use drugs in a peaceful manner, do so? I don't visit prostitutes or do drugs, but, as an American Christian, I embrace your right to do so in order to preserve the liberty that our Founders and God gave us." -- Jack A. Chambless, "What About Prostitution and Drugs?"

It's one thing for a top White House counter-terrorism adviser to quit because the job is understandably stressful... but it's something else when he joins the campaign of the other party, determined to get his old boss removed from power as soon as possible.

"After all the recent stupidity with 'Freedom Fries' etc, it made me chuckle tonight when I ate at the Saturn Cafe in Santa Cruz to see that their fries are now called 'Impeach Bush Fries'." -- Paul Russell, on the and scruz.general newsgroups, June 15th, 2003

"Less publicised last week was the suggestion from the US surgeon general that it would be no bad thing if tobacco was banned. To which Philip Morris USA, the tobacco giant, responded quite reasonably that prohibition had been tried before in the US and had been "a disaster". So we have a senior judge in San Francisco and the chief of police in LA effectively saying that the drugs laws are a nonsense and one of the country's largest corporations stating that prohibition was a disaster." -- Duncan Campbell, "Dopey Days in America"

"To say the drug war is a failure is like saying the Hindenburg was short a few fire extinguishers." -- Carl Hiassen, Miami Herald, May 2001 (seen quoted at

"It's been noted that Man can do anything, so long as it's not the thing he's supposed to be doing at the moment." -- seen quoted on Rash.Log

Ed Rosenthal could have gotten 6-20 years or more in jail, but instead the judge sentenced him to one day! (Unfortunately, that still leaves hundreds of thousands of other marijuana-law offenders wasting away in our prisons, all at the expense of you, the taxpayer...)

"Maryland has more citizens in prison and jail (an estimated 35,200) than all of Canada (31,600), though Canada's population is six times greater. [...] It took a century and a half, until 1980, to reach 500,000 inmates [nationally]. Then, in slightly more than 20 years, the prison and jail population grew by 1.5 million. A major cause of the increase is the war on drugs." -- Robert Field, "Locked Up In Land Of The Free"

"I prefer our system in the UK of having a Prime Minister who theoretically can be thrown out of office on a vote of no confidence at any moment. If you get a good one you don't want a rule which states you have to have a new one after four years and if you get a bad one (or a good one fades) you want to change sooner than four years." -- Michael Orton's comments on my one-term limit idea from last week, on the Something mailing list

"With more than 2 million people behind bars (there are only 8 million prisoners in the entire world), the United States-with one-twenty-second of the world's population-has one-quarter of the planet's prisoners. We operate the largest penal system in the world, and approximately one quarter of all our prisoners (nearly half a million people) are there for nonviolent drug offenses. Put another way, the United States now has more nonviolent drug prisoners alone than we had in our entire prison population in 1980." -- "The War at Home", by Sanho Tree, from Sojourners Magazine (Christians for Justice and Peace)

I'm so anti-incumbency that I think there should be a one-term limit on the presidency. The two-term tradition was set by George Washington at a time when everything was a lot slower to happen than things do in our modern world. Nowadays, four years of anyone is long enough, for me at least. And imagine if the president didn't have to spend half his time (in what will probably be the second half of his only term in office anyway) campaigning for re-election?

One of the many things I dig about staying up all night and sleeping during the day is the way that it's kind of like time travel. Since Stuff usually Happens during the day, sleeping through large parts of the day leaves you with a greater sense of having skipped ahead a few hours than does sleeping at night. More importantly, being up and around in the dead of night when nothing else is happening is the next best thing to spending a few hours with Time somehow frozen.

Alison observed that the year 2000, once the ultimate in imagined futures, is now, like, a really long time ago! (At least in terms of pizza coupons...)

Oops! There's a minor mistake in NanoBlanks... the example card that you can see through the clear plastic wrap, one of the 4 Character cards in the pack, has an upside-down cardback! Oh, well, I can't see how it will really impact gameplay...

Remember that Iraqi leader who would hold a press conference every day at noon to deny that US troops were succeeding in their invasion of his country? I've already forgotten his name, but with tanks at Baghdad's gates, he continued to tell absurd and obvious lies, in a desperate attempt to keep his power base from crumbling. I think of that guy whenever I hear the Drug Czar make a speech about marijuana.

"Will roller coasters get taller, faster, quicker than this one? Given recent history, one would have to say 'yes,' eventually. How soon? I wouldn't even try to guess. But know this: Cedar Point's Gemini was a record-breaker in 1978, at 125 feet in height. Think about what's happened in the last 25 years. Then think about the next 25 years. That, my friends, is really scary." -- Robert Coker's review of the 420-foot tall Top Thrill Dragster at Cedar Point

Every time I read an article like "Drug War Addiction" by Emiliano Antunez, which matter-of-factly points out the blatant unconstitutionality of the drug war, I wonder again: how are the drug-warriors getting away with this? I first asked this question here over 5 years ago, and I've yet to receive a credible explanation as to why the Supreme Court doesn't just strike prohibition down, with a ruling akin to Roe vs. Wade. Isn't abolishing unconstitutional laws like their main job? Again I ask: Where in the Constitution (or the Bible, for that matter) does it say that ingesting a weed is forbidden?

"The ads imply that those buying drugs are helping fund criminal enterprises and, therefore, directly responsible for terrorism and murder. If that ain't the pot calling the kettle black! The truth is that the only thing keeping 'illegal' drug prices and profits artificially high, is the government's war on drugs... those buying drugs in the inner city are no more responsible for funding terrorism than those pumping gas at the local gas station." -- "Drug War Addiction" by Emiliano Antunez
  Former Drug Czar and all-around Moral-Crusader William J. Bennett has a gambling problem... he's reportedly lost $8 million dollars at casinos during the past decade! It makes me sick to think this loser got that kind of money by demonizing pot-smokers, lecturing people about morality, and publishing stuff like The Book of Virtues. How does a million-dollar gambling addiction fit into a life of morals and virtue? Doesn't this totally destroy any credibility he might have had as a moral authority?

"We should know that too much of anything, even a good thing, may prove to be our undoing...[We] need ... to set definite boundaries on our appetites." --William J. Bennett in The Book of Virtues

"Grammar with the 30% less having in it" -- Dark Ryder's email sig

Dear Washington Post: I find it appalling that you now feature the musings of a "beer guru", while you remain unwilling to publish anything positive about cannabis culture. How do you justify promoting one type of recreational drug use while continuing to support unilateral prohibition of other drugs? Instead of airing the opinions of a bartender (who would have been a criminal 80 years ago), how about a regular feature on the harms to society caused by the War on Other Drugs? On April 13th, you reported on the fact that we have 2 million Americans in jail, and even admitted that drug prohibition is to blame, yet you couldn't bring yourself to draw the obvious conclusion: WE MUST END THIS STUPID DRUG WAR. The free press is supposed to publish difficult truths, not simply report the viewpoint of the government. You should have given a regular column to Ethan Nadelman, Keith Stroup, or Ed Rosenthal, not Megan Coyle. (Better yet, give one to me!)

"Sgt. Pepper's would never have happened without acid. The Beatles were the premiere band of the Sixties and if they had just said no, we wouldn't have some of the greatest music that was ever composed. The culture wants its novelty, and wants its beauty from the arts, but many people are still unwilling to accept the reality that psychedelics have played such a crucial role." -- Alex Grey, in an interview in the summer 2002 issue of Trip, the journal of psychedelic culture, page 47

In the past 5 months (i.e. since the release of version 3.0), Fluxx decks have been selling at an average rate of 75 per day!

It's official! We have finally signed the contract with Amigo, a German card game company who'll be publishing a German edition of Fluxx later this year. We've even seen samples of the new color art they're creating, and we like it. Yay!

"Some people believe bad chocolate is like bad sex: Even when it's bad, it's still good. This formulation is nonsense at its root. Bad sex is definitely not still good. It's actually tremendously depressing, sort of like getting all worked up go to Disneyland just to find that the only ride open in the whole park is the monorail to and from the parking lot -- and that the monorail seats smell kind of funky." -- John Scalzi, "The Terror Of Bad Chocolate"

"Perhaps someday, people like me will not be so persecuted." -- Denise Schilling, in the suicide note she left behind when she and her husband hung themselves to escape what had become of their lives after they were torn apart by our legal system because they sold $120 worth of pot to an undercover cop

Aslan, our oldest and most important cat, has successfully trained me to pour water over his dry food when I serve it to him.

"Imagine that the United States locked up the populations of Wyoming, Vermont and North Dakota and then threw in the nation of Iceland for good measure. The result would be an inmate population of approximately the same size as the one currently behind bars in the United States." -- "A Nation Behind Bars", Washington Post Editorial, April 13th, 2003

"I'll give you an exact definition. When the happiness of another person becomes as essential to yourself as your own, then the state of love exists." -- Jubal Harshaw to Ben Caxton in Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land

Nanofictionary got a Parent's Choice Silver Honor award! (On the other hand, it was passed over by the Mensa reviewers...)

"We do it in order to keep our clock-synchronization skills well-honed." -- Rash's explanation for Daylight Savings Time (which I forgot all about this weekend, causing Alison to be late for work on Monday...)

"The soft-minded man always fears change. He feels security in the status quo and has an almost morbid fear of the new. For him, the greatest pain is the pain of a new idea." -- Martin Luther King Jr., seen quoted at

In their annual survey of federal agencies and the success they have had this year, the White House Office of Management and Budget give one agency a score of zero, out of 100 points, for results. When a $1.5 billion-a-year federal program gets an official White House score that low, shouldn't the President demand an end to the project? Not, it would seem, when it's the DEA.

"I enjoyed your website and your HST [Hubble Space Telescope] software. I'm still working on HST as a contractor." -- email I got awhile ago from a fan [I'm getting used to getting fan mail, but fans of my old NASA software are not the norm]

"New scientific research, however, confirms what the Vietnamese have been claiming for years. It also portrays the US government as one that has illicitly used weapons of mass destruction, stymied all independent efforts to assess the impact of their deployment, failed to acknowledge cold, hard evidence of maiming and slaughter, and pursued a policy of evasion and deception. Teams of international scientists working in Vietnam have now discovered that Agent Orange contains one of the most virulent poisons known to man, a strain of dioxin called TCCD which, 28 years after the fighting ended, remains in the soil, continuing to destroy the lives of those exposed to it." -- "Spectre Orange", Cathy Scott-Clark and Adrian Levy reporting

"Have you forgotten we wouldn't even have this country known as America if it weren't for the French? That it was their help in the Revolutionary War that won it for us? That our greatest thinkers and founding fathers -- Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, etc. -- spent many years in Paris where they refined the concepts that lead to our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution? That it was France who gave us our Statue of Liberty, a Frenchman who built the Chevrolet, and a pair of French brothers who invented the movies? And now they are doing what only a good friend can do -- tell you the truth about yourself, straight, no b.s. Quit pissing on the French and thank them for getting it right for once." -- A Letter from Michael Moore to George W. Bush on the Eve of War

Medical marijuana has been legalized in Holland, which means that if your doctor prescribes it, you can get it at the pharmacy and your insurance will pay for it!

"How do these two standpoints, often shared by the same person, line up? How can they co-exist rationally? How can one be pro-life in the case of a fetus but pro-death in the case of military aggression? I'd really like to know your insights. I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this." -- The Jude (aka smurfchick)

"I'm sorry we burnt down your white house during the war of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice." -- Rick Mercer's Apology On Behalf Of Canadians Everywhere

"What is ominous is the ease with which some people go from saying that they don't like something to saying that the government should forbid it. When you go down that road, don't expect freedom to survive very long." -- Thomas Sowell, seen quoted at

"Sensors detect another quarter in your pocket." -- post-game message displayed by a rare videogame called Starship 1 (I've been looking in old arcades for this game since the late 70s and only this week discovered what the actual name of the game was (which of course then allowed me to find webpages about it))

"Americans have been given the distinct impression that our federal budget is strapped for cash and that we need all resources to ferret out the terrorists in our midst. It seems a waste of resources to carry out Operation Pipe Dreams in order to ensure that 55 pipesellers will no longer be on the streets while terrorist cells await their orders in the heartland of America. Doesn't Ashcroft have better things to do?" -- Debra McCorkle, "Operation Pipe Dreams Is A Nightmare"

"Extroverts are easy for introverts to understand, because extroverts spend so much of their time working out who they are in voluble, and frequently inescapable, interaction with other people. They are as inscrutable as puppy dogs. But the street does not run both ways. Extroverts have little or no grasp of introversion. They assume that company, especially their own, is always welcome. They cannot imagine why someone would need to be alone; indeed, they often take umbrage at the suggestion." -- Jonathan Rauch, "Caring for Your Introvert: The habits and needs of a little-understood group"

"This is really an argument between two kinds of prayer--vertical and horizontal. I don't have the slightest problem with vertical prayer. It is horizontal prayer that frightens me. Vertical prayer is private, directed upward toward heaven. It need not be spoken aloud, because God is a spirit and has no ears. Horizontal prayer must always be audible, because its purpose is not to be heard by God, but to be heard by fellow men standing within earshot." -- Roger Ebert, "Public Prayer Fanatics Borrow Page From Enemy's Script"

"This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world. This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self-defense." -- Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.)

"Let there be no doubt about what's happening: The federal government is waging war on American citizens via storm troopers carrying gold federal badges.  They don't give a damn about the law, the sick people who are helped by marijuana or even the concept of guilt or innocence.  They care only about enforcing the edicts of distant kings in Washington, D.C.  In the past, a hardier stock of Americans decided they had had enough of that, staged a rebellion and wrote a Constitution so it would never happen again.  But it is happening again, and the worst part is, this time around most people don't even care... It's becoming more clear every day who the criminals in the war on drugs really are." -- Steve Sebelius, "A War Against The People"

"Art has power. Art unmasks. Art tells lies in the service of truth. (Whereas governments lie in order to conceal truth.)" -- Bernard Weiner, "Artistic Sign Language: Signs of the Coming Bush Fall"

"Where I come from, everything is open for debate." -- Starship Captain Jonathan Archer

"It was as if a man on trial for reckless driving was unable to tell the jury that his pregnant wife was hemorrhaging to death in the car on the way to the emergency room.... These jurors are not only angry at being deceived but even worse they are filled with remorse for convicting innocent individuals.  Having been denied in jury deliberation, the conscience of these everyday people will now disturb them for the rest of their lives." -- Jay R. Cavanaugh, PhD; National Director, American Alliance for Medical Cannabis, on the conviction of Ed Rosenthal

"To blame marijuana, while welcoming four hours' worth of beer commercials, is hypocrisy at its best.  This is just another example of how out of touch with reality the Bush administration is." -- Michael Davoli, "Ads Condemn Pot Yet Condone Beer"

"A dope-smoking driver who was caught with a joint in his hand recently beat an impaired-driving charge in Eastern Ontario. Rick Reimer, a former lawyer and multiple-sclerosis sufferer, is one of fewer than 1,000 Canadians legally permitted to smoke pot. That privilege was not thought to extend to driving.  But Mr.  Reimer successfully argued that he can smoke marijuana and remain able to debate law, recite poems, write plays -- and drive a car." -- Colin Freeze, writing for Canada's Globe and Mail, Sat, 01 Feb 2003

"For 20 years, the American space program has been wedded to a space-shuttle system that is too expensive, too risky, too big for most of the ways it is used, with budgets that suck up funds that could be invested in a modern system that would make space flight cheaper and safer. The space shuttle is impressive in technical terms, but in financial terms and safety terms no project has done more harm to space exploration." -- Gregg Easterbrook, writing for Time Magazine, "The Space Shuttle Must Be Stopped"

"What happened was a travesty and it's unbelievable, unbelievable that this man was convicted.  I am just devastated. We made a terrible mistake and he should not be going to prison for this." -- Juror Marney Craig, who (along with half of her peers) is now denouncing her verdict, after discovering the full range of facts that were withheld from the jury during the trial of Ed Rosenthal

"Criminalizing peaceful people who use psychoactive drugs to deepen their spiritual experience or widen their cognitive horizons is criminal itself, these groups argue. Their arguments are catching on." -- Salim Muwakkil, "A New Opposition Front In The Drug War", The Chicago Tribune, Mon, 20 Jan 2003

Hey! Almond Snickers aren't new... they're just renamed Mars bars! Now I feel duped. I guess the renaming makes sense though... in England, what we call a Milky Way is called Mars bar, a fact which I've seen cause much confusion. But no matter what you call it, that candy bar has nougat, which means the Russell Stover Almond Delight is still the king of the almonds-caramel-milk chocolate candy bar niche.
Entheogenic (adj): God-evoking; a form of drug (most commonly a psychedelic) which engenders in the user a feeling of deep spirituality and connectedness to the Almighty (e.g. "When I dropped acid, I saw God."); something which provokes "transcendent and beatific states of communication with the deity." [Coined by Professor Carl Ruck of Boston University]

I can't wait to try the new Almond Snickers which I've seen advertised. I've never been big on Snickers, but with almonds instead of peanuts it could be just what I was wishing for on 12/6/1 (though actually, if you can find them, Russell Stovers' Almond Clusters are really quite perfect already...)

The new governor of Maryland, Republican Bob Erhlich, has announced his support for decriminalizing medical marijuana! (Dude, if you'd said that sooner, I would have considered voting for you.)

Arisia was held in the same hotel where, in 1983, I played in the first-ever Live Action Role-Playing game: Rekon-1. Wandering around those hallways and function rooms again brought back many memories... perhaps my favorite was the somewhat-famous moment when I beat the rap for Negligent Genocide, 19 years ago, in the very same room where Fluxx and Volcano tournaments were being run this weekend.

"If cannabis was one of the main ingredients of the ancient Christian anointing oil, as history indicates, and receiving this oil is what made Jesus the Christ and his followers Christians, then persecuting those who use cannabis could be considered anti-Christ." -- Chris Bennett, in an article entitled "Was Jesus a Stoner?"

If drug money really does support "terrible things" (as the current round of expensive TV ads from the Drug Czar's office are alleging) then shouldn't we be doing something that would actually be *effective* about the problem, instead of uselessly trying to guilt drug users into quitting? The only thing that will cut off the flow of drug money to criminals is legalization. Imagining that anything else will work is a pipe dream.

"Half the difficulty of understanding those consequences is to get past today's prevailing attitudes of fear and dismissal and to take seriously the experiences of getting high and tripping. No history of the '60s or of rock music in the '60s can afford to evade this swampy issue." -- Nick Bromell, "Tomorrow Never Knows: Rock and Psychedelics in the 1960s"

"It taught me to hate the government. The government will come into your home with guns and they'll try and take your alien pet." -- Hal Sparks, commenting on "E.T." on VH-1's "I Love the 80s"

"I said 'no' for a long time afterwards, and I'm really still angry with Nancy Reagan for making me do that." -- Steven Page of Barenaked Ladies, on VH-1's "I Love the 80s"

My wish for a movie based on the excellent Ken Grimwood book Replay is being granted! It's going to star Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, who I suppose are reasonable choices.

"You've got to go at the rate you can go. You wake up at the rate you wake up. You can't rip the skin off the snake. The snake must moult the skin. That's the rate it happens." -- Be Here Now, Passage #57

Yay for Canada! An Ontario judge has ruled that possessing marijuana is no longer illegal for anyone in Canada, since federal laws against marijuana possession have been rendered invalid. It's hard to believe, but marijuana prohibition is actually coming to an end up there! How much longer can our "land of the free" remain an island of oppressive drug laws in a world of increasing sanity?

We've started using a timer when we play Are You a Werewolf? and it's a big improvement. The length of each "day" is determined by the current number of players; you put 3 minutes on the clock for each person still alive. When the timer runs out, a final vote is taken, and if no one gets a majority of votes, then no one is lynched that day.

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