Jan 23, 2015

Further Communiques from the War on Drugs

But first I need to tell you about my Jewish Mother. It was a brief relationship but responsible for about the only health legend I fully accept.

We were living in Guilford. I was working in New Haven. The Peter Principle intruded, and I was ordered to report daily to 50 Rock in Manhattan for several weeks of "executive training." At first, the most efficient way of getting there was by bus. Kiss the wife good bye and ruffle the kids' hair about 6 a.m. Monday,  then brave the depot diesel fumes until the driver slammed the door and embarked for Gotham.

(So I already know a little about Hell. The American bus is Cosmic punishment for not being rich. But this once it profited me.)

My seat mate  was undeniably Jewish and almost certainly a mother.  That sort of thing shows, and not too subtly, a certain comfortable heft, authoritarian ways of expression, and an iron will to make younger people do things for their own good.

About the time we hit the Throgs Neck bridge, she noticed my sniffle. From her handbag came a pill bottle, "C"  tabs. I'd given smaller ones to sick ponies.

"Take six."

I suppose my eyebrows raised, but one does not defy  Mama. "It will stop your cold.  But only if you take six."

I decided it was best to comply as a wise man would when, for instance,  confronting Harry Callahan in one of his moods. I was grateful for enough dregs in the cardboard cup to wash them down.

It made my day. Glowing health blessed my first week on a large Big Apple expense account. In the many ensuing years, I've popped hundreds of big Cs immediately after soiling the first tissues. It has usually worked.


I hope it does this morning.  I don't have time for a goddam cold, and I don't favor plan B, a trip to the pharmacy counter to stand in line for a  DEA investigation of my background, lifestyle,  political beliefs, and propensity to repurpose pseudophedrine for fun and profit. (Strictly as an aside, that might also be a Homeland Security, TSA, NSA, et al. investigation. Like you, I live in a province with a fusion center. )

Criminalizing the private purchase of Sudafed came here about ten years ago. My buddy the sheriff tells me it has slightly reduced the number of Mom and Pop meth operations in ramshackle old farm buildings. The number of idiots screwing up their lives is about the same, however, because Mexico has been proud to fill the manufacturing and distribution vacuum.

In other words, we exported the good-paying jobs.

Jan 21, 2015

Reefer Madness Just Down the Road

Tom and Deb got raided and went to jail. Cops claim they had pot to a felonious degree.  Local radio reports:

The Osceola County Sheriff's Office says deputies allegedly found drug paraphernalia*,  concentrated marijuana wax and marijuana plant material.

Party animals. Spiked hair. Tongue studs. The scourge of sanctified Sibley. Right?

As good citizens bent on ensuring the continued morality of all our youth, we must ignore a point or two in this case. Tom has a spotless criminal record; not even a traffic ticket in court records. Same with Deb, although she was associated with a probate action related to the death of a relative. Very suspicious.

Tom is 67. Deb is 58. Those are ages when time-ravaged bodies may start aching in ways that pot, in one form or another, can relieve.

Cops don't reveal many details because "Ongoing Investigation. Ongoing, I tell you!" So I may be reading the case quite badly before opining: "This one does not pass the smell test."

So far I have this image of Tom and Deb in their own home, doors shut,  hoping the internet article they read about reducing ditch weed to analgesic oil was correct.


Iowa did pass a medical marijuana law last year after a protracted legislative gong show.  If you have severe epilepsy you can get a certain kind of marijuana oil if you travel out-of-state to buy it and are successful with several other hoop jumps. That doesn't mean the cops can't haul you off to jail if they catch you trying to control pain.  It just means that you can pay your lawyer to go to court and offer your disease as an an "affirmative defense."

Speaking of pay, the last report has it that Tom and Deb are in jail, trying to scrape up a $7,000 bond so they can go home and make some nice chicken soup. (Edit to update: They're out now.)

Doesn't this make us all feel safer?


Once in a while I decide I need to report that I think using pot for kicks is stupid. I've never seen evidence that stoners are having much fun. Same with alkies.


*Including zip-lock bags and "small spoons." Makes me wonder how much trouble I'm in if I still have the one Mom saved for me, the one with the blue ribbon tied in a bow and engraved with a birth date.

Jan 20, 2015

A Winchester 73, t'hee

I assume you were as torn by jealous rage as I was when the feds stumbled over  that 1873 Winchester leaning against a juniper in Great Basin National Park.

Why can't I ever find neat stuff like that?

But it helps a little to see a writer put it in perspective and -- perhaps -- guarantee the old classic will never be sullied by display in SSRs such as Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

The most popular common variation was the round-barreled carbine, which sported a 20-inch tube and was—in essence—the AR-15 of its day: fast, maneuverable, and high capacity.

Jan 19, 2015

Put that in your alpenhorn and smoke it

I told you the goddam Greeks would screw up your next day at the range.

About four years ago ago Greece finally discovered it was broker than Pa Joad and went whining to the real Europeans for enough money to keep up its crucial grape-leaf ag subsidies and free goatburgers for its starving masses.

Bonn said "Jah!" and Paris said "Mais oui!"  Never mind they didn't have any Euros to "lend" Greece.  They borrowed some. From themselves and the other Eurozone sub-bureaucracies organized along old nation-state lines.

You make such magic work by owning the  printing presses.

All else followed, and now you can't afford ammunition from the gnomes of RUAG. The latest currency jitterbug will make everything Swiss costlier; the expert guess this morning is 5 per cent to 20 per cent.

It happened this way:

The money gods of Bern (analogous to our own Ben Bernanke and Janet Yellin) tried to prevent that for a few years. They would seduce the rubes -- many of whom hold  PhDs in economics -- by simple decree.  Like a 20-dollar girl, Swissies  would take on all comers. "You want to sell Euros? Sure, I'm putting out francs for them; price be damned."  And that's how Switzerland kept her franc low when  it wanted to climb.

The purpose, of course, was to make Swiss manufacturers and exporters happy.

It worked out okay for a little while, but last week some pin-striped Swiss guy in a big corner office stumbled over a Maggie Thatcher speech and made a brilliant leap to the logical next step of her famous comment on the economics of socialism.

In which ever of the 666 Swiss dialects he favored he said, "No shit. And that means the trouble with tossing your pretty-good money after Europaper cartoons is that pretty soon you run out of it."

So he called a gnome meeting. His insight carried the day, and all the  Swiss bankers and government ministers of plenty decided to let the franc do what the franc wanted. Mirable dictu, it would find its own value -- some number freely agreed to by people who want to acquire it or dispose of it.

You have seen the rest. The franc mimicked a Space-X shot while stock markets hit their knees like a Clinton intern.  Chaos ensued. What will happen to our cozy trillion-dollar bets (again, overwhelmingly with borrowed money called "margin") if politicians start getting serious about letting actual markets decide on the cost of things, including, especially, money? 

Anyway, that's why you can't afford to shoot much of that good RWS ammo anymore .

(It didn't help that the Chinese --the Chinese for crying out loud -- decided to make their speculators gamble with something more like real money. Nothing wong with that, but it is a rant for another day.)

Jan 7, 2015

Je suis Charlie Hebdo

Jim: Satire is a bold-face determinant of the difference between free people and slaves.

Socrates: Even if  mockery spills over into blasphemy?

J:  Of course. Any deity worth one's while would have a sense of cosmic preposterousness.


Edit to Extend:  Matt Welch in "Reason" correctly notes that my headline is vainglorious.  It is a wish, not an accomplishment.

Today is an awful day for the basic project of free inquiry. Do you really wanna be Charlie Hebdo? Then get on out there, live and speak bravely. And God help you.