Friday, July 08, 2005

An overwhelming concern for personal safety is, at best, pragmatism and has never been deemed a high virtue in any culture worth a damn.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Right now I find myself at a loss to think, let alone analyze, and simply watch, sad and mindless, all the TV images of familiar places packed with emergency vehicles and the walking wounded. The odds are that no personal friends or loved ones were hurt or killed, but one never knows. And then disgust creeps in with the appearance of the smug, moronic face of the loathsome Bush, with the hint of a "told you so" smirk, and the indecent speed at which the fucking news commentators turn to self interest with no decent interval to grieve for London. Oh gosh, is America safe? Of course America isn’t safe, you schmucks. A pointless and disgustingly irrelevant war cannot be waged from a position of total safety. And finally there are the intelligence and Homeland Security officials and consultants, most of whom seemingly couldn’t find their own ass with a map, with their color-coded stable-door mentality, and the failure to realize that, while they’re expanding the police state and blathering about rapid transit, the next attack could just as easily by on a movie house, a sporting event, a rock show, a container port, or a nuclear power station.
This would be my impression, open of course to comment.

Bush’s Dark Lord Karl Rove – out of pure WMD spite – outs CIA Agent Valerie Plame via TV pundit and columnist Robert Novak

Judith Miller is tipped off, but doesn’t publish.

Miller is jailed for refusing to name her unpublished source to a Grand Jury.

Judge gratuitously mentions anarchy and abortion while committing Miller to jail.

The right-wing toad-greasy, three-lunch-eating Novak is hardly talked about.

Fear eats the already mendaciously spineless MSM, and Karl Rove plainly demonstrates that he is the Lizard King and he can do anything.

Fascism marches on.

(And you don’t know what I’m talking about, read a newspaper. )

But on a more amusing note...

As I wandered the web researching something about The Deviants, I stumbled into a site devoted to the late-model, Jack-Kirby, Marvel Universe of The Immortals, and I found the following crucial data, which reads so nicely and also reminds me that I have to write the final episode of Slide On The Run for Funtopia. (I especially like the Shroud Gun, the Slicer, Belts of Bemusement, Brain-Mines, the Coagulation Chamber, and the ever-popular Electric Whip.)

DeviantsSub-race of humanity which on earth, dwell in the city of Lemuria. Deviants on other worlds include the Skrulls, who killed their original race. The Deviants of earth have been ruled by a monarchy, with the House of Toads ruling them for several centuries. Since the death of Brother Tode, Brother Kro, Brother Brutus and Brother Visara have all ruled them, but it is Priestlord Ghaur who currently rules the Deviants, though Kro is kept in power as a figurehead leader. The Deviants' religious system places the Dreaming Celestial as their creator. For centuries, the Deviants believed that the most grotesque of their kind must submit to the Fire Pits of "Purity Time", not knowing that victims of Purity Time ("Rejects") were actually put into suspended animation to one day serve as the "Fifth Host". Purity Time has since been dis-continued. Deviants have little love for one another, and little hope for their future. One of the few pleasures they enjoy is the domination over humanity. At one time, Lemuria existed above the waves, and was capital of the earth. But after an unwise attack on the Celestials, Lemuria was sunk, and the Deviants have never reclaimed their full power. Modern plots have included the use of Mutates to spread disorder among humans. They were also responsible for the many subterranean races, including Gortokians, Moloids, Tyrannoids, and the Lava Men, all originally bred as slaves. For a brief time, the Deviants were mutated further by Apocalypse, and were nearly mindless creatures which rampaged indiscriminately, but they have since been restored to normalcy.Prominent Deviants include: Ahqlau, Argos the Hunter, Bandrhude, Blackwulf, Blackwulf II, Blackwulf III, Bristle, Broop, Brutus, Cataphrax, Chudar, Coal, Darg, General Dasrax, Dragona, Ulysses Dragonblood, Dromedan, Dulpus, Enigmo II, Erishkigel, Fascit, Finn, Frathag, Ghaur, Giganto, Gigantus, Glomm, Gort, Gorgilla, Grottu, Haag, Hept-Supht, Id, Ignatz, Odysseus Indigo, Jorro, Karkas, Karygmax, Khult, Nuncio Klarheit, Kro, Kulkulk, Lady Trident, Lugner, Mammoth, Marcelus, Medula, Megataur, Metabo, Minotaur, Molten Man-Thing, Morga, Nirvana, Pandara, Plokohrel, Phraug, Pyre, Ragar, Brother Ranar, Ransak, Schizo, Shelmar, Sledge, Sluice, Spike, Spore, Stranglehold, String, Talon, Tantalus, Taras Vol, Thunder, Tobias, El Toro Rojo, Touchstone, Toxin, Tricephalous, Tutinax, Brother Tode, Veeg, Queen Vira, Brother Visara, Randy Lee Watson, Weller, World-Devouring Worm, Wraath, Yrdisis, Zakka, and Zona. -Other Deviants appear in Eternals (v.1)#1-6, 8-10, 13, Thor Annual#7, Thor#285-286, What If (v.1)#23, Iron Man Annual#6, Eternals (v.2)#1-12, Avengers Annual#17, Amazing Spider-Man Annual#23, Avengers West Coast Annual#4, Fantastic Four Annual#22, Alpha Flight (v.1)#83, Fantastic Four#339-340, Quasar#12, Eternals: The Herod Factor, Warlock and the Infinity Watch#7, Avengers#370-371, Thunderstrike#6, Blackwulf#2, 6, 8-10, Heroes For Hire#5-7, Marvel Universe#4-7, New Eternals#1, X-Force#94, Marvel: The Lost Generation#10, Black Panther (v.3)#26-29, Avengers (v.3)#42-44, Cable#96, Avengers (v.3)#49, 52

Deviant TechnologyThe Deviants have developed technology in all areas save artificial intelligence. Among the many weapons and vehicles the have designed are: Air Shuttle, Atom-Displacer, Belts of Bemusement, Bloodhound Missile, Brain-Mines, Coagulation Chamber, Death-Wagons, Diggers, Dimension-Transit, Dispersatron, Disruptor, Dreadnoughts, Electric Whip, Energy Bomb, Energy Screen, Flame of Life, Flamers, Flotillas, Gouger, Gracelet, Ice-Gun, Implosion Device, Infra-Sonic Cannon, Kro's Flagship, Molecular Decoder, Molecular Disruptor, Molecular Disunifier, Packet Rocket, Power-Rod, Raiding Craft, Rail-Jet, Rat, Shadowlance, Shock Howitzer, Shock-Pistol, Shroud Gun, Slicer, Time Projector, Torment Machine, Transjector, Transponder Portal, Wall Screen and Z-Ray.
Deviatron Device Zuras gave to Thena which can locate Deviants within its vicinity. -Eternals Annual#1, Thor#285

The secret word is Kro

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Munz just sent me the following and I couldn’t resist simply posting it. I hesitate to say more than, back in the day, that was where the London counter culture got it’s acid. I wonder, though, about the "LSD in tiny amounts as a thinking tool", since back in the the 1960s the calibration of doses was real hit and miss, and never really came together until the 1970s. It only took a little for the full fear, loathing, and Yellow Submarine. Also I must add an odd footnote in that, since the Welsh acid factory survived until 1977, the Operation Julie bust, coming as it did when the Sex Pistols were peaking, became a very bizarre big deal with cops discovered this James Bond acid plant in rural Wales (as they told it). At the height of punk, boring old hippies were suddenly the SPECTOR of psychedelic warfare, which confused Joe Strummer no end until Lemmy explained it to him.

But I digress...

Copyright 2004 Associated Newspapers Ltd. Mail on Sunday (London)August 8, 2004by Alun Rees
Francis Crick, the Nobel Prize-winning father of modern genetics, was under the influence of LSD when he first deduced the double-helix structure of DNA nearly 50 years ago. The abrasive and unorthodox Crick and his brilliant American co-researcher James Watson famously celebrated their eureka moment in March 1953 by running from the now legendary Cavendish Laboratory in Cambridge to the nearby Eagle pub, where they announced over pints of bitter that they had discovered the secret of life. Crick, who died ten days ago, aged 88, later told a fellow scientist that he often used small doses of LSD then an experimental drug used in psychotherapy to boost his powers of thought. He said it was LSD, not the Eagle's warm beer, that helped him to unravel the structure of DNA, the discovery that won him the Nobel Prize.

Despite his Establishment image, Crick was a devotee of novelist Aldous Huxley, whose accounts of his experiments with LSD and another hallucinogen, mescaline, in the short stories The Doors Of Perception and Heaven And Hell became cult texts for the hippies of the Sixties and Seventies. In the late Sixties, Crick was a founder member of Soma, a legalise-cannabis group named after the drug in Huxley's novel Brave New World. He even put his name to a famous letter to The Times in 1967 calling for a reform in the drugs laws. It was through his membership of Soma that Crick inadvertently became the inspiration for the biggest LSD manufacturing conspiracy-the world has ever seen the multimillion-pound drug factory in a remote farmhouse in Wales that was smashed by the Operation Julie raids of the late Seventies.
Crick's involvement with the gang was fleeting but crucial. The revered scientist had been invited to the Cambridge home of freewheeling American writer David Solomon a friend of hippie LSD guru Timothy Leary who had come to Britain in 1967 on a quest to discover a method for manufacturing pure THC, the active ingredient of cannabis.

It was Crick's presence in Solomon's social circle that attracted a brilliant young biochemist, Richard Kemp, who soon became a convert to the attractions of both cannabis and LSD. Kemp was recruited to the THC project in 1968, but soon afterwards devised the world's first foolproof method of producing cheap, pure LSD. Solomon and Kemp went into business, manufacturing acid in a succession of rented houses before setting up their laboratory in a cottage on a hillside near Tregaron, Carmarthenshire, in 1973. It is estimated that Kemp manufactured drugs worth Pounds 2.5 million an astonishing amount in the Seventies before police stormed the building in 1977 and seized enough pure LSD and its constituent chemicals to make two million LSD 'tabs'.

The arrest and conviction of Solomon, Kemp and a string of co-conspirators dominated the headlines for months. I was covering the case as a reporter at the time and it was then that I met Kemp's close friend, Garrod Harker, whose home had been raided by police but who had not been arrest ed. Harker told me that Kemp and his girlfriend Christine Bott by then in jail were hippie idealists who were completely uninterested in the money they were making.
They gave away thousands to pet causes such as the Glastonbury pop festival and the drugs charity Release.'

They have a philosophy,' Harker told me at the time. 'They believe industrial society will collapse when the oil runs out and that the answer is to change people's mindsets using acid. They believe LSD can help people to see that a return to a natural society based on self-sufficiency is the only way to save themselves.

'Dick Kemp told me he met Francis Crick at Cambridge. Crick had told him that some Cambridge academics used LSD in tiny amounts as a thinking tool, to liberate them from preconceptions and let their genius wander freely to new ideas. Crick told him he had perceived the double-helix shape while on LSD. 'It was clear that Dick Kemp was highly impressed and probably bowled over by what Crick had told him. He told me that if a man like Crick, who had gone to the heart of human existence, had used LSD, then it was worth using. Crick was certainly Dick Kemp's inspiration.' Shortly afterwards I visited Crick at his home, Golden Helix, in Cambridge.He listened with rapt, amused attention to what I told him about the role of LSD in his Nobel Prize-winning discovery. He gave no intimation of surprise. When I had finished, he said: 'Print a word of it and I'll sue.'

The secret word is What?

CRYPTIQUELucy in the Sky with Dramamine.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

As an Englishman, it’s a little hard to get worked up over July 4th. As a pyromaniac, I’m inordinately fond of fireworks, burnt meat is always good, and I kinda like the Constitution, but it’s hard to jump up and down and wave the flag about the British being run out of the lower forty-eight, even when my American friends explain how, if the Founding Fathers hadn’t done what they did, we’d not only all be speaking English, but living in some post-facto colony with all that Canadian-style oppression like social stability, low crime, and evil commie healthcare.

But talking about freedom and healthcare, it’s kinda ironic that this should be the weekend when JD forwards me the following, that would seem to kick away any possible rationale for keeping marijuana outlawed. If herb not only doesn’t give me cancer, and may actually protect me from it, why the fuck should I be jailed for smoking the stuff? The answer becomes increasing clear that – beyond some Alice-In-Wonderland logic that dope is bad because it’s illegal, and thus it’s illegal because it’s bad – the only possible reasons are that prohibition supports the drug enforcement industry, maintains some bizarre notions of social control, and panders to the fucked-up who just can’t stand seeing anyone having a good time.
I’m kinda in a good mood because I’m high, but, really, I've had enough of this shit. For almost a century, happy-go-lucky vipers have been hunted, jailed, killed, brutalized, denied public office, and deprived of their civil rights, and it's high fucking time it simply stopped!

The secret words for the holiday are Rockets, Red, and Glare

Now read on...
Smoking Marijuana Does Not Cause Lung Cancer By Fred Gardner
Marijuana smoking -"even heavy longterm use"- does not cause cancer of the lung, upper airwaves, or esophagus, Donald Tashkin reported at this year's meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Coming from Tashkin, this conclusion had extra significance for the assembled drug-company and university-based scientists (most of whom get funding from the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse). Over the years, Tashkin's lab at UCLA has produced irrefutable evidence of the damage that marijuana smoke wreaks on bronchial tissue. With NIDA's support, Tashkin and colleagues have identified the potent carcinogens in marijuana smoke, biopsied and made photomicrographs of pre-malignant cells, and studied the molecular changes occurring within them. It is Tashkin's research that the Drug Czar's office cites in ads linking marijuana to lung cancer. Tashkin himself has long believed in a causal relationship, despite a study in which Stephen Sidney examined the files of 64,000 Kaiser patients and found that marijuana users didn't develop lung cancer at a higher rate or die earlier than non-users. Of five smaller studies on the question, only two -involving a total of about 300 patients- concluded that marijuana smoking causes lung cancer. Tashkin decided to settle the question by conducting a large, prospectively designed, population-based, case-controlled study. "Our major hypothesis," he told the ICRS, "was that heavy, longterm use of marijuana will increase the risk of lung and upper-airwaves cancers."
The Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance program provided Tashkin's team with the names of 1,209 L.A. residents aged 59 or younger with cancer (611 lung, 403 oral/pharyngeal, 90 laryngeal, 108 esophageal). Interviewers collected extensive lifetime histories of marijuana, tobacco, alcohol and other drug use, and data on diet, occupational exposures, family history of cancer, and various "socio-demographic factors." Exposure to marijuana was measured in joint years (joints per day x 365). Controls were found based on age, gender and neighborhood. Among them, 46% had never used marijuana, 31% had used less than one joint year, 12% had used 10-30 j-yrs, 2% had used 30-60 j-yrs, and 3% had used for more than 60 j-yrs. Tashkin controlled for tobacco use and calculated the relative risk of marijuana use resulting in lung and upper airwaves cancers. All the odds ratios turned out to be less than one (one being equal to the control group's chances)! Compared with subjects who had used less than one joint year, the estimated odds ratios for lung cancer were .78; for 1-10 j-yrs, .74; for 10-30 j-yrs, .85 for 30-60 j-yrs; and 0.81 for more than 60 j-yrs. The estimated odds ratios for oral/pharyngeal cancers were 0.92 for 1-10 j-yrs; 0.89 for 10-30 j-yrs; 0.81 for 30-60 j-yrs; and 1.0 for more than 60 j-yrs. "Similar, though less precise results were obtained for the other cancer sites," Tashkin reported. "We found absolutely no suggestion of a dose response." The data on tobacco use, as expected, revealed "a very potent effect and a clear dose-response relationship -a 21-fold greater risk of developing lung cancer if you smoke more than two packs a day." Similarly high odds obtained for oral/pharyngeal cancer, laryngeal cancer and esophageal cancer. "So, in summary" Tashkin concluded, "we failed to observe a positive association of marijuana use and other potential confounders."
There was time for only one question, said the moderator, and San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D., was already at the microphone: "You don't see any positive correlation, but in at least one category [marijuana-only smokers and lung cancer], it almost looked like there was a negative correlation, i.e., a protective effect. Could you comment on that?"
"Yes," said Tashkin. "The odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant, but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. But that is not an unreasonable hypothesis."
Abrams had results of his own to report at the ICRS meeting. He and his colleagues at San Francisco General Hospital had conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled study involving 50 patients with HIV-related peripheral neuropathy. Over the course of five days, patients recorded their pain levels in a diary after smoking either NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes or cigarettes from which the THC had been extracted. About 25% didn't know or guessed wrong as to whether they were smoking the placebos, which suggests that the blinding worked. Abrams requested that his results not be described in detail prior to publication in a peer-reviewed medical journal, but we can generalize: they exceeded expectations, and show marijuana providing pain relief comparable to Gabapentin, the most widely used treatment for a condition that afflicts some 30% of patients with HIV.
To a questioner who bemoaned the difficulty of "separating the high from the clinical benefits," Abrams replied: "I'm an oncologist as well as an AIDS doctor and I don't think that a drug that creates euphoria in patients with terminal diseases is having an adverse effect." His study was funded by the University of California's Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research.

Check this week’s LA CityBeat column...