Leonard Nimoy — dif’tor heh smusma…
Monthly Archives: February 2015
the rebirth of And More?
only time will tell, and it’s verging on moisture festival time, so it may be a while before we know for sure… but i found a patch editor for the DX7 that runs on my mac, so, one way or the other, it’s gonna be a fun ride… 😎
Proposed Legislation Could Federally Legalize Cannabis
Proposed Legislation Could Federally Legalize Cannabis
23 February, 2015
On Friday, two congressmen have put forth bills that would ultimately end the federal prohibition of cannabis.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. This act would remove marijuana scheduling from the Controlled Substances Act, and put marijuana under the control of the ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives). This move would regulate cannabis no different than alcohol on the federal level.
The Marijuana Tax Revenue Act introduced by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) would set up a federal excise tax for regulated marijuana.
The bills would not force any state government to legalize marijuana, but it would set a framework for states that are interested. This framework, if passed, would expedite states legalization if they choose to legalize. Cannabis has been making its mark upon the American people, and many are now in support of legalization.
So far, the U.S. has 4 states that out right legalized marijuana, 23 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal use, and 11 others have legalized marijuana in a restricted shape or form for medical use.
“While President Obama and the Justice Department have allowed the will of voters in states like Colorado and 22 other jurisdictions to move forward, small business owners, medical marijuana patients, and others who follow state laws still live with the fear that a new administration — or this one — could reverse course and turn them into criminals,” Polis said in a statement Friday. “It is time for us to replace the failed prohibition with a regulatory system that works and let states and municipalities decide for themselves if they want, or don’t want, to have legal marijuana within their borders.”
Even though many Americans and states look favorably upon cannabis, it is still a federal crime. While federal guidance has been going easy on the states that have legalized, people are still going to federal prison for marijuana related convictions. This makes you wonder, if these bills pass, what will become of the already convicted felons of marijuana possession? Will the federal government release these inmates, or continue to hold them for a crime the government now deems legal.
Blumenauer called the federal prohibition of marijuana “a failure” that has wasted tax dollars and ruined lives. He also said it’s time for the government to forge a new path ahead for the plant.
“As more states move to legalize marijuana as Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska have done,” Blumenauer said, “it’s imperative the federal government become a full partner in building a workable and safe framework.”
no, no… i’m really a luddite, really!
i got a used ipad today. i got it primarily so that i can start a limited usage of “social media” in order to keep me more abreast of what is actually happening in my social circle.
see, these days most of the people i know communicate with each other through facebook. they use mailing lists and forums a lot less frequently than they used to, and pretty much never use their telephones for, you know, actual phone calls. but i’ve been adamant about facebook, particularly. i have over 200 individual links to articles about the overt evil done in the name of facebook, i refuse to become another data point on their graph of suckers and sheeple, and, so far, i have resisted the numerous temptations i have had, over the years, to join the book of farce.
but i also have a cat, named Frank Zappa, who has become a minor celebrity among my wife’s ever expanding circle of friends, and people have been clamouring to get frankie a facebook account, so this is a good compromise: i get to keep my actual computers free of the scourge, i don’t have to share anything that is actually mine, and i’ll have access to all of the community organisation that slipped past me before…
and i’ll also have a place to play Luxuria Superbia, which i bought about a year ago because i thought it would work on my phone, but it doesn’t…
today is mahasivaratri. i’m going to stay up as late as i can, but there’s no guarantee that i’m going to make it all night.
moe went to las vegas yesterday, to speak at a veterinary conference. while she was on the plane, yesterday, she broke a tooth. this morning, she went to an emergency dental clinic, where they performed a root canal…
fortunately, her speaking engagement doesn’t start until tomorrow, but even so, i can just imagine that speaking while still under the influence of powerful pain-reducing drugs will be a tricky business, at best.
things just can’t be simple, ever… 😛
Here are 4 ways cannabis is good for your brain — and may save your life
Here are 4 ways cannabis is good for your brain — and may save your life
Dana Larsen, AlterNet
17 February, 2015
Modern research is showing that cannabis extracts protect and benefit the human brain. Here’s four amazing ways scientists are showing that cannabis actually helps to keep your brain safe from disease, dementia and even death!
#4 – Cannabis promotes new brain cell growth
Government scare campaigns often claim that cannabis kills brain cells, but now we are learning the truth. Those discredited studies were done in the ’70s, by strapping a gas mask onto a monkey and pumping in hundreds of joints worth of smoke. The monkeys suffered from lack of oxygen, and that’s why their brain cells died.
Modern research is now proving the opposite. The active ingredients in cannabis spur the growth of new brain cells!
Back in 2005, Dr. Xia Zhang at the University of Saskatchewan showed that cannabinoids cause “neurogenesis” – which means that they help make new brain cells grow!
“Most ‘drugs of abuse’ suppress neurogenesis,” said Dr. Zhang. “Only marijuana promotes neurogenesis.”
Scientists in Brazil expanded on this research, demonstrating in 2013 that CBD, another chemical in cannabis, also causes new brain cells to sprout up. Researchers in Italy then produced the same result with CBC, another “cannabinoid” found in cannabis resin.
Now there is no doubt that cannabinoids cause new brain cells to grow in the hippocampus. This helps explain previous research showing that cannabinoids effectively treat mood disorders like depression, anxiety and stress – they are all related to a lack of adult neurogenesis.
#3 – Cannabis prevents Alzheimer’s
About 5 millions Americans suffer from Alzheimer’s. but there’s hope in sight. Modern research shows that using cannabis helps prevent the incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia by cleaning away beta-amyloid “brain plaque.”
A 2014 study into cannabis and Alzheimer’s was lead by Dr. Chuanhai Cao, PhD, a neuroscientist at the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.
“THC is known to be a potent antioxidant with neuroprotective properties,” said Cao, explaining that THC “directly affects Alzheimer’s pathology by decreasing amyloid beta levels, inhibiting its aggregation, and enhancing mitochondrial function.”
This confirmed earlier studies, such as one from 2008 which found that THC “simultaneously treated both the symptoms and progression of Alzheimer’s disease.” This study concluded that, “compared to currently approved drugs prescribed for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, THC is considerably superior.”
These studies used very low levels of THC to find these results — the levels you might find in a moderate cannabis user. So where’s the headlines saying “Smoking Cannabis Prevents Alzheimer’s”?
#2 – Cannabis prevents brain damage after strokes and trauma
Several recent studies have found that cannabinoids protect the brain from permanent damage after trauma or stroke.
Studies done in 2012 and 2013 found that a low dose of THC protected mice’s brains from damage by carbon monoxide and head trauma.
Researchers found that THC “protected brain cells and preserved cognitive function over time” and suggested that it could be used preventively, for ongoing protection.
A 2014 study found that people with low amounts of THC in their system were about 80% less likely to die from serious head injuries than those without.
This last study is actually quite remarkable and should have been headline news. Researchers analyzed blood samples from hundreds of people who had suffered head injuries, and found that people with small amounts of cannabinoids in their bloodstream were 80% less likely to be killed from head trauma.
This means that in a group of occasional pot smokers and a group of abstainers who suffer similar brain injuries, the pot smokers will have only 2 deaths for every 10 suffered by the abstainers!
There are 52,000 deaths every year from traumatic head injury in America. This study showed that if every adult American had a puff of cannabis once a week, 20% of those deaths would be avoided — that’s about 41,600 lives that could be saved, every year. Why isn’t this front page news?
#1 – Cannabis extracts treat brain cancer
One exciting use of cannabinoids is in the treatment of cancer. Repeated laboratory and animal studies have shown that cannabinoids kill cancer cells and shrink tumours, while helping to protect normal cells.
Recent research includes a 2012 study showing that CBD stopped metastasis in aggressive forms of cancer, a 2013 study showing that a blend of six cannabinoids killed leukemia cell, and a 2014 study showing that THC and CBD could be combined with traditional chemotherapy to produce “dramatic reductions” in brain tumour size.
Using cannabis extracts for brain cancer is nothing new. A 1998 study found that THC “induces apoptosis [cell death] in C6 glioma cells” — an aggressive form of brain cancer. A 2009 study showed that THC acted “to kill cancer cells, while it does not affect normal cells” in the brain.
The medicinal benefits of cannabis and cannabinoids are immense, and it’s time everyone is allowed full access to this amazing healing herb.
Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll even get to use outdoor-grown hemp to produce vast quantities of pure, cheap cannabinoids for the millions of Americans who need them.
things that make me go “hmmm…”
apparently Thích Nhất Hạnh had a brain hemorrhage recently. he’s 34 years older than me, and he’s lived through a lot more than i have, so i won’t be too surprised if he doesn’t make it, but i hope he does…
so, we went to wilsonville, yesterday, to play for a bunch of shriners. rather predictably, we ROCKED THE HOUSE, which, also rather predictably, resulted in the entire band being, essentially, offered membership in the shriners club.
from what i’ve been able to ascertain from external sources (google), it normally takes an "average" male person about four to eight months to achieve the status of "master mason", which is the requirement for joining the shriners. this is, of course, lacking the essential "recommendation" without which none of this is possible anyway, and it’s definitely a “men only” club, as, as far as i have been able to tell, there aren’t any female masons of any variety – females are not "allowed" to become masons, and have to make due with "The Order of The Eastern Star" or some such other nonsense.
among the "requirements" for becoming a mason of any variety, once we’ve done away with the gender and recommendation requirements, is that one has to believe in a "Supreme Being"…
that’s not a problem for me, but i suspect that it’s a matter which the masons might take exception, given the opportunity… or, at least, the masons with whom i am most immediately familiar, i.e. the "master masons" of the Al Kader shrine center — as an aside, i must notice the distinct similarities between "Al Kader" and "al-Qa’eda"… while they probably think that they are about as far away from the term "terrorism" as one group of people could get, my impression is, whether right or left, an extreme is still an extreme… and, in my opinion, they are, most definitely, extreme, in more than one way.
but, back to the issue at hand…
the requirement that one "believes in a "Supreme Being"" will, i’m fairly certain, begin to rub people the wrong way. i “believe” (have absolute knowlege, which i can’t “share” with anyone, even if i wanted to) in a “Supreme Being” who both exists, and doesn’t exist, at the same time; who is both personally, intimately involved in the minutest details of everyday life, and doesn’t care about you, or me, or the evil that is being done in the world, or anything else… when it can be said to exist at all.
requiring this kind of God to be capable of being labeled “male” or “female” is pointless, meaningless and a waste of time. this kind of God, can (if it can be said to exist at all) be male, female, all-sex and no-sex, all at the same time…
which raises a distinct question when the "Illustrious Chaplain" commenced yesterday evening’s celebration with a prayer to “father god”, which was echoed with vehement reverance by a lady who was standing next to me, who kept saying “praise jeezis” over and over during the prayer…
it is this kind of behaviour which makes me suspicious of the shriners, especially when they make a point of saying things like “While our backgrounds and interests may be diverse, what binds us together are shared values…” there have been too many times in my past where that kind of language meant “what binds us together are shared values, which if you don’t happen to share, in whatever detail, we are bound to make your life more miserable than it already is”…
this was driven home to me when i was thinking about postulating to the clampers, a few years ago, and discovered that, among other things, the people that i would have been forced to hang out with were the most foul-mouthed, disrespectful, low-life, ignorant rednecks i have ever had the pleasure of meeting. while the al kader shriners are definitely not the clampers, or the eagles, it appears to me as though the only significant difference is the amount of money in their checking accounts, and the fact that there are more elected civic officials in the shrine temple than there are in the clamper hall.
okay, so, ASSUMING that we can overcome that hurdle, the first degree is apprentice, which is all about moral character… and if i don’t “believe” in the same kind of “supreme being” that they do, it comes as no surprise that i don’t have the same morals they do… except that i do, for different reasons, which are going to be another big hurdle to overcome. to top it all off, there is a catechism that i am already, really NOT interested in memorising, because, if nothing else, i have limited enough brain-cells as it is, and i’m very likely going to be A LOT more interested in using them for memorising other bits of useless trivia which i’m not going to be able to use in six months. if joining their club with the cool hats means memorising anything i don’t already know, then i’m probably going to give their club with the cool hats a miss. sorry.
so, once again, ASSUMING that we can overcome those hurdles as well (the word that i was given last night is that we could “very easily become shriners”), one of the aims of the organisation is to have a group of people with whom you feel comfortable hanging out. i have that! i don’t need an artificial organisation that claims to be oriented towards the arts and sciences when i am part of an extremely natural, non-organised group of people whose entire lives are a part of the arts and sciences… and i feel comfortable hanging around with them, whereas i’m very definitely NOT comfortable hanging around with a bunch of fat, filthy rich old men, horny, sleazy young men who want to be fat, filthy rich old men when they grow up, and their “ladies”… the reason we ROCKED THE HOUSE last night was because there wasn’t another musician in the house. sure, there were people who had played musical instruments when they were in school, 40 years ago, and people who play musical instruments as a hobby, but there wasn’t a single current member of a band or soloist in the entire house, with the exception of Accidental Rhino. i really don’t want to join a club just so that i can play for their events… my impression is that i wouldn’t get paid as much or as frequently…
honestly, this club with the cool hats doesn’t really have much that attracts me — cool hats and cool jewelry are about it — so why… fucking why am i so drawn to them? 😐
friday the thirteenth
strange that today is friday the 13th, and tomorrow is valentine’s day…
now that i actually know where it’s going to be…
it’s been on my schedule for 6 months or more, but now that i actually know where this gig that we have this weekend (yes, we’ve actually got a gig on valentine’s day) is, i feel a bit more comfortable writing about it…
about… what? six months ago? something like that… anyway, about six months ago, hobbit pinged me and asked me if i was going to be available for a gig in oregon on valentine’s day. i said yes, pencilled it in, and promptly forgot about it until about two weeks ago, when i promptly remembered we had a gig coming up that i didn’t know anything about, and had a minor freak-out… especially because i had somehow gotten the idea that it was near eugene, which wouldn’t be a bad thing, except i didn’t know whether we were planning on spending the night somewhere, or what.
hobbit’s response to my freak-out was to schedule a rehearsal for tomorrow, and a “pre-rehearsal” with me, today, to write out a couple of new charts (because i now legally own Sibelius!! 😎 ), and during our meeting today he informed me that it is not in eugene, but in wilsonville, which is much closer, at the Al Kader shrine temple.
so i’m spending the day travelling to and from portland to play at a shrine temple on valentine’s day. fortunately, i’ve got a patient and tolerant sweetie who has agreed to go out to dinner with me on friday, in exchange for her going to las vegas for a veterinary conference next week. the shriners are paying us $200 a piece, plus another $50 for gas, and in exchange, we are going to rock their house, figuratively speaking, for three hours.
i’m sort of ambivalent about shriners… they wear cool hats, these particular shriners have excellent taste in music, and my grandfather (who died before i was born) was a shriner at the mohammed temple in peoria, illinois… but i’ve never been one to pay much attention to other people’s “mystic”, quasi-religious rites, and there’s a sheen of “better-than-you” “old-boy’s-network” slime over the whole deal, which is the main thing that caused me not to postulate to the clampers, and has been a major “thing” to get over in the process of going to burning man and OCF as well. as it is, i’ve got plenty of fezzes, most of which are not shrine fezzes (and one which was made by the company that makes shrine regalia, but with no emblems on it), and i plan on supplying fezzes to my fez-less band-mates use… and, maybe, i’ll get a chance to talk to an actual shriner about my grandfather.
in a post called fezorocity and antique brass…, from 100911, i wrote of obtaining an antique tenor horn, around 100 years old, stamped with the J.W. Pepper logo. i actually did some research online and found pictures of similar horns from around the same era.
i immediately featured the horn in an educational post entitled “THE "RIGHT WAY" TO REMOVE A STUCK BRASS MOUTHPIECE“, in which i used it as an example of a stuck mouthpiece and the correct way to remove it.
then, on 120502, i posted a composite photo of me playing three different tubas, one of which was that same horn with the J.W. Pepper logo. at the time i was under the impression that it was more or less a “mid-west” and/or east coast company.
little did i know… 😎
it turns out that there’s a branch of J.W. Pepper in tukwilla, just down the street from ikea. i went in there today and immediately felt like i’d been there all my life… they had racks of catalogued sheet music all over the place, a rack of batons for sale on the desk, and a friendly dog who greeted me at the door.
i ordered a copy of the piano score for Le Tombeau de Couperin by Ravel, which should be here next week, and i’m going to take the horn with me. 😎
200-year-old Mongolian mummy may still be alive
This extraordinary picture shows the mummifed male body which is believed to be several centuries old. It was found at 6.30 pm 27 January 2015 in Songinokhairkhan province, reported Mongolia’s ‘Morning Newspaper’.
‘The mummified body sits in a lotus position, as if still meditating.
‘Experts that only had time to carry basic visual test say they believe the body can be about 200 years old’.
The report added: ‘So far there is no information as to where the body was found. The only details we learned was that it was covered with a cattle skin’.
It was not clear if it was the skin of a cow, horse, or camel, said the report. The mummy was delivered to Ulaanbataar National Centre of Forensic Expertise’.
Initial speculation is that the mummy could be a teacher of famous Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.
Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov, born in 1852, was a Buryat Buddhist Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, best known for the lifelike state of his body.
His remains were reported not to be subject to macroscopic decay.
As police say lama found in lotus positon was destined for sale on black market, there are claims it was one step away from becoming a Buddha.
A mummified monk found in the lotus position in Mongolia is ‘not dead’ and is instead one stage away from becoming a real-life Buddha, it has been claimed.
Forensic examinations are under way on the amazing remains, which are believed to be around 200 years old, having been preserved in animal skin. But one expert has insisted the human relic is actually in ‘very deep meditation’ and in a rare and very special spiritual state known as ‘tukdam’.
Over the last 50 years there are said to have been 40 such cases in India involving meditating Tibetan monks.
Dr Barry Kerzin, a famous Buddhist monk and a physician to the Dalai Lama, said: ‘I had the privilege to take care of some meditators who were in a tukdam state.
‘If the person is able to remain in this state for more than three weeks – which rarely happens – his body gradually shrinks, and in the end all that remains from the person is his hair, nails, and clothes. Usually in this case, people who live next to the monk see a rainbow that glows in the sky for several days. This means that he has found a ‘rainbow body’. This is the highest state close to the state of Buddha’.
He added: ‘If the meditator can continue to stay in this meditative state, he can become a Buddha. Reaching such a high spiritual level the meditator will also help others, and all the people around will feel a deep sense of joy’.
Initial speculation is that the mummy could be a teacher of Lama Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov.
Born in 1852, Dashi-Dorzho Itigilov was a Buryat Buddhist Lama of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, best known for the lifelike state of his body.
Ganhugiyn Purevbata, who is the founder and professor of the Mongolian Institute of Buddhist Art at Ulaanbaatar Buddhist University, said: ‘Lama is sitting in the lotus position vajra, the left hand is opened, and the right hand symbolizes of the preaching Sutra.
‘This is a sign that the Lama is not dead, but is in a very deep meditation according to the ancient tradition of Buddhist lamas’.
The mummified remains, which were covered in cattle skin, were found on January 27 in the Songinokhairkhan province of Mongolia.
However, there is more to the story and now police have revealed that the monk had been stolen from another part of the country and was about to be sold off.
An unnamed official said that it was taken from a cave in the Kobdsk region by a man who then hid it in his own home in Ulaanbaatar.
He had then been planning to sell it on the black market at a ‘very high price’, with local media claiming he wanted to take it over the Mongolian border. Police uncovered the plot and quickly arrested a 45-year-old, named only as Enhtor.
According to Article 18 of the Criminal Code of Mongolia smuggling items of cultural heritage are punishable with either a fine of up to 3 million roubles ($43,000) or between five and 12 years in prison. The monk is now being guarded at the National Centre of Forensic Expertise at Ulaanbaatar.