Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Speaking, once again, about Albert Hofmann

Sadly, Dr. Hofmann passed away on Tuesday, at a ripe old age. NYT Obit here.

And, just to be clear, I haven't spoken this much about Albert Hofmann in a short space of time before in my entire life. I'm not, like, obsessed with Dr. Hofmann. But he (and Cary Grant and Tim Leary) all have convinced me that, if you take a lot of the stuff, you may live a long life and look relatively young while you're doing it.

(Once again, this is not advocacy; it is simply a non-scientific observation based on a very small sample.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Why is Dick Cheney dressing like Truman Capote?

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fascinating (speaking as an anthropologist, anyway)

Check out this blog entry and its comments on BoingBoing today!

Thursday, April 24, 2008


On this date in 1800, the Library of Congress was established, with an initial outlay of 5,000 smackers. I want to write up some sort of personal homage to the LoC, where I used to go to study when I was a grad student in DC ... but not now. Soon.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


He's going to Cat Heaven today. Ol' Squeakster will go to curl up in some eternal comfy lap of love, and end his troubles. I'm gonna miss the old guy. Darn it.

Roy Orbison

He would have been 72 today. He died 20 years ago. He always seemed much older to me, for some reason ... maybe it was his voice. It seemed so eternal, somehow. One of those voices that makes the back of your neck prickle when it hits certain notes, as though the vibrations of his vocal cords are in harmony with some life force within you. Yeah, that's it.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Speaking of Albert Hofmann ...

... which I was doing below ...

There was a documentary on the History Channel over the weekend, presented by Wade Davis, about Richard Schultes, who was a pioneering ethnobotanist. I met Wade Davis briefly years ago at a celebration of Dr. Schultes's career. I thought (for a very short time) of becoming an ethnobotanist myself, but then it turned out you needed to know stuff, like plant chemistry. Makes sense. Anyway, I have an abiding appreciation of Dr. Schultes's work, and Wade Davis's too.

The documentary is called Peyote to LSD: A Psychedelic Odyssey and it reruns next Saturday at 5:00 (EDT).

Andrew Weil, William S. Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, etc. were all influenced by his work. He was really something. Golden Books (!!) even published a kids' book of his called Hallucinogenic Plants. Oh, how I would like a copy of that. I saw one once, held it in my hands, so I know it's true. It's the Holy Grail of unbelievable publications. Someone, somewhere on the Intarnebs has uploaded some .jpgs of some of the pages, as I recall.

Disclaimer: I am not endorsing the use of anything. This post is for informational purposes only. Do whatever you want; no skin off my nose.

Crabby about ads

OK, I know this is not deep, but I watch a hella lot of TV, so it gets to me after awhile.

So, like, there are these ads for some hotel -- Marriott Renaissance suites or something -- that seems to be telling you that it's the preferred hotel of circus performers. So, really, go crazy! You might as well. The ceilings are maybe 20 feet tall, the curtains are on indestructable tracks that cross the entire ceiling, and they're strong enough to hold an adult. In the case of the ad, it's some zombi-fied woman in her bra, who has a big black stripe down her abdomen, who gets some sort of autoerotic kick out of tangling herself up in the fabric and pushing off from the wall. So, hell, if she can do it, why not your six-year-old? Or maybe you and your husband. Looks strangely mind-numbing, so tie your kids to the drapes and push 'em around. That'll calm 'em down.

And then, yeah, you can do hand stands and eat fruit off your foot. If you're into that kind of thing.

Next door, the elephant trainer is teaching Jumbo how to use the remote check-out.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Rick Moranis's birthday

I learned this version of the Star-Spangled Banner from watching this when it first ran (maybe 1983 or so??), and never forgot it. It still cracks me up!

Another dark day in the world of advertising

Who in their right minds ever thought, in a million years, "John McEnroe. Now he is a viable spokesperson for breakfast cereal! People are going to want to eat the breakfast cereal that John McEnroe endorses!"

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I don't know how I didn't know this, but a BOMBSHELL from Rachel Maddow on Olbermann last night. I had no idea! The Crawford Ranch? Bought just as GWB started running for Pres. He and Laura have never lived there. And they're moving to Dallas when they leave DC. So even when talking about the ole family ranch? BFL!

No wonder there's so much brush to clear. He just started on the brush-clearing job when he got this other (allegedly) busy job. Hard to keep up with the yard if you've only ever been there on vacation.

Chaplin on the Intarnebs

There's a pretty sad collection on youtube, so I went here to find some Chaplin shorts. Check out His New Job, as one example.

The Internet Archive is an amazing collection. It's got your audio, your video, your books ... etc. etc. Take a look see.

(By the way, the cute kid in the still -- from the film The Kid -- is Jackie Coogan, better known to most people as Uncle Fester in the Addams Family tv show, which is much much better than any of the A.F. films, by the way.)

And also Spike Milligan's?

Both on the same day? Man o nam. More to follow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Today is Chaplin's birthday

Remind me to post a youtube video tomorrow!

Long strange trip etc.

This is the anniversary of the accidental discovery (in 1943) of lysergic acid diethylamide by Albert Hofmann, a Swiss chemist.

(I borrowed the image from Wolfgang's Vault, which you should really check out, by the way, and I hope they don't mind that I borrowed it, 'cause you really really should check out this site.)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Dollars, Taxes!

A terrific scene from Duck Soup, which comes to mind as Tax Day approacheth.

Friday, April 11, 2008

A year ago today...

I'm sure he's happy as a clam up in Heaven.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Jargon & Lingo, Alive Alive-O

There's a lovely little piece in the New York Times today about a life of learning new vocabulary and the pleasure of discovering the meanings of trade words, sporting terms (in this case, sailing), and lingo of that sort. Some people complain about jargon, but there's a certain kind of joy to enhancing your vocabulary for clarity and more effective discussion. (It's the use of jargon to intimidate people through obfuscation that I find mean-spirited.) The author's name alone drives the imagination: Verlyn Klinkenborg, my word! (See the article here.)

So I started just conjuring some of the words that I'd learned from various hobbies, classes, and esoteric ephemera upon which I've stumbled, and there are some that I just love -- and some that sound vaguely unpleasant. I think I'll fling a couple in here occasionally. Hazard a guess at their meaning if you'd like (more fun than looking 'em up, at least at first), and leave your guess in the comments. If you have any spare oddball words to drop in, toss 'em in the comments too, and maybe I'll put them in the forefront for future commentary.

Here are a couple of terms I like:

Umbrella swift

Friday, April 4, 2008

Whu hoppened?!

For some reason, my formatting has gone kablooey, and I don't have time to figure it out now ... so whatever, huh. This too shall pass.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Evil Euphemism of the Day Award

Upon acquiring DoubleClick and then laying off 300 Human Beings from their jobs in the middle of a recession, the Google spokeshead said, "As with many mergers, this review has resulted in a reduction in headcount at the acquired company."

A reduction in HEADCOUNT? That's a new one. (Maybe it's not, but it's the first time I've heard that euphemism for HUMAN BEINGS -- except in terms of checking you've got all the kids on the bus after the field trip.)

Quote from today's NYTimes, by Miguel Helft: "Google Cutting 300 Jobs at DoubleClick"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


This is the anniversary of the yo-yo (1929). Enjoy:

And, when you're done enjoying that, try this one -- this guy will blow your mind: