Monday, April 20, 2020

Oldie but Goodie

A friend of mine reposted this yesterday on FB from April 19, 2017. It's an oldie but goodie and I was very surprised to see someone repost it three years after the fact.

With Trump it never stops. The nonsense, the lies, the overt corruption...just keeping a light track of it is like shooting fish in an aquarium: You can't miss. Today's notes: We've just discovered that while the Pres had dinner--and that really good chocolate cake--with the Chinese President Xi Jinping just over a week ago, the dinner during which Trump decided that China was not a currency manipulator after all, and that North Korea was a more complex issue than he'd imagined, his daughter Ivanka was also at the table, and that she immediately got three trademarks for her wares there. What coincidence! And yes, that was a meal we all paid for; not White House meal payments, of course, but the Mar-a-Lago charges, which come to you complete with the cost of rooms for the Chinese Pres and his group, the room rentals for the secret service detail, etc. So he made out, his daughter made out, and China made out. Only we citizens of the USA were on the short end.

We also discovered yesterday that the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson and strike group that Trump told us was being sent to the Korean peninsula as a show of force by Trump actually went to Indonesia for a scheduled training mission with Australia. In any event, the Vinson group headed nowhere near Korea. Sort of embarrassing if you're the commander-in-chief and make this big threat announcement and it turns out nobody told anybody in the military about it.
Then we've got Monday's call to congratulate Turkey's President Erdogen on a narrow win in a very tainted referendum election. Erdogen is a horror on human rights, so much so that even the New York Post, a completely reliable mouthpiece for Trump, called him out on it, noting that: "Mr. President, you're the leader of the free world; you shouldn't come off as cheering a rigged election that sets back the cause of freedom." Man, when the Post comes down on Donny boy, you know it's bad. \

Oh, and then as a kicker, Trump signed an executive order to Buy American, Hire American, which will make it harder to hire non-Americans on work visas and bring up the cost of some foreign made exports. Which could be a good thing of only Donald Trump and his daughter had anything of theirs made in America. Or if Eric Trump would hire US citizens for work in his vineyard; or if Donald Trump would hire US citizens to work at Mar-a-Lago. Ah well, the hits just keep coming.

More tomorrow, I'm sure. I just want to keep score so there will be no confusion later.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Bicycle Day!

It's Bicycle Day today, the day that Albert Hofmann took the first intentional dose of LSD back in Basel, Switzerland, while he was working for Sandoz Laboratories. I got a chance to interview Dr. Hofmann for High Times magazine for the 50th anniversary of LSD issue we did, and this is a section of the interview I did with him that relates to the famous bicycle ride he took to go home from his laboratory after purposefully ingesting the novel compound.

HT: How did you take it?
HOFMANN: I drank it. And within half-an-hour I began to experience similar symptoms to those I’d had three days earlier. But quite quickly they became very strong, very intense, and I became anxious, so I asked my laboratory assistant to accompany me home.
As it was wartime and I had no car, we went home by bicycle, and the bicycle ride was strange. And this bicycle ride, which was only about six kilometers from the lab to my little village, has been so important to the story of LSD. I don’t know why.

HT: Tell us about that ride and that first induced LSD experience.
HOFMANN: I had the feeling that time was standing still. It was a very strange feeling, one I’d never had before. There was a change in the experience of life, of time. But it was the most frustrating thing. I was already deep in the LSD trance, in LSD inebriation, and one of its characteristics, just on this bicycle trip, was of not coming from any place or going anyplace. There was absolutely no feeling of time.
At home I asked my assistant to call for a doctor. And as my wife and children were away for a few days, I also asked him to ask the neighbors for milk. Milk, you know, is known as an antitoxin in general.

HT: Did it help?
HOFMANN: Not at all. I was in a very odd state of consciousness. The outer world had changed. The room seemed to be full of life in the light, and colors were more intense. But I also had the feeling that I was changed, that my ego had changed. And then it became such a strange experience that I was afraid that I had gone insane. And sometime during that experience, at the climax, I had the feeling I was out of my body.
In the meantime the doctor my assistant called arrived and he tested my blood pressure and my head and such and he could not find anything abnormal, with the exception that the pupils of my eyes were enlarged. But nothing else.

HT: Did the doctor’s visit and his assurance that you were alright calm you down?
HOFMANN: No. I had the feeling I was going to die. I had no feeling in my body and thought I’d already left it, was already out of my body, which was something I couldn’t explain to the doctor. I couldn’t really speak rationally to explain that I had made an experiment, either. He wouldn’t have understood that.
So he sat with me through that very difficult experience—horribly difficult—and after about four or five hours the feeling began to change. I felt that I was coming from this very strange other world back to our normal world. And I had the feeling, when I came back from this strange world, that our normal world, which ordinarily we don’t think is wonderful, was a wonderful world. I saw it in a new light. It was a rebirth.
But this happy feeling was only at the end of the experience. And when I came back I closed my eyes and had beautiful, colored visions. It was of course very strange. There was a transformation of every sound in optical figures. Each noise produced a corresponding colored figure, which was very enjoyable.
Finally I went to sleep, and in the morning I was completely fresh. I had the feeling that I was seeing the world as it was on the very first day of creation.