Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Bicycle Day revisited or RIP Albert Hofmann?

Kumar's apartment bldg, NYC

According to a not yet now confirmed rumor on Reddit, Dr. Albert Hofmann, the inventor of LSD, who celebrated his 102nd birthday this last January, is dead. 102. Imagine that! If so RIP, Dr. Hofmann. Bon voyage and thanks again!

"In answer to my inquiry about the sourse of the news, a commenter replied that he learned of Hofmann's death in a personal email from Rick Doblin, head of MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies). Doblin wrote him that, "Albert had a heart attack at 9am at home and died a swift, painless death. RIP." I guess if anyone, Doblin is in a position to know.

Whatever the case, naturally I got to thinking about the good old days, especially in New York during the '60's when Tim Leary's old friend and former colleague, Ralph Metzner, brought us boxes of tiny vials of beautiful liquid amber LSD direct from Sandoz Lab in Switzerland, where Hofmann worked when he invented it, to Kumar's tiny apartment on W. 14th. Sacrament. It was great for a while but eventually it got complicated. You know how that goes. So.... anyway....

In honor of Dr. Hofman's discovery and the unending task/adventure of reducing ego and expanding consciousness, here's a recounting of his, the First Trip, otherwise known as Bicycle Day" (via Wikipedia).

Dr. Albert Hofmann holding a model of the LSD molecule

On April 19, Dr. Hofmann intentionally ingested 250 micrograms of LSD, which he hypothesized would be a threshold dose, based on other ergot alkaloids. After ingesting the substance Hofmann was struggling to speak intelligibly and asked his laboratory assistant, who knew of the self-experiment, to escort him home on his bicycle, due to the lack of available vehicles during wartime restrictions. On the bicycle ride home, Hofmann's condition became more severe and in his journal he stated that everything in his field of vision wavered and was distorted, as if seen in a curved mirror. Hofmann also stated that while riding on the bicycle, he had the sensation of being stationary, unable to move from where he was, despite the fact that he was moving very rapidly. Once Hofmann arrived safely home, he summoned a doctor and asked his neighbor for milk, believing it may help relieve the symptoms. Hofmann wrote that despite his delirious and bewildered condition, he was able to choose milk as a nonspecific antidote for poisoning. Upon arriving the doctor could find no abnormal physical symptoms other than extremely dilated pupils. After spending several hours terrified that his body had been possessed by a demon, that his next door neighbor was a witch, and that his furniture was threatening him, Dr. Hofmann feared he had become completely insane. In his journal Hofmann said that the doctor saw no reason to prescribe medication and instead sent him to his bed. At this time Hofmann said that the feelings of fear had started to give way to feelings of good fortune and gratitude, and that he was now enjoying the colors and plays of shapes that persisted behind his closed eyes. Hofmann mentions seeing "fantastic images" surging past him, alternating and opening and closing themselves into circles and spirals and finally exploding into colored fountains and then rearranging themselves in a constant flux. Hofmann mentions that during the condition every acoustic perception, such as the sound of a passing automobile, was transformed into optical perceptions. Eventually Hofmann slept and upon awakening the next morning felt refreshed and clearheaded, though somewhat physically tired. He also stated that he had a sensation of well being and renewed life and that his breakfast tasted unusually delicious. Upon walking in his garden he remarked that all of his senses were "vibrating in a condition of highest sensitivity, which then persisted for the entire day".

Update: In case you're interested, here is an extended quote from Rick Doblin's email.
"Albert died at home at 9 AM Basel time from a myocardial infarction, quick and relatively painless. Two caretakers were there with him at the time. The only people who were told were people from Burg, the village where he lived, and Peter and others were surprised the word of his death had gotten out so quickly. It's the age of the internet...

Albert had been increasingly thinking of death these last few months. He had stopped leaving his home, where he said he could feel the spirit of Anita, his wife who died December 20, 2007. He didn't come to the World Psychedelic Forum a month ago, but did entertain some visitors at his home. We spoke on the phone the day after the Basel conference and he was happy and fulfilled. He'd seen the renewal of LSD psychotherapy research with his own eyes, as had Anita. I said that I looked forward to discussing the results of the study with him in about a year and a half and he laughed and said he'd try to help the research however he could, either from this side or "the other side".

Now it even more falls on younger generations to transform LSD into a legal medicine and beyond that into a tool for personal growth legally available to all."


Source here.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Desert walk

Yesterday a friend and I went out to the local, very cool, no-kill animal shelter and walked a couple of the dogs. The place is located near the dump and recycling center so a lot of junk blows out of trucks headed for the place. Marie's like me. Can't stand seeing trash in nature so along the way we picked a couple of bags out the sage and managed to stuff them until they were overflowing with garbage. Very satisfying.

Garbage hounds
Bob is a great sport and enjoyed picking up trash every bit as much as we did.

Link and I examine an abandoned but very handy construction.
What is it? A combined hitching post/wilderness bench/hay storage?

Desert spring

Wednesday, April 23, 2008



Seems to me America has outgrown the two party system. Watching Obama and Clinton duke it out, I'd say the Dems are split beyond repair, which conveniently takes the heat off the Repubs who are themselves only held together by the tattered posters of McCain plastered over their numerous rifts, ruptures, schisms, scandals, war crimes, high crimes and misdemeanors.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not trying convince you of anything but I do assume that a savvy person such as yourself is, at least in part, as weary as I of this political charade. What the hell? Let the shards fall where they will. I think the differences between the Progressive and Corporate points of view are irreconcilable and make no mistake ... for however many shots she knocks back at the local bar while the press is watching, Clinton represents the Corporate Elite not We, the People.

Sinkin' down

The Cheney/Bushwackers have abandoned America at the legendary crossroads where they made their deal with the Devil. Both McCain and Clinton, Neocon and Neocon Lite, are determined to consummate the deal. I can only hope that Obama actually does represent CHANGE and that he gets elected. We need to reclaim our collective American soul from the deal makers and war profiteers, the torturers and hedge fund traitors, and the rest of the power elite who would trade it finally and forever to secure their "Bottom Line Billions". But not to worry. If nothing else, the planet itself will pull us up short. Something is gonna' give.

Robert Johnson - CROSSROAD

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Hillary's lament

A sad, must see response to Hillary's ad
3 AM in Hillary's Neighborhood


In case you missed Hillay's whine* about how she is currently the victim of a vast left wing conspiracy, here's what she had to say about people outside her neocon lite Beltway clique:

"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."

*Audio clip at Huffingpost

Excuse me now while I go flip MoveOn another two bucks.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Back breaking labors

I'm at Comma Coffee for the moment, relaxing after a Dr.'s appointment. Seems I've been walking around with a fractured spine for a while. Makes sense. I eat an awful lot of Ibuprofen and Tylenol. Yum. Next I have to see a specialist about possible surgery. Better not interfere with our plans to dog sit this summer while my brother and his wife are in London. Three weeks in Seattle! I won't give that up lightly. So anyway...

More photos from the Tonopah graveyard from our recent trip. A fascinating place, history in the nude. The Great State of Nevada was settled by immigrants from all over the world who came seeking their fortune.

Most lived hard, short lives.

The people who settle in Tonopah were no exception.

Given that Area 51 is next door,
you never know who you'll meet in Tonopah
or even which time frame they're from...
past, present or FUTURE.

So, what the hell? For good measure I'm throwing in a UFO video for your viewing pleasure. The narrator claims it could be the "most important video in the history of mankind." Too bad the dummy mispronounces the word Nevada.

Interview with an Alien


Monday, April 14, 2008

Mo's happy ending

After two years at the shelter and a lot of love and work, Mo got adopted by one of the DAWG volunteers and yesterday he moved out at last and in with his new, brand new family. A happy ending for a poor guy who was at the wrong place at the wrong time, doing what pit bulls do so well, fighting to the finish.

A few years ago Mo and Joe found themselves in some serious trouble but, thanks to a network of compassionate people, neither were put down. Instead Joe went to the Reno shelter and Mo lived at the no-kill shelter here. Ironically, people who make mistakes end up in a "justice" system that humiliates, undermines and better prepares them for more of the same. By their release, many are more desperate and angry than when they came in. No so for Mo. DAWG volunteers and trainers help animals change their attitude and outlook for the better so Sunday, after a big farewell party at the shelter, Mo began his new life with people who love and know how to provide a safe, sane environment for a pit.

It seemed to me that Mo was more eager to get out the door and on with it than party, but we humans are a sentimental lot. People that worked with him over the last two years needed "closure" so Mo dutifully sniffed his gifts and pretended to be interested as his humans opened them for him. And he gulped a few treats while people laughed and downed cup cakes and ice cream. Then, finally, Mo when home.

This morning, Mo's family emailed everyone photos from the party and a detailed account of his first day. If you aren't already saturated with cloying sweetness, give it a read. Sounds like Mo is one grateful, happy pooch.

Saying good-bye to the girl at the front desk

Letter from Mo and Family.

Just wanted to thank everyone that came today for Mo's send off and also anyone that wasn't able to attend that has love in their heart for him. I was overwhelmed with all the gifts. Mo and all of us thank you soooooo much. He has been so good. He had his nose right up to the air conditioner almost the whole trip home. (I think he prefers my Honda to ride in as it's easier for him to see out of.) As soon as I got him home Ron's youngest son, Jake and I got him into the shower and started to get him clean. He was being very good so I ran to get the camera and when I got back there was water all over the floor and there he was wagging his tail so hard against the wall that the tip of his tail was bleeding a little. We got him back in and rinsed off. Jake walked him around for awhile then I got him and we laid on the floor together for awhile (of course with all kinds of kisses from him) I think I'll have to invest in a plug in air freshener as he is very prone to gas. He paid little attention to the birds so maybe when we are home he can be in the living room with them (as long as they are in their cages as I don't want to take a chance). Then Mo spent some time in his pen with Ron working on the doggie door. I went out to take him for a pottie break and he didn't want to stay out long and dragged me back inside the house. I had him on the leash and sat on the couch and he jumped up and was rubbing on the couch putting his nose between the cushions and had a great big grim on his face. Ron sat down and Mo went back and forth between us almost standing on his head at times he was being so crazy and happy. Then all at once he stopped and immediately fell asleep. He kept hogging all the couch so I finally sat on the floor. He looked so happy and contented. Well that's it for now. It was such a great day. Thanks again. Nancy

Rupert Murdoch freaks out

Usually things that are too good to be true are too good to be true. I really hope this one beats the odds. Could it be? If so, the guys at Manhattan Media offer us a truly rare peek into the dragon's lair.

Murdoch freaks out


The Huffpo article claims it's a fake Murdoch in the video but the guy looks like Murdoch to me. My take is that "My Wall Street Journal" is a Murdoch publication. Otherwise, why the black set? And isn't it interesting that Murdoch "just happens" to position the paper perfectly for the camera to pick up? Also, it seems to me that the sound quality is too good for a cell phone with which, I assume, this "secret" video was captured. And the guy recording it? Wouldn't he be at the bottom of the river instead posting his catch on YouTube? Now, I feel like a chump for even publishing this the stupid thing but what the hell? It's Monday. So what do you think? Real or fake?

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Tonopah in the spring.

Here are a few more photos from my stay in Tonopah last weekend. I have to do this on the fly so will post more later, for the record. I realize that you are all wondering what's new in Tonopah, the town that is rotting in the sun, blowing away in the wind. I will tell you...

HIPPIES of Tonopah

The note in the window reads, "HIPPIE: I waited for 1 1/2 hrs to pick up my cigarettes. You can't make any money if your closed. Ken". Right. I bet Ken wanted to buy "cigarettes". Hippie never did show up but I pressed my camera to the glass and got photos of what's inside.

HIPPIES of Tonopah, town's newest boutique


I hope HIPPIES is open the next time we blow through town. I'd like to get a better peek inside plus I'd like to meet the guy but more likely he will already be out of business.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Lunch among the crows

Before I post more from Tonopah, here's a new clip from the Bird Park. This crow prefers to eat from a dish, in a civilized manner, but he is not too sure about the other guy.

Lunch among crows


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Birthday blues

My sister emailed this photo today of our Dad and Mom on his 56th birthday. She's good like that. My brother wrote back that Dad's big round head make him think of Charlie Brown. He was a Charlie Brown, not only in looks but personality though, prompted by my Norwegian pride, I must add... HARD WORKER. A Charlie Brown who made it work anyway. And a good Dad. Andy. Note the giant hands. First generation from Norway. North Dakota homestead raised. Sixth grade education. Quit during plowing time that year. Too much work to ever go back. Married. Loved her big tits. She always said she married him for his dimple. Migrated to Seattle. Steel business. Worked his way up from shipyard welder to plant owner. Raged against slick and sleazy business partners. "Too honest", he would complain. Proved you can't take the country out of the boy. Today would be his 97th, had he lived. Not unreasonable, given that he came from a line of long-lived Norwegians. Grandma made it to 98.

Like my sister wrote, they were so young. Looks like my mother has already enjoyed a birthday toast or two. Ironically, spread before him a feast made up of things that called his early death ... a cube of butter, a platter of flesh, a brimming glass of whole milk and a luscious fat-filled sugary cake. Not pictured: cigarettes and booze. Not included: regular exercise. If only they knew then what we know now, they might both be alive to celebrate this day with us.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Expose yourself to art

Portland Mayor Bud Clark said it best...

so ... expose yourself. Here's an excellent rendering of an excellent poem by Roger McGough.

My First Day at School


And this is pretty amazing...

Elephant painting self portrait